Rains.

The Rains in India are the most looked forward to events every year. For a country with many festivals the anticipation level for the simple annual natural event takes precedence over all other celebrations as if the rains do not come, disaster follows.

This year, I was traveling in South India when the North Eastern Monsoon broke over Chennai and I arrived there with the monsoon. I saw what rain could do to that city during the few days that I spent there. I also saw the grandeur of the monsoon in full strength from the veranda of my brother Arvind’s flat overlooking a lake and the Bay of Bengal in the distance. It was awesome.

The rains this year in Pune were like what we used to have when we first moved to Pune in 1990. The first monsoon in our very own home was in 1991, though we moved into a furnished apartment for a few months in 1990 till we located and bought the flat in which we currently live. So, this was the 22st monsoon that we saw here earlier this year, and bar two, they have all been good and normal. This year was a bit erratic but in the end gave us enough rainfall to avert drought conditions till next year.

One of the nicest things about the monsoon is that every thing around us gets refreshed and all the plants and the trees in the neighbourhood turn green and look cheerful! I am very serious. They do.

Every monsoon, till infarctions felled my late wife Urmeela, we used to go for a weekend to Mahabaleshwar, a nearby hill station to enjoy the rains there and to literally walk through the clouds. We used to have hot coal fire roasted corn on the cob from wayside vendors, hot tea and some amazing food hustled up exclusively for us in the hotel that we used to stay in as, during the rainy season, hardly any other guest would venture to this place.

The river Krishna originates from Mahabaleshwar and there is a Shiva temple built around the spring head. By the time the spring waters reach the plains 4500 feet below at Wai, the river has formed into a formidable force of water. In spate, the river can cause considerable damage as you will learn from the linked article.

Of the three main seasons for Pune, Summer, Monsoon and Winter, I prefer the monsoon from June to September. The climate is cool and wet but the air is fresh and there is greenery everywhere around. Urmeela and I used to love to sit in the verandah and watch the rain fall into our garden. We would have hot tea in the mornings and some hot snacks with tea if it was in the afternoons. I do not feel like doing that any more. I do sit in the mornings for my tea, but it is not quite the same.

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 yours truly. 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!

A Long Awaited Tryst With Laurie Baker.

Way back in July 2011, I had written about a Laurie Baker Home in which my friends Neena and Anil stay. In that post I had mentioned that I hoped to visit their home at the earliest.

Much water has flown down the Mulamutha and the Yamuna since and I finally was able to make that wish come true.

I have just returned from a six day visit to the Hebles and I can assure my readers that everything that is written about that home is understated. I was made comfortable, mollycoddled by Neena engaged in verbal duels by Anil and thoroughly spoiled by their lovely daughter Anisha and lavished with a whole lot of love by their three dogs.

It was with much regret that I left them this morning to return to Pune.

Thank you Neena, Anisha and Anil.

Pleasure.

1. A state of feeling, or being happy or satisfied

Enjoyment : To read for pleasure.

2. Pleasure (in something/in doing something) : He takes no pleasure in his work.pleasure the activity of enjoying yourself, especially in contrast to working. Are you in Paris on business or pleasure?

3. A thing that makes you happy or satisfies. The pleasure and pains of everyday life; the simple pleasures of the countryside; It’s a pleasure to meet you.

We use the word in so many different ways and all of us are quite comfortable with such usage and look forward with pleasure to pleasure giving things or activities.

The problem however is in thinking that deriving pleasure is happiness. And since all of us want to be happy all the time, we think that chasing after all things and activities that gives us pleasure is what being happy all about. I have seen this phenomenon change from a very different way of life to a totally different and soul destroying way of life during my life time.

I bought our first refrigerator, a five year old used one, from within the family by paying half the asking price as down payment and the balance in ten equal monthly payments. Till I paid off that commitment, I was on pins and needles. Other than that one necessary item, I have never bought anything on hire purchase or what is now called EMI (Equated Monthly Installments) I saved up to buy what was needed and in this was always ably supported by my late wife. I did take a bank loan to partly finance the purchase of the home that we now live in but the repayment of that loan was arranged in a way that in five years I was debt free.

I deferred the pleasure of owning something till I could buy it from savings. If we could not afford something, we did without it and no one bothered about what the neighbours thought about it. This was the value system that I was brought up in and my peers almost without exception were also of the same system.

The significant change that I have seen over my life time is the shift from that value system to one of instant gratification and young people getting caught in debt traps despite much higher income levels and two income households. That kind of lifestyle has also resulted in different value systems towards all aspects of life including relationships and what I see happening in the pursuit of pleasure is pitiable.

I still value the simple pleasures of good company, food, books, music etc, and rarely if ever, want to indulge in other pleasure giving activities like rave parties and gossip sessions in page three situations. All, much sought after pleasure giving activities,

Perhaps I am just too old. Or is it that it is a matter of sour grapes?

I think that by and large, I am a happy man enjoying the pleasures that come my way without going after them.

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 Conrad The Old Fossil. 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!

My Name In Japanese.

A very interesting young friend of mine Pooja, posted this on FaceBook.

I did as suggested and it came out as Shi Ka Rin Ka To Ka. Shikarinkatoka. If you insist, you can call me Shikarinkatoka San.

The interesting part of that exercise is what happens to that name in Hindi.

Shikarin can stand for either a female shikari (huntress) or a girl named Shika with a Surname Rin *A popular brand of detergent)
and Toka means hit in Hindi. Ka means her and so the name could mean that I either hit a huntress or a girl called Shika Rin. The use of toka in this context could also mean hitting on or making love.

So, in my comment on Pooja’s post I said – ” Bahut kuch tho toka, magar abh thak ek bhi shikarin ko nahin toka.”

Translated it means, I have hit on many but till now, I have not hit on even one Shikarin.

Now to add some more fun to this post, the name Shikarinkatoka. can also easily fit in with a very popular old Hindi flim song.

Epitaph III.

Obituaries and epitaphs and articles about them seem to follow me.

This particular article in the Telegraph is a remarkable piece of writing on the subject by a professional.

Reading which led me to remember our own Blackwatertown‘s book The Obituarist.

Naturally, I wonder why BWT has not published a blog post on last week’s LBC post!