This is an old blog post from 2006 when I went to India on a sabbatical that somehow morphed into me co-founding dimdim and also writing for Virgin Comics. Reposting it here as I found this while going through my backups and it brought a few chuckles as I read through. Since both me and my wife were on H1B, we decided that I will go to India while she acted as my “way back” in case I decided to take more than a year off. :) The goal was for me to take some time off and figure out if I wished to return to India semi-permanently.

I come from a family that used to be a huge joint family till one generation back. So naturally weddings etc. are pretty crowded occasions where you meet people who are twice or thrice removed cousins / uncles / aunts / some grandkids thrown in the mix too.

Inevitably such an occasion brings with it umpteen questions. I recently quit my job in the states to take a month long sabbatical doing nothing but thinking about life, universe and everything else. That is a hard concept to explain to someone like my father who supports my decision without really understanding what it means to take a break every now and then…

Now that job becomes quite a task when the same question comes from some distant uncle / aunt hell bent on knowing what i plan to do.

My answer is simple, i took a break to think about what to do next . This is unacceptable to some. To them you always need to be the man with the plan. The two mark answer does not cut with them.

The second question invariably is “where is your wife?” The two mark answer to that is simply “She is in USA as I have not made my decision as to where i want to spend my next five years.” This does not fly with the inquisition brigade. So i try the fifteen mark answer… I had to go out of US for a year so that i become eligible for an H1B again and my wife has her green card application in labor stage with her employer. Also we have two kittens and bringing them to India is well neigh impossible. So considering all these facts it makes sense for me to move to India temporarily, while she shuttles on half-yearly one month trips.

I have been married four years now… and the next question is something I always try to dodge. “When are you going to have kids? So and so was married years after you and already has five kids etc… (i put the miscalculation down to a little hyperbole in the spirit of persuasion). I try a zero mark answer for this one. “Hey look at that birdie” followed by an stealthy escape worthy of a ninja.

Some are more persistent than the others and do not fall for the birdie trick. They want to know why i do not have kids, surreptitious whispers are made about the well being of my loins and their fruitfulness. I smile painfully and try the two mark answer, “I am not yet thirty, I shall think about kids when i am thirty”. I graciously move away after this.

The most persistent of the lot, usually older females (most of whom have no idea of what the internet is and are more clueless about networking finer points than a Hindi “Ski-fi” movie/tv serial script writer suggest that i use the internet to have a kid… hmmm… looks like another set moment to try the “birdie” trick.

look up there …. etc etc

I think my point in writing this piece is that next time someone asks me these questions i can either point them here or give them a print out of this piece. Let it remain here till posterity or at least till my blog host keeps on paying their bandwidth dues… The Fifteen Mark Answer.