Relocating.

My fellow 2 on 1 Friday blogger Shackman has recently relocated to California and I was inspired to suggest this topic by that move. Please go over to Shackman’s blog to see how he tackles the topic.

My pre-marriage and the first year after that was life living out of a suitcase from the age of 16 for me. I had relocated a few times between Hyderabd and Chennai/Mumbai and also Ahmedabad before my marriage in November 1968. Relocating was simply a matter of packing my suitcase and moving to a hotel, hostel or paying guest accommodation and did not make for much effort or difficulty.

The first home we set up after marriage was in Delhi and since it was for a stay of just a few months, we had taken a barsati on rent and hired furniture and bare minimum utensils and a stove but both of us lived off suitcases.

The first proper home that we lived in was in Mumbai between 1970 and mid 1973 when we acquired furniture, cooking utensils, linen, etc and when we had to move to Kolkata, we were exposed for the first time to relocating with major packing, discarding etc but, the redeeming feature of the exercise was that we could hire professional packers and movers who did the dirty work, stored the stuff till we found accommodation at Kolkata and unpacked for us too.

From that first move, we relocated to Kerala, back to Mumbai on three occasions, Delhi and Bengaluru and finally to Pune in 1990 where we bought our home where I continue to live till date. During these relocations we moved and set up new homes on eight separate occasions till we put in our final roots.

I had to relocate on two separate occasions afterwards to Tirupur but since it was to furnished accommodation on both occasions I simply had to pack a suitcase. Whenever Urmeela came to stay with me there, she too simply had to come with a packed suitcase. So those two relocations were not really relocations in the true sense.

The only major disruption that we experienced during the relocations was in the schooling of our son Ranjan which, we once even had to solve by admitting him to a boarding school for three years. In retrospect, those three years were also the most disturbing for both of us despite frequent meetings with him at his school as well as his coming home for his vacations. Another experience that I would not wish on anyone.

I can therefore confidently assert that I am a seasoned and well-experienced relocator. I would not like to do that again though as I am now too well ensconced in my comfort zone in Pune where it will be three decades next year, since we relocated.

Wow! What Memories!!

A few days ago I read this gruesome news item which led me to a long lost friend.

The suburban railway station Chetpet mentioned in the report brought back memories of a friend with whom I had lost contact after an accidental meeting in 1964.

Let me start at the beginning.

SK and I were classmates between 1954 and 1958 and the school we studied in was adjacent to Chetpet station.  SK’s home was also close by along the railway tracks. I had often gone to his home during lunch breaks and have very pleasant memories of his mother fussing over both of us and feeding us. In 1958 both of us got our school leaving certificates and moved on in our separate ways. I went off to Hyderabad while SK stayed on in Chennai then known as Madras. By 1965 when we again met accidentally on a main arterial road of Chennai, we had both been in employment, SK as a banker and I as a salesman. During that accidental meeting, both of us retired to a famous restaurant on Mount Road in Chennai for some coffee and catching up with each other. We parted ways again with me going off to Ahmedabad to Business School and he to continue his career as a banker.

Reading about the Chetpet station assault brought back memories of SK and I decide to see if I can reconnect with him and asked some banker friends in Chennai for help. Nothing was forthcoming when I remembered that my cousin SS was also a banker who spent his initial years in the same back as where SK was working. I contacted my cousin who in turn referred me to another ex colleague SV, who fortunately, had retired to live in Pune where I live. SV gave me a telephone number and suggested that if that was not the same SK that I was looking for he would at least be able to help me find my friend’s where and / or what-abouts.

I called that number and was totally zapped to find that it was indeed my old classmate SK on the line and after 54 years both of us caught up with each other with the assurance that we would be in regular touch now that social media makes it so easy.

The Topic of this post however is to express my amazement at the two instances of remarkable memory.

When I rang up SV as suggested by my cousin, I introduced myself by name and before I could say anything else, SV promptly said “cousin of SS from Bombay”. Apparently, when my cousin was in Bombay in the late sixties when I too was there for a few months undergoing training with my employer then and he and SV were in the same branch where he had met me once. And that was in 1967 and he remembered the name after 52 years!

When I reestablished contact with SK and said that we last met in 1965 he said yes, he distinctly remembered the occasion, the name of the restaurant where we had coffee and he particularly remembered my having black coffee which was unusual in Madras of those days where the famous degree/filter coffee was and is the more popular option.

Do you now see my exclamation in the topic of this blog post? Amazing is it not?

What is/was your favourite weekend getaway spot?

This is a difficult question to come up with a single answer for me. You will see why as you proceed reading this post.

Pre Business School, way back in the early sixties, I was based in Chennai in Tamil Nadu, a state in the Southern parts of our nation. There was prohibition during those days and one had to buy bootleg booze at exorbitant prices or risk illness and death drinking illicit liquor distilled in stills by unscrupulous characters.

Just 170 Kms from Chennai was what then for me for Paradise. Puducherry, a small town did not suffer the bane of prohibition and had some very affordable hotels to stay in. It was my and a group of friends’ favourite weekend getaway spot during those days.

Subsequently, Business School, work pressures and the travelling nature of my job meant that my favourite weekend getaway spot was home wherever we happened to be living as during the week days, I hardly spent any time at home.

As I made progress and the five day week end was introduced, I was able to manage to get away from Mumbai to Hyderabad, my late wife’s home town for week ends. Since I had fond memories of Hydearbad too, I always looked forward to those get aways.

Since, by then my travelling had become national and international, being at home during week ends became even more the norm.

When we moved to Pune in 1990, I had to step up travelling again to get acquainted with my new career and so, home was the obvious choice for week end getaways. As the travelling reduced, visiting Mahabaleshwar became the week end getaways and I had written about it in my blog on our Monsoon.

After retirement, since every day became a week end for me, there were no favourite week end getaways. That state of affairs continues till today. I am also content with just spending each day at home and it takes a great deal of motivation to change my mind!

This post is my contribution the the weekly Friday 2 on 1 blog posts. The other blogger, who suggested this topic, Shackman’s take on the same topic can be read here.

Where Time Stands Still.

This morning’s The Hindu had this very interesting article about the clock towers in many places in Hyderabad. Hyderabad for those who do not know, is the home town of my late wife where our son was born. I have a special attachment to the city for having started my official working life there and having met my late wife there.

I can vouch for one thing about Hyderabad. Time did stand still there for me on many occasions.

As a matter of synchronicity, this cartoon appeared in this morning’s Pune Times. Please click on the image to get a larger resolution.

Blue Collar Vs White Collar.

It has not yet come to Vs in India. It is still peaceful coexistence, albeit with a subtext of unease.

The Blue Collar population striving hard to get its children move up the social and economic ladder by sending them to good schools/colleges etc and to a large extent succeeding. On the other hand, what I would call a Green Collar population, predominantly rural and agriculture oriented, strives hard to send part of its numbers into cities into Blue Collar occupations and succeeding at that too.

That leaves us with the White Collar which aspires to just keep up with the better off neighbours! In other words, wealth.

There is however a new category called Knowledge Workers which mostly does not wear collars at all and is totally outside the ambit of fashion. This category is the latest kid on the block and has created quite a stir in some of our cities like Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad where our Information Technology companies tend to concentrate.

All three are interdependent and feed off each other quite peacefully.  And Hambone explains the economic reality beautifully in this cartoon.

 

There is however the looming danger of automation which will increasingly affect all three categories. Beyond that, the scenario is even more startling as depicted so starkly by Yuval Noah Harari in his amazing book Homo Deus. From where we stand, he says, in the accelerating present, no long-term future is imaginable, still less predictable – and there is plenty of time for questions. In that book he suggests a future for human beings that will be more like the Gods of yore than humans of now! I leave my readers to either read the book or research on their own.

Shackman has suggested this week’s LBC topic. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.

Remembering Vs Doing.

My daughter in love Manjiree listens to the FM radio when she is busy in the kitchen and this morning she was listening to this lovely song from a nineties Bollywood movie.

You can read the lyrics and the translation to English here. As corny as it sounds, it was a hit song and one of my favourite in the good old days, almost a quarter of a century ago.

The refrain is “Ed Ladki Ko Dekha Tho Aisa Laga”, It means “When I saw a girl it was like…”

After she finished up in the kitchen Manjiree came to sit in the drawing room and I remarked to her how the song was a favourite of mine and how  her late mother in law used to tease me about eying girls while she was not around. That little episode led to my remembering other things like the joke about why she would not dance with me because I would look over her head while dancing and wave to other ladies on the dance floor and so on. I also tried to mimicry her voice and went all nostalgic for her great sense of humour and Hyderabadi accent.

I am not getting old.  I am old.