My Journey with My Superhero!!

 “When you have a sibling, Why do you need a superhero!”

He would say “My life was so peaceful for the first 8 years 9 months and 5 days”, and I would say “You had to wait for 3200 days to realize what you actually missed in those 8 years 9 months and 5 days”

People around always thought that the big age difference between me and my brother would be a problem. We might not be the normal siblings. Either of us wouldn’t be able to understand each others feelings, joy and problems. He was too big to understand what I was going through and I was too small for what he was going through. Though the latter was true for sometime, but the former was not. He was never too elder to understand what I was going through. For us, the age difference was just a number. It didn’t matter.

When I was a baby, he always took care of me and looked after as if I was his own child. Our mom used to tell us that she found it difficult to stop making me cry at times, but my brother somehow knew what needed to be done to make me stop crying. Right from changing diapers to feeding me my brother was there for me.

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Thats the first thing he did after returning from school – Feed me Bournvita with a spoon

As we grew up, he was my best friend whom I could rely upon when I was feeling bored. We grew up playing WWE on our bed. I was always The Undertaker and he would be some random guy and made sure that I always won. After WWE it would be cricket inside the house. God knows how my items I’ve broken clocks and other decorative pieces at home trying to be Sachin Tendulkar. As time passed, he moved out of the house for his studies. This is when it struck me – How much I missed him. 644377_10151452754192874_912012083_n.jpg

He often used to refer me as Cotton-Ball

 

Now both of us are grown up (even if we don’t act like one when together). He is still the same. We may not play together any more or he may not be feeding me with a spoon or changing my diapers; one thing that hasn’t changed is his desire to see me grow up into a successful man. Being the elder one, he always gives me advice in terms of life, education, work, relationships, how to talk to people, how to approach life , warns me of the mistake he committed.

When people ask me “Who all are there in your family?”, I say “Dad, Mom and Superhero!!”

Though I grew up watching superhero movies and comics, my real superhero was my BROTHER.

 

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That’s us now!!!

The last 23 years of journey would not have been the same without him! My Saviour, My partner in crime, My Superhero!!

My response to the Dicover Challenge – Shared Journeys

 

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When I took over the Kitchen

Exactly 4 weeks from now, I would be in my 16 m^2 room in an apartment in the beautiful city of Delft, Netherlands. I would be sharing the apartment with 2 other people of whom I have no idea as to who they would be. They could be Male or female, Asian or European or American or African or even Australian. This fact of unknownness excites me at the same time makes me curious.

Well I forgot to mention that, 4 weeks from now I would be flying from my hometown of Chennai to Delft for my Masters in Energy and Process Technology in TU Delft.

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As the date of departure comes closer, and I sit at home having quite my job, one thing my Amma (Mom in my mother tongue – Tamil) made sure I learnt is COOKING. Cooking is undoubtedly one of the most important skills one needs to acquire when going abroad. Especially knowing to cook a few dishes of your home cuisine is vital and would come in handy in times of homesickness.

Over a period of time, having helped my parents in the kitchen, I learnt a few trick of cooking here and there. However the real hands of experience of cooking a complete meal all by yourself is different. I have cooked multiple dishes at home, but all these were under the supervision of mom.

Today was different. Appa(Dad in Tamil) was at work and Amma had gone out. As both of them had to leave home early, neither of them had the time to cook and leave. This was my chance to enter the kitchen and become a Chef.

Today’s Lunch Menu –

  • Sambar
  • Rice
  • Beans and Coconut

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Sambar with Carrot and Tomato
IMG_20160725_102044.jpg Beans and Coconut

We in India have more or less pretty simple dishes. Cooking time wise, they dont take a lot of time. However they are rich with masalas and spices. Majority of the dishes in South India are technical and need good amount of practice to master. Surprisingly though, both these dishes turned to be much better than I had expected. For my first time taking over the kitchen, I believe I did a really good job thanks to all the training my parents have given me over the last few years.

The best part was, Amma was taken aback when she saw the complete Lunch had been prepared by me and most of all I tasted really good.

P.S – If any of you happen to have a South Indian friend, especially from the southern state of Kerala, make sure you ask them to get hold  of KANNI MANGA (Pickled Tender Mango) for you. It is one of the yummiest things to have!

I am going to be cooking more in the coming days and I will try my best to write about them too (provided it tastes good and hopefully it does)

 

The Things We Leave Behind – Goli Soda

As a kid, I spent 8 years of my childhood in Delhi. And if there is one thing I grew up with, it is this

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GOLI SODA 

Goli Soda – also called as Goti Soda or Banta is a carbonated orange or limed flavored drink, which came in glass bottles.

The specialty of  these bottles is that they did not come with caps on top. Rather they came had marbles which sealed the mouth of the bottle due to the pressure created by the carbonated content.

Back in my hometown in Chennai – these drinks are hard to find. Only a handful of shops sell these here in Chennai. Whenever I happen to visit Delhi for some reason, one thing I make sure is to get hold of these drinks and revisit my childhood.

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This post is in response to the Discover Challenge – The Things We Leave Behind

Do like, comment and share my post if you like it!

 

My First Job – A Thrilling Experience

What is the biggest nightmare for fresh engineering graduates who wants to pursue their masters after gaining a work experience of 1-2 years? – Getting a job in their field of study without a BOND

Having graduated from a top private engineering college in Chennai, I was looking for job openings in my field of study. As I was planning to pursue my masters a year later, I was looking for solid work experience of 10-12 months. However, getting a good job was not the toughest of tasks. The task was to find a job opening which didn’t demand a BOND to work for ‘x’ years and were willing to let go of me in a year.

In pursuit of ‘such’ job, I got offers from many organizations including couple of automobiles companies, and one of the best engineering and research institutes of India for a Junior Research Fellowship. But in both the offers, I had a sign an agreement to work for 5 & 3 years respectively. I sent out my resume to numerous companies clearly stating my desire to work only for a year. Just when I was losing hope of landing myself a “Short Stint Job”, I stuck GOLD.

Energy Alternatives India (EAI) – India’s leading renewable energy consultants approached me. After couple of rigorous interview sessions, Mr. Narasimhan (Narsi – that’s how he is referred to as) – Director and Co-Founder of EAI, invited me to join his firm for an internship of 3 months. He said if I proved myself in this internship, I could continue to work there till the time I went for my masters. Those words were like music to my ears and without thinking twice I joined EAI.

The first couple of months I was given the opportunity to try my hands on various domains – Management, Product Management, Sales, Research on Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Biomass to name a few. It was during this time that, a world-renowned Pharmaceutical Organizations approached EAI for biomass consultancy. And boom – I was put on this assignment. Over a meeting with Narsi, I was told that my internship would be extended to a full time job. The only condition that was set forth – I needed to complete the assignment before leaving.

The next 6 months made me realize that work was not all about a 9-5 job. I realized that jobs are actually fun. It was like going to college –  learn something new every day, encounter problems, find solution to these problems, meet deadlines and clear exams (Presentation to the Client on the work done). The best of this assignment however was – Travel.

In the course of 6 months of this assignment I happened to Rajahmundry, Eluru, Guntur, Vijayawada, Bhimavaram, Jodhpur, Ratangarh, Saradarsher, Delhi, Sonipat, Nabha, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Patiala, Gurgaon. That’s 15 cities over the course of 7 trips in 6 months.

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As much as I hated early morning flight – Such amazing scenery were worth waking up early for

 

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This is what I worked on – Biomass Briquettes

Being the small firm EAI is, we didn’t have a logistical department or travel agents, who helped us plan our travel. Right from deciding which flight to take, to decide how we would reach a city for a meeting which didn’t have a railway station or had bus services 2 days in a week – it was OUR responsibility. By “OUR” I mean “US” – me and my colleague Vijay. Vijay and I were the ones who were assigned this assignment. During the course of this project, we both developed a special rapport with each other. We were like the Batman and Robin, or Forest and Bubba from Forest Gump or even Jordan and Pippen for Chicago Bulls. Without each other’s back we would not have been able to complete the assignment.

 

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Different Sizes of Biomass Briquettes

 

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A typical briquette manufacturing unit

Coming back to travel. Travel meant meeting new people of different culture and varied dialect. These trips involved interacting with various biomass vendors, engineering and procurement teams of client, visiting paper mills and edible oil manufacturing units. This assignment also involved a lot of challenges in terms of the approach I had to adopt while talking to various people, convince them on numerous aspects and at the same time learning the tactics of extracting information from people which they might not be forth coming with.

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And we never forgot to have fun  

Back at our office, the working environment was always relaxed. The work force was 16, which made us to get to know each other well. Even though we were only 16, we were capable enough to do the work of 30. All of knew what we had to do, we knew our deadlines; but that did not stop us from having a fun time at work. But there was one thing that made EAI stand out compared to other organization – since we were a small team, there was no hierarchy. No hierarchy meant we had the access to connect and interact with the top management of some of the biggest organizations of India and sometimes even the world. With such access, came huge responsibility. But we weren’t those who were going to shy away from the responsibility. All of us were up for the challenge.

With the assignment I was assigned, completed and my departure for my masters materializing, it was time to say adios to EAI. 10 months at EAI was just the thing I wanted – a short work experience, enough to enlighten me as to how work life is, to teach me many new things like working in a team, working individually and taking responsibility. I am glad my first job was at EAI.

 

At a time when companies are looking for candidates with work experience and asking to sign bond, it is surreal to come across an organization like EAI and a person like Narsi, who are open to giving fresh graduates and post graduates an opportunity to work and experience the corporate world. All they expect from one is – BE SMART, BE RESPONSIBLE, BE DEDICATED.

All thanks to the folks at EAI, who made this rather small journey a memorable one.

In the end, its the Soldier’s Family that has to Cry

Sir, why does the soldier’s family have to cry every time?” said a young women who just lost her husband who was flying the BSF ‘s B 200 Super King  when it crashed into a compound wall in Delhi on 22nd December 2015. “Why sir? Why wasn’t it a VIP plane? Why were they given such an old plane? It was an old aircraft. This is not right. Sir, please answer me. No, I want an answer right now,” she wept.

The question the young lady asked seems to be valid! Why is it that it’s the soldiers family that has to cry! Over the last one year, they have been over 10 air-crashes, in India alone. None of these 10 crashes have involved any of the politicians or VIPs.

To give a glimpse of the various air-crash that have occurred in India over the last year, below are a few headlines-

  • Army aircraft crashes in Meghalaya, two injured ( 21st October 2015)
  • IAF aircraft crashes in Allahabad, pilots eject safely (16th June 2015)
  • IAF fighter aircraft crashes in Orissa, (3rd June 2015)
  • Mig 21 fighter aircraft crashes in J&K (24th August 2015)
  • Indian Air Force’s Mig-27, crashes in West Bengal (8th May 2015)
  • Air Force’s Jaguar crashes in Haryana (5th Match 2015)
  • Mig-21 Crashes in Jamnagar (31st January 2015)
  • Cost Guards Dornier goes missing over Arabian Sea (24th March 2015)

The list seems endless.

Barring a few incidents involving pilot error, the cause of most of the air-crashes involving military aircraft are faulty equipment or/and engine failure. And the core reason behind this is Old Aircraft.

It is really absurd to see politicians fight over silly issues, threaten each other, play blame games; when precious lives of military personnel are being lost due to old aircraft.

Military personnel took an oath while joining the Armed Forces to serve the nation in both good and bad times. To put their lives at risk to protect their motherland. Its high time the government rewards these warriors through new and better quality aircraft, for their commitment towards their nation, rather than condemn and mourn the lost life.