Roaming around in Pune!

Pune has already become cosmopolitan, with new International airport and Metro coming up, will same old Pune exist at all?

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It’s good to be moving around your own city but with age and technology, there is a possibility that you may not be required to move out of your home, especially after retirement. You can get your grocery online, you can pay your bills online, for cash you can go to ATM and deal with a machine rather than a human. All these things look sexy initially. But humans are social animals, and they love to meet and talk to friends, relatives, acquaintances, and unknown people. It is a well-proven fact that if humans become isolated then there is a good chance of early death. It’s good to know what new things are happening around you. When you move around, you observe different aspects of life. You know where the world is going.

Kasaba

The other day, we went to a dentist in the old part of Pune. We took an Uber and lo, we reached there in about 25 minutes, which was 15 minutes earlier than expected, and 30 minutes before the appointment. That too during peak hours! As I have always said that I tend towards being an atheist, but once in a while I do visit Mandirs on my own. I suggested to Jaya, that since we were pretty early, we could visit the Kasaba Peth Ganapati Mandir which was bang opposite the clinic. It was surprisingly empty. After going inside, we realized that it was Chaturthi, an auspicious day from the Hindu calendar. I bowed to the God, Jaya did some more prayers and took another five minutes. As is usually done, we sat in the Mandir for five more minutes. When you go to a Mandir, and do not have even five minutes to spare, might as well not go there! This is done  to soak in the atmosphere. The Mandir is a totally different world than that I live in. People were very much engrossed in praying; a priest was giving a sermon and he was talking about day to day issues, how to handle them and how to face the world. I thought it was a very good way of helping people. The priests are revered by the society; his sermon was a good way of guiding people as a tradition. This is one tradition, people should continue to follow, instead of following some irrational things. The young dentist is my daughter’s classmate and I know him well. He jokingly said, “Uncle HE must have been happy that you found time to meet Him!” To me, HE is everywhere, I need not go to a Mandir to meet Him.

Use of Uber brings you in touch with more people, a group of drivers, the way they talk, the way they work, the way they look at the profession. I always make it a point to chat with them. One observation is that 50% of them are from Vidarbha, Marathwada side! In recent four trips, I had varied experiences. One chap was very unfriendly from the beginning, and ended up shouting at me and threatening me with dire consequences! In a huff, luckily, he cancelled the trip on his own. I complained to Uber and they took a lot of feedback from me. Next one was a good person, was shocked how expensive Pune was and did not know much about Pune roads! When will Uber train these drivers about the city where they drive? I explained to this fellow that Pune is expensive because it has money and since it has money, a lot of people use Uber! Next one had his car in horrible condition, dusty and unclean from both inside and outside. I asked him why he had not cleaned the car? He said that he got the trip immediately after login. I asked him why he did not login after the car was cleaned, he had nothing to say. The last one was the best, he knew all the roads, his car looked new. When I asked him if his car was new, he said that it was two-year-old but cleaned it at least four to five times in a day. It showed his passion to do well in his profession! On top of that, he was very polite! I gave him five stars!

GoodLuck

In Pune and Bombay, there is a tradition of Irani restaurants. These are the restaurants run by people who have come to India from Iran and have settled in the last century. These were our favourite joints in our school and college days. They would offer, Bun-Maska (butter), Pastries and Omelet. Chicken and mutton also used to be their speciality if you wanted to take lunch or dinner. I was coming home in the very clean Uber and could look around for a change, as I was not driving. We passed by an Irani restaurant called Regal! I now came to know how the times have changed. They had a display board saying special treat for people who keep fast for 9 days during the Navratri festival that is currently going on! (We always have some festival running or coming or just finished celebrating) Sabudana Wada, Sabudana Khichadi and so on. Typical Maharashtrian dishes. Goodluck is the most famous Irani restaurant in Pune. Looks like to grow their business, they are also offering stuff that people want. So happy to see the flexibility of the management. Another thing that I have seen these days is that these are small restaurants and are at prime locations. With traffic density soaring all the time, their prime locations have become no parking zones. Some of these hotels have bought a couple of shops near the restaurant so that they could provide parking space to at least 20 to 30 bikes, inside those shops!

Another great tradition that is going great guns in Pune, is cultural programs during the Ganapati Festival. Many colonies, apartments, condos have different programs on various days of this festival. In our Condo, there were cookery competitions, painting competitions. Youngest was my grand-daughter Rhea who gave a three-minute solo dance performance. Oldest was a 75 years old lady who took part in story-telling. Jaya and I also had fun. I interviewed her on the subject of modern technologies of IOT, AI, VR and AR. (These buzzwords were explained in the language all will understand) It was done in a chat format and we explained the technical things in such a way that common people could also easily understand the subject. We also kept it interactive and people asked a lot of questions! This is one tradition that should never be allowed to die! This brings people together, the main aim of Lokmanya Tilak who started this festival more than 100 years back. During this festival, people go to each other’s homes, sometimes uninvited, and attend the Ganapati Aarti (Prayers) which are performed in each home!

We keep on making a big noise about traffic chaos in any city. Pune is no exception. But my personal opinion is that Pune’s traffic is still manageable. But the indiscipline is rampant by the two-wheelers, trucks and buses. They break signals, bikes carry 3 or 4 people in place of allowed 2! They break helmet rule with vengeance! In most other cities this rule is followed quite well! They enter wrongly on a one-way street! But real information that you get is from Uber guys, three-wheeler auto chaps break the rules similarly to two-wheeler guys, so I don’t take their feedback seriously. There are surprises. The first thing we assume is that the traffic will be worst in the old part of the city. These are called Peths! The roads are narrow and winding, sometimes. But according to Uber guys, these areas are much better, traffic wise. According to them, the worst is Sinhgad Road and Nagar road. Hinjewadi IT park area is known for these issues simply because of the sheer volume  of vehicles which pour on the road, within a short span of time. Attempts are being made to correct this situation. But mind you, good things always come out in humans, when things go out of control. Nagar road traffic volume has been high and indiscipline has added to it. A group of people in that area created a WhatsApp group. (A creative way of using WA) At a very short notice volunteers from this group jump the fray and help the traffic to smoothen out. What they have done is to include some shopkeepers in that area who can easily see if there is a jam. They give precise location on WA and in a jiffy these guys, wardens working Pro Bono, come out and straighten things out.

Friends, I moved to Pune in 1967 and stayed over. In these 51 years, it has changed a lot but has remained same too! Change is because of technology and migration. Pune has already become cosmopolitan, with new International airport and Metro coming up, will same old  Pune exist at all? Maybe! In some pockets, it will remain the same good old Pune but in other areas, you may feel as if you are in any modern city! Will it be able to keep balance of both? Yes and no! Chitale’s of Pune have finally started advertising and with no breaks between 1 & 4 in the afternoon! Bhelpuri carts, now have to compete with Bhel Puri shops which sell other things like sandwiches and Ragda Pattice too! Puneri Misal is still famous so is sabudana khichadi (now sold even by Irani restaurants!) Only time will tell!

16th August 1995 to 23rd September 2018!

As each sibling forms own family, parents and other siblings are moved to the outer intersecting circle!

In my blog last week, “So long farewell, we too say Goodbye!”, I had written about how I had bid goodbye to my “home”, without realizing it. Now I am thinking of the other side of the event. Obviously, I cannot ask my parents how they felt about my moving out, as they have passed long back. I never had the strength and maturity to ask them this question. Many times, it so happens that humans, in their zest to do well in life, go ahead; follow their projected trajectory. Go out for higher education, take up jobs and do well in their life. This is the evolution of human life and that is how it is expected to happen.

But in the background, a lot of things happen, which creates an atmosphere for the progress of people. In the background, in most cases, it is the parents who take efforts to help the children to achieve what they want, create the atmosphere to reach their goals, smoothly. In some cases, parents do a lot of sacrifices too! I am not talking about what the children should give back to their parents. My views are very clear on this, children don’t have to give anything back to the parents!  It is the parent’s responsibility to make their children strong to face the world!

But in my case, it never occurred to me, what my parents must have gone through when I left home. Did they feel the vacuum? What stress they must have felt? As I was the youngest of the siblings, when I left home, my parents were the only family that remained as a unit! When I left home I was immature and later on, I became too engrossed with my college. Immediately after college, I got married. Parents were never in my thoughts even though I loved them a lot, I cared for them in my own way.

I remember a couple of incidents from those times. I used to be in the engineering college at Pune and my parents lived in Bombay. I used to go to Bombay during the holidays. My mother would be waiting for me eagerly, keeping some lovely foodstuff ready for me. My father would go to the office and send his car back home for me to spin around! Petrol tank, of course, was always full! My father was a senior police officer and a very strict one. His demeanour was that of an efficient go-getter! Once during holidays, my mother was unwell and her health deteriorated quickly by midnight. My father woke me up, I had never ever seen him so worried! I told him not to worry and with the exuberance of the youth, I spoke to the hospital and drove my parents to the hospital. After about 12 hours, my mother’s health dramatically improved. I could see the palpable relief on my father’s face. Had I not been with them at that time, I am sure my father would have easily managed everything. But I also felt that my father was relieved because I was around. It was probably emotional support that they were looking for. I went back to Pune later, forgot everything and was back in my own world! How many such incidents may have happened during those times, in my absence, is the question that comes to mind?

16th August 1995 is the date on which our son went to the USA for his further education. I remember this date for obvious reasons but there was an incident that happened on our way to Bombay. As we were reaching Bombay, something hit our car below the engine area. The car engine started making a bit of noise so I had to stop the car. We found out that a big stone had hit bracket on which the engine is mounted. Such stones are left on the roads by truck drivers when they stop their vehicles on the road for some repairs. There was no expressway during those times. We somehow were able to reach a garage which was nearby. I called a cab and reached Bombay. We had kept enough margin to reach the airport on time. Next day the family went back to Pune. I got the car repaired and the day after I took the car back to Pune.

For the next few days or months, I am not really sure, we felt the emptiness but our daughter was with us. Three of us always missed him but then the reality struck that he will be away at least for a couple of years. Slowly, we continued with our life. Two years became five; he had come back to get married in between. Then five years became ten; he moved from the east coast to west coast and this year it is 23 years since he left “home”. Of course, now he has his home, he has his own family. In between, he kept on coming back and we also went to him as and when it was possible. But the visits, both to the US and India were as visitors. Luckily, Jaya and I were quite busy in that phase so was our daughter. In the initial phase, when the social media was evolving, we used to talk on phone depending on how busy all of us were. Cell phones were in the evolution phase so we had to rely more on the landline.

During these 23 years, there was only one major health issue in the year 2013. I needed to be treated for cancer. Our son could come for a couple of weeks. I could see the unease on his face when he went back. But I look at the whole thing from a different angle. Had he been staying in Bangalore or Delhi or Timbaktu, the situation would have been the same. Once children get busy in their career and their families, the natural progression is that they get busy in their own stuff. I had mentioned in one of the blogs about intersecting circles.

Circles

Circles1The images explain this concept clearly. In the first image, the Innermost circle is the core family circle which has parents and siblings. As each sibling forms own family, parents and other siblings are moved to the outer intersecting circle. That is how the world moves, that is the name of the game, that is nature!  The second image of intersecting circles shows the complexity that can form later in life, due to the formation of new families. As the generations change, you go into a circle on the periphery.

What is the significance of the date 23rd September 2018! Our grandson completed his 12th grade and joined a University for Computer Engineering course. He moved to the dormitory! What thoughts have been going on in my son and his wife’s mind? I do not know. I am sure the thoughts will be the same as what we had. This is one training that I do not think we gave to our son. But this is very essential like all other training. This aspect of life is never taught in any course, in any college. It is learnt in the life’s school!

But there is one more angle to this scenario that we see these days. I know of a family where the mother is 90 plus and has a very serious case of dementia. Hers is an extremely difficult case to manage, and she is being nursed at home with the help of supporting staff. Her eldest son and his wife look after her. Her other younger son lives in a different country. He is also retired but they come and support the mother for a couple of months. Is it incidental? Winter is very harsh in those months in that country. Who should share such responsibilities? This is a very tricky situation and handling it is not easy. We also hear some stories about children inviting parents to their homes only when they need babysitting or some such support.

Honestly, I really do not know what the correct approach is; but to me, each one is a different case. Most of the times we hear only one sided version. It is difficult to come to any conclusion. I have heard of a story about travel by my friend. I don’t know what adjective to give to this story. Whether it is funny or horror story or a practical thing to do. They have two children staying in the US. I found that they were traveling separately on different days. The reason was two children wanted the best “monitory deal” for ticket. Does it matter that they had to travel separately? Such problems maybe faced if the parents are financially not independent!

Before India’s independence in 1947, most people hardly left their area of birth for green pastures. But with progress all around things have changed a lot. There is good Hindi word called बिरादरी; people still marry in बिरादरी! But with progress they live all over the world. Material progress and progress in our thought process need to go hand in hand. Once that is achieved, it hardly matters. To me the circles below are the true representations of today’s times. Or is it the first first image? I am confused!

Circles3

Pramod the Feng Shui Guru!

When a person is considerate to others at all times, then this person has unconsciously accomplished sainthood!

Feng Shui (simplified Chinese: 风水; traditional Chinese: 風水, pronounced [fə́ŋ.ʂwèi]), also known as Chinese geomancy, is a pseudoscience originating from China, which claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment. The term Feng Shui literally translates as “wind-water” in English.  Feng Shui is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics, classified as physiognomy (observation of appearances through formulas and calculations). The Feng Shui practice discusses architecture in terms of “invisible forces” that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together, known as qi.  

The title of the blog is sensational and I am sure none of you will believe it. But you will understand the real meaning of this title, soon. To me, getting advised by Feng Shui or Vastu Shastra are means to achieve what everybody is looking for as ultimate joy and peace in this world! Enjoy the lovely monsoon drizzle, be excited to see the group of children screaming and running, get blessed with a hot Cuppa on a winter morning, get drunk on meeting friends without alcohol, be contented with boiled and salted corn, get lost looking at an old Madhubala song, all smiles! Burp on a stomach full of home food, feel the ultimate joy of gazing at snow clad Himalayan peaks, feel eager to reach sweet home at the end of a tour of Italy or whatever is your dream destination, feel lucky that maestros like Sachin Tendulkar and A R Rehman were around in your lifetime. Feel eager to go to work every day, buy fresh palak subji on way back from office because the better half loves it, feel lucky that you are born in a lovely family and living in a great city, enjoy the feeling that you married the bestest person in the world. If you already have this feeling about your life, without “experts” prodding you to do them if you are always contented with the life as you have it, you have a house which is your sweet home, you are already there! Have you now understood the meaning of the title “Pramod the Feng Shui Guru!” 

This subject came to my mind not because I am a believer in these things, in fact, I am very much against such thought processes. I read a story written by anonymous using Feng Shui as a subject. A person, who was a non-believer had decided to buy and decorate his dream home; in its compound was a beautiful fruit-bearing tree. Naturally, some branches were protruding outside the premises and some fruits were always  “borrowed” by kids outside. His friends suggested that he invite a Feng Shui expert from Hongkong, though he was a non- believer.  The Guru agreed to come; he was picked up from the airport and our friend went to pick him up personally. While driving the car he would always allow other vehicles to overtake, when they looked in a hurry! Later in a small lane, a child came running on the road, suddenly. Our friend stopped, he did not start the car immediately. The Guru asked him, why are you not moving. Our friend said, “Children always run in pairs when excited. I am waiting for the other child.” In came the other child. The Guru was astonished. After reaching home, they had lunch in the garden under the fruit tree. The Guru heard some commotion. Our friend said, “Some children are “borrowing” the fruits, my security is still getting used to NOT reacting.”  

After lunch and some rest, they started the discussion. Guru said, “You don’t need Feng Shui for your home. When our minds prioritize others’ peace and happiness, the one who benefits is not just others, but ourselves too. When a person is considerate of others at all times, then this person has unconsciously accomplished sainthood. The saint is, in fact, a person who through benefiting others becomes enlightened. You are a person who has already reached the level above what Feng Shui can achieve. I am flying back tomorrow and of course, No fees. I have already earned my fees by meeting you” 

This my friends is Feng Shui or Vastu Shastra or whatever you want to call it. People do many things to achieve peace, comfort and joy in their lives; they feel that the Gurus will tell them how to do it. Do we really need to be told by someone to be considerate of others? Why should somebody guide us to do these things? We read many books, we go to Mandirs and Masjids and Churches to achieve inner peace. Do we really need to go there? Being considerate, being polite, being nice and finally being content is something that should come from within, it is like going to the prayers. 

As a curiosity, I read something more about Feng Shui. It says remove clutter for good Feng Shui. Really? Do we need an expert to say this? Will you like to live in a home where there is clutter? We have a rule in our home. If we buy something as a replacement, we make sure that the old stuff is given away before the new thing arrives. It is common sense. I saw in someone’s house, two microwave ovens on top of each other. I was told that the old one was damaged, 3 years back and they would get it repaired!

Get good quality air and light in homes! Is it not obvious? Try staying in cold countries in winter, windows are always sealed and shut and sunlight availability is very poor during those months. Then it talks of Kua number, positive energy. Find your Feng Shui birth element; are we talking to a palmist? It talks about keeping wooden furniture in certain directions of the home. Vastu Shastra talks of positions and directions. What does this achieve?

Assume that there is a square building with four flats on each floor. The direction of Sunlight is fixed. So how can the same Shastra be applied to diagonally opposite flats? I live on the seventh floor, our flat is facing west. How can any Shastra tell me that the position of something should be such that I will get morning Sun? I never get morning Sunlight in my home, ever. From my floor upwards, the winds from the west are lovely and sometimes very strong. How can the same wind and second half sunlight be available on the first floor flat?  

Are Feng Shui and Vastu Shastra and their variants sciences? If you try to analyze scientifically, you may find many issues yourself. Of course, in homes, while constructing there can be some scientific errors. The experts will give the advice to break walls and windows based on their Shastra. One may do the same corrections under the guidance of architects or civil engineers. My friend had an office in a big square hall.  Along the walls, there were a few cabins for seniors. Once I went to meet him for a cup of coffee. The whole office looked like a war zone. Everything was broken and right in the centre of the office, a circular cabin was being created. The boss’s office! Vastu Shastra was in full swing! I, of course, did not ask him any questions about the activity, just had my coffee which was lovely!  

Why do people follow things blindly? What is the meaning of faith? In such situations, the cliché fits perfectly. Common sense is so uncommon! I have seen normally smart people following such advice. To me, it is a sophisticated way of following superstitions!  

By the way, I am starting a website www.pramodguruFengShui.com . I am giving below photos of stuff that we will sell online. 20% discount on pre-booking. 😊😊

 

 

 

So long farewell, we too say Goodbye!

Till the end of first half of the last century, life was quite simple not as dynamic as today!

This is a song from the famous 1965 English movie, “Sound of Music”. The situation for the song is appropriate; there is a party going on at home and the father expects the children to withdraw and go to sleep. I love this song hence I am sharing the link for you. 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiboazShcfdAhXKbSsKHc40Do0Q3ywwAHoECAYQBA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DQy9_lfjQopU&usg=AOvVaw3Oypy-dx1J99WvYzEPFDBq 

In our lives we also say farewell to people, situations and homes. This is part of life and happens in case of most of us. Sometimes we do so with knowledge but sometimes we do it without realizing. The question will come in mind “How do we do it without realizing?” I did it without realizing. After my first-year science year at Elphinstone College in Bombay, I moved to the college hostel at Churchgate in Mumbai. It was a natural recourse as my father was transferred outside Bombay. One fine day I entered the hostel, all bag and baggage! Little did I realize that I had left my home, as I had known it, forever. Our sister was married at that time, my parents, my elder brother and me was our family. The same year my brother moved to the United States. So, the family as we knew it, was reduced to only my parents!  

I was all of 17 years old, and never realized the significance of my moving to the hostels. I completed my Inter Science, moved from Elphinstone College Hostels to COEP Hostel in Pune. While in COEP I met Jaya, we got married after completing my first degree and rest as they say is history. Did I realize the significance of moving to the hostel in Elphinstone College? Did I know that I will never go back “home”? Was I mentally prepared for that move? Was I mature enough to think in those terms? Honestly, I did not have that maturity, I did not have a clue! Studies were the last priority in those days but we had a Parsee friend in hostel in Arts course; he made us study to ensure that we could get ourselves admitted to engineering course. But we did have some students who had a tough time adjusting to life outside the warmth of their homes. I made one life long friend Sharad while at Telang Hostel!

In retrospection, did I miss something? Yes, of course I did. I miss my father especially as he died quite early at an age of 63, when I was 31.  I was busy setting up my family and my home. My father was a person who would call spade a spade; this trait I have picked up from him. He used to like to pun, would make some while chatting, another trait that I picked up from him. I once remember him pulling legs of his younger brother, bhau. My uncle, bhaukaka, in those days used to wear hard contact lenses. Once he was struggling to wear them. My father coolly told him, “Bhau, why don’t you wear glasses first,  so that you will be able to see where you are putting your lenses”! I would have laughed whole heartedly but due to respect of the elderly, I only smiled looking, at my father. He was supposedly very tough outwardly, but Jaya and I had excellent rapport with him. Jaya was the first professional lady working in our family and my father was supportive of her, always. When Jaya received a UN scholarship for MS degree in the US, she asked my father if she can take this opportunity. Our son was six years old at that time. My father told her, “What is there to ask? Just go. Why do you think we are here?” Unfortunately, he died within three months of Jaya going to the US. I was lucky that my mother lived to be with us for next 25 years. When I ruminate about leaving home in 1966, I always feel that I missed out on my father’s company. But If-Else scenario is a double-edged weapon. If I had not left home in 1966, then I would not have met Jaya!    

Till the end of first half of the last century, life was quite simple  not as dynamic as today. One was born and brought up in a town or a village. Lived in the same home as ancestors, either owned or rented. Went to school, going to college was not very common in those days. Took up some work that was available, married, procreated and died. There was not much change in lives. If at all there was any migration, only the bread winner would move to bigger town or city but the family would stay behind.  So, there were hardly any So Longs, Alvida or Sayonara!  

My niece’s son got admitted to IIT ten years back. The day he was to move to IIT, we were with them in Bombay. I asked the kid, “Do you understand the significance of today?” He said, “Yes, I am joining IIT!” I said, “That is not what is important. Starting today, when you come to this place, which just now is your home, you will come with your bag as a guest. After your education, you will move elsewhere for further education. Then settle there and will get married and …..” I am sure if he reads this blog, he will remember what I had said. He works in Tesla in the US and is getting married in November!  

In life there are many other situations where “so long” situations come up. These are when you change your job, when you retire, and another frequent situation that is coming up in people’s lives is divorce. In all these situations the decision is not sudden. Yes and we change homes too! I will share a small ancedote about home changing. A friend of my daughter met me once, and while chatting asked me where we lived. Then I told him about our home changes. He said, “You seem to be very cool, about changing homes. My father still thinks of our Bombay home which we left 30 years back and he still feels unsettled.”

When you change a job, it is an ongoing thing and we generally know at least a couple of months before we change. Job change could result into a new job, starting your own business or moving to another country. In this situation, relations that you have formed are not very deep but for a small duration we may feel a little uneasy. During one such job, I met a friend who became my life-long friend, Dilip;  he unfortunately died last year. But such occurences are very rare. When you move to a foreign country it’s both exciting and tough call. Exciting for obvious reasons but tough call is because we are going to get cut off from our routes, modern communication helps you reduce the distance, virtually, but there is no replacement for physical proximity. This “so long” is  emotional because you are going to be far from your near and dear ones, your friends and your daily smells and daily noises!  

Even tougher “so long” must be the case where couples divorce each other. This is reality of life and cannot be ignored. This number is increasing; during the process of divorce the couples, I am sure have a lot of animosity with each other. Then there will be aspects of money, children and many other important aspects of life. So, I shudder to think as there may not be any “so long” after such a close relation!  

Retirement phase of course must be a real emotional phase because you get cut off from whatever you were doing every day for 40 years, you get cut off from the very same people with whom you have been meeting day in and day out! I have now semi-retired and I have gone through this phase recently. Everything else is manageable except the emotional part but I think time heals everything. 

Toughest of course is the final parting with this world! But there is a silver lining to this. You don’t have to say “so long” as you don’t get time to do so! You also don’t know whether people really miss you or they are happy that you are gone! 😊😊 

Alvida for now! Don’t you worry, I am not going anywhere!

 

 

 

 

 

Money, Money, Money!

Memories are more valuable than money!

 

Money, Money, Money is a famous song sung by Abba, released in 1976, four years after the group was formed. This song became very famous but Money has been famous for a long time. Money can do wonders, money can give you happiness but it can break families. Fights and disputes over money are as old as alcohol, prostitution and smoking! I am not surprised with any story that reaches us. For me this is good song but I have never liked its meaning!

From the beginning it will be a good idea to teach children about money, its importance but they also must be trained to understand that it is just a vehicle for our journey, called life. Having money and donating part of it should be taught in our curriculums! I have seen that richest of the rich are happy as well as sad. I have seen that poorest of the poor are also equally happy and sad. It is how we handle the money, how we approach it is more important. Bill Gates is classic example that needs to be emulated by all. He has found the real meaning of money. He has so much money, that it is almost immaterial to even discuss about it. But he has made it the mission of his life to donate his money for good cause; this cause also keeps his intellect busy. 

I am never surprised or amazed by stories I hear and read! Latest one I heard is about a family, unfortunately, already it was a broken family. As it is, in broken families, relations are pretty difficult and strained. Here is a family, parents divorced ages back, both remarried for years. All interactions have always been veering towards instability. Father from this family was unwell for quite some time, with dementia. Both siblings were in forties and one of them not yet settled, financially and otherwise. The other sibling was settled and staying in a foreign country. When Father died, the information started coming about his finances. The mother had taken away all the assets of the father under the garb of dementia; nobody knew when she got the necessary power of attorney to transfer everything in her name! Nobody knew about this and suddenly information came out, about this discrete action. End result, the broken family was fully broken, they were at least on talking terms, once in a while! Of course, I don’t know all the details but vows must have been taken by the offended parties not to see the mothers face again, ever. Why was mother so greedy about the money? In her second marriage she was already quite well off!  

Why do the humans behave this way? Assuming that I only know one side of the story, there was hardly any reason for the mother to cheat, that too at the age of 65 plus! There is a law about distribution of assets when a person dies. Is money so important in life, that one is ok with the situation of zero contacts, with children and grand-children? What is sufficient money? After the age of 65 plus how much money are you going to need? What can one do with the money? What is the idea of happiness and joy of these persons? Is blowing money joy? Is cheating your own children joy?  

Another story that I know is about a family with many brothers and a sister. 25 to 30 years back there was a dispute about family home in the native place. The sister once suggested that she may be legally allowed to use one room in the big home, during her life time. Why this demand was made I would not know, she could have used it, anyway! This demand started the Mahabharat. All these years, the brothers and mother did now “see their sisters face”! It led to some court case where they would come face to face in the court of law. One of the brothers and his wife once came for a cup of coffee to my house. One thing led to the other. I casually asked them if they will be visiting their family member from sister’s side, in the neighborhood; they were closely related to the sister! “Over my dead body” was the reaction! This was nothing but shear ego! There is one beautiful message I saw on the Facebook. At the bottom it says, “Type Yes if you agree!” I am sure all of you will agree with this message.

.facebook_1533908762019.jpgThis sort of attitude had cut off interactions with the next generation cousins, for not their fault. When this issue had started the eldest of the children from next generation,  must have been about 15. Now the post-script! 30 plus years have passed and a lot of water has gone down the bridge! Two brothers have died, the mother has died! Cousins rarely speaks with each. Remaining brothers and the sister talk to each other, maybe once in a year. Yes, and there is further news! One of the remaining brothers, who is a lawyer, has started a court case claiming that the whole property was “given” to him by his mother, when she died! Wow! This is the only word that comes to mind! 

Ego of one generation, has totally broken up relations between a family! What was the benefit? Zero because in such situations the result is always negative and all miss out so much in life. The real concept of family and ownership in human race has started only ten thousand years back and it is still “work in progress”! Will the humans ever learn?The progress made by humans always has two sides. Initially, humans were struggling to create fire but now we have the problem of misuse or mishandling of fire! Courts were created with a view to be fair to all; now we see how these same courts are misused. Weapons were created for safety in wild wild jungles in olden days, then we have Hiroshima and Nagasaki!  

Friends and family are beautiful institutions that humans have created; let us try and maintain the harmony. Money after all comes and goes but the beautiful memories remain with us till we take our last breath! That is the biggest treasure that we can have! Choice is ours!  

From Sir with Love!

This is for a friend who is going through tough times in life! But friends are always there for support!

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A young friend of mine celebrated his birthday, the other day. Mark Zuckerberg informed me about my friend’s birthday, I wished him on the Facebook. I prefer to call friends and talk to them too, on their birthdays! Hence, I called him. We do chitchat on phone once in a while and have the usual banter about market conditions and general economy. After the banter, he calls me Sir, he said, ” Sir, I wanted to share with you something. I underwent yearly medical checkup and there was a patch found in my lungs.” I was hoping that it would be TB or some such infection. He is a non -smoker and teetotaler. He further said, “The biopsy indicated malignancy. I have already started radiation and chemo therapy.”

I was stunned but did not let this reflect in my reaction. He further said, “My wife told me to discuss with you about malignancy, as you have also gone through the same issue a few years back.” I was impressed with his nonchalant way, when he told me about the carcinoma. Then he suggested that I could visit him on that day, as it was his birthday. Visit unfortunately did not materialize.

All of this was so SUDDEN! A real storm started in my mind the way storms generally start, suddenly. (Today’s technology predicts such storms in advance, so suddenness factor gets a bit diluted these days)! But this storm in my mind was about thoughts, a big churning had started in my mind. I was feeling breathless, figuratively! Though the winds of thoughts were blowing, I had this feeling as if I was getting choked! Everything looked so bleak, like we see the dark clouds during the build-up of a storm. If I was feeling this on knowing this issue, I cannot imagine what my friend must have gone through. When I had this problem, I was 64 but my friend is much younger than me!

I thought how our mind behaves in the same fashion as the nature. Does nature get confused during the build-up of a storm system? Suddenly big drops of rain start falling, making all surroundings beautifully wet! In the same manner the dark thoughts in my mind were also washed away! Suddenly I felt as if there was cool breeze flowing, which relaxed my mind!

This change happened as I remembered my own personal storm, where I pushed hard against a strong headwind! When my cancer was detected more than four years ago, similar storm had brewed in my mind. But love and positivity of Jaya and family were like big raindrops which reduced the fierceness of the storm. When life takes sudden twists and turns, you feel as if you are sitting in a vehicle which you are not able to control on a slippery road. But when you know that there is someone very strong and capable of taking the control of the vehicle, your anxieties are reduced.

During that phase of my life, I remembered about a mathematical operation of addition. The word addition by itself is a positive word. During addition, we use the term carry forward! Carry forward is a beautiful way of resolving a conflict. While adding, if the value of sum of the any digit is more than 9, say 21, then we note down 1 and carry forward 2! What a beautiful way to bypass an issue! What a positive way of going forward!

In tough situations in life we need to remember the operation of addition and method of carry forward, all the time. This will help us to never get stuck up! We will be able to overcome the storms, we will be able to overcome the typhoons! We will never get stuck up with a question, what to do? We have the great option to carry forward! This attitude teaches us never to ask the proverbial question, “Why me”?

My dear friend, this is just the beginning of the storm in your life; but the storms usually end with rains that cleanse the surroundings, and make the atmosphere fresh and happy. Take a deep breath, you have already overcome many small storms in your life. Those small storms may have been in the form of not getting to attend a college that you wanted to go to. It could be about your secret crush getting married to someone else! It also could be about not able to achieve some professional goal! These storms can be compared with strong waves that keep on coming relentlessly on the seashores. The waves in the form of challenges keep on coming, these waves maybe prelude to a small storms or issues. But you have learned the art of surfing elegantly on these waves and overcoming them with the attitude to carry forward! Take the challenge. While learning to surf, I am sure you have gone down below the water surface once in a while, but have strongly come out, always!

You have the support of a strong family, your friends and your good intellect! All these are like protection gear that you may have while walking in the heavy downpour. Maybe your socks will get wet but those can always be changed. My experience is that during tough times, you suddenly get a support from heretofore dormant friends or someone close in your family! There are such gems hidden in our society! Accept support and help gracefully, but if you are already overwhelmed with such support, politely indicate that their support will be taken during the next storm, if required.

Was I shaken because of the storm in my life? Was I depressed because of the health issue? I don’t think so. In today’s times with modern diagnostics and treatments available, the possibility of being cured of health issues is pretty high. I know of a young lady, who was forced to take 100% oxygen support due to some allergy issue. When I initially spoke to her, she was a bit despondent. But over a period, she was able to overcome her difficulty completely, thanks to medicines, support and ability to surf on the strong waves without going under! I once explained to her that shortage of oxygen is like some water going in your nose, while riding the waves! It is a temporary phase in life! But the fighter in her overcame all such hurdles! She started improving with positive energy she started getting due to her fighting spirit.

My dear friend, I am looking forward to seeing you ride the waves and combat the storm, the way you handle other issues in life! In fact, I am looking forward to seeing you as a big boss in some modern organization.

Old or New? What’s your view?

As you grow older, learn to enjoy both old and new stuff!

This is the video of the Marathi song “Ghei Chand Makarand”, sung by Rahul Deshpande and Shankar Mahadevan.

This is the same song, sung by Mahesh Kale in fusion format. Mahesh is a US based Marathi singer who likes to experiment. This video has shown problem sometimes while displaying, maybe due to copyrights issue, so please bear with me. If you want, I can mail to you the link for private viewing. Or you may try this link

https://1drv.ms/v/s!Aq4ckSwupy2Sma1iy2ZLMn1eP-Ov9A

It all started with my forwarding the video by Mahesh Kale, singing a famous Natya Geet, “Ghei Chand Makarand” in a new fusion format on a Whats App group. Friends on the group are my classmates, all around 70! The original song was sung by Veteran Singer Late Vasantrao Deshpande. He had a fantastic style and his repertoire was full of many variations, he could switch to a new variation at will! He was incomparable. When someone else sang this song, it was always compared with the Master. When the Mahesh Kale video of this song was forwarded by me, people pounced on me and various comments were made starting from how this can be compared with Vasantrao, to people who are proud of their lack of knowledge of the language Marathi are bound to make such a mess! In between, my friends forgot that there are various ways of doing same  things including singing and composing of songs.

The comparison of old and new has always been there and old school folks, no pun intended, are always critical of new ways. There are two songs from Hindi movies. The wordings of the two songs are different but mean almost the same. One song is sung  sensuously, while the other one sung in a raunchy fashion.

First song “Ankhon mein kya ji”, a song from film “Nau Do Gyara”, a 1957 movie.

What do I visualize in the eyes 

Oh! I see a silver cloud 

What do you see in the cloud 

Oh! I can visualize a flying stole in those eyes 

I see sensuous flurry under the flying stole!  

Second song is “Choli ke piche kya hai”, a song from film “Khalnayak”, a 1993 movie.

What is that I observe underneath your blouse 

What is that I view underneath your stole 

Oh! I have my heart beating below my blouse 

I have heart underneath my stole! 

In the first song the lyricist has mentioned flurry of what? Probably he is discretely mentioning about the flurry due movement of the breasts! This is written in a beautiful poetical way. In the second song the lyricist talks about the heart which is hiding behind the blouse and the stole! If we take the literal meaning of the of the song plus the way the songs are sung, first song hints at physical attributes whereas in the second song he is talking the ultimate symbol of love, the heart! But raunchy style of the second song makes it more matter of fact whereas in the first song it becomes lyrical poetry!  36 years had made the difference in expressing things differently, though it is about fluttering heart.

Both songs apparently suit the situation in the movie and though they mean the same thing, these songs should be looked at, independently. My friends from the Whats App group, would not like what I write or talk in this argument. How unpolite it is, to even discuss a raunchy song? How can you compare it with the sensuous song?

What is right and what is wrong? Should people stick to their “during our time argument” or should people be mature enough to enjoy whatever is good irrespective of the time line of that song or a story, movie or a drama. Should we say that “Gone with the Wind” was better than “Godfather”? These are movies of two different genres and time frames. The story telling methods, filming techniques, music and such attributes were different in those time periods. But these both were independently very good movies!  “Gone with the Wind” was a period drama from 100 years before in Civil War times and released in 1940; “Godfather” was released in 1972 and is story about Mafia wars of the decade of 1940.

“Guide” was a Hindi movie from 60’s of last century, “Kabhi Alvida Na Kehana” was a movie from current century. Both movies had issue of marital discord handled differently. Both films had good story, actors, songs, presentation. In Guide shortfall of Devanand’s acting was more than made up by Waheeda’s acting and dancing. Kabhi Alvida Na Kehana was a modern movie set in New york. There was good acting, songs and stories with excellent presentation. What is the point in saying oh, I can’t see the other movie. Someone will say it is too modern, too bold; other will say oh, its old style of acting and story-telling. These differences will be there but in their own way these were good movies, liked by audiences of those times.

When Mahesh Kale’s song was being discussed, people went to the extent of talking about Goddess Saraswati. Hindu Goddess of knowledge, music. To me song is a song is a song. And the same thing is about movies, literature, short stories, dramas and other art forms. These have developed over a period and humans create these art forms to enjoy life. A person who is not trained about certain type of classical singing, and may not have depth of knowledge that scholars have. That does not mean that the person can not experiment. Quality of everything improves only when different things are tried.

Chefs make superb food by trying new ways of doing things. They make our experience more enjoyable by trying out different spices, mixing different condiments, making some dish hot or sweet. Some dish may be sour, another maybe pungent. A few years back we stayed in a tree resort in Australia. We went out for a vegetarian dinner. We were very much in interior of Australian east coast. The Italian joint served us a dish made of mashed sweet potatoes, some beans, some fruit and condiments which were unknown to us. The end result was simply amazing. If we had not tried this, we may have ended up eating a burger.

I always feel that as we grow older, we are actually better off. We have the advantage having seen so many different things, compared to younger generation. Our generation has seen bullock carts, to 5G internet. Why not talk of bullock carts? It had its own charm but why not enjoy the 5 G internet. Please compare old and new stuff. You can always say that compared to walking, traveling by bullock cart was like 2G or 3G. Have fun and enjoy what is better; don’t say this new thing is bad. New thing is superb for young folks. Old things were superb for us. Our parents also used talk of Sehgal songs while we discussed Kishor Kumar! I honestly tell you, I used to enjoy Sehgal songs every day at 8 am on radio Ceylon!