Persistence.

I had written about this plant in our garden eight years ago. It just appears suddenly and one morning flowers with the stunning yellow coloured flowers every now and then. The last time I wrote about it was in September towards the tail end of our monsoons and this morning it is the middle of June, just the beginning of the monsoon.

You will see that the plant grows out of the gap between the paving stone and the boundary wall. We don’t plant anything there and this plant just keeps itself hidden and grows on its own every now and then.  You can see that we have had to move a couple of flower pots to show the bottom part of the stem.
Here is another view.

Remarkably persistent plant is it not? Welcome back dear Indian Mock Strawberry.

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The Beards Are Ruling – 2.

Perhaps in response to my blog post, or more likely, as a dig at my beard, my friend RP sent this image. Chivalry seems to have died.

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Sometimes I Wonder…….

What a fantastic topic that Shackman has come up with for this week’s Friday 2 on 1 blog post where he and I write on the same topic. Please do go over to his blog to see his take on the subject.

Why sometimes? I wonder often about many things and right now at the beginning of our monsoon season, I wonder how something as rain drops falling on parched earth could release such a magnificent scent, yes, the petrichor never fails to release a sense of awe and wonder in me. I have searched high and low to get that in a perfume bottle or spray without any success. And sadly enough, it becomes just a memory till the monsoon is over and the earth dries up again and another unseasonal shower revives it.

I often wonder at how fortunate I have been in my life considering that as a teenager I was given up my extended family as being a nogoodnik with no prospects for the future.  There were just two relatives, besides my mother who had faith that I will do well.  It eventually turned out that I did well, very well indeed, much to the surprise of many and shock of some. The main reason that I am a total believer in the theory of karma.

Every time some one from my long forgotten past pops up to renew contact on facebook or WhatsApp or just telephones having got my telephone number from a mutual acquaintance, I wonder what makes for such affection that wants to renew contact. I also wonder when something triggers a memory and I try and locate someone from my past to renew the contact again.

Another wonder in my life just now is the latest addition to our family. Koko a blind dog who came into our home three weeks ago. It never fails to amaze me as to how she uses her other senses to get along and does not appear to miss being sans eyesight. She cheerfully bangs into furniture and people but has got her bearings inside the house to a tee and can navigate very well. Every time I see her playing around, I wonder at the karma that has made her blind but also brought her into our life.  That in turn leads me to wonder about so many inexplicable situations that appear in my life for which, other than karma, I have no answers.

The biggest wonder of course in these attempts is that modern social media and the internet makes it possible to. Let me give you how I made two new friends by using exactly this modern wonder. Reading reviews of books led me to two such friends who were the reviewers. In one case, the email id was given at the end of the review and I simply had to send him a mail which led to exchanges of mails and telephone calls and today he is among my closest friends. In the other case, I had to search for his contact using the net and finally found it via Linkedin and though he has not quite become a close friend, he and I are in frequent touch on matters of mutual interest.

I often wonder how we lived without the internet in the good old days!

Earlier this week, I had gone on one of my rare outings to buy a chair for my bedroom. It was after a long time that I went to that particular part of the city and I wondered where such growth of the city will end in. The traffic was at least four times denser than what it was the last time that I had gone to that place. Our local Metro Railway is coming up in that area and once that comes, it may ease the congestion somewhat but, while the construction is going on, the road having become narrower causes for traffic jams. I wondered at the madness of modern urbanisation. I am sure that I will keep wondering about this phenomenon in the future also.

I can go on and on about the things that I wonder at or about and instead, shall end with this old favourite of mine which came to my mind immediately on getting the topic from Shackman. I hope that it will trigger as many memories for you as it did it for me listening to it after so many years.

Posted in Blogging, Facebook, Friendship, India, Music, Nostalgia, People, Pets, Wikipedia, You Tube | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

The Monsoon Sets In.

It is raining finally. Last year, I had posted this on the 21st of June but today, it is exactly the same. Just ten days earlier.

It is not raining. It is pouring.

You can get larger resolutions by clicking on the images.

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Grab The Opportunities.

Two things happened after I wrote my post on The Beards Are Ruling. . First, I came across a video clip via WhatsApp sent by a friend which I share below with my readers. Second, I remembered another bearded friend and ex colleague about whose Remarkable Career I had written blog post.

This is a motivational speech in Hindi by Abhinav Kumar, India Head of Trivago.

For my readers who do not understand Hindi, Abhinav Kumar’s speech covers simply how he became what he did, despite coming from a small village in Bihar, by grabbing every opportunity that presented itself without any second thought. And every time he also learned whatever was needed to learn including how to speak English, and just kept moving in unusual trajectories that eventually made him what he is today. Rajinder’s career too has been one where he grabbed the opportunities that came his way, did the best that he could in each situation and moved on to finally a contented retirement.

A rather unusual career path for the son of a bureaucrat from the then establishment, Rajinder acquired a Master’s degree in Geography.  Yes, you read me right!  He then was able to secure employment in a public sector organisation where he found himself getting claustrophobic and, unwilling to be part of a venal system, quit.

A smart Sales Manager, not me, saw something in him and hired him as a Sales Representative.  He was very good at it and won many awards for being so as I personally can vouch having been his colleague then.

While he was establishing himself as a Sales Professional his brother had gone through a training programme to become a Mariner and became one.  While the living was tough, the compensation was way above what Rajinder was making as a Sales Professional and this was galling for our intrepid young man.

When his brother offered to help him get a position as a trainee mariner, Rajinder quit his position and took the gamble and joined the merchant marine in 1992.  Working hard and studying simultaneously to write and pass qualifying examinations, after ten years, in 2002 he became a Master and captained cargo vessels till he retired three years ago to a well deserved retirement.  Since his wife still works at Jaipur and with other responsibilities there, he lives at Jaipur but, has already acquired his permanent retirement home in Himachal Pradesh. A man from the mountains, who moved to the plains to make a living, went to sea to make a totally unplanned for career, retired and will eventually return to his beloved mountains.

This is Rajinder now with his companion Hunter at his home in Jaipur. Shackman, he and I not only keep beards, all three are also dog lovers.

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Intolerance.

Intolerance is defined as an unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own; or an inability to eat a food or take a drug without adverse effects.

Having suggested this topic for this week’s Friday 2 on 1 blog post, I shall address both and perhaps something else as well. Please do visit Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say about the topic.

Unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own.

Ever since India’s Rightist Hindu Nationalist party, the BJP came to power in 2014, this word became synonymous with the Leftist Intellectuals in India and all kinds of things happened. Minor incidents of law and order took on communal tones like Hindu vs Christian, Hindu vs Muslim and Upper castes vs Lower castes and so on. Some took to mass media to condemn the majoritarianism implied in the result of the elections, some returned awards given to them by the previous dispensation as a means of protest, without however, returning the cash elements that went with those awards and generally made, what in my opinion was fools of themselves.

These were the English speaking, reading, writing urban self appointed intellectuals and their tantrums, simply did not reach the people who were none ot the above. The BJP came back to power last month with an increased majority in our parliament and now one sees the same breed of Tolerant Intellectuals analysing the results and coming to the conclusion that they misread the public mood and orientation. Some of these elements wrote for foreign publications as well crying themselves hoarse that doomsday is about to descend on India. As my readers can see, nothing like that happened and some even changed their tones post analysis of the results.

Being a Rightist supporter of the BJP, I tolerated these elements while they were intolerant of me! Now I am enjoying watching them squirm and the Schadenfreude is entirely enjoyable.

That is the beauty of intolerance. The ones shouting loudest that the other is intolerant is entirely unaware that they are being intolerant of the other to start with! And being completely detached, I simply enjoy trumpeting my own intolerance of the intolerant.

Coming to other types of intolerance, I know some wealthy people, the not so wealthy simply cannot be so, who are intolerant of the elements. During the summer months, they disappear to cooler climes and during the winter months to warmer climes. During the wet months they refuse to get out of their homes lest they get wet and miss out on a lot of fun. These people are also usually intolerant of everything around them and totally insatiable be it about food, drink or relationships.

I also know the unfortunates who are lactose intolerant or gluten intolerant or some other intolerant and I feel sorry for them while being grateful that I am not any of those. On the other hand, I recently discovered that I was allergic to one particular type of new antibiotics and it was entirely providential that I had anti allergy medication at home as otherwise, I would have been dead with the reaction I had after consuming that medication. Now that my doctor, family and I know that I am intolerant to it, hopefully there won’t be a next time.

Intolerance can take other shpes too and one of the most common in India is the mother in law, daughter in law conundrum and / or the older generation, younger generation one. Here again, it is difficult to do anything about it when one comes across it but one can be grateful that one does not go through this in one’s own life.

I am sure that there will be other types that my readers have come across in their experiences and I look forward to receiving comments on them.

Posted in Blogging, India, Medicine, Patriotism, People, Raves and Rants, Relationships, Religion, Sociology, Wikipedia | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

The Beards Are Ruling.

Yesterday was the birthday of a cousin who is very dear to me. I dedicate this post to him.

Apart from all the other reasons for his being dear to me is his loyalty to my blog. After the greetings and responses were over on the telephone, he asked me why I don’t blog as often as I used to till a few weeks ago. I answered that I found no topics to write on of interest to me or to my regular readers but, sooner than later, I will start regular blogging again.

As my readers know that I am a great believer in Synchronicity and just as I was scratching my head to find something to blog about I came across an article that made it possible for a blog post at least for today,

This is Shackman. He and I write on the same topic every Friday as 2 on 1 Friday posts. He and I motivate each other to write at least one post every week.
And this is yours truly.

“Having facial hair has variously been a sign of manliness, of unkemptness, of being one with nature, of being Left-leaning, of being lazy, disinterested even, or just too miserly to invest in a razor.”
~ Arun Janardhan.

I don’t think that any of the above signs fit the two of us. At least in my case, it is simply a matter of having been with a beard for all my adult life to minimise the effects of a severe case of acne vulgaris in my younger days. After that problem stopped bothering me, I could not remove the beard as it had by then become my trade mark as it were.

In the case of Shackman, I suspect that he could not find the time during his difficult days and now, having found it so convenient and becoming, has left it to flourish.

It is however nice to know that the beards rule the world for the time being at least.

Posted in Blogging, Family, Friendship, Humor, Relationships | Tagged | 4 Comments

Change And What If.

Shackman has suggested that both of us answer the following question for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday Blog Post. Please do go over to his blog to see what he has to say.

What single event – with a different result, would have caused the most changes in your life? Discuss those changes.

The single event that was more or less tectonic in its impact on my life was my late wife’s multiple cerebral and cardiac infarcts. This happened when I was 56 and at my peak career wise. I had to wind up all that involved, to become a 24/7 care giver for her.

Two other results, one, she was cured completely and the other, she succumbed and died could have both had the same impact on my life.

I would have simply returned to my career and reached further heights and made more money in the bargain. I would have retired after a few years definitely and even then, my life would have been vastly different than how it turned out to be.

For one, on retirement,  had Urmeela recovered fully, to start with, she and I would have travelled extensively within India with my showing her places that I had visited during my field selling days which, she had not. After we would have finished that, say, in a few years’ time, we would have retired to a farm house that we had planned and lived there as country folk visiting the city only occasionally but, providing a weekend home for our son Ranjan to enjoy breaks.  Had she died, I doubt very much that these would have happened.  I would have simply retired and lived the way that I have been living since her death.

Having said all that, let me add that I have no regrets. None whatsoever.

And to add a poignant song as a tribute to a lady that both my wife and I admired not only for this song but also for her acting prowesses here is a clip that I hope you will enjoy.

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Voluntary Work.

I have had limited experience of volunteer work but those in which I was involved were highly satisfying except one where I had to quit as it was affecting my sanity.

The first exercise that I was involved in was way back in the mid seventies when I was a member of the local Lions Club and we launched a project to provide houses for poor workers with their own plots of land but, on which they could only build huts. I was given the responsibility to provide all the material for one such person who had inherited a small piece of land but did not have the wherewithal to build a house on it. I successfully completed the project by persuading building material suppliers to part with some materials and the recipient managed the labour himself. He is still in touch with me and his grand children now are successful professionals.

The next project that I was involved in was what we call shramdhaan here. It is a composite Sanskrit word containing two parts; shram meaning physical labour and dhaan meaning contribution. It was in the mid nineties after we had moved into our home where we now live. The neighbourhood had a plot of land earmarked for a park but the municipal authorities had not done anything to develop it. The local community association decided to plant a garden there and that is what happened with many residents contributing their labour to clear brush and plant flowering bushes and trees as well as laying down a walking / jogging path. Subsequently, the Municipal Corporation also contributed in various ways and today that park is among the best in Pune.


By the early part of this century, I had retired from business life and was a full time caregiver for my late wife who needed such care. A friend suggested that I become the Honorary Secretary of the local chapter of The Multiple Sclerosis Society Of India which had its office just about a hundred meters across the road from my residence. I did for a year and learnt a great deal about the disease, initiated many programmes for the patients and to raise funds. I also visited many patients to check on the utilisation of funds and other assistance provided to patients and came across instances of great heroism on the side of families of the patients and also the exact opposite of cruelty and neglect. The latter was the most heart breaking to see such human depravity and it finally drove me to quit in disgust. I was simply not able to handle the emotional drainage that such visits caused.

After that experience with MS, one of the local Chambers Of Commerce And Industry, we have quite a few of them, requested me to volunteer to mentor young entrepreneurs who it was funding to set up or expand existing businesses. I was given two mentees in the business that I had some knowledge of and I happily mentored both who, today are very successful businessmen and in regular touch with me. This gave me the greatest satisfaction of all the voluntary work that I have undertaken as, both are from the lowest economic and social strata and to help them navigate the world of banks, businesses, employees etc was simply amazing. If proof is needed that successful businessmen are not necessarily born but, can be made, these two bear that witness.

In the process of mentoring these two young men, I also got first hand experience of the seedy side of our local politics about which, the less said the better.

As my readers know, I have been a serious practitioner of Vipassana Meditation and apart from attending many ten day camps, I had also volunteered my services during camps for others and one such service camp was the most satisfying as I managed a group of totally blind young students who attended one such camp. That experience exposed me to the world of blind people like no amount of reading could have done.

My son and daughter in law are both deeply involved in animal welfare activities and their involvement spills over to my having to do something or the other too. My physical condition does not permit me to be more active though it gives me great satisfaction to see these two so committed and effective.

To sum up, I have had varied experiences but nothing on a life long basis. While I was involved, it was satisfying except towards the end of my stint with MS. I can’t think of getting involved in anything any more.

This is my contribution to this week’s 2 on 1 Friday blog post. Please go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say on the same subject. Thank you.

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A New Addition To The Family.

Koko has been under foster care in a kennel run by Manjiree’s sister Vandana and her husband Bala. She is blind and as such has not found a home for herself.

Enter Manjiree and Ranjan.

Two days ago, while I was in my most relaxed and comfortable with my own devices, Ranjan quietly came next to me and asked if we could adopt another dog. He explained that Koko was blind and the volunteers were unable to find a home for her. I readily agreed and the result is here.

Koko.

Ranjan photobombing.

Will post more as time passes.

Posted in Family, Pets | Tagged | 25 Comments