Seredipity? Synchronicity?

This is Naresh Paul. Let me tell you how I came to meet him and what a pleasant event it turned out to be.

My friend Ramesh and I went out shopping into the city yesterday. The idea was for the two of us to have some fun together, sadly not possible the last few months due to my own preoccupations and Ramesh’s absence from India for eight weeks.

We decided that we would also have lunch out and I had suggested that we do so after we finish shopping. On our way to my club for lunch, Ramesh got an sms message with a hilarious joke which he read out to me and said that it was from a nice young man who was full of fun and good cheer. When I probed further, it turned out that he is a friend of Ramesh’s son in law. Naresh runs a small restaurant at a place a further three Kms away. I suggested that we go there for lunch instead of the club and Ramesh readily agreed.

Ramesh introduced me to Naresh and he was indeed the genial and jovial person that I had expected to meet. While we waited for our orders to be brought, I asked Naresh about how he came to be a restauranteur and he gave me a short biography which brought him to opening his first restaurant near a local college called Wadia. Hearing that my ears pricked up and I asked him the name and when he said that it was Mohnish. I interrupted his narration to tell him that he might have known my son Ranjan who was a regular there during his student days at Wadia. Naresh almost jumped out of his seat and asked me ‘Ranjan Rajgopaul?” When I confirmed that it was indeed so, he could not contain his joy in meeting his old friend’s father. Ranjan was very well known to him and both of them would call themselves good friends of each other. Ranjan had in fact written a nostalgic article in the local newspaper when Naresh had closed down the previous restaurant to accommodate modern development of the site. Naresh was delighted with the situation and asked me to ring up Ranjan, currently vacationing in Goa, and hand over the phone to him before I spoke anything. I obliged and it was clear as to why Ranjan and he were friends.

Naresh, without identifying himself, told Ranjan that he was calling from a handset that he found on the road trying to locate the owner. Ranjan naturally panicked and asked for details and where he could get someone to come over to check what had happened to me. Eventually when all was explained it was a hilarious reconnecting between two old friends who were happy to have had me come into their relationship. Ranjan then spoke to me and Ramesh and said that the three of us would go over again to Naresh’s delightful little place to have a meal. It turned out that Ranjan regularly goes to that restaurant even now and often takes many of his friends there.

This is Naresh’s little restaurant. The photo shows the kitchen area. The photo was taken from a front courtyard where we were sitting. Rrom all accounts, Paul’s is very popular in the locality and with old friends like Ranjan who go there whenever in the neighbourhood.

I am now sorry that I did not take a photograph of the hotel from across the road to show the full view. That was because, after a great meal both Ramesh and I were too lazy to get up and go out!


I had always known that. There were two distinct faces that were revealed by him. One that all members of his immediate and extended family saw and the other that the non family connections saw. The former was mostly one of a selfish, often brutal autocrat who wanted things just his way or the other could take the highway, and the latter, a very charming and helpful go getter who could get things done.

The immediate family suffered but grouped together after early family commitments were met and learned to ignore him till fate intervened and brought him back into the immediate family. One member of the family went through an extended period of suffering again which included seeing the old man suffer indignity and shame, till finally death overtook the old man.

When people called to condole, the response was inevitably “rejoice, he is free and so am I”. But the other face kept making its appearance over and over again too with many calling to condole singing paeans for the departed. Difficult to accept but gracefully done so nevertheless. And that grace was the second face that the sufferer showed too.

Yes, the old man was my late father and the sufferer was me. The point is that to some extent or the other, we are all two faced.

Why couldn’t he have been this?

Okay, having ranted about that not very pleasant topic, let me lighten matters a bit with this famous quote.

“First you forget names, then you forget faces. Next you forget to pull your zipper up and finally, you forget to pull it down.”
~ George Burns

I hope you enjoyed reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where twelve of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Padmum. The eleven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, Shackman, The Old Fossil and Will. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!

christian couples counseling

A spammer calling him/herself christian couples counseling has left this comment on my post A New Friend.

“WTF? Is dis real?”

I wonder if s/he is serious or s/he means Wecome To Facebook.

I have left the spam in place without deleting it so that my readers can see for themselves that this really happened. (Following TOF’s comment, I have sent the comment to my spam box)

The URL takes one to a site called Rescue Marriage dot net.

Need I say more?

The Invisible Man III

Some of my readers had expressed their eagerness to read about the man to who I was invisible.

I became invisible again to him two evenings ago at the same venue.

This time however, I refused to be invisible and greeted him loud enough for not only the people sitting nearby but also far enough to include a great many others. Needless to say, he became the center of attraction alright. I do have what the TOF calls a sonorous baritone and when it is loud, it must sound like a bull horn. And when the greeting was something like, “Hello, why have I become invisible to you?” it must have raised a few eye brows alright.

He was taken aback but recovered enough to invite me to walk with him a while, as it would have otherwise been imprudent to talk where others could hear about what he knew was coming. I obliged and simply asked him when he intended repaying the substantial sum that I had loaned him over six months ago, which he had promised to return in two weeks.

” Borrow money from pessimists – they don’t expect it back.”
~ Steven Wright

No, I am not a pessimist and I knew that he was in a position to return the loan but was avoiding to do so for whatever reason. He was in dire straits when I had gone to his rescue and I resented the fact that while he was gallivanting all over town and spending money, he could not repay me. When I bluntly put it to him that I would share the story with the others, he promised to repay soon and the walk ended.

He came early yesterday afternoon and repaid the entire amount and presented me with a huge Black Forest cake as a gift too!

So, to Steven Wright, I would say, “lend money only if you can ask for it back”.

Love Jihad.

A friend sent this piece of information to me suggesting that there may be a connection to the Indian phenomenon called Love Jihad.

This was sent to me because I had come across another very interesting news item last week about two antagonistic Hindu social organisations coming together to safeguard Hindu interests in the light of the Kerala government extending patronage to the minority religions of that state, and among the factors that were considered for the alliance, Love Jihad and the state government’s inaction was one.

I cross checked whether the story about young girls in England being lured by Muslim men into prostitution and found that The Times certainly wrote a piece about it and that there has since been an uproar over the silence and inaction over the innumerable cases of young girls being lured and exploited by men of Pakistani origin. In the process I also came across this clip.

Leaving everything else aside, I wish to point out the possible reason for the phenomenon in India.

Young Muslim men from the well off sections from the community now go for higher education in colleges and universities and also find lucrative employment after their education is completed. In the process, they socialise with non Muslim men and women and experience the relative freer atmosphere of the latter’s lives. In such free environment, why should love not strike a Muslim boy and a non Muslim girl?

When I probed with some young people here, it has been pointed out to me that the reverse never happens! That is Muslim women, equally upwardly mobile now a days in India do not socialise to the same extent as their male counterparts, and therefore Muslim women luring non Muslim men is not taking place. This of course implies that the Muslim men do not get opportunities to socialise with Muslim women too and there lies the rub.

Fair enough.

Inter religious marriages are quite common now in India. Mine was one such as my late wife was a Methodist Christian. There is hardly ever the need for one of the parties involved to convert to the other’s religion, though some do voluntarily convert. Very often a simple civil marriage as it is called here is gone through which is totally secular and perfectly legal. In the case of Muslim men wanting to marry non Muslim women however, there is a big problem in that, if the man wishes to retain his relationships within his family and community, he is forced to get the woman to convert to Islam. QED.

Coming back to the phenomenon in England, is it possible that the Muslim men would have done the same to Muslim women had the Muslim women been more socially active? Or is it because of such predatory practices that Muslim women in England are not allowed the same freedom as non Muslim women?

Intriguing is it not?