Do You Remember?

A friend from childhood who has followed my career throughout my life sent me this image on Whatsapp and asked me “Do you remember?”
These were called sutar buttons, Sutar being Gujarathi for yarn. On researching for these for writing this post, I came across and interesting post about how to crochet these buttons. Difficult now to imagine, how much effort must have gone into making these buttons in large volumes.

That one question and that image took me down memory lane to the proverbial three score and ten years ago when as a student in Class IV wearing an all white uniform daily to school. The top and bottom both had buttons like these and we had to ensure that we had all the buttons intact as we were subject to inspections by the class teacher.

I was living with my Uncle and Aunt for that one year and every time one button came off, it was a chore reattaching it and often one had to find a new one which would be slightly of a different colour than the other buttons. My Aunt would patiently teach me to sew the button on and would closely supervise the effort.

Then came plastic buttons and the game changed for ever. Much easier to sew on and also longer lasting.

I spent almost a quarter century in the Tailor Trimmer trade and during all those years, never came across these buttons anywhere but, a quarter century later, I come across these. Simply mind blowing what?

The Guru!

My former colleague and friend MLB surprised me with a post on Facebook with a dedication of this song to me with the comments: “One of my favourite songs. I dedicate this song to my Guru Ramana Rajgopaul. 🌺🌺❤️🙏”

I have known MLB for nearly half a century and both of us have much to be nostalgic about the “good old days”.  That he suddenly decided to surprise me with this dedication is really very touching and I am deeply thankful to him.   Quite why he dedicated this particular song about a boxer is a mystery to me.  I have, not to the best of my recollection, ever taught him to box nor ever boxed with him!

It is my turn to dedicate this post to him.

For those interested, the lyrics for the song are:  Here is another mystery.  Why is it called The Boxer?

I am just a poor boy
Though my story’s seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest
When I left my home and my family
I was no more than a boy
In the company of strangers
In the quiet of the railway station
Running scared
Laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters
Where the ragged people go
Looking for the places only they would know
Lie la lie, lie la lie la lie la lie
Lie la lie, lie la lie la lie la lie, la la lie la lie
Asking only workman’s wages
I come looking for a job
But I get no offers
Just a come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue
I do declare, there were times when I was so lonesome
I took some comfort there
Now the years are rolling by me
They are rocking evenly
And I am older than I once was
And younger than I’ll be
But that’s not unusual
No, it isn’t strange
After changes upon changes
We are more or less the same
After changes we are
More or less the same
Lie la lie, lie la lie la lie la lie
Lie la lie, lie la lie la lie la lie, la la lie la lie

Itching Palm.

I am not at all superstitious but something unusual happened to day which has led me to rethink my stance.

“It is believed that the itchy right palm foretells the possibility of unexpected money or wealth coming in. You will receive money from new sources or your lost money will find its way back to you.”

I was reading my kindle and waiting to be called for lunch when suddenly my right palm started to itch. I stopped reading to scratch and also mused about the old superstition and wondered from where, at this stage of my life, money will come to me.

The doorbell rang and it was the chauffeur of a friend of mine who handed over an envelope to me. I opened it to find some crisp currency notes. I then remembered that my friend, who is not very computer savvy, had requested me to procure something for him from Amazon which I had done quite some time ago. I had even forgotten all about it when out of the blue the reimbursement landed up.

I had hardly sat down again to read when the doorbell rang again and a courier delivered a parcel from another friend in Chennai who had sent me some gifts that I had long ago expressed to him as not being available locally.
Should I become superstitious?


A few days ago, a friend mentioned on a WhatsApp message that life was frustrating due to the rains and some other local civic issues. Since she is quite a sport, I sent her this image that had fortuitously landed up just that morning in another message in WA.
She promptly responded that she had changed her perspectives when she had read Forty Rules Of Love.

I was intrigued and since I had not read or even heard of the book, sent for a copy of that book from Amazon and just finished reading it yesterday.
Having crossed that landmark, I messaged my friend -“How exactly did forty rules of love change your perspective?”

She responded with this fairly detailed message:

“It is pure fiction I know but, don’t laugh.
I still have my thinking process working for me.
I first read it several years ago when it had just come out.
I thought that if Ella could leave everything behind
and go looking for Aziz,  then I could also think and give my opinions freely. The only difference being that I had not changed my life for a man.
I now feel free to think and express my thoughts which earlier as a wife and then as a widow,  I had felt I could not. That is all.

My mind is free  as also my spirit.

And, up to the time that my mother was alive, I had kept my thoughts on religion to myself so as not to hurt her.  Now my opinions are well known as I articulate them freely.”

The behaviour of Ella that my friend mentions does not seem bizarre to me as I know of other women who have done similar things and who have survived,  though with some tragic consequences to their husbands and children.  My friend is still very much part of her family and in my opinion quite enjoys being so.

That brings me to my own take on the book.

It is not one of those books that one feels compelled to finish reading in one sitting.  It is quite disjointed and there are too many diversions within the framework that takes one’s attention away from the main theme.  And having been a student of Sufism and Islam besides Vedanta,  I found the philosophical comments  interesting if somewhat needlessly long.

While exploring the author I also came across reference to another of her books The Bastard Of Istanbul.  I have bought a copy of that too and will shortly read it.  Perhaps I may even review it here.

Have you read The Forty Rules Of Love?  What impact, if any, did it have on you?


Fun With Language 2.

Another exchange in WhatsApp yesterday. This time in a group page of classmates.

BN: You can speak English fluently. Right?

Try this small para.

*A real mathematician can mathematically mathematise mathematics in a mathematical mathematiculation. So if a mathematician can mathematise mathematics in a mathematical mathematiculation, why can’t you mathematically mathematise mathematics in a mathematical mathematiculation like the mathematician who mathematically mathematises mathematics in a mathematical mathematiculation?*🍀😝🤣👍🏻

DS: This can drive any one mad..

Me: BN is DS.

PP: What do you mean? There is no comparison between the two.

DS: Yes Ramana how did you compare? Please explain to understand.

Me: Typo. My English! Please add a comma after ‘BN is’.

DS: Oh, Ramana I have understood what you meant but, BN is not mad. He wants others to be mad. Right BN?

Me: Yes DS. BN drives others mad too.

And the gentleman that BN is, he is yet to respond.

Fun With Language 1.

This exchange in WhatsApp took place between my friend SD and me earlier today.

SD: This is a cake…Can anyone believe it!!!Great creativity…Paithani saree cake with Kolhapuri jewellery made by cake artist Tanvir Palishkar at J W Marriot Pune.Amazing talent,still can not believe this is a cake.🌹🌹🌹🌹👆👆👆👆

Me: Yes, it takes the cake!

For skeptics, here is a link to the Youtube clip showing the full range of saree cakes.