Wanting to do something different, yesterday I made a short dash (if you can call a 12-hour bus journey a 'dash'...) to Hyderabad to visit an ex-yahoo colleague Kiran as well as a few other friends. And I visited the Microsoft campus :)
What's the first thing I saw? People playing cricket in Microsoft's own cricket ground in their campus.
Apparently, this is the latest craze following a recent football fever.
I was very impressed with the Microsoft campus - the design emphasized "fun" and "relax" a lot. There was a sofa or lounge at every turn and the walls had pleasant bright colors. The campus itself is set in a good location, away from the city, and surrounded by greenery. Back inside, each person gets their own cubicle and managers get their own room. The place was huge, it had to be to accommodate a thousand people but somehow the place doesn't have a "big company" feel to it.
I met Sriram and Aarthi for lunch in their spacious and pleasant cafeteria. Sriram showed me around their floor including a special room dedicated to playing the XBox, and showed me a sneak preview of the latest build of Vista. I was surprised to know about Microsoft sponsoring to make PHP work better on Windows, got to know a little about Zune... but I did complain that Vista no longer held interest for me ever since I came to know that WinFS and PowerShell would no longer be in it.
Later in the evening, Kiran and I went to Lumbini Gardens, got to see an amazing 3D multimedia water display. Then, visited the bustling Hyderabad Central to grab some food - Central does many things well, I think. For one, the open display of wares makes it open and inviting as opposed to separate shops in other malls.
Then, it was time to get back to Bangalore. All in all, a simple day, nothing special, but I caught up with an old friend, met some new ones, had a few tech discussions, had ample time to think about a lot of things, and most of all the feeling of travelling (after a long time) rejuvenated me.