Memory Trigger 7. The Runaway.

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We were blessed with visitors today. A cheerful couple the male half of whom, I have known for 35 years now. They had holidayed in Mahabaleshwar over the weekend and on their way back to Bombay stopped over and spent some time with us.

It was way back in 1981 that I first met DD. He was all of 16 years old then. I was posted in Delhi at that time and I received a trunk call, or a long distance call as my American friends call it from a friend in Bombay. The message was simple, his employee’s younger brother had run away from home after a fight and was seen last in a famous Delhi locality. I was requested to try and find him, take care of his expenses and see that he returned to his family safely.

My team of local citizens from that area went out and located him in a lodge and after settling his debts, brought him to me. I put the fear of God into him and said that he had two choices. Either he would go quietly with an escort back to Bombay or I would arrange to keep him in police custody till his brother came from Bombay to bail him out and take him back. Naturally, he opted for the former and he was escorted back to Bombay without further ado.

Some background about the family. At that time, the family of DD consisted of two elder brothers and no one else. They were struggling after the untimely death of their parents and the middle one was the only one, employed by my friend, earning to see that the three of them kept their bodies and souls together.

After I moved back to Bombay in 1983, the three brothers became closer to us and we had the pleasure of attending all their weddings subsequently.

I am now a kind of surrogate father to the three brothers and their wives.   ND the middle one particularly has been very attached to me and when Urmeela was alive was to her as well. I am very fond of all the three and their wives. DD has got a delightful son who is currently studying in the USA and all the three brothers have great hopes for his future as do I.

All three are now well settled in Bombay and have been successful in every respect. I am very happy to be in their orbit and feel blessed that a runaway young lad brought all of them into my life.

Memory Trigger – 6. Quitting A Position With A Non Profit.

Donate for a Charity or Charitable Cause
Donate for a Charity or Charitable Cause

Cathy’s post Another DeCision triggered off this journey down memory lane for me.

It was the year 2007. I was primary caregiver for my late wife and also running my household as house-husband. I had retired from all full time positions to stay focussed on retired life which enabled me to be a full time caregiver.

A friend of many years approached me one day with a proposal to assume the responsibility of the Honorary Secretary of the local chapter of a Non Profit Organisation providing support to people suffering from a neurological disorder. Their office was in a building just across the road from our home and I had to spend just a couple of hours a day in their office. He felt that with my experience in the corporate world and caregiving, I would make a perfect fit. To add spice he also mentioned that the society was started by the sister in law of a friend of mine and that she was still very actively involved in it at the national level.

I rang up my friend to find out more about it and he put me in touch with his sister in law who was delighted that someone known to her brother in law would take charge and was very persuasive too.

To cut a long story short, I did become the Honorary Secretary of the local chapter and like I am wont to became deeply involved in all its activities including visiting suffering patients and their families, arranging for camps, fundraising, administration of the office run by paid staff etc.  Instead of spending just a couple of hours every day, I was spending far more visiting patients and in other matters.

As days went by, I discovered that most of the other members of the Managing Committee were in it for social status purposes and that with the exception of just a couple of genuinely committed persons wanting to work for the benefit of the sufferers, they were more interested in tea parties and getting some publicity for the so called social work that they were doing.

I also found interacting with the patients, many of them being treated very badly by their families very draining and after considerable thought, I resigned from the position after a year,  to save myself from emotional and physical exhaustion.

I however came away from the experience richer with the knowledge of the disease.  I saw humanity at its worst with families ill treating patients and grabbing the funds provided for the patients for other purposes.  I also came to admire some families who provided superhuman support for the sufferers.

I also made a great friend who was a sufferer from the disease and was a colleague on the Managing Committee.   He continues to be a good friend after all these years. He too dropped out of the Managing Committee for more or less the same reasons as I had for resigning.

I am however in touch with the society as a life member and am approached every year during their fund raising activities. I contribute what I can financially but do not get involved any more.

India’s Demonetisation.

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India demonetised its high value currency notes on the stroke of midnight 8/9th November. I am in favour of this decision which will have long reaching impact despite short term inconveniences. I had gone out for a long drive on an errand this morning and did see long queues outside many banks. This phenomenon should cease in the next few days.

The grocer from who we buy almost everything needed for the home accepted high denomination notes on the morning of the 9th inst, and has been deducting our daily purchase costs from the credit that we made with those notes.

Ranjan went to our bank across the road to deposit all the high value currency notes that we had at home and had no problems whatsoever in depositing them into his account. The ATM machines unfortunately were empty and he will have to encash cheques for the next couple of days, which is really no big deal.

I am more or less a stay at home type and except to go to movies or to visit some friends or go with them out for a lunch, I rarely go out. I am however in touch with the aam aadmi.

Since our own 9/11,I have discovered that I don’t have to keep large sums of money at home towards the end of the month to pay our help at the end of each month.

This morning, when I was greeted by the Chaiwallah I asked him if he had a bank account and he confirmed that he had and that he has been saving money in it. I asked him whether he has been having any problems with the demonetisation and he confirmed that he had some small problems but he supported the demonetisation decision.

Our housemaid Mangal confirmed that she has an account with a bank and that it will be perfectly alright for us to arrange to deposit her wages directly into her account. she supported the demonetisation decision.

The same thing was conveyed to me by our gardener cum handyman Yakob.

The same thing was conveyed to me by the dog walker Somnath.

Our presswallah is currently away attending a wedding in his village, but I am sure that on his return he too will confirm that he has a bank account and he will have no problems getting his monthly payment directly into his bank account. And I am sure that he too would support the demonetisation.

Having roots as I do in rural India, I am sure that problems there would be minimal as the economy is by and large based on credit and barter. To confirm this, I rang up a cousin in rural India and was pleasantly surprised that the situation remains the same after all these years and also that there was overwhelming support for the demonetisation process in the village and surrounding areas.  A fellow alumnus Jayant also confirmed the same in a post on facebook.

My whatsapp groups and facebook friends with the odd naysayer,  support the decision and the overwhelming response has been glee at the discomfort of the cash hoarding types, particularly the political class and the bureaucracy with ill gotten lucre, read bribes.

 

My Favourite Movie Star.

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It is extremely difficult to choose one favourite star for me as I see movies in three languages. My earliest memories of movies revolve around those with Sivaji Ganesan in Tamil movies then followed English movies with Johny Weismuller as Tarzan and then to Hindi with Raj Kapoor as the star to admire.

And as I grew up into adulthood, so many kept coming in and going out that I never really developed the peculiar Indian trait of Hero worship and would see films for the overall effect rather than for the hero or heroine.

For this post however, I have chosen Robert De Niro for a number of reasons and I shall write them down as they occur to me.

The first movie that I saw with him was Godfather II and I was hooked. The last I saw of him was in The Intern. In between, I have seen a great many of them including those of his younger days like the The Taxi Driver, The Raging Bull etc mostly through DVDs or via cable TV. I cannot think of one where he let me down. Whether it was Romance, Action, or Comedy, he came up trumps every time.  His versatility and ability to adapt to his costars is outstanding, and that is why he is my favourite movie star.  Moreover, I would like to restrict my choice to English cinema and thus the choice of De Niro.

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I know that I disappoint my regular reader blogger friend Tammy who would have preferred my choice being Sean Connery. Let me assure her that he would be my second choice!

Topic for today’s LBC post was suggested by me. You can read Shackman’s and Pravin’s takes at their respective blogs.

Theresa May In Temple.

Visiting Prime Minister of Britain, Theresa May visited Bengaluru’s famous

Someshwar temple yesterday.

What was most appealing to me was her wearing a sari to undertake the visit.

Prime Minister Theresa May visits the Sri Someshwara Hindu temple in Bangalore on the final day of a three-day trade mission designed to pave the way for close commercial links with the south Asian giant after Brexit.
Prime Minister Theresa May visits the Sri Someshwara Hindu temple in Bengaluru on the final day of a three-day trade mission designed to pave the way for close commercial links with the south Asian giant after Brexit.

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Memory Trigger. 5 – TM, The Beginning.

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In my post Religion Vs Spirituality you will find a new commentator Sultan.  Please do read his comments.

Sultan is among my close friends. His family including his in laws and mine were very closely linked when we lived in Bombay at the same time. After that, both of us have lived in different places and he has retired to Mumbai as it is now known and I to Pune. His family home in Patna was my home whenever I went there and even during Ramzan, his mother who kept roza would cook meals for me so that I did not have to fast with them. I am family for them as are Sultan, his lovely wife Farida and daughter Shehla are to me.

Sultan has been an enigmatic atheist all his life. Enigmatic, because he is also an Al Haj. Al Haj is one who has performed the Haj more than once in his lifetime.  Sultan has done it so many times that he has forgotten how many. He has also performed the Umrah any number of times. Being an atheist and all this? The mystery is in his Indianness. He lived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for decades before he returned to retire to India and all his family members and Muslim friends wanting to perform either Haj or Umrah would depend on his hospitality and escorting to do those. A remarkable fellow really, with so much patience and affection.

This atheist friend was a Consultant teaching Indian companies productivity in the seventies before he took off to the KSA. It was a time when I was burning the candle at both ends in Bombay and Sultan suggested that I try Transcendental Meditation to get my act together. He had attended some lectures given by a TM Instructor during the process of his consultancy work and felt that I would benefit. Off I went to learn and that was the beginning of my spiritual path. That nudge from this atheist friend took a trajectory of its own and while he continues to be an atheist, I have changed. It has had no effect on our friendship though.

His comments on my blog post for the first time ever, took me down memory lane to his family, Patna, and also my tryst with meditation and all that involved. And most importantly, the nostalgia took me to how Sultan and I met. That is another story waiting to be told at a different time.