Winter Visitor II

Is it a coincidence? Sernedipity? These kind of strange things keep happening all the time in my life. I was just finishing responding to comments on my Friday LBC post on ‘Visitor’ and I get information that Jay is back in town and was coming over to spend the week end with us at home.

My readers will remember Jay about who I had blogged last February in my post ‘A Fresh Breeze From The USA’ That very same fresh breeze has trooped in looking fresher and brighter. All the spiritual work seems to be having a great effect on him. I shall try and take a photograph this time around too and post it later, but for the moment, you can see and hear Jay on YouTube.

Jay ran off to a couple of towns of pilgrimage early this morning and typically left behind his meditation shawl and shower gel behind. I have now custody of those two essentials of his and expect him to land up back again on either Tuesday or Wednesday morning to retrieve them, when I shall take his photograph.

A New Career?

Ranjan’s good friend and a casting director for many advertising agencies and filming units RD, suddenly threw a googly at me. She had met me casually at home on a couple of occasions and I do not know what made her do that but, Last Wednesday, out of the blue, she asked if I would consider acting in a commercial film.

I was quite taken aback and flattered at the same time. For a lark, I agreed and for the first time ever, had an experience of being an actor for a commercial film.

As I write this, all that I know is that I gave a creditable performance, and that I shall be shortly advised as to whether the scene shot with me will be the one that will be the final chosen one. Till then, I have proved my worth to them and will hence forth be on their roll for roles calling for bald headed, well built senior citizens.

I am not at liberty to tell what product for which the film was shot. I am however allowed to say that it is a fast moving consumer product and is slotted for some big time all India exposure shortly.

The experience was, to say the least weird. I was asked to wait till I was called. I was made to wait in a very comfortable hotel suite and was provided with all possible distractions including some very attractive young ladies also waiting to be called for the shoot.

Just before I was called, one of the older ladies, a middle aged matron, announced to the others, who apparently she knew from earlier shoots, that she was being paired with a gorgeous man for the shoot. I was immediately called to go with her and I thanked her for calling me a gorgeous man and hoped that she was serious about the compliment. Bless her quick wittedness, she oohed and aahed and said indeed she was.

So, the two of us went off for the shoot which took all of five minutes, but the drive to and from the location was longer, more like ten minutes either way. The location was on a park bench under some very tall shady trees and the action, very, ahem, romantic!

The long and short of it is that I am supposed to have made some pocket money, the colour of which, I will see soon and gained an unforgettable experience. I shall keep my readers informed about further developments. Who knows, I may make a new career at this late stage of my life!


Our home in Pune is just 500 Mts away from our local perennial river the Mula Mutha, which is actually the outcome of two rivers, the Mula and the Mutha having merged into one just about two kilometers upstream. Along the bank on our side of the river, we have a protected bird sanctuary which hosts migratory birds every winter as it has done this year too. This year however has been particularly unusual in that we have a very uncommon visitor who normally breeds in North-East China and Japan. Perhaps the climate there this year is not favourable, but for whatever reason, the Grey Headed Lapwing (Vanellus Cinereus) which normally winters in India’s North East and parts of our East coast decided to come over to our patch of green. Bird watchers, the regular kind, not my type, are all excited and the visit has earned wide coverage in our local media.

Had I been an enthusiastic Ornithologist, I would have disappointed Grannymar who chose this week’s topic with a post on all the visitors who come over to Pune to winter here every year. That would include many Caucasians who come to the Osho Ashram across the river from us, where my type of bird watchers can be found on sunny days. Sadly, I am not and therefore, let me write about something quite different but perhaps more appropriate.

One of India’s Upanishads, says “Matru devo bhava, Pitru devo bhava, Acharya devo bhava, Atithi devo bhava”. Means One should worship Mother, Father, Teacher and Guests as God.

In the Indian contest, a visitor is not differentiated from a guest. While admittedly the difference is subtle and more dependent on usage, in the particular context that I wish to approach the subject, I would like to treat a visitor as a guest.

If you visit any Indian hotel, I am sure that Bikehikebabe will confirm this, you will be received like this:

This is the traditional way to welcome our guests into our homes. The gesture has been explained by me in my post “Hands”. The gesture is accompanied by the words – “Aapka Swagat Hai.” When Inida’s Prime Minister visited the USA in November last year, President Obama welcomed Mrs. and Mr. Manmohan Singh with those words and won a billion hearts of Indians.

Indians poor or rich take hospitality very seriously because of the brain washing that they receive from childhood that the guest is equal to God. They may go without their own meal but would insist that the guest partake what there is at home or prepare something for the guest even when the guest arrives unexpectedly and unannounced. I quote from the Wikipedia – “India is one of the oldest civilizations on earth, and like every culture has its own favorite stories including quite a few on hospitality. That of a simpleton readily sharing his meager morsels with an uninvited guest, only to discover that the guest is a God in disguise, who rewards his generosity with abundance. That of a woman who lovingly cooks up all the Khichdi she can afford, for everyone who is hungry… till one day when she runs out of food for the last hungry person to whom she offers her own share, and is rewarded by the god in disguise with a never ending pot of Khichdi. Most Indian adults having grown up listening to these stories as children, believe in the philosophy of “Atithi Devo Bhava”, meaning the guest is God. From this stems the Indian approach of graciousness towards guests at home, and in all social situations.”

Every culture has similar attitudes towards visitors and guests and I have been very fortunate to have experienced some exceptional hospitality in many parts of the world. As a visitor to strange places during my Indian and Globe trotting days, many individuals opened their homes and hearts to me to make my visits to their places memorable and cherished. On my return, I used to tell anyone who cared to listen that throughout the world, “Atithi devo bhava” is a universal value though may not be expressed in the same way.

Now for the punch line. I treat my blog as my home. The people who visit my blog posts are Atiti for me. Like in real life situations, I extend the warmth, affection and respect to my blog guests with equal fervour. As a visitor to many other blogs, I consider myself a guest there and try and do exactly what I would like the guests to my blogs to do.

Do I hear some approving noises?

Migration / Promotion To Apple Macintosh.

On Ranjan’s insistence following my repeatedly disturbing him to come to my help to solve problems with my using Windows XP, I have now migrated to a Mac. Ranjan calls it a promotion whereas I prefer to call it a migration.

I am yet to get used to the new key board, mouse and the way that Mac works and so may be a little tardy in my responses to comments and posting blogs. Please bear with me.

Just as a matter of curiosity, what would you call it? A migration or a promotion?

How To Keep Ashok From Running Off.

Anu, in her comments on my blog post about meeting her at Bangalore had this to say – “Thanks for the lovely post Ramana Sir! It was a real pleasure meeting you.

I hope that you make another trip to Bangalore really soon, and hopefully for a longer period of time.

Hopefully, I’m able to put Ashok’s insecurities to rest by then and keep him from running away to some hiding place! ;)”

This was, in her inimitable style, taking a dig at Ashok who had this to say earlier – “And sir, my escaping to Chennai was well founded. I figured if Anu ever got around to compare the two of us having met us at the same time, she might choose you over me ;)”

I have promised her that I would ensure that he does not run away the next time all three of us are together with an idea that I got from a carotoon.

Back Home And Blogging.

I have just returned from a very enjoyable weekend at and around Bangalore and have decided that I shall have many more in the future. If not in Bangalore, in other places, but just get away from Pune and be with some fresh faces and activity.

Talking about fresh faces, can you beat these two?

Okay, not very professional, but not too bad for photographs taken using my mobile phone, what?

In Bangalore I had a date with this lovely young lady, who made two hours spent with her seem like ten minutes!

This is the first ever. The first blog friend that I met face to face. Yes, this is Anu, our fellow LBC blogger. She did a more professional job and whipped out a regular camera from her very roomy bag which you can see in the photographs and took a couple of photographs of mine too. I hope that she does not publish them in her blog like I am doing now here with hers.

This is just to publicly thank Anu for the great couple of hours that she spared for me from her very busy calendar. I hope that you will be able to give me more time the next time we meet Anu.

A small footnote to express my regrets that I could not meet another famous blogger from Bangalore, Ashok. He conveniently ran away to Chennai when he came to know that I was visiting Bangalore. I was however able to steal a photograph of his expressing his joy at having escaped me.

Ashok, the next time around, I shall follow you. If only to see the same joy in your face as you show on this photograph.