Winds Of Change.

I urge all my Indian friends to send a link of this post to as many people as they possibly can to get some sanity into our elected representatives and to get them to perform the functions that they have been elected to do.

Let us start a movement to pass an act to achieve the following:

1. No Tenure / No Pension.

Parliamentarians collect a salary while in office but should not receive any pay when they’re out of office.

2. Parliamentarians should purchase their own retirement plans, just as all Indians do.

3. Parliamentarians should no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Their pay should be linked to the CPI or 3%, whichever is lower.

4. Parliamentarians should lose their current health care system and participate in the same health care system as the Indian people.

5. Parliamentarians should equally abide by all laws they impose on the Indian people.

6. All contracts with past and present Parliamentarians should be void effective 1/1/12. The Indian people did not make this contract with them. Parliamentarians made all these contracts for themselves.
Serving in Parliament is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in India) to receive the message. Don’t you think it’s time?

THIS IS HOW WE CAN FIX OUR Parliamentarians !

The Intrepid Receptionist.

I had an appointment with my surgeon for 3.30 pm yesterday and landed up there at 3.20 pm. The procedure in the hospital where he consults is that one registers one’s presence with the receptionist in the specialty area and is then called one after the other on a first come first served basis. There were three patients already ahead of me and I had to register myself and await my turn.

When my turn was announced and I had gone near the door, the receptionist informed me to wait a while longer as a patient had come back with some fresh test results for a continued consultation. She kindly allowed me to sit on a chair at the reception bay and Ranjan seeing me with my bag around my shoulder, decided to take a photograph.

The bag carries a message – Aagaya Jaadugar, meaning The Magician has arrived!

While I was perched on the receptionist’s chair to be called inside the consulting room, one pushy lady decided that she could not wait any longer and tried to break the queue system by opening the door and requesting the surgeon to call her next. The receptionist would have none of that and to the extent of raising her voice in the crowded reception hall, prevented the lady from entering the room ahead of me. When the lady persisted, the receptionist threatened her that she will call the Security Staff and would cancel her appointment for the day, which finally convinced the lady that her antics will not work and she went away muttering under her breath and giving me looks that would have killed someone of lesser fortitude!

I duly went in finished my consultation and came out to find that the pushy lady was not even the next in line after me! Despite my euphoria with the outcome of my consultation, I complimented the receptionist for her excellent work and left. If only we had such martinets wherever queues form!

This phenomenon of breaking the queue discipline is another matter that deserves to be included in my post on Undesirables.

Freedom.

I have just returned from consultation with my surgeon and have the best news possible.

All restrictions on putting weight on the operated leg have been removed and I can now move back into my bedroom/bathroom. More than I am, my father is mightily pleased because he does not have to share his bathroom any more with me!

I have been advised to be careful the next few weeks and use two elbow crutches to start with and discard one after I gain some confidence and then discard the other one in due course. I have been that route before and that does not faze me.

I have been asked to walk a lot and resume my exercise routine which is the most welcome news since the surgery.

I thank all my readers who have continuously encouraged me and supported me in my recovery for all their kindness prayers and best wishes.

Punishment Now Exercise.

When we were young lads, whenever we needed to be punished for any mischief, we would be asked to do “Thoppukkaranam”. This was done by catching the left ear lobe with one’s right forefinger and thumb and the right ear lobe with the left thumb and forefinger by crossing the arms over. After that contortion was accomplished, we would be given a number of squats depending on the severity of the mischief.

Our father was a great one for this punishment for the three of us, while our sister was spared this excruciating punishment. My father’s decree of the number was usually, “till I tell you to stop”. He would then go away from the room and we would be doing this till he condescended to return. Sometimes, we were asked to do this by visiting our neigbours and do it there so that they could see that we were punished.

In school, I had a teacher who would inevitably catch pairs. He would then ask one of us to hold the other’s ears while crossing our arms over and the other to repeat from the other side. this took some doing I can tell you. After that was accomplished, we would then be asked to do the squats and repeat loudly for the rest of the class to hear “I was bad because of you and you were bad because of me”. This was quite a lark!

This punishment is called Thoppukkaranam in Tamil. This is also done as an obeisance to Ganesha at the time of daily prayers.

This form of punishment/exercise has now become popular in the West as a form of Yoga!

May be somebody will even patent it and ask for royalties! The ways of the world.

Gratitude List , December 17, 2011.

This week too, three special people deserve to be acknowledged in this list for their presence in my life. They are all indispensable for me to live in the kind of comfort that I live in.

The first, due to the length of association, is Yakob, who has been our gardener, handyman and factotum, all rolled into one. He considers himself as part of our family as does his wife and two wonderful sons. Yakob has been with us from the time we moved into this house way back in December 1990. His wife shobha also came to work with us then. They used to live very close to us then in a rented house. In 1994 they built their own little house some distance away and Shobha stopped coming to work with us. In the meanwhile the boys Sandeep and Sagar used to spend a lot of time learning English and Maths from Urmeela.

In all these years, though I don’t personally do much about our traditions, despite being a Roman Catholic, Yakob will perform Ayudha Puja for our vehicles, gardening and other tools and implements every year without fail. Come Christmas and a feast in a six tiered tiffin career will be brought to us from their home.

The other one is Mangal our House Lady. After the departure of Shobha, we had Asha for five years till she got married and moved away to Mumbai. After that, Mangal came and has been with us the last 12 years, with a short break due to illness during which time, Asha stood in for her. Mangal keeps our home clean, does the shopping for vegetables etc, cooks our meals and when necessary sleeps over to take care of domestic chores that I normally take care of. During my recent post hospitalisation inability to manage, she did that with aplomb. When I go out of Pune, she will do that again to look after my father in my absence.

The third one is of course Asha who keeps putting in brief appearances in our home. After her failed marriage, she returned to Pune and keeps a close watch on everything that happens in our home. She is now an independent entrepreneur with her own vegetable shop and is quite prosperous. Despite that, she will gladly come to manage matters at our place at need.

After I become mobile again, I intend taking photographs of these three people and their families and write separate posts to show how despite heavy odds, they have prospered in their own ways by simply moving from rural India into Pune.

Saturday was another day of quiet and peace and I was able to finish reading one very interesting book and start another. Ranjan gave my father and me a big surprise by getting some fantastic biscuits, quiches and puffs from the city.

Sunday went off quietly and peacefully but I was interrupted during my siesta and was blessed with some extra time in the afternoon which I spent watching and listening to a scintillating exchange of views on the video between Mark Tully and Rajiv Malhotra. Had I not been interrupted, I would not have decided to spend an hour and forty minutes on that!

I also reconnected with a young friend who helped me set this blog up. I had met Amit at a Pune bloggers’ meet over three years ago. Amit sat next to me in that meeting where I was the odd man out with all the rest being under 30! I had gone to the meeting hoping to find some help with setting up my blog and Amit cheerfully and readily agreed to that and did. Amit and Ranjan now partner on some projects together. A chance meeting has developed into something of benefit to the three of us totally unexpected. Along with Amit, there was another young lad Jagan with who I was able to speak in Thamizh. For me, that is a treat as there are not enough Tamilians in my life just now and while I try to speak to my father in it, it is not often enough to result in the joy that I had talking to Jagan, brief as it was.

Having gone to bed early on Sunday night, I rose much earlier than normal and had the pleasure of seeing the moon on Tuesday morning. Not having seen it for over a few months due to my confinement at home, it was a grand sight and I really enjoyed sitting out in the veranda for a few minutes just watching the garden in the moonlight. Strangely enough, mosquitoes left me alone! Do they not maraud in moonlight?

Monday also saw a vindication of sorts for Ranjan and me. More than two years ago, my father had wanted a traditional nut cracker.

While this is normally used to shave or crack areca nuts, he wanted it to crack some Haritaki nuts that he was used to taking for various maladies.

I had got him one with some difficulty. He misplaced it and was blaming the help at home and even implied that one of them could have stolen it. He suggested that we were too lenient with our help. Ranjan and I were totally unimpressed and simply got him another pair.

On Monday, when he was cleaning up and organising his medicine cabinet, he found the cutter and came to apologise for having given us so much trouble to get the second pair. Naturally, both Ranjan and I were mightily pleased. Not a word however about the accusations!

The bulbuls that I had written about last Saturday are now parents and I could see three, may be four chicks in our hedge. In the afternoon when I was sitting in the veranda and having my tea, one adult pair came over to drink water from the bowl of water that we keep for birds in the garden. I suspect that the mother was willing to brave my presence and merrily drank the water and allowed me to photograph her.

On Tuesday, I decided to cook a complete dish starting from chopping onions and vegetables and made Dingree Mutter. It was a very satisfying experience being able to stand and do everything on my own. A recipe from the web is given here. Mitali came over for lunch and a chat and thoroughly enjoyed the lunch which included Pitla Bhakri made by Mangal. Bhakri was made this time with Bajri.

I was pleasantly surprised on Wednesday morning to see two plants of raat ki raani (translated as the queen of the night) blooming just outside the grill of our veranda.

On enquiring from Yakob I discovered that he had transplanted them from the Northern border hedge to near the grill. While they just appear as buds in the day time, they bloom in the night and emit a fascinating scent in the nights.

I was in for another welcome surprise. Hummingbirds that had disappeared from our garden have made a come back and one of them even came near the water bowl to have a long sip of water while I watched. It was too small for my camera to catch a reproducible picture here and I give one from stock.

Perhaps it was the hummingbirds, but despite the slow trading conditions, I was able to secure a large order today from a tough customer at a satisfactory price.

Friday was icing on the cake- a relatively quiet week crowned by another undisturbed one which enabled me to catch up with some serious reading and listening to discourses.

Act.

Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where twelve of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Grannymar. The eleven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, Rohit and Will. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥

“Karmanyevadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana,
Ma Karmaphalheturbhurma Tthey Sangostv-akarmani”

“You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action। Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.”

~ Bhagwath Geetha. Ch II V 47.

In the Indian Dharmic way of life, this verse is one of the most often quoted direction to lead a fruitful and contented life. This aphorism summarises, one of the three paths, Karma Yoga to liberation. The other two are Bhakti Yoga and Gnyana Yoga.

People are of three predominant types; the emotional, the active and the studious/reflective. Bhakti Yoga, or unity through devotion and surrender to the divine, is prescribed for the emotional types and Gnyana Yoga, or unity through knowledge of the non duality of reality to the intellectual type. Each path can be elaborated, but for this post, I shall restrict myself to the path to reach unity through uninterested action.

In the shloka, the key word is “prescribed duty”. One must understand something else that is often misunderstood. In this shloka, Krishna addresses Arjuna to do his prescribed duty as a Kshatriya. Kshatriyas were the warrior class whose duty was to protect the other classes and dharma. By default and power plays, this classification became hereditary and much of the inequity of the system now seen in India arose out of this hereditary classification.

The original interpretation was that people had some inherent characterestics which were to be encouraged to optimise a joyful life. If one was inclined to acquiring knowledge, he was encouraged to be one and if one wanted to pursue accumulation of wealth, he was too.

In modern times, the hereditary varna system has lost all its power with Brahmins becoming soldiers and Kshatriyas becoming scholars and both becoming businessmen. Many such crossovers now take place and the disinterested action to perform one’s prescribed duty is to do what one’s natural inclination to do, in a way that brings about a joyful way of living. This presupposes that one does not really have a guarantee over the outcome of any action. The outcome can be exactly what is expected, opposite of what is expected, more or less than what is expected or completely different to what is expected. One is urged to accept that one of these possible outcomes is a possibility and whatever comes, one accepts as the natural order of things and not get overjoyed or depressed with the outcome.

The aphorism also advises that because the outcome is not entirely in one’s hands, one should not desist from taking action. This is to prevent the drop out phenomenon. I suppose that even during the days of the Mahabharata, drop outs, beatniks and hippies existed!

In short, one should live spontaneously and accept whatever comes one’s way as the natural order of things and get on with the next project. What comes is due to the karmic influences of action/reaction paradigm and most of which is unknown to us. If one is so inclined, it can be attributed to divine grace or retribution depending on its impact and accept it as such.

A guaranteed way to live a life of bliss. Difficult but with sincere and conscious approach, possible.