Saturday, January 31, 2009

This time the Hibiscus

We inherited this white hibiscus tree which I am watering everyday and using some pesticide which Subhash bought trying to repel ants from it. Today was by far its largest yield :)

6 down, 30 to go!

One milestone post deserves another.

Jan 27, I finished 6 years in the corporate world. In the tech-end of it at that! When I graduated with a bachelors in engineering, if you told me I would finish a Masters and then work in the same line for 6 years, I would have most certainly laughed at you and said you were kidding yourself. Yet here I am!

You see, when I was in engineering, only one subject interested me remotely and that was just one class in the final semester. The rest was filled with Electronics, Milman and Halkias, that bible for electronics, Digital Signal Processing and what else not! I hated that Milman and Halkias book. Electronics, holes and electrons, p- and n-, diodes and transistors were all a big mess in my head. Never liked it at all. I think I never got my basics right in that. Maybe Milman was not to blame after all. It was just me. (Subhash seems to love that blighted book!)

Anyways, the one subject I remotely liked was Computer Networks, and when I was in the final year, V, my senior (and Subhash's friend) was interviewing for Cisco and he told me prospects are great and all that. I had just heard of Cisco once before that and it was because my friend was married to a guy who worked at Cisco in Bangalore. He had a 75K take home then and that was smashing good. Worth 10 Cr in dowry, good.

So I decided ok, this is probably not such a bad option for a career choice and went with it. And ever since then, everything possible happened to detract me from that line. The school I went to, (I still don't know why the hell they admitted me) was heavily into microprocesors and networking was next to non-existant. So I funded myself by grading Math homework for a living. I took microprocessor courses and you should know how difficult that can get for a person who hates Milman. I really wanted to stick to Comp Networking so I started thinking of ways to achieve that while taking totally unfocussed subjects for finishing that horrid MS.

I interviewd with Cisco summer of 2002 for an internship. They said CCNA is a must. If I had a CCNA, they said they wold have taken me. I went and finished it in two weeks, called them back and said, now I have it. Sorry, position os filled already. I think that was the beginning of the downward slope. The next three years were horrible and that is an understatement. I started working in 2003, but it was turbulent. Never a security cover. Never a sense of permanence. I even got laid off once, and that was the lowest I probably hit!

So broke I was that I was willing to do any job as long as it paid for two meals a day and being alone in a foreign land with absolutely no family support system to fall back on was not helping at all. I applied for all kinds of jobs, but nothing worked out. I finally got back into GE but then there was always an undercurrent, always a fear of layoff. Till I interviewd with Cisco for a second time in 2005 and got in, it was one bleak canvas. But since that second try at Cisco worked, there has been no looking back, touch wood!

Well, depressing enough for a post. I just try to keep reminding myself of the horrible times so that I don't ever forget how lucky I am now, or start taking all the good things for granted. 6 years down, 30 more to go. Wow! 30 more years of working, that seems impossible to do! I don't think I can last another 30 years!!

Want to bet? ;)


I realized I never did a "The year that was" post ;)

Let me do it without much further ado.

In the most simplistic terms, 2008 was a great year. 2009 has a tough task if it has to even match it. Bettering it doens't seem possible. (One of my friends said I have a great spirit when I told him this, and I still don't get why ;) ) I hate it when I feel I've hit the high notes, because from then on there can only be one way, downwards :(

Anyways, not giving in to gloomy thoughts (especially since 2009 is not looking that great already :( ), 2008 had two long dreamt of and long aspired dreams turning to reality. One was moving back to the home land. The other one was buying that house :) Buying a home has been my dream for the longest time, I don't even know how many years, and I was glad it is finally done :)

2008 though was not a great year for the home land. Too many terrorist attacks, too many scandals, too much stupidity from culture custodians and what else not! I am hoping 2009 will be better. But the recent Mangalore pub incidents don't hold much promise :(

Then 2008 had the phenomenon called Obama. Lets hope he pushes the throttle on Pakistan a little bit harder and they mend their ways somewhat. Damn! We also need a charismatic leader. The leader by himself doesn't have to transform everything, but we need one person whom all the hard-working and sincere populus/babus can look up to and be inspired to give their best knowing that it won't be a total wasted effort. And that there will be the one guy at the helm who will acknowledge it and reward it. Much like having a good manager makes you work your hardest and productive-best :) I hope, I really hope :)

Monday, January 26, 2009


Remember that Methi which my mom planted. Well, yesterday it was time to harvest it.

And harvest it I did. And also made Dal with it today. Tasted good :)

Slumdog and the journey

Finally watched Slumdog Millionaire @ Lido Mall with a friend from work, Sh. Reams and reams have been written about it, but this is my 2 (exactly two) cents on it.

1c--Film does show the underbelly of Mumbai, in some scenes it gets really nauseating and disgusting too, but it is nothing out of the way. A lot of Indian movies also do this much. So we can spare the criticism on that issue.

2c--Its an average movie. Very very average I should say. Nothing poignant that would stick with you or leave a taste on your psyche. Average is the word. Definitely not extraordinary. So what is making it tick so much at the Globes and the Oscars?? I have to agree with the "it is a hit because it sells the image of a dirty and unfair India" part. That much is completely true. I have to believe that is the only reason its doing so well in the West in spite of being mediocre as a movie :)

I sincerely wish Rahman wins though. If this movie can be a stepping stone to awarding that recognition long due for his talent, so be it.

On the way to the movie, in an auto, I had to pay 42 to the guy. I paid him 102 and he asked me for 10 rs extra. Normally if its 60 and I give them 100, and they have a 50 note, they ask for a 10 so they can give back the 50. You get the drift. But this guy took the 112 and gave me back a 50, I said you owe me 60. So he made a surprised face as if he didn't realize and promptly handed me back the 10 that I gave him. And I told him, boss, don't be too smart, thats the note I gave you. And then he paid up of course, but I wonder, he did it with such an audacity, how many times did he try it before. And if I was in a less alert frame of mind (I can be really pre-occupied when I am thinking of something), I would have also fallen for it maybe??

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


-Living in an independent house is a lot of work. I knew that. Just how much, I am just learning. Now officially I am in battle with rodents. It is a monster mouse (we call it "pandikokku" in Telugu, bandicoot in English) has decided to make my under-top counter in the bathroom, its shitting hole. It comes up everyday (pushing the jaali trap away) shits in the counter and goes back. Although I was pretty sure I closed the trap earlier, when I found the trap at the side, I decided to test it out. So I simply put it back and waited a day. Lo! In the evening today, again it was to the side. So its official. Me or the rodent. So I cleaned up my counter again and put a brick on the trap. If the rodent manages to push it away as well, then I will put a heavier stone.

I hope it dies of an exploded intestine since it can't shit anymore!

-Watching the run up to Obama's inauguration. As usual CNN is going bonkers (stupid, stupid, CNN!!). But the number of people lined up there is unbelievable. I really wonder how everything was managed this far. More than anyone, hats off to the people behind the scenes managing the show!! I wonder how nervous the man in the center is. If I were in his shoes, I would be extremely so. People expect him to overturn everything and afterall he is also a mere mortal. To burden such expectations, I hope god gives him enough strength!!

-The home-grown Methi is coming along pretty well. Dhaniya also has slowly started germinating :)

-I have a new maid. Thanks to all the well-wishers from my previous post, I am hoping my new maid is ok-ish. So far its been hmm.hmm..hmm.. neither way, not great, not bad. So lets wait and see ;)

I really hope that bandicoot is damned!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

You know you are renovating when..

I had compiled this list when we were renovating to document my sometimes-absurd behavior in analyzing everything around us from a "How will this fit" standpoint ;)

--Vitrified, semi-vitrified, marble effect and other such hitherto unbeknown terms become uncomfortably familiar.

--You go to the restroom in an upscale restaurant you lookout for what designs they've used for the WC, floor tiles, wall tiles etc, to find the fine distinction between what is commercial and residential as it still beats you ;) Ditto for tables and chairs in coffee shops ;)

--You suddenly begin to spot all the hardware stores in town, earlier your eyes would have glossed over them and your mind would have never registered their existence.

--You know the difference between a diverter and a basin mixer.

--Suddenly you think colour. And think space-colour. And think effect-space-colour.

--You see the shower in the gym and think, "Ahh, that series in Jaguar" or look at the restroom wash basins and go "Hmm..definitely non-sensor series for the home" ;)

--You see the mason peeling off the skirting (knowing what a skirting is also comes as a package deal) and a part of your brick wall going with it and it rips your heart.

--After a day of shopping for plumbing pipes, you begin to see T-joints and elbow joints in the bus number display on the bus ahead of you when driving.

--You know precisely the exact functionality of hinges, telescopic channels, tower bolts, mortise locks and the likes after spending a day in Chikpet doing nothing but hardware shopping. (Phew! This was the most boring of all)

--You notice, for the first time in the eight months you've been living in your apartment, that the door patterns are all the same. Till then you don't even realize the inner doors in the apartment have a pattern to begin with.

--You realize that a 5-burner hob just cannot do with a 2ft chimney where till date you wouldn't have even known hob-chimney sizes.

--You can accurately tell how much a foot length is, no matter what surface you are looking at.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My maid Padma

Always wanted to write about my erstwhile maid but ironically doing it only now. If any of you remember, I was having some adjusting troubles with my first maid after we moved here. Once the maid decided to take off for four days starting Sunday through Thursday. And I was having too much pain with her already telling her the same thing again and again, having to inspect her work to make sure she is doing it well and so on and so forth. So when she decided to go on a four day vacation, I decided enough was enough and asked the watchman to send a "bai" upstairs to our flat.

My maid was a true godsend so to speak. She appeared on Sunday morning just when I was about to get to the dishes asking for work. I was only too happy, I gave her my standard dialogue, you do what I ask you to do, I will pay what you ask me to pay. And she started right away. I was happy I didn't have to do the dishes that day!! I later learnt that she had not come because the watchman had told her. She had generally started checking all apartments to see if anyone needed work. She took off from working because she had a baby and was back after a year. Truly a godsend.

So when the first maid came back after her vacation, I unceremoniously sacked her because she had given me enough trouble already. And she was always more keen on what I paid her than on what she was doing. And if I had to get something done daily, I almost had to tell her daily, which was my biggest irritant. I hate repeating things especially when it comes to asking someone to do something. And even worse when I am paying them to do it.

The new maid was a delight. I just told her once about what I wanted done, and I never had to either repeat it nor inspect what she was doing. She thought her job was to keep the house clean and that meant I was always extremely happy. If she found anything dusty she would automatically dust it without me having to tell her. She was a charm and I was only too happy to pay her well and give her goodies from time to time.

In fact when we were moving to the new place, I asked her to move with me and said I would accommodate her and she could look for work locally. But the apartment complex we moved from is an ocean and I am pretty sure she wouldn't be better off here, still I was willing to do whatever it takes to have her come over. Selfish yeah, but that's me ;) And I believe she did want to come but for her husband's job which was car-washing. And I sure couldn't get him enough work here, since he used to wash about 25 cars in that place.

She even told me how my old maid used to say things about me when they happened to meet up saying I used to make her do so much work and that she wondered how she was managing. Apparently my maid said she was happy to work here and I didn't pester her or tell her things everyday at all. I hope she was saying the truth ;)

Now I have a new maid, who I think if I continue to keep, I might just learn Tamil, which will check off three of the four South Indian languages for me on the fluently-conversant meter. But I think its not to be. This maid is pretty much the same as the one I had first after we moved. I have to tell her things everyday and she is even worse, she says, "I don't do this anywhere else" in response to "Please clean the stove after you do the dishes" --OR-- "I don't touch things" in response to "Please move the chairs when you sweep". And to top it all she keeps saying, I will do whatever you say, you just need to pay me well. Yeah right!

And she is taking off this Sunday to Thursday. A very close deja-vu for me. Same days of the week to take off. Same duration. Same type of pain. Same length of employment.

Lets hope I find another godsend like my maid Padma.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Copy cat!!

This song from Harem is a direct lift of AR Rahman's Taal Music. The "Ishq Bina" song on stage.

To listen to the clip

I would be happy to see that the phirangs copy our stuff for once instead of it being the other way around ;)

But then probably Rahman's composition itself was copied from some older song? As in the "inspiration" for both songs is the same maybe?

Can anyone enlighten me?

Friday, January 09, 2009

My mom's effort paid off?

Before (and I mean literally before) my mom left she planted some methi seeds and some dhaniya seeds to kick-start my much-dreamt-about kitchen garden. And today it bore fruit.

My mom does have an extremely green thumb. I am asking her to start and manage a kitchen garden for me ;)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

General stuff

Saw off the parents over the weekend. Fell terribly lonely in the new house after that. Much anticipated so it made it a little more bearable.

Started using Cisco transportation. Been 3 days so far and experience has been good except for the first day when the bus fellow didn't quite understand where my stop was and sped right past me. So much so that I thought he might not be my bus (there are multiple cabs on that route, but just one bus, I realized later). And this after calling him twice trying to explain where I am. So in the evening I told him clearly (and nicely, mind you) so since then its been smooth so far ;) The only flip side is that I need to be out of the house by 7.35 and that causes some early morning running around. So far its OK, just some re-shuffling of things I used to do even before, and I am able to manage by waking at the same time that I used to earlier. Cooking and packing lunch, getting ready and having breakfast and leaving the house all put together take 2 hours. Check. I am getting to work between 8 and 8.10 which is great, a good early start is what the doctor always recommends :) (I think my San Jose colleagues will be quite rudely shocked as less than a year ago, I would whine to attend 10AM meetings in person saying they were "too early" ;) )

Since I am now forced to get out of work by 4.30 PM, and since the gang at the lunch table decided to start off the new year healthy, we all go to the gym at 12.30 in the afternoon and have lunch after we are done. Going to the gym randomly with 1-2 colleagues is definitely less appealing than going with a close gang of 6-7 :D Gym is taken care of. Check.

I also have a new cube @ work. A corner most one, so window views on either side. New year, new house and new cube, could it get any better you ask? Yeah. I am put on the escalation team for the coming two weeks, (gaaaa!!! why me and why now?!!?!?) and I already have an issue to work on to which I wasn't able to get to yesterday. So I GOT to do it today. And if you are asking why I am wasting time blogging when I have so much work to do, you are sensible and wise, you have a very smart question on your mind.

Except that I drafted this post in the morning on the bus when on my way to work ;)

Now ask!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Got to know from Aparna's blog that its Rahman's birthday. As part of this celebrations, I picked out my favourites from all his old and evergreen albums on Music India Online, added them to one album and now listening on :)

What would my generation of adolescents have done without his music? :D

To me, his songs bring back memories of when I was a teenager, full of hope and promise for the future. As I now find myself a content adult, I sometimes miss that spark of uncertainty in life, so I listen to Rahman songs ;) They almost always take me back to the time when I used to listen to them 24/7. (Oops, now that I've actually read through her blog, I can see she says something along similar lines!!)

Happy Birthday Rahman!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

My new phone is here!!!!!!!!


(Continued on Laptop from here)

I gave up at the point where I figured I can't find out where the ")" key is ;) I will wait for Subhash to come home.

This is the new Nokia 5800 Express Music "touch" phone. Public-release is today, January 3rd ;)

But I got it last night itself. How? You ask?

Subhash apparently pre-booked it, and this is only the fourth phone in Bangalore to be booked :D :D. I didn't have any idea that he did because he kept saying he'd buy it for me and I kept saying its quite useless to buy it for me since I am like a retard when it comes to using the high-end phones that he toys around with (he is a very very hi-end phone gadget guy).

Normally, I love surprises and he hates them. So we don't surprise each other at all. But this phone was a huge one, surprise that is. I saw him walk out of the car with a Nokia bag and I asked him why he was late and what this bag was and Lo! this tiny nice little thing was in there. Now, isn't that cute?! :) :) I totally loved it. This is my first hi-tech phone and I am already scared of carrying it around for fear of 1) dropping it to the ground (my last Sony Ericsson should know how bad THAT can get ;) ) and 2) forgetting it and losing it somewhere.

But I am on a real high now with my phone, I never believed I would post a blog from a phone (hello! a phone is for talking) including uploading images and all, but here I am! Going the hi-tech way;)

Friday, January 02, 2009

So much for vacation

One of the readers on this blog commented that now that I have one week of forced vacation, he/she is looking forward to more posts. So much for that ;)

We moved successfully last Saturday and needless to say, the next two days were spend bending and unpacking and ended with never-before-seen backaches ;) But I think I was quite alright by Monday. Since then, I made about 10 calls to Airtel support to make sure they give me broadband on Monday itself, but it did move over to Tuesday. And only at 10 in the night when I was in no mood to logon. Wednesday some myriad pending works around the house later, I discovered by night that the stupid DSL modem would only give internet to my Cisco laptop and not to my wireless router. Nor to my home laptop. Damn! Another 3-4 calls to Airtel guys. Check.

My parents arrived on 31st night. Just in time to catch the New Years. Their flight was late and they ended up coming only at 11.30 PM. I was afraid they'd spend that midnight tick in the Volvo from the airport;)

We made my sis cut the cake (I managed to squeeze time in for and shop, just 10 mins, for a cake), then played Tambola, called a few relatives, wished Subhash's brother and played Tambola for about 2 hours, called it a day (night?) @ 3AM I think.

New Years was good. I missed the whole-hearted fun we used to have when we were kids with my moms sisters' and brother's families. But this year it was a cozy round-the-table sort of celebrations with people that most mattered. First family :) My parents and Subhash's parents. Next year, when I am settled into my new house well, set into a routine and plan for a blast with extended family :D :D

While the parents are here, making the most of it. I learnt some more brilliance from my mom and realized all over again how resourceful she is! She never ceases to stir wonder in me :) And Subhash's mom always tries to help and prepare goodies that I like even though she might not always have the energy. It makes me realize how lucky I got with in-laws. Life is good :)

My parents and his parents are both set to leave this weekend/Monday and I think it will be a bad and lonely week after that. Just the two of us, back to work.

Ohh that reminds me, I have to wake up even earlier from Monday :( I start traveling with Cisco's transportation, (no more BMTC buses :( ) and so have to wait for the cab, sharp at 7.42 AM (make no mistake, the route issued actually said 7.42AM, so precise!)