Shackman, has decided to call himself and me Mastodons. If you see full length photographs of us you will know why. I am rather pleased with this description.


Grannymar, don’t you think that this is better than calling me an Ass? (For my American readers, I have asked Grannymar whether she meant the American Ass or the English Ass.)

The Cellphone Has Its Uses.

In a comment on my blog No Mobile Day, Grannymar gave me a link to read a very interesting post about being disconnected. I urge my readers to read that article.

Coincidentally, I happened to read another story which added a new dimension to the cellphone saga.

So, the cellphone does have some positive aspect to it after all. Not that I expect to be shot at any time soon, but it will help to keep the cellphone on my shirt pocket rather than in a pouch attached to me belt.


ppoffice pune

I was asked to report at 9.45 am today for an interview at 10.00 am at our local Passport Office to get my old passport renewed. I was dropped off at the entracne to the office at exactly 9.45 am and my interview slip was signed in at 9.50 am and I had to wait in a queue for Senior Citizens for exactly five minutes before I was attended to. I needed to provide photocopies of some pages of my old passport and there was a photocopier present just twenty feet away doing that for a pittance. I returned to the counter and did not have to wait for long before I was given a token number and asked to wait in a lounge. At exactly 10.05 am I was cleared for an interview by a display board and the interview, photographing, fingerprinting etc all took all of ten minutes. I had to go to two more desks where again it was efficiently managed and efficiently looked after and exactly at 10.45 am I was out of the office.

I must confess that this was totally different from what I had expected from a government department. It was a modern office with proper signages and very courteous and helpful staff and the efficiency levels due to computerisation was simply mind blowing. The only link to the old ways of doing things was the brown paper file that they used to keep all supporting documents which I had to lug around before the last counter where I was given an acknowledgement form and was advised that I would receive my new passport by Registered Post in a couple of weeks’ time.

If only all our local, state and other central government departments could become like this, India can take a quantum leap into modernity.

My zapping did not stop there. I could not get an autorickshaw or a cab to return home. I however remembered my old mechanic who has a garage in the neighbourhood but in a more crowded place, and I called him up with a request that he get one for me and send the same to pick me up. Instead of doing that he came personally in a car driven by a chauffeur who was employed by me six years ago! It was a grand reunion of sorts and I was dropped at home all in one piece.

All in all a very unusual but fruitful day!

Story 19. The Elopers.


Aasim and Pallavi were schoolmates and lived in the same, affluent part of the town. They used to play together as little kids along with the other children.. Like most of the middle class residents of that locality, their parents sent them to the best school in town which had two sections one each for girls and boys.

In due course, Aasim the older of the two was the first to go off to college in Bombay about 500 Kms away from the town where they lived. Two years later, Pallavi too did the same but went to a College for girls and stayed in the hostel attached to the college whereas Aasim was in a co-ed college and stayed in a boys hostel attached to that college.

Nature did its job and the two used to meet whenever possible in the big city and the childhood relationship blossomed into a great romance without either family back home knowing anything about it.

I came into the picture in the early seventies of the last century when I was a junior sales manager for my then employer. Pallavi’s father, Purushottam was a customer who used to visit my office often in those days when merchants had to visit the main cities to keep their supply lines open as a lot of cash deals used to take place in those glorious high taxation socialist government days of my great country. He would settle all his matters in the wholesale market and then come over to our office to keep us in good humour and to place orders or to complain about something having gone in earlier supplies. He was always a welcome visitor from who I used to gather a lot of market intelligence. On a few occasions, he had brought Pallavi to our office and I met her under those circumstances and would oblige the proud father by speaking in English with that smart girl and ask her about her studies and progress. As part of my market visits, I also had to visit Purushottam in his shop and we developed a good working relationship.

Aasim’s father too was a merchant but in a different line of business altogether and I had no occasion to meet him. I accidentally happened to meet the love birds once in a restaurant when the background to this story came out from the two of them. Aasim was about to graduate from the university and was planning to seek employment in the city after that. Pallavi requested me not to mention meeting her and about Aasim to her father and I obliged.

I was transferred out of the city in 1973 and returned in 1977 to a different role. Visits to our office by Purushottam had stopped by then as a branch office had been opened in the smaller market and he had no reason to visit the main city. Despite that however, Purushottam visited me once while he was on some other errand and informed me that he had lost touch with Pallavi in 1974 as she had, to quote his words, run away with Aasim without any forwarding address and neither set of parents had a clue as to what had happened to the couple. He further informed me that he would have nothing further to do with his daughter for having brought disgrace to him and his family.

A small piece of information that would be necessary to proceed with this story further. Asim was a Muslim and Pallavi a Hindu. Purushottam was a Sindhi who came to India during the great partition when he was a young teenager and like most such refugees had a total aversion to Muslims. It was galling for him that his daughter had run away with a Muslim and predicted that she would come to a miserable end.

I wish that I could end the story to prove that his prediction was wrong, but it turned out exactly like he had predicted. I met Pallavi in 1985 when she came to seek employment with us as she was in dire need. Aasim and she had run away to Bangalore before she could graduate and on the assurance of a friend of Aasim to get him a job in Bangalore. She converted to Islam and got married and in due course produced two children as well. While Aasim’s family readily accepted her, her life had become like other Muslim women, one of high domestication and confinement. Aasim could not keep a job and went back to join his father in his business and it did not help matters that Pallavi’s family would not accept her back. After seeing the marriage collapsing with no other recourse, Pallavi left behind her children with Aasim’s family and ran away back to Bombay and that is how she landed up at my office one day seeking my help.

I wish now that I could have helped. I could not then and had to advise her to go back to her husband instead of living precariously in the big bad city. Quite whether she took my advise or not, I do not know. I lost track of her and when I spoke to Purushottam on another matter six years ago, he too had no clue about what had happened to her.

I hope that she had successfully survived and even flourished. She deserved better than what she got for falling in love.

March 7, 2014; No Mobile Day.


Nick has suggested on FB, that we have an annual No Mobile Day. In his words, “On March 7 1876 Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for the telephone” Let us honour that man by observing his grand day as No Mobile Day every year.

It will at least make us realise that we can be without it at a pinch.


I hope that you enjoy reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where eight of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Maria the gaelikaa. The seven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Paul, Shackman, The Old Fossil. 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!

noun: retribution
Punishment inflicted on someone as vengeance for a wrong or criminal act.

Knowing gaelikaa as I do, I suspect that she intended this to be about divine retribution. Unfortunately for me, I have already experienced retribution of a kind that I would not wish on my enemies.

I however do not know who was punishing me as vengeance for a wrong or criminal act.  Moral, possibly yes, but criminal, no.  Yes, I am writing about my replaced and revised hip joints. The left one was replaced in 1985, revised in 2000 and re-revised in 2011. The right one was replaced in 1987 and revised in 2001. It won’t be too long before that becomes due for re-revision too.

THRNow you know why I call myself a Retired Hippie.

It should be interesting to see what retributions the other LBC writers have to write about!