22 September 2022

From the bartender’s corner – Hanky Panky

This cocktail was invented in the early 1900s by the most famous female mixologist of those times – Ada Coleman (“Coley”). She eventually became the head bartender at the famed American Bar in The Savoy Hotel. This drink though was made while she was in the Claridge Hotel.

The story goes that Coley created the cocktail for Sir Charles Hawtrey, a celebrated Georgian actor who visited the bar. According to folklore, he asked for a drink with a punch. Coely served him this drink, leading him to exclaim “By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!”

And that is how the drink got its name.

21 September 2022

Well, this just happened

Some of you may know that professionally, I work in a company that assesses students (and younger kids) from their achievement levels to abilities to special needs and all that. In our all company call over Zoom, this time the topic was the “life of a typical user” – a teacher – and how would they use our product. Specifically, how would they interpret the scores. The idea of the organizers was to ensure everybody in the company understood what it took to walk in the shoes of a user.

It was extremely well done.

Towards the end, there was an exercise. The audience was divided into small groups and they had to discuss and interpret the score results. The 11 students they had “chosen” were uncannily the Top 10 leaders in the company and yours truly.

And in the made up reports (I insist, made up), apparently, I scored 13 in Social Studies!!

Each group were to discuss about how they interpreted the results and what actions they would take on their assigned student.

I know my business card demands that I maintain certain level of gravitas and all that in all company meetings. However, truth be told, I was rolling on the floor on live video!!

21 September 2022

“Your relationship with time is the ultimate unrequited love.”

It was exactly a conversation like this way back when with Sharmila sitting at the bar at Milton’s restaurant that made me resolve to go see my parents in India every quarter.

It was originally penned by @SahilBloom in Twitter.

Thank you Raghuram Ramakrishnan for pointing me to this.

— — —

I was out for a drink with a friend. We’ll call him George. As we settled in, George asked about my life and how I was feeling. At first, I gave him the standard response that we’ve all grown so accustomed to:
“I’m good. Busy!”
He stared blankly through my empty words.

Feeling the pressure of his gaze, I adjusted myself and added that living in California had begun to wear on me, it being so far from my parents on the East Coast. I had been 3,000 miles away for the last 12 years. And with the path I was on, there was no end in sight. The moment of vulnerability sparked an interaction that changed my life:

George: “How often do you see your parents?”
Me: “Maybe once a year now.”
George: “And how old are they?”
Me: “Mid-sixties.”
George: “Ok, so you’re going to see them 15 more times before they die.”

Gut punch.
I took a deep breath. It wasn’t meant to be rude—it was just…math.

If the average life expectancy is ~80 years, my parents are in their mid-60s, and I see them one time per year, the math—however depressing—says I will see them 15 more times before they are gone.

Our time together is finite, but we often fail to recognize it until it’s too late. Time is cruel. You’ll love it with all of your being—you may even pray for more of it—but time doesn’t care about you. Your relationship with time is the ultimate unrequited love.

The morning after this conversation, my wife and I had a very candid conversation about what we wanted in life. A few days later, we listed our house in California on the market, packed up our things, and shipped off to the East Coast to be closer to our parents.

It’s been over a year since the conversation that changed my life. I’ll never regret these tiny moments—of doing nothing in particular—that we’ll spend together in the years ahead. I’ll never regret the moments my parents get to spend with my son. I’ll never regret any of it.

My friend @waitbutwhy wrote about this “Parent Time” phenomenon in a recent New York Times op-ed. In classic fashion, he produced a striking visualization to capture the sentiment.
It brings one takeaway to life: Our time with our loved ones is so limited and precious. All of this math—depressing as it seems—should be a call to arms.

Identify the people and activities you care most deeply about. Prioritize them ruthlessly. It may be difficult—even painful—but it’s a decision you’ll never regret.

We spend most of our lives playing a game:

Everything we do is in anticipation of the future. When that future comes, we simply reset to the next one.

“I can’t wait until I’m 18 so I can [X].”

“I can’t wait until I’m 25 so I can [Y].”

“I can’t wait until I’m 45 so I can [Z].”

It’s natural, but it’s a dangerous game—one that we will lose, eventually. Time is our most precious asset and the present is all that’s guaranteed. Spend it wisely, with those you love, in ways you’ll never regret.

Always remember the famous song by Guy Lombardo:

Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.
Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink.
The years go by, as quickly as a wink.
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.

— — —

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20 September 2022

From the bartender’s corner – Queen Elizabeth

Given all the activities around the passing away of the Queen, I was looking into whether there was a drink named after her. Found one called Queen Elizabeth.

When I looked at the ingredients, I was a little puzzled. I was expecting some usual British ingredients like gin in it. Speaking of which, the Queen’s favorite cocktail, I am told was Dubonnet and gin.

Coming back to the Queen Elizabeth, it in fact, does not have any base spirit (like gin, vodka, tequila etc). It is simply Dry Vermouth, Benedictine and lime juice.

Turned out to be surprisingly tasty.

The creator of the drink – a bartender called Herbert Quack from Philadelphia in the early ’30s – had named it after his wife.

19 September 2022

The Gulf Fritillary

Saw a couple of them on my walk with Jay Jay today. They have some interesting facts about them.

These are often called “One Way” butterflies. Every winter, they die all over the US except the warm parts – mostly South Florida and South Texas. However, they do not leave any eggs or larvae like many other insects that can survive the winter and be born during spring.

As a result, every spring, a fresh batch of these butterflies start their northward journey anew!

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18 September 2022

Even if you do not come here for the food and drinks… come here to meet the people

Chiringa has been our “go to” place for a few years. It is not the food or the drinks (although they have their bright spots)… you come here for the people and how they treat you. Every single person here – (Charlotte, Susan,Emily, Emory, Kylie, Logan, Rebekah… ) will make you feel like family. But the best of them all is Lauren – the manager and uber-all here. The way she treats her employees and customers is a lesson many retailers can learn from. I know. I have watched her for the better part of four years now.

Today was a great example of that.

After a long day of hospice service, motorbike ride, boat ride, I finally settled down with Jay Jay in Chiringa for a drink and some food. (it is a six minute walk for me). Jay Jay met Jocelyn.

Jocelyn is the young daughter of the couple who cleans up the place. I have met them before. Jocelyn has quickly become a big fan of Jay Jay.

Speaking of Jocelyn, I saw Lauren sitting with her and doing something. I took
a picture. Apologize for the completely out of focus picture. Not sure what happened.

“What are you guys doing?” I enquired.

Turns out Lauren – (get this – the manager) – helps Jocelyn (the daughter of the cleaner) with her homework and actually gives her more homework!!

That is incredible!

Lauren is one of the most hard working person I know. She is on her laptop trying to keep the business going every time i see her. On top of that, she does this??

Can’t think of a better person. Can’t think of a better place.

“So, you are doing homework with her?”

“Oh yes! Jocelyn is very smart. I know her from her birth”.

You see that blurry guy in the blurry picture? That is Jocelyn’s dad. He came forward to show me the picture of Lauren holding Jocelyn when she was born,

I was stunned!!

How many retail business managers do you know who would visit the hospital to ring in the baby of the cleaner in the restaurant?

You know – I don’t care about the menu anymore. I just want to be here. And if this world has any sense of fairness, I want these kind of human beings to succeed in life.