16 January 2020

Kind of “wow” moment for a dad

Read the first article on the “prolific” tortoise while in St. Kitts sitting at the beach bar. Had a chuckle. Thought the tortoise had a “porposie” in life 🙂 (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/animal-news/giant-tortoise-who-helped-save-species-retires-galapagos-islands-n1115701)

A day or two later, somebody in our office team mentioned about the second article – I read it up for the details and marveled at the fact how much the smoke had traveled. (https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/scientists-find-australian-wildfire-smoke-has-circled-globe-n1116511)

Never saw any connection between those two articles. Did you find any?

Turns out both of them were written by Natasha! (She just started with NBC)

28 December 2019

Nikita visits my friends in the hospice

Nikita had asked to accompany me to one of the hospices during the holidays. Finally, our times matched today. (You will be surprised how busy a high schooler can be even during the Christmas holidays). I am glad she came today.

When I arrived, one of the patients was particularly agitated. We will call her Maria for privacy reasons. I sat her down and started talking to her. She just wanted to go home. Of course, being a memory care unit patient meant most of her memory and cognitive power has been fried. She tried explaining that her dad was supposed to come and pick her up and he has not come yet.

“How old is your dad”?, I asked her softly
“Oh! mid seventies, I think”.
“How old are you?”
“I think I am older than him”.

You get the idea about how the conversations go. Nikita, who was patiently watching all this time, drew a chair and sat next to us. I introduced her to Maria. Within seconds, they were chatting like old buddies. Most of the discussions went in circles. After some time, I left them to do my rounds with other patients. When I left, they were having a discussion on who looked prettier. Each insisted the other did.

Half an hour later, I came back and these two were still talking. Nikita asked if she could stay for some more time.

Eventually, I had to tell her that we needed to go home for dinner. Maria immediately asked if I could give her a ride.

“Where do you want to go?”
“I live in Ohio”
“And what when your dad shows up?”
She thought for some time and said “I think I will stay”.
“No problem. He may take some time. The weather outside is not good”, I lied thru my teeth.

The hope was that the sleep medicine would soon do its trick and one more day will come to an end in her life.

Also, the further hope is that Nikita got a sense of the cycles of life we go thru and how blessed we are now. The proudest moment for me was when the staff – and one particular patient too – asked her to come back.

6 December 2019

Do these things happen only to me?

Last night, Natasha dropped some broad hints about her Christmas gift list. Something to the effect that she would not be particularly upset if she were to receive some Glossier stuff this year. After reassuring her that we would not take it personally if she got upset :-), I had to ask myself the inevitable question any 53 year dad would legitimately ask – “What the heck is Glossier?”.

I know she is into Journalism and all that. Maybe she is looking for a Glossary??? That made no sense. So I Googled it up and had one of those “Okay boomer” moments. And then I remembered something else.

A few days back, I had seen a news item where somebody who I knew from my past had just joined as the CTO of a company called Glossier. I had been meaning to call Pawan up to congratulate her (and also find out what Glossier was). I had figured she would be too busy for me right now – so I noted it down as a new year action item.

I had a chance to work with Pawan way back in the mid 90s. A fresh graduate from UT Austin, she was an amazing professional. Over the years, she has built a sterling career spanning two different continents. Undoubtedly one of the smartest persons I know of (but not smart enough to avoid working in the same team as I 🙂 ) , she was fairly close to Sharmila and me when we worked together. Recently she has moved from being one of top executives in Amazon to Glossier.

I let Natasha know that I know the CTO of Glossier. Her text messages back opened up a sliver of a chance that she might have finally found something about her dad not to be embarrassed about.

“Actually, you know her too”, I texted her.
“NO WAY!! HOW COME NOBODY TELLS ME THESE THINGS?”, came the response in disbelief. All caps, no less!

I reminded her of a couple of times that she has met Pawan in the past (she was too young though). This morning I remembered something else. On my flight back home, I dug thru old pictures and managed to retrieve the picture below and sent it to her. With the message that..

“Believe it or not, Natasha, this picture is from when you were six months old. That dress you are wearing in this picture was gifted to you. By the same lady who is now the CTO of the company that you want your gift from this year!!”

What is the chance of that?

Life is such an incredible tapestry of rich memories and even richer relationships!!

29 November 2019

Mauricio Flores!!!

Mauricio and I worked long time back. I think I have met him twice – once in Buenos Aires and once probably in London during our office meetings. He was working in El Salvador (where he is from) and I was in our Atlanta office. He is one of those persons who I have kept up with after meeting once or twice thru birthdays and Facebook.

Last month, I had called him up to wish him for his birthday and realized that he now lives in Lisbon. (moved from El Salvador to Portugal via Peru). Turns out he was going to be in the Azores too. However, we missed each other there by a few days. On the other hand, we did meet up in Lisbon!

We went thru at least twenty of our old friends and updated each other on their thereabouts. Also, learnt a lot about El Salvador and a particular beach on the Pacific Ocean that might be a a great target for us to visit some day!

Thank you for taking the efforts, Maurcio! It was great seeing you!

21 November 2019

Thanksgiving came early this year!

For a road warrior like me, four days out of seven, home is where the hotel is and family is whoeever happens to be in the hotel lobby in the evening. For many months now, I have been sleeping during the workweek in a Courtyard near our office and the staff there has become my friends and family circle in the evening. In fact, I am on to my third manager of the hotel already but most of the staff has stayed the same. From political discussions with David to learning about tequila and mezcal from Eric to discussing kids and calculus with Lisa … there are way too many fond memories I have now.

Last night was my last stay for this month. I am scheduled to be out of the country with Sharmila and the kids like every year during Thanksgiving. So, last evening, I rounded up all the hotel staff and threw a Thanksgiving dinner. Now, I did not cook at all. And there was no turkey or cranberry sauce either. But the Americans were there and the Indian was there (ha! ha!).

We took the very old tradition and gave it a modern touch by GrubHubbing some yummy Indian dinner! There was Eric from the bar, Samantha from the kitchen, Tracey from the front desk and Alfredo who fixes just about anything in the hotel that breaks down. Had a great conversation with Alfredo about his background from Puerto Rico and his three kids here.

Thank you Eric, Samantha, Tracey and Alfredo! You all (and others in the hotel) make it a home away from home for me every week!! And I am thankful for that!