It was the year 1964 that I came across this extract from a poem by Robert Frost.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

This was a poem that Jawaharlal Nehru apparently kept by his bedside to motivate himself. This was published as part of the various obituaries that came up because on Wednesday the 27th of May 1964 he died. I will never forget the date nor the day because on that day and the two days following I got stuck in Pondichery without being able to get out and return to my base Madras and in the process lost a great deal of money on some futures on which I had a position. With JN’s death the prices fell and I was unable to get out with minimum losses. I gave up trading on futures on that day and how can one forget such an eventful day?

So, sleep, Robert Frost, Jawaharlal Nehru, Futures Trading, and being stuck in Pondichery all combined together, makes for a potent combination for memory recall for me.

And as it often happens and to use a word that annoys some of my readers, synchronicity strikes again after all these decades.

This topic was suggested by me to the LBC some time last year when I was going through some sleepless nights due to an ailment which resolved itself after bugging me for a couple of weeks. As I write this, I am again having some problems with sleep due to not being able to sleep on my right side, which is my preferred position, due to a torn shoulder ligament. I will be going to the Orthopedist on Monday when a call on whether to go in for a MRI scan will be taken to decide further course of treatment. For the moment I am under anit inflammatory medication which shows some improvement. But sleep is still fitful and unsatisfactory because, normally I do not have any problems with my sleep. I look forward to getting back to normal so that I can sleep like that again.

And I hope that I will travel many miles before I sleep the final sleep.

This topic was suggested by me for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently eight of us write on the same topic every Friday.  I hope that you enjoyed my contribution to that effort.  The seven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi, PadmumShackman 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, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too! Even I am late posting this week due to completely unavoidable circumstances. My apologies.


Jawaharlal Nehru, in his “The Discovery of India” calls India as “an ancient palimpsest on which layer upon layer of thought and reverie had been inscribed, and yet no succeeding layer had completely hidden or erased what had been written previously”.

Yes, India is certainly that even today, after 68 years. We are suddenly the new kid on the block and the world is beginning to take notice. Despite that new veneer, we are still, in many ways the ancient India and if you look carefully, many of our antiquity shows through.

Many books and articles in respected magazines have been written on this phenomenon and I do not wish to prolong my readers’ agony.

The point of this post is that I am an Indian and am very much like a palimpsest. This is driven home to me every time that I am confronted with something new in my environment and my old values/beliefs/prejudices etc come to the forefront. Be it a new gadget, a new approach to old problems or a new relationship, the way to tackle the new is conditioned by those not fully erased impressions from the past. Very often I find myself stopping an automatic response, because it is not the appropriate one for the present, but something registered deep inside made that response come to the surface.

Does this happen to my readers I wonder.

Character In The Indian Armed Forces.

Here is a story that has been authenticated from impeccable sources. I thank my friend Anil for sending me this very inspiring piece of our history.

After getting freedom, a meeting was organized to select the first General of the Indian Army. Jawahar Lal Nehru was heading that meeting. Leaders and Army officers were discussing to whom this responsibility should be given.

 In between the discussion Nehru said, “I think we should appoint a British officer as a General of Indian Army as we don’t have enough experience to lead the same.”

 Everybody supported Nehru because if the PM was suggesting something, how could they not agree?

But one of the army officers abruptly said, “I have a point, sir.”

 Nehru said, “Yes, gentleman. You are free to speak.”

 He said ,”You see, sir, we don’t have enough experience to lead a nation too, so shouldn’t we appoint a British person as first PM of India?”

The meeting hall  suddenly  went  quiet.

Then, Nehru said, “Are you ready to be the first General of the Indian Army ?” 

 He got a golden chance to accept  the  offer  but he refused  the same  and said, “Sir, we have a very talented army officer, my senior, Lt. Gen. Cariappa, who is the most deserving among us.”

The army officer who raised his voice against the PM was Lt. General Nathu Singh Rathore, the 1st  Lt. General of the Indian Army.

Since the ibid mail was circulated, numerous veterans have pointed out to me that it was NOT Gen Nathu BUT Gen Rajendra Sinhji, who turned down the offer to be the first chief, ahead of Gen Cariappa. Well, it now turns out that it was BOTH.

What a tradition that the Indian armed forces can be genuinely proud of!