Friendship And The Social Media.

My childhood friend and neighbour VR posted this image on Facebook.

VR had disappeared from my life in 1958 when my family moved out of Chennai where we were neighbours. She came back into my life thanks to Facebook and her cousin who too came back into my life in 1980 when both of us were posted in Delhi and a mutual friend had brought us together.

I commented on VR’s post as “Thanks to social media in the last few years, many childhood friendships are being renewed too. Perhaps this is the single biggest contribution that sm has made to our lives.”

While social media has played its part in bringing back old friends into my life again, the observation made in the image remains true too. My longest lasting friends, two of them from my boyhood and two from my early working days, survived all separations and have continued to be friends though three of us live in different towns while two in the same city. Alas the last two do not know each other but, the next time that I am in Chennai, I will remedy that situation.

Social media has also brought back groups into my life like classmates, ex colleagues, fellow alumni family etc and to that extent the world has shrunk for relationships.

Another tool that has brought disparate people together is the blog world and this blog by Wisewebwoman brilliantly explains this.

I am blessed indeed to have so many old friends, and more so for long lost ones returning to my life thanks to social media.

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.

Unintended Consequence -2.

My readers will recollect my longstanding relationship with another restaurant in my neighbourhood The Flour Works. To just refresh their memory, here is one post on an evening there.

The Meeta who features in that post, is the proprietress of TFW and is someone very special to me. Seeing that I was an orphan, she adopted me many years ago, quite as what, I am still to figure out. Her family too have become friends and so what she feels for me is almost ethereal.

The unintended consequence that this post talks about is her comment on my last post Unintended Consequences.

“I may sound callous about this but my first thought was why didn’t you ask me for tea? I could have sent it in less than 5 minutes as well. The second thought was it’s good you’re considering stepping out and would hopefully walk a few more steps and come see me. 🤷‍♀️”

After this comment appeared on my post, I realised something that only semantics can appreciate. Before The Irani Cafe moved next door to me, I was located between them and The Flour Works. Now, TIC has come between me and TFW! Both of them are next to each other! And I have to physically cross TIC to visit TFW both on my way to and back.

Please click on the panorama image for a larger resolution.

The extreme left is The Flour Works, in the middle is The Irani Cafe and at the right is our home with the watchman at the drive way.

Knowing my neighbourhood as I do, I can’t visit one without the other coming to know of my visit to the other.

Interesting times ahead!

First Borns.

This message was posted on Facebook by a lady friend.

“First borns are always the meanest.

Because we became parents of children we did not make.  So, yeah, we are very angry.”

My friend added the comment:  “And that too at a really young age.”

 

Being a First born and upset, I responded : “I am sure that my three siblings will totally disagree.”

My friend responded : “It’s different when you’re a guy. Guys are not expected to parent their siblings but girls are. It’s the bane of society where women are expected to shoulder responsibility from the day a sibling is born 🤷‍♀️”

What do you think?

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.

 

One Thing Leads To Another.

In Tamil, my mother tongue, “Chinna Veedu” literally means “small house” implying a mistress kept in a smaller house by a rich man whose bigger house was for his official wife and family. A movie was also made with the same title some years ago which was a bit hit in Tamil Nadu.

I was teasing a friend of mine about his current work style of working only four days a week due to the restrictions due to Covid by asking him if he had established a “Chinna Veedu”. After fielding that effectively, he told me of a story about a mutual friend that I had not known so far.

This mutual friend was a wealthy wholesaler in Mumbai with two children, one a son and the other, younger, a daughter. The son joined his father’s business after his college education and the daughter, after acquiring an MBA, started to work for a very big business man in Mumbai in his office in the Finance department.

As, it is normal in such families, the parents indulged her as it was only for a short while as she was expected to get married into another business family as is the custom in their community. When she was 24, the parents found a very nice match for her and got her married in a typically lavish Indian wedding ceremony.

Just after a few months, the daughter returned to her parent’s home complaining that her husband was impotent and that she wanted a divorce. Her parents, devastated confronted the groom’s family and the truth finally came out.

There was nothing wrong with the groom but, the daughter was in an affair with her boss who had asked her to get married to please the parents but to get a divorce after a while on the promise that he too would get a divorce from his current wife and marry her. The girl is 24 and the boss 50 years old.

Finally, all issues were sorted out and both parties went through the divorces and before they could get married however, our mutual friend had a massive heart attack and died just a few months ago at the age of 60.

I did not know about this story as I have been out of touch with most of my former business associates that I knew during my working days and this news and story came as a total surprise and shock to me as I knew the girl and her family rather well and had a very amicable relationship with them over many years.

What as story to start my Sunday off with! Have you come across anything like this in your circles?