Archive for December, 2011

Star One is closing its operations today, 16-Dec-2011. The channel will get replaced by a new channel “Life OK” which will be launched by Star Network. The new channel will be launched sans any “Star” connection (read logo) and with a complete set of new shows on 18-Dec-2011.

As all say “All good things need to come to an end”, so has the end of Star One arrived too. This channel was initially targeted to the youth as it broadcasted many youth based shows which became a cult amongst the youth and made the channel instant hit. The channel when launched 7 years ago improvised and introduced shows that were targeted to the youth, and with that the channel broke that times current trend of shows that were only targeting the women folk, especially the housewives, generally centering around issues relating Saas-Bahu, husband-wife, and in general family based issues.

This channel came in as a reverence for the youth when it introduced shows like Remix, which became an instant hit amongst the college and high school going youth. Honestly, this was one the shows that got me hooked to the channel. Apart from Remix, the channel also got in a concept of introducing a weekly show during the weekdays, by introducing Special Squad, Siddhant, Hotel Kingston, and Instant Khichadi, all one hour shows that were shown on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday respectively at probably what was the prime time. All these shows gained popularity as there were all based on completely different concepts and were also far away from the normal trend, and brought in a new freshness on television. Later such became the popularity of the shows that even their reruns later were highly viewed (something I don’t think any of the other current channels have been able to do).

Another innovation that worked highly for them was that the channel broadcasted all the repeats of the shows on weekends for those who missed out on them during the weekdays due to the shows on other channels. This concept actually created a huge viewership for the channel and its shows.

And then Star One introduced probably their most successful series, “The Great Indian Laughter Challenge”, a show that got all the people, diversified in all age groups, hooked to the channel. There was a phase when Friday nights were only meant to be for Star One, and more so for the Laughter Challenge. And probably in no time Star One reached to be one of the top channels, even rivaling against Star Plus which has shows like “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” and other similar shows which were running successfully for years, and had created a huge following base.

After this show Star One seeing the popularity the channel was gaining, the channel introduced many family shows, which were not the typical kind of family shows, and they too turned up being very successful. One of them being Sarabhai vs Sarabhai, a show that had humor as well as touched to the family issues like Saas-Bahu fights and stuff but in a very much hilarious way. 

Then the channel introduced very popular celebrity dance shows like the Nach Baliye series and then later the Zara Nack ke Dikha series. And after running successfully for about two-three years, when it started losing some of its popularity came in shows like Dill Mill Gayye, Miley Jab Hum Tum, and the Koffee with Karan series. Dill Mill Gayye probably went on to become probably their most popular show, as it connected directly to the youth, and by now when the internet media was at its boom, and with youth being the major part of the viewership and the media, these shows excelled everywhere especially Dill Mill Gayye. On the blogs and other forums one could easily notice the craze of this show, and this probably became the silver lining for the show. Such was the impression of this show on mind of the youth that no other show could actually replace it, and probably that has what has happened. It has been more than a year DMG was closed, and since then the channel also started losing its popularity and to such an extent that the channel had to go for a revamp.

Another new concept that worked for Star One was that they did not hang onto a show for too long. The shows ran on for about a year or two only whether they were successful or not. Probably this was the USP of Star One and with this they managed to create a huge fan base and then by ending the shows and introducing new ones they tried to bring freshness after regular intervals. This also meant that the reruns of the show were also highly viewed because of the craze they had created and nostalgia of course.

This worked great for Star One for almost 7 years, but after closing Dill Mill Gayye things really did not go too well. In fact last month or so I saw DMG being rerun on the channel all over again, and I thought that Star One has come back to get its prime viewership (the youth) back to the channel, but the sudden news of the channel shutting down has left me in a disarray. With the closure of the channel also means that the possibility of getting to see the shows like Special Squad, Siddhant, Dill Mill Gayye, and Remix has also vanished. There is probably no chance left to see these shows again.

Probably as a youth, I could relate to Star One a lot, and I guess everyone who loved watching television could. I don’t know what the new channel Life OK is aiming at, but yes with the promotional videos, it hardly looks that it has anything for youth in it. And now in despair I can only say that let’s hope that the channel comes back after some break, or they introduce the old shows back on the channel.

Sehwag after scoring 200

Since Virender Sehwag emerged at the international scene he has always been called as the clone of Sachin Tendulkar, because of the many similarities in their batting styles. But today, probably he has proved this saying correct by doing what only Sachin has done it before, and not just doing it even bettering it. Yes, Sachin Tendulkar created history by becoming the first player ever to score a double hundred in a One Day International and now Virender Sehwag has become the second to do so and now after scoring 219 has the highest individual score in ODI cricket bettering Sachin’s 200 not out.

Now this is the fastest double hundred in ODI cricket, and now has also equaled the record of 25 fours in a single innings (incidentally Sachin is the other one who holds this record and he too had made this during his mammoth innings of 200 not out). Also, this is a great moment for him because he is captain the team in the series and this innings has led the team to a series victory. There was a lot of pressure on him regarding his form, but I guess now this innings has silenced all critics. But to be honest, I really don’t believe if the concept of being out of form really works on Sehwag. I think he just plays the same way every time, and sometimes he scores a zero and sometimes a double hundred or even at times a triple hundred. And yes honestly, the kind of player Sehwag is one can even expect a triple hundred from him in ODI cricket.

There was another comment which I read somewhere, that now Virender Sehwag has become the first human to score a double century in ODI cricket. By using the word human is not only something for Sehwag, but also is a great testimony for Sachin, since for every fan (which includes Sehwag as well) he is not a human but god. I remember after scoring the double century Sachin had said that it is just a record and can easily be eclipsed sometime. He also said that he would be very happy if an Indian can do that. Also when asked whom did he think can actually do that, the first name he mentioned was that of Sehwag’s. And now see all that has come true, it is like Sachin’s wish was Sehwag’s command. 

Sehwag after crossing 200 mark

But truly with this innings Sehwag has entered the record book in such a way that it would be very difficult to remove his name from the record books easily. Though, his style is best suited for the shorter format of the game Sehwag has excelled in test cricket more, scoring two triple centuries. And to certain extent has not really made his mark in the ODIs and Twenty20 cricket because of which he has come under a lot of criticism. But now he has silenced all the questioning mouths, and the way he has done it, I think only he could do it that way. But I just wish that just by looking at the bowling attack of West Indies Sehwag’s innings is looked down upon, as Sachin had scored it against the best bowing attack, South Africa. I am saying this because scoring 200 runs is not a joke, and once it scored the opposition bowling attack is inconsequential. Today was just Sehwag’s day, and proabbaly had it been South Africa or Australia also Sehwag would have scored a double hundred.

Also, apart from Sehwag, but majorly due to him India crossed the 400 run mark in ODIs for the fourth time which is again a record. The score of 400 has only been crossed 10 times till now of which India has crossed 4 times now, South Africa and Sri Lanka have done it twice and Australia and New Zealand have done it once. 
In the end I would like to wish Sehwag for his achievement and I hope that Sehwag’s fires big down under against the Australians, as his explosive batting would really be needed if India want to win in test matches and ODIs there.

Sehwag thanking the almighty after scoring 200

It’s been very differing and varied kind of 40 months that I have had in the IT industry, or I can say that I have what you call as the IT industry (motley) kind of days,as IT industry is known for indifferent kind of ways. At the same time and situation, an IT industry can be at its pleasing best as well as for someone it can be at its chafing worst. I have kind of witnessed both these aspects in these 40 months, through mine as well as my friends’ eyes. As written earlier the first 20 months of this journey was like a roller coaster ride the next 20 months  have been the opposite, very clam and serene. In these later 20 months I have been more at bay all the time, and these months have really been fruitful and enjoyable. There have been a few forgettable days, but they been so less in magnitude that probably do not need a mention here. But seeing the nature of an IT life, I tend to get scared even more, as probably one feels that this can be the silence before a big storm. One of the biggest achievements I can boast about is that I survived the unforgiving recession period in here, but that was generally during the first 20 months, these 20 months can majorly be marked as the recovery period from the recession. Another important thing I would like to add over here is that I have managed to complete 40 months in a single organization, whereas many of friend are already into their second or third organization. But most of that was becauseof the recession that took us head on in the very late 2008-early 2009. I was hardly 5 months into the job that I got the first sight of the effects of recession way back in January 09. It was like one of the worst starts of a year, for a blooming career. In fact if I see it through many of my friends’ eyes I can say that it did sweep away many dreams, and it was only afterprobably a drought of one year that things started to get normal.

The team pic on the traditional dress day

In my previous post on this topic 20 months back, I covered my side of the journey of first 20 months. My story how I survived till then, and how many of my batch mates lost their jobs or how they quit for better opportunities and other aspects of that unforgiving recession. So now I don’t want to discuss it any further here. And in this post I will try to take my journey forward from there. If I remember correctly, I had stopped in the post around 28thMarch or so, and now I will try and carry on from there. That period again started will IPL and appraisal meetings. IPL was not as fun as it had been during the initial first year, as all the friends by then were very busy into their projects, and we hardly got time to meet during the day, leave the opportunity of watching the matches.  Yes the appraisal meetings were better, as by now I had somewhat gelled into the new department and the new project well by then.

My team

Then came May 1, the results of our appraisals were announced. After getting an increment last time around (or I can say getting the reimbursement of the salary cut) most of us were not really expecting a huge increase, but to our surprise we did end up getting a decent rise in money. Something the Cybagians were not really used to. I cannot say that it created goodwill amongst the employees, but yes it did reduce the bad feelings to some extent. However, even after this I noticed a very high attrition rate in the organization in the coming months. July, August, and September were three months where I saw almost half the team changing.  There was not really anything happening as such in those six months as such apart from seeing many teammates and friends leaving the companyand many new faces joining the team. And yes the biggest thing to happen was as I saw many close friends leave, Vishal who joined the team sometime around February became a real close friend of mine in that period.During that period, my mentor, manager, a close colleague Bharati left Cybage. That came in a more of a shock, not only shook me or my project team, but the entire department and even the client. I took the team some time to recover from that loss, and amidst that the appraisal results for the next appraisal cycle were announced. Once again to the surprise of everyone, we all had monetary increments and that too what we call the decent hikes. But I was even more surprise, when I was handedover my promotion letter by my department head. Well, I am not really sure whether I deserved that at that particular time, but nevertheless it was welcome.Things changed, scales grew higher, and so did theresponsibility with that promotion and finally after a couple of months it led to my project change. Then that was again a big shock (I have written about this here already), as I had been in that project for almost 19 months by then.

Me with the team in one of the outings

And then came the probably the biggest change, I was shifted to the West Avenue location, and that opened a great opening for me. That stint of 5 months there probably revamped me completely. I was not the old Shishir my team knew, or I can say that helped me introduce the actual me to everyone. In that period of time I made many very good friends, something that I had hardly done over the last many months.  Also, during this I did attend almost every team outing possible, something I had not done during the earlier period for some or the other reason. But yes all those events helped me bond better with the team.Another thing, that probably helped me bond better was that this time around in the previous few months the attrition rate has been pretty low which meant that I got more time to adjust and interact with people. I believe the biggest reason for this low attrition rate has been the appraisals at Cybage in this period. For the last four appraisals (after every six months) continuously, everyone has received increments probably which has managed to build a certain faith in the organization and can be seen in the low attrition rate.

But as time has passed by and another appraisal cycle has come round the corner, the attrition rate is high again or I can say has come back to normal.  Since this time around everyone is aware that there will not be any monetary increments people are probably searching out for better opportunities and definitely better pay packages. It looks like the IT life is again coming back to normal after a very long hibernation.

My team in one of the team outings

Apart from all of this another change that happened during this period of 20 months was that our late night coffee meetings were changed to weekend trips. These trips were more fun as well as gave us a lot more time to bond. After the first couple of trips I and Vishal decided to carry out such trips every month, but we have hardly been able to go on 9-10 trips in this period. Nevertheless, all these trips have been highly entertaining and definitely full of adventure. Also, these trips gave us opportunities to go to various unseen locations for trekking and also enjoy the scenic beauty. Suddenly I have found another and a better way to enjoy with friends. Unfortunately the group is not the same, and it is only Raman and me that remain in common. Bhadre has sometimes made an appearance in these trips, but certainly that has been a rare (earlier too he was not really regular to our meetings but did manage to make on more occasions than he has done now). Mihir, who once used to be a regular member of our meetings, has not been able to join once the late night coffee meets got converted to weekend treks. But yes, Vishal has become a very regular member of these trips, and now Achyut has joined the bandwagon too.

Team's traditional Day

Apart from thesethe great moments with my team in the various team meetings, whether they are knowledge sharing sessions (or the fun sessions) or they are monthly birthday celebrations, or they are team lunch outings, or even the Diwali funfair organization committee meetings, all of them have continued to be very entertaining and exciting as they were in the first 20 months period. And all I can say is that the life has been very good so far, except for a few instances when some of my good friends parted ways in search of a better living somewhere else. Lot of my friends left in this period, in fact my fresher’s batch which had 46 of us is now only left to 9 people as we complete 40 months. The latest and probably the closest casualty amongst them being that of Mihir, who left Cybage last week.

Another important thing that has started in this period has been the tie-up between Cybage and SIBM for the Executive MBA course, which I have enrolled for. Now that gives me the opportunity of completing my MBA which I was thinking of last time I wrote this blog post.

The Cybage SIBM Batch

So overall I can say that this period of 20 months has been a much better one for me professionallythan the previous period. And as I have said that this period was probably the one where I was sailing through very easily through these calm times, but I surely hope that in the coming months I will soar rather than just sail.
And on this thought and hope I would like to close my post for now. Hope to update on this very soon.

Well, this post had to have one from our bike treks.. so this is one of them...