Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans

Not quite as Mr. Lennon had put it, but pretty darn close. I would like to believe that where I am today is based solely on choices, decisions and their consequences and practical responses to external stimuli, but chance occurrings have had their day-in-the-sun, in my life. Case in point: How I met my wife.

I have no business of ending up in Minnesota. I mean, if someone would have asked me where I saw myself in 10 years – when I was 16 (after 10th grade), when I was 18 (12th grade) or 22 (completed engineering) [various ‘life-changing decision points’ of someone coming from the Indian middle class] – ‘settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota’ wouldn’t even be in the list of things I could have thought. Heck, I couldn’t place Minnesota on a map till 2004. Not that I have anything against Minneapolis. To the contrary, it is probably one of the best cities to settle in (and raise a family -> future). It is not too big like New York or Chicago/not too small, relatively crime free, one of the best level of lifestyle for the buck. In fact, for the last 3 years, 3 different suburbs of Minneapolis has been ‘selected’ as the “Best Places to Live” in by CNNMoney – 2010, 2009, 2008. The only ‘negative’ is the snow and cold. To me that has not been a problem, and this argument goes down the drain when you consider that the New England region and entire mid-West has similar weather.

So how did I end up here? A short story, through a combination of the opportunities presented by life (or ‘fate’, if you would) and my reaction to those choices. My answer to every aunt and uncle and relative strangers asking “Boro hoye ki hobe?” (what will you be when you grow up) had always been an unequivocal “fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force”. Even after clearing the Combined Defence Services (CDS) examination, the Services Selection Board (SSB) and acing the Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) I was, evidently, not selected. You see, I have a congenital ‘disorder’ – knock knees. That is, when I stand upright with my heels touching, with the toes of each foot pointing away from each other, my knees touch. According to the IAF, they shouldn’t. Apparently, this is a big enough condition to automatically disqualify a candidate on medical grounds.

With this out of the way (and my family heaving a collective sigh of relief) and armed with a degree in engineering, I landed up with a job at Infosys. Applying for a job and sitting for a written exam, were conscious decisions that I made. Lady Luck didn’t have a part to play in me getting the job (I hope!), but it sure had a hand in next step. I was assigned to the Capital Markets division, posted to Chennai and then allocated to a project for the Ameriprise account. I was not consulted on, did not have any inputs and had absolutely no part in any of the stages in the prior sentence. The rest, as they say, is history. Being with the account in offshore for over 2 years, I was ‘sent onsite’ to work in the Ameriprise headquarters – downtown Minneapolis. I landed here in January 2007.

That’s one part of the story. My wife Vivian, on the other hand – or the other side of the globe – was born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA [Factoid: Since she is born in the UP, she is a Yooper]. Her parents moved to Duluth, Minnesota when she was barely a year old. After completing her high school in Duluth, she did her Bachelor’s in Math from Wisconsin. In 2005, she moved to the The Cities for work.

Ok, so some way we have contrived to be the same city, at the same time, even when we were born almost 7500 miles apart. We ‘met’ online in November 2007, and met in person after a week’s exchange of mails and IMs. The rest, as I say, is our-story. We got engaged after 6 months and we had our wedding 3 months later.

Categories: We | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans

  1. Nice story!
    To think that you and A. almost ended up in the same place!
    And thanks for the link!

  2. Argha

    When u sit back and reflect and see what course life has taken…its pretty amazing actually. Leaves you wondering why are we planning every move so meticulously.

  3. Neha Arya

    I love the narrative..this is the most endearing, honest, open and articulate post. I hope Lady Luck or her daughter Miss Fortune never place their foot into this story. I am truly grateful to whatever powers whether fate or chance that brought you and Vivian di together because I could not have asked for a better I already had the best elder brother…

  4. Vivian

    I’m definitely glad you landed here. Can’t imagine my life any other way!

  5. Dinesh

    Hey Tt, I really like the true story, though I wonder when can one write….
    I mean with my job requiring me to write and read helluva lot throughout the day, somehow I have not been able to text in about any part of my life … of course you know there is an interesting story there… well may be someday I will get around to it…

    • Hey, that would really be something – do get around to do it soon! I guess it’s the first step which is the hardest. My suggestion is to have a Word doc open and just put in sentences as and when you think about them. Then at the end of the week, take some time out and compile/edit.

    • Yes, I for sure want to know that. Come to think of it, we’ve never ever heard of it.

  6. Very interesting about the knock knees. I knew I could never be a pilot cause I wore glasses and was tall for my age. And yes, looking back, I never would imagine an Indian, who grew up in Zambia, comes to NC for University, and marries an American!

    • Steve Barrera

      Life is not predetermined. There is really no reason to think that you will know what will happen 25 years from now.

  7. Love in London

    Nice to read a man’s perspective in the blog world of mixed relationships! I know all about the Yooper as I grew up in SE Michigan. Such a funny way in which the world works and brings people together from all over the world.

  8. Steve Barrera

    What online site did you meet on?

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