I can’t even remember how many years it has been that I have been wishing people on their birthdays. It used to be mostly by emails – and that was pretty unique till Facebook came along and everybody started wishing on FB. That is when I had to up my game by moving away from email to making phone calls. Today, it is much easier for me to call and wish than email and wish.
It is a routine now – morning before going to office, I finish off the wishes to people in the eastern half of the world. After lunch or during lunch break, it is usually the folks in Europe. And after office or evening are the folks in US. Still averaging about 8 to 9 phone calls a day.
Today, I had two of the more interesting phone calls.
The first one was to a lady who I caught today in the middle of her lounging in the San Diego sun in her retirement years. She seemed genuinely thrilled to talk to me. She asked me how I had such a great memory. I admitted that I did not have a great memory – I just write birthdays down. We chatted for over fifteen minutes. She insisted that we meet two weeks from today when she would be visiting Chicago. I am going to test her and see if she remembers how we met the first time about ten years back. The truth is she was our customer and the only time I had ever seen or talked to her was when she had called me to her office to fire us!! I am sure we will get a great chuckle.
The second was a colleague that I had met once in Brazil. I had kept up with him thru my birthday calls and then one day, his numbers and emails stopped working. Later, I tracked him down to Utah – of all places!! Today, I called him. Took him two minutes to remember who I was. Then it hit him!!!
His follow up message says it all!!
Birthday wishes are about making the recipient happy. In a weird way, that happiness came back one full circle today!
Rarely do I read a book twice. Certainly never have I read a book cover to cover and then gone back immediately and read it up a second time. Not of course, unless compelled by some school teacher or an impending test.
This book was that good for me. As again, Somshekhar Bakshi came up with a winner recommendation. I knew of somebody else who would be interested in this book. Sent him a copy in India and after a couple of weeks called him to discuss the materials. We talked for over 30 minutes over the phone on topics ranging from Higgs field to Dark Matter and whether there is a possibility of a fifth force in the universe.
That was my math teacher from school days – Dr. A.N.Roychoudhury!
Where did water come from?
How come the tiniest particles are comprised of mostly nothing (waves and forces are involved) and yet when the hammer falls on our thumb, it hurts so much?
Why is it very highly likely that there is another earth which has brown camels and Starbucks coffee and somebody looking just like me writing a blog?
Why is it that there is a vast part of the cosmos that we will never ever be able to see – regardless of progress of technology?
How does light determine the total amount of knowledge we will ever have?
Does time really exist?
What is the real shape of space? Could it be warped?
If all the known forces attract, how come the universe is expanding at a rate faster than light?
These and many other intriguing questions are dealt by Germany’s popular science author Stefan Klein in this book. The one challenge is that it is a little difficult to procure. There is no digital version and you have to wait for a few weeks before you get it.
For me, it was absolutely worth the wait!
Picked up 8 new ones this time (top picture). That makes it 82 fountain pens in my collection so far (bottom picture). I am probably 3-4 years away from reaching the 100 mark!
“Yeh bhi andaz-e-guftagu hai koi
Jab karo dil dukha ke baat karo
Hum tadapte rahenge yahan raat bhar
Tum to aaraam ki neend so jaaoge”
“What style of conversation is it that you have
That brings suffering to my heart whenever I hear you talk
I will toss restlessly thru the night here
And of course you will sleep restfully over there.”
“Hai kahan ka iraada tumhaara sanam
Kiske dil ko adaon se behlaaoge
Sach bataao ke is chaandni raat mein
Kis se waada kiya hai kahan jaaoge”
The saying is not original – it is from Seneca.
The following article is not original either – I got this from a group that focuses on Stoicism. (Roger, remember?)
Got a chuckle out of reading this. Well made points with simple explanations.
When you zoom out far enough, almost everything becomes absurd. Think about it: We are monkeys living on a space rock. We are a split second of the infinity of existence. If humanity survives long enough, people will laugh at us the way we laugh at Neanderthals. People used to have serious arguments about how many angels could fit on the head of a pin or whether the world was flat. They not only thought kings were a good idea, they thought they had divine right! What do you think they’re going to think about the arguments we have today? Or even our cutting edge science?
Even WWI is funny with enough distance. One archduke was assassinated and the entire world went to war over it. For basically no reason. And then, even after millions of people died, everyone was so stupid that they immediately forgot the lessons of the war and had to fight it again a generation later!
The troubles you’re having at work will be ridiculous to you three jobs from now. Think about all the things you cared about when you were a teenager and how silly they seem to you today—now consider that this exact evolution will happen to you at middle age, and again in old age if you are lucky enough to live that long. Think about something that’s really frustrating you about your neighbor or your parents. Now imagine telling a person in Syria or North Korea about it. Your neighbor doesn’t mow his front lawn or trim his bushes? Your dad forgot about your daughter’s dance recital? They would think you were joking! You’re seriously telling me that’s what’s on your mind? That’s what bothers you? You’re hilarious!
Draw back and laugh. It’s freeing. It’s a relief.
Credits to “The Daily Stoic”
Tonight is our Day Light Savings night. Basically, at after 1:59am, the clocks jump to 3:00am. Which means 2 am is the same as 3am. And yet, when I went to check the weather channel for the forecast, this is what I got…
How can we have 50% forecast of rain and also 80% for exactly the same moment of time?
“Kafan mein khud ko chhupa liya hai
Ke tujh ko parde ki ho na zehmat
Naqaab apne liye banakar
Hijaab tera utha raha hoon”
Sung by Nusrat. Incredible words from the pen of Allama Muhammad Iqbal.
“I have hidden myself in my shroud
So you don’t have to take the trouble of putting on your veil
By making a veil for my own self,
I am lifting your veil”