26 July 2021

All nothingnesses are not the same

They try telling me that you came from nothing and you eventually became nothing. That I came from nothing and that I will go back to nothing. So, why think about it?

But this is where I agree with Eric Weiner’s words and disagree with the world.

The nothing that was before you were born is not the same nothing that is now that you are gone. One is a nothing that was always nothing while the other is a nothing that was once something. That makes a difference.

The void in space is not the same as a mine in the earth. Both are nothingness. But those nothingnesses are different because they are defined by the proximity to what was.

And what still is.

24 July 2021

What am I doing in a Pop Up Art Show?

Well, first of all, I have no idea what a Pop Up art show is. But I heard they have free mimosas. Also that Sharmila had a few paintings on display. It was hot enough that the mimosa sounded good. Met Sharmila’s artist friends and some of her customers. I still do not understand paintings… but, I know that orange juice tastes funny in the morning without the champagne in it!!

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13 July 2021

A familiar spot

“You will not know me sir…”, I started my conversation with the gentleman who had just stepped out of his house when I rang the bell. If I could get a penny every time I have started my conversation with a stranger with that familiar refrain of “You will not know me…”, I would be a rich person today. Well, maybe not as poor, at least.

“My name is Rajib Roy…” I continued.

“Oh! I know you.”

That floored me. “You do? How?” I stammered. I started looking him up a little more purposefully. Perhaps we had worked together in the past?

“Oh! We still get your mail,” he casually answered.

“Ah! so you know of me, then!! Indeed we lived in this house for nine years. This was our first house – for my wife and me. Both my daughters were born in this house. We have a lot of memories here.”

“Why don’t you come in?”

“No. I am between meetings in Coppell and Mansfield. I thought I will just swing by to see the house from outside.”

We stood there and talked about his family – his five kids and how two of his young daughters have converted my library cum music room into their bedroom. And the neighbors we used to have then. After a few minutes, I told him that I needed to go.

“Would you mind if I took a picture of the house from the front?”

“Sure thing. If you don’t want to come in, you can go to the backyard from the side gate to take pictures.”

And with that I got the two shots in this picture of the first house Sharmila and I had bought and moved in to. That was 1998. Sharmila went into labor literally the day we had moved our stuff. Natasha, Sharmila and I – we all moved in together a couple of days later. I still remember opening up boxes after boxes looking for a spoon to make coffee the day after we all came back from the hospital!!

The backyard – specially the pool and the water behind brought back rich memories of the two girls. Pool was their favorite spot. Their friends used to come over and have pool parties fairly regularly. (In our friends’ circle and in the neighborhood, we were among the first ones to have a pool those days).

After taking in the view for a few seconds, I had a “Bye Bye Pool” moment like my father in law as I withdrew!

I am fortunate that work lets me still come back to Dallas and re-live some of the memories of those beautiful days long gone!!

6
13 July 2021

Wonderful evening with the Whitneys!!

That was some fun times spent with my crazy friend Roger and his family. I had not seen Shauna, Spencer and Emma for quite some time. It was great to meet Claire too!

We talked about the time when I gained respect from the passenger sitting next to me when he realized I knew Roger personally. And of course our trip to Mongolia. And that time we kept razzing a very young Spencer with “Whatever dude! You kissed a girl!!”

But my best reflection of the evening is that the discussions between my psoriasis and Emma’s tattoos, I think we covered all topics skin related 🙂

Hope we can get the two families together for a vacation some day!!

5 July 2021

Come to Eleuthera for the incredible natural beauty

But stay here for how nice the people are. Every single person in this island is very friendly. You may remember Richard, Shirley and Shelly from previous posts. On Sunday, the cigar-toting Edgar at the Liquor store and Alicia from the grocery store helped me fix a problem. (I was potentially running low on cash and both the ATMs in the island were not working!!).

In the resort itself, the people are even nicer, if that is even possible. Florence – the lady from Haiti who has been cleaning our room has been super nice. She told us her story from Haiti.

Nothing can start your day as well as a good breakfast by the turquoise blue waters and great conversations with Torez and Trisha. Both of them have young kids – almost a year and a half old. In fact, I got to meet Torez’s daughter – who was super friendly – in keeping with the island ethos, I guess. She saw me and immediately gave me a fist bump!!

“So, we come here for vacation. You live here. Where do you go for vacation?”

“Florida!”

“Really? What is there that you do not have here?”

“Tall buildings!” said Torez

“Tall buildings?”

“Yes, I can look up. Here you cannot look up!”

“That is funny”

Trisha added – “You come here to see what you do not have. We go there to see what we do not have!”

Sounds about fair!!

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26 June 2021

What old age looks like!

** all names are cooked up to protect privacy

“Betty, my patient is still sleeping in her room. Why don’t I take this gentleman off your hands?”, I asked.

Well, my hospice patient was sleeping. I was not sure what to do. I came down to the lobby level and saw Betty – at the front desk – struggling with all the calls to the front desk, buzzing visitors in and paying attention to the impatiently walking John (also a patient).

“Thank you”

“No problem”

The next 30 minutes was an eye opening exercise. Gave me a window into what my dad must have gone thru. And what I might too, myself.

You see, John has been suffering from a lot of old age issues. At a macro level, his kids have been great to him. They pay for the hospice facility, they visit him religiously every week and make a big deal on special days.

At a micro level, he has no idea about any of that. He needs them with him NOW!

The walk up and down the corridors was mostly pleas from him to see if I could get his kids to pick up from that place. (He thinks he lost his way and one of his kids just needs to take him home).

When somebody is totally daft, it is one thing. You just talk past each other. The only purpose is for the other person to think you are listening. They have no ability to judge otherwise. But when you swing between the real and unreal worlds like John, it becomes dangerous.

It is a delicate act of balancing between soothing him down when he is angry because he thinks I am not helping and supporting him when he thinks that his daughter is going to call him back moment she is done with work.

He had a mobile phone on him. That had a lot of saved numbers. And he fumbled his way to high heavens trying to call any of those numbers. All this time, walking up and down with me in the corridors.

“Why don’t we go out and sit?”

“Okay”

We settled down. But he was fixated on his phone.

Then I heard the “click” “click” noise!

“What did you do?”

“I think I took pictures.”

“Of what?”

“I have no idea”

Apparently, he was totally lost in the phone options.

“Listen, Mr. John. Why don’t you let me take a picture of you and me so I can show my daughter?”

“Is she in Stamford, Connecticut?”

“No. she is here, in Georgia”.

“This is not Georgia”

“You are right. I meant she is in Georgia. You and I are in Connecticut”. (I had to play along with his memory)

“Will you send it to my daughter?”

“Moment I meet her, sir!”

“Okay”

And of course, the instant I take the picture, he starts calling his daughter again!!

The evening went on like that…

Here is what I learnt that evening – When you grow old, you do not want anything more than being surrounded by your near and dear ones. You do realize that they have more important things to do in life. But you really, really want to be with them.

If you ever get a chance to make a difference to an old person by just being with them, please do. You do not have much time left. I know I do not!

15 June 2021

Getting to see Kwok Poon

The last time I met Kwok, we had remembered the times we had worked together back in the days. You might remember from the post then how I was absolutely taken in by this youngster’s willingness to learn new things and put in the hard work to do so.

That meeting was in 2017. I was visiting his town. Four years later, he was visiting mine. And we arranged to make sure we get some time for a drink and dinner.

This time our discussions were a little more esoteric than Unix scripts – Talent and Time. We had some good exchanges of experiences on the difficulties of nurturing and managing Talent. And also an in-depth discussion around whether Time is real or something we have made up to make sense of this universe.

Great time spent with this youngster.