Sunday, January 18, 2015

Early Morning Travelogue….

I am sitting at Starbucks outlet right now, writing this at 3.37am. Yep, it’s too early and goes without saying, at this moment of time, if I am up and writing this post, it means that I am on the airport.

I came back from Singapore a week ago. I was supposed to write about it as soon as I was back but I got stuck in just too many of the things. So before mentioning about this tour, I shall mention about the last one.

It was going to be the 1st tour of mine in 2015 and I was going to handle the session for the delegates of the same client for whom I finished the session in December 2014. Since I knew the module, I wasn’t worried much about the module. So the travel started of on an easy note for me. I booked a cab to the airport and it reached at my home on time. The travel from my home to the airport was also did finish quite comfortably. On the airport, I did finish with the check-in and other things very quickly and now I had just too much time to kill before the boarding would start. I got a cup of coffee and started waiting for the boarding to start. Normally, I wouldn’t bother who is there with but when you do notice a guy wearing dark shade glasses and a gal with him, trying to mimic Lady Gaga, you can’t miss noticing them, can you? I really don’t like those people who wear sunglasses over the airports or anywhere indoors. No, it doesn’t look cool and neither do such people appear more classy in any ways. So when I did notice this couple, it was quite obvious, it was yet another couple trying to appear more classier than they actually were. Anyways, finally, boarding got started and guess what, the same couple was sitting with me only. The guy was from Punjab and the gal was from Canada and they were going to Singapore to have a vacation. It was for the first time for that guy to fly anywhere so he was quite scared but also excited. The gal was trying hard to portray that all of this travel doesn’t really bother to her and she is just fine but it clearly wasn’t the case as she was also looking just as confused as her guy was. Anyways, I did tell them whatever they needed to know about Singapore and also told that if they need any help, they can let me know as I was going to stay in a hotel quite close to them. They told me that they have their travel agent coming to pick them up  but he hadn’t reached yet. I offered that I could stay till thetime he won’t show up but they didn’t seem to be much keen for it. So I finally said goodbye to them, took the cab and headed towards my hotel. And I didn’t hear them afterwards.

In terms of work, the week was quite hectic. The module that I was delivering was a very hard one and we had a room full of very smart guys, who were doing a lot of discussions among themselves and with me about different topics of that module. So it was a lot of good discussion mixed with lots of light moments which made that tough module also quite light and without we knew, the week was finished. The delegates were very smart, as I said already but also they were very friendly and witty and when we closed the session, they all left with a smile on their face which is always a good sign and shows that things did go well and I was able to do my job successfully. A big thanks to all the delegates. I hope and wish we would meet again soon in some other module soon!

As I mentioned that the delegates were very friendly, a big example of that was presented by one delegate, V(who is now a friend) who very kindly offered me to join him to visit Gardens By The Way. He had a complimentary ticket of that garden and he asked me if I would like to join him to visit the same. I must mention that it’s a very costly ticket and it was very kind of him to offer me one for free. It was my first time to visit the garden and I must say, it’s worth every cent spent on its ticket. It is really really good and if you are visiting Singapore, I would very strongly recommend that you visit the place too. A big thanks to V for it! Not only this, he also helped me in understanding the local train and he also accompanied me till half way as this train travel was very new (and confusing) for me. A big thanks to you again mate and I hope and wish, we shall be friends for forever from now on.

Finally, the week was over and I was back at home. I was supposed to have  some rest but as I said, one thing followed after the other and the week turned out to be just so much hectic. Only a day I could spent being a little relaxed but the next day, I had to leave for work which brings us to today. Remember,  I am still sitting at Starbucks and had a Caramel-Macchiato. This week, I am traveling within India itself. But the module is going to be a tough one. And to make matters more interesting, I have a hotel booking for just 2 days at the moment. Trust me, not a good thing it is!

I shall go and get a big cup of Latte before proceeding to the boarding gate. Thank god it’s Sunday today which means I can take some rest before starting the work tomorrow. Anyways, time to go now! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Back At Home….

After a very stressful weak, I finally reached home the other day. Though technically, I am not still at home.

The journey back to home started on Saturday morning. Since it was an early morning flight, as like always, I couldn’t sleep fearing that I might oversleep and miss my flight. So I was  doing one thing or the other and finally, when it was time, I just left for the airport. Luckily, as soon as I got out of my hotel, I got the cab. So there was no delay in that part and as I started very early morning for the airport(4am) , I reached airport in about 20 minutes itself. It doesn’t take longer at Singapore anyways to reach the airport but still, even by that means, 20 minutes is a short interval of commute. I had done my web-checkin already and it took in total about 30 minutes to complete everything. So now, I had a lot of time (about two hours) to spend on the airport. Since breakfast was going to be served anyways in the flight, I decided just to take a cup of coffee and open my eyes, which were getting closed due to sleep. I did walk back and forth couple of times since even most of the shops were closed so chances of doing window shopping were not there. At right time, Singapore airlines did start their boarding process and I was aboard.

I initially decided to have breakfast and just sleep but when I looked at the in-flight entertainment magazine, I noticed two movies which appeared interesting. So instead of sleeping, I decided to watch both of them. And I must say, it wasn’t a bad decision. Though I liked one movie more than the other one but both were nice(first one was nicer). The first movie, which I really liked a lot and saw in-fact twice, was The Equalizer. Now, I am sure someone would say that he movie has no plot and it was clear right in the starting of it that what’s going to happen. But I liked it and I really loved the way, it was shown that someone who appears old and fragile, how he can be so deadly and has amazing combat skills and despite being all that, still has a heart which has emotions and feels pains of others. I wouldn’t explain the movie so watch it and let me know if you liked or hated it. Did I say that I watched it twice-in the same flight?

The other movie that I watched was A Walk Among the Tombstones.Now, the sole reason for selecting this movie was Liam Neeson, who in his movie Taken was just superb. But this movie, though it tries to be thriller, fails to impress. Again, it’s my opinion so I am not sure that whether you will like the movie or not. But somehow, I felt, I wasted my time watching it. That was the reason that after watching it, I again watched The Equalizer!

By the time, I was done watching these movies, it was almost the time to land! :=)

Though I didn’t sleep in the flight(and it has nothing to do with the flight at all), the flight, in all the aspects was just fine. Singapore airline is known to be one of the finest and their attention to detail is well known. So they tick all the right checkboxes when it comes to either the behaviour of the air-crew, food, flight in general-in short , about everything! The only issue that I had was my co-passenger who somehow was on some high ego horse. He didn’t talk much, not even a courteous hello, kept on laughing so loudly that even with me having my ears covered with headphone and volume nearly about 80%, I could hear him laughing just fine! One moment, he had issues in getting his headphones working and when I offered to help, he just said, no, I shall handle on my own. Well, what you can do, some time, you do end up sitting with someone who probably didn’t want to sit along with you.

The flight landed and as soon as I touched ground, I realized how cold it was. I had a week off from work for me so after clearing all the things and collecting my luggage, I was on my way to home. Thanks to thick fog and really really bad traffic, it took almost two hours longer than usual time to reach home but goes without saying, it’s always worth of all the obstacles.

2014 is going to end today and 2015 is already there. This year was a mixed bag for me. I hope and really wish that 2015 is going to be a year which brings success, happiness and good health for my family and for all the near and dear ones! And I wish the same for you, the reader as well! Do keep visiting here as you are always welcome here and so is your comments. So see you in 2015 and have a great new year eve party tonight! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Tough Week Came To An End(Happily)….

Yes, I do remember that I mentioned that once I shall reach at the location, I shall update the blog and I couldn’t. And it’s not because that I didn’t want to but one, I was just so tired that as soon as I reached hotel, I just crashed over the bed and fell asleep, only to wake up at 6am to get ready for the session and two, the entire week was just so much tough.

My travel from Delhi was pretty much okay. It was a flight of 5.50 hours but fortunately, airline comes with a good number of movies of different genre that one can watch and can pass time. I did the same but watched one movie which I already did see before-Transformers: Age Of Extinction. It’s a good movie and despite that there is just so much of VFX work, it’s still is a good movie just like the other movies of the same series. The other movie that I saw was The Great Hypnotist, which I didn’t like much. Though the movie presents a good surprise element, it appears like an art movie than a thriller. Anyways, in between of the meal service and occasional moments of falling asleep, finally I reached. It didn’t take much time to reach the hotel and as I mentioned before too, all I could do was just to find a bed and crash over it. Yes, I was just this much tired!

From next morning, Monday, it started a very tough week. I was called for this program on a special request and it’s always a big challenge to meet the expectations, especially when all are counting on you-not just your manager and colleagues but also the customer. We had a lot of delegates in the session, probably it was my first time to see such number of people in any overseas session. Thought it’s very common to see such number in India but it’s not often a case when it’s an overseas location. But despite that the module was very tough and was completely new for all the delegates, we spent the entire week having a great time! There was a lot of excitement among the delegates for some very core new features of the database and I am sure, they would be using those new features soon in future at their shop. All the delegates were really very friendly and  supportive. It’s always so good to have experienced and knowledgeable delegates in a session and this time also, it proved to be a very good experience, for me at least. I am quite hopeful that delegates were happy and satisfied too. And the reason for my optimistic assumption is each went back wearing a smile on his/her face. And that’s a great sign that says, hey Aman, all went well. Before closing the day, delegates  took 2-3 group pics and finally, we ended the week on a very happy note. Thanks a bunch all! You were just amazing. Thanks for the kind words and I am already looking forward to meet all of you( or some at least)  in upcoming sessions.

So now, as I am done with the work, it’s time to get the packing done and be ready for my travel back to home.  So I shall be getting on to the packing now. But it wouldn’t be right to close the post without wishing you all Merry Christmas, happy holiday and a very happy, prosperous 2015. I hope the coming year brings for all of us and for all our loved ones just lots of joys, happiness, success and good health! Stay blessed!

I am going to be waiting for my flight and while doing so, to catch some sleep-a really challenging task if you ask me! Signing off!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Back & Forth….

That's what is happening since the last 3 weeks!

I am sitting at the moment at New Delhi's T3 International terminal and waiting for my flight boarding to start. I just finished yesterday a session at Banglore(which went just great) and I was supposed to stay back at Delhi only. Since there was just one day between my next travel, I decided to stay at Delhi. But thanks to super-intelligent travel agent, after getting the visa processing done, he sent the passport back to my home. So despite that I had no reason to come back home(which would had been for just a day), I still had to. Now, coming back home is always just so good but it's just that this time, it wasn't planned like that. Since it's mid-December and the temperature is already about 5 degrees centigrade with so much of fog, it's not easy to travel at midnight 1am.But when you got to do something, you just got to do it! So I had my cab booked and we started at about 12.45am and reached at home at about 7.30am. Needless to say, I was just shivering and was icy-cold-despite that the car had heating on all the time. Hello December!!

If the journey from Delhi to home was chilly and icy-cold, the travel from Banglore to the airport was just nerve cracking. I booked the cab to drop me from the hotel to the airport one day prior. It's always a big crunch of the cabs on Friday evening and to avoid any last minute issues, I always book my cab a day before my travels. And never I had any issues, except this time. The cab service sends the information of the cab 20 minutes before your scheduled pick-up time via text message. Yesterday, their text message read "we are unable to find any cab at your area at the moment. We are looking and shall get back in 10 minutes. In the meanwhile, we encourage you to make alternative arrangements." HUH? Are you kidding me? How on earth it's even possible? I quickly checked with my hotel and they said that in about 20 minutes, with a little extra charge, they can arrange the cab. It was a big relief as at least now, I had an alternate arrangement. At exactly my scheduled time of pick-up, I got a call from a cab driver of the cab company that he is coming to pick me up. When he arrived, he told me that it was just now he was informed to rush to my hotel. Seemed like the advanced booking paid of. Finally, I had the cab and we started. Just before I thought that all is fine, I realized that the driver is driving at a fixed speed of 60kms/hour only. When I asked, he said, cab is having some issue and he can't push it for more higher speed. Amazing! And just to make things interesting, almost the entire way, he kept on talking to either some other customers or with fellow drivers whom either he was giving the work or was taking bookings from them. A journey which shouldn't had taken more than 1.15 minutes, took 2hours 10 minutes. Fortunately, I had done the web-checkin already so I was okay. I dropped my luggage at the web-checkin counter and was ready to go. The flight flew without any issues and surprisingly, despite the fog and all, it made an early arrival as well!

The travel woes are always there but the good thing was that the session went really well. It was supposed to be a basic module for very novice guys but I got a mixed audience where few were having less experience( they were not completely novice) and few were already expereinced in the technology. So it was a good fun to mix some things that would help the experienced guys along with keeping the not-so-novice guys engaged as well. The delegates were just really good and friendly! Besides the technical discussions, we also had some great laughs discussing many other off-topics. And they also gave a very kind rating with very good words. So thanks a lot fellas, it was just amazing to be with you all and I hope we would meet soon again!

The earlier week was free for me but the other week, I delivered a session at Hyderabad. I wanted to write about it as soon as I was done with it but I fell sick when I got back. It was one of the best sessions that I delivered. The delegates were just simply amazing! They were not only just so smart but were also so friendly, supportive and filled with just so much of positive energy. I knew some of them already as they were in my previous sessions. So that session turned out to be just so great! We had so many discussions, on-topic and off-topic, few of us had breakfast and lunch almost all the days together and very kindly, not for once even, the guys let me pay! It was just so much great and I can't say it enough I guess! Thanks so much guys! You made that session just so great and I am so thankful for all the kindness of yours. I really really hope that we shall meet again very soon in some other session.

Back to reality, which means today and the week that's going to start tomorrow. It's going to be one of the toughest sessions that I am going to deliver for many reasons. I am just crossing my fingers and hoping that Santa Clause would be kind enough to make this week go fine even though I am working on Xmas! Let's see what happens!

Since I had started at about 1am last night, I am feeling really tired at the moment and sleepy like hell! So I am wrapping up this post and shall go and get a quick cup of coffee. If you are not working in this coming week, have happy holidays and I wish you a Merry Xmas and a very happy 2015! And if you are going to work, well, work hard and I wish you a great week!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Finally,A Wee Sigh Of Relief….

It’s been two weeks since I had posted the wee travelogue. Though I had thought to post a quick update about the (boring) weekend but I was just so tired that I decided to mention about it in the final post only. Not only this, I was also worried about the outcome of the sessions of mine as well and that’s why, was not able to really sit and write any thing except just doing the preparation. Today it’s Friday evening which means, I am done with both of my sessions with rating of 1st one as “awesome” and of 2nd, “a full house” ! So I can finally have a little sigh of relief before starting to panic about being my return flight.

The tour started pretty much the way it should had been-without any drama. I took the cab from home and reached airport at about 5am. My flight was leaving at 9am and as I had done the web-checkin already, I had plenty of time to get through the immigration and security. Once I was done with all of it, I grabbed a quick McCheese Roll from McDonalds followed by a Latte from Starbucks and started to wait for my flight. Fortunately, flight was on time. Once I boarded the flight and checked the in-flight program, I figured out that it’s going to be a long and boring flight as all the movies in the in-flight were either old or just plain boring. After 5 hours, I landed at Singapore. After clearing customs and immigration, I took a cab and headed to my hotel. I guess I must had been tired like hell because after reaching in my room, I just crashed on the bed and realized in the morning at about 6 that I had slept for about 12 hours. I got ready and reached the office. Since I had delivered this module already, so I was a little relaxed. The delegates were also very friendly and co-operative and the whole week passed like a breeze. I always say that if delegates have a smile on their face when they are leaving, it’s a sign that you have done your job well. Not only the delegates had smiles on their faces but also they took couple of pics with me along with giving a good rating and saying some very kind words. I was done for the 1st week and now, I had a weekend waiting for me and after that, a tough week which I not only had to survive but also had to come out as a winner.

But before that, I had a weekend in-front of me that I had to live through-harder thing to do than even delivering a tough module, trust me!

Anyone who travels a lot (work related) would tell you that the toughest thing is to spend a weekend-especially when you have visited a place already and know about it. There is nothing much that you can do except, either you would revisit all the places again or you would try to take as much rest as possible and prepare for the next week. I mostly would be at the same place where I have already been because of the nature of my work and that’s why, almost all the times, I choose the 2nd option and this time also, it was the same thing. I slept, studied,  again slept, again studied and in-between, visited few restaurants to have dinner. Yep, very boring indeed but that’s all I could do as I was super paranoid about the coming week. A very tough challenge was awaiting for me and thinking about what to do to make the weekend interesting was at the bottom end of my things-to-be-worried about!

And finally, that week was there now!

You might be wondering that what was making me so concerned about this week, isn’t it? Well, I was going to deliver a very new and very tough session and a huge faith was shown by my manager over my when she gave me this session. So living up to her faith and not doing any mistakes were two worries (besides the other ones about the module itself) which were making me so worried and concerned. Anyway, the module started of okay. Though there was several hiccups but eventually, everything went fine. As I said in the starting of the post, I got a “full house” rating and the delegates went happy and smiling. So I am very happy that somehow, the week ended up on  a good note and most importantly, I could live up to the expectation and was able to keep the faith of my manager. A BIG thanks to her guidance, support and encouragement without which it would had been a very tough ride or probably, wouldn’t had gotten the opportunity in the first place itself. And also, thanks to the delegates for both the weeks for being so co-operative, friendly and for giving such an awesome rating! Hope we shall meet again in some other program soon.

Now, normally that’s where I shall wrap up but this time, something else also did happen and was completely unexpected which is worth mentioning before closing this post.

At the same floor, where my session was going on, in an other room, same session was delivered by one of my colleagues. I was out in the lobby area having my 1st cup of coffee of the morning when two delegates from his session(which wasn’t started yet) came towards me and introduced themselves. I didn’t recognize them at all but very surprisingly, they knew me from my contributions over various online forums and other such contributions. Both were very very kind and after some time, my colleague came to me in the break and mentioned that all of them (they were a batch of ten) were talking about me and was telling him about me! Now, if you know me, I really don’t feel very comfortable listening about me and that’s the same I was feeling at that time too. He said, they are all like that they have met some celeb today and I told him that there is no such thing and I am not even close but I am thankful for their kindness. And in fact, I am feeling embarrassed that I don’t know any one of them. Finally, the day moved on and I was again got busy in my session. Next day, while the lunch break was going on, I heard a knock on the door and a guy came inside. He mentioned some names and also said very kind things. Just when I was thanking him for the kind words, he asked whether I would mind taking a selfie with him? Well, I said to him that it’s a little too much but if he really wants, it’s okay.So below is the selfie that he took.

Selfie_SGP

That was a little too much if you ask me but still, a HUGE thanks to all the folks for being so kind and showing so much of respect towards an ordinary guy like me who by no means is special! And yes, I am aware that I am looking horrible and so is the smile on my face.

So finally, it’s time now to close the post. It’s time now to get going with the packing and be ready for the travel-an equally tough thing like struggling with a tough module  related to Oracle database, or may be even more harder than that too!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Going Back To The Routine(Travelogue)….

From the past few months, I have said it again and again that I shall be resuming my blogging habit but I guess, except for a few posts, I haven’t written much. Now, it wasn’t that there wasn’t anything worth writing a post about it but I was(and still am) just occupied in one thing or the other. Again, it’s the same excuse probably that I have given in the past too. Anyways, once again, I am going to try to write more often now compared to the last few months.

Since most of my posts are about my travels, this current one is not an exception either. I am just about to start travel. It’s an instantly decided travel(it wasn’t planned earlier) so there was a little chaos about getting the logistics completed. And while I was taking a small nap in the car, my driver almost killed both us when he tried to overtake a car. But thanks to God, it didn’t happen and  you are reading this post.:=)

I am just hoping that the work goes fine and so is the travel. Let’s see how it goes and also, I shall try to write more posts. Have a good weekend all!

Monday, October 27, 2014

North India Chapter Of AIOUG-A Beginning….

I come from North India region of India. Though this part of India is considered to the richest, both in terms of wealth and culture, one thing that it lacks really badly is the awareness about what’s going in the IT world currently! There are just so many colleges and universities but the number of IT companies, doing serious IT work can be counted on fingers of one hand itself. In such situation, awareness about what’s going on the world of Oracle technologies is just so little. And that did bother me for a very long time. I always wanted to start something at that place where I was born and brought up. I had this discussion several times with my friend Navneet Upneja and we did think about couple of initiatives as well. But finally, when I shared the same with Murali Vallath, he suggested something which he himself did for a long time i.e. arranging a tech-meet with few topics presented on monthly basis. And very kindly, he also mentioned that AIOUG would be completely supportive in this initiative. Well, that was it and immediately, I talked to Navneet who brought with him two more friend(who are now the part of  “A-team” of AIOUG-North India Chapter)-Deepak Sharma & Nikhil Kumar. Along came Rohan Walia to support the initiative. So on March 29th,2014, we organized the 1st ever tech-meet up under the banner of AIOUG’s North India Chapter. To be honest, we didn’t expect but we got a really really good response. We did two talks with me presenting the latest feature of database version 12c, Multitenancy and Navneet spoke about the new features for Developers in database 12c. And since that time onwards, we have been conducting our monthly tech-meet on the last Saturday of every month and trying to cover as much as possible part of North India. Did I mention that the response has been just superb all the time?

This month, we marked the 8th tech-meet and also, we did for the 1st time, a webinar using G+ Hangout starting with the inaugural note by PS Janakiram from AIOUG board, followed by session of Rohan on ADF and in the last, session from me giving introduction of Exadata and Smart Scan. We decided to go for the webinar as it was a festival season and we believed, almost all the places, professionals would be enjoying a time-off with their family. So instead of asking them to come out and attend a tech-event, we decided to bring the event to them. And for those, who wouldn’t be able to join us, the recording would be there on our AIOUG-NIC(YouTube) channel. Though it was our very first attempt to conduct such kind of event but it turned out to be great. There were some small technical hiccups as we were using this hangout thing for the first time for such kind of technical session but that was kind of expected and we did overcome the issues eventually. It turned out to be a great session and we have decided now to incorporate this webinar along with our in-person monthly tech-meetup. After every 6 weeks, we shall be conducting one such webinar with one expert. In our opinion, it would be bringing such technical sessions to a wider audience, especially for those who can’t come and attend such events in person. Also, it would give opportunity for speakers to present their sessions with much ease. Hopefully, we shall be able to bring great experts on-board. The recorded webinar session is available at the following link,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0MpT6qOoB0

It wouldn’t had been possible to start this journey without the continuous support of the All India Oracle Users Group(AIOUG) and without the awesome team of North India Chapter. A big thanks to all and also to all the attendees who have attended the past tech-meets ups. Without their encouragement and kind words, it would had been lot tougher to keep the ball rolling.

I am sharing the web-page of the group along with the social media links. If you are also willing to present, in either the in-person monthly event or in the webinar, feel free to ping us!

AIOUG-North India Chapter

AIOUG-North India Chapter(Facebook)

AIOUG-North India Chapter(Twitter)

AIOUG-North India Chapter(G+)

AIOUG-North India Chapter(YouTube)