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Malaysian Superbug Challenge

Malaysian Superbug Challenge

Exactly after one year another opportunity came knocking at my door and I was bold to take a challenge. I had called up my corporate  contact casually and he gave me a counter offer.”Can you talk on this subject…”? He asked me .I was taken aback. That was distinctly an allied topic and not my speciality.I hesitated only for a while.”Well….” I suggested a more general and basic topic with his products in view. He said he will give a thought and hung up.

Then after an hour I received a call from his assistant. He confirmed the suggestion I had made and there I was rearing to go on the trip to Malaysia. Now there was a hitch. I was to go to Baroda for an exquisite work of taking a post grad exam and that stood between me and the preps. But I had no choice. So I started in right earnest. I reviewed my notes and referred standard texts and practices and made a skeleton job before I left for Baroda.

Archana was there at the airport to receive me. We drove straight to her place which was a well designed bungalow near the airport. We were ushered in the drawing hall. I was treated to gujrathi delicacies and enjoyed her hospitality. She was my best student and I had salvaged her out of crisis during her post grad studies by my good counsel. She always appreciated that and mentioned about it in her peers.

Then we had met at Delhi during one conference and she invited me to see her splendid set up after her academic accomplishments. I too waited to go to Baroda and see her success .Now somehow that desire had become a reality. I was put up in a Apex Hotel bang opposite Sayaji University and Museum in Sayaji Ganj. Baroda has a great heritage of the rulers the Gaikwad Royal family descendants of Maratha Generals of The Peshwas.I was visiting Baroda after 25 years  when I had been to attend  Bhattus marriage who I had assisted him in making a final  marital deal for just  two bottles of beer and double omelets from Iranian  restaurant opposite  Bandra Bhabha Hospital. There was no airport then. At Apex I relaxed as I waited for my friend Nagraj to arrive.

Nagraj came in at 4 pm .We had tea together and the chatted .I told him of my Pindaric travail. He heard me intently making mental notes for the future. Trekkers discuss technical matters to understand commonsense physiology of performance so as to  learn  from others experience. I stacked him with tid bits. He concurred about the issues of pre trek meeting and over confidence. Then  we got comparing notes on Swimming. He was a swimming aficionado. And I realized that great men think alike. He too did the same routine daily. Swim free style for 50 minutes nonstop lengthwise in Olympic pool of 50 meters and conclude with one round of breast stroke.That had been my recent routine at Mulnd Pool,the only difference was I did it on Wednesdays and Saturdays and he did it daily.




After he left I went for a small stroll and ordered my dinner with room service . I went to bed early. Next day at 8 am I was introduced to my coexaminers.One was from Rajasthan and we had met on number of occasions at conferences at Lucknow and Kanpur and Banglaore.We were driven to the venue and after a breakfast stint,setteled with nuisances of conduct of the exam. Having reached a consensus we directed the candidate and sat back and chatted. The inspection happened to fall on the same day and the inspector was a leading lady from Mumbai and we had her company to assess the candidate and guide us through the conduct. We appreciated her contribution.

Now the Malaysian challenge was constantly on my mind and I preempted it in a succinct way. I had told Archana to surf the net and standard texts and design a presentation. She showed it to me .This surely will come in handy I thought as  I profusely thanked her. There is always a difference between Lady and a girl…I thought. The exam got over a t 4 pm and we were ushered into the Office of the Director. He sat there guiding us about his institute and its merit.We had no alternative but to accept his facts.The inspector then joined us and after usual formalities she left us.Just then the director got up and accompanied her out of the door.And to our amazement we saw him on his own CCTV offering a gift to the inspector,which she was seen denying.I knew of her unquestionalble intergrity , later I saw that she relented.It must be a silver coin of Laxmi …I thought.I was dead right.At airport the inspector was in the same flight and she told me of the gift offered.I told her that we saw that on the CCTV and she was really crossed.

It is here I did a smart trick.I told her of my next task at Malaysia and she came up front with the latest in the field of superbugs and their challenge.Well my job was getting simpler and simpler.What motivated me was the preoccupation to do well at Kuala Lumpur.Then  when we arrived at Mumbai I walked out straight and came home too tired to give her a company.I called up Archana and told to contact her and got myself excused.

I came back on Monday and by Thursday had done all my shopping at R City and by late night flight I was on my way to Kuala Lumpur. We had a bus to take us to Renaissance.We were guests of a Nepal society who were cosponsors of this ‘Cross Borders Conference’ .We arrived and after breakfast retired in our rooms .I  took a bath and then tried to catch some sleep.At 12 noon I had moderate lunch at Temptation .Next was the seminar. I had got my presentation perfected but although I knew of the sequence of talks was not aware of the time allotted to me.My presentation was made to last for 40 minutes which I had to downsize to 25.That was a stiff order.I tried to delete slides but then goodsense prevailed . It is impossible to delete slides,but one can cut down the time by limiting the reference by word of mouth.

The speakers were stalwarts in their field .And I sat glued to the seat studying their points and mentally assimilating the facts and their reference to context to my speech.Was it a tall order to sermonize these specialists ? I thought .I stayed put. My excellent CR fitness and training as a trekker ,swimmer and Gym buff came to my rescue. I also drew upon my strength as a speaker and a teacher.As I got to the mike I realized a specialist cum celebrity as the chairperson.I plunged into my talk headlong.No respite,I went on fact after fact with my own comments which were topical and intuitive. My analytics were superb.Getting to basics is always appreciated.I made references to earlier speeches and some subgroup analysis which was a point of discussion and showed how it defers with the final conclusion. This was our own study and I was its proud presenter. My talk was well accepted and I was a satisfied man.

The concluding session was a great knowledge bonanza. Full justice was done to the entire ambit of the subject and the convener referred to each speaker personally thanking us for our contribution. I felt accomplished. That night I was high on the rocks with Black label and Malaysian delecacies  I relished the sea food giving the slip to the usual Punjabi food. Having worked in a corporate setup , my own comfort level with staff is exceedingly enviable. I was telling them f my past experiences and about the superior nature of the  deliberations and its class .I wish we had documented this in details ,I had felt strongly.

Next day we were at Genting Island a fun city 5000 feet up the rope way in the sea of dense forest whose canopies spread out before us as we ascended along 4 km of ropeway. Incredible I thought. These people must be perfectionists I surmised. I settled for a moderate ride recalling my experience with Space Mountain at Euro Disney. A 4 D movie was a noel experience with visual effects in 3 D the 4th dimension was added by reverberating hot seat and pneumatic draughts that added thrill to the animated space odyssey. Next was the mild self inflicted loss of Malaysian Ringgits at the Casino and mind boggling spread at the restaurant which was probably largest I ever visited.

The true value addition however was my hand at archery. A costly affair, but I indulged happily. I was wearing the designer leather hand gear .With 12 arrows in my repertoire I held the bow with great verve. Every time I struggled to get the arrow into the slot of the string and the bow. Aiming  at the bulls eye and releasing the arrow was ecstasy .As time was short I did not go up on the learning curve as the deal was low with 12 sorties only .Only two wasted out of the target. Rest made it on the target settling that I was above average but none on the bull’s eye, meaning that I was not trained and that was obvious. Later when I saw my stance I admired myself to having the genes of a marks man .Then as I wresteled with statistics I could not explain why not a single landed on the bulls eye by even a chance .Then the realization dawned on me. My mistake was simple and natural. I was applying to much strength that was the first mistake. The stretched stance of my upper limbs was putting tremendous stress on my untrained upper arm muscles causing them to oscillate with unsteadiness that was 2nd error and the third was I was oblivious of the trajectory of the arrow and fourth mistake was the core.: I was aiming for the bulls eye naturally missing due to oscillations of my entire body. Perhaps if I had aimed all my arrows at the periphery at least 2 would have landed in the bull’s eye. That was a perfect eye-opener I concluded making this as a protean experience at Genting.


Next day was a day for shopping. We got to Times Square but I have no penchant at this female prerogative .I am too bad at shopping. So I waited in lobby admiring the Mongolian race that passed by. Very few European and Americans in Malaysia, I thought. I nearly got lost in this weird world of shops and merchandise as I even tried to get back to our tourist bus as two colleagues from Pune helped me out .After waiting for a trying time epoch, I met my friends and then went on to look for some more shops .I was too tired by now. But then got back into elements when we arrived at the Batu caves. This was History and culture Curry which I smacked more than the Shopaholic  madness. There stood a 50 feet idol of Narayan or Murugan.The Batu caves had nearly 200 steps and it was a small hike which I enjoyed although panting and huffing. We prayed for the great tour that the Lord almighty had awarded me .The rock front was a miracle and this huge rock was one piece spread over nearly a kilometer. We then had coconut water for 4 ringgits and it refreshed us. Not like my experience at Kerala 20 years back. A century back  Malaysia was Malaydweep  and was a Hindu Kingdom of Dravidian seafaring royals from Tamil land probably the cholas and pandyas.later as Abab influence increased due to trade the kings got converted to  Islam and also the subjects. But their origins stand clear in the symbolic version of Batu Caves.

Next thrill was The PETRONAS Twin Tower. I clicked frenetically .I tried to document a metal panel at its gate which informed about the Octane Number. We went inside and again I got bugged with 4 storey of shopping. The rest of Petronas was closed for visitors. I admired the Malaysian economy and realized that it was possible as it combined the Hindu and Muslim virtues of tolerance and entrepreneurship .Now I was very sleepy and we headed for our rooms. A hot shower got me ticking as I descended for the final Dinner; there was karaoke but too few takers. I settled for Absolut and sumptuous 3 course dinner of sea food and fruits and ice-cream. We chatted  giving in full for the earned fellowship ,as I discouraged the group from visiting some obscure Night Club .Next day I was flying my way back to Mumbai .Reaching in time at the immigration I had to put my finger on the Biometric. It did not match then I put my left one as instructed by the officer and the both index fingers. He looked perplexed and later satisfied he let me in. Perhaps there were more people with my finger prints.


Posted in Culture, Education, Travel, Writing.

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