As the song goes, ” . . . I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again . . . ” I am off to strange and exotic places. For the first part of the journey, I will be in the East coast, arriving at Newark International on Friday and departing for Brussels next week Wednesday. Lots of places to see and people to meet. Here are the exciting details.
Over here in California, we are having unusual weather. It is unseasonably warm and dry. It has not rained in over a month and the state government is considering declaring it “Level 5” drought conditions — the highest level. There’s too little snow in the Sierras. Snow-melt is a major source of water. Over on the eastern part of the country, severe cold weather. Some 17,000 flights have been cancelled over the past week due to snow storms. Fortunately for me, the cold front would have moved on by the time I get there.
Friday evening I will be in Monmouth Junction, a town close to Princeton NJ, visiting my friend Balaguru and his family. Saturday evening I will drive to Boston for a Sunday morning meeting. The group is called GIBV — Global Indians for Bharat Vikas. GIBV is an organization of concerned NRIs who want India to be free of the Congress Party. They are working on ensuring that Narendra Modi becomes the prime minister and that BJP gets 272+ seats in the Lok Sabha.
At the Sunday morning meeting in Boston, I will be talking about what needs to be done to rescue the Indian economy. I am told that Shri S Gurumurthy, the Sangh Parivar ideologue, will be joining the meeting remotely from India. From what little I know of his economic prescriptions, I believe that we are on opposite sides of the spectrum. But I am sure that the meeting will be more focused on politics than on economics.
Sunday evening I will be at Yale University in New Haven, CT. I am meeting Vivek Ladsariya and his MBA colleagues who are interested in India. Monday I will be back in NJ. A few meetings are being planned.
Talking of meetings, here’s something that tickled me. A few days ago on Saturday evening, I was at a gathering where I met many interesting people, including one Mr A. The next day Mr A was chatting with his friend Mr B, a retired high-ranking Indian government official who is here with his wife visiting their children.
Mr B says, “You should read this guy Atanu Dey’s blog.”
Mr A says, “Oh, I know him. I met him last evening.”
So Mr A calls me up and says, “Mr B would really like to meet you. Are you free for dinner on Tuesday.” So there I was at Mr A’s house in San Jose last evening. Good food, great conversation, charming company — Mr & Mrs B, and a couple of new friends, Somanjana and Rahul.
I asked Mr B how come he reads my blog. He says that he did not know about my writing until just a week or so before.
It was a Friday and Mr B had gone to his local public library. Unfortunately it was closed. But he met a nice Chinese gentleman (shall we call him Mr C?) and both shared the disappointment of the closed library. Anyhow, they got to chatting and Mr C says to Mr B, “I have been reading one Indian’s blog for many years. You should read Atanu Dey.”
Now, is that funny or what! A Chinese gentleman who reads my blog meets an Indian accidentally who is friends with a man who was at a gathering I was at a few days ago.
This blog has been quite good to me, I tell you. I have met lots of wonderful people and made very good friends. As it happens, Mr and Mrs B have graciously invited me to visit them in their home in Chandigarh the next time I am in India.
Which brings me back to the story of my journey. I will be in Belgium starting Jan 16th, visiting Yoga in Leuven, the university town close to Brussels. Over the weekend, I am giving a talk to a gathering of NRIs in Antwerp. As you probably know, Antwerp has a sizable population of Indian diamond merchants. I have never been to Antwerp. It will be exciting.
I reach Mumbai on 20th evening on a Jet flight from Brussels.
So that’s what’s going on. Be well, do good work and keep in touch.