Year in review 2016

With so many things squeezed into just one year, I found it an interesting idea to retrospect 2016. So I jotted a couple of major events that happened in this year.

Year of marriages

2016 started by attending marriages of friends (read:jigri dost) and family. Banka’s marriage was a perfect marwari wedding with all the grand decorations, sumptuous clothing, desi food, marwari dialect, sangeet, dance by friends and family, nagada and all other pre-wedding/wedding/post-wedding rituals. Being a marwari, I could connect to almost everything and felt home. In all marriages, there is one group in guy’s side who makes the maximum noise, dances till the floor breaks, doesn’t let the baraat move, and gets the title of dulhe ke dost. We bagged it here and we were supposed to, after all it was the first wedding in our group.

Dulha dulhan

Couples taps on the dance floor

Group pics with the charming duo

All of us with the bridegroom

Followed by that was the wedding of my lovely cousin. Sleepless nights, lots of work, even more fun, dance, hospitality of guests and of course food is how I would sum up Kajal’s marriage. The happiest part for me was that my grandmother was able to see marriage of one of her granddaughter.

The couple will all jijus and didis

When the cousins gang up 😉

That was followed by Arpita’s marriage. It was really one of the most special marriage I ever attended. I learnt that you just need your family members (who matter), friends (best ones) and a small place to have a perfect celebration.

Woh dekho uda le gaya apni Bitti ko !

Bride with besties

Dulhan ka swagat

Couple with the gang

Then there were some other weddings which I really wanted to attend but happen to miss. Anil (roomy), Akhil Bhiwal and Poddar, I know what I missed but do not worry we will catch up soon aur ekdum zoro ki party karenge \o/

Year of travel

Travel was one of the main highlight of 2016. Explored really quite at a many places round the year. North-eastern part of India was my starting point. We covered Siliguri ->Darjeeling -> Gangtok -> Lachung . It was the first time that I got a chance to play with snow (it was maaaaaaarvellous) . One could easily spot the joy on my face. I have travelled to many places in India but it was the first time that I was travelling to this region of India. Cleanliness all around, simple living, polite and friendly people could easily be spotted all over. We explored a lot of local delicacies and local drinks (like tongba). The overall experience was surreal and an unforgettable one.

Tongba – the famous local drink

Isn’t this lovely 🙂

The famous monastery

Muhavare

Bapu

Barf ka khela

Maal road wala chauraha

After this, my friends in Singapore planned a trip to Cambodia. UNESCO world heritage site, Angkor wat, is a lovely and must visit destination here. Greatest epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana were inscribed on the walls in the form of pictures.

Angkor Wat

We all at the airport

With a gap of couple of months, I went on a business trip to Zurich. This gave me an opportunity to travel around four countries in Europe – Switzerland, Hungary, Vienna and Czech Republic. It was my first solo trip. Plans were made just made on the spot, found new travelling partners daily, enjoyed the scenic beauty, explored local food, music, culture,  and so much. More than anything else I learnt a lot about myself – what things I am good at, for what all things I rely on my friends and family, how much I can bear myself and so many other questions. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it was one of the trips in which I made memories and experience of a lifetime.

Sunset … beautiful as always

Complete reflection

Sils Maria

With AdNovum colleagues in Budapest. Loved spending time with them.

At Lukas’s and Joyce’s home

Citadel from Bird’s view

Exploring Bern. Thanks David.

The Matterhorn

Theaterspektakel in Zurich

Close enough ?

An evening in Grindelwald

Jungfraujoch

      

Apart from these ones, I explored Indonesia and Thailand in multiple small trips.

Mount Bromo

Year of loss

I lost my amma (grandmother) in July of 2016 . It is impossible for me to express in words the pain that I went through. There were so many things I wanted to tell her, so many places I wanted to show her, so many happiness I wanted give her but just not enough time. I read a quote by Terri Guillemets and it stuck to my mind – “Over time, the hurt doesn’t hurt. Only regret does.“. One of things that I learnt after this is that if you want to say or tell someone something, do it and do it now. Now is the right time. Miss you amma babuji!

Year of friends

New friends entered to life and existing ones got more close. When I look back now, I could see that I really spent a major portion of my time in 2016 with friends and I am so glad that I did that. And the amazing part is, you mostly know who among these will remain your friends for life. Love you all muah muah !

There is no way that this pic could be made better. My favourite one :*

Bhai log

Kyunki aisi dost ke bina zindagi adhoori hai :*

Yeh bhai hai bhai mere

Ek dumdaar launda

Langotiya dost

Year of fitness

Well, it has been quite some time now since my sexiness was overflowing and it was time to streamline it a bit and gain some fitness. Gym, diet control, lots of badminton, and running really helped me. Still I am nowhere close to where I want to reach but there was an observable change.

I had never participated in a marathon before but it was always something I wanted to. So this time I participated in Standard Chartered Marathon 10km run and prepared for it with my best buddies. I must say that its preparation was more fun than the actual run. Just put on your shoes, start music and run to its tune. It was an awesome experience !

Year of teaching

I love talking to people. And in this process when we exchange ideas, there are a lot of things which I try to learn from them and sometimes give constructive feedbacks to the person. Some of those points which I tried to convey to my friends/family :-

    • Don’t get bothered by “chaar log kya kehenge”.  I also think a lot what will everyone think or say if I do this or that. But over time I have been convincing myself that it does not matter, at all ! And told many of my friends and family about it. Read this tweet by a friend of mine and I am sure that this idea will also stay with you.

    • Anything that costs you peace is too expensive. Once a friend of mine lost money and also her peace with it. After we did the math behind it we found that it just costs 1 day of her salary for which she was troubled for weeks. Obviously, it is easier said than done. But if you repeatedly tell your mind this fact then it will accept it soon.
    • Praise people in public and critique in private. This is one point over which I even have had fights with my friends and family. I strongly feel that if you want a person to improve then you should give him feedback in private but praise him in front of everyone. This will boost his/her confidence and they will value your feedback.
    • Never be afraid when you know you are right. Yet another very strong principle which I follow. You need to understand that physical strength does not imply bravery. Its the thing the mind controls. For my mind, being right is sufficient condition to be fearless.
    • Accept your mistake when you are wrong. This was surprisingly one of the hardest thing I had to tell to people. But it seems I was a bad teacher and almost all of those guys failed me here 🙁 Either they put a ‘but’ after sorry or they say it so late that it doesn’t mean anything. In either case, they were not sorry. Hope they get it someday.

Year of learning

Now this section, is a collection of some pearls (read:learnings) which my friends, family and well-wishers gifted me. Most of my learning happens from the people around me and I simply love it. Thank you – *chummi ka emoticon* *chummi ka ek aur emoticon* to you all.

  • Few people will never give up on you. I found that apart from my parents there are just a handful number of people who stand so resolutely with me that whenever I fall I do not have to look for hand to stand up again. Find/recognise these people in your life, also stand for them because these are the ones who really matter.
  • Any relation should be effortless. The ones that always require push to maintain will not last long.
  • Doing good is never a zero sum game. You will always be on the winning side. I realised that the return may be in different form from different person and much more than what you gave.
  • Being happy is a choice you need to make daily.
  • Fitness and self-grooming is so very important. Somehow I never cared about these topics before but I realised their importance and got myself started a bit in that area.
  • Always have a choice. A friend made me realise that how important it is to take decisions and have a choice. Reflecting a bit more on this showed me how much value is added to ones personality with this one simple hack. Thanks leh 😉
  • Compassion is one of the greatest quality to possess. When I go into my philosophical mode and try to search for a reason for this life, then I could just find – be happy and spread happiness. And this is only possible by having real compassion among fellow being. So go now and hug your mom, tell your dad how awesome he is, call your friend now and thank him/her for always being there, pay for coffee of a stranger and spread the word 🙂

If I look back to many more years and try to compare, then I could easily say that 2016 was one of the most happening years of my life till now. Life wasn’t boring at all, so many things happened, some new relations were made, some were left behind, so many hardships, so much success, so much fun and most importantly I lived life to fullest. And I hope that 2017 will be ever more happening, fun and would add more value to my life !

Tioman Island – Serenity redefined

Singapore had elections coming on Friday and it was time for us to plan for some trip to enjoy our long weekend. Thats how we planned for Tioman, a small island in Malaysia. The most preferred way to go to Tioman from Singapore is via ferry which could be taken at Mersing. We booked a 10 seater cab which picked us up from our home in Singapore morning 5:30 and dropped us at Mersing ferry terminal by 8:00 AM (well that was quick). The best part of hiring a cab and starting early was that there was no queue either at Singapore immigration or Malaysia checkpoint.

Start of Tioman trip

All set to start the journey to Tioman. Yay !!!

One needs to book the ferry online before-hand else it becomes a luck game. 5 of us had tickets in advance but 1 of us bought it there and he was lucky to get it easily. It was 2 hour ride and we landed on the third port of the island named Kampong Tekek. From where we took an open jeep to our resort in Juara village (Tamara Resort). If you have plans to get drunk to night then it is better to get your stock from duty free shop (so cheap lah !!!) which is just next to the port and then go to your hotel/resort. After an adventure full ride of about 25 minutes in an open jeep we reached our resort and the view was a pure bliss.

 

Beach View from resort

Beach View from resort

Yet another view beach view from restaurant

Yet another view beach view from restaurant

Tamara Resort rooms

Tamara Resort rooms (Source: Agoda.com)

Restaurant at night

Restaurant at night (Source: Agoda.com)

The whole day we chilled out at the beach. In the evening we rented out some bicycles to roam around the island at almost no cost (1~2 $ per hour).

Bicycles in Tioman

Bicycles in Tioman

Post that we spend whole of our evening having some drinks at the Juara beach. Just two beers were needed and everyone started talking philosophy of life 😀 We enjoyed the spending time together appreciating the serenity of the place.

Next day Tamara Resort organised to take us for Snorkeling to 3 different places around the island. It was a first time experience for all six of us. We were guided by a Spanish traveller, Eva, who had left all her job and had been travelling world for past 1.5 ~ 2 years. I should not miss to tell how much impressed I was to hear about her journeys, how she made a living while travelling, and many other such topics.

Going to snorkeling

Going to snorkeling … yay !!!

Coming back to snorkeling, did I mention that I do not know swimming? I did not even Google about what snorkeling is and said yes to it (how stupid … ). While we were on boat and told that five of us do not know swimming then she was like “Are you kidding me?”. But then she told that we can still do snorkeling, just we have to wear our life jackets properly and have to be near the boat. Everyone except me gathered courage to go down to the water, I was shit scared. Eva had been telling me that she would help me with snorkeling but I could not overcome my fear. Then we moved to another place to snorkel and everyone was getting down in water but I again refused to get into water. Eva insisted again and this time I put some effort and went in water. I was firmly holding rope on one hand and her hand on another and I saw a view for which neither I know how to describe nor could any camera capture that. Below picture I took from disney.com but still it is no match to the experience that we had –

Snorkeling (Source:disney.com)

Snorkeling (Source:disney.com)

It was undoubtedly one of experience which I think I would remember forever (and it was fantastic that I did not google about snorkeling and said yes to it 😉 ). Farhan Akhtar’s ZNMD poetry was the only thing that coming to my mind at point –

After thoroughly enjoying these moments we had a good lunch at the beach side post which we went to the nearby duty-free shop. We shopped some stuffs there and started to head back to our resorts. On the way back we stopped at a waterfall (yes thats what they called it … but there was hardly any water falling for some hardly any height 😛 ). Without any doubt you could skip this place 😀 😀

Tioman waterfall

Tioman waterfall with no water

And then we just relaxed in our resort that night and returned to Singapore the next day. Overall, Tioman was a simple, calm and nice place to visit. I believe travelling brings along a many learnings, some amazing experiences, couple of memories to carry along, may be some aspirations and so did this trip of ours 🙂 Looking forward to some more exciting trips in near future as well.

SSH to a machine behind NAT

SSHing to a machine behind NAT has generally been a daunting task. One of the common way that people tend to use is through forwarding a port from router on to the machine. But it is not always the case that a person has access to router configuration settings of his network. I recently stumbled upon an awesome tool named ngrok which solves this problem very elegantly. Even though this tool’s mail purpose is to take your localhost online but it has many other features out of which we will leverage one now. Let do it:

  • Download ngrok to the Linux or Mac machine you want to ssh to. You can download it from here.
  • Unzip it by going to the folder it is downloaded to and executing the following command –
    unzip ngrok.zip
  • After extracting run the following command –
    ./ngrok -proto=tcp 22

    Running the above command will take you to a screen like below –
    ngrok
    In the above screenshot we can see that port 58339 on ngrok.com is forwarded to port 22 of our Linux/Mac machine.
  • So now you are ready to SSH to your machine from some other machine. Use the following command to ssh -[code language=”bash”]
    ssh -p <nrgok_port> <local_machine_username>@ngrok.com
    [/code]Like in the case of screen shot above I need to type in the following command -[code language=”bash”]
    ssh -p 58339 myusername@ngrok.com
    [/code]

Enjoy SSHing fellas !!