Today, its been exactly 1 year since I arrived at Seattle Tacoma Airport to a
new start in life, at the Empire – Microsoft Redmond. I started at Microsoft on
October 1st 2007. The year has flown by pretty quicky with many ups and
I still remember taking off from Mumbai Airport as if it was just another flight,
not even realizing at that point of time how my life was changing. For me,
life is generally about looking forward –and forward only– but all
of a sudden today I’m looking back.
All of a sudden Redmond has started feeling like home to me. A small town,
almost like a hill station, great natural beauty . Rivers, Lakes, Mountains.
I’ve explored the area quite a bit sometimes on my bike, sometimes in a
rented car. I’ve seen a lot of cities in the US and I’m convinced its the prettiest.
Even the eight months of grey skies don’t seem all that bad now. I even long
to see that occasional snowfall.
It hasn’t been *THAT* easy though, specially for the first few months when I
realized that now I had no roommates or schoolmates, Moin, Anand or Rathod
to get drunk with, argue with, fight with, kick punch and basically find some
"equal" outlet to vent out a day-of-work worth of frustration with 🙂
I read somewhere that the Seattle/Redmond area is the most highly digitalized
region in the United States. Obviously, with the zillions of Microsoftie geeks like
me around. And thousands of Amazonians and now Googlers as well.
So this extreme digitalization – that’s both good and bad. Good because everything
is taken care of in One Click style. Right from ordering pizza, renting cars, digital
mapping of my coordinates at any point of time. Most of this stuff can be done
over the Internet or phone now in India as well but perpetual e-Contact seems
a little to surreal over here. Bad because the whole digital world has caused me
to feel a bit insecure the moment I feel I’m disconnected from
(web,laptop,ANY sort of link to the eWorld). Its only when I landed back in
Mumbai airport last April it struck me all of a sudden that the place where I lived
so confidently a year ago now felt as if I was out in the wilderness just because I
felt kind of un-wired.
I have little to no patience left with real life things which Can’t be done in mouse
clicks and keyboard taps. Electronic gadgets now have an invisible electromagnetic
1984 like control over every action and reaction of mine which I’ve got to consciously
avoid. I’m still pretty okay, I don’t crave for th WiFi on the buses like millions of
people around me do, in fact I haven’t ever opened my laptop on the bus so
I have plenty of hope for my de-Digitalization !
There’s going to be no quick cure for escaping from this Computer culture in the
highly wired Seattle metropolitan area apart from me shutting my laptop as much
as possible. ( Or, the other way round – opening it as little as possible, only when
some real work needs to be done). There’s no way I’m going to completely Web’ize
Now at the end of one year, I have friends, I get time to do stuff I wanted to, I’ve
explored the area and Redmond/Seattle feel as much of a home as Mumbai did
when I left it. I know the bars and restraunts just as well. My food habits are just
as random. I still make a daily resolution to keep my room neat from the next
day. And I’m still writing on my blog with my beloved Compaq laptop.
<Something randomly clicked during a stopover
@ Seoul Intl airport >
Now coming to …
Sad developments in the last couple of weeks :-
The Fall of Lehman Brothers
So that’s where I started working in Mumbai ( Powai ), straight out of college as a
Finance-Techie.Met really sharp and smart people over there. Much as I don’t think
any private company deserves to be bailed out, much as I had always wondered
where the huge bonuses were dropping out from – you do develop a sense of belonging
to your place of work – and for me it was my first one after college. Rather sad to see
them go bankrupt on Sep 15th .
I guess its a sad way of realizing that maybe there’s really no quick route to
money. If you gamble you stand to either win or lose.
Somewhere in the back of my mind though – I did remember the "Dot Com" boom
to doom and wondered if financial services were on the same track.
And the second lesson. SAVE for a rainly day. Bad times DO come. I remember a
lot of us ( including myself) saving little to nothing of what we earned. We just
assumed that the party would go on. You can excuse a 22 year old for that !
And so – enough thoughts for now .