13 October 2013

Mr. Whitney!

No trip to Dallas is complete without meeting this guy. After our business work was over and we left, I suddenly remembered that I forgot to take a picture of him.
One quick phone call later, both of us pulled over to the side of the street. Unfortunately, there was nobody to take a picture of us. So, we had to make do with a precariously balanced iPhone and a couple of stones on a raised concrete step and a misfiring camera app!!!


12 October 2013

How is Ma Durga coming this year?

Durga Puja for all Bengalis world over means the idol (usually made of clay and straw) of Mother Durga with her two sons and two daughters (with their “bahons” – see a previous blog) are brought to the place (“pandal/mandap”) where they will be worshipped for four days (two and half in US usually to make it convenient with school calendars) and then submerged in water (in US, though we save them for next year! ).

Now, one of the common questions before Durga Puja starts, as I recollect from my early childhood, is “Ma Durga ebarey kisey aaschhen?” (How is Mother Durga coming this time?). She could come in a “nouka” (boat) which would mean we were going to get flooded during Puja season. Or she could come in a “gojo” (elephant) which means we are going to have rains. (I assume not enough to cause floods though πŸ™‚ ). Or she could come in a “ghora” (horse) which would signify sunny weather. I think the fourth option was to come in a “paalki” (palanquin). Don’t exactly recollect what that meant. Storms?? (I am a little shaky here but I think the story goes that those are the four days she came from her in-laws’ place to visit her parents’ place – I presume to avail herself of the Puja Holidays πŸ™‚ )

Last night, as I was going for our local Pujari Puja center at Berkmar High School in Lilburn, GA, I distinctly noticed that this year Durga Ma was arriving in a rented U-Haul!! I have to ask my mom what the Hindu scriptures have to say about that πŸ™‚

On an aside, I have no idea why Durga Ma and her kids had their own “bahons” (modes of transport – e.g. it was a lion for her) but they had another independent way of coming for Puja – boat, horse, elephant etc… One more question for mom πŸ™‚

[On a further aside… Shhhh!!! she (my mom, not Durga Ma πŸ™‚ ) does not know that I will be visiting her this Tuesday for a few hours. I intend to spring these questions as a surprise to her πŸ™‚ ]

12 October 2013

Thirty years later….

Today was the start of Durga Puja in Atlanta – the biggest festival for us Bengalis. Everyone dresses up in the best traditional clothes and shows up for various events for about three days.
I, too, showed up in my traditional clothes – which is a pair of shorts and a panel shirt. πŸ™‚
The first thing that happened was that I got a dressing down from my wife for showing up in shorts. As I was cowering down and settling in a bench, the second thing happened!
A guy walked up to me and asked “Are you Rajib Roy”? I was almost like “Yeah. Who wants to know?”, when I looked up. And in a fraction of a second, thousands of neurons and dendrons must have connected (or whatever it is that connect when you remember something from the past) – and I yelled “Prabasaj Paul”?
He was one year senior to me in the residential school I went to for junior and senior years of high school. (11th and 12th grade). He was a legend in his academic prowess. So many times, he was my last resort when I was absolutely stumped with a problem and nobody could help me!!!
Last time I saw him was in March 1984!!! Almost 30 years back!!
It was unbelievably good to see him again!!!


10 October 2013

Puzzle – alligation?

While it is not exactly about mixing liquids, it involves pouring liquids alright.
You have three containers whose capacity are 12 gallons, 8 gallons and 5 gallons respectively. The 12 gallon container is filled with water and the other two are empty. You have nothing else. You have to divide the water into two parts of 6 gallons each. In other words, by a sequence of pouring from one container to the other, you have to eventually have 6 gallons in the 12 gallon container and another 6 gallons in the 8 gallon container.
How would you do it?

10 October 2013

Is this a biker gang?

Mr. Al Blake!!! We worked together nearly two decades back and the best we could remember we saw each other 16 years back.
I had some great discussions of life in general with him – the concept of being happy, the overinflated importance of a job, family, financial security….
We remembered some of the best people we had the chance to work with from our past…
I could have gone for another four hours just getting his incredibly balanced perspective . There is a lot I could learn from him…