Monday, December 14, 2015

The First Month

Its been a month since I'm out of a job. I've cast my net as wide as I could. I've reached out to all the vendors I worked with and all my friends and relatives who could help me. And yet, there is very little traction. Only one opportunity which also looks dubious.

My sleep has dwindled down to 5-6 hours a day. I get up at 5 in the morning, at times in cold sweat and can't go back to sleep however hard I try.

The days are a daze. I call up the contacts and it takes about 10 min. And then, nothing. I've tried to start reading tech stuff but the difficult concepts need focus and I don't seem to hold it.

At times when I'm in public places looking at other ppl around me, a thought crosses the mind. They all have a job or a vocation and I don't. All of a sudden I feel as if I'm walking around the place naked and every one can see through me.

It all so happened so swiftly. There was talk of a list for a month before the D day. With the rumors floating around, everyone feels a little jittery. I felt more or less the same. Though a part of me was scared. Not because of any performance issues. Just the opposite. In my view, I had a home run this year. I'd just delivered the biggest year in IT projects. All my big projects were live. No backlogs and all manageable issues. The upside had made the COO queasy as the depreciation for the next year was close to 9 times the current for IT projects.

I was uneasy because I knew of the dirty politics that was at play in my work place. The battle of wits between the two top guys. I knew I am closely aligned to one and therefore, a target for the other. And that's what happened. I paid for my alignment.

What's surprised me since is the hands offish response of the person I was aligned to. I had been forewarned by some but now I'm experiencing it firsthand. And it hurts...

The disruption in my life is all too sudden. Its overwhelming, its drowned me. Despite reaching out to so many, not much has come of it.

Do I stay on or do I return to India? I have only till Feb and as things stand today, I'm more likely to return empty handed than find something in UAE. Or maybe something will come up in Jan. Who knows???

Sunday, November 22, 2015


And it all came crashing down in an instant 8:15am on Thursday. I got a call. I saw the caller and knew what was coming. By 10:00 am it was all over.
I now have to look for a job in a foreign land. Having moved my family just 8 months back, its a living nightmare here. I've reached out to as many as I could. It may take a while. Not sure if I want to be in the region any more. If only something works out back home, I'm more than happy to relocate...
For now I have live the nightmare!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hi Netflix! Good to to see you again!!

Well Netflix does not play in UAE. This summer, my wife went to India for my daughter's vacation and came back fuming. Netflix was working at her brother's place in Mumbai and she was extremely unhappy that she could not have it here in UAE. Now my wife is a BIG netflix fan. Its netflix that kept her going during her stay in the US. She is a great movie aficionado. She must have watched more than 300 movies during our stay in the US. Not being able to view Netflix movies was perhaps the only regret she has about leaving the US.

So, here I was, tasked with bringing Netflix back in her life. After a lot of hand wringing and researching I finally hooked up to netflix. Don't ask me how. VPNs and US credit card addresses etc. It took me a while but for about 3 weeks now, we are watching Netflix and my wife loves me a little more...  

New lease of life for my Old Laptop

The year was 2008. I went berserk with laptop shopping. I bought 3 laptops that year. A Toshiba for my wife, a small netbook and a Vaio for self.
Over the next few years the Toshiba was the first one to go. It went bad after around 3 years of use. The battery conked first, then the wifi and the keyboard. The netbook had some keyboard challenges but I could sell it after 4 years of use. The Vaio stayed with me. It was $1000, a mid to slightly premium range. It had a great keyboard, good resolution screen 1600X900 and it served me well. It's 4 GB RAM was more than enough back in the day. 250GB HDD, adequate. My small development shop, was built on the Vaio. I loved it.

Lately, my daughter started using it regularly. Her school assignments require her to have a laptop and Vaio played the willing companion. And then a couple of weeks back  the hard drive finally gave up. After 7 years of faithful service, it was time... I got a new Lenovo and got my daughter back on.

But all this while I was a little reluctant to let go of my old friend. I reached out to the IT infra friends at office and they suggested to replace the hard drive rather than just junking the laptop. A friend suggested I tried the new SSDs. He swore by them and said just a hard drive upgrade can transform the laptop. The SSD in AbuDhabi costs just around AED 200 for a 120GB drive. It was worth the gamble.

Last Friday I got a Kingston SDD on my laptop. While they readily changed the drive, they refused to load Vista (my old OS) or load a pirated version of Win 7. The new Win7 license was around AED 450 making the entire upgrade untenable. After a lot of back and forth and research, I decided to tap open source. I downloaded Ubuntu 14.04 on the stick, used Yumi to make the stick bootable and set up the Old Vaio on Ubuntu. There was some initial challenge in making a bootable stick but then it was soon behind us. Installation went smooth and I was up and running in less than 30 min.

Once I launched it, I was in for a magical ride... The laptop booted in about 20 seconds and I was on TOI page within 50 secs of switching the laptop on. The browser zipped and the pages flew... It was breathtaking... Well, I've now set up my little dev shop on Ubuntu. It took me a couple of days to get all the niggles of my dev env sorted out.

Now I'm on it and happy I made the call. Hail Ubuntu. Hail the Open source... 

Monday, August 03, 2015

Apple Music

The moment the offer came I lapped it. For Rs 120 a month, it's a steal. I'm feasting over songs, country, rock and everything in between. 
The Hindi collection is not well tagged. I hope Apple gets a few good curists to get this library in shape. It's as rich as the English and I hope finding stuff gets a little easier. 

Mumbai Marathon

Mumbai marathon registrations are on and I'm not participating. It's sad. Really. I never hit the timing and now that my family is here, I won't be visiting Mumbai for the marathon. I plan to register for Abu Dhabi striders half marathon to be held in November. But I'll miss Mumbai and the run. 

Treadmill at home

Kind of insane. Back in April, we moved into a larger house. It's a duplex. Lot of empty space. We are searching for things to fill it up with. One such contraption is the treadmill. I bought it back in May and have hopped on it a few times since. It's true luxury to have a treadmill at home. Don't have to walk across to the gym in this unforgiving heat. And yet the slack will winnth. Have been off it for almost an entire month, putting on weight. Have got back on it. 20 kms a week. That's a promise. Hope that gets in back in shape by nov. 

Months 100-93

Some time has passed by. My family has joined me here in Abu Dhabi. My daughter has started school. The personal aspects of life better. The cliche "if you love something, set it free...." Well I'm happy it's back with me. 
The work is just as bad as it was. Not much change there. 
I just hit a couple of milestones in my 120 month journey. Happy about that. Still a long way to go. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Months 103,102,101

20 of 120 months gone. 100 more to go... In terms of endurance test, I feel like I've just finished the first 3 kms of the Half Marathon. Typically, getting past the 3rd km is tough. That's where you hit the first barrier of fatigue...
Work is hectic all around. I've just returned from my vacation in India. It must have been a good time off work for I forgot my login password...
It was quiet there in Mumbai. Mostly because I hurt my back on the 5th and was laid up. There is a jinx. The jinx of 21 km in 2 hours. I could have sworn I felt I could break the barrier this time. I clocked well right before leaving Abu-Dhabi. But then could not get any practice due to back issues and ended up at 2:08. Quite Lame!