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.

Once The Clock Strikes Twelve.

I have never lived or stayed in a place where a clock chimed time. I have however seen / heard them in action in some places but they are now an extinct species except for those with antiques.

On my very first visit to London however, I made it a point to personally listen to the Big Ben chiming as this was something that I had grown up listening to in radio.

Now, I have clocks on the walls of my bedroom and drawing room but, they are battery operated and do not chime / strike. I do use an alarm clock by my bedside to occasionally set an alarm but, more often use my cell phone for the same purpose.

In my current life, the clock strikes twelve only once every 24 hours as, when it is midnight, I am inevitably fast asleep even when others stay up like on new years eve etc. When it is noon, I would have just finished my morning routine of reading the newspapers and solving crossword puzzles and would move to my recliner to catch up with my WhatsApp messages and to read something else.

Rather dull for the proposer of this topic for this week, Sanjana whose life is far more adventurous and I look forward to her take on the topic later today.

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 Sanjana. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Dinner In Two Hours.

Dinner in some parts of the world is defined differently from how we do it here and so, I start off by defining it by the meal that we have after sunset usually between 7.30 to 9.30 pm.

I stopped having dinner three years ago and have not missed having it. Before stopping, I used to have a light dinner usually around 7.30 pm but never after 9.00 pm. So, today, this topic is really not applicable to me but I go down memory lane to do justice to the topic suggested by Maria for this week’s Friday post.

For thirty one years of my life, dinner, whenever I was at home was exactly two hours after my reaching home in the evenings. I say, whenever I was home as, on an average, I used to be out of station for fourteen nights a month on tour.

Why two hours? I would come home, fix my first drink of the evening, have a short chat with my late wife about the day and go off for a shower and change to return to have my second drink and watching TV or catching up with family matters and it would be time for dinner.

After I stopped working which coincided with my becoming my wife’s caregiver, I was the cook. Her mealtimes were sacrosanct and fixed at 7.30 pm. It was usually a light TV dinner that both of us had while watching dinner in the drawing room as opposed to lunch which was in the dining room. Fixing these meals was never a chore and it would hardly take more than thirty minutes or so and therefore the old routine of two hours to dinner went out of the window.

Now, my son and daughter in love eat dinner at any time that they find convenient and it is usually left overs from the afternoon lunch, or some thing that they would send for home delivery. I would not even know when they have as, by eight pm, I would have retired to my room for the night.

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 Maria. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Guru Dakshina.

My young friend, let us call him ND, who considers me as his friend, philosopher and misguide recently bought a book on the recommendation of a well wisher and could not understand some esoteric stuff in it. He promptly rang me up and asked me if I would read the book and explain to him the portions that he found difficult and I readily agreed. I however insisted that he would have to arrange for Guru Dakshina to which he readily agreed.

The book duly arrived and has just come back after my usual rite of getting books covered in plastic to extend their shelf life.

Just before the book returned from the binder, the Guru Dakshina also arrived.

Before I proceed further, some explanation to a Urdu word Aflatoon. Originally, it meant Plato, yes, the Greek philosopher. In Mumbai, it is used to describe sweet gentle souls who are great team players but, who will not participate in the more masculine pursuits like pub crawling, gambling etc. In other words Wimps.

Aflatoon is also the name for a famous sweet made and sold in Muslim bakeries of Bombay, the most famous of which are Suleiman Usman and Zam Zam Bakeries.

ND is well aware of my fondness for both uses of the world Aflatoon. There are many mutual friends whom I call Aflatoon and I also enjoy the occasional indulgence of the sweet.

So, the Guru Dakshina turned out to be:

Guru is very happy. Shishya’s dakshina will not go waste.

My Best, Worst And Most Likely Case Predictions For The World In Five Years.

I am not Nostradamus and I find it extremely difficult to predict what will happen tomorrow leave alone during the next five years. There is so much uncertainty around that it is not funny anymore. Here is the latest ominous sign about the kind of unexpected things that can happen in the future just as this chinese virus came as a surprise.

My best prediction will be that:

  1. Almost all vehicles two wheelers, four wheelers and transportation and agricultural vehicles will run on electricity. Electricity itself will be generated from renewable sources and be non polluting. This single development will realign industry, maintenance and service work forces like never before.
  2. Artificial Intelligence and robotics will be the next big invader into employment and the Service Sector will be the biggest employer throwing unqualified workers out of employment and causing big strain on National budgets. This could raise taxes on working persons causing quite a bit of social unrest.
  3. Working and Learning From Home will be more common than working in offices and learning in schools and colleges, and this will strain the Realty Sector but will reduce traffic on roads and call for different kinds of policing and criminal activities.
  4. Women will increasingly be more visible in high positions and their wages will match male wages.
  5. Hard cash as we now know it will become almost extinct as electronic payment systems will increasingly take over.
  6. Banks as we know now will also disappear as while Banking will very much be there, Banks in physical existence as branches and offices
    will disappear.
  7. As much as I hate to predict this, wearing masks will be as ubiquitous as it is in Japan.
  8. Wireless charging of hand held devices which will be indispensable and will enable people to charge their devices on the go.

    Worst prediction will be that the Clash Of Civilisations will see intense hostilities across the globe and we will see unprecedented refugee problems across the globe. Some trigger-happy lunatic in charge of a nuclear arsenal may start something and none of us may be alive.

    The most likely prediction will be that nothing will change and we will blunder along as we are doing now.

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. Thank you.