Celebrating and honoring my father’s life today, the 13th day, the Subhasweekaram. These beautiful songs are composed by his mother and sung by some of the great Carnatic artists of our time.

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Facing fears


So I biked down a steep country road (and hit a car). I sledded down an icy hill (and hit a tree). I don’t remember my parents freaking out; they seemed to understand that mishaps were part of childhood. I got a few stitches, and kept biking and sledding. Misadventures meant that I should try again. With each triumph over fear and physical adversity, I gained confidence.

Source: Why Do We Teach Girls That It’s Cute to Be Scared? – The New York Times

This is important for all kids. Grateful that my mother let me do anything I wanted – I climbed trees and fell, rode a moped and crashed into a wall, biked, swam, ran barefoot, played soccer with the boys, and broke many, many bones.

Like the author, my mother supported me. Unlike the author, her mother supported her. A line of outliers.

Designing your path -

Designing your path

When I was in my late twenties, I was convinced that I was on the right path, and one that I would be on for a long time. I was working in Silicon Valley, and while the hours were long, I was having a lot of fun.

But then life happened, I moved to New York and dreams I had suppressed were brought to the fore. Since I was a young child, I had wanted to be a photographer. So, I decided to go on an adventure and become a filmmaker. And what an adventure it’s been. I’ve never worked harder and never been happier.

My dear friend and former colleague, Avid Larizadeh, wrote an article in Forbes about inspiring women to design their own paths.

It has become clear that we need to do more to shine a light on the ambitious, successful women who dream big and achieve their personal and professional goals while staying true to themselves.

She, very kindly, cites me as one of the examples.

Shripriya Mahesh is an incredible woman: A wife, a mother, an award-winning filmmaker and a successful Silicon Valley executive. She owes all of it to her passion, openness and determination. When I first started at eBay, she was assigned to me as my mentor and then became my boss and my friend. I’m now lucky enough to be godmother to her twins, so I know first hand how open, passionate and strong she is. Shri leads by example: She taught me how to create solutions for any problem and above all, that you can pursue your passion at any stage. She reinvented herself as a filmmaker after 15 successful years in technology while having twins and supporting her parents who were struggling with illnesses. Shri has now found a way to fulfil both passions by leading the product launch for a startup and working on her first feature. She proves that it is possible to handle any personal and professional challenge with determination and positive energy.

You can’t co-opt someone else’s path. You are unique, what makes you happy is unique. Figuring out your path is not easy, but it is worth it. For me, the path was much more circuitous than I would have imagined, but also more fulfilling that I could have imagined.

I love film. I love tech. I want to find a way to do both. Can I? I don’t know, but I am certainly going to try.

Each (of the women) is very unique in her path and identity, however they all share a few very important traits: They are passionate, positive, hard working, confident and most importantly, they are constantly learning and teaching. They promote others and are great leaders with loyal followers. And if you ask each and every one of them, they will tell you that they are no better than you. If they can design their own paths and stay true to themselves, you can, too


Live With Bliss -

Live With Bliss

MS Subbulakshmi was one of the greatest carnatic singers of all time.

October 23, 1966, she sang Maithreem Bhajata at the United Nations in New York City.

My grandparents were in the audience.

My mother used to sing the song to me as a child and I loved it for its musicality. When I learned the meaning, I loved it even more.

The key message, of the song is “Sreyo Bhooyaath Sakala Janaanaam” which translates to “Let all the people live with bliss”.

And that is my wish for 2014.

With friendship please serve,

And conquer all the hearts,

Please think that others are like you,

Please forsake war for ever,

Please forsake competition forever,

Please forsake force to get someone else’s property,

For mother earth yields all our desires,

And God our father is most merciful,

Restrain, donate and be kind,

To all the people of this world,

Let all the people live with bliss,

Let all the people live with bliss,

Let all the people live with bliss.

Photo credit and all rights owned by: Raghu Rai
Source of the translated lyrics: Wikipedia

Consolidating the blogs -

Consolidating the blogs

I started this blog my personal blog, Almost As Good As Chocolate1, on September 29, 2006. There were busy moments and there were large lulls. Over time though, with Twitter and Tumblr, with work and life, I ended up posting here2 less and less.

I am, however, posting on the Tatvam blog and on Tumblr. Given that it’s been a year since I’ve posted here3, it is time to consolidate, to simplify.

All of this content will move to my Tatvam blog4 where I will continue blogging about film, but now, also about things that interest me and about technology. Every post that was written originally on this blog will be tagged with the “Almost As Good As Chocolate” category. And you will not need to update anything – the RSS feed and the emails will still work as I will update them on the back end.

Over the next few weeks, as I transition, there *may* be a few glitches. Thank you in advance for understanding.

I’ve met some great friends through this blog5 – I look forward to seeing you on Tatvam.

Update: I realize this post gets a bit confusing when it’s viewed, post-migration on the Tatvam blog. Just to be clear, it was the last post on my personal blog. All the posts were then migrated. Now it lives here on Tatvam. Clear? Good.

  1. It used to live at, which now redirects to my Tatvam site 

  2. see point 1 

  3. see point 1 

  4. it has now moved and you are reading it on Tatvam 

  5. see point 1 

The Joy of Quiet

wonderful article that nudges me further down a path I was already exploring.

In barely one generation we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives to trying to get away from them — often in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug. Like teenagers, we appear to have gone from knowing nothing about the world to knowing too much all but overnight.

Instead of being more in control, we are less in control – especially of our time.

In my own case, I turn to eccentric and often extreme measures to try to keep my sanity and ensure that I have time to do nothing at all (which is the only time when I can see what I should be doing the rest of the time). I’ve yet to use a cellphone and I’ve never Tweeted or entered Facebook. I try not to go online till my day’s writing is finished, and I moved from Manhattan to rural Japan in part so I could more easily survive for long stretches entirely on foot, and every trip to the movies would be an event. None of this is a matter of principle or asceticism; it’s just pure selfishness. Nothing makes me feel better — calmer, clearer and happier — than being in one place, absorbed in a book, a conversation, a piece of music. It’s actually something deeper than mere happiness: it’s joy, which the monk David Steindl-Rast describes as “that kind of happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.”

Disconnecting is self-preservation, it’s joy creation and as he mentions earlier in the article, it puts you back in touch with your creativity.

This picture was included with Pico’s article1. It’s particularly suitable because in the past week, I spent time searching for, and finding, seashells on a beach with my boys. It was, without a doubt, the best part of the past year.

This picture was included with Pico’s article1. It’s particularly suitable because in the past week, I spent time searching for, and finding, seashells on a beach with my boys. It was, without a doubt, the best part of the past year.

  1. Photo credit: Vivienne Flesher 


After months of talking about how our lives were more complicated than we could deal with, R and I took a step in simplifying.

Our apartment is overflowing with books. Five to six years ago, we got new bookshelves to deal with the problem. Three years ago, we just started putting the extra books in boxes that slowly started piling up. Two years ago, R was banned from buying new books and mostly bought his books in e-book format. Of course this meant he has had several e-book readers including two version of the Sony Reader and every version of the Kindle. But it seemed worth it compared to having more books enter the house.

At the end of 2010 though, we had about five thousand books in the house and we made the decision to donate most of them. R found a charity recommended by the NY Public Library (which no longer accepts any books) and off we went. First R and then I went through every book we had, making a “keep” or “give decision. We ended up keeping around a thousand books. There was a battle over some.

Of the four thousand others, we invited our friends to come take as many as they wanted (a small sample of them in the pictures below). Over the course of a week, about 9 boxes of books were scooped up by friends, including a box that will be shipped to Canada and one to San Francisco. Some of them are already in Chile. Pretty cool.

And a couple of weeks ago, the other 50 boxes were collected by the charity.

It was not an easy process, but it feels good. Over 90% of our book purchases will be electronic going forward. Which… makes me think of all the things that I need e-readers to do to live up to the wonderful, tangible, real world benefits physical books in a home offer. I’ll save that for the next post…


January one seems to come by faster every single year. We decided to be mellow this year – necessity, exhaustion and desire. New Year’s Eve is one of those holidays/events that is always a let down. Every single time I’ve planned it, it’s been a huge bust. So, we didn’t plan anything.

We had a very nice time at a small party in our building which R and I attended sequentially so that one of us could be with the sleeping kids. And then it was the big moment – I could hear the city all around me go crazy. And well after I was in bed, music was pounding from all sides of the building. New York definitely knows how to party.

A mellow evening was followed by a mellow start to the year – we sorted through thousands of books to figure out which ones are going to new homes. But more on that in another post…