20 July 2024

Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be any more

Walking back from the grocery store with a bag in my hand early in the morning, I had a few throwbacks to the days of growing up in India. I instinctively knew then that just like my dad, I would someday be walking to a grocery shop to do the shopping too. I had just not bargained it to be in America and certainly not me in shorts!

The picture down the street reminded me of those days in India too. There were many other folks going to and fro from the grocery shop and a few people out for their morning walks. Admittedly, if my dad did what many of them were doing, the neighborly kids would have walked up and asked “kaku, aapnar kaaney oi saada comma duto ki?” (“Uncle, what are those two white comma-looking things in your ears?”). For, everybody seemed to be walking and talking – and flailing their arms in what seemed, from a distance, like an animated discussion with nobody in particular. Even the homeless guy in front of the grocery shop was going “Stop doing that! THAT IS MY ACT!!”

The reason I had gone to the grocery shop this early was to grab a carton of barista milk. I was running low on my stock for the morning cappuccino. I came home and Sharmila, measuring me up from top to down, quickly asked

“Did you get the eggs?”

“No. You did not ask me to.”

“Yes, I told you last night.”

Those days, no sooner would have my dad come home than my mom would start pointing out he had missed some items from the list she had made for him. That list, as it turns out, did go with him to the market but never came out his pockets there. He worked from his memory and he ad libbed a few items.

Back to market he would go.

Life, I feel this morning, has gone one full cycle for me.

If only I had a cycle like my dad used to have to go to the market.

Oh! Wait!!

16 July 2024

The real reason I started biking

Since Sharmila and I have started spending quite some time in the water, I sat down to do some math. And this is the conclusion I came to: A shark can swim faster than me but I can run faster than it. So, in a triathlon, it will all come down to who is the better cyclist! 🙂 🙂

(not original)

24 March 2024

Car tech shock: I can run but I cannot ride

Got into the new car in the garage this morning. The idea was to take it to the running trailhead for a long run. (I would run, not the car, of course!). The sheer array of electronics and gadgetry was unnerving. Before even I could shift the car into gear, it started doing all sorts of things. Which was very distracting.

Speaking of distractions, the first problem was I could not find where the gear shift handle was. I am used to a big gear shift handle that you authoritatively put in reverse in full command. The car then faithfully follows as it takes you out on the driveway. After some fiddling around, I realized it is a small little thumb paddle. That did not elicit a lot of confidence from me.

Pulled it back. And the car moved forward!! Whoa! Near incident with the garage wall!!

Apparently, I pull back to go forward and pull forward to go back. I felt like yelling at the car. I did not do it though. I was too afraid that the car might take my yelling as well thought out instructions and start following them.

Eventually, I was on the driveway. Fortunately, the steering wheel is round in shape and there are the two pedals for acceleration and brakes where you would expect them to be. So, it was a bit uneventful after that.

Till I called my brother.

First of all, I said “Hey Siri. Call my brother”. His phone started ringing. But instead of my Airpods, the ringing was coming from the car speakers. Being totally new to this, I tried to switch the phone to my Airpods. Eventually gave up and started using the car phone system.

“Can you hear me properly? Any road noise?” I asked my brother.

“Crystal clear. Are you driving?”

“I am. I am talking thru this new car system. I do not have bluetooth on.” (In India, if you say you do not have bluetooth on, it is assumed you mean you do not have your Airpods/earpods on).

“I have had a 17 year technology gap. So, I am still getting used to it.”

“What are some of the new things?”

“Here is a crazy one. I can not only talk to you thru the car – which works with my phone – I can operate the car from the phone!”


“Well, imagine we are having lunch at South City Mall.” (This is a mall near by brother’s place in Kolkata)


“And the car is getting fried outside in the hot summer sun”


“After lunch, as we pay the bill, I can tell the car thru my phone to get started and get the air conditioning going. We will be back in a few minutes.”

He thought for a while. Then started laughing.

“What happened?” I demanded to know.

“E deshe o gaari cholbe na” (That car won’t work here in this country)

“Why not?”

“We are eating at South City?”


“And you start the car from the restaurant?”

“Yes, I can do that thru my phone and the cloud”

“And the car will start itself?”

“Yes. And turn on the AC too.”

“And there is nobody there in the car?”

“No. we are at the restaurant, remember?”

Hnya. Lokey ‘BHOOT BHOOT’ korey chilliye paalabey. Aar jabar somoy duto dhil merey jaabey.

In summary, my brother is convinced that if my car suddenly started itself out of nowhere, everybody around it would sprint for their dear lives screaming at the top of their lungs that the car has been possessed by a ghost. And for good measure would throw a few brickbats at the ghost in the car too while showing a clean pair of heels.

To be safe, I switched off the remote option after reaching the trailhead.

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14 October 2023

Scare of my life

How irritating is it when the phone rings while you are in the middle of an important meeting?

I had just landed in London after a near sleepless night and was in the middle of some serious discussions with the Board when the table vibrated slightly. Everybody glanced at their phones or fished them out of their pockets. I noticed that it was my phone and it said “No Caller Id”. Well, one more of those scam calls, I concluded. Pressed the power button to cancel the call, looked at the beautiful River Thames in front and proceeded with my spiel.

Within 5 seconds, the phone rang again. With “No Caller Id”. Fairly persistent fraudster. Canceled it yet again.

And sure enough, they called up yet again. For a moment, I had a doubt that Sharmila or the daughters might be trying to get hold of me. Excused myself and picked up the phone.

“This is Alpharetta Police Department. Am I talking to Rajib Roy?”

This was TROUBLE.

“Let me take this. It is urgent”, I told the Board members as I ran out of the room, fearing some real bad news. Visions of one of the three in an accident is what kept flashing in my mind.

“This is Rajib Roy speaking. What is going on?”

“Your car is parked in an illegal spot. You need to move it now or we will have it towed.”

That was confusing. My car is at the airport. It is in a reserved parking spot. There is no way my car is anywhere near Alpharetta.

“Where is the car?”

“On Highway 9. In front of Smokejack. We have signs all over not to park anywhere on the road due to downtown events”.

“Officer, I am in London right now. I suspect that is my wife’s doing. Let me call her”

So, I called Sharmila and sure enough she and Nikita were out and about and had the car parked where it should not have been.

I went back to the room and within a minute there was a message from Nikita that they had moved the car to a proper place.

Late in the evening after all meetings, I called up Sharmila to find out what had happened.

She explained that there indeed was a sign not to park. They saw it. It said Oct 15.

“Well, why were they disallowing cars to be parked there today? It is Oct 13th today.”

She explained herself.

Unfortunately, my phone had said “No Caller Id”. If I knew the number, I was so going to call back Alpharetta Police Department and let them know that somebody thinks it is all their fault. The “From” date should not have been written in smaller font than the “To” date!