Friday, November 15, 2013

Grace Hopper conference

I was at the Grace Hopper conference for two days. For the first time, I was in a conference about women. To start off with, it was amazing to see the kind of participation. So much so that on the first day, for most of the sessions I was sitting on floor.
The second day was all the more better . My most favorite session was about social enterpreneurship, where women from diverse backgrounds came on the stage and shared how they have been enterpreneurship and made us part of their journey by a glimpse of the video.
I think the conference had a big impact for me in-terms of the way I started looking at the Information Technology industry and the careers within it.
Actually a lot of the topics addressed as part of the conference were not really gender specific . For example a lot of the sessions, brought to the fore a lot of leaders - mostly women. They shared what they thought were the pursuits of a good leader.
Few take aways I had with all the leadership related conversations was
- You will need to make choices and trade-offs and be OK with making them.
- You need to have mentors and sponsors in the workplace to help you
- One needs to be passionate about what he does. We need to be proud of what we do and bring passion into the work.
- You need to constantly challenge yourself.

The interesting thing was , I was on multiple sessions related to leadership and most of the leaders re-iterated what I said above in different ways.
Apart from this, the biggest question on every session was how women need to balance between work life and home and still be successful at work. To me, this drills down back to the choices above. Women have always been owning child nurturing tasks for time immemorial now. While different people had different opinions like some reached out to their support systems, some had hired help.

Overall it was a good time spent. I made a few acquaintances in the process.I think more women and men should spend time on going to sessions this way. It takes us out of the well we create ourselves and encourages to move out of our comfort zone.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Every time there was a program related to the first and foremost species on earth - Fish, on Discover or NGC, I used to switch channel.After one or two watches of the Whales and Sharks, I had lost the interest in programs which dealt deep with Fish and their species.
I picked the book - "The old man and the Sea" by Ernest  Hemmingway. This was a short story. The book is about 3-4 days of life of a fisherman and how he deals with his realities.
The writing style is no simple and the story so good that I used to read this book like a piece of sweet , slowly , repeating the reads and limited pages per read. I took close to 15 days to complete the 100 pages book.
This book brought back my interest in Fishes. For somebody who does not know anything about fishing, the writer takes us through the toughest and most dangerous encounter of a fisher man and gives you a glimpse of their daily life. There is no romance, no suspense, no crime, no bad guy or good guy, its a plain story of fishing. The book introduced me to a new species of fish - Marlin and post this book, my interest has changed.
Now every time there is a program related to fish - Monster Fish, Sharp hunters etc, I watch them.
One thing I ponder though is whether it is really required for our scientist to trouble the fishes, insert tags into them every time they get one. Only science can justify the need.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Perfume - One of the best results of human creativity.
I bought first perfume only about seven years back. But this was not the first time, i saw or used a perfume. My mother used to have a small bottle of sandalwood oil, this she said was the most costly perfume.
As a child, i was never allowed to open this or even touch it. It was kept with all the costly sarees and the sarees smelled of sandalwood.
Then came the first biggest event of our lives.For my sisters marriage, we decided to buy a perfume. We (Me , my cousin, my sister) decided that we should really savor the experience of choosing one. We were still in a city without too many malls unlike today. We went to a shop in city, this I remember was a small shop, but was an exclusive perfume shop.We were understanding how to smell perfume - smell coffee beans in-between, then smell the strip - during this shopping . Finally we selected - Burberry Touch.
The interesting thing is that since we bought this for my sister's marriage, every time I relish this fragrance, it reminds me of a great personal occasion, of celebrations.
This was just the starting of my perfume world. Then I started reading and understanding the science of perfume. The list of chemicals made me reluctant from using it directly on skin.
The next perfume i got was a gift for my birthday.One of my best friend understood my craving for  perfume and got me Calvin Klein Euphoria. I used this as a daily perfume , i used to wear it for work. I am past 2 bottles of 200ml by now, still have a new one UN-opened in my wardrobe. The fragrance is associated with work, every time I wear it I feel more professional.
Meanwhile, my friend bought Hugo Boss , I loved it in first instance. Soon I bought one too and in the later years, this was my "special occasion in office perfume." After few years my love for perfume was raised to a different level.
When I was returning back from my visit to USA, I went to Macy's and ended up buying - Armani Code, the lady in Macy's gave me a pack of small testers.
After about three months, I went again and this time, I bought a Sarah Jessica Parker brand perfume and tried one more Ralph Lauren brand and a Hermes.
I had become so much of  a perfume "Maniac", i ended up buying the Ralph Lauren perfume at my transit in Singapore.
Today, each of the fragrances mean something to me - they remind me of events,  one is for big happy occasions, other one is a happy work day, one more for something special at work. Few are stashed away for some future occasions. The sense of smell is so powerful , all of these fragrances bring back memories every time, some good some bad.I am not sure how, but it seems like brain does a match the following with smell Vs occasion. Anytime I smell Burnt Nilgiri leaves, it reminds me of the small town of my father, which we used to visit once in a while during occasions.


What I am going to talk about is something which most of us would have experienced at one point or another.
Today I was out to a place near Malleshwaram. For those of you who are from Bangalore, you would know that the very temple from which Malleshwaram gets its name - Kadu Malleshwara temple is right there . Today being ShivRatri , I had planned to goto the temple after my work.
By 1:45 PM  I finished my work and ventured towards the temple, I started following the bee line for Darshanam , by the time I reached the end, I thought it was just out of question for me to stand in the line and wait for Darshanam.
With a bitter mind, I treadled back to the Bus stop to catch my bus. But before that I had some minor shopping, so gradually after finishing the shopping, i rushed towards the Bus Stop. I waited close to 20 minutes, towards the end of my wait, I saw that most of the folks now waiting in the stop were to board the bus I was waiting for.
Finally the bus arrived and I was happy that I could even get a seat with window. With all my luggage, I for a minute , thought that now that I have boarded the direct bus and dont have to open my bag, put it below my shopping stuff . I was then lost in my own thoughts, which is actually quite normal with me - to think of every bougainvillea bush to think of as a bouquet which nature is offering us.
The lady next to me dropped her change in between  the journey and was continuously asking her kid to bend down and collect the same. I am usually helpful and in any other such situations would have got p myself and helped with collecting the change. But not today, today I was trying to fast and was very tired with all the heat  and shopping. So just let the child get down and collect it by herself.
All of a sudden at one stop when some people alighted, the conductor on the bus asked to check if I had my wallet.
I am the kind of person who never , even for a minute, hands over her bag to anybody and this includes my family members as well. I thought he was just saying it and casually checked my bag, which was below two heavy covers filled with my shopping , but still well organized.
I was in for a surprise, it was missing. He just told me to alight and chase folks who got down just before a minute. I ran like a mad dog, I still dint have any idea about who had picked it, the bus was stopped and waiting. I ran and ran and could not see anybody on the road who was there a few minutes back in the bus. Finally, while I was running, and mentally calculating what I had lost, I decided to come back to the bus .
During my chase I realized that I did not have more than 200Rs in my wallet , but I had almost all my cards in it. So I thought it better to start blocking them since the thieves were already on their way back home with the booty.
When I came back, the Conductor on the bus  proudly announced that he knew that the lady next to me was a thief , what I actually thought as a innocent kid collecting the change was actually stealing my wallet from underneath. I was angry and told him that there is no use of boasting of his cognizance since the damage was already done. I had become the curious case of lost wallet in the bus.
The next hour went mostly in blocking my cards and getting them reissued. While I did this, most of the ladies started chatting, some were blaming me to be careless, some the conductor, some the thief. But it was a good gossip for most of them and an event which most would recollect with their family - the ideal Shivratri Jagarane Gossip so to speak.
Sometimes when these events happen while you are upset that something like this happened, there will also be SilverLining. For me , While coming back from temple path , after cancelling my venture to bode lords Darshanam, I was feeling and hoping that my rejection of tedious path does not cause some problem. It did happen- i lost my wallet and would undergo some pain, till I am settled back. To add woes to the problem, just on the previous day I had moved some cards from my wallet and added a new one.
Silver lining was , I wanted to withdraw money, and for various reasons, I had postponed it for a week. I was running on scanty money and had spent most of what i had in the shopping . The other part was the ease with which I could within minutes block all the cards and save my self any more damage.
The customer care executives were very understanding and helped me very well, so much so that one of them asked me what all bank numbers i needed and was ready with the customer care numbers.
So in many ways today was memorable, one of the fall outs of today might be more surprising in future years.