Waka Waka...This time in Africa :)

4:00 PM March 22nd 2011, my manager called me and told that Pushkar you will have to fly on 24th midnight for Johannesburg. I was stunned for some time, I knew that I will be going to Johannesburg but I was not expecting it on such a short notice. Then, I asked for permission to leave early for doing all the preparations and make travel arrangements ASAP (Oops forgot to mention I got discharged from hospital 4 days before…I will discuss about it in some other post

I called up my dear wife and told her the story and as expected she was shocked too…I prepared the checklist and ran out for shopping…we finished shopping by 10pm and reached home…those two days were very hectic but somehow I managed to complete my packing and shopping. 

Friday 25th March 2011 2:30 AM, I was in flight. Well this was my first international journey experience and I was scared and exhausted due to Immigration check and lots of other official formalities. Anyways 2 large Rum settled down everything for me and I could sleep comfortably ;) After all India defeated Australia that day and reached in semi-final of Cricket World Cup… celebration to banta tha yaar…  

Flight reached Johannesburg early morning on 25th around 7:00 AM. I was out of airport @ 7:45am after doing all the formalities. My company’s driver was waiting for me with the board saying Pushkar Kumar.      

Driver was very friendly and he started to explain me about South Africa and its traffic, greenery, food etc. He also told me that this time South Africa is going to win world cup because the team is in great form, I said yes indeed all the best for today’s match. Unfortunately South Africa lost that game and they were out from world cup, I felt very pity on the driver’s confidence rather over-confidence.

I reached my office and again completed lots of onsite formalities for phone, bank account, house etc. When I was done with all the formalities, driver dropped me at 20 Hyde Park, Sandton. He said that make yourself comfortable, your room partners will come in evening. He also told that I can cook something or order pizza for afternoon. I nodded and said thanks man.

The room was decent enough for a bachelor, two rooms with attached bathroom, big hall and kitchen. I thought of making Maggi, the easiest food you can cook to survive. I tried to open the stove but unfortunately I was not able to do it, it was bit different from what we use in India. It was electric stove, some iron plates on top of it and different knobs around it. I was not in a mood to do any RnD so I left it as it is. Luckily maid (In SA you call them domestics) came and she showed me how to use that stove. Finally I made Maggi and gave some rest to the bloody rats who were jumping in my stomach since morning :P

I called up my Biwi and Gaurav and told them that I reached safely. I asked them to inform this to others as well. Too many things were going through my mind, I was in need of a number for making VOIP calls, I had to give test for car, how my client work location would be, work culture etc. Till Monday everything started finalizing, first day at client office was good. Being a pay TV domain company they have big LCDs placed on every corner of the office which helped us watching world cup matches while working.   

It’s been nearly 10 months for me in South Africa and I have experienced many things here. I think I will be able to explain something about South Africa now. 

I am staying in Johannesburg, one of the largest cities of South Africa situated in Gauteng. Johannesburg is a very beautiful city, people are very friendly here and most important thing “It is very safe to stay in Johannesburg (yeah few areas are dangerous but that are everywhere isn't it??)”

Food: You can find too many Indian restaurants in Johannesburg. Renowned ones are Taste of Punjab, Vintage India, Delhi Darbar etc. You can also find KFC, Mcdonalds and many burger joints which are really good (esp. if you are non-vegetarians).

Grocery: There are 2 big Indian/Pakistani market in Johannesburg Fords burg and Laudium. You can find all type of spices and other grocery items here which you can’t find it in stores. Other things you can find it in PicknPay, Makro and FruitnVeg.

Transportation: This is the biggest problem in Johannesburg rather in South Africa, you should have your own vehicle otherwise it’s very difficult to travel around. There are many agencies who give car on rent. Your Indian license is valid here and the driving style is also same as India.

Living Style: People in South Africa start their work early and they close it early also. All the big malls close @ 5 PM very few @ 6 PM. You will feel difficult in starting up early. However, it gives you more time for yourself and your family. People are very fashionable here. You can see very different and pretty dresses, hair styles and stylish boots :)    

Shopping Malls:  There are too many malls in Johannesburg Monte Casino, Sandton, Rosebank, Hyde Park, Cresta, Bright Water commerce. You can enjoy Hindi movies also in Numetro @ Monte Casino & Hyde Park Mall. You can also find some renowned African craft markets like Bruma and Rosebank. 

Tourist Attractions: Johannesburg has many tourist attractions; I will try to list down few here:   

Carlton Panorama - At the Carlton Panorama you will have some very wonderful views of the city from the 50th floor tallest building in South Africa.

Sun City - Sun City Tour with its casinos and roulette tables and beaches this proves to be a very fun outing.

Lesedi Cultural Village - You can see how the people live there with their cultural dance and much more. 

Gold Reef City - Spend some time at the Gold Reef City is a reproduction of the city of Johannesburg in the early 1900’s.

Johannesburg Zoo - A day at the Johannesburg Zoo is a joy. You will see so many animals and enjoy all the exhibits.

Johannesburg Planetarium - There is a tour of the planetarium that takes two hours to shows and explains about the planets. 

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve – A very good place for one day picnic. You can also visit wonder caves inside this park.

Nelson Mandela Bridge - The largest the 284 meter long cable-stayed bridge in South Africa.
Mandela Family Museum - Nelson Mandela's house in Orlando West, Soweto, now called the Mandela Family Museum.
Montecasino – One of the best complexes in Johannesburg with an array of restaurants that include Japanese, Portuguese, Mediterranean, Eastern fusion and, of course, Italian. There is one huge casino and Numetro multiplex.

Museum Africa - Museum Africa’s focuses on indigenous African cultures, history and archaeology, and linguistics, and the collection of rock art.

National Museum of Military History – You can see collection of weapons, military aircraft, medals, uniforms and other war memorabilia.

SAB World of Beer - A tour that explains art of beer-making and brewing; and a cool treat of beer after that :)

Sandton City - One of the main attraction in Sandton is Sandton City. This shopping center is ranked among the largest shopping centers in Africa
Apart from this there are many good places which you must visit when you are in South Africa.

Kruger National Park
St. Lucia
Port Elizabeth
George & Knysna

Enough for this post I will share experiences about Durban, Sabie, St. Lucia and other trips in some other post. Hope you liked it and some of the information was helpful :)  

Milestone of our beautiful Journey

364 days…Time moves so quickly….last year same day we all were busy in preparation, arrangements for Baaraat, Rasam and all. Yeah it was just 1 day close to the big day…our marriage… Tomorrow we will complete successfully 1 year of our marriage and we will reach the very first milestone of our lovely journey.

We had various good time and couple of bad time during these 364 days, but I am blessed to have such an understanding life partner who supported me in every joy and tears.

This year gave us unforgettable memories of a beautiful Jammu and Gangtok trip, New Year celebration in Nagaon/Alibag, our first Lohri, Durban trip, first Karva Chauth, Hartalika Vrat and many more.
I will always remember the support from you when I was hospitalized, when I moved to SA alone for office work and you handled it very well.    

I cannot describe this beautiful year and your support in words…but… I must say I want to be with you when something really good happens, because you are the one I want to share it with. I want to be with you when something is troubling me, because you are the one who understands me so well. I want to be with you when I laugh and cry because I know that you are the one that makes my laughter grow and my tears disappear.

Happy Anniversary Sweetheart!!!

Falling in love with you is the second best thing that has ever happened to me. Finding you was the first... JJ

काश इन आँखों के अश्क छुप जाते कभी कभी

काश इन आँखों के अश्क छुप जाते कभी कभी...
हम चाह के भी ना रो पाते कभी कभी...

यूँ तो आदत नहीं थी रोने की बार बार हमे....
बस हालात नम कर जाती है पलके कभी कभी...

हमे इल्म ना हुआ कब छुट गया काफूर...
ख्वाबों में उनका इस्तेकबाल होता है कभी  कभी...

काश इन आँखों के अश्क छुप जाते कभी कभी ...
हम चाह के भी ना रो पाते कभी कभी... 
हम चाह के भी ना रो पाते कभी कभी...

~ पुष्कर कुमार

Interview ka safar

I had appeared for loads of interview over last 2 months on nearly all the weekend. There were some top notch companies, some small scale companies but what amazed me that they don’t know what exactly they want from a candidate. During this journey some incidents were very funny...  I will share here some of the events which is in my mind and will be there for a long time ;)

Interview 1
This was my first interview after a long time so I was not much prepared for that. The company is situated in Hinjewadi and it’s a CMM 3 company. I got a call from HR saying that your interview has been scheduled and it is a schedule walk in please be there by 10:00 AM.  I reached there by 9:45 AM and there were 500 candidates for the interview (what kind of scheduled walk in was that). I waited there for nearly 5-6 hour then someone called me for my first round of interview.  I will direct start from the interview questions.
Interviewer: Why you have mentioned ASP.NET(C#/VB) on your resume? Do you know VB6?
: No this is the code behind language for ASP.NET.
: Then it should be VB.NET right?
: Yes but I have mentioned ASP.NET already and in parenthesis I have written it. Anyways I will correct it.
: Okay, why you have written Oracle in your database list at first? Have you worked on oracle on your last project?
: No, it was SQL Server 2005.
: Then it should be SQL Server.
: Okay I will correct that as well.
: Why you have mentioned Finance Domain in bold?
: Because I am working in finance domain and I wanted to show the domain expertise on my resume.  
Then he asked some basic questions which I answered easily. After that he said you can leave for the day HR will get back to you (By the way I am still waiting).  

Interview 2
This company is situated in Hinjewadi at two locations and it’s a very great company to work with (that’s what I heard).  The interviewer in white shirt with some brown prints on it (By looking it closely I realized that it’s not printed actually just few mud drops made it printed).  He was having bunch of paper and he started asking questions from this paper. I will start with the funny part ;)
Interviewer:  What is WCF?
: I don’t know.
Next question
Interviewer: What is windows communication foundation?
: I said I don’t know.
: No you said you don’t know WCF.
: Oh yes I don’t know this as well (For who don’t know WCF stand for Windows communication foundation).
He has asked me WCF, Delegates and Serialization 3 times in the interview (May be it was printed there in bunch paper 3 times).

Interview 3
This was a small company and they started Pune branch few months back in Panchshil IT Park, Viman Nagar.  There was 2 interviewer and they both were looking at me like Aaj to iski band baja ke rakhenege ;)  After giving too many answers confidently and correct (well...according to me) they started with my project architecture.  
Interviewer 1:  Why you have not used any design patterns in your projects?
: Well I have joined this organization in April 2009 and the project was in development since 2007. So the architecture and everything was in place and we are just developing the remaining modules.
Interviewer 1
:  But you can change it anytime, why you have not suggested that?
: I suggested few changes and whichever was feasible that we implemented.
Interviewer 2
: Okay tell me what is Debit and Credit (all of a sudden debit and credit)
: Definition of debit and credit (I said whatever I know)
Interviewer 1
:  Why you have not used WCF in your project?
: It was not required; we have not used any web service as well.
Interviewer 2
:  Write down a LINQ query to fetch record and store in collection.
: Started writing that.
Interviewer 1
: No leave it. Tell me why you have used LDAP in your project.  
: Well that was required to provide window active directory credentials.
Interviewer 1
: We can achieve it through database login also, why LDAP?  
: That information is not stored in database.
They asked me such stupid questions for 1 ½ hours and said you can leave for the day.    

Interview 4
This was a US based company works in Finance Domain situated in Kalyani Nagar. I was having a keen interest in this company but somehow we didn’t agree on finance and I have said no to them.
Interviewer:  How much you rate yourself on OOPS out of 10?
: 9.5
:  Great then let’s start with OOPS; you must be having an idea about Abstract Class and Interfaces. My question is what you will use if there is a requirement in your project.
: It depends on the requirement…blah blah… after all justification and explaining him one example… I said I will use Abstract class (That was suitable for my example).
: Okay after one year I ask you to change it to Interface then?
: I will check whether it is required or not.
:  No, I am the boss and I am saying you to change it so change it.
: Okay sir then I will take a written approval from you and I will provide you the estimation ;)  I don’t know why they have selected me after giving this answer. 

Enough for this post, I will post the second part later on with more funny interview incidents.