2 July 2020

Fireflies galore!!

When we first moved into our property thirteen years back almost to this day, the daughters (they were barely nine and three then) and we were fascinated by the multitude of fireflies in the forest. We had not yet put in any of outside lights or structures yet – so it used to be a panoply of ephemeral fluorescent dots darting across a impenetrably dark backdrop.

For the sound effect, there used to be the constant drone of crickets all over us. All we would do is just grab a couple of chairs and immerse ourselves in raw nature.

Last evening, I took the dog out for a walk. It was getting dark already. And as I walked up to our gate, we saw a familiar scene from yesteryears again. Of course, the fireflies come every summer. It is just that something called life has rudely interjected my routine. Stood there watching the fireflies and took a short video.

The dog eventually got impatient and insisted on going out of thee property for his walk!

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25 June 2020

Remembering my Lyft driver from last January

It had been a long sixteen hour flight. And my jet lag was starting to kick in. Immigration, Customs and Starbucks later, eventually my Lyft ride showed.

“Gregory”?
“Yes, sir! Rajib?”
“Yep. Do you mind if I sit in the front? I get car sick behind.”
“No problem”

As I settled down in my seat and Gregory (Roso) started navigating thru the evening Atlanta traffic, I was tempted to doze off. Instead, decided to see if a conversation and the Starbucks coffee could keep me awake. I was hoping against hopes that Gregory would be up for a conversation.

“So, what do you do outside of Lyft rides?”
“Music”.
That was interesting, I thought.
“What kind of music? Do you play music? Sing?”
“No, I produce music”.
“Produce music?”

Frankly, I had no idea what music production meant. What I learnt fascinated me. Gregory composes his own music and records them. Then he leases them or sells them outright.

Turns out he comes up with his own tunes and rhythms and then composes them with the instruments that he has.

“So, how do you sell them?”
“Mostly thru my website and networking”.

I checked out his website – https://www.producedbyvino.com. Fairly impressive.

“Why that URL?”, I asked mildly amused by the name.

“I am a big fan of basketball. And Kobe”. Looks like Gregory grew up with Kobe as his idol. The one thing he learnt from him, he said, is the value of practice. I understand, Kobe practiced for long hours. I do not know much about basketball. But Gregory informed me that Kobe had a nickname Vino because he got better with age unlike most other players. And that explained the website name. Gregory fashions himself after his idol.

“How about your personal life? Where are you from?”
“My mom is originally from Dominican Republic. I was born in Connecticut and spent early childhood there. Moved here with my mom eleven years back”
“And your dad?”
“He is in Connecticut”
“So, they are separated”
“Yes. My dad remarried and I have a step sister”
“And your mother?”
“She never married again. It is she and I.”

“Do you see your dad much?”
“Yes. I visit them whenever I can”
“You are close to your dad and step sister?”
“Now, I am. It did not start this way. I was very angry with my dad. I did not like him”
“And then?”
“Well, as I grew older, I realized that this was probably for the best for both of them. Now, I am glad that they are not together.”
“Really?”
“Yes. They are both in better places. And me working thru my anger with my dad has put me in a stronger place.”

“How about your girlfriend?”
“I do not have time for girls now.”
“Oh!”
“I want to stay focused on making money. I want to make a lot of money. I have my youth now. I do not want to lose focus. That is what Kobe would have told me.”
“What will you do with a lot of money?”
“I want to take care of my mom”
“How so?”
“I want to buy her a good house and make sure she is financially very stable.”

“You know, your mom sounds like a wonderful person. Certainly has a wonderful son. I hope to meet her some day.”
“Thank you, sir! If you had come half an hour earlier, you could have met her.”

That surprised me!
“How? Were you giving her a lift?”
“No. She works in the hotel when I am dropping you.”

Wow!! What is the chance of that?
Sharmila and I were going to meet at a Westin for a drink instead of me going home and from there were going to head out to her art show inauguration. It is exactly in that hotel, as liuck would have it, that my Lyft driver’s mom works!!

Sure enough, when I enquired later in the restaurant in Westin, Maria had left a little while ago.

“No worries, Gregory. I go there once in a while. I will remember to meet her and tell her that she has a son who has great head on his young shoulders.”

That is when we pulled up to the Westin. I quickly introduced Sharmila and Gregory to each other and Sharmila took our picture.

If you ever run into Gregory, don’t forget to say Hi and encourage this incredible young gentleman.

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21 June 2020

The full frontal view of the waterfall

I was absolutely ill equipped to go down a bunch of rocks. I had taken my motorbike to the trail. So, I had my jeans on and my shoes were not meant for hiking. Eventually negotiated all the way down to the bottom of the waterfall – but not before slipping on the algae on the rocks once. Missed the step and dropped my right leg about a foot in the water. It was worth it – just to be able to take a picture of the waterfall from the front.

21 June 2020

Father’s Day and slavery

I do not believe the Roy daughters or the Mukherjee daughters realized this when they planned to celebrate Father’s Day for Mr. Mukherjee (that be Amitesh) and Mr. Roy (that be yours truly) at the Vickery Creek Trail by the Roswell Mill. This trail has one of the few remaining wooden covered bridges in the south (and in Georgia).

There is a fascinating history of an emancipated slave and covered bridges. The following is quoted from Caroline Eubanks – a Lowell Thomas award-winning travel writer, and the author of “This Is My South”

The existence of the bridges can mostly be traced back to Horace King. He was born into slavery in South Carolina in 1807 but was freed from contractor John Godwin. King would go on to design the spiral staircase for the Alabama State Capitol as well as covered bridges in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Known for his work using the Town Lattice Truss system, you can see this style in many of the state’s bridges.

We live in the middle of so much history in the south!! This is literally 20 minute ride from my house.

20 June 2020

Lunch by the railway track

Caught up with John towards the end of our motorbike ride about his family. Over lunch at a restaurant by the railway track in Woodstock. John surprised me by how much he knew about the storm in Kolkata, Indian politics and the Indian prime minister Modi. We talked about the political situation in US, the likely outcomes of the virus, how he misses seeing his step grandson in Kenya growing up (he is stuck due to virus and cannot travel) and such. Really loved the conversation and the variety of topics John has wisdom around.

Should have known this guy long time back.

For that matter, should have started riding motorbike long time back too!