31 January 2018

I have an idea

This is a classic demand supply problem. Remember that event that I talked about who called up Sharmila to tell her that she needed to drop more paintings because they had sold off all her paintings?

Well, they called again today to say they are done with second batch too and need more.

Guess what? Most of the other paintings she wants to put up for sale are actually now in other events or galleries. She is trying to see if they want to take other category of paintings she has for sale.

Meanwhile, I have an idea. I am thinking of doing some paintings myself and sign her name on it. Seems like the fastest return to investment to me 🙂


30 January 2018

Of oil paints and wines…

After missing the cut for two years, Sharmila was finally an invited artist to the “Spotlight on Art” event in Atlanta (Trinity School). I went there for the opening night. Not that I know which end of a painting brush to hold. OR which is oil and which is acrylic. But I am a sucker for these art events since they always give free wine to the artists and their guests!!!

Apparently, this is a big event. I had to wait a long time to get my wine. First, cops turned me away saying parking was full. Finally, I had to take a shuttle. Then I could barely get inside the exhibition. If it were not that cold outside, I would have just stood out. After about a couple of hours, there was enough space to fight my way to bar counter. Of course, then getting to a spot without having others spill my wine as they jostled around me was a challenge unto itself.

Eventually, late in the night, I could go around and see all the paintings. Also took a few pictures of Sharmila around her paintings. And one where the painting handlers were wrapping up one of her painting for a buyer.

That reminds me. As I mentioned before, she was invited on her third attempt. And on day 2 (today), she got a call from them to bring on more paintings – they were all sold out on the ones from her they had put up yesterday!!

I might go back for some more wine 🙂

17 January 2018

With windchill that was minus 4 degrees!!! Fahrenheit!!!

The day started at 4 am. Natasha had a morning flight to New York. I tried taking the car out. Could not even get past the driveway. Fishtailed it dangerously close to bringing down the fence a couple of times. Aborted it and got back into the garage and switched her flights to the evening.

Now that I was up, there was only one other thing I could do. Get out in the cold weather and attempt a run. Six layers on top, four layers below, three layers of socks (with grocery bags in between two layers to prevent getting wet), three layers on the head and a ski mask and off I went out in windchill temperatures of minus 4 degrees. (minus 20 Celsius).

Getting up to my gate itself was a big chore. My drive to the gate has three steep turns and I kept slipping down with every step. Eventually, got off the road and went thru the forest catching the trees on the way to give me balance.

Once on top of the hill, there was not a soul to be found. No marks on the road whatsoever save a set of tire marks and few scattered deer hoof marks. Running was out of the question. Tried a couple of times and nearly face planted myself every time. Went for the next best option – walked for two and a half miles (4K).

It was absolutely desolate. Not a single sign of life anywhere in the vast whiteness you could see any which way. Every time I looked back, there was only one set of footsteps on the road – mine own. The walk to the destination was not too bad. It was cold, undoubtedly. But I was dressed up for it. As long as I did not try to hurry up, I had enough grip on the surface to walk at a 17 min/mile pace.

The trouble started on my way back. What I had not realized – due to the outer layer of wind breaker – is that I had a strong 16 mph wind behind my back. As I turned around, it hit me squarely in the face. A few square inches of skin that was exposed in my face started burning . The wind was starting to make it thru the breathing holes in my ski mask too.

The best option for me at that point was to put my face down and put one my hands up close to the face and block the howling wind. The plan worked fine till I realized that the angle of my face made all the exhaled breath to go into my glasses which were so frigid that they fogged up. In one misguided and somewhat desperate moment, I tried to wipe the glasses with my gloves. That pretty much blurred up the rest of the glasses.

Now, I had vision of about a couple of yards from the lower end of the glasses. Everything else was blurry white. This is where the one set of tire marks – somebody in the morning made it out on the road – came in handy. The safest way to stay on the road, I figured was to stay in between the tire marks that I could see with my limited visibility.

Half a mile of devoid of any incidence later, I was feeling smug about my scheme to stay between the tire marks. In an immediate irony, that is when I also realized that I was in a ditch. It turns out whoever drove the truck in the morning missed the road at a turn and got into a ditch. And I had faithfully followed it. Straining to look at the tire marks in the yonder while lifting my face, I was pretty impressed by what I saw. The tire marks clearly showed that one side of the vehicle was in the ditch and the other side was still on the road – a clear two feet difference in height. Which is what made me conclude that it must have been a truck or SUV to have that much clearance.

The driver did not instinctively try to get the truck back on the road. Instead looks like she/he drove further off the road, making the side on the ditch climb up a little on the other wall of the ditch and reduced the tilt of the vehicle. Eventually the ditch evened out and you could see the truck had gotten back on the road. I further realized, at that point that all that deductive logic and marveling at the presence of mind of the driver was not taking me an inch closer to home. Which is when I climbed out of the ditch and trudged back towards home once again.

I cannot count that as a run, given the pace. So, we will mark it down as a 4K walk in minus 4 degree temperatures.

Score one for Mother Nature and me!!!

25 December 2017

This happened on Christmas Day a couple of years back. It is still very funny!!

Excerpt from 2015 Dec 25th blog entry:

Awww!! It broke her heart to learn that Santa Claus is not real 🙁

I am not talking about my daughters. I am not talking of any of my nieces either. This is my seventy year old mom in India. During our early morning ritual – a phone call – today, she started arguing with me about Santa Claus. Much as I tried to explain to her that he is an imaginary character that parents tell their kids to deflect who got all the gifts, she steadfastly stood her ground that I had no idea what I was talking about. She felt I was getting confused because I forgot his real name – Nicholas!

“Ami bortoman-e porechhi onar asol naam Nikolas”. Apparently, a local Bengali newspaper is a lot more reliable source of information than her son of fifty summers. Not to mention half the stuff those local newspapers publish clearly have been picked from books found in the local library section visibly marked “Fiction”.

What absolutely took the cake – I mean literally – is when I had to tell her that cakes are not that big a thing during Christmas here. As an aside, anybody who has grown up around the parts of the country I did in India, exchanging Christmas cards and eating cake were the big highlights of any Christmas day. I come from a state where 30% of the population are Muslims and most of the rest Hindus. I grew up in a Christian school till tenth grade. Unlike the deep division in thoughts that I get exposed to today along the religious lines, life then, was all about celebrating all the religious festivals – regardless of which religion. Visiting the festively lit up parts of the neighborhood where Christians lived, buying Christmas cards and sending them to everybody and eating a whole lot of Christmas cakes was what Christmas always meant to us. Sometimes we would visit the well decorated local churches too.

But eating cake was a must. Against that backdrop, you can imagine the jaw dropping revelation that my mom was trying to process when I told her that cake is not that big a deal here. That was sacrilege to her. She finally but slowly gave her verdict which was basically suggesting that Christmas is really a British thing. Americans have not learnt about authentic Christmas yet 🙂

But for the mute button on the phone, I could have been in big trouble today. 🙂

She did agree on one thing before we parted – “Oi debdarur moto gachhta – ki jeno?” (referring to an indigenous coniferous looking tree). “Christmas tree”, I replied.

“Yes, Yes, Christmas tree… Christmas tree… I forgot”, she mused.
Score one for her fifty year old son!!! Take that “Bortoman”

12 December 2017


We had just finished dinner and were wrapping things up around the kitchen when Sharmila, who had a flashback of a moment from her art show today, said: “Something very funny happened today…”

Interrupting her almost instantaneously, Nikita asked “What? Did you look in a mirror?”

I am not terribly sure what happened next – since I hightailed it from the kitchen area immediately so that nobody could hear me laughing my head off 🙂

11 December 2017

I just don’t get these two-legged animals…

I can get them to light the fireplace for me so I can cuddle up and sleep. I can get them to follow me wherever I go. I can even get them to clean up my poop after me.

And I hear they are worried about Artificial Intelligence??

How about some Natural Intelligence like me?

[PS. Note added by the thoughtful dog’s so-called master – the proper sentence would have been “Natural Intelligence like mine” and not “like me”, but then no dog – with all their natural intelligence and all – has ever been known to construct grammatically correct sentences]