Coincidence.

A friend posted this news item in a WhatsApp group and I was reminded of two stories.

With the first story in mind, I commented on the post with my comment “Mysterious things can happen!” and gave a link to this village, Kodinhi in Kerala, a state in our South West. Don’t you think that it is an amazing phenomenon?

The next story is personal. My late wife and my cousin both delivered sons on the same day with just twenty minutes difference in the times. When all of us lived in Mumbai, their joint birthday celebrations were routine. On every such occasion, my cousin’s late husband used to wonder at the coincidence with some snide comments that I leave to my readers to imagine.

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.

Philosophy Of Life.

I was pleasantly surprised to listen to this song from a WhatsApp forward yesterday.

This was sent to me by a very dear friend who thought that I would appreciate the philosophy that the lyrics convey. Little did he know that this promptly took me back to the 60s of the last century when this movie was released. I was enjoying the life of a bachelor with a full time public sector company job and was smoking Charminar cigarettes. I had also got a Ronson lighter as a gift from an uncle who had quit smoking. In this song, in the movie, when the hero lights up with the lighter, the signature tune plays and I went on a wild goose chase to get a lighter with that application. Finding it extremely difficult to get gas to refill the lighter I finally had to discard it till I finally gave it away to an antique collector who was fascinated by it.

I loved the song for its lyrics and I wish to share it with my readers.

Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya
Har Fikar Ko Dhuen Mein Udata Chala Gaya

I flowed with life as it developed
I blew away all problems like rings of cigarette smoke

Barbadiyon Ka Shok Manana Fizul Tha
Barbadiyon Ka Jashan Manata Chala Gaya
Har Fikar Ko Dhuen Mein Udaata Chala Gaya
{adinserter 1}

Mourning failures was a waste of time
So I moved on, celebrating my failures
I blew away all problems like rings of cigarette smoke

Jo Mil Gaya Usi Ko Muqaddar Samajh Liya
Jo Kho Gaya Maein Usko Bhulata Chala Gaya
Har Fikar Ko Dhuen Mein Udaata Chala Gaya

Whatever life offered, I believed was my destiny
What I lost, I kept trying to forget it
I blew away all problems like rings of cigarette smoke

Gham Aur Khushi Mein Farq Na Mehsoos Ho Jahan
Maein Dil Ko Us Muqaam Pe Laata Chala Gaya
Har Fikar Ko Dhuen Mein Udaata Chala Gaya

Where there is no difference between Happiness and Sorrow
I moved on, trying to bring my heart into that state
I blew away all problems like rings of cigarette smoke

Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
Album: Hum Dono
Music: Jaidev
Vocals: Mohammed Rafi.

I smoked for fifty five years and am paying the price for it now but, while I smoked, I enjoyed every puff and tried to live my life like the lyrics of this song suggests.  I think that I mostly succeeded too!

The Art Of Listening.

A friend, more or less a recluse preferring his own company or just a few close friends of long standing got enmeshed in an avoidable situation. His colleagues from the organisation where he used to work had formed a WhatsApp group and he was not even aware of it. Someone in that group suddenly woke up to the fact that he was still alive and posted a request for contact details from anyone who was in touch with him. One unsuspecting colleague gave the phone number and the problems for my friend started.

First the man who asked for the details called him and insisted on sharing details of his past connections and present where and what-abouts and spoke for more than half an hour. This call was followed by a few others in quick succession, all insisting on holding forth on nostalgia as well as updating to the present.

My friend was getting desperate as he simply wanted to be left alone. He finally had to tell the last caller to request people on the WhatsApp group not to disturb him and finally the calls stopped yesterday.

He called me this morning  to share this misfortune with me. I suggested that his old colleagues were simply bored with the present status under lockdowns and were looking for listeners to converse with. He agreed but, asked me why choose him when he was not in touch with any of them for decades. I suggested that perhaps it was because he is a good listener and the callers had run out of people to call to have chats. He was calmed and we disconnected.

After the call was over, I realised that this conversation took all of 35 minutes of my time.

I patted myself on my back for being a good listener too.

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.

Success.

As it so often happens, two messages on my WhatsApp today leads me to this blog post.

The first message that I received in a group page was this image from a very savvy old colleague who has overcome some big problems and is now perceived to be a success.  Please click on the image to get a larger resolution.

The next one was from another young friend, in his early fifties now employed in Europe in the Financial Sector, with a perceived successful career behind him with more to come in the future. After we exchanged some other information, he came up with the following:

“Been working since 6.30 am. Annual results expected by mid February, with possible layoffs to follow. Hope I get made redundant with a good severance package! Will be happy.

If it happens, would like to use the time to retrain myself to do something more enjoyable and less stressful. Unfortunately, I got a very good rating at my appraisal a few weeks ago, so unlikely.

“Will also tell you someday about how selfish and self obsessed most people in the financial services industry are. Pays well but kills the soul.

I hope that you noticed that he thinks that it is unfortunate that he got a good performance appraisal rating!  Had he been a Millennial, I would have directed him to my blog post written some months ago so that he could identify with the millennials! Since he is not, I shall wait till post results of his employers to come up with another discussion with him.

He was in Pune in December and January and I could sense that he was not very happy with what he was doing but, I did not comment on it except to joke about it calling it his mid life crisis. At that point, I had gone back in my own life and recalled that I had just finished on five year contract with an employer and had retired two years later than I had aspired to. I did not look to be retrained but was enjoying my retired life after many years of travelling and not spending enough time with the family, spending time with my late wife and friends and generally goofing off. A series of events led me back into corporate life again on three separate occasions.

I hope that some such unplanned for “events” will take place in my friend’s life as well and when he is back in India by the end of this year, I will have more interesting topics to talk with him about.

Incidentally, I have consulted some friends to figure out a graphic to describe an iceberg of failures. Once that is ready, I shall post another blog about it.