Thursday, December 27, 2012

Recovered

Yesterday when the son and I came back from dropping Subhash off at the bus-stop I was very pleasantly surprised and happy to see this lady from further down the street taking a walk with her older daughter in law helping her. Last year at the time my mother in law was in the ICU, I used to also see her daughters-in-law there and used to wonder what brought them there. Later, I learnt from my house-hold help that the mother in law was in a very bad shape and was admitted there. Some operation lead to complications which caused her to be bed-ridden - not very sure about the detail. She was in the ICU for many months before they could bring her home and P used to tell me that she was hardly able to do anything for herself and so on. Often I have wondered how this aunty was doing, when I walked past their house. So I was very happy to see her on her feet. I stopped the car, got off, and spoke to them and told her that it was so nice to see her this way. And how I came to know since my mother-in-law and she were in the same ICU etc. They then asked how my mother in law was - I told them she did not survive. Wished them well and they went on their way.

It was really so good to see her - don't know why, maybe it reinforced a lost hope.

The other day Subhash and I were looking at something my mother in law had stitched for Rohan and exclaimed how nice it would have been if she were still around, albeit healthy. She was waiting for her retirement many years in the hope that she could pursue her many passions - knitting, tailoring, and above all, her homeopathy practice. But destiny had other plans. I really feel sad sometimes thinking of how nice it would have been to have her around, healthy and active as I remember her from the first year of my meeting her. In vain though :(

AND

The latest designer that I have taken to is Anita Dongre. Not only are her collections nice and classy, they are vivid and bright and also a pleasure to shop! I hope she keeps up the creativity ;)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Re-cycling

Yesterday I was unpacking a pickle which we had got from Hyderabad - the packaging is a recyclers' worst nightmare. All that oil and plastic and it won't wash off.

Which is when I realized, I never updated my blog with all the SWM stuff we do at home now. We were doing this to a certain level even earlier - maybe about 60%, now we totally segregate - after the Bangalore-wide initiative. Well, so to say, it was a BBMP initiative, but I hardly trust them to do their job, so instead I trust the raddi-wala shop (waste store) in the neighboring street. We generate very little organic waste now and give BBMP maybe a bag in 10 days or so (I want to eliminate even that, by composting, but that is for a little bit out into the future, when we have a little bigger garden etc). Every week the household help takes out the plastic and paper and sells it to that store guy - it gets her a pittance like maybe between 5 and 10 rupees but it is still in expert hands and I have reasonable confidence it gets properly re-cycled. Normally I take care to clean out the plastic waste and properly dry it (which is why the pickle packaging is a pain, see) before I keep it aside to dispose.

Then we also started re-using the waste water from the water purifier for washing the cars and watering the garden-patch and whatever clothes need to be washed by hand. So all in all, water wastage has also gone down considerably in the past few months!

It does feel good to live responsibly by the environment :)

It has been the fulfillment of a life-long desire to be conscious and waste-free. There is still a lot more that can be done, step - by - step. Little-by-little.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Shutdown

Another year another shutdown. I was looking forward to the break and spending some more time with the son. But it started off with him falling sick:( he came home with a runny nose on Thu and after a long fight today it finally led into fever and throwing up just before bedtime. He has been without incidence of sickness for the past several months which made me lose the edge on handling it. In the past few hours, mood has been pretty upset. Hoping he will wake up and be ok after a good night's rest [-o< And that we will have a good holiday after all.

D's husband?

A while back, Subhash had pinged me while at work. He asked if I knew this one person from his workplace, I said I did not. Apprently she had come up to him when he had gone to heat his lunch and asked him "Are you D's husband?" and he was quite pleasantly surprised. She follows my blog (so I know you are reading this :) ) and guessed that he was my husband ;) Time and again, I am surprised when people recognize me (outside of people who already know, of course) from the blog!! And I feel very flattered too! ;)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Gujarat results

I can empathize with Chidambaram. He seems to have been in the same frame of mind as I was before the elections - I had not expected the Congress to win more than 20-30 seats in these elections. When I saw that they won 60+, I was actually disappointed - so much so that it tainted the happiness I derived from NaMo's win! I was wondering which set of people this is, that is still voting for Congress after all the debacles. But that is besides the point. So when PC saw the results, I am sure he was so happy (I would be if I were in Congress, given my state of mind and expectations!) that he can be forgiven to declare a win for Congress!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A month of many milestones

Last week on 15th and 19th two very close friends celebrated 10 year wedding anniversaries. I still remember closing out all my semester exams three weeks ahead of time and traveling to India for their weddings. It has been 10 years already! Here is wishing them many more.

Today, it's been four years since we had the house-warming for this house. This house has seen a lot of things since then. Two significant life-events too, Rohan being born and my mother in law passing away. It also means, my parents have been living in their current home for 10 years.

Next week, it will be 15 years since we started our engineering course. We were a much delayed and much put-upon batch and as if to make it a symbolic start in 1997, we started on December 29, 1997! Only to have the next two days off. It also means, it has been 15 years of knowing Subhash - although we both don't agree on when we met first ;) He says he saw me a lot earlier than that bus ride (which I claim was the first meeting) when his friends were ragging us juniors in a classroom.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Back

After 8 hectic days in Hyderabad - got back into town this morning and rushed to work and routine. A great many things happened over the past week.

My sister migrated to Vadodara - and they seem to be enjoying it so far. Our first brush with all that we hear about Gujarat and its development :)

My Dad has gotten back to work. Although I am sad because it will mean no more long visits from them anytime soon, I am very very happy for my Dad - he will be content and satisfied doing what he loves :) All the best Dad!!

The biggest of all - my mother-in-law's heaven-bound journey has concluded and she has safely reached heaven. At least that is what we believe. It ends our period of mourning. It was a hectic set of ceremonies over 5 days, and it is done now. Went well. My father in law was extremely fidgety and nervous, and I'd rather have had him travel back with us but he wanted to stay on, so we had no choice but to come back, just the three of us.

The son, as usual, was completely non-fussy, and was all grown up - a great boon to us whenever we have to attend to something important. He was more social than ever, remembers most people and relationships now, and talked incessantly and most important of all - in spite of everything and all the stress, managed to come back in good shape :) (Touch wood!)

This was the first time I traveled First Class in our trains. It was rather nice. Thankfully the son had the dinner I packed for him without too much fuss and need for videos etc. On the way back we had a 2 person coupe which was even more fun. The son is also enjoying his train rides now - a good sign (makes it more economical too ;) :))

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What's going on

In Hyderabad for a week+ for mother-in-law's death anniversary ceremonies. These are the culmination of the year-long ceremonies we have been performing.

Days are full and eventful with people coming and going. I couldn't help get a tad bit emotional this morning to see my mother-in-law reduced to a symbol, a ball of rice :(

I was feeling a little nostalgic too about the early days of my knowing them and just beginning to court Subhash. I was going through some old emails and stumbled on the first ever one that I wrote to them back in 2004. The other day, my mother-in-law's sister called me to ask what my father in law prefers to have for dinner and if he does/doesn't eat a few things. What his pattern is these days etc. I was flattered. She did not ask anyone else, she asked me! From that email in 2004 to this phone call last week, I think the journey has spanned a great many years and a great many stages too. I hope we can continue to stand by him through good times and bad. The loss is irreparable, we attempt to make it a little less painful, and hopefully we can succeed.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

School friends and all

As if to prove this post wrong - a chance meeting with a couple of school friends happened just a few days later!

These gals and I met after 15 and 17 years each. It took probably a half an hour to warm up but once we got started, there was no looking back. We chatted on and on about current day events, back to school events, again back to present events and back to school gossip, kids, husbands, schools, etc etc seamlessly and it all came gushing back.

When I was in school, one of these girls was with me from LKG all the way till +2 in Francis'. I was very conscious of how my language changed between Telangana Telugu and proper Andhra speak at school and at home. And like magic, after I was talking to this girl for half an hour, I found myself talking in the same Telangana style Telugu. Some things do not change at all, do they?

We met again the next day at the second friend's place (I only discovered she also lives in Bangalore that weekend, thanks to the other friend) and it was very close to our home too! Again chatted away, met her son, talked about how all of us will be in Hyd soon, thought about catching up with the bigger gang and parted ways.

All thanks to Orkut/Facebook I must say - else I have no idea how I would have connected with all these gals!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

One year already.

Today, it has been a year since my mother in law passed away from us. How this year has gone by, no idea. Initially the pain was very palpable. The sudden absence of one person whom we have been living with. Gradually we got used to the new state of things. For the past one week, many things came back from last year. But I was fighting to think of only the good things from very many years ago when she was still relatively healthy and active and took great happiness in life.

No one knows what happens to those that pass away, unfortunately there is no way to find out. I often wonder what must have become of the soul, if there is some such thing as a soul. Where it must be, if it was watching over what we were doing and all that. Or was it just a scientific, clinical passing, and post the brain stopping, there was nothing else.

If the soul is living on, I hope she is happy when she looks on us. That is all we can wish for now.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oldies are goodies

We had some friends over briefly on Sunday. It had been ages since we met although we all live in the same city! I often feel bad about how rarely we meet up with friends post-kids phase :(

So we have known this couple forever now. Subhash and the guy were together in engineering and the girl and me were in there too, in the same batch, three years behind the guys. So it is an all-in-the-same-campus set of people. I have known them for as long as I have known Subhash. This couple also used to live in the same area (the guy was in the same street as we were) when we were in engineering - you get the drift. Long long long time pals.

We did not meet for very many years while we were in the US. Till they moved back to India a couple of years ago. That was a long gap. But as soon as we met - we were catching up like we had never parted. That is the magic of friendships that people so often talk about I guess! The other day when we met, we laughed over a few things, general life goings-on, common friends etc. And somehow we never laugh like that or let go that way with anyone else. At least I don't. It is mostly my 11th-12th std friends and engineering friends that I am able to truly have fun with! School friends - thanks to lack of prevalent social technology - we never managed to stay in touch like I was able to with this other set.

All said and done, I am thankful for the people who bring fun into an otherwise mundane life. Although we don't meet very often (in spite of some being in the same city, sigh!), when we do, it is like the time-lapse never existed! :)


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Minus two

My parents left for Hyd today. My sister is going to come stay with them for some time so they went back. They wanted to leave in the beginning of November, but after the last monthly ceremony experience, my mom decided to stay back till the last one was done, just in case the cook decided to not show up this time as well. He almost did that, and I was just thinking how lucky it was that my mom was around when he called to say he'd show up!

We miss them already. I think my father in law, more than anyone - he and my Dad got along really well and used to talk about all and sundry, suddenly the house has gone very quiet. The son seems to be taking it much better than I had feared. Hoping it will stay that way. He was arguing with me about why they need a house in Hyd when they have a house in Bangalore (their house is the same as my house, no?).

I am hoping they will come back with us when we visit Hyd and back for mother in law's annual ceremonies in December.

This was the first long term visit either of them has made after their US trip in 2005. Thanks to my mom being able to practice her medicine from anywhere (although she had to keep going to Hyd every month to replenish medicines for her clientele!) and my Dad deciding to take a break from work. Else with both of them having busy work schedules (even busier than mine, phew!) - it was always limited to flying visits. This time was great, having all parents around all the time - it is something I wished very dearly for always!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

All done!

Today we finished the last of the monthly ceremonies for my mother in law. One year already. Time has gone by too fast.

There could have been a hundred different things that could have gone wrong and forced us to do it at the nearby temple instead of at home - luckily nothing did. I am thankful for all the small graces life offered during this past year.

A lot of thanks in the offing for a great many people too! Firstly my mother-in-law's sister who talked to one of her cousins through whom we were able to find a local purohit and cook! Her presence of mind saved the day! None of these would have been possible if we had to keep importing priests from Hyderabad every month. Next the priest himself - he made it every single month without fail. The cook - although absented himself a couple of times, did appear all of the rest of the months and cooked very nice food much to the delight of all of us.

My household help - Ponni. After every event, if I had to do the pile of dishes all by myself - I am sure I could not have managed so easily. In fact this month, she put off her festival travel (today is Diwali) so she can help us and is traveling day-after instead.

My Mom and Dad - they've been around for all of the last five monthly events - it has been possible to keep the son at home since they've been there. He was also able to participate and pray, thanks to this.

My father in law. The one person who has been our strength. Never wavering, always supporting, helping out with the shopping, planning, offering to relax rules when needed and so on, the list is endless.

Subhash - he is always all that I expect from him (and my expectations are usually set very high) and much much more in everything he does. If the son turns out anything like him, I'd be a very happy mom indeed!

One last milestone to finish diligently and hopefully my mother-in-law will reach her destination happy and satisfied for all that she suffered before she left.


Friday, November 09, 2012

Made or ruined

Yesterday at the last round of my morning walk - the son woke up and came out looking for me. I waved to him and kept walking. He apparently wanted to join me so my Dad got him out to the street - beyond the music in my ears I did hear some voice calling out. I looked back and checked and he was running to me. I was at the farther end of the street, just about to make the turn and I walked back towards him and he kept running all the way till he reached me with his arms out-stretched. It made my day and the next few days as well. I ended up finishing the last two rounds carrying him, my Dad walked behind us for sometime asking him to come, but he would refuse, so I carried him back home once we were done. He held my phone for the music - I asked him to hold it while I carried him and he dutifully did it all the while talking about going "20 rounds, 10 rounds" - round meaning he being carried around by me!

I was then at an all day event in a business hotel near work. The event was until 8 or so, but I left early so I could pick the son up at his usual time. I arrived 20 minutes earlier so we got some extra time to roll around after we got home. Priceless.

Normally, I am the type of person who cringes if any routine is slightly upset. But somehow when the son is involved it doesn't seem to matter. I've done things I would not have imagined a few years ago - just so I can be with the son, without him perceiving my absence for too long outside of his routine. So long as I can pick him up by 4.45, I allow myself to do anything ;). I have sat down in the middle of work-outs when he wakes up early, doing them much later once he is over the initial clingy phase when I hand him over to Subhash and carry on. If someone who knew me closely 6-7 years ago, saw this, they would be near shocked I guess.

They say being a parent changes you - for me it is the responsibility of this young thing's happiness and how much of it lies in my sole control, that makes me do things I would otherwise have never dreamt of! And I don't think it is limited to the son (so not necessarily about parenting) - it also applies equally to Subhash, to my parents and my father-in-law and in lessening degrees to my extended family.

Too sentimental - but all of these reflections came last evening when I was thinking about how life has been moving in general ;)

Monday, November 05, 2012

Wish and it shall be granted

Is pretty much my position now. Anything I say, even before it comes out of my mouth fully, is immediately taken care of by either dads or my mom (depending on whether it is shopping or cooking). If I continue this way for another fortnight or so, I think I shall become irrevocably lazy!




Friday, November 02, 2012

Mint chutney!

The other day I told both dads to bring Mint leaves when they go for their customary evening walk the next day. They were just back from the day's walk and I kept forgetting to tell them since a few days. I said we could make mint chutney to go with the bread for sandwiches. Both of them got ready to leave again. It took me nearly five minutes to convince my Dad that it is OK to go the next day while he came in to the kitchen to pick up a bag to go shopping. Finally he agreed to not go then and went to tell my father in law. But what do you know! My father in law was already at the store. So my Dad followed and they both shopped and came back.

Then my father in law said, "I thought you wanted to eat that so I got it - now you can have it tomorrow morning itself. Else if you don't want to eat it by the day-after, then what?" I was so moved.

I always did believe that marrying well is important in life, not just a good guy but a good family as well. Because end of the day it adds to the stress if you cannot get along well with the entire family. I knew that as long as the family I married into were reasonably broad-minded, we could make a hit together and Subhash's parents have always been much more than that. I've always had the greatest thankfulness to them for contributing in a very large part to the happiness of our marriage. One other thing I always believed, was that if at 25, my ideas and individuality were so stubborn that they cannot warrant any change for anyone, then at 60, their ideas must be allowed to be doubly so - stubborn and rigid. But despite of that, if they can adjust to us and our generation, we can always go that extra step and try to do the same.  Maybe it is a little bit of both, but it has worked very well for all of us so far. I hope it always stays this way. 

One mint chutney led to a lot of retrospection the other day!

Friday, October 26, 2012

That tragic month

This day last year was Diwali. The day we admitted my mother-in-law into Manipal yet again - the third time that year. I still remember the date and every detail vividly. She was not recovering from a persistent fever since four days (her last dialysis) and was refusing to eat anything and was getting more and more weak. That morning we decided to take her over.

Evening was a bleak affair. We had bought a saree for her for Diwali - which she never wore. She had actually vehemently refused to accept it - even saying - I don't know how many more days I might survive. We used the same saree later to cover her in after her death :(

We came back after seeing her in the ICU - we were not allowed to stay with her there. We burnt a couple of crackers more for formality, lit lamps outside, always hoping she would recover.

Five days later was my in-laws' 40th wedding anniversary, she was in ICU, father in law was at home alone, uncertain, not knowing what tomorrow would bring.

She would normally not insist on my brother-in-law coming down - this time she did. Although he had just switched companies (this was the last thing ever that she was joyous about, that she prayed for him - a week long thing she generally did when any one of us needed prayers - and he got into a good role, she was overjoyed like a child almost) - she kept asking for his presence repeatedly. We called in the end and asked him to come down. She came home for a brief spell of ten days, we believe she gathered all the life left in her just so she could spend some time with my brother-in-law at home, away from the ICU and all the tubes and paraphernelia, outside of the visiting hours jail. She loved him the most and a lot of her happiness hinged on his well-being and knowing that he was happy. If he was around it was as if she got some unknown strength just from his presence. As soon as he left for Hyderabad, she fell back into the worse again - survived at home till he got back and then the next time we took her to the hospital, she never came back.

On November 24th, nearly a month after that fateful Diwali - she passed away from us.

This one month from now, I don't think I will ever be able to forget.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The last but one!

Today was the penultimate monthly ceremony we perform for my mother in law during the first year after her passing away.

As if to challenge my pride in having successfully done every single one at home so far, this one threw a surprise. The cook ditched us in the last minute - and we had to manage on our own.

The menu for this occasion is usually fixed - four types of curries, four chutneys, dal, sambar, charu, wadas, appams and the works. My father in law kept saying we should cut down and make it a simple affair.

But I was firm. Somehow in this, I always was, it was the last thing we were doing for my mother in law - symbolically or otherwise and I did not want to have to compromise on it. Thanks to my Mom being around, I was fairly confident of pulling it off and boy! Did we :) It was true team work - father in law and my Dad doing the last minute shopping, my Dad cutting veggies and offering to serve the Brahmins, Subhash and the parents taking turns taking care of the kid, and greatest of all, my mom helping out with the cooking!!

It left me a little tired but limitlessly happy! Just one more to go and it is the annual ceremonies in December. Hope we can pull off both.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Three years!

The son turns three. I think that is a big milestone in the early years. Of the three years, this is the second best year (the very first year beating it purely because of how many milestones it crammed into it and how completely sickness-free it was ;) )

He has gone from a barely speaking toddler to a non-stop talkative young boy! Sometimes I find it hard to imagine that there was a time when he did not know how to talk! :) Every day he surprises, entertains, delights and enlightens with something new to say.

Last year, I had just one prayer for the coming year and all years on. Little to no sickness. And for that reason this year has been one of great reliefs. Except for a serious bout of sickness when my mother in law was last hospitalized, when he had to be on antibiotics, kept throwing up everything we fed him and what not, he has not had any major incident. On and off, one or two days here and there, fevers, runny noses have been there, but I can count them on one hand. Touch wood. I hope it continues on this way.

His eating habits continue to be a concern. He seems to hate chewing at all. Even when he does manage to chew something, he gets bored mid-way and either spits it out or gulps it as is. Because of which his food still has to be mashed and given. And at the right ambient temperature. One good thing about it is that he does not eat any junk food at all. No chips, fries, ice creams or anything outside food at all. Even if we visit somewhere or go for dinner, his meals are always freshly packed home made ones. We have to coax him to have ice cream and that too after one spoon he won't touch it again because it is cold ;) Feeding him is still a big ritual, but I do manage to give him small meals every two hours.

He lost one of his grandparents last year and for that, this year will be always remembered. This is his first birthday without a full four:(

I am often amazed at how empathizing and understanding the guy is. (I also saw his teachers write the same comments about him in his school record, but I guess they write nice things about everyone). He is amazingly caring, shows an immense grasp of situations which is more often than not, very adult-like. Just yesterday, I told him to watch over his baby-cousin while all of us had our dinner since the infant was sleeping on the couch and my sister had to finish dinner before he woke up. The guy dutifully watched 2 minutes of his Mickey show and threw a glance at his cousin, and went back to watching his show and then again threw a glance at his brother! Amazing. One other time when he made me particularly proud was when my brother-in-law's family was visiting - I was particularly apprehensive to keep the house quiet for them through the day since the younger cousins had come from afar and were jet-lagged. My mother in law was also at home for a brief spell at that time and so it was all the more critical. I used to tell him to stay quiet so others can rest and he actually, regardless of how sick he was feeling or how frustrated his weakness made him, would always comply.

That way he is a very complying kid as well. He understands why you are asking him to not do something and he stays away from it. Don't like to call it obedience, but for the lack of a better word, I tell him he is a very obedient kid ;) The other day he cried while I dropped him off at the daycare after almost a year!! I told him how, if he cries when going to school, Amma becomes sad and Amma also cries and calls the teacher again and again to make sure that he is OK. I told him, if he goes to school without crying, Amma is very happy (Normally he goes very quietly, stopping all the way about 4-5 times, to turn back and wave. And I wave very enthusiastically back with a beaming face). So, the next day he did not cry and in the evening actually asked me "Amma happy?". I was overwhelmed:) I really hope he only improves on his already excellent temperament. It is so evolved already that I sometimes fear it might only go downhill from here.

Sometimes, I also wonder if he has aged too fast. He stays away from playing in dirt and in general doesn't mess around. He always tucks his toys and clothes back where they belong and is a stickler for cleanliness. If there is something on his person that doesn't belong there, like a drop of milk or a spot of food, he won't let me hear the end of it till I clean it up. I actually wanted a kid who was like me in that sense so I would not have to clean up after him/her (pure laziness) - I guess my wish was fulfilled ;)

Physical injuries, has been one big-bang injury a year so far :( The first year, he dropped a 6 KG transformer on his big toe. Second year, some kid pushed him in school and he had a big gaping gash on his chin. Third year, he ran round and round, hit himself on the couch and split open his lip, with blood strewn all over the house. All of the injuries bear visible marks (the ones on the face are very sad to look at especially :( ). I hope for this year, in addition to no sickness, he also has no big physical injuries.

How far did we come as parents? I don't know the answer to that. I am a lot more patient than I was four years ago. I shout at him much lesser, get frustrated much lesser, am able to use presence of mind to steer and divert attention rather than use confrontation more often :) (Although I forget still, instincts rule most times) So I guess they are my big achievements. I still obsess about his food though. This obsession has to be seen to be believed ;)If he has not had anything to eat for two hours, I get all jittery. I have to feed him SOMETHING. And I hate doing anything else in the middle of his meal-time routine, even attending a small phone call or answering the door-bell. It is an obsession I have been trying to get away from. But old habits die hard. It was stuck in my mind since he was an infant that as long as he has had enough to eat and enough to sleep, everything else falls in place. And so it carries on. Subhash I think was always perfect, I don't think that guy can improve much on what he already is. The best dad :)




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A full house!

Mom went back to Hyd last week to sort a few things (patients, home etc) and is back today with my sis and her new born. Once again, it is a full house! It is simply lovely to have everyone around, parents, father in law, sister, her new born. Rohan was super excited on the way back from school today in the anticipation of seeing his pinni and ammamma.

Rohan's birthday is this Thursday and we have managed to have all the family together for this day so far every year. Hoping for many more years ahead.

The nephew seems to have taken quite a liking for me ;) He gets easily consoled when I carry him around and try and soothe him. He smiles when I make gestures for him and what not ;) Of course, I am bragging. I feel good about being able to quieten him when he is crying, so one's gotta brag ;)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Of making babies

I was talking to someone who is going through a bad mis-carriage phase right now. It is tough on folks, both partners in fact. Not just the physical stress and pain but also the mental trauma, especially if this is not the first time it is happening.

But this is a phenomenon that is here to stay. When a good chunk of my friends were having kids, I saw so many of them go through multiple mis-carriages that it started to seem the normal thing to happen. And I had seen them (especially the women) go through hell. I was telling this guy the other day, that it is hard for his wife additionally since we are all subconsciously conditioned that the ability to make babies is the only thing that makes us complete as women (I don't know how many of you remember that yuck number equation in a movie called Sundarakanda where Venkatesh neatly sums up at what stages in a woman's life, points are added to her womanhood, till finally when she has a baby, she gets 100 points, thus making her the complete woman - I always found it nauseating, even as a 11 year old kid)

But in my mind it was always a feminine topic. That only women suffer such mental trauma. But what I realized is, it is no different for guys. In fact it is probably worse. When a man figures he cannot make babies, I think it hits his ego way harder than it does a woman. It is a question of his man-hood much more than it is for a woman a question for her woman-hood.

Infertility is a growing problem. The number of infertility clinics is on the rise. Even movies are being made about them. But it is still a taboo to talk about it. If you go through infertility treatments, it is always a hush-hush. There was much appreciation in Bollywood when Aamir-Kiran declared their baby was born via surrogate. And everyone admired them for coming out in the open and admitting it. But really, considering no one had seen Kiran ever getting pregnant with a big belly, they would have had people speculate anyway. The only thing they did by announcing was to kill speculation. A smart PR move. Bagged some brownie points for being embracing and honest about infertility treatment etc. If it was a more discreet method, like say IVF, I wonder if they would not have passed it off as a normal conception and pregnancy.

So I think, the bottom-line is, as human beings, we are still tied to the most basic and raw elements of pride. That of making babies and furthering the human race! We can go the moon, Mars, you name it. But if we discover the inability to have babies, we feel inadequate. Like not worthy human beings, men or women. This is what I have found at any rate. So much for being the most advanced and refined of all living species.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A day of indulgence!

The salon at Leela has moved to UB City because the facility here is undergoing some much-needed maintenance. I was debating if I should go back to my old hair-dresser who is now in Koramangala or to just go to UB City. Finally figured, since we never visited UB City, might as well go there.

The mall is great. We loved the atrium area. Need to go back once again to check it out at leisure. Yesterday we were too much in a hurry to do anything peacefully. My monthly routine plus son's haircut plus mom's routine etc. Subhash was the ultimate in chivalry and indulged us all very patiently. My mom's pedicure was very well done and totally worth the time spent there. I loved the way her feet looked. I have always seen them with cracks and this was very neat, very nice.

The son's haircut sessions become more and more haircute! He looks so sweet perched on top of that salon chair with pillows etc with the cape around him and patiently getting his hair cut. It overwhelms me like little else. Yesterday his session took 45 minutes since his hair-dresser had to hop between appointments as he started late with him. Yet, the son sat in his chair and waited and got it done all very nicely. Proud!

And in all that crowd at the M&W UB City, I was happy, I mean genuinely happy and delighted when I saw my usual faces - the Leela staff. Now, I've been going there for three years and it is a far cry from where I started with this post. Now they are more friends, recognize when I call for an appointment and in general make you feel welcome. Maybe I have turned Page3 now? ;)
 

Friday, September 07, 2012

Guilty!

So a colleague recently came back from the US and kept getting us Lindor Truffles everyday. Day before yesterday, I was feeling fattened by them, so I decided to keep them in my office to eat later. There was also a Ghirardelli Square (86% dark, let's just call it GD)

Yesterday morning, I checked and both Lindors were gone, along with my bag of raisins, which I normally stock (mostly for eating with Lindt 90% dark chocolate - if you have not tried it, you are missing something). The GD and the bag of dates were intact.

So I sent an email to campus security, notifying them of this incident. Since I assumed, the folks who ate the other stuff were not interested in the dates and GD that they left behind, I let them be where they were.

This morning, those also were gone. I sent them an email again and lamented the incident. In 15 minutes, two officers were in my cabin, explaining that the night cleaning crew had admitted to eating stuff. Normally they are accompanied by security officers while the cabin is unlocked and cleaned. Apparently the food was shared with generous good-will amongst everyone (partners in crime). And they also informed me that both parties were terminated. Terminated! I felt a jolt and a pang of guilt. I just caused two folks a job-loss :( I repeatedly asked the security officers if they cannot just let them go with a warning. They said they cannot :(

This is the classic dharam-sankat. On the one side, there is the argument that this time it was food, next time it can be something more precious (I have lost photographs earlier when I was occupying a cube, since which I stopped putting anything outside, till I moved into a cabin, assuming that since I lock it, the stuff is safe). Or that it was the right thing to do so more people don't start seeing thefts. But then on the other side, was a little bit of food worth a job for a couple of men? :(

I guess the midde-ground is that I stop stocking any food, so I don't tempt anybody into flicking it off in the first place. Is that a win-win for everyone?

Oh god!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

This day that year

This year, the Labor Day holiday in the US seemed to ring a vague bell in my mind. I went back and checked the calendar in 2001, it was correct! In 2001, when I started my MS course at Madison, Labor Day weekend was the same, September 3 was Labor day! Madison always started the Fall semester right after Labor Day weekend and Sept 4th was the beginning of classes. Some dates just hover in your mind I guess ;)

Friday, August 31, 2012

The end of August

I was thinking about this phase last year for the past few days. My mother in law was hospitalized yet again. And today last year, for the first time we heard the docs say, she might not survive. And be prepared for the worst. And tell all near and dear ones to be prepared. And it was a black day. I remember there being a depressing quietness about the house. We were hoping things would not be as fateful as pronounced. We waited and she recovered and came back home, was around for Rohan's birthday and all that. But with this hospitalization, she had to go from two dialysis a week to three. And it sapped all her energy out. Her life to her seemed like an endless journey in and out of hospitals. And we could do nothing but feel sorry for her :( Every alternate day, going for dialysis, with her weak frame of mind and body was no joke for her. She used to say that the one day break she got in between 6 days of alternate day dialysis, she felt like it was a weekend for her. Painful.

Yesterday Rohan had a freak temperature suddenly in the middle of the day and I got that dreaded summons from the daycare. I had to pick him up from the daycare mid way like this after many months now. I almost lost touch with him falling sick. We gave him two rounds of Calpol over the day yesterday. Today I've been checking with his teacher. She said that at meal time his temperature spiked a little, but he is normal and playing again now. Hope he goes through fine with the rest of the day.

This morning was a particularly grueling one. The daycare insisted on a medical certificate, this is something new, for one half day of absence. And I had to carry him from his building to mine (the doc on campus is in my building) and back. I think this commute might be 10 minutes of walking in all. The doc lectured me about him possibly still being infectious, was offended that I was not listening to him since I was trying to multitask between listening to him and my son at the same time - I assured him that I was listening to him and that I got him since I thought he looked perfectly normal. Then I finally dropped him back, drove the car from the daycare to the parking lot and came back to my building, only to realize I'd forgotten my badge+keys in the car. This time with a smaller sized kid (AKA my laptop bag), I did the whole distance again (I park closer to his daycare). By the time I got to my office it was a good 45 mins since I first entered the campus! Phew!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

26/11

I've always had a grouse about this - I am just happy that the SC has also agreed:

Thanks to Ravinar for sharing!


Monday, August 27, 2012

What a waste!

Literally. Please take a moment to read about Bangalore's trash woes and BBMPs impotence and arrogance as a civic body here.

And they are also going to raise the garbage cess this year. How sad!

For the past four days, garbage has been piling up in front of homes, on streets, everywhere. Everywhere I drive, I see the trash collecting and mounting in heaps. This is pretty much the only thing BBMP has done about the stay issued WRT Mavallipura - we cannot dump, so we stop collecting. Or at least it looks like that. How pathetic can it get!



Sunday, August 26, 2012

Comings and goings

After a delightful 10 days, my aunt left this Friday. It was fun to have her over. She is one of my favourites and we spend many a childhood day with her in our maternal grandmother's place. She had asked my uncle and cousin who came over last week to bring her wedding CD along. I was her thoda pellikoothuru  for her wedding and was 8 then. It was fun to watch it. We are a BIG gang of cousins on my mom's side and it is always fun when all of us get together - although it's become very very rare now, with each of us having our own married lives, kids etc. But when we do meet up - like for a cousin's wedding - we manage to re-create that magic  :) Anyways, so she left on Friday, so did my uncle and cousin, I wish they could have stayed a little longer. But my aunt was getting worried about her pet Rocky - apparently he had become very dull since she left.

Subhash is in Goa for an off-site. He left Saturday morning and will be back tomorrow afternoon. Luckily my parents are around this time and the son and me are not alone! The son whined for dad a good one hour or so after he left. This is an experience that is very new and very rare to him. He is used to always having both mom and dad around and the last time Subhash was away was when he was visiting the UK on work a good 1.5+ years ago. This is more than half his lifetime for the son and so he seemed pretty upset about the whole thing. That last trip he was sick as well. Hopefully we will get through the remaining one day without much ado [-o<

It was my mom's birthday yesterday and we went for a quiet dinner @Leela. I love Zen and its food. And somehow the dinner experience there is always very pleasing and soothing. The son ate his curd rice (courtesy Jamawar) and finished his dinner over there as well and so that was the icing on the cake. They arranged for a small complimentary cake and it was awesome. All in all a great evening.

It is great to see son bonding with tatha and ammamma. He enjoys their company and incessantly talks about all and sundry! It feels good and happy.

Now also looking forward to my father-in-law coming back. Another week and a half to go!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Heartening

A top cop in BMTF "dares" to charge-sheet officials in BBMP. It is widely covered/reported online (I do not read papers, so I confess I do not know if it was also repeated in print media). Then he is transferred out of BMTF to another position. Again this is widely covered by the online media (same disclaimer above re print media). I feel happy. At least a percentage of the Indian population gets to know what murky games are played behind public service departments, police etc. It is like watching a movie. I am glad for social/online media. For more details, please follow Rajvir Sharma's story here. You can also follow other related articles in the same magazine.

I think social media is working in a big way to enlighten anyone with an internet access and a will to know what is going on. I login to Facebook primarily to gather bits and pieces of all kinds of information. My Reader gives me a lot more news than if I scrolled through the whole tome of ToI junk. And more often than not, it is not "fed" to me. People express opinions freely and I have the choice of drawing my own conclusion based on what is being written by various folks. I trust a few sites more than the rest and some times even blindly align with their opinion if it "feels" right.

It is heartening to see this.

But on the other hand is Sibal and the gang, trying to gag it all out. Hopefully they do not succeed. [-o<

And the NE violence->Mumbai violence->Bangalore/Chennai exodus->Lucknow violence story gets murkier by the hour..

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back!

From a whirlwind Hyderabad trip. For the first time, we left home with parents and aunt (mom's youngest sister) staying here and us traveling to Hyderabad. It was a new experience ;) My parents managed the house very well while we were out I think.

Trip was fun, just enough agenda packed in so as to fill the days well but not tire us out too much. It looked like the son was on the verge of a diarrhea spree before we left but luckily it was not very bad and we all came back safe and healthy.

We went by train and for the first time the son was able to catch some glimpses of life outside a train's window in the little daylight that was left. He enjoyed it I think. Also the first time after he is fully potty trained, so a new experience there as well.

Since my parents were here while we traveled and since my father in law is in the US, we stayed with my mother in law's sister. It was lovely. She kept cooking and feeding us. And their place is so much in the heart of things, that it is simply awesome. We were also visited by Subhash's uncle and his whole family thanks to his kids who were also visiting Hyd that weekend. And ohh, that paan!

We also caught up with friends - another long pending agenda item.

And most importantly, we met my sister's newborn! This was a long overdue trip made exclusively to meet the little brother. They have decided to name him Sohan, and the two cousins are namesakes but for one letter ;) Of course, in his usual style, the son did not pay much attention (he normally ignores kids younger than him) - he was rather amused to see such a small baby I think.

We also managed to find one half an hour in between to take a walk with the son on Tank Bund. And I also got to eat corn on the cob! How better can it get :)
 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ethnic!

So, that unthinkable thing that I finally did a few days ago was this - to go shopping for cloth on Commercial Street! I went with a very trusted cousin and she took me and got me back in 2 hours flat! And we fixed a tailor there itself. I am usually a very ready-made clothes type person, and dread going to any tailor. The whole process somehow intimidates me!

Now today was a great suspenseful day. The guy was supposed to give me the stuff on Sunday, then Monday and then finally this afternoon. We had an independence day celebration at work and wanted the stuff ready in time. Only for it to end with a nail-biting finish! I waited and waited and waited with friends, till 2 (event started at 1.30 PM) and then asked everyone to go back to what they were doing, losing hope of the guy ever showing up and somehow finally half an hour later he did show up ;) Dressed up hurriedly and went to the place where the event was happening. Only to be accidentally caught in the fashion parade and win it. I have no clue how. I think my whole win was rigged. In some vague way ;) But not complaining!!!!

All in all, for a person who never goes to tailors and almost dreads it, this experience was novel. In fact it was a lot of fun waiting for the guy to show up till the last minute. Thanks to friends S, S and R who made the waiting so much fun!!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ohh 11!

It has already been one year since I wrote this!

Today I got over one big mental block and did what I never thought I could or would do! Stay tuned to find out how successful or dud it turned out to be (of course also to even know what it is!) All thanks to a very nice cousin and friend :)

In recent times, back to doing what I love best - teaching. Coaching an engineer at work on technical topics and it brings out the teacher in me totally. Including the pop-quiz type questions! I think when I am tired of the corporate job, I will go back to teaching.

Not many people know that I used to take tuitions when I was in engineering and actually made some pretty nice money out of it which paid for my fuel (I loved roaming the roads on my Scooty/Kinetic/TVS) and also for my street food fests! :) And to think of it - I started off completely against my will thanks to the repeated insistence of that aunty who would not leave me alone till I started teaching her daughter M, Maths. I actually never took any money from her. More so because that way I could stop when I wanted if I felt it was intruding on my free time too much, which I valued far more than anything else.

Since I have anyways said this much, let me also mention that I count that as one of the bigger accomplishments in my life. M was sent for tuition because she barely got passing marks in Math in 9th standard CBSE and after she started coming to me in 10th she got some cool 90% types in the CBSE boards :) Her parents came home and gave us sweets etc - you get the drift. Cannot forget that satisfaction - only a teaching profession can give you that! Later more people started coming and I actually had a paying job in tuitions ;)

 Fond memories..those engineering days :)



Tuesday, August 07, 2012

From good to bad and back

Yesterday one of my mentors (whom I really respect a lot) sent a very flattering email and asked me to be a guest speaker in one of the cohorts he leads - topic was work-life integration. I was not very sure what to say, so we discussed it last night and he told me a few things I do that I can talk about. So, I was feeling really nice in the morning planning out what to say and the works.

The son wakes up pretty late these days and I dont try to force him out of his sleep either since anyways these are his last golden days, once in school he will have to wake up like clockwork. So, to induce him to wake up early today so that I could reach work on time, I devised a brilliant plan of drawing back the curtains at around 7 so he would wake up at the ideal 7.15 to 7.30 which would let us get out of the house on time. (he wakes up almost immediately when light hits his face)

Everything was going well and like I planned. He woke up at 6.45 itself, without me having to do anything and then he got ready to eat in good time and everything seemed to be going rather well when my domestic help decided to start being cranky and complain about too much clothes put for wash and how she is working way too much etc and then started the downward swing. She also forgot to clean his bottles, so I had to spend an extra few minutes doing that and all in all only got out of the house 10 minutes later than planned. Only to find a huge bore digging truck block the entire road without letting me get out of our colony. Luckily that beast moved faster than I feared.

Then all through the road, the folks just decided to drive slower - tailgate huge trucks without even attempting to pass, be extra gentle to their shock absorbers by maneuvering ditches at 0 KMPH etc - you get the drift. Somehow I managed to get to work just in time for the session. But then I did not exactly pull it off like I had hoped to. I did manage to go over all the notes I made but in a piecemeal style - not sure if the other managers in the cohort really got any take-aways from it at all :P

Then I came home, mentally preparing on how to deal with the household help. I had given her a raise not very many months ago and carefully I thought over what to say and said it like I hoped to. From the looks of it (or at least till the next argument), I think I won this round. Ironically just last night I was planning to finish a long pending blog on how life learns from work and how work learns from life - and cite this particular example. Last time she did this, I managed to wade through it very well and was particularly proud of it since I was certain that the same situation would have ended with me changing the help if it was a couple of years ago, simply because I was too .. hmm .. whaddayacallit .. unpolished, maybe? Definitely all credit to Subhash and my learning on the job. One of the main reasons why I chose this career path in the first place. It was the perfect opportunity to get over the handicap I had in dealing with all kinds of people. Of course it is still a long way to go, but I can clearly see my own improvement in the past few years! Thanks to some honest and relentless mentors at home (read Subhash) and at work.

Olympics is definitely heartening to watch this time around. Whatever we win is all credit to the athletes, since they definitely did not have it easy going all the way there. All power to Mary Kom and hope she brings in the Gold. We as a nation do not deserve to tag it on ourselves saying "India" won the gold - but hopefully it changes a little bit of our attitude of neglect towards the seven sisters :) (There are a lot of articles being flung around on this one so I wont write anything more for fear of having nothing new to say)

So back to the day, all is well that ends well :)

Friday, August 03, 2012

Glad

Writing a political opinion after a while.

I am glad that the whole IAC team has decided to bring the thing to a logical conclusion. Political involvement. This is something I have been hoping for. The dawn of sense on these folks. Or maybe they knew it from the start but wanted to get some adrenalin pumping with the fasts and the protests. Pre-entry publicity for the political party (which may or may not see the light of the day). I am not sure. Either ways, I am happy. No more painful embarrassments from this quarter. And not to mention - no more uncalled-for mud-slinging against the very rare able administrators we already have (ohh, how useless was that!! It is almost like the ruling government paid them to do it!)

Why people fail to realize that imposing another dinosaur law on the already heavy and obese laws is just going to create another arena for more bribe giving and taking is quite beyond me. It will just raise the stakes higher (10 crores to a judge for bail, 100 crores to the Lokpal for looking the other way).

We need the entry to politics and power to be made simple. I should not have to be stinking rich (in all probability this already means I am corrupt) to even be able to afford a contest. That day, the country will make a U-turn. Till then, we are all deluding ourselves that something miraculous will happen.

I've always lamented the lack of one person or party to vote for. That is the opportunity creation I am hoping for. When we have better leaders, things will change, surely and steadily (and faster than you can think). I also hope it will inspire and motivate our so called educated, middle class, upper middle class folks to get off the couch and go cast a vote (because now, there is no excuse for apathy, there is at least one guy/gal who deserves to be voted to power!)

And the lesser the government meddles in people's business, the faster it will help the country prosper. Archaic British Raj license rules, extorting people in the names of various taxes and cesses etc. - the whole thing needs to be over-hauled. There was a joke in my lunch gang recently when I told them I don't understand why I need to pay an education cess proportional to the tax I have paid for the year, on top of the said already-paid tax. And a colleague joked, that it is a cess I am paying for being an educated person. That is the state of affairs literally in the place.

Bottom-line is - we need to do away with the fat. Trim the junk. Keep things simple. Let people behave in their best interests (we are humans, we all do that expertly and naturally). Encourage activities that bring in prosperity. Stop meddling. Stop fining. Stop handing out sops. And many more.

Shantanu says it very well. I will just be rambling if I write anymore. Go read it if you do not already do so :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Varalakshmi Vratam

Tomorrow is the Varalakshmi Vratam which is a puja observed typically on the second Friday of the Shravan month of the Indian Calendar.

My mother in law particularly loved this one. She always used to decorate the goddess' idol very lovingly with all her artistic skills imbibed and also adorn it with various types of jewellery, both expensive and fancy.

Every year since we moved, we've done this together, once at their place in Hyderabad and the rest of the years in our place here.

Every year, her health declined progressively.

Every year, she used to breathe a sigh of relief after the puja was over and thank the goddess for giving her enough strength to sit through it for yet another year. In 2010 too, she made all the traditional food items like gaarelu and boorelu (this she used to make just for me, since I loved them).

Last year though, she was not able to even start it. In the middle of the cooking, she sort of lost her strength and just had to sit in one place. I finished the rest of the cooking (I still remember the yucky semiya payasam I made - it was my first time) and did the puja while she watched from a chair at the back.

I could see how this broke her from inside. Every year, it was a measure of her strength in her assessment. Last year she failed it. After that puja, she alluded to how this maybe her last one in some vague terms.

And how sadly true it turned out to be :(


Tomorrow also happens to be Subhash's birthday by birthdate. Both my Mom and Dad were born on the puja day so it's both their birthdays too, the son also finishes 34 months tomorrow.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The blessings

Yesterday was my mother-in-law's ninth monthly ceremony. Nine already! Anyways, since my father in law is in the US, he wanted to watch it via webcam, we arranged for it and he was able to sit through the whole thing although I did feel bad since it was 3.30 in the morning for him by the time it got done.

Towards the end, we all do the namaskaram  for the pindams. When I finished mine, I noticed he was extending his hand on the web-cam too. How sweet! Normally since he is here, he does it in person.

I don't know if I ever mentioned it earlier on this blog or not, but I strongly feel that whatever good comes upon us is because our parents bless us. Blessings not symbolic ones (when you touch their feet), but those moments when they are truly happy or appreciative for something nice you have done and a "God bless you" goes out from their heart, those moments are what keep you warm and safe in any weather in life. I had many such moments with my mother in law. I hope I can gather a lot more from my parents and father in law :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tatkal

So I happened to fall into the Tatkal booking trap just two days after they implemented the new rules. My, what an experience. Now I understand why the web-indians were all rage

1) I logged in, selected my train, went ahead with booking, came all the way to the screen. Then decided to go for 2AC instead of 3AC. (This was the BIGGEST MISTAKE)
2) It logged me out.
3) Then I logged in again, went all the way and it was stuck in Book option for the longest time and when I tried navigating back, again it kicked me out.
4) Then I tried logging in again - now it just would not let me login (the-only-two-logins-per-IP rule I guess?)
5) Then I connected to our SJ VPN and logged in again - happy that it at least let me do it this time.
6) Went all the way to booking and clicked on Book.
7) Threw an error saying you are only allowed to book two Tatkal tickets between 10 AM and 12 PM.

I go, WTH?!?!?!

I never booked any ticket at all still it counts the click on the "Book" link as having booked I guess? Stupid, stupid website.

In between I tried using Subhash's login, his mobile needed to be updated and it would just not let me finish the process saying there is some error time and again. Tried logging in using my father in law's account - would time out. The whole process is already 1 hour old now and I just saw the 2AC ticket go to WL1 :( What can I say?

In this one hour I cleared out my entire backlog of work from overnight - yet I could not be productive enough to book a couple of tickets on IRCTC!! Like I read somewhere, it makes you feel like a criminal - but all I am trying to do is book a ticket!!

UPDATE: After the learning from the first experience, I navigated the website deftly the second time around and managed a Tatkal booking on Sunday in 20 minutes! :) Quite nice!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Of sons and their sense of duty

Recently one of my colleagues in SJ had a very sad news to share. She lost her mom. It was around the time that my mother in law also was going through serial hospitalizations - and only then I realized, life can be far more shocking than a gradual disease that kills you slowly.

Her story was moving. Her mom was swimming and had a heart attack and before someone could help, she was gone. She had a brother, R, who was doing his masters in the US at that time and they both rushed back to be by their dad.

Her brother was now in a dilemma. At the verge of graduation, should he take on a job in the US or move back so suddenly to India so he can stay by his Dad? He started looking for opportunities here in India and thanks to one of his friends who was in our extended team, he actually did get in! And he moved to Bangalore. He had come by to meet me during his first week here and I told him that I was very happy to meet him and what he had done was very impressive. I really wish him well and hope he makes great strides here. He has done what very few people would do, especially in this generation.

I always intended to write about this - his move really touched me. I wish my own son would grow to be so amiable and giving, not just towards us, but towards anyone whose happiness lies within his power.

R is now involved in one of the projects I am working on so I get to see his emails often. Which finally reminded me to jot this down. Good luck R, and hope you are happy always!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Water finally?

After four full months, we saw the BWSSB supply yesterday finally! It did fill only half the storage sump but still, it is something!! I am hoping, it is not a one-off incidence and finally we will get back to routine water situation.  Rains are still eluding Bangalore big time and it has now reached a very worrisome situation :(

Friday, June 29, 2012

The boss

This week I met up with my ex-manager from SJ. He was visiting on work. He is a really great guy and I've mentioned him multiple times on this blog. It was great seeing him after nearly 1.5 years. Caught up with general stuff, how Bangalore is working out for us, kids, daycare, schools etc :)

Yesterday he was leaving for Hyd, I was thinking of calling him all the while and guess what, he called on his way to the airport to say bye. That is the kind of nice guy he is :) He did not really have to, yet he did.

On a side note, this week was performance evaluation week at work. My manager said all of my engineers gave positive, happy reviews/feedback for me :) I was glad. And thought of this guy. I used to admire his management style, how it was always easy to work with him, you could always go talk to him about anything and he'd listen and be genuinely interested in helping you. I always try to follow his style - between him at work and Subhash at home, they totally moderated me and my approach to everything in life :) I will always be thankful for that :)

When we were leaving the US, the fact that I will have to now report to someone else after being with that team for three whole years was the only thing that bothered me a lot, and for quite a while after I moved - that says it all actually :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Emergency

So none of the mainstream media guys had the spine to cover Emergency - the darkest chapter in the history of India as this generation knows it. Yesterday was when it was imposed in 1975 - 37 years ago.

We deserve the lot we get anyways.

Here is one of the articles I liked - I want to ask all my blog followers to go follow this guy - he exposes the media lies like no one else.

Sangma Slaps Karan The Tool Thapar

There is an ad in TV which goes "Bhai itna sannata kyon hai" (Why is it so quiet here).

I am reminded of it. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A lovely lovely Saturday evening

Had an appointment for the son's haircut at 4.30 this evening. Subhash was visiting some friends so I was looking forward to an evening out with the son :)

We got ready pretty much on schedule when the water tanker showed up and we got delayed by some 20 minutes because of that. Finally we made it to Leela around 5.

I took the appointment with the usual guy and the son was the epitome of maturity:) He sat there quietly while the guy went about his job - he wanted to give the son a funky haircut - I said anything is OK so long as it is short, so he trimmed and cut and in the end also gelled his hair!

Then we went to the coffee shop there, ordered a baguette and a Tiramisu. The son actually surprised me by eating almost all of the Tiramisu till when I told him that his Dad was back home and he got up from his chair all ready to go home and meet Dad (he was missing him since morning). We paid, walked to the valet and waited for the car, got in and stopped by my tailor's on the way back and got home by 7. In general did all nice grown up stuff on our evening out.

Sometimes I wonder was this the kid that was barely fitting in my arms not so very long ago :)

I look forward to this grown up time with the son alone always - he is truly my new BFF ;)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lots of small things

I got a comment on the last post on how I manage without any support. I got the kind before too, and I confess it makes me feel good - like I am doing something that is worth asking about ;)

I should admit though, that I used to feel bitter about it in the beginning. Having to manage a one month old infant with no one to give advice or share experience was daunting and very intimidating especially since this was my first-born. We grew up together literally - me and my son - and I learnt a lot of things the tough way and at the extreme lows I used to give in to a little self pity too. But I hate self-pity and so invariably always tried to bounce back. And what do I have for that today - a son who adores me and is a total mamma's boy. No matter who else is around, his face lights up like nothing else can when he sees me and sometimes I feel, just for that, the whole thing was worth it ;)

Then my Dad said he was trying to post a comment on this previous blog in Facebook and was not able to and just sent it to me in an email - here is an extract that is relevant to the last comment -

You have a beautiful mind and heart. Your sense of time management is excellent and worth emulating. Keep up the goodness for posterity. May God bless you

And then my father in law had sent me this sometime back

 I am proud & happy to say that you are a gem of a woman in the present society. Managing the office, home, kid etc quite comfortably and happily. Your planning is perfect. Facing all the challenges bravely and coming out successfully by God's grace from time to time. Keep it up. Hats off to you.

So there, I indulged in a little show-off and back-patting ;) I haven't really taken permission from both Dads before posting this - but I am sure they won't mind :)

So I guess apparently I am good at managing time and maybe that is the answer to how I've been through the last three years. I confess I don't think I work very hard but everyone around me - the husband, dad, father in law, mother in law (when she was around), mom and recently even my sister - keeps saying it and it does leave me puzzled. Maybe it is a case of not feeling the pinch if you enjoy what you do? I don't know ;) I love managing my house, I love my job and I have this "I want to do everything" zest and ohh, I also love my work-outs ;)

Yesterday my mother-in-law's monthly ceremony went well - and I realized one thing - the only direct mother-in-law -- daughter-in-law relationship I will ever be in again is when I have my own daughter-in-law! I confess I felt a little nervous on how I would be then - of course that is donkey's years away and all that. But still, I hope I manage well :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

The week that was

This past week was very eventful. My parents visited for a week along with my cousin from Hyderabad. Then, my father in law left Hyderabad and arrived in the US safe and sound.  So it was a bustling week.

Now it is back to an empty house with just the three of us..

One thing to check off as a highlight, at least from my vantage point, was that I was finally able to cut my mom a break in 30 odd years from doing any housework. Although I could not completely keep her out of the kitchen (which resulted in my favourite akki roti and heerekai tovve being made, so I am not complaining), I still managed to cook and go about pretty much the usual routine like when no one is around. She did complain about getting bored, but I think she richly deserves a break after so many years of working so hard - she still doesn't keep any household help to-date and does all chores herself. I hope she went back happy :) She inspires me as a person - so much enterprise in one human being - if I am 1/10th as bold and enterprising as her, I think I can do a lot of things ;)

My cousin was very visibly perturbed about leaving. She was feeling awfully sorry to go - and it was flattering in some sense - but I did feel sorry for her. She is at a stage in life when every decision is painful since you do not know the long-term consequences of it. And every choice seems right and wrong at the same time. I hope she finds happiness in whatever she does, she really is a very sweet girl.

It is always nice when people come a-visiting and say they do not want to go back, makes you feel like you have created a home where not just you but other people also want to live in :)

My father-in-law is slowly getting adjusted to a new life in the US. Tomorrow is my mother-in-law's monthly ceremony and it will be the first one without him and Subhash and I are a tad bit nervous about shopping etc - he used to shop for the vegetables and everything else needed for that day when he was here. Hopefully it goes well without a hitch!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Comments again

Once again there were comments on the previous post which triggered a rather longish response from me -

Anonymous said...
I am not sure how different the MLC elections are but people are vexed with elections in general and I don't think that situation will change until you give them an option to scratch their vote as opposed to picking the best of the worst. Bottomline: people believe that they will reap the same no matter what they sow.
Anonymous said...
Not widely publicized !!! How to get registered was not mentioned anywhere
DivSu said...
@Anonymous - I do not buy the absurd argument about scratching the vote or the null vote or whatever else one chooses to call it. What would you achieve by it? A re-election spending few more crores? And who will stand in that re-election? Some other guy with enough muscle - then again you will go scratch your vote - then what? Another election and .. you can see how absurd that argument is? Or maybe you want to be ruled by the President in the absence of a clear leader - have fun being ruled by Pratibha Patil. And are you saying that the 80% graduates in Bangalore who did not get out to vote on Sunday, read through manifestos of everyone and decided no one was worth it? I beg to differ. There was one guy at least who was worth taking the trouble to vote for and now we've lost that chance too. Today when I came to work on a bad road with no water at home, I felt I am paying for the indifference of those 80% people who just will not care. I do not understand this attitude - people are willing to go shout slogans in an anti-corruption rally and feel good (and jingoistic) about it, but the same people are not willing to make a difference when they actually can (I am sorry, all that sloganeering did not make an inch of difference to the corrupt system today). People have to realize, exercising the vote is the only step you can actually take which will make any difference. If you cannot find anyone good, go to vote at least to keep the worst guy out. Hopefully some day you will have an actual good guy to vote for.

@Anonymous2 - If I could figure it out, so could you :) You just need to keep your eyes and ears open for information :) In this day and age of connectivity, I find that hard to buy from anyone who uses the internet for at least a few hours everyday.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The election

We voted in the MLC election this past Sunday. Turns out only 20% of Bangalore's graduates voted. 20% - what a pathetic turn out. This contest was for the Bangalore graduates constituency. We had a huge drive in the campus with people setting up booths to collect registration forms etc. Yet, I barely see the "spotted index fingers". Why? I have no idea.

We truly do deserve the political class we are suffering today. We hardly bother to go and vote - and then expect some miracle to happen and some revolution to sweep us off our feet.

Tsk..makes me sad.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Missing

On Wednesday afternoon we saw my father in law off to the train station - the son and I were both very sad. For a little over a year, he has been an integral part of our home and stayed with us through out, give or take a few weeks when they (when my mother in law was still living) and later he alone traveled to Hyderabad. This time was different. He is off to the US in a few days and we won't see him for three months or maybe even more. Here is hoping he has a great stay while in the US playing with the nieces and spending some quality time with them.

We will miss you Naanna!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Ferrari

So I saw this Ferrari at the Leela on Sunday. There was a guy standing guard over it and then there were other guys drooling from behind the pillars, from the garden etc. And then I noticed the plate, PY, invariably. I wonder why, why would someone spend a few crores and get a Ferrari and then go and register the car in Pondicherry just to save a few lakhs?! Why? It is beyond me. I just do not get it.

PS: I actually didn't like the car at all - it looks ugly. If not for the horse on it ;)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

On the phone with baamma

Today the son imitated as if he was talking to someone on the phone. Usually he does this, not a biggie. But today when he finished with an "ok, bye" I asked him whom he was talking to - and he said Baamma Usha (baamma in Telugu is Dad's mom and my mother-in-law's name was Usha).

Hmm..

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Narendra Modi on Gujarat's development

From 7000 crore deficit to revenue surplus without raising any taxes!! in 11 years.

I am amazed that a politician can rattle off so many data points so effortlessly - with as much in depth analysis as any professional. Very rare. And he has such confidence - at one point he says - what we have achieved I can bet no one can break this record in this sector for the next 10 years - if anyone does, that will be Gujarat.

Must go through for everyone :


Some highlights
1- Three pronged approach - agriculture, industry and service sector - development in all of them without focus on just one.
2- Inclusive of NRIs - says, I am not accountable to just voting Indians, I am accountable to the non-voting Indians as well - even though your passport colour might have changed ;) So here is the  hisaab.
3- Only two rivers - Narmada and Tapi - agriculture revenues up 11% - in spite of registan (desert) on one side and Pakistan on the other. Nice poetic lines too.
4- Cultivable land - 108 lakh hectares to 145 lakh hectares
5- Milk production up by 68% (Delhi cannot drink tea without Gujarat sending milk ;) )
6- Banana production - 16.93 ton per hectare world average vs 54.76 ton per hectare in Gujarat. Similarly for onions and potatoes. World's first sugar-free potato using tissue culture. (for diabetics)
7- Industrial development only on non-cultivable land. Non polluting industries given priority.
8- Gujarat moving towards becoming Asia's automobile hub.
9- Only four governments in the world, Gujarat being one of them, have their own climate change department.
10- 24x7, 365 days - always on electricity
11- 18000 villages connected through conferencing equipment.
12- Use of technology at toll gates - same road - Maharashtra makes 500 crores less since they do it manually.
13- Gujarat was never a tourist destination - this I have also seen examples of (that famous Amitabh ad;) - tourism sector grown by 16% (national average 10%) - from never being known as a tourist spot.
14- Lifeline services akin to 911 (911 costs USD 100 per person, Gujarat's similar service costs 50c per person)
15- 40% of all deliveries in hospitals to 98% of all deliveries.
16- Sanitary works - 46 out of 56 lakh households never had toilets - now 54 lakh households have them - working towards finishing them in the other 2 lakhs households. Improves quality of life.
17- School dropouts come down to 2%. New infrastructure developed for schools.
18- Ahmedabad was one of the world's more polluted cities. Today it is one of the three most non-polluted cities. (can we get data on this somewhere?)
19- Those famous solar panels !! 600 MW solar energy nationalized. Solar panels on top of canals (again famous in Facebook images) - also save evaporation of water from canal (1KM canal stretch saves 1 crore litre water per year) - solar panels also generate more power since the underbelly is cool due to water. Ingenious.
20- Not going to stop with this. 16000 km stretch of ocean - will utilize this to the maximum.
21- Zero-defect manufacturing - next goal.
22- Value added agriculture. Sell raw or processed/finished by-products - whichever maximizes income.
23- Senior citizens whose kids are not around - government should be around for them.
24- Skill development programmes for youth - only way to compete with China. Make youth employable - 65000 new youth were employed.
25- All of these, in an extremely peaceful environment. With zero bundhs and labour unrests.
26 - Done more than its share of responsibility towards development of India.

Show the world what a development model should look like! :)

What is not there to love?





Friday, May 25, 2012

Increasingly impressed

First it was the Bangalore Traffic Police and now it is BESCOM. They have taken to FB in a big way and are delivering amazingly tangible results on this social networking platform. Aam aadmi registers grievance and they actually immediately address those. Of course, it will take a while before we completely clean up but I am impressed already, very impressed. This is very heartening. I just hope BWSSB follows. They could do with some feedback and reforms ;)

See this:



And this:


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The cooks

Yesterday my co-sister and I were talking on the phone and the son was asking me in the background if he can have some Rajma, Chana, green dal etc so he can make some Paneer curry and I was explaining to her how he pretend-cooks with me. She was saying her son also loves to cook, and always follows her around when she is in the kitchen - ditto with my one. So we concluded it is in the genes ;) Subhash's mom always used to say how Subhash used to follow her around in the kitchen. Indeed I owe all the fine-tuning in my cooking to him!!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The worst

Today I spent 2.5 hours in traffic. This is my worst ever!!

Rains + chaos. Plus a wrong decision. This cost me 1.5 hours of my commute - I believe I could have come home in one hour otherwise. I took my normal route from behind the airport and just to get onto it - it took me 40 minutes - I think I could have gotten at least till Marathalli in that time. Then I went all the way to the bridge, only to discover that the bridge had collapsed!! So I had to take a U-turn and come back all the way and just to get back to Outer Ring Road it took me a full 1.5 hours. What with the son being nice the way he is, I was able to manage - else 2.5 hours of commute with just me and the son - could have gone horribly wrong - this is why I am thoroughly indebted to my son for being the nice kid that he is.

This officially beats the Fremont-880 nightmare. I have seen roads collapsing and now bridges collapsing - I have no idea how worse the city's infrastructure can get.

Forgot to add: I thanked Subhash's decision to buy me an automatic i10 so many times today - if I had to go through the clutch-break routine - my god, what a pain that would have been!! My trusty car, it never lets me down. It is my machine and it works the way I do, and it works when I need it to!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

18 minutes!!

Today - after nearly 2 years - I got to work in 18 minutes!! Of course I took my back road - but still, it was not clogged at Bellandur and I managed to get to campus in 18 minutes! I was thrilled to bits and ecstatic. Airport road gets worse and worse everyday so I decided to give my back road one week to see the average commute times and convert back to this. It did not disappoint today!!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Aavakai and Rasaalu

Thanks to my mother-in-law's sister - I have an abundance of fresh pickles this summer 6 varieties!! - and the rasaalu variety of mangoes to boot!! This is my favourite type of mangoes - and I have been having my heart's content since 3 days!! And the pickles packaging was superb! All neatly packed in similar bottles and even labeled - no work except taking it from my father in law and putting them on the shelf!!





Monday, May 07, 2012

Satyamev Jayate

Everyone on my Facebook wall is going ga-ga over Satyamev Jayate. I did not watch it myself. I have a re-run scheduled for recording tomorrow and will see it. I heard he has taken on the topic of female foeticide very well and the format is really good.

Aamir is a great guy. I really have a lot of respect for him as an actor and a human being. He has the clout and the mind-share to make a difference if he wants to. But I want to reserve further praise on his TV show till I see more episodes and what topics he takes on in the future.

Female Foeticide is an easy topic. We can find numerous examples, plenty of data, shocking stories even in cities and the so called modern India. Shock value is definitely there. It is a very little ask in terms if risk-taking since it targets common people, the normal citizens who cannot really come back and kill you for showing their misdeeds on air.

If I can see Aamir take on a few more sensitive topics like corruption in government agencies (especially public works departments), distortion in history and how we have been fed lies over ages in the name of history (and I am not even talking about >50 years' history: post-independence era, modern history itself will suffice to generate shock), how communal/regional/divisive politics have caused unending damage to economy etc, then I will give him a standing ovation. That is a task which is not easy, is riddled with risk, which needs to be done NOW to offer any redemption from the way the country is going to the dogs AND more importantly is not very easy for a man on the street to take on. Aamir can. He has all the muscle needed for pulling off such a thing. But will he?

(I know this is putting too much responsibility on an individual while washing our own hands off of serious issues, but if someone has taken on a huge project like this one, might as well take it all the way and do something really worthwhile with it)

Will probably share more opinions on this show once I watch it ;)

Friday, May 04, 2012

Ref:CitizenMatters Article on the jam

http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/view/4115-bda-pulls-up-contractor-for-flooded-ring-road-underpass-kadubeesanahalli?s=rss

Blame game on from BDA. This road was heavenly - the Kadubeesanahalli junction was not a major one and the road was wide with the service roads on either side itself holding 2 lanes each of traffic. The main road easily serviced 4 and 4 lanes on either side. That is a whopping 12 lane road. And I have no idea why we even needed an underpass here. The whole concept of a signal-free ORR is already going to the dogs. Since they started work on this underpass two years ago - the road has become more and more of a nightmare :( And I shudder to even think of how many hundreds of crores have gone into creating this nightmare - it is like we pay taxes to make our lives miserable!

And if this does not make my blood boil - there is some more:

http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/view/4114-risking-perjury-bda-has-its-way-in-koramangala?s=rss

A Public Interest Litigation(PIL) filed by Citizen's Action Forum (CAF), Koramangala residents and others, challenging BDA's project is already in the High Court of Karnataka. BDA had started work in four Koramangala junctions - St John's hospital, Krupanidhi, Koramangala 80 ft road and Jakkasandra junctions, initially saying minimal or no land acquisition would be required along this stretch.
The High Court had initially issued a stay order on the work on February 27th. But BDA filed its written objections, on March 20th saying no land acquisition was required and that it had already issued Work Orders (WOs) for the four junctions. On March 28th, the court ordered for the work to be resumed.
But three days later, on March 31st, BDA shot off letters to Indian Institute of Astrophysics and St John's hospital at the Madiwala end of Sarjapur road, saying land had to be acquired from them. IIA will lose about 384 sq m of land. From St John's, 2067 sq m land will be acquired, most of it from along the IRR side.
The PIL petitioners have already pointed out that BDA's action amounts to perjury. Sajan Poovayya, lawyer for the petitioners, says that this warrants a case in itself. "A separate criminal case can be filed against BDA for the offence of perjury. But our focus is on the original issue of grade separators, so we may not pursue the perjury case," he says.

What can one say. The BDA is a mess and politicians interfering with those very few people who want to do something good for the city, does not help!

Depressed

Thanks to the water situation at home. It has been a tough 2 months so far with water. No water to be had from BWSSB. Our borewell had run dry 3 years ago anyways and this summer the situation has worsened thanks to BWSSB's tankers also going haywire. We have to keep calling them for 2-3 days at least before they come and give water. This morning, there was not a drop of water at home and no guaranteed supply in the near future - all tankers say they will come but never show up. About 50 calls made since 3 days. And the story is not very rosy with private tankers either :( Then I see all that rain water getting logged on the underpass and simply wasted. Lakes polluted and all the rain water catchments also wasted that way - just waste and waste everywhere :(

Now I am going to research how I can tap rain water and feed it directly into the sump at  home. We already have rain water harvesting but it goes directly into the ground - even so, that has not helped the borewell pump any more water:( So need to work on this some more. It is a pity that we have so much rain and hardly any water which we can use out of it. Something has got to be done now.

Then I came to work and saw some more waste. Some guy printed blown-up copies of his passport on A4 sheets - in colour! Not one, not two but 6 sheets!! Then someone laid them out neatly on the table and put a post-it on it saying - "This is how we waste Cisco's resources". I liked it. I should have done the same too. Then there was a whole bunch of A4 white sheets lying in the printer tray with staple pins on them - pure white sheets with pins on them. Thanks to that junk printer - now they are neither print-outs nor are they re-usable A4s. I tried to remove the pins and put the papers back in the tray but it did not work - the staples were too clingy and were tearing the sheets. Since my notebook is anyways getting over, I got them to my office, put binder clips on them and am going to use these papers as a notebook going forward - my own redemption to all the wastage I see around me :(