Sabbatical.

I am going away for about ten days to the South of India to attend to some family functions and to escape the dust that is sure to be generated during the remodelling of our kitchen.

I will be accessing my mail etc on my tablet but am unlikely to be blogging except for the weekly LBC posts which I have already written and programmed to be posted on due dates. I find it difficult to write in my tablet or mobile phone due to the small keyboards. If however something interesting can be posted, I will access someone else’s computer with a proper keyboard and blog.

I will catch up will all comments and also all the blog posts of the bloggers that I regularly visit on my return.

So, please comment on the few posts that are likely to appear on my blog during the next couple of weeks.

Thank you.

Posted in Blogging | Tagged , | 24 Comments

Airlift II.

This morning’s Business Standard had this interesting piece of information which my readers would like to read following my original post on Airlift.

How AI landed in Guinness
Business Standard | New Delhi Feb 01, 2016 09:04 PM IST

A just-released Hindi movie, Airlift, has brought the evacuation of over 117,000 Indians from Kuwait in the wake of the Gulf War back in focus after more than 25 years. Incidentally, the whole episode got listed in the Guinness World Records (GWR, then known as The Guinness Book of Records), thanks to the efforts of Jitender Bhargava, who headed the public relations department of Air India back then. After 20-odd days of issuing daily media updates about the operation, he wrote to the editor of GWR one day to find out if any record of evacuation by a civil airliner existed. The editor replied in the negative. So after the operation was over, Bhargava sent GWR a detailed letter on the evacuation and Guinness accepted it as a record. A few months later, a new edition of the GWR was published with Air India’s achievement duly listed.”

Posted in History, India/Pakistan, Management | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Sunday In The Park With George.

A mysterious topic for the LBC from Lin which will be solved when I get to read her post eventually. I am unusually late in posting this because I had been preoccupied with a number of domestic chores besides being saddled for most of the day with a very slow internet connection. I am now relatively free from chores and the internet speed is back up to par and so let me finish this very pleasant task before it becomes Saturday.

Let me first tackle the park. In my life there is a park that plays a very significant role in my social activities as well giving me a place to go for my constitutionals. This park was originally developed into what it promised to be and became by considerable social work by the citizens committee of our neighbourhood. All of us put in a lot of labour clearing brush and developing the gardens while also planting many trees in what was originally fallow farm land.
joggerspark 1
joggerspark 2

Our Residents Association is still very active in seeing that the park is maintained properly by the Municipal Authorities by proper liaisoning and even voluntary work when needed. Naturally we are all very proud of the park which has been nominated as the best park in our city.
vanryne

Now coming to George, my first George was Chennai’s Fort St. George.  As a young Boy Scout and subsequently as a Cadet of the National Cadet Corps, there were many visits that we were made to undertake to this great landmark of the city.  It gave me great pleasure to take my son and daughter in law a couple of years ago to show them this too.

The next George in my life came when I was admitted for a few months to The St. George’s Grammar School, Hyderabad where I learnt a motto which has inspired me ever since – “Perseverantia Omnia Vincit!”  (Perseverance Conquers All Things!)

And there was my classmate for two years in Business School who continues to be a good friend even after half a century, P M George who I affectionately called the Post Master General because of his initials.

When George visited me in Pune, I was recovering from a surgery and was unable to show off our park which is something that I do with all visitors from out of town.

I hope that Lin finds my take on the topic as interesting as I am very likely to find hers.

Ps. After writing this post it was brought to my notice that there is a Musical of the same title.  I am sure that Lin is likely to write on that but even had I known about it before I wrote my post, I would have still approached the topic the same way as I did.

Posted in Blogging, Friendship, History, India/Pakistan, Nostalgia | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Joy.

joy UK movie poster

I was conned into seeing this movie because of Robert De Niro and Jennifer Lawrence. The story, as inspiring as it is and heavily female oriented, could have been told in about 90 minutes and since that did not happen due to adding unnecessary characters to the tale, the picture takes over two hours to sit through and I found it tedious.

While Lawrence and Bradley Cooper deliver, all the rest of the cast are zombie like and most unappealing. Robert De Niro, despite being almost a cameo role, disappoings which is rare for him and I blame the story line and the fact that his part could have been done away with completely. I call this a con game that Bollywood usually indulges in when the producer knows that the finished product is likely to bomb and so throws in famous stars to add to the story line.

A very avoidable film.

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Airlift.

airlift

I distinctly remember the situation in 1990 when around 170000 Indians were stranded in Kuwait during invasion by Iraqi forces and the subsequent embargo imposed by the UN. I myself had just gone through a difficult transition in my career and location and this development where some friends of mine were stuck in Kuwait had me fretting and fuming about the games being played with innocent lives caught in a problem of not their making.

I was looking forward to seeing this film and today when Ramesh offered to come too, I went for a matinee show and came away from the experience feeling very proud to be an Indian. The story is based on a real story with two real life intrepid characters and some remarkable background work by a courageous and concerned bureaucrat. Pilots of the Air India, Indian Airlines and the Indian Air Force performed heroically too. A total of about 110,000 people were evacuated from Amman to Mumbai – a distance of about  4,200 km, by operating 488 flights in association with Indian Airlines, from 13 August to 11 October 1990 – lasting 59 days.

You can find the details of the film from the link to Wikipedia that I have given above. My own rating for the film is a 5/5 for remarkable acting by all the cast, excellent direction and top notch editing. A very gripping story told with remarkable skill and one can almost share the emotions throughout the film. If you are interested in a human interest story of such magnitude and heroism, do spare the 125 minutes to watch the film. You will not regret it.

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

It Is A Small World.

the-world-gets-very-small-after-a-160164

My newly made friend at the local park and I were exchanging notes on our pre retirement careers when I discovered that he had spent some time at Bahrain.  When I asked him if he had ever come across a name he literally jumped out of the bench and asked me how I knew him.

The name I took was of my late cousin Chandran who had spent three decades in Bahrain. my new friend Dev and his wife were good friends of both Chandran and his lovely wife Jyoti while at Bahrain, but as it would happen, when Dev left to pastures new in the Middle East, he lost touch and his coming across me to catch up on news of Chandran, Jyoti and their children was like a miracle for him.

It is a small world!

Posted in Family, Friendship, History | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Seenager!

SENIOR_CITIZENS_SP_2005052g

I received this in a group mail to my classmates from a classmate who, as you can see, is a seenager.

I am one of the people that he hangs around with and I am sure that most of my regular readers can find someone like him or may be they already are like him.

” I am a Seenager (Senior teenager).  I have everything that I wanted as a teenager, only 60 years later. I don’t have to go to school or work. I get an allowance every month. I have my own pad. I don’t have a curfew. I have a driver’s  licence and my own car. I have an ID that gets me into bars and the wine store.  I like the wine store best. The people I hang around with are not scared of getting pregnant, they aren’t scared of anything, they have been blessed to live this long… why be scared? And I don’t have acne.

Life is Good! Also, you will feel much more intelligent after reading this, if you are a Seenager.

Brains of older people are slow because they know so much.  People do not decline mentally with age, it just takes them longer to recall facts because they have more information in their brains, scientists believe.  This also makes you hard of hearing as it puts pressure onyour inner ear.  Much like a computer struggles as the hard drive gets full, so too, do humans take longer to access information when their brains are full. Researchers say this slowing down process is not the same as cognitive decline.  The human brain works slower in old age, said Dr. Michael Ramscar, but only because we have stored more information over time.  The brains of older people do not get weak.  On the contrary, they simply know more. Also, older people often go to another room to get something and when they get there, they stand there wondering what they came for.  It is not a memory problem; it is nature’s way of making older people do more exercise. SO THERE!!

I have more friends I should send this to, but right now I can’t remember their names. So, please forward this to your friends; they may be my friends, too.  (Please also share with your spouse.)

Posted in Humor, People | Tagged | 21 Comments

First Impressions.

first impression-Quote

I want to share a story which has been inspired by a post by Nick.

For many years now I have been seeing an elderly gentleman briskly walking every evening in our local joggers’ park. I have often heard him talk in Tamil with a companion while walking but somehow I kept my distance as having come to know that he was a retired senior government official, I thought it prudent that I don’t get involved and let off my favourite invectives about our bureaucrats.

Another friend who has been friendly with him however had other ideas and recently introduced the two of us to each other and I found that he was a person well worth knowing and not at all the ogre I had expected him to be.  We now meet regularly at the park and try and spend some time together as well as we get to speak our mother tongue Tamil which otherwise we don’t get to speak much.  We have also found that there are many things that we have in common and so the friendship is blossoming quite well.

I am glad that I made friends with him and I am also glad that some of the dire things that Nick talks about have not taken place, at least in this instance.

Posted in Blogging, Friendship, People, Philosophy | Tagged , | 19 Comments

How To Be Alone – II

solitude450

I had promised Cheerful Monk that I would review the book once I had finished reading it and here it is.  I hope that Anjali agrees with my conclusion.

I am disappointed.

Sara Maitland has taken the theme that she loves being alone and would like other people to enjoy being alone too; but present societies consider this preference as countercultural. This may well be true of Western societies but I do come from India where it is anything but countercultural. That India, particularly urban India has increasingly become Westernised considered, the vast majority of Indians would not consider going off to live alone or on retreats as being odd.

Having said that, there are as many pressures here for single people to get married as there are in the West and as many snide comments about singles made to them or behind their backs as there apparently are in the West.

Ms. Maitland has collected many quotes from many authors and her suggested reading list for those looking to be alone include Henry Thoreau, Philip Koch, Isabel Colegate and Peter France. Frankly, I have no intention to read any further on the subject as nothing new has come up in her work and I doubt that I will learn anything new from the others though I must say that I have always found Thoreau’s Walden a fascinating read.

Unless you are now not alone and are being forced into or voluntarily planning to go it alone for the rest of your life and are looking for a DIY book, you can safely give this book a bye.

Posted in Blogging, Books / Reading, People | Tagged , , , , | 22 Comments

Of Pumpkins, Witches, And The Whole Nine Yards

Today’s LBC topic comes courtesy Lin whose ingenuity can floor me without much effort. Here is an example of that!
pumpkin

That should amuse you Tammy!

Pumpkins are quite popular in India too but not quite the way they are with Charlie Brown. They are used in curries, chutneys and to make some delicious sweetmeats. My personal choice is the use of them in Sambaar. Apart from mixing it with rice, I also drink it like soup whenever it is made.

Witches and I have had nothing to do with each other ever. The only time that a witch came into my life was when Frank Sinatra introduced me to:

And that brings me to the idiom ‘the whole nine yards’. I personally don’t use it though I am familiar with it. I prefer ‘the whole jing bang lot’. But what ‘nine yards’ gets me to think of is this.
9 yard sari

Ladies from Maharashtra, and the Southern states wear these 9 yard saris, which are longer than the normal 6 yard saris which would be worn like this:
6 yd sari

Elegant wear aren’t they?

Posted in Blogging, Humor, Music, Nostalgia, People | Tagged , , | 15 Comments