It is Sunday.


Start every day with a smile, and get it over with
~ W.C. Fields

For me every day is Sunday so it hardly makes any difference from day to day.  Getting over with it everyday too is no big deal.

Today, is however rather special because someone who has borrowed some money from me has promised to return it today.  I hope that he fulfills his promise.  If by about 4.00 pm, that is in about nine hours time, he does not, I will have to stop smiling and do something about chasing him for it.

Have a great Sunday!

Posted in Humor, Raves and Rants | Tagged | 4 Comments

Comfort Zone.

To Expand Your Comfort Zone -

When I go visiting my brothers, sister and / or friends as a houseguest, I am inevitably enveloped in pots of love and given special attention and spoiled silly. It makes for great feeling and bonding for a few days and then, the mind starts playing tricks on me. It starts wanting to go back home.

All those people are either overseas or in distant cities. I have a cousin who lives just a couple of hours drive away. I am very close to he and his wife and they are very affectionate to me and love to have me stay with them as often as I can and for as long as I can. Just one night there and my mind wants me to go back home.

I have friends within Pune, the city that I live in who I visit often who are as loving and caring as those mentioned above. A couple of hours away at their places and my mind wants me to get back home immediately.

Why is this mind driving me all the time back to my home? Particularly when, in my home, there is no immediate enveloping of love and spoiling me silly and I have to be by and large on my own with only our dog for company. Despite that, I love to be back home sitting on my favourite sofa, recliner or the chair at the computer and sleep on my well used and contoured-to-my-body-shape mattress on the old bed under the familiar comforter.

And in the answer to that question lies the definition to today’s topic. “The comfort zone is a state within which a person feels at ease, familiar, and in control, and experiences low anxiety. A person in this state uses a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.” Every man is the king of his castle. The key word here is “castle”. The ruler in a castle is the King, right? Well, it’s important for a man – let’s say just some retired bloke who picks his nose for a career, to have someplace where HE is in charge. He pays the bills, works or not at all, takes care of his family or is taken care of by them – and by jove, his home is HIS CASTLE! Voila, that is his COMFORT ZONE.  So, what I do to expand my comfort zone is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable in other people’s comfort zones!

This topic was suggested by Maxi and me for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently eight of us write on the same topic every Friday.  I hope that you enjoy my contribution to that effort.  The seven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi, PadmumShackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!


Posted in Blogging, Friendship, Gratitude, Relationships, Writing | 11 Comments

Sorry, Wrong Number!

Wrong number

I have been trying to speak to a friend in South India on the telephone without any success the last two weeks. Every time I called, I would get a message that his phone was switched off.   My imagination working overtime,  I finally spoke to him yesterday by getting another mutual friend to go over to his place to get him to call me back.

My friend’s phone has really been switched off for the most unusual of reasons. He has been getting calls from parents of prospective brides wanting to speak to the person who had advertised in the classified matrimonial advertisement columns in a popular South Indian news paper. My friend a male of my age happily married the last almost half a century with no one else in the family looking for a bride, just got fed up with so many calls coming, kept his phone switched off  and trooped up to the newspaper’s office to complain.

Two Sundays ago, Sundays are when the matrimonial ads appear, a very alluring ad had indeed been inserted by parents of a very eligible bachelor looking for a bride, giving a telephone number to contact instead of the usual post box number. The problem was that the number had a different last digit,  a printer’s devil.  One digit made all the difference.

The inside story is that the original advertiser noticed the error only after a whole week had gone by as the last digit that got changed was 7 instead of 1. That person had also come to the newspaper’s office to get a rectification which the paper had readily agreed to by inserting another ad free of charge but that could happen only the next Sunday.

In the meanwhile, every time my friend switched on the phone, he would get calls from anxious parents of girls wanting to know why the phone had been switched off!

My friend doesn’t know when he will stop getting calls from anxious parents!  He has now got himself another phone connection  and that number is now being passed along among all his contacts.

Posted in Humor | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

Ippadikku, A Short Film.


My readers will recollect my blog post on the postcard that I received and how that post led me to make two new young friends.

Subsequent to the meeting at my home the three of us had another occasion to meet at a neighbourhood school where the film was screened for children and I was asked to share my experiences with the Indian postal system. It was a memorable occasion, one about which I wish that I had blogged but one that will always stay in my memory for such excitement with primary school children.

The film has been winning awards subsequently and the one above is the latest and I take this opportunity to congratulate Shiva and Jagan for their wonderful achievement. I wish that they should make more films and get more accolades.

Posted in Blogging, Friendship, Movies, Relationships | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Love’s Labour Lost.

This topic was suggested by Maria the gaelikaa for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently seven of us write on the same topic every Friday. This is part of a series of Shakespeare titles that Maria had come up with.  I hope that you enjoy my contribution to that effort.  The six other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaMaxi, and Shackman and The Old Fossil.  We have a new blogger Lin at Dun-Na-Sead joining us this week and I extend her a hearty welcome to the LBC. I also understand that Padmum will recommence posting from this week. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!

In the original play, the friends lose the women on whom they expend so much labour because the women are called back to Paris after the short visit. That is why the title for the play as, none of them gain a woman.

All of them however have a chance of regaining the affections of the women if they either go to Paris or if the ladies come back to Navarre.


In my personal story, the loss is permanent despite having accepted each other completely and in the process having completed each other as well.   There was only gain for forty years of marriage and before that eight years of friendship. It has been five years plus since I lost my love and there is not a day that goes by without me regretting that loss. I do feel that I am incomplete.


Posted in Blogging, Nostalgia, Relationships, Writing | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Combat Of Shadows.


When I was with my friends Neena and Anil in Delhi during the second week of November, while we were discussing books, Anil suggested that I read Combat of Shadows, a book by Manohar Malgonkar. He did this because he knew about my own involvement with the tea plantations in Assam in my late teens and also because I had met the author in his retirement at his jungle retreat up in the hills from Belgaum. I had gone there with a friend who was related to Malgonkar and I found the famous author to be a gracious host and a great raconteur. He insisted that we spend a night up there in the wilderness and it is an experience that I have not forgotten yet.

I had read A Bend In The Ganges, The Princess and A Teller Of Tales during my fiction reading days. Malgonkar was a very readable writer and his stories always very realistic and gripping.

Anil had fond memories of Belgaum where he was posted during his stint in the army and has read some of the other books by Malgonkar. He went searching for the book in his vast library and came up with a copy that was so old that I was scared to turn the pages lest they disintegrate.  I straight away ordered for a copy to be delivered to my home in Pune and started to read it on my return and have been able to finish reading it only last night.  I was unable to read it in one shot like I normally would when reading fiction because the story simply did not move fast enough for me.  Having personally experienced many situations like what the protagonist faces in the story, I could almost anticipate developments and that continued right up to the end.

For all that, for someone not very familiar with the tea plantation life during the times when men from Britain still worked there, and also not familiar with Anglo Indians of those days, the book would make for a very readable experience.  Malgonkar is a master storyteller and his command over the English language is admirable.  I would recommend it to Indians and Brits of about my age who would like a bit of nostalgia for the good old days of British and immeidate post colonial India and Tea.

Posted in Books / Reading, History, Nostalgia, Writing | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Statue For Gandhi in London.

gandhi statue

The Indian Weekly magazine Outlook, has a regular feature that publishes some letters to the editors From the the foreign press. This column is called “Par Avion” and this week has this letter in the Daily Telegraph featured;

Say Statue.

On Meghnad Desai’s call for donations to erect a Gandhi statue in Parliament Square,  as Chri­stopher Hitchens poin­ted out, one of the main reasons for Pakistan splitting from India was Gandhi’s well-advertised portrayal of a sle­epy, rural future for India after independence. This cultish ideal alienated Muslims who, understandably, wanted to enjoy the benefits of progress and did not want to be dominated by a spinning wheel-toting Hindu holy man who rejec­ted modernity. Gandhi’s insensitivity led to the split…. There are more than three times as many Muslims in Britain as there are Hindus, two-fifths of them of Pakistani descent. Agai­nst this background, what greater provocation could we dream up than to immortalise Gandhi outside the Palace of Westminster?


I am not a great fan of Gandhi and am not bothered one way or the other about a statue for him in London.  In fact the one already at  Tavistock Square featured above is quite a nice one.  We have enough problems with Indian politicos spending fortunes of statues for their heroes. Here are just two samples; One in Gujarat and the other in my home state Maharashtra.  At least the proposed statue in London will be paid for by private donations and not taxpayers’ funds.

I just want to point out something to Mr. McCrystal and hopefully, his hero Mr. Hitchens, wherever he may be now. He claims that the Muslims went to Pakistan to enjoy the benefits of progress. If they did why are there more Pakistani Muslims in the UK than Indian Hindus? And most of those Hindus are either immigrants or descendants of the Ugandan Indians or the highly educated and prosperous Indian professionals. And Mr. McCrystal, you will do well to study how much progress the UK Muslims have made in the UK and compare it to the progress made by the UK Hindus there.

No, Mr. McCrystal, by all means object to the money being spent on a statue for Gandhi, I will heartily support you, even if it is privately raised, as it could surely be put to better use elsewhere, but use some logic for the reason for objecting. And just to make it a little more interesting for this debate, do you think that the Hindus in the UK will object to a statue of Jinnah being put up in London?  And do you think that the Muslims there will be able to raise the funds if they wanted to?

And Mr. McCrystal, between the two countries, which do you think has rejected modernity?

Posted in History, India/Pakistan, Patriotism, Politics, Religion, Sarcasm, Sociology, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

India, My Beloved India!


Just about every visitor to India has said that India is a land of contrasts and most of them do not stop with that and go on to use many other adjectives.

For the purpose of this post, I shall restrain myself to the one about it being a land of contrasts.

The Hindu, one of India’s oldest newspapers has these two article in the same issue.

Child Marriage Still Rampant.

Muslim Girls Can Marry At Fifteen.

Do I need to elaborate? If I do, I will promptly be called a Hindu fundamentalist with anti Muslim biases. So, I leave my readers to come to their own conclusions.

Posted in Family, Religion, Sociology | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

The Art of Stillness : Adventures In Going Nowhere. A Review.

Pico Iyer book_

Pico Iyer‘s pedigree has always fascinated me and I have tried to read as much of his writings as possible. He is half Iyer, the Surname/Caste to which I belong, born and brought up in the UK and the USA and married to a Japanese, living partly in Japan and most importantly his very odd for a man of Indian origin, the name Pico, is enough to intrigue me.

His travel writing has always been rather impersonal and so when I came to know about this book in which he has essentially tried to expound the virtues of meditation, I was intrigued enough to get it imported as the Indian edition is still not available here.

The plus points of the book – Most unexpectedly, short, just 96 pages, and I was able to finish reading and absorbing it in one day’s intermittent reading. The style of writing is like as though the author is speaking to you, which is not surprising as this apparently followed his TED talks on the subject and the book has been published by TED Talks. The language is not shrouded in fancy philosophical or spiritual mumbo jumbo.

The minus points of the book – For me, that is someone who has been a serious meditator for over 36 years, the approach to the subject is flippant, almost as though one can just casually become much less stressed by just sitting around and going nowhere. I must however concede that the book may not be addressed to my kind of meditators. Even for non meditators, a little more depth and seriousness with some critical research would have achieved the end that Iyer seeks more lucidly.

While reading him, he suddenly cited the book The Monk And The Philosopher, which promptly led me to the book which I had read four years ago. Having located it in my library upstairs, and started to read it, I find it difficult to keep it down and now have started to re-read it! Another instance of synchronicity!

Some interesting tidbits about Marcel Proust, Emily Dickinson, Leonard Cohen and Mahatma Gandhi lightened up the presentation and I would recommend this book with a rating, to anyone interested in slowing down his lifestyle just a bit.

Posted in Books / Reading, Meditation, People, Spiritualism, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

O2 – Mobile Phone Customer Service Or Disservice!


My brother Barath recently had a hilarious chat with a customer service representative of O2 which I reproduce below later.  Please be patient and read through to the end.  You will have a few laughs if nothing else.  He eventually got to speak to someone with half a brain, and established that he could actually get a 12 month contract to satisfy him for £13 per month.  So almost an hour was wasted with what he calls an ‘Indian sounding Abby’ to get no where. Naturally,  he sends the exchange to me being the Indian with half a brain in the family!

Knowing Barath as I do, O2 should sit up and take notice. Otherwise, he will probably use 3 for his phone service in future.

Welcome to O2. Someone will be with you soon.
info: at 17:26:55
You’re through to ‘O2 : Abby’
O2 : Abby: at 17:27:02
Hello, it’s O2 : Abby here. What can I do for you?
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:27:31
Hi Abbey, I need to cancel my account as my contract has expired but I am stioll paying sa lot of money a month
O2 : Abby: at 17:27:55
I will check this for you.
O2 : Abby: at 17:28:20
??????????? is this the concerned number ?
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:28:29
O2 : Abby: at 17:28:58
As you haven’t said anything for a while, I’m going to close the chat. If you want to start a new chat, click here.
O2 : Abby: at 17:29:09
Sorry for last line
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:29:20
I have just responded to you, so what is the problem?
O2 : Abby: at 17:29:36
I am sorry for last line.
O2 : Abby: at 17:29:41
Please can you tell me the 2nd & 5th characters of your security answer?
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:30:01
O2 : Abby: at 17:30:28
I am sorry it’s not correct.
O2 : Abby: at 17:30:40
Please can you tell me the 2nd & 5th characters of your security answer?
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:31:04
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:31:42
Sorry it is ? and ?
O2 : Abby: at 17:32:05
I am sorry it’s incorrect.
O2 : Abby: at 17:32:18
Please help me with your full name.
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:32:24
Can you give me a hint of the password as I have several
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:32:32
Barath Rajgopaul
O2 : Abby: at 17:32:45
Thanks, HINT is xxxxx xxxx xxxxx
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:32:56
? and ?O2 : Abby: at 17:33:15
O2 : Abby: at 17:34:23
Have you mention 30 days notice period ?
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:34:48
Do not understand, I have mentioned nothing so far
O2 : Abby: at 17:35:40
Okay, There is 30 days notice before canceling the contract.
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:36:29
I may not wish to cancel the contract, but seeing as I have fulfilled my part of the contract for two years, why am I still paying £30 odd per month for my contract?
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:37:20
I should be offered a much a lower tariff but all I have seen is ecxtra charges
O2 : Abby: at 17:38:07
Do you see extra charges on bill, Shall I explain about that ?
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:38:45
No, I was in the US and used a separate cheap tariff (Reptel) but O2 charged me full fare for that anyway? Why?
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:38:57
Rebtel that is
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:40:05
Can you also please explain why when I phone O2 to talk to someone, I cannot get through as there is a long waitilng list
O2 : Abby: at 17:41:16
Shall I transfer this chat to concerned team ?
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:41:52
who would that be? I have tried this chat line before and all i get offered is to transfer the proble,
O2 : Abby: at 17:41:53
There is a wait time of 5-7 minutes
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:42:21
hoe does anyone ever resolve any problems with O2 if all we have to do is wait?
O2 : Abby: at 17:42:28
You wish to cancel this contract
O2 : Abby: at 17:43:17
No, I asked you about shall i explain your bill you haven’t answered that ,Yes.
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:43:21
You are not listening to what I am saying, I need to understand why my charges have not reduced, until I resolve that I do not know if I should cancel or not
O2 : Abby: at 17:43:45
Okay, I will explain you everthing.
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:43:49
Why am I paying £30 plus when my contract has finished?
O2 : Abby: at 17:43:57
Do you have phone handy ?
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:44:05
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:44:07
call me
O2 : Abby: at 17:44:27
Okay I will send you text please confirm me that.
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:44:44
go ahead
O2 : Abby: at 17:45:43
Please confirm the text which i’ve sent to you.
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:45:54

O2 : Abby: at 17:45:59
O2 : Abby: at 17:46:43
Okay you have taken this contract on 20/11/2012 right ?
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:46:55
O2 : Abby: at 17:47:21
So, contract end will be 19/11/2014
O2 : Abby: at 17:48:15
Okay for canceling this contract you must tell us before 30 days to cancel this contract.
O2 : Abby: at 17:49:04
If you did not make 30 days notice than contract will be continuously running.
O2 : Abby: at 17:49:40
If you make request today the this contract will end after 30 days .
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:49:46
That is a rip off, you should be informing me of a revised tariff after the two yeears
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:50:14
Is there an ongoing tariff for continuing if I did not cancel and if so what is the tariff?
O2 : Abby: at 17:51:03
It is mention on your contracts terms and conditions.
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:51:48
What is the ongoing tariff or the same tariff goes on forever?
O2 : Abby: at 17:52:28
Same tariff
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:52:34
You are giving me little information all you are telling me is what I sigened up for two years ago
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:52:57
why should I pay over £30 when I have paid for the phone cost poover two years?
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:53:20
I can ge a tariff around £10 per month for ongoing use
O2 : Abby: at 17:53:54
There will be charge for only airtime not for device plan.
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:54:26
so what will I pay monthly for device, I already have the device
O2 : Abby: at 17:55:24
You need to pay for cost of tariff only.
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:56:08
I am getting frustrated, so what will I have to pay monthly for the tariff and why have I npt been informed of the revised tariff?
O2 : Abby: at 17:56:59
I am checking this for you.
Barath Rajgopaul: at 17:58:17
It would seem to me that O2 do not advise long term users of their choices, they just hope that no one will notice that two tears have goen but people will coninue t pay an exorbitant amount for nothing
you dont get it, I do not want to cancel I want to know how I can keep the contract going without paying this huge amount a montyh which included paying for the device
Barath Rajgopaul: at 18:01:29
Should O2 as a responsible supplier not inofrm people of their choices when the contract expires?

Q1 12 Unlimited+ 24M 36
O2 : Abby: at 18:02:21
Unlimited Mins / Unlimited Texts / 24 MTH / £36.00 / New International Rates / Q1 / 12
O2 : Abby: at 18:02:21 O2 : Abby: at 18:03:24
Is your current tariff
O2 : Abby: at 18:04:08
If you wish to continue you need to pay for this tariff.
Barath Rajgopaul: at 18:04:57
No I can get a much better tariff than this elsewhere, I have copied all our conversation and will be posting this on facebook as I think that this is appalling.
Barath it is already mentioned during the contact taking time in terms and condition.
Barath Rajgopaul: at 18:06:45
You have been no help whatsoever, I will try and call O2 tomorrow to resolve this. This is for your tariff only.
Barath Rajgopaul: at 18:07:57
I have been chatting to you since 1726, it is now 1806 and what a waste of time it has been thank you.
when 24 monthe of contract is completed there is no need to pay for phone.
Barath Rajgopaul: at 18:09:04
So why I do have to continue paying £36 from now on?
O2 : Abby: at 18:09:09
I am trying to explain you that we are not taking any extra charges. Have you given up?
O2 : Abby: at 18:13:03
I am sory that you feel this way.
O2 : Abby: at 18:13:31
No, I was just checking this with my superior, It was my bad.
O2 : Abby: at 18:14:04
I thought it was another type accoutn.
Barath Rajgopaul: at 18:14:21
I give up!
O2 : Abby: at 18:14:24
I am really sorry for this, Apologies
You can cancel it any time there will be no charges.
Barath Rajgopaul: at 18:15:28
You still dont get it, if I do not cancel can I get revised terms for muy ongoing contract, if so what?

Posted in Customer Service, Family, Humor | Tagged | 15 Comments