Dec 31, 2014

2014 in review

Coughs and sneezes
pepper rasam and kichdi
Calpol and cough syrup
honey and turmeric milk
messed up sleep and rest

The story of my last few days of 2014, with D falling sick. Before the recency effect takes over and paints a gloomy picture, I felt it's time for me to look back at some of the best moments of this year. I began this year by writing about "small wins" and it was indeed a year of multiple small wins that I collected on the way.

One of the goals I had set for myself was to venture into baking. My new microwave convection oven followed by 3 useful baking classes from LG paved the way to get a head start. Cakes, cookies, muffins and breads were baked multiple times, with different recipes and varied results. Whoever spoke about the joy of baking is indeed true. This is one hobby I look forward to invest more time in 2015, albeit in a healthy way by reducing plain flour, sugar and butter.

Talking about healthy ways of cooking, I also invested in learning the art of salad making from Nandita Iyer early this year. I wasn't too fond of salads/raw veggies earlier but now I consciously make modifications to my diet to incorporate them on a regular basis. I have also started including millets into my meals often, in place of rice/wheat.

Apart from focusing on food, I have also managed to get back into exercise much more frequently than before. The last couple of months have been a struggle though (blame it on the cold weather!) but overall, the number of days I exercised in 2014 is significantly greater than 2013 :-) Hubby dear is a big motivation in bringing about this change. Seeing him exercise everyday diligently has pushed me to a great extent.

In my 2013 review, I had stated that I want to focus more on improving my overall health. I'm glad that I have taken the necessary steps towards this direction in 2014.

The other aspect that I wanted to improve in 2014 was to incorporate reading as a regular habit. Thanks to a conscious decision of shutting down TV, I was able to grab more time in the evenings towards this habit. Yes, I have stopped watching TV since May and I can't believe how much precious time got unearthed !! Here's the list of books from my 2014 reading list.

Finished reading:
The secret letters by Robin Sharma
Hooked by Nir Eyal
Don't lose out, work out by Rujuta Diwekar
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Eat, Delete by Pooja Makhija
The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann
The art of procrastination by John Perry
Playing it my way by Sachin Tendulkar
God's own country by James Joseph
Aaraam thinai Part I by Dr.K.Sivaraman
Aaraam thinai Part II by Dr.K.Sivaraman
Ezhaam suvai by Dr.K.Sivaraman

Half-way through:
Lean Customer Development by Cindy Alvarez
Delivering happiness by Tony Hsieh
Thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman
Influence by Robert Cialdini

Apart from reading, I also focused on getting back to writing this year. Managed to write 17 posts in my personal blog and 25 posts in my work-related blog. Better than previous few years but want to keep at it more.

The last time I spoke at a public event was in 2011 at IIMB for a guest lecture on "Consumer Decision Making". Early this year, I set a target to speak in atleast one public forum. I stumbled upon "Product Camp" event by chance and added a topic "Influence of consumer motivations and behaviors on product usage". The speakers are decided by public voting and thankfully, my topic was voted the 2nd in the list. I invested significant amount of time in preparations - from structure, content, presentation layout and rehearsals before the event. The session went well and it was a great experience to speak in front of an audience after a gap of 3 years.

Motherhood and remote working can make a mom feel isolated and lonely unless she takes conscious steps towards her social life. I didn't take much effort in the previous years but in 2014, I managed to meet up with ex-colleagues from work, friends from school and college with whom I had lost touch and now reconnected, new friends with similar as well as varied interests. The efforts I have taken are still minuscule and I need to get out more often and connect with more people in real life.

One of the mini-adventures I undertook this year was to watch a movie by myself in a cinema theater. Yep, I have never done this before in my life. Swimming lessons is yet another scary adventure that I tried again this year. But dropped out after 5 classes this time (hey, it's better than 3 classes of 2009) :-( When I rejoin next year, I wouldn't be surprised if the instructor says "Oh, no! not you again". I also tried my hand at violin for a few classes but couldn't continue as I was getting severe back-aches and the timings weren't working out as well.

On the professional front, I took the independent consultant route for 6 months when I had limited bandwidth. The closer I have come to entrepreneurship so far, if I may say so. Recently, I joined MindTickle, the same startup that I consulted with, on a full time basis. It's early days in a new role, given that I have decided to take up product marketing which is a relatively new area for me. There is a lot to learn, experiment and engage in depth. I do see significant intersection between product management and product marketing and should be able to leverage my previous experiences. Hoping to learn and assimilate new ideas, make a significant impact in my role and share key take-aways/insights in my blog.

As a family, we decided that we want to take our daughter D to new places this year. "Enough of mall hopping and get started with park hopping" was our motto. We took D to various parks in Bangalore during the weekend evenings. She enjoyed playing in the play-areas while we enjoyed the fresh air. We also did picnics at Cubbon Park a couple of times and D has understood that picnic translates to us carrying lemon rice for lunch :-)

Outside Bangalore, we did a 4 day trip to Ooty and a weekend trip to Mysore and Melkote. We also did a couple of day trips - to Ghati Subramanya temple and Mekadatu. It's been 12 years since we shifted to Bangalore and we finally took the time this year to visit the Bull temple and Dodda Ganesha temple in Basavangudi. Exploring the traditional parts of the city is there in our agenda next year.

One of my friends shared with me this amazing quote on parenting -
"what you ARE speaks so loud that the kids cannot hear what you SAY". 
Healthy eating, regular exercise, working hard, connecting with people, respect towards others, caring for the environment etc - I want to set an example for my daughter in these various areas through my actions. The key realization for me in 2014 is to live a conscious life and be aware and mindful of what I do and how I spend my resources - time, energy, money and more importantly, thoughts.

Here's wishing you a very happy and meaningful new year. May your dreams, wishes, hopes and aspirations come true! Lead a conscious life!

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