Today is the last day of 2021. Right time to look back, look ahead. Put simply 2021 has been an extraordinary year! A year in which • Good and bad were engaged in a constant battle • Many lives were saved, many lives were lost • Prosperity soared and paucity increased • The bright lights of democracy were threatened by inimical forces • We witnessed courage and cowardice in plenty • Truth tried to emerge while misinformation exploded • Olympian heights were reached along with plumbing of depths • Welcome jabs were followed by unwelcome jabbing • Lessons were learned hard and quickly forgotten • There was a lot gained and a lot lost • Hope and fear seemed to be juxtaposed
It has been a year to reevaluate priorities and relationships, both personal and professional, for many including yours truly. Will be interesting to see how historians view 2021. When 2021 and 2022 meet I hope the intersection is at love. 🥰 Hey, even the number 2022 has a good feel to it! Like beautiful swans together, one followed by two! Humanity needs to transition from a world of pain, loss and grief to one that abounds in love. My optimism is tempered by reality and reality is tinged with optimism. 🙏
In the limelight if you must bask Remember without fail one task Always wear a face mask Y’all will agree it’s a simple ask. 🙏 Time person of the year 2021 is Musk For thy safety though, dawn or dusk Timely protection of the year 2021 is mask!
Alpha, Beta, Gamma Delta, Lambda, Kappa Zeta, Eta, Theta Random Greek alphabets? Or name of Greek fraternities? Or basics to learning the classics? Could be any of the above Yet these are names WHO appears to love For coronavirus variants on the move! A recent variant labeled Omicron Sounds like combination of Ominous and Cron Has the feel of a ticking time bomb; Are humans stuck in a loop Of never-ending alphabet soup Or will we find the will to regroup? For starters, to put the public at ease Stop using wave to describe outbreaks of the disease For waves do not cease!
Wow, amazing voice and amazing attitude! America’s Got Talent judges were mighty impressed and moved. Loved the audition I missed the intro when it originally aired. When I played this video today it brought tears to my eyes. Hearing Nightbirde say before the audition “You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore, before you decide to be happy” brought tears of sadness Hearing her say after the audition “I have 2% of survival but 2% is not zero %” brought tears of sadness and smile at the same time The last line of the song “It’s alright to be lost sometimes” whilst sad was uplifting too
To my mom, all mothers and everyone celebrating their mom: “Happy Mother’s Day!” A mother’s love is the purest, most selfless form of love. Few weeks ago watched on TV real life story of Ada Blackjack née Delutuk (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_Blackjack), an inspiring story of true love, grit, determination, faith and hope. In 1921, she joined an Arctic expedition across the Chukchi Sea to Russia’s Wrangel Island. She was recruited for the expedition to sew fur clothing for the team. She joined the expedition to earn money for her ailing son Bennett. Long story short, the expedition ran into rough weather literally and she was left caring for one expedition member who fell sick while other members of the team ventured out. She cared for the sick explorer who died after about 5 months. All alone, except for the expedition’s cat for company, she toughed it out for ~ 8 months in extreme weather till she was rescued. The money she earned helped save her son.
It’s delightful to see people’s face light up when they fondly recall memories of their mother. It’s funny to see big Shaq quake in his boots when his mother admonishes him for some silly on-air feud. It was heartbreaking to see and hear George Floyd call out for his mother as his life was ebbing away. It was heartening to read about Bam Adebayo surprising his mom by buying a home for her in appreciation of all her hard work and the sacrifices made by her when he was growing up. My mom helps me stay grounded and think positive.
In recent times it’s become a habit for me to watch reruns of cooking shows on TV. “It reminds me of food cooked by my mom, it’s so comforting I could keep on eating this dish” is among the best praises lavished by patrons of restaurants and judges of cooking shows. Hearing that I feel “With moms around, the world is in good hands. Everything will be alright”
Spring is in and brought along some much welcome warmer weather. More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic vaccinations are picking up and politics has returned to being boring both of which are what the doctor ordered We are still not out of the woods yet. Safety still being the order of the day you mask and change mode of doing things. I wouldn’t be surprised if umask and chmod were among the most searched commands in recent times! Life as we have known has changed virtually.
In times past when winter ended it was time to look forward to travel and step out frequently to shop, dine and for entertainment. For me personally much of those activities have shifted from outside the home to inside. Apart from shopping online and ordering take-out food I have been satisfying my travel and entertainment needs by watching reruns on TV. One looks for comforting feeling to perk up the mood. The shows that I watch broadly fall under following categories 1) Food channel/network programs: No better way to drool than watching the chefs dish out all their creative, colorful and delicious concoctions 2) Home improvement shows and aquarium build shows like Tanked: Fun to see people have a vision and get their dreams translated into reality 3) Any show that involves a set of wheels: Not sure if it’s more of a guy thing but it’s always great to see anything on wheels, especially if it runs very fast 4) Comedy shows: Laughter and smile best to lift up spirits always 5) Nature and wildlife: Wonderful to see God’s own creations, national parks and trails and store in memory Will come in handy for planning travel when we get back to more normal times.
I like to watch shows that feature something being built, being improved or an already great creation. Find those interesting and learn something new. That sets up nicely for diving into detail about the shows. Aha, not yet! Wait for future posts for that.
This week’s news of Tiger Woods’ SUV veering off the road down a slope on a curving road brought some memories of dangerous drives. More than a decade ago I took up a job that was based in Dubuque, IA. The place of work was about 90 miles from my home in Madison. While driving back and forth everyday was possible it would have taken ~ 3 hours or more of commute time everyday and during winter even more. The workplace was in downtown Dubuque, which is a nice little town in Iowa. There were quite a bit of out-of-towners who had joined and some of us probably added some color to otherwise lily-white Iowa Dubuque is just on the other side of the mighty Mississippi river driving in from Wisconsin. It’s got colleges and there is some mining history too. Main tourist attraction though is around Mississippi river and National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium is a cool place. There is one casino around and a few more in the vicinity. Driving between Madison and Dubuque everyday would have required quite a bit of concentration and with me working long hours preferred to stay in a Bed and Breakfast (B&B) place in Dubuque during weekdays, driving in on Monday and driving back home Friday evening.
The B&B I was staying in was on top of a bluff with a cool view of the river at some distance and other places around. I had joined in spring which is among the better times of year, in terms of weather, around these parts. With office being in downtown and no office parking available my daily routine was driving in from B&B, parking car at a public parking garage and then walking couple of blocks to workplace. Steps repeated in reverse in the evening. Of course on Monday morning would drive in from home to parking garage and on Friday evening drive from parking garage to home, come hell or high weather! The shortest route (through 3rd street) from B&B to public parking space and back is quite steep. During warm weather the somewhat floating feel while driving down to parking space was amusing. Came winter and the routine joy of driving turned into a scare, on snowy days especially. Each day my heart used to be in my mouth as I drove down to work and drive back to B&B literally required stepping on the gas Used to drive to work with prayer on my lips everyday, even God might have been gotten a bit tired of me (It did my confidence no good that during the 2 years I stayed in this B&B my car hit a patch of black ice and skid off the highway while driving in from Madison on a particularly bad weather Monday morning, about 20 miles from Dubuque). There was another route to work through 5th street but that was even steeper with added bonus of the road curving for more driving fun. Suffice it to say the joy of rolling down the windows and driving the freeway on a clear, sunny day evaporated fully by the time winter came calling. Upon learning about Tiger Woods’ unfortunate car accident I googled Dubuque steep roads and sure enough 3rd street and 5th street figured at or near the top of “10 streets you’d rather not have to drive in winter” under “Dubuque’s Most Treacherous Hills” in a local newspaper ( https://www.telegraphherald.com/…/article_67339e4c-d321… ). I guess driving from or to a place at an elevation with view comes with a price when driving conditions are not good. Consider myself lucky for escaping without an injury for the 2 years of heart stopping driving moments during winter. Tiger wasn’t lucky, hopefully he recovers fully quickly
It was a cold winter morning. As is the norm at the start of the year around these parts temps were below freezing. I set out for weekend grocery shopping in masked glory. Shopping list wasn’t too long. Even with my tendency to check out for interesting stuff, not necessarily required, wrapped up shopping quickly by my standards. Stepping out of the shop I was greeted by cold blast of wind. After dropping shopping bags in the trunk turned on the ignition of the car. It was quite cold inside the car. While waiting for the engine to warm up turned on the heater too. Longing for warmer weather my thoughts traveled and I drifted back in time to my early teens back in India.
It was a warm summer day late in the morning in the Mumbai / Bombay suburb Mulund. Summer holidays time. After my lunch I was itching for some activity. My brother was quite engrossed in reading a mystery novel. Other friends in the neighborhood were either preoccupied with whatever they were doing or out of town for the holidays. I decided to go out for a walk. Stepping out of our apartment I headed right. There were some late morning devotees entering and exiting the nearby Ashram Temple (A). I soon discovered my sandals needed some work. Luckily there was a cobbler right near the temple. Waiting as he set about repairing my sandals I could hear devotees ringing the temple bells. Could also hear the sound of flour mill (C) nearby grinding flour for customers who liked their dough fresh for their breads/naans/rotis/chapathis. Repair work done I turned right at the crossroad. Walking at a leisurely pace I was just soaking in the surroundings. To my right were trio of shops: Coal shop, Milk shop and ration shop (D). Coal guy was loading bags for delivery in his cart, Milk shop was serving a customer hot milk in Patiala mug sized containers, there was a line of customers at the ration shop waiting to buy fuel (kerosene), rice and other essentials at Government subsidized rates. Business as usual. I kept walking ahead. Just ahead of the next crossroad were couple of interesting shops: Ice factory (E) with huge blocks of ice covered by sawdust to slow down melting and also serving cold drinks and a used book store (F) which always used to be chock-a-block with all kinds of books, in shelves from floor to ceiling. Those were the days much before advent of personal computing. Always wondered how the book shop guy managed to remember what books were where. While all I could normally see was madness the guy must have had a method to it as he had been in business for years I decided to turn right instead of going straight as the Sun was, at the top of the game around noon time, beating down mercilessly. I resisted the temptation of buying crushed ice from the streetside vendor (G) who was selling crushed ice of all kinds of colors and flavors. At the next crossroad I again turned right. Just ahead of me to the right was Balaji / Raghavendra temple (H). Always had a bit of complicated relationship with God, sometimes transactional (especially around the times school exam results were due ), sometimes pally when prayers were answered and sometimes angry when it seemed bad appear to be triumphing over good . I did a mental bow and proceed ahead. By the time I near the next crossroad my throat was parched and needed liquid replenishment. Fortunately there was a sugarcane juice shop (I) right there and I thought nothing better than a freshly crushed sugarcane with a hint of ginger for quenching thirst. I ordered a glass of the summertime favorite and closed my eyes. Suddenly I heard the loud ringing of telephone. Wondering where the sound came from I opened my eyes. Imagine my surprise when I found myself inside my car and it was wife calling me on cellphone to ask me what was taking me so long .
Broken out of my reverie and transported to the present I mumbled that I ran into an old friend at the grocery store and would be back home shortly. By then the inside of the car was hot as I must have been lost in my thoughts for a good 15 minutes. I opened the windows to let some outside air in. Nothing like a cold blast of air to jolt one back to reality. Driving back home I was amused by the thought how my wife would react if she unmasked the “old friend” and learned I was referring to was myself, albeit younger. Was also hoping my marriage had a “can get lost in thought every now and then” clause for me to cover for reaching any place later than planned