About shivam04

Unexplained phenomenon

Happy 73rd Papa

Wish you a very happy birthday, Papa! May your spirit always be joyful, charismatic, and kind. Just like you were. 73 sounds so old. In a way I am glad my memory of you froze while you were still 64. To see my man in old age would have been hard for me.

How selfish is this human soul? Even after losing him, I am more worried about my discomfort if he had lived to be 73. If he had lived to be 73, he would have heard his grand daughter sing a birthday song for him. We just assumed Nanu was around and we sung for him.

This morning after getting Tara’s breakfast ready I stole a few moments from my usually chaotic morning to drink the day’s first coffee on the deck. I enjoyed the sunrise and the first warm rays of the sun that hit the deck. Soon the light filled the sky. And suddenly my world lost its color.

The birds kept on singing

Even the breeze brushed my cheeks

But the world suddenly lost its color

Or has it been this way since a few weeks?


As the light filtered through the leaves

The contrast blinded my sight

As if the sun was showing me its core

Proving to me its might


Sometimes this light can help you

To illuminate the darkest corners of your soul

And sometimes it can burn you

Consuming you as a whole


I am but a work in progress

I claim no glory nor defeat

The sun has made its presence felt

I must not surrender to this heat


I will live to see the color return

Of this I am quite sure

There will be another coffee on the deck

And the sky will be azure

Kheer 

1/2 gallon whole milk

1/2 can condensed milk

Mix and cook at high for 4 hours in a slow cooker on high

Stir in 3/4 cup rice (more if you like more rice) 

Cook at high for an hour more 

Let it cool and serve it with almonds, raises and cashews.

Sick and sad

Some days your body just gives up and surrenders. That’s what happened to me on Friday. By 1pm I was knocked out. And I tried to stretch a few more hours, but eventually just gave up. I don’t quite know what’s going on, but I was in bed all day Saturday with a sore throat and a low grade fever.

Despite the weeks worth of rest I got on Saturday, when I woke up on Sunday I felt worse. And though I moved around more on Sunday, it’s end of day and I feel as if someone has sucked all the energy out of me.

I am to blame for that feeling. Since Agam joins Confluent tomorrow I wanted to give him a few hours of break. He has been managing Tara and the house by himself since Friday evening and we all know that can be exhausting. I wanted him to get some rest so he can refresh his mind before joining a new role.

So I drove Tara to Town and Village shopping center in Palo Alto for some gluten free cup cakes at Kara’s and a trip to Sur La Table. We picked up some poke on the way back. Though it was a short trip. I am all drained out. Phew.

It’s an odd feeling to be in bed while the world runs on its own. As a Mom it feels even more sinful. But deep within I know I needed this rest. It’s been a long time coming.

Most of the year I have felt like a hit me toy. I keep facing the blows, and then get back on my feet. It only takes so many blows before the air runs out. So here we go! I want to feel like a hug me toy! I hope this year turns around. It’s been an exceptionally disappointing one so far.

This weekend I realized how much I need a helping hand in the house. The weekend chores come to a stand still when one of us is knocked out. God only knows how the week will go with no cooking preps, and loads of laundry waiting to be folded and ironed.

But regardless of what’s ahead, we are all excited about Agam’s new chapter. I hope he enjoys it. And that he meets some awesome people who make him feel challenged and inspired. I hope he has a successful run at Confluent! He deserves it 🙂

As for me, I hope this flu like thing settles soon. It ain’t fun to be sick. Especially for someone like me who hates to lay in bed all day 😦

no bueno

I just don’t want to write today. It is hard enough to just live with this ambiguity. If I put it down in words, it will all become real in this moment. And I will have to live with the reality, than to ignore it as a figment of my imagination. Reality is that I had called it an exciting unknown a year ago. It is way too unknown for me and the excitement has turned into anxiety. I am waiting for a verdict. I can choose to ignore it. But I am not strong enough for that. I’d rather take the plunge and see if I float or I drown. If I drown, I will at least know what action to take. If I float, then this anxiety can be put to end.

It is possible for everything to be just right, and yet so broken. And one must choose to smile despite how broken everything is around them. Quoting Frankl yet again, “Decisions, not conditions, determine what a man is.” I decided to choose this uncertainty and I must deal with the conditions it brings. My fear is that one bad decision will lead to another bad decision. I was finally happy where I landed. And I jinxed my own happiness. May be this is mid life crisis. And may be there is some learning in all of this. As of now, it’s a time suck for me and a few others.

This is a system failure and humans are a victim. I can quit the system, but that makes me a coward. I can fight it, but that will hurt me. I can surrender to it, and perhaps that’s what will make me human. And perhaps that’s what the system wants from me too. To Surrender. I am not ready yet. I am taking my time.

I wish I cared less. That will solve this problem.

a blissful surrender

This weekend we celebrated our awesome guy! The one who listens to not one, but two crazy girls in the house. He keeps us all sane and calm. And he amuses us with his absent minded-ness, and naive questions. He takes care of us like no one ever will. And he also puts us to sleep, one after the other. 😀 Oh and the best part, he loves us unconditionally. We won’t survive without him. But we never take the time to tell him that 😛

It was Agam’s bday on the 13th, and I managed to surprise him with a chaat party with some friends, yet again. Either I am too good at giving surprises, or he is too naive to get tricked every time. Either case, we had a lovely time celebrating our awesome guy. I baked a gluten free yellow bundt cake, a first in the house. It turned out pretty decent.

On 13th morning I went to the 13th day ceremony for my friend’s mother. It happened to be a day of lots of festivities at the Hindu temple in Sunnyvale. There were a lot of desi aunties dressed up in their ikats, rejoicing in the Jagannath Yatra equivalent of the bay area. It was overwhelming. My Bengali looking face, did not help either. People assume you are there for the festivities and speak to you in Bengali. It’s not the first time that it happened to me. As a close friend once said, if I don’t open my mouth, I can totally pull off as Bengali. Oh well, I was there for a different purpose so I smiled, nodded and went on to my pursuits.

I call the temples in US, Mall of Gods! I know I should not be so sarcastic. But I don’t understand how anyone can find a moment to worship in a place that is so bling, chaotic and almost always noisy. I am very very picky about places of worship. And except for the San Jose Gurudwara, I cannot close my eyes in peace anywhere else. Hmm.. perhaps in our backyard. But you get the point.

The Mall of Gods experience left me quite overwhelmed. I realized how my relationship with God has evolved over the years. I was unable to stay longer because my mind was so confused and exhausted trying to process all that was going on there. After I came home I told Agam that I’d like to change my advanced directives in our will. I want to very clearly specify that I don’t want any mention of a temple or a priest. I’d like to be cremated, and my ashes should be let go in the Pacific ocean on a beach that I will pick. A beach in Kauai will be nice. I don’t want any religious procedures and rituals. And please add a few tulips to my box before putting it in the furnace.

It was a depressing thought to share with him on his birthday. But hey, if we are old enough to go to 13th day ceremonies , then we are old enough to process these facts.

Today morning we went to the San Jose Gurudwara. We usually go around our birthdays, and when my mind is not at ease. Just a short visit before birthday lunch at Rasa, and that was all that was needed. I always feel so much at peace when I kneel down down and my forehead touches the ground. It’s a feeling of surrender. It’s the only time I like to surrender. It is bliss. I had a list of things on my mind that had to be downloaded. But this dainty little thought crossed my mind when I was kneeling in front of the guru granth sahib – “if only I can find peace within, I can shun the chaos around me.”

There is a tornado of thoughts circling my mind these days. Too many strains to untangle. I don’t even know what I want as an outcome. There are a lot of triggers everywhere. I wish I could just take a day off and sit and untangle the mess in my mind. Or just mute the noise. Anyways, I will one day learn to live with these dichotomies. One day I will surrender, and find my bliss.

raising voices

I had to raise my voice today. It does not happen very often. But I did. And after the meeting ended I also publicly apologized for raising my voice. Reading this made me realize how we all face the same issues – whether a mid level worker in a tech firm or a world famous tennis champion.

I raised my voice since someone was misrepresenting the facts. It was likely not their intention. They were probably uninformed. But I needed everyone in that room to understand the truth and internalize it so that they never feign ignorance again.

Why I apologized? I don’t know. Because I am a woman. I am not suppose to raise my voice? I’ve never had an issue with raising my voice and expressing my opinion. But reading such articles makes me conscious. Something that I do sub-consciously is probably being judged by people around me and I don’t even know that. I wonder if the peer I was speaking to today felt like the umpire in Serena’s match. I hope not.

In another scenario when I was taking too much time in a meeting and someone tried to rush me, I didn’t give up. I stated my point regardless of the interruption. I just feigned ignorance in that moment and finished my point. I was consciously making sure the point was heard. And although the person interrupting me had good intentions of keeping the meeting on time, I wonder if he judged me for my behavior. I also wonder how another woman, who is not as comfortable being pushy, would have behaved in this scenario.

The more conscious I become about these behaviors it scares me. May be I have some blindspots here. Because I sub-consciously (or may be consciously) filter out all gender bias signals from the room. I don’t think I’d be able to survive in my professional environment if I didn’t do that. I am almost always the only woman in the room.

Anyways, that’s a lot of deep thought. I still don’t know why I apologized. And it is bothering me now. I won’t go see a therapist liken Serena, and I will pick up my laptop and go to work tomorrow. But I share her concern. I share her aspirations and I share her grit to do it right for my daughter. So I won’t apologize the next time raise my voice for the right reason.