Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Unprepared, nervous

We decided to go on an impromptu trip to Disney World with a friend's family. The decision happened so quickly and the arrangements were done so too. All my life, this was one trip I envisioned myself planning and researching thoroughly for bookings related to Disney. But it never happened so far. Now with Nithin around 4 years, we are at a stage where we can think of making this trip. We should do it now since Nikhil might outgrow the age - it will be his first experience, so will be ours. So we will spend Christmas in Disney. I am not thinking of cooking or baking as I won't be home anyway. Like Suman said, I think I will be longing to eat rasam and potato fry by the end of the second day. I am excited as I will be meeting my close friend and family whom we visited last year exactly during Christmas time.

It is all these tell-tales about Disney that I am reading, thoughts that we have no time for shopping and planning - everything is making me nervous and excited. Can't wait to jump into vacation!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Eventful past weekend

We went to New Jersey to give a surprise baby shower for our friends. Four families with the help of the father-to-be as the organizer, it was fun to get there, pick up the food, decorate the home and wait for the mom-to-be. As she entered the home, we all screamed 'SURPRISE'! This was followed by baby shower games and finally the opening of gifts by the mom-to-be. It was all fun until every one left one by one and we were the last. Nithin has warmed up so much to these folks that he started saying : "Can we stay here today?" and started crying. We thought of waiting for 5 minutes until he calmed down. After 5 minutes, we got dressed for the winter night drive and got into the van - only to find that the van would not start. B tried repeatedly, but no luck. We walked back into the friend's home and spent the night there.

Sunday was probably the most eventful day in the recent past. Our friends had to go to the Lamaze class, so B went to drop them so we will have their car during the day. I called AAA and the guy came within half an hour. While I stood with him, kids inside the apartment, B on his way to us, I was shivering literally. It was freezing. I asked him "Can I go inside, please call me when you have finished checking the batteries". He said "yes" and as I walked back, it slipped - the pavements were icy. I managed not to fall and walked back in. He called and said "it is not the batteries, your vehicle has to be towed." I waited now for the towing truck and thank God, B was here before they came! I clicked some pictures of the van being loaded into the towing truck. We were told that automobile shops do not work on Sunday, so we had no option of getting it fixed the same day.

We decided to rent a car and go back home. Home which was 2 hours away seemed like the destination we were dying to reach. We were comfortable at the friend's place, can't imagine getting stranded in the middle of a highway. But still we were forced to be away from home for a reason not within our control. So we all longed to be home!

The major part of the day went off in driving to the rental place, getting a car, me driving our friend's car to the place where he was attending Lamaze class. If you know me, you can imagine how frantic I get about driving in rain/icy roads - not to mention unfamiliar roads. I managed to survive and dropped the car to the very hands of its owner and it was a sigh of relief!

The kids were hungry by this time and they wanted to go to McDonald's. We searched for one near where we were and drive towards it. Alas, the GPS said that there is no McDonalds in the location when we reached there and asked us to turn around. My sharp eyes caught the name board of 'Dosa Gril'' on the way to the non-existent M. Within minutes, we were all inside Dosa Grill. Quite satisfied by the yummy dosa and coffee which is no match to any chicken nugget in my dictionary, I was thanking my lucky stars. Kids were also happy with the dosa.

Rest of the drive as B drove and I relaxed which is how I would desire it to be always. We wondered at the interesting experiences life throws at us and worried whether the problem with our van will be easy/hard to fix. We were back home FINALLY - one day late, yet safe, but waiting to go back to get the fixed van.
P.S. It ended to be a battery issue and needed replacement. B went on a weekday and got it back.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Weeks are flying

Last Friday, was the holiday party that my new company hosted. Hardly one month old in the company, I was adamant about attending it, in spite of the fact that the very few people I became friends with were not coming. Part of it was to keep up the tradition of attending the holiday party - since B and I went for the one from my old company last year. Another reason is to celebrate the fact that I now have a job. (Malayalam thought: Joli ullappozhalle office party kku pokan pattooo!") I checked with the same baby sitter and she was open to watching my boys. Nithin will be seeing her after so many months and she was excited about it. Long story short, B and I attended the party, chatted with some people who we knew from before, ate nicely and enjoyed as much as we can. I was so surprised to bump into this HR girl from my previous company - who was the very person to tell me the official news that I got laid off, months ago! Her husband works in our company and she was there as a guest. She was happy to see me employed and she told there were many who still have not found jobs. God's way of showing me how lucky I am??!!
We had Just someone and her husband come over from New Jersey. They are our friends from college, BTW. The kids enjoyed playing with new gifts uncle and aunty brought. I took JS with me to the evening birthday party at a neighbours'. She assumed the role of the photographer while I was busy chatting and eating. The next afternoon was another birthday party - Nithin's best girl friend's. I had to take him for that, so I bid bye to the guests hoping to catch up soon.
The next week flew by quickly. I cannot believe that I am coding in C#, ASP.NET and Javascript. I am excited to learn new things. The forecast for this weekend seems to be busy - hoping to do some proper cooking on Sunday. Ciao, until I talk to you next time.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

The four days flew away. In the Thanksgiving night party with the 'Fantastic Five' families, we were all up until 2AM in the night. We had fun playing games - couple of them I organized. I have warmed up to dancing now - provided it is these folks that I am around, and there is dim light so that no one can comment on how bad I am at it.

The next day flew by in recuperating from the previous night. There was no strength in any of us to think of Black Friday shopping. All 4 of us slept well in the afternoon and woke up to head to a friend's house. It was just two families - host and the guest. The kids played well. It was nice to see Nithin open up and play with his peer. He used to cling to me all the time - now here is freedom finally! I don't have to carry him around. The new school and being full time there are bringing about some really welcome changes in his personality. Thanks to our friends who treated us to some nice cocktails in their wet bar. We were relaxed and it was a great evening.

Saturday, I had to go for shopping, lest I feel like a loser this long weekend. I grabbed some nice clothes for everyone in the family. We managed to take the kids to the mall and took a picture with Santa.

Sunday was spent in the church, followed by the Christmas Carols rounds. The weather was beautiful. We did not need our jackets in the day hopping from one home to another. Carols is as much about food as it is about singing! Every home, I vow not to eat any more - but the sight of home made vadas tempt me and I break the vow very easily. It wrapped up at 5.30 and we were home getting ready for yet another work week.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mid week post

I am excited about weekends now. Not having to get up early and drive is one thing that take the stress off my shoulders. In Malayalam, there is a word called 'Ahankaari'. One could call me that since for 6 months I was home craving to go work. And now I started working and am already looking for excuses not to drive. I am thankful for not being stuck at home the winter days - which is what I dreaded the most. But you know what I mean, right! A break is always appreciated by everyone.

At work, I met some nice folks and am learning new things. One day, I went for a lunch out with UL at Salad Works. This is the first time I am going out for lunch by myself in this new area. Even though, we have met for 2 or 3 times in total, it felt like we have known each for ever. We chatted non stop!

Last Friday, I was excited because we went as a team for lunch for the addition of a new member - that is me! It was at P.F.Changs. We car pooled, had a nice lunch and the drive back through scenic back roads to work seemed like I am have a day off.

I took the afternoon off to go to Nikhil's class as the Guest Reader. The teacher had sent me a book this year. I go for it every year and I pick my book. I liked her choice better that mine. It was a story about Turkeys in a home and how they compete to be the ThanksGiving Turkey, but once they realize the winner would gets roasted in the oven, they run for life. It was cute. Nikhil gets to sit next to me in the blue chair - coz his mom is the reader. He was full of excitement, as usual. After the reading was over, I handed over the puzzles I grabbed for the kids from the dollar store. It was a SURPRISE. I have heard about other moms giving goodies, never got to do that myself. This time, finally!

Looking forward to the 4 days at home. You all have a great Thanks giving and a wonderful long weekend!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bed time routine

Talking of the evening, I get home early when days at work are normal. I pick up Nithin and Nikhil and reach home. Now I am tempted to cook something hot and fresh, rather than sitting with Nikhil to do homework. Somedays, he has activities to be driven to (poor B gets stuck with that mostly) and when he comes back, it is already 'time to bed' according to me. A shower, dinner for kids and when B and kids are playing, here I am forced to go into the 'controlling mama' tone.

Before, we used to linger around without any strict bed times. Kids playing, fighting, having fun and screaming! Now I get frustrated that I can't let them playing for too long. If they sleep too late, they may not be able to wake up early in the morning. I feel torn because that is probably the only time they are having fun at home, and here I am 'yelling' them to go to sleep. So, you tell me, what do you do in your life with the bed time routine?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Changes continued..

While the monster truck crawled by me, my wipers swishing away the rain, I literally shivered as the Turn Pike curved. I waited for the truck to go past ASAP and I breathed a sigh of relief. I start so early in the morning, my heart was bent on curling back into the bed with B and Nithin when the alarm went off, but the thought of unseen challenges by hitting the road later made me jump up.

The good side of the enforced schedule is that everyone is up early. Nikhil works on his Kumon. They all get early to their places. Nithin seems to be doing well with the full time daycare - he occasionally puts requests to stay home every other day like he used to - but so far doing well at school. Touch wood.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Changes in life

Last Saturday, I dragged the whole family with me when I did my test drive on the Turn Pike to my new office. Monday seemed like the day we were all waiting for - as if a timer will go off on that day and I was not sure what could happen after that. I spent every minute thinking of how to prepare for the big changes in life. After the test drive to the office, we went to the Willow Grove Mall and had lunch at CheeseCake factory. It is Halloween day..and hey, we were hungry anyway! It was a good lunch and then we drove back home. I felt much better - I survived the test. I could at least imagine how Monday morning drive will be.

Sunday night, my sleep was disturbed, I was alert, woke up twice in the middle of the night, only to realize that it was too early to wake up. I am the kind of person who loves to sleep till 7.30 or 8 usually, but now I have to get up at 5.45 at least. I left home at 6.15 on Monday morning with B, N and N wishing me good luck and was at the new office really early. It is better to be early so I can have a smooth ride. The orientation went smoothly and I went home before it was dark. Now it gets pitch dark by 5PM here in Philadelphia. I DO NOT enjoy driving in the dark, especially in the roads in which I am not comfortable. Hence this leaving home early in the morning. I am a fan of flexible timings now!

To be continued..

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Old countdown over..new starts

A BIG SORRY for being so silent. I got a couple of emails/comments from friends who care and were tired of this silence. Countdown to return back to US was over long time ago.

Back in US, I could see the market was getting better. I got two offers around the same time.
One close to home, in the same company where I worked for 5 years some time ago. Another one, far from home, but promising to give me some new kind of work experience and build more on the knowledge I gathered in the past two years. It was a tough decision. But I chose the far job over the close one. I will join the job this coming Monday.

When I went to interview in my old company, it was a great experience. It was like walking into one's own home. I could recognize almost every person that I saw there. In spite of that, I have made a decision to try out some new challenges. Biggest challenge for me is the 45 minutes drive in the Turn Pike one way every day. It is much more than what I have ever done. But I am hoping for some exciting times. New office, new colleagues, new places to eat lunch..I will be working close to two of my friends' offices. Work wise also, I will have a lot to learn.

Another major change in my life was that B's parents returned back to India a month ago. We miss them a lot. They were very much helpful in our day to day life. I am now playing the role of a house wife - planning about what to make for the next meal, grocery shopping, driving Nikhil to activities etc. But since I was at home, I enjoyed it all.

This week, Nithin was sick for past 3 days. He is on the mend now. I am hoping he recovers for the big change in our lives next week. He will have to go to day care all 5 days from the '3 days only' schedule. He does not like the idea much. I am worried my transition into the working mom role goes easy with the three men in my life!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Countdown starts

Not even a week left before we start back. Yesterday, was a forced lazy day on me by myself.

In the past 3 weeks, we had roamed a lot. So we felt exhausted and worried about our health. We had my schoolmate visit us, so we had done some roaming within Bangalore last weekend. Now was the time to relax and recover or else we might break down. I had to cancel a fun trip planned with relatives and we decided to breathe.
But that one day was so hard to be inside home. I am so much of an outdoor person that I find it so hard to stay indoors for one complete day. It is true that even in US, if I stay home all day, I have this itch to get out for a drive at least in the evening.

So Nikhil and me were back in action today after the complete rest yesterday. A morning at the games arcade in the mall near home, bit of shopping and the walk back home to rest the afternoon. Evening, I took him to watch Ice Age Part 3 in the theatre. By now we both are so familiar with the Forum Mall and its theatre. After the movie, we caught up with a friend at the food court and headed back home. Countdown begins!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Real taste of vacation in India

  • Listening to Appa talk about his favorite movies and songs
  • Playing 'Aradhana' songs and Hemant Kumar hits and enjoying them in the car
  • Listening to Kamal songs in car
  • Watching 'Avvai Shanmugi' in DVD at home and discovering new hidden jokes
  • Eating spicy Andhra meals in banana leaf
  • Recovering the collection of old photo albums and looking at young Appa and Amma, good old friends and listening to Nikhil scream at my old pictures with long plaited hair!
  • An impromptu visit to a movie theatre in the near by mall to catch the next available movie and a McD's nuggets meals for Nikhil
  • Waiting for my close friend from school days to reach Bangalore to meet me

This is going good, Thank God!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Half way through!

The first few days saw me and my family go to Coorg. It was fun - we visited Talakkaveri ( starting point of the river Kaveri), Abbey falls, a Tibetan village with the huge Golden Temple and Mysore Palace. Then few days of rest at home and we are now in Chennai.

Chennai is way more hotter than what I thought. AC rooms are in every home nowadays. So I take refuge there. Living around close relatives who shower love is a delightful experience. These folks have seen me from the time I was a baby. The college girls now here in this home are babies I have held in my hands. It is a long lasting relation I cherish with the bunch of joint families here.

On the flip side, to my surprise, the hot weather, traveling and eating different foods has made me feel exhausted. All the things I have craved to eat while I am US, seem to not entice me now. W hen my tummy aches. I feel safer eating curd rice! The 9 years of US life has made me addicted to cleanliness. I was never the one to be bothered about the dust or the dirt while I was in India. I was proud of being so adaptive and flexible also.I seem to have changed a lot, my tolerance towards dust/dirt/polluted air has come down. I used to laugh at people's cliched dialogues on pollution, traffic etc, but now I am the one feeling it. Hmmmm! 15 more days to go.

Nikhil is enjoying the time with kids here. I am glad!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day 1

The flight was long, tiring but not too bumpy. Food was not great, except for the last breakfast which was Puris! At the London airport, the one thing I did that was exciting was get a change of 1 pound and use it in an internet kiosk to type an email to B and Appa. Getting on the internet made me feel homely in the vast airport. Felt like I am not that far away India and USA. Little moments of fun!

Nikhil was good. I was super thrilled when he ate the Puris with the spicy curries for breakfast in the plane. I forced him to sleep in the second flight for we fear a monster called JET LAG! Day 1 activities were planned to involve Nikhil and make him walk with us to some small shops etc to prevent him from falling asleep. After 3 hours, he could not control it anymore, he fell asleep in the car. Today is the first night - last time he could not sleep well for some days. Let us see how this one goes.
In the couple of phone conversations, Nithin and Nikhil exchanged 'miss you's and 'love you's. It is hard for them to be separated now, especially thar they have started playing/watching Star Wars, DS etc etc together. Hang in there, folks, I will keep posting my updates!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Shower time

A great breakthrough - Nithin agreed to try out the shower with his Chacha (short for Achacha, meaning big bro). And he liked it so much! Now taking a bath seems more fun than ever to him! Bye Bye, bucket! Welcome, shower! I can hear them talking to each other and it is fun to hear Nithin talk like a big boy!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fast Forward

We all know the 'Rewind' button in our minds - that takes us into the past and helps relive the good moments of our lives. It looks like I have hit the fast Forward button. My mind is always in the trip that I am about to take on with my son. It is like I am re(?) living the future. I am daydreaming of each day in India. Shopping, preparing, packing is going on. Plans for small trips while in India are in the making via phone with my Appa. It is exciting, but at the same time, these thoughts make me nervous also.

Since I have got used to B's presence so much, I have become dependent on him for so many things. He takes care of minute details and I can rely on him that he will pack everything that is needed and fix all mechanical/hardware issues. Since he won't be with me, I am afraid where all I will have to act as B! I will have to do all his usual chores when we travel together. When Nikhil misses his Appa, I would not know what to do. I will have fun shopping and roaming around with Nikhil, but I cannot entertain him the way B can. Playing DS together, watching Star Wars is all beyond me. Since I won't have B to share the parenting role, I feel completely responsible for anything Nikhil will go through. I am worried about his health throughout the journey.

Let us see how it goes.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I have been contemplating a trip to India for the past few months. B insisted more on that because
it will give me a break from the dull job market and him from my daily reports of how bad the market is. It is just me and Nikhil who are going to my parents'. Mr.Nithin will be here with B and his parents. Hmm, mixed feelings about that prevail, but I am convinced Son 1 would be easier to manage by myself. I could ENJOY the trip a bit more hopefully as I am not running around to feed Mr.Nithin or trying to put him to sleep. I will miss hugging him and he will miss holding my ear while he sleeps. Since he apparently did not miss Mommy when Mom was away in LA for 3 days, it is assumed that he would be fine with dad and grand parents.

This would be the only chance in the near future for me to make a trip to India and utilize all the time the way I want. I am looking forward to spending some quality time with my Appa and Amma. It is time to replenish my stock of typical Indian items - food, clothes etc. that I get from there. I will come back rejuvenated and jump into the job market with double strength - me thinks!

Friday, June 26, 2009

That One Long Minute

The test was 4 hours long. The past two weeks have been so hectic and strenuous with preparing for the PMP certification exam. I had a red jute bag full of PMP books and I would set out to either Barnes and Nobles or the Penn State Great Valley campus. I had 'my' sofas in both the places. My little corners of study where I could open a book and forget about the rest of the world. I had put in my best with full support from all at home.

But the questions are so tricky with two answers that are really close. Every answer I clicked, I was trusting my instinct based on what I studied. After one pass through all questions and a second pass through the 'Mark for Review' ones, my thoughts centered around the what the outcome is going to be. I tried to shake those thoughts away telling myself the outcome is going to be based on what I do NOW. As there was only 1 minute, I thought - I have done all I could and I would really be broken if I don't make it! I prayed to God because that is all that I could do now. My heart was thumping so hard I could hear it distinctly as if it were on the table, next to the keyboard.

A survey screen about the testing center followed. I clicked through choices like 'Excellent' and 'Good' for the survey. The survey ended and I waited for the screen to refresh with the result of the exam.

The white blank screen refreshed and I could read the word 'Congratulations, you have passed the PMP examination'. My joy knew no bounds. It was the moment for which I worked hard. But I realize that the result could very easily have been the other way - had some questions been more tough, had I clicked a different choice for some answers. As I gathered the print out of the 'success' screen, I was truly happy. After the day I got laid off, this is the first day of achievement.

I called B and told him the result. He was thrilled. He told Nikhil who was in the car. And Nikhil said "Look, Amma, I told you anything can be DONE on my birthday". Yes, he turned 8 on the same day. The evening was spent in Olive Garden with family where we got the waiters sing a surprise birthday song for him and he truly was surprised and shy!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Exam Prep

My certification exam is getting nearer. Having the luxury of B's parents watching my kids, I sneak out for a place of quiet study. Different places different days. At home, distractions are more - kids, piles of laundry to be folded, chores here and there and the worst of all - my BED! So today morning, I set out with my book bag to Barnes and Nobles. These words came to me while I was sitting there. It is in Hindi, of course.

Barnes and Nobles का एक कोना

खिड़की के पासवाली एक कुर्सी में मैं

दूर Route 100 में जा रही है गाडियां

हाथ में किताब लिए बैठी हूँ मैं

हवा में उड़ रहा है कोई अंग्रेज़ी गाना

अजीब राहों से गुज़रती है ज़िन्दगी

कल क्या होगा ये किसने जाना?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Beginnings and Ends

The demise of a close relative in India left us thinking a lot about death. We all know it is a truth, it is bound to happen to all of us some day. Yet, when we see it happen, it is shocking and sad. We wonder how we spend our lives attached to the material things and how we fight or keep grudges against people. In the end, all that matters is how much we loved and how we lived. It saddens us to think that when we go again for a visit to India, we won't be able to meet this aunt as we usually do. Her smile and her radiant face will live in our memories always.


On a different note, Nikhil's school closed yesterday. He brought back all his belongings, composition notebooks and a picture of him and his teacher. Loads of paper has piled needing clean-up in his room. It is the beginning of summer vacation. It marks the end of his second grade and the beginning of his journey towards third grade. It made me emotional thinking how fast he is growing. Third grade is supposed to be more serious and a beginning of a new era in elementary education. I am eager to see how it will change our lives!

This brought back so many memories of my own school years. Summer vacation as the single daughter did not mean much excitement to me. But then, at that age, I did not know what excitement meant. I was satisfied with being home all the time, reading more 'Sujatha' books and any Tamil novels I get, watch TV and listen to radio. I did not have a social circle or play mates until I was at the end of Xth standard. Cycling to friends near home and chatting with them marked the beginning of the change in my life. Seeking friends and refusing to be a loner, I was so sure about how I want my life to be.

Towards the end of the vacation, somehow we would get the news that the new textbooks for the next class have arrived at the bookstore of our school. People would rush to the school, stand in line and grab the loads of books from the school bookstore before they run out of stock. The memory of this ritual is still fresh in my mind. The fragrance of the new text books, the promise they made and the thought of going back to school always brightened me up. That meant, getting back with friends and learning new things. I still remember, as soon as I arrive home with the new text books, I would open them up and start reading. Those were the days! Cotton Hill.G.H.S., Trivandrum meant the home for me. It brought out the best in me - academic as well as extracurricular activities.

OK, that was a trip down the memory lane. Catch you later!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

CA - LA times

Day 2 : S, B and I went for boating in a beautiful lake near S's home. I was shivering in the beginning, but slowly eased into it. I also pedaled the boat - it is a big achievement for me considering how 'adventurous' I am. We discussed some interesting topics as we cruised in the water. After that we went for biking. That is the only sport (is it a sport?) that I enjoy. I went two rounds in the bike trail. It was a beautiful place and it was such a refreshing journey.

Afternoon, we three met K at Saravana Bhavan. Yummy South Indian food!

In a shopping complex, I see this girl who looks like M - from far away! We stopped the car and I followed this girl with a baby in her hand hoping that she should be M. She was inside PlayGym and I kind of took the risk and approached her! It was indeed M! It was a pleasant surprise to run into an old friend in a shopping complex like this.

That evening we gathered at V's place - had a nice dinner catered from Spice Hut. Yummy Appams and Idiappams!. We all played Dumb Charades. This game never fails to entertain any group! Boys Vs Girls - and girls won hands down! I am sure none of the boys will read this post , so I can claim whatever I want here!

Day 3 : Met my cousin Anna and family after 8 years. We chatted with them through home cooked meals by Akka. After the meal, B and I set out on our long drive to LA. Reached around 8.30. Had a quick meeting with the tired looking bride. B and I had a peaceful dinner at Olive Garden. The conversation with the handsome chef post-dinner was also interesting. He has finished his Bachelor's and is going to start Master's. He is also acting in some movies (LA's Hollywood influences!) . May be, some day he will become a movie star and we could say "Hey, I know this guy"!

Day 4: Wedding was in the evening. We ran some errands for the wedding. We went to church with bride and groom. The Cathedral style church atmosphere and their songs and wedding mood made me emotional. We had lunch with bride's relatives. It was little uncomfortable to begin with, but eventually through the evening, B and I were joking to her uncles and aunts. It was a nice experience meeting different people and chatting with them during the wedding and the reception. It was a beautiful location - a cliff facing the ocean and I again became emotional to see the wedding of our sisterly friend!

Day 5: B and I went to Redonda Beach, killed time in a local mall and boarded the flight.

Back home! It was nice to get back and hug N and N. Home is such a beautiful place and you long to get back there. Being away from home is a welcome change which makes you appreciate both - time away from home and HOME itself. It was a really enjoyable trip and a great change!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Clouds and Snow

Clouds - Love them when I am on the ground and they are up.
Not when my plane is cruising through them.

Snow - Love it when I am home.
Not when I am driving through it.

B and I flew yesterday to CA to attend a friend's wedding. I dislike the take off and landing part.
I envy those who are able to sleep off completely during the bumpy take off/landing times. But I managed to survive those times and reached bay area.

Kids are home with grandparents.It is a break from the routine life for some days. We will miss kids, but I have to be frank, I am also excited about meeting our classmates from Engg College. Yesterday felt like 2 days - half the part in flights and the rest like a totally new day in CA. We met our friend''s family who relocated from Pittsburgh - never thought we would be able to meet them up in their new home in the new place so soon.

Dinner was the get together of 4 families who were ex-classmates in College of Engineering, Trivandrum. We relived old times by teasing each other about college stories. We compared east and west coast work cultures and life styles. I was sort-of jet-lagged with the 3 hour time difference between east and west coast. It was a great day!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Breaking my Silence

Once you take a break from anything, it becomes harder to get back to it. When I started job hunting, I had multiple windows open with different job sites and technical sites in my computer.
Taking time off that task seemed like a sin then. I cut myself off from browsing blogs and commenting. It looked like something would happen soon. But nothing major happened.

Time flew. I started working towards PMP Certification. I am still working for that. So whether or not something happens in the job front, I have something to focus on.

A major milestone was taking Nithin consistently to his new preschool. He goes part-time and the transition to the new place was not easy. He cried and protested in the mornings when he knew he had to go to school. It has gotten much better now. The first time, he spotted a classmate from the new school in a gathering, increased references of the teacher in his talks and now, the stories and names of his classmates - it was a tough journey, but we are getting there! Every time he cried, I told myself not to give up or give in to his tears. Kind of feels cruel, isn't it! But I believed firmly that if I give in (now that I have a choice of keeping him home if he cried too much!), it only becomes harder for him the next day. So far, I think he is making good progress with the adjustment.

He seems to be going through a radical change - all of a sudden he is becoming a social butterfly. Wonder what happened - but that is a welcome change. Non-stop chattering!All his dialogues amaze all of us.

Another grand milestone was B's post-graduation. Yay! I bet having a family with two kids and pursing a part time Masters was not easy. He DID it and I am proud of him. We went for the graduation ceremony last week and I edited a post about it in my mind, but never typed it.B's parents, kids, B and I went for a dinner right after the ceremony. It was a fun evening.

Now that I broke the silence, I think it will be easy for me to talk further. Thanks to all those who checked with me via emails or comments to see how I am doing. Promise to be more regular!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Spinster's Day Out at Barnes and Nobles

I am not really a spinster, but it was nice to act like one. It was a day Nithin was supposed to be home and not go to school. Thanks to having grandparents at home, I could set out early morning to Barnes and Nobles. It was B's idea and his own dream to spend an entire day there browsing through books. Only that I got to do it.

With no kids to trouble me and husband at office (away from my trouble), it was a day where I could be myself and focus on reading technical books and prepare notes. I bought a coffee and climbed up the escalator to the technical section smiling to myself. Kappi okke vangichu..ini joli kittumo? It all entirely depends on how best I utilize my time there! I picked a book that interested me and made myself comfortable in the huge plush chair there. It was not crowded and I felt at home, muttering the words in the book and taking notes.

One of the incentives of this exercise was to have lunch from a nearby shop and return back to studies. At 11.30, the lady in the bookstore who helped me in the morning saw me and she asked 'You still here". I said :" Fear not, I will be back after lunch :-)" . I did not say the whole sentence, but just a part of it.

It was a bright sunny day. I walked to the Mexican fastfood near by and had a Sonoroan Quesadilla , once recommended to me by Laksh. I spoke with a friend on the phone and walked back to B&N. The rest of the afternoon was not as productive as the morning. I got distrubed by other people sitting in chairs next to me and the music on the air. Can't do much about it since I dont' own the shop, can I? But I managed to read something, so I enjoyed the stay at the shop overall. I finished my day by visiting two other shops, got some shirts for kids for good prices (am not a shopaholic and am very much behind in getting good deals, so this time I felt good doing it!). That was the day that was!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Slow, trying to be steady

Things are moving slow. A week would bring loads of hope, followed by another with nothing fruitful happening. A week would have me believe that changes are imminent and another would fly by without any major achievement.

Job hunting is a job by itself. Being jobless is not fun.Having worked so far continuously for all these years with only a 10 month gap in between with Son1 at home, I might have gotten used to being busy and occupied all the time. I would not say that being home, I am finding it hard to kill time. No, time files quickly! But what I miss is the feeling of having done something productive or useful for some one (a project, or a company!) . I miss interacting intellectually with my colleagues. I miss running the project, planning things for its execution and knocking off items from my tasks list.

Some people tell me to take a break. Somehow, I started looking for a job right away. In this market, it is hard to get something even if you tried hard because you are competing against so many other people who got laid off! A day off when I was working had a totally different meaning. I used to look forward to doing so many things on a day off. But I have not done any of those things since I lost my job. I was more prompt with visiting blogs, commenting there and posting my updates in mine when I was working. A 5 minute break from heavy workload meant a lot! I have not gone shopping for fun. I have not watched any movie on any weekday!

Things I did differently/newly are
- landed on a week day story telling session in library with Nithin - first time!
- walked with Nikhil while he bicycled on a sunny day
- took a walk another day with Nithin outside in our neighborhood.
- wore saree to church one day - for the first time to our church
- drove to couple of new routes by myself to meet recruiters, an interview
- gained confidence that I can go by train to Center City, Phille in needed.
- went to Thursday 9.30 workout lesson in gym thinking who will be there now and was surprised to see the hall full of women in the Pilates class!

Tomorrow is Nithin's first day in his preschool. He has to move out of our beloved babysitter's home for some reasons. From the cozy comfort zone of our babysitter, we have to move him to a school environment. It is exciting to think about the changes he will have, but it is worrying/scary to think about the transition phase and how he will face it. Big bro is advising him to 'just get used to it'! We are keeping our fingers crossed. So I am currently working on the project to transition him into new school environment. Obama (US. Labor ) is paying me for it ( I mean, unemployment comp!)

BTW, it was nice to meet Suman at UL's home yesterday. UL, Laksh and myself were meeting her the first time. It was really nice to get together - missed some others who are regulars (Shy, Anila and JS!). Catch you later!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Good Friday

It was Good Friday. B and myself were in downtown, Philly to meet someone. Once the meeting was done, we came out of the building to be surrounded by those skyscrapers. It is a totally different world out there. It felt like we could spend days and days together walking around the downtown. Lots and lots of shops and restaurants. We entered into 'THE PITA PIT' - only because the name enticed me. We don't see these kinds of shops in the area where we live. They were churning out Falafels. I ordered a Pita Wrap and filled it with veggies. After that quick snack, we walked out. We grabbed some tea from a TEA SHOP. Not like the chayakkada back home, this was a fancy shop selling tea alone.

Back home, we took kids and grand parents and set out for another drive. I felt relieved at the thought of a weekend. A week full of job hunting efforts. A week which showed some positive signs of the job market. Nothing definite has happened, but this week sowed some seeds of hope.
It saw me enroll into a course in the PSU, just a first step, but when I got the StudentID, I felt I am doing something toward a GOAL. So I felt that I rightfully deserve some weekend fun. We all went to Devi Vegetarian restaurant. The buffet was decent and I found some nice options. I was glad all of us enjoyed the food. We picked up some Indian DVDs and spent the rest of the evening in front on the TV watching 'Sooryan' starring Jayaram.

A nice Friday.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Lasik update

My LASIK surgery went fine. B took the day of surgery off - it being the last day I will see the world with my current vision capacity! We went for a movie (I Love you man!), laughed a lot, had lunch and then reached the eye care center. After initial checkups, I posted my previous post and killed some time. Then I went into the laser suite. I was nervous, but went with the flow anyway. It took a maximum of 15 to 20 minutes. When I came out of the room, I was surprised - "I can see!" They asked me to go home and sleep - I obeyed that. Then I was told NOT TO RUB MY EYES and wear eye shields when I sleep.

I religiously followed the medicine eye drops schedule. The next day we went for the check up. While B was driving, I was looking at the outside world. I was now able to read all the sign boards without my glasses on. I put on my eye glasses and everything became blurry. This is truly magic!

I was extremely delighted with the results. It was TOTALLY PAINLESS! I had very little discomfort. Only discomfort was sleeping with eye shields on - always cautious not to rub my eyes. Recovery after surgery was quick too. 5 days later, one night, Nithin reminded me "Amma, drops!" and I said "medicine drops are DONE!". One week later, when they said - all seems to be well, now say bye to the eye shields, I was happy. Nithin wondered where the white glasses (shields) have gone!

I hope this is it - and I don't develop any complications over time. I will recommend that to anyone who has been contemplating it.

It was my passion - to get LASIK done and say bye to eyeglasses. I worried a bit inside my mind - "why create problems when all is well with my eyes, I can see well with the glasses". But I have been following the LASIK dream since 4 years at least now. Every time, I heard or met someone who got it done, it brought hope. It was a risk - now I can say, it was a risk worth taking! I have the satisfaction of getting what I wanted. Thanks to B and parents for standing by me with the decision! My kids were literally standing by me and watching me whenever I put the drops in and handed me a towel!

Yesterday, when I went to watch "Monsters Vs Aliens 3D", I could comfortably slip on the 3D glasses - which so far had to be tucked on top of my normal spects. I felt good!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thanks and Pray More!

Thanks to all you blog-pals who have not met me face to face yet, but were with me sending emails and calling me over phone. It was nice to know that I have made so many friends who felt sad for my sudden lost of job and encouraged me to take a deep breath! Every email, every call put a smile to my face. When someone at work told me, they all remembered me and talked about me in the meeting, I was thrilled.

It has been a week already.

Some accomplishments for this week:

  • Filed for unemployment compensation. In Malayalam, we used to call it Thozhilillayma Vethanam. Used to be my elocution topic in school - how to overcome unemployment issues in Kerala/India! Now I have filed for it. I thank God for the green card I have. It helps when I am job hunting as well as will help me sustain financially. Anyone, who needs information about it, can contact me now!
  • Got a hair cut for Nithin and I felt great he cooperated after the initial 5 minutes of clinging to me.
  • I too got a hair cut and it was long pending due to work pressure.
  • I got in touch with friends whom I had not contacted for a long time.
  • I am now in the Vision Care center getting ready for my LASIK surgery. A bit nervous, but determined to go ahead. So friends, not sure how long my break will be, may be I will be back very soon. Pray for me!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ek Pal Mein

...zindagi badal gaya! I can now understand what it means.

It was another Thursday morning. Some of you might have read this post of mine back in January.

This time my name was in THE LIST!
When we were told that our employment has been impacted due to financial reasons, I walked out and came back to my desk. Tears were coming on and off - silly, but it is not like you hear those words everyday. I was really busy at work and this came totally unexpected. When I packed my things and came to my car, I looked at the river side walking trail. I was waiting for summer to start walking there!

Called B and went to his office. We went for a quick lunch, joked and chatted about it. I came back home and focussed on kids that evening!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Nine years ago, it was on this day (March 16 - wanted to post this yesterday) that B and I became man and wife. We can't believe our marriage is 9 years old. It feels like 2 or 3, but the two boys stand proof of the age of the married life. The wedding was a goal we had to strive for. To get the consent and blessings of both sets of parents. To work out the logistics of ceremonies. To pick a date (we picked the 6th anniversary date of when we realized we were not just 'friends' any more). To arrange the reception hall and menu.To print out invitations. The whole day, right from morning, we both were nervous. It was a wedding and decision we both were mainly responsible for.

Nine years later, I am glad for everything I have. I cherish all the memories of togetherness.
For the moments, when we smiled and laughed together. For the innumerable times I said something and did not get a response back and I had to nag (see, I had no choice!). For the arguments which ended peacefully and those that left an unpleasant feeling! For the two bundles of joy! Here's to the nine years and many more years of togetherness. B, are you reading this?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Holi Aayi Re!

I know Holi, the festival of colours through Hindi movies only. I am reminded of 'Silsila' where Amitabh, Jaya and Rekha appear in the colorful song sequence. Chitrhaar on Holi time featured all kinds of Holi songs. I don't recall playing 'holi' because it was not celebrated where I grew up. So when we signed up to go to the Holi Party, conducted by a cultural organization in our area, I was not sure about it.

My inspiration to go was mainly that my son Nikhil was part of a group performance by kids from our community. I looked forward to it eagerly - as every other mom whose kid featured on the stage that day did. The choreographer, other moms and kids practiced and worked for this event since past 2 months. It was cute to watch the kids dance - when the dance was over, I felt relieved. I ran to hug Nikhil as he stepped off the stage - he seemed more worried about a new Frisbee that he got from there! Kids! Kids!

After the performances and lunch, we all came outside to the parking lot and it was HOLI time.
Nithin got scared looking at my face with colors on it, so I held him outside the color zone. B went around taking pictures and got color on him too. It was nice to see everyone in colors - all over their face, shirts and hair. When we left, all of us except Nithin looked colorful. For the first time, in my life, we all got to play HOLI!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Taco Bell experience

Taco Bell is probably one of the very few fast food places that an Indian vegetarian in US like me likes to go to. My favorite item (which is also my kids' favorite by now) is called Chalupa. The picture shows a beef version, I guess. Anyone familiar with Indian food can equate it with a Poori with some stuffings. It has been quite a savior to me during pregnant times when I was hungry all the time. My typical order (by now, B has it memorized too) is : X nacho cheese chalupas minus beef add beans.

So two days I ago, I stand in the counter after dropping Nikhil to karate across the road and Nithin with me. I recite this recorded order and they even accepted my payment. That is when the lady inside brought it to the cashier's attention that they are out of BEANS!

Cashier: "Sorry, ma'm, we are out of beans! Would you like to have something else instead in your chalupa?"

I was put in a spot - what was I supposed to put in my bean chalupa other than beans? Note than beef, chicken and even shrimps (once a server in a Japanese restaurant brought me shrimp saying it is not meat) don't qualify as vegetarian in my dictionary.

I said: "Ok, go ahead and make it with other ingredients without beans."

Cashier with a worried look: "Are you sure you don't want some chicken on it? How will you eat with just lettuce and cheese? It will be so plain."

Me: "I don't eat chicken. No meat. So go ahead and give it to me just like that."

Cashier was really sorry for me and apologetic for not having beans and (as we soon found out), spoons and forks also! I was smiling to hear that!

An old Tamil mimicry joke goes: "Poottu irukka?" asking the shop keeper for a poottu (lock) and indirectly nudging him to lock the shop and go home.

The rest of the time I spent was a positive experience though. The shopkeeper wanted to make up for their shortcomings - so I got a juice box for Nithin, who was just as happy with his chalupa as always (no beans, so what!).

Cashier: "Chocolate or Vanilla?"

Me: Hmm...Chocolate (wondering what is coming next and thinking of Nikhil's favorite flavor)

Cashier hands me a cholocate icecream.

Time to leave. And cashier says: "Ma'm, thanks for your patience. I have one more thing for you" and he handed me a hand written note for 2 Bean Chalupas FREE next time!

P.S. Nikhil enjoyed the icecream! One day, I will enjoy the bean chalupas soon! Three cheers to customer satisfcation!

P.P.S. Sorry gals/guys for the silence - I was busy with work, so will be for this whole month.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

TO DO List and OCD

I have seen people who are obsessed about cleaning. So much to the extent of neglecting their lives. Wikipedia says OCD means: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OCD

I am definitely not like that. But I have an obsession now which I am beginning to doubt is leaning toward an OCD state. It is THINGS TO DO! It seems to me like life is mainly comprised of things to do. My mind revolves around the calender to begin with.

Oh, tomorrow, there is a dentist appointment for Son1. Evening he has to go to Activity A. Then get home to finish homework to return to school. Son1, his school, activities and home works can hog my mind like anything.

BTW, on Sunday, there is a birthday party we have to go to. When do we purchase the birthday gift? Make a note of that task.

What about finding a preschool for Son2? There are 4 or 5 choices and now I worry about going to each place and checking out which is good.

As I accomplish a task, I mentally draw a check mark. Wow..that is pure satisfaction that one experiences. But sometimes, it is all overwhelming. Worrying about one thing to do, then next, then next. Worried about whether not being prepared for an event/day will drive us all nuts in the last minute. The only thing that is left to do in life - is worry about the NEXT THING TO DO! I have to remind myself to take it easy - but I am striving hard to be the perfect mom, wife and perfect person who is always taking care of her tasks in a proper way!

Next thing I am planning to do is to take a day off and relax. Oh boy! There I go again!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Maa Tujhe Salaam

I was not a big Slum Dog Millionaire fan to begin with. When I saw the movie, I liked it, but wondered why people have to rave so much about it. Having said that, I was glad that ARR got nominated for Oscar even though I have liked other albums of his better than this. I got all set to catch the Oscar awards ceremony - I think, for the first time in my life! For the first time, there were people I recognize very well and a movie I watched that was contesting.

After B and kids dropped out, it was B's mom and me who continued watching - every time SM's name was called out, it was thrilling. It was a tough fight - with the commercials and the in-between items, the wait to get to ARR was killing us. The work week ahead threatened me and I switched the TV off at 11PM. The dream/sleep was revolving around my unfulfilled desire to watch the part where the music score award would be announced. I woke in the morning and switched on the iPhone - and I was super duper thrilled - ARR got it! B's dad and myself caught the news in TV - I was excited to hear there were 8 awards.

We debated about what the image of India in outside world would be after this movie. Is India projected as a country full of slums? Is it a negative image? I don't know. That debate is endless!

Is the victory of SM a victory for India? Yes, it sure is - listening to Resul Pookkutty, the technician who got the Oscar for sound mixing, I felt emotional and proud. Hearing ARR's Tamil
statement in the red carpet, I felt super proud. So here I am, in the morning, humming Jai Ho (all I knew is Jai Ho, nothing further than that 1 line!) and my song slowly morphed into one of ARR's patriotic number 'Maa Tujhe Salaam'! Everytime I heard 'Thai Manne Vanakkam' (Tamil version of Maa Tujhe Salaam) in Arattai Arangam's title song, I used to be filled with the same pride and excitement! I am happy for the recognition Indian cinema artists have got in the world cinema through this Oscar!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bye-Bye Pittsburgh!

My previous post was so right in context. Our close friend/classmate S and family are moving from Pittsburgh to West Coast for good. Closing of his office here led him to look for a new job and he got a pretty good offer in the West Coast. He was the only classmate B and I have in the whole of Pennsylvania! So far, we three belonged to the same state even though S is 5 hours away.

So, last weekend, our family visited them before they move away. It brought back memories of driving in Turn Pike for hours like this before. We have driven there 5 or 6 times in the past years - with common friends and with my parents. This was the first time we were going with B's parents.

We had fun visiting the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. The kids can easily spend a whole day there. There were activities for painting/coloring/pressing paint into paper. There was Workshop garage for kids. There were couple of slides and some water play area with rain coats/water shoes on-site. It was real fun to watch our kids enjoy. Parents were taken on a separate guided tour by S. So they got to see the downtown and Station Square and Mount Washington.

Overall, the trip was short and sweet. We saw the 3 year olds (my son and their daughter) talking and communicating with each other. I did learn a tip or two on how to groom a home for sale and how to keep it well decorated and clean for showing! We were back home Sunday afternoon and rested well to get ready for the upcoming week. Good luck with the new phase of life, my friends!

From our point too, it is bye-bye time to Pittsburgh - now there is not enough reason to drive all the way!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Here or Somewhere Else

I am happy where I am now. I mean, the place and home where I live. I have friends and neighbors around this area who are so much part of our life, that it will be hard to live without them.

But I also wonder - is this where I am going to be for the rest of my life? I would like to say No. I would like to believe that life has so much more in store for me and my family. The mystery of it enchants me!

Life plays wonderful games (sometimes, yucky - I don't want that!) and you never know, where you will end up!

As much as I am used to where I am, I also dream of a place where I will be tomorrow - a totally new place, settling with my family and figuring out things around the new home. It could be close to where I live now, or it could be in a totally different place. I know I would enjoy driving around (B drives, I talk :-) ) finding connections between different small roads and guessing where the roads will lead to. New schools for kids. New work places.

The only risk I run here is ending up in a place where I don't have anyone to depend on/hold on. What is the guarantee that I will find folks as nice as I already know? How bold should one be to let go of all he has and move to a new place and start over - unless forced to?

I have that fear and hope towards a change too. I would love to look forward to a future with totally new experiences.

What do you feel? Can you think of moving from where you are now? Or not?

P.S. Thought process inspired by a girl friend B.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Main Aur Meri तन्हाई

As usual, when I did not find anyone to accompany me for a lunch-out, here I go, in Amitabh style:

मै और मेरी तन्हाई अक्सर ये बातें करते हैं
वोह मेरे साथ lunch पे चलती तो ऐसा होता
ये मेरे साथ lunch पे चलती तो ऐसा होता
प्यार व्यार का चक्कर नहीं है
उस की उमर तो बीत चुकी है
लड़को हो या लड़की कोई बात नही है
कोई तो साथ आता खाने के लिए

अकेले बैठके computer देखके खाना खाके मै थक गई

मै और मेरी तन्हाई अक्सर ये बातें करती है
वोह मेरे साथ lunch पे चलती तो ऐसा होता
ये मेरे साथ lunch पे चलती तो ऐसा होता!!

As I was walking alone with the sandwich packet from the deli,
composing this funny parody in my mind, I saw my colleague.
He had stepped to sit out in the sun for the lunch. I said - "What timing"
and we both sat and chatted!

Looks like God listened to my kavitha and sent someone to keep me company!
This just tells how much of a people person that I am!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Birthday memories

Today is my birthday! The best thing about this day was Nikhil coming up to me in the morning and evening and hugging me repeatedly and saying "Happy Birthday, Amma!". Remember some of the old birthdays where every moment of the day felt special! Every second was to be savored and thanks to nice friends around, one got the most attention, well wishes, greeting cards and gifts. It looked like he is going through similar emotions for me!

This year I felt birthday is like any other day. In the past, I used to feel that I need that special attention or something special done for me.

When I was a child, birthday meant getting a brand new dress. But nothing more than that. Altough people talk about single children being spoilt by parents' pampering, I did not get that kind of attention from parents. They treated me like a normal kid - sometimes more like an adult. So the first time I got pampered was really when I went to Women's College, Trivandrum to study pre degree - by friends. A group of 4 friends, we started the tradition of getting birthday cards, buying icecream and in our own way, celebrating each other's birthday.

When I went to Engineering College, Trivandrum, the first year was truly a totally new and different experience. Friends did not mean girls alone, anymore. I still remember my first birthday in that class after our tour - when we were all not just classmates, but had become friends. A tradition of spending close to Rs.300 emerged and that was the first time, I 'fought' with my father for money. He was shocked to hear my demand for money for birthday because I wanted to give a treat to friends! Anyway, he obliged - as he always has been my dear friend too!
He still would recall that incident where the changes in me shocked him!

Anyway, I really enjoyed every bit of the day with gifts and cards. The gift I cherish was an audio cassette of the Hindi hit of that time - Raju Ban Gaya Gentle man.The next year, when I received my birthday gift from B, little did I know that this tradition/relation was to go on for forever! That too, was an audio cassette of the movie Uzhavan by ARR.

Then we started working - so had more money at our disposal. The day started with phone calls and progressed with birthday emails from friends who worked in other companies.It invariably had a lunch with colleagues and a dinner with collegemates.

Then B and I got married and the first birthday after wedding, B hid gifts all through home like a treasure hunt! That was fun.

Years pass by - now I hear B and Nikhil whisper something to each other. Wonder what is cooking!

A one liner from the closest friends, emails from new blog-friends whose wish took me by surprise, an e-Card from Appa, talking to Amma yesterday night for the occasion, a phone call from a friend warmed up my heart and that is all I need now to feel happy about my birthday!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Guitar Hero

Last Thursday saw me playing the Guitar in Wii Guitar Hero. For the first trial, I did good with the easiest song in the package called Slow Ride. B and Nikhil were taken by surprise that I did well. Based on my Wii Sports career, they probably had the least expectation to begin with. The next day, I completed that one song without getting boo-ed in the middle. I felt really excited and thanked the genes in me that I would have inherited from my grand mom who was a music teacher!

People who know me know my connection with English music.
None. B was always into English songs as a kid and I grew up fully in the world of Hindi, Malayalam and Tamil songs only. So even I am laughing at myself playing a guitar when the game makes me pretend I am a real rockstar. At the end of the successful song, it said "YOU ROCK"! I was so glad I finished the song! I enjoy this!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My first AAA Call

Yesterday, after cruising in Gear 2 and D alternately, on snow-filled slushy roads for 2 hours, I reached home before it got dark. Thanks to my manager who said I should leave soon before it gets too bad, I started around 3 and reached home by 5.15PM.

Needless to say, I started out nervous, hearing about the accidents everywhere. All through the way, I went slow and when I reached the highway, there was no need of effort to be slow. It was crawling anyway, so one could in no way compromise safety by going fast. Jam started way before usual Jam point! And it took ages to get to my exit. It was too cold , so I had my heat on and then I would sweat and feel suffocated. I would reduce the heat and then very soon, I felt cold again. I called B with my blue tooth device - I had no idea how bad the local roads after my exit would be. Felt like talking to my family! They were getting ready to play in the snow! What is fear for me is fun for my kids! What an irony!

After taking my exit, I remember feeling wierd. It is as if something is dragging the car and not letting it go by easily. Some friction. I thought - oh, this must be what they mean by driving in snow! Reached home safely with a sigh of relief!

I mentioned to B about the funny dragging feeling. I always feel such things, while driving, so it is hard to say when it is real and when it is not. But B pointed to the tire today morning and said - "You have a flat tire!". I feel proud (just kidding!) to think that I was driving with this flat tire on the slick roads for 15 minutes before getting home.

I made the first call to AAA. Today being my work from home day, the car was ready and I also was home. I called them and confirmed that we indeed are members still and when I said "I have a flat tire. Can anyone come and fix this for me?". The lady replied back with full enthusiasm - "Of course, sure!". I felt a great relief and a sense of accomplishment, having initiated the call and using AAA services. After paying the membership fees for years, this is the first time I call them for help - thank God, I was not calling Roadside Assistance yesterday from "roadside", but I was able to call them from home today.

Just now the courteous towing company fellow finished changing the tire and said, "All done"!and left! B, aren't you thankful to me for not having you change the tire in the cold today? This was absolutely free and felt really convenient! Three cheers to AAA!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Deadlines and bunk bed

For the past week, every night B has been working on assembling the new bunk bed we got for the kids. I slept off within Nithin who was battling a fever from Sunday. Thanks to the Virus which decided to leave him after the predicted 3 days.

So yesterday evening, with our neighbor's help, we got one bed on top of another and it was quite a sight to see the expression of the boy's faces. They were happy and excited about the bunk bed. But I could see the sorrow of sleeping alone creeping up slowly in the faces. I myself could not tolerate the thought of sleeping without them. Anyway, it may not happen in one shot, but at least we are making a start.

I got into some deadlines - not exactly work related and it was challenging to keep up with them.
At work, we have an activities committee for which I was co-chairing an event. Myself and a coworker had to cut foam core boards into slices of specific size and distribute one each to every employee. Then we drafted an email inviting them to decorate these boards with their details from HIGH SCHOOL. 2 weeks from now, we will collect these boards which will include everyone's high school picture, their favorite stars from their high school times etc, and hang them in the hallway. They are not to include their names in the boards for the fun of guessing. It was an experience trying to cut the boards neatly and working on the email. Anything with cutting and craft, I believe I suck. So I was super conscious not to mess up. Hope the event has a good turn out.

Weekend seems to be pretty busy with a postponed New year party being at our place.
Happy Weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Year Thoughts

Catching up on Laksh's and Usha's posts on New Year, I thought I would share my thoughts here in a post.

Years ago, when I was in school, New year eve was an emotional moment. And what was part of the celebration of the moment? Doordarshan. Watching the New Year eve programs in TV was the most exciting thing happening. I remember as the clocks ticked, I relied of the host of the show to make the moment memorable for me. I remember getting disappointed on some shows not making the IMPACT when the clock struck 12. "Not as good as last year program!".

At that point in life, I really did not want anything more to be done on a NY eve. Even though, I watched the parties for new years in movies etc, I don't recall longing to be part of any such thing. But I always used to think about what I accomplished that year and what I wanted to be later.

Over time, the magic faded out and I was too busy this year to do even that introspection that Laksh mentions. Something reminded me that "hey, it is New year", but I was vacationing and have not till date thought about gains/losses in the past year.

Did I become more mature to realise that life goes on and NY eve is another day? I know that life will not change just because it is New Year, but I think it is an occasion to reflect on the past. However silly is, if that occasions prompts you to make a new beginning, what is wrong in that? If this becomes an excuse to make a change in myself, why not?

New year resolutions are made fun of - because they die soon. I know it may not last long, but when we were younger, we felt the hope of changing for good on NY day. As we grow older, we accept that nothing is going to change and become more mature. We close the doors to hope and change by growing up. I can literally feel that change in myself. I wish I could become silly, naive and immature and bring back the hope to change and become better - like old days!

Mixed Feelings

When I started from home today, I thought it is going to be an ordinary day. In fact, I knew it will be a quiet day since I finished most of my work yesterday.

Thank God, I still have my job. My heart goes out to those who left the doors. When they came in today, they too thought it was an ordinary day. Only to find out later that, it was not to be.

While I grabbed 2 slices of pizza from the nearby shop and walked in cold wind that blew, I was shaken and shocked. Talking about Satyam employees in India with Appa over phone, I was further shaken.
There is always light at the end of the tunnel...where is the end of the tunnel? I guess we are all waiting for that!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

iPhone, Dallas Times and Happy New Year

When B gifted me the iPhone I have been asking for, I was truly taken aback. Anyway, I am getting used to it now. I enjoy the email checking ability wherever I am.

Sickness was in the air even when we were packing things to leave to Dallas on Xmas day. I was worried if we will be able to make the trip, but we could. Thank God we were all okay very soon after we landed. We were going to spend 5 days with my school mate/college mate L and her family. Thanks to L for preplanning activities for us in the winter time. We had plenty to do -
a forest safari, a Mallu movie Twenty-Twenty in theatre, an ICE sculpture exhibition, a Medieval Times show and Million dollar model home tour and plenty of yummy food to eat! Inspired by L's cooking, I came back home and made Idiyappam for the first time.

It was a great vacation. And the days back at home flew by shopping and cleaning up and some partying. Back to school and work yesterday.

Wish you all a fantastic 2009!