Special Day.


For me, September 30 has always been a very special day as it is the birthday of three very special people in my life. The first, my late younger brother Arvind who would have been 74 yesterday had he just lived for two more months.

The next, my childhood friend and innovative farmer Babu about who I wrote here.
And the third, my lovely niece Vandana the actor director that I wrote about here.

So, yesterday was a day of mixed emotions till late evening when my daughter in love surprised me further with this.

And this:

A roller coaster day alright. First, in response to my birthday greetings, a longish WhatsApp message from Vandana all the way from California, next, a video Clip of Babu cutting a birthday cake, next the photograph right on top of this post coming up in our WhatsApp family group page and finally the last two photographs.

Rains!

June has brought the rains to us and along with it lowered temperatures and tempers.

Among the first to enjoy the after effects for the first heavy shower was Chutki.

She not only got wet, she got all muddied. When she came back inside she came up to me to show off her wet self with a grin and dared me to go out with her.

I wish I could have obliged.

The Philosopher School Teacher.

I don’t know whether I should be amused, disappointed or flattered.

A young man from Chennai came to visit me last week, on a courtesy call as directed by his father who is a friend of mine. This young man had come to Pune to attend an interview for a job opening in a Logistics firm here. The young man is an alumnus of the same Business School of which I am an alumnus too.

This young lad spent a couple of hours with me and scooted off to attend his interview and return to Chennai.

I received a phone call from my friend yesterday,  that when the young man was informed that I am alumnus of the same Business School as he was from, he was zapped and told his father that he was under the impression that I was a philosopher / retired Tambrahm school teacher! My friend in turn was zapped and wanted to know why I had not mentioned my qualifications to the young man. I simply responded that an occasion did not rise on the subject.

This led me to ask a few of my friends who are also alumni here as to whether they would have recognised me as an alumnus had they not met me under the aegis of the alumni association and without exception they responded that they would not have. When I shared what the my friend had conveyed about my being a philosopher / Tambrahm school teacher, one of them went so far as to say that it was stereotyping me!

In case you are wondering, the image of the pundit on the top is that of Chanakya.

A Good Night’s Sleep – Hopefully.

Since about two months ago I have been having constant pain in the upper back and finally it was diagnosed about two weeks ago as fibromyalgia. During the day time it is manageable but when I sleep if I have either the fan on or the air conditioner on, the pain increases and affects my sleep. If I don’t use either, mosquitoes trouble me and disturb the sleep. This year particularly, due to heavy pollution of our rivers with water hyacinth which is being removed but not as fast as I would like, the mosquito menace is higher than normal.

When we had first moved into our present home 28 years ago, we were more or less on the fringes of our city abutting farm lands, stud farms and woods. At that time since mosquito repellents were not available, we had taken recourse to nets. After a while we stopped using the nets as repellents were available but, now I find that my COPD gets aggravated if repellents are used. I therefore decided to go back to the good old mosquito nets and my daughter in love happily tooted off earlier this afternoon to fetch me one from the city.

The net hangs from a hook on the ceiling. The hook was inserted in 1990 when we had just bought the house. It is still strong enough to support the weight of the net!

Behind the bed to the right you can see parts of a chest of drawers. That is an antique piece made in Rhodesia in the fifties of the last century. I purchased it from a home returning expat in 1975 when it was already a quarter century old. It is still sturdy and very serviceable. Just above the chest you can see parts of a photograph. That is of my late wife Urmeela. From wherever she is, she would be happy to see me going back to the mosquito net!

I hope to be able to sleep soundly tonight.

Yayati.

I attended an English play Yayati, last Friday. Pune has a vibrant theatre movement and almost all shows are full house performances. Marathi being the most popular language, followed by Hindi and English. I used to be a regular play goer in the nineties but stopped after 2002 about which I shall write later.

Yayati is a play based on a character in our Epic, Mahabaratha. His story was adapted for the stage by Girish Karnad, one of our noted playwrights many years ago in Kannada, one of our local languages. He was requested to translate this into English to enable a drama troupe based in Bengaluru Jagriti, to stage the play there. Having successfully run there, the troupe brought it to Pune as part of a local drama festival and Manjiree, Ranjan and I went to see it last Friday.

This photograph shows the cast, crew, playwright and the director taken in Bengaluru.  Girish Karnad is the tallest male there.

This one shows  some of the cast on stage after the show in Pune. The gent in the middle of those ladies is another stage and film celebrity, Amol Palekar who had come to see the play.  His wife, screenplay writer Sandhya Gokhale can be seen at the extreme right.

Normally speaking wild horses would not have been able to drag me to see a play in any of our theatres here. I stopped going to see plays as, the seats are inevitably uncomfortable and my replaced/revised hip joints makes it physically uncomfortable for me.

Yayati however was special and despite knowing that I would be uncomfortable, I went to see one of my all time favourite ladies.  She features as the last one on the right in the top photograph and the second from the left in the bottom one. She is Vandana Prabhu, my very talented niece who not only is an accomplished actor but, also directs plays. How could I not attend a play with her acting in it and being staged in Pune?

The play was brilliant and so was Vandana. The entire cast were remarkably professional and their delivery of dialogues and monologues were totally fault free and smooth. I thoroughly enjoyed the show despite the discomfort of the seats.

What Is Your Favourite Place Of All The Places You Have Been? 2 On1 # 6.


There is absolutely no need for second thoughts on it. Pune, where I now live.

I have done a fair bit of travelling around the world and have extensively travelled all over India. I have lived in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkatta, Delhi, Tirupur and a small village in Kerala. My late wife and I had set up ten different homes during our married life.

Whenever we lived in Bombay as it was then known and Mumbai as it is now, we used to pass through Pune on our way to her home town Hyderabad and had also visited for overnight stays on a number of occasions camping to attend weddings and other functions. I had camped in Pune on my own a number of times while on business and always enjoyed the stays. We had decided on Pune as our retirement town even then and when the opportunity came for employment here, we grabbed it and have not looked back.

We bought our home in Pune in 1990 and have stayed in the same place since then.

Why do I like Pune so much? To start with, its climate. Situated 560 metres above sea level on the Deccan plateau it has copious rain fall during the four months of monsoon and hence has a green cover which brings down the summer temperatures quite a bit. Since we are on the foothills of the Western Ghats, we are blessed with cool monuntain breezes from the hills and cool ocean breezes from the West which too help in keeping the temperatures down. The winters are cool and delightful and not as cold as the North of India gets. In other words ideal. The Colonial British chose Pune as their Head Quarters for their Southern Command of the Indian Army which continues till to date for the Indian Army too.

Next, I have friends here and till a few years ago, family too. I can depend on them as they on me for help and company.

Next, there is no cuisine from anywhere in the world that can not be found in Pune. There are many restaurants that we are simply spoilt for choice. Apart from these, we also have thriving roadside food vendors operating from carts all over the city. There are bakeries that bake top quality bread, biscuits and cakes and Indian Sweetmeat shops that make an amazing variety of Indian sweets and savoury snacks.

Pune offers a wide variety of entertainment too. Western classical music, jazz, pop, rock name it we have orchestras and bands performing regularly. Indian classical and popular music during regular concerts and dance performances on many stages. We also have a vibrant theater culture of English and Marathi stage groups. AND very conveniently located cinema halls in all parts of the city that screen Marathi, Hindi and English films 24/7.

Pune hosts a number of festivals, religious and cultural which are among the country’s best.

Next, we have world class medical services available round the clock with hospitals and nursing homes located in all localities. We also can access home nursing care at very reasonable charges and of high quality.

I also have my own favourite barbers, masseur and pedicurists in Pune who are simply nonpareil. Other things that modern cities offer like shopping, transport, education etc are all available and of good quality.

And to top it all, I live with our dog Chutki,  my daughter in love and son who are great company and comfort.

What other place can compete with my beloved Pune?

Shackman picked this week’s topic and so I will choose next week’s. Be sure to check Shackman’s take on this week’s topic.