Sunday, October 31, 2010

TTP….

No, that has nothing to do with anything technical. It just stands for terrible throat pain which I am having since last couple of days. Its really hurting very badly and I am just too tired of having medicines and I guess the doctor, whom I am visiting is also just experimenting with me. None of his medicines for this have worked so far. I am sure throat slit must hurt so much but what if someone is not slitting your throat once and for all but poking fork sitting inside it every moment since that’s exactly I am feeling at the moment! And the usual things like fever and coughing is obviously there to make me feel really uncomfortable, not to mention even the upset mood! Let’s see what else the day has in store for me? 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

At Last….

…I have got some free time! I have finished a program just yesterday and I guess, I am free for next week. I guess I needed some rest since I have been out and traveling from last one month and have been handling some of the toughest clients and programs in this interval. There is an obvious physical tiredness which comes but more than that, there is mental tiredness which comes up. Fortunately, I have been handling different modules in all these weeks, except for the 2nd and 3rd week where I had the same module. But even that was a good thing since that particular module is the one which I want to handle as much as I can. There are several modules which I have decided for me and that particular module is one of the list. I shall be short since I am not feeling well and not having much strength to think, sit and write. Sorry but I really can’t help it!

The program which I did in last to last week, was among the best ever programs of mine. There are several reasons for it too. One, the program is considered to be one of the toughest ones in the entire course listing what’s out there for professionals who work with Oracle Database. There are so so many things which can be a real tough thing to discuss when you have delegates sitting in front of you having 10+ years of experience, handling terabytes of databases which are all mission-critical and any issues arising to any of those databases would lead to nothing but lay-off from the employment! Its really tough but on the same note, really good to discuss things with such kind of audience since they are not going to stop you when you are speaking really deep stuff and also, they are not going to ask you simple things. These kind of delegates ask you some of the toughest questions which make you step back, pause and think deep before you even can dare to speak one word too! I absolutely love this kind of session since I also learn a lot from these people who really know a lot more than I do! This batch was full of such people and it was also filled to the maximum number of people which are allowed in a batch. I had a real good time discussing things with the delegates and I must say, all were really knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. Fortunately, there were couple of them in that batch, who attended a previous session of mine in an another city and went back home smiling. When they found me sitting at the instructor’s desk, they were really happy and so was I since I  remembered them so well too! Just for the record, I don’t forget things , people and anything that I say or is said to me! If you are going to say something to me, be assured that even if you are going to come and ask me after years too, I shall be remembering it as it was said yesterday and the same goes for things that I say too! This also holds true for the things that I observe and sense, its really tough that anything skips from my attention when I am really keen and looking and its rare that I shall forget about it. Anyways, enough of self-praise, its not a post about me and my skills right? So I was saying that there were few delegates whom I already knew very well and there were many new ones as well. It was a real good batch and we discussed lots of technical stuff. Its always so good to see that people are understanding what you are saying and also, are enjoying listening to you too! Finally, when the session got over, I was happy to see all having smile on their faces. Those whom I knew already , told me that they really did enjoy the whole session very much and would be proposing my name only in the forthcoming sessions for their company which is a very very big thing for me! One of the delegates did find out that I am an Oracle ACE and he asked for my autograph! If you are a regular here, you must be knowing that this was the 2nd time when someone asked for my autograph. The first incident happened when I attended an user group conference. I am really not at that level that I can be signing autographs and those who know me and are close me more than what world can see, they probably would say for sure, “huh, autograph and yours? “ :) . And its true too, I am not a celebrity, not Tom Cruise, nothing so I am not really not someone who should be given such a big respect! But, even when I won’t like it, I can’t be rude to those who do give me such respect and say no to them. So I gave my autograph to that delegate on his notebook on the page where he specially wrote my name and mentioned Oracle ACE with it! Thank you so much for your kind gesture! Almost all the delegates wrote some really kind words for me in the official rating for which I am really really thankful! Thanks a bunch guys, you have been very kind and I hope, we can meet in some other session soon! On that very good note, I said goodbye to them and started waiting for the 2nd week where I had a different set of challenge to take.

The 2nd week’s program was an overseas program but due to less number of students at that place, it was done through web-conferencing. There were lots of issues which started in the fist day, first hour of the program itself. We use a particular website to log in and start the session. Just before the program, that site stopped working for me! Well, you can imagine that if you are going to be the host of something and you, yourself can’t be there, it doesn’t leave a good impression on the people who would be attending that program isn’t it? Unfortunately, there was no apparent reason that me and my technical coordinator could find for the issue. After struggling for two hours, it got sorted out on its own, the darn site started working on its own and everything was surprisingly fine! The program got delayed by two hours but somehow, I managed to get the schedule back on the track. Since the program was happening for overseas delegates, the timing was really early for it to start. I had to drive to another place to do it and this is the reason I got fever too, thanks to the cold weather and me being stupid by not wearing any woolen/warmer/jacket while driving in that kind of weather. Anyways, after that stupid issue, things were almost fine and there was no real trouble that did come in the entire week. Yeah, I was not feeling well and that was a real trouble but for me only :) . The delegates mentioned several time in the sessions that all is going on very well, everything is very well organized and I am doing a very good job when explaining things so I believe, all was okay only :) . There were lots of discussions in this program as well and that does indicates that all was okay. We finished the program yesterday and though I couldn’t see the faces, I am quite hopeful that all were having that smile on their face which I always want to see to be there!

So that was about the last two weeks. I am really tired now and also not feeling well too. I guess, fever has come back again and I must eat something and take my medicine. Hope I shall be fine before my next tour because its a real tough thing to be sick and be on the road!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just Four Lines But Amazing….

Good morning(evening)! Its Monday morning here in my time zone and its the day to start of work. Well, I am really not in a mood to do that actually and for it, its not me who should be blamed. The weather is so nice outside and a bit chilly too. I have landed here yesterday and since then, its been raining almost all the time thus making the weather both romantic and sad. Its just the way you look at it which would make the difference actually. Even now, its raining, not really very heavily but enough to make person wet in a minute or so. I just called up my cab driver to check that when he is coming and he has told me 8:10am so I still had few minutes to listen to some songs and check emails. I am playing a song from the movie Anjaana Anjaani which released just a few days back. I haven’t seen the movie but I am sure that its not worth to do that too. So nuff about movie, let’s talk about the song that I am playing. Its Tujhe Bhula Diya( I have forgotten you) . Its an amazingly good, sad song! Its sung by Mohit Chauhan who few years back, started a band Silk Route and now is a lead playback singer in Indian film industry. His voice is an amazing voice which depicts pain just like its your own pain, its your own trauma which is coming through.

The song is really good but much more than the song even, its start which keeps me hooked to it and its not really a song but a piece of poetry which is in Punjabi. Its just SO GOOD! I shall put the complete song’s translation here when I shall get some time to do but the piece of poetry is what I am going to put here right now. As I said, these are in Punjabi and here they are,

Naina laggian baarishaan te sukke sukke supne v bhijj gaye!
Naina laggian baarishaan rowe palkan de kone vich neend meri!
Naina laggian baarishaan hanjhu digde ne chot lagge dil te!
Naina laggian baarishaan, rutt birha di,baddlan di chhaan gayi!

And here is the translation of it in English,

Rains of tears are there in my eyes and it has made the dreams wet too!

Rains of tears are there in my eyes and in a corner of my eye, sleep is crying too!

Rains of tears are there in my eyes and tear drop when the heart is hurt!

Rains of tears are there in my eyes, its the weather of sadness, the shadows of clouds is gone too!

I can just say that its just amazing! I am not sure how well I have done the job of the translation of the poetry in English so if anyone can come up with a correction or better, a better version of translation, leave it in comment section. Its an amazingly sad piece of poetry if you ask me. Tears, even with no voice associated with them, no words attached to them, speak so much, depict those things which at times, are difficult to be expressed even by the words too and that’s all what the above four lines are saying!

Well, its time to get back to the real, cruel world and deal with its issues. Do watch this space as the complete song’s translation is coming soon!

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.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Dissatisfaction….

<<RANT STARTED>>

I don’t really like to be the 2nd best or the 2nd rank or an under-performing act of mine(and of anyone else too). I am happy only when I know that I have given my best and have performed really good! If that doesn’t happen, for whatever reasons it may be, it makes me really unhappy, dissatisfied, pist-off and all the things which can be related to an upset mood. And this is the exact state of mind I am in at the moment of this writing.

I really hate it when there is no clear conversation done by the sales with the client and because of it, the end person, the person who has to face the client, which is ME , faces all the trouble. Why not spend just few extra minutes, clear out all the doubts , tell everything black-white and make sure that there is no confusions in the end? Why to choose a confusing terminology just to end up being confused , client being confused and putting that person who is going to face the client in a real awkward position? That’s the same what has happened in this week where the client had expected something else, sales told them something else and both had no idea what is the correct thing? And when it came to me, I told what I was supposed to tell when asked which got backfired on me only as now I had to handle things. Did you get into such situation some times when you are sent to war with a gun which is not even assembled yet and is asked to read a manual to assemble it one piece, read the same manual  to find the FAQ about it, to learn how to use it and use the same manual to fix it when there is some issue? And guess what, the interesting part is, you have never even seen that gun in the past or present life of yours ever! So how well you would be doing at the war-front? What would be your odds to come back alive? That’s sort of same thing in which I am since the start of this week and I have a strong hunch that this would continue for next week too. Its not still confirmed but I am sure that’s what is going to happen!

I am really unhappy from my performance over here and that’s not my fault , let me put this here for the record! Still, its going to come out as my fault only, something about which I can’t do anything except just to be upset, angry and pist-off. Time to get back to real world!

<<RANT ENDED>>