How Time Flies.

I went shopping yesterday to a retailer located just half a kilometer away from my home. I bought two sets of curtains for my bedroom windows, some dry fruits and a couple of plastic dispensers.

I started to walk back home with the shopping bag thinking that it should be relatively easy to tote the shopping bag for just half a kilometer but I must have appeared to be struggling as a young man I have known from when he was a little boy, came to my rescue and offered to carry the bag home the rest of the way.

I handed the bag over to the young man and walked with him back to my home and he came in to spend a few minutes with me catching up with his story. He left after a pleasant chat.

What impressed me most about the whole episode was his very cheerful disposition and a genuine desire to be of help. What came as a kind of a moderating thought to me about myself was the fact that I now struggle with shopping bags.

Lesson learnt. Shall henceforth take the car for such shopping trips or take someone younger to tote the bags home if the shopping is done nearby.

I hope that you are reading this Shivam. Thank you for helping me as well as for giving me the wake up call.

Retirement – Fantasy And Reality II.

To my post of yesterday Ursula has offered her comments as under.

“Ramana, that photo is cruel. I am such a nice person I actually delete rubbish shots of my nearest and dearest as not to hurt their feelings in public.

Retirement? What retirement? I DO NOT WANT TO RETIRE! The trick is to do all your life what you want to do. Follow your star, as one of you recently said (I think it was you, Gaelikaa) even if we find ourselves in the gutter at times – as I did about twelve months ago. And, yes, I know it doesn’t always work like that: Even I do the odd rubbish assignment to pay the next electricity bill. But at least I am not caged in only to then be released at age 65 with a handshake and some rubbish present that I my son most certainly won’t wish to inherit.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not knocking any of your achievements and the relief you feel when you reach that magical age. But, looking at it brutally, it’s one hell of a life to live only to look forward to retirement. Naturally, the lucky ones are those in old money who can do what they like at their leisure.

My father, most my friends, I, we love what we do. I don’t even have a pension fund because I’ll “work” till I drop. I do what I like when I like. I don’t need anyone’s permission to do what I want to do. It’s a luxury. Like having space. Though naturally being freelance/self employed as opposed to being sent into retirement at a specified date does require some nerve.”

My response is as follows:

“What is cruel about it? I sit like that and doze quite often. He is blissfully unaware of what is going on around him. He is full of beer, a good pub lunch and is sleeping in warm sunlight on a lovely summer afternoon. Look at it from his point of view. Total bliss! Ranjan has taken some photographs of me, sleeping in most unusual postures and I hesitate to post them lest I offend the aesthetic sense of some of my readers like Maynard and Gail.

I have not retired from living. On the contrary, I believe that now I am living the kind of life that I should have lived had I been in old money. Retirement does not mean not doing anything. That is an impossible situation. One cannot live not doing anything. Let me illustrate. Normally, I go to bed around 2130 hrs. Recently, a friend of mine from California got me on the IM and the two of us were at it for about an hour, so much so that my sister who saw that I was online sent me an SMS scolding me for either being up so late or for not having turned the computer off! When I SMSd her back she said okay have fun and backed off!. So, some days, I sleep a little late, catch up the next day, may be get up later than usual, take off to up the mountains for a drive or whatever whenever the mood takes me.

The freedom to be able to accommodate these things after a life time of working watching the clock is what is nice about retirement. Particularly so, if there is enough in the bank and some pension keeps coming in and you can pay all your bills and send some gifts to friends and relatives, buy a few books, send for some exotic food or spices or whatever etc. And most importantly, I can now say ‘No’ to many things without hesitating.

So, these are my stars that I follow. One that I am following is to dance with you in the rain in London! It will happen. The chances of it happening when I was working, was a big fat zero. Now, I have got plenty of space around me, subject to the restrictions that I have placed on myself regarding the care that I give to my father, purely voluntarily.

The pension that I am talking about is from a corpus that will revert to my son on my death, it is not from tax payers’ funds. I am not in old money. I shall however ensure that my son is in old money. That is another star that I followed and have made a reality, whereas my son says, “go live off your capital old man, I shall fend for myself”. Tempting indeed. See the difference?

The other aspect of my working life was not that I worked to retire. Far from it. I enjoyed my work fully, continue to enjoy the benefits that accrued to me then in the form of a net work of friends and associates, but to be honest, there were days that I said to myself, man, I wish that I can retire now. I enjoyed my life then, I enjoy it now and I hope to continue to do so till I pop off. (BHB, are you reading?)”



I received this mail from a ‘well wisher’ who thinks that I should live happily ever after!

Equations!- This is the best I have read in a LONG time

Equation 1
Human = eat + sleep + work + enjoy
Donkey= eat + sleep
Human = Donkey + Work + enjoy
Human-enjoy = Donkey + Work

In other words,

A Human that doesn’t know how to enjoy = Donkey that works.

+++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++ +++++++++ +++++++++ ++

Equation 2

Man = eat + sleep + earn money
Donkey= eat + sleep

Man = Donkey + earn money

Man-earn money = Donkey

In other words
Man who doesn’t earn money = Donkey

++++++++++++ +++++++++ +++++++++ +++++++++ +++++++++

Equation 3

Woman= eat + sleep + spend
Donkey= eat + sleep

Woman = Donkey + spend
Woman – spend = Donkey

In other words, Woman who doesn’t spend = Donkey

++++++++++++ +++++++++ +++++++++ +++++++++ +++++++++

To Conclude: From Equation 2 and Equation 3

Man who doesn’t earn money = Woman who doesn’t spend

So Man earns money not to let woman become a donkey!

And a woman spends not to let the man become a donkey!

So, We have: Man + Woman = Donkey + earn money + Donkey + Spend money

from postulates 1 and 2, we can conclude

Man + Woman = 2 Donkeys that live happily together!



Realities Of The Past.

My blog friend Stoney posted a lovely article in a social network which I reproduce below and I also reproduce my comments on her blog post.

“You like scary things… but you don’t like to be scared. How do I show you the things that frighten while making sure that you don’t get scared? The Vampire Man who laughs when you press the green button – you don’t want to hear. The witch whose eyes flash purple when you woggle her broom – you don’t want to see. Look at that nice ghost over there doing woo…woo…woo – want to see? No? Kabir! I keep trying to tell you these things run on batteries – they’re not real. What? No, they won’t suddenly become real…what do you mean ‘how do I know?’ – I know, that’s all!

Kabir, why are we standing like this, doing nothing? What? I can’t hear sweetheart – the music is so loud… What is that?…eat an ice cream and go home?

OK suit yourself…

What is that?…come back when you’re six years old…OK, let’s do that then. Would you like to eat the ice cream in the park? Yes? Good…

Halloween is the easy part, ladduram. Halloween I can deal with. In the morning they will dismantle the Vampire and the Witch and the Ghost…they will switch off the music and fold away the tent…in a few hours it will all be forgotten. Until you’re six years old, that is. But what do I about the things that are out there? Outside the innocence of this park? Outside the security of my pouch?

Because you see, there are things out there that don’t run on batteries that will confront you, ladduram. Scary things of my own creation.

You will find yourself at cross roads all the time. Which way will you choose? Will you be like me – wanting to choose the right way but ending up choosing the other way ?
Justifications…justifications and then more justifications. A thousand right reasons why the wrong thing had to be done.

Don’t follow my footsteps, laddu…don’t! Too many mistakes, too many regrets…too many sins. Let this trail of blood and venom end here with me.

You…you start again. Make a new plan. So, if there is a gift I can give you, other than this ice cream, let it be the gift of love. Love for yourself. Love for others. And love for all God’s creatures.

Let it be also the gift of respect. Respect for yourself. Respect for others. And respect for all God’s creatures.

May your tomorrows be nothing like my yesterdays.”

My comments –

“Stoney, this is a great post as posts go, to express a particular emotion at a particular moment in time. In this case, Halloween.

I have seem many Halloweens and Diwalis and Christmases. I am now in what are known as the twilight years of my life.

I get inspired about life in general and mine in particular by going back often to Viktor Frankl. I quote and I hope that you will get inspired too.

“…..the opportunities to act properly, the potentialities to fulfill a meaning, are affected by the irreversibility of our lives. But also the potentialities alone are so affected. For as soon as we have used an opportunity and have actualized a potential meaning, we have done so once and for all. We have rescued it into the past, nothing is irretrievably lost, but rather, on the contrary, everything is irrevocably stored and treasured. To be sure, people tend to see only the stubble field of transitoriness but overlook and forget the full granries of the past into which they brought the harvest of their lives: the deeds done, the loves loved, and last but not least, the sufferings they have gone through with courage and dignity.

From this one may see that there is no reason to pity old people. Instead, young people should envy them. It is ture that the old have no opportunities, no possibilities in the future. But they have more than that. Instead of possibilities in the fuuture, they have realities in the past – the potentialities that they have actualized, the meanings they have fulfilled, the values they have realized – and nothing and nobody can ever remove these assets from the past.”

Viktor E Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning.”

It is now your turn to comment!!

Old Is Gold.

What has age got to do with living joyfully and doing ridiculous things?

I was baby-sitting my friend’s granddaughter earlier this evening. I had taken this bundle of energy; all of four years old, to our local park’s children’s play area. There are two different sized slides, a pair of swings, a number of jungle jims etc, and it is usually quite crowded with a lot of youngsters and their caretakers.

My ward, wanted to climb up the ladder and slide down from the bigger slide. I was quite prepared to let her, as I was able to stand below to catch her, if she slipped.

She did this a few times and suddenly decided that it was time for me to do the same! No amount of my persuading her that the slide would not accommodate my bulk would convince her.

There were two other small children watching this exchange. One accompanied by her young mother in jeans and a t-shirt smiling at my discomfort. The other one was accompanied by a wisp of an old lady, possibly around 75 years old or so, in traditional Indian dress, who too was obviously enjoying my discomfort.

The young mother tried to persuade me to climb up and slide down too, and I was appalled at the very suggestion. The old lady’s ward, another four/five year old, suggested that her grandmother show me how to do it! This suggestion was very well received by the other two children and, the much-amused young mother.

Before I knew what was happening, the old lady had climbed up the ladder and slid down the chute. She had the brightest grin that I have ever seen, and a pair of twinkling eyes that was simply out of this world.

That was enough for the chorus to start all over again, and except for the watchman of the garden coming at that precise moment, I would have had no choice but to perform the feat performed by this astonishing old lady. With the help of the watchman, I was able to convince the children that the slide would collapse with my weight if I climbed on it, I escaped.

I bowed deep down before the old lady and expressed my admiration for her spirit. She smiled at me and said that I should have tried too!

Was it ridiculous? Would you have done what the old lady did if you were a grand mother?