Thursday, December 09, 2010

A word to capture the next year


Coz nothing ever came of being negative or feeling hopeless. Except that I got older.

(Easy to say, tough to do. But when the going gets tough ... )

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Look ma, new glasses!

Yes, it is an unfortunate event that marks the aging of my body. I now have glasses to correct my far sightedness. And although most people I mentioned this to looked sad and made the right sympathetic noises, I feel quite cool and dare I say saxy in my new glasses. :-)

Andy was here 2 weeks ago and MUCH MUCH fun was had. Taking her around the city was a delight because she loved absolutely everything about it. The multiple cultures, the varied cuisines, clean air, the proximity of locations and lack of traffic, and most of all the Esplanade. We've vowed to make more trips there once she gets here. Let's see how we keep to that promise.

And Shilpa's movie is well on its way to completion. AN and I are co working the publicity bit and trying to keep up news alive until we hit the theaters on 2nd April, 2011. I'm doing a bit role in the movie (which Shilpa might have cut out for editing purposes - who knows!) but if it stays in, I'll let all and sundry know which 2 minutes I am on screen. Ok? Ok!

Good night peeps!

Thursday, September 30, 2010


It's funny how meeting someone who poses a stark contrast to one's own traits shakes up one's self categorization.

For example, off late I'm starting to see myself as an optimist in stark contrast to P's cynical questioning self.

And although I feel like a blathering chatterbox around his quiet self at home, I feel like one of the quieter people at work where I'm surrounded by a bunch of loquacious women (some more than others. Oh, how I wish I could write more here :-))


So many of us tie in our self worth to what we do over who we are. I am severely guilty of this as well. Growing up in a family that valued qualifications and achievements over most other things has made me grow up practically married to my work when I love it. And for most of the 5.5 years that I've worked where I do, I have loved what I do. I wonder if my lesson in self worth will mimic the other lessons I've learned - painfully taught and inflicted by life on me when I least expect it.


Its almost FRIDAY!!! :D


Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Each time I go back to India and imagine what my life would have been like had I stayed home in Bombay instead of making the decision to leave for hostel life and for a new city thereafter, I feel a huge sense of relief. Not at leaving my parents, but at leaving an environment that would never have let me see the world as I see it today. Only those who have known me over the last 10 years can attest to the fact that the change has been nothing short of miraculous, and unanimously described as a step in the right direction.

At the prospect of a mind that opened like it did when exposed to new cities, new people and multiple cultures, I feel an overwhelming sense of relief. At that, and at having escaped the person I could have turned into. And immense gratitude for everything I've had the privilege of experiencing in the last decade.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hola Amigas!

In honor of my wonderful Mexican friend who arrives in Singapore next week.

Andy is one of the most inspiring people I've met while working at P&G in the last 5.5 years. She's bubbly and ever enthusiastic and one of those people who no matter how tired or snappy they are, always start the conversation with "So mate, how ARE you?". And she means it every time she asks it. Working with someone like her leaves even a work cynic like me with little option but to reciprocate the enthusiasm and revel in it.

Andy arrives in Singapore this Friday night and apart from the I-need-to-be-a-good-host jitters I usually get before such arrivals, I am also feeling a wonderful surge of excitement. I want to take her to a Tamil movie, a Bollywood party and cook her many wonderfully Indian things at home.

And before any of the diminished readership asks what I've been up to, let me answer it myself with an appropriately sheepish expression. I've been doing absolutely nothing. Yes I've moved assignments, changed bosses, dealt with P moving here and being jobless for close to 6 months, travelled to China, Hong Kong and India and had the dust settle on the very happening and chaotic beginning of married life (not quite yet, actually. Cause you know, the universe wants to keep life interesting and all that) but I haven't done enough with my time outside work, and sadly so.

So we're making a resolution to fix this situation asap. My long overdue Spanish lessons should happen sometime soon. Same for swimming. And some more travel in the beginning of the new year.

Cheers to the arrival of Andy, and hopefully a breath of fresh air into my fairly stagnating life :-)

Monday, June 28, 2010

And what a year it has been!

I turn 29 tomorrow, and although it started rocky, this year might just have been one of the best, most eventful ones yet.

Last year was kicked off by a surprise from the Penguin and assorted others who made P call in through Skype to say hello and sing 'happy birthday' to a very surprised and overwhelmed me.

July and August were nerve wracking to say the least. In the midst of almost daily pm meetings that turned my social life into a big fat ZERO despite the Penguin living across the road (ah! those days!) I'd wonder daily when my company would get back to me on the status of my move to the US to be united with the soon to be husband. After multiple follow ups, and some ingenuous tactics initiated by my mentor, I was finally told I couldn't move after all. This was 10 days before my wedding and instead of looking forward to the event to be, I was miserable thinking about which one of us would have to give up a much loved job and move to another country jobless.

September was the wedding. A fun filled affair followed by a much deserved holiday in Bali, which we spent blissfully ignorant of the uncertainties that lay ahead, simply coz P had an interview call from a company in Singapore. Just as well, I suppose. At least our honeymoon wasn't wrecked by the worry that plagued us for most days before the wedding.

By the end of September we'd had our bubble mercilessly burst. The interview was shit and to make matters worse, the guy who interviewed P basically discouraged him to the point where he wondered if it would ever be possible to find a job in Singapore.

And hence, October and November went by in a crazy haze trying to figure who would finally take the big step of moving. Jobs were hunted left, right and center.

Finally it was clear that me moving to the US outside of my current company would mean endless H1B struggles and a year or more of potential unemployment. P's moving here was no easy feat either. At best he would be underemployed, settling for a pay grade and position far less than what he had in the US. At worst, he would be unemployed. But since Singapore has a more open attitude to work visas and jobs in his sector were more numerous than mine near Philadelphia, finally it was decided he would move here.

December was a month of mixed feelings. On one hand, P was finally coming here for good. After 2 years of long distance, we'd finally get to live under the same roof. On the other hand, the next few months would be fraught with the stress of finding him a job.

The end of December was a brilliant time. We were in Madras for Christmas with P's mom's side of the family and a wedding on his Dad's Punjabi side of the family. Every time a new relative found out he had moved continents to be with his wife, instead of the aghast expressions we expected, we were treated to a very thrilled "wow, you will be SO much closer to home now!". At some level this was awesome considering no one gave me the third degree for putting their boy out of a job (explaining H1B hassles to a distant Chachi = not my idea of a smooth dialogue). At another level this was also a little deluded, coz no one really understood how difficult all this had been for P to cope with. P, as always, maintained his stoic silence and suffered quietly through it all.

We came back to Singapore on the 29th of December welcomed by our friends and began a real life together.

Jan and Feb passed in a blur of happy moments. What I had expected to be teething trouble while living with a new flatmate, was made smooth by the fact that P is the most low maintenance dude ever. This and the fact that Mogambo had trained him in the fine art of housekeeping made him the best flatmate I've ever had!

I always knew he'd be cool to live with (it's why I married him, no?), but I didn't quite anticipate the amount of 'awesome' he brought into the relationship. Life before P suddenly paled in comparison with life after P :-)

March, April and May were probably the toughest months we've been through together. There was no sign of a job on the horizon, and although P is an overall calm person not given to panic (like yours truly), this is when he started to get well and truly scared that this job thing would never ever happen, much less in a decent company. I have to admit, these were scary times for me as well. Although we never quite lashed out at each other, there was an undercurrent of "will this ever happen for us" always at play. Going through pain yourself is one thing (and P went through enough of this) but seeing someone you love so much go through such pain and knowing that it's all for you is something I never figured out how to deal with. Guilt was my best friend in these months. And faith.

My only real prayer was for things to get sorted out by P's birthday on the 21st of May. He doesn't really care about them, but I do, and him having a good birthday just seemed like the one thing that would redeem the crap months we'd been through.

On 15th May, an interview that P had given a few weeks back showed signs of working out. Finally on the 19th of May, he had an official offer from a really good company headquartered in the US and with operations in Singapore. We celebrated his birthday 2 days later, with much fanfare amidst good friends.

From then on, things have only gotten better. Mogambo landed up here sometime later in collusion with P and surprised me. Much shopping and much drinking later, we headed out on a short trip to HongKong and painted every bit of it red. My work life went from better to plain awesome as some really good work for the year was wrapped up. I made a new friend in my co worker, Andy (long distance seems to be my specialty, considering she lives in Beijing and we've only ever interacted over the phone).

But it all gets better in July. Tomorrow, I turn 29 and P and I have officially lived together for 6 months :D We had a brilliant weekend, cause I leave on work for Beijing tomorrow. And after work I stay back over the weekend with Andy and her family to trek up the Great Wall and see the sights of Beijing :)

Mogambo comes back from Madras at the end of July and I go home in August/ September to see my parents after VERY long. :-) Interesting work stuff coming up as well.

A year that started so uncertainly is coming to an end quite brilliantly. To that, and to many more years to come, CHEERS!

Happy 29th birthday to me :-)

Monday, June 14, 2010

A new life begins....

P starts work today. He received an offer about Mid May - right before his birthday in the 3rd week of May. Ever since then, it's been like a constant joyride with all the pleasant surprises and the very new feeling of no worrying about the future. His birthday was followed by S's visit here which in turn was followed by a brilliant trip to Hong Kong. My birthday comes up accompanied by a work trip to Beijing where I stay on an extra weekend and get to experience all the magic of the old city and finally meet my colleague and good friend Andrea.

Life has been good (touchwood!!) for a while now and I hope it stays this way for a while to come. :-) Thanks to everyone who sent their prayers our way :-)

Monday, June 07, 2010

Hong Kong Babbbyyyy!!!

Just back from the most incredible short trip ever. Hong Kong turned out to be so much more fun than I'd ever have expected it to be. Of course, being surprised by a dear dear friend over the last weekend (P and her colluded to have her fly in from Seattle to Singapore!!!) and having her around to plan this whole trip and take it with us just made it all the better!

S, I hope you do decide to come back on your way back to Seattle. I wait with bated breath. I promise to take you on the stupid Singapore flyer thing, take you shopping again, watch that awful SATC2 movie if it's still on and take you partying all night every weekend night that you're here :-)

More later ...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Holiday fever ...

Andy and I have been slogging for over 2 months now on this project that is finally due completion tonight and due presentation next week. At this point, having come SO close to the goalpost, our only thoughts are how we're going to be FREE next week! Yes there will be work still, but nothing of this magnitude and nothing that eats up our every waking hour!

This is so akin to when I was a kid writing final exams in school. This was usually followed by the lonnng summer holidays, so towards the last few exams, I'd be excited as hell!

My funniest, most out of character (because I cannot imagine ever doing anything to jeopardize my marks, no matter how excited I was) story of final exams and summer anticipation is that in one of my final exams, for the LAST subject paper, I was SO excited to be starting summer holidays in about 2 hours, that I forgot to flip the question paper to its back side, hence omitting about 20 marks worth of answers and sauntering out of the hall feeling supremely happy.

Supremely idiotic is what I felt when mom asked why I was home so early and I realized I'd forgotten to answer so many questions.

Ah sweet innocent childhood! :)

Monday, May 10, 2010


For someone who has always been a less than secure individual (all the bravado on the outside notwithstanding), I've always been terrified of failure. As an example, when in class 11, I once thought I'd give the esteemed IIT JEE exam a shot. I brought home a bunch of books to start prepping if possible, but more than anything to get a feel of the JEE "vibe".

If you're from India, you already know the enigma that the IITs are. They're famed for being incredibly tough to enter and tougher still to survive. Even as I picked up my first book and flipped the first page, my terror of not making it took over. In less than 5 minutes with the book, I'd decided I wasn't smart enough to make it and shut it. I returned all of the material the very next day and decided to focus on the infamous, but not as tough, 12th standard board exams instead.

Ever since and until I started working with my present company in 2005, I've been very influenced by what others said was tough to crack, sometimes giving up on it even before i could start.

But my 1st boss changed all that. He's the guy who for better or for worse, believed that in the not so critical realm of life that we operated in (skin creams, laundry products and such - not human hearts or national defense) nothing could NOT be solved.

His firm belief at first scared the hell out of me but since I reported to him and I desperately wanted to not fail him (he was (is) one hell of an inspiring manager) I did everything I could to learn from him and soaked up everything he taught me.

By the end of my 1st year working with him, I realized something magical had happened. I was still afraid of failure, but it no longer took over me or proved an impediment to finding solutions. To this very day I continue to believe no problem is without an answer. No matter how daunting it looks, no matter how tight a deadline seems, I know I will make it past it. It may not come easy and I may whine more than fair share in the interim, but eventually I'll get it

Funnily enough, this perseverance (you may choose to call it naivete) also flows into my personal life. I don't give up on something until I have absolutely emptied my brain thinking of solutions, and eventually finding one.

Alas, this never say die attitude can only apply to things that are in my control. And ambitious as I may be, even I know the limits to my control.

Which is when I enroll for a crash course in optimism.

Or not.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Living with someone you love...

someone who loves you, actually, is something that softens all the rough edges in your life. Work piles on, sometimes exceeding your capacity for work, sometimes seeping into your weekends, but never actually pushing you to that point of utter irritation where you start hating it.

It's all so different coming home to P than to an empty house. It's all so different when someone wants to hear your stories, mundane as they may be. It's all so .... new and refreshing from the life I had before.

God, if I haven't said thanks enough, here - I'm saying them right now. Thanks!

Friday, March 12, 2010

May you be granted the wisdom..

To distinguish "you're" from "your".

And may it happen ASAP!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

There isn't anything to write...

Hence, I'll go back to one of those blogging break thingies.

Suddenly I am content with not saying things out loud here. Not sure if has to do with living with another person, but I am unable to will myself to write anything significant for the moment.


Thursday, February 04, 2010

San Francisco!

The Penguin and i visited SFO in June 2008 and came back wowed by the place. Personally I felt so wowed, that I swore I'd go back for a visit, and try to live there (or anywhere in the Pacific NW) if ever possible.

Lately, P's been kidding around about apping to Apple and asking me what I'd do if he actually found a job there. And from the heart, I'd say yes! Screw the H1B hassles. Screw the possibility that I might be a housewife for a year or more. I'd love to live in San Fran!

The weather is fantastic throughout the year. I mean, if the end of June (peak summer, sweltering heat for most other places in the norther hemisphere) was cool and verging on cold, then can you imagine what the rest of the year is like?

The place seems so cosmopolitan with an abundance of Chinese, Desis and other cultures blending in (thanks to Silicon Valley, I suppose) beautifully.

The roads! Up and down all over the place, I'd stay fit ALL the time if I lived here :)

Natural beauty - Yosemite is a few hours drive away. Route 1, the Pacific coast road, passes through (or pretty close to) SFO and takes you further to the very scenic Carmel and Monterrey.

Even places within the city are utterly beautiful. Imagine running along the Golden Gate bridge every evening! Or biking over to Treasure Island! Or going over to Sonoma or Napa to taste wine! Even the normally bustling China Town has a respectful serenity about it. And Fisherman's Wharf + the bay cruises that take you to Sausolito / Alcatraz are all in the vicinity of the city!

The thing that seals the deal of course, is the presence of the sea and mountains nearby making the weather misty for most part of the year. I know most of you love your sunny skies, but I am a dark skies and rain baby. I'd be happy and high in SFO all year round.

Now if only moving there was a little closer to reality. Sigh. One can still dream, no?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Diplomatic? Who me?

I've been called many things in my life. For most part the 2 things that annoy people about me are:

1) My tendency to whine: I am gifted with the ability to whine about the smallest of things, sometimes putting a negative spin even on a positive thing!!! It's only having some truly sunny optimists for friends that has made it better in the recent years.

The day someone calls me a sunny optimist will be the day I ... well ... err...
See I never anticipated it. So I haven't quite planned it out (and won't need to!)

2) My inability to keep a straight face through an intense emotion: Anger, Sadness, Frustration, Happiness, Glee - be what it may, you can ALWAYS see right through me. Calling a spade a spade is the ONE thing I used to be (in)famous for.

And today a woman I work with very closely told me that my diplomacy is inspiring her to turn more tactful as well. (This can also be construed as a well placed slap to my face - an insult rather than a compliment, but lets not put a negative spin on everything?)

Not only was I flummoxed, I also almost fell down from the massive realization that after 4.5 years of working at a job where sugar coating is a way of life, I have, in fact, gone over to the DARK SIDE. Sigh :(

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


What do you call someone who ran away from posting on their blog for 2 whole months? Lazy? Busy? Disinterested? Unmotivated?

How about plain happy?

Mid December saw the grand moving in happen to a new place. The new house is on the 9th floor, is blessed with 24*7 breeze and natural light aplenty. It's a blessing to come back to at the end of a long hard day at work.

End December saw me meeting the husband (P, as he is usually known) after 3 months of living apart post the wedding. As if it wasn't bad enough that we'd been apart so long, and as if I wasn't already acting like a giddy teenager thinking "YAY i'm going to see him!" every single day, his airline decided to act up and bump him off his flight when he turned up to check in. Bastiges.

What followed was an intense 8 hours of him and me coordinating on google talk to find him tickets to India that did NOT go through Europe to avoid a rehash of the "We have so many cancelled flights from the bad weather, hence we will proceed to give stranded passengers your seat without warning you in advance" situation. Finally found the last economy ticket on a Middle Eastern airline that got him to Madras 1 day AFTER Christmas. By which time the wine and vindaloo had been devoured and much family fun had already occurred.

Not to worry, though. P's aunt left some aside for him.

Did I mention the airline refused to refund the ticket cost? Knowing that this was one passenger leaving the country on a one way ticket, and hence would not be back to fight with them, they refused to pay up.

First, he was asked to shuttle between Expedia (the online agent) and the airline (should I, should I not mention?) for about a day. Then he passed on the baton to the very kind and capable Mogambo who pursued the bastiges for us (coz P was, by now, on a flight to India, remember??). Mogambo was served a series of delightfully inconsistent excuses that ranged from "Of course he was on the flight. Our records show that he landed in India just now" to "He never showed up". All this after the airline mailed him saying "your flight has been cancelled".

Mogambo then suggested that nothing would come out of this haggling (P, by now, had reached India) and perhaps we could consider not paying at all? (Credit card payments aren't authorized by you until you've seen your statement no?). This idea was looked upon very favorably by P's many family members who had already expressed their deep grief at the loss of so much money to a cheating airline.

I'm glad to report, the credit card company with their ample resources managed to refuse payment to the airline and in due course (2 days ago, to be precise) credited the money back to him and we did a little jig of happiness before telling all our well wishers, the money was indeed back.

Of course, P's arrival in Singapore is an event one must not gloss over. As we got off the taxi at our condo, we noticed some familiar faces hopping off taxis before ours. Apparently, the Penguin, the Viking, V&D had planned a breakfast to welcome P to the country. Hot home made Dhoklas.

(I have to say at this point, that I have never received such a warm welcome despite having known all these people for about 4 years now. Such is P's luck or P's magic. One will never know.)

The last few weeks have been the beginning of what they call 'married life'. It feels like anything I say at this point would end up sounding cliched, so I'll avoid detailing what it's been like.

Let's just say coming home to someone who loves you and wants you there is a one of a kind brilliance. I'd trade it for nothing in the world at this point :)

More later ....