Saturday, March 11, 2006

Spring is here!!!!

Am sitting outside my door...Its 12:30 am CST ...and there's a cool breeze blowing...yipeee...spring is here ....Couldn't wait to see the winter pass away....have done some interesting things since the last post....actually interesting or not depends on your point of view....read all the Tintin comics from my library and quite a few of the Asterix as well...the comics really takes me back to my childhood. Those carefree days...but as it is with all things in life...all good things come to an end...so my next target is reading all the Asterix comics. On a serious note, I also plan to read 'The Google Story' - my housemate has given his thumbs up for that...so will do that in the coming weeks. Other than satisfy my 'comic' urges...I treated my car to a great wax rub down...and its looking as good as new.
Heard Dubya was in India and it was really interesting too see the Indian government pull off the nuclear deal. Our dear neighbors felt that they deserved the same deal as well...yeah tough luck...with guys like AQ Khan helping countries like Iran and Libya - it was never going to happen. The funny thing about our neighbors is that their attitude in the whole power game is like a spoilt brat who wants everything that the big brother gets. They make it a point to have the Kashmir issue as the top agenda in meetings of every top ranking diplomat traveling abroad or with any top ranking diplomat traveling to that country. Dubya made it to ISB - that must not have gone well within the power corridors of the IIM's. Was it the global reach of ISB - going by the folks on the ISB board, it is virtually the who's who of the global academic world - or was it the sheer diplomacy by the government of Andhra Pradesh, we will never know. I am sure it was once in a life time opportunity for the guys at ISB:)
Have been following two great television shows on abc - Lost and Desperate Housewives. Lost tells a story of a group of people who find themselves on a deserted island after a plane crash and Desperate Housewives talks about 4 housewives and their daily lives. Both of them at the opposite ends of the my viewing spectrum but great fun nevertheless as it grips you throughout.
Read another interesting article on the web version of TOI - office romances and affairs. The long hours in office ( especially in the BPO industry) forces people to sacrifice their normal personal lives and temptations are strong to jump headlong into relationships. Not sure if that is a right thing - will leave that to one's inner consciousness but do they really care about the lives they wreck in the process. Interesting food for thought....
Well I can see some roaches (yeah they are here in the US as well - and they seem uglier than the ones in India) , making a beeline towards me...so I will wrap this post and say good night. Will sign off with an interesting line I read today - Being happy is totally under one's control. No one can initiate that process except you. Parents, wives or partners can contribute to that process but never initiate it ... I agree ...do you?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

2005 in a nutshell

Its been one hell of a year - literally , I have been to hell and back - to sum it, 2005 was not a good year at all. From a professional point of view, I guess I am ok - am there where I want to be but my personal life has taken a beating. I am in the US and I am doing good - enjoying what I am doing but when I ask myself if I am happy - I am most definitely unhappy. I have seen life very closely in the past 7 months and I can't even fathom the complication life holds for each one of us. Life holds so many surprises that I wanna shout from the rooftop that I don't want any more surprises - I want to lead a normal life. I have been emotionally weak and haven't been able to take strong decisions affecting my personal goals and causing unimaginable pain to those around me.
In the midst of all this emotional trauma was a brightspot - when I went to CA for Christmas. My batchmates from my training batch turned up and we had a gala time going to Napa Valley and the San Francisco downtown. Needless to say, we did the regular touristy stuff - Golden Gate, Crooked St etc - and the regular booze sessions reliving our training days. Coming back to the other bleak months of 2005, I guess I am still searching for answers as to why my life turned upside down forcing me to run away from everything.
So hopefully 2006 is a bright year and makes amends for the lousy 2005. One new year resolution that springs to my mind is to be more punctual at blogging. So am starting off 2006 with a small post with many more to follow. 2006 is definitely my year :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Swimming Lessons

I finally did the unthinkable (at least for me!!) - I am learning how to swim. I have this horrible fear of drowning that I never had the courage to take up swimming. This fear has stemmed from seeing a close friend of mine drowning on a trip to Lonavala. I have even resisted from venturing into beaches at exotic locations purely from this fear. Well you guessed it - I am the person who takes care of clothes, wallets , glares, u-name-it while everyone had a good swim on the beach!!!
My debut was nothing short of a flop show. Firstly it was the embarrassment of walking around in my trunks - god knows it is not a pretty sight. Secondly, the feeling that the world is slipping away beneath me as I got into the pool. We were supposed to walk in the pool to get a feel of it - I definitely got more than a feel - nearly toppled in the water so much so that I nearly cried out 'HELP' . Thankfully, I regained my balance and continued my walk. Next we had to inhale air in and exhale the air under water. The first time, I had water in my nose, mouth and ears. I thought I was going to die. Nevertheless, today was a different story. I took to the water like a fish takes to the water. The coach taught us some new strokes and hopefully in a few weeks, I will be able to swim like a fish as well. Well, after this I am planning to have a go at adventure sports as well. I guess you will never conquer fear till you try it!!
The pool is great to look at and to be in - not to mention the crowd. It has cost me Rs 800 per month but I guess it is worth every paisa. Secondly it is a stone's throw away from my home. So till I drown - will keep the posts coming in!!

Friday, April 08, 2005

...Trip to the US Visa Office, Pune

It's that time of the year when the senior management in my organization dangles the onsite carrot to the employees. This time it is the US of A - the original land of milk and honey for us Indians at least!! Since my H1 was not stamped, I had to take an appointment at the US Visa Office for the stamping at the US Consulate, Mumbai. The sweet lady in the HR department gave me all the relevant letters ( at least I thought so!!) and asked me to go the Visa Office very early as the line became really long in a short while. She also passed a seemingly innocuous comment that some agents come as early as midnight and camp outside the office - the gates open at 8am.
The innocent comment made by the HR lady had me reaching the office at 5:30 am. There was no one in sight and so, I woke up the sleep chowkidhar and asked him where the line would be. He sounded irritated and in a gruff tone said that I was the first. Cool , I thought to myself - I can get out of this place as soon as it opens. I was pretty sure that within minutes the line would be real long. For nearly two hours I had mean looking street dogs and the irritated chowkidhar for company. The HR lady had got her facts absolutely wrong!! The line only starts at 7:30am. Anyways, the next half hour gave me a chance to observe a wide spectrum of personalities.
At 8 the US Visa Office guard came down and started inspecting my documents. To my dismay, he said xerox copies of my passport were required and those were missing. The lady from HR was no longer sweet - she should have told me to carry them !!! In India, shops open at 9am and I would have to be real lucky to find a xerox shop open so early. I had no option but to move out of line and hunt for a xerox shop. After 10 minutes of walking and enquiring a million times, I spied on a half open shutter which had the words 'XEROX' emblazoned on it in bold. The sleepy owner asked me to come back later as he had to do his puja. I tried to reason with him saying that this was very important and finally he relented. I had already lost 25 minutes and when I reached the Visa Office, my worst fears were confirmed. The line had swollen to around 30 and there was no way I could get in. I decided to give it one more try though and approached the guard. To my surprise, he let me in - god bless him. I was nearly 20th in line after being the 1st for nearly two and half hours.
The officers in the office were polite and helpful and I got an appointment date for the 14th June. This is a perfect date from my perspective - allows me to tie up lots of things here in India. So I should have a stamped H1 on 14th June - I hope. USA here I come, once again :)

Thursday, March 31, 2005

...A wide range of topics

From getting an ISB reject mail to a great budget to Bad Man's antics to Pakistan winning the 3rd test, it has been quite a while since I blogged. The ISB reject was a heart breaker. I thought I had made it but the adcom apparenty had other ideas and thus went my dream into a black hole. Well, I am a forever-optimist; so I am gonna give that a shot next year.

When I really think about why they did not pick me over the others - I think the word is introspect or retrospect-, I am forced to believe that admission into a great B-school like ISB hinges on the score one gets in the GMAT - the test for most B-schools. I think this is a trifle unfair. What about other qualities like leadership potential, diversity, academics??? My GMAT was not great - I agree- but what about my other qualities which would make me a good fit in a Bschool?? Well , this has been debated and no one really knows the answer - not even the Bschool adcom. So as someone has said - If you cannot fight 'em join 'em. This means preparing for my GMAT and getting past the magic figure of 700. Tough, I would say but what the hell I wanna be an ISB-ian.

Kudos to Mr Chidambaram for the budget. He has lived upto the expectations of most of us. There would always be a handful of ranters and ravers - like the fracas on 0.1% on Rs 10,000 cash withdrawals. Firstly, I am not sure how it would curb black money - people who indulge in it would rather keep it at home or invest it in real estate. Secondly, for the large extent of the population (middle class), Rs 10000 withdrawals is not an everyday affair - so why the hullaboo??? From a personal point of view, the 1 lakh deduction of your taxable income if you invest that much in saving schemes would mean that lesser TDS being cut by my company and hence more take-home for me.

Let's move on to the Bad Man's antics. I hardly care about why he did it, if he has done it before, what was the intention of India TV etc. I guess it has not surprised me in the least and I for one strongly believe that the casting couch exists big time in Bollywood. Why should you or me have a problem with it?? Two individuals have consented to have sex - why they are doing it is their problem and concern?? Lets assume if SK was not as big a star as he is now , would India TV be interested in his propositioning. If that were the case, why dont they train their hidden cameras to Kamthipura or Sonagachi. They would find that happening every single minute. I think this is a larger problem where both sides are at fault. India TV, in the guise of investigative journalism, resorts to sensationalism to hike its TRP's. SK, with his ugly looking facade, should realise that propositioning is not really in these days. But what the hell, I enjoyed the episode and would not mind a scoop on a really really big star in the future.

Sachin Tendulkar, the legend went into a shell on the last day of the 3rd and final test. What was he trying to do?? For all his genuis, he came a cropper on the last day. I strongly believe that he is now playing to immortalise himself in cricket. When a tail ender like Kumble can drive Kaneria and Sami with aplomb, I am sure the rest of the batsmen could have done better. But in the end,it was test of nerves and we fared poorly. Going into the one-day series, the Pakis have definitely an edge over India and this could set the tone for the rest of the series.

Will sign off now and I will try and be regular where bloggin is concerned.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

From a village called Apsley to a city called Brighton....

The weekend came and went just as I was beginning to enjoy myself at Brighton. I have stayed in Brighton for a year and when I compare it with Apsley, the former is heaven. I think its comparing Mumbai and some lazy town in India. So after a long wait at Victoria to get the right connections, I chugged slowly into Preston Park to reach Saurabh's house. Well, I was not surprised, there was already a booze party going on!!! Had a great time catching up on old times and having Bud. The next day we picked up Arun from his house - 11 Preston Grange - my favorite haunt last year - and went to the town center. I am not sure why Indian cities do not have this concept. Had a whale of a time there and back to Arun's house to have excellent Chicken Biriyani - courtesy Saurabh and Arun. These guys can easily have an alternative source of income - cooking - when they get bored of software!! Pradeep also stays with Saurabh and has excellent astro skills - I bothered him to tell me my future and hope whatever he says comes out true :) Well, I forgot to mention the other highlight of the weekend - I got an interview call from Indian School of Business (ISB) - an MBA is something which I always wanted and the interview is on the 13th in Mumbai. I am leaving for India today taking back some work with me totaling upto quite a lot of money for MBT :D:D In hindsight, this visit ( 4 weeks) passed of quickly and hope to be back here soon!!!

Adios
J

Sunday, January 30, 2005

...Of Glenfidich and Egg Curry

Friday night was an absolute blast. Deepesh came back from Coventry and we made him open a brand new Glenfidich Scotch Whisky which he had bought to take it to India. Meanwhile I had the egg curry and a bit of chicken curry ready and waiting to be savored. We had put on RainCoat as well but it turned out to be a downer. I followed it initially, but Glenfidich and my roomy's oneliner had my attention somewhere else. What is it with liquor?? I think this is the best fix for happiness. I slept blissfully till 10 am and after lunch we went to Heathrow to see off Deepesh. Now, Heathrow is a place which one could easily mistake for Mumbai airport. With the enormous number of travelers from Asia, I discovered it is also a place where one can see extremely pretty Paki girls :) The bliss was shortlived and had to return back soon. Monday seems promising on the work front with some key resourcing decisions to be taken. Catch you soon!!

Friday, January 28, 2005

BT Westside, Apsley, London

Today was indeed a super day. I created my blogspot and my boss came in to review my work here. One of those rare occasions when I was ready for him. Yesterday, I went off for a meeting to Ipswich - Adastral Park. Met some of my old friends - Newman, Kapil , Mulla . Newman took me to a party straight from the station and it was boozy night for well...the rest of the night. Got up with a splitting headache and cursed myself for drinking so much. But then , such are the ways of this world :). Nice excuse rt? Well today seems to be promising as well. Deepesh is coming back from Coventry and he is leaving for India tomorrow - which means he would wanna treat us - how can I say no?? Watch out for my exploits over the weekend in my next blog.

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