31 October 2022

My 15 minutes of fame

I had finished my dinner with Jon and had pulled up the rental car to the valet at the hotel. I saw the valet guy take the keys from the person who had the previous car and walk towards the car. Then, on second thoughts, he ran back to the person who was going up the steps to the checking in counter. I could see he asked him something, the guest nodded, both smiled, shook hands and parted.

“Is he somebody famous?” I asked the valet looking at the clean shaven, well built African American gentleman walking away. I was expecting him to be some kind of professional athlete.

“Yes. He is Mr. Booker”

Now, I have to admit I did not know who exactly Mr. Booker was but the name was vaguely familiar. The valet guy for some reason told me he is the mayor of DC. Which my irate daughters later pointed out is actually a lady. And this was the famous senator from New Jersey – Mr. Cory Booker.

After he was done checking in, I was wondering whether I should go and talk to him. He probably gets too many strangers walking up to him and bothering him.

I finally took the plunge. “Mr. Booker?”, I asked as he was grabbing a couple of bottles of water.

He turned back and said “Yes.”

“How many times do you get asked that question everyday?” I asked. Since I could not come up anything better or more interesting to ask.

“More than you think”, he said and laughed and put me at ease.

It should have ended there with me wishing him good night.

Instead, I proceeded – “I am from Atlanta but I have a daughter in DC. She just started in GWU.”

“Really, what is she studying?”

“Well, she wants to do law”

“We need smart kids in law. Good for her.”

“I know this is imposing on your privacy but would you be open to taking a picture with me? My daughter will be thrilled” I asked a little worried that incessant requests like this probably irritates folks like him.

“Oh! absolutely!”

As I was trying to look around to ask somebody to take our picture, he did something startling. He took the phone away from me.

“What is your daughter’s name?”


He put the camera on video mode and started taking a video of him and me. And he said “Hey Niki! Here I was minding my own business here in Milwaukee and this guy who can be my stunt double walks up to me and says he knows you. Hope he knows you! Wish you all the best. You have a cool dad!”

And I am yelling “Oh! My God!!!”

Then he took a selfie with me, made sure I got his Chief of Staff Veronica’s contacts (who also a took a selfie with me) and asked me to pass it on to Niki and that if she wanted an internship ever, she should contact Veronica.

We bade each other adieu. I checked in and went to my room. And then sent the video to the girls. One remonstrated with me for not mentioning her name and the other was in sixth heaven.

But for once, both agreed that dad may not be always somebody to be embarrassed of.

That was my 15 minutes of fame!!

31 October 2022

Intersection Point!! Mr. Wittman!

I had not seen Jon in ages. We had worked together in a previous job and had I personally learnt a lot about airplanes from him. I remember he taking me to the hangars and explaining the intricacies of flying and maintaining the airplanes we owned.

And the beer and wine we used to have in Sheboygan!!

We had thought of meeting for an hour and a half. It was three and a half hours by the time we got kicked out of the restaurant!! It is difficult to express the feelings of meeting old friends like Jon after a such a long time. We had some nice learning moments exchange notes on reflections from our times together!

I also found out that his daughter is a teacher. Hopefully, I will get to work with another Wittman from the family soon!

31 October 2022

Wait. Where am I?

Landed in Chicago airport. Flying Delta from Atlanta. In the last 4 years, I have probably done this 80 times or so (counting the pandemic period!). I was on a call as I walked out of the plane, instinctively took a right turn and soon realized that I was totally lost.

Where the heck was I? Why does the airport have so many bright lights? Which airport did I land in?

I walked back to my gate. And took a few minutes to put the whole thing together.

Delta has now moved from Terminal 2 to Terminal 5. Terminal 5 is the international terminal. It is much much better than the previous one. It is so much more spacious, well lit and the Sky Club? infinitely better.

I am really, really happy Delta has moved. Now I have to wait another month till they start Clear in this terminal.


30 October 2022

Arranged all my CDs. Well, about half of them.

After my vinyl record collection, now I am into arranging my CDs! Thankfully, I had never discarded my music CDs after streaming and music-in-cloud took over. Brought out the 1200+ CDs I have, selected about 500 of them (mostly 90s and before) to keep for ready access and put them in these neat looking book cases.

Love the CD storage boxes. Took my a month to find something I would like.

Now I am ready for more music with Jay Jay. Who, for some reason, has equated Indian music without Pringles to be a cue for him to go to sleep!

30 October 2022

From the bartender’s corner – Negroni variant

Last week, Hunt mentioned that he had tried a Negroni with a Old Tom gin instead of a regular gin and that he rather liked it. Old Tom gin is a precursor to today’s gin (often called London Dry) and is usually aged in barrels unlike gin.

To go back a little more in time, I tried mine today with Genever. Which is the original source of today’s gin. In fact Old Tom gin is considered the bridge between Genever and modern day gin.

The effect was indeed remarkable. I think it was the ageing (the wood aroma) that you could feel on the nose that made the difference.

29 October 2022

A classic one from Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

“Do you not have a party to go to?” I asked her innocently.
“Why? Are you trying to get rid of me?”
“No. No. No.”, I lied vociferously.
Like I had any chance of she not seeing thru it.

Truth is that in the small house, I do miss my corner in the evening where I can listen to my own music with Jay Jay with the lights dimmed to my own mood. Not saying she does not adapt to it – she absolutely does. But some things like music is very, very individual.

Right at that moment, she got a call from her friend to see if she was open to go out for a wine.

Boy, was she ever ready for that call!

Indeed, was I ever!!

Thanks to Paromita and Seemita-di, I was able to bring out an old “Bade Ghulam Ali Khan” record (another gift from Deval’s dad’s collection), clean it up and play it for myself.

Nobody has ever done “Yaad Piya Ki Aaye” to my ears like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan has. This evening was no different.