sábado, abril 29, 2006

Vacations rock - especially the kinds that are all paid for! My entire family, i.e. my parents, sis, bro-in-law and my nephew were supposed to go for this weeklong vacation to Alibaug. But as fate would have it, my mum and nephew fell ill due to which my sis couldn't join us and my bro-in-law's company had to choose that very week to send him to Switzerland so eventually it was just my dad (who was supposed to work anyways, it wasn't a vacation for him), his colleague (a demure looking chick) and I who ended up going.

Of course I couldn't back out - I didn't want to! Who'd let go of the opportunity to stay in a starred hotel, eat, drink and swim as much as you want, and be driven around in a chauffered car for a week? So to cut a long story short, I had a semi-luxury vacation by myself, and it's seem to have done me atleast some good! Pictures tell the story below -

This first collage is of downtown Mumbai, with the Gateway of India and the Taj Intercontinental in all their glory.

This one below was taken at the hotel that we stayed at. One of the best parts was since it's owned by my mum's best friend, everything I ordered as room service was libré.. free! Wish I'd known earlier :P

Finally, these two collages below try to do justice to the Janjira fort in a sleepy beach town called Murud. Built in the middle of the sea, this fort has a history of being unconquered to date - that's about 300 years! The only way to get there is with the help of a locally run boat service, which uses boats that people manually row.. and whose floor is so low that you're sitting literally six inches above the sea. For someone who can't swim (read: me), it can get pretty scary when the sea's rough but it was a definitely a memorable experience!

Built on 22 acres of rock jutting out of the sea, this fort even has access to 3 underground springs that used to provide drinking water to its inhabitants, right in the middle of the sea! And although it's clearly crumbling, as you can see, it's still in a surprisingly good condition given its age.

Well, that's about it. Wish I could have more of such vacations! Where do I go next? Let me see...

sábado, abril 15, 2006

I haven't seen much of Southern India, and whatever little I have, was when I was an ankle-biter, which is enough to say that I have no memories of my southern sojourns whatsoever. Then towards the beginning of last week, my family (consisting of my parents, my aunt and her family, plus an extremely odd uncle - more on him in another post) decided to take a mini vacation to the state of Karnataka, which retrospectively turned out to be both a good and a bad thing.

It was good because thanks to the immediacy of the event, the fact that I've quit my job and have nothing to do hasn't quite sunk in. It was bad, clearly due to the season in which the trip was planned. Southern India is pretty much an overheated sauna throughout the year, and this being summer, visiting the state was the equivalent of cooking a pizza and sitting in the oven at the same time. With day time temparatures reaching close to 40 degrees celsius, our air-conditioned car resembled a pressure cooker. It was thanks entirely due to the heat that we cut short our vacation by 3 days, so we could only visit 4 of the 7 places that we had originally planned on seeing.

Enough said. I did however get the chance to be awestruck more than a few times, and definitely plan to revisit the place - in (some) winter. Here are a few pics that I managed to click:

This one was taken from the car. Whoever said India has terrible roads will eat their words. The Golden Quadrilateral project connecting the four metros has been a godsend, and the roads are almost picture perfect!

These two were taken at a place called Badami, which is well-known for its caves.

Alright, I'm bored of the commentary so I'm just going to post the pics and for those of you that are very keen on knowing more, please write in!

I couldn't resist this - the mural above was almost 30 feet across. Wonder how they ever built that one! Over and out.

jueves, abril 06, 2006

It’s been hectic over the last few weeks. Regulars to this blog will know that I stop working soon, so the last few weeks have been fraught with handover sessions, updates and up-issues of documents, lunches, photo-taking sessions (for posterity’s sake), and other mind-numbing formalities at work. One of these was my exit interview which happened a couple of days ago.

I need to put this in perspective. I don’t hate my company. In fact, almost everything that I have today – work experience, the chance to live abroad, even friends that I’ll probably cherish life-long. So don’t mistake my anger for hatred. After about six years that I have worked for these guys, I gave the HR a two-month notice period, so they had a good 60 days to look at my file and know that I was quitting to join a B-school. Through half the exit interview that lasted for roughly 40 minutes, Miss HR kept asking me why is it that I was planning to join another company. It was after I pointed out that I wasn’t quitting for another job, did she actually open the file and check.

Honestly, I don’t understand if these guys don’t read what’s in front of them, or they are so self absorbed that employees are nothing but a folder on the computer. There, I’m sorry for the rant but I think it was called for.

On a lighter note, something happened a few days ago that almost killed me – with laughter. I’ve got this friend at work who’s genuinely nice but has quirky vocabulary. For example, if we are to have a 3-way conference, instead of “pulling” the next person in to the conference, this woman says things like “Oh wait, let me flash him”. So imagine my surprise when one fine day, while talking about horses, she says to me “Ashwin, if you buy a horse, do you promise to ride me??”. Hang on. Why do I need to buy a horse for that?

I, Me, Myself

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