No Respect!

My friend the Cheerful Monk while disappointing me with her title for this post, wrote a very intriguing post nevertheless. I strongly recommend my readers to visit and read the post and all the comments there.

When I read the title of the post, what came to my mind was however something totally different. A very powerful portrayal by a remarkable actor.

Congratulations Pravin and Simple.

My readers will remember my post on Pravin’s wedding last month.

Simple and Pravin came over to meet me earlier this evening and I believe that the long wait that Pravin underwent before he found Simple and got married to was worth it. Simple is charming and bubbly and will be an interesting counterpoint to Pravin who can be quite serious and bombastic.

I enjoyed having them over and spend time with me.  I hope that they will make a habit of it. They have promised to. Here are two photographs of them together.

Pravin and Simple1

Pravin and Simple2

The Way Things Were.


A little background before I comment on the book.

We lived in Delhi on two stretches. The first time was in 1968/69 when we were newly married and enjoyed Delhi as a more or less honeymoon location. The second time was between 1980 and 1983 when we became residents and made a number of friends who till today remain friends. This book revolves around tumultuous periods that Delhi as well the rest of the country saw and to which I was an adult witness. I have personal knowledge of people who suffered because of the Punjab problem, the immediate aftermath of the Indira Gandhi assassination, now more or less acknowledged as a pogrom against the Sikhs, and the Babri Masjid destruction. The links will give you some idea of the problems, but I was part of the generation that was impacted one way or the other by all three instances of insanity in India.  I am among those convinced that the anti Sikh riots were orchestrated by the Indian National Congress and you don’t need go too far to justify it when you consider what Rajeev Gandhi said about it – “When a big tree falls, the ground shakes.”

My personal aversion to the Indian National Congress as a political party started with the State of Emergency declared by Indira Gandhi when I was personally exposed to the excesses of the times and this was only strengthened further during our second Delhi stint when I used to visit the Punjab and also had many Sikh friends and what the INC did to create the problem and how it tried to manage the aftermath.

Aatish Taseer, the author of this book comes with a cross cultural background. His mother, an Indian Sikh is a well known author/writer/columnist whose writings I follow religiously and his father a dashing Pakistani Muslim who was assassinated for defending Christians against the brutal anti blasphemy laws of Pakistan. Aatish is too young to have personally been able to experience the mood of the times that this book covers but he has obviously spent a lot of time interviewing people who had and what he brings out in this magnificently written book is something that I can fully relate to. That I am also a keen student of Sanskrit helps as quite a bit of Sanskrit features in the story.

The characters come alive and I personally know or know of people exactly like those portrayed in the book and so the characterisation is accurate and very identifiable with. The story grips one and at least for me, it was a not-put-downable reading experience.

As icing on the cake, while reading the book, I remembered some old Sikh friends in Delhi and contacted them using modern systems to locate and contact them, to our mutual delight with every intention of staying in touch in the future.

Two gems to arouse your curiosity. The first one slightly modified.

“She is a pragmatist nevertheless. What is right in her eyes – what is moral, even – is simply what is, not what should be.”

And the second, almost immediately following the above quote in the book, “…..stupidity, I’m sure you will agree, is not an absolute value, but a deficit.”

“A deficit?”

“Yes, the gap between what one is fit to be doing and what one, in fact, does.”

A book worth every rupee spent on it and one that I give[rating=6].

What Nondescript Item Had The Most Impact On Your Life (How/Why ?)

Two stones.  One black and the other white.  They are called Banalinga.

banalinga white

banalinga black

These were gifted to me by a dear friend who alas is no more after he had learnt that I was getting interested in Vedanta. I had gone to the Narmada river on a number of occasions with him and he said that this was the least he could do for someone getting interested in Vedanta.

These two stones are very much part of the alcove where I perform my puja every day.

They impacted me by taking me into the study of symbolism in religion and particularly in ours. That in turn led me to explore myths and symbols as so beautifully brought out by Joseph Campbell.

His oft repeated conclusion that there is striking similarity between the world’s religions resonates with our own: Ekam Sat Vipra Bahuda Vadanti. The stones represent the Yin and Yang of the Truth.
yin yang

This topic was suggested by Shackman for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently eight of us write on the same topic every Friday.  I hope that you enjoyed my contribution to that effort.  The seven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi, PadmumShackman 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, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!

To Keep Or Not To Keep!

The Guardian has an article about some things to do in 2015 among which this paragraph has caused a bit of a dilemma for me!  Please click on the image for a larger resolution.

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 4.29.58 PM

There is an interesting description there about being a “lumbersexual”, which intrigues me more. I don’t work at Nerdery, nor am a barhopper. But I do wear checked shirts and keep a beard. I don’t look anything like the models featured in the article, but if push came to shove I can work a Mac as well as a Nerd though I don’t carry in in a backpack. I drink one mug of coffee a day and two mugs of tea, so I can pass for the requirement in that department.


The dilemma is in taking off the beard. So, this is a poll. Should I keep or not keep my beard in 2015? At the end of the poll, I am unlikely to take off the beard because I am just too lazy to shave everyday, but the poll should be interesting!

Day 1, 2015. I Am Not A Spring Chicken.

The first thing of importance that I saw on this glorious first day of 2015 is this photograph in my phone’s messaging service. After an exhausting new year’s eve celebration the two lovely ladies in my life just now, Manjiree and Chutki.  The latter obviously had more exhausting things to do than the former! I love the way the day and the new year has started.


For me the last day of 2014 was significant for a consultation with my physician who has now put me on a regime of medication and diets to be strictly observed till the 1st of April. I organised the medicines with some hiccups as the chemist who delivers them at home for me had to source them from the city which he did and while doing so got the potency mixed up and had to go back and exchange them.

Any way, 2015 starts with no resolution made by me but forced on me by a totally unexpected development. No, it is nothing serious or major but something that I was not expecting, but as my physician and friend pointed out, I am no longer a spring chicken and such developments will take place with increasing frequency henceforth and that I should be prepared to take pills along with my food like a lot of the people in my life do and which I had not done so far.

When I shared this news with my family and close friends, the whole lot of them said, almost gleefully I may add, the same thing. Can you believe that? It seems to me that there is a conspiracy to point out to me that I am an old man!


If this is not AGEISM, I don’t know what is.