My Idea of a Peaceful Dream Vacation

A group of ducks enjoying the peaceful life of Mysore (Infosys Mysore Campus)
A group of ducks enjoying the peaceful life of Mysore (Infosys Mysore Campus)

We come across so many beautiful people, places and moments in our life. At times, we feel to revisit those moments, to relive the amazing past. Such nostalgia occurs to me every now and then. The memorable moments of my life I spent in Mysore.

Yes, it is my dream vacation destination where I want to spend some quality time again. Away from the chaos of daily life, a place with still lower level of pollution, a place housing one of the best corporate campuses on earth- Infosys Mysore.

It should be at least 1 month long vacation. I would leave from Delhi Airport to land in Bengaluru and from there I would take a cab to Mysore, the city of peaceful life. I can imagine the cool breeze entering my car and touching my face. The weather is amazing throughout the year.

I want to book a guest house, not a typical hotel, but an independent villa-type house, slightly outside the main city, entirely for my use during the vacation duration. It would be a place where I would feel like home. It would be a place where I would not have room service to disturb me or next room neighbors to create any noise.

I will spend the first week roaming around the city everyday and visiting the beautiful places like Mysore palace, Chamundi hills, Vrindavan Garden etc. The city is known for yoga and I want to practice it too while connecting with the people who passionately practice the art of yoga.

A very nice place near to Mysore is Ooty. A beautiful hill station known for its huge expanse of tea farms. It is such a beautiful place that one can forget everything while visiting this heaven. The views from some of its points is so breathtaking that one can sit there and enjoy for hours just by looking at the natural landscape and enjoying the cool breeze. I will visit there for at least 3-4 days hiring a cab service for daily commute.

Two things which are very famous in Ooty are homemade chocolates and tea factory. The tea factory manufactures so many varieties of tea including chocolate flavored tea. One can buy a ticket to even visit the factory and witness the whole production process. At various points, they offer you sample tea of different flavors which is a delight to taste. I will not be able to leave that place without buying at least a few kilos of tea powder.

Another place in Mysore I want to visit is Infosys Mysore campus. It is a beauty in itself. I spent 6 months in training while staying in the campus and next 6 months working while living in Mysore city and the memories of this whole year are still so fresh. One can take days to completely roam the campus on foot and golf carts and parked cycles are a must to expedite the exploration. A day or two there will freshen me up a lot.

For the remaining 2 weeks, I would rather chill out and enjoy the weather, place, people and the life in Mysore. I am sure it would completely recharge me to get back to the same energy level I had when I first visited this place and while going back to Delhi and arriving at the Delhi Airport, the smile on face would be the shiniest of all.

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Togetherness without being together

We have fun loving people all around us, but very few of them love people more than fun, and that makes all the difference.

I always wonder the meaning of being together. Is it about being able to look at each other, talk or even touch each other? Save the “touch” part, looking and talking is now-a-days possible no matter you are physical near to each other or not, thanks to the technology in the form of Skype or Hangout.

But, I believe that being together is much more than this. It is when we are together even if we are unable to hug, see, hear, or touch the other person. It is when our hearts are together, our heartbeats are in sync even if we are away, our memories make us feel as if we are still next to each other. This, I believe, is true togetherness.

Usually, in one’s life, family and close friends are the main source of strength and motivation. I am no different. Even while living at different places, unable to meet many of them for months, even years, we are still together. Many times, when I felt low, they inspired me, took my hand and made me stand up to the challenges of life.

Once I was unable to visit my home for 8 long months. I was working thousands of kilometers away from my home while also preparing for MBA entrance exam. Sometimes it became very hectic but my family stood together and kept me going, even though they were so far away from me.

My closest friend lives in my hometown and we are friends from our school time. We rarely chat on line and once in a while on phone. Even then, when we meet even after long duration of time, we feel as if we are meeting each other every day for the last so many years. The bond is unaffected by distance because it is nurtured by love and care.

When I was in Hyderabad, working in a very hectic job on weekdays, preparing for CAT on weekends with no time to spare for roaming around or parties, my roommates helped me out in every possible way. Even away from home, with them I found a new home. I feel lucky to be there, together with them at that time. Sometimes I felt as if they were more worried about my exam than I was. And it all worked out pretty well.

Love and care are the main ingredients of togetherness, mixed with goodness of heart. In the absence of these ingredients, there is no meaning of being with someone. It is as if one is alone even when surrounded by crowd. We have fun loving people all around us, but very few of them love people more than fun, and that makes all the difference. is encouraging people to be #together. You can visit them here:

The change that fueled life

When I was about to graduate from my engineering college, I felt the uneasiness created by the upcoming change in my life. I felt sad by the thought that soon my college life will be gone. At that time, a very good friend of mine told me that “change is the norm”. And moreover, some changes are irrevocable and one has to accept them anyway.

Very soon my work life began. I was excited to begin a new life. But at the same time, I was little bit skeptical about going 2500 kms away from my home. “Is it worth it?” I asked myself. And guess what, yes, that change in my life was for good. I will cherish those memories for life.

As a matter of fact, I believe most of the changes in our life prove to be good at some point of time or other. When I moved to Southern part of India, I got a chance to experience an entirely new life, to learn so many new things, get familiar with a culture totally different from mine and meet people who are different yet same as I.

When I was in my hometown, I never liked South Indian food, or I can say that I never liked South Indian food cooked in North India. I was prejudiced that I will get the same food there. And fast forward to 1 year later, it became a norm to eat dosa in breakfast for me. I literally loved some of the South Indian dishes.

I am from Northern part of India where we experience extreme weather phenomena throughout the year. There are too much hot dry summers, too much humid summers, excessive rainy season, pleasant spring and extremely chilly winters. It is good to experience all types of weather but all this in a single year sometimes make it difficult.

In South India, I found that weather can be uniform as well. While Mysore and Bangalore were so pleasant throughout the year, Hyderabad only got somewhat hot only for 4 months. That was a new experience and I realized that it was good too in its own way. However, it seemed monotonous to me after being in North for such a long time.

Gradually, all my prejudices were gone and I enjoyed my stay there. And finally, one day, I had to leave that place too. I still remember the day I left that place. I felt really bad. Remember, this was the same place which was thousands of kilometers away from my home and I was feeling bad when leaving it.

This taught me that sometimes some changes in life seem really big and our inner inertia may obstruct us from committing to that change. But most changes are for good and we should overcome that fear and take the opportunity to experience something new. I took my chance and it was definitely worth it.

A company named has changed for good. You can visit to experience the good change.

When a stranger made me smile

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 At a certain point of time, we start believing that there is nothing good left in this world. But, there are those little moments in life which make us realize that we are wrong, that there are still so many good people in this world and it brings smile to our face, a relief in our heart.

In the present day life where everyone is running around aimlessly, competing with others to win some race, everything seems full of pessimism. At a certain point of time, we start believing that there is no one with a good heart left in this world. But there are those little moments in life which make us realize that we are wrong, that there are still so many good people in this world and it brings smile to our face, a relief in our heart. And I found those moments a few months ago while travelling in Delhi Metro.

It was the evening of a very hectic day full of surprises and I did not want any more surprises. I still had so much to do and I wanted to be at peace. The overly crowded Delhi Metro is no more a place for peace lovers. You can find people fighting for seats, boys leching on girls or people holding their pockets tightly, trying to avert pickpockets.

I got a seat after 4-5 stations. But I still had 30+ stations to go and had to change metro at on place. The battery of my mobile was down so I could not play any games on it to kill time. Suddenly, I noticed that the passenger sitting next to me was watching a movie on his mobile phone. I started watching it though I could not hear the sound.

This went on for a while. Suddenly, that passenger looked at me, smiled and offered me one of the ear buds of his earphone and turned the phone’s screen towards me so that I can also watch the movie. I was surprised. But I had nothing to do. So, I accepted his offer and put the earbud in my ear. The man politely explained me the story of the movie which I missed till that point of time and then we started watching the movie. I felt really good as if my tiredness was gone.

In between, we talked about various things, though I was not much interested in trivial talks. Also, I was a little bit skeptical about him. How can someone be so friendly with a stranger in the present day world? But he was an exception. I double checked my wallet and phone, everything was at its place.

I started enjoying the movie with him and did not even realize that I was just 4 stations away from my destination. At that station that man deboarded the train. Before leaving, he said a very nice good bye and greeted me with a smile which I reciprocated. We never asked each other’s name and we may never recall each other’s faces even if we meet in future. It made me sure that the man did all this without any expectation of gaining something from me. He was just sharing his happiness with me. And someone has rightly said, happiness is multiplied when shared with others.

It made my day. I was no more skeptical about the world. There are still so many affectionate people who smile at strangers without any bad intention. From that day onwards, everything around me looked even more beautiful. more positive. I realized that world is full of optimism if we are willing to look at it. And once we start looking at it, life becomes more beautiful.

The memories of that heartwarming journey will always be there in my heart and I will contribute towards making this world a happier, more beautiful and optimistic place.

You can visit to see how Housing envisions a world filled with positivity.

And I said, Good-Bye Infy!!

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Its been 6 months since I left Infosys. Today, when I look back at all those days which I spent being a part of Infosys, I feel what I am today has been highly impacted by what I was being in Infosys.

It was a cold December when I first left the warmth of my home to join Infosys in a far away part of the country. And when I left Infy, I felt a similar warmth that followed me. And I felt like I was leaving home again, the new home.

When I joined Infy, I was just a college student. I had to learn a lot about life. And yes, I learned. I learned how to add value to the things I do, I learned how to talk to people who I do not know, I learned how to enjoy with people whom I do not even share the same culture, I learned how to see beyond what is visible, I learned to listen to the unspoken things and most importantly, I learned to keep learning.

A few years ago, I read “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. It talks about the importance of journey and not destination. The destination is just to give us a direction. It is the journey that matters. The experiences of the journey of life help us appreciate the beauty of our surroundings, the complex world which works on its own with different people, parts fitted together seamlessly. While leaving Infy, I realized that it was never my destination. It was just a milestone of my journey.

The joy of reaching the destination is short lived. Once we achieve something, we start looking for the next goal and the life goes on. Seldom we identify what keeps us looking for new destinations. While on the way, we live dreaming about the destination, and when we reach there we cherish the experiences of the journey. Life is clever enough to keep us a step away from the present.

My journey in Infosys taught me to walk with the present. I saw people running towards things they think they want, leaving behind all the things they have. In that environment, it becomes hard to remain what you are. But once you realize this, life is never the same. Those people become your reason to live your own life to the fullest.

Even Narayana Murthy conveys this message to stop running and start living. But people are too much comfortable in the race, they hardly want to stop. This is really ironical.

Being in Infy, I realized two things: One, Narayan Murthy has created a great organization by following his values and virtues, and two, for a sizable chunk of people working there, those values are mere words to boast about. For me, those values are vital to any individual and people who follow these actually add value to Infy as well as their own lives.

The most important value which is my favorite is “Leadership by Example” or in simple words “Walk the Talk”. Each day I strive to be what I expect from people around me.

During my Infy journey, I found some really talented and cheerful people whose lives are reflections of real joy and learning. Some of them involved in so many social activities, some of them organizing some entertainment events every now and then, a group of people going for adventures on a monthly basis and even a few people innovating new things using latest technologies without even being asked for. These are the people who made my stay in Infy worth remembering.

I hope Infy will retain such people and will find a way to utilize their potential to the fullest. To rise as an organization, Infy has to go beyond just being a software service provider and to find a way to tap the potential of the gems hidden among its few lakhs strong work force.

While closing this post, I want to share something interesting. Narayana Murthy left after a few months I joined Infy. It all resulted in huge chaos. I missed being guided by the regular insights of the great leader through his town-halls and common addresses. Co-incidentally, Narayana Murthy joined back just the next day I left Infy. I was sitting at Hyderabad airport waiting for my flight to home when I saw the news of his return. I was joyful. I am sure the company which I always loved will further go places.

The Last Adventure

The Last Adventure

“Next Friday is off. It means a 3 days weekend!!!” As soon as I realized it, I could not stop myself planning for the huge weekend. For the last two years, it’s been a trend for me and my friends to have a weekend trip at least once a month. Almost all the nearby adventurous places had been explored by our adventure hungry team.

A meeting was called immediately. All 5 of us were ready to plan the weekend and were expecting it to be as much fun as we used to have on the previous trips. We were unaware of what we were going to experience would change our lives forever.

“But Arjun, we have already visited all the nearby places. No adventurous place left now”, declared Asit. He was kind of most impatient in our group. All of us were thinking about the unexplored places when Raghav broke the silence, “Eureka!! I think I know a place.” We all listened to him with a bit of surprise and then a huge smile was spread on all the 5 faces.

Priya and Payal were the female members of our group. It was hard to find a girl as adventurous as Priya. She could go to any extent to smell adventure. However, Payal was kind of simple and smart girl who knew to use her brain at the time when it was needed the most.

Having all set, we packed our bags and were ready for the adventure. It was planned that we will leave on Friday morning. We had enough food for the weekend and a camping kit. Asit brought his father’s newly bought XUV and it was the perfect ride for our adventure.

“So what exactly is this place”, I asked Raghav. He was the one who suggested us this strange place named Gujmani, a place near his maternal grandfather’s village, Bukaani. It was 230 km from our place. “It is a place which was always described by my mom’s grandfather”, Raghav seemed excited while describing it. “I am yet not sure about the truth behind the story but it will be awesome if we find that the story is true.”

Asit was a bit sceptical because if the story turned out to be false, we could find ourselves having wasted a preciously huge weekend. But we had no other choice as we had already discussed over all the other places, so we moved on.

After 4 hours of drive, we were almost there. I found a board named “Bukaani” showing an arrow directing towards right. “So, we are near your mom’s village. Where to go now?” I asked Raghav, as I was on the driving seat now.

It was 9 in the morning. There was almost no traffic and we encountered just a few cars on the way. Raghav looked out of the window and directed us towards left, “This way.” I noticed a very narrow road between the dense trees going inside. The highway roadside barricades were absent from that part giving just enough space for a car to pass.

“Are you sure we can go in?” I was not sure if we can take our XUV inside. But Raghav seemed to know this place. He was confident, “Just go ahead.” I looked behind. Asit, Priya and Payal were almost asleep on the back seat. I thought for a while and then turned left. Our car disappeared in the forest alongside the highway.

The GPS panel fitted on the car dashboard was showing that we were nowhere. I couldn’t find Gujmani on my GPS tracker. Raghav said, it is a place truly unexplored as it is not officially a village. It was devastated long ago and only a handful of people were left there. It was dense forest with plethora of wild animals. So people avoided to live there. Our XUV was going on a narrow but clean piece of raw road. Thankfully the rainy season was still away, otherwise this road could turn into a swamp. The road was wide enough to accommodate our vehicle and in case we encounter someone coming from the other side, we could be stuck there. But Raghav was assured that we will find nobody there at that time.

After about 4 kms of dirty drive, we entered a less dense forest and a clear road wider than the previous road. Raghav was excited to see his childhood place and directed me towards a small gate. I was amazed to find a gate there. It meant people lived in this area which almost looked haunted. Raghav went out of the vehicle and shouted to call someone. Asit, Priya and Payal woke up by this noise. We saw an old man opening the gate. Raghav came back and seated again. We drove inside.

It was a nice farmhouse skirted by high fence. We were given nice village food and proper arrangements were made for our stay as Raghav already informed his uncle about our visit. We were delighted.

Raghav told us that he had visited this farmhouse only once in his life as his mother did not allow him to go to that place. He visited this place in his summer vacations but was not allowed to roam around. It was because this area had a waterfall in which many village kids were drowned or killed by wild animals. But now he was grown up and was free to follow his will. He told us that we will start for the waterfall in the afternoon. He was quite excited to explore the place from which he was always kept away.

In the afternoon, we started in our XUV to explore the waterfall. A person from Raghav’s village accompanied us. His name was “Sarju” and he had strict instructions from Raghav’s uncle to stick with us all the time. He seemed a fearless man and he was quite familiar with the area. He was not quite happy with our idea to explore this place in the evening. But it was necessary to check if the story about this place was true or not because as per the story every night, the waterfall was visited by some of the rare species of animals found in the forest. Our plan was to observe them while hiding in some safe place.

Our XUV was running slow due to bumpy road. The forest was quite dense and unpredictable and we were not sure where we will have to leave our vehicle as the way was becoming narrower. After half an hour of drive, we heard the noise of waterfall. Suddenly the forest ended and we were in an open rocky area with an awesome waterfall in our front. We all rushed out of our XUV. “What a beautiful place it was!!!”

We did not understand why this beautiful waterfall was so dangerous. Then we came to know the reality. When we went forward, we found that it was just the tip of the iceberg. This water was actually going down and there was a waterfall which was falling hundreds of feet down from where we were standing. We were stunned. We could not see the end of this waterfall. It was the time for the real adventure. We were ready to go down.

We all wore our trekking gears and started climbing down towards the waterfall. There seemed no other way as the waterfall was surrounded by dense forest from two sides and in any case, we had to climb down as we could not see any direct slope going down. We were going down parallel to the falling waterfall. Sarju was very comfortable while climbing and was moving ahead to guide us.

“Lalla, we should not be here at this time. It can be dangerous. This place is full of wild animals and if we confront them, no one will come for the rescue.” Sarju spoke for the first time. We all were thrilled by listening to this. But instead of being afraid, we became more excited to reach down as soon as possible. Sarju was not afraid. He seemed to be worried about us. It was very dangerous to go down as there were some trees emerging out of the cracks in the rock and a few had snakes surrounded on them. We were assured by Sarju that they were non-poisonous snakes quite abundant in that area.

After 2 hours, we were finally at the bottom. What an awesome place it was! Clean water falling down from such a height. It was truly beautiful. We set up our tents on the side of the river and played in falling water for some time. Sarju was trying to be near us and seemed ready for any upcoming danger. It was getting dark now. We had our night vision binoculars to observe the other side of the river. Sarju told us not to lit campfire as it may scare away the animals. We all hid in our camps with the night vision binoculars on our eyes.

After an hour, we finally saw something rare. A family of leopard visited the river. They were the rarest breed of white leopard and lived in the densest part of the forest. We were watching three fully grown leopards drinking water and playing around the river. It seemed that this river marked the boundary of the forest and they did not go the other side. Suddenly the leopards became uneasy and in a few minutes they left the place growling scarily. Our eyes widened with fear as well as adventure. It was a lion. We could not believe that we were sitting inside a tent in a forest and watching one of the most dangerous animals of the world from just another side of the river. We were hardly 30 feet away from the lion.

Suddenly Priya screamed. We all looked back. She was jumping with fear and pain. There was something around her leg. We switched on our flash lights to find a huge snake surrounding her leg. Its teeth were dug in her leg. We all were badly scared now. Sarju immediately jumped and tried to pull the snake. But the snake had badly drilled its teeth in the flesh and was not ready to leave. It seemed Priya unknowingly stepped on the snake and it attacked her. Finally Sarju got successful in getting the snake by its neck and threw it away in water. Priya’s leg was bleeding. Sarju ran in the forest. We immediately comforted Priya. Payal started cleaning her wound. But Priya was getting unconscious.

Just then, Sarju appeared from nowhere. He brought some plant leaves. He crushed them and put the paste of the leaves on the wound. We brought our first aid kit and dressed her wound. After a few minutes, Priya regained her consciousness.

In all this mess, we forgot that there were wild animals on the other side of the river. Suddenly we heard a roar from behind us. As we turned back, our faces got numb. Three giant white leopards were standing just a few feet away. We realized that we were going to die. There was no way fighting those animals even though we outnumbered them. Clearly, they were more powerful and fast. As we could think of something, Sarju made a banging sound by his stick and threw a few packets in the shallow water stored in small gaps along the river side. They immediately burned with bright light and made some sound. This scared the leopards.

Sarju told us to leave immediately and we ran towards the rocks and started climbing. Sarju was behind us and he lit a piece of cloth and attached it to his stick, scaring the leopards with fire. Priya was not well and we were holding her and climbing as fast as we could. We reached the top in an hour. Asit reached the top first. He ran towards the XUV and ignited the engine. We also ran towards the XUV, opened the doors and jumped inside it. Sarju was left behind scaring the leopards. We locked the XUV from inside waiting for Sarju.

Suddenly a leopard jumped on the XUV and started scratching the wind screen. We all screamed with fear. Suddenly a stick came and hit it and the leopard fell from the vehicle. Sarju was running towards us with no defence. We immediately opened the door and got him in. He was badly injured. We, then, drove towards the farmhouse.

Finally on reaching the farmhouse, we felt a bit of comfort. Priya and Sarju were immediately sent to hospital. We spent the rest of the weekend and the following week in the hospital. Priya recovered soon however Sarju took some time to recover. We were feeling guilty for putting Sarju in such a dangerous situation just for the sake of our adventure.

It was an incredible experience of our life where we almost lost our lives and survived by a slight chance. We could not plan another weekend adventure trip for a long time.

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Finally, its Mysore…

Mysore PalaceMysore. Yes, it’s Mysore. I like this place a lot and luckily I am going to spend some more time here. After the completion of my training, I got posted in Infosys Mysore DC. It was joyful because I have spent a good time during my training here, and I could still enjoy being here. But, at that time I didn’t realize how hard is to say good bye to all the people, whom I didn’t even know before I came here, but who are not strangers to me anymore. They are my best buddies with whom I have lived a new life here, in Mysore. It is amazing that in such a short time, we made strong bonds.

Out of 600 people in our batch, a whopping 33% got Chennai, about 16.67% got Bangalore, 25% got Pune, 8.5% got Chandigarh and remaining got Hyderabad, Bhubaneshwar, Mangalore and Trivandrum. Only 0.2% got posted in Mysore. I was happy to be here, but at the same time, it was too hard to say good bye to all the remaining 99.8% people. But finally, they all went to their destined places.

Each one of us got their new life, but now we are no more trainees. It feels like we are no more students. During training, the environment here makes you feel like a student, though here you are getting paid for being one. We enjoyed roaming around the campus at nights, doing limitless photography of almost every part of campus, dancing endlessly on DJ nights, eating bread jam while sitting on streets on New Year night, getting crazy when India won the World Cup, studying in GEC till late nights and many more moments which have been embarked on our hearts for our entire life.

This training time, turned us from nerds to professionals. We learned how to be responsible. A lot of good habits became a part of our lives like not littering our surroundings, walking on footpaths, walking long distances without vehicles, keeping things properly, dressing up professionally etc. These things became the part of our lives without even our knowledge. A few weeks back, I went to market and was unable to throw an empty bottle because I didn’t find a dustbin in the way. When I came to campus and threw the bottle in the dustbin, then I realized that I was carrying it with me. It becomes the mindset.

However there are also some bad habits which I got here. Many times outside campus, when somewhere I go to washroom to wash hands, I put my hands below tap and wait for the water to come itself. Then I realize, oh, its not Infy. When I go to collect some ticket or buy something, I stand in a queue where I notice people running haphazardly to get their chance first. Again, I realize, I am outside the campus. Many times in restaurants, when I complete my food, I pick my plates to drop in washing area, but suddenly I come to know that I am not inside the campus. It happens in many cases and these things remind me of the great life we have inside the campus.

With those memories, today when I walk around this campus, it feels good to be a part of those times. All my buddies have settled in their new places. Wherever we go, the things we learnt here, the memories we made here, the life we lived here, all of them are indispensable. These are sweet memories which will remain in our hearts forever.