Age with an open mind IV!

Time seems to fly by as you get older, so make a virtue of being in the here and now to maximize enjoyment of those special moments!

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HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY

I have written three blogs with the same title before, as I feel that this is an important subject which will affect more and more people, as life expectancy has gone up and will further go up. So people will end up living a long innings as senior citizens. Here are the  links for the previous blogs. Pardon me,  a few points may get repeated but many brand new ones are added

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/age-with-an-open-mind-iii/

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/age-with-an-open-mind-ii/

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/age-with-an-open-mind/

Some people are lucky enough to help their parents grow old. Growing old is not easy. Those elderly people who are fitter than others and those who are financially independent may not realize this. But better fitness and financial independence make a lot of difference. There are small things that need to be handled but younger people forget to manage them in their busy schedule.

For example, main problems that elderly can have is their morning stuff in the bathroom. Every family has its own situations so there cannot be common solutions but thought process can be similar, to make life easier for elderly. Western and desi style of bathrooms is a discussion that always happens. With aching and creaking joints western option is always better and there should be grab bars! Another important aspect is to make bathrooms slippage free, if it is possible. One aspect is discipline but another thing is to have the tiles which are anti slippage type! Falling down and breaking bones of elderly is a difficult situation for the whole family as recovery period is quite long! Someone may require use of wheelchair. Small modifications need to be made in the house; carpets and rugs can hinder the movement of wheelchair. Are the doors in the home wide enough for wheelchair movement? Is your home having easy access like elevator/lift? These are small but very important things.

Issues that I observe these days is the awkward behavior of  the children, not living with parents. When the grandchildren are young there is a need for support but once they start growing older, things can change. I know about a friend whose children buy their tickets for their yearly journey. I asked him his date of travel; he said, “I am traveling on 20th and my wife is traveling on 18th”! I was surprised with this. But he said their two sons did not coordinate with each other, they were sharing the expense. They got good deal on these two dates so…! How does it matter if they traveled separately! My friend gets bored after about three weeks stay. He mentioned this to his son; the son said, “Oh, daddy! We are spending so much money why not stay longer?” Value for money or Return on Investment or what?

What should the aging gang do?

The psychology of ageing is a cause for optimism in itself, with plenty of positives to look forward to in later life: happiness for one. While careers can peak in mid-life it’s also a time of maximum discontent, with the most difficult age hovering somewhere around 45. There can be a feeling of life not turning out the way you hoped or a sense of not achieving your potential. People are often caught up in their responsibilities at work and at home with the dual pressures of caring for children and ageing parents.

One of the advantages of age is that you experience less emotional volatility and become more comfortable with the presence of negative emotions. You’ve seen it all before and are no longer trapped on the rollercoaster of emotions that can hold you in its grip at a younger age. Older people are better at dealing with difficult emotions and moving on. There’s less psychological distress and they are less likely to succumb to depression and anxiety.

There’s no doubt that the fitter you are in body and finances, the better you will feel in later life. Positive ageing focuses on the psychological and emotional aspects of successful ageing to improve your well-being and build resilience to meet the challenges of the golden age.

My list of Happiness habits. (Naturally for you and me!)

Practice gratitude

Start using  “thank-you therapy”, this is about tuning into the positives in your life and expressing gratitude for what you have gained rather than focusing on what has been lost in your advanced years. Happiness comes more from wanting what you already have rather than having what you want. Also start thanking people who have brought positives in your life and were supportive! Say thank you to everyone, before its too late!

 Savour the positives 

Slow down to smell the roses and truly appreciate life’s positives. Time seems to fly by as you get older, so make a virtue of being in the here and now to maximize enjoyment of those special moments. e. g. This year we traveled to the US for four hectic days, to attend graduation ceremony of our grandson! Positive reminiscence is a way of savoring the past – retelling the story of life’s peak moments and basking in all its glories. But don’t be a bore by telling too many stories! Gratitude and savoring go hand in hand, and are both ways of cultivating positive emotions.

Adopt an optimistic mindset 

Optimists are better placed to challenge the overwhelmingly negative stereotypes of later life. They enjoy greater physical and psychological well-being and are more likely to cope positively when things go wrong. Optimists view their issues as transient, contained and something they have a measure of control over. If you catch yourself viewing something negatively, try to look at it from a different perspective – imagine what you might say to a friend who was experiencing the same problem. Advice and suggestions are not only for others but same apply to you too!

Live life with meaning 

Later life is the time to give up bothering about the small stuff and concentrate on what’s truly important for you, whether that be about certain people in your life or causes you’re passionate about. My friend Ajit has started learning to sing, Sudhakar is cultivating his passion for paining, Jaya writes about her life experiences with various people who have been close to us in life, she shares these writings with them as a Thank You note! Pravin does professional singing shows! There is a deeper kind of happiness on offer which comes from serving a purpose that goes beyond the self. Having meaning and purpose in life is a route to this ‘eudaimonic’ well-being.

Eudaimonia (Greek: εὐδαιμονία [eu̯dai̯moníaː]), sometimes anglicized as eudaemonia or eudemonia /jdɪˈmniə/, is a Greek word commonly translated as happiness or welfare; however, “human flourishing or prosperity” has been proposed as a more accurate translation.

Focus outwards 

Isolation and loneliness are an increasing risk as we age. Good relationships and active social lives are key to well-being – they are what the happiest people on the planet have in common. Reach out, create your community, invest in relationships, prioritize your loved ones and maintain your social networks.

Learn to let go 

It’s best to travel light into later life, sure way to feel light is to throw away your Ego! Let go of what no longer serves you, forgive those who have hurt you in the past and move on from difficult situations. Decluttering your mind from the people and situations that no longer bring pleasure or well-being will clear the space for the new to come in.

Happy Aging! Want to add to the list? Donate, Give back to society! I could go on and on!

Musafir Hoon Yaaro!

I have to continue my journey! मुझे चलते जाना है

This is a beautiful song sung by Kishor Kumar from the Movie Parichay released in the year 1972. The song depicts a wanderer who says, friends “I am a wanderer, I have no home and I have no fixed whereabouts! So I keep moving from place to place.” Human life also can be described as that of a wanderer, we keep on moving through different stations in life, we keep on meeting different people in life! Our destination is defined by the destiny but our path is unknown to us!

Thoughts about relationships came to my mind when I spoke to my old friend Naresh, maybe after a gap of  six to eight  months. Naresh used to live in Pune, most of his career, and we hit it off from day one! It was Naresh’s birthday yesterday when we spoke and he was abroad! We started chatting and there was really no end to it. After a long chat, he said that he will call me when he comes back to Gurgaon, where he now lives. He said that since most of his prime years were spent in Pune, he has remained a Punekar! In those days he would come to my office for a cuppa at least once in a month, and we would chat and chat about all subjects on the Tera Firma! Relationships form, they continue, but they also change and wither over a  period, in most cases! This reminds me of a Sanskrit saying which is a very pragmatic way of looking at life.

 “यथा काष्टम काष्टम

The meaning of this saying is that, in the sea, wooden logs bump into each other, stay together for some time and in most cases go away from each other, never to bump into each other again. Same is the story of our lives! In our lives we meet so many people, in school, college, work and on personal level. We get to meet some new people through marriages that take place in the family. We meet people during travel. If we take a review of people we have met, a very small percentage continues to be in touch infrequently or frequently in a few cases. In some cases, though the contact is infrequent, relations remain warm as if we have been meeting regularly.

Of course, the life long friend who can be your THE friend is your spouse. This also is part of destiny. My move from Mumbai to Pune for engineering education was a major part of destiny as I met Jaya in Pune, at the college. I simply continued to live in Pune. Rest as they say is history. With such a strong main base of relationship, life’s complexities  become so much easier to handle.

It is pure destiny that I met Naresh! But there are people who have touched your life in more than one way. Some of them are not in this world but I am lucky that many are still around. The first such friend  I remember was a friend called Ranganekar. I was in 11th grade. During summer holidays I used to go to him a couple of times a week, he used to stay  far from my home. He was to go to his native place, and we said bye for the time being. I went to that area to meet other friends after a few days. I was shocked to know that on the same evening when we said bye, he had died in an accident while crossing a road! That was my first shock in life and it took me some time to overcome the grief, he was such a good chirpy friend!

For natural reasons, I am not going to share the names of friends, who are still around, as I share my journey with friends. A friend Dilip was my Mumbai friend, partner in all crimes when we were in adolescence. We stayed in same building and would play all games together. I was slightly better than him in sports, in studies we were equally naughty! Our relationship continued till he died at the age of around 50 plus. Final ten years, unfortunately our communication was infrequent and I still regret the same. Another Dilip was from Pune; we became very close while we worked together for some years. We always took work seriously but never took ourselves seriously. We used to eat each others food many times at office! We were in touch till he died, regularly though infrequently. I had spoken to him a few days before he died; luckily that day was his birthday when I spoke. Dilip was always smiling and his laughter was booming! Dilpya, I miss you man!

My first friend that I remember, was from time when we were in pre KG. We reunited in school and continued together in college. Later he moved to the US and continues to live there. Whenever I contact him he responds but unfortunately he never does it on his own. He was an introvert anyway! Another friend is really a masterstroke of destiny. We were in same batch at engineering college but had never met before. First time I met him was four years back and now we have become life time friends. Last one is of course, my brother, my critic, my Jigri dost. We must have a chat session at least once in a week, minimum. Why we were not in touch with each other since college days, only God can say! But we are making up for the lost time.

Six years of my college I lived in hostels! The stay in hostel creates a special bond. With some friends I have been in touch right through my life. When we meet, we start talking as if we had met on the previous day. Some of the hostel friends I met after 45 years, but again we felt as if there was never a break. Now we all regret how much we have missed while “living” life!

RailTrack3

Our life is like the  railway system. We catch  a train to a destination. We meet the people on the that journey, but there are unplanned stations in between. There are complex track changes too, as shown in the photo graph above. Situation in life sometimes forces us to get down at stations on the way, and then we change tracks. What journey we will take with whom, is decided by destiny and nurturing of relationship from both sides. In some cases, it so happens that the journey together continues for long, long years, like meeting every day on local trains of Mumbai. But here it so happens that the co passenger takes a fast train and you may end up taking a slow train.

Mind you, we know when the train is changing the track; we also have an inkling that the train is passing by, we hear the whistle of the train passing you, as heard in the video above. Things are changing but in busy life sometimes people miss the indication given by the whistle. Hurtling fast train is the epitome of the journey called life! People start getting more comfortable on the new path; maybe its inevitable to leave the monotony of Mumbai local trains. It’s natural that people change path and the destination!

Even in the days of great social media revolution like FB, WA the work overload does not leave enough time for the passenger on the fast trains to connect with passengers left behind, their speeds simply don’t match. The photo of the track changing mechanism indicates that there are many such different paths available and in real life they are infinite!  Chances of connecting with each other become remote. But memories still remain like I said in my previous blog!  But don’t forget the lyrics and keep moving, that my friends is nature!

 मुसफ़िर हूं मै यारो

ना घर है ना ठिकाना

 

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!  

Brightness and Darkness!

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel!

Humans with their evolved brain look at the same thing in different ways. Someone looks at the bright side of things, but other person will only visualize dark side in the same situation or event.

A couple of days back I came across a poem, संध्या (The evening) by Gyanpith Award Winner Kusumagraj, (कुसुमाग्रज ) a well-known Marathi poet. In that poem he has mentioned about our life. He says, “The dawn in life was of course beautiful. But I find the beauty of setting Sun even more charming! The Sun during its day time journey was satisfying, guiding all with its brightness, helping the birds looking for their daily tidbits to eat; it was also helping these birds in looking for their path. However, I find it more exalting to see the enchanted birds coming back to their nest as the Sun is setting towards pure darkness. The satisfied souls are coming back to rest in their nest is more satisfying to me.” The poet is more charmed by the setting Sun or the twilight years of his life; this may be because of pure soul pleasing darkness brought in by the evening!

On the other side, there is a poem by Bha. Ra. Tambe, (भा. रा. ताम्बे) another famous poet in Marathi. Instead of welcoming the twilight phase as done by Kusumagraj, Tambe is sad, soulful about the twilight phase of life! मावळत्या दिनकरा (To the setting Sun) is the poem in which he talks about the pragmatic way of life where rising Sun is always loved but nobody bothers about the setting Sun! The world forgets that the same setting Sun was once a rising Sun!  People will bow to the rising Sun and ignore the setting Sun. The good deeds of a person are simply forgotten, the person maybe ignored as this world shows no gratitude to the previous good deeds. The world will talk about the goodness only on the face of the setting Sun but behind his back he is nobody! This raises a question whether for good deeds performed does a person expect gratitude? If done selflessly, then this feeling of rejection will not be there. Here is the song मावळत्या दिनकरा

I always want to understand how a poet writes a poem? Is it dependent on time period the poet lived in? Is it dependent on the mood of the poet at the time of writing the poem? Is it based on certain experiences that poet has lived? It is very difficult to say. Most probably it is dependent on the mood of the poet at that juncture. Tambe was born in 19 th century and died in 1941 whereas Kusumagraj was born in 1912 and died in 1999. It is possible that in his youth Kusumagraj’s mood must have been elated as India got independence. Whereas Tambe lived all his life under the British Raj. This could indicate diametrically opposite thoughts on  the same  subject.

But again, if we read some other poems of Tambe he appears to be in an elated mood e.g. पिवळे तांबुस ऊन कोवळे पसरे चौफेर. This poem is simply happy song of life. He sees happily swaying fields, birds chirping. He sees the swaying flowers as if they are swinging on branches. कुठे बुडाला पलिकडिल तो सोन्याचा गोळा is the last line in the poem. The same setting Sun appears to him like shining golden globe! This is the beauty of human nature, same event from the nature seems different to the person  at different times, in different moods.

I read a poem by a friend, where a lover is looking at his beloved from a distance. There was a tiff between the two and after the usual lover’s tiff, the couple is being pulled back to each other. The lover is worried to see the tears in the eyes of his beloved. When they meet and hug, he tries to help her and lovingly tells her, “Don’t you worry my beloved, now that I am here. No tears please!” The beloved smiles and still has copious tears in her eyes. She says,” Darling, these were never tears of sorrow, but were tears of joy! When you were away from me, I always saw your face in front of my eyes and I could not stop my tears of joy!” The same tears were seen by two sides in diametrically opposite way.

Why does this happen? Is it due to negativity? Is it due to something else? It is  because the mind is difficult to predict.  I don’t know.  In the lover’s tiff  above, both expressed their thoughts with equal love but in opposite words. Our life is similar, made up of bright days and dark nights! Some periods in life are bright and some are dark; our mood changes to match this change in the life’s ways.  This is how the life changes form bright to dark phase and there is generally light at the end of tunnel to bring back the brightness! Bha. Ra. Tambe, (भा. रा. ताम्बे) has shown to us the effect of mood changes in his treatment to the setting Sun! The world around us is same all the time; our perception and mood make it dark or bright! So when the dark clouds come in the sky or in our life, look at the bright side. These clouds are going bring the rains! And then of course, the Sunshine! 

Diet! Don’t repair, if it ain’t broken!

Don’t fiddle around with your body if it is not needed!

Don’t repair, if it ain’t broken! This is a statement that needs to be uttered many times in our life! Internet and Google Baba have made it easy for people to understand the stuff and get information about almost anything. This also makes human race suddenly “smart and intelligent”! Selecting people for Nobel prizes is going to be tough in future as there are millions of people who seem be experts on almost all the subjects under the Sun!  

 

maharashtrian-full-meal

This thought came to my mind as I took part in a discussion on a WhatsApp group. Except me probably most knew a lot more on the subject of dieting! Majority had experience of 2 to 6 months on the subject. They said the diet A is a fantastic diet and works wonders. There were of course some hidden gems who did not take part in the discussion. I am not talking about any specific diet, its pros and cons! Its advantages and disadvantages! But above image which shows typical Maharashtrian square meal, if followed regularly, will ensure that no special dieting is required. We are a group of people around the age of 70. Some of us are thin and few others are plump, but only two are obese; some are fit and others are not so fit! I don’t know the actual figures but my assumption is that at least 50% from our group have some medical issue or the other, or maybe they have a history of some major health problem from the past. My judgment is that 10 to15% are lucky enough to have remained successfully free of major health issues.  

There are health experts or maybe the diet experts. Some are doctors and most are non-doctors. From what I read, majority of these are not from medical background. I had my basic question during the discussion. Who should diet? What is the age at which we should start this new regime? Under whose guidance should we start the diet? Suppose someone has diabetes issue, then should that person follow a diet which says that you must eat every 8 hours and the eating time should be not more than 55 minutes at a time? Suppose one is required to take diabetes medication three to four times a day, then it is an obvious no no! To me a majority from the group will be ineligible. Then why is it that people want to start something new, which can have effect on their health directly? Is it only for weight loss? Or is it for something else too? Is this something about novelty because people have too much time on hand? The people who have started this diet, to my knowledge, did not appear to have any weight issue.  My worry is that at our age, our body looks fit and may have dormant problems, waiting to happen hence we should be careful when start something new, and unproven method. It is claimed that a diet eliminates diabetes tablets. What is the issue if you are required to take a couple of tablets a day? Heavens are not going to fall on you!

As against this some people seriously need to do something about their weight, classic case was that of Anant Ambani. He lost 108 kgs in 18 months by natural process. https://www.indiatimes.com/health/buzz/here-s-the-secret-behind-anant-ambani-s-stunning-weight-loss-253270.html 

Of course, later on a well-known diet expert was declared to be his advisor, which was untrue. I am sure Anant must have followed a very strict regimen under medical guidance. His was a classic case where drastic things were needed under medical guidance.  

We need to understand something. Doctors are also people like you and me; they are also likely to make errors. Dieticians are not our regular doctors; how will they know about individual medical issues and about our body? I will give you an example of how tricky the situation is. I came to know about a person who had a medical issue, called vertigo. He is elder to me by about six years and lives abroad. When the vertigo attack comes, the person feels blank, dizzy, faint and gets vomiting bout for about ½ hour. Tablet prescribed to him can then be taken, once he stabilizes. I asked a question to known doctors in Pune, most said that he should stop driving, a couple of them said, no comments! But the treating doctors have told him to continue driving! (60 miles an hour?) If there is so much difference of opinion among the doctors on a serious health condition, should we start something new, as yet unproven, at the age of 70?  

To my understanding, at the age of around 70 our body has taken a lot of beating; under Indian conditions all this group is “driving on reserve tank”, using two-wheeler terminology. Average life expectancy in India is 65 years! Why not enjoy bonus life unless someone’s idea of enjoying life is going on a diet, as yet unproven! Try not to become a guinea pig, nobody is forcing you. During the discussion on WhatsApp group, a friend Sudhakar said, he feels pangs of hunger in the early morning phase. Then why? Why not enjoy your early morning chai, omelet, or fruit or whatever you eat. I am not aware if he has any specific health issue. I am sure that he is smart enough and won’t start something different if he has some health issues.  

I am aware of another diet being strongly followed in Pune. It is does not talk about timings for eating food, it says eat moderately every 2/3 hours. But the diet suggested by that expert is very much different than what we normally eat and drink! It starts with a smoothie made up of Pudina and different condiments. It suggests Jowar bread instead of Wheat bread and so on! Now at this stage of life, our eating habits are so much entrenched in us, that the followers of this diet, talk only about diet when they meet; they miss their “normal” food so much. Their socialization has come to zero. For eight hour wala diet, the socialization must have been  drastically cut down because if you are invited at different time, than your meal time,  for a drink and/or food, what do you do? Your hosts will not know that you have skipped the meal,  if there is a large crowd present for the party, but if you are invited in a small group/individually or during an office business meeting or during holiday travel how do you handle it!

There are other aspects also. Some of these people, charge you for treatment,  latest famous treatment is based on videos on internet. No consultation fee, no direct interaction with the expert- correct me if I am wrong! Another person, charges Rs.1.5/ lacs for a 5-day session in a Darjeeling resort. About others charge, I do not know. It’s about your need for a treatment, or about how much proven it is. Or maybe the expensive treatments give you bragging rights!

It reminds me of a famous fish treatment in Hyderabad; it is said that it cured asthma. What is done is that a family, who did this social work free, had a recipe for a potion! This potion they would stuff inside some small fish. This fish was supposed to be gulped (more pushed down your throat) and not chewed. I met a friend of mine after quite a few years. I was trying to fix up a time for dinner with him. But he said that he to go to Hyderabad for this treatment. He was quite gung ho and said that it was helping him to cure his asthma. I said, “How do you know it is helping you?” He said, “Oh! I go to Hyderabad every year for the treatment!” Every year? 

Something fishy!

From Sir with Love!

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

happy-friendship-day-quotes-for-facebook

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.

Retrospection!

Retrospect, take a breath and move forward!

One must always retrospect and analyze. This helps us to get good perspective and throws light on path we take in life, work, and thought process. This retrospection is  about my blogging and society in general! So here goes!

Vijay, my best critic after Jaya, told me yesterday that I am no more a blogger but a writer! For me, first and foremost is, I have tried to enjoy the love shared by all of you! Word Press gives me the statistics. When I started my journey in 2012, there were 21 visitors. In 2017 this number grew to 10500 views and in first seven months of 2018, it has reached 9500! Yes, my speed of publishing blogs has gone up but I feel that your love is increasing at a much faster pace. This puts more responsibility on me that I must continue to write the way all of you want it.

I keep on getting feedback through comments, through personal mails, on WhatsApp and by way of phone calls. Ganesh shared with me that one of my blogs was not up to the mark. I accept such comments with humility but my suggestion is please let me know where I can improve. Vijay said that sometimes there appears to be a bit of repetition. This happens when the subject is same but treatment is a little different. Like when I write on EV’s my blogs give incremental details, when I write about death and rituals additional thoughts come into picture. Like in the recent one I have suggested that we should respect the people who believe in following rituals though my views are opposite! This can sometimes cause repetition of points.

About my being a writer! Vijay, your yari puts me on a pedestal but blogger is some kind of a writer anyway. Blogs are personal views and they are conversational. I am somehow comfortable in this format. Cricket shaukin in me again makes me put some statistical data in front of you. My blogs are 1000 to 1200 words long. If we multiply by 258 blogs, I have churned out 2.6 lacs of words! Phew, I never realized that I have written so much! A friend of mine told me that there is always upside for everything. He said, “While you were writing, Jaya had peace of mind! You kept your mouth shut while writing!”

I have two bosses who help me in maintaining the quality of my writing! Shrikant Manel and Shashi Inamdar. There are of course faux pas from my side! Ever alert bosses inform me immediately and I quickly correct the errors. Errors are factual or language related. But these are simply not acceptable. Thanks, my bosses! I think now this is enough about yours truly!

Let’s move on to the retrospection of our society! In India, public places are, of course, public place. You can do whatever you feel like. The other day, I was waiting for someone at Tilak Smarak Mandir where there was a function to felicitate a renowned scientist. I was standing on the side for about half an hour, waiting to meet someone. I saw one troupe of Brass band. Every five minutes or so they would  start playing music really loudly.  The video below is for people who are not aware what a Brass Band is!

I tried to think why they were playing music at an interval. Then I realized that every time a dignitary arrived, the brass band would create a ruckus, called music. It was their way of welcoming the dignitary! After half an hour, I was almost hearing challenged! It looks like this is someone’s idea of welcome. I asked an official sitting in the office, an old man, about this. He said in surprised tone, “Oh, obviously this is to welcome our dignitaries!” (What an idiotic question, the smirk on his face told me the real meaning) With so much cacophony in our lives, do we need to add more? The program was organized by supposedly educated people.

A politician, builder cum land mafia boss abetted one of his business associates into committing suicide. Police filed a case against him but the boss simply “vanished”. How could police “find” him? Then he applied for anticipatory bail, from the lowest court and finally the Supreme court rejected his bail and asked him to surrender! While he went to surrender and was being taken to court, about 500 of his supporters assembled to  show moral support to him! I am not sure if there was a Brass Band to welcome him! Police have arrested him under the toughest possible Penal Code because of so many illegal things he has done. In our society, such people become celebrities, dignitaries and then maybe ministers! This has been happening in Bihar and UP for a long time. Should the society do something about it? Are we going to accept such people as our future leaders? Where do we go from here?

For last few weeks we see some groups of people trying to push the government for more benefits, under the garb of reservations! This is a political issue so I don’t want to make any political comment on this subject.  But there is one thing that no government can solve. Supreme court has given a decision that under no circumstance total number reserved seats for anything can exceed 50 %, and this number is already reached in all categories. But what about you and me, the common people? Are we not all the time being held at ransom?  One day milk supply is stopped, one day vegetable market is closed, another day wholesale market is closed. Do we not have right to live normal life? Some cities are forced to shut down and then the whole state is closed down. Who is government? It is you and me. It is made of people elected by you and me. Does it mean that democratic process is meaningless? Should these protests not be independent of party politics? Sometimes it looks like games played in view of forthcoming elections! Time has come for serious retrospection!

Another disturbing and dangerous trend is also seen during these protests. To push their agenda, some people have started committing suicides. We will never know why they took this drastic step. But the information that filtered says that they had financial difficulties in their lives. I can’t imagine that people become martyrs to overcome their personal difficulties. Age old question in case of suicides is what about others around you? What about your families? I am not a psychologist but I am not sure even the experts will be able to explain this phenomenon. In one incident, about 10 people tried to self immolate themselves but were somehow prevented from doing so! Such incidents bring in melancholy feeling.

Friends, all is not so bad with this world. This last one is pleasant and interesting story I read from Facebook. Two ladies from Pune-Mumbai area met on Facebook, a year and a half back. Their friendship bloomed. There is an age difference between them of about 15 years (this is my guess!). Within one year of their meeting, the older lady was detected with Cancer. Looks like it brought them even closer! They took a 15 day holiday in England together, recently. On the side they worked together and created their women’s clothing brand which is being kicked off soon! Wow, the speed with which friendship bloomed in tough times, the work done by them together in not an easy field, gives us an assurance that “All is well” in this world, like the song in the movie Three Idiots!