I am back!

Slowly. Quietly. After too long a hiatus. But surely. I am back.

In a great new city that is London. With a exciting new job with a great team. With some new friends (intriguing, instinctive bonding) and many old (rock-solid, comforting). On the wrong side of 29 but still the right side of 30 (tick tock tick tock!). With a lot of changes, some expected, some unexpected. New experiences, both good and bad, some secret and some not. Different taste in alcohol – hardly any vodka, same beer, a lot more wine. A more subtle taste in food. New hobbies – cycling, swimming and a few more things. Different books – less of fiction and more of real life. Mind and heart still tumultuous often times.

With a lot of new dreams on the horizon and yet still chasing some old goals. A mixed bag of change and constancy but in a good way. It feels good to be alive.

I am back!

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Looking out of the window in my room
The sun is out way too soon
For a second I am confused
Where am I? Who am I? Why am I here?
An amalgam of thoughts and emotions fused.

The night seemed long and just went on and on
Am glad but also sad that its now gone
Do I stretch my arms to welcome the dawn?
Or pull the blanket back over my eyes
And for a few more seconds try and hold on.

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I too feel like running

That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going. – Forrest Gump

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What’s the matter with me!!!

(Guest post by Vineet V Nair)

Every night I walk back home with so many things playing on my mind; which I would probably want to write about….I reach home, take a nice hot water bath and sit down with my laptop (with things still playing on my mind), open ‘word’ and I don’t know what happens to me I just go blank. I just can’t think what I wanted to write about or I just can’t put it in words!! Does this happen to everybody? Or is it just ‘me’… Anyways I promise to sort things out in my mind and write something interesting again. Till then please bear with me. Tomorrow is my first day at a new place, a place I had applied for in my first month in London and a place I have wanted to work since the last 2 months. I am excited and nervous at the same time. Wish me luck!!

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IF (by Rudyard Kipling)

roller-coasterIf you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

(from http://www.swarthmore.edu/~apreset1/docs/if.html)

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Eat that frog but do NOT read the book

ClockI severely dislike self-help books. They usually state the obvious, do it in an uninspiring way and do not sway me an inch into doing whatever they want people to do.

Since quite some time I have been trying to procrastinate less and do more with my time. A few weeks back when I was in a Crossword bookstore I picked up the book Eat that frog by Brian Tracy. It was a small book and the blurb on the back cover sounded very helpful and sensible.

In fact the blurb on the back cover was probably only one of the 2 useful things in the entire book. Or to be more accurate the only useful thing till about three-fourths into the book which is when I stopped reading it. The author makes a 4-page chapters out of the  most obvious advice under the sun.

By the way in case you are wondering what the title means then let me tell you that a frog (looks ugly, probably tastes terrible as well but the author does not know that frog’s legs are a delicacy in Kerala ;-) ) is used as a metaphor for that task or project in your life that is important but difficult or uninteresting and thus most susceptible to being ignored.

Now this is the thing about procrastination… most people who get away with it are smart people. They survive even though they procrastinate. They usually know what they are doing wrong… they just need some motivation to do the right thing and some specific actionable tactics to do better. Including me. And that is the one thing this book absolutely does not have.

The only 2 pieces of useful advice are – (1) Start with the most important thing and not the easiest (2) Make a list of short-term, medium-term and long-term goals, WRITE them down and make plans around it.

Well (2) is still quite obvious but I liked the way the author elaborated on it.

So my advice to you is – Eat that frog but don’t buy this book. It is not worth the Rs. 175 you will have to spend to buy it or the 3-4 hours you will have to spend reading it.

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Happy Anniversary!

Birthday cake...

I started blogging exactly 4 years back :-) My first post.

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I m Bac!!!

(Guest post by Vineet V Nair)

It’s been ages since I have posted something here..sorry brother I haven’t been a regular guest blogger. I am just plain lazy most of the time and how much ever you coax me into starting my own blog, I love being a guest blogger here. It gives me a choice, an option.

A small introduction to all those who know me and for those who don’t . I am varun’s younger brother… right now in London training (u can read trying also) to be a chef(someday for sure). I was in Vishakapatnam for nearly a year working with The Park Hotel managing their beachside restaurant called Bamboo Bay. I was also in Navi Mumbai for 6 months undergoing training with The Park, Belapur. Navi Mumbai is one of the best places I have lived so far, obviously apart from aapnu Ahmedabad. It was majorly because I was just 2 hours from Mumbai where Varun lived and I loved the hustle bustle than came with living in Mumbai . Even though Mumbai is one of the most crowded cities in the world, Navi Mumbai is so just the opposite. Calm and quiet with just enough shopping malls, cheap eateries etc. I lived in an awesome 2 bedroom flat which I shared with another guy called Azhar. A balcony as big as 2 10 by 10 bedrooms put together and bedrooms with huge sliding windows. I have had one of my craziest birthdays here.  I loved local trains. The journeys from borivili to belapur were always the time to think..so many things… Navi Mumbai is the place where I met one of my closest friends ;-) …the wink is necessary…Rains were always amazing here. Me and Azhar moved into this flat by chance but both of us loved living here. We were a small group of friends who would rent a car and travel to Mumbai every weekend or atleast every fortnight to party, wake up at 3 in the afternoon and talk about the party for the rest of week.. I would always love to work in Mumbai or Navi Mumbai but never settle down here (just like varun).

more to come….

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Why parents love exams…

Because exams impose habits on you that parents have been trying to enforce for years. Mystery solved.

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Varun is a CISSP now!

CISSP logo I just got an email from ISC2 telling me that I am CISSP certified. Yay!

CISSP stands for Certified Information Systems Security Professional and is one of the most popular and renowned certificates in the information security arena. In practical terms the CISSP makes me much more attractive for clients and future employers.

I took my CISSP exam in the middle of April, got the exam results a week later, got Karthik to endorse me (thanks Karthik!), sent in my endorsement document and voila! – 3 days and I am CISSP certified. I am impressed the speed and clarity with which ISC2 has conducted everything beginning from the application till the the final certification.

CISSP covers 10 information security domains. I had worked in about 6-7 of these in various projects over the past 5 years of my professional career and that made it easier for me to be prepared for the CISSP exam. Just before the exam I studied for about 7-8 days, took a few mock tests, read through some summary notes and that was enough for me to clear the exam. To be honest the CISSP exam is not as difficult as it is made out to be. If you do have a lot of professional experience in the information security domain and spend some time doing some solid studies you are set to comfortably clear the exam.

I used the following resources for the exam:

Next Targets – ISSAP sometime in the next 4 months and CISM in December 2009.

If you know me professionally and would like to associate with me on LinkedIn here is my LinkedIn profile.

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