Tuesday, November 27, 2007


She was the last grandparent Subhash and I had. And we lost her last week.

My Ammamma. (Mom's mom) True to her nature, she was called Annapurna. (Goddess of agriculture/fertility) I have fond memories of her. But the memories I do not have of her are the ones for which I need to be most obliged. My mom tells me how much she did for me when I was a little infant of barely 1 month.

But I can truly cherish the ones I remember. When I was a kid, I used to insist on her listening to my A, B, C, D, E, F, G song and she always did so patiently. She used to have us pick all the Badams (Almond) from this huge tree in their yard and she would patiently extract the badam from each one and I always used to say she should do it faster because I was always the impatient glutton. She used to ask me to massage her feet with ghee and would offer me ghee as bribe if I did it. (I would never do it without the bribe). She was most interested in playing "Dayam" which is similar to the one Kauravas and Pandavas play in Mahabharata. We always used to try and not play with her, she was really good at it.

Subhash's parents visited her once when I was here and I remember how impressed his mom was at my Ammamma's Homoeopathy knowledge and how much she remembered at that fragile age.

When we lost my grandfather, it was rather a big blow for her. Followed by my uncle (my mom's elder brother). Since then, she suffered various injuries which coupled with age, rendered her rather immobile the past couple years. Subhash never got a chance to meet her and we always feel that loss. I saw her back in July, and what I saw tore me apart. I am glad the suffering is over for her and she is relieved now.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Masala Vadas and miscellaneous

We had yet another Potluck @ work. This time the excuse was Thanksgiving. (OK, now you all know it we have too much fun here ;) ). This time was a first for me in that I didn't do anything for it, yet had something to take ;) Masala Vadas!! Thanks to Subhash's mom, she woke up early in the morning and made a bunch of Vadas for me to take to the Potluck. Very sweet! I didn't break any sweat this time, thanks to her :)

And needless to say they were a super hit! :) Gone clean in 10 mins! I told folks that his mom made them and they were asking for longer she is around and if they can expect some more. (Yeah we are all like that ;) ) Back home, I loved eating Masala Vadas (actually also Samosas and Idlis and anything else, any vendor cares to sell) on those long train journeys to Bangalore and the likes. That II class train journey experience is unbeatable :D

Another thing I noticed is our work culture. Except for some unusual work places, its more or less relaxed and laid back. I got a whiff of it when I first moved here. Everyone comes and goes at their own time. As long as you get your work done, no one cares when you come and go. Actually Subhash's bro is here with us for a week and he was saying he had to leave for work @ 7.30 ish just like he does back home. I was like, no one here goes to work at odd hours like that ;) We all go around 9, sometimes even 9 is too early;) True to the Bay Area spirit, he has been going later and later to work starting Monday;) I think today he broke his own record by going @ 9. Way to go!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

80! Yay!!

While my routers reload, I thought I'd take the time to express my happiness over the weather today. (Yeah, I am turning English, have nothing to talk about but the weather;) ) It was 72 when I got to work and was real nice and warm. Didn't need a jacket and considering its mid-November, that made me spring in joy! I am thinking of those Madison days, in 30s, freezing already, and here I am in Springtime clothes :)

Go California! ;)

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Medico and the Engineer

Of late I have been getting some comments from some person @ Harvard Med. Although this person doesn't reveal himself/herself, the comments, all of them, point well toward what I like to call the typical "we-are-superior-to-moron-programmers" syndrome.

I have noticed that in a lot of medicos. They share somewhere, to varying extents of course, this syndrome. Although I cannot speak for everyone on the globe, I can say that back home in India, we are orthogonal people right from when we leave High School. A lot of people I know begin with a choice, whether to choose Math or Bio. (No offense to people who do not choose either, I respect them more than I respect people who choose one of these. It takes some amount of courage to be away/different from stereotypical). Whoever chooses Math aspires to be an Engineer, whoever chooses Bio aspires to be a Medico. More often than not, the Engineering aspiration is fulfilled, one way or the other with those numerous Engineering colleges springing up all over the place. But the Medico ambition, no, not so easy. So the very few people who do manage to end up as Medicos, are undoubtedly brilliant.

But what I have noticed is that with this brilliance, comes vanity. And a disrespect for the orthogonal counterparts, which is the Engineers. Just because your dream was harder to realize, suddenly the other person looks like a moron.

Its interesting how the comments are. Not just from this anonymous medico at Harvard, but from some other real-life persons I have seen. Just because there seem to be so many engineers around, suddenly, engineering becomes a dumb profession for dim-witted people with half-brains. The comments I have had on my blog clearly show a lack of comprehension for what I have written, they look more like comments that have been made just for the sake of insulting "programmers". They always look like they were written after reading the blog in a rush and never show any understanding of the point I am trying to make. I take this up as a defense for Engineering as a profession, I am not a programmer.

I believe each profession is important, else you would not be paid to do it. If I didn't do my job the way I did it, this medico guy/gal would not have access to my blog like he/she does. We build the internet and whatever else goes with it. Similarly, any job. If you are being paid to do it, it carries some value with it. You can argue who is more important, but at the end, the only thing you achieve is undervaluing everyone else and thinking you are in the most supreme of professions. Ego. Never a good thing.

So I leave this post trailing. Just some food for thought:)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Delightful and precious

Subhash's Dad wanted to eat "garelu" for Diwali and asked me to make some:) "Garelu" are Vadas or "Lentil Donuts".

So I made some this morning and he paid me two very nice compliments which I shall always cherish. Now I know the items under question themselves were not so amazing, but that is what makes it all the more special. You feel the force of goodwill way more when you very well know that the praise has been exaggerated:)

He was talking to Subhash and telling him to eat the vadas while they were hot. Saying that he "will not get vadas like these ever in the US" and that "they were just melting in the mouth".

Happy happy me!

Friday, November 09, 2007


Tomorrow is Diwali. Counts as my favourite festival. I loved Diwali back home because of

1) Lights
2) Fire crackers
3) Food

not necessarily in that order;)

Each Diwali is painful thinking about how much I am missing. Last year was much better as I got to play with some firecrackers if not a whole bunch thanks to my very good friend Vandana :)

This time Subhash's parents are around. And the lazy me is relying on his mom to make all the goodies :D Yummmmmmmmmmmm!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Stupid ... if you know it

Whenever I post something on Craig's list, I invariably get emails like this:

I am interested in your item above, listed for sale on
Craigslist. I am willing to make an offer of $200 for it. Kindly get
back to me if it's still for sale, and it's present condition and pics
if you have any.

Maybe if I was a first timer, I would be duped but now, no. It is so obviously an attempt to (ph)fish out personal information from you. Actually the email above is not such a classic exhibit, when I re-post my latest item, I will put up some more classics (all the ones I got this time were deleted automatically before I could preserve the specimens, since I reported them as phishing attempts).

Interestingly most of the kith and kin of such sc(p)ammers seem to live in West Africa or some remote part of Africa or the other. Wonder why all these morons choose just Africa to go to ;) Once you know it, their plot seems so repetitive and stupid, most of the times I just laugh at them!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Living in a foreign land?

We had yet another party @ work. (Yes, I know what you are thinking, looks like they just party@ work?;) ) This time it was Halloween. We had all dressed up in whatever gear we could find.

Without digressing any further into the party (I can't stop if I start), let me come right to the point. We were served Samosas and Spring Rolls. Yet again. I remember the first time I saw Samosas @ an office party, for a release we just had, I was positively shocked. I was aghast at how Indian the Bay Area really is. But a bigger shock was in store for me. When John Chambers hosted a company meeting in the Santa Clara Convention Center, we were served Samosas yet again. Notwithstanding Chambers' admiration for India, this was a little too much for me to digest. All the top executives eating Samosas? I was overjoyed and shocked and palate-thrilled all at the same time. And not to mention, proud.

So the point? Are we really living in a foreign land? Almost everyone I know lives an Indian life. Not just in the Bay Area, (of course the Bay Area is beyond anything I have ever seen;) ) But even places as remote as Dubuque (Iowa). I have seen Indian stores and Indians just about everywhere.

We were having a discussion on this topic a couple nights ago, Subhash's parents and I. I was telling his dad how I thought his friends were the only ones that can truly take the credit of living in a foreign land and managing well. Because the whole of our generation just doesn't do it. We get up, we pray to our own Gods in temples, we buy groceries off Indian stores' shelves, eat our own food, socialize with fellow Indians (in the Bay Area you don't even have to go looking to make Indian friends) we just live an Indian life in a foreign land. In short, except for your postal address nothing changes. You live, breathe, eat, listen and what not else Indian. So much so, that the change/adjustment would probably be higher if some one from Chennai moves to Kolkata or Delhi. (all Indian cities)

So what is foreign about living anywhere in the US? Nothing. Zilch. Zero. We don't live any different here in the US than if we were in India. When someone tries to tell me how much US is better than India, there is the only one thing I want to tell them. If you love the US so much, live like an American. If you want to have the true experience of living in a foreign country and want to be away from Indian-ness so much, don't go anywhere close to that Indian Grocery store. Socialize with Americans and live like them. If you can't, at the very least, stop insulting your roots.

I know a lot of others don't share the same opinion. It is my perception and we all have our own perceptions. I am not saying that my way of thinking is right. But it is what I think, all the same :)

I used to think, maybe if I go to some remote country in Africa, I might have the experience of living in a foreign land. But my uncle recently moved to Nigeria and apparently they have temples and stores and everything all set already. And my aunt used to live in Tanzania way back in the 1970s and they had Indian friends there ;) At that time too :D

Actually makes me feel proud. About how we have spread our wings (and with it, our influence). We are everywhere, we have been everywhere. Yet, I long to be back. On that soil where I first set foot on this earth.

Talking of India, Subhash's Dad reminded me of this very beautiful four liner.

Ye Desamaegina
Yendu Kaledina
Pogadara Nee Thalli Bhumi Bharathi ni
Nilupara Nee Jaathi Nindu Gauravamu.

Roughly translates to:

Whataver country you go to
Wherever you set foot on
Praise your motherland, India
Keep up the dignity of your country.