Turn into cotton!

Withdraw gracefully when time comes!


A noted Poet Kedarnath, Jnanpith Award winner, has written a Poem; I am sharing couple of lines from the poem.

Aaj ghar main ghusa toh ajeeb drishya tha,

Suniye, mere bistar ne kaha 

yeh raha mera isteefa (resignation), 

main apne kapaas ke bheetar jaana chahta hoon 

Roughly it translates to

“Today when I reached home, my bed offered its resignation, 

Telling me it wants to go back to its original self (turn into cotton) or maybe go back to roots!” 

Beautiful lines. The poet has elegantly explained the philosophy of life. I feel that  our life and persona is made up of certain character when we are born; some of it we acquire later during our life’s journey. I am trying to interpret these beautiful lines. During our life, we achieve various things, we travel to different destinations, many people even look very different when they age. But I feel that from within we don’t change much. We all want to turn back into cotton when we reach golden phase in our life! It is wanting to go back to roots. It is trying to get away from your station in life, gracefully!

In today’s times when people migrate from their countries of origin, in large numbers, this feeling of back to roots must be pretty acute. At the beginning of life all humans are almost same, as babies; it is their growth that brings changes in them depending on their intelligence, environment and other life defining factors. Sometimes being at the right place at the right is also an important factor.  As you grow in life, it may be as professionals, businessmen, doctors, officers, politicians. But inside we must try to remain the “cotton” mentioned in the poem. If this does not happen then mental clashes start, agonies start, when one’s time arrives, to end the innings. The mind does not accept that you are no more a mattress, which is a system, and you are not an important parameter of that system. You were good at some stage hence you became  the mattress. Now you may have crossed your shelf life, your expertise may have become irrelevant, there may be better people available or the requirements of the whole system has changed. Or it maybe the your health may not permit! With that change, expectations about you may have changed. Good idea, will be to turn into cotton!

I will share how a friend handled a similar situation in life. He established his engineering business over a period of 25/30 years and was doing pretty alright. In the meanwhile, his son joined him in business. The son was also well qualified and trained to take over the business and was already 45 years old. My friend slowly started giving reins of the business to his son. But over a period, he realized that many of his employees would come and discuss decisions taken by his son, with him. They were trying to get them ratified. This sometimes led to minor tweaking of decisions. Though there were no major disagreements between the son and the father, sometimes displeasure was visible on the son’s face. My friend had a dilemma about handling this situation. One fine day he called his son and told him, “Look Son! From this month end, I will stop coming to factory as I want to retire”. For next six months my friend did not go to factory, even once. After that he started going back to factory; his old cabin was retained. But he found that hardly anyone would come to him to ask work related suggestions or opinions. How this was achieved; my friend decided to turn into cotton. He understood the meaning of this phrase “Turn into cotton”! Now he goes to office every day, gossips in the right sense. Just tries to understand what is happening but never gives any opinion. He achieved what he wanted to do using foresight, by turning into cotton!

Friends turning into cotton does not mean that you don’t do anything after you are not needed. Like Sachin Tendulkar is trying to bring in sports, as a subject in academics. He rarely gives any specific suggestion about cricket. He tries to use his stature to imbibe  overall sporting atmosphere in schools, in different forums. In ancient mythology they discussed about Vanprasthashrama. I am not talking of that; but one can gracefully withdraw at the right time. Health permitting you can contribute in different ways.

I hear about some of our friends, who have lived for 45 to 50 years out of India, trying to come back to roots, trying to contribute in some ways. Some take time; a classmate of mine has come to India only once in last 45 years. Maybe he is an exception but they all do come back! You never remain mattress all your life! It is a simple philosophy but difficult one to digest! All good things have to end at some stage!

Post script:

I found the couplet from Kedarnathji  in a news item; Kedarnath Sing died of old age, only three days back on March 19th 2018! May his soul rest in peace! I know this is just a coincidence but now I am trying to get his book of poems to understand his simple but beautiful thought process. Incidentally, this couplet was mentioned by Film Actor Raj Babbar in a tweet he sent, on being asked to resign as chief of Congress party in Uttar Pradesh. Since it was mentioned in a tweet, it was difficult to understand if it was written in humility or sarcastically!

Mirror, Mirror on the wall!

Body and mind both should be equally beautiful and healthy; so be careful when you achieve it for the body!


There is a common saying that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” which means beauty doesn’t exist on its own but is created by observers. This famous quote can help you remember that a beholder is someone who sees or otherwise experiences things, becoming aware of them.

Even at my age, if someone says “Pramod, you don’t look your age and  look smart”, I feel nice from within! It is a natural human tendency and expectation to be a looker. Of course, everyone’s definition of looking good is different and humans try their best to achieve it by means like make up, exercise and some try to follow crash diets. Some of the common factors of defining beauty are height (more the better), Colour (fairer the better), Long Hair (not so sure these days what is better!), white teeth and so on. But most important aspect that I observe these days, has become a person’s weight in proportion with the height. Too fat a person or too thin a person is looked down! This is the point that came to my mind today, when I read a news item in today’s newspaper.

A 33 year old woman, got herself treated for obesity. She was treated by a doctor in an institute. During this period, she was regularly given enema, which she was told to continue even after going back  home. The process was called naturopathy! She was on a diet of jaggery and lime water for two months! During this period, she was also given a potion and her last 35 days were only water! End result, now she cannot walk, talk or even sit properly. The naturopathy doctor when asked, said that the patients who don’t follow treatment properly at home, can have issues and brain damage is possible! No lime water, water or secret potion containers mentioned these side effects about brain damage! The woman is now afflicted with brain damage. Irreversible? Only time can tell.

Is each person’s body same? Is each persons metabolism rate same? Are their values like blood-sugar, hemoglobin, BP same? Are their weights same? Then how the same treatment can be given to different people. When someone questioned if the potion was poisonous, the doctor said potion consists of lemon grass and water. So, what was so secretive about the potion? Why was the family not told about the contents of the potion?  She was already being given lime water, lemon grass tea could have been given separately. But one can charge any price when you call it a secret potion. Are people so desperate, that they do not understand that surviving on lime water and such things for two months is almost impossible. Is becoming a person with normal weight that important? If your weight is causing serious health issues, then it is essential to control it drastically, under “proper” medical guidance. Unknown remedies should be not be attempted.

These days, I see a trend where there are diet experts by dozens, guiding people to become slim, trim and beautiful. But are they real experts, some are great at marketing, and most of them are not doctors. Do they really understand the meaning of the treatment they are suggesting? I know about a person who was ill with kidney related issues. He was told that he should weigh certain food items he was expected to take every day, to maintain the salt levels. He initially did not understand the meaning of this. He deviated slightly but the deviation resulted in body water being retained and in seven days his weight grew by a kilo each day. He then went to the hospital where the doctors explained to him the issue. They corrected things and sent him home. He over corrected what he was doing. End result was he started losing weight by a kg a day! He again went to the hospital and doctors again, corrected things. They explained to him the importance of salt levels which needed exact weighing of certain food intake. Finally, he managed to eat and drink exactly as suggested by the doctors. He overcame his health issue, finally. Ok, this is an extreme case but this is just to show you what can go wrong when you do not follow instructions given by experts; as against this we follow instructions of non experts, to the last T, many times.

There is another theory circulating. To have glowing skin, and in general to have smart skin, and to remain healthy one must drink at least three liters (or some such figure) of water, every day. This theory is told by some people very emphatically. It again boils down to the same thing. Our body is designed to handle body requirements correctly. In summer, we drink more water and in winter less. Due to certain body conditions, we feel thirstier, even in winter e.g. diabetes. So where did the figure of 3 liter come from? How can it be same for everybody? A friend of mine who has recently gone through a heart event, has been told by the doctor to ensure that he does not drink more than one liter of water every day. Should everyone go by 3-liter theory?

To remain healthy there are methods that need to be followed; these are complimentary procedures to looking beautiful, looking smart, good and healthy. But being good and healthy in mind and as a person is equally important if not more! A person who is always smiling looks most appealing! For a lady with a beautiful smile, she need not bother to wear her jewelry, her smile is her best ornament! A little plump woman with a beautiful small is lovely! A person’s good deeds and mind  are that persons best friends along with that persons healthy body.

So whatever physical methods one follows, should be under medical advice. If not, the results sometimes can be devastating as in case of the lady mentioned above. Doing exercise and following healthy life style is no doubt very important. But sometimes, people overdo it, do it incorrectly, do it very rigidly. Life is beautiful, don’t get stressed out in pursuit of becoming beautiful. Because crash diet courses are done for ¾ months. Once they are over, many people binge on food and come back to their normal self, physically! And the vicious circle continues.

So, don’t worry too much! People are going to judge you by your overall demeanor and not if you are fat or thin! So be a good person and feel happy about it. There is no crash course for being a happy person! So, there is no reversal of how you are!

Friends, now you decide which category you are in, the saying at the beginning or the saying below!


Voodoo Death!

Don’t break too many rules with impunity!

Last week an event took place in Pune in a major hospital. A 25-year-old was being treated in the ICU. She was shifted from a small private hospital where she had undergone a surgery, and things started getting out of control! The doctor who did the surgery but realized the limitations of his own and the hospital. Unfortunately, things had veered so much out of control that the lady could not survive and died. This news item came in a leading newspaper and then it became viral. Initial information was, “So and so hospital tries to cure by performing rituals by a God man!” The lady had died of multiple organ failure!

There are many issues. First is that this ritual was performed in an ICU of the major hospital. Secondly the ritual was performed by a “God man” in the presence of the doctor who had treated the patient before shifting her to the big hospital. A video was allowed to be taken inside ICU where hospital nursing staff was partially seen in the video! Initial newspaper report gave importance to the name of the hospital and it appeared as if the large hospital allowed the ritual to be performed in ICU.

So many things have gone wrong in this event that it becomes difficult whom to blame. First and foremost is the ritual! How can a trained doctor allow this, that too in someone else’s hospital? He just took a decision to do it. Second is the psychology! Probably the patient’s health had reached the point of no return. So, the act was performed in desperation! Unfortunate part is that the patients 20-year-old brother was the only relative present and doctor apparently asked him if it was ok to perform the ritual. The immature person allowed this but he himself took the video of the event! How can you allow videography in a hospital room where the patient is on the death bed? The godman performed the ritual with impunity as if it is a daily event for him. It is desperation which leads to such rituals being performed as a last resort. It is a tricky thing to pass judgment on these things.

One event and see how many wrong things have been done! Is it the problem with our society? Is it in our DNA? When I point out something which is not good in our society, some of my friends get disturbed. But I feel that once in a while we should look into mirror and be reflective. The sequence starts with God man’s ritual. It is well proven that these rituals have no effect on events in our life. Still we keep on doing the same. It is illegal to perform such rituals but we don’t care.

Who should be going in an ICU? Why a patient is kept in ICU? Intensive Care Unit is an area in any hospital where critical patients are looked after. It is equipped to handle all type of emergencies that may crop up during the treatment. To me it is an area where “nobody” should be allowed to go in except may be a person who is doing the work of an attendant. But what happens in real life? We crowd the area, we go and meet the patient even though we may be carrying some infection like cough and cold. If an unexpected person goes to see a patient in ICU, excitement may get generated. In a patient who is critically ill, excitement is not good and it can affect the patient’s health. On top of this a video was taken inside ICU! Are you trying to capture last moments of a dying patient?

Allowing this event to happen was definitely hospitals failure. There are systems and processes about who is to be allowed inside ICU area? How could there be three outsiders in that room? Of course, part of the blame is with us too! We must meet the patient, irrespective of the health condition. We will do anything and everything to get the entry. What about the Doctor who was present? This doctor’s hospital had handled the main surgery, so he was very much aware of what had gone wrong! For what he did, does he not deserve disciplinary action from the authorities? Why his license should not be revoked? Will he go scot free and keep on doing what he has done?  Newspapers also have equal responsibility in this blunder. Their first reporting indicated as if the large hospital performed this ritual. It was someone else who came and managed to perform it without the knowledge of the authority. From next day reporting changed but it is a public relations nightmare created by press due to incorrect reporting! This is totally unacceptable.

When will our society come out of this backward-looking thought processes? People may justify and say that it was the last desperate attempt to bring the patient out of difficult health condition; for some it is like going to a psychiatrist! But to me, in all this affair the doctor is the main culprit, as far as I am concerned. I will tell you an event that happened in Mumbai.

In a government hospital in Mumbai, a lady was being advised by a doctor during her pregnancy. This doctor also had her own private hospital. She convinced the patient to have delivery in her private hospital. The lady died during the delivery, as complications came up and her hospital was not equipped to handle complications. The hospital was situated in a hilly terrain and approach roads were in poor condition. So, shifting the lady during complications was next to impossible. The family of the patient took the doctor to court. The doctor argued that the lady was a tricky patient; she weighed 120 kgs. So, chances of complications were very high; death of that lady was not surprising to the doctor. The judge asked the doctor one simple question. When you knew that the case was complicated, why did you ask the patient to come to your private hospital, which was not equipped to handle emergencies. Doctor had no answer. She was jailed!

Friends, let us not do things that are not correct. Let us not look at everything for personal benefit. Let us make a better society, come out of retrograde thought process. Let us keep the traditions but apply scientific thought when we follow them. Meeting sick person is ok but meeting very sick person who is in ICU is not Ok! Let all professionals take modern scientific view of the situations rather than looking through old thinking and continue with old unproven non-scientific ways. All these actions will make a better society. It’s not only about the death of the lady but Voodoo death of the whole system!

Me Too!

When will the society learn to give women their due?

The “Me Too” movement (or “#MeToo“, with local alternatives in other languages) spread virally in October 2017 as a hashtag used on social media to help demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace. It followed soon after the public revelations of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein. From the time of Adam, women have had to face many difficulties in simple process of living! What was their fault? Their body, hence their psyche put them under tremendous pressure. As the girl child crossed the puberty, the life became even more miserable. Girl child was made aware of their breasts which grew with age. I feel that the only reason to make them more miserable was, the so called weak sex could be raped and were always afraid of getting pregnant after rape. OK, things are not so bad today but they have also not improved much. What used to be done openly a few centuries back, is now being done discretely. Mind you, even today 3 or 4-year-old babies fall prey to such horrendous acts. 

We hear many things about women’s liberation, their going forward in life, their becoming top bosses, Prime Ministers, Presidents, Pilots and so on. But this number is miniscule. I am sure all these top end ladies also had to undergo shameful acts of certain males, to some extent, till they reached a certain level in their careers. What is it that leads to such situations? From childhood, the girl child is always disciplined to be docile, there are restrictions put on them; a non-conforming girl child is called Tom Boy! Behaviour patterns of boys and girls are predefined, boys can do what they want but girl will be told to behave when she performs similar mischief. It starts with their clothing. When a girl child enters a certain age, she is always instructed about her modesty; she is expected to sit in such a way that her underclothing will not be revealed. Ultimately, everything boils down to girl’s or woman’s sex! 

Look at the way women are stereotyped. A man goes to a lawyer’s office and is told by her colleague, that the concerned lawyer will come in ten minutes. After ten minutes, a lady enters the office. Our man tells the lady, ” Honey, could you get me some coffee?” She says, “Sure, I will get it from the machine.” She comes back and gives him the coffee. She tells him, “That’s 52 dollars”. The man is surprised and says, ” How so?” She says, “2 dollars for the coffee and 50 dollars is my fee. I the lawyer”. Forget the funny part but people just assume that lady in the office must be a receptionist!  

Whatever people may say, women have to bear pressures in their day to day lives. When there is some funny situation in a movie or somebody cracks a joke, men will laugh loudly and while doing so throw their head back; but women almost will never do that! What they will do is put a hand in front of their mouth, put their head down and smile! Why? They are trained to do so from beginning of their lives, they are trained to be docile. They cannot even laugh whole heartedly! That is because they are trained to please others from childhood! Women it seems, always think negatively about themselves! Talk of money matters in family and they will say it is my father’s job or my husband’s job! The ladies are always described as sacrificing, suffering, not achieving their dreams! They will never talk of leadership quality! In today’s world, you will observe some women are “like men” in many individual straits, work wise, but they have had to work really hard to achieve this. I have known of examples of a lady professional, in higher echelons technology industry. She has rarely met ladies at senior levels during her globe-trotting. This is true in USA, Europe and developed Asian countries.  

Women were considered second citizens and started getting voting rights in the beginning of last century. A modern country like Switzerland gave them voting rights in 60’s. In Middle Eastern countries, they started getting their voting rights in 90’s. As recently as 2017, women were not allowed to drive cars in Saudi Arabia! In general the treatment given to women has been terrible and shoddy all these years and continues even today!

How is “Me Too” progressing world over? Except USA, there hardly appears to be any progress in other countries including India, that too in professional arena. We in India,  have large number of lady professionals in various fields. This encompasses all professions from Films to Rockets, Pilots to Technology, Banking to Armed forces! Not a single organized “Me Too” activity is seen or heard anywhere. Do we mean to say that they never faced any problems? What about the “Casting Couch”  that we hear about! Do we mean to say that Indian men are next to God and have treated the ladies around them with great respect? I hope we remember Nirbhaya! It was an extreme case of brutality but thought process was the same; women are objects of desire! I read a statistic somewhere that more than 70 % of rapes are by relatives or people in close contact with the family! This indicates the raw thought process in our society! God knows how many such rapes are not even reported!  

Why does this happen? What is the solution? What is the way forward? There is some progress in organized sector which have formal committees to handle harassments discretely. But what about homes! We have culture in many states in India where women are just live, they have no rights, they have no say in anything, they will be forced to do what they are told. I read in a Pune newspaper yesterday. A girl overcame family poverty and resistance to study. She stood first in the state competitive exam called MTS. She wants to become an IAS or IFS officer. What did her father  tell the reporters? No more education for her; education spoils them and they behave indecently. She should now take up the profession of a seamstress like her mother is doing all her life!  

How can this change? We talk of thousands of years of old culture in India but in the year 2018 we want to apply those same laws and thought processes of the olden days when we were all primitives! (In thoughts, majority are still primitive even today) Winners used to  take all women, the weak sex! It may not happen so openly today, but behind office cultures, in universities it keeps on  happening. Unless a big turmoil takes place in thought process by women in India, unless ladies openly start our own “Me too” which may be called “मैं भी” movement, situation will continue to be in the same way. It is for liberal thinking families to encourage their girl child to act in such a way that they should feel equal to the male child, still retaining all the beautiful female traits!  Let us not forget that this beautiful world is made up of both men and women. Girls and boys! Let us all create harmony between them in such a way that we live a much better but “real modern” world, where thinking is modern and not only the dress sense!  

Cancer Survivors!

Corruption is not Cancer but Cancer is corruption of body!

Eminent cancer specialist and Padma Vibhushan awardee, Dr V Shanta has admonished the managing director of Punjab National Bank for misusing the word “cancer” in the context of the recent banking scam. In a letter to PNB managing director and chief executive officer Sunil Mehta, Dr Shanta shared her “outrage” at the scam being equated with cancer. “Corruption is a crime and something to be ashamed of; cancer is not,” wrote the Magsaysay award-winner, a pioneer in the field of cancer care.

Someone will say that is it not a matter of semantics? How does it matter if corruption is called cancer?  The meaning of cancer is “a disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body”. With advent of technology and improvements in treatments for cancer,  humanity is fighting its war against cancer; now people discuss cancer openly. Others need to be very sensitive to what they say and how they say it.  

Probably in olden days, only cure for cancer was to remove the cancerous growth by surgery and hope for the best. Now, cancer gets detected much earlier than what it used to be. With better medicines and improved treatments available, prognosis can be much better than what it used to be. Cancer was a dreaded “C” word and was treated as a dangerous disease. Hence those who overcame cancer have been called “Cancer Survivor”. Anyone who overcomes a tough situation is a survivor, so why not heart attack survivor, why not stroke survivor? Maybe because in case of cancer, the cure rate 25/30 years back was very low. Hence someone who did not die of cancer was called “Cancer survivor”.  Friends cancer is still a difficult disease to manage but the society is slowly changing its mind set and facing it upfront!

This has changed for better during last 10/15 years, cancer detection has improved than before because of the awareness and imaging technology progress. I strongly feel that term “Cancer Survivor” needs to change. The term feels like a stigma; it is as if that person did something wrong and survived. I went through cancer treatment in 2013 end, 2014 beginning. When asked about the same, I don’t call myself “Cancer Survivor”. I tell people that I was treated for vocal cord cancer! This is a positive way of explaining things. People undergo bypass surgeries, people undergo brain surgeries. People have gone through bone marrow replacements. You don’t call them survivors! Whenever such “operations/procedures” are done, you start on a positive note by saying that the patient has undergone so and so operation; you don’t call the patient a survivor. The term “Survivor” smells of a defeatist thinking. 

Dr. Shanta has rightly communicated to PNB Managing director that what happened in the bank was corruption and/or a criminal act. Having cancer and going through its treatment is abnormal body process which some of us have to unfortunately undergo. There is a vast difference in these two events. The use of the word cancer is not right with reference to the fraud, because what happened in bank is crime and having cancer is not a crime, it is nothing to be shameful about. For that matter having any disease is not a shameful matter. Consider the case of AIDS! In initial phase of Aids occurrence, there was stigma attached to the person having Aids because of lack of knowledge. One can get aids because sexual relations with people who have this disease or maybe due to complex sexual behavior. One can also get it during blood transfusion, a mother can give this disease to her child during birth. Arthur Ashe, the tennis legend caught it during blood transfusion. All these acts are not criminal acts, there is nothing to be ashamed of having Aids!  

Human race should be proud of people who go through cancer treatment, tackle it in a very positive manner. I have friends who are being treated for cancer for ten to 20 years. They are setting an example that tough things in life can be handled, one can fight back. Yes, there will be some of these valiant people who may not make it. But these people’s cancer can never be compared with bank scams, corruption and all such ills in the society. It is insulting to compare disease fighters, maybe unknowingly, with corrupt practices prevalent in the society.  

This type of thought process will bring people out of closets, they will discuss things openly. Some of them can become torch bearers of a movement to guide people to handle so called “hidden” diseases in open. Their experience can create positivity and maybe people will start taking things in stride. We handle many aspects of life in a similar way; someone has financial set back, take it in stride fight it back. Some persons can have issues in love life, they overcome it and move on! Life is always full of pluses and minuses, supporting people to handle tough calls better will help them to take things on the chin and will help them to move on!  

So, friends, call your cancer, heart disease, stroke “corruption” within your body, about which we need not be ashamed of, it is not amoral, it is not illegal. This “corruption” in the body needs to be weeded out. In our gardens we do weed out the plants which affect the growth of plants and shrubs that we want to keep. Is it not a similar thought process? Change thinking, help each other. Remove corruption from your body and society; we don’t need to remove cancer!  Dr, Shanta ji, thank you very much for showing us the right direction. 


Sridevi Meri Chandani!

Sridevi, a natural, who just clicked on when she came in front of a Camera!

24th Feb 2018 was a shocking date for all us film lovers when Hawa Hawaein lady Sridevi passed! It looks like HE likes all beautiful people and decides to take them away early. Sridevi was just 54, very young by today’s standards when she died. She had just started her second innings. Madhubala died at the age of 39 and Marilyn Monroe at the age of 36! In case of Madhubala at least her health issue was known to the close ones, Marilyn was veering towards her death but in case of Sridevi there were no known issues; her sudden passing was all the more shocking to everybody!

She started acting in the film industry at the tender age of 4; so, she was in the industry for 50 years! That is a very long time to be in any field and I am sure that she must have been doing her work on auto pilot! She was a beauty, she was a fantastic dancer in classical mold and a terrific actor. People always talk of her dancing prowess but I feel that her acting prowess was even better! The classic example of this, is the film Sadma. In this movie, she is a modern young lady who loses her memory due to retrograde amnesia, following an accident. Her mental age becomes 6 or 7. She goes through a horrible phase in her life as she is pushed into prostitution. Kamal Hassan meets her in a brothel and realizes that she has been cheated to go into prostitution. He takes her away and nurtures her back to life; a doctor finally is able to cure her and she becomes original modern girl. After this change she simply does not remember Hassan, as her amnesia is cured! Life goes on! Her acting in this movie is seen to be believed. Behaving like a 6/7-year-old girl is not easy when you are a normal person! She was nominated for film fare best actress award. She won a lot of critical acclaim for her role! This gem of a song, from the movie Sadma, “Ae Zindagi” is to me the best song picturized on her, ever! Suresh Wadkar, the singer, is also at his best in the song! Did she enjoy her childhood in this song, as she may have missed the real one?

Public life has it pluses while going is good, but when things turn up differently it is really nasty, what with our TV shows, newspapers, WhatsApp and FB! People in general and reporters and commentators in particular forget that the celebrity is normal human being like you and me. They have their family, husband or wife, children like all human beings have. When stupid and nasty things are mentioned, poor jokes are circulated, they forget that they are troubling a family and a group of friends; it was a heart wrenching experience to see this tamasha. When celebrities are alive they can ignore, smile and sometimes rebut! But when Sridevi died it was pointless to discuss everything threadbare. There was that unfortunate change in the reason for death, found in autopsy. This took the rumour mongering to crescendo! Naturally, I do not want to go into details but I have the usual questions why, why and why? Why get into this mode? Why discuss threadbare unnecessary details? Why not let the family be, in their sorrow? Everybody simply forgot that someone had died.

Sreedevi Boney Kapoor Ayyapan was born in a Tamil orthodox family. She started working at the age of 4! When you start working at that age, I am sure that you never have a normal childhood; again, I am not going into details. According to Ram Gopal Varma, she became penniless when her father, who looked after her finances, died because he trusted wrong people with money. Later her mother made wrong investments and she became penniless the second time. When her mother died, Sridevi’s own sister cheated and looted her money! She finally got her solace in Boney Kapoor! I am sure that also must have been a tough call for her because she became his second wife. How much can a person take in a life time, I really don’t know. Even he her death, there was no peace but a great turmoil for her family!

We only look at the glamorous side amongst lovely people, beautiful dresses, going to exotic locations, traveling all over the world. According to Ram Gopal Varma she had a fantastic ability to switchover, once she was in front of the camera. Probably films was the only thing that gave her peace!  She turned into a different persona! Her eyes would sparkle and feet would start dancing to rhythm and what rhythm she had, what expressions she had, what flexibility she had! She had a tough time when she moved from South to Hindi movies because at that time she was not at all proficient in both Hindi and English. It was not rose petals all the way in Mumbai but she came up with sheer talent, hard work and brilliance of her performances! She became the first lady super star of Hindi movies.

Who would want to die at prime and a young age of 54! At this stage now people start new companies, new projects! Sridevi had started he second innings with a fantastic performance in a movie called English Winglish! She looked so natural all through the movie, it felt as if the role was written specifically, for her! She had kept herself perfectly fit in real life by way of exercise and diet. There are murmurs going around that she had gone through many surgeries; this beautification is probably need of the profession, and people do like to look beautiful and young all the time. People dye their hair suitably, they follow various anti-aging regimens which include procedures and surgeries, some of them can be risky. But Sridevi’s death was not because of this; she somehow fainted and died!

There is a turmoil going on in my mind, after I read about her cremation; but I will be a little selfish and say that my last memories of her will always be beautiful, bubbly Chandani! How can Madhubala and Monroe and  Sridevi be 80! Who knows she could look beautiful even at 80 but I will surely not be around! In our younger age we had Waheeda Rahaman, Sharmila Tagore who have kept themselves very graceful at their current ages 80 and 71 respectively. But not all manage this!

So what is my favourite memory of Sridevi? There are so many dances, performances, expressions, it is impossible to choose! I will give her 9 on 10 for everything or maybe 9.5 but I will give HIM 10 on 10 for his decision to take her away! What a selfish decision. He made a surprise move to have her back with Him! Perfect 10 on 10, bhagwan! Tusi great ho! Teri Lila agadh hai!

With moist eyes, and heavy heart! Alvida Sridevi!

Friends, those devils!

Try and fall into the potion of friendship and have greatest joys of life .


Vijay keeps on sending interesting stuff to me for viewing, observing, commenting and he also hopes that I will also curse him, once in a while. Today he sent me a poem about friends. The poem is nostalgic ride through our lives! What are friends? To me they are god’s gift to the mankind! How do you make friends? How do you become friends? The process of making friends starts in one’s childhood. The other day I went to drop my granddaughter Rhea for gymnastics. She is four and half years of age. She has joined gymnastics about ¾ months back. As soon as I entered the arena, I heard a couple of shrieks, couple of shouts and shrieking and jumping from Rhea! She saw some of her friends whom she meets five days a week. The reaction made me so happy, that I wished I were her age. This is what one feels when we meet friends. The unnecessary limitations created by age, and society norms come in the way of expressing our real feelings. The photo above is one showing me with my friends Ranga and Pravin! We managed to reach Rhea’s age, hopefully!

Good old friends are as rare as the treasure lying on the ocean shores! Friends are those gems which come out of our life’s churning! Those who are lucky will have many friends, long term friends, very close friends and friends who have hardly changed due to life’s passage. There can be outwardly changes in how they look, how they drink but basic core of such person does not change with time!

How does one define a friend? Friend is that person, with whom we are very comfortable. That person is one with whom we will share mundane details like how you enjoyed peanuts the other day, which reminded you of school times. The person, who will know looking at you, that you are having some churning in mind! You are all alone at home, you have some minor or not so minor health issue; the person calls or you call the person and say there is something important that needs to be discussed. The calendar for next hour is immediately cleared and the next sentence is “Tell me!” Another friend, had some major issue in his life and that suddenly. He called his close friend and told him, ” You both cancel all your stuff for today and come over!” They were both professionals but within next 30 minutes they reached their friends home.

The friend is a good listener and has sympathetic body language! With friends you will always feel that there will be only suggestions, no admonishment, no judgment! The person will give you opinion and suggestion only when you ask him. Many a times we need only a sounding board, a friend who absorbs everything and keeps the small secrets you shared, hidden deep in his mind! You can discuss your business issues, office issues and family issues! But I always hope that everybody’s spouse is their ” The Best” friend! In absence of such relationship, sometimes your best friends may find it difficult to absorb and may ask you. ” Did you discuss this with your spouse?” You can tell your best friend that you are simply bored with life and don’t know what to do! In most cases, letting your steam off solves half the problems. Your friend may not be the smartest guy in the world but is concerned about you, and is worried about you. The person always has your best interests in mind.

Does your friend like you? Is he willing to give you sufficient time and energy? Do you feel invigorated in presence of that person? Do you feel relaxed in the persons presence without having tea or alcohol? For me just presence of some persons gives such a feeling. Do they exude any special energy? Do you feel comfortable in their presence, when they shake your hand, do you feel the warmth, when they hug you do you get the feeling, ” Finally we have met”! Is there freedom in your relationship of expressing displeasure, openly?

You and your friend may have some different thoughts on certain subjects; but in case of such issues, the friend will not tell you mend your ways, as he respects your views. You are accepted as you are. At the same time if you are doing something illegal or unethical the person will go out of the way to meet you from busy schedule to warn you about such things! Friend the great listener, will listen to your details till you have completed what you want to say. Only after that the person will start probing you about your issues. The person will give pointers only at the right juncture! The most important aspect during this discussion will be that there will no prejudice!

Coming back to expression of joy by the kids like Rhea, when they meet their friends every day. Why do we not act like kids? In fact, it is not only about friends, in every aspect of life we should try and ape the children. Especially if you are in my age group near 70, we can do whatever we want, people expect you to be senile! But by remaining serious minded, by trying to follow social norms in everything we do, we are killing the child within us. The usual cliché is so right, “do your work seriously, don’t take yourself seriously”!

I see many positives these days when we friends meet. We fight like kids, we argue like kids, we complain like kids (to WhatsApp admin), we exit the WA group in a huff! These are all signs that many of our friends have remained young in mind. Probably our pool of “close friends” may not increase but there is a larger pool of friends who are available as a sounding board. We reach this stage because we have gone through tough phases in life, major illnesses in life. I have met some friends after a long time, I became friends with some of them late in life. But the hitting the right chords is important, like it is important for perfect performance of musical instruments!

Like everybody, I also have some very close friends. Jaya of course is my best friend! I do not want to write the names of these friends as these are such fine people that they will get embarrassed, later when we meet, they will thrash me too! I am lucky to have such a large pool of friends; what do I expect from them? Nothing! I only hope that they will remain in my life all the time.

Alcohol taken moderately has a great effect on humans; you feel light in mind, you get a light-hearted feeling and you feel that everything is right with this world. But this is not essential. Friendship is such a potion. It is like Obelix from Asterix comics who had fallen into container of the magic potion, giving him unlimited strength. Try and fall into the potion of friendship and have greatest joys of life .