Morbid? You Decide.

On reading my post Are You Leaving? my friend A called me up to berate me for being morbid.

I do not think that my post was morbid. Morbid would be when I am obsessed with death. I am not.  It is just the one truth that cannot be denied and I have accepted that it will come to me some time.

The opposite of death is not life.  It is birth.  There is no opposite to life.  Life simply is but offers us duality in every aspect of it.  We have made one part of that morbid by not even wanting to use the word death.  We use words like passing away, has gone to God etc to express our discomfort with one real fact of life that at some point of time, it will happen to each of us.  All that I maintain is that I have lived a full life, have no regrets and am now ready to face whatever happens in death.

I have given  my take on the subject and leave you to decide whether I was morbid or just practical.



Chandru Wadhwani. RIP.


Since his wife Vimlu died three weeks ago, my friend Chandru was out of sorts and in retrospect it is now obvious that he simply gave up the will to live.

After a brief illness he passed away earlier this evening. I used to hold his hands and walk in the park and also escort him back from the park. I accompanied him on his final journey too and attended his cremation.

May the two of them meet up wherever they are and have a ball again.

Toxic Friend/s.

ToxicThis is a rant. I want to get rid of something that has been annoying me since yesterday and I think that writing about it and sharing it with my readers may just be the thing to get it out of my system.

I have come across the term toxic people in various peoples’ lives but could not relate to that term till I came across one yesterday.

I was on the telephone talking to Padma and reminiscing with her about many other 4th Mays that we had seen together. Yes, it would have been her wedding anniversary and she would have celebrated it with great enthusiasm had only my friend Kashi been alive. I was trying to cheer her up and was telling her to have a grand do at home with Biriyani, Kheer etc just as Kashi would have liked when the door bell rang and when I opened the door it was a friend who was visiting, I waved him to sit down while I continued my conversation with Padma and was telling her that in my opinion, she should not go into mourning but must celebrate and so on and she responded quite well to my suggestions. I cut short the conversation bid Padma goodbye and went over to sit with my friend who immediately took off asking me about who I was talking to and what the Biriyani etc was all about.

When I explained what was going on, he literally exploded in anger calling me an insensitive animal etc and that I should have been more gentle with the recently widowed lady etc. All this, without ever having met either Kashi or Padma or my equation with the two of them. He would not allow me to explain all that and took off again that it is not human to react to death like that etc.

I simply got up, went to the door, opened it and told him to get out. Yes, those exact words but said very calmly and gently adding that he could come back when he was willing to be polite and behave like a guest. He huffed and he puffed but got the message and disappeared.

I doubt very much that I will have anything to do with him again though, I will not be surprised if he turned up again to apologise and resume our relationship.

Now I know what a toxic friend is.

A Bit Of Maharashtra, North India, And Urmeela.

Maharashtra is a State on the Western and Central Deccan Plateau parts of India and Pune, the city where I live is in it. Pune is located just East of Mumbai more familiar with its old English name Bombay, which is the State Capital.

As with most of India, Maharashtra is predominantly Hindu and one of the traditions that Maharashtrian women follow is to observe a fast for three days to concentrate on their prayers for the well being of their husbands. Yesterday was the last day of the fast called the Vat Purnima in local parlance. You can read all about it here.

A news item about this ceremony in the local paper reminded of an incident which I narrate here.

My late wife Urmeela did not observe this Vat Purnima fast, but one year when we were based in Delhi, she did observe a local variety of the same fast called the Karva Chouth.

To conclude the fast, women await the rising of the moon. Once the moon is visible, depending on the region and community, it is customary for a fasting woman, with her husband nearby, to view its reflection in a vessel filled with water, through a sieve, or through the cloth of a dupatta. Water is offered to the moon to secure its blessings. She then turns to her husband and views his face indirectly in the same manner. In some regions, the woman says a brief prayer asking for her husband’s life. It is believed that at this stage, spiritually strengthened by her fast, the fasting woman can successfully confront and defeat death. In Rajasthan the women say “Like the gold necklace and the pearl bracelet, just like the moon may my husband always shine brightly”.

The husband now takes the water from the plateand gives his wife her first sip and feeds her with the first morsel of the day (usually something sweet). The fast is now broken, and the woman has a complete meal. It is customary for the husband to make a gift to his wife, such as jewelry or a new dress.

She was more of less bamboozled into observing this fast by our lady neighbours who were observing it, and she did not tell me in advance about it. Not knowing that it was karva chouth, I invited some friends over for some cocktails and dinner in the evening and telephoned her to get things organised. Even at that point she did not mention anything and the party went off very well. At about eleven after the last guest had left, she performed this last ritual and I was more than touched and apologised for the inconsiderate party that I had thrown. As she always did, she brushed the apology aside and broke her fast and had her dinner. I however insisted that she does not do anything like this in the future as there was no need for an annual occasion, when I knew that she always had my well being in mind and that was that.

The story however, does not end there. The next day, our lady neighbours berated her for having given the party with liquor, and horror of horrors, meat and chicken cooked at home on such an auspicious day when she was observing the fast. Urmeela listened to all the rants and raves patiently, and finally said, that she implemented the spirit of the fast – the welfare and well being of her husband by arranging a party as per his wish. That shut the whole lot of them up. I came to know about the punchline from one of our male neighbours who complimented me for having such a wonderful wife!

Her prayer worked. She defeated death from taking her husband away from her, but death had the last laugh. He took her away from me.


I notice something strange.

In my post “Late”, I inserted an obituary that I hoped will be used by my son when I pass away.

That portion of the post went completely un-commented on by my readers. The comments were all restricted to the other part focused on punctuality.

I concluded that perhaps that kind of writing on ones own death is uncomfortable to deal with for others.

Now, in my blog post on Aging, as well as on my earlier post on “I am not even good enough”, two commentators have talked about their own eventual death.

Is it that writing about ones own death in a humorous vein that is taboo?

There Is Both Madness And Reason in ‘Love’.

“Always, there is a drop of madness in love, yet always, there is a drop of reason in madness.”
– F. Nietzsche

Since the recent loss of my wife, I have been trying to make sense about love, death, attachment etc at a personal experiential level. All the theory and philosophy that I have studied and am in the process of learning has been of no help whatsoever.

Death of a loved one is a traumatic experience. The aftermath of the initial busyness brings one down to earth with an inexpressible sense of emptiness and loss. No amount of platitudes like ‘time is a great healer’ etc, has any effect. One has to live through it. I am doing that and finding my own way of handling the new situtation.

In my search for some answers, I returned to one of my old time favourites, Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig. I had read the book in the eighties. The first time, it went right over my head, but it was being talked about so much, that I read a couple of times more before it made some sense to me.

This is the third copy that I have bought and this time, I found what I was looking for in the Afterword. During the narration, the author goes on a cross USA motorcycle trip with his young son Chris. Some of the scenes describing the trip, conversations with Chris etc, are remarkable in themselves, but the afterword is something altogether different.

Chris, as a grown up young man of early twenties, gets killed by a couple of muggers. What Pirsig goes through with that loss is so beautifully described by him and the way he concludes the narration resonated with me sufficiently and strongly enough for me to come to grips with my own sense of loss and inability to let go.

Yes, there is both madness and reason in love.