Goodbye To 2012.


2012 started off for me with the hopes that some lady would find me eligible and propose to me. That has not happened yet.

I was however presented with an alternative – a very charming young lady asked me out on a date and took me to a movie.

I could not wait to see the leap day. And on the 28th of February I thought that all my troubles were over, and I could find true love the next day.

I survived the disappointment of not finding the true love with the consolation in April that I could discard my elbow crutches which I was using post surgery and instead go back to my single walking stick. Phew, what a relief that was! On the other hand, April started my troubles with my late father’s health taking a sudden turn for the worse with his kidney beginning to dysfunction.

Between April and till he died on September 6th, I went through the most harrowing time that I had ever experienced in my life. It also taught me a lot of lessons and some of my blogger friends beside my family and other friends, were ever ready to cheer me up when I hit bottom.

After that experience the relief that I felt is beyond my ability to express. Suffice it to say that I started doing many things that I was not able to do since the middle of 2011. Some of the events have been blogged about by me and I shall just briefly summarise by saying that I traveled a lot and caught up with family and friends and got involved in a number of things in Pune itself. As I look back, the last quarter of 2012 has been very busy and eventful and I am grateful for being where I am today.

And before I forget, the young lady who took me out on a date Clio left for her home Greece last night. But before she did she fulfilled a promise and gave me a solo performance on her harp. She is a professional harpist and I was privileged to hear some amazing music and I am grateful to her for that great performance.
Clio on harp

Now I bid goodbye to a very eventful 2012 and wish all my readers a very happy 2013.


This is a real photograph from circa 1948 of a Tamil Brahmin student studying at home. Tamil Brahmins are popularly called Tambrams.

tambram student

Though I belong to the Tambram community, I do not dress like that, nor did I ever study like that. But I am likely to be more of an exception. My cousins, one of who stayed with us to study for his Master’s Degree in English Literature, used to study intensely during all their free time and I have therefore first hand knowledge of this kind of work. In this particular photo, the man’s tuft is tied to a nail on the wall and will jerk him awake if he falls asleep while studying. The lamp on the table was a wick lamp using kerosene, a duplicate of which I distinctly remember being used in our village home. The broken chair, the ink well and pen sticking out of it, and the condition of the wall speaks volumes of the poverty under which these types studied. Their parents sacrificed a great deal to see their children be given the benefit of education.

And no, the tuft went out of style many decades ago and only the priests sport them now a days.

Education was a way out of rural lives and poverty and that particular generation was the one that gave birth to the first lot of emigrants to the USA and the UK. Those studious Tambrams who remained behind, secured employment in the then available public sector enterprises or the government and their children in turn were more or less bullied into studying to enter into the IITs and other premier educational institutions to secure not only their own futures but as a spin off effect as an insurance policy for the parents to retire in comfort.

The Brahmins were and still are subject to reverse discrimination and find it extremely difficult to secure admission into institutions of higher learning and have to perforce study to enter the Central Institutions were while quotas operate merit is far more important.

I salute those pioneers who studied like this and made it possible for the community to become quite prosperous despite being denied opportunities owing to the accident of their birth.

First Time Travelling Abroad Alone.


No, nothing quite like that happened to me but I had to face some serious grilling and roasting from one of the persons that I had gone to see nevertheless. The other person that I had gone to meet however provided me with some enjoyable experiences which I cherish till date.


The visit was to Katmandu in Nepal in December 1973. It was cold, damp and most depressing. My primary purpose was to meet up with and appoint a lawyer to handle a sensitive trade mark matter. A local entrepreneur had locally registered a trademark owned by my then employers and was sending goods bearing that trademark into the Indian markets. Our Trademark Attorneys in India had recommended a local lawyer and my visit was to meet with him and do whatever was necessary to put a stop to the infringement. From the minute we met at the hotel where I was staying, the two of us hit it off and he remains a friend till today. He ably organised the various things that needed to be done at Kathmandu before lunch and escorted me around on a sight seeing tour for the rest of the day. He kindly invited me to his home for dinner and I got to meet his entire family who were very gracious hosts.

Since I was already at Kathmandu, I met up with our wholesaler there the next morning and that is where I got my roasting and grilling for a full hour and a half. I was ready to call it quits and leave when the proprietor shifted gears and became a very gracious host and the rest of the day and the next was spent with him visiting customers and end users. He too invited me to his home and I was treated like royalty by the entire family. Substantial quantities of local fiery rum was consumed during the entire visit to keep the cold out! I was also escorted to a cloth shop where suitable material was chosen, taken to a tailor to fit me up with the local dress combination of Daura-Suruwal, which was made, tried on and finished before I left Kathmandu. I was also gifted with two beautiful Nepali caps and a bottle of the fiery rum to take back to India.

All in all, a productive and enjoyable visit except for the unusual for December weather. I however enjoyed clear and beautiful weather the next two visits I made later.

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 Paul the BWT. 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!

Fear, Curiosity And Encouragement.

By a strange coincidence, (Grannymar I refrain from using my favourite word,) I was led to this post by three references. The first is a reference to The Rev Ed Bacon who realized that the Bible’s focus was not about tribalism and separation, but rather it was about overcoming fear-based tribalism and separation with inclusion and universal compassion. The other is what I am currently reading, Theodore Zeldin’s An Intimate History of Humanity where he brings some remarkable insights into the human emotion of fear through the eyes of a historian.

Now I come to the third coincidence. I am in frequent and deep discussions on matters spiritual with a very dear friend who is trying to get out of religion and come to grips with his own spirituality. I am by and large areligious where as my friend is deeply religious but finds it stifling and dogmatic. But FEAR is the predominant feature of his inability to quit and be his own man. Primarily fear of leaving the known! In talking about fear Zeldin delves into the origins of tribalism and religions and that is the most remarkable aspect of the coincidences that I am impressed with.

I am now addicted to Zeldin and look for anything to do with him and found a very interesting interview with him by BBC Online and I reproduce some extracts from it to elaborate what I am currently experiencing with my friend.

Q: “What is it that you think is so revolutionary and radical – you describe it as the evolution of a new type of human being – about relationships? What is this specific spark in which you put so much faith?

A: I think one of the most important changes of our time has been our attitude to fear. Every civilisation defends itself by keeping fears out and saying ‘we protect you from fear’. But it also produces new fears and throughout history people have changed the kind of fears which have worried them. They used to be worried by devils and by spells.

Whenever you did anything it was somebody, some neighbour trying to ruin your life and then by the fear of going to hell and so on. As we diminish those fears we have got fears about security and ill health and housing, unemployment and so on, and what one notices about the last century is the desire to abolish fear and in America they said we are going to abolish fear.

I don’t think fear can be abolished. You can change fear on one hand, you can swap fears and on the other hand you can forget about fears and how do you do that? You forget about it by curiosity. You become so intent on something which interests you that you forget that it’s mad to do it, that you can’t do it and you just go ahead and do it and the originality of our time is that we are becoming more curious. Curiosity was forbidden in the past. Women were not allowed to read. Not only women but men of all sorts of lower, so-called lower, occupations were told just remain where you are and don’t interfere in things you don’t understand. And now we want to know about everything and we want to know not only about our own jobs but all jobs and all activities in all countries. This changes the kind of person you are. It makes you receptive to everything and once you are curious, you cannot stop.

Q: And in our relationships we finally have an intimacy, a maturity… we’re not alone for the first time, is that what you’re saying? Is that the reason why we might manage it?

A: I think what helps us to be brave is encouragement. That is why I say that the origin of change now is “the couple” because there you can have two people who encourage each other and who can admit in privacy their vulnerability and you can do nothing without someone at least saying ‘yes, go ahead’ and if you add that to curiosity, and instead of your partner saying you know nothing about it, keep out, the partner says well why not try and I know that you know there’s something in there. You would be unhappy if you don’t do it. That is the source of change. It’s curiosity and encouragement and nothing can be done without encouragement. What we are concerned about now is how to stimulate the amount of encouragement in the world because all our institutions so far have been discouraging. You go to school and you’re told that you’re not very good. You go to university and you’re given a second-class degree, not first. And then you’re given a job which is not quite the top one, only a few people get to the top, so everything tells you you are not very good. We’ve got to move to a stage where life is more of an adventure of which one is not afraid.

Q: What are your grounds for optimism and what are its pre-conditions?

A: We can do nothing without encouragement and I believe that the new relationship which we are trying to construct between men and women is one which is organised to produce courage and people can in privacy acknowledge their vulnerability and be helped to overcome it. And I think that the, this combined with the curiosity which people are beginning to express and feel means that they can go beyond what exists now, and that means that private life is going to be the source of change and not public life. We cannot change public life until we have changed private life.

Q: This is genuinely new, is it? This hasn’t been happening all along through history but we just weren’t — but it was not somehow observed?

A: There have been individuals in the past who have lived lives of intimacy with a partner which are, sound very modern, in all nations, in Japan and China as well as in Europe, but these have been exceptions. Quite often for example you’d get a father in China who had no son and he would then educate his daughter and enable her to do things which no woman had ever done before but these were exceptions and now it seems to be becoming much more widespread in certain parts of the world. When people set an example and show how it’s done, others follow and the models of our time at present are actors and actresses. Why is this? Because they are people who put themselves in the skin of others and they say you don’t have to be what you are. You can try being something else. And this is very revolutionary.”

So, to some extent instead of the man woman couple, my friend and I could be called the couple that Zeldin talks about and we are making slow but steady progress learning from each other and also encouraging each other to explore further these matters that we can now afford to delve on since both of us are retired and have plenty of time to indulge in matters esoteric.

Touched II.

Delirious commented as follows in my post Touched. “I love the picture of the elephant. There is something so special about the touch of an animal!”

I responded – “You have reminded me of something that I am unable to share here and as Grannymar says, I have a propensity to come up with sequels for my LBC posts, I shall post one anon.”


I wonder what animals feel about being ‘touched’ by humans!


It is such a beautiful word. When someone says that she is touched, a whole range of emotions get squeezed into that one word. The dictionary says that it means to be emotionally stirred. And that encapsulates the beauty of the word.

I am one of those blessed people who get touched very easily.

Before I conclude, there is yet another meaning to this wonderful word – to be slightly unbalanced mentally. I am often that too! I get so whenever I hear this beautiful song by a favourite singer:

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!