28 November 2015

Travel: Thy Teacher

Time flew, and here we are in November, back to a lot of sleep deprivation coupled with a lot of music to cure that.
Lesson #1: Music, is curing.

Sometimes.

Few days ago while returning from a work visit, I had snoozed off with my music on, dappling between conscious & subconscious states only to be startled by Fix You through my headphones, waking the daylights out of me at 30000 feet and consequently startling the passenger next to me because I did look at him, like he had murdered me (only because the acoustics of the song were spine chilling even in my subconscious state)  
Lesson #2: For maintaining airline decorum avoid sleeping with headphones


Just like every year, there comes this defining point, whereby every event is processed in my head as Before XYZ or After XYZ, mostly defined by life altering events like travel, entrepreneurial pursuits or college admissions or university admissions, or sister’s wedding or travel, yes. Mostly, travel. And this year it was my trip to the States, defining my year. Conflicting as it is, at one point you don’t want it to end because the journey is worth awhile, on the other end, you want it to end because you know that the return can be as painful, only directly proportionate to the no. of traveled days...
Lesson #3: Travel among the many things, will give you a new set of eyes



Rushing down my memories were MBA lectures, this time, while I was watching Cirque Du Soleil in Boston. Had read so much about its productions in strategy management class, only to be awed & enthralled by the real thing. Here was a team, the most ideal team, the epitome of synergy, entrusting each other with their timing, their lives, with all those gravity defying stunts, giving their best in those 120mins because they knew better that it will take only that 1 error to change a life, yet even while trying not to do so… changing lives…
Lesson #4: Limitations of any team are only a creation of one’s imagination

Nobody can solely build a market of consumerism without customer service. Being at the heart of retail & service, Americans truly define both aspects. Even if it was the Immigration officer giving service in the form the pleasantries he exchanged (candidly apologizing to my mom for having missed her birthday just a few days ago) the people interaction is a maximized moment of truth.
Lesson #5: When in service, personalize every interaction to improve its tangibility

Visiting MIT & Harvard as a tourist made me quite introspective (not only about my common entrance  scores) but to think of these institutes especially MIT, keep its arms open to tourists, re-enforcing the country’s true vision of freedom, was pretty daunting, making the structure all the more symbolic & beautiful.
Lesson #6: Build a framework for protecting oneself, instead of letting fear change you


Now just when my sister had warned me to not lose my shit when I get to Times Square, I thought I had it all together. But once I was out of the subway, 500 meters away from Times Square, with all disregards to her, I was my restless best. With the high octane energy that no tourist at the square will deny, the blink-and-you-miss-it advertisements that were keeping the street alive… And then, like a memento, I did have my face on a giant screen for few seconds. Courtesy: Revlon, in its attempt to engage the masses with its live interactive snapshots being reflected on a huge screen. In a concrete jungle that had towering monumental buildings that I had probably seen multiple times on my favourite tv shows, this restlessness got even more aggravated on the open air bus tour.
Lesson #7: Thou must listen to sister


Broadway is overwhelming, unflinchingly entertaining, watching these multitalented-opera singers with the drama & dances that a mere mortal is exposed to, one does get this inexplicable feeling that one is now walking out of the show, enriched. Post which we caught up with my sister's friend at his NYC residence, lounging at a terrace with a spectacular view of the lit up concrete jungle, a view that I will always keep with me.
Lesson #8: No matter how inspired you are watching the Opera singers, sleep over it, just in case you think you can become one overnight


Now just when I landed in Vegas, a few hours later, my phone stopped working. Nevertheless I was oblivious to this. Such is Vegas. To add to this, Bellagio's amazing hospitality with complex level of logistics maintained for such a high occupancy hotel & a lavish buffet, an hour long waiting line seemed worth it. What I loved about Vegas, is the stark contrast between the Strip and the rest of Nevada. Both are equally breathtaking, one during the day, the other at night.  
Lesson #9: Things usually happen by design

Ofcourse I am stuck with songs that will now forever be part of my nostalgia. And the Food that I miss everyday, from Cream soda, Thai iced tea, bubble tea, kettle chips, Chipotle’s burritos, L.A Burdick’s hot chocolate, Cheesecake factory’s vanilla caramel cheesecake, Wilson Market’s banana milk, Taro shake, some Sriracha sauce on my vegan burger, & the best of all Gordon Ramsay’s gourmet style junk food & desserts, that are still filling me with regret, how do I put this, Gordon’s style, “The food was SO good! I have to travel all the way from India to eat it”
Credits to my sis & my bro-in-law & all the super hospitable Bostonians… I had the time of my life!
Lesson #10: A place can only be as good as its People

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