30 June 2014

Fighting fire with fire!

I remember I had once called Tasha almost a year back on her cellphone. She promptly sent a text message “What?”. “Why are you calling me?”. Evidently, for her and kids her age these days, a phone is for texting, not making calls. Oh! how I wish Graham Bell had seen what we have done with his instrument to talk to each other!!

In any case, sitting in my plane today, before taking off, I figured I should check on Tasha since I had not talked to her the whole time after leaving her at Brown. I was careful not to make a phone call. I simply texted “Everything ok?”. No response! I texted ten minutes later enquiring if she was enjoying everything. No response still.

So, I was wondering what did I need to do to get her to respond. I was like “Rajib, think. Think hard”. So, I came up with an alternate idea. I know these kids do not Facebook – but they Snapchat all the time. So I wrote the above message on my iPad, and then using my iPhone took a picture and Snapchatted it to her.

Under ten seconds, I got a text message “I am fine”.

Dad’s old technology plus wily ways: 1
Daughter with new technology: 0



29 June 2014

Another Intersection Point! “How many jelly beans in that jar?”

I have to give Preetha credit for creating this intersection! She found out from FB that I had come to Providence to drop Tasha at Brown. She took a chance and contacted me to see if I was going to fly out of Boston. As luck would have it, although I flew into Providence, I was indeed flying out of Boston!

And then she and Ram were kind enough to take a train and a shuttle to Terminal A in Logan Airport to meet me! I had some time at hand and we simply walked over to the Hilton Hotel next door and settled down at the bar.

The last time I had seen them was in 2007 when Ram and I worked in the same team in Optiant. Speaking of crazy connections, Ram and his family were connected to a teammate of mine (Sujatha) in my post-Optiant job in Equifax who in her turn was connected (relative thru marriage) with another teammate of mine (Nari) in my pre-Optiant job in i2!! At this point of time, you can be completely excused for thinking 1.2 billion Indians are a very small well-knit tribe πŸ™‚

In any case, it was great seeing the husband wife duo and we spent a lot of time remembering our old friends and then also talked a lot about ailing parents and the issues that their kids go thru who are not in India.

One side story on Ram. We used to have this contest every year in Optiant – we would put random number of jelly beans in a jar and you would have to guess the number of jelly beans in it. The closest person won. Ram won it every single year. He would run the most sophisticated analytical models and come very close. Every year. Till one year, one really smart lady completely trumped his algorithm. She would just add 1 to his number. She was sure he would be the closest. She took a half and half chance that he would underestimate versus overestimate!!! Now, that was smart!!!


29 June 2014

Natasha at Brown University

Last couple of summers, she went to Duke. Mom and little sister Nikita took over her dorm room and set it up. This year it is dad only at Brown. So she had to do the whole thing herself. In my defense, I found her the nearest Starbucks though πŸ™‚


29 June 2014

Intersection Point: Lata Jayaraman!!

This week started with a bang. Got to see a friend Lata Jayaraman – from 1986. We were introduced to each other by an ex girl-friend of mine. Ever since, our lives have gone in very different ways but once in every half a dozen years or so, luck would put us very close to each other and we would catch up on our past – the friends that we had those days (admittedly, I am the one who keeps giving the updates πŸ™‚ ), her uncle who was my Physics professor in college, her cousins who were my next door neighbors in college dorm and so on.

Last Monday, I was able to see her for a couple of hours again. She was in town for some American Cancer Society convention. My friend is nothing if not a whole bundle of energy. I am the one who is relatively quiet when I meet her. So, you can do the math. In under two minutes of meeting her, she was talking about some medical terms that they had been evidently discussing during dinner. I was struggling to understand the relevance of the topic when she paused and explained in lay man’s terms. Evidently, all this time she was referring to bald heads πŸ™‚

As always, one evening is way too short to catch up with all of Lata’s energies, but what the heck, I gave it a crack!!! At the end, I was so engrossed that I completely forgot to take her picture to capture in my “History of my Future. The First Draft” blog. I had to call her back from her room and get the valet guy to take a picture of us!!!


29 June 2014


Lucked out! The one time I come to Providence, RI turned out to be one of those Waterfire days (twice a month during summer).

Beautiful bonfires on the surface of Providence river with music from all over the world!