Learning – 7. Self Proclaimed Expert.

A person from London is called a Londoner, from New York a New Yorker, from Glasgow, a Glaswegian and so on. In India, one from Mumbai will be called a Mumbaikar, from Delhi, a Delhiwala, and so on. I live in a city in Maharashtra in India called Pune. A resident will be called Punekar.

That preamble was to introduce you to a new word that I learnt today.


It is defined as “a person having  the habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of his knowledge or competence.”

Instead of that tongue twister, Maharashtrians, that is, people who live in Maharashtra, India, will simply call a person of that nature a Punekar.

For my readers, I think that I am an exception that proves the rule.  What do you think?

Cleaning The Ear.

For years, I used to use Hydrogen Peroxide drops and buds to clean my ears till an ENT specialist who I accidentally met on a plane trip told me that I should not. He suggested just the bud and if at all necessary to an ENT specialist. I have heeded his advice till date and have not had to go to any specialist for a cleaning session.

My cousin Shankar who has been to China and is fascinated by that country sent me a story about the ear cleaners of Chengdu and asked me rather plaintively “I wonder if this custom exist in some parts of India?”  This does not exist in that part of the country where he lives but, I am surprised that he did not see this in the other parts that he has visited.

He asked the right person!

I promptly sent this link to him.

I would not dare opt for this service.  Would you?


This is not something that I have dreamt up. 70+ years old couple became parents in India some time ago. There was widespread press coverage of the event.

Similar stories but not for as old as these appear now and then.

Considering that this is now a definite possibility, I wish to share a small story with my readers.

With the aid of new-age fertility treatments, a 72-year old woman conceived a child. Nine months later, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. The happy old couple went home and relatives started pouring in.

“We are so excited,” her cousin said. “Can we see the newborn?”
“Umm…let’s wait a little”, said the mother. “I’ll make tea for everyone.”
They had high tea, a good hour passed and everyone was eager to see the newborn.
“May we see the baby now?”
“Not yet,” the mother said.

The guests were beginning to get intrigued. After waiting for another ten minutes, they insisted on seeing the baby but got the same answer back.

Growing impatient, they said, “Well, when can we see the baby?”
“Only when she cries.”
“What’s crying got to do with anything? Why do we have to wait until she cries?
“Because,” she explained, “I forgot where I put her.”

Now, there is a moral in that story somewhere. Can someone discover that?

A New Problem Created By Fanatics.

This news item from the BBC shows the latest problem faced by one section of people from India’s North East.

Mumbai and Pune also had problems with people from the North East of India being targeted by trouble makers.

These assaults are on people who like Bodo tribals of our North East who are battling immigrant Bangladeshis. Some Muslims in India have decided that their co-religionists, despite being illegal immigrants into India, are being assaulted and have gone berserk.

My friend and frequent commentator Nandu has this to say about it.

Shameful & dangerous ! The earlier this rot is stemmed the better before it snowballs into a more ugly situation which could easily spiral out of control . The people from the NE States have felt neglected/excluded/discriminated against for years now and a process of integration had just begun . When I was in Gauhati in 1977/78 and used to visit the other NE States ( Mizoram , Meghalaya , Manipur , Nagaland , Arunachal Pradesh , Tripura – “The Seven Sisters ” ) some of the local people there used to ask ” Have you come from India ? ” . They are simple law abiding folk in search of gainful employment in other parts of India and this ugly development is tragic . They were earlier exploited by traders from the other states in India and secretly resented them . This unrest has spread from the Bodo-Muslim ( illegal immigrant ) clashes in Assam to Mumbai , Pune and Karnataka !

It is all very well to celebrate Mary Kom’s success ( some solace in an otherwise drought of medals – very creditable considering the fraction these folk represent of our huge population ) but the “aam NE admi” needs to be at least protected if not actively encouraged !

The massive illegal immigrant influx ( pre & post 1971 war with Pakistan , which saw the creation of Bangladesh ) into the NE states is a huge problem which has been allowed to fester for far too long and unfortunately the Govt has been dragging its heels ( in some cases deliberately for political mileage ) and political will and co-ordination is woefully lacking ( as usual you might say ! ) ; the usual blame games have started . The favourite bogey of “foreign hand” has been raised ; even if that were true what prevents us from dealing with it : terrorism is also due to “foreign hand” who are now working hand-in-hand with local hands !

Why does India have to make headlines for all the wrong reasons with monotonous regularity ? The so called “India story” is taking a huge bashing of late !

My Nightmare.

I have written about this before and my readers are sure to be aware of the problems that face India’s so far hostile neighbour Pakistan, without my having to elaborate.

The latest in a series of written material about Pakistan, is this book which has been reviewed in The Telegraph. I do not have to read the book to understand what the author has to say, but do have something to say about a scenario that no one has so far covered.

Pakistan has a substantial population spread all over but predominantly concentrated around Karachi, which speaks Urdu. These are called the Mohajirs, or the people who relocated from India at the time of India’s partition and/or their descendants. These are people with relatives still living in India and have many interconnections with India through marriage. These are people who are already facing problems with Sindhi and Punjabi domination and Karachi epitomises that problem with very high incidences of murders and sectarian strife.

If Pakistan collapses, as predicted by many “experts”, I do not have the slightest doubt that India will be faced with a refugee problem comparable to what it faced prior to the formation of Bangladesh.

The scene in India now however is vastly different now, with a very militant Hindu right wing which is unlikely to be accommodating of a new influx of Pakistani Muslims into India and both the refugees and Indian Muslims will face the brunt of such antagonism, the magnitude of which will be difficult to handle.

It is in India’s interest that Pakistan survives successfully as a state and I hope that our leadership, so obsessed with minority appeasement will take this possible scenario in their reckoning before it becomes too late.