View From The Other Side.

My niece Nitila and her husband Viren visited us last weekend. Her mail to the family via our family group portal is reproduced below to show how a visitor to my humble abode feels.

Thatha in our language Thamizh is Grand father. Mama is maternal uncle. Mapillai is son in law. Chinna Mapillai means Junior Son In Law. The Son in law has a very special status in our culture. He is usually molly coddled. I sure was.

Now, over to Nitila.

“Viren and I were in Pune over the weekend as his family was getting together there. We visited Ramana Mama and Thatha on Saturday.

Ramana Mama is now walking with an elbow crutch and is quite mobile. He has also lost a lot of weight since I last saw him.

Thatha was in full form and quizzed the Chinna Mapilai and me on all possible aspects of life – health (thyroid, blood pressure), careers, house help, logistics, work travel, etc. In order to be able to hear all our responses properly he went inside to put on his hearing aid. At the end of all the questioning he declared Viren to be unchanged since our wedding (when he last saw him) and was kind enough to attribute this to the fact that I must be looking after him well.

He then proceeded to make enquiries about his own Mapilai: health (diabetes, blood pressure), career (teaching, Loyola, etc) and seemed reasonably satisfied by the responses provided.

He was very pleased with his new sweatshirt which he wore promptly and also liked his new diary so much that he said he would not use the one bought by Ramana Mama the previous day. He then started working on filling the diary with all sorts of important information so that when I visited yesterday again he made Ramana Mama write down all the birthdays (except Jai’s because he said he was sure of Jai’s birthday).

Yesterday he also informed Ranjan that I am the baby of the family : I am therefore wondering what the status of my four younger Rajgopaul cousins may be.

Since I was well advised by Ramana Mama to declare myself to be in the best of health, Thatha had to find some other prescription. Consequently I have been told to acquire a Chinese dress on my next visit to Hong Kong or Singapore.

He is now awaiting his next visitor (Barath Mama).

It was a fun trip!


Three Questions.

The 3 questions below were raised by Krishan Khanna, at a 2 day Global Summit on Social Business hosted by Nobel Laureate Prof. Mhd. Yunus in Vienna in November 2011.

There were in all, 525 participants from 40 countries. The discussion was on various topics such as youth, poverty, unemployment, micro finance, skills, education, terrorism, black money, war, health care, etc..The 3 Questions were what he asked the Speakers and Panelists.

“I am a technocrat, an engineer and a social worker in India. About 25 years in Business and 15 years in Social Work. If we could address the following three questions, our Planet would be a better place for us and our future generations…..but we seem to be hell bent to do just the opposite………………..WHY?

1. Tax Havens….why we do not need them…WHY?

World Leaders in Business & Politics talk of Ethics in Business, Corporate Governance, etc….BUT all of them allow Tax Havens to flourish? These double standards need to stop as soon as possible. This Black Money is probably owned in these locations, by less than 1% of the World Population who probably control nearly 20% to 40% of the world’s wealth…this is BLACK MONEY. The G-22, UN, Citizen Groups need to work on demolishing these ‘Citadels Of Blatant Corruption’ and see that all these funds are re-cycled into their respective Governments, taxes paid and a small portion of this is re-cycled into areas like Education , Health-Care & Social Business for the 3rd World and Developing Economies of this Planet!

2. Export of Arms & Ammunition since the last 66 years to the least developed countries of Latin America, Africa, ME and Asia…WHY?…Why not Export Relevant Education?

The least developed countries of the world needed education, primary health-care after the WW II…but what they received was the exactly the opposite,very freely, was Arms, Bombs, and Hardware for destruction of Human Beings! 9/11 was only one result of all this. The western border between Pakistan & India is lit up at night and can be easily seen by astronauts!. We in India have been shouting from the rooftops about terrorism from Pakistan…to protect our selves from constant infiltration…but the USA gave $50 billion as Grants and Aid, most was used for arms and ammunition against India…How sad for the two poor countries of this world with a combined population of 1.4 billion? Similar stories and past is already known to all in other 3rd world countries….What a shame! We now have children in Afghanistan of 10 years in age who can beat a trained soldier in the operation of an AK-47, but cannot read and write. Why? What exactly are we trying to prove??

3. Estimated expenditure of $3500 billion or $3.5 trillion on world wide Arms and Ammunition….WHY?

The total GDP of all countries is about $70,000 billion about $70 Trillion….so this expenditure on arms is about 5% of world GDP. This is ONLY meant for fighting each other on this little Planet….WHY? The Younger Generation needs to ask this Question…the older Generation is fossilized and I suspect that even their brains are inactive and dormant. This defense is NOT meant for some external invasion from outer space or for fighting the biggest problems on our little Planet. Even if this Arms Race could be reduced by 10% and the funds diverted to Education, Primary Health-care and Social Business, this beautiful world of ours would be truly be what it is meant to be…A Paradise.”

Quite what answers he would have received in that panel apart, the questions should cause all of us to pause and ponder. Please do give me your feedback and comments.

Intentions – 2012.

“Life does not obey our expectations. Life obeys our intentions, in ways we may not expect.”
~ Lloyd Strom

These are not my new year resolutions. One new year resolution that I made a long time ago was never to make new year resolutions. These are some of the things that I intend doing during the new year.

In January 2011, I had decided to get my weight down from 102 Kgs to 80. By July, I had brought it down to 85 Kgs. Since I had to stop walking to get ready for my surgery in late September that crept back up to 88 Kgs and has stayed there since due to inactivity. I intend reaching the goal of 80 Kgs sooner than later. As soon as I reach that magic figure, I intend getting myself a few pairs of jeans! Can’t let Conrad steal all the thunder.

I intend using my club facilities regularly. Due to various reasons, I had more or less stopped going to the club during the last two years and I intend changing that.

I intend to get out of the house more often than I have been doing the last few years. These outings will include out of town trips as well as within town, eating out, movies, meetings, parties, etc.

I intend learning how to use the camera gifted to me by Ranjan last year and use the photographs taken to write blogs around them.

I intend being sans sitzfleisch for bores who deliver monologues. I intend doing the same for some of my mentees too.

I intend making regular use of the Ipod that Ranjan has given me with all kinds of music loaded on.

It Is A New Year And a Leap Year At That!

I take great pleasure in wishing all my readers a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.

It is said that the leap year is when contrary to the norm, women are permitted to propose to men. I hope that all my male readers who are single will get proposals. Pravin, are you reading this?

And all the women readers who are waiting for their men to take the initiative, to stop waiting and take the bull by its horns!

Having got all that out of the way, I also believe in this piece of wisdom.