Landline Telephony.

This post has been inspired by this fascinating report in The Guardian. Having used these Phone Boxes any number of times during my visits to the UK, I can relate to the writer’s take.

I have a landline connection from BSNL. I have had the pleasure of using this number since December 1990 when we moved into our current home and it is a simple number to remember. I have two instruments, one fixed and another with a portable handset kept conveniently close to my recliner chair.

Unfortunately however, except for one friend who too has a landline, nobody other than the phone company ever calls this number.  Many of my friends who used to have landlines have surrendered their connections for various reasons.  I use it to call landline numbers of shops and establishments from where I need some service but, even these are simpler to reach through my mobile phone.

Cable TV, WiFi providers, water conduits and drainage chutes all fight for underground space and inevitably, the landline telephone cable gets cut repeatedly and it takes for ever to get repairs done to it and so, most of the time we are without a landline connection.

I have been nostalgic and am also more comfortable with the landline but, the sheer convenience of the mobile phones and the fact that most of the time the landline does not work, has made me also to reconsider my position. So, I tried to approach the BSNL to surrender my connection but find no way of doing it online and perhaps will have to go personally to their office to do so. I am however determined to get it disconnected one way or the other.

Are you still using a landline telephone? What is your experience?

Bliss Thanks To Excellent Customer Service.

From the time that Covid hit us more than two years ago, the one luxury that I have had to forego was my monthly pedicure and foot massage. Except for one brave outing after the total lockdown was lifted,  I was hesitant to go out for one and depended on my son to trim my toenails which he gladly did but,  could not very well be asked to do the rest of the rigmarole.

For the past two weeks, I had been toying with the idea of venturing out for a pedicure again but have been put off by the heat and humidity. The day before yesterday during our evening chat, my wonderful daughter in love suggested that I try a home pedicure. Considering the daily temperatures above 40 deg C, I readily agreed to give it a try and she booked for one online.

The slot that was allotted to me by The Urban Company, the service providers was 4.30 pm. The pedicurist was bang on time and rang the door bell exactly on time. On my asking him if I needed to provide anything to help him carry out his job, he said that he just needed a plug point to connect his foot bath and a tap to get some water.  He was wearing a mask and throughout his time at home, he did not remove it even once.

He then proceeded to unpack his goodies from this case.
He then opened the bag of tricks and pulled out this stool on which he was to sit on.
He next pulled out this foot bath.
Next, he pulled out a small case from which he took out all the tools of his trade and spread them out on a sheet.
Next, he filled the foot bath with water, plugged it in to heat the water up and proceeded to trim my nails while sitting on the stool that he had brought with him while I sat on my easy chair.

Once the water was hot enough, he had me soak my feet in it and proceeded to carry out the rest of the pedicure with efficiency and care. I was more than satisfied with the treatment.

He finished on time, just short of an hour from the time that he started and packed everything in his bag and left with a cheerful “bye bye sir!”.   The total cost including the tip that I gave the young man came to just a little over what I would have spent with my regular pedicurist.  I have no complaints on that score.

I am sold on this company’s service which offers many other services too and have decided to not only use more of them but, also refer my contacts to them.

Do you have a similar service available where you live?

The Weather.

For the first time since I started to live in Pune thirty two years ago, the summer season has forced me to instal an air conditioner in our drawing room.

Two factors are cited the foremost being global warming / climate change and the deforestation on the mountains that surround our city. The cool breeze that used to come down from there, has disappeared and now we are paying the price for that folly.  We get hot winds instead.

The past two weeks have been particularly bad as apart from the heat, in the high thirties low forties during the day, humidity has been high for our plateau climate and that has made it more uncomfortable for us. Dry heat is less debilitating whereas the humidity saps one of one’s energy.

As I write this, it has been over cast and the high has been 38 deg C and forecast to be 25 deg C during the night. Humidity at 51% is very high for us.

As my readers know that I am a Pluviophile and I am impatient for some heavy downpours. Our monsoon season that normally starts by early June seems an eternity off.

How is the climate where you live?

Six Degrees Of Separation.

All of us know about the famous Six Degrees Of Separation. This idea was proved to me by a series of coincidences.

I received a phone call from a gentleman, let us call him HP from my community. He spoke to me in our common language and syntax to establish his credentials and introduced himself as the cousin of a cousin twice removed from me called TM. HP said that TM had given excellent reference about me to him and that I was sure to be of help to him. I have not heard from TM in decades but was vaguely aware of his existence in Mumbai. HP came straight to the point and asked if he could depend on me to find out some details about a young man from Pune where I live too.

The enquiry was to establish the suitability of the young man as a prospective groom for HP’s daughter. This is not something uncommon in India where arranged marriages are the rule rather than the exception still. I said that I would try my best to find out about the young man given some time and then the discussion took on a different character.

HP wanted to know about my background and when he heard that I had spent most of my working life for a particular company, he was shocked and informed me that he was the cousin of a gent called TR who I had known too, and he wondered how someone like me could have worked in that company. He informed me that TR had been unfairly dismissed from service by the company following which he had died within a few years. I had not known about this as I was not in Mumbai where all this had happened and had already left the company to pursue other interests.

I was however intrigued and called up some old colleagues to get the story and was given the correct story about the dismissal.

The intriguing part of this tale is the degrees of connections that came up in the form of relatives, albeit distant and ex colleagues.

Remarkable isn’t it?

Food, Exotic Sweets.

For those of you who do not know, I am an Indian with roots in Tamil Nadu. Yesterday was Tamil New Year Day. Rather than go through the hassles of making a traditional sweet to bring in the new year, I decided to get something that my daughter in love would not have ever had before. Since my late wife had her roots in Andhra Pradesh, I decided to get something that she had liked very much and had ordered for it well in time.  The goodies came from a village called Atreyapuram and are called Putharekulu.
The rolls that you see inside are not tissue paper but, look like it.  They are sheets made out of rice and this video will show how it is done.

The version that I procured contains different types of sweet stuffing and one of them exclusively dry fruits.

Incidentally, as I write this, it is Bengali New Year. My daughter in love is half Bengali and half Maharashtrian. The Bengali half, her mother, is with us to celebrate both the new years. She in turn has made a traditional milk / vermicelli sweet dish called Payesh for the occasion.

These are the most satisfying treats that I am having after a very long time. Brings back many memories including one of actually seeing and helping in making putharekulu being made at my late wife’s maternal home. And the Payesh is the icing on the cake too! Total bliss.