The six month life update 2012

Ashwina and me

When I  was busy changing the theme on this blog, I realised that it’s been five months since my last personal post. Time has become a precious commodity ever since I became an investment banker. As a result the number of personal posts has reduced. And, it unlikely to change in the near future.

Back in December, I made a trip down to Mumbai. Besides being Christmas season wasn’t the only reason I was down in the city. While the blog post didn’t say it, the main reason for my trip in December was the first preparatory steps for my wedding in February!

After returning from Mumbai, I dived head first into my work. The work on January was crazy busy with me having to make two business trips as well as several meetings just before I returned to Mumbai in February. Yours truly got married on February 18.

Ashwina and me

I’ve been to several weddings, but you never realise what goes behind them. The planning and the prep can be exhausting, even when your wife is doing most of the work! But, if I should say so myself, the wedding was beautiful. Lots of pictures in my Flickr photo album.

Immediately after my wedding, contrary to what most people do, instead of an honeymoon, I visited the hospital to get a nose operation done which has been pending for a few years. This was the first time I was admitted in a hospital, and I pray it is the last! I extended my stay in Mumbai for another week. On the return trip, British Airways upgraded me to Club World. Flying with one airline most of the time definitely has its perks :)

If I thought January was bad, little would I know what awaited me as I returned to London. It’s been over three months and this weekend is the only weekend that I have managed to get and enjoyed most of it! This is because The Queen celebrates 60 years as Monarch. I’ll be returning to my crazy life on Wednesday. But, I must admit that in spite of my work life, I have managed to get out quite a few plugin releases and watched several movies (though at the time of this post, I am yet to blog about these).

And, back to the original topic that started this post, what do you think of the theme?

Mumbai Calling – December 2011

I look forward to Christmas every single year. It’s the time of cheer and happiness with the place all lit up and decorated. I usually spend Christmas in Mumbai with an exception being last year, when I was stuck in London waiting for my visa.

This year, I booked my tickets in early August to take advantage of prices when booking early. I must admit that I am sceptical of this so called price advantage! Come December, as expected the pressures at work go through the roof as everyone tries to complete 31 days work in 15 before Europe and the UK starts to slow down for the holiday period. In my line of work, the word slow down is a mirage and this year was no exception.

Anyway, I flew BA to Mumbai on 15 December. The flight was rather uneventful, though severely delayed due to strong winds at London Heathrow. We reached around 40 minutes late at Mumbai airport. Ever since the privatisation of Mumbai airport, we have seen drastic improvements in the infrastructure and going through immigrations is usually a breeze. This time I had to wait a while since quite a few flights seemed to have landed at the same time.

One major issue at Mumbai airport is the terrible state of the baggage handling facilities. I have had to wait for at least 15-20 minutes for my baggage and this time it was a lot worse. After a rather long wait, that seemed like eternity in a terminal that seemed like a furnace my lone yellow bag rambled down the conveyor belt towards me. I managed to fish out the bag and slowly made my way through a sea of people all waiting for their luggage. With no trolleys available on a seemingly busy night, the wheels of my bags were put in motion as I spent another 20 minutes for the pre-paid taxis. By now, you would have expected that somebody would have realised that the biggest delays at the airport are the baggage handling facilities and the pre-paid taxis!

My stay in Mumbai was a lot more pleasant, which saw me visit several restaurants, few shops, a mall and a hospital. And, of course try to get some work done during my supposed “core leave”. Though, this time it was very limited since I wasn’t at home most of the time.

I made my way back to London on 2 Jan, taking advantage of the long weekend. It was back to work after I landed and back to grind for little over a month.

My next trip to Mumbai is in another 45 days!

Mumbai calling 2011

Mumbai Skyline

I booked my tickets to come to Mumbai last month, when my plans for a trip to the USA and Canada fell apart due to my crazy work schedule.

My past two trips have been on British Airways, but this time I booked tickets for our very own Jet Airways. I booked a cab to the airport and reached Heathrow Terminal 4 with time to spare. I must admit that I missed the awesomeness of Terminal 5.

The flight was very comfortable, though I did feel the service was all over the place. The flight was a good 10 hours with minimal turbulence and I did catch up on some sleep and three movies, viz. The Lincoln Lawyer, Rio and Pay Check.

I prefer landing at Mumbai Airport over any other airport in India because of the really quick immigration counters. During my last trip to Bangalore Airport, I spent a good amount of time waiting to get through immigration and then had to wait for my baggage. This time it was only the wait for the baggage that I had to handle. What can be improved is the pre-paid taxi desk at which I had to wait nearly 20 minutes.

Now, I need to book tickets for my trip to Mumbai in December. And, the prices are already over the roof!

Mumbai Skyline

I began my trip in Mumbai by going for Sunday mass in my church. It sure has been a while… Sunday continued to be a very quiet day with me spending the rest of the day at home.

August 15 is the Feast of Annunciation of Mother Mary as well as India’s Independence Day which we love to celebrate :) The day began quietly with mass in the morning and lunch at home. Mom and me went over to my Grandmas place. I also met up with Cloreisha after a long long time at Mocha Mojo in Bandra. Mocha’s definitely has a whole new atmosphere now that hookahs have been banned in Mumbai. Another stupid rule after the “no serving alcohol to persons below 25″. I am waiting for Starbucks to set up shop in Mumbai.

Dinner was back at my Grandma’s place, who is always enthusiastic to order in! So, I had my first taste of Indian Chinese cuisine after a long time.

I celebrated my 29th birthday on August 16. This time it was a lot different from the years before. Last year, I had a very sad birthday stuck at work till 2am. This time was a lot different. I brought in the day with true geek style by redesigning this blog. I have a bit more website and WordPress work to do in the next two weeks.

Birthday lunch was with Ramya at Global Fusion in Bandra which is a place I will definitely recommend. The prices are a bit on the higher side and the place only has buffet. But, the food was really amazing and the ambience is pretty good.

Next stop was to buy me lots of really cool gifts at Shopper’s Stop. I was definitely disappointed because I didn’t find anything good at the sale. Managed a pair of jeans and some good Adidas deo, but the place was rather dry. I plan on visiting the one at Irla to see if I can find something good.

Spent the rest of the day at my Grandma’s place followed by dinner at home. A quiet, uneventful day to celebrate my birthday.

Yesterday and today have been quiet days with some bank work that didn’t happen and an internet connection that didn’t work and lots and lots of rains!

Shopping and eating

T.M. Lewin shirts

Little above a year back, a young man of 20 something, having finished a year at his new job, received the good news of his secondment to London. In preparation for his six weeks in London, the young man set out to a few shops in the city to buy the necessary attire for the new job profile that he would be in.

On 3 May 2010, this young man took his first long haul flight from Bangalore to London. As he walked out of the airplane and took the cab to his apartment, he fell in love with the city and hoped that those six weeks would be a lot more. Little did he know that his wish would come true. However, his work was recognised and he was given an offer he could not refuse. And, he didn’t.

The six weeks turned to six months and the six months turned to nine, as he waited for his visa. After a brief visit in Bangalore, he packed up his belongings and returned home to Mumbai. In Mumbai, as he struggled to adjust to the time zone difference, he tried to put his affairs in order and met a few friends. He was back to London in early March to begin his new job in a role where his friends would refer to him as “Banker”.

I don’t need to tell you that the young man is me and am happy to say that I have completed my first year in London, in a job I grew to love!

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. This isn’t the case with Ajay (yes, sad joke!), who is perfectly at home at his work place. But, I do go out and have my share of fun and this included a wardrobe improvement with the help of his new found friend Sveccha (introduced by the great Idea-smithy.

We went to Westfield mall, which is one of the largest malls in Europe (view on Google Maps). I picked up a few shirts at the T.M.Lewin store and at Marks & Spencer, a pair of shoes and something that makes me smell real good!

T.M. Lewin shirts

Some Vietnamese food, pastries and Starbucks completed the rest of the day. This was the first day of the long two weekends, the Easter weekend and the Royal Wedding weekend, most of which were spent in the confines of my super sexy apartment!

The living room

The kitchen

The bedroom

View from my bedroom window

What use is a good, well furnished kitchen (courtesy Tesco Direct), when you don’t put it to use. Met up with Sveccha on Saturday and we decided to cook at home. She did the cooking and we did the eating. The prawns turned out to be super awesome and the rice and the dal were yum! Need, I say, I need to take up cooking as a hobby!

And, work continues as usual…