Tuesday, 28 November 2017

You're hired!

In case you're wondering, this article is all about the 'ridiculous-yet-mandated' phase of the Indian guys aged between 26-32, and that's called 'The Arranged Marriage'. I would define arranged marriage as a process that is purely linked to the age, job status, savings and assets of an individual which is forced upon him/her by the parents just for the sake of satisfying the needs of the society in order to live a guilt-free life. Trust me, this is exactly what is happening over the decades and the situation has worsened in the recent times. Increase in inflation and interest rates had a huge influence on the supply and demand. As we all are aware that the price of a commodity is determined by the interaction of supply and demand in a market, the same principle is applied here. You might be wondering what the hell arranged marriage has to do with the economics, but trust me, my friend, arranged marriage has nowadays turned into a 'business deal'. 

Let me walk you through what happened during my first meetup. Not so long ago, I was brainwashed by my parents and they got me agreed to meet a girl, who was a complete stranger to me. Not that I hate girls, I don't really understand the logic behind arranged marriages. Still, I was a little excited as it was my first experience and I wanted to endure it. I, along with my parents and grandparents (I know that sounds weird), was there at the bride's house. After minutes of being in a state of discomfort, I was finally made to talk one-on-one with the girl. The conversation went like this, 

Me: Hello! 
Stranger girl: *smiles and doesn't respond anything*
Me: *before I could speak, she interrupted*
Stranger girl: What's your take-home salary?
Me: *gave a stunned look and answered the question*
Stranger girl: Hmmm, well, what will be the hike in your salary you are expecting from your current organization the forthcoming year?
Me: *i was a little frustrated yet answered the question*
Stranger girl: Are you willing to relocate if everything goes well?

My frustration turned into irritation that reached its level of saturation. I literally felt like I was attending some final level HR interview seeking a job at a CMMI level 5 company (to be honest, that would've been way easier and less frustrating experience). There's a saying that goes like 'first impression is the best impression' and my first impression towards arranged marriage was completely ruined. But, this experience didn't let me down or made me feel terrible, instead, it made me analyze what went wrong with the process that was supposed to be fun and exciting turned into an utterly frustrating event. Upon further analyzing, I found it fascinating that how most of the things in the universe are interconnected with each other - like arranged marriages and job interview process. 

Before getting further into the explanation, here is the categorization of the parties involved in the process of arranged marriage and their link to the job interview process. 

Marriage Bureau Agents - Job Consultants
Bride's Parents - Human Resource Managers
Bride - Project Manager
Bride's Uncle, Elder Brother or Sister - Interview panelists
Bride's Grandparents - On-site or offshore client

Friday, 24 November 2017

Republic Day - Chapter 1

Click here to get an overview of Pritampura Dynasty 

All characters and corporations or establishments appearing in this work are fictitious. If you find any events or characters reminding you of Bahubali, Spartacus, Rome or Game of Thrones, then you're a genius! 

Republic Day

Chapter 1 - Legend of Mu

Not so long ago, there lived a King named Adofo Onwuatuegwu who ruled the Legend of Mu aka Pritampura Dynasty. King Adofo, as the name suggests, was a born Warrior and a ruler of the dynasty for more than a decade. Lutalo Onwuatuegwu, father of Adofo Onwuatuegwu, experienced a tragic death after he got bitten by a venomous snake while hunting in the woods. Adofo Onwuatuegwu, at the age of 15, was chosen to succeed his father as the King of the dynasty. At the age of 18, King Adofo married Princess Ojaswi, who was a year elder than him.

King Adofo and Queen Ojaswi made a perfect couple and everyone in the Pritampura dynasty adored them. From taking a rightful decision to imposing new laws, Queen Ojaswi acted as a trusted advisor and he made sure she was a part of every council meeting that happened in the kingdom. Part of King Adofo's board of advisors was his uncle Gamba Onwuatuegwu, a woman in her mid-fifties who is also a fortune teller named Ramila, and King Adofo's mother Siti Onwuatuegwu.

Everything seemed to go perfectly until King's mother fell ill. Rituals were performed and the prayers of healing seeking help from the supreme power were made for the recovery of Siti. Even the most experienced physicians couldn't bring a cure for her illness. The entire kingdom came to a standstill as Siti's condition began to worsen. A few days later, Siti died.

The funeral of Siti was performed with grandeur and luxury. King Adofo had the coffin made out of Gold and Diamonds. He had his mother's body wrapped in her favorite silk clothing and decorated her with ornaments made of Gold and Platinum. People of Pritampura dynasty gathered around the coffin for several hours muttering prayers of eternal rest. The funeral went on for 16 hours, despite the massive downpour of rains. As they buried Siti's body, the words said by Siti before her demise kept echoing in King Adofo's mind, 'Adofo, darling, all I'm worried about is you not having a child. Our kingdom needs an heir and promise me that you will not be the end of our bloodline'.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Hong Kong Layover

April 12th - CX 632 delayed by 3 hours.
April 13th - CX 632 delayed by 4 hours.
April 14th - No trace of departure of CX 632. There was a notice in Cathay Pacific website stating that all the flights to Hong Kong may experience a major delay due to extremely bad weather.
April 15th - CX 632 delayed by 4.5 hours.

This shattered my hopes. I booked my flight to LA in such a way that I've a good 7 hours layover at Hong Kong allowing me to sneak into the city and spend at least 3 to 4 hours exploring it. Delay means trouble. The more the delay the less the chances of sneaking into the city. I thought I was doomed. I was afraid that all the research and all the plans I've been making for the past two months, especially for Hong Kong, were going to be a waste. Then came the D-Day (the departure day), April 16th. I was at the airport at 10.30 pm on April 15th, that is 3 hours before the departure, and that's when I heard the golden words from the Cathay Pacific staff. The conversation went like this,

Airline staff: Good evening, Sir. Here's your immigration form.
Me: Thank you! Is the flight departing on time today?
Airline staff: Luckily, yes, Sir.
Me: (with an enlightened face) Are you serious? The flight has been experiencing some crazy delays for the past one week.
Airline staff: It was delayed every day for the past one month, Sir. Luckily, we don't see any trouble today as the incoming aircraft from Hong Kong is right on time. We're departing as per the schedule today. 

That's how my adventure begun. 

I had no hopes on visiting Hong Kong until I heard those golden words from the airline staff. After dropping my baggage, I sneaked into the security check, which was a very long and haunting queue, and starting visualizing the plans I made for the layover. 

Departure from Chennai - 1.50 am IST; Arrival at Hong Kong - 9 am HKT; Connecting flight to Los Angeles - 4.30 pm HKT.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Follow me into the Jungle

Be warned that this post will be incredibly lengthy. Have lots of patience to read this. I can assure you it will be worth the read if you're planning for a forest trip in Kerala.

Gavi is a very small village located amidst the thick forests of Western Ghats and it is a part of the World famous Periyar Tiger reserve (well, i'm not sure whether the babies in Namibia know about this, but trust me, this is World famous). Gavi can be reached by two ways and by only one mode (road transport). One option is to make an entry from Kerala, where you need to reach Ernakulam (Cochi is the nearest airport) or Kottayam (again, Cochi is the nearest airport) and take a bus all the way to a place called Kumily (you'll burst into a hearty laugh if someone calls this a hill station). From Kumily, you need to reach Gavi either by hiring a jeep or by taking an Ordinary bus service that runs between Kumily and Pathanamthitta (2 buses per day), which i'll be discussing in detail as the post progresses. The other option is to make an entry from Tamil Nadu, where you need to reach either Madurai or Theni (Madurai is the nearest airport) and take a bus all the way to the mother of all hill stations Kumily. You poor thing have no other option than to take either jeep or the Ordinary bus services (or by your own car if you're self driving) to reach Gavi from Kumily, even if you make an entry from Tamil Nadu.   

Option 1:
Chennai to Kottayam - distance: 749 Km (overnight journey by train)
Kottayam to Kumily - distance: 108 Km (4 hours journey by KSRTC bus) 
Kumily to Gavi - distance: 32 Km (1.5 hours journey by Ordinary KSRTC bus)

Option 2:
Chennai to Madurai - distance: 472 Km (overnight journey by train)
Madurai to Kumily - distance: 141 Km (4 hours journey by TNSTC bus)
Kumily to Gavi - distance: 32 Km (1.5 hours journey by Ordinary KSRTC bus)

Route Map - Chennai to Gavi
I decided to choose option 2 as option 1 was ruled out because of festive season (no train tickets were available from Chennai to Kottayam). In the route map, the total distance between Chennai to Gavi is shown as 642 Km, which is applicable when you're driving from Chennai to Gavi on your own vehicle (conditions apply) and it can increase according to the road conditions.

My option 2 had this plan: Chennai to Madurai by Duronto Express (departed on October 21st 10.30 pm and arrived on 22nd 7 am) - Madurai to Kumily by bus (departed at 8 am on 22nd and arrived at 12 pm on 22nd) - Kumily to Gavi by Ordinary KSRTC bus (departed at 1.15 pm on 23rd and arrived at 2.45 pm on 23rd). Then, depart from Gavi on 24th by following a different plan, which i'll explain as the post progresses (told you, it will be an incredibly long post).

Friday, 25 September 2015

Here I am, back in the game

Whoa! It's been 4 months since I wrote something. Sounds terrible, isn't it? This time it is not procrastination as I had lots and lots of stuffs going on with my personal as well as professional life. The period from May-August proved to be the most interesting months of my life as I had the opportunity to visit United States of America. Visa interviews, documentation, travel, work stuffs, household responsibilities, financial management... I wonder what turned me so responsible (FYI, I wasn't like this earlier).  

You might be wondering what was I doing all these months? I guess it's time to break the ice (well, it might sound like one but there isn't any mystery). 

USA Trip
I had an opportunity to visit the beautiful state of Wisconsin during the month of July. It was a short business trip, which lasted for 13 days. Prepping for the trip was quite challenging as I had to get all my paperwork done in a right way for the smooth processing of my visa, the part I thoroughly enjoyed. 

I traveled in an airline which I didn't knew about its existence until I saw the name on my ticket - Etihad airways. I was surprised to know that Etihad, Abu Dhabi based, is one of the top operating airline (next to Emirates). The services were good but the part where I had to sit for 14 hours long (Abu Dhabi to Chicago) was kinda clumsy. 

Hannibal (Season 1 - Season 3)
Post Dexter, it took me almost 5 months to start another series and this time I decided to watch 'Hannibal', as suggested by one of my friend. Trust me, this is way too gory than Dexter, yet it was extremely entertaining. Packed with brilliant performances by Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal), this series is a must watch for those who enjoyed watching Dexter. Again, I had a marathon completing all the three seasons within the time frame of a month (took me close to 3 weeks to complete 39 episodes). I had a blast watching season 2 and season 3 finale as they were the most intriguing episodes that gave a nerve chilling experience. I feel bad hearing rumors that the Season 4 has been cancelled. I hope that it gets revived and now I would have to wait for an year or more to catch up with the forthcoming seasons (fun).

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Goodbye Bangalore!

I recently discovered that procrastination is a by-product of writer's block. Ever since I left Bangalore, I have been procrastinating a lot when it comes to writing, which, I realize, is not at all fair. Now, after a gap close to two months, I'm here to write about my 'stay' at Bangalore. 

Earlier, I would have written an article Bang Bang Bangalore in my blog stating every negative aspect of the city. If you ask me whether I have changed my perception about Bangalore, my answer would be 'No'.  I still hate Bangalore as much I used to hate it before - reason(s): air pollution, cost of living & traffic. This article from DNA India states that Bangalore is ranked as the second most polluted city in India, next to Delhi. It's obvious for Bangalore to be listed in top 5 most polluted cities, because the population of the city has grown from 80 lakh to 1 crore just in a span of 4 years, which means lot of people have migrated to this 'almost congested' city making it 'extremely congested' (and, I was one among them). Migration of people leads to increase in utilization of resources, which in turn leads to exhaustion of the same. For instance, the area where I stayed was dumped with several multi-storeyed apartments (most of them were paying guest accommodation) and I witnessed the electrical transformer going rogue everyday (poor thing couldn't handle the load).  

Now that I am out of Bangalore, I don't wish to dig deeper into its cons. In this post, I'll be listing out the things that relished my stay. 

Interstellar in IMAX
Watching Christopher Nolan's movie in the first few days of its release that too on an IMAX screen isn't an easy task. I would say that I was lucky enough to be a part of those audience who had the chance to experience the visual extravaganza on IMAX screen on the second day of its release. Watching Interstellar on IMAX screen was the most relishing experience I had during my stay at Bangalore. 

Watched on: Saturday, November 8, 2014
Ticket price: Rs. 400 per ticket + Booking charge (I guess it was Rs. 30)