2 days in the air with Skyteam

I usually try flying Star Alliance (*A), especially with Air India (AI) on board. But there are still quite a few sectors where *A lacks good connections – like Portland for example. I’ve been consciously avoiding Air France (AF) after reading about their mistreatment of Indians. We did try booking easterly via Japan, but with just a week’s notice, even that was sold out. I was left with no option but to fly Skyteam all through BOM-CDG-SLC-PDX-AMS-BOM with AF-DL.

The numbers

The to & fro journeys happen to be my longest 2 ever: a whopping 32 hours end-to-end to Portland, and 25 hours on the return. It also has the highest meeting-to-journey (MTJ) ratio of  28.5 hours of travel per hour of business meetings :) The previous record was 15 hours. CDG-SLC also happens to be my longest sector this year – 5072 miles.

BOM-CDG on Air France

Midnight snack on AF
Midnight snack on AF

Without airline lounge access, I used the Clipper lounge which seems inferior to the new CSIA First Class lounge. We had an on-time departure around 2am. On board the A330, the crew seemed very pleasant. They distributed headphones and a night kit with an eye mask & ear muffs. The light midnight snack was the largest served by any airline that operates flights post midnight. LH, LX, VS, DL all serve a puff roll with drinks. Apart from the hot snack, AF served fruits – really help keep you hydrated on long flights – and a granola bar to munch later in the night. They used an older In-flight entertainment (IFE) system Continue reading

Recipe: Oven-toasted Chicken Bruschettas

At some point in time, I am going to write a book about cooking: “A Husband’s guide to quick recipes – a.k.a. all you need is shredded chicken”. The possibilities of what you can do with shredded chicken are limitless. I’ve used it with enchiladas, salads, nachos, pizzas and what not. Here is another easy one.

Ingredients:

Oven-baked bruschetta
Oven-baked bruschetta

Continue reading

1-page resume that says it all

The last time I redesigned (not updated) my resume was 2009. Since then, my understanding of ease-of-use, information architecture & win-loss has grown several fold. Late last year I realized that my resume looks archaic and needs a revamp.

The need was to create something that was:

  • information rich yet not cluttered
  • comprehensible yet not funky
  • likely to get past through the recruiter’s clutter.

Several opinions & tweaks later, I finally published a release candidate that I wanted to share. Yes, sharing definitely looses the competitive advantage at a PM opening, but what use is creativity that’s kept to yourself. I hope this bit on the design rationale helps all.

Single-page resume that says it all!
Single-page resume that says it all!

The importance of Page 1

It’s a no-brainer how crucial the first page is to recruiters, considering their daily swim in the resume swarm. The key was to summarize everything that mattered to them on Page 1, while deferring details to following pages. More importantly, it also acts as a printable summary  Continue reading

A Night in Sønderborg

I’ve been to small towns before. Quite a lot of European cities, and Melbourne, can be explored on foot (maybe, some tram). But last week, I visited the smallest of them all – a town named Sønderborg in East Denmark.

Sonderborg, like many other towns in Europe, is the home of a manufacturing giant, for which it is best known. Corporate presence helps create employment opportunities and develop local infrastructure of these smaller towns that would otherwise be neglected. A local airline, Alsie Express, operates a few flights to Copenhagen everyday with their ATR aircraft in jet-black livery.

Hriday: finally comfortable
Hriday: finally comfortable

Shortly after takeoff the hostess came out of the front door to serve coffee, chocolate or nachos. We initially thought it was the pilot making good use of the auto-pilot, but later realized it was the ATRs cargo hold. The aircraft is an all business class configuration with the kind of leg-space that my friend Hriday needs, but hardly gets. Each seat stretching two window panes speaks for itself.

The approach served us a beautiful view of the area – lush green islands in the sea. The airport was a tiny little building – the size of a petrol pump (or smaller actually). The bags were loaded on a cart and then pushed into a gutter in the building. The 4 table cafeteria was empty, and there was free coffee and WiFi in the 8 seat waiting area.

There was a single, large common washroom. In the time that my friend took a smoke, people had moved out in their cars and the airport door was locked. The few taxis that were there had gone and we kept waiting. A lady realized we were new here Continue reading

5 benefits of indulging yourself in pet projects

You have every right to question my proposal – haven’t projects at work already tamed our lives for the worst? Well, yes definitely. But I’m not talking about work-related projects, or even the side projects that your cool workplace encourages. I’m talking about every other little project that needn’t advance your career or make you money (at least to begin with). The reason I’m distinguishing this from hobbies is because a hobby can keep you amused for an entire life-time – like numismatics for me. Projects on the other hand will usually have an end-result.

Courtesy: drrajivdesaimd.com
Staying the grey zone

The result is what is crucial to creating a sense of achievement & satisfaction. It is only one of the benefits you would you see while engaging yourself in a pet project. Here are some more:

1. Sense passion and purpose

The monotony or stress at work takes a hit on passion. A project with the right amount of challenge can bring you back in the grey zone and you will experience passion. Additionally,
Continue reading

For objects to appear closer than they are