23 May 2022

Punta Cana trip

  1. First Daddy-(younger)Daughter vacation together!! Nov 18, 2018

  2. First view of Punta Cana Nov 18, 2018

    Nikita and I reached the hotel fairly quickly after landing. The heat and humidity immediately hit us.

  3. The lush green Nov 18, 2018

    Unlike its neighboring country, Dominican Republic has not yet fallen into the trap of massive deforestation. Flying in to the island from above, everything looked verdant green below.

  4. Surveying its hunting grounds… sitting atop a heap of sea weed. Nov 18, 2018

  5. A view while strolling on the beach with Nikita Nov 18, 2018

  6. Red, blue and white! Nov 18, 2018

  7. The unseen sunset Nov 18, 2018

  8. Book Review: “Moonwalking with Einstein” Nov 19, 2018

    You are probably wondering what, with my level of ineptness in dancing am I doing with moonwalking and with my level of modest IQ, am I doing reading about Einstein. Actually, this book has nothing to do with either. This is one more of those great books suggested by the most well read persons (at least on relatively abstruse subjects) that I know of – my MBA classmate Somshekhar.

    You might recollect that I have been trying to understand how to slow down my inevitable decaying of memory ever since I reached this side of half a century of revolutions around the sun. I even have tried learning by rote anything I can – country names, capitals, NATO alphabet code, periodic tables and so on.

    That is when Somshekhar had pointed me to this fascinating book. If you have even the least bit of interest in understanding how our memory works, this is a fantastic read. And a reasonably easy read.

    Some of the interesting snippets you are going to learn include:

    (*) How our concept of who is “intelligent” changed dramatically as our memory became externalized (we could “store” stuff – on paper, pen drives etc)

    (*) What does it mean when we say that we have “forgotten” something? Has it been wiped away from our brain? Or have we merely lost the ability to access it? Or have we lost the ability to access it directly, but if you give us some associated data, we regenerate the ability to access it?

    (*) Why we forget certain things we spent a lot of time on – calculus after those long years – but never forget how to ride a bike after riding a few times successfully.

    (*) How punctuation marks and spaces contributed heavily to our forgetting what we read.

    (*) How chess players have no more IQ than you and me. But they have great memories – especially about board patterns.

    (*) How we reach the “OK Plateau” in any learning. I know it has happened to me in motorbiking. It helps you understand why you reach that plateau and how to get out of it.

    … and many such things.

    Are you wondering if the book teaches you how to memorize more? It does and it does not. It is the journey of a young journalist who went from covering Memory Championships to becoming the US Memory Champion in about a year. You will learn about “memory palaces” and “PAO” – and they can absolutely help you remember whole decks of cards and sequence of random digits.

    But, just like skills that win you car races are probably useless for you to drive from your house to the grocery store, those memory skills are probably impractical for you on a day to day basis. (I did use some of that to remember my grocery store list a couple of times though).

    But the best thing you will learn is that forgetting is not a bad thing. If we did not, we would not know how to separate the important from the unimportant. That said, if you forgot to pick up the laundry that your spouse had asked you to, please do not use the above argument. The book has nothing to offer on post traumatic disorder 🙂

  9. Guess who we ran into this morning? Nov 20, 2018

    It is like we are destined to run into some Bengali family from Atlanta whenever we are in the Caribbean! In Puerto Rico, it was the Gangulys (Rupak, Jasmine); in The Cayman Islands, it was the Banerjees (Sanjib, Sreerupa) and in the Dominican Republic, apparently it is the Mukherjees (Amitesh, Anusuya). Fun! Fun! Fun!!

    (In Cancun, we ran into Girish; he is from the Bay Area but his first cousin Madhavan once lived in Kolkata. So that should count too 🙂 )

  10. A run in the beach with Amitesh Nov 20, 2018

    Far cry from the runs he and I put together in that winter of 2009 in Atlanta. (We had to use five layers of clothes once when it was 0 degrees Fahrenheit). This was way more comfortable!! Subsequently, he has focused more on his tennis rather than running.

    And that marks my country number 22 to have run in till date.

  11. More pictures from the stroll in the beach with Nikita Nov 21, 2018

  12. The incredible Caribbean water colors… Nov 21, 2018

  13. The change in depth of the water is remarkably visible in its colors Nov 21, 2018

  14. Our company during breakfast Nov 21, 2018

  15. Nikita exploring the tropical trees Nov 21, 2018

  16. Breakfast with daddy Nov 21, 2018

  17. I think it was a dad joke moment Nov 21, 2018

  18. The evening sets in… Nov 21, 2018

  19. The three musketeers Nov 21, 2018

  20. The three musketeers again… this time in water Nov 21, 2018

  21. BFF Nov 21, 2018

  22. Like we were running short of blue color… Nov 21, 2018

    The photographer in full attention

  23. Loved the way the camera captured the water rolling off her face… Nov 21, 2018

  24. Another daddy-daughter moment of this trip Nov 21, 2018

  25. This one takes to water like a fish takes to….ummm… water… Nov 21, 2018

  26. The three youngsters. Nov 21, 2018

    Looking into the horizon of their future?

  27. I think they were going “Om!!” 🙂 Nov 21, 2018

  28. Happiest couple I know Nov 21, 2018

  29. You think she was having fun? Nov 21, 2018

  30. Play time for some… work time for others… Nov 21, 2018

  31. Sharing is caring Nov 21, 2018

    These two are such good friends, they even watched a whole movie in the room while sharing the one earphone they had between them.

  32. These are the kind of moments a dad lives for… Nov 21, 2018

    (photo courtesy: Amitesh)

  33. Definition of sunburn! Nov 21, 2018

    Wonder if Sharmila will recognize me when she comes back 🙂
    (Photo courtesy: Amitesh)

  34. 5K morning run with Amitesh Nov 21, 2018

  35. Post run relaxation Nov 21, 2018

  36. Thanksgiving – Roy Family Style Nov 22, 2018

    Usually, Thanksgiving in the Roy family means going abroad somewhere as a family. We do not have any kith or kin outside of India to speak of. And Sharmila’s birthday is usually a few days away (no more anniversary wishes please!!). That makes it a good excuse to bond together as a family as well as celebrate Sharmila’s birthday somewhere nice.

    This Thanksgiving is a little different. We are spread all over the world spending time with an extended definition of family.

    Sharmila is in India to spend some time with her mother (we lost my father in law a couple of months back).

    Natasha is in Ghana spending time studying and looking after orphans in a school which has become her new family.

    Jay Jay is with his friends in the USA.

    Nikita and I are in the Dominican Republic spending time with each other and our closest family friends in Atlanta – the Mukherjees!

    This year is a virtual Thanksgiving for us!!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!!

  37. Bye Bye, Punta Cana! Nov 22, 2018

    That was a beautiful trip. Thank you, Mukherjees for making it so memorable for Nikita and me!

  38. Nice shot by Amitesh Nov 22, 2018

  39. Intersections galore!! Nov 23, 2018

    “Kotha thekey beraatey esechhen?” I asked casually. (I enquired where they were visiting from).
    “Philadelphia,” replied the gentleman, taken aback by somebody speaking Bengali in a free shuttle bus that carried us from the resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic to a nearby marketplace.

    You see, Amitesh, Anusuya and I had run out of wine for the evening (I totally blame Anusuya for this 🙂 ) and needed to replenish the same. The daughters opted to stay by the pool and we three got on to the bus. As I got on, I heard the gentleman talking to his wife and two young sons in that unmistakable language that I grew up with in my early childhood.

    Once the ice was broken, the seven of us chatted for quite some time. As you might have imagined by now, I was busy finding out intersection points. There were way too many. I think, it all started with me mentioning that both my daughters were born in the Dallas area. Quickly found out that Sumana (the wife of the aforementioned startled gentleman) was a relative of Debjani. To put this in perspective, Sharmila and I were very very close to Debjani and Subhasis (Subho) when we were in Dallas as our kids grew up together. In fact, we exchanged some great stories of Rishi (Gampu) – one of which involved his teacher asking Debjani if they had a pet duck! Story for another day!

    Indrajit (by the method of elimination, you have no doubt figured out that he was the startled gentleman) and we were talking of Atlanta when he mentioned that they knew Rupa. That was too much of a coincidence.

    “Do you also know them?”, he asked

    “What do you mean know them? Of course, we know them. In fact they were the first Bengali family we were introduced to when we moved to Atlanta eleven years back. Rupa and I have another weird connection thru her husband Abhijeet and my wife Sharmila. Rupa’s father in law and my father in law grew up in the same small little village somewhere in Midnapore district in West Bengal. In fact, there was this time that both were visiting Atlanta and recognized each other !!!”.

    Amitesh and Anusuya were also talking to them about Rupa when I got myself busy on my phone. Looked Rupa up quickly on my Facebook friend list and showed them the picture…

    “You are talking about this lady, right?”
    “Yes, she is wearing my saree,” Sumana responded.
    “What? What do you mean she is wearing your spree??”, I asked, somewhat incredulous.

    And that is when I learnt about Sumana’s booming saree business in all of US. An Indian saree merchant selling direct to Bengali women all over US? I knew I had hit the jackpot.

    For the uninitiated, “Bengali woman” and “saree” are uttered like you utter “Marco” and “Polo” in that kids’ game. I was sure we were going to have a lot of intersection points and perhaps she might be the link that might get me to many of my unfinished searches!!

    The conjecture was not false! In the next half an hour or so, we found out about a ton load of connections we had.

    Bidisha in Dallas? Her customer!! Also, somehow I am related to her thru Sharmila. It is very convoluted but I think I am her grandfather or uncle or viceroy or something like that. Funny part – Bidisha and her husband Neil are excellent friends of Amitesh and Anusuya and that is how I got to know them to begin with!! To think, we were all standing in front of the same family that had been hosted at a party in Bidisha’s place just a few weeks back!

    Sabori in Dallas? Same connection!

    Satabdi from Maryland? Her customer!! Turns out Satabdi and I grew up together literally a few yards away from each other in the early 70s!

    Indrani from New Jersey? Her customer again!! Funny part – I had to let her know that Satabdi and Indrani are actually sisters!!

    “So, how do you know Shravani?”, I asked. By now, I was going thru Sumana’s Facebook friend list to see if there was any answer to many of my unfinished searches. “Don’t tell me – she is your customer!”

    “Yes, how do you know her?”, she asked.

    “Ummmm… let me reconstruct… yes… her husband Prasenjit was my wife’s classmate in Shibpur”.

    I am fairly sure, she was thinking I waste too much time getting to know people with all sorts of weak connections.

    Then there was the Narendrapur friend of mine…. and the list just kept growing!!

    Finally, it was time for us to catch the return bus.

    But not before I learnt an important lesson. My street Spanish has gone down considerably from those days of haggling with taxi drivers in the streets of Lima. You see, I had a simple request for the security guy outside the grocery store. Many Spanish words and wild gesticulations with my phone later, I made a breakthrough!

    “Oh! You want me to take a photo”, the guy deadpanned in chaste English!

    As we reached our destination, Indrajit and Sumana made me promise that they will get a chance to meet Sharmila some time.

    “Only on one condition”, I insisted.

    “And what could that be?”, they asked curiously.

    “Just do not mention about your business to her,” I said looking squarely at Sumana!