A week with work-woes and a movie

Have you ever felt the need to get away from work? That you’ve had enough of it and cannot take the same old boring work-routine for even one more day or hour?! I guess, many of us would’ve been parley to such thoughts several times – especially considering the typically stressful work-styles we follow. Last week was one such for me. The work-days-juggernaut was rolling along nicely and I was working on the usual tasks and going about the boring daily work-routine. There was a planned project change implemented on a Thursday and everything looked fine. That night at 2.35 AM I got a call on the mobile from the night-support team. There seemed to be some issue with the implemented code, due to which some files which had to be generated and sent to the downstream partner systems was empty. Within five minutes I was awake and logged in – trying to decipher what could’ve gone wrong. I figured it out soon enough – I had overlooked some accompanying changes which had to be done and the empty file was a result of this miss. 😦 Amidst the thoughts of all the music I had to face  on the morrow in office, I was trying to check if there was a quick fix solution to generate that night’s file. I did some fix on the QA environment and drew up plans with the support-team-lead that this problem would require an emergency fix to be implemented on the very next day, before the next day’s file would get generated. I promised them that I would get into office early and work on it as priority.

Daylight was already breaking over the horizon and I thought that it was futile to go back to bed then; I might as well get the cooking etc. done and get ready for work. Accordingly I went about the morning chores and was ready for work at 6 AM, an hour before my regular morning start-time. I coordinated with the early shift cab driver and was in office by 7 AM, before most of the other folks started coming in. The rest of the day went by in a blur – the fix wasn’t as easy as it had initially looked, I had totally missed analysing the code earlier and had to figure out the logic, carry out tests and ensure that it would work seamlessly with the other changes. Added to this was the time constraint – everything had to be done within a couple of hours, the change orders raised and all necessary approvals sought to put it out-of-cycle as an emergency fix.

Phew! Luckily everything worked out well and by the end of the day the changes were in, after taking some help from colleagues. I was pretty jittery that night as well and had couple of calls at around midnight with the support team to ensure that the fix indeed worked and the issue was resolved. As they say, all’s well that ends well! But this episode left me drained – mentally and physically. Probably this too was routine a couple of years back, working late hours on deliveries and overseeing last minute fixes by my team were part and parcel of what I did regularly. In fact I remember doing such releases even when I was pregnant! But now, somehow, I found it very very tiring and stressful; I took almost a week to get over the dreadful feeling and get back to my normal working style. For a couple of days after that, I really did not feel like working at all!

What followed was something rather atypical for me – I decided to take off on a work-day, mid-week and for no reason! I just didn’t feel like going into work and facing another routine work-day 😦 I called the hubby and asked told him that he needs to take leave the following day and we would go out – probably catch a movie or just chill doing something else. Poor guy, reacted like a cat caught in the headlights! 😀 But he did some juggling around with his meetings and work-stuff and obliged like a dutiful husband 😛 The next day I was up and about at the usual time – the plan was, we would finish all chores like everyday, drop off our son at school and go catch a movie at the matinee show. The little fella, clever that he is, was surprised to see me at home – normally I am off to work by the time he wakes up in the morning. He seemed confused – what day is it?, he asked. Is it Saturday? Why aren’t you at work? I won’t go to school! 😮 He was even more suspicious when he saw his dad in non-formal clothes! 😀 After side-stepping his tricky questions, we managed to drop him to school and went on our way to watch the movie Neerja.

Neerja is a biographical thriller about Neerja Bhanot, the brave air-hostess who laid down her life in her call of duty. Her efforts thwarted the hijacking attempt of the Pan AM flight in Karachi on 5th Sept 1986 – she prevented the flight from taking off by having the presence of mind to inform the pilots in time for them to flee the plane. Her heroism and calm, cool-headed handling of the dire situation resulted in 360 hostages being saved from the hijackers’ hold. Instead of trying to save herself, she chose to save the lives of hundreds of passengers, showing immense courage and strength of character. The film was motivational and an example of how ‘work is worship‘ for several people – like our brethren from the armed forces and others like Neerja.

I wasn’t too impressed by Sonam’s portrayal as Neerja – she seems more suited and at ease with roles like the one in Khoobsoorat; but the scene-stealer was definitely Shabana Azmi. The feelings of what a child’s loss means for a mother, couldn’t have been brought to life more poignantly by anyone else. She is outstanding, especially in the last scene and one cannot but leave the theatre with misty eyes and a lump in the throat!

After the movie, we grabbed some lunch and walked the shopping streets leisurely – doing more looking-into-windows than actual shopping; but happy to have the road to ourselves sans the crowds, thanks to it being a weekday. And just like that, the little get-away was over! 😦 Soon, it was time to go back – to be faithful to our line of duty, on the home-front and to get ready for the challenges of the work-day on the morrow. I felt much better the next day at office and am now back peering into the laptop screen and trying to tame/ slay the usual work-demons! These little, especially mid-week jaunts, do a world of good, I tell ya! 😀

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The year that has been…

It has been a rather long time since I posted anything here – updating this space has become more and more difficult. As I get on with life and work and home-stuff, I wonder how I had the energy and the inclination to post here regularly in those early days… But yeah, there’ve been some occasions when I stopped to think – ok, I can write about that in my blog. So I guess it’s not time to shut down the blog yet. As long as I feel this urge to get back and put something down here, I guess I should just have it here…

The new year came by and went past – we’re well into the year, having completed almost 3 months – I always feel that these initial few months in a new year tend to just whiz by and you hardly realize where the days went! Here’s what I can recollect of my past 3 months:

New year’s eve – we did nothing, just stayed put at home, put the little one to bed as usual, watched some movies on TV, called up a few loved ones and wished them at the strike of midnight and then went to bed.
Jan 1st – I had taken the day off and we had decided to go out for lunch/ dinner. All of us had a leisurely day and went to Commercial street in the evening… spent some time gorging on some chaats at Bhagatrams and doing window shopping – it had been quite sometime since I’d been there and there were lot of new shops which had come up, selling lovely but expensive stuff, of course! We finally went to the Konark restaurant and wound up the day with an early quiet dinner.

January – was otherwise uneventful. Having decided to change jobs, I was spending my last few weeks at my previous organization and was busy wrapping up stuff. I treated my team for lunch – which turned out to be quite expensive, despite the combo offers etc. at Pizza Hut and they in turn hosted a lovely little farewell meeting for me. Everybody had such nice things to say – including the managers! – which I suppose is a good way to say goodbye! 🙂 They also presented a Titan gift card, thanks to which I am the proud owner of two new Titan watches! 😀
Jan end was when I joined my new place of work and I was immediately put on the job at the client place. It was work and more work from day one and there’s been no let up till now…

February – I was looking forward to Feb, what with promises of a couple of weeks of travel on work. But it turned out to be quite a dampener with the talks being just that and all plans fizzling out 😦 Feb also was the month when we had planned our little one’s chowla/ mundan ceremony – but that too didn’t work out due to the sudden demise of an elderly extended family member on the husband’s side. Not being able to celebrate the sister’s and the new bro-in-law’s birthdays was another sad side-effect of this untimely event 😦

March – has been quite busy so far – the kiddo’s mundan cremony pushed from Feb, was carried out successfully this time – with some puja and homas at home, followed by the actual chowla being done at Nanjangud. It was a successful event on all counts – with a good turnout by all invited family members and the festivities at home carried out without a hitch. Also the trip to Nanjangud was enjoyed with close family and loved ones and the best part was – the little one did not so much as cry during the actual shaving. This was a h-u-g-e relief for all of us who were expecting tantrums and what nots!
So the little one is now a gundu-paapa – well no longer actually, there’s already scores of spikes of hair on his head, which miraculously sprouted the very next day! wow!

But not everything has been hunky-dory though – the kiddo had the annual day function at his playschool last week for which he was selected to be part of an act which had them dressed in birds’ costumes. He was chosen to be a peacock and was given a beautiful costume with long lustrous feathers… We kept talking to him about it and tried to keep him pepped up and he wore the costume in the evening all right. But when it was time for the act, he decided to turn on his worst clingy behaviour and refused to go on stage! We were aghast and tried coaxing him and what not, but he just didn’t budge. Well, the show must go on and it did, even without our little man. He had a chance to atleast pose for the group photo, which too he refused to so. Needless to say, we were disappointed and left perplexed by many unanswered questions… hopefully this is a one-off thing and he will learn to enjoy himself by taking part in such events/ performances further on…

Well, that’s been my year so far… we have a couple of big things lined up for this year – my son’s move to the big school being one of them. I’m just hoping that all goes on as per plan and turns out well! *fingers crossed*

In search of solutions…

As I was saying in my previous post, I am ending up traveling 2 hours each way to office daily. During one such soujourn back home where the roads seemed to be stretching on and on, me and my colleague were discussing the possible steps that we could take to overcome this daily commute issue. Suddenly one of us had this idea and I thought a lot about it later too. I even discussed it with the hubby and it was he who gave the idea of putting it up here.

Well, the idea we had was nothing ingenious – it’s a pretty commonplace one. The question I have is – why hasn’t it been implemented yet? We were basically discussing that the IT companies should build living quarters for their employees at a distance which is within the 5 km radius from their workplaces. Now, as all of us are aware, this is a pretty common thing with the Government and Public sector units. Any big government organization or a PSU have living quarters built and allotted to their employees. The companies which come to mind are the IIMs, IISc, HMT, BEL, HAL, ISRO, DRDO, NAL etc. The size, quality and comfort of the quarters allotted of course depends on the hierarchy levels and is decided based on the seniority of the employees. Now, why can’t IT companies take a leaf out of their books and implement a similar idea? Here are some points why I think this needs to be done:

  • This will help scores of employees (like me, me, me!!) who have to travel from far-off places everyday to work – staying close-by helps in better time management, productivity improvements and better work-life balance with more quality time to be spent with family
  • This will help reduce the traffic on the roads to a big extent I believe – with the office cabs having to ply only between the quarters and offices as opposed to going all over the city and also the scores of people who ride/ drive to work might not need to do so, atleast not for long distances
  • This will help companies in retaining their employee base – after all what do we want in life? – a workplace offering good opportunities and challenges, a good working environment and a good team to work with – all these apart from a decent salary of course. But the most challenging aspect of working these days has become the daily commute which eats into a major chunk of our everyday lives. We spend hours on the road – neither working nor spending time with family. So if somebody offered me the option of staying within a vicinity of 5-10 kms from work in decent company provided accomodation, I wouldn’t mind taking it even with a few concessions on the other fronts like salary and facilities!
  • The real estate prices in Bangalore have gone spiralling upwards ever since it became the IT-hub. Scores of apartments have sprung up in all corners of the city – thanks to the crowds from other parts of India who typically find the apartment-living therapy more convenient rather than staying in independent houses. What this has resulted in is flats being built and given out on rent – even on small gullies with hardly space for more than one 4-wheeler to move in. I sometimes wonder at the quotes of rent I hear from my colleagues who live close to the ITPL/ Whitefield hub – it has become a means for good money-making – if you have a place to stay in this area give it out for rent and find yourself another rented place elsewhere at a lower cost! We can try to curb this trend if companies can offer living accomodation to its employees.
  • Lastly, living in quarters builds a beautiful sense of community living. It’s a lovely experience with kids of all the families coming together to play, learn and grow up together – irrespective of caste, creed and status. Some of my earliest memories are times spent growing up in the living quarters of the institution that my dad worked in. I remember the fun times we had as kids – running around bare feet on sunny afternoons chasing butterflies, playing kunte-bille and kalla-police and generally running around in gay abandon, sliding down concrete stair slopes and scraping our knees, visiting each others’ houses on festival days and revelling in all the fun! And all this within the safe confines of community living where our parents didn’t have to worry about their kids running out into the roads… I believe this adds hugely to our personalities and defines the kind of people we turn out to be.

The hubby was of the opinion that this model won’t work out – he said look at the condition of all those govt. quarters which were built years ago – the maintenance costs will run into lakhs of rupees. I say – you are looking at companies which mostly run on government funds – the reliability of which, we all know and can imagine. But here I am talking about private companies and that too not the small fry, but the big giants who declare their profits every quarter with pride and who’s revenues run into billions. As for maintenance, take that money from our salaries, I sure won’t mind paying a few thousands from my pocket yearly for the maintenance of the house I live in, provided it is properly accounted for and managed efficiently. It would be equivalent to the maintenance charges collected as part of rent by the house owners even otherwise!

Well, what do you think? Is it really a non-do-able prospect? I’d sure like to hear what others think…

Travel-to-work-woes

Do you know what is the height of travel frustration in Bangalore?

You and your hubby get into your modes of transport at the same time. 2 hours later he is at his destination while you’re still 20 mins away from yours. So what, you might say? 2 hours is pretty standard time to reach the outskirts in Bangalore in peak hour traffic.

The sting lies in the fact that he boarded the aeroplane at the same time as I took the bus and managed to reach Hyderabad in the time it took me to reach office! 😦

I’ve recounted this episode to several people today only to see their shocked reactions. Most of them had a good laugh, one person said – may be you should look for a job in Mysore! I couldn’t resist the urge to post it here and shock some of the readers of this blog too!

That is the gist of my travel-to-work woes these days and I don’t see a solution in sight 😦

It’s June already!

I’ve become so lazy in terms of jotting down posts for this space… It’s not that I’ve been terribly busy but I guess, it’s just inertia… I’m feeling particularly bad that I haven’t been posting enough updates about the little one… I realize this acutely when I see other mommy bloggers posting monthly milestone posts 😦 Guess it’s better late than never! So here’s listing a few of the latest updates from the little one’s life…

– He’s standing up more easily now… in fact the tiniest bit of support he can latch onto – be it the corner of a stool, the leg of a chair or easier still, a corner of amma’s dress within his reach, he’s up on his legs!

– We’ve moved to a bigger place – all for the sake of his highness! The idea was that with a bigger hall space for him to move around, it’ll be easier for me to get my stuff done. But the brat that he is insists on following me around wherever I go and using the aforesaid salwar suit’s corner to pull himself up to a tottering position, which gives me the jitters every single time!

– The babbling continues and sometimes he even has a conversation with us, mostly his dad – saying ‘aye’ to each other in a domineering tone – guess they’re competing for the title of ‘the man of the house’ already! 😀

– The edge of his first little tooth has cut through his gums now in his tenth month(though the toothy-whiteness was visible for quite sometime now, it took its own sweet time to make a grand entrance!) and I am so stoked each time I look at it! I think it is sooo adorably cute! 😛

– When I leave him on the floor in the bedroom and am busy getting ready in the mornings, he plays for sometime and invariably finds his way to the long dressing mirror and pulls himself up to peer into it. My favourite part is where he looks at himself with various expressions flitting across his face, first frowns, then smiles, then takes his face near and touches the mirror, then tries to put it into his mouth as he does with everything else – or he’s trying to kiss, maybe? 😉 Clearly he’s fascinated! It’s such a joy to watch him and I leave all that I’m doing and rush to get his dad to watch this awww scene 😀

– I was over at my parents’ place for the weekend and within a day, the grandfather has taught his grandson to wave when anyone says ta-ta or bye! I was so amazed! Now all one needs to do is go towards the door and say bye and this little fella gives a gorgeous smile and puts out his tiny hand and waves in his ooh-so-cute-manner! 😀

– Also over the weekend he’s definitely learnt to say amma!! 🙂 Though he’s said it a few times earlier, it used be like thrown in once in a while along with the other sounds he’d make when wailing…but now he clearly beseechingly calls out amma and comes looking for me, asking me to pick him up! Oh! the joy…! 🙂

– We went on our first trip with the little one, to Kerala to attend a friend’s wedding and he really behaved well, without giving us undue trouble…he’d cry no doubt, but only when he was hungry or tired and sleepy – but overall, he helped us manage beautifully especially on the long drives in the car, without being cranky as we’d feared. Thanks for that, my munchkin! 🙂 He also got his first whiff of the sea-breeze and loved it, though we can’t say the same about his experience with the waves! He bawled when we made him stand as the waves came in… but he loved the sights and being carried around the beach.

Amongst other things, there’s a lot happening on the home front – as I mentioned earlier we moved onto a bigger rented place to stay – though we loved our first home and it was convenient for us as a couple, the equation changed when the little one entered our lives – the internal staircase and the limited hall-space wasn’t quite working and we decided to move. This house is very spacious and works for all of us better and we’re getting used to it now… hope we build some lovely memories here as well!

Also, I’m in a middle of changing jobs – after sticking on at my first workplace for a very long time, I finally thought it best to move on and luckily also got a good offer at the right time. Though the parting was difficult (aren’t first jobs always like that?) it had to be made. I made some great friends there and some associations which go much beyond being just colleagues – I can definitely say that they’ve made a lot of difference in my life. Thanks folks! I hope I can find equally good friends and an environment that I like working in, at the new place too! *Keeping fingers crossed*!

And finally, I got myself a new hair-cut, like for the first time ever! 😀 People who know me will be very surprised, I can tell! Well, it isn’t exactly what I went out looking for, but now that it’s done, there’s no looking back… The reactions haven’t been non-supportive so far and I hope it remains that way… it’s funny, how much we have to worry sometimes for something as simple as a hair-cut! Or maybe, it’s just me!

Now, here’s the cue for you to say – wah re wah Anu, naya ghar, nayi job, nayi hair-cut…kya baat hai! 😀

Professionalism or sentimentality?

I know, I have been rather sporadic in this space, but work has kept me busy. Speaking of work, this post is going to be a rant – not about the work itself but the kind of people and their attitude that I have been noticing of late.

The area that I work in is a niche area and people who have expertise in this field are not too many and naturally there is a good demand for them. Our organization was one of the initial few to step into this space and we’ve done some good work and we’ve had some really good people working with us. It’s another matter that many of these good people have moved on looking for greener pastures as more players have come into the market and the competition has increased. But of late, after the slow-down and the subsequent recovery in the markets and the industry, this trend has seen a sudden spike.

This is not about the attrition problem or anything of the sort – in the past few months I have seen people who are juniors in the practice with as less as 1.5-2 years experience putting down their papers without a second thought.  I know looking for a new job is each person’s own choice and right, but these are just kids. They haven’t been in this area for so long to actually gain the expertise which they think they have. Even though I and others have been here for longer than that none of us can claim to be experts, because the space and technology is so vast and so complex that you will find very few experts in this field.

These guys are fresh in the corporate world, they were just out of college and were absorbed into the practice, trained and worked on projects and learned along the way. They have been given the opportunity to be a part of this select group of people working in this space by this organization which makes them a prized catch. They do not stop to think about any of these – all that they are interested in is the money. Their list of complaints never end – from the work being monotonous and tiresome to there being a lack of onsite opportunities to the remuneration not being upto the market standard to everything else that they can think of.

It is the attitude that makes me angry and sad… there is a serious lack of interest to learn and gain domain knowledge, there is absolutely zero concern/ loyalty towards the project or the company – their first ever place of work, which gave them the independence to be on their own for the very first time in their lives. Am I being a sentimental fool? Or has the tide turned and I belong to an ‘older’ generation? Call it what you want but it has left a bitter taste and a sense of deep disappointment in me about this generation.  

Aren’t they still like fledglings stepping out into the wild – don’t they realize that they haven’t seen it all? They don’t know that the world and this industry can be cruel – the markets are surging now but it doesn’t take much to bring it down as we’ve seen so often in history. I just hope they don’t end up learning their lessons the hard way!

Au revoir!

Well, it’s time to say good bye to the “City of Lights” and what most people term – the most romantic city in the world!

It’s been a good four weeks spent doing some significant fulfilling work which also involved a lot of learning. But more importantly, it has been time spent working at a relaxed pace… well atleast till the last week (that’s when my work from back home caught up with me!) . Paris has been all that was promised and more – with romance in the air and history along it’s every lane, it’s a tourist’s delight. I would say my month’s work-stay and 3 weekends thrown in didn’t allow me to do enough justice to the place as a tourist, but that’s precisely reason enough for me to want to visit it again.

Work-wise as I already mentioned it has been relaxed, but efficient work with colleagues who made us feel right at home – especially the guy we worked with being an absolute dear! 😀 The stay, the commute and the experience of working away from home were as comfortable as could be desired. The sight-seeing trips were very insightful and enjoyable, although I found that my stamina for weekend sight-seeing walkathons isn’t what it used to be 😦 Overall I think it was a wonderful stint, and the joy of meeting-up with a close friend all the way here – away from my and her place of stay – was the icing on the cake! Neither of us had imagined, even in our wildest dreams that we would meet here, of all places! Well, that’s life I suppose! 🙂

Tomorrow I formally say goodbye to the city and take my flight back home. All said and done, the heart does yearn for home and the warmth of loved ones – well, this time the hubby has been missing me quite a bit too 😀 (now why does that make me grin with glee – my heart melts but the mind says – see, this is what I feel everytime you leave me alone and go off on your official trips! :)) But, the city has tempted and tantalised me enough to hope for a second visit and that time with the hubby in tow. So hopefully our paths will cross again and may be I should say – Au revoir à bientôt! 🙂