Tuesday, 22 February 2011

What’s Ghajini.txt?

I had then recently joined MindTree from college. We had our training for about 3 to 4 months. I still cherish those days as most of my friends were in MindTree and I always felt I am still in college. J. Finally we graduated from training sessions and joined projects which were allocated to us. Because of this all of us were scattered and we used to communicate via office communicator or  mails. We used to share songs as well (via mail). But as any mp3 extensions would be blocked by the firewall, we used to share songs with extension .txt. This file needs to be saved as .wmb or mp3 to listen to the song. We used to share new movie songs like this.

One day I got such a mail with an attachment Ghajini.txt. Ghajini was the latest movie then. Almost everyone from whom I had heard had liked the movie. I was happy to see that mail. I right clicked on the file saved it in my system with required extension. I listened to the same song many times on that day while working, liked it and went home. Next day as usual I came to office and was working and was listening to the same song. J. Then my manager came to me, smiled at me and called me for a meeting. I followed him to a meeting room. (I was worried when he called me for a one on one meeting. I thought “he was smiling, so no problem”J.).When I entered the meeting room I found our group manager and delivery manager waiting for me. Looking at them I felt I have either done something very good for which they will appreciate me or I would be blasted for some nuisance I would have created. With all such thoughts I was just standing in the room with no clue of why am there.

My delivery head then asked me “Why have you taken a print out of 475 pages?” I was shocked to hear these words. I had no clue on, when I had taken a print out; that too of 475 pages! I said “No, I haven’t taken”. He showed me some list where against my Id 475 pages of print out was displayed. I had no answer. I wanted to say “Some bhooth-preth would have taken it I haven’t”, but kept quiet as I would be banged for such an answerJ. Looking at me he said “What’s Ghajini.txt?” I replied “Hey new movie released last week!” I still feel, what on earth made me say that!J. My manager and group manager started laughing at my reply. I was serious and was cursing myself for giving a reply which would put me into more trouble.

Delivery head continued and said “You have taken a print out of Ghajini.txt and that has resulted in 475 pages of junk characters”. He was furious when he said that. I guess my response would have made him more furious. I was speechless. I dint know what to say. I just said “I had got the song in mail. I don’t know how and when I printed the same”. He said “You are not supposed to share songs through mails”. I dint know what to say.  My eyes were filled with tears. I was controlling my tears and kept quiet. He said “Don’t do it again and sent me back”. I came back to my cubicle and told my miserable (then) story to everyone (my dad, mom, sis, friends etc) and consoled myselfJ.I checked how print out would have been given. Later I got to know my outlook was configured in such a way that when I say print it will directly be printed without giving a pop up. Might be I would have by mistake giving for print instead of save. I changed the outlook settings. I went home and narrated the same to my roommates, they started laughing at my reaction to delivery head “Movie released last week”. I also joined them had fun and slept off.

Next day morning I came to office and was just checking my mails. My delivery head came near my cubicle calling my name. I got scared “Ayyo! Not again”. I was about to say “I will pay for the sheets” but kept quiet. I stood up frightened. He calmed me and made me sit. He apologized for being rude to me the other day. He said “You should not take such things very seriously and start crying etc”. I dint know what to say againJ. I smiled and said “Sorry I will not do it again”. He again apologized and left. All my colleagues were staring at me. They were surprised to see delivery head apologizing to me.

Till today my friends and colleagues tease me saying “Delivery head wouldn’t have apologized to client for anything but you made him apologize” J I join them and laugh it off. J

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Mumbai Darshan

I had to leave from Gothenburg on 21st Dec 2010, on 20th I came to know that the connecting flight from Paris to Blore was cancelled. I felt really bad. I was so excited that I will reach home in a day, but flight cancellation disturbed me. I tried calling up Air France officials but nobody responded. I dint know what to do. I found myself as a kid pushed away from its Mom. My friends suggested me to go to airport in the morning and check if Air France officials will route me through a different place, if not stay back in Paris. I dint want to stay back in Paris in any case, because almost everyday flights were getting cancelled in Paris because of heavy snow fall. I wanted to reach India by any means. All sorts of thought came to my mind like” Why don’t I own a helicopter? Why can’t the weather change suddenly and they let go my flight? Why am I not a spider man? Etc...”

Finally I made up my mind saying “I will go to airport early in the morning and find out if there are any alternatives”. I dint sleep all night, I got ready by 4am (21st Dec) , took a taxi and reached airport by 5 am. I went to Air France office and asked a lady there for help. She took my ticket and searched for other possible routes and after a long time she said there is a flight route from Gothenburg-Amsterdam-Mumbai-Bangalore. I was so happy and relieved when she said that. I told her I will take that and did a check in immediately as the flight was supposed to leave in half an hr from then. I rushed to the terminal where I had to board the flight, and then remembered I had to buy duty free chocolates. So I went to a shop there and bought the chocolates and boarded the flight. I sat down happily in the flight. In an hour and a half I reached Amsterdam.

Amsterdam has a very big airport, but as I had been there once before I felt confident. I finished immigration and went to complete the security formalities. A lady there who was responsible for security checking asked so many questions “Who packed your luggage? After packing where was your luggage? Did you receive any gifts and have you kept it in bag without unwrapping the gift wrap? Etc”. I answered all her questions and finished all other formalities and boarded the flight to Mumbai. J. I slept for a while in the flight and later saw 3 idiots movie. I also had a constant look on where the flight is at that time. As soon as I saw Ahmedabad on screen I felt so happy I can’t explain that. I wanted to jump around in flight telling everyone that I reached India on the same day. But I would appear foolish if I would have done that because people in flight dint know why I was so happy.

I reached Mumbai at 12.30Am and the flight to Bangalore was at 2am. Authorities in Mumbai said I need to checkout my luggage, complete customs and then board the Air India flight to Bangalore. I did as they said. I went to information counter there and showed my ticket as to where I need to board that flight. They said I need to go to domestic Airport which was 20 min from there. I took my entire luggage and boarded the bus to reach Domestic airport. When I came to domestic airport and asked for check in, a lady there said “You have been misguided, the flight you are searching for will be available in international Terminal”. I again took the bus to international terminal and rushed to the counter where I could check in my luggage. But officials there said it was too late and the flight has left. I asked whether there is any other flight of Air India which I could take. They said I will have to go back to domestic terminal as there was no other domestic flight from international terminal. I again took the bus and came to domestic terminal. When I reached the domestic airport, there was nobody from whom I could ask for some help. Air India office was closed. I found a watchman standing near the entrance. I went to him and asked “When does the Air India office open?” He said “People are sleeping inside the office, go and knock the door”. I went and did the same, after some ten minutes of knocking a person opened the door. He was yawning and was furious about me knocking the door. I asked him for help. He said “you will be sent in next flight which is at 6.15Am” and closed the door. I was not happy with the response; I again knocked the door and asked for the flight number so that I can keep a track of it. He gave me the flight number, I felt a bit relieved. I was asked to go to 2nd floor where I could sit and wait. When I went there I could find few people sitting. I met few people who had the same problem as mine, but dint know the officials were sleeping. They were waiting for the Air India office to open. I advised them to go and knock the door. J. I guess Air India officials would have cursed me for giving such advice. J

After this, I wanted to inform about me missing my flight and coming by a different one to my husband, parents, sis, in-laws and relatives. My phone was not working as I had deactivated it while going to Sweden. I went to the STD booth in the Airport; person there had locked all phones in a drawer and was sleeping. I tried waking him up but was not successfulL. I found a one rupee coin phone there. I checked my purse I just had only 2 Rs. I went to Forex desk for exchange, lady there was sleeping and dint wake upL. But later I realized that coin phone can cater only to local calls. I dint know how to communicate. Suddenly I remembered that one of my friends was studying MBA in Mumbai and I had his phone number. I called him and informed that I have missed the flight please inform my husband about it. By the time I was about to give my husbands cell number to him the phone got cut, and I had no more coins to insertL. Looking at my plight watch man donated me a rupee coin and that was enough to communicate contact details to my friend in Mumbai and he informed people at my home. I am very much thankful to that watchman till todayJ

At 4.30Am in the morning an Air India official approached me and said “We cannot route you in Air India flight which will depart at 6.15 am as the ticket you hold is booked by KLM blah blah(I dint understand what he saidJ)”. I asked him what best can be done; he said I will have to a buy a ticket. I thought for a while whether my company will reimburse it or not. Finally decided whether it will be reimbursed or not, I have to go home today at any cost. I went to ticket booking counter, bought an Air India ticket to Bangalore for a flight which would depart at 9am.

It was still 5.30 am when I bought the ticket. I still had to wait for few hrs even to check in my luggage. I sat down calmly and saw that STD booth guy woke up. I rushed to the booth and informed all family members that I will reach Bangalore by 10.30am.After that I just came back to the place where I was sitting and saw that there was some sort of chaos near the check in counters. When I asked about it I could understand that the check in luggage moving machine had stopped working and luggage had piled up near the check in counters. People were worried about their luggage’s and were disturbed. I felt by the time I will check in the problem would have got resolved and sat down calmly.

It was 7.45am, and I went to the check in counter. The lady there said the machine is still not working, so my luggage will be delivered the next day. I knew that air lines take responsibility of the luggage and will deliver it to us if there is any mistake from their side. But then I wanted my luggage on the same day. I had all chocolates and gifts for family members and friends packed in that. I dint want to wait for my luggage for a day more. I was praying “God! Make this machine work somehow” J. I guess God was generous to me that day, in 10 min the machine started working and I happily checked in my baggage, boarded the flight and reached Bangalore at 11 am.

Though I was stuck in Mumbai for long, I never felt irritated. I don’t know why I was enjoying the mess I was facing. J Might be because my aim of reaching India on the same day was fulfilled. J.

Even though I visited only domestic and International airports of Mumbai, for me it was not less than a short Darshan of Mumbai. Hence I named the article as “Mumbai Darshan”. J

Monday, 20 December 2010

A Journey Again….

Today is a last day in Gothenburg. I was waiting for this day from many months now. I was missing my family, friends and Country badly. Everyday I dreamt of being in India, doing my routine as before. But today when the day has come, I don’t know why, I feel the same as I felt when I was leaving Bangalore. I feel as if I am leaving something which is my own. I never thought I would experience this, as I always wanted to go back.

I am again ready with my check in and cabin bags. But this time I am also carrying a baggage of learning’s which I got from people here. Being here for a short duration I have learnt many things. I would like to share a few. The one major thing I learnt here is Respect for every human being, irrespective of the job he\she does. One day I was just observing a lady who was speaking to a bus driver regarding timings. She was so very polite and friendly to him. She spoke to him as if she spoke to her friend. I would really like to appreciate that attitude. People here say ‘hi’ to the bus driver when they get in and say ‘bye’ when they get down. Nobody considers wishing a driver out of their status.

I know implementing this in India is difficult. We cannot wish a bus driver. But at least we should cultivate a habit of respecting everyone. Everyone should be respected because he/she is a human being, not because he\she is a doctor or a teacher. Respecting an individual irrespective of caste, creed, religion or profession, I guess is a great thing and every one of us deserve it.

Swedes are very helpful as well. I guess they are known for their helping nature. Here in Sweden they make dogs wear dresses and it really looks good. I wanted to buy a dress for my father-in- law’s dog. My father-in-law likes the dog very much and likes decorating it as well. I went to one of my colleague and asked for the details of a shop where I could buy a dress for the dog. He said he is not very sure on the location but can help me if I could give him time. After sometime he came back to me with a map, and showed the location of the shop and the best way to reach it as well. I was happy with that information. I thanked him and continued my work. After sometime he again came to me and said “I called the shop owner and she said they have a new collection now” and smiled. I was both surprised and happy. I dint know what to say. I wanted to say something more than thanks. But dint know any other wordJ. So just thanked him again and continued work. But I will never forget his help as he taught me a better way of helping anyone. I would have just told the shop name and location, I would have never bothered calling the shop owner for knowing the timings of the shop or its collection for someone.

There are many such incidents which have helped me learn things and grow in a good way. The incidents which I shared may appear small but I feel it is these small things upon which we are measured.

Might be it’s because of these experiences I today feel I will miss these people when I go back home. I would always be thankful to all Swedish and Indian friends (whom I met here) for teaching me such good things just by the way they lead their life.

But yes, nothing feels like home. So, very much excited about the journey tomorrow. I hope the flight takes off and lands safely on time. J

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

A Diwali away from home!

Diwali has always been an exciting festival to celebrate to everyone in India. When I think of Diwali I get wonderful memories from my age of 5. This time it was different for me. I was away from home, family and friends. I dint know how to celebrate it alone. I thought it will be boring and I will have the worst Diwali of my life. But a week past Diwali, I and an Indian colleague of mine decided and invited all our Swedish colleagues to our home for dinner. I was in a dilemma whether they will accept the invitation and come, as they dint know what Diwali is and they find Indian food spicy. But they were very happy to receive an invitation from us. They noted it down in their calendars and said they will surely come.

Once they agreed to come, we were planning for the celebration. The entire week went in shopping for different things. I went in search of crackers for 2 days, that too walking Km’s in a temperature near to 0 degrees. But all my efforts went in vain as I dint find the crackers anywhere. L Somehow I consoled myself saying I will burst e-crackers and came back home with candles and little decorative material. After all shopping, both of us were in a discussion of what to prepare and what not for the dinner. After sometime we finalized the menu. Everything in the menu was ok for me except chapattis. This was because I had to prepare 25 to 30 chapattis. I had always prepared a max of 8 chapattis till now in my cooking career. I was scared whether I will be able to make so many chapattis. Finally made up my mind saying I will at least try my best to make as many as possible.

The Diwali day finally came, and all Swedish colleagues had promised to come at 4pm.One bad thing (actually good, but bad for us) is that, if they say 4pm,they will be present at sharp 4pm.So,we had to finish all our cleaning,decoration,cooking and again cleaning(after cooking) within 4pm.And to add to this when I opened my eyes in the morning it was 10amLL.I literally jumped out of bed and started all cleaning and called my Indian friend saying we will start cooking at 11am.Within 11am I finished all house cleaning and made the chapatti dough ready. From 11am to 3pm it was like a chemistry practical exam for both of us. J.We thought we will finish everything by 3pm as we had to clean things and get ready to look good in front of them.(This was very much necessary because we shouldn’t be in our night dresses for a festival celebrationJ).

My door bell rang exactly at 4pm and all our Swedish colleagues were at the door. I was happy to receive them. They came in, saw the decoration and were happy. We served them orange juice as a welcome drink. They settled themselves in my small apartment room in no time. Then they looked at the goddess Lakshmi’s photo and told me that they read about Diwali in Google and also read about goddess Lakshmi. I got surprised when they told me she is a goddess who represents wealth in India. I really felt happy because they dint come to my house just because I invited them. They wanted to know a new culture. They were patient enough to read through what Diwali is all about. Almost entire evening in my house they kept on asking about Diwali and its importance. I happily explained whatever I knew about Diwali.

I learnt many things from them this Diwali would have never done what they did if I was invited by anyone for a festival that too for a dinner. I would have just thought of the food.
I always felt our culture and customs are great(they are great)and never bothered about other cultures but this Diwali I realized knowing other cultures and appreciating good things in it are something which I need to cultivate otherwise I will continue to be a frog in a well. I would like to thank my Swedish friends because of whom this thought came to my mind. This Diwali will always be cherished by me for sure.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

An exciting day again!!

It was another exciting day as I had been to a nearby Island. , there are 5 islands nearby here. I dint know which island to go. I dint even know the name of even one island, still with all courage I started from home equipped with all winter shielding J.I had to go to Nodstan (a central place like majestic) and there take a tram to Salt Holmen  and from there take a boat to any one of the island. I reached Nodstan and was waiting for the tram, and suddenly an aged couple(they were from London) came to me and asked me “Do you understand English?”. I felt so happy that there were people other than me in Sweden who dint know Swedish. I smiled and said yes. They enquired about a place and how to reach there, I found it funny to guide them as I myself was lost few days ago, and somehow made it to reach where I stay. Still when they said thank you I was so glad that I guided people in a place which is foreign to me even.

After this I got the tram and reached Salt Holmen, now there I really dint neither know where to go to get the boat nor did I know which boat to board. I was almost laughing at myself for all the mess I had created for myself without planning where to go. The area was not much populated I was turning around and I dint even find one person, I felt I will have to take next tram and go back home. But I was not willing to do that as well, so just took few steps and luckily found a lady drinking coke, I almost jumped and went to her, enquired about where I get the boat and which island is good to visit, she guided me properly and I finally got into the big boat.

The boat was so cozy, the seats in it were similar to plane seats; I found it nice and sat down. Suddenly a person said hello and asked “Are you from India?” I was so happy to listen to that question, I said “Yes” and asked the same question back to him. He said he is from Afganistan, now this answer disappointed me. I was almost telling myself why he asked me when he is from Afganistan, I almost imagined the picture of Afganisatan with all covered black dresses and the problems women face there. By then he put one more question “Are you from chandini chowk?” I was about to laugh but controlled it and was about to say entire India is not Chandini chowk, but dint say that either as he was an elderly person. I felt these Bollywood movies have so much influence on people, chandini chowk is so famous. Again I was imagining all stupid things as that person told me he stayed in chandini chowk 30 years ago and he liked it. Then I really felt why I imagine many things before a person finishes his talk. Then felt might be these movies have more influence on me than on others. J.

Later he spoke to me about Bombay (That is what he called Mumbai as he had been to India 30 yrs ago) and said all movies are made there. Now I felt relieved because even he was influenced by movies, he then told me he has settled in Afganisatan and his daughter works for Volvo IT in Gothenburg and he had come to meet her. His daughter was quiet till then, later she asked me about my visit to Sweden etc, when she came to know I was also working in the same office as hers, she was happy any gave me her contact details. Her father said “you come to our home now”. I dint know what to say, again all stupid pictures came to my mind, “An unknown family, in an unknown country blah blah”, I stopped imagining and said “sure some other time, today I got to go to the island and then for some shopping”. He smiled, and said no problem.

 Finally the island arrived and we were ready to get down, he called me and said in his broken English “India Good! India People Good!!” I was both surprised and happy to hear these words from a resident of our neighboring country. I really felt proud and said Thank you.
My entire journey back to home and in the island I was thinking, when a foreigner can say
that India is a Good nation, why can’t we say that to ourselves sometime in our lives!

A dream come true

I was in 6th standard when I first came to something about Europe as I had seen DDLJ then, from the day I saw the movie I was blindly interested in visiting European countries. After joining IT industry the same interest built up. Though people around me always spoke about US always, I wanted to visit only Europe (Look at the impact of Bollywood on our lives!).After two and a half years of IT life finally the day came when my manager told me that I will be going to Sweden for 4 months for the project work on 15 Aug 2010. Now this was a dream come true for me. I was so happy that I was almost on the ninth cloud from the day I got this news.

The day of departure from India came; I was ready with my 20 kg check in luggage and 8 kg cabin bag. My parents, in-laws, hubby and sis were all there in airport to see me off. All of them were equally excited as me. After the final tata bye bye, I left for my dream journey.
I reached Delhi at 10pm and there I had to check out my luggage and with all full loads, I had to travel for half an hr to reach the international terminal. I dint get bus on time, my next flight was at 12 am and at 11:15 PM I was still in the bus, finally at 11:23pm I reached Indira Gandhi International Airport, after running here and there for all immigration and security checks I got into the flight which would take me to Amsterdam. This flight was a great experience for me, I had never seen such a big flight, I had only seen domestic flights. This was so huge and so spacious. One question which came to my mind and still comes is how such a big flight with so many passengers manages to fly? J.I sat down and slept off. We were a couple hours away from Amsterdam when I woke up, then I checked the TV screen in front of me, it showed the outside temperature as -53 degrees. Now this shocked me for a while, I knew my dream continent had colder environment but I never had imagined such low temperature. But later calmed myself as I realized the temperature was low at that altitude not on the ground. All of us in the flight safely reached Amsterdam, and then few of us got into the flight which would finally drop us at Gothenburg.

Finally I reached Gothenburg, the second largest city of Sweden an European nation. I came out of the airport and found that the place was very calm and quiet, later I felt our Devanahalli is also sort of quiet so just sat in the taxi. I imagined once I enter the city it will be better crowded and a bit noisy. As the taxi moved on I was a kind of surprised to find 1 or 2 people on big roads, all shops closed (as it was a Sunday), and pin drop silence as my teacher used to insist in class. I reached the apartment given to me and saw 2 kids playing without making noise; I felt teachers and parents here are lucky! I entered my flat, placed my luggage n sat and heard no voice from anywhere (Not even a bird humming sound).My picture of DDLJ had completely changed by thenJ. I felt I should run off from here, I felt I have landed in a wrong place. I cannot survive here. So many mixed thoughts came just in few seconds of me reaching Gothenburg. Later I convinced myself that I have to stay here for 4 months. After some time I met few Indian friends here and spoke to them, this made things better and I had a kind of satisfaction that I have at least someone to talk to. Slowly I settled myself and thought that I realized the value of my home country, though crowded, noisy, full of traffic etc etc. I find that better than this developed nation, might be its rightly said “Janani Janma Bhumischa Swargadapi gariyasi”.