Yagya (Yagyaraman Mahadevan)

Learning to Write – To Express

A Father Learns… February 28, 2017

Filed under: New Writings — Yagya @ 20:52
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If there was a moment in my life, when I understood the meaning of the word “Responsibility”, it was on October 3rd 2010 at 8:30 AM. Adhruth was born at 7:42 AM that day and had to be admitted into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) immediately. It was 8:30 and I was writing details in his admission form, and one of the questions was relationship with the Patient and for first time in my life, I started playing the role of a FATHER. Yes, I have heard from many that life after a kid will be different, but I never anticipated HOW different it would be.

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Adhruth is now 6 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 to value the woman in my life. I always knew Adhruth will get my name as his last name, because I am his father. I did not realize; it is the Mother who is given importance in the Hospital. For first 35 days after he was born, Adhruth was in the NICU and we did not finalize his name yet. Yes, it is illegal to know the gender of the baby during pregnancy in India and until the baby is born, we don’t name the baby. All through that 5 weeks, he was only called as “Baby of Subhashree” by everyone in the Hospital, all his Hospital records and discharge summary. I wondered and looked through everywhere to find my name, it was nowhere. It’s Subhashree, who carried him in the womb for 35 weeks and will carry him in her heart for rest of his life, and realized it’s due to give her that recognition. Immediately after his birth, Adhruth taught me to respect women.

Be Happy, Always Be Happy

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Adhruth

In all situations, Adhruth is very happy and energetic. There is never a dull moment in his life. He is not bothered about the environment, what others do, what others say or what they would think. He lives his life happily bindaas.  In his Special Education class room, Teachers and his 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 as parents, we think of his future and are worried, irritated or get into a swing of negativity. Adhruth understands our emotions, will come close to our face and keep his lips on our cheek acting as if he is kissing us, throw his arms around our neck and will start smiling and in a moment, it will turn into a huge 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, my Teacher – showing me experientially how to live life that way. Its just me as a grown up, look for reasons and tie my happiness to a lot of materialistic things. I will live my life like Adhruth – happily bindaas. Great lesson to the father from Son.

Understanding the Society and Family

picture1During our weekend trips, we are used to feeding Adhruth through the G 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 would run in our mind. One instance changed it all for us and changed my perspective completely.

At Tulip festival in Iowa, we were feeding Adhruth through G tube in a Park. A stranger was constantly looking at us. Even before he could come, I was ready with my justification of Adhruth’s medical condition. But, this man walked straight, sat right next to me in the grass, put his arms on my shoulder as if giving a half hug and looking right into my eyes started talking.  “As Parents, both of you are doing an extremely great and an important 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. There is only one thing I can say right now, it will all pay off for your Son in years and when you look back after many years, you will feel good that you did what is right for him. Over years, he will be better and I can say that confidently. Look…”. He pointed his hands to a girl who may be 8 years old, was happily playing in the garden with her family. He then continued, “That’s my daughter. 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 to God to give you enough Strength, as that is the only thing I can do for you. Your little guy will make you proud, one day”. Saying this he walked past us, not even looking at us again. We then continue to feed Adhruth, with a teary eyes and a resolute heart.

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 our journey. He is part of our family – a family of Special Parents. Through Adhruth, we know there are great, caring, wonderful people around.

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 say “I love you, Adhruth”, there is an instant smile in his face and I know that is a different smile and his way of saying, “I love you too, Appa”. 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 experientially demonstrate it. It is just a matter of time, with the power of love, and my Faith, everything else will follow through. Thank you Adhruth, my boy.

 

Second article published – Your Evil Twin January 3, 2017

Filed under: New Writings — Yagya @ 16:07

New Year starts with a great news. My Second article published in Infinithoughts 🙂

In an interview recently, I was asked to explain scenario when I got a tough feedback, at a totally unexpected time and how I took that forward. This happened 4 years ago, when I thought I did a great job and was waiting for good feedback, but a tough feedback hit me hard, completely out of the blue and made me much better, forever.

I was transitioning to new Project Manager role within the Company and Sarish, my peer was identified as my back-fill to my role. We were in the midst of rolling out a new tool across the Organization. Though, I was involved in discussions from the beginning, it is now Sarish’s responsibility for the implementation.

As part of transition, Sarish and I discussed that it will be good for him to lead his first meeting to explain the new tool, with other Project Managers in my new Team. It will be a great practice ground since, I will be sitting in the meeting and, if anything goes wrong, I can set it right and share additional context, as needed.

The meeting started and there were couple of times where Sarish could not answer the questions asked by my peer Project Managers. As per our plan, I jumped in and provided answers, shared additional context and corrected Sarish in couple of places. This I thought, would really help Sarish in subsequent meetings. Sarish was very appreciative of this at the end of the meeting.

After this meeting, I had was my mentoring session with Krishna. I thought, Krishna would really appreciate me for the way I helped Sarish in the meeting, as he saw me talk in the meeting. As soon as I got into Krishna’s office, he said “I am not happy about the meeting and it clearly appeared that by explaining more about the tool and answering questions and correcting Sarish, in front of a large group, you threw Sarish under the bus and put him down in front of 15 other Project Managers in our team, and and this is not going to help him be successful”.

I was stunned to hear this. This is not what I thought I would hear. I explained to Krishna about our plan, but then Krishna responded “15 people who sat in the meeting did not know this context and your intention. They would have felt you threw Sarish under the bus”.

When I was about to justify more, my Guru’s voice said “In the face of feedback, do not look at the past and give excuses. Look at the future and be clear on what you can change”. Immediately, I said “YES Krishna, you are right. Everyone in the meeting would have thought the same about me. I will work on it and take care in future meetings”.

This incident was repeatedly going on in my head for a week. Interestingly, I stumbled upon a Podcast and the title caught my attention – “Your Evil Twin”. It was under 3 minutes and started listening to it, not realizing my life is going to change forever.

Jill from Poynter Institute was talking about her experience as a Manager in a News room. During days of Snowstorm, she would call her Team to be there at 3 AM in the Office. As a Manager, to demonstrate that she wouldn’t ask her Team to do something that she wouldn’t do by herself, Jill would be there at 2 AM.

One of those days, a Team member, walked to her and said, “If you didn’t come in, we wouldn’t screw things here and you should learn to Trust us”. It baffled Jill to think that this is what her Team has been thinking about her for so long. This action, Jill called out as “Evil Twin”. This twin is not an outsider, but is inside us, and makes our action to be interpreted differently – in a way that you never intended and most importantly on a negative way.

It hit me hard – Yes, my behavior of answering questions in the meeting and in turn helping Sarish, showed my Evil Twin to Krishna and 15 others who were present in that meeting. They saw an Evil Yagya, throwing Sarish under the bus, but not my intention of helping Sarish based on our discussion.

I learnt, the only way to overcome Evil Twin is to Communicate long enough, explain my intention to people, and most importantly talk about why I am doing some things. I started talking more and explaining to people, my intentions and “why” I was doing things the way I was doing. Over time, people started appreciating me as being a Great Communicator and a Project Manager who can carry the Team to delivery results consistently. It was only possible when I kill my Evil Twin when I work with my Team.

Now, I keep asking this question every time – “Is there an Evil Twin that I am showing to you, by doing something, that is not my intentions?” and if my answer is Yes, I Stop what I am doing and instead explain and talk through my intentions and make peace of mind for myself.

Knowing my Evil Twin has changed my life. Have you met your Evil Twin yet?

 

I was pushed… My first article published in a Magazine December 5, 2016

Filed under: New Writings — Yagya @ 21:27
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I enrolled for Megha Bajaj’s Online writing workshop “Wonder of Words” with the primary objective of expressing myself with ease. Publishing my articles was never something that I thought of. I just held on to my Teacher’s hand in and dived into the journey. The result – here I am looking at the Magazine, that is close to my Heart – Infinithoughts, carrying an article I wrote. There will certainly be many more articles in future, but the FIRST is always closer to heart and here is where it all started.

Here is my article …

Yes – name is mis-spelt but who cares, this is my article and I am very excited :-). Here is the article…

Everything was going calm, easy and predictable at work. In the middle of the week, there was a luge layoff where 1600 Team Members were terminated and the rest of the Organization went through a huge restructure. We were very used to the routine work and know the expectation from our work and everything changed overnight. Teams that were together for years were split, reporting to multiple different Managers.

Once I got to know my Manager’s name – my friends said he is very tough to work with, very black and white, is not someone who understand people’s emotions, has very very high expectation of everyone in his team and so on. Some of them even felt that it would have been good to be let go and be impacted in the lay off than reporting to him. Though, I wanted to stay away from being influenced by perceptions, it was difficult.

In my first 30 minutes, Get To Know You meeting with him, we talked just 3 minutes about personal stuff and rest was about work. That made me think what my friends said was true.

A month later, I was presenting to him about the approach we are doing to measure success of our Software rollout that impacted over 10,000 people across the Country. Half way through our presentation, he made a point that our approach is very Subjective and open for misinterpretation and he wanted an Objective evaluation backed by Numbers and Statistics. This meant around 3 months of my work was not useful anymore.

Two months in one of our volunteer event, he recollected the Car model that was driving. I had shared it with him in our very first meeting and he seemed to remember that. That made me think – this is not a common characteristic. When he is involved in a discussion, he is fully focussing and remembers the topic. This was re-inforced multiple times for me – when something is shared that is objective, he remembers those very clearly. This was a big learning for me.

If there was one subject in my School that I hated, Maths was undoubtedly the Winner. Now, I am sitting in front of a guy who wants to me to learn Numbers and Statistics and implement that in my work. Though, I felt it was weird and crazy, I had to agree to his point because what he said made total sense. It was so different for me to even contemplate that someone could think like this.

I learnt basic Statistics and became the early adapter of a tool that was being rolled out by our Organization. Instead of asking people what they “feel” about the Software, we started measuring Number of issues people reported and in fact encouraged people to raise issues if they did not like it. We started backing all our decisions based on Numbers and data points. Emotions were kept outside the table while taking key decisions.

I would go to a meeting with him and tell what all we have accomplished, but come back getting more input on what we should be doing. I thought – looks like there is nothing in the World that would satisfy him. Kept learning new things and doing things differently. Started questioning my own decisions based on data.

Now, it was that time of the year, for me to write my Self review as part of our Annual appraisal process. When I started writing my accomplishments I realized, I have learnt, grown and accomplished the maximum in the last 12 months of reporting to him, compared to all 15 years of my Career put together. I rated myself at 88 / 100 (just in the border of being an over achiever and extraordinary).

In the final meeting, where he had to score, I was surprised to see him Score me at 90 / 100 and clearly mentioning I was an exceptional resource. This was the best appraisal I have ever had. Yes, he is the same Manager who people thought was difficult to work with, black and white, does not understand people etc, but I realized his ways are his ways. He knows how to get the best out of me. Every time he sees me achieve something, he knows I can do much more and was constantly pushing me to learn new things, implement new things, be an early adapter in the Organization for new tools, make my decisions backed by data etc.

I realized, what I have read a long time back – when your Mentor is pushing you from TOP of the Cliff, one of two things will happen – he will be there at the bottom to catch you or most importantly, he is teaching you how to fly. Yes, my Manager was teaching me how to fly. His way of doing that was pushing me from the edge of the cliff. Omar knew he can teach me flying and I am enjoying flying in that aspect.

Do you want to join in my flight of triumph – Find someone who can push you out of your comfort zone.

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Brydge 12.9 Keyboard October 24, 2016

I have been using iPad Pro (12.9″) as my Primary Work and Home device for close to an year now. Although, there are some things I cannot do in iPad – this post is not about that :-). I have tried 3 different Keyboards for the iPad over last 12 months.

Initially, I was disappointed with Apple Keyboard on its layout and usage and never bought it. The First one I tried was Logitech Create – Gold Color, to complement the Gold iPad Pro. It was great for typing and loved that it connected to the iPad with the Smart Connector and did not rely on Bluetooth. But the problem with that was it can only be used in one viewing position and cannot be adjusted and the second one was, taking it out of the case to use just the iPad was not easy at all.

Then moved to Zagg Keyboard case for iPad Pro. It had backlight keyboard that connected to the iPad through Bluetooth. It had a case for the iPad and Keyboard was sturdy. Certainly was very bulky and heavy. It was great to try out and use, but overtime, the keyboard would not stand on the hinge and would keep falling down after long use.

Before buying Zagg, when I was researching for Keyboards, that is when I came across BRYDGE PRO keyboard for iPad Pro big size. Have seen great review comments for Brydge Air and Mini. That time, Brydge was in Pre-order and would not ship until over 5 months later. Did the Pre-order for Gold Brydge Pro. As I was waiting to get my hands on the Keyboard, iPad Pro small size was launched and to make sure they dont get confused with the name, this was now called BRYDGE 12.9 to be in line with the size of the iPad. They started shipping may be about 2 months ago but Gold was the last color they started shipping.

Its been close to a month that I am using BRYDGE keyboards and certainly can say, this is THE BEST I have used for typing with my iPad. Makes the whole experience so seemless, just like a Laptop. The hinges was something I was not fully confident till trying it out. I have always used cases for all my iDevices and this one cannot go in the hinge with any case. But I am loving how the keyboard case now compliments the iPad color. Not had any issue with iPad falling off the hinges or going down when using. Oh, yes, when I use it close to 180 degrees, it went down couple of times, but that is not bad at all. It has been a great experience and support for the iPad. Feels like it should have been made by Apple in first place to make the iPad much easier and better to user. Love the Backlight and the ability to control basic iPad operations from the Keyboard including Music track. The only thing that could have been great is to use Smart Connector instead of the Bluetooth.

Here are some pictures of iPad pro with the Keyboard case (pictures taken using Portrait mode in iOS 10.1)

 

2 Weeks with new iPhone 7 Plus October 5, 2016

Filed under: Latest Writings — Yagya @ 14:04
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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 🙂

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My Poem about Adhruth September 6, 2016

Filed under: New Writings — Yagya @ 20:57

I added some visual pictures to the Poem, I wrote about Adhurth.

 

Good Bye Snoring – welcome Quality sleep July 27, 2016

Filed under: Latest Writings,New Writings — Yagya @ 23:10
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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 April 25, 2016

Filed under: New Writings — Yagya @ 22:19
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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 April 13, 2016

Filed under: New Writings — Yagya @ 06:00
Tags: , ,

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