Monday, June 29, 2009

City comparisons!

Quote from my Swedish colleague "Yesterday was the hottest day I have experienced in the all the time that I have lived in Sweden". The temperature was 25 degrees, but in the sun it was probably really hot. Even an Indian like me, who has seen the 45 degrees plus temperatures of Delhi and Nagpur was sweating. Sweating was an experience I had almost forgotten. No, I do not exaggerate, I do not think I have sweated for some time now. And somehow it was a good feeling. No, dont even try to compare it with Indian heat... it was NOT that hot. But it was not chilly like normal swedish summers. Yesterday was like a warm winter day in Bangalore. Umm... I am now comparing too many cities.

So this is the idea for the day... the best city to live in. Inspired by a friends blog, which in turn is inspired by a Business Today article heres my take on some cities I have lived in:

Delhi (my duration of stay: 1 year): The song sums it up pretty well "Yeh sheher nahi mehfil hai". People who live in Delhi are somehow very passionate about the city and about their love for it. Ok, so we all are in love with cities we grew up in. But sometimes the passion really seems misplaced. Delhi is the most unsafe city amongst all the cities I have lived in, and I have lived in quite a few shady places ;). The weather cannot get any worse, it has extreme winters AND extreme summers. So there is no time of the year when you can really enjoy the outdoors. The winter temperature can dip down to 3 degrees, and there is no central heating anywhere, which is not a pleasant thought. The summer temperatures can hover slightly below 50 degrees, its very easy to get a heat stroke and be hospitalized because you stayed in the sun for too long. The culture is as different as it can be. When I went there, my cousin told me to tuck my shirt in from one side and let it hang out from the other side. I thought he was kidding, till I saw everyone else doing it. The next week it was supposed to be tucked in at the middle. People in Delhi follow fashion like religion. They are brand concious to the point where it borders on insanity. They do not think modesty is a virtue and your status in society is judged more by the phone you carry, the watch you wear and the car you travel in than the work you do or the person you are. People socialize only at their own level, are not very friendly, and believe in minding their own business. I stayed one year in an apartment where none of the residents every approached me to talk or said a hi, and seemed very unapproachable when I tried talking to them. There are some very good memories I have of Delhi, of my first job there, of my chacha and chachi, my cousin, of Dev and Jassi... of whizzing around on my bike on DND flyway at 3am, the cool breeze on the Delhi-Jaipur highway on a bike trip in the evening, of the golgappas and the sweet shops, of haggling at Palika Bazaar and lunch at Connought Place. But I dont see myself settling there in the near future, I wish I could somehow recreate the same good memories in some other city :).

Kolkata (duration of stay: 2 years off and on): If cities could have antonyms, Kolkata would be the antonym for Delhi. Things are as different here as could be. A city that believes in friendship, you can talk for hours with any stranger, and you wouldnt feel wierd. In fact he/she would not even feel like a stranger. I have had experiences where I have asked a shopkeeper the way to some place, and he has left his shop in the care of his assistant and walked me to the place where I wanted to go as he found that easier to do than to explain. Not to mention he loved talking to me during the short walk. On the flip side, people just refuse to mind their own business. Which can be not such a pleasant thing if you are looking for privacy. They believe that all issues in your life, whether it is regarding your childrens education or your sex life, should be open for discussion by neighbours and the small shops that are around your neighbourhood. If you take up a flat and move in, you can be assured that you will be visited by most of your neighbours within an hour. Some will get you lunch, others will get you sweets, some will drop in to tell you the cheapest vegetable market around. There will always be one neighbour who will drop in to say how everyone else is bitchy. It is also a city where the higher class lead a very different life than the majority lower class. I have somehow found the lower class life more interesting and diverse, and have felt more at ease there (My delhi cousin will be ashamed of me :P). I have fallen in love with this city in a way I cannot explain, I have driven around on my bike around this city much more than any other, I have loved the rickshaws, the taxis, the taxiwallas and their interesting conversations. I have loved the Park Street egg rolls, the "Indian Chinese" at the Park Street retaurants, the Kolkata metro, and the hustle bustle of Esplanade, and the crowds of Gariahat. I have such fond memories of City Centre (I virtually lived in that place!!), whizzing around on my bike on the EM Bypass, and eating at "Dhaba" at Ballygunge Phadi. Someday I will love to go back there, unfortunatly it cannot be in the near future, I do no think at this stage of my career I will fit into the work culture of Kolkata in the profession I am in. But someday Kolkata will see more of me :).

Bangalore(duration of stay: 8 months off and on): They call it the Silicon Valley of India, I feel that nothing could be more removed from that picture. When I first came to this city, I could not make myself fall in love with it, but somehow this place grows on you. By the time I left this city, it had already become my number one destination of where I wanted to settle in the near future. Yes, in spite of the fact that I cant speak the local language. In spite of the fact that the traffic situation is probably the worst here. In spite of the fact that its not one of the most "happening" cities around. The weather is a big contributor. The weather fluctuates between 18 degrees and 30 degrees through the year. I havent seen such amazing weather anywhere. The culture of the city is amazing, very casual and very genuine. You are not judged by the clothes you wear, the car you drive or the phone you carry. So you have really rich industrialists roaming around in lungis and chappals. Its not the most fashion concious city. Even the youth is not fashion specific, you can walk into any Barista or Cafe Coffee Day, and you will not exactly be hit by the fashion ticker. It is common to find sleepy IT professionals in their night clothes in restaurants and cafes. If Bangalore had veins then the blood that would run through it would be called IT. The city is a true cosmopolitan place, you have people from all over India in this place, and it shows in any office, workplace or public gathering. A city modern in thought, low on hype and driven by performance. Yes, the traffic sucks, but they say it is getting better. A city metro is also on the roadmap. I have watched the maximum number of movies in this city, been caught in traffic jams, listening to Kannada radio half of the time I was here, had the maximum amount of quality restaurant food and enjoyed working the most here. Not to mention about more "personal" connections I have with this city. A place where I certainly look forward to settling down in the near future. In the long run... I do not know, the city is still young, we have to wait and watch and see what it grows into.

I have also lived in Jamshedpur (17 years), Nagpur/Ramtek (4 years), Manipal (2 years) and Stockholm (nearly 2 years), but more on that sometime later when I am in the mood. Which is the city I love most? The answer is simple, Jamshedpur and Manipal, deep inside I am a small town guy. Who knows, 20 years down the line, I will probably end up settling down in one of those :).

Disclaimer: All views expressed above are personal and not intended to offend or upset anybodys feelings towards their hometown. I am not an expert on any city, it is an amateurs look at a city where he has stayed only for a short time. I have always cribbed about this, that I do not have a city I can call my own. I do not have a city where I know all there is to know. Jamshedpur comes really close, but I have not lived there since a long time, and it has changed so much that it doesnt seem like the Jamshedpur I grew up in. I have been a wanderer and a vagabond, someday I wish to settle down and call a city my own. Hope it happens soon.

Quote of the day: Everyone who wanders is not lost :).

Pic reference:

Friday, June 26, 2009

A cribby crabby post

Ever had one of those days when you felt that it was you against the whole world? The last two days were one of those days for me. It was weird. I always believe in the principle that the “Customer is always right” and yet I had to be a bit assertive with the two customers. It is tough when the customers themselves do not know the rules of the game. That everything can be done for the sake of customer satisfaction, except for unlimited free work. Should I put up one of those signs in front of my desk “Mujhse dosti karo, mere dukaan se nahi” (make friends with me, not my business.. don’t mind the grammar, it wont sound good unless it’s a direct literal translation :P) and “Aaj nakad, kal udhaar” (Cash today, loan tomorrow) There is nothing called a free lunch. Cliché? Yes, but why doesn’t someone explain this clichéd line to my customer?. Friends, roman, countrymen.. let me pause while my heart comes back to me.

To add to the frust… the escalations keep piling up. I hate trying to act all important and saying to people “Sorry, I don’t have the time to grab a cup of coffee” and “Can I call you back, I am in the middle of an escalation” and then never call back because I am on escalation calls all day. I said similar statements multiple times yesterday, couldn’t reply to people who pinged me, and returned home really late. Its fun being an escalation manager till the escalations come, after that you wonder why you ever took up the responsibility.

It didn’t stop there. On my way back a drunk man on a wheelchair tumbled on the escalator. I have noticed this before, in situations like this most (stress on most) Europeans are too shocked to react. My Indian colleague and I rushed to help immediately, one trying to stop him from rolling over and one trying to stop the escalator. And one other guy, seemed like a south American dude also came to help. We were able to stop the escalator, put the man back on his wheelchair and pick up the things. He was too drunk to know what is happening, and muttered some dirty expletives to all of us. Ah.. it wasn't exactly the most thankful day anyway.

And today morning I saw a small wiry framed lady, with Scandinavian looks, probably Swedish, trying to drag a bag at the metro station, which I could swear was as heavy as her. I couldn’t help it, and offered to help her, and she looked at me with shock and a not-so-pleased expression. “No thanks, I can do this myself”. This is not the first time its happening to me, I should just learn from my experience. This is gender equality at a completely different level. Women and elder people get offended if you get up and offer your seat in a crowded train. Its just that the instinct is too strong, the Jesuit school coaching is too deeply ingrained. Sigh, talk of chivalry being dead in this world.

I try keeping my posts non cribby, but all these had to be vented out ;). Now that its all been vented out, I hope the rest of my day will be good. After all it is a bright, sunny and pleasant day! :).

Picture reference:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The hoax of daylight

Its becoming more and more difficult to keep a track of time. I have been in Sweden for nearly one and a half years, and I have still not gotten used to this whole extreme daylight or lack of it. Its as if God told the scandinavian guys... you can either have full days or full nights, please decide. And they said.. ok, so give us six months of full days and six months of full nights and God granted them that wish. Its wierd, I dont think I will ever get used to it.

2 days back we had the longest day in Sweden, when the sun sets and then immediately rises. For those who remember their geography, its called the summer solstice. I was working on a presentation with a colleague late into the night at my apartment, and went to see him off at around 12 o'clock and was shocked to see it wasnt really night!! I had completely forgotten about the summer solstice. Damn, it takes a lot to get used to this thing.

So basically its daylight all the time. So the usual story is this. I get carried away and get extremely engrossed in work. In my subconcious mind I am aware of the high sun telling me its still afternoon. And then I have a casual look at the watch and notice its 8.30 p.m. Get a big jolt. Cross check the time on the mobile phone and the computer, and with sigh look at the sun shining brightly outside and realize that I have been fooled yet again. It doesnt matter however many times this happens, my body clock just doesnt seem to adjust. It still maintains its stubborn Indian instinct.

Today however it was slightly different. I started the day early, had meetings from 8.30 am and was out of my apartment by 7.45 am. Had some really rigourous and tiring meetings, then 2 conference calls and finally a confrontation with one project manager in my team who was not working in an efficient manner and needed to be given a stern reminder. I was tired, irritated and felt like I could drop dead. I looked outside at the sun shining brightly and wondered, damn, it must be 6 pm and looked at my watch... it was just 3.30pm. I sighed and somewhere in my mind gave up on trying to keep a track of time. I think I will now follow the way my Swedish colleagues work, reminders on mobile phone and calendar notifications on my computer. As for today I decided to call it a day early... for a change. Yet it took me another 2 hours to wrap up things and get out of the office. But it felt nice to get home early. Or should I say at the normal time :)!

Friday, June 19, 2009

To MBA or not to MBA!

The tough times continue. Markets are stabilizing, but everyone seems to be making the same wrong assumption. About things getting back to where they were before as soon as the recession recedes. And I am getting kinda tired of reminding everyone of the economic cycle, boom does not follow recession. It goes some thing like this - Boom - Slowdown - Recession - Recovery - Boom. Hence there is a Recovery period, where things wont look as gloomy as the Recession, but at the same time will not be as rosy as the Boom as well. And by the way, nobody really notices when we go into Slowdown, if they would, recession would never come :P.

A lot of companies have announced salary decrements. Some have announced zero increments and no salary corrections (or market based adjustments or whatever other HR jargon you wanna use). My company recently declared me to be a "top of the line" performer in the last appraisal, which means that they will be obliged to give me some increment, even if it is an absolutely negligible percentage. The increment will probably be accompanied by a small note from my manager "Yes I know it sucks considering you did a terrific job last year, but lets just say that you should be happy that its an increment, and not a decrement like in some other companies". Well, I am not complaining. Most people find this weird, but money has never really been the biggest motivation for me. Yes strange but true. I am happy as long as I work with the right people and get to learn. Consulting is the best place I can be. Europe is the most balanced Geography to be in, a good amount of action with satisfactory stability, and lots of new things to learn. I can’t see myself getting such a kick out of work anyplace else. Hence I shall not complain and continue being happy.

Recently I have discovered a strange kind of inexplicable discrimination in the consulting line. It is with regard to years of experience vs. qualifications. Consulting, especially in IT is a game of skills, relationships and ability to be innovative, sharp and flexible. It is of course function of your years of experience and maybe qualifications but there is much more to it than just that. The recent discrimination works against me sometimes because I happen to have 2 less years of work experience because I left my job midway to pursue my MBA (as compared to peers who didn’t do a masters) and then got back into the corporate world post MBA. I have never really flaunted my MBA at any point in life; I really do not think that a single degree makes me immortal, especially in my profession. But then I am totally lost when people overlook and discount the two years I spent slogging to survive in MBA.

Agreed, the two years of my MBA were spent more in romantic pursuits than academic ones. But give me some credit for 2 years of compulsory 100% attendance, multiple rigorous industry seminars, summer projects in topline companies, no vacations, fear of being kicked out for the smallest of reasons, hundreds of presentations, thousands of group meetings, clearing subjects in Finance which can only inspire hatred in the heart, tolerating hours of HR lectures, digesting tones of management books and reading management theories and "merging their essence with my soul", 7 days of advanced jungle survival course (I will explain the relevance later) and an obnoxious amount of time learning Yoga. And for some reason people discount the whole deal when they count "years of experience". Why does nobody discount my engineering degree in the same way? Somehow the 4 years of engineering is supposed to be a big deal. To be honest, the 2 years of B-school, even with all my "extra curricular" activities, was more value addition to me than my 4 years of engineering.

Think about it. There must be some logic to 3,00,000 people applying for CAT in order to pursue MBA. There must be some logic in top corporate being ready to pay obscene paychecks to hire people from even second rung business schools. There must be some logic to the curricula designed by world industry experts in order to teach people management. There must be some logic to hundreds of thousands queuing up to get a seat in a B-school, even with the incredulous fees. How then can all this be discounted by certain biased individuals just because they didn’t take the decision to pursue the degree?

Ok I agree I am biased as well. You know which side of the debate I am on if you read my qualifications, I decided the side I wanted to be on when I left my job a few years back to study management. So I hear this question a lot... did you really learn enough in MBA to be able to rank yourself higher than non-MBAs? Umm.. tough one... because you can’t really give a politically right, diplomatic, "lets-not-sound-arrogant" answer to that one. I did my MBA from a second rung business school, and in spite of being the most insincere student in my class, I have to answer YES. Because however dumb you might be, just the fact that you left a good job or job opportunity, invested a considerable amount of money and got 95+ percentile in CAT means that you take your career seriously. The fact that you survived the rigors of multiple management subjects, hurdles designed to throw out students because of vague "ethical" reasons, summer internship and GPA cutoffs means that things were being drilled into you even when you were not really aware about it. And the fact that some firm was ready to pay twice or nearly twice the salary you used to get, in a position a few rungs higher than you were means that you have added value to yourself. If you did not get these, then maybe your answer to the fated question should be a NO. But knowing myself, and knowing most of my friends and batch mates from B School, I feel in most cases the answer will be Yes.

Ah, at last with so much of gibberish I have finally convinced myself that it was worthwhile spending those years in my business school. By the way, along with the degree, I also managed to get a decent "phoren" job, industry contacts and a girl for myself. Obviously the latter was the toughest one to get, and the most prized of all the other "achievements". For those who are still not impressed, let me tell you about our Outbound programme. It was a 7 day advanced jungle survival course in the rainy season. No dry clothes, new shoes getting torn, wearing rope on feet to be able to walk, limited rations, self cooking, drinking water from dirty jungle puddles, stomach rappelling, free hand 300 feet climbs, night trekking in wild jungles, 2 cases of broken legs and bones, 1 case of displaced joint, 3 cases of dehydration, cheetah attack, ... SIGH.. can I ever explain these things to someone who has not been in our Outbound??

Let us try with some pics:

You can see all the pics HERE ... I just dug these out because the current students at my B School refused to believe that we had a really rigorous Outbound, so these were to scare them :)

Well, if after this really long post, you still strongly believe that MBA is an absolute load of gibberished and gaseously modulated form of hypothetically jargoned virtual entity, then maybe you should be told about this really amazing book I stumbled upon. Believe me, if I had laid eyes on this baby before I started my preparation for CAT, my life would have been a very different game altogether. Whether for better or for worse I shall leave upto you.

Heres the book, the complete and perfect alternative to MBA:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A short day.. and a short post

The pic is old (a month back), a small thing I forgot to talk about because I was busy about the bigger things. We played football with our clients. We lost 3-1. No, it was not because the client is always right and should always win. Last year we had won 4-0. This time they genuinely played better than us, and had a better team. I will practice and make sure we win next time. Or maybe next time we should play Volleyball, we have a much better team there, and we practice everyday, they wont stand a chance! :)

Day was good and short today. Not literally, days are really long now in the literal sense, it doesnt even start getting dark before 11pm. LOL. Remember reading about Summer Solstice? This is what its about. Soon, we will have the longest day.. when the sun sets (there isnt any night, just dusky for some time) and then rises in one hour. There is a long weekend ahead, its a Swedish festival called Midsommar. No plans yet, except relaxing and getting back in control. And hopefully some quality blogging :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Is it true that guys have one preference when they are selecting (or trying to get :P) a girlfriend and a completely different preference when it comes to deciding on a girl for a wife?
I think they do. And I am generalizing here. Of course there are exceptions; I believe I have been one. But I am a Cancerian, I think all Cancer guys should be exempted from this discussion. They want to get married to every second girl they like (remember Ross Geller?). I just realized that I am starting to sound more and more like my girl by the day… talking about sun signs, I don’t even believe in them. Damn I never thought I would ever sound like anyone ever :).
I started thinking of this because lately I have noticed the dilemma some of my bachelor (and bachelorette) friends are going through. And I have formulated a new theory: From 13 to 25 years of age, it’s the guys chasing the girls. After that its more the other way round (true only in the Indian and NRI context).

I see a lot of heads shaking in disagreement. Let me refer you to my previous post HERE. Also, the logic is this, all girls in the age group between 25 to 30 years of age in India have been brought up with the concept of “good-girls-don’t-have-boyfriends”. Some of them have tried once or twice, but have been comfortable with the social trend that marriage is something that’s not ones own responsibility. But the world and society has suddenly changed. Love marriage (believe me this term does not exist in the western world, because every marriage is by default a love marriage) has become more the norm than the exception. And there is more fear in everyone’s mind about not finding the right one through the arranged marriage route. “How can I spend the rest of my life with someone I have known for only a month? What if he is repulsive? What if he doesn’t have a sense of humor? What if he is a super conservative? What if he suppresses my spirit” I have even heard concerns like “What if he is a wife-beater?”. They are all virtual concerns, you can say all those things for a guy who has been your boyfriend for a year, he might turn a wife beater after marriage for all you know. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but people change after marriage. They lose their sense of humor and they tend to become super conservative. There are no guarantees in marriage. However when you have a boyfriend and he gives you a lot of attention, you have the false comfort and security that he will make a good husband. A guy who sits quietly on the sofa while his parents talk about what kind of a daughter-in-law they are looking for might not give a girl the same kind of comfort. Though sometimes I feel the odds of catching a good husband is more with the guy on the sofa, at least you know for sure that he will marry you :).

And so, after 25, girls suddenly realize they are in a weird phase. The choice is to either find good marriageable material at the earliest, or be chained to one of the morons whose revolting pictures the parents keep coming up with. The situation becomes desperate. Hence every guy in ones vision turns to a potential husband. I am not exaggerating, I have quite a few bachelor/bachelorette friends who will agree. Hence my theory, from 13 to 25 years of age, it’s the guys chasing the girls. After that its more the other way round.
So now lets talk about the guys. They have suddenly started to get more attention, and more options. Most girls are scared of living the life of spinsters till they die, most guys are excited of living the life of bachelors till they die. As time goes by, girls are under pressure of losing their looks and other “attractive assets”, guys have suddenly started looking more mature, more sensible, more sophisticated, more stable, and more attractive. And I see sudden changes in these bachelor friends of mine. The classmate who couldn’t stop drooling about the ugliest girl in college and fantasize about teachers, and not even spare the cleaning lady, is now discussing about how a particular girl does not have the intellect, and does not know how to cook. I couldn’t help laughing. And wondering, ah.. so now he is looking for a wife. Guys who were desperate to see girls with skimpy clothes now look with scorn if a girl is wearing something even slightly provocative. Guys who would jump from a mountain to talk to any girl now get scared about being pestered and trapped into marriage if a girl even takes the initiative to talk to them.

One of my female friend remarked, as time goes by, the good guys get picked up real fast, and the ones that are left behind in the market are not the best of the breed. I do not quite agree, but maybe the number of eligible people (both male and female) start becoming smaller as age progresses. And combine this with the theory that guys don’t mind staying bachelors, and girls fear staying spinsters and you get the complete reasoning behind why the whole story turns around after 25. Moral of the story, GET MARRIED!! ASAP. I rest my case.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Back to mah space!

I have not felt like blogging for a long long time now. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know. But I can take some guesses. Maybe its because too many things were happening in my life. Maybe its because I didn’t know where to start writing about all those things. I have been feeling guilty about it. It is not healthy. For me it is an indicator that my life has spun out of my control. It makes me feel that my life is running me rather than me running my life. There are things I love doing, blogging, reading, playing volleyball, spending idle time doing nothing (lol) and when weeks pass by without me doing these things, I get worried! But as long as this doesnt happen too frequently I am ok with it. Its ok for life to spin out of control as long as one can get it back to normalcy. In fact sometimes the excitement of the uncontrollable skid and spin helps it from becoming boring. Hence I shall not crib. The day is good and bright (yes it is bright and sunny even at 8pm.. this is Sweden in June!), and so is my mood.

There are 5 major things that have happened in my life in a very short span of time (Yes my life IS moving too fast, I was not exaggerating about the spin). 4 of these are good things, one is not. I shall not write about the “not-so-good” thing, it is already making me morose enough, I don’t want to stress its importance more by blogging about it. And I prefer pretending to be an optimist and paying more attention to the good things in my life. Although all the 4 good things deserve a separate blog entry, I have not had the time for that, but would still like to share a brief account of it, in chronological order.

1. Switzerland Trip: The best trip I have had till now. Also the most beautiful country, amongst the 12 countries I have visited till now. It is amazing, awe inspiring, breath taking, spectacular, It was a 5 day trip and I visited Zurich, Interlaken, Jungfrau, Luzrene, and Mt. Titlis. I don’t think I can find words to describe the beauty. I have heard about it, and seen our Bollywood heroes and heroines prance around doing silly but cute dances at those scenic locations in Switzerland. But the actual experience of being there is a hundred times better. Just like no words can justify it, similarly no amount of good photography can justify it. Even with the best cameras and the best cameramen. But I have tried capturing some of the beauty. You can check out the pics at my Blog album . Some of my favorite pics are at the end of this post, I just couldn’t resist!!

2. My parents and my uncle and aunt came over to Stockholm. They accompanied us to Switzerland, then went on to go to Paris and Rome and then returned to Stockholm. One of the things on my “Things-to-do-before-I-die” was to have my mom visit Europe (dad has already been here a number of times), and I am very happy I could do it. It was also an amazing experience to have them over at my place, even though I have a small apartment and everyone had to accommodate. It reminded me of old times when a lot of us… uncle aunts and cousins would go for a family outing and everyone would have to accommodate. I played the host as best as I could, and took them around Stockholm as much as their stamina allowed (they were just back after a hectic 10 days, 5 cities trip) I also loved that I could show my parents what my life is like in Stockholm. And, the best part was of course that I got to have “maa ke haath ka khana” all the stuff my mom knows I love :).

3. This might seem really really weird, but I came third in the national championships of a game that I had earlier not heard about! It’s a game called Pétanque, sometimes also called Boule. If you are an Indian reading this, in all probability you haven’t heard of it. Pétanque (pronounced [pe.tɑ̃ːk] in French) is a French game where the goal is, while standing with the feet together in a small circle, to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet (jack). I participated in a corporate event a few months back where they played this and I won the match, and they gave my team (consisting of 3 people) a wildcard entry into the national championships. We were sure we would go there and make a fool of ourselves, there were 98 teams from all over Sweden. But we kept on winning the elimination rounds. Finally made it to the quarter finals and then the semi finals, and finally lost to some really professional guys. Phew.. it was an eerie experience. I was playing the game for the second time in my life, the other two had played it a few times. But as a team we rocked. And we got our share of the limelight though :)!

4. I got nominated for a job role in my company which is 4 levels above my current level. Of course I wont ever make it, but just the fact that I got nominated makes me feel honored! I have a mentor who is at the partner level, and he really believes in me, sometimes more than I believe in myself. And of course I humored myself by following all the formalities that come with the nominations, giving my acceptance, and time slots for the interview etc. It was fun. At least someone at my firm believes in me!

So now you know what I have been upto these past few days. Or at least most of it. I will keep away from travel for a very long time; I guess I have had enough of it. I have travelled to around 5 cities in 3 countries in May... It has been a travelling month. I have been completely overburdened with work, because work does not stop when I am gone, and a part of it accumulates when I go on vacations.

Now that I am more in control of my life I shall be more regular with my posts.. You will see a lot more of me on this space :)! Thanks to all of you who encourage me to write.

And now for some pictures of Switzerland.. :). Disclaimer: I swear none of these are postcards, they are all from my moronic amateur camera!! :).