It's 2 years that I moved back to India and I had several thoughts on how life will be after 2 years when I boarded the flight from Boston. Lot of things changed in last two years and lot of habits/tastes/life style/preferences did too.
I still long for Chipotle, Not your Avg Joe's,Joseph's II and several other cuisines but Hyderabad has lot to offer as well including Hard Rock, TGIF, Chilis (soon to be opened) with Sub Ways, McD's, KFC's all over the places and offcourse the best Indian cuisines and local delicacies like Bawarchi, Gokul chat and more modern restaurants like Indijoe from BJN group.
Hyderabad has also caught up on Malls with the new Inorbit and GVK one being on par with international shopping outlets and experience.
Internet has revolutionized several business and life seems easy for booking movies, train tickets, paying utility bills and banking but there is more scope for improvement on few areas. Internet speeds and prices, I believe India is much ahead of many developed countries - 4mbps speed for Rs.600 ($12) from Beam Cable - just amazing.
Cell phones are one of most common commodity in India now and I think India provides the best services, tariffs, plans and phone models.
Traffic is one thing that still makes life miserable but after a while the long honks, heavy black fumes and zig zag driving will not bother you lot. Power cuts make life inefficient but you will soon be ok with planned outages. Other thing that bothers is prices, India has become very expensive, in 2 years prices of petrol, groceries, food, travel, clothing and entertainment have shot up and in some cases even doubled up.
In short - moving back to India is about your will and your desire and your need. All other things will fall into place sooner than you thought of.
My friend asked me what would be a good SLR buy. Here is my quick review
I own Nikon 40D and 18-55 and 55-200 and 50mm lenses. I wish I had 18-300mm lens because most of our daily life nice photography can have good effects with it.
Before buying remember these - SLR is bulky - so buy least size possible - changing lenses to take nice shot - really tough - you will slowly adjust to use same lens - so buy a camera where one lens can do most job - Lenses are the key to the model you want to buy - Real Canon/Nikon lenses can be expensive...there are other companies which provide lenses for Canon/Nikon camera..check them out too - I prefer to buy SLR which has an affordable lens in range of 18-300 aperture - Ex: Sigma 28-300 (one lens can help you take any kind of pic) 445$ or so http://www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/lenses_all_details.asp?id=3305&navigator=2
This week I will be completing a year that I am back from US and well settled in my home country. There were several achievements/changes, biggest among them was to find my life partner. In less than month and half I will be married too.
Referring back to my blog where I mentioned about moving back to India (link) I talked about moving to India has advantages of living in growing economy, having sense of belonging and having citizenship restored. All this points I truly feel are making my transition meaningful and enjoyable.
"Living in growing economy" - Though India's economy has shrunk a lot in wake of global economic downturn but it is still a place where economy is positive. The GDP is expected to be around 7% for 2009!. Definitely living here is fun with so many new multiplexes, malls and other projects coming up (I agree it has slowed down a lot though from when I moved back)
"Sense of belonging" - Living in India, with 1.11 Billion population, lots of traffic, pollution, long queues - no more bothers me. Though there were few incidents where I felt pity for the country (Bomb blasts at several Indian cities, Mumbai attacks, moving of IPL on security concerns) but it is part and parcel of living in a country with such a population with so many religions and cultures. Every morning, when I wake up, I feel proud, happy and meaningful.
"Citizenship restored" - Am sure many would agree with me that "Citizenship" as biggest boon of living in one's own country. In such a tough situation for H1 holders, living in one's country reduces lot of INS, H1, paper work tensions and issues. Definitely peace of mind! And soon (Apr 16h), I will be exercising my franchise by voting both assembly and parliament elections.
Revising my FAQ's :P
What am I missing most? - Friends. I have got used to daily life though (esp with lot of helping hands and advancement of technology, leading daily life is much easier now compared to 6-7 years before. I bragged about traffic but now I am one of them). I miss the evening hours though, work in India drags to late evenings :(
Whats exciting? Food (Apart from authentic home made, Hyderabad has gone mutli cusine place now, its easy to find Mexican, Greek, Thai food), freedom from H1/Green card paper work (ah! you cant believe how much less worried man you are residing in your own country), enjoying Indian music, movies, TV and cricket. On seasons perspective - though summer is very hot, somehow India's weather is more energetic (esp that days are not very short in winter as in US)
Will you be back? Well time will answer. As of now I have no plans and currently would like to continue to stay in India.
On Feb 22nd, I got engaged to Sowmya. She is working as software professional at Symphony Software Pvt. Ltd. at Hyderabad. She is an Electronics and Communication (ECE) engineer and she holds MBA from Osmania University.
Exactly two years before Dec 31 2006, I was worried if I will be able to move to India and uncertainty around it. I am happy man now that not only I moved but settled down happily. Its been almost 9 months that I am back to my country and to me it's a quickest year of my life. I still have lot of memories of last year, so fresh, that it seems all that happened just recently. I am very optimistic about the coming year and I welcome it graciously.
BTW, for my return to India, I had a separate blog http://myr2i.blogspot.com/ which I have made it public recently. For all r2i'ers there is some help on that blog.
An email just popped up in inbox "Rakhi and Raksha Bandhan Gift Hampers to India". Well I thought I no longer need such a service, but that made me ponder on how things were while I was in US and how they have changed after I moved to India.
To start off, I had wonderful vacation and have joined SumTotalSystems in Hyderabad as Implementation Consultant. Got settled well and have got used to India and its living, traffic and inflation.
The move went very smoothly esp with help of friends and family. The biggest problem settling back was getting used to the new price tag for every commodity. Every commodity in India have almost doubled up. Living expenses in India have sky rocketed. My maid has quoted Rs.2000 for cleaning dishes and washing clothes! She makes more money than some white color jobs, I guess.
As I thought, the most I miss is people and friends and food. I am still getting used to the food options available outside. I definitely miss the continental, healthy foods and salads.
Many of my initiatives that I thought would continue even after moving back have short lived. The distance, time change, communication issues and not being in person in US have made me move out of all those initiatives. That said, new things have started and I am finding myself busy enough to not add more to my plate.
America-Return Confused Desi, or ARCD for short is a term used to refer to Indian who returns to India for settling after living in United States for some time, in contrast to those who were born in India and always settled there. For example: 1) An ARCD cannot bargain equivalent to real Indian. If he can get 10% off, feels happy for his success, even though he knows 30% off bargain is any average Indian skill. 2) Asks "What is your return policy?" buying a wireless router. 3) Wears a sunglass, a cap and a kerchief as nose mask traveling in auto to avoid any pollution. Also takes them off when curious pedestrians stare him. 4) Wonders how a loud Sai Baba song in city bus works? Truly secular he thinks. 5) Stands in line in front of any counter until 3 people cut short and get their work done. 6) Replies "Thanks" to autowala or anyone who helps him. But when he realizes that the other person do not understand it, cannot reply the gratitude in Telugu/Hindi. 7) Asks the cab driver, rather begs for his sanity sake, to drive between the lines and the cab driver pretends for few minutes before going back to drive on road line. 8) Requests a black coffee which creates a huge confusion at any place. 9) Complains so much about Ekta Kapoor serials, yet steels a glimpse of it to be truly Indian. 10) Writes this blog even when he is on vacation.
I can say Boston as one of the best place for eateries and roaming around. People complain about cold but surprisingly I have always have enjoyed it. I enjoyed meeting friends whom I knew since long time and making some new ones.
In my 18 months of Boston living I drove to Canon Mountains, Fox Woods, Mohegan Sun, Acadia National Park, Martha's Vineyard, Newport, RIU, Ithaca, New Jersey.
I know am leaving US, but leaving Boston has its own significance with every day being just absolute fun. VistaPrint was hard working yet partying place, very hard to find such 'passion and fun' work place. I enjoyed staying in Waltham with most of my friends living nearby, visiting and bugging them as often as possible was fun. I will be missing all the fun time that I use to have with them though.
We group of 9 KSU friends try to meet every year (or more often than that) and I could see that there will be 8 less friends with me every time a get together happen. Though we had so many long conversation, every silent moment between them, kept me thinking, I will not get to hear them this often once I move back to India.
The trip was very nostalgic. Reliving all the college days, walking through the alma mater, trying to repeat the daily activity of college was exciting and fun.
Shopping through the local grocery store, where we shopped during college, finding all the things that we bought during that time was like revisiting those days. Aisle after aisle, with the shouts like "Remember this fruit mix can?", "Hey the strawberry vanilla ice cream bucket." to "The rice brand has changed." clearly sought how we were mapping ourselves to five years back.
"Ah the supervisor lady is still working" said of my friend when we went to have lunch at KSU dorm dining center, the place where we all worked to earn our first dollar. We remembered how we worked, filled the ice in the pop machine, loaded the milk in the vending machine, learned to do the salad bar and laughing over all the mistakes, paid off every dollar we spent to make this trip.
With all these nostalgic moments, everybody had a question - When will we all will be meeting again? esp with one friend missing this meet as he is in India and with my moving back to India. People were guessing when I will be returning back to US and I was giving some random answers, and that kept the faith and hope that it will happen. I think we will all will meet but just don't know when and where.
My eyes were like red sunset, wishing to catch some sleep after no more than 3 hours of sleep per day in last 3 days. Everybody pulled it to their max as this could be a last visit to Kansas State University, a place where we earned our degree, where we made some good friends, where we thought our dreams will come true and where we had unlimited fun.
I have fastened my seat belts to finally go back to home. When I left India five and half years before, I always knew I will go back one day, it took little longer to accomplish it though. To keep the promise that I made before moving to US, to live more closely with family, to seek a new career in growing economy, to feel the sense of belonging, I am moving back to India on April 7th.
Its been fabulous time learning, earning, working, having fun and its time to pull the socks again to some new challenges, new expectations and new hopes. It will be tough to miss some great friends and great places to work and easy way of living life though. The decision had lots of question, lots of confusion and pros and cons, but am glad I was able to cross the ring of fire with support from family and friends.
Last few weeks have been so hectic, visiting friends, running errants to finish all things, packing that I couldn't get time to pen this blog early.
I hope my decision to move back to India and living there will be fun filled, successful and that I will reach some newer and important goals of life. Am excited to see family and friends, feeling happy that I could do this big step and excited about "change" in life.
What am I gonna miss most? - Friends and daily life.
Whats exciting? Authentic home food (though will miss continental food :( ), freedom from H1/Green card paper work , enjoying Indian music, movies, TV and cricket.
Will you be back? Well time will answer. I might come back on visit and on business visa.
Last night I watched "Happy Days" Telugu movie and I felt that I lived my college life for another 3 hours. Every role, story, character that was showed in the movie, I could relate to something that happened in my college life.
With movie being shot in CBIT, it was nostalgic to see and cheer for alma mater.
Whether it was house wiring and filling labs scene, chemistry lab, bike stand or the buses, every scene of it reminded me of all the happy days of college life. Whether it was Shruti event, Araku trip, Holi or campus recruiting there was something which we had too. Whether it was bus ride, exams preparation and results, ragging or freshers parties our life at college was filled with all those too. Whether it was first day at college with all parents around, or the cricket match or the farewell scene I relived every moment. Whether it was computer science dept building, library or canteen every place made me think of what we did all those 4 years.
All I can say, I remembered all those good moments and all my college friends. I hope everybody who saw the movie felt the same and took a break from their purposeful days to remember their happy days.
Its been 5 years now that I am in US. It was Jul 26, 2002 when I landed in Kansas City airport at 10:30pm - first time stepping out of home, many questions, many goals and sense of fear on how it will go.
I still remember the 130 miles drive in the shuttle from Kansas City airport to Manhattan, KS and a cab drive to seniors apartment on a Friday night - college students on Aggivele street, coming out of pubs, shouting and having fun. The experience was much more different than what I heard about US. The excitement of being in US and missing the friends and family at same time, was a complex feeling.
I had promised my parents that I will be moving back to India after 2 years of MS and 2 years of job, so that I can pay off all my loans. Obviously I did not keep that promise, but will I move back in coming years? Only time will answer that.
For now I am just cherishing the feeling of an amazing 5 yrs journey. And on top of that for first time, we four family members in US are meeting today.
I used to watch lot of cricket during my teens, but after match-fixing and India started doing terribly, I almost lost interest in cricket.
But after long time, I started gaining interest esp with world cup going on. Hershelle Gibbs six 6's in an over made me feel the world cup fever.
For last 5 hours I am watching India-Bangladesh match and its been terrible performance from India. Not only batsmen scored very low, but bowlers did not perform to their levels. Its just depressing to watch cricket again. And on the other side Pakistan is on verge of elimination. Like me, many would have dreamed of India-Pakistan watch, which may not happen.
More bad news from cricket while am writing this. The worst umpire decision of history - Irish batsmen A. Botha was given catch out with ball missing the bat by 6 inches!
Hope we beat Sri Lanka terribly to make it to super 8.
The moment it struck 2007, there were many thoughts in my mind. What am I about to achieve in this year? Will it be a simple and casual year like last 2 years - just do job, do some investing and keep thinking using my thought less brain [:)].
Well I think it will be different than usual and will be a crucial year on what all I am planning for my life. I am pretty sure that I will not be tying the knot in 2007 but probably is the last such year. I also want to do big trip to one of the unvisited continent.
Leaving me and my plans, I wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year! Happy New Year!
I was at Vegas during Christmas time and visited Hoover dam and Grand Canyon too. I might have hopped at least 30 casino's. It is fun to visit all the casino's not just to gamble but to see their grandeur and their unique theme. I was most impressed by Venetian, Aladdin, Bellagio. And shows at all these casino's make them must to visit places. Apart from many free shows I went to Second City comedy show and Jubilee dance show.
Grand Canyon is just a playground for photography lovers and nature lovers. And during sun set I felt it absolute splendid.
Hoover Dam is one of the architectural marvel, not only because it was tallest when it was built, and has big volume, but also that it was built during great depression period and was built before scheduled time. Quite impressive for such a large project.
And here are my latest lines.
Surajnaraazhainshabse Chandkhafahain din se Unhejodurkartahain Aapkinazroonse
There are thousands of pages and posts regarding not to join Quixtarand how you are fooled and hypnotized to join the cult. Recently I found couple of video's on youtube which shows transparent reality about the hierarchical structured multi-level marketing scam. Everyone who is approached by Quixtar, I recommend to see these videos.
In my perspective, Quixtar not only kills all your time but also that you will lose all your friends and self respect. You might earn couple of thousands per annum but its not worth cheating all your nearby.
I had an interesting discussion with my friend recently on Savings. We wanted to know how much should you save from your salary?
First of all, why do we save? Retirement? Rain check for bad time? Vacation and fun? Future prospects? or may be for all of these.
Say you are planning for your retirement (like 401K or any retirement policy) and you think you have earned enough to take care of recession, health issues and have enough saved for any small issues of life, do you still need to save? When do you think that we need not save anymore?
Well we just decided it all ends at your perspective.
There is no logical amount or % of your salary that can be determined, in general is needed to be saved by every person. Some people may not save and still lead a happy life, some may need not save and some may end up saving all their life for something or nothing. Some may feel its never enough savings and some may feel they need not save. So its just their perspective.
But from what I have read and heard about planning your future, a 10% saving of your salary is generally advised at least and upto a 40% depending on your requirement.
Ok therz been long pause in my blogging and the culprit is my hard disk. All of a sudden my system went down just to tell me that my hard disk went bad.
So what is the lesson learnt? Never rely on computers and always always always backup your data.
What did I lose? Many pictures, songs and videos. Oops not only that but thousands of bookmarks, personal files, playlists, tons of downloaded software and most importantly the files that I did not backup.
People so please backup your data as often as possible.
Back to my photography here are couple of bloggable photos and links where I took them. (That leaves a trial to what I did these days ;) )
My last day at Wachovia Securities in Richmond was Friday, Sep the 15th and my joining date at VistaPrint 18th. Now that's just a weekend to move north by 550 miles and start working. So was planning to start on Friday but my friends at Richmond wanted me to stay to have a blast and to leave on Saturday. I said fine and everyone accompanied me to Washington DC, so that they can spend couple more hours with me. Now there was more to this, all of a sudden everyone wanted to spend more time with me and slowly the farewell was off for another day. I just couldn't take all that privilege and love for me, it was like a big mountain of happiness just fell on me. I just did not had enough words and smile to express my happiness that everybody want to stay back in DC to spend some more time with me. We spent lot of time talking about all the things happened back there.
Thanks guys for all the love and care you showered on me.
On my way I also got a chance to meet my KSU friends and their families in New Jearsy. And I finally arrived to Boston on Sunday night.
Ok coming to life at Boston. The first week was good at office, most of the time went on getting to know people and getting used to system. I am liking it, its good work and good place to work. I hated traffic for a while and now am getting used to it. Basically I have understand that its not Richmond. Its more busy life, happening place, so much to do around and more time to commute anywhere.
Coming to this week Song craze Am listening a lot to Woh lamhe song - So jao mein agar....Lyrics ,Song and Omkara song - Jag Jaa Lyrics, Song
Irony is am listening to "So jao agar" song after getting up and to "Jag Jaa" before going to bed. And I have no clue. Well both the songs are very good to listen and I could write tons of lines for them.
Richmond - If I have to write about my experience in Richmond it would just take millions of pages. All I can say is that I had all essence of life. Some of my happiest days are hidden in the pages of my Richmond's history. I been always blessed by bunch of good friends and Richmond did not fell short of it. It was amazing experience finding so many good friends, enjoying every day, learning something from each of them and it just hurts somewhere in my heart to leave behind such a good place. But life is to move on and its time to say Richmond - Adious.
So here is some news from my side. I been offered full time in VistaPrint at Boston and I will be joining them soon. So that brings an end to one of the most eventful and happening part of life and am pretty sure it is also beginning of something bigger and brighter future in Boston.
Its been always tough on my side leaving back a place full of friends, memories and life. I sometime define myself as build up of memories and I clearly find it when I plan on leaving a place. Memories just brace through me. I had similar tough time leaving Columbus, Manhattan and India offcourse.
Counting on my memories I thought I should write up all the people's name whom I met in my stop of life at Richmond.
Lee F, Vijay C, Stephen D, Pratul S, Srinivas K, Preeti D, Arekh N, Ravi, Shameen, Kalyan C, Neha V, Anand L, Latha V R, Madhavi B, David C, Mike P, James B, James L, Don L, Mike K, Darren, Hari V, Ratnesh, Srini, Chiti K, Rachana K, Rajrishi, Vimala K, Venus K, Deepthi, Deepika, Swathi R, Nilesh, Priti J G, Santosh K, Mahesh, David M, Shankar, Cecile, Eddie H, Bushan, Britt, Mark S, Venkat, Nateshan, Satish, Latha, Shiva T, Madan, Smitha, Amrutha J, Asish, Mansi, Kadambari V, Himanshu V, Abid, Vivek, Wilma, Snehal, Srikanth, Sunitha, Swapna B, Kiran, Srikanth, Hemanth, Nirmala, Naveen R, Srujan B, Radhika B, Yatin N, Jatin N, Harish R, Manohar S, Shivsagar T and many many others.
Coming out of my memories, I had an amazing farewell week. Overall there were 4 farewell meals and many more get togethers and cook outs. The week went like a breeze but it will stay in memories for ever.
Here are the photos of the party's and lunches.
With the Richmond Family. Dinesh, Swapna, Amrutha, Kundan, Srikanth, Kadambari, Me and Kiran (L to R).
With the Team. David C, Lisa, Me, Latha, David M (L to R).
With Office gang. Ratnesh, Raghav, Madan, Solomon, Eddide, Chitti, Srinivas, Joesph, Me, Promod, Venkat (L to R).
Some of the golden moments of my Richmond history are below.
The long weekend went like a breeze. Apart from I got my house, I watched a very nicely made movie Lage Raho Munnabhai and illogical and crappy movie on relationships, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. If you haven't watched it, stay lucky! If you have watched the movie, do you think will they ever be able to stay together?
On Monday it was great to see bro visiting me. It was almost 9 months that we met. It was fun having long chats with him about every happening thing in his and my life.
We later visited Luray Caverns. I been to many Caverns including Borra Caves in Araku, AP - my best ever, Cave of the Winds - Colorado, Ruby Falls - Tennessee, but Luray was amazing, atleast with its beautiful reflection lake and natural piano.
Its been my long dream to own a house and today I am proud owner of a house in Hyderabad. It bring immense happiness in me.
Its been a long journey to achieve this moment and I have to appreciate my parents who worked so hard to search and go through troublesome paper work of bank loan and others. And with the soaring Hyderabad real estate prices, its been tough to find something in the budget. Everytime I used to call Sudhakar and YK, who have been instrumental in my quest, I used to find that the prices have gone up again. It just use to scare me up. But finally with help of one and all, my dream has come true.
Earlier today I was having discussion with one of my colleague and he mentioned that all his three cars broke on this weekend and he had to tow two of them over 30 miles. So are you getting where I am going? I feel that there are days which are quite terrifying like this and there are also equally brighter days. I just do not get why such coincidences happen to make some days a very good day or a very bad day, but they do happen. Probably stars get alligned or get tangled on such days.
Well looks like I am having some brighter days. There are few things happening good on my side, though not yet concrete. I will definitely let you know once everything gets settled.
I just told my colleague that probably 3 good things are about to happen to him on one good day 'quite oppositely similar' to three cars going down on one day...that brought a big hope and a smile on his face.
I am in Boston this weekend and I am enjoying like crazy. It was fun meeting some old friends and also trying Golf. Golf looked to me interesting and fun sport, hope I do it more often. On top of Golf I scored my highest in Bowling (164) though lost to Arekh (175). And after 3 hours of poker I gained back from my loss, just to know that I made ZERO dollars! It was just fascinating that i made exactly nothing.
Well, here are my latest lines. I thought I should add english words to my verse, and thus here is my latest crazy poem...
To all my Crushes:
Barastha pani Ice banjaye, Garajtha badal Calm hojaye, Bijli ko Shock lagjaye, Mera dil ka Bulb glow hojaye.