Up And Down.

And what would life be without some ups and some downs. Without the one we won’t be able to recognise the other when that comes around. And this is true on a daily basis too. To be totally placid is well nigh impossible and I must confess that I do have my daily ups and downs and would not have it any other way.

This topic was suggested by Maria the gaelikaa, for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently nine 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, Padmum, Pravin,  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, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!

Photochromic Lenses.


I wear photochromic lenses because I have sensitive eyes and I develop an ache in the eyes in bright sunlight.  I have had this condition since the late sixties and except when I am at home and / or in the nights, I inevitably wear glasses with photochromic lenses.

Some of my readers have commented on this whenever one of my photographs have come up in a blog post and a couple of them have wondered why I need to hide my eyes.  Now you know.



Bajrangi Bhaijaan And The Ant-Man.

It was one of those crazy days! My friend Ramesh and I went to see a Hindi movie and found at the box office that that particular show was cancelled. We found that a totally unheard of 3D English film was however about to start and so we decided to see that just because there was Michael Douglas was in it. Let me review it first.


The Ant-Man I learnt subsequently is of a genre called the Superhero films. Apparently these films are based on marvel comics of the same genre. I am not very clued in on either of these and so found the experience totally uninteresting. Even the special effects did not give me any interest to want to see any more movies of this genre. And much to my disappointment, Michael Douglas is more or less a cameo appearance and pathetic in that. I regret that I can at best give it a[rating=3] rating just for the special effects and some humour that at least made me laugh at some points in the otherwise insipid story and delivery.

When we came out after watching the movie, we caught up with the Manager of the multiplex who had befriended us for being such regular movie goers.  We complained to him about the inconvenience of coming all the way to the theater to be disappointed and he promptly offered to give us a discount on two fresh tickets for the same Hindi film Bajrangee Bhaijaan just about to start in another hall.  He even offered to get the tickets inside the hall as the movie was just about to start and thus, we ended up seeing two films back-to-back, just as I had wished I had had in my youth in my earlier post Back To Back.


Now this film is another Hindi film that is breaking box office records with the hero in a totally unusual role.  Salman Khan is usually an action star whereas in this he is a soft hearted Indian wanting to reach a lost Pakistani girl to her parents in Pakistan.  He is unable to get official methods of doing so and so illegally crosses into Pakistan and the story then evolves into one of those wishful thinking human element stories, often leading to tear jerking situations.  And typically ends in a fairy tale ending totally unrealistic.

The saving grace in the film is some excellent acting by the child actor Harshaali Malhotra and Nawazuddin Siddiqui which compensated for the hero’s inability to bring some life into his role.  The director Kabir Khan deserves credit for trying though full marks to him for the roles of the earlier two mentioned.  Kareena Kapoor, I suspect has been added to increase viewer attraction as her role is totally unnecessary to the story which could have perhaps been better off without her.  She however does credit to the little that she does. A good cameo performance by the veteran Om Puri rounds off the credits and that is about all.

An entertaining and mushy film which will appeal to our softer side.  I can not bring myself to give more than a [rating=4] rating though because some one other than Salman could have done a much better job and improved the ratings.

And another development which made me call it a crazy day was that both soles of my shoes decided to come off during the intermission of the first film and I could not figure out what had happened till the intermission of the second film.  I had to sit down and pull of the partly unstuck soles to walk comfortably.  The strips that came off were only thin additional rubber strips to give grip and the main soles remained unaffected.  Now a new pair to replace them will be the next project!

Agony Uncle III.

The exchange of mails continues on its merry course.  Mr. Tookay responded after the last mail in my post Agony Uncle II:

Dear Sir,

Thanks once again for taking time off to reply to my weird questions/doubts.

I was really sorry  to learn that your late wife was afflicted by cerebral and cardiac infarcts. Good that you took up the challenge of being her primary caretaker for eight years before she died.  May her soul rest in peace.

Guess, it’s true that learning to cook properly is akin to riding a bicycle. I can cook a few dishes but I am no match to the ladies!  But how nice if we men would be allowed to have 2 wives so that both would compete to give us 100% to us in all areas and we could live a happy life – and when one goes to MIL, the other is there to cook for us! But alas, the Hindu Law and all that crap! Good to know that you are blessed with a wonderful son and daughter in law along with two very loyal help.

I have  only one last question, hopefully: whenever I tell my wife that we have been blessed with a selfish son and that we are not millionaires/billionaires, then she tells me that I might have committed lots of sins in my previous life and therefore I am suffering a lot in present life and I mostly do not get what I wish and pray for – its very rare that God is awake to listen to me! I tell my wife, how does she know that I have committed sins – did any saint/saadu tell her so?  Logic stronger than reason tells me that there is no way to know whether we were even born earlier and that we may be born again [ to again reap the fruits of our good deeds /suffer due to bad deeds of  present life ] This is all hum bug – there is nothing called Karma. What we see and experience in our present lives is the only TRUTH.

By the way, how do you keep fit ? Do you go for long morning/evening walks?

Your thoughts and viewpoints on above will be much appreciated.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks & Regards,


I responded:

Nothing stops Indian men from having a second wife or a mistress, provided they can get away with such an arrangement.  Similarly, nothing stops an Indian woman from having a lover on the side though I have not come across any who has got a secret second husband hidden away somewhere.  I know or know of  some men and women who are in such situations  though,  quite why they do so is beyond me.  I would have thought that one experience would be enough.

Yes, I am indeed very blessed and I am truly grateful for that.

In Physics, there is Newton’s Third Law: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The statement means that in every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. The size of the forces on the first object equals the size of the force on the second object.”  This is not mumbo jumbo, but science.  Our ancients could not use such sophisticated language and came up with their own law called the theory of karma.  There is a remarkably simple book by that same name written by Hirabhai Thakker which explains this very nicely.  If you let me have your address, I will see to it that you receive a copy with my compliments.  Having said that however, I must confess that I do not believe in the idea of sin.  If I were to talk about it, it would take another hour of your time, and so I think that we should leave it for a hopeful face to face meeting sometime.

I practice yogabhyas every morning that lasts for upto an hour.  I also go for walks which should really be called ambles in the evenings whenever the weather permits.  Other than that, I eat sensibly and keep a cheerful disposition which I am told, helps in being fit.

I hope that you will find my answers to your satisfaction.  I also hope that you would have by now read my blog post.  Some very interesting comments have been offered by my readers which may amuse you.  I intend posting further correspondence too.

With kind regards,


There has been no response to that so far and perhaps the exchange has come to a halt.  If there is any further mail from Mr. Tookay, I shall keep my readers informed.



I am breaking the serial on Agony Uncle to review a remarkable Hindi film that I have just seen. Masaan, meaning crematorium is a movie that has won accolades already and word of mouth publicity before its relase has ensured box box office response too. This is another film that had the theater almost full which for me has been an amazing experience during the last two outings.

It helped that I am familiar with Benares, or rather Varanasi as it is now known and also Allhabad, the two towns featured in the story. This film has everything going for it — a great and realistic script, technical brilliance and some remarkable performances by the actors, the director and the photographer. It revolves around very ordinary young people of modern Hindi heartland facing problems of caste and corruption. Nothing new but the way all these has been presented is an experience worth undergoing again.

And most importantly, all under two hours of viewing time!

Why would I give anything less than a full[rating=6] rating?

Don’t miss it.  You will not regret it.  For my non Hindi knowing readers, it comes with excellent English subtitles.

Agony Uncle II.

As I write this, there is already a third post on the drawing board with further correspondence.  I think that it will be prudent for me to respond to all comments after the entire exchange of mails comes to a stop and I stop blogging them.  I request my commentators to bear with me till then.

Continued from:

I Am Now An Agony Uncle.

I have responded as:

Dear Mr. Tookay,

The pleasure was equally mine.  I enjoyed the challenge!

I am a strong believer in the dictum that there is no problem in the world that cannot be solved with a healthy dose of humour.  So much so that I am often considered to be flippant by serious people.

Human beings are remarkably adaptable.  They adjust.  I am sure that you will have in your circle of friends and relatives, widows and widowers who have learnt to live without their spouses.  Of course, there will be cases where that will be considered as a great relief too!  More difficult is for parents to lose children, but they learn with time. That is why the adage, “Time Heals.”

I learnt to be a house-husband when my late wife was felled by cerebral and cardiac infarcts.  I was her primary caretaker for eight years before she died.  I learnt to cook properly then and it is like riding a bicycle.  Once you learn the basics, you simply can manage to ride without holding the handlebars.  I am blessed to have my son and daughter in law living with me and also helped by two very loyal help, one handyman / gardener and a housemaid who have been with us for 25 years and 15 years respectively.  The other housemaid before the current one has become an entrepreneur with our blessings and is now more of a family friend.

I intend calling you Mr. Tookay!

You flatter me again and I thank you.  I hope that you will keep visiting my blog and encouraging me.  Thank you once again and regards to you too.


After that mail went out, I came across something else, which I forwarded to him:

Dear Mr. Tookay,

I am sorry that I could not find this story when I was writing the reply to your second mail, where you expressed your inability to cook.


One winter, two young boys were playing on a lake that had frozen over.
As they played, the ice suddenly cracked and one of the boys fell through the ice into the lake underneath. He thrashed about, wedged in a crevice beneath the surface. Try as he might, the other boy couldn’t reach his friend through the gap.

He looked around frantically, and spotted a tree several feet away. Racing to it, he tore off a large branch and dragged it back to the gap in the ice. Using the branch, he pounded the ice around till it cracked and the gap widened, allowing him to reach down and pull his friend out.

When the paramedics came and they were able to revive the child, they were baffled. How could this young boy have broken off such an enormous branch with his frozen hands, carried it all the way to the gap and used it to crack the ice to save his friend? The boy was slight of build, and the branch was heavy. It was impossible.

An old man who had been watching from the sidelines glanced at the boy with gentle eyes. “I can tell you how he did it.”

“How?” they asked.” How did he do it?”

The old man said, “There was no one here to tell him that he couldn’t.”



He responded to The Boy On The Ice Story:

Got it Sir. Thanks for sharing.  Planning to upgrade my lousy cooking skills.

 This promises to be the beginning of a new friendship.  Let us see how it progresses.