16 February 2016

How cool is this?

It was June of 1975. We had just returned to our third grade after a five week summer vacation (those days, in India, for us, summer vacation was typically from early May to mid June). All of us came back except this really thin Punjabi girl with her signature two long hair plaits. (the Bengali word was “binuni”). Her name was Preeti Saini.

None of us knew what happened to her. To make matters worse, our teacher – Mrs. Bose was hospitalized with something. We had a substitute teacher who was equally in the dark. Over time, we all got busy with our studies and games on the field and forgot her.

And for years, it has bugged me no end to find out whatever happened to her. I am one of those guys that can never sleep well knowing that somebody who crossed my path in this life has gone completely dark on me. Years and years of search later, in a completely fortuitous way – and I mean this is serendipity heaped upon serendipity – I got to know that she lives not too far from where we are! You can read the details in this amazing story in http://www.rajibroy.com/?p=9648

Last week, my work took me to Minneapolis. A couple of calls before that and there I was with my friend who never showed up one fine day back in 1975. Fortunately, she showed up as scheduled forty one years later!!! Amazingly, she looked the same as I remembered her face from the first grade. (See the picture. The insets are from a picture in our first grade)

We had a great time catching up on our past, siblings, aging parents and the adoption of a new country as our own many many moons back…


14 February 2016

Nikispeak: Nasty Look

Came home after the run and sat down for breakfast next to Nikita who was finishing up. Since she is the queen of procrastination, I tried to get her a jump start on her weekend work…

Me: How much homework do you have this weekend?
She: A lot
Me: Have you made a schedule?
She: No
Me: Why are you sitting here? Should you not get started on your work?
She: I don’t feel like it
Me: (sarcastically) Well, at least schedule in one hour tomorrow evening for crying since you will have unfinished homework.
She: (even more sarcastically) I would give you a nasty look right now but you already have one!

I went back to my breakfast, having been squarely beaten in my game of sarcasm!!

14 February 2016

Beautiful couplets from the qawwali “Yeh Jo Halka Halka”

“Sharaab kaisi, khumaar kaisa
Yeh sab tumhari nawazishen hain
Pilayi hai kis nazar se tu ne
Ke mujhko apni khabar nahin hai

Tere pyaar ne, teri chah ne
Teri behki behki nigaah ne
Mujhe sharabi bana diya
Ke sharaab peena sikha diya”

Roughly translated (improvements welcome)

“What a drink! What an intoxication!
These are all gifts from you
How have you inebriated me with your glances?
That now I have lost all my awareness.

Your love. And your longing…
Your flirtatious looks
Has made a drunkard out of me
(For) they have taught me how to drink”


14 February 2016

Some fears transcend national boundaries

Today is Saraswati Pujo in India. This is when we celebrate the Goddess of education (knowledge) and music. I also call it the Bengali Valentine’s day but that is a completely different topic to be discussed another day.

A common practice during Saraswati Pujo is to submit some of your text books or pens and pencils to the idol during the day of worship. The convention among us was to put in the text books of the subjects we feared the most of failing – hoping Goddess Saraswati will see us thru in the tests.

Today, as I took a picture at the end of the day when all the decorations were coming down in our local Saraswati Pujo in Atlanta, I could not help notice the number AP Calculus text books next to the idol (watch carefully next to the swan) 🙂


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