Farewell 2016.

“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”

~ Bill Vaughan

Being a pesoptimist, I would be going to bed at my usual time and waking up in the new year also at the usual time. There will be no change to my daily routine as, for me, being in blissful retirement, every eve is a new year’s eve and every day is a new year’s day.

It however is always an interesting exercise to review the year that has gone by as many of my friends do by mail or blog posts but something that I have so far not done. Let me try for the first time this year.

The year started off well though I suffered from a prolonged chest infection carried over from the previous year. I was under medication for over four months during the tail end of which, I went to Chennai to be with my family and friends for some time while a kitchen and living area renovation took place at home in Pune.

While at Chennai, I got to know first hand the problems that many of my relatives and friends had faced during the floods. While there, I also made an overnight trip to Hosur to meet a cousin who I had not seen since our school days.

When I returned to Pune, the work at home was still in progress and I stayed in a hotel near our home for five nights. Hotel stay in Pune after 26 years!

Come April, I was diagnosed with a medical problem which lasted well into September before leaving me for good. During that period, I mostly wrote just the weekly LBC blog posts and skipped the others. During the same period, my cousin from Vashi and his wife as well as my sister from Chennai visited Pune to check up and cheer me on my way to recovery. I was able to find a remarkable specialist doctor who treated me and got me completely back to normal in a most friendly yet professional way.

We also had Debora and Phil from the USA and after a long time, my nephew Jaisundar, visiting us as well as many local friends who dropped in regularly.

Thanks to the increasing penetration of social media, fourteen old colleagues reestablished contact with me and are in regular touch through facebook, whatsapp, phone calls and email. I will be meeting some of them personally early in the new year. I may get back in touch with some more in the new year too.

I attended a great get together at Lonavala with some of my old colleagues during the monsoon. I also attended a small lunch meeting with my classmates. I had blogged about both occasions here. I went to Navi Mumbai on two occasions, once to spend some time at Vashi and the other last Saturday about which I blogged earlier this week.

The day before my trip to Navi Mumbai, I attended a lunch get-together with some of my fellow alumni of the Business School that I had gone to. About six weeks ago, I had attended another such a meeting, a more formal one to meet with the Institute’s Director, Alumni Affairs.

During the year there were two deaths in the family. The first one was that of my daughter in love’s father, Vishnu, an untimely death if there ever was one. The other was that of my aunt, the youngest sibling of my late father and the last of the previous generation from my generation of siblings and cousins. When I remarked about this, my brother who had rung me up to inform me about the death, remarked that we are now the “previous generation”!

As I write this, it has been the coldest December that I have experienced in Pune during the last 26 years. I hope that we will have the usual pleasant winter that we always had next year.

All in all, somewhat an eventful year and I now look forward to 2017 with interest.

The topic for this last week of the year LBC Friday post was suggested by me. I doubt that Shackman will be posting this week as he seems to be still under the weather. Pravin should but perhaps later than Friday which for him is a working day!

Dangal. (Wrestling Competition)

I spent forty minutes, commuting up and down to the cinema theater, another thirty minutes, parking, walking up to the multiplex in the mall, twenty minutes of advertisement films and finally two hours and forty minutes watching the story being told.

At the end of it all, as I reflect on the experience, I must confess to the effort being worth every minute of it.

All my friends who have seen Dangal liked it and wanted me to see it. I am now in total agreement with them.

Dangal tells a story that needed to be told in so many words. It is all about a father from a region notorious for female foeticide bringing up his daughters to be wrestlers in a society that ridicules him in the beginning but applauds him when his daughters start to win tournaments.

The story, based on a real life family shown on the left, forges two streams, one, that girl children given the appropriate backing can excel and two jingoistic obsession of the father to get an international gold medal through his offspring because he could not.

Great acting, action, direction, cinematography and apt music, makes it a worthwhile experience. It was released last Friday, and is still breaking records for collections.

If you have not seen it yet, do please see it. You will not regret it.

George Michael; RIP.

I feel so unsure
As I take your hand and lead you to the dance floor
As the music dies, something in your eyes
Calls to mind the silver screen
And all it’s sad goodbyes

I’m never gonna dance again
Guilty feet have got no rhythm
Though it’s easy to pretend
I know you’re not a fool

Should’ve known better than to cheat a friend
And waste the chance that I’ve been given
So I’m never gonna dance again
The way I danced with you

Time can never mend
The careless whispers of a good friend
To the heart and mind
Ignorance is kind
There’s no comfort in the truth
Pain is all you’ll find

I’m never gonna dance again
Guilty feet have got no rhythm
Though it’s easy to pretend
I know you’re not a fool

I should’ve known better than to cheat a friend
And waste the chance that I’ve been given
So I’m never gonna dance again
The way I danced with you

Never without your love

Tonight the music seems so loud
I wish that we could lose this crowd
Maybe it’s better this way
We’d hurt each other with the things we’d want to say

We could have been so good together
We could have lived this dance forever
But now who’s gonna dance with me
Please stay

And I’m never gonna dance again
Guilty feet have got no rhythm
Though it’s easy to pretend
I know you’re not a fool

Should’ve known better than to cheat a friend
And waste the chance that I’ve been given
So I’m never gonna dance again
The way I danced with you

(Now that you’re gone) Now that you’re gone
(Now that you’re gone) What I did’s so wrong, so wrong
That you had to leave me alone

Family Values.

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
~ Albert Schweitzer

I travelled 300 Kms to and fro on Saturday to visit some cousins.

Two and their respective families from my maternal side and one from my paternal side. The latter was to meet him because I was going to meet the former any way.

This post is about three cousins from the maternal side and their wives.

There is a brother who is the eldest of the three, who has alienated himself from the family and has had nothing to do with the mother except to very gladly accept his share of the proceeds of the sale of a property that the three sons inherited.

My cousins’ mother, my aunt,  has been bed ridden with Cerebellar Ataxia. One, the younger of the two and his wife, apart from bringing up two young children have been looking after her for the past twenty years.

The elder, a doctor and his wife, also a doctor, are settled in the USA and have an autistic son, but have been regularly visiting India to be of whatever support they can to the younger family.

After many years of trying, the doctor brother has been able to get a permanent resident visa to take his mother with him to the USA which under the circumstances is remarkable. Had he simply not done anything, the mother would have stayed on in India and would have been looked after by the younger brother and his remarkable wife.

It is a measure of his character and that of his wife’s that they both have done everything possible to take the invalid mother with them to the USA where she is most likely to die. All the more remarkable considering their involvement in bringing up a grown up autistic son at home.

I am overwhelmed  by these people.  They are living examples of family values.  I am grateful to have them in my life.

Are You Enjoying What You Are Doing?

Today’s topic or rather question has been posed by weekly Friday LBC blogger Pravin. Apart from he and me, Shcakman is likely to write on the same topic at his blog. Do visit both to get a drift of their thinking on this topic.

The answer to that question dear Pravin, is yes.

I am in my retirement after a fairly long and eventful corporate and personal life where I don’t have to watch the clock or do things that I don’t like to do.

I am in that enviable position of doing just what gives me pleasure like reading, solving crossword puzzles, blogging and watching movies;  and avoiding those that don’t.  Except some obligatory things like family matters, I don’t have to do anything that I don’t want to do.

I also have a wide circle of friends and loving family who are regularly in touch either personally or through modern methods of communication and what more can a man ask for?

I therefore reiterate that the answer to the question is a very big “yes.”