Passing Out.

In a recent exchange of messages in our Senior Citizens group, two long lost classmates from our National Defence Academy tried to place each other by asking when each had passed out. They obviously meant this kind of passing out where the ritual of throwing a cadet is normal. This is from one of our Officers’ Training Academies.

It is also quite common to ask fellow alumni in our Business School Alumni meeting to ask each other as to when one passed out.

If I am around and I get a word in, I inevitably ask “how and when did you revive?”

For me, this is what is meant by passing out:
My mind keeps asking why people cannot use the word graduating instead of passing out. I think that it is more appropriate. What do you, my dear reader, think?

My New Visiting Card.

MY SOUL HAS A HAT

I counted my years
and realized that I have
Less time to live by,
Than I have lived so far.

I feel like a child who won a pack of candies: at first he ate them with pleasure
But when he realized that there was little left, he began to taste them intensely.

I have no time for endless meetings
where the statutes, rules, procedures & internal regulations are discussed,
knowing that nothing will be done.

I no longer have the patience
To stand absurd people who,
despite their chronological age,
have not grown up.

My time is too short:
I want the essence,
my spirit is in a hurry.
I do not have much candy
In the package anymore.

I want to live next to humans,
very realistic people who know
How to laugh at their mistakes,
Who are not inflated by their own triumphs
and who take responsibility for their actions.

In this way, human dignity is defended
and we live in truth and honesty.

It is the essentials that make life useful.
I want to surround myself with people
who know how to touch the hearts of those whom hard strokes of life
have learned to grow with sweet touches of the soul.

Yes, I’m in a hurry.
I’m in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.
I do not intend to waste any of the remaining desserts.

I am sure they will be exquisite,
much more than those eaten so far.

My goal is to reach the end satisfied
and at peace with my loved ones and my conscience.

We have two lives
and the second begins when you realize you only have one.

~ Poem by Mario de Andrade (San Paolo 1893-1945) Poet, novelist, essayist and musicologist.

One of the founders of Brazilian modernism.

Wholesomeness And Hope.

Wholesomeness is defined as the “quality of being wholesome ( healthy or good for you)

I submit that if one is wholesome, where is the need for hope? Theoretically, one is already fulfilled!

On the other hand, one can always hope for wholesomeness!

This is my take on this week’s Friday 5 On 1 blog post topic. The other four bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumShackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Sanjana. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Typo.

During the lockdown, my daughter in love Manjiree had to go off to her mother’s place to be with her mother during a particularly trying time as her grandmother (Nani) was seriously ill and had been admitted in a hospital.

During her absence a dear friend SK was getting home cooked food for me and my son Ranjan.

Nani did not recover from her surgery and passed away and I sent a message to my SK by WhatsApp which I reproduce below.

“Manjiree and her mother have moved to my home after creating Nani.

No need to trouble you any more. Thanks for your help.

At your convenience please drop the other bag/carrier so that I can return both to my friend.

Thanks once again. I look forward to meeting all three of you after this tha Asha is over.

A person Affectionate regards.”

Earlier this afternoon, SK finally decided to ask me for clarification on what I meant by creation of Nani. Naturally I was zapped and asked him to send me the message back to me as I had erased it at my end. I discovered that it was cremation and not creation. There were also two other typos – the last but one line should read as “thamasha” instead of “tha Asha”; and, the last line should not have “A person” in it at all.

Autocorrect at its best and a lesson for me to edit before pressing the send button in future messages.

Thank you SK.

Courage.

My earliest memory of being courageous is that of my overcoming fear of diving off a high diving board in a swimming pool. I learnt to swim in this very pool shown above in Chennai. I would have been all of eleven years old then. After having learnt to swim, the next step was to learn how to dive. First from the sides of the pool and then from the lower boards of the diving board and then came the most scary of them all the high board.

I can assure you that it was almost like Mr. Bean’s experience when I first went up the steps and saw the water below for the first time. It took a great deal of courage to overcome the fear and take that plunge which I eventually managed to. The next one and the next ones were pieces of cake.

The next challenge came when I went to a swimming pool with a higher diving board.

It was Mr. Bean time all over again but eventually I did overcome the fear and dived and need I say, history repeated itself after that.

It took me other experiences to teach me that being courageous is a one off experience. Once you have overcome the first fear you are off and running. My other experiences were, overcoming stage fright in school drama, asking a girl for a kiss, asking a girl out on a date, asking a girl to go steady, proposing marriage though, no sequel to it, quitting a happy life style to go to Business School, quitting a job after 23 years of service to seek fresh opportunities, going in for hip replacement surgery and so on.

Here I pause to share with my readers one exception to my observation.  In our North Eastern States, travel between two towns is usually by shared taxis and the favourite vehicle in those days used as taxis was Jonga. These were usually driven by daredevils who wanted to take on the likes of Sterling Moss of those days. Their speciality was in taking mountain bends and hairpin bends at speeds in excess of 60 KPH much to the discomfort of passengers like me. The locals were quite accustomed to such death defying driving but, I had to endure it during my travelling days there and I had to use them always with a prayer in my lips. I am convinced that if I am here to write this post, it is God’s grace and my good karmas.

There have also been foolish decisions that eventually proved that the experience should not be repeated but, the first one had to be taken as an act of courage.

My conclusion is that the first time you have to be courageous is the tough one. The same experiences to be repeated are not acts of courage but routine.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 5 On 1 blog post topic. The other four bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, Padmum and Shackman and Conrad.   Conrad incidentally, is the original founder of the weekly bloggers group formed way back in 2009. This week’s topic was suggested by Shackman. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Panic.

My family and circle of friends is full of people who have had to get their knees replaced.  So, when suddenly I started to get a severe pain on the inside of the right knee, I panicked and went ballistic trying to find a diagnosis online.  I finally went over to my GP who examined me and asked me, if I had run into anything recently and I suddenly remembered that I had indeed run into the corner of my bed a few days ago.  He diagnosed the pain as arising out of a blood clot due to that after pointing out a dark bruise on the skin.  He prescribed some pills and an ointment and no sooner I had taken the first pill and applied the ointment, I immediately felt relief.

There’s nothing quite like the behaviour of panicky humans,  My imagining all kinds of dire consequences like going back to a hospital for surgery, the expenses involved etc were totally irrational and also totally unlike my normal behaviour to adversity.

Let me share another story.

Every Sunday morning without fail around 10.30 am a surrogate son to me calls me from Mumbai  to ensure that I am alive and have not changed my will where he expects to find himself in a prominent position. He has been doing this for the past twenty years and so when he did not call me at the usual time last Sunday and after waiting for a couple of hours to give him some time to finish whatever he was doing, I called him at 12.30 pm just as he was entering his home. I asked him if dementia has set in already for him and he simply passed on the phone to his wife to explain to me as to why he did not call me in the morning. It turned out that she  had hustled him our of his bed at an ungodly hour for a Sunday and got him to escort her to a supermarket close by to buy and stock up on groceries for the anticipated shutting down of Mumbai due to the pandemic.

My daughter in love and son however appear to be totally unconcerned as I am too and when this topic was suggested by Sanjana for this week’s 5 on 1 Friday post, I was reminded of this:

On enquiry, I found that without much noise provisions had already been stocked up for emergencies and the only thing about which they were worried was milk without which I don’t have my tea or coffee and which is needed regularly to set yogurt without which I cannot exist. I responded that if shove came to push, I shall indeed be prepared to sacrifice my dietary preferences in the larger interest of the public and that they should not panic.

Here is a video that shows clearly to what extent one can go to hoard things during an emergency like the current one.

What however has puzzled me and many others too is the mad rush to stock up on toilet paper.

I am not one to panic easily. Not that I have become like that, it is just that I am just made that way. It is not deliberate but, just natural for me to face adversities calmly and take such action as necessary within my capability.  The knee incident however exposed me to the reality that I too can panic under some conditions.

There have been a number of occasions in my life when I had to face unexpected adverse situations where I was able to face them and come out relatively unscathed compared to others under similar circumstances. Other friends had panicked under similar circumstances and one even committed suicide. I guess that it is all the negative messages that we are bombarded with by the media and now through the social media that such panic reactions take place as people are unable to foresee a future as comfortable as the present that they are so comfortable with.

We are currently in the midst of the Coronavirus panic and I am sure that after a few weeks and in retrospect we will look back and wonder what the panic was all about. I hope to write a follow up post on that.

And to sign off, here is snoopy being topical again.
This is my take on this week’s Friday 5 On 1 blog post topic. The other four bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, Padmum and Shackman and Conrad.   Conrad incidentally, is the original founder of the weekly bloggers group formed way back in 2009.  It gives me great pleasure to welcome him back to this venture, thanks to some persistent nagging by Shackman.  This week’s topic was suggested by Sanjana. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.