Monday, 12 November 2012

The Legend Returns #NokiaAppTasting with Rajiv Makhni & Vikas Khanna

After being invited for the #NokiaAppTasting event, I was excited. I am the one who believes strongly that the experienced guys are stronger than the new coming intellects. Nokia has been the harbinger of mobile revolution in India. However, in the recent times, it has been losing the battle to Samsung, Sony and Apple that have ran over to the next track. We have these discussions at our workplace often and we realized that Nokia missed one point that other companies explored. While Nokia continued to innovate and produce wonderful products at lower prices, it did not recognize that the appetite of Indian consumers is growing and people are looking for the next level of mobile technology. Their pockets had a larger allocation towards mobile phones. Nokia's N8 did hold on the market strongly for quite some time. However, in a few months, the whole scenario of the mobile phone industry in India changed and Android became the buzzword. The speed of switch over was unimaginable and in moments, Nokia's phones were losing out to the new world of smartphones. Many a times in history, the big boys have been beaten by the newcomers. Some vanished while some came back in a bigger way. Microsoft came back with a wonderful Windows XP to fight Linux. Bajaj came back with the mighty Pulsar. On the verge of bankruptcy, Apple partnered with Microsoft to survive and today, Apple has ~$120 billion of cash reserves. Nokia, it seems, is on its way.

I had no big expectations as I walked in to the Mysore Hall 3 at The ITC Royal Gardenia, Bangalore as I knew that we would be introduced to the Nokia phones. Nokia, obviously, has a huge justification to do before it places its products back on to our minds. Even today, if we were to buy a budget phone, we blindly click Nokia. However, when it comes to a smartphone, Nokia doesn't seem to be on the list. With the launch of Nokia Lumia series, Nokia has announced to the world that it is in the battle of the smartphones and it is going to play it aggressively. A couple of my friends use these phones and claim that they are fantastic. I honestly did not believe them as my loyalty to Google's Android didn't permit me. Read more reviews on the phone on different websites, most giving it 4 or 5 star rating, it had been on my mind that the giant is making a comeback. I did not have the conviction yet. But then, as I left after the #NokiaAppTasting event, on my way back home, I did feel that Lumia can create the impact.

Technology Journalist, Rajiv Makhni
Gadget Guru, Cell Guru, NewsNet 3.0
Managing Editor, Technology, NDTV
After registering for the event, we were served some mouth watering starters. Yeah, we had to believe Rajiv Makhni who claimed that Vikas Khanna had cooked them for us. Delicious, yes, they were both at this event organized by Nokia and wonderful people at IndiBlogger. This was my second meet and I could catch up with some familiar faces. With hoardings all over telling us about the 'Nokia India - Your Wish is My App' contest that aims to fill the app kitty of the desperate lack of apps in the store, I was stunned with the strategy being used. Of the people, by the people, for the people. Its going to take a lot of time, but its going to be worth every effort and makes an impact in the long run. We all sat down to think over our ideas but nothing seemed to come up. Ideas don't generally come when we sit and think. They just populate at vague times. Some people already had ideas. Soon, we were told that some amazing red wine and white wine is ready at the bar. Perhaps, the ideas that came further were inspired by the untagged freedom that the minds entered after gulping one, two, three and in some cases, five glasses of wine. Dwindling faces, shaking hands, flickering eyes. Finally, all the app suggestions reached where they had to.

Rajiv & Vikas bowled us all over with their wacky skills and great sense of humor. The way Rajiv said things about Vikas which he did not even know and the way Vikas had an expression of 'What?' on his face were the most interesting moments for me. I have been watching the NDTV Gadget Guru from quite some time and also have read about Vikas in many articles, specially the ones that cover Junoon, New York cooking food for President Barack Obama. They were absolutely dazzling on the stage and did everything with fine perfection. Considering that there were 300+ people and the time we had was less, not all bloggers got a chance to introduce themselves and their blogs to all of us. The funny competitions as well as the serious ones kept going and the gifts kept coming. I could see people thoroughly enjoying every moment, and that includes me.

Microsoft is making a superb entry (or should I call it a comeback considering that the original idea of the tablet was introduced by Microsoft and Apple mastered it over time) in the tablet space with the Surface. Entering a space that is head logged by Apple and Samsung, Microsoft has a lot of explaining to do and it has done it fantastically well. Perhaps, Nokia could have structured a deal with Microsoft in the tablet space as well. Windows 8 seems to be making a serious attempt to grab significant market share in the mobile and tablet space. Nokia seems to be just in time.

Michelin starred Indian chef, Vikas Khanna
"Sexiest Man Alive" - People magazine
Host, MasterChef India (Season 2)
In the meanwhile, Vikas Khanna called up some bloggers to chop onions. He demonstrated the technique. The one who chopped them as required, oh my God, she won a Nokia Lumia 920. Spellbound. He called up people to taste a soup and recognize the ingredients. The 2 who did it, what did I hear, won a Nokia Lumia 510 for themselves. Its was amazing. One girl was in tears and said, 'I did not know something like this could come without hard work' and a witty Rajiv claimed that chopping onions can win you a Lumia. One of the most interesting part of the event was the Gangnam style dance competition. 2 teams, Techies led by Rajiv and Foodies led by Vikas, used the Gangnam app from the app store to learn the dance and performed the steps, wonderfully, in a couple of minutes ( Nokia's city lens, the ovi maps, video recording apps, camera apps, etc. were displayed in the process. I loved it all. Perhaps, I am now giving thought of switching back to Nokia a stronger thought.

Towards the end, the most important part of the event was to check out who suggested the best app idea for the day. 5 out of all the 300+ ideas were picked up by the judges from Nokia & Microsoft. All the 5 bloggers were given a chance to present their ideas. One suggested an app which would give us information of the content in every product that you scan, one suggested an app for shooting all the potholes in the city and create a social web of potholes and further take required action to close them, one suggested an app to shoot an item and know the nearest store where this could be bought from (of course, this has to be a lady), one suggested an app for hiring, firing and appraising employees in order to avoid the human interface during these tougher times and the other suggested an app, which when activated, kills running game application after 5/10 minutes so that the kids can enjoy the game, stay non addicted and the phone goes back to parents. Of all these, the lady and the pothole app were declared the winners. And guess what, again, they had won themselves a Nokia Lumia 920. The greatest astonishment across the hall was that it was the same girl winning her 2nd Nokia Lumia for the day. God, luck plays such a big way in life.

To wrap up, it would have been interesting if Nokia could have placed some devices to play around for the bloggers to experiment. Windows 8 interface is a little difficult to get started but will definitely catch up soon. The effort to build up apps is perfectly on track. Definitely, a higher speed would be required to fill the gap before somebody else grabs off the the market. A stitch in time saves nine. IndiBlogger team was, as always, lovely and helpful. The few moments that we could spend with the celebrity tech guru and the celebrity chef were our own moments of the day. Luck does so much to our lives at times. When it does not do anything, we ought to get back to work hard and earn whatever we want. Its time for me to get working and earn my Nokia Lumia 920.

This post appears on the IndiVine at

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Quarterly Review of Life... Q2FY13...

The quicker you do things, the faster you are going. The quicker you do things, the more idle you have been. As I begin to write this, the second statement is apt. Perhaps, I have been blessed by the Lord with so much time that I have no idea of what to do and I am pulling ahead things that I have to do later. But then, that doesn't mean I have anything to do. There is a whole lot of stuff that I have been doing a whole lot of it in the to-do list. Its just that there is a big mismatch. Sometime, I fall apart of time to even do my basic activities while sometimes, there is so much time and nothing to do. This generally happens because most of my plans and work depend on availability of other people. For example, I recently wanted to watch a movie. In fact, a couple of my friends called me to join them. I had different plans. Now, I am calling my other friends. They have either watched it or they have different plans. This is just an example to make it easier to understand the intricacies.

The quarter is not over but the review for the quarter is almost there. Considering there are no major plans in the days ahead, it would not be wrong to take a review a little early. Q2FY13 has been significant. There is no doubt on it. In many ways, life has been complementing me with certain basic expectations I had been having ever since. Social interactions have gone up. I have been meeting a lot of people and learning a lot. Its my personal belief that people are the most significant asset that everyone has in their lives. These lines have also been mentioned by Dr KP Singh in his book, 'Whatever the Odds' which I read recently. Knowing people can work miracles in life. A lot of opportunities reach us through people. Very recently, I met someone who told me that he got into a fantastic business because he had a good friend who approached him. He grew in the business in spite of all troubles because he had friends to support him at every stage. Indeed, there are no doubts on the fact a person who knows you can help you better than someone unknown. The human element plays the most significant role in every interaction, discussion and decision irrespective of whatever the books or the law or the constitution says. The relationships are beyond any laws. That makes us human beings. The law is only to ensure there is no misuse of whatever is availble in the world.

August has been one of the busiest months of my life. Things were so jampacked that I could not even get time to meet my friends in the weekends. July was something full of planning a little bit of action too. September, however, has been a little lenient and things have slowed down.

Let us go in for an objective check up

As usual, getting up at 6AM remained a joke. This has been the greatest drawback in life. Unfortunately, when you sleep late, you can't get up early. Going early to bed is not a possible option. It works in theory. There would be so many things to do that you never get to know when the date changed. There has not been a single day on which my alaram doesn't ring at 6AM and I just put it off. While numerous reasons like stress, energy loss, need for rest, etc. can be attributed to justify, I would rather accept that there is no fire in my belly to wake up at 6. My office is 8.30, I need 30-45 mins to get ready and 30-45 mins to drive. So, I have made myself comfortable waking up around 7-7.15. I know that I have no motivation to wake up early and run. However, considering that my tummy is swelling beyond acceptable limits, the inclination is very high. I have to make up my mind, at least now, and work towards a healthier life. Its just about the tummy. There are a whole lot of issues one faces on putting on weight. Its time to wake up to reality and spend time for health before health demands time that you can't afford to spend.

Work has been good and in line with expectations. There has been learning as well as improvement in numerous spheres. There are more plans lined up and will be achieved going forward.

I read Whatever the Odds. All other reading plans have been squashed. While the reason that I was doing something else can justify this for the initial weeks, it was merely my error of judgement expecting that I would be doing something and thus, not taking a book in my hand. Generally, I pick up a book with a plan to complete in a maximum of 5 days. Else, I never complete the book. Mix ups have been keeping me away from picking up a book. The android plan worked well. But then, the phone is damaged and things are back to as they were before the purchase.

I have been meeting a lot of people, businessmen and corporate. I have gotten to know more friends from existing ones. This makes me very happy. Learning about people, their journeys, their experiences and their dreams is the most real as well as easiest way to learn life. It makes a lot of difference to your life when you know what made someone successful or failure, happy or sad, laugh or cry. If you observe and understand, you can inculcate the good things that people did that bought them joys & success and avoid such things that bought them nothing. This process of learning becomes even stronger when you learn about people who you know and are of the similar to you in one of more ways. There are numerous books by numerous people on success and failure but, if you have observed, hardly does anyone inculcate those lessons into their lives. That's merely because there is no connection. Learning from known people becomes a part of our lives naturally. Learning from unknown people takes a lot of time, energy and effort and needs to be pushed into our minds and hearts.

Education is up for a toss. Perhaps, its time for me to stop thinking of it unless I am ready to take it full time.

The bachelor trip to Bangkok or wherever has found the dustbin. Plans to explore something outside the city has also not been possible. Though I keep thinking of visiting some new place, it just doesn't happen.

There were no marriages this quarter. However, the school day celebrations at SSBJ on 15-16 September has been the highlight event. It was a great experience visiting the school after quite some time.

There has been definite progress as far as certain plans are concerned. It needs more time and effort from me to progress further. In fact, this progress has been a little beyond my expectation. I had been planning from a long time to get started but I never imagined that I would get so much done in such a short time. There is a lot more to do. Objectively look at it, I have not even completed about 5% of what I intend to do.

Q3FY13 is going to be the most significant quarter for me in the short run. The plans need a big time action in the coming quarter. There is a big list of things to do. While there is a large need to work on the main goals, there is a strong need to work on adjacent goals like getting healthier, learn more, meet more people, etc. as there add tremendous energy to life and value to the purpose of achieving our goals. Sacrifice is required in the process of reaching the goals but not compromise. There is a need to judge what is sacrifice and what is compromise. Most of these are situation dependent. Not doing something required to be done can be termed as compromise. However, not doing the same thing, although important, when the necessity to do it is not very high can be termed as sacrifice. Another main distinct in that sacrifice generally makes you something you like to do in lieu of something you might not like to do. Compromise generally makes you do something you like to do in lieu of something else which also you like to do. Compromise is a choice. Sacrifice is a decision.

“I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”
 Jimmy Dean quotes

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The New Apple iPhone5 - Designed for Women...

This is an imaginary write up on how the new iPhone5 could be in case man had the power to do whatever he wants. This is an imaginary speech which the CEO would give on an imaginary product. All the words/pictures used in the write up belong to the original owners. In case of any objections, requested content can be removed by contacting the writer by leaving a comment.

Just for fun... Don't take it seriously... ;)

The New Apple iPhone5

Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome. Today, we are here to announce an innovation that will take the world to the next level. Whoever says that the world in 2012 might be telling that a new world will rise in 2012. If that's how we interpret, then yes, the world will end in 2012. We are about to give rise to a new world, a world where women will lead us men. This will be the greatest ever transfer of power in this world from the man to the woman. We'll unlock a whole new world with the Apple iPhone5. After all, it is 'Designed for Women' (patent pending)
The new Apple iPhone5 - Designed for Women - Transforming the World

At Apple, it has been our endeavor to offer the customer, the best of all the worlds. Though we have been doing it ever since we were born, unfortunately, we could not give the customer hardware worth the money we collected. However, our customers are more than willing to pay $600 just for the experience of our world class software. The Apple iPhone. The beauty is that our interface, our innovations, our device's experience offers our customers more value than the hardware. This time, we thought, lets play it different. We have not touched the software as it is already ahead of the world's technology. After all, our women customers feel proud that they can use their iPhone as  mirror whenever they require. That has been the greatest ever utility of an iPhone on the earth. We have decided to use all our cash reserves and give our women customers a product, the hardware part, worth more than they could have ever imagined. They are the ones who showed us that we can build hardware too. We are here to make you happy. The new Apple iPhone5 is here.

We welcome all of you to the launch of happiness with the new Apple iPhone5

One of the biggest value addition in the iPhone5 is the Flexapple (patent pending) technology. Your iPhone5 is made of flexcells. Flexapple is the greatest ever innovation in the world of science and technology. Using this technology, your phone becomes flexible, which means, the iPhone5 could be a square, a cube, a cone or any amoebic shape that you wish to. You could tie it around your wrist, wear it across your neck or tie it across your waist. What's more ladies, you can use it as a hairband, a bangle or an eyewear. You could even make it into 2 parts and wear it as earrings. Using the wonderful apps in the app store, you can get various designs to suit your desires.That's Flexapple for you beautiful women. Apple's gift to the womankind - the flexcells. The possibilities are limitless

Halle Berry flaunts the numerous accessories she could create using the Flexapple technology in the new Apple iPhone5
Our customers were very disappointed with us as the previous iPhones showed them a lot of dreams. However, none of these ever came true. Right now, we are making one such dream come true. Ms Matthews from San Francisco Bay area complained that she does not get time wash clothes as she is on the beach all the day partying with her friends and showing them her iPhone. As a goodwill gesture, we have introduced a path breaking technology in the iPhone5. Its called 'The Washing Machine'. Your iPhone5 can now wash clothes. All you have to do is put the clothes into a tub and place the new iPhone5 over the clothes. Enable the wash mode and the iPhone5 will wash the clothes in no time. Thank you Ms Matthews, if not you, we could have not been able to change the world.

Vanessa Minnillo experiments with the new Apple iPhone Washing Technology
The iPhone5 comes with inbuilt lathering technology. After brain storming discussions at Apple headquarters, our team of men concluded that women spend most of their time in the shower. That was when we decided to make their experience at the shower, a memorable one. The lathering technology, when enabled, produces lather of your choice when the iPhone5 is rubbed. It can even produce the bare minimal essentials like the lipstick, the kaajal, the gloss, a little amount of hair oil, petroleum jelly, etc. Amazing, isn't it? When you buy an iPhone5, you have bought a lifetime's supply of soap, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, sunscreen and various other beauty products. The iPhone5 is designed with women in mind

Julia Roberts expresses her joy on using the lathering technology in the new Apple iPhone5
The new Apple iPhone5 will complete your incomplete world. It will be only device you will ever require in your life. After all, our world class innovation of a technology called 'Magic' (patent pending) will make all your dreams come true. At the moment, our engineers are working on this technology to convert the iPhone5 to other devices using Magic. We are in constant touch with Harry Potter (patent pending) to give us the The Magic Wand (patent pending) so that we could implement the technology soon. Right now, we have enabled the 'CarMaker' app in the iOS using which your iPhone can be converted into a car of your choice. Women love cars. Of course, when Harry filed a case on us, we told him that there were no cars in his time. Coming back, women, when you come out of your home and want to go to party, all you need to do it enable the CarMaker app and your iPhone5 will turn into a car of your choice. Drive. On reaching the destination, disable the CarMaker and you have your iPhone5. You don't even have to pay for parking. You get a lifetime free car parking along with your new Apple iPhone5. Loving it, aren't you?

Paris Hilton converts her new Apple iPhone5 into a pink Bentley using the CarMaker app

We, at Apple, have been working on needs of every woman. In fact, we have been the greatest creators of needs in this world. There was a world which did not need an iMac, an iPhone, an iPad or for that matter, even an iPod. But today, with the world class innovations by us, the world is in dire need of all these devices. Apple is proud to have entered into the value chain of every consumer. The new iPhone5 creates a greater impact on every mind that is a must buy. We are making the product available only for women across the world. Men are banned from purchasing the new Apple iPhone5 unless they prove that they are buying for a lady. Ladies, join hands with us and let's take over the world.

Meg Ryan is delighted at the way the new Apple iPhone5 is going to change the world

The iPhone5 comes with the nut cracking technology, Sirious (patent pending). The Sirious is for real. What we mean by this is that the new Apple iPhone5 will come with a real human being, yes, a real human being. The Sirious will be your real life assistant who will guide you using our maps, location services, question answers, puzzles, etc. The Sirious could be anyone of your choice. However, due to limited availability of human availability, only one body per person, the Sirious will work on a first come first serve guideline. This is all the more happy reason for women to buy the new Apple iPhone5, which is not for sale for men. We, at Apple, have decided to transfer every power in the world to the women and the new Apple iPhone5 will do it for us.

Nicole Kidman tests if Keith Urban can be her Sirious
While our engineers continue to work on newer applications of the Apple iPhone5 to be used for various applications like that of a Microwave Oven, a Furniture set, a cupboard, etc, our dream extends to the iPhone5 being able to convert itself into a makeshift home. At Apple, we make dreams come true with the world class innovation. Our engineers are working on a technology that could convert the iPhone5 into a sandwich, a burger or a pizza and thus, on buying the new Apple iPhone5, we take care of the hunger of the entire world. Our engineers are also working on lines of recycling the excreta after consuming such food created from the Apple iPhone5 into a whole brand new Apple iPhone5. Now, that's where we are heading towards. At Apple, we dream big.

What's bigger than dreaming for a better world? At Apple, we rejoice Angelina's contributions. She makes us proud.

Ladies, by the way, its a phone as well. You can make calls and send/receive texts using the new Apple iPhone5 ;)

Our experiment of converting the iPhone5 into CatWoman bike was a big success. Anne Hathway was impressed.

Well, we have proved to you beyond every limit that the iPhone5 is the world, the new world, from 2012. And of course, "If you don't have an iPhone5, you just don't have it."

Cameron Diaz almost breaks down after Alex Rodriguez told her that he will buy her an Apple iPhone5

PS for men only : Well, the most interesting aspect of the new Apple iPhone5 is that men can download it from websites like PirateBay. With the greatest ever innovation at Apple, we have made it possible for you to download a torrent that will convert itself into an Apple iPhone5. Plus, hey guys, the Sirious is actually designed for us, the men. Women will never understand how to use the iPhone5 and give it to us men. After all, the new Apple iPhone5 is Designed for WOMen, the World Of Men. Now, HOWZAAAT...!!!

Shakespeare impressed with the new Apple iPhone5

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Quarterly Review of Life... Q1FY13...

Previously :

The quarter that went by can be rated as one of the worst quarters in recent times of my life. Plans were a plenty while none got executed. I still fail to understand what kept me away from working on the schedule that I had set up during the previous review. There was huge amount of pressure, tension and energy consumption, all for no reasons. When I look back, I find myself where I was. In fact, I wouldn't be wrong if I say that I am a couple of notches down. On every front, life seems to have become a more complicated affair than what I thought it would be

To rate the performance of life in Q1FY13, let me look into the objectives set and the scale of achievement
  • Getting up at 6AM was merely a joke. It never happened. Life is back to the routine of getting up, run to bath, drive to office. So, the score here is a zero. There is a need to take this one very seriously. Getting up early in the morning has a lot of advantages. Yet, most do not follow. From this day on, I want to make it a point to get out of bed by 6AM and ensure that no reasons stop me from doing this
  • At work, things have been good. However, I have not been able to outperform. I have only been in line with expectations over the last couple of months against previous months. There have been certain plans that have been floating on my mind to value add to certain things that I work on everyday. Now on, I wish to ensure that I put these mental calculations on to the sheet. By next review, I have an objective to be achieved in this aspect
  • I completed reading one book, Revolution 2020, against the target of 2 books. To make up for the loss, I plan to complete reading at least 3 books in this quarter. Some books that have been lying unread in my shelves for a long time are Stay Hungry Stay Foolish, The Game Changers, I Steve, Whatever the Odds, The Intelligent Investor, Customs & Etiquette in the Services, General Knowledge Manual 2012, etc. There is a lot to do in this front. The most important point for me to note here, like I have been repeatedly noting over the last few months, is that I have to give up the usage of laptop after being back home. The reason I use the laptop is to update some things on facebook, keep connected and stay updated, integrated with the happenings across the world. Though this does not have a real impact on life directly, I feel there is some indirect value addition this does. But then, spending too much time for these things is a big negative. To ensure I do not spend too much time, the first step I have taken is to change the settings on fb in such a way that I receive most updates from close friends while only the most important updates from others in my friends list. This way, my home page would appear a lot cleaner & neater as the unwanted shares, photos, causes, game requests, etc will be done away. From the time I have done this, fb looks more a professional network than a social network to me while amid the close friends, I still get the social network look. Further, with the new android phone purchase, I have enabled fb over it and thus, this has given me the freedom to disable email notifications making my mail box too cleaner. Going forward, the plan is to do away with the usage of laptop/internet and spend the time reading books and at the same time, the cellphone notifications will ensure I don't lose touch with social networking also
  • On the fitness front, it has been another big zero. In fact, I guess, I have put on more weight. There is a dire need to make a serious move on this front. I don't know how practical would it be to try some Yoga. Joining a gym has been a terrible experience for me. Each time I join, I pay the full year's fee considering the financial cost-benefit analysis and I am never seen in the gym after that. In Hubli, it so happened that the gym owner saw me in a traffic signal and asked me why I had not come to the gym. I, to save my face, said that I have been transferred to Hyderabad. Unlike any other businessman, he offered me to come to his office and collect the fees back. I even failed to do that. I am not sure on a plan to do this, working out or exercising or jogging or running or whatever. But soon, I need to get on. Better late than never
  • I have been able to attend the social events viz., Siddu's marriage, Arun's marriage and things were quite fine. I did write the IIBF exam that did not go good. I also wrote the UGC NET exam that was a total disaster. IGNOU exam was out of radar considering the requirement to fly to New Delhi to write it did not make sense
In furtherance to these plans, I am looking forward to some more targets. On academic development front, after the PGDBA from Symbiosis, things have come to a standstill. There is a need to add more considering the voluminous competition that the world is producing each day. In the past, I have enrolled myself for the ICAI, the ICWAI as well as the ICSI. However, none of them were taken seriously by me. Moreover, considering that I have to go in for articles training (leaving the job) for a period of 3 years, the option of ICAI become nonviable. The ICWAI as well as ICSI also stipulate certain rules in this line but also offer some relaxation too. Perhaps, I can consider one of these, mainly the latter, to get more academic progress into life. All these days, the plan was to go in for PhD but the amount of complications involved to get the course started in India have suppressed the plan. Even till date, I have failed to understand how exactly to get a PhD without enrolling in a college as a student/lecturer, i.e., doing it independently keeping my job. I have to actively consider a possible format of continuing education to stay in line with the world's demands as well as life's

There are a lot of things that I have been ignoring/postponing from quite a long time. I can not mention them as it would be the most shameless point to make over a publicly accessible portal. There are some serious plans underway to ensure that I give all the attention that these important aspects of life deserve. More updates to flow soon

Off late, I have been observing that I am not only turning impatient & impulsive but also losing my temper too quickly. The reason, of course, is that some things repeatedly happen in my life even after making it a definite point that they shouldn't happen. These are from a lot of angles. It may be my everyday reminder to get up at 6AM which does not happen. It may even be some things that I am doing without any interest. There may be a lot of factors. But then, there is a need for me to stay cooler. Generally, I am not a person who loses cool easily but it has been happening off late. Before it becomes a part of life, I have to put an end to it

There are no major events coming up that need me to travel or make any great effort in the coming quarter. We had been planning for a Bachelor trip to Bangkok but the key person involved got engaged recently and now, we are not sure how the plan will progress. If this does not translate into reality, I plan to at least get acquainted to places other than MG Road, Brigade Road, Indiranagar, Koramangala, Domlur, Sanjay Nagar, RT Nagar and the sorts. I plan to explore something outside the Outer Ring Road

Another big plan to do something big has been cooking in my mind from a very long time. There have been no concrete steps taken by me in this regard. But then, its high time now as the deadline for the dream is very near. If I do not wake up now, perhaps, it would be no worth waking up later

The moment your dreams get replaced by regrets, life indicates that you are turning old. Such time seems to have dropped in to my life. Before I get older, I plan to enter the dream land, no matter how impractical, impossible or immature it might sound to be. We are, in the end, what our dreams are. Men of action are dreamers

Let's see how Q2FY13 performs. Time to dream more, do more & live more

Father, O father! what do we here
In this land of unbelief and fear?
The Land of Dreams is better far,
Above the light of the morning star.

- William Blake, The Land of Dreams

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Arun weds Shefali... The Solapur Tour...

Its marriage season in India and finally, I got to know one of my friend, Arun, is getting married. The marriage was scheduled on 11 May 2012 at Solapur and we started preparing for the same. There is nothing much that we have to prepare except that we have to inform all our friends and prepare the itinerary. Considering it was a Friday, a low attendance was expected. However, it was shocking for me know that the attendance was shamefully low. Modern world has made our lives such a hell that we don't care for our own breaths. Attending someone else's marriage is away, attending our own marriages is a dilemma. Thanks to the lovable HR policies that ensure that our bodies remain in the office buildings, no matter where the hearts and brains are

The Attendance Time
After all the initial discussions, formalities and judgments, it was decided that we will be leaving from Bangalore on Thursday evening to reach Solapur by Friday morning. The wedding was scheduled in the evening. The next big question was, "Who are these we?". At some point of time, we meant Arun only. Later, Rajendra & I decided to make ourselves a part of it. That was it from Bangalore. Kiran agreed to join us on the way at Gulbarga. The Pune guys were quite certain that they won't be attending but kept pretending that they are uncertain. A bunch of guys from Bijapur/Bagalkot were expected to make it to the wedding and they were my only hope

The Train Circus - DDLJ
The Basava Express leaves to Solapur from Yeshvantpur. Blame it on my ignorance or negligence, I planned to go to Majestic. With just an hour to go, I learnt this and immediately called others to inform the same. I called Rajendra who was in a rick to Majestic and asked him to change the route to Yeshvantpur and also pick me up on the way. With Rs 500 gone into the driver's kitty, he ensured that we reach just on time to the station and catch the train in complete DDLJ style. Now for sure, I knew, I am going for a marriage. Luckily, there was no circus in Gulbarga where Kiran joined

The Arun's The Killing The Accent
Capt Arun is a style icon. He speaks such hi-fi English that, most times, even he fails to understand what he is speaking. We reached Solpaur and called him. As I spoke to him, I considered it would be better if I do things myself. After all, I knew that the accommodation is set at Hotel Heriytage (I have spelled it right. That's how it is. Heriytage). Somehow, I got to know from him that we ought to get into Room No. 105 and that was all I needed. I kept saying OK to whatever he told. Blame it on my ears. I told him to come to the room and speak as I didn't understood a word. He smiled and asked us to get fresh and he will reach soon

The Solapur Tour
Siddheshwar Temple in Solapur is an attractive place of visit. We had been to this place long ago as a part of SSBJ trip (I guess, 8th or 9th standard). Visiting this temple again brought back those sweet memories. I was also happy to see that the lake around the temple is so well maintained. Due to lack of time or whatever, we could not go elsewhere. In the morning, we had a buffet breakfast at Hotel Pratham and it was sumptuous. The lunch at Kamat Hotel was another memory refreshed. Seeing the Bengre Kamat board outside the restaurant made Solapur look like Hubli. The numerous auto rides that we had been taking all the day was another highlight

The Wedding
The wedding was scheduled in the same hotel at around 5.30 in the evening. Being a Buddhist wedding, things happen in the evening. It was a different experience altogether, unlike the regular Hindu weddings (specially the North Karnataka style weddings) that I had been attending ever since my birth. After all the prayers, the bride and the groom promised to lead a life of a couple. Many more promises came on. The monks (read Swamijis) lined to tie them together for the remaining journey of life. In a few minutes, Arun & Shefali were announced Man & Wife. The focus quickly shifted from the stage to the delicious food that was awaiting everyone. I was amazed the speed of switch of the focus. I was busy with my new found hobby, iPhonography. I had borrowed the iPhone 4S from RD and was shooting my way to glory

The Reception
A grand vehicle landed with the couple, they were garlanded and the Military Band followed with great valor and fantastic rhythm. This was a feast to the eyes. Definitely, life in the Armed Forces is envious. I was stunned, to say the least. iPhonography continued. People starting moving up the stage with gifts and bouquets. I just awaited. We were just 3 of us and I was thinking on what could we do. I had no idea and considered it better to keep quiet

The Embarrassment and The Face Saving
Flashes of different marriages of my batchmates kept scrolling over my eyes. Instead of frowning, we decided to ask a few army personnel around to help us give the traditional dips to Arun. Just then, I received an SMS asking me where I was. I knew the Bagalkot/Bijapur party was here. I was so excited that I started running to search them. There they were. In big numbers. It was a great reunion. Better than expected. I rejoiced the moment. This was a total turnaround. We all moved on the stage. The Hugs. The Kisses. The Hi-Hellos. The Oh My Gods. The Wows. The Smiles. Soon, life had become wonderful. It makes such a big difference to have your childhood friend along your side on such wonderful occasions of life that happen once in a lifetime. Soon, Arun, who was on cloud nine dipped the 10th time to almost hit the ceiling. My wish was fulfilled

The Adieu
After munching some food, the Bijapur team left. We spent some more time at the venue. Arun was happy. A marriage cake was cut. A new life began. I was blessed to be able to see these wonderful moments. For those who missed them, we definitely have the pictures and this small write up. We left Solapur at midnight. Coincidentally, May 12 was Rajendra's birthday. At midnight, in Solapur, all we could do is give him birthday bumps. The Karnataka Express whistled its departure and soon, Bangalore welcomed

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all of the things you have that money can't buy

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Quarterly Review of Life...

Life is a long process. It takes such a long time for most of us to cruise through it. Each day of life is such a long one and takes its own time to complete. And when things are not fine, the times don't seem to pass at all. We track so many things so closely; like a company, a person, a trend, a technology; and most of us might not have even thought of something like tracking our own life. We all have been told from the day we were born that we ought to dream, set goals, work plans and taste success. But then, nobody tells us what to do after reaching success. Most management experts skip this question stating that success is a process and not an end. Mr Shiv Khera defines Success as a progressive realization of a worthy goal. I have been wondering if I can try something to track life and its progress on a regular basis on various grounds just like how investment bankers track the businesses listed on the stock exchanges. Tracking on a quarterly basis seems ideal considering life is a super long term game. After our school/college days, we forget about the progress reports. If we happen to work in a company, there is something called as a performance appraisal but that is more concerned with our contribution towards the organization's progress and not our own progress. Of course, there is some indirect linkage. But then, we never get to know, on a serious note, the way our life is moving till, one day we realize that we are in a mess and start reworking things.

A quarterly progress report of life could include a lot of things. It could start with a objective statement on what we would like to achieve in the coming 3 months. If I am asked this question now, I would list out
  • Getting up by 6AM at any cost
  • Complete all the work assigned by my employer, efficiently and effectively
  • Read at least 2 books
  • Make some effort on the fitness front. A brisk walk or a light jog to begin with
  • Reduce time spent on the computer and drastically cut down the usage of spare time to browse Facebook

The next thing on the radar could be the events that are coming up in the next 3 months and how do we plan to go about them. Right now, I could list
  • April 28 - Marriage Function at Bijapur - Attending
  • May 11 - Marriage Function at Solapur - May Be
  • May 27 - Examination - Attending
  • May 27 - TCS Marathon - Coincides with exam date
  • June 24 - Examination - Attending

We could also write down a lot of things relating to our lives. For example, if someone wants to give up smoking, he can keep a track on the number of cigarettes smoked each day and check if a conscious effort to see a smaller number can help him get rid of the habit. If someone wants to lose weight, it would be more important to keep a track of the effort that goes towards this goal along with a track of weight. For example, the number of kilometers run, the effective hours spent at gym, the food consumed (on a qualitative view and not a quantitative view), etc.

A lot more customization could be done basis on the individual needs. For example, if someone has a hobby of traveling, he/she can set realistic deadline to take up the travel rather than browsing through SnapDeal everyday to find the right travel deal. A movie buff can keep a track of the new releases coming up and decide which one's he's hitting at the theater and which ones on the Torrents.

At the end of every 3 months, one can review whether the set goals were achieved and then, one could make attempts to improvise things in the coming 3 months. There are websites like Schemer, 43Things, etc. where we can list our goals and find people who have the same goals, share the progress and cheer one another.

Such an activity will help us in being better individuals. We could even budget our finances on a quarterly basis by provisioning for all the expenditures and making room for savings. It helps in being more disciplined in life. We can keep a tab on a lot of things that can tell us how our life/lifestyle has been changing. Even a small track on the number of times we get angry can tell us how we are facing life.

Are you game for your Quarterly Review? I am... ;)

Saturday, 24 March 2012

25 years on Earth... Not less than an achievement...

Having born on 5 March 1987 and having survived till 5 March 2012 helped me mark completion of 25 years of life on this planet. By survival, I am not referring to being alive. Lifespan is a decision of God. I am referring to the ways & means of living this lifespan. I mean, I have been able to live through amid all the challenges, uncertainties and adventures that the humans have thrown on each other to ensure complications in each other's lives in the name of development, growth, etc. Cruising through the rapid economic changes has been an opportunity for a few but a grave for many. I, somehow, have been able to cruise over these hurdles created by the mankind in the last 25 years.

Life has been quite normal with nothing great nor anything not so great happening over the past couple of years. The only major news are career path changes from ICICI Bank to HDFC Bank to Sanlam. Each of these organizations have taught me a lot and have played a tremendous role in making me what I am now. May be, work places make us better people though they do not have such an objective. Colleges, though have an objective to make us better, often fail in doing so. A lot of things happen in life subconsciously. I keep saying that the reason for learning subjects like history/geography was more to improve our memory powers that to remember the whole bunch of stories. Life teaches a lot to us without our knowledge. Most times, we can't even recognize such things.

This birthday, the photo suggests, is one of the most significant ones for me. Not because its a silver jubilee of life. After all, whats in a number. But because the way it came to my life. I had an intuition that this will be so but had no idea of how it will be so. I knew it would be magical. I am trying to recollect some of those moments back to life. Though its been about 20 days now, all is as fresh as it happened today.

Deepak called me saying he wants to buy a bike and wants me to accompany him. I knew there was something fishy. I knew for sure that this is Priyanka's plan. To my best guess, I thought she is in Pizza Hut with Geeta and we both will be going there to celebrate the day. After a lot of yada-vada, we reached the Pizza Hut and found her. The way the tables were arranged, it was certain that about 10 people are hitting the place. I guessed that it would be her PG friends. To my amazement, I could see my IFBI & SSBJ friends walk in soon. Now, this was a real surprise. We had some great food and fun. After this, we all visited the Shiva Temple behind Total Mall, Domlur. I was very happy for all the effort that had gone into making this day so wonderful. No number of thanks can be enough to thank the organizer. It was a marvel.

All this happened on 4th March 2012. At night, 12am, a cake was presented before me by Sushma & Spurti. A quick celebration was beautiful. On the B-Day, we visited the temple in morning and went to work. A cake cutting did happen in the office as well. Back home, there was another cake waiting. Some lovely decoration and planning was in progress. After about 2 hours, I cut another cake and we went out to dine.

I enjoyed every moment of these 2 days. What was more important for me was to see people who took so much interest in celebrating my happiness. In fact, there were some more plans which I could not attend to due to shortage of time. However, I compensated for them the next weekend.

Lines that I had written on my Facebook account on my birthday, "If birthdays were really so beautiful, I confess that I have missed on a lot of occasions for I never believed them to be special days (as far as I am concerned only in respect of my birthdays)... But then, this one day was so fulfilling that it nullified everything that was missing... Had some of the most amazing birthday times with family & friends... Never expected something on these lines... 25 years of life on earth... This day made me feel that I have created value in these years... And a lot lot lot more is yet to be done... With love comes responsibility... Humbled, Honored & Delighted... Thank you Lord for blessing me with such beautiful people in my life... Now I understand what your best blessings mean... ;)"

This collage has been prepared by Priyanka. I don't know how much time, energy and thought this has taken for her to make. But I know for sure that I can never equal the kind of value & happiness this gave to me.