Money for nothing

Money for nothing and the chicks for free. Remember that song from Dire Straits. They were talking about work, if you follow along with the lyrics, it also says, "That ain't workin', that's the way you do it." And indeed, what is work? I am on my first research leave of my academic career this semester. For those who do not know, academics are offered a few breaks from teaching which are called "sabbaticals." Derived from the old Hebrew word, " shabbāth" the term refers to a point of rest when you rejuvenate and return to work with renewed energy. In the American academic system, a faculty member can become eligible for the sabbatical every 6 to 7 years. In my career, I never asked for rest and finally, it felt it was time. But it is not really rest, it is a time to explore work options that are connected with your profession, and you spend the break from classroom teaching to do work that might have some value outside of the classroom work. Bu

Make Your Own Trip, Please!

Make Your Own Trip. This matter came to my mind after a brief correspondence with a bondhu, and I started to think about my travels and how radically different it has been compared to how many people choose to travel. I have always made my travel arrangements, from the initial research to the final return home. On the other hand, many seem to relinquish the joy of preparing for the travel and submit to companies who do the enjoyable work for them. There are companies that now cater to people who have given up their ability to create their own travels. People who are more interested in the risk-free banality of a controlled existence - where the thrill of getting lost has been traded for the boredom of always being found. This the World of organized vacations. With the return of travel, now that the World has realized that COVID-19 will not be beaten but things will go on as they did, people are starting to travel. This is when companies with names that are variations of the title of th

You are not welcome

You are not welcome. Because you really do not matter. Imagine the moment of hurt when you are told "I am NOT here" when you desperately ask, "Where Art Thou?" And after hearing that, over and over again, you stop asking. It becomes a moment of reckoning specially for people who have spent their lifetime saying, "Here I Am" and suddenly realize that there was no reciprocity; I was with a bondhu recently and I saw the pain. As the person often has said, "there are bruises and there has been blood on the ground." Sitting with a glass of wine we realized that this psychic blood and the bruises leave us strangely stronger rather than weaker. The hours of being there when there was a need, when the call came, unabashedly without any ambiguity you rise up to the challenge. That is when you say, "it doesn’t matter, it needs to be done." And in the same breath you say, "of course I am here and will be right next to you." Most do not w


Secrets. What fun are secrets if you cannot share it with everyone and say, "I am telling you in confidence." We all have secrets. None of us are open books because in the deepest recess of our minds we know there are things we will never share. The fears, the griefs, the aspirations, and the achievements that no one knows about. There are things we have done that no one knows about other than the self. These are moments that are so supremely personal, and they will burn with my body. Yet secrets tempt us - there are moments, over a drink with a bondhu, without realizing, without planning, without strategizing the secret is spilled. A bondhu you trust. Really? With that secret? Can anyone be trusted? As one bondhu once said, "one picture" and it is all over. Moments that need to remain buried, think about it - that moment that was supposed to be a secret - a personal moment - do you want that revealed? To be dragged out in the open that you did that. You did what? S


Saathi. I have spent some time in talking about a bondhu. A term that has very specific meanings in Bangla, a language that is spoken in the state of West Bengal in India and all of Bangladesh. Another similar sentiment is encoded in another Bangla word - saathi. The partner, the companion. Perhaps. A word that is infused in meanings that cross across many relational definitions. The English words partner, and companion begin to scratch the surface of the word saathi. The saathi holds your hand as you traverse the maze that is life. The hand holding signifies that one leads the other. Taking turns. There are moments when the saathi knows the way, and there are moments when the saathi is lost. Yet we all have saathis whose hands we can clench and be assured that we will never be lost. You trust the saathi with your life, knowing that this is the person who will rebuke you when you cross the boundaries of safety, will pull your hand and center you back in the safe place, who will press y

The One-Night Stand

The One-Night Stand. I am entering into a very sensitive area in this post. Sex. We all know about it; most readers have partaken in the activity at some point (don’t blush) and have hopefully enjoyed it. Without sex we would not have a population problem in some parts of the World, and neither would we have the horrendous violence in the name of sex all over the World. It is essential for evolution and people spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about it. Some faiths guilt you into not having sex, others insist that sex is the answer – dear old Rasputin. As a global civilization we have codified sex into what is allowed and what is not. Allowed by mutual consent as a social system. And thus we have the one-night stand. The disallowed. Considered taboo in most cultures this is precisely where sex has the singular purpose of pleasure. You will never see the person again, but that moment of pleasure was sufficient to make it memorable. Institutions have developed to make it possib

Taan - the pull

Taan - the pull. The word is simple, "taan," a Bangla word that describes an attraction that holds relationships together. Where attraction must not be understood only in its sexualized terms only. This is a relational magnet that draws entities together. Sometimes one of the entities could be inanimate. Where a strange attraction takes someone back to a place because one cannot overcome the desire to return there. Or the unspoken connection between two people that draws them together so tight and close that separation is unthinkable. Where the taan is so strong that one loses the ability to let go, even temporarily. It is the glue of life. The taan that tells a child that a parent is not well. The often-unexplainable irrational moments when one feels like picking up the phone urgently because something bothers us, and we must talk immediately - lest we never talk again - taan. It is what is impossible to break and even if forced to break circumstantially - through relational