Happiness The Turkish Way.

Nazim Hikmat, the great Turkish poet, once asked his friend Abidin Dino (Turkish artist and a well-known painter) to draw a picture of happiness.

Abidin drew a picture of a whole family, cramped up on a broken bed under a leaky roof in a shabby room…but still with a smile of satisfaction on each member’s face.

Since then “Can you paint the picture of happiness for me, Abidin?” is a well-known phrase for Turks.

Goes without saying that the painting became very famous.

I am indebted to Shankar who brought this to my notice. I know that he will be reading this.
Thank you Shankar.

Has The Pandemic Wrought Any Positive Changes?

Today’s topic is the brainchild of Shackman who I know has had a great deal in mind and life during the pandemic as I am sure that all of us have had too.

In my case, at the individual level some positive changes that took place are the following;

1. I recommenced Jala Neti as recommended by some doctors who I trust.

I however use an old trusted vessel which I had stopped using some years ago.

2. I recommenced Pranayama exercises as part of my daily yoga routine.

3. I rescheduled my morning routine to accommodate these changes and now follow a different one than I was following pre-pandemic. This change has improved my digestion and sleep and overall wellbeing.

I am convinced that I escaped the annual tryst with the seasonal viral infection that I undergo every winter last year due to the above changes. That was the biggest gain that I had during these different times.

At the macro level, some positive changes that I have noticed personally are:

Return of some types of birds to my neighbourhood that had disappeared till last year.

Improved quality of air due to reduced traffic on our roads.

Thanks to the pandemic to some extent and its belligerence on our borders, our dependence on China has reduced considerably and local enterprises are rejuvenating to fill the gap. This in turn has contribute to our economic recovery for the IMF to predict that India will grow at and astounding 12.5% this fiscal.

Reduced consumption of oil has brought prices and demand down and people everywhere are finding that they can live differently and a better life.

Working and studying from home has brought about a paradigm shift in our approach to employment and education. Quite how this will pan out in the future is yet to be seen but, having tasted the simplicity and efficacy of these developments, there is bound to be major shifts.

Hygiene’s importance in our lives has been driven home more strongly than ever before by the practical experience of the pandemic.

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

The Most Heart-breaking Thing In My Life Now.

Our dog Chutki was diagnosed with diabetes and very high sugar levels three months ago and has been on very strict diet in terms of both quality and quantity of food that she can have. She is simply not used to this lifestyle although for us improvement is visible and very encouraging.

Whenever we sit down for a meal at the dining table, she comes around visiting each of us begging for food and that simply breaks my heart. Every day and at every meal.

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.

Outer Space Exploration.

I was in High School when one word became very popular among the students in 1957. Sputnik. It was the satellite that USSR launched into space and which panicked the USA into the space race. The next exciting thing that happened was the launch of Sputnik 2 which also carried a dog Laika. Many dogs were named Laika after this star became the first outer space explorer.

The next living being to catch the imagination of all of us was Ham.. Tarzan had already popularised chimpanzees in films and Ham introduced a chimpanzee to the Indian film world in the form of Zippy.

So outer space exploration started off with two non human living beings who led the adventure in the late 1950s.

While rockets going into space became quite normal, the first human being to venture into space was Yuri Gagarin a Russian cosmonaut who became a hero for all Indians who were at that time firmly in the camp opposite to the USA called the Non Aligned Nations.

Again it was the USSR that sent the only Indian so far to have gone on a space mission Rakesh Sharma in 1984.

In the meanwhile, India was building its own Space set up somewhat like NASA but of a different nature as India was and is not interested in any Space Race. The ISRO has brought a lot of pride to our nation with its Rocket Launches and space explorations. Its success can be understood if my readers realise that ISRO has so far launched 328 satellites for other countries besides those that it has launched for its own purposes.

I have deliberately focussed on India’s contribution to Space Exploration as I suspect that many of my readers are not aware of its contribution. Everyone knows about NASA, its successes as well the Russian adventures but for some strange reason, India’s contribution has been kept hidden by the Western media for reasons best known to itself.

Our Space adventures also gave us a remarkable human being who was our President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, for one term and became a household name for his remarkable humanity and simplicity.

I now look forward to reading the take from the rest of seven bloggers who should be posting soon.

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 Conrad. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. T

Normalcy Returns.

A friend, all of 83 years old, had a recent adventure despite the Covid 19 restrictions and health issues and also against advise of friends like me. He successfully accomplished a long cherished dream of doing the Narmada Parikrama.

To honour him, the informal group that we have operated over the last few years called The Mauli Discussion Group, or MDG for short, organised a meeting to felicitate him as well as meet personally for the first time since the Covid Lockdown. The last meeting that the group held was on March 5, 2020. So almost a year since we had met last.

One regular member could not attend but there were five of us plus the honouree and here is a selfie taken after the meeting. Please note how young all of us are!

Here is one of mine with the honouree.

The felicitation was done our traditional way by wrapping an angavastra around the honouree’s shoulders, giving him gifts to commemorate the occasion and to put on a traditional cap on his head.

The meeting was held as usual at another member’s home who too was felicitated with  a gamucha as an expression of the group’s gratitude for his hosting the meetings.

During the meeting it was also decided that by the middle of March, the group would go on an outing to a couple of places of pilgrimage close by to Pune and it was left to yours truly to organise the details.

Meeting over, the group adjourned to a famous club next door for a sumptuous lunch.

The point of this post is to emphasise the return to some semblance of normalcy in our ancient lives.

New Telephone Connection.

In my previous post, I had mentioned that I recently got a new cell phone connection. This post is about the amazing experience that I had in getting it.

I remember having to go through a major bureaucratic process before I could get my landline number thirty years ago. I got my cell phone connection seventeen years ago with less hassle but I still had to go through an application with self authenticated photograph submission, verification and proof of address processes before I could get a connection.

This time however, I simply asked for a connection by pressing a few buttons on an online portal and I was advised that I would get email advise on further course of action.

I got an email the next day advising me that a representative will call on me at my residence to give me a connection and that I had to be present at home and also that I should have some proof of address.

I got the call the next day, the representative fixed an appointment with me and duly arrived at the appointed time. He asked me if I had an Aadhaar card which is somewhat the equivalent of the Social Security Number Card of the USA,.

On production of the card, he simply pulled out two cell phones from his pocket, took photographs of both sides of the card, requested me to pose for another photograph, sent some messages from one of his phones and made just one telephone call to his base office. He asked for payment for the connection which I digitally did and that was that. He said that the process is over and that I would get a number within twenty four hours and left.

The whole process took less than ten minutes.

I got the new number the next morning well before the 24 hours mentioned by him.

I am still to recover from the efficiency experienced.

I can’t stop marvelling at the modern methods of extending service to the citizens of this country using the Aadhar Card.