It came to an end


Officially it is over… ten month long journey came to an end. There were two exams and one submission before pulling the final curtain by November end.
Before writing further I must thank Pamela for persuading me in enrolling in to this Executive MBA (EXMP) of IIM Bangalore.
The course in nutshell covers almost all the areas of management and gives you enough foundation to build your own interest in specific area. The classes were interactive and a very big positive to attend this kind of program compared to other offerings where you attend classes via Video. The green campus was retreat where you get detached from the outside world for few hours in the weekend. This really recharges your energy level as you do not have any boss to manage.
Well, to answer how much I recommend the course to someone “is a mixed bag” if I put it in few words; another answer would be “It depends” a typical management answer for most situations.
In general, the faculty is an esteemed and one of the best in India. Most of them have got their Master and Doctorial degree from renowned US universities. Some were able to connect to profession like us better and quickly as they had significant industry experience /exposure.
But few tried to impose values and teaching methods which are more suited for full time students. I personally found those sessions were not as effective as others. Overall learning part was not great as I was looking for some performer who can “walk the talk”.
I really could not appreciate the current evolution system that was practised for EGMP. It seems there was no evolution method few years earlier. As more and more corporate started to sponsor this program they (HR department) demanded a way to find out if their employees are effective or not. And every professor before starting the subject would mention that there will be a small evolution but you should focus on learning rather than the exam part. For most subjects we had a multiple choice short exam. I really hated this part; as from engineering days I have already mastered the art of getting relatively OK grade by investing a small amount of time.  For those subjects where there was a submissions or project I think my learning and take away is much more.
Other then learning,One more  positive aspect is you can build network with like minded people.
First thing I need to do is to list all the recommended books by all those professors I noted in various notes. And ensure that I buy and read them in next 18 months.
P.S One class mate quit his job and did really well in class exams with "A" grade; best part he reached final of CAPSIM as individual 5th Indian to do so.

Tonsuring my baby’s head: Tirupati

Ever since from childhood heard about Tirupati but never had a chance till date or never understood why people use to grumble till they had darshan. May be god wanted me to experience the same. Few days back Santanu suddenly decided to visit before his upcoming hectic weeks at office. So it was kind of planned-unplanned trip. Why unplanned knowingly was....we didn't had any ticket in hands before starting the journey nor we had any references to make use of. As planned, we were to start early morning at 5 but when we woke up to the alarm ring I could hear tiny shards of crystals falling from the sky against leaves, trees and windows. I woke Santanu- he looked at the time, then towards the window and back to clock. The clock said it was 4.15am but it was dark outside. Bed was warm and comfortable so he puts again the alarm back for 5.00am. This time we both jumped out of bed with the alarm ring. We kept our things packed last night only so last minute final touch up was left with packing which Santanu did; while I got dressed up and fed Aarush in his sleep. By 6.00 we were at our parking lot.

The route that we took for Tirupati was Bangalore – Kolar –Mulbagilu - Palamneru - Chittoor – Tirupati. Road till Kolar is not that excellent as of ongoing construction. Because of which we missed Woody's restaurant and moreover my son was in deep sleep. So decided to make a stop at Cafe-Coffee Day for restroom. Foods are highly pricey but excellent in terms of neatness. Still Aarush was sleeping blissfully and we didn’t wanted to disturb him as when he is in sleep its good for driving by accelerating. Took one take away coffee for Santanu from cafe-coffee day and we were on our way. After 10 we stopped at BANS restaurant near Chittoor had our breakfast there; (prices were reasonable and very neat place) and were back at road. Landscapes are really worth seeing particularly on sunny day but unfortunately weather was bad that day. On way at Palamneru check post one police man stopped us seeing our Maharashtra number plate car and asked for 100 rs as we were going to Tirupati...strange! Was that we were going for fun or honeymoon that he thought so? We declined saying give us a receipt for the same or leave us. We reached Tirupati around 11.00am. Tirupati, is the temple town in Chittor District of Andhra Pradesh, located in the foothills of Tirumala. And Tirumala is famous for the shrine Lord Venkateshwara.
Santanu decided to go to Tirumala to get the tickets for darshan first and later look for hotel at foothill. So we straight away went towards hill after scanning our baggage and paying toll of Rs 20.Road is one way and really superb to drive through with scenic beauty around .It took 25 min. to reach there. Till this point every thing went smoothly now actual part starts that how and where to get ticket with less wait time in queue for darshan. Best part is nobody knows exactly; everyone will say something different. Through internet study we knew that Vaikuntam Queue Complex- (is a series of inter-connected halls that leads to the main temple) will give ticket of Rs. 300 for (Seeghra Darshan) fast darshan but actuality is that you get into queue immediately without knowing when you can see lord while if you buy tickets of Rs. 50 and Rs. 100 it is given according to availability of ticket on that particular day with no guarantee on time spent on queue. So one person there told us to go to Vijaya bank for fast darshan. Then we drove back near to bus stand where Vijaya bank is after searching here n there. The people near counter have hardly any time to explain about anything. Its like you buy ticket or get lost kind of. Anyways at counter he said he has ticket for same evening nothing for Sunday morning. We wanted for Sunday early morning so that after shower we can pay our obeisance as it was our 7th anniversary. As of man proposes and god disposes, we bought ticket blindly for that evening of 1000 bucks without understanding any head or tail. This time biometrics (finger printing and photo) were taken to eliminate the involvement of middlemen, I believe.

On getting tickets on hand we saw it was written Sahasra Deepalankarana Seva at kovulu mandapam infront of temple at 5.30 pm with 5 small laddus free. And maximum no. of people allowed for this is 5. Now we started looking for temple as it was already 2.30 PM and at tirumala for everything there is a big line be it for ticket counter, ladoo counter, tonsure, restroom etc. We crossed on the way Ram Bagicha Guest House(aka RBGH), maths, kalyan mandapam etc then also could not figure out where the temple is as of misty weather. Then we asked one person who guided us to Ram Bagicha entrance and told to ask there. At Ram bagicha on asking security personnel he told us to go to building next to Ram Bagicha- 3. Till then we were not sure whether we were in temple premises or not as temple's gold overlaid gopuram was not visible because of rain. The crowd, queue all together makes the rains a harrowing experience. Moreover in our ado we forgot to take our umbrella. On asking same person about head tonsuring he said it’s done just at side downstairs of Rambagicha. I had a strong belief that tonsuring being so famous that must be done with some mantra ucharan but in actuality nothing like that. With Rs. 10 coupon we got one barber to get Aarrush's head tonsured. There hands are so experienced that they did it in few minutes while my son kept crying frantically. Thereafter barber was again asking for more money which we denied.
On asking a temple worker at that hall he told one small puja of half an hour will be performed there as of rain and after collecting one silk Uttariyam and blouse piece along with prasadam we need to stand in queue to get glimpse of lord. As it was already 3.30 we decided to feed Aarush with idli just opposite that hall but he strongly denied after 1-2 morsel which we two later finished. And by 4.00 we went to that hall where they made us sit.Best part was since we were before time we got chance to sit in first row. Strangely, one temple worker gave us something to apply in forehead which we took with the thought that we might be only one lacking it but oh my gosh...next moment he asked for money. We declined to give any money. Truly, till this point we were feeling like something fraud going on with us; people keep trying to dupe you. Then mustering enough courage I asked person sitting beside me showing our ticket he told that he has also the same and not to worry we will be able to see lord at last. In the midst of Vedic chanting and singing of Sankirtanas which was live telecasted we were astonish to see priests with three thick chains one large pendant hanging near his belly-button other then ear ring, golden watch strap, wristlet....o ...god real money making place not to be mentioned. A priest with chain and ear ring is quite common there.

After half an hour we rushed along with others for queue; various sign boards indicate the location of the room where pilgrims need to report for their darshan or seva. Outside the room, ticket is checked along with the biometric data provided at the time of ticket purchase. It was 6.15 when we entered this hall we waited for 10 min. I believe this was the last hall of VQC; Once the gates exiting the halls are opened, the devotee joins the actual queue, and from this point in the queue it takes about 60–90 minutes (standing/walking) to reach the sanctum sanctorum and have Darshan. Just before entering the temple, there is a bridge connecting Queue complex to Temple where baggage are scanned for last time. The patience to keep moving step by step, for hours together is ultimate one.All you can see here is the tonsured heads be it male or female and people chanting Gooovinda...Gooovinda. Anyways after moving on endless queue with long wait we reached sanctum sanctorum where people crushed us on from every side which is unexplainable. Near to sanctum felt like stuck in unmoving queue. Even my little son couldn't control his tears he just burst out (out of hunger, claustrophobia, with madness crushing from all sides). At times waiting in a queue felt like God simply refused to see us. On reaching inside officials were pushing devotees to one side before one can have proper sight of lord. Lastly, that momentary glimse of lord arrived where before we could fold our hands we found ourselves at one corner. All the while I felt like asking god only this much fraction of seconds you have for your devotees who are dying to see you.
Literally, I have to struggle with my memories to recollect lord's face. Then with crowd came out saw golden hundi offered our bare minimum dakshinas and then took one round of temple then again formed a queue to collect prasadam chakkera-pongali (sweet pongal) which was hot enough for that cold rainy day. From there followed sign of ladoo counter which is again very commercialized. You need to buy poly bags for rs 2. Then stand in designated queue depending on type of ticket you bought. Thank god our had less queue so got almost instantly. We wanted to buy 2 more extras but couldn't figure out how and where to collect coupons for the same.Well, satisfied with what we had and happy enough that God at least wished to see us in this form without bath and without wasting much time in queue. It was 7.15 pm when we took exit from temple so one hour exactly from the time we were in queue.

Worth visiting without any plan all because of Gods grace may be. We decided to stay that night at Fortune keenness hotel @ Tirupati  just opposite the bus stand. Drove down-hill carefully which is again one way. Roads are really good here with a view of city. Although considered to be 4 star but room 116 provided to us had a  roof with water dripping due to extra moisture . Other then that rest facilities were A class. Had paid buffet dinner after hot shower and buffet breakfast next day morning was complimentary.
Anyway, happy sort-of-anniversary! we were content from our trip which ended successfully. As of rain decided to return Bangalore before evening so started at 10.00 am. On way this time we made sure to halt at Woody's restaurant and had a quick stop at BANS for restroom. God knows why people want to eat at Woody's. It was buzzing with flies; I am sure if one or 2 fly get in with food I won't be surprised so asked for take away. Moreover we were so stuffed with buffet breakfast that we were hardly hungry enough so had lassi only. And by 4.30 pm we reached our parking lot.


Another year passed by


Another year passed and more grey hairs to take care now. Well this time I cut the cake at office with my team. Cake came off course from Cake Walk. Well I never had any no birthday resolution there was no difference this year as well. Big thanks to those who wished me on time or belated. For others this post is few weeks old in itself.

Madras Filter Coffee

My addiction to coffee is old an old one. My morning does not start without coffee on weekdays. I am not quite human still have my morning coffee will probably describe it best.  In India coffee is very different from West.  I came to know recently that Indian Coffee Board is head quartered in Bangalore.  The main coffee producing region of India(hills of Coorg, Niligiris and Wayanad>) are not very far off Bangalore.

This coffee I got today morning while on way to office. A good link to follow. Some quote from Wikipedia about how it is prepared if you are interested.

South Indian coffee is brewed with a metal device that resembles two cylindrical cups, one of which has a pierced bottom that nests into the top of the "tumbler" cup, leaving ample room underneath to receive the brewed coffee. The upper cup has two removable parts: a pierced pressing disc with a central stem handle, and a covering lid.The upper cup is loaded with fresh ground coffee mixed with chicory (~2 tablespooons of mixture per serving). The grounds are gently compressed with the stemmed disc into a uniform layer across the cup's pierced bottom. With the press disc left in place, the upper cup is nested into the top of the tumbler and boiling water is poured inside. The lid is placed on top, and the device is left to slowly drip the brewed coffee into the bottom. The chicory sort of holds on to the hot water a little longer, letting the water extract more flavor from the coffee powder. This makes the decoction a lot stronger as compared the typical western drip coffee, the decoction is so strong that you'd need only 2-3 tea spoonfuls of it to flavor a 150ml milk. Where as the western drip coffee is quite watery to taste.
COFFEE.SYS Not Found: User startup disabled. ~Author Unknown

New widget with Media RSS

It was a long time I played with new technology and changed any the way the this blog looks to you. Liked few themes and tried to put them in my own taste before I found the current one. But some how those themes really did not looks so cool to and attractive to me at the end. So I went with the current one and did not did not did much changes.

I was looking for a widget on on the sidebar for photo stream (the most used on the net is the flickr one). I am not very happy with their account policy so do have a a pro account.  as i was looking around I found that the coolest solution for my need. I used Coolaris with Media RSS to stream photo on the sidebar.   Gallery2 does not come with Media RSS by default but as I am running Gallery3 Beta for a while I am using the same. This means I  did changes  any major scripts and got this cool widget.

At last I got sifr for titles does not they looks right ?

Happy Durga Puja

Hello everyone, happy festivity it is time of celebration in India specially  north and east where it is NavaRatri in North and Durga Puja in East. Pamela and Arush left on Sunday for Durg. It will be almost after 8 years Pamela will be at her mother house to celebrate Durga Puja. For Bengali's it is the most special occasion in the whole calender.  According to mythological believe Goddess Durga is a daughter of every Bengali  and she visit her parents with her four children.

For me life had been very hectic at work in last months after coming back from Singapore. At times I felt new heights of  anxiety and pressure which i have not experienced yet.  In way it was a good learning but I questioned myself do I  have the material enough to get me to the of the leader. Well may be I am reading too many Harvard Business Reviews. I am really looking forward a great ending of this course now. Wish I could plan for our next vacation; since  March when we did not went out Bangalore together. I am already dreaming for Andaman

I am counting my days for the upcoming camping trip that I am supposed to take on 1st week of October.  I got all my camping grear out of various boxes which have not seen any action in last 5 years after I left Sunny California.

Pamela has kept Aarush's picture website update. She is really great as she always updates that twice a weeks as soon she gets her chance to sit down with computer. But really at times I  feel this blog space is not getting enough updates it should get.  Wish we both could do the same with the blog; I should  write soon after coming back from the camping trip.

Seventh month

(17th July-16th August)
Being uncertain about travel plans ahead we got his passport ready in hurry-burry where my darling posed in front of camera without much hesitation.
He can balance to sit unsupported but for short time while leaning forward and spreading his legs out wide and straight for support. He started to recognize people. On calling his name from back he use to turn around to find where sounds come from. Want to explore by putting A-Z thing to his mouth. Moving around on all fours is not yet perfect wriggles forward sometimes on the stomach. He doesn't likes to be left alone in the room.
Maids another headache in India... one just left without any prior notice. I was so depressed with pressure mounting on me as on one side taking care of Aarush along with all house-hold stuffs and on other side my mom-in-law was coming like expecting too much out of me at same time. A satisfactory maid is so difficult to get....I am planning to write a book on them.
Truly, when you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.
His grandma (thamma) came. He use to spend with her 2 hrs at morning while I finished cooking. Our baby coos, gurgles while looking at interesting things or when talked to and yells for attention. One of his uncle too came around this time; he played mouthorgan which he enjoyed while trying to be in seating position.

Now he likes to listen to rhymes while eating. As soon as it is switched on he use to look at TV set. He doesn't mind repeating them.
He has started to tear paper pages into pieces then tries to chew them. So we got sturdy board books which he looks for a while and then throw or drop them as he can't chew anymore. He spends more time with book in his mouth than in their hands. Once we tried him in shoulder sling he was unimaginably happy. Seeing him it made me laugh loud as if baby kangaroo is snugged to mom. And he in turn seeing me laughing, laughed for first time....really amazing as if he understood. Now he is getting more vocal and expressive.

Cost cutting Travel and more

My last week trip to Singapore was a hectic one. Too many meetings and meetings at work; best  part is now a new Starbucks at Science Park Drive is opened close to work; was very lucky where every other day got pampered by my host with a coffee.

The flight from Bangalore was a nightmare I never experienced such horrible service from any airline in my travel history. For Airlines each seats are perishable commodities, which is lost as soon as the flight takes off and it is a dream come true for Airline Company when they have one. But looks like Singapore Airline (SIA) staffs not adequately trained to handle such pressure. The dinner was served at 1:30 AM while the flight was on time at 23:00PM. Neither they came with coffee or tea after dinner, may be most passenger would not have asked for the same but still they should have don’t they... ? I pressed the button for extra water but no one attended me.
While returning from Singapore person at counter was very strict about extra luggage. I had to adjust extra 2 Kgs that I had which was something new for me. For the first time, I had to do that …. blame it on IKEA . Anyways, the famous courteousness of SIA staff was totally missing when I asked for priority level for my check-in. And this time I did ensured my seat on-line prior to flying. In-flight service was much better this time as the flight was very much empty. May be only half or less and service was comparable to old times.
But on whole it looks like entire Singapore is going through a cost cutting measure to turn around their economy. They issued me a 2 year VIA on simple A4 paper. Not sure if that paper is going to last or not. And clearly SIA staffs donot know what to do when the flight is full which is really a BIG disappointment.
I ensured to share the same feedback to SIA website and hope for the better service next time.

Depuis Longtemps

In recent time, there is no post in our blog.  Few days back, newspaper mentioned popular blogs are drying as "twitter or facebook" becomes popular ways to communicate with readers. Many bloggers started to update about themselves in social-site or micro-blogging using SMS and original blog surffers. For us nothing as such happened; we just got super busy from busy.

We were very happy that my younger brother and his wife took the pain to come over to Bangalore (10-13th July). Though it was just for 3 days out of their hectic one month annual India trip. Day they returned to Calcutta they had flight in the night to California. It was fun for very short span and I had classes whole week and even on Saturday. Pamela took them around to Commercial street and Garuda Mall. Was able to spend Sunday with them; we went to Richies at Frazer town. Well this place is not a great if you are looking for ambience and cleanliness. But the kebab are mouth watering and price is very reasonable. We have been there twice already; each time we go there its just for food and keep our eyes on plate only.

The day I dropped them at Airport ; reached office and realized my turn is coming to travel. I will be going to Singapore for a week on business trip(26-31st).

Now need to clear out all those tiny bits of to-do’s which had been procastinated for a while. To top up this I am having classes every Saturday @ IIM. This mean more subjects, exams and more preparations.

At work things are really crazy at times now I can relate "Organizational Structure" and "Organizational Behaviour".  If you are like me do not get puzzled by these terminology. Before attending the B-school I didn't knew them either but had practised through experience.  The first one deals with organization at large and how it behaves through change at difficult or good times.  The second one is focused on each individual and groups (formal and informal) within the organization. No one can escape these at professional front but knowing these theories is definite plus.

Playing football

Aarush having nice time in green patch of IIM Bangalore Campus. Color of ball and his T-shirt coincidently matched and isn't that look nice on green background? I took Pamela and Aarush to show them the southern part of Bangalore which I am visiting quite often this year on academic purpose. A great place to escape from routine life and bring back memories of ... "Purani Jeans Aur Guitar..." days.

For those who are not familiar with this song it is sung by Ali Haider.

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Aarush @ Swimming pool

During April and May Aarush and Pamela went to Swimming pool almost daily for a few weeks. Every day around 10:30 or so he would make his best effort to get his swimming gear and would ask us to put it for him. But after few weeks we had to stop as we realized his cough was not getting cured and he got lots of sun tan. And now after the operation he is out of scope for any water sports for next one year.

Yelagiri

Really do not recollect how I came first time to Team-BHP web site, specifically their forum. And from then on is kind of hooked though not a car freak myself with limited understanding for these electro-mechanical wonders. What fascinates me is travelogue section of this forum. It is great to find so many passionate soul sharing their trips and tricks. Last November got an unexpected mail about a meet-up @ Yelagiri for Bangalore team-bhpean; was not sure to join or not. Too much of work at office made it very difficult to commit.

On that special day somehow we started early @ 6:30 from home. Little -A was sleeping when we started and there was thick fog when we reached Dakshin Honda on Hosur Road. We saw many cars with BHP bumper sticker waiting on the side of the road. Soon we crossed Karnataka border and reached the town of Hosur. The road condition changed. Suddenly all pot-holes were gone and driving become really cool. Definitely politicians and bureaucrats of Karnataka need to learn something from their neighbor.
We stopped at A2B for breakfast, around 70 KM from Silk Board Junction with Petrol Pump next to it which you can't miss it. There was lots of crowd; it took us a while to get a decent place to sit and much longer to get our idli-sambar. We left for Yelagiri Hills and soon left NH7 for NH46 after first toll booth. There are signs for Chennai which you need to follow ; continuing on NH7 will take you to Salem. So after driving another 50 KM we crossed another toll booth from where we left NH46 for Yelagiri. This state road was not that great but OK. The last 14 KM is on the hilly section with hairpin turns. As we were quite early; not much traffic before or behind us. Plenty of monkeys along the road, they target cars for easy food if you are not careful.

We reached Yelagiri lake around 10-ish. Took a full round of the lake. With Aarush we had no plan for hiking and boating so decided for lunch. It was around 11:30 when we reached Hotel Hills. The hotel was not ready for lunch yet and Aarush had his lunch at reception while watching some Tamil songs at big screen. He was too sleepy to finish his lunch; we decided it might be a better idea to start for Bangalore while he sleeps skipping our lunch.
According to Outlook 52 weekend from Bangalore a typical weekend at Yelagiri would be --
Good breakfast, a gentle walk, lots of rest followed by lunch more rest another stroll in the evening then Dinner -- lots more rest, A blissful weekend.


On the way back we stopped again at A2B for a very late lunch. After crossing Hosur, entry to Bangalore was painful. There is a huge construction site around Electronic city for the mega fly-over on NH-7. We visited one of my college mate in HSR layout on the way back as we reached Bangalore well before Sunset.



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