6 March 2020

Friday evening…

Tera pyar hai meri zindagi
Teri yaad hai meri bandagi
Jo teri khushi woh meri khushi
Ye mere junoon ka hai mojza
Jahan apne sar ko jhuka diya
Wahan mein ne kaaba bana diya

“Your love is my life
Your remembrance is my prayer
Whatever is your wish is my wish
Such is the miracle of my craze for you
That wherever I put my head down for you
They built a mosque there”

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5 March 2020

Two scores and fourteen years ago…

Two scores and fourteen years ago, I was born. Naked, cold and hungry.
Then it got worse.

Somewhere in this journey that we fashionably call “life”, I learnt how to crawl and then walk all over. It was a great feeling of freedom learning what this world feels like.
Then was told to sit down at a desk and not move. As I “learn”.

I learnt how to utter unintelligible sounds. Sometimes even put them in a way that meant something. I was delighted that I could tell others how I felt.
Then I was told to shut up and listen to teachers, elders, boss, wife (I think I just repeated myself).

Somewhere, I was taught that it was all about money. Financial freedom, social status is how I will be judged. Not just me – my family, my kids.
Then somebody told me I will die. Worse, I cannot take my bank balance and my family with me.

I asked – “when will I die”. They laughed and said “Any time”.
“Meaning it can be right now?”
“Sure”

Never wanted to see a doctor after that.

But apparently, I am supposed to put a notch on an imaginary tree – again fashionably called age – every time the earth heaves me around the sun one full time in an incredible speed of thousands of miles per second.

I asked if the earth came with clutch or brakes.
They said No.

So, every year, the world connives to remind me that one more notch has been marked on this day. Over 350 at current count have wished me to say (in computing language) n=n+1

Always the one to interpret it as n=n-1 (I am that much closer to death) and therefore realizing how many well wishers I have, I have tried to return their wishes in the way they reached out to me – phone call for a phone call, WhatsApp message for a WhatsApp message, text for a text….)

I know not how long I am here.

But it was so worthwhile being here.

To understand the worthwhileness, I cite one of the messages I got. See picture attached.

This is my “masi”. In Bengali, that means “sister of your mother”. Truth be told, she is not the real sister of my mother. But in Bengal, when we were young, we addressed any elderly lady as “sister of my mother”.

I have known her for nearly five decades. In the ensuing confusion, I understand that I even married her daughter. But she has remained the “sister of my mother”.

When it comes to technology, while she lives in India, she will identify with the Amish in Pennsylvania more than Bangalore. The last time she visited us in US, she was scared of holding the IPad wrong because it went all topsy turvy on her when she tilted it.

And then when it comes to typing out something, English being a (distant) second language to her, spellcheck squiggles and autocorrects are her veritable nightmares. You can literally see the struggle she had of not knowing how to undo once she pressed an “Enter” after Dear and before my name mistakenly. Or the spaces she had to put to comply to old habits of putting your name down in pen right justified in a letter.

And then for me to realize she WhatsApped this message from my father in law’s number – the one person out of four parents and parents in law that I had that I got along with most and yet was the first one to go…. that is a painful reminder that n=n+1 is as true as n=n-1.

You know, to realize that the same sister of my mother has figured how not to tilt a phone and right justify a birthday message to me from a place literally half a world away… I say “To hell with subtraction and addition… Let’s celebrate “n” “

In its integral and fractional forms. Every day.

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21 February 2020

In the words of Allama Muhammad Iqbal

“Faraib-e-Nazar Hai Sakoon-o-Sabaat
Tarapta Hai Har Zarra-e-Kainat
Theherta Nahin Karwaan-e-Wujood
Ke Har Lehza Hai Taza Shaan-e-Wujood
Samajhta Hai Tu Raaz Hai Zindagi
Faqat Zauq-e-Parwaaz Hai Zindagi”

Roughly translated…

Perpetual stability is a deception of our eyes
For every particle in this world restlessly vibrates with change
The caravan of life does not stop to catch a breath
For in every moment, the journey of existence rejuvenates itself
You may think of this life as a mystery
Whereas life is merely your desires taking flight

13 February 2020

Friday came early…

“Aankh uthi mohabbat ne angrai li
Dil ka sauda hua chaandni raat mein
Unki nazron ne kuch aisa jadoo kiya
Loot gaye hum to pehli mulaqat mein”

Roughly translated…

“She lifted her eyes, and deep inside me
Love was aroused from its slumber
Our hearts were fatefully exchanged
In that beautiful moonlight bathed night

Her long gaze had some magical aura
That I did not quite understand; but this much I know
I was completely and truly robbed
In that very first meeting we ever had”

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6 January 2020

An interesting dilemma… what do you think?

This news article from USA Today talks about the twins born in two different decades. One was born on Dec 31, 2019 and the other on Jan 1, 2020.

First off, congratulations to the parents. I never had twins but I suspect they are awesome fun to raise (a little more work though, I presume). (Knowing me, I would have a large excel spreadsheet of similarities and dissimilarities as they grew up).

Now to my real point. The “spreadsheet numbers guy” in me is having difficulty with the thought that the kids were born in two different decades. Two different years, yes. But two different decades? Not so fast.

The Gregorian calendar starts from Jan 1, 1 AD. (Anything before that was BC. And the previous year was 1 BC. There was no year 0). That would mean, the first decade would have lasted from Jan 1, 1 AD to Dec 31, 10 AD. The second decade would have started on Jan 1, 11 AD. And ended on Dec 31, 20 AD.

If you keep going forward, you will realize that this current decade started on Jan 1, 2011 and will end on Dec 31, 2020. Therefore, we really have not moved on to another decade. That will happen this year end.

(Of course, the non-numbers part of me wants to disregard logic and call everything that is XXX0 to XXX9 to be a decade and just sheepishly admit that our first decade was a year short)

What do you think?

#firstWorldProblems

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/01/04/indiana-twins-born-different-days-years-decades/2814390001/

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3 January 2020

From the poems of Abdul Hameed Adam

This particular rendition is by Ghulam Ali.

“saki sharaab la ki tabiyat udaas hai
mutrib rubab utha ki tabiat udaas hai
hai husn ka fusoon bhi ilaj-e-fasurdagi
rukh se naqab utha ki tabiyat udaas hai”

Before I attempt to explain…
Some background about the poet: Pakistan born, employed by the Indian Army, served in Iran and Iraq during the second World War, took to heavy drinking after seeing the violence of the War

Also “saki” refers to the lady who serves you the drink at the tavern

Now my attempt to explain a language that I have only a fleeting exposure to…

“Saki, please bring the wine: for I feel depressed today
Musician, please pick up your instrument: for I feel depressed today
The charm in your beauty is the only medicine for my distress
Please lift your veil, my love: for I feel depressed today”

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2 January 2020

This is why I do not read news any more

Was trying to check how the market did today and this popped up in finance.yahoo.com Really? We are surveying the public on whether somebody is guilty or innocent? Are we back to the medieval days of meting out justice? I bet most people who have an opinion on Ghosn do not even know how to pronounce his name. Also probably cannot point out where the country he has fled to (Lebanon) is on a world map.

Who cares about my opinion on whether he is guilty or not? Why not let the legal and jurisdiction system take its course?

I understand that some may be frustrated with the time taken by such systems or the system itself. But taking opinions from people like me who understand very little of the actual subject matter let alone the complications of inter-country jurisdiction and laws is just a way of whipping of passions for no good, if you ask me.

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1 January 2020

Have you thought about this for your New Years’ resolutions?

Happy New Year’s day to all of you. As in every year, I will “wish you enough”. But before that a couple of questions. Most people make (or attempt to, at least) New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you will do too.

Here are a couple of look back questions before we look forward. These are for your self-reflection and no need to answer in the Comments section. But feel free to if you so wish.

Q1. How do you think the Jan 1, 2020 version of you is slightly better than the Jan 1, 2019 version? What habits have you grown, achievements you have reached in the last one year that makes you feel good about yourself? What have you learnt about yourself as a person thru this?

Q2. How are you going to make time for some of your resolutions in 2020? Specifically, what will you give up, reduce etc so as to free up time? It is certainly my perspective that without giving up on something, we cannot make time for something new in a 24-hour bound day.

May your New Years Resolutions come true!!

———

And here is my customary “I wish you enough” …

Again, credits are to Larry who had “wished me enough” for the first time many years back. On that note, Larry, an extra special wish for you this year – “Kick that cancer’s butt once and for all this year, my friend”.

“I wish you enough!”
By Bob Perks
———————–
I never really thought that I’d spend as much time in airports as I do. I don’t know why. I always wanted to be famous and that would mean lots of travel. But I’m not famous, yet I do see more than my share of airports.

I love them and I hate them. I love them because of the people I get to watch. But they are also the same reason why I hate airports. It all comes down to “hello” and “goodbye.”I must have mentioned this a few times while writing my stories for you.

I have great difficulties with saying goodbye. Even as I write this I am experiencing that pounding sensation in my heart. If I am watching such a scene in a movie I am affected so much that I need to sit up and take a few deep breaths. So when faced with a challenge in my life I have been known to go to our local airport and watch people say goodbye. I figure nothing that is happening to me at the time could be as bad as having to say goodbye.

Watching people cling to each other, crying, and holding each other in that last embrace makes me appreciate what I have even more. Seeing them finally pull apart, extending their arms until the tips of their fingers are the last to let go, is an image that stays forefront in my mind throughout the day.

On one of my recent business trips, when I arrived at the counter to check in, the woman said, “How are you today?” I replied, “I am missing my wife already and I haven’t even said goodbye.”
She then looked at my ticket and began to ask, “How long will you…Oh, my God. You will only be gone three days!” We all laughed. My problem was I still had to say goodbye.

But I learn from goodbye moments, too.

Recently I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, “I love you. I wish you enough.” She in turn said, “Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy.”

They kissed and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?”

“Yes, I have,” I replied. Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me.

So I knew what this man experiencing.

“Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever goodbye?” I asked.
“I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, the next trip back would be for my funeral,” he said.

“When you were saying goodbye I heard you say, “I wish you enough.” May I ask what that means?”
He began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.” He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more.”When we said ‘I wish you enough,’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them,” he continued and then turning toward me he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.

“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Goodbye.”
He then began to sob and walked away.

To each and every one of you that have influenced me in so many ways over the years….. I wish you enough!

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