214/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Growing up, especially during my late teenage years/early adult years, my mom relied on me more and more to accompany her to various Indian parties because my father never attended them. I would inevitably end up driving even though she was fully capable as she was/is only 19 years my senior but I had nothing better to do as I had yet to discover alcohol (that came in my early to mid 20s). So most weekends, I would be at some distant relatives or friend of my mom’s wedding/engagement/first birthday/graduation party. I would be bored out of my mind – did I mention that I had not discovered the mind-numbing pleasure of alcohol yet – and would sit there watching and most often all by myself as my mom had/has a social life that would be the envy of a Kardashian! I remember at one of these events, I sat there and there was another guy exactly my age with his mom and he came over and sat with me. We started talking and he introduced himself as Gary. We consoled each other over our situations – okay, who am I kidding – I complained about mine and he told me that I was being a good son. He said we should hang out and I invited him to come over to my mom’s house the next week. On that day, Gary struck up a conversation with my mom which inevitably wound up with the discussion of what village his family was from in India. Crazy small world. There was a link but not just a vague link – his dad and my mom were related but the families had lost touch since emigrating back in the early 60s. The chance meeting brought both families together and from that day over 30 years ago, Gary’s family and ours has been close and there for each other. Although Gary and I are just casual acquaintances/distant cousin-like relationship now but still honestly friendly, I have to thank him for approaching me that evening and starting up a conversation that brought my mom in touch with her relatives. He is like a second son to my mom as well and is always there for her – dare I say even more than me at times but I am glad that she has him to help her out when I am a little too absorbed in my own life. Thank you Gary for being there for me in my absence, for being there for my mom, and for bringing our families together. You are an awesome guy!