Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Tough Tour Finally Is Over….

I started writing this post the other day when I was still at the client’s meeting place after finishing a really really tough program which. But I couldn’t finish it at that time since I was asked whether we should leave by a delegate who happened to go along with me since his residence was very close to where I was staying. As the delegates were doing some work and for that, I wasn’t required, I thought that I should spend time writing about this tour of mine which proved to be one of the most stressful tours of all times. The last two weeks were among the most difficult two weeks of mine. If you haven’t read the immediate last post of mine, please read that to know the reason of this statement of mine. Though its over now, I can still feel the heat of the program very clearly just like I did when it was just about to start.

As I said in the last post, there were some really tricky things which got messed up when the final deal was closed. And poor soul me was not at all aware about all those things and due to that, I was caught up right in the middle of a hay storm. On one side, there was this customer who was completely right in his demands since he wasn’t aware about the nitty-gritty details and was not even made aware too and on the other side, there were people who got the deal and now, didn’t want to let go it just because a digit requested by the client was 2 now instead of originally sold 1. And I was standing in between of all this, trying to scratch my head and think that how can I make this program come to its completion with a good note, especially the addition of number 2 is a real game-changer with tons of new things under its sleeve! Just imagine that your sales team has promised someone a product of 2010 release but have sold and delivered them the product of 2009, you are not aware about it, there are some new keys added to the product and you are struck in between of these two entities, how would you feel? That’s exactly what I was feeling when I started the last week of mine here.

Somehow, some way , using all the techniques under my belt, I did manage to pull the things to the end with a good note and I was really hoping that I won’t get struck into the same mess for the next week. Yes, there was another program lined up in the immediate next week, with the same shadiness involved and I really wasn’t willing to be a part of it again. But that’s never possible that when there is some thing which is going to be really problematic , it won’t come to me and that’s the same happened this time too. I was told that since I handled things so well, I would be the one who would be handling the things for the next week as well. Damn! And to make things worse, I was already told by the previous week’s guys that the next batch would consist of some really high profile people who would actually give me a tough time. As per them, they were “quiet” ( they were not really “quiet” actually but anyways) and the next batch would be really “loud” . Well, thanks for the motivation , I said to them in my heart and was just praying that all would go well.

This wasn’t the only change which did happen. The venue of the place was also changed. I was going last week to a location which was quite near to my guest house and it was just so easy to come back from there in just few minutes. There was not much of the traffic jams and all which were there in front of me. But now, since the client was not happy with the logistics of the place, the venue was shifted and now it’s the client’s own premises which is about 25kms from my guest house. It takes about 30 minutes even when there is no traffic and with the traffic, its never less than 45 minutes before I could reach the guesthouse. Though my cab was really good and comfortable, still this much of travel with an added “overhead” ( will remain unpublished) , was not really a joy ride at all. Along with all this, there was this current set of delegates which did consist of highly experienced professionals with an experience of 10+ years and working as senior consultants and managers, designations which are enough to make anyone sweat! Did I mention that these two weeks were really tough?

The delegates were highly experienced and few of them, had already worked over this technology and were handling it as well. I don’t normally meet people who happen to have a knowledge about Oracle community and about the big names within it but to my surprise, there was one delegate in the last session, who not only was aware about all those big names but was also following them by reading their work and was even in-touch with few via online methods. Now, if someone is in talks with the big gurus whom I follow myself, its just natural that his knowledge level would be really really high( not counting me in that listing though) and that was absolutely true about this delegate. He was having a very vast experience and knowledge level and that was not just limited to oracle but to the other technologies like operating system, networks, storage as well. I must say, I was very happy and satisfied to see him nod in agreement when I happened to give a statement. There is nothing better than someone really knowledgeable mentioning that what you said is correct IMO! There were lots of discussions which did happen in the entire week and I must say, I myself got a lot of clarity about few things as well, something which I always look forward to have. Though it was a really tiring session/week, it was still rewarding in many ways and as the guys were happy when I was about to leave, that “smile” was there on everyone’s face, I guess that statement,”all is well that ends well” , fits just perfectly here. It was tiring and tough but still, in a way, it was a lot of fun too. There were many things which did happen from couple of people which just made me smile a lot( a special smile of mine which many are not aware about ;-) ) , the food was good compared to many of the places where I have visited, the ambience was nice. So overall, it did come out well even when I was really doubtful. I still have to get the official rating which really does matters a lot but I hope it won’t be bad, fingers are crossed! Anyways, thanks a lot guys for your co-operation, warm welcome and also for taking care of me when I was there. I hope we can catch up some time later in some another program and exchange more ideas.

This tour was not just unique in its offering of the toughness but also there was something else which did happen for the very first time for me related to the city Chennai. It may sound a little weird but I never happened to stay at Chennai for more than a week. Its always wham-bam-thankyou-maam kind of thing for me here as I always reach here on Sunday and leave on Friday night. And that’s what was planned for this time too which, if you have been paying attention, got changed as I mentioned somewhere above. So for the very first time, I was having a loong and lonely weekend to spend here and I had no clue what to do since there is no one whom I know here and even though there may be some places for recreation ( definitely there would be) , I had no idea about them. So on Saturday, I just decided to take rest and just be on the bed. Normally, there are no power cuts at this part of India almost ever and the power supply is almost constant. But this time, may be since I was there for the first time, there came a power cut and what a LONG power cut it was as the power went at 10am and came back at 5pm. Just imagine that you are at a place like Chennai where there is no point of staying a minute even without air-conditioner and you have to stay for 7 hours without even a fan too! Well, you can’t imagine it, you have to bear it to understand it and I did it in a really really hard way on that day. It was a real long and hot day which did get over somehow. Fortunately, for the Sunday, I had made a plan and that was to visit a temple where I was asked to go almost 8 years back but I couldn’t uptill now. Since I happened to be present here and had a free weekend, I decided to visit there. The temple’s name is Srikalahasti temple. I had to offer prayers there. The temple is really far away from where  I was staying. It took almost about 3.30 hours to get to there. To offer prayers, there were couple of types of fee structures. To avoid hassles, I picked up a hefty amount in the hope that I shall get a special treatment which to some extent I got too as I got a personal guide for me who did help me a lot in almost everything. He told me how to do the prayer, made some arrangements, did show me almost the entire temple while explaining things as well. So overall, it wasn’t too bad with just one problem that I didn’t get a chance to offer prayers on an individual basis. I was lucky since the day I went to the temple, it was some sort of special day(good thing) but due to this, the temple priests decided to club people together for a group prayer sort of thing(bad thing) . So I had to share space with some 15 more people who were there for the same prayer. The prayer went for some 2 hours time. There was almost everything okay except for the part when the priest was asking all the people to enchant words that he was speaking. Now, I guess that’s a real tough thing for two reasons. One, he was speaking from a microphone so the voice was not very clear. Second, he was saying some really long words and when I say long, it was really looooongg. And if I have to add a third reason, he was speaking in some ancient language and it was really hard to figure out the exact word and its pronunciation. So I happened to be quite with few of the words to be honest. Finally, the prayer was finished and I just hope that it happened well and God would accept it. I also got a chance to a see a small temple of Lord Ganesha which was 30feet down the earth. I was so tired once I finished with everything and also, it was very late when I started back to home but let me add this, while coming back to home, I was so happy and there is a reason for it, a very special reason which I wont mention here (and elsewhere) but I must say, I became really really HAPPY, something that doesn’t happen with me most of the times! It was indeed a very special day, at least it was for me by the time I got home!

I didn’t get permissions to take pictures inside of the temple. I did take a few bad shots just from my mobile phone though which I shall see if I can post, haven’t made up made up mind on it yet. I shall update the post once I shall decide to do so. If you want to have a look, there are some pics in the link too that I have posted above.

Since I had a week of work to do after that long weekend, after finishing it , when I came to know that I have another program starting in the immediate next week, I decided to stay at Chennai only for another Saturday before catching the flight to my next stop. Since I had a stay for one more day, I thought to check out a newly opened shopping mall( I know, there is nothing really to check in a shopping mall actually), Express Avenue! Since its a newly opened mall, it was quite nice, with lots of people checking it out, lots of shops with tons of international big brands merchandise. I wasn’t really in a very good mood so I didn’t buy anything but I did have a taste of ice-cream from Baskins & Robins which was sort of okay. After spending almost an hour at the mall, I was finally back home.

Since its over now, I can say that I have mixed thoughts about it. There was learning, there were issues, there was tiredness, there was stress, just like a mixed vege sort of thing. Anyways, its finished now and there is this new program which I have to take care about and I hope it will go fine. I am feeling a little tired so will try to take rest, chances of which seems to be really slim.

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