The Story Of My Life.

That friends, is the current story of my life. This post has been in the making for quite some time and when this cartoon appeared the bulb went on about the timing.

Bar a few times, I have lived away from my father for more than half a century. What I knew of him from before that, and what I have seen of him on and off since then, did not prepare me for the situation that I am now in.

“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.”
– John Bright

That about sums up my father’s personality. In retrospect, I should have anticipated his behaviour pattern, with all the theoretical knowledge that I have picked up in my career as a Manager. I still do not know what prompted me to invite him to come and stay with us, though to a large extent it was Urmeela’s idea that we do. I have been used to being appreciated for whatever I did for her throughout our married life and Ranjan does the same for whatever I do for him.

In my father’s case, it is just out of the question. It is his right to get service from me. He is just not conditioned to appreciate or thank his children or his late spouses for anything done for him. The blue blooded old fashioned patriarch. But let some thing that does not please him happen, then it is his right to criticize and sulk.

It is something that I can handle by and large and I am quite unaffected by his behaviour, but there is an added problem. He is hard of hearing and will not wear his hearing aid. I have to shout to get him to understand what I say. I suppose that this distorts my body language or whatever, and he goes off into orbit when that happens. Now, this is something that I am unable to handle. I have simply stopped communicating with him unless he wishes to talk about something and I refuse to shout and he is forced to lip read or wear his hearing aid.

I suspect that Salam is clairvoyant. He has given me another cartoon to suggest a possible frame of mind for my father.

I am sure that this post must ring a lot of bells with readers with similar people in their lives. It would be interesting to share some thoughts on how they handle the situation. I welcome comments and advise.

Voices I Recall.

The voices that I recall often are almost always singers from my days of listening to music. Since quite a few of them were inherited from the choices made by my parents, some were of earlier vintage. The latter were fortunately available on records of 78 and later on 33 RPM discs. They are now of course available in digital form and can be downloaded from the Internet.

The two voices that keep haunting me often are those of J. P. Chandrababu of Tamil films and Kishore Kumar of Hindi films.

Paul Robeson, Ella Fitzgerald, Satchmo Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Doris Day, Elvis Presley, Pat Boone, The Everley Brothers etc all followed during a period when I went through exposure to Western music.

Subsequently, I got involved in Indian classical music and there has been no looking back since. I love to listen to the old voices of just a couple of singers, but the ones who are still alive and giving concerts occupy my attention whenever I feel the need. My favourites are, Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, Rajan and Saajan Mishra, The Gundecha Brothers, Gangubhai Hangal and Kishori Amonkar in the Hindustani stream and Balamurali Krishna and the Bombay sisters in the Carnatic stream.

The MBA.

My regular readers know that I am not a great fan of the current crop of MBAs, that is being churned out by assembly line fashion by purely commercial organizations for profit. Most of them end up as unemployable in India and start at Sales Representative or Call Center Service Representative, which they could have easily done without the MBA anyway.

I have no quarrel with the recognized leading institutions which churn out great graduates who find great jobs. I wish them all the luck.

Jean, before you tear me to pieces, please read till the end.

I would simply like all of them, whether in India, or in the West to read this new book that has been written by two graduating MBAs from the Mecca of Management education, Harvard. It has a nice title to say the least: “The MBA Oath: Setting a Higher Standard for Business Leaders.”

Not bad, there seems to be some conscience somewhere.


There seems to be some mysterious force working out there. I post about something and next day, something else pops up about the same subject. Here, my post has been up for about a couple of hours and I come across this article in the Economist!

India Pakistan Peace Initiatives – Aman Ki Asha

Two media giants of India and Pakistan jointly have organized a series of initiatives to bring about improved relations between the two hostile neighbours. This is called “Aman Ki Asha” meaning “Hope For Peace”. I urge my readers interested in this vital matter to visit the blog and catch up with all that has already taken place.

As an Indian I welcome these initiatives, as I am a strong believer that the defense expenditure of 2.5% and 3.1% of GDP of India and Pakistan respectively can be cut down if there is peace between the two countries.

I am however not at all convinced that India can let its guard down in the foreseeable future as the Military establishment in Pakistan has too many vested interests within Pakistan to let peace prevail between the two countries. Their very raison d’etre is the perceived threat from India and their propaganda machine keeps hammering this to the masses of Pakistan so that the military can retain its pre eminent position in Pakistani society.

In these difficult, or if one so prefers, interesting times, another piece of poignant writing has come to my attention which I would like to share with my readers. This combined with this interesting development of Pakistanis in the USA claiming to be Indians makes for very intereting reading indeed.


After this post went live I came across another very interesting piece of reporting in the New York Times which reinforces my belief that India should not officially start any dialogues with Pakistan till the terrorists on its soil are handed over to India.


A friend who is an Economics Journalist, one of the busiest persons I know, recently recommended a book for me to read. It is an English translation from Sanskrit of one of India’s epics, The Mahabharata. I was intrigued because, the author, Bibek Debroy, is a well-known economist and the last person that I would imagine writing on or about the Mahabharata.

My friend’s recommendation and the author’s credentials decided the issue for me and I have purchased the book. Right from the very beginning, it is everything I expected from a book recommended by my friend written by this particular author.

This post is not about my purchasing the book or, about the author, but about the very scintillating response from my friend to a mail from me.

Having purchased the book, I sent an e-mail to my friend and asked him how he found the time to read such a book, as I know that he is an extremely busy man.

Just look at this reply:

“Well, I know a little bit of Sanskrit, thanks to my father who taught that language in the Punjab University in Pre-Partition days. I love to read. Time does not permit me to read all that I want.

If you manage to get me sacked from my organisation, I will celebrate like Charles Lamb did on being asked to quit his job. Lamb said: “I have now more years to live in which I can read some more books!!”

I am seriously tempted to get my friend sacked from his job, or at least try. I do not have that kind of clout but no harm trying is there?

What would you do, if he was your friend?


My blogger friend Nick has two posts on Lying and I recommend that my readers read both along with the comments and responses from Nick to get a flavour of this very worthwhile subject. The first one is “It’s good to lie” closely followed by “What a whopper!

My experience with this has been an amazing, lifelong, envy and I suspect, in some cases, disgust. It all started with a joke and now it has spun out of control, with my father of all people, convinced that it is true.

When my hips were replaced, I was just 44 years old. It was tedious to explain why I had to get them replaced and on the spur of a moment came up with a joke about the reason that has stayed with me all these years. I told the enquirer that I had to jump out of a second floor bed room. He insisted on knowing why I had to jump and I responded that the husband unexpectedly arrived. After the initial shock and subsequent laughter, this became the story behind my ever present walking stick. I have told this, my son has told this and many of my friends and relatives have told this innumerable times and the envy and/or disgust is due to this Chinese whisper campaign that has created a legend out of a joke.

So, when I came across these two quotes in one of the books that I am currently reading, I wondered if the joke was a subconscious desire to be something that I was not!

“I think that lies are like wishes. So when you wish you were a certain kind of person that you know you’re not, and maybe you’re not willing to do what it would take to become that person or can’t go back, then it becomes very tempting to lie.”

“your lies often reveal who you wish you were.”

– Bella DePaulo, a psychology professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, in her book “The Lies We Tell And The Clues We Miss”.

Now that he has been researching ‘lies’ and whoppers’, I am sure that Nick would have something quite serious to say about this. I am also eagerly looking forward to some enlightening comments from some of my male readers as to whether it is envy or disgust or whatever else it may be! I shall of course face the music that the lady readers will have to offer.

What do you think?