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Reality Bytes: Eight Months Later

Diwali is around the corner. Family is in town. Lights, lanterns, festivities, shopping, sweets and delicacies and fire crackers. We celebrate Ganesh festival, Dusshera and even smaller festivals like Kojagiri Poornima.This truly encompasses what being in India is all about.

Our last two months have been more on adjusting to life in India.The usual suspects are still lurking around.


Traffic is bad. I feel even more now that I have started driving. With our small car, we had to take the car seat out when we had family in town for a month. Now Varun refuses to sit in the car seat though he usually sits only on backseat.Once a valet didn’t come forward on seeing us as he suspected Vipul was a driver as he saw Varun and me in the backseat. Since then Vipul insists on all of us sitting on front seat at least when we go out dining. We even did a long road trip recently ( though Varun was on back seat on the long drive). Most of our long distance driving is restricted to-day time; but I must confess I have been on one trip with colleagues when we drove at night with kids on laps. But in our defense, these friends are used to driving in India at night and the highway was divided as well as lit – so its didn’t feel as dangerous as I would have once assumed it to be.


The temperature has become more bearable. We have made several trips making most of the good weather. Mumbai and Lonavla for Gauri and GanapatiKochi and Kumarakom with my brother and SIL, Kurnool with colleagues and Srisailam with parents.  Only one regret we couldn’t visit a waterfall and have a good soak this monsoon. Maybe next year.

We visited several in Hyderabad as well – Lotus Pond, Shilparamam, Jagannath temple – photos will be shared soon!

We have shopped a fair bit – Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Promod, Marks and Spencer’s, Pantaloons. Cant always defer to US or Mumbai trip for shopping. Next up is a quest for a tailor.

One good part about Hyderabad is that there are several Sunday brunch places around the town. Westin, SO, Taj Krishna, Novotel – have a buffet style brunch that you can indulge in. Varun runs around, tries his favorite pasta and chicken, bread sticks, juice and ice cream and dozes off on the way home. We don’t have to worry about what to order. And as we eat early, almost always are first ones on the scene. Fresh food, attentive service, happy Varun- what else can I ask for.

Working at IDC

Finally with release of Windows 8, Vipul is now a bit free and relaxed. We went to Ramoji Film City for his Ship party and made a movie – It was insane. Varun and I went along with him ( family was invited) and we stayed overnight and had a custom ‘Nizam night’ hosted to celebrate the team shipping and watched the movies made.

This past month was also a month-long Giving campaign at Microsoft. At IDC, this takes a new dimension as one of the goals is to ensure everyone participates. So variety of events were planned at team, division and at Microsoft IDC level. On our team we had a sports tournament (where I was named MVP as I had most points..hahahah!) , Talent show (where all girls on the team performed a medley), Auction and a Family event (where we invited families and hosted them for an evening with Bingo, food, music and fun!)

It was a fun way to bond with team mates over the month.

We had our ship party as well as released in October as part of Office 2013. Our ship party was in Leonia Resort where we spent the day and then did the Gangnam Style performance.

Yea, its been most fun at work with manageable work loads. The atmosphere is more college like with all young recent grads actively participating and leading these events.

Chores and Help

Our honeymoon phase is definitely over.  Our cook left us for some unknown reason and we had to scramble to find another one. This new cook is getting used to our taste and schedule. She comes twice a day and prepares better food than the previous one – although charges a lot more money than the previous one.

Our maid is still the same – though she sometimes skips work and we are stuck with a pile of dishes to clean. I am seriously considering getting a dishwasher. And a dryer is on the list as well since our existing one died on us.

The guy who cleans the car comes regularly though does a poor job of cleaning the interior of the car. Vipul or I go down once in couple of weeks and deep clean the car. Varun loves this part as he can make a mess, play in water etc.

A lot of folks ask us if we will stay or return. We still are on the fence. I have seen quiet a few folks return due to work reasons, charter changes, reorganizations etc. I have seen quite a few folks not move back but find another role in IDC. I have seen a steady stream of imports as well ( as our PM directors calls us ;)) in management positions. Returning to Seattle will be very hard. I don’t look forward to the rainy drizzly overcast winters. And living with out all this basic help outsourced will be harder now that we have had a taste of good life. But we are nowhere near to rushing out to buying our own house and settling here.Lets see. Time will tell. We had decided to try it out for couple of years before we make up our mind.

I have heard about 12 month mark being a true life changer. Onwards to that. Till then I have Diwali, sweets, shopping and fire crackers to think about!

Tiny Lot is Moving!

Yes, Tiny lot is going to be a lot more tinier!

By early March, we are moving out of Seattle…actually, we are moving out of the country. Moving closer to home! Vipul and I have both accepted an offer with Microsoft India Development Center, Hyderabad.

There is a lot going on here and we are buried  trying to get everything sorted out before we go. But I know you all have a lot of questions from Why, When, How;  to Immigration, Work- Life balance in India etc. This is a brief post on our current thinking.

Why this change?

Firstly, like most desi’s, we have always wanted to move …someday. After every India trip, we miss home, we miss our family and we simply want to take the next flight back. Sometimes, Vipul thought the time was right and other times, I thought about taking the plunge. But after coming back this time, we missed home more than ever. Varun started asking (in his own way) about ‘Aaji-Aaba’ , ‘ Kaka- Kaku’ and ‘Mama-Mami’ every night as part of his sleep routine. Plus, when in India, the delight that was on my mom’s face when she was around Varun was something that I couldn’t push out of my mind.

We had reached out to a few folks in India before the trip and also visited Hyderabad on the trip to scope it out. It looked like we could get to work on quality stuff (similar to Redmond) and plus enjoy the life in India. At least in Microsoft, it doesn’t seem to be a one way path back to India, and we always have the option of coming back if we want to.

But more importantly, we saw this as an opportunity to travel in and around India. All our India trips are booked with visiting family. Now that they will be around, we can use our vacation to travel. Dubai, Lakshadweep, Maldives, Bali, Leh- Ladakh, Rajasthan, Kerala…We were sold!

Did we like Hyderabad ? I think its OK. It’s not Sydney but it’s not Baltimore either 😉 Chala lenge! It’s an inside that only our close friends will get.

How about interviews and offers?

That was the easy part. Vipul and I reached out to a few managers through job postings on internal career site as well as through our MS Network. Informational meetings were scheduled over Lync meetings. Once we notified our respective teams about interviewing, the actual interviews were scheduled very quickly. We both went through a full loop of interview. Vipul interviewed with Office Mobile and Application Experience team – so had two full loops. Most of Vipul’s interviews were with India team, but some were also with Redmond team. I interviewed with CRM and Lync team which are under same GM in IDC and I only had to do one loop with both teams.

We both got offers from both teams. And it was tough deciding which team to join. They are all doing interesting work. Vipul was woo-ed by both teams with nightly calls from Dev Managers and PUM’s- which was amusing to watch.

In the end,  after days of deliberation, Vipul is joining the Application Experience team and I am joining the Lync Web App team.

You have Greencard right, to come back?

Well, no. We don’t have the coveted Green card yet. And it doesn’t matter. If we want to come back, our thinking is we can come back on L-1. Just having a greencard doesn’t make sense unless we can keep it valid. Although we know about the 2 year re-entry permit , we didn’t go that route as we are not sure we will come back in two years – all those places will take more than two years to visit ;).

When’s the move party?

We are still working on our move date – but we are joining office on March 12th and are thinking of taking a few days off before then. Will keep you all posted.In the meantime, we have movers to schedule, travel to book, cars to sell, house to sell, things to sort out/donate.

This is still a bit surreal. I really can’t believe we are moving back. After 11 years in this country, I think about this as home.Leaving home is hard – but I guess with Vipul and Varun onboard – making any place home, should be an adventure. So stay tuned and join us on our adventure!

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