A Common Enemy.

No, I will not talk about the latest common enemy.  For me, the common enemy has been for many decades, the idea of “the other”.  Mind you, I am talking about the idea and not “the other”.

“The other” has been the bane of human beings from time immemorial and there does not seem to be any end to it, not at least in my life time.

Let us take the most common today.  Islamophobia.  A conference of some Heads of Islamic States was recently held to address this issue. This is a global phenomenon and locally in India, I have recently been reading some very explosive material on the alienation that the Muslims in India feel. The first one is this book from a young mother and the other is from two very knowledgeable and erudite Muslims of India.

All the three links given above will give my readers some idea about the problems faced by the Islamic world in general and the Muslims of India. I am particularly concerned about the latter as it can have serious repercussions in the next few years with Right Wing nationalism growing in India, Pakistan imploding and Bangladesh in an economic crisis. If the problems faced by the two countries result in a refugee problem in India, there will be a major upheaval which I would rather that did not take place.

Let us talk about some other kind of “Others”. Here is an instance of old people becoming the other. I would very much like to meet this worthy when and if he ever gets to be as old as the people that he suggests die for the cause.

Need I say anything about the biggest “Other”, gender?

Every community has its share of “The Others”, thanks to inadequate education of the different types of people, religions, languages, colour, appearance etc and prejudices and fear drive bigotry and hate crimes besides discrimination.

The latest in the line of many “The Others” is China, thanks to the Coronavirus. It is extrememly difficult to determine how much of it is fact and how much just fake news but, the damage is being done.

If we delve deep into our prejudices, we will find enough and more “others” to keep us discussing them till kingdom come. I have just listed a few here to give a pointer to the IDEA of “The Other” as being our number one Common Enemy.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 5 On 1 blog post topic. The other four bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, Padmum and Shackman and Conrad.   Conrad incidentally, is the original founder of the weekly bloggers group formed way back in 2009. This week’s topic was suggested by Conrad. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Panic.

My family and circle of friends is full of people who have had to get their knees replaced.  So, when suddenly I started to get a severe pain on the inside of the right knee, I panicked and went ballistic trying to find a diagnosis online.  I finally went over to my GP who examined me and asked me, if I had run into anything recently and I suddenly remembered that I had indeed run into the corner of my bed a few days ago.  He diagnosed the pain as arising out of a blood clot due to that after pointing out a dark bruise on the skin.  He prescribed some pills and an ointment and no sooner I had taken the first pill and applied the ointment, I immediately felt relief.

There’s nothing quite like the behaviour of panicky humans,  My imagining all kinds of dire consequences like going back to a hospital for surgery, the expenses involved etc were totally irrational and also totally unlike my normal behaviour to adversity.

Let me share another story.

Every Sunday morning without fail around 10.30 am a surrogate son to me calls me from Mumbai  to ensure that I am alive and have not changed my will where he expects to find himself in a prominent position. He has been doing this for the past twenty years and so when he did not call me at the usual time last Sunday and after waiting for a couple of hours to give him some time to finish whatever he was doing, I called him at 12.30 pm just as he was entering his home. I asked him if dementia has set in already for him and he simply passed on the phone to his wife to explain to me as to why he did not call me in the morning. It turned out that she  had hustled him our of his bed at an ungodly hour for a Sunday and got him to escort her to a supermarket close by to buy and stock up on groceries for the anticipated shutting down of Mumbai due to the pandemic.

My daughter in love and son however appear to be totally unconcerned as I am too and when this topic was suggested by Sanjana for this week’s 5 on 1 Friday post, I was reminded of this:

On enquiry, I found that without much noise provisions had already been stocked up for emergencies and the only thing about which they were worried was milk without which I don’t have my tea or coffee and which is needed regularly to set yogurt without which I cannot exist. I responded that if shove came to push, I shall indeed be prepared to sacrifice my dietary preferences in the larger interest of the public and that they should not panic.

Here is a video that shows clearly to what extent one can go to hoard things during an emergency like the current one.

What however has puzzled me and many others too is the mad rush to stock up on toilet paper.

I am not one to panic easily. Not that I have become like that, it is just that I am just made that way. It is not deliberate but, just natural for me to face adversities calmly and take such action as necessary within my capability.  The knee incident however exposed me to the reality that I too can panic under some conditions.

There have been a number of occasions in my life when I had to face unexpected adverse situations where I was able to face them and come out relatively unscathed compared to others under similar circumstances. Other friends had panicked under similar circumstances and one even committed suicide. I guess that it is all the negative messages that we are bombarded with by the media and now through the social media that such panic reactions take place as people are unable to foresee a future as comfortable as the present that they are so comfortable with.

We are currently in the midst of the Coronavirus panic and I am sure that after a few weeks and in retrospect we will look back and wonder what the panic was all about. I hope to write a follow up post on that.

And to sign off, here is snoopy being topical again.
This is my take on this week’s Friday 5 On 1 blog post topic. The other four bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, Padmum and Shackman and Conrad.   Conrad incidentally, is the original founder of the weekly bloggers group formed way back in 2009.  It gives me great pleasure to welcome him back to this venture, thanks to some persistent nagging by Shackman.  This week’s topic was suggested by Sanjana. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Emojis.

Modern communication has increasingly been taken over by mass media like WhatsApp and Facebook, both of which I use. One of the conveniences of using such a method is that instead of writing long sentences to express emotions, one simply uses emojis.

I use a few regularly and they are these.

🙏. Namaste is the one that I use most often to express gratitude for some message. It is such a versatile symbol that it can be used for expressing many other emotions like, respect, greetings etc.

😀. The second most used emoji is this smile. I use it to express joy in response to either good news or a joke.

😂. After that comes this one to express great joy or laughter.

😔. Less needed but used nevertheless is this one to express sorrow or sadness or disappointment.

😇. I use this to express smugness or appreciation for a response.

👍. I use this to express my appreciation for the contents of the message.

👌. I use this to express that I find the message apt and useful.

👏. I use this to indicate that I applaud the message.

Three more emojis that I use regularly are:

👆. To point to a message / link given above in a separate message.

👇. To point to a message / link given below in a separate message.

🖕. I don’t need to explain do I?

There are experts in using emojis who exchange proper conversations using many emojis but alas, I am not in that league, nor do I want to be. Here is an example:

This is my take on this week’s Friday 4 On 1 blog post topic. The other three bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, Padmum and Shackman. This week’s topic was suggested by Padmum. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Disappointment/s.

“Disappointment is sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfilment of one’s hopes or expectations.”  So, the best way to avoid being disappointed is to be without hopes or expectations and live life on its own terms accepting everything that comes ones way cheerfully and without reservations.

I have had my share of disappointments in life but was resilient enough to handle them and come out of the experiences with hope for better things to come out of the experiences.  This was not something that I deliberately set about doing but, something that came naturally to me thanks to the hard lessons learnt from my parents.  In fact, I was more of a disappointment for them in many ways than all the disappointments that I experienced in my life.

It took a series of serendipitous events to make me a different person from the person who gave them the disappointments which made them come out of their disappointment with joy.  In fact in retrospect, they wondered why I gave them so much to worry about in my earlier avatar when I had it in me to be different.  My answer was always that I was not responsible for the change and that I simply followed life’s diktats and came out of those days smelling of roses.

Like my parents, I also disappointed some employers, who had high hopes for me by quitting their services when least expected to follow the diktats of my conscience or, just to escape unpleasantness in the environments.

It has now been many years since I either got disappointed or disappointed someone else.  That has been a great aspect of retired life where there are no appointments to keep other than those with the medical profession and therefore no room for disappointments!

This is my take on this week’s Friday Four On One blog post topic. The other three bloggers who write on the same topic are Sanjana, Padmum and Shackman. This week’s topic was suggested by Shackman. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Change.

When I read this Rumi quote on a WhatsApp message, I knew immediately that this would be my suggestion for a Friday Three on One blog post and I duly recommended it to my fellow bloggers Padmum and Shackman who readily agreed. Please do go over to Padmum’s blog and Shackman’s blog to see what each has to say on the same topic. Thank you.

True, I have not been able to change the world.  I have however either changed myself many times or change has been thrust on me, whether I liked it or not.

Neither of my parents were fortunate enough to see two centuries.  My siblings and I were from the twentieth to the twenty first.  And what a change that has been!

My life, bar the last thirty years, has been one of change of residence for either moving due to my father’s transfers or my own besides my having been a bit of a rootless guy for a few years during my early twenties. I have lived in Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkatta, Koratti in Kerala, Assam, Hyderabad, Tirupur in Tamil Nadu and finally in Pune now for the past thirty years.

The result of all these changes of residences has been that I am proficient in five languages and can manage quite comfortably in three others. Though I can read only three scripts, I am now flooded with local language messages written in the Roman script from different parts of my glorious country which boasts of 122 major languages and 1599 other languages which of course included many dialects!

I have seen carefree bachelor status, married man status and for the last ten years, widower status.

I have seen my career going through public sector, multinationals, private sector and family / owner run organisations and have also worked in an NGO non profit organisation in a voluntary position.

I have changed from being a hard drinking meat eating executive into to teetotaller, vegetarian spiritual person over the last twenty two years.

I have also changed from being a very indifferent person where religion is concerned into a deeply involved in it person over the last 22 years.

Other significant changes that have taken place in my life can be called physical due to the inevitable changes due to ageing and also my issues with COPD and replaced and revised hip joints. From a very active person, I have now become more or less a couch potato though, thankfully not yet wheel chair bound. I however dread a fall somewhere, which can have serious repercussions and put me into one for the rest of my life.
I am not the wisest and I flatter myself that I am not the stupidest of men either.  I accept that change will happen.  I am sure to see more before I fade away into the sunset.

What Is Your Kryptonite?

I had never heard of the word Kryptonite till Shackman came up with this topic for this week’s Friday Two On One blog post. Well, you live and learn and I have indeed learned something new.


To answer the specific question that Shackman has asked, for me, it is no brainer that it is my COPD.

I can go on and on about the condition and how I am coping with it but, will spare my readers the agony with just these words. It is a difficult condition to live with but, I manage quite cheerfully and have accepted the limitations that it imposes on my life style.

The other kryptonite most people seem to talk about in their lives are people and I am very glad to say that I do not have any in my life who can be thus classified. Such people do come into my life but, I don’t let them stay in my life. I am quite comfortable without them thank you.

I am sure that Shackman has much more to say about this topic, and I request you to go over to his blog to read that. Thank you.