Hello 👋🏼

Thanks for stopping by.

Those few minutes you spend reading my hour-long armchair thinking mean the world to me.

I’m a 20-something chemical engineer turned software program manager.

2015. Forever indebted to HOD of Chem Engg, Prof Ramakrishnan, SSN.

Here’s how the best ones I know describe me:

Enterprising young and articulate technophile who is also firmly grounded in her traditional roots, Vandana Guru represents the best of emerging India. That she is a part of the product ecosystem that could potentially transform India to become a super power makes her someone with vast potential.

-Karthik Subramanian, @chennaikat

Super talented and driven musician. Has a way with words. Writes and reads the good stuff. In general, too much fun to hang around with.

-Sarthak Dev, @devellix

How it all began

To my surprise, a lot of things in life were off the scripted path. Much like climbing a jungle gym as Sheryl Sandberg describes of career paths in Lean In. As someone who was reserved in school and whose actions were always risk-averse, I turned out being risk-taking and punching above my weight.

Having a relatively better memory than most kids of my age, a flair for writing and a curiosity for diverse cultures, I thought I’d make a good historian. After all, I grew up binging documentaries on Nat Geo and Discovery instead of cartoons.

But that fascination was fleeting.

I was almost prophetic in my 3rd standard when I was asked what I’d want to be in life. This is such a daunting question to ask of a small child.

I had no big dreams for myself until I took part in an art competition by Hero Cycles. I sketched the best things in Chennai out of memory, one of it being the favourite among newspapers- Tidel Park. On the day I won a gleaming shield for my sketch and got asked about my dreams, I made it up on the spot.

I think I want to be a software professional like my uncle… in Tidel Park.

8-year old self

It’s serendipitous that where I thought I’d be and where I want to be are now one and the same. Btw, I’ve stuck to my eight-year old self’s decisions such as an embarrassing e-mail ID and a fancy sign that looks more like a design.

What’s in the name of this blog

The Observation Book is an ode to my rigorous student life. One where so much time was squandered on documenting mundane and complex science experiments. One where I got my engineering degree for free so I could afford to switch streams. One where college education never seemed to be my call but felt more like nature’s call.

Here’s where I share my two cents on things I cannot be quiet about- music, software, design, technology, business and a bunch of other pre-occupations.

I read and think more hours in a day than I sleep. You can follow my reading list on Goodreads and Pocket. I’m pretty active on Twitter. I wish to be able to nail satire like Manu Joseph and write with clarity like Morgan Housel some day.

2015. Employee 528. At Freshdesk annual office party Re:fresh

I sing a bit on SoundCloud and YouTube.

I get immense vicarious pleasure by crafting SOPs, essays and résumé for my friends. Many of them have gone on to graduate from Ivy Leagues, get scholarships from premier institutions, and kick-start careers in dream companies across the world. In short, I realised the power of good writing by helping friends. I do this purely for good karma and for no tangible incentive for myself. You can check out what I do for a living on LinkedIn.

Interpreting art

I have a rather strange relationship with art forms such as painting, singing and playing the violin. My whole journey in the arts can be summed up as steady philandering. To say the least, it has been quite liberating to rebel against most people’s cookie-cutter understanding of art.

Art has primarily been utilitarian to me in the sense that I take breaks from rigorous logical thinking or high-stress work by indulging in the arts. Much like what Einstein or Sherlock did except that I’m far away from their place in history. 🙂

I’ve come to identify this peculiar relationship with art as a means to cope with the daily rut of life. I wish to elaborate this soon in another blog post as I think I’m not alone in my struggle to find a place for myself.

If you’re interested to know more about what I value in life or want some help figuring out your own values, this post is for you.

Like what I write?

Go on, follow my blog and make my day. 😊