After studying about African countries (just their location and their names – no more, yet) and Nikita and I doing the jigsaw puzzle every afternoon for fun, finally, I was ready for the test on Sporcle.
In the very first round, managed to name all the countries and their locations. In 4 minutes and 09 seconds. Now I am very scared to try it out again. I am deeply aware of the fact that me score can only go downhill from here 🙂
The 4 minute plus probably is not a stellar time but I am telling you – Africa does not make it easy on you with the country names. It has Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea. I think their Department of Naming Diversity was headed by an ex-Atlantan (we call all our roads Peachtree). There is a Republic of Congo and then to make it more interesting, there is a Democratic Republic of Congo.
Funny part is Gambia – which foresaw that other countries might also call themselves with similar names – made the preemptive move of putting the definitive article in its name. It calls itself “The Gambia”! The kicker? When Portugal ruled it, it was called “A Gambia” !!!
Next round of studies … capitals of all those countries. This is going to be much more difficult since there is unique shapes and locations to visually remember like I could for the countries.
About 9:30 am last morning
Me (on the phone): “Rajib here”
Mom: “How are you?”
Me: “Good. Today is dad’s birthday, right?”
I go thru the next part of the movie pretty much every single year the same way.
Mom (incredulously): “It is your dad’s birthday, today?”
And then I could hear her informing dad – “Did you know it is your birthday today?”
Dad, like every year, gave a hollow laugh and pronounced that nobody his age actually celebrates their birthday.
It is then that I pointed out to my mom over the phone that this was a big birthday for him. His 80th, in fact!
That got mom excited even more. “Did you know you turned eighty today?”
I could not hear any response from him. I was pretty sure he was doing the math in his head.
As anticipated, after a few seconds, I could hear him “Of course!”
Then I could hear him say “Dyakh! Merey ketey aasir ghorey dhukey porlam”. Not sure how to translate this but it would roughly mean he managed to drag and scream himself into his eighties.
After a few more minutes, I kept the phone down.
Next call. My sister.
The phone was switched off. Dang!
Tried a second number. She picked up!
Me: “What happened to your main mobile?”
She: “I have it switched off”
She: “It is a touch mobile”. (meaning smartphone in our lingo here)
She: “No, Rima plays with the apps and gets distracted from her studies”
Me: “Ok. Did you know it is dad’s birthday today?”
She: “It is not his birthday today”
Me: “When is his birthday?”
She: “Aug 28th”
Me: “It is a big one for him. He turns 80 today”
She: “No. he does not”.
You will be surprised that for somebody who did not even realize what date it was how confident my sister can be that I am wrong!
Me: “He was born in 1938. He is 80 today.”
She: “Ok. I need to keep the phone down”
Me: “Why? I just started talking…”
She: “I need to call Ashok to get a cake”. (Ashok being my brother in law)
Me: “Why don’t you use your other phone… Oh! Never mind”! I had a quick flashback of smartphone… internet… apps… niece… etc etc etc. I get it.
About an hour later, this picture showed up on my WhatsApp. I can only imagine what must have happened. First, my sister would have commandeered my brother in law to get a cake. Armed with that cake for her granddad, my niece must have walked into my dad’s place and shaken him out of his bed. You can see the general reluctance written all over my dad’s face.
It sure looks like he had been waiting with that knife in his hand for a few minutes as my niece tried to take a picture. Only to realize that the “touch mobile” was off 🙂
I even got a video of everybody singing Happy Birthday to him!! The video showed him cutting the cake.
What is the big deal?, you may ask. Actually I myself did not realize it. It was Nikita who pointed something out. “He is using his right arm to cut the cake”, she had observed!
It was his right side that had gotten paralyzed after the brain stroke exactly a year back. He had absolutely no functional capability on the right side of the body. In fact, his hand used to dangle like a dead limb and he would not even realize when he rolled over his hand in awkward positions while sleeping (thereby potentially running the risk of breaking bones).
That has been a story of a remarkable recovery.
This morning I called my mom and asked how were the surprise birthday celebrations.
Forget the celebrations. She could not say enough about the ingenuity of human kind that instead of putting eighty candles on the cake (and wasting a lot of stuff), we had simply figured out how to make a candle in the shape of a “8” and another one in the shape of “0”.
I think I need to get myself to Kalyani soon again! Missing out on too much fun!
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!
Every year, the local Bengali community asks me to write something for their annual publication. Usually, I pick something from my blog and then send it to them. This year, they asked me to put together a few blogs and write out a longer piece.
Which I did. With a lot of effort. After finishing it, I waited a day and then did a read over. Corrected a lot of mistakes that I had and changed a few of the constructs.
Then I had a brainwave. Since we have a budding journalist in our house, I sent it to Natasha and asked her if she could edit it for me.
I think she paid me back for all her workbook corrections I did when she was younger! Not only did she make a lot of edits, she put a 10-bullet point note in the beginning – on common mistakes I make that I should avoid. The last one was 5 sentences long in bold and beautiful font!!! And now I know what a “em dash” is!!
That said, she did give it a very polished look. After looking at what she has done to my initial script, I am tempted – a wee bit – to actually write a book about my life journey – provided Natasha agrees to edit it.
I can visualize the title page already…
“History of my Future. First Draft.”
Written by: Rajib Roy
(Liberally) Edited by: Natasha Roy
Learnt the difference between a professional and an amateur today!