One never stops learning. During my recent vacation there were so many new things that I learnt that I made up my mind to be more outgoing in the future. One such new discovery was didgeridoo.

I had never heard about didgeridoo. During my recent visit to Chennai, my cousin’s son in law Lokesh came over to spend some time with us. It was the first time that I was meeting him and I asked him about his interests and he came up with the word didgeridoo that stumped me. He went back home and returned with a didgeridoo to play it for me and here it is.

Lokesh is a very interesting young man. He is an IT professional who claims to be totally undisciplined. On probing however he confessed to having learnt to play the didgeridoo all on his own by just watching others play it on the youtube and experimenting with various techniques. For an undisciplined young man that is some achievement! Here he is caught unawares. Do you think that he is undisciplined?

Among other things that he impressed me with was his passion for open source software. I had of course heard about this but Lokesh took pains to explain what it is and why he is such an evangelist about it. I have promised him that I will try and learn to use it.

Lokesh, thank you for all the new knowledge and that very entertaining evening. I am looking forward to talking to you about your Pune visit soon.

Dashed Hopes!

A friend who lives in the deep rural part of India, rang me up to find him a good Bariatrist as he was having a massive obesity problem. He tilts the scales at over 160 Kgs.

I called up my cousin who is a very senior physician and sought his advise. I specified the problem to him and he promptly searched around and came back with a recommendation to a clinic close to the place where my friend lives along with the name of the bariatrist.

He also told me that the bariatrist and his entire team were very keen to see the patient as they had never met someone like that before. I asked what was peculiar about my friend and my cousin said that a dwarf with an obesity problem weighing that much has not been seen by them ever.

I was stumped and sought clarification as to what prompted the conclusion that my friend was a dwarf. My cousin told me that I had specified that. I was stumped again and iterated that my friend was six feet two inches tall. It was my cousin’s turn to be stumped as he confessed that he had misheard me to say sixty two inches tall!

Poor bariatrist and his team. They cannot now write scholarly papers on the unusual patient that they treated!

Gender Change.

During my recent trips to the South of India, I had a couple of misadventures with the Indian Railways.

To start with, I was unable to reserve my seat on a train from Bengaluru to Chennai either directly online or through an online travel agent because, the Indian Railways reservation system has blacklisted my name for some strange reason. I am told that it is most likely because my account with them has been dormant for many years now. Others including my sister Padmini, too confirm that this happens when one does not use the system for a long period of time.

I therefore requested a friend in Bengaluru to physically go to the station and book the ticket which he kindly did. Unfortunately however, he failed to check the hard copy of the ticket before couriering it to me to reach me before I left Pune. On receipt I found that my gender had been entered as Female!

You have to know somethings about the Indian Railways to understand the horror I felt on finding myself classified as a Female. The IR is a government department under the charge of a full time Minister in the Central Government of India. It is therefore highly bureaucratic and as with other bureaucracies, open to misuse of authority. If a ticket examiner had decided to make my life miserable, this was a perfect opportunity, which he would have considered as a blessing from his favourite God.

On arrival at Bengaluru I rushed to the main railway station to see if the ticket could be altered to avoid my being offloaded and was directed to the Assistant Station Superintendent. In that office there were two worthies sitting at empty desks doing nothing. The first one, a male, I went to was seated immediately to my left as I entered the room. He was very polite and asked me what the problem was and on learning what it was, promptly yelled to the other person, a lady sitting across the room to solve the problem. I took myself over to the lady and handed over the ticket and she scrutinised it and the following discussion took place;

Lady: “Are you Ramana Rajgopaul?”

Me: “Yes Madam, I am indeed Ramana Rajgopaul.

Lady: “But you are not a female!”.

Me: “Yes Madam, I indeed am not, as you can see.”

Lady: “So what is the problem?”

Me: “I would like to ensure that I am not offloaded from the train due to this misrepresentation and would appreciate your amending the ticket to make me a Male.”

Lady: “That is not possible sir. This is an e-ticket and we cannot access the computer to edit such mistakes.”

Me: “So, what do I do?”

Lady: “Have you got some identification proof with you?”

Me: “Yes, my Income Tax Permanent Account Number Card, my driving license and if need be, I can carry my passport too.”

Lady: “Please show me what you have now with you.”

Me: Produced the PAN Card and the Driving License.

Lady: :Good! It is clear that you are not a female. All that you have to do is to show this to the ticket examiner on board the train.”

Me: “Supposing he refuses to accept and offloads me?”

Lady: “Don’t worry Sir. This happens all the time and all TEs are quite used to seeing these mistakes. He won’t offload you.”

Me: “Just suppose he does, what do I do?”

Lady: “Come back here and submit a written complaint about the whole matter.”

Me: “Thank you very much Madam. It is a great relief to know that there is a complaint mechanism that I can use by returning to Bengaluru from wherever I am offloaded which will give me some relief.”

Lady: “No mention. It is my duty.”

I duly boarded the train on the due date and after about an hour into the journey, the TE did come and asked for the ticket and this is what transpired between the two of us.

TE: Sir, you are not a female.”

Me: No, I am most certainly not!”

TE: Have you got some ID with you?”

I produced my PAN card.

He took a pen from his pocket and circled the ‘female’ entry, wrote ‘Male’ inside the circle, affixed his signature in the form of a squiggle and said “Terrible things, computers. Here you are a male and it has called you a female.” I agreed with him and took my ID card and the ticket back from him and that was the end of the story.

Best Answer To The Question: Does My Bum Look Big In This?

That is me on the left supporting and escorting my friend Chandru. I had written about that picture here.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where thirteen of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Will. The twelve other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, Rohit, 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!


“No intelligent idea can gain general acceptance unless some stupidity is mixed in with it.”
~ Fernando Pessoa

Let me share a story to illustrate that very apt quote.

Two days after my late father’s wife died, my sister Padmini vacationing in the neighbouring state called on him to see how he was shaping up. She found him a bit lost but coping and glad to see her. While he was busy with the rest of Padmini’s entourage, Padmini was taken aside by my father’s step daughter to request her to take away my father as the family felt that they could not take care of him without her mother.

Padmini knowing the situtation within our side of the family telephoned me to inform of that request. I suggested that we persuade him to move back to our village or to a home in the town itself but left a final decision to a later time. When I informed my then alive wife Urmeela about this development, she reminded me of my late mother’s desire that when the time came, as it most certainly will, I should take care of him and suggested that we invite him to come and stay with us. Since she was comfortable with the idea and was prepared to accept all the consequences, I called my father and invited him to come and stay with us.

I then called my two other siblings Arvind and Barath and informed them of what had transpired and both promptly said that I was being stupid and that I should leave him to his devices if I wanted to retain my sanity. I ignored their advise and got him over to come and stay with us.

It was the stupidest thing that I ever did but I accepted that having let emotions overrule logic, I went through with that decision and suffered the consequences for near four years.

The idea was an intelligent one, as most people outside the immediate family believed, but my siblings and I saw my stupidity play out till his end came.

So, be prepared to accept that intelligent/logical ideas will be accepted when there is some stupidity mixed in them.

“You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.”
~ Ray Bradbury

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 Shackman. 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!