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30 January 2014

My dad. The Superman....

The other day I was sitting in the house discussing about some investment matters with my father.

My father and I do not talk much on investing. Even though I have multiple MBAs in Finance with Investing as my elective subject, he would much rather listen to the neighborhood investment agent while making his investment decisions. 

My father is about 84 now and very healthy. His memory is very sharp and his faculties are also very sharp. Except for an occasional backache, he doesn't have many complaints. 

I am the eldest of his four sons. All the four of us are engineers with Post Graduate Qualifications. I have done my MBA and my brothers have done their masters in different areas of engineering. 

My father had done his diploma in electrical engineering and joined a local cement factory at a low level and climbed the career ladder to retire as head of the Electrical Department in the company. One of the things that impressed me about my father, during my formative years, was his impeccable work ethic. Any time the company required, he was there. Since he was the electrical engineer, that (the company requiring him) would be at midnight during heavy monsoon showers when the water will short circuit the electric lines and the company will come to a standstill. Midnight or 2.00 AM, as soon as he gets a call, he will take his torch and will leave for the factory. He will be back in the morning, have a bath and will be again at the office at 8.00 AM.

Excellent work ethic, had my dad.

During our early years, our emotional relationship was formal, I think. I don't think it was very affectionate and close. His father was very formal to him, so was he to us. One area where I wished he would be different is in respecting our knowledge and wisdom. For him, he was always right and that was it. Over a period of time, the chasm in the world view grew. I came to realize the futility of arguing with him and tried to avoid situations where I will have to argue with him. Still it was difficult to stop myself from reacting to some of the very strong comments that he used to make about others.

The point is that my relationship with my father was more formal than informal. 

Which also meant that I did not know much about my father. I knew the basics of course. He was born as the fourth son of a leading lawyer in Kerala, he was born to a very rich family, he looked after his father in his (my Granddad's evening years), on his father's death, my father took care of a large extended family, his next younger brother was academically brilliant, his coworkers used to have a lot of respect for him....

But I never knew how he was as a kid. I was not aware as to what was his driving force. How he came to be what he was. How was his relation with his dad when he was a kid? Was his dad affectionate? Was my dad close to him? What was the dynamics of the house he grew up in? Like men of his generation, my granddad distanced himself from his kids and was mostly aloof to them. Also my granddad was very tall with a towering personality. My dad was short, may be 5'4''. What impact did that height difference have on the father-child relationship?

Though I had different opinions from my father on many a subject, I never went into the detailed analysis of his formative years to understand how he became what he became. 

That was why I found the following anecdote very fascinating and very emotional. 

While talking in general, my dad comes up with some anecdotes from his past which throws light on some of the dynamics that played a part in his life.

Like the one  below.

While discussing the investments, my father said, "My father had about 100 Acres of land in Mundakayam ( a place in Kerala). Before his death, he sold the entire land to Christian Plantation Owners at One rupee per cent or 10000 Rupees for 100 Acres of land (10000 Rupees works out to about 250 USD). This was in about 1950. I was sitting next to him as he signed the sale papers. I still remember all those Christians sitting in our Verandha surrounding my father as his signed away his huge property. I remember my father telling them the reason that he was selling the land. 'My sons are all useless. They do not have the capacity to take care of this property'. Now that property would be worth Crores...". 

His voice trailed off.

'My sons are all useless....'

I try to imagine how my father would have felt at that time. Here was a boy, may be a teenager, eager for the love and affection of his dad, and his dad was making this devastating comment about how  'all his sons', which included him, as 'useless'. Did his father know the impact that this comments would have on the sensitive teenager? Did my Granddad know my father at all?

The point is that not only my Grandfather held these views, he acted on them. He sold his property because he thought that his sons were 'useless'. It is one thing to shout to your children that 'All of you are useless' (my father had done it to us hundreds of times in the heat of the moment), but it is another thing to take a major decision based on that thought process. These, shouting and action, have different impact on sensitive children. Shouting tells the children that you care enough to feel, but action tells them that you have given up on them. 

As an adult, my dad turned out to be a steady, responsible fellow. He stayed back in Kerala and started working in a company at a low pay. Initially he had to take care of his father. My grandfather became sick during his last years and he had only my father for help and support. The family was very big. My grandfather had spent most of his money and had very few stuff left after he left. My father and his next younger brother, effectively took it upon their shoulders to provide for the large family. The meagre salary of my dad and his brother had to be rationed to take care of a family of about 12-14, most of them being kids of very young age. 

In addition, both of them had recently married and had children of their own. This added to the load on my father and his brother. But they soldiered on. Without complaining, without rancour, they (and their spouses) just went about providing for their large extended family. Day after day after day. For almost 10-12 years. 

On top of this, my father ensured that all of us, his sons were well educated. It was not easy. Engineering education is not very cheap, even then. Though his salary was not very high, he never made us feel as if we were hard up. All our necessities were taken care of. He had money for our tuition, for our health, for our games, for our hobbies...

Despite his hardship, he never made us feel that we did not have money. I never felt the money hardship when I was growing up. Never. 

He and his brother, systematically paid off all the lenders and got back much of what was mortgaged. He paid off one after another of the lenders....

Then he got his younger sister married off. He arranged the marriage of his youngest brother. (I remember going to Tirunelveli when he went to see our a girl for my Chithappa (literally 'Small Father', my father's younger brother).

There is something noble about doing regular stuff day after day without complaining. Getting up in the morning, going to the office, taking care of your kids...you know, the works. It is even more remarkable when you have to hide your frustrations, your disappointments, hide your 'if only things were different' feeling that strike once a while. It is extraordinary when you are doing these stuff selflessly, never for yourself but mostly your immediate relations. And it is awesome to do these stuff not for any selfish gains, but because of a sense of responsibility.

Being the head of the family, he was the final repository of the frustrations and irritations of everyone around him. From his spouse, through his children, to all those who were dependent on him, his was the shoulder to cry on. When he did stuff that people did not like, they blamed him. When people were scared he was the one they approached for courage and strength. And he was there for them.

Where did he vent his frustrations? His fears? His irritation?

He didn't. Because he couldn't afford to.

For one, he was very busy just carrying on. There were mouths to feed. And also, he couldn't show his emotions, his frustrations, his fears. It would have been disastrous for the entire family if he allowed himself to get emotional or frustrated. He was the pillar of the family, the rock of Gibraltar of the family.  Any display of fear on his part would have disintegrated the family.

He just did what he had to do.

You can measure the success of his approach by the simple fact that all those children whom he supported are doing really well today. All are well educated and all are well settled with kids of their own.

That is the result. The satisfactory result of all his efforts.

At the end of the day, when you look back, these are the achievements that matter. It is never the money you earn !!

Never did we as children realize the amazingly superior work that my dad (and mom) were doing. Sometimes I wonder if I would be able to do what my father did, if I were in his situation? Would I have stayed to fight? Would I have withstood the pressure from all those lenders threatening you with 'Consequences'? Would I have been able to take care of my siblings the way my dad did? Would I have been able to overcome my frustrations and fear and still soldier on? 

Or would I have taken the easy way out and found thousand reasons as to why it was all my dad's fault? 

I don't know. I don't have an answer.

I am thinking....

When he made that comment, did my Granddad know how things would turnout in the end? Did he know that my dad would be available next to him to take care of him in his evening years? Did he ever imagine that my dad would be massaging his feet with Ayurvedic Oil when he would be too weak to do that himself? Did he ever know that it would be my father who will be taking him to the doctor regularly? Did he know that he will leave a lot of debt and later the lenders would be at the doorsteps like a pack of hounds? Did he know that my dad and his younger brother would be struggling to bring up a huge family later? Did he realize that my dad would pay back lenders one by one and take back whatever that he (my granddad) had mortgaged? Did he ever envision as to what a fine individual my dad would become?

I don't know....

I know one thing. I appreciate the work that my father had done. It took guts and perseverance. 

26 January 2014

30 Days, 30 Veggies: Day 12: Black Chana (Kadala) Curry, Kerala Style

Ode to a traffic constable...

He is always amblin',
Hands a'wavin'
Always alert, always able
Thats my neighbour'ood traffic constable.

Traffic he's a'guidin'
Sometimes shouting, mostly smilin'
Always helpful, always amiable,
Thats my neighbour'ood traffic constable.

Is there for us when its a'rainin'
And when heat the sun a'peltin'
Always there, always available
That's my neighbour'ood traffic constable.

With Idiots he's up a'puttin'
Who's bend on rules a'violatin'
Always in control, always unflappable
That's my neighbour'ood traffic constable

Salute thee, I a'standin'
For your poise and your passion'
You're my hero, Mr.Capable,
You're the best neighbour'ood traffic constable.

25 January 2014

Lessons from Mumbai....

For the past one year or so, I have been living in Mumbai.
Mumbai teaches you. It teaches you language, it teaches you new stuff. Here I am listing out the top 10 life lessons that Mumbai has taught me.
Lesson 1. You don't need space to live: The city is very congested. Wherever you go, there is space crunch. Three cars parked in the space of two with two bikes and a cycle in between, Aircraft like toilets in most of the buildings, literally 'Bumper to Bumper' traffic with two vehicles 'within an inch' of each other, steep and narrow stairs, small rooms doubling as kitchen, bathroom, bedroom... whatever. The concept of 'Studio Apartment' originated in Mumbai, I guess.
Lesson 2. No lane is narrow for a car: Every two way lane in Mumbai is lined with parked vehicles on either side of the lane with just enough space for just one car. However, you can see vehicles plying seamlessly on these lanes with honking of horns adding to the music in these lanes. The widest car out there can pass through the narrowest lanes with pedestrians occupying the space between ...(well, wherever space is available).
Lesson 3: Everyone can become a great driver: Mumbai builds confidence in you as a driver. You need to be very smart to get into the accidents. For one, the traffic hardly moves. Miles and miles of traffic jam is the norm and not the exception. Often times, it will take about an hour to cover 3 kilometers. Second, as a novice driver, whenever you have a doubt if you have enough space to navigate a very narrow stretch, you just wait. A couple of pedestrians are bound to come along. If you find them squeezing in between your car and the expected obstacle, that is a signal that there is enough space. If a Mumbai man stops in front of your vehicle, it is a signal that you also should stop. There is no space between your vehicle and the two vehicles on either side of the lane. That (Mumbai man stopping on his tracks) is a very rare occurrence, like lunar eclipse. Take the hint. There is no space there. If there was even a wee bit space, he would have squeezed himself there.
Like the ancient folks used the motion of moon and stars as a signal to navigate rough water, you can use Motion of Mumbai Man (called 'Mumbaikar') as a signal to navigate on Mumbai roads.
Lesson 4: You don't need solitude in life, ever: They are everywhere, crowds of people. And vehicles. And cows. And rikshaws. And hawkers. And public transport. And honking horns. Noise is all around you. The sound of frequent aircraft from above, millions of cars honking horns behind you, sound of 'Howzzaat' from cricket playing public on your left, celebratory drum beating from your front, blaring Marathi and hindi songs from your right...noise is everywhere in Mumbai. You have screaming Maliska and Rishi Kapoor and Rohit Vir in your car, and hawkers wanting to palm off their inferior products to you outside the car. Mumbai teaches you that silence is overrated and solitude is just hyperbole. 
Lesson 5: You need only six month out of a year and still get stuff done: Mumbai Rains? What can I say. This is the only thing that can stop Mumbai en masse. The rains are there for about 6 months in a year. Mumbaikar hibernates for six months during the rains. Rains teach me that you can cram one year's activity into 6 months and still get stuff done.
Lesson 6: You can survive on one mode of Public Transport: All those Taxis and autos and rikshaws and busses are passe. You do not need all these to survive. You just need one form of public transport, the Mumbai Local. You can spent your entire life on Mumbai Local. Mumbai  local is your day planner, your transporter, your newspaper, you stock broker all rolled in one. You can plan your day based on Mumbai Local Schedule, like 'I will get up when the first Borivli Slow starts, brush my teeth when it reaches Andheri, have breakfast when the Panvel fast leaves Vashi...'. You get the drift. You get your daily news and editorials in the Local, like 'Sachin scored 98 yesterday at Wankhade (Sachin is always scoring runs in Wankhade)' or 'Manmohan Singh had a lousy day (as if it were news !)' or 'Rajan is the new RBI Governor', like the regular newspaper. You also get information that Birlas are going to make a big announcement and you should by AB Nuvo, or TCS is going to make a bad quarter and it is time to sell stocks, or you should invest in SEP instead of SIP, straight from your stockbroker, the Mumbai Local.
Lesson 7: 'Home ownership' is overrated: All that saying about 'having your own home' is pure bull. No one owns a home in Mumbai. Like butterflies flitting from flower to flower, the people move from house to house every year in search of lower and lower rent. You can live your entire life in multiple rented apartments. You can pass your childhood in one RA, and spent the evenings of your life in a totally different RA. No questions asked.
Lesson 8: Appearances can be deceptive: Since everyone lives in rented apartments, the outside of the houses will look dirty and dilapidated. But inside is another story altogether. Inside the house it is pure unadulterated luxury. Floors are made of polished Italian marbles, imported directly from Rome. The walls are adorned with Hussains and Van Goghs and Rembrandts. The cutlery is made of gold and silver and the bathroom fittings are the most expensive exotic ones. In Mumbai, never judge a house by its looks..  
Lesson 9: Rest is overrated: Every one in Mumbai is always on the move. I believe that worker ants and Mumbaikers are the only species in the world that never take any rest. Some people move in the moving train, some in the moving cars and some are simply walking on the road. Every one has focus and determination in their eyes and all are in perpetual motion. Only time they stop is to signal to you that if you move your car another inch, it will end up scrapping two more cars. You do not need rest to perform at your peak potential
Final Lesson, lesson 10: The spirit: If you help others, others will help you: You can take your time off to help others and still get your stuff done. You can help an old woman cross the road and still make to that meeting. You can stop to push the jammed truck out of the road and ease the flow of traffic and still make it to Wankade to watch Sachin hit McGrath for a six (how ancient am I? Hello, McGrath retired long back). You can stop and inquire about the state of the accident victim and ensure that he is taken to hospital and still can make to the interview. You can park your car on the side, get out, roll your sleeves and help unclog the huge traffic pile up, you can shout and fight passionately one day and still remain friends the next day without even remembering the fracas of the previous day...
You can be positive, dynamic, professional and still be humane in Mumbai.

24 January 2014

The 'Alien Army and the Earthling' syndrome.

When I was working in Oracle, I attended a training provided by a company called ‘Crestcom’. The trainer was a brilliant and passionate person named Naresh Purushottam.

I still remember one of the team exercises that we underwent.

Our team of about 25 was divided into 5 equal groups. Each of the group was an Alien army comprising of a Commander and 4 associates. Our task ostensible objective was to complete a set of tasks in a given amount of time to save the earthlings. Each team was measured on how quickly we completed our set of tasks. We were promised rewards on quick completion of the tasks.

We were given fancy titles. Each team was led by a ‘Commander’.  Then we had an ‘Architect’, a ‘Destroyer’, a ‘Strategist’ and an ‘Executioner’  that completed the team. I was the commander of my team.

There were 10 tasks to be completed with 3 minutes for each task. The tasks were given by the trainer. The tasks were in the form of messages that we had to decode and take action on. If you were not able to decode a given task, you can go on doing tasks that were incomplete.

There were good messages like ‘I need a plan’ or ‘Complete the strategy’ which were easily comprehensible and the team went about the tasks with gusto. Each team was trying to beat the other team. Every member was engaged. We felt important that we are progressing smoothly. Each team was sure that they will be the ultimate winner.

At the beginning of the exercise, one of the players asked the trainer ‘if one team can interact with the other team’. The trainer effectively shouted him down without giving him a clear answer. From the tone of the trainer spoke, it was clear that each team cannot interact with another.

Every third message stumped all the teams. It was a message from the ‘Earthlings’, whom we were to save, and the message simply read, ‘Please help. Extreme danger approaching’.

First time the message appeared, we were all eager to resolve. Each team racked its brain trying to understand what the earthlings were telling us. We spend the entire three minutes trying to figure out the relevance of this message. But the same message started appearing again (6th  and 9th minutes) we simply ignored.

We were all busy trying to win.

Ultimately one team realized that, even though the trainer had shouted when asked about teams working  together, he never told that we should not do that. They co-ordinated with another team and were quickly able to solve the problem !

Apparently, the game was designed in such a way that one team cannot win on its own without cooperating with another team !. The rules were designed to give the impression that the teams cannot work together, without any explicit rule preventing the teams from working together.

I remember that all the teams blamed the ‘Earthlings’ during the exercise. ‘Why can’t they give us some clues?’ we wondered. Without any clues how do they expect us to save them?

The similarities to the actual Organizational Scenario was uncanny. Our organization was divided into 'Competencies' like SCM Competency, Finance Competency, HR Competency etc. Each competency had its own team, its own objectives and goals and its own processes and even its own culture !

Whenever we get a customer project, we were to form Project Team comprising of members from different competencies. Most of the time the Project team worked as Silos, without any integration. 

Since we did some of the projects for American Customers from Bangalore, we were the Alien Army and the customer was the 'Earthling'. 

How we used to blame the customer for his arbitrary and unstructured requirements? How we used to laugh at the contents of some of the mails? How we used to fume at his tendency to disturb the processes by his unfair demands?

As I have moved on from Oracle and started working in another company, I come across multiple instances of what I call the 'Alien Army and the Earthling Syndrome'. 

Take it from me, it is more common than you think...

21 January 2014

Vegetable a la carte...

I believe that every man should learn how to prepare his favorite food.

Even though I am a good cook, I like cooking (check out all the blog posts in this section.) and I cook regularly, I must confess that I did not follow this basic advice that I gratuitously disburse to others.

Being from the state of Kerala, my favorite food item is 'Puttu' (Prepared by mixing rice powder and coconut and steaming the same in a special vessel) and 'Kadala Curry' (described in this recipe). I never learned how to prepare 'Kadala Curry'.
Puttu with Kadala Curry - Kerala

The reason I did not learn to prepare Kadala (black chana dal) Curry till now is that the preparation is a bit messy. I prefer to cut all the vegetables, fry a bit of onion and tomato in Oil along with Masala, mix the vegetables, pour some water and cook it is medium heat for about 15 minutes. And the vegetable fry is ready. 

Unlike this, the Kadala curry has four steps. Step 1 is boiling Kadala, step 2 is frying a mix of coconut and stuff, Step 3 is grinding the fried mix and Step 4 is to add the ground paste to the boiled Kadala. boil the mix and finally add garnishing....It is messy.

But I like Kadala Curry. I cannot go on pretending to be a cook and not knowing how to prepare Kadala Curry. I had to do something about it.

So I checked up the recipe in You tube and here is my Kadala Curry recipe. This tastes best with Puttu made from 'Brahmins Puttu Podi'

Part 1: Boil the Kadala
Black Chana Dal

Ingredients
  1. Kadala (Black Chana Dal) - 50 Gram
  2. Onion Chopped - 1 cups
  3. Garlic Powder - 1/2 tea spoon
  4. Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tea spoon
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Water
Preparation
  1. Soak the Kadala in water for about 12 hours
  2. Add all the ingredients in a Pressure Cooker and Boil for about 10 Whistles
  3. Switch off the heater and allow to cool
Step 2: Prepare the Paste

Ingredients
  1. Oil - 1 table spoon
  2. Grated Coconut - 1/4 Cup
  3. Chopped Onion - 1/2 Cup
  4. Cinnamon Stick - 1/2 inch long
  5. Coriander Seed - 2 tea spoon
  6. Coriander Powder - 1 tea spoon
  7. Fennel seed ('Perum Jeerakam' in Malayalam and 'Saunf' in Hindi) 1 teaspoon

Preparation
  1. Heat oil in a frying pan.
  2. Add coconut, onion, coriander seeds, cinnamon sticks and fennel seeds
  3. Fry till coconut turns golden brown
  4. Add coriander powder and fry for one minute
  5. Switch off the heater and allow the mix to cool.
Step 3 Grind
  1. Once the above mix (prepared in step 2) is cool, grind the same in a grinder to a fine paste. Add water as necessary.
Step 4. Mix and Boil

Ingredients
  1. Chopped Tomato - 1 tomato chopped (Optional)
  2. Garam Masala - 1 tea spoon
    Masher
Preparation
  1. Add the above mix to the boiled chana
  2. Add tomatoes
  3. Boil for about 5 minutes. 
  4. Mash the mix using a Masher to get a good consistency
  5. Add Garam Masala
  6. Boil for another 5 minutes
  7. Switch the heater off and keep aside


Step 5: Garnish

Ingredients
  1. Oil - 1 table spoon
  2. Mustard seeds - 1 tea spoon
  3. Dried Red chilli - 2-3 numbers
  4. Curry Leaves - 5-6 leaves washed thoroughly
Preparation
  1. Heat Oil in a Frying Pan
  2. Add mustard till it cracles
  3. Add Red Chilli
  4. Add Curry Leaves
  5. Once the garnish is ready, add it to the masala prepared in Step 4 above.
Your Kadala Curry is ready. 

Smells heavenly, doesn't it?

Enjoy with Puttu...

PS: I ate it with Puttu. It tasted heavenly. It was as if I had arrived as a Cook. By preparing Kadala Curry, I had climbed the ultimate 'Cook Mountain'. That it tasted just like my mom would have made added to my glow and satisfaction. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have arrived as a cook.

20 January 2014

An 'Awesome' day....

I work in a company in Mumbai and my family stays in my home in Bangalore. We have weekend off on every alternate weekends, when I travel to Bangalore. Every other Sunday, I spend in Mumbai.

My Sundays invariably follow the same routine.

Get up at about sixish planning to do something productive in the day.

Get my cup of tea and sit in front of my computer, planning to catch up on my latest emails. Just half an hour, I tell myself.

Navigate on to YouTube to watch 'Comedy Nights with Kapil'. Just one episode, I tell myself, I want to know what Salman Khan is up to...

End up watching 'Comedy Nights' till about 12 noon. By the time the weekend is over.

(Have you noticed it?, By noon on Sunday, you have decided that your weekend is already over and are planning / preparing for the next day. Crazy, isn't is. 25% of your weekend is still left. You can do a lot of stuff. You can plan for a movie, you can go the mall for Lunch, you can do a lot of stuff in the afternoon of Sunday. But, you have decided that your weekend is already over)

Yesterday (Sunday, 19th January, 2014), I broke this vicious cycle as it were. I decided that the initial act that sets off this pernicious pattern is my wanting to check my mail. Yesterday I did not check my mail in the morning (It is another matter that I woke up at 2.00 AM and being unable to sleep, I checked my mails and read two Salon Articles to boot !!). I had my morning tea and was on my cycle by about 7.30 AM.

Yes, I have a Cycle. I love Cycling. Check this article here.

Yesterday was January 19, the day of Mumbai Marathon. My objective was VT Station in Mumbai, the starting point of the Marathon. I wanted to be a part of the history.

From the place I live, Koparkhairne, VT Station is about 35 Kilometers. It takes a lot of effort for an amateur cyclist on a heavy bike to ride that distance. It is justifiable if one decides to give up.

The route...
But I am not 'One'. I am naive. I have this crazy idea that if you take one step at a time, pedal one pedal a time, you will ultimately reach your destination. You may be tired, but you will reach your destination.

So I started.

After cycling about 10 KM, I stopped for tea. It was the greatest tea that I had drunk in a long time. I relished each sip as the hot liquid warmed my innards.

If you are planning a long cycling trip, it makes sense to breakup the route into multiple mini destinations. That way you feel encouraged to continue as you cross each destination. Your focus is always on the next destination, which is much closer, rather than the final destination 40 Kilometers away. So I divided my trip into 5 mini destinations, each approximately 8 Kilometers from the previous one.

8 Kilometers is cool. 40 Kilometers? Impossible.

I took the BPT (Bombay Port Trust) Road. Even on normal days the road has very lean traffic. On Sunday, barring an occasional cow, or a dirty kid, or a listless farmer, the stretch was virtually empty.

(I took a few 'Selfies'. Here they are).
The Rider...

Let me tell you something. It is really majestic to be by oneself, in the middle of a city, being a Solitary Cyclist on a barren stretch of a long, winding road. You are the king of the road, the owner of your time and have your world at your feet...

You feel calm, you feel confident. You are focused. You are on top of the world.

The Ridden...
Take it from me, it is exhilarating.

I reached VT by about 10.15. Having obsessed about reaching VT, it was an anti climax as I reached the destination. 'Thats it?', I thought to myself, 'this was not difficult'. I could easily do much longer distances, I told myself.

And the Road...
The return journey was much more easier than I thought. I was cycling towards my home and there was that added motivation. 

About 80 KM of cycling does a lot to some parts of your body (I am talking about knees and thighs). So it was such ecstasy when I reached home and sat on my chair. Having a warm bath after a tiring morning? Priceless.

Some say that the way to get big wins is to have many small, modest wins. By that logic, this was a very significant win. It told me that if I put my mind to it and take my first step, I will eventually reach my destination.

That is a lesson worth learning, isn't it?