14 June 2022

That was not the way it was when we were kids

This evening, I made a foray into College Street to check out College Pen Forum. Wanted to see if there were some interesting new or old fountain pens. The trip itself was a bust since the the gentleman there thought that showing me various pens would be a waste of time and waas focusing his time on selling those inexpensive ball points and gel pens that were flying off the shelf.

Interestingly, amongst all those bulk pens, he had a winner of a fountain pen – the Pilot Justus 95. It has a very interesting mechanism that can turn the nib from hard to soft (and various settlings in between). Basically you turn the edge of the pen and as you do so, a metal plate comes out on top of the nib split. By controlling that fulcrum point, you control how much the nib will “give”. Very unique mechanism. That would set you back by over $320 in the USA or about Rs 25,000 in India.

However the most interesting experience was noticing that sign you see in the middle of the picture. You probably remember from your school days how you bought your notebooks (to write on). They were priced per notebook or might be by the dozen. That is how we grew up. That sign says you can buy by the kilogram – meaning the weight of the notebooks you buy. So, you pay by the weight instead of the count! I checked with my brother. And he confirmed that is how he buys notebooks for the nephews!

Never knew this!

14 June 2022

Nikita braved the Kolkata heat to go see the Victoria Memorial

Enroute back to the hotel yesterday, Nikita had seen the Victoria Memorial and then read up on it. Today, she asked if she could visit it. I have never been there personally. But Kaku immediately jumped in to take her there. The younger cousin – Rishu finished his school for the day and then accompanied her there. Even though it was beastly hot and humid and they went there in the peak of the afternoon heat, both reported having a great time there.

13 June 2022

This evening was with the Roy siblings

My mother in law surrounded by my side family (brother, sister and their families). The only person missing is my niece who is in a college in Bangalore.

The surprise for the evening was another Roy – our closest friend of 25 years from Dallas – Anannya showed up!!! She is visiting her parents in Kolkata.

There was way too much laughter for one evening!!

13 June 2022

What a difference 14 years makes!

I still remember Nikita going around my brother’s living room floor flanked by her cousins on their kid trikes. The Bengali band “Bhoomi”’s song “Gaari signal maaney na” was blaring. (Means – this vehicle does not stop at signals). Later, back in US, I had made a video of the cousins with that song in the background.

The vehicle of time, I realize today, indeed does not stop at any signal.

14 years later they are again chatting away to glory. Just that they have grown up so much!!

12 June 2022

Life comes. Life goes. But it always stays beautiful.

I had wanted to do this for a long time. To see if I could put the women of four generations from Sharmila’s side together in a picture. I was sure time was running out fast on me. But when Nikita said that she wanted to see “Didu” (grandmother) and the said grandmother agreed to travel from home to Kolkata, that presented the best opportunity for me.

After lunch, we headed out to Khardah to visit Nikita’s great grandmom. After a short one hour drive in reasonably crowded roads on a Sunday afternoon, we had that moment of Nikita, her mom (Sharmila), her grandmom (“Didu“) and her great-grandmom (do not know how you address great grandmoms in Bengali) together under the same roof.

For somebody of unknown age (she has no idea when she was born, but I think it would be safe to assume she is a nonagenarian given my mother in law is pushing 80) who can barely get up from bed, let alone move around by herself, she has incredible cognitive power, memory and verbal capacity. Not only did she remember the names of Nikita and Natasha, she recollected incredible details from the only other time I had visited her – 30 years back!!!

That was a beautiful moment.

I wonder if this can be repeated with Natasha too some time!