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.

Learning 2.

In a WhatsApp group discussing the current developments in Afghanistan and the political situation in India now, I came across two new terms one of which is based on the following image.
This image leads to what is called a rabbit-duck illusion. The link will take you to its explanation but, this was used by one commentator to discuss how people are seeing current reality and coming to conclusions.

The other term that I learnt today is The Overton Window. Here again the Wikipedia explanation suffices but, for me, it was a learning experience.

Using both the discussions ranged from optimism to pessimism and realism and for me it was a fascinating experiencing learning so many nuances.

No, I shall not explain my own political leanings or my opinions on what is happening in Afghanistan but, I do intend using these two terms to effect in my approach to studies as well as discussions in the future.

A Great Tribute.

A very dear friend has sent me this message on WhatsApp. It is a tribute from a son to his late father who was a Medical Practitioner. I wish to share it with my readers as, this is an unusual request which touched me deeply as I am sure it will my readers.

“August 1st will mark 8 years since my dad passed away. I still think of him every day.

There are two kinds of intelligence, in my book. One is conventional intelligence, the other is disruptive intelligence. The latter is the kind that changes the world – through a scientific breakthrough, or the development of a new drug or technology.

Baba’s intelligence was the latter – a ferocious, disruptive intelligence, that, combined with his courage, his insistence on questioning everything, integrity, compassion and impish, irreverent sense of humour, made him special.

I haven’t inherited that level of intelligence, but hopefully have inherited some of his other traits.

I always remember how his shoulders shook and his eyes crinkled when he laughed. I remember how when we visited the small town of Almora in the Himalayas on vacation, he would dispense free medical advice and medicines he paid for himself, to dozens of poor villagers who would line up outside my grandfather’s door every morning. He asked for nothing in return. I remember his courage at the end of his life, when he calmly told me he would die that very day, after seeing his own electrocardiogram.

I remember everything. The greatest lesson he taught me was to take nothing at face value, and to investigate everything, and only believe something if it was rooted in fact and backed up by evidence. He was afraid of nothing, and would never back down if he knew he was right about something.

So on August 1st, it would be great if you could take a moment out of your day to remember a remarkable man.

Thank you.”

Jungle.

Jungle is a word that originated in India from Sanskrit. We use it to describe any wild growth. For instance, during the monsoon when in our part of the world the predominant colour is green, my late wife used to call our small garden a jungle as our gardener was simply incapable of keeping it under control.
Consequently, the gardener was very affectionately called Junglee by her. You can see from the photograph taken just this morning, that he continues to be our gardener and continues to be a Junglee.

What triggered off that memory was this little nugget that my beloved sister sent me this morning in WhatsApp.
Another new word learnt. I however don’t think that I am a Memophilist just because I have a jungle at home.  Or, do you think that I am?

Number Of Homes In My Life.


I received this cryptic message on WhatsApp and having nothing better to do, I thought that I will count from my childhood and see how many in my life. The results are:

  1. 1. Before I started being aware of what was happening around me, my parents lived in three different places while I was a babe in arms. So, 3.
    2. After I became aware of what was happening around me, we were in Chennai and lived in three homes. During that period I was left with my uncle for one year. So, 4.
    3. We then shifted to Hyderabad where I lived with my parents in one home and then on my own in three different places. So, 4.
    4. Then back to Chennai till 1965 when I lived partly with my parents, as a paying guest and then in a hostel altogether in six different places. So, 6.
    5. Then two years in Ahmedabad in a hostel. So, 1.
    6. That was followed by one stretch of seven months in Mumbai with my parents. 1.
    7. That was followed by two years of living off a suitcase, travelling many parts of South India.
    8. I then got married and after a brief homeless stretch, set up our first home in Delhi. 1.
    9. After that, we got posted to Mumbai on three separate occasions. 3
    10. Kolkata on one occasion. 1
    11. Kerala on one occasion. 1
    12. Delhi on one occasion again. 1
    13. Bengaluru on one occasion. 1
    14. Then finally to Pune thirty plus years ago where we have put down deep roots. 1
    15. While the home in Pune was functioning tickety-boo, I set up home twice in Tirupur in the South of India on two occasions on special assignments. 2
  2. That makes for thirty places where I have lived for long periods over my entire life.  That makes me a way-above-average person.  Should I be happy?