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.