Justice And Arithmetics.

This is a fable that I remembered for its Arithmetical jugglery when I read Ekoshapu’s 2019 Through Recreational Mathematics. I am not into mathematics and his post flew right over my head but this story is something that has come back to me as a result of reading the post.

A traveller seeks shelter in a stormy night in a temple and finds that there are two monks already camping there. Tired and hungry, he asks them if he can get some food. One monk says that he has five rotis and the other three. Both express their inability to decide how to share the rotis. The traveller suggests that both of them divide each roti into three equal parts so that they will have a total of 24 pieces of roti which then could be divided amongst them at eight pieces per head. This is duly done and the three have the meal and go off to sleep.

In the morning, the traveller finds that the rain has stopped and on his way out, gives eight gold coins to the two monks as an expression of his gratitude and goes away.

The two monks then start to quibble about how to share the coins. The monk who had contributed three rotis suggests that they share it four pieces each while the monk who had contributed five suggests that he should get five and the first one only three in proportion to the number of rotis each contributed.

Not finding an amicable solution, they go to the Abbot and ask for justice.

The Abbot after mulling over the matter gives one coin to the monk who had contributed three rotis and seven to the monk who had contributed five. The former immediately cries that this is unfair and asks for an explanation as he points out that the other monk had already offered three coins which was not acceptable to him.

The Abbot explains that the first monk with the five rotis actually gave seven pieces of rotis to the guest from his fifteen pieces whereas the monk with the three gave only one from his share of nine pieces from his original three rotis. So, the monk who gave seven pieces of rotis should get seven coins and the monk who gave only one piece should get one coin!

This story is often used to explain how Karma actually works and I hope that Ekoshapu will come up with some such enlightening stories from his fun with recreational mathematics.

Posted in Blogging, Philosophy | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Short Cuts.


A happy new year to all my readers.

On New Year’s eve, Ranjan and Manjiree went to dinner at a mall near our home where there is a book shop. Just as he was leaving, Ranjan asked if I wanted any book as a new year’s gift and I asked for The Order Of The Day by Eric Vuillard about which I had heard from a friend who is a history buff. Ranjan could not get it as it was not available at the book shop but, for some strange reason he chose this book by Phil Knight as a gift for me.

I am not much into autobiographies or books on Management and was a bit sceptical about the contents but, on beginning to read the book, I found it gripping and unputdownable.

It is a remarkable story and more remarkable for its ability to keep the reader involved and wanting to move on. There are platitudes but they do not interfere with the narrative and the story keeps moving at a break neck speed.

The writer is just five years older than I am and many of the things that he writes about his younger days are places, events and things that I remember from my younger days. That perhaps is a reason for my fascination with the story.

All in all a great book to read about a remarkable journey of a ‘my generation’ entrepreneur.

And, as it so often happens in my life, I came across this photograph just as I was about to finish reading the book. No, at least in the book, there are no short cuts to success.

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Letter Writing!

My friend Milind runs an NGO where he arranges for children to indulge in art. He also believes that we are forgetting the art of letter writing and has produced some picture post cards for his friends and family so that they can recommence writing letters. I have sent for some postage stamps and have every intention of sending a few off to some discerning friends who will appreciate the art in the cards as well as the attempt to revive the art of letter writing. A few may even suffer strokes out of sheer shock of receiving a post card after so many decades.


Another friend Unni an occasional blogger has just written a post on letter writing where he talks about the Inland letter form that used to be very popular during the letter writing years. Like his father, many used to write on the flaps too as there was inevitably so much to write. I distinctly remember my mother doing so almost without fail on every letter that she wrote to me.

During my bachelor days, many “love letters” were also indulged in. It is a pity that I don’t have any now to read again!

Talking about letter writing, my father inevitably addressed his letters to me with my academic achievements included in the address after my name as BA, MBA. On one occasion, I had the mortification of a postman delivering a Registered Letter to me asking for Bambaji. (Indian form of respect to attach ji to one’s name instead of Mr. before.) My very mischievous nephew Jai went one step further and started to call me Bamba Mama. (Mama being Indian for maternal uncle}


Do you write letters and post them either in a post box or in a post office?

Posted in Blogging, Family, Nostalgia, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

Disagreements.

“If two people constantly agree with each other, then one of them is useless; but if two people constantly disagree with each other, then, both of them are useless.”

~ Japanese wisdom.

I came up with the topic for this week’s   2 on1 Friday blog posts where Shackman and I write on the same topic. The idea came actually due to the fact that by and large, both of us are in agreement on the topics that we write up on though we usually approach them from different backgrounds and experiences but, usually come to the same conclusions. We do however, differ on some topics but we take those in our stride and keep moving on. The disagreements do not come in the way of our relationship or the weekly blog posts.

On the other hand, I have had differences of opinion with some other visitors to my blog who have decided either not to comment or totally stop visiting and I simply have accepted that this is also part of experiences of relationships and moved on. Naturally, I too have stopped reciprocating but, that has not come in the way of relationships continuing off blogs via emails or WhatsApp messages etc.

I think that my approach is healthy one and one that has kept my relationships intact over many years. I think that allowing disagreements to mar relationships is foolish and would prefer not to indulge in it. What do you think?

Do please go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say about the same topic. Thank you.

Posted in Blogging | Tagged | 25 Comments

The Grass Is Greener!

Synchronicity strikes again!

My grand niece has been working part time with a Charity and has just got her first pay cheque. She sent me a photograph of the cheque and I congratulated her and told her that my first pay cheque way back in 1961 was for an amount less than five percent of what she has now got. The smart girl that she is she promptly commented that it must have been worth much more to which I had to agree. I could pay rent, buy prepaid coupons for sixty four meals and still be left with left over cash for petrol for my two wheelers and entertainment. With what My GN has now got she would perhaps be just about able to afford a paying guest accommodation on a room sharing basis somewhere in Pune.

I wanted to send her a photograph of my appointment letter but instead sent her the photograph of my my second appointment letter where I had actually taken a cut in pay as I wanted to move to another city to be with my then flame and had to accept what came my way. I was reminded of my mentioning to my then flame that the grass was not greener for me in that particular instance.

I had hardly recovered from that memory when I read Ekoshapu’s blog post Task List For 2019 and I learnt something new!

I had to admit that despite my being such a voracious reader, I had never before come across this particular saw which makes more sense than the conventional “The grass is greener on the other side of the fence”. In my case, my accepting a lower pay to suit my convenience was indeed finding the grass greener where I was watering it!

Thank you Ekoshapu for giving me a new saw which is priceless.

Posted in Blogging, Nostalgia, People, Relationships | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Is Competition Good For Kids?

Yes, it is.

Let us face it. The world of adults is one of competition. Unless one learns how to compete, to lose and win gracefully and accept that one cannot win all the time, life can be living hell. Such learning can be learnt in childhood by games and sports as well as competitive academic achievements.

Such learning also teaches that when one competes, one does so with rivals and not enemies. This ability to differentiate will also lay the foundation, hopefully, for healthy relationships in adulthood.

Here is one very touching story that I have read many times that explains what competition is all about, how children can be team players as well as magnanimous and more importantly what even adults can learn from it. I even checked for its veracity and found that it really is a true story.

In Brooklyn, New York, Chush is a school that caters to learning disabled children. Some children remain in Chush for their entire school career, while others can be mainstreamed into conventional schools.
At a Chush fund-raising dinner, the father of a Chush child delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.
After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he cried out, “Where is the perfection in my son Shaya? Everything God does is done with perfection. But my child cannot understand things as other children do. My child cannot remember facts and figures as other children do. Where is God’s perfection?”
The audience was shocked by the question, pained by the father’s anguish, stilled by the piercing query.
” I believe,” the father answered, “that when God brings a child like this into the world, the perfection that he seeks is in the way people react to this child.”
He then told the following story about his son Shaya:
One afternoon Shaya and his father walked past a park where some boys Shaya knew were playing baseball.
Shaya asked, “Do you think they will let me play?”
Shaya’s father knew that his son was not at all athletic and that most boys would not want him on their team. But Shaya’s father understood that if his son was chosen to play it would give him a comfortable sense of belonging.
Shaya’s father approached one of the boys in the field and asked if Shaya could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said “We are losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning.”
Shaya’s father was ecstatic as Shaya smiled broadly. Shaya was told to put on a glove and go out to play short center field.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shaya’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shaya’s team scored again and now with two outs and the bases loaded with the potential winning run on base, Shaya was scheduled to be up. Would the team actually let Shaya bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game? Surpassingly, Shaya was given the bat.
Everyone knew that it was all but impossible because Shaya didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, let alone hit with it. However as Shaya stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shaya should at least be able to make contact.
The first pitch came in and Shaya swung clumsily and missed. One of Shaya’s teammates came up to Shaya and together the held the bat and faced the pitcher waiting for the next pitch. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shaya. As the pitch came in, Shaya and his teammate swung at the bat and together they hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher.
The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shaya would have been out and that would have ended the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman.
Everyone started yelling,”Shaya, run to first. Run to first.” Never in his life had Shaya run to first. He scampered down the baseline wide-eyed and startled. By the time he reached first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman who would tag out Shaya, who was still running. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher’s intentions were, so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman’s head. Everyone yelled, “Run to second, run to second.” Shaya ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home. As Shaya reached second base, the opposing short stop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base and shouted, “Run to third.” As Shaya rounded third, the boys from both teams ran behind him screaming, “Shaya run home.”
Shaya ran home, stepped on home plate and all 18 boys lifted him on their shoulders and made him the hero, as he had just hit a “grand slam” and won the game for his team.
“That day,” said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, “those 18 boys reached their level of God’s perfection.”

This topic was suggested for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday blog post by Shackman whose take on the subject can be found over at his blog. Please do go over and see. He may well have a different take!

 

Posted in Blogging, People, Relationships, Sociology, Spiritualism | Tagged | 20 Comments

Future Poultry King.

The farmer’s son was returning from the market with the crate of chickens that his father had entrusted to him, when all of a sudden the box fell and broke open.

Chickens scurried off in different directions, but the determined boy walked all over the neighbourhood scooping up the wayward birds and returning them to the repaired crate. Hoping he had found them all, the boy reluctantly returned home, expecting the worst.

“Pa, the chickens got loose,” the boy confessed sadly, “but I managed to find all twelve of them.”

“Well, you did real good, son,” the farmer beamed, “because you only left with seven.”

Posted in Humor | 2 Comments

The Future POTUS!

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Reversal Of Roles.

This post has been inspired by my sister Padmini sending me this image with the peremptory comment – “For your blog”. Yes Madam, anything to oblige!  Please click on the image for a larger resolution.

One of life’s inevitabilities is the fact that once one grows old, his identity takes the back seat to his offspring. For instance, I now have to be introuduced as either my son’s father or my daughter in love’s father in law. I have also had the odd experience of being introduced as Chutki’s grand parent! Chutki incidentally, is our dog. I rarely drive any more and depend on my son or daughter in love to drive me around. It seems not so long ago that I drove them around! There was also the time that I used to say that my son lived with me whereas now, I unashamedly say that I live with my son and daughter in love.

That preamble may sound a bit odd for my Western readers but, for Indians, the change over from joint families to unitary families is still a work in progress and apart from the sheer logistics aspect of inability to stay in the same place where the parents live, for career reasons, there is also a great shift in values where young people want to live their own lives without the elders constantly poking their noses into the affairs of the youngsters.

There is however a caveat. Many of the senior citizens that I know here with children in the West, are still in great demand as post natal nurses, housekeepers and baby sitters. They keep going up and down till the grand children grow up and after that the goings more or less stop. While there, there is nothing but total boredom for them but, they do their duty as parents and grand parents and return usually to big sighs of relief.

Recently, I had been discussing with some fellow seniors as to how roles have reversed vis a vis with our children and younger siblings. From our looking after them during their childhood, it is time for us to be looked after by them and, hold your breath, ordered around too! Two things firmed up my views on this recently. The first incident was the very first paragraph of this post and the next follows.

I had to attend a reunion with some ex colleagues by driving over 130 Kms up and down and though I was looking forward to the meeting itself, I was down with a viral infection and felt that I will be incapable of a comfortable journey to and fro. My daughter in law hearing me think aloud about not going simply said, “Nothing doing. You will get up, have breakfast and go. No cancelling the long awaited meeting.” And that is what I did. What motivation! I enjoyed the meeting though the drive back was quite tiring and longer than the way up due to traffic snarls.

I actually enjoy the reversal of roles. What do you think?

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Great News For Seniors.

Please click on the image for a larger resolution.

Thank you Shankar.

Posted in Humor | 6 Comments