In just a few weeks, I will have completed 8 years at Google, and I must admit that it has been an incredible journey. I never thought I would stay this long, but there’s something about Google that makes it so special, and my experience here has been nothing short of life-changing.

However, it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. Like so many others, I battled with impostor syndrome for what felt like an eternity, and it nearly broke me. For me, it persisted for over five years, and while it did not detract from my journey or experience, it was mentally draining. I was so busy ticking boxes that I believed the outside world expected of me that I did not take the time to look within.

In retrospect, I realize that I did not make it easy for myself either. I subjected myself willingly to so much change, which kept me from feeling like I belonged. It was that sense of belonging that could have silenced the impostor syndrome.

However, today, I feel that sense of belonging, and I have developed strategies to overcome impostor syndrome. While it still visits me occasionally, I have learned to push it aside by amplifying my inner mentor and silencing my inner critic. This was not easy, and it required many pivots, from feeling to believing, from wondering to asserting, and from following my gut to leading with my instinct.

My secret to overcoming impostor syndrome was developing extreme competence, especially in domains that I was passionate about. It was the confidence that came from knowing that I knew what I was talking about that silenced the inner critic. Competence is a personal value for me. So I anchored on it, to lead me through this phase.

Alongside competence, I also developed vulnerability. Accepting when I was wrong, and reflecting on it, allowed me to learn and build more competence over time. Rather than letting my wrongs become an intimidating force, I made them a source of inspiration.

I’ve had many women at Google ask me what my secret to overcoming impostor syndrome was, and I’ve shared it as honestly as I can. Anchor in your personal values, and use that strength to fight your inner critic.

A new ritual

I have started a new ritual. Since I have practiced it three times, I can say, I am on my way to developing a habit of conducting this ritual every weekend. It’s nothing special. Just a yoga class, at my neighborhood Yoga studio. One could ask why I don’t sign up for one of the several Yoga classes on campus, that are free of cost. But that’s useless to answer. (1) I don’t have the time, and (2) When you pay for it. it becomes real. More real.

I like it. I suck at it. I don’t even understand all the instructions. I mean most people just look at each other and copy the poses. But that struggle to follow instructions is precious. I mean when was the last time I struggled with learning something?

Just wanted to put it here, so it becomes even more real. Let the habit form.

My coffee

Don’t settle for less! #values #coffee 🙂

Pre pandemic I used to look forward to the French pressed coffee on the weekends. It was a ritual.

Come pandemic, the French press had to be stowed away and Keurig and Nespresso saved the day, for months, quarters and years.

Today, to mark the three year anniversary of #wfh and #lockdown2020, I took out the French press, and enjoyed my ritual. Results – Astonishing!

Sometimes our circumstances push us to settle for less. But in the long run, we should know what we will settle for and what is worth fighting for.

I am not settling for less when it comes to weekend coffee. I fought inertia to make way for my ritual. #dontsettle


Roald Dahl’a works are being updated by sensitivity readers. While I struggle with the rationale, I will accept it as a signal of times that are changing. We want to erase history, so that our future generations come to believe that we have always been so prim and proper? What does that imply? That this culture of perfection is toxic.

Well I am glad my daughter read her Roald Dahl’s before this happened.

In the last 48 hours I have been cited three “My Grandma said…” quotes that I believe should be reviewed by the sensitivity readers as well. Who is accountable for updating them?

A poem from the woods

A young bird, wounded in-flight

Looking for shelter

The wounds have healed.

Yet she still yearns for cover. 

On most days, she soars high in the sky

Fearless and free

Yet, at times, all she wants,

Is to come flapping down, curl up in the warmth of another wing span.

Catch me; not for I will fall.

But for I am tired.

Hold me, not for I will crumble

But for I am cold

Hug me, not for I need strength

But for I have mustered the courage to fly for this long.

Just see me, for who I am, who I can be, and 

show me the sign

While the wounds have healed a while ago

I am yet to feel just fine.

sunday afternoons

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Sundays at home used to be ghazals, after ghazals, on the National Panasonic stereo, a prized possession that continues to work to date. 55 years, and counting. It was one of those melodious afternoons, that I got permission to drink my first cup of chai, and coffee. It was then that the family made all sorts of plans. It was then that we were together. My dad was traveling for work most weekdays. So weekends were special.

Tara has a double swim class this afternoon. At first, I decided to hop along and spend time with her and Agam at the pool. But then something took over. Perhaps the rain, and its promise of nostalgia. So I stayed back.

Picked a book, made a cup of coffee, and perched on the corner of the sectional. Quickly got distracted to curate my playlist for the next hour. From Ali Sethi to Iqbal Bano, Quratulain Malouch, Farida Khanum, Ghulam Ali, and Abida Parveen, everyone found a spot on the list.

It was the right thing to do, to stay back. Hear the voices of my childhood. Get a little misty-eyed, and reminisce a little.

The weather is outrageous and unpredictable. But the unrelenting play of sun and rain is enough to keep me entertained. There was hail too.

A new premonition

In February 2020, I woke up to a feeling that nothing is ever going to be the same again. I shared it with Agam, and he humored, “well nothing stays the same”.

While he is right, so was my instinct.

If you look back, we have made significant advancements in technology (vaccines, warfare, chatgpt, space tourism, VFX, Deepfake) and also suffered significant setbacks in humanity (war, deaths due to pandemic, world wide conflicts, layoffs, economic turbulence). Everywhere you look there flare new jargons to learn and embrace.

Today, three years later, I woke up to another feeling. “that we have to find a new and disruptive path forward”.

Just like in 2020, I didn’t know what my premonition meant, today I don’t know what path forward means. But we can either be part of this wave and ride it, or get washed away sitting on the sidelines. Our old constructs of thinking will not find a way forward. We have to unlearn and learn and embrace a lot more change than what we saw in last three years.

Buckle up!


I build communities and seek refuge in them.

Today, I have just one goal. My 2 kids should get a job. Soon.

My super power that I discovered today – I am not afraid to reach out to people I have not spoken in a decade, to ask them to help my people. I can ask for help.

Also I don’t get tired.

May be I will burn out. But before that I will get these people placed.


It’s the morning after. The list of surprises keeps growing. A mentor, a friend, a sponsor, more acquaintances.

How many times does a heart break? I think as many pieces as you had given away. I left my heart in many hands. And thus I am vulnerable.

I am old enough to know that things happen, and they happen for the best, in the long run. But the survivors guilt is so real.

I am a terrible employee. I complain too much. I ask too many questions. I question the authority. I speak my mind in forums I should not. I am always unhappy and nothing is ever enough for me. I bring my whole self to work. I don’t listen to any one. I interrupt people when they are going in a direction that is not productive. I suck the air out of conversations with my blunt and rude comments. I love too dearly and hate with equal fervor. I resist structure, process, routine. I am never still, never a rock. Could I have done something different? Was I too self absorbed. Did I take people for granted. Did I not fight enough.

All the night dis, is give me the space to form my questions. It’s not over. And it won’t be until my kids are safe.

It’s just like death

What hurts the most is that I didn’t have a chance to help. Just like I didn’t back then. I know it’s less dire. But I use the word family a lot more liberally than most. And I lost one of the family today.

This will change me forever. It’s like death. You only realize life when you see death. You only understand an organization when you see layoffs.

People will move on and find other jobs. I will not forget that I didn’t see it coming.


I was 18 when I read Shantaram. Mesmerized by the multi layered plot, the richness of the characters, and totally in love with the details of the streets of Bombay, I devoured the novel, within weeks. There were chapters I read and re-read because they spoke to me of the raw texture of human condition, of freedom, and also about fitting in.

Shantaram was always special. And now it has been made into a series on Apple TV! We know what happens next 🙂

Cave in alignment

Who said libraries are to be arranged vertically. As Agam has proven, you can store far more books in the same space if you stack them horizontally. And as is obvious, it is so much easier to read the titles, and be tempted by them, when they are stacked horizontally. So on this fine Saturday I aligned with him and restocked our cave to be horizontal. At rest.

I think it looks horrible. But at least we are aligned.

And such is a marriage. Over the course of time you find just enough things to align on, and make it work. 🥳

Holidays 2022-2023 🙏🥳🙏

It’s a strange feeling to leave so much love behind, and head back to the US. Last two weeks were a blurr, while so much happened, it was a welcome pace after the grueling last quarter of 2022.

Met a bunch of extended family members, spent quality time with close family members, enjoyed several delicacies from Awadh to Peshawar, coastal seafood to Italian brunches and not to forget the Delhi Chaat and street food. Saw the Taj, and was mesmerized by its imposing elegance. Enjoyed the new and swanky Yamuna Expressway as well. Enjoyed a quiet visit to the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara and Kamakshi temple. The New Year fireworks this year were spectacular and so was the glimmer and shimmer of central Delhi night scene.

Spent quantity time with my in laws, nieces, and my Mom and sister. Laughed a ton, ate like the world was coming to an end, and got blessed by so many elders. We also met our school friend who was visiting from Melbourne, after four years.

In a nutshell, we hit every item on our list, and even slotted in some last day surprises. Until the end of the trip, no one got sick during the trip, and the weather was a delight throughout our stay.

Mahalo to the forces of nature for a blessed trip back home in 2022. Let’s wrap the pandemic with that trip, and now look forward. Welcome, 2023!

January – It’s going to be a slow start, at least on the personal front. But I cannot wait to plan the things we will do in 2023!

To Belong!

We don’t see the world as it is, but as we are. That just explains why my view of the world is so simple, uncomplicated, transparent and if I may say, happy.

Yesterday I spent a wholesome day at work after what felt like a very long time. The entire day was a celebration, with amazing people. My work framily as I now like to call it.

I was back in the groove of 1:1s, as they should have been all this while. Lunches in the cafes. Laughs and giggles echoed in the hallways and meeting rooms. It was an ecstatic atmosphere – joy everywhere.

An extended happy hour at work, talks about everything under the sun, strong cocktails to accompany that, and the company of some of the warmest, and most dedicated people I have come to know. When I think Google – I think of them. My rocks and stars. My anchors and critics.

After washing down the cocktails, it was time for Tara’s School Holiday program. Christmas nativity displays, carols and so many children and their parents all together in a large auditorium.

We sang the carols along with the kids and I felt home. Like I belonged here. It brought tears to my eyes, unknowingly and by then I had spotted Tara in the choir and we started waving frantically at each other, much to Agam’s utter disappointment. Since I was the only parent standing in the middle and waving at my child. 😂

To belong, is a very desirable state of mind. People spend their lives looking for a place they belong. I belong to my people at work, to Tara’s school, to this country, to my country, to Agam and Tara, and to countless kids in the world – all at the same time. I belong, is a power phrase. And I only discovered it yesterday.

Rewind 2022


We started the year with gusto to revamp our hiking regimen, and we did pretty well through Spring. We discovered the Foothills natural preserve and several other hikes in the La Honda and Russian Ridge Reserve. I got a colorful canopy for Tara’s room, right above her bed. She loved it! And my wish came true. 


Hikes continued with an exciting afternoon at the Mori Point Trail where Tara showed us her resilience and grit. She hiked for close to four miles and didn’t complain. And with that confidence, we went to 

Carmel to hike around Point Lobos. Carmel is a little haven for GF Italian meals.


It was time to let go of my reliable ride for 12 years – my Basanti. I brought home an equally reliable – Madhuri. We took the day off and went on a fun day trip to Santa Cruz – Loch Lomond Recreation area

And played mast Holi at Jindals.


In April, for Spring break we went to Cabo! The timing was perfect since it was right after my promo. 

Cabo got us hooked on Gin and Tonics, and the trend continues to date…


Amma Papa came to Bay Area in May and Tara was super happy. I had to go for a work trip to Hyderabad, and finally, after 2 years, I met my family. 


For our 12th Anniversary, we took a weekend trip to Half Moon Bay and discovered parts of it we had not explored before. Tara’s holidays started in mid-June and we enjoyed her theater camp as much as her. The end of June brought two things that we had looked forward to for a while – (1) Agam became a US citizen, and (2) we went to Disneyland!


Fourth of July celebrations in Disneyland. Splendid! I had never seen such amazing fireworks in my life. And the rides!! OMG! I did not know I was a Disney Fan! I mean a rides fan. I have never done something like that before and I absolutely loved it. We also so the lego park in San Diego. We met Aseem, Sukanya, Kiaan and Kaysha. 

On the 14th we threw a summer party to celebrate our 39th! I mean who celebrates the 40th? It was a lot of fun to meet our Bay Area family.


Right before the holidays ended, we went to Big Island. It was OK. We relaxed, and enjoyed the pool and beaches, but overall the Island was sort of BIG! Lovely memories were made regardless. 

In August, my Dahlias bloomed. 


A major re-org took shape, my team expanded, and I attended Google’s Women Leadership Program – Polaris. A lot of learning, and made friends for life. In September I also made GF Aloo Paranthas – for the first time. A Punjabi mother’s dream.

And in September I checked a thing off my bucket list – I presented to a room full of people at the Dreamforce. Memories were made. 


October brought Diwali and yet another LDP. And then I became a US citizen. I did not make the usual Diwali ensemble. Instead, we met friends in person, 1:1, and enjoyed lovely meals together. Just some change. 


November is always special, Tara’s 8th birthday, and Kauai. Our trip was blessed, that I know. The divine interventions were special, magical, and giving! 


In December I finished LDP. To groom three new managers, land a re-org, finish the annual plan, run two discoveries, and wrap up two org-wide OKRs, in 50% of my time, while the rest was spent in LDP – was exhausting, a mistake, and burnt me. But I am alive, and heading to India in a week, and that’s all that matters. I also baselined my health after 8 years. Had ignored it while Tara was growing up. All is well, I am surprised. But I will take this blessing. 

2022 was difficult, heavy to process, and unrelenting. The only thing that kept me going was my family – Agam & Tara. The three of us are a solid team. And Team Tara did well this year. Next year – we turn 40, Agam joins a new job, and most likely Tara will be going to a new school. As for me, I am wedded to Google. With so much change ahead, all I ask for is resilience to make it to the other side. More resolutions and milestones to follow… Until then, THANK YOU! 2022! Eternally grateful. 

It was a dark cloud

It was perhaps a dark cloud. What is new is that I have a stronger belief in myself. That while I fall hard, I bounce back even harder. I accept my battle. I play my serve. I hold the keys, even when I feel caged.

I have not felt this loud an impact in decades. From being non-functional to operating at a regular pace in 48 hours, is no small feat.

As someone said, it was a dark cloud. I have my blue sky back to me. Figuratively. Because it is pouring hard, still. Inside and outside.

It’s the morning after

Anger still raging. Heart beat has not been normal since last almost 24 hours. I thought it was settling and this morning, a complete stranger from another universe, sends a message. I am not good at hiding I guess.

It’s complicated, not complex. I know that. But what makes it complex for me is the people involved. Their ignorance of the issue. My self awareness, my past. If you take the people out, there is hardly a system here to decipher.

Many years ago, when I was asked to host the schools annual day, I was told the teachers are looking for a co host to pair with me. I was at the auditions. It was clear the teachers weren’t having any luck. One of students, a friend, who had just auditioned, and was told he didn’t make the cut, while still on stage yelled at me – “people are afraid of you”.

I knew what he meant. Public speaking was my passion. My thing. I poured a lot into it. Most kids didn’t care about it. I just liked it because my father was a phenomenal public speaker himself. I was better than the kids in the audition. And it was hard for the teachers to pair me up.

I have never forgotten that day. I am still friends with the person who said it to me. I was 14. I knew that I have to go under the radar to get rid of this image people had of me. I came back – a goof ball. I put on a layer. I stopped public speaking at the school, only to pick it back up in college where people were less scared of my competence and I had a real competition in my art.

Someone people are “Afraid – fearful – intimidated by” – are humiliating words for a woman. Or a girl for that matter. We are not supposed to be any of that. So being labeled with these words, while it should be empowering, and I am sure it is to men. It is hurtful to us. I am not generalizing. There is a history of strong women the world was afraid of, and their struggle with their image. There is literature that supports what I am saying here.

This is not a figment of my imagination. It is a truth that not many experience and those who do, don’t know how to handle.

I will survive this. I have just minted another phrase that I will remember all my life, and I will dwell in its pain, and only become stronger. This time it’s not even a new phrase. It’s just a scrape on a wound that never healed.

People are afraid of me

Apparently, people are afraid of me. They don’t ask me questions when I present because they are afraid of me. I intimidate them. Let me process that one more time.

I did not know how to process this event. So I fell. It was a free fall. I sank deep, didn’t want to come out. But I did. Faced the camera, so to speak. Asked the 1 person I could ask in that room to help me. I told them that I feel attacked. Am I wrong?

The question should not have been if I am wrong? The question should have been if the person who said that, is right. But we don’t ask that question.

I worry for my daughter who will grow up in this world where competence is to be feared. As for me, I am hurt, broken, perplexed. I don’t have much to do but to move on. But I am keeping count, and one day I will have the courage to give feedback.

I failed today. I did not play to my values. I am afraid of myself now. Maybe that was the purpose of the comment – induce fear, failure, and self doubt.

An ode to a cup of chai

Is it blasphemous to want the next three weeks to just fly by, and land me directly in the lap of my family’s warm cocoon? Regardless of the judgement, it’s my wish for the next three weeks. I want to skip the chapters that lie ahead.

To accelerate this process emotionally, I have started making a cup of masala chai every morning in my all-glass kettle that hides nothing. The excitement of the water as it boils, the loose tea leaves swirl in it for some time like a dervish in a mosque. Slow and unrelenting at first, and then consummating the union with so much passion, energy and color. Then comes the milk – it’s color and calming effect. Its pious and subtle presence.

Now, the revolution unfolds. You can’t tell one ingredient from the other. They swirl and boil together in the agony of heat. Giving my chai the color and taste I want.

Amidst all this is a fist full of grounded black pepper corns, organic ginger and a pinch of cardamom seeds. They don’t know where they belong, and who they are akin to, but they are bonded in a purpose so strong that they make it through the revolution. The tickle on my tongue, the aroma of the masala chai, and the comfort of ginger juices warming up my throat. None of this is possible without these three musketeers.

I let the revolution rest on the stove top for the tea to reflect on its journey, and for the ingredients to adapt to their new form. It helps the flavors settle.

And then I pour my morning cup of masala chai

Here I am, 13 minutes away from my first meeting of the day, looking at the winter sun from my windows sil, and sipping this perfect cup of chai.

This chai is magical. It accelerates my day and takes me closer to the day I will go home. it helps me skip the chapters that lie ahead.

Mom, I am coming home. 🎈🎈