Prepare.

Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Akanksha, Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie11, Padmum and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get nine different flavours of the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Grannymar.

When I was a Boy Scout, yes, don’t laugh, I was one more than half a century ago, “Be Prepared” was the motto and our Scout Master would suddenly grab hold of any one of us he saw to see if we had all the paraphernalia that the Scouts were expected to carry with them all the time. I am pleased to say that I always passed that test. My one major regret was that I was not able to ever help an old lady cross a road. Despite being prepared to do that, old, lady pedestrians just did not materialise in that woebegone city, where I spent my boyhood.

Then came more adult preoccupations and of course I had to be prepared all the time with things in my wallet, that a pick pocket, if he ever had picked my pocket for it, would have found highly intriguing, and perhaps would have come to take lessons from me. That it did not happen says volumes for my being prepared with proper pockets and other safety mechanisms to deny pick pockets that opportunity.

With more responsible activities, preparing went to other long suffering souls. As part of my managerial duties, I earned the sobriquet of Sanitary Inspector, as the first thing that I would do on branch visits was to visit all the toilets to see how well they were maintained. Prior to my visits, the administrative staff would ensure that every thing was spic and span and would be prepared. This was vital, because I learnt a valuable lesson during my cockroach days when I had to be the first to reach the office and would inevitably find the bottom rung ordinary workers already waiting for the office/warehouse to open. After a few days of observing this, I gathered enough courage to ask one of them why they came in so early to be told that they came to use the toilet facilities as most of them lived in slums with public toilets with massive queues in the mornings. My obsession was easily passed on to the local managements and, that despite the sobriquet, I was respected for that one act of man management was one of the great achievements of my long managerial career.

Life style preparedness included a packed suit case ready to be grabbed for sudden departures, constantly maintained minimum levels in the bar at home and in the car, and inventory levels so adjusted that I never had to go more than a few steps for an ash tray and a packet of cigarettes and lighter.

Then came other mundane responsibilities like care giving for which I had to be prepared 24/7 for emergencies, by maintaining proper stock levels of medicines, food items and other paraphernalia that care takers take for granted. That preparedness continues to this day.

Now, having lived a life that was full and continues to be interestingly so, I am prepared to make my final journey. All my affairs are in order and my son and heir will have no problems with his inheritance.

Sadly, I now live in a country that is located in a dangerous neighbourhood. I belong to that significant proportion of our population that believes in:

Writing And Gardens.

Marianna has this question at the end of her post “I love that English cottage-garden look. I wonder if that says anything about my writing? LOL!”

Yes, it does indeed Marianna. Very organized and colourful!

Mine is like parts of our local park/garden, which is really a mini jungle.

Some order in disorder!

Now to round off with some poetry.

The Man Born to Farming

The Grower of Trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout
to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death
yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down
in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.
His thought passes along the row ends like a mole.
What miraculous seed has he swallowed
That the unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth
Like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water
Descending in the dark?
~ Wendell Barry

Fathers Day Musings.

As my regular readers know, there is an interesting discussion going on in my earlier post of A Father’s Tribute To Another.

As it inevitably happens to me, I was led to this amazing article by Stefany Anne Golberg In the Smart Set.

The poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” and Dylan Thomas are often quoted in various contexts, but this is the first time that I have read about the peculiar relationship between the poet and his father. The background provided is simply mind blowing.

I believe that this article is worth weight in gold.

Miss Tibet.

“The Temporal World
Only the badly misinformed or the incurably optimistic could think bikinied girls synonymous with Dharamshala. And if a Miss Tibet contest in that high sanctum wasn’t tastless enough, sashing a 17-year-old (Tenzin Yangkyi, far left) surely is.” [sic]

This comment appeared in one of our popular weekly magazines Outlook. The same magazine on its web edition of last year had this story.

The print edition news of this year’s contest had this photograph above the quoted passage.

I can see no reason whatsoever for the change in the editorial policy of the magazine from last year to this year. If a Tibetan up in the Indian Himalayas wants to compete in and win a Miss Tibet contest, I say, all strength to her.

I think that the quote regarding the Miss Tibet of 2011 being tastless [sic] is in very poor taste.

A Father’s Tribute To Another.

This post is addressed to those of my readers who have not had the privilege of reading Conrad’s post on Fathers Day.

If you will spend some time on Conrad’s post and also on the comments therein, you will see what good parenting can do or not do. My comment there says nothing about my own take on the subject whereas Ashok has used the opportunity to tackle his own issues, the way only he can. I have decided to pay my tribute to Joe and Corky and their descendants by this post.

Conrad’s father Joe about who so much has been written by Conrad and supported by some of his regular commentators who have had the privilege of having been his students, says things about which I can only be in awe and perhaps even envious.

My siblings and I have had a completely different experience with our father, so much so that in his twilight years, my father has had to live a life much different than what he could have had. It is for the record that none of us are templates of our father. And as Conrad points out, our mother had to be there for us to cater to our emotional needs and to encourage us in all that we did. That we did not end up in the Lord Of The Flies situation, speaks volumes for her grit and determination. My sister Padmini wrote about her in her blog and some of you are aware of the background.

The four of us have seen at first hand what parenting can do, in positive as well as negative ways, and as I look back in our own lives, with two of us already in grand parenthood and one about to become a grand father in October, Conrad’s take on three generations of fathers touches a chord like very few things have done in my life for me. It is God’s grace that the four of us have been blessed with good children some of who have become good parents too.

Conrad, here is saluting you for that amazing piece of writing which has come from the very bottom of your heart and I can sense the amount of love and respect that you have for what your father has contributed to your family. Like the many other visitors to your blog, I already know the impact that Corky has had and this post clearly shows the impact that Joe has had in your life. Here is also saluting Joe for being Joe. I hope that he reads this.