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)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father’s Day…..

Not sure what to say except that do take care of your dad, love him, respect him and all the efforts that he makes to make your life better on the expense of leaving his own comfort and remember, once there would be a time when he won’t be there. On that day, no matter how hard you would wish, you won’t be able to hear from him, not even his scolding that some of you probably hate too much right now! And for me, I don’t know that anything more I can than what is said already in the following pic,

IMG_436456624551268

Friday, May 30, 2014

Feeling Exhausted, Completely….

At times, no matter how much you feel strong or push yourself, there comes a moment when you feel like really really exhausted and burnt out. And that’s exactly the same how I am feeling right now. I have finished this week’s work and now sitting at the airport. There is going to be a long delay in my flight( 45 minutes) which is not a surprise as the airline is Air India . If they are able to fly on-time, than it’s a surprise but being late is just so normal for them. Just one more thing to make me feel irritated. What’s the other reason that I am feeling irritated? Well, without any reason, I have got fever last night, that’s why!

Last few weeks were really hectic and tiring, both physically and mentally. I had a back-to-back travel from Cambodia to Hyderabad and then from Hyderabad to Banglore. I was somehow managing but I guess, my body gave up on one day when I just collapsed. Took some rest and got my momentum back. Got a small break but I couldn’t get any rest as my mom wasn’t well at all. Her sugar levels got so very high(350-400) and doctor asked us to take immediate action. He changed some medicines, started some new ones and asked her to be really really careful with her health. She does takes a lot of care of herself but still, the sugar level got so high somehow. Since she is a heart-patient as well, it’s even more important that her sugar levels remain in control. I had to come to work this week as it was already scheduled long time back. Just when I was having a little bit of relief seeing that the session is going well, I got fever, don’t know how? All of a sudden, last night, I felt like my throat having so much pain and I felt so much cold. I switched off the air-con, took a tablet for the medicine and barely was able to get some sleep. Now, the fever is not there but still, feeling like so much tired. Just had another tablet and a cup of tea. Hopefully, tea would show its magic and once I get down from the flight, I shall be feeling better. Fingers crossed!

Despite that the fever and all the other tensions gave me so much tough time, one good at least did happen-my session did go really well! The delegates were really good , friendly and co-operative and we had quite good discussion rounds. In between of all the techie discussions, we also managed to squeeze-in great deal of laughs as well which kept the whole session really light and lively. All the delegates left with a smile on their face which is always a great sign that they liked the program and the person who delivered it-which is yours truly! Not only they gave an excellent rating but also they took snaps with me and I am so thankful to all of them for being so kind and friendly. Hope we shall again get together in some other session soon. I also met my very close friend Senthil whom I don’t see very often now as he doesn’t travel much now-a-days. But it’s always a pleasure to meet him. Luckily, this time, he was delivering a session in a room next to mine so we could spend some time together. He took me to show the new office as well. I met him for few minutes today and since I had to leave today for the airport in the evening so I said bye to him in the afternoon only. Hopefully, we would be able to meet some other time soon.

So the session went fine but it doesn’t seem like I can say the same about the travel tonight. It’s going to be another 2 hours before I would come to know whether the flight is taking off or would be further delayed. Traveling, at times, becomes really tiring and boring and when somewhere Air India is involved, the phrase “bad experience” achieves a whole new height.

Signing off and going to get lost in the waiting-zone!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Weeks Is Over But Not The Tour….

So it is Saturday here at Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and I am done with my work of this week here. It was a tiring week and at some instances,  I got a really upset as well. Tiring because of the module-Oracle Security is a really difficult module to deliver if you ask me. There is a lot of concept that goes into the Security contrary to many who thinks when it comes to Oracle database Security, Auditing is the only thing to remember. Anyways, let me not bore you with what is Oracle Security. The other reason I found the week tough was the language. At the customer site, just a few delegates spoke English well while others did try very hard but not really able to do it so well. And that makes it really really hard to communicate with the people sitting in front of you when you have to look at their facial expressions, body language along with whatever they are saying to understand the context of the discussion. This proved to be the hardest part of this week’s session. I hope I managed it okay as the final rating is “really good” (won’t mention what it is though but take a guess if you can) . And lastly, as I mentioned, I got a little at some moments as well. I can understand when someone has difficulty in understanding the vocal language but what about the reading and following the written text? If almost all the chats, emails you are doing in English, it does mean that at least when it comes to reading the written text, it’s okay for you to do so. Then why it is so hard to follow so simple instructions? More than the real issues to solve in the sessions, I had to solve the issues like when someone hadn’t bothered to read that he/she has to be in a particular folder(directory for those who use only Windows) to open a specific file? How hard it is do and that too when you are already supposed to know the bare minimum of Oracle database anyways? Well, seems like this was also a difficult task for few delegates but giving them the benefit of the doubt, I guess may be they were pushed into the program simply because it was happening. It wasn’t checked properly that whether they were really a good fit for such an advanced program or not actually. Anyways, as it is said that all is well that ends well so I guess I would say thanks to all who attended the session and I hope it is going to be useful for you. Despite of the things I mentioned, all the delegates were really nice, friendly and tried their best to understand the module and tried to take care of me in the best possible way. One delegate even made coffee for me twice despite that I asked him so many times not to do it. So a big thank you everyone! I hope we shall be meeting again soon in some other program.

So this week is over but it’s not the same for the travel. I have another program at a different location at India and for that, travel will start in about 2 hours from now and it would be a LONG and tiring travel. Besides almost 6 hours of flying time in two parts, I would need to wait for almost 13 hours at the airport to catch my  connection. It’s time to start packing the bag and getting ready now. See you latteeeerrrrrrrr!!