Friday, June 29, 2012

The Team

I have exactly 12 days for my departure to Astana for #ibmcsc Kazakhstan. I am so excited about the entire trip and meeting my team for the first time there. The only means of contact is the weekly call we have now for the past 3 months chaired by Keith - our Mentor. As promised, I will introduce the Kazakhstan 2 Team and also mention some of their hobbies, fun facts and also their labels.

Divya, The Exuberant Voyager is from Bangalore has visited about half a dozen countries and is also into Scuba diving. Our Curious Scanner Gustavo is from Lima, who likes to play football has been to Berlin for FIFA finals in 2006 and also walked to the top of Machu Picchu. Yuji – Attentive Listener plays French horn in orchestras and loves skiing is from Tokyo. Divya, Gustavo and Yuji will be working with Kaznexinvest.

From Sydney, we have Belinda who likes traveling, cooking, reading. Brad
is also a certified Scuba diver, our Gadget guy from Ohio and he is about to visit his 12th country. Zippi Sara likes to take road trips, is from Chennai and that's me. Atameken is our client NGO.

From Philippines, we have a celebrated Child Star, Chester - "Jack of all trades" as per our team label loves to sing, travel and eat.  Karla - traveling Kiwi likes playing netball, gardening, reading and traveling of course is from Wellington. Siew Yin – “Left Brain Thinker” from Kuala Lumpur plays golf and is also passionate about traveling and exploring new places. Optimism Incarnate Vishal, always looks at the good side of everything is from Bangalore. He loves cricket and live music. The client for Chester, Karla, Siew Yin and Vishal is Kazakehenroeksperitza (Central Asia Energy Efficiency Program)

Our Positive Attitude and Adventurous Srinath from Bangalore likes to play cricket and loves to dance. Tanner - Deeper Thinker likes to spend time outdoors like hiking, hunting and working in his backyard is a pescatarian from North Carolina. Srinath and Tanner's client is Legal Media Center.

My next blog would be about Astana! :-)

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I really wanted to do something outdoors and so I registered for  CTC - Chennai Trekking Club about a month back. I started getting mailers about the treks, cycling, mid sea dives and so on. About 10 days back, I got a mailer about Zumba class. When I heard the word Zumba, I immediately remembered - Zumbale Zumbale zumakku zumma. :-) Now, this was something different - a dance class which was also a fitness class. I forwarded it to my friend Vidya and she too was interested. Both of us registered for this class. This was the first time for both of us when it comes to any outdoor activity. We were so excited about it when we got the confirmation mail from Aishwarya - the organizer.

On Saturday-16th, both of us got ready in tracks and headed for the Miss Fit center in Choolaimedu for 11 to 12 Session. We reached pretty early and was waiting for the rest of the party to reach. We had 3 trainers and among them, Senthil was a certified Zumba Trainer. Our class started with some warm-ups followed by Zumba steps with some nice heavy music. As Aishwarya had said in the mail, Zumba didn't require any previous experience with dance and also the fitness level or age didn't matter. All the ladies had enjoyed to the core along with shedding some calories in the next one hour. I am pretty sure that if you ask me to workout or walk for an hour, I wouldn't do it. It would be too boring. But Zumba was something different. At the end of the session, all of us surely lost some calories! :-) Aishwarya said that she will make sure to have more Zumba sessions in days to come. After meeting some new faces and saying byes, Vidya and I left the center at around 12:15, had a nice lunch at Saravana Bhavan and returned home.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

30 days to go!

30 days to go for my Corporate Service Corps - CSC trip. To those who all wonder what CSC is - It is like a Business version of Peace Corps which was started by IBM in 2008. This Program helps to develop the leadership skills of IBMers while addressing the socio-economic challenges faced by the emerging markets.

It all started last April, when we got a notification to apply for the CSC program. Like many others, I also applied for this initiative which had few questions along with essay writing also. I was eagerly waiting for the results because it was such a big thing to me. I had been waiting for 2 years to apply for CSC as there were some prerequisite to apply. I felt that I could contribute my skills in this program as well as learn a lot new skills and improve my expertise through CSC. Finally after a month and half waiting, I received a note that I have been selected for the CSC program. The waiting is not over yet. Now, I had to wait for a mail which will inform me about the location and my travel dates. My waiting was finally answered on 1st March 2012 that I have been assigned to Kazakhstan Team and I will be away for a month from July 12th.

My next few blogs will be about my preparatory work about CSC and also i will introduce my CSC fellows #ibmcsc :-)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Green Hands Project

I know its been ages that I have blogged. Hoping that I will keep up the spirit and blog continuously, I am gonna write something about that we did on Saturday - 9th June. My usual Saturday goes something like this - Wake up at 6:30 or 7:00, play with Pooja and Vicky, pay a visit to T.nagar and roam around. But last Saturday was something different. 

I started at 8:00 from my home to the Isha Green Hands (Pasumai Puratchi) Nursery in Adambakkam.

The first time, I heard about this project was when I was in college - A mass tree planting marathon was held on October 17, 2006. It resulted in 852,587 saplings being planted in 6284 locations across 27 districts in the state, by over 256,289 volunteers in just one day, setting a Guinness World Record(Courtesy: Isha Yoga Site). My college also participated in this initiative and as a result, I planted one sapling near the hostel and put up a fence around it. Later, when I attended the Inner Engineering activity under Isha Yoga, I again came across this Green Hands project. I tried to start a activity for this project under ODC but couldn't as I didn't know how or whom to approach. But this time, Padma pushed us to start this activity. Along with the World Environment Day celebrations, this activity was kick started on 9th June.

We decided to come in IBM T-shirts and assemble near the nursery at 8:45. Bharath anna explained the first batch on how the nursery is functioning and allotted us the work. Padma and myself were in-charge of mixing the soil. We have to mix the red soil, normal soil and manure in 3:1:1 ratio. Soon, batches II and III were allotted with work. They had to separate the weaker ones from the fertile ones, fill the gap in the samplings by adding the soil mixture, sort them based of the size of plants grown. With the given instructions, everyone set out to work. Thanks to Mother Earth, we had a good climate as well. We has 2 more Isha volunteers who worked along with us and we discussed so many things about the nursery maintenance. The land for the nursery was sponsored by a volunteer, 2 volunteers each day come to water the plants before going to their office and on weekends there are dedicated volunteers who help in the maintenance of the nursery. These saplings are the distributed in the outskirts of Chennai and they get a committed group from the local community to look after them. At the end of the activity, we had a small presentation by the Isha volunteers followed by a feedback session.  

We had lot of fun in the span of 4 hours. We saw few snails (I have never seen so big snails so far) and one or two frogs before our break at 11:00. We had some cakes, coffee bites, biscuits and lots of water during the break and continued our work. Suja akka prepared an energy drink for us after the break. Most of us had one cup, few had 2 cups and only 2 persons had infinite number of cups :-D.  This is when we saw 4 snakes - 2 very small ones and 2 small ones (Baskar said one was a viper). Finally, if I don't tell about the mango story, then this blog would miss something. The house next to the nursery had so many mangoes. The Ripe Mangoes were so tempting and few of us had the opportunity to get one before leaving. :-D How we got the mangoes is still a mystery. 

I headed home with a feeling that I have done something for the environment instead of just talking about it and committed that this will be continue in the coming weeks.