Happy New Year.

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On old long syne.

CHORUS:
On old long syne my Jo,
On old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect,
On old long syne.

 

Source for the Verse – Wikipedia.

Mumbai’s Local Trains.

This is a video of my God son Nitin and his wife Ragini dancing away at a get together last weekend at a club in a Mumbai suburb.

There is a unique story behing the get together which is so typically of Mumbai that I want to share it with my readers.

The common Mumbaikar depends on two modes of public transport the Mumbai suburban train service and the iconic BEST bus transport system.

Since punctuality is a characteristic of the Mumbaikar, s/he depends on punctual public transportation and neither disappoints. The same bus / train is boarded every day in the morning to reach one’s place of work while the return journey can be flexible.

Catching the same train every day and boarding the same coach everyday makes for some long lasting friendships and the get together that Ragini and Nitin attended was one organised by the group of people who board the same coach in the same train every day morning. While the boarders were all males, this get together was for them as well as all their family members. (Women commuters tend to board compartments specially reserved for them on each train.)

Regular commuters have a peculiar language for the train service like, local, special, non-stop express etc. They also have switch over facilities to catch different trains from one service to the other ie, from the Central to the Western systems. It is a fascinating subculture which includes, prayer groups, card playing groups, music lovers groups and so on.

Here is a link to another fascinating portal about the service.

Roswell.

It is perhaps fitting that the last post on the LBC weekly Friday outing is this strange subject. Last because, by mutual consent, the LBC has decided to stop writing every Friday on one subject to offer different points of view. While the LBC has been disbanded, Shackman and I have decided to continue to write every Friday on the same subject just to keep ourselves in practice. So, 2018 will have only two posts every Friday which in any case has been the case for the past few months. We are just formalising the truth of the demise of the LBC and the rebirth of a new Two On One effort.

I had never heard of Roswell and had to educate myself which I did thanks to Google Guru and Wikipedia class room. From this distance to me it appears to be a fascinating study of human behaviour. One mysterious event, some speculation by highly imaginative individuals and a legend has grown. I have nothing to add to what Wikipedia has taught me and am actually at a loss to add some meaningful contribution to the topic.

I am however of the opinion that such mysteries challenge the human mind in all settings and wish to write about one particular one that has been of quite some interest to me for decades. I have visited the site and it is indeed mysterious and while there, felt quite strange, as though that I was living in the past.

I take my readers and Shackman who has suggested this topic to a centuries old mystery in India. An abandoned village called Kuldhara which is now a tourist destination for people willing to speculate and use their imagination to come up with their own conclusions just like people do about Roswell in the USA.

Here is what Wiki uncle has to offer about Kuldhara.

I had drafted the above material three days ago and this morning I was pleasantly surprised to read this story in one of our newspapers. I would sure like to go there and spend a night just to see if any ghosts disturb me!

Shackman has suggested this week’s topic. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman<</a

Perfect Happiness.

“Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealisable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable. The obstacles preventing the realisation of both these extreme states are of the same nature: they derive from our human condition which is opposed to everything infinite. Our ever-insufficient knowledge of the future opposes it: and this is called, in the one instance, hope, and in the other, uncertainty of the following day. The certainty of death opposes it: for it places a limit on every joy, but also on every grief. The inevitable material cares oppose it: for as they poison every lasting happiness, they equally assiduously distract us from our misfortunes and make our consciousness of them intermittent and hence supportable.”

“Human nature is such that grief and pain — even simultaneously suffered — do not add up as a whole in our consciousness, but hide, the lesser behind the greater, according to a definite law of perspective… This is the reason why … man is never content. In fact it is not a question of a human incapacity for a state of absolute happiness, but of an ever-insufficient knowledge of the complex nature of the state of unhappiness; so that the single name of the major cause is given to all its causes, which are composite and set out in an order of urgency. And if the most immediate cause of stress comes to an end, you are grievously amazed to see that another one lies behind; and in reality a whole series of others.”

~ Primo Levy. In Survival in Auschwitz.

The Introductory Poem translated into English.

You who live safe
In your warm houses;
You who find on returning in the evening
Hot food and friendly faces:

Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who knows no peace
Who fights for a bit of bread
Who dies because of a yes and because of a no

Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
Without enough strength to remember
Vacant eyes and cold womb
Like a frog in the winter:

Reflect on the fact that this has happened:
These words I commend to you:
Inscribe them on your heart
When staying at home and going out,

Going to bed and rising up;
Repeat them to your children:
Or may your house fall down,
Illness bar your way,
Your loved ones turn away from you.

Six Husbands.


I came across this review in Facebook shared by my sister Padmini and having found it very interesting, am sharing here with my readers. Before I am asked whether I was all six, let me answer. no but, I was five of them.

The book, “The six husbands every wife should have” (by the way the book is written by a husband – Dr. Steven Craig) talks about how a husband has to constantly grow, evolve and renew himself at least six times, by the time he turns 60….For as people grow, their relationship and the relationship’s needs change…:) (The book’s premise is that women do it naturally as they become home-keepers and mothers and grandmothers.)
1st husband – At the time of marriage, the husband has to be fun, carefree, full of dreams and potential…The couple should make each other laugh and feel good about each other.
2nd husband – After a couple of years, the husband has to grow out of his carefree, fun and life-of-every-party ways. He needs to get established in his career and begin preparing for a family.
3rd husband – When the kids come, the husband has to learn patience, be home as much as possible, and scale down all his extracurricular activities.
4th husband – As children grow, the husband has to again reinvent himself and be more focused on kids – putting them first just as the wife does. The wife needs a ‘daddy’ more than a ‘honey’. The motto must be ‘family comes first’.
5th husband – This husband needs to help children become gradually independent; supporting them through their mistakes and growing-up pangs. He needs to be responsible and trustworthy.
6th husband – By the time children leave home, the wife becomes more confident and assertive. Now she doesn’t need a strong-but-silent man whom she can lean on – instead the husband has to become vulnerable and sensitive, who opens his heart to her and values her as an equal – leaning on her for strength at times.
The book brings to light that the very qualities a wife initially loves in her man are the very things that become a thorn in their marriage during later years – if the man doesn’t outgrow them.
For marriage is a lifelong relationship that must feed the family’s emotional needs as those needs change.
A life-partner has to continuously reinvent himself/ herself. It not only makes our marriage better, but also makes us better people – and our life more fuller.
Problems in marriage occur not because we are not good people – but because we don’t grow up.
How many men (and women) have the courage to grow, evolve and change as the dynamics of marriage and family change?

Festival Lights.

My daughter in love has been at it again. She has decorated our living room and the veranda adjoining it with sparkling strings of lights for Christmas.

She also insisted on taking a photograph of me in my favourite perch. She switched off the reading lamp which was on to help me read the magazine to my right and switched on all the strung lights.