Falling in love one more time – Welcome Roohi!

We welcomed our baby girl, Roohi on June 18th. It’s been more than a month but what an angel she has been so far…

We decided to call her Roohi because – barring the pressure to be phonetically consistent with “R” – we were looking for a name meaning “Soul”. We wanted our children to mean “heart and soul” for completing our family (Hridyan means heart). As it turns out Roohi also sounds like a combination of Hrishi’s and my name – so we got big thumbs-up from almost everyone we shared it with. Naming was a breeze this time – this was our first choice and turned out the only possibility with the constraints. Sometimes constraints help 🙂

She shares her birthday with my fav mama – one of the most passionate, sporty and fun person I know.  He protects and grows forests for a living. She also shares her birthday with a Beatle – Paul McCartney. I’d be happy if she gets a few traits from each of them.

The last two month of my pregnancy became a bit of a stretch as Roohi’s head engaged 2 weeks earlier than expected. So we started expecting her to make an appearance before time. So the doc recommended “take-it-easy”. My grand plans of daily swim and yoga till the end were out the window. I had been staying active throughout to maximize my chance of natural birth. It turns out sometime you can overdo it. Although my alternate theory is the stop-and-go traffic in Mumbai made her descend faster….

After a couple of false alarms, her arrival was swift eventually. Especially when compared to Hridyan (he took almost 16 hours to appear – yup!). I was in pain for 7 hours, with the worst pains only about 3 hrs. I never believed the easy labor stories, till I had mine to share. The only surprise was that when we were very close, I suddenly saw about 15 people in the labor room. Still don’t know when or why all of them had showed up for the finale….

Kudos to the medical team in the hospital – fabulous and efficient. We had a very pleasant experience in Berkeley for Hridyan but this stay in the Hiranandani hospital trumped that, for facilities and attention. We stayed there for three days – got pampered, met closest family and friends and then came back home……for even more pampering 🙂

So before life moves on and evolution makes me forget the details, here are some fond memories of her arrival.


Baby Shower – Encore

OK guys, that was a loooong hiatus – but as you can see we have been busy making a baby :). Somehow in this populous nation, one didn’t seem enough and we had to contribute some more….

(OK, kidding about that because I have been surprised as how many couples in India are choosing to have only one kid )

Sharing baby shower pictures. I was not so keen to have a second ceremony, but thankfully Hrishi was all for it. And with remaning push from Shruti – we had this very nice, homely baby shower. Besides Hrishi – this was a whole new set of old friends and family and games. Felt really nice and warm after the party and now waiting for the younger one to arrive any time 🙂

Expectedly, Hridyan is the most excited about the baby. It is awesomely sweet to have baby conversations with him every day.

Baby Shower Pics

6M – Settling Report

It has been 6-months since we moved back – yes, I am surprised too. (Well it’s been 5 months since I posted anything …. my longest gap in blogging).

My strategy was to re-create as much as possible my US lifestyle in India, and then optimize later. I am happy to say we are 80% settled. We have everything we need to ‘be’ generally. So we are being lazy about the rest…

We are living in a generally nice complex – with kids play areas, fitness, swim and playing amenities. So once inside the complex we don’t need to go out much. In Mumbai, not having to be on the road  reducing the biggest stress. My commute on most days is 30-40 minutes each way. This is a bit longer than I wanted, but in the affordability, commute and amenities trifecta, this was kind of optimum for the whole family. My work requires much more travel than in US. Hrishi is continuing with his gig in US, and is working graveyard shift the whole week. (as a result Hrishi and I only talk on the weekends….:( ). Aai (Hrishi’s mom) is our house-manager now and is doing the baai management (which I agree can be a fulltime job in itself). Baba (Hrishi’s dad) is Hridyan’s biggest pal, since he is not going to school yet. So it’s one big happy family – but by far Hridyan got the best deal. He has been vacationing for last 6-months, sleeping VERY late, knows more shlokas and mantras that I do (pandit genes are super-evident) and is being spoilt by grandparents. Our family bonding time happens over weekly wine and IPL matches 🙂

A couple of things did not go that well. I traded off professional continuity for personal settling. As a result, I have generally been spending only two days a week on home set-up. As a result, we still don’t have all curtains needed (big problem in the summer) and our main bedroom looks like a storage. The boxes are not all open, and furniture not yet bought. It would have been nice to take a month off and get it all done, but could not engineer that with my company. Second, big mistake was to not buy the car immediately. I have become sort of an expert on various call-a-cab services like Meru, Easy, Tab, etc but it’s exhausting to manage this regularly, deal with unavailability and not have the independence to drive quickly somewhere and get things done. I have no desire to try the train or the buses here. I am also saying ‘I’ because Hrishi and others don’t have to leave the house on an everyday basis and hence, mainly my problem. But the car is now done, and we should get it in the next week or so . The first trip will likely be to the curtains shop!!

I miss California (and always will) but the new arrangements here are promising and nice. Not complaining….yet!

M1 – Hridyan’s First Observations

In the first month, it has been a delight to hear Hridyan’s comments…
I have been meaning to jot these down, but sharing would be even better 🙂

.. there’s a lot of construction in India (he has seen more dump trucks, cement mixers, cranes, scoopers, etc than in US already)
.. why is the sky not blue?
.. hello stray dog
.. I want to go in an auto (rickshaw) but why is it so bouncy?
.. why does Rani (housemaid) not sit with us? 😦
.. we live with lots of kinds of animals in India.
.. the ketchup in India tastes better
.. the yoghurt in India tastes better
.. there are cars and Meru cabs (apparently he has missed noticing all the old style cabs so far..)
.. why is (add your choice of location) so dirty?
.. no one cleaned the buffalo after it did the ‘strange’ potty
.. (butt cleaning with water) is the ‘perfect’ way to clean.

In addition he has been missing his friends Navya, Rian, Kankan, Anvay, Owen G and Hilbert a lot!!

Back to India – here’s why…

A month back 2/3 of us made it back to India with a one-way ticket. The last third joined us today. As you might suspect this ‘move’ will trigger many posts in the coming months, so I wanted to start from the start. Why move back after a decade? from California? from Silicon Valley?

The reasons are all too typical –
For me it’s 40% family and 40% solar/cleantech opportunity in India and 20% loads of reasons some of which become more pronounced during cricket games, festivals, househelp discussions, patriotism, desiness, and what not 🙂
For Hrishi it is almost all family
….and we are hoping that in our own ways we will be able to find a place to stand and feel comfortable about this decision.

We have given ourselves a 2-yr time window – which is somewhat artificial ’cause it depends on the green-card, etc BUT in some ways real because that the amount of time most of our returned friends took to ‘settle-in’.

It’s been a good start to this adventure so far. Fingers crossed!!

Steve Jobs – a lifetime of inspiration

It was Jan 2005, Hrishi and I had moved into our Pacifica house together, first few months of living together ever. One of the first purchases was to get a personal laptop for me (first with my own money) and after weeks of research I had settled on Apple MacBook, which gave me the same specs as a Wintel machine for $300 extra and a promise for better computing experience. Hrishi and I had many, many arguments for-against Apple in those weeks. I was seriously questioning if I had made the right decision marrying him, if we could not even agree on a computer.

After using the computer for a few months, I realized I liked it more than Dell, Thinkpad or any desktop I had used. So decided to buy their shares at ~$50. Continued to buy in small batches for the next year. It’s perhaps the only stock I have made money on. Hrishi has been bugging me to sell them off for last 2-3 years, but my standard response has been ‘Not till Steve Jobs is around’.

The last week, since his death, has been surprisingly teary for me. Feels like an overwhelming loss. Turns out millions of people around the world are surprised by similar feelings. I am not going to attempt to eulogize him. Many words have been written, which perhaps capture his genius better than I ever could. (Onion’s summary was a fav – “Last guy in US who knew what the fuck he was doing”).

But keeping it in the context of my life, in 2001 an guy approached me while I was working on an oil rig in Assam – and asked if Indira Gandhi was my role model. (He had never seen a woman on the oil field, and thought I must be inspired by someone great). I said ‘no’ – but the question stayed with me. “Who is my role model, do I need one, what can I learn?”…

Through IIT and early professional years, I didn’t find anybody that was particularly inspiring. Then I started following Steve Jobs in the last 5 years. Once I read about his work and philosophy – it was easier to answer the ‘role model’ question.
(Although sometimes I wished with his skills, he would take on the difficult social problems as well, and some of his inter-personal skills might not be most noteworthy)

More than the i-stuff, what will continue to inspire me are his authenticity, clarity of thought, guts, focus, visualizing the intersections – of industries, of human psychology with technology, and then ‘making it happen’ like crazy.

The above is a tall package for most people to be or become. I doubt if I’ll see someone like him in my lifetime. It was my privilege to see the show live and would love to share his stories as Hridyan grows older. He was fortunate to have received all the love in his lifetime. But I wish everyday, I could continue to see the magic…..

RIP and thank you, Steve.

For the rest of us, let’s “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”

PS: some photos from outside his house in Palo Alto, CA

Hridyan’s 3rd Budday

After large parties in the first two years, we were a bit tired from all the organizing. This is excluding my personal stress from figuring out the India move thingy…So after the usual procrastination about making any decision – we were 3 days away from Hridyan turning three. Folks from India don’t make it easy by constantly asking what the plans are. Anyway we finally had to decide….it could have been no-plans at all. But then the mom-in-me woke up …”how can we not do anything?” 🙂

So here’s what we ended up doing. I got a pinata (fire-truck shaped) for his pre-school class and filled it with small bags of candy and goodies (Uncovered a whole new world of pinata….I don’t think I have ever tried to hit one, but always seemed like a fun activity). All the 3-yr olds at his class tried their hand at breaking it. Teachers tried and loved it too. Check out the video in the picasa-album. Turned out to be quite fun actually…
Did one ‘happy budday’ in his new class with some cupcakes and then another one in his old class, from which he has moved up in the last month.

At home that evening, we invited a few close friends and their more kids and continued the party till late. Lotsa cake, fun and attempts to have adult conversation. For Ridu’s part, he was happy to hang out with Rian, Kanishka and the littlest one, Anvay 🙂

Looking forward to a year non-stop chit-chat, fun and health :). Happy Birthday Hridyan!!