Return To Chaos.

When I returned from my sabbatical, the dust had settled down somewhat but my bedroom was still used to store many things that could not be shifted for a few more days due to some more work, essentially finishing coats of paint being applied in the drawing room.

Since I could not use the bedroom, I moved into a Serviced Apartment hotel facility just behind our home which we use to accommodate visiting guests. I spent day times at home or doing other things, but spent five nights at the hotel. Since the facility offered free breakfast, I had to just have lunch at home and it was quite an adventure for those five days to have kind of picnic lunches at home. Since I do not have cooked meals for dinner, eating fruits in the evenings at the hotel was quite simple and so, for simply the cost of the rental, I was able to spend five nights in that facility.

It was however quite a relief to be able to return home after those five days despite the kitchen still not having been equipped with windows. The windows and the exhaust fan for the kitchen were finally installed last Friday/Saturday and now we have to wait for a couple of weeks before the modular furniture for the kitchen can be installed. In the meanwhile make do storage arrangements for utensils and other kitchen material is the order of the day but Mangal, our resident expert is quite cheerfully adapting to such ad hoc arrangements on the belief that eventually she would get a dream kitchen.

In the process of redoing the drawing dining area, Ranjan has moved the inverter to below the staircase and I find that the existing console housing it is not sturdy enough for pulling out and pushing back into to its assigned space. I have therefore designed a wooden unit which will be made to my specifications tomorrow by a carpenter specially hired for the job. The material has been ordered and the carpenter is on call to arrive as soon as the material is delivered.

In the meanwhile, Manjiree’s family has a wedding coming up in Kolkata and so she and Ranjan left earlier this afternoon for Kolkata and will return only on Friday late evening. So, after many years, yours truly is living in solitary splendour in his own palace with only Chutki for company in the nights.

My old library has been removed and a brand new more accessible shelving system has been put in place. I am using the opportunity of re -shelving my collection to cull it to reduce the number to be more manageable. Ranjan’s colleague Rahul will come in the day time to help me cull tomorrow and the day after and we have lined up two interested people to take away the books that I will be discarding.

Other bits and pieces of work keep cropping up and coming Saturday will also see some fabricators come to instal overhangs on top of the windows of the kitchen on the outside. A new shelving system for the TV/DVD unit is also on the drawing board and all in all the first half of March also would appear to offer quite a bit of work to be managed before we can say “phew!”

What Exactly Is A Progressive Dinner?

As is to be expected Lin has once again come up with a topic for which I had to do some research. I had never heard this phrase before. Thankfully the research did not take too long and I found exactly what I was looking for in Wikipedia. Since Wikipedia is quite clear in its explanations, I simply copy paste their version and leave my comments to another aspect of entertainment later in this LBC post.

“A progressive dinner (US) or safari supper (UK) is a dinner party with successive courses prepared and eaten at the residences of different hosts. Usually this involves the consumption of one course at each location. Involving travel, it is a variant on a potluck dinner and is sometimes known as a round-robin. An alternative is to have each course at a different dining area within a single large establishment. In a safari supper, the destination of the next course is generally unknown by the participants, and they have to decipher a clue before moving on. In the USA, participants go to each house for the various courses. Often there is a regional theme for each dinner, such as Italian, German, or French. Various wines to suit the courses are often served at each location. A challenge is keeping the food warm and ready at each location. An alternative is to have the courses at different restaurants.
This style of eating has recently become popular as a charity fundraiser in rural Britain and is seen as a good way of meeting different neighbors in the community by virtue of each participant having separate guests.”
~ Wikipedia.

I have never been to a Progressive party and I am in no condition to experiment with one. I can safely leave that for younger people. In my time, something similar to progressive dinner would have been what we called pub crawling which on occasion turned into home bar crawling after the pubs had closed down. We would go from one home with some stock of booze to another till we had had our fill. I haven’t done that either in decades and do not visualize doing that ever again.

Anyway, thanks Lin for introducing me to another very interesting concept in entertainment.

Sabbatical II.

I had written on February 3, 2016 that I will be going to the South of India on a visit and so I did. I spent some quality time with my siblings and cousins and also caught up with another cousin who I had last seen in 1958!

Between the 5th and the 16th inst I spent my nights in five different homes and it was exhilarating being thoroughly spoilt by all my hosts. I spent four nights with my brother Arvind, three with my sister Padmini, one each with my cousins Mohan and Kannan and two with another cousin Shankar.

The trip also included a long drive to a place near Bengaluru to visit Kannan and Mohan did an admirable job of ferrying me to and fro on seven hour long drives either way. Kannan and his family which included five dogs went to great lengths to make me very comfortable and I hope to be able to visit them again sometime soon.

Shankar and Asha had organised a dinner to catch up with other members of that branch of the family and that was a memorable evening too.

My stays with Arvind and Padmini were peaceful and quiet gave me some much needed rest and recuperation.

I was also able to connect with some cousins from my paternal side and those meetings too were full of love and affection and great hospitality.

I also caught up with other relatives and friends and with some of them had meals. Notable was the meeting with friends Nat and Pam who I had never met before but who I called on and subsequently joined for lunch along with my brother Arvind and sister in law Shanta for a great meal.

My return to Pune and home deserves another post and that will follow soon.

Bar Kannan all the people who feature in this post read my blogs and here is thanking all of them for the grand time that I had.

Keep Them Doggies Movin’.

Another unusual topic from Lin for the weekly LBC posts.

This time, let me confess that I have heard the song by the Blues Brothers and so that choice of the title does not come as a surprise to me unlike the earlier one on Sunday In The Park With George.

Here however,  is a true story which has come just as a Godsend for this exercise. I wonder if Lin is psychic!  Another case for synchronicity?

My friends A and N sold of their residence and other interests in the North of India and migrated to Pune. They discarded most of the stuff that they had accumulated over a quarter of a century and what bare minimum that they needed to set up their new home in Pune was all packed and transported by truck to Pune. They had one simple problem which defied solution. Their lives for the past few years have revolved around one Boxer and one Labrador Retriever. Both massive specimens who look fierce but are in reality gentle and amiable fellows.


After much toing and froing and considering various alternatives, it was decided that the best way to transport the two dogs was by road. That would have meant three days of driving with two night halts on the way. Attempts to hire a mobile home failed and so it was decided that two cars will be used. Since one car had to be brought any way, another was hired with a driver and a temporary driver was also hired to drive their own car.

A’s daughter Nisha forbid the senior citizens from driving down and so it was decided that she would escort one dog in one car and my son Ranjan would escort the other in the other. Ranjan therefore flew up and after spending a night getting everything ready left as planned in the caravan of two cars.

The two doggies were kept movin’ for three days and were put up in pet friendly hotels for two nights in 5 star comfort. Nisha and Ranjan landed up without much ado with the dogs somewhat cranky after the long journey. Nisha and Ranjhan were thoroughly exhausted and would not like to repeat the exercise ever again.

A and N had flown down in the meanwhile and there was a grand reunion of the dogs, the daughter and the parents along with a bemused Ranjan benignly looking on after three days.

The story however does not end there. The family decided that they will move on to their home in Goa which has a large compound where the dogs can play to their heart’s content just as they did in Delhi. So, the entire family in two vehicles moved down to Goa with the dogs and they were escorted by Ranjan in one vehicle. After seeing that they were settled comfortably Ranjan flew back to Pune the next day.

I hope that at least for some time more, these dogs will not be movin’ anywhere else.

Major Life Changes.

In the hustle and bustle of leaving for my sabbatical this LBC post was scheduled wrongly and did not get posted on Friday the 5th inst. when I left home for Chennai. I offer my LBC colleagues my sincere apologies and take remedial action by publishing it on my return today.

“All changes …. have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
~ Anatole France.

I am not surprised that having recently experienced a major life change, Shackman thought of this topic for the weekly Friday LBC blog posts. His life change has been quite a major one and I eagerly look forward to reading his take on this.

Lin, the other regular LBC blogger on the other hand, to the best of my knowledge has not had any major life changes in the recent past and hers therefore should be different and I look forward to that too.

I restrict my own major life changes to the most important turning points from my middle ages. The first one was my quitting an employer with who I had worked for half my then life in 1990. We moved to a permanent home for the first time since our marriage in 1968 and putting down such roots with financial commitment was a major change.

I retired from active employment in 1995 to enjoy retirement all but briefly as my attempts at being a Consultant took me to full employment with three different organisations on three different periods of my later life and each had its own challenges and dislocations. So, four more major life changes to which both my late wife and I had to adjust. We came out of all those challenges stronger and better equipped to handle life except that multiple cerebral and cardiac infarcts felled my wife who became semi invalid and I became a full time caregiver for seven years.

Towards the end of those seven years, my late father became homeless and I took him in too to provide care for him too for four more years. Within a short time of his moving in with us, my wife died leaving me to cope with a home of three bachelors as my divorced from his first wife son also was then living with us.

If I had to pinpoint one particular period of stress during a major life change situation, it was the four years that my father lived with me. I survived that successfully and since his death in 2012 have lived a relatively peaceful life.

Another major life change was when my son got married again two and a half years ago and after a long time a lady of the house came in to take charge of the household which was an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed and continue to do so.

Recently I have had some health issues and for the first time ever, have been put on a regime of daily medications which is taking some time to get used to. My friend and physician cheerfully explains the change as part of the aging process and suggests that I now understand that I am now a very senior citizen. And that, friends, is a major life change by itself!



From when I was about 12 years ago, I have had dogs as pets at home. Barring some very unsettled years, we have always had a dog at home. There was also a brief period when I took in a grown up cat whose humans went back to their home overseas.

The cat experience was vastly different to the experiences that I have had with dogs and since that one time, I have not had the pleasure of being the human for a pet cat. I can tolerate them as pets of others, but for me, no thank you.

I have had many varieties of dogs as pets in my life and the most endearing relationship that I ever had was with a rescued doberman pinscher who came to us as a one year old lasted for many years with my parents. I was not around when Kaiser, that was his name died, but he continues to be a legend in my family. The least troublesome have been either crossbreeds or native Indian breeds and my current companion Chutki is a native Indian who is very much part of our household.

Chutki 1

My son Ranjan and daughter in law Manjiree are both deeply involved in animal welfare activities in our town and Chutki came to us as a rescued pup with both her hind legs broken in a hit and run accident. Manjiree and Ranjan then nursed her back to health and since then she has been part of our family and how! I can simply not imagine our home without her.

Since two residents at home are so involved in animal welfare activities, it should not surprise you that our home often turns into a halfway home for rescued dogs and recently one cat as well. I don’t actively get involved in the caregiving activities, but I suppose that my benign presence helps.

A problem that usually arises when more than one person is involved in a house welcoming a pet is the  naming of the pet.  I have written about one such problem here and you may just find it hilarious enough to have a good laugh.

And that dear readers is my contribution to the weekly Friday LBC blog posts. I had suggested the topic for this week during a moment of particular weakness with two dogs at home and life being rather hectic. I hope that you will go over and read Lin and Shackman who are sure to write too.