The Movie // The Experience

This weekend, I went out on my first kid-cartoon movie in a theatre and it was Chota Bheem. It was Aabhya, Preeti, dad and me. My mom was in Chennai with my sister.

It was not so much about the movie then it was to take my Kid to the movie. She was absolutely joyous when we told her that she was going to watch her favorite show on a movie theatre. She is a mover and just can’t sit tight and we have taken her to only one movie in the past. She being she, was asking so many questions

Dad what would be the seats like? Are they like the sofa at home? Can I sit in daddu’s lap? Oh My God!! she was so excited all the way that I cant describe it at all. It was awesome. We finally reached the mall where we planned to watch the movie and suddenly she wanted fries. Well yeah she saw the shop someplace and for next few minutes her focus was shifted from the movie.

During the movie she was so excited, jumping in her seat and shouting and cheering her favorite scenes especially when Bheem would take a laddu and eat it. In the movie that would give Bheem some strength and he would take it when he was ready to fight an enemy. At that point she would just go super crazy like she never has and at one point she was ready to come and fight me 🙂

Well it was just simply awesome – the whole experience. And Thanks for everyone for making it memorable.

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2012 – Week

This exercise every week has started to bore me, yet I find value in doing this. A couple of weeks back, I went to using a bullet-point approach to list everything down and it kind of worked for me. And although I skipped last week, this week I am goig to use the approach

  • Work has picked up pace and last week I found myself sitting late in office on more than 1 occasions. Coming week is training including Saturday and it will be even more hectic
  • Saturday and Sunday were resting days. Given that I spend last weekend going out, this week I decided to stay back in and just not do anything
  • India lost their 3rd straight match in the CB Series and also the top 3 guns failed miserably. Media has been going crazy about how the communications have been handled between the selectors, captain and seniors
  • India beat Australia in a ODI which was nice, but there was still some disappointment because Sachin was dropped
  • I continue to do well on some goals while others are simply put on the back burner.

Good night; we will talk more about this next week.

Roger Federer: A Player; A Champion « Bizarre Prodigy

Roger Federer - 2007 US Open Champion
Image via Wikipedia

Records speak for themselves, where Roger has scaled the Mt. Everest of Tennis and sits on the top with 16 singles titles across 8 years of span (consider his last title was in 2010); only to be followed by Sampras, Emerson and Laver. Rafa (King of Clay court) already in his 8th year of tennis is 6 title short of Roger and I do not see him equalling him because Djokivic has a say in it now.

via Roger Federer: A Player; A Champion « Bizarre Prodigy.

Where is Indian Cricket Heading

It was in July-Aug 2011, during the Patoudi Series when India lost their #1 ranking to England. They lost the series 0-4 and it was pretty humiliating as it was coming off the famous World Cup win in April 2011. India’s win in World Cup kept India safe from the criticism. However, the dust storm was waiting to unleash itself, yet no one surprisingly saw it. Everyone was hoping that 0-4 loss to England was one off thing. And, then came the Agneepath series (Border-Gavaskar series) and all hell broke loose as India lost first 3 test matches to Australia in a humiliating fashion. As i write this post, yesterday was when India lost their 3rd test match and hence loosing the series as well. And thus started the blame game.

Dhoni is suggesting in a correct diplomatic fashion that after this series he will think about getting the right mix of senior and junior players. What surprises me is that in the article and many others comments he has made, yet there is no mention of how we can improve India’s batting and bowling in the nations where we have fast pitches, which evidently is everywhere else except the sub-continent. This has been the crest of India’s problems since FOREVER and even now after another mini-crisis looms, I do not hear anyone talking about fixing that problem. I will not call myself the best cricket judge over all the talent pool we have, yet I am surprised no one is talking about this or atleast I an not reading about it. I just read this article which finds Gavaskar say:

“I think a lot of soul-searching needs to be done. We need to look at first-class cricket structure, pitches that we play, scheduling of matches, it has to be a really long hard look at everything.” – Sunil Gavaskar

“When Tendulkar and Dravid and those boys retire in a couple of years, where is Indian cricket going to be. Are the youngsters coming through?”
Australian opener David Warner is perhaps mindful of Australia’s badly handled transition

This article summarizes quotes from many great players and I would agree with all of those, it simply suggest one thing – Dhoni and selectors have been waiting too long trying to ride the “luck” Dhoni has had. And, yet their Karma has expired finally. Things do not happen on their own, they happen because someone needs to do something about it. Thinking that everyone will keep doing their job which was half as good as Australia did when they were at their peak was calling for trouble and trouble came calling.

I will quote ESPN from an article

Srikkanth, stuck to his belief that the failure of the batting line-up was behind India’s abject performance on the tours of England and Australia, though he said it was too soon for a post-mortem of the series. “It is the same problem that we had during the England series. In the last two series, the batsmen have struggled to find form. I don’t think too much of a post-mortem will lead us anywhere.

In the same article, Shukla said:

all teams had disappointing periods in cricket, and that the Indian team management would take steps to ensure a better performance on the rest of the tour. “We admit that the team’s performance has not been up to expectations,” he said. “But it happens with all teams. Recently, former world champions Sri Lanka were all out for just 47 [43, against South Africa in Paarl].

“We have won on foreign soil in the past. No one says anything then; all this criticism has been raked up due to defeats in England and Australia. Corrective measures will be taken by the team management so that the team does better in the final Test and the ODI tri-series.”

What Shukla said is perhaps right, we do not say a lot when all is going well, and when things start to go wrong everyone feels it is everyone’s right to critisize. And IT IS. We are fans, who view the sports, who make it what it is. We are the ones who make Cricket what it is. If it was not for us, Cricket may have just faded like Hockey in India (which turns out to be our National Game). Yet, Shukla seems worried about the criticism. I wonder if this is because he was also riding Dhoni’s luck.

Enough of criticism; I believe in the philosophy that if you see a problem, bring at least one solution on the table.

India cricket needs a higher calling; they need to work on getting their home in order. Having spin pitches for international matches is not a bad thing. If Australian curators prepare fast pitches to give their team the advantage, India curators should do exactly the same. But, that should not stop us from getting our international team some practice on fast pitches during Duleep trophy and other domestic formats. I am not sure, how many of our international players play domestic format. But, there has to be a way of bringing up the right talent.

Why can we not have specialists for Test Cricket who can have the edge in foreign soil; time is now to find methods that go beyond the conventional methods. We need to reinvent the way we are selecting players. Pace academies have to be setup. Seeing a little of all matches in recent series, I can say with certainty that Australia’s bowling attack was not invincible like in the past. They won because of their consistency. We need to get our bowlers the same set of consistency – bowl 6 of 6 bowls in the same spot and then we will be what others. Lets have different coaches for each division with a head coach (a strategy followed by many American sports). Let specialist focus on the problem to solve it.

Lets hope someone does something. We can afford letting go of all senior players in a flash. We need the right mix of experience and fresh blood. As Anil Kumble said – we need to have a transition plan to make it work. We are already late by 12 months, but we have to salvage all that we can.

 

2012: Week 1 in review

Unexpected is the only word I have to describe how this week went for me. I have been thinking, but then on Jan 2 is when I finally sat down and locked my Goals for 2012. And surprisingly, I have been done well against my goals – exceeding my expectations. As I did state in my goals, if I can drop watching TV, I would have a lot of time on my hands and yesterday and today simply proved how true this statement was. I was able to wrap up a 500 pager book by simply not watching TV. I now just need to find ways to utilize my time more productively – before I end up developing a habit of reading books that leave as just as lazy.

On career front, I am on the verge of writing articles for another online community. I received their invitation last night and after reviewing all that they have to offer, I just replied back gladly accepting their invitation. When I first started blogging in 2008 – I had two objectives:

  1. Give something back to the community – this was evident in a short while as people started to like my posts and added references to their articles

2. Get people to know me by virtue of something that I deliver

After 4 years of blogging, things are finally paying off. The second objective was much more important to me than the first one. And now, that I am already writing for DZone and now this new partnership – I feel a sense of proud that people who may have never met me are having an active dialogue with me through my work and they may be discussing it elsewhere.

In the sports arena, India lost their 2nd test match against Australia and it is their 6th straight loss abroad. A team that was ranked #1 just a few months back just and then they dropped to #3 after being whitewashed by England. They got back to #2 only because SA was not doing so well. Another whitewash is looking on the cards ans this will take India to most certainly #3 and may even push then down to #4 (Australia may be #3). Last year when India was riding the success of their World Cup victory, I wrote a few articles about Dhoni and how he had missed a cue. Suddenly, when I was reading the news today morning – Gavaskar, and other experts were saying the same thing. Australia is back to it resurgence and I have a feeling that very soon we are going to see them back to where they belong. Unless Dhoni does something different – he is simply going to wash out himself.

Preeti and Aabhya have been in Muzafarpur for this entire week; while I was supposed to fly out on Friday – some office work kept me back in Delhi. Last night when I went to sleep – I was missing Aabhya like anything. Today morning – Aparna also went back home and Misha is also gone. She reminds me of my days with Aabhya – but Aparna is too paranoid about so many things, that I do not spend too much time with Misha. But, my short visits to her room and whatever time I spend with her makes me happy and brings back all the memories of time I spent with Aabhya. Misha is a very quite child and will look so intently at you that sometimes I think that how can a child so small have such a good focus (maybe it is not, but it sure seems she is observing a lot).

 

 

2012 Goals

I spent the previous weekend thinking about 2 things:

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Looking back the year 2011, it became crystal clear to me what was required to be done in 2012 and unlike me – this time around I came up with Goals I would like to achieve in 2012. After some thinking, I decided not to call them as Resolutions; but look at them as Goals. My Goals will be categorized into 4 categories. I will share some specific goals with you all while some private ones I am going to keep “private” (this didnt come out that well). But, for the private ones, I will share a higher level of description so that you do understand where I am going with them.

After I was done with the definition, I realized that a lot of these linked and achieving some of those will help me in achieving others – but they are still independent in a way that there could be factors which will influence Goals and make me work hard towards achieving those

Finance

In the given nature of the world, this is one segment you can not afford to miss out on. I will not rant about why this is important, because I assume we all are aware of the importance of this segment. The goals are listed below and as you may see they have some overlap and while I may be able to achieve some of those I may completely or partially miss others

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  1. Minimum savings should be x-Lacs (updated)
  2. Control Expenses in specific segments (includes only 4 of total 10 segments of my finances) – should not exceed more than an x-amount (updated)

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[learn_more caption=”Measurement Criteria”] All these goals will be accessed Monthly. I thought about moving these to a quarterly frequency, but decided against it because this is way too important a category for me to miss out on for an entire quarter. The measurement of these goals will be in percentages.[/learn_more]

Health

2011 as a touch year on my health and I can safely say that past year I was sick on most number of days I even have been in any given calendar year. I had some major issues the last year like “High Blood Pressure” and “Reactive Arthritis” amongst some other issues. It was clear – I am no longer 25 and I need to revisit my way of living. Hence, the goals are:

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  1. Be healthy for least 180 days of the year – while this seems way low; I know that I am starting way down and for me to break even it will take a lot. I do not want to set a target that I miss by miles
  2. Reduce weight by 17 kilos
  3. Sleep cycle of 11pm to 7am – This one is going to be HUGE for me and if i can fix this; WOW!!!
  4. Walk/Jog frequently for a year – 300 miles in a year

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[learn_more caption=”Measurement Criteria”] All these goals will be accessed Weekly.[/learn_more]

Quality of Life

Ask my wife and she would go for entire day on what is wrong with me on this and she would be right in all aspects. I really do not know how to measure this one except the fact that Preeti can tell me if I improved or not – but I am aware certain habits that lead to this issue. So in this category, I am going to define goals to fix those habits and hope that if I am able to fix them, I will be able to improve my quality if life.

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  1. No more than 1300 hours of TV/PS3 in the year – If 25 hours seems more to you, I should tell you that my current average in a week is around 75 hours
  2. Get things done on time – As Preeti says is – “tumse aalsi koi nahin hai” :). I know by living in US that I can do things, but for some reason when I am at home, I just keep postponing things to infinity. This is one thing that needs to be taken care off at all cost. My target is very aggressive on this one – 250 days in a year with no pending tasks for that day
  3. Read at least 20 books
  4. At least 150 blogs – personal + technical
  5. Dine out at least once a month – well I am just too lazy to go out
  6. Do a deed to make someone happy/special at least 180 days in the year

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[learn_more caption=”Measurement Criteria”] All these goals will be accessed Weekly.[/learn_more]

Wisdom

I initially though of knowledge, but then it seemed useless. I can acquire all the knowledge in the world but if I dont know how to apply it or provide any meaningful output for other to use then all the knowledge is useless. I have been blogging in the past, but I dont really how many people are reading about it and how they find that information useful. Also, my attempts to help people around me to make use of all the knowledge I have have been scarce in last year. Hence, the goals:

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  1. Readership of my personal blog to 10K per in a year (current is at 6K)
  2. Readership of my technical blog to 25K (current of 3.5K in a quarter)
  3. 5 Appreciate comments on my personal blog
  4. 20 Appreciate comments on my technical blog
  5. 1 Person saying to me that I made a difference in their life

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[learn_more caption=”Measurement Criteria”] All these goals will be accessed Monthly – most of these have tracking mechanisms and hence I do not need to remember so frequently. I would be able to run reports and get data every month.[/learn_more]

Wish me luck so that I can achieve all of these goals.

 

  1. 5 Appreciate comments on my personal blog

Goodbye 2011

I recently read somewhere – “Nothing really ends when a year ends. But a lot can begin when a new year begins”. But, a beginning without an introspect would be simply be aimless. While this may be okay for some, for me 2012 has to be in perspective of what 2011 was – this is simply a way of trying to improve on things.

2011 for me can easily be categorized in 4 buckets:

  1. Agneepath
  2. Vanvaas (Exile)
  3. Dream
  4. Awakening

Agneepath

As the year started, I had just come back home after a 5 month stay in US away from my family. I had come back for a purpose i.e. Aabhya’s admission in school. And the year 2011 started like a challenge for both Preeti and I where we were working through various schools in almost all parts of Delhi. It was nothing less than an ordeal for us. However, it all went well and out hardwork was rewarded in February when Aabhya was admitted in Maxfort where she will complete her pre-nursery this year.

However, in February as we were done with the admissions the next test was my return back to US for completing the 1 year assignment. I was scheduled to be back in US in February itself until July and this time Preeti had made it clear that she will not visit because of the long journey. This time, I was not looking forward to going abroad, but still there were obligations to my job that made me think otherwise.  It was a true Dhrams-Sankat for me. And, at one time, I did something I would not expect myself to do it. Yet, on March 26, I flew away to wrap up what I started or should I say “clean up my own mess”.

Vanvaas

This is not what Ram did, but I still call is one because I was away from everything that I liked – especially my home and family. Considering that I was alone this visit brought a lot of different challenges than the previous one. This time, I knew the place and how to navigate my way around it – so my troubles were different especially – “How do I spend my time?” The work as I expected was almost non existent. Although, my bosses promised otherwise, but like any their DNA they failed to come through with what they said and it became a mountain out of a molehill for me to spend my time in US. However, this Exile allowed me to think what I need to do with my career and by the time the Exile was over, I knew my time with UHG was up.

This stay saw me do a lot of things – Tennis: Playing, Coached and Coaching; Road trip to Chicago – where the trip to House on the Rock was simply amazing. Finally, when I was going to come back that was an adventure in itself. Eventually, I was home on July 31.

Dream

When I came back, there was debrief of my project and then there was “no work” for me. My bosses kept me sitting idle for like 2 months; and it simply meant that what I was thinking during my “vanvaas” was just getting resolved. and then there came a 360-degree turn in my life. I went from doing nothing to learning PHP, and taking my framework to 90% completion. I was signed up by an online magazine to publich my technical articles which was a huge boost to what I was doing. Around August, I had started to look out for other job opportunities and I landed up a couple of offers, one of which was with Sapient Nitro. I promptly resigned; and ironically it all happened in the week when I was told “I am not technically sound to be an architect”; and then I was presented with an award for my technical contributions to the company by the CTO. But, I had decided and I was going to move on – and I did in October when I left the UHG and moved on to better things in life.

The Dream also included me started a brand new endeavor and try to do some consultation while I was in between jobs and it was all looking up very nice. The phase was a dream because then I woke up

Awakening

Just like a dream, it all started to crumble – there were issues one after another and I was unable to spend any time to my own learning or my framework. The consultancy that I had opened started to dwindle and soon I was left to make a decision. And, I did but that decision meant that it was time to wake up to the reality.  I went about to join Sapient and close the consultancy and to find out that after putting my sweat and my health on the line – it will all end up with friends not trusting me. Yet it happened – and it made me realize something important. Something I knew always, but never took the time to understand how important those things were. Today as I sum-up 2011 for myself, I know what needs to be done.

Overall, 2011 was a good year – it showed me that I can be strong and yet weak enough to know what I nee; I can dream and work hard to make it come true; I do put my family in front of me even if it makes me miserable; I am more practical than emotional – something that my family does not like about me. Goodbye 2011, lets hope your successor allows me to….

 Coming up next is going to be my resolve for 2012 and lets see how well I do that.