The Other Side Of Seventy.


Mike’s post of the same title inspired this post from me. Please read the comments from me and Mike’s response to it too.

Just a day after that I received this in a WhatsApp message from my sister.

Yesterday afternoon, I received news that my friend, philosopher and guide of many years HI died following a failed chemotherapy session for cancer.

Last week was news of the death of a classmate and dear friend.

On the 10th inst, Nick wrote about biographies and autobiographies. I commented there : “I am not and never was into bio/autobiographies. Somehow, I just could not get interested in that genre. My own kind of biography is perhaps my blog just like yours is yours.” Nick responded with “Yes, blogs are very much a form of biography. Not at all chronological, but revealing all sorts of personal details.”

Little did I know that I was about to read an autobiography, and what a one!

Later yesterday, I received a forward of a video of a Cardiologist talking about life and death and how to manage our lives where he referred to a book called When Breath Becomes Air. I got a Kindle version and started reading it and just could not put it down.

Most of my readers here are senior citizens and quite a few are avid readers. For these, I strongly recommend this book. The most poignant and elegant book that I have ever read about a person’s last days written by himself.

Mother Tongue.

The above image is just the tip of the iceberg in India. According to the Census of India of 2001, India has 122 major languages and 1599 other languages. With that background, let me tell you my problem/s.

My late mother’s tongue was a mixture of Malayalam and Tamil spoken by a community called Palghat Iyers. My late father’s was pure Tamil. In deference to the latter’s comfort, the former changed to speaking the Tamil spoken by the latter and so I grew up speaking that Tamil.

What is my Mother Tongue?

My late wife’s mother was a Telugu, and her father was a Bengali. They spoke Urdu or English at home and my wife did not know either Telugu or Bengali.

At our home, we spoke mostly English and Hindi  now,  and our son grew up using both.

What is my son’s Mother Tongue?

My daughter in love’s mother is a Bengali and her late father was a Maharashtrian. She grew up speaking Marathi at her home. She has moved into our home where she too speaks Hindi and English mostly but, Marathi for effect when needed.

Just supposing I get a grandchild what will be her/his Mother Tongue?

How do I solve this conundrum when the census taker comes visiting?

Online shopping.


The door bell rang during my siesta earlier this afternoon, and there was a courier with a small parcel for me. He was cheerful and polite and greeted me properly, apologised for waking me up, and wished me a good day before he left.

The parcel was a paste used in some of our cooking and I kept it aside to take it to the kitchen later.

As is my daily routine, I had turned off the ringer of my mobile phone while I was asleep in the afternoon. On waking up and turning it on I found some missed calls and ignored them as the numbers were unfamiliar.

When I returned to the phone, I found as SMS alert and found a message from one of the missed call numbers saying that the number belonged to the supplier of the paste. I wondered why they would call me and rang them up only to find that the number belonged to the courier lad who had sent the message to me to identify himself as I was not answering the phone call from him to find directions to reach my home. He confirmed that he eventually asked around and found the address and had already delivered the parcel. All very cheerfully conveyed and with great humour.

I then went back to the paste only to find that there was no instructions on how to use it and so had to send an email to the manufacturer to obtain the same. Till the instructions come, the paste will have to wait. Sad. I was looking forward to using it straight away.

The redeeming feature of the whole incident was the cheerful courier person. I wish that all the courier companies would recruit/train their employees to be like that lad.

Onam Treats.

Today is Onam. A festival celebrated by Malayalis from Kerala, a state in the South West of India. Regular readers of this blog will recollect that I have deep connections with Kerala, my late mother having been born there and apart from that, my having lived there for many years apart from visiting it in depth many times. I have friends there and also many Malayali diaspora friends and since morning have been flooded with Onam greeting messages which I have had to respond to.

While that part of the post was easy to create and write the next part is a little difficult. There are a number of families in India, who have suffered greatly during the lockdowns due to the pandemic and one of them is an entrepreneur who lives in my neighbourhood.   She had to close down a small restaurant that she was running due to the lockdown. Unable to come out of the deep financial losses to restart her business, she has taken to cooking food at home and supplying to people desiring her specialities among them being food from Kerala.

A few days ago, a mutual friend had suggested to me to extend some support to this lady and since Onam was coming up I placed an order for two Onam specialities to be delivered to me today.

The top image is of Ela Ada and the lower one of Palada Pradhaman.
These two dishes were duly delivered this morning well in time for consuming during lunch and my son and I thoroughly enjoyed both dishes. Enough has been refrigerated for the DIL to have for her dinner on her return from work.

None of us are quite capable anymore of partaking traditional Onam meal like the one shown below, served on a plantain leaf.