An Utopia In The Making? Auto Ban??

I had commented on Nick’s post “A Lethal Lapse“, that perhaps the best solution to the increasing incidents of fatal automobile accidents, is to go back to the old ways of living – sans automobiles. Grannymar and I had a separate discussion on whether it would be possible to modify and use slower electric cars etc. Since I do not own an automobile and am perfectly willing to revert to the old ways of living, I am all for going back to nature as it were.

Actually, I am nostalgic for the leisurely, unhurried days of steam engine trains, electric trams and local trains, public buses, bullock and horse drawn carriages, bicycles, tricycle rickshaws and the nice discussions with strangers while asking for directions. Only total nitwits got into accidents those days.

It therefore came as a very pleasant surprise to read about an entire town that has done away with the automobile. Perhaps there is hope for mankind after all!

“Roads kill. Every year, 1.27 million people die in road accidents around the world. Road accidents is currently the ninth leading cause of death in the world.” That is not all. Globally, about 50 million people are involved in non fatal accidents every year.”

I wonder what sort of reaction this post will generate! I suspect that there is going to be a great deal of indignation to say the least!

Confused Relationship

My post “Do Indians Celebrate Father’s Day” elicited some comments and emails, from which I gathered that that I appear, to at least some people, as though I was some kind of a male Mother Teresa. I am writing this post to put a proper perceptive on that relationship.

It is, to be very pithy, confused.

It has now been more than six months since my father moved in with us. This was a prospect, that neither he nor I, had ever imagined possible. Man proposes and God disposes, and my father’s plans to predecease his second wife, came a cropper and I had to call him to come and live with us. His living with us has brought with us a number of changes to the way our household ran. His presence is affecting my own possible second career, due to his paranoiac fear of something happening to me, every time I step out of the house. To see that he is comfortable and be more or less his secretary and Personal Assistant is quite taxing at times. He has been a great manipulator of people and old habits die hard. To handle his manipulation in a way that he realizes that it will not work and I am on to him is like what a matador in the bull ring experiences.

For various reasons, the relationship between my father and his children has not been very loving for nearly five decades. By and large, he lived his life the way he wanted and pretty much left us all alone, and we wanted it that way. This was due to circumstances about which I would prefer to write some time in the future, but suffice it to say, we were from a dysfunctional home. He lived his life, and we did ours.

The relationship between our mother and the four of us however was on much stronger ground. She finally left an unsatisfactory relationship, when the last of her duties was performed as per our societal norms. . After that and as long as was alive, she spent all of her time in succession with one of us and had nothing to do with him. After that, to say that she was literally spoilt by the four of us and our spouses would be an understatement. Perhaps we were over compensating for what she had to endure during the time she had to live with our father.

Let me take this post forward by quoting from something that I have been reading recently to try and make sense of my life.

“The ever shifting, but almost perennially uneven balance of affection and obligation between parent and child, is one of life’s deepest and most bitter sweet experiences. And it illustrates how imprecise the genes can be in turning on and off our emotional spigots. Though there seems to be no good Darwinian reason to spend time and energy on and old, dying father, few of us would, or could, turn our backs. The stubborn core of familial love persists, beyond its evolutionary usefulness. Most of us, presumably, are glad for this crudeness of genetic control – although, of course, there is no way of knowing what our opinion would be if the controls were more precise.”

Robert Wright – “The Moral Animal – Why we are the way we are. The new science of evolutionary psychology.”

So, what is it that I am now undergoing? An experience of affection or is it an experience of doing my duty as an obligation? Whatever it is, I can vouch for the writer’s observation that it is one of life’s deepest and most bitter sweet experiences. The frequency with which I suffer from ‘whymeitis’, since the passing away of Urmeela, is not something that I ever thought that I would undergo. The mystery of and the turning on and off of the emotional spigot, and the controls not being precise enough is quite frustrating.

The answer perhaps is from this paragraph from the same book:

“In theory, and in fact, the dearness of parents to children also changes over time. In the pitiless eyes of natural selection, the utility of our parents to us declines, after a certain point, even faster than ours to them, as we pass through adolescence, they are less and less critical databanks, providers, and protectors. And as they pass through middle age, they are less and less likely to further promulgate our genes. By the time they are old and infirm, we have little if any genetic use for them. Even as we attend to their needs, (or pay someone else to); we may feel traces of impatience and resentment. Our parents, in the end, are as dependent on us as we once were on them, yet we don’t look after their needs with quite the same gusto they brought to ours.”

If an erudite and knowledgeable person can write like this, perhaps I can take solace from the fact that I am not alone in experiencing this peculiar emotional roller coaster ride. Perhaps there is something to the theory of ‘Natural Selection’ after all!

It also would be nice, if I could get Ranjan to do a guest post on his take on this subject! I shall try.

Love In The Air


I know for sure that this will be of interest to some hardy souls like Grannymar, Ashok and of course yours truly. It may be of interest to some others like Diane and Gail, but I cannot be very sure about that as they are very mysterious people.

There are yet others like Conrad who will act as Mavens and take the information contained here as spread it around. Or at least I hope so.

The idea intrigues me. As a retired Marketing man, I think that this is a brilliant promotion and will be keenly watching to see if it will succeed.

Let me not keep you in suspense! Just read this article.

It will be interesting to see what kind of comments this post will generate.

Do Indians Celebrate Fathers’ Day?

This post has been in the making for quite some time now but, is being speeded up with the passing of Fathers’ Day, celebrated on June 21, 2009. The original title has also been changed to reflect the contents in its present context.

I received some greetings from people who know that I am a father and some enquired whether we celebrate Fathers’ Day in India. I also sent some messages to some people who were celebrating Fathers’ Day.

My household is unique. It has two fathers, and one son who is also a grandson. The household consists of three single males, my father, twice widowed, I once widowed and my son, who is divorced from his only ex wife. All three are also motherless children!


From left, Ranjan, my son, my father and me!

In all my extended family and circle of friends, there is simply no equivalent household. One without the presence of a resident woman. The joke within this family and circle of friends is that three generations of single male Rajgopauls under one roof, is a disaster waiting to happen.

The nearest to this situation, that I have come across is the TV serial, Nu3bers. There is however variation there in that, there is one retired father and two working sons. Just two generations. In my household, there are three generations.

On Saturday last, that is the day before Fathers’ Day, my son Ranjan suggested to me that he takes me and my father out for lunch somewhere to celebrate Fathers’ Day. I shot down the idea for two very valid reasons. One, we have never celebrated it so far, ever. Two, and more important, if the reason was to be told to my father, he would get very upset as his two other sons and a daughter had nothing to do with it and would go into a tirade.

Oscar Wilde, the irrepressible Irishman wrote: “Rich bachelors should be heavily taxed. It is not fair that some men should be happier than others.” I suppose that he was neither rich nor single. In any case, he reflects the popular opinion that single men have a grand time, enjoying life to its full, without the responsibility and care that matrimony entails.

In our case, none of us are rich, nor are we exactly destitute. We represent everything that middle class India does, bar wives or mothers in our lives. Ranjan has a girl friend but she does not live with us. He does. Quite whether this means that we are care free and enjoying life to its fullest, is a matter of conjuncture. My answer would be the other saw – being single till one’s old age is a fine breakfast, when young, a flat lunch in the middle years and a miserable dinner in one’s old age.

In our three cases however, we seem to be having all three meals with great relish and gusto. That is because, we have assumed the responsibility for each other, and I am very serious about this, including my father. Despite his advanced age, which is now 92 and frailness, he insists on washing dishes, clearing the table and doing other things by himself, so that he is not a burden on either of us. He is also willing to foot his share of expenses!

Money matters which usually cause problems in such situations, has not yet done so in our case, as all three of us are quite casual about it and it is no big deal any way.

I wonder if any of my readers have any knowledge of similar households. If so, please do share with me as to how the situation is there.

So, with two fathers at home, why don’t we celebrate Fathers’ Day?
That takes us to the difference in our culture. Indians, do not make a fuss about living people. The living ones are dime a dozen, so why bother?

We are however supposed to do a great deal, about our dead and gone ancestors. We have what is known as Shraadh, and I reproduce below an extract from a blog post about Shraadh, the full text of which may be read by those who are interested. I suppose that this is because, history is mystery and Indians feel that it is prudent take some insurance for the future when they themselves become history!


The Sanskrit word “Shraadh” refers to the ritual performed by a Hindu in order to offer homage to one`s deceased ancestors (Pitri). `Shraadh` also means `Shraddha` which stands for unconditional, limitless reverence. The sons or the grandsons of the departed person pay respectful homage to their deceased parents and grand parents by performing this ritual. It is believed that after the performance of the ritual, the soul of the dead relative is appeased and it attains Moksha. Shraddh liberates the ancestors, since the mantras chanted during Shraddh ceremony, reaches the dead ancestors soul through the atmosphere and space. This day is also thought of as a day of remembering the ancestors and parents.

Pitru pakshaShraadh is performed every year on the anniversary of the death of the person as per the Panchang or during the dark fortnight called Pitri Paksha. The Mahalaya Shraadh is performed during a fortnight called as the ” Pitru paksha” in the month of Ashwin of the Hindu Vikram samvat. The Pitri- Paksha usually falls falls between 27th September 2007 and 11th October 2007. Shraadh can also be performed on every New Moon day or ” Amavasya”.

So, if you ask me as to whether I perform Shraadh, my honest answer is – no I do not. I personally do not believe that it need s to be done and there is no Mullah or some powerful religious head sitting on my head forcing me to do it. That is the beauty of Hinduism. It is totally anarchic and each follower is free to do what he thinks is right. There are relatives and friends of mine who perform Shraadh regularly and with great fervor. It is just not my cup of tea! I however do not mind partaking on all the goodies that are prepared in such functions if I am around where they are conducted. There are also many like me who do not. It is not considered a sin. We are prepared to meet with whatever comes our way when we go up to meet our ancestors.

Love And Passion

“Eros, the God of Love, emerged to create the earth. Before, all was silent, bare, and motionless. Now all was life, joy, and motion.”
———-Early Greek Myth.

Several beautiful children were born to Aphrodite and Ares. Eros, their little son, was appointed God of Love. Although nursed with tender solicitude, this second-born child did not grow as the other children do, but remained a small, rosy, chubby child, with gauzy wings and roguish, dimpled face. Alarmed for his health, Aphrodite consulted Themis, who oracularly replied, “Love cannot grow without Passion.”
———-Later Greek Myth.

From the book “Love And Will” by Rollo May.

Since my bereavement, I have searched for the next passion that could fill the void that the absence of a wife of forty years creates in a man’s life, particularly when, other economic or social activity does not appeal to the sense of the aesthetic in me. The search has been a daunting one, as the problem is a combination of the physical absence and the essence of an intense relationship.

Don’t however get me wrong, I am not looking for passion of the amorous kind. That was not the point of the relationship anyway. I am talking about getting passionate about something in the sense of the following definition of the word –“a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything: like ‘a passion for music’.” Unless I find that, how do I close that first love and passion? How do I find that next love?

The older and minor passions of reading and pursuits spiritual have been intensified, but there is nothing quite like the passion that a loving relationship generates. So, what do I do to get out of the often experienced “whymeitis”?

This musing is a futile exercise as it is like searching for the coin where the light shines, instead of where it fell!

I just realized that I do not have to search anymore, because, I already have it. I had simply not recognized it. Like a habit, it had simply taken over my life.

I am of course talking about blogging. Writing my own posts, reading other posts, commenting on them, responding to their responses, responding to the comments on my posts, finding new bloggers, changing the blog world relationships to personal ones through email, instant messaging, Skype and other PC to PC phone connections and so on.

It has been a fantastic journey and the more I get involved, the more I am enjoying the experience. The joys of the banter and discussions in Jean’s two blogs; Grannymar’s daily dose of humor and/or wisdom; the incredible range of topics in Conrad’s posts; travelogue and photographs of Mike; runnathons and butterflies of Looney, Ashok’s metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a butterfly, Lizwi’s South African perceptive; the amazing range of emotions that Delirious can evoke; and the list goes on and on. Moreover, there are some magnificent people, who do not post blogs, but who regularly comment and bring joy and wonder into the blog world – people like Bikehikebabe, Gail, Maynard, and Diane who takes my heart away with her Namaste.

What more can a man ask for? It is this, this wonderful world of bloggers and commentators, that have enabled me to survive for over a year as a blogger and in the process earn a PR of 4 from Google! I have been able to post 277 posts, elicit 3248 comments and generally enjoy myself thoroughly.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank all of you wonderful people who have stood by me and my blog and enabled me to discover my passion. Please accept this post as my tribute to all of you, those who have been mentioned here, and those who have not. If I write about every one of my blog friends, my post will run into two more pages, so, I seek the forgiveness of those who do not feature on this very brief list of regular readers of my posts.


The title for this post should perhaps read as Life After The Death Of A Spouse. It would not however grab the attention that this one would, would it?

One Lovely Blog Award

Sqaure Peg Guy has just given me an award:


I am flattered beyond description. Thank you Square Peg Guy.

Having thanked SPG, let me also express my despair! He expects me to pass the same on to fifteen bloggers! How do I quite go about it? Let me try. I tried and have been able to add one more! I am now sending this to sixteen people SPG!

There is no particular order to this list, just as they appear in my Bookmarks:
Love Ely,
Paddy Bloggit,
Josephine Carr Writes,
Leveraged Intelligence,
Exit 78,
I truly am not Einstein,
Nick here and now,
The Vaguetarian Tea Room,
What would Dad say,
Cheerful Monk,
From the Magpie’s Nest,
Tender Loving Elder Care,
Univoice Live and
Brain Based Biz.

These are blogs that I visit regularly and most of the bloggers regularly visit this blog too. I hope that each would accept this award and do what I have just now done.

Thank you.