Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The kind of dreams we dream these days!

Deep sleep.
Images panning quickly with a swipe, one after the other.
Faces zoom in with a thumb and fore finger.
More images.
More zooming.
Until I can no longer swipe to the left.
Have I reached the end of my iDream already?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thank God There's an App for That..

OK, so this time I am skipping the usual "introduction" of listing down lame excuses for not checking this space and jumping straight to the content. Yes, good news - I found a topic to write on ;-)

Baby D is 2 months old now and has already taught me that motherhood is no easy project. And you thought pregnancy was tough :-p It has been almost a year of free medical advices, free dietary tips, free criticisms and free This-is-all-for-your-baby's-well being stuffs. Amidst all that, I did my own share of research too. At any given point of time in the last 11 months if you didn't see me eating an apple, you'd find me scrolling on the computer. By the 3rd trimester I had become an obsessive info-fanatic.

Admittedly, smart phones never appealed to me. In fact I felt like being from Neanderthal era when I said Android phones are not great. Windows phones are ok-ish I thought. Such were my opinions that I feared voicing them in public. Enter anniversary gift by tech savvy Dear Husband - an iPhone this time (no, not 4S. Thanks to 4S, the price of 3GS dropped like pigeon poop!) and I fell in love with it instantly. I was more than relieved that FINALLY I liked a smart phone! Information addiction got worse from then on. I dug out pregnancy apps and installed them. And believe me, few of them are life-savers!

So I decided that I should share my opinion about these great apps for the new-age moms and soon-to-be moms. Here goes! (Did I say I was skipping intro and jumping straight to the topic? Well, half way through I changed my mind and decided to take you on a ride. I guess I didn't say that ;-) )

1. WhatToExpect's "What to expect when you are expecting" app:
What to Expect When you are Expecting is a famous book that would-be moms will hear about. Though the app is not as comprehensive as the book, it has interesting features like a pregnancy tracker with information on how much the baby might weigh right then, the gestational age (GA) etc. The app also provides detailed information on the growth of the foetus and the changes in the mama week by week. The daily tips is a store house of information for a first time mom and dad. The best part of the app is the WTE forum.
The app will help you join the appropriate due-date community where you can discuss topics with would-be mothers going through the same phase as you. Even little problems/queries you have would mostly be already answered there and so you don't have to wait for your next appointment at your OB/GYN's to ask them - silly ones too :-)

Pro: Lots and lots of information on the daily tracker and the forums
Con: The forum is mostly US based. So you won't find anything "Indian" in there. I think babycentre.in has an app that has forums with Indian moms. I did not try their forum though have read the pages.

2. Contraction Timer Lite:
This app lets you track "the much awaited contractions" and you can chart their frequencies. With this data, you can, to some extent, make out if they are the 'false contractions' or the real deal or how soon you need to reach the hospital! When a contraction starts you would start the timer and stop it when it ends. The length of each contraction is also measured this way. You can email this data though I don't know why it is needed. Probably you can email this to your OB/GYN if he/she has so much of time to check emails and read charts :-p
There was one more similar app called "Full Term".

Pro: Simple interface and easy to use - much needed when the pains from the contractions can blind you :)
Con: Well, I never actually used it(probably just 20 min) because though I was induced the contractions never came and so I was wheeled into the operation theater. So in such cases, you never get a chance to use it!

3. WhatToExpect's "What to expect in the baby's first year" app:
This was a natural transition from the WTE's pregnancy app. Once you reach 40 weeks of GA, the pregnancy tracker app will start suggesting you use the baby tracker now :-) And if you liked the pregnancy tracker, you will install the baby tracker as well. The baby tracker has features to track feedings, sleep times, diaper changes and vaccinations.You are advised to feed the baby on a strict schedule for the 1st 2 weeks - typically every 2 hours and I was writing the timing on a book initially. I was pleasantly surprised to see baby tracker's feed tracker in the same template I had created on paper! And since I was supplementing with formula also, I could keep track of when I formula-fed him and when I breast-fed him (yeah, including which side!! Hilarious to think of - but then highly useful I would add!). Baby tracker also provides interesting articles like how to soothe a baby, tips for colic babies etc. Yeah, it has the link to the forums as well.

Pro: You are going to be too busy to remember when you last nursed, how long you nursed and which side you nursed. Leave it to this app and look at the logs when you have time!
Con: There are 4 trackers in it - feeding, diaper changes, sleep, vaccinations. I think using all of them is quite impossible and you'll be constantly on your phone entering data with your little one feeling neglected :-p It is possible to use just one of them. I stopped using it after 2 weeks when the frequency of nursing stabilized.

4. Sleep Machine Lite :
This is my favourite of all and my life saver! Sleep machine provides a set of low-frequency repetitive sounds proven to induce sleep in human beings. Its proven that babies get soothed by white noise and other similar repetitive noises. This app has the classic rain, drizzle, train, breeze etc. The one that worked for Baby D was chimes. It is so calming that I play it every night before he is put to sleep. I can't claim its the app that puts him to sleep, but surely, the app does calm him.
I installed another similar app called Sleep Pillow which has fewer tunes. It didn't impress me.

Pro: When every tactic suggested by everybody around fails, use this - it not only calms a fussy baby but it calms the nervous mommy too :D
Con: What I mentioned as a pro can become the con too. A tired sleep-deprived mommy rocking a baby in her arms and a sleep inducing music is a deadly combination :-))


So that sums up my fave apps from available categories. There could be apps to track your doc visits etc, but I used the plain old calendar for it. I only wish they had an app to get the baby to burp as well :-p

Dear new mommas, bring it on for they say "There is an app for that" :-)


Note: All the apps mentioned are free. Android users, don't feel disheartened, am sure all these apps have a version for android phones as well.


Friday, December 30, 2011

When your car is for sale..


Yesterday our Swift got its last service done before it will be put for sale. While S was on his way to pick it up from the service station I couldn't fight back tears thinking how, one day, in very near future, I would have to stand at our basement watching somebody drive it away, never to see it again. Probably I'd break down.

Well, for most of the 4 years that the swift was ours, I have hardly sat on the driver's seat. So it sounds weird even to myself that am so emotionally attached to it when S, who, loves being behind its wheel, is not so much! One major reason could be the excitement for the new toy he is trading this one for. Or probably because he is so used to seeing his dad sell their car often. Or probably, as they say, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus :-)

Coming to think of it, I realise that its not just the Swift that I had problems selling! I've had trouble giving away just about ANYTHING that was mine :-p I was shocked when mom gave away my bicycle as an 'Onam gift' to the maid's daughter without asking me. I am pretty sure the scooty might see a similar fate. Worse still, I remember how, at about 4~5 years, I got granny to get back all my old clothes that she gave someone the previous day. It was embarrassing for her, but I was just not consolable for hours.

It is hard to explain why a few people react this way. You can't call it selfishness. It is not that I don't want the other person to have it. It is that I can't keep my emotions in check when the actual parting happens. It tears me apart to see that thing in somebody else's possession and as the distance between the thing and me increases, there is this sudden urge to scream .. "No, wait! Please! Give it back to me!". If am able to get through those few crucial seconds, usually, am OK with the parting - out of sight is out of mind!

And so, coming back to the swift, am dreading that moment of parting. Probably S would ask me to stay home to avoid the scene, but I do want to be there too :-p

The For Sale ad is ready and we would be publishing it soon. I hope we do get a decent deal. The new toy is expected by early Feb and both of us are looking forward to it.

But, for reasons unknown, the Swift will remain emotionally attached to me. (I would love to add the word "forever" at the end of the statement for drama-sake, vendalle? ;-))

Monday, December 05, 2011

The same old sorry post of Dec : Yet Another year - or was it?

I hate to see the stats, but yeah, they are there to speak the truth - 7 posts so far in year 2011 and this is the last one. Bloggie Dear, I am just too embarrassed to say sorry again! May be I have lost interest to write long posts! And that is why I come once in a while and scribble two lines, conveniently tagging it as 55-fiction (or sometimes even less) and leave 55-fiction cross and confused :-)

Anyways, there is no point saying anything now. Its all over the blog to see. I have lost interest and yes, I do feel guilty!

Year 2011 started well, in fact. If you remember, I got the DSLR as a surprise gift. We took off to Ooty to spend a quiet weekend soon after. A rather uneventful trip, but, nevertheless, enjoyed it as all we did was laze around. Had somebody told me then that that January-trip would be the first and last holiday of 2011 I would have "Bah"ed and laughed it off. More on it later!

We lost somebody dear in March. It was the first time I saw death before my eyes. There was something very eerie about it. A feeling of defeat, yet, something calming about the silence. I wouldn't want to face another one in my life! No wonder literature loves to personify death so obsessively.

Two back to back weddings in April. The March and April travels took a toll on my poor back and I declared I wasn't going to travel anymore for another few months. I guess I had not really meant it literally. But that was indeed my last train I saw this year :-p

I can't remember what happened in May and June. Oh yeah, I inched another year closer to 30 in June! And I tried my hand at baking. The result was not bad and I was quick enough to announce it all over the online media. And going by the Gemini trait, I haven't touched the oven much after that! "Just like the DSLR" - S would have loved to add!


June-July had us earnestly planning for that big holiday of the year. Only, this time, there was more planning than usual. We didn't even have a place we could go to. Project Budget Dreams wasn't moving anywhere even after weeks of browsing and estimates. By early July, all we had was a go-ahead for a week's leave from office - usually the last bit to fall in place on all our other vacations! Surprising! And we should have guessed everything happens for a reason and He was having his own fun here!

So began the roller coaster ride which makes 2011 not-just-your-yet-another-
year. Needless to say, the holiday plan didn't work out. We nevertheless took the 1 week break because, well, I had to. Meanwhile, we realized to our pleasant surprise that the next trips will have to wait until an infant ticket is booked too :) I have no idea where August to December got lost!

Ride so far has been good, though my to-do is filled with "Take doc's appmnt", "Take scan appmnt", "Meet doc"s! Hoping to have an exciting 2012! And I hope I won't be doing this sorry-post again in Dec 2012 too!

Happy 2012 :-)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Unconditional love, anybody?

Boy : I love you*
Girl : I love you too**



*Conditions Apply
** Limited period offer


~

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Curious Case of Kuttan @ Wipro

They say that any stone you throw in Bengaluru will invariably land on an IT professional's head. I say any stone a Mallu(1) throws in Bengaluru will invariably land on another Mallu's head. Putting two and two together, lets all say that there is a ver huge probability of you listening to a "Poda #$%#%. Ninde okke appanu kallu perukkal aano da pani(2)" when you throw a stone in Bengaluru.

And so with that great "Law of Kallu-on-a-Mallu" explained lets move to a problem I frequently faced sometime ago.

Precisely, the one and a half "fresher years" of Wipro days. Those were the times when IRCTC was friendly, Kallada Travels did not mean Impossible and weekend trip home was not that big a chore to be planned months in advance.

In fact, meeting relatives and friends were also not a big deal. And so was attending somebody's wedding. Or a temple visit.

A common episode that followed in such occasions.

Random Person is RP from now on.

RP : "Are you working in Bangalore?"
Me : "Yes, RP Uncle/Aunty."
RP : "Which company?"
Me : "Wipro."
RP : "Oh Wipro? My sister's husband's sister's son also works in Wipro."

(Comment: Corollary to "Law of Kallu-on-a-Mallu": Any Mallu back in Kerala can, at any time, produce a list of at least 4 other Mallus he/she knows who works in Wipro AND TCS AND CTS AND Infosys in Bengaluru - Yes, I mean 4 separate lists - mind you!)

Me : "Is it? That is nice. Wipro is a very big office. "

(Comment: That is my way of telling them to stop that thread from going to the exact direction I feared. Nevertheless, nobody bothers to pick that hint!)

RP : "He has been there for 2 years now. Campus placement."

Me : "OK. That is nice. Which office is he in? "

(Comment: The hint is lost in the sea of Nadaswarams I guess. RP is keen on continuing the thread - in that same direction which I didn't like)

RP : "Bangalore Office. Wipro. "

Me : "There are four big Wipro offices in Bangalore. And few smaller ones."

RP : "Athonnum ariyilla (I don't know). All I know is that its in Bangalore."

Me : "What is his name, RP Uncle/Aunty?"

RP : "Aiyyo mole. I don't know his real name. We call him Kuttan at home. "

Me : (Smile)

(Comment: I knew what would come next. I had to "discover" a Wipro-ite who cannot be searched on the company database, is tall, fair, curly haired from Mannarkkad. My lone clue : he is called "Kuttan" at home.)

RP : "He is very tall. And fair. His hair is curly. "

Me : (Smile)

(Comment: Yeah, it was not a great info. I guessed that anyways!)

RP : "Molkku kandupidikkaan pattuo? (Can you find him?)"

Me : "Not without his full name, RP Uncle/Aunty. We have a database and we need the name to search it. "

RP : "Oh. OK. I think his name is Arun. I don't know his full name. He is very tall and fair. You can't miss spotting him in a crowd. "

Me : "OK." (Smile)

-----------------------

Well, now you know why I quit Wipro ;-)
Since then I have moved to a company where the probability of the existence of a Kuttan or a Baiju is remote. So people change topic the moment I mention the name of my current company. But for people who remember the fact that I was in Wipro once upon a time, the story remains the same!

So how many Kuttans have you tried hunting for in Wipro? :-p



Note:

1. "Mallu": I have not used this word to offend any of my Malayali brother/sister. I am quite comfortable being called a Mallu. I understand many of you might not be. Apologies, if this hurts.

2. (Not effectively) Translated to: "Get Lost! Does your father pick stones for a job?"

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thriller

She chewed the pop corns slower than before. She sat motionless; her gaze steadily fixed on the TV, almost forgetting about the caramel flavor soaking in her mouth.

He looked up from the book he was reading for a split second and exclaimed

"Oh this one! Where Bruce Willis is a ghost?"

and walked out.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Loosely based on a real life incident; thanks to my bro :-p
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