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

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

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

 

maharashtrian-full-meal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something fishy!

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!

Old or New? What’s your view?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do I visualize in the eyes 

Oh! I see a silver cloud 

What do you see in the cloud 

Oh! I can visualize a flying stole in those eyes 

I see sensuous flurry under the flying stole!  

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

What is that I observe underneath your blouse 

What is that I view underneath your stole 

Oh! I have my heart beating below my blouse 

I have heart underneath my stole! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Motherland or Fatherland?

Loyalties in the Complex world!

Mesut Özil  is a German professional footballer who plays for English club Arsenal. He retired from international football, very recently, due to discrimination he felt when Germany lost in this year’s world cup football at the league level itself. He came into limelight in 2010 world cup at the age of 22 and had lion’s share in Germany’s victory in 2014. For sportsmen, life is a big grind and with age their game becomes more mature, age does slow them down too. After Germany lost in league stage this year, murmurs had started about Özil’s poor performance but people forget that the whole German team had played poorly including in the practice games. In certain circles, there started a whisper campaign where it was said that Özil was not true to his adopted country. He has Turkish origins.

This campaign upset him so much that he said, “When Germany won in 2014, I was a German; now that Germany has lost I am a Turkish immigrant living in Germany.” In disgust he simply retired. This brings out the old questions about immigration. Since last century, immigration has reached epidemic proportions. Similar statement was made by Albert Einstein in 1922. He had said, “If my relativity theory is proven right then Germany will claim that I am German and France will say that I am a global citizen; but if this theory is not successful then France will say that I am German and Germany will say that I am a Jew!” This statement perfectly explains how the thought process in the world has hardly changed in such matters.

Özil is the son of Turkish immigrants and was born in Germany. The laws about citizenship in all countries are different; in the US a child born on US soil, irrespective of Visa status of the mother, becomes Citizen of US. Özil is born and brought up in Germany but as often happens he and his family have kept close links with his roots in Turkey. With sons of diaspora doings so well internationally in football for Germany, the Turkish President Erdogan used Özil for photo session opportunity! This started a bit of whisper campaign in Germany. Had Germany done better than what they did, there would have been no murmurs or whispers. France had about ten players with African origin in their world cup winning team. Comedian Noah of South African origin had commented in a show, “Africa has won the world cup!” French Ambassador to US, Araud, rebuked Noah and wrote to him a twitter message, that Noah had misunderstood France’s cultural model. France had won the World Cup which helped the Ambassador take this view. Official French statements differ when France is attacked by French citizens of African origin.

Where should the loyalty of immigrants be? Where is the loyalty of immigrants? It’s a tough call and there are different ways of looking at this. The loyalty issue will be faced by first generation immigrants. Generations after first, will not face such issues, as next generations will be born and brought up in the adopted country! Proliferation of technology, especially internet, has changed things drastically. In 60’s and 70’s of last century, people who migrated to different countries traveled back home infrequently. There was no WhatsApp, no Facebook and no Skype. So, communication was difficult and expensive. In early 80’s when Jaya was in the US for her MS, we did not have phone at home. Jaya would write to me to fix up telephone call timing at someone else’s home. I would then go to their home and hoped that we got connected.

With fantastic changes in communications, democratization of people’s finances, due to greats strides in IT industry things are pretty different in this century. People are fully connected, people travel back home regularly, parents and aunts and uncles also travel to different countries where diaspora has moved. The diaspora keeps local traditions, recipes and clothing styles alive even in foreign countries.

With these changes, probably it is difficult for first generation immigrants to shift loyalties to land where they live! In Indian context, will they sing God Save the Queen, Star Spangled Banner or Jana Gana Mana more forcefully, more from the bottom of heart? It is difficult to say. Recently, English cricket captain made a telling comment. He said, “These days when we play against India, whether in India or back home, advantage is always with India because for them both places are “home” due to great support they get in England too! Large population advantages?

30 years back, I remember a discussion when someone said in England that the real test for immigrants should be whether they clap for or against England. But now things have changed so much that such discussions are never even attempted.

Back to immigration. Which is your land the Fatherland where you have now immigrated or Motherland where you were born and brought up? Where are your loyalties? I have observed especially about Indian diaspora that they make handsome  contributions to the Fatherland but they don’t forget their Motherland too! It is as if they have duel citizenship, mentally. Some modern “financial fugitives” actually have citizenship of many countries and move their assets and body to escape the law of land which gives them trouble. Country like India have started many new schemes to tap the potential of diaspora by providing them with cards like Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards to make life easier for them when and if the want travel to back home, invest money in India, maybe take part in elections. Mother countries are bound to wood their prodigal sons. Many a time it is seen that people shine better in their Fatherland due to various factors. Their country is bound to take advantage of their roots back home.

Many a times I wonder what will be the mental status of fourth generation diaspora? What will a Aniruddh Kulkarni, fourth generation immigrant, who may go by informal name of Andy CoolKar, feel about Motherland? Will he really feel the same love about then too distant a motherland, mentally? I get a feeling that the Caucasian immigrants may find it a little easier to merge in countries which are predominantly Caucasian. But now these things are also changing fast. Caucasians (is by today’s definition West European?) consider themselves different than the Hispanics, people with Spanish/Portuguese background but normally living in South America. Will countries become melting pots like New York city is? Or will there will be street signs in Spanish and Chinese and maybe even in Telugu or Hindi in some towns in foreign countries? Which will then be the Fatherland and the Motherland? Tough call? 強硬電話, Llamada difícil, कठिन कॉल!

Özil’s of the world, then do not be so emotional and retire! The whole world is your playing ground buddy!

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!  

 

Friends, those devils!

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

RangyaPravinMe

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 .

Home Alone !

One is never Alone! One can be lonely due depression or some illness!

The other day while chatting with some friends, a friend used a term Home Alone or something similar! The reference was about someone, whose all three children live in US, Germany and Australia. He used a phrase that was contradictory. “You two must be alone here as all your children live in foreign countries”! How can two people be alone is the question that came to mind. A person is called alone when he has no one! But can any person be without anyone? 

The fact that a person was born means at least two people were involved in the process. My theory is that no one is alone. Alone, loneliness is a state of mind and not physical. When the friend made the statement mentioned above, it was contradictory. When husband and wife are together they cannot be alone! They are a couple who have spent their life together. As against this, a person lives with spouse, children, their family and relatives but still can be alone. But this may be better described by word lonely! When we are born, we come in this world alone and when we pass, we go alone! These are probably only events when one is alone.  

At birth, every child is alone in this world as the child does not know anything, understands nothing. This happens in all the species. Some nurture their babies, bring them to a stage where they are slowly able to manage and handle  the world. Time required to achieve this independence varies from species to species. Only in human race, because the child has to pick up a lot of skills, we look after our progeny almost for first 19/20 years of life. During this period, we learn a lot of social skills, we develop a lot of friends and acquaintances. This obviously gets developed into every person’s ecosystem. Of course, there is a possibility that the ecosystem may shrink over a period if one lives way beyond normal life expectancy and this can happen in late phase of golden age.  

Some are born extroverts and some are born introverts. Those who are introverts can have lesser company of people over their life-time. I am confident that they are definitely not lonely, it is the way they are made. Introverts may be happy to have less people around whereas extroverts will be happier with more people around. The so called lonely exist because of certain health issues like depression or major illness. These issues need medical treatment. Another reason the loneliness can arise is because of certain different traits in one’s nature. Some are very uncomfortable meeting new people whereas some are looking forward to meeting new people; it is their elixir! Some have inferiority complex because of the way they look, the family where they are born and so on. But generally people look for good traits in an individual rather than their physical side. Those with such trait can become lonely.

Loneliness is a state of mind created due to some event or an illness. This state of mind creates a poison within you! It is like bile generated within you. You feel better only when the bile is vomited out. Similarly, we must make an attempt to throw the poison of loneliness out of the system.  Most of the time, the state of mind is created due to misunderstanding; this can also happen due to not understanding or knowing the right circumstances.  

I found a beautiful poem, about loneliness,  on the net. 

If tonight you feel alone wondering 

If anywhere anyone 

Could possibly be missing you 

Just know that if they do not miss you 

It is because they do not know you 

And have not seen the incredible beauty in you 

This poem correctly depicts the situation which arises by not knowing the facts! 

Friends, I veered from a casual remark made by someone, “You two will be alone, is it not?” The technology which is available now is the greatest boon to mankind. How it has brought people closer and together? How family living in different parts of the world can be close to each other due to technology? Alumni Associations, different WhatsApp groups, Facebook have done miracles in the lives of people! But will all this really help if your mind is not open? This technology has created some funny situations of loneliness where someone with 1000 FB friends does not know his neighbours.  

So, keep yourself and your mind open; even after trying this if you still feel lonely go and see a doctor and get yourself treated! After all one can take horse to the water, he will remain thirsty if he does not drink it. You can still be lonely in Sea of People!