26 October 2016

More cramming time!!!!

Having avoided all Presidential debates and my FB friends’ silly (entirely by my personal judgment) political posturing, I figured I need to start studying before I get to the polling booth. I was hoping to download the manifestos of the two candidates and read them up and think about them during my late night flight tonight.

Except that, there is no one manifesto! There are 14 web pages for Donald Trump and 41 for Hillary Clinton. So, I now need internet connection to read and think about their positions.

Argggh!! What happened to taking printouts and thinking about a candidate’s stated positions as I read thru them and decide which positions I align with regarding the future of our country?

On the other hand, maybe this means more Starbucks time!! They have fast internet connection 🙂

26 October 2016

It is like nothing changes … even twenty five years later…

After last week’s coast to coast meetings, this week has been a repeat. Today was a very long day again. Those six hour long partnership negotiations don’t get any easier. And then I had to endure the two hour long Los Angeles infamous traffic on 101 and 405. Finally, when I sat down in the Delta Sky Club, I realized it was already 10 PM by my time and I was terribly hungry.

Came out of the Skyclub and sat at a bar in a nearby restaurant. After starting the evening with an Old Fashioned, I settled for chicken wings for dinner. The wings absolutely stayed true to their name – Five Flame. Just as I was gorging thru my dinner, a couple came up and attempted to settle down in the two chairs next to me.

I moved a little to make space for them. The guy looked at me and asked “Five Flames”? I can only imagine what he must have seen. I had shaved my head in the morning and on those days, having spicy wings undoubtedly meant that I was sweating bullets thru my pate. In any case, we got started talking…

“So, where are you headed to?”, I asked.
“Tahiti and Bora Bora. We are going on our honeymoon.”
“Congratulations. Where are you coming from?”
“Atlanta. She grew up in Atlanta. Her parents live there.”.

I looked at her and was incredulous. What is the chance that I would be sitting next to somebody from my town?

“Where in Atlanta?”, I asked.

Well, this was getting spooky.

“Where in Alpharetta”?
At this point, she had no idea who I was or where I was from. I am sure she thought I was weird (well, she was not the first one to think so), but she persisted – “Barnwell Road”.

“On the Old Alabama side or the Holcomb Bridge side?”. That pretty much did it. We had started laughing out hard by now.

It turns out, Maria moved to Atlanta before her high school and her parents still live there. And where they live is on my way from home to office everyday (when I am in Atlanta that is). Both she and her husband Ryan are in social media marketing. He grew up in the midwest and has lived in Indiana and Chicago. She spent some time in New York. We talked a lot about the Washington Square Park area where she used to live and as does Natasha now. In a total coincidence, Maria had targeted NYU and USC as her top two colleges. As did Natasha!!

Here is another coincidence… after their food came, the first thing Maria did was started picking up food from Ryan’a plate. That is exactly what Sharmila does (not from Ryan’s plate; I mean from my plate). I warned Ryan that twenty five years of marriage later, he should not expect anything different.

After having a lot of fun at the end of a rather stressful day, I had to say goodbye to the young just married couple. I did promise to check up on Maria’s octogenarian parents some time. Wait till they get the shock of their life – when a weird clean shaven Indian drops by for coffee!!

I want to see if her mom picks up food from her dad’s plate. Maybe I have some hope twenty five more years later that I can have my whole plate to myself!! 🙂


24 October 2016

Tasha leaves home, for the first time by herself.

Regardless of age, saying “Bye” to a child is never easy for a parent. Every part of your mind is telling you that this is what you have worked hard all your life – so that they can go out and prosper in life in the world – a world much bigger than you will ever understand.

And yet, in that corner of your heart, a faint voice always pipes up – “So, what was left for you in your small world?”

Who knows?

Maybe the hope that they will come back again? Maybe those worlds will meet again?

[Which reminds me, I better start looking for tickets to India soon]


23 October 2016

Half marathon!

Two weeks back, after posting 10K everyday for 7 days, my quads, IT bands and the right knee was a mess. To give them some rest, I stayed off the running trail for a whole week. Went back to the trail this afternoon hoping to put in a short run to test out how the recovery has been. And while those unsuspecting muscles and joints were not watching, quietly put in a half marathon in 2 hours and 10 minutes. I am pretty sure I am going to pay for this tonight 🙂


22 October 2016

Friday night decompression…

Today’s featured song is one from Kabir. Kabir was a 15th century mystic poet from India. The song is sung by Nirali Kartik and Mooralala Marwada (under the aegis of the group Maati Bani). This is a song of the Banjaras – the tune is typical of them. The original nomadic tribes that started from Arabia eventually reached various parts of the world – the ones that went to Romania and now Europe are often referred to as “gypsies”. The ones that made it to India are often called (among other names) “Banjara”. Banjara also refers to the distinct (folk song) music they sing to.

“Chakki chal rahi, Kabira baitha royee
Dono pud ke beech me saajha na nikle koi
Chakki chal rahi Kabira baitha joye
Khoonta pakdo nij Naam ka, to sajha nikle jo soyee”

Chakki refers to a millstone (used to grind grains). It metaphorically refers to the grindstone of Time.
Khoonta refers to the middle hub (axis) of the hubstone that does not move.
Dono pud – this refers to the two stones in a millstone. Metaphorically, it refers to the Heaven and Earth

Roughly translated (adapted from somebody else)

The millstone (of Time) grinds on, Kabir weeps (watching the inevitable)
Between the two stones (wheeling heaven above and turning earth below) no one escapes unscathed (like the grains between the millstones)
The millstone grinds on, Kabir still sits there watching
Grab hold of the hub (of the millstone) of the name (soul) that is yours, (for) that is the path to your deliverance.


21 October 2016

Royters News: Now what do we do?

A massive DDOS attack (from of a hacking attack) has brought down a lot of social media as well streaming sites like Netflix, Spotify in the US. On a Friday evening! No less!!

Now people have been left with no choice but to (gasp!) talk to each other. Unfortunately, most of their sentences so far have been constructed with the words – “Like”, “Retweet”, “Share” and “Pound Sign” :-)(Apparently some did not get the memo that it is called HashTag 🙂 )


21 October 2016

New vineyards and a new friend

This week started very early and then continued with a feverish pitch. Somewhere, lost in the blur of all those meetings, I remember being in Washington DC, Dallas, TX and then Portland, OR. By Thursday evening, I felt I was justified to go visit a new vineyard. Being in Oregon helps!!

Grabbed Anand who has recently moved his family from Dallas to Portland and went to Cooper Mountain Vineyards which was about a 10 mile drive from his house. Got to try out quite a few Pinots while there. But more importantly, made a new friend in Barbara Gross whose family owns the place. Both Anand an I got to learn a lot about the history of Oregon wines and quite some about growing grapes from Barbara.

Also, Jean and Annie, I totally threw in your names as my friends to come across as somebody knowledgeable about Oregon wines 🙂 🙂 Which, as all of us agree, innumerable bottles later, sadly, I am indeed not 🙂