Lost in the mists of time

https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/5-years-after-mh370s-disappearance-will-the-search-continue-in-the-greatest-aviation-mystery-of-modern-history/70007647

Happy faces boarded a flight hoping to fly north,
Unbeknownst to them their trip would go south;
It wasn’t supposed to happen like this,
What did the innocents do to deserve this?

Days passed and turned into weeks,
Each day brought more innuendo and unconfirmed leaks;
Anxious faces scanned all news, alternating between hope and dread,
One day came the terse announcement “Everyone on flight 370 is dead”

Now they are lost in the mists of time,
They have departed before it was their time;
Searchers looked in vain collecting just an occasional piece,
Lost forever may all aboard MH370 rest in peace


Forgetfulness + Borderline OCD = ?

If your guess was Raj you are right 😀
You might ask what kind of OCD like tendencies. Below are some that come to mind immediately
1) In my wallet I like the $ bills of each denomination together and all the bills in increasing or decreasing order
2) If there is something closer to the edge of a shelf or kitchen island, especially containers with liquids, my natural instinct will be to move it closer to the center so that they are knocked down by accident
3) In the refrigerator all stuff with earlier expiry date in future will be closer to the front for easier access and use
4) If tissue paper roll has a tissue partially torn the “offending” piece will be torn off to the perforation 😀
5) If there is a spelling mistake by me I like to correct it if I can edit it or add a follow up note with correction. If there is a spelling mistake by others I struggle with how to get it corrected by bringing it to attention without offending the person
6) While tipping at restaurants I prefer the final figure to be a round figure. In recent times I have been weaning off this habit to save the effort of calculation
7) If paying by cash will try to get dollar bills as change instead of coins. It’s becoming more difficult now as current wallet does not have separate pocket for coins
8) Used to keep set of quarters handy in car (in a prescription tablet container no less 😀 ) in case of need for parking when I used to drive longer
9) Symmetry: If there are 3 flowering plants, two of them red and one white, the white one will generally be between the two red flower plants
10) Symmetry: Spacing and placement are important on pieces over mantel and entertainment center. If there are two of a kind and three of another kind normal preference would be to not bunch them together
11) Staircase steps: When I use them (which is very rare nowadays 🙂 ) I always like to count the # of steps. Serves no purpose but it’s a habit
12) Staircase steps: If I take 2 steps at a time first step landed will depend on # of steps on a flight of stairs. If the total is even first step will be on step# 2, if total is odd first step will be on step# 1. The meaningless objective is to make each step kinda uniform
13) While sending Emails all Email addresses will generally be in subject area till the Email is fully composed for fear of clicking Send by mistake before it’s fully written
14) Forgetfulness and OCD like combo: I frequently get out of elevator the first time door opens
15) Forgetfulness and OCD like combo: If I have promised to get something for a person will try to keep it in the car as soon as I remember. Generally in driver seat so that it is visible when I open the car driver side door. It’s a different matter that I may forget the item is in the car when I get off the car as I would have placed in different seat before starting the car 😀
16) Forgetfulness and OCD like combo: If there is an important piece of document I need to carry it generally will be stuffed into the wallet if it fits in or placed right over the wallet or near car key so that it is difficult to miss. Couple of times recently I forgot my wallet and realized why I felt something was missing when I noticed it on reaching the gas station or a shop

When I go on a “Why are the shoes not placed properly in the rack OR Why are things placed on the edge” wife and son laugh, probably thinking the OCD like tendency has kicked in 😀 Can’t blame them, almost all of it is trivial in the bigger picture 🙂

It doesn’t pay to help ;)

One weekend we were expecting guests for dinner at 7pm. Wife needed some stuff from the grocery shop to cook a feast. ’twas around 4pm when she asked if I could make a run to the shop and get what she needed. I said sure! Off I went to the shop. Lot of time to complete the shopping and return in time before guests arrive, I thought. Went to the fruits section first. Some bananas looked raw, others overripe. Said to myself let me see if there is anything mentioned about when to best consume. No date, just a label on banana skin with Dole or Chiquita or whatever brand it was. Hmmm…I thought this is a little annoying and getting to be a boring experience. To add fun to the task I decided to look at what usage instructions were there for other products. Below is what I found and my inferences.
Cake, Mayo: Best if used by <date> – Hmmm, need to keep that date in mind!
Packaged beets, Salsa: Seller just slapped a date on the package 😀
Blueberries in a box: No date – that’s great, lasts forever! 🙂
Shredded lettuce: Enjoy by <date> – Thought of having some before the date printed and some after just to test if there is difference in enjoyment level 😀
Milk, Fruit dipped in sugar solution: Best by <date> – Felt it was too long to wait till that date!
Boom Chicka Pop snacks: Sell By <date> – After the printed date it’s probably suggested to gift instead of selling 🙂
Aged Gouda Cheese: Sell By <date> – Shouldn’t it get better with age?
Fruit Juice: Best before <date> – Need to sip everyday and see what that best turns out to be, what date it tastes best!
Medicine: Exp date <date> – Only product with expiry date/month clearly mentioned! Really? Per my understanding medicines do not really expire, they don’t turn into cyanide after expiry date 😀 Their potency is said to reduce, that’s it. I suppose medicines have the greatest profit margin and it helps the business to put the fear of God into people 🙂
After all this “research” I glanced at my watch. It was 6:15pm. Omigosh, I had not started my shopping. Hurriedly I got the list of items out and finished shopping in 15 minutes and returned home by 6:45pm. I had a triumphant look on my face for the fun “research” I had managed and reaching in time before the guests arrived. Wifey opened the door. One look at her face and I knew she wasn’t happy.
Wife: Where were you all this time? (she demanded)
Me: I was shopping and have all the items in the list you had asked for (I replied calmly and confidently with the attitude of a person who had gained wisdom 😉 )
Wife: I needed couple more items. Called you, left VM, texted too!
Me: Let me check (checked phone). Oh, looks like I set the phone on mute so that I could finish the shopping quickly 😉 (Did not want to get a scolding by mentioning phone was set in mute to help me do my “research” peacefuly 😀 )
Bottomline: It doesn’t pay to help 😉 😀
P.S. Wife, resourceful person that she is, completed cooking changing the menu by making couple of dishes using other ingredients at home. And I escaped with my secret intact! 🙂

Lot of ground to cover!

In one office call I hosted few years ago there were, among others, a Newland, a Moreland and a Westmoreland. So, I started the call by saying “Team, Good afternoon. We have in this call xxx Newland, yyy Moreland, zzz Westmoreland. Yes, that’s a lot of ground to cover!”

Humor can serve as an icebreaker in office situations, to ease communication within the team as team members get to know each other. Also fits with my belief than fun and serious work can coexist. Life is too serious these days anyways, why not lighten it up a bit?

Tesla – Mo Cushla!

Electric with excitement was the air,
To my surprise it was over a car;
Wondered what’s great about a gas-guzzler,
Learnt Tesla is a lithium-ion battery powered trailblazer!

Created with passion by a team driven by Elon,
This car smells sweet like musk and rolls with elan;
Heard whispers that Apple wants to add its own touch,
About such unconfirmed iCar rumors I care not much!

Some swoon for its looks sleek,
Others swoon over price of its stock;
My swoon was caused by sticker shock,
Hoping it will cost much less as more buyers flock!

Thirsting?

Among interesting things I look out for on long drives are town water tanks. Although most of them are big they come in different shapes and sizes.
Some are tall and imposing
Some are stout and strong
some are purely functional in design
Some have more character/color to their design
Some are bald at the top
Some sport telecommunication equipment at the top!
I wonder if they always store water at least for a particular number of days for all homes they provide water in a town like a specific # of gallons of water. The most important purpose they serve is provide the most precious liquid of all that is colorless, odorless and flavorless at its purest but nothing else comes close to providing satisfaction when thirsty: drinking water! That in itself is great but for The Raj they serve few other purposes that are equally important 🙂
1) They provide welcome change to the scenery and keep the drives interesting
2) When they have the town name printed in huge on them they provide relief for these old brown eyes in figuring out which village/town/city I am in and
3) Help in guessing how close to the destination I am at a particular point in time (without depending on GPS). The fun is as much in the journey as in reaching the destination!

Getting pulled from all sides?

The Raj is always looking out for interesting things and structures when he goes out for a drive. Radio masts / telecommunications towers have fascinated me. Tall and thin, they stand out dwarfing other structures around. What keeps the masts standing are the guy wires running in different directions from the tower to the ground from multiple levels in the tower. The guy wires/cables are spread out over a radius of several hundred feet. Will be interesting to see a tower under construction just to observe steel lattice being put up and then secured to the ground by the guy wires. Some of those guy wires must be tethered to the ground in properties not owned by the organization that owns a tower. I wonder if those property owners get some discount if they use the radio/TV services on offer 🙂 My guess is more densely populated the area where the towers are they are likely to be taller to avoid signal obstruction by surrounding structures.
What is the point of all this?
To share a life lesson: If you are getting pulled from all sides you can still stand tall and
strong if you maintain your balance! (Did I hear someone say “and there is always a Raj story
waiting to be told”? 😉 Yes, of course! You betcha 😀 )

Clear thy name first, Special Counsel!

For about 2 years now whenever you turn on the news one person has been part of the daily news: Special Counsel Robert Mueller! It could be a report on his ongoing investigation, a talk show on his court filings/indictments or a subject pleading guilty or witness called for questioning etc or reaction of anyone linked to the investigation directly or indirectly. Mr Mueller lets his work speak for him, haven’t heard him say a word in public past 2 years. In many discussions about the investigation there is someone in the panel talking about their personal interactions with him in the past or remarking about the way he has gone about his work in this instance. So widely is he mentioned that I think there is a strong case for Mr Mueller to be made part of the lexicon, used in different contexts for different effect. For example describing someone as “He/She is a mueller” could be description of a silent, strong person. “Person A is very muelleric” might fit the description of a stoic individual with no outward display of emotion. “He/She got muellered” could mean someone brought to justice OR unfairly victimised depending on political inclinations of the person saying it 😀 Going by utterances of POTUS and Mr Giuliani mueller could mean hunter (although I am not sure which hunt they keep referring to 🙂 )

There is a lot of strong opinion about the Special Counsel and his work. For those in support he is a savior of our civilization as we know it and for those opposed he is a destroyer of our civilization. With so much divide I was hoping there would at least be some agreement on how to pronounce his name. Alas, no luck in that either 😦 I have noticed 3 major ways people say his last name. Some say MULLer, some say Mewller, some say
Mew-e-ller with some variations of the above 3 also thrown in 😀 For someone like me who has not grown up hearing Mueller last name it has left me scratching my head. Depending on the situation when discussion about Special Counsel comes up I adopt one of the following approaches:
1) Refer to Mr Mueller as Special Counsel or
2) Say Robert M reducing the last name to an initial or
3) Insist on response in writing only or
4) Say the full name with the last name barely audible in the hope that no one hears it or it’s so faint no one hears or feels offended if I say it wrong 🙂

It’s been frustrating to resort to such methods. I can’t continue with those approaches any more. Keeping public interests/service in mind here’s my very public appeal to Mr Robert Mueller :

“Sir, all of us are very appreciative of the admirable restraint shown by you doing your work past few years in the face of provocation and personal attacks on a daily basis. We understand your sense of duty and quiet dignity has been shaped to some extent by your personal experience in war and seeing friends and fellow soldiers lose their life in fighting for a cause. The closest some of your fiercest critics have come to fighting a war has been fighting messy, expensive divorce battles in court. Please continue your quest to find the truth wherever it takes you, however long it may take to unearth. Your appointment may come with the mandate not to respond to any reaction to your work or personal comments about you. You have to make one exception though. I urge that you to go public, say your full name in public loud and clear and broadcast it on all major networks/cable channels! The least all of us should be able to agree on is how to say your full name correctly. It’s time to speak up. Now!”

Clear thy name first, Special Counsel!

No appreciation for efficient disposal!

When son was in elementary school and we went out for shopping or on a long drive one thing was certain. After couple of minutes’ of drive he would feel the need to use a restroom 😀 No amount of reminders before we started seemed to have any effect. Leaving us with 2 choices: Either drive back home for him to take care of business or look for the nearest shop with restroom. Availability of restrooms for public use in the USA is something that is nice and probably taken for granted. After the business was transacted we would be on our way (Thirsty feeling would soon follow but The Raj generally takes care of that by keeping couple of bottles of water handy in the car 🙂 ). Not long after I caught on to that habit too. On long drives whenever there was a need for relief the usual excuse would follow: car running low on gas, need to fill up 😉 Pull over to the nearest gas station, fuel the car, grab a cup of coffee and oh, by the way, be back after a quick trip to the restroom 😀 Wife is never amused whenever that happens. I guess she doesn’t understand guys have the most efficient disposal system in the world. When a man has to go he has to go 😀