Citizen Rajiv

After almost a decade of living in this wonderful country, I am proud to be a U.S. Citizen on November 19, 2003.

For this important day, I would like to thank everyone who had a role in my life. Thank you for caring, for your friendships and your love. I am grateful for your guidance, your teachings and for helping me develop in many areas.

Here are some pictures from after the ceremony.

Respect and the American Way

Respect must be earned and maintained not expected and demanded.

Unlike in some other cultures, I believe the American way is to give respect to those and when the respect comes out of my heart. I do not believe in giving respect to people due their being in a position of power, richer, older or better off in some way. Respect should not be given out of fear or out of feeling of inferiority. Respect is based on what someone does and not who someone is.

It saddens my heart when I see people not giving due respect to women and to young people who have earned it or are trying to earn it. To assume that someone is any less capable just because that someone is a woman, young, unconventionally educated without formal degrees, or comes from a less privileged background is incorrect. It is also unethical, unwise, immature and un-American.

I speak from experience. I worked hard from early on in my career, treating people with sincerity and caring along the way. At age 26, I became Vice President at a large media company, a position that I held for about three years before leaving to start my own company. Over the years, I worked with many of my colleagues and people reporting to me who had children my age. Some of these people, both within my company and outside, were initially hesitant about me because of my young age. Over time, I built great relationships of mutual respect with almost all of the people who were initially unsure about me. For this, I have greater love and respect for the American culture.

Some people say America has no culture of respect. They mention other societies where respect and honor are big values. We do have these values in America, and I’d argue we have them in their purest form, but you can’t demand them. You must earn them and maintain them, like all good things in a society with democratic values with capitalist ideals.

Sometimes when I meet executives from other countries, people tell me before hand to treat them with respect their way. They suggest things like bowing low to them, offering them a particular seat in the room, exchanging business cards in a certain way, and generally behaving in a foreign way. Instead of treating strangers with artificial flattery, I treat them with sincerity, caring, friendliness and a desire to gain mutual respect. I have found that sincere behavior has lead to lasting friendships and true mutual respect, even with much older people coming from countries with very orthodox cultures. When people from other cultures come to America, I want them to see that American culture does have strong values. When they are here, they should get familiar with our ways as they expect us to be familiar with theirs.

With land and air covered, now for the water

Hang gliding over beautiful mountains and the beach was great fun, so with land and air covered, I needed to learn to swim. I’m one of those few adults who didn’t learn swimming as a child.

So now as I’m learning it, I’m really enjoying swimming — efficiently and fast!

And that reminds of one my favorite cars: The Gibbs Aquada – A cool car and a sleek speedboat! http://www.aquada.co.uk/
Well, it does not fly yet, but what a vehicle it is!

An All-Nighter at Work Followed by a Terrorism Threat Scare

We had too much excitement at work pulling an all-nighter. Then when we thought we could go home and sleep, there was a terrorism threat at our building. An stranger placed some threatening packets mentioning anthrax and terrorism.

Fortunately, one of the employees saw this suspicious person and alarmed the rest of us. As we came out and saw him, the culprit took off. Five KRD engineers chased after the culprit, splitting up to not loose him without fear of their own safety while the others called the police and took photos of the scene.

Within minutes several police cars lined up outside the KRD office. Other police cars raced looking for this man. After a long chase in downtown San Jose and almost losing him a couple of times, a KRD engineer caught him and handed him over to the police. The police arrested the suspect and he confessed leading the police to more packets he left at our office we didn’t know about. It seems he was not a real terrorist, but just some disturbed person. What a night!

The full story, photos and videos1 are below.

Knight Ridder is an enjoyable place to work. The employees are diverse, talented, hardworking, friendly and fun! No wonder I’ve been here for almost 8 years.

On this Friday night/Saturday morning, many folks from the Knight Ridder Digital Technology, Product and other departments happily stayed at work late hours to ensure that a data center migration project went successfully. As you can see, besides working hard that night, they also had a lot of fun.

Photographs

Click here to see the photos on my photos.rajiv.com site (Many of the photos here show folks having fun, but they worked very hard too.)

Video Clips

(Note: The movies may take 2 to 3 minutes to download even on broadband connections. I will move them to a streaming video site in the future.)

  • Sharon demonstrates Kung-Fu. Moral: Do not mess with the CTO.
  • Peaceful engineers would rather fight Kung-Fu virtually
  • They are enjoying Tekken Tag Tournament during a break
  • They play hard too
  • But Bob Hucker will not take a break from work. That’s our Bob :-)
  • Wayne Weber can’t take a break right now either
  • Finally caught camera-shy Patrick Carter on video. That’s our Patrick :-)
  • Some Laughter and Conversations

Police Investigating

  • Police walking towards the materials left by the culprit
  • Police photographing the materials left by the culprit

I was there that night to provide moral support, food, and entertainment. These photo and videos were posted online while the work was going on. I work for a news media company after all :-)

  1. Update: videos moved to http://rajiv.blip.tv/ on 2007-12-15 []

As a Change from Corporate Travel and Expensive Personal Vacations, Consider Backpacking

I love to experience contrasts during my travels. Traveling first-class and staying in luxurious hotels is a pleasure indeed, but tourism on a shoestring can be a rewarding experience too.

(From ABCNEWS) At age 29, looking at what lay beyond his third decade, Lars Berg knew things weren’t quite right. The San Francisco software product manager itched for something more. His cubicle, he says, had become “both too much and too little,” and he couldn’t shake the growing feeling that he needed to make some serious changes.

Over the past two decades, this kind of travel has become increasingly popular with young people from countries with strong currencies, who, instead of taking a vacation from their lives, decide to turn their life into the vacation.

Full Story: Sick of Your Cubicle? Try Backpacking