Reunions.

Shackman’s suggestion for this week’s Friday 2 on 1 Blog Post came as a total surprise to me and coincidentally, as I write this on the day prior to the Friday post, I have just returned from a reunion.

I have been attending three types of reunions the last two decades. The first are family ones where the family and some close friends get together during weddings, special anniversaries, upanayanams, special birthdays etc but, since the last three years I have stopped going out of Pune as I find it difficult to tackle airports, railway stations etc. So, an understanding family has decided to accept my absence with grace and forgive me my inability to attend.

Another reunion that I attend is of my classmates from Business school and here too, I attend only those that are held in Pune or, at best near Pune. The last one that I wrote about is this one. Subsequently, there have been a few more and one with many out of town and country visitors who exited to Mahabaleshwar via Pune in January. Some of the classmates who live in Pune now get together often particularly when one who normally lives in the USA visits Pune in the winter. Sometimes, some visitors from Mumbai on business to Pune give us an opportunity to get together and those too are very much looked forward to.

The third reunion that I attend regularly is that of my ex colleagues from Mumbai which is held twice a year. I wrote about one of them here. These reunions are held mostly in Mumbai or around these parts as, travel is easy for all of us. This is the type of reunion that I attended today at Lonavala. Some of my colleagues had come up yesterday and spent the night at the resort where the reunion took place but some of us just made the day trip for obvious reasons. Two of us from Pune drove up in the morning and returned after lunch.

For me such outings are emotionally very charged and I enjoy every moment that I am with old classmates or colleagues. I am however sad that I am unable to attend more due to my health issues. My regrets however are somewhat assuaged as I am in regular touch with all of them through daily WhatsApp group messages exchanged. A great way to keep in touch and share news and other information of interest to all in the group.

To see what Shackman has to say on the subject, please do visit his blog. Thank you.

T

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.

The Monkey Mind.

I have known JG since 1967. We were colleagues in the same organisation till I left the organisation in 1990. Our friendship strengethened when I was posted to Delhi where JG lives and our two families too got to know each other very well.

I have been in regular touch with him despite not being his colleague. He and his wife would come to Mahabaleshwar often where they had a relative with a large estate. They would inevitably spend some time with us on their way up as well as back.

Every time I visited Delhi, I would visit him and spend some time with him and his family. I would also ring him up without fail every year on his birthday and he would be extremely happy to hear from me.

This year too, I rang him up a few days ago on his birthday and got the recorded message that his mobile phone was switched off. I tried his landline and there was no response despite trying a number of times. I sent him an SMS greetings but did not get any acknowledgement from him.

JG had had open heart surgery a couple of years ago, and my mind went into overdrive. I started to imagine all kinds of dire things. I finally got another friend to go to JG’s house and check out what the scene was, but due to some unavoidable developments that got delayed. I however got a phone call from the friend that JG’s mobile was now functioning and so I called him yesterday only to find that he is quite cheerful and he was sorry that he could not speak to me on his birthday. Due to big family celebrations, he had switched off the telephones and the whole day was spent by him and his extended family celebrating his birthday. He further said that he had not checked his emails or text messages and that was why he caused me to worry. He was most apologetic and assured me that he was hale and hearty and thanked me for remembering him on his birthday.

How our mind works!

Memory Trigger 7. The Runaway.

dennis

We were blessed with visitors today. A cheerful couple the male half of whom, I have known for 35 years now. They had holidayed in Mahabaleshwar over the weekend and on their way back to Bombay stopped over and spent some time with us.

It was way back in 1981 that I first met DD. He was all of 16 years old then. I was posted in Delhi at that time and I received a trunk call, or a long distance call as my American friends call it from a friend in Bombay. The message was simple, his employee’s younger brother had run away from home after a fight and was seen last in a famous Delhi locality. I was requested to try and find him, take care of his expenses and see that he returned to his family safely.

My team of local citizens from that area went out and located him in a lodge and after settling his debts, brought him to me. I put the fear of God into him and said that he had two choices. Either he would go quietly with an escort back to Bombay or I would arrange to keep him in police custody till his brother came from Bombay to bail him out and take him back. Naturally, he opted for the former and he was escorted back to Bombay without further ado.

Some background about the family. At that time, the family of DD consisted of two elder brothers and no one else. They were struggling after the untimely death of their parents and the middle one was the only one, employed by my friend, earning to see that the three of them kept their bodies and souls together.

After I moved back to Bombay in 1983, the three brothers became closer to us and we had the pleasure of attending all their weddings subsequently.

I am now a kind of surrogate father to the three brothers and their wives.   ND the middle one particularly has been very attached to me and when Urmeela was alive was to her as well. I am very fond of all the three and their wives. DD has got a delightful son who is currently studying in the USA and all the three brothers have great hopes for his future as do I.

All three are now well settled in Bombay and have been successful in every respect. I am very happy to be in their orbit and feel blessed that a runaway young lad brought all of them into my life.

My Favourite Season.

We are in the middle of my favourite season, the monsoon. As I write this, there is a lull but the met promises rains back again from later this weekend. The monsoon in Pune starts by the first week of June and goes on till about the middle of September every year. It is vital for India as our agriculture and drinking water needs are met by the water that arrives during the season and a failed or below normal monsoon is disastrous for us.

Right now, everything is green everywhere including my little garden. I love to sit in our veranda and watch the rain fall and the birds taking shelter in our garden. When we go out, we see all the trees happy with the rainfall as also the grass on vacant plots. Since Pune is situated at a height of 560 Mts from sea level, it is not subject to the debilitating climate of the coastal areas and it is always cool and comfortable during the monsoon. Lovely weather to be in.

Mula-Mutha

This is the Mula-Mutha river that runs through Pune which is just about 300 Mts away from my home. Like shown in the picture, it is now in full strength and I always love to see it in this form. During the summer months this comes down to about a fifth of its size but the river runs with water all the twelve months.During the nineties my son and I used to go fishing for river carp and catfish in it but as the city grew and the population grew, we gave up that sport.

 

mahabal

When my late wife was alive, we used to go to Mahabaleshwar once definitely and often twice during the monsoon to enjoy the experience of walking through the clouds and eating hot fresh off the charcoals corn on the cob called bhutta here, hot samosas and tea there. It was just a three hour drive at most and we used to thoroughly enjoy the getaways. Since her death, I just don’t have the inspiration to do that.

During the monsoon there are many festivals as during this period agriculture takes a break and the farmers used the occasion to celebrate festivals. The crowning one will be the Ganesh immersion scheduled for the 15th of September this year. It will indicate the end of the monsoon season.

This topic for the weekly Friday LBC post was chosen by me.  You can see what the other LBC blogger Shackman has to say on it at his blog.

Rains.

The Rains in India are the most looked forward to events every year. For a country with many festivals the anticipation level for the simple annual natural event takes precedence over all other celebrations as if the rains do not come, disaster follows.

This year, I was traveling in South India when the North Eastern Monsoon broke over Chennai and I arrived there with the monsoon. I saw what rain could do to that city during the few days that I spent there. I also saw the grandeur of the monsoon in full strength from the veranda of my brother Arvind’s flat overlooking a lake and the Bay of Bengal in the distance. It was awesome.

The rains this year in Pune were like what we used to have when we first moved to Pune in 1990. The first monsoon in our very own home was in 1991, though we moved into a furnished apartment for a few months in 1990 till we located and bought the flat in which we currently live. So, this was the 22st monsoon that we saw here earlier this year, and bar two, they have all been good and normal. This year was a bit erratic but in the end gave us enough rainfall to avert drought conditions till next year.

One of the nicest things about the monsoon is that every thing around us gets refreshed and all the plants and the trees in the neighbourhood turn green and look cheerful! I am very serious. They do.

Every monsoon, till infarctions felled my late wife Urmeela, we used to go for a weekend to Mahabaleshwar, a nearby hill station to enjoy the rains there and to literally walk through the clouds. We used to have hot coal fire roasted corn on the cob from wayside vendors, hot tea and some amazing food hustled up exclusively for us in the hotel that we used to stay in as, during the rainy season, hardly any other guest would venture to this place.

The river Krishna originates from Mahabaleshwar and there is a Shiva temple built around the spring head. By the time the spring waters reach the plains 4500 feet below at Wai, the river has formed into a formidable force of water. In spate, the river can cause considerable damage as you will learn from the linked article.

Of the three main seasons for Pune, Summer, Monsoon and Winter, I prefer the monsoon from June to September. The climate is cool and wet but the air is fresh and there is greenery everywhere around. Urmeela and I used to love to sit in the verandah and watch the rain fall into our garden. We would have hot tea in the mornings and some hot snacks with tea if it was in the afternoons. I do not feel like doing that any more. I do sit in the mornings for my tea, but it is not quite the same.

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 yours truly. The twelve other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, 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!