A crazy last 4 weeks to put it mildly.
DG was in town. I have always admired the man's ability to create the sense that we'd never spent a day apart. An insane reality check that almost 3 years had gone by since we shared the tiny room in vikhroli leading up to the big I-C....Anyways, as always with DG, the catch ups had much to do with food so we head to Oh Calcutta for the first of our long nights of nostalgia. Speaking of Oh Calcutta, the food there is simply out of this world. Get a taste of the biryani and the crab that comes served in banana leafs - melt in your mouth stuff. After dinner (and a long discussion on the average dilliwalas lack of social/civic sense) we scooted over to Debbie's for more drinks. I got some more music of DG (although his taste is becoming softer by the year) and finally bid adieu as late as 3am. I had to fly to London the next night and with DG meeting up with us around 8 in the evening, I just about caught my flight post 4 stella's (thanks to the InBev brand launches in Gurgaon) at TCs with KS and SS. A good night and a great reunion. Fantastic news from DG along with the most insightful bit of wisdom he's ever shared with me in recent times "After a point, when I realized __ was the one, I didn't see any point in waiting around anymore". Amen. Thanks for sharing bro, can't wait to celebrate the awesomeness with you very very soon.
I already gave you guys a glimpse of what was the second trip in as many weeks. A tremendous city with a phenomenal cultural melange; I was lucky to have had some extremely insightful discussions on what makes the world's most desirable city click from a couple of locals. This combined with 2 insane projects running side by side and I had my first ever feeling of international exhaustion. I never thought it possible - but it happened and boy was I glad to be back on home soil after finishing off YT and the series of never-ending meetings on the event that is going to capture the state of science in India. Not etirely the topic that captures van chitgough's imagination but the scope has enough in it to be noteworthy of a phenomenal experience. The fingers are crossed that all of this is going to create enough of an 'echo' in the coming months ofcourse :)
Moving along, London highlights included Nando's, the salt yard, brilliant chilling on a sunday afternoon at Hyde Park, The London Eye, the V&A Museum, waddesdon manor, lots of 5 minute stop-overs with the tube-station musicians of all sorts, trips to Oxford Said Business School for a seminar on the politics of inclusion around globalization and finally a cocktail reception with the good doctor on 'entrepreneurship' (he is such a stud) at LBS. On a reunion note (what is a visit without catching up with friends in the vicinity:)), brilliant fun catching up with RC and the rest of the London based gang. Lots of great conversations, walking around embankment and south bank (the former being my favorite part of London) and generally finding cool places to go dancing - shancing after the stupidly early timings that bars close (it's certainly NOT the party capital of that side of the globe). A satisfying trip overall both professionally and personally and Van Chitgough's thumbs up to the city is now official.
So I got back from London on the 20th. Tired, jet-lagged and with enough follow up work to kill an army of really intelligent consultant elephants (consultephants?), I could have used a couple of days in bed just answering emails and being pampered with cold glasses of nimbu paani and good desi grub...alas,it was not to be. Van Chitgough has been notorious for pushing the limits on previous occassions and in this particular situation, he just didn't have the heart to back out, knowing the consequences it can have for the organizing parties of an @ conference. Hence, on a sunny sunday morning, I packed up and proceeded to pondicherry, for what was going to be a pretty jam-packed week. I underestimated just how maddening and jam-packed it was going to be.
350 youngsters aged 17-22, lots of internationals, lots of activity and lots of expectations. 3 years since my last @ in India conference and I was now back. I was also very very old (at 24, believe it or not!). The organization's gotten wilder, louder and rowdier (or am I just being an old foggy?) but the intelligence, passion and pure unadulterated enthusiasm remains. I think I did OK overall and managed to connect with a critical mass of people. Some more great conversations, moments of hilarity, moments of inspiration and moments of sheer exasperation with the state of affairs. @ conferences never fail to provide a see-sawing sense of emotion :)
Can't put all of it down in words but all in all - I'm glad I went and I'm glad I capped off the core involvement with the organization that's been such a part of my life (uptil now) in the way that I did. From here on, I'm happy to sit back, reconnect with fellow old-timers (or dinosaurs as we used to say in Switz), shell out some cash for support and providing time periodically for advice. Great memories from Pondicherry and it was bizarre to feel that post-conference let down after so many years. It's hellishly difficult coming back to an empty house and loads of decisions/responsibilities/deadlines after being surrounded by a micrcosm of India's screaming youth population in a room for 7 days :) Great memories.
Phew. A lot. So brilliant to be back home though. Spent the week catching up and getting down with the warrior sound once again. Got the realization that I need to get a lot of stuff down on 'paper' and not leave difficult decisions purely to trust. Things change and situations evolve. The manifestations of expectations is best described on ink, rather then through spoken word. I need to push for this to secure mine and the organization's future. An excellent reunion with the thakur who is now back in India for good (giving me an opportunity to visit him in Gwalior :)) along with some late night shenanigans at YBR with the entire college gang. Gosh how much I love those guys.
I'm still up at this unearhly hour, partly because of the blessing in sporting spectacles that was the recently concluded wimbledon final. In all of Lord Federer's greatness, there is something to be said for this 22 year old phenom from Spain. I bow to you ever so gently Rafa. You were the man tonight and your humble repitition of the heavily accented 'thank you very much' during the presentation ceremony was a reminder of just how young you are. Your age and innocence bely the brutality of your game on court. Very few men have won the french and wimbledon back to back; and to beat god in his own backyard takes guts, gumption and pure 'want'. You had it all. Just remember one thing though - god creates his legacy and we've all been reminded of lord federe's return next year. The rivalry continues.
On the aspect of cool web-findings, the crawls led me to find wordle through arthur's blog (the man has mad skills when it comes to finding some stuff).From the website:
Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.
The above wordle is of portions of my nomadlife blog. Would be awesome to see what it comes up with for great speeches, songs and books..
Also, my bro Vijit introduced me to the latest in online radio - musicovery. A good shot at the brilliance that was Pandora at one point of time with the emphasis on moods and branches that connect genres of music.., I'll be giving it some serious trial runs this coming week and will post the outcome for you guys.
chalo, that's about it from me now. A busy week beckons with the creators returning after their 2 week London chilling next Sunday. A big change in the 'abode' setup will culminate the following weekend with my decision to return. A good one I think with the much needed balance being put in place at most levels.
Good night guys. Peace.