11 February 2024

’17 Aug India

  1. Back on the old trail… Aug 8, 2017

    Once more time, I am in familiar land. Just said good bye to Sharmila who came to drop me at the airport and turned around to start the loooooong flights. But that is totally bearable when I think of the opportunities to create moments in life, experiences to die for that lie in front of me…

    First there is that good old goal of seeing my own dad and mom. I am lucky enough to see them more often in a year than I had ever thought would be possible after moving to this country. But there is something about being a dad myself and realizing how the hold on my own daughters is fast vanishing that makes me keep going back to them to reassure that their hold is as steady and fast as it always were. Perhaps, this indeed is the history of my future!

    Mom underwent surgery two weeks back and dad is back to being bed ridden. I don’t expect a lot of words to be spoken. Just some closeness to be felt.

    To tack on to that, I have made it my goal this time to see some of my elementary school teachers. I am actually going to fly to few different cities to spend an hour or so each with some teachers that I last saw in the 70s and early 80s. I hope to learn a few more lessons from them.

    I am also going to try and give back to academia by being a guest lecturer in one of the top engineering schools in India (it never hurts that the professor who invited me is my MBA classmate who I will get to see after nearly 27 years)!!

    And in one of those rare cases where I mix work with personal life, I will take a couple of days to meet our teammates in our newly opened office in Bangalore.

    Back in 1991, I was to take a train to a small village in Puliyannur in Kerala to meet the dad of a particularly bright friend of mine from MBA days. Unfortunately for me, the prime minister of India was assassinated and all my plans were disrupted. Guess what? As of this morning, my friend and I have laid out some careful plans to meet his dad this time.

    I just can’t wait for this flight to start… So many intersection points to be created… so many things to learn from others… so many people to say Thank You to!!!

  2. Almost there… Aug 9, 2017

    Full 28 hours after leaving home in Atlanta, I finally got out of Delhi airport. Of course, there is one more segment of flight left. Went to the nearby Marriott hotel to quickly catch up on office emails from US as well as prepare for the day of office meetings in Bangalore today. Needless to say, first found a gin at the bar – yes they served a Tanqueray No 10 at 3:30 AM in the morning!! and then caught up on stuff. Couple of more hours and then back to the airport I go…

    The first thing that hit me once I got out of the airport… was of course the heat and humidity. And here is the bummer. I have two days of office meetings and one day of university stuff. Meaning three whole days of no shorts and loose shirts. Worse, I am carrying a jacket!!

    I am ready to melt down!!

  3. Did not have to wait too long for the first intersection point. Aug 11, 2017

    It was a big surprise though. To begin with, this was my first day in Bangalore for work. Went straight from the airport to the office for a day filled with back to back meetings. Thus, I was not expecting to have any intersection points.

    One of my meetings was with a partner company in Bangalore in their offices. As I walked in to the conference room, I was introduced to all their members. When I said Hello to the CEO, something told me that I had seen that face before. During the meeting, as he talked, I became even more convinced that this was not the first time I was meeting him. But for the life of me, I could not place him at all. I thought of all the Bangalore work connections I had from the past but just could not tie things up.

    During the break, I tried my usual quizzing about the past to see if our paths indeed had crossed or I was just confusing myself.

    After a few more dead ends, I first started making some headway once I realized that he had worked in ISRO in his previous life.

    “Were you in Dehradun?”, I asked.
    “No”.
    “Where all were you posted?”
    None of the answers – which included Kolkata – offered me any clue.

    “Kolkata has an ISRO office? I did not know that”, I confessed to my ignorance.
    “Yes, in New Town. I opened the office there. I moved our lab from Kharagpur to Kolkata”.
    “You were in Kharagpur?”… I think I started to get an idea
    “Yes”
    “In RRSSC lab, by any chance?”, I was warming up quickly
    “Yes. How did you know that?”
    “Second office to the right as you enter thru the main door?”, I persisted, ignoring his question.
    “What? I don’t remember that. Maybe it was. How do you know?”
    “Do you remember the first office on the left – diagonally opposite to you? There was a Mr. S.K. Ghosh there. Do you remember him?” I was hot on my trail… I was peppering him with questions after questions..

    “Of course, I know S.K.Ghosh. In fact, he was in my team. He has become a professor in IIT now but we still work together on projects. In fact, I was supposed to meet him in Delhi today but I canceled it since you are here. He is a very smart guy. Wait!! How do you know him?”

    “Well, I am not so sure about the smart guy part but I married his sister. He is my brother in law!!”

    “Really?”, he was totally flummoxed.

    “And you may not remember me – I had a head full of hair. Way back then – I cannot even remember the time frame – late 90s? early 00s? – I had visited you. My brother in law had taken me to his lab to pick up some printouts. And you were there in your office. And he had introduced me to you.”

    For a few seconds, Dr. Jeyaram had no idea what hit him.

    But I did hit him for a couple of drinks in the evening and we talked about that incident a little more. In fact, he even called up my brother in law from his phone and told him the story in front of me!!!

    As I write this up from the airport for my exit flight from Bangalore, I got another call from him… he still cannot believe that our paths had actually crossed once before!!!

  4. Do these things happen only to me? Aug 11, 2017

    The meeting over drinks with Dr. Jeyaram (see previous post) went on till 9PM. At that point, I had to say that I was too tired and would not be able to stay back for dinner. The jet lag and tiredness was starting to overcome me.

    Our India office leader – Prashanth – was kind enough to drop me at the hotel. In fact, he came inside the hotel to make sure I did not have any trouble during checking in and all that. And something interesting happened while I was checking in. I was chatting up the young man who was checking me in and getting my room key ready and all that when I suddenly hear a “Rajib Roy? What are you doing here?”. I turned around – and who else but good old Arindam Banerjee was standing right behind me!!

    Not missing a beat, I responded “I can ask you the same question”!!

    Turns out Arindam – who lives in Dallas – was in town for work and was staying in the same hotel!! I asked the young gentleman at the counter to send my stuff to my room and introduced Prashanth and Arindam to each other. I had so many stories to tell Prashanth about Arindam – that eventually, we all moved to the dinner table for some food.

    Arindam and I worked together for the first time in 1996 or 1997. There are lots of memories of late night coding from those days that I still cherish. Prashanth then told Arindam about the incident with Dr. Jeyaram.

    So, I asked Arindam – “Do these things happen only to me?”

    I thought he had the picture perfect answer – “Yes. Because you ask too many questions!”

    Guilty as charged!

  5. One more Thank You expressed!! Aug 11, 2017

    I had last seen her in 1974. Second grade for me. She was my class teacher (home room teacher). After a very long search, I was able to locate her earlier part of this year in Hyderabad. I had talked to her and promised her that when I get a chance, I will come and see her. And then when I realized that I lost my third grade home room teacher this year barely a few months after meeting her after a gap of over four decades, I got a renewed sense of urgency to meet my other teachers that I have not seen after leaving their classes.

    That chance came today. I was done with work in Bangalore. Needed to head out to check on parents in Kolkata next. I took a slight detour and flew to Hyderabad. Tomorrow very early morning I will head out to Kolkata.

    Of course, the only reason to stop by at Hyderabad was to get a chance to see my second grade teacher. And I am so glad that I did it. I could not think of saying Thank You in any more meaningful way than to spend some time with her (we called her Mrs. Shastry) for all the guidance she gave me during my formative years.

    We sat down and talked about our old school days. Some of our old school teachers and some of my classmates. Her memory was super sharp. Nishi Jain, if you are reading this, you will get a chuckle from the fact that Mrs. Shastry told me the story of how it was very difficult to reduce your cent per cent marks even by half a point. Apparently, your answer papers were perfect – down to the last comma, as she said. Mousumi, if you are reading this, she remembers you very well too.

    We talked about the book she has written. We talked about a topic of interest for both of us – although she has mastery of the topic is far superior than mine – “how the mind works”. I learnt a lot about different kinds of meditation – specifically a lot about forgiveness mediation. I need to talk to her a few more times over the phone to learn some more on the topic.

    It was such an exhilarating feeling sitting in the same room with my elementary school teacher after 43 years!!! 43 years!!! I have been alive for only 8 years more!!! That day when the report cards were given out in 1974, I bet you none of us thought that we are going to meet again. In a very different city. And I would be much older than what she was then!!!

    There were more surprises in stock. Soon, I met her son, daughter in law and her granddaughter. (They had gone outside when I had arrived). Get this – her son and I actually went to the same school for a year (although he was senior to me). They live in Seattle!! And he works in Anchorage!! (On my work life side, we do a lot of work in Alaska!!). They too are visiting India now.

    And her granddaughter – she is in Atlanta!!! (student in Emory). That is where we live!!!

    And her grandson? Lives in New York!! Not too far from where Natasha is!!!

    Crazy, small world or what?

    Did I mention that I felt on top of the world saying Thank You to my teacher from four and a half decades back? That acknowledging I am who I am today because of people like her was incredibly rewarding? For both of us, in fact!!

  6. The walk of my life!! Aug 11, 2017

    I was determined to see him. I was going to be in Bangalore after 12 long years. I have no idea when I will be in Bangalore again. There are lots of friends from my past that are in Bangalore. If I were to meet three of them every day for drinks, I can easily spend over a whole month in Bangalore. But I was determined to see this gentleman above anybody else.

    1991 was the last time I saw him. Before starting my job life, I had visited the parents of my friend (Raj Subramaniam) from MBA days and spent a few hours with them. His mom is no more. That is a terrible lost opportunity for me. That resolved me to never make a statement that I missed seeing him (Raj’s dad) when I had a chance to.

    Catching barely a few hours of sleep, I woke up very early in the morning to ensure that Bangalore traffic would not come in my way to go from one end of the city to the other, spend some time with the Subramaniam family and then go to yet another end to start the office meetings.

    There are too many memories from this morning – seeing Raj – my MBA class mate, my team mate from a project a few of us did together in MBA school that I am incredibly proud of till this day (the others continued on that success to start their own companies – I was the only exception. In my defense, I just did the user interface simulation). Raj and I joined the same first job of our lives together – in fact, we even lived in the same apartment as long as both of us worked in Bombay. The quintessential calm and composed guy, he was, and continues to be the absolute opposite of me. I would come back from office extremely agitated and vent to him that the stupid computer CPU cycle was pitiful that I could only put in really half a days work. He would just keep staring at me and once he sensed that my lips had stopped moving, he would close his eyes and in that Zen like tone say “Good point”.

    Seeing Kavita – his wife – with who I have talked often but never seen was another reward. The dosai she cooked for me? To die for!! Unfortunately, I did not get a lot of time to spend with her since she had to chauffeur the kids from their squash games to their classes and all.

    Meeting Aditya and Saumya for the first time and finding common connection points? Very fulfilling!! As you can see, Aditya and I share the same passion in tabla. In fact, before running off to school, he sat down and played some for me. Saumya – who has a love for English and writing – a love I share – but not as skilled as her though – and I discussed whether to memorialize her writings in a blog or a book…

    But nothing – nothing in this world – could top the fact, Raj’s dad came out to meet me and then we two went out for a walk. Imagine this: I am seeing him after 26 years. He is pushing 91. He grabbed his walking stick and led me. I was still in my office clothes and merrily walked beside him. Eventually Raj joined us after putting in a run. But before he joined us, it was uncle and I. I enquired softly about his house in Puliyannur, his grandkids, his other sons. He haltingly answered – all the while pacing me hard in my walk. I told him how I was a big fan of the newsletters he used to publish about the activities of his family members. (Raj used to bring those for me and I used to read them cover to cover).

    That was a magical morning for me. Being able to walk side by side with somebody whose wisdom precedes me by about half a century and yet being able to connect with each other with some spotty memories from the past…

    Yet at a metaphorical sense… it was always about walking together for a few steps. In life, we are all destined to have our own journeys. The memorable moments are created when we let each other walk a few steps – of those very different journeys – together. Coming to think of it – is that not what life itself is about? Welcoming and accepting each other in our life journey – as short as some of those steps together might be?

    Thank you uncle for accepting me in your life journey for a few steps this morning…

  7. It is like we never left school… Aug 13, 2017

    Dibyendu had figured out that I was going to land from Hyderabad around 8:30 last morning. Trust him to keep track of all things going on with our classmates. The first thing he had told me a few weeks back was that Ananda Bhoumik was also going to land at the same airport around the same time in some other flight.

    And that somehow burgeoned into a quick get together of some of our middle school friends even before I could step out of Kolkata airport. I had not seen Ananda since having some tea at a roadside stall (I think was called “Chheds”) in his college campus of IIT-Kharagpur. That was 1985! It was awesome seeing the guy – who was our role model those days in every which way – and continues to be so after such a long time.

    Pratap took some time off from his vacation day to come and join us. He works in the airport. I am sure going back to his work place on his vacation day was not high on his list. But he did come out to do it anyways.

    Speaking of airport being the workplace – there was also our inimitable Kaushik Bose. Who seems to be incessantly working on yet another business idea always. Also, between the three of these guys, we had most of the bulwark of our school soccer team sitting right there.

    Of course the craziest guy was Atanu Bhadra – he actually drove for nearly 200 km (120 miles) to meet us. And after meeting us, he drove back home!! The four of the above also were the cream of our class in terms of academic ranking.

    The surprise of the party was Arup Dutt who got wind of the fact that we were all near the airport – and on his way to office, he dropped by too! And by saying “wind of the fact”, I really mean, somehow Dibyendu had figured out that he was going to be in the neighborhood and gotten the message to him. Dibyendu is like the master of ceremony for all our get togethers.

    Thank you Dibyendu and thank you Atanu, Ananda, Arup, Kaushik and Pratap for making it so special for me moment I stepped out of the airport.

    I am not sure there are too many things I did well in my early years. But choosing of some great friends – that one I nailed it!!!

  8. He is still not aware.. Aug 13, 2017

    Mom mentioned that he woke up very early today and kept enquiring when I would be arriving. But could not keep up with his energy level till I arrived. My brother and I came in forty five minutes back but he has still not realized it. Still deep in his sleep surrounded by the familiar items – copies of religious books, plateful of medicines, water and so on…

  9. Sparks of his old sense of humor… Aug 13, 2017

    After about an hour and half, he finally woke up. “Esey gechhis?” (You have reached already?) he exclaimed and then slowly got up. He did not move from his spot in the bed but carried on with a lively conversation. In fact, he even managed to smile multiple times.

    I was pretty surprised that he very quickly noticed the Fitbit my brother was wearing – I got for him this time. (see inset). Of course, he thought it to be simple watch – he has no idea of what a Fitbit is.

    “Ghori ta notun kinli”? (You bought a new watch?)
    “Dada enechhey” (My brother mentioned that I got it for him)

    Next few minutes there was enough confusion in the room as my brother tried to explain to him that it could measure his heart beat, number of steps, miles run and so on. Thoroughly impressed, my father soon had a practical question – “But how will you tell the time?” That is when my brother explained that the device also gave time.

    Dad then took a closer look and then had the next practical question – “Kichhu dekha jachche na. Somoy dekhbi ki korey? Side-er switch tiptey hobey naaki?”. Looking at the blank screen, he was wondering how was by brother going to tell the time. And then he guessed that the push switch was probably put in for that.

    Now any one of you who use Fitbit surely know this – in reality, all you do is raise your wrist and turn it a little – like you would do when you check the time on your watch. The device detects that and switches itself on.

    My dad was totally impressed by this. He tried in every which way to guess how the device was figuring it out. That he was feeling better came thru in glimpses of his old humor… First he asked my brother to close his eyes and do the same wrist movement to see if we can trick the device into thinking that we wanted to check time.

    But the final one was the best … after contemplating for a little more, he said “Bhalo hoyechhe. Raast-ay aar lokjon jaalabey na – Kota baajchhe dada, kota baajchhe dada korey :-)” Translated, he appreciated the design even more since he felt nobody will disturb my brother on the roads asking him for the time. (Implication being they will notice that the watch does not work).

    [Disclaimer: To appreciate the joke, you have to go back a few decades in India when watches were not always that ubiquitous. In fact, often in buses, trains, streets, we found out time by simply asking the next person. Assuming he/she was not wearing a watch with a blank screen 🙂 ]

    And with that, he was tired enough again to lay down on the bed.

  10. Once a mom… always a mom!! Aug 13, 2017

    I was trying to relax in the afternoon and grab my forty winks – or maybe forty thousand of them to counter my jet lag when I heard my dad calling out my name from where he was sleeping. I put my glasses on and went to his room and asked “Ki holo?” (What happened?).

    Well. “ki holo” is this: He had woken up and gotten himself to sit up to register a severe complaint to me about my mom. First he asked me if I had checked out the new cushions mom had gotten made for two of the outside chairs. I replied in the negative. Upon his encouragement, I went to the outside patio (which is where I spend endless hours in the morning and evening) and found that the two standard chairs had two spanking new cushions. Not sure where this was leading to, I took a picture of the chairs and came back to his room.

    “Did you see the cushions?”, he asked.
    “I did. What is the big deal?”

    Well here apparently was the big deal:
    A couple of weeks back, Mom got the cushions made. The following day, my dad had ostensibly dragged himself out of the bed and at a slow pace, eventually made it to the outside patio (about ten feet away) and plonked himself down in one of the chairs. Only to be rudely awakened by Mom who had run from the kitchen, yelling at him to get off from the chair. My dad, thoroughly confused, struggled to get up using his walking stick and asked “Ki holo” (no more translations required).

    Apparently, mom took the cushions away and asked him to sit down.

    “Cushion gulo to bosbar jonno-i baaniyechho”, he told mom. (I thought you made the cushions for people to sit down on).
    “Tomar jonno noi. Bachchu esey bosbey”. Looks like mom summarily dismissed him mentioning that she got the cushions made specifically for me to sit down when I come home.

    My dad’s expression says it all – “What did I do wrong”???

    Ah! Once a mom, always a mom, I say!

  11. I am posting this to serve as a warning to Sharmila… Aug 13, 2017

    … of the days that are to come 🙂

    Seriously though, for all the challenges my parents have – my mom is a severe psychiatric patient and my dad barely can get out of his bed, we have been very very lucky to have an excellent support system. We have been fortunate enough to have my sister live in an apartment (flat) downstairs from my parents – giving them full attention and yet enough independence for both. My brother lives a couple hours away and co-ordinates most of the medical stuff – including ferrying his weekly injections in a ice box every month from Kolkata. And of course, I get to do the easy part of visiting them once a quarter. In short, we have been blessed with a support system that very few have been lucky enough to provide their parents.

    At the most basic level though, it is my mom who takes care of all my dad’s needs, whims and idiosyncrasies. After coming back from an evening walk, I saw my dad have enough energy to get up in his bed, but no more. Mom – who has just undergone a surgery was patiently feeding him.

    Not knowing anything better to do, I just sat down in the nearest chair and started talking to them. And took a picture of them to remind Sharmila what my minimum expectations would be of her when I grow old 🙂 Ha ha 🙂

  12. I survived!! Aug 14, 2017

    On a self dare, after over 20 years, managed to sleep thru an Indian monsoon night – without switching the air conditioner on!! The weather channel said it was 97% humidity with 84 degrees temperature making it feel like 92 degrees. To be sure, I had the AC remote switch close to me to give up any time 🙂

    To be totally candid, I did set the ceiling fan to a speed very close to it reaching escape velocity 🙂

    #littleThingsPleaseLittleMinds

  13. Of Duke, Diana and Nice biscuits… Aug 14, 2017

    If words like Duke and Diana make you feel that the roots of the story lies somewhere in England, you would not be totally wrong.

    Let’s go back a couple of days:
    I was in Frankfurt airport lounge when I got a message from Anna – who lives in London – that she had seen my FB post of going to India. And that she would be headed to Kolkata to check on her mom too. She was curious if it would be possible for us to meet. If we did that, we would be seeing each other after about 32 years. I told her that I will give my best shot at it since that would give me an opportunity to see her mom too.

    Let’s go back a little further. In fact about couple of years:
    I had written a FB message to an Anna Mitra saying that I saw her post a comment on Anannya’s post. Looking at her profile picture, I had to ask her – “Are you Diana? If so, would you remember me? I am Rajib – your cousin Mem-didi’s friend from Durgapur. I used to play badminton with you and Simi (Anannya) when you were barely seven or eight during your visits to your uncle (Dubey-kaku) in Durgapur”. Fortunately Diana (aforementioned Anna) made no pretense of not knowing me even after recognizing me 🙂

    That day, I got an update on her brother – Atanu – who was called Duke and her dad and mom. The sad news was to find out that her dad was no more. But the good news was that I still had a chance to meet her mom (we called “Pisi” since that is what my friend Aditi – the above mentioned Mem-didi – called her.)

    Now let’s take another step back in time. About 34 years from today:
    I was in a residential school near Kolkata. My friend Aditi studied in a school in Kolkata and she stayed with her aunt (“Pisi”). Both of us were studying hard those days to get into engineering schools. She was more talented than me – she cracked the engineering exam as well as the medical exam – I stayed with only the engineering exam.

    Not sure how it works now, but those days, there were two very renowned tutorials by mail to help you get prepared for the engineering exam – Agarwal’s and Brilliant Tutorials. To split the costs, Aditi and I had worked out with our parents that I would buy Agarwal’s and she would buy Brilliant’s. And then about once a month or so, I used to catch 218/B bus to land up at Pisi’s place to exchange our materials.

    Duke and Diana – who were very young then – always used to come and chat with me and after some time Pisi would shoo them away and ask them not to disturb us. (Aditi and I often had to ask each other for help if one managed to solve a problem and the other did not. That was probably not a very accurate way of portraying the true picture since I was the one who always needed help).

    But the best memories from those days? The cup of tea and Nice biscuits that Pisi always served me. I am not sure if you get Nice biscuits any more – but they were coconut flavored rectangular biscuits with serrated margin. The best part was the twenty or so pieces of sugar that used to be somehow attached to the top. I am salivating even now remembering how the first bite used to taste. The only essential problem to be solved was whether to dive into a bite straightaway or dip it first in the tea!!

    Now let’s try to time-warp all those timelines together:
    When you do that, what you get is a room full of people together – some from my past and some I saw for the first time. Almost like those get togethers before – except fast forwarded by a generation. Got to see Duke and Diana after such a long long time. More importantly, got introduced to their kids who were absolutely charming. Discussing studies with Dipanjan on one hand and then talking to Ahona (little Olivia) about the cute street dogs and goats on the streets of India – that was just a nostalgic throwback to over three decades back.

    Incredible part though was getting to see Pisi and thanking her for all the care she used to take of me when I visited her.

    The time went by too quickly. Maybe Atanu, Anna, Dipanjan, Dipannita or Rina, you can help me fill in the details… all I remember is I was talking loudly and somehow we were all laughing constantly!!!

    Let’s not wait for three more decades to laugh together again. I know for a fact nobody would want to hear a octogenarian Rajib talk loudly 🙂

  14. 5 miles in killer humidity.. Aug 14, 2017

    Literally and figuratively “drained” me of all my energy…

  15. Birds I grew up with – Common Myna Aug 14, 2017

    I am not sure if all my friends in India will agree with this – these days, there seems to be far less number of the common birds that we grew up with. I remember seeing a lot of sparrows (chorui pakhi), crows (kaak) and common mynas (salikh) everyday in those days. I barely see any these days.

    This trip, so far I have spotted a common myna and a crow from the balcony of my dad’s house…

    This is the common myna.

  16. Birds I grew up with – Crow Aug 14, 2017

    And here is the crow…

  17. This picture moved me… Aug 14, 2017

    After a really heavy breakfast (so what else is new with a Bengali mom 😉 ), I was lazily reading the local newspaper when this picture caught my eye in a section where regular readers send random pictures from their neighborhood to be printed in the newspaper.

    What spoke most to me is that poverty cannot stop the human mind’s innate capability to innovate. Or the sense of brotherly love and protection.

  18. Torrential monsoon rains are here… Aug 14, 2017

    How I wish I did not have to somewhere in half an hour. Would have been perfect to go out and get completely drenched…

  19. Two very special people from nearly five decades back Aug 15, 2017

    Last year, one Saturday evening, sitting by myself around midnight, I was reflecting on my life and the various people who helped me thru that journey. Somehow, my mind went back to Jagannath-da who I had almost forgotten.

    I was born a farmer’s son. My dad used to till land till he got a break and got a job in a steel plant that was getting constructed about 100 kilometers away from our village. During those very very early days of my life – a life comprising of a hut made of dirt, roof made of straw, ablutions in ponds, a lot of playing in dirt roads and such rural facets – Jagannath-da and his brother Santo-da were our heroes.

    They both worked with my dad and his brother (my uncle) in the land that we had growing rice and potatoes. And they worked on a lot of household work for us. They – specially Jagannath-da – served a very important role in my life. I was too short then to pick the mangoes and tamarinds from the low hanging branches of the trees. And too weak and of terrible aim to fell them with stones. So, Jagannath-da used to pick me up on his shoulders and then I used to grab a mango or a tamarind. Or two.

    That evening by the poolside started a near impossible search for Jagannath-da and Santo-da. I knew the name of the village they lived in but I did not have contacts of anybody in their or my village who would know them. Eventually, my dad had given away some part his land to Jagannath-da and Santo-da and sold the rest. Then we lost contact.

    As luck would have it, when I was in Frankfurt during transit this time, one of my very distant cousin sent a message that somebody in that family of Jagannath-da (they were seven brothers and one sister and I am sure had at least twenty to twenty five sons and daughters) actually has a mobile phone and that my cousin will get me the number in a day.

    She came thru for me. By the time I landed in Delhi, I had a number. After I landed in Bangalore, I called up that number and I asked whoever picked it up to pass it on to Jagannath-da. “Chintey paarchho? Ami Damu-r chhele Bachchu bolchhi”, I asked, half afraid that I might be a very distant memory for me.

    I really had nothing to worry about. He rattled off a lot of things about me and our time together nearly fifty years back that I have mostly forgotten. Touched that he actually remembers me so vividly, I promised to see him and Santo-da this trip.

    Yesterday, I made the trek to my old village. Dad had gone off to sleep in the afternoon. I grabbed a local guy and got him to drive me to the village. (My brother had to rush back to Kolkata since my elder nephew is down with fever now).

    Just as the car turned at Shibtala, I could see two gentlemen sitting under a tree, umbrellas in their hand (it is rainy season here). I distinctly recognized Jagannath-da. I had to wait till Santo-da smiled to remember his face. I do not remember how long the hugs lasted but they were not long enough!

    So many memories. So many things to thank for. Such great, simple and honest people from the yesteryears.

    We went walking around the village and remembering some of the old spots. Found out that their family still till the land my dad had given them. Believe it or not, Jagannath-da – the one on my left – is 85 years old! He came walking from his village to meet me. Santo-da brought his bicycle!

    That was one of my best intersection points of my life. These are people on whose shoulders I have – literally and figuratively – climbed upon to be who I am today!!! I hope to see them a few more times in my life and spend a little more time with them…

  20. That is one “driven” driver… Aug 15, 2017

    “O tumi?” (You again?), I remarked as I got into the car my brother in law had arranged for me to go visit Jagannath-da and Santo-da (see previous post). The driver too immediately recognized me. I forget where – but this young driver – Kishore is his name – had chauffeured me around once before. I remember him as a very driven person. And very inquisitive. He had a lot of questions for me about America and how to establish oneself in life.

    This time was no different! As he drove me to my village, we had some very interesting conversations.

    “Ami America jaabo” (I want to go to America)
    “Besh to” (Sounds good)
    “Passport banatey diyechhi” (I am getting my passport made)
    “Very good”
    “Aar ki kortey hobey?” So, he wanted to know what else he needed to do to go to America.
    “Visa laagbey” (You will need a visa)
    “Visa? Seta kothay paabo?” (Where can I get a visa?)

    So, I patiently explained how immigration works. I explained how he has to go the American Consulate in Kolkata and make a case why America needs him. I explained how if people have skills that we lack in America, they have a good chance of getting to America.

    “Ami to gaari chaalatey paari”. (I can drive cars).
    I gently broke it to him that there are many people driving cars in America and that may not be enough skill to impress the person at the consulate.

    He became very thoughtful after that. In fact, I don’t think he asked me too many questions after that. I was feeling a little bad that I might have unnecessarily stymied a young person’s ambitions.

    Soon, we pulled into our village and I got lost in my conversations with Jagannath-da and Santo-da.

    On my way back, I was on an emotional high after my intersection points. Kishore suddenly asked me “Apnader okhaney aloor chop paoa jaay?”. He wanted to know if we get “aloor chop” in America.

    Now, to the uninitiated, let me explain that “aloor chop” is a dietitian’s worst nightmare come true. And as such nightmares always tend to be – heavenly delicious to taste. Essentially, it is potato fritters – that is a specialty of my state in India – West Bengal. You get them in road side stalls. Roughly speaking, it is mashed potatoes (mashed with a lot more ingredients – but hot chilli peppers is one of them) that is then rolled by hand into small circular shapes, dipped in batter and then fried in a large container of oil that has clearly seen better days 🙂 ). And then sprinkled with “beet noon” (rock salt).

    To die for. And then die from.

    But I have never found this anywhere else in India or in the world, for that matter. And I have complained to Sharmila in the past about it.

    “Aloor chop kintu paoa jaay na okhaney”. I admitted to Kishore that we do not get “aloor chop” in America.

    I was thinking that he will remark that even in America, you do not get everything then… “Dekhun taaholey America-teo so kichhu paoa jaay na”.

    He completely took my surprise when he asked “Ami jodi aloor chop banano sikhey niy, amaakey visa debey? Okhaney to eta keu banaatey paarey na”.

    I had to laugh out very loud when I realized his angle. My God! He wanted to know if he learnt how to make “aloor chop”, would that skill be unique enough for him to go to America (since he figured nobody can make “aloor chop” in America).

    I let him know that I do not about that but with his level of drive and focus in life, one of these days he is going to land up in America, for sure.

    It made me think how focused this young gentleman is to improve his lot.

    Which made me also wonder – am I still as focused to improve myself and my lot? And others’ lots? Am I still hungry enough?

  21. Change of pace… Aug 15, 2017

    Amongst all the frenetic pace of intersection points in India, this showed up on the professional front back home in Atlanta…

    Meet Rajib Roy of Quantum Spatial in Norcross

  22. “Noyontara” flower in my father-in-law’s garden… Aug 15, 2017

    Taken with an iPhone at less than 6 cm distance…

  23. I think this is an orchid… Aug 15, 2017

    Found in my father in law’s garden. Again, taken with an iPhone…

  24. Dorothy Miss! Aug 16, 2017

    I was in a tight schedule yesterday. I had to go visit my inlaws in Durgapur but unlike every other time, I was not going to spend the night there. In fact, I had to come back by 7PM so my brother would have the option to go back to Kolkata if my nephew’s fever resurrected. The plan was to meet my inlaws, take them out for lunch, drop them back at their place and then head back to my dad’s place.

    Fortunately for us, the roads were very clear. It being India’s Independence Day, all establishments and many shops were closed. A few random showers here and there thinned out the herd of pedestrians, motorcyclists, stray dogs, goats and chickens from the road. If any one of them were contemplating on stepping back into the roads, the constant honking of my brother surely made them think otherwise 🙂

    That opened up the possibility of creating one more “intersection point”. One phone call to Pratap Bara in Kolkata and after taking a few wrong turns here and there, we showed up in front of Mrs. Benedict’s house. She was my fifth grade science teacher. We all called her “Dorothy Miss”.

    Science was my favorite subject. So, obviously I used to look forward to her classes. But most interesting to me were the experiments she used to demonstrate to prove some scientific principles and all that. That was 1977.

    And this is 2017.

    Sir Lawrence, her husband, was also in our school but was never my teacher (other than a couple of weeks of substitute teaching when my seventh grade class teacher – Mrs. Srinivasan was out for some reason that I cannot recollect now).

    I had a great time talking to Sir and Miss. (which is how we addressed our teachers in primary and middle schools).

    I was delighted to meet their younger daughter – Shalini. She is a confirmed backpacker like my other friend Shirdhar. She has backpacked thru some beautiful parts of the world. There were some amazing stories yesterday!! Did I mention that I also got to taste some wines from the different places she has been to? !!

    I am thinking I should regularly check up on Sir and Miss. Especially after Shalini’s trips. No vested interest, I assure you 🙂

    3
  25. It is barely 6am! And I am exhausted already!! Aug 16, 2017

    Today is the last day with my parents this trip. Perhaps, realizing that, my dad woke up early and sat up in his bed. He cannot step out of his bed and sit in the balcony like we used to. I sat next to him and gave him my iPad. He loves reading Natasha’s articles in various newspapers.

    It did not start this way. Like every other Indian grandparent, he wanted his eldest grandchild (or for that matter, any grandchild) to be an engineer or a doctor. But once I showed him Natasha’s articles published in a newspaper, he completely changed. Now, he thinks that if you are not a journalist then you are a nobody!!

    I usually bring him some copies of those newspapers every time. This morning, I gave him my iPad and showed some of Natasha’s writings on the online version of the newspapers where she was interning in this summer.

    A few minutes later, I came back from the kitchen after re-filling my cup of tea. My dad seemed to be a confused lot. Looks like he had seen something in the article and he had a question for me.

    “Ei tweet byapar ta ki?”
    (What is a tweet?).

    In a jiffy, I figured out what had happened. He must have seen that icon for Twitter at the end of the article and his curiosity got piqued. I also figured out quickly that this was not a task for the weak of the heart. I had one heck of a time explaining concepts like blog, Facebook and most hilariously “searching for a groom on the net”. In the past.

    As I struggled to figure out how to approach the problem, three sips of tea later, my dad tried to help explain his question…

    “Ei je lekhey – Mamata tweet korlen, etar maaney ki?”
    Mamata Banerjee is the chief minister of the state (somewhat equivalent to a Governor in USA). So he mentioned that he has read “Mamata has tweeted”. What does that really mean, he legitimately asked.

    I made a couple of attempts. With no evident import.

    In fact, he looked at the article again. The picture of the bird in the Twitter logo did not help at all.

    “Tweet to pakhira korey. Uni ki pakhider moto seesh den naki?”
    (I thought birds tweet. She is not going to whistle like a bird, right?)

    That is it. I lost all my ability to rationally explain anything. I was exhausted just from trying to suppress my laughter!!

    I am going to miss this morning chats from tomorrow…

  26. 4 miles on a cloudy morning in Kalyani Aug 16, 2017

    In keeping with India’s Independence Day celebrations, I covered all the four colors in India’s national flag in my running gear today – orange, white, blue and green…

  27. Another bird from my childhood – Asian Koel Aug 16, 2017

    We called it “Kokil” (this is from the cuckoo family). Has the distinct blood shot red eyes…
    Shot with a DSLR from bout 40 yards away..

  28. That familiar lump-in-the-throat moment… Aug 17, 2017

    Like last time, he said good bye to me from his bed…

  29. Cells do what? Aug 18, 2017

    Biology and I have always had an interesting relationship. I had, and continue to have, great curiosity to learn how our body works. In fact, even today, I will pick up a book that explains how our brain works, how our various body parts evolved over time and am usually more than sufficiently skeptical of easy explanations – as an example – food fads.

    It was the exam time that I used to dread. It appeared to me that I had to learn everything by rote. I could not logically deduce anything (you know, like in math). And I was not good at remembering stuff. That had to do with studies. Certainly studies that had to do with the red Biology book written by one Katyal and one Ali.

    It was sometime in 1979, I believe. Our Biology teacher – Mrs. Pandey had just started with the first chapter. And it was about the most simplest form of animals – single cells, that she was explaining. Eventually, she went to the topic of how cells reproduce and create more of themselves. Her words have been indelibly marked in my memory. “Cells multiply by dividing”. I get it that most folks with rudimentary knowledge of biology will know what she was talking about.

    But to a logical thinking, math puzzle oriented 12-year old, that was a “Whoa!! Back up, Back up” moment. What do you mean you multiply by dividing? That gives a lie to my most favorite subject those days – maths.

    I do not believe I ever recovered from that shock. Dropped biology after tenth grade unceremoniously crashing any dreams my parents might have had that I would grow up to be a doctor someday.

    But I liked my teacher. In fact, I used to look forward to her new lessons – to learn some new thing. However as I said, you could not get me to read it the second time to prepare for exams.

    First time I visited Mrs. Pandey at her residence was in 1980. She had asked me to prepare some charts for her for a project she was doing. I remember having done them with great care and then cycled up to her house in Benachity. As an aside, that day, I had a great intersection point – I had run into my classmate Jayita from a previous school in the same building that Mrs. Pandey lived in.

    The next time I visited her was again in the same house. This time it was 1983 and I had finished my tenth grade and was going to move to a different school and city. I had gone to pay my regards to her.

    And then for the third time, I saw her in her house yesterday! Nearly 1000 km away from the prior house I had visited. In Lucknow! I was in Kanpur to give a guest lecture in IIT. About 2 hours of drive away from where she lives. Made the trek up and down to get a chance to see her and thank her for all her lessons.

    The additional attraction was getting to see her son Vikram, who was also a classmate of mine. We were never in the same section (home room) but certainly knew of each other very well. There are those annual birthday calls too!!

    While it was a short stay, it was memorable to see Biology Miss (that is how we called her then) and Vikram!! It was heartening to see Mrs. Pandey in great spirits, sporting that incredible smile and in good health. I guess those cells did a great job in multiplying. Or was it dividing?

    Ah! I forget!

  30. Devlina. After over a quarter of century. Now Dr. Devlina!! Aug 18, 2017

    Back in MBA days, we had a fairly close knit team. We used to move around together – Devlina, Jyotsna, Srimathi (who we lost to cancer), T Srini and myself. Devlina was undoubtedly the sane, logical thinking, most caring person. After finishing up MBA, I remember taking a train to this city called Rourkela and showed up to meet her parents and brother.

    I had some great time there. Her brother – Jayanta-da – taught me how to speak in sign language. I was fascinated by how her mother had dedicated her time and life to improve the lot of people born with inability to talk or hear (she had opened up a school there). All in all, I came away very impressed with the Mukherjee family.

    And I think that was the last time I had seen Devlina.

    On her request, I was in IIT-K for a guest lecture in their management school yesterday. I will let the students decide what they thought of the talk but it was just thrilling to see Devlina again. She has remained just the same way. Looks the same, the same broad smile, the same motherly and caring instinct. It was like the 26 years in between never happened.

    What is fascinating about Devlina’s background is her variety of experience in career. She has worked in two different countries (India and US), made the uncommon switch from Corporate life to Academic life and picked up a few additional degrees in between. Technically, she is Dr. Devlina to me 🙂

    For a guy like me who has been contemplating on how to give back to Academia, the meeting with Devlina was very timely and eye opening. I was able to pick up quite a few pointers from her. In fact, you can see in this picture how the student was all rapt attention to the words of wisdom from the professor! Errr…. make that Dr. Professor 🙂 🙂

  31. Post lecture, relaxing with Devlina Aug 18, 2017

    (also trying to avoid being yelled at by her and our batch mates for not posting better pictures of her 🙂 )

  32. Sun. Spot. Aug 18, 2017

    This is the first time I saw the sun during this trip in India. Every single day in the last week – be it in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kalyani, Lucknow or Kanpur, all I saw was totally overcast skies – and I mean not a single break in the cloud cover the whole day.

    It is like India got a head start on the full solar eclipse a few days earlier…

    For the first time, on the drive from Kanpur to Lucknow airport, I was able to spot the sun. Asked the driver to stop the car so I could take a couple of shots…

  33. Starting new intersection points … the security guard Aug 18, 2017

    Any travel for me is not always about re-connecting with old connections. Sometimes it is about making new connections too! All intersection points have to start somewhere…

    I was seeing off my brother at the ITC Sonar hotel in Kolkata where I was going to stay for the night to catch a very early morning flight. After he left, I was walking back the steps when a familiar face smiled at me. I smiled back like every time. I have seen this security guard / usherer for as long as I can remember in this hotel.

    Unlike this time, I stopped and chatted with him and got to know about this background. Mr. Prabir is her name. He has been working in the same hotel as a security person / usherer for over two decades. What I did not realize is that before this, he was in the army for another two decades. And for family reasons, he had to find alternate jobs (to stay close to his family).

    Obviously he got busy with other guests – but I am glad I spent ten minutes getting to know him. Next trip onwards, I hope to get to know him as a person even more..

  34. The free spirited!! (Ha ha) Aug 18, 2017

    Brother and brother-in-law.

    1
  35. One more intersection started… Aug 18, 2017

    I had just checked in to the hotel and the young lady who helped me with the process also guided me to my room. As is my wont, I chatted her up to find out more about her background and passions and all that.

    What I was not prepared for was to realize that Sushmita is from a town (Katwa) literally next to where my mom grew up most of her life! In fact, one of my fondest memory from early childhood is when I used to walk up to Kalna station to watch the Katwa local pull in and pull out. I used to be totally fascinated by the big steam engine and watch the driver get water filled, throw in coal in the bright fire and pull at a hanging wire to give that earth shattering Toot! For the longest time, my ambition was to be a steam engine driver…

    Back to the Guest Relations Executive… I found out that she is an avid photographer. I am not good at it but I certainly take a few shots. Turned out both of us prefer Nikon for DSLR. In fact, we exchanged notes on her experience with the D5100 body (I use D7100) and the different lenses.

    Indrani Solomon, if you are reading this – I told Sushmita how I had met you In almost identical circumstances (at Taj Bengal) and we had discussed your passions and goals then. And when you achieved them, I was able to meet you in North Carolina many years later…

    Let’s see if I will have more intersection points with this particularly bright young lady too…

    1
  36. Fourth grade class (home room) teacher!! Four decades later!!! Aug 18, 2017

    In the end, the longest and the hardest searches are almost always the ones where the sought after person is right there in front of your eyes. I must have asked 30 people over the last 20 years if they were aware of Krishnan Miss’s whereabouts. The last time I saw her was on my last day in fourth grade – 1977. Then I moved to a new school.

    Earlier this year, I was talking to one of my classmates from that school – Mousumi, who lives in Singapore and was lamenting that I was still missing some of our old teachers. She thought for a little while and gave me a pointer – “I think her son was in our batch in the school you went to after leaving our school”.

    I was, of course – “That cannot be. I keep track of – and talk to – all the hundred odd classmates from my next school. How can it be that I never realized that Mrs. Krishnan was the mom of one of them?”. She thought I had a good point but insisted that she seemed to specifically recollect this fact from the past.

    There was nothing to lose. We had only 2 Krishnans in our batch – one is in New Zealand and the other I had just met a month back in Delhi. I shot 2 WhatsApp messages to them, expecting to run into another dead end.

    What do you know? Sushil – the classmate I had just met in Delhi a month back, responded, saying “Of course, my mom was your teacher. She still keeps talking about you”. I was like – “Are you kidding me? I have been looking for her for decades now. And all this time she was your mom and she lives with you?”.

    As you can imagine, only one thing could happen when I was going to be in Delhi next. Which was today. She had come back from her native place in Kerala a couple of days back to make sure we do not miss each other.

    It was magical getting to see Mrs. Krishnan – after four decades!! Again, to put it in perspective, I have lived only for one more decade than that!! I could have picked her out of a crowd easily. She still looks the same.

    We talked a lot about our old teachers (one of those rare cases where I was able to give her contacts of her own old colleagues) and some of the old students she could remember. Like my biology teacher yesterday, she had cooked lunch for me too!!

    It was extremely rewarding to create an intersection point with somebody who had helped me in the journey of me becoming who I am today. Words cannot possibly convey my sense of gratitude.

    A shout out to Sushil and Mousumi for helping me make this happen is in order here!!

  37. A poignant moment from this trip Aug 18, 2017

    The lower portion of the picture below is from five years back when I had made the trek to see the hut made of dirt and straw that I was born in. My connection to the hut goes back over five decades back. It was a very powerful moment to get in touch with my past – so up, close and personal.

    This time when I went to create the intersection point with Jagannath-da and Santo-da, they walked me back to my hut. I was aware of this – but I saw it first time with my own eyes – the hut is no more. (upper part of the picture below). The straw caught fire a few years back and the rains took care of the unprotected dirt walls after that.

    It was another powerful moment to realize how a big part of my history has fallen victim to the vagaries of time. On the other hand, I was really really glad that I was able to see it (in fact, twice) in the last few years and even took my brother and sister to see the hut!!

    Ah! Old order changeth, yielding place to new!!

  38. Memories from IIT Kanpur campus… Aug 18, 2017
  39. Look alike much? Aug 19, 2017

    So, there is the charismatic, famous and well liked leader on stage that you all know.
    .
    .
    .
    And there is also Satya Nadella. 🙂 🙂

    Okay, okay, I was just kidding. 🙂 🙂 Sorry for crossing the line of humility.

  40. One of the best compliments received… Aug 19, 2017

    There have been a few pivotal points in my life that changed it completely from a path that was originally planned. Life does not offer an opportunity to run control experiments – so it is very difficult to make any comparisons or run “What if” scenarios. But all in all, the journey through those sudden changes have been remarkably memorable for me.

    “You delivered one of the biggest changes for me that for ever defined my future – career wise as well as personal success wise”, I told Dr. D.K.Pal as my brother and I settled down with him and Mrs. Pal at his residence in Kolkata. After numerous attempts in the past, I was able to finally pin him down in Kolkata.

    “How is that?”, he asked.
    “Do you remember how I landed up in Narendrapur?”
    “I thought you did very well in the entrance exam. In fact, Satyada told me about your performance much later. That is how you got into Narendrapur.”
    “Well, that is the ending. The beginning was very different. And that is where you come in.”, I replied.
    “How so?”, he asked curiously.

    Let me first give you a background here. Dr. Pal is my classmate Pratik Pal’s dad. Pratik and I went to elementary school and secondary school together. And then higher secondary too. Later in life, I worked with Pratik professionally (two different companies though). Presently, his career is in the stratosphere. He is too busy for me but I try to keep up with his family as well as his parents.

    Those days when we were classmates, my go-to elders to get wisdom on studies and career were Dr. Pal and Mr. Dubey. I would not listen to my dad’s advise but I would any day weigh in their thoughts.

    Having finished my tenth grade from Durgapur, the plan was to try and get into St. Xavier’s School, Kolkata. As luck would have it, my performance in tenth grade was enough to get thru to my and my dad’s coveted school without having to sit for an entrance exam. We were all set. At home everybody was excited that I will go to the school we had all been waiting for.

    Enter Dr. D.K.Pal in the scene. He had gone to Narendrapur – which is a residential school – in fact a Ramakrishna Mission school – to pick up an admission test form for Pratik. I think he was in Kokata anyways and thought it would be great for Pratik to at least sit in a competitive test. For whatever reason – remember, everybody at home were thrilled that I was going to St. Xavier’s school – he picked up a form for me too.

    And then delivered it to my home – in that green color Bajaj scooter he had. And strongly urged Pratik and me to at least get the experience of sitting in the test. Which, for reasons unknown, both of us did.

    Here is the clincher – in spite (or perhaps because of) giving the test in a completely relaxed manner, I somehow managed to ace it. Soon enough, we got a personal letter from the aforementioned “Satyada” (who was the Vice Principal).

    Around the same time, I got into some usual high school girl problems that we shall not delve into further here 🙂 But the sharp mind that I had, I quickly noticed that Narendrapur school session was going to start two weeks earlier than St. Xavier’s. My path to minimizing my misery at home (on that girl front) was to run as fast as I could to Narendrapur.

    Without much ado, I announced to my dad and Dr. Pal that I am going to accept Narendrapur. Do not remember what my dad’s reaction was. But I was delighted to find out that Pratik was going to do the same. (I have asked him many times but he maintains he had no girl problems of his own, whatsoever 🙂 ). In fact, we remained room mates in the hostel (dorm) during our entire stay in the residential college.

    “And, that, Pal-kaku, is how I landed up in Narendrapur. It all started with you picking up a form for me. And if you ask me or my parents, they will tell you that it was one of the best things that has ever happened to me”, I concluded.

    That evening last week, we sat and talked about a lot of our days from the past. Much later in time – when Pratik and I went to different engineering schools, I was in Durgapur but Pratik was not. (our schools had different schedules). Dr. Pal had broken his leg. I used to be there at their home for endless hours – chatting him up or helping him with his physiotherapy or taking him to the doctor. We had some great bonding time. And I noted down a lot of life lessons from him.

    We had barely gotten started when we realized that a couple of hours had quickly gone by. I had to take leave to make sure I could take the nephews out for their mandatory “chicken chowmein dinner with “jethu” (what they call me)”

    As my brother and I were taking leave, I overheard Dr. Pal – who was talking to my brother then – make a comment that is destined to be etched in my mind for ever. He said “Rajib is like a second son to us”.

    Best compliments.

    Ever!!

  41. Last intersection point before leaving India Aug 19, 2017

    I was almost done with the whole trip. This time, there were a lot of intersection points that I was able to create. It was 6PM in the evening and I was very tired. I was going to leave the hotel around midnight to catch my flight. I decided to take a quick nap.

    The next thing I knew was that the hotel room phone was ringing. It took me a few seconds to realize where I was – I was so deep in my sleep. It was almost 9PM. The voice on the other end said “Your guest is here”.

    I suddenly remembered – my classmate from MBA days – in fact we were next door neighbors in our dorm for the entire period – was going to drop by. I quickly got freshened up and ran downstairs. I almost missed him in the crowd. I had a mental picture of Anand Makwana from 1991. The one I saw over 26 years later has dropped a lot of body weight. And looked much much younger!!

    You know you have made some good choices in friends when you realize that they would fight through Delhi traffic for over two hours just to spend some time with me. This, after unfailingly waking me up every morning, but for which, I would have certainly missed the first class!

    We caught up on a lot of things – his family, his parents (turns out his mom passed away soon after I went to see her when we were still studying) and his professional and personal life. I was impressed with how much tennis and running he is able to put in in a week.

    Some of the best conversations we had was around what are the lessons we have learnt in the last twenty five years or so – both on the professional and personal fronts. It was extremely educational for me to internalize his synthesis of life lessons. Frankly speaking, I am still processing thru his words.

    Had it not been for my flight and the fact that he was going to be late reaching home, I probably would have chatted for another couple of hours. Which is what I intend to do next time I am in Delhi…

  42. Familiar grounds… Aug 19, 2017

    Even after clearing immigration and customs, I never quite feel like I am back home… till I get that first cup of Starbucks coffee!!!