Monday, December 30, 2013

The year that was - 2013!

It is that time of the year again, to look back, to reflect, to learn and to move on.

The year was promising to be particularly tough what with the second baby on the way and Subhash's new role and that too in a startup. I was ridiculously nervous about how I would manage all of this without his help.

But what a year it has turned out to be. Simple one of the best in the recent past, and like I say every year, tough to imagine a better one!

My mom came in and made everything very very easy, she stayed on, helping out in every possible way, and singularly thanks to her, the nervousness of managing everything just disappeared. My father in law, as always, like a pillar of support, silently, but very capably, managing everything in the background without much ado. Between these two, we were left with pretty much nothing left to do, and so, between the first son and the second, I actually do a lot less work for the second one in spite of having to manage two now!

Then my Dad's move - long long awaited - to Bangalore! It's like going back to your teens. Living with parents, forgetting troubles, living care-free! I don't think I could have asked for more. The single biggest aspiration since the last 12 years, to live with parents under one roof has come true for both Subhash and me, and how!

Then the older son, he has quite taken to my mom, and now I have actually offloaded my single biggest concern, his eating - to various people, my mom, Subhash and many a times my Dad too!! Truly having parents around is such an awesome gift! To see them gel so well with grandkids, there is simply nothing like it!

Professionally, been a good year, cannot complain at all. Aside from some standard maternity prejudice that I guess is an eventuality in any org, this org has actually supported me rather well before, during and after the maternity. Considering that I was carrying the first four months and off on maternity, the next five months, and in-office only for half a day for the rest of the three months, I was remarkably productive and got quite a few things done at work. Few proud moments for sure - when I signed off on Thursday evening from work and drove myself and son back from campus at 5.30 PM, with a scheduled C-section next morning at 9.30 AM. Back in campus, exactly a week after the surgery, to pick up son from the daycare, with mom and father in law and the younger one in tow. Performance reviews for the team during maternity leave, albeit on phone.

The entry of the younger one into the family scene - this was not as horrible as I was dreading it to be. In fact the second C-section was much more relaxed, more like checking into a hotel, getting done with it and checking back out. The pain was much more tolerable, maybe it was the state of mind or maybe the body truly gets used to what is "expected". Plus I don't feel the stigma of C-section anymore, unlike last time. The fact that it's much easier on the babies probably, plus I think I have grown out of the taunts from the first one - I am actually quite happy about having had both C-sections finally! Normal delivery has lost its "halo" for me, for sure :)

Older one finally began to write this year. He even signed his own school admission form! He moves out of Cisco campus next year finally. To a regular school, into UKG. This year was special for that reason too - he started LKG at work campus and we closed his admission process into UKG too - all very hassle free. We did not research, we did not pain ourselves too much, we checked the closest school to work, walked in there, applied, paid the fees and came out. The more I see the world, the more I realize that KG or even high school education has very little bearing on how you turn out in life. So long as you get the basics right, unit tests, assignments, marks, exams, matter very little. So I did not kill myself trying to get him into the best school in Bangalore, something I was likely to do a few years ago. Just something close to home so he doesn't get stressed/tired from the commute. Period.

We definitely continue to miss my mother in law. How she would have loved to see the younger one, see the older one's chatter, pranks, growing up! And us evolving too, I am sure she would have been proud of where Subhash is this year!

More importantly, this has been a "change" year for India. The dynasty seems finally threatened. We reached a new low in all possible senses as a country, but we also hope for a new high with 2014. A lot of ground work has gone into what I hope will be a catalysis for Indian politics next year. I will exercise my franchise in what way I think will be best for India. Hoping everyone will too, without inherent bias or prejudice! Actually, I just hope everyone will vote, just get out there without being lazy or sulking and just go and vote!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy 63!

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday. Had she lived, she would have turned 63.

We were trying in vain to pay the older son's admission fees to his new school yesterday. First the bank website did not work, then the school's payment portal did not and it continued into this morning. Finally I went and paid by check. Subhash and I were thinking in the morning how we were destined maybe to do it on her birthday, so we remember it in the years to come.

I saw a beru vendor on the way to the school. I thought, I HAVE to buy those today. Even if it means I have to go back and buy and then go to work. At the school I got delayed while waiting to pay the fees. When I got out, I was in a hurry to get back to work, and the berus just completely skipped out of my mind. That is until I saw that vendor right in front of the gate across the street from where I parked. I happily bought some and went to the car, fetched the wallet and paid him! I always loved those little red fruits. So much, that my mother in law used to make papads out of them for me and ship to the US, since we did not get it there. Even when we moved back, she always made some every season. Somewhere some voice said, because you like them, you should eat some today.

In the morning, we told the older one that it was baamma's birthday today. He reflected for a couple of seconds and said, then where is the cake. I told him Dad would buy it in the evening, and his Dad said I would buy it, and we left it undecided. I wanted to get something, then left the thought at that. There was a birthday celebration event at work (it is a monthly affair, all birthdays falling in that month are celebrated by the whole org), I knew about it for about a week. I went there and there was a lot of cake left over, so like I usually do, without any extraneous thoughts whatsoever, I packed some to bring back for the folks at home. Only when I got it back to my office, almost as if someone told me, I remembered that I had intended to take back home some cake for my mother-in-law's birthday!

Coincidence? I think not. I think my mother-in-law spoke to me at least thrice today. In her own way! Couldn't have been happier :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cheeni Kum!

There is a cute store that has opened next to Anand Sweets on Old Airport Road, called Cheeni Kum. It is part of the Anand Sweets family and sells snacks and other Indian delicacies. If you are anywhere in the vicinity and claim to be anything of a foodie, this store is a no-no to miss. They have a delectable range of Indian snacks (read chips, etc), savouries, khakras, spices, pickles, desserts (chocolate chip cookies etc), and an amazing range of Mukhwas (after meal Indian variety of mints).

We bought the sandwich bhakarwadi (I have been trying any bhakarwadi I can lay my hands on - Haldiram's, Maiya's etc in the quest for that ohh-so-perfect taste, but alas!), and palak chakli, along with a Kalkati Pan Churi packet (mukhwas, one kind of dry pan masala this one).

Ohh, god, they have been just amazing. The Bhakarwadi defeats anything else I have had (I dare say even the originals from Pune). And so does the Palak Chakli - it is just so light and crispy, ohh, please do have one, I can't describe it!

Surprisingly, no online presence (Subhash and I were thinking that some VC has recently invested in Anand stores, even their stores sport a very cute and bright and colourful look these days, and this must be the outcome of that), so I leave you with a picture!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Of daughters and sons and in-laws

The other day I read on a blog, the typical story of neglect from two sons toward a widowed mother. Both sons not willing to bring the mother to live with them from the old-age home, bowing to wives' pressure, finally daughter coming to the rescue and how it is always daughters who are better than sons. Standard narrative, we have all heard, seen, experienced these situations. But how about a twist on them?

This particular daughter who came to the rescue of the poor mom - would she do the same for a mother-in-law? In this case, has anyone even thought of thanking the accommodating son-in-law? He is a son to someone too, and assuming he is OK to let his mother in law stay with him, I am sure, he'd do the same for his parents?

What about the daughters-in-law? Would they treat their own moms the way they shunned their mother-in-law out of the house? Or would they also be daughters-to-the-rescue for their own parents? In which case isn't it really two-faced? Should we really be praising all daughters?

What about the mother-in-law? Why are we assuming that because she is helpless and old, she is the epitome of goodness? Maybe she was nasty to her daughters in law in her day and age, and so maybe they want nothing to do with her anymore?

I am only attempting to question the natural stereotyping that comes out of these stories against the son and daughter-in-law and in favour of the daughter. I have heard far too often these days about how it is better to have daughters since they are more caring towards their parents. Agreed. I come from a two-daughters-no-sons home too! But have we taught our daughters to treat their in-laws with the same care they show towards us? Sadly, no. We have re-inforced the all-mothers-in-law-are-evil-and-need-to-be-dealt-with-harshly stereotype (actually make that all in-laws, not just mother or father in law) so much, either out of our own fear of "losing" the daughters' affection to her in-laws (like a battle for who will keep her affection to themselves) or genuine concern out of our own bad experiences. I have seen this in real life with so many people in so many facets of life in such close quarters so often that contradicting me on this one is pointless.

End of the day it comes down to the people involved. Daughters can be as bad as sons in shunning parents or sons can be as warm as daughters in caring for them.

But I agree, having two sons of my own, I am actually very apprehensive about the future and how often I can see them once they are married. Gone are the good old days where having sons guaranteed you a life together with kids for eternity since they marry and continue to live with you. These days whether it is daughters or sons, all birds fly the nest typically by 22 in most urban households. Never to return. It becomes worse for parents of sons since girls are more prone to hating than guys in general. (think girl roomies vs guy roomies, I definitely find guys more accommodating since they don't care so much about trifles very often) So you can be assured to some extent that your son-in-law wont hate you in your face but you cant really be so sure with daughters-in-law.

My mom was a very accommodating daughter-in-law. She met with resentment at every step of the way (think love marriage between different language speaking families in the 1970s!) but she always endeavoured to the best of her ability to treat all her in laws (mother, sister, brothers in law) the same way that she would treat her own kin. Of course, her in laws turned around in due time and actually came to appreciate and value her, and I have to thank her for her perseverance in maintaining those relationships. If she had decided that enough was enough and cut us off from that part of the family, we wouldn't have been lucky enough to know so many cousins on my dad's end and share such lovely relationships outside of just us siblings.

Luckily for me and my sister, we did not have resenting in-laws which made the whole relationship change in dimension like not many people are lucky enough to experience.

My own mother-in-law will always be my role model for how I should treat my daughters-in-law, to keep it simple, like my own daughters. She always lives with me in my memories, just the other day, my iron-creased wedding saree, back fresh from dry cleaning, reminded me of her so many times. How she did all the wedding preparations herself right from buying the saree to stitching the fall, to buying knick-knacks to jewelery purchase and what not. To the extent of even suffering our shortcomings silently, she always dealt with it sportingly. She adjusted as much as possible to our generation's needs and demands and lifestyles and even when she had to differ, she broke it to us in a very gentle manner. There are so many small things that constantly remind me of her - not in a poignant or intense or sad way, but just remind me of her. Like she was still around somewhere in some other town. In another five days, it would already be two years since she passed away. I still cannot believe it, it seems so unreal sometimes.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Of driving..

Just the other day on the way to work I was thinking about driving. And for how long I've been driving now - nearly 17 years maybe..first the 2-wheeler, then the car, then unlearn and re-learn everything in the US, then again unlearn and re-learn Indian driving. At one time, driving was a passion, then it became a routine thing to take me around, when we moved back to India, it was a pain which I did not wish to inflict on myself. But thanks to the older son having to be dropped off at the day care and not wanting to sacrifice on the flexibility your own car offers vs company transport, I took to driving, yet again. I actually enjoy it now - thanks to the automatic I got. I would not go back to a manual shift if I had the choice. Not in the maddening traffic.

Two-wheeler driving is an experience in itself and any day beats a four-wheeler hands down. I havent had any of it in the past 12 years since I moved westward. But now that my Dad is here and his Scooty has come with him - I got to drive a two-wheeler after many many years. I was feeling a little out of touch but I still had it in me. In the older times, there were days when I used to drive from Kukatpally to Dilsukhnagar effortlessly on the two-wheeler with mom in tow too! All that experience is bound to be locked in the brain somewhere ;)

But you know you've driven a car too long when you turn the key in the two wheeler and keep trying to turn it further and wonder why it doesn't start : ))) I did that yesterday when I went shopping with the older one - only to remember later, that I either need to kick start it or use the button start. I was appalled at how rusted I really did turn out with the two-wheeler ;)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

This and that

Son turned 6 months already!! Last time the single biggest mommy-hood disappointment for me was not being able to nurse the son exclusively for the entire 6 months. This time, we did it! I was counting down to 6 months very nervously, but in the end - all is well :)

Father in law is back from the US! It's been only 3 months, but it seems so long. Dad brought home jalebis to celebrate the occasion and it was sweetness all around :)

Already 10 months over this year! Sigh, time is just running.

I feel I am hardly doing any work around the house anymore, thanks to parents and father in law being around. Sometimes I feel terribly guilty - but the older son has taken to everyone in the most decided fashion. Where he used to insist on me doing everything, he eats, takes a shower, brushes his teeth etc, with my mom and dad and father in law - whomever his fancy picks at that moment, and suddenly I find myself utterly jobless!! With the second one, I seem to be doing just 1/10th of the work I was doing with the older one.

All in all, life is good. Everyone is around, and its generally a happy time :)

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Two weeks

Two weeks since I started going back to work! Time is indeed flying!! Seems only yesterday when I was anxious about stepping out for the first time. My mom has managed the baby handsomely well and this is something that would not have been possible if she wasn't around.

One thing that people keep saying when they see me for the first time after the break at work is that I look same as before, I must say it gives me the kicks! I'm almost back to pre baby weight spare a couple of kilos. What took me almost two years last time is done in 5 months. All the more so reason to be happy since I am not a natural weight loser and to top it, hog like a pig;) So its literally taken a lot of sweat to get here. Proud:) My team seems genuinely happy to see me back, another reason to feel nice:) 

Today is a holiday and friends from Madison had come over. The couple moved to India recently and it was fun to catch up with them - was seeing them after nearly ten years! They have two boys as well and the house was a party:) Fun!

Spent the morning reading 'altrtnate' history, feeling sad about how much the 'dynasty' buried forever in the blind quest for power and money. Also realised how crores of children are fed brainwashing history in the guise of text book material:(

Also still trying to make out the strategy behind the crown prince's outburst last week - it was either utterly stupid or masterly crafty. I believe it's the latter devised under the able eye of the mother but end of the day, it's the Indian populace that is being made out to be stupid!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Thank you Mr President

So today Pranab decided to pay Bangalore a visit. And as is the custom with politicians, VVIPS and top bureaucrats, he landed in the middle of the city, next to our place - the old Bangalore airport. And as is usual when these visits take place, we are cutoff from 80% of the city for a great many hours, thanks to our cowardice as regards Bangalore traffic. So today I was muttering insinuations against the guy and thinking how these political landings should compulsorily be made at Devanahalli, when I realized that this was the reason that nightmare aka road outside Leela was repaired overnight! And I couldn't help but thank Mr President! Because notwithstanding Siddu's promise of a pothole free Bangalore road scene, we continue with life as usual.

I think I will dare Siddu to drive on the Wind Tunnel Road-Yamlur-Kariyammana Agrahara-Kadubeesanahalli stretch, that is what a hardened driver maketh!! It is a literal roller coaster!!

Finally, Aadhar has no Aadhar

Yesterday I read a most welcome news about an SC ruling on Aadhar cards and how they should not be made mandatory for public services. Finally!

The Aadhar card in my opinion is the most polished scam of UPA to date. Giving it the face of one of the honchos of Indian IT, it attempted to pass off an impossible data mining effort with little to no effort made to understand long or short term implications.

My reluctance to apply for yet another form of ID proof (read data selling method) was only strengthened, when the government, in conjuntion with the ceiling imposed on the subsidized LPG cylinders also decided to make everyone pay the non-subsidized amount first and then force them to link bank accounts to Aadhar card so cash transfer for the subsidy amount can be made. So where I used to pay 400 for the first 9 cylinders, I now have to pay 1000, and then give them my Aadhar card and bank details so that they can remit the 600 back to me. This is like the age-old complication of showing your nose, not directly but by winding your hand around your head and trying to touch it. Not for me! I wondered why more people did not protest against this added complication to an already complicated bureaucracy.

Also, when I heard about how data was forcibly being made public even where applicants chose to keep data private - something was fishy, there are any number of people willing to buy personal data and I was not about to hand some more to the UPA government.

So there, I did not apply for it, in spite of massive nudging from my government, drives at office for enrollment, nagging and pestering emails from banks to link accounts etc. Of course it helped that our gas connection was in my father in law's account and he already had an Aadhar card, in case they made it compulsory in Karnataka like they did in AP (thanks to the CONgress government there)!

I am relieved and have renewed faith in our SC now.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Logging back in :)

Today I went to work after five months!! It was weird, and good at the same time.

A big thanks to my mom, she has once again stood by us as a pillar of strength, and without her around, I would not have been able to do it, the younger one is yet to get into the daycare;) Thanks to her assurance I am also now considering delaying his admission into the daycare till he is at least a year old.

The five months came and went, and here we are already! This maternity leave was vastly different from last time. For starters it was much longer, 5 months vs 3 months. Plus because my mom and father in law were around, I was actually able to catch at least one hour of sleep during the day most of the days unlike last time when I was alone with the baby and also inexperienced to boot, so never caught a wink during the day. Caught up on a lot of Bollywood movies too and in general relaxed much more than last time! Plus did many usual chores like picking up Rohan from the daycare in campus every evening, working out from week one and so on and so forth. The highlight though has to be that I actually managed to complete critical work items like budgeting, ordering, appraisals for the team etc by myself :D!

I met with my team today and also boss and his boss. I think the team was happy to see me back - or so I hope at least ;) Met up briefly with lunch gang too.

All in all, good to be back, albeit for a few hours :)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Finally! The run to 2014 is on!

The BJP declared its PM candidate yesterday, and it was a much-awaited news!

Many thoughts on this so penning them here in no particular order:

I wish all folks who can, will go out and vote at least in this election. If there was a time this country needed all it's citizens to rally around for it, it is this elections. Much more than the post-emergency election. UPA-3 will be an unmitigated disaster for us.

I have seen some reactions on FB comparing the euphoria in the country to that of when Obama got elected (and boy, has he turned out to be such a disappointment, worse than Bush I think). There is a danger of too much expectation from NaMo, yes, I am scared for him that he wont be able to deliver overnight or all alone, but given two or even one stable term, I am sure, the processes will improve significantly. And the country can hope to get out of the rut.

I have new found respect for Rajnath Singh and RSS (yeah you can go right ahead and call me a Hindutva stooge, I am a proud Hindu and there is no two ways about it). How he has managed to shake up BJP ranks, bring in discipline and show acute political acumen, he deserves the same respect (if not more) as Modi.

Finally, a conversation on Facebook - so anyone who wants to comment on a) LK Advani being side-lined by Modi (boy, do I hate that stance, people make it sound like some coup in what has been a perfectly democratic internal election, a model, the Congress would do well to follow, but no, people seem to want to see the BJP as the family fiefdom of someone or another and that someone is LK Advani for now!!) or b) Gujarat's "fake-progress-claims" or c) lament about "we are sad there is no political future for this country" without actually proposing a solution, will do well to reserve their comments. You already know my thoughts below. I hope my friends on FB do not mind :)

BJP announces Modi, finally!

    XXX and 9 others like this.

    RC At last!!

    SD Baap re! no!

    RR What is LK Advani's actual problem with Narendra Modi?

    ME SD- you don't sound happy?:)

    ME RR- Advani is the reason BJP has gone to the dogs in many states. He is so obsessed with being the one man face of BJP that he killed any budding leadership in BJP's ranks. Except till Modi came by, this is one guy's stronghold he could not touch in his turf state, so, naturally, it pains him.

    ME RC uncle, yeah!!

    SD DH- No i'm not. I have my reasons to oppose the BJP and NaMo in particular. That said I don't trust the congress at all! Oh, and I don't think even NaMo presents a viable opposing figure!

    ME SD I guess you are happy you won't be voting:) Seems like you won't have much to choose from;)

    VA Advani and also I guess to some extent Jaitley ...

    SD I am not comfortable with the Hindutva shit that BJP used to peddle. And I don't buy Modi's medicine as well, Gujarat has always been a wealthy and upwardly mobile state.

    ME SD I don't support everything that BJP has done either but there is simply no one else I trust in today's politics. And we desperately need a pillar to lean on, upa has left us on the streets. Who would you be rather voting for? Lok Satta? They will gain one or two seats and rest will be business as usual, look at what happened to Kukatpally/AP. Or maybe I should vote for some party like SP? We can all go to the dogs then. The question is not whom do you not like but who will you vote for?

    VA Its only improved big time atleast Infra.. I was in Gujarat back when i was doing engg. i.e. Keshubhai Patel`s tenure (1993-97)... The roads were pathetic and I mean it... Last year X-mas break i went again and we toured almost entire Gujarat i.e. AHD - Dwarka- Somnath- Diu- AHD by road.. and they are comparable to US express ways.. lot of activity around using Non-conventional energy... AUTO base is being shifted from Pune to North Gujarat.. I certainly fore see him as progressive leader.. leave aside religious views.. i do not see that in any other leader as of now though.. .

    ME Also, India used to always be a prosperous nation (this is a proven fact, not Hindutva shit peddled by folks) so the same logic of Gujarat might even work;)

    SD No way would I vote for Cong, they have looted the country. Lok Satta is not viable, especially not if I even say BJP int viable I don't know, I am definitely sad that there are SO MANY political parties and none strong enough to bring Cong down!

    ME VA Kudos man!! We need more such facts!!:) not the bs that our media peddles:)

    VA Unfortunately.. ours being parliamentary form of democracy one needs to be associated with party form majority unlike in US were its presidential form of democracy.. so he needs to be part of group to make 273 number

    ME SD exactly my point, so rather than waste my vote by being a spoilsport whining about how no one is good, I am picking the least worse of the choices I have, BJP. And the fact that the man NaMo inspires patriotism in me like no politician has so far, makes it a lot more attractive to me!! I say anyone who helps BJP win this time will be contributing big time to the betterment of this nation from the squalid depths it has fallen to, a great act of patriotism and I'm not going to miss this chance!!

    RR We were in ahmedabad in 2012, when we lost power early in the morning 4 am or so. My dad called the electricity board hotline, and it was fixed by 5 am, and I didn't even have to wake up from the discomfort

    ME :)

    VM With CONG scams all over the place; their recent AP division politics..etc...Lets give a Chance 2 BJP with New Leader( of course with hung & support of local state parties) & Lets hope for some Change.

    VA @Rekha: true.. AEC (Ahd Elec Comp) is class apart...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I am tired!!

Of the current Congr'ass' rule. And the fact that I am helping fund it:(

I am tired of the taxes I pay going into various drains in the name of Gandhi family schemes. The rupee has never seen such a free fall before and the only thing these politicians are worried about is Food Security Bill. At the height of making a mockery of democracy, the lady at the top makes a speech, then smartly avoids all backlash by complaining of "cold, fever and uneasiness" and promptly goes and sleeps in an ICU, of course the bill of which is again footed by, yeah, you guessed it, my tax money :(

Every day, I sincerely hope the coming LS polls see all citizens awakening out of their stupor and going to the polling booths to boot out the current regime, of course, provided my tax money is not used to rig the polls :(

Very despondent, this morning.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Independence day, Vratham

A long weekend coming to a close. Independence day and Varalakshmi Vratham both on one.

Dad is here now:) A new beginning, one I have been very eagerly awaiting!

We celebrated independence day as a colony for the first time. There was flag hoisting and songs and children holding flags and marching and what not! The younger one's first and he was the youngest in attendance!

 Then was Varalakshmi Vratham, both my parents' birthday according to the Indian calendar. First one without my mother in law, it was her favorite festival. Every year she did this with great gusto, and towards the end, measured her stamina every year by how well she was able to sit through it. The year she died, she wasn't able to and I feel in some sense, she knew inside that it was her last. My mom and I performed it this year, and I think it was this way after very many years!! Felt great:)

Friday, August 09, 2013


Today is my Dad's birthday and also the eve of another anniversary of this day :) A dozen years since I left home, to immigrate to the US.

But this year is special. Finally, after a long long wait, my parents are going to shift base to Bangalore. And it's worked out the way I wanted, without either of them having to give up on their life and what they like doing most :) My sister is also here now, which makes it really complete (the older son is a great fan of his Puttu pinni! )

I have been so eagerly awaiting this for the past god-knows-how-many-years. To have both sets of parents (we will miss my mother in law sorely) around you all the time - I used to envy my colleagues who were Bangalore based, all elders around, etc. Now, no more!!

Ahh, life is good :)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Semiya, Gongura and more..

My mother in law always made her signature Semiya payasam for every good occasion in the family - birthdays, anniversaries etc., I did not want Subhash and my father in law to feel that gap now that she has gone, so I made some yesterday and also last week while my father in law was still here (he is now visiting in Boston) for his star birthday. Last year we were in the mourning period so making sweets at home was ruled out. I don't know if it turned out as good but at least in small ways like this I try and bring her back. There is a few other things that I learnt from her like Gongura pachadi (I know both my mom's style and hers!!) Nuvvu podi etc which I try and make as closely resembling hers as possible. It's one way of keeping her alive amongst us still. And hopefully minimise the culinary impact for my father in law :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Thirty Six!! Really?

Today Subhash turns 36! And I find myself going back to the same thought - that when I first met/knew this guy he was 20 :) Merely 20! 36 is an age for older cousins, not us. When did we get here? ;) Well, as long as we had fun on the journey, I guess that is all that matters, a life well lived, so far at least :)

Happy Birthday to the best guy I've known, ever! :)

Sirf 3 lakh!

There is a new ad for the Tanishq Inara collection (of diamond sets). There is a sister pair (one of them presumably a soon-to-be-bride) out shopping for diamonds and they ask the Tanishq guy for the latest collection and simply love the necklaces. The sister who is getting married asks the guy how much it costs and he says "Around 3 lakhs ma'am", to which the sister responds "Sun na, sirf 3 lakh ka hai, maine socha mehenga hoga". And the other sister makes some joke about it being expensive anyways since she is having to marry for it.

First time I saw the ad I was mildly amused. It seems that the point at which 3 lakhs stopped being "mehenga" just zipped past me without me noticing it ;) I don't know whom Tanishq is trying to target this ad at ;) It doesn't seem to be to the middle class nor to the super rich ;) maybe some category in between?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dominos art by Rohan

In an amazingly creative way, Rohan has figured a way to use Dominos as building blocks. It is something I am really proud of! So I will make an exception and post pictures :)

He has definitely taken after his Dad in the creativity department :D

 One more tower
 A house with street lights included ;)
 The great wall of China? :)
Close up of the great wall.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

People power?

We had not been getting Cauvery water at all for the past year+, BWSSB was making some excuse or another. We used to get their tankers, very rarely, after much calling and pleading and supply in the line was very very rare. Finally all the residents of this colony - this is a very old layout, 20+ years old, decided to form a residents association and take things into hand together rather than approaching them individually. For a long time BWSSB officials kept saying pipe problem, water problem etc. There were no rain last year so we kept quiet thinking it was a drought year but this year with the excess monsoon, there was still no water and that started to rankle.

So off they went as a group (Subhash represented our home), 17 people one fine Saturday to inquire about it. And were promised resolution in a week and these folks promised to go to higher ups in two weeks if water was not released. And lo! the third week water has started coming (people constantly kept following up with the BWSSB engineer). Initially on Monday, it was slow and only for 4 hours, but yesterday it came back to its normal supply.

I am hoping it will last.

Is this an example of people power? United we stand? Or a sad example of how we need to fight for even basic amenities in the world's most populous democracy? :) I prefer to look at it the positive way ;)

Amen to people power!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Two months!

The younger son turns two months today! Already :)

Days are going fast and soon it will be time for my mom to leave. I have to thank her a ton, she has been a really great pillar of strength and immense help these couple of months. I did not have to worry about the kitchen at all, and when she leaves this Saturday will have to start all over again, and see if I can even manage! Between her and my father in law, life has been a breeze so far with very little to manage or worry about. We will all miss her when she leaves, and hopefully she will be back again before long.

The most boring part of bringing up a new born is fast dissolving into the past. More exciting times ahead!:)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Indian e-commerce has more than come of age! Proof?

Check this:

The web-site lets you order different things and when they come home to deliver, you can try the stuff out and then pick the ones you want, pay for just those and return the rest! And on top of that, they don't charge a premium for it, they in fact offer some cash back etc ;)

This is a luxury you can only afford in a country where the population is booming, eh? :)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A nice and lovely morning

Last night we invited ourselves to our friends' (S and V) place since there was some formality to take care of before the kid turned one month. And they were gracious enough to let us spend the night on extremely short notice. They have a kid the same age as Rohan and apparently he was very excited when told that Rohan was visiting.

We went horribly late, at 10 PM and were feeling bad about having to keep their guy awake till then. The kid waited for us and slept off by the time we went there. We went and immediately called it a day.

We woke up to a beautiful morning. These days summer in Bangalore is back to its usual form with rains and cloudy days and cool and breezy mornings!  They live in this community which is one of the largest in Bangalore and very nice and peaceful, plus since it was Sunday morning, so we woke up to people playing Basketball, tennis etc. 

Both kids woke up and started playing with cars and thoroughly enjoying themselves. V offered us some lovely breakfast and the kids went with S to play in the playground. The biggest attraction for Rohan was the train track (he was previously very scared of this in the dark since he thought the train was coming onto us, in the day when he saw that the track was at a safe distance and the trains were not veering off of it, he was actually quite happy with it ;)), and the trains running back and forth.

We were planning to come back early AM but ended up staying till noon. A very nice and cozy morning well spent. The younger one got a gift from V since he had turned one month too!

Thanks S and V for a very nice start to the one month birthday!!

One month!

The younger one turns one month today! Its a milestone I was eagerly awaiting on 18th April - just to be done with the whole thing and settle into some semblance of a routine, and here it already is!! Time flies, truly!!

Cannot think of how we could have managed without my mom and father in law. Truly thankful for their help. Every day I spend at least a few minutes, in at least 10 situations trying to imagine, what I would have to do if I was alone with both kids at home. And it is material which nightmares are made of. For this, I have to thank them and my Dad too, for although he is absent, he is contributing in his own way, managing alone at home in Hyd while my mom attends to our needs here.

This month also saw my sister moving to Bangalore. I am really hoping it will be a long term move and the cousins will grow up together just like we did with our cousins way back in time.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Behind the wheel!

Today I drove to work - exactly one week from the date of the C-section. I was thrilled to be able to do it.

We visited the doc for post-op follow-up last evening - and fully knowing what he was going to say - asked him if I could drive. He said you do whatever you please, no restrictions from my end. So off today I went with my mom, father in law and the new baby in tow - to work - to pick up Rohan from the child care center. I met a few friends from work in the parking lot hurriedly, (I wish I could have done it a little more leisurely :( )before going off to pick him up. The younger one was just waking up so I was anxious to get back soon, I asked them to hurry up with Rohan and send him out fast. He has to be brought out in the middle of his snack session (those that know him, know he and food do NOT mix at all) On hind-sight, I should have lounged in the parking lot for some more time, fed the baby and then gone up leisurely so that Rohan could also have finished his snack, I could have gone a little less fidgety and could have spent a little more time with friends. Well, you learn everyday :)

This works out well, without the headache of having to hire a driver. But the flip side is the new born is too young and taking him everyday is strenuous for him and leaving him at home is risky since his schedule is not yet set and my mom will be utterly helpless if he starts feeling hungry and crying for me while I am gone. And with Bangalore traffic, there is zero predictability on when you can get back given you are out once.

Some neighbors dropped in just when we got back from the trip to see the new baby. Both kids had gone to sleep in the car, and I had just finished ferrying them one after the other into the bedroom when the younger one started crying and I started to feed him. So I asked them to come in and sit with me, rather than make them wait. While discussing how we just got back, they referred a driver agency which is apparently very good. So I took the number and called the lady up and she has promised to send a person on Monday. If he turns out OK, that will be a good daily-basis arrangement, till the younger one has a settled routine, can hold his milk a little longer and I can venture out a little more confidently leaving him at home.

But the bottom-line, it was amazing to be back behind the wheel already and driving to campus. Felt a sense of freedom which completely eluded me in the surgery's depression last time around. This time, whether I call it experience or a determination to not let myself get depressed like last time, I have managed to not only stay happy for the past one week, but also surprisingly more agile and less handicapped :) Well, all is good so far. I have to thank my mom and father in law without whom I could not have done this at all. A hundred thanks to them!!

Happy one week birthday to the son!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's a boy!

So we had a baby boy on April 19 :) All went well, and we cannot be thankful enough for that.

Although it is not very "relate"able, we believe it is my mother in law's soul come back - if it was a baby girl, that would have been more "obvious" :) And we now have two boys, the first shares his birth date with his Dad and the second shares his birth month with his Mom :) Also, both are now "Navami" boys, the older one was born during the Navratris on Maha Navami and the younger one was born on Ram Navami :)

I don't know what made me go through another C-section willingly, but I am glad the worst part of the experience is over and behind us. Now the recovery process only gets better with time. But yes, I hate the epidural and the surgery - hate it! This time around though, the pain is not as worse as it was last time partly because, to accommodate the demands of two kids, I decided to continue the pain-killer unlike last time where I was off it by day 2.

Two kids is a new experience. People say effort grows exponentially, but I am hoping it won't make us mad :) It is a little funny now - suddenly the older one looks "really old".

The son (older one) has taken it well so far. This experience brought two firsts for me and him - we spent the first night away from each other in his 3.5 year life-time - he at home and me in the hospital. It was something I was wondering about all along - how we would deal with it. I was too zonked out to deal with it I guess, and he took it well too, although both days before going home he insisted for a long time that we should all go together. So that is how it was, the first experience of being away from each other- ever. Second one, was today, when he went to the child care center in my office by himself with his Dad. He has never ever gone without me dropping him off - and he has been going there for ~2.5 years! I was feeling a little odd - he was saying, I should also come since last night itself, but when the time came, he said "bye amma, bye thammu (younger bro)", got into the car and left. He has always been and continues to be an amazingly well-behaved infant, toddler and kid, and now older brother :) Sometimes he says "Amma, I want to be with you" and I hate to tell him, it will just be a little longer before the stitches completely heal and we can rough it out like before.

I got my wish of having two boys :) I now get to enjoy my status as only woman in the house till the sons get married and I have daughters-in-law! :) Everyone said I was crazy, hoping for the second one to be a boy, too many boys in the house etc. maybe soon, they will drive me crazy too ;) But I am happy :)

As always, glad to have mom, dad and father-in-law around. It is help we so often tend to take for granted, but the thought of just me and Subhash going through the last three days, is enough to make me realize, how much their help needs to be valued. Who is cooking, who is shopping for groceries, who is managing the logistics around the house, it is all one blur. Because they all chip in and help and help amazingly well with a complete non-complaining attitude. This is probably why families were made. I hope to be an equally good support system for them too :)

And oh yes, we just got news that my sisters' move to Bangalore is confirmed :) So, the cousin joins the merry gang of boys!!! Yay!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Signing off

Today was the last day at work for the next five months! I was glad to have been able to go till the very end. Last time around, I was at home for a week before the baby came (more because he decided not to come out at all) and was very nervous and jittery because of the delay, not knowing what will come, and finally when the C-section was decided, worrying about the huge impending surgery.

This time, in complete contrast, the date was decided a week ahead of time, I went to work even today, drove myself (and the son along) till the end, and in general kept my mind on things that are day-to-day and routine. More than anything, want to be done with the whole saga, so looking forward to tomorrow and more than that to a month later when things would have somewhat recovered to normal, and settled into routine.

Mom, Dad, Father-in-law are all here. Glad to have everyone around.

More when there is later updates!

Monday, April 08, 2013

And so I turn a year older..

I love birthdays, especially if it is mine. I like the date so much, I am almost in love with it. I check my monitor screen 2-3 times just because I like to see the date there. I eagerly wait for it when April starts and feel really sad when the day passes away.

So today is my birthday. My mom and father in law had come back to Bangalore to be with us. I wish my dad was able to come too, but no regrets :) We shopped yesterday for new clothes, new watches and new sunglasses (I lost my old pair :( ). Loved it!

Day started off as usual with everyone at home wishing. Son refused to wish saying, he will order me a McQueen cake and get me gifts (a McQueen car and a Disco car, mind you!) and wish me, all in due time. Not today, in due time! I am not sure when that would come ;)

Lots of folks called in the morning, aunts, cousins, my beshtesht friend etc But my co-sister clinched the day - she actually called and sang the whole birthday song! It made my day, I was so touched :)

Then at work, people wished, thanks to Facebook everyone knew ;)

Evening my team sprang a surprise on me with a birthday cake, which said, Happy Birthday and "The Boss" in the bottom. One of the guys in my team, actually got me a birthday card with some nice poetry and very nice stuff written in it - it was like getting transported to a bygone era where we actually got a lot of cards for every birthday. Amazing!

Lunch gang met up again at 4 and shared some cake :) (Only regret being that we were not able to catch up with one of the guys today, I so wanted to :( )

Subhash came home early - very early!

So many wishes on Facebook too :)

So, what is not to love about a birthday!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Five years!

This Sunday, it was five years since we moved back to India. It has been a great time here, and luckily after the first five, we are still very happy that we made the decision.

One of the main reasons why we moved back, my mother in law, is no longer with us. But we are always glad that we moved when we did. We were able to have my in laws live with us during the last years of her life and we were able to stand by my father-in-law when he perhaps needed us the most. I cannot imagine how the guilt of leaving him alone in India and having to travel back to the US after she passed away would have eaten us up from the inside - luckily, we never had to make that choice. This is by far the biggest satisfaction I have derived from making that decision and making it in time.

Often we have thought about if migrating back was an option for us - now that my mother-in-law has moved on to the higher worlds. But every single time, the answer has come back a strong no. Especially westward migrations (Europe or Americas), primarily for the weather, culture and daily life (not having household help is now a big NO NO for me, just puts me off!).

This year though, the mood is sombre. I have seen two disastrous democratic elections in my lifetime from close quarters - one 2004, when Bush was re-elected - it just baffled me. One 2009, when UPA was re-elected. Again I was baffled. When you live here, especially in a city, you realize how much harm the political environment is bringing about every single day. Every day, the quality of life and infrastructure seems to visibly deteriorate :( There is people on one side fighting for basic necessities and there is politicians on one side - visibly ignorant of this plight of the populace and busy fighting for who gets the most largesse from power.

But there is hope. I see every single day, how a power-cut-and-load-shedding-free Bangalore is made possible by one honest and well-intending babu who heads BESCOM. He has run the org like a private corporation and mobilized all of its employees to really perform and perform for the citizens. (really, our inverter was out of action for two weeks till last night, and every day I woke up half dreading a power cut but equally confident in BESCOM for not putting me through one! I don't think any other public utility service can boast of gaining so much of its citizenry's confidence. Do search for him and read up if you have the time). Now if only BBMP and BWSSB had similar babus :( But I hope too much!

I believe, if more such can come together, the cities can really start looking and feeling much better. I see so many middle-class citizens actively voicing concerns with the reality of things, mobilizing forums where problems are sought to be solved and people are forced to sit up and take notice. More "good politicians" trying to fight elections.  And so on, the list is endless - only to be topped by my one last hope for an Obama-esque leader, one you can hope on and vote for - NaMo. If only the BJP does not mess up big-time.

2013 State elections in Karnataka and 2014 national elections will turn the tide for this city and my country, I hope! I also hope to contribute to it in my own little way, with whatever little time and resources I have - so I have a sense of giving back to this country when it needed it most!

Here is hoping for many more happy years in this land! :) And wishing this land will once again be prosperous - not very long from now!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

8 years!

Probably forgot for the first time ever - today I finish 8 years with a great company and a great place to work. I was talking my team and it was one of the engineers' anniversary yesterday and then it suddenly hit me - that today is mine! That is 3 years in SJ and 5 years in Bangalore - happy times, always great memories, lot of learning, lot of fun and almost no Monday blues - touch wood! :)

Often I think, so much in my life changed while I was working here - I got engaged, got married, moved back, had a kid - this one thing, my employment has been the only constant in an otherwise change-filled life :) And I am truly grateful for it.

And I can never think of this day without thinking about the day I interviewed two months before that - 8 AM to 8 PM with three teams till I was exhausted and never wanted to listen to the words "ping" or "network" again in my life! Such mental fatigue I neither experienced before that day or after! :)

That reminds me, close on the heels of this mark is another one - the one where we moved back to India - it has been five years already!

Thursday, March 07, 2013


On the eve of Women's Day, I thought let me do a post on my day-to-day life as a woman.

Often I have wondered if I am a feminist or the old-fashioned woman, who likes to take care of her home, husband and kid by herself.

Today my house-help P and I were discussing something when she made a remark "I have never seen ANNa (brother), stand near the stove and cook in the three years I have been working here" - she was of course referring to Subhash. I told her how Subhash makes excellent omlette and a few other items.

It is true. I don't let Subhash do a whole lot of work around the house. With the son coming and work load around the house increasing, he has helped with the son a lot, but normal household chores, even if he helps, I usually make him stop as soon as I spot it, if I can help it.

So, am I a traditional woman who thinks pati is parmeshwar and does not let him do anything? I hardly think so. I had this logic when Subhash moved to the US, we got married and started living together - that the household work had not increased even one bit between when I was living alone and when he joined me - except maybe laundry and one extra plate. Since I managed just fine before he was around I figured I could manage just fine even if he was around. Plus he would travel a lot and I liked pampering him - so he would get the royal treatment. Of course, he has given me anything I have asked for at all times. Unending love. Even the smallest of wishes is taken care of pronto. (I feel particularly proud of the fact that I have never gone to the doc alone during pregnancy. Ever. He has always come along.) So it is all a matter of give and take. Plus, since we have moved to India and have been living in our own house, his share of work around the house has grown significantly. Whenever there are handy men around the house (carpenter, plumber, electrician etc) for whatever work, it is primarily him and my father in law who stand around and get things done. I hate doing those jobs. Plus he willingly helps with the kid - no questions asked.

Today in the evening, I was thinking of all this and reflecting on my evening itself. I picked up the son from the daycare, came home, chatted with P, finished bathing the son and dressing him up (the usual evening routine), gave him his milk, ate something myself, rushed with son and father in law to the bank, bought the son some chocolates after, came home, cooked dinner, while dinner was getting ready, sorted the laundry and did my daily weights routine plus finished talking to mom(that is four things simultaneously, all time-division-multiplexed - excuse my network background), fed dinner to the son, put him to sleep (while working on the hand held), had dinner with father in law, chatted with him a while and sat doing some work waiting for Subhash. So, normally days are like this - always packed. Sometimes I confess, I do feel proud of myself :) Only concession being that very rarely do I get time to reflect on it - when I do, I feel good.

And I work. A full-time job. More than full-time.

I am thankful, I have help around the house for daily, routine chores like dishes, and cleaning though. P plays a big part in it. I cannot leave mentioning her out.

So when my son says I like only Amma's food, or when I see a silent gratitude in Subhash's eyes for everything I do for him, or when I see my usually reticent father-in-law appreciating me in many words, or when I see how proud my mom and dad are of how I manage, or when I score an A+ at work - I feel it is totally worth it. It gives me a kick and a high like nothing else does.

So end of the day, I do it for the high it brings me - for the satisfaction I get out of keeping my days full and purposeful.

I am a woman - of the new age.

Yet, it does not matter.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mmmm..Krispy Kreme!

There are very few things that I loved while in the US which I miss in India - Krispy Kreme being one of them. Gradually but certainly, most brands have opened shop in India and invariably in Bangalore. So since the time Subhash told me that Krispy Kreme was open here, I've been dying to visit. I remember those days in Wisconsin when we used to wait outside the Krispy Kreme stores in the car, for the neon to turn on, and then go inside and wolf down donuts. Sometimes, we've driven from Madison to Milwaukee too, just to have donuts. Somehow in California, I never really visited the stores, although I used to have my share of Krispy Kreme donuts at work, thanks to the Donut Fridays :)

Today, finally we visited! And the place was packed to the gills. We were both surprised to see so many people take to American donuts. And the crowd was varied - old folks to college students. The neon came on just as we entered the store and it was funny to see people take pictures and record videos of the donuts on the assembly line. I confess I felt tickled ;)

Anyway, so I finally bit into a chocolate glazed custard filled donut and my heart and tummy were both happy and all nostalgic!!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Happy Eighth!!

Today we finish seven years of married life. It's been a great journey - life has been content and happy. Nothing major to worry or fret over - it has been a nice and pleasant ride since we came together :) A lot of things to reminisce about. This week is special, not just because we got married but because coincidentally, in the preceding years, we made great forays into the process of getting married ;) So, the first week of Feb always makes me very very nostalgic :)

My parents and aunt came over today - it is nice to have family around - both of us also stayed back home. Son was happy to see everyone and was eager to hear from me that we are staying home and not going to school. My very close friend called in the morning to wish and it was so great to hear her voice, all excited for me :)

My parents have always let me live my life on my own terms. They seemed to have confidence in whatever I did and never objected to any decision I made. I am glad they respected and trusted my decision on this matter too. For them it was a tough day, bidding farewell to a very loved and cherished daughter. But they did it and I am always thankful to them for it.

Reminded of my mother in law today somehow. Especially one incident which happened during the wedding. The wedding was scheduled for 11.34 AM and I was very paranoid about not eating anything till lunch (yeah I am like that, food and me are inseparable!) - I mentioned this to my in laws a bunch of times in passing/jest before the D-day. So on the day of the wedding, my mother in law actually smuggled in a nice breakfast plate into my room under her saree pallu and told me to finish it before others could come and see. I was so glad at this gesture. Totally floored and feeling nice and thankful. So it happened that Subhash married on an empty stomach (yeah, she did not smuggle food for him;) ) as is the tradition but I really did not ;) So for all her monthly ceremonies, I always had breakfast and never did the rituals on an empty stomach - I figured she might like that better :)

He'd said once that if I married him, he would only be giving me two loving sets of parents instead of one. How true that has ringed all of these years. Regardless of who or what or where, my in laws have always stood by me, cherished my accomplishments just the same as if they were their own kids' (if not more), and enriched our lives in more ways than one. This has definitely made life very easy and trouble-free. I hope to do the same for my son's wife some day :)

So it has been seven years of happy times. Fifteen years of knowing each other, nine years of courting, three years of parenting, and many more such significant milestones. Here is to many more such!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

These 10 years

Today I finish 10 years in the corporate world. It has been one heck of a ride, a lot of fun and luckily very little nastiness to remember.

The first job at GE was not the first time I was making money. I used to take tuitions while I was in engineering and by the standards those days, made a handsome amount ;) I even managed to save up a bit. Then there was the TA/PA/Grading jobs in UW. That period was very eventful, nervous, ridden with financial difficulties, emotional upheavals and what not. So when I got a co-op in GE, I was ecstatic. It was a lot of money compared to what I was making till then and ensured at least 6 months of peace from the uncertainty of having or not having a job.

I was at GE for two years. It was always turbulent, always turmoil, always uncertain. Then I switched to Cisco and since then, it has been one smooth, nice, comfortable journey, so much so, that the difficult past seems very unreal now. When I think of it though, it makes me happy to be where I am today, and feel peaceful.

I remember the first week at GE though, it was very weird to be getting in at 9 AM and getting out only at 5 PM. The whole day at a desk or in the lab but always indoors - it was the first time I was doing it and it was a very very weird experience. I remember very clearly thinking at the end of the first day if I would sleep though a good portion of my 30-year career. It was that weird and that boring. But somehow to this day, I am doing the same thing, and not sleeping at all, so all is well, I guess ;)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Please vote!

A while ago, a reader had commented that rather than voting and later claiming "I voted, did you?", it might be more useful to at least let the readers of this blog know any information upfront on upcoming polls, electoral lists etc.

The suggestion was a good one, and so, here you go. Please make sure if you are a resident of Karnataka, to enrol yourself to vote in the upcoming Assembly elections. Here is a link with the details:

We verified our presence and are (hopefully, if no one deletes going forward) all set :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

This day that year

Somehow I always manage to remember it - I don't think about it like other days - birthdays, anniversaries, major milestones etc but somehow when I see the date on my phone, I always remember it. It always manages to strike out a chord in my mind and heart.

This day in 2004, nine years ago, I met with a life-threatening accident on I-94 between Milwaukee and Chicago. I went back into the blog to check if I had written about it earlier - I have, but only in passing. A bunch of friends from engineering decided to meet up in Chicago for a re-union. I was the only one with a DL and so I rented and drove around the mini-van that we had hired. It was an AMAZING three days catching up with old pals and what not. The last day, we could not sleep - everyone had early AM flights to catch. So we left Chicago around 4 AM, went to Milwaukee to drop off a few people with flights heading out of there and the rest of us were going back to Chicago, in a snow laden environment. There was a car, that did not check for it's blind spot and came right on to us. In order to avoid it, I braked hard and thanks to the snow, we swiveled and swiveled till we hit the curb. In fact I had not noticed the curb and could only see the huge semi-truck on the other side. I thought we were going under it. I was traveling to India three days later for a vacation and the only thing I remember thinking hard, really hard was "If I have to die, God, please don't kill me here in the US, I want to die in India, just give me three more days of life". When we stopped, there was air bags all around me, and my friends seemed all ok except for minor bruises. We called 911, the rental company, etc. The cops managed to chase down the car based on our description, the rental guys towed us to the closest gas station, gave us a replacement and we were all set to continue in about an hour and a half. Luckily the Chicago flights were all in the afternoon so we had not lost time as such.

The biggest challenge was to overcome my fear and shivering and get back behind the wheel and drive the rest of the 80 miles or so to O'Hare. I did NOT think I was up to it. I had to use all my courage and every bit of my trembling nerves to be able to do it.

I called my friends in Madison, and they said there is no way I should drive back to Madison from O'Hare. I told them, I would be OK, that the worse was over, but they would not listen. K had his PHD presentation that day so he said he'd start for Chicago as soon as that was done, so I waited in O'Hare. My friends all got their flights postponed to late evening and waited with me.

Finally K and M reached and drove me back to Madison. I am thankful for that gesture to this day. When I reached Madison, we returned the rental car etc and went home. An ordeal was over. I lived the day, I survived and got a new lease of life.

My friends were none seriously hurt and I also escaped with just a minor neck ache (thanks to the air bags). Else, I don't think I would have thankful memories of that day, I cannot think of what the guilt would have done to me if things had gone otherwise.

I happened to chat with Subhash the previous night (when we could not sleep and I had to find SOMETHING to do to keep me awake as I was (and still am) not a coffee drinker). He usually was the lone contact online on my Y! chat and was always "I'm on SMS" and I had a prejudice against that status. But I pinged him anyway, since I had to keep awake. General chit-chat and stuff later I logged off. The next day I woke up in Madison, and logged in, I saw him online. I pinged him. He seemed to be the only connection I had from my previous life into this re-born life. I told him what happened after I logged off and went out, and he was shocked enough to call me at that time (it was very late in the night for him then and he later told me he was with a super boss when I pinged him). My friends and K were suspicious and asked me who this guy was and what was really going on, and I honestly told them, we were just friends. He was just my senior from college etc. And equally honestly had to change my stand to - we are thinking of marriage, less than a year later.

Of course, no one believed me then :) I think.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The first movie

Today we finally took Rohan to the cinemas. The reviews of Seethamma Vaakitlo Sirimalle Chettu were good, so we decided to go. The four of us (me, Subhash, my mom and father in law) went in the evening. The movie was disappointing, but the son sat through it reasonably well. I am assuming, if we take him to a movie he will like (like Cars2 or something), it will even be fun ;) Subhash had to do a bunch of breaks to take him to the loo and back and I was feeling sad for him, but otherwise, nothing to complain.

Friday, January 11, 2013


I wish more people would stop petty thinking, bickering, power-mongering and focus on real development for once - like this one:

NEPRA had a turnover of Rs 40 lakh in 2012 and expects to close the 2013-14 fiscal year with Rs 12 crore turnover. Working with the NEPRA model, an average five-member ragpicker family can earn up to Rs 9,000 per month. This amount stands in stark contrast to Rs 50 per day that most unorganised ragpickers manage.

Sunday, January 06, 2013


So, there was some goof-up by the bill desk folks and my Amex payments for the electricity bills did not go through this time. The bills had come up for presentment twice this month so I was a little suspicious on what was going on, but being in Hyd at that time, and not having the bills in hand, I could no cross-check and forgot about it when we came back.

The other day the meter-reading guy came, slapped some arrears and left saying if we don't pay, they will disconnect. The standard procedure. But since this is BESCOM I was going to deal with, for once, and for a change, I did not panic. I wrote to their MD and some other officials with whom I had corresponded earlier and they were very prompt in responding and we finaly identified that the issue was with BillDesk not processing payments.

So at the end of two days, we did see the line getting disconnected and I still haven't seen the refund come into my credit card but I am neither irritated nor extremely worried - and that is the magic of customer service. That is the difference it can make to end users. And coming from a government entity, it is all the more to be relished! The BESCOM guys came back today, we made the payment offline at a counter, everything was restored and I have the contact from BillDesk whom I can chase for the refund of what we already paid last month. We ended up paying a little bit extra (BangaloreOne charges etc), but still, the exercise was not nerve-wrecking.

BWSSB on the other hand has gone back to their old ways of no water, no responses etc. I called on Friday morning, and after two days of calling, finally the BWSSB tanker came today - but one too late, we already had a private tanker fill up last night, since we had run completely dry! If only I could see BBMP and BWSSB go the BESCOM way, I am sure Bangalore will be a more pleasurable place to live in!

Those student days

This year I had to see-off two of my engineers out of Cisco because they moved to the US for higher studies. Invariably there would be discussions on universities, campuses, life in the US (both joined Cisco right out of college and had never been to the US), visa processing, what to take etc. Since I am an ex-NRI, they used to ask me for advice now and then - and it used to be fun trying to recollect what I was like back then (12 years ago!!), what I did, what I carried with me, the whole visa nervousness, that first landing in the USA - land of dreams!, slowly getting adjusted to a new life etc. It all feels like so long ago now, almost unbelievable that it ever happened to me. Very refreshing for sure, just to think of those times and places, so different from the content and happy life that it has now become. I try hard to recollect street names, addresses etc (even the California routes are very elusive to my memory now, I have to refer to Google maps every now and then).

All in all, it is nice to see others embarking on the same journey and enjoying themselves. When I see the pictures they post on Facebook, I wonder, did I really live that life at some point - I cannot seem to believe it!

Saturday, January 05, 2013


Finally finished reading "Durbar" - Tavleen Singh's book.

The only thought I had before and after reading it was - how did the sycophantic government let anyone publish this. Not that the book was insulting to anyone, but it laid bare a lot of inside realities which are hardly flattering to the dynasty.

All in all a great read. Exposed me to a lot of those little details which went into history before during and after emergency - when I was not even born yet.

My thought for this book is that it should be made a part of all curriculum in schools as a non-detailed text book for everyone to know why we are where we are and how to avoid these pitfalls. Else, generation after generation - we will continue to suffer the same evils. But this is never going to happen - we all know that! So instead, I encourage everyone to read it if you can get your hands on a copy.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2012 - the year gone by

Time for the customary year end blog.

After the very sad 2011, all I hoped was for a sober, unexciting 2012. I just wanted it to be normal. As normal as possible. But it turns out, it was not such a bad year after all.

-Son fell sick very little - the first big plus.

-We were able to successfully finish all my mother-in-laws' last rites - to our satisfaction and inner peace. I hope she is happy wherever she is.

-Work-wise, we both did reasonably well :) Not a bad year at all.

-My mom and Dad stayed with us for nearly 4 months (with mom coming and going, but Dad here throughout) - their longest in 7 years - the last one being their US trip in August 2005. The son and they bonded well, and so did my Dad and father-in-law, it was a very happy time. The happiest family moments I have had for a long time.

-My sister had a kid - yay! One more cousin for Rohan!

-2012 brought a couple of new beginnings for 2013 to hold up and enliven. Thanks to these, 2013 will be a very exciting, promising, nervous and tough year in a lot of ways. I hope it goes well, and we end up celebrating all of it.