2 Weeks with new iPhone 7 Plus

I woke up around 4 AM (thanks to Adhruth) on the day Pre-order opened and when I was trying to book, I was already looking at 2-4 weeks for delivery. Placed an order for iPhone 7 Plus Gold (similar to the 6 Plus Gold) as that was faster delivery scheduled between September 24-26. I was skeptical about Jet Black for scratches especially when Apple recommended case for that. Then thought may be after 2 years of Gold, I want a different color and changed my mind to Black and that pushed my delivery date to October first / second week.

On the launch day and next couple of days, checked with any Apple store, AT&T or Target have any phone for me to immediately pick it up. Nothing was available (as expected, since noone received Plus models).

After a week of new Phone launch, randomly checked at Target.com and found store in Maple Grove had iPhone 7 plus 256 GB (the storage I wanted) but in Jet Black color. I thought I looked at it wrong because Jet Black was always 2 months of wait with Apple. I called up the Store and went there to pick it up and the Store Mobile Engineer did a great job of explaining iPhone 7 plus and how Jet Black one single phone is all they got and noone was there to buy it. I grabbed it and between the time of me getting it from the Store to the Zagg shop for putting screen protector, my finger print was all over the back side of the phone.

It looked gorgeous and certainly much better than the pictures that Apple showed. I always use Phone with a case (thanks to Adhruth, again) and hence did not mind Jet Black. I added a layer of screen protection on the back side of the phone and was not happy with any case I saw at Zagg. Walked into the Apple store in Ridgedale and like the Tech21 case I saw there.

iPhone for 2 weeks, here is how it is

  • 256 GB space is excellent for my 26,000+ photos (I recently moved all pictures in my hard disk / external storage to iCloud and still not gone over my 200 GB iCloud backup)
  • Installed it as a New Phone, so that settings doesnot get confused with multiple phone jumps. Took long time to download all my Music library into my phone (may be it took one full overnight for download)
  • Raise to wake functionality certainly annoyed me (though I tried iOS 10 beta but it was on 6 Plus which does not have that ability). So, turned it off after day 2
  • Love the Camera. Clarity is excellent. Seeing some big difference from 6 Plus. Zooming fully doesnot distort image. With the case, camera bump is not a big deal. Randomnly, when taking a picture from the iMessage window, phone acted as if it was rebooting
  • Home button vibrating, seemed moving fluid button. Still getting used to that feel for every touch of the home button
  • Between 6 Plus and 7 Plus (missing 6S), there is better performance especially with iOS

iOS 10

  • Siri understands me much better. Yes, Siri is excellent upgrade from previous versions. Integrations with other apps, makes it much more easier. Great job here.
  • Love the new Music app. Makes it easy to sort and browse
  • iMessage has lots of additional effects when sending message and is cool. Only thing is, I am not sure how many times I will use that. May be just a couple of times each week
  • Editing pictures and adding notes is a great improvement in Photos app

Overall, between Public beta 1 and now got used to lot of functionalities to an effect I dont really think anything was new with iOS10🙂

Learnings from Adhruth – Part I

If there is a moment – when I understood what is meaning of the word “Responsibility” – without a doubt, it was on October 3rd 2010 at 8:30 AM. Adhruth was born at 7:42 AM on that day and had to be admitted into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) immediately. It was at 8:30 when I filled in his registration form for admission. One of the questions in the admission form was my relationship with the Patient and for the first time in my life – I started playing the role of a FATHER, what a Proud moment it was. Yes – I have heard from multiple people that life after a kid will be different, but I never anticipated HOW different it would be.

Adhruth is a 5.5 year old, energetic, bubbly, ever smiling, happy kid diagnosed with Autism. He is non-verbal yet, formula fed through G Tube in his stomach gives him 60% of his nutritional needs, takes a Growth Hormone injection every night, diagnosed with hearing loss and needed a surgery in his head to correct Chiari Decompression. But, all these doesn’t stop him from living a happy life.

Respect the Woman

The very first lesson Adhruth taught me immediately after he was born, is the value of a woman in my life. I always knew Adhruth would get my name as his last name – just because I am his father. I did not realize, it is the Mother who is given importance in the Hospital. For his first 35 days in this World, Adhruth was in the NICU and we did not finalize his name yet. (For International readers – It is illegal in India to determine the sex of baby before it is born and very common not to have a name ready immediately after birth). All through that 5 weeks, he was only called as Baby of Subhashree, by everyone in the Hospital and all his Hospital records and discharge summary. I wondered – where is my name – it was nowhere. It’s Subhashree, who carried him in the womb for 35 weeks and will carry in her heart for rest of his life. I realized it’s due to give her that recognition. Medical science understands the importance of women, but our Society did not. Immediately after his birth, Adhruth taught me to respect women.

Be Happy, Always Be Happy

In all situations, Adhruth is happy. He is not bothered about the environment, what others do, what others say etc. He lives his life happily bindaas. In his Special Education class room, Teachers and friends will be involved in an activity and something will make Adhruth laugh. When he laughs, he really LAUGHS – He laughs his heart out, mouth open, lips to the widest point. His laugh is very contagious and soon his entire class including Teachers laugh with him.

There are days when we as parents think of his future and are worried or irritated or get into a swing of negativity. He understands our emotions and will come close to our face and keep his lips on our cheek acting as if he is kissing and will laugh. If there is one medicine that can make me forget all my worries, tiredness, negative emotions – it’s his laugh.

My Guru has taught me saying “Children don’t need a reason to be happy. They can laugh for no reason”. Here was Adhruth, as my Teacher – showing me experientially how to live life that way. Its just me as a grown up, look for reason and tie my happiness to materialistic things. I will live my life like Adhruth – happily bindaas. Great lesson to the father from Son.

Understanding the Society and Family

During our weekend trips or tours – we feed Adhruth through the tube in public places. Initially we were very reluctant with lots of questions in our mind – what will others think about us? Will they think we are not encouraging Adhruth to eat orally? Will they think we have not done our part as Parents? Will they make fun of us? Will they tease Adhruth, because he is different? – all these questions were running in our mind. One instance changed it all for us and changed my perspective completely.

We were feeding Adhruth through G tube in a Park when we visited a Tulip flower festival. A stranger was looking at us. Over time, I have learnt to ignore these looks, but this guy was different. I thought to myself – here comes free advices and I was ready with my justification of Adhruth’s medical condition. But, this man walked straight to me, sat right next to me, in the grass – put his arms on my shoulder, looking into my eyes started talking, while we were still feeding Adhruth – “You both as Parents, are doing an extremely great job. It is not easy to go through what you guys are going through for your Son. I can understand your sacrifices to make this little boy’s life better. Only thing I have got to say is – all these will pay off over the years, when you no more look at all the tough time of the past. Look…” and pointed his hands to a girl who he introduced as his daughter and completed by saying “She was in tube feeding for over 5 years, but that is what helped her in her growth and now is doing great. I pray let God give you enough Strength, as that is the only thing I can do for you. Your little guy will make you proud”. Saying this he walked past us. There was tears in our eyes.

Everyone cannot put themselves in my shoes for them to understand what I go through. But, this anonymous stranger was able to understand us as he has been through this journey. He is part of our family – a family of Special Parents. Adhruth showed us, there are such great, caring, wonderful people around.

Parents typically say, they teach Science and Maths to their kids. But here, Adhruth is experientially teaching me life, patience, acceptance and power of Faith.

Adhruth doesn’t understand everything we speak to him, yet, but, what is very important for me is when we look into his eyes, smile and tell “I love you, Adhruth”, there is an instant smile and laugh – his way of reciprocation. It doesn’t matter to me what else he learns, when he learns or when he can talk – Adhruth knows what is Love and can experience it. It is just a matter of time, with the power of love, everything else will follow through.

Good Bye Snoring – welcome Quality sleep

I have always felt happy with my Sleep pattern. Usually I hit the bed around 9:30 – 10 PM and wake up by 4:30 AM. I am a sound sleeper – I don’t snoar, but I ROAR in the sleep. It hardly takes a couple of minutes for me to fall asleep.

Madhu, after marriage complained a lot about my Sound, but I thought it was normal. I am tired and sleep like a kid and snoring is not something I am conscious about. Madhu recorded recording sound of my snoring and I disregarded that as a sound of lions roar that she downloaded. She then recorded a video of me sleeping, but I did not like it as it was too dark🙂.

Fast forward 5 years and now with Adhruth sleeps with us in the same room. He was using hearing aid and we remove that in the night. With my snoring sound, Adhruth’s sleep was getting disturbed. It was very difficult for him to an extend that he would wake up from sleep and start crying closing his ears with one hand.

Sleeping on my side did not help. Breathe Easy nose strips did not work. Tried all solutions but nothing worked out. Then I decided to do something about it. Fixed an appointment with my Doctor and he recommended a Sleep Study. It was funny experience when they reviewed the Sleep Questionnaire. There were questions like – do I walk in sleep, am I violent during sleep, have I hurt myself etc. I said I only snoar and no other issues. They did not find my situation exciting at all.

After Sleep study in the Hospital, Doctor talked about my snoring was way beyond that they thought it would be. They placed a mask that night and they said my sleep was much better. I had Obstructive Sleep Apnea. I never thought about that as I felt my sleep was better. They recommended me a CPAP device.

At first I thought, how am I going to do this. It did not take more than 2 days to not only get used to CPAP device, but felt an extraordinary difference in the quality of my sleep. Also, most importantly, no more snoring sound and peaceful sleep for Adhruth. I am more active in the evening and don’t necessarily feel sleepy by 9.30 AM. The same 6-6.5 hours sleep quality improved a lot. Now, in case I take a nap in the afternoon, I make sure to wear my mask. When I doze off without mask, it feel the difference after getting used to the mask. Never knew there was a much better, peaceful, effective way to sleep.

For the numbers guy that I am, the device can record the time of my sleep, the number of events of apnea in my sleep, seal of my mask etc and puts the data in the cloud. Yes, the device has a SIM card to send the data to the cloud. I can access it in the morning to know about the quality of my sleep🙂. When I go for a review in my Doctor’s office, they can access this report to know the quality of my sleep, sleep apnea to suggest changes. If I see the pressure of the mask is not enough, they can remotely set it up to right pressure so that I am comfortable. It is certainly making my life easier, better and great quality.

Yes, mask needs to be cleaned, water needs to be changed for the humidifier, but most importantly, a good night sleep is very important for being very effective in the next day and with CPAP, knowing the quality that I have never experienced. Thanks for the growth in Technology to make this happen.

What It Means To Be SPECIAL

People who know me knows the side of me, where I am not always super comfortable starting a conversation with a Stranger and would certainly avoid it in all possibilities until I am comfortable. But this time, as part of Megha Bajaj Wonder Of Words Online writing workshop, I was asked to team up with Bina Pillai and was hesitant to start. Once we talked with each other and shared our journeys there were lots of similarities and yes – both are different as well. After that initial couple of minutes in Whatsapp – it never appeared I was speaking to someone for the first time. Over the next couple of days was more comfortable and here is our expression together on “What it means to be SPECIAL”, talking about our loving ones

I’m unique different and interesting,
I too see beauty in everything.
I’m slow and want to do at my own pace ,
But the world is a different rat race .

When you can multitask I can do only one task .
When you tell me let’s talk,
My hand moves and not my mouth.
When you tell me listen ,
I need to put the machine then.

You tell me lets drink milk
I need my tube button open and not my mouth,
You tell me Let’s play
I play in my world and may not need Toys

You tell me you are weird and don’t mingle
it’s not my fault and I don’t find it funny,
But the world doesn’t understand ,
That’s why I’m special!

Inspite of all the hurdles I’m made to face,
Sometimes I too win the race
I am not the one to give up.
You put me down and I will bounce back again.

I love my friends but I’m shy
Because I know I’m not like you ,
My logic is different and may make you laugh
But I’m sad because you want me to be like you

I wish to be adventurous ,do lifts and turns
Life is a struggle ,because I cannot do,
But the world wants me like you!

Will you have patience with me and stay?
I did not do any wrong but I was made this way.
I implore to you please understand ,
I’m not like you and so I’m called,
Heaven’s special child!

Special children need special parents,
HE does not create everyone equal
But HE creates some exclusively
And that’s what you call Special

My First Poem

The best way to start (re-start) by blogs is with the very first poem I have written – as part of the Online Writing workshop that I am doing. Here is link to Adhruth’s website.

Through my heart
I see you – my little boy
My eyes glitter seeing
Smile on your face

To everyone outside
You may seem different
But to me,
You mean the World

When I sit back and think,
Life is good because,
I have you in it
What else can I ask for.

I will be there for you no matter what
You are the one and only one I love a lot
The blessed day in my life was
When I introduced me as your Father

I wanted to teach you Life
But, You showed me Love
I wanted to teach you Science
But, You taught me Acceptance

Being a parent to you,
Is satisfying, peaceful,
Fulfilling, blissful
For you keep us Smiling

Others will judge you,
By what they only see
You are beyond any judgement
Adhruth – You are HIS masterpiece