Another Spiritual Journey

Recently visited Mumbai in India after a few years. Every visit to India is quite an experience and this time was no different. After living in a small town in the US for many years I myself now have to follow the advice I give to folks from here who are traveling to India for the first time: Be prepared for the sight and sounds and go with an open mind just to soak in the atmosphere. The sight of so many people and the sound of traffic can be intimidating for the first time visitor as it is even for someone like me born and raised there. Like other great, major cities of the world Mumbai is always buzzing with activity and change is the only constant. Where once a 10-storey building might have towered like a giant a decade ago the same building might look like a runt of the litter now. And I am talking about distant suburbs on the outskirts of the city and towns outside the city limits! The pace of change is so rapid I could hardly recognize surroundings that I was once familiar with. In a land once known for mystics and spiritualism today capitalism is well and truly alive and kicking 🙂

It was good to catch up with folks old and new. Folks from earlier generation appeared to have grown much older (I am sure they felt the same about me 😀 ). Met batchmates from school and college and it was good to see everyone doing well in their professions. Visited my alma mater and even there old is making way for new as school is being redeveloped for a newer and bigger version to meet the need of changing times. It was good to see neighbors drop by and offer help to parents, respect for elders is very much present. Some even insisted on being given opportunity to help. One main difference between West and East is the individualized culture of the West compared to the community culture of the East. Not to say one is better than the other but it is just a different way of living. Vertical expansion has led to many high rise buildings all over the city and beyond. Which brings its own good and bad. Taller structures have led to green spaces within the community. To cater to the high end buyers businesses have also set shop nearby which obviates the need to go downtown or midtown for shopping or entertainment. Flip side is additional demand on resources which the existing infrastructure is not geared to handle and lot of traffic increasing local travel time. Multiple road projects going on simultaneously also adding to commuter woes. Real estate prices have gone through the roof too. Always amazed and thankful for the time friends make to meet for anyone visiting from outside though. The spirit of the city lives on though in citizens who put up with a lot and still find it in them to care and share.

Yours truly likes to go for walks occasionally. The experience of walking, be it in a wooded area or in anonymity in a crowded street, is spiritual. One either takes in the beauty of surroundings or just learns to stay unaffected by the crowd or noise and be a dispassionate observer. Which helps in developing into a non-judgmental observer and taking everything in one’s stride. In one such walk I got lost. 😀 For the ride back home I hired an auto rickshaw. The driver was from different part of town, not familiar with the area I was in. He asked me to show the direction and I ended up seeing half the town as we tried to make it to my place asking folks along the way for directions couple of times 😀 Did not have time to try more such adventures. All in all the whole visit was quite a ride with some new connections made, some old connections severed and a few connections revived. Which is what life is about: making new memories, erasing some and remembering some old memorable memories. On my return it was great to see my wife receive me at the airport and be back in surroundings that are more familiar now. It was good to be there and it’s good be back. Life is a journey generating a ton of memories along the way to last a lifetime!

A Spiritual Journey

It’s been a year of multiple Production Go Live implementations. All the Prod Go Live implementations tend to be intense with lot of activities packed into a very short period of time, usually a weekend to minimize downtime for the customer so that users can start using the new/upgraded application/s at the start of the following week. Most times failure is not an option but a distinct possibility. Production Go Live implementations are like participating in full marathons testing one’s endurance and with many aspects

Physical: At various points the body sends message it needs to pause and rest but the crunched schedule doesn’t allow for it

Mental: All Prod Go Lives are scheduled to complete within a time window to allow for enough time to test and confirm before releasing to customer. If one task takes longer than estimated it has a cascading impact on following tasks and the mind is calculating about being able to able to complete all tasks within acceptable time similar to a marathon runner trying to complete the run in a time that would be deemed successful (or acceptable if there is a cut off for acceptable time)

Psychological: To keep going one has to resort to play psychological games with oneself like we are more than halfway through successfully already, most of the hard tasks are done and the remaining tasks are easier tasks etc

Spiritual: For all the preparations done in advance success is not a given. Just as external factors like weather, running conditions can impact the result of a marathon in addition to condition of the runner Prod Go Lives can be impacted by external factors like network, 3rd party dependency in addition to any unknowns that could come into play for the first time. That’s where the spiritual aspect comes in. One discovers what one is made of as well as the stuff that participating teams are made of as everyone works through any issues that could be encountered to complete the implementation successfully. Finally one has to be prepared to accept whatever the end result after one’s best effort. Just as a marathon runner could either finish the race successfully and possibly ahead of expected time OR fail to complete Prod Go Live implementations could complete successfully ahead of time/in time as planned OR end in DNF. That’s where the ultimate spiritual aspect comes in. Treat success and failure with calm, not get too elated or disappointed either ways if the effort is 100%