Thursday, September 16, 2010

Famous Bakery

Ever since we had learnt the nuances of crossing the road on our own, Famous Bakery came into the league of our little extended world. Currency notes in hand we used to practically run to the bakery, Mama always told us how many to bring in total, but the assortment was up to us.

By default I'd pick a minimum of one egg puff for myself, possibly a meat and occasionally the veg puff. We'd count the change, mumble a few words in Kannada in response to the Tulu from the Famous uncle and hurry back to eat the garma garam puffs. And then we just learnt who wanted what.

Since it's been a long time since my teeth had the pleasure of biting into one of those egg marvels, I decided to take matters into my own hand and my stomach thanked me as well after  the little attempt.

The puff pastry sheets truly simplified my work, but it is impossible to achieve the typical layers in this sort of puff coating.

 I hope the pictures speak a thousand words!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

He remembered

It's always the little things that make you smile, that make you cry, don't they? 

It's been a week of uncertainty first, then lows and highs. I'm not sure at what level of the cloud or wave or fire I'm on right now, I'll know soon enough but I reckon it doesn't matter ( This is where I go on about how work is work and should not determine your state of well-being, but it's not entirely true so I'll let it be). You know this thing we do, every year with goodbyes and the farewell lunches, that's what it is. If you're lucky you'll do it only once every two years or longer. Yes, change is constant yet it is those moments in goodbyes, that will last forever. This story is not about team goodbyes, it's about forging the unlikeliest of relationships, something that I might have the tendency to do!

It was just before the thanksgiving holiday of last year that our team was moved into the current building they are in. It may seem like a short time to get to know someone or even forge any kind of relationship with, let alone someone who knows in the security team. Every morning he was there, his usual beaming 70 old year old self making sure that no one entered the building without their badges or give us our temporary passes on the days when we thought we lost it but had only misplaced it, and over time we'd just banter during my breaks. 

He had stories for every season, every vacation he took and every single time we talked he would ask me for my name, saying it was a difficult name to remember. I know he loves baloney and cheese and loves going on long drives into the wild open country land from Oregon to the Mt. Rushmore and everywhere else in between in his truck. He asked me if I knew how to dance and then invited me to come up to his farm-house on some weekend, saying I reminded him of his niece who was away in college, he had stories of the now sprawling buildings where we worked to those from the good old days. It was always fascinating to hear those narrations of his family, kids, parents and even his community. As I bid farewell to him yesterday he called me out by my name and asked me why I had to go and if I would come back to the office, he remembered. 

And then it was only the office ...

Friday, September 10, 2010

The silver slipper

The unthinkable happened today, I wore slippers to office.

I mean who wears slippers in a professional work environment? I used to wonder about those women who did even though it was casual Friday's (Okay, before you think bata slippers or bathroom slippers, they're not ... infact I think they didn't seem out of place with the jeans!) And I must say it was like breaking some kind of shackles, roaming free into the open wide world :-)

Just wanted the world to know that, it was my first time.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A little tradition

This post will continue to satisfy something I noticed recently, a little tradition if I may call it that. There's no point to be made, there's no advice to be given and there's no experience to share.

I'll leave you with the lyrics from Ryan Star's Breathe, only because I've been humming it all day.

She's fine, most of the time 
She takes her days with a smile 
She moves like dancing in light 
Spinning around to the sound 
But sometimes she falls down 

 Breathe, just breathe 
Take the world off your shoulders 
And put it on me Breathe, just breathe
Let the life that you lead Be all that you need

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A margarita for you and a scotch for me

He skimmed through it first, then seemed to be memorizing it. 'Are you sure, this is your resume?', he asked me. Apricot* is my co-worker who works for a 'sophisticated' consulting company and just wanted to *see* my resume even though I really did not want to share it! When I asked him why he had turned into doubting Thomas, he droned on about not expecting it be as technical as it was, saying most women work in QA or Support or in Functional roles, not to belittle those roles as I've performed in the first two in various stages of my career, but why would anyone think something like that? 

Coming on the heels of the debate on 'Too few Women in Tech' in the blogosphere, I thought I'd chime in, what with my fair share of experience working in male dominated teams. For context, in my current project, I'm the only girl in a team of 32. However, the program as a whole has better ratios, not just in Business Functions but also in other technical teams. I'd like to think that the skewed ratio in my team might have something to do with the niche skill-set, EAI and all, but I can't be sure. In any case in 3 out of the 4 organizations I've been a part of in the US, women held very powerful leadership roles with significant influence on the programs they lead so the balance is really hard to figure.

Where did it get all so skewed? We were about 75-25 in favor of the boys in my engineering class (Computer Science), streams like Mechanical had zero girls whereas Bio-Medical, Architecture, Electrical had more girls. When I started my professional career, I think we were almost 50-50. >

From the teams I started out with at my current and only employer, there really was nothing to talk about the male-female ratios in the team, it was fairly balanced. Over the years some of my female co-workers have opted to move out of the company for personal and family reasons, got a transfer to development centers in other locations again for the same reasons, prefer not to travel out of the country again for the same reasons. I don't believe these are constraints and given a choice, a need, I'd do the same without much thought. 

Constrained or not, I am certainly not the epitome of women in tech, not one of those juggling a perfect family and a perfect career, I can't speak for them. Not to sound shallow and despite my characteristic sun sign traits, it can never be perfect, I probably strive for it more than the girl next door, but I can be happy not achieving it and this is a perfect example of digressing from the topic at hand!

For those women who have made it to anywhere in tech, it is a choice (sometimes with kids in tow), that could make stress at the workplace part and parcel of your life, that could give you sleepless nights, that could bring uncertainty in your life, especially for employees like us. There can be no bets on your next project location or it's duration or you can choose not to do it all. You'll say men face the exact same thing too, but while performing the traditional roles for women it is just not possible, it's not a sacrifice. *I just couldn't coherently state my thoughts in this para and it still doesn't sound right in my head, but'll have to do*

In essence, no one blames the men. Advocating equal rights is one thing, but no one expects free-passes just because of gender, not in the corporate world. If I encounter a glass ceiling, I will conquer it on my own, the key being if I want to and that's the only reason for so few women in Tech.

*Names changed to protect the innocent until proven guilty.