Saturday, August 27, 2011

Spicejet Sucks


Aug 26th 2011. SG 913. ETD 17:30 @ Hyd. I was all set for my week long travel plan(Hyd-->chennai-->Karaikal-->Kumbakonam-->Coimbatore-->Hyd). I worked overtime on wed and thur so that I can be relaxed @ office on friday. There was telecon scheduled by VP of my business unit at 10 a.m. on friday. My manager told this is an "important" call and everyone should attend. I woke up at 8:00 on friday,packed my things and managed to attend the call just in time. The agenda of the call was they were laying off 8% of the workforce in my business unit worldwide!!.What a way to start a day.There was minimal impact on my team. One of my on-site team mates was let go..Following that was my focal(hike) meeting with my managers.No surprise the % was very low than what i expected.My manager said.."Inspite of all happenings in our business unit, we are still giving a hike".I was thinking "poangada vennaigala"! It was a busy and disappointing day at work and I left office at 15:30 to catch aero-express at 15:45.The bus was late by 15 mins and I rushed to the checkin counter @ 16:45.

I left the boarding gate around 17:20 and when I was near the plane I could see a six member team working seriously near the front wheel of the plane. It looked rather unusual.At 18:00 captain of the flight announced,"there is a technical snag in the flight which has been rectified and it will take off in 10 mins"(after a technical snag, the captain needs a approval from boeing to take off) causing jitters among the passengers(olunga veedu poi saeruvoma-Will we reach home safely!!) The flight never took as expected and the next announcement came 30 mins later. "There is some unexpected delay in getting the paper work done.The officer to approve the paper work is not reachable"..OMG!! (That appatakar approval officer would have retired home early on friday evening).At 19:00 we were asked either to cancel the ticket and de-board the plane or wait for another 30 mins.

Only one guy cancelled his ticket and boarded off. Rest of us were waiting impatiently with our fingers crossed. My bus to karaikal to chennai was at 22:30. I called my mom to check about the plans in my native place. She told me I can reach by Sunday morning. I was relieved. In the worst case Spicejet would arrange an alternate flight on Saturday.Few others were in a more precarious situation. One softie was supposed to board a bus from perungalanthur at 19:00 and another to karaikudi @ 22:00, a flight from chn-->kanyakumari, a flight from chn-->singapore. All their plans were gone for a toss!

Inside the flight there was utter chaos. Passengers were getting impatient and went blasting at the spicejet crew - left,right and center. One tamilian said "T**oli pasanga(MF in english!!).I have to travel 2000km. Lets tread anna hazare's footsteps and walk out of the aircraft. Airport authorities will step in and we'll get a solution"(ithu enna pandian busa.Nenaicha naerathukku keezha eranga).In the meantime I was involved in a small talk with some softies who were en route from Jaipur after a IBM conference.(SG 913 - Jaipur-->Hyd-->chennai). They wished that flight landed directly in chennai instead of stopping @ Hyd!! Finally we were asked to de-board the flight at 19:30 still unsure about the alternate arrangements.

After we boarded off, there was total melee @ Shamsabad internation airport. For a moment it looked liked Koyambedu market!! The spicejet crew was mobbed by frustrating passengers. The crew was not able to handle the pressure well.One guy said that an alternate flight is coming from Delhi, the other guy told it was from Mumbai and the last one told we are taking off in the same flight(Am i going to land in chennai or hell!!). Passengers were irked by the response. Finally one guy announced that the alternate flight is confirmed at 21:50 and started issuing fresh boarding passes.Folks were reluctant to pick it up unless the ETD was displayed. They wanted our old boarding passes back in order to issue new ones. This wasn't valid. If we give our old boarding passes, spicejet can't be sued.One irate customer - young indian american tamilian started foul mouthing the spicejet crew. One tamil lady started laughing at his actions. He went near that lady "naan unagulukku oasaram(iyer slang!) sanda poatuttu irukaen. Enna patha comedy piece maari thariyutha"(I am fighting on behalf of all, do i look like a comedian?)Finally after the long hoopla we got our fresh boarding passes. It was 20:45 and still no refreshments!!(varum aana varathu) Most of us ate at idly and dosa counter.I had a plain dosa for Rs 100!. A kingfisher beer at 175 was a better option though! One north indian guy uttered "We should drink on this incident sometime dude!" That sums up the frustration everyone was under.

The base flight from Delhi landed on time and we boarded the flight at 21:50. At 22:00 engine started.Everyone started clapping :). The so called refreshments were served atlast. Cup noodles and activ orange juice.I grabbed only the juice. Most of the juice cans dint have a straw. Air hostess pierced the can with a pen nib. Look at the hospitality!! One guys asked,"Won't u serve meals instead of noodles". Instantly came a reply,"You have to pay"(Bulbu!!).Flight landed at 23:15 and I reached my aunt's place around 12:30 a.m. I postponed my trip to karaikal by a day.I read few pages of Lance Armstrong's autobiography and fell asleep.

Harsha bhogle in his book ‘the winning ways’ says, "A successful organisation will be measured by how well it handles crisis scenarios.He quoted how cadbury india tackled a worm issue in chocolates during Diwali season."Spicejet on the contrary did exactly the opposite.They dint give a damn about customer hospitality and satisfaction. They couldn't even arrange proper refreshments. Had it been any other country Spicejet would have been sued for lakhs. Management dint step up to the issue and left the lower ranked trainees to handle the situation. They chose money over reputation and their image will take a beating for sure. I have decided not to travel by spicejet anymore if there is an alternative. Same was the feeling among several passengers on board.

To sum up, "Friday Aug 26'2011 was a bad day and spicejet sucks big time"!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Batting Powerplay

How many teams have put the batting powerplay to good use? Hmmm..very few..Batting powerplay has more often than not actually worked against the batting team.Teams have gone for glory and have eventually ended up losing wickets. In the recent India vs SA match where we won by a run, SA batting powerplay was the turning point!!

Most of the teams take the batting powerplay after 34 overs when the ball is changed. In an effort to up the ante batsmen actually throw away their wickets. I have seen a few matches where the batsmen have maintained a steady run rate of 5-6 till they take the batting powerplay. But they were unable to consolidate from that position. Mistimed shots trying to clear the inner circle, slog shots and premeditated shots caused the downfall.

With the world cup round the corner, teams will be mulling over when to actually take the batting powerplay. Should they take between 16-20,34-39, 46-50? It depends on a number of factors like wickets in hand, projected score, current batsmen at the crease,strike rate of lower order batsmen etc., If you have guys like yusuf pathan who can clear the boundary with effortless ease, there is no point in taking the powerplay during the death overs. My strategy would be to take it during 16-20 overs if you are couple of wickets down at max. If things go according to plan, run rate will shoot up. Incase if you lose a wicket, batsmen have to switch to safe mode and attack at the end of the innings.

Indian team has been specifically poor in making use of the batting powerplay. I remember one instance when Sachin took the powerplay at the 28th over vs Aussies. Aussies were caught unawares;we ended up making full use of the power play and eventually went on to win the match. This is only of the very very few instances where india made use of the powerplay effectively. On most occasions our batting powerplay has been characterized by the loss of wickets. India’s success in 3rd batting powerplay will be one of the deciding factors in the coming edition of the world cup. Ideally we should be taking the powerplay when we have well set batsmen at the crease who can play proper cricketing shotsWe should try to find the gaps instead of clearing the infield.With the likes of Pathan and Dhoni there is no use of delaying the powerplay till the end.

Let’s wait and watch in how many matches it will rain 4s and 6s!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

60 odd minutes

Last time it happened was on Feb 14 2010. Its the annual online catch up among BVB guys. A bunch of v.v.s. guys. If I look back and feel happy about where I am now, these guys definitely need a special mention. 8/30 guys in my class made it to PSG. Impressive strike rate!!

The conference happened today thanks to Abdul and Sundi. Sundi sent out his marriage invite without changing the subject of last year's email I sent out to the guys for the conference call. Mr.Abdul saw only the subject and never read the contents. He was eagerly waiting to talk to my batchmates. I dint want to disappoint him. Google docs made my job easier to create a poll and ask for a convenient date and time for the next call. We decided to have the call on Jan-16.

I took a ten minutes stroll from my home to Sundi's new home. We logged into skype around 10:45 a.m. The call was scheduled at 11 a.m. Only Sankar was online. Thats typical of our guys. They never keep up their time :) I called up Srini's mom.Srini was still asleep!! Then i buzzed Badri. He said,”Machi..Skype la account balance over. Have to find another account”(I was wondering why this guy needs account balance to login..). Thats Badri for u..As sundi and I were having a chat with Sankar, Hari and Vatsa joined. Hari was trouble shooting with Badri to help him login. Even we had to help him out to install a new version of skype :-) After he joined, he kept boasting about his relocation to Newyork city. He was staying in a kook-gramam(very remote village) until now.

Abdul slept at 5.am in the morning(tats saturday night party effect) and woke up at 11 after i gave him a ring. Badri in the meantime managed to login and was attending the call from his bathroom..lol..soon we were joined by Dinesh(a.k.a goali), Eshwar,Srini n Chari.Abdul was having a tough time sorting out the issue with his mic. His effort was invain till the end of the call.His mic ended up making mysterious sounds.

Everyone wished Sundi who will be losing his Bachelor's degree next week. We discussed about our batchmates(that will include a few girls ofcourse!!),shared what each one was doing and after chit chatting for around one hour we decided to end the call. We missed Adit,Maddy,Rossy,Rajesh,vivek,kushy,venkat,shekar,rams,varun n vicky who werent able to turn up.Hopefully next time we will have more folks.

Srini,Chari,Eshwar and Suraj joined us in person. Sundi n suraj showed us their engagement albums. It was a nice way to end my pongal vacation.. Love you guys..Stay in touch.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

vz training days

I completed 4 years in my IT career couple of months back. The most memorable period in these 4 years was my training days in verizon. This blog is dedicated to my rocking training gang @ vz :)

I joined Verizon on June 19th 2006. We had a few days of orientation @ GRT grande -chennai. After that we were given a training schedule of 1.5 months. There were a bunch of guys from PSG tech. I quickly skimmed through the training sheet to see if any of my friends were there. Luckily i was in the same training track as Bragadeesh(braga),Rajagopal(kozhi),Arun(Andi) and Phalgun(pointer phalgun).

The training was held at Ascentra building in kottivakam. I was imagining that it would be a hi-fi training centre but it turned out be a apartment like building :(. On day one, typical of any PSG tech guy we occupied the last row in the training room. We were joined by two other guys Balamurugan(Bala) from NIT-Calicut and Arun kalyanasundaram(thala kotta) from BITS-Pilani.All of us started getting along quite well from the first day itself.

Our training mainly revolved around c/c++. Mr.Phalgun found the going tough as he dint know a shit about pointers.Hence the name "pointer" phalgun. This guy spent the entire training playing a bike game on his mobile.Now and then he used to gaze at a c++ book by kanetkar. Looking at Rajagopal's physique, the guys named him Kozhi.Usually in colleges we used call some guys pazham(guys who knew only about studies and sounded naive about N other things). Arun told us that pazham guys from Pilani were called kotta pasanga. This guy looked like pazham of all pazhams. So we named him thala kotta.

Most of us loved playing games while the instructor was taking class.I used to play K-sokoban in linux. Rest of the guys were in search of a good game. Here came our chief game supplier to the rescue - Madhan(.NET madhan) from the adjacent training track. We also gave nick names to a few north indians girls like Minnal(lightning), Ponam(dead body), OG(not going to expand this!!), kindi. Most of these girls pronounced adayar like adyaaaaaaaaaaaar. Kozhi came up with the root cause. "Adayara adi vaiyathula irudhu solraanga". Every one burst out laughing.Andi was a laughing machine. One will start laughing just by seeing this guy laughing. Still cant forget watching Pulikesi with Andi and our training gang.

We used have a awesome lunch menu.It turned out be far better than verizon office food.During lunch hours Madhan,Balasubramaniam and Thames used to join us. After lunch we used to have a juice at a near by place.

c++ training got over in 3 weeks. Phalgun was still breaking his head over pointers. After that java training started.We had the ultimate trainer -Salaivan Muthu. Paathalae evaru oru comedy piece nu thaerinchu paochu. Once he asked Kozhi to take a seminar.
Salai: Rajagopal will take a seminar for us tomo.
Kozhi : Sir. naan avadi la iruthu varanum. Long journey.So wont find time to prepare for the seminar.
Salai: Thambi na ambatur pa.Avadi thoorama ambatur thoorama?
Kozhi :Avadi thaan thooram(remember the vivek comedy :) )

Kozhi itha oru saaka solli escape aiytaan.

As training period ended we came to know the project and technology that we will be working on. Phalgun was praying that he shouldnt get a c++ project. Avanoda thuradishtam he got c++ project. Everyone else started teasing him right away.

To sum up it was a very memorable experience and still most of the guys from our gang have a very good bonding."Those were the best days of my life..(guitar sound) "

Current status of my training gang members.

Braga - Quit verizon after 3 yrs. Worked for ebay. currently he is a team lead in Lister technologies.Cycle gap la completed his MS from Pilani.
Andi and Madhan - Complete their MS together. Both are working in US. Andi got married recently.
Kozhi - Ericsson R&D.First from our gang to get married :)
Bala - Did his MBA from SP Jain. Business Analyst in Lister
Thala Kotta - Last status.He was working in Novell.Currently not sure where he is.That is typical of thala kotta.
Phalgun - Will be completing his MBA from Thunderbird. Sabha c++ tholla inimae illa :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

ubuntu 10.04 tweaking Nautilus control

Ubuntu 10.04 got released recently.They changed the placement of the minimize,maximize and close button on the Nautilus explorer. This was quite annoying since i use both Windows and ubuntu. Here is a way to tweak it and bring the placement to the traditional fashion.
1)Press alt+F2
2)Type gconf-editor
3)Go to apps->metacity-->general
4) Edit the key "button_layout" to "menu:minimize,maximize,close"

And you are done!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My top ten cricketing moments

I have been watching cricket since i was 7 years old.Here is my top ten list not in any particular order.

* Titan cup -1996. India was playing against Australia @ banglore.Chasing a moderate score of 216 Indians were staring defeat at 8/164. Local boys Kumble and Srinath sealed off the match for India with a partnership of 52 for the ninth wicket.Both their moms cheering from the stands was a wonderful moment.
* Kumble's 10 wicket haul vs Pakistan in kotla test-1999. Pakistanis were clueless about Jumbo's leg breaks and googlies.This record is unlikely to be broken by an Indian bowler in the near future.
* Coca Cola cup 1998. Indian were struggling to reach the finals of the tri-series held at Sharjah.The master blaster came up with a back to back century helping India take home the cup. This is amongst the best innings in Sachin's career.
* 1996 world cup quarter finals vs arch rivals Pakistan.Jadeja' made a blitzkrieg 45 of just 25 balls. India won the match by 39 runs and Jadeja's knock was a crucial one.
* 1998 test series in India vs aussies. Prior to this tour, aussies had a test series win over Newzealand and SouthAfrica at home. Warnie was a force to reckon with. Indian top order esp. azhar and sachin tormented the leg spinner.It was a wonderful sight to see the indian batsmen play against the spin even when Warne pitched on the rough. We won the series 2-1.
* 2001 home series vs Aus. With 0-1 down in the 3 match series, Indians were following on in the 2nd test. Mr Very Very Special Laxman turned the match and the series on its head with his innings of 281. India went on to win the series 2-1.
* Natwest Series final 2002. Chasing a mammoth target of 325 in a final, Indians were tottering at
156/5 with Sachin back in the pavilion. Yuvi and Kaif put on a 100 plus partnership. We won a cliff-hanger and Dada took off his shirt from the Lords stand to give Freddie a taste of his own medicine :-)
* Commonwealth bank tri series 2008 in Australia. Saviour Sachin hit match winning knocks in the first two finals. Very well deserved cup for Dhoni's young team.
* Border Gavaskar Trophy in Aus-2008 .After the monkey gate incident and controversial decisions in the first test, Indians went into Perth test as underdogs and low in confidence. We gave a fitting reply to the Aussie bas***** with this win. Sachin, dravid, laxman knocks and Ishant Sharmas intriguing spell to Ponting were the highlights. Though we lost the series 1-2, it was a memorable series down under.
* Sachins double century vs SA 2010. If cricket is religion,then Sachin is the God. No other words are needed to describe this innings.

Monday, February 1, 2010

TEDx was worth the 1000 bucks

Long time i was thinking of starting a blog. I went to this event TEDx @ Hyd last weekend. It would be worthwhile to get kick started, blogging about this event.

Most of you must have come across this term TED.To those who havent it stands for Technology,Entertainment and Design.Chris Anderson is the curator and it was co-founded by Richard Saul Wurman. Its an open event where anybody could come and give a talk on an area of expertise. It has been gaining much attention of late with so many TEDx events being organised across the globe.

This event held in Hyd on Jan-31 was called TEDxHiTechCity.The venue was ISB. I started from my place at 8 in the morning. I was accompanied by my collegemate Allwyn and his colleague from TCS.

No surprise, the auditorium was almost packed to capacity. The event started off around 9.30 with a bharatanatiyam performance by Smitha Madhav. First talk of the morning was "Honey,I shrunk Everything" by a program manager @ microsoft. He explained about how he networked various electronic gadgets in his home.It was followed by a doc from an eye hospital explaining about curing eye damages using stem cells.

There were handful of social activists speakers at the event. Kanthi kannan spoke about her org. 'Right to walk foundation".She emphasised on the importance of pedestrian footpaths in a city.She quoted "40% of hyd population walk to work. But they have to take an auto to cross the road!!". There was a slide "Bravery Awards" showing people struggling to cross the road.Another lady Karuna Gopal is working on urban development.She is president of Foundation of futuristic cities. She lost her parents due to ailments, survived a heart attack @ 14,auto immune disease @ 19 and to add insult to injury her son suffers from neural disorder.Phew,was else a person can take! Kudos to her for what she is doing now.

Nagesh kukunoor, maker of "Hyderabad Blues",narrated how directing was a not so easy profession. Iqbal in which he put in minimum efforts became a hit. On the contrary, Bombay to Bangkok a film in which he put in maximum efforts, flopped.Prosenjit Ganguly an animation designer spoke on how to made a animation clips using the ideas of 8-12 yr school children.The directors of the animation movie were the children themselves.

Vijay Anand from 5th pillar,an organisation to fight corruption urged everyone to give up bribing. He distributed zero rupee note. If you are asked for bribe from any govt. employee you can use this zero rupee note :-). guys in chennai can try this out. The org. operates predominantly in chennai and is trying to expand to other parts of the country.

Sharat Chandra, an IIT-IIM graduate and founder of butterfly fields is education children with the concept of "learning by doing". His speech was on the lines of the theme of 3 idiots.A trumph card game on vegetables,snake and ladder game to teach integer addition and subtraction.

Other speakers at the event were Nadendla Manohar-deputy speaker of AP, S.M.Ahmed-Scientist who worked on Chandrayaan,Vasudeva varma- Faculty @ IIIT-Hyd,Dr.Neeraj-he spoke on transforming healthcare education,Mujeeb-President of BHUMI,jyotirmayi sharma - "Do we really need democracy" and Iqbal Patni- a poet.

Pick of the evening was a 18 yr old guy,chaitanya,recipient of United Nations Youth Excellence Award for Community service and Social Entrepreneurship. He is the founder Secretary of Passionate. At the end of his speech he was given a standing ovation.

Audience at the event were mostly software professionals and a small group of school children.Atleast 10-15 PSGians were present.At the end of the day TEDx was very inspiring and was worth the 1000 bucks.You can find interesting videos at www.ted.com