22 January 2015

How a phone call went last evening….

Me: “Maasi, Apni amakey chinben na. Amar naam Rajib Roy”. (Ma’m you don’t know me. My name is Rajib Roy)
She: “Rajib Roy-ta ke bolun to”? (Who is this Rajib Roy?)
Me: “Ami Atlanta-tey thaaki. Apnar meye Sanghamitra-tar bondhu” (I live in Atlanta and am a friend of your daughter)
She (in a very loud voice): “Sei Facebook-e mojar mojat golpo lekhe – sei Rajib Roy?” (The same Rajib Roy that writes funny stories in Facebook?)
Me (somewhat taken aback that she knew what is Facebook, let alone that I write there): “Ei morechhey! Mojar mojar kina jaanina tobey haabi jaabi likhi Facebook-e” (Not sure ma’m if they are funny, but I certainly write a lot of random stuff in Facebook”
She: “Na na tomar onek golpo sunechhi meyer kaachhey……..” (I have heard about your from my daughter……)

In 2007, I was busy sorting out a ticket related issue with the Delta gate agent at Sao Paolo airport when a young lady walked up to me and asked me “Are you Rajib Roy?”. She certainly looked Indian. My memory had no recollection of her. As I was stumbling trying to figure out where I had met her, she let me know that we have never met. That made it even more intriguing. In any case, I eventually reconstructed what had happened – She had met Sharmila at a party that I had not attended in the recent past and got to know that I was going to be traveling from Sao Paolo on the same day (there is only one Delta flight every night) as was she after our business work there. She saw me with the gate agent, saw no Indian around and took her chances!!! Looking back, I could have turned the tables of surprise on her by screaming “Que Pasa?” πŸ™‚

A month back Sanghamitra (if my terrible memory serves me right, I have met her a couple of times subsequently) had an intriguing – and certainly a first time for me – request. She asked if I would mind taking some time during my next India trip and visit her mom. I am not exactly used to that. Nobody – at least knowingly – asks me to meet their parents (I know one exception, but I will skip that since it is a hilarious story and is bound to put a certain someone in bad light πŸ™‚ ). Certainly there was a time when all the moms went out of their ways so I could not meet their daughters πŸ™‚

Turns out her mom has had two heart attacks and has lost the ability to support herself. (Her husband is no more). My friend and her brother had no choice but to move her to a old age home. (something like assisted living in USA). Being an intensely independent person, she is having a very tough time adapting to a life of old age homes – even a very good one. I can only imagine how a physical debilitation followed by a mental perception of forced taking away of independence in a matter of moments can crush the will of any person. Certainly, it would be to me.

But what good would a visit from a stranger do? Sanghamitra explained that she is aligned with my “thoughts on life and feelings for the elderly” (her words, not mine). And that she felt me spending some time with her mom will cheer her up even if momentarily. First off, she has sized me up very wrong. I need to refer her to all those moms who did not want their daughters to meet me πŸ™‚ But, certainly I am not above sharing my most precious and constrained resource – my time left in this beautiful world – with somebody else’s who might be even more constrained and therefore that much more precious to them.

I will make an attempt to make a detour and visit her today on my way to the resort where I am getting all my cousins from mom’s side gather for a couple of days to meet each other after a very long time… if not ever…

Stay tuned..
And I just realized something – Hey! Maybe my Facebook writings are not that “haabi jaabi” after all πŸ™‚

Posted January 22, 2015 by Rajib Roy in category "Vacations


  1. By Sanghamitra Saha on

    Rajib, awesome to hear that Ma was able to figure out who was calling her when she had absolutely no idea that you were visiting Kolkatta and there was any possibility of a call from you.

  2. By Paul McKinney on

    I just finished, perhaps the best book i’ve ever read on elder care “Being Mortal”. Lots of great people stories in it. I’ve been rethinking this phase of life for 15 years as I’ve worked with my mom that just turned 90 has MS and Parkinson’s, but she’s still pretty sharp. Lot’s of time talking to older folks and getting their life perspectives. I know that your visit meant much to Sanghamitra’s mom.

  3. By Sanghamitra Saha on

    BTW, one thing is common between the two of you. She has an amazing sense of association and finding connections between people – there are many hilarious stories. She sometimes asks me of some friends or classmates of mine who I have a hard time of recollecting after so many years. When she was young, she was my dad’s living diary with all phone numbers plugged in her memory.

  4. By Rajib Roy on

    Paul, try a book by Bronnie Ware – a hospice nurse from Australia – about her life experiences – Top Five Regrets of a Dying Man… Awesome priority setter for life…

  5. By Uttara Pattanaik on

    Rajib, your these little efforts makes do much difference in people’s life. You sure inspire me! Hope some day I am able to touch people’s heart the way you do. Keep up the good work.

  6. By Jayeeta Bose on

    Appreciate your concern for the elderly.I shld say Rajib Roy that you have a talent for charming the mothers of your friends!

  7. By Ruchi Lodh on

    Rajib, your efforts are making a difference in healing the people you associate with … You are an inspiration to all your friends and acquaintances of how to contribute to the healing of planet Earth by giving value to every relation which has come your way …


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