I am jealous

 “I am jealous” I have heard many people say, “I am jealous.” Indeed, I say it as well and if you think about it, I am sure you have felt it at times, if not actually said. A bondhu recently asked me, “why are you jealous?” Because I am. But the bondhu remined me that I need not be. It is a recognition of one of our most fundamental emotions, and as we see the World around us, it is not unusual to feel that there are some ways others are doing much better. Does a person who gets Covid get jealous of the person who has not got the disease? The more I look around me I see jealousy expressed in so many ways. It is an emotion that ties in with the fundamental sense of personal insecurity and in an age when there are numerous tensors that constantly test us, and as we repeatedly fail, we look at the ones who have succeeded and the sense of jealousy creeps in to cloud our judgment. Way back, I remember when nearly everyone in my high school class appeared for a competitive examination to ear

Shue poro – go to bed

Shue poro – go to bed. Simple words. Often said. But in these words there is embedded a deep affection that few other words embody. I am told this often, by many people, given that I have the weirdest sleep cycle I know among my bondhus. I have chosen to operate in two time zones. This is not unusual for many people. I remember the days of my research, and later practice, with the “outsourcing” industry operating out of Gurgaon and Okhla and how the notion of sleep was completely upended as the labor in India would adjust to the time of the customers in the USA. Americans controlled the sleep cycle of the youngsters in India. With horrendous outcomes. Global capitalism at its ugliest expression without conscience. I had promised myself then that if ever I found myself in a situation where I had to live a similar life, I would seek a balance. My time is as important as their time and this chronological colonialism must be stopped. Thus I sleep when I can, and when someone says, “shue po

Who is a bondhu?

Who is a bondhu? I ran into a bondhu today and the person expressed some confusion about the word. And that got me thinking. Indeed, I use the word frequently in my writing, and way back I had tried to clarify what it means. But perhaps it is time to revisit the unique relationship that the term implies. The crude translation to English is “friend,” but it is closer to the Italian word “Paisan” the rustic, the peasant, although the Italians would focus on nationality, the word “bondhu” represents not a person but an emotion. A bondhu once reminded me that even things have emotion and that is true of a bondhu. A bondhu is a person with whom you can sit over a solitary cup of coffee and spend hours that seem like a blink of an eye. Time goes by with a bondhu, because you can look each other in the eye and see congruence. With a bondhu, a debate, even argument, eventually leads to a happy place. A bondhu makes you happy. There are no pretensions, no attenuation of behavior, no judgment, a

Sometimes things just happen

Sometimes things just happen. In a part of the movie Jurassic Park there is a over simplified explanation of chaos theory. A butterfly flaps its wings in Japan and a tsunami hits the coast of Peru. Such is the way in which the mathematics of chaos theory works. Small perturbations in one place has a cascading effect, totally unexpected, somewhere else. But that is how life also seems to work for many, certainly me. An evening with students at a club in Sector 5, a chance encounter with a young researcher at Kalyani University, a Zoom conversation with a colleague in Indiana, a drink of beer with a young social entrepreneur from France. In Newtown. A visit to a bondhu’s cousin’s place for a day leading to Korean chicken wings at the Club and making connections that solidify. Before you know it the things come together. And 2,600 hundred children get a small gift of cake on Christmas Day in Calcutta. The plans are made over aloo paratha and singara at D50 Mahavir Vikas. This is the kale

I saw lights today

I saw lights today. On the other side, or is that the other side? Some months back I was cruising around in my car looking at creatively done lights to celebrate one of the most important events in the place I was at. A celebration that lasts nearly a week was beginning and the city was decked up with lights to celebrate the season. Indeed, one special light was so bright that it had to be turned off since it was interfering with flights over the city. I cruised again today, through the countryside to see the glorious display of lights, that will last a week, for another celebration. These lights speak volumes about the places where they happen. Even as we are unable to get fully past COVID-19 it is through these lights that we speak of what makes things worthwhile. Some years ago I remember pushing through the crowds on Park Street as the silver bells were lit up across the street. Even earlier in my life at One Time Square I remember seeing the light drop as we finished another year

Everything is incomplete

Everything is incomplete. For everyone I try to work for. I made myself data for an experiment. The research question was simple: Is it possible to have two lives in one lifetime (or the little left of it)? My answer is a resounding affirmative – Yes. Except you will feel completely inadequate in finishing whatever you start. I constantly live with a date in mind. And there is never enough time to do what I promised myself I will do for those around me, and if they are reading this, I apologize for my incompetence. But for me that date is final. On this day one life will end and another will begin. The interruption cruelly defined by the jet lag. Without the lag - the complete violence to mind and body - I would not be able to transition from one life to the other. The jet lag is the wormhole of our times. But as the day of the transfer appears, I realize that everything is incomplete. I live with these dates, and I imagine some goals by the date, but then goals depend on other people.

"Things have been so busy"

"Things have been so busy." Just have no time. How many times have you said this to someone who wanted a little bit of your time? What we want to say is, “Just have no time for you.” But some basic sense of decency reminds us that it is rude to tell someone that you do not have time for that person. Without a doubt, we all have time, but we are forced to make choices in how we spend it. And thus we calculate, we measure, and we say, “just do not have the time, so sorry,” “really busy, may be next time.” Everyone prioritizes their time, after all it is a limited resource. And very quickly we realize where we fall in the priority. The repeated response of, “don’t have the time,” eventually hits home the fact that one is really low in priority. And then one stops. Unless one just wants the punishment, one stops. Once pauses and realizes that they will not receive the gift of time. Because it is indeed a gift. As a colleague of mine points out so often; when we give our time to s