Sunday, January 24, 2016

Day 24

I failed to update the blog for several days in a row as I was not feeling well. But I'm better now and so will resume the exercise, and hopefully starting tomorrow also study more and have more to report in my daily posts. But for today, I have no such productive work to report.

I've been thinking lately of ways to return to India. When I first moved here, I was pretty clear I wanted to come back. In five years, I told everyone, I'll be back. It's been three and a half years now, and I'm beginning to think how best to script the return. What will I do once I'm back there? 

One option that figures highly in my mind is to run a book shop. Why? Basically because I can see myself doing that for the long haul, without worrying too much about why I'm doing this. That's not entirely true though - there is, if I be totally honest, a latent conceit of intelligence in me, that makes me ask this question to myself a lot: "you could have done this with far less intelligence and skills than you possess, so aren't you wasting your talents doing this?" Partly, it is true, for running a bookshop needs not great smarts, but mostly, it is just conceited, for I imagine I am so much more intelligent. I have to confess I do harbor these ideas, even if somewhere I know they are crazy. All said, I can still see myself doing that for a long time, just because I think I enjoy being surrounded by books. In any case, if I do decide to follow it, I still have to save aggressively over the next couple of years to be able to set it up.

Another option is to work in the social sector. That work can be meaningful, yes, so that box is checked, and there is enough scope to be creative so that you're not left thinking you're doing dumb work. The rub here is it pays peanuts. So either I save so much over the next one and a half years, that I'll get by fine anyway, or do it in a way that pays enough for me to afford rent and a car and petrol, other than of course food and AC. How how how.

The third option is to go back and work for some investment bank in Mumbai or Bangalore - money will be decent, yes - but it would score so low on the meaningfulness front that I would be sure to question the point of moving back. If I had to do this anyway, why wouldn't I do this in the US while taking in much more money, with much better convenience of daily living, and much higher opportunities for making it big? So yeah, this option is pretty much ruled out.

A fourth option is to work on a start-up. India is growing, I have the coding skills, some ideas, so why not try it out. The only rub here is the risk of losing everything accumulated thus far. This option is exciting, but is it too late? I'm almost 30, will probably add dependents pretty soon, so do I want to take the risk? In a way, this goes back to the social sector option - as long as I'm able to save a fortune in the next couple of years, maybe I can do that, but again, how how how.

In the end, every option will have its share of rubs, and it will come down to which of the rubs I'm willing to take for the upside bearing those rubs might afford. I think about it everyday. Maybe one day soon I'll wake up with the answer. Till then, one thing seems clear: for as long as I am here, I need to earn aggressively, and I need to save more.


  1. Playing teacher was a common game but I don't know if other kids also did this; I often imagined myself as a bookshop owner as a child. I would setup all books in the house and have imaginary conversations with imaginary people about books. My mom appreciated this very much since it meant I routinely discovered new books to read, I dusted the old books and re-arranged them.

    In middle school I genuinely envied the librarian. We used to have mandatory library classes, I think twice a week. Every student was required to borrow a book from the library for two weeks. I would get my friends to borrow books I wanted to read because I think we weren't allowed to borrow more than two books per week. But I read really sad classics those days like Tess of d'urbervilles or Grape of Wrath, both of which scarred me for days. :/

    You can always do the social thing on the side while having a decent bit of impact. For the greater part of 2014, work to me felt more meaningful because of the unpaid work I was doing.

    Closer to 30 is a great time to jump into the start up scene. Setting it up is much tougher though - finding the right people especially.

    I really really really hope you choose meaningful work over anything else. I have been struggling with that for a few years now. All the very best!

    @Abhineet, you should consider adding a dependent too. Btw, I interviewed someone at Google today who is based out of Goa and she lamented on her sad life there. Such disillusionment. :/

    Well, for now I am trying to earn and spend aggressively. Btw Sushant, plan for a trip to India in mid feb or early April.

    1. I envied the librarian too! I used to think it is a good show for a job while your real job is writing your own books. When I found out the Philip Larkin was a librarian, I was, like, duh uh.

      Yeah, I hope I find meaningful work too. I've started waking up at 5 and voluntarily teaching quantitative finance to people in our Gurgaon office who have to deal with the grunt work. So that's nice, even if my hours could be a little better (time difference means that 5-7AM is the only time that can possibly work for both me and the taught).

      I've been wanting to visit, hoping April can work. It would help if by then my parents can find some girl for me to meet with that soothes my superficial side.

  2. "The roaring of the wind is my wife and the Stars through the window pane are my Children. I do not live in this world alone but in a thousand worlds." - John Keats

    Let me know if your parents fail to introduce you to a suitable girl, which I am pretty sure they won't. You are invited with a +1 for April.