11 February 2024

’15 May India

  1. Here we go again!! May 17, 2015

    The long quarterly pilgrimage to check on my parents begins now. As I await the Emirates flight from Dallas to Dubai, I am little worried this time. It was not supposed to be this way. My dad’s health had rebounded enough that about two months back, he wanted to go to Puri (an ocean resort with a lot of venerable temples in India). I had booked a nice resort and flight tickets for my parents and my sister’s family as well as my brother’s family. All was set for this trip to India to be spent in the resort with my family. I was not going to go to my parents’ house at all!!

    Two weeks back, his kidneys failed and now looks like he has lost 90% of both the kidneys. Forget the trip – he is back to being bedridden again. So, the first worry is to see what condition I am going to see him in. I am hoping he will be slightly better – at least get up on his bed and talk. The challenge is he refuses to undergo dialysis. Let’s see if I can convince him.

    But another big worry is how to deal with the nephews and niece. For many of them (and a few adults in the family), this would have been the first time ever they would have flown in a plane. The kids were so excited that they had spread it all over their school among their friends (most of whom have not flown yet either). They are devastated now.

    I have to figure out how to make it up to them somehow. 

    Finally, there is always the goal of creating intersection points and meeting old friends/acquaintances from my long past and make new friends on the road. A lot depends on my dad’s health though…

    And they just called us for boarding… so off we go…. 

  2. Wing to wing May 17, 2015

    What you see in this picture is the long wing of the A380 I am sitting in. Thru my window, you can see on the other side of the wing is a Quantas flight – also a A380 with its humongous wings. Each of the wings is longer than the entire length of the flight the Wright brothers took for the first time!!!


  3. Three way intersection point!! May 18, 2015

    This is the story of how the three of us who grew up within a couple of miles from each other and got separated by thousands and thousands of miles across continents as we continued growing up finally might come together under the same roof for a couple of hours!!

    For the first part, you might have to go back to the story I had published in June 2012, where I had tracked down Jayita from my fourth grade days finally in Dubai. Sharmila and the kids got a chance to meet Jayita’s family. You can read about it here.

    For the second part, there is an interesting twist. I was introduced to Piyali circa 1986 by Madhumolli in Kolkata. While Piyali and I grew up in the same small place, we never had met before. That same Piyali has become a very famous doctor now in Kolkata. Fortunately for me, thru all her successes and fame, she has chosen to remember me.

    A few weeks back, I made my annual call to her to wish her a very happy birthday!! I also paid her a compliment on losing some significant weight – from what I could figure out in Facebook pictures. She explained how she has focused on diet control. I took the chance to ask her to start some exercise like brisk walking or running. I assured her that running is not as scary as it sounds.

    “I will tell you what. I will be coming to check on my dad in three weeks’ time. I will come by your house one early morning and we will go for a run”… that is exactly how our call ended.

    This Friday, I called her up in Kolkata to set some date to go for a run. She informed me that she would be in Dubai that time. For a moment I was amazed how far she would run away just to avoid me πŸ™‚ But I also remembered that she had a practice in Dubai too and went there very regularly.

    “Okay, we will run in Dubai, then”, I said to her utter shock. You see, she did not know that I was routed thru Dubai to go to India and I had a long – and I mean a very long – fourteen hours to be precise – layover. I could easily come out, put in a run and then go back and take a shower in the airport. She could not believe for a moment how far I would chase her just to make her run πŸ™‚ Eventually, I explained the whole situation.

    That is when I remembered something.
    “Hey, do you know Jayita?”
    “Which Jayita”
    “Mukherjee. From Durgapur”
    She thought for a while and said “Yes”. And described her.
    “How do you know her?”
    “We went to Carmel school together”.
    That was confusing to me. I knew Jayita never went to Carmel school but Piyali’s description was fairly accurate. Regardless, I said “Okay. How about this? We will skip running this time. But how about the three of us get together in Dubai?”
    “What? How? Where is she?”, she asked!
    “Jayita lives in Dubai!!”
    That was that!!!

    Immediately called up Jayita half expecting her not to know Piyali.
    “Hey, did you ever study in Carmel School?”
    “No”, said Jayita, as I had expected.
    “Do you know Piyali?”
    “Which Piyali”?
    “I think I do”
    “How can you possibly know her? You and I went to Benachity Junior High School – I know she did not study there. She went to Carmel – I know you did not go there. Did you meet her in a different context”.
    Jayita thought for a few seconds and said “You know Rajib, I think we studied eleventh and twelfth class in Bidhan school”
    That made a world of sense to me. Finally!!
    “How about the three of us grab a drink in Dubai on Monday evening?”
    “What do you mean? Where are you? Where is she?”.
    Of course, I explained the whole story to her…

    And here I am … half way thru to Dubai from Dallas … 37,000 feet above northern Europe… wondering how it would feel to have three friends who were connected to each other but never overlapped – started their life journeys in the same place but now are in three corners of the world… finally get together under the same roof for the very first time…

    I am hoping against hopes the plan does not hit a snag. And also that Rajaram (Jayita’s husband) will join us. We need a good photographer to capture the moments. I do not believe I will get another chance to put the three of us together again!!

  4. We pulled it off!!! May 18, 2015

    The much anticipated evening went off without a snag. In reality, by the dint of the fact that the meeting lasted for four hours (originally I had planned for two), one might even conclude that it was a smashing success. To understand the backdrop of this meeting, read here.

    To put all the emotions and enthusiasm – of the first time three folks who crossed each others’ path (but never together) more than three decades back actually sitting down together under the same roof – in a few paragraphs is gong to be way beyond me. I can give you an idea how it started. As Piyali, Jayita, Rajaram (Jayita’s husband) and myself got together, my pleasantries included “Rajaram, you look different”. Rajaram, the soft spoken guy he is, demurred that nothing really has changed in the last three years. Not willing to give up, I suggested, “Maybe you did not have a mustache before?”. Our doubts were settled finally (in my favor, I might add) once I went to my blog and fished out a picture of him from three years back!! And that is when we all settled down for a nice bottle of wine!!

    Of course, I had met Piyali a few minutes before and my first reaction was “Where is the rest of you?” πŸ™‚ She has dropped an unbelievable amount of weight. We got a few minutes to discuss her multiple attempts to drop weight over the years and finally how the kettle ball exercise clicked for her. We also talked about running and how to get started in a gentle way into long runs…

    It was magical catching up on each others’ families, the old friends we had crossed paths with in the past and our experiences of living in three different countries. The evening was worth just remembering some of those souls from our past (and adding to my “must visit sometime” list). The gravy was catching up on our families and personal lives.

    Of course, intently listening into the girls’ conversation as they talked about their old crushes (while I completely feigned I had no idea who they were talking about) is something I am hoping to leverage to the hilt some day. Okay, maybe I have deleveraged already since Rajaram (Jayita’s husband) and I laughed about it later anyways!!!

    Before I knew it, my ride to the airport was ready!!!

    I am not sure I can put the three of us together ever again. But I sure hope that will not stop us from getting together in pairs…


  5. Funny start!! May 19, 2015

    My brother, nephews and myself marched into my dad’s house this afternoon and found him asleep in his bed. Which is what we were expecting. Half an hour later he woke up and in the first sign of physical improvement, instead of continuing to lie down, he got up and sat down in the bed.

    And then something happened that showed that mentally he is bouncing back too… After asking about my flights and such, he called the nephews closer to him. In a sign of good spirits, he asked them “amakey tora dujona miley knaadhhey tultey paarbi to?” Meaning – “you two can lift me up on your shoulders right?” in an apparent reference to the walk to the crematorium after his death.

    Riku – the elder one – was trying to do the math in his mind around weight and shoulder strength. Rishu – the younger one – gave it less than a second’s thought and said “Keno? Truck daakbo.” (“Why? We will rent a truck!”)

    We are off to a good start!!


  6. “What is a blogger?” May 19, 2015

    “Aachchha baba, ei blogger byapar-ta ki?” (‘Son, what is this thing called blogger?”), he asked as he got up on his bed and sat down again. The good news is he seems to be gaining physical and mental strength enough to will himself to get up and sit down on his bed. Per my family, this is the best they have seen him in the last ten days. The difficult thing though is that now I had to figure out a plausible way to explain what is a blogger. As you may or may not realize, there are three main challenges in explaining the concept of a blogger to my dad.

    The first challenge, clearly, is explaining the concept of a blogger to my dad πŸ™‚ To this day, he is still worried about how does this thing called Google (or as he calls it “Googly”) get to know everything. Forget that – he still has not figured out how my brother in Kolkata gets to know his (dad’s) medical test results done in Kalyani earlier than he himself does. He thinks email means the hospital guy rattles off all the results on the phone to my brother who diligently writes them down on paper and pen. I could barely get past a simple explanation that a blog is like a daily journal where you can write your opinions, stories, events – whatever you want. Instead of paper and pen, you write it on a computer which keeps it in the internet. His immediate interruption was to enquire if I can write blogs too. I told him, yes and that I indeed am a blogger. You could see the pride of an Indian dad welling in him and overflowing in his face. He has not a clue what is a blogger but he was proud as proud can be that his son was a blogger. Go figure!! I am sure by this time he had figured out that if his son was a blogger, it probably is not a bad thing after all. Might be even a great thing πŸ™‚ After all, his son does it πŸ™‚

    The second challenge is my dad relies on a few time-tested sources of information for himself. “Ami AT Dev-er dictionary -tey kothao khnuje pelam na”. Meaning, he could not find that word anywhere in AT Dev dictionary (a popular local English dictionary) . And as everybody in his neighborhood knows, if it is not in AT Dev dictionary, the entire English empire has no power to come up with any more new words. Mind you, the said AT Dev dictionary that he has is the 1973 edition – before even internet was around. Let alone blogs and bloggers.

    The third challenge – and this is a tough one – is that he is hard of hearing. Over the years, watching him, I have concluded that being hard of hearing and having an infuriating need to understand everything going on around you is highly positively correlated. We got him a high end hearing aid. Just like his attitude towards dialysis, he just refuses to give in to that. I would barely start “Blogger maaney holo….” (‘blogger means…’) and he would rudely interrupt me “Smuggler??????” (this one needs no translation πŸ™‚ ). Trying to suppress laughter while explaining a blogger is not something for the faint of the heart.

    In any case, after a long (and enjoyable, I might add) conversation, he concluded (without being any the wiser on what a blogger is) “Koto ki sob beriyechhe. Koto kichhu dekhey gelam”!! (‘So many things have been invented.. So many things I got to learn before I die’).

    Thinking later, I kicked myself for not going for a simple Machiavellian route – “Bloggers are people who have been completely cured after going thru dialysis”!!!! πŸ™‚ “Tumio blogger hobey?” πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  7. 5 miles in hot and humid Kalyani May 20, 2015

    90% humidity. Feels like 98 degrees. In spite of starting early at 6 am, we could not avoid the bright sunlight…


  8. Cricket in the rains… May 20, 2015

    Welcome rains in Kalyani. Good enough reason to go out and play cricket. Much to the chagrin of my dad!!! The nephews here are rapt attention as they try to get their batsman dad out…


  9. More cricket in rains… May 20, 2015

    Bowling to dad was the easy part. Now that he has returned a catch, which one of us is in charge of holding on to it?


  10. Anniversary run… May 21, 2015

    Ten years back on this day, I had started running in Dallas. Six years later, almost to this day, my brother went out for his first run with me in Raichak near Kolkata. To celebrate those anniversaries, we put in a 10K run this morning.

    One of the quick realizations you tend to have if you run in this part of the world during this part of the year is why you don’t need to lick your envelopes before you mail them here. The run was like cutting through a solid shell of humidity. Every time a finger touched another, they would stick together. Yikes!! Dropped nearly four pounds just sweating.


  11. We were not done waving each other good bye… May 21, 2015

    You might recollect how, this January, I had traced down Malabika – yet another classmate of mine who I had last seen exactly forty years back, thanks to some help and tips from two other friends – Subir and Suparna.

    If you recollect a little further, you might remember that Malabika was able to place me purely due to my academic results in third grade. I felt real lucky that day that I would another chance to repeat our daily routine from those days – waving each other good bye from our school bus.

    It was not exactly our school bus this time, but I did wave her good bye one more time from my brother’s car. After 40 years, I was able to physically see Malabika again! It was absolutely fantastic to see her and also very encouraging to realize how she has raised three great daughters (who I also met) as a single mom. Which is not very easy in the Indian context.

    For all the old school mates, if you had any doubts, let me assure you that she still has that constant giggling and laughing intact!!!


  12. There are always two sides of a coin May 22, 2015

    Seeing that my dad is certainly getting better, albeit with very small steps, night before last, I planned to visit some of the other folks I had planned to and create some new intersection points. First in priority was to check on my friend Suparna’s mom.

    This year, like every year, when I called up Suparna in London to wish her a very happy birthday, I got to know about her mom being down with Alzheimer’s and that her condition was deteriorating rapidly. I had promised myself to visit her when I would be in India next.

    But I did not know about her current whereabouts. For a few hours I was getting a little worried since none of my calls to Suparna’s mobile were being answered. She is a very renowned doctor in London and is very difficult to contact her during office hours. Took a chance and called her home and found her son there. Then the trick was to gain his confidence enough to give me his grandparent’s address! I took another chance and reminded him how he and I along with his mom and her brother had taken a boat ride once in Miami when he and his mom had visited US to attend his uncle’s graduation. He was too small to remember, I figured. But lo and behold! His demeanor on the other side of the phone completely changed! “You are THAT uncle?” he asked and rattled off all the details I was looking for to trace his grandparents!!

    Armed with that, my brother and I hit the road last morning headed towards a very small place that I had never been to – Dankuni! And between us and the ever-complaining car of his, we eventually reached there.

    Seeing how frail Suparna’s mom had become was another reminder how little we actually get to control in our life. She certainly has all the challenges of an advanced Alzheimer’s patient. And more. I sat down next to her for quite some time and gently asked her questions. She nodded at times and haltingly gave one word answers at times. But most of the times she just kept quiet. Uncle explained to me how she has lost all ability to do even the basic bodily functions or even tell simple things like she is feeling hungry.

    As uncle left me with auntie and went to the other room to chat with my brother, I sat there quietly – my mind floating back to better days. She was one of my favorite ladies growing up. She was very kind and gentle to me. There was this time when three of my friends – Avijit, Shukla, Debasish and I had landed up at her place and were quibbling over something. Seeing that the other four had rallied up against me in the debate, Suparna’s mom had sided with me in that argument. Her reasoning was “Tora soba-i miley or against-e keno?” (‘Why have all of you piled up against him’?). Incidentally, we won that argument and I don’t think Suparna likes acknowledging the bet she lost πŸ™‚

    It was very hard for me to accept the changes time had wrought on her. How I wished I had not waited for nearly twenty five years to see her again. I found out that she had even visited US in the meanwhile once. I completely missed her.

    If that was the lesson in life I thought I had to learn, I was in for another surprise. In a classic case of a yin always having a yang, I got great inspiration from uncle in the the next hour that was spent with him. I came out to the room that uncle and my brother was sitting in and started asking about his own health. My jaw dropped once I pieced together the whole story.

    Here I was looking at the havoc time had wrought on auntie’s health and the next moment, I was looking at somebody who has steadfastly refused to be cowed down by time! What you see in the picture is an eighty year old gentleman. In the Indian context, most would reckon him to look ten to fifteen years younger. Fit as a fiddle, he showed no signs of age. He climbed up and down the stairs as fast as we could. While he has a help for a few hours in the day, he pretty much takes care of his wife by himself.

    Amidst all this, what was absolutely startling was his attitude. He smiled the whole time I was there. Not even once did I hear him complain about anything. Even while talking about his wife, he seemed to have an amazing ability to accept inevitable facts of life. Unlike most folks over here with whom any discussion quickly becomes a complaints-fest of the rotten state of politics or terrible state of medical and hospital services and so on, he seemed to always accentuate on the positive. And when he talked about unfortunate stuff, he just stuck to stating the facts without complaining or being judgmental.

    I was so inspired that as I got into the car back, I blurted out “When I grow up to be as young as you, I want to be just like you”.

    “No. I know you. You will be better”, he said firmly, as he closed the car door for me.


  13. Meeting Suparna! After forty years!!! May 22, 2015

    Next up on our list after I was done at Suparna’s house was to visit another Suparna in Kolkata. This one was my classmate from first grade thru fourth grade and I had not had a chance to meet her ever since 1976. I was sure one of these trips to India, I was going to figure out how to meet her but once I learnt that she had lost her dad a few days back, I figured it was high time I made a few phone calls and check on her

    Like most other meetings with friends from forty years back, I expected this meeting also to center around catching up on other friends that we had lost touch with and check on each others’ parents and in this case talk about her dad a little. (I did get a chance to talk to her about her dad’s departure the previous day for some time).

    However, this did not go the route of my usual meetings. That is because when I met her son and daughter, I found out that her daughter worked in the same industry (geospatial analytics) as I do now. I was thrilled that I finally found somebody that I could dump the sum total of industry knowledge that I had gained in a year’s time, which, admittedly does not count for much. She was overwhelmed that I actually knew how to spell LIDAR and did not tell her “Oh! tumi map-er kaaj koro” (Oh! you work with maps?) [Geospatial is not well understood in most of circles I am aware of in India and I can see how most would reduce what she does to as drawing maps πŸ™‚ ]. We talked at length of upcoming technologies, job opportunities in India and abroad. Suparna might point out that it was I who talked at length πŸ™‚ Frankly though, I was excited to find out somebody here who could relate to the description of what we do as a business for our customers. I was getting tired of saying we fly planes and take pictures πŸ™‚

    Eventually, her kids left and Suparna and I caught up about our parents and school memories – especially teachers. She filled in a lot of gaps I had in my memories – especially mapping out who sat where in a few spots in our fourth grade that I could not remember!! I have to mention that all through the hour, I do not think Suparna ever got over the spectre of my shining bald head πŸ™‚ as exhibited in the picture below πŸ™‚ and her many questions on the said shining topic πŸ™‚ Made all the more shining by the constant sweating in India πŸ™‚

    It was good to see Suparna after forty years. I will have to come back again to spend some more time when she is a bit more relaxed.


  14. Evening Routine May 22, 2015

    As reported back in July 2013, our (brother, brother in law and self) regular evening intake of OH molecules is forcibly moved to the top of the water tank on the roof of our parents’ building. Even if my parents did sneak up to the roof, they simply cannot scale the sides of the tank to get on top of it. Did I mention drinking alcohol is a taboo in our house? πŸ™‚


  15. Puzzle time in India ! May 22, 2015

    Today was the last evening in Kalyani this trip. Like everyday, after dinner, we all went for a walk. “All” means the nephews, niece, my brother, sister, brother in law and of course myself. We, the adults, chat about a lot of things and I usually give the kids some math or logic puzzle to keep them busy.

    Today started as an innocuous puzzle. But the adults joined in too. As a result, we amped up the difficulty of the puzzle. We have not been able to solve it fully. Maybe you can…

    The puzzle is simple – using just the digits 1, 2 and 3 (each only once) derive all numbers from 0 to 25. You can use any of the following mathematical symbols any number of times : plus, minus, multiplied by, divided by, factorial, square root of, decimal point and parentheses (+ – * / ! Sqrt . and () ). For the programming types, ++ and — are not mathematical symbols.

    E.g you can get 7 by 21/3 or 3*2+1 etc etc

    We got everything other than 19 and 21. Still stuck.

    Care to give it a try?

    I am going to sleep now – will check tomorrow morning. Feel free to answer in Comments section.

  16. Few more hours in Kalyani… May 22, 2015

    One more stop in Durgapur to check on the in laws and the return journey will commence. This time was different. There was none of those spur of the moment – “let’s take dad to his birthplace or mom to see her sister that she has not seen in years”. None of those hunting in the Internet for some small Bengali village name or searching up and down a Google map for all possible variations of English spelling for Bengali village names.

    The part that I missed most this time is the early morning time. Like every other trip, everyday I got up at 4:30 am came out to the balcony and watched the early morning come of being. Which is what I am, in fact, doing right now. But my dad missed joining me every single day this trip in our usual ritual of sitting quietly next to each other.

    The birds chirped every single early morning like they always have done. And as with every time, there was the occasional barking of a dog, a noisy auto piercing the quiet at times and the factory siren going off in the distance at 5 am sharp.

    The only noise that was not there – and the most sweet noise every early morning – was the noise of sipping tea from two cups.

    I might have to come back for that one more time!!

    On the positive side, while he is having ups and downs, it would appear he is gaining some strength back. Yesterday he complained of not being able to stay awake and slept thru the whole day. But the general observation by everybody watching him daily is that he is getting his strength back.


  17. One more promise kept…. May 23, 2015

    I waited gingerly after ringing the bell, not knowing what to expect. I was starting to get tired too. This was my fourth stop in a whirlwind 12 hour trip to create as many intersection points as I could that day before going back to dad. Usually my intersection points are about re-uniting with somebody from the long past or meeting complete strangers on the road. This one was a little different. I went to meet them. But I had never met them before. All that had happened was (you can read it here: http://www.rajibroy.com/?p=8180 ) when I met Sudeshna (again for the first time in my life – although we found out she was my sister’s classmate) in Houston, we realized that her parents used to live next door to my in laws. When she called her parents up in front of me, I took the phone away from her and talked to her mom to find out exactly which house they used to live in. And in the process, I promised her mom that I would come by and meet her next time I was in Kolkata.

    Eventually, auntie (Sudeshna’s mom) opened the door. I started explaining myself
    “Amakey chinben na. Amar naam Rajib Roy”. (‘You won’t know me. My name is Rajib Roy’)
    “Rajib to? Na chenar ki aachhey? Ei sedin to katha holo”, she put me at ease. (‘Rajib, right? Why would I not know? We talked just the other day’).

    That was all I needed to feel welcome. I opened my shoes and and went straight to the big sofa in the living room. Uncle came out and after the initial pleasantries, drew up a chair very close to me and said “Ami kaaney kom shuni. Tomar khub kaachhey esey boschhi”. (‘I am little hard of hearing. If you don’t mind, I will sit very close to you to talk to you’). There was a very genuine level of sincerity and eagerness to chat that came thru immediately.

    And chat we did for forty five minutes about our times in Durgapur, their visits to US, life in US, their daily routine in Kolkata and all things sundry.

    Forty five minutes later, I got up to take leave. “Bongo sommelon-e aaschho to?”, asked auntie. I was a little startled. First, as a background, “Bongo sommelon” is the largest gathering of Bengali diaspora in US and Canada. Any Bengali worth his or her bite of Hilsa fish makes a beeline to this event (I am not sure of the frequency – every year? other year?) from North America. With their resplendent clothes and glittering jewelry in tow!

    Turns out they will be visiting U.S. (Houston) soon and was enquiring if I would be at Bongo Sommelon (which is in Houston this year in July) like them. Disappointment was writ large on her face when she realized that I have never been to any Bongo Sommelon and that I am not in a hurry to change that trend πŸ™‚ I am hoping against hopes that she is not going to hold that against me from now on πŸ™‚


  18. Au Revoir May 24, 2015

    Familiar scene of every trip – saying Good Bye in front of my parents’ (and sister’s) residential building. This time my dad could not come downstairs. He wished us goodbye from his bed…


  19. Celebrating Prodipta finally biting the dust … May 24, 2015

    Caught up with a couple of school friends (we studied together from fifth to tenth grades) and their better halves over dinner…. (Not that guys from our school can have worse halves πŸ™‚ )


  20. Random shot from yesterday’s drive from Kalyani to Durgapur May 24, 2015


  21. That was a big miss on my side!! May 24, 2015

    No trip to Durgapur, however short it might be, is ever complete without saying Hi to my long time friend Baisakhi and her family. In the whirlwind trip to Durgapur this time which was mostly to visit four sets of folks in seven waking up hours, I was able to squeeze in about half an hour or so to check on her family. I did show up very early at her house – dragging her husband out of his peaceful slumber on a Sunday morning πŸ™‚

    Like every time, quite some time was spent with her son Kintu. We talked about his latest toys – he is a fanatic when it comes to cars and just about any vehicles. He gave me a demo of a car pound as you can see in the picture. The chat with Baisakhi and Sagar was the usual. Mostly about work, family, friends and the terrible heat wave in India.

    Long after I had left their home – as we were speeding down Durgapur Highway to Kolkata, I received a Whatsapp message from Baisakhi’s phone. It was actually from her son – you can see the message in the picture.

    I don’t recollect exactly when but when he was very young, during my trips to Baisakhi’s house, I used to teach him new, silly stuff – you know like fist bumping, high fiving and such. Somewhere, it became a tradition for us – we would high five each other during every visit of mine. There was nothing particular to celebrate really – just high fiving for high fiving’s sake.

    And this time, it completely slipped my mind πŸ™ The message from him says “Rajib uncle, I forgot to high five you this time”!

    I was absolutely thrilled to get the message. I realized how important that small gesture is to him. Someday, when he becomes as old as I, he will probably remember me as the “high five uncle” πŸ™‚ But I also felt terribly guilty that as an adult I failed him on remembering our tradition. That was my job – not his πŸ™

    I will have to re-visit him soon…


  22. “Bird’s” eye view before taking “flight” May 24, 2015


  23. The incredible duo!! May 25, 2015

    It was last Thursday. My brother and I had already been on the road for about nine hours. We had visited an uncle of mine who has lost his power of speech, a couple of friends and their parents (you have read about them before) and dropped a fountain pen for a teenager son of a classmate of mine (I had promised him this when I had found out that he loves fountain pens just like I do). Amidst all this, we had to deal with my brother’s car misbehaving. But before heading back to dad and mom in Kalyani, we had one last (sixth, if you are counting) intersection point left for the day.

    About a couple of years back, I had dug up Debasish Chakraborty from my school days. You might vaguely remember he, my brother and I sitting down by the street side right outside his office in Salt Lake in Kolkata and catching up on each other’s life over a couple of glasses of tea from the stall on the street. Eventually, I became Facebook friends with his wife Baishali and his twin daughters Tupur and Tapur (Debatri and Bijetri – although I am sure I have gotten the sequence wrong πŸ™‚ ).

    Other than the Knowers in Atlanta, I think that is the only family where all the family members are my FB friends. Tupur and Tapur are almost always guaranteed to try my puzzles and more often than not crack them. And they would sometimes send me math or physics problems that they or their school teacher might have gotten stuck with. If my memory serves me right, I had solved each one of them for them and their teacher except one. Which, nobody knows the answer of. (I am positive the question was not correctly framed).

    In any case, all thru these days, I had never managed to make some time to visit them physically. Not anymore! I did show up – pretty late though – that evening at their house. Spent quite some time with the twins and Baishali and Debasish. The twins are amazing. It is like they think exactly the same way. They were even finishing off each other’s sentences πŸ™‚

    There was something very unique about this visit. As far as I can remember – and I am 99% sure of this – this is the first time I had a drink (of the alcohol variety) at any friend’s house in India. Most of the times, I meet my friends outside their home – unless I am visiting their parents too. In which case, not a chance of having alcohol (you might remember how I have wine at my own parents’ home πŸ™‚ ).

    This was an exception though. We had to toast to the outstanding (and almost identical) results the twins had achieved in the just announced ICSE exams!!! Cheers to that!!!


  24. You know you are in Dallas when… May 25, 2015

    … you land in the airport and catch a Terminal link only to realize that they have the heater on inside the bus in 68 degrees!!!