Freedom from Emails for 6 weeks

Radhika had suggested me to write a blog as a hobby several years ago, when I kept saying that I still have free time even while still working in overdrive mode for AppLabs.  I did search for few sites to host my blog at that time, but never selected one. I also contemplated various themes for the blog, and never could finalized one.  Now the time has finally arrived to host my blog.  Well, the theme for my blog is pretty much all about friends, family, flicks, fun, etc (not listed in any particular order)

My first attempt is to document what I have done during last 6 weeks (most frequent question asked by my friends and colleagues), how am I using my freedom from work related emails.   As some of you know already, I had quit AppLabs in Jan 2012 after 9+ years of memorable stint in various roles.  I had taken 6 weeks of vacation from work, ahead of my new gig.   Most folks thought I would not last “sane” without an email to respond (as I was known for replying to emails round the clock in a record time) and staying put in India (as I was on the road 40% of the time last two years).  My freedom from work related emails, which began on Republic Day will end tomorrow, March 5th, Monday at 3PM (when I would be joining Cigniti)

Here are few of my observations & accomplishments during 6 weeks of vacation (first of a kind, since I have started working in Jan 1992 after completing Masters in Dec 1991 in Houston)

My first breakthrough is “being able to connect”

  • I could connect with my immediately family, extended family, friends, neighbours, and many folks who come across in my world, but rarely bothered to get to “really”  know them
  • Obviously, connecting with family is the most important one.  I think I got little closer to my family than ever, being at home for 5 weeks in stretch.  Nothing is more important and more accomplishing that attempting to understand one’s own family members. Radhika was saying, I appeared little more human than ever, and less of a robot
  • For a change, I was actually listening without my mind parallel tasking on another activity or thinking about next task in the mental queue.  This enabled me to engage in a meaningful conversations with people around me
  • Role Reversal:  This break allowed me to be at home, while Radhika spent little more time than usual on her Art of Living schedule (seva, sadhana, and satsangs).  I spent full time with kids at home.  I never realised how the time zooms from 7AM to 5PM for home makers.  There are so many folks who ring the doorbell throughout the day
  • Many of us strive to earn extra money to secure future our family, and get obsessed about earning everything for them and their next generation too, which I think is absolutely ridiculous. There is no meaning of earning everything for them, without spending optimal amount of time with them.  I do not think there will be any gratitude to us from our kith and kin after we go, if we fail to spend good time and create good memories for them, and help them become responsible and self-surviving individuals
  • Now I beginning to think best to way to know the family, is to get marooned in an Island with them and without modern gizmos to distract

My next breakthrough is ”being able to observe”

  • I lived in my current neighborhood for 9 years, but rarely noticed stuff around and the development happened around, and the folks around the place I live.  I have started noticing small mom & pop stores, specialty stores, street food, etc.  I was always in rush to get out of home first thing in the morning, and come home after dark.  I rarely looked outside the window, as I was always talking either on the phone, or browsing internet on some new gadget

Most fun part:  Losing track day of the week, and time of the day

  • I struggled many times during the day, to remember day of the week and I loved it. All days appeared same, with me being at home and my kids at home due to preparatory holidays for the exams
  • I went to the friends and relatives houses without advance notice and chatted with them without worry about the time
  • Was able to go to Lunch with family at pizza places and fine dining places without slotting the event in the calendar a week in advance

Reading Books

  • I have finally started reading stuff which is printed in hard bound, and not in electronic form.   Read a book on Steve Jobs’ presentations, and a book on management. I have also made an attempt to read a book in audio format.  It is from Captain Gopinath on the story behind Deccan Airways.  Book is titled “Simplifly”.  Amazing story.
  • My elder kid is a voracious reader and younger one is enroute to becoming one, so I joined “Just Books”.  Thankfully the club is just few hundred yards away from where I live.   The concept is very similar to NetFlix, except that here you would rent a book and keeps it as long as you want. I have subscribed to a plan which allows me to keep 4 books, and 2 magazines at any given time.

Watching Movies

  • Most folks, who know me well, know that my other purpose in life is to watch Movies. I found multiple ways to quench my thirst during these holidays.  Watched good number of movies after 10PM in the evening, driving to Prasads without advance booking.
  • I found a mom & pop video rental near home.  They charge Rs.500 for 17 DVDs and each DVD can be kept at home for 3 days.  I paid Rs.500 within a second of sales guy (not a mom and pop type person) explaining the deal. My ideas was to watch many movies I missed on big screen or not deserved to watch them on big screen, and the movies I would want not want to buy and own on DVD.  Then I learned that all the English movies they have are copies of DVD prints (mostly sourced from the net). “Anti-Piracy” is one of the values that I chose to honor at all the time without any compromise, several years ago and also to keep my karma bank account positive. So, my choice was limited to renting Bollywood and Telugu movies which were not pirated.  I could catch up with some good movies, and some crappy movies (like Nagarjuna’s Kedi) which I regretted wasting valuable vacation time

Pursuing Salsa

  • I never shook a leg in last 45 years.  I always fantasized being able to let loose at parties, but never dared to attempt it.   I wanted to learn Salsa with Radhika as my partner, from the day we watched “Shall We Dance” starring Jenifer Lopez and Richard Gere.  We watched that movies dozens of times in last 5 years.  Most Salsa dance classes are scheduled in the weekend, and require 8 weekends of commitment.  However since I was never in India for more than a month in stretch due to overseas travel, I could never sign up for Salsa classes
  • Radhika and I signed for Salsa classes at Pujitha Dance Studio in Sainikpuri with a custom schedule which allowed us to finish beginners class in Salsa today
  • I am still one year away from actually sharing a clip of my performance on YouTube.  Current verdict by younger one is that I suck at it and my “stiff” steps look similar to that of Salman steps in Bodyguard. I am serious about pursing this (not the crappy dance, but the real Salsa) as a real hobby, outside work and movies.

Time for the Soul

  • Attended Art of Living Part 1 class once again, this time Radhika was the teacher.  Went to Bangalore on a day trip to attend Maha Satsang, Maha Kriya & Meditation as part of Shiv Rathri. I was able to assist Radhika on some of her Seva activities, and listen to Keno Upanishad discourses from our guru (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar).
  • I have watched several discourses from T T Rangararjan (founder of Alma Mater) on topics such as Dinacharya, Parenting – Art or Science, Getting your Magnet right,  Miracles Happen, Mata Pita Guru Dhyvam, etc.  I felt if I had access to these discourses a decade ago, I would be a much different person than I am today

That’s all for now.  My write up turned out quite a big without even completing half of what I wanted to write.

To be continued…

8 thoughts on “Freedom from Emails for 6 weeks

  1. Hi Sai, its really nice to see this and reflect on how we live our lives in a mechnical routine life. I wish i can take a break like this and just be with family. Nice write up.

    All the best for your new gig.



  2. Nice write-up Sai. Sometimes we need time to recollect or put our memories on paper. You could do that and share it, which is really good.

    I liked the words “There is no meaning of earning everything for them (family), without spending optimal amount of time with them.” I believe in this and I keep doing it.

    With this break, you could smell the real family flavor that was missing from long time. This will help you to continue (keep doing most of what you did / doing in the break) in future, no matter how busy you would be tied up with the next career assignments.

    Keep sharing!!
    Bharathi Duvvuru


  3. Good one Sai…I wouldn’t mind watching your salsa, so ahead and youtube! No bullet points on the blog, this is not a PPT!


  4. Good & Great to hear about your break Sai … Me personally looking forward for your you tube salsa version which is one of my dreams also :)…. We are thinking about this from sometime but couldn’t work out due to heavy cricket season during summer …. looking at your note, we might reconsider the next possible dates for classes .. Have a great time with your Salsa and new role, new company & new team …


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