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Is it me or does time travel faster as I get older? 2011 is gone already! However, it was largely significant. I hung up my boots on Corporate life for the 2nd time this Jan for multiple reasons personal and otherwise. I took some time off before I got together with an ex-colleague to start a Telecom Research & Advisory firm – Convergence Catalyst in August. The name embodies the concept of Convergence in the Technology and personal gadgets front and my long standing fascination with respect to how technology from today (that was a big deal a few years back but we take for granted today) has far reaching impacts on our every day lives. I also managed a few high quality trips doing wildlife photography through the year (would have liked to have managed more but am not complaining). Here is a look back at how this year flew by..

January 2011

I closed off my Gurgaon stint with a homely get together at Abhishek & Praneeta’s place. I returned back to Bangalore from my Corporate job in time for Pongal (which I spent in Salem). I did steal a couple of trips to the Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary in Jan before I headed back. I signed up for a Nilgiris birding trip in end Jan with Toehold. We visited Bandipur on our way up to the Nilgiris, spent a few days birding there and stayed in Masinagudi on our way back. I managed some decent images of the Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher and the Nilgiri Flycatcher.

This Gray Headed Canary Flycatcher kept flying on and off this branch & I made that fleeting eye contact on one occasion

February 2011

This month was all about Kartik & Keerthu’s wedding. All I can say is that it was one big affair. I managed to steal a day to Valparai after the reception. A day filled with amazing sightings. I did not manage a trip back until the end of the year (Dec 27).

Keerthu & Karthik after the reception. The wedding photographer took some lovely portraits. We managed one of the family too.

The highly endangered Lion Tailed Macaque are only found in the Western Ghats.

March 2011

I visited Kodi to see Thambu for a couple of days. Managed a few decent landscape shots and sighted the Gray breasted Laughing Thrush among others – a Western Ghats endemic. I managed a Kabini Trip towards the end of March with Jayanth & Giri of Toehold. As Jungle Lodges is almost always sold out, Toehold is a great option. Toehold is a travel & photography company with a difference – they have also been offering some exotic locations over time and these folks are going to do extremely well. I managed some great closeups of the leopard finally!

Mornings in Kodi offers such exemplary views.

Kabini is THE destination in India for sighting leopards.

 April 2011

We spent a few days at BR Hills on our way to Coimbatore to drop off the kids. We stayed at Gorukana, a lovely resort run by the Soligas. While the sightings were slim, we had a great time at the resort. Towards the end of the month, we packed the kids to Hong Kong to see Disneyland. We spent a couple of days at the Disneyland resort hotel and spent the rest of the week at the Hyatt at Kowloon. Needless to say, the kids had a blast!

The kids at Disneyland

Hong Kong from Victoria Peak is breathtaking!

May 2011

We spent Kirin’s birthday in Coimbatore along with a lot of his cousins. I managed some decent portraits of the kids.

Cousins get together for Kirin's 12th birthday

Kirin & Kavya got exposed to their first CSK match. Seen here with Vidya athai having a gala time at the stadium.

June 2011

June was a quiet month. We had a Motoparty in Bangalore. I met Ranga briefly in Yercaud. Jayanth & I started planning our new venture.

Thanks to Shetty. Motorola get togethers continue to happen across the country!

July 2011

July was the time Jayanth & I got serious about starting off and there were more intense discussions on what we should be doing. This was the month Convergence Catalyst was born after multiple walks in neighborhood lakes.

Our logo. After many iterations, arrived at both the name & logo.

August 2011

We did paperwork for registering Convergence Catalyst. It was my school reunion – met some of my classmates after 25+ years! It was also amma’s birthday and we spent it with her in Salem.

SRSHSS. We called our old staff met them in our school. An emotional day for our teachers. I spent my 9th - 12th grade here. There were all so proud of us. Why not? My class produced 12 doctors & 22 engineers! And I paid less than a US dollar/year as fees.

Sitting L-R: Me, Rukku athai, Radha chitti, amma, Siva. Vidya & Steve are standing.

September 2011

Jayanth landed our first project with a PE firm and most of September went towards delivery of that project. Soon after, I boarded a flight in Mumbai to Nairobi to head to the Masai Mara with Kalyan Varma. What a dream trip it was! Exotic species sightings at leisure to our heart’s content. We saw everything – hunting, grazing, eating, mating, sleeping, feeding ..  but missed the Great Migration unfortunately. No regrets as I know that I will be back at Mara. Came back with a ton of pics – put these up in various places selectively. Family and some friends got my personal journal!

Masai Giraffes necking

More Mara pics can be found here (Facebook link) & here (500px)

October 2011

We started doing trips on behalf of work! Kavya got a bicycle for her birthday and we spent her birthday in Salem with grandparents. A bunch of 30 something crazed guys went to a Metallica show at 11 AM for a 8pm concert. Moral – older guys like me should never tag along. The energy was truly unbelievable though 🙂

Kavya with malathi, Rukku & Raji patti

A sea of people - present for one thing only - the Music! What energy!

November 2011

Convergence Catalyst released the first and most comprehensive report on the Tablet Ecosystem in India. Available for download here. I spent most of this month in Salem with amma.

December 2011

We closed this year by spending Xmas week in Salem. I stole a day trip to Valparai and we spent a night in Yercaud with Jayanth/Mona & Bala/Srimoyee. New Year’s was at home – away from the madness.

Rounding off the year at the Skywalk in Yercaud

Here is wishing everyone a fantastic 2012! I sincerely mean it. Hoping that one and all see & experience wonderful things.

Dedication: My heartfelt condolences to my friend Tamilvanan who lost his wife Lucy on Jan 1, 2012. Lucy was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in Feb 2011 and went through most of 2011 with chemo treament. Unfortunately her strong will to survive could not outlast the disease. I pray for Tamil & kids to be strong through these really hard times. May Lucy’s soul rest in peace.


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