Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Journey of Our Life

I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference - Robert Frost.
We don’t know whether it is a road less traveled or frequently traveled. But it was a decision long pending and we took it now. We are not worried about the outcome instead we would like to take the path and leave the outcome to time.

These days most of my friends ask me this question – “why did you decide to go back to India now?” or “why can’t you wait for another few more years and go back?” Here is what I typically answer to those questions. These are not in any particular order but this was the major thought process that went through our mind before we decided to make that decision of going back.
My Area of Work
“You know in India we don’t even do anything close to this in water treatment plants”. This was what an interviewer replied to me when I explained to him what I am doing right now in US. I replied back to him “This is exactly for this reason I want to come back to India”.
Water and Wastewater industry in India lags behind US by at least 10 to 20 years. Forget the fact that majority of Indian population does not have access to clean drinking water, the existing water treatment plants itself uses very old technologies to treat water. I felt I could contribute more to the society working in India in the area of water/waste water treatment and this thought process was one of the most driving forces in making a decision to go back to India.
Right Time to Go Back With a Kid
We never wanted to settle in US and always wanted to go back to India. This thought was always in my mind during my student days as well as when I was working. I have observed a lot of Indians who are few years elder to me who talk passionately about going back to India but never take any concrete steps to do so. One of the main things those people tell you “We really want to go back but I don’t think our kids want to settle in India”. Most of them have kids around 5 to 10 years old and I can understand – a kid born and brought up in US will find it really tough to adjust to the life style in India. My daughter is just 6 months old and if she grows up here for another few years she “may’ not want to go back.
Savings
Whenever the discussion about going back to India comes up with my friends this whole concept of savings comes into picture. “How much savings do we need before we go back?” Every one will come up with their own numbers and most of those numbers are so large that realistically it will take at least 20 odd years to save that much. The way I see that – if you can go back to India at a relatively young age (around 35 years old) with a very good job in hand, then it is fine to have just enough savings for initial settling in India. You have most productive years of your life in front of you and can easily earn and save for your family. Coming years will prove if my theory is right or wrong!
Opportunities
America is called “land of opportunities”. The world order has changed dramatically in the last two decades. With the advent of communication revolution it could be right to say that the whole world is “land of opportunities”. Now from my office in India I can easily work/collaborate with a professor or a company in US. A few years back such collaboration was almost impossible. These days irrespective of the place of stay, you can do stuff you want to do anywhere in the world. When you have that luxury why do you have to live in a place far off from your motherland?
The reasons I had to go back were quite straight forward. But it took months of discussion and hours of planning before we finally decided to go back. It was indeed one of the toughest decisions I have made. However, I leave time to be the judge.
Photo Courtesy Click Here

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hurray!!! Finally I Got a Job

[This blog post is written by Naveen, a MS Student in Industrial Engineering from Arizona State University (ASU), graduating in Spring 2010. He started his serious job hunt from end of Fall 2009 and landed up with a full time job by second week of March 2010. Here he shares his experience about the job search in this tough economy. Hope this post will be useful for hundreds of students looking for job.]
Finally I got a job. What a relief!! Most importantly the job profile matches my career aspirations. I would like to share how I did the job search so that some of you who might have got their hopes down during these tough times can get their hopes high and search for jobs positively.
I began the job search by the end of the penultimate semester. I used to look up at the job postings at Career Services website of our University, and apply for jobs that fit my qualifications. I went for Career Fairs. I even applied to jobs which were not accepting applications from Foreign students. I did that just to ensure the continuity of applications. I made it a routine to apply for at least 5 jobs a week.
In the beginning I used to apply for any job with the same resume, and almost the same cover letter. There was no response for such applications. Later, after I applied for around 10 jobs, and when my last semester in school started, I began to worry, and started losing hope. I went to resume critique sessions organized by Career Services of my University. It helped me a lot. I was able to understand why my resume was not worth of any interest for any employer. My resume lacked information of achievements during my previous work and Masters, a good structure, and it did not convey exactly what kind of position I am looking for, and what my passion was. My cover-letters too lacked this information.
Taking the advice from the resume critique sessions, I changed my resume and applied again. I also continued to go for resume critiques whenever they were organized even after that. There was some changes required every time after the critique. It helped me make my resume better.
It is also important to update your profile in Social Networking Websites like LinkedIn. I got my profile updated with all the details that I could give regarding my strengths. I also got recommendation from my supervisor. The more recommendations you have in your profile, the higher the chances of attracting the recruiter to you.
I did not try networking much. I was lucky to get a job without doing that, especially in such testing times. But this is a very important thing to do to get job nowadays. It increases the chances for you to be called for an interview. If you try really hard, you can get email id's of recruiters of most companies if you use google search. I was able to get some email id's that were not provided in the Career Services Website, or company websites where jobs were posted just by using google search. It might be available in career services website of other universities. Contacting the recruiter directly and conveying your interest to them is a good tool to boost your chances.
“Do not worry, when you dont get called for an interview after many applications.” I know its a very easy thing to say. I worried a lot. But, I also analyzed why I was not getting called. You would get answers to it. For my case, my resume was'nt good for the job profile, cover-letter was not very informative about my achievements, and I did not follow up with recruiters regarding applications. Perseverance and learning from mistakes are really important for job search.
I had the chance of attending an interview last semester. I was not selected for it. But I could learn from that experience. Even though I felt like I should have been selected for it, what I could understand from the failure is I could put more effort in preparation for interviews next time, so that I have better answers, especially for behavioral ones.
This time, when I got the interview call, I made it sure that I was prepared for any kind of questions asked in the interview. I wrote down possible questions, and also wrote down good answers to it. The answers should contain descriptions of Situation, Action, and Results. The employer would want to know how we handle different types of situations in work environment, and would be happy to hear good examples from your past experiences.
I took a notepad along with me for the interview, so that I could write down important points when the interviewer explains about the work, or describes a problem. I could also write down questions that I might have, that I can ask the interviewer later, when it is my turn to ask. This would impress the interviewer. It would make them feel that you are an organized person, and you have great interest in the job that you are interviewing for.
It is important to be cheerful throughout the interview, and never show any signs of nervousness. It is also important to behave in a professional way. If there was a question to which I did not know a answer, I never hesitated to say “I do not know”. I would say “I am keen to learn about it”, or “I am not sure, I can give it a try.”
It is important to ask for business cards from each and every interviewer. You would need it to follow up with them later. I sent a thank you mail to all the interviewers after I came back from interview.
All my efforts payed off, and now I have a job that I really want to do. But, I am not stopping here. I will keep applying for jobs till I start working for this job.
So as a summary what I would suggest for job search and interview processes are:
For Job Search
  1. Keep updating resume; use different resumes for different job profiles; keep getting critiques for resume and coverletter.
  2. Have your profile in all important job boards like Monster, Career Builder, Indeed, SimplyHired, Dice etc. Update it whenever required.
  3. Get recommendations in LinkedIn profile.
  4. Follow up with recruiters after application.
For Interview
  1. Make sure you know about the company and job description thoroughly. Have questions prepared to ask interviewer.
  2. Prepare well: Focus on only those skills that are required for the job. Write down and practice answers to behavioral questions
  3. Take notepad to note down questions you need to ask
  4. Dress up well: Good Suit and Tie.
  5. Ask for business cards from interviewers
  6. Follow up, and send thank you notes to all interviewers.
Hope this will help some of you to get a job. There are a lot of websites that would give you more information about job search strategies. Try them. Persevere, and don't give up. Good luck to all!!

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Watch the Speech of Dr Shashi Tharoor in Lok Sabha

Here is the video of the speech made by Dr Tharoor in Lok Sabha after he resigned as Minister of State for External Affairs. For the full text of his speech click here.



One of the best speeches I have heard

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tharoor vs Modi – Two Contrasting Interviews

IPL controversy between Dr Shashi Tharoor and IPL Chairman Lalit Modi is heating up. Dr Shashi Tharoor gave an interview to Barka Dutta answering all the allegations against him.Tharoor has done a great job of answering clearly all the questions raised by the interviewer. Answers are very precise and to the point. 






Now see this press conference of Lalit Modi that happened the same day. Lalit Modi not only tried to evade questions regarding the whole issue but also was just repeating the allegations with no proof. Also watch the arrogant tone whenever the press people asked him questions regarding the controversy.




Watching these two videos anyone having some sense can understand who is telling the truth and who is running away from it.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

DISGUSTING!!!

I rarely watch the telecast of any IPL matches and all I do is follow the score/winners in cricinfo website. One of my friends sent me this video other day and all I could say after watching this video is DISGUSTING and HORRIBLE. For a person like me who is watching/following international cricket for the last 25 years, this kind of video in a cricket field is just sickening. I think everyone who loves the game of cricket will agree with me.
[DOUBLE CLICK ON THE VIDEO BELOW TO WATCH]


THIS IS JUST NOT CRICKET!!!

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Time to Say “Good-Bye” to USA


Yes, it is time to say good-bye to US, my home for the last 10 years. We have decided to leave US for good by end of May. I will be joining Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) in Vellore, Tamil Nadu as Associate Professor in the School of Mechanical and Building Sciences by the third week of June.My wife Deepa will be joining as Assistant Professor in the same school in the School of Biosciences and Technologies. 

I always believe that “change” is the only permanent thing in life and right now it is going to be a big “change’ in our life moving back to India. It is time to say Sayonara to US – the country that looked after me well when I came to US for my Masters, the country that helped me get two degrees and my wife a degree, the country where everything happens in a very systematic way unheard in India, the country where I never had to bribe anyone to make things happen, the country where my daughter was born. It is time to move on and use the skills I developed over the last 10 years in the field of water and wastewater treatment to improve the lives of people back in India.

All three of us – Deepa, Gayathri and me are looking forward to our new innings of our life in India!!!

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rodeos – Champions Again!!!

Team Rodeos has done it again. Team Rodeos are champions of the Arizona Cricket Association (ACA) Tennis Ball League. Team Rodeos beat Laveen Cricket Club by 7 wickets to lift the cup for the second consecutive year. The team Rodeos had a dream run through out the tournament. Team Rodeos just lost one out of the 15 matches we played this season. Every player chipped in to make this a great season for Team Rodeos. Here is a compilation of photos taken during the finals thanks to Arvind Ramachander.
Pre-match Practice

Game

Post Match Presentation
GO RODEOS!!! 

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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Sreesanth – Do You Have Any Common Sense?

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Other day my friend was telling me sarcastically – if you want to make a shortest joke to anyone following cricket, just tell ‘Sreesanth”. My friend is correct. Sreesanth has become a laughing stock of Indian cricket. Sreesanth’s name makes more headlines for wrong reason than cricket.

During this IPL season see the bowling figures of Sreesanth – he bowled 19 overs till now and conceded 191 runs (10.05 runs/over), took just 3 wickets in 6 matches he played. One of the worst performances in IPL:  If Sreesanth has some common sense he could be working on this cricketing skills. But guess what he did? He was sledging at umpire and the batsman for no reason. See this video below (Double click on the video to view it). The umpire called Sreesanth for overstepping in two consecutive balls and the free hit that followed, the batsman Lumb hit a four. Sreesanth sarcastically started clapping at the batsman. Then Sreesanth turns back and claps even at the umpire. Only a totally retarded person can do such things. Double click on the video below to view it.
Sreesanth was fined 20% of his match fee ($9000) for his misconduct. That means he still got $36,000 (around 16 lakhs Indian rupees) for bowling three overs conceding 40 runs (3-0-40-0).
People do make mistakes but learn from their mistakes. But it seems like Sreesanth is only making mistakes and never learning from any mistakes.
Sreesanth - What a waste of talent!

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Monday, April 05, 2010

IPL will Bring Professionalism to Kerala Cricket – Vinan G Nair


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Kerala has a new IPL team. The new IPL team is expected to change the face of cricket in Kerala. As part of the series in my blog of interviewing various players in Kerala cricket team, here is an interview with wicket keeper of Kerala Cricket team Vinan G Nair (VN) to know his reaction to the new Kerala IPL team.
Kerala is getting a new IPL team. When you first heard that news what was your reaction?
VN: First reaction was of course surprise as the media was reporting that Kochi was not in the race and of course like all I was thrilled to hear the news.
Dr Shashi Tharoor, the brain behind bringing IPL to Kerala was quoted as saying that lot of Kerala players will be given chance to play in Kerala IPL team. Are you looking forward to playing IPL-4?
VN: Yes I am and I expect many more from Kerala to be  part of the team.
You have been playing for Kerala for few years now. What positive changes will happen to Kerala Cricket with the introduction of Kerala IPL team?
VN: IPL is regarded as a shortcut to the National team as the event is watched world wide. IPL will bring along lots of fortune and fame which will be a motivation for lots of youngsters to take up the game seriously. This will also bring a professional approach to our players, which was lacking.
Performance of Kerala team was really bad last season in Ranji Trophy. What went wrong?
VN: Combination of various factors - hostile playing conditions (seaming which we are not used to) and most of the players hitting the bad patch at the same time.
Lot of youngsters like Manish Pandey, M Gony to name few came to national reckoning after performing well in IPL. Do you think that some players from Kerala also will get into the national reckoning by performing well for Kerala IPL team? 
VN: Any one performing in any team will get attention; consistency in performance will always be rewarded.
When IPL first season started did you ever thought that Kerala will get an IPL team and Kerala players can play along with greatest names of world cricket watched by millions of people across the world?
VN: Not even in my wildest dreams.
Correct me if I am wrong. Except Sreesanth no Kerala player is playing in any of the IPL team. We have lot of talented players but why is no one in any of the IPL team?
VN: None of our players performed consistently in the last 3 seasons may be that is the reason.
Do you think we will see more Kerala Players representing India because of IPL team from Kerala?
VN: As i told earlier..... Consistent performance is needed from Kerala players if they need to represent India.
Auction of teams will take place in few months. Do you dream of playing alongside any particular overseas player/s?
VN: Brian Lara, Sachin , Adam Gilchrist
Tinu Yohannan, Sreesanth - two Kerala players to play for India. Who from the present lot of players do you think will make it to Indian team after Sreesanth?
VN: Lot of talent is there, naming any one won’t be appropriate.... but talent alone won’t take them to heights.... only performance.
What role do you see for Sreesanth in Kerala IPL team?
VN: Sree is a very positive guy, when he is around we can feel the difference and I have seen him expressing his desire about the Kerala IPL team and motivating guys to work harder.
Coming away from IPL, you had a major surgery few months back. How are you recovering from it? Will you be fit to play the next season?
VN: I will start to play competitive cricket from June.... I am recovering well.
Any thoughts about retirement?
VN: Not yet; I was ranked as the 3rd fittest in the Ranji team... So I think I can go on and also did keep really well... only conceding 3 byes after keeping for 500 overs and only missed one chance this entire season...
Will be back with more IPL news and interviews...

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