Comfortably Numb.

My cousin/friend Mohan in response to my post on Commitment 2on1#3 sent this to me. I leave it to the imagination of my readers to figure out why.

Is there anybody in there
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone at home
Come on now
I hear you’re feeling down
I can ease your pain
And get you on your feet again
I’ll need some information first
Just the basic facts
Can you show me where it hurts
There is no pain, you are receding
A distant ship smoke on the horizon
You are coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying
When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons
Now I’ve got that feeling once again
I can’t explain, you would not understand
This is not how I am
I have become comfortably numb
Just a little pin prick
There’ll be no more ah!
But you may feel a little sick
Can you stand up?
I do believe it’s working, good
That’ll keep…

Small Things Matter.

What we consider little things can matter a great deal to others. The impact of this truth was driven home today by a conversation that I had with a friend / colleague from the eighties of the last century.

This friend has been tagging me and liking some of posts on facebook for some time but today for the first time ever, he left a comment on my blog post “Commitment”. He concluded with the sentence “I am lucky you know me.” I had gratefully responded with “You flatter me. Thank you. I am fortunate to have you in my life too.”

After some time, I decided that such an impersonal response was not enough and called him up on the telephone. I had last spoken to him about two years ago to help me with something in Bengaluru and had not called him after that problem was solved.

He was delighted to hear from me and that made me realise that I should have been calling him more often. As I am wont to do, I teased him about that sentence and he went all emotional about how his regard for me went back to 1985 when he had come to Bombay where I was posted then. He was visiting from our Head Office.  He did not know anyone in our office but as people from our other offices did, used our Bombay office as a base while doing whatever work they had in Bombay.  Apparently, during lunch time  I had seen  him sitting all alone and invited him to join the rest of us who used to eat together. He added another instance at another office,  when I had organised transport to drop him off at a railway station.

I don’t even remember these instances. These are the kind of things that I will do without ever thinking about them. I continue do do such things even with total strangers. We stopped being colleagues 28 years ago and these events were 32 years ago but, he still remembers!

For him these two instances have had such major impacts that he continues to remember and cherish them and associate me with them after all these years.

Yes, small things matter. To us as well as to others when we do what we consider small things but which may be big things.

Commitment. 2 on 1 #3

“By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”
~ Socrates

When my late wife and I decided to get married to each other, her friends and family thought that I was nuts to marry her.  My friends and family on the other hand, thought that she was nuts to marry me. We went ahead nevertheless,  and both of us were quite happy but eventually became philosophers anyway.

That was the single biggest commitment that I ever made in my life.

“The opposite of opportunism in human relations is loyalty; a noble sentiment – but one that needs to be invested in the right places, that is, in human relations and moral commitments.”
~ Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

The two other commitments that followed much later, to become a vegetarian in 1998 and to become a teetotaller in 1999 were of less significance but commitments nevertheless made to my late mother and to my God Daughter In Love respectively. Both also helped in my passage to becoming a philosopher!

Before some of you ask me, let me clarify. I am not a philosopher in the classic sense but am one in the sense that I am learning to be one.

“Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose – and commit myself to – what is best for me.”

~ Paulo Coelho,The Zahir

I flatter myself that I am free.

I picked this week’s topic and so Shackman will choose next week’s. Be sure to check Shackman’s take on this week’s topic.

The Post.

I often wonder at how fortunate I am with so many good things happening to me. This is another instance of such good fortune that I was able to see The Post on its last showing in our cinemas today.

I would have normally seen it on Tuesday but was unable to as Ranjan and Manjiree were away on vacation and I was Chutki sitting and playing watchman. They came back yesterday enabling me to go today and I am more than delighted that they came back in time.

I had been wanting to see it from the time I read reviews about it some time ago. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks were more than enough inducement but there was a bonus in the form of direction by Steven Spielberg.

I was old enough in the sixties and interested enough in the Vietnam war and its repercussions in the USA during the late sixties and the early seventies of the last century. I distinctly remember the Nixon years and the name of Robert McNamara was as well known here in India as it was in the USA. For me therefore seeing something on the screen showing events of those days was a mind blowing experience.

Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, did not disappoint and for those who have not seen the film and are worried about the freedom of the press as we are in India today, this movie is a must see one.

The Very First.

Nick has this fascinating post up and I thought that I would join him in going back to my very firsts too.

First vacation: I was about seven years old and was living with my uncle and aunt in Chennai while my parents were in Bombay. My uncle and aunt decided to take me to meet my parents and I distinctly remember the trip by train which was very exciting and the week or so that I spent in Bombay with my parents.

First car: I was eighteen and in Hyderabad when I bought a much used pre war DKW as a favour to a friend who urgently needed cash. I had no intention of keeping the car and in fact sold it off at a profit to professional dealers in used cars within a fortnight.

First job:: On the assumption that in this case, job meaning a proper one with an appointment letter etc, as a Field Inspector for a General Insurance Company in Hyderabad when I was eighteen. I worked there for all of nineteen months before I quit to move to Madras.

First crush: Was when I was in Fourth Standard. Her name was Rama and that is all that I remember now about her.

First kiss: I have written about that story here and here.

First flight: A joy ride in a Tiger Moth off the Madras Meenampakkam airport when I must have been about twenty or so.  The first ever commercial flight that I took was in 1967 from Bombay to Calcutta and back in a Caravelle aircraft.

First fancy dinner: By fancy, if wearing a suit is meant, it was the dinner that I wrote about here.

First apartment: As a bachelor in Hyderabad with my first job when I was eighteen, I had rented a single room above a garage in a compound with a bungalow in it. I had to come down to use the bathroom and it was a nuisance when I entertained friends.

First record: Elvis Presley’s 45 RPM Apron Strings.

First pet: While I grew up with dogs at home as a boy, my own first pet had to wait till I was 32 years old. A dachshund/terrier cross named Mala, she was a delightful companion for about three years. When we were transferred to Bombay from that location we decided to giver her away as in Bombay living in a flat would have been cruel to the dog. She went to a very caring home and I saw her on a few occasions later too.

First concert: Duke Ellington’s Orchestra in the Madras Music Accademy in 1963. The only concert that I ever went to with my brother Arvind.

Wow! That was fun writing. Brought back so many memories. Thank you Nick.