Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pune, New York, and Pants

Back in Delhi, and missing Pune a bit. The vacation was amazing, exactly what we both needed. Arati's folks were incredibly nice, warm, caring, and really made me appreciate how good it is to be a son-in-law. No seriously, I went beer-great food-sleep-whiskey-great food-sleep almost every day. One of the best nights was going out to a restaurant called Flags, which has very high quality international cuisine. We had mushroom bruschetta and fried calamari for appetizers; Arati and her dad had fish as a main course, and mom-in-law and I split chicken fajitas and bangers and mash. At this point, I was really full, since I'd had a beer with the meal, and a couple at home before we went out. Unfortunately, the waiter brought the dessert menu, and I saw the brownie and ice cream option. I really shouldn't have but I did... it came out on a sizzler platter with chocolate sauce on the side. It was amazing... and I couldn't finish it. I really couldn't. Its the first time I've been defeated by food in a long time... but its a defeat I thoroughly enjoyed. Came home and crashed out, didn't eat breakfast or lunch the next day.

Spent a lot of time with Arati's nani and dog Bagheera, which was one of the main objectives we had for this trip. Baggy is 15, which is pretty old, and since we're off to the UK for at least a year, we may not see him again. However, he's had a pretty sweet life, and is relatively healthy for his age; c'est la vie I guess.

In Pune we also had the chance to attend a pre-departure briefing organized by the British Council for students going to the UK. While a lot of the stuff we knew, we also got a few very useful tips which we hadn't thought about, such as keeping lists of everything that is in your suitcases, checking with airlines directly about extra baggage, etc. We also met a few alumni from various UK universities, and had a chance to pick their brains about various issues about studying and living in England. Best piece of advice: never wear a football jersey.

Pune also means Mahjong; we played on two nights and I got schooled what good each time. The first night I blame on lack of knowledge, and the second on lack of luck. I won three hands over a period of almost 6 hours, but was calling on about 15 hands. Just no love. Arati and her mom won most of the hands, but her dad won all the big pots. I think I need to stick to poker, at least I have some luck in that.

One evening, Arati and I went out with her mom and nani to see the film New York. Personally, I thought it was pretty nice. A lot of it was over dramatized in Bollywood style, and Katrina Kaif was pretty annoying, but some of the concepts it dealt with were well thought out. The three male actors did jobs well, and I continued to be impressed with John Abraham's evolution as an actor. I think the movie also struck a bit of a personal note with me, since I was there on 9/11. New York echoed some of the fears I - and I suspect a lot of students like me - had at the time of randomly being picked up. I'd have preferred to have seen the complexities of the situation dealt with in more detail, and a more balanced presentation of the American perspective, but still enjoyed the movie.

We also did some shopping, but I have to ask, what the f... is up with men's pants and jeans? I mean seriously, when did men's jeans become about sparkly patterns, rainbow labels, and high waistbands? Or cargo pants that look like office slacks? Or formal pants so shiny that you can use them as a substitute for disco balls? The shop assistants these days are also such a frustrating lot. "Hi, do you have plain, simple, casual jeans?" **Baffled Expression** "Like the one's I'm currently wearing?" **Quick Glance Down, Pivot, pull out closest pair of jeans with nice big shiny star in sequins on the left leg, Display** "Sigh." Eventually managed to find a couple of nice Wranglers, but it was a pain.

Pune Pictures

Monday, July 13, 2009

Unemployment and Pune

So, on Friday I finished almost three years at my company. It was a sort of bittersweet moment, since I've been through so much there, and overall enjoyed my work a lot. Wrapped up the handover process, fired off a few last e-mails, did a final product release, and then fini. So, as of now, I'm officially unemployed, and can begin the process of adjusting to the MBA.

Saturday morning we arrived in Pune to spend 9 days or so with the in-laws. After the sweltering, humid, and oppressive climate Delhi is experiencing, landing at Pune and hearing the pilot say "... the outside temperatue is 25 degrees" was such a blessed relief. The weather here is amazing... cloudy, drizzle, cool. The city itself seems much smaller and in a way more intimate than Delhi, but that may just be an outsider's point of view. There are also quite a few golf courses right next to main raods, and its a pleasure seeing the lush green fairways as you drive past. Arati's dad is threatening to take me out for a round on Wednesday... since I last played almost 8-9 years ago, this fills me with fear. Oh well, the worst that will happen is that Arati and the various caddies will get a good laugh, and a relaxing walk around the fairway when we stop every 50 odd feet for me to hit the next shot.

The house here is lovely, and there is an incredibly relaxed feeling of being on vacation, without the work stress. Or should be anyway, I'm still dreaming about the office, and stressing a bit. It will take me some time to convince myself that its not my responsibility anymore, but having invested so much into the product, I still feel a bit responsible. Spent a lot of time chatting with Arati's parents and Nani, and their black, veteran spaniel Bagheera, who was incredibly excited to see Arati again, and hung around with her all the time Saturday. By Sunday, he was tired out, and spent most of the day asleep. Last night went out to a dinner organized by Arati's folks, so that all their Pune friends who couldn't make it to the wedding could meet us. Relatively pleasent evening at the Bombay Sappers mess, which has some nice lawns and the golf course where aforementioned Wednesday Doom is to happen.

At the airport while waiting for the flight on Saturday, picked up an interesting book, The Complete MBA for Dummies. I know, I know, but still, the Dummies series of books is great, and I wanted some basic, clear cut prep material. I'm also catching up on my Google Reader, which is slow because a) I have way too many subscriptions and b) the internet here is painfully slow. Can't to anything about the latter, but will be sorting out the former into stuff I'm actually interested in following regularly (which is still far too many, but eh).