Women Power!

Let human race benefit by tapping female power!

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Important news being discussed today is that Jacinda Arden, New Zealand Prime Minister, gave birth to a child, while in office. She is the second prime minister of a nation to give birth to a child, while in office. First was Benazir Bhutto! Women in Saudi Arabia are allowed to drive cars now, is another news which is trending today. What is the big deal, skeptics will say? Hundreds of ladies give birth to a child, millions of lady’s drive cars, world over! But these news items are very significant looking at the history of suppression of women.  

All species world over, have males and females for continuity of their progeny! World history is always divided as before and after of some events. Classic definition is BC (before Christ) & AD (anno Domini). There can be another definition like before Wheel and after Wheel. To me this means that human life became much easier after the invention of Wheel!  

Another definition which is essential is Pre-Ownership and Post-Ownership. This to me is the most important landmark in human history. Let me explain. When humans learnt the farming, they started to live at preferred locations. As the humans were nomads before, they would move from place to place looking for food and shelter. Farming created a somewhat less nomadic, more organized stable society. The major social change that came about, was  people started to cultivate and produce things which were in surplus of what they needed; this was stored for the next season. With this change, the concept of ownership took birth. Ownership included farm, the land, females and everything within that ecosystem! This started a concept of same pair of male and female partners living at one location, for longer period. Before that, humans also moved around like other species. There were groups of humans, who would move from place to place. Weather, hunger, safety and sex were the main things that were required to be handled. With the nomadic behavior and no ownership, there was no concept of constant family. In due course of time women would procreate, I do not think that every time they knew the real father of the child.  

Because of their pregnancy and allied difficulties women would look after children and men folk would go out for collecting food. Monthly menstruation, even in those days added to general difficulties of women and their movement. I could not find how the society helped them during this tricky phase every month. In my grandfather’s time, I remember that women had to face humiliating stigma during this time, every month. I am really not sure how this was handled before agriculture. I am assuming that they were better off in those days as it was treated as a normal human body function. The organized society brought some etiquette’s about modesty, nudity and others. This may have brought more difficulties post agriculture. Though 21st century is more supporting, still in smaller cities and villages not much has changed.  

The concept of male being bread winner has continued right to the current times. Some major changes have taken place in recent 30 to 50 years, where women are taking important part in family income and financial well-being. They are taking up important positions in many places including industries and government. The important positions need them to be busy and travel all over. But society has slowly started accepting this need and accepting the biological difference that exist! To me it is alright if the Prime Minister takes six to eight weeks of leave after child bearing! On top of that New Zealand Prime minister is not married to her partner! This is also setting a trend. Live-in, anyone? I feel that live-in concept did exist before farming phase as there were no marriages, anyway!  Even today, pregnancies do come in the way of women’s careers. Latest example is of Serena Williams, the super athlete! When she decided to take part in French Open tennis tournament, several hundred points were deducted from her career points, while considering her ranking, as she was joining post pregnancy!

World over, voting rights for women was anathema! Women in Switzerland gained the right to vote in federal elections after a referendum in February 1971. In 1991 following a decision by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, Appenzell Innerrhoden became the last Swiss canton to grant women the vote on local issues. Modern and developed country? So-called patriarchal society has been suppressing the rights of women. This has kept 50% population of the world in the form of women away from many things. There are some professions which are performed better by females yet  these were performed by men! 

Women are trying to change this, but bra burning is not the solution. What will be the advantages of bringing more and more women in main stream? One thing is sure that the working atmosphere will become softer. I am sure a woman boss will never say, “I don’t care” or Go to hell” or some such statements. One more thing men can learn from women is multi-tasking. They are masters of multi-taking managing kids, kitchen and jobs. On top of that managing family and relatives; it’s not an easy thing but women do it. They not only do it but they are masters of multi-tasking.  

Humans under the garb of patriarchy, are losing the benefits of this talent. They don’t want to do it because they will lose control of the situation. Society has taken advantage of traditions of thousands of years, to keep females away from mainstream. Jacinda Arden, Serena Williams, Kalpana Chawala are great role models for humans in general and females specifically! In my family this change has happened big way! Let us all support our wives, sisters, daughter in laws as much as possible to take up the career they like! Don’t forget that we have children, nephews and grandchildren because of these women! This is one area where males can never compete with females! So don’t forget that to reproduce, a complex system in female body is needed, we just need to support that!

 

  

 

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!  

Five Season’s of Beauty!

Are you one of those lucky ones with five seasons in Life?

There are different ways of naming seasons, people, trees. Seasons in India are Summer, Monsoon and Winter. People are described by their heights, their likes and dislikes. Some are coffee folks and others are tea folks. Some are beer guys or wine folks. Some love whiskey and others like their Vodka or Rum! Some are morning types and others are night owls! Trees are classified as coniferous, perennial, shady and so on. My favorite method of differentiation of people is based on the seasons they like.

Seasons based on Calendar are winter, spring, summer and autumn. In tropical areas the seasons are only two, wet and dry seasons. But in India seasons are Summer, Monsoon and Winter. Monsoon season is very different in India. When did I really start understanding seasons? I was in school maybe 5th grade and one day I needed an umbrella to go to school as I had exams on that day, hence I needed to go to school. This thing had never happened before so when it rained, I simply used to skip school if it rained heavily.

Names of seasons are also used to describe somethings in our life. Winter of discontent, there is a spring in his stride, are some of the terms come to mind. Summer of discontent is another term, that is used. What do these indicate? Winter of discontent indicates that bad days or times are at an end and they change for better, in the form as spring is coming soon! Summer of discontent is the term used when unhappiness or sadness of life is at the peak! Spring in stride indicates the fresh air or exuberance.  The reappearance of robins. The disappearing snow.  The longer hours of daylight. The emergence of flowers.

I started thinking in terms of Indian seasons, am I a summer guy or a monsoon guy or a winter guy. In India, the weather conditions are different in various parts, simply because of hugeness of the country. In summer, we have temperatures nearing 50 deg C in certain areas to minus 10 deg C in cooler climates in winter. Monsoons can bring rains to the tune of 1200 cm in a season. Weather in the country can be moderate to extreme like the human beings. Pune, where I normally live, is known for moderate weather, all the seasons are comfortable. Has that made people in Pune reasonable people? Does extremism or moderation in people happen because of the weather? I think it does. I am talking of general populace and not the wrong kind of people! Wrong kind of people are omni present where ever they want to be, irrespective of seasons or weather.

Summer, for me is lovely Alphonso Mangoes, Sugarcane Juice, Raw Mango Panna a kind of home-made sherbet! In childhood, it also meant school holidays, round the day playing cricket, table tennis and badminton! I used to live in Mumbai in those days. Once in a while there used to be a trip to relatives’ homes in Bombay or sometimes to Pune. That was the farthest we would travel in those days. There were no summer holiday trips to cool climes. Those were outside means of our family. And did I enjoy my trip to Pune by train? Eating Batata Wada (a potato patty) at Karjat!  That used to be the high point of the journey! End of summer also meant excursion to markets with mom to get new school uniforms especially when I out grew the older uniforms! Then of course there would be a trip to stationery shop to buy new notebooks. Followed by a session of covering the notebooks with brown paper, followed by sticking the labels for the names! Of course, there used to an occasional day of punishment when we overdid things! There used to be pinching of small coins from home to drink ice cold lemon sherbet on cricket ground.  But now in golden phase life things have remained more or less same but with one big difference. Diabetes makes things a little bit tricky for Mangoes and Sugar cane juice!

Monsoon in Mumbai and Pune are totally different. Most of the monsoon, one could manage without an umbrella in Pune! In Mumbai, many times it hardly mattered whether you wore a raincoat or had an umbrella; you would get drenched. Weather in Pune in Monsoon would bring a bit of chill but in Mumbai you were not sure whether you got drenched in rain or sweat! In Mumbai, going to Marine drive to walk on the sea wall, with heavy rains with heavy rains lashing and sea waves crashing on the wall! Oh, what fun we had! Mumbai’s rain fury is seen to be believed! As the British say, it rains Dogs and Cats in Mumbai, sometimes. Though it is a bit difficult to handle, it should be enjoyed at least once. It should be added to your bucket list. One day, I had pinched some coins from home and it was raining heavily. Heavy rains could sometimes create havoc in Mumbai. This was great opportunity to come home, from school,  ( we used to lie about lack of buses) walking in heavy rains and on the way, going to our favourite restaurant to eat a Dosa! That was the biggest heist in our lives!

Winter, of course is a special season for Pune. Cool breeze, some mist, some fog, everybody going around in their woolens with seniors using mufflers and woolen caps! Drinking hot tea with Salty biscuits at the road side kiosk was equivalent of reaching the heavens! In my younger days, Pune would almost shut down around 7 pm, like it happens in cold climates. I remember that my grandfather used go to sleep at 7 pm! Going up the hills in winter was another of past time in Pune. In all my stay in Mumbai, I was required to wear a sweater may be a few times but in Pune, for 2 ½ months sweater was a must!

Which is my favourite season? Cool climates are what I love the most but then monsoon chill in Pune is also great fun and as temperature don’t go down like in winter. Recently in Switzerland, we were caught in Bern, with reasonably cold weather accompanied by a light drizzle. We were geared for both rain and cold but found it very difficult to handle it!  That is when I realized that I love dry cold and not wet cold! I love winters in Delhi too but these days pollution has made things tough to enjoy. So finally, I am a winter guy, in hot countries!

Folks, there is one season that we forgot! Its season of love! Well, romantic love is what I am talking about. This is one season that never goes away, its beauty never feds!  It has its own low tides and high tides! All the things mentioned above, get turbocharged when you are in the love season! Seasons of nature and season of love merge. The season of love never changes into next season, but has its ups and downs! This has its highs and lows! But how many of us are lucky enough to have season of love in the life, throughout life? Season  of love in life, is a great elixir and is supported by small doses of nectar provided by the natural seasons! Lets get a bit philosophical. Do you have five seasons in your life?

I will share with you a lovely Hindi film song. It talks of natural seasons and the season of Love! Enjoy!

Serendipity!

Don’t rush into things, give sufficient time for all activities and hope for some pleasant surprise!

The word Serendipity means the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. Some of my friends are always saying that I am infected by “Tharoorism”. Honestly, I am not, and Serendipity is a word that was first used in 1754. It is said to be one the hardest words to translate. Notion of Serendipity is common in science domain as some important discoveries in science are due to chance e.g. Alexander Fleming’s discovery of Penicillin, discovery of microwave oven, “Post-It” note.

Don’t worry, I am not going into discovery mode, but I get a feeling that in today’s world of rush, rush and rush we don’t leave time for Serendipity, we don’t leave time for anything! I am not talking of the time when we are working. But besides work we do so many things in life but we seem to continue to rush through things. We take holidays, we go for brunch, we go for shopping, we just chat, we go for a stroll, we read, we play, we paint; but we have gone into a habit of rushing through everything.

We had recently gone on a holiday in Europe; with age and language issue we thought that it may be a good idea to take a conducted tour. We had two-day stay in St. Moritz in Switzerland. The tour director had offered to take our group to various peaks and the lake, but the program was quite cramped. We told her that we will go at our own leisurely pace and maybe see a few things less!

First, we took the bus and took a tour of the town at our own pace getting down where ever we wanted. We went to the famous lake and spent a couple of hours there and really had a great time. We saw many small things which were not mentioned in any of the brochures. A very tall escalator to come up to the road level from the lake, was a pleasant surprise as we never got the judgement of depth of the lake from the main road! We were looking for nature’s beauty, but this man-made structure was also a surprise to us. We took some photos and videos but most of the time just enjoyed  the beauty of the nature through our own eyes and not through the lenses. The colour changes of the mountains and lake water, due to cloud movement were simply superb.

Later, we went to a couple of peaks at the height of 3800 meters, plus. What we did there was to absorb the atmosphere, look at the beauty of snow and sunshine, drink the pure weather! We were hungry, but they did not offer food which suited our diet. The chef there said if we had some time with us, he could cook something to suit us. That was the best sandwich we had on the entire tour, Serendipity?

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We felt like sitting and watching this lake as long as possible, it was so beautiful!

We were in Innsbruck, Austria. The traditional dance show was the optional part of the tour. It was called Tyrolean Evening. We were informed that no photography was allowed during the show. It turned out to be an absolute boon as we could enjoy the show thoroughly, we could see and feel the energy, we could see the superb coordination of the group and we could also enjoy our wine! The way dancers energetically tapped their thighs in coordination, was simply awesome. The show was the highlight of the tour! It was a late show, we were tired but were never rushed. It was the Serendipity moment. Here is the link for the show.

https://www.tiroler-abend.com/en/tyrolean-evenings/tyrolean-evening.html

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Social media has added to our rush/rush mentality. Everybody wants to share what they are doing and seeing, on the social media. It may be Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter and what have you. We have made it a rule to share such things only with close family that maybe at the end of the day! Sharing photos and videos from the locations is an absolute no no! The rush for sharing things on the media, puts your mind away from what you are doing, you feel that you are enjoying it by sharing it! But if you think seriously, except close family and friends, all others are not so keen to know what you are doing at every moment. This excited behavior has led to accidents as people have fallen from mountains, fallen from ships, fallen from trains in their attempt to “share” instantly. I had written in my blog “Touch the whale”; people go on whale sighting trips but are behind the lenses all the time instead of touching the whale which has come at a touchable distance.

When you go for shopping, occasionally you end up getting a deal which you will never get if you rush through. During brunch, keep extra time, linger on a bit, try new things, you may discover some new food stuff that you had never tried out before; if you don’t rush you may meet a long-lost friend. But rushing habit is not good for anyone as it creates stress and can affect your health.

Sorry! I must rush and take my evening sunset photographs! I don’t get enough time to write my blogs because I must rush and meet friends, just before I rush for evening bridge rubbers. Then of course there is a late evening dinner with family before going for that recently released, late night movie! I just don’t get time for anything, but I enjoy rushing everywhere! I really enjoy ! Do I?

We are like that only!

Could we add a lot of self-discipline, cleanliness, and a bit of restraint in chaos? This will make India a great country!

The heading of the blog is the  title of a book by Rama Bijapurkar! Title indicates that in  many ways Indians differ from people from other countries and justify it, in their own brand of English, maybe with pride, ” We are like that only”! With same nonchalance, we will chew a paan/betel leaf and spit, spoiling the surroundings, staircases, urinals and public toilets.

Why as a society, we Indians do not have self discipline? Does it go back to times when humans lived in stone age and everything was available in plenty? Everything includes space as there was no need for individual space in those days (concept of owning things started with advent of farming). Was the human race indisciplined because of no need to be disciplined? In cold areas the tough weather conditions forced some discipline on humans. But if you give thought, you will realize that things may have been in plenty but not easy to get! We did not have tools, equipment, goods storages to save things from heat and cold. Technologically we were nowhere. I am sure that in those days deaths due to inclement weather must have been plenty. General tough conditions must have forced some discipline in humans.

Is main reason for indiscipline the Briitsh Rule? Indians wanted the foreign rulers to go away, obvious example is Quit India Movement! With that aim we started defying anything that was “Official”. Indian mind-set was moulded to break rules rather than following the rules. But come 1947 and the need to defy everything “official” was gone but we continued our old ways because it is easy to do whatever comes to your mind. We love a song and we will play at the loudest possible volume. A law makes it compulsory to wear helmets on bikes; we give all sorts of excuses not to wear it.

In auto rikshaws, initially,  two people were allowed and then three started sitting. Hence rule was amended to allow three people and what we do, 5 people will sit in an auto rikshaw and sometimes 10. There is a story about rikshaw guy ferrying school children. He was stopped by a policeman for carrying too many children. Policeman made him take out all the kids, there were 21 kids sitting inside. Rikshaw guy was cool about it. He told the policeman, these children were NEVER sitting in the rikshaw. Policeman said I saw them coming out, rikshaw guys counter reply was, “try and fit them back, its impossible!” Ignore the funny side of the incident but the fact remained that he carried 21 children! Ok, this guy was doing this to make more money per trip. But what about the parents of these kids? Are they not worried about safety of their children? Is money more important than safety?

Why can’t we stop behind zebra crossings? Why? Because Zebra crossings are meant for zebras! Sky is not going to fall if we cross the zebra crossings or wait on them? Again the “I don’t care” attitude?

Now with many companies trying to make driver less cars, what better place than our own Bharat to try out. For developing the software for such initiative, huge data is needed. I am sure these companies will hire  army of people to record the live data on our roads. If the software can give instructions to cars being driven in India, then in other countries it will be cake walk!

We were in Sydney, out for dinner. We had gone to a popular Indian restaurant, run by desis.  Food was good. Their plate washing was automated, probably because of huge clientele, so far so good. But the machine was located in such a place that it made a cacophony all the time, which could be heard & tolerated by all customers! After dinner we came out and Sameer found that his car GPS was not working. He rechecked with desi crowd for directions. They gave the directions with an Indian touch. Be careful at so and so places, traffic radars are there! Later I checked with another friend Nandu who is in Australia for 35 plus years. He smiled and said that many of the desis take  years to overcome Indian traffic habits! One can go and live outside India but India will stay within you!

Honestly I am not for India becoming a very systematic, antiseptic country like Switzerland or Austria. I am Ok with a bit of chaos, bit of a noise. We are a colourful country, we have a fantastic diversity, we are a reasonably smoothly running democracy what European Union took years to form, and finding it tough to handle. We have common currency and common taxes, especially with implementation of GST! I am happy to move around in Chappals and flip flops round the year! I go to mountains and I go to beaches, I go to jungle sanctuaries and we have enough urban jungles and we have deserts in our own country. We have yoga and modern medical systems and traditional systems for those who want them. We have great liberal spirit and great freedom to do anything. Could we add a lot of self-discipline, cleanliness, and a bit of restraint in chaos?

By 2050, it is said that in India 500 million people will be speaking English, the largest English speaking group in the world! I won’t be surprised if an American guy introduces himself as, “Myself, John Doe. I am from Amrica!” Don’t you laugh! This will be treated as correct way of speaking English, we will have the numbers! On top of that he will say, “We are like that only!”

 

Age is just a number!

Use your senior age to advantage!

Every society has its way of handling age and old people. What does it depend on? Relationships, money, closeness in the family, decide many aspects in life. Of course age is not the only factor, along with age comes the factor of health! If these two combine badly, the situation becomes dicey! In the current scenario where migration is the name of the game, things can be even more difficult; it is not migration to another country but it can be migration to a city from village or to another city, for work! Old are of course left behind!

My observation is that in western society, health permitting, senior citizens do a lot of things independently, without giving too much thought about age. This is probably because many generations have had a large number of senior citizens and are used to handle their own things, financially and otherwise!

In the generation of my grandparents, there was hardly any migration and most of the family continued to live together, many a times in the same house. Household requirements and individual requirements were very low and people survived with low incomes. At a later stage in my grand parents case, I think my father and uncles used to give additional support to them. It was always discussed in those days and even today, that people from that generation were really strong! They had to be! During young age of my grandparents, the life expectancy was so low, that those who were really strong, survived. Large number of people would die of influenza, plague and so on. There were no modern medicines or diagnostics. You catch the dreaded illness and you are gone!

But in today’s times, with Modern medicines, general improved health awareness, you see a lot of senior citizens around, with reasonably good health and in some cases wealth too! That’s a great combination if used properly. You have everything and diminished family responsibilities. So why not use the situation fruitfully? This is right time to start using ones bucket list! It could be books, travel, watching sports events, music events or whatever you have not been able to do in younger age.

In India we consider the age around 70 as old. Old enough to be reading Scriptures, living a contented life, interacting with grandchildren if they are around, maybe go to Mandirs and so on, in short doing nothing! This thought process is changing albeit slowly. Many of my friends in this age group have  become globe trotters, travelling with spouses and certain cases alone. In Western countries thought process about old age is  pretty different, the oldies are quite independent. We as a society should try and emulate good aspects of western thought process.

In last two years on different excursions we met a lady who was 99, travelling alone! Recently we met a 87 year old person again travelling alone. He has travelled to 99 nations in the world. Mind you, the examples I am giving here are all westerners. We have seen people who needed wheel chairs, one young man needed 100% Oxygen support. Yes, in foreign countries the facilities for physically challenged people are superb. That helps but it is the will to do it, will to travel, to explore through the physical challenge. Our group in both cases was predominantly of westerners!

In India our thought process is not very open to such thinking because for the first time, in our history, a large number of fitter & willing senior citizens are around. There is no history of independent senior citizens wandering about. We met an Indian couple, in early fifties, from Mumbai, at Matterhorn in Switzerland; they were kind enough to help us with some photos. While parting, the gentleman made a remark, “Sir, it is creditable that you are doing this journey at your age!” He had a valid point, not many Indians of our age travel internationally in mountains, independently. In the group in which we travelled, we were in middle range of the age group, many were 75 plus!

In general we take our age very seriously and think in terms of “Vanaprasthashrama” (fourth and final stage of life cycle)! Of course we have to be careful that when we travel we do not have any health issues! When we were travelling my wife Jaya had a minor foot injury. Our tour manager suggested, in good faith, that we should avoid mountains so that there is no mishap. But we were careful, reasonably confident ( of course not over confident) and did most of the things that were possible on the tour. We enjoyed the ride on the open deck of double decker cable car at Stanserhorn in Switzerland! Was the weather cold!

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Another thing that happens with the age is that we become a little inflexible with our eating habits. But we always followed the dictum ” Be like Romans when in Rome”! So we did have Pizzas and Pastas and Salads when we were Italy and enjoyed them. Of course “Kartoffelsalat” while we were in Germany! Did we have lovely wines when were in wine country? Of course we did!

What we can do post retirement is dependent on our mind set and openness to try new untried things. Don’t forget that many westerners do come to India where systems, food, weather are quite different for them. They can do it because of the flexibility that they show. You must be wondering why I am giving examples of western world. This is just to explain how differently old age is treated by westerners and what are the joys of this different treatment.

While walking around in Lucern, we had 76 years old Jones from Montreal for company. We saw one Indian restaurant and she said, ” Since you and Jaya are with me, I would like to try Indian food!” We went there and enjoyed the really pleasant food, even by our standards! Only thing I did not manage is to make Jones eat raw onion, the way we eat it! I had also offered to show her how we eat with our fingers but at her request we passed it too! I am sure we also will become more adventurous and try different things! Happy globe trotting folks!