How Much Of A Human Being Are You?

insect_fear“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
~ Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

Change a diaper. I can. I did for my son when he was little and for my father when he was incontinent.
Plan an invasion. I can. I have invaded many homes with unannounced intrusions. On the other hand, I have also been invaded thus.
Butcher a hog. I doubt that I can. I have butchered game birds.
Conn a ship. I cannot.  I can however conn an automobile!
Design a building. I have been part of teams that did.
Write a sonnet. I cannot.
Balance accounts. I can.
Build a wall. Around myself, I can and have.
Set a bone. Haven’t had an opportunity though was taught while I was a boy scout as part of training in first aid.
Comfort the dying. Haven’t had an opportunity but at a pinch I suppose that I can.
Take/Give orders. I can and have taken and given.
Cooperate. I can.
Act alone. I can.
Solve equations. I can.
Analyze a new problem. I can.
Pitch manure. I can.
Program a computer. I cannot.
Cook a tasty meal. I can. I do it all the time.
Fight efficiently. I suppose that if I had to, I can. I have fought but whether efficiently or not, I would not know.
Die gallantly. I am yet to do that, but I suppose that when the time comes, I should be able to.

Not too bad. I am mostly not an insect. The only person that I can think of who is called Insect is Jiggs. His wife Maggie calls him that in the cartoons “Bringing Up Father”


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

Before I start the post on today’s topic, it is my sad duty to bid farewell to a founder member of the Loose Bloggers Consortium, Grannymar who will no longer be participating in the LBC Friday post adventures. She will be remembered for her consistency and very imaginative posts. I wish her well in her new endeavours.
daydream“Daydreaming is a short-term detachment from one’s immediate surroundings, during which a person’s contact with reality is blurred and partially substituted by a visionary fantasy, especially one of happy, pleasant thoughts, hopes or ambitions, imagined as coming to pass, and experienced while awake.”
~ Wikipedia.

How beautiful that the definition suggests that it is a short term detachment from reality!

There was a time when I used to daydream a lot. I could detach myself from my immediate surroundings. With advancing age, I find that increasingly difficult. I suppose that it is also a reflection of all the experience that this old body/mind/intellect complex has accumulated that it instinctively stops daydreaming for the very enjoyable exercise being futile.

There are however some new movements like The Law Of Attraction which posit that one can attract what one wants by daydreaming! I use that terminology rather than the fancy words used by the practitioners. I mention that here because just a few days back I met someone who was brainwashed into investing in the books, and a few DVDs made by the movement’s gurus. This person said something that struck me as being worth sharing with my readers. The movements advocates, who sell all kinds of things via web sites, books, training programs etc all seem to make money by attracting a whole lot of losers. No one hears about all the people who do not attract anything into their lives by following the system! In other words, one hears about only those odd cases of successes and the vast majority of failures are not reported.

Daydreaming, while fully aware that it will be just that and that it will not attract what one dreams about due to the power of the universe or whatever, is a luxury that every one must be able to afford. That is my wish for all humanity. I wish that I could.

bandhur ātmātmanas tasya

yenātmaivātmanā jitaḥ

anātmanas tu śatrutve

vartetātmaiva śatru-vat


bandhuḥ — friend; ātmā — the mind; ātmanaḥ — of the living entity; tasya — of him; yena — by whom; ātmā — the mind; eva — certainly; ātmanā — by the living entity; jitaḥ — conquered; anātmanaḥ — of one who has failed to control the mind; tu — but; śatrutve — because of enmity; varteta — remains; ātmā eva — the very mind; śatru-vat — as an enemy.


For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.

Bhagwat Geeta Ch VI Verse 6.

Student Loans.

There is a news item that more than £ 5 Bn student loans have become bad due to the lender’s inability to locate the students who availed of the loans, finished their education and have simply vanished!

Nick and I had this exchange on FaceBook.

Ramana Rajgopaul Leaving aside the debate about free education, there is a question of morals and ethics here that is highly disturbing for depicting the educated youth of a country.

Nick Rogers Ramana, the morals and ethics of what exactly?

Ramana Rajgopaul Of borrowing money and disappearing without repaying the loans.

Nick Rogers Ramana, I think that’s entirely moral and ethical because higher education should be free. Graduates benefit everyone in society with their skills so why should they be landed with the bill?

Ramana Rajgopaul I beg to differ Nick. The students borrowed the money knowing that education is not free. They did not borrow from the authorities who decide on who is to bear the cost. They entered into a voluntary transaction like they would to buy an automobile on hire purchase, This has got nothing to do with what should be or not be about higher education’s cost to students. This has got everything to do with the students’ character.

Ramana Rajgopaul On the other hand, in India, something like this would straight away indicate a big scam. The Minister in charge of the department concerned and its officials would have siphoned off the funds using fictitious names!

Nick Rogers Now that really IS immoral and unethical.

I submit that in the process of defending universal free higher education, we cannot overlook the morals and ethics involved in pure commercial transactions and throw open this subject for debate.


My daughter in law Manjiree’s mother had been out of Pune and was returning by train on Monday morning. On Sunday night Ranjan asked her in my presence as to what arrangements had been made to receive her at the station. She said “Dad will pick her up and take her home.” Now this was the first time that I came to know that I was supposed to do that and so asked for details of arrival time, platform etc, only to be told that Manjiree meant her natural dad and not me. Phew!

Manjiree calls me Dad or Baba and also calls her father the same. I call Ranjan Baba and that adds to the confusion. At least to solve the problem of identifying between two Babas, she has decided to call me Baba Kalyani and her father as Baba Apte. The logic is that I live in Kalyani Nagar and her father’s home is on Apte Road. There is a problem with this also because Baba Kalyani is another person who is our neighbour here. In fact, our locality is named after his late father Neelkanth Kalyani.

42 years of calling Ranjan as Baba is difficult to give up but I am trying to. When Manjiree talks to our help and mentions the name Baba, both tend to get confused as for them too Ranjan has been Baba for the past twenty three years. Now, Baba has to suddenly become me, who for them has always been Papa.

Can you picture some of the hilarious situations that can arise because of such confusion in calling people within two families now connected through a wedding and sharing common addresses?

Ten Speed Bike.

Snoopy on bikeLife is like a ten-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use.
~ Charles Schulz,

Let me explain why I dug up that quote.

There is a bit of painting work going on in my home and I got some wet paint on to a favourite white kurta. I would have normally sent the kurta with my Jeeves to the local dry cleaner to get the stain removed but since I was going out for a pedicure anyway, I decided to go myself. To my surprise, I saw the establishment being run by a very smart lady, rather unusual for that business here. She took one look at the stain and said that it was hopeless and if I wanted to wear the kurta I should dye the whole garment to the colour of the paint, chocolate brown! I was taken aback and exclaimed that I could not very well wear a brown kurta as I would look weird. The lady promptly suggested that if Amitabh Bachhan can wear coloured kurtas, I could too.
Big_BI hemmed and hawed and suggested that I was not in the same league to which, the lady said, that it was the Big B who was not in my league!

What speed gear should I have changed to?

PS.  I took her advise and have arranged for the kurta to be dyed.  I shall wear it and take a photograph to publish a follow up post to this.