23rd December 2013 to 28th June 2014

The title of this blog will be meaningless to most but to me and my close ones it is a most tumultuous period in our lives. Life can take turns which are sudden, least expected and will teach you so many things.

What is the significance of these dates? Why they are so important in our lives? On 23rd December 2013, my daughter Priya, Nikhil and their two month old baby Rhea went home from our Sunshine Villa home; it was both sad and happy moment for us as this event was inevitable as every child has to GO HOME after birth! On 28th June 2014 around same time of the day Jaya and I came back to Sunshine for the weekend.

These appear to be very normal events but what happened in between was of great significance to us. Immediately after Priya, Nikhil and Rhea left, Jaya and I left for Ruby Hall Clinic for my first Radiation Therapy to treat Vocal Cord Carcinoma!! I used to think that I am generally in the know of many things but till my Vocal Cord Carcinoma was detected I used to think that Radiation therapy, when it is required, is given once or twice. How wrong I was? In my case it was decided to treat me for 34 sittings along with Immunotherapy!! From Ruby Hall after my first treatment, we went to an apartment that we have rented, a home next to Priya’s, for a temporary period. This move was somewhat preplanned for other reasons but destiny forced us to move to the new flat in a rush. The rush was due to logistic reasons.

What were our feelings due to this event? How things had suddenly changed from absolute joy on Rhea’s arrival to apprehensions (in the background). The joy of course continues and is increasing by leaps and bound but in the background, feelings of second thoughts, anxiety, float silently. I suppose that at some stage, the events bring you to reality of life, it reminds you of the only certainty that we are all humans and there is a life cycle. How our minds are designed by the almighty!! On one side we are rushing through the life at great speed on an expressway, without a care in the world. We all want to achieve this and that. We rush to catch a flight, achieve the perfect design, meet the target deadlines. We want to become experts in our fields, we are sometimes so busy that we have no time to watch Sachin bat, Federer smoothly annihilate his opponents, just to go to the seashore and watch the waves rush in. These rushing waves are classic examples of our life. Our normal journey in life is like a high tide, when we are at a high in life and low tide when we feel low in life. Sometimes during monsoons the higher waves really rush to seashore and break rapidly. These are really highs in our life and we don’t care about anything in the world and just try to achieve what we want. During all this rush, our mind is designed such that we forget about the low tides that are inevitable; but for some humans the low tide cycle is stronger than the high tide one. For them the cycle is low tide & high tide. Low tides are predominant. This is tough to handle but still people pass through this life cycle too.

Then of course there is Tsunami! Tsunami is just there and all one can do is to hope that you somehow overcome it. In my case the Tsunami was of the highest intensity possible. But somehow I was at a place in life, by chance course, on an imaginary hillock of my destiny, when the Tsunami hit me. Hillock probably helped in not just being swept away!! I was dragged and tossed, thrown around. My close ones were trying to throw life jackets at me. While I was trying not gulp water, somehow I caught a life jacket and managed not to sink. This life jacket was in the form of the prognosis which unexpectedly turned out to be better than expected. In fact my close friend Dr. Arun, told me that if one has to have cancer, then pray for vocal cord variety because usually chances of overcoming it are reasonably good. Tsunami of course had run its course with damages all around the mind & the body.

On 28th June 2014 we had decided to spend a weekend at Sunshine, what an appropriate name our colony has, at least for me. We went home around 3 pm settled down a bit, then around 5.30 I called Rufus for a coffee and Bhajiyas. Adda in our garden became active again, we both, Rufus and Celine settled for a long chat; we were ten minutes into it and were happy to see Maya and Pravin barge in. As usual we made appropriate seating adjustments and settled down for a long chat. Our neighbor, Sujit, saw us and said, “Hey Kaka love to see guys back at the adda!” During this chat Jaya and I had just forgotten about the period 23rd December 2013 to 28th June 2014. We were all just there as if we have been doing it every day which anyway we used to do, till the Tsunami hit!!

What a fabulous design the almighty has made! At one stage we had the sadness, gloom, apprehensions and all the negativity at the back of the mind. Our beloved Sunshine just overcame those dark clouds in a jiffy. Did we miss sunshine? Yes of Course, but there was another Sunshine in Rhea which did not allow us about gloom even for a moment when we were away from Sunshine.

It will be too cliché` to say that there is a “Silver lining to the each dark Cloud”. I would rather say, “At the end of every gloom there is Sunshine!”

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Relationship, Friendship?

While meandering through my life story I have always wondered what the relationships are made up of! In our life cycle a person’s relationship starts with the mother and ends up with the almighty. These two relationships are absolutely permanent though I cannot vouch for the second one, personally!! In that sense mother is another form of God. Is relationship a bond or a mental attachment or a physical warmth one feels in presence of another person?

In life, I have been hitting off well with anyone and everyone almost instantly. Recently I met a friend from Elphinstone days, after almost fifty years. While chatting he said that they all used to be surprised by the ease with which I could be friends right across the barriers of sex, background (we had many friends from Metro cities and small towns, from English medium schools and vernacular background). I remember having some close friends as a child, how these relationships developed is a mystery to me but suddenly there were so many good friends. When I started growing into teenage, the natural awkwardness with the female species was there and I did not have many friends who were girls or ladies. But during this phase I remember I was particularly fond of my grandmother but I am sure the feeling was not reciprocated in the same intensity as I was on naughtier side of life (my daughter tells me not much has changed even today!) In school I had a very close friend Abhay, we were both probably similar in nature and also reasonably good at studies. Alas this friendship did not go beyond college days as I moved from Mumbai to Pune, as I hear about him now, life has not treated him well and he has been going thru issues after issues.

This reminds of a statement made by my young friend Bala. Recently we spoke to each other after a bit of a gap (I had gone through health issues). When he came to know about my health issues he said “I will never again make a mistake of not keeping in touch with people assuming that everybody is busy and hence the lack of contact”. This is so appropriate in case of Abhay and me. Let me see if I can make it up.

In the school days we do have very close friends but I feel that we become real friends when we have a bit of maturity. In Elphinstone College and Engineering College I became very close with many and the main adda to cultivate friendship was the canteen and mess and of course playground. We all spent so much time together at the adda, with no worries in this world; probably the only worry in those days was do I the money for next cup of tea! Life was simpler and I am not speaking from nostalgia. Everyone talks of “in our days” but life has become complex for kids going to school and colleges, these days, though it has also become more interesting also. I had friends from such varied background. Prakash used to live on Cumbala hills, there were many who lived in one room tenement but did it really matter, not all! We had Sharad from Malvan, Nayan from Malbar hills, Jayant from Kandewadi and so on but who cared, we were just friends and believe me we still are very close friends barring those who had the urge to meet the almighty. How did these relationships form? What is the DNA of such relationships? What is the chemistry? They talk of chemistry in Bollywood but one should see chemistry between two friends from very disparate background and thought process! Friendship really has no barriers, yes, in some cases it takes a bit of time to break ice and in some cases it is instantaneous. Most important aspect of real relationship is we may not meet for a long time but when we meet, it is as if we had last met only a couple of days back and pick up the conversation from there. I spoke to Sonya after maybe forty years and did we have any hassle in continuation of our dialogue, no way! We just started chatting as if we have been meeting so often, it is unbelievable! To understand this better one must see the whatsapp group that friends form these days (I am talking of people of my age group), it is as if we are back to hostels and sitting outside the mess waiting to join for dinner.

That brings me to my most important, long-lasting un breakable relationship with Jaya my friend, guide, philosopher and my life and wife! We met each other at the engineering college and honestly both of us do not know how the relationship started. It just took the flight to cruising level and hit the auto pilot. What to call such a relationship, love at first sight maybe, teenage infatuation NO! We were both mature enough, but one can say in Munnabhai’s language “Chemical Locha” happened. We are still trying to find out what it is but one thing is for sure end result has been terrific. Now we are doing things which we many a time, found no time to do, like having our morning cuppa at leisure. The morning becomes more enjoyable if we get a chance to talk to our old friends who maybe in US or Australia or Timbaktu! That call during morning cuppa makes tea even sweeter (my doctor is happy, accucheck shows better figures)

Now my friends I am going talk to you about my most hidden secret in life. I have finally fallen for the “Love at First sight” relationship event. My life has become so much a pleasure that I could never have imagined before. I had never thought that this can happen to one at a later stage in life!! But I am happy that this has happened. I am going to share the identity of that person and she is none other than my granddaughter Rhea! What a bundle of joy she is to all of us. This friendship and love is so different. She is all but eight months old but we have our own protocols of talking to each other, just lie down next each other and have jugalbandi of making stupid sounds! Looking at the trees, and sparrows and crows and what not.

Honestly when I started writing this blog so many things came to mind, so many friends I remembered, the movie was on fast forward and backward all the time!! Sudeep, Suhas, Lata, Mangal, Sanjay, Sudhya, Marwadya and …. many many more!! I had a tough time pruning my thoughts so that blog remains a blog and not my life story!! So here is “Three Cheers to Friendships/ Relationships of this world” and do it with a cup of coffee as the “Teachers” advertisement says, “If you want to take one for the road, make it coffee”!!

No Subject Blog!

Writing a blog with no subject is a tough ask but writing one without title is well-nigh impossible. At the outset I am going to make a very controversial statement, at the risk of physical danger to my wellbeing!!
I am told that the honorable ladies of this world can talk to their friends on “no topic” or “non topic” for hours together. How they do this? Where have they learnt this art? Is it a God’s gift to them? Why men folk cannot do it on regular basis? What science is behind this? Or is it an art form? But then why does the art form make discrimination based on gender? Why are ladies folk more gifted in this art? ladieschatting
When men folk meet, after their initial Hi and Hellos they will settle into a cozy position of drinking their cuppa or their beer. In between they will be talking on various topics including cricket, football or horse racing or girls!! Variation in this can be in the form of their drinks or cigarettes but never in the amount of actual talking!! Talking to each other for men folk is a media, to take their beer drinking or smoking forward!! MenSmking
Both the activities viewed from other genders view point appear totally different. It is almost like one mans’ freedom fighter is other mans’ terrorist! When women folk look at the group of men drinking or smoking they are shocked and feel what a waste of time! Oh my God, these guys have so much time and all that they are doing is smoking or drinking!!
As opposed to that when men folk look at ladies chatting, they think , OMG how can these ladies enjoy the free time without smoking or drinking or some such activity!! They are simply wasting their time by talking to each other. There are so many things like boozing & smoking and so on, in this world but alas….
Some feel that idiots like me waste their time writing their blogs! When you write something you must have at least a subject and this fella is writing a Blog with no subject!! What has this world come to!
Friends I think I have written about No Subject blog but I cannot resist telling you a joke, not a very original one. This joke can again physically harm me but here it goes.
A lady is chatting on phone and about half an hour later she cuts the phone. Her husband is surprised and asks her how the call got over only in half an hour. Prompt comes the reply, “Oh! It was a wrong number!” Cheers and have a great day.

Jane Kahan Gaye Woh Din!!

The title means where the good old days are gone!!
The initial lines of this Hindi song are typical in everybody’s life, of time that has passed by us. It does not mean that we are not having a good time now. But these words are nostalgic and remind us of old days. In any humans life there is childhood, studentship, youth, middle age, matured age moving towards graceful aging.
How would you rate these phases? Of course most of us don’t remember much from our childhood but these days I see my granddaughter Rhea growing in front of us. I will rate childhood at number one mainly because of innocence. Child is so innocent, its life is fully based on innocence and curiosity. Child completely shares its feelings with us without hiding anything. When happy there will be laughter, when unhappy there will be crying, when sleepy just go to sleep, when hungry demand food and eat.
Second in the rank would be graceful aging. In this phase, so-called responsibilities are over. (Assuming that one is a responsible person) If the health is reasonably good then during this phase one can enjoy life to the fullest and start doing things which life did not allow you to do during period in between. If finances are properly planned then one can travel to various destinations.
But while thinking on these lines, I suddenly thought of a dear friend. This friend of mine is a gem of a person, very genteel, down to earth. He has a different way of looking at things. Mind you he is a terrific engineering professional. But he looks at life through different lenses. His way of looking at things is very innocent. He has a child-like simplicity in him. Having such traits is not simple. Human being changes, his thought process changes. His maturity level changes. His nature changes. All these things happen because of the lessons life teaches us. Same event can totally have different effect on two persons. Someone will become bitter, someone will become reticent. But not our friend. I am sure he also must have gone through life’s events as all of us do. But these have hardly changed him in his approach. Of course he has changed physically, become a bit heavier. But many of his styles have not changed. His knack of pushing glasses back from his nose bridge, hearty laughter, he would laugh even louder if his leg is pulled. I am sure he must have approached the same way with life; when life pulls our leg you and I will react normally, that is we will be nervous, throw tantrums, we will make a statement that life is very unfair to me and so on. But my great friend takes things in stride like child’s simplicity and moves on. It will not make him bitter. During his working years, many of his colleagues were corrupt but our man is upright and would never do such a thing. I once asked how you manage this. He said, “If I am not corrupt system will not prefer me so they will transfer me but I am ok with this.” Very simple solution!! This is a child-like solution, if you cannot get something just ignore it and move ahead.
Suya
Let me assure you this is not simple. To take things in stride, one needs courage of conviction. By remaining in the child phase in approach to life, he has enjoyed the life the most. He is my dear friend Suya उर्फ सुहास यशवंत कुलकर्णी!! Let me tell you Suya never sings this song, “Jane Kahan Gaye Who Din” because his days are always good old days! Live your life to the full Suya and inspire us to enjoy it!!

Why आचरट (achrat) of this world come together?

The title talks about a Marathi word आचरट, it is difficult to explain the exact meaning of the same in English. On internet meaning of the word आचरट is, people with improper behavior. But when this word is spoken about someone in Marathi, the meaning is really not the one implied in dictionary meaning. It is about a person who is funny (in good sense, fun to be with!), really smart but some people may find such person’s behavior improper, sometimes. Sometimes they can be loud. But all the time intention is to have fun and not trouble anybody. They will crack some small jokes about persons around but in good taste.
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It is said that water always tries to reach its own level. This is science and when you make an experiment by filling a tube with water and form a U, in both the arms water level will be exactly same. It is the same with people. When one joins a school or college one finds that there will always be a small percentage of आचरट people who will end up as close friends.
What are the common traits of such people? They can talk on any subject in the world. They are very sharp with words though some are very good at absorbing exchanges like a boxing bag. They are very serious about passing time doing nothing!! College classes, exams, getting a degree are also incidentally taken care of.
When I was in engineering college we had such a gang. Incidentally all had some great properties which I will share with you . Sharad was a scholar from school days but had gained expertise in the art of being आचरट. He had a great knack of telling stories which he had acquired from his Malvan background. He would tell interesting stories. Sharad now is running a major engineering enterprise. Praveen was a Bombayite and was both giver and absorber of आचरट exchanges. He was softer of the lot and was a great singer. Praveen made his career in submarine building (hey Praveen did you design those that are sinking these days?) and now performs on stage shows as professional singer. His favorite song in those days was

http://tune.pk/video/82177/chaandi-ki-deewar-na-todi-mukesh-in-vishwas-indian-songs

Then we had Sonya. He was one excited guy and very good at heart, a good sport. He would make fun and take some blows in the same spirit. I used to wonder how this guy has some streak that is very different. Recently I came to know about its origin!! Once while chatting, he told me about his mother and then I knew why this आचरट had a special streak, it was from his mother!! Sonya runs a successful business in building trade and he “Paints”!! Now with a little anecdote I am sharing with you, you will understand the real meaning of आचरट !! When Sonya shared one of his paintings with all recently, on Whatsapp, prompt came question from Sharad, “Please share the name of the website from where you download these paintings?” Prompt reply from Sonya and he shared a photograph of himself painting!! With Weasel, brushes and all! SonyaImage

Friends now its upto you to decide if Sharad or Sonya is telling the truth!!

The various traits that the आचरट had in the youth, was a result of too much energy and guys did not know how to spend it. The guys had various traits needed by आचरट and that brought them together.
When the energies were properly channelized later, all have turned from आचरट or ugly ducklings to swans! This reminds me of a great Asha Bhosale classic “एका तळ्यात होती बदके पिले सुरेख होते कुरूप वेडे पिल्लू तयात एक”!

From being Grounded to going Sky high

All through my life I have lived on the ground floor. Our permanent home is a row house (Townhouse) and I am very much used to just walking out of the home to go anywhere. Recently we have temporarily moved to a high-rise apartment block and got a condo on the 7th floor. Here I have to walk out of the home and use lift (elevator) to go anywhere. For first two months we were really busy and did not even have time to think of this change!

But now that things are stabilizing, my mind has started to meander. In our regular home my morning chore was to go to the garden, weather permitting. Take a look around various trees, flowers and generally enjoy the greenery. People take their morning walks on the colony road (I take my walk when it is really dark) and I get a chance to say hi to many of friends, get updates about various things like job, health or have a general chit-chat. In between I take care of watering the garden and listen to birds sing. During our cuppa, later in the morning Jaya and I would discuss about the daily progress of our little greens and check if things are going all right. WP_000010

But now I realize that being on the 7th floor, my horizon has literally expanded. First change is that I do not walk inside our condo compound ( not big enough) but go outside. I like to take different route every day and see new things like different homes, trees and people, a big change to my daily routine. We stay in a new locality so there are many things nearby which I am not aware of or maybe I do not observe while driving. In our west facing balcony we have a few pots where we have greenery. During our cuppa sitting in the balcony, we of course discuss our greenery. But with expanded horizon we see a beautiful view of trees, a few hills, distant Sinhgad (a historical fort near Pune). Recently as the weather is intermittently changing from bright sunny to clouded, rainy and misty or foggy, I see a beautiful view of a few hundred meters (when it is misty or foggy) to a few kilometers with rolling hills in the background. WP_000141

We as humans probably want status quo in life. We do not want to change ourselves unless there is a reason to do so. But by having such closed thinking we restrict ourselves to limited experiences in life, our horizon remains small. This experience of mine of moving to 7th floor home from a ground floor home has made me realize how much I was missing!! How I was restricting my horizon. So folks be open minded and don’t restrict your horizon!!

Horizon

Apple? Google? What is that?

I have given this title to grab your attention!!

Imagine after some years or many years Apple, Google could exist as companies that are “also ran” or they may not exist! You must be wondering what I am writing about!! I am talking about the evolution theory. The world as a whole keeps on evolving all the time.

I will write about countries and their evolution in general. In the 15th century Spain & Portugal were the strongest countries in the world. Why they were strong? They had good governance, tax collection was good, government was pro-business (heard these things lately somewhere!!)
As they were strong they created a strong navy and sent people to east and west. In east they established spice trade and in west they found Americas, the Gold Pot! With this trade in the east they became rich and strong; with west excursions they literally got grabbed a lot of Gold and Silver.
In the meanwhile countries like England, Holland, Germany were busy in industrial revolution. Why the industrial revolution happened was that they could not sell cloth manufactured by them in India. (BTW India was a rich country then!!) Items they wanted to sale for Rs.300/ was available in India for Rs.30/. The industrial revolution changed this situation.
Who became stronger, of course Britain, Holland and France. They improved their trade practices and went ahead of Spain & Portugal. Dutch built cargo ships which were far superior in design and could carry very large volume of material from east. Spain and Portugal today they are good in football but otherwise they are just ok!!
British and French had outposts in India. India was a very densely populated country to be won in a war!! Mughal Empire all-over India was very strong and these people had to beg to the emperor to have outposts for trading!! In 17th century the empire slowly started becoming weak and important thing was that Indian people never thought of India as one country. (Today whatever fights, problems we may have in India but we think of India as one country. I never feel as if I am not in India in even the remotest part of India.) British were very smart and they fought with French in Europe. They won the war and in the treaty they made sure that French almost fully left India. (Except for Puducherry) After this it was cake walk for the British in India. They applied classic principles of divide and rule. They found many people willing to work for them. So with about 7000 managers and about 70000 troops they conquered India.

Friends, a country or an organization follows similar paths as explained above. Wars that I mentioned may not be physical but in Market Place, for organizations. Add to this the technological changes that are taking place at a furious pace. So what can cause irreversible damage to a Google or an Apple only time will tell. It could be a company from Nepal or Bali or Timbaktu that may suddenly forge ahead and be the leader till its time comes!! Any guesses when this can happen for a Google or an Apple?