21 August 2021

This has to be some kind of a sign from above!

“Is this what you do full time?”
“No. I usually drive Lyft or Uber during the weekends”
“What do you do during the week?”
“Oh! I take care of a business we have and the kids”

“What would you like to do when you grow up?”, I pressed on with my Lyft driver Osman
“I want to work in startups. Do you know how I can join a startup?”
“Do you know a lot of coding?”
“No, I can learn though. I also know foreign languages – Russian, Turkish… can that help?

“Wait a minute. You know Russian and Turkish? Going by your name, are you Turkish?”
“Where are you from?”
“I do not know – going by the first name – some place in the middle east?”

“I am from Azerbaijan!”
“AZERBAIJAN?” I said so loudly that he turned back while driving to check what just happened.
“Well, I think you are not going to believe me. But you are only the second person I have ever met from Azerbaijan. And the first one was just a couple of weeks back!”
“Really? In Atlanta? There are only four Azerbaijani families in Atlanta.”
“No, in Providence, Rhode Island. I was there with my daughter. We went to a restaurant by the river. And the lady who ushered us in said she was from Azerbaijan. I remember her name was Shams.”
Then after checking my phone, I went on… “Shams Aliyeva is the full name”
“Yes. That is an Azerbaijani name.”

I told him how I learnt a lot about the country from her. Before that, I had heard about the country for the first time in my third grade while reading Tintin (The Crab with the Golden Claws) back in 1975. And that while I have never been to Azerbaijan, I had once flown over it while going from Istanbul to Bishkek.

“What were you doing in Bishkek?”
“Well, my friend Roger and I were on an adventure trip to Mongolia”
“You should now visit my country.”
“I will absolutely do so. In fact, that is what I was telling Shams the other day too!”
“You will love Baku, the Caspian Sea, the beaches and the mountains!”
“Well, I met two of you in a matter of weeks. That is a sign to me already!”

“But do not go to Armenia and then to my country. We have a difficult relationship.”
“I know. Like India and Pakistan.”
“Exactly”, he said while nodding his head.

By this time I had to get off at my motorbike shop where it had gone for servicing. Before getting off, Osman and I took a picture and agreed to grab a coffee in Cumming, GA sometime!!

Roger, if you are reading this, let’s do a quick trip to Azerbaijan some time. Anybody else cares to join?

Posted August 21, 2021 by Rajib Roy in category "Intersection Points

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