Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where twelve of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by me. The ten other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, Rohit, 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!

Effectiveness is defined by The Business Dictionary, as “the degree to which objectives are achieved and the extent to which targeted problems are solved. In contrast to efficiency, effectiveness is determined without reference to costs and, whereas efficiency means “doing the thing right,” effectiveness means “doing the right thing.”

The reason I chose this topic was the strong suspicion that I was being very efficient in my care giving activities but not effective. This kept bugging me and I decided to bare my soul to an amateur psychologist friend, to find out why this was happening.

On analysis it turned out that to be effective in any situation there must be feed back. In other normal activities, the feed back is an ongoing process and one can modify one’s actions to ensure that the outcome is what is desired. In this instance, the lacuna was the absence of any kind of feed back. Positive or negative.

We probed further and came to this epiphany as it were.

There can always be effectiveness or efficiency in relationships but never good or bad relationships.

We concluded that there is either a relationship or there is none. There cannot be a good one or a bad one. People in the so called bad relationships, having opted to continue that, for whatever reason, are simply in an ineffective relationship though all actions within that relationship can be efficient.

AND we decided that such a relationship should be called a Mechanical Relationship.

At this point, I raised the objection that there could be situations where the lack of feedback could be due to an inability due to illness in the care receiver, to provide such feed back. My friend readily accepted this is a valid objection and suggested that we call such a relationship as a spiritual one.

I could not agree more.

It still leaves my original problem unsolved.

Alopecia Totalis – II

I have this impish lady friend who forms part of the gang that inspires me with ideas for new posts. On reading my post Alopecia Totalis, she decided to have a bit of fun and sent me this cartoon strip.

For those in my age group, if you click on the image, you will be better able to read and enjoy the enlarged version of the cartoon.

Among the other endearing things that my lady friend calls me, after this post, I am sure that she will call me a cartoon too. What say you lady friend?

Simon Rajgopaul’s Guest Post.

I am aware that Rummuser has a core of regular readers who enjoy insights into his life and thoughts. As his nephew I thought you might like to hear about him from a different perspective, perhaps giving you an angle on his personality you have not seen before?

Where do I start? Ramana is my Periappa. Literally translated, my ‘big daddy.’ Meaning my fathers eldest brother, Or my uncle!

My first (and lasting) memory of my Periappa was in 1987 (I think) when my father first took the family to India. I would have been 6 years old. When Periappa first saw me he picked me up in the strongest and most affectionate bear hug I had ever felt. Growing up in Scotland, where the culture is more reserved and less demonstrative, this came as quite a shock to me. Here was a man who had never met me squeezing me like a long lost son. I later understood this is exactly how he felt. At the time I simply exchanged notes with my brother as to how strong Periappa’s hug was!

My next memory comes from Periappa’s visit to our family home in Scotland. Here I saw his generosity- paying for taxis when we normally had to wait for a bus, buying me cans of coke before a meal, which mother would never permit! Happy days for a young boy. I also learnt that he can snore as loud as he can squeeze! He also endlessly amused me by his liberal use of the word “bugger”, again not permitted in the family home. “you cheeky bugger”, “bugger off” “silly bugger” (mostly justified when aimed at me!)

As I have grown up I have made more and more trips to India. On arriving to see Periappa I am always greeted the same way, as if I had never left. Although my body is now able to withstand the bear hug. Despite having spent very little time together Periappa’s unconditional love, warmth and generosity towards me has never wavered. It is an amazing thing. Arriving on the doorstep of a family member I had not seen in 6 years in Scotland would most probably not provoke the same reaction! However I am his younger brother’s son, and seemingly automatically qualify to be treated as if I was his own.

With Periappa there is very little formality, in fact it is frowned upon. “How is work? How is Hannah? How is the flat? How was the flight? Where did you fly from?”- none of these (very British, I believe) tools of small talk are required- we proceed straight to the wise cracks, joking insults or the latest cricket score.

Nor, dare I say, should one attempt to politely ask if you can stay for lunch. Or wait to be asked if you would like to stay for lunch. If you are in Periappa’s house you are having lunch there. To suggest otherwise, or imply that you may have to ask, would be an insult. The food is excellent, by the way. I can recommend his dal, which I expect I am eating in this picture.

The other incredible thing about Periappa is his iron will. If he wants to quit drinking, he will. Permanently. Smoking too. And meat, for that matter. With the minimal of fuss. He also cares for his elderly father (my grandfather) on a daily basis. Cooking, cleaning, running around after him, everything. British culture these days would have him packed off to an institution in no time. Indian culture is different, and so is Periappa. I have seen him literally dripping with sweat in the heat of the Indian sun washing up dishes his father has used, as his father goes back to his seat to rest. Then come the quips, jibes, criticisms from the old man. How he has not been decapitated by now I do not know. Periappa it seems, also has the patience of angels. Here is a picture of the three generations on the sofa!

So there is my short insight into what it is like to have Rummuser as an uncle! Love, warmth, generosity. Caring for family placed above all else. But done with an informality and sense of humour to make visits both relaxing and enjoyable. Finally, here is a picture my wife Hannah took of Periappa’s daily walk in the park with one of his friends. That photograph says a lot about Periappa’s concern for his friends too.

Simon x

My comment?

Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.
~ Dr. Haim Ginott

Top Five Regrets.

A fellow alumnus from my Business School, about the same age as I am now, sent this ezine article to all his classmates via our Alumni Group Mail. Some of my classmates have already departed this world, and some of us have had close calls, all well before receiving this group mail. None of us are getting any younger and so this kind of group mail is not something out of the ordinary.

I was intrigued enough to reflect on the five regrets that the author writes about and felt that I should share my conclusions with my readers. Perhaps it will inspire them also to reflect on them.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

I honestly believe that I have lived a life true to myself, as I am sure that all of us have. There have been occasions when I regretted some aspects of it, but overall, I have not lived the life that others expected of me, for the better or for the worse.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

I hardly worked. Where is the question of working so hard?

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

I consider this to be a major weakness in me. I simply cannot keep my feelings to myself. I express them, often, much to the discomfort of hapless listeners/readers.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

This post is proof enough that I am in touch with my friends. Besides fellow alumni, there are many other friends with who, I have never lost touch since boyhood and youth. I have also continued making new friends on and offline, as life unfolds and some of the relationships are flourishing and promise to be lifelong ones.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

If I get any happier, some other palliative care giver will soon write another ezine article like this about the freak that s/he came across in her/his experience.


My brother Barath is aware of my take and interest in seeming coincidences. My regular readers will no doubt recollect the many instances about which I have written in my posts.

Here is a fascinating story as sent to me by Barath.

According to Vedanta, there is no such thing as a coincidence and that things happen that way for a reason. All that is missing is our ability to reason as to why these things happen.

Back in the early sixties (1963-1968) I was member of a youth fellowship in Edinburgh in Scotland. We were a disparate group of youngsters and participated in Sunday worship as well as putting on various stage shows on an annual basis and the Sunday before Christmas, we would hire a coach and visit an old people’s home in Perthshire called Blair House where we would enact a nativity play and entertain the old folks, who used to look forward to our visit as they were mainly left alone and any company was welcome to them. We enjoyed the camaraderie and also found it touching that some of the old folk got to know us individually and would wait patiently to share all their woes and aches and pains with us.

One of the members of the fellowship was a young lady by the name of Joyce McCluckey who was a very vivacious, easy going and likeable girl, was popular with all the boys and of course, I had a secret crush on her but was way too shy in those days to let her know. From time to time I would visit her and her sister in their home in Leith in Edinburgh and her mother would always make us very welcome, I do not remember her father but have a feeling that he had passed away and that the mother was raising them the best she could. Clearly she had made a pretty good fist of it.

The youth fellowship eventually drifted apart and we all went our separate ways. Last year, I was sent an invite by one of my fellow Boys brigader Scott, to attend the 150 year celebrations of the Boys Brigade, and my former brigade the Lucky 4th Leith Company. Lo and behold, who turned up at this reunion but the redoubtable Joyce, vivacious as ever, had been married and divorced, but was working in DURHAM UNIVERSITY as the PA to the Professor of Applied Physics there. I am now in the oil and Gas business and we chatted a while. She had been invited to the Brigade celebrations as she had been a staff member of the lifeboys which was the junior brigade before the kids graduated to the Boys Brigade. I gave her my business card, we promised to be in touch and like most people went home and promptly forgot all about it.

I am now the father of two sons, both solicitors in London and the younger is Simon who is marrying Hannah his fiance in Edinburgh next month. Simon attended DURHAM UNIVERSITY and obtained his law degree there. One of his closest friends is a likable lad by the name of Jonathan Dover whom I have met several times and shared the odd glass of wine! He likes me enough to have shared Facebook and Linked line with me and I have kept in touch with his comings and goings over the last three years. He is a close enough buddy of Simon’s for him to be asked to be an usher at Simon’s wedding in Edinburgh.

Yesterday I received this e-mail from Joyce:

“Hi Barath,
Discovered your business card and just thought I would drop you an email.
I was speaking to my sister-in-law just before Christmas and she was telling me about her son, my nephew Jonathan Dover, being an usher at a wedding in Edinburgh in February. She mentioned a few things and I said “ I am sure I know the parents of Simon”, his father and I grew up together! Anyway I checked with Margaret and Fred (they have been in touch with me since the reunion) and, of course, it was ‘the wedding’, coincidence!”

Now, how strange is that? My son attends the same University Joyce works at and her nephew is my son’s wedding Usher? I wonder if people with greater knowledge of the Universe would state that there must be some previous life connection between Joyce and Barath?”

I am sure that other things will happen and events take place that will bring Joyce’s and Barath’s families closer in the future too. That is how the universe works!

Children – II

In a comment on my post “Children”, Nitika said “I do believe I belong to my parents.” This post is inspired by her comment and is addressed to her.

But of course, children who believe that they belong to their parents are blessed.

My post was addressed to parents dear Nitika. The more parents let go of their children, the more children would want to belong to such parents. The problem arises when parents do not let their children go. This is not the physical letting go that Omar Khayyam talks about, but the morbid attachment that most parents develop for their children even in the latter’s adult life, and the power games that they play with their children.

Let us take the cases of many unhappy marriages of today. Aren’t most cases about the inability of the husband to reconcile his relationship with his wife and the demands put on him by his mother? Or the husband with his wife’s parent/s? I have seen both types of problems and I can assure you that, this is entirely due to the parents’ inability to let the children go and build new lives and form new relationships.

In India particularly, the process of breaking up of the joint family and setting up unitary families is not as complete as in the West, and even where due to paucity of space, such break up does take place, the emotional break up does not fully take place.

When someone as young as you says that you belong to your parents, it is a tribute to your parents. It is however not a tribute if the parents claim that their children belong to them. That is the message that Omar Khayyam conveys, as I understand it.

I salute your parents.