Melting Pots.

melting pot
a pot in which metals or other materials are melted and mixed.
a place where different peoples, styles, theories, etc. are mixed together.
“Toronto is a melting pot of different cultures”

I have a number of melting pots of the latter kind in my life and I shall explain with just a few that have become part of my life in the last year or so. They are all groups on WhatsApp.

A small group of my Pune based Alumni. Two Maharashtrians, one Rajasthani, one Bengali, one Punjabi and me. All males.

A large group of my classmates from Business School. Almost every large state is represented by one or more friends all male and two ladies too.

A larger group of ex colleagues from my time in the corporate world. A mixture of Maharashtrians, Malayalis, Sindhis, Punjabi, Telugu, an Uttar Pradeshi, a Bengali and me. All males.

Another smaller group of my classmates from my Vedanta class. A mixture of Females and males. Tamils, Sindhis, Punjabi, Malayali, Gujarathi and Maharashtrian.

My immediate family group consisting of me, my siblings and our progeny. My daughter in love is also part of that. This group consists of our primary Tamils, Scots and a Maharashtrian.

Apart from these WhatsApp groups, my life revolves around a number of people of various categories including people from different religions, foreigners and people much younger to me. My extended family has people from other religions, languages and countries and so the family is also a melting pot of sorts.

My taste in music is another melting pot with preferences depending on my mood. Bollywood film music, Hindustani classical music, Jazz, Pop, Western Classical music and on occasion Carnatic classical music as well.

I live in a city which is a melting pot of many languages, cultures and religions.  That is but a microcosm of the larger country which is more complex in being a melting pot.

“India is a melting pot of the various religions and cultures of the world and it is the very nature of the unity in diversity, which has largely shaped the growth of Indian culture as a whole.”

“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, grandmother of legend, and great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.” – Mark Twain

And I am a product of this great melting pot.  A complete alloy!

I have suggested this topic for the weekly LBC blog posts. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.

Memory Trigger 15. A Song And An Irish Troubadour.

My friend Sandeep was listening to this song while having lunch at home in the UK and sent me a WhatsApp message asking me to listen to it too. Little did he know that this will trigger off a great memory of a great friend, alas no more.

I quote his WhatsApp messsage – “I Forget what a van Morrison fan I am sometimes. Hugely underrated, and with a lyrical ability on par with Bob Dylan and a better musician. Has at least 5 truly great albums that have never got the global acclaim they deserve. A true Irish troubadour.”

When I was a bachelor salesman in Madras of the early sixties of the last century, I met a remarkable Irish fellow called TW. This fellow had had all kinds of adventures as a seaman and had jumped ship in Madras and was working as a steward in a restaurant. He enjoyed my company primarily because he could talk to someone in English and for a few months that he stayed in Madras, we were good friends.

After he returned to Ireland he wrote regularly and we kept in touch with each other by mail. He came back to india in 1978 when I was in Bombay. He spent three unforgettable days with us then and he gifted an album to us which had this song in it. It was the first time that my late wife and I were introduced to Irish music and we were completely zapped by the beauty of it. This album stayed with us for many years till we eventually got rid of all LPs when the CDs came into the market. I somehow never went back to Van Morrison and this message from Sandeep not only took me back to the music but also to TW.

TW came from a fairly well to do family of Dublin and had an adventurous life. I met him in Dublin in 1987 and spent a weekend with him at his ancestral home. He was in the final stages of his life with serious cirrhosis of the liver and by December of 1987 he died of drink. He was 46 years old.

Thank you Sandeep for bringing this song back to me and also the memories of a good friend long gone.

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
Oh the color
Of the day wore on
And our heads
Were filled with poetry
And the morning
A-comin’ on to dawn

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
And gay perfusion
In god’s green land
And the gypsy’s rode
With their hearts on fire
They say “We love to wander, ”
“Lord we love, ”
“Lord we love to roam”

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
In a drenching beauty
Rolling back ’til the day
And I saw your eyes
They was shining, sparkling crystal clear
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow

Written by Van Morrison • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Pune, My Home City.

A friend and neighbour sent this video to me in WhatsApp and in turn I forwarded it to some friends in Pune and elsewhere with the comment – “Why I live in Pune”.

One friend, also a resident of Pune, took objection and suggested that there could be other places without water shortages, electricity outages, dust, dirt etc. I responded with the observation that there could be no place on earth without either such problems or other minor problems and that despite being in a position to live in many other places in India, I would be loathe to leave Pune after almost 28 years of living here.

I also sent this pithy image for effect!