Mia san mia! Und: Mia san Meister! (We are who we are! and we are the champions!)

Okay...I am still here...a couple of months without any blog must have been one of my longest periods of absence. Needless to say there were reasons - work, personal things to take care and all...but anyways I am back to one of my passions and I want to dedicate this post to another of my passion - football and specifically Bayern.

Louis Van Gaal has transformed Bayern this year. The team which was till November last year coming to terms with a new style of football finally has started delivering and on the verge of a historic treble. The league is in the bag with the dutch coach and captain lifting the championship trophy ( also known as the salad plate) to the evening sky at Berlin yesterday. Who would have thought about this last November. Not even me one of their most passionate supporters. Bayern were on the verge of being knocked out of the Champions League after 2 back to back defeats to Bordeaux and were languishing mid table in the Bundesliga 9 points of the leaders.

It all happened that magical night in Turin. Just like the sweet click when the lock is opened by its key, the team clicked into place when in the corner and with a true German legacy delivered a sucker punch to steamroll Juventus in front of their crying fans 4-1, sneaking into the last 16 at their expense. The team had come round the corner. In the next 4 months, the world witnessed the will, determination and improvement of one of the powerhouses of club football. Fiorentina pushed Bayern to the brink but Arjen Robben's wonder goal ensure a place in the quarters against mighty United. Not many gave them a chance against United though, one of the best teams on form after Barcelona this year. And it again came to the second turning point of the season.

Trailing 0-1 at home in Munich, Bayern somehow managed to draw level against United. The prospect of the seemingly impossible task away to United loomed large. And with virtually the last kick of the match, Ivica Olic beats Van de Saar to squeeze out a home win. The ghosts of the 1999 champions league final was finally vanquished and a week later, Bayern completed the task losing to United 3-2 but progressing to semis on away goals. Even Sir Alex Feguson could not keep his calm - Typical Germans he said...what a compliment.

Bayern, in the interim had not lost a single league game, were on top of the Bundesliga standings and went on to annihilate Olympique Lyon in the semis. To be honest to the French champions, they clearly looked a deer in front of the headlights. Playing their first semifinal in the champions league, they clearly looked overawed and below par. And to add insult to injury, Bayern started operating like a well oiled machine, with the territorial dominance theory of Van Gaal reaping rich dividends. Schweinsteiger and Van Bommel revelled in the defensive midfield role to screen the defence and start most of the attacks and Ribery and Robben teased opposition defences at will. However, 3 youngsters deserve special mention -Muller who surprised europe this season with his knack of scoring and his physical superiority. At 20, he is a veteran german international in the making. The other youth products, Holger Badstuber and Diego Contento too showed their prodigious talent in defensive roles they were handed out included important games like champions league semis. So it is, Bayern stand poised in front of history making couple of weeks. Whether the dream treble will be achieved is only a guess, but no doubt this season has made all fans proud. Mia san Mia! Und: Mia san Meister!

Work finally catches up!

This is something I always knew was going to happen and finally it has. Work has become most part of life these days. The time between Sunday evening to Friday evening just moves by in a jiffy and a week is gone. Weekends seem to go past so fast. I look back and it has been 4 months I have been here and it seems like yesterday. I always wanted to work in this role in sales but little did I realize that the role is all about being the eternal hustler. It is really a reflection of life. Just as in life day in day our we are seeking happiness, similarly in work we chase opportunities. And it is illusive as always. And even if you feel you finally got it the feel good is just temporary adn then again it is back to chasing something else. It took some time but now I feel I have started running on this treadmill and the speed is getting faster. But I also feel that the next few years of my life are the most significant in terms of my career. It is a new start, a new role, challenging but rewarding. So I guess I just haveto keep running and hope it will lead me somewhere. Ahh well we will see.

I am also learning to deal with new paradigms. Trying to imbibe how to get job done by others, how to align misplaced agenda of everyone, how to have a never-say-die attitude and how to always think through a problem as if the buck stops at you. Trust me these are not the things they tell you at a B school (not even a premiere one) and there is only one way to learn - the hard way. When I was doing my MBA, we used to live in a fantasy world when all it took was to write a report about the theoritical situations, problems issues and believe that it is really simple. Actually, there is nothing glamorous. Hard work, determination, adaptability and will to succeed are the only eternal qualities needed on the field.

So here it is another of the non-descript weekends and there is nothing better to do than sit in front of my computer thinking what to do next. There is a report that needs to go Monday morning, there are dishes that need to be washed, clothes that need to be ironed and and empty fridge crying for a refill. So its bye for now and I promise to write an interesting post next time if you do bother to check my blog. :)

Portland Trip

I never thought a business trip would be so much fun. I mean starting out I planned my travel in a way that I could be in Portland Thursday and Friday, spend the Friday night meeting up a friend and then head back home. But what I did not realize that catching up with the old friend could be so much fun.

Ever since the evening 6 PM it was just fun and I felt like being back to school again. The Portland State University(PSU) campus is located near downtown Portland and has a distinct European feel to it. Large old style buildings, student residence halls, green lawns, open air cafes, cute streetcars and above all the buzz of a campus. Went around and met a few friends of my friend and soon we were headed to a local pub. Had a pitcher of beer, some thin crust pizza and one of the most amazing french fries I have had. Fast forward and we were in a student dorm on the 8th floor drinking our way to glory while one of my friends made real tasty dinner. But having seen the dorms in US schools now, I can't help appreciate what wonderful facilities we had at ISB. Trust you, this is just no match...The party was nice and happened to strike up an interesting conversation with a guy from Africa ranging from the potential of African markets to some of the common myths associated with African men. ;) Also interesting was watching a group of drunk students playing ball on a 3 lane street in front of the dorm at 2:30 AM in the morning or another group heading out only in their T shirts. Uni days are really all about fun...I wonder if this time, carefree joy ever comes back to our lives again.

Morning woke up late...Had a nice Thai lunch where three of us were made to cry by a "mild" Thai dish and these are guys who are used to hot and spicy food. Then went out to the river front. It was very beautiful and serene watching small fishing boats lazing around and a ferry passing by. Portland is really a very beautiful city..It has the Willamette river flowing through, nice hills lined with juniper and ferns and on a clear day you can see the snow capped peak of Mt Hood on the horizon. As I sit at the Portland airport waiting to catch a flight back to the bay area, I can't help feel bad...It was truly a very nice weekend in a while. I really would love to move to Portland. Let us see what future has in store....

Miss those days

Its been 9 months now but I still miss the days at ISB. With ISB getting into top 12 in the world, mind ran back to the same time lat year when we were on campus....The frenzied cake cutting at the Atrium and the gala party at nite with fireworks... Man those were the days...I was just going through some old photos and videos and remembering the countless hours spent planning events, organizing sessions, studying, solving cases and still fnding the time to bond to create some of the closest friendships...

An internal video we created for ISB Leadership Summit BTC track last year. I miss my club team who had to bear with my requests for time and worked with me through the year inspite of the unbelievable pressure of aspirations of the student body and the academics that go with it.

Additionally, Kudos though to the current batch of 2010 for starting a separate BTC flagship event which was a bigger success...Way to go!!!!

2009 - The year that was

It is that time of the year again when you look back at the year that passed you by leaving you a year older by age, richer by memories and wiser by experience.So as I sit here counting the last few days of 2009 here is a look back.....

1st Jan - The new year could not have been more disastrous. But I promised myself that I would fight my way out of my personal mess and uncertainty of my student life and would not let it affect me as an individual.

16th Jan - Day 1 for placements at ISB and I landed up the job I wanted to get into. It was the culmination of the dreams that started in December 2006. I realized that just when you achieve the thing you wanted for a long long time, it doesn't feel as ecstatic as you thought it would. Human mind they say is insatiable...not without reason.But this was the first day in 2 months I laughed and cried in joy...and in pain!!!

8th April - Graduation Day at ISB and one of the proudest days in my life. Getting the Torchbearer award and being able to dedicate it to my parents on stage while they were watching must have been one of the most emotional moments for me. Graduation also meant that the amazing year at ISB was coming to an end. The memories I had made would last a lifetime but for now it was time to bid goodbye to guys who were by you through the tough times, who shared the joy, the pain and all the fun. The COBRA(my close friends group at ISB which had cult following at ISB CO09) dinner with parents was something to cherish. To cap it off the banner at the ISB gate as we left "Best of Luck CO 2009: Real Life awaits outside"...so apt as each of us would realize in the coming months.

3rd May - After the mayhem of ISB, all of a sudden I was at home and had a lot of spare time. Decided to put it to good use by travelling alone. Idea was to take a trip on my own, lazy experience. I booked my tickets to Mumbai and just as I thought spend 2 days reading, watching the landscape outside, eating at various stations and making friends with my co passengers. Mumbai was always a city I wanted to visit and it was really fun. Met up with friends, spent an entire evening with a close friend in Marine drive, had dinner at Jazz By the Bay, ice cream at Naturals and a train ride back at 1 AM at night. Mumbai really rocks when i comes to safety of its citizens. Met up with ISB buddies and watched Viren play in Bandra tournament and then midnight meet up at Carter road licking gelatos and wishing for the ISB days to come back. The only unexpected part of the trip was the auto accident I had on 3rd May when it overturned and I was extremely fortunate to get away with bruised shoulder muscle and swollen temple. It took me the rest of the 1 month of vacation to recover.

25th May - Employed again!!!! and doesn't it feel good. After all the pain of the last 1.2 years watching your monetary reserves dwindle, it was finally time to see some inflow. Met up with 14 of the brightest minds of the country from the Creme de la Creme B schools in India. The ADS batch 09 was born.

12 July - I am still not sure if it is important enough to go in here

15th August - COBRA reunion in Delhi. Another city I had not been to for a long long time. Had loads of fun with late night drinking and card sessions. Lunch and dinner at Oh Calcutta and the ambiance at CR Park Kalibari still remains fresh. Had a close brush with the real Delhi with a cabbie almost ripping me off for Rs 700 for a trip from South Delhi to Gurgaon. Witnessed desi nari power at its best to rescue me!!!!

26th October - Everything is not as they seem. For someone who always lives by his words, trusts people on face value and looks at world in Black and White, realized that most people are predominantly Grey. And when you are on the wrong side, the grey appears black. Patience is a key in life but I guess sometimes even the most patient of people lose it. Although a misplaced trust is a very disappointing feeling as some of you will testify, only with time you realize that you need to reconcile with people, circumstances as they are and move on.

25th November - Landmark birthday and end of a decade!!! Spent it at home alone. It was my last night in Bangalore and I was feeling nostalgic as well. The last 6 months in the city, I had really started liking it. The weather, the routine, the beautiful Infy campus all grows on you and you do not realize it.

29th November - Leaving for the US again. Emotional last couple of days at home with parents. My nomadic life continues and again new place, new environment, new life. Personal life shows no signs of settling down.

11th December - Bought a brand new Black 2010 Toyota Camry. Although the BMW of my dreams still lies out there at large, this is definitely a good start. First time I felt pampered and experienced a sense of achievement and success in life. I wish I would have shared the moment with people who matter the most...But I guess not every wish is granted in life........

With that, I sign off another chapter of life. I very eventful one to say the least.
I want to wish you and your family a wonderful New Year and hope it fulfills all your wishes!!!! When in doubt just say "All izz well"

Time to bid Goodbye to Bangalore

When I moved to Bangalore this May, little did I know that I would be staying here only 6 months. But wow...what a eventful 6 months it has been. The lovely weather, the nice Infy campus, the routine of office, home, friends, parties all meant that there was no dearth of excitement. So as I prepare to move again in search of "greener" pastures, I have mixed feelings. I am a pro at relocation but it still feels that I leave a part of me in each city I have stayed. Thinking about it, I think it is the memories - friends I have made, things I have done, the mental phases I have been through....everything combines to create this feeling.

Bangalore gave me an opportunity to reconnect with friends after 10-12 years, continue to party and have fun with the crazy batch mates at ISB, meet new people whom I had never met before and some probably I will never meet again. All experiences which I am sure I will recollect as I settle into another life. Special mention to my roomie who still amazes me with his organizational ability and wonderful talent of bargaining, my cubie and good friend SD with whom I spent hours discussing turbulence of life both professional and personal, SB for topping the list of ISB parties attendance, VS for giving me company at times when I felt really down and a few others who influenced my life in one way or other and left a mark...

I am not sure if my next post is going to be from home or California but as I embark on another journey..wish me luck... :)

Weekend (Movie,Work,Reading) - Now is it not Work Life Balance?

It was a very different type of a weekend. I mean I thought it would be one of those busy working weekends where I would spend better parts of the day articulating the business value of working with my employer to our clients. And it was with long hours on on the phone and endless staring at the PowerPoint presentation slides. "Honestly did u do the MBA to sign up for this?" My dad asked me when I told him my weekend plans and to which I had no answer (although a voice in me told me Yes but I did not want to admit).

These days it is really amazing how work follows us everywhere(laptop + blackberry = 24 x 7 at work). I spent the better half of Saturday morning watching the juvenile slapstick comedy "Ajab Prem ki Gazab Kahani". The less I talk about the film the better it is and in case you have watched it you would hopefully agree. Anyways so I missed the final 20 minutes of the movie(not that I even regret it) thanks to meeting I had to join a teleconference. I frantically searched for a place to join the meeting and did so finally from the relative silence of Landmark. It is in times like these one realises how difficult it is to find some place quiet in India. Anyways as fate would have it, I spent close to an hour on the phone and my friend (with whom I had the movie and lunch plan) got utterly bored going around checking out new books and ended up buying a couple. As I was coming out of the store, I saw the new novel by Chetan Bhagat and picked it up...I had not read since I came back from my eventful Kolkata pujo trip a month back.

So there I was working through the rest of Saturday and through a lazy Sunday morning. So post lunch today I decided to take a break and opened the book. And I finished it in 3.5 hours flat. 2 States is a really good read. It depicts the complexities of making a love story work and taking it to a love marriage in the context of complex Indian society and family structures....Ahhh doesn't it sound familiar? Anyways it has a very nice feel to it something similar to Five Point Someone which was his first work. The characters are real and you can almost relate to them as soon as you get to see their world.

The real achievement of Bhagat is that the book has incidents which each of us have faced in life. Emotional turmoil, relating and understanding people, dealing with expectations of families are all so familiar things of everyday life. Apart from the storyline and the inherent message, I really liked an incident in the book where the male protagonist speaks about the emotional burdens of the past to a Guruji in Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. The Guruji advises that one needs to let go of the past burdens of pain, anger, frustration, guilt whatever it might be to be able to make a fresh start. It is not easy but if we do not do it our current and future life can get very very muddled up. I guess even a light read as 2 States has some points that make you ponder about your own life, your own experiences.

Change is the way of life. The answers to any situation we are faced with are always inside us. The key is to have the right ear and the right mind to listen.