Saturday, August 18, 2007

New Look

Ishani got herself some highlights!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Optimal Aspirations

I referred to a recent article in the New York Times titled "In Silicon Valley, Millionaires Who Don’t Feel Rich". The crux of the article being millionaires, who would fall in the top 1% of the economic ladder, feel poor in the valley. "

“Here, the top 1 percent chases the top one-tenth of 1 percent, and the top one-tenth of 1 percent chases the top one-one-hundredth of 1 percent,” he (Mr. Milletti) said.

“You try not to get caught up in it,” he added, “but it’s hard not to.”"

Did you say rat race?

This brought to mind something we discussed in a class in Chicago, an unlikely topic given the cold economist stereotypes - happiness. It was a straightforward concept, people who compare up tend to be more miserable (less happy) than those who compare down.

As I thought about it further, this seemed the perfect recipe for complacency, an ambition-killer. How is one to move on in life if one did not aspire for bigger things? I mulled over it a bit and then put it away in a pensieve.

Reading the article, the first thing that came to mind was, how sad! These guys and gals were quite successful and were still at it after $10 million. Then a friend reminded me that a million dollars is not much anymore, not in the Bay. That was crazy! 10 years back I was earning the equivalent of $1600/year, with no accumulated wealth, but life was good. Today, after two graduate degrees and after landing gainful employment, I have to aspire to be these 1%-ers, who as the article pointed out are after their top tenth and hundredth!

Lest I sound like John Edwards talking about two Americas, that is not my drift. I by no means am feeling poor, in spite of the tuition loans and continued lack of accumulated wealth after 10 years. I feel enriched to have experienced what I've over the last decade and am excited about looking ahead into the future with Ishani. I think I am trying to figure out what to aspire for. What is the optimum mix of ambition vs self satisfaction, pushing for growth vs enjoying the fruits? Who is my ideal role model?

Strangely enough all these questions are only getting me more excited as I foresee myself being somehow not limited by a role model, but being forced to fabricate a way forward as I stumble through life. If you take an uncharitable stance on this line of thinking, you could claim as Lewis Carroll did, "If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there". I think it is ok not knowing the road as long as one knows the general direction and realize when one has gone too far. I will take up a parallel thought of journey vs destination in another post.

Coming back to the subject at hand, I tell myself I will not be entangled in the scenario laid out in the article. But, seeing that the people in the article are smart, successful people, the challenge seems to be daunting.

The challenge of finding the optimal aspirations.

Top 20!

I made it to the top 20.. well technically it is not me topping the chart, but given that it was named after me, why not bask a bit in the shine of being in the Amazon best seller top 20.

If you have no clue what I am blogging about, check out the Murali sandals at Target. Ishani had her short time of fame, once upon a time, as evidenced by the capture on the right. I got this image from a cached search result. I can't find the sandals anymore on Target - either all sold out or they had difficulty selling it. I think its the latter. :)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Castle Rock

We set out early Sunday morning to a state park close by - Castle Rock. The drive there was short, and included some *really* curvy parts. We got there by 9:30 am and took on a ~5 mile trek. What started out to be a pleasant, light walk, turned out to be quite a strenuous exercise.

For those who could not join us, check out the album below for the riches in the state park.

Castle Rock

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Goodbye Harry!

It was the Summer of 2001 when I first read J.K. Rowling's creation Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I was not the target audience; I got my book just 'cause of all the furore over midnight lines over the third (or fourth) book. Since then I've been hooked to the series and its wonderful characters.

I have given myself up to the wizarding world and followed it with a muggle's curiosity. Be it the unforgivable curses, the horcruxes, the mirror of erised, quidditch, thestrals, etc. Or the intense characters that betray flaws and demonstrate fierce friendships. As I read through the books, I noticed that interestingly, I still picture Harry to be the Harry from the book illustrations (as opposed to Daniel Radcliffe), but most other characters to be the ones in the movies. Either way, these characters continue to remain with me and my imagination.

So when I received my copy of the final book by mail on the evening of 21st July and after hours of isolating myself from everything, including my dear wife and valued sleep, when I finally got off the roller coaster of a book, I felt drained. That was it! It was finally over, reached a logical and complete conclusion. I realize there will be multitudes of tales in today's web-lore that will pickup where JKR left us. But, the conclusions were so satisfactory that anything else now would seem, for a lack of better word, contrived. I would rather relish what I have by reading it for the umpteenth time and reliving the struggles and adventures.

Given that the illustrated Harry has left such a strong impression, I thought it was apt to put together a short Harry Potter Illustrations video based on the book cover illustrations by Mary GrandPre, with John Williams' Lumos! ( Hedwig's Theme) as the background.

To J.K. Rowling and her team, thanks for your great work. Maybe someday my child and I will have a shared spark in our eyes as we relive these stories.

Till then, mischief managed!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Googler et cetera

The last few months have been rather, let us say, carefree. There is something to be said for having minimal responsibilities. Some might claim that I've been in that state since full time business school. Whatever said, the utopia cannot last for long.

Time to descend to the real world!

I am not complaining, I am excited! Here are a few things that I am excited about:
  • Being a part of the Google culture, being a Googler, and the entrepreneurial brew of the valley.

(while you are at it, you can check out another Googler song)
  • Reconnecting with friends who live in this part of the world
  • The weather!!
  • So many national parks within a few hour radius
  • Great Indian and other food options!
Things that bothers me about this place
  • Silicon valley's redefinition of "well-to-do"
  • I-have-to-drive-to-get-anywhere syndrome, also known as limited public transport options (compared to Chicago, not Eden Prairie)
I am sure these lists will grow over time, hopefully the former than the latter.

Right here, right now, life is good!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Get together at Mountain View

It has been roughly a month since we moved to Mountain View. It was about time to have a get together and meet our neighbors. Ishani cooked up some great food and the guest brought yummy stuff too. We were joined by old friends and new. We had a jolly good time.

Pictures from the evening:
Mountain View get-together