Archive for February, 2013


I really don’t know whether I should say that the cities in India are getting unsafe by every passing day, or it is that the crime rate remains the same but a lot many cases are now getting known to public. Well whatever be the scenario, both suggest that the people are now more scared against crime than ever before, and also it does not portray the good image of the city/locality to the people living in other parts of the country and also it portrays a bad image of the country globally.

I have written a couple of blog posts recently relating to the gang-rape incident that took place a couple of months back in Delhi. And to be honest I have always believed that Pune has been a much safer city to live in when compared to many others like Delhi, Mumbai amongst others. But then another of an incident has just come to my notice a couple of days back in Pune, though this incident is not of the magnitude the Delhi incident was, but still it is a crime and could have been far worse than it now looks. But since I got to know of it because of it happening with one of my colleagues at work, it does sound scary, and so I thought of writing of it on my blog and also discuss a few issues.

This was an email that written by one of my colleagues at work (the victim), and since then this email has circulated within the organization like virus and now has even started to get distributed to other organizations as well. I guess this is the advantage of electronic media, as now more and more people would get educated of this and can take their steps of precaution. The email:

Hi All,
I am writing this because i feel u should all know about it. It is about the level of safety around here in Pune or anywhere in India. Is there anyone you can trust ??
 
On Friday 22nd February at around 8.30 in the evening I was on my way to Mumbai waiting for one of those carpools. One which stops at wakad bridge and drops you Mumbai for 150 bucks. So this blue color indica stopped and the driver was asking people for Mumbai. Since there is no street light in that area  I couldn’t see the car no. The driver kept asking for Mumbai. When one person decided to back out, I decided to get in the car. I got in the car and was sitting in the middle with 2 guys on each side of me. There were two other in the car i.e one the driver and the other sitting beside him.  The car started and all of them were quietly sitting as if they don’t know each other. I don’t know why all of the sudden i felt something was fishy. I told the driver to stop as I remembered some urgent work. But as soon as the next stop came the driver didn’t stop and the person on my right covered my mouth and my hand while the other person on my left held my neck and other hand using great force. I got scared and started shouting but they told me to shut or else they would kill me.They told me to bend and sit pressing my neck and then put a cloth on my head so that i don’t see anything i.e neither their face nor the direction in which they are taking me. I just shut myself out of fear. They started stealing everything and asking me all kinds of question. They took my money, my specs without which I couldn’t see anything , my laptop, my cloths, my mp4 player and almost everything. Things worth around 70k. They even asked me my atm pin and I even spoke the truth fearing what if they actually check and find out its wrong and kill me. The lowest of my life was when these people were discussing whether to kill me throw my body away or just leave me. I was literally begging for my life. Then they finally took me to some place and tied my hands, took me out of the car in some deserted area with bushes all around me. They then tore my t-shirt tied my mouth with it as tightly as possible. This is when again I felt I would get killed. But then they pushed me to the ground and tied my legs and ran away. I had no idea where I was and I couldn’t move my legs or hands. It was scary. I somehow managed to untie my hands and then my legs and then my mouth. I couldn’t see anything but ran in the direction of the light. Suddenly I saw a building and luckily a window with light. Ran towards it and got all the help. It was an army area in Dehu road off old Pune-Mumbai highway.
 
But my point here is please don’t ever travel in these car pools from wakad. Especially when you are alone. These people work in group and act as if they don’t know each other and later threaten to kill and steal everything. Please ensure you either travel in bus or with someone whom you can trust or with fellow Infoscians. Girls please travel with someone you know and can trust. Times are so bad nothing here in India is safe. Just make sure you don’t travel in these car pools because you never know what might happen to you. You can never trust these people. IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE FOR ME BUT I AM JUST LUCKY TO BE ALIVE. It still gives me chills just to think about it.
 
So I request to all please don’t ever take carpools which drop you to Mumbai from Wakad bridge. These people can never be trusted and please don’t leave office late as well. Complete your work as fast as possible and leave as early as possible. Ladies please leave early by buses or with someone you trust. Carrying a pepper spray with yourself all the time would be great. Today it was me but tomorrow it can be anyone. And these people can come up with any ideas anytime to steal from us. So please stay cautious and alert all the time.
Please forward this mail to all friends and relatives so as to ensure their safety. Please forward this to your friends across all DCs so as to alert them and ensure their safety.

Well this happened to one of my male colleagues. Also, this email speaks about the huge risk a non-regular Mumbai-Pune traveller carries. Especially, because a non-regular traveller would not get suspicious of the activity so easily, as this person got. And then falling in trap for such a person would be far easier than for a regular one. Again, what level of crime could have happened in a scenario if this would have happened to any of the female colleagues? How can they be safe, if such evets keep on recurring. All we can say is that every city is turning towards the bad bad world.

Now all these really create a lot of doubts in the mid of people who think that Pune is a very safe city comparatively. And again, is it that this probably a single case and to judge Pune as unsafe is wrong, or is it that this is one of those cases that has manage to surface into limelight. Whatever be the scenario, it is not good news for Pune residents I guess. Also, I hope that with this post I can reach out to maximum people around, and also manage to create an awareness amongst people so that they don’t fall into such traps.

My 8 Month (- so far) Onsite Diary !!!

Posted: February 19, 2013 by Shishir Gupta in India, Just For Fun
Tags: , ,

Yesterday, I completed 8 months of working at the onsite office of our client. It is not literally the ONSITE as an IT professional would refer to. It is not much different in situation because my onsite location is not in any other country but it is in the same city, in fact in the vicinity of 2-3 kilometers of Cybage. So I would term this experience as onsite, with a difference. The overall experience in the past six months has been endearing to say the less, but to be honest it has nothing been less than a roller-coaster ride. It has seen many ups, and a few downs as well.

To be honest, when I started off, on June 18 2012, I was feeling jittery. It felt as if I was about to join a new organization as a new joinee. There were completely new set of people that I had to deal with, and since they all were our clients it seemed to be scary, and all the known face around I had was another of my teammate joining with me with whom I had never worked with before. So I had to adjust with this teammate as well, and then with the entire new client team.

As a few days passed by, we were loaded with a huge amount of work, something that could not have been handled with 2 people. And the biggest challenge was that we were asked to complete the work in 3 months. When I sat down to estimate the work I realized that 4 people would require around 6-7 months to complete the project. But probably, the client at that time did not understand what we were trying to explain. However, we started work, and we were always behind the schedule, and not just behind far behind. At the end of 2-3 weeks when we saw the task progress, we were not even 40 percent of where we should have been by then. By now the client understood our situation and reduced the targets to 50 percent as they could not reduce further as they too had budget constraints.

The task was still very much difficult, but by now I had managed to increase my speed and was able to achieve the targets, but as a team of two we were still behind the changed targets. Also, there was some friction that was getting created between the clients and the second resource which started to hamper the progress of the project. After near two months of work/struggle finally we managed to get two other resources on board for the project. Ideally we should have completed about 45-50 percent of the project by now, but we had not even crossed the 20 percent mark. I believe these statistics compelled the client to add two extra resources.

But I guess it was a bit too late, as now all four of would have to achieve the same targets (actually more) since we were way behind the schedule. The work went on well from there for in the third month, though the friction between the client and another of our team members only increased, and it did to such a level that the client wanted to replace her immediately. In all this time I had somehow managed to gain the confidence of the client by some consistent performance and dedication, but then as luck would have it I fell ill. I fell ill to Typhoid and then managed to get make it into a life threating illness (I believe this is something only I am capable of doing). I missed out two and half weeks of office for this, by one week being admitted in ICU, and the rest to hospital and bed-rest.

When I returned, we were about to complete four months, and with just half a month left for completion followed by one month to review and rework (as per schedule). When I was back, I realized that client had by now understood the situation and had already added a few more resources onto the project. And the biggest surprise was that with nearly 6 people working on the project in the two weeks behind me, we managed to get close to 75 percent completion of phase 1. And with 5-6 people still onboard after I joined back, we got back on schedule and finished the phase 1 in the next 15 days. This was something I guess, no one had expected, neither us nor the client. But then as the resources started getting removed from the project due to work on other critical projects the schedule was hampered again. The task of review and rework that was estimated for 1 month took us about 2 and half months, as we had to manage the change requests, new additions, and then since so many resources were working there were differences in the process of everyone’s work which led to a bigger amount of rework. And also eventually it was only two people who were working on the project for the last 2 months.

But finally at around the end of seven months we managed to deliver the project. I was very happy of this because I had initially estimated that the project would take 6-7 months with 4 resources, and we did deliver in 7 months, and the average number of resources on the project per day would have somewhere been around 3, not even 4. So this really made me happy.
But during all this all the resources who were hired on contract were let off (while one resource left the organization), with only I being the one who was retained of the total of 7-8 people. I don’t know whether I should be happy or sad of this, as yes my work has been appreciated and I have been retained or now I will be all alone and my task is going to get much tougher.

Later, having been assigned a new project (smaller and easier than the previous) felt good, and so the work continues. But this is not the reason why I have actually written my diary of last eight months here. I have probably done this, because in all this time I have managed to create a certain rapport with the team here. And I definitely understood many facts and cleared few myths.

And most of my realization happened, when my client manager asked me whether I would like to continue after 10 months contract is over (of course if the opportunity is given), to which I immediately responded to a “Yes” (without giving much of thought). And then after that I went back to think of why would I have responded a yes, when I am sure had it been any of the other resources the answer would have been a certain “No”. And then I understood that the team here at the client end is also very well bonded, something that is prevalent back in Cybage, so they really don’t corner you. This is something that other Cybage resources who were here would want to debate on for sure, but then I feel, we have always misjudged the team here. They are very caring and understanding. And I have also realized that we too need to understand their situation. They had tight budgets, and they took us on board with a certain level of expectation. At the start even they were not sure of the amount of difficulty and the work load that we would face, and this project has also been a certain level of learning for them as well.

They have definitely been supportive, as they did acknowledge are efforts, and even went out of the by adding extra resources whenever possible in spite of stringent budgets, so that some burden could be removed from us. I don’t think an unreasonable or a rude client (as most of the other team members perceived them to be) would do all this.

And probably the most important aspect is that the team here is small and all come from different backgrounds, and so suddenly they do not start conversing in their local languages (something that is very common in Cybage). Now this may sound stupid, but then a person who cannot understand what the others are talking about can feel left out, which unfortunately happens quite often back in Cybage (I am not saying with me, because I do understand Marathi – though I do not converse in it). But this can surely leave a lot of people offended. Specially, since what we are working is an MNC (a multi-national company), and so I ideally all we should do is converse in a language that people from all nations can understand and then interact, but most of us end up interacting in our mother tongue, which quite a lot of our colleagues, don’t understand forget about clients or people from other countries.

To be honest I actually wanted to raise these two points (1. Not to perceive about clients and their attitudes very soon, as that can lead to a lot of friction, and also finally to loss of work for the organization. 2. Secondly, I think we should see at the group and then interact with everyone in a language that everyone is comfortable in, and not the one we are comfortable in and that can lead to a discomfort amongst our colleagues). I believe these two reasons are the ones that led me respond in a “Yes”. And surprisingly, I have even started to realize that I might end up feeling a little awkward or out of place when I get back to my team and friends in Cybage, and be a lot more comfortable working here at the client office, were I really don’t have many people whom I can literally call friends, but then can call them as a lot more than acquaintance – as funny as that sounds. And now all I can do is wait to see if I am retained for a few more months or not.

Note: I have purposely not mentioned any names in this one, as the last time I did many of the friends whose names I had mentioned felt offended. So I really wanted to keep that aspect out, and actually I think I haven’t written anything that would make anyone feel offended, or have I?  

Rafael Nadal Wins Brasil Open!

Posted: February 18, 2013 by Shishir Gupta in Rafael Nadal, Tennis
Tags: , , ,

rndn_ap

Well Brasil Open is no Grand Slam, that winning it should be so proudly be written off, especially for Rafael Nadal. But in the past few weeks, there were so many questions asked on his form and the condition of his knee which kept him out of the game for more than 7 months, that I as a huge fan of Nadal understand what even win winning a low profile tournament like Brasil Open probably means to Nadal at this stage. Especially, as the questions only increased when he lost in the finals of the VTR Open. Before this only Federer and Djokovic had managed to defeat Nadal in the finals of a clay court tournament, and the final loss to a player not ranked in the top 40, raised a lot of doubts. And then in this tournament, Brasil Open, he withdrew from the doubles matches. All of this had made people think, whether Nadal was really fit and back to his normal form.

But a win in the finals of the singles leg, defeating Nalbandian in straight sets must have come for a great relief for a lot of people, and with Nadal has probably announced that he is back. Though it is possible that his knee may still be hurting, but as a fan I am glad to see him back and winning tournaments, and making us believe that he has a big chance to win his 8th French Open (or to say any individual Grand Slam 8 times), a feat that no man one has ever done before.

All I can say is that, I congratulate Rafa for his successful comeback, and I also hope that he would be able to pick up many more trophies in the months to follow.

Rafael_Nadal_Brasil_Open_Trophy


miNow this is something the cricketing word would be looking forward to, seeing Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting bat together. Ohh, what a sight it is going to be. Hopefully, we would get to see this in this years’ IPL as Mumbai Indians have bought Ricky Ponting in this years’ auction. Though he has been bought at the base price (maybe because he has retired and also as he was not in a great form before his retirement). Mumbai are known for such partnerships as in the first two seasons, it was Sachin opening along with Sanath Jayasurya, another legend from the shorter form of the game (The top two ODI run getters of that time). And now it could be Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting opening together (The top two test run getters).

The other buys in this season for Mumbai Indians were, Phillip Hughes, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, and Jacob Oram. Well Jacob Oram is always a great buy because of his all-round capabilities, but I am not sure of Glenn Maxwell especially since he has been bought for a million dollars. Not sure whether he is worth that hefty amount especially when you are not sure whether he is going to make it to the playing eleven. Mumbai did not buy any Indian player this time (there were hardly in the auctions though), and again look a little weak on the Indian bench strength, but surely have the players that can take the team to the title.

The complete list of players is:
Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Rohit Sharma, Munaf Patel, Amitoze Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Pragyan Ojha, Ambati Rayudu, Dhawal Kulkarni, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Aditya Tare, Pawan Suyal, Suryakumar Yadav, Sushant Marathe, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rishi Dhawan, Jalaj Saxena, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Aiden Blizzard, James Franklin, Mitchell Johnson, Dwayne Smith, Ricky Ponting, Phillip Hughes, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jacob Oram.

To be honest, the seven Indian players that would make it to the eleven would be:
Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh / Pragyan Ojha (As I don’t see both the spinners playing together), Munaf Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni / Abu Nechim Ahmed.
(On second thoughts there can be a high possibility of playing both Harbhajan and Ojha in the team and that would mean only 1 from Munaf Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni, Abu Nechim Ahmed and in that case it would be Munaf, provided he is fit, else it could be Dhawal). But this would impact the selection of the 4 foreign players to a large extent.

The four foreign players that would make it to the eleven should be:
Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, James Franklin / Mitchell Johnson / Jacob Oram, Ricky Ponting / Dwayne Smith
(To be honest, Pollard and Malinga undoubtedly make it to the eleven if fit. The other two slots would be depending on the requirement, whether they need two all-rounders, or 1 all-rounder and fast bowler, or all-rounder and a batsman, or a fast bowler and a batsman. Given that Johnson is primarily be a fast bowler but can also fill in the all-rounders spot. With the entry of Oram, Franklin’s selection looks difficult unless he used as an opening batsman.)

The most probable eleven looks like:
Opener – Sachin Tendulkar
Opener – James Franklin / Dwayne Smith
No. 3 – Ricky Ponting
No. 4 – Rohit Sharma
No. 5 – Dinesh Karthik
No. 6 – Ambati Rayudu
No. 7 – Kieron Pollard (Number 5, 6, and 7 can rotate depending on the match situation)
No. 8 – Harbhajan Singh
No. 9 – Lasith Malinga
No. 10 – Munaf Patel / Dhawal Kulkarni (Dhawal only in case Munaf is unfit)
No. 11 – Pragyan Ojha
12th Man – Mitchell Johnson
This gives them 4 bowlers (2 quick and 2 spinners) and 3 part timers in Pollard, Smith / Franklin, and Sharma. This looks like the team that would play in the eleven. But I somehow feel, with Munaf out of action for a long time, and Harbhajan not in great form off late, this looks like a weak bowling attack, with only Malinga the saving grace. Also in the batting, apart from Smith at the top and Pollard in the end they don’t have players can play big shots. All of Sachin, Ricky, Sharma, Karthik, Rayudu would be players who take time at the crease before playing big shots.

The other option could be play, Johnson instead of Smith / Franklin, which could look a good bowling attack, but that means a depleted batting. Especially in this case who would open with Sachin from Ponting, or Sharma, or Karthik, or the poor Rayudu (he has had to perform many different roles every season)? This would be surprising.

This is why I feel that they really don’t have big Indian names in the lineup, and the ones that they have are not really in great form. They have always tried to have a great foreign players bench strength, but that does not really matter as only 4 of them can play and of them Malinga and Pollard take the spots, leaving to a lot of choices for the remaining 4 spots.

Also, I have included Ponting in the playing eleven, because of his captaincy. With Sachin, having to take the captaincy again when Harbhjan stepped down, I think Ponting can be given the responsibility since Sachin too wasn’t very keen on captaincy.

Anyways all I can hope is that the team plays well, and wins its first title this year.

Ricky_Sachin

Rafael Nadal is Back!

Posted: February 5, 2013 by Shishir Gupta in Rafael Nadal, Tennis
Tags: , , ,

Yes, finally Rafael Nadal will be back in action on the court today playing his first ATP match in more than 7 months. The last time he played was when we suffered the shock loss during the second round match in Wimbledon. Since then he missed out on many major tournaments like the Olympics, US Open last year and the Australian Open this year, which saw him drop to ATP ranking number 5 for the first time since 2005.

Though he has tried to keep his expectations from the tournament to be very small, but surely all his fans (including me) would be hoping that he starts on a winning note. Especially, since he has chosen to play on the clay courts to start with. And with a record 8th French Open title in the reckoning I believe these results would be very important. Also, he has chosen to take part in the doubles event as well in most of these tournaments as that would give him a very much needed match practice (a very good move I must say). Though all we can hope is that he plays in the manner we all have seen him play all the past years.

Here are some articles for your reference:

Original article : Rafael Nadal’s knee may bother him for a few weeks

VINA DEL MAR, Chile (AP) — They were giving the tickets away a year ago – and still had a difficult time attracting fans.

It’s a different story this year at the VTR Open, a small ATP clay-court tournament in this resort city on Chile’s Pacific coast. This is where Rafael Nadal has decided to make his comeback after sitting out for more than seven months with an injured left knee.

Nadal had never been to Chile, much less played an event here. Now he’s being treated like a native son with local newspapers digging up his connections to distant family members in the country. Chilean President Sebastian Pinera was one of the first to greet him when he arrived.

Call it the Nadal Effect.

”This country wants success and wants to be seen as successful,” said tournament press officer Rafael Walker. ”For a long time the country was like a little island, isolated from the world by the sea and mountains. So when you get a big star here – like Nadal – he’s treated like a rock star.”

The tournament is sold out starting Tuesday when Nadal opens in doubles with partner Juan Monaco. He gets a bye into the second round of singles and starts Wednesday against little-known Argentine Guido Pella or a qualifier.

”All the sponsors used to hand out tickets to clients, and they weren’t used. They will be used this time,” Walker said. ”The local television stations that used to send out their second-level talent are sending out their top people. You can see them already here posing for photos with Nadal and asking for photographs. You know, acting like kids.”

Tourism officials are hoping Nadal’s appearance boosts local business, which took a hit last month with overcast skies discouraging beachgoers during the South American summer. Visitors from neighboring Argentina have also stayed away, hurt by a devaluation of the local currency that has made travel expensive.

The seven-time French Open champion practiced for almost two hours Sunday on the main stadium court, facing fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar with Nadal’s uncle Toni – also his coach – right behind him fetching balls.

The only hint that Nadal may be less than 100 percent was a white bandage wrapped around his left knee. Otherwise, there was plenty of pop in his high-bouncing forehands. And he showed off the same muscular physique when he changed orange shirts midway through practice.

The 26-year-old Nadal should win this event, and if he doesn’t, speculation will immediately begin about his future. He’s trying to play down his chances, telling reporters Saturday he was hoping for an ”acceptable level” as he starts the first of three clay-court events in Latin America. They’re warm-ups for a run at his 12th Grand Slam title, and an eighth at the French Open.

”This should be like the first week of Roland Garros for him,”’ said Marcelo Caro, a tennis coach who drove 100 miles from the Chilean capital Santiago to watch Nadal practice Sunday. ”In theory, he shouldn’t lose a set because the competition is not at his level – if he doesn’t get injured.”

Another injury would be a crushing blow for the Spaniard, who is ending his longest stretch away from the game.

Several hundred people watched Nadal practice, with Toni Nadal chatting with fans at courtside. At one point Nadal posed for photos with a baby on his lap, and he autographed tennis balls, copies of his book and T-shirts as he navigated the 150 feet from the court to the shelter of the locker room.

”Nadal is like an industry,” Caro said. ”He generates a lot of money.”

Nadal is reported to have received hefty appearance money to play in Chile, though tournament officials have not confirmed it. The venue is not ideal for a comeback. The tournament site – Club Las Salinas – is located within view of the ocean and is traditionally windy and often chilly.

Nadal fills a need in Chile. Its longtime top player, Fernando Gonzalez, retired last year, leaving the country without a star. Paul Capdeville is the country’s highest ranked player at No. 153, and he failed to qualify for the tournament. That leaves only two Chileans in the field – No. 577 Nicolas Massu and Christian Garin, ranked 923rd.

”For the tournament, Nadal being here is unbelievable,” said German player Dustin Brown. ”And it’s great for the players, as long as you don’t have to play Nadal.”

Jaquelina Frez and her daughter, Dalal Chahuan, drove 30 miles from the nearby town of La Calera to watch practice. They will skip the tournament, partly because of high ticket prices.

”I know the prices have gone up from other years,” Frez said.

Her 17-year-old daughter is an accomplished amateur player, and she raced to the court exit after practice to snap a photo.

”He’s a celebrity, and you want to see him if you like tennis, or don’t like tennis,” Dalal said. ”He brings attention to the area and excitement to the fans.” “

Rafael_Nadal_VTR_Open

Original article : Rafael Nadal turns small tournament into big deal

VINA DEL MAR, Chile (AP) — Rafael Nadal’s ailing left knee may still bother him for a few more weeks, his coach said Monday.

Nadal practiced for 90 minutes with Nicolas Massu of Chile on Monday, his fourth straight day of training since arriving in the country for his first match in more than seven months.

Nadal opens up Tuesday in the VTR Open, playing doubles with Argentina’s Juan Monaco. On Wednesday, he will play singles in the second round against the winner of a first-round match between Argentines Guido Pella and Federico Delbonis.

”The knee is much better, but they’ve told us he will feel some discomfort and lack of mobility until the end of the month,” said Toni Nadal, the seven-time French Open champion’s coach and uncle. ”But it’s definitely getting better.”

Nadal has avoided surgery so far, getting therapy in hopes of speeding the healing. But the slow recovery from the inflamed knee means Nadal has been trying to lower expectations as he uses three Latin American clay-court tournaments to prepare for a run at an eighth French Open title.

Nadal has practiced in Chile wearing a white bandage around his knee.

”The bandage is normal and is part of the treatment,” his coach said.

Nadal will be watched closely in doubles Tuesday, which is meant to give him extra playing time on top of his matches in singles.

His uncle has called the small Chilean tournament ”our first French Open.”

Nadal has the best clay-court record in the Open Era, winning 93 percent of his matches. Many will expect him to sweep through this event as he would in the first week of the French Open, perhaps without dropping a set. Anything less will add to speculation about his future and could add pressure.

”His game is much better than when we got here,” Toni Nadal said. ”It was better yesterday and even better today. We’re looking to the doubles as an added test.” “

In the end all I can do is wish Nadal all the best for the coming ATP tour, and hope he comes back on top on the list.