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Date:2011-04-26 10:38
Subject:Still Tuesday!

We just had a nice weekend and I can't wait for the next one.

Seattle is hopefully getting into warmer days soon.
Last night I was so sleepy - and hungry too. Cooked some yummy gobi and daal - with rice. And that means I don't have to cook anything tonight too! Yay for leftovers!

This weekend I intend to visit a nursery (the one with plants) - have been thinking of getting a couple of big plants or a tree planted in the backyard.
Our neighbor has a dogwood but I think I want one too. Greedy ol' me - well spring/summer is that time of year everyone is making sure their yard looks the best - or at least better than the neighbors yard :D

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Date:2011-04-21 10:05
Subject:Sore throat

Went to the doctor today for a sore throat that's been bugging me all week. She prescribed a throat spray - never done that before. Hopefully it helps.

Yes you will get all the good and sore throat news when you read my journal! :)

Well in happy news - I'm planning to visit the tulip festival this weekend -

We go every year. Often we go too early. This time it seems most tulips have bloomed so it's hopefully a well timed trip. Weirdly, the tulips in our yard don't seem in any rush to bloom - they're still buds.

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Date:2011-04-18 10:10

Just saying hi! Time to resurrect this journal - almost been 2 years since I updated it. Good friend reminded me I should.

So here's a short quick update to get started:

Last week we had a Bake Sale in office. My colleague and I baked brownies and blondies(white chocolate brownies but of course they're blond so they're called blondies). I learnt some good baking tricks which earlier seemed quite a hassle to do right. Isn't it always easier to learn kitchen stuff hands on rather than from a book! It works for me.

Speaking of kitchen work - I need to do a bit of cooking today for the next few days. I usually try to get some dishes and pre-prep done over the weekend - to help make weekday dinners quicker. But this weekend I've been good old lazy thanks to a cold.

I'm not sure how many old LJers still read the blog so feel free to say hi as a comment.

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Date:2009-07-22 09:02
Subject:Insane violence

3 days ago I read about a brutal attack on two Seattle women, while they slept in their own home. An intruder got in and stabbed them. One of them died on the scene and the other survived.
The murderer is still at large.

I read the news and felt sad for their tragedy and also scared for my own life. Last night as I read and reread each story, I realized the woman who died was someone I had met less than a month ago. She was the general manager of the company that leases our office space to us.

I had just started going to my new office. One day I met Theresa in our cafe. She introduced herself. She asked me if I needed anything, if I knew where everything was, etc. Very helpful and very nice.

But now she's gone.

I cannot believe someone's life can get cut short so suddenly! And for no reason. I didn't suffer a personal loss - but all who loved her are surely suffering a lot. And it's definitely taken something away from me - my peace of mind and my trust that I will wake up the next day.

I really don't know what to think. I guess I'm freaked out. And I don't know what to do with the business card she gave me then.

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Date:2009-06-04 12:42
Subject:Teaching for applicability

As kids and as teenagers we learnt loads of maths - geometry, calculus, logarithms, probability, set theory, statistics and what not! I was good at math(or at least I thought so) since I scored well in exams.

But sadly, I really doubt I knew or really understood what I was doing. Today the same concepts make so much sense, when I see them applied to real problems.

Honestly, the details of these topics are somewhat hazy for me now and I wouldn't score too well in similar tests today since I've forgotten all the tricks. But I believe the way I think of math/logic today is very different from how I studied these topics then.

I definitely prefer the way I learn today. It's just more interesting. I so wish I had the same insights earlier in school.

I'm reminded of an incident:
I remember we had a short refresher Math course as part of our masters program too. Most of us were really annoyed solving the trivial exercises again after so many years. One day, a student(braver than the rest of us for sure) just stood up and asked the Math teacher 'why do we need to learn this? How does this apply to our course in software engineering'.
The teacher got really frustrated, couldn't come up with an example and said 'I'm here to teach you math. Why are you asking me for applications!!!'

Ouch!!! It was funny then but also really sad. We need to teach teachers to teach and more importantly, teach learners to learn. And I wish we'd do that at an early age.

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Date:2009-05-15 16:56
Subject:Deciding what to cover

I'm planning some sessions for my team in a specific technology. Often managers tend to think teaching basics helps all - let's do that. But I think teaching basics is a waste for most people.
Why assume people are the basic level, and why not just get into the meaty stuff.

That way everyone will learn something, if not everything. Yes, some things will fly by gently over some people's heads, which is fine I think. Things fly by over my head very often but at least I get a glance at what else I need to know.

Analogy: Once we ordered food for a party. And we ordered it spicy, except for one dish. That way at least most people enjoyed the food. And the few that didn't, stuck to the safe dish and sweet options :D

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Date:2009-05-06 17:47
Subject:My India trip

Mumbai - Gateway of India
Originally uploaded by bhavana

I got back from India last Sunday. Yes it takes me at least 2 weeks to get back to normal life after long vacations. It was an amazingly fun trip and an amazingly hot trip too. Our first stop was Mumbai. Met up with lots of friends and saw all my favorite places. Main point was showing Raju a (large) portion of my life. It was great meeting Sasi and the gang. But it was all real quick - there's only so much you can do in 3 days!

The next stop was hot Chennai. Raju and I reached there a day before my family did from Mumbai, to meet up with some friends. Had some really awesome idly wada for breakfast once. The next 2 days we attended a family wedding. I was the bridesmaid/maid of honor for that. We had planned a fusion theme - so I wore a cream colored lehenga. The festivities continued for 2 days, after which Raju and I took off for Delhi. But not before we had visited Marina Beach, and the Fort Museum on Poonamalai Road.
I couldn't wait to get my feet wet - the nice cool water was a respite from the heat, and a big change from the frigid beaches here in the US.

Once in Delhi, we spent time at my in laws place. Made a quick day trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal! I was so excited - saw it for the first time! Very very awesome feeling when you first glance up to see it. Took loads of snaps in filmy poses out there :)
We also made a day trip to Akshardham temple but no pics of that, due to security restrictions(no cameras, no bags, nothing allowed inside). That was quite a pity since the temple is totally magnificent! All those carvings and beautiful balconies and fountains - WOW! They got a nice show etc. too which is pretty good.
And then, there was another marriage. This time my cousin's marriage. I did all the sisterly rituals, which by now I'm pretty well versed in. Like feeding the horse channa dal, helping put the sehra on the groom and tying the groom and bride together with a knot. Lots of fun.
After all the wedding excitement was over, we left for Chandigarh. Sadly for a very short trip. But we made the most of it - spent time with family. We also did some golf practice in the practice range. I was really bad that day but Raju somehow managed to impress my Dad, who's a great golfer btw. That made me proud. I was better than him at putting though haha!
And that pretty much ended my vacation. I loved all of it - especially spending time with family. And I loved all the awesome food(especially chaats and pav bhaji)! I didn't enjoy the mosquito bites very much though. And I also got 3 shades darker boo hoo. :D

(BTW to see all pics you'll need to log into flickr)

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Date:2009-04-02 13:17
Subject:Reading old posts
Mood: nostalgic

I've been reading my old LJ posts since yesterday. It's nice reading your thoughts 3 years ago.
Some things make me laugh and others make me sad. And so many make me shake my head and think 'how silly I was'.

Like this one post I made about boys.
BTW this post was written about my schoolmate, who now happens to be my husband. Well I guess KC's prediction was accurate! :D

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Date:2009-03-06 08:25
Subject:Govt. heading for cloud computing

It's good to read that the new appointed chief information officer. Vivek Kundra, is planning to look into cloud computing.

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Date:2009-03-05 09:39
Subject:Cloud computing

If you're curious about cloud computing or already dreaming up or developing that killer app on some platform in the cloud, this panel discussion might be interesting to you:

Warning: it's an hour or so long.

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Date:2009-02-24 11:09
Subject:Good Stewart Show last night

Last night's Jon Stewart show was especially good. The Oscar stuff was good, some bits better than others, but the interview with Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO, was really hilarious. His laughter is so contagious. If you want to jump right into that, scroll the above video to minute 14 or so.

BTW anyone planning on getting the new Kindle? I can't afford it at present and I'm not a big reader anyway. But I could use some freaky voice reading to me for sure.

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Date:2009-02-22 12:26
Subject:Is India regressing for women?
Mood: angry

Since some years I feel India is regressing when it comes to women's issues and rights. I feel we had a more pro-women society when I was growing up.

I do blame television a lot. Here's why:

When I was growing up I remember watching all kinds of TV shows. When there was Doordarshan, we watched religious epic shows like Mahabharata, Ramayana, family dramas like Buniyaad and Hum Log, classics like Darpan, foreign shows like Oshim, music shows like Chitrahaar, etc. And we watched some cute and cosy comedy shows. We also watched so many inspiring stories of women such as Nadia, and Kiran Bedi, etc.

Some of that continued once we got cable television and unlimited channels. For a while, we had tons of comedies and tons of music in the form of channel V and MTV. Life couldn't be better!

But things have changed a lot in the last decade or so...

Today all we seem to have is family dramas. And some good and very bad news channels, all equally adept at dramatization of everything. But that's another discussion altogether.

A very big majority of Indian homes watches family dramas like Saan Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Ghar ghar ki kahani. There are countless such programs. Are we innocent enough to assume this won't have any cultural impact on people in the long run?

Let's see... I grew up watching a serial about the fighting spirit of a woman police officer.
Our current generation of girls is growing up watching extremely beautiful and overdressed women, being very 'nice and sweet and moral' all the time ... the nice sacrificing heroines always being taken advantage of, heroes getting married multiple times, women forever entangled in mother/daughter in law problems, women spending their whole lives with no obvious ambition except keeping their husbands happy, women spending their whole lives in proving they're good righteous women who are always having a tough time. Are these the Bold And Beautiful equivalents of India? Or have we just gone one step ahead. Culturally does it make sense to instill such values of dependence and lack of ambition in our country? A place where lots of women are struggling with balancing their professional and home lives, struggling to stay in school, struggling to avoid dowries, struggling with eve teasing, sexual harassment, etc.

I've always believed we women can carve our own destinies. If from early childhood, we girls are taught to be overdressed and dependent, that's exactly what we're going to grow up to be. That's all we're going to learn and pass on.

I wouldn't be writing this if I didn't think this trash on TV was a big problem. I absolutely believe this is pushing us backwards in every sense.

For example, there was a time we used to police ourselves. Today we have numerous organizations who do the job for us. They come and beat us in clubs in Mangalore and other cities. Eve teasing has always been around. But now, an entire mob can eve tease you even when your husband is with you. In our dear capital, men cut in front of cars driven by women all the time. I used to feel Mumbai was safer for women than the north. Now I don't know if any place is safe. I can probably safely wear jeans today. But by our moral policing standards, I wonder if my kids and grandkids will ever afford such luxuries!

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Date:2009-02-22 11:35

Mentoring is one 'perk' we're all gifted with at our workplaces. Some consider it a pain. It can be a very time consuming process. Some people can be really tough to mentor.

Either way, it's always a learning process for me. I hate it whenever I'm told to mentor someone new. But at the same time, I love the process. It's nice to be challenged and working with new people is always challenging right! It usually takes not weeks, but months to get someone up to speed. Then again, it depends upon how much time can you afford, how motivated you and your mentee are. Here are some things that work for me:

* Have a scheduled time to meet the mentee. Actually put it on the calendar. I find that some people tend to shy away from disturbing you at random times. I've also mentored people who think all times are good times to ping you. So the calendar works both ways.
* Have the regular meeting whether you have an agenda or not. Most likely an agenda will crop up.
* Gradually become less available to your mentee so that they become more self reliant. Especially when you sense over dependence, one sign being you find yourself repeating things all the time.
* Don't get mad/disappointed every if you have to repeat things. Realize you needed to ask twice when you were new too. I used to hate repeating things but I'm getting better now.
* Create a set of tangible resources like practice exercises, tutorials, etc. so that you can reuse these to keep your mentees busy in their initial days. Then you won't find them all sad twiddling their thumbs, wondering where to start learning in the enormous pool of learning resources.
* Don't spoonfeed. Don't spoonfeed. Don't spoonfeed. You might be impatient and think that telling them the answers is quicker. But this makes them ask again and again.
* Give loads of pointers but try to not do things for them. Let them break their code/build 20 times. Show them how to fix it, show them how to understand the error by looking at appropriate files. Don't just fix things for them just because it will save you both time.
* Never underestimate. When you think they won't get it, overstretch them. You'll be surprised about what people can achieve if you expect more from them.
* Share your knowledge. Don't be a miser. Sharing won't make your knowledge any less. Show them where and how you learnt stuff. Show them the manuals and guides and everything. Help them learn how to learn.
* Give your mentees an idea about your mentoring plan. And do do do have some plan. Let them know what they need to learn and by when. Mentees tend to get all excited and attracted to what everyone else in the company is doing. Mostly in the earlier days when they have little work. Assure them they'll be pretty busy soon and they'll be able to learn everything when it's the right time. But if they want to do something extra too soon, let them do it. It should help satisfying their curiosity.
* One of the common traits I've found is mentees always want to impress you a little. Since I work in quality assurance, my new mentees in qa always come up with some 'amazing prize worthy' bug in the product. Needless to say, it's usually not a bug or it's a known issue. But it's important you listen to them and give them the due credit. I also show them how to tell if it's a bug or not next time.

Yes at times they wanna tell you you're wrong and they're right. And boy can it be annoying :)
Well expect it and enjoy it. Sometimes they WILL be right. And that's where roles get reversed and now you're the mentee :)

So tell me - what works for you?

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Date:2009-02-19 14:18
Subject:I didn't think I'd use the word snob ...

Snob - it's just a weird word. Never really thought of someone as a snob since a long time. Except maybe Fraisure, whom I love to watch - quite a pitiable snob methinks.

But today I heard a very old classmate say something ... ummm ... snobbish.
She's into literature and writing.

Made me wonder if there's a direct relation between literary types and snobbishness.
Do snobs generally pretend they've read all the historic masterpieces? Or people who read a lot of literary stuff turn into snobs thanks to their extensive knowledge? I've met a lot of smart literary types who are not snobs. They've been cool and unpretentious and a pleasure to be around.

But frankly, I've never met a snob who wasn't interested in literature and other supposedly finer things in life.

They say "you become what you pretend to be". Snobs not only pretend to be superior, they seem to define literature as one measure of their superiority. Interesting.

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Date:2009-02-18 09:46
Subject:Health supplements

I think I should take some vitamin or mineral supplements. But I can't decide what to take. Iron? Calcium? B-complex? Cod liver oil? Should I take all of them! Should I take none!

Just curious what works for you? Welcome all arguments against them too. Maybe I'm hoping someone would try to talk me out of them. Would just make the decision a whole lot easier :)

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Date:2008-12-19 11:25
Subject:Unexpected winter adventures

Well ever since we bought our house this Oct, we've been learning a lot. The winter has proved challenging and it has only started!

Well 2 days ago we called this guy to winterize our sprinkler system. They blow compressed air into your irrigation pipes and let all the water out. That way your pipes don't crack due to frozen water. Turns out we did it just in time. It snowed up here yesterday. The first snow but rather unusual. It snowed all day and we have many inches of snow piled up. Kids are sledding down roads, some freeways are closed (one guy skied down 520 I heard) ... it's white all over! Very pretty to look at yes. I was congratulating myself for calling the irrigation guy just in time but that happiness was short-lived. I woke up today to find a faucet right in front of the house leaking away merrily. Called the water company and they come down pretty quick to shut down the water. Finally figured out what was going on. Some weird connections going into that stupid faucet. Things finally back to normal. It's still white all over. Today is sunny but the weekend is predicted to be bad weatherwise. Spent some time getting the snow chains on the tires today. This is an interesting time for me - I'm learning a lot - and trying to enjoy some of it :)

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Date:2008-12-05 10:17
Subject:My Rainbow

Your rainbow is shaded green.


What is says about you: You are an intelligent person. You feel strong ties to nature and your mood changes with its cycles. Those around you admire your fresh outlook and vitality.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

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Date:2008-10-28 16:19
Subject:Happy Diwali!
Mood: happy

Hello everyone

Wish you a very Happy Diwali!

I have some news to share...Read more...Collapse )

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Date:2008-10-20 08:11
Subject:Gmail phishing attack

So here's another phishing attack trying to phish gmail passwords. One of my friends got attacked.

For those who don't know about phishing, do NOt enter your username and password here.

This is an informational message to spread the word.

If you get an email with such a link, BEWARE!

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Date:2008-10-16 12:53
Subject:Apartment for rent

Hello everyone

I have a favor to ask...if you know of someone trying to find a rental apartment in downtown Seattle area, please let me know! I'm trying to rent out mine. Thanks!

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