Easter Guest.

Maria the gaelikaa, Bikehikebabe and I exchanged these messages on FaceBook this morning.

Maria Perry Mohan
Happy Easter to everybody. Jesus is alive!

Cynthia Jones Springer i miss India-the little I saw. I’m glad you’re there along with Ramana to represent India.

Ramana Rajgopaul Yes, in Pune.

Maria Perry Mohan Yes!

I bet that Maria did not have a clue as to what I was talking about. I was talking about this:

And this:

This is Betrand Tustes. A remarkable young man from France who works with a few NGOs in Pune. He joined us for lunch and paid me the greatest compliment a guest can by asking me for the recipe for the special dish that I had made. I am on cloud nine still as I write this.

Gratitude List – April 7, 2012.

Karl landed up in the evening for a chat and we had dinner at the FW. A great time was had and it was nice seeing Karl enjoying his retirement. We intend doing more of this in the future. Post dinner, some nice stimulating discussions with Sunil put me in a great frame of mind and I read up on some matters to face his challenges in the future.

Mangal came back to work on Sunday. Phew! After my walk to and in the park, I went shopping and was offered a lift back home by Marissa who insisted on spoiling me. I took up on that offer and rode home. My father developed some heaviness in his chest and I was able to get the proper treatment from my doctor sister in law, which gave him immediate relief.

Monday, with Mangal back in action, I got enough time to get back to my old routine, which included a vigilant communication with one of India’s leading newspapers about a goof up which they promptly rectified after tending an apology and thanking me for the tip off. I had the electricians over to replace a defective fan regulator and was very gratified to see the water levels in the battery for the inverter at satisfactory levels. There was no need for any top up. I submitted my father’s twice a year claim for medical expenses reimbursement online without the usual hassles I used to have in the past with the system. Phew!

Tuesday went peacefully till the evening when my father again complained of unease and I took him to the doctor. He was diagnosed with a mild congestion of the chest and treated for it. My father however believes that he is being given placebos. Strange how his mind works, but as long as he stops complaining, I am blessed.

On Wednesday morning, my father once again started off with his ailments and insisting that I consider second and third opinions about getting himself fitted with a pace maker. I flatly refused and suggested that if he wanted to do that, he better find some one else to take the responsibility for his hospitalisation and recovery. I however went back to our family doctor for confirmation that the stand I took was what he wished, and he confirmed it. By late afternoon, my father seemed reconciled to the idea of medication, its side effects and discomfort for his condition. It also helped that his congestion seemed to have reduced.

Thursday was the last evening that Shanmugham had to spend with all of us at the park as he was leaving early on Friday morning to Tamil Nadu to spend the next six months with his other children. It was also Chandru’s birthday and we had a birthday cum farewell party at the park with a lot of well wishers participating. It was also the birthday of Rhea, my neighbour’s grand daughter and my mascot. She sent a piece of her birthday cake to round up my day.

Late Thursday evening however, I got news from Mangal’s family that she had to be readmitted to the hospital, with a suspected stroke. Later, I was informed that she was stable but will need to be in the hospital.

Friday, I was back in the kitchen and cooked up a biriyani with soya chunks. Much appreciated by the Senior and Junior and I had a good helping too! Late in the evening I received a call from Anil just to say how happy he was to have me as a friend. That was a nice end to a rather tiring day.


Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where twelve of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Grannymar. The ten other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, Rohit, The Old Fossil and Will. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
~ Steve Jobs

I could not have put it better. This has been the way that I have lived my life as all my regular readers know. I have sat quietly, letting the spring come and the watching the grass grow by itself. In retrospect, I have been able to connect the dots and marvel at how eventful the journey has been. I therefore have no problems trusting the “whatever” to connect to my future. By and large, when it comes to trusting others, I have done so without exception till I was proved to have been wrong. That has happened, but, fortunately for me, very rarely. Mostly, the trust had not been misplaced.

On the other hand, and this is where things get dicey, when others place their trust in me, it is a different ball game altogether. The dots become very important. That I am responsible for another person’s well being brings a different dimension to the word ‘Trust’. I cannot sit quietly and wait for the spring to come and the grass to grow by itself, though my instinct tells me that, that is the right course to take. I resist the temptation and try and connect the dots on a day to day and immediate future basis. It has worked so far and in retrospect, the dots have been connected.

I have implicit trust that everything will work out alright in the future. So far, it has worked for me.

The Salt Of The Earth.

This is Shanmugham, my friend from the park. He is from Tamil Nadu and wears the traditional dress of that state; white dhoti and half sleeve shirt. He speaks the same language as my mother tongue and that is the factor that brought the two of us together.

He is a retired farmer from the Kaveri delta. He comes from a village very close to my ancestral village. One of his sons now manages his agricultural interests. He has another one running a very profitable fly ash brick making industry, close to his farm lands. One of his sons is a Manager in a Five Star hotel in Quatar and another is the Executive Chef in a Five Star hotel in Pune. He has come to Pune to spend time with the last.

Where I sit in the park after my walk, to my left all my English/Hindi speaking friends sit and to my right, Shanmugham and another Tamil speaking friend Ganesan sits, and occasionally, another Tamil friend Ramanathan joins too. An important friend, Rangachari has just gone off on a three month tour of South India and the Far East Asia. All these gentlemen live with their sons as do I. The difference being that they keep visiting their many sons, while I stay put with my one and only child Ranjan. All of them keep visiting their daughters too.

Whenvever any of these friends come home, my father is over joyed as he can speak to them in Tamil and he particularly likes to chat with Shanmugham with whom he shares the agricultural background.

My English/Hindi speaking friends wonder how I can survive in the stereophonic cacaphony every evening and are convinced that I am a freak. I agree.

Shanmugham is my current link to my roots and some common sense solutions to life’s problems. He is totally guileless and entirely fits this definition of the phrase of this blog post: “Those of great worth and reliability.” All his children, the four sons and two married daughters as well as a brood of grand children adore him as I can make out from the telephone calls that he keeps getting from around the globe as well as from the way he is treated by his local family.

He neither speaks nor understands any language other than Tamil. He has studied up to the fourth standard in a Tamil medium school, and while is literate, not very well read. He is wise and his IQ must be over 140. He had to stop schooling to help his father run the farm and so lost out on formal education. For all that, he has ensured that all his children studied and the results are there for all to see.

His background, one foot in the village and the other in other towns and cities of India as well as overseas, is repeated all over India and is a factor behind some good and some bad developments. His story however is full of the good developments. With this particular story as a backdrop, this NYT article shows how complex and enigmatic India is.

I am privileged to have him as my friend and I am flattered that he considers me as a good friend too.

Dinner By Candle Light.

Urmeela and I celebrated our thirtieth wedding anniversary in 1998 by having a candle lit dinner with another couple in Mumbai. That was the last time till last Saturday, when I had the joy of a candle lit dinner.

Only this time, it was not a romantic evening out. It was male bonding at its best. Karl and I had dinner together at Flour Works, my home away from home as Karl now calls it. We were given special attention and care by Meetha herself cooking up a special vegetarian dish for me while Karl selected his main course off the menu.

Meetha in her inimitable style offered to make it a memorable evening by making it a candle lit one as Karl was a first time visitor. We readily agreed and it was done. Candles floating on water inside squat glasses and all other lights switched off.

It was only subsequently that I came to know that we had been had. It was Earth Hour and Meetha did not mention anything about it to us. Clever Meetha, very clever. Thank you anyway.

Humour Earns New Friends.

My father, himself a Homeopath wanted some medicines and I strolled up to the local Homeopathy medicine retailer, run by a husband and wife team of Homeopaths.

This shop had opened up just a couple of years ago and has enabled the locals to source their homeopathy medicines from close by, instead of going to the city to do so. It is a nice compact little place, but not very comfortable to sit and wait for the medicines to be dispensed.

This time around, I was second to be waited on and the first one was a young mother picking up various things for her infant and consulting the doctor on various matters. As I am wont to, and since I knew the young lady, I kept teasing her and the atmosphere was quite relaxed and casual.

After I had finished my transactions with the couple, the lady doctor suddenly asked me if I was Ranjan’s father. On being confirmed, she said that for a while, she had been wanting to ask that question as normally Ranjan would come with the unique hand written prescription that my father writes on the back of used envelops. Ranjan normally runs errands for his grand father, and I had not been there since last June. On being answered in the affirmative, she further added that they keep seeing Ranjan near their residence too. Ranjan often visits his friends Karen and Yadu, their neighbours.

With that background, the lady asked me some more details about our home and I could not resist the temptation to quip that our home consisted of three motherless children, all bachelors and it was a comfortable place to be as there was no woman to bug us.

The husband, quietly handling the packing of the medicines and toting up the bill suddenly burst out laughing and insisted on shaking my hands. The poor lady, was taken aback a bit, but smartly recovered and joined in in the laughter.

I made a couple of new friends and more importantly, they have now offered to keep the medicines ready for me if I would telephone ahead. This would enable me to avoid the uncomfortable sitting around to get the prescriptions filled.