Work @ Home Extended Again

I got the news late last night after a long day at work and while I was lying in bed and trying to watch some Agents Of SHIELD. A colleague in my team messaged me and asked if I had read the news shared in an announcement email sent by our country head. I hadn’t since I had shut down my system at 11pm and so I got the info that they have declared that those of us who are currently working from home (having got systems from the office) will continue to work from home until December 31st, 2020! They will look at the situation after a while and see if they can make a change but it does not look likely.

In the current situation, as the number of infected people starts going up in India and even in my state and city. I just heard that with 241 fresh cases, Kerala has registered a new Covid 19 peak on Saturday with the coronavirus situation taking a turn for worse in state capital Thiruvananthapuram and port city of Kochi. A worried Indian Medical Association (IMA), Kerala chapter has asked the state government to enforce a strict lockdown in containment areas and restrict movement of people to avert community spread. Saturday’s tally is the biggest single-day spike in the state since the outbreak in January. The total number of cases registered so far in the state has gone up to 5,204. 3,050 of these patients have recovered leaving 2,129 active cases. The state has recorded 25 deaths to the disease so far, said chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office.

The fact that the source of infection is unknown in many cases has worried the state government. The CM said that since the disease was spreading both in urban and rural areas, stricter cubs will be needed to contain it. The government is toying with the idea of enforcing a targeted confinement and triple lockdown in some of the worst-hit areas to check the spread of the contagion. Triple lockdown, a measure considered stricter than curfew allowing only police personnel’s movement, did wonders in containing the spread of the disease in Kasaragod in north Kerala earlier.

14 Hour Stretch

I have just gotten out of a 14 hour stretch. I switched my work system on at 9 am and got out of work at 11 pm. I shit you not folks! This is easily the worst day in post lockdown. I am so tired that I can feel my eyes thanking me when I finally shot down the work system and could get out of the haze of excel sheets and Webex and conference calls. I was also on an over 60 minutes conference call – 32 minutes of which it was not required for more than half of us to be there!

This company lives on conference calls. I wish I could get out of them but it’s deemed a necessary evil in the months of working from home. Even though some employees are working at the office and a few more might join them, we will not. I most certainly will not for the next month. After that it depends on the situation; if it is good I might be told that I can go to the office and if not then it will be working from home again. The last update we had was that we would continue to work from home till October and only new staff will be working from home as getting them systems to place in their homes would be a little expensive and tough to do.

But yeah I could use a break after this. So I am going to take it easy for the weekend; though I do have some work that I will have to do. I will do that Saturday evening and keep Sunday for total relaxation. Watch a couple of movies and sleep in. That will be good. And I am working 8pm to 5am from the next week.

I Am An Airtel Customer Now

It has finally happened. I joined up as a customer to a company that I never though I would join up with – Airtel. I have worked with both Idea and Vodafone and they are ofcourse huge rivals with each other and Airtel. Ofcourse a few years ago Reliance did what they did and came up with Jio and gave away free internet for many months and created a huge customer base and made it near impossible for Vodafone & Idea to compete.

Those two companies have since merged to stay competitive (and also laid off a lot of their staff in the process, some of whom I know and some of whom are my friends) and make whatever money from their share in the process as Jio loomed large in the spectrum. Airtel is the second largest mobile network operator in India and the second largest mobile network operator in the world with over 411.42 million subscribers. Airtel was named India’s 2nd most valuable brand in the first ever Brandz ranking.

Anyway there was always something about Airtel I never liked (I always thought that their plans seemed to be catered towards more kids in school & colleges and people just fresh out of them. I do not think that is the case anymore and haven’t for a while. So I took a new postpaid connection with them which I will put in my Oppo F11 Pro phone while the Vodafone connection goes to my new Realme X2 Pro.

June 30: On This Day…

On this day, June 30:

My New Phone Is Here

It’s here. My new phone, the Realme X2 Pro, which I bought online on Saturday via Flipkart arrived this late afternoon. I was excited, as always on getting a new toy, but waited for 30 minutes while I got things done.

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I unboxed it at around 4:15 pm I think and then setup the phone. There is no sim that I have put inside it. I will wait to get a new connection and insert that sim into my Oppo and then use my current sim in this phone. I do think it looks amazing.

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She is gorgeous.

Last Relaxed Week

Another light week working at home beckons for the next 5 days. The final week of a general shift or day shift as it would be called in this industry. The upcoming week will be a 9:30 am to 6:30 pm shift after which I will have 2 30 minutes calls. One with the remote team that is helping setting things up for the new process at Hyderabad, of which I am temporarily working for until August and the other is my regular team here.

One more week where it’s quite relaxing and then another weekend before I start training remotely a new set of hires for the next 2 weeks. After that I will support them remotely for 2 more weeks before getting back to training new hires for here. I am not very happy with one aspect of the training, mainly the tool that we are gonna use. In my opinion, corporate India is always like this. Trying to make things as difficult as possible for those who actually have to do it while people in decision making abilities just sit back and make you do more.

Shift timings are gonna be killer. 8:30 pm to 5:30 am. Or is it 8pm to 5am? I can’t remember. I will check my email tomorrow morning and check and see what it is. I don’t usually like working these kind of hours but I was told that there is no other way. I am getting 4 weeks of almost relaxed working situation so I shouldn’t complain I guess. It was nice while it lasted.

Realme X2 Pro – Bought!

Well I did it again. I dipped into my savings and bought a new phone. Since I have been making some extra money I have been spending some of it on a few things that I wanted to get. I bought the chair, a bluetooth chargeable speaker, new glasses and this morning I spent Rs.32k on a new phone. Which one?

After a few days of research I realized that the Realme X2 Pro seems to be the best reviewed phone on several Indian websites for the around Rs.30,000 bracket of phones. I also looked at a Samsung phone but the processor put me off. Ralme X2 Pro smartphone runs on Android v9.0 (Pie) operating system. The phone is powered by Octa core (2.96 GHz, Single core, Kryo 485 + 2.42 GHz, Tri core, Kryo 485 + 1.8 GHz, Quad core, Kryo 485) processor. It runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus Chipset. It has 8 GB RAM and 128 GB internal storage.

Realme X2 Pro smartphone has a Super AMOLED display. It measures 161 mm x 75.7 mm x 8.7 mm and weighs 199 grams. The screen has a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels and 405 ppi pixel density. It has an aspect ratio of 20:9 and screen-to-body ratio of 83.7 %. On camera front, the buyers get a 16 MP f/2.0, Wide Angle Primary Camera(3.419 mm focal length, 3″ sensor size, 1µm pixel size) and on the rear, there’s an 64+13+8+2 MP camera with features like Fixed Focus. It is backed by a 4000 mAh battery. Connectivity features in the smartphone include WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, Volte, NFC and more.

International Package Delays

One of the biggest problems due to Covid-19 related issues is the delay in getting packages and parcels delivered to you. Although local delivery, ie. India to India delivery is back to normal and has been normal for a while (for the most part though it does seem that some 3rd party sellers are still affected and cannot deliver to all parts of India). So for the most part Amazon India and Flipkart, which are the only two online websites that I purchase from, have been back to normal.

I place a lot of orders on Amazon India and a few on Flipkart. Since the sanctions of non-essentials were lifted I placed a few orders for toiletries like shampoo and deodorants and even some ointments plus some masks. Then I started looking for shirts on both Flipkart and Amazon IN and even managed to pick up a new 2 TB drive, earphones, some coffee mugs, bedsheets and just yesterday I got a new bluetooth speaker. So India wise we are all good, unless we go into another shutdown if the rumours are true. But where I am facing issues is my international orders.

As some of you may know by now I place a lot of orders for the dvds that I buy from Amazon UK and a few on eBay (either .com or .uk). Also I do get a few Funko Pops (my collection is now 7) that I place on them. What I was usually get within 2-3 weeks is now overdue even after a month. So far it is 2 of them but I have placed around 8 to 9 orders and I feel all of them will get delayed. I hope they don’t get delayed by too much longer.

Almost 9 To 9

Well this was the week when it was supposed to be normal. Finally I got the shift that we all crave and hope we get and usually don’t when we work directly for one of the projects that is in an international BPO. 9 am to 6pm or in this case 9:30 am to 6:30 pm which is almost the same. The much coveted, golden price, the Wimbledon of the shifts, the Stanley Cup of them all, the World Cup of the the work shifts!

I had such images of me singing “it’s a five o’clock world when the whistle blows” or Dolly’s “Workin’ 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin'” (again I know it’s not a 9-5 8 hour job but still it’s close enough) and dancing all the way to doing things I love and maybe even watching a movie. I might still get to do that in the upcoming days but it wasn’t the way things unfolded yesterday.

This is because to two 30 minutes or less (as per the invites) calls that extended to 45 minutes each yesterday. So by the time I ended the calls and shut off the system it was 8:45 pm. Where did my evening go? I then had to quickly order some chilli chicken (Indo-Chinese cusine) and waited for the 25-30 minutes before it reached me and I went down to the lobby to collect it.

I did not manage to watch the movie but instead by 10:45 pm put on episode 1 of season 2 of the X-Files but fell asleep quite quickly. I dunno why but I keep falling asleep quickly during these shifts.

I Need A Break

I have had it today. Today has not been a good day and I certainly do like or appreciate being criticized for every thing that I do. I do not care that she is my mother. I cannot stand it anymore and I certainly am not going to apologize for it. I have been at the receiving end and lived with it for almost 44 years and I have just about had enough.

It’s not like me to go on a holiday so soon and in the same year but when things get a little better and I am not needed to be there for the current training batches for work, I am taking a few days off and going away. I need to unwind and relax again. I need to get away from my parents. My mom, especially, is driving me nuts and I just lashed out at her this evening because she got on my nerves. Imagine someone who spends the days going about just looking for things to complain and nitpick and irritate you every step of the way. If it’s not the way she wants things, she bitches and whines and complains. Well I have had it!

I am no longer going to feel guilty for lashing out and shouting back at her. I use profanity and swear about her parents, who clearly (and this is because of several things) should never have had children according to me. I have just had enough and I couldn’t care two hoots if her feelings get hurt when I lash out because she clearly doesn’t care if my feelings get hurt.

A Captain Chair For A Starfleet Captain

Finally, finally after thinking about it since waaaay waaaay waaaay back in 2013, I finally got me a proper chair. An executive chair, a computer chair whatever you call it. It’s cushioned comfort for me ass and back is what it is. I cannot believe that I have waited so long to get one. When I first moved to this apartment I had my old chair which was missing a screw and then the arm rest broke when I pushed the chair too hard against the steel almariah that I had in my room.

Pretty soon the chair was abandoned and since then I have been using a red metal chair, which will has been loyal and is a very solid piece of furniture, has also been bad for my back. Hours each day spent sitting on the chair has not been kind to my bum and back and I have wanted to get a nice, cushy chair for so long.

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I remember back in 2015 or so I actually went out to try and find a few places that would sell executive chairs and I didn’t like any of the ones I could afford and the ones that I liked were too expensive (for my budget back then). I think it was on the same day that I placed the order for the brown book shelf that you see behind the chair in the pic. So I kept pushing it off and procrastinating a lot. Finally the pandemic broke and we were all stuck indoors. Working from home meant that other than my usual hours spent on my laptop, I also worked an additional 10 hours 5 days a week sitting at the big desktop that my employers shipped to my home.

So since the last 10 days of March I have been working at home and now I have had it with an aching back and butt. This past Saturday, the first day that I went out since the lockdown started, I finally went to Damro and got me a nice big executive chair that I can use for my work and play purposes. This is so much better. I can also pretend that I am Captain Kirk at the captain’s chair of the Enterprise.

The Week Ahead

The upcoming week ahead has nothing but more of the same for me. That is the trend as far as life after the breakout of the pandemic it seems, well atleast for me. Each Monday I check with my mom and, to a lesser extent, my dad as to what groceries we need for the week. I also pick and choose some fruits, mostly apples, bananas and oranges and occasionally some grapes. Then ofcourse the packaged food stuff and snacks that we need and I place an order for them on one of the online apps that I use and the groceries get delivered to me usually within 30-40 minutes depending on which store I am placing the order from.

This week, like the last, I start work from 11 am till 8pm. I get 2 breaks of 15 minutes each for coffee and a stretch and a 40 minute break for lunch. Sometimes I order lunch as well or maybe just a fish curry. Now that the maid is coming regularly we get most of our meals cooked at home but a fish masala or fish curry is a welcome addition from a restaurant. Usually I take a quick break to run down (no delivery or carrier folks are allowed inside the building for the moment) to collect said deliveries, which only takes me a couple of minutes.

Lunch is usually at around 1:15 pm and it’s rice, veggies, curry and if we have some scrambled eggs or fish with it, the better. After that it’s back to work and usually at around 5pm (which is when I prefer to have my coffee) and some biscuits or other snacks. At 8pm the main job for the day is done but I hang around for an hour more, while going online and watching Youtube and have dinner. At 10 pm I look to see what tv series episode I want to watch or maybe if I am feeling upto it perhaps a movie before I go to sleep which is around 1am.

The next morning I wake up at 8 am, which is when my alarm goes off, and the routine begins again. Rinse and repeat until Friday night. The past two Saturdays I have gone out and enjoyed myself a bit. I got a new pair of glasses (long overdue), got the new chair, got an air-conditioner fixed in my bedroom, got a new fan fixed in my bedroom this morning. I have saved some money and even made a bunch of money from my blog. And I can go out if I want to though it still is restrictive. I guess I have it better than most but I wish we could go back to the old ways.

W@H Extended Till October

The news, that broke out late Friday evening, from our country head that the powers that be at our corporate have decided that those of us who have been working at home will continue to work from home until October. Based on the current situation they felt that it would be best for the employees to stay at home and work rather than come to the offices located in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Kochi. They are still hiring new employees and the training for the new folks are being conducted online.

I am currently shadowing a training being conducted online. The trainer sits in the offices in the Philippines and the trainees, all 18 of them, are in their homes in Hyderabad. The systems that the trainees use are provided by the company. Simultaneously there is another trainer in the Philippines who is conducting another batch of 18-20 trainees as well. Me and a colleague of mine are attending the training as there are some differences from the process that we do follow in our offices here and we need to be aware of them as we will also be conducting training batches for the same process very soon.

In view of the now extended work from home situation I can’t help but feel a bit dejected. Mainly because I do not enjoy the working from home as much as I thought I would. Well atleast for this organization and process. I also want my desk back – as it is a large monitor with a CPU system, it takes up almost all the space on my desk and I cannot keep my laptop on it or the speakers. If that were fixed, I might enjoy myself more. Atleast it isn’t as hot as March, April & May were.

While I was out on Saturday, I found it depressing to see everyone with masks on. I saw more people yesterday than last Saturday and this may explain my depression. This is the new normal. I am kinda bummed about it but there is nothing that any of us can do. Life as we knew it has changed quite a bit and I hope we can get back to things as it was. Maybe, but we just have to wait it out.