Confusion.

I have three ARs in my WhatsApp list. Arun, Arjun and Arvind. The last was my late younger brother whose name I have not had the heart to remove from the list. The first two  have Rajagopal as their second names, one with Rajagopal and the other with Rajagopalan.

Earlier this week, it was Arjun’s birthday and I sent him a birthday greetings in the morning but, till late in the afternoon I had not received any acknowledgement and so I rang up my friend and his father to enquire if all is well. My friend said that he will get the son to call me back and then I found that his birthday was later in the year and he claimed that he had not received any message from me. I then realised that I had sent the greetings to Arjun, but was following up with Arun’s father and Arun. I then realised that Arjun had also died some months ago and I had sent the message to a dead man’s WhatsApp number. My bad.

I have two other contacts, one a Koushik and the other Kaushal. I often type the first three letters wrongly to send emails or to send WhatsApp messages. I have not yet goofed up but, would not be surprised if I do soon enough.

Such confusion is normal for people of my age I am told. On the other hand, I have a young friend who is in a very comfortable position with a highly reputed organisation with a bright future. He has been offered a position in the Middle East where the emoluments will be higher and tax free for him and he can use a skill that he has acquired that he is unable to use in his present position. He sought my advice and I was at a loss to advise as the present situation in the Middle East is anything but rosy. I just discussed the pros and cons with him and after that both of us are as confused about the course of action to be taken by him as we were before the discussion.

Coming to another friend closer to my age, he is a widower living alone and wanting to pursue a spiritual life. For the past two years he has been in discussions with me and a few other friends about how to go about it and despite having explored a number of alternatives, has not been able to come to a final conclusion as he is totally confused. With the lockdown, things have become more difficult as his idle mind is a devil’s workshop and he keeps obsessing over not being able to be decisive.

These examples are micro level confusions but, today, the entire world is totally confused about the course of action to follow with the Covid situation with no answers coming from anywhere that guarantees success. In my fairly long life, I have never seen anything more confused than this pandemic with thousands of experts throwing up their hands but still offering opinions. We have governments in our states each following its own erratic ways and some claiming success one day and despairing the next. People too are totally confused with the number of advise givers growing day be day and diets and immunity boosting things changing from day to day.

Confusion has become chaos and quite when some semblance of normalcy will return is anybody’s guess.

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.

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.

RAIN.

A dear friend sent this link to me which I found to be interesting and topical enough to share with my readers. Dr. Sandeep Kelkar is a practicing paediatrician in Thane. a town very near Mumbai. He has had considerable experience handling parents and this approach obviously is something that he has developed to destress his patients’ parents. This is as applicable to us as to parents of children.

Gratitude.

The idea for this week’s topic for our weekly 2 on 1 Friday blog post came when I was musing over my life while having my tea, early in the morning, sitting on my comfortable chair in our verandah, enjoying the fresh morning activities in our garden as well as watching the passing parade outside the garden.

There was much to be grateful on that particular morning as the previous evening I had had an attack of gastritis. Earlier in the day, I had over indulged in a favourite sweet dish called Mawa Jalebi that Ranjan had brought home from a Sweet Shop adjacent to the office of one of his clients. Late in the evening, I started feeling uneasy and by 9.00 pm was in great pain below the ribcage and despite taking some readily available antacids from the medicine chest, I was not getting any relief. Ranjan stepped out to check and found that our family doctor, whose clinic is just across the road from our home, was still open for consultation. I rang him up to check if I could come over. He was just about to close shop but, asked me to come over and I landed up at 9.45 pm at his clinic. He examined me and gave me the assurance that I will feel comfortable soon, dispensed some medicine, gave me an injection and I returned home. I started feeling better almost immediately and by 11.00 pm was fast asleep.

I said to myself that morning that, I was grateful for such a considerate son who brought my favourite sweet dish, I had medicines at home for emergency treatment, I was able to consult my family doctor despite the hour being late, at a clinic that was just across the road from my home, and was able to comfortably sleep the pervious night after having spent a very uncomfortable evening.

That reminiscing led me to consider how many things that I was grateful for in my life at that point of time and I drew up a list as follows.

1. A series of developments led me to settle down in Pune and buy a very comfortable home when I had had no plans to do that before those developments. All that happened after our moving to Pune in 1990 in this home, were, experiences that had brought me to this stage of life in my late seventies where, I can comfortably look back at my life and be content. Just imagine, my bank, hair dressing saloon, pedicurist, doctor and grocer are all just across the road from my home. I have many restaurants very near us where I can choose from a wide variety of cuisine to go to, or, order for home delivery.

2. I have a devoted son and a daughter in love, who mollycoddle me and spoil me silly.

3. Despite both hip joints having been replaced and revised twice each, and in addition, afflicted with COPD, I am able to live a comfortable life if not a very active one. I have a home that provides me with comfortable furniture and ambience that allows to live such a life.

4. I have an extended family who support and cheer me almost on a daily basis thanks to modern social media and telephony.

5. I have a wide circle of friends from all over the world who are in regular touch and, who too,  cheer me up considerably.

6. I have enough resources to indulge in my passion for solving crossword puzzles and read.

7. I am blessed with very loyal and efficient help who have been with us for decades and who are now part of our family. They are available to be summoned on a 24/7 basis and that is a great feeling of security when, my son and daughter in love, take the odd vacation and, I have to be alone at home.

8. I have two dogs at home who seem to have ESP and come to be next to me whenever I feel a bit melancholic.  They act like pick me ups that act magically and the mood changes almost instantly.

9.  There are many more smaller things in my life about which I am very grateful, listing of which will however bore my readers.

Let me therefore share the biggest development for which I am most grateful.  It was my doctor ringing me up the following day after my consultation, to check how I was.  When he found me quite cheerful and back to my normal flippant self, he said -” You are very lucky that it was not a heart attack which I had to eliminate first in my examination, as you had pain in your chest.”  I quipped – “Thank God that it was only a fart attack!”

Are you surprised that I am very grateful for a naturally endowed with, sense of humour?

Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say on the topic.  Thank you.

 

Intolerance.

Intolerance is defined as an unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own; or an inability to eat a food or take a drug without adverse effects.

Having suggested this topic for this week’s Friday 2 on 1 blog post, I shall address both and perhaps something else as well. Please do visit Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say about the topic.

Unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own.

Ever since India’s Rightist Hindu Nationalist party, the BJP came to power in 2014, this word became synonymous with the Leftist Intellectuals in India and all kinds of things happened. Minor incidents of law and order took on communal tones like Hindu vs Christian, Hindu vs Muslim and Upper castes vs Lower castes and so on. Some took to mass media to condemn the majoritarianism implied in the result of the elections, some returned awards given to them by the previous dispensation as a means of protest, without however, returning the cash elements that went with those awards and generally made, what in my opinion was fools of themselves.

These were the English speaking, reading, writing urban self appointed intellectuals and their tantrums, simply did not reach the people who were none ot the above. The BJP came back to power last month with an increased majority in our parliament and now one sees the same breed of Tolerant Intellectuals analysing the results and coming to the conclusion that they misread the public mood and orientation. Some of these elements wrote for foreign publications as well crying themselves hoarse that doomsday is about to descend on India. As my readers can see, nothing like that happened and some even changed their tones post analysis of the results.

Being a Rightist supporter of the BJP, I tolerated these elements while they were intolerant of me! Now I am enjoying watching them squirm and the Schadenfreude is entirely enjoyable.

That is the beauty of intolerance. The ones shouting loudest that the other is intolerant is entirely unaware that they are being intolerant of the other to start with! And being completely detached, I simply enjoy trumpeting my own intolerance of the intolerant.

Coming to other types of intolerance, I know some wealthy people, the not so wealthy simply cannot be so, who are intolerant of the elements. During the summer months, they disappear to cooler climes and during the winter months to warmer climes. During the wet months they refuse to get out of their homes lest they get wet and miss out on a lot of fun. These people are also usually intolerant of everything around them and totally insatiable be it about food, drink or relationships.

I also know the unfortunates who are lactose intolerant or gluten intolerant or some other intolerant and I feel sorry for them while being grateful that I am not any of those. On the other hand, I recently discovered that I was allergic to one particular type of new antibiotics and it was entirely providential that I had anti allergy medication at home as otherwise, I would have been dead with the reaction I had after consuming that medication. Now that my doctor, family and I know that I am intolerant to it, hopefully there won’t be a next time.

Intolerance can take other shpes too and one of the most common in India is the mother in law, daughter in law conundrum and / or the older generation, younger generation one. Here again, it is difficult to do anything about it when one comes across it but one can be grateful that one does not go through this in one’s own life.

I am sure that there will be other types that my readers have come across in their experiences and I look forward to receiving comments on them.

Healthcare – A Right Or A Privilege?

This Friday’s 2 on 1 blog post’s topic has been chosen by Shackman. I am sure that the recent spurt of anti Obama Care developments in the USA must have weighed heavily on his mind when he chose the topic. Being an Indian, I am concerned with what happens in India where we have a long way to go to extend full health care benefits and I use every platform to propagate my views which are not original but, practical any way.

Regular readers of my blog posts know that one of the credos by which I communicate is “Why reinvent the wheel?” My politics and economics is conditioned by A F Hayek. I would simply quote him from two sources to buttress my view that Health Care Is A Right that should be given to every human being.

“All modern governments have made provision for the indigent, unfortunate, and disabled and have concerned themselves with questions of health and the dissemination of knowledge. … There are common needs that can be satisfied only by collective action and which can be thus provided for without restricting individual liberty. It can hardly be denied that, as we grow richer, that minimum of sustenance which the community has always provided for those not able to look after themselves, and which can be provided outside the market, will gradually rise, or that government may, usefully and without doing any harm, assist or even lead in such endeavours. There is little reason why the government should not also play some role, or even take the initiative, in such areas as social insurance and education, or temporarily subsidise certain experimental developments.”
(The Constitution of Liberty of 1960 Pages 257 and 258.)

“There is no reason why in a society which has reached the general level of wealth which ours has attained [NW note: Hayek was writing not in prosperous post-war America, but in war-torn, austerity-ridden Britain in 1943] the first kind of security should not be guaranteed to all without endangering general freedom. …. [T]here can be no doubt that some minimum of food, shelter, and clothing, sufficient to preserve health and the capacity to work, can be assured to everybody. … Nor is there any reason why the state should not assist the individual in providing for those common hazards of life against which, because of their uncertainty, few individuals can make adequate provision.
“Where, as in the case of sickness and accident, neither the desire to avoid such calamities nor the efforts to overcome their consequences are as a rule weakened by the provision of assistance – where, in short, we deal with genuinely insurable risks – the case for the state’s helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong. There are many points of detail where those wishing to preserve the competitive system and those wishing to super-cede it by something different will disagree on the details of such schemes; and it is possible under the name of social insurance to introduce measures which tend to make competition more or less ineffective. But there is no incompatability in principle between the state’s providing greater security in this way and the preservation of individual freedom.
“To the same category belongs also the increase of security through the state’s rendering assistance to the victims of such ‘acts of God’ as earthquakes and floods. Wherever communal action can mitigate disasters against which the individual can neither attempt to guard himself nor make provision for the consequences, such communal action should undoubtedly be taken.
“There is, finally, the supremely important problem of combating general fluctuations of economic activity and the recurrent waves of large-scale unemployment which accompany them. This is, of course, one of the gravest and most pressing problems of our time. But, though its solution will require much planning in the good sense, it does not — or at least need not — require that special kind of planning which according to its advocates is to replace the market.

“Many economists hope, indeed, that the ultimate remedy may be found in the field of monetary policy, which would involve nothing incompatible even with nineteenth-century liberalism. Others, it is true, believe that real success can be expected only from the skillful timing of public works undertaken on a very large scale. This might lead to much more serious restrictions of the competitive sphere, and, in experimenting in this direction, we shall have to carefully watch our step if we are to avoid making all economic activity progressively more dependent on the direction and volume of government expenditure. But this is neither the only nor, in my opinion, the most promising way of meeting the gravest threat to economic security.

“In any case, the very necessary effort to secure protection against these fluctuations do not lead to the kind of planning which constitutes such a threat to our freedom.”
(The Road to Serfdom, Pages 148-149)

Please go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say on the subject. Thank you.