Work at home

Work at home. There used to be a particularly interesting slogan that said a variation of "behind every successful man there is a woman." In an anomalous way it simultaneously denigrated both the genders, or elevated both. There seems to be a certain presumption of the metric of success. The woman has no success other than the success of the man which the woman is motivating. This saying takes on a different meaning in a World where the rush to remote work has become a pandemic by itself. The pandemic provoked a certain kind of work where the place of work and the place of leisure conflated on the dining table during the numerous lockdowns across the World. The notion of work from home (WFH) became commonplace. But it also exposed a form of work whose history far predates the romance with WFH. That work is the nameless work at home (WAH) which is only acknowledged, obliquely, in the saying about the woman motivating the success of the man. But for generations people have done

Memories of Sounds

Memories of Sounds. The crows start cawing right around 3:45 am. The other birds start around 5:00 am. On the early spring morn as the fog rolls in over the lawn, and the screened porch is still dark, the bleating of the deer flows from the woods. And the early morning horn of the car that invariably blows its horn right in front of my bedroom at 5:45 am. The distant sound of the police car wailing away as the icy patches cause the invariable accidents on the main road duing the morning commute. The distant sound of the aajan (call to prayer) from a mosque whose location is probably across the canal. As I sip the morning coffee on the verandah the sound of the shunting trains at the train junction a couple of miles away resonate in the air. On some rainy mornings as the coffee maker rumbles the rain beats down on the chimney and the sound filter into the quiet living room. A little later the vegetable vendor calls out the ware followed by the voices of the day laborers flows into the d

Grin and Bear it

Grin and Bear it. This expression dates back to the 1700s going to show that people were accustomed to face misfortune and bad things with a good humor realizing that they were not in a position to change anything. It goes on as much today as it did 300 years ago or even earlier. I see it all around me in many of my dealings with the World. Much of it is a reminder that there is the expectation that one must compromise, it is a stark reminder that you are not as important as you thought you were. It is the answer that says, "Sorry I A'int here, I am Busy" when someone calls out, "Where Art Thou?" At that point you decide that the only option is to suffer pain in a stoic manner, and realize that you are much lower in priority than you imagined. These are realities of our lived experience, yet we do not seem to learn them well and probably not teach them well either. Consider how often aspirations and dreams are shattered and the person is simply reminded, "l

And it is over

 And it is over. One would think so. I remember October 2020. A dark time in the life of the World. I was preparing for a voyage. The medicines were piling up. Untested ways to stay safe. Flea medicine for dogs from the local pet supply store. Zinc as a food supplement, Vitamin D because I was not in the sun enough. Swab up the nose, the anxious moments at a bondhu's house in Maryland and the finally the flight. Rubbing away the stamp on my body with nail polish remover and other solvents and the 15-minute rule at the passport office behind Ruby Hospital. It seems like a distant memory, the escape after completing the task, the return and the return and the return. The numerous memorandums from various governments, and the entire year of separation from bondhus and the entire year of making new relationships. The plague gave me all that, and it took away much as well. New opportunities, new restrictions, new feelings, new experiences. All within the backdrop of tests and vaccines a

The destination does not matter

The destination does not matter. It is who you travel with that makes the journey worthwhile. We tend to focus too much on the destination and reaching the place. In our personal journeys we often fall in this trap, and we ask questions like, "what is the plan?" or "where are we going?" Perhaps there is no plan, perhaps what is going on is only about two bondhus walking hand in hand. Enjoying every step, making memories with every bit of distance covered, not worrying about where they are going as long as they are going together. How about the possibility that we have no destination other than making sure we hurt no one and trample over no one as we walk together. The point is not to focus on the destination but to make sure the journey is comfortable fulfilling and life giving. When we focus on the journey then we have no rush to reach, but we care more about the comfort in the companionship. This is when we worry about reaching out to the ones who might feel hopel

It was not fog

It was not fog. The messages began to come in late in the night. In my typical way, I was here and there. I was in a conversation with a bondhu there when the words "evacuation" and "fire" came in together in multiple messages here. The immediate visit to some Websites presented images that caused a moment of pause. This is happening now, merely a few kilometers from where I lie in bed and even closer to where my students are. Now it has been three days, the fire seems to be burning on. Many precautions are being put into place, much effort has been made to keep us safe. It is commendable work and decisions that could have long-term impact on the lives of many people are being made by wise people. I think we have learned a lot from COVID. Risk mitigation is an important part of life from now on. Precautions are a part of life now. When the threat appears, the responsible thing is to assess it, and take the correct steps to reduce the risk. I witnessed that happening

I was waiting

I was waiting. To hear from you. This is a condition that we have all found ourselves in. Back in the days when we operated with postcards and aerogrammes the wait was expected and anticipated. There was no point in me getting impatient to hear from a bondhu or a parent because we knew that the wait will be long. It will take weeks for the letter to reach. Waiting was easy. Waiting was not accompanied with attributions where the delay had to be interpreted. So many things could cause the delay that it was not usually taken as an intention to ignore. The letter could have gotten lost, the postal system was slow, there was snow on the ground and the mail truck did not make it, or there was a flood somewhere. The systemic delay allowed for believing that even though there are good intentions, there may be delays that need not be interpreted as a signal of rejection. We assumed that there was good intention to respond but circumstances are coming in the way. It seems things have changed no