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!
“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”
I was reading this book last night – Wisdom 2.0 – and came across a data that caught me by surprise. It is the amount Americans spend on fighting sleeplessness. To follow up, did some snooping around this morning to get some more data. Turns out we are spending somewhere around $50B on drugs and medicine every year to stave off insomnia. Consumer Reports has some informative articles on this.
To get a perspective on that number – that is $150 per year per man, woman and child in this country! Enough to make me lose sleep right now!!
On the other hand, maybe that is where we should take $5B from and give it to Trump to build the wall. Maybe we should stay sleepless. We are the ones who elected him, right? 🙂
It was December. The exact year escapes me. But it was mid seventies. Dad had taken the whole family to visit my mom’s elder sister. I remember getting off the train in a nondescript station called Mankundu and then taking a rickshaw to my aunt’s place in Chandannagar. That evening, uncle showed off his newly acquired gramaphone player (those LP players with vinyl discs). I remember being absolutely fascinated by the player.
This is the first song I ever heard in a gramophone player.
“Dagor dagor chokhey keno kajol diley
Amon dagor dagor chokhey keno kajol diley
Kalo oi chokhta thekeo kajol kalo ki
Bolo kalo oi chokhta thekeo kajol kalo ki?
Dekhatam o mukh haatey aayna peley
Jekhaney polash koli saara bochhor phhotey
laabh ki rong laagie omon raanga thhotey
palash-er- koli-r cheye-o o rong raanga ki?
Bolo palash-er- koli-r cheye-o o rong raanga ki?
Dekhatam o mukh haatey aayna peley”
To understand the lyrics, we need to know that “polash” is a very bright red flower found in the area where I come from in India (Bengal) and “kajol” is collyrium – also called “kohl” that is usually applied under the eyes by girls where I come from as a beauty thing.
Why did you put “kohl” on those wide eyes
Oh! Why did you put “kohl” on those wide eyes
Is kohl really any deeper than your dark eyes
Tell me, is kohl really any deeper than your dark eyes?
I would have shown you myself, had I had a mirror with me.
Where “polash” blooms all year around
What is the point in putting red color in those lips
Is the red of an young “polash” bud any deeper than that of your lips
Tell me, is the red of an young “polash” bud any deeper than that of your lips?
I would have shown you myself, had I had a mirror with me.
… the crackling of the fire…
… the memories of a life…
… with mezcal as the company.
“Para todo mal, mezcal!
Para todo bien, tambien!!”
Here is a perfect translation from my friend Somshekhar Bakshi..
“For everything bad… mezcal!
For everything good… likewise!!”
Every Bengali kid that grew up in the 70s and 80s in Bengal would have grown up on a healthy diet of folk songs. Folk songs – irrespective of country – tend to have catchy tunes and is usually about some down to earth topic. Tonight’s song of the evening was “Amar Gosai Re Ni Dekhcho Khajur Gachhtalay” by the unforgettable Amar Pal. Took me back to the days of elementary school when All India Radio Kolkata used to carry 2 folks songs everyday between 6:50am and 7:00am. I used to listen to them invariably while packing up my school bag or tying my shoelaces. Moment the folks songs got over, I had to run for the school bus that would show up at 7:10am.
This song is a somewhat funny take on the life of a normal street cat.