How Old Is Old?

“Do you know how long a year takes when it’s going away?’ Dunbar repeated to Clevinger. ‘This long.’ He snapped his fingers. ‘A second ago you were stepping into college with your lungs full of fresh air. Today you’re an old man.’

‘Old?’ asked Clevinger with surprise. ‘What are you talking about?’


‘I’m not old.’

‘You’re inches away from death every time you go on a mission. How much older can you be at your age? A half minute before that you were stepping into high school, and an unhooked brassiere was as close as you ever hoped to get to Paradise. Only a fifth of a second before that you were a small kid with a ten-week summer vacation that lasted a hundred thousand years and still ended too soon. Zip! They go rocketing by so fast. How the hell else are you ever going to slow down?’ Dunbar was almost angry when he finished.

‘Well, maybe it is true,’ Clevinger conceded unwillingly in a subdued tone. ‘Maybe a long life does have to be filled with many unpleasant conditions if it’s to seem long. But in that event, who wants one?’

‘I do,’ Dunbar told him.

‘Why?’ Clevinger asked.

‘What else is there?”

~ Joseph Heller in Catch 22.


My Driving Skills.


Please do note that Donald is driving Daisy in India in a Right Hand Drive vehicle on the left side of the road. Very local!

Not that this post is about Donald and Daisy, but that cartoon always stays in my memory for being so un American!

A young friend dropped in for lunch yesterday and it was quite a hot day. After lunch, I offered to drop her off to where she was going which is just about a couple of kilometers away. She remarked that she has heard a lot about my driving skills but has never experienced me driving her anywhere, but suggested that she should take an autorickshaw instead of me sacrificing my siesta.

I felt that she was perhaps scared to be driven by me as GOK what stories she might have heard about my driving skills and readily accepted her offer to forget being chivalrous and saw her off and had my siesta.

I however wondered subsequently if she was scared or whether she was really being considerate about my siesta! I am still wondering.


I was preoccupied with a very difficult crossword puzzle when I was hailed from the veranda by a very young friend who wanted to say hello. He took one look at my face and asked why I looked so worried!

I said that I was preoccupied with some mental gymnastics and nor worried and he simply could not fathom the difference between the two states of mind.  He insisted that being preoccupied with something is also worrying whereas I define worrying as indulging in morbid thoughts of negative developments in the future.  This cartoon I think explains it quite nicely.

Please click on the following image to get a larger resolution. I thank Mitch for this lead.

What do you think? Is being preoccupied with a puzzle the same as worrying?  The dictionary appears to support my contention though not quite in the same words.

Let’s Twist Again!

A friend Marie has suggested that I learn these moves for my next command performance. Thank you Marie.

Our dialogue went something like this:

On receipt of the link I: “You are underestimating my skills!”

Marie: “Video please, video please!”

I think that I will oblige her. But not quite just now. I need to get myself properly organised by getting into a pair of trousers to start with, having been in a lungi for GOK how long.  In the meanwhile, here is something that might just inspire Marie and others of her and my age group to get out and DANCE.

A Working Peace System.

MitranyDavid-1966To the best of my knowledge, David Mitrany has been the only person who has really attempted to come up with a suggestion for a global working peace system. Unfortunately, he is not as well known as he should be and it was by accident that I came across his work some years ago when I was involved in a discussion group on intercommunity peace initiative. Mitrany saw the division of the world ínto “competing polítical units” as ‘the root of international conflict. A world federal government, he argued, would eliminate these divisions but would be impossible to establish given the modern “disregard for constitutions and pacts” and continuing nationalísm. And this was way back in the sixties of the last century.   Since then international and other conflicts have only worsened and now we have the spectre of inter religious conflicts also added to humanities woes.

There have been others who have talked about this and even written about it, but not using the precise terminology for the topic of this LBC post. What however matters for the subject matter is that the ground realities today leave little scope for optimism for a working system of peace.  Here is just a small example of some of those realities.  The writer does not cover all the conflicts everywhere, but that is understandable.

I personally do not think that a working system is possible to evolve, but Mitrany’s theory of Functionalism as a possible solution in international relations is worth reading for some intellectual kite flying if one is so inclined.  In fact, I bet that even Mitrany would have had serious reservations about the implementability of his suggestions if he were to be alive today and sees how irrelevant the existing mechanisms viz the UN and its affiliate bodies have become.

So to Shackman and my readers I say, I am glad that I have had a fairly long innings without serious personal loss due to conflict and I hope that before something happens to change that I peacefully go away to the permanent peace that I am told exists after one’s death.

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!

Without Comment.

My blogger friend Cathy from New Zealand posted this anecdote on her Facebook page.

“I saved a young Asian teenager who wasn’t looking at the road status – too busy chatting on her cellphone – from being mowed down by a large 4-wheel drive vehicle. She actually following me as I stepped behind another car to cross, then I stopped. Fortunately I felt her shift around me and I put out my arm – she probably thought I was going to attack her!

We got to cross and she was still chatting on said phone when obviously the person she was talking to in another language told her to hurry and say “thanks” – and then continued on with her phone chat…

Those phones are a nightmare, I shouldn’t have to worrying about the body attached to them…”

The following really truly happens. Please click on the image for a larger resolution.

without comment

And it happened again. Just as I was about to publish this post, I received another cartoon in the mail from Bikehikebabe. Please click on the image for a larger resolution.