How Is The New Normal Shaping Up For You?

The question in the title for this blog post has been asked by Shackman. For him perhaps the new normal is strange and perhaps even awe inspiring as he lives in the USA,

For me, at my age of 78 and with health issues that have made mobility quite a problem for me for the last few years, the new normal is not something that I will have to get used to as apart from the need to wear a mask when going out and maintaining social distance, my life style is unlike to change much. I have been confined to my city and even there, to within my home for the past five years and so the limitations imposed by the pandemic have not seriously affected me bar some minor inconveniences on and off like the barber shop or the pedicurist being shut on lockdown days.

Leaving my personal life alone however when I see the trends around me, I can see major thrusts in the way people work and move about in day to day life. Increasing use of the internet and AI will radically change things and the immediate casualty that I foresee will be a collapse in the housing and business property businesses with many buildings already built not finding buyers. Sale of automobiles will also very likely take a hit as commuting will become less necessary and the travel and hospitality businesses will also see drop in volumes.

Health related businesses will change to be better equipped to meet emergencies having learnt from the stress undergone due to the pandemic. I anticipate more training institutions coming up in the areas of medicine and nursing as shortages were felt during the recent past.

This likely scenario is unlikely to seriously affect me personally and with that observation, I conclude this post with the question asked addressed to my readers. I look forward to hearing from them about how the new normal will be for them.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 3 On 1 blog posts where Sanjana, Shackman and I write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been suggested by Shackman. Please do go over to the other two blogs to see what they have to say on the same topic. Thank you.

Coffee Again!

My friend Raj had this to say in his comments of my post An Uncle, A Sister And Coffee.

“Hi Ramana: I am surprised that no one, including the video has  spoken about the one step prior to this: namely the making of the powder itself. In my childhood, we had to “roast” the raw coffee beans in a rotating-roller roaster machine so it uniformly roasts.

Then, minutes before making coffee, we had to grind it to a fine powder and then proceed like the video shows. Aaaahhh! those were the good old days ! No Starbucks ! No Dunkin !”

Those words took me back to my childhood and pre-packaged-coffee-powders-in-shops days when coffee beans were roasted and ground at home to make fresh coffee. The aroma coming out of the whole process was to die for.

The beans were first roasted in a grinder over charcoal fire in my home.  The roasting was done in a gadget like the one shown below.
The next process was grinding the roasted beans into a powder which was done in a gadget like the one shown below.

Mind you, the roasting and grinding was an every day affair. One did not roast, grind and store away for use later.

The powder thus ground was used to distill the decoction as explained in my earlier post An Uncle, A Sister And Coffee.

The aromas coming out of the kitchen were simply amazing and many youngsters would long to grow up fast to be able to drink coffee which was denied to them.

Do you have any memories of such long drawn process of making coffee?

Fathers Day Despite Lockdown!

Father’s day has been special for me for three, yes, three reasons. Though it was on the day before yesterday, I am able to write only today as the treats for the day arrived only yesterday.

The first treat was this:
My old faithful a cellphone that had served me well for the past three plus years was beginning to show signs of exhaustion and so, my children decided to update me and my phone. This handy gadget without which I cannot imagine a life, came yesterday and was installed properly by the vendor at home as a special treat for a Senior Citizen.

It took some time for me to learn and get used to the new set and I am fortunate to have two resident experts to guide me around which is a biggest Father’s Day gift of them all.

The next item was the final arrival after much following up due to the lockdown of the three set books on Maratha History that I had written about a month ago!

The third and final item is this magnificent book which is out of print and by chance I was able to lay my hands on the last copy available with an online seller.

A very satisfying Father’s Day indeed!

The Importance Of Education.


डिग्रीयां तो तालीम के खर्चे की रसीदें हैं,
इल्म वही है , जो किरदार में झलकता है l

digreeyan tho thaleem ke kharche ki rasiden hain,
ilm wahi hai, jo kirdaar mein jhalaktha hai.

Degrees are just receipts for the cost of education,
Knowledge is that which shines as character.

“Education is the process of imparting knowledge, values, skills and attitudes, which can be beneficial to an individual. Learning is an informal process, and education is a formal process. Learning is knowledge gained through experience, and education is knowledge gained through teaching.”

What we understand by “Education” today is vastly different from its definition which is “a process of teaching, training, and learning, especially in schools or colleges, to improve knowledge and develop skills.” Today, it simply means acquiring a diploma or a degree or two with the sole purpose of securing gainful employment. The whole approach is to learn how to write and pass examinations and get through interview processes with that single aim in mind.

So, we have what are euphemistically called tutorial institutions helping youngsters achieve that singe goal. Our newspapers are full of advertisements of successful candidates from such institutes during every “Results” season and the aim of such advertising seems to be to attract junior students entering the final lap to join them in addition to their regular curriculum and to lure failed aspirants from the current crop who will have to rewrite the examinations to pass through to higher education.

There is even one whole town, Kota in our glorious country which has cornered the market for training students to pass entrance examinations.

In India therefore, the advantage of education is simply that the educated find remunerative occupations after undergoing rigorous training to pass examinations.

I however believe that the advantage of the original meaning of education, which was “Learning to learn” was to prepare us for life’s vicissitudes while offering us training in a trade or business. The old system of apprenticeships and guilds did just that and colleges were left to wealthy individuals to pursue knowledge for knowledge’s sake. Over time specialised institutions like for Medicine, Engineering etc came into being to serve particular purposes while at the same providing avenues for careers for people inclined to pursue such professions.

My personal journey in education is known to most of my regular readers and while I do not wish to showcase that as the only way to acquire an education it drives home the point that the importance of an education in today’s world is that it offers a living in a highly competitive environment.

As it happens so often in my life, after I wrote the above post, I came across this little post from Big John which ties up so well with this topic.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 3 On 1 blog posts where Sanjana, Shackman and I write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been suggested by Sanjana. Please do go over to the other two blogs to see what they have to say on the same topic. Thank you.

An Uncle, A Sister And Coffee.

Please be a little patient with me. This story has to unfold in a particular way for my overseas readers.

Please see this clip first.

I am not a coffee person but, my late father was. When he came to live his last few years with me, he was not satisfied with the instant coffee that was available in Pune and wanted the traditional South Indian coffee made twice a day for him. That was made exactly as shown in the above video for him by me and I became quite an expert in making it.

First I had to buy a filter and since my father was willing to compromise on the filter and dishes needed, I had to invest in a stainless steel filter and a set of the vessels shown in the clip but, in stainless steel instead of the brass varieties shown in the video. I had to resort to this as, the stores in Pune had only the stainless steel varieties as shown below.

After my father died, all these were stowed away and I even forgot all about them till last week I got a cryptic message on my phone from a stranger advising me that I was to expect a set of brass vessels from someone called V S Mani. Since I had not ordered anything from them, I probed and found another cryptic message from my dear and one and only sister that she had arranged for it in memory of our long departed uncle named V A S Mani who always called himself Victory Always Sure Mani.

The parcel duly arrived this morning and it contained this combination:

My son, who is a coffee addict promptly tried out the coffee and certified it to be of excellent quality and recommended it highly to me. I shall shortly try it out as it does not need a filter and it is the instant variety. I have however just stowed away the brass vessels as I have no use for them.

I hope that now the topic for this post and the contents justify each other.

Do you drink coffee? Do you go through some rigmarole like what is shown in the video?