The Virtues And Toxicities Of Popularity

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”

~ Shakespeare in As You Like It.
No. my intention is not to ring my own bell.
Nor to pat myself on my own back. I have a message about the topic where I am the centre of the action and so, these two pictures.

Fellow Five on One blogger and web-friend Shackman posted this on his facebook page and as he had requested I copy pasted on my page.

“I think most of you know me pretty well, it doesn’t matter when our paths may have crossed. Maybe some of you like me and some don’t, but if you’re on my Facebook, it’s because I like you. I would love to see if we can still chat more than just likes and actually write something to each other. Again, I decided to participate in an experience called “Meeting between bread.” The idea is to see who reads the post without a photo. We are so quick to dive into technology that we forgot the most important thing: good friendship. If no one is reading this message, it will be a short social experiment. But if you finish this to the end, I would love you to comment in ONE WORD about us. For example: a place, an object, a person, a moment in which you remember me. Then copy this text and post it on your page (don’t share) and I’ll go to your page to leave a word that reminds me of you. Please don’t comment if you don’t have time to copy the text. This will destroy the experiment. Let’s see who spent their time to read and respond according to the common story outside of Facebook! Thank you for participating!”

I was overwhelmed with the responses that I received, bar a few, all from my colleagues from my working life. These wonderful people have been in touch with me all these years despite my having retired twenty years ago, thanks to the internet and the social media. It brought to my notice that I have  well-wishers in my life who still have regard for me; and I am reminded of that post and the comments on it as I write this post.

I don’t think that I was or am popular. Popular is for entertainers and sportspersons. Popularity is ephemeral. What I received was pure affection and regard from mates who had worked alongside me thanks to something that was drilled into me during my younger days by mentors who taught me a simple formula to be good in my career. CCDO. Connectedness, Constancy in the connectedness, Dignity in the relationships thus established and Opportunity for growth for both in the relationship.  This is something that I passed on to the people who crossed my path as well.  That it has worked has now been amply proved and I am grateful to those mentors who showed me the way. I repeat, I was not and am not popular. These long lasting relationships are testimony to that fact.

Since this has been my personal experience, I would say that the virtues of popularity are that they are superficial, short-lived and ego boosters. The toxicities of popularity are narcissism and self destruction. I am glad that I was and am not popular. I don’t know what to call what I am and leave it to my readers to decide on a nomenclature.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 5 On 1 blog post topic. The other four bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumShackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Conrad. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.


A few days ago, a friend posted the following joke in one the WhatsApp groups to which I belong.

“A 75 year old man was punished by an Indian court for teasing a girl.

While delivering the judgement, the Judge said “I can understand a 25 year old man teasing a girl but, a 75 year old man doing this is not acceptable.”

The old man said “I did this when I was 25, the case has taken so long to come to this stage of final hearing and verdict.”

The Guardian on Sunday 26, January had an article with the leader “Crime victims say they feel ‘let down’ by the courts and police as new data reveals rising numbers are failing to press charges.”

A few more jokes to cheer my readers up before I come to my take on the topic.

Indian courts are understaffed and over worked and so the justice system works too slow for most people with disputes. I have personal experience of such delays on more than a few occasions, one, very personal and the others to do with corporate matters during my working life.  The Cooperative Housing Society in which I live is currently involved in a long drawn litigation with one member who has broken all rules of the society but is unwilling to settle otherwise.  There are friends who have been in court for decades over property matters that do not seen to ever see conclusions.

Wikipedia has a long list of miscarriage of justice which, to say the least, is shocking.

“Time is the justice that examines all offenders.”

~ Shakespeare in “As You Like It”

This week’s topic for the Two On One Friday Blog Post has been suggested by me.  Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say on the matter.

What’s In A Name?

My friend Anil was recently hospitalised for a minor ailment and at the time of discharge, was asked his full name to fill out a form to generate a receipt for payment. He was asked his first name, last name and his father’s name. Luckily for him, Anil remembered that the father’s name was being asked to use as his middle name just in time and gave the name Kumar which is not his father’s name.

And there lies a story. And another.

At the time of enrolling in the NDA, way back in the late fifties of the last century, the officer filling in the details in a register for entrants, entered Anil’s middle name as Kumar, which is a common name in India which is usually part of the full name Anil Kumar. From that time, all official records have Anil’s name as Anil Kumar as his first and middle names and till now he has never had to use any other name, except this time at the hospital. He was able to give the name of his father as Kumar as otherwise claiming reimbursement for medical expenses with a receipt issued in a name different from the official name would not have been possible.

When Anil shared this story with me, I was reminded of my own story. I come from the South of India where the system of first name, middle name and surname does not exist. One is given a name and usually the father’s name is affixed before the name as an initial. In that scheme, my name should have officially been R. Ramana for Rajgopaul Ramana, as Rajgopaul was my father’s name. Since I was born in Mumbai where the naming follows a different system, my name on my birth certificate was entered as Ramana Rajgopaul. Since then, all the descendants of my late father have had the surname Rajgopaul. The problem arose when I had to apply for a passport where the middle name was asked and since my father’s official name was Krishnamurthy Rajgopaul, the former name being his father’s, my middle name became Krishnamurthy.

Complicated what? I wonder what Shakespeare would have had to say about that!


I am just now reading two books one of which is Nazi Hunter by Alan Levy. I am unable to remember now how I came to buy it, but it was the oldest of the kindle books that I had not read for a long time,  and I started to read it about a week ago.

In  the book, I am at the story of Dr.Joseph Mengele who has so far escaped the hunt by Wiesenthal, but it has already indicated that the former died by drowning. I am yet to read the rest of the story.

In the meanwhile, today, my attention was drawn to another story as to what has happened to the remains of the infamous doctor.

“The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones.”
~ William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

Prose Vs Poetry.

“When you write in prose, you cook the rice. When you write poetry, you turn rice into rice wine. Cooked rice doesn’t change its shape, but rice wine changes both in quality and shape. Cooked rice makes one full so one can live out one’s lifespan . . . wine, on the other hand, makes one drunk, makes the sad happy, and the happy sad. Its effect is sublimely beyond explanation.” – Wu Qiao

I am alive and kicking and will hopefully be so well beyond the proverbial three score and ten years which I have already crossed. I did not get here by getting drunk on rice wine. There is nothing sublime beyond explanation in me which can be attested to by my readers who have been with me and my prose for quite some years.

My family had three English Literature teachers in my father’s late elder brother who carried the honorary title of Shakespeare before his official name, his son and my cousin who was Head Of The Department of English of his college before a tumour in his brain put paid to his fame, not for his proficiency in English but more for his prolific writing in prose in our native language Tamil; and the third, the current living English Pundit is my sister Padmini who is also expected to contribute some prose to this weekly attempt at some fun, but who is otherwise preoccupied. I too got my Bachelor’s Degree in what was then called the Liberal Arts and a subject that was included in that attempt was English Literature.

While I cannot speak for those three very illustrious English teachers, I found English poetry tedious and never took to it. I learnt the bare minimum to get passing grades and that was that. Very rarely did some English poetry appeal to me nor did poetry in the Indian Languages that I know except for Sanskrit which appeals to me not because it is a form of literature, but because its subject matter is spiritual and that sublime matter can best be explained in the verse form. Be that as it may, my choice of Prose over Poetry depends on logic, not personal likes and / or dislikes. For instance, how can something as sublime as this be ever conveyed in Poetry?

“In my youth I thought of writing a satire on mankind; but now in my age I think I should write an apology for them.”
~ Horace Walpole

For the record, I have not attempted to write prose or poetry in a language other than English and even in English, the poetry that I did try was a total and miserable failure. I would rather not dig it up again to embarrass me!

My readers can best judge my proficiency in my English Prose, and with that very interesting thought, I leave you my dear reader to go and read some Sanskrit Poetry. And while I am at that very noble pursuit, I shall entertain you with this very amusing video from Thailand.

This topic was suggested by Me for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently eight of us are supposed to write on the same topic every Friday. Unfortunately, most have not been doing as last week only Lin at Dun-Na-Sead and I posted. I hope that you enjoyed my contribution to that effort this week.  The six other bloggers who areexpected to write regularly are, in alphabetical order, AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi, Padmum, Pravin,  Shackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!

Love’s Labour Lost.

This topic was suggested by Maria the gaelikaa for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently seven of us write on the same topic every Friday. This is part of a series of Shakespeare titles that Maria had come up with.  I hope that you enjoy my contribution to that effort.  The six other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaMaxi, and Shackman and The Old Fossil.  We have a new blogger Lin at Dun-Na-Sead joining us this week and I extend her a hearty welcome to the LBC. I also understand that Padmum will recommence posting from this week. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!

In the original play, the friends lose the women on whom they expend so much labour because the women are called back to Paris after the short visit. That is why the title for the play as, none of them gain a woman.

All of them however have a chance of regaining the affections of the women if they either go to Paris or if the ladies come back to Navarre.


In my personal story, the loss is permanent despite having accepted each other completely and in the process having completed each other as well.   There was only gain for forty years of marriage and before that eight years of friendship. It has been five years plus since I lost my love and there is not a day that goes by without me regretting that loss. I do feel that I am incomplete.