Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Now I think I know my goal

..and that is to foster a "we are a team, we are in this together" attitude whenever I get to lead a team. I think I now know exactly what made my manager back in San Jose, the stellar example that he is to me.

No matter what happened at levels above him, the politics, the dirtiness, the negativity, and whatever else crappy, he never let it trickle down to his engineers. If one of us got dinged on a negative feedback, he'd take the negativity, think about it for sometime and bring it down to us in the nicest way possible. When I was with him, all I had to do was give my work my best shot and not worry about who is stabbing whose back and whatever else :) Plus I always used to ask him, "are we the best kick-a$$ team around here" and he'd say "of course we are and you should be proud of it". And I was. I was very very proud of my team. I am not sure if the rest of them also felt the same way, but I felt that we were his army, out to win whatever battle we were fighting. And we were all in it together, end of the day everyone said, "Boy! that guy's team is roaring!"

And what do you think, sad as it is that I didn't witness it myself, my ex-manager has grown. Up the ladder now. And he is held in much awe by quite a few engineers here, and I feel extremely proud sometimes when I say I used to be his report once upon a time ;)

When and if I have a team, I would love to implement what I learnt from my boss back there. Because I've come to realize that for every damn thing that you do, if you have to worry about what your boss might think and what his boss might think, then you are spending most of your energy worrying about implications and the work-load is not going anywhere. The only thing that comes out of it is more stress, sigh! So I want to be one amongst them, lead from the back, lead along side, lead by example (he was so hard working and so honest we all found it difficult to match that guy, phew!) watch where they are going, take whatever crap in and let them simply do their job, encourage them to be better, and be honestly happy for them when they do. (I remember my boss was more excited than I was when I finally finished my CCIE;) )

My manager was all of this and more. And I am much better off today for that. And this is one corporate lesson I am not going to forget in a hurry :)

Curt or self-respecting?

I was coming back by the bus as usual this evening. Usually if I am late beyond 6 PM, I don't get a seat and it takes 40 minutes to cover the usual 4 KM journey in traffic (vs 10 minutes in no traffic, sigh! I remember my I-880 days sometimes, I so loathed that freeway;) )

There was this lady, very obviously quite old, in a nice fit red shirt and blue jeans. She was quite well dressed, had the perfect mane of white hair and was overall looking extremely fit for her age and very well independent. I was looking at her and thinking, if I can be like her when I am 55 I'd think I kept myself fit. Just as I was admiring her thus, there was this girl, young (probably still in college) and maybe twenty something who suddenly patted this woman on her back and asked her if she wanted to sit down. And this woman replied very curtly with a quick and angry-looking "no".

I was surprised. Maybe the woman felt she was ok standing and didn't need any sympathy or pity from anyone because she was old. Fine, good thing to think. But why be curt? Why can't she just say, "no thank you, I am fine". Why did she have to be rude. Or was she really rude, maybe I imagined it, but then it was unmistakable, I clearly saw it in her face, that disgust.

I am pretty sure this poor girl only meant to be respectful and felt guilty for being seated while an old lady was standing beside her. I am sure she deliberated long and hard before she asked because she asked right out of the blue, it was just like the thing I would do when I think long and hard and am having a serious "dharma-sandeham" if I may call it so.

I am on the side of the girl, whose side are you on? :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Obstacle or variety?

I just realized this is my 300th post. Yay!!

The other day while I was busy getting things started for cooking lunch, the gas cylinder ran out of ..well..gas!

The brinjal I put in the pan had not even started to soften yet. The cooker had given out one or maybe two whistles, certainly not done and the milk I put on to boil was just getting warm. Phew! Problem, people!

I had to decide what to do. I didn't want to leave everything as is because they were sure to be spoilt by the evening. Then I looked at the microwave and had an idea. I put the milk to boil in the microwave, I gave the brinjal pieces to the maid (asked her to make something out of it when she got home) and I waited for the cooker to cool down. I checked later and voila! the rice was done and so was the dal except that the dal had mooli in it (I was going to make Mooli sambar). So I decided to make the best use of this situation and packed avakaya pickle plain dal sans mooli and curd rice for lunch. Sieving the moolis out of the dal was a fun exercise actually ;)

Subhash said he liked his lunch very much, which, needless to say made me extremely happy ;)

I don't normally complain when I lose some conveniences. That attitude came by handy and I actually enjoyed this unexpected obstacle in my daily morning routine!! It brought a variety into my otherwise very predictable mornings ;)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

..and then some more..

..mishaps that is..

Yours truly fell on the kitchen stairs at Hyd and scraped a knee, and the right one at that.
Added to the cold is a blister on the inside of my mouth which makes eating impossible.

On the plus side, I finally did get to taste the Lindt Excellence range, two flavours, the Chili and the Orange Intense. Chili was not as spicy as I would have hoped, and Orange was smash on the dot :)

I am saving some for the time when I am completely rid of my cold and I can indulge in the exact taste of all of these...


You know you are growing old when..

..a big majority of actresses on screen are actually way younger than you are!

Of course there are a lot of ways to figure you are growing old but this one is my latest discovery. Gone are the days when a Raveena Tandon or a Sushmita Sen or an Aishwarya Rai were women who you would call "didi" or even "aunty" in outside life. Now it is a Deepika Padukone, who would probably call YOU a "didi" in outside life.

What's next? Of course the next crop of actresses who might call you "aunty" in outside life. THAT would be when I am REALLY old ;)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ohh come on, not again!

Another bad bout of a disease called cold. Another family member in the hospital. What is with the world now?

I seem to be doomed to being surrounded by bad news :( And COLD! Every time I travel somewhere it comes back like its missing me so much. And this time its been so bad, I can't even call it the "common cold" anymore. Its drained out the energy completely off me and I feel like some empty bottle. I had to go to work last couple of days, so I did. How I managed to, I know not. Today was a meeting-free day so I stayed home. And slept through the morning like some desperate person who hasn't slept in years! Of course, one of my colleagues literally threatened me to not go to work today but that is a different matter :) She was most upset that I was still hanging around at work after she saw my face last evening ;) She is sweet like that usually :) Its always nice to have someone boss over you for good reasons. Subhash has been asking me every morning to work from home and I have been saying no, I got to go, for so and so meeting, for such and such interview and what not. Today I finally got my break.

And what kind of break. I can't eat anything because I can't taste it. I very honestly believe in not eating anything when I can't enjoy how it tastes ;) Why stuff all the calories in when you aren't even having fun doing it? Right? Well, sadly so. Another colleague (lets call him K Sir, since he is much senior and quite awesome) has just come back from Germany and brought me the "Lindt Orange Intense Excellence" chocolate that I so trained him to remember and get the name right. And today was the one day I was working from home. Sigh! Always the wrong time!

And the familial bad news. My mom's sister's husband passed away couple weeks ago. After I've come back to India, I've seen my Dad in the hospital and then Subhash's mom. And now this. And my Dad's brother has been in bad shape. We checked on him this last weekend and he was looking like there is hope for recovery, so I am sincerely wishing he does.

Other than this general mess in my life, there is the bomb blasts and people dying. And the natural disasters and people dying :( I am now beginning to hope that this is not some kind of sign that the world will be coming to an end soon.

And of course that I am rid of my cold for at least the next 2 months! Please, 2 months of cold-free life is all I want now. Not that great expectations, no?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

House hunting

I got this comment a while back and I was going to do a post on it but just didn't have the bandwidth.

So while my script chugs along, here goes some gyaaaaaaaaan..

Hi Div, since you've had some recent experience evaluating houses, can you also write reviews about some builders and share any need to know information about buying a flat in Bengaluru. Thanks

My experience and take on it

1) Apartments are ridiculously expensive in Bangalore, but independent houses are even more expensive so if you got to take the lesser of two evils, go for an apartment.

2) Mantri, Sobha, Brigade, Puravankara, Prestige -- Big names, supposedly great builders, but to be very honest I wasn't very impressed with any one of them. The more apartments I saw, the more I felt that the premium they charge is for the ambiance and the locale rather than the house itself. The apartments these guys make and sell are very expensive (there is one Mantri that will cost you 1.6Crores minimum for the smallest flat and just for the bare-bones structure) but the more I see them the more I don't get why.

3) I've seen many decent apartments from lesser known builders. They are even better than your Mantris and Sobhas. But they lack certain essential elements that you will want to have as basics, like a good approach road, a proper security gate and stuff like that.

4) Gated community Villas are the most ridiculous of all. I've seen ads for Adarsh Villas which say 5.5 crores for a lake-side villa. I have to confess I once wrote to the owner asking if she was kidding. If you are lake-facing 1) you probably run the risk of sinking when the lake bed decides to give way 2) You will probably die of malaria sooner than you imagined. I guess she wasn't too serious about selling it, or maybe she didn't know how many zeroes 5.5 crores had. But either way, she needed some serious sense-knock. But who knows, maybe I am the one that needs it ;)

So all in all -- if you want a place closer to work and god forbid if you work for an IT firm which is located in an SEZ area, you have to shell big monies if you want a good community and a decent society type of apartment. Else be prepared to face bad roads, bad neighbors, eve-teasers and what not on your way to and from work. Actually even the big names can't provide amenities beyond their boundaries. So it can turn out that as long as you are inside the apartment premises you feel like you are in some phoren land, but as soon as you get out of the gate (which is inevitable, my friend) you will be back in India :) So be prepared for it.

If you are considering a Mantri or a Sobha or a Purva or a Prestige, be prepared for the fact that more than 70% f the money you shell for it is just for the outside-the-house-within-the-gated-community amenities like Swimming pools, saunas, gyms, community halls, tennis courts, squash courts and what not, you name it. If you think you might not be using any of these even remotely once in a while, then spend more time in looking for a decent apartment minus the frills. You save a lot more money that way :)

Whatever it is, be sure of what you want from the house you want to buy. Just an investment purpose, you can probably even do it online. But if you are planning to buy a house to stay in it, my sincere advise is to go check it out yourself, go a couple to three times, make sure you know what you are getting into outside the apartment complex (rather than inside) before you decide.

Not sure if its been a great help, this post. But I think I've jotted down most of my observations :)

Interviews and concepts

So I had to interview this person today. Yet another Cisco-hopeful. Yet another lateral hire.

Yet another disappointment.

One singular lesson I've learnt from all my interviewing sessions so far -- If you don't know the answer, say so sooner than later. And say it, rather than going on and on into a quagmire of never ending Q & As. And never piss the interviewer off by saying that he/she is wrong ;)

This guy was supposedly the Multicast component lead in his work place. First question I ask, he drew three routers and started explaining how PIM protocol works. It wasn't even what I asked, for chrissakes!! Well, I gave him a patient hearing, then realized that any question I ask outside of that diagram was a bomber for him. Zero. Zilch. And this guy has been around in the industry for 7 years (which is donkey's years if you think about it!)

And then he went on to the "Ulta chor Kotwal ko daante" mode which so pisses me off when I am interviewing someone. For nuts man, I will not ask a question that I am myself not confident about so you have to give some credit if I ask you to re-think your answer. Well, anyway, such people make super entertainment material either ways ;)

I am not a great person with concepts myself. Especially in interviews :) But that I would see people who are even more concept-less than I am has stopped taking me by surprise now ;)


Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Some time I am having! A ball? A party? A mess? I can't name it.

I am in the eye of a hurricane, swirling fast around my own axis. My brain is steaming from all that scripting. Yesterday I was even saying something to Subhash along the lines of, "Given this situation, this should be done, its like if you have the -situation argument, this is the test case to be executed" Gosh! Damn my brain and the way it becomes when it gets overworked.

Usually when I get offered a ride home from work, I feel I was a good girl that day so this is how I get rewarded. But the last three days I have been feeling like a mad nut, a terrible person and what not, and yet someone or the other of my colleagues caught me walking to the bus stop and dropped me to the bus-stop/home (couple days it was colleagues who live in the same apartment so it was all the way home!)

So maybe I am thinking I am being bad when I am actually being good. Or maybe my definition of good/bad is all skewed up? Or maybe I don't even know what I am thinking or talking? (The last one is more like it)

Well, anyway, one sad news was that one of the Cisco employees here was killed during his ride home very close to our office :( Such a sad and unnecessary ending. Poor guy left behind a wife and a 3-year old. Every time I think about someone who died pre-maturely, I feel more terrible about the people he/she left behind. Such a loss. Such grief! Sigh!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

How white!


When Subhash first landed in the US, I took him to Kohl's down El Camino in Santa Clara. We went in and saw very few people and almost all of them desi. He exclaimed at the sight and wondered aloud about where the phirangs were. Apparently he saw more phirangs in Bangalore than in Santa Clara.


We went to LifeStyle today and the number of phirangs I saw there amazed me. Now I can understand what he went through just coming from Bangalore and landing in the great Bay Area. I think I saw more phirangs today than I ever saw together in one deparmental store in the Bay Area.

What can I say? ;) Except --

"I believe in Namma Bengaluru". Ha!

(I believe in Bangalore is a hep thing these days being advertised by one DNA group, hoardings all over the place. Some go "Even New York has traffic jams". I believe in Bangalore" etc. you get the idea. Of course I have to be retro-cool and say "Namma Bengaluru" (Our Bangalore in Kannada) )

Friday, September 05, 2008

Bad bad day!

Just got back from Mysore. Went to check on one of my uncles who is in very bad shape. It was very sad seeing him like that :( I wonder why people should suffer at all.

The train I took back from Mysore to Bangalore was pleasant except for it was late in arriving at Bangalore City and I was late in getting back home.

We finally tried Mugen (Indira Nagar, 100ft road) last night. Food was good, one take away was that in India if you see two chillies against a dish, its probably not a good idea to try it ;) We used to order five star rated spicy food (on a scale of spice ie) in the US and still feel itwas bland. Here we tried a 0 star and were surprised at how spicy it was ;) I loved it though. I am a spice person. Can take a lot of spice;)

Today was a bad, bad, B-A-D day at work. Some installation script screwed up and deleted my central script repository and although I could restore the ones already checked in from a server, I lost all local files. I finished some damage repair, I thanked god profusely for having made me save some of the more complicated files elsewhere and now I am slowly preparing myself to re-do at least a week's work. Can it get any worse? Its on days like this when I wonder if I should take my job seriously at all. Its too much stress ya. Damn! But I love my job so it can't be any other way. Too bad!

I did take some pictures of our apartment Ganapati, here they are..

Ohh and BTW, ever since we got married, we've had home-made Ganeshas for the festival (thanks to me being inspired by my good friend K who started it). I did the honours the last couple of years with modeling clay Ganeshas. This time we just went downstairs, got some all-natural clay and Subhash made this cute Ganesha. Ain't he talented? :D (Psst..observe the Moong Dal jewelery he is wearing and the black pepper eyes he has;) )

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ganapathi Bappa comes home again..

..yet another year!

Our apartment complex has been decked and a huge "pandal" put up for the celebrations and puja. This evening, they got a huge idol as well but it was covered so I couldn't catch a glimpse of it while walking back home. Will take some pictures and post them soon.

Happy Ganesh Chathurthi everyone! Here is wishing away all obstacles in your paths!

Monday, September 01, 2008


I just finished reading this and I feel angry. I feel guilty sometimes when I think ill of the Queen of England and the British Royal family and authority in general, simply because it was past and nothing comes off of bearing grudges. But after I read this I wonder, should I really forget it? Maybe forgetting and forgiving would be an insult to my country after all. Maybe I should remember it for whenever someone tries to tell me how the West is better and slap this in their face.


EDITED to add:

I did think a lot before posting this for fear of being misunderstood. Just as I expected, I got this comment..

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am surprised to see that you visit such websites maintained by communal fanatics and fascists, who have got nothing better to do but to spread hatred and fear.


Tue Sep 02, 09:02:00 AM PDT

Blogger DivSu said...


Why should you be surprised? That is like saying "I am surprised you watch movies like Lagaan and Rang De Basanti" Isn't it? :)

So long as I don't murder the next Brit I see or I don't deface the next English monument I come across, I think I am OK visiting any website I want. There is nothing wrong with being aware and informed of both sides of a story that is history.

At any rate, its better than apathy and total lack of appreciation for what it took us to get out of there. Of course, today we are probably more at harm due to internal elements than a 60-year-old past, but that is a different matter altogether.


A colleague forwarded a personality analysis test to me some time back and today while I was letting some test run, I decided to check it out for lack of anything else to do while waiting..

Needless to say, since I am posting the result here, the test was a huge success. Good news is posted the fastest ;) Duh, obviously ! ;)

I scored 45 on this test and this is what it said it means--


Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

My my ;)