Friday, April 30, 2010

Gadget Geek gets geekier

Now the geek gets geekier. He got himself the new HTC Desire phone. And today he was chatting and saying strange things like "How are you". And I asked him what was wrong with him and he said "I am practising why is typing while driving".

First I didn't get it, then I figured that his phone transmitted "why is" when he told it to type "voice". So now he chats on GTalk while driving by simply talking to his phone.

I wonder what else he will venture into in the future. And if the son takes after him, the pair of them might just leave me perennially awed with the things they do with technology!!


After the perfect line comes the perfect evening. These days, it rains almost everyday with the exception of a few here and there. It is damn hot in the day and in the evening that extra heat brings on the rains. Normally I notice the clouds getting dark and I dress up the son for his evening walk but by the time we get out it has already started raining! A couple of days we waited for the rain to stop and went out but more often than not we just had to settle for watching the rain through the window.

Today was different. Its been cloudy for an hour and a half and its cooled down to the perfect temperature, not too hot, not too cold, perfect breeze. And it stayed that way for the entire duration of our walk. It was so nice and cool, the breeze, and we walking, slowly taking in the peace and quiet. The colony kids as usual were bicycling and playing and I am hoping the son will soon be old enough to join them and will be good friends with them and will have a gang of his own.

The only thing missing in the perfection was the husband but hopefully tomorrow will be the same and he will fill the gap :)

When the colony girls bicycle it somehow always reminds me of Ms. Clara Fernandez. She was my class teacher and she taught us science when we were in the V standard. Once she got this brilliant idea and had a bicycle assignment plus cleanliness assignment. We had to bicycle on the school grounds and we got 5 points if we did well, in the term assignment portion. You came clean to class and you got another 5 points. Cleanliness included clean linen, clean hands (nail clipped etc) and clean noses. I wonder what she had with noses. She actually went around the class with a ruler checking everyone's nose! :))

Needless to say I miserably failed in my cycling assignment (wait I know what you thought, you thought I failed cleanliness didn't you? Sorry to disappoint) because I didn't know cycling and I tried learning the previous day in vain after wasting all the warning period leading up to the assignment. I learnt to bicycle finally in my VI standard summer holidays in Tumkur (but it didn't help my assignment anyways)!

There was also a comment on my previous post on rain saying rain disrupts traffic and causes a mess. I sympathize with the person who posted the comment (I don't know who you are) but at the same time I felt a tinge of pity that we city folk have become completely numb to nature's wonder. In the middle of the April heat when it is at its height and vexing everyone, nature actually intervened and cooled everything off and I was happy for it. But most of us spend so much time in the AC at work and at home anyways, that it really probably ceases to matter whether nature is heating or cooling. All we want is a smooth road to ride back home in :) I say we should blame BBMP for it. If only they managed rainwater on roads better, we could all enjoy the rain AND the road :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The perfect line

I was looking for many years now, for that one line which would describe how mediocre folks try to tell the world that everything they do is the best and what everyone else does or aspires for is either stupid or not important or worse, materialistic. I used to try the fox and grapes and them being sour. But today I found the perfect line thanks to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and it goes:

"Mediocrity knows none better than itself whereas talent instantly recognizes genius"

(One of his four novels, where one Scotland Yard agent unlike others who try to snub Holmes, actually respects him from the word go)

Well said sir, hats off!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

7 months

So my son is 7 months old today and I am a 7 month old mom.


Thursday, April 22, 2010


Normally my life is devoid of any sensational things. It is pretty average. Especially when one considers my tech life.

But last night my laptop started rebooting on its own saying some virus was detected. Since it had become pretty useless my gadget geek looked up McAfee's website for any latest sensations and there it was, a latest virus/false positive thing doing the rounds. And I think I was one of the first to get hit since we saw a bulk of updates coming in after we started checking ;) Wow! I felt like being in the middle of a tornado, the eye, to be precise ;)

I called a couple of colleagues and both (actually one of them is a Mac user) of them didn't have this problem. We figured that using "shutdown -a" at least prevented the machine from rebooting so we did that but till McAfee confirmed anything we were weary of using any passwords etc on the laptop. So no connectivity all of late last evening and as a result I made good progress on my Wodehouse.

This morning the US folks sent out an email with updates. So looks like, because my laptop is a US one, I am still scheduled for some things based on US times. Which probably explains why my Indian colleagues didn't see any blip.

It was funny though, the notification this morning said, DO NOT REBOOT your PC but update this file. The McAfee console was just allowing 60 seconds before it would shut down the laptop and the download/patch takes more time than that. And the mailer didn't say how I can prevent re-booting my system. Phew!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Daily treat

It has been raining every single evening since Sunday. Days are sunny and hot. Evenings it cools down, dark clouds gather and it pours! Of course it also means power cuts like the one I am having right now. But I am not complaining. Rains are a welcome treat (plus I still haven't bought that AC ;) ;) ) and escape from all that heat we endured in the first half of April :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


As a person who refreshed her Kannada primarily by conversing with maids and haggling with auto-wallahs, I welcome this smart move by the Government. This transport minister Ashok is one cool dude, I tell you. One look at the Volvos and one ride later I'm sure you will agree.

Be sure to check this EasyAuto thingy. And let me know if any one of you has actually tried it. Next time I'm commuting to work and not driving I want to give it a shot. Especially because the other day I happened to walk a good 2 kms in hot mid-day sun till Airport road from work to catch an auto home. Simply because I didn't want to pay extra. As a matter of principle. And because of the haughty way in which those guys demand fare..

An alternate take on the Iceland Volcano

After that CRS-3 announcement debacle, we have some brilliant stuff at last ;)

Sunday, April 18, 2010


University of Wisconsin Credit Union for the uninitiated.

When I joined Facebook, I used to think I will only be a fan of something that is really worth it. And one day I noticed, my bank of 9 years was on Facebook. I immediately became a fan.

Here is a bank that is a Credit Union. It is meant for UW students and employees. But for me it is a lot more than that. My first independent bank account in the US, it has seen all my financial ups and downs. And it is a great bank simply for the features it offers. So much so, than even after I moved from Madison to Milwaukee and then to California, I continued to use this bank. Living very close to a Wells Fargo in Sunnyvale, I used to get my salary credited to UWCU because I used to find banking with a bank some thousands of miles away much easier and more worth my time than one which was less than a mile away.

Even today I use this bank. Recently they started (or maybe only recently I got to know of it) this facility called MoneyLink which allows free electronic funds transfer between banks (like NEFT in Indian banks). I confess, in all the banks I have dealt with in the US, no one offered this free transfer convenience like Indian banks did. I may be wrong, maybe other banks also do, but I haven't had accounts with them. I used to have much respect for Indian banks in that sense.

But now my good old Madison bank also lets me do it. Recently we had a friend transfer funds to us and it was so easy that it was hard to believe that this was an American bank I was dealing with.

And the web interface of this bank needs to be seen to be believed! So much information all in one screen without clutter. It is simply amazing. I have seen American Express, Wells Fargo, US Bank, ICICI, HDFC and a myriad other banks' web interfaces and none comes even close to UWCU's extremely user-friendly interface.

And customer support is easy, prompt and very helpful, again without the need to make calls, all through their web portal.

So I thought I'd give them a kudos in my blog!

Good work folks!


Yesterday Subhash's parents left after a month long stay with us. It was a tad bit depressing since it was just the two of us again with the baby. I am a people person. I need lots of people around me all the time. And it sure feels good to have parents over since they dote on the son so much, it is nice to see them entertain and getting entertained by him.

We are hoping he won't miss them too much. If he is like me, he is very likely to demand that all grand parents stay with him when he is a little older ;)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Census 2011

Today when I came home from work, the Census 2011 guys were at home asking some questions. They are taking down names for the National ID cards project that Nandan Nilekani has been assigned to. Apparently they will start with Karnataka. And they asked some pretty nice questions like what is the sanitation method, how is drinking water supplied, what type of kitchen we have, does the house have a bathroom, is LPG the fuel for cooking etc.

I can see how relevant these questions are and if accurate data is polled it can go a long way in ensuring basic facilities reach places that don't have proper sanitation, water supply etc. But I wonder if it is possible to do such a mammoth task with accuracy.

The ladies who had come home were happy we opened the door. Apparently most people don't. And even if they do, they do not answer questions patiently. And these ladies are government school teachers. They are given some target areas and this many houses to do. And the worst part is that all apartment buildings are considered  1 unit. So if they are assigned 300 houses and 200 of those "houses" turn out to be apartment complexes each with lets say 10 units even (we know how apartments are these days, 10 is miniscule), they need to easily cover 2100 houses. And that is a mammoth task. I do not envy the teachers in government pay anymore.

Nevertheless the intention is there and I hope it will see the light of the day, this national ID program.

And Rohan is officially part of the Indian population now for the second time already ;) ;) Earlier the regular census guys had come and we gave his name then too!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Prelogue: As I was writing this post the power to the wireless went phut, and when I hit Publish button is when I realized that it no longer worked. Turns out my $100 APC power adaptor just went kaput and I had to replace it with another APC power adaptor (luckily which we bought in spare when moving back to India). And the BESCOM guys have woken up from their snoozes and realized their call of duty and now we have no power. (Actually I did hear the transformer outside doing one more blast when the power went out, so they are probably still snoozing)


It is raining. Last couple days the rains had graced all of Bangalore except us. Our area got a few minutes of drizzle and that was it. Nights and early mornings were as sweaty as ever.

But today the skies have opened up and the thunder is so loud that the baby is wading out of his sleep because of the tremendous noise. And it is raining!!!!!

I just heard a tremendous blasty noise outside like some transformer was struck by lightning. And even in the house there were two such loud "phut"s. The power supply seems to be on, so I am hoping all is well. 


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Punctuate those lines!

On an unconnected note, I am super thrilled with the response my 20-30 blog got. Thank you folks!

These days I find more and more that my comma usage has gone for a toss. Of course in emails I still maintain strict grammar and spelling but mostly the chat lines are all one long string of words. Often I've caught myself unable to understand what I've written to someone on chat in the last one week. And I HATE it.

Of course in this generation where English is murdered left and right, where "the" is written as "d" (This one I absolutely HATE the most, tops the list, and what more one of my ex-English teachers' also uses it!), and through becomes thru even in official emails (I am also guilty of typing thru in chat but if and only if I am carrying the baby in my right hand and trying to type fast and get some message across with the left hand), I guess my lack of commas will go absolutely un-noticed. Still, like someone said (I don't know who), so far as I know my work is faulty, I cannot sleep in peace.

So here is making a conscious effort to get those commas back in chat ;)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Blasted heat!

Don't know about fellow Bangaloreans but last night was horrible. The night, unlike typical summer nights, never cooled off and the whole night we spent tossing and turning and unable to sleep properly for the heat. And this morning, it prompted us to get out for that walk much sooner at 6.45 but still we came home all sweaty and my hair felt like I just washed it. Yuck! So much heat I have never felt on a summer night. Summer days yes, not nights. And Rohan kept waking up for the heat :(

Maybe its time to ditch that green thing and buy an AC? Sigh!

ToI carried a piece on the main page saying yesterday was the hottest day ever. They forgot to add, hottest night to the equation.

Today a HUGE cloud is looming large and black. Hopefully it rains cats and dogs and we can all have some fun now.

Friday, April 09, 2010

How did I ?

Welcome the thirties I mean. A lot of people asked.

I am doing a daily dealings kind of post after a long time :)

Well, the day began as usual, Subhash's mom made boorelu and Mavidikaya pulihara for me.And his parents gave me a gift. The touching thing about it was that his Dad actually made the effort to buy a nice envelope to put it in on one of his previous visits to the post office :) It was so sweet of them.

Then Subhash went to work and I went about my usual business, bathing the baby, working from home, emails, calls, meetings etc etc etc. Subhash came home early and he bought a cake for me! I wasn't really expecting him to since he didn't tell me he would and usually he doesn't like surprising me ;) It was a yummy mango cake. Then we went to the temple, got Archana done, came back home and then went to Leela for dinner. There this little guy got restless and we took turns, me, Subhash and his Dad to carry and show him around while the others ate. We came home around 11 and retired.

Today, my LT gang at work got me another cake which was equally yummy! A choco-chip one and we all hogged on it. Then went about business as usual. These days when I go to work, it is a mad whirl of meetings and more meetings (obvious, considering I go only for meetings). So got back home pretty hot (from all the walking in the sun) and tired :)

That is all :)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Hurtle out the twenties, bring on the thirties!

Like I said, in two days I bid farewell to my twenties.

In any person's life, I think the twenties are the most significant emotionally and mentally. Sure, 0-10 you grow up and learn a lot of stuff hitherto completely unknown. 11-20 you come to terms with some realities, face some new issues of growing up and in general spend some turbulent times.

Then on its one big roller coaster. You are stable enough yet not mature enough. And the next ten years completely alter the colour of your character like nothing else. Age sobers you and by the time you hit the thirties you are all philosophical. Well, at least this has been my experience :)

I thought, when I was 10, I couldn't really articulate well about 0-9. When I was 20, there was no blog where I could reflect. Now that I have both articulation and blog space all figured out, here is a simple life story.


Probably the most significant thing that happened when I was 20 was that I gave GRE. I always knew I wanted to go to the US because that is where I could make a quick buck and get back. My purpose was fueled by the typical middle class aspirations. And I cracked 2220. Which was good. I wanted to get into Wisconsin. I did. Big Ten, Top Ten. Done.

The next most significant thing that happened was I took my first flight ever. Which happened to be an international flight to Kuala Lumpur to present some paper. I was a student. The 5000 INR which was converted to ~100 USD weighed heavily on my mind and jeans pocket. It was the first time I was carrying so much cash, traveling alone, taking a flight, getting out of the country using my freshly minted passport and what not. I had butterflies in my stomach and heart and that is a gross understatement. I somehow finished and came back and I felt all grown up.

Life by 30 has come a full circle and my son, all of 20 days, did what I did when I was twenty years old, took his first flight :)


I graduated. My first degree. A B.Tech. I went abroad. To study, to achieve. I met frustration for the first time in my life. I paid taxes for the first time in my life. I knew what a valuable thing money was. And I knew what "not-knowing-where-your-next-meal-is-coming-from" feels like. And I swore I would move back some day when my Dad had his second heart stroke and I couldn't do one damn thing about it sitting half way around the globe with no money to travel and trying hard to fight off that 10K USD tuition bill. One good thing that happened is my whirlwind Europe tour in 2001 Dec. I went from living all my life in India to visiting three continents in just 10 months! I hit the gym for the first time in my life!


I learnt some serious life lessons. Saw treachery staring in my face. Spent god knows how many tears over life's ruthlessness.Felt cheated and used by one of my closest friends. Moved into my own accommodation as soon as I got an internship and could afford to do so. Realized that no price in money is too heavy to pay for a little peace of mind. I bought my first videocam and laptop :)I get my CCNA


Probably the most significant and long term impacting year. I finished my Masters. My second degree. An MS in Electrical Engineering. I saved some serious dough for the first time after moving to the US. I had a near-death accident (I-94 between Milwaukee and Chicago, just before Waukegan) from which I escaped miraculously with a minor neck ache. I got offered marriage on a platter by a very very dear friend and I was torn between wanting to say yes and not being sure about it all. I get my CCNP.


From here the years get all incrementally more important.

I spend my birthday at home after 3 years. Subhash buys me some sweet thing after a lot of contemplation if I will take it or not since I officially never said yes. I buy my first BIG ticket item (at that time, 5K USD was BIG), my Black Honda Accord. 97 model :) I face the pink-slip situation, I get laid off. I've just moved to a new town and bought a car and leased an apartment and I am jobless.

I remember that one day I walked back home with a heavy heart after paying my rent for the month. I had just enough left in the bank for a month's rent. And that spent, I was broke. No money to buy food too. And I didn't want to go into debt. So I was contemplating moving back, marrying Subhash and settling down as a housewife ;) Luckily the manager who had to lay me off, really wanted me back and somehow managed to smuggle me back in through someone else's budget. And I was back on track.

But from then it was one uncertain day after another. Always the invisible axe hovering over my neck.

After being stupid about it for six months I finally say yes :)

The H1 drama is witnessed. The guys who contracted me cannot do it so they sub contract me to someone who can. Finally I get my H1, one day before my OPT expires, on Jan 19th. I interview with Cisco on Jan 20th and hear positive from the first team I interviewed with. Since then the career has not looked back.


My parents visit me in the US. Subhash and I get engaged. Subhash moves to the US to be with me. I get married! Need I say more? :)

I forgot to add, I started this BLOG! ;)


Thanks to a great manager at work, the career really starts rocking. Slowly the cash starts building up and I start to spend with a vengeance for all those days that I spent hours in front of the cereal aisle trying to decide which is the cheapest one to buy.


I buy my dream. My Merc C-Class. I cannot believe that just three years ago I was living from hand to mouth and I realize this is why the US is called the land of opportunity, anything can happen here. Subhash's parents visit the US. After they leave, I finish my CCIE. We finally start to plan the move back now that their trip is done and all check list items have been taken care of. My parents visit, my Merc and his parents visit, my CCIE. All done. We move back home. To India!


Settled down to life in India. In fact we moved 10 days shy of me turning 28. This birthday too I spent at home, the first one after 4 years! I get my first hair cut ever in life in a salon. We buy another dream, our home in Bangalore and we have a dream house warming to boot! We discover we are going to have a baby!


We settle in our home, I make an important career role change mark, we have a baby boy, we name him Rohan, he turns 6 months and life seems all set to go! 

So there, I feel life is just beginning. The twenties is one decade I will NEVER forget. I hope I never forget the struggle and the value of some things which were learnt the hard way. The baby has transformed life in a sense that I feel completely aged and responsible for one more life in a way I have never felt before. It is a very fine line I trod, giving it my very best at every possible stage yet trying to keep things low key and not make a big noise about it. I hope I turn out a good wife, great parent, cool daughter and so on and so forth. Here is to the thirties. Let's rock!!


-Sometimes you have to suffer fools. And chest-thumpers.

-It makes it easier to sympathize and/or empathize or for that matter to even talk to some people when you don't know too much about their opinions. Subhash always tells me this. But sometimes I am too curious to heed his wise advice and end up causing a lot of heart burn for myself. Unnecessary.

-I realize time and again how lucky it is to have at least one person in life who takes you for what you are, no frills, no obligations, who takes your every whim seriously and tries to fulfill all those that he/she can :) I think everyone knows whom I am referring to :))

-In two days I bid farewell to my twenties, or tweens as Subhash's dad calls it :) So all the growing up :)

Monday, April 05, 2010

Kaaki Effect

There is a proverb in Telugu

Kaaki pilla kaaki ki muddu

Which translates

A crow finds its baby cute

It basically means every person finds his/her child cute no matter what their absolute beauty quotient is.

So whenever I tell Subhash that Rohan is looking cute, he says, yeah "My Kaaki baby"

And he calls it the Kaaki effect ;)

Taco Bell and other stuff

Taco Bell has opened shop in Mantri Square Malleswaram. And he advertises in a big banner on Koramangala Inner Ring Road. Wonder what he is thinking. And that too he advertises his Crunchwrap Supreme which is my Taco Bell all time fav :(( Well, next time I am in Malleswaram I need to check it out. I am sure the Indian version will be far better than its American cousin. Also apparently thjis Mantri Square has Marks and Spencer et al. All you traditional Bangaloreans, what is the deal with this mall? Is it posh? Also we certainly seem to be going Brit with out stores, that many more UK brands than American ones.

Today was marathon power outage. Let me just say, if the same happened in the Bay Area, there would be a huge hue and cry, but this being India, I am sure it won't even find a spot in the local news. Apparently some work was getting done because of which we didn't have power from 2 to 9. The inverter ran as much as it could and gave way at 6.30. And today was Rohan's first experience with darkness and candles. I was telling him he better get used to it, this is part of being Indian :D

Apparently a kilometre away on the Airport road, the BJP candidate was celebrating his victory with fireworks in the BBMP polls. And I just wanted to ask him what he finds to celebrate when the whole place is plunged in darkness. What irony that, eh?

Oh good lord!

A couple days that I do not login into reader I now have 35 unread items!! And that is huge for someone who always reads everything and keeps it clean. My fellow bloggers have been extremely active or what? Now I have some serous reading to do towards the end of today. Phew!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

My gadget geek

Subhash is the best gadget geek I have known personally. The amount he reads up and keeps abreast of in gadgets is simply mind blowing. I wish I had a similar passion in any one thing that I did.

The latest discoveries I have made on stuff that my geek has done recently is that he has enabled internet on our TV and we can now watch YouTube videos direct on the 55". And his phone I figured today has Voice search for Google. It is pretty cool, we were driving and he wanted the address of the Samsung showroom in Indiranagar and all he did was took his phone out and told it to look for "Samsung showroom in Indiranagar" and it translated accurately and Google gave us results. My god! Google Voice search is something. I recommend every one to try it :)

So there, my gadget geek makes life more interesting and easy with every passing year ;)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Two years!

This past March 26th, we finished two years of life back in India. And I am still saying "Lovin' it"! :)

Roads and me

When I was 16 I loved the road. It gave me a new freedom and a new sense of race. I loved the breeze through my hair when I used to race around improving my driving day after day.

Till pollution hit and so much so that when I was 21 and in the last leg of my engineering, I used to go out like a masked warrior, jacket helmet et al. Else by the time I reached where I had to go I'd usually have 2 mm of soot on my face and I used to hate it.

Cut to the US. Driving became pretty much a routine thing. Something which I did as part of earning a living. It took me from home to work and back. Of course there were long drives etc, but still it had become a routine. Not "fun" anymore.

Back in India I stopped driving completely. I don't believe in unnecessarily stressing myself out. So I cut where I can. And driving I cut. We moved in 2008 March (people BTW, it has been two years since we moved back!!) and only this past week after a full two years I started taking our car out. Because it had to take me to work and back. I am inclined to get a driver but Subhash thinks it is an over kill so it is hanging there for now.

So I am back in the driver's seat. Since I go in the off peak hours it is still sane. But a couple of times I had to wade through traffic and it really made me wonder, why people drive at all ! The clutch-break routine is awfully painful! I always hated it. Period.