Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Fall, A lady and a Geek

Alfred: Why do we fall?
Bruce: Why?
Alfred: So, that we can lift ourselves up!
(Rip off from Batman Begins)
Learning a bicycle, you are bound to fall sometimes. While trying something new, hiccups are bound to come. So, how could I have avoided it? I have burned my fingers, infact two of them, in the kitchen. Bad estimation skills on the amount of time and heat needed to get the bread soft, light and warm has cost me considerable pain. The two fingers on the left of the thumb of my right hand have swelled a bit, and believe me , its no fun typing in here with the fingers regarding my burned fingers. It pained so much at first and I was about to dip my hand straight in the chilled coke which I had just poured into the glass. I refrained from doing it however. That coke was for my bellies. Holding the glass did gave me some respite. Its funny, though. For almost 10 days, I was working alone in the kicthen and everything was allright. I had an accomplice (okay, fine I was the accomplice), for the first time, I ended up burning two of my fingers.
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On other news, while I was attending a call (a meeting in office), with a couple of guys trying to get something out of all the Spanish they were speaking, a very very cute lady totally unknown to me asked me, if I will share a piece of pizza with her. All spanish jargons took a backseat. But there was still a question to be answered. Oh, I gave a mouthful to myself for being a vegeterian. She had the piece all by herself. well, atleast she thought. Or, atleast I thought that she thought. Ok, nevermind, go ahead.
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Now, I know atleast one Spanish girl who is never going to forget us. By 'US' , I mean the We, the Indians. She is in the same hotel where we are staying and I was sitting the business centre room where we access net(where I am sitting now). She comes, says Hi and connects her lappy.
After 10 mins, she calls the reception and says she is not able to access net. The receptionist sees me and asks if I can help. I say, sure and try to look in the cobweb of Vista. Everything in Spanish. So, I am trying to see what is the problem, on a Spanish Sony lappy will all the configurations in Spanish for a spanish lady who does not know English. A collegue of mine enters and she starts digging up too. Finally after some 15 mins of struggle and overcoming the language barrier and technical issues, her lappy is back on track. Seemed like, some one played with the settings of the network adapters. Anyway, the lady was all smiles and thank yous... we are geeks...eh!!
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There are a couple of open topics on which the blog was promised and it is still not out here. The one is about a grand unfinished church which I saw in Barcelona and the other about a lunch with my Spanish Collegues.
Coming out soon..

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

6 AM in the morning

It is 5:13 AM in the morning(about 10 AM India time). Even before the night has started to fall, I had decided. I had decided that I am not going to sleep today. Just felt like it. Not for any particular reason. I reached home at around 7 30 in the evening and wasted a complete half an hour - 'to cook or not to cook'. Another half an hour was wasted decided 'what to cook'. That was not a very difficult question, though, considering my 3 days working experience with kitchen tools. After I swallowed somehow, something which I prepared with a glass of Coke, the lady who lives in the neighbourhood, brought me a tiffin half full of 'chole' which she had prepared. A full one hour after I had eaten and probably when quarter of it was already digested. Oh, only if you had brought it before, it had saved , both my time and energy. Neverthless, after saying thanks which she accepted gleefully, I put the tiffin in the refreigerator and it will serve as my breakfast today.
Keeping yourself awake is not easy. Especially, when you dont have any body around to talk and the ones who are around do not understand your language. I indulged myself to reading a few pages of novel which I have started(1984 - George Orwell), watched one and a half movies (Donnie Darko, The sisterhood of Travelling pants), watched BBC news for 2 hours (the only channel which comes here in a language which I can fully understand).
Talking of languages, the greatest challenge I am facing here is to converse with my collegues. Making them understand exactly which I want them to understand is a huge task here. Probably, there are only a couple of guys on the whole floor who can speak and understand 'angrezi' good enough, so that I dont have to repeat myself. I have learnt to speak s-l-o-w-l-y and be a bit more P-A-T-I-E-N-T with them and speak with expressions, sign languages and writing to them at the same time so that they get every word I speak. But it is another challenge which I am thouroughly enjoying. After all there are not too many managers available who say the F word to you and you can show them your middle finger in reply. These are the expressions who are common in all the languages, I guess. One of the guys here is having a nightmare pronouncing 'Vaibhav' and no matter how hard we try, that has not come off as intended, yet. Anyway, its nice at a strange place among strange people. Among the crowd, but still alone.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Survival

Greenery, dark and light and somewhere brownish red was all which was visible when we were about to land in Bilbao.Huge streches of green forests having pointed trees, patches of light green grasses and mountains were my first impressions. Absolute Cleaniliness and everything around having a sense of smoothness inbuilt.
I was only couple of hours old in the foreign city. The struggle for food which I had been forewarned was not without reason. I had been told, even the non-veggies do not trust the non-veg restaurants here. And veggies are in for a lot of trouble if they dont know how to cook. I amin second category, that too of the extreme type. My only relation with the kitchen has been making tea every nowand then. A complete novice in handling matters related to kitchen and cooking. But, jiska koi nahi uska to khudahai yaaron!!!

After roaming for about 2 hours in the city, braving the rains and the cold winds, I returned to the hotel, andfell asleep while trying to watching a movie on the system (The Reader - emotional, slow type). Suddenly, my roomphone started ringing. I answered the phone. As I said, jiska koi nahi.... A few of my collegues who are alreadyhad heard that 'someone' is coming from India. As, there are only a couple of hotels who are company approved where guys generally stay, it was not difficult to find me.

A well begun is half the battle won. This could not have been more apt now. The guys and girls who were/are here have been extremely supportive. While the guys took me on a tour of city to have me acquanted with all the important and interesting corners, the girls made me acquanted with the nuances of kitchen tools. You always feel like a winner when you have crossed a hurdle, a boundary, an unknown. This was the feeling when I prepared my first dinner few days back. A simple rice with mix veg. It was tasty as the lady who tested it testified. Now, I look forward to the night. It is just a thought, that makes me feel good. The thought, that now I have a choice. If I am not in a mood of eating snacks or something else, I can cook. The thought of a winner. The thought, the strength, that always was, hidden deep inside has come to the fore front for my rescue. After all, survival is not always that easy!! And neither it has been more interesting..for me.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

It really is a difficult job

It is really strange how things change so quickly. A few days back, I used to discuss why do we work like a donkey. Our backs always ladden with workload, and everybody knowing, more than half of that is plain shit. But even shit work is work...isnt it? Why do we have to fight every single friday night that it is FRIDAY NIGHT!! I am lucky to have a good and supporting lead and I was smart enough to save my A** most of the weekends and remain unscathed. Anyway, I am quite notorious to not pick my phone on weekends and holidays.

The equation has changed. And I am on the wrong side of it. An undefined, irrational variable. This is my first weekend in Spain all equations point towards me connecting from home and work. True to my nature and sensing sure turbulence I thought something. But, here, like most software culture, one man´s gain is another man´s loss. If I am not working, somebody has to work for me. And who else than somebody from my team in India. It has been very hard for the guys in my team back there. I had to convince a guy so hard to cover up for me for the same thing against which I was filling his ears since the day he joined.(He is a junior). That thing was to say NO!!. I had to be a friend, a collegue, a senior and give all kinds of emotional atyachar to him, only to make him available over the weekend so that I could enjoy my weekend.
That was worth it, however. I am off to Barcelona this weekend!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Delhi-Frankfurt-Spain

It has been a strange last few weeks. In a good way though. I was busy not-working one day, feeling happy about my coming holiday plans, when suddenly my TL asked me come inside a meeting room where 4 wise people were discussing something important(my guess). Now, I know there is nothing funny about it, but somehow, I am not a ´meeting´guy. So, I managed a weird smile and before entering I asked him in sign language, what was it all about? He said,'Teri chuttiyon ke baare mein baat ho rahi hai, use cancel karwana hai'.I did not get time to get upset and show my reactions, as was face to face with my manager soon. She said,' Would you like to go to Spain for about 3 months? It was a shock of the pleasant type. As per my habit, I simply asked how much time I have to give the answer.

I had planned a 15 days leave starting 20th Feb. I was very excited to attend the wedding of one of my Best friends. So excited, that I was pushing all other friends from all corners to join me on the day. Tickets were ready,friends were ready. Everything was set. Until that question. I knew the answer even before I called my parents and asked them their opinion. The toughest part was calling my friend and telling him, I may not come to his wedding. I dont know, if choosing a foreign assignment is better than not attending your best friend's wedding. I just put myself in his place and imagined if I will feel bad if something of this sort happens. The sadness, if any of not seeing my friend on D-day was comprehensively outweighed by the happiness which I got by seeing his growth and prosperity.

This was almost 3 weeks ago. Now, I am sitting in 4 star hotel in a small and beautiful city called Bilbao in Spain,writing this and thinking I should have gone out and see something instead of writing. Only, if it was not raining here. However, the honour of first foreign soil where I have set foot will go to Germany(Frankfurt) where I landed from New Delhi and had a connecting flight to Spain 4 hrs later. I am in the country which is the reigning Euro Cup champion and who has a tennis prodigy who has dethroned Federer.(By the way, I just saw Federer in a Gillete ad).
Rest soon to follow..