February 15, 2001

hmmm…

came to thane last night, had dinner and crashed.

i have no words to express what i felt when amma and i had a talk early in the day, but had she maintained a journal of her own, perhaps this is what she would have blogged…

my daughter came home this morning




yesterday once more

i closed one chapter of my life today, again.




February 14, 2001

chembur, down memory lane

another year when i would miss being around on my sister’s birthday.

i offered to buy deepu a gift of her choice, since i am leaving for bangalore this afternoon.

so prachi and i picked her up from her office last evening. i was happy to meet venky, and we talked about how far the original express computer team had travelled…

valentine d’souza
the silent editor with the unforgettable mischievious
twinkle-in-the-eye smile. i was interviewed by him and
venky, although i never really got to work under val.
living computers > times computing > freelance > tringtring (aptech)

venkatesh hariharan
my first boss, and an ‘editor’ in every sense on the term.
a digital news venture (which never took off)
> a scholarship and nine-month education at massachussetts
institute of technology > professor at indian institute
of information technology at itpl, bangalore >
venturekatalyst.com

sriram ramaswamy
the panini of our office, and the only person who still
prefers to remain unreachable (yes we do exchange an occassional
email). not many of us know where he works today, and i do hope
he got to complete that phd in mathematics…

deepak kumar
my mamu. no we are not related, but deepak and i share
a special relationship. he loves to talk about what he learns,
and i am a good listener. i watched as malini and deepak grew
closer, and how much they tried to keep it a secret. of course
i knew it all along, but i also kept it to myself ;-)
itspace.com > softwaredioxide.com

s p malini
my (first) senior colleague and friend. ever-willing to be
on the right side of any argument, mal was always fair, and
very diplomatic. i learnt a lot from her. and yes, she and
deepak are very ‘happily’ married today.
marriage > siri karya systems > housewife > content specialist for ibm

brian periera
a very very simple man. a genuine teacher, who always hid
his insecurities behind such a serious profile that no one
really understood him. i worked with brian at chip again,
and there i saw chip work like therapy on him. brian is
a changed person now, though he’s still single.
he laughs more freely, cracks jokes, and yes, in his
spare time (every evening), he also teaches.
chip > times computing > tringtring

radhika j nair
i was the youngest employee at express computer.
every one of these colleagues listed here…they still think i’m a ‘bachcha’.
chip > itspace.com > zdnet india

dhaval valia
there can be only one original, and that has to be my dear chachu
dhaval. the eternal romantic, dhav never figured out why girls
wanted to make him their bhaiya, and he (still) has the
gift to strike an interesting conversation with anyone, anywhere.
heck! he almost convinced the canteen to strike a deal with the
then-popular drink, crush. dhaval’s desk has always been a huge
pile of papers, scribbled notes, magazines and pens, you’ll
always find him chatting with his girlfriends, but he’s a
grown man now, the editor of computer reseller news.
dataquest > computer reseller news

george eby mathew
“rads, you are the link between all of us, don’t
lose contact…or we’ll all lose touch with each other”
its only now that i’m beginning to understand what he meant
by that. but eby and i shared great times. he was ‘appointed’
as my local guardian by my mother when i was in bangalore
(so were deepak and malini and venky and rakesh krishna),
and sure enough, eby was very caring. he also introduced me
to his church, bought a pot that i painted for him, and
treated me to yummy pizza :-)
yes ebs, i’ll remember to keep in touch.
gartner group > itspace.com

ganesh ramamoorthy
sitting simply, doing nothing
spring comes and the grass grows by itself

not every aspiring zen monk comes across an aspiring joker.
it is a relationship only the two can understand.
both carry the same message, one searches for the meaning of life,
the other celebrates it.
ganesh taught me a lot. about technology, about the internet,
about shell, about buddhism and zen.
he also told me that it was not practical. very zen-like.
gartner group > business times > times computing > zee interactive > netscribes

(phew! i could write pages about all of them,
but i guess i’ll just stick to the names now,
or else i’ll never be able to complete this blog…)

prakash advani
web vision > freelance > network computing > freeos.com

sanjay (siy-doc) yalavetti
living computers > times computing

yogesh ‘kardi’ katekar
stock broking company > sharekhan.com

shiva priya
indian express > myiris.com

abhijit basu
chip > express computer > netscribes

arun kumar
itspace.com

ivor soans
times computing > itiq > india.cnet.com

anil nair
living computers > india.cnet.com > mtvasia

anand govindarajan
business times > computer reseller news

george nelson micheals
living computers > a magazine in the gulf > computer reseller news > itnation.com

sudhir narasimhan
itspace.com

vijay ramachandran
itspace.com

at deepak and mal’s wedding party at gazebo in bandra one evening, when almost all of these ex-express computer-colleagues met, val jokingly remarked, “if this place were to be bombed right now, it would mean the end of IT journalism!!”

yes venky, all of us have come a long way, and we are also doing very well. perhaps we all shared a first-time-at-a-job sentiment…which is why everyone of us is still connected, and proud to be part of the “original” express computer group.

cheers to that :-)




valentine’s day? bah!

7:30 am: a courier delivery boy knocks on my door. there is no name on the packet he’s brought, but he has been directed to the correct address.

(today’s valentine’s day! nodding my head in disbelief at the lengths people can to to express themselves, i left the packet in rupali’s room. er…she has a fiance, i dont, not yet ;-)

10:00 am: the mystery intensifies. the answer is in the gift packet. but who’ll open it?

(i came to office and told rupali about it. but she was positive it did not belong to her. both of us felt like we were in college, where nameless gifts are sent by anonymous senders. tickled with this sudden change in our routine lives, we giggled so much, i would have been embarrassed to hear myself again!)

1:30 pm: there is only one way to know. we’re going home this afternoon to open the gift, together.




my first taste of freedom

valentine’s day was never ‘special’ for me.

but last year, it was different.
it was almost two months after i had shifted to bangalore, and i had been looking for the house of my dreams…a small living room, a small kitchen, a small bedroom, a huge terrace and LOTS of plants, all for myself.

i found that house on february 14, 2000, at sixth block, koramangala, in bangalore.

it was an incident i would have blogged if i had a livejournal account then…
although i could understand and speak a little kannada, i was still getting used to the pure ‘bangaluru’ being spoken, and i was shocked when i heard the conversation between my broker and my landlord-to-be.

it was a lie.

in an attempt to raise her commission and reduce the rent i’d have to pay, she told him i’d be getting a room mate soon, and added that this (non-existential character) was currently in delhi for a vacation!

each time i interrupted, she cut me off with a i’ll-handle-it gesture, and i felt helpless in this never-before experienced situation …
a) when i left bombay, i had decided i would stay alone, and here was the house of my dreams
b) the landlord was asking for rs 4500 and a deposit of rs 30,000 (“but koramangala is the nariman point of bangalore…”, the landlord argued)
c) i did not understand why my broker was furnishing one lie after another (paapa, ava oble idaare…irlibidi, amele friend bartare)
d) i would not pay a rent of rs 4500, and even if the houseowner agreed for a low price, i did not want to share the room with any one.

as we left the house (and when my broker was busy talking to the landlord’s wife), i asked the landlord for his phone number, and if there was someone in the house who understood english. that night i called my cousin venkatesh, and asked him to accompany me to the house again early next morning.

i had never been so excited. i met naveen, the landlord’s son at 7:30 am the next day, and told him that i had come all the way to bangalore to learn to live on my own, and that the broker had lied about the delhi colleague. i also told him that i loved the house but i would not pay such a high rent for it. with my heart in my mouth, i told them that if they were still interested, they could call me at office.

as we left, my cousin was sympathetic. he was sure i would never get the house and offered to look for better places himself. but i was happy. i knew i had done the right thing.

thirty minutes after i reached my office, the phone rang :-)




February 13, 2001

better save than sorry

i started my career with express computer on april 19, 1996, moved on to chip, then itspace in bangalore and now i’m with zdnet india.

after five years of my life as a career-woman, i’ve now opened my first savings account at the post office today. hmm, better late than never, i guess…

finally i can look forward to the day when i buy myself a house… (umm, in bangalore?)




February 3, 2001

i still belong to my family…but one of us forgot! was it me?

it was 7:45 am.
i was at the ground floor, waiting for the elevator, when what i saw hit me like a bright new sun ray.

it was the lady who got out of the elevator.

there was this air of calm about her, her freshly washed hair loosely tied in a low knot like most malayalees; she smelled of shikakai and mild incense…the vibhuti on her forehead told me she’s just done her puja, and her warm and peaceful smile told me she was heading toward the ayyappa temple down the road.

i thought it strange why she suddenly seemed to make me stop…
why i felt like going home and cuddling under my quilt till i got my bed coffee,
why i felt like being pampered with hot dosas and molagapodi or fesh poha and curd,
why my sleep disappeared all of a sudden, and i felt so full of her…

the questions raced in my head as i smiled back at her, and i felt it hurt deep inside.

it was you amma, i miss you.




February 2, 2001

does backache kill?

will the acupuncture treatment work for me?
will there ever be a single day when i don’t have a backache?
does backache kill?

for the first time in my life, my health got in the way of my work.

when i let that happen, everyone got in my way. and i hated every moment of it.