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 was chosen by Padmum, who will however not be writing the week’s LBC post due to other preoccupations. 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!
Say wind in India and the two monsoons come to mind. The South West Monsoon and the North East Monsoon. Both are India’s lifelines and if either or both fail, we have major problems till the next monsoon.
havaban harde
Another use for the word wind is of course the common passing of wind which is a natural phenomenon but which raises laughter whenever it is mentioned. In India various native remedies are used to relieve stubborn wind unwilling to leave one’s system and this is one of the famous ones called hava ban harde.

And the winds of change that song talks about came about with very significant impact on mankind, but new developents have brought back the old cynicism. And where has that idealism gone?

There are of course winds of change that currently occupy everyone’s mind like the Climate change, Income inequality, Arab Spring, The Ukrainian revolution the LGBT revolution and so on so forth but some very odd trends that would appear to have some serious impact on society in the future are the following.

Male victims of domestic violence.

The sexual revolution in Europe.

Women’s lib in Africa.

And men are suddenly feeling threatened!

There are some other developments that can be included here but I leave it to the imagination of my readers to decide on those topics now that I have given a pointer to how my mind views winds of change.

Lastly let me use the word wind again to wind up this post or should it be wind down?
winding down

The Streets Are Alive.

My childhood and boyhood was spent in two gated communities and two homes in cul de sacs where my siblings and I along with other neighbourhood friends could play all kinds of games particularly cricket.  My cousins in Chennai and Mumbai living in flats would be sent off either to the terraces to fly kites or to the streets below to play.  I simply cannot think any day other than when we were ill that we did not play on the streets outside our homes.

Today’s living is somewhat different with more high rise apartments in cities and towns and streets with high traffic density that allows little space for children to play in.  Newer gated community complexes with high rise buildings in them but with their own play areas, clubs etc are coming up, but where I live the older stand alone buildings predominate.

When I sit in the garden after my evening walks, many young parents and or grand parents who live in apartments in the locality come to the park with their  children.  From where I sit, I can view the main quadrangle which is a vast expanse of grass that abuts the children’s play area with swings, see saws, jungle gyms etc.  No sooner the children come into the park, they start laughing and screaming and  running on the grass in the quadrangle with the older parents and grand parents struggling to keep pace with them.  This is always a very endearing sight to see as I can understand the children’s desire to run the minute they see such a vast open expanse having spent time in small flats.

kids-running-in-parkWhen I was in Chennai last month, I was staying with my brother Arvind who lives in a gated community with its own playground facilities for the children plus a few attractions for the oldies too.

Mantri FountainOne of such attractions is this fountain, one of three in their complex, around which benches have been installed for residents to sit and watch the fountains play.  I can assure you that it is one of the most soothing things that one can experience and almost every evening I would go there with Arvind and Shanta and sit around making friends with other residents.  Arvind’s two grand sons Kedar and Sarang 6 and 4 would not sit with us but would be running around the fountain playing their own games along with other children from the complex, and I would expect them to slip and fall but they never did.  But the joy in their faces just running and yelling, being free was worth bringing them down from the flat.

All these memories were brought up to me by a post that Nick put up on Facebook about roads being closed to traffic in the UK to enable children to play.  Among all the miserable news that I get to read now a days, this was one that gladdened my heart as I am sure it must have a lot of others.  I hope that this post will gladden the heart of those who have not read it so far.

I hope that the movement will catch on and come over to our country as well.


OMG – Oh My God.

OMGI bought the DVD of this Hindi film about two months ago on the advise of my good friend Ramesh who was all praise for it.  I had not found the time to see it till yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

The story is about a small time trader who loses his business due to an earthquake and when the insurers refuse to settle his claim on the grounds that the policy excluded acts of God, sues the insurer, God and some godmen.

A highly improbable story line but entertaining and thought provoking nevertheless.  It is in Hindi but I understand that it is somewhat like an Australian film The Man Who Sued God, which I shall now try and procure to compare.

Not Like The Movies.

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 was chosen by Will Knott, who will however not be writing the week’s LBC post due to other preoccupations. 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!

Two recent developments that brought the topic of movies to my life, as usual what I call synchronicity are, one, a new blogger friend Alan G who popped up in one of my posts and whose blog Some Final Thoughts is full of film reviews by him. His blog is worth a visit for movie buffs; and two, a film producer friend from Calcutta came to Pune to visit The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) yesterday and wanted me to accompany him there. I was all set to go when his programme changed and I did not go. It would have given me a great deal of joy to visit this institute as I have never been inside so far, despite living in Pune for the past twenty four years.

The title is a difficult statement to write on. Reel life can and often does reflect real life, like the latest movie that I saw. Till the last scene, the story was very realistic but the finale was a bit too dramatic for my taste. Having had personal experience of giving care to some one who suffered from dementia, I could identify with the situations but the ending was too pat for me.

On the other hand, very much like the movies was another movie that I saw recently. This cannot be faulted at all as it is a true story about real life people and their real life experiences.

Where things are not like the movies are those movies where the hero does things that are really super human. In Indian films particularly, reality is totally suspended and fantasy is encouraged and the reel life heroes become real life heroes like our famous Rajnikant.

Such movies however provide the safety valve needed for our masses to escape the harsh realities of real life through a couple of hours or more of reel life. And I find that Paisa Vasool seems to have infected the movie business as almost all movies now run for around or more than two and a half hours with one intermission. If that could be brought down to less than two hours, I would enjoy movies more. I had not been going to or even seeing them at home, for more than a decade and since I got a bit free from about a year and a half ago, I have been regularly seeing movies and can say that I enjoy them irrespective of whether they reflect realities or not.


I do not know if this ad ran or not during the Super Bowl. It was sent to me by an American of Indian origin who knows my own angst about being called a Hindu.

Like the American Indian, or more aptly the Native American, there is no word Hindu in our scriptures and there is no one size fits all for the so called Hindus.

I have written about it earlier and you may find it quite amusing to re-read it. This post is to talk about the other aspects of being Indian in India.

Like the Navajo would not like to be called a Redskin, I would not like to be called a Madrasi though genetically I am from the South of India, but was born in Western India. And South India itself is divided linguistically into Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, with Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu being the local languages respectively.  Since during the British times all these states were part of the Madras province, North Indians insist on calling the whole jing bang lot as Madrasis.  This kind of profiling repeats itself in the rest of the country and it leads to the following problem.

When I am overseas, I introduce myself as an Indian. If I meet an Indian overseas, the first thing he will want to know is which part of India I come from so that he can slot me into the stereotype that he has about people from that part. So, for him I become a Tamilian from Maharashtra and that stumps him as he does not have a ready stereotype to typecast me, and my English stumps him further as the accent is not something that he can identify as being from any one part of the country.

What I would like to impress about India or for that matter, Hindus,  is that you simply cannot stereotype it or its people. I am sure we can’t for all countries with varied cultures within either.

For those who are interested in knowing something about India viewed from an Englishman’s point of view, and who has written extensively about us, here is a video that is worth spending about half an hour on.

Throughout the world there is strife of some kind or the other based on either ethnicity of sectarianism or religion.

In our neighbourhood, in Pakistan, you will find Sindhis, Punjabis, Mohajirs, Baluchis and the Pashtuns defending each individual turf when it comes to ethnic identity but when they now go overseas, claim that they are Muslims from India!  Bangladesh is up in arms between fundamentalists and the so called secularists.

In another neighbouring country, ethnic identity is about to erupt and cause more trouble to an already very troubled country.

So, where does it leave us?  Is Lennon relevant any more?

Ranjan For Vipassana Retreat.

Something about me must have impressed Ranjan who suddenly decided that he too would like to learn Vipassana Meditation and registered for a ten day camp at Markal, twenty kms away from Pune.

Two things that are important for me are that he wants to learn and that he goes to Markal for his first retreat.  I was among the early meditators/volunteers at Dhammanand in Markal when it was very primitive and to see how it has changed was a very satisfying experience.

Manjiree took the afternoon off and I chauffeured  her and Ranjan to Markal earlier this afternoon.  After leaving Ranjan at Markal, I took Manjiree to Sangameshwar, Tulapur for some tea and she has decided that when we go again to collect Ranjan on the morning of 10th March, we would stop there again for breakfast.  Ranjan will spend the next days in retreat there and learn the meditation technique.

I am one very pleased father today.