Another Outing.

My beard trimmer conked out and I had to go to the manufacturer’s service station located at a distance of 12 Kms from my home. I put on a mask, got into an autorickshaw, and went off to see a bit of Pune that I had not seen for near four years.

It was a great experience passing through many landmarks on the way that brought back many memories of my more mobile days and I thoroughly enjoyed the drive to and from the Service Center. So much so that the driver of the auto even asked if I was new to Pune!

The place that I  had to go to is called Swargate and I was simply amazed at the changes that have taken place during the time that I had not visited that area. The major junction is now free of the long waits at the signal due to the flyovers that have come up and we were able to go pretty fast to where I had to go after the main junction.

The icing on the cake was the excellent customer service that I received at the Service Center and the very considerate driver of the auto who drove efficiently, helped me in and out of the auto and over all kept me entertained throughout the adventure.

An outing that has given me the necessary impetus to be more adventurous from now on and more importantly the confidence to my son and daugher in love that I can still be left alone to my devices!

Information Overload.


I recently saw a short clip of a speech by a well known medical practitioner about his experiences with patients with Covid.  Mind you, this was at a gathering of a club whose members encourage humour and all speeches are in that genre.

The doctor, a second generation medical practitioner,  was light-heartedly  suggesting that if he prescribed some simple medicine and treatment to a patient, the patient was dissatisfied and reeled off  a list of names of high power antibiotics that should be prescribed.

Though this was said in humour, the message could not be more descriptive of today’s internet addicted humans who consult the internet before going to a doctor.  Since the advent of Covid, the number of messages that I get about it on social media is simply mind boggling.  Although I simply delete them or skip them, the sheer number takes up time.

Similarly, I get messages about temples, religion, self improvement, politics, crime and so many other topics that if I were to read them all carefully I am sure that my brain will explode as its memory capacity will reach its limit all too soon.

Here is the latest one that two different friends have sent to me.   Please click on the image for a larger resolution.

Of what interest could this information be to me?  Or for that matter, the friends who sent them to me?  Am I or they, ever likely to walk this road, even partly?

A very dear friend of around my age, has solved this intrusion by junking his smart phone and switching to a primitive one that can be used only to make and receive phone calls; and send / receive SMS messages. He has been urging me to follow suit. I am seriously tempted to.

Should I?

Solitude.

My day starts every day at around 4.30 am. I spend about an hour and a half in meditation and yoga exercises. This is followed by a hot mug of tea which I have sitting in our verandah facing our garden communing with nature for about half an hour.

These two and a half hours sets the tone for the rest of the day. The peace and quiet that this time brings about in my being is like nothing that any other form of activity can.

This quiet time in solitude leads to another hour and a half of newspaper reading, breakfast and prayer time. Till about 9 am, I would not have met or talked to anyone other than our dogs and the visiting cat.

Then the day slowly starts to bring other people into my day like my son, daughter in love, gardener, maids and phone calls.

These too are just peripheral to my existence and I enjoy being on my own and follow my routine for the rest of the day, of solving crossword puzzles, reading, responding to and / or contributing to WhatsApp, Facebook and email messages besides the few phone calls.

None of these activities takes away my sense of being comfortable with myself and this feeling is now the predominant feature of my existence.

I call it a life of solitude. Not to be mistaken for loneliness. I am not lonely. There are plenty of people in my life but, if they are not there, I am not disturbed and am perfectly happy being left alone.

Coming to the illustration on top, I do not wish to be left alone by people or not to deal with people.  It is simply that, I am comfortable without them or with them and enjoy both situations.

What about you?

This is my contribution to this week’s Friday 8 On 1 blog post topic. The other seven bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Maria. Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman , Srinivas 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.

Man Proposes Fate Disposes.


When I retired from a life that had revolved around a lot of travelling, one of the ideas that my late wife Urmeela and I seriously contemplated was to invest in a mobile home and to travel all over India. She wanted to visit many places that she had not visited but about which I had talked and also meet some of the people that she had not met.  I too wanted to visit ancient temples and archaeological sites besides towns that I had not visited ever but, which were historically important.

Motor homes were not available in India and I wanted to buy a Tempo Traveller now known as Force Traveller and convert it into a mobile home so that the two of us could travel. I had even identified the garage which was capable of converting the van into a mobile home and had drawn elaborate plans on what we should carry in the van etc. There were many evenings that we spent dreaming about all these plans when Urmeela was struck down with illness which put paid to our plans.

The other idea was to live in a farm house close to a town named Ranjangaon which is about fifty kms from Pune where we live. Ranjangaon was chosen as our son is named Ranjan. In Marathi and Hindi “gaon” attached to a name meant that the village was named for either a person or a deity in that village.

I had put down the first payment to show interest in a deal for a very compact and nice farm with a small cottage in it when the same illness put paid to those plans as well. Fortunately, I was able to recover my entire down payment plus a bonus, as the seller found a buyer who was willing to pay more.

The eight years of caregiving for Urmeela also enabled us to learn to live as minimalists and we got rid of many things that we had accumulated over the years but which served no purpose in a rapidly changing world like vinyl records, cassette tapes, player/recorders, VCR and video tapes as well as CDs and CD players and so on besides many clothes and accessories. When she finally died, there was hardly any clothes left in her wardrobe to dispose off.

Recently, I too finally got rid of all my suits, jackets, ties, cufflinks, tie pins, belts, suspender belts, etc and streamlined my wardrobe so that now I find that I can get rid of one of the cupboards in the bedroom!

All these thoughts came to me after reading an article that my friend Megh sent to me about a couple who live the life that I could have lived had fate decided otherwise.

Have you had such disappointments that destroyed dreams?

Power.

“One who makes himself a worm cannot complain afterwards if people step on him.”
~ Immanuel Kant


“The mosquito, in fact, is more powerful than the human being. Usually when you catch an animal, you set a trap, you throw a net. But when it comes to mosquitoes, it is you who must enter into the mosquito net; it is you who must escape the mosquito. So who is more powerful? In fact, every little bug, every virus, has got its own power over you.”

~ Swami Dayananda Saraswati.

Power is always relative.  What is popularly considered as powerless say like an insect can exercise power over man like the quote above illustrates.  Today, as I write this, the Chinese Virus, invisible to the human eye has more power over mankind than anything that I have seen in my long life time.  It has kept me and millions of others like me confined to our homes and has made normal life that human beings experienced just eight months ago impossible with no respite in sight.  In fact, the so called most powerful man in the world, POTUS was powerless over the virus which illustrates my argument more than any thing else will do.

Just take a good look around the world and you will see power struggles of all kinds, intra and international as well as other kinds like intra and inter family power struggles over assets;  and businesses fighting for shares of markets and so on.  It is ubiquitous and all around us but, we do not notice is precisely for the reason that it is so ordinary and pedestrian.

My interest in Power as a subject to think about was kindled in 1984 when I attended a seminar by a Management Association in Mumbai, on the subject. After attending the seminar, I promptly bought the book The Anatomy Of Power by J B Galbraith. Wikipedia has this to say about the book.

“The Anatomy of Power is a book written by Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith, originally published in 1983 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It sought to classify three types of power: compensatory power in which submission is bought, condign power in which submission is won by making the alternative sufficiently painful, and conditioned power in which submission is gained by persuasion. In short, money, force and ideology.

It further divided power by source: power either stems from personality or leadership, property or wealth, or organisation.

The book goes on to detail a brief history of the use of power, noting the broad arc of history in moving away from condign and towards compensatory and then conditioned power, and from personality and property towards organisation. Finally, it details what Galbraith views as the main sources of power in the modern world: government, the military, religion and the press.”

Since reading the book, I have used the understanding gained in observing human and animal behaviour in day to day life and have been able to resolve many issues by simply taking appropriate action after understanding quite where the exercise of power by the person concerned or the creature, comes from and to reach what end purpose.

A Post Script;  I sleep under a mosquito net every night!

Having enjoyed those experiences, I suggested this topic for this week’s Friday post where eight of us write on the same subject so that I can share my enthusiasm for the book with my readers so that perhaps they too will find it worthwhile to read the book and enjoy similar experiences. The other seven bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Maria. Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman , Srinivas and Conrad. 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.