Christmas is over, and as I woke up today I started thinking about the year that passed me by. It certainly was not the most pleasant year amongst the forty that I have lived on this planet – I lost some very dear friends and relatives throughout the year. On January 3rd, my mentor John Leffler passed away. The tribute I posted became my most widely read post ever on this blog – and that is painful in its own way.
In October I lost my dear father in law , and my uncle lost his long fight to cancer in December. I could not bring myself to write about them in this blog , so I left shorter notes on Facebook.
Sandwiched between the tragedies were some pleasant memories too. I managed to spend more time with my wife and daughter this year (mostly thanks to the break between MongoDB and IBM jobs) and that was priceless. I still can’t believe Shreya is nearly eleven now.
I flew a lot less than most years – to the extent that I won’t have enough trips to make Executive Platinum on American Airways next February. I am still processing that realization that a year of no upgrades is staring me on my face. Maybe that is finally the push I need to lose some weight to fit into the middle seats.
Shreya continues to be a straight A student, and the irony is that my wife and I have changed our perspectives on grades and stuff. Dhanya and I both grew up in typical Indian families where moms demanded excellence in school. We were both convinced that we won’t push Shreya for grades. Guess what – our DNA kicked in big time as she started in school, and we are now pretty much the same as our parents when it comes to grades. I just remembered my English teacher explaining Wordsworth’s “Child is the Father of man” in school 🙂
Dhanya was in engineering college when we got married in 2002. She had to travel multiple times to India from here to finish her classes and exams and get her degree. She did not want to pursue a career as an engineer, and went and got her certifications in Cisco networking etc. And this year, she went to realtor school and passed her state and national exams with flying colors on her first attempt itself. Between her dad’s sickness and his passing away, and raising our daughter ( and me and the three fur kids too), it was not easy on her – but she did it. I can’t be more proud of her.
Our youngest fur kid – Ollie – did quite well for himself too when he hit the dog show circuit with Aunt Rebecca training and handling him.
Boss and Hobo stayed home keeping us company. Boss has been a wise man from the time he was a year old .
Hobo who will turn seven on new years eve is still the puppy who never grew up mentally even though he is built like a tank.
I keep telling myself that I am still an ace handler and obedience trainer, but I no longer have what it takes to compete. I am out of shape, and I do everything to spoil my fur kids that I used to tell people not to do when I was personally active in the sport. The irrational side of my brain still tells me from time to time that I have it in me to enjoy holding the leash in the ring. We shall see – never say never 🙂
I am totally enjoying my second innings here – connecting with old friends (mostly when they call me to ask SAP related stuff – and then refuse to believe that I have left that world) and making new ones. Couple of weeks ago, I took on a new role as VP of digital transformation – which is the ultimate irony to close out the year given how much I have made fun of the term. I already know 2016 will be an amazing year – full of challenges and fun. As I closed out the year with thank you dinners and lunches with my clients ,my team, and Thelma (my awesome EA who keeps it all together for me) the theme every time was the excitement about the things we have in the works for next year.
Thanks to whatsapp, I also managed to reconnect with several friends this year from high school and college . It is amazing how we could pick up conversations from two decades ago without missing a beat.
It was great meeting some of them in person too in different parts of the world. I am sure this theme will continue in years to come as well. Given the simpler times in which the roots of our friendship took shape, it is easy to discuss all things that are NOT politically correct and still be friends.
2015 was also the first time when I could take an extended vacation for the first time since I left college. And it was fantastic spending that time with family and friends in India. Although I visit Trivandrum every year, this trip was special and more relaxed and it was fun to see how my home town has changed from the time I grew up there.
Bye bye 2015 – I am ready for 2016 now !