Ansooya Rajgopaul – A Tribute.

amma and Pad2

To the left is the apple of the eyes of the Rajgopauls, my sister Padmini who many of my readers would know from some of her comments on my posts. To the right is our mother, the late Ansooya Rajgopaul, who left us ten years ago. Had she been alive, today would have been her 87th birthday and this is a tribute from her four children, grand children and great grand children, who hope that she will read this wherever she is.

She was the cement that made the four of us and all her grandchildren what we are today. A close knit and loving family despite distances separating us. Thanks to modern communication methods, though we are not physically next to each other, we are all in touch and meet as often as we can to just be together. Had she been alive, perhaps, today we would have all gathered somewhere to celebrate her birthday.

May she bless her children, grandchildren and great grand children, none of the last of who she ever got to see.

Spam Comments.

Akismet has so far protected my blog to the extent of 8,620 spams caught, 5,786 legitimate comments, and an overall accuracy rate of 99.174%. It is however a chore to go through everyday to ensure that some genuine comment does not get filtered out by Akismet.

In the last one week however, I have been getting an unusually large number of spam comments, on one day going up to 123! Otherwise, the average is around forty per day, but during the last week the figures have been hovering around 60!

Many comments are in Russian and a lot of them try to persuade me to purchase medicine (!) online.

I wonder if other readers have also noticed such increased spam comments. I look forward to hearing from the other bloggers about their experience.

Thank you.

To Shave Or Not To Shave II.

My post ‘To Shave Or Not To Shave’ elicited more email responses than comments on the post itself, but my musings on that phenomenon is for another post!

By and large, the advise is to keep it. I am not surprised.

There are many reasons that have been advanced for me to keep it, and sometimes with the advise to shape it differently from what it looks like now. The most powerful reason advanced however comes via email from an ex colleague of mine who had worked withe me for over twenty years when I was much younger. He simply states that I am known as the ‘Dhadiwala Saheb’ throughout the country and it would be a shame to lose that identity. For my non Hindi speaking readers, that term simply means ‘Bearded Dignitary’. Actually the translation does not quite come near the same impact as it does in Hindi, but it will do for the purpose of this post.

Apart from being a Bearded diginitary, I am also known as Dhadiwala Uncle, Dhadiwala Swami, Dhadiwala Romeo etc and it would destroy an image created over 42 years if I shaved the beard off.

So, the decision is that I shall save on shaving paraphernalia and retain the beard.

Some readers had used the opportunity to ask what advise I would give to ladies wishing to shave their legs! I prefer not to tackle that ticklish question lest I invite the wrath of Gail and others of her ilk. I shall simply let this cartoon talk. Please click on it to enlarge the image and contents.


A Journey.


“A Journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”
– Zen saying.

I have taken many first steps on many journeys during my rather eventful life. The longest and the most memorable one however was different.

I took the first step after eight years of ignorance.

It was in mid 1961 that I met Urmeela for the first time. She was my friend’s sister. Urmeela and I had a platonic relationship which would see us doing many things together as part of a group of people who did things together as, my girl friend then was staying in a hostel run by nuns in a convent and could not come out for late evening outings.

End 1962 saw me relocating to another city for a new job in preparation for my girl friend’s impending shift there for her post graduate studies. So, Urmeela and I lost touch with each other, but I was in touch with her brother who would pop up wherever I happened to be to recharge his batteries as it were. In 1966 I was in Mumbai on a short two month internship when Urmeela had her one woman show of her paintings at the Taj Art Gallery and my friend made me responsible for her safety in the big bad city. By that time of course, my relationship with the earlier girl friend had ceased and I was footloose. Urmeela and I would meet every day and I would escort her to another mutual friend’s place where she was staying. This was for just about a week while her exhibition was on.

We lost touch with each other after that again till early 1968 when I was posted for a short time at Hyderabad, her home town. I reestablished contact with her family through her brother who all this while had been in touch with me and remained a stead fast friend. Mind you, I am talking about the time when telephones were rare and other means of communication that we now know of did not exist. We kept in touch through what is now called snail mail!

Urmeela and I started doing things together again, and after about three months of this, one day while we were having dinner together, I just asked her to marry me since we seemed to be comfortable with each other. That was the first step that I took in forty plus years of the longest and happiest journey that I have ever taken.

To say she was stunned is an understatement. She however said that she would give serious consideration to the idea and took all of two days to say yes. My friends told her that she was making a mistake. Her friends told me that I was making a mistake. Our friends told us that both of us were making mistakes and the marriage will be a disaster. Without exception, everyone believed that the marriage would not last long.

We got married on November 3, 1968. After a short honeymoon, we set up our first home in New Delhi in December and till we moved to Pune in 1990, set up homes in eight different places. Her career took its inevitable toll after Ranjan was born in 1971 and she more or less gave it up to make a home for her husband and son. We set up two more temporary homes though we retained our Pune home to return to.

A journey taken alone is boring. I should know. I have taken so many of them as a traveling salesman. But the journey of life that I took with Urmeela and Ranjan was filled with the usual ups and downs but, mostly ups. We saw a lot of the world together, took many long drives, train journeys and flights within India. We hosted many parties at home, attended many in other people’s homes, clubs, hotels, restaurants and the open air. In all these, we hardly had to talk to each other. We instinctively knew what the other would like and did it. She was wife, mother, daughter-in-law, surrogate mother for a host of kids, favourite relative for others, the boss’s very approachable wife to many others and my partner in everything that I did supporting me like a rock behind me while I took on the world.

We quarreled and made up, we disagreed on many things but moved on. She was the cement in my relationships with my family as I was for her with hers. It was the greatest show on earth.

In our journey, we came to the slowing down process in 1999 when I had to give up my flourishing career despite her protest, to be with her when she was felled by multiple cerebral and cardiac infarcts. Since then, till she passed away in March this year, we were joined at the hips. She could not do much, but she would light up the room with just her presence and laughter and love for all those in the room. I gave her as many opportunities as I possibly could, for her to do so. I could not keep doing it for ever.

Our journey came to an end on March 13, 2009. She has gone on a different journey for the first time since our marriage without me. I simply do not have the inclination to make any more journeys.

This post is the Loose Consortium Bloggers’ Friday post when Ashok, Conrad, Grannymar, Magpie11, Marianna, Maria, Gaelikaa, Helen, Judy , and I write one post each on the same topic. Please visit the other blogs too to have different views on this fascinating subject. This week, all the ten bloggers should be posting and I look forward to reading and commenting on all of them.

Our 26/11 Anniversary.

Last year, after the Mumbai terrorism, I had written many posts and responded to comments and my regular readers will recollect the mention I had made of my friends and their son Kaizad. Kaizad was a budding chef in the Taj Hotel, and he was deliberately shot and killed by the scum. I reproduce the article interviewing Nawaz and Noshir that appeared in our local newspaper by a scanned copy as the article is not appearing in the eversion of the newspaper. By clicking on the image, you can enlarge the image to read better and you will also see the photograph of Kaizad the gentle giant.

My young friend Sandeep has written a poignant post in his blog about Mumbai and you can see my comments on it here.

The Times of India has published another very interesting article which is worth reading as is the article in the Independent.

Pakistan has indicted seven people in Pakistan for the roles played by them in the massacre but the key players still enjoy official protection and patronage. Pakistan is imploding everyday and I envisage major problems for Pakistanis, refugees from there who would like to come over to India and Indian Muslims who would like to help them, in the days to come. I hope that the Pakistani establishment would get a grip on its country, its economy, its development and its people to avoid becoming like Somalia.

To Shave Or Not To Shave.

Grannymar in her inimitable style threw a challenge at men with beards in her post ‘Attention Toyboys!”

Yesterday, I had commented on her blog that I keep a beard as did Magpie 11.

Call it coincidence or whatever, this morning’s local news papers carried a fascinating article “Indian Women Prefer Shaven Men.”

The first comment from Delirious prompts me to insert my photograph here which is already floating around the web anyway.

photo in suit.

I am now tempted to take my beard off and be clean shaven. What do you think?