Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fun weekend ahead

Having spent the best part of the past decade away from my family members, the thought of spending time with them after months is all that is required to cheer me up. The period from 2005 to 2012 was distributed across Manipal, Mysore and Hyderabad - with a semi annual trip to home being my only solace.

Enjoyable as the engineering days in Manipal were, having a month long semester break was enough to recharge my batteries for the next semester. Fast forward to 2009 when I moved to Mysore to join Infosys for a 6 month training - there was no question of getting a week off in that period and the initial plan of sneaking in a short trip to Delhi before reporting to my Hyderabad posting didn't materialize, as it would have robbed me of the "travel reimbursement" worth Rs. 2000 (Yes, 2000 were more valuable in those days!).

For the next 3 years spending a week at home every 4-6 months was the norm. And now, I've to compress that weekly time off into a weekend. Websites like these do make house hunting easier in a new city but then, nothing like home!

Though any day off at home, away from the usual office chaos is wonderful, here's my description of what my ideal day at home is like:

The drawing room is my ideal spot, as it provides the perfect balance. A sofa to sit/stretch on, a TV right in front and a center table to place my laptop on. All the auxiliaries such as charging point for laptop and mobile are within an arm's distance. It sets things up ideally to follow sport, have conversation with family members, play with my little nephew and keep an eye on the main door. To add to it, it is conveniently close to the kitchen which makes it easier for the screams for food be heard and acknowledged. Menu is already decided and the odd trip to the market to get raw materials for it is a small price to pay for the eventual outcome.

Typically, the day starts at around 9 am when all the family members have been awake for a while and I get the occasional luxury of sleeping till late. Newspapers have been placed at their usual place and that is one time I really feel like reading newspapers (can't explain how much I miss Hindustan Times here in Hyderabad). As the clocks inches towards 10:30, my mother's patience starts running out and the initial requests to freshen up eventually turn into an order. Those are the times an otherwise punctual person like me loves to alter his eating habits and enjoys the silence in the absence of continuous phone calls, e - mails and meetings.

The short, 2 day Delhi trip planned coming weekend promises to bring about more of such moments. And yes, throw in a bit of cricket on Saturday/Sunday morning and things cannot get better!

Friday, March 13, 2015

E - Commerce: What's the limit?

Looking at the way e-commerce has invaded our lives, you often sit back and wonder what the limit is? Is it all a short lived boom, the peak before a threatening low? Or is it just the tip of the iceberg? A small step towards a world of endless possibilities?

I still remember placing my first order online. It was the year 2010 and the order was for a non expensive book (prior to that I was the beneficiary of a free copy of Chetan Bhagat's Revolution 2020 - but that shouldn't count). Since then, the trust has grown and till now I've bought pen drives, shoes, t shirts, travel bags and what not. I went the extra mile two years back when I "tried" a website for the first time by ordering a Nexus 4 (and trusting them to deliver it all the way to Delhi from Dayton, Ohio) in March 2013. 

Yes, it took me few more months to convince my father that these e-commerce websites are not planning to run away with money paid in advance and by now I think he is also fairly convinced about them being genuine. 

Having influenced the way we buy books, headphones, pen drives, cameras, television sets, accessories, clothing, insurance, clothing, food, etc, e-commerce has found a way to break the real estate entry barrier too. In the past decade I've stayed in 5 different cities and it has involved considerable online search for accommodation. A number of sites started offering real estate search as an "add on" but housing.com seems to be the first one determined to make real estate search its core competency. For someone like me, accommodation is more than just a place to sleep. Hence, having a look at the place I am going to consider living at is of utmost importance. This is where housing website comes in handy, as you get to have a look at the pictures of the room along with other details. Nothing like going all the way to see a flat based on a post on some website - only to find it nothing more than a dustbin. 

If I give out the impression of being too choosy, picture this:
I moved into a flat one fine Sunday evening and left it voluntarily by Wednesday. The reason: filth! It's perfectly OK to move into your room and find stuff lying here and there - left behind by the previous occupant. As I would anyways have done, I decided to clean it up myself and that is when the decision to move out asap was rooted. There was no broom in the house! I went the extra mile (literally, as the nearest shop selling broom was a km away) to get a broom and clean up the room. Next day, I came to know that contrary to what I was told (maid is on leave), there was no maid! Apparently, the maid who "used to come once" had taken a break a month back (I totally understood why) and never returned. And, not surprisingly, none of the inmates considered talking to another one. The knowledge that one person couldn't recall the other person's name (and that the latch to the main door had been broken ages ago without being considered worth getting repaired) shut off whatever room I had for adjustment and here I am - in a hygienic flat with a maid, kitchen and a door knob that works!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

If you want to finish, START!

As usual, the harder you try to update your blog, the more difficult it becomes to actually do it. It has been quite a journey - since the latter half of 2014 and it continues being so. Once you leave a "safe" job and decide to pursue MBA, you do not want to be in a situation where your course has ended, you are unemployed. That was never the plan. Yet, as it turned out - that was precisely the situation I was in. Yes, it had a lot to do with me being "too choosy" for the next job but then, the decision to ignore a number of companies visiting the campus had been based on what I wanted from my future job.

Come August 2014 and I was ready with my bags to play out the script I had written two years back - to return to Hyderabad and work. However, it came with a small twist in the tale - there was no job!

From then to now, I am six months into a job position that I wanted. The phase wasn't easy but then, easy and success don't get along well. Optimism has been one trait that stood out during this period. There were weeks of lull, a few interviews here and there and those unbearable "we'll get back to you" responses from HR representatives. Finally, it all got settled within 48 hours and it reinstated my belief in the age old adage "when it's your time, it's your time". 

Getting a job brought with it another set of headaches - rather pleasant ones - of relocating and house hunting. This housing website did help out a lot but then, no website can guarantee you the behavior of your prospective flatmates. For someone who is used to staying in a safe, hygienic, non "typical bachelor" environment, it is a bit too much to take if the flat you shift into is devoid of the services of a broom (and consequently a maid) and a latch on the main entrance! To add to my bewilderment, one of the inmates had a tough time recalling the name of the other one (this, after spending an year in the same flat). That was the time when I decided to end my 50 hour ordeal in that flat and moved to where I'm residing now. A flat which has a latch on the main door and where people do not fail in recalling the names of other flatmates. 

Life has kept improving in the past 6 months - bit by bit - one thing at a time. I am not entirely where I wanted but I'm getting there. After all, I'd have happily taken this position in June 2014. Hopefully the next update would be once I get there.