Older And Wiser.

The inspiration for this Friday 2 on 1 post came as I was listening to the old classic “Those Were The Days” by Mary Hopkins. The last verse of the song goes:

“Through the door there came familiar laughter
I saw your face and heard you call my name
Oh, my friend, we’re older but no wiser
For in our hearts, the dreams are still the same.”

Wisdom is defined as “the ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgements”. This of course implies that one has gained knowledge over the years and has also had enough experiences during that process. In my personal case I find that while I have gained a great deal of book knowledge, my experiences do not somehow enable me to take sensible decisions and / or make good judgments. But, believe me the dreams are still the same as they were when I was younger.  Only, now I am wise enough to know that there simply isn’t enough time to make them come true.

I am often surprised by the amount of practical knowledge that people much younger have over the current state of affairs which despite my seniority seems to have eluded me. This, despite my devouring newspapers and periodicals more than the younger lot do who are more dependent on the social media and television plus friends and actual live exposures to the daily grind.

Experience and wisdom, leave alone age is best explained by this Sufi tale.

An old man caught a bird. The bird said to him, “Release me, and I will give you three valuable pieces of advice. I will give you the first when you let me go, the second when I fly up to that branch, and the third when I fly up to the top of the tree.”

The man agreed, and let the bird go.

Now free, the bird said, “Do not torture, torment and burden yourself with excessive regret for past mistakes.”

The bird then flew up to a branch and said,
“Do not believe anything that goes against common sense, unless you have firsthand proof.”

Then the bird flew up to the top of the big tree and said, “You fool. I have two huge jewels inside of me. If you had killed me instead of letting me go, you would have been rich.”

“Darn it!” the man exclaimed. “How could I have been so stupid? I am never going to get over this. Bird, can you at least give me the third piece of advice as a consolation?”

The bird replied, “I was merely testing you. You are asking for further advice, yet you already disregarded the first two pieces of advice I gave you. First, I told you not to torment yourself with excessive regret for past mistakes, and second I told you not to believe things that go against common sense unless there is firsthand proof.

And yet, you just tormented yourself with regret for letting me go, and you also believed that somehow there are two huge jewels inside a tiny bird like me!

So here now is your third piece of advice: “If you are not applying what you already know, why are you so intent on gaining what you do not know?”

Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say about the subject. Thank you.

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The Irishman.

My readers have perhaps noticed that I have stopped reviewing movies. I stopped going to movies because of the need to walk long distances in the malls where the multiplexes were located and my COPD came in the way of doing that comfortably. Somehow, despite Netflix, Amazon Prime and what else have you, having been installed at home by the younger generation, I never got around to watch any except the rare one which I happened to see if they were watching earlier than their normal time in the late nights.

I however sat up late last night for three and a half hours and watched The Irishman as, I just could not resist the temptation of seeing De Niro, Pacino and Pesci in a Martin Scorsese directed film. Thanks to its being available in Netflix I did this much to my satisfaction.

For people of my age, the characters in the film, Jimmy Hoffa, the Kennedy brothers, Nixon the mafia dons etc were familiar figures and just having finished reading Ken Follet’s Edge Of Eternity where some of these personalities feature too, it was an orgy of nostalgia for those days of wonder. Once again synchronicity playing a memorable role in my life.

For those of my vintage, this is a must see film. The characterisation, cinematography and direction with period details are simply magnificent. I intend seeing it again after some time to catch up on some dialogues that I think I did not quite catch due to poor reception.

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Saudade.

Today is my late mother’s birthday. Had she been alive, she would have been just short of a century old. For us, the four siblings she was more than a mother because she sacrificed a great deal to see that her children flourished despite a dysfunctional marriage and home.

Wherever she is, I want her to know that for the three surviving children down here, saudade is the emotion today.  And, I hope that the missing sibling is playing bridge with her, her brother and sister in law.

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Spirituality And The Media.

This week’s Friday 2 on 1 fascinating topic has been chosen by Shackman. I am really curious to know quite what he will have to say on it and, I am sure, so will you be. So, without much delay, please go over to his blog to find out for yourself.

For me, the most important media is the print one. I prefer that to any other and I am lost without my quota of newspapers, periodicals and books. The largest of these is the newspaper one and India’s largest, The Times Group in two of its publications offers daily small stories and every Sunday, publishes a suplement devoted entirely to Spiritualism.


The next in the Print series will be my monthly dose of publications from five separate institutions, though three of them belong to the same order, The Sri Ramakrishna Mission.

The next in line for me are shows on religious / spiritual themes on our television channels. India has a long history of such serials starting with the famous Ramayana Series by Ramanand Sagar in the eighties. Today too, there are any number of channels offering such fare and I watch one on Sai Baba Of Shirdi every week day for half an hour.

India has any number of Godmen as they are called derisively by the sophisticates, and I occasionally get links through WhatsApp to Youtube broadcasts on spiritual matters by some of them. Here is one by Satguru, a very popular religious leader which should amuse my American readers.

One also gets bombarded by messages on spiritual and religious matters via WhatsApp, email and SMS messages, all using modern social media and I often get quite annoyed at the sheer volume of stuff that I have to delete every day.

I can therefore conclude that this must be the single largest subject for modern media and I am sure that my readers will agree.

Posted in Books / Reading, India, Religion, Spiritualism, Uncategorized, WhatsApp, Wikipedia, Writing, You Tube | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Marriage.

The idea for this title for our weekly 2 on 1 Friday post where Shackman and I write on the same subject came to me when I received the following piece of humour from a friend:

Today is ‘World Marriage Day.Let us keep 2 minutes’ silence and read some quotes of fellow – sufferers.

A few interesting
*GLOBAL OPINIONS ABOUT MARRIAGE* :

After marriage, husband and wife become two sides of a coin, they just can’t face each other, but still they stay together.
– Al Gore

By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.
– Socrates

Women inspire us to great things, and prevent us from achieving them.
– Mike Tyson

I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me.
– Bill Clinton

“There’s a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking. It’s called marriage.”
– Michael Jordan

A good wife always forgives her husband when she’s wrong.
– Barack Obama

When you are in love,
Wonders happen.
But once you get married,
You wonder, what happened.

I was a married man for forty years and never once had to crack a joke on the institution. My late wife used to say that it was because I was hardly at home due to the travelling nature of my job and so, whenever I was at home, I just enjoyed the comforts and security of home and was not exposed to the other realities that other stay at home husbands did. By the time I retired or chose to retire due to her illness, the nature of the relationship changed and there was no scope for humour.

We got married according to Vedic rites the most important parts of which are the seven circumambulations that the couple take around a sacred fire.

After that ritual, this is the shloka from Vivaha Karmakandaa that every bridegroom is made to recite after taking the seven steps holding the hand of the bride around the fire. I too did.

धैरहम पृथ्वीवित्वं
रथोहं रेथोभूतत्वं
मनोहंसमिवाकतवम
सामहंसमि क्षुत्तृत्वं
सा माँ अनुव्रता भवा.

Dhairaham pruthviveethvam.
Rethoham rethobhuthathvam
Manohamsamivaakathvam
Saamahamsami kshuthruthvam
Saa maa anuvrthaa bhava.

“I am the sky and you are the earth. I am the giver of energy and you are the receiver. I am the mind and you are the word. I am music and you are the song. You and I follow each other.”

How beautiful! We did indeed follow each other for as long as her health lasted. When it failed, we got joined at the hips as it were and that lasted for another eight years till death did part us.

Like all relationships, we had our ups and downs but, mostly it was all ups. There was rare chemistry between us which I think was due to our having been friends for eight years before we decided to get married. I can honestly say that it was a successful marriage.

I despair at the frequency with which modern marriages break down but I understand that the world has changed and different value systems and pressures operate now than those that prevailed in our youth and middle ages.

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

Posted in Family, Humor, India, Relationships, Religion | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Attitudes.

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