I have finally understood why I am attracted to the wine at Sharmila’s art shows. It is free. There is that. Importantly, I have noticed that after a couple of those wines from plastic glasses, I tend to improve my appreciation for art. For example, I finally started grasping the inner depths of a piece of 3D art when a curious security guy asked what was so funny about the public coat rack. That said, I think by the end of the evening, I had figured out – at least for half of the paintings that I studied – which side was up.
Doing math with Nikita is awesome for me for one reason – it brings back a lot of memories of the math lessons I had to go thru. Today’s was different though. Can’t remember ever having done graphing of polar co-ordinates. We did not have graphing calculators and had no desmos.com either. Took me a couple of hours to master it and even then Nikita pointed out a mistake I had made while teaching her…
… one evening is always kept for my brother’s family. The nephews are growing up and time spent with them has become progressively lesser what with all their homework and class tests and all that.
The fun continues unabated though when we meet.
In the top picture, my sister in law was trying her best not to have the wine glass in front of her for the picture (my brother had quietly exchanged her cup of cappuccino with his glass of red wine) and in the bottom one, I believe there was some silly joke at the expense of the elder nephew!!!
“On American soil”, as she put it. Except that there has been not much of American soil yet. Back in the air again for the last segment to Atlanta together. Can’t wait to see everybody’s reaction at the family reunion.
Especially Jay Jay! He will have that “Wait, Wait! How come nobody told me?” look around him and will be running up and down the living area to impress everybody.
The two Delta flights took off almost at the same time. DL421 was pulling out of its gate in Accra airport and slightly delayed DL2017 was already screaming down Runway 8R-26L in Atlanta airport. Two Roy family members were headed towards the same destination – JFK New York. Except Natasha had no idea.
I had been waiting for this day for five long months. I had been waiting for her to come back from Ghana safely. For a person who has only stereotypical knowledge of Africa, it was a hard thing to get used to when she declared that she would spend a semester in Ghana, Africa. However, there was a part that knew that she had to do what she needed to do and experience the real world out there all by herself.
The distance and lack of knowledge brought in a sense of helplessness too. This is not like New York that if she fell ill, we could jump on to a plane and be beside her. Just to get a visa to West African countries is a five week process that starts with yellow fever vaccination.
Still, we had thought that either Sharmila or I will visit her once during the semester. Well, unfortunately, days after Natasha left, we lost our father in law. Sharmila had to make two trips to India. And that put paid to any chance of going to visit Natasha.
There were no direct phone calls for five months. Internet was very spotty for her. Those frequently-interrupted voip calls were our only way of hearing her voice. The text messaging was the life line.
Thru the pictures she had sent us, we got to know a lot about Ghana. Their people, their food, their lifestyle, their value system and so much more. But the best part of everything – and the one I feel very proud about – is that Natasha, outside of her studies devoted a lot of her hours helping out orphans and developmentally challenged kids in Accra. In fact, she got herself associated with a school there and spent 2-3 days every week. Getting to see the pictures of the kids around her was incredibly satisfying.
Courses and subject knowledge can be taught over time. Compassion and empathy are difficult to teach.
So, here I am – sitting at a hotel bar next to the JFK airport. A few hours of sleep later, I will have to show up at the airport at 5 AM and see what her face looks like when she sees me!!
If everything goes smoothly and she can stay awake, I have a lot of questions for her about Ghana. On second thoughts, I think I will ask her to sleep in the plane after a 12-hour overnight flight already. I just want to sit next to her for some time after all these months.
Usually, Thanksgiving in the Roy family means going abroad somewhere as a family. We do not have any kith or kin outside of India to speak of. And Sharmila’s birthday is usually a few days away (no more anniversary wishes please!!). That makes it a good excuse to bond together as a family as well as celebrate Sharmila’s birthday somewhere nice.
This Thanksgiving is a little different. We are spread all over the world spending time with an extended definition of family.
Sharmila is in India to spend some time with her mother (we lost my father in law a couple of months back).
Natasha is in Ghana spending time studying and looking after orphans in a school which has become her new family.
Jay Jay is with his friends in the USA.
Nikita and I are in the Dominican Republic spending time with each other and our closest family friends in Atlanta – the Mukherjees!
This year is a virtual Thanksgiving for us!!
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!!