Ladakh Again

After several months of planning and itineary preparation we set out for our third consecutive trip to Ladakh. 

We started on July 8 morning from Chandigarh and returned on July 18 2017. This trip was shortest of the past two trips.

Biking on roads at high altitudes is something we have got accustomed to. We face no major health issues and when it comes to speed and control of our bikes, we have got better, every passing year. 

Key highlights of the trip were:

A. We did not follow the itinerary strictly. We ventured onto Zanskar Sumdo road but after covering some 30 km we decided to return. We did not reach Krugiak. The roads are bad but worst was that the area was deserted with no tourists at all. I had personally expected some pleasant weather and landscape that were different from the usual Ladakh landscape.

B. We did stop at Keylong when I realized that I had left my wallet at a dhaba in Marhi- enroute Rohtang pass. Thanks for the cooperative policeman who helped us trace it and then instruct his colleagues at Marhi police station to keep it safe till I we returned.

C. It did not rain en-route this year and despite being at high altitudes it was unusually very hot- may be we were comparing our experience to last year same period.

D. We experienced rains in Leh for the first time. Khardungla was closed on the day we planned to head to Nubra Valley. Further, Shyok river was flooded and not safe for biking. We dropped the plan to head towards Nubra Valley and via Shyok to Tso Moriri lake. 

E. We spent lot of time on recording videos of the moments unlike in last two years when I atleast focused on taking pics.

F. All three of us left our belongings couple of times. Lucky to find them back though.

G. We had two friends joining us at Leh.

H. Breakfast paid by Imran was one of the best I had in sometime. Fell in love with oats porridge mixed with pieces of banana and sprinkled liquid chocolate.

I. Mohsin was much fitter compared to last year.

J. Aditya had gained weight. Further, was more confident while riding his bike. Though he kept missing Sunil – his fellow rider from last year.

K. We promised not to return back to Ladakh and if we did not go beyond Leh to Pangong lake and or Nubra Valley. 

L. We split with Swati and she decided to return from Sarchu.

M. I wanted to find sometime alone and focus on few things I would have loved to but could not do so.

N. Aditya had his raincoat tangled in rear spricket of his bike and Mohsin was lucky not to get hurt while helping Aditya pull his bike out of a rough patch on muddy road with loose gravels and water overflowing. 

O. Main market of Leh is a place to spend good time. We did justice to this time. We tried Punjabi Tadka, Brazil Cafe and Ladakh-Yeti cafe.

P. Walking for some 30 minutes post a full day of ride is very relaxing.

Q. When it comes to riding at high altitudes limit the ride to max 100 km per day.

R. Was enlightened about Israel and its citizens by Khursheed.

S. We may do North east and or Bhutan next year. 


“WE” – Mohsin, Aditya, Jaspal

“Two friends”- Aatif and Khursheed

Next steps with Data Visualization skills

I have been spending a lot of time watching videos and Ted talks on ‘data visualization’.
The constraint of not trying anything new – except a few mountains with sun shining above and a stream flowing from within the mountains towards plains; max a boat could be added with a few birds in flight- in ‘drawing’ as a subject in my childhood reflects on my poor visualization skills. 

I was getting carried away by a thought- if I have a good data visualization software, I can do a great job at visualization. This was true till today morning when after watching a Ted talk on data visualization, I decided to instead focus on data sets that I intend to collect and then try understanding it better. Representing them using a software comes later.

So start with I intend to capture the word count of my blog posts since 2006. And then may be use of some positive or negative adjectives. 

Now, I believe having a story to share and share it sooner.

Debt and Decisions

Some 5 years back, my investment advisor addressed my dilemma to build personal assets, savings etc. but asked me to create a liability first. This was quite logical and I am being a finance professional had been raising debt for companies that was at least twice their own equity in the business.

In 2012, I heeded to the advise and raised a home and a personal loan. I used the money to buy a house. With this decision the incremental outflow was going to be 45% of my monthly income. I sensed pressure on cash flows for first few months.

I stopped checking my bank account frequently. Passed on the responsibility of managing the household expenses to my spouse. I diverted my attention to other details in life as if saving money was a foregone thought. I did have moments of fear and helplessness. I exploited my credit card limits to meet my urgent needs of cash and in repayment made the issuing bank double its profits.

Today, after 5-year repayment, I decided to sell the property and foreclose the debt. This will give me the needed cash inflow to create liquid asset that has no corresponding liability to meet. However, no wealth created in process.

The main reason for not creating wealth is lack of discipline. I have come to believe its only self to be responsible for decisions.

Learnings from my daughter

The ease with which my younger daughter transitions into new environment, new roles and new responsibilities is commendable.

I have seen her spending more time with tasks she is not comfortable or at par with others. She may have defined some target. I am not aware of the same.

I personally avoid tasks that I am not good at, justifying the same as ‘priortizing’ on what I am good at or rationalizing under pretext of limited time and resources. 

I will be attempting to observe her more keenly and try mastering some of her traits for rest of my life.

‘Free’ @Work

Busy like a bee’, I was trying my best to find solutions to problems that if implemented well could have resulted in a measurable impact.
I am talking about my last decade at work. I was drawing comfort from being busy. Somewhere in the whole process of execution missed the ‘output’. An output that is measurable, significant and will last forever.

I realized that I was busy because I was doing so many different things at the same time. I was swinging between tasks of interviewing, financial management, reporting and replying to random calls from my boss. I was missing the focus on what I should be doing and what I should not. Given the quantum and diverse nature of tasks, there was very little I could delegate.

Then a realization crept in. I was taking comfort in accomplishing tasks, including very tactical ones that demanded more time. Could I consider delegation some with focus limited to following up on progress? Could I be a little better at prioritizing the ones that created a direct and significant impact?

Then I got acquainted to ‘prioritization’. Okay I was at least able to decide what to do first among the routine checklist of some 20-25 tasks. I had by now, in five years, filled more than six regular notes diaries at work. I was using more than one in a year although each one had more than 365 blank pages.

Then gradually, I had a sense of withdrawal from the whole process of writing and executing. I could see colleagues moving across office space casually, sipping coffee, talking, long walks post lunch, etc. I was having a feeling of an assistant to all who came to me for advice, direction and decision. IUnclear sentence was reminding them or following-up (“uskaMore…(“USA kyaKya’sKya hua?,More…human? , ussMore…uses koMore…know waiseMore…wise he karMore…Karl raheMore…rather ho?,ho?ho, wo time se karMore…Karl lena?)Lena?)

Tools like workspace, workchat orTools like workspace, work chat or Trello were not at disposal. I wondered if they could help. I wondered if I was planning to delegate and forget. Am I trying to draw comfort from the fact that the task has been assigned and now a trail of record of same on online tools suffices my stance?

I am realizing that attention span is equally important when it comes to execution of a task or a strategy. Prioritization alone does not help.

So when I decide to be ‘free’ at work, it’s for the sake of focusing and prioritizing with up most attention span. Not for long walks post lunch or chats with colleagues who serve no purpose.