When I call my brother in the evening (for him) pretty much everyday, usually the nephews are busy studying and we never get to talk. But their exams are over now and they are headed to the next grade. When I called my brother up today, he did not even get a chance to pick his phone up. The younger one quickly answered the phone – “Jethu?” (That is what they call me). And for about twenty minutes we chatted. This is the ten year old.
He could barely contain his excitement while narrating to me that he had solved the Rubik’s cube. And then for good measure, raised his voice and let me also know that his elder brother cannot even get one layer done correctly. It turns out that after exams got over, he brought out the cube I had given him three months back when I went to visit my parents and had finally gotten the better of it. Per my brother, he is somewhat of an annoyance now – going around asking people to jumble up the cube for him!
“I timed myself. My best is 3 minutes, 25 seconds and 67 milliseconds”, he declared! Barely trying to conceal my laughter, I asked “67 milliseconds? Why the milliseconds?”. For once he was stumped. He was not too sure why the milliseconds. Finally he blurted out – “That is what the phone said”. Encouraging him to shave off the milliseconds in his next try, I asked him to give the phone to his thirteen year old brother.
That ensued some more fun. The elder nephew straightaway complained that his website still says he is nine years old and that I needed to fix it. A little background here – I have websites for all my nephews and nieces (which is basically their names dot com) and then every time I go to India, when I see something they have created – mostly drawings, paintings etc – I take pictures of them and put it up on the website. I hope someday many decades later, they can use the website to remember their early childhood, the times they spent with me and show them to their next generation.
Now, while I update their pages with their creations, frankly I never go to the “About Me” page. So, it usually stays there unedited for years. And I suspect some friend of his went to his website and pointed out that he is still nine years old. And that is what the complaint was all about.
While on the phone, I went to his website quickly – and it indeed said “Welcome to my page. I am 9 years old – so it will take me a little time to build my website. My uncle (“J2″) is helping me with this”.
Since their exams were over, I proposed that I teach him how to maintain his own page. That way he did not have to be dependent on me and he could control whatever was written there. He was thrilled at the idea but was also mighty scared that he might mess up the whole thing that I had created. I told him not to worry and that we will start small. We will start only by changing “9” to “13”.
After forty minutes of conversation with the two nephews together, I shot an email to my brother with instructions for my elder nephew on how to edit his “About Me” page.
An hour later, after dropping off Natasha at the security line at the airport (spring break is over for NYU), I was walking back to my car when out of curiosity, I checked to see if the nephew had made the change. He was genuinely scared of messing up the whole website after all.
I had to stop in my tracks and laugh my head off when I saw what he had done. It appeared that not only had he changed the number from 9 to 13, he took suitable amount of umbrage at the line that followed – which said it will take a little time to build out the site. He obviously did not want to make any large changes – he was so scared. But his self-righteousness also did not let him let the sentence lie as is. So, he made a small change to convey to the world his self-confidence in managing his website. But no larger a change than was absolutely necessary.
If you go to www.nirbanroy.com and press About Me – instead of “I am 9 years old – so it will take me a little time to build my website.”, now it says “I am 13 years old – so it will take me no time to build my website”.
I smiled the entire drive back thinking thru what must have gone thru his head and how he has absolutely overachieved his goal!!!
Decades later, I hope to show him this blog entry in my website so both of us can laugh at it together!!!