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I am not a mac fan boy. For that matter, I am not a gadget freak. I have been using a Mac for a couple of years. I very recently started using an iPod and an iPad, all thanks to Yahoo! And I am amazingly impressed by both the devices. I am sure both these devices are going to change the way I look at gadgets.
May be that is why, when I woke up this morning to the news of Steve Jobs death, I felt as if someone close to me has died. Even after all the fun we had today, somewhere in the bottom of my heart, that sorrow feeling lingers on.
RIP Steve Jobs. You have changed the way people will look at gadgets.
In June, while I was preparing for my trek to Roopkund, I was looking for trekking shoes. I was recommended Forclaz 500 Ventiv by friends. The shoe was retailing at Rs.2999 at Decathlon. The same was available for Rs.2499 online with free shipping. I went to the store to try it out, thinking that will order online and save Rs.500. John, the salesman helped me out with my questions and suggested that I pick up a tight fit. It was too tight but he suggested that it will expand a bit and will be fine. He also promised that he will replace it if I find it uncomfortable after a couple of days use. I told him about the online store and price and he told me that he can give it to me for 2799 and joked that Decathlon needs to pay him salary and hence cannot match that price. I bought the shoe and paid the premium just for his service.
A couple of days burn-in did not help and it was causing pain in the toe. I called up the store and Kuldeep another salesman at the trekking section suggested that I bring in the shoe for replacement. I picked up one size bigger and it was very comfortable for most part of the trek.
On the last day of the trek, thanks to heavy snow and rain, the shoe lost its shape. There was a bulge around the ankle support and due to this the show wasn't stable, causing ankle strain. After I reached Bangalore, I called up the store and mentioned about the problem. Kuldeep asked me to bring the shoe along with the bill for exchange. I never had the time and I almost forgot about it. Last week I remembered and took the shoe to the store. I had already lost hopes but wanted to give it a shot.
I walked into the store on Sunday, explained him the problem and showed the shoe. Kuldeep / Jon, said only one thing "Give it at the counter calling it a defective piece and pick up a new one'. Absolutely no questions, no nagging, not trying to put the blame on the buyer, no delay.
This is an excellent example of customer service. I had to go to the store 3 times but I will never mind the distance of driving 20+ KM to the store for such excellent service. Looking forward to the store opening in Bannerghatta Road. I am a Decathlon convert.
Wow, is 2010 over already? Time flies fast and 2010 is no exception. There were lots of ups and downs both personally and professionally. But nevertheless, it was a fun year and a lot of positives to take from it.
- Completed 5 years at Yahoo!
- Did my first full marathon. And in general was very active with running.
- Read a lot and I hope I can put things that I learnt to use in my life.
- Have definitely improved my Carnatic music listening skills
- Travelled a lot.
I hope 2011 is even better.
Here is wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous new year 2011. Hope 2011 brings a lot of joy, happiness, health and peace to each one of you.
Keep your frown upside down and enjoy life.
Running a marathon is all about endurance and strong will power. For me, it was a lifetime experience.
I took up serious running less than 18 months ago. Completed a 10K , thanks to Coach Beedu and Reeth of the Nike Run Club fame. Did multiple 10Ks and a 25K at the ultra last year. I wanted to do a full marathon, one of my bucket list items. The next couple of weekends, I did a 25k+ and a 30K+. That gave a little bit of confidence but I was still not very sure if I would be able to do the full in the stipulated 6.5 hours in trying conditions. Vasu and Gopal nudged me to go for the full and I thought, "Let me attempt it. If I finish, well and good, else I would know my limits". One thing was clear, I was not going to get tensed and freak myself out over it. I was just going to get through the day and take it 1Km at a time.
We drove to Mysore on Sep 18th, along with a couple of friends. After dropping them at their hotel, we checked into Dasaprakash Paradise. Found out a place called Olio, serving Pasta nearby. The ambience was nice and the food was delicious but pricey. Packed a sandwich at CCD, bought some bananas and retired to bed early in a desperate attempt to get some sleep. But then, I ended up tossing and turning.
Woke up next morning and landed at the run site by 6am. The run site was buzzing with activity. Met a lot of folks from Nike Run club, Hashers and RFLers. Arvind from RFL warned us that even though the sky looked clear and the water calm, it is going to be a difficult terrain and advised runners not to attempt their personal best. I caught up with Gopal and we decided to run together maintaining a decent pace.
At the stroke of 6:30, what I call now, as the run of my life, was flagged off. Gopal and me started in the last group and were doing about 6 mins per KM. The first couple of KMs was nice and easy but the uneven terrain was making life difficult. I had to really concentrate on the path to avoid tripping. Around the 7KM mark, Gopal had a minor fall and he started slowing down. One of my biggest problems in running has been that, if I stop for a while, I find it hard to resume at the same pace. Found another group doing between 6-7mins per KM and joined them.
Around the 10K mark, there was a really bad patch and I struggled crossing that. Met a bunch of half marathoners and ran the next few comfortably. I started tiring a bit around the 16-18K mark and was doing slow. I saw Vasu and K cheering everyone.
The route was a 10.55K out and back. For the full the marathon, we had to do this loop twice. I had completed the first half around 2hrs 20 mins and started the second. Around the 23KM I was completely tired. I was not used to the sports drink and had a feeling it was just making me feel thirstier. By now, started doing a run-walk, with fellow full marathoners, and was drinking a lot of water. Got completely exhausted and started having doubts if I would be able to finish.
There were 3 people whom we all saw during the run - A man running without shoes, a woman doing a half with her kid on a pram and another man running a half with a fracture, wearing a sling. If these people could do it, I better be able to do it, said my mind voice. My motto throughout the run was, If I could not run, I would walk. If I could not walk, I will crawl, but I will finish.
I was mostly walking from 23rd till 28th Km. Then got a sudden bout of energy and pushed myself till 32K in 4 hours. Saw a lot of folks, tired and with cramps but with the never say die spirit. We were joking that we all have run a 10K under an hour, and we would do it today too. But easier said than done, after the 32k. Despite the scorching sun, tired legs, thirsty throat and about 6 miles between me and the finish line, the only comforting feeling was the confidence that I would be a finisher today..
Around the 38KM mark, saw Vasu. Started a walk-run back with her to the finish. Every beep on my Garmin watch was cheered since I was one step closer to the finish. I was about 500m away from the finish when someone said, "You are less than 500m from the finish and you should be sprinting now". I have no idea where I got the energy but I started running, counting every step, pushing myself till I could cross the finish line. And finally was home. A full in 6 hours and 7 minutes. This moment will be etched in my memory for ever!
After the run, the limp on my feet left me in a few days, but the grin on my face remains.
Wish you and your family a very happy and prosperous new year 2010.
It was the usual, "You look familiar" dialogue that started the conversation and after a few minutes, I asked him, "What do you do?". Coolly he said, "I run a chain of beauty salon and spa in Bangalore". I was taken aback and did not expect this from someone who passed out of IIT 20 years ago and just returned back to Bangalore. Another interesting conversation was with a gentleman showing some magic tracks. I first thought he was an assistant helping out with the sound system in the room. I was pleasantly surprised when he said he used to work as a traffic constable attached to the Indirinagar Police station and he has taken leave of absence from work.
It was a colleague's 15th marriage anniversary dinner. I had to coax my wife to go since she was tired after work yesterday. All I told her was that he was in interesting personality (there will be a dozen or more who will disagree to that) and is fun to chat with. The side show of pictures showcasing the couple's 15 years of life was interesting and sometimes funny. The dinner was decent and the music was very good. Naren and Jyothi did a wonderful job with the Karoke, singing old hindi songs. And Had an awesome time.
A couple of years back, my only running was from my apartment to the main road where the office cab stops. Hardly about 250 metres. I will huff and puff to reach there in 3-4 minutes. Slowly, I started running at the gym. I was able to run with great difficulty, a KM under 10 minutes. The Fitness One guys started pushing me and I did a mile under 10 minutes once. I slowly started increasing the time I could run continuously and after a while I was able to run around 30-40 minutes continuously. My best on the treadmill was 5K in 32 minutes.
But then, running on the treadmill was no fun. Late last year I started venturing out into the real world. It was a completely different experience. I was back to square one. I could hardly run a couple of kilometres. Then subbuj joined me as my running buddy. We started slowly pushing our limits. Subbu has a Nokia N95 with Sports Tracker installed and that helped us track our progress. I was planning for training with Runner's High, but then a sudden trip sent me to San Francisco. Thankfully, it also helped me continue my running and I enjoyed every bit of my stay there. I also picked up a good running shoe there.
Once I came back, we started running at the Cubbon Park. One fine day, we decided to check out the Nike Run Club. They were just beginning to ramp up their training sessions and it was a blessing. Coach Beedu and Reeth were helpful with tips and helped in the training. Nike took really good care of us during the training sessions. They did a gait analysis, arranged pep talks, provided trial shoes and finally ensured that everyone gets mentally and physically ready for the run.
The day before the event was just like the day before an exam. I was a bit nervous and was also tired. It took me a while to realise that the main reason why I started running was to have fun and if I get tensed I would miss the fun. So the next day, I went to the run with only thing in mind. Finish it and if I can finish in 90 minutes I would be happy. Subbu and I started running on the race day and after a couple of KM, I felt that I could run faster. I slowly picked up the pace and got into a nice rhythm. Went to the 5K mark in 28 minutes and I was nicely pulling along. Then came the difficult part of the run, since the road was slightly steep from Dickenson Road to Kamaraj Road to Cubbon Road. I slowed down and after a few minutes started walking. I walked for a couple of minutes and then started running again. After entering into the Cubbon Park, it was the regular trail and I picked up pace. The last KM was the fastest pace and according to my watch, I finished in 58:28 minutes. Woohoo! We then went into the Nike Lounge and were royally pampered. There was one guy handing out cold towels, another guy taking pictures, a sumptuous breakfast, a foot message and some very nice music. It turned out much better than what I had imagined. When the official timings came out the next day, I found that I had done it in 57:43 mins. Nike has also promised that they would give a specially designed T-shirt, "I'm a finisher" for everyone registered with NRC.
So what are you thinking. If you want to start running, drop in tomorrow, 13th June, at Kanteerava Stadium at 6AM and join the Nike run club.
Pain is temporary, Pride is permanent.
-- Saw on poster by someone cheering for Runner's High
Some tiny bits of wisdom that I gleaned over the weekend.
- There is a good chance that your house keys are in your jeans pockets. Search thoroughly before panicking the rest of the world.
- Friday evening might not be the best day to clean your kitchen.
- If you don't heed to the previous point, atleast make sure that you do not have anything on the kitchen windows, before you attempt to clean it.
- If you drop something on the sunshade of the apartment below you, the easiest way to fetch it, is by using a mop to push the item down.
- There is no guarantee that the item that you pushed from the top is going to survive after the fall.
- It is okay to skip the IPL semifinals / finals and go to sleep, if you are sleep starved.
- Some kind soul will always be interested in letting their presence felt by sending an SMS close to midnight.
- If you wake up thanks to the SMS, use the opportunity to catchup on the scores before you start to snore again.
- There is a lot of chance that you will have a hang over on the Monday morning, even after three rounds of coffee. Live with it
Enjoy and have a great week ahead.
Don't worry. Life's too long.
-- Vincent Sardi, Jr.
Sometimes I wonder why am I here getting stuck with this. Big corporations makes people forget the humanness. They lose the human touch and all they are interested in flexing their muscles and showing who they are. Reality strikes and I remember that I cannot solve every problem and bring in world peace. I scream and move on.
But when we lose humanness we have no way of knowing we have lost it.
-- Edward Bond
Most of February, I was thinking about what I wanted to do for the next few months. I had signed up for a training program for a 10K run in May. I egged a few friends to find out some place for a trek or a tour. I was asking my wife if she wanted to go anywhere. Suddenly during the last week of Feb, everything changed. I was asked to travel to San Francisco for a couple of weeks. I came here with a mixed bag of reactions and a lot of apprehension.
I landed in San Francisco on the first of March. The first couple of days passed by and then I discovered _the city_. This has been an amazing place and I have enjoyed every day here. Sometimes when I am completely upset or bogged down, be it due to work or otherwise, all I do is take a walk or a jog. And then I feel as if I am in heaven. I forget everything. All I feel is the chill air and the noise of the speeding cars around. This city is a jogger's paradise. The other day, I was really hungry and went down to get some breakfast. When I saw people running, I started running. I ran till Fisherman's Wharf and came back to the apartment without even having breakfast. Today I went to the airport to see a friend's wife off to India. He and a couple of others came back to my apartment and we went for a walk. We came to the apartment around 6 and they left around 8. I finished my dinner and was planning to go to bed. I am scheduled to go to Sunnyvale tomorrow and after a week back to Bangalore. So, I decided to take a walk one last time during this trip. I went down and I started running. I ran till the Gandhi statue at the Ferry Building. I spent about 15 minutes there listening to the sounds from the water, watching the Bay Bridge, thinking how much things have changed in the two weeks.
SF, I am going to miss you. Good bye until I come back again.
This is what I call a perfect Sunday Morning.
- Wake up at 6:15. That is a record.
- About 30 minutes jog at Cubbon park.
- Make breakfast.
- Assist in making custard. Dessert for lunch.
- Do some cleaning.
- Amazing two hours of music on KL Radio on Worldspace. Today's special was songs beginning with questions. Some amazing music. Before that was an interview with Kovai Sarala. The songs played were also very good.
Now that beewi is out for a couple of hours, time to catchup on random stuff over the internet and possibly a quick nap. Life like this is good. I'm loving it :-)
PS: Last night while I was driving back from Railway Station, decided to check out the Yahoo! Open Hackday happening at Taj. On the way I saw a McD on Kasturba Raod. Stopped by to get some fries and chatpatta masala. Check it out when you are there next time.
It was the first class of Computer Programming in my 3rd semester Engineering. GV, the lecturer walks into the class, introduces himself and starts talking. I believe he said this in Tamil:
"நானும் பாலாஜியும் friends-a இருக்கணும்னா, நான் மட்டும் மனசு வச்சா முடியாது. பாலாஜியும் மனசு வைக்கணும்."
For those who don't understand Tamil, it roughly translates into "If I and Balaji are to become friends, it is not enough if I think about it. Balaji also has to think about it".
He was referring to a tussle we had in the exam in the first year when he came as the exam supervisor. I was really surprised that he had looked up my name then and remembered it almost a couple of months after that, when he came as a lecture to my class.
Every time when I run into an interpersonal issue, be it at work or outside, I remember this, see if I am at fault and try whatever I can do to fix it. I would have also repeated this quote a few hundred times to folks around when such issues arises. The academic education that I received from my college was very limited but this is the place which taught me how to survive. Every time I run into an issue, I think about a similar incident that I had in college, how I worked around it and I immediately discover a solution. It is more than 10 years since I graduated out of college but the memories are ever green. Those were the best days of my life!
Happy New Year. The first post of the year. However since I did not complete a round up of 2008 as promised earlier, here it is. I initially thought this is going to be individual posts but being a lazy bum, I am consolidating all into one.
- Status Change: I have been using twitter a lot lately for status updates but this one deserved a post but I never did. On Dec 4th, this year, my marital status changed to married. I got married to Vasumathi at Srirangam Trichy and then have spent the rest of the month at leisure touring Rajsathan for a week, a week in Bangalore and the last couple of weeks for a laid back vacation in Podanur, Coimbatore.
- Three years at Yahoo!: This October, I completed three years at Yahoo! I have been working for more than 10 years now and this is the longest stay in a company for me. There are enough people around to look up to, the work is fantastic and I am enjoying every bit of it. There has been ups and downs but this is a company where I have felt at home since day one.
- Travel - Visted Singapore and a few other places in India.
- Was regular in some kind of physical activity.
Let us see what 2009 has got in store for me.
Was reading through a forward when I noticed this quote. This is a just in time reminder for me, to do things right myself instead of preaching :-)
A man has to learn that he cannot command things, but that he can command himself; that he cannot coerce the wills of others, but that he can mold and master his own will: and things serve him who serves truth; people seek guidance of him who is master of himself.
It was our group's offsite last week and this week. Since we do on call coverage and operations support, we split the entire group into two and go to the same place in consecutive weeks. We had been to Guhantara off Kanakpura road. The idea was to do some team building sessions in the first half and spend the rest of the day playing games and partying. The sessions in the first half weren't too much fun and was over by around 11:30am. Rest of the day was spent playing volleyball, cricket, swimming, dancing and partying and having fun.
But in the end, I doubt if the goal of the offiste was achieved. The idea of such excercises is to get know people and network with them. I was surprised when I heard people asking if it was compulsory to attend the offsite. It was sad to hear people saying
I am on-call,
I have work or
I am going home. The offsite happens on a work day and we split and do it to avoid such reasons. And even if people get there, they roam around with the same gang as in office. I doubt if people understand the power of networking and knowing new contacts.
The best excuse that I heard today.
I am new and the only two people I know are not going to the offiste.
This is one of the classic examples of my planning ahead for a weekend going haywire. The plan was to go and spend the long weekend in Pondicherry. Rishi was planning to go there as well and I had decided to tag along. Meanwhile, my sister said she had been planning to go there and she will meet us around Friday noon.
Till about 2pm when I left office, I was thinking that I was leaving for Pondicherry, but suddenly had to change my plans since I was needed in Coimbatore. So I asked Rishi to drop me at Krishnagiri and I took a bus to Salem and from there another bus to Coimbatore. Landed home around 3 in the morning. Rishi seems to have had an ordeal in reaching Pondicherry. And my sister until yesterday noon was saying she did not plan to go anywhere due to the rain, calls up in the night saying she is in Pondicherry. :-)
This is one of the reasons why I think a lot before I plan ahead with a group of people. My plans are always flexible and I decide what to do at the spur of the moment. If I plan ahead, something external changes my plans and this ends up in disappointment.
And doing the usual things when I am in Coimbatore. Eating, Watching TV and Sleeping. Am most probably going to Trichy tonight to attend a friends marriage and then back in Bangalore on Tuesday.
Happy Holi. Interestingly I have seen lot of people celebrating Holi in Podanur and I see colours splashed around this place. This is a change that must have happened in the last 5-6 years. When I used to study about 10 years back, I had never heard of Holi being celebrated this side. The world is shrinking. :-)
Busy. That one word summarizes how I have been for the past month or so. The shortest month of the year flew by like a minute. Its just not work but things outside work also has kept me busy. Just now someone called me to say that we haven't met since New year. He is the one whom I hang out with every week :-) March is not going to be better. Two friends visiting, a work related trip to Cochin, a marriage to attend in Trichy and whole lot of PHB work.
Had a coworker travel from Sunnyvale and spent two weekends roaming around with him. After a long time, I met someone who thinks and works very much like me. I guess he is the second person after Mr.H at Honeywell who approaches, thinks and executes just like me. Visited Mysore, dined at half a dozen restaurants in the city and loafed around.
Cricket: Let me also join the bandwagon by writing about it. It was an amazing couple of games. I never that India will drive home the cup with a thumping win. They played very ordinary in the initial stages and I was not even sure if they will qualify for the finals. They finally qualified, without depending on the SL-Aus match result. But in both the finals they played like real champs and made Ponting eat his words (though I have not seen a news article Ponting saying three finals will not be required). In the first game, when we were chasing, I thought we had to play with 10 players thinking Tendulkar was out of the equation. But man, the way he played was awesome. I have never seen him play like this in a long time. It was a mix of caution and aggression. He did the same in the second final as well. In all, India did a great job in Australia. Let us see how this team progresses.
And see this picture of Harbhajan. Man, he is one funny character. And he had his moments in the finals accounting for his friends dismissal.
Seems like a very short year. I still remember the last few days of 2006. I was a having a personal turmoil. It ended sometime in Jan and the next few months were spent finding out what went wrong. But once I got out of that imbroglio, it has been one heck of a ride.
- Met a whole lot of friends, whom I had not met in around 8-10 years.
- Visited a few places.
- Did gymming for a couple of months and have been regular to Yoga classes since July. This is a welcome change.
- Reduced coffee intake. From around 10 cups a day to around 5-6 cups a week.
- Spent some time clicking.
Hope 2008 gets even better.
I am mostly heading off to some remote place with a bunch of friends and will be back only next year. So here is wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous new year 2008.
What is so good about December? There is some slack in work and I have 10 days of vacation to take. So here I am, sitting in Coimbatore, watching TV, listening to music, eating home food and most importantly sleeping.
I initially had plans of traveling to either Sri Lanka or somewhere outside but had to give my passport for renewal. Also, food poisoning put me onto bed rest for 3-4 days. So I decided to stay indoors except for a 4 day trip to Sabarimala.
I also watched most of the second and third test matches against Pakistan. If there is someone who has made a comeback in Indian cricket with a bang, it has to be Ganguly. I used to hate him when every other politician for lobbying for him to be included in the team. But he did make it to the team due to the lack of form of some cricketers and he has cemented his place now. I still remember the third test match against England. Rahul Dravid had a good lead and he did not enforce follow on saying his bowlers weren't fit. India started to bat and was soon 11/3. Dravid started his super slow innings taking ages to score 11 runs. While on the other side, Ganguly stroked brilliantly to get a half century. From then on, I have been keenly watching Ganguly. His emotions where very much in control when he got his century in Kolkata and the double century and the 90 odd runs in the Bangalore test that followed. I hope the big guns including Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman have a good series in Australia since this is mostly going to be their last visit there.