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Twilight series: New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn & Midnight Sun!

Feb. 6th, 2010 | 03:07 pm
mood: amusedamused

I think most of Jan 2010 went in reading books. The snow in zurich left little option for anything else or maybe I just found the books interesting!
I probably might be judged about my mental state for liking teen flick novels at this age, but I guess I don't care :) whatever keeps me interested. Although the books seem absurdly intense. I guess the idea of a vampire and a human, deeply in love is intense!
The books written from Bella's voice were a lot more interesting for me. (Maybe cause of my gender! I'm not sure). The one from Jacob's voice was also bearable, but somehow the last unfinished one from Edward's voice was a heartbreaker. There was a certain mystery in Edward which kept me going through the first 4 books. That mystery had a more than sad ending in Midnight sun. His character seemed like that of any other guy on the street once you get to know his thoughts... The vampire mystery vanishes right out the window! But atleast the first 4 books are worth a read if you have the time.

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Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Jan. 23rd, 2010 | 07:19 pm
mood: curiouscurious

I don't think I have read so continuously before. I actually finished the 260 page book in a day. For my speed I think that's an achievement. Although my husband finds it funny how I read novels... almost like course material ! I need silence around, no noise of tv/youtube should disturb me.

Anyways, Like Sarah mentioned it was actually difficult to put down this book. I felt 10 years younger, reading a slightly high class version of m&b. Not that it's a bad thing at all. I bet most men won't agree! There's something about men always hating m&b. I still can't forget back in college when Pushkar found one in my bag and asked me to open the pages with the "good stuff" and pass it back to him!! Rotfl.

Anyways, back to the book, after having seen the movie, the book felt a lot better. But then again, has there ever been a movie made better than the book? It was quite engaging and VERY romantic. I didn't think I could still enjoy reading romantic novels anymore. This was a pleasant suprise. I guess worth a read for the younger crowd. I wonder about the remaining 3 in the series...

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The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Jan. 23rd, 2010 | 02:42 am
mood: contemplativecontemplative

It seems that I just might have got back my knack of reading after years… or maybe I just picked the right books back from india this time.. Or maybe the lack of any social life and lack of watchable tv channels and boredom of youtube did it for me!
Again, having read all other 4 books of Dan browns and most of them more than once… I wasn't even aware that he had a new book in the market over a year ago. While I was shopping back in bangalore, I stopped by a book mandi right on the pavement next to bangalore central and was looking at the books, unimpressed when the guy decided to reveal his gem stone. From a small stack next to a tree, he removed a freshly xeroxed book. He had that glint in his eye as though he was passing on a ancient preserved gem stone worth millions. He showed me the book, and I was almost skeptical this was a spoof, not a real Dan Brown book. However, considering the rate, I thought it was worth a lot more than the price to me if it did turn out to be a real Dan Brown book. Having almost lost the art of bargaining, I decided to repolish those skills and got the book even cheaper than quoted 200 rupees.
Anyways, enough about HOW I got the book… Guess out of all his books I have liked only 3 of them, which actually have somewhat Original plots, those being Deception Point, Digital fortress and Da vinci code. To be honest, it seems 3 of his books, Angels and demons, Da vinci code and The lost symbol would have 70% of the text the same. The plots are sooooo similar, it's actually disappointing. Worse, it's based in DC! Almost like someone back in the U.S of A paid him a couple million dollars to glorify DC! There are constant references to monuments in DC being compared to those in the rest of the world / europe etc and that makes it sound even more pathetic.
The thing I really like about this novel is references to real latest breakthroughs in science like string theory etc, makes it sound a lot more believable. Although the ending wasn't at all impressive (nothing to compare with Da Vinci Code)… I guess he plotted out all the places he would write about before he plotted out the actual story. I guess even with all these flaws, it's still been one of the more interesting and engaging books I have read. Atleast it maintained enough thrill to make me finish the book within a week… In all I would still recommend this book.
Next stop: twilight seris… A teammate of mine actually recommended these books. Lets see how it goes!

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2 states by Chetan Bhagat

Jan. 23rd, 2010 | 02:35 am
mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

I just just picked up 2 states when all this controversy about the storyline of the Aamir Khan movie 3 idiots controversy started off between the "story writers" of the movie and Chetan Bhagat! Although my opinion doesn't really matter much in this case, I'm still going to make it known, having read all his books and watched 3 idiots as well! I'd say like 30% of the movie's story came from the book, the rest was inspired and to be honest, I think it was also inspired by the Munna-bhai series on education. I really think Chetan Bhagat walked off with a measly 11 lakh for this movie making 300+ crores already and hence the resentment !
Anyways, coming back to the latest book, having read all the previous books of his, it seems like he somewhere lost his humor in doing social good and seems to have finally landed a good mix of humor and social good in this book. To be honest, the only book I have truly liked of his still remains Five point someone. There seems something very common to all his books, that 2-3 scenes / chapters which sound too fake to be true in real life… About 95% of his book sounds real… but that 5% really spoils the rest of it. But then without that twist of 5%, it becomes a boring life story of every other someone.
The part where he seems to have problems with his father sounds so real yet the part where (and how) they finally come to peace sounds really fake!
All in all I guess for an indian author, he does good for himself, rather than trying to use complicated words.
I especially like how he writes small books and sells them at 70-100 rupees range… it really is bottom of the pyramid oriented! I guess all that IIT-IIM funda's put to good use.
I wish I could be a writer someday!

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A Tribute to Shirley

Oct. 23rd, 2009 | 04:12 pm
location: Switzerland, Zürich
mood: morosemorose

Shirley passed away a couple of days ago due to kidney failure / complications from a blood infection. Shirley was my first dog... 9 years ago, I had fought hard to convince my parents for the need of a family pet and a watchdog. Shirley was a perfect watchdog. She even converted our second dog, a dalmatian, into a watch dog! 8 years is old age for a dog I guess. She lived a happy life. Nurturing Sonu and her pups... Keeping my dad and mom busy... She will be missed a lot...

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Life in Pune to life in swiss

Mar. 26th, 2009 | 10:24 am
mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

Blogging after a while... lot has happened post passing out of ISB... I worked in IT sales in India (mumbai/pune) for a year and a half with some pretty good track record. 1.5 years in pune was an amazing time of my life... for the first time, really felt like I was living on my own. Living in the apt in Bangalore didn't feel that way, maybe cause of the proximity to my parents... but Pune felt far and alone initially.
But it was my roomies and more so Kriti who made me feel so at home those 1.5 years in pune... we had our fallouts and many of them, probably the first friend/roomie of mine who I actually fought with apart from my sister! Really feel bad for having missed her wedding in india last month. I think I would need to dedicate a separate blog for Kriti!! But the time Kriti, Richa and I had in Pune was awesome… it was like home away from home. They took such good care of me especially when I was sick. And then Ashwini moved to pune for her MBA. Helping her with her assignments made me feel like I was doing my MBA all over again. Staying so close to her reconnected our relationship after 13 years and she’s still my best friend, someone who I have fought with only once in my life!

Mayank and my relationship developed during this time in Pune while he was away in swiss. It’s amazing how we managed the journey from then to the wedding in 15 months out of which 14 months he was in swiss! His parents came to pune to meet me & my parents also came to pune at the same time. The first time my parents met him was at our engagement in April 2008 in Bangalore. Then my parents visitied etawah in August and then the wedding finally in Nov 2008. But the separation wasn’t over, he went back to swiss soon after and I could finally join him in Jan 2009.

My official married life only started then! It’s been 3 amazing months. Most would think it’s a constant honeymoon in swiss but with the kind of work pressures that both Mayank and I have, it’s far from that.
Personally, things couldn’t have been better but professionally, I feel exhausted. This is my 4th company and I’m quite tired of changing jobs before even stabilising in one place. Cognizant surprisingly has been a great experience. I think most people think of it as a 60,000 people company, a place where you could get lost. But the forced 6 months I had in Cognizant Pune laid a strong foundation for my work here. Testing was something I always looked down upon but in Cognizant I learnt how much money and business it meant and its one of the only streams in IT where the MBAs could be of good use. Finance was a stream I always dreaded. And now I’m working in IT for core investment banking/credit risk management for THE swiss bank (credit suisse) and actually doing decent (which I think is the bigger challenge!). Sounds great to me but the pressure that comes with the work is the biggest challenge. Work hours are not tiring, most days people can leave office here before 6 pm but there’s a lot of politics and people issues, something I had to only briefly face in India. Like my project stress is not enough, the Cognizant tasks and responsibilities add onto it.
But the better part of all this is how Mayank helps me deal with a lot of issues at work and how we understand each others issues and can actually TALK in detail about work. It’s a huge stress buster for me. But when both of us are bogged down with issues god help us!

Every now and then we try to take a vacation to recharge. Staying in Europe, access to the BEST and most scenic places on earth just a stone throw away is great.

Weekend trip to Venice in Jan was AWESOME. It was my birthday and Venice was THE place of my dreams! Although I hate to say that after seeing it you wonder what the big fuss is all about. 
The pics are here: http://picasaweb.google.com/raoarchie2/2009_01_18BirthdayInVenice#

Another recent trip to Prague in Czech republic left us thinking that most of Europe is the same! On my way to work this morning I noticed the buildings in Zurich and they looked so similar to Prague.
The pics are here:
Mayank and I took a new apt across the Zurich lake. One sunny Saturday morning, we went to the lake to recharge and ended up discussing WORK issues for 2 hours sitting at one of the most romantic places I have been to! I guess that’s romance for us… being able to share our thoughts and fears.

Living and working in Europe last 3 months has been a very different experience for me. In India, ISB is now so popular that I didn’t even really need to work hard to prove my skills. But here, no one knows ISB… no one cares about your educational background! I have had to work hard to prove myself all over again. Guess now I understand why people want to go back to India.

In Zurich, you find people from all over Europe and even Asians and others. You hardly come across any native swiss people at work. People all over Europe who have proved their worth have moved to Zurich to work as this is the financial capital. Competition is fierce here and you need to work at your best throughout the year. That kind of work can lead to a burnout. You find a lot of good people from different countries and are competing with them. Language is a barrier, I need to learn German soon else I will loose my edge.

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Marley and me

May. 30th, 2008 | 10:02 am
mood: hyperhyper

The only book I have read in the last one year, was one of the sweetest books I have read in a long time. I usually stick to fiction of the extreme kinds, so these kind of autobiographies are usually off my radar, UNLESS there's the picture of a very cute dog staring at you on the cover. Being a dog lover, it's hard to ignore such cute pups. It's actually just impossible to ignore pups!
The story is of the lives of John & Jenny grogan and their 3 kids and how their dog marley (the worlds worst dog) impacts their lives through the 13 years that they had him. Of course not to mention the numerous stories of how the dog embarassed them in public and also brought them fame!
The last couple of chapters are heartbreaking to read about the dog growing old and suffering, wish it wasn't explained in so much detail. I couldn't help stop thinking that my dogs (Sonu and shirley) would reach that stage sometime (although they still have a neat 10 years to go!).
Sonu was a lot more docile as a pup but too eager to show her affection. However shirley was absolutely destructive around the house, just like Marley!

Anyways, before I launch off into another loong blog about my dogs, just wanted to recommend this book. If you're a dog lover, you would definitely enjoy it and if you are one of those "pets: i love them in the zoo" kinds, then also you should read it. See the benefits of owning a dog for a pet. :)
Underlying hope: to convince my soon to be hubby who is absolutely scared of even pups to let me have a dog someday!

Oh and I also found out that the movie "marley and me" starring jennifer aniston and owen wilson is in progress and is expected to be released in dec this year. Can't wait for it!

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Looking back at the ISB interview…

Feb. 25th, 2008 | 05:23 pm
mood: nostalgicnostalgic

I was just googling up some GD and PI material for my school friend who got an interview call for Symbiosis Instt of Health sciences MBA Program. I came across a question bank and came across the interview question that I was asked 1.5 years back when I went in for the ISB interview:
Sell me this pencil.
Although I can’t seem to remember exactly what I said, but being a techie at that point, it had been years since I used a pencil! So I blurted out about how these days with computers and laptops being used so extensively, and how the simple act of writing has been lost on people. Hence we should use the pencil more.
Although it seemed like a fairly normal answer to me, the panel seemed somewhat impressed with my answer; I didn’t really figure this out until today finally!
After the 1 year MBA at ISB in Marketing & Strategy and numerous courses and assignments in Marketing & advertising, it seems that I had actually used some of the right elements for selling the pencil! For example, I used an “emotional appeal” to sell the pencil rather than based on its attributes or pricing. Also, rather than selling it based on competition and take a larger slice of the pie, I decided to use “primary advertising” and “increase the pie” altogether – to encourage the increase in use of pencils rather than to buy my specific brand of pencils!
Talk about takeaways from this 1 year of MBA? It most certainly is TERMINOLOGIES!

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Yatra.com Sucks!

Dec. 18th, 2007 | 10:45 am
mood: infuriatedinfuriated

ok, here's a warning for all of you who using or planning to use Yatra.com to book for travel.----- DON'T!!!
So when I had initially come down to pune, over 6 months back, I used Yatra.com to book for a ticket and after entering my credit card details, the system told me that the tickets were not available and that the amount would be credited back to my account. I even have an e-mail and a transaction ID stating the same. For about a month it didnt get credited back. Then i called the customer care like repeatedly, inspite of the failed transaction having full record, they wouldn't credit it back and would tell me to check how my credit card "limit" change would show it. It was ridiculous. I tried to convince them for almost 2-3 months after which, I gave up. It wasn't worth all the trauma i went through. If i had to raise a conflict, i'd have to disable my credit card and then raise the request within 3 months of the transaction. With that being my only credit card, i decided to let it go.
Moral of the story: Yatra.com SUCKS! Please do not use Yatra for your travel booking.

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back to mumbai...

Nov. 22nd, 2007 | 10:06 pm
mood: tiredtired

days after my first drive to mumbai alone... there was a need for another one... but this one for work.
so this time i had a few meetings scheduled and one night stay over needed as the meetings were scheduled over a span of 2 days,
i have stayed at andheri twice and this time i had to stay over at thane.
since i was to go alone, i decided to drive myself down than take a cab...
tuesday (day before y'day) i left home at 8 am and after a cumbersome drive thru the city, reached thane 4 hours later... around 1150 am.
meeting was at 12 and i was bang on time... except... i didnt take a single stop while driving and i really needed to use the rest room!
the meeting began immediately... and without even a cup of tea... went on for over an hour... i was starved since i skipped breakfast and the 4 hour drive and especially the last hour and a half thru some small roads in mumbai,thane had already taken the daylights out of me... finally lunch and another meeting post lunch... then i found the hotel and crashed... thankfully hotel was very close... i wasnt in a state to drive even 2 kms more... after a nap... had to finish off some office work, ordered dinner and went back to sleep.
next morning... drove from thane to andheri... a nice 2 hour drive... for another meeting. Post the meeting... it took me 2 more hours to drive from andheri to panvel through powai, thane and god knows which other places in mumbai... had already done some 100kms within mumbai that day with 4 hours on the road and TIRED was an understatement.
Had stopped over at ashwinis place in panvel for a cup of tea and she asked me to stay back and leave in the morning... seemed like a nice plan so crashed at her place...
left mumbai at 7 am and directly drove into work at 10 am today...
by lunch i was almost DEAD and still had meetings to go in the afternoon!
Have driven around 600 kms in the last 3 days and most of it alone....
phew!! i know i love driving but i think i overdid it slightly this time!

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