10 09 2007

After a hectic travel to Hyderabad and after feeling totally exhausted, my fingers reached out automatically to record some reflections.. This weekend has been a tough one for me, yet being with family has always had a calming effect. I had my lessons on protocols, values, integrity and trust and I can’t even express how much my family has made me proud. 🙂 It always helps if we start counting blessings instead of curses and lessons instead of bad moments.

As per the saying goes, “Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you”, I guess my parents have lived up to that. Somehow I have taken for granted that transparency, fairness and integrity lies in all families, and people have little time to judge their family members in the journey of life. I had my wake up call.

Though emotions stand for little reason, its priorities and values that ask for brutal sacrifices. So the question is how much are you willing to sacrifice to be your own self? Thats what defines a person as he or she is.

As Bach says.. “There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.”

Flow Of Life in Train..

10 07 2007

I observe life rolling by in faster pace.. Train Journeys have always been a fascinating experience. Splash of greenery everywhere, tall coconut trees, huge plantations, flocks of birds, meadows and shallow lagoons, huge lakes with lovely water plants, bustling little towns, kids playing by the train tracks, different variants of food.. Its spectacular to watch the huge expanse of nature taking myriad forms of beauty.. A little drizzle here and a little sunshine there.. Beauty and wind whizzes by giving rise to a wanton desire to take a dip in that lake or to play with the wind..

As a little kid, I have always loved train journeys.. Especially the long ones with family.. Preparation for Train Journeys used to run like a celebration.. The whole family fussing over the packing, Mom is busy loading food (especially Pulihora, Chapati, Curd Rice, fruits, Namkeens) to last for the double the actual journey.. What would you do if you got twelve or twenty hours to spend in the most idyllic fashion? Some sleep, some chat, some play. Scouting for water on the platforms, and the wait for the relatives to Hello By if they live along that route, Indulging in the local delicacies that come your way.. You meet interesting people out there in trains during idle, innocent chitchats. Some forge lasting friendships, some for the instant.. I have had some interesting experiences, and pals..

And then the waiting for the train.. Its typical to wait for hours together to board as Indian trains are a punctuality nightmare. BTW, I am delightfully surprised during my last trip to Vijayawada. The railway station got a cybercafé, 24 X 7 restaurants, and a Book Store. During my four hours of waiting to catch the 12 AM Tamilnadu express which arrived at 4AM, I browsed for an hour, had a strawberry icecream (that’s the only one flavor in offer), Wished a friend on his birthday, took a little survey of the platform and went to the waiting hall to surrender myself in one of those chairs to fall asleep.. Thanks to that good Samaritan who shook me up when the train finally arrived, otherwise I would have passed the chance to catch Tamilnadu for the grudging comfort of the yogic sleep I had!

And then the Ticket Collectors (TC).. They pass by in their dark coats and you can always count on them for arranging seats in emergency, albeit with some service charge. On one particular trip, I did a mistaken booking for a train starting at 12:30 AM.. Usually when we book tickets, we consider the date of travel in conversational terms.. 12:30 AM is colloquially Sunday Night, which would make it Monday Morning in Railway Lingo.. So I ended up in Train on a Sunday with a ticket that’s officially booked for Saturday Night. Everything ended up well though.. TC has offered me a vacant berth after I paid up the penalty..

Life never stops and journey in train is a filling activity. People are in contentment with rush, busy getting dressed up for the office or catching breakfast, indulging in music, book or drowning themselves in the cooling comfort of the window.. When the destination arrives, it’s a soothing comfort and life is back to the predictable rhythm.. Yet, the child in me still expectantly looks forward to that lazy, leisurely solace of the train journey again!

Playing the Intrepid Explorer!

29 04 2007

I had a whirlwind Delhi trip this weekend to attend the 2nd International IPTV Conference organized by Bharat Exhibitions. IPTV is an area of interest in my lab’s work and I wanted to check out the key players in this arena. My interest in this conference is propelled also by the fact that I have never seen Delhi in all its glory.

I reached Delhi on Friday Night at 10 PM. I took a prepaid taxi and he dropped me off at the TCS guest house which is located in Connaught Place. And I was drop dead on the bed, the moment I checked in my room! 🙂

I got up fresh like a morning daisy and got out of the guest house by 8:15 AM. I am supposed to report at Le Meridian Hotel for the conference at 9:00 AM and I have no clue as to how close/ far is it from the guest house. I walked around and caught an auto. He asked me 20 bucks for the Hotel. I was so pleasantly surprised! Guess paying exorbitant auto fares for minor distances in Chennai can do that for you! One thing that impressed me in Delhi in first glance is the public infrastructure. The city is beautifully laden with huge roads which are flanked by big trees on either sides. Well structured roads, great infrastructure, fresh air and greenery..All these made me wonder if I am in an Indian Metro?! Having time at my disposal, I took a lazy walk around the hotel, appreciating the sunny warmth and the shimmery roads and made it to the venue in time.

The whole day went in the conference. I am impressed by the wide range of representation it had from the key players in the industry. There are almost 24 speakers on the panel and the event went in four sessions. The topics under discussion dealt with the strategic issues, market opportunities, challenges, service provider’s perspective for IPTV Rollout and also examined in detail, the best practices in the IPTV industry. It was quite an eventful conference and I learnt a great deal about the major players in the industry. The echoing thoughts concentrated on the need for content aggregators and the concerns ranged on the evolving nature of the business model.

I was exhausted by the power packed day which got over by 6:30 PM. I headed over to Janpath Market by walk, as its quite near to the Hotel. I was struck by the bright hues of the garments and the flashy embroidery designs. I ended up buying a couple of wall hangings, blouses and pillow covers. Feeling energetic, I took an auto to explore India Gate. Its a beautiful sight to watch in the night! Built as a war memorial to commemorate the sacrifices of the soldiers, it stands proudly like a huge archway in middle of a cross road. It became a decent family outing space in the current times, as I found many families, and groups enjoying an idle conversation and the serene greenery. Awed by the experience, I reached my accommodation and retired for the day.

The next day is an engaging experience though! I left the guest house and reached Raj Ghat. Its the final resting place for our father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. I went into the Raj Ghat remembering his words, and those few verses of him that I read from his autobiography, “My Experiments With Truth”. He lived his life in pursuit of Truth and Nonviolence. While removing my shoes to walk up to his place, I remembered what he stood for: the power of action, conviction, patience and love. Lighted by an eternal flame and surrounded by expansive greenery, his soul rests in peace, survived by the ideals he has implanted in innumerable people. Touched by the place, I stayed there in daze for sometime in my mind’s mind numbing company.

Later, I headed to Karol Bagh for some lazy shopping. The exploration ended there, as I roamed around the wide streets, enjoying the little discovery and the light conversation, blissfully unaware of my shopping expenses! and I cant sign off with out a single mention for the Delhi’s climate! The mercury ranged around 42 degrees and with a dry climate, I could feel the heat burning me under my skin!

This trip taught me to be aware of my prejudices as well. Before taking the trip, I was very conscious about the remarks I heard about about Delhi. That people are rude, traffic is unkind, safety concerns for a single lady at night and what not? Talking to the people on the roads, I found that the people are very kind to the strangers. They answered queries patiently, with a ready smile! That actually made my trip a pleasant one, I guess!

P.S: The title of this post is a direct excerpt from a friend’s SMS. And trust me, I fell in love with it!

My Short Trip to Mumbai and A Deluge of Memories!

1 07 2006

So finally I made it.. I have been longing to make a trip to the Amchi Mumbai, just to meet my friends out there.. A warm touch, a cozy chat, a quiet dinner and a good companionship.. I almost jumped at a training session organized by TCS. Well, the session proved worth the visit too. Well, that’s my first flight experience too. The whole world seems so serene and small from top. Awesome sight! I reached there on Sunday Afternoon, planning to catch up with lots of friends in that short span of 6 hours. It turned out to be better than what I have expected. I felt great catching up with pals and their stories of Mumbai and Work.

Coming to the business of the visit, I went to Mumbai for training on creative brainstorming and innovation techniques. At least, that’s what I thought at the first. I ended up being in a train the trainer session for an organizational effectiveness initiative of TCS called Propel which helps in creating a change platform. Sounds complex, right? It is.

The training was conducted by Tao Knoware Pvt Ltd. When the first 2 days of training concentrated on making people more human and resolving value dilemmas in organizations, the rest 2 focused on enhancing productivity by addressing specific issues at the organizational level. The training session was an awesome learning experience as I could relate those issues in the current organizational context. The whole training is focused on organizational culture as for TCS, “means are more important than the ends.” I met with so many sharp minds who are mature and sensitive. I guess that enhances the appeal of these sessions.

Unfortunately I was hit by viral fever so I was kind of a passive participant there. Added to that, our training was organized at Hotel Retreat at Madh Island, a real godforsaken place! Actually it’s a perfect place for honeymooners and definitely not for corporate conferences.

Its time to get back to Chennai again! Hoping to catch the morning flight, I landed up at 8:00 AM on Saturday only to realize that the flight is booked by mistake at 8:00 PM. Now, the feeling was of pure jubilation! So, I got enough time to catch up with my buddies after all! I asked my friend to pick me up at airport and landed up at her flat again! It’s so long since I had a quiet chat with my dear college friend. She is getting married this December and is trying to train herself to be a traditional lady! 😉 Her life got changed from jeans to suits, and I just loved watching her taking charge of her life! Glad that I could spend some time with the “to be married” gang!

Thanks to my friend’s sweet roomie’s suggestion, I met up with my ILP gang TCS colleagues in Mumbai. Life was back to projects, bosses, and profiles again! It was glad to see them back after one year! Lots of catching up and so little time! All good things come to an end finally and so does this trip…