Cheer Leaders.

My grand niece, four year old JR and her father my nephew SR had this remarkable conversation during a session of watching an IPL cricket match.

Simon : Watching IPL with Josephine and she says ‘I want to be one of the cheerleaders’
Simon : Why?
Josephine :  Because that’s what the girls do.
Simon : Women also play cricket. They bat, bowl, catch etc in womens’ cricket matches.
Josehphine : In those matches are men cheerleaders?

Memory Trigger 23. Comparison.

This is not the first time that I have come across this image. It is poignant for all the right reasons and resonates with me for many reasons, the least being it  reminding me of the famous Helen Keller quote – “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet”.

The Keller quote however, reminded me of two of the great lessons of life that I had the privilege of learning from a great mentor.

The year was 1981. The event, the annual Cricket Match between the Sales Managers and the Rest played every year at our Mill location in the South of India. This was one major event looked forward to by all every year and it was always a festive affair. The match would be over before lunch time in the morning and it would be followed by a great deal of beer drinking and a sumptuous meal in fellowship.

I used to represent the Sales Managers and would open the bowling for them. I was also a dependable batsman down the order. I did this every year from 1974 till 1980. In 1981 however I could not play due to my hips having given up on me. I was miserable watching the proceedings and my misery was perhaps quite obvious as my then boss, sitting next to me in the pavilion, who asked me why I was so sad. On hearing my disappointment with my hips not cooperating, he quoted Helen Keller.

That was the last time that I ever complained about my disability or compared myself with anyone else.

My boss continued to be my boss till 1987 when I took over from him on his retirement. He continues to be a very dear friend till today and though with his own disabilities, he laughs when I remind him of his mentoring me during the cricket match.

Freaky Ali.


Freaky Ali is loosely based on the old film Happy Gilmore that I had seen about a decade ago. Adam Sandler’s counterpart in the Hindi version that I saw yesterday is one of my all time favourites, Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

Instead of taking off from ice hockey like Gilmore does in the English version, Ali takes off from being a super cricket player in his inner city low income group area. A neighbour who just happens to be a caddy takes Ali into his hand and trains him to be a pro golfer instead of being an undergarment peddler and part time extortionist hoodlum.

The film has been classified as a sports comedy and I have no issue with that. I have no issues with Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s performance though in my opinion, he has not received proper direction to showcase his histrionic talent. Just about all the other members of the cast emote and overdo their bit but I suppose that to get a comic effect out of a fairly serious situation, that is the only way to go about it.

It was an enjoyable outing but nothing that I would rave about. I would give it a three star out of five stars rating and advise my readers that you can see it if you have nothing better to do!

Pen Pals.

pen_pal_clubPerhaps that should read as “Because two computers are better than one.”
The internet has made it possible for us to have more pen pals than one would have thought possible when pen pals were all the rage. I had one brush with that phenomenon.

I was all of 13 years old when my cousin Mangala who was the librarian at the United States Information Service Library in Madras put me in touch with a young lad of the same age from the USA named Johny Horrigan Jr.  The USIS had a program to encourage such exchanges and Johny and I exchanged a few letters and photographs taken with our box cameras, during the next two years and both simply tapered off due to other preoccupations.  We had Boy Scouts as the only common interest and there was the  dampener that I did not have a clue about base ball and he about cricket!

After that great experience, all my penning was to people I knew and I was an inveterate writer of letters.  I wrote to my friends, cousins, mother and a few times to the editor of the local news papers too.  But I never got back to making pen pals till the advent of the internet.

I don’t know if I can call my internet friends who I have not met face to face as pen pals but it makes sense to me to.  I don’t put a pen to paper to write to them, but type on a key board I do to correspond with them through emails, facebook, blog posts and comments; and now with the world becoming smaller on skype, whatsap, sms and so on too.

If I am allowed to include my internet friends, then my list of pen pals would run into a very large number and one of these days, I shall sit down and count and give this post an update.  In the meanwhile, I am glad that I have them in my life and I hope that they are happy that I am in their life too.

I hope that you enjoyed reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where six of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic was chosen by yours truly. The five other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, gaelikaa, Maxi, Paul, Shackman, and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!


I hope that you enjoy reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where eleven of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by The Old Fossil. The ten other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, Padmum, Paul, Rohit,Shackman, The Old Fossil and Will. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!


To start off, I rather enjoyed changing the spelling of the title to this post to establish that I am an anglophile not to be intimidated by the American propensity to simplify spelling. With no apologies to The Old Fossil, let me now proceed.

Sometimes my idea of what is funny is not quite what the other person thinks it is. Here is an example. Tammy in her comment on my post The Zamindar said this. “My dad died of a heart attack at 45. And he was trim and fit in every way. Every way but his arteries I guess. I think you may live to 95 and still look young as a cowboy and still be sharing bits of wisdom and folly! Wonderful!”

I hereby officially respond by quoting a very important person.

“If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there’ll be a record.”
~ Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman.

My siblings and I are blessed to have inherited one great characteristic from our mother, a sense of humour. If you really want to see a live sitcom, you must be present when the four of us are together. Our late mother survived for as long as she did despite a dysfunctional marriage because she could draw from her reserve of humour to see the funny side of things and life and all of us are grateful for that.

We grew up reading comics, they were called that because it was the genre for comedy to start with, and magazines with humourous stories in them and all of us eventually graduated to P G Wodehouse and other writers of his ilk. The first things we read in newspapers and magazines were the funnies and at least one of us developed enough talent to become a living clown as well.

All of us are known for our ready wit and laughter and that has enabled us to live beyond the proverbial three score relatively unaffected by the vicissitudes of life that everyone goes through.

Sometimes, only sometimes though, my propensity for flippancy results in a spoiled relationship. This usually happens when the other person lacks a sense of humour and that is one lesson, I do not seem to be able to learn despite those experiences. I simply am unable to understand how anyone can be without a sense of humour. My shortcoming, but I am now too old and set in my ways to bother and take corrective action. I would rather continue in my flippant ways. I am convinced that I am thriving in my life now.

My son has this obituary announcement in his mind when I finally go to join the cricket team up there waiting for another opening bowler. ” He laughed his way to his death.”

Tammy, whether it will be when I am 95 or before or after, will be decided by the captain of that team. And my apologies for editing your comment with capital letters.

My First Memory.

My first memory is my going to a Montessori School in Chennai. I distinctly remember Mrs. Fletcher who was gentle grey haired lady who lived upstairs in the two storied mansion which had all the classes downstairs except one, for the third standard on the first floor. I went to that school till the third standard and was taken out to go to another school when my father moved from Chennai to Mumbai.

Apart from Mrs Fletcher who was the Head Mistress, we occasionally came across Mr. Fletcher who would take classes when one of the teachers was absent. What I remember about Mr. Fletcher is the way hair grew in abundance around his ears and his very bushy eyebrows. He looked formidable. They had a son Babu, who was then going to a college but would also stand in for any absent teacher.

I also remember two teachers. One Rosemary Teacher and one Lily Teacher. (That is how teachers are addressed in some schools in India.) The former’s son James was my classmate and best friend.

There was more playing and horsing around in that school than serious studying and I always remember that when I see children going to school now a days with satchels weighing a ton, and also taking additional tuition, even for lower standards.

My mother used to give me a tiffin box to take to school with rice and yogurt mixed with a dollop of jaggery and I used to relish that during the lunch break. I used to be taken to the school about two kilometers away from our home and back by a cycle rickshaw every day. I vaguely remember some occasions when my father used to drop me off in his car and I would be dropped back home by Babu on his bicycle.

I also remember my younger brother Arvind joining me in the same school for some time and the two of us would go together and return every day. At home too, there was no homework and we would spend most of our time playing something or the other or making things with Meccano sets. Our hero was our uncle, father’s younger brother who would bring these sets every now and then. We also had many Indian indoor games to play and of course the usual out door games like cricket, gilli danda, marbles, tops etc. We would also use up great many drawing books with pencil and crayon drawings and water colour paintings. I used to be fascinated by the dog resembling a greyhound and dalmatian combined that would be printed on the Reeves painting box. All my life I had looked for a dog that would resemble that, without success.

Unlike my grand nephews and nieces of that age now, I don’t remember ever studying at home during that period.

I do however remember group punishments in school as well as at home and who better to remind me of those than my co punishee Arvind who posted this on FaceBook.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where thirteen of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by The Old Fossil. The twelve other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, Shackman, The Old Fossil and Will. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!