Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Where is my ROI?

As always, my inspiration for this post as well is a song. It’s a beautiful and heart wrenching song by Natasha Bedingfield. It is pretty old and has been my favourite ever since the first time I heard it. Not just do I identify with the lyrics of the song but actually each word resonates with all my inner fears, and emotions.

I am sure anyone who has studied business knows what ROI is. In every business decision, we always look for a Return on Investment. What am I getting in return? Only if the answer satisfies us will we go ahead and make that effort or invest that money. Well, often accused of being very practical even in matters concerning people, I always look for ROI - even in relationships!

In my life, I’ve met many types of people. Few exemplary, some good, some bad and many who do not matter. But with each person, I have spent at least one precious moment of my life. That moment that I am spending with you has an opportunity cost. Could I be doing something better? There is always a lingering thought in my mind that what if there was a happier moment that I just let go of because I decided to spend the day outside meeting you? There is no way of knowing that right?

I know I am sounding very mean and unsatisfied, but trust me; ROI calculation has now become important because in past I have wasted my time on wrong people, invested my efforts on unworthy and supported the undeserved. And all they have done is hurt me and bruise me for being there. I wish there were some analytical tool for people as well to predict the relationship performance :P

The formula is simple...

If Benefit from a person "X" > Effort or time put in for the person "X" then it is a positive investment. We can max stretch to Benefit = Effort, in which case we break even. The moment the investment shows negative ROI, it's time to say GOOD BYE!

Whether or not I wish to admit, it is true that I am who I am because of you. Yes you all. The exemplary ones, the good ones, the bad ones and the ones who do not matter. The experiences that I shared with you in the past have shaped my character. So what should I do? Should I just let down my guard and be ready to fall without a safety net?

There’s a line in the song –
I found your fingerprints on a glass of wine; do you know you’re leaving them all over this heart of mine too?


So, next time you are angry with me or want to say some mean stuff, just think that you are leaving these fingerprints on my heart. You can actually spend that moment with someone who makes you happy and spare me to do the same as well. Let us get our time’s worth, what say? :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Are we all lost stars?

Last year I saw a movie – Begin Again. A very ordinary story produced in a very different way. It stays with me even today, not because of the story, but because of the music and the soundtracks. Though all the songs are extraordinary, “Lost Stars” struck a chord with me. Yes indeed we are all lost stars.

I am a child of the 80’s. Born with a silver spoon, all my needs and wants were promptly fulfilled by my parents. I was always the star kid in my school and college – the all rounder, the miss teacher’s pet, the house leader etc. I had a plan… I had dreams… I had goals… I knew I was not an average person… I was born to do something great!

But then, what happened? Where did the enthusiasm go? It all started with a realization that I am not “Special”. I am just another human being, doing just what all human beings do. I am vulnerable, I am capable of being hurt, I have unrealistic expectations from life and I am struggling to find myself.

In the myriad experiences that I have been exposed to, I have lost myself. I don’t know if I am a girl caught up in dreams and fantasies or the one who reaches out and makes them true. Searching for the meaning… Trust me; this is not a sob story because some bloke broke my heart (though there have been quite a lot of blokes who did that). I am just wondering what my true calling is. There are many things I still enjoy and am passionate about; I have some of the best friends who would always be there with me and I recently started my new job. So no, it’s not because I am not happy. It’s because something is missing.

So do I turn the page? Will I find a brand new ending? Don’t know. You gotta keep trying right!

Calling out to all other lost stars, so that together maybe we can light up the dark!

Monday, December 21, 2015

12 Months, 12 Trips

2015 was supposed to be just another year. But it was not. It was a year where I overcame many fears, left a lot of negative thoughts behind, found my strength and for the 1st time in my life, completed my New Year’s Resolution.

On 31st December, 2014, I decided to take up a big challenge – Make 12 trips in 12 months. Big or small, I had to pack my bags and get out of home 12 times this year. Some trips were planned and some weren’t but, each one of them has left me with many happy memories which makes this year extra special.


To celebrate the travels I made, I am writing down highlights of each trip which have been imprinted in my mind forever.

1. Pondicherry (January, 2015)

Had heard a lot about this quaint little Indo-French town and I decided to start my year with Pondicherry.

My Travel Plan:
Fly: Mumbai – Chennai – Mumbai
Drive: Chennai – Pondicherry – Chennai

Must do’s:
Watch Sunrise at the Promenade, take a walk through the French Quarters in the morning, have a continental breakfast at the Baker’s Street, indulge in exotic chocolates at Zuka and enjoy Wood Fired Pizza at CafĂ© Extasi

Highlights:
a.   Watching the sunrise at the Promenade was a surreal experience. Living in Mumbai, I have seen the sun set a lot of times but never got to see this lovely sight. It was soul stirring and magical.
b.   Splurging on an amazing breakfast spread at The Baker Street where we had freshly baked Croissants, Breads, Quiches, Cheesecakes and so on :)


     2. Bangalore (February, 2015)

My best friend Shuchi had moved to Bangalore and I got some very cheap tickets during a sale and so decided to make this quick weekend trip to meet her.

My Travel Plan:
Fly: Mumbai – Bangalore – Mumbai

Must do’s:
Well, since we had so much catching up to do, we stayed home for most of the trip. We did go to The Biere Club near UB City which was fun.

Highlights:
a.   On the 2nd day, we had initially planned to visit Mysore, but the previous night we were so engrossed in our discussions that we did not realize when the morning turned into noon and when into evening and finally in night. It was like we were caught up in a time warp. That day I realized how much I love this girl J
b.   I had a flight back to Mumbai at 5:00 AM and so had to leave from Shuchi’s place at 2:30 AM. So with absolutely no sleep got into a cab and zoomed past the city to reach airport. The ride at such an early hour gave me an amazingly liberating feeling and in that moment I decided to finally let go of my past and make a new future for myself.


1    3. Velas (March, 2015)

In my 3rd month, I realized I had already spent a lot on my previous 2 trips and so wanted to do a cheap one. I found an offbeat trip to a small village called Velas organized by Mumbai Travellers where we could sight turtle hatchlings. I asked my friend Dipti if she wanted to accompany and she obliged.

My Travel Plan:
Bus (Organised by MT): Mumbai – Velas – Harihareshwar – Mumbai

Must do’s:
Take a walk in the village early in the morning and if you are lucky, you can watch turtles hatching. Unfortunately, we weren’t and we did not see them L

Highlights:
a.   Since it was trip with many strangers, Dipti and I largely kept to ourselves on the 1st day. In the evening, at the beach the ice broke and we started speaking to the others in the group. While returning to our home stay from the beach, the night had finally started falling and suddenly we see on our right a field full of fireflies. The entire space was lit up with these tiny little creatures. It was magical beyond words. And then suddenly, one of them sat on my hand and I was extremely enthralled yet nervous.
b.   A few of us in the group immediately mingled (though from very different backgrounds) and some of them have actually become very close to me over the months. We practically meet once a week and do a lot of things together. So cheers to making wonderful friends :)



      4. Kerala (April, 2015)

This trip had been long pending for me and so I finally planned it with my sis, bro-in law and my school friends. We started off as a group of 7, then dropped to 5, then dropped to 3 and then finally was only me. I was very skeptical travelling alone through an unknown place and we had to cancel a lot of tickets and hotel bookings. So, I decided to be bold and go alone!

My Travel Plan:
Fly: Mumbai – Kochi – Calicut – Mumbai
Car: Kochi – Munnar
Train: Munnar – Allepey & Allepey to Calicut

Must do’s:
For the 1st time I had booked our accommodation at Homestays and I had a wonderful experience at both Munnar and Allepey. The families were very cordial and they really took care of me knowing I was a girl travelling alone. Stroll through a tea garden in the morning, watch a kathakali performance, take an ayurvedic massage and finally take a houseboat in Alleppey.

Highlights:
a.   At Kundala Dam Lake (near Munnar), I just stood on the bridge over the lake and was entranced by the beauty of nature. The portrait captured lake with hills in the background which were touching the sky and there were birds flying in the sky. The entire scene was enhanced by some mist and fog. I still have that scenery etched in my mind.
b.   As the boat drifted in the backwaters of Alleppey, I could suddenly see things very clearly in life. What is important and what are my priorities. In a way, this ride forced me to think about things which I had kind of avoided for a long time.


      5. Bhandardhara (July, 2015)

After a gap of 2 months (My sis was getting married and I was low on budget as well as time) I had almost given up on my resolution. But then this trip happened. A very last minute plan. Dipti, Vineet (A friend I made in Velas) and I decided to go for this trip organized by Mumbai Travellers.

My Travel Plan:
Bus: Mumbai – Bhandardhara – Sandhan Valley – Mumbai

Must do’s:
Stay lake side and visit the Arthur lake. Visit during Rainy season recommended

Highlights:
a.   It was slightly drizzling in the night and was very cold. We decided to take a walk in the dark and played some beautiful old songs. The entire road was dark with hardly any light and small droplets falling on our face made the scene extremely magical.
b.   I had seen waterfalls a lot of times, but never went into one. In Bhandardhara, (despite of my fear of height) we decided to jump into the waterfall and live the Liril moment :) . It was crazy as the rocks were very slippery and the water current was strong. But, the fresh cold water on my face was totally worth the effort!


     6. Goa (July, 2015)

My office friends and I decided to redeem our JPMiles and take a free flight to Goa. It was again a very last minute plan and turned out to be so much fun!

My Travel Plan:
Fly: Mumbai – Goa – Mumbai

Must do’s:
Go to Bacardi lounge at Baga Beach and try their amazing cocktail buckets. Go to a shack and spend time just watching the horizon and of course party! :P

Highlights:
a.    It was the 1st time I was travelling with Shiv, Sid, Vikram and Roch. So, was a little skeptical in the beginning to be the only girl in the group. But the boys were an absolute fun bunch. There were instances where we were only laughing, laughing and laughing at silly things.
b.   The night when we drank 16 cocktails! We had underestimated the power of these colourful drinks and ordered the entire menu since there was a one+one offer running in Cape Town. And, rest of the night was… BLANK :)


      7. Europe (August, 2015)

I decided to go again to Europe after the awesome experience I had last year. However, decided to visit different countries this year. Spain, France, Belgium and Netherlands with a group called The Backpacker Co.

My Travel Plan:
Fly: Mumbai – Barcelona, Barcelona – Paris, Amsterdam – Paris – Mumbai
Bus: Paris to Brussels, Brussels to Amsterdam

Must do’s:
Do not take a fixed itinerary when visiting Europe. There are so many small places to explore which will not be covered by packages. Travel by the local public transport and experience the lifestyle of the country.

Highlights:
a.   In Paris, I had a chance to book a personally curated bakery and chocolate shop visit. Since I am passionate about baking, it was such a delight to spend the entire afternoon tasting some exquisite French desserts and watching some famous chef’s whip up their specials.
b.   In Barcelona, we had booked a cycle tour to go around the city. I was cycling after many years and was sure I would have forgotten how to. But, the moment I held the cycle bars, I completely got a hand of it. Cycling through the beautiful gothic areas and the calm beach fronts, I thoroughly enjoyed the 1st day of the trip. And yes, I also made some sweet friends from the trip.


     8. Rajasthan (October, 2015)

I had planned this trip very long back because of cheap tickets. Vikram, Shweta (Friends I made in Velas) and I decided to experience royalty in the historical cities of Rajasthan.

My Travel Plan:
Fly: Mumbai – Jodhpur, Jaipur – Mumbai
Bus: Jodhpur – Udaipur
Train: Udaipur – Jaipur

Must do’s:
Visit Ajit Palace Hotel and the vintage car museum in Umed Bhavan, Jodhpur. Go boating in Udaipur and have dinner at 1135 AD, Amer Palace in Jaipur.

Highlights:
a.   While travelling from Jodhpur to Udaipur, we had taken a bus. I could not sleep that night as it was a little uncomfortable. But I completely forgot the discomfort when I saw the moon through my window. I just put on some super romantic songs on my phone and watched us race the moon throughout the journey.
b.   We had reserved a table for lunch at a royal restaurant called 1135 AD in Amer Palace. The food was served in silver ware and was very authentic and yummy. The furniture, the ambience and the cuisine truly made us feel like royals.




      9. Gujarat (October, 2015)

1 week after Rajasthan trip, Vineet and I planned a visit to 2 of the most beautiful temples in Gujarat - Somnath and Dwarka.

My Travel Plan:
Fly: Mumbai – Rajkot – Mumbai

Must do’s:
Visit Somnath in the night. Though we always prefer going to Temples in morning, this temple is magical in the night. There is cool breeze blowing from the sea and the environment is very serene and spiritual.

Highlights:
a.   On our way to Somnath, we stopped at some very unheard caves. Being very adventurous, we got down to explore the same. As soon as we entered the complex, we saw 4 Peahens and 1 Peacock. It was such a beautiful sight to behold!
b.   1st night in Somnath, we were in time for Arti and though I am not a very religious person, I was moved by the way the ceremony was conducted. There was such good and positive energy in the temple at that time. Post that we just sat in the temple complex and Vineet told me many mythological stories.



1   10. Lonavla (October, 2015)

Though technically not a trip planned by me, it was an offsite organized by my company. We were booked in Upper deck resort in Lonavla.

My Travel Plan:
Bus: Mumbai – Lonavla – Mumbai

Must do’s:
Upper deck is a beautiful place to stay. It faces valleys and is very beautiful in the morning.

Highlights:
a.   I was in my notice period at that time and hence was very happy to get a chance to spend some time with my friends. We partied all night and then sat with our feet in swimming pool. We obviously were laughing like crazy and then just crashed after that.
b.   Despite the crazy night, we woke up early in the morning, sat in the garden and just enjoyed the cool breeze with sun rise. It was absolutely magical!


      11. Pune (November, 2015)

I was craving to do a road trip since very long, and thanks to Vikram, got to do one. He had some business to attend to in Pune and he invited me along. Dipti was gracious enough to host us for 1 night.

My Travel Plan:
Car: Mumbai – Pune - Mumbai

Must do’s:
Always have Almond Biscotti from German Bakery! Lunch at Malaka Spice in Koregaon Park was also fun!

Highlights:
a.   Dipti took us to The Corinthian’s Club in Pune where we spent a fun night. But the highlight of the night was playing life size chess under the starry sky. Though I quickly lost patience because we were losing to Vikram, it was an experience to always remember.
                  b.   On our way back, we lost our way and ended up taking a longer route back to                                     Mumbai. We must have spent at least 5-6 hours on the road but did not                                               realize how the time passed as we were engrossed in so many interesting                                           conversations. Our topics ranged from Childhood stories to stealing ambulances. :P 




1   12. Mahabaleshwar (December, 2015)

It started off as a Birthday plan for Vikram with just 2 of us. Then we asked Dipti and she joined in. 2 of Vikram’s friends decided to join us from Pune later on. After that 2 of Dipti’s friends decided to join as well. And lastly Vikram’s friends from Pune asked another friend to come along. So ultimately we were 8 of us! It was wonderful trip full of surprises J

My Travel Plan:
Car: Mumbai – Mahabaleshwar – Mumbai

Must do’s:
Avoid the most popular view points and just visit some offbeat places and spend more time there.

Highlights:
a.  Though most of us met for the 1st time, we all gelled very well and despite such short time spent together, we started missing each other after the trip.
b.   The strawberries were definitely the highlight of the trip. They were yummy and juicy. Top them up with some whipped cream or dip them in chocolate, they are sure to tempt you more and more :)



And so my travel diary for 2015 ends… I made so many good friends, spent so many beautiful moments with them and made so many memories. Thank you God, for enabling me with money, motivation and opportunities to make these trips :) :) :)









Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Make you feel my love


Really love this song. Maybe I connect with it a lot and feel the same way. Read the lyrics and enjoy

When the rain
Is blowing in your face
And the whole world
Is on your case
I could offer you
A warm embrace
To make you feel my love

When the evening shadows
And the stars appear
And there is no - one there
To dry your tears
I could hold you
For a million years
To make you feel my love

I know you
Haven't made
Your mind up yet
But I would never
Do you wrong
I've known it
From the moment
That we met
No doubt in my mind
Where you belong
I'd go hungry
I'd go black and blue
I'd go crawling
Down the avenue
Know there's nothing
That I wouldn't do
To make you feel my love

The storms are raging
On the rolling sea
And on the highway of regret
The winds of change
Are blowing wild and free
You ain't seen nothing
Like me yet

I could make you happy
Make your dreams come true
Nothing that I wouldn't do
Go to the ends
Of the Earth for you
To make you feel my love, To make you feel my love

Friday, October 28, 2011

My little Achievement!

Disclaimer: This is a true story and not a figment of my overactive imagination. All the views expressed in the following article are property of Divya Krishna. Any reproduction in part or full will be titled as an offence and the guilty will serve my hatred for lifetime :P

India is a country with a population more than a billion. We, a few lakhs, who live in a city, usually, do not understand the state of affairs in the hinterland. They are very innocent and ignorant. They don’t know what is happening in the outside world. Their life is limited to their village. And a few “Leaders” (Political Goondas) take them for a ride and lead a luxurious life themselves while these poor villagers fight for food and water every day. A right direction is all these villagers need.  No, I am not copying these thoughts from some famous article. I realized this last December.
December 2010 – I had just finished a big assignment at work and was tired as hell. Hence, I applied for a 20 day leave. This leave was supposed to be a stress buster and hence, I did not make any elaborate travel plans. Plus, my Dad and sister did not have holidays. So I was left on my own. One of my cousin sisters was about to get married. So I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to spend some quiet time with her in our home town – Khammam, a small town, which is 4 hours away from Hyderabad by road. When I told her, she was ecstatic. She planned my entire trip with small tours.
First day was spent at home. Second day, we went to Warangal and visited many interesting places there. Our next trip was to Nagarjun Sagar Dam. This trip was going to be exciting as we were supposed to get on to a cruise near the dam. I was really looking forward to the same.
The night before, when we were packing our clothes, my uncle told us that there was some Raasta roko aandolan the next day. (Telangana Agitation had started in Andhra Pradesh and every 2nd day there was some strike, some fight and some agitation. Frankly, by then even the localites were tired of all these gimmicks of politicians to gain popularity.) Hence, he suggested that we postpone our programme. But, we were too excited and decided that we will go indeed. So, giving up on us, my uncle advised that we leave early in the morning before the agitation began. So that we reach the dam by 9 AM. We planned accordingly and slept off early.
We woke up at 3:00 AM and got ready quickly. The car was ready by 4:00 AM. We promptly left to make our 4 hrs of journey. Till 6:30 both of us just dozed off. Then some loud voices woke me up. I saw that our car had stopped and there was a big traffic jam. I asked the driver what happened. He told us, that the traffic jam was because of a group which was crying out slogans and had stopped the vehicles. So, our raasta was rokoed! I muttered curses under my breath and got down to inspect the situation.
I saw 6-7 men with yellow flags, shouting some slogans in Telugu. You should have seen them! They looked like pakka goondas. Their faces, bellies, expressions! Along with them 2 little boys were holding flags and running around. A few villagers were begging them to stop this tamasha so that they can carry on with their regular work.  But, no.. They yelled at an old woman and pushed her aside.
Some of the cars found an alternate road and they started moving. Our driver also, came to me and asked me to sit in the car so that we can escape before they notice. So, we went. There was an auto in front of us and before that was a car. Just when the car was coming out of this galli, these goondas noticed us and stood in front of the car abusing us and challenging us to run over him and leave. I was so angry at this foolishness that I had half a mind to run over him.  Anyway, in the mean time, another goon cut a tree and placed it before the car so that we can’t move.  Disgusting! I immediately got down and asked the 1st goon if he has lost his mind! He said, “Madam, you don’t know what we poor people have to go through every day. You wear costly clothes and come in car and are shouting at us.” I lost it! Poor people! You are wearing a bloody big gold chain in your neck. Yes, I said that. He said, “I may not be poor, but I live with the poor. I am their representative.” And I asked him, “Well, does leadership mean that you interrupt people’s day to day life and shout at old women?” To which he did not have any answer and he left muttering unintelligible stuff.
Our little fight had attracted quite a lot of audience. A few of them came to me and warned me to back off. Apparently he was some big shot of that area. My sister was scared and asked me to just shut up, not to take panga and to sit in the car. I sat in the car for a while. My patience was running out. I couldn’t sit there doing nothing, while these guys were shouting at villagers and stopping all the cars. They even hit a man who wanted to cross the road. Goondaism at it’s peak. I then saw 2 little boys running around with flags. I couldn’t take it any longer. I got out again, caught the little boys and asked them, “ Why are you not at school? Do you even know what is going on here?” One boy meekly answered back, “My father told me not to go to school and come with him.” I asked him who his father was. He pointed towards a man who was that main goon’s chamcha.
 In the mean time, I see two goons pulling the tree to a side and letting a car go. We thought, finally the drama ends. But, no, that car guy had given him 5oo bucks and they let them go. I flared up. I lost it. I started abusing the head goon. He also accepted my challenge and was shouting back. No manners that a girl was in front of him, he started saying crassy things. I pointed that out to which he says that being a girl from city, I did not deserve respect as we sell our respect with our clothes. He touched my nerve. I simply said, I will no longer talk to an animal. I turned to all the villagers. I said,” Look, this is the guy that you call a leader. A guy who does not even know how to talk to old women and villagers? A guy who has no human feelings? A guy who takes money and lets a car go? A guy who supports those politicians who are completely fake. What KCR are you all talking about? He is on a Fast since 15 days and has not even fainted? A man who is nicely having Honey and water and juice during his fast. Maybe I am not a leader; maybe I don’t understand all your miseries; maybe I can’t lead you all towards prosperity. But, please do not for a second believe that people like these goondas will.” I was very proud as I finished my little speech. I could see that I did touch them. They all looked at me as if I opened their eyes.
The head goonda also noticed it and said, “Don’t listen to madams like these. They only know how to talk. Madam, if you have dum then, move this tree and go.” I smiled, and said, I have a better idea. I went and sat in my car and dialed “100”. Surprisingly, someone picked up. I told the police about the whole drama and gave them our where abouts. They promised me to be there in 15 mins.  I got off when I head the villagers talking. They were resounding my thoughts. One old woman repeated my exact sentence and said she saw a point in what I said. One man saw me approaching and asked me what they should do now. I simply told them, we are more in number than they are, so let’s all go together move the tree and cross the road together. The villagers were suddenly all fiery and motivated. They got up together and purposefully started moving the tree. The goons got scared, they saw that the villagers were more in number than they were and backed off. Right at that moment, enter the police. All the goons start running away. The police caught them though and all the villagers start applauding and clapping. I proudly sat back in the car. A lot of the villagers came to me and thanked me. I felt proud that I touched their lives.  
Maybe it was not a great feat. Maybe it was nothing in front of what amazing things people do.  I am proud that I made a little difference. Maybe one of those villagers will remember what I said next time he met any such goons.