Monday, May 4, 2009

Baby steps at review writing

Hi folks, 

I recently wrote a review on a dance performance held in Bay Area, California. 
And its almost as big as any of my blogs, so dive straight into ---


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A peep into Uncle Sam

I happened to visit the blog of a friend who has bookmarked my blog and it said "Updated 4 months ago"! "AGO" - Gosh! Not the word ago! Atleast a softer tone like "back" could have been better. The word "ago" sounds like aeons have passed since my last blog. This is an open insult to my blog and I take vengeance... eeerr.... by posting this blog.... :-)

This is a long due post. Everytime I have returned to this blog, there is something new to add. I started this sometime mid-jan but challenge my ever procrastinating nature.  Anyways here I am writing about my life in US post marriage and the heart-wrenching longing for home.... :-(
First of all wish you a very happy new year 2009...... I know its late but swalpa adjust maadi.... :-)

Hmm, so to cut the long story short..... for the past six months my life was on the fast forward mode - wedding, in-laws' place, visa interview, flight to US, new friends, new life and a new house in which I get to be the "lady of the house"......... Whoa! thats yet to sink in!!! And now that I'm little settled in the new house and new surroundings, the big question haunts me "What next?"

Its been two months in US now and I feel like running for cover when I hear these two obvious questions 
"How is married life?" 
"How did you like US?"
Well, to talk about married life....  everyday, there is something new I learn about Harsha that it makes me feel like am on some discovery voyage... :-)  
And about US, well, Harsha says I'm ill-qualified to judge US but still I put forth my observations of US and its life.

Welcome to the new world, where almost everything works opposite of the rest of the world. Right-hand traffic, anticlockwise locks, the upside down keys, the upturned electric switches and even the water taps operate the reverse direction! If Americans had the power to change the rules of nature then American sun would have risen in west and set in the east. Thankfully mother nature is consistent. 

I was exported from the local silicon valley to the global silicon valley. Yes, Bay area is where I stay. A favourite of our "desi" janta. Fremont, a small suburb is a concentration of residential complexes. Its a horizontally spread city, I bet you to find a building with more than 5 storeys. So basically people travel to the downtown(IT hub) for work consequently for major part of the day the city is dominated by my-type of housewives. One look at the city and man! Indians seem to be ubiquitious. Many sari-clad women go for morning-evening walks. The air in my apartment corridor is heavy with Indian spices. Stores like India cash n carry, Bharat Bazar, Dhana Bazar has got a whole range of Indian goods. No wonder why our desi janta is comfortably settled in here. With such Indian acquaintances, I personally little felt that this was the USA - The United States of America. On the contrary, I felt like am either in Delhi or Chandigarh or some such posh city in India. Wondering what kinda comparison is that? Well, wait and watch, I justify this statement later in the post. 
Continuing on the thread of Indians in US, I could classify the US-Indians into broadly three categories. 
Number one - These folks live the exact life as they would have in India. This category follows the traditions, rituals and festivals more diligently than people back in India!
Number two - The clan of totally Americanized Indians, desi look is the sole Indian-ness in them.
Number three - the people mid-way between Desi-ism and American-ism, confused lot....!
Two common factors among these groups - There is definitely a little bit of patriotism still persisting in them and all their children (category-no bar) are ABCDs.

I read this wonderful article about NRIs in US remigrating back to India.

It has a power-packed caption
NRIs are trading in their non-resident status for a chance at the new Indian dream. But can they compete in the booming India of the 21st century?

NRIs having to compete in India.... wow! What a compliment to India! The article talks about the remigrated couple Swathi and Ramesh Ramanathan of the Bangalore Janagraha fame. A person comments in the article "Every year I visit India, I see old theatres make way for malls giving a very posh look to the city. Gurgaon, now looks like a mini Las Vegas". Now thats what is apple to apple comparison folks. Hence justified the corollary Fremont looks like a posh Indian city. My instincts were not wrong after all

I did find a couple of hypocrites too lured by the dollar dreams, well times are not far when rupee dream will lure you back to originality, so watch out buddy.  But these are the people who have missed out the actual fun of watching India grow in leaps. Well... I feel sorry for myself too since am currently missing the fun. That reminds me of the kannada movie CIRCUS I watched last weekend starring namma golden star Ganesh.  In one of the scenes I caught a glimpse of the trademark gulmohar trees of blore over ulsoor lake..... God did i miss home or wat? Suddenly some of my best moments at home swarmed me. The feeling of homesickness I went through then is indescribable. I miss those early morning sounds of blore.... the vegetable sellers, the sound of school bus horns, the morning walkers chatter.......... I miss it all, I miss home and all the things revolving around it but nothing much can I do other than blog and crib.....!

But between all these, there are some strong postivies about Uncle Sam.  Americans are logically common-sensed folks who live life by the uncomplicated KISS (Keep It Short and Simple) model. Impeccable submission to traffic rules awed me. (Ok.... here I go again about traffic... well thats me obessesed with driving!) Between its awesome to drive in US but anytime Autobahns are the best. The sense of freedom and dignity every US citizen has is highly appreciable. No questions asked, no pressing force, no age constraints and to top it all a well established system. This is in to contrast what I found in Europe. US is a free society which teaches children an independent attitude and to respect the concept the dignity of labour. Indians need to get there still. 

Currently am on a forced break from work. As with every Indian who lands in US, I started cooking too which occupies most of my valuable time.... :-) and I have developed a flair for the culinary delights.  And one perk of taking a break is I have no alarm clock - I get to wake-up whenever I feel like........... Do I see my working friends turning green?.....:-) 

So conclusion
First impression - I didnt like US
Impression after a week - I hate US
Current impression - Well, US is good but east beats the west. 

P.S: If you have not listened to the oscar nominated Jai Ho song from Slumdog Millionarie, do so right away. Mindblowing score by Rahman..... I wish wish wish he wins the oscar.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bas Yaadein

I'm officially relieved from Aricent and in the true sense of the word "I'm UNEMPLOYED" as of today. And my feelings - TERRIBLY TOUCHY. In this post, I make an artless attempt to sum up the past 4 yrs of my professional world dedicating it to all my Aricent colleagues whom I'll truly miss.

My last working day in Aricent was on Monday.......... surprised why it was not on a Friday.... :). Well, the HR himself was baffled when he had to give a lone relieval letter amongst several offer letters................ :D. Anyways, the last day at work started off with an ubiquitious reaction of "Oh....! today is ur last day, senti kya?" "So, last day at work, all formalities done? Hope you are not emotional!" Did I look rather too nonchalant, that people were trying to induce some emotion on me!!! Nevertheless, the relieval procedure was smooth and my team called it a day after wrapping up with a warm farewell.

As I stayed back late evening to finish the final tit-bits of work, Prachi called for a quick cup of evening coffee before I left. Aricent campus, if not for anything can easily boast of two things, first - the view of Bangalore from the 3rd floor cafe, second - although not well maintained but the much needed green lung space in the backyard. It had been quite some time that I had been to cafe in the evening. That evening, Bangalore skyline looked scintillating from the 3rd floor cafe. A breezy evening with a twilight sky in the shades of blue and red sprinkled with clouds. As I was gazing around the lights of the high rise IT buildings and the garden in the backyard, as though by some impetuous intervention, it suddenly dawned on me how much I'm gonna miss them all!
Nostalgic images unwinded flooding my mind. The fun filled evening snacks in the cafe, the interesting lunch sessions, the relaxing post lunch talks in the garden. The annual Aricent fest -Phooljhadi fun, the gossipy coffee breaks which had topics ranging from politics, realty prices, traffic jams, new recruits, resignations, finance, plans to improve India, world.... what not!!!! I had read an article sometime which said Indian youth are awakening to the country's problems because atleast they are discussing about the country on coffee tables.... :) And our group was exemplary in that..... :) The fights for team lunchs and team outings are so cherisable now. The unforgettable weekend trips which we colleagues made religiously atleast once in a quarter. And not to forget the technical wing - irritations over the technical arguments, fretting on deadlines, sophorific and elongated meetings… and the endless carping about having to work...... :) Pushing all these thoughts aside, finally it was time for me to leave, I gave a last rueful look to my once nicely adorned desk and told myself I've to move on! The word "move on" reminds me of the fasttrack ad, nice ad !

Attrition is being nothing new in the IT field, some might wonder "Why am I making it a big deal?". But when I pose the same question to myself, I realize it was not Aricent as a company that I was attached to, it was more to the people there. As manners maketh a man, dont employees maketh a company! I cant gainsay the fact that I enjoyed my technical job profile. The work satisfaction and the confidence my job gave me is parallel to none. But apart from earning money from Aricent, I earned friends for life. And did anyone say its only in college that you make friends for life!!!!
Sri keeps saying ” You must never get emotionally attached to your job unless its your own enterprise”… well true but after spending a wonderful 4 yrs; unknowingly I've attached emotion to my job.
The most memorable moment of the day was Prachi's words for my farewell. Prachi, I can never forget that expression on your face, it conveyed more than your words. This snap of ours is definitely so memorable, Do you remember this awesome trip? We indeed were a notorious group, werent we?

As I leave behind this stage of life and move to a new one, I'm reminded of these lines from DCH movie

"Kaisa Ajab Yeh Safar Hai, Socho To Har Ik Hi Bekhabar Hai
"Usko Jaana Kidhar Hai, Jo Waqt Aaye, Jaane Kya Dikhaaye"

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Sept 24th is celebrated as the “International Girl Child Day”. On this occasion, my company (Aricent) organized a commemorative event for the girl students of Government Primary School, Sanjaynagar. The concept intrigued me the moment I read about this in my e-mail but what triggered me most were the words of someone close saying-- “I HATE DAUGHTERS !”…. The feminist in me was provoked and impulsively I decided I’m going ahead with this.

Although impetously decided, I was excited nevertheless. For long now, I’d been thinking of doing something worthwhile for children so this was a good chance. So on Sept 24th, 10 volunteers from Aricent set off to the Government school. We gathered around 50 girl students from class 5th, 6th and 7th. Each class was assigned three volunteers based on linguistic abilities, since the children were a mix of Kannada, Tamil and Telgu tongues and not to forget they understood rudimentary English too! Needless to say, I was heading a group for my Kannada background. As the girls lined up in their schoolground, their faces had a mixed expression of confusion and eagerness. After they settled down in the bus, I started breaking the ice, asking if they had seen planes? Some nodded enthusiatically, some silently acknowledged and some shouted “Yes Mam”. I continued saying “Have you seen them from very close, have you touched them?”. In unison they replied in negative. So that is where we took them, to an educational tour to the HAL Aerospace Museum. Listening this all the children clapped.

Once inside the museum, the whole grp was split into two, with one guide attached to each team. The tour had 3 parts. It started off with the photography exhibit on the growth of Indian aviation for the past 60 years. It was interesting for me to take a sneak peek at a piece of history but the kids were getting restless. The next leg of the tour was the prototype displays of various models of fighter jets, LCAs, MIGs, Helicopters, radars… etc. Wow! This was amazing. I became a child too as I explored these flying gaints. The last leg was the interior view of flights, the engines, the navigation systems and the pilot maneuvers. Our guide was saying Bangalore has the biggest HAL museum in whole of India and it looked like it. The tour ended with a quick look at the Air Traffic Control and for the kids a pilot simulation game which was simliar to one of those games in a playstation like Ameoba.

After the tiring tour of the museum, it was time for relaxation. As we distributed snack boxes, there was a sparkle in the child's face. Well! they had not expected this. We were told that some of these kids were below poverty line, so the simple snack of chocolates, cookies and juice was like a platter from a five course meal for the kids and they relished it.

Following this was some interaction with the girls. We distributed papers, colors and paint brushes and told the children to draw anything they like. The girls playfully enjoyed this...... it was as though they were pouring their imaginations out. And that very situation reminded of the drawing competition scene from “Taare Zameen Par”............:) Every child busy putting his creativity on paper. Being pathetic with lines, curves and paints myself, when one of the little ones asked me to help her out to draw a pigeon, I was hesitant........ and the outcome , a disaster. The white pigeon that I was supposed to draw resembled a fish! And the girl next to me remarked “Mam, why did you draw a fish in the air!”, I laughed helplessly............:)

We concluded the day with distributing momentos to all children. They were thrilled. As we were departing, one girl told me "Mam, come to our school everyday" and an other one said "Mam, come to my house, I'll cook chicken biryani for you" and on clarifying my vegetarian habits, she said "No problem mam, I'll cook veg biryani for you". When we got back to the bus "Everyone was offering me a seat right next to them!". Thats when I realized that our one small effort made such a big difference to their lives.

Back in the bus, one girl told me this is not the same bus we came in. I casually overlooked it but after seeing the driver I realized the girl was right. She pointed out that the color of the seats and the curtains were different. We are blessed with comforts so we brush apart such simple things..... smart kids they were, all they lacked was a direction. I was more impressed with one of the teachers who accompanied the students, she was a big source of encouragement for the kids, a firm believer of the concept "Children of today are the citizens of tomorrow - gender no bar ".
On the ride back to school, all kids were excited enough to scream some movie songs. As the children got down from the bus each had a geninue smile of satisfaction and with a firm handshake they gratefully said "Thank you Mam", "Bye Mam". One of the kids was so emotional that she gave a warm hug to an Aricent volunteer. Later we came to know that the girl was earlier in a slum and all this was a terrific new experience to her and was overwhelmed with joy. The innocence that shined in the childrens' faces drastically changed my idea of government school children.

This event was organized in collaboration with Youth For Seva volunteer group. It’s a sort of an NGO which takes up several such socio-community initiatives. Latest one being the look out for volunteers to teach in Govt Schools....…. Naresh and Darshan, think about it.......... :)

Read more about the organisation at

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


In the corporate world I live in, various surveys on quality, statistics, work organization and people management galore. A couple of months back I attended one such survey response feedback meeting conducted in my team. The survey was centered on the capability of my manager in handling and molding his team. It goes without saying that almost all the team members cribbed in varying intensities – a few carped and caviled and for the habitually querulous folks it was a treat... :) I did not want to be left behind in the race so I gave my two cents too, I’d a few bickering and one among them was “the periodicity and the duration of our status meetings” !

My team meets every Friday to discuss the status and proceedings of the week. Although such meetings are vital, if it becomes superfluous and carried out just because of the fact that the process demands it then it definitely sucks. Considering the fact that I dislike such routine meetings, it becomes more irksome if such meetings are extended beyond the stipulated time. And when I complained about the same, I was rebuffed in a manner as if it was my personal problem! I’m not totally against such meetings but time is a precious resource, out of 40 industrious hrs 2 hrs cannot be whiled away for such feel-good-factor meetings! This makes the famous one-liner in the corporate lingo that “meetings are places where people meet to discuss that nothing can be done“ come true. Although my manager did not completely agree with me, the jeering did make way for a succinct update, Cheers.

This experience really made me wonder why are we Indians (on a whole) so process-oriented? In today’s changing trend being authoritatively process-stuck may be seen as an overhead. Recently, I read an article about the changing facets of Indian corporates, here the author seemed to corroborate my belief. He says “Leaders of the challengers are not driven as hard to meet quarterly pressures as global companies are. A Ratan Tata could never have conceived the Nano if he had the next Tata Motors quarterly conference call with analysts on his radar”. Here the author not only comments about the diligent followers of methods but also stresses the importance on leadership abilities to achieve global visibility.

Although India is relatively new in the MNC field as against other job profiles, in absolute terms the MNC industry is not all that very old. It can easily boast of biting the past 20 yrs of Indian history. 20 yrs prior, when India as a developing country set out her tender foot on the global map, her weapons were perseverance and obedience. Yes, I say obedience in the sense - aping the tried and the tested methods assiduously. But today as India spreads her wings on the global map, to stay ahead from her competitors she needs to be unfettered from such process. Its time that we set a process of our own!! India has all the qualities to make her presence felt globally but she is deterred by such peripheral issues.

On deeper thoughts I realized that indeed leaders are so anti-process, famous entrepreneures, leaders and rags-to-riches heros didn’t make it there because they followed what was common. There is something they thought out of box, there is something that they denied to follow, they were the mavericks kind sneering at the trifling issues.

But the question is can this happen with the service companies, which is predominant in India? If it cannot happen then India should stop serving and start leading, well it has already started……….. but positive thinking has never harmed anyone, right?

This situation reminds me of the IBM ad where recumbent employees in a conference room are “IDEATING”.

Good Luck Guys is what I can say.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I write this blog as I watch the movie "SWADES", no other movie could have possibly been so apt to explain the current frame of my mind !!

People around me have been complaining that my blog is not updated, wel...... my last blog was in May, thats just 2 months back..... not a long time actually....:) For me these 2 months have just zoomed past, too many events in too little a time! I have a platter of varied experiences to share. The stream called "life" has taken yet another major turn. And my reaction to this.....PARADOXICAL!
Paradox, yes, is the right word to explain what am going through now. Adaptibility is the name of the game. Memories are being made but at the same time some old memories haunt. Sure there are new happenings now but life being a predilection seems to scream the theme of the movie BAZZIGHAR - "Kuch pane ke liye kuch khona padtha hain". I'm set to leave behind a state of clemency and embrace the uncertainity. But when has life exactly been ascertained...! My thought process is changing surprising myself at times! Cut the puerility, I react to the once cynical ideas now, although mixed.... :)

Ah! At this moment I remember the golden daffodils dancing in the zephyr and exclaiming like William Wordsworth does in his poem "Daffodils"................

"For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils"

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Non-existant denizen

The main power of a citizen in a democratic republic is the power to franchise. And how should that citizen feel if such a vital power is stripped?

Today was the assembly polls of Karnataka state. The campaigning for the same had started in full swing for the past one month. I'd been closely following the campaign and the people contending for it, with a view of casting my vote scrupulously. But alas! the Government of Karnataka/India never even provided me with a chance to cast my precious vote.

Every voter in the electoral list was given a slip a week prior to the elections. This slip was something like a registration of the individual for the elections. This was done on a door-to-door basis. When it was the turn of my house, my mom noticed my name missing (inspite of having a valid election ID card). She mentioned this, but those folks never noted it in the additional list because they were instructed to only distribute the slip and not to do anything more! But she was told that there were many such people whose case was similar to mine, such people could come to the election booth with the election ID card and they would be allowed to vote. My mom agreed to that and let go the issue.

On the day of the election, I went to the booth with my election ID card only to be embarassed right on the face. The election duty special officers who are none other than the teachers and government staff were helpful enough to go through the list thoroughly to check just in-case if my name was misplaced in the list but all their efforts were in-vain. Since they are not vested with the rights to take decisions but only to discharge their spoon-fed duties they strictly didnt allow me to vote. I've no complaints with them on the contrary am glad that India still retains her face of obedience and honesty.

But am irked with the Government, what kind of a stupid rule could that possibly be where a law-abiding citizen with a voter's card does not get to vote! Not having my name in the list does not disprove my citizenship specially after having voted in the last election, how could they restrict me from not voting this time around? I agree to the fact that my name might have missed in the electoral list because of miscrepancies, but having a valid document under the seal of Republic of India makes me in all sense a rightfull citizen of this country. Be it passport, voter's ID, PAN card, driving licence etc all are despatched by the Govt, by rejecting these, is the government skeptical of the authencity of its own practices?
Further, I could find the names of around 90% of my neighbours including my neighbour's servant's family!!!

Govt spends booties of money in educating the youth the power of democracy but if the same govt treats its citizen in this condescending behaviour, it will not be late before me and people with similar experiences lose their interest in electing the ruler of their choice.
In the election booth, a govt staff remarked as to submit another form to the corporation claiming am a resident of my place and to get a new voter's card ! Now, what do I do with the old voters card, throw it straight to the bin?

Now on, When am asked for my address proof or age proof, I contemplate on which documents to present since the govt itself is not ready to accept it as a proof, why should I blame the third person!

Next day, it was all over the papers about this mess where many people who had an election photo ID Cars (EPIC) were denied voting permissions. They had given fuming statements about the EPIC struggle they had to face. The Election commission had 4000+ complaints. That was still less! After all this the statistics claimed only 44% vote from Bangalore, ridiculous!!

Is democracy still "BY THE PEOPLE" !!!!