June 3, 2021 Commentary from a steel back chair

June 3, 2021 Commentary from a steel back chair: Restaurants will be open from 5 to 8 in the evening. The bazaars have an extra hour of shopping time. And, maybe, maybe, the shopping malls will have limited openings from June 16. The power of the exponent. The numbers are going down because this wave might have run out of energy and now there will be the critical need to vaccinate as exponentially as possible so that the next wave is not as deadly. Other people are confident that they are over the deadly. A bondhu is planning a month-long research trip to Portugal. Netherlands just started to allow flights from India. Bombay is going into phased unlock. In America, summer is here, and people are starting to gather in their screened porches over bad wine. Life is exponentially going back to a state that many sorely missed. The dying days are perhaps coming to an end, the numbers are falling and the soon the cleansing monsoon will engulf the city as the rains hopefully wash away the last

June 2, 2021 Commentary from a green place

June 2, 2021 Commentary from a green place: There are quite days. Not much happens and thus there is time to reflect. Time to consider how things were before and how things may be in the future. Isn’t that the stuff of life? Some reminiscing, some nostalgia and imagining how things could have been. All of us need to do that a bit. I spent some time talking to my son today. I should do that more often but somehow the busy ness of life comes in the way. The mundane kicks in and the important things get pushed back, or there is a redefinition of the important. Talking to one’s child is important even when they are grown up and have found their rightful place in life. Those conversations are important. A bondhu pointed out how the generational differences continue for every generation. Our parents must have found us to be doing things that was shocking as we find the generation next to us having concerns and tastes that may be baffling to us. Do you know of dark jokes? Things that would no

June 1, 2021 Commentary from a wicker chair

 June 1, 2021 Commentary from a wicker chair: It was absolutely amazing to see the excitement on the faces of the Wake O2 Angels as they excitedly shared their experience of working with a family that desperately needed O2 as the COVID-19 patient was getting released from the hospital because the family could not afford the hospital expenses and there was a need for free O2. Not just O2, but it had to be free. Such an oxymoron – never had I thought that O2 will be something we will need to pay for. Nearly 21% of the air we breathe for free is O2. All of a sudden that is not enough. And I know the feeling. For a decade I have been going to Ladakh. When the aircraft doors open at the airport in Leh, the air escapes the aircraft. Pressurized to the equivalent of 6,000 feet over sea level, the doors open to the thin air of 11,000 feet. I practically gasp. There is not enough O2 in the air. This is what COVID-19 patients face. They are unable to access the 21% and the O2 must be pumped in f

May 31, 2021 Commentary from a car seat

May 31, 2021 Commentary from a car seat: It rained all day. They are calling for some more thunderstorms. It is a holiday for some – those who are connected with the USA. Today we remember those laid their lives down for the myriad of wars the young country has seen from its violent birth. It is as if my city weeps for the fallen. The rain came in spurts, it cooled the air, sometimes a chilly wind seemed to blow through the soul. Remembering the fallen. Those who served in the American military. The militaries across the World remember their fallen on various memorial days and on those days rains across the World act as reminder of the tears. Today, in the slow and painful birthing of a post-COVID-19 World there are other fighters, those who remain true to no single color – be the tiranga or the thirteen stripes. This military swore to defend the oath written by Hippocrates. The oath to “primum non nocere” – do no harm – first and foremost. But in doing no harm, much harm has come to t

May 30, 2021 Commentary from the couch

  May 30, 2021 Commentary from the couch: What happens after a storm is sometimes more important than what happens during it. Yaas came in with ominous possibilities. The city braced for it. Some parts of the city had electricity turned off. There was great foreboding that destruction was on its way. The reality was a little different. Much like the tsunami of cases that was predicted for India by the West at the beginning of COVID-19 in 2020, there was the sense that Yaas would be a devastating event rivaling the Aamphan of 2020. Thankfully the first wave was not as bad as anticipated. But it was the days after Yaas that surprised the city. The rain came after Yaas. Unexpected. As did the second wave of COVID-19. The deaths came in the second wave. The news turned bad quickly as water accumulated across the city, the trash was mixed in with the torrent and COVID-19 again took a back seat. The city was inundated, looking out the window there was rain and overcast skies. But that too cl

May 29, 2021, Commentary from Zoom

May 29, 2021, Commentary from Zoom: Today was an important day for some of us. About 52 weeks ago one of my bondhu from Calcutta Boys’ School (CBS) had suggested that, since many were in nearly two and a half months of lockdown in Calcutta and there were varying levels of lockdowns in the rest of the World, we should consider an adda on Zoom. The adda is an invention of Calcutta. It is an absolutely open-hearted conversation between friends about nothing. Many cultures have similar concepts but for people from Calcutta, the lifeblood is the adda. This is witnessed on the front stoops of the city’s houses, in the coffee houses, in family gatherings on Sundays after a sumptuous Sunday lunch of “pathar mangsho (mutton)” and myriad other food to be concluded with mishit doi (sweet yogurt) and if the season is right – aam (mango). Those memories linger in nearly all Calcuttans no matter where life has placed us. Without the adda, we are suffocated, and the best adda is when it is in the Ben

May 28, 2021 Commentary from the sofa

May 28, 2021 Commentary from the sofa: Does a body “Rest in Peace” after a cremation? For those who cremate their dead, is it fair to use the “RIP” epithet? I wonder. For many who cremate their dead there is an accompanying belief in the soul which remains and does never rest until united with a greater Good. I ponder because in one of my digital networks there were many RIPs stated, in deep grief, as we lost one of our own – from IIT – a person who clearly meant a lot to many of us. And to the best of our knowledge the disease was not involved in the felling which removed a slice from our collective narrative reality. A newspaper person. Does a part of reality disappear when a journalist can no longer write? That particular narrow slice of reality disappears forever, because there may not be anyone else in the World who knew the stories that the fallen was pursuing, had swimming in the head, to be put down on paper. Alas. We may never know. Even though I remain listed in the Board of