Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Sis!

Yesterday was my sister's birthday. That small little girl who used to tail me wherever I went is now a big girl! That innocent face, those lovely bambi eyes, I have this picture of hers which is my eternal favorite.

I used to fight, yell, play, share and what not with her. I used to even hide from her in school but of course that is a different matter. As soon as she would spot me in school she would raise a racket asking me to take her home. This was when she was in KG and poor me was just 7 years old then and left with no clue as to how I could take her home without the rickshaw guy coming. So eventually if I spotted her around, I would promptly find a tree to hide behind. Somehow once she dropped into my class when I was in 2nd standard and started crying and asking for me. I was so embarrassed, I didn't even stand up. When the teacher asked who her sister was, my kind and ever obliging friends (no thanks, guys!) unanimously pointed at me. And needless to say the teacher asked me to drop my sister back in the KG section and hurry upstairs. Apparently I went home and asked my mom to change her school and put her in some other school (I wasn't willing to leave Ann's you see ;) )

She used to eat all her goodies and I used to save mine. Then invariably she would take on her innocent expression and ask me for more. Which I would refuse (the sense of justice in me as a kid, I tell you, it was impeccable ;) ) So my mom has this story which she tells fondly where one day my sister found out where I hid my chocolates, promptly used the "moda" to climb up, eat all of them, and cleverly wrap back stones in the wrappers and leave them there. Like you might expect, I was fuming when I found out and any misconceptions I had about my sister being "innocent" were all gone ;)

She was my first "shishya" ever. I used to try and teach her well and make her understand everything but at the end of two hours when she still wouldn't get it, I would start crying out of sheer frustration of not knowing how else to teach her. My mom never understood why I should cry, but then I never did either ;) I must say, when I used to take Math tuitions while I was in Engineering, my students used to be rather easy to handle, thanks to how my sister trained me when I was in school. Gosh!

She had a phobia for driving. I had to brainwash her again and again and she finally learnt. The other weekend when I was in Hyd, she came to pick me up. She insisted on coming although I said I'd take an auto since it was easier. And I wanted to drive, but she refused to let me drive before Kukatpally main road because she wanted to take me doubles for a decent distance to show me how well she can drive now. I was immensely proud of her, I couldn't believe it was the same girl who would refuse to sit at a 2-wheeler handle.

She didn't want to be stereotype and do engineering. I couldn't agree less. Although everyone was insistent that she should do engineering, I didn't think she had to be an engineer to be a successful person. And poor thing didn't know how to counter all the pressure. But she lasted it. Went on to do graduation and post graduation in Statistics and landed a job. Today she has grown so well and so fast at her work, that I bet no one foresaw what was coming. She manages her own team now and what can I say, I am proud of her. Although its extremely cliched, I am proud of her. For what she was and where she has come today.

She fought to grow out of that shadow which her elder sister left everywhere they went together. And she came out shining. In her own right. Once the principal at Ann's asked me why I was hangng around. I said I was an ex-student and my sister also went to the same school and that I had come to visit my cousin (who also went to Ann's). She asked me who my sister was and I gave her my sis' name. And then she went "Ohh so you are L's sister". I can't tell you how happy my sister was that day. All through her school life she was always "D's sister". Today, it was my turn. I was "L's sister". She was jubiliant. And I was too :) My little sister had arrived.

Happy Birthday sis! Here is wishing you all happiness, health and wealth. Hope you have a wonderful life!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

One destroys another makes

So I had to get my file-space moved from the San Jose filers to the Bangalore ones. They would be faster or so I thought. Sigh! Bad decision.

First they moved it. That is what they thought. At least that is what they told me. When I mapped to the Bangalore filers from my Windows machine, I saw all my files, great!

Then started the trouble. Anything I manipulated locally on my Windows machine never reflected on my UNIX machine and vice versa.

Initially I didn't pay attention, then I was darn sure something was messed up with the mounts. So I raised another case. Then they said, they hadn't "moved". They had "copied" What the?!?!?!?!

So now I had two spaces. One mapping to my UNIX machine and one mapping to my Windows machine. Total disconnect. Entirely chaotic. I was forced to go back to SSH and beg for mercy for having neglected it so long and ditching it for VNC Viewer and ask it humbly to transfer my files to and from Windows and Unix.

SSH obliged so I got on with my work. They they asked me to save anything I wanted salvaged from the San Jose filers so that they could delete that space and auto mount my home to the Bangalore filers. Done. I did it. This morning I walked in only to figure that my VNC doesn't open. Said authentication failed. Hell, I was working on it till 1 AM last night. What could go wrong with my password now?! Then it dawned on me, like a nightmare coming true, the home mounting has got to be behind it. I checked, quickly escalated, and thank goodness, one of the San Jose guys was still around. Checked on it and informed me there was some mess with the mount point and that he fixed it. But it would take 4 hours for the fix to be pushed out. FOUR HOURS?!?!?! What the hell am I supposed to do till then??? This made me realize with much guilt as to how much I depend on my UNIX machine for my work. I give all the credit to my Windows machine, but no, turns out that the UNIX one is the real star. I need to really bring that beast back to India as soon as I can. Already the guy who took over my cube there is threatening to throw it out.

Anyway, four hours got compressed thankfully and now I am able to enjoy the pleasures and luxury of my VNC again. But surely something is still messed up. I can't open anything in emacs. Now the next step of fire-fighting. When is an engineer supposed to work?! Gosh!

IT guys, I tell you!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kudos to my Sony Ericsson

I've been a Sony Ericsson person for the past 4 years. Various models, but the same brand. And I don't regret it. For the number of times I've thrown them around, my phones have lasted quite well and served me to my money's worth.

And I usually don't show any gentle-ness when I drop my phones. They typically fall from my hand or from a table, usually >4 ft height. AND on hard, very hard surfaces.

And they've all survived. Well, so far ;)

(fingers crossed fervently)

All in a days work

There was one comment from Luv2Cook (Thanks Luv2Cook, you gave me a topic to write about ;) )

Ok..Divya..I was talking to someone about work hours in India and since you talked about work in this post..thought I would ask you...

When you were in the US did you have a regular 8-5 schedule? and if yes did that change a lot when you moved back to India i.e. are you spending more time on work in India than when you were in the US?

Well, my work hours haven't changed drastically. Mainly because Cisco is a very flexible company in terms of work hours (read, you are expected to work anytime of the day ;) )

I used to "try" and get to work by 10 AM when I was in San Jose. Invariably it would be 10.30 or 11, sometimes even 12 (sigh!). Some days I would work from home, mostly I would avoid it (an empty home is not very appealing). When I came back in the evening really depended on what I was doing around 5 PM. Sometimes it would be 5.30 sometimes it would be 9.

Summary is, so long as I got the work done and in time, no one cared when I came or left. Of course if I had a meeting, and if i was expected to be present in person, I had to drag myself to work.

Cut to Cisco India. Pretty much the same. Thanks to me still working on my older project with my ex-team, I get to escape most day meetings @ work. But that translates to taking calls at night. I don't really mind unless I am extra sleepy and feeling extra lazy;)

But I get to work by 8.30AM and get back around 5 PM on days that I don't hit the gym. If I do go to the gym, I end up coming home around 7PM. And this is regardless of whether I have worked till 9PM previous night or 1 AM ;)

But I guess I would fall under an exception. Since I don't take office transport to work. AND since Subhash has to get to work by 9.15 AM. He drops me off in the morning and so we HAVE to leave at 8.15.

Otherwise in Cisco most people take the Cisco cabs and get to work in one of two cab shifts, either at 8.30 AM or 11 AM. The ones that come in the 8.30 AM cabs leave by 4.30 PM and the ones that take the 11 AM cabs leave by 7 PM. Of course, more or less everyone goes home and logs in to work some more ;)

I guess with most Indian product-based IT companies this is true as well. Fixed timings because of office transportation. Now for companies like Infy which are huge and can afford to have a range of timings, maybe hours are more flexible. But for smaller establishments, it is usually one, at the most two cab shifts.

So to cut a long story short, no, my life-story hasn't changed at all. But yes, in India, typically in the IT firms, since people get to and from work in official transportation having fixed hours, hours are a lot more restricted. Without meaning that you work only in those hours. Same as in the US. Of course those who come on their own, are masters of their own destiny ;)

All in all, I don't find much of a difference between India and the US. The popular perception is that people in India work more than in the US. If you ask me, the main difference is that a majority of the Indian IT work-force as we know it is in the Services sector (TCS, Wipro, Infosys etc). And a majority of the workforce in the US is product-based (Cisco, Intel, Microsoft etc). And invariably people in the service-oriented IT indistry put in more hours than the product guys. And that is where this perception originates :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Completely arbit

Forced into taking time to post thanks to a power cut here and the backup not kicking in :) If it continues like this for a while, I will also be forced to shut down and sleep without finishing that set of tasks (@work) I stashed away in the evening for the night.

One anonymous reader asked after my blog and why there were no posts in a long time. And I was flattered. I didn't know people followed it so well as to miss it.(Thanks Anonymous!)

I really wished people would leave names when commenting. It would make it a lot more personal, I'd like to know who my readers are!

So what's up? Nothing much, the usual grind. Wake up, cook lunch, make breakfast, eat, leave for work, go to the gym, come back, cook some more, eat and sleep. (Eat features a lot of times you know!)

Power is back :)

I got to go back to scripting now ;) Meanwhile as the TV came on I saw yet one of these incredulous "Country Club" ads where the Reddy thinks he is a handsome hunk and insists on torturing us.

I leave you with this --

Monday, August 18, 2008


I spat out some pearls this morning when I was conversing with a senior colleague about somewhere he didn't want to go recruiting just this year but was asked to leave this evening for the same place (given that this place is GOA and usually people lobby to go there, this was unusual, but blame it on August, he didn't want to go. December, yes, August, no. Just too sultry)

So anyway here is an excerpt

Colleague: this is crazy.. I already withdrew my name
Colleague: Did not want to go


Me: That is called life by some section of the population called intellectuals
Me: you get what you don't want
Me: and you want what you don't get

(---PEARLS END--- ;) )

Colleague: :(

Me: Wow I am going to post this on my blog
Me: My pearls of wisdom, first time ever


India, Oh India!

Happy Independence Day!

I am a little late in getting this out. Blame it on my little excursion to Hyd for the long weekend. I had been wishing to get together with my mom for the "Varalakshmi Vratham" after a long gap and it being a holiday and all, I didn't want to miss this chance. So I picked up my bags and flew down. Gave me enough time to check on Subhash's mom as well, since we were hearing some concerning things about her. But I was happy when I saw her. Its like the liveliness has come back into her face :)

It was also Indian Independence Day. Triggered some thoughts in me. Very random. So don't worry if you can't find one thread going through.

I was never a patriotic person as a kid. I used to grudge going to school for flag hoisting especially because buses didn't ply as they normally do and it meant a lot of trouble getting to and from school for a few hours. And not to mention the loss of precious holiday hours. Yeah, I used to grudge those days.

The only trace of patriotism in me back then was that I always stood up when the National Anthem came on. I still do. No matter where I am or what I am doing. I just get up and stand :)

But somewhere along the path, after I left this land, I became fiercely patriotic. I realized what was good and bad about this country even more/better because I was looking at it from outside. And I missed the land very much all though those 7 years. Like AR Rahman sang, I saw a dozen countries during that time, but I never found one I loved as much as I loved my own land. The land where I first set foot on after I came into this world. The land where I garnered my childhood and adolescent memories which are probably the best ones I've got even to date. The land that gave me my family and my husband. The land that has been an integral part of everything important that has ever happened in my life.

I will never completely realize when exactly I began thinking about my duty towards this land. But I do. Everyday now. More so now that I am here.

So what do you feel when you see those "India Shining" ads? Or when you see Abhinav Bindra being made out to be a hero for more than a week, because he won a gold for India? I feel sad. And shamed. And humiliated. We are shining. Probably true, in a very narrow sector of society. But are we growing healthy? I am pretty sure, no.

Where is the security? Where is the wholesomeness of a land that once flourished because of its endless produce? Where is the hope for the not-so-privileged to come out of their current state? Where is the responsible media? Where is the good news?

So what makes life here special in spite of all this? I don't know. I moved back for my family, so I could stay close to them. I have a bunch of relatives in Bangalore that I hardly manage to meet since they live in the West side which is practically another world. And takes hours to reach even on weekends. So what is it about here that I am loving? I have pretty much the same lifestyle that I had in California. I hardly meet anymore people/relatives than I met there. One BIG difference is I can book tickets and hop on a bus/train/flight practically a few hours later to go home to my parents/in-laws. But other than that, not much of a difference in the life-style. But still it feels more full. More rounded. More whole and more fulfilling. I know not why, but that is how it is!

Sure, I am not exactly proud of what my country is going through today. But does that mean I want to go out of here and live elsewhere? Definitely not. I want to stay right here and help my country out. Get it out of this crisis. And I choose to do it not from outside but by being a part of this eco-system.

One of my friends challenged me and said "Lets see what you do for India when you move back". She, like many of my other friends went from "I will definitely go back to India" to "Going back to India is still on the charts for someday" to "This (USA) is home now, I don't want to move back". (Well, a lot of people don't have the guts to reach the third part, they get stuck at the second one all their lives. At least she had the guts to accept that she didn't want to move back, I appreciated her for that).

So am I doing something for my country now? Honestly, very little. The only things I can claim are one, paying taxes, two, providing employment to some people, three, boosting local economy by being a consumer and trying to be an environmentally conscious consumer at that. Precious little. But would I have done any better if I was still in California? The answer is a very obvious no. So at least that is a start. Hopefully I will figure out my calling soon and create some more impact sooner or later. Till then..

Vande Mataram!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Monsoon

I am finally doing what I have been intending to do ever since we took this lake-facing apartment. Sit in the balcony for more than 5 minutes at a stretch ;)

Actually its drizzling slightly and the lake looks a beautifffffffful deep blue. I just couldn't resist it so pulled out a chair into the balcony and sat down with my laptop to work. Thank God for Wireless technology!!

I love the monsoon season in India :D

I got just 26!

How many can you?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Time, please!

I used to be a huge fan of wrist watches when I was in school. So much so that every year my Dad used to bribe me saying he would buy me a watch if I stood first in the class. Of course I never managed it as a kid but in high school when I finally did start being top of the class, I insisted on getting an "Allwyn Trendy" watch. My Dad wanted to buy me something else, but I put my foot down. Trendy or nothing.

So I finally got a Trendy and I was out of this world. Thank God for simple pleasures. I loved the Trendy because of its interchangeable straps mainly. And I kept it for a long time. I think my mom might still have that Trendy watch around somewhere because I don't remember carrying it to the US along with my other "precious" possessions (read a pencil carrying case full of new pencils and erasers and sharpeners, can you believe I actually got it back with me when I moved back in the exact same state that I took it in?!? Weird? You bet, weird!)

Then I lost the thing I had for watches somewhere along the way in Madison, WI. Other, more important and pressing struggles you see. I actually look back and realize I lost the thing I had for a lot of stuff, footwear, watches, bracelets. Damn that is the only three things I can think of ;) Never mind. So I lost it. I stopped wearing a watch for the longest time I think till Subhash got me a Titan the year we got married. But the taste I developed changed completely. I had gone from strappy watches to elegant jewelery like watches. Gosh! When did I become a lady?

Well, anyways, after we moved back, the itch seems to have come back again ;) I bought two watches in the last 2 months. I got a couple of Timexes. And guess what, they are totally the strappy types. Not only that, they are bold straps like really wide and all that :D And what's more, one of them is BLACK! I love black watches and I realized it all over again when I got this Timex. Loving it!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Of convents and experiences

When we were coming back from Hyd we took an auto back home from where the bus dropped us off. It happened to be school time and I saw some smart green uniforms on St. Marks Road. I was wondering which school this was and very soon I saw it, Bishop Cotton's. Ohh, that famous Bishop Cottons. Hmm..

I have a thing for convents I think. Needless to say because I went to one. We were going through the Cottons website yesterday to check if it was the same school that those kids were walking to. Yeah, they do have green uniforms. I was looking at the different sections in the school, the school houses, what competitions they have etc and it took me back to my own school memory lanes. Although its been about 13 years since I left school, its still one of those places I sorely miss. Apparently when I was a kid, I used to ask my mom why I should stay home on Sunday and why she wasn't sending me to school that day. Yeah well, I was weird like that.

I very often think how nice it would be to go back to school. Although, I never think of going back to school and sitting in a class. That was the most boring part of course. Everything else around it, the friends, the interval gossips, the games, those sports, the debates, the dramatics, the singing, the Christmas time merriment, the excitement leading up to the Sports Day, cheering for your house, the list is endless.

I am a very staunch supporter for convent education, I feel there is more discipline in there (although its broken more often than not by rebellious kids) than other schools. Subhash is a staunch supporter of the KVs (Kendriya Vidyalayas). I don't really mind the KVs so much but since neither of us works for the Central Government, I guess the KVs are sort of ruled out for our nextgen ;) So convents, it has to be! And I would love it if the kids go to Bishop Cottons (if we are still hanging around in Bangalore by then) or some such place although I am not sure its as easy to get in. I remember the stories on how difficult it was to get into Ann's when we were kids. Parents waiting in long lines through the night to get admission forms and all that kind of horror. Well, let me cross that bridge when we come to it ;)

Monday, August 04, 2008

A long week

So Subhash's mom had to be taken to the hospital finally after her long and painful ordeal with the teeth. These dental procedures are always more pain that they look like. She had some complications (I don't know which doctor to blame, her dentist or her nephrologist) because of the painkillers she was prescribed for her teeth and she had to undergo that much dreaded dialysis which she has been putting off and neatly dodging for more than a year now :(

For Subhash and me that meant a forced break for a week in Hyderabad. I realize with every passing day how much I love routine. I am a boring person yes, but I need to know exactly what I will do today. I need to go to the same work place every day, I need to go to the gym at exactly the same time every day, I need to just be routine and predictable and boring to be happy. And dropping everything and leaving town is not exactly in my list of favourite things to do, least of all when someone close to me is suffering and is at the hospital.

I am not sure if I recollected this earlier on my blog, but this is exactly how it was when my Dad had his first massive heart stroke. We in Hyd. He in Bangalore. We leaving everything and rushing to Bangalore when we heard the news. This time around the places were reversed but nothing much else. I hated the bus drive to Hyd as much as I hated that bus drive to Bangalore 13 years ago. I was heart-broken on seeing his mom as much as I was heart-broken when I saw my Dad. But I knew how it would turn out somehow this time. I knew she would recover and all would be well again. But with my Dad those long years ago, there was uncertainty. They gave us 24 hours. And said anything could happen in that. And we didn't know to what news we would be arriving. Whenever I think of that night I shiver and wonder how we survived that suspense.

So today we are back, two very tired, sleep-deprived people but extremely happy because his mom is back home and much much better than when we saw her on Monday. I went with a cold which, thanks to all the hospital air and ambience worsened to fever (as if to justify the sick leave I was going to have to take) and went back to being really bad cold. And I picked up an experience or two along the way.

One, I thought I should never manage to cook in someone else's domain. I cooked successfully at his place for a week!

Two, I learnt that its very important to hold your emotions when you are visiting someone who is sick. I knew this all along, but I realized how important it is with this visit. What with overly anxious relatives gasping and displaying all their nervousness openly in front of his mom, like that was something she needed. She was already feeling upset that she was here and that we were all attending to her, she hates to be a "patient" in short. So not everyone wants "Ayyo papam". Not everyone likes attention. If its a grim enough situation, just go, say hi, stay silent and come back. If that someone is recovering and getting better, then crack jokes, laugh and try and get the person in question to also laugh along. It definitely helps them much better than giving them descriptions of how sick they are looking like you were a mirror!

Now that I am back, and I have a mountain-load of work waiting for me plus a haunting cough and cold, I am thinking of when I can take my next break ;)

Please do pass along your wishes for us. We seem to be reeling under some unhealthy times off late!