Questions.

I enjoyed reading Eclectica’s post on the same topic that I decided to answer the same questions here for a lark. I hope that my readers get as much enjoyment as I did at Eclectica’s post.

1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth? My afternoon mug of tea.

2. Pajamas or gown? Neither. Lungi and Kurta.

3. Worst physical pain you ever been in? Pre-replacement pain in my hip joints.

4. Favourite place you’ve ever been? Jamkhandi.

5. How late did you stay up last night? Ten pm.

6. If you could move somewhere else, where would you move to?  Himachal Pradesh.

7. Christmas or New Year? Neither.  I am not into festivals.

8. When was the last time you cried? I can’t remember.

9. What’s the last photo on your phone?

10. Two of your favorite movies? Spartacus and Guide.

11. What’s your favourite season? Monsoon.

12. Which famous person would you like to meet? Sean Connery.

13. If you could talk to ANYONE right now, who would it be? My late wife.

14. Are you a good influence? I am told that I am.

15. Does pineapple belong on a pizza? I am not much of a pizza fan.  Frankly, I don’t know.

16. You have the remote, what show would you be watching right now? I don’t watch TV as a rule.

17. Three people who you think will play along?  My friends SB, SS and KS.

18. First concert? Western Music – Duke Ellington in Chennai.

19. Favorite food? All kinds of sweets.

Relocating.

My fellow 2 on 1 Friday blogger Shackman has recently relocated to California and I was inspired to suggest this topic by that move. Please go over to Shackman’s blog to see how he tackles the topic.

My pre-marriage and the first year after that was life living out of a suitcase from the age of 16 for me. I had relocated a few times between Hyderabd and Chennai/Mumbai and also Ahmedabad before my marriage in November 1968. Relocating was simply a matter of packing my suitcase and moving to a hotel, hostel or paying guest accommodation and did not make for much effort or difficulty.

The first home we set up after marriage was in Delhi and since it was for a stay of just a few months, we had taken a barsati on rent and hired furniture and bare minimum utensils and a stove but both of us lived off suitcases.

The first proper home that we lived in was in Mumbai between 1970 and mid 1973 when we acquired furniture, cooking utensils, linen, etc and when we had to move to Kolkata, we were exposed for the first time to relocating with major packing, discarding etc but, the redeeming feature of the exercise was that we could hire professional packers and movers who did the dirty work, stored the stuff till we found accommodation at Kolkata and unpacked for us too.

From that first move, we relocated to Kerala, back to Mumbai on three occasions, Delhi and Bengaluru and finally to Pune in 1990 where we bought our home where I continue to live till date. During these relocations we moved and set up new homes on eight separate occasions till we put in our final roots.

I had to relocate on two separate occasions afterwards to Tirupur but since it was to furnished accommodation on both occasions I simply had to pack a suitcase. Whenever Urmeela came to stay with me there, she too simply had to come with a packed suitcase. So those two relocations were not really relocations in the true sense.

The only major disruption that we experienced during the relocations was in the schooling of our son Ranjan which, we once even had to solve by admitting him to a boarding school for three years. In retrospect, those three years were also the most disturbing for both of us despite frequent meetings with him at his school as well as his coming home for his vacations. Another experience that I would not wish on anyone.

I can therefore confidently assert that I am a seasoned and well-experienced relocator. I would not like to do that again though as I am now too well ensconced in my comfort zone in Pune where it will be three decades next year, since we relocated.

Wow! What Memories!!

A few days ago I read this gruesome news item which led me to a long lost friend.

The suburban railway station Chetpet mentioned in the report brought back memories of a friend with whom I had lost contact after an accidental meeting in 1964.

Let me start at the beginning.

SK and I were classmates between 1954 and 1958 and the school we studied in was adjacent to Chetpet station.  SK’s home was also close by along the railway tracks. I had often gone to his home during lunch breaks and have very pleasant memories of his mother fussing over both of us and feeding us. In 1958 both of us got our school leaving certificates and moved on in our separate ways. I went off to Hyderabad while SK stayed on in Chennai then known as Madras. By 1965 when we again met accidentally on a main arterial road of Chennai, we had both been in employment, SK as a banker and I as a salesman. During that accidental meeting, both of us retired to a famous restaurant on Mount Road in Chennai for some coffee and catching up with each other. We parted ways again with me going off to Ahmedabad to Business School and he to continue his career as a banker.

Reading about the Chetpet station assault brought back memories of SK and I decide to see if I can reconnect with him and asked some banker friends in Chennai for help. Nothing was forthcoming when I remembered that my cousin SS was also a banker who spent his initial years in the same back as where SK was working. I contacted my cousin who in turn referred me to another ex colleague SV, who fortunately, had retired to live in Pune where I live. SV gave me a telephone number and suggested that if that was not the same SK that I was looking for he would at least be able to help me find my friend’s where and / or what-abouts.

I called that number and was totally zapped to find that it was indeed my old classmate SK on the line and after 54 years both of us caught up with each other with the assurance that we would be in regular touch now that social media makes it so easy.

The Topic of this post however is to express my amazement at the two instances of remarkable memory.

When I rang up SV as suggested by my cousin, I introduced myself by name and before I could say anything else, SV promptly said “cousin of SS from Bombay”. Apparently, when my cousin was in Bombay in the late sixties when I too was there for a few months undergoing training with my employer then and he and SV were in the same branch where he had met me once. And that was in 1967 and he remembered the name after 52 years!

When I reestablished contact with SK and said that we last met in 1965 he said yes, he distinctly remembered the occasion, the name of the restaurant where we had coffee and he particularly remembered my having black coffee which was unusual in Madras of those days where the famous degree/filter coffee was and is the more popular option.

Do you now see my exclamation in the topic of this blog post? Amazing is it not?

A Unique Personality!

I have a high CQ. This often gets me into some interesting situations. Here is one incident that has zapped me.

Some four months ago, I read a book review in one of the monthly magazines that I subscribe to. I liked the review and ordered for the book from Amazon. I was also intrigued by the name of the reviewer. This particular magazine carries the email address of all contributors and so I sent an email to the reviewer asking him the etymology for his very unusual name. For the purpose of this post, let us call him SAJ.

I received a prompt reply from him explaining the name, which is a name of deity of a temple in Tamil Nadu very close to my roots. That exchange led to further mails with both of us getting to know each other better. We found many things of common interest and knowledge. He was at that time staying with one of his sons in the USA and we also spoke to each other on the telephone a few times.

He returned to India and his home in Chennai earlier this month and we continued to exchange emails and also spoke to each other on the landline a couple of times.

Last week, I thought that it would be a better idea to exchange some communication via mobile cellphone and in an email asked for his Indian cellphone number while sending him mine too.

I received a call a few hours later on my land line from SAJ and he threw me for a loop. He said that he does not have a cellphone and does not intend to get one either. He says that he is very comfortable without one and actually pities people who are tied to them! I told him that I admired him for his stand and reaffirmed that we will indeed continue to use the landline and emails to communicate with each other.

He is the only one that I am now in regular touch with who does not have a cellphone! Bravo!  Will I be able to gather enough courage to ditch my cellphone and go back to the more relaxed days of landline telephony only?  I am giving serious consideration to the possibility.

What is/was your favourite weekend getaway spot?

This is a difficult question to come up with a single answer for me. You will see why as you proceed reading this post.

Pre Business School, way back in the early sixties, I was based in Chennai in Tamil Nadu, a state in the Southern parts of our nation. There was prohibition during those days and one had to buy bootleg booze at exorbitant prices or risk illness and death drinking illicit liquor distilled in stills by unscrupulous characters.

Just 170 Kms from Chennai was what then for me for Paradise. Puducherry, a small town did not suffer the bane of prohibition and had some very affordable hotels to stay in. It was my and a group of friends’ favourite weekend getaway spot during those days.

Subsequently, Business School, work pressures and the travelling nature of my job meant that my favourite weekend getaway spot was home wherever we happened to be living as during the week days, I hardly spent any time at home.

As I made progress and the five day week end was introduced, I was able to manage to get away from Mumbai to Hyderabad, my late wife’s home town for week ends. Since I had fond memories of Hydearbad too, I always looked forward to those get aways.

Since, by then my travelling had become national and international, being at home during week ends became even more the norm.

When we moved to Pune in 1990, I had to step up travelling again to get acquainted with my new career and so, home was the obvious choice for week end getaways. As the travelling reduced, visiting Mahabaleshwar became the week end getaways and I had written about it in my blog on our Monsoon.

After retirement, since every day became a week end for me, there were no favourite week end getaways. That state of affairs continues till today. I am also content with just spending each day at home and it takes a great deal of motivation to change my mind!

This post is my contribution the the weekly Friday 2 on 1 blog posts. The other blogger, who suggested this topic, Shackman’s take on the same topic can be read here.

The Philosopher School Teacher.

I don’t know whether I should be amused, disappointed or flattered.

A young man from Chennai came to visit me last week, on a courtesy call as directed by his father who is a friend of mine. This young man had come to Pune to attend an interview for a job opening in a Logistics firm here. The young man is an alumnus of the same Business School of which I am an alumnus too.

This young lad spent a couple of hours with me and scooted off to attend his interview and return to Chennai.

I received a phone call from my friend yesterday,  that when the young man was informed that I am alumnus of the same Business School as he was from, he was zapped and told his father that he was under the impression that I was a philosopher / retired Tambrahm school teacher! My friend in turn was zapped and wanted to know why I had not mentioned my qualifications to the young man. I simply responded that an occasion did not rise on the subject.

This led me to ask a few of my friends who are also alumni here as to whether they would have recognised me as an alumnus had they not met me under the aegis of the alumni association and without exception they responded that they would not have. When I shared what the my friend had conveyed about my being a philosopher / Tambrahm school teacher, one of them went so far as to say that it was stereotyping me!

In case you are wondering, the image of the pundit on the top is that of Chanakya.