The first friends that I had brought to this spot was Amitesh and Anusuya – that was last July. (Had found out about this lakeside spot during a bike ride). That time, Sharmila was in India. Yesterday, for the first time the entire families from the two household came over.
The four girls landed up chatting incessantly while the parents enjoyed the beautiful sunset and the cool breeze after that.
Sharmila and I went to Lake Allatoona this week. Had a couple of drinks art Sunset Grille. It was a little warm initially but cooled down as the sun dipped down. There was some great live country music (which I do not understand but sometimes find the tunes catchy) and a couple of great motorbikes come by!
Last evening, Sharmila and I headed out to have a drink by the lake. We thought we would try out Allatoona Lake for a change. Half way thru the drive, I was checking the GPS to make sure I was headed the right way when I realized that the restaurant by the lake was closed on Tuesdays.
We were within 10 minutes of Woodstock downtown and there is a bar there I have wanted to try out for quite some time. We were soon there. It is a bar (Rootstock and Vine) on the rooftop overlooking the main intersection of Woodstock downtown. It was great weather – cloudy, cool and breezy. There was enough social distancing and masks around. I would wear it only when I had to talk to Nicole and Abby who were serving us. It would have been disastrous if I tried drinking wine while having the mask on, needless to say.
The picture does not do a good job of capturing the beauty of sitting out in open air on a rooftop overlooking cars and passersby below while sipping some Pinot Noir.
When we first moved into our property thirteen years back almost to this day, the daughters (they were barely nine and three then) and we were fascinated by the multitude of fireflies in the forest. We had not yet put in any of outside lights or structures yet – so it used to be a panoply of ephemeral fluorescent dots darting across a impenetrably dark backdrop.
For the sound effect, there used to be the constant drone of crickets all over us. All we would do is just grab a couple of chairs and immerse ourselves in raw nature.
Last evening, I took the dog out for a walk. It was getting dark already. And as I walked up to our gate, we saw a familiar scene from yesteryears again. Of course, the fireflies come every summer. It is just that something called life has rudely interjected my routine. Stood there watching the fireflies and took a short video.
The dog eventually got impatient and insisted on going out of thee property for his walk!
It had been a long sixteen hour flight. And my jet lag was starting to kick in. Immigration, Customs and Starbucks later, eventually my Lyft ride showed.
“Yes, sir! Rajib?”
“Yep. Do you mind if I sit in the front? I get car sick behind.”
As I settled down in my seat and Gregory (Roso) started navigating thru the evening Atlanta traffic, I was tempted to doze off. Instead, decided to see if a conversation and the Starbucks coffee could keep me awake. I was hoping against hopes that Gregory would be up for a conversation.
“So, what do you do outside of Lyft rides?”
That was interesting, I thought.
“What kind of music? Do you play music? Sing?”
“No, I produce music”.
Frankly, I had no idea what music production meant. What I learnt fascinated me. Gregory composes his own music and records them. Then he leases them or sells them outright.
Turns out he comes up with his own tunes and rhythms and then composes them with the instruments that he has.
“So, how do you sell them?”
“Mostly thru my website and networking”.
I checked out his website – https://www.producedbyvino.com. Fairly impressive.
“Why that URL?”, I asked mildly amused by the name.
“I am a big fan of basketball. And Kobe”. Looks like Gregory grew up with Kobe as his idol. The one thing he learnt from him, he said, is the value of practice. I understand, Kobe practiced for long hours. I do not know much about basketball. But Gregory informed me that Kobe had a nickname Vino because he got better with age unlike most other players. And that explained the website name. Gregory fashions himself after his idol.
“How about your personal life? Where are you from?”
“My mom is originally from Dominican Republic. I was born in Connecticut and spent early childhood there. Moved here with my mom eleven years back”
“And your dad?”
“He is in Connecticut”
“So, they are separated”
“Yes. My dad remarried and I have a step sister”
“And your mother?”
“She never married again. It is she and I.”
“Do you see your dad much?”
“Yes. I visit them whenever I can”
“You are close to your dad and step sister?”
“Now, I am. It did not start this way. I was very angry with my dad. I did not like him”
“Well, as I grew older, I realized that this was probably for the best for both of them. Now, I am glad that they are not together.”
“Yes. They are both in better places. And me working thru my anger with my dad has put me in a stronger place.”
“How about your girlfriend?”
“I do not have time for girls now.”
“I want to stay focused on making money. I want to make a lot of money. I have my youth now. I do not want to lose focus. That is what Kobe would have told me.”
“What will you do with a lot of money?”
“I want to take care of my mom”
“I want to buy her a good house and make sure she is financially very stable.”
“You know, your mom sounds like a wonderful person. Certainly has a wonderful son. I hope to meet her some day.”
“Thank you, sir! If you had come half an hour earlier, you could have met her.”
That surprised me!
“How? Were you giving her a lift?”
“No. She works in the hotel when I am dropping you.”
Wow!! What is the chance of that?
Sharmila and I were going to meet at a Westin for a drink instead of me going home and from there were going to head out to her art show inauguration. It is exactly in that hotel, as liuck would have it, that my Lyft driver’s mom works!!
Sure enough, when I enquired later in the restaurant in Westin, Maria had left a little while ago.
“No worries, Gregory. I go there once in a while. I will remember to meet her and tell her that she has a son who has great head on his young shoulders.”
That is when we pulled up to the Westin. I quickly introduced Sharmila and Gregory to each other and Sharmila took our picture.
If you ever run into Gregory, don’t forget to say Hi and encourage this incredible young gentleman.