Small Pleasures.

After a dry spell of three days, the monsoon revived again this afternoon and I got up from my siesta to petrichor. Sitting in our verandah and watching the rain fall in our garden is one of my favourite pastimes and I indulged in it till the showers lasted.

Last year I was in better physical condition than I am now in and I was able to make short visits outside our home and I had gone to a reunion of ex colleagues at Lonavala during the rains. Till a few years earlier, every monsoon I used to go to Mahabaleshwar at least once during each monsoon but, all those are now distant memories.

I am at least mobile enough inside the home to be able to enjoy such a small pleasure that I am grateful enough to appreciate such small pleasures like petrichor and rain watching.

I am also very grateful that I am blessed with two young people in my life who pamper me.  My pedicurist is closed due to the lockdown and since I cannot bend down to clip my own toe nails, my son Ranjan obliged. AND my daughter in love sneaked up from behind me and took this photograph to save the moment for posterity.

The Law Of Attraction?

The Jack in the jack fruit is derived from the Malayalam word Chakka for it. It is one of my all time favourites and I gorge on it whenever it is available. I love to eat the fruit as well its seed after boiling and removing the hard cover from the seed. One of the reasons that we don’t get much of it in many homes is the mess one makes while removing the outer cover to get at the wedges.

During the lockdown, our help were not coming to work and I thought that I would at least get the seeds from a dear friends and ex colleagues from Kerala who has a few trees growing in his garden in Kerala. While they were ready and only too willing to oblige, the courier companies and the post office unfortunately were not willing to accept packages for destinations in our state. So, I had to inform them that I shall bug them next year by which time hopefully the lockdown would have been removed everywhere.

I still craved for the seeds in particular and I think that this is where the Law Of Attraction kicked in. My daughter in love’s mother had procured two fruits and today, one of them was cut open by one of the maids who has been allowed to come to work. The surprise was that the fruit was from a tree in the garden of my daughter in love’s maternal home in Pune. I got my wish fulfilled and these seeds shown here are about to be boiled and covers removed so that I can have my favourite snack.

What Has The Lockdown Done To/For You?

By the time this post gets published, India would have been under full or partial lockdown for 79 days. During this time, I have not left my home and have not received any visitors to meet me.  All contacts with the outside world has been through telephone, texting and email.  Other than my immediate family who share my home with me, I have not met anyone.

The first thing that the lockdown did to me was to stop my daily supply of newspapers and my morning indulgence of seven crossword puzzles. Luckily for me, the supply has started again a few days ago, though one paper, containing the toughest puzzle, which used to come from Mumbai is yet to restart in Pune where I live. None of the periodicals that I have subscribed to, have resumed supplies again.

This spare time was spent on looking for news on my smartphone which led to getting involved in many debates / arguments with members of some groups with differing ideologies and points of view. An obsession also developed to keep going to the smart phone to check for new postings on WhatsApp and twitter.

In this process I lost my power of concentration and was unable to indulge in my next favourite pastime of reading books. I was simply unable to focus and I discussed with another friend who also had the same problem but, who had diagnosed it as anxiety syndrome. I promptly contacted my Psychiatrist, who confirmed that it was indeed so and also that it is quite widely prevalent now. He suggested that I should not worry about it and prescribed some supplements which improved my concentration and I am now able to read books.

I started attending a web meeting of a social group of which I am a member and it has been a completely new and fascinating experience to me.

Another development was that my eyesight started getting to be blurred, and this was diagnosed by my Ophthalmologist as being due to too much time spent on the smart phone. He too said that this too is quite widely prevalent and asked me to reduce the time I spent on it. I duly dropped out of some WhatsApp groups after explaining and apologising and hopefully, things should improve in the next few days.

I haven’t been able to get a hair cut and so the friar’s fringe is now beginning to look like a strange type of duck tail.

I have been able to meditate for longer and this has been the greatest development due to the lockdown.

Other than these, I have had a fairly comfortable time being fussed over by my son and daughter in love. Lucky me!

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  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.

Aatjun.

No, I have not invented a new word. Let me explain.

I placed an order online for a book with a local book seller in Pune just before the lockdown. I have been keen to read the book and so have been calling them up on and off to find out when they will send the book only to be told that it will be as soon the as the lockdown is lifted.

Many establishments have been allowed to open since the last few days and hoping that perhaps this establishment too would have opened, I called them again yesterday and after some investigation, the lady on the phone informed me that I should not worry and that the book will be sent to me after aatjun. I requested the lady a few times to be more clear blaming the poor quality of the phone line connection and she kept on repeating aatjun.

Please remember that this conversation is taking place in Hindi, and so in exasperation, I requested the lady to repeat the term in English and the mystery was solved. She meant “8th June”. Aat in Hindi is the numeral eight and pronounced June as Jun.

I should hopefully get the book by mid next week.

Phew.

Xenophobia.

xenophobia
/zɛnəˈfəʊbɪə/
Learn to pronounce
noun
dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.

Recently after the news spread that the Corono Virus should be really called the Chinese virus, right or wrong, many Indians from the North Eastern states who have mongoloid features were subject to abuse in many states within India. When I read this news, I was ashamed of being an Indian but, on reflection felt sad about our education system that does not teach our people about the diversity of our population within the country.

For all practical purposes, India is like Europe rather than any country. It has many ethnic religious, linguistic and cultural groups and also running within each group sub groups, castes etc and unless one has been privileged to visit all the states and interacted with the local people, eaten their cuisine and enjoyed their differences, it is not surprising that such aberrations take place within our own country leave alone, xenophobia against people from other countries.

I can without hesitation say that I am xenophobic when it comes to Pakistanis and the worst experience that I have had while my travels overeseas was to be mistaken for one in the UK. Since both Pakistanis and Indians come essentially from the same genetic pool, they look the same and it is easy to be mistaken for either by ignorant foreigners. If I felt insulted at being mistaken for a Pakistani, I feel flattered that many Pakistanis, in the UK and other countries name their restaurants as Indian eating places to avoid being mistaken for Pakistani establishments! Although rather dated, this explains that phenomenon.

Very often, xenophobia is confused with or combined with racism and I suspect that this topic was suggested after the recent developments in the USA. Having expounded on xenophobia, let me now address the issue of racism. I have personal experience of racism during my travel and it is not something that one would like to experience ever. We in India too are racist in a way. Since our nation is a mosaic there is a definite preference for fairness and aversion for darkness. The following two ads say enough.

That preference and aversion of colour exists is best explained by the inimitable Mohamed Ali first in a video and then by Robert Mugabe in a statement.

 

“Racism will never end as long as white cars are still using black tyres.

Racism will never end if people still use black to symbolise bad luck and white for peace.

Racism will never end if people still wear white clothes to weddings and black clothes to funerals.

Racism will never end as long as those who don’t pay their bills are blacklisted not white listed.

Even when playing snooker, you haven’t won until you’ve sunk the black ball, and the white ball must remain on the table!

But I don’t care, as long as I’m still using white toilet paper to wipe my black ass, I’m happy.”

Here again a complete overhaul of our education system to treat White and Black as opposites and different rather than good and bad may perhaps change attitudes sometime in the future.

In the meanwhile, I have serious doubts that we can eliminate both, at least not in my life time.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman 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.

Print Media.

I am in total agreement with that observation on all media. I rarely see television and my main exposure to media is the newspapers.

A news item shared on WhatsApp by a fellow 6 on 1 Friday blogger Padmum, gave me the idea for this week’s topic.

This story as it comes during the time when our state government has banned distribution of printed news papers by hand during the lockdown in our city, almost made me cry. I am addicted to a dose of five newspapers and the seven crossword puzzles that they contain every day for my forenoon occupation and only I know how I have been managing without them since the lockdown.  And, in all fairness my despair is more for the loss of the crossword puzzles than the news in those papers.

Unlike the West, where the print media is losing ground to Television and internet, in India, it is flourishing or should I say was flourishing thanks to a very news hungry populace deeply involved in our politics and sports.  Unfortunately however, while the headlines may contain the news, most content is opinion and the op-ed pages just reflect  the philosophy of the news paper, and for the English press in India, it is left wing and anti just about everything.

One therefore tries to see what the foreign press has to say and sadly, they are no better.  Here is a classic example of what a leading news paper from the land of two of my fellow bloggers here reports and why we are not particularly enamoured with them either.

The Militant Monk shown in the clip is Yogi Adityanath, the democratically elected Chief Minister of our largest state with a population ~25 million. He is an ascetic forced into politics thanks to years of misrule in his state of residence and very highly thought of by his constituency.  Contrast that with Baghdadi about whom I hardly need to explain.

The Washington Post is hardly alone and if I start to list the other news papers, my readers will get bored and leave the rest of the post unread.  I am sure that they know exactly what I mean.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Padmum. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.