Wow! What a topic suggested by Shakman to write on for this week’s Friday 2 on 1 Blog Post! The other blogger Shackman is an American and I, an Indian. Two remarkably diverse nations. On the assumption that Shackman will be writing about the USA’s diversity, let me address ours.

India has 29 states and 7 Union Territories. My Western readers will understand the latter if I use “Federally Administered Territories.”

Its citizens speak 22 major languages written in 13 different scripts, with over 720 dialects.

Every religion with all their sub-sects of the world is present here plus some odd local ones too.

Its geography encompasses mountain ranges, plains, coastal regions, huge lakes, deserts and some peculiar to India features like back waters, inland islands, mangroves and dense forests.

Its wildlife too is highly diverse with different regions home to different species. Its fauna too is highly diverse again based on regional and climatic differences.

Its people vary in colour from very fair to very dark with a great many somewhere in between.

Its history too is a fascinating collage of different types of rulers in different parts and times. Its history goes back to more than five thousand years of civilised existence and there are traces of primitive societies in existence even today.

Our politicians never tire of talking about our “unity in diversity”.  While they talk, the ordinary Indian simply practices it.

Having looked at the macro India, let us take a look at the micro level.  I think that I represent a fairly representative person of modern urban Indian.  While such examples are more now a days with increasing exposure to the outside world, my family started the process of diversifying from my father’s generation.  We had an uncle who first married a Caucasian Australian and subsequently an Anglo Indian Roman Catholic.  Another uncle married outside our subcaste of Hindus as did an aunt.  In my generation, I directly have two caucasian sisters in law, one a Scot and another an American Southern Belle.  I married outside my language caste and religion and my son married outside our linguistic background.  In the next generation we have just about all possible combinations of nationalities and religions and I have nephews and nieces who are Christians, Muslims and even Jew.  That apart from the other linguistic and regional differences.  So, my extended family can also be called as a very diversified one as can many other families of my friends.

Taking another area of diversity in my personal life, my blog world consists of friends from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, The USA, The UK, Indonesia, and many parts of India. I visit and comment on many blogs from all over the world too. In this process of visiting and commenting, both learn from each other and are richer for that.

With modern communication methods increasingly making the world a very small place, I think that such diversified families and nations will be more the rule than the exception in the next few decades.

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

Wrist Watches.

I wrote in my post on nostalgia about my very first wrist watch which was a Titoni. India those days was a Socialist country and wrist watches were considered to be luxury items which were not necessary for Indians. People who had them were considered to be very fortunate and so when I inherited that watch I became one too. Times are vastly different now with two very large wrist watch manufacturers in India making world class watches and plenty of imported high end watches also available at fancy prices. We also have plenty of cheap digital watches in the market mostly from China. Younger people find it difficult to believe that the simple wrist watch was once a status symbol for my generation.

I wore that Titoni from 1963 till 1982 when I received a Long Service Award in the form of a wrist watch for 15 years of service from my employer. According to the policy the company would only pay a certain sum for the watch and if an employee wanted something more expensive, he had to make good the difference and that is what I did to get what was considered to be a luxury item then, an Indian made HMT watch with an automatic winder which kept winding up as one simply wore it on one’s wrist, eliminating the need for winding the watch every morning. A colleague who always had an eye on my Titoni asked for it and I happily gave it away to him.

I wore this HMT watch for over twenty years.  It is still in excellent condition and kept inside my cupboard for sentimental reasons.

A well wisher seeing the antiquated watch that I was wearing in 2002 decided that I needed an upgrade and gifted me with this Maxima watch which is what I now wear whenever I go out.

It is a battery operated one and needs the battery to be replaced whenever it runs down which is a simple matter with many shops all over the city only too willing to replace it for a small consideration.

A few years ago my brother Barath bought a wrist watch for me from the UK when he came on a visit.  Last year, a visiting friend sans a wrist watch wanted to know where he could buy one nearby. I simply gifted that watch away to him on the spot much to his surprise and delight.

A few months ago, I won a prize as part of a promotional programme by an online shopping site and this is what I got.

This too is a battery operated one and I wear it occasionally just to keep it in use. I suppose that one of these days, some other lucky visitor may get it as a gift too!

So, bar the small difference in price that I bore between what my employer paid and the ticket price, for the Long Service Award watch, I have not every paid for and bought a wrist watch ever in my life. How do you like that?

Many young people now think that wearing a wrist watch is passe and depend on their cell phones to find out what time it is whenever they want to. I find it easier to look at my wrist watch.



When I wrote last week’s 2 on 1 Friday post, I had concluded with a clip of a song by Nat King Cole. After reading comments received particularly about Nat King Cole, I went on a nostalgia trip about my initiation to Western music and it led me to reminisce about the three following machines that most younger generation people will not recognise.

The first one is this record player for playing vinyl discs of two speeds, 45 and 33 RPMs. You needed another machine to play the 78RPM records. This was usually connected to a Radio and very rarely to an amplifier and speakers.

If you were willing to risk damaging your discs and were also lazy, you upgraded to a Changer like this one where when one disc finished playing, another dropped from above and started to play automatically.

The wealthier ones amongst us went one step further and had Radiograms like the third  one in fancy cabinets.


Moving on to other triggers for nostalgia, during my morning sessions in my verandah with my morning mug of tea, I have recently been seeing a young lass walking a frisky Doberman Pinscher the last few days. The lass is usually pulled by the pup and she really has to struggle to guide him around. This has been taking me down memory lane to our own Doberman Pinscher about which I wrote here.

Another trigger was during my rummaging in one of the drawers in my chest of drawers to find a bracelet, I came across a wrist watch that was worn by my late father.

Why this should take me down memory lane is a fascinating story worth a full blog post in itself. I shall write one soon and link to this post. The nostalgia was about the days when wrist watches were luxuries that very few could afford and my first one was a gift that I inherited from an uncle who unfortunately died. That is the Titoni shown here.

A newspaper report in some distant place can trigger nostalgia too as recently happened to me about which I wrote a blog post. In this case, nostalgia led me to reestablishing contact with a friend who I had lost touch with for over forty five years!

A visitor can trigger nostalgia too. I had one on Wednesday who led me down memory lane to the seventies when I got involved with his family. So many good things have happened to that family since then, that we were discussing that for over an hour!

I guess that the older one gets, I am now well past the proverbial three score and ten, and pushing four score, the more we find opportunities for nostalgic trips. We also can find the time for such escapades. We also develop the ability to laugh at ourselves.

Please go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say about the topic. Thank you.

Wow! What Memories!!

A few days ago I read this gruesome news item which led me to a long lost friend.

The suburban railway station Chetpet mentioned in the report brought back memories of a friend with whom I had lost contact after an accidental meeting in 1964.

Let me start at the beginning.

SK and I were classmates between 1954 and 1958 and the school we studied in was adjacent to Chetpet station.  SK’s home was also close by along the railway tracks. I had often gone to his home during lunch breaks and have very pleasant memories of his mother fussing over both of us and feeding us. In 1958 both of us got our school leaving certificates and moved on in our separate ways. I went off to Hyderabad while SK stayed on in Chennai then known as Madras. By 1965 when we again met accidentally on a main arterial road of Chennai, we had both been in employment, SK as a banker and I as a salesman. During that accidental meeting, both of us retired to a famous restaurant on Mount Road in Chennai for some coffee and catching up with each other. We parted ways again with me going off to Ahmedabad to Business School and he to continue his career as a banker.

Reading about the Chetpet station assault brought back memories of SK and I decide to see if I can reconnect with him and asked some banker friends in Chennai for help. Nothing was forthcoming when I remembered that my cousin SS was also a banker who spent his initial years in the same back as where SK was working. I contacted my cousin who in turn referred me to another ex colleague SV, who fortunately, had retired to live in Pune where I live. SV gave me a telephone number and suggested that if that was not the same SK that I was looking for he would at least be able to help me find my friend’s where and / or what-abouts.

I called that number and was totally zapped to find that it was indeed my old classmate SK on the line and after 54 years both of us caught up with each other with the assurance that we would be in regular touch now that social media makes it so easy.

The Topic of this post however is to express my amazement at the two instances of remarkable memory.

When I rang up SV as suggested by my cousin, I introduced myself by name and before I could say anything else, SV promptly said “cousin of SS from Bombay”. Apparently, when my cousin was in Bombay in the late sixties when I too was there for a few months undergoing training with my employer then and he and SV were in the same branch where he had met me once. And that was in 1967 and he remembered the name after 52 years!

When I reestablished contact with SK and said that we last met in 1965 he said yes, he distinctly remembered the occasion, the name of the restaurant where we had coffee and he particularly remembered my having black coffee which was unusual in Madras of those days where the famous degree/filter coffee was and is the more popular option.

Do you now see my exclamation in the topic of this blog post? Amazing is it not?


I had written about this plant in our garden eight years ago. It just appears suddenly and one morning flowers with the stunning yellow coloured flowers every now and then. The last time I wrote about it was in September towards the tail end of our monsoons and this morning it is the middle of June, just the beginning of the monsoon.

You will see that the plant grows out of the gap between the paving stone and the boundary wall. We don’t plant anything there and this plant just keeps itself hidden and grows on its own every now and then.  You can see that we have had to move a couple of flower pots to show the bottom part of the stem.
Here is another view.

Remarkably persistent plant is it not? Welcome back dear Indian Mock Strawberry.