Number Of Homes In My Life.


I received this cryptic message on WhatsApp and having nothing better to do, I thought that I will count from my childhood and see how many in my life. The results are:

  1. 1. Before I started being aware of what was happening around me, my parents lived in three different places while I was a babe in arms. So, 3.
    2. After I became aware of what was happening around me, we were in Chennai and lived in three homes. During that period I was left with my uncle for one year. So, 4.
    3. We then shifted to Hyderabad where I lived with my parents in one home and then on my own in three different places. So, 4.
    4. Then back to Chennai till 1965 when I lived partly with my parents, as a paying guest and then in a hostel altogether in six different places. So, 6.
    5. Then two years in Ahmedabad in a hostel. So, 1.
    6. That was followed by one stretch of seven months in Mumbai with my parents. 1.
    7. That was followed by two years of living off a suitcase, travelling many parts of South India.
    8. I then got married and after a brief homeless stretch, set up our first home in Delhi. 1.
    9. After that, we got posted to Mumbai on three separate occasions. 3
    10. Kolkata on one occasion. 1
    11. Kerala on one occasion. 1
    12. Delhi on one occasion again. 1
    13. Bengaluru on one occasion. 1
    14. Then finally to Pune thirty plus years ago where we have put down deep roots. 1
    15. While the home in Pune was functioning tickety-boo, I set up home twice in Tirupur in the South of India on two occasions on special assignments. 2
  2. That makes for thirty places where I have lived for long periods over my entire life.  That makes me a way-above-average person.  Should I be happy?

Indian Behaviour.

This video is so typical of many Indians that I simply had to share it with my readers.    While being quite funny, this video shows the behaviour of my generation of Indians who grew up during our glorious socialistic days when tooth paste was a luxury just like many other things that now are not, were, then.

While we did not go to the great lengths that the lady in the video does, we did innovate to get the last bit of paste out of our toothpaste tubes. All households had this gadget in their bathroom cabinets.

The tube’s bottom was inserted in the slot between the two shafts and the key turned to roll up the tube till the last bit was squeezed out.

Yes, we went through those times which seem so strange to today’s generation of Indians.

Do you remember any such gadgets in your childhood?

Loyalty Bonus And Learning Continues.

I have lived in the same neighbourhood in the same house for the past more than thirty years and am known to many of the merchants who have shops in our neighbourhood.

Today, I had to make use of the services of two of them who extend me the courtesy of home delivery.

The first was a stationer AJ, who arranges to get my paperback books covered in plastic regularly besides keeping me supplied with other stationary items as needed. My home is halfway between his and his shop and I simply call him up and he comes home to collect the books on his way either to or from his shop and the next day will return them after covering. He will also deliver other items similarly.

I have been using all kinds of paper weights to keep my newspapers  from flying off in the mornings when I have a strong breeze blowing in from our garden. Today I suddenly remembered the old paper weights which were routine features on all office desks in the good old days and asked AJ if he had any and was pleasantly surprised to find that he indeed had. I ordered for one and he delivered me the ordered one and a free one as a loyalty bonus! The ordered one is the multi coloured one on the left and the bonus is the plain simple one on the right.

The second was from a sweetmeat seller who too has been delivering at home for me for many years following his finding out about my health issues. Today, I ordered for two sweets from him The top one is called laddoo and the bottom one kalakand.


When I opened the parcel after I brought the package home, I discovered another small box containing these pedas too.
I thought that there must have been some mistake and called them back only to be told that the packet of pedas was with their compliments for being such a good customer.

A day for gifts much appreciated.

Incidentally, my learning process continued. Since I do not normally keep cash at home, I decided to pay using my bank’s tele-banking application which I had to learn to use as so far, I had used Google Pay which gave me problems in the new telephone. My resident geek took great pleasure in being the father for the child.

Coffee Again!

My friend Raj had this to say in his comments of my post An Uncle, A Sister And Coffee.

“Hi Ramana: I am surprised that no one, including the video has  spoken about the one step prior to this: namely the making of the powder itself. In my childhood, we had to “roast” the raw coffee beans in a rotating-roller roaster machine so it uniformly roasts.

Then, minutes before making coffee, we had to grind it to a fine powder and then proceed like the video shows. Aaaahhh! those were the good old days ! No Starbucks ! No Dunkin !”

Those words took me back to my childhood and pre-packaged-coffee-powders-in-shops days when coffee beans were roasted and ground at home to make fresh coffee. The aroma coming out of the whole process was to die for.

The beans were first roasted in a grinder over charcoal fire in my home.  The roasting was done in a gadget like the one shown below.
The next process was grinding the roasted beans into a powder which was done in a gadget like the one shown below.

Mind you, the roasting and grinding was an every day affair. One did not roast, grind and store away for use later.

The powder thus ground was used to distill the decoction as explained in my earlier post An Uncle, A Sister And Coffee.

The aromas coming out of the kitchen were simply amazing and many youngsters would long to grow up fast to be able to drink coffee which was denied to them.

Do you have any memories of such long drawn process of making coffee?

Regrets.

The idea for this blog’s topic came when I was listening to one of my all time favourite songs by Frank Sinatra, “My way”. Part of the lyrics goes thus:

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
I saw it through, without exemption
I planned each chartered course
Each careful step along the by-way
And more, much more than this
I did it, my way.

Unlike Old Blue Eyes, I have had many regrets but, like him, I did what I had to do and saw through all of them without exception.

In all honesty though, I can’t say that I planned each  chartered course, each careful step along the by-ways. In most cases the seeing through was just giving the regret enough time.

I list some of the regrets that I still am wistful about in the order that they happened.

  1. My inability to join the Indian Navy due to my myopia.
  2. Breaking up with my first lady love due to religious differences.
  3. Inability to join the Indian Army during the Emergency Commission Scheme despite having been selected, due to pressure from my family not to.
  4. Not serving the entire employment period till retirement with an organisation where I had worked for 26 years, due to differences of opinion on policies and my personal commitments.
  5. Not being able to complete a contract with another employer due to family constraints.
  6. These were the major regrets that I had but, like all of us, I have had many more small ones which did not bother me too much.

For those who would like to hear Old Blue Eyes, it gives me great pleasure to include this video.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 3 On 1 blog posts where Sanjana, Shackman and I write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been suggested by me. Please do go over to the other two blogs to see what they have to say on the same topic. Thank you.

Birds.

My most enjoyable time every day is the half an hour or so that I spend having my morning mug of tea while watching the flowers, butterflies and birds that visit our garden. This has been so ever since we moved into this home over thirty one years ago when in fact, the bird population was as large as it is now thanks to the lockdown and absence of traffic and humans on our roads.

I have recently been unable to name some of the birds that I see in the mornings and remembered that for the same reason, I had bought a book thirty years ago and I went searching for it in my library a few days ago. I couldn’t find it and then I remembered that I had given it away some years ago to someone else with the same problem. I could not recollect that person’s name, a sure sign of my not being a spring-chicken any more.

I therefore, sent for another copy and it arrived this morning.

This book reminded me of Salim Ali, its author and my visit to SACON, which was on the way to ArshaVidya Gurukulam that I used to visit during 1999 and 2001.

I have already identified two birds that I could not name and am yet to find two more. I am sure that I will find them sooner than later.

I find birds and butterflies fascinating.  Do you?