Are People Intelligent Or Stupid In This Pandemic Situation?

I suspect that this topic has been inspired by this photo and the article about it.

My response is simple. Most are intelligent and will follow sane advice on preventing the infection while some will be stupid and trust either religious dictats or false propaganda.


Some will insist on being super stupid.

My response is using images during the current pandemic but, such behaviour is all but human and reflects mankind in general in all situations. How many smokers have kept on smoking saying that many non smokers get cancer of the lung and many smokers do not?

Finally, I leave it to my readers to come to some conclusion about the topic after reading this article.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Raju. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Retirement Humour.

A friend and ex colleague now retired from employment but, in his own start up business sent me this nice video this morning.

I responded with this truth: “The only decision that I make nowadays is whether to sleep or to read. For that I don’t need an MBA.” He responded with laughing emojis and that was that.

Ten minutes later, I got a phone call from a landline number. Since it was a landline number I answered only to be completely taken aback by a totally strange voice addressing me by my name and asking me to spare some time. Under the impression that it could be a tele-marketeer, I first demurred saying that I am retired and not in need of anything. He explained that he wanted to talk about one of my blog posts and that piqued my interest and I said that okay let us talk.

He said while searching for a Visiting Card maker, he saw a link to my blog post My New Visiting Card and that is what he wanted to talk about. On enquiring further he wanted to know what position I retired from and where I lived.

Being in a frivolous mood, I told him that I never had to work for a living and had always been in retirement but now, I have formalised it by getting these visiting cards made. His interest was now piqued and he wanted to know how without working for a living I had lived and I responded that I simply spent my father’s money. He wanted to know how old I was and when I told him that I was 77 he was quite taken aback and asked whether my father was still supporting me. I responded that I now spend my son’s money, he finally got the joke and pleaded me to enlighten him seriously. I requested him to go back to my blog and read the post on Ambition. He promptly did and called me back after a while and had a fairly intense chat and he has promised to come to meet me once the lockdown is lifted as he often visits Pune from Mumbai where he lives.

My Tuesday was made. As I write this, I am smiling at the memory of the two exchanges.

PS. The Ted Talk is very interesting and I recommend that my readers listen to it.

Small Pleasures.

After a dry spell of three days, the monsoon revived again this afternoon and I got up from my siesta to petrichor. Sitting in our verandah and watching the rain fall in our garden is one of my favourite pastimes and I indulged in it till the showers lasted.

Last year I was in better physical condition than I am now in and I was able to make short visits outside our home and I had gone to a reunion of ex colleagues at Lonavala during the rains. Till a few years earlier, every monsoon I used to go to Mahabaleshwar at least once during each monsoon but, all those are now distant memories.

I am at least mobile enough inside the home to be able to enjoy such a small pleasure that I am grateful enough to appreciate such small pleasures like petrichor and rain watching.

I am also very grateful that I am blessed with two young people in my life who pamper me.  My pedicurist is closed due to the lockdown and since I cannot bend down to clip my own toe nails, my son Ranjan obliged. AND my daughter in love sneaked up from behind me and took this photograph to save the moment for posterity.

Names And Nicknames Or Even AKAs.

My late father had very few regrets when he died and one of them was that contrary to his expectations, his children ended up with nicknames that on principle he detested. He insisted that he chose our names to be short so that they could be easily pronounced and would not need further shortening. Life dealt him what we call googlies or the Americans call curve balls and all four of us ended up with nick names.

Two of us are writing here today, yours truly with the given name of Ramana with nicknames of Rummu, Rummy, and Raman and for this blog, Rummuser. Since my surname is Rajgopaul, I also ended up in some places with Raj or Paul.

My sister Padmini, the other writer here, got called as Paddu, Paddy, Mini, Ari, Gudlu and finally for her blog, Padmum.

The other two too ended up with nicknames which were all galling to the dear departed.

All our children too ended up with short names but no surprises, got nicknames. My son Ranjan is called, Ranj, Ranji, Rimjim and may be more that I am not aware of. My daughter in love Manjiree is called Pinky in her home though she is anything but pink in complexion, Jeri and Manj. I call her Bahu which is Hindi for daughter in love.

Talking about children one of the interesting leftovers of our British colonial connection is the use of Baba for boy and Baby for girl children. The Sahebs of yore used to call their children Babies which was puzzling for the ayahs hired by them to care for the tots, who went by Indian traditions of calling boys with ah ending and for girls with ee endings. So the children became Babas and Babies.  Our Anglicised youngsters are deprecatingly called Babalog and Babylog.

Be that as it may, nicknames are very common in Indian families and in some parts of our great nation they do not have any logical connection to the original. For instance my late wife was Urmeela but was called Tutu. Her elder sister Promeela got Tunu, her brothers Upendar, Surendar and Jitendar got Tullu, Jukki and Jiten. The last had atleast some connection but the others could never explain why they got their nicknames.

Apart from families and friends giving nicknames, the general public here takes great pleasure in giving nicknames to politicians and without going into details, some of them are really hilarious and very apt. Our sports stars and film stars too get such names and some of the latter, deliberately change their names to be acceptable or shall we say, convenient, Hindu names.

Our relationships are position specific and instead of uncles and aunts or grand mother and grand father, we have specific names for relatives from the maternal side and other ones for those on the paternal side. For instance for the former it would be Nani and Nana and for the latter Dhadhi and Dhadha. These names often get adopted by non relatives and some even become generic.

I eagerly look forward to what my co bloggers from the USA have to say on the subject to learn about their peculiarities. I just know that both of them have nicknames as do the the other Indian cobloggers, who I hope will elaborate in their posts this fascinating topic.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  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.

The Law Of Attraction?

The Jack in the jack fruit is derived from the Malayalam word Chakka for it. It is one of my all time favourites and I gorge on it whenever it is available. I love to eat the fruit as well its seed after boiling and removing the hard cover from the seed. One of the reasons that we don’t get much of it in many homes is the mess one makes while removing the outer cover to get at the wedges.

During the lockdown, our help were not coming to work and I thought that I would at least get the seeds from a dear friends and ex colleagues from Kerala who has a few trees growing in his garden in Kerala. While they were ready and only too willing to oblige, the courier companies and the post office unfortunately were not willing to accept packages for destinations in our state. So, I had to inform them that I shall bug them next year by which time hopefully the lockdown would have been removed everywhere.

I still craved for the seeds in particular and I think that this is where the Law Of Attraction kicked in. My daughter in love’s mother had procured two fruits and today, one of them was cut open by one of the maids who has been allowed to come to work. The surprise was that the fruit was from a tree in the garden of my daughter in love’s maternal home in Pune. I got my wish fulfilled and these seeds shown here are about to be boiled and covers removed so that I can have my favourite snack.

Tragic Optimism.

“The man I am, greets mournfully, the man I might have been.”
~ Hebbel

I contacted a Senior Teacher of Vipassana in Pune yesterday, whom I have known since the last more than two decades. He was a highly successful Medical Practitioner as was his wife but, both have quit their practices to devote their full time and energies to Vipassana. I contacted him to find out how best I can attend a camp with my health issues. Being a doctor and a teacher of Vipassana, I thought that he would be the best guide to approach as I felt that I needed a concentrated meditation camp at this stage of my life. He guided me to my full satisfaction and also assured me that he will ensure that I will be well looked after in the local Meditation Center.

It was a nice long chat catching up with each other on many subjects and I intend keeping in regular touch with him henceforth.

After the talk was over, he sent me a photograph taken during the early days of a Vipassana Meditation Center at Markal near Pune with me and two students of meditation in it. The link will take you to show you how the place is now.

This was circa 2003 when it was still in its nascent stage and accommodation and meditation hall were still in early stages of being set up. I was approached by the same teacher to be a volunteer to serve the attendees as by then I was already a caregiver to my incapacitated late wife. In this particular case, they were a group of blind students who had to be looked after, and guided around the primitive undeveloped area so that they did not come to harm and the ten days that I did this changed me for ever.

Spending eleven nights and ten days with blind people and serving them will do that to any body. One is humbled by them with their good cheer and will to survive despite their handicap and their total trust and unconditional affection for me was a high impact emotional experience for me. My caregiving duties only increased and was even doubled after my then 91 year old father came to live with us.  That period till ten years later saw the most stressful times that I have ever experienced and thankfully I was able to withstand and survive those situations due, I have no doubt, to my regular meditation practice.

That experience with the blind students changed my attitude towards life and just about that time was when I first came across Viktor Frankl and his Tragic Optimism. His profound conclusion that I share with my readers below describes my current situation at the age of 77 with health issues.

“From this one may see that there is no reason to pity old people. Instead, young people should envy them. It is true that the old have no opportunities, no possibilities in the future. But they have more than that. Instead of possibilities in the future, they have realities in the past—the potentialities they have actualized, the meanings they have fulfilled, the values they have realized—and nothing and nobody can ever remove these assets from the past.”