Does That Sleigh Have Brake Lights, Mr Claus?

Lin at her creative best again comes up with today’s LBC topic. It is mid summer here in India where I live and a sleigh, brake lights or no brake lights is far removed from our thoughts.

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In any case, in India, Santa Claus travels by many vehicles and once, in Kerala, when I was much younger, I was persuaded to dress up like him and visit the children riding on an elephant. I can assure you that it was not an experience that I would like to undergo again and, no, the elephant did not have brake lights.

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Even in our Himalayan regions where snow is available in plenty, Mr. Claus is not known to come in a sleigh and so, I am afraid that I have to stop this post with that little story about my experience.

Posted in Blogging, Humor, Nostalgia, Religion | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

I Think My Dancing School Diploma Just Expired.

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I don’t think that Lin knows enough about me as otherwise, she may not have suggested this topic for the weekly LBC post that she, Shackman write every Friday and some others occasionally do.

I was still dancing gentle two steps etc and the occasional hop or swing to celebrate something or the other till the end of the last century.

End of year 2000 and beginning of year 2001 saw both my already replaced hip joints being revised. Since then I have had to be careful with them and so all funny business has stopped and now that one of them has been re-revised that is, revised the second time, I am doubly careful.

So, yes, my dancing school diploma expired a long time ago.

Posted in Blogging, Music | Tagged , , | 27 Comments

Aging.

I can’t remember what prompted me to suggest this topic for the weekly LBC post but having done it, I shall gamely try and write something meaningful about it.

Oddly enough, the last week’s post on The Old Days somehow leads naturally to this topic as after all it is the aged who want to talk or write about them.

Bar a few, my regular readers are all senior citizens and there is little that I can say that will be new to them as, like me, they too would be quite up to date on the subject due to personal experience.

The one thing that I notice often in my own experience of aging is the tendency to gloss over unpleasant things that have happened in the past and to re-live and exaggerate the good things that have happened. I wonder if this is normal but have always hesitated to ask anyone.

Then there is the question of what is in store for the future and whenever that thought occurs to me I go back to similar situations in the past and say, that like those things got sorted out, any new development in the future too will sort itself out.

Having seen some very unpleasant things happening to some people after their death, I prepared my will and got it properly attested by a Physician and witnessed by two independent witnesses. The people who need to know about it, know where it is so that after my departure there are no problems like those that I have seen others go through.

Other than these observations, I really cannot think of anything more to write on the subject. Can you? If you can, please do leave your comments which I will value.

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Posted in Blogging, People, Philosophy | Tagged | 35 Comments

The Old Days.

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I bet Shackman who suggested this topic for the weekly LBC post will post about his motorcycling days!

I too could but I have a very big problem which I shall share with my readers which will explain why I am not sharing those particular motorcycling days.

My problem is simply this; What old days? I simply have too many of them in my life. Sequentially, my childhood, boyhood, adolescence, early employment/bachelor days, early married life, parenthood, and so on and so forth and in between so many different places where I / we lived, so many different sets of friends and experiences and so on and so forth again.

Now you see my problem?

I will just take one employer out of the few that I had worked for to explain.

The longest I worked for anyone was for a company with who I stayed for 23 years. I was posted on four different occasions in Mumbai with them each time, having to move into a new residence at a new locality. In the same company, I was also posted on two different occasions in Delhi with the same problems of different residences. Besides these six postings, we were posted once at Calcutta, once at Kerala and once and Bengaluru. In Bengaluru, we also had to shift residence on two occasions.

I can talk about each place of residence as being one of the old days!

Apart from those many moves, we set up home in Pune where we have stayed put for now over a quarter of a century and I can talk about the days when Pune was just an overgrown village, whereas now it is a big pulsing metropolis.

During the time we have lived in Pune, we also set up two temporary homes in Tamil Nadu where I had to attend to two important assignments which involved my staying there. Should I talk about those old days?

Do you see my problem?

 

Posted in Blogging, Family, History, Nostalgia | Tagged | 28 Comments

For Your Amusement.

Posted in Humor | Tagged , | 16 Comments

April Fool!

I just could not resist the temptation to suggest this topic for the weekly LBC post, as, it is a Friday which just coincidentally happens to be April Fools’ Day or All Fools’ Day as some would have it.

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Lest the cartoon mislead you, in India, apart from the April Fools day, which is a hangover from our colonial past, we have other festivals where pranks are played, the most popular one being Holi. In fact it was played just last week over here.

I am sure that all my readers would have participated in playing pranks on this day or having been victims of pranks. The one prank that we used to play in school on this day is indelible in my mind for it having caused a lot of problems for my mother who had to repair the damage done. We used to carve the letters AF on sliced raw potatoes, as a kind of imitation rubber stamp and smear fountain pen ink; yes, those days before ballpoint pens, on it to tap friends with that so that the shirts would carry AF stamp on them. Naturally, I would also carry a few such stamps and to get rid of the stamps was quite a chore for my mother.

Of late, on this day, I have been quite wary of prank calls and visits and so, I have become a totally useless fellow for pranks. Since I do not have grand children and others to urge me to participate, it is by default that the first of April simply passes by like any other day. In my time, even as an adult, I have been both perpetrator and victim but it has been many years since I participated as age has finally caught up with me.

To sign off, let me share a piece of nostalgia from the sixties of the last century, two very popular Bollywood stars, Shammi Kapoor and Saira Banu in a typical Hindi film song and dance routine from a film aptly titled April Fool. Shackman should know that I am quite capable of producing something like this too!

Posted in Blogging, Family, Friendship, Movies, Music | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

Of Easter Eggs And Hot Cross Bunnies

Once again, it was Lin who suggested this topic for this week’s LBC Friday post when a few of us write blog posts on the same topic. I marvel at the synchronicity of it all when I think back to her list without any dates, and the topic just neatly fitting into Good Friday!

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Before I come to write about Easter Eggs, let me address Hot Cross Buns. In India, due to our colonial English connection we call them buns and it is for the first time that I have come across them being called bunnies. Bunnies here would mean rabbits! So, please indulge me while I talk about buns rather than bunnies.

It was in Montessori School that I first heard of Hot Cross Buns. The school was run run by Christians and I wouldn’t be surprised if we were taught this during Easter. We were taught to sing the nursery rhyme there and not ever having seen or eaten one, I was quite confused about what it meant. At home, my parents decided to show me what it was and some buns were procured but to the best of my recollection they were neither hot nor did they have the crosses on them. It was much later when I was much older that I was able to see and eat a genuine hot cross bun. In India, it is still extremely rare to come across hot cross buns except during Easter time, though cold buns without the cross on them are available in just about every grocery shop. Most grocers even sell buns for making hamburgers at home, but again, without the crosses on them.

The song that got me interested in Hot Cross Buns is this one.

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Strangely enough, my son Ranjan had brought some easter eggs just last week from a friend of his who runs a patisserie in one of our neighbourhood shopping centers. I thoroughly enjoyed the marzipan shell and not so much the toffees inside.

Easter eggs again were totally unknown to me till my early thirties. I had imagined that easter eggs were some kind of pastry made to look like eggs till then. When I was posted to a small  town in Kerala in the mid seventies, the local baker had made easter eggs for easter and that was the first time that I understood what they meant.

Posted in Blogging, Food, Language, Music | Tagged , , | 34 Comments

Bamboo Bicycles.

I came across two interesting characters making bicycles using bamboo frames and I share both with my readers.

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The first one is from Ghana and this article will give you all the information on the contraption.

The next one is an Indian and you can see his story in this youtube clip.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Ring Those Bells.

This week’s Friday LBC topic has been suggested by Lin who has already written the post well in advance. Her take on the subject is very different from what mine will be, due primarily to cultural differences.

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My earliest recollection of ringing those bells was of ringing a bell attached to the handlebar of a tricycle. As I grew up larger bells with different tones came into play just as small bicycle replaced the tricycle and larger bicycles kept pace with my growth. Our mother would wait eagrely for the sound of those bicycle bells to announce our return from school, Boy Scout meets etc and since those days, there were so few automobiles around that the bells really were useful but now I don’t remember having heard one in the last fifteen years or so.

Ernest Hemingway too came into my life at a later stage with his For Whom The Bell Tolls, but, I don’t think that this post should go anywhere near it.

In India, the phrase is used in many contexts and different meanings can be attributed depending on each context.

For instance, in Tamil, when we say, “He rings his bell”, we mean that he is boasting. In Hindi when we say “His bell has rung”, it would indicate that either he is in some deep trouble or that he is dead.

There are also other sayings like when we want to say that the school bell has rung to indicate that the neighbourhood school has begun its classes and it would also indicate a time.

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Other uses are common with the West, like when the ice cream vendor comes along ringing his bell or other vendors do too. Each has a distinct tone and regular customers immediately recognise who has come with what.

You would have seen how different my post is from Lin’s and I hope that Shackman’s take will be totally different too.

Posted in Blogging, Books / Reading, Customer Service, India/Pakistan, Nostalgia | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

Neerja, The Movie.

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This Hindi movie was released in our theaters about a month ago but due to various unavoidable reasons, I was unable to see it despite great reviews and recommendations from my film going critical friends. Luckily, it is still running and when my friend Ramesh suggested we go, that is what I did with him earlier this evening, and I am glad that I did.

The central character for whom this movie is named was a real life person who gave her life up to save passengers from hijackers of a Pan Am airplane in Karachi in 1986. You can read all about the real life person here at Wikipedia.

The movie has stayed very close to the real life story but for obvious reasons has focussed mostly on the hijack. Technically superbly made and with excellent photography, direction and acting from all concerned, the movie is gripping and at the same time very disturbing. The latter because the helplessness of the innocent passengers, the cruelty and fanaticism of the hijackers and the tense situation have all been portrayed so tautly that one cannot but be disturbed.  It did not help that there were just eight viewers in the hall and the air conditioning was too cold for comfort!

Despite knowing the storyline in advance, the movie is a very watchable experience, particularly to see Sonam Kapoor in action in the lead role.I recommend it highly for those of my readers who have not seen it,

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments