Sunday, September 14, 2014

And yet another 'Final' Sabbatical Round up

So I find myself back at work after a bit of a gap. Older and wiser and yet ready and eager. It kind of just happened, but I think I was ready for it.

The last couple of years have been great fun and a wonderful learning experience. But it kind of hit me when a lady of about my age attended my Zumba class and then asked if I could be her 'mentor' - she said that I seemed to be following my passion and it looked so enviable and that's what she wanted to be doing now that she's had a baby and been working for ten years herself...and so on. The alarm bells went off in my head. Over the last couple of months, I had been feeling restless and influenced greatly by Cal Newport's book ''So Good They Can't Ignore You''. I highly recommend this to anyone on the verge of quitting their job in favour of the wonderful, entrepreneurial, ''follow your passion'' type of life. From the outside, I realized, it really looked like that's what I was doing. I don't regret a single moment of the last two years, but the fact is that there's a lot to be said for having to get up and get ready and go to work and of course, having an income outside of some not-very-impressive royalty cheques. So I told the lady not to be fooled by appearances, and to basically read the book herself!

I passed out of IIM-B in 2002 and had a pretty decent record in my field of Marketing so I was very lucky to have built that track record before I took my break. The most fun I've ever had was at my last job as Business Head for a movie review website. So I've been lucky to find a role now which looks like it will be perhaps as interesting, and that too, in Gurgaon. All this kind of just happened, and it happened at a time when I realized that Pickle-Papad are well-settled in school, all three kids tend to keep each other busy, and my help R seems to have settled back in for at least the medium term with us. Now that the children are older, it is clearer that they should be able to take care of themselves and each other. It amazes me how much of a help Peanut already is, with her advanced reading skills, in assisting  in getting the twins homework done.

I've done one earlier 'final' round up before I went back to work at my old organization in 2012. That was a stint of a few months; subsequent to which I had two more work assignments. The one that I'm taking on currently may last longer if all goes well ( although I've already had a bit of an adventure on Day 3 which I'm too embarrassed to report and maybe will show up in a subsequent book).

Despite the fact that I've had 3 work assignments over the last two years running into almost a year in total, I just felt like taking a look at the overall period and musing over what's happened. So here goes:

- After Just Married, Please Excuse (in August 2012) came my second book 'Sorting Out Sid', which released earlier this year (Feb 2014). If you still haven't read my books, please follow the links and check out the reviews and ratings on Flipkart- they're also available on Amazon as e-books and I promise you they're laugh riots at the very least. Now, 'Dear Rimi' (work in progress title) is already with HarperCollins and my esteemed Chief Editor loves the book, which is really saying something. It will be out next year sometime. Simultaneously, I've also written a funny childhood memoir and am trying to figure out what to do with that one - I've got great feedback from some of you on the first three chapters and just need to see about the publishing plan for it. So as you can see, I'm kind of written out for now anyway and felt like taking a break from it. However, when inspiration strikes, I'll be back and doing the writing thing for an hour a day. I've made my peace with the fact that I much prefer looking upon writing as a passion than a career and can't follow the advice about ''sitting down every single day to write no matter what''. I just can't. But you'll be seeing lots of books from me. 5 before I'm forty for sure! And I'm parking here, in September 2014, a random prediction that there's going to be significant developments for me when it comes to writing after December 2016. It will be fun to check back here after two years and see if it happens!

- I'm a weekend Zumba instructor with the excellent team at Delhi Salsa Club, led by the inimitable Sameer Sachdeva. Although I only take a weekend batch, I'm really happy about the fact that this month I've got 10 students signed up and they really seem to enjoy the workout. I've been tempted often to take on mid-week classes, even went to Ozone Gym for 5 Thursdays, but gave that up as I figured that it was eating into other things.

I'm highly amused about the fact that in an interview last year, someone made a sarcastic remark about ''how will you manage work when you do this...Zumba thing?'' following it up immediately and pre-emptively with ''don't feel you have to be defensive, of course''. I answered him politely but I was thinking it would make sense for him to take out a couple of hours a week for his own workout and no one would question him about how that would affect work. His colleague of course, topped him on the same day by asking me ''Wow. 3 kids, huh? How will you manage them and work?'' Needless to say, it didn't work out with that organization and I'm particularly glad. Incidentally- a year later and apparently at least one of them has quit already.

But coming back to the Zumba - it's a brilliant form of exercise and I'm just so glad that I stumbled upon Sameer, totally by chance. Any other instructor would unlikely have left the kind of impression on me that he did, and his initial training helped much more than the actual Zumba workshop. I'm hoping to keep this up for as long as I'm physically able to.

- I finally found an excellent music school in Gurgaon, several months back for Peanut and me. My daughter's piano playing has reached a whole new level with a wonderful teacher called Vee, who is now unfortunately leaving the country. But she has been replaced by another great teacher who comes all the way from the Delhi School of Music and we are still enjoying our lessons. I'm also learning guitar  again under a wonderful young man at the same school, while Peanut goes in for a group vocal session. The wonderful young man is probably ten or twelve years younger than me, but has a distinguished style and polished vocabulary and turns out to have been an engineer and a trade analyst who left JP Morgan because he just didn't like it very much. It puts a little pressure on me to have to practice two musical instruments but I'm telling myself that surely 10 minutes a day on each is manageable while I'm strict with Peanut about getting in a good disciplined 30 minutes in total on her piano. The important thing is for her to develop her talent. Me, I'm doing it for the fun of it and yes, it is fun to finally correct my guitar technique and learn a new instrument, figuring out how to read music ( it's like a new language altogether) and so on.

- To my regret, I have stopped going to The Happy School for now. The last thing I did for them was prepare a bunch of students for their Annual Day function and that felt really good. I will need to figure out another way of being associated with them. The kids can definitely still expect their annual haul from Santa Claus after writing him letters about what they want, but I don't know if I'm going to be able to be more regular with my weekend voluntary spoken English classes there. After all, weekends are all I get with the family, so I'm trying not to guilt-trip myself too much about this.

- I did a lot of fun stuff with the kids in terms of just hanging out, taking them to various places in Delhi which you'll have read about if you're a regular reader here. And now for the first time ever, we're all going to Goa as a family next month for just a couple of days, using the Goa Lit Fest where  I am apparently an invited author as an excuse- now, young Pickle and Papad have never been on a plane or a beach, so it's a first on both counts for them. I think I'm more excited about it than they are though. Cool, huh?

- And then there's the Yoga. The most excellent instructor, Apoorva Gupta, about a year younger than me but approximately seven times wiser nevertheless, made her way to Gurgaon last year and I got in touch with her. She's often exasperated with me but also keeps pointing out changes in my posture and spine that I never notice myself - the practice is definitely helping me because it's meditative in nature and I highly recommend Yoga to all and sundry all the time. I am no longer able to take instruction from my father-in-law as he is in not in a great physical condition himself these days, but Apoorva is helping me a great deal with doing Yoga the 'right' way. And while I know there's a lot on my plate, the good thing is that these classes are only once a week or sometimes once a fortnight if we are both too busy to make it and she ends the class by making these very handy notes and diagrams for me which ensure that I don't forget what she taught me to do for the next week.

- We've got ourselves a CA-type of person who's quite efficient, ensures that our taxes are filed on time, that we aren't overpaying and we actually manage to get our refunds from the government and in general has shamed us into being at least slightly more organized with regard to future planning and paperwork and filing stuff and all that shit. Many thanks to him for that!

So in short, I'm going to be really busy from now. Not that I've been blogging much anyway, but you can expect to see a post here maybe once a week or so, so please do keep coming back. And it's been a real long time since I asked for a de-lurk and took stock on content direction. I know comments are now mostly on Facebook yada yada but would it trouble you too much to just comment today and let me know who you are and what you'd like to see more of on this blog? Much appreciate it, ta.

P.S - read the book by Cal Newport that I mentioned, okay?
P.P.S. - sadly, I still don't know how to cook although it figured on my sabbatical list. But I cracked those besan ke laddoos. Yesssss!!!


  1. Sounds like an amazingly productive sabbatical!!!!
    You are most inspiring! Now to get off my butt and actually DO something :)

  2. Hi Yashodhara,

    My name is akshaya.

    I am a regular reader of your blog. I have read your first book as well. Yet to read Sorting out Sid, but will read it surely. You are my favourite blogger and like a role model to me. Please post here regularly even if you are going to be very busy henceforth. It is so nice to read the updates about your children and your family .

    How I wish I get to meet you and your family someday.

    All the very best for all the future endeavours! I look forward to reading many more posts on this page.


  3. Hamara naam Rashmi hai Hamari Umr Athara Saal Hai Hum Dilli ke rehne waale Hain Aap Kahan ke rehne wale Hain?

  4. Hi there,
    I've been reading your blog for a while now and really enjoy your anectodes about the 3Ps ! Would be super if you could also add book recommendations every now and then like you did with this post.

    Looking forward to more posts :)

  5. Will keep coming back Y cuz no one says it like you do. I lurve knowing what the three cute Ps are unto and of course you and Vijay too. I've bee reading here for so long now that it feels like when u don't post you've disappeared god knows where.

    The best in your new role and keep 'em books coming. I've asked hubby to pick up your second on his upcoming trip to India and am waiting eagerly to read at one go.

    Will read Cal's book reco-ed by you, quite intrigued by the title already.


  6. Hi there!

    I am Ann. I am a regular reader of the blog. Well the blog convinced me to get JMPE on my last vacation to India...I am hoping to buy your Sorting out Sid on my next vacation:) All the very best in your endeavours!

  7. I have only one word for you - Super Mom - pack in so many things when on a sabbatical..

    All the very best with your new journey - I am sure you be awesome!!


  8. Productive sabbatical indeed! I love your blog... the stories of Peanut, Pickle and Papad are hilarious! Congratulations on finally nailing the besan ladoos, BTW :-)

  9. I can't argue with that lady in your class - you are a role model indeed!! May the fun never end :)

  10. Always great fun to read up your posts - dont slacken or we're going to miss you. All the best for your new job!

    And yes - is there a way for you to share your daughter's reading (books authors)..I have a voracious reader at home and would love to know.

    Thanks again!

  11. And here is de-lurking your one more very shy blog reader :) . I like to read everything you write (specially about bachha-party) but what touches me most is your honesty and courage which shines through every post!

  12. I am a regular reader of your blog. You are juggling so many balls in the air and handling all of them well. Reading your blog is like a kick in my rear to get up and do something worthwhile with my time ... like working on my pet projects that I have been wanting to work on for quite some time.
    I have read both your books. I registered for the sample chapters and was expecting an automated mail with a PDF attachment. But I didn't receive it even in the next 2 days and immediately ordered the book online and even finished it. Many days later I received your mail with the sample chapters and I started typing a reply to you (which is still in draft). There is something about writing to a complete stranger and I struggle with words. Your mention of shutting this space down got me to write this post.
    Last but not the least, I liked both yours books and am eagerly waiting for the next installment.

  13. Hi,

    I have been reading your blog for ages and have enjoyed your first book. Looking forward to buying Sorting out Sid in my next visit to India.

    Please continue to blog, you bring a smile to many faces.


  14. De-lurking alert :) I've read, shrieked with laughter over and otherwise consumed your blog wholesale! Love hearing about Peanut, Pickle and Papad. And the way you put stuff across. I guess what I'm saying is do keep writing about whatever it is that needs to be said - about the kids, about Zumba, about work, whatever! You have listeners here :)


Hi there. Go on, say it. Well? WELL?