We stood near the vintage microwave, a relic from the 80’s J. C. Penney electronics division, a probe sunk partly into the milk, the temperature set to 180 degree Fahrenheit. The sounds of my children running around, jumping on bubble wrap and generally being themselves was incongruous for what was a fledgling office space.
Makeshift tables housed laptops, there were boxes stacked in the corner. The windows let in plenty of light. The almost 1000 sq ft of space was bare.
The milk boiled and fell inside the bowl as we watched the microwave display toggle between 179 and 180 before settling on 180 and falling silent. Kitchen towels doubled as mitts. Tiny steel tumblers I had packed at the last minute served up steaming hot milk flavored with saffron and cardamom. For the coffee lovers, the grind and brew coffee maker served up fresh coffee.
We fanned out, the eight of us, three children and five adults each sipping from a tumbler and marking what can only be termed a leap of faith.
For over twenty years, Saathi worked on building a robust hierarchical database unimaginatively called MUMPS or G.T. M within the community. He loved his work. His colleagues respected him. He was content. In the early years of our coupledom, I longed to sprout wings, to fly to the silicon valley, to be part of exciting breakthroughs in technology. He would have none of it. He sagely said balance is key to life. “We could move”, he paused, each time this discussion happened, “but I will have to work way too many hours.”
Over the years, his words became prescient. People I knew who worked in places I once aspired to slogged over weekends, stay stuck to their phones while we had what was a good balance between work and life.
Then one day, his friend and mentor left the group to set out on his own. We took our time making the decision and Saathi followed suit. Twenty years after settling into what I had termed a job he would retire from, Saathi is now part of a three man operation, a start-up in every sense of the word. A couple of months in, the group moved to their new digs today. A move we marked in a quintessentially desi way. We lit lamps, boiled milk and marked the occasion with family. A commitment that extends beyond just the people who code and make beautiful software. A promise that involves the family, spouses and children who will one day look back at this moment and know something magical happened.
If you have followed this story so far along, hop on over, check out the database Saathi is lending his awesome brain power to. Meet YottaDB, the newest DB in town.