Recycled Teenager.

Today a classmate from school and good friend turned 80. I rang him up to convey my greetings and best wishes for many more birthdays and he was quite nostalgic about our last meeting in 1965. Yes, I left Madras as it was then known and, now as Chennai that year but, he has continued to live there since.

Among other things that we talked about, we did discuss our current health and well being issues and wished each other well.

After a while, another friend also about my age sent this message to me in WhatsApp.

There were some more messages, all in one day, talking about and dare I say, belittling, trivialising and or giving excuses for old age. And then there was this very heart warming story in Jean’s blog which brought a smile on my life.

This got me thinking about ageing and how today’s social media is trying to talk about it in a manner totally different from what it used to be in the ‘good old days’.

Elders were admired for their longevity and hopefully, wisdom and were expected to behave like elders. Their maturity was taken for granted.  They were not recycled teenagers.  And, they had and continued to live and died, like I do now and will eventually.

Wasting Time – 2.

I wrote a blog post three years ago on wasting time which was brought to my attention by a friend who commented that solving crossword puzzles is a waste of time compared to reading books. He was commenting on my yesterday’s blogpost on Frustration.

My post four years ago pointed out that we spend our life like this:

Average Life Expectancy – 75 years.
We sleep for – 22 years.
We work for – 32 years.
We are in the toilet – 2 years.
We eat for – 4.5 years.
With family etc, – 3 years.
We socialise for – 3 years.

I am now 78 and I have wasted three years more that makes it a total of three and a half years that I have wasted. I am very happy about it.

Naturally, this post is dedicated to the friend who took me back three years in time.

Crumpet Uppuma.

Uppuma is a very popular breakfast/snack food in many parts of India. The most common variety is made with semolina but other varieties with sago etc are also made.

A rather unusual but easy to make uppuma is Bread Uppuma with left over bread slices.

After reading my blog post Crumpets, my friend Raju who lives in the USA commented – “I have been eating Crumpets from 1970 when I first landed in Toronto. Crumpet was a standard available in all grocery stores. the attraction was it felt and to a large extend tasted like a thick “UTTAPPAM”. Though it was commonly eaten at tea time, as you know , we South Indian Aiyer folks always improvise, so the following were the tastiest outcomes!!!
1) Nicely toasted, buttered with lots of ” Thangam Vadu mango pickle Gravy” !!!!
2) Set of nicely toasted , buttered crumpets with Spicy Potato PODIMASS… best sandwich !!!
3) The ultimate crumpet dish is ” CRUMPET UPPUMMA”!!!!. This is the favorite dish with all my Canadian and American friends!!! They have given up eating crumpets with Jam and butter!!! it is simple to make crumpet uppumma… like the regular uppumma, sauté onions, green chilies, ginger and mustard seeds and instead of adding Cream of wheat, cut crumpets into 1 inch square pieces and mix them with the sauted onions and slowly cook them for 10 to 15 minutes in low flame to get some crisp . No water at all. You will go to heaven!!!
The British way back in 1656 in Chennai ate the Uttappam with “JAM & BUTTER” and now in 2021 the south indian Ayers in London eat Crumpets as crumpet Uppumma!!.

Its all Localization!!!”

Just goes to show how innovative people can be!  Raju who has never commented on my blog posts, was even inspired to when it came to one on a food item!

Having got into the spirit of things, Raju took the inspiration to another level. He got some crumpets
Seasoned some onion, green chillies, etc for the upma,
Diced the crumpets into manageable cubes,
Tossed the whole lot togther and ended up with Crumpet Upma.
He then sent the images and a write up about his creation via WhatsApp as the images could not be posted on the comments section of my blog.

When the mood takes me again, as I am sure that it will soon, I shall venture forth into getting some more crumpets and make some Crumpet Uppuma too.

Raju and I have been friends for over 55 years and went to Business School together. I have been very close to his family in India and his younger brother Suresh too is a homebaker having learnt the art during the lockdown here. He too has created the crumpet uppuma after having first learnt to bake crumpets at home.

The three of us have become cooks. What a waste of our education into fields far removed from this wonderful occupation!


It all started with a blog post from eclectica called The Trumpet Project. I commented there as: “As strange as it may appear to you, despite having travelled extensively in the UK, Australia etc, I have never had crumpets. I shall remedy that immediately as they are available here too and may be write a blog post about it.” Kylie responded: “I’ll be interested to hear how you like them. Ive heard them compared to Murtabak, which you might know. Murtabak is far superior in my opinion.”

So, I went to Uncle Google and sought crumpets in Pune online and lo and behold found that a young lady friend of mine Mitali who calls herself “Homebaker” makes and markets them in Pune. I contacted her and she sent some earlier today for lunch.

I added generous pats of butter and thoroughly enjoyed eating them accompanied by some delicious South Indian curry.

One item that never went into my bucket list and one that will not, now that I have had them.

Mitali has also offered to make crumpets with honey or jam in them and the next project will be those.

One item however has gone into my bucket list and that is Murtabak. Long live Google Uncle and perhaps I shall be able to write another blog post soon.

Gone Fishing.

My friend SG had this to say on his Facebook post: “This is probably a sure sign that I am getting old, but I absolutely love “Gone Fishing” with Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse. Stunning locations, gentle banter and great fishing – what’s not to like?”

That took me back to the early nineties of the last century and Chris Rea.

I posted this in response to SG and we then exchanged the following messages.

SG: Please watch the programme if you can. It is on BBC 2 here, I think. It is hosted by two aging comedians in their early 60s who are recovering from life threatening health conditions, so a lot of meditations on life and mortality (all presented in a light-hearted way).

I: I have seen a few clips on youtube recommended by some friends. Quite interesting but, not my cup of tea. I am not as old as you are.

(There is over two decades of age difference between us.)

For those interested, the lyrics for Chris Rea’s song:

I’m going fishing
I got me a line
Nothin’ I do’s gonna’ make the difference
So I’m taking the time
And you ain’t never gonna’ be happy
Anyhow, anyway
So I’m going fishing
And I’m going today
I’m going fishing
Sounds crasy I know
I know nothing about fishing
But just watch me go
And when my time has come
I will look back and see
Peace on the shoreline
That could have been me
You can waste whole lifetime
Trying to be
What you think is expected of you
But you’ll never be free
May as well go fishing.

Chris Rea interview – summer 1991, for the song ”Gone Fishing”.

“I know a lot of people have remarked to me they have listened to the record, “I like that song, that’s what we should do, just go fishing, forget about everything”. The funny thing about that song is as I say in the song, I don’t know anything about fishing. he bottom line of the tune is that when you get to the last day of your life and you look back, and you see how many hours you’ve spent in traffic-jams, pushing and shoving, how many hours you’ve spent elbowing people out of the way and being elbowed out of the way; You just thing to yourself I wish I had all them hours back, cos I may as well have gone fishing…”

Humourous Fortitude.

A friend called me up to inform me of a misadventure that another mutual friend SC and the latter’s wife had had. He could not give me the full information as his had come from second hand sources.

I therefore called my friend who took some time to answer the phone but, on seeing my name on the caller id slot,  started off by letting off a big laugh. This surprised me as I was expecting anything else but this as his opening. When he had calmed down, he said that he was glad that I had called and that he was planning to call me any way to share his misfortune with me.

The story that unfolded was that the 80 year old SC had slipped and fallen in their bedroom two days ago. He found it difficult to straighten himself as he had fallen between a dresser and the bed and also was hurting badly. His wife, hearing his shouts came to rescue him and in trying to, also fell down and had broken her fore arm bone in two places. Now, both were in agony and on the floor and unable to get up but, luckily, SC was able to lay his hands on his cellphone that had fallen below him. He called his neighbour who had to break down their entrance door to gain access to their flat and in the process gathered a few other curious neighbours as well.

The whole crowd came up with many suggestions culminating finally in one of them calling for an ambulance from a nearby hospital and finally the two were evacuated to the hospital for treatment.

I could not hold myself back any further at this point and asked him why if he had undergone all this he laughed as he answered my phone and his response showed why we are friends.

He said, that for the past two days, he had been reviewing all that had happened and was shocked at the response of the crowd that had gathered in his room before he was shifted. In his words, it was mostly morbid interest on how both the oldies had got into the distressing situation. He said, instead of those ghouls, had I been there, I would have lightened up the situation, taken charge and pointed out the comic side of the drama. He therefore was planning to call me to give his comic version when coincidentally, my call had come in while both were still in a hospital room. He just burst out laughing impulsively and was glad that I had called.

Both are well on their way to full recovery albeit with bruised egos and lighter wallets. Both however are facing their misfortune with humourous fortitude if that is the term to use in the situation.