Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008, welcome 2009

On the last day of the passing year, everyone starts to get into contemplative mode. Everyone starts looking forward to the New Year with high hopes. I too am no different.

2008 for me was a mixed year. I won some, I lost some.

On the career front I took an important decision to change my job. A decision prompted by frustration but one taken with lot of patience. Quitting a job that helped me learn, make friends not just at the place of work but also in the US was not an easy one. There were few who thought that it was not a wise decision on my part to do so. However, I simply followed my heart. Today when I look back and reflect, I discover that my decision was right. Today my job demands much more responsibility, lot more interaction with customers, trouble-shooting and I get a sense of achievement at the end of each working day.

On the personal front, things did not start of well. The very first month of the year made me go through some emotional turmoil but then I got over it. Sometimes things are not the way it seems to be. I learned it the hard way. This year I also realized that friends will change and you got to be ready to deal with this change. Friends who had time for you on a daily basis will get so busy that they will not be able to keep in touch with you. We got to be ready for this change. Be ready to let go. Those who really care will stick around. It does not matter how many friends you have but how many of them are there for you when it matters?

2008 was a troublesome year for the world economy and Indian economy was not immune to the global meltdown. Many lost jobs and many lost their life’s savings in stock markets. We Indians traditionally believe in saving for the future. Those who stuck to this traditional belief could cushion the blow of the drastic economic conditions. The ones who tried to live their life on the edge were the hardest hit.

Terrorism is one issue that was in the news throughout the year. Bomb blasts rocked major cities of our country. The biggest and most daring of all terrorist attacks was the 26th November to 29th November attack on Mumbai. The Mumbai terrorist attack cost us very dearly both in terms of financial loss and loss of life but the after effects of the attack has been really positive. We saw the youth of the country come out in large numbers to condemn the attack and to awaken the politicians of this country. I am sure people of this country will now be more vocal on issues affecting them.

2009, what to expect?

Will it be better than 2008? Will it fulfill all our dreams?

I personally feel that things will only get better. I see 2009 as the year that will set the ball rolling. The hard lessons we learnt in 2008 will help us make wise decisions for the future.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A wounded Mumbai awakens India

The terrorist attack that shook Mumbai on 26th of November, 2008 and one that lasted till 29th of November, 2008 may be perceived as negative by many. However, it did have some positive outcomes. It has made both, the politicians and the people of our country realize that we cannot take things for granted. I am not denying the fact that many lost their life in the process. The targeted hotels Taj and Oberoi-Trident will get renovated but life lost cannot be retrieved. Thinking about the losses will not help us move forward and create a better and safer tomorrow. We need to unite and fight not only terrorism but also corruption and all the other social evils. Simply because each social evil is linked to each other.
The positive that we can take from this ghastly incident is that the people of India have started to do things that they had long forgotten. They have started to question our politicians. The politicians too were taken by surprise when they saw this new trend. The youth who didn’t bother to listen to what the politicians have to say and did not care how the country is run took exception about irresponsible statements made by politicians. I only hope that the revived spirits of our youth would not subside with each passing day. It is very important that we continue to keep ourselves motivated to take some focused action.
What can we do to improve things in our country? I would say many things can be done if we have the will to do it. Firstly we need to realize that a secure and prosperous India is only possible if politicians, bureaucrats and anyone sitting at a responsible position is held accountable for his/her actions. We go to the market to buy stuff. We do ensure that the stuff we buy is worth the money that we are paying. Why don’t we apply the same policy when dealing with the government that collects taxes from us? We travel on roads that are full of pot-holes and the street lights are also missing at times. The construction work to develop the infrastructure is always done at a snails pace. Have we ever bothered to question why it is so? No, we haven’t. The reason we give is that we do not have time. However, in this world of electronic communication we can find ways to get connected with like minded people. Social networking sites could be used effectively to get united, spread awareness, fight corruption and raise our voices against issues that affect our society in a negative way.

These are my suggestions for a better tomorrow for every Indian:

1) Every political party has a manifesto for elections where they make tall claims of actions that they will be taking if voted to power. This manifesto should become a basis on which they should be held accountable. If they cannot fulfill commitments made in the manifesto they should be liable for legal action.

2) Any politician, bureaucrat, defence personnel, cop found guilty of corruption should immediately be brought to book. They should get severe punishment.

3) Politicians should have minimum educational qualification criteria. We cannot allow uneducated people to take charge of our country and be involved in important decision making process.

4) Judiciary should work on deadlines. You cannot allow cases to remain pending for ages. Justice delayed is justice denied.

I hope and pray for a strong, prosperous, safe and peaceful India.

Jai Hind!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mumbai wounded

26th of November, 2008 through 28th of November, 2008 terrorists rocked Mumbai. The Gateway of India became the gateway for terror. It all started on a Wednesday, a black Wednesday. Mumbai was transformed into a battle front. Images that you will associate with a war zone could be relived right here in a metro city. The Taj hotel, the Oberoi- Trident hotel, Leopold Cafe, Nariman house and CST station, all prime locations of Mumbai became the target.

Top cops, including chief of ATS Hemant Karkare, encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar and additional commissioner Ashok Kamte laid down their life fighting the terrorists in Wednesday's terror attack. Official figures confirm that 125 people are dead including 14 cops, 6 foreigners and at least 324 are injured. The actual numbers could only be higher. My heart felt commiseration to families of those killed. Terrorists even managed to hijack a police vehicle and shoot at people on Mumbai’s roads.

The politicians were quick to condemn the terrorist attacks as they always do. For them it has become a routine task now. I am sure they need not read out those statements these days. They have been making anti-terrorism statements on a regular basis after some or the other part of our country gets attacked. Even when the commandos were involved in fighting the terrorists, these thoughtless politicians decided to pay visit to the city making life difficult for the cops. I strongly condemn the Prime Minister of India, Dr. ManMohan Singh, the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, opposition leader, L.K. Advani and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for visiting the city when it was still fighting the ruthless terrorists. The cops who were concentrating their efforts in ensuring the security of the people of Mumbai had to divert their attention on VIP security for these politicians. If you cannot help at least don’t harm is what I would like to say to these politicians. You can’t provide security to the citizens of this country and make it difficult for the security agencies involved in fighting the terrorists.

I beg of these politicians to wake up and do something stringent. Afzal Guru, a terrorist sentenced to be hanged to death still lives on in the very country that he tried to attack. What more can you say of these politicians who fail to act when they need to? I guess it is only if someone from their clan gets targeted by terrorists that they will think of doing something.

I salute our cops, army & navy commandos involved in fighting the terrorists. The firemen too were fighting valiantly to douse the fire that was gulping down the Taj. They are our true heroes.

I hope lessons will be learnt and action will be taken to ensure safety and security of our country. I also hope that instead of trying to kick out our own countrymen from one city or the other because they do not originate there, our politicians would focus their attention on weeding out the terrorists from our peace loving nation.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Journey to office via the moon

I am sure the topic of this post must have baffled you. Isn’t it? If yes, then please don’t be surprised. My journey to office is nothing short of a moon mission like Chandrayaan-I (Indian Space Research Organization’s unmanned moon mission). The only noticeable difference is that mine is a manned mission.

Ride to office is a smooth one till I move off Eastern Express Highway and head towards Powai. After getting down from the flyover that crosses over the Gandhinagar junction and moving some distance, I get the feeling how the surface of the moon would be like. A moon mission will be full of surprises. You will not be sure what to expect on the moon. Similarly, my journey with my Uni (My Honda Unicorn) is also full of surprises. I spend lot of time finding the road amidst pot-holes on one of the busiest stretch in Mumbai connecting the Central suburbs to the Western suburbs. Currently the road widening project is in progress; however, what rattles me is the condition of the existing road. A road that leads to IIT Powai, one of the premier technical institutes of our country is in dire states. Loose cables lie around on the road. Pot-holes compete with each other to find out who is the big daddy out there.

I think the government is preparing citizens of Mumbai and its suburbs to take up adventure sports. We spend lot of time travelling to office and hence do not get enough time to spend on adventure sports. Our government is providing us dangerous roads so that our journey is an adventurous one. You will not know when your vehicle will hit a pot-hole. The surprise element will get you the adrenaline rush that is unparallel. Come night time and the element of risk involved increases and so does the adrenaline rush. Missing street-lights add to the difficulty level. No video game can give you the thrill. The tax payers of this country will not get better value for their money. Why go to amusement parks when you get all the amusement just travelling on the road? The traffic jam at this stretch of road ensures that you squeeze out maximum entertainment.

I express my gratitude towards the government establishment responsible for this stretch of road. I would request them to continue spending tax payer’s money in pot-hole maintenance and in ensuring that no street light functions. Any contractor found filling up pot-holes or repairing street-lights should be held accountable and severely punished.

I hope I will get to enjoy a simulated journey through the moon till I am in a position to embark on an actual moon mission someday.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ravi - The smart street kid

I had not published a post on my blog for quite sometime. I did contemplate writing about the tension created by a political party by targeting a section of society because of the state they originate from. I decided against it because I thought these politicians get too much attention than what they deserve. Also, I wanted to write something positive, something inspiring and that’s when I thought about writing about a recently watched youtube video on Orkut (a social networking site) in one of my cousin’s video collection. I could not resist myself from adding this video to my video collection too. This post and the video that I am referring to, is about Ravi - a boy who sells stuff on the street.

Now when I say that I am writing about a boy selling stuff on the street, a question will definitely arise in your mind. What is so special about a boy selling something on the streets? There are so many of them doing this across India. Yes, there may be many boys and girls across India selling stuff on the roads but I do not think there would be many like Ravi. I would suggest that you watch the YouTube videos below before you read any further:

Welcome back!

Now that you have watched these videos I am sure you will by mighty impressed with Ravi. I was impressed and inspired by him. A kid who has not been to school manages to speak so many languages. Languages like French, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Iranian and some other languages too. He learnt those many languages by listening and observing the tourists who visit Mumbai. I can’t figure out how he could have managed to learn so many languages in the process of selling stuff on the street. He started selling stuff on the road when he was a 5 year old kid. That age when kids are supposed to be in schools. He is so confident when talking to a stranger. I know the English that he is speaking in the video is not grammatically perfect. This is the very fact that I like about him. He does not care whether he is perfect. Maybe because he doesn’t know that he is making mistakes. Whatever maybe the reason, I learnt from these videos on him that it is not always important to achieve perfection in life. Sometimes just being effective is enough. He also teaches you that whatever you do, do it with conviction. The videos highlight the fact that learning need not necessarily happen within the four walls of a classroom. If you are observant and keen enough you can learn stuff by just observing things that happen around you. By saying this I do not mean that I am supporting child labor. I personally feel that this kid deserves to be educated. He who has such a good learning ability will do wonders if he gets an opportunity to get educated.

I am of the view that this guy puts a question mark on the education system that we have. Don’t you feel that we lay too much emphasis on bookish knowledge? We train our kids to mug up answers to questions and write it down during exams. Whether they have actually understood what they have learnt simply doesn’t matter. Application is not given any significance. Least attention is given to the practical side of learning. On the other hand, here is a kid who has not been to any classroom and yet manages to speak so many languages. Just look at ourselves. We would be so bothered about achieving perfection and stress ourselves out thinking about how people would react to what we say or do. Will they make fun of us? Ravi is a great example for every one of us to follow. I liked the confident manner in which he was talking. I wish someday he will make it big. His name is Ravi, which means Sun in Hindi. I truly feel it is an apt name for him. He definitely shines bright like the Sun.

I express my gratitude to
sufiwindsurfing (youtube member who uploaded the video) and youtube.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A thought provoking sms

Today I received a sms. You may ask, "What a big deal? We receive so many sms day in and day out." Right, I also receive so many sms and I forward many too. This one was sent to me by a friend and the moment I read it, I started to think about it at a deeper level. Before I proceed any further with my thoughts, let me quote that message over here.

I quote:

“When people walk away from you, let them go.
Your destiny is never tied to anybody who leaves you and it doesn’t mean that they are bad.
It means that their part in the story is over”

A simple yet thought provoking sms, isn’t it? I did forward it to my friends. One of my friends replied back and appreciated the message but also asked me a question which I quote below:

“But what about the pain and tears they leave behind. Why does destiny make us meet such people when in the end they walk away from us?”

A valid question, isn’t it? Does anyone have an answer? I didn’t and so replied to this friend stating the following:

“I wish I had the answer”

Both the original message and the reply I got from the friend whom I had forwarded it to, made me sit and ponder. I was contemplating about them when my cell phone beeped again indicating another incoming message. It was a reply to my sms and one that was even more hard-hitting. I am quoting it below:

“No one has the answer.
Nice messages give us the feel good feeling but when we face the grim realities of life we are left with questions which seldom have answers.”

This was the reply that I gave to the message above:

“Maybe certain questions need not be answered".

I sent this message because I just didn’t have an answer. I agree with my friend’s reply that the grim realities of life leave so many unanswered questions. Every person who steps in and steps out of your life leaves so many questions which seldom get answered. Why was he/she in my life for a brief moment? Why can’t good people be with you forever? This made me go back to the first message and find a one word answer to all these questions. How about a wild guess about what that word could be? Come on my friend, give it a shot. You are right, that word is:


I also feel like quoting a famous dialogue from the movie Anand which kind of sums it all up. Here it is:

“zindagi aur maut uparwale ke haath hai jahapana. Use na to aap badal sakte hai na main. Hum sab to rangmanch ki katputliya hai jinki dor uparwale ki ungliyon mein bandhi hai. Kab kaun kaise uthega, ye koi nahi bata sakta.”

It is a dialogue in the climax scene from a very old Hindi classic movie. I will just explain what it means in English.

Life and death are in the hands of God. Neither you nor I could change it. We all are puppets on the stage whose strings are tied to the fingers of God. When, who, how someone would be pulled up can never be predicted by anyone.

Though, the message in the dialogue refers to a very harsh reality surrounding the uncertainty of life and death; I could find the answer to many of my friends questions in it. No one has any control on who comes and stays in his or her life. You may try to do that. However, the fact is that no individual can control this aspect of his/her life. The best a person can do is to enjoy the moment and hope that it will continue for long bearing it in the back of the mind that actually it may not.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Uni's first day at office

Yes Uni. That is the nickname of my baby, my darling Unicorn. Today was her big day, her first day to office. She was very excited about it. She showed her excitement by roaring out loud showing her eagerness to break free. I was excited too about going to office along with her. Finally I had company. Till yesterday it was a lonely and boring journey to office. Getting an auto-rickshaw, literally begging in front of the drivers asking them to take you some place hurts. I went through this ordeal for almost a month. On top of that, getting stuck in Mumbai traffic is a nightmarish experience too. Not any more; my baby showed how elegant a dancer she is. She literally danced her way through the traffic. All big vehicles could only manage to take a pause and look with awe.

Before taking her to office, I took her to a shop, got her a new grip (handle grip) and changed the rusted number plates. After all first impression matters. She was happy with the cosmetic changes and I could figure it out in her smile. She was already neat and clean after the beauty treatment that she went through on Sunday at the maintenance workshop. I could see the difference. People just could not take their eyes of her. She didn’t show that she cared but I could sense her pride. She moved holding her chin up.

The best part of going to office with Uni is that she helps reduce my travel time by half. Also, she does not make me depend on other people. Going towards office in the evening was a crowded affair. We did not have any privacy. However, coming back from office was exactly the opposite. It was only me and her all the way and the peaceful environment of the morning. The cool breeze hitting us when we were moving added to the romance. I could ride her in top gear. It was one of the very rare occasions in city life. She too enjoyed the experience. Finally she could break free from all the restrictions. No one to block her way; she was a free bird.

I never was so enthusiastic about going to office. I guess no one in Mumbai who uses the local trains or the Mumbai roads to reach office could be. But my Uni turned things around for me. She truly is a darling!!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What is my aim?

I know my name
But do not know what in life I aim?
Is it fame?
What role do I play in life’s game?

Shall I make money and stack it in a heap?
I do not know which mountain to leap
My mind is so unclear
Hope a solution is near

Am I here to lead?
Or just part of the creed
So many worries to heed
Divine help is what I need

Fear of failure does crop
Someday success will take me to the top
The sea of uncertainty I will tide
I am not the one to hide

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Born To Win

When you do not know where you are heading
Simply keep treading

The path may not be clear
but your destination might be near

Do not fear
because God is here

The journey might be tough, but keep walking
Close your eyes open your ears when HE is talking

Follow HIS advice
because HE is so very wise

All your worries you got to share
HE is someone who HAS time to care

Do not criticize HIM for his silence
instead thank HIM for his presence

The world may think you are not right
With all your might, stand up and fight

To think you are a loser is a sin
When actually you are born to win

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friendship can be strange

Friendship can be strange. This is one relationship that does not depend on caste, creed, class, or religion. It does not depend on whether you are black or white. It also does not depend on whether you are ugly or good looking. It is not something imposed upon you. To some extent it is a matter of choice. Yet, at times you do not realize when a complete stranger becomes a best friend or may be a good friend or simply a friend.

Situations and circumstances bring you closer. You interact, share ideas, express your opinion and suddenly you realize that there is something that clicks between you. You may not be able to point out the exact date or time when you became friends. You may not realize why exactly you became friends. It is not a conscious decision or an agreement that you sign. There is no blood relation that binds you together, yet there is something that holds you together. There is no rope that ties you together yet there is an invisible knot that keeps you hitched.

There have been various instances in my life when I became friends with complete strangers. Through the internet world I made friendship with unknown people. I have never met them in person but we are good enough friends. We know what is happening in each others life. We help each other out and we do not know why we do it.

Yes, there may be people who make friendship with selfish intent. Such friendships anyways do not have life. I think it is inappropriate to use the term friendship to describe such relationships. They are simply associations. You associate with someone to serve a purpose. When the purpose is served the association ends.

Work place too helps you find friends who matter. In fact a work place is one place where friendship gets tested. When you are working you have to depend on different individuals to get your work done in a timely and efficient manner. The way individuals deal with you, helps you to classify them as friends or simply colleagues.

Next time you meet a stranger, take a pause. He/she could be a friendship waiting to happen. Hey, that does not mean you see a friend in every stranger you meet.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The priceless 100 dollars

Today, it was a special day for me. 26th of August, 2008 is a date to remember. I realized that there are things in life whose value cannot be determined in terms of money. Colleagues from client’s end for whom I have been working for almost 2 years now sent me a good-bye card along with a 100 dollars note. Yes, I am quitting the organization that I have been working for. It was a great experience working for my client with whom I could develop a good rapport.

I know it may seem silly of me to part with such great people. Logically it may seem foolish of me to do so. The fact is that I am not taking a logical decision but just following my heart [refer to my previous post……. :-)]. I am aiming to do something in my life which I would be able to do through the new firm that I am joining.

It definitely was an out of the world experience for me when I opened the goodbye card. Inside the card was a 100 dollars note and words scribbled by 4 of my friends. Words more precious than gold. It was a great moment for me which I am not able to describe through words that I know. I wish I had a very good vocabulary. This day I regret that I didn’t develop a good reading habit. It would definitely have helped to come up with big words to describe this great moment in my life.

This recognition comes solely for the work I have done. There is nothing more worthy than genuine and heart felt recognition for the work you have done. Especially when the people appreciating your work have not met you in person. This 100 dollars note symbolizes all that and more. So, it definitely has something more to it than the value it has in terms of currency.

I wish someday I would be able to meet them in person and express my gratitude towards them for all the help they had extended out to me. It was a great learning experience and the knowledge gained during the process will definitely be useful for my future.

PS: I have not used names of firms or individuals solely because I think it is not appropriate to do so without permission.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Follow your heart

I was contemplating about writing a new post on my blog but I was not sure what to write. Then I asked one of my newly found friend and someone who appreciated my blog to suggest some topics. She said, "Follow your heart". So, here I am writing about my heart felt feelings about following my heart.

Each one of us must have taken some decision in life that seemed illogical and irrational at the onset. Your intelligence may have put a question mark on that decision. Still, you decided to follow your heart. It took lot of courage to do so because friends must have ridiculed you for considering that decision. Yet, you decided that no matter what, you will do it. Then at the end you come out as a winner. You proved everyone wrong. You defied logic and yet you succeeded in achieving what you wanted to.

I strongly believe in taking decisions based on gut feeling rather than logic. Logical thinking is definitely helpful but at times it limits you. Life is full of examples where people have overcome physical disabilities to achieve great things in life. They did it because they had a heart felt desire to do so. If they would have relied on logic they would have held on to their crutches for life.

My personal experience in terms of following my heart has been good. On the work front I joined those companies which appealed to my heart. These firms may not have been well known but they helped me to create a distinct identity for myself. I took up responsibilities that logically would seem foolish but those very responsibilities helped me to learn and explore my intellect. I also realized that when I tried to analyze logically I was restricting myself to take up responsibilities based on what I have done in the past. I became sceptical about venturing into unknown territories. At the same time following my heart helped me to look beyond the horizon. I would compare logical reasoning to gravity. It would help you to keep your feet grounded. Yet, when you have to reach for the sky, you need to have wings that help you fly. Consider your gut feeling as those wings that will take you to greater heights than what you could have imagined.

My advice to everyone would be that don’t rely heavily on logic and reasoning. Yes, you do need to apply your brain in decision making. However, when your heart directs you to take a different path; don’t ignore it. Please be assured that you will not regret the decision taken by following your heart.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Independence Day - time to think and reflect

Do we give any significance to our Independence Day these days? For many of us it is just a holiday. Taking things for granted has become a way of life for many. Have we done anything for the sake of our country other than complaining about the way things are? Have we done anything to bring about a positive change in the society? It is easy to sit back on that chair and whine about things that are wrong in our country. However, it is very difficult to stand up and take action in order to set things right.

We complain about corruption and are used to saying that nothing happens in this country unless you bribe corrupt officials. These days we have got an effective tool to fight corruption. Right to Information (RTI) act is one such tool provided to us which can be used effectively to fight corruption in government offices. Internet is a great tool to connect with like-minded people. Social networking sites and blogs can help you to unite for a common cause and spread awareness. Hey, but who has got the time?

Democracy gives us the right to vote and elect people to manage our country. How many of us step out on Election Day to go out and vote? We do not do that and then complain that the politicians are not good enough. How many of us knows or cares about what happens in the parliament? I do admit that at times the politicians of our country make us feel ashamed by the way they conduct themselves in the parliament. This should not make us think that every politician is bad. Just as every cloud has a silver lining, there may be at least few politicians who do care for the country. Why not glorify them to such an extent that others look within themselves and question their integrity? It is our hard earned money that goes in the form of taxes in running our country. Is it not our duty to ensure that our money is being utilized effectively for the development of the country?

After reading what I have written so far, you may be prompted to question me as well? Has the writer of this blog done anything significant for the country before he started questioning others? The answer is no and I feel guilty about it as well. This blog of mine though is one such platform that I intend to use to change that no into a yes.

This Independence day, let us all take a pledge that we do take some initiative, no matter how small that may be to bring about a positive change in this country. If my blog ends up inspiring even one person to think and reflect, I would consider it as a small but successful initiative in playing my role for this great country.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


In life, if you wish to be successful, you should have the can do attitude. I know it is easier said than done. Personal experience has taught me that this is the attitude that will take you places. Saying yes to tasks that I had never done before helped me push myself to the limits. I used to work in a call center and was providing chat and email support to customers of our client. We did have agents who provided voice support also. However, initially neither I nor my superiors thought that I could do it.

One fine day one of the managers did come up with this suggestion that I should give it a shot. I reluctantly agreed only because I was assured of a formal training. The training started and I was enjoying it but destiny had some other plans. The client firm had a call center operating from Canada which had to stop functioning due to heavy snowfall. Prior to this, the voice agents from our office operated only in one shift and that was during our day time. Due to the adverse weather situation that existed in Canada, our voice agents were required to operate 24 hours a day. This meant 2 shifts of 12 hours each and shortage of agents also meant that I had to take up the new responsibility even before my training was completed. I decided to take the plunge with the can do attitude. I managed to do it because I had nothing at stake. Failure would not have gone against me; at the same time success would have renewed the faith in my abilities. First day, nervousness ruled but I persisted. Observing experienced agents go about with calls and trying to gradually implement their tactics helped me to deal with the situation and improve on a daily basis. Finally, I was a regular voice agent. May not be the best but definitely an effective one.

I had another experience similar to this wherein I was required to take up the responsibility for providing technical support via email and phone for a software I had no clue about. I was prompted to say yes by a voice within because of the success I experienced in the previous occasion. Like in my first experience, I started off nervously here too. However, time and patience helped me to overcome my nervousness. Also, support and guidance from my reporting manager and an ever ready to help attitude shown by a gentleman from the client’s end helped me to learn and grow. Again, I was not the best but I definitely was effective in playing the role assigned to me.

So, if negative feelings try to suppress the positive can do attitude within you, put a brave front and scare the life out of it. Believe in yourself and you will be able to do it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mumbai and Rains

Mumbai shares a love-hate relationship with rains. It can't live without it yet it can't stand it at times. Looking at this couple sitting at Marine drive enjoying the rains may lead you to believe that Mumbai rains is all about romance. It would make you think that rains make Mumbai life colorful like the seven colors of the rainbow. True, it is fun to get wet in the rains and sipping on to a hot cup of tea while chatting with friends. Walking in the rains, splashing water on each other and listening to rain songs on radio channels can all add to the fun.

However, these very rains can bring the local trains, the life line of Mumbai to a halt causing lot of inconvenience to people. The same rain that creates romantic moments could haunt people for years to come due to a nightmarish experience they had during the rains. Every monsoon there is at least one day when the rains have played spoil sport.

I personally had been through one such experience on 26th of July, 2005. I think almost every citizen of Mumbai will have a tale to tell about this day. Trains were not plying due to flooded tracks and roads were blocked due to water logging. People were either stuck in office, train, bus, private vehicles or were walking and walking in the hope that they would somehow manage to reach home. From my office at Mahalaxmi I started walking with two of my colleagues towards Byculla station to check if trains were plying. Upon realizing that trains were stranded we started walking towards Dadar. We tried to find a cab but none were available. So we continued walking and reached the Eastern Express Highway. There was water everywhere. At times the water level rose above the waist. After realizing that attempting to reach home was a futile exercise, we decided to check in the nearest hotel for availability of rooms. This decision led us to Chembur. But when the whole of Mumbai was on the streets, getting a room to spend the night was a distant reality. The exhaustion caused due to walking non stop in water, literally dragging our legs, made us feel hungry. We stepped into a restaurant and had some food. The quality of the food we had was not up to the mark but then on that day we had an appetite of an elephant. After having dinner we stepped out of the restaurant. We decided to stay put and not move any further. There was a cigarette shop (Pan Tapri) nearby which was shut. We went and sat on it for a while. The seating space available was just 4'x3' and a tin sheet was nailed on to the wooden plank below. Without even realizing all three of us were dozing off as if we were sleeping in an air-conditioned hotel room on a king size bed when actually it hardly had space for 3 people to sit comfortably.

Morning brought some hope. The rains had mellowed down and we started our journey again. Our aim was to reach Mankhurd somehow and from there we were pretty sure that we would manage to get some transportation to reach our respective homes. After walking some distance we reached Deonar and managed to get an auto-rickshaw till Mankhurd. The action did not end there. We were standing on the highway asking for lift. A dumper halted and we boarded it. Standing on a moving dumper was not easy. We had to hold on to the side walls at the back of the dumper. All the jerks caused when it was in motion were hurting our already aching body. We were standing and hoping that this torture would end very soon. After plying for some distance in the dumper, the rains that had taken a break decided to resume duty again. As dutiful soldiers in a war the rains started showering on us. This meant we had to open our umbrellas and at the same time hold on to the dumper so that we don't hurt ourselves. This was really tough. But before we lost our patience we reached Turbhe junction. We were relieved to know that the torturous journey had ended. From here the three of us moved in three different directions towards our respective homes. I happened to get a private bus going towards Kalwa, near Thane city. As soon as I reached Kalwa and stepped out of the bus, I got an auto-rickshaw to my home. Truly there is no place like home. The moment I stepped in, the first thing I did was to take a bath in warm water. This gave some relief to all the aches and pains. Next it was time for some hot tea to get rid of the cold feeling and a quick breakfast before I dived into my bed and dozed off like a cat.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Singh is King

It was a very important day for India today. The vote of confidence was pursued by the honourable Prime Minister of India Mr. ManMohan Singh in the Parliament. He won the vote of confidence with a comfortable margin. The uncertainty prevailing over the political situation in the country due to the irresponsible Left parties no longer exists. Now India could go ahead and pursue the nuclear deal.

The only regret here is the ugly situation that existed in the run up to the vote of confidence. Allegations and counter allegations of horse trading just showed how desperate the situation was for both the ruling coalition and the opposition. Yes, money would have flowed like water; incentives would have been given to lure people. However, this happens every time there is a similar situation in the parliament. I am not for or against any political party. I believe they are all in the same boat. The fact is that the nuclear deal is a necessity for the country and ManMohan Singh has taken the responsibility to ensure that the government moves forward with the formalities associated with the deal.

The Left parties who had this superiority feeling due to the control that they exerted over the government are powerless now. The nuclear deal kept them in the news for few days giving them the importance that they did not deserve. They have limited vision and no wonder their existence is limited to just few states in India. I hope they will learn something positive from this outcome and try to better understand the needs of the country. They truly need to reinvent themselves or else they will become obsolete.

The BJP too did not behave like a responsible opposition. I always used to believe that this political party was true to its claim of being a party with a difference. I am pretty sure that if the BJP would have been the ruling party, it would have pursued the nuclear deal. Right now they are opposing simply because they are in the opposition. I would have admired them if they would have played the role of a constructive opposition.

Difficulties bring out the best in you. This holds true for our Prime Minister, Mr. ManMohan Singh. He was always targeted for being soft. This time around he rose like a Phoenix from the ashes. The current political situation helped him to emerge as a strong character. He did not bog down to the pressure of the left parties.

This Singh truly is King.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Left is not right

I strongly condemn the stand taken by the left parties on the Indo-US nuclear deal. India is going through a tough economic situation due to rising inflation. This is not the time to create political unstability. However, that is what the Left parties are doing by threatening to withdraw support if the Indian government continues to pursue with the nuclear deal. Historically they have been known for being a pain to the ruling party that they support and they continue the tradition.

The Indo-US nuclear deal is seen just as a deal between India and US by the narrow-minded left parties when it actually would pave way to get rid of all the technological sanctions imposed on us by various other nuclear powers. I don't mind them opposing the US when it attacked Iraq or when they plan to take unilateral stance against Iran. But just because the foreign policies of US are not acceptable to us does not mean that we oppose everything that US does. Indian government was never supportive of US military action on Iraq. It is also not supportive of any US plan to take action against Iran. This means India has always taken an independent stance on foreign policies. It never got influenced by an outside force. I do not understand why the Left parties feel that the Indo-US nuclear deal would change the way India handles its foreign policies.

This time around Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is taking a strong stance by not getting intimidated by the Left. He could have acted tough long back. However, better late than never.
He is going ahead with the formalities of the nuclear deal with or without the support of Left parties. This is the sign of a true leader. I think even if this government falls, Manmohan Singh will still come out as a winner for being rock solid. Please do not confuse his tough stance as being autocratic or a decision taken in haste. I feel he has done everything in his capacity to ensure awareness and support for the deal. But then you cannot make someone understand if he/she is not willing to understand. This is the case with the Left parties.

I am sure the Left parties will be taught a lesson by the people of this country.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Absolute Power

What comes to your mind when you perceive a person with absolute power? Do you imagine a picture of a physically strong man or a man holding a gun? Or, do you envision a person having a position of authority due to a designation that he is holding in society?

In my view, neither of them possesses absolute power. A physically strong man will become weak with time. A man will not hold a gun till eternity. A person having a position of authority due to his designation in society will part with his designation someday. All of them will become powerless at some point of time. In other words, their power is not absolute.

Absolute power comes with knowledge. The more knowledgeable a person you are, that much more powerful you will be. Knowledge acquired stays with you throughout. The respect that you attain in life due to the knowledge you possess is unparallel. Muscle power, gun power and power acquired due to an authoritative position are like castles built from snow. They will all melt down with the first ray of the sun. However, a knowledgeable person himself shines and exudes power like the sun.

Almost every human being at some point of time aims to be a powerful person. Some try and fail in their efforts and retreat. Some take the wrong path and perish. Only a select few are successful in their attempts to attain absolute power. People who possess absolute power become immortal. They continue to inspire and lead people to light.

You may think why I am not talking about people who use the knowledge acquired for negative purposes. Do they also attain absolute power? When I say a person is knowledgeable, that means the person has awareness. A person, who is aware, will have the understanding to use it in a right way else he will perish too. So, to be very specific, absolute power is attained by someone who not only acquires knowledge but also knows to use it in a right manner.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

First Impression and Perception

Many opinions in life are formed based only on first impression. Right from a product you buy to a person you meet. Almost everything that meets your eye, you tend to form an opinion on it. How accurate are the opinions formed based on first impressions? Personal experience has taught me that first impressions don't give you a fair idea. But then, be it interviews for a job or a stranger you meet on the road, people are written off just based on the first impression you get about them.

I personally have been guilty of forming wrong perceptions about people based on first impression. I assumed them to be arrogant but they turned out to be down to earth. I perceived certain people to be introvert and they turned out to be extrovert. A calm person at work turned out to be a monster at home and vice versa. Also, I always had this perception that higher the designation that much more indifferent that person would be while dealing with people at a lower designation. Most of the times this may be true, however, I figured out that it may not always be true. There is a gentleman with whom I deal with who is at a very higher designation. You can say that we are at two extremities when it comes to designation. The first day that I spoke with him I thought he was putting up a mask so that I could feel comfortable. I was also under the impression that from the very next day he will start showing his true colors. He is a very knowledgeable person too; a strong enough reason for him to have an inflated ego. This gentleman proved me wrong with his down to earth attitude and friendly nature. Knowledgeable people tend to hold on to all the knowledge they have for the fear of losing out on the edge they have over others. However, here is one person who believes in imparting it to anyone who is curious to learn.

I am sure everyone has some experience which they could relate to in terms of first impressions. You could have been at the receiving end or it could have been you who may have perceived something wrong. You may have said to yourself, how could that person think about me on those lines? And at times you may have kicked yourself for thinking bad about someone based on what you saw or heard about that person.

I do not say that you stop forming opinion about people based on first impressions. There may be instances in life where you will not be getting another opportunity to interact with the person you are forming an opinion about. In such scenarios, you have to take decisions on what you understand from the body language and mannerisms. However, if you know for sure that you are going to get more opportunities to interact with a person, you should always keep an open mind and not be too judgemental from the onset.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

First day on my Unicorn

Today was my date with this beauty. I approached her with some apprehension. I didn't know how she will react to me. However, she was as cool as a cucumber. Hey guys, please don't worry, I am not talking about my girl friend. :-)

It was an awesome experience riding my new Honda Unicorn. It was after a long time that I was riding a bike. So I was not sure how I will fare. But from the moment I sat on it, I felt as if we were made for each other. This bike is really cool. In each gear the transition is real smooth. The mono suspension takes care of all the potholes and speed breakers.

I am waiting for the sun to rise tomorrow so that I could take my Unicorn for a long ride. Hope the rain Gods don't play spoil sport.


Monday, June 2, 2008

My dream, my bike, my Unicorn

Finally I have booked my flying machine, my own Honda Unicorn. The wait was killing. I have been putting aside my plan to own a bike for quite sometime. At least 2 years if not more. Priorities kept changing and hence the delay. But then, may be I deserved to get this beauty and so I do not regret the delay now.

Initially I was not sure about which bike to go for. Bajaj XCD was the one I had in mind till very recently. Few weeks back one of my friends suggested going for the Honda Unicorn. Another friend of mine informed me that he had already booked the latest Honda Unicorn and that it is a good bike. I was not that keen though to go for it. Then on 31st of May, 2008, I went to a Honda showroom in order to get a close glimpse of this beauty. It was love at first sight. A damn cool bike. Aesthetically designed and technologically superior too.

Today I went and booked it. However, the delivery will be delayed. It will take another 20 days for me to lay hands on the flying machine. I desperately hope that it does not go beyond that.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Academic Qualification and Aptitude

Academic qualification and aptitude, do they go hand in hand? Does having a post graduate academic certificate ensure that one is a knowledgeable person? Does donning that scholar's cap mean you have the aptitude to perform? I would answer in the negative to all the above three questions.

I truly feel that being highly qualified academically is very important. However, I also feel that one should have the aptitude to go with the academic qualification acquired. This is not the case with many. People (not everyone) generally mug up all the information from books during exams and write it down in the papers. This helps them get a certificate that will give them an edge in the job market. But then, are they really knowledgeable? Can they apply the knowledge they have acquired during the academic cycle? Very few actually justify the academic qualification they have acquired.

In any workplace, it is highly important that they have a workforce which has the attitude and the aptitude to learn. Today’s world is constantly evolving. New technologies are coming up and hence it has become very important that every individual in the workplace is constantly updating and upgrading his knowledge. This means having the willingness and curiosity to learn. One should have a child like enthusiasm towards any new task.

I have seen highly qualified people not having the courage to face the challenges that come up at the workplace. They tend to stay in a comfort zone and not willing to explore. I personally feel that though a person may be highly qualified, it should not be the sole criteria to get that person on board. His attitude and aptitude should be put to test. A sound academics will definitely be handy but not at the expense of adaptability.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Does God Exist?

Does God Exist?

A difficult question to answer, isn't it? Nobody can prove his existence. But then just look around you and observe. The birds, the animals, the vast sea, the mountains, the beautiful places, the seasons and just look at yourself too. Your brain, your heart, the various organs in your body. The beauty of nature cannot be an accident. It definitely has a creative force behind it. Science has proved that a single cell is the source of life. I ask, who created this single cell? Is it that this cell just came to life on its own? I think the only debate we can have is about the form in which God exists. Generally it is believed that Science does not approve of the existence of God. I personally feel that He is best explained in Science itself. Just have a look at the definition of Energy.

"Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only transformed from one form to another. "

I find some similarity in the way God is defined.

"God does not have a beginning or end"

It means He too cannot be created or destroyed. Isn't it?

Like energy God exists everywhere. He exists within every being too. I personally seek for answers to the many questions I have about life by closing my eyes and asking Him to guide me. And the answers are always in the form of action and not words. He takes His time to answer but He definitely answers. I do visit temples also. But I do not believe that He could be confined to a temple or a place of worship. These places help you to connect with him in a positive and conducive atmosphere. But to think that He exists only at temples is really a foolish thing to do.

Trust him, have faith in him, just as you do with a close friend of yours. He is the best friend to have.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

When things don't go your way

There are many instances in every individuals life when things do not go as per plans. It could be in personal or professional life or both. Everyone goes through such a situation in life. How do you deal with it? Most people get depressed and frustrated about it. It is totally human to feel that way. However, for how long can you afford to have this feeling. Ultimately, you will have to come out of it. The sooner you recover, the better it will be for your well being.

I am a firm believer in God and I consider that whatever happens in this world is for some strong reason which only He knows for sure. We realize it later that missing that train or flight was ultimately for our good. The next day we may read in the newspaper that the train we missed got derailed or the flight we missed got crashed. So, do not regret about the things you missed. At the same time I will not advice you to sit back and relax thinking that God will take care of every need you have. One should put all the efforts possible to achieve his/her dreams. The farmer ploughs the field, he sows the seeds, does things to ensure that pests don't destroy the crop and he guards the field from animals and thieves. However, is this enough to ensure a good crop. For a good crop, he has to rely on the rains. Too little or too much of rainfall could destroy his crop. Can he do anything about it? He can't control the amount of rainfall. He cannot even try to do that. So is the case with everyone's life. We can only put our best efforts in achieving our goals and the rest God will take care of.

So guys, the next time you fail to achieve what you have strived hard for, drop a tear or two and then sit back and relax. Nothing wrong in thinking like the fox that the grapes are sour if you have put in the best effort possible to get the grapes.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tigers beat Kangaroos in Perth

Indian Tigers pull out a thrilling victory on the Perth wicket. Yes, you read it right, on Perth. Before the start of the match everyone was of the opinion that the pitch won't crumble but the Indian batting might. Also, after the Sydney fiasco that seemed a logical outcome. However, Indian cricket team proved everyone wrong.
The victory march of the Australian cricket team was stalled once again by India. They were thinking of breaking their own record of 16 straight victories. However, India had some other plans.
After the Sydney episode, I personally was looking forward for a strong fight back from India. Frankly I did not expect India to win or give such a strong reply. The arrogance of Ricky Ponting was outdone by Anil Kumble's patience and doggedness. Anil Kumble has emerged as a great leader.

Ishant Sharma, the young lad bowled with a big heart. He took only one wicket but a very important one that of Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain.

Irfan Pathan had sent the openers back in both innings. He too has made a great comeback. He is a champion allrounder in the making.

Rudra Pratap Singh too bowled nicely. Virender Sehwag was the surprise package. He took two wickets to pave way for India's victory.
On the batting front too Virender Sehwag and Wasim Jaffer gave a good enough start. Then Rahul Dravid, Irfan Pathan, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin, VVS laxman and even R P Singh contributed to ensure India is in a comfortable position.
This victory is a very special one. To win when no one expects you to even draw the test match itself is a big achievement.

Anil Kumble's 600th test wicket could not have come at a better occasion.
All in all a very good test victory for India. After all winning test matches is not monkey business.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Indian Eleven Lose to Australian Thirteen at Sydney Test

First time ever in the history of Test cricket Indian Eleven lost to Australian Thirteen. Yes, for the first time Australians played with thirteen players instead of the normal 11. The two umpires Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor were playing for Australia. Steve Bucknor taking the lead in getting the Indian players out. According to me Steve Bucknor is the Man of the match at Sydney. Atleast eight decisions went against India at the Sydney test.

From day one of the Sydney Test the umpires were playing for Australia. Not only the two on field umpires but even the third umpire.

The fourth and fifth day were the most dramatic. Harbhajan was accused of being racist towards Symonds on fourth day of the test. Atleast on this occassion both the umpires did not hear Harbhajan passing any racist comments. But at the end of fifth days play Harbhajan gets banned for 3 test matches. This seems to be a definite ploy to keep Harbhajan out of remaining tests because he was consistently getting the Australian captain out. Ricky Ponting had become Harbhajan's bunny. They didn't have answers to his bowling and hence they planned to get him involved in a verbal duel so as to create a case against him. Even though there was no evidence against Harbhajan to prove that he indulged in racial slur, he faces the ban.

On fifth day both Rahul Dravid and Saurav Ganguly are given out when actually they are not out. Steve Bucknor ruled Rahul Dravid caught behind when it was very clear that the ball just brushed the pads and was no where close to the edge of the bat. Ganguly's wicket was the most dreadful one. Ganguly nicked a ball to the slips and Michael Clarke did not catch it cleanly. Umpire Mark Benson was not sure and he chose to confirm the catch with Ricky Ponting (opposition captain) instead of the third umpire. Maybe from third test onwards Indian appeal should be targetted to Ricky Ponting and not the on field umpires.

I am not at all impressed with the BCCI. The country's pride is at stake and the BCCI has not been vocal enough against all the cheating that has been meted out to the Indian players.

Cheaters have the last laugh.