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Meri diary ke kore pannon se,
Tum meri chahat ko mat aaqna,
Yeh ishq hi aisa hai ghalib,
Kambakht lafz kam pad jate hain.

मेरी डायरी के कोरे पन्नो से,
तुम मेरी चाहत को मत ऑकना,
ये इश्क हि ऐसा है ग़ालिब,
कम्बखत लफ्ज़ कम पड़ जाते हैं।

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.
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Har roz diary khol kar,
Bas yahi socha karta hun,
Kya likhun unke baare mein,
Khud se pucha karta hun,
Likhte unke baare mein hain,
Jinhe hum bakhubi jante hain,
Yahan toh barso beet gaye,
Phir bhi hum anjaan hain.

हर रोज़ डायरी खोल कर,
बस यही सोचा करता हूँ,
क्या लिखूं उनके बारे में,
खुद से पूछा करता हूँ,
लिखते उनके बारे में हैं,
जिन्हे हम बखूबी जानते हैं,
यहाँ तो बरसो बीत गए,
फिर भी हम अनजान हैं।

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.
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Unse milne ka maza hi kuch alag hai,
Hum yun hi apna hosh na kho baithe the,
Unki sharbati aankhein aur reshmi julfein,
Kambakht dil unka gulam ho baitha tha,
Bas yun kahein ki nasha unki aankhon mein tha,
Aur madhosh hum hue ja rahe the.

उनसे मिलने का मज़ा हि कुछ अलग है,
हम यूँ हि अपना होश ना खो बैठे थे,
उनकी शरबती आँखें और रेशमी जुल्फें,
कम्बख्त दिल उनका गुलाम हो बैठा था,
बस यूँ कहें कि नशा उनकी आँखों में था,
और मदहोश हम हुए जा रहे थे।

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.
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Ittefaq bhi badi azeeb cheez hai,
Jinse milne ko hum mahino taras rahe the,
Unka deedar yun chalte chalte ho gaya,
Waise toh hum thehre shabdon se khelne wale,
Unhe dekh lafzon ka karwan ruk gaya,
Hoth sile ke sile reh gaye,
Aur aankhon hi aankhon mein ishara ho gaya,
Unki aankhon ka nasha yun chadha til til,
Yeh pagal dil phir se unka deewana ho gaya.

इत्तेफ़ाक़ भी बड़ी अजीब चीज़ है,
जिनसे मिलने को हम महीनो तरस रहे थे,
उनका दीदार यूँ चलते चलते हो गया,
वैसे तो हम ठहरे शब्दों से खेलने वाले,
उन्हें देख लफ़्ज़ों का कारवां रुक गया,
होठ सिले के सिले रह गए,
और आँखों हि आँखों में इशारा हो गया,
उनकी आँखों का नशा यूँ चढ़ा तिल तिल,
ये पागल दिल फिर से उनका दीवाना हो गया।

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.
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Kal shaam anayas unse mulaqat ho gai,
Phir se wahi purane lamhe yaad dila gai,
Jakhm waise hi bhare na the dil ke,
Us par ek aur gehra waar kar gai,

Mast befikar tha apni zindagi mein,
Inn khushiyon mein darar kar gai,
Bhul gaya tha lafzon mein byaan karna,
Ek baar phir mujhe shayar bana gai.

कल शाम अनायास उनसे मुलाक़ात हो गई,
फिर से वही पुराने लम्हे याद दिला गई,
जख्म वैसे हि भरे ना थे दिल के,
उस पर एक और गहरा वार कर गई,

मस्त बेफिक्र था अपनी ज़िन्दगी में,
इन खुशियों में दरार कर गई,
भूल गया था लफ़्ज़ों में ब्यान करना,
एक बार फिर मुझे शायर बना गई।

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.
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I am a CSE Graduate from KIIT University. I joined Microsoft straight out of college. Usually, Microsoft doesn’t visit there, but that year I got lucky.

2 written tests + 3 F2F technical interviews + 1 Skype technical interview

 

Written test 1 (Objective), 30 minutes

First written test was conducted by some third party company. It consisted of 15 objective questions from C, Sorting, Data Structures, Big O, compiler and state machine. We were given 30 minutes. Cut off was 12 out of 15 questions. 77 out of 400 students made it.

Written test 2 (Coding), 60 minutes

Three problems to be solved in 60 minutes with no use of compiler. One problem on Linked List, second on heap and third on array. I coded all problems from scratch including main method. I also wrote flexible methods that could work on any kind of inputs (instead of deleting nodes from 4 to 6, it would delete nodes between ‘M’ and ‘N’ ) and handle all corner cases. The result was announced after 20 days. 30 out of 77 made it.

F2F Interview #1, 60 minutes

We were interviewed in groups of 6. Each one of us in a group was given same problem to solve. I couldn’t code the perfect solution in an hour. All I had discussed 6 different ways to solve the problem. I was afraid that I might be rejected in first round. The interview lasted for 60 minutes.

14 out of 30 were selected.

Continue reading My interview experience at Microsoft

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Being a travel photographer, lush green nature and hills have always attracted me. I find peace in the lap of nature, walking across flower blooms while enjoying the gigantic fresh smell filling my nostrils giving me a sensation of another world. A 3 days trip to Kodaikanal was a much needed getaway to take a break from work and relax.

Kodaikanal is a city of hills located at a distance of 462 kms (8 hours bus distance) from Bangalore, India. It is called as the Queens of Hills.

This trip was all about witnessing the cool weather, seeing nature through a different perspective and clicking photographs.

March 30 – April 1, 2017

Stay

We booked a hut through Airbnb in Misty Mountains. The location and the hut were eye popping and situated at the highest altitude in the city.

Day 1, March 30

We arrived Kodaikanal at 6 in the morning and booked a taxi to our stay. It was 2.5 kms away from bus station, Naidupuram. The view was so amazing and refreshing that I kept wondering why did I not visit this place before.

Our stay in Kodaikanal:

We planned to cover Kodaikanal lake, Bryat park and Coaker’s walk on first day as they were 3 kms away from Misty Mountains.

Continue reading A getaway to the Queen of Hills – Kodaikanal

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Every single day you make a choice

So you had a bad day? What did you do? Did you corner yourself in a room and cried like it was the end of the world?

A bad day is just another day which would pass. The question you should ask yourself is how can you avoid such circumstances in the foreseeable future. There are certain things in life which are beyond your control. You can’t do anything about them. But few things if taken action at the right time can save you from experiencing another bad day. Let’s say you arrive office a bit late and a mail from your manager is sitting right in your mailbox which reads “Urgent! Meet me when you are in office”. Suddenly you realize that you made a blunder last night at work and while you knew this, you procrastinated to proactively inform your manager in advance. Now you are screwed. You get comments like such kind of mistake can’t be tolerated from a person at your level. You either come back and keep cursing your manager while comforting yourself with excuses like “Well, this was only first time. How can he be so mean?” or you focus on improving yourself, take a note of the incident, analyze what sort of actions lead you to do this mistake and how do you plan to not repeat it. You see the difference. While the first choice won’t add any value to your personal and professional growth, the second choice not only makes you a better human being, but also helps you to see and tackle the situation from a different perspective. This is called as “Not going below the line”.

There is no secret ingredient. It’s just you

When I was preparing for Joint Entrance Exam (the toughest exam for engineering in India), I observed a very common pattern. About 70% of my friends gave up that they can’t clear it right before few months. To succeed in life, you must first believe that you can. There is noone in this world who knows you better than you know yourself. Your strengths, weaknesses, your skills and what are you good at.

Planning and Execution will keep your life stress free

I worked on two important projects at Microsoft. Both were critical for two reasons. One, tight deadlines. Two, to make Microsoft mission come true.

While working on these two projects right from the beginning to their completion, I realized how important planning is. If you don’t plan well, chances are you would freak out sooner or later. People usually tend to procrastinate when it comes to planning. They think that it will just happen as time progresses. Successful people spend a lot of time planning and less time on execution. That’s why people with huge experience are given the planning phase of the project. Sometimes, a decision tree is helpful to make calls and minimize risks in future.

Continue reading 7 important lessons to hack your life

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March 28, 2012

Raining was incessant that day. Clouds were roaring as if whole sky were to fall down. Amidst the shine of lightning and sound of raindrops striking the window, Mary was laughing insanely on a joke told by her boyfriend Peter on phone. “And you know what, that poor guy kept waiting for her forever while she was enjoying the romantic weather of Paris.”, they cracked again.
Another lightning flashed and the electricity was gone. Intensity of rain increased. It was as if cloud and lightning were competing with each other on who could scare the people more by its power. If there was anything in world Mary was afraid of, it was the darkness. Her mind started filling with all the dark thoughts. Had it not been Peter on the phone comforting her the whole time, she would have gone crazy. Even though she was living in that place for years, she still had nightmares in some of dark nights. Her hometown was known for witnessing extreme weather conditions and electricity was kind of boon. Her parents were divorsed and her dad used to be away most of the nights due to some business work. All she had got was Peter, who used to add relief to her crazy nights.

“Mary, look through the window”, Peter’s tone was loud and clear.

There was a long flashing light coming from the uphill. “Is it really what I’m seeing, a comet?”, Mary asked. Her voice was mixed with shock and surprise.

“Yes, and you know what does that mean?”. Although she couldn’t see him, but she could clearly picture his smiling face.

“Do you really believe in all these stuffs?”. “My dad says it is a superstition”, she further added.

“You never know until you try”.

“I just made a wish”, he was beaming with joy. “Make yours quickly before it’s gone”.

She closed her eyes and whispered something.

“What did you ask for?”. Peter was jumping with joy.

“We shouldn’t reveal our wishes, else they are not fulfilled”, she chirped.

“But promise me that you would tell me when it becomes true”.

“Is there anything that I haven’t told you about?”. “I can’t even imagine my life without you”, her tone was serious and filled with love.

“Hey Mary! I got to tell you something”.

“What?”, she was puzzled.

“Not now, sometime later when the time will be right”. “Now go to sleep. It’s late”.

The clock striked 12. It was her birthday. She usually didn’t get many wishes. But one birthday wish was enough for her.

“It’s been 5 minutes. Still no call from him. Stupid, forgot my birthday again”, her heart was racing.

Then she heard the doorbell. Her mobile screen lit up and read the message, “Open the door”.

He was outside, standing completely drenched in rain. He smiled, screamed “Happy birthday, girl!” and asked, “Won’t you welcome me in?”.

Oh! She was so shocked and surprised that she couldn’t think a bit about him being waiting outside in the rain.

“Yes, yes, please come inside”.

“I will bring towel and something hot to …”

Before she could complete her sentence, he put his lips on hers and kissed like a warrior thirsty of blood since centuries. She had never experienced something like this before. It was hot, wet and full of love.

He continued. “Mary, this is the only gift I got for you. I just want to tell you that my love for has no boundaries. It is as pure as the morning dew, as bold as a mountain, as innocent as a cocoon and as selfless as moon”, he was going poetic.

Rain drops were dripping his chin. “You will get cold. Wait here. I will bring the towel and something hot to drink”, she commanded, left him in the hallway and moved quickly upstairs.

While she was in her living room, she could hear him singing something. Oh! This was a song from Romeo and Juliet.

Can you tell me, softly
How you’ll always haunt me
Can you help me
Hold me

She was humming with him when her landline rang.

“Hello Maya! I am Pe.. Peter’s mom here. He met an accident while he was going to meet you. His motor bike skidded and.. and he…”

She couldn’t hear the whole conversation. Her hands were shivering. The phone slipped from her fingers.
She started thinking backwards. Although she got a message, there was no mobile with him. She couldn’t see his motor bike outside the house. And his his face was white and fingers cold. Had her wish come true?

Fast forward 5 years, the clock striked 12:05 again and she heard the door bell. But she is too scared to open the door. Seems like his love for her draws him to her home on her every birthday. The boy who used to comfort her in crazy nights has given her the worst nightmare. Perhaps, she won’t be able to sleep on her birthday night ever.

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.

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Have you ever felt that you are not able to do something because of less time? Have you ever wondered that why few achieve so much in the same 24 hours while you struggle to be good at one thing? It’s not always because you are comparatively less efficient than other guys . Efficiency is nothing but a measure of productivity against time. And if you learn to manage time efficiently, the productivity would automatically bump up. The question you should ask yourself is,

The most successful people are the busiest and they can still find time. Why can’t you?

Life is all about setting priorities right and if you do not learn to focus on what is important and what is urgent, sooner or later, you will find it slipping out of your control.

I often get questions on how do I get time to do so many things. To summarize, I do fashion photography, play piano and write blogs apart from my full time Software Engineering job.

Since last few years, I had been living the life of a night owl. I used to sleep late in the night and wake up in the early noon. It’s hard to believe but I used to be proud of myself for a such a crazy schedule. I followed this insane routine for 7 years and then I thought for a change. Months of efforts didn’t work out well for me. Our body is not a robotic machine which can be changed to work in a different environment as easily as the tap of a button. t adapts slowly to the changes we wa It must be given proper rest to function it well.

Waking up early morning can do wonders

Sometime back, I got a chance to visit US on a business trip. People who visit there often complain about the jet lag for days. My bad schedule in India worked there like charm. I woke up at 5 in the morning and slept at 11 at night. Every morning, I felt charged up. I was way more productive.

Continue reading Manage time like a boss and become more productive

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