The Old Monk.

When a friend sent me this to suggest that I am now nearing monkhood myself, I could not but remember the Cheerful one.


Readers of this blog are familiar with Cheerful Monk. She is one of the earliest cheerleaders of this blog and has always encouraged me by asking very difficult questions or just saying “Yay”.

My friend however had another thought in sending that picture to me.  During my drinking days, of over fifteen years ago, when I could not get my first choice, malt whisky, I would drink only rum on lots of ice, and my favourite brand was:


Now that the topic has been opened up, I wonder what would happen if the Cheerful Monk and my old time favourite Old Monk got together! Will Cheerful Monk become more cheerful and will the Old Monk become older and wiser? Or will both of them end up on the rocks as suggested by my friend?

First Time Travelling Abroad Alone.


No, nothing quite like that happened to me but I had to face some serious grilling and roasting from one of the persons that I had gone to see nevertheless. The other person that I had gone to meet however provided me with some enjoyable experiences which I cherish till date.


The visit was to Katmandu in Nepal in December 1973. It was cold, damp and most depressing. My primary purpose was to meet up with and appoint a lawyer to handle a sensitive trade mark matter. A local entrepreneur had locally registered a trademark owned by my then employers and was sending goods bearing that trademark into the Indian markets. Our Trademark Attorneys in India had recommended a local lawyer and my visit was to meet with him and do whatever was necessary to put a stop to the infringement. From the minute we met at the hotel where I was staying, the two of us hit it off and he remains a friend till today. He ably organised the various things that needed to be done at Kathmandu before lunch and escorted me around on a sight seeing tour for the rest of the day. He kindly invited me to his home for dinner and I got to meet his entire family who were very gracious hosts.

Since I was already at Kathmandu, I met up with our wholesaler there the next morning and that is where I got my roasting and grilling for a full hour and a half. I was ready to call it quits and leave when the proprietor shifted gears and became a very gracious host and the rest of the day and the next was spent with him visiting customers and end users. He too invited me to his home and I was treated like royalty by the entire family. Substantial quantities of local fiery rum was consumed during the entire visit to keep the cold out! I was also escorted to a cloth shop where suitable material was chosen, taken to a tailor to fit me up with the local dress combination of Daura-Suruwal, which was made, tried on and finished before I left Kathmandu. I was also gifted with two beautiful Nepali caps and a bottle of the fiery rum to take back to India.

All in all, a productive and enjoyable visit except for the unusual for December weather. I however enjoyed clear and beautiful weather the next two visits I made later.

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 Paul the BWT. 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!

Favourtie Chair.

A photograph that was very popular among our friends and relatives was this:

This photograph was taken in 1985 just before I went in for my surgery for the first hip replacement. The photographer was my friend and brother in law, who alas is no more. The painting behind us is an Ajanta Cave copy, still with us. It is among the best made by Urmeela and many collectors tried to buy it off her, but she simply wanted it for her own satisfaction.

You will also see a vase of flowers behind Urmeela. This was her passion. She loved to have flowers in the house and would buy them whenever she ventured out till we moved to Pune where she set up her own garden. This particular photograph was taken when we were living in a large flat, apartment for my American friends, in Bombay, and though we had a common garden, flowers had to be bought regularly. Needlessly to say, after the garden came into her life, the vases dried up unless someone brought a bouquet of flowers as a peace offering!

In the photograph, I have a glass of rum and water in my hand. That was my favourite drink then. We had a lot of restrictions on imports and good whisky was hard to come by, though I would manage to get a local malt now and then. The photographer and friend cum brother in law, was my drinking buddy and gave me my nickname Rummy that has lasted for nearly forty eight years.

The Chair that I am sitting on is my favourite. It was made specially for me by a dear friend of mine, Kashi, who was at that time stationed in Kanpur. He had one exactly like this, and if my memory serves me right it was an inherited heirloom. The one that I got from him is just a copy. Without me on it, it looks like this:


This type of chair is generally called an easy chair here in India, and is favoured mostly by retired elderly persons. A variation of the design is with extendable arms that tuck under the top arm rests. When extended by a swivel movement, one can stretch one’s legs on top and it is total bliss! It has a canvass hammock slung between its frames and believe me, it is the most comfortable to sit on. By adjusting the rear frame’s tilt, the seat can either recline or be in an upright position and it is a boon when I want to sleep in the garden in the winter afternoons. It is light to carry and can be folded and stored away in an unobtrusive corner when not in use, but I keep it permanently near a lamp so that I can read whenever the mood takes me. The same lamp that you see on the top photograph continues to do service even today.

What triggered this post was a request after many years, for a copy of the photograph from a friend who had seen us like we appear on it here. I could not very well let the opportunity go without blogging about it, now that I can scan old photographs!

How about you? Any favourite chair or piece of furniture that has been with you for many years and continues to give great comfort even now?