My Door Is Open.

My friend Shanker posted the following message on Facebook and I promptly copy pasted the same on my page.

My door is always open. My house is safe. Coffee & Tea can be on in minutes, and my dining room table is a place of peace and non-judgmental. Anyone who needs to chat is welcome anytime. It’s no good suffering in silence. I have food in the fridge, coffee and tea in the cupboard, and listening ears, shoulders to cry on and words to share. I will always be here…you are always welcome!!

This is an old value that has been lost to technology…a text, face-time or emoji is not the equivalent of making time for those we love or care about!
I promise to sit at the table while we talk…this is a value that we should bring back!! Let’s all bring it back!

Could at least one friend please copy and re-post.

The response has been staggering. I have posted many other messages on Facebook but, I have never seen such responses.  As I write this post, there have been 44 thumb-up and heart emoticons and 19 comments.  Five friends have also copy pasted the post on their pages.

The contents of the message must have resonated very well indeed with many people!

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I AM!

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Life And Death.

I had couple of friends visiting me some days ago and we had discussions on a wide range of subjects. Both are part of a group to which I too belong, which has monthly meetings where such discussions take place and, it was not unusual that it happened again.

One of the friends unfortunately has recently been having morbid thoughts. He is four years older than I am and has seen much suffering in his life despite having had a successful academic life. He has been exploring various avenues of living in some kind of seclusion in some old peoples’ home.

Among the issues that have been agitating him is the concept of  “Right To Die”.  He has lately been studying cases of euthanasia and has been wanting to carry out research on the subject among senior citizens of India.

He lives alone except to spend every Sunday with his only son, daughter in love and grandson. My other friend and I believe that his recent bouts with health issues like high blood pressure and insomnia has brought him to some morbid thinking. That is the reason he brought this topic up again to discuss and I was a bit impatient with him as, we had discussed this topic a number of times before and had concluded that he should seek help rather than live with some morbid thoughts of euthanasia.

I finally had had enough and told him that though I had come across many people from all walks of life with fear of death;  he is the first and only one that I have come across with a fear of life.  I bluntly asked him as to why he was afraid to live the full life allotted to him and enjoy it to the best of his ability.

He was taken aback but, quickly recovered and said that, that was the problem indeed. He was afraid to live the way he was living and would rather not. That insight has changed his attitude somewhat as he called me up earlier today to thank me for the insight. I again suggested that he seek psychiatric help and he has agreed finally to do that.

Posted in Friendship, Language, People, Philosophy | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Retirement.

Two triggers came to me on the same day which made me suggest this topic for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday post. Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say on the same topic.

The first was this cartoon in one of the daily newspapers that I read every day.

Luckily for me, I did not have a son like Calvin to make me surly during my working days and in any case, those days were not like what they are today.  We did not have to spend so much time commuting to and from work nor were we under the kind of pressures that today’s employees face in work situations.

The other was a WhatsApp message sending me this link to a post on Facebook.

Again, luckily for me, my old friends continue to be my friends and though the number is reducing there are still enough to keep my mind occupied with them as well as in reminiscing about the good old days.

Having started my working career at an unusual age of 16, by the time I had reached my mid forties, I had decided that I should retire by the age of fifty. This was so that I could see a lot of India and some parts of the world accompanied by my wife. For various reasons I was unable to retire at that age but was able to at the age of 52. Not bad, I thought but, life had other plans. Again due to various reasons, I was unable to implement the plan to travel and so was sort of drifting around when life intervened again and pulled be back into corporate life on three different occasions. I finally retired from corporate life at the age of 62. I did have some gaps between assignments during which I also underwent two major surgeries and tackled some major domestic issues.

For the past 14 years, I have lived a life of a retired old reprobate as so affectionately termed by my dear brother. I have not had any retirement blues as many of my friends have had though I did go through some difficult times being a full time care giver on two occasions since the retirement.

My retired life revolves around a lot of reading and a daily dose of solving crossword puzzles. This blissful existence is interspersed with reunions of various kinds about which I have blogged elsewhere, meetings with like minded reprobates in Pune where I live and visits to or from friends and family.

I am one of those blessed seniors who still has company at home in the form of his son and daughter in love plus two very affectionate dogs. To add spice to the life, two alley cats have also decided to adopt us and keep visiting us to ask for snacks at frequent intervals. Hardly ever a dull moment!

It helps that social media like Facebook and WhatsApp have brought many friends and family closer to me and so, I do not find myself at loose ends ever. The only exceptions are when due to public holidays, I do not get my daily dose of news papers and crossword puzzles when I have to depend on additional reading to pass the morning hours.

Posted in Blogging, Books / Reading, Facebook, Family, Gratitude, Humor, People, Pets, WhatsApp | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Senior Citizen Bride.

Posted in Humor, Music | Tagged | 4 Comments

What Makes You Laugh?

The topic for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday blog post is from Shackman who actually suggested “You can tell how smart people are by what they laugh at. What makes you laugh?” Since, I flatter myself that I am not among the smart set, I can get away with shortening the title to just “What Makes You Laugh?” I hope that after reading my post, Shackman will realise how smart I am or not. Please do go over to his blog to see what he has to say about the topic.

I am one of those characters who can find humour in the most unexpected situations and burst into laughter. What may be serious to others often appears to be comic to me. Perhaps it is my puckish sense of humour that is responsible but, this trait has landed me in some very embarrassing situations.

Having shared that, let me address the question. The things that make me laugh are;

Comic strips in the daily newspapers. Particularly,  Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Dennis the Menace, Dilbert and often, single illustration cartoons by Sunil Agarwal & Ajit Ninan. A sample of one from the last, but with a different partner.
Pompous politicians.

Dogs and cats in real life as well as in stories.

Jokes that come to me through Facebook and WhatsApp.

Old movies with Charlie Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy etc.

Here are two representative samples  that combines two of my choices.

Another type of humour that can make me laugh out loud is that where an unexpected twist takes place in the conversation. Like this one.

 

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Renunciation.

There is a process of observing a discipline in one’s later stage of life in our system called Aantara Sanyasa. It simply means that one renounces three things by observing an internal discipline. The things that one renounces are 1. the sense of ownership and control; 2. Worrying and 3.Special prayers to achieve some specific ends. I have tried to follow these disciplines in my life for the past few years with quite a bit of success. Or at least I was of that opinion.

Perhaps to drive home the point that it is not all that easy, suddenly a few days ago, a crisis hit my son in his business and he shared his worry with me. I immediately started worrying, the second item in the list and went through an agonising period and took recourse to prayer, the third item on the list and found some solace in the process.

The crisis blew over yesterday and I had a great sense of relief and felt a deep sense of gratitude for having my prayers answered.

The first item on the list, that I had no control over the events or their outcome was driven home with such a power that I understood in practice what it is all about.

It has been a momentous development in my spiritual pursuits.

Posted in Family, Gratitude, India, Spiritualism | Tagged | 5 Comments

Meaning And Happiness.

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Forgiving.

The topic for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday blog post when Shackman and I post on the same topic came to me as a flash of inspiration when I sought Shackman’s forgiveness for delaying the suggestion. I hope that he has. You can indeed check out if he has at his blog.

Having got that little bit of confession off my mind, let me revert to the quote that I have included above. I think that it is a well thought out suggestion that reflects the truth about forgiving more than any other platitudes that one can come across.

I personally do not believe that human beings are capable of forgiving harm done to them. In my case, I have not forgiven anybody who has caused me harm, though I have moved on and in some cases, even forgotten the incidents unless they come up as reminders when something triggers those memories. I think that all of us are like that but, since it is supposed to be divine to forgive, we pretend to ourselves more than to others that we have forgiven. The best that we do, I think is that we drop that person from our lives and move on finding our pleasures and company elsewhere.

I am more inclined to trust this quote.

Posted in Blogging, Humor, Pets | Tagged , | 10 Comments

We Have Moved.

My readers are well aware of how much synchronicity plays a part in my life. It should therefore not come as a surprise to them to read this post about another remarkable event.

On Friday last, I had written a post What Did You Gain Or Lose By Taking A Risk?. In that I had written about leaving a long held position, to shift to Pune in 1990 to a new employer and a new life.

After we had moved cities, bought our new home and settled down, we had sent a folding card to all our friends and family giving our new address.

On Sunday, that is yesterday, the son in law of a dear but departed friend of mine sent me a WhatsApp message that, on going through my late friend’s papers,  he had found that card. This young man does not read my blog posts and so could not have known about my having written about the move.

The first image here shows the main message that appeared on the first page.  Please click on the images for larger resolution.

The inside page showed an interesting message and our new address. I have cropped the address for safety reasons.

Unfortunately, the photographs taken by the young man are not very clear and by the time I had asked for fresh photographs, he had disposed off the card. This is therefore the best that I could get out of the images received in WhatsApp.

Yes, the poignant message “…and we are broke!” brought back a lot of memories. We had put all our savings and also had borrowed heavily to buy and furnish the new home and we were totally broke.  We  had to start our lives more or less all over again. It has been an eventful life since then and, in retrospect, I have no regrets despite having lost my partner who stood by me then and stayed with me during the rebuilding exercise for another two decades.

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