Freedom Vs Independence.

I’m going fishing
I got me a line
Nothin’ I do’s gonna’ make the difference
So I’m taking the time

And you ain’t never gonna’ be happy
Anyhow, anyway
So I’m going fishing
And I’m going today

I’m going fishing
Sounds crazy I know
I know nothing about fishing
But just watch me go

And when my time has come
I will look back and see
Peace on the shoreline
That could have been me

You can waste whole lifetime
Trying to be
What you think is expected of you
But you’ll never be free

May as well go fishing

This post is inspired by the topic suggested by Anu. At her age, wanting freedom and independence is very understandable. I used to be like that at that age. I then discovered that these two words are big myths. There is nothing called absolute freedom or absolute independence. I discovered much later that gaining freedom and independence from the protection of the parents/family situation simply meant taking responsibility for one’s own very existence. The price one pays for this is quite high in the Indian context, particularly so, for Indian women.

We can never be free from many things irrespective of how wealthy we become. The taxmen, relatives, spouse, offspring, in-laws, friends, well wishers, hangers on, nosy neighbours, jealousy, envy and so on so forth. And the older you get, other things are added to the list like, illnesses, medicines, restrictions on diet and habits etc. So, Anu dear, just get used to the idea of never really having total freedom.

Independence again, is impossible. From the morning cup of tea till you go to bed, you are dependent on a million people and things to enable you to be alive and practical. You need farms, farmers, rain, irrigation, middle men, transporters, shop keepers, clothiers, bankers, employers, the government and many many others and at the end, undertakers to live and die in dignity. So, Anu, my advise to you is go fishing.


-Hakim Sanai in Haqiqat al-Haqiqa. (The walled garden of Truth)

Before I forget, I hope that you enjoyed reading another post of the Friday Loose Bloggers’ Consortium when eleven of us post on the same topic chosen by one of us. Today’s topic has been chosen by Anu, and we all know why she chose the topic don’t we?

Please do visit Ashok, Conrad, Grannymar, Magpie11, Maria, Gaelikaa, Helen, Judy, Anu and Ginger to see ten other views on the same topic. Some of these bloggers may be preoccupied with vacations, examinations, family problems and/or romance, so be a little indulgent in case they do not post or post late.

Joggers’ Park

After I had posted my “Whine Bar” post, I thought it prudent to inform my readers that I am very happy living in Pune and particularly in the locality within it.

Kalyani Nagar is the name of the locality and it is considered to be one of the best in Pune. The Kalyani Nagar Residents’ Association is an active body which closely liaises with the Municipal authorities, our elected Representatives, the Police etc to ensure safe and clean living for the residents. The website is still under construction and will be a fully dynamic one soon.

My regular readers would of course be familiar with our joggers’park. This is located just behind our home at a distance of about 300 meters. Many senior citizens make this meeting point in the mornings and evenings while incidentally walking or jogging. Romances have blossomed here as have interpersonal problems solved. It is by and large a friendly atmosphere here and familiar faces recognize each other and greet or smile at one another.

A recent news item is reproduced below. If you click on the image, the whole article will enlarge for easier reading.

Conrad, I don’t have a whine. I shall send the others with whines to your whine bar if you revive it.

Bar Stool Economics.

I reproduce a mail received from a friend and classmate without prejudice or comment.

“Tax System Explained – Bar Stool Economics

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59..

So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. ‘Since you are all such good customers,’ he said, ‘I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.’ Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.

But what about the other six men – the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share?’

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

‘I only got a dollar out of the $20,’ declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, ‘but he got $10!’

‘Yeah, that’s right,’ exclaimed the fifth man. ‘I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I got.’

‘That’s true!!’ shouted the seventh man. ‘Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!’

‘Wait a minute,’ yelled the first four men in unison, ‘We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!’

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.”

Revival Of The Whine Bar?

I live in a Co-operative Housing Society consisting of twelve flats (apartments, for my American friends). It is a nice cozy little society and all the residents are quite friendly with each other. All of us, except two have been here from the time the society was formed. Out of the two, one is a member who joined us just four years ago and one has been leased out by the member to someone who is not very sociable with the rest of us.

One member, recently has sold his flat and has relocated to Mumbai. He and his wife came to take leave of me yesterday and he tried to explain the reason for his move. To cut a long story short, he wanted to move back to Mumbai because most of his family was still there and in his old age, he simply wanted to be closer to them. It was a bit annoying though, as he was whining about how Pune has changed for the worse, and how he hoped that in his new Mumbai suburb he will be happier.

Pune was considered to be the pensioner’s paradise when we moved in here. We came via Bengaluru and Mumbai and many other postings before that, with Mumbai being the longest and the most stays. I was in a transferable job then and as a routine, we would relocate every thirty or thirty six months, sometimes at shorter durations too. For most other Pune residents, coming to settle down in Pune was purely for economic and health reasons. One could sell a flat in Mumbai for a ransom and buy a much bigger flat in Pune for much less than the sale price at Mumbai and this enabled many to live comfortable retired lives in Pune. Pune with its very moderate climate and laid back life style was a wonderful place to live in. It no longer is due to “Development and Progress”.It is still better than say Bengaluru though!

The normal topic of conversation when the older citizens get together in parks or social occasions is how Pune has changed and what can be done now that half the benefit of moving to Pune has disappeared. I call these “whining sessions”. I normally do not like to whine about this and voice my opinion that having made our beds, we must sleep on them.

My neighbour’s recent whine in the reverse direction and with the plea that I should also consider shifting back to Mumbai reminded me about Conrad’s whine bar. If he revives that, I can assure him of a lot of traffic from many Punekars (People from Pune), who I shall forward with great glee to his blog. Game Conrad?

Seat Belts.

I was recently in Bengaluru and was being driven around by my business associate there. As soon as I got into his passenger seat in the front, I put on the seat belt out of habit. In Pune it is mandatory and if one does not wear the seat belt, the driver and the passengers are fined. In Bengaluru it is still not mandatory and my associate was bemused. I of course, sermonized on the safety aspect and hopefully converted one blissfully ignorant man.

India, has suddenly become a nation of two wheelers and personal cars after many years of ‘socialism’. Our roads are inadequate, and people who need to be mobile, have to drive around as in most places, the public transport system simply is inadequate to cater to the demand of a vibrant economy in the towns and cities. An indication of the problem of traffic related accidents in my home town of Pune can be gathered from this article.

So, thanks to a post by ellybabes, a soft message with a hard hitting message came to my attention.

It is too good an advertisement not to be shared with my readers who do not wear seat belts and I too reproduce it here.


Coincidences never fail to amaze me. Here is another story of a series of coincidences.

I have four lovely Irish ladies in my life. Strictly by order of seniority, they are Grannymar, Gaelikaa, Bernadette and our Princess Eleanor. These four ladies will understand the preamble to this post once they read it fully. AND, Princess, I look forward to a dissertation from you, nothing less.

There is a month in the Indian calendar called Shravan, mid July to mid August when the seedlings are just getting soaked in the monsoon and there is little farm work to do. India is still predominantly agrarian and many of its festivals, religious occasions, etc are built around such idle times to keep idle minds busy and out of trouble.

Instead of getting up to mischief, most people in India observe the whole month of shravan as one of fasting and praying with simple meals and eschewing all intoxicants including coffee tea, tobacco liquor etc. Non vegetarians become vegetarians for this month.

The last day of the previous month Ashadha, is called gutteria day in the Western parts of India because on that day, many worthies will go from bar to bar, drink and eat all kinds of meat, poultry fish etc to their capacity and beyond and pass out in gutters, to start the month of abstinence from the next morning. Now I think that the reader will understand why the English word gutter is used as gutteria day for that day.

Last Sunday I met an old drinking buddy of mine who I had not seen in many years. We used to hoist a few together at the club bar on many evenings. Since I stopped drinking alcohol in 1999, I have not gone to the club bar and so had not met this friend. This meeting was brief as we were at a check out counter in a shopping mall and he said that we must do a pub crawl soon. I did not have the heart to tell him that I no longer drink.

I was explaining this meeting to another friend of mine in a different context, a couple of days later. I explained that Gutteria is a term used in the context of pub crawling. Just to see if any mention is made, I googled for it and lo and behold, I find that Gutteria is a Surname in Ireland!

I am not a linguist and cannot link the three different usages to one another, except for the first two where it is simple. I wonder what the third meaning would be as a surname!