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Showing posts from August, 2018

Beyond Fine

This article showed up on my Quora feed as a sponsored post and I was almost going to skip it as I usually do with things sponsored. But kids being skimpy with words when describing their day was too close to home and so I had to read. The advice is good and I believe it will work - specially with little ones. Once a habit of sharing and talking about their day sets it is likely to persist even through the difficult teen years. 

J goes through phases - there are times when she has a lot to say about her day and then dry spells follow in which there is almost nothing at all. Irrespective of what she chooses to tell me or not, I always tell her about my day with no expectation of reciprocation. There have been days when I felt silly talking so much and not having a real conversation. When she was younger I was worried about pushing my worldview on her. That led to insistence that she argue anything she did not agree with - not to accept what I say without resistance. While that forced he…

Remembrance of Kolkata Past

Growing up. I knew Kolkata was "home" though we did not live there. Coming to Howrah Station by train from far flung parts of India is how we got to Kolkata once every couple of years. My Bangla was not upto snuff, my mannerisms were unlike the locals and finally I did not look Bengali. With that trifecta of circumstances, Kolkata was far from a comfort fit as a "home". Yet, I tried hard to make it work. Work on my accent, work on loving what the locals did and work on finding some redeeming quality about this city has a cripplingly depressing affect on me. I saw sad parallels to my own life - much potential but no real achievements to show for. 

In that sense the city is my soul sister. I like to think of Kolkata as a woman - verdant, endlessly forgiving and vilely abused. Each time I returned, I would hope her fate had improved since we last met but the downward spiral continued unabated. My last contact was over fifteen years ago. In the interim, I worked on reha…

Jaya by Devdutt Pattanaik

I was looking for a book to bring for a kid who is not familiar with the Hindu epics but has some curiosity about the subject. A nice young lady at the Oxford Bookstore recommended Jaya by Devdutt Pattanaik. This was my first visit to Kolkata after fifteen years and a trip I had dreaded for months. For a large part of my life I had remained in self-imposed exile but each year made it harder to return. The connections to friends and family frayed more as did my understanding of the place I once called home. Reading this wonderful retelling of Mahabharat by Dr Pattanaik, upon my return to America was possibly the best and most comforting part of my overdue "homecoming". 

Used to be that there were two paths for the would-be reader of a "serious" English translation of Mahabharat. You could pick up something extremely erudite that was focused on staying true to the original Sanskrit and ended up being very laborious to read. As a reader, you understood you were getting…

Old Self

My friend S who I reconnected with after a hiatus as long as J's age, is that childhood friend who is our personal wayback machine. Each time we talk, I return to a different time and the person she once knew me to be. Those conversations make me think if the long pause in our connection contributed to this timeless feeling of our friendship.

If we grew old together without the benefit of time and space to allow us each room of our own, would it still feel this way ? It so happened, that just three months after reconnecting with her online, I had opportunity to meet her in person. The weekend together was like being in college once again. There was no political correctness or trying to play any roles. We were as natural and unadorned as we had been then in the narrow confines of our college campus and the small town adjoining it.

The realities of our life were stark then - where would we find work after college if at all, would we graduate on time, would it be best to inform the par…