If yesterday, I had an opportunity to write about siblings, today, I write about friends.

The first story starts with my daughter in love’s mother who is a Bengali calling me to wish me a happy new year on Bengali New Year day on the 15th inst. She regretted that she had to do so late in the day as she was under the impression that it was on the 16th inst. It was only when her relatives called her that she realised that it was on the 15th. She regretted not having a Bengali Calendar.

I decided to surprise her and requested a friend MLB in Kolkata, to obtain one and send to me which he promptly did. It arrived yesterday and when I get the next opportunity, I shall present it to K. In the meanwhile I have sent her a PDF version to her on WhatsApp.

The second story starts with my daughter in love getting me some palm fruit. While talking to my cousin in Navi Mumbai I shared this news with him and both of us went very nostalgic for it as, it used to be available in plenty during the summers in our childhood at the place where he grew up and where we used to go for our vacations.

He had not had it for over six decades and I decided to surprise him with some through the good offices of a friend of mine SST,  who lives close to him in Navi Mumbai. I rang my friend up for help and he promptly went shopping for it in the morning and got a dozen delivered at my cousin’s place at 11.00 am. My cousin was zapped and over the moon and I was happy that I was able to do that for him.

The next story goes back to last June when I wrote about Jack Fruit Seeds. The same friend KVP, from Kerala who features in that post sent me about a kilogram of the seeds which arrived this morning , thanks to the restrictions on movement of goods being less stringent now,  than they were last year this time. I am now set for the next couple of weeks till our own season for the fruit starts when I will be able to get as much of the fruit and the seeds as I want.

So, three friends from three different places helped me give some joy to others and myself thanks to modern communication methods and courier services.

Farewell 2016.

“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”

~ Bill Vaughan

Being a pesoptimist, I would be going to bed at my usual time and waking up in the new year also at the usual time. There will be no change to my daily routine as, for me, being in blissful retirement, every eve is a new year’s eve and every day is a new year’s day.

It however is always an interesting exercise to review the year that has gone by as many of my friends do by mail or blog posts but something that I have so far not done. Let me try for the first time this year.

The year started off well though I suffered from a prolonged chest infection carried over from the previous year. I was under medication for over four months during the tail end of which, I went to Chennai to be with my family and friends for some time while a kitchen and living area renovation took place at home in Pune.

While at Chennai, I got to know first hand the problems that many of my relatives and friends had faced during the floods. While there, I also made an overnight trip to Hosur to meet a cousin who I had not seen since our school days.

When I returned to Pune, the work at home was still in progress and I stayed in a hotel near our home for five nights. Hotel stay in Pune after 26 years!

Come April, I was diagnosed with a medical problem which lasted well into September before leaving me for good. During that period, I mostly wrote just the weekly LBC blog posts and skipped the others. During the same period, my cousin from Vashi and his wife as well as my sister from Chennai visited Pune to check up and cheer me on my way to recovery. I was able to find a remarkable specialist doctor who treated me and got me completely back to normal in a most friendly yet professional way.

We also had Debora and Phil from the USA and after a long time, my nephew Jaisundar, visiting us as well as many local friends who dropped in regularly.

Thanks to the increasing penetration of social media, fourteen old colleagues reestablished contact with me and are in regular touch through facebook, whatsapp, phone calls and email. I will be meeting some of them personally early in the new year. I may get back in touch with some more in the new year too.

I attended a great get together at Lonavala with some of my old colleagues during the monsoon. I also attended a small lunch meeting with my classmates. I had blogged about both occasions here. I went to Navi Mumbai on two occasions, once to spend some time at Vashi and the other last Saturday about which I blogged earlier this week.

The day before my trip to Navi Mumbai, I attended a lunch get-together with some of my fellow alumni of the Business School that I had gone to. About six weeks ago, I had attended another such a meeting, a more formal one to meet with the Institute’s Director, Alumni Affairs.

During the year there were two deaths in the family. The first one was that of my daughter in love’s father, Vishnu, an untimely death if there ever was one. The other was that of my aunt, the youngest sibling of my late father and the last of the previous generation from my generation of siblings and cousins. When I remarked about this, my brother who had rung me up to inform me about the death, remarked that we are now the “previous generation”!

As I write this, it has been the coldest December that I have experienced in Pune during the last 26 years. I hope that we will have the usual pleasant winter that we always had next year.

All in all, somewhat an eventful year and I now look forward to 2017 with interest.

The topic for this last week of the year LBC Friday post was suggested by me. I doubt that Shackman will be posting this week as he seems to be still under the weather. Pravin should but perhaps later than Friday which for him is a working day!

Another Achievement.

For the past many years, due to my replaced and revised hips, I have restricted my driving of cars to local runs and if I have to go into the city, I generally hire a driver on an hourly basis or take a taxi cab or an auto-rickshaw to avoid the hassles of parking and unruly traffic. For long distance drives, I have inevitably hired drivers as I just did not have the confidence of being able to drive long distances and manage break downs or flat tires on my own.

During my recent vacation in Delhi, my friend Anil drove me around despite his own physical problems and was very inspiring. I also have envied Grannymar who drives around all over Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland all by herself. So, when I found an excuse to visit my cousin in Vashi, 140 Kms away from my home, I decided to emulate Grannymar and Anil and drive to Vashi and back.

To cut a long story short, I did so yesterday and returned this morning after having spent the night with my cousin at his home. I did have a small mechanical problem on the way up in the Expressway, which I was able to tackle with aplomb and reach Vashi in one piece. I got the small problem attended to at Vashi and had no problems at all on the return journey. And what is more, I thoroughly enjoyed the driving! It has been such a long time that I drove like that!

Grannymar and Anil, I thank both of you for the inspiration. I intend taking off on more such long drives in the future too.

Care Giving.

Last Saturday, I had gone to visit two of my cousins who live in Navi Mumbai. In English, that is New Bombay. It is a series of townships on the mainland across the Arabian sea, to Mumbai. From my home, the farther point where one cousin lives is 160 Kms.

One of my cousins, 78 years old has been down with cerebellar ataxia. This matter came to my knowledge because I wrote about euthanasia in my blog in December 2009. You will get an idea about the matter if you read all the comments on that post, particularly from two nephews and my responses to them.

Since then, whenever I can find an excuse, I visit her at her son’s residence and this visit was one such.

I was completely overwhelmed with two conflicting emotions during my visit. The first one was that she was better, but still so dependent on others for the slightest of movements. For someone who played an important role in my childhood as my Hindi teacher and elder sister, to be in such a helpless condition was very disturbing. She was however quite cheerful and glad to see me and even scolded me for not staying for longer. I could not bear to see her in that condition.

The second emotion was one of such high respect and admiration for her 44 year old son and 42 year old daughter in law, who despite the demands of bringing up two young children and having to manage a career and home, give such excellent care to her. I was amazed at the gentle way that my cousin was lifted from her bed and made to sit on a wheel chair to be given her lunch by her daughter in law. The love, affection and patience was simply awesome.

I can do little to help them in anyway other than give moral support and any other support that they ask.

This post is my tribute to those two intrepid souls who sacrifice so much to look after my cousin. I bless them for what they are doing.

Vignesh and Kamini, the two of you are amazing young people. Know that and also that you are admired and appreciated by me and other members of the family who know what you are doing. Do not hesitate to shout for help of any kind that I can give. Know also that there is a lot of love coming your way.