Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ring in the new

All I'd say is this:.

2009, you exceeded my expectations. Although I was extremely skeptical that you would be able to beat 2008, you did, and how!

Here is hoping I have an equally good 2010!!

And wishing every one else the same :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Most often happy?

I saw a "Top Used Words" app on my niece's Facebook wall and decided to give it a try. Here is what it said:

Your Top Words
Your Top Used Words
And the results are:
1): happy - used 11 times
2): wondering - used 11 times
3): good - used 11 times
4): finally - used 9 times
5): today - used 8 times
6): thinks - used 8 times
7): thinking - used 7 times
8): again - used 7 times
9): too - used 6 times
10): long - used 6 times

I didn't know I was so happy, good and filled with wonder ;) Also it looks like I attained a lot of goals (too many finally's). It confirms that I am a person that lives in today. Again and again. I've used too long too often.



But all in all it shows I am an intellect for I "think" way too often ;)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

3 months!

Rohan is three months old today. Coincidentally it is also a full 13 weeks. A quarter of a year!

I cannot believe it!

PS: Another coincidence is that its been exactly one year since we moved into our house :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Owww, this is too much..

Starting with greatbong and his review and now all the other bloggers with their ho, has now I HAVE to watch Avatar and 3 Idiots. The Facebook statuses are also slowly trickling in and they seem to confirm that these movies are a must watch.

I am yet to buy that Medela thingy. Thanks to its price difference in India and more importantly, our knowledge of it (sometimes ignorance is bliss!?!?!), we are still trying to see if we can get one from the US, else next week, we are popping over to Mothercare and just buying one, price difference be gone to hell with!

Then I got to train Rohan to feed from a bottle. And then I got to get someone to go to the movie with me while Subhash stays home with him. This will probably be toughest since most people will have watched it by the time all these steps come to pass. Sigh!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

JNTU and such

All know that T is visiting this weekend. What all don't know is that she is visiting since her hubby and a few of his pals from IIM-B want to watch 3-Idiots together (T is from a predominantly IIM family - sis - XLRI, bro-in-law - IIM-A, T- IIM-L and her hubby IIM-B, but I digress)

I also know for a fact that a lot of people who liked "Happy Days" were from CBIT and enjoyed the movie since they got to saw their Alma Mater in it.

Coming to my Alma Mater (and Subhash's for that matter), we have no such luck. Gone are the wild shrubberies (not to go behind which we were warned as freshers by Muriki Reddy, our then principal), the rocks, the beaten mud paths, our shortcuts from the bus stand to the main building and so on and so forth. Gone! Now the whole place is a concrete jungle. Sure, it used to look ugly earlier, and now it looks straight out of some cosmo city, but hell, I think the older one was prettier. When Subhash and I used to visit the place in 2004, we used to be in awe of how much has changed. We once went and had chai (well he had chai and I had some junk oily stuff as usual) at our old canteen guy Gandhi's stall just outside of JNTU (I think after the recent rush of IT, even that stall is no more) just to relive the old times. The new canteen just didn't have that charm.

I remember when we were freshers, we went into the canteen once. Now if you are from JNTU, you know this is taboo. GIRLS in the canteen!! That too fresher girls!! My god! It was something that had stopped a long time back (apparently during the days of "autonomous" strikes). We were a bunch of girls who loved to steal a daredevil moment and so we just walked in after days of planning. I remember distinctly how N, G and G (maybe?) were all shocked (these guys were Subhash's classmates, BTW) and couldn't say anything (N was notorious for ragging but he had a rule, no girls;) ). So they kept staring in disbelief and we became some sort of heroines of the college ;)

Of course this brought us into the wrath zone of R who was a second year female student who didn't much appreciate girls who didn't wear chunnis (read me) or girls who wore chunnis but used them as fans (read K) and in general didn't appreciate juniors going out of line. And when she heard the canteen story, she made sure we got extra doses of ragging whenever we ran into her. This was in addition to writing workshop notes for her classmates. Sigh!

Yesterday, when my prof visited, his son was asking if I knew some girl who was my junior. I said no. My prof said she wouldn't have ragged so she wouldn't know. I said, I ragged way too many people so I need specifics. I am sure my prof didn't know this angle of mine till yesterday. I migt have dropped a few notches in his estimation ;) But seriously what fun it was to be in the final year, to stop by a class full of Mech/Metallurgy students, make them all stand up and mass-rag them single handedly. Whatay fun! Right above the principal's office at that.

So many more good times like these.

Here is to JNTU where I always thought I spent the most useless years of my academic life doing nothing.

Till I went to grad school that is.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Impressive

What? you ask. Bangalore's public works departments' response times.


BESCOM

When Rohan was born, the third night apparently Subhash came home from Cradle to a "power-less" house. He was not sure how long it had been gone. UPS was running strong still, so he put it off, slept, and in the morning when there was still no power, simply looked up some BESCOM numbers and came back to us at Cradle after lodging a complaint.

The BESCOM guys were so responsive that we were impressed. They called a bunch of times saying they fixed some feeder issue and if power was restored. None of us was at home so we couldn't confirm. That night Subhash went back to a flooded, dark  house thanks to no power, no UPS (it ran out after two days) and the fridge condensing out all its ice. He called BESCOM again and this time they actually sent someone and got the whole thing fixed in half an hour's time. There is a bunch of reasons why this is impressive -- 1) Problem was isolated to our house, so they didn't really have hundreds of angry residents wreaking havoc. Just one guy calling and complaining. 2) It was 11 in the night. 3) Some reasonably senior folks called to make sure power was restored and the complaint was attended to satisfactorily.

I was just happy since we didn't have to come home with Rohan for the first time to a powerless situation.

This morning again there was no power from 7. I complained at 9.30. They called me at 10.45 asking if power was restored. It had. I asked what the issue was and it was some cursed feeder again! But what promptness again. Consistently prompt service is one thing I never expected to get from BESCOM or any power supply board for that matter.


BWSSB

We were having no Cauvery supply for the past 7 months and were depending largely on our borewell motor plus a generous supply of tankers. I managed to befriend a BWSSB tanker guy and the poor chap would regularly show up when called with Cauvery water so all was going smooth except for the pain of having to take tanker wanter, monitor water levels etc.

Then one day I decided to take a chance and check if BWSSB would be willing to fix it (you hear so much negative press on government guys, you don't think it is worth it to try). Plus it was in the papers that this area will have water pressure issues because of all the digging up in Indiranagar-CMH road for the Bangalore Metro. But that was in April and it was already 6 months since that. So I called them and they gave me a local inspector number. His personal mobile that too!! He said they were having some pressure problem and would send a tanker if needed. I assured him that this problem was not recent and he said he'd look into it. Since that day (maybe in early October) to now, we have been having a good healthy supply of Cauvery water ;) Maybe I should've complained sooner, eh? We have too much distrust in the local bodies simply!

POLICE (Airport Road Police Station)

There was a burglary recently. Late September maybe. Apparently someone came in a truck to a working couple's house, emptied all its contents and left. Neighbors thought they were moving out. We didn't know anything till we saw a Police jeep come by, then some cops on bikes, making enquiries at different homes etc. From then on we've regularly been seeing at least one Police SUV parked around the colony regularly. And cops going on bikes. Apparently Subhash's mom hears them on beats all night. They have also put up "Beware of Burglars" stickers all over the colony. I am impressed. I didn't know the Police were so serious in nabbing thieves.

So there, I am happy with the power supply folks, with the water supply folks and the police. These guys are doing a great job. I am sure their JDs didn't exactly call out for so much promptness and customer service. So often we think complaining is useless, that we miss out on the chance to give the good guys a run when they are actually listening. Considering that the government doesn't exactly run on performance-based stuff like we private employees are used to, I am sure there is not much incentive for these guys to do a job well. But they toil. And yet they receive so little good press. Let's raise a toast for these guys!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yay!!

First off, thanks to everyone who wished me well. After a freak 103F night and a listless Saturday following, Sunday was cool. Subhash bathed the baby by himself both days of the weekend since I was too weak to do it and thought the little guy was wondering what his Dad was up to doing all this stuff for him ;)

Today I am back on track(s).

But that is not what I am Yaying about, surely. What I am yaying about is all the visitors I am having!!

My Dad's maternal uncle and wife, the oldest couple on my side of the family paid us a visit yesterday. When Rohan was born, my grand-uncle couldn't make it since he was traveling. My grand-aunt had come alone to Cradle (He is a retd IAS officer and still takes active part in state polity) and so she called on Saturday and asked if it was OK if they came along on Sunday. I was super thrilled.

They came and saw the baby, chatted for a while and left. I am always in awe of the couple. So well-informed, so well-traveled and so independent even at this age. Their grand-daughters studied engineering living with them :)

Then another surprise call. My professor from Engineering. He was the Head of Department of Electronics and Communication Engg at JNTUCE when we were around. His son lives very close to our place here and so when I spoke to him last he promised to pay  us a visit when he was here. He called last evening saying he was in Bangalore and asked if I would be at home this evening. I said of course. And gave them directions.

Again, super thrilled!

Then my cousin called just now. She migrated to the UK just a little before we moved back to India and now is back for good. At least for now. So her visit was due and she called saying she'd drop by tomorrow most likely. When I was growing up, this was my favourite cousin.She used to take us on all these joy rides on her Luna and all. You get the picture. A lot older and so very pampering.

So again, super thrilled.

Then there is T visiting this Friday.

Wow.

I am so happy. I almost feel guilty that I am having the pleasure of so many people visiting when I have probably not paid any visits to anyone in the last three months. Well, there will be a time to make up for it :) For now, I am enjoying playing hostess!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Some random thoughts

-Lindt Excellence is an amazing range of dark chocolates. Of course ANYTHING Lindt is amazing. I am relishing the Chilli flavour latest. Anyone who has a passion for spice should try it out. It has a mild spicy edge to it. Last year when a colleague was visiting Germany, I had him bring the Orange in this range for me, he also picked up the Chilli one and everyone was very excited to see what its like. We picked up one in SPAR on our last trip. Really, the SPAR Lindt cooler is a life-saver. No more waiting for someone to visit Europe for all those Lindts :D :D

-Two of the blogs I regularly read are publishing books! Ohh god. I think I should publish one too. Only I wonder what I should be writing about.

-What do you do when you intended to say something, put it off for long enough and ouch! something happens where if you now say what you intended to say in the first place, you risk being politically incorrect. Damn!

-When I read some of my old posts I cringe with embarrassment. At my gaucherie in writing. Maybe a few years later I will read this and cringe. So cringing seems inevitable overall.

-I want Rohan to go to either Bishop Cotton or NPS or some such school. I think getting into these schools is tough. So in case he doesn't clear the exam, I am planning to give a monologue to the principal (or whoever will listen) on how I got admitted into my school. Apparently when I took the test at Ann's, I didn't open my mouth (can you BELIEVE THAT?!) and so the Principal (that Sr. Rose, I tell you, she always used to fuss for everything, everything!) marked my application in bold with the letters "D U M B". So my mom had to have her dad's friend in the DEO's office pull some strings and I finally got in. When I finished in '95, I topped the class, so there, Sr. Rose! No one can judge anyone's potential when they are a mere 3.5 years old. That is the material point. And this shall be my argument for him as well ;)

'Tis the season for visiting

Thanks to the holiday season a lot of my friends from abroad are visiting India :) I already had one of them stop by at Bangalore and come and visit us and Rohan. Thanks S! I really like to catch up with pals. Which is why whenever I travel some place, if I know of someone living there, I make it a point to call on them. It feels good.

T is going to visit from Singapore on Christmas day. I am excited!! T and three other friends, together we used to call ourselves the "HumPanch" gang. Over the past few years however we have never met up, all the five of us together :(  Four of us are married and I just realized that I am the only one who has met all the spouses and vice versa (Subhash is the only one all the four of them have met). None of them has met any of the other's significant other. How sad! Time does indeed make us busy and afar.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Life-saver


We got this product from Mothercare for bathing Rohan. It was one of many of Subhash's brilliant ideas.

It has been a life-saver and makes bathing the baby very very easy. I highly recommend it for anyone who has to raise an infant without help.

Unfortunately, Mothercare neither ships this to the US nor does it have any brick and mortar stores in the US (it has in the Far East, Asia,Middle East and Europe). I really wonder why.

But Subhash found for me, something very similar shipping at Amazon.



Image courtesy: Mothercare online



PS:

Ohh, and while at the topic of products and cross-continent pricing, what is with Medela products selling in India for twice the price that they sell in the US?!??!?!?! Damn! This is why I love Fisher Price. They sell ALL their stuff in India at exactly the same price as in the US (with a 1 USD = 50 INR exchange rate, which I think is reasonable) and this I highly appreciate.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bagels in Bangalore!!

As a follow-up to this post, here is an update.

We were a little skeptical about Leela's bagel spread, we were not sure if we would get gourmet cream cheeses, that is what used to make our Bagel experience so nice. For Subhash and me it was all about the cream cheeses. Normally breakfast in a hotel means plain cream cheese.

So we did what we thought was the next best thing to do. Hit SPAR :)

And boy, we were not disappointed.

We got Bagels (from Bagels n Bakes, which in my earlier post I said was too far to go and visit), and Lemnon Cream cheese (PDF Leaflet). There was of course the plain old Philadelphia Cream cheese (Strawberry) but I prefer gourmet to mass produced :)

So tomorrow to a nice breakfast. Bagel and Jalapeno cream cheese, Muesli (with Papaya and Apple) and Orange juice :) Muuuaaaaaaaaaah!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Telangana and more

January 11 it is! My maternity leave ends in one month and I've worked it out with my manager to work from home till end of January. This will be a warm up for the "going back to work" routine. Of course it means I will be working sans any reports since having a team of my own will make it mandatory to go to work regularly. I am hoping I will be able to manage the kid and work alone at home on my own. Really hoping..

There were a few comments on my previous post and then a cousin had status messages on Facebook which brought in a lot of useful perspective. When you think of the whole thing, it is such a joke. I'd rather let a person like KCR fast and go whichever way than give him any weight, but then here we are. The great big joke. I am bad at political satire, actually, bad at any satire, else this is a land mine opportunity to display some satirical talent.

Some random thoughts that come to my mind

1) When we start dividing, where do we stop. As ample proof to my initial fears, we now have "demands" for Vidarbha, Gorkhaland, Harit Pradesh, and all that good stuff.

2) This whole drama is for Hyd. It is very obvious. Hyd as union territory or Hyd as capital of Telangana is not acceptable to so many vested political rowdies since they have so many investments in Hyd and this is going to risk it all.

3) Hyd is a cosmo. We used to have a CNaRe poem in school "Idi Hyderabadu, idi Hyderabadu, idi bhinna samskrutulu yedigi poochina padu". (This is Hyderabad, this is Hyderabad, this is where so many cultures have grown and flourished). So Hyd is nobody's baap ka maal. So nobody, even in Telangana, can claim exclusivity to it.

4) The great (as per Teja TV only) Jagan (YSR's son) is stone silent. One of the perspectives that came on my cousin's status got me thinking. Yeah, all senior leaders who opposed Jagan's CM giri are from Telangana region. Yeah, he has a strong hold in non-Telangana areas. So after YSR, why not push KCR to ask for Telangana so you can become CM, if not AP's, then a part of AP? Surely, there is money to be made elsewhere too?

5) This whole drama is being televised non-stop on TV. The biggest and dirtiest I have seen so far is lawyers actually physically hitting each other saying "you are in our Telangana" and "you cannot claim exclusivity on Telangana". Ohh god! The dirtiest side of human beings out on display.

6) People remarked about Osmania students being exploited. Who ever said OU students are gullible. There are two types of OU students. Those that participate in the political OU and those that do not. And the ones torching buses are the union and political type. They are one of the worst kinds. OU has radical student unions and in general a lot of rowdy crowd. Back when we used to live in Tarnaka, I remember how they used to take over the entire "Aradhana" theatre for a movie, causing great inconvenience to the public. And a lot of other such nuisance in general. I always used to hate the student union radicalization in OU (which is probably the strongest reason I went to JNTU instead). Bad taste.

This whole bull s*$t (first use of profanity on this blog?) will fizzle out if you ask me. No one wants to give up Hyd. No one wants Telangana minus Hyd (really, what is the point?). So in the fight over Hyd, we will hopefully get to keep Andhra Pradesh.

And on a closing note, if you ask me, anyone who torches public property deserves to be torched in return. Death!! to all who set fire to even one inch of public space. I am paying taxes for it and it is nobody's business messing with my property.

PS: And what is with KCR coming out of a 11 day fast all clean shaven and with inventive colours (white beard and black hair, all perfectly styled). Was he even fasting?? He was discharged overnight and he has energy to attend press conferences the very next day.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I am in distress

- I do not want a separate Telangana state, but who is listening to the citizens, it is all political and some more power grabbing efforts on the way.

-I wish people would call for bandhs and rasta rokos for social causes, I would be all too happy to participate.

-I had to sign an affidavit full of words like "solemn", "hereby" etc etc for Rohan's passport. It is all convoluted language I say! It goes something like "We declare that the particulars of XY, son of X and Y, of whom we are parents..". I am saying he is son of X and Y, I am X, dad is Y, why do I again need to say "of whom we are parents"?!?!?!?!?!?!?

-I wonder why the Congress chieftan is running the country. Internal Congress issues, please, satisfy yourself and go all out to solve them. A state is reeling under crisis, the Prime Minister is sitting in Russia signing N-deals, and all that the stupid AP government can do is to appeal to "Madam" to decide on if a separate state should be formed. Who is she, I ask. Just another MP, I say. Why is she deciding anything.


I don't want a separate Telangana state, but who is listening?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Whoa! The stats need betterment


What are those numbers. The number of posts I did every year.

Steady progress from 2005 to 2008. But then the blog went south. Actually it was just the pregnancy. I kept consciously away from the blog since I didn't want to make it a motherhood one ;)

So hoping to better the stats next year!

Scales of comparison

A while back (quite the years back I mean) there was a time when I was disappointed at some incident where the same set of people commended a job that someone else did where I felt I did a lot more but there was no commendation.

Naturally from my perspective I was sour. Why shouldn't I also be commended? If anything I should be commended 3 or 4 times more since I was doing that much. But what I got was zilch.

Subhash had a simple reply : The expectations of you are higher since they know you are more capable. The expectation from that person is much lower.

Still, it was not fair. That didn't soothe me at all.

So he had an analogy (he always does) : Lets assume my niece drew a picture of a hut (niece is all of 4 years old) and you also drew a hut. People will naturally praise the niece all out since she has done an extraordinary job for her known and accepted capability. But if you expect people to praise you because you drew a hut, then it is not going to happen. On the contrary it would sound rather stupid, this expectation of yours.

That totally explained it. At that moment I was soothed. Yet, this was no 4 year old that I was putting myself up against. Outside of this philosophy when I thought about it, I was still sour. But at least I knew that there was some psychological reason to it rather than attributing it to prejudice.

So it is all about who you want to set yourself against. People more accomplished than you or people less accomplished. The former is definitely a better idea :)

Daily, I grapple with such dharam sankats ;)

A great one!

We got this really cool gift for Rohan in the mail from one of our friends back in the Bay Area, it is a book which spells his name and a story is spun around it where each animal picks its favourite letter and they all build his name together. I thought it was a really cool and smart idea for a gift plus the kids can also read it like a story with their name as the theme..

People really do come up with some smart ideas! :)

Here is what the book is all about.

Thanks P and S!!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

One month

Do you want the milestone notes first or the philosophy?

Milestone is easy to write. One month, just the three of us. So far we've managed fairly well I should say :) But then I have heard that this is the only age when kids are easy to manage and that it gets tougher and tougher as they grow older ;) Lets see.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The bad shin

Lots of people asked after the bad knee. Thank you :) I should say it is getting better. We did try to find a doctor nearby, but didn't manage. First we were not sure who to go to. Then we decided any physio/orthopedist should do. We even found a perfect clinic in Indiranagar. But then the doc wasn't in over the weekend at the clinic. He also apparently consults in Manipal but there too he was not available. So we gave up.

Subhash's mom is an acupressure specialist. And being the mamma's boy that he is, apparently he also learnt it while she was at it. So when we spoke to her on Saturday evening, she suggested he should try it. He was reluctant because he said it would pain a lot. I said its ok. I can take it.

BIG mistake. The pain when he presses the accurate point is like hell. (And as expected he said " I told you so") And he is quite a specialist in finding the exact spot corresponding to my pain area. Apparently it is the shin and not the knee. The pain, it takes the life out of you. But it did seem to have worked. After 4-5 sessions, my pain has gone down significantly. Added to that the ice pack treatment and the Bengay after each session. I am quite confident that with proper rest I am sure in a day or two I should be back on track(s) ;)

I love mamma's boys. When the mamma is nice, they turn out sensitive, chivalrous and sensible to a woman's needs. And luckily for me, the husband is one such ;) And I am hoping the son turns out one too ;)

Pheni in Sunnyvale and Bagels in Bangalore

To date the most hits on my blog through keyword search as per Google stats come from this post.

I just cannot believe it. After a good three years, this post still serves my blog some purpose and brings it some traffic, ha!

I was looking for Pheni in Sunnyvale.

So now what?

I am in the mood to eat a bagel :D. Yes, after years of eating whenever I wanted at Einstein Bagels in Madison and the Bagel Street Cafe in Sunnyvale, today, I felt a great desire for a bagel (actually I felt a similar desire even a bunch of months ago but lets ignore that) So I want to find out where I can find Bagels in Bangalore.

Bagels in Bangalore - Points me to some place in Sanjay Nagar. Too far.
Bagels, Airport Road - This one is my bad. Tells me I can go to Cleveland Airport to eat one.
Bagels, Airport Road, Bangalore - Ahh, I see one hit on an article in The Hindu which says the Oberoi hotel has it on their menu.

This makes me a little hopeful. Actually Subhash was suggesting this earlier, that Leela might carry some if they have a delicatessen. With the number of gora log that they serve, they should have some. So now onto looking in the Leela....

PS: Found out from Citrus (their 24hr coffee shop) in Leela, they do serve Bagels and Cream cheese for breakfast daily 6.30 to 10.30 AM. And I think if you are staying at the Leela you can order them anytime of the day. Yay!! So, this Friday, breakfast destination - The Leela :D

Friday, November 27, 2009

Another month

Like the time ticker on this blog says, today I am a 2 month old mom :) So far scraping through with minor hiccups.

I really hope my knee gets better, else tomorrow a visit to the doc looks unavoidable :( And I don't know how we will manage with the baby and all :(

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Why no more?

I was answering a comment on my previous post when I remembered I wanted to do this one.

If someone were to ask me whether I'd like to move to another country now, I'd say I do not like the idea, for two main reasons - 1) Winter 2) Lack of household help. After two years of not scrubbing and cleaning and dish-washing and vaccuuming and what else not, I find it is not a very pleasant proposition for me to go back to it. I did that for about 7 years and I am heartily sick of it ;) When the maid ditches me I am more than happy to clean up the house to get rid of my OCD tendencies, but not on a regular basis and not full-term for sure.

What about other R2I folks out there? Do you like the prospect of going back to a foreign country (not necessarily the one you came back from) or do you find it to be an unwelcome proposition?

Looking for answers

One more philosophy - Man is always looking for answers.

I had this knee pain in both knees on Monday. I ignored it as it just looked like another case of muscles going and settling down in the wrong spots since there was a lot of "kluck kluck" when I moved my legs. Tuesday I went for a jog as usual, first few paces hurt the knees but eventually it fell into rhythm and I didn't feel anything. Towards Tuesday afternoon the knees had buckled and gone for a toss. As a result I had to give up morning jogs/walks for the past two days. I was very upset since very rarely do I have injuries and for probably the second time in my life I had to use Bengay to soothe the pain since I had to walk around with the baby etc. Get the drift? I was very very upset. I was even anxious that it was something serious that took toll on my knees. Last night Subhash was asking me if I changed my shoes recently when he saw the spot which I told him was aching. It was true. After a long time going around in soft padded flip flops etc, I had gone and worn those hard-soled sandals on Sunday when we went out. And I think I did quite a bit of walking in it. So that did it probably. It hurt my knees. And of course that fact that I ran with bad knees just went and aggravated the whole thing.

So till I got this possible answer to my question "Why did the knees suddenly start hurting", I was at complete unrest. The moment I found a possible answer, I was fine even though I still had bad knees.

Knowing the answer to why a problem happened makes us comforted for sure. For one it tells us exactly why we are in a soup which is always a first step to fixing it, if fixing at all is possible ;)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The synergy?

I work for a router which gets deployed extensively in service provider networks so invariably I end up being a customer to my customer :) It was Comcast in the US and Airtel in India. Both are major customers for us.

Why this now?

Well, today I had an issue with broadband. (Or so I thought, actually it was just a loose connection). And the customer service was prompt and complete. Then it got me thinking about what we do when we have an issue at Airtel. Pretty much the same. We have to get on calls whether its day or night.

But the synergy exists in economics too ;)

Cisco sells to Airtel ----> Airtel sells to me -----> I get paid by Cisco :)

It is a wonder we make any profits ? :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Boring

I just realized that brilliance is not my thing in more ways than one.

I mean I always knew that I was never brilliantly intelligent but yes I was extraordinarily hard-working. People thought I was brilliant since I always aced my academics but it was just a donkey's job going over and over the same thing again till it sat firmly in my head. I used to tell my sister that she was definitely more intelligent than me, any day.

Anyways, coming to the point, what did I realize today. The same thing applies to my cooking as well. Some people dish out exotic dishes. Brilliant and exotic stuff. What I cook on the other hand is boring at best. The same kura (curry) and pappu (dal)/rasam/sambar menu day-in and day-out. Never even a flash of brilliance in that menu. But yes I do cook religiously every day, twice a day. See the pattern? Actually I didn't realize this today, I knew it a long long time back, but what I realized is that its all part of the same pattern.

Now I am thinking what else does it, this pattern, apply to? Turns out, even to my home-making skills..not a flash of brilliance in colours or palettes or show-piece selection. But whatever plain boring stuff I have, I meticulously maintain and clean it.

Damn!! I am boringly monotonous at best?!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Random thoughts

- I forgot to rejoice in the cyber world that SPAR now has a dedicated Lindt counter. For the past four months it has been so easy to pick up the Lindt stuff, no more searching for Lindt in aisles filled with Hershey's stuff!! Yay!!

- Little Italy has been happening weekly. Hmm..too much fat intake (when you count all the Lindt truffles I am eating). All that jogging will go absolutely waste! First Saturday we ate at Little Italy, then couple Saturdays we ordered take home because we had friends over with us, last night again went there since it was S's last weekend in Bangalore.

- So it is happening. S and V are moving to Hyd for good. We've stayed in the same city (first Sunnyvale, then Bangalore) for almost five years now. I cannot believe how fast time flies. And now they are moving :( We will miss you guys!!

- I realize time and again what it is to have a great family and at least one person (wink wink) who cares for your every wish and whim as if it was a command. Lucky lucky!! :)

- If someone were to tell me that a mom bonds immediately with her new born as soon as it was born, I'd think they are either kidding or they are super human. No such thing happened for me. First week I was zombied out, wondering who this new living being (read stranger) in our lives was. It took me nearly three to four weeks to wake up to mommiehood and only slowly did I start enjoying it. Now I love the baby and feel the bond with him. But initial days were a big blur and full of confusion :)

-Been having a power situation at home. For the past 48hrs, half the house is dark because something is getting short somewhere and its burnt out two of our MCBs because of the load. Luckily in the right places, the lights come on :) (read, the fridge, microwave and all 15A power circuits, the light over the stove, lights in both bedrooms etc) Hopefully situation will get better by tomorrow, the electrician has been too busy over the weekend.

On a closing note, here is one video I enjoyed watching very much when I was preggie - It is a NetGeo series but there is the whole video available on Google video.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Such is the state of affairs!

We are nearing 26th November and I can see a whole sleuth of TV ads/promotions saying "Is baar chup nahi rahenge" (This time we won't stay quiet). But I wonder. What else do we know to do?

There is Raj Thackeray and his whole Marathi manoos drama. Then I read somewhere about IAF's number two guy making discriminating statements against women. There is the whole Telangana Debate in AP (AP's politics is bound to grow dirtier by the hour very soon, that is another matter), there is Koda's infamous scam and how he calls it all a "framing by his political opponents". Everywhere, we are too busy fighting each other or are too busy trying to keep our lives on track, steering hard.

Subhash and I were discussing China yesterday and how we gradually but surely are losing more and more land territory to them and no one can say or do anything because its just become too powerful for anyone to speak up against it. Where will it end? Will we be taken over by communists and made to live like slaves? Well, who knows.

But where is the time to bother with anything else? Seems like we are so used to being divided and ruled, too used to being trodded upon, too used to being ill-treated, that we don't care anymore. It is sad, but true?

But then maybe, the world will end in 2012 after all !!

Stupid stupid Facebook..

Well, recently, on one of my colleagues' wall (AM's wall), I noticed his rant on how Facebook is throwing useless stuff at you.

-X is new to Facebook, help him/her get started.
-You have not connected with Y on Facebook recently, write on his/her wall.
-Z needs a profile picture, help him/her by suggesting one (This one is really WTH)

...and so on and so forth.

Now comes the final touch!

He joined Facebook this month.

WTH?!?!

I have already enlisted this guy as my son. Now why would Facebook want me to talk to my own son through his "Wall". Stupid, stupid Facebook! Or maybe Facebook wants the world to be taken over by social networking and ideally people in the same room should be writing on each others walls instead of looking at each other and talking. That would be so much fun!!

Write on my wall if you want to comment, OK?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Facebook status post

Once was the time when I used to put up Facebook status because what I wanted to say was too short for a blog post. And I hate doing short blog posts unless it is profound enough where the less said the better. Now I am doing a blog post because what I want to say is too many things for Facebook. Such is the reversal of technological fates..

-Me is filling out an insurance claim form and it took two lines to fill in my son's neonatologist's qualifications, there are so many of them!!!

Yeah, I read somewhere in Cradle's brochure that he is qualified in 4 continents. From his list I can make out that Europe (UK), Australia and Asia (India) are three. The fourth I am assuming is North America (US, of course!) And like I read on one of the blogs on the web, he is the most unassuming and down to earth person I have seen for all that huge string of qualifications he carries.

-Me is mighty impressed with The Cradle Bangalore.

I never praised the place on my blog before, but I just realized that. Its a "boutique" hospital and I must confess I wold have been highly uneasy with my pregnancy had it not been for this place :) Although we live at a 10 minute walk distance from Manipal and a 10 minute drive distance from CMH, we used to drive an hour each way to reach Jayanagar since my OB/GYN, Dr. Kini, didn't consult at their Diamond District Centre (that is also a 2 minute drive for us!). But then this kind of "going long distance when stuff is available at a much shorter distance is not new to me. (I went all the way from Tarnaka to JNTU College of Engg when I could have gone to Osmania University College of Engg which was 10 minutes from my place. Now I say that it was destiny because I had to meet Subhash et al, but now this parenthesis matter is getting out of hand so I will stop) There are a lot of blogs on Cradle and how it is so nice so I will not repeat it. It will suffice to say, I bet I wouldn't have found a better place even in the US :)

Now why I am impressed with Cradle? I needed Rohan's (that is the first time I am using his name!!) neo-natologist's Registration number and I called twice yesterday and the person who took my calls both times was feeling sorry since she couldn't give me the info as some other person who knew it was not around. She promised that she would call today and even for Cradle's standards, I thought that was a bit much. I was very much prepared to call them again today when surprise surprise, I got a call bright and early in the morning at 8, and she gave me the number. I am impressed. Period.

-Me got started on jogging alternate laps today.

Yay!! for that. And here is hoping that the 10 kilos is shed without much further ado and that I may fit back into my old clothes with much ease sooner than later.

-Me thinks the Leela Salon (M&W) experience gets worse with every visit.

Yeah it is The Leela and all, but this time I was more disappointed than the earlier ones. Normally when I don't have the luxury of time to visit my own hair guy across town on Richmond road, I settle for the Leela because its closer home plus they finish much quicker than my stylist. Its almost like eating at the Taco Bell vs at an authentic Mexican restaurant. Its is done in mass, attention is very little, attendants are more often than not grumpy unless you are a regular (and regulars are usually gore log or the Page 3 type desis), and this time I even had a sloppy person wash my hair and pour the water all over my neck. Tsk tsk tsk.. I guess I have been spoilt by my hair guy too much!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Not going the Green Way

My green card process has been one winding one from the start. Initially when the lawyers asked me to submit papers, I did a lot of dilly-dallying before I finally started the process a year after they first started asking me. I didn't want to apply for one, till someone told me it might adversely affect my growth in the company if I didn't.

Then the papers. My gosh! The whole process requires you to dig out your history which even you might not be aware of. Letters from college professors all the way to infant vaccine records (alternatively you can get yourself shot for those vaccines all over again). It was one big painful process every new step of the way.

Finally we cleared some all important stages. I don't remember the exact order or names (I was always very bad with it although I used to make everyone explain it to me over and over again). I think the first one was the Labor stage, then some I-765 and I-485 and some other myriad such I- stages. We had to go through biometrics (in which they asked me to remove my bindi for the picture and I was mighty put-off) and got our EADs and Advance Paroles.

Then we moved to India. I asked my lawyers if I should close the Adjustment of Status process since I was traveling long term to India and they said we were in a stage where for my priority date to go current it would take at least four years and I was ok till then. They suggested that I leave it as is so that is exactly what I did and came back. They kept coming back with requests for more documentation time and again which i very patiently supplied although I was never sure why we were carrying on with it. Finally they wanted one more biometrics appointment, which the lawyers kept postponing and finally couldn't postpone any further I think. Then I told them it was impossible for me to travel and eventually the lawyers said, that since there was no definite date and time at which I know I would be back in the US with the same employer, it was best to withdraw the application.

Now, I wish the lawyers told me this bit of info two years back when I asked them. I never told them that I knew when I would be back in the US, yet they kept the app active. Which is Ok, didn't do me any harm, except that they kept asking for documents, which, if you have dealt with USCIS, you know how quickly how painful it can get.

Well, so this morning, I shot off the email. Please withdraw my Adjustment of Status application. Apparently when I get back to the US, I can re-start the process provided I am still with Cisco and my priority date has not become history by then.

We will see :)

Back home and home-alone!

So we are back in Bangalore, me, Subhash and the baby. We had to really convince both sets of parents that it was quite OK and we would be able to manage decently. Everyone insisted that we should stay back in Hyd till at least the baby stepped into the third month. That was quite a jolly plan except for one catch: Subhash wouldn't be able to spend any time with the baby and all weekends would be gone traveling back and forth. He was asked to travel to the UK which made every one happy (because it was the perfect scheme and I could stay back in Hyd) but he turned it down (he really had to work hard to do it) and that made me happy ;) ;)

So we had to come back, the baby and I, so we could stay with the Dad. But parents were mighty concerned, naturally. How will I manage all day alone with the baby when he is gone to work. How will I manage household chores and the baby together. Etc. I too might have had a hint of doubt, but I was quite sure I would be able to manage so long as four things were done by the time Subhash leaves - a) his bath, b) my cooking for the morning, c) my morning walk and d) my shower. Plus I have a full-time maid, who comes in at 9 and leaves at 5. So it was not like I was going to be absolutely alone.

Yesterday was our first day home alone and I must say we mom and son managed quite OK. We bathed him and I cooked by the time Subhash left. Rest of the day was spent in unpacking, eating, and general smallish household chores while he slept. The maid is a saving grace, I think I wouldn't have been able to manage without her. She cleans and does all household chores, I just have to manage and direct her. He gets all active by 3 and doesn't sleep after that. Even up until three all he affords me is half an hour to one hour breaks while he naps. But all in all it was ok. I had to constantly feed him in the evening which sort of doesn't let me do anything else but that is also manageable. Evening when the maid left I caught up on one hour of sleep with him, since he doesn't grant me any longer sleep durations, he can't sleep for more than that much at a stretch nowadays during the day. I started cooking for the evening when he got all cranky but luckily Subhash was home by then. We had dinner by 9.30 and from then till 12 in the night we spent pacifying him and feeding him and changing him. So all in all it was a decent day I think.

The baby used to keep us awake from 11 to 2 in the morning every single day, crying for one thing or another, now the timings have shifted from 8 to 11. But still in decent waking hours so cannot complain :)

So went our first day. I am hoping with every passing day it gets better and better. Already today I feel we bathed him much better than we did yesterday. So here is to us!!

Monday, November 02, 2009

100s of schools of thought

Pregnancy invariably has brought in its wake one thing. Loads of advice. No sooner did I start telling people I was pregnant than I got loads of advice on what to eat, how to sleep, how to walk and so on and so forth. Especially on what to eat. So much so that within two days, although I was eating normally and was feeling just fine, and was doing quite good, I was feeling malnourished and guilty towards the foetus for not feeding it properly. I then asked my doc if there was anything special I need to eat and all he said was lots of vegetables and lots of fresh fruits. Sane advice for even a normal person, I think. He said be as normal as possible and so I stayed on through the pregnancy. I used to listen to advice but not fret over it if I didn't follow it. And it did do me a world of good.

Now post delivery, the advice and the notions are even more plentiful. So much so that it is overwhelming. Who should you listen to? what do you do when you hear completely contradicting pieces of advice. Do this, don't do that, if you do this the baby will grow well, if you don't do that the baby will be adversely affected and so on and so forth. It has been an internal battle to figure out and sort all the advice. Add to that some "traditions" which were extremely well meant for the times they were initiated in but probably don't hold much water now. And if you steer away from them you are outcasted. How do you deal with all the stress?

So my mantra has been simple. Follow the doc. Following his advice took me through a sane and safe pregnancy. He is the one who cut me up and stitched me back so he knows best about my stitches more than anyone else. So if he says my stitches have healed and I can "run, walk, cycle, hike, shop, squat, lift 20 kilos, anything" then so be it :) I will do all that I can so long as it is stress-free and doesn't break my back :) That way there is just one school of thought to follow and it keeps me sane :) For now it is back to the pregnancy routine of 30 minutes of brisk walking (I got back to my pregnancy lap time today!!). Hopefully soon I will be jogging too..

So what about you guys? Did you go through this roller-coaster of contradictory advices too? How did you deal with it?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

One more..

..round of state elections and one more show of poor turnout. Not been able to follow it much but I hear the show was as poor as ever. Will we ever wake up and do something to better our plight! Sigh..

Need to get one more passport done. For the son this time. I am thinking it will be a handy thing to have. Apparently you just cannot add infants' names in parents passports and be done like before. You actually need a new one for them. Well, ok. One more round to the dratted office. Hopefully since I have my passport with address proof and all and we will soon be getting a birth certificate for him, things shouldn't be too bad.

Lunch gang came home today to see the son. I was happy they could make it. Some peoples still missing, but hopefully everyone will complete one visit soon :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

The philosopher

One of the first philosophies I embraced after becoming a mom - In life nothing comes easy, even for newborns.

What else explains the fact that even wen they are barely hours old, they have to learn to latch and suckle and spend energy in doing so. All for those few drops of mother's milk which will protect them and feed them for the next few months.

Sigh! Even newborns apparently have to work hard for food..

Thanks everyone for the wishes, I had so many inquiries on the name. We will mostly go with "Rohan Aditya". Rohan means ascending. Aditya because he was born on a Sunday. Together it means "ascendng/rising sun" which is around when he was delivered to us :) In the wake of the morning..

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The baby..

Most of you know, some of you have guessed and yet some more might be wondering where I am. Well, I've gone off and had my baby, and its been about 10 days now. Lots of special things about when he was born. Subhash's birth date (27th), my birth star, 9th day of the Navratri, in the 9th month of the 9th year of the century ;) Too many 9s eh?

Its been an overwhelming experience and I feel I've grown some decades old suddenly. Well, lets see what else parenthood brings in its wake :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Two days and counting..

Days get lazier and lazier. Work is one thing which fills some time with purpose. Else with mom taking over everything in the house, I am hardly left with anything to do. I am told to enjoy this time since I won't be getting it back. That stack of Poirot novels I bought (for a smash deal - 6 for 450, BTW at Crossword) is at the last one, I am reading with a vengeance.

Well, but no worries on boredom. The nation's politics always provides food for thought and humor.

First it is all the brouhaha in AP over Jagan becoming CM. And poor Mr. Rosiah feeling "neglected". I say, this Jagan fellow's presumptions to power are admirable. He can simply silence all the chamchas by saying please lets just run the government stably, and tell his "fans" to not waste time and not kill themselves for him. But no. Then what would happen to his god-incarnate image? (According to a GEMINI TV documentary he is none less than god re-incarnated and brought down to earth to save he world. And he is the one and only suitable CM candidate in AP. So lets just focus on that alright?)

So the fact that he wants to be the CM is quite obvious. And although Rosiah is trying to clear away files at a marathon pace (I cannot find a link to the article in ToI which said he cleared some 450 files in one go), I don't think anybody in Congress cares. And well, the state continues to suffer from high lentils prices, floods and water logging from an aggressive monsoon and what else not. (All that is thanks to YSR, BTW, but he is like a martyr now, for reasons no one knows, so one cannot blame him anymore without being prosecuted by GEMINI TV).

So let the party go on.

And Mr. Tharoor I am most sorry for. His sense of humour is not appreciated by chamchas of madamji. So what is new? Nothing. There are plenty of blogs written about how we feed the Gandhi dynasty out of our hands while we lap up their stupid austerity drives with elan. So I don't need to write anymore. But well, it makes for a good laugh how Jayanthi Natarajan is skipping and hopping mad all over the place (and TV channels) wringing about it.

Then why in the world have I switched to watching "Jaani Dushman" and "Judaai" on Zee Cinema instead of tuning into our austere news channels, the past couple days? I even traded all this fun for "Chori Cori Chupke Chupke" about 3-4 days ago. I must be going nuts!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Milestone!

I never imagined I would pursue a career in engineering this long. (I've expressed my own surprise at it even in some of my earlier posts). I always used to think, after engineering it would be work for a couple years, then an MBA and then out of the tech line forever. But things turned out quite differently. It was not only a Masters right after engineering (in Science that too) but a full-fledged engineering career. And the best part is that I enjoyed it all so I stuck on. Computer Networking as an industry and a profession had me hooked. A CCIE later, I'd say I rather enjoyed the ride :) Today, I reached an all new milestone in the engineering career path. Engineering management. Been soaking in this role for exactly 6 months now, but today came the official title of "manager". Feels real good. Now all I hope for is that I never lose sight of the technical end of it while continuing to grow the "people management" part of it :) And hoping I never end up in a situation where my team doesn't understand me and I don't understand my team. Need to keep perspective now more than ever :) Keeping fingers crossed that I should stay put on the right path.

Mom is here finally, she came last week. And its been such a relief to have her around, took most of the kitchen work off my list. But I think she gets bored at home while I go to work, so trying to do a little bit of working from home at least a couple of days a week. It is not really fair after all, she is here for me, taking off from work and I am going away to work. I feel sorry for her. But then, she has ever been the enterprising type, so she finds one thing or another to keep her busy :)

As usual in the wait mode. Less than two weeks to go to D-Day. Hoping all will be well!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Hormones in overdrive

It is funny how when you are infested with hormones, the whole world looks ugly! Almost funny that is..

Normally what you would be very proud of, suddenly you pity yourself for. And if you know how much I hate self-pity in people, you can imagine what a messy whirlwind I have been in. Pitying myself and then hating myself for it. And then feeling weird about it all. And then suddenly wondering what the hell is wrong with me because this is a complete new me that I have never been even acquainted with, sigh!

Me is hoping it is just the hormones and the effect won't be long lasting :) And that I will not become a permanently damaged character ;) And my sleeplessness is not at all helping :((

Well, hopefully it will all be over soon. 20 more days to go for the baby to come :) As always I am the eternal optimist ;)

Now let's see if planning a vacation will help. Long term vacation but heck, I can plan from now, can I not? :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Luscious!!

The HAL market is one of the best markets around and the vegetables and fruits you get around there are simply amazing. Today Subhash's parents bought Sitaphal (Custard Apple) and Guavas. They look so tempting. I had a guava in the evening and it was heavenly sweet, amazingly soft on the inside and crisp near the skin. Doubtless, the best guava I have ever had. The custard apple was so good looking that I didn't have the heart to eat it ;)

Here are a couple of shots..

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy Ganesha!

As always, this year too, we made our own Ganesha for the festival. Subhash's work entirely, when he is around I do NOT get to do any aristic work at all, sigh! ;)

I think the Ganesha turned out cute and happy looking :) And the festival went great, our first in this new house, all the more special :)


Another wonderful GOVT experience

Like I always say, I have to mention specially when a government interaction goes smooth.

So like we all know, our Khata transfer experience has been nightmarish. Don't get me wrong, whenever work gets done it gets done in two minutes, but the number of iterations it takes for that one iteration where work gets done is HUGE. And we have literally made the Jeevan Bima Nagar ARO office our hang out place ;)

So after the usual 10:1 iteration ratio for work doesn't get done to work gets done, we finally got a piece of paper which showed transfer of property ownership. We were told to file property tax returns for last year under SAS and subsequently pay property tax for this year, and produce the receipt for this year's tax payment for getting the Khata certificate. You see, the previous owner had paid last year's fee. But since our Khata transfer process spilled into the next revenue year, the "latest" tax paid receipt would now be 2009-2010 (and the 2008-2009 we attached earlier will no longer suffice. Perfect logic, agreed.) Now the previous owner had filed it before BBMP came up with SAS 2008. So we had to file our tax paid under SAS 2008 to be able to pay 2009-2010 tax. Still good logic. So I got about obtaining and filling forms.

BBMP has made every attempt to make this process painless, except for I couldn't find the nearest contact point's address for Donkey's years. After rounds of phone calls, we were finally referred back to our ARO office for details. So I called them (most of them know me and Subhash and our address by heart now I imagine!) and they told me it is a stone's throw away from our place near Kodihalli bus stop. So went there today after work with Subhash's dad, and for the life of me I couldn't imagine a simpler government process.

We had referred the online tax calculator and filled in the forms. The office was empty, like I heard they usually are, not that much rush. Hours are convenient, 9-12 in the morning, and 4-7 in the evening. There were two guys. We went in, he cross-verified what I had filled, and asked to work out details of depreciation. (I had simply copied it from the calculator) I was scared he'd ask me to come back. But for whatever reason (mostly I am guessing because he was in a good mood) he worked it out himself and wrote it down on the form. He asked me to write a cheque for the penalty we had to pay for not filing the returns in time for last year. Done, and receipt given. Great!

Then came the current year, which was even more painless. Same as last year. I had filled the form earlier in pencil since I was not sure of all details so I re-filled form in 5 minutes in pen in front of him. Wrote him a cheque for the whole amount, accepted and receipt given! GREATO!! He even volunteered to show me where I could have found the address of this contact point for future reference. Unfortunately that never happened because of his dial-up connection I think.

Now all that remains is hopefully one last trip to our friendly neighborhood ARO office to submit these receipts and the Khata should be in our hands! Lets see.

UPDATE: Finally found the link to the document which lists the addresses of the BBMP contact points (including ward offices). If anyone needs it, here it is:

BBMP Contact Points

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Following up

I use the "Follow-up" feature on Outlook most diligently to make sure all tasks assigned to me are completed or at least I know something is pending. These days the average age of items in my Follow Up folder, I find, has gone up a few notches. Because now, most items pertain to my engineers finishing something or review something rather than me finishing something personally. And most such items involve the whole team doing it. And I need to make sure they have time to do it and meet targets. So it is really no longer about me like my ex-boss says. Its all about my engineers and my team :) When they move forward, I move forward!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The last mile

Lots of things happening around here.

Needless to say Swine Flu had become big news till SRK decided to use some underhand tactics to gain publicity. I don't know why movie stars think they are "exceptional". When you are in an airport and on a flight, you are just one more head. I know of a director in our team who used to get routinely stopped because his last name was Islamic. It happens to a lot of people I know. It recently it happened to our ex-president Dr. Kalam. He took it sportingly, in the most humble way, truly showing what a thorough gentleman he is, and even the newspapers were more than happy to let go with one article somewhere in some nth page of the paper. But if it is SRK, it is a big racket. Wow! Stupid movie stars with stupid airs.

It had been raining all night. Pit-pat, pit-pat. Whenever I reached the shallower depths of sleep, I thought about the clothes hung outside and how wet they would now be. Me and my home affairs, I will never grow over it, sigh! I officially have OCD ;)

One of Subhash's friends from IIM was here over the weekend. He was on his way to Coorg with his wife and 4-month old. They stayed over with us for a day and it was very nice having them over. I am amazed at the patience that these guys have. Almost all of the time goes in looking after the baby. Feeding, napping, changing, feeding, napping, changing etc. And yet they manage to travel. I just don't get how. One of my closest friends K also did this. They traveled all the way to Hawai'i from Phoenix when her first daughter was just 4 months old! I just wish I had equal patience as these guys. They are, to me, super-people. Period.

Kaminey is the latest rave apparently. My Facebook wall was full of how "fuper" the movie "if". Etc. You get the drift. I am assuming from all of that, that one Shahid has the f-instead-of-s syndrome in the movie and the other possibly has a stutter (or maybe the same one has both?!). Need to plan to watch this movie sometime soon if I need to keep my sanity even after seeing a wall full of "Kaminey if fuper" sort of stuff. My god! Talk of originality!!

Finally got home that fifty-five incher. Its amazing how much technology can do. This TV is so thin, I had to see to believe it!! And also went cosmetic shopping with an old colleague who is leaving for Germany to do her MBA and needed some expert advice ;) I took the opportunity and finally got that Minerals foundation from L'Oreal. I have this bad habit with cosmetics. I am extremely enthu about buying them and researching them, but after I get them home, I rarely wear any of them more than a couple times :( I hope this one has better usage stats than the rest!!
And as I enter the nth phase, the hormones are playing their part. And I am a miserable wretch some days. Boy! I hope I get past this soon!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

News from here

-Magadheera, Chiranjeevi's son's latest movie (and I think his second? or at the most third?) is out and every day they is a fresh conspiracy news on it. Apparently people went through a stampede in one of the theatres. And died. (First of all a useless waste of life) And now they want every one including Chiranjeevi's ancestors in heaven to apologize to the public. And why? Because Chiranjeevi is no longer mortal. He is a public servant you see. Else they want the movie to be banned. And some other bloke comes on and says his lyrics were stolen and so Allu Aravind should apologize for it. Yet some more people simply take to destroying theatres because they cannot get tickets.
Phew! And all this is on News channels about 60% of the time. So is Allu Arvind the victim or is he cleverly marketing his movie to keep the hype alive. What is your take?

-We finally got property ownership change intimation from the friendly neighborhood Khata office. But they want us to pay the current year tax before they issue the Khata, so some more trips in the offing. Got to hang in there..

-All over the state (Andhra, I mean), stockists seem to be determined to make hay while sun shines. So they are hiding all the pulses stock in godowns, homes, theatres, in short wherever they can find, so as to wait for the prices to go up some more (if that is possible, with Toor Dal already at 100 per KG) so they can make a tonne of money. Well, when you elect YSR, what do you expect people? So we pay the price! While he takes off to some Muslim pilgrimage place this time (he is done with Jerusalem and Tirupathi isn't he?)

-Swine Flu scare is much abound. Methinks we should all buy masks and move around. We were advised to work from home if we were prone to sneezing. I hope it dies soon enough. With our kind of population density and all the other good stuff, I'd rather be safe than sorry. But then the media always hypes things up. Our media has long gone the American way. We now sport a penchant for drama in our news, the conservationist DD News is history!

Meanwhile elsewhere the earth is shaking, and typhoons are having fun. Ooooh, not a very good week this, is it?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Timing

My CCIE still doesn't show the re-certification status. Apparently it takes 10 business days from when they receive scores to when they update the status in the CCIE database. You'd think with all the technology we sell, we'd be able to do it faster, sigh, no! I am still waiting..

Went to the Cream and Fudge factory to treat colleagues in a spanking new Innova which one of them bought. Good trip, even better ice-cream (it is made in the Coldstone Creamery style), great company. Well spent afternoon :)

Subhash's mom wanted to make "boorelu" for me since I love them. She picked today to make it since it was an auspicious day (sravana sukravaram) and they came out simply umm..umm..yumm.. so gobbled a whole lot of them up :D

So overall a great gourmet day I say!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Some more tasks done

I feel that itch to write, but I don't know what to write about. Its not like I have nothing to write about. But I don't know which ones to put on this page and which ones to not. Hmm..niceties, niceties!

Finally got that CCIE re-certification burden off my head. Phew! But it still doesn't show up in the system, apparently they take 10 days to update, my god! So much for lightning fast speeds!! Anyways, that finally frees up my evenings. Only problem is I don't know what to do with them. So I am spending more time working. Well, I am boring like that ;)

Finally watched the Harry Potter movie. I liked it. Yeah, it didn't do justice to the book, but so what, the book is too detailed to fit in a 2.5 hour movie. That reminds me of one Happy Potter movie that I watched all alone! Yeah, all alone! In a theatre in Milwaukee. I hate watching movies alone in theatres. It feels so lonely. But in Milwaukee, I was a loner. I had no choice. Subhash was far away in Bangalore so I went. Alone. I liked the movie but the psychological barrier of watching it alone was too much ;)

Almost done with performance reviews for the team. My first as a manager, on the other side of the fence. I kept it honest :) I hope I can continue it that way in the coming years! Luckily it wasn't that tough, I didn't have any hugely nasty messages to give..

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stereotypes

Went to the neighborhood store to buy some Kabuli chana and some odd vegetables. While I was waiting for the guy to pack the stuff, a woman came by in an auto, got off near the store, came along and asked for her "20s", paid and did some small talk and left. (This neighborhood store services all the smallish colonies around). I was like wow, she is picking up cigarettes for her husband! Then I was like, wait a minute, why am I assuming that she is doing it for her husband?! So I asked the store lady (she happens to also be my neighbor) if those cigarettes were for the woman and she said, yeah, she picks up a 20 pack every night. And the other store guy added how their house is always filled with smoke, no need for mosquito repellant etc etc but that is irrelevant here.

I happened to realize I nurse a stereotype in my mind about smoking and men :) Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against women smoking. Well, in general I hate smoking and smokers as such, but nothing like its ok for men to smoke but not for women etc. And yet, I never realized I had this in my head, well, its out in the open now and out for good hopefully! :)

No interference please!

I read a couple of heartening articles about the traffic situation in Bangalore, plus Subhash and I have both been noticing it getting better a little by little day by day. So we were talking about it on the way to work yesterday.

To me it looks quite simple. Things are really bad only when the politician/minister responsible for a certain area is either a) uneducated or b) too corrupt or c) too meddlesome or d) all three. When the minister is not meddlesome and makes his own money and doesn't interfere with the civil servants in-charge, things look much nicer. Added to that if the politician is not extremely corrupt (note, little corruption is ok), things then really start to look up. Now if the politician is really motivated and educated and wants to improve his ministry, I have seen some wondrous things happen.

So, really, for things to start looking better, all it takes is a less meddlesome minister. (Biggest example is Lalu with his Railways stint? Really, the only thing I think he did was not appoint a smart IAS guy and then leave him to run things, poking his neck around very little. And looks like the BSY government has more silver in the lining. The transport minister is not only a little better educated but he also actually has a goal to improve public transportation in Bangalore and added to that he has a TCP (Traffic Commissioner of Police) who is willing to make it happen!

So will we see better traffic in coming days? I am already seeing lots of changes, so lets hope it will continue getting better :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Not one but two!

Finally I have not one but two forms of address proof which also double up as a photo ID :D A voter-ID card and a passport!

The voter-id was relatively easy. They accepted the Airtel bill as address proof, no apps were mysteriously lost, they even took the same Airtel bill as address proof for Subhash along with our marriage certificate, relatively smooth. We couldn't make it to the voter ID drive but we still managed to vote! They recently setup a VFC (Voter Facilitation Center) in July (as promised ;) ) and we got the voter IDs too :D

The passport was a lot of running around the different counters and endless waits at the long lines @ the passport office. But over all considering government office paces this was not that bad (of course in retrospection everything looks much better than it actually was). Police verfication happened promptly, luckily my neighbor's son was also applying for a passport and so the lady herself wrote the two letters, one in which I had to refer her son and one in which she had to refer me saying we knew each other well, and that we were actually neighbors etc. I must say, this made it much easier, her son applying for a passport as well, since she was nice enough and drafted both the letters in Kannada! We then have haaziri at our police station and then was just waiting for the passport to arrive. They said on the website that it was due to be dispatched on 21st but it came on the 16th itself. My Dad happened to be home and he convinced the post-man to give it to him since he was my Dad, showed him pictures, showed him his own photo ID and the guy matched it with the Father's name on the passport and finally gave in. All in all exactly 30 days from app to receipt. Not bad at all!!

So there! I have two legal, government issued, photo IDs with address proof! Now to get that ration card and then on to applying for HP/Indane gas connection. Let's see.

We need to get the Khata for the house transferred in our name. The government clerk attitude and the tendency to make a big deal out of a small work, the finding-something-or-another-wrong-with-your-app-so-you-can-be-asked-for-bribe attitude, the tendency to keep asking us to come back etc have driven me crazy enough to want to drive a nail through the guy's head. After n number of visits, it is still nowhere close to being done, the DD that we gave with the app is now beyond its validity so we have to make that extra round to the bank to renew it, phew! And the biggest problem is that we don't even know how many more times we have to keep going back to get it done. Well, I hope its sooner than later.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tsk..

My maid came in today after two days' absence. She had to leave town urgently because her younger sister's husband was serious. She called in to say she will be back on Monday. But she came in today and said that her sister's husband died, very young chap apparently.

Now my maid is all of 21 years and she already has two kids. Her younger sister is 18 and I was very curious to know if she also had kids. Apparently yes, she does have one kid. I was shocked. 18 year old. Married for a year and a half. Already has a kid..tsk..

What kind of age do they still live in? She is not even old enough to look after herself. How can she take care of a kid. And now with the husband gone, she is all alone to it. At least if she didn't have this kid, she could have done something with her life but now all her life will be spent raising this kid :( Sigh! I felt bad for this girl. But then I also felt sad that she (and her parents and her social circle in general) was stupid enough to land in this mess :(

But then I believe at least 50% of our country lives this way :( Its sad but true. And the census numbers aren't lying. I only hope people start behaving sensibly sooner than later...

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

It is finally here!

We've been looking for nearly 6 months to find the right one :)

Is it cute?


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bla bla bla

Finally we have gone through all the motions of applying for a passport. Includes submitting the form after going to the RPO twice, and finally giving attendance at the local police station yesterday for verification. They sure find more "polished" ways of taking bribe, but what is 75 rupees bribe for a passport with your permanent address and spouse's name eh? Nothing, pah!

Now the wait for the passport. And I am hoping this one of mine would be as colourful as the last one with myriad visa and arrival/departure stamps. Europe! That is what I'd like to see more of on my passport for sure ;) Let's see :D

Grocery shopping was done with much aplomb on Sunday and now all that food keeps me psychologically happy ;)

BTW, Amul's cheese spreads are a hit with me especially their Mexican Mirchi. Worth a try. Been meaning to write about it for a long long time now ;)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yikes!

I had to wash some of my more delicate salwar sets. I have been putting this off for ages now. So today I decided to wash them in delicate cycle in the washing machine, with a couple of other salwar tops, plus a towel to fill in the load.

Normally the towels are the scape-goats when there is a known colouring culprit in the load. They are ok even if they take on another colour and they fill in the load perfectly. After nearly a year, Subhash's towel has regained somewhat of its original complexion while mine, which was white when we bought it now lives on in a pinkish shade.

So I decided that his towel should go in with this lot because I had another lot which was sure to give out red colours and none of the clothes in this load were known colouring agents ;)

But I think it was that blue kurta that I bought recently @ Shopper's Stop. Never washed before. Completely caught off-guard.

There was a yellow and pink dress (which went perfectly with my ruby bangles in gold) which is now a green and pink dress. This was arguably the most precious dress of the lot. And that also marks the end of the only accessorizing I ever did in my life!!!! No more bangles with this dress.

There was a cream and yellow top which is now a blue and green top.

Luckily my washing machine colours uniformly. So the green and pink is a perfect green and pink, with no trace of it original yellow colour. Ditto with the top.

Needless to say, Subhash's towel is now a mushy blue shade...albeit completely ;)

So much for my effort to preserve its colour!

But I should probably be happy though, that I have a complete new set of dresses and tops, in refreshing bluish shades ;)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Technology doesn't cease to amaze!

Thanks to Google latitude, I can see exactly where Subhash is, on his way home. Is he stuck in a jam, moving fast enough, moving slow, etc etc. It is simple, he enables Latitude on his phone. I add him to my friends list, and when he activates Latitude, I can see where he is!!

WOW!

Ho! I nearly lost my phone!

Man, that was a scary and nerves-filled evening!! I had lunch, went to one meeting, then went to another meeting (phew! what is new). Then got into the cab and lo! no phone! No desk keys too!

I asked the cab driver to stop near my building went up to my cube and checked. No phone. Asked a colleague to go up for me (we were in the same meeting earlier) and check in that meeting room while I collected my thoughts. I looked a little more and then went to join him and look for it. I wasn't sure if I left it in the cafeteria after lunch or somewhere else. I was not thinking.

So I went down, gave up all thoughts of going back home in the cab (can you believe I thought of going home without even looking for the phone?! Ugh!), told the cab guy to leave and went back to the cafeteria all the while trying to think back in time. Asked around in the cafeteria but was just not convinced that I left it there because I remembered un-docking the laptop to take it to the meeting, after unlocking it, so I had the keys with me when I came back after lunch, so I couldn't have left it in the cafeteria, where then. This colleague who went looking for the phone asked me to check with the HR a couple of times.

You see, in the middle of the meeting, I had gone to one of the HR folks to collect an address proof letter. I just didn't remember carrying the phone there though. I did remember vaguely that I did carry the phone/keys to the meeting. So what now. After a slight replay in my mind I remembered I made a stop at the copier to make copies of the letter. So I ran as fast as I could back to that building, to the first floor, to the copier, and what a relief it was! My phone and keys were both there. I did try calling my phone from the cafeteria and my desk but no response. At least it was ringing and that was a good sign. Not switched off or out of area. I later realized it was in Silent mode and that is probably what saved it ;) Plus the time span. I left it around 4.15 maybe, and went back for it around 4.45. Half an hour is still a huge time lapse, so I feel really really really really lucky to have seen my phone. The building where I left it is new and probably lesser number of people walking around. Because this is an office where I've lost my picture right from my desk, so I don't trust the WPR workers or the security staff with safe-guarding anything.

I am normally wary of carrying expensive stuff around because I tend to forget them around. Especially phones. And this one being Subhash's gift was all the more a deary. I think I would have sobbed and sobbed if I had lost it. Gosh! I should go back to some dabba phone that I dont really care about when I go outdoors at least. But then using a phone purely indoors, especially a mobile, doesn't make much sense. Subhash says I need to start using the loop to which the phone can be attached and carried around.

Adventurous evening, all in the mind, got back half an hour late in an auto, but all in all, in a much better shape now than two hours ago ;)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Warm n' fuzzy and Thunder n'lightning..

Was feeling rather warm and fuzzy on Friday night. Good start to a perfect weekend. Came home late after a tiring n' day-long outing to Wonder La. Place was standard amusement park fare. It took us two and a half hours to drive back from the place and I got home only @ 9. To a great home and husband :) Dinner was ready, Subhash who got home before me had made everything and I just had to shower and enjoy a happy, hot meal. Considering that lunch was very very average in the Wonder La restaurnt, it was Wow! And somehow it made me feel all warm from within :) Some days are like that maybe ;)

My maid came in early this morning @ around 6, and then it started drizzling slightly. Yummy morning, cloudy weather, slight rain, perfect start. Then slept off again around 9 and woke up quite late, had idlis and got off for the day to meet up with the doc. Then had to pick up contact lenses. But not before making that much needed stop @ the sports store. Bought those hand weights which we've been putting off for so long and now I can totally move my gym routine closer home. And while @ it we bought a carrom board too!! Yay!!! Did I ever mention that I was carrom champion in college? And completely gave it up after that. Thanks to my bad fingers and the nervous weakness I'd developed due to excessive playing ;)

Went out for dinner with friends, to Barbeque Nation. As always the dessert buffet was awesome. Then came home and had a match of carroms. It was super cool playing @ home after donkey's years. There was thunder and lightning on our way home and it just kept pouring, and pouring and lashing out. And Koramangala was nothing short of a mini sea. The BBMP folks have laid roads too eagerly, and forgot to install drains, so it seems. And all that water has no where to go :( We take and take from the earth and never replenish it, how long can it sustain this abuse, I wonder :(

These days I think I've gotten sensitive to people around me. When I see someone "salaam"ing for 20 bucks, or that old woman begging @ the traffic light, I feel really really bad for having a good life. Guilty for enjoying things while people suffer for just 5-10 bucks :( What justice is that? I don't know, I never have an answer :( I jst feel awful, I feel I should give uo everything and go off somewhere to meditate. But that never helped anyone, so for now, doing my bit trying to help people within my administration at least. But it is sad, very sad :(

A wide range of emotions there eh? :)

And now is the time to apply for a new passport. Come on, I can do it this week ;)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Food and thought

Monsoon has officially started in Bangalore. Days are cloudy, pleasant, breezy and nice. I've shifted my workout closer home, walking in the morning since making it to the gym has become near impossible during work hours. But the morning walks have all been perfect. Silent colony, well laid roads, regular other walkers, music etc. Subhash joining the walk would make it complete but I've long given up trying to make him work out or get any form of exercise ;) So whenever he says he is going to play TT (or even Wii) with his friends, I am all too willing, some exercise is better than none, eh? :D

Unofficially though, we've been having rains for a full 6 weeks now, they started around the last week of April. Well, all in all, summer has been good. Mangoes and no need to even bear the heat for them ;)

Some more race attacks in Canada I heard. Well, I guess our honeymoon with a lot of countries is getting over. We have infested the world far too much now I suppose. The US was one of the most tolerant countries I saw (only as far as American people are concerned, their immigration rules treat you like dirt), and even there, during the later years of my stay I started noticing some "weirdness" in the "non-professional" gora log. I am not saying in India every one is safe, such atrocities happen here too (Marathi Manoos vs Bihari jantalog, for example) but I am glad I am here than anywhere else. Somehow in an alien country, I just don't feel comfortable "demanding" anything.

Anyways, work is going on as usual. Thanks to a popular colleague, we got to eat some Yummy Trader Joe's dark chocolates today ;) Tomorrow is an offsite to Wonder La. Looking forward to it since it is the first offsite we are having after I've moved (I think I already said that before ;) ).

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Another day gone whooosh!

All in meetings. Can you believe it? 11 - 4.30 straight, not one minute to spare except the few in which I managed to hurry with my lunch. Sigh! Hopefully this ordeal will end with today. It is performance review time, you see, and so one cannot help it, or so it seems! Phew!

I managed to sneak in some time with one of my engineers to do some technical troubleshooting on some problem he was facing, and I loved those 10 minutes! My ex-boss used to say, life becomes spreadsheets and power points once you cross-over to being a manager. And boy! was he right! (Like in all other things.) For now since I am still in demand for the tech area I used to work in, till my team becomes completely independent of me and can work entirely on their own, I can snatch some precious engineering work moments like these :) It keeps me sane :D

I need to workout, need to eat more fruits and need to read !!! Read :( When will I read :( My CCIE re-certification deadline is coming hard on my heels now, what should I do! Read. Read. I keep reminding myself.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Whatay day!

All day in a meeting! Missed gym, missed tea sessions, missed all my own team's meetings. It is performance review time and I got into this meting which unexpectedly went on all day. Sometimes I wish I could just be an engineer doing my own work without having to think about assignments and status and staffing and tracking ;) Grass is green. On the other side ;)

I love the intelligence of the shuffle feature on the ExpressMusic 5800. Somehow it seems to always know how to pick the right songs. My iPod in comparison is dumb. It keeps playing songs from albums that I have previously repeatedly skipped over. Well maybe it is also the songs, I filtered and added a few hundred songs to the 5800 where the iPod has 1600 odd ones, so the probability of hitting a song I don't absolutely love is much lesser in the 5800. But I still think it is smarter than the iPod. Any opinions people?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Mangoes..yumm

In order to bring back my blog hits per day back to 100+ I've decided to bore the average reader by mentioning all nitty gritties of my daily life here every evening ;)

One of my colleagues recently bought a Toyota Corolla Altis (in India the Toyota Corollas and the Honda Civics are "D" segment cars and very very very expensive!!) and she got it to work today. We all decided to take a ride in it to (nearby?) HSR layout to have the yummy Mango Kulfi (actually a hollowed out Mango, done so by removing its gutli, filled with Kulfi and frozen, served by cutting to slices like regular mango). Last time we went to that place, they weren't selling this stuff yet so we drove back disappointed. But today, thanks to my sister's (she is my sister by a decently close relation) amazing luck, they were selling the kulfi and so all of us devoured it in style and got back to work. A goood gourmet day it was ;)

Our tenant's sister got married yesterday. We couldn't make it, although it would have been a good road trip to Jog Falls and back. Need to save all that PTO for that elusive vacation which never seems to materialize, every time I plan it, it goes for a toss for some silly reason or another :(( Anyways, so the tenant left his small fish bowl with us and it is one of my duties now to clean the water out every alternate day and give them food every day. Subhash's dad was doing it when he was here and now that they've left, it has been delegated to me. Its fun to see the fishes wriggling about when you pour fresh water in ;) It is one of the first things I did after coming home today :D

Next I need to figure out how to manage a team offsite and a colleague's engagement on the same day. Which do I choose? This is the first offsite after I've moved to the India team, which is a shame since its been more than a year now. But then, blame the recession. So anyways, should I go to the offsite and bond with the team or should I go with the gang to the engagement and create a lot of guffaw? Tough choice!

(Picture courtesy KK, a colleague :) )