Three intersection points in one evening!!
It was going to be a late dinner for me but it was worth the wait. Pavan was going to be in town for business and the only time I had to meet her was that evening after 8. Eventually, she showed up after ploughing thru Atlanta traffic in the rains – and not a moment too soon! I was so hungry that I had already made a clean plate of chicken wings and some Old Fashioned.
We got to see each other after a long time. I think I had seen her once in California. But most of our memories are from the startup that we had worked over 20 years back (she was a consultant, I was an employee). Caught up with each other about our old friends, some of the Nusrat songs we used to listen to in those days and all the drama we used to have in office! And we talked about our old friend Al Blake a lot – not sure why – but I hope Al you are reading this. We also talked about the bar a few of us from our “SDG” team (that was the name of our team) used to visit after work late nights. I still remember that in those days, I would only drink Kendall Jackson’s Chardonnay in that bar called Humperdinks. (The bar, much later, I found out had burnt down and was replaced with something else).
We went next door from the hotel she was staying in to a restaurant called Bricktops to have dinner. We decided to sit at the bar and finish off dinner in an informal setting. At some point she went to take a bio-break. And I started chatting with the gentleman behind the bar. Come to find out that Tony Moody was his name. By the time Pavan was back, I had already learnt the history of Tony’s life; that he was a single dad and his 23 year old son is abroad and would soon be posted in Alaska. Even after Pavan came back, I continued chatting with him. And guess what? Found out that he used to work at the Four Seasons right behind where Sharmila and I used to live during the period when I worked with Pavan. Even crazier coincidence – his favorite spot to go for a drink with his friends was – Humperdinks!! We checked the years and turns out all three of us used to go to the same bar during the same time period!! For all you know that was not the first time we saw each other.
And I thought I was done for the evening. Came back to the hotel to drop Pavan and head back home. Pavan was actually meeting up somebody else after our dinner. She insisted that I said Hi to her friend before leaving. I thought it was going to be a quick introduction and off I would go. Nothing like that. I, of course, have to find some connection points with any new person I meet. Once I got to know a little about Jaideep Majumdar’s background – I asked “So, you know Ashok and Crissy Vasan?”. Sure enough, they were classmates!! Ashok and I were colleagues from the past and I remember visiting him and Crissy in their Singapore house around 2003 or so. And there was something else I knew about Ashok – India’s film superstar Shah Rukh Khan was his classmate. “So, you were Shah Rukh Khan’s classmate too?”. It took Jaideep a few seconds to figure out how I knew about it. As if that was not enough, we found out more connections at two other companies!!
That night, very late, I came back just trying to put the whole thing together. That was a lot of coincidences for one evening!!!