Archive | March, 2009

My layoff story

31 Mar

I strolled into the office on a routine Wednesday morning muttering my good mornings and hellos like everyday. I had a 9 am scheduled with my boss and went to his office. He sat me down and broke the news – because of the way things are blah blah blah, we have to let you go and today is your LAST DAY blah blah blah. I had never been so stunned in my life. My brain just froze and I was completely devoid of any thoughts for a few seconds. They threw me under a bus and then they ask me if I was okay. Guys, I feel like S*** right now, exactly the way one would feel if they were under a bus, thank you very much!! My second thought was that the building should just blow off and I should be the lone survivor.


I think when I was basking in my not-pregnant-anymore-new-mommy bliss, these evil beings were hatching a plot. There I was, my ridiculously naive self against the conspirators totally unaware of the suspicious happenings around me.

Back from flashback:

The most insane part of the whole episode was that the very next instant, I was enemy number one. All my accessories were confiscated and I felt like I was being court martialed and banished to Afghanistan for the rest of my life to live in an underground prison.

Present Day:

I survived, thanks to my little girl, mom-made food, chilled beer and an extremely supportive husband!!!


Favorite chicken marinades

31 Mar

Two of my favorite chicken rubs

Rub #1

Mix together basil(dried or fresh), dried oregano, dried onion flakes, crushed red pepper, salt with plain yogurt. You may add water if the yogurt is too thick. Coat the cleaned chicken(could be chicken breasts or thighs or wings) with the mixture and leave for a few hours. Can be cooked on a grill, or a simple saute pan until a little blackened and tender or as you like it.

Rub #2

Grind coarsely mint leaves, cilantro(coriander leaves), few drops of lemon juice(do not go overboard), green chilies, few garlic cloves and salt. Add some yogurt to the blended mixture and coat the chicken with the green marinade and leave for a few hours. Can be grilled or simply sauteed in a pan on the stove until fully cooked and starting to blacken.

Both of them are equally AWESOME. I could not decide which one was better!!

Is it a boy or a girl?

30 Mar

The day I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to find out whether it was a boy or a girl! But I had to wait for 20 long weeks to know. Not that I cared about the pink or blue stuff, I just wanted to be able to address the human inside me appropriately and make meaningful girl talk or man talk. So I could not control my excitement on the morning of the sex-determination appointment. I arrived about 20 minutes late to the doctors office and felt like it was over for me and that they were going to punish me by hiding the baby’s sex and I’d have to wait until the final D day. But no such thing happened and the ultrasound nurse gave me the green light shortly afterward that it was a GIRL and even gave me a girl picture to prove it (which was completely useless as I couldnt even figure out the correct orientation of the photo and it could have been a black and white picture of almost anything!) and I simply nodded my head in agreement. But the point is that, my wish had been granted and the next instant, the whole world had gotten the news except one person, my DAD. He was adamant that we do not tell him and my mom had the toughest time not letting it slip out. She had to warn relatives, friends, neighbours, the postman, the dog and anyone in direct contact with him that he didnt know and we wished to keep it that way. I had to fill-in-the-blanks on my phone conversations with mom when my dad was within hearing distance of her and if there had been a third person in the room, they would have surely thought my mom was crazy. Once, I almost gave it away when I sent him pictures from my baby shower but I think he was too preoccupied looking at my enormous tummy to notice the ‘pink’ balloons in the background.

My best friend from school was going to have her baby around the same time as me and her little girl arrived four days before mine. All was well in my dad’s unknown and undisturbed world until he called her father to congratulate him on the arrival of his grand daughter –

My dad – Hello there, many congratulations to you on your little darling!!

Friends dad – Thanks man, I cant believe I am a grand dad, just anytime now you’ll have your little princess too!!

My dad – What, how do you know it’ll be a little princess?

Friends dad – C’mon now, the whole world knows!

My poor dad, simply hung up the phone! And well, so much for all the hush-hush and secret conversations and abrupt silences and weird we-know-but-cant-say baby references!!!


26 Mar

Its been 11 years, I had stood on the podium in my college and given a farewell and thank you address on behalf of the graduating class of 1998. Darn it, did I just give out my age!! It really doesnt matter because even when I am 50 years old, I’ll remember good old LIT with the same fervor and fondness.

Here is that speech, not from memory but from the much folded and tattered and treasured piece of 11 year old paper!

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west following the same structured path from dawn to dusk. So simple, isnt it? But our journey from our fresher days to this supersenior level has not been so simple. Today, I take the opportunity to once again explore that journey with everyone present here.

On the very first day, when we stepped into LIT, the four years seemed like four decades towering in front of us and and we had to fulfill the arduous task of conquering them. But now they seem to have passed in four blinks leaving our eyes wide open to see and face our future. They have equipped us with all the worldly wisdom we need to march to our goals.

I clearly remember the morning of Aug 16, 1994 when we had all gathered in the I year classroom for the Director’s address. We became a part of the institution that morning and wondered what it had in store for us. There was the fear and excitement of new teachers, surroundings, subjects as well as the pride of being associated with LIT. The long corridors, the winding stairways, the workshops, all filled us with awe but the mere sight of our seniors made us tremble and ragging stories gave us nightmares. But soon, we perfected the art of hiding from not only our seniors but also our professors.

The end of the first year marked the beginning of a new relationship with our seniors and also our successors who were now in our old shoes.

In the II year, our focus had shifted to more challenging and advanced matters. The pungent smelling and musty labs turned us off but we had to make them our own. The frustrating chemical balances gave us lessons of patience and tolerance. The occasional crashing of a beaker taught us to be more careful the next time. The huge ED hall became dreadfully tiresome and the long ponderings over the Shreve’s and Groggins felt more aggravating than ever. The canteen seemed like the last resort in the midst of all the confusion.

As we stepped into the III year, we entered a new phase of chemical engineering. We got introduced to advanced and highly specialized subjects like Unit Operations, Heat and Mass Transfer, Fuels and Combustion, Industrial Waste Treatment which are the pillars of chemical engineering. The final year students became our idols and we enthusiastically attended their seminars. At the end of the year, we bade goodbye to them and realized that it would be our turn next.

Come final year and we became heads of the LIT student family and were eager to offer help and advice to the junior students. Selecting our seminar topics, delaying dissertation registrations, unending searches in the abstract room, choosing of electives and so many such memories are still fresh in our minds. The most loved one is that of the cultural gathering ELITE 98 which brought the whole institution together in a finishing touch and will be forever cherished by us.

On behalf of my class, I want to thank our dear professors for giving us their best  and guiding us through the many ups and downs and kindling the spark of knowledge and learning in us. I would also like to give a special thanks to the III year students for the wonderful evening. We hope that the bond of friendship will last for many many years to come.

Wherever we go, we’ll do our best to make our institution, our beloved LIT proud of us.


Jiya’s toy stash

24 Mar


Jiya has innumerable toys but the winner is the TV remote control hands down. She manges to complete the full circle by coming back to it at the end of the day. I am sure that the first word she is going to utter is R-E-M-O-T-E.

Things to do if you get laid off

23 Mar

I have compiled my very own post-lay-off-to-do list and if such an unfortunate fate were ever to befall you, this might be a start. So here goes

  • First and foremost, freely curse your employer in the privacy of your home. You’d be surprised at the level of profanity you can achieve. Trust me, its very liberating.
  • Be completely honest about the situation, to yourself as well as others even prospective employers.
  • Go shopping, but mind you, do it before your severance pay runs out so you’ll feel less guilty later.
  • Try something that you’ve never done before for e.g – attend a spiritual lecture, go to the mall and photograph random people(you might want to ask for permission beforehand, you can never tell someone’s sensitivity level) and then figure out who they look like from the images, read all the spam and junk email you get, watch a foreign language TV channel etc
  • Send an email to someone you havent written to for at least the last 5 years. You’ll not only spend a few hours trying to figure out the right words but also what they looked like. Double check that its the correct person before clicking the send button.
  • Think about that one thing on your desire list that you’ve been postponing for ever, now’s the time to do it!!
  • Finally, remember that its only your job that’s over, not your life. But if you are one of those my-job-is-my-life kind of people, then you better work on that resume!!

Take a layoff poll

What was I thinking?

21 Mar

Excitement, Anticipation, The bridge to nowhere, Masking grave horror, Worst nightmare ever, Nightmares do come true, WHAT WAS I THINKING?!!

Seriously, what was I thinking? It was 5 years ago, in April of 2004 that I was lured into going Bungee Jumping. Today, I want to think of it as buckling under peer pressure to save my self esteem. The episode reminds me of how it feels to be out of one’s mind. About 15 of us had traveled 5 hours overnight, stuffed in a bus to Angeles National Forest, hiked through 2 hours of wilderness to an abandoned bridge to experience what I thought would be the most thrilling ride of my life. So lets see, I had subjected myself to about 14 hours of  physical trauma, for a few seconds of adrenaline rush! Who in their right mind would do such a senseless thing?

And when I had finally stood on the ledge, my feet were shaking. I had stood on narrow ledges several feet above the ground in the past but never had I been asked to jump from them. My hands were sweaty as I clutched the rail, my throat was parched and I could see my life flashing on the rocks in front of me. I made a promise to myself – never again and finally took THAT MINDLESS STEP FORWARD.