Story 15. One Of The Apples Of My Eyes.

My stories so far have been about out of the ordinary and sometimes bizarre experiences with people that I had come in contact with. Here however is a story, very ordinary in telling but of great courage and grit shown by a father and son team from very small beginnings who underwent a lot of difficulties, but overcame them all to build a successful business and family life for all members of their family and a partner who for all practical purposes a member of their family. I am now involved with the third generation of the family with the young men in college testing their brains with me. A family that I am extremely fond and proud of.

Balram is a friend from my Speakeasy days of the late sixties and early seventies of the last century in Mumbai. We used to run into each other in the same dives and became good friends over time. The ties between our two families have stood the test of time of 46 years.

This story is about the success of Balram’s family and one particular individual in it. The family has had its share of ups and downs and all the in-betweens like broken marriages, reconciliations, deaths, births, laughter and sorrow like any other family, almost all of which has been experienced by me along with it either close at hand or from a distance. Just an ordinary garden variety family out of which one risk taking individual paying attention to satisfying his customers has overcome many hurdles to become a successful business man.

Balram is from an agricultural background from the Konkan. His elder brother stayed back in their village looking after the parents and tilling their family farm. Balram worked for a British company as a clerk but had big ambitions. He loathed the atmosphere in the company and the white collar trade union which had a strangle-hold on the management and wanted to get out. He found a way out by getting a couple of his relatives from his village trained as electricians in an ITI to come over and started an electrical contracting business to which he eventually added house painting contracts as well.

He did well enough in a decade after I had met him for him to quit his job and concentrate his energies full time on his business. His two delightful two young sons and two daughters were studying well in Mumbai and the eldest, Suresh is the hero of my story. I had given the contract for rewiring and repainting of my flat in Bombay to Balram and he brought Suresh along one day and the youngster simply stole our hearts. My late wife particularly took a shine to the young lad and the feeling was highly reciprocated.

Suresh completed his graduation in due course and joined his father’s business and diversified into fabricating made-to-order furniture as well. For the latter, he took on board his childhood friend a trained designer, Dinkar as his partner. The furniture business did so well that Suresh eventually separated from Balram’s business to go for larger contracts which the latter was loath to get into. The two girls got married and went to their husband’s homes, one of who eventually divorced her husband to build a career for herself only to get married again, and the younger son has gone on to build a strong and successful career in the private sector as an employee. Balram and by default I are grandfathers many times over.

While Balram was making a life for himself in Bombay, things soured between him and his elder brother following the death of their parents and over the division of property. Due to this and when the time for Suresh’s wedding came along, a role I had to play, the bonds between my and Balram’s families were strengthened further.

Balram fixed the wedding of his eldest son and the eldest daughter in one ceremony which is quite common in our families with relatives having to come from distant parts to cities to attend weddings. Normally Balram’s elder brother would have taken a daughter in marriage for his nephew as in our system the brother’s son is also considered to be a son rather than a nephew. Since relations between Balram and his brother were not good, at the request of Balram and his wife, Urmeela and I adopted Suresh as our son in a Vedic ceremony and took the daughter in marriage as our daughter in law. Thus Suresh has been my religiously adopted son since 1991. I have seen him grow into a fine and level headed individual and he is a particular favourite of mine.

About fifteen years ago, just about the time when I was also retiring from active corporate life, Balram retired and went to his village to repair his old ancestral home and take charge of what his portion of the inheritance came to. Their old home in Central Bombay was converted into an office for the business which was taken over fully by Suresh. Suresh and his friend/partner moved to New Bombay and eventually bought accommodation for themselves. Balram often visits their New Bombay set up but is usually impatient to get back to the village where he claims that his health remains better!

The business started to grow with good word of mouth references till four years ago when a very satisfied customer suggested that with their regular and well trained crew, they should consider diversifying into new construction and also advised them to go outside Bombay and New Bombay to find opportunities. That is exactly what these young men did and went to a town near their ancestral village on the Bombay to Goa highway and bought up some tracts of land. Phase one of their new business has been completed and they have started phase two of a gated community. On the border of their property abutting the highway, they started a restaurant with clean rest room facilities, sadly lacking for miles in either direction on that busy highway, and that business has also taken off like a rocket under the capable management of a local working partner/manager.

As I write this, Suresh spends most of his time at the project site while Dinkar stays behind in Bombay to look after the business there and to service clients from Bombay with interests in properties being developed in the Konkan. Sons of Suresh and Dinkar do not want to join the business and would rather study and get into what they hope will be 10 to 5 jobs. I do not want to disillusion them and just goad them into studying well. There is enough time for them to experiment and there is always the safety net built for them by the earlier two generations.

Among the various options that I have been considering for my long time retirement, moving to the Konkan is one that keeps cropping up with annoying frequency with Suresh wanting me to do so immediately and I wanting to savour Pune life for just a little more. My readers will know all about this piece of information soon with photographs etc. Till then, please bear with me.

Lord Doctor Guruji.


My daughter in law got this text message in her mobile phone.

How are you and your family together with your business, I hope things are working well according to your expectation. We are very grateful to share your burden together with you as the African Lord Guru have arrive from South Africa on his second missionary to India to help people and build consulting temple/Ayurveda hospital where various healing both spiritual, physical problems like diabetes, stroke, tuberculosis, strong piles, lack of pregnancy, fibroid diseases, curing of deaf and dumb, lame walk, Contract winning favors, Political up liniment, and curing of different diseases on the surface of the earth.

Also he can make poor to be rich and richer to be richest and secure wealth with the help of Ancient spiritual herbalist power authority. Furthermore, he is in position to invoke and produce out millions of any currency in the world, and this money is a risk free, no blood sacrifice needed, and it can be used to set up business. We are searching for a honest person who can accommodate the Lord Guru for a solution to any kinds of healing and accomplishment of the Healing Temple in your country, Do you have/know somebody with the above conditions, kindly contact our email id

( testimonies and further clarification.
{Guru Lord P/Asst}.

She responded as follows:

You are talking about my husband. The rascal married me six weeks ago and disappeared with all my money after a few days. Immediately let me know his whereabouts so that I can send a recovery party. I don’t want him but I want all my money back.

What Is Your Favorite Movie?

I hope that you enjoy reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where ten of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Shackman who is unfortunately temporarily out of the LBC postings. The nine other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, Padmum, Paul, Rohit, 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!

Unlike the other LBC writers I am afraid that I will have to write about two films. One English and the other Hindi.

The English one has always been Spartacus. This is one story that I first came across in the film format before deciding to read the novel of that same name. The story and the one scene when all the slaves stand up and claim to be Spartacus, is indelibly etched in my mind. I have used that particular scene in a number of motivational classes to devastating effect. A story where a very human hero appears and inspires. I would also imagine that Kirk Douglas has not acted better in any of his other films.

The Hindi film was Guide. I had read the book by R K Narayan prior to seeing the film and had thought of the hero of the story to be an impossibility. But the film and Dev Anand’s interpretation of the role changed my mind about it. I was in Ahmedabad when it was released and since there was little other entertainment those days in Ahmedabad, I saw it seven times within a couple of months. I subsequently saw the version made for the Western audiences too which was not as effective an interpretation of the original story. And as a bonus, all the songs in the film were hits and became ear worms for me for many years.

If I had to choose between these two to decide on the favourite, I would not be able to. So, dear Shackman, you will have to forgive me for choosing two films.

Now for a parting gift:

Ten Questions.

Grannymar has an interesting post up in her blog where she has answered ten questions and has posed ten questions of her own for those inclined to participate in the round robin exercise.

Her Questions that I shall answer are as follows:

1. Your day so far, tell us about it in no more than ten words. Tea, breakfast, papers and crossword puzzles.
2. Who is your Hero? Simon Rajgopaul.
3. Describe yellow. Beautiful.
4. I’d walk a mile for ________. For good company.
5. Close your eyes, open a dictionary, and point to a word. Does your word mean anything special to you? Piquant. This exercise.
6. A song you can’t escape.
7. In five years, will it matter? I doubt that I will be around to worry about whether it does or not.
8. On a Wednesday, what is your routine? Exactly the same as with all the other six days of the week.
9. For dinner tonight, what would you like to eat? Fruit.
10.Who was the last person you spoke to? Ramesh Thakur two minutes ago.

If any of my readers want to try their hand at answering ten questions, here they are.

1. Do you believe in / follow horoscopes?
2. If you do, will you credit all your good and ill fortunes to the stars?
3. What is your honest opinion about blogging?
4. What do you think will be the outcome of the Syrian standoff?
5. Do you think that there will be peace in the Middle East in your life time?
6. Will China ever overtake the USA as the world’s greatest power?
7. Will we ever see 100% gender equality?
8. Will we ever have WWIII?
9. Will print media completely disappear?
10. Will we ever see all our children playing outdoors again?