Saturday, September 27, 2014

Daddy Dear!

"I learnt to change the diaper today" my Dad announced last week. Feeling very happy, with a glint in his eye. I was overwhelmed.

Ever since they have moved here, my Dad has picked up so much of the baby duty, it is simply mind blowing. We can now leave the younger one with him all day without worrying. He figured out the formula mix, cereal mix, how to feed him, how to change him, how to clean him, and more importantly how to put him to sleep. None of us, in fact, can do it as well as he does. The younger one is an impatient little devil and the last thing he wants to do is sleep. Somehow my Dad manages, and beautifully well!

Not to mention, he manages the grocery shopping all by himself, baby essential shopping, and any other myriad shopping. In fact between him and my father in law, they manage most of the household shopping, so much so, that after many ages, Subhash and I went for groceries last weekend! And forgot 2-3 essential things, which my Dad promptly replenished the next day. Yeah, we have gotten so bad at it!

Can't thank the grannies enough. My mom, dad and father in law, truly the biggest treasures in our lives! Wish my mother in law was around too, healthy and happy, that would have completed the picture most awesomely. Like Rohan says from time to time, she went to God, I am missing her.

Big Five!

Today Rohan, my older one, turns five! No idea where the time went.

Happy birthday to simply the best son in town! :) Hands down! He taught me many things about life, parenting, being there for someone and on and on, the list is endless. He bore the hardship of having to go off to a daycare at 1 and took it in his stride and never ever cried! He is so brave and yet so vulnerable, he makes you proud and want to protect him at the same time! And so on and on.

Happy Birthday Rohan :) May god keep you safe, happy healthy and prosperous always!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Brown Deer, WI

I am sure I wrote very little about this place on this blog. Yes, such a place exists in the US! It is a suburb of the buzzing Milwaukee city. I happened to live here for a year. And it was undoubtedly the most turbulent time of my life!

I was with GE Healthcare then and what can I say - that one year in Brown Deer saw me go to the lowest point in my life back to the highest.

It was one place where I was truly lonely - and alone - in all senses of the words. I had no friends there with whom I could socialize so home-work-home was pretty much the standard routine. Thanks to this routine, my weight was at an all time low when I was in this place - lack of avenues to eat out - I hated eating out alone, then and now!

Work was turbulent too. I had my one and only experience of being handed the pink slip - and the six weeks that followed that - I can never forget. Thanks to this really awesome manager I had there who somehow struggled to find the budget to take me back in as a contracting employee - I was back in 6 weeks. But I was at my last cent and it was a step away from either debt or back to India if I had not got back in then, that very week.

Then the constant threat of another pink slip.

And the drama for a visa. My OPT was fast expiring and we needed an H-1. Neither the client nor the employer had a policy of sponsoring H1. So we had to do a sub-contracting arrangement to get the visa done. That was the worst nightmare in all of my USCIS turmoils. Thankfully it all went through fine.

Then the high - I interviewed and got into Cisco. Where I have been since then - 10 years now almost :) That was the inflection point from rock bottom and a true 180 degree turn. Never looked back since then. I remember when packing to move to California, I was stuffing some boxes into my Honda and by the time I was done, there was a neat 3 inches of snow on all of them. I muttered one final long curse on mid-west and its winters, all the while vengefully happy that I am getting out of Wisconsin,  and left to get some dinner, packed off the car to California the next morning and had lunch with a couple of close friends who came down from Chicago and just couldn't wait to get the cab to the airport and just get out of the place. I hated it so much.

And this one year saw Subhash and me transition from friends to more albeit at long distance :) For that - it will also be very close to my heart :) Enough said. :P

Today somehow I remembered it. What with my cousin moving to the US and Subhash and I discussing our long left behind US life, I remembered this very significant one year of my life and I looked it up in the maps. The apartment where I lived, the place where I worked, the freeways, the roads, the IHOP - I never ever imagined I would miss this place. And yet, today I did. And the significance of it hit me fully. This was a place that dealt me the biggest blow in life and also taught me how to fight it, get out of it and live it up!

And for that, it will always remain a very very special place.

If I go the US again - I definitely have the Chicago-Madison-Milwaukee triangle planned for a weekend. I really need to see those home-turfs once - just to remember the old life! I missed them all today! So much! I never thought this possible 10 years ago :)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Technology we make..

Needed to apply for a Singapore visa for all of us and also a Malaysian visa. Had very little time on hand plus the agents' exorbitant and random charges kind of put me off. I found that we had an option to apply online provided we knew a citizen or PR of Singapore and they had an account with which we could login. I checked with one of my very close friends who has been living there for a while and she said she did have an account. I asked her if she minded applying for us. I filled all forms electronically but I was reasonably sure there was no option to upload them. And I did not want her to labour alone over 7 forms. So I thought of an idea which involved a technology which we make and use daily, WebEx! I setup one with her, we collaborated over the bridge and voila! It was done. And by some chance, the first two visas I applied, were approved and we had e-visas within 2 hours!! The rest took about a day and a half to come, but all in all a very hassle free process. Minimal paperwork and not to mention the very reasonable price - just the official government fees!

Kudos to the Singapore government - truly showing the way in technology adoption. And a million thanks to my friend :)

Was particularly proud of the technology we make - without it, this would have been a little more complex to do :) It is always great to work for a place whose products you know make a difference and what more, you actually see them in action every single day - right from when browsing on the mobile to posting this blog! :)


Today my cousin left with her husband for California. It was a very mixed occasion. We were very happy for her as she starts a new journey into her marriage and in a new country and at the same time very sad to see her leave. Never thought such a day would come. I left everyone behind oh-so-many-years-ago but somehow being the person who is staying back is much more poignant than being a person who is embarking on a new journey. At least there is something new to look forward to which helps overcome home-sickness. For the people left behind, it is just the same routine with a big void.

Well, I was at least glad that the newly weds spent a good chunk of their time here with us in Bangalore. My aunt also came by with them and so it was a merry family for a week. We were also joined by her in-laws a little later and it was a good chance to get to know them - one knows how much we get to interact in our busy and noisy weddings! :)

Father in law is back tomorrow. Looking forward to that!

Otherwise, just the routine till the Dussehra vacation comes around.