I Am So Old.

I received this as a WhatsApp message and I immediately went all nostalgic.

My earliest telephone was this:
I wonder if the generation that started with dial up phones even knew of this!

The next phone that I used was one were you lifted the handset off the base and waited for an operator to respond to connect you to another party within that telephone exchange’s area.
Or, for long distance calls called trunk calls those days, you went to the local Post Office to book one of the following. Ordinary, Urgent or Lightening with escalating charges for each. The dial less phone set would usually be in a cabin and one waited till the clerk signalled you to go there to talk.
Or, one used this:
The most frustrating part of this was when the time ran out and you did not have more coins to feed the beast.

By this time, that is around the mid nineties of the last century, one could get telephone connections fairly easily but, long distance dial up calls were mostly not subssribed to, as neighbours would otherwise pester one. One had to book a call and wait for the exchange to connect you to the called party.

Then came these:
PCOs or, Public Call Offices changed telephony in India by the late eighties. One could go to these booths and make International Subsriberer Dialling and / or Subscriber Trunk Dialling (ISD< STD)
Finally came the cell phones in mid nineties, and since then, the landscape is unrecognizable.

My first exposure to a radio was this:
One was forced to listen to what Akashvani dished out with the exception of Radio Ceylon’s Binaca Geetmala. This was a luxury and this was replaced by a radiogram which had a radio and a record player built into it.
Then we moved on in succession to transistor radio, record player and walkman till the mobile phone made all these redundant.

The fist TV set that I bought was a Konarak Black & White as India did not have colour television till the eighties.
I then moved on to Colour TV and by 1983 had to invest in a VCR!
We would borrow Video Cassettes from libraries to watch movies which in those days was a great convenience.

Today, all those gadgets have disappeared and we use computers and cable television for our entertainment at home. For music, the choice that is available within mobile telephones is simply mind blowing.

The earliest camera that I remember seeing was my father’s Rolliflex.
When I was thirteen, I was gifted with this:


Both used Black & White roll films which after shooting, had to be taken to a studio to be developed and printed. Colour films came much later and those became redundant with the arrival of digital cameras{
You couldn’t take selfies with any of them!  Those too now are redundant with mobile phones offering excellent built in camera facilities.

What a journey it has been!

Do You Remember?

A friend from childhood who has followed my career throughout my life sent me this image on Whatsapp and asked me “Do you remember?”
These were called sutar buttons, Sutar being Gujarathi for yarn. On researching for these for writing this post, I came across and interesting post about how to crochet these buttons. Difficult now to imagine, how much effort must have gone into making these buttons in large volumes.

That one question and that image took me down memory lane to the proverbial three score and ten years ago when as a student in Class IV wearing an all white uniform daily to school. The top and bottom both had buttons like these and we had to ensure that we had all the buttons intact as we were subject to inspections by the class teacher.

I was living with my Uncle and Aunt for that one year and every time one button came off, it was a chore reattaching it and often one had to find a new one which would be slightly of a different colour than the other buttons. My Aunt would patiently teach me to sew the button on and would closely supervise the effort.

Then came plastic buttons and the game changed for ever. Much easier to sew on and also longer lasting.

I spent almost a quarter century in the Tailor Trimmer trade and during all those years, never came across these buttons anywhere but, a quarter century later, I come across these. Simply mind blowing what?

Food 1 – Handvo.

One of the cherished memories that I have of Ahmedabad where I went to Business School in the mid sixties of the last century is having a Gujarathi dish called Handvo. My readers may remember that I had written about having it last July.  I had it again for lunch today and the image above is of it before I dug into it.

With little to occupy my attention nowadays and being unable to stand for long and cook, I have taken to ordering some dishes that I am not confident of getting made by our help.  I prefer to get them from restaurants offering take away services and also from home businesses that have now mushroomed with the advent of Covid. I was able to locate one such lady entrepreneur offering home made Handvo and duly placed an order on her for collection earlier today. Collection because she clearly indicated that she would not be able to make home deliveries.

My daughter in love duly went to collect the Handvo and the lady asked how we found out about her. There is another story behind that which too needs to be recognised.

With the onset of the pandemic and the lockdowns, one Lady Senior Citizen of our neighbourhood started a Senior Citizen WhatsApp group to offer a platform for seeking help, support and information for Seniors. This group is very active and has been a source of information for us for many things including food suppliers. My source for information on the Handvo supplier came from the lady Administrator of the group and I duly passed on that information to the former.

I have decided to start another series on food that I like and either make or order from outside to keep my readers informed about my progress as a foodie.

Are you, my reader, able to indulge in such way through home entrepreneurs?


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?


Fun With Language 2.

Another exchange in WhatsApp yesterday. This time in a group page of classmates.

BN: You can speak English fluently. Right?

Try this small para.

*A real mathematician can mathematically mathematise mathematics in a mathematical mathematiculation. So if a mathematician can mathematise mathematics in a mathematical mathematiculation, why can’t you mathematically mathematise mathematics in a mathematical mathematiculation like the mathematician who mathematically mathematises mathematics in a mathematical mathematiculation?*🍀😝🤣👍🏻

DS: This can drive any one mad..

Me: BN is DS.

PP: What do you mean? There is no comparison between the two.

DS: Yes Ramana how did you compare? Please explain to understand.

Me: Typo. My English! Please add a comma after ‘BN is’.

DS: Oh, Ramana I have understood what you meant but, BN is not mad. He wants others to be mad. Right BN?

Me: Yes DS. BN drives others mad too.

And the gentleman that BN is, he is yet to respond.

Fun With Language 1.

This exchange in WhatsApp took place between my friend SD and me earlier today.

SD: This is a cake…Can anyone believe it!!!Great creativity…Paithani saree cake with Kolhapuri jewellery made by cake artist Tanvir Palishkar at J W Marriot Pune.Amazing talent,still can not believe this is a cake.🌹🌹🌹🌹👆👆👆👆

Me: Yes, it takes the cake!

For skeptics, here is a link to the Youtube clip showing the full range of saree cakes.