19 October 2018

It has been a long week

Kal raat tanhaa chaand ko
Dekhaa tha maine khwaab mein
“Mohsin” mujhe raas aayegi
Shayad sadaa aawaargi”

The name Mohsin here refers to the poet who wrote this – Mohsin Naqvi. It was common practice to embed the poet’s name somewhere (usually towards the end) in the poem. Not terribly sure but perhaps it was a way of “stamping” or “copyrighting” the poet’s name.

Last night, I saw the moon
All alone, in my dreams
Mohsin, I think my happiness
Will always be in my vagrant ways.

(referring to the lonely but unchained life of a vagabond)

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8 October 2018

Weird Maths!!

Thanks to my classmate from MBA days – Somshekhar Baksi – I chanced upon one of the most fascinating books I have read in a long time. If you are even remotely interested in maths and wanted to learn about some wide ranging topics – but not so deep that you will get lost quickly, then this is the book for you.

There are some incredible chapters on the 4th dimension (a great example of thinking about somebody living in 2D always and what 3D will mean to them brings the chapter home), Probability, Prime Numbers (you learn how a great breakthrough in prime numbers was made by a professor while doodling out of sheer boredom listening to a uninspiring talk), Patterns (you realize suddenly that there is no straight answer to a simple question like – what is the length of the coast of a country? It actually monotonically increases without end the smaller your measurement tool/unit becomes!), Chess and even Chaos (how the world wide web has become today “Borge’s library of Babel” – together with all the drivel and fake news).

The chapter that interested me most was the one on very large numbers and the concept of infinity (there are infinite kinds of infinities) and why we trip up while thinking about infinity.

It is a fantastic read!

One problem though. This is not available in USA or in the electronic form. I had to order the paper version on Amazon and wait for three weeks for it to be delivered… from India!!

Again, thank you Somshekhar!

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28 September 2018

Friday evening unwinding

“Deep chhilo, shikha chhilo
Shudhu tumi chhiley na boley alo jollona
Bhasha chhilo katha chhilo
Kachhe daakley na boley mon katha bollo na”

The lamp was there, as was the wick
But without you, there was no spark of fire
Words were there, as was my voice
But without your beckoning my heart remained mute.

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14 September 2018

Is it just me?

It used to be – when I was half my age, I could not stand Rabindrasangeet (Tagore’s songs). I found them to be slow and too easy to sing or play with. To be sure, I am one of the rare Indians who went thru a full engineering and MBA course without ever getting into or listening to Western music. I was more about the sophistication of the songs that originated from the Sufi movement and that included Nazrulgeeti.

As I age, I find myself inexplicably attracted to Rabindrasangeet. They are still slow and easy to play with. And that is exactly what I like. The one difference is that as I am forced to slow down, I find meaning in the songs that completely escaped me.

Just like a singer friend of mine two decades ago had predicted will happen to me!!

Be it songs, motorbiking or life, I am finding that momentary speeding up is easy. Slowing down and staying steady is so much more difficult. And yet that is mysteriously attractive.

“Tomar khola haowa 

Laagiye paaley, tomar khola haowa

Tukro korey kaachhi 

Aami doobtey raaji aachhi

Sokal amaar gelo michhey 

Bikel je jay taari pichhey

Rekho na aar bedho na aar

Kuler kaachhakaachhi

Aami doobtey raaji aachhi

Tomar khola haowa”

“Your gush of fresh wind

Has touched my sails

And tore away my anchor

Now, I am even willing to drown

My morning has gone in vain

And my evening will follow soon

No! No! Do not tie me down

To anywhere near the shore

(For I want to be blown away by)

Your gush of fresh wind… “ 

 

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12 September 2018

The year is coming to an end!

The year is coming to an end!!
It was almost a year back that on Oct 1, I commenced my year off from work to explore life. For the fourth time. Every time has been better than the previous time. The structure is always the same – do a few new things for myself, do a few things with the family and do a few things for the community.

The report card for the whole year, looking back, has a few hits and a few misses.

The following are of the category “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

🙂 Learnt how to motorbike!! At the age of 52!! Have already posted nearly 4,500 miles (7,200km) under my belt. A long ways to go to be super confident (those dratted right turns around mountain corners 🙂 ) but I will get there some day, I hope!

🙂 That amazing Mongolia trip with Roger. It is a hard life they live but what a once-in-a-lifetime experience!! Those blank boarding passes, the sleeping in a new “ger” (nomad’s tent) every night, the alcohol made from mare’s milk, the sanddune-as-your-bathroom routine, the eagle on your hand, the experience of vast nothingness…. I do not think too many things can top that for me.

🙂 Some of the best family times – those international trips to countries we visited for the first time – Indonesia, Thailand, Aruba, Cancun (Mexico). Those 10 days of completely destination-less road trip with Sharmila. That Hilton Head beach vacation for just the two of us! Those trips to see Natasha in New York!

🙂 That character-building experience of spending a year in hospice units. Especially the memory care unit. Watching palliative care unit patients come in and then go away. Setting a perspective in life. And making every moment with them so momentous

🙂 Tried to push the minimalism curve. The closet now has literally one third of the clothes I used to have. The shoe closet? Reduced 90%!! (Have to admit – I am one step away from my dry cleaner missing their promised date from having a wardrobe disaster!)

The following belong to “It is all about human relationships” category

🙂 Continued with that old habit of running from my second time of year off. Ran in over half a dozen countries. Ran into a hostel mate in Cancun. But the best part? Running with Nikita – the latest runner in our family. She is faster than me. My slow speed never bothered her as much as my insistence on taking a picture together did!

🙂 Speaking of proud moments with daughter, watching Natasha grow up. Just in the last six months, she went to Germany and then Czech Republic by herself. And then went to Ghana. She is there now even as we speak for the next six months. To put this in perspective, first time I got a passport was when I was 10 years older than she is. And nobody in our entire family has ever set their foot on to that dark continent called Africa. Now she has!

🙂 Met so many unique people – remember finding that domestic help from the seventies in that remote village? or finding that farmer – who came in a ragged jacket – no less – who would put me up on his shoulder so that I could pick a tamarind or a mango from the trees in our village when I was not even five years old? finding Steve Martin’s birth place and sending a picture of that house to his mom? so many parents of my friends that I grew up with… that young entrepreneur from Colombia, those security guards and Uber drivers from Ghana and Burkina Faso… what a tapestry of people weaved my life!

And then there was the category of “Keep up with the habits”

🙂 Kept up with the learning cycles – new puzzles, new words, new word origins and lately everything about Africa!

🙂 Finished writing about 42 different gins from 1 different countries. Way too many cocktails. And now on to learning everything about mezcals. Read 6 different books on these subjects.

🙂 Almost completed finding all my elementary, middle school and high school teachers and visiting them. The last one was during Sharmila and my aimless road drive.

🙂 Got lot more disciplined on food and sleep habits.

🙂 Called 3000 people to wish them happy birthday!

🙂 Called my mom and brother daily!

🙂 Played tabla – mostly to our dog Jay Jay, who is not exactly known for his high standards in music!!

🙂 Now, have readers from 132 countries reading my blog!

But there were things I wish I had done better

(o) I ran a lot but not how much I used to run before. Frankly, for the third time in my running career, I find I need some inspiration or goal to push myself.

(o) I never could get myself into mediation. I wanted to. I gave the time. But I have not yet learnt the trick how to control my mind.

(o) I helped a few Year Up students and mentored them. I wish I could spend more time with them. I know they wanted to. And that is a regret I will have.

(o) Similarly, five budding entrepreneurs let me advise them as they built their companies. But I could not spend as much time as I wanted to. Or, as I understand, they wanted me to either. That is another regret I will have.

Nothing was more frustrating than the ones that I missed miserably

🙁 I always wanted to take Sharmila and Nikita for a couple of boat rides in local lakes this summer. Never got even one of them done.

🙁 I tried my best to see how to be a teacher in a high school or an university. I was even willing to do it for free. In spite of my best intentions and a lot of effort, I came to the conclusion that the bureaucracy of the process to do so was so high that I will never be able to get myself there.

🙁 And then there were the life changing events of my dad having a brain stroke and losing his right side of the body and then fighting back to get most of it back. Only to see my very healthy father in law who I was close to move on from this world.

Something good from my failures did come at the end though…

I was very frustrated that I could not get myself in a position to teach high school kids. I wanted to teach Math and Physics.

But I have been able to take that failure and pivot it to the next best thing. I will now be able to combine my wanting to help K-12 kids in school and a little professional ability to run businesses as I move to my next career move. I will join my new set of team mates who are focused not only helping the common student but also in identifying the specially talented ones as well as the ones who have special needs so that every one can have the best education and life for themselves.

Further, my new team mates are focusing on helping detect early signs of dementia, Alzheimer’s and other mental degeneration … you know like the ones I was spending my hospice hours with.

The year off could not have gotten any better!

The year off could not have ended any better either!!

Please accept my sincere gratitude to all of you who have spent time with me in the last year or encouraged me in my journey in large and small ways (you will be surprised how small things like encouraging comments in Facebook or my blog mean a big thing to me when I read them later).

And wish me luck as I start another new chapter in life with another incredible team.

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180912005995/en/Alpine-Investors-Entered-Agreement-Acquire-Riverside-Clinical



28 August 2018

Orange is the new black!!

Pulled out this pen from the collection. I had bought this from a store in Washington DC about ten years back. I remember that I was taken in by the orange and black color of the body. Moreover, I liked the silver rings which gave it a sturdier look I thought.

This was one more of the pens that I had to take to the pen show in Atlanta and get the nib changed to fine tip. (it came with a medium).

I have not used this for almost a year. I am going to bring it out in October to mark the Halloween colors!

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