I got to know Melania at work in Germany – oh! some 20 years back. Ever since then, we mostly have kept up thru phone calls and Facebook posts. Of course, there are those April birthday calls every year. I have been promising Melania to visit her whenever I find myself in Paris. But in spite of all my travels, I never made it to Paris for a long long time.
Finally this time, I made it. And Melania took some precious time off from work to come and visit me. I was running between being on the stage for a panel discussion and an office dinner meeting. And she was in the middle of a crucial sales cycle. In between, though, she biked up to where I was to have coffee and catch up on our lives and old friends.
I learnt quite a bit of skiing from her. Skiing is second nature to her. I do not think I will recognize a ski blade if I saw one. The part that blew my mind was that you can ski up a slope. I am not talking about starting with a momentum from a down slope. I am talking about starting from zero and then skiing up!
We also talked about politics in France, US and India; our old days in i2 in Germany and some of our dear friends from those days. And yes, rugby, football, American football and cricket too !!
She had to leave for work soon. It felt like we did not finish our conversation fully. It only means we need to make time to visit in US or France again!
Thank you Melania for taking to effort during office time to meet me for coffee!
A couple of months back, I went to visit his parents in Chennai. This time he came to visit me at my house in Atlanta!
Ranga and I were very close in our engineering days!
The three of us had walked up to our local Publix. Publix does not allow dogs to come in. So, Jay Jay and I hung out outside while Sharmila went in to pick up a few things.
He moved away from the high traffic area in front of the door and then thru the window pane kept staring inside waiting for her to come out. Every time somebody would come out, he would excitedly look at the person and turn his neck to follow him/her ensuring that he had not missed her. Once convinced that it was a wrong person, he would immediately swing back his neck and start the process all over again!!!
… you can, without fear or favor, blame this gentleman!! Him and Michele Baker!!
Stephen and I go back almost 10 years when he was a pilot in the company I worked in. I remember his love for flying. Has been doing it for 41 years. When I had gone to our Alaska office for a business review, Stephen had taken me up in the air and showed me a bit of Alaska.
So, when I found out that he was in town for some training, I had to find some time to sit with him. You see, Stephen is one of those rare folks whose intellectual curiosity is boundless. Of course, we spoke a lot about airplanes. The mechanisms of how the smaller planes fly and what are the key skillsets required.
But we talked about things that you would not think you would discuss with a pilot. We talked about motorcycles and we talked about boats. We talked about Bayesian probabilities and generative AIs. One of the more interesting arguments we got into was whether with quantum computing we can fairly accurately predict how any human being will think or decide on a particular problem given enough data on how the same person has thought or decided before.
It was a bit of an unfinished debate. I feel this need to go to Alaska and spend a day with him to finish off our discussion. And maybe go up in the air in his personal plane.
Something tells me the next crazy idea is starting to germinate!!