Landscape of Lansdowne

Year 2014 at a Glance

Year 2014 was one of the busiest year so far. And while my friends are busy posting what made their past year so happening on Facebook I thought I shall not rely on some artificial algorithm to tell my story of the year 2014. Hence what follows next are some of my real life experiences with lots of personal touch.

2014 proved to be a very important year for personal growth, learning and getting new experiences. I worked on many projects at job, revived old technologies and learned new ones. 2014 was a sad year for a lot of people but it also proved historical one for Indian political system.

During the first quarter of 2014, I caught myself in a situation where two of my immediate seniors at job left almost simultaneously leaving me in charge of a whole new set of responsibilities. That was a sudden change in the pace of my life but nothing which I couldn’t handle if I followed what my peers had taught me.

Nasir Akhtar is one of those good colleague/friend/peer who have the most impact on my way of doing things, atleast since last couple of years. He is one of the guy who have a clear vision about everything. He use to imagine something in his mind and do it ten times better on paper. He also have the charm to impress someone by his wits and convince anyone with his intellect. He had a sense of business little people have at his age, yet he was the most humble where he needed to be. A Software Engineer needs such person so that they can understand the client’s requirement to the core and can give solutions no matter how out of the box it were. When such person leave a corporation nothing can prepare you for the future. One can only hope that he can carry the legacy that the person built with such passion.

Moving on, there were lots of experiences about the job that I can share but largely it involves with meeting new colleagues and learning from them. But one thing which I really enjoyed at my workplace was Team Outings. I went to 2 places outside Delhi as part of the team outing. First of them being a trip to Lansdowne, a town in Garhwal district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It was a breathtaking trip that our team planned in April of 2014. With hoards of fresh air in the valley, enough to quench the thirst of freshness that people like you living in metro cities like Delhi, long for! We went to places like Bhulla Taal, a park; Tip-In-Top point (one of the highest places of mountain, with an incredible view); and Jai Tarkheshwar Dham temple.

That was only the beginning. After a while on 4-Oct some friends including Ankur, Nasir and Ashutosh, planned to make a trip to Kasauli, a cantonment and town, located in Solan district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, to take a breather from the daily routine of work. But this trip proved nothing to be a breather and instead was one heck of a ride. We only had 2 weekend days to spare and with no proper planning we booked tickets to Kalka. After reaching Kalka we took a bus to Kausauli and wandered in what seemed to be a location straight out of heaven. Streets were made of stones and had an inclination so steep that if you lie horizontally it would be nice game of rolling down the street (with possibly sad ending where you fall in some deep valley). We didn’t have a hotel room booked which implied we either book a room costing upwards of Rs 4 thousand or spend night down-town in Kalka and came back to Kasauli the next morning. Being on a budget trip we eventually choose the later. After spending night back in Kalka we also had to reach Kasauli for the Sunrise. So next day, (very) early at 3:30 am, we headed to the station took Toy Train and reached Dharampur from where after taking a Taxi we finally reached Sunshine point just a little after sun rise and managed to take following pic:

Sunrise in Kasauli
Sunrise in Kasauli

We also went to see Manki point (where cameras are not allowed), Kasauli Church and also spent time in one of the local dharamshala in Kasauli (which very less people would know is very affordable if you are traveling in a budget). I would remember Kasauli trip for a long time since it was a tip where little to no planning was done and still it wasn’t half as bad an experience.

Next trip I had was to Katra and Vaishno Devi on 6th November. No, I wasn’t in some spiritual intervention or in need of some divine enlightenment but I went there with my sister for an exam which she had to give. Since the exam got delayed we made a plan to go to Vaishno Devi. And even though I didn’t have any initial plan to go there the experience was both tiring as well as pleasant. Walking to the top of the mountain let me judge my inner limits and each milestone proved to be a new emotional barrier. The only encouragement for me to climb to the top was the excitement of my sis who seem to have little to no impact of the potential energy that the height imposed on her. Slowly and steadily like the tortoise I did climb to the top and witnessed the glory of Mataji in all her eternal beauty and took her blessings. Ever so slowly I walked down from the mountain but this time using stairs which provided a quicker way to the valley. Overall it was a journey my legs won’t easily forget for next few weeks. Following is an enthralling beauty of Katra valley as seen from the top of Vaishno Devi mountain:

View of Katra Valley from Top
View of Katra Valley from Top

The last trip I made outside Delhi was of Jaipur as yet again with my Team on 21 November. My legs were still echoing the pains of the Vaishno Devi trip but at-least this time we weren’t going to climb any mountain in Jaipur. What followed was another enchanting journey to a place I had only imagined in likes of Delhi Trade Fairs. But a Pavilion of a city can’t be compared to the actual experience of being in the city, especially with so many other people.

The thing I found myself doing the most in Jaipur was counting how many stuff in Jaipur are Pink! I found that it’s said to be “Pink City” for a reason. Most of the things in Jaipur are actually Pink. From forts to walls, and from hotels to buses. You will find a flair of Pink in almost every street. We saw Hawa Mahal, did shopping in the shops behind the Mahal, and went to “Chokhi Dhani” a place where everything good about Jaipur and Rajasthan were curated at a single place. We drank the milk, saw folk dance, played some games, saw flame throwers and rope walkers and it ended with us being filled by the popular dinner where local people try to stuff every bit of your stomach with some flavour of Jaipur. We also went to Jantar Mantar which puts the one in Delhi to shame. Since as per the story the one in Delhi was only built as a test ground by Jai Singh, who was a Rajput king. But the Jantar Mantar in Jaipur was kind of a final version and which still can be used to calculate time with great precision. Overall the trip of Jaipur was one of the most fascinating journey and which marked a good end of 2014 when it comes to Incredible India!

Choki Dhani in Jaipur
Choki Dhani in Jaipur
Jantar Mantar in Jaipur
Jantar Mantar in Jaipur

And before I forget I must also add that we also went to Amer Fort which is one of the coolest forts I ever saw in my own city, with lots of places to hide, there by making it the most awesome place to play Hide n’ Seek! Following is some of its magnificence, as it looks from the outside:

Amer Fort in Jaipur
Amer Fort in Jaipur

Well, apart from places above I also went to see many places in Delhi itself like Agrasen Ki Baoli and Humayun’s Tomb.

On a personal development curve I started to work on projects which allowed me to revive my SQL Server skills and I also got introduced to new and developing technology called, “Salesforce”.

I also did a lot of shopping in 2014, including a new phone for my sis: Moto E and a Moto X for myself. Well, Moto X warrants for another dedicated post so I would be writing about this revolutionizing piece of tech in detail later.

Lastly, I would also like to mention about one of my school friend, “Atul Jain” which got married on 7 December. Atul together with Abhishek, we use to compare ourselves to the 3 friends of Dil Chahta Hai. Hence his marriage was surely a shocker to me. Almost 9 years after departing from school and now his life have changed for forever. Just one day changes everything. My blessings will always be with him.

2014 proved to be a year with lots of experiences in my personal life, just like our nation went through the experience of change in government. With Mr. Narender Modi (NaMo) becoming Prime Minister of India from May, India is on a verge of so many change with the biggest change according to me is “hope”. Now the people of the nation have “hope” that our country can excel in the markets of the world and that India can be a synonymous of everything positive.

I feel that this “new found hope” have become part of me somehow. Some of the atoms inside me have chosen to absorb the energies imparted by the new positivity of the nation itself.

Well speaking of which it would be ironical to say that during the end of year my health took a bad curve. I had to make the transition of new year lying in bed in fever. So I hope I get fixed soon and can return to my full potential for 2015, for it will be a year of change. There’s lot of changes to be seen, many things to complete and much greater stuff to learn. It’s time to switch from the Mega lane to the Giga one and with full throttle.

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