Perspective.

A few days ago, a friend mentioned on a WhatsApp message that life was frustrating due to the rains and some other local civic issues. Since she is quite a sport, I sent her this image that had fortuitously landed up just that morning in another message in WA.
She promptly responded that she had changed her perspectives when she had read Forty Rules Of Love.

I was intrigued and since I had not read or even heard of the book, sent for a copy of that book from Amazon and just finished reading it yesterday.
Having crossed that landmark, I messaged my friend -“How exactly did forty rules of love change your perspective?”

She responded with this fairly detailed message:

“It is pure fiction I know but, don’t laugh.
I still have my thinking process working for me.
I first read it several years ago when it had just come out.
I thought that if Ella could leave everything behind
and go looking for Aziz,  then I could also think and give my opinions freely. The only difference being that I had not changed my life for a man.
I now feel free to think and express my thoughts which earlier as a wife and then as a widow,  I had felt I could not. That is all.

My mind is free  as also my spirit.

And, up to the time that my mother was alive, I had kept my thoughts on religion to myself so as not to hurt her.  Now my opinions are well known as I articulate them freely.”

The behaviour of Ella that my friend mentions does not seem bizarre to me as I know of other women who have done similar things and who have survived,  though with some tragic consequences to their husbands and children.  My friend is still very much part of her family and in my opinion quite enjoys being so.

That brings me to my own take on the book.

It is not one of those books that one feels compelled to finish reading in one sitting.  It is quite disjointed and there are too many diversions within the framework that takes one’s attention away from the main theme.  And having been a student of Sufism and Islam besides Vedanta,  I found the philosophical comments  interesting if somewhat needlessly long.

While exploring the author I also came across reference to another of her books The Bastard Of Istanbul.  I have bought a copy of that too and will shortly read it.  Perhaps I may even review it here.

Have you read The Forty Rules Of Love?  What impact, if any, did it have on you?

 

A Very Pleasant Surprise.

I got a phone call early this morning from a young man APG, whom I had first met 31 years ago when he would have been around five years old. He and two other young lads in their family were the first children ever to call me Thatha, which is Tamil for Grandfather.

I used to meet him regularly at his home town where I used to visit on business. His father and other elders of his family were/are good friends and business associates. In fact, one of his cousins had adopted me as his godfather and continues to me treat me as such even now.

The purpose of the phone call was to take my blessings on his birthday which is today. I had not known this as, otherwise, I would have greeted him on my own earlier than his call.

This is the first time ever that he had called me for this special purpose and apart from being mightily pleased, I was also puzzled as to why he did so on this birthday.

I then remembered that his father and my friend GP,  had died just over a year ago as had his elder uncle shortly after, both due to complications arising out of Covid.

It is the custom in our families for people to seek the blessings of parents/elders on their birthdays and other important days, and since APG did not have his father anymore, he had decided to call me.

What a wonderful thought and tradition.

Recycled Teenager.

Today a classmate from school and good friend turned 80. I rang him up to convey my greetings and best wishes for many more birthdays and he was quite nostalgic about our last meeting in 1965. Yes, I left Madras as it was then known and, now as Chennai that year but, he has continued to live there since.

Among other things that we talked about, we did discuss our current health and well being issues and wished each other well.

After a while, another friend also about my age sent this message to me in WhatsApp.

There were some more messages, all in one day, talking about and dare I say, belittling, trivialising and or giving excuses for old age. And then there was this very heart warming story in Jean’s blog which brought a smile on my life.

This got me thinking about ageing and how today’s social media is trying to talk about it in a manner totally different from what it used to be in the ‘good old days’.

Elders were admired for their longevity and hopefully, wisdom and were expected to behave like elders. Their maturity was taken for granted.  They were not recycled teenagers.  And, they had and continued to live and died, like I do now and will eventually.

The Other Side Of Seventy.


Mike’s post of the same title inspired this post from me. Please read the comments from me and Mike’s response to it too.

Just a day after that I received this in a WhatsApp message from my sister.

Yesterday afternoon, I received news that my friend, philosopher and guide of many years HI died following a failed chemotherapy session for cancer.

Last week was news of the death of a classmate and dear friend.

On the 10th inst, Nick wrote about biographies and autobiographies. I commented there : “I am not and never was into bio/autobiographies. Somehow, I just could not get interested in that genre. My own kind of biography is perhaps my blog just like yours is yours.” Nick responded with “Yes, blogs are very much a form of biography. Not at all chronological, but revealing all sorts of personal details.”

Little did I know that I was about to read an autobiography, and what a one!

Later yesterday, I received a forward of a video of a Cardiologist talking about life and death and how to manage our lives where he referred to a book called When Breath Becomes Air. I got a Kindle version and started reading it and just could not put it down.

Most of my readers here are senior citizens and quite a few are avid readers. For these, I strongly recommend this book. The most poignant and elegant book that I have ever read about a person’s last days written by himself.

Online shopping.


The door bell rang during my siesta earlier this afternoon, and there was a courier with a small parcel for me. He was cheerful and polite and greeted me properly, apologised for waking me up, and wished me a good day before he left.

The parcel was a paste used in some of our cooking and I kept it aside to take it to the kitchen later.

As is my daily routine, I had turned off the ringer of my mobile phone while I was asleep in the afternoon. On waking up and turning it on I found some missed calls and ignored them as the numbers were unfamiliar.

When I returned to the phone, I found as SMS alert and found a message from one of the missed call numbers saying that the number belonged to the supplier of the paste. I wondered why they would call me and rang them up only to find that the number belonged to the courier lad who had sent the message to me to identify himself as I was not answering the phone call from him to find directions to reach my home. He confirmed that he eventually asked around and found the address and had already delivered the parcel. All very cheerfully conveyed and with great humour.

I then went back to the paste only to find that there was no instructions on how to use it and so had to send an email to the manufacturer to obtain the same. Till the instructions come, the paste will have to wait. Sad. I was looking forward to using it straight away.

The redeeming feature of the whole incident was the cheerful courier person. I wish that all the courier companies would recruit/train their employees to be like that lad.