One Thing Leads To Another.

In Tamil, my mother tongue, “Chinna Veedu” literally means “small house” implying a mistress kept in a smaller house by a rich man whose bigger house was for his official wife and family. A movie was also made with the same title some years ago which was a bit hit in Tamil Nadu.

I was teasing a friend of mine about his current work style of working only four days a week due to the restrictions due to Covid by asking him if he had established a “Chinna Veedu”. After fielding that effectively, he told me of a story about a mutual friend that I had not known so far.

This mutual friend was a wealthy wholesaler in Mumbai with two children, one a son and the other, younger, a daughter. The son joined his father’s business after his college education and the daughter, after acquiring an MBA, started to work for a very big business man in Mumbai in his office in the Finance department.

As, it is normal in such families, the parents indulged her as it was only for a short while as she was expected to get married into another business family as is the custom in their community. When she was 24, the parents found a very nice match for her and got her married in a typically lavish Indian wedding ceremony.

Just after a few months, the daughter returned to her parent’s home complaining that her husband was impotent and that she wanted a divorce. Her parents, devastated confronted the groom’s family and the truth finally came out.

There was nothing wrong with the groom but, the daughter was in an affair with her boss who had asked her to get married to please the parents but to get a divorce after a while on the promise that he too would get a divorce from his current wife and marry her. The girl is 24 and the boss 50 years old.

Finally, all issues were sorted out and both parties went through the divorces and before they could get married however, our mutual friend had a massive heart attack and died just a few months ago at the age of 60.

I did not know about this story as I have been out of touch with most of my former business associates that I knew during my working days and this news and story came as a total surprise and shock to me as I knew the girl and her family rather well and had a very amicable relationship with them over many years.

What as story to start my Sunday off with! Have you come across anything like this in your circles?

The Sky Is The Limit.

Today’s topic has been suggested by the youngest member of our group Sanjana who still has many miles to go before she sleeps. The rest of us six, except Maria who too still has some catching up to do, are all past or are on the proverbial three score and ten land mark and perhaps have other thoughts on the matter. Sanjana is also likely to write on technology and science, where there perhaps the sky is the limit whereas for me having been there and done that, goals are different and perhaps for my readers and fellow 6/1 bloggers, exotic. Maria is new to the group and it will be interesting to see her take on the subject.

I am a Vedantin. The core idea in that school of thought is “Brahma Satyam, Jagat Mithya, Jivo Brahmaiva Naparaha.” as so beautifully explained by Adi Shankara.

If you have gone to the article as given in the link you would have seen that Brahman is limitless and the Truth and that the Jiva, that is the individual is not different/apart from Brahman and therefore he too is limitless. The goal of the individual in this life is to ultimately REALISE that truth and be free and limitless. I have capitalised and highlighted the word REALISE to explain that it it the process of making something real that is only conceptual to start with. This is a matter for understanding.

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 Maria. 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.

The New Normal.

Work From Home has changed many things and fortunes and here is one aspect of it. Hyderabad is not the only city affected. Other cities with high concentration of IT establishments are equally affected. Pune, my home city is as badly affected as are Mumbai and Bengaluru.

It is not only homes that have seen loss of tenants. Businesses too have found that it is more economical to operate in a WFH system. They are giving up office space all over India as this report shows.

Here is another report about one of India’s largest IT companies that gives a clear indication of what lies ahead.

I personally know of some youngsters who have moved back with their parents in other parts of the country to work from home and save on rent. Employers too are happy with this option as WFH also gets more man-hours per employee than before.

A major change due to this one single development of WFH is the reduction in traffic in the cities most impacted like Pune for instance. Parking space is readily available as is commuting time for others. Peak hour traffic is so low that it does not look like peak hour at all.

These two factors alone should improve the quality of air in our cities and reduce fuel consumption which in turn will impact the automobile industry all over the world.

Domestic consumption is likely to stay at current levels where people have learned to do with less and this is likely to affect consumption and therefore production and therefore employment. Footfalls in Malls and Cinema Theaters are reduced and DTH is rapidly taking over entertainment which in turn affects traffic and related consumption patterns.

So, some industries will scale down while others will scale up and quite which will become clearer as we go along.

There are many other factors that will come into play as the Covid impact lessens and those will become evident as we move further into the year and 2021.

The most significant change will be in our lifestyles which will never again be what they used to be pre pandemic times.

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 me. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Surprise Gift.

A friend, Mahesh, from Jaipur had advised me last week that he had sent a parcel through a courier and had given me the tracking code for the package. Despite repeated pleas, he would not tell me what the package contained and suggested that I wait and be surprised, hopefully pleasantly.

Due to the disturbed conditions due to Covid, the parcel took its time and it was a frustrating experience tracking its progress from Jaipur to my home. It was fianally delivered while I was on my daily siesta and when I surfaced I found the package waiting for me on the dining table.

I opened it to find a book that I had been wanting for decades and which was not available in India. I had casually mentioned this to Mahesh quite some time ago as, he regularly travels overseas to see if he can get a copy somewhere and he did. This thoughtful friend had not forgotten and had bought it for me but, was unable to deliver it to me due to the lockdown. Recently, using a small window of relaxation, Mahesh had shifted residence to his parental home in Jaipur. On unpacking his personal effects he found the book and promptly packed it and couriered it to me last week.

Today, it is one of my treasured possessions and has gone to be bound so that it will last longer than normal paper back books.

I am indeed blessed to have such thoughtful friends with good memories.

Is COVID The Only ImmediateThreat To Mankind?


This is a guest post written at my request by my close confidante and friend Koushik Sekhar with whom I have discussed this topic threadbare on a number of occasions. He is more articulate than I am as the post will reveal and hence my request to him to write this post for this week’s 6 on 1 Friday blog post.

Over to Koushik.

Covid is not the immediate threat to mankind. Covid is merely the messenger.

There is a more serious threat to mankind- a kind of epistemological disaster and Covid related problems is only a symptom of a deeper malaise . It is a steadfast refusal by the elites of the world to acknowledge the value of knowledge generated by earlier societies and to accept that the generation of knowledge does not have barriers of time, space, race etc. Moreover there is an attempt to eliminate or suppress knowledge that does not generate wealth for the few or which threatens their power.

Decades of globalisation has made it so that these elites are no longer define-able by geography or a political affiliation or education or race. Hence taking aim at the root of problem is no longer so easy as the threat is amorphous and not easy to target and work upon.

This attitude that ‘all conjectures are conjectures but my conjecture is more science than yours’ is deadly for the future of man especially when the conjectures are failing badly. If this isn’t deadly enough, the way institutions are used to muzzle the spirit of enquiry among the outsiders of the systems makes it a larger threat to the world. And lastly , an attitude that ‘all vested interests are vested interests, but mine is more science than yours’  is also prevalent. I am not sure which is causing more damage to society as the competition is lively and tremendous.

To name a few, the new class of global elites have no answers for huge problems we face:

1. How to maintain a happy society with constant economic output or even if economic growth is not possible.
2. How to have social stability in a society where technological advancement is seen as the goal and highly disruptive, to society, technologies are unleashed at a rapid pace.
3. How to handle societies which have become destructive and want to spread their ideologies to others who have better solutions using any means fair and foul.
4. How to manage highly heterogeneous societies which want to have separate rules for each of its constituents.
5. How to guarantee rights to people when they have near zero duties
How to leave the world as we found it.

The attitude of these elites has been that if we pretend that these problems do not exist they will go away. They have spurned knowledge that did not come from them or came from sources unacceptable to them. But these problems have become too big now and the chickens are coming home to roost. Propaganda is no substitute for logic nor can it solve problems created by a long history  underlying such propaganda.

As I could not phrase it any better, I am quoting from this excellent blog on the topic.

Quote

‘pratyaksham hyetyormūlam kritantai etihyorapi, pratyaksheṇāgamobhinnah kritanto vā na kinchan’,

essentially meaning that ‘in case of a conflict between direct evidence and inference/scriptural evidence, direct evidence shall prevail because it is at the root of both inferential evidence and scriptural evidence’.

Adi Shankaracharya, the first Shankaracharya said: ‘gnānam na purushatantram, kintu vastutantram’ — knowledge is not derived through word of command, but though objective reality.

UnQuote

We need the intellectual vigour encapsulated in the Indian proverb which states that ‘truth spoken by a fool is preferable to lies spoken by the great Guru Brihaspati’, also known as the planet Jupiter, the giver of all wisdom.

There are serious epistemological problems in the world today. The Aristotelian logic is no longer adequate to understand reality and solve problems and is at the root cause of many of the problems we have today. We need to understand nuance which is ever present in nature and reality and our logical systems should be in consonance with that.

More here

and here.

We are increasingly becoming exclusive instead of being inclusive.  Many of our values are driven by ‘either or’ rather than by ‘and’.  For example : the framing of the LGBT issue as one being either pro-LGBT or anti-LGBT is seriously deficient. The truth is that society has to be both pro and anti-LGBT at the same time. Pro LGBT as far as providing them safe spaces are concerned and providing them protection and avenues for self-sustenance; but society also has to be anti LGBT in so far as it being discreet and not impeding the lives of other people.

Today’s elites consisting of bankers, businessmen and politicians have become equivalent to those that tried to punish Galileo for his heliocentric theory and a lot of mainstream scientists are tagging along as they get their share of the booty. Such scientists are not scholars in pursuit of the truth.

Truth doesn’t need advocates or us. We, the mankind, need the truth as it helps us manage our societies and avoid making disastrous and irreversible decisions regarding environment, family, culture, food, education which can set us back by 100s of years. In the last 100 years, we have done a lot to move the clock back. It is not clear how far we can push in the wrong direction without being able to turn back.

I am an optimist. I believe that this too shall pass and one day our descendants will look back and see how foolish we were about so many things. But right now it is imperative that we do not believe things at face value that are fed to us and question what is right and wrong. We need to look for ideas, concepts and hypotheses that provide alternate solutions to the prevailing wisdom as the prevailing wisdom is not working. We need to have only one permanent affiliation namely that with the truth and all the rest our affiliations and associations of political, material and religious kind are only the means to that end.

We also need to update our epistemological tools drastically.

The steadfast inertia/ refusal to not do these things that is perhaps a greater threat to mankind than Covid. In fact the impact of Covid itself is much larger than what could have been because of this mindset and this will reveal itself as the efficacy of various successful approaches taken by the discredited ones all over the world come to light after the Covid storm has passed.

The pursuit of truth has taken a backseat for a long time now and its cumulative consequences are amongst us. This is the most serious threat to mankind.

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 Raju. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Favourite Foods And Memorable Eating Places.


That is a typical South Indian meal served on a plantain leaf which would rank as my all time favourite food.

I hope that my fellow 6/1 bloggers Conrad and Shackman get an opportunity to try that experience.

Having been on expense account travelling jobs during my working days, I had enough opportunity to eat in some of the world’s most well known restaurants and more so within India. I have also been blessed with so many friends all over who insisted on feeding me home cooked meals that it will be impossible for me to list all those as well as choose the most memorable except for the few cases right in the beginning of my sales career in rural India when I had to visit villages and towns without restaurants and so the local customers hosted me meals in their homes. Those experiences are simply unforgettable and I can hold forth on them for hours if opportunity presents itself.

I live in Pune which is famous for its street and restaurant food and during my younger and working days, I could gorge myself on street food and never have home cooked meals for days together other than break fast of course. Here is a look at some of the food in my home town.

Those days are gone now and I don’t relish eating out any more. I prefer meeting my friends for lunch at my local club which is centrally located and convenient for all to reach with plenty of parking space too. The club serves different cuisines, many types of Indian, Continental and Chinese and so the guests have a variety of choices. I normally satisfy myself with a soup, a couple of sandwiches and an ice cream to finish off the meal. My major meal has been breakfast now for many years and lunch the only other meal that I have is a small in quantity affair.

I hope that I have generated enough curiosity and interest in my taste in food for my readers to try out some and if it is Pune that they would like to try, I would be delighted to host them.

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.