Category Archives: Anecdote

I Will Draw Some More

Yesterday was a hectic day. I landed from LA in the wee hours of the morning, hardly got any sleep before I had to leave for a client meeting early morning.

The day was long. And when I reached home I was glad the week was over. I curled up in the bed thinking of writing some verse when my daughter showed up. She was excited to show me a surprise packet of doll accessories she got from her mom. Once done showing me the new treasures she brought four of her paintings to me and asked me to rank them in the order of my favorites.

As we played the little game, I asked her with a tease, “Nitara, what if someone tear off all your paintings?”

My goading was intentional and I looked at her with mischief, waiting for her to give me a weird reaction. Instead, she pleasantly surprised me with her answer.

She looked at me, smiled and stated in her usual jubilant voice, “then I will draw some new one.”

And at that moment I learned a life lesson from her. No matter what the circumstance is, you can never go wrong with positivity in your thoughts. The castles may be demolished but you can build them again.

I thanked her for her charming attitude and found some other means to trouble her with my devilry.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah and ckonfab.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Daughter’s Love

Friends, I had an eventful day today. Stranded at the airport for over 5 hours for a 3-hour flight to San Antonio – an 8-hour ordeal. NJ weather somehow this year has turned tropical. Sudden showers, unannounced T-storms and then when you expect nothing the Sun signs bright on you. It is tropical for sure minus humid, which sure is a blessing. Today it rained till afternoon causing most of the flight delays. Nevertheless, I just landed. Time is 10 PM and since I am in the central time zone I gained an hour. 😊

But that’s not what I intend to express today. The most beautiful thing happened in the morning when I was rushing for a meeting. Well, I had a meeting to attend to before heading to the Airport. I was little pressed on time, so I thought of grabbing a banana for breakfast and run. I had my travel bag, my laptop carry on and I was all set to head out when my 8-year-old daughter pleasantly surprised me with a sandwich🥪. It was so well prepared I couldn’t believe she made it. I guess that’s what you call daughter’s love. ❤️

And with a smile on my face, love in my heart and food in my belly I left home to conquer the world.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah and ckonfab.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Peer Pressure

I don’t drink. Not even as a social drinker. Often I am in a situation where my friends, colleagues tease me for being such a tight ass.

I am health conscious and always watch what I eat. My travel and nature of job often land me in a situation where I get scornful eyes for not indulging. Some even go further and take it as an insult.

I am grown up now, but I had my moments in the past when I almost gave in to such a social stigma. When I surrendered to situations, letting go of my long-held principles, afraid of getting left out. But soon I realized what I was made up of and refused to succumb, for some miscreant mind perturbations.

Hence, growing up I was never part of the coolest group, neither was officially invited to some of the crazy outings nor being popular amongst the popular girls, for my sober outlook was my taboo. A deterrent obstacle that refrained me from enjoying so-called worldly vices.

I won’t lie. At times I was shattered and devastated. My self-confidence was at rock bottom and the sheer feeling of being left out was detrimental. But there was an unseen force that held me together. And I learned to be happy within the realm of my self-governed principles. Soon I realized I was not alone, there were many like me. I understood how I was blurred by some superficial glaze. And how it overpowered all the goodness that existed in the world.

The day my self-realization became strong, I was able to pick the signals from the noise and life was beautiful. I made my share of friends and had my quantum of fun, for the definition of fun is relative, it is an individual perspective. Once you stop running after things because of peer pressure and focus on what actually makes you happy, you will see the outlook I am drawing.

Till today I face the same question from my colleagues and friends and all I do is smile and say to myself, I have my share of happiness. I have nothing against any of the choices my friends make. I don’t detest them or look at them with aberrant eyes. In the end, it is their definition of happiness and I have chosen mine. And both can happily coexist.

So, my friends here is a little bit of advice. Don’t go after things just because you are afraid of being left out. Stick to your principles and enjoy life on your own terms.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah and ckonfab.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Newark To LA

Today I was on a coast to coast flight from Newark to LA. As much as I am a morning person, I dread early morning flights. Besides, yesterday evening I was in a water park, making it all the more difficult to convince myself to get up 4 in the morning.

I somehow made it to the flight. And as I entered the plane, I saw a sleepy looking flight attendant forcefully greeting her passengers. I don’t know what came to my mind, and in that moment of trice, I thought of playing a little prank on her.

I greeted her and asked, “in the morning rush I didn’t check the gate number. Hope this flight is going to San Francisco.”

Her lethargic self got some renewed energy and she declared that I was on the wrong flight.

I smiled and told her that I was just teasing her. She reciprocated with a wide grin and stated she is from San Francisco and how she wished the flight was going to her hometown. We smiled and I assumed my seat.

6 hours later as I was getting off the flight, she greeted me and said, “Welcome to San Francisco”

I smiled and as I was walking down the corridor only one thought clouded my mind, life is all about treasuring small pleasures. Make someone smile and get genuine happiness in return.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah and ckonfab.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Refreshing Outlook

Yesterday I was on a flight from Newark, NJ to New Orleans. Unlike what I usually experience the flight was on time. I took my seat and was browsing through my WordPress posts when something unusual happened. The pilot came out of the cockpit and announced he had two questions for us. Whosever can answer the question will get a gift.

I am a million miler on United airlines. I fly almost every week and had hardly seen such an enthusiastic pilot before. I smiled in blithe embracing the welcome change. He was holding a united blazer pin and an old style United fact card. He said, when flying was fun the airlines used to give such souvenirs to the kids, a tradition sadly long lost. And with that, he spelled the first question

“How many positive commandments exist in the Torah?”

I had no clue what he was asking. Apparently, the answer was 248. If you are Jewish or have interest in the religious study you might know it.

I was baffled why such a cryptic question was asked and before I could comprehend the pilot announced – our flight duration today is 2 hours 48 minutes, hence the number 248. Believe it or not, someone won the lapel badge.

He then went ahead with the second question, “Who was the 38th president of America and when did he assume office?”

I knew this answer(don’t ask me how) Gerald Ford. He was brought in 1974 to replace then indicted president Richard Nixon. He further stated, “subtract 900 from the year. The number is the distance between Newark and New Orleans -1074 nautical miles.”

I smiled accepted the card and wondered how a simple gesture can uplift the customer experience multifold.

PS. Here is the picture of the card I won

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah and ckonfab.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Say Anything…

Traveling on a weekend is what I detest the most. It feels like someone stole your weekend away. I had a 9:00 AM Monday meeting in Chicago and I had no option but to take yesterday evening flight. To cheer my desolate self, I thought of watching a movie.

The name of the move was “Say Anything..” It was a nice, 1980s setup feel-good romantic movie. I thought of writing this blog not to provide a movie review but to express my views on something that caught my attention while watching the film. It is now glued to my brain and I thought why not I share it with you all.

In the movie, the girl protagonist parents were divorced. In one of the scenes, she hesitantly explains to her boyfriend how she was asked to choose between her father and mother in the court. And after a lot of deliberations, she decided to stay with her father. What caught my attention was the reason she cited, “I chose father because I felt I will be safe with him”. As a 13-year-old she had to make one of the toughest decisions in her life, which she was not responsible for. And I couldn’t take it off my head and the scene kept revisiting me.

I know there are no right or wrong answers, but it let me pause and think about a thing called life.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah and ckonfab.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Humanity Is Still Alive

In a span of 10 hours, I transitioned from hoping to relax in the weekend to be on a plane to India. If you had read my travel post, you would have known my last week was really taxing. From 600 miles overnight Uber ride to missed flights, to be in three different states – I had my share of fun. I was so looking forward to the weekend to rewind and be ready for the next week. But as luck would have it, I landed upon this plane for a one-day trip to Delhi.

In the hullabaloo of the last week chaos, I missed telling you a heartwarming story. So, I thought this would be a good time to narrate the same.

Last week I landed in Louisville quite late. The preceding snowstorm in the Midwest had put the airports in complete turmoil. My flight was also not spared, and I was two hours late. I took a ride share from the airport to my hotel. The ride was about 20 minutes. My driver was a lady in her fifties.

When the situation permits, I enjoy interacting with people. I initiated the conversation and she warmly reciprocated. She grew up in Germany and had served in the defense force. She was vibrant and took pride in narrating everything she knew about Louisville. We spoke about Derby, fireworks, about the town and the famous eat outs.

My hotel was in downtown and the car was at the red light across the street where my destination was. Time was way past midnight and there was hardly a soul on the street. Suddenly I saw she is rolling down the passenger side window. I looked at her with prying eyes, doubting her intentions. Then I saw a person running towards the car. Before I could comprehend, I saw her handing him a 10-dollar bill.

He was a homeless person and was holding a placard asking for help. I wondered what he was doing in the middle of the night. Was he expecting her? Her gentle voice took me out of my brooding, “God bless his soul”. The person folded hands and bowed to her in complete gratitude.

I walked into the hotel perplexed. My mind was blurred thinking about what I witnessed. She was burning her midnight oil to make her ends meet. 15 dollars was what she earned, and she didn’t think twice before giving away a huge portion of her earning to someone she didn’t even know.

In the world we live in every time we turn on a channel or read the newspaper all we see is hatred and war. But stories like this would always reassure that there is still humanity left in this world.

PS: I gave her a good tip. The least I could have done.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah and ckonfab.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Keeping Humanity Alive

Not too long ago I was on a Trans Atlantic flight to Hong Kong. To beat the evening traffic I started early and reached airport way before time. I found a quiet place and remained indulged in reading a half read fiction book, intending to finish it before boarding. My sitting area was right next to the customer service desk. The line was not long. There were three people waiting for their turn, while two agents were servicing customers. The agents were taking a long time to resolve whatever issue the travelers had. I presumed re-routing passengers on missed flights would be a complex phenomenon.  Soon, I lost interest in the book and dawdled into observing the people waiting for their turn to get served.

Most of the passengers looked asphyxiated and ruffled except for one person. He was last amongst the three in the queue and looked calm as he patiently waited for his turn. He was smartly dressed and appeared to be in his mid-thirties. About half an hour passed by and the agents thus far had dealt with only two customers.  Before the agents could call upon the next in the line, there was a sudden surge of anxious travelers joining the line. The queue which was just three people long was now extended to over 10+ people.

The first to join the existing line, next to the neatly garbed gentleman, was a lady.   She looked tormented and appeared extremely fidgety. Looking at her I could sense that if she failed to get help soon, she would break down. I presumed she must have missed her connecting flight and was desperate to avoid getting stranded at the airport. The lady had a conversation with the person in front of her, presumably asking him to let her go first. The gentleman allowed her to go in front of him. And then I saw him coming out of the line. I was baffled. He was waiting for more than 30 minutes.  Why would he leave the line when he was so close to getting to the agent?

My curiosity got the best of me and I couldn’t refrain from approaching him. I introduced myself and imposed my question with a clear hint of bewilderment in my voice. He smiled and answered,  “I was on the line to explore my options of getting an upgrade. When I learned that the people behind me missed their connecting flights and are trying to get on another plane to avoid staying at the airport overnight,  I realized my problem was trivial as compared to theirs.”

I smiled and thanked him for keeping humanity alive.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah