Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Hurtle out the twenties, bring on the thirties!

Like I said, in two days I bid farewell to my twenties.

In any person's life, I think the twenties are the most significant emotionally and mentally. Sure, 0-10 you grow up and learn a lot of stuff hitherto completely unknown. 11-20 you come to terms with some realities, face some new issues of growing up and in general spend some turbulent times.

Then on its one big roller coaster. You are stable enough yet not mature enough. And the next ten years completely alter the colour of your character like nothing else. Age sobers you and by the time you hit the thirties you are all philosophical. Well, at least this has been my experience :)

I thought, when I was 10, I couldn't really articulate well about 0-9. When I was 20, there was no blog where I could reflect. Now that I have both articulation and blog space all figured out, here is a simple life story.


Probably the most significant thing that happened when I was 20 was that I gave GRE. I always knew I wanted to go to the US because that is where I could make a quick buck and get back. My purpose was fueled by the typical middle class aspirations. And I cracked 2220. Which was good. I wanted to get into Wisconsin. I did. Big Ten, Top Ten. Done.

The next most significant thing that happened was I took my first flight ever. Which happened to be an international flight to Kuala Lumpur to present some paper. I was a student. The 5000 INR which was converted to ~100 USD weighed heavily on my mind and jeans pocket. It was the first time I was carrying so much cash, traveling alone, taking a flight, getting out of the country using my freshly minted passport and what not. I had butterflies in my stomach and heart and that is a gross understatement. I somehow finished and came back and I felt all grown up.

Life by 30 has come a full circle and my son, all of 20 days, did what I did when I was twenty years old, took his first flight :)


I graduated. My first degree. A B.Tech. I went abroad. To study, to achieve. I met frustration for the first time in my life. I paid taxes for the first time in my life. I knew what a valuable thing money was. And I knew what "not-knowing-where-your-next-meal-is-coming-from" feels like. And I swore I would move back some day when my Dad had his second heart stroke and I couldn't do one damn thing about it sitting half way around the globe with no money to travel and trying hard to fight off that 10K USD tuition bill. One good thing that happened is my whirlwind Europe tour in 2001 Dec. I went from living all my life in India to visiting three continents in just 10 months! I hit the gym for the first time in my life!


I learnt some serious life lessons. Saw treachery staring in my face. Spent god knows how many tears over life's ruthlessness.Felt cheated and used by one of my closest friends. Moved into my own accommodation as soon as I got an internship and could afford to do so. Realized that no price in money is too heavy to pay for a little peace of mind. I bought my first videocam and laptop :)I get my CCNA


Probably the most significant and long term impacting year. I finished my Masters. My second degree. An MS in Electrical Engineering. I saved some serious dough for the first time after moving to the US. I had a near-death accident (I-94 between Milwaukee and Chicago, just before Waukegan) from which I escaped miraculously with a minor neck ache. I got offered marriage on a platter by a very very dear friend and I was torn between wanting to say yes and not being sure about it all. I get my CCNP.


From here the years get all incrementally more important.

I spend my birthday at home after 3 years. Subhash buys me some sweet thing after a lot of contemplation if I will take it or not since I officially never said yes. I buy my first BIG ticket item (at that time, 5K USD was BIG), my Black Honda Accord. 97 model :) I face the pink-slip situation, I get laid off. I've just moved to a new town and bought a car and leased an apartment and I am jobless.

I remember that one day I walked back home with a heavy heart after paying my rent for the month. I had just enough left in the bank for a month's rent. And that spent, I was broke. No money to buy food too. And I didn't want to go into debt. So I was contemplating moving back, marrying Subhash and settling down as a housewife ;) Luckily the manager who had to lay me off, really wanted me back and somehow managed to smuggle me back in through someone else's budget. And I was back on track.

But from then it was one uncertain day after another. Always the invisible axe hovering over my neck.

After being stupid about it for six months I finally say yes :)

The H1 drama is witnessed. The guys who contracted me cannot do it so they sub contract me to someone who can. Finally I get my H1, one day before my OPT expires, on Jan 19th. I interview with Cisco on Jan 20th and hear positive from the first team I interviewed with. Since then the career has not looked back.


My parents visit me in the US. Subhash and I get engaged. Subhash moves to the US to be with me. I get married! Need I say more? :)

I forgot to add, I started this BLOG! ;)


Thanks to a great manager at work, the career really starts rocking. Slowly the cash starts building up and I start to spend with a vengeance for all those days that I spent hours in front of the cereal aisle trying to decide which is the cheapest one to buy.


I buy my dream. My Merc C-Class. I cannot believe that just three years ago I was living from hand to mouth and I realize this is why the US is called the land of opportunity, anything can happen here. Subhash's parents visit the US. After they leave, I finish my CCIE. We finally start to plan the move back now that their trip is done and all check list items have been taken care of. My parents visit, my Merc and his parents visit, my CCIE. All done. We move back home. To India!


Settled down to life in India. In fact we moved 10 days shy of me turning 28. This birthday too I spent at home, the first one after 4 years! I get my first hair cut ever in life in a salon. We buy another dream, our home in Bangalore and we have a dream house warming to boot! We discover we are going to have a baby!


We settle in our home, I make an important career role change mark, we have a baby boy, we name him Rohan, he turns 6 months and life seems all set to go! 

So there, I feel life is just beginning. The twenties is one decade I will NEVER forget. I hope I never forget the struggle and the value of some things which were learnt the hard way. The baby has transformed life in a sense that I feel completely aged and responsible for one more life in a way I have never felt before. It is a very fine line I trod, giving it my very best at every possible stage yet trying to keep things low key and not make a big noise about it. I hope I turn out a good wife, great parent, cool daughter and so on and so forth. Here is to the thirties. Let's rock!!


Laksh said...

Loved this post! Here's to a rocking thirties!! Happy Birthday!

Shubhika Taneja said...

Awesome post!

Anonymous said...

Well said and put!! Advanced happy birthday:) welcome to the 30s..

DivSu said...

@Laksh, Shubhika, Anonymous - Thank you!!

SK said...

Great post! :--) I can soooo relate heheh.
On to beat up the thirties!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Like they say, things always work out fine in the end.
I will be knocking on the 30s come next year and I am feeling the same things as you do. A lot of things are still in the process of agitation but things always work out fine!
Happy birthday!

Sri said...

Wow!What a decade!


Sandhya said...

Awesome post...got me nostalgic :))

Wish you a very happy b'day...keep rocking :)

DivSu said...

@SK - Yeah I can see why ;)
@Shilpa - Thank you, yeah I guess. It worked out fine in the end for me :)
@Sri - Yes, unforgettable! Thank you :)
@Sandhya - Thank you, glad to have brought you back some memories :)

Shruti said...

Achcha yaad dilayi - what a roller-coaster recap!

Anonymous said...

You spent the time very usefully when many others fall in and out of love in teens :-) you are almost like a boy for the family . I guess being the eldest made the difference ??

Anonymous said...

The article is very touching..especially the money/cereal bit. what treachery you didnt mention anytime.

DivSu said...

@Shruti - Ha be, I know, I re-read it and was surprised ;)

@Anonymous - I wouldn't say useful, I did do a lot of unnecessary things, but yes, I think I am happy with what I have extracted out of my life in twenties :) A lot of people give me the "I am my parents' son and daughter" line :)

Sony said...

Nice post. Vivid description of a decade. I would say a decade you could be proud of your achievements. Happy B'day

Anonymous said...

Nice post, Divya.. The twenties in some ways are the most important decade because they lay down the foundations for the rest of your life.. you have done wonderfully well in your twenties.. I hope the rest of your life will be even more amazing..

With best wishes,

PS- I am busy speculating the treachery comment from Wisconsin.. I can hazard a guess but I may be wrong.. but anyway its better to focus on the future and look forward to all the exciting adventures that will come our way..take care

DivSu said...

@Sony - Thank you :)
@Priya - Thank you! I think your guess is as good as the truth. Now I feel how stupidly naive I was at that time ;) ;)

Kishan said...

Awesome post. Happy birthday.
I am turning 30 next year and I am scared like hell.

Random thots said...

Who can put soo much stuff in just a blog post?Its just you divya

Anonymous said...

Alls well that ends well:) Enjoy your 30s!

Archana said...

Belated birthday wishes!

DivSu said...

@Kishan - Thank you, nothing to be scared of ;)
@Random Thots - Thank you, thank you!
@Priya - Yes, I guess :)
@Archana - Thank you!

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