30 January 2022

Rendezvous with a gentleman!

“You know I have dementia, right?”, asked John.
He had barely sat down in my car and put his seat belts on. And those were some of the first words he had for me.
I had no idea how to respond.

That morning, his wife Shelly and I had talked. She had mentioned about his increasing degeneration of cognitive abilities. We had agreed that I would come by and take him out for a coffee and snack.

I met him after many years. We were in Equifax together. That was two companies back for me. In between, I had showed up for his retirement party in Equifax. I remember we had gifted him with a bike. He is still crazy about bikes. That is when I had met Shelly for the first time.

Of course, I was not going to talk about his cognitive stuff with him. Having seen my dad and many of my hospice friends, most do not recognize that they are losing their cognitive capabilities.

You can imagine then why I was dumbfounded when he broached the topic right then and there – without any fear or favor. In hindsight, I had really nothing to be surprised by. John, as long as I have known him, has always been a straightforward person. He was and still is very open and honest.

Over coffee, I got to know a lot about his personal life and his past professional life. He was struggling here and there in his articulation but was clearly delighted that he could relive his past successes and happy moments thru the stories he kept telling me.

One of the highlights of his career was a small company that they had successfully sold to Experian (competitor of Equifax).

“So, you made a lot of money?”, I asked.
“I did alright”.

And then to prove that old mischievous John with a wicked sense of humor was still lurking around, he asked me:

“Do you know why I lost most of that money?”,
“Why?”, I asked, genuinely curious.
“Because I had married twice before I met Shelly!” he winked!

I almost snorted my tea out!!

I was good seeing you John! I look forward to many more coffee meetings!

29 January 2022

Writing first letter from our new house to be

All the stationery and library set up has been moved to the new house together with all the pens and ink pots and writing pads.

This is the first letter from the new house (we have not moved in yet). This letter is headed Madhuri’s way to Singapore!

Of course letter writing is not just about fountain pens and personalized pads… it has include the whole wax seals to go with it!

29 January 2022

Long drive for a drink

Normally, Sharmila and I go out for a drink every single evening if I am in town. This time she was not in town.

No problems! I drove up a couple of hours to where she was to join her for a drink in the evening and then drove back by myself!

28 January 2022

Book Review: Think on These Things – Edited by D. Rajagopal

This is one of the books I had started exploring when I had Covid. If you remember, I was trying to look for books on Silence.

Overall, I did not enjoy the book. Just gave up after reading one third of it. Krishnamurti’s commentary or insights are fairly interesting. I loved the very first chapter – “The Purpose of Education”. But the editor, in my opinion, has made a mess of the whole book by presenting 27 very disparate chapters (each mercifully only 4-5 pages long). The jump from one topic to another has little flow and even less lucidity. Inside of a chapter, there are a couple of pages of Krishnamurti’s insights and then there are a few questions that he answers. The questions seem off place – or at least the connection to the topic de jure is tenuous most of the times. Or at least to a person like me, so it seemed.

Certainly cannot recommend this book. There has to be a better book that has put Krishnamurti’s thoughts together.

28 January 2022

Dafli Wale Dafli Baaja

Remember the story of the Noorie cassette from last week? That Papiya-di had lent to me and Avijit? Well, guess what was on the other side of the cassette? “Sargam“!!

I remember loving each and every song from that movie – Dafli Waale, Hum To Chale, Koyal Boley, Ram Ji Ki Nikli, Koyal Boli, Kahan Tera…

To complete the memories of that cassette from four decades back, Sargam vinyl record was the choice for this evening…

28 January 2022

From the bartender’s corner – Tuxedo

This drink’s name has a fascinating root. Back in the 1880s, a private members-only club called Tuxedo Club started in the planned community of Tuxedo Park in Orange County, NY. This is the same club that gave us the menswear called “tuxedo”. Around the same time, a new cocktail was served at the bar in the club. As you must have guessed, it was called Tuxedo. This is a nearly 140 year old drink.

Vodka, Dry Vermouth, Maraschino Liqueur and Orange Bitters. (There is a variation that uses absinthe too)

27 January 2022

Here is another problem to be solved

Now that we have solved the temperature problem in Chicago, here is another one from San Francisco.

[Errata: Looks like I have completely forgotten my physics – Sound is longitudinal and light is transversal – it is about which way the wave is moving and the particles in the wave are moving.

However, my original question remains – although I cannot remember the terms now – a ray of light goes straight but sound disperses in all directions – like the pool analogy. So, how does this work?]

Last week, I was in San Francisco and as his is wont, Matt Moore invited me to go for a walk with him by the waterfront and discuss business issues. While walking around Pier 15 enjoying some nice coffee, he showed me something. It is basically a set of two parabolic metals facing each other about 50 yards away. Each has a small stool to sit on. Matt asked me to go sit on one and he sat on another. As you can see in the picture.

Some of you might have guessed this, I could distinctly and loudly hear what he was saying. It felt like he was just six inches behind my head and he was talking to me from there with a slightly louder than usual voice of his.

For the next few minutes, I showed off my Physics to Matt by eloquently explaining how we were sitting in the focal points of the parabolas and how his voice was hitting his parabola, going then in a straight line to my parabola (geometric property of parabola if you remember) and then my parabola was putting all that on to its focal point which is where I was sitting. You would have seen the same in microwave towers, large telescopes etc. I do not know what Matt thought but I thought I did a good job.

Two days later, I realized what an idiot I was. I was telling Sharmila about it and then half way thru, I stopped cold. I realized that everything I said to Matt was correct but only for longitudinal waves – you know like microwaves, light etc. But sound is a transversal wave. It spreads out in concentric circles (like if you throw a stone in still pool). Those sound waves from Matt would have emanated as concentric circles and then after some of them hit the metal parabola, they would start out as more concentric circles from the point of incidence (where it hit the metal). Then where is the question of focus and all that in an ellipse?

But I experienced it myself.

How do you explain that?