Tuesday, June 30, 2015


It's funny - the occasions on which I get reminded to update my blog when other people mention theirs. Still, a quarterly update doesn't sound bad enough, considering the delays in the past.

A number of positives have happened since the last update, i.e. March 17th. My last 48-hr Delhi dash eventually got (over)loaded with Cricket. It was an absolute pleasure to turn up for the Annual Xavier's vs. Michael's cricket match on 22nd March. After having failed to win it on two previous occasions, it was an absolute please to win the shield and turn in a Man of The Match performance at the IIT Delhi grounds. Sharing a few happy memories from the game here for my non existent readers and the future me:

Back to Hyderabad and that was when I put one final thrust into my job hunt. It had been a good 6 months of feeling like a square peg in a round hole at my previous employer's office and I was determined to redeem myself before I allowed my CV and intelligence to worsen any further. Got rejected by HSBC on my birthday but barely a week after that, things turned for good and by 15th April, I had an offer for a role and company I had been trying for since the final sem of my MBA - March 2014! Incidentally, I had just had my last (of a long series) of heated arguments with my 
then manager barely 48 hrs before putting my papers in.

I've never been the one to pick fight with someone (esp. in the professional world) but then, I've never taken a backward step either when people try to mess around. Professional, cultured managers (all employees, for that matter) have the courtesy and ability to diffuse tension through a calm dialogue but when someone tries to stamp his authority over you by raising his voice, it is only just to talk back and match his tone. That was one moment from my short 4-yr professional career that I'd put down as "most satisfying".
Keeping the grievances aside, I'm absolutely loving my time at the new job that I have. Colleagues here were generous enough to give a clear cut outline about the assignments lined up to me and allayed all my concerns. This is the kind of role I was looking forward to when I opted out of my MBA placements and decided to find something on my own in Hyderabad and it feels like the moment of redemption has finally arrived. Finding decent company for lunch in office is the only problem that has persisted from my previous job but that has more to do with my reluctance to be part of large groups (and end up wasting time) than anything else. Hopefully it won't be long before I find it.

As an icing on the cake, I got in touch with the people who coordinate cricket and chess in my new office so co-curricular activities should get rolling soon.

Now that things are moving on the right track (touchwood), it's about time I started working on my cooking. I never felt the need to learn it in a decade of staying away from home but when you mess up cooking rice (yes, plain, uncomplicated RICE!), a SWOT analysis is mandatory. Hoping to post improved news really soon!

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 legs and/or 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 clock 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 at 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!