The “think within the box” project has started. The idea – as I had explained before – is to fit all my clothes and shoes in a suitcase. This includes all summer, winter, office, home and running clothes and shoes. After about two hours, I managed to come out on the other side of Phase 1. Nikita helped me take the 150+ articles of clothing to the Goodwill center and give them away in donation.
As I was cleaning up the closets, I remembered what my brother and sister are having to do back in India after our parents’ demise. I felt vaguely good that after my death, others will have to spend less time getting rid of my stuff.
Coming up soon – phase 2. I have to tackle all the office clothes and winter clothes in that phase.
With the incessant rains in Atlanta and the travel this week, I had not had a chance to take out the motorbike for almost a week. Which meant that a 5 mile ride to the Starbucks inevitably included a 15 mile detour!!
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!!
“You must be the guy Larry calls his ‘best manager in life’”, said the stranger to me.
I am usually not the one at loss for words. Ever. Even when I make no sense. Especially when I make no sense.
But I was stumped this time.
The best I could come up with is “I have been called worse!”
It is not often that one goes to Ohio unless they have family. And I do not. And yet, there I was. If you do go to Ohio, I guarantee you, you are not going to go to Independence, Ohio. Even the GPS tried to take me to a town called Independence in a different state. And if you know me… even if you found me in Independence, Ohio, it would be near a Marriott hotel. Not a Holiday Inn.
Certainly not a Holiday Inn where all the rooms were booked by aficionados of “Pez” swarming there for “Pezmania 30”! I know that for a fact because till about a couple of weeks back, I did not know what a Pez is. My guess is most of my readers do not know either. I am not going to describe it to you — you can read it up in Wikipedia. I am going to talk about the human angle to this.
“Larry, this is stupid! Why would so many people come together for a freaking mint dispenser? And they are such nice people, too.”
“You collect fountain pens?”
Ayayayayay!! He got me and he got me good!
It is never about the things. It is always about the passion. How else do you explain that I write with fountain pens or listen to music on much damaged vinyl records from India?
Passion is probably the best way to describe Larry.
We worked as team mates many moons back… I am talking nearly ten thousand moons back. But there has been something about this guy that has always kept me close to him.
He is the inspiration behind how my blog site looks.
He is the reason why I taught myself CSS and HTML.
He is the one who introduced me to ‘I wish you enough”
He is the one who taught me “The difficult, we will do now. The impossible, will take a little more time!”
We have gone thru a lot in our personal lives in those 20+ years we have known each other. He, more than me.
But we have stayed connected. Stayed together. I wish I was even more connected to him than I am today.
A few weeks back, when I was in Dallas for some personal business, I did get a chance to see Larry. And got to know about his fascinating “Pezmania” and 3-D printing. That is when I promised him that I will re-route myself from office to home (which in my case is Chicago to Atlanta) and go to the Holiday Inn in Independence, Ohio where he would be with many other Pezmaniacs.
Can you spot me in the picture? I am the most well dressed guy – in fact, the only one with a sports jacket. Standing right next to the one of the few true human beings I know – Larry.
Larry apparently had talked to enough people about me that before I left, I walked away with a lot of free gifts – including a T-shirt for my hospice visits!!
Larry Mason, as a runner (who is slowing down in this age of mine) – let me tell you something I have learnt about life from running. We all start from different points. And we all end at different points. It is never about those points. It is always about who you run a little… walk a little… together in that journey. Those two dates of starting point and ending point in our tombstones are meaningless – life truly is in that “dash”.
You were, are and will always be one of a kind.
For the record, I still like how your family calls me (“the most interesting man”) better than how your Pezmaniac friends call me 🙂
But my life is better because of who you have been to me. Not the adjectives you happened to have used to describe me. As undeserving as they might have been.
Here’s wishing to a few more intersections in life…..
I am very sure the animals in our property are take a cue from our dog. Jay Jay, the said dog, is a hunter dog by DNA only. In reality, somewhere in his convenient brain, he has translated “hunting” to “sleeping” in dog language. These days, he does not even bother to react when I enter the room he happens to be sleeping in. Sometimes, he condescends to open an eyelid… but just sometimes.
Even the deer in our property is getting lazy. Today, I came within five feet of one grazing. Did not even bother stopping to see what this car noise is all about.
And then this squirrel. It was happily resting on top of our fence. It saw me spot it. It saw me call Nikita to show it to her. It saw me take my phone out of my pocket. It saw me come within five feet of it. Nothing… no reaction! For a moment I was wondering if it had its paws stuck or something.
I took a picture and just let it be. I think our house is the only house where the humans are scurrying around and the animals are busy resting.
Early morning, I was having my cup of tea sitting outside in the porch. It had rained overnight and everything outside was drenched. I was looking at the birds being very busy as they went about their daily bird-routine, when this leaf on the ground caught my eye. Went downstairs and stepped onto the wet ground to take a close up picture. Very interesting how the color difference is split right down the middle!
This week, in our annual all company meeting, we hosted one of the special needs (autistic) students and his mom. These are the kind of folks that we make products for (actually to help them and their teachers). We also hosted the CEO of the company the kid now works in. You can guess that he has become a fully functional socially contributing kid now.
I will write about the kid and his mom later (awaiting permission to publish their picture). But this piece is something the mom (please allow me to refer her by that till I get permission to publish names) read out when she was asked during the Q&A session – “What went thru your head when you realized that you kid has special needs?”
It is a piece (some call it a poem) written by Emily Perl Kingsley in 1987. The picture her is of the author and her son Jason, born with Down Syndrome.
WELCOME TO HOLLAND!!
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says,
“Welcome to Holland.”
“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.
The other day, Sharmila and I were hanging out with some friends and I was gently chiding her about all the clothes and shoes she has – that she never wears. I do not remember most of the rest of the discussion (no, she did not hit me on the back of my head causing me concussion) but I remember how the ladies agreed that they do not want to be seen twice in the same dress. I am sure, in the past, it was possible to abide by that rule and still wear a dress twice if the people to be met had not seen the dress before. Today, of course, with any party getting memorialized forever with obligatory pictures in social media – that wiggle room has gone right out of the window.
However, what I remember most is that Sharmila immediately retorted “You have lots of clothes in the basement too”. I brushed her comment aside chalking it up to be a defensive reaction from her.
But later, I did reflect upon those discussions and got stuck at that comment. While I certainly have far less clothes than her, it is true that I have a lot of clothes. I am defining “a lot” by stuff that I wear only a few times in a year.
That drove me to an uncomfortable realization that I probably suffer from the same challenge that I ridicule others about. Why do I have so many clothes? Why do I need 5 running shirts when 2 should be enough? Why do I have so many office shirts when 4 should be enough? (Even that, in these days of work from home, I am not sure I need all 4).
Lest it be ever said that I lack the capability to go from an awkward realization to a crazy decision faster than you can cry “Uncle”, I managed to conjure up my next personal challenge.
Can I live my life out of a suitcase?
Not all my stuff, mind you – for, it would be difficult to fit my motorbike in any suitcase – but at least, all my clothes, shoes and those stuff. Anything I wear. And if I buy anything new, one compensatory item has to go out.
No doubt I will be ridiculed for this clothes project – if not for anything else, for insisting on thinking inside the box only – but then again, I get ridiculed no less for my choices in what I wear anyways.
Have any of you ever tried such a project? Shridhar and Suzanne, I think you have some experience in this kind of minimalist living, right? Any tips on how to plan, what mistakes to avoid etc?
First thing first. I have to call dibs on the biggest suitcase we have in our house now!