Visiting Parents.

In my extended family of siblings and cousins both maternal and paternal, I am one of the rare ones who lives with his offspring. Something that was unthinkable during my parents’s time and well into my adulthood as well. Both my parents stayed with their children during their retirement stage and died while resident with one of the children. Today, if I look at my immediate family, none of my nephews and nieces stay with parents and the parents one of whom is single, live separately.

While this is increasingly getting to be the norm here, there are constant messages on WhatsApp and facebook about the necessity for the grown up children to spend time with their parents. This is one such video showing an adult male going to visit his widowed mother. The language is Malayalam, spoken in our Southern state of Kerala. There are no subtitles but, the story line is easy to follow despite that. Pulls all the right strings! I regret that I am unable to give credit to the maker/s of the film as I am unable to find details.

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A Student Even Now.

I was ready. Two teachers appeared today in my life.

The thrill of learning something new is an amazing feeling. I keep getting this feeling often, particularly when learning new things from younger people.

Two young teachers appeared for me today.

First one was RH, an old colleague from the late nineties of the last century. I had written about him in my post The Right Question.

He sent me a WhatsApp message on our current political situation. I thought that it deserved a wider circulation and so tried to copy paste it and tweet it.

I have had a Twitter account now for quite a while though I am not very active in it. I have recently been inspired to use it by some other friends who use it more. I am still finding my way around the application and so found it puzzling when my copy pasted message would not be accepted by Twitter. The tweet button remained inactive no matter how many times I tried.

Enter my second teacher KS. I have mentioned him too many times in my blog posts to give a single link. Suffice it to say that, he is one of the few young people from whom I learn a great deal on many matters. He is a fellow alumnus from the same Business School that I am from and that is our connection. He is also a regular tweeter.

I sought his advice on why my copy paste was getting rejected and sent him a screen shot of the inactive tweet button. He promptly responded saying that there was a -151 message in the frame which meant that I had 151 characters more than the Twitter application allowed per tweet. I had seen the alert but did not understand the significance till KS explained it to me and advised me to either cut the message short or tweet it in two or three instalments.

And Bingo, it worked.

I do sincerely hope that I don’t get truly ready any time too soon and that these two teachers do not disappear from my life.

Posted in Blogging, WhatsApp | Tagged | 3 Comments

Acceptance.

Life, with its hardships and losses, isn’t exactly a non-stop celebration. While one would certainly like it to be so, there will be occasions and events when the celebration comes to an end and things pass into memories. Some times, even memories do not suffice. The time always comes when the party ends and the festive spirit slips into memory, or even beyond memory as T. S. Eliot so poignantly expresses in The Waste Land.

“The nymphs are departed.
Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.
The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,
Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends
Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed.”

I was reflecting on this poem sent to me by a friend who had a recent loss who found solace in poetry like I did in reading and attending classes on Vedanta. I was trying to find the right approach to be of some comfort for my friend when I received this message from the same young man who inspired my post The Company Of Great Persons.

“A man was pierced by an arrow, and a doctor was immediately summoned to have the arrow pulled and the wound treated. However, the wounded man insisted to find out who shot the arrow before he would let the doctor treat him. Was it a man or a woman? Was the attacker young or old? Which direction did it come from? What was the arrowhead made of? How big was the bow that shot the arrow? What kind of feathers were used?

The wounded man would definitely die of poisoning before his desire for knowing all the information was satisfied.

I love this story. In regards to acceptance, it is so valid. Some of us would rather go our whole lives in pain through resistance than to acknowledge what is wounding us. We refuse to accept the wound or pain. We think that things should be different than they are. We go around trying to resist the inevitable.

If we were to acknowledge the wound and surrender to what is in that moment, then the arrow would be able to be taken out. But since we, like the wounded man, ask questions like why is this happening to me or trying to rationalise what is happening, we never heal the wound. When we identify with the ego, that wound will never be healed because the ego is resistance which created the wound and keeps the wound from healing.

But once we can forgive and realise that all that is happening is okay and is only in the mind, that acceptance is what heals. The resistance is what makes it so painful.”

Since the message arrived just as I was scratching my head to come up with a topic for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday post, I suggested it to Shackman, whose take on the subject can be read at his blog. Please do go over and read. Thank you.

Posted in Blogging, Books / Reading, Friendship, Nostalgia, Poetry, Relationships | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Games That Life Plays.

To the left is Gauranga Prabhu of ISKCON.

To the right is Sundar Pitchai.

Both graduated in Engineering from prestigious Indian Institutes of Engineering in the same year. The former is a leader in matters spiritual and the latter a leader of the world’s largest IT company.

Don’t you find it amazing?

Posted in India, Management, Spiritualism | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Holi, Our Spring Festival Of Colours.

Holi is here. Day temperatures are back to where we have to use ceiling fans and nights cold enough for comforters.

My daughter in love Manjiree talks to her plants every day and obviously it works.

I take my readers back to my post of eight years ago. The garden has been completely relaid since then. This morning however, I saw the same plant coming up bravely in the same place to have its place in the sun! Perhaps if Manjiree talks to it, the flowers will reappear!

Posted in Blogging, Family | Tagged | 4 Comments

The Right Question.

Not that I consider myself to be a Wise Man but, I certainly have a question at the end of this post for my readers.

As my readers know, I am part of a group of Senior Citizens from the fields of Management and Management Education. We meet at irregular intervals to discuss on pre-determined topics and are otherwise in touch with each other and the group via telephone and WhatsApp besides the now getting old fashioned emails.

Through this group I have recently got to meet two individuals who had met me when I was employed in a Pune company twenty years ago. I had also come to know about another colleague who meets a member during his morning walks and exchanged best wishes.

Some months ago, one forenoon, when I answered the door bell, I saw another colleague from the same company with a box of sweets who had just dropped in to say hello and revive the old connection. Since then, we are in regular touch through social media and phone calls and plan to meet for a face to face meeting soon.

Last Friday, one of the members of the group had come home for lunch and stayed on for a while reminiscing about his connections from those days.

Last Sunday, I had been invited by one of the members of our group to be part of a symposium on a topic of spiritual matters. In that meeting, the chairperson looked familiar and I just could not place him. After the session was over, he came up to me and greeted me warmly and recollected his days with a sister company of the same company.

Such incidents simply refuse to let me forget the three years that I spent with the company! Not quite nostalgia but, incidents that keep cropping up at regular intervals to revive my memories!

Do such things happen to my readers?

Posted in Friendship, Nostalgia, People | Tagged | 8 Comments

Doom And Gloom.

My fellow 2 on 1 Friday blogger Shackman has suggested that we revisit this topic after a little over six years! It was nice going back to see the original post that I had written just as it was to read Shackman’s. We had taken completely different approaches to the topic then but, this time around, I suspect that we would be writing about our respective current political scenarios.

My take is very simple. “The 2019 Indian general election is scheduled to be held in 7 phases from 11 April 2019 to 19 May 2019 to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha. The counting of votes will be conducted on 23 May 2019 and on the same day the results will be declared. Wikipedia”

This time around, the battle lines are not yet clearly drawn but, indications are that there will most likely be three cornered fights in most states between the current coalition party in power, the Indian National Congress which has recently showed success in three state elections and local configurations of Regional Parties.

The common factor in all the three contenders’s manifesto is the doom and gloom that they forecast if the other contenders come to power. The ruling dispensation however has shown a more positive approach by highlighting their achievements and plans for the future in a slightly more positive note.

I am personally rooting for the current dispensation and am reasonably sure that it will form the next government again. As many of my friends suggest, when discussing politics, I have skin in the game as I have bet that my forecast comes true with some of my pension money! I am likely to bet some more closer to the elections when the odds improve or deteriorate as the case may be.  I am also prepared to lose some friends of a different ideology but, am sure to gain a new acceptable government.

Another area where both Shackman and I are likely to converge when writing about the topic is to bring music in to the post and my choice is an old favourite by The Rolling Stones. Just look at the band and you can guess my age too!

And before you turn on the music, please do remember to visit Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say about the topic.  Thank you.

Doom and Gloom
The Rolling Stones

I had a dream last night
That I was piloting a plane
And all the passengers were drunk and insane
I crash landed in a Louisiana swamp
Shot up a horde of zombies
But I come out on top
What’s it all about?
Guess it just reflects my mood
Sitting in the dirt
Feeling kind of hurt
When all I hear is doom and gloom
And all is darkness in my room
Through the light your face I see
Baby take a chance
Baby won’t you dance with me
Lost all that treasure in an overseas war
It just goes to show you, don’t get what you paid for
Battle to the rich and you worry about the poor
Put my feet up on the couch
And lock all the doors
Hear a funky noise
That’s the tightening of the screws
I’m feeling kind of hurt
Sitting in the dirt
All I hear is doom and gloom
But when those drums go boom boom boom
And through the night your face I see
Baby take a chance
Baby won’t you dance with me
Yeah
Baby won’t you dance with me
Ah yeah
Fracking deep for oil
But there’s nothing in the sump
There’s kids all picking
Ar the garbage dumb
I’m running out of water
So I better prime the pump
I’m trying to stay sober
But I end up drunk
We’ll be eating dirt
Living on the side of the road
There’s some food for thought
Kinda makes your head explode
Feeling kind of hurt
Yeah
But all I hear is doom and gloom
And all is darkness in my room
Through the night your face I see
Baby come on
Baby won’t you dance with me
Yeah
Yeah
Baby won’t you dance with me
I’m feeling kind of hurt
Baby won’t you dance with me
Yeah
Come on
Baby won’t you dance with me
I’m sitting in the dirt
Baby won’t you dance with me!

Songwriters: Keith Richards / Mick Jagger
Doom and Gloom lyrics © BMG Rights Management

Posted in Blogging, Books / Reading, India, Music, Politics | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

The Company Of Great Persons.

We had a house-guest the last two days. He is my son’s friend, and had come to Pune to finalise a place to set up residence. He normally lives in Mumbai and some family related matters has made it an imperative that he shifts to Pune.

During a couple of long sessions of discussions on wide ranging subjects, I learnt some new things from him as he claimed he did from me too. For me, I learn new things from the world of Management every time some one younger comes along and spends some time with me and this one was such an occasion. From my side, I was able to give some information about India’s economy, development and politics to him, information that I have acquired through my reading habits and discussions with a wide circle of friends that I am blessed with.

He left early yesterday morning but, before he left, he came near me, bent down, touched my feet and took my blessings as traditionally Indians are taught to in their childhood. This is a practice that due to Westernisation and urbanisation has more or less disappeared and I was touched by this traditional way of taking leave by this young man. He said that he believed in the Guru Shishya Parampara and considered his time with me as between a teacher and a student and said that he looked forward to more such meeting in the future once he settles down in Pune.

I was touched by this gesture and respect / affection shown by this young man. The experience led me to some reflection on the information that I shared with him and concluded that I am blessed with the association of a number of very smart and erudite people in my life. I called one of them to share this experience and conclusion and he promptly and cheerfully shared this message through WhatsApp!

Company Of Great Persons.

महाजनस्य संसर्गः कस्य नोन्नतिकारकः I

पद्मपत्रस्थितम तोयं धत्ते मुक्ताफलश्रियम II

Mahaajanasya samsargah kasya nonnathikaarakah. 1

Padmapathrasthitham thoyam dhatte muktaaphalashriyam. 2

Company of great persons is always beneficial.

A drop of water on lotus leaf appears like a pearl, thus gaining
a status similar to that of pearl.

This is to thank all those great persons in my life.

Posted in Friendship, Gratitude, People, Relationships, Sociology, Values | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

The Grass Grows By Itself.

My readers know by now that one of my favourites sayings is the Zen one “Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself.”

Now my favourite cartoon character reflects the same thought in different words!

Posted in Books / Reading, Humor, Philosophy | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Change.

“The caterpillar has to suffer silently in a cocoon in order to become a butterfly. Change is painful in the beginning but it’s worth it in the end.”

~ Jaykaran Sagar

First a little story:

“Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.

The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.

The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.

At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!

The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!

As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.

But neither happened!

The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shrivelled wings.

It never was able to fly…

As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.

As you go through school, and life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly.”

I chose this topic for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday blog post where Shackman and I write on the same topic as I have noticed that between the two of us, we have had many similar experiences notably, many changes. We have played different games, got hurt, shifted residences a number of times, our wives have had to change careers, we did too and we both had to be primary caregivers to our wives and we lost our wives despite such caregiving too.

In all these shared experiences, the running refrain has been change. Situational, physical, relationship concerned and even in careers. Both of us have had to undergo many cycles of metamorphosis and I most certainly think that both of us have used the various metamorphosis experiences to come out stronger.

And, serendipitously, Ekoshapu had this up on his blog yesterday!

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”

~ Robert Frost

Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say on the same subject.

Posted in Blogging, Philosophy | Tagged , , | 9 Comments