The Path

Reading REAL manga by Takehiko Inoue always makes me nostalgic - wondering about what my path is, and how it will all connect, or if it will connect for me. 

For as long as I can remember, I have fond memories of being on the internet. It started with visits to my uncle's cyber cafe. I used to be stuck there for hours and hours, playing games on Miniclip.

Then I had a clunky computer with an MTNL connection - oh, the frustration of using that.

Now, as a web developer, I get to build this internet. So what if it's not some exotic career and everybody is doing it? This is my path, and frankly, I don't know what else to do.

The past month has been stressful, to say the least - all the cold calling for interviews and the rejections. But this is the path for me. Maybe my luck has run out. Maybe the market is down, but I have to keep moving forward.

Moving forward with resilience, positive intent, and honesty. Why give up on the world just yet and resort to shady ways? Move with honesty, assume good intent, and let's try to be a little more optimistic. Let's listen to my intuition a little more. So what if I fail? At least it will be a decision of my own.

(Note to self: I don't need to justify myself to others all the time. Stay true to yourself.)

The Day I Got Fired

My friend suggested I use "laid off," but "fired" has a nice ring to it. More dramatic. So, going with "fired."

29th March 2023, I made my way to Connaught Place to work. The sun was shining bright, and I regretted not bringing my sunglasses. Working from home had grown tiresome, so I decided to head to Blue Tokai for a change of pace. I had been there once before, and I remembered the fast internet, delicious coffee, and filling paneer tikka sandwich. As we worked, I told my girlfriend that we should work from the cafe more often. It was all going well. Save for the seat adjacent to us with a pretentious holier-than-thou jhola boy with one equally obnoxious cult-fit clad pseudo fitness enthusiast chirping off the most cringe-worthy gibberish I have had the misfortune to hear.

I had less work to do in the last week, mostly making small UI improvements. Not many substantial changes, which made me a little worried, to be honest. Rumors of layoffs were circulating. One of the more prominent ones was a mysterious WhatsApp forward that claimed Unacademy leadership had prepared a list of people to lay off. Add to that my manager's cryptic advice to work on my problem-solving skills in the last 1-on-1. My suspicion had grown because of this but I still had a flicker of hope that it won't come to. But I knew - we all knew that it will happen someday. With no VC funding and razor-sharp focus on profitability - it was inevitable. We were all deadmen waiting for our turn to take the rope. 

Anyway, on the day I was working on the "end class" confirmation modal among other things. I completed the UI and started testing. When I finished testing and I clicked on the "end class" - it felt like an omen. I kid you not. I distinctly remember that moment - even now after two months. 

Nothing happened immediately but as the day went by - I received a message on Slack. The VP of engineering informed the channel to stop all deployments to production. It all but cemented my doubts. The metaphorical nail in the coffin. To top it off - it started raining. God has a sense of humor. It was the first of many unusual showers to bless/curse Delhi. 

On my way back home, I listened to old Hindi songs, and the lyrics made more sense for some reason. The shuffle was getting the right songs. The situation was dramatic, and I was blabbering corny shit, adding fuel to the fire. My poor girlfriend tried to console me.

Now, I was just waiting for the formal communication, and it felt long. The next morning, all of us teammates got on a call. Everyone was a little shaken. There were moments of silence between the talking and half-joking. We ended the call, and I had lunch. Then, I got a message from HR asking if we could get on a call. There it was, my moment of doom. My heart skipped a beat, immediately followed by resignation to fate. She droned on and said how sorry she was. I told her it wasn't her fault, and it was done. 

Gone. UN5259 signed off.

goals and all that jazz

the encounter

In late 2022 - I started taking dance classes. Enjoyed it quite a bit and vowed to do more dancing next year. 2023 - first two weeks in - all good. But then one day - I stumbled upon people playing volleyball in the park. Young, old, and middle-aged - characters from all age groups. My eyes were fixated. I was itching to play. I used to play in school. My hands remembered. They were full of sensations. But I didn't know these folks. I mustered up some courage and asked if I can join in. A chubby bear-faced uncle welcomed me in. I started playing. It was a great feeling. Sport is amazing. Deserves a separate blog post. But coming back to the point - I started playing volleyball after dance class for a bit. But it was hard to do both. I was faced with a choice. Should I continue dancing or play volleyball?

the shift

Learning to dance was a goal. A long pending one. A resolution for 2023. But volleyball came in. I enjoyed both - volleyball more. And part of my plan for 2023 went for a toss. Now, this might seem like a small thing. Not really a major life decision. But it made me contemplate how little control we have over what the future has in store for us.


You are so sure of the thing that you are doing. You can't imagine yourself doing something else. You become confident and set up goals for the future. Life happens. And you are doing a completely new thing. Is having goals useless? Some people say you should have themes instead of specific goals. Some rally for systems. I have mixed feelings. I feel the specificity of goals helps. It's easier to get complacent with broad themes. But at the same time - life is so uncertain. Achieving the exact thing you set out for may not always be feasible. But without goals - it's easier to just wander aimlessly until one day life catches up to us. I guess we can have both. A general theme and specific goals. Caution with goals is to assess the current situation and make changes. Or give them up entirely for new ones. But again - not necessary that the new thing you choose will be better. Tradeoffs. I guess what we need is contentment. Acceptance that things will not always go the way we want them to but that shouldn't stop us from trying. Yin yang. I feel like emphasizing that trying is very important. But mere trying is not enough. How to try better?

awareness and reflection

Two things come to my mind - building awareness and reflection. How to build awareness? I find meditation to be the most effective solution. At least on a day-to-day basis. When you meditate regularly - you notice things. There is a delay in your reactions. It really helps. 

Now meditating builds reflection as well. But we need to remember our patterns to reflect. Nothing like writing for this. Mental checkpoints of what, why and how of things we did. You can get insight into your behaviour, your patterns, your ticks. So, yeah theme for this year is to meditate and write more. Have set some specific goals as well. Let's see how it turns out.



The other day I was watching IPL (T20 Cricket League) - the biggest event in India. The best and hottest brands line up for an ad spot during the overs. I was curious to see the ads. Interestingly - even more than the match itself. Maybe because the match wasn't that interesting. There was the novelty factor in play as well.  And of course, they are brilliantly executed by top executives from IIM and the like earning crores.

Not really a surprise but it did make me feel poignant that almost all of the ads were around gambling and debt. The remaining slot was taken by gluttony and speed. It's kind of representative of how life has become. It's no longer slow and human. A little hesitant to use the word human because whatever we do is natural isn't it? It kind of makes me wonder where we are headed as a generation and as a nation. Debt and gluttony. Runs contrary with the whole idea of you first need to work for it and then get it. 

On permanence

Permanence is what prompted me to buy a subscription ($5/month) to this blog even though my writing habit and financial status caution otherwise. There is something about permanence that compels - perhaps it's the negation of human nature. The fact that we are mortal makes us yearn for something permanent.