Vapi to Pondicherry…

Chennai (surprisingly but also due to recession) has a lot of people from IIM Lucknow this year. Some of my very good friends are working there… Suddenly they made plans of having a Get Together and asked me to come over… I had never been to Chennai before and thought it would be a good occasion to see the city. Also, we were supposed to go to Pondicherry from Chennai… which looked like a decent plan to me.

The least did I know that on the very same day when I had to fly to Chennai, I had a visit scheduled to one of the Contract Manufacturing facilities of our company. That facility is located in Vapi, Gujarat, some 150+ KMs away from Mumbai… Take traffic bottle necks and bad roads, travel time would definitely be more than four hours…Although my flight was at 8:30 in the evening, I was a little concerned.

I managed to be back in Mumbai on time, thanks to my friends and our HR specially who ensured that we did not waste much time in the facility… It was a good experience being there… Making medicines is not a simple thing… With all the safety protocols and standards that need to be followed, a facility has to be very careful about what is being produced… One small mistake can kill thousands, if not lacs.

My flight landed on time and I halted in Chennai for a night (on Friday) at Sattu’s place before moving to Pondicherry next morning. We had two cars (including Sugam’s new FIAT Linea)… It was a good ride all the way from Chennai to Pondi. The best thing about it was that the sea was pretty close to the road… The view was awesome.

fotu 012In Pondicherry, we stayed in a resort which had its ‘private beach’… The beach was good there but the water was very rough. Bay of Bengal is known to have high tides… Therefore, we did not venture much into the sea… also we could not spend much time on the beach because it was deserted and the resort people warned us that the local fishermen could come and steal stuffs from us if we stay late there… All this happened after the sunset though… Before that we had our share of drinks and food and afternoon siesta because most of us did not have proper sleep the previous night. In the evening after visiting (literally) the beach, we went to the city and spent some time a trance bar… It was loud & boring and the music was incomprehensible to me so could not enjoy much. However, had nice time walking along the rocky beach.

On Hammock

Back in the resort, view from my room was amazing. It faced the sea and had bigg windows… Since Pondi is on the eastern coast, people say the sunrise is very beautiful. All of us slept inebriated on Saturday night… 😛 So waking up in the morning to watch the sunrise was out of question but even then I could see it from my bed and it indeed was very beautiful. Was too lazy to take a picture though.

We came back to Chennai on Sunday in afternoon. I had a flight to catch in the night… Overall it was a good trip.

It was my first trip to anywhere south of Bangalore… I surprisingly found Chennai to be very clean. Friends say that is not the truth… Chennai is very well a part of India! 😀

However, to my surprise, I was left to guess the reason behind not serving lunch after 3:00 P.M. in the afternoon in any of the restaurants in Chennai… Can some one throw some light on the logic behind?

One more thing, it is not a very good idea to go out on a trip with couples when you are single… it is actually worse with new couples… You are left to do nothing all the while the couples are coupling… 😛

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Mumbai Local

For those of you who don’t know how it is like traveling in a Mumbai local, let me tell you it is an experience of a lifetime. 😛

Before coming to Mumbai, I was very worried about traveling in local trains. I had heard a lot about the accidents, huge angry crowd and bomb blasts. So much so that I felt sick even by the thought of being a passenger in one of those ugly, crowded trains.

But, as they say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. I am in Mumbai and I have to do as the Mumbaikaars do. Traveling in local trains is a part & parcel of Mumbai life… You cannnot survive without it. I was made to travel in the local trains…

These trains are the lifelines of this city. They are the fastest means of travel in a city which is mired by traffic problems. Spread over 450 route kilometers and operation in excess of 2000 daily trains, it is probably one of the toughest to manage kinda systems. It carries more than 6.94 million passengers everyday… Can you guess the scale of its operations?

The importance of every single train is such that if one train gets cancelled on one route some day, then the passengers in the next train in that route are doomed… They would not even have proper breathing space.

Now, there is this concept of traveling with/against the flow of traffic. In the morning time, people travel towards South Mumbai, where most of the businesses take place… which of course is the most commercialized place in Mumbai… People come from the western suburbs, Navi Mumbai and Central Mumbai… So what happens is that all trains going to south are very crowded… And they are so crowded that a person who is not used to traveling here would find it very hard to even get into the compartment. My friend also told me that it is actually worse in first class compartments sometimes…

I thankfully travel against the flow… If I catch a train from Bandra to Jogeshwari, where my office is (before 8:15 A.M.), then the I can sit easily and travel. If I am late by 15 minutes, then I have to stand but it is manageable and I don’t have to smell the deo sweat of others. Similarly, in the evening when I come back to Bandra, I am traveling against the flow because then the crowd is moving upwards in the opposite direction… That makes me like the Mumbai locals. 😀 And why not, they act in my favor.

It is actually fun to travel in Mumbai locals… Put your earphones on and listen to nice songs, all the while, feeling the touch of cool air coming from outside…

Overall, it is not exactly a bad experience… In fact, it is a fun experience… I don’t hate to say this that I like traveling by Mumbai locals.

Aamchi Mumbai!

BTW, I have noticed one thing that people here in Mumbai are always in a rush. They want to get into the trains before anyone else… they take seats before anyone else… Even if the trains are empty and the station is at least 3-4 minutes away, they rush to the door and stand in queue to get down… I sometimes find it strange until I realized today in the morning that I was also doing the same thing. Does that mean that I am actually changing and becoming more like a Mumbaikaar? Only time will tell…

Pursue Joy, not happiness!

What is the difference between joy and happiness? How does one pursue joy and be happy? What exactly is joy and how does it impact happiness? Ever wondered or pondered about these?

Well, I recently read an article by Mr. Guy Kawasaki. He was delivering a speech to some high school students where he spoke about different things which one should do in life. One of his suggestions was to pursue joy, not happiness.

Now, as far as I could understand, happiness is a state of mind. It is a greater term which has a broader scope. Happiness is a never ending pursuit… A healthy body, a good income, nice family life etc. are some of the determinants of happiness. But do they really ensure happiness? I don’t know. Can anyone say with full authority that if he earns X lacs of money every year, his wife is the most beautiful lady on earth, he has every conceivable luxury on earth and he does not have any health ailments, then he will be happy?

A person is never sure what will give him happiness. He is always moving in darkness in his quest for happiness. Some say eternity is bliss… religions say that death will bring happiness to the soul after it coalesces with the universe. Philosophers say happiness is inside… It is deep within… Over the centuries people have tried different ways of finding happiness. Some leave their cozy jobs and move to the mountains in pursuit of happiness… Some meditated & got enlightened and spread words of wisdom. At the same time, some became serial killers in their pursuit of the so called happiness. But the biggest question is whether they were really happy?

Now for common people like us who cannot of course go to the mountains or kill people or get enlightened, what can we do to make ourselves happy? We should pursue joy, not happiness. Joy, according to me, comes from every small thing in life. You go out and it suddenly rains… You get drenched and come back happy. That is joy. You met an old friend of yours out of nowhere and you chatted with him/her for hours… it took you to your old days… That is joy. What I mean to say is that joy can be found in every tiny little & seemingly insignificant thing in life. It is doing things which make you happy. It is like trying to become a kid. Remember those days when falling rain drops mesmerized you. Remember the time when you spent countless hours chatting with your friends in a small room without worrying about the next day’s assignments. Things like that… Joy can be found in every thing that you usually tend to ignore.

If you want to be happy, try doing things which give you a feeling of instant happiness. Make a painting… get drenched in rain… take a random trip in the local train from one end to the other end without getting down anywhere… sleep on the beach one full night… Surprise some one with something special and make his/her day… spread joy and you will be happy.

That’s why, pursue joy, not happiness.

Rozen-e-deewar

Rozen-e-Deewar” is an Urdu word which means “A hole in a wall (of a prison cell) from which a ray of light emerges and gives hope & freshness”. (Courtesy: Wikipedia).

It is also the name of the debut album (and its title song) of Roxen, a Pakistani band. The song has got some great guitar beats and the lyrics have deep meanings. I was randomly playing songs in my Nokia Xpress Music 5130 and this particular song took me back to where I belong. I went back to Lucknow. Rozen-e-deewar was unofficially the anthem of Manfest.

We really love this song. As the meaning suggests, it depicts hope in bleak situations. While working for Manfest, we had to face a lot of such situations which were actually very tricky. At times, we had to follow that frail ray of hope under very dark situations in a persistent manner to make things happen. Rozen-e-deewar was like our war cry.

Not only Manfest, a lot of people from my batch loved this song. Every IIM Lucknow party would have this song played over and over again.

If you like this song & you want to listen to the original version; then visit this link here

BTW, I bought an Apple iPod Classic 120 GB for 13K today. I am sure I am going to fall in love with this beauty in no time. Thanks to a friend of mine in my company, I am slowly but surely getting obsessed with these cool electronic gadgets. Earlier, I used to shut down all my temptations towards such things but ever since I started earning, I have started taking interests. Now I am looking forward to owning some more of such pieces. I would like to buy an iPhone or a Nokia E71 Smart Phone. I know both are differently positioned, but both of them make a lot of sense to me. The prospect of owning an iPhone actually influenced my decision to choose an iPod classic over an iPod Touch.

That’s how it has been till now.

I would sincerely try not to neglect my blog in future… Hopefully you readers would love to quip something on my posts.

Doctor! Please Rx

Hey people, I have joined my job in Mumbai. It has been a great experience till now. Life has changed big time man… Never in my dreams had I thought that after doing graduation in Computer Engineering, I would end up in a Pharmaceuticals company. 😀 Probably the almighty wanted to make my father happy. He is a doctor and he always wanted me to carry his legacy forward. I chose engineering but look; here I am today, working as a Management Trainee in the largest pharmaceuticals company in the world.

One good thing about my job is that, apart from understanding the basics and nitty-gritty of business, I am also supposed to understand the functions of the human body and its different organs. To sell a product, I must know how it acts – its dynamics and kinetics. This part of the journey has been the most interesting part of my job till now. I am amazed at the beauty of the human body. It, no doubt, is the most complex machine in the world. And keeping it problem free is even more complex. And, that is the job of my company. We do researches, create block buster medicines and then sell them.

To understand more about the ground realities and the sales processes, our company sent us (seven Management Trainees) to the field for around a month. All of us went to different cities. I was posted at Indore. Before that, everyone (including the CEO, the Executive Committee, and other Head Office colleagues that we met) told us that the time that we would spend in the field would be the most impactful & enriching in terms of learning. They were very true. In the field, it is a different ball game altogether. Strategies are very often delinked from the ground realities leading to failures during implementation. So, not to let that situation happen, we hit the field.

Well… enough of work stuff now!

Life has been full of ups and downs but overall it’s been great. Maximum City sucks big time. But, then again, Mumbai is an enigma. I hated it before I left for Indore but then I started missing it. Like countless others, I am in the process of becoming a Mumbai-Hater to Mumbai-Lover converts.

It is a very crowded city… you would see people swarming everywhere. There is shortage of almost everything: place to sleep, footpaths to walk, roads to drive, water to drink, oxygen to breathe… The list is endless. Amidst all these discomforts, this city acts like a seductress. She will win your heart no matter what. The only thing she wants from you is to give her some time. It is a lively city… People are energetic. They behave well unlike people in Delhi. Also, there are a lot of options for anything and everything you want.

I stay in Bandra (West), 10 minutes by rick/bike from the sea face & the newly opened Bandra-Worli Sea Link. There are a lot of places for shopping, eating and hanging out at walking distance from my apartment. Coming to the apartment, I (along with three others) am paying 28k/month for an unfurnished apartment. 😛

That’s all for the time-being. Will catch you later. Bbye.