Posts Tagged ‘Life’

Year 2012 for Me

Posted: January 15, 2012 by Shishir Gupta in Just For Fun
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A new year brings a lot of joy, big expectations, resolutions, and high hopes along with it. Also, how the New Year start depends a lot on how one ends the previous year, irrespective of how the complete year had panned out. For me this year 2012, will always be a little sad for many aspects. And amazingly it has nothing to do with my 2011.

2011, was a mixed bag for me had some good moments and some bad as well. Though my professional career was at bay, my personal life had some big moments, a few very good, and a couple of them bad as well. Though I must admit that the good moments were a little to many, to write out of which a few of them where: I earned an Erdős Number, made some great friends at office in Achyut, Sandip, Moiz, Firoz, and Sandeep, joined an executive MBA course and have been performing well in it, and many more. The sad part were probably the only accidents that happened to me, as one of them was a major one and pretty serious (in fact this too can fit into the happy zone as there were only one accident as I call it, which a pretty good figure as compared to the previous years). The other only sad story can be that my good friendship with Umesh has probably been going through a few turbulant times.

The entry into 2012 hasn’t really been good as I fell critically ill, but this is not what the major setback is for me. The biggest problem will be that I would turn 25 this year in May, probably this a great figure and people look up for it, but that not in my case. This number is what I have been dreading for past many years, as 25 means that I am officially no longer dependent on my father and with that I will have to do away with all my army background benefits that I have been enjoying for more than 24 years. Probably this is the most dreaded number amongst the army kids, and unfortunately for me it has to come this year. Now no more army canteen, no more airline/train discounts, no more free entry into army clubs and sport centres, and probably no more army hospital treatment (and I am really scared of this). I am already getting scared with just the thought of losing all of these privileges, and turning completely into what we used to “a civilian”.       

Apart from these two probable “dreadful” events life looks pretty comfortable in the coming year, unless the first two weeks of the year repeat itself again and again. Though the start has not really been good so far. Also this year is termed as year when the world will end, I am not sure of the world, but surely I came close to see my life end in the past two weeks. Hopefully this year will bring very few accidents and lot of success. I was also able to keep up to most of my resolutions taken last year, hopefully I will able to keep that trend up this year as well.

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...

When your old teachers remember you…….

Posted: June 15, 2011 by Shishir Gupta in Just For Fun
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For some time now I wanted to visit Mrs. Bhawana, my junior college Physics teacher, but I just did not get the time to do so. Yesterday was the day when I somehow managed to go and meet her. In fact this opportunity was not created because of my efforts; she had invited me for dinner along with my other close friends from school. It was an offer that I could not miss at any cost, as it was over 4 years that I had last met her, so this one came like a blessing in disguise.

The plan was to reach her house by 6-6.30, but since I got late at office I could only reach by 8. The moment she opened the door, and when she saw me, she was almost in tears. The happiness I saw on her face is something I will never forget for my life. I too was very excited and happy to meet her, but my expressions of happiness were nowhere close to hers. And that made me realize that it is not just the students that remember their teachers for a long time, it is the teachers as well who remember their students very well.

And again as everyone would have thought that the talk between us would have started with an inquiry as how and what I have been doing. But that was not the case, she was very well aware of my whereabouts because of my friends, and so was I. In fact our talk started with a scolding of why I did not come for such a long time to meet her. All I could reply was “I wanted to achieve some success in life before I could meet you”. I told her that I had just completed my Masters, and the results were out about a month back, and since then I have wanted to meet her. To this she had no reply, but just a smile, and all I can tell is that smile said and explained her state of happiness to me very clearly.

When we were talking I told her about my feat of having achieved an Erdős number. I guess that was the happiest moment for her at that time. She said she could not really explain how proud she was. And her tone at that time made me realize really how proud she was.

After that we all chatted of our old school days, and the current school days as well. The changes that have been made both in the architecture and at the academic level as well. It was really nostalgic going back into those old memories that were hidden in some part of my mind.

Yesterday I not only got to meet mam, but also met a couple of my friends after a very long time. Though I was in contact with them over the social network sites, but had not met them in person for a very long time.

But yesterday I realized two things. First, how important “being social” is in life, being in touch with friends, and other people who care about you, and you care for. Second, it is not that only students remember their teachers, but the teachers also remember and care for their students for a very long time.

Life Back on ‘the’ Track…..

Posted: June 3, 2011 by Shishir Gupta in Just For Fun
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After a long break from my morning jogging schedule, I am back on the jogging track. Though I did enjoy a lot in this break time, as it gave me that extra half an hour to one hour of sleep and relaxation. But with having come back to my jogging schedule it feels even better. It has been over 20 days of that I have regularly going for the early morning run, so I thought that is the best time to write this post. I had unsuccessfully tried to get back on this schedule a couple of times earlier as well, but both the stints did not last over a week or so, and a break for a day led to weeks. But now, since I have been regular for over 20 days, I can say that I am back on track.

I had almost spent all my mornings last year on the running track, and then I took a break for some time starting in December last year. And after returning to the previous schedule after almost 5-6 months feels great, and feels that I did miss something in these months. I have already started enjoying my running, then early breakfast and tea with friends at an eating point near the jogging track. It is really great fun.

But I am not really sure how long will this last since monsoons are about to arrive, and they definitely will be a block to my schedule. Though they were very generous to me last year, by staying away during early mornings, and I hope that their generosity will continue once again. Or else this time I will be forced into taking a break again.

And I have to agree that coming back from a small break also is very tough. One might have followed a schedule for years, but a break of a month or so can hamper it badly. Coming back to the same schedule is very tough, it really takes a lot of effort all over again to get back (this is something I recently realized when I was trying to get back on track).

Anyways, now all things in my life are getting back on track… and this definitely one of those things.

I Am Back….. From a Long Hibernation !

Posted: June 1, 2011 by Shishir Gupta in Just For Fun
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I am back after a long hibernation period. Well it has been a very long time that my whereabouts have been unknown to most of my friends. It has been more than a year of such a period for a selected group of close friends and over two-three years for the others. And almost everyone I meet asks me where have I been so long, am I still alive, which part of the world I was for so long and many more questions. Sigh! And even more amazingly quite a few friends could not even recognize me at first look (read these two posts, Achievement and Mission, for more information on that). And this is when I realized that I have actually not been in contact at all (not even on social networking sites).

Now I officially announce that I am back (though I have been trying to get in touch with most of my friends for almost 10-15 days now), and I am happy to be back. It really feels great to be back with friends, and even better with closer ones. It is not that I have not been around friends at all during all this time, it is just I have made new friends to accompany me during this time, and have not been able to connect much with old friends.

To be honest, I have been very busy in the last 12-15 months because of my higher studies and other commitments, but it will definitely like to clarify here that it had not been an intentional effort to get into the hiding. It suddenly happened that I realized that I was not in contact with friends for the past 4-6 months, and then the period got extended to over a year.

But now with my close friend back, and now that I am getting back in touch with friends, I can officially announce that I am back. And I am writing this here, since I know that many of all read my blog posts, and a few of them are even somewhat annoyed as well with my sudden disappearance of the scene, and to clarify my stand there can be no better place than this.

It is actually that I got busy with so many things that I have not been able to update my blog regularly as well. But now with almost everything of my life coming back to normal, I am sure I will be accessible by almost all through some or the other medium….

And yes… it is great to back….. Hope to stay in this new form a long period now.

It’s been a roller coaster of 20 months I have had in here. They have been very good and enjoyable days as well as there have been many bad and forgettable days as well. I was very happy when I had joined Cybage, as I was one the first people to get a joining from my school batch and even the college batch. Something that I was very happy of then because many of my friends who were to join big companies got a much delayed joining. One of the biggest achievements I can boast about is that I survived the unforgiving recession period in here. 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.

This is the pic of our complete group. We were celebrating a birthday. This was just before the Recession struck. I am somewhere 4-5 from the right.

I was safe as I was into a project very early, but that month I lost a couple of friends who lost their jobs and became one of the first victims of recession. But by all this I realized that it’s not going to be an easy road ahead, and I should choose the safest path of further studies. I then decided to crack CAT that time. In the meanwhile my work also went of very well, but to my surprise the project got completed I came back on the bench (or the resource pool as we call it). Those were the scariest times, as every day I walked into the office thinking that it could be the last day in office. But on second thoughts I would call them as my best days here in the company, as we a group of friends here enjoyed the days. We literally had no work, so we would come in daily surf the internet, write posts on my blog, play flash games, chat, party, watch live score (IPL season 2 was going on those days) and then discuss about them rest of the time.

Thats Ashish, Shital, Pratibha, Girish, Shalini and Me

One of the Great examples of what we did during the Great Recession Period- "Youtube". Its me and Sachin here.

Then came May 1, the results of our appraisals were announced. We all knew that our salaries will not get increased but to our shock they go decreased (something none of us had expected). I thought that this was the toughest phase here, but there were plenty of hiccups lined up. The HR people started calling people 1 by 1 and gave them their relieving letter (a great way to fire people I must say). Quite a few of my friends were there in the victims list. I was expecting the call any day. I still remember it was 12th May and I got a call from the HR department that I have to meet our HR head. I took a back up of my machine and even sent a good bye mail to all of my remaining friends as I knew what the outcome of that meeting was going to be. But again to my surprise (they have been many of them in this journey of 20 months) I wasn’t fired, in fact I was advised to change my department, and suddenly my life changed (from bad to good, or is it really).

This change suddenly made me look a fresher all over again. I felt that I have just joined a new company. But luckily I still had a group of good friends here to give me support. Well now my life had really changed, I started liking the work, started enjoying what I was doing. So in way I can say that my life had changed from bad to good, but the exception to it was that now I had to work and had no other choice (I wasn’t doing any work for the past few months). In July I moved into a project called MicroStrategy and since then my life has been very smooth. I have had a very good project team, got to learn a lot technically from each one of them. The client has been very happy with the work done, which was finally reflected the appraisals of October 09. The only drawback of the team was that all of the members were women, so I had to be a bit disciplined (something that I am not), but they all were very helpful and I got to learn a lot from each one of them and also this helped me a lot in improving my interpersonal skills.

Me with the team (Anisha, Bharati, Me, Pooja and Sreelekha)

Now coming back to the appraisals topic. It was the month of October, although many people had left Cybage and many were on the verge of leaving it as the situation of the IT industry was improving. So the management decided to give increments to everyone in this appraisal. I was not expecting anything as what had happened six months ago was still fresh in my mind and its effects had just blocked my thinking. I actually did not expect anything in that appraisal. My meeting was fixed with my manager, lead and the head for 5th of October. During my meeting I actually realized that my situation was not bad at all. They all were impressed with my performance in the past 6 months. And all of that reflected in the appraisal report that I received on the 1st of November.

After this 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. Also I enjoyed some great moments with my team in the various team meetings, whether they are knowledge sharing sessions (they are actually more of fun sessions than knowledge sharing) or they are monthly birthday celebrations, or they are team lunch outings, or even the Diwali funfair organization committee meetings,  all of them have been very good and exciting.

Me with the team

One of my very good friends Abhay left in the first week of December. I was sad that he was leaving, but was also very happy because he was going for his higher studies. Before he left, we (a small group of friends) sat down late nights in Coffee shops, chatting, discussing about the happy and sad moments we had been through in the last year. After Abhay left, I somewhat continued this trend of meeting up with friends and sitting late night. I along with Nilay and Mihir were regular members of these meetings. Many a times my other friends Raman, Vishal, and Najim would join in. We would sit late till 2 o clock in the morning at Costa Cafe (our regular Coffee joint), chat, drink coffee, eat and yes curse our company (this was one of the major and most common point that would occur on every meeting). Almost all of us were frustrated of our jobs by then, due to some or the other reasons, so we would vent it all out there (luckily I can say I was not, so would just listen to all of them). I really spent some of my great moments during those times. I am putting a few images; these were taken in January and that was nilay’s last day at work. So we all had gathered there to give him a kind of farewell.

Thats Najim, Nilay, Raman, Mihir, Me and Vishal

Thats Najim, Raman, Mihir, Me and Vishal. I guess Nilay is the one who has taken this pic.

Well this time its me and Nilay relaxing in Costa Cafe

After he left I guess the fun and excitement also has left our group. Nowadays we don’t sit that often in night (that time we used to twice or thrice a week, now we hardly sit once a month). Now I have completed 20 months in here. I have mixed feelings about this, neither sad nor happy. This may be because the appraisals are back and I am expecting a good increment again (happy) and also in these 20 months I have had to part ways with very good friends I made here in Cybage(sad).

Now I am looking forward to my completion of 2 years here (if that happens). Well as I had said earlier my CAT results are out and I have secured a 98 percentile. I am hoping that I get into one of the IIM’s, but if I don’t then probably I will stay with Cybage for another one year(I hope that this will also be pretty exciting as the last year, though I don’t want the recession effects to come back).

I will probably update next after my IIM results are out or when I complete my 2 years here at Cybage.

One of our great achievements, featuring on the Cover Page of the Magazine