Solitude And Loneliness II.

I think that Billy Holiday would have done well to have replaced the word ‘solitude’ with ‘loneliness’ without losing the thrust of the lyrics. It is my humble opinion that solitude does not lead to melancholy or sadness.

In my solitude
You haunt me
With dreadful ease
Of days gone by

In my solitude
You taunt me
With memories
That never die

I sit in my chair
And filled with despair
There’s no one could be so sad
With gloom everywhere
I sit and I stare
I know that I’ll soon go mad

In my solitude
I’m afraid
Dear Lord above
Send back my love

I sit in my chair
And filled with despair
There’s no one could be so sad
With gloom everywhere
I sit and I stare
I know that I’ll soon go mad

In my solitude
I’m afraid
Dear Lord above
Send me back my love

Solitude And Loneliness.


As I write this post, I am all alone at home with only my dog Chutki for company. The children have disappeared to pursue their own interests. I have been enjoying the peaceable company of Chutki, my newspapers and crossword puzzles since early morning and will shortly go off to my recliner to read something or the other. Like Einstein, I would call that state of mind delicious!

Meghadri in Sanskrit means “Mountain abode of the clouds”. Usually referring to Mount Kailash. My young friend Meghadri, like his name implies is the silent deep type and, is very dear to me. He surprises me every now and then with some reference to something totally unexpected and this link that he sent me out of the blue is one such.  I however doubt that he would give me credit for being in my ‘years of maturity’.

Please read that article after learning something about its author Donald Hall here.

Like Hall, there was a time when I too had enjoyed double solitude but like him, I have got used to the solitary solitude now for the past seven years. I wish that I could be as effective in conveying my state as he is in the article, but I assure my readers that I am not lonely. I do think about those times when I had Urmeela for company but that does not stop me from enjoying my solitude. I do enjoy entertaining visitors,  going to the movies and other outings with friends or family.  I am equally comfortable going somewhere alone by myself or sitting at home and watching movies via DVDs or being occupied with something else.

I had grieved too while being the caregiver for Urmeela and when she died in my arms. It took a while, but I recovered and no, I am not about to die any time soon. I don’t think that I will grieve that she won’t be around by my side while I die as Hall does.

So, there Megh, I will come over for some Chai Latte soon and we shall discuss this more. I thank you for sending me the link to this wonderful reading material.

Memory Trigger. 2

I asked for some pickle to go with my lunch today and voila, something that I had forgotten all about turned up on the table, courtesy Mangal, our help.

A few weeks ago I had lunch and spent an afternoon with a couple of young friends who live about 15 kms away from where I live. It was a great lunch and while leaving them, the hostess, GP presented me with three bottles of various preserves, one of which contained a pickle that she said was made by her during the season.


That was the pickle that appeared on my table today. Pickled jackfruit. I had never had it before except for the one time immediately after bringing it home from GP. It was delicious and I think that I over ate it! May be, I will pay a price later in the day.

That pickle however triggered memories of GP and her husband. I shall write about the latter after he concludes something that he is deeply involved in just now, but the former is a formidable personality.

She is an Engineer, MBA from the top most Business School in India, a Scholarship student at Carnegie Mellon University, USA;  once a successful professional manager, now an entrepreneur, mother of two delightful children and very actively involved in Pune’s classical music and dance world.

And now I discovered that she is also a great pickle maker! I had of course known that she is a great cook as I have eaten her fare on more than just one occasion, but taking the pains to make this pickle is something that I would not have normally expected from her.

What a lady! I am privileged to know her.

Religion Vs Spirituality.


‘Religion is belief in someone else’s experience. Spirituality is having your own experience. Atheism is no experience, only measurement.’
~ Deepak Chopra.

As most of my readers know, I call myself a Vedantin. Vedanta is the system of philosophy that develops the ideas in the Upanishads that reality is a single principle, Brahman, and teaches that the aspirant’s goal is to transcend the limitations of self-identity and realize one’s unity with Brahman.

As I have maintained elsewhere a number of times, there is nothing called Hinduism. The word Hindu was originally given to the people who lived in the land where the river Indus flows. That is now Pakistan.

The word Hindu does not appear anywhere in our Vedas, Puranas or other material. The nearest definition of what we follow in India is Sanatana Dharma.  There is thus no question of Hinduism being a religion.

The way an Indian approaches the divine is left entirely up to her/him. There is no central authority, no dogma, no compulsory rituals, nothing. It is totally anarchic, arbitrary and voluntary. A Sanatana Dharmi can see the Divine in a stone or a pillar and will hold all creation in awe.

I am therefore someone who can be called as a spiritualist rather than a follower of a religion. The highest authority of Indian jurisprudence, our Supreme Court has just held that Hindutva as it has come to be known is a way of life and not a religion.

The Sanatana Dharmi accepts that Ekam Sat Vipra Bahuda Vadanti.

So, while Religion if someone wants to follow, is also acceptable in the Indian scheme of things, the ultimate goal is to become a spiritualist. The reasoning is that Religion is needed for personalities that are predominantly emotional and Spirituality is for the intellectual types that reason reality and reach Brahman.

Today’s topic for the weekly Friday LBC posts was suggested by me. You can see what the other two bloggers in the LBC, Shackman and Pravin have to say in their respective blogs.

Memory Triggers. 1.

My late wife Urmeela’s two cousins, sisters, who had gone to the same school as Urmeela had gone to decades ago, had gone back to visit the school on some occasion and made a startling discovery.

There is a board there going back to decades with the names of all school prefects over the years and they found Urmeela’s name there. One of them took a photograph of her name and sent to me via whatsapp. Unfortunately I am unable to reproduce the photograph here as I have deleted it.

Since both of them are on facebook I posted this message on facebook.

Thank you Amrita for the list of Prefects.

Both Amrita aka Pinky and Debby offered the following comments.

Pinky: “Was so delighted to find Tutu Didi’s name listed at school…truly accomplished.Well loved and always remembered.”

Debby: “What a chance discovery for us at the St.Georges’ Hall of Fame !! Thrilled to say the least….we concluded there could be just one Urmeela Shaw back then & we had to share it with the ones we love so dearly….”

I responded to the second message: “So. you were also on the expedition! I should have known. Thank you too.”

Another cousin Florence, chipped in with : ” what an amazing discovery !!! So proud to hear this .. but I am not surprised that she is listed in the hall of fame.  She was too good in her work, very unassuming and had her own quiet ways of accomplishing her work — well done Tutu Didi so delighted and proud .. RIP”

I had also included the following image in the message on facebook.

Two days later, another guest visiting us noticed an album of photographs that I had forgotten even existed and took it out to see what it contained. It was an album of photographs that Urmeela had compiled of her pre-marriage days and of her side of the family including me and Ranjan on many occasions after our marriage. I had to explain various photographs to the guest and naturally it was a deeply emotional experience.

These two triggers brought back so many memories that was still under their influence when earlier today a friend with whom I had gone out to have lunch wanted to know about my widower status. I had to explain to him how it has been the last seven plus years and also shared with him the latest two instances,

Sometimes, I think that there is some power somewhere that for reasons known to itself sends us such triggers to keep us off balance!