2022-23 was the year I felt my life started feeling normal after the pandemic. I finally got COVID, and it thankfully wasn’t too bad. I went to the office a lot more, met a lot of my colleagues and made friends at work, travelled a bunch, and eventually stopped feeling paranoid about crowds and stopped wearing a mask.
Mussoorie and getting COVID (May 2022)
The Designer team had an offsite in Mussoorie, and I met a lot of my colleagues for the first time. It was a fun trip, and I also crashed my old team’s offsite in Dehradun on my way back.
With Sheetal and Kritika at the Savoy in Mussoorie. Kritika had only just joined Microsoft, but the three of us got COVID together (from each other?) and very quickly became friends.
After holding out for over two years, I finally got caught the big C when I got back from this trip. I was pretty horrible for about two days, and the brain fog I briefly experienced really freaked me out - but I think I escaped relatively unscathed from the experience.
Pune and Bombay IDC Reunion (June 2022)
I went to Pune to see Niharika and Nishita, and then Bombay to meet my college friends, many of whom I had not met since college abruptly sent us back home in March 2020.
At Niharika’s home and studio
Driving around Pune with Nishita and Devina
The event on campus was formally cancelled since they had a wave of COVID cases, but most people had already booked tickets so we booked a huge Airbnb for a day. The Airbnb was booked for a film shoot the next day, and the film crew had already started setting up their gear while hungover people were struggling to wake up.
Going to eat ice cream with Girish in Hiranandani
Bought a ceramic cup (August 2022)
I went for a cup exhibition at Alliance Française, and saw a tiny cup I really liked. I didn’t know what I would do with it, but I bought it on a whim. This did not seem very important at the time, but eventually came to feel like an important moment.
Moved out again (August 2022)
I moved to Noida again, this time with flatmates. I found Raunak’s tweet about looking for a 2 BHK in Noida, and based on last years wild goose chase for 1/2 BHKs I pitched moving in together in a 3 BHK. We found a place soon enough that was close to our offices, and started living at Supernova Residency.
I wanted a large workdesk, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what size of bed and table would fit best in my room. In a to-scale reproduction of my room layout in Figma, obviously.
Our door was missing a number plate when we moved in. I cut out some numbers and taped them to the door.
What sold me on my slightly small room was the glass sliding door to the balcony that brought in so much natural light. On clear days I had a beautiful view of the Noida skyline with the Yamuna below. It reminded me of Bombay. I had to eventually get thicker (less dreamy) curtains because I was getting woken up too early.
A moody photo of Raunak looking out at night
Shimla trip (September 2022)
I travelled to Shimla with my cousin Rabail and friends. I was able to spend some time with my grandparents at their house in Shimla.
I love this photo of Paarth and Ishita that felt like it could be an album cover
Diwali at Supernova (October 2022)
I hosted a Diwali party at my house. It was the first large party I’ve thrown entirely by myself (although Neel came over to help) and I felt glad to have a place of my own to call friends to.
Card games on Diwali
Saw a solar eclipse
On 25 Oct 2022 I saw the first solar eclipse I remember witnessing. It was pretty cool.
Dehradun and Mussoorie again (November 2022)
My friends Raymond, Amya, Laad and I went to Mussoorie and Dehradun. Raymond had a chance to drive his new car, and we stopped at his alma mater UPES.
Doon Doon Doon
At a chai stop on the way
Goa (December 2022)
I hate winters in Delhi. This made it easy to say yes when Mitul asked if I wanted to go to Goa for a month with her and Simran. This was an odd trip, and much of the dysfunction I was experiencing seemed to be waved away by the people there. I went with the flow of things. Perhaps a bit too much.
“It’s Goa.” - man with car parked in the middle of the road, having a leisurely chat with someone in a house nearby, completely ignoring the honking of cars piling up behind him.
My takeaway was that I unfortunately like order and predictability in my life, and finding a new cafe to work out of every day and being on the move constantly felt exhausting. I missed working at a desk with a monitor and a nice chair.
Staring at my laptop at Avalon Sunset in Anjuna
Staring at my laptop at Nanu’s Shack in Candolim
Pranav was in Goa for a work offsite and was unfortunately subjected to my terrible driving (I missed 3 turns in a row and we drove all around Panjim for no reason while listening to Gaddi Red Challenger)
Teaching (September 2022)
I was invited by the InfoEdge Centre for Entrepreneurship at Ashoka University to conduct a workshop on Rapid Prototyping in Figma as part of their Startup Ashoka program.
I also gave an online talk on Getting Started with a Career in Design for a program by Metvy Learn for people looking to get into design as a career path. I enjoy opportunities to talk about design, and looking for more teaching opportunities was one of my goals last year. I’m glad I was able to do this!
A screenshot from the talk
Got promoted and changed teams (Jan 2023)
After a year of working on Microsoft Designer, I was tired of the long hours and uncertainty that a new pre-release app brought, and I decided to switch teams internally to Microsoft Word. It’s kind of wild that I started my interest in computers with NIIT classes that taught me Word and PowerPoint and I now work on Word. I made it, ma!
“Are you convinced, Gyan? You don’t look convinced.” Photo with Amitabh and Neha during one of our many discussions.
Hyderabad for Anjan’s birthday (Feb 2023)
I hadn’t seen my friend Anjan since my last day on campus in 2020, and I took his birthday as an opportunity to go surprise him. We met after almost 3 years, and it was great to be with an old friend again. I split my time between Anjan, Prachi and Vaibhav’s houses, visited Raghav at his house, visited the Microsoft Hyderabad campus to meet Swayam and went to Mayura’s house to see her baby and have dinner. A packed trip!
Breakfast with Anjan and Raji
Prachi and Aboli at Prachi’s apartment
Having lunch at the Building 3 Cafeteria at Microsoft Hyderabad. I interned at the Hyderabad campus in 2019, and coming back felt familiar.
Birthday (March 2023)
With my friends
Charu and Kritika
Another photo of Paarth and Ishi that I really like
Things I want to do at 27
- Feel comfortable with where I am right now. I’ve felt for the past year or two that I’m not trying hard enough to achieve more, and all it’s done is made me anxious and tired. This year I will rest.
- I’ve had enough of living in Noida, and I want to live somewhere else (#SunsetOverTheYamuna)