About.Me

August 19th, 2011 by Sandhya Borra

Finally mustered some willingness to write a few words about myself. How would I describe myself? From my point of view, looking at myself in the mirror, I see an optimist to the core. No matter what the situation is, I would always say there is a way. Sometimes, I am way too optimistic, but then I simply do not have any space for negativity or negative people in my life. That’s me. The mirror also throws light on another important trait – a zest for life. I cannot be the mundane person whose entire life is dedicated to the norms created by society and trapped in a vicious cycle. Being a strong believer that every life has a meaning and a calling, I have this unabated thirst to live life to the fullest. Having said that, I do love the daily tasks but I simply believe life has more meaning to it than just that. I have always tried to do what I love and step away from the daily routine every once in a while. That should pretty much describe most of me – Optimist and Live life to the fullest.

But then are probably are a billion people in the world who can say the same thing about themselves. It is the finer nuances in character that do set us apart. Make each an ‘individual’. Time to delve a little more deeper than what the mirror can show.

I was born and brought up in the small beach city of Vizag in South India. Had the most wonderful parents anyone could ask for. They taught me everything I am today – To be successful, to face failures and hardships and come out of them in one piece, to be responsible and also to enjoy every moment in life. I was blessed with a normal childhood – had my share of sibling fights, midnight cramming for exams, summer holidays eating mangoes and reading novels, not having everything I wished for but having exactly what I needed, wonderful friends and great times. The only regret from my childhood days was that my parents never bought me a cycle, no matter how many stories I cooked up! What a trivial blemish on an otherwise wonderful and responsible childhood! Thanks Dad and Mom!

And then came college life. The best time of my life. Did my undergrad from GITAM, also in Vizag. What an amazing time it was! 8 of us best friends would eat together, read together, hang out together, plan our future together and go out on trips together. That’s what I would simply call the “ZEN” part of my life!

And then came the biggest change of all. All my life I had wanted to do my masters in US, get an MBA in investment banking from NYU and live and work in New York City. I pretty much stuck to my plan, did my masters from Texas tech, consulted for a few years all over US, before ending up in Lehman Brothers. I was even all set to do the MBA at NYU. Life had thrown challenges at me during that period of my life, living alone in US and I was able to come out of them all, successful and stronger and wiser. Living alone does bring out the true grit. I must mention that I faced hardship at almost every corner of my life during my life in US, sometimes not even having enough money to pay the rent. I must thank my mentor, Gynecologist and good samaritan, Dr. Mahendra Patel, for taking me under his wing and providing me with a part time job to be able to pay off unexpected payments I had to pay up as a student.

And then the biggest setback of all – The downfall of Lehman Brothers. I had to live through the nightmare, see my dreams collapse in front of my eyes. So I postponed my MBA for a few years, got another decent job in NYC and then got married.

Ah! Thats my biography right there. Anyways, plodding on into further nuances – Let’s talk a bit about my life’s calling. At 5, I wondered if I could have enough money to buy myself lots of chocolates. At 10, I wanted to be the best cricketer in town. At 13, I wanted to be Nancy Drew. At 17, I wanted to be an engineer. But by 19, I had pretty much set my life’s goal – career in US, travel the world and do social work. I do not exactly fit into an “subdued indian girl” stereo type. That does not make me a wild child either. I express my emotions. I react to unfair propaganda and I have my silence when most needed.

What do I love the most? To Laugh! I used to laugh and smile in every kind of incident, until recently. I guess I have officially become a boring grown up now. But I do miss the laughter, the fun and all the silly smiling. I want to be able to do that effortlessly one day again.

I love to try different cuisines and consider myself a major foodie. I love to travel and also go running or road biking. I also indulged in a little bit of Muay Thai and I hope to be able to pursue it with passion sometime again in future.

The biggest change in my life happened when Varsha came into this world. She was born on May31, 2010. Life changed forever! The joys of bringing up a kid and the hardships of being a working mother without too much support, does take its toll, but end of the day, the hard work is all worth it! Even mundane daily tasks like giving the baby a bath, feeding her, playing and reading with her and putting her to sleep are intensely satisfying.

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Photo Blog

November 30th, 2010 by Sandhya Borra

Most of my baby pictures and other newer albums will be posted at this location.

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Quick Update – Sandhya 2.0 (Varsha is here!)

November 30th, 2010 by Sandhya Borra

A little late in updating but I can always get away by saying the baby kept me busy all this time! Varsha is 6 months old and here she is :)

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Kotak, Visakha Valley, Timpany…What’s Next?

February 2nd, 2010 by Sandhya Borra

Thinking is one thing I can do for hours at an end. I come across some idea and I become so caught up in it and get all excited about it, but then after a few days, it vaporizes into thin air. I wish I can put into action all these thoughts! But we all are bound by restrictions. Limitations. Financial and emotional. Societal and Philosophical. How I wish I had the resources to make my dreams come true! Ah well…one of those dreams or thoughts I must say, hit me today with full momentum. I really feel the urge within me to make this happen. I know I can make this happen. I just do not have the resources or the time at this point in my life. But this particular dream requires a lot of planning and a lot of gauging friends, family and interested parties and so I am willing to spend time on that aspect, if it were to ever come true. Ahhh…what am I rambling on about? Education in india….more specifically, my idea of establishing an innovative school system in India, starting with my native place – Visakhapatnam. Sound crazy yet? But wait…there’s more! :)

Instruction ends in the school-room, but education ends only with life” – Some wise man said it and we all heard it. We might have even used it in one of our college essays :) But how many of us know who said it? Well, that was not part of the syllabus huh! Well, just for the record, it was Frederick W.Robertson.

blackboard computer_education

I heard this somewhere and it stuck with me – “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may or may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand”. Somehow, the education system in India, where we grew up, does not place too much emphasis on the “involve me” part. I cannot speak for the education system in the US since I did not study here at the elementary, secondary and high school levels. I did my Masters here but 2 years is hardly enough time to judge an entire system, especially when you are trying to simultaneously cope with factors such as living away from your house for the first time in your life or earning money on your own doing odd jobs to be able to pay the fees each semester. My emphasis today is on the foundations of education, where it all begins. I can speak about my Masters life another day.

Right from first grade, it is all about cramming up your lessons for us Indians. The teacher comes into the room and writes on the blackboard. The students listen and take down notes. Nothing wrong with that approach but that has been the approach since thousands of years now. For students living in an electronic age, how far is this approach justified? Abstract sciences such as Math, Physics, Chemistry form the foundations. We all became very good at theory. Give us a problem. Be it algebra, integration or calculus – we know our formulas and our prescribed procedures. The problem gets solved much more easily than a kid would do it here. Good stuff. Everyone needs to get their theory right. But there are those very few moments when we actually felt learning was fun and that we really applied the theory and built something useful out of it. We became nervous at practicals, often fumbling and doing much worse than a kid would do here. When I say these, I speak of the average student.

I want to start off by establishing a school in vizag that offers revolutionary system of education. Something that makes kids feel education is fun. Something that encourages them to be practical and build something useful. A school that conforms to the modern era of electronics and computers. The best place to start would be vizag.

More details in tomorrow’s post.

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And your worst enemy is…

February 1st, 2010 by Sandhya Borra

sugarSugar! How Sweet? Not! How can something that even a baby knows by naturality of taste be your worst enemy?

How about this link:

http://www.rheumatic.org/sugar.htm

or this:

http://www.healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/sugar.htm

Instead of me posting me research here, why don’t you as a reader go google it for yourself and learn something important? I am cutting down sugar from today..lets see.

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Life’s Calling

January 28th, 2010 by Sandhya Borra

dreamer_girl.jpeg It was looking dull and depressing in the morning. I dragged myself out of bed (that’s actually taking quite some effort with all the weight gain) and hopped on my usual 7.20. And of course it got delayed, since it was snowing.But with a netbook to save me from the boring and sleepy faces of the fellow passengers, my mind started wandering a little bit into the future. Actually, a lot further into the future. True, I wanted to become an engineer and true I liked what I did for a livelihood. But I believe, everyone has a life’s calling. Its that one particular thing they would want to achieve in their lifetime, that has nothing to do with a career. A career is a job you do everyday and earn money. But a life’s calling may or may not earn you money. May or may not earn you fame. But it will always be that one thing that you wish you can do. For most people, its a blur. They just carry on with their lives, lost in day to day activities. It was for me too…until I woke up today.
Today, on the train, staring into the snow, I had a glimpse of my life’s calling. Too bad I wont speak about it because I want to reveal it as I do it. Its still far off into the future for now but I definitely am going for it.

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Why cry out loud when you cannot help?

January 26th, 2010 by Sandhya Borra

hma1 I have seen this many times before. Devastation strikes. People die…Children are left homeless and as orphans. Countries crumble…And everyone I meet is talking about it. They are feeling sorry for the poor souls out there. My mind just feels numb. Neither do they spur a reaction nor elicit a comment from me. I feel sorry too but deep within, I am actually glad it did not happen to me. I am overcome by guilt more than being sorry. Why feel sorry out in the open when you do nothing about it? Ah I know…because people feel better when they feel sorry for those deprived souls. Selfishness even then! And it is inadvertent. They cant help it.

From what I have seen, people who actually do something for those deprived souls never talk about it. They do not have the time to feel sorry, since they are busy helping them out. Their souls are not tortured like the rest of us who have this compulsion to let out our “feelings” for the miserable people.

Those are the people that feel the inner peace…

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Marathon challenge post poned

December 11th, 2009 by Sandhya Borra

Due to some unforeseen reasons, I have decided to attempt my first full marathon in 2011.

2010 is going to be a busy year for me on many notes and I do want to give my full concentration to the marathon at the time of training.

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Obama ratings

November 30th, 2009 by Sandhya Borra

News is not unbiased anymore. The tendency towards bias crept in a long time ago. You read news these days and wonder what in the world are they thinking when they write it? The other day it was CNBC’s reporter Darren Rovell who wrote such an idiotic and racist article that it left me wondering if anyone ever proofread any of these things anymore? Then I moved on. News is news. I dont let it influence the inner-cosmic thoughts and frame of mind.

Now the latest is the news about “Obama’s ratings at an all time low”. First of all, who are the morons that these biased news channels interview to gather such dumb polls? How many of the dumb morons that were involved in the poll know that both the Obama’s were Harvard Graduates? Obama earned his presidency, George W just got it handed down from his daddy.

Obamas First off, the country is in a deep financial mess and there is more than one reason for it. When Bush was President, he concentrated on making sure that the companies he was vested with did good. That includes the oil and weapon making industries. It was a personal agenda so outrageously planned and yet no one could do anything about it but wait for him to complete his term. Gas was an unbelievable 4$/gallon! companies were in a free fall. You couldn’t tell which company would be hit the next day. Iraq war was another big burden. Real estate was plundered by greedy stock brokers and banks, who had no clue what it will lead to in the future and equally dumb general public who bought into the lucrative mortgages. This is a kind of mess that will take years to even stabilize. Obama came and I haven’t seen a single company go into that free fall spiral yet.Bush took the first 6 months of presidency as a leave of absence to go play on his texas ranch. And Obama has done so much in 8 months but ratings fall? We know why.

Because news is biased. They need people to read. The number of clicks matter. They need controversy. Plus the general public in my opinion is very fickle minded. They are so fickle minded that someone as dumb and insanely stupid as Sarah Palin can actually write a book and sell millions of copies of it and get big receptions on her “Book Tour”. That thought itself gives me jitters!!

So coming back to the Obama ratings – He acted on Guantanamo Bay, traveled to more countries in 8 months than Bush did in his entire first term, and yet was able to share a beer with a police officer like a normal man. Michelle Obama continues to pleasantly surprise me. She is such a warm character…her involvement in the healthy eating for kids campaign, plus growing a organic vegetable garden for the “first” time at the white house, and yet again, trying to mingle with heads of state in an equally easy tone. I have never seen a more able minded first couple. They have their work cut out for them and they are working towards a better America and not towards a betterment of their own ratings. Alas! The fickleminded citizens will not get this. They expect recovery to come like a lightning bolt.

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The next Iron Chef

November 17th, 2009 by Sandhya Borra

I don’t know about the rest of the readers but I am an avid fan of the “Iron chef” Series as well as the “Next Iron Chef” on Food Network. Its been an interesting season but the most interesting part for me was that an Indian made it to the finals. Jehangir Mehta will be battling Jose Garces in the Kitchen Stadium – the episode airs this sunday night at 9pm.

jose-garces-next-iron-chef next-iron-chef

Jose Garces is throwing a “viewing” party at his famous west philly restaurant “Distrito” from 8.30pm onwards. I am planning to attend..cannot miss an iron chef’s food (ah wait…we dont know that yet ;) ) An American chef born to Ecuadorian parents and raised in Chicago, Chef Garces began his culinary training in the kitchen of his paternal grandmother. In developing his personal cooking style, something he says is an ongoing pursuit, Garces spent years perfecting different cuisines in top rated professional kitchens.

I am personally rooting for Mehta though, who owns a restaurant in NYC called “Graffiti”. He’s a creative genius, one of the hardest working men in the food biz, eloquent and also truly a nice guy. A visit to his restaurant Graffiti will confirm it all. Chef Jehangir Mehta opened Graffiti in the East Village of New York City in 2007 after being highly acclaimed at New York City restaurants including Aix, Compass, and Jean-Georges.

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