28 August 2021

First time there was no reminder on his birthday!

Every Aug 28, at about 9AM my time – 6:30PM his, the following conversation would happen:

“Dad, it is your birthday today, right?”

He would fumble for a few seconds like something hit him from the left field… “Today is my birthday???”. And then he would give up and after clearing his throat loudly ask my mom over the sound of hissing oil of something being fried in the kitchen.

“Koi sunchho? Aajkey aamaar jonmodin?” (“Can you hear me? Is it my birthday today?”).

Mom would diligently do the math – August. 28th. Yes, that has to be his birthday!!

After establishing that it was indeed his birthday, I would then wish him. At which point, he would usually come back with some variant of the same message – “At my age, nobody celebrates birthdays. I am waiting for my final day.”

A few more minutes of conversation later, I would talk to my mom and then the next phase of the drama would start.

I would call my sister downstairs and remind her that it is dad’s birthday. She would excitedly scream at everybody and sundry how did everybody forget that. My niece – always the quiet person who gets things done – would in the meanwhile put in an order for a cake.

Then would be a call to my brother. Who undoubtedly would be pacing up and down at his house. (That is what he does when he does nothing else. Or anything for that matter). He would, in a matter of fact way, register what I just said and then move on!! Not before I would tell him to ask the nephews to call up dadu (grandpa).

Usually the whole thing would end by me receiving a WhatsApp message from my niece – with some pictures of dad reluctantly eating a cake surrounded by smiling mom and sister’s family.

This year too, I had to remind my sister’s family and my brother’s family.

There was no picture of cake at the end, however!

23 August 2021

Poignant memory of my father in law!!

Three years back, on this day, in the middle of a company acquisition in Chicago, I got the news that my father in law had transitioned. Rushed back to Atlanta immediately to pack off Sharmila on the first flight to India.

The first message that hit my inbox today was from my mother in law. It was a picture she sent on Whatsapp. She had decorated his picture with flowers and offered all the Bengali sweets (my father in law was not too much into sweets – but you cannot worship anything in Bengali without sweets) and his favorite “cha-biskoot” (tea and crackers).

The biggest change in these three years? My mother in law has mastered modern technology!! She is the same person that used to be deathly afraid of holding an iPad because it used to go “edik odik” (topsy turvy) if she moved!!

Miss the big guy though…

22 August 2021

Letter writing on a Sunday evening

After a long time, accepted a dinner invitation this weekend. (I usually do not enjoy parties). Which meant, of course, writing out a Thank you letter. That is the most fun part of any party to me.

Brought out a pen I had bought in 2014 from the Atlanta Fountain Pen show. The body is a mix of light yellow and green. Went with green ink for this letter!

22 August 2021

From the bartender’s corner – Mr. 404

I have not been able to find the original root of the name – although it has been featured in Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide for some time.

This is vodka, elderflower liqueur, aperol, lemon juice and sugar syrup. The right way to serve is with a orange peel for garnish but I did not have any oranges handy.

The drink itself is strong with the sweet fragrance of elderflower on the nose and a bit bitter sweet to the palate.