Aamchi Mumbai...



Discussion on who Mumbai belongs to, is one of the hottest topics in Indian media today. Political parties have taken respective positions and are quite keen to prove that their position is the right one. All this for "the people" who they claim to represent.

I would not like to go into the correctness of various arguments. Nor will I seek to support a particular view point. For me, this is a very simple topic and the less we make it complicated the better it is. On August 15, 1947 when India won Independence and on January 26, 1950 when India became a Republic, we also decided that India is "one" country. While there may be geographical divisions for operational reasons, we are one and in that sense we sink and swim together. I am as proud of Mumbai as I am of Thiruvananthapuram, where I come from, as I am of Delhi which is "our" Capital.

If we were to think in this manner, the issue of Mumbai is a non-issue. Having said that there are regional issues of development and progress, which needs to be tackled in a more objective manner. What happened to dream of making Mumbai another Shanghai?

Personally for me, Thiruvananthapuram is a remarkable example of what India ought to be. I have grown up seeing my father work in the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center, where people from different parts of India used to live a dream together. And after 25 odd years, many of them have still preferred to live on there, not because of the wealth they have created there (which is anyway not much) , but for the love of the place. And this is not possible if we did not believe in the concept of India.

I love Mumbai for all the simple things in life. And I hope I never run into someone, who will question me for loving Mumbai just because I was not born there or speak a different language. It will indeed be a sad argument to get into with a fellow Indian!


Into February...

Its already Feb and as always time seems to fly quickly. In a few months we would be heading back to India for good. Mumbai, it will be...

The Chinese new year is 2 weeks away. Its the biggest festival in China where everyone heads home. Given the population of China, and the fact that most of the people work away from home, its probably the only time in the year when most people re-join with their families. Meet their near and dear ones...This will be my third new year in China - the year of the Tiger.

Looking back, the China experience has been one of the most awesome experiences I could have had in life. A country which gives you a feel of this massive juggernaut rolling with things changing and happening everywhere. In many ways this is similar to India but in many more ways so different.

The CNY holidays would be in Malaysia for us. Looking forward to seeing the country a little bit.

It was a match which no Arsenal fan would have wanted to see. 2 goals down in the first half. I am not too big a fan of Arsenal, but quite like the way they have shaped up with young players who have come up the rank and a few others who are not really super stars. (unlike a team like Chelsea or Man U). But yesterday, it was Man U which demonstrated once again that the EPL title race was between them and Chelsea. Arsenal can be happy where they are!
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    working

truly amazing...

Being in China for the last 3 years, meant no access to blog sites including live journal. I had almost given up and hoped to resume blogging on LJ once I get out of China!

It was an accidental act of keying in the LJ website today and it logged me on. This is truly amazing. A feeling of freedom.

It has been a Super Sunday...Leander and Cara winning the Australian open mixed doubles, Roger "fedex"ing past Andy and the match later tonight between Arsenal and Man U. While I wished Andy would win, I almost knew it would be Roger's day today. This man has taken tennis to heights no one could ever imagine of. World sport is truly blessed to have people like Sachin, Roger, Messi et al (would include Tiger as well for the golfer he is) who give the spectators entertainment and joy day after day.
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    This is it (MJ)

Sharanya

It has been more than a year since I posted my last journal. The need for discipline in such things along with motivation is very much relevant!The biggest event in the meantime has been the birth of Sharanya on September 8, 2006. She is 7 months now and is very much the center of life for Pavithra and me. The way Pavithra has handled the run up to the birth and the last six months has been wonderful. Sharanya keeps her mom on the toes for the entire 24 hours and I am simply amazed by the way Pavithra is able to keep up with the daughter's energy!

I also completed 6 years in Mumbai in March and have developed an affinity for this amazing place. The problems do remain but the energy in this place is wonderful. In the last one year, I have been able to travel quite a bit to places like Japan, China, Belgium and Italy along with other places which I have already gone to. They want Mumbai to be transformed into Shanghai. Having visited Shanghai, it looks difficult to me in the next 4-5 year time frame. Meanwhile I have hope since we are in the process of re-locating to Shanghai in May! I seem to follow the adage " If you can't beat them, join them!"

China is interesting and we look forward to the experiences there...

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    a tam movie (vikram and surya)

vacation in Kerala

I am just back after a week's vacation in hometown, Trivandrum. I got to see the first underbridge (or whatever one calls it) of the place. The city has indeed grown since the last time I saw in August 2004. More cars, more smallish "malls" and more traffic. It was in a way a family reunion with me and Pavithra coming from Mumbai and Rajan joining from Kozhikode.

We did the usual routine of things. A trip to Shangumugam and Kovalam included. We also played the mandatory 25 ball matches on the terrace of our house. I managed to team up with Anand and avoided defeat against Rajan.We may have watched around 4-5 Malayalam and Tamil movies on the CD at home. A couple of them were those of Mohanlal and Sreenivasan from the 90s:-) "Rajamanickam" is the current rage in Kerala. Mammooty displays his prowess of speaking with a trivandrum accent and enthralls the gallery in every scene...It seemed like he has started where Rajnikanth left in Tamil movies. Nevertheless Mammooty once again shows why he should rank amongst the top actors of the country.

Pavithra wanted to have a look at the "real" back waters of Kerala. My argument that Veli is one of them went unheeded since it has become so commercialised that it has lost its naturality. We decided to go towards Varkala and found this place called Kaapil. It reflects the beauty of Kerala in no uncertain terms. You have options in boating. Moreover it looked like very few people tend to go there. But I would recommend this place to anyone who wants to spend an evening away from the maddening crowd in the company of back waters and the sea.

On route to Mumbai we went to Kozhikode. Apart from catching a "budget" airline to Mumbai another reason was to see the IIM (K) campus where Rajan studies. My parents and Anand joined in till Kozhikode. Calicut is a sentimental favourite with me for other reasons as well. I had my first under 13 state cricket camp there in 1988 and also took 6 wickets in an innings against Andhra in 1991 during my under 16 stint.

Before I end, here is another recommendation. Air India express flies into Kochi and Kozhikode from Mumbai and currently it costs as less as Rs 2000 for a one way trip. Not many people know this and I chanced upon this after exhausting other costly options. The cabin stewards and the crowd may be on the duller side but all that is forgiven when your next credit card bill comes!

ps - Loyolites should have a look at this blog: http://jiby216.blogspot.com/2005/05/oh-for-team-worth-cheering-for.html
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    busy

After a long break...

The last journal I penned was in June 2005. Seems like a long time ago. Sometime back one of my friends had told me that blogging is a good for your friends to know what you have been doing. This is of course a positive in today's fast paced life setting.

Yesterday I was on a one day business trip to Chennai. A place I normally do not frequent. However this trip turned out to be a good one. On my way back, relaxing in the business lounge I could get to see some of the public figures around. The Srilankan team was there apart from Ravi Shastri, I S Bindra and Anupam Kher. The Lankans were going to Bangalore to play a practice match before their test tour of India starts. I would have got to see the Indian team as well, with some initiative from my side.(by waiting at the check in area rather than sitting in the luxury of the lounge) Meanwhile, I was quite content with the signatures of Sangakaara and Mahela along with the opportunity to see some stars like Muralitharan, Attapattu, Vaas and the coach Moody.

At home front Pavithra has joined back to work with Cap Gemini. She seems to be enjoying work which augurs well for the both of us.I visited Spain during the first week of November in connection with a pharmaceutical fair. The other positive from the trip was the opportunity to have a look at the Bernabeu which is the home ground of Real Madrid.Close encounters of the soccer kind!
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    none

travelling

I am posting this from Basel in Switzerland. We have been on a trip from the 10th of this month, starting from the US before coming down here. We head back to India, the next weekend. This has been a very hectic business trip moving from one place to another every other day.

What really touched me was the fact that many of my friends touch based with me while in the US. The nobles’ junta called up through Sreekumar and Sony. I was surprised to get a call from Sony having lost touch with him around 1993! Sree was in his usual self. There were a few others who mailed me during this time.Reni and Aswati came to meet me at my hotel (Hilton, Newark). They formed a lovely couple. The Friday at Newark turned out to be another truly memorable one. Sriram my mechanical engineering classmate came along and took me to the Times Square area. Some impressive hoardings made good photo opportunity! CETians (College of Engineering, Trivandrum) are many in the US, since doing an MS has always been a well established path to get ahead in one's career. We met up with Sangeeth (Tele '96 batch) and Abu (our batch). Apart from that it was a good occasion to remember the good old CET times.

I could not talk to Mrinal, though he had left a voice message from me. He is currently studying law in Boston. I know him from an assignment he was on for Lupin while we were doing an agreement with another company. He used to work for DSK legal then.

Anil and his wife were with me on Saturday. His brother too came along. They live in Philadelphia. We went to an area called Edison. This is known for its "desi"ness and we ate Indian Chinese food at Ming. The idea was to go to New York and see a couple of places. However the snarling traffic did not leave many options open. It took a while before we could enter into New York. I had to be at the JFK airport by around 7.30 pm. We drove through the Wall street and got a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty from Battery park. We took the Westminister bridge route to get on to the expressway into the JFK side.

By around 7 pm we reached the airport and I said good bye to Anil and his family. At some level I also thought about my friends who have shifted the US and who may eventually make it their home.

Pavithra is at Bangalore and it has been nice to catch up with her on the yahoo once in a while.
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    calm

Finally we win...

On April 23, 2005 we played the season ending game at the MIG Club at Bandra. The final was the culmination of the E-Merck cup which is played amongst the pharmaceutical companies in Mumbai. Zandu had beaten us 3 times in the last two years. Two times in the last year's tournament and once in this year's as well. They had won the trophy for 5 years in a row. A difficult side to beat...

Winning the toss, Zandu chose to bat on an overcast morning. They finished the innings at 239 in 45 overs. We beat them in 38 overs losing just 3 wickets. Yours truly scored 65 runs opening the innings. I also won the "Man of the Match" award for the performance. A first for me since the time I started playing cricket!

Pavithra saw me play and I guess it settled those doubts on her mind about my competency to play cricket:-)

Aside - This is the same ground where "God" (Sachin Tendulkar) plays his cricket...
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    calm

in Singapore

My last visit here was also my first outside India. It was purely co-incidental that I had to step out into Singapore due to the Qantas flight getting delayed.

But this time around I am here on a business trip. I have found that the place is not as mechanical as it seemed like on my first visit 3 years back. Tamil is one of the official languages. The Indian population is quite big here. There is a place called Little India which would have compared well against any of the places you will find in Chennai.

Malaysia is next door. With the Singapore currency far too strong against the Malaysian Ringitt, you will find many Malaysians working in Singapore on a daily basis. The restaurant in my hotel had one Velu (of Tamil origin) who travels daily from Malaysia to work there. The nearest Malay place could be reached within 30 minutes!

I did the "Night Safari" which is touted as the world's first night safari. I would rate it as an "OK" experience.

Sanjay called me up from KL. He is moving to India for good by the end of the month.I look forward to being with my wife later in the day:-)
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    None

Another year passes...

I have not been regular at the site. I would not attribute it to the lack of time, but to a definite lack of enthusiasm. Married life has been good and Pavithra has found a job quite close to home. Whether it means, she can spend more time at office or more time at home needs to be seen:-)Work has again "plateaud" and will need some fresh initiatives for sustenance!
Rajan has come and my folks are expected later this week. So x'mas and new year will be with them. This year's cricket season hasn't picked up. There are matches coming up but the team has not got on to the ground for sometime now.
We have registered for the Mumbai Marathon "Dream Run" and that should be something to look forward to.
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    irritated