Onsite-return ke side effects

I travelled to Singapore for a year on a company project. This was the first time I travelled outside of India. I wrote the below observations a couple of days after arriving in India:

Side-effects of Onsite return:

  1. You tend to press the button ‘1′ instead of ‘0′ at your home lift to reach the ground floor.
  2. You are disappointed by the fact that the neighborhood grocery store does not accept credit card.
  3. You find that the ‘Coke’ available here is too strong compared to ‘Coke-Zero’.
  4. You find that the entire city has been covered by a massive dust-storm since the time you left.
  5. You try to locate the pedestrian crossing signal to cross the road. (Ok, this one sounds a bit snobbish,  but it happened only on the first day for a couple of times.)
  6. You notice that the office buses have glasses open and have no Air-con. (Had never noticed this before. Earlier, getting a bus on time and not missing it was a priority.)
  7. You find that prices for everything have increased by at least 30%.
  8. You miss the premium Nespresso coffee in the office.
  9. You miss the superfast 3G network on your cell phone and have to settle down for GPRS, where it takes 60 seconds to download a 100KB page.
  10. You no longer have high-speed unlimited internet and unlimited local calls at your home.

On the positive side:

  1. You are thrilled to see that you manage to get vegetarian food ‘everywhere’.
  2. You can go to Mc-D’s and have food. (Sounds simple, but believe it or not, Mc-D’s in Singapore does not serve anything vegetarian apart from french-fries)
  3. You can actually see, feel, touch and control the steering wheel of your own car, instead of being content with hiring a cab occasionally.
  4. You can see all possible Indian TV channels and don’t have to be content with 3-4 basic ones. (E.g. You get to see amazing ‘entertainment’ channels like Aaj Tak, India TV, etc.)

Camaraderie – against all odds

Yesterday, we had a fire drill at the place where I work. Neither the emergency alarm beeping loudly, nor the volunteers shouting at the top of their voices asking people to evacuate the premises were able to disrupt the bonding among friends. People first leisurely gathered themselves in their ‘lunch’ groups. And then, descended the stairs slowly talking and gossiping, mostly about the futility of the exercise and its impact on their valuable ‘productive’ time.

I don’t think the emergency alarm has 2 different sound options – one for mock drill and the other for real emergency. With the current state of affairs, people might take evacuation seriously only if they see real fire or smoke with their own eyes.

It is good to gather, talk, discuss, communicate, exchange views, etc, but if there’s an evacuation process going on, the only action that first comes to my mind is to ‘Get out and get safe’.

Day 1 – Trip to Mathura

Some clarifications first
I am not a frequent traveler type. These two adjoining trips are just by coincidence.

Mathura station
We got down at Mathura station at 7:30 am. The station is not at all clean, and it was a relief when we got out of the station. Our first mode of transport was a chartered six-seater. The driver was quite helpful with our luggage and finding the lodge address.

First darshan of Yamuna Maiyya
We went to Vishraam Ghaat in the afternoon, where we had an amazing view of the sacred Yamuna river. The water level was quite high and it the view was very scenic. This is the place where the morning and evening aarti happens. But right now, the activity level was very low. Our official mode of transport now was a cycle-rickshaw that carries two people at a time.

The travel itinerary starts
We went to Krishna Janma Bhoomi in the evening and attended the evening aarti at Yamunaji. But as cameras and cellphones are not allowed at the former place, we did not carry any photographing device. Hence, missed clicking that part.

Food factor
The lodge where we are staying has a facility of having food there. The food was great, and was like home made food. Last time when we had visited Mathura (about five years back), we really had a tough time finding a good food outlet.

Last 2 days – In Chennai on a training

—– Written at 4:30 PM on Sep, 11 —–

They say, Life is made up of good and bad experiences

So far, our stay in Chennai had been quite good. But just on the second last day, the power went off in one of the phases at about 11:50 pm. So only a few of the rooms in the guest house had no electricity – our room being one of them. We tried to sleep for some time, after trying all possible avenues to make the room airy. But with mosquitoes buzzing around, sleep was a remote thought. We then asked the guest house attendants to shift mattresses from our bed to our friends’ room, which had electricity, thus utilizing all the possible floor space in their room. But after a lot of this action, we got a really great sleep.

Many times, there are such small unsettling incidents in our life, which we often complain of. But don’t you think that a boring and mundane routine does need some fun like this??

Why do we have tests?

There was one last test left in the training, for which I started studying intensely. I somehow have this strange thing, that even for a completely useless test, I just cannot stop myself from preparing well. I am not saying that then I perform extremely well. Only that I get really tense before any test. In this test I got 85%, and was quite happy with that.

Shopping time

The training ended by 3 pm, giving us a couple of free hours, before the cab pickup for airport. I did some shopping at Shri Krishna Sweets (purchased chutney powder and pickles) and Nuts and Spices.

Last filter coffee

I could not have left Chennai before having a last filter coffee. I went to Shri Balaji Bhavan at Pondy Bazaar, and had a really strong filter coffee, savoring its taste for quite some time.


So now I was ready to bid adieu. This is the street where our guest house is located. And there’s an old model BMW car parked on this street that we used to see everyday…

—– Written at 8 AM on Sep, 12 —–

They say, God listens to what you speak

But God also reads what you blog. After I wrote the first point about upheavals being fun, things started that way. Our airport pickup vehicle was just a non AC Qualis for 6 persons with 6-week-planned luggage. Our bags had to be loaded on the roof of the car. Even though we complained about it to the admin, the next vehicle took a lot of time to arrive. Hence, we decided to proceed, else we would miss the flight. Traffic in Chennai had never posed a problem to us, because of the area where stayed and the hours when we traveled. But there was a very heavy traffic till the airport. We heaved a sigh of relief only when we reached the airport.

Back to 24°C

The weather seemed great when we landed at Pune.

No Water

When I reached home at 11:45 pm, there was no water stored, as i had emptied all the water bottles before leaving for the training. There was no water in the taps, even though the society water supply was generally available till 12. I was also hesitant to wake up neighbors at this late hour. I should have remembered to purchase a mineral water bottle at the airport. I was remembering Geet’s dialogue in Jab we met movie – “Please babaji, Ab is raat me koi aur excitement mat dena, boring banado is raat ko please”

Paani ka mol pehchaniye

Do you remember this Doordarshan ad? I was able to collect one glass of water from 3 different taps. I boiled it on gas stove and allowed it to cool under the fan. Then I put it in freezer and then had a glass of cool water. Should be enough till the morning when the water supply starts and the aqua-guard would work.

Day 17 – In Chennai on a training

Testing times are over

…as in the test, for which I was preparing yesterday night, was taken today. I scored a decent enough score, but a bigger relief was that 2 tests are over. There’s one still left on the coming Friday though.

About the luncheon

Today, we went to ‘Rangoli’ in Sarvana Bhavan for lunch. This serves Gujarati and Rajasthani food. The ambience was really nice.

The food was really great with tasty dhokla and  kachori in starters.

Each and every dish in the thali deserved a refill… but we even had to go back and attend the training. 🙂

At the end of the meal, we were served a nice ‘meetha pan’.

Day 15 – In Chennai on a training

They say, “Think before you wish”
After a hectic training schedule in the previous week, we wished that the training this week be a bit relaxed. But if wishes come true, they come true in extremes. Out of 9 hours we spent in the training room, the effective training was only 2 hours. In the morning, we were asked to shift to another room for an hour so that another team can take some test. A series of time wastage incidents continued further. Sometimes, getting so much free time also creates lot of boredom.

Training skills
I have attended much training and have even taken a few trainings. Hence, I guess I have a slight amount of knowledge to be able to comment on this subject. Irrespective of the training subject, a trainer is never successful unless he/she is able to be friendly with the audience. This is one basic basic thing, which a trainer cannot ignore, even if he/she is extremely well qualified in the subject. Moreover, it is very important for a trainer to be natural and not show pseudo-professionalism. No, I am not criticizing any trainer or trainers, but am just collating my experiences so far.