Sleepless nights – Money matters!

Wow! I am in the gang of people who actually have sleepless nights worrying over money matters.
And to add to injury, this is happening for the biggest dream of my life.

Good news first, I got an unconditional offer of admission from the University of the West of England to study BSc. (Hons) – Web Design from their Franchy campus at Bristol, starting 13th September this year. This comes with a 3 year student visa and work permit for following couple of years. Also, included in this is work visa for my wife for the entire duration.

Can it get bigger than this?

I think not.

Now the laundry list:

1. Apply for loan
2. Pay the fee
3. Sit for IELTS (for just being on the safer side)
4. Apply for visa
5. Book tickets
6. Fly!

I have resigned from Rishabh yesterday and serving the notice period for the last two months. Now to kick the list above, first thing I need to go with is the loan application and the most important document missing there is the clearance from the bank as need to clear the education loan taken for Priyanka’s MBA.

Aww man!

This is gonna make me lose weight.

007 Marathon and a trip to Barwani

In the days when the mercury is soaring at 45 degree centigrade, it is hard to talk about any other thing.

Last Friday following an impulsive call, I went to Barwani with Priyanka. I just wanted to get out of Vadodara and this was the best I could do. Fairly enough, it was a good decision and in the end, and we returned rejuvenated and refreshed to the harsh weather of Vadodara.

It is not that if Indore or Barwani are lesser hot places these days, but the fact that, Barwani and Indore are always remains dry whenever mercury rises. In case of Vadodara, the humidity level peaks and makes us suffer until late nights.

Back to topic, the trip to Barwani was a fantastic move. Some rounds of Budweiser, lazy noon and family faces made all the travel worth.

For the next trip, the date of inauguration of Abhishek Bhai’s place is shifted to 14th June. I am rescheduling the plans accordingly.

Hey! I got tickets of ‘Kites’, releasing tomorrow.

AND NOW, I am watching the James Bond Movies every evening. I always wanted to see them all in a marathon. Tuesday was Dr. No, Wednesday was From Russia with Love. Tonight, 007 will be back.

PS: We shifted to Gajanan at office. It’s peaceful, calm and good! 🙂

Baheti Colony Days

As was decided in my last post in this blog marathon which me and Himanshu are holding, this post is dedicated to my days in Baheti Colony, Sanawad.

My family shifted to Baheti Colony in 1990 in a rented house, when I was 8 years old and my class 3 exams just got over. Back in those days, it was a new colony and not many houses around. It was a farmland earlier with many trees and muddy grounds. Sighting of snakes was a common thing.

The families who lived there had some kids like Rajesh Bhai, Shrikant Bhai, Pappu Bhaiya and others but my only friend in the neighborhood was the girl next door, Sapana, who was about my age. In less than 10 months time, my family built our own house on the plot next to the rented house and shifted. I admitted to the nearest school, the Sarasvati Vidhya Mandir for 4th standard.

Then other kids came to live in the colony. Priyank, Ashwin, Hitesh Bhai, Himanshu, Dipali, Bhupendra, Akhilesh Bhai, Tina, Nikhil, Amit and Sumit and many more. We become friends and spent most of the time playing hide and seek in under construction houses in the colony in never ending noons, after school.

Older kids used to bath in The Bavdi (a big well), which is just outside my home and I always dreamed of learning to swim and jump from the top into the water. Until one day, the municipality of the city decided to clean the Bavdi and started distributing drinking water from the same.

In summer days, we used to play cards under the street light with all out beds joined together and gossip till late night before going to sleep in still warm summer air.

Music and dance was another part of life. Technology was changing and our colony got its first cable connections. Many of the homes decided to stay away from the ‘unnecessary’ expense of Rs.50/- a month on the extra channel and kids were doing just fine with one and only Doordarshan.

On TV, it was all about Jungle Book, Disney’s Tail Spin and Duck Tales, Discovery hour and weekly sops. It always left us with a lot of time to spend outdoors doing nothing and just be happy.

One hour tuitions, dinner at 7:30, wiring to get electricity at the roof and audio cassettes were the norms for every kid. In exam times, we used to study in the small huts or tents prepared on the roofs, declaring sovereignty from parents. I can remember my BIG hut was made of a iron beam, a ladder, old rugs and window panes which were removed in the summer time to let air flow in the kitchen.

Many kids played marbles and used to fly kites, but honestly, I was not that good in marbles and my kites never took off. I learned Cricket only after the Cricket World Cup in 1996.

Every year, there used to be stray puppies all around the place. Moti, Bhuru and Rani were the most popular dogs around and had designated owners. Moti and Bhuru were Indian Labradors while Rani was a Pomeranian. Bhuru disappeared in 1995, Rani Died in 1996 and Moti died of a wound in its neck in 1999 on my doorstep.

After all these years and living far away from the good old memories, it has changed drastically. All the kids are now grown ups and just like me, moved far away to make a living.

I still call Baheti Colony my home and love it from the core of my heart.

So there!

Dear Himanshu,

Whats the next topic?

Wedding Anniversary and Weekend Study

Office work is going as usual and the buzz about appraisals is going stronger by the day. As I mentioned in my new year’s blog, the designation upgrade is on the cards this time around. This sums up as not just the appraisals and raise but a promotion as well.

I asked Himanshu to come over for the weekend and he did so we started with the IELTS preparation and dedicate the whole weekend for some kick-ass English study. I am pretty confident about my command over the language but it is different to blog and write something very formal. A test, is always a test. Plus, you got to be serious when the fee is about 7.5 K for the attempt.

As soon I can get the results, hoping I am going to score above 6.5 bands, I am going to send my applications to Northumbria University for the BSc (Hons.) Web Design.

Should I write this here after the first statement? What if someone from the management reads this and cancels my promotion?

LOL! Anyways I am just applying, an admission is a far away thing and second, the session I am targeting is January.

Well, in the end, Himanshu and I agreed upon blogging everyday about a common topic and share here at WordPress. His blog ‘Life in Motion’ is at http://himanshukhede.wordpress.com and to tell you, here is a guy with a lot of ideas and a lot to say with a different perspective towards life. I hope he catches up with the language and hopefully we will be in for some fantastic twisted blog posts! 🙂

Yesterday, 26th April, marked third wedding anniversary for Priyanka and me and to celebrate the occasion, on Sunday evening, we went to Pavagadh and a dinner and coffee at Barista last night. It has been such a wonderful journey with many ups and downs, but I must confess, I am happy.

Dear Himanshu,

As discussed, here is my blog post about IELTS and other stuff, waiting for yours.

AND I think our next topic should be ‘Baheti Colony Days’.

Are you in?

The Return of Malaria!

Boy! I was hospitalized once again. The Malaria returned on the Sunday before and temperature shot to 102.5 with a pulse rate of 116. I got discharged on Wednesday, took rest for the remaining of the week and returned to work this Monday.

As always, I hate it when I get sick. Doctors said it was Falcipharum Malaria; the parasites stay in the liver and attack whenever the immunities go down. So this time the treatment is for the permanent cure of this crap virus.

Another bad news is about the big bucks which I was saving for the IELTS. They are all gone in the hospital fee. Now I need to wait till next salary or my mediclaim to get approved.

Watched ‘Kick Ass’ last night and tell you, this is one movie which mixes Kill Bill with Batman and the output is superb!

Go for it!

Summer Afternoons and A Work Week

Nothing can be written when one has the extreme moods. Being way too happy or upset or angry can never help one who seeks out some inspiration to write.

In my opinion the best writings which can be presented as honest opinions from a person’s mind come when it is full with mixed emotions.

A lot has happened over the last post I wrote here and life seems headed on its own path which is as curvy as road from Dehradoon to Masoori. Priyanka has returned from Indore and a lot of things being discussed between two of us.

This is April, time of the year when corporate appraisals take place. My best bets are a designation upgrade and a salary pack at par with the current market offerings.

The reviews have been done and management has taken the decision on the next year’s fate of its dear employees. It is just a matter of a couple of days before the verdict comes out. Figures crossed.

For my personal front where my family life and career occupy the most of thoughts, I am still in looking for the perfect solution to all my worries.

I am planning for a big CV update with new academic enhancements which will take almost three year (You are right… a degree in Web Design) to follow.

My office has got a new leave management system which tells me that I have 7.68 leaves balance which I can avail with prior notice. Now that was a surprise for a guy like me who went on leaves without pay for last 6 months. Now, I am not sure as to how to use all those balance leaves.

A trip to Indore or Barwani, inclusive of 2 weekends and a workweek sounds just the way.

For the occasion, I think inauguration of my uncle’s new home will be the best time for this plan. Dates will be, as I have been told, around 20th May. HOT summer!!!

The temperature today at Vadodara is 41 degree centigrade and as if that is not enough, the prediction of this week remains almost at the same mark. Late in last month, we had it almost 43 degrees for an entire week. Talk about global warming. I say, it’s not a farce.

Move it dude, there is so much happening, just in a way which is so not cool.

By the way, my boss, Mr. Apurva Shah, resigned from his position as Delivery Head and so my Team Lead Meetul.

More later.

Confused as always

Why it happens that when one is in very good mood or bad mood it gets difficult to blog? The thought of blogging something which is happening around rises but the will to put it into words just goes so weak that it becomes a task impossible.

I sent back Priyanka to Indore for some very strange reasons. My first excuse was the signs of uncomfortable-ness in my professional commitments which might hamper her prospects of having a stable career at any organization. Two, it was something to do with her promise for the PhD in Marketing which she feels is not possible in her life for the time being. The thought of not leaving the scenario of dead end career and not being able to move around made me somewhat disturbed and I chose to have some time off from her and think over the plans of the future.

Everyone tells me why have plans when life is so uncertain and I reply, life without a plan is a plane without a pilot.

It’s gonna crash!

I think the biggest drawback that I am facing with my carrier is related to relevancy of my education and my work profile. All the big shot companies are looking for someone with a BFA or HUI degree for their design needs and looking at the long term goals, it seems proper that I must move with accomplishing something which can help me grow as a professional.

The options I am considering are derived from the thought of having a degree in the domain I am having 8 years of experience, Web Design.

I hope I can pull this off this time around.

Over the weekend I visited Rajesh Bhai’s home at Kalol with Himanshu and it was all fun and cheers.

Rest is thoughts and confusion.

After a Fun Weekend

Why it happens that whenever I feel comfortable and happy, I fantastically go ahead and fall ill. I hate it. I am feeling totally drained, feeling flu like symptoms since I returned from Barwani this Tuesday.

Office is on and it would be a bad idea to call in sick at appraisals time. Yes there are deliverables too and need to care them as well.

Presently I am working on a custom Screensaver animation for Bausch & Lomb, one of the biggest clients we have and a web layout coding for one of their portal is also on.

Holi at Barwani was fantastic as all the kids were way too charged up at the prospect of having me around for the fun festival.

Though it was their exam time but as Parth, 7, said, ‘won’t matter if I fail, but I’ll celebrate holi.’ The entire mood derived from his announcement. I was a bit worried after this came up and promised my cousins that I’ll never show up at Barwani at the same time of the year for exam’s sake.

Priyanka got to the task and helped the kids in preparation for the exams.

One day we went for a picnic, 6 kids, me and Abhishek bhaiya at Bandhaan, a waterfall 5 KM away from the town. For snacks we got a 4 KG watermelon, a big pack of chips and 6 small fruity.

Abhishek Bhai’s house is almost ready and I can tell, it is a big and spacious affair with well planed layout and hard work. Avadhesh Bhaiya, the youngest of my cousins, who took up construction as his career, is personally taking care of the matter and his dedication is paying off.

While we returned Vadodara, Priyanka’s MBA final semester results came out. It is 68% once again, aggregating the obvious 68% for her Master’s Degree.

This ranks her among highest academic qualified person in both the families, till Abhishek bhai finishes his PhD.

Rest is alright!

Projects, weekend, life

PS: This was drafted on December 28th 2009, forgot to publish it.. so here it is:

We are almost done with small module and another patch in the contact page in another module. QA for another project is done and bug fixes are in proceedings. One is live, another will go live EoD tomorrow and the last is slated for a 1st January release. Just don’t know what will befall after these projects are over.

I always dread it when projects get over and there is nothing substantial to look at. All these years experience tells me that in such situations all the web designers, however experienced they might be are called to design the company’s own website. This is where the darkest hour of the employment starts. The client, i.e. company management thinks they can call for of as many changes as they wish to as there is nothing of the importance is on the cards and designers must be kept busy. It is hardest to design when doing it for the management.

This is not a new thing and I have done it so many a times that it is now understood that until it is of prime emergency, the layout, however good it may be, rarely goes live. The process for the company website takes it own root which starts from the point of just-design-3-samples-and-send-over than information architecture or usability design.

This is really bad practice to do. As I said in one of my previous posts, the end result never hits the mark and makes a mess out of the situation blaming the designer for the blooper.

I am just hoping to not jump in the same thing all over again and getting my hands on some new client project where the rules of projects are written, agreed upon and settled before we spell ‘layout’!

Tomorrow, as they tell me, there is a party which is organized by Advait, Murli naidu and me for the other two’s respective weddings and my birthday. Don’t know how I got in the organizers list, but it is on. Though the party idea was initiated from another project team where I work with the developers for one specific client, I have invited my Design team in the party too.

I hope to have a good time.

Weekend was nothing much to quote of, we made fresh beans collected from my back garden and got some plum cake to enjoy the Christmas time. On Sunday, I went to see Dharmesh’s family. Dharmesh and I are friends from my Westbase days in Pune. He is now in the USA from some company in Pune and I am here in his home town.

All is fine and that’s all for now!

A First Holiday plans in 2010

In less than 48 hrs, I’ll be on my first holidays of the year. It has been a long time since I have taken off the working cap just for my kind of vacations. Though you may argue that the trip last weekend to the Rajpipla and Karjan Dam was also a good hangout, but I can tell you, that was a hangout, a gate away, not a holiday.

I am not going to any hill station or sea side but to Barwani, just for the records, I always love it whenever I visit that town of old.

It will be a 4 days trip and the prospects of it, ranging from chilling with cousins, kids and family, it will also get me some much deserved beer after 3 months without any sip of it.

So you are planning a long booze weekend?

No, that may be one of the attractions but not the sole attraction.

You lie!

No am not.

If so, why are you smiling?

Okay, that’s the plan, but you must know that I love my family kids and they will take most of my time as usual. Plus I love hanging out with my cousins.

Yeah right, at pubs.

Why you always save your sarcasms for my blogs and hit out here man, I am you.

Chill down mate. I get this that you need a break.

Granted!