Fly to the sky

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

What I learnt from my second born

My experience of lowest lows and the highest highs with my second born.

That joy of holding your newborn and locking eyes for the first time and not knowing that it was possible to fall in love at first sight all over again. The lows of emotional breakdowns when you feel the world around you is crumbling over some fabricated reality by this restless mind. Your body recovers in 4-6 weeks, but takes a long while for you to feel like yourself again.

Everyone tells you that it is hard but I had done it before and knew that I could do it again. Besides, my company offered such a generous maternity leave of 6 months. With my first pregnancy, I had 3 months. And I always wanted 2 kids, so this was a dream come true. Well set in my career doing exactly what I wanted to do and was pretty darn good at it. A supportive family, a doting husband, an adorable 2.5 year old. And now a little person whose whole world revolves around you. Yet, this emotional turmoil.

The endless household chores. A toddler who had your undivided attention at one time now craves for the same. My husband’s work responsibilities grew around the same time which meant longer working hours for him. The 2 kid household also took a toll on him, a workday was any day preferable over home. Men go through a similar set of hormonal changes with heightened stress levels during pregnancy, my doctor empathized.

You make peace with the current situation. And just when you think you have established a manageable routine, a round of sickness strikes the household to wreck havoc in the rhythm. This flu season was particularly deadly, no matter the timely preventive flu shot. Babies are demanding as is; now imagine taking care of her when you are covered in mucus and a toddler by your side with severe diarrhea. Lots of tears and shrieks. Life was exasperating, I was beyond exhausted. Phew, we survived those 2 weeks!

I started taking long walks. Some by myself, some with the baby. Some with my Mom. So grateful to have her around! When I listen to my Mom’s stories as a mother in the 80s, I realize how lucky I am to be born in this new age. I do Yoga. Meditate. Watch plenty of fun movies, some sad ones too. Grab dinner with a couple of friends. Go to a few meet ups around the city. Take naps. Just do nothing sometimes.

My baby’s first smile, her first giggle, that first grab of a toy, first reach for my cheek, her first turn, I relished them all. She loves to listen to Lata Mangeshkar and breaks into a laugh looking at her mommy make silly faces. My -toddler soon grew out of her jealousy phase turning out to be a protective and proud big sister. She’s growing up way too fast. The pretend games we play, her make up tips for my mom, her stories about the aliens and planets, her taste in food and music, it is non stop entertainment! And ofcourse, like any parent of toddler, you exercise your patience, tolerance and negotiation skills 😊

I would login once in a while to take a peek at my work chatter. On one end, am so delighted that the team is doing great in my absence and on the other, am filled with sadness that my presence is not being missed. I remind myself that a true leader and a honest employee leaves breadcrumbs for his team to fill in if he or she disappears. All good then!

For someone in similar shoes as mine, here are a few tips to shake off any negativity build up. It helped me, you may find it useful too.

  1. Go easy on yourself. You are not going for the greatest mom race. You are doing your best, you are awesome.
  2. Pamper yourself. Have an extra piece of chocolate. Go for that flourless chocolate lava cake, you deserve it.
  3. Love your partner more than you did before. He is scared too, just like you. He may not show it, but he needs your help and reassurance as well. Laugh at your imperfections together.
  4. Remind yourself that this tough time with endless nursings and sleepless nights will pass and you will miss it later. Your baby will not be this little for long.
  5. Keep steady goals and never lose sight of those. Don’t let anyone make you believe that your career takes a hit with 2 kids to nurture at home. They are my supporting pillars. If anyone doubts your abilities and skills at work/life balance, turn around and say it to the Nay sayers - ‘Watch me!’.
  6. Stick to your planned return date of work. I love my kids to death, but I am a better human when am not with them all day.
  7. Take small vacations with family. It is hard to travel with young kids, but do it. Do it for them and more importantly, do it for yourself.
  8. Ask for help anytime you need. Ask parents, in laws, friends, neighbors, school. It really takes a village to raise a kid.
  9. Make time for yourself. Exercise and meditate. Take care of your health.
  10. Be kind at home and outside as well. Everyone parent or not is struggling, just that some people pretend better than the others.

Finally, I leave you with my favorite quote: Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but pedaling like crazy under water.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Women 2.0 Conference

How many times have you been to a Tech conference with such incredible ladies in a single room! I had a fabulous day at Women2.0.

Here are my top 3 take aways from the Women 2.0 Conference held this year at Hotel Kabuki. 

1. Motivation:
Be on a disruptive mission, altruistic albeit selfish in its own ways.
Find your Why, and you better be doing something incredibly important.
The person who holds you back from following your vision is mostly just you.

2. Vision:
Focus on the Why and the problem to solve, before you delve into a solution. Embrace your superpower, but also recognize your Kryptonite. Build a promise of better, richer and easier lives for our customers.
Treat them as your compass, and not your skillset.

3. Diversity:
Women are stunningly under represented, although they make 50% of the population, 50% of degrees and 12 out of 18 trillion dollar spending every year. We need diversity for innovation, performance and efficiency for any organization.

A brief on some interesting sessions I attended-

Yoky Matsuoka is the VP of Technology at Nest, she takes us on a journey of working with Tech to solve real world problems. Nest claims to have saved 2.5billion KW since 2011. Its a learning thermostat that can be controlled from anywhere to save you on energy bills. Learns your environment to come up with the best energy saving strategy. Its one step closer to a Connected home in the Internet of Things. People buy things to increase their comfort level and enrich their lives, Nest is designed around it. 

Such great speakers, talented women launching their ventures following their dream, very inspirational! Poshmark is an exit strategy for your closet, while Peek enables an era of experience and shows you fun things to explore. WiseBanyon is the world's first free financial management company that helps you invest in the present so you love your future. JobBliss gives you an insight into the freelance market, RockYourBloc helps create tomorrow's business rockstars shaping up our youth. LocalData is all about urban planning, architecture, supports decision making through data; while CheddarUp is an administrative tool for pay, collect and track of funds. Donde is revolutionizing search on Mobile, Ziggeo works with APIs for video recording and playback. Scrumpt provides and delivers kid friendly food. Yuru is an Ask anything website, while Hillist lets you travel for less!

Mari Baker, Robin Hauser and Ellen Petry Leanse engaged us in an interesting conversation about diversity. 50% of the population, 50% of the degrees awarded are to women. We still have only 5% of CEOs as women although 12 out of 18 trillion dollar spending every year is by women! Diversity in work places help with Innovation, performance and efficiency of the organization. A recent McKinsey study found that stock performance is 4% higher with diverse representation. 

Thomas Korte, a dynamic and charismatic speaker from AngelPad shared his thoughts about investment in ventures. He shared that most engineers focus on the solution more than the problem itself, we should rather invest significant time and effort understanding the value of our product. We do not need accelerators, be strong and walk out when the deal does not sound right. What we need is advisors with great connections, but thats not a good enough reason to give away 1% advisory shares. Do not let competition deter you.

Jocelyn Goldfein, a vibrant speaker, advisor and investor walked us through a mode of Discovery vs Delivery. Architectural principles of form follows function. It is tempting to believe that culture shapes process, we should strive to pursue otherwise. If you consider the Tech spectrum from OS to Desktop Apps to Mobile to Web, moving from right to left gives more control on deployment destiny while moving from left to right gives more powerful and rich UX capabilities. Business model ranges from Enterprise to Consumer to Free or Ad supported models. 

As engineers, we have to constantly remind ourselves to look out to minimize overhead, and pay down tech debt. It might be a bumpy ride, sometimes chaotic, stressful at times, but enjoy the ride!

Kathy Savitt, the CMO of Yahoo was undoubtedly an absolutely articulate, dynamic role model exuding confidence backed by her intelligence and decades of experience in the industry. She has 5 daughters, she jokes about her husband being washed in a sea of estrogen. She inspires us to be on a disruptive mission, be altruistic but selfish in a way. When building a product, make customers your compass and not your own skill set. Listen to your customers and change course as need be. Find your Why and follow your dream. Truly believe that your best days are yet to come. Focus on the right decisions, and not the perfect ones. Find your Dorothy Boyd (Jerry McGuire's co pilot), have a maniacal focus, live your life in an enriching an entertaining way. Never refuse knowledge. Create your own board of directors, keep company of those who align with your mission. Have mentors who will advise you, have sponsors who will pound on the table to give you a life changing moment. Find yourself a principled and truth telling mentor, could also be your spouse or father.  

Make things personal. Value passion and accountability. Sweat the small stuff eg: in an airplane, tray tables have nothing to do with airline safety, but passengers who find issues with a tray table may lose trust with the airline itself. A child is bothered by you not caring enough to put your cell phone away during her piano recital. Live a richer albeit sensitive life. Embrace your superpower, recognize your kryptonite. 

There are 2 grave mistakes we as leaders sometimes make - I dont know, so it must not be important. I dont know, so I will delegate it. Care enough to dive deep. Know enough to ask the right questions. Be a humanist, not just a feminist. Be the heroine of your story, not just the protagonist. Lastly, get enough sleep. Less sleep is least worthy of an important decision.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

NoCOUG 11/9

Attended the "North California Oracle Users Group" held in the Computer History Museum at Mountain view that my colleague recommended, and was so not disappointed at all! It was very informative and fun, with networking and socializing blended in.

Lot of us overlook the role physiology and psychology plays in writing good code. Playing games helps develop rationale and good debugging skills. Asking for help from colleagues is good, and should be encouraged. There is no such thing as too many questions posed. Helping each other builds team values, boosts confidence and mutual respect within the team. Senior people in the team should set an example by involving junior members in problem solving and asking for "help" proving that everyone is fallible and its okay to lend hand when need be.

There are lot of inbuilt features in Oracle we should exploit to our advantage. Function Result cache, available in Enterprise edition of Oracle helps improve performance significantly. Usage of varchar2(n) should be treated as a code bug, use Type and Subtype instead. Avoid hardcoding at multiple places eg: size limit, error code etc. Use Forall as opposed to For for better execution. Monitor your PGA usage even as Oracle manages it.

Oracle handles errors well, but doesnt report it clear enough. These issues can be addressed by raising bugs, and/or working around them. Any exception in the Begin block will be trapped by the following Exception block, if it exists. If the same happens within declare, it will be thrown out of the block to the exception handler, if it exists. Oracle initializes packages only once unless the users logout and log back in. This can get a little baffling to see the errors show up once and be not reproducible again. Use dbms utility error handling functions like call stack and error stack to log more information. Oracle can build error tables that can be used to log issues. These tables can be modified and maintained like any other database table.

See for more.

Errors with Buffers is a pretty common scenario that DBAs face. Buffers can be designed as CBC, LRU, or WL, they can be data or index type. Buffers can be in any of these states at any common point- Free, Pinned or Dirty. When faced with a concurrency issue, it becomes imperative to diagnose the pattern in the file number, block number spit out by querying v$session. If you find a table/data block contention, moving data to the buffer cache can help reduce number of reads and help mitigate the issue. If it turns out to be table/segment header contention, we may need to free some blocks to make them available. If it is undo/segment header contention, adding some redo blocks will help. In case of Index/Root block contention, partitioning may be a good idea. With Index/Leaf block contention, try Reverse key indices. Usage of Reverse keyword while creating the index hints the optimizer to reverse the key index and not opt for serialized insertion that might impact performance.

SQL Monitoring is a pretty powerful tool that is available by default with Oracle. By default, it monitors the queries that run for 5+ secs. One can choose to provide a Monitor hint to alter this.
With Enterprise Manager, we can get a visual view of the report. Monitoring is always on, the number of reads, IO waits, Stack calls, Execution Plans can be viewed real time even as the query executes. With TopSQL, we can identify the worse performing SQLs. The optimizer can only help in bits to rectify the problem. DBOptimizer can analyze the queries and joins to give a visual diagram with the select columns, joins, and filters. Always start the join with the table with least rows. Even if the filter columns are indexed, the order in which these are joined will have an impact on the performance. By default, if joining more than 3 tables, Oracle optimizer joins 2 tables and then joins the result with the third one and so on. It never will join 2 tables, join 2 other tables and join the results. However, we can formulate our SQL to force this behavior if need be.

Some pics that I took in the museum, its the First harddrive ever used and the second one is a 10 digit adder-

Talk cloudy

I attended a "Cloudy" conference in San Jose, 9/24 (didnt get a chance to blog yet!)- Great sessions with speakers from the industry on Cloud Management helped me hone my Cloud Fu, socializing and networking alongside awesome food, overall a good Saturday afternoon well spent.

There is no silver bullet to solve all the complex problems on performance, scalability, security, speed etc. More, faster and efficient Hardware is the closest to a magic bullet. However, choosing the right cloud platform can help us leverage many of the built-in advantages and features for free - Bulletproofing, easy access, dealing with contention, redundancy, reliablity etc. The decision of deploying the application on a Public vs Private cloud, or even going
with a Hybrid approach, Build vs buy, can vary with multiple parameters including Performance and Cost. The backend choice of Mongo, clusters, Hadoop, Greenplum technologies depends on the Ease of
Absorption within the organization, Speed, and Size of the data we deal with on the cloud.

As a buyer shopping in the Cloud for Paas/Iaas, network is our prime concern besides other factors like storage, servers, tools and virtualization. We would like to know the incident policy of the provider, their fraud detection mechanisms, and the turn-around time to handle customer complaints.

Here is a link of the schedule, each of them has a summary on the session and the speaker associated with it. The presentation slides will be shared on the site as well-

Friday, August 07, 2009


Life is sometimes a puzzle, so much that we try to solve it, it gets only more intriguing. Life is a roller coster ride, we better enjoy the ups and downs while it lasts. Sleepless nights and me, never could it happen I thought, I could sleep in class, in lectures, watching movie, anywhere! But now I have thoughts racing in my mind in the middle of the night and I guess it best helps if I pin some down. So much that one thinks not to think about it, we end up doing just that.

I am thinking of the Hawaii trip last June, snorkelling with the fishes, yay! Am also thinking of the material things I crave for, things I probably missed out in life. I miss sprinting, miss playing squash, miss playing tennis, miss the good strong back I once had. I miss the good friends I have had. Mom and Dad are here with me, one less thing to miss :) Actually thinking about it, my social circle is getting smaller and smaller. O well, can set things right.

Have been painting lately and liking it too:) The camping trip to Clearlake SP was awesome, the Kailash Kher concert was surprisingly enjoyable, Uvas Canyon is great, Big Basin Redwood park is amazing, beaches in CA are breathtaking. Life is beautiful, people around are loving and kind, work pays well, but... totally despise it when 'but' creeps in, but it does!

I want to fly high at super speed cutting through the intense darkness of this seemingly never ending night. I want to swim into the most fierce waves of a mammoth water fall. I want to drive at lightning speed through the dense and daunting forest. I want to escape!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Rocking 2008 :)

2008 rocks! I generally stick to nice, my sis-in-law has introduced me to 'Rocking':)

That aside, 2008 has easily been the most enjoyable year so far in my life. I have been the fittest this year too, got a raise, got a promotion, have cut my hair real short after about 10 years, may be :) Very eventful, the biggest event ofcourse is our wedding! I am still getting used to being referred to as Mrs and Mr though :D

India trip was hectic and packed with activities right from the instant we stepped into Bombay. Mom and Dad's Shashtipoorthi was the next day. It was beautiful, 13 priests were performing the rituals. Mom and Dad were exhausted by the end of the day, but ecstatic :) I and Suraj will have a similar one 35 years later, hehe.

Mehendi the next day, it was not so much fun for me as it was others watching me ;) 4 hrs hence, it looked all worth the ordeal. The next day was an ice-breaking day for his and my families to meet and talk. Pre-engagement or the Varadham was on the day prior to the weddding, engagement, car-ride(I forget the ritual name..) in the evening. The next day began with Oonjal, Kashi-yatra, wedding, Satya narayan Puja, then the reception. The rituals I enjoyed the most were the Oonjal and Kashi yatra. I set my eyes on Suraj and my, he was sooo good looking in the veshti, viboothi and all :P He seemed very comfortable throughout the ceremony, be it chanting the Sanskrit shlokas or handling the 100 aunties and their instructions; and this kept me at ease :) I loved the songs the ladies sang for our Oonjal. I found the dodging part in the mala-exchange very amusing :) The 9 yard saree, or the heavy embroidered sarees, or traditional gold sarees, with the countless jewelery clad head to toe, I looked like a supernatural deity! It was fun being treated like a queen, hehe.

Our honeymoon trip to Kerela was scheduled the very next day. Kerela, God's own country lives upto its name. It is beautiful, clean, green, and very well-maintained. We did Munnar, Periyar, Thekkady, Kumarakam, Cochin. Its hard to say whats the best, every place was prettier than the other. Elephant ride, boat rides, wild life sanctuary, tea gardens, massage parlours, Kathakali, Martial arts, were the highlights of the trip. Have never had that delicious Aapam ,veg stew ever!

Back to B'lore where my mom-in-law had arranged a reception function. Some of my collegues and friends, and all of his relatives attended. Puttaparti trip was something none of us would forget, for many reasons. Lost a paati on the way, finding restaurants, car registration expired, petroleum strike in B'lore. All in all, mom-in-law was happy that we could have a glance of Baba.

Bombay now for my bro's wedding. Had been stressed out at my wedding, and couldnt really enjoy the food as much. Made sure I had it all at my bro's wedding. We had a blast! They had a reception party in Pune, and the DJ was awesome.

Started packing for SF, and we realized how 3 weeks just flew by! Landed in SF, its been a month and we still have to unpack all ;)

Personally, life stays the same, just more exciting, every day feels a Fri now that I see him day in and day out :D

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

India trip

Lots of food, lot of travel, brother's wedding and lots more encompassed my trip to India.

On our way to India, we did a brief tour of Singa-pura, the land of lions. Clean and green, very beautiful. A local told me the S'pore map resembles a crab, and that explains the greenery around there :) We took the 2 hr bus ride and the boat tour thats arranged by the S'pore airlines to promote tourism here. Covered the major landmarks and we couldnt stop our amazement at how well the city is maintained, planned, and connected. It was very humid though. Besides the weather, everything seemed perfect.

Landed in India, drained and sleepy, but was so excited to get back home and meet my parents, grandma, cousins, uncles and aunts. Was swamped with lots of love ... and a whole lot of movies, food, sweets. I just loved it all :D

A week since then had my visa stamped at the Mumbai Consulate, that went pretty smooth. All I was asked is to describe what I did at Oracle and what does the rest of my family do.

We did a Pune-Mahabaleshwar 3 day trip. That was one of the best trips I took, and may I add with some of the sweetest people I have known. Made 2 very good friends for life. We took the 4 hr Volvo Deluxe bus to Pune, pretty comfy. Went to a fancy garden restaurant in Pune. Early morning, we drove to Mahabaleshwar. Very scenic and superbly magnificient! Have been to Mahabaleshwar before, but this drive was beautiful! We covered some forts like Pratapgad chanting all the way 'Jai Shivaji', 'Jai Maharashtra'! :) We also did an awesome boat ride along the Koyna river.

The next week was my brother's wedding in Hyderabad. Being a mix of 2 cultures in the wedding, every occasion and celebration was so joyful and novel for all of us:) I thoroughly enjoyed every small festivity, be it Mehendi, Haldi, Mapalay Ayappu, Baraat, Kanyadaan, Shaadi, the n number of pujas, and the reception. I actually enjoyed dressing up, putting make up, jewelery, the photography and of course the constant flow of compliments and flattery ;)

We then went to Tirupati for 2 days. I loved the 3 and half hr trek from Alipuri to Tirumala, "Govinda GOvinda!". The weather was foggy and wet, cool and pleasant, beautiful and perfect! Felt so close to the nature, with the deer parks, dense forest and gorgeous climate. We did a Dharma Darshan at late night. Got back to the hotel at around 2 AM. We managed a few hrs of sleep and were back for the VIP darshan in the early morning. We, again had a 2 hr halt, but it felt like no time at all. The people around had so much energy and faith, love, it just rubs on you, well literally :) The God darshan sent a heavenly feeling, satiated and pleasantly happy and energetic.

Back to Bombay and now some final touches of shopping and hogging :)

It was all good but for my health that took a beating as I traveled, had the different varieties of food and drinks. Needless to add the pollution is something that took hard on me. Was sick for most of the time I was in India. The rest of things, however, were so nice and congenial, health issues looked meagre against all of the nice events happening around me :)

At the end of it was so tired and depleted, couldnt wait to be back home. Well, it is ironic, but this is where I feel home!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Developments - last few months

Seems like ages since I blogged. So many events transpired, got to pen down the ones on the top of my head. Aug began with a bang, well literally. We went for the HRHK Rath yatra. Well, that was awesome. Amidst the Golden Gate park, the procession was very exciting, so was the food and the exhibits. All good but for my car parked. I parked in a drive-way! Well, it didnt look like one. It had broken red line.. ah, whatever, got towed, my first ticket and $350! So, may first times for my poor car who just turned an year.. an accident on a rainy day. A Hyundai Santro bumped into my car from the rear. His car skid, atleast thats what the driver claims.

Well, not all events were regretful. Went to Tahoe, my first in summer and thoroughly enjoyed it. Had friends visiting us from the east coast, some from India as well. My brothers moved here from Phoenix. Mom visited. Great food, trekking, visiting places, badminton, foosball, sketching, painting and many more. Lots of fun. Oracle Diwali was celebrated on the Nov 2. Performed this year as well, this year was particularly special because I was performing with my JM ;) There was a Qawali and a Tamil folk, Randakka. Have discovered dance as a new hobby now, one area I never dared to explore in my college times :)

We are gearing up for our India trip, the first one since I came to the US. Very excited, nervous and a bit apprehensive of lot of stuff. Its my bro's wedding and that sure is gonna be lot of fun! Will shuttle between Bombay and Hyderabad. Am hoping all goes well as expected :)