42


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So I turned 42 – and woke up to 100s of birthday wishes from family and friends around the world. Its also the first time I have had my parents and my mother in law with us here for my birthday, and that makes it extra special.

As I settled down with my two fur kids to enjoy a cup of coffee, it dawned on me that 42 is my favorite number – thanks to Douglas Adams . When I first read the book, I had my fair share of theories (and fierce arguments with friends and strangers) on why is it the ultimate answer – including the binary representation and all.

Then I found out the truth a few years ago and then I liked 42 even more!

“The answer to this is very simple,” Adams said. “It was a joke. It had to be a number, an ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations, base 13, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat on my desk, stared in to the garden and thought 42 will do. I typed it out. End of story.”

The big lesson that 42 taught me was to not take the world around me – and myself – not too seriously . When we do take ourselves too seriously, the joke is invariably on us 🙂

There are three times every year that I look back and forward – New year, my birthday, and the day I review the business plan for my team at work.

Looking back, its amazing how perspectives change with time – and some times at alarmingly accelerated pace. Some totally random birthday thoughts here.

  1. Growing old is not some kind of slow process – and not something that only happens to others. When I joined TCS out of B School, I was 24 and my boss was 30. We used to call him “The old man”. Joke is on me – I am the old man now 🙂
  2. Not everything that is forced on you is bad. I hated being sent to learn Carnatic music as a kid. I never became a good singer, but the music theory stayed with me and now I appreciate the music a lot. I still tease my mom for forcing me to learn music and she teases me that all I seem to listen to is the music she forced me to learn. The irony is readily apparent to me as I drive my kiddo to her weekend activities, some of which she thinks we force on her 🙂
  3. All I wanted as a young kid was to become a professional dog handler. I was pretty good at the craft – and had my fair share of wins in the ring. I still enjoy dog shows – but I enjoy spoiling my fur kids at home a lot more today than taking them through their paces at a show. From time to time I do feel the urge to take the leash and go into the ring just for fun – and I might still do that one of these days. I am not yet fully over the grief of losing my dear fur kid, Boss, but I am also convinced we will get a pup again in near future.
  4. Life has a way of going in circles. After a degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA, I decided my calling was as a programmer. Then along the way, I got nudged into sales, management and all that I hated as a young developer. Turns out not all sellers and managers are horrible people like I initially thought 🙂 . And guess what – its my technical skills that help me the most as I build my current team.
  5. While I try hard to keep my tech skills sharp, I have also realized that its way more fulfilling to be the one handing out the prizes than being the one gunning for those prizes. Bar none, the best part of my work life is to help my friends and colleagues succeed and be their number one cheer leader. And on personal front, the (more than) equivalent is being the chief cheerleader for my daughter.
  6. I (think I) always knew that life is way too short to spend on unimportant things. What I did not realize very well till recently is that some (previously) small little things have become more important to me over time and some big ticket items from past don’t figure in my top priorities as much any more. I just need a little more conviction to say NO to weekend work phone calls – but I am planning on getting better at this really quick 🙂

 

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