I needed to improve my swing with my woods and so had taken a number three wood and some practice golf balls to the School of Management after the summer recess. While walking to and from the canteen I used to practice my swing and was the butt of many jokes because of that.

One evening at a function where the Director of the Institute was the host he came up to me while on his rounds and asked me what my handicap was. Without batting an eyelid I told him that it was a nagging girl friend and the inability to play on Sundays due to the pressure of studies at the Institute. He never forgot that little exchange and on two separate occasions much later when I had gone to the Institute for campus recruitment for trainees, he recalled the same and laughed with me.

Frankly, the only constraints I have in my life now are related to my health about which I have blogged earlier. Because of these constraints, I have decided not to travel out of Pune except if I use my own transport and that too only for short trips. So, when Pravin, who has suggested this topic for today’s post invited me to go over to Mumbai to celebrate his birthday with him and his lovely wife, I used the excuse of my constraints to regret my inability.

Despite these constraints however, I do just about whatever I want to do, like, go to movies, meet up with friends for lunch or go on day trips outside Pune, etc. While confined indoors, I read what I want to, solve many crossword puzzles, blog, watch movies on DVD and youtube etc and simply cannot be bored.

It has been my experience that with age, non health related constraints simply disappear.

Pravin has suggested this week’s topic. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.

What’s In A Name?

My friend Anil was recently hospitalised for a minor ailment and at the time of discharge, was asked his full name to fill out a form to generate a receipt for payment. He was asked his first name, last name and his father’s name. Luckily for him, Anil remembered that the father’s name was being asked to use as his middle name just in time and gave the name Kumar which is not his father’s name.

And there lies a story. And another.

At the time of enrolling in the NDA, way back in the late fifties of the last century, the officer filling in the details in a register for entrants, entered Anil’s middle name as Kumar, which is a common name in India which is usually part of the full name Anil Kumar. From that time, all official records have Anil’s name as Anil Kumar as his first and middle names and till now he has never had to use any other name, except this time at the hospital. He was able to give the name of his father as Kumar as otherwise claiming reimbursement for medical expenses with a receipt issued in a name different from the official name would not have been possible.

When Anil shared this story with me, I was reminded of my own story. I come from the South of India where the system of first name, middle name and surname does not exist. One is given a name and usually the father’s name is affixed before the name as an initial. In that scheme, my name should have officially been R. Ramana for Rajgopaul Ramana, as Rajgopaul was my father’s name. Since I was born in Mumbai where the naming follows a different system, my name on my birth certificate was entered as Ramana Rajgopaul. Since then, all the descendants of my late father have had the surname Rajgopaul. The problem arose when I had to apply for a passport where the middle name was asked and since my father’s official name was Krishnamurthy Rajgopaul, the former name being his father’s, my middle name became Krishnamurthy.

Complicated what? I wonder what Shakespeare would have had to say about that!

Media Bias.

And why would some people say this?

“Media includes every broadcasting and narrowcasting medium such as newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, billboards, direct mail, telephone, fax, and internet.”

My understanding of this activity was that the people involved in the media would report on events as factual representation of them leaving the audience to decide the merits. What however media has become now, is an opinion making institution. Like all other opinion making, here too there are many shades of opinion some strong and some weak and the trend in the recent past has been for the strong to bring out the heavy artillery swamping the weaker ones.

The comic part of this approach of bias has been its abject failure. Let me just take two examples, one from the West and one from the East.

From India, the media was totally against the BJP, the present ruling party in the Center and many States of India. The more that the bias was shown to the public, the more seats that the party won. It now looks as though it is unbeatable for the foreseeable future.

The other example is that of the POTUS. I distinctly remember the strong bias against Trump in the media while the campaigning was going on and the bias continued right up to the results being announced and even after the inauguration. He is still there and at least to his constituency, he seems unbeatable despite there being no let up in the bias against him in the media.

As a very dear friend recently observed, what seems to be happening is that the social media has become more effective in swaying public opinion. The wireless mobile telephony offering access to platforms like facebook and whatsapp,  has unleashed an information sharing method that has had a greater impact than the traditional media channels.

Shackman has suggested this week’s topic. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.

Rice Seedlings Transplantation.

Continuing from where I left off about my friend in the hinterland farming for rice, here is how he transplants seedlings now.

My friend Babu has sent the image to assuage the concerns that Tammy had expressed in her comments on the previous post.

Despite having received some negative reactions about women workforce harvesting rice in my previous post, before this machine came around, this is how rice seedlings were transplanted.

While I will be addressing the concerns about women workforce in my response to comments in my previous post, I can assure my readers that it is now increasingly difficult to get agricultural labour for intense operations like these as more lucrative opportunities are available for them in other non agriculture and urban/semi-urban sectors here.

Labour intensive operations were necessary when machines were not available and now that they are, manual labour is increasingly getting replaced by mechanical operations.

Part of the process of ‘development’ I guess.

The purpose of my writing about these matters is not to highlight the changes that are taking place, but to record my respect and admiration for my friend who has remained steadfast in being a farmer when he could have easily found other alternatives.  People like him are the salt of this earth and deserve appreciation from all quarters.