Blogging is a big deal! Nah…

Don’t forget we all have a lot of stories and anecdotes to share, it’s a matter of pulling them out at the right time!

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Today on my engineering college WhatsApp group, a close friend Vijay, shared a blog about his journey to Sri Lanka! Vijay is an accomplished photographer; I am hoping to get his guidance in photography, at some stage. There was a discussion on the group about what a blog is! Of course, friends pulled my leg too, which is the norm among our group, when discussion veers towards blogging!

A blog is defined as a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style. I started blogging way back in 2011 with a few blogs in the first year, 2nd and 3rd years were also not very productive. In those days there was huge audience of three people, all from family and hence captive! Jaya, my son Sachin and my daughter Priya. They were all told to appreciate my blogs! In mid 2014, after my illness in the first part of the year, I suddenly became more productive and since last year I write 10 to 15 blogs in a month!

Why did I start blogging? Honestly, I do not know but probably it might have something to do with my being comfortable using computers. I bought my first PC in the year 1989, at home! During my school and college days, I was never a part of elocution competitions, singing, art or magazine stuff. I was busy in sports! Only thing I used do was a bit of logistics, behind the drama stage. I have never been a good photographer nor a painter, basically I am not an art and literature person! One thing I used to like since those days was chatting with friends, lot of gupshup, more of time pass which we enjoyed during engineering college hostel days. I used to be in a gang which would celebrate end of term with a bit of drinking alcohol; I and another friend (both non-drinkers) would be policemen to handle them when gang went our dinner after drinks! Maybe, I was a sponge all these years absorbing experiences, stories and anecdotes during the journey. Maybe this is helping me in blogging. Another thing I picked up on the way during professional years was creating good documents and writing mails which perfectly depicted my thoughts.

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/random-thoughts/

This is my first blog written on 7th February 2011. When I went through it, I could see the rawness in me. There were three major spelling errors which I have corrected. (I am ashamed!) But other than that, I have not done any changes. Now I see that I had not even done formatting! It was really written randomly as per the title of the blog. Why I am writing this is because I feel that many of my friends are more talented than me and can be more productive and enrich their own and others lives by blogging. Sudhakar is a painter and writer par excellence, Vijay is a fantastic photographer, Pravin is a good singer, Shriniwas and Shashi have great flair for solving complex puzzles along with Shrikant and Sudhakar. I am sure many others have talents which are not known to others. There are some social workers in the group doing a great job, there are story writers like Kishor! Hey come on guys write something about your expertise, how you achieve end results, how you prepare and all such things. Write about your experiences.

Slowly I meandered towards blogs about human behaviour and relationships. This is my favourite topic for blogging. Sometimes I write about technical things but I make sure that it is not a technical document; my blogs are also read by non -technical people.

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/dance-of-civilization/

This is my most favorite blog written on 19th January 2016. For me this was a path breaking blog which was ready in my mind the moment I thought what I should write. This happens to me in some blogs and my blog is ready in an hour and half! For some reason there is clarity of thoughts, the beginning and end is also ready. You must have observed that in my blogs there are always some anecdotes but, in this blog, it is full of small stories in the form of observations. About 30% of my blogs are written this way. Appropriate thoughts and the stories that I have absorbed over a period, somehow are accessed instantly from my hard disc in the mind.

Later, I have written blogs based on personalities, some based on poems or songs, some are based on real life events. Some were just based on a sentence I had read somewhere! It appears that over a period I improved my skills into expanding my thoughts from something small into a blog.

My favourite blog on personalities is of course the one on Shashi Kapoor when he passed away! He was in commercial films but never looked comfortable. He had the looks, charisma and family background with him!  But he was more humane than many other stars!

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2017/12/07/shashi-kapoor-the-british-punjabi/

Most favourite or all time favourite blog that my friends have liked is

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/paranormal-behavior-or-angat-yene-or-devi-ana/

It is miles ahead of all other blogs for number of views. This was written from a personal experience of someone from family, who had this effect on her during a religious function in the family. I had heard about this aspect and I had assumed that this happens to people I don’t know! But that it was real was proved when the lady came out of the trance, she was totally drenched in sweat!

Another blog that is dear to my heart is  Brave Art!

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2018/06/08/brave-art/

It is about a young girl, maybe 26/27 years old, from Nasik who dared to break the social norms and did nude paintings of self! I was reading a poem by Kedarnath Singhji when my friend Sudhakar shared all details about Mansi and her background! I combined the brave girl’s act with the poem that I was reading on the subject of woman’s nudity! Both subjects have gelled beautifully to create a satisfactory blog.

From 21 views in the first year, I have already crossed a figure of 10,500 in the year 2018. Let me tell you this helps! I am not writing for praise only,  but the comments made by friends, telephonic discussions add to my enthusiasm!  I have 65 regular followers and they are from different countries. India, US, Australia, Canada and UK are the countries where I have friends so it is no surprise that my viewers are from these countries. But I get surprised when there are sometimes viewers from non-English speaking countries like Germany, Hungary whereas Ireland, Hongkong is also a surprise to me.

Only reason I have written this blog is to tell people the real inside story! When we were younger such technology did not exist. Friends, make use of technology, don’t go by what I have written about blogs. Read on the net and interpret the meaning of blogs in your own way but start playing with it. Another important aspect is that writing a blog is your own product whereas pushing forwards on WA/FB is like service industry, sharing someone else’s work. I prefer own product, anytime! There are always hidden gems in the society, they only need a bit of cut and polish! You could be one of them! Don’t forget we all have a lot of stories and anecdotes to share, it’s a matter of pulling them out at the right time!

AF and BF!

Social issues created by these apps are worse (loss of productivity, loss of family time) than the advantages offered by them!

 

The caricatures will indicate the subject of my blog!

AD‘ is the initials of the Latin words anno domini, which means “Year of the Lord” – in other words, (approximately) the number of years since the birth of Jesus. The modern equivalent is ‘CE’, which means “Common Era”. ‘BC” is the initials of the English words “before Christ” – a way of counting backwards in time before the current era. But now new terminologies have come up, BF is Before Facebook and AF is After Facebook. Facebook started in 2004 February and WhatsApp in Jan 2009. They have made a great revolution in our lives.

These technologies churned out because of two behemoths of the modern technology, Internet and Cell phone. As normally happens, FB &WA changed our methods of communications totally. These helped us to locate old friends, long lost pals! Everybody was thrilled. We got controls in our hands and we could communicate with anybody and everybody, anytime, be it midnight or be it noon!

In 70’s the communication with each other was by mail and telephones; telephones in our part of the world were a rarity. There was methodology and etiquettes, in their usage,  which were established over a period of time. There were certain etiquettes for business letters and there were some for personal letters. World over, the postal departments were doing the job of delivering the mail. This conventional mail slowly came to be known as snail mail as the time taken for a letters to reach was 3 to 6 days within the country and 3 to 4 weeks in foreign countries.

Slowly with internet came e mail, personal telephones called cell phones became available. But these technologies also came up slowly in nineties! In the 21st century two technologies started galloping and these proliferated world over. In India cell phone usage has increased at the break neck speed. From the same two technologies were born FB and later WhatsApp! Once people realized how easy it is to use FB &WA, the numbers simply became billions! Another thing that helped was increase in Internet speed and Bandwidth, added to it was the local language availability. Video calls became possible as easily like voice calls. We think that these developments happened suddenly but technology does not work this way. These developments of Video on cell phone had started in the year 2000/2001. In 15 years, better hardware, software and Internet changed the face of the technology.

How was this useful to human race? I can say that, had this technology been available before 2nd world war, it was possible that Hitler could have won the war. He had a very fierce propaganda machine led by Goebbels but with FB & WA his reach could have been global. There were enough desperados in this world, who would have joined Hitler!

I don’t want to flood you with statistics about usage of these two apps and all apps in general. From what I have checked on the net the time spent is between 2 to 4 hours in working and retired people; the same use is even more in student community.

https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/

https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/whatsapp-statistics/

I have noted that usage of these apps has increased during the time in offices, office time which is supposed to be productive. I go to various industries and the new trend is that people still seem to be busy, but many are busy looking at their cell phones. These organizations prohibit access to the social media apps on their office computers but with smart phone prices spiraling down, large number of people can afford smart phones. Access to these apps on personal phones cannot be stopped. Once we were waiting to meet a senior officer in an organization. We were told that he is busy in a conference call. He was sitting in a designated area. We passed by that area two or three times; every time he was busy on his cell phone screen. Never saw him talking on phone.

Social issues created by these apps are worse (loss of productivity, loss of family time) than the advantages offered by them. Out of 3 to 4 hrs time spent on these apps, important time is eaten away from “family time”, after reaching home.  Of course, the whole family is busy looking at the screen! The so-called group usage of WA is a curse. More than 90% messages are forwards! This facility has been used for spreading rumors and has resulted in killings of people, based on rumors in India. WA is struggling to prevent this from happening, under government pressure!

 

I will share some experiences with you. The above caricatures show how today’s lovers enjoy, they don’t look into each others eyes but.. at their own cell phone screen! The other day a couple came home for coffee. After usual, hi and hellos the gentleman got busy on his cell phone. After more than five minutes he had to be bluntly asked if he came to our home to check his WA messages? Once we had gone out for a family dinner with young family gang. One of the kids, 20 years old was addicted to her cell phone. She was sitting opposite me. After 15 minutes or so, I told her to put the cell phone away as we were having a lovely dinner. After that episode she avoids me in family get togethers. How do we resolve this?

Now I am semi-retired so it hardly is going to make any difference if I wasted time on FB/WA. But, I have decided that in future, I will access Facebook only on days when I publish my blog. (All these days publishing was automatic but FB does not allow automatic publishing from WordPress from 1/8/2018) I will communicate with friends on their birthdays/ and some special events privately, never on the wall.

On WhatsApp, I may be required to react on a couple of groups as I am Admin in one, and the other is our society group where I am the chairman. So, I will be accessing WhatsApp only once in a day, early mornings. Similarly, I will use WhatsApp to circulate my blogs only!

There was a movie called “Back to the future” which took the hero back to his parent’s school time zone. I am going “Back to Pre FB-days”. I have been trying it for last week or so and I am happy.

Please forward this blog or like it! My purpose for writing this is just to communicate with you by “New or maybe OLD” method of communication in future. After all there is life beyond Facebook and WhatsApp!

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

 

Humane approach to technology!

New technologies are developed by humans, don’t lose humane approach when using them!

Today’s human attributes are the result of changing, improving of the skill sets. Ages back humans started carving things on stones to write messages. They used signs, images to convey what they wanted to say. Advance in technology is changing the way we live, the way we write and the way we communicate. We developed modern languages, both spoken and written.

Whats App, Facebook, Snap chat, Skype have helped us to keep connected 24/7. And are we in touch? Of course, we are. We can communicate individually, in groups anytime we want. This technology has helped us to find long lost friends, got people in touch again. There are alumni groups, there are office groups, there are ex office groups, there could be ex ex office groups too! I don’t know if the lovers form a group of different ex’s like A breaks up with B and then B breaks up with C and then A breaks up with D; A, B, C, D may form a group! Possible, these groups may already be existing!

It seems that like fashion, our writing methods and style are also coming back in vogue after years. We had bell bottom pants in 70’s and looks like they will be the next rage! Ladies used wear a choli in olden days, now a days the blouses are so small that are may be tinier than cholis! It seems that the language of communication from stone age is coming back after completing a full circle. I am sure by now you must have understood that I am talking of Emojis. Whats App has changed our writing style and took it back to stone ages, at least sometimes.

Advent of Whats App has led to evolution of emojis. Maybe initially it was thought that using emoji was a good way of responding quickly. But over a period, this seems to have evolved in a language of its own. Add to that words like K for Ok, HBD for happy birthday and so on. Pre-emoji days, when somebody contacted us on phone and we were busy, we replied with a quick, “I will call you back.” Cell phones brought a bit of more technology and we could quickly respond by text message, “I will call you back, I am in a meeting, text me the details, I am driving” or some such thing. Then in most cases, we called on phone after we became free.

We have hundreds of “friends” but we are very lonely, we don’t even know our neighbours, sometimes; this cliché is so true these days. What is the real use of this new technology, how to use it correctly, is it really beneficial? Generally, technology that gets absorbed by large number of people quickly, is good and helpful. Unless some other technology comes up sooner than expected, they have a decent life cycle too! But the classic case is of Fax and Pager. These technologies were good when they were introduced, but were quickly made obsolete by e mail and cell phones.

How to make new devices and technology useful? We should not forget that the human element should always be remembered in interactions. People become anonymous behind technology. This anonymity makes people bolder, many a time in a wrong way,  in what they write and what they post, and how much they post! We can make Whats App groups clutter free by not allowing forwards. In one group we have 150 members, imagine if forwards and GM/GN messages were allowed! Let me assure you it is doable. I found one very interesting way of making FB interesting, enjoyable and fun. On Jaya’s wall she shared a message, gist of which is as follows. “This is my post without any photo, so it may not look interesting. Write a word or anything about me after fully reading this message”. Its a very innovative way of involving friends. When people read the message, they have written whatever first came to their mind about her! In some cases the association was maybe ten years, in other cases it was 50 years old! You don’t need to share 100 photos of your recent holiday; you can share a photo or two and then share the link for other photos. Please understand that maybe 1 or 2 out 100 people are interested in seeing ALL the photos! Make things clean and clutter free and enjoy fruits of innovations!

How to handle issue of “Friends”? Since last 3 years, I have stopped sending friend requests on Facebook? Whenever I get a friend request, I check if I have any common friends. Unless I get positive response from some common friend, I keep it on hold. Sometimes, there are some persons with whom you have interacted quite a lot in olden days, sends a friend request, I accept it. But in general, I am not very comfortable with “new friends”!

Most important thing is people forget the human part of the connect in electronic media. On occasion like birthdays, people send their best wishes on Whats App and Facebook. I try and thank everybody individually. It may be a one liner but I write, “Hey Deepak, thanks for your wishes? Have you recovered from your health issue?” Or some such thing. This small gesture, I feel, goes long way in bringing friends closer. When I have to wish people on their birthdays, I try and call them, I talk on phone. This is the human touch I am talking about. Wishing on Whats App and FB is good but it feels impersonal. Let’s use these technical advances by all means but don’t forget the human touch, like phone call! Let me assure that you and the person with whom you talked will be mighty pleased!

Work Life Balance!

Enjoy Life with correct Work Life balance!

When I was in school, I used to come to Pune during holidays to my grandfather’s house. He had perfect Work-Life balance in those days. He retired before I was born. But from what I have heard, he used to go to office around 9 and be back home by 4.30. He was one of the luckier persons who had a steady job. When I started going to Pune, he had just started his retired life and would go to sleep by 7 in the evening and wake up at 4! Before going to sleep he used to listen to local news on radio, which would start at 7 pm. All others at home would have dinner by 8 pm and simply go to sleep by 8.30 pm. Cozy life, lovely life; there was nothing to do anyway. There was no TV, going for movies was rarity.  

This reminds me of Gulzarji’s lines 

अब दिन रातपे ही आके रुकता है 

मुझे याद है… 

पहले एक शाम भी हुआ करती थी 

Lifestyle has taken a tumble of 180 degrees since those days. Things have reached the other extreme, discussions have started on Work-life balance, which is a concept that supports the efforts of employees to split their time and energy between work and the other important aspects of their lives. Why has this imbalance come in our life? Who is responsible? Do managements expect too much from employees? Is work being done with the help of less number of people? On home front, families have become nuclear, both husband and wife are working, and it has become a norm. There is less support system available from elderly. We have too many commitments on social front, too much time is “productively” spent on social media.    

Times have changed, work pressure on individuals has gone up. Pressure to perform is nothing new, it was always there and it will be always there. Why does the imbalance take place? It is simply because we have 24 hours in a day to do so many things. It is how productively we use that time which is important.  

First and foremost is the travel time. Home to workplace travel time is the most unproductive and tiring time. People these days travel anything between one to 2 ½ hours one way, to work. Traffic is going to become more complex and heavy, so there may not be respite from traffic. But yes, there is a solution. When people take up a new job in a different city, they rent a house as near to work place as possible. But in your own city you probably own a house or have been living in an area from childhood. So, you don’t want to change the house.  Solution, cut the emotion, be a little open minded about shifting to stay near the work place, be pragmatic. I was talking about this issue with my young friend Abhay.

Abhay rues that his generation has all the material stuff but no time to enjoy it. He said that if he moves to stay near his work place, he will save two hours every day! Multiply by 250 days. 500 hrs a year. It is as good as getting 50 days of additional leave to be with the family, maybe hit the gym, which today is not possible today. I told Abhay, after shifting near office, don’t spend additional two hours at office. Deepti wanted to take a new office. I suggested to her that it should not be more than 3 kms from her home, she had that option. Now her total travel time is 15 minutes. Hours gained, anxiety reduced? I don’t think you need any consultant to evaluate value addition done by making these changes. If you have financial need, rent out the “owned” flat. 

Now about the most unproductive thing! Social media. FB and WA are the biggest culprits causing the imbalance. Everybody wants to look at the cell phone at every opportunity available. Waiting for the red signal to turn green, open the device. You are doing serious work in office, you get a ding or a dong, ting or a tong! You stop the work to at least send a message, “I will come back to you”! Heavens are not going to fall if you don’t reply. Of course, friends may think that you have died since you did not respond in 30 seconds.  

Social Media has changed the society in such a way that there is fear in the minds of mafia that they may lose out to Social Media cartel. Take a back-seat Heroin’s, and ganjas of this world. You cannot compete with us! Smoking? What is that? I can have my new drug on my person all the time, police are not going to arrest me for that, parents are not bothered (they themselves are busy with addiction), lovers tiff no way. Why are you not talking to me? You don’t love me anymore. Did you see my new necklace? These words are passé! Both are busy looking at their own screens, looking into each other’s eyes? No way. Looking into his or her screen, yes of course. Did you see this video? Did you read this quote? Recently I saw photo of a group of friends, who met for chit chat! All were looking at their cell phone! Chatting? No way!  

To manage the Work Life balance, another thing we should analyze is how much time we are spending on social media. 2 hours, four hours? How many free hours do we have after deducting time for work, travel, sleep, and day to day chores? Do you want most of the waking time to be spent on social media? In fact, we are cutting into family time, sleeping time, causing sleep deprivation, or even  going out time. Your mind is never into what you are actually doing!  

Not in the distant past, a cranky child was given a pacifier in his mouth. Now the child is given a cell phone or a tablet to pacify the child. When the child crosses a certain age, the parents start cribbing, “Oh, my child cannot spend a single minute without cell phone”. I have seen mothers looking at WA while feeding a child, not breast feed but regular meal. A child needs a bit of attention and diversion. A song, or a story used to be the name of the game while feeding kids! When the mothers themselves indulge so much in WA/FB what do you expect the child to do?  

When we attempt something differently, it should start with you! Will you remain, away from social media for some time? Will you remain away from kitty parties? I am not saying that you shun these things. Anything in moderation is always good. A Mac Burger once in six months, a glass of wine, a cup of your favourite tea or coffee, for that matter any drink in moderation will always give you joy! Please think in a positive way! If we don’t use social media for some time, is it really going to affect your life?

Work pressures will be there, but can these be 24/7 and 365, no there are never such pressures. I have known of a person who went to US for work for a month, then 2 months and then continued his stay for three months. From there he was told to go to Germany for another three months. There were many problems at his home including illnesses; he should have told his boss that he will travel back after a quick visit back home, at least a couple of times. I don’t think his boss would have said no! But our friend just wanted to shun his home responsibilities. I am so busy syndrome!

Firstly, one has to decide if you really want work life balance! If you want it, there are always ways, you can find your own different methods too! Will will find a way! I forgot to tell you; I have promised Abhay that I will have a cup of tea with him one day, after his son has gone to school and before Abhay goes to office! Five minutes is all Abhay needs to go to office. The other day we went in the area where Deepti lives, we barged in to see her mother. Her mother called Deepti, she came home from office to have coffee with us. Utopia?  

                                                                                                                       

 

 

Virus Bonhomie!

Technology has brought people together! Don’t lose this opportunity to bond for life long!

This blog is about a specific group but I have tried to make it as generic as possible. But it applies to all the groups of friends. 

Once upon a time there were a set of retired people and not so retired people, who lived their life, enjoying their golden period. Things were quite good. They were traveling, enjoying with family and had great time with their grandchildren, once in a while. They had illnesses, they had their anxieties but were game at carrying their burden, gracefully. Of course, the children were around but the there was a small issue, they were around the world, for many. Children and their family was a great solace, once in a year or two years, in some cases after five years! There were WhatsApp messages and Video calls, all keeping them very happy in the winter of life. Everything was smooth, children were very caring; they ensured that there were caretakers available round the clock, if needed. Everything was hunky dory! Once in a while there was a cool breeze and warmth of good old friends. This would come out of blue and kept people gasping as they had gone their separate ways in the journey called life. Friends from the old gang, were expected to meet only once in a while. Yes, these folks were also in college once upon a time; had gangs and great friends!  

A few years back suddenly, a species started appearing on horizon! It looked like UFO, nobody initially knew what it was. On searching Google, people came to know it was called Bonhomie! (Oxford meaning of Bonhomie is cheerful friendliness; geniality.) As normally happens, nobody was sure what really was happening. These people realized that there were two naïve folks who were bringing in an unknown creature called Bonhomie in their lives. Thanks to WhatsApp, FB and modern technology in general, things started moving really fast. The group of people was a little confused; they were not aware that they were getting converted into “group of friends, close friends!” The thought itself was breath taking. Am I going to meet my long-lost friends again? Am I going to meet Ashkya, Dhanya, Panya, Dindya, Sharya again after so many years? What fun we had when we were together in college? 

Lists were made, groups were created thanks to technology and two idiots! Phone numbers were shared and, in some cases, photos were exchanged. Calls were made and demeanor of all the people enjoying golden period slowly started changing. People at home were surprised and took some of them to doctors. Doctors said that there is new virus spreading fast, especially in people who are enjoying golden period. There was simply no cure to that. Sometimes these people show signs of Euphoria. But let them be. This virus can actually cure many ailments in that age group. Of course, Bonhomie is not a cure all. It cannot cure cancer, heart attack and stroke! But this virus is an antidote to overcome anxieties created by such illnesses. Anxieties in life, worries in general, feeling of loneliness!  

Finally, the D day arrived for the group to meet! Meet they did at their favourite place near the river! Words like Mithi, Salya, Jadya, Taklya, Lambya were thrown in with gay abandon. There were slaps on the back. There were bear hugs, and of course some tears of joy (which I have even while writing this piece too!) And the party started. There would be formal meets maybe twice in a year. Friends started meeting in small groups; old gangs came together! Bonhomie virus was spreading and parties started in Mumbai too! Small picnics, big parties, idli/dosa at favourite joints was the name of the game.  

As the gang became closer, there started good old fights and skirmishes like those from olden days, as if they were young adults again. The resolution in all the cases was always virtual or sometimes by a phone call. Group magazine started to keep bonding, it died its natural death over a couple of years. Photo albums were created to be shared with all but this also stopped after a period, a natural thing. But after every meet, there was a only one discussion, “When are we meeting again?” And the party continued. Joy was spread among friends regarding achievements of next generations, some of them in studies, some in art, some in painting. Travel photos and experiences were shared and advise taken from others for next holiday.  

Honestly, things were too good to be true! But bonding continued. There was sharing of sorrow due to demise of common friends. There was real enjoyment when some long-lost friend suddenly started meeting again; then a friend started sharing his old passion, paintings. He started getting time for his passion and made everybody’s life all the more enjoyable by sharing his art. Everybody looked forward to his paintings.  

I am all for a healthy world but started getting jittery that our group was traveling in the direction of destroying the virus of Bonhomie. This is one virus that I want to be alive all the time. Google was searched again. Google explained that there was a strong anti-dote, for this virus, called EGO. The group was slowly managing to infuse this anti-dote on a daily basis. Some friends were getting worried, some were overwhelmed. Some were relentlessly doing it. One friend joined only to infuse this dose. Advise of spin doctor was taken. The Doctor said that the virus of Bonhomie remains healthy with a regular dose of a vitamin called communication both verbal and written. The doctor suggested to reduce the communication for some time, to find out if his judgment and treatment suggested was correct.  

Reduction of this vitamin indicated that doctor was right. There were hardly 2/3 friends, who showed interest in checking out if monthly meet was ON! The experiment continues. But the spin doctor also suggested a communication by way of a big write up, which sometimes kick starts the rejuvenation of virus Bonhomie!  

Friends, don’t let this virus die. You will know it’s importance after it goes into coma. Instead of current two idiots, there can be 2/3 additional idiots who will nurture this virus. If not on first Sunday, friends can meet on second Sunday, at a different location, at a different time. Suggest whatever you think will keep the virus kicking! We all have a large stock of anti-dote EGO. Just dispose it off! Throw it away. This is true for all the remaining life of any person young or old, man or woman. Have fun, nurture friendships. God has gifted us three great things. The nature, the family and the friends. You cannot destroy nature because it is self-sustaining and self-correcting. But other need to be handled carefully, they come with a label “Fragile! handle with care”!  

But rest assured that two idiots will not rest till the Bonhomie virus is kicking in again!  

 

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!