A Rip Off!

I had gone visiting three friends yesterday and one not only extended me great hospitality but, also gifted me with a nicely wrapped packet with the title “Predictions Of Agastya”. He not only wanted me to take it home before opening it but, also requested that I read it and give him a feed back about the efficacy of the predictions. I duly did as requested on reaching home and found this book. He further informed me that since I am a Vedica / Advaitin, I should find Agastya interesting and that is why he had bought this for me.

As I lifted the book off the table after unpacking the packet, I found another item at the bottom made out of a piece of paper printed with random numbers pasted on a cardboard with a subdued subtext in Sanskrit reading Om. Nothing crude about it and a very nicely done job.

As I inevitably do with new books, I also wrote on the first page the date on which I got the book and from whom. I settled down comfortably in my recliner and opened the book to find that each numbered page gave a general balderdash about stars and planets and below that a particular prediction for the immediate and long term future. I went back to the first page to see what this was all about and read the preface to the book giving instructions to keep the numbered grid near one’s puja alcove and place the flower one offers to one’s personal deity with shut eyes on the board and see the predictions for the number in the corresponding page number in the book.

In other words, just a lot of horoscope mumbo jumbo like one would find in any daily or weekly horoscope published in our news papers and periodicals here. Like what I had written in my blog post Horoscopes.

I went to the last page to find if I could find some more information and found a couple of paragraphs introducing the reader to the writer and artists involved in the production of the book with nary a line about the name of the publisher!

I rang my friend up to give my feed back and started off by saying that it is a rip-off and he had a good laugh saying that he too had found it to be so and decided to play a practical joke on me! I went online to find some details and found that the package would cost $15.37 a pop! I very expensive practical joke indeed!


There are a few days in the year when I go totally bonkers in the mornings without my daily dose of newspapers and crossword puzzles contained in them.

Yesterday being our Republic Day, was a national holiday and sans newspapers today. I would have climbed the walls had I not remembered the gift that my friend had given me some months ago. Just to refresh your memory dear reader, I wrote about it here.

When some friends and one cousin rang up to pass time and I mentioned this frustration, without exception all of them confessed having missed the morning newspapers, particularly since it is a Sunday too when all of them contain magazine sections.

So, though I missed the news, I don’t watch television even in the absence of news papers, I was able to solve some puzzles in the book and was not quite as frustrated as I would have been had I not remembered the book.

Thank you MD.


Relocating, as it is normally understood, really started for me only from 1973. Before that, my late wife and I had once set up home in Delhi in a barsati and had furnished it with hired furniture and some basic kitchen utensils. When we had to leave that we simply gave back the hired furniture and gave away the utensils to the help that we had hired for the few months that we were there. Before that, I had lived off a suitcase for well nigh six years as a bachelor and two of those were spent in a hostel while studying for my Masters in Business Management.

After the Delhi posting I was deputed to coordinate an all India Market Research project for eight months of near non stop touring including working during weekends. Urmeela went to stay with her mother during those months and after I finished my project I was posted in Mumbai where we set up our first real home and bought furniture, utensils, etc in 1970. After three and a half years of stay there while our son Ranjan was born, we moved to Kolkata in 1973 which was the first relocation.

That relocation was followed by six relocations before we finally put down roots in Pune in 1990. A total of eight relocations after marriage.

I set up home on two other occasions in South again though the home in Pune continued to be operational as Ranjan was there and had to be provided with a home. Since neither Urmeela nor Ranjan was comfortable with Tamil, the local language where I set up home, I ran a bachelor’s home with periodic visits from my late mother and Urmeela and on two occasions by Ranjan. There was no relocation involved as on both occasions I simply moved into fully furnished and equipped homes and simply had to pack my suitcase to get back to Pune.

I can therefore claim to be quite a veteran of relocation and can vouch for its advantages and disadvantages.

The biggest disadvantage is the havoc it can play with one’s children’s education. We solved it by sending Ranjan to a boarding school which luckily for us was not too difficult due to having access to one of India’s best with fairly easy admission. Others have not been so lucky and I have seen a lot of frustration in families due to this aspect of relocating.

The other disadvantages are local languages, a major problem in India with multiple languages, cuisine and climate changes. In retrospect however, these usually turn out to be advantages for having exposed one to these influences and in the process making one more cosmopolitan.

Advantages are in the friends one makes in the new places and in our case, these have turned out to be long term relationships, exposure to places that one would normally not see otherwise and also to cultures, festivals and cuisine that are different from one’s normal. Overriding these advantages was the inevitable junking of stuff accumulated during the stay there to become lighter for the packing and unpacking!

And for a marketing man like me, the different locales were priceless experiences when I eventually took charge as India head.

Today, my WhatsApp and FaceBook activity is governed by communications from all over India thanks to my various postings. I am richer for that and grateful that I was given the opportunities.

Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say on the same topic.

Are You Morally Virtuous?

“Moral experience—the actual possession and exercise of good character—is necessary truly to understand moral principles and profitably to apply them.”
~ Aristotle, Ethics

If you are morally virtuous, I strongly recommend your reading this article.

And, if it is alright with you not to be the family clown, it is alright  too. Just be cautioned that you are not likely to be very popular!

What would you do given 38 minutes to live before Nuclear disaster were to strike?

Inspired by an actual incident that took place in Hawaii, my co-2 on 1 Friday blogger Shackman has come up with this very interesting topic for today.

I have had quite some time to think about an answer for this question and I have one. And I am very serious.

I will sit down in my usual meditation pose in the same place that I meditate everyday and await the strike. Why? Please see this clip to understand how one man lived one day at a time treating each as a blessing.

I urge you to read this article as well and you will understand that for me, each minute will be a blessing and I would like to spend those 38 minutes in doing what I like doing best.

Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to read what he has to say about the same topic.