What Do You Do?

I am sure that my readers will identify with me when I relate my reaction to this very common but annoying question “What do you do?” when one meets strangers for the first time.

I have, the past few years, been replying that I am a retired Hippy but have never really been very comfortable with that answer as, most people do not understand what that implies.

I have now found the perfect answer. “I play with myself.”

I am sure that this should give some food for thought to the enquirers and I am prepared to send them the this illustration to describe quite what I mean.

I bet that you thought something else!

Ice Golas.

Gola in Hindi translates into ball.

When we were young, one of the special treats that we would save up for to buy and enjoy was ice golas made by shaved ice being packed into a shape of a ball around a stick and dipped into sweet and coloured flavouring to be eaten like a lolly pop.

The vendor had a distinct bell to announce his arrival with a push cart which just had rows of coloured liquids in bottles, a block of solid ice and a shaver mounted on the top of the cart. Depending on the flavour/colour ordered, he would make a al carte ice golas for our delight. He would even give multi choices in one gola like you see on the top gola!

We did not know anything about bottled water and merrily ate this delicious thingamajig whenever the opportunity arose and we had some cash in our pockets.

Now technology has overtaken the traditional and children and their parents insist on safe water etc and the Indian entrepreneur has obliged with various options sadly, displacing the push cart vendor out of business, at least in the cities. With the advent of modern Marketing/Branding savvy, some have gone further and developed chains of retailers selling these.

I have every intention of trying these out once I am released from my house arrest. I wonder if these would taste the same as the old ice golas!

The Swollen Head

Adj. 1. swollen-headed – characteristic of false pride; having an exaggerated sense of self-importance; “a conceited fool”; “an attitude of self-conceited arrogance”; “an egotistical disregard of others”;

A friend who receives my blog posts by email everyday and occasionally visits them to comment on, insists that I must be the man with the most swollen head in his circle of friends. Since he claims to be afraid of what some of my fans will say, he insists on being anonymous for this post. I yield reluctantly.

Being a friend of long standing, he is aware of my wide network of offline friends and since I have started to write my weekly gratitude list, he has been coming across newer ones and he sees a lot of the commentators on my posts as my online friends. Thank God he has not included some of my FB and Linkedin friends in his reckoning.

He bases this conclusion on an article that he has sent me, that appeared in The Scientific American.

The particular paragraph that he says applies to me is this one:
“By comparing the differences between individuals and the size of their online network of friends, real-world friends, as well as the size of neocortical brain regions involved in social behavior, the researchers were able to identify a strong correlation between the volume of three neocortical regions and the number of that individual’s Facebook friends. Crucially, these brain regions (the right superior temporal sulcus, left middle temporal gyrus, and entorhinal cortex, areas previously implicated in social perception and associative memory) had no relationship to the real-world social networks of these individuals. There was only one area, the amygdala, that showed a correlation between gray matter density and both forms of social networking. The other brain regions seemed to be, quite literally, wired for the web.”

If he went to my Facebook wall and looked me up in Linkedin, I am sure that he will conclude that my head will explode.

Failure with my dieting has gone to my waist and success with my relationships has gone to my head! It is a double whammy alright.

Gratitude List – November 19, 2011.

For some time now, my father has been bugging me to get a hand rail fixed on the staircase leading to the two upstairs bed rooms in our home. He has been claiming that it is to help him climb up and down a few times for exercise, but I suspect that it is for other reasons. I finally yielded, and arranged for a hand rail to be installed after much difficulty locating a contractor and at a steep cost. It was installed on Saturday, much to the satisfaction of my father, though I personally miss the painting that was on the wall. Once I am mobile, I shall put up a Tanjore Mirror Painting there. I will no longer be subject to his nagging for the railing and that is a great blessing.

Since the base plates for the clamps for the railing had not dried after the epoxy put in on Saturday, my father was able to inaugurate the hand rail only on Sunday. His expression was worth the effort and expenditure incurred.

We had an unexpected guest for lunch. Luckily I had cooked a dish of chicken for my father, Mitali and Ranjan, which was polished off in double quick time.

That is Jesse from Tanzania and you can see from his expression how well fed he was. You can see Ranjan and Mitali in the background getting some ice cream for us. I took the photograph while sitting on my throne and while Jesse was waiting for his share of the ice cream. Mitali had this to say about the lunch in her comment last Sunday on my Gratitude List. “and now i too got to sample your culinary skills. Yum! The way you keep feeding me, i’m going to be a growing girl!”

My Monday was made for me with a mail from Magpie about which I have blogged. It is nice to be known as a Rose!

Tuesday started off with my being greeted by blooming jasmine flowers in our garden. The breeze was in the opposite direction and I could not smell the fragrance, but I am sure that people who pass by on the outside will be able to.

My friend Anil from Delhi landed up in the evening and spent a couple of hours catching up with all news. He had a flat tyre and a broken jack to tackle before he could make the trip by an autorickshaw and I am truly grateful that he took all the trouble to come over to spend time with me.

I had misplaced a large denomination currency note on Tuesday and had been at my wits end trying to figure out where I could have kept it. Now that I am very restricted in my movements, it was particularly frustrating that I could not remember where I had left it. On Wednesday morning, it miraculously just appeared by itself, without my having to search for it. And, you guessed it, in the one place where I should have looked and did not.

Later on, when Mangal came in, she discovered a package which turned out to be some sweetmeats that are my favourite. Anil had brought them and left them behind without me knowing anything about them. What a surprise they turned out to be at lunch time!

Wednesday wound down with Sandeep dropping in to tell me all about his trek to the Himalyas. I look forward to going with him next year.

Thursday morning saw Sandeep back again with Deepali joining too. They had chota hazri with me and it was nice to see them enjoying themselves. They have given two ideas for blogs which will follow next week.

Our help was late coming to work and I entered the kitchen for the first time to do a full cooking job so that my father could have his lunch on time. I was quite pleased as I think he was too, with the outcome. Our help arrived, but by the time, it was all over bar the shouting.

Friday gave me a very pleasant surprise early in the morning. I received a phone call from my cousin Sampath who started off by asking how my recovery was and then asked whether he could come to visit! He lives in Houston Texas and is visiting India and taking a diversion tomorrow to come and call on us. Friday also saw Mitali joining us for lunch and staying on till late evening. Just about dinner time, our neighbours Mohammed and Nazura landed up with some goodies for dinner saving me some cooking time.

All in all, a great week with many people who came into it, for which I am very grateful.

Occupy Wall Street

I give a link to a review of a book by a Harvard Professor that is expected to become a hand book for OWS protesters. I hope that my American friends will find it useful.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/11/has-a-harvard-professor-mapped-out-the-next-step-for-occupy-wall-street/247561/#

Here is the link to Amazon for the book. http://www.amazon.com/Republic-Lost-Money-Corrupts-Congress/dp/0446576433