Posted in Uncategorized

Catching up

Long time no hear, how are you guys and gals doing?

I am typing this post on my iPad, which Da so thoughtfully gifted to me for my b’day. It’s a huge deal because if Apple were a religion, Da would be an atheist. On the other hand, I am an ardent Apple devotee although I have never stared at an Apple product for more than five minutes at a stretch, let alone using one. The reason I bring this up is because I am typing this post on a program/app called Notes. It’s the coolest thing I have ever seen. What is not to love about it – the simple but elegant design, the fonts that mimic handwritten notes, the trash can that opens up to swallow the deleted notes. I could go on and on. Truly, if Steve Jobs believed that he was at the juncture where science and art meets, his products are a testimony to that conviction.

Ok, now that I have got it out of my chest, how about I come to the point of this post, which is simply to catch up with you all. Did you do anything fun, special, interesting or strange since the last time I posted something here. Share something, anything. I am all ears.

Just before I went away on vacation to India, I had change of role at work. I have transitioned from a product management role to a customer facing role. Although I support the products I formerly owned, the dynamics are different. So yeah, there is a learning curve. The work is intensive and spills over my home time. I would like to believe that this experience is helping me grow and mould as a person, and by extension as a parent. Only time will tell. For now I am doing the best I can because anything that is worth doing is worth doing well, what do you say?

What’s happening on the home front? The kids are a riot. Hari is on summer vacation. He is enrolled in numerous camps, all of which whet his appetite for sports in one form or another. He is the proud owner of guppies, which he won on a raffle from school. More on his school activities in a following post. Ram has a new name – we call him Joy because he truly fills our household with cheer. Peals of giggles, ever ready to swing, sway and play… yes, we are still smitten by this little mister. Da as always is the very epitome of equanimity, slowly chipping away on our ever increasing and aging list of things to do, and holding down the fort as work commitments consume me.

Time has definitely become a scarce commodity. On a good day, I feel fortunate for all the opportunities I am blessed with and am determined to strike a balance amidst competing priorities. On a not so good day, I feel like I am falling short on all fronts and my priorities in life are upside down. The hope is with time and practice, the good days will far exceed the not so good days. Either that or I reassess my priorities.

Now tell me, what’s up at your end?

Posted in Experiences

Kindle Fire

We have consciously succumbed to the hoopla surrounding the Kindle Fire.

The gadget is doing the rounds between the husband and the first child, so honestly I do not have much to say. In the five minutes I spent on the ereader, I loved the easy access to dictionary, but hated not knowing the size, color, and volume of the book I was reading. I am patiently waiting for my turn to unravel the experience that the gadget has to offer while happily thumbing the 600+ page biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson, which carries Steve’s elegant black and white picture on the cover page that reminds me of his colorful personality and his penchant for simplicity  every time I use the flap as a bookmark. An experience that I know will be a trade off with the Kindle

Da, an early adopter of digital reading and a voracious reader, thinks that for a book lover access to books could not have gotten any easier or better. Did you know libraries lend ebooks that can be downloaded to ereaders? Amazon has come up with book lending programs as well. For a person like me who doesn’t necessarily buy every book she reads and relies on the big annual sale organized by the local library to add to her collection, this developement is one less reason to not resist ereaders.

Hari, whose main attraction to the Kindle is Angry Birds, has taken to reading on the Kindle with much delight.  The usage rules have been made crystal clear. While unlimited reading on the Kindle is allowed on a daily basis, video games will be confined to 20 mins per day only during weekends and Holidays. Bed time reading will continue to be non-digital reading. Ram, who loves holding his board books, turning and feeling the pages and taking delight in the pictures, may have opportunities to listen to the Angry Birds tune on the Kindle.

Enough of my Kindle story. Tell me yours. Have you tried your hands on ereaders? what has your experience been? What do you like and not like about the experience? what is on your reading list?

Posted in Experiences, Hari Katha, Ram Leela

Curly hair, not any more

This post has been in draft mode for a very long time. Although this is stale news, I did not want to leave this experience unrecorded.

“Look at his little head full of hair”, “What lovely curls”, “I thought he was a girl because of his beautiful hair”, “Why do boys get the best of curls”, “Ha, these curls are so soft”. These are some random comments we have received on Ram’s baby hair. His curls was his wow! feature as a baby. Not any more though. A couple of months back we went on a road trip to the Sri Venkateswara temple in Pittsburgh, which is likened to Tirupati Venkatachalapathi,  for a tonsure ceremony for little Ram.

We were that crazy family that drove 20-hours in a 48-hour time period with a toddler and first grader in tow. What can I say? It helps us be in control of our schedule and lets us go where we want when we want. We started past midnight., and completed two thirds of the journey before the kids were in full form early that morning.  After an hour or so of break at McDonalds for breakfast, where Ram was joyfully toddling away, and Tuls fell head over heels in love, to my dismay, with the pancakes churned out by the fast food chain, we resumed our journey. We arrived at the temple premises past noon.

After driving for close to 12 hours, the sight of the white majestic gopuram with colorful garden in the front was refreshing to the eyes as well as to the soul.  First things first – so peit pooja (that is catering to the needs of our tummies) it was! I was very impressed with how the temple canteen was organized and maintained – food labels in bold, brown bags for take out, and nicely arranged dining area that was being constantly cleaned. Not to mention the food, which itself was heavenly. Some of the food items for sale were – sambar sadam, puliyodharai, curd rice, upma, and sundal.  I must warn you though,  if you have picky non spicy eaters in your gang, you may want to have back up meal plans.

At the temple we were joined by family and friends, who were driving from their respective houses unmindful of the distance just to be there for us.  Imagine the riot if you put a one-year old, a three-year old, a seven-year old, a nearly-seven-year old, and a few adults who are seven-year olds at heart together. Suffice to say that wherever we went we made heads turn around.

The scrumptuous meal, and the laughter in between had us rejuvenated. We rolled up our sleeves and goet down to business. Identifying the vaathiyaar who was in charge of the tonsure ceremony was fairly effortless. Seated on a rug, with a pair of scissors in his hands, Da was asked to chop an inch of Ram’s hair from all four directions. The vaathiyaar followed this with archanais for the family and reciting of slokams. That was it! We were told the locks of hair would travel all the way to India to be donated at Tirupathi. We were advised to head to the local salon for a clean shave and a return to the temple for darshan and archanai, which we followed rather obediently.

And that’s the story of how the diaper dude was temporarily called as the bald headed cannon ball, yet another name given by his anna, in our household.

Posted in Hari Katha, Ram Leela

Halloween fun

Drafted on October 31st

Halloween celebrations were fairly muted this year due to an unexpected havoc wreaked by Mother nature. But the day did not go by without any celebrations. How could it, it was Halloween after all!  Hari was dressed as Ninja and Ram as Winnie the Pooh. Da, who gets as excited as the kids about Halloween, took the kids around for soliciting candies.  The pumpkins that Da and Hari carved over the earlier weekend were sitting in the front lawn accosting children dressed in costumes.

We have strict rules around candy consumption, so Hari came up with the idea of combining his candy loot to the candies we reserved for distribution. This year, I should say that he was very excited about distributing candies rather than going trick or treating.

I should also make a mention about this cool dentist in our town, who buys candies amassed during Halloween from kids for cash and ships them to troops. How very neat is that, wouldn’t you agree?