Year End Summary : 2019

Posted January 19th, 2020 by Deepa and filed in Personal, Uncategorized
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image000000Achievements of the year: 10 years as a federal government employee!  When I joined the National Cancer Institute’s Small Business (SBIR)  Office, I was told that it was a start up within the government.  And funnily enough that was a pretty true statement.  We operated like a startup in the initial years – setting up both the Center and several programs to support cancer start-ups.  While the mission of the Center was initially to support cancer start-ups by providing funding, we came quickly to the realization that non-funding resources such as training, networking and mentorship was equally important.  I have spent the last few years setting up several such programs and its good to see the results trickling in.  In terms of publications, I had two more papers and one more book chapter published this year. Continue Reading »

Year End Summary 2017

Posted February 14th, 2018 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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NYCARD2018Here are my 2017 highlights!

Achievements this year: This was the year of #fakenews and #MeToo. Like many of you, reading the news, whether from India or US was an exercise in restraint and fortitude. The biggest achievement this year was just keeping calm each day while reading the news. In other ways, this was a productive year; I co-authored three different book chapters and one review article, although they were not related to my day job.

On the personal front, I have realized that as the years go by, I am becoming more and more of a homebody! Some might call it lazy – but I prefer this explanation! This year, instead of going out to eat at restaurants, we ended up entertaining at home, a lot more than usual. I have enjoyed cooking and experimenting with several different dishes – some successful, some not so much. Continue Reading »

Year End Summary 2016!

Posted January 12th, 2017 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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NYCARD2017Following the tradition, here are my 2016 highlights.

Lowest Point of the Year: As was the case for most folks in USA and around the world, the year was dominated by the US election coverage and the unfortunate ascendance of Donald Trump. We received US citizenship in early 2016 and voted in USA for the first time. Once the election results were announced, it felt exactly like failing a major exam that you had studied for.  We were clearly living in a bubble because I didn’t know a single Trump supporter personally.  And now we have our fingers crossed and hoping for the best! Continue Reading »

Year End Summary: 2015

Posted January 30th, 2016 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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Following the tradition ( 2006, 2007 , 2008, 2009 , 2010 , 2011 , 2012 , 2013 & 2014), here are my 2015 highlights.

NYcard 2016High point of the  Year: The birth of our son Tanay in July of this year.  After another tough pregnancy –complete with bed-rest, frequent doctor visits, gestational diabetes , and borderline IUGR,  this pregnancy was filled with enough drama.   Annika was super excited to be a big sister —she was all set to teach him to walk, talk, eat and write!  Annika is an incredibly protective elder sister and makes sure that we are taking care of her baby brother.

Lowest Point of the Year: My maternal grandmother  died just about a week after Tanay was born.  She was 92. My mother had to rush back to India soon after Tanay’s birth but she did get a chance to talk to her mother and spend one day with her. My grandmother who had been slipping into almost a coma like state awakened to talk to my mother before passing away. Continue Reading »

Annika’s Syllabus.

Posted August 22nd, 2014 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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IMG_0305Annika attends Childrens’ Manor Montessori School and has been doing so since she was 5 months old. She is now 3.  I confess that I am totally ignorant about Montessori curriculum so I have no idea how well they follow it at her school.  However I am flabbergasted at the kind of things that forms Annika’s syllabus. Apart from the usual letters & numbers & colors & months of the year – here is a smattering of the things that Annika learnt in school this year: Continue Reading »

My earliest memories

Posted March 6th, 2014 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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mem1My first memory is visiting my maternal grandfather in a hospital. I only remember a single specific scene. My grandfather lying in a narrow hospital bed – somehow in my memory it is at a great height (which is possibly due to the fact that I was about 3 years and 3 months around that time).  I also remember that my grandfather had a tube inserted in his nose.   Later I found out that my mom and I had come to her house. She was pregnant with my little sister.  She came to find out that her dad is slowly losing his memory – apparently the result of a stroke. Continue Reading »

Year End Summary: 2013

Posted January 10th, 2014 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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Following the tradition ( 2006, 2007 , 2008, 2009 , 2010 , 2011 & 2012), here are my 2013 highlights.

Happy New YearAchievements this Year: Our biggest accomplishment in 2013 was losing weight. Between us we lost a combined weight of around 100lbs. What I feel most proud of is that we haven’t done this by embarking on any crazy diets, unsustainable exercise regimens or weight loss supplements.  We have not given up on any of our favorite foods and we still eat out atleast twice a week. On the flip side, we have had to shell out $$ to purchase a whole new wardrobe…..

Travels this Year: The big trip of the year was our two week vacation to Amsterdam, Paris, French Riviera and Iceland. My mom and my sister (with family) met us there and so it was a family vacation.  Apart from that we had a short weekend in New York City where we ate our way through Greenwich! And end of the year trip  to the Jamestown area for a weekend at the  Great Wolf Lodge & Water-park. It was intended as a birthday trip for Annika and she spent an entire day and half in the kiddie pools going up and down the water slides and had a wonderful time.  On our way back we stopped to see the historic Jamestown settlement – one the earliest settlements in the United States.  As usual I also had some work trips planned to Indianapolis, North Carolina, Atlanta and San Antonio. During the last mentioned trip I also managed to spend a couple of days in Austin to visit family and see my niece and nephew! Continue Reading »

“Eve-teasing” : Safety in Mumbai

Posted August 31st, 2013 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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So, I have been reading the media reports about India being unsafe for women. I have been living in the United States for about 13 years now. Although I have visited India pretty regularly in these 13 years, I haven’t spent more than 5 weeks consecutively. Now reading all of the reports and blogs I am trying to reconcile my experience in India (or primarily in Bombay) with what I have been reading.  And I have been trying to figure out if things have just gotten worse or is it just my perspective.

Growing up in Bombay, I was never afraid of traveling alone. As I used to quip, this is one of the most populated cities in the world—how am I really ever alone!  I wasn’t nervous about getting into a train at night. When I was studying for my bachelors degree, I often stayed late in college or had “study dates” with friends and didn’t think twice about reaching home after 10 pm.  When I graduated and accepted  my first job  in medical equipment sales, I didn’t blink when I had to travel all alone to parts of Bombay that I had never been to (or never even heard of)  alone to visit medical clinics.

That is not to say that there were no incidents.  Eve-teasing (rather a benign sounding term for  what is actually public sexual harassment) was common. A few gropes here and there were expected. My girlfriends and I all had several of these stories to share. Of the guy who pinched your butt in a crowded railway station. Of the guy who grabbed your boobs as he rushed past you on the road.  Of the guys who passed lewd comments while you walked to buy a packet of bread. We spoke about the group of guys who sang the latest Hindi film song accompanied by suggestive gestures. And about the creepy fellows who crank-called your home, when you were all alone. Or even more frightening—of those men who followed you home silently everyday till you decided to take a new route home.

Despite this, I was proud of being a Bombay-girl. I counted these “inconveniences” as a payback for the independence that I had.  I was proud of the fact that I could travel alone to meet friends –unlike my cousins in Kerala. I didn’t need a 10 year old boy to accompany me and my girlfriends if I wanted to see a movie in the evening. I was never scared of using public transport unlike my friends from Delhi. I didn’t need to cover myself from head to toe unlike some of the folks I knew who lived in smaller towns (read: any place other than a metro city). I was a Bombay girl.  I was confident. I could handle eve-teasing. I know how to navigate an unknown area. I was not embittered or terrified or traumatized by these events.  As far as I knew it – these were reprehensible acts performed by cowardly men but it was a part and parcel of life.

But now after years of being in the US, these media reports have made me question my former reaction to such incidents.  In the last 13 years that I have spent in US, I have been heckled just once (I was so out of practice of handling this that I was flustered and hurried away) I don’t have to watch how I sit in public (cross my legs – in Bombay, don’t cross legs in Kerala). I haven’t had to worry about getting into an empty train compartment.  I don’t worry if my dress will make me a target for attention. I haven’t needed to watch or worry if I am showing too much cleavage or if my bra-strap is showing. I can laugh out loud and not worry about getting noticed. I don’t have to clutch a book to my chest when I walk in a crowded mall. I haven’t ever needed a sharp implement (safety pins/hair pins) to discourage wandering hands when I am seeing a movie.

I can understand when people say it is not fair to compare the two countries. And I don’t intend to justify or rationalize the differences.  In fact, I am actually feeling guilty (almost like I am committing treason) when I feel relieved about not having to face eve-teasing. I didn’t even realize what a burden I was carrying till I didn’t have to carry it anymore! Its strange and very sad that I was proud of being a Bombay girl because I could survive the eve-teasing when it would have been much better to be proud of being a Bombay girl because I didn’t have to face any!

Happy New Year! & Year End Summary (2012)

Posted January 12th, 2013 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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Following the tradition ( 2006, 2007 , 2008, 2009 , 2010 & 2011), here are my 2012  highlights.

NYCard2013Achievements this year: It is a challenge to separate my achievements from Annika’s especially as my major achievement is navigating the complexities of parenthood.  After relying on parental support for the last 18+ months, we are finally on our own. Another major accomplishment for me was successfully learning the process of switching off work once I reach home. This was a  more arduous task than I thought it would be.  It took some effort to resist “responding to just  one last email”  That being said, I am enjoying my work – it is wonderful to be exposed to groundbreaking cancer research at early stages.  To borrow  colleagues’ words : Our exposure to companies performing cutting edge technology makes health reports in the popular media seem like history text books.

Travels this year: The big change this year was learning to travel with a baby.  We made a short trip to Austin to meet our new nephew, Aiden, and then it was off to India for the month of August. In India we took a mini-vacation to Munnar and Bombay. In October , along with my mother, we visited California to drive up the Pacific coast. I also managed two official trips – to Miami and the Bay Area for conferences.

“Could do better” of the Year: This is the same as last year. I don’t make New Year Resolutions but if I did— keeping the blog active would be top of the list.

Realization of the year: I could go on and on here (enough to compile a list of “What they don’t tell you about raising a baby” ) but here are a few….

  • However busy I am, I still have time to read !
  • You fall sick when your baby falls sick
  • Motherhood makes you  lose the inhibition of singing in public even with being tone deaf

Summary this year: We are healthy, happy and enjoying life. Bring on 2013!!

Wish you all a very happy and healthy new year-2013

Happy New Year, 2012

Posted January 3rd, 2012 by Deepa and filed in Personal, Uncategorized
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Following the tradition ( 2006, 2007 , 2008, 2009 & 2010), here are the 2011  highlights for me.

The Highlight of the Year : Welcome to Annika Diya Sebastine on November 7 2011.

Achievements this year: Pregnancy, Bed-rest, Tele-working, Labor , Delivery, Newborn Care !

Travels this year: Given that I was on “bed-rest” for about half the year thanks to pregnancy complications, our travel was extremely limited. Other than the beginning of the year trip to Belgium, we did not venture out of the tri-state area (Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC). By the end of my pregnancy, I had severe cabin-fever and was desperate for a vacation.

“Could do better” of the Year: I have pretty much neglected writing on my blog, writing emails or even writing notes! Hopefully I’ll do better next year.

Summary this year:  Everything that happened this year can be summarized in one single word: Annika. Looking forward to more adventures in 2012.

Wish you all a very happy and exciting new year-2012