Wednesday, November 19, 2008


It is tough to be a consultant. You might not do an exact business consulting but going to different countries and adjusting to the client's work culture and even to the work culture of some of the people in your own group(apparently from different parts of the world) can become tough. I faced it in Finland and i face it here in South Africa.

It was a bit better in Finland , given that i didnt need to drive a car and didnt need to start at 6:30 AM. I really wonder how these people wake up and prepare for work so early in the morning. I see long lines of vehicles on the roads at 6:30 in the morning. This however is just one of the many things that i have to get adjusted to.

Working with people from other countries , though they belong to your company can also be a bit challenging. People can be pretty straight and tough, might say certain things that are not all that pleasing right on your face. However , i realized today that it is a part and parcel of the job and shouldnt be taken offensively.

Had a tough morning session with a lot of installations, some heated discussions with people on the projects (which might have had gone a bit out of control) and then meetings with the client about some crap data mapping exercise. A good lunch with a quiche ofcourse helped to get out of the stress. A call and some more testing made up for the rest of the session after which we left the office to have some drinks by the beach and then summed it up with a nice dinner at a Malayan restaurant (which apparently served Indian food). Driving the car at night (which i did for the first time) was sort of the icing on the cake. Relaxing a bit with songs in the background and writing this post sums up the day.

I named the post realizations as my day was topsy turvy and taught me never to take things too seriously in professional life. :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008


7 : 30 in the morning and it is a bright sunny day and hopefully it shall remain like that. It has been quite a long time since my last post.

Finland experience has been great. Being in another country that is geographically , culturally and economically different from India, with friendly and helpful people has taught me quite a few things.The experience has for sure made me a more mature person. One of the important points that i have learnt about is that we Indians make a fuss about racism.I now accept the fact that everyone is racist in a way. Whether it is the Europeans or the Americans or we Indians , everyone has some sort of negative feeling about people of other race. When someone asks me did you experience any such incidents in Finland , I immediately say yes ofcourse , but then it didnt hurt me but made me introspect more. When a colleague of mine said "It is difficult for me to identify dark people" , I remember the n number of comments that i made of the chinese. I dont think there is anything to complain.

Coming back to India , made me appreciate a lot of things. I sorely missed the atmosphere , the hustle and bustle of city life and ofcourse the food and the family. Eating a masala dosa at the usual balaji tiffin point rejuvanated my taste buds. Getting back to people who speak what i speak and who act like the way i do gave me a comfort that i missed back in Finland. Now that i had shifted to a new place , with my college frenz for company , life is more interesting. Going to movies , eating out at 11 / 12 in the night , putting lachha over and over is like going back to the good old college days.

Now i have a chance to go to another country , another continent. When one of my colleagues asked me are you excited about going there ? , i wasnt sure. In a way it is good , i shall have more experiences to share , shall get an opputunity to visit many more beautiful places and might look at things from an entirely different angle. So till i find time , enthusiasm and motivation to write another post , cya.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

My Linnanmaki Experience episode 2

After Kieppi , it was time for some fun with the water and linnanmaki has two nice rides which would leave you drenched (both in ecstasy and ofcourse water). The rides harjakuru and Vonkaputous were really nice. After these two i went to have a look at the scarry house. Well , it wasnt as scary as some of the others in India but the best thing here was the puzzle we need to solve to get out. I was in a complete 3D environment (i had the special glasses ofcourse) and the walk through the maze was simply exciting. The path was full of mirrors arranged so correctly that you cant see your reflection till you are close enough to it. You would think that would be the way and suddenly some ghost would scream at you from the mirror. I was good enough to lead myself and a group of 5 ppl out and ofcourse received their appreciation for it :) . It was around 6 in the evening by then and i was thinking i can go for a repeat of the rides. But then the day wasnt supposed to be so normal.

I suddenly realized that i didnt switch of the washing machine before i came. I rushed off the park , caught the immediate tram and rushed to my house to find that the washing machine wasnt running though the power was on. Looks like it had a timer of some sort , which shut it down automatically. Thanks to technology. I however didn't want to let the remaining one hour of my pass go waste so i went back to the park in another 20 mins and repeated five of the rides. I was so caught up by those water games that i took that ride 4 times and was completely wet by the time i finished. I felt that the best way to dry myself is to go for one of the faster rides (expected the wind to help me). I went for the Kieppi again (the german one). The shouts and screams by the kids just made the environment so energetic.

It was good and ofcourse the time was nearing for the park to be closed. It was finally 9 in the night by the time i finished the ride and i was completely exhausted by now. I went to the coke shop, looking for one final drink (i make it sound like i was boozing :) ). The lady was about to close the shop , but was in good enough mood to make the last sale. I couldnt use my card as she shutdown the machine. I paid in cash and sat on the bench to enjoy my coke. I caught up the tram home and was completely tired by the time i reached. However , it was worth it as i had a gr8 day of fun.

For some videos and photos visit


Saturday, May 31, 2008

My Linnanmaki Experience episode 1

I had a gr8 day today. I know it might sound like a cliche but today the day just sped past me. At exactly 12 in the night (finnish time and on my lappy) i write this post and right now i am thinking about what i did today morning. It already seems as if it were a distant happening. I set about doing something and did something else. I woke up at 8:45 in the morning and was out on the street by 9:00 to have a hair cut , saw sthin labelled a make up bar , mistook it for a barber shop , came on to the street again , somehow felt i need to buy chapatis , ended up buying onions , cauliflower and chapatis. Phew , from haircut to cauliflower.

Well , i got control of myself and came back home , relaxed a bit, took bath, watched the crap about some military aircrafts on BBC or CNN (i dont remember) , cooked some food and by the time it was finished it was nearly 12. I put in some clothes for washing in the machine and suddenly i decided on going to the linnanmaki amusement park (well i had thought of this for the last two days , but somehow i felt "yeah now is the time" ). I left the house in an hour and went to linnanmaki. I wasnt sure how it is going to be , wasnt sure if it would be worth it (damn Indian mentality :) ). However , i am glad that i continued.

The ticket costed me 33 euros and the first ride i went for was the giant wheel. I expected sthin gr8 , given that it is "foreign" . Crap, the giant wheel in the "exhibition" in vizag was way better than this. This one took me at a slow speed to the top of the wheel and after one round , the operator came and told that the ride was over . The Finnish ladies sitting next to me were already frightened . I asked him "Is that it ?" which brought a weird look on his face "what else do you want ?" . However , he was polite enough to say "That is it" with a smile. I was skeptical at this moment that my day was going to crash. However , i think fate had a different plan for me and i went to hop to the next ride "Kirnu". This turned out to be the complete antithesis of the pervious ride. It was a loopy curve standing tall at around 20 mts and the roller would rotate and revolve and would put you on the edge of the loop , where you would feel "If this buckle holding me goes down , i would go straight up ". I would say this was a great ride as my mind was still in the loop long after the ride was over.

What if i fall .is the way down or up ?

Then i took the Karuselli ride , which was sthin similar to the ones in Indian exhibitions. So nthin much about this. But the next ride , the roller coaster ride is sthin good to talk about. It is a complete wodden roller coaster. It has been there since 1951 (atleast the map i have right now says so) and it was a good ride. The ups and downs and dark tunnel added to the excitement. It was sort of a balanced experience till now , give that the giant wheel was a very bad start. However , the next rides were going to be gr8.

From the roller coaster , i went to the "Kieputin" (which by the end of the day turned out to be my favourite). It is a massive box encased between two giant arms. The real fun however , was that the box turned in a manner similar to the way a cook turned the dosa (i know the comparison is very weird , but then it is true.) The box turns so much in so less a time that you would find staring at the land one second , at the sky the other and again at the land the next. So the speed is the awesome part. In addition to that , the fountain dances right below your eyes and you just cant stop shouting out of ecstasy (well for some it might be fear). However , it is a gr8 , gr8 ride and you would love it . Not only for the ride but also for the noise every one around you makes . The kids just couldnt stop screaming. It was simply splendid.
The Water dances right under your eyes
By now , i was pretty sure that there are atleast two gr8 rides here and even if the others suck , i can manage with these two ( i had a full day pass and could take the rides as many times as i wanted). However , more was yet to come and i went up for the latest craze Salama (It was started this year). That didnt disappoint either . At a top speed of 60kmph and a hieght of 17 mts, with all the steep bends it was a fun. After Salama I thought it is time to twirl again and i took upon one of the scariest (craziest) machines that i ever sat on. This was the Kieppi (german made). After the ride , i just couldnt help appreciate the rubber that was gaurding my face and ears. My head was moving in all the possible directions (so did the instrument) right , left , up and down. It was pretty fast and i actually screamed. In addition to the speed and the angles the ride lasted around 3 minutes and that seemed like ages.

More to follow ......

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Indian Philosophers

Writing about Indian Philosophers is certainly not the idea of this post. However , the inspiration for this post comes from a discussion i had yesterday , with two of my colleagues. Coming back from the Knopfler concert (which of course we thoroughly enjoyed) , we got into a discussion on philosophy. At this moment one of my colleagues, who had obviously read a lot about this subject started speaking about kant , Aristotle etc . One my Indian friends suddenly made a comment that we from India do not have a chance to get to know about subjects like this as we do not have many philosophers. In response to which the foreigner who was with us made a very generic statement "the only philosopher you guys have is buddha .... " of course he didnt intend any offence. I wasnt really feeling sad at the foreigner's statement coz i can understand if a non indian says he doesnot know of any one other than Budhha , but coming from a country where great thinkers like swami Vivekananda , Rama Krishna ParamaHamsa , Raja Ram Mohan Roy , Shankaracharya are revered i was surprised with my Indian friend's comments.

This atleast was a shock to me that an Indian does not remember Swami Vivekananda as one of the greatest philosophers this country has ever produced. I personally know of people who have been really impressed by this man's speeches. May be i am a bit exaggerating but i feel this incident though small in nature throws light on how we in India are loosing track of our great history. Dont get me wrong , i am a great admirer of modernization and surely not of the league who keeps speaking about blindly following traditions , and sneer at modernization. However , we should not certainly let our culture and history take a back seat to embrace the development of the world. Making a general statement like the one my friend made , in front of a foreigner certainly shows the country in a poor light. I would have been happier if my friend had at least thought are there really no great philosopher's from India ? . Given that culture and civilization have existed here since time infinity, didn't we ever have people who really thought about the human way of life in general (at least to me that is what philosophy is all about).

Just to answer these questions , i had searched wiki to find some great people a few of whom i had studied about before like Yagnavalkya , swami vivekananda , raja ram mohan roy etc ... and of course the others are new to me as well. Hopefully , any one who reads this post would find them useful as well.

Moder Indian Philosophers :

Indian Philosophers a compilation

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Skiing @ Serena

A long weekend laid ahead of us and we were not sure if we had all our plans ready to kill time. It was a religiously packed weekend with good friday , holi , Easter etc ... . Though we didnt celebrate the traditional way either by eating cakes or by applying colours on each other's faces , we had our bit of fun and adventure, we went to Ski at Serena.

Intially we had plans of going to another Ski resort at Vihti . However , we could not catch the proper bus at the appropriate time and had to make it to serena to enjoy Skiing , We later relaized that it was probably good that we didnt go all the way to Vihti :) . I had grand plans about skiing. I thought i can make all those S curves and C curves and do down hill , cross country etc. But when i wore the Ski boots for the first time , i relaized how tough it is going to be. Luckily , we thought it would be better to hire an instructor as neither of us (Vishy , ram and myself ) had skied before. Our instructor started smoothly by teaching us the first moves and slowly we started moving on the snow. She taught us how to put the breaks , how to accelerate and how to shift weight on the legs so that we can make the turns. It was a nice learning experience as it showed me sking is not as romantic as they show in the movies.

After the first 30 mins it was time for us to do a down hill and we took the lift to go up. I had my second fall here ( the first was when i put the skiis on) as i was unable to keep up the pace with the moving lift and started skiing back wards. Just imagine, i was in no control what so ever and skiis were taking me down hill. I suddenly realized that i was leaning back wards and that has shifted the whole weight towards the slope, I immediately bent forward and though i didnt stop completely , i fell on the snow and stopped. This was one of the many to come.

Our instructor took me up hill and started teaching us how to maintain balance without to poles ( the ones you hold in hand when skiing). It was a nice thing to learn as it gave me an insight into what actually makes skiing a not so easy job - the balance. My instructors point was that people from other countries (like India) do not have slippery surfaces to walk on which gives them the habit habit of walking straight ,with a completely erect body. However people like the Finns have to deal with these slippery surfaces every day and these make them naturally good at skiing. I saw kids and toddlers hardly 5 -6 yrs old doing down the hill perfectly , where as we were striggling to take the left turns , put the breaks and etc .... After another 45 mins of slow practice, I grew confident and made my first complete down hill . Though , it didnt go in the expected direction , it was a big improvement from where I started. Soon the instructor left us to ski on our own and we had quite a bit of fun for another hour and took the bus to Espoo , from where we would catch the train to Helsinki. I was amazed to see the beautiful country side with small and nice houses and frozen lakes. There was one lake which was completely frozen and is probably suitable for walking.

However , it is not well untill it ends well and it wasnt supposed to be the case. In a hurry to catch the tram i started running with these formal shoes, lost balance and fell on the road. I have small bruises on my ankels and left palm. Though minor , they are inaddition to the already sore ankles and shoulders. On the whole it was a very nice experience as it was my first ski ride inaddition to visting a beautiful country side. Looking fwd for a repeat , of course without the bruises :).

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Those were the best days of my life....

Two things have contributed to this post. First , i was listening to the song with the same title by Bryan Adams and secondly , i was looking at my orkut photos and saw the oldest photo of all - rajesh and me trying to pose as if we are ghoting.
Today , thousands of miles away, i sit in this room in a cold country and all my bitsian life seems as if it were a thing from another world. Eyebrows dont lift when i wear this sweatshirt and go to the office , people ask me BITS- pilani ? .. never heard of that ? (not every one ofcourse , some of them do know about it). All those days of adulation and the hype of being a BITSIAN , look as if they are gone. It has been more than an year and half since i spoke to some of those people who made my stay at BITS a worthy one and i am not sure if i would ever get a chance.

I still remember the last two days , 13th of December when most of my frenz left, 14th i had an exam and the 15th was the last day of my BITSIAN stay. I wasnt able to understand why so many people were crying and feeling sad. I was speaking to a lot of my frenz on the way to delhi and was saying , i dont feel psenti , what is there to get so emotional about that etc ... But now when i look back at those old fotos and think of all those good times , lachha sessions , night outs , tests , ANC , volley ball and c'nnot treats , i get a sense of nostalgia. The strange part of this feeling is that i never had it back in India , even after staying away for an year and a half. However , here in Helsinki , i suddenly remember pilani , not only because of the little similarities Helsinki has in terms of the climate , but also because i dont have any BITSIANS around me any more. Back in Bangalore , i used to see a couple of them either at the office or at home or on the Airport Road. Probably it is true that the day comes for every one.

However , looking at the positive side of things , i can easily say the 4 yrs of college life are worthy of memory . They made me what i am today (not that i had achieved sthin really gr8 , but hope to), they gave me sooooooo many memories , in addition to a little bit :) of knowledge . Atleast , they help me to write posts like this and at times take me back to the good old times of my dreams. Surely , "They were the best days of my life" and will remain so forever.

Enough of psenti stuff, i need to make my cup of chinese noodles, thinking of which i remember the fired maggi at ANC :( .... looks like this never ends.

**Thanks to sandi for the photo

My Finnish adventure

Off late i have been very busy , not only with work but of course with my own finnish adventures. Before i write about my adventure @ 9 in the night , i need to explain a few things that led to it. Here in finland you need not have any key to go out of any building , whether it is the nokia office at karaporti or my house in Uudenmankatu. The doors are in such a way that if a person wants to go out of the building , all he needs to do is turn the knobs and he need not even lock it while going. You push the door and that is it , it gets locked.

Under this context , i write about the small adventure that i went through on thursday night. I wanted to collect the duplicate bill for my SIM card purchase at the R-kioski shop near my house. So after coming home (and entering it properly) , i rushed off to that store. I got the required bill and returned home , only to find that the keys i had are not the correct ones and there is no way that i can open the door for my house. My passport , phone , travel card and wallet were all locked inside. There was simply no way for me to enter that house. I was really tensed , coz the temperature outside was a freezing -2 and i didnt have any place to sleep. The prospect that i have to probably lie on the foot steps , or roam around the streets till morning sent a shiver. After some pondering over i remembered that a colleague whom i had met a couple of days earlier stays just two blocks away. I immediately rushed to his place , but was unable to operate that speak through at the apartment door. Some how after 15 mins i realized how to operate it and called him up. We then spoke to the rental office about our problem , for which they replied that nothing can be done till the next day morning. So i slept at narasimha's place for that night and went and collected the duplicate set of keys in the morning. It was a big lesson for me that whatever might happen never forget the keys in finland. If you loose them there is a big process of filing a police complaint , paying a fine of 80 euros etc .... Atleast have your mobile , wallet and travel card when you go out.

Today ,we are planning to go to a place called Suomenlinna , a place that is kind of etched in time. They say it has a long history of withstanding various wars and etc .... Shall write about it when i return. Till then adios.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

My first international experience.

It has been just two days , but then these two days are probably the days that i wont forget soon. Sitting here infront of the window , munching these raffels and looking at the ice melting down the green sheets , i feel like Wordsworth looking at daffodils :) ..... i might not be that poetic , but this place is probably one of the best for people who love the chill and cold. you have so much ice that it can probably solve bangalore's water problem ( this is an example of how bad my poetic skills can be :) ).

When i boarded the lufthansa flight to frankfurt , i was a bit tensed. My first flight out of the country , a host of countries to cross and a long 10 hr flight didnt make me feel any comfortable. However , the treatment in the flight was very good and the flight was awesome. I dont know how comfortable the business and the first classes would be, but the economy class in itself was good. The flight attendants , mostly german , were cordial. The first snack that was served was very tasty and i tasted wine for the first time. When the lady sitting next to me ordered red wine , i felt i should atleast go for some white wine. Though , it was difficult to start , the taste began to sink in after some time. I expected a short severe kick , as they show in the movies , but it was absolutely nthin. I had some payasam , upma , idli sambar , yogurt and bread with butter and jam in addition to a very good tea (well it is a long list , but i didnt put on much weight :) ) .

However , everything didnt happen as smoothly as i expected, especially at the frankfurt airport. It is a huge one and there is every chance that you might get lost if you dont read the signs properly. To my advantage ,there wasnt a big crowd at the immigration check and the german who asked me a couple of questions , though was a bit curt , was good enough to add a thank you , unlike his Indian counter part at the bangalore airport who didnt even acknowledge a thanks from my side. The airport was good and had a vast mix of nationalities . My connecting flight to Helsinki got delayed by an hour and a half thanks to the weather. The time was 1:30 PM (German) and it has already been 30 hrs since i last cleaned my teeth. There was some chewing gum in a box in the rest room ,to clean the teeth , however i could not understand how to get one out. After an hour and after some struggle with the language , i came to know from one of the cleaners that i need to put in a euro in the machine to get the gum . However, as they say nthin is easy till it happens and i didnt have any coins with me. I had to ask the old finnish lady sitting infront of me at the airport for some change and after using some sign language and some sound i was able to get the sufficient change to by myself a chewing gum tooth brush.

I took a table with a nice view of the airport and started chewing that gum , when a chinki came and sat infront of me. I didnt notice him at first, but after sometime when I looked at him , he gave me a warm nice smile and in his typical boom boom english he asked " u from India ? ". I said yeah i am from India. His next question was " you good at software / hardware " . I smiled at his question as it gave me an impression that half the world thinks that Software skills are ingrained into Indians by birth , I said i work on SW. He said "Yooou from Bangalore ? " . I know that bangalore is famous but didnt expect such a question from a Vietnamese that too in a lonely corner in frankfurt airport. I asked him if he knows bangalore , to which he replied " of course every one knows bangaaaaaaalore , hyyyderaaaaaabad. yooou guys are faaaaamous." . I later came to know that he is Mr. Vu from USA , emigratted to US after the Vietnam war and i found that he has a very good knowledge about everything that is going round the world. Right from the iraq war to the poor infrastructure in Inida , to the past , to what to do with my life , to his experiences with life we discussed a lot of things till our flight arrived.

On board , the airbus flying to Helsinki , i had a lot of finnish guys for my company. I had some pasta , milk chocolate , and apple juice ... the guys from lufthansa were pretty good and overall flight was comfortable. The first thing one would notice when one lands at Vanta , Helsinki is the sudden change in temperature. The airport was more or less like Bangalore's in size , but was pretty neat and clean . I took a taxi from the airpro counter and reached home , ofcourse not before some nice walk in the snow that was coming down strongly. A nice cozy mattress made me realize that i hadn't slept enough in the past 36 hrs and off i went into the bed , of course after cleaning my teeth, using the tooth paste in the check in bag :) .

Friday, February 01, 2008

21 things an Indian coming from US does

21. Tries to use credit card in road side hotel.
20. Drinks and carries mineral water and always speaks of being health conscious.
19. Sprays deo such that he doesn't need a bath. He also speaks of the exact distance from which it has to be used so that the deo is more effetive.
18. Sneezes and says 'Excuse me'.
17. Says Hey instead of Hi
Says Yogurt instead of Curd
Says Cab instead of Taxi
Says Candy instead of Chocolate
Says Cookie instead of Biscuit
Says **Free Way** instead of Highway
Says got to go instead of Have to go
Says O instead of Zero(for 704, says Seven Oh Four Instead of Seven Zero Four)
16. Doesn't forget to crib about air pollution. Keeps cribbing every time he steps out.
15. Says all the distances in Miles (Not in Kilo Meters), and counts in Millions. (Not in Lakhs)
14. Tries to figure all the prices in Dollars as far as possible (but deep down the heart multiplies by 40).
13. Tries to see the % of fat on the cover of a milk pocket.
12. When need to say Z (zed), never says Z (Zed), repeats Zee several times, if the other person is unable to understand(he might use 'get') it, then says X,YZee.
11. Writes date as MM/DD/YYYY, on watching traditional DD/MM/YYYY, says & Oh! British Style!!!!
10. Makes fun of Indian Standard Time and **Indian Road** Conditions.
9. Even after 2 months, complaints about Jet Lag.
8. Avoids eating more chili (hot) stuff.
7. Tries to drink Diet Coke instead of **Normal** Coke.
6. Tries to complain about any thing in **India** as if he is experiencing it for the first time.
5. Pronounces schedule as skejule and module as mojule.
4. Looks suspiciously towards Hotel/Dhaba food.
3. From the luggage bag, does not remove the stickers of Airways by which he traveled back to **India**, even after 4 months of arrival.
2. Takes the cabin luggage bag to short visits in India, tries to roll the bag on Indian Roads.

Ultimate one
1.Tries to begin conversation with; In US ....or When I was in US...

** He also tells you why you should not be drinking pepsi .... the reason is to counter the high pressure , which makes it tasteless , they add lot of sugar and it is not good for health . :)