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!