Neighbours.

om-dr-sch

This is a photograph of a real driving school located just opposite to my residence and I see the owner/instructor every day as also some of his students on and off.

A regular feature of this driving school is the very obvious discomfort shown by some actors that I can observe from my veranda but cannot hear.

When the instructor is punctual, the student is sometimes delayed and the former frets and fumes. There are other occasions however when the student lands up only to find that the instructor is either away instructing another student or has not yet turned up. The student in turn frets and fumes and very visibly gets agitated. Waiting for a few minutes the student inevitably leaves the vicinity and the frustration can be very visible. The dance takes place when the instructor almost always lands up no sooner than the student leaves, only to be told by the watchmen located just a few feet away from the board that the student had come and had just left, leaving the instructor much annoyed and frustrated.

Apart from this particular drama another kind also unfolds in the mornings on some days. Three of my neighbours have school going children.  Each goes to a different school but the pick up point for all for their respective school buses is just near this sign board.

The drama is when the bus comes and the child has not yet come.  The driver, honks his horn looks up and down to see if any signal comes from some balcony and after a few moments, moves away.  Within seconds of the bus leaving, the child will appear at the spot and frantically ask the watchman if the bus has come and gone!

In the alternative, the child will wait and the bus will not come for some time after its due time.  The child will go home and get one parent to take it to the school.  No sooner that departure takes place, the bus will arrive!

Real life entertainment for me for which I don’t have to pay for the pleasure of viewing.

This week’s Friday LBC post topic was suggested by me.  I had something else in mind when I suggested that topic but I thought that my readers will find this post more amusing.  Please visit Shackman and Pravin to get their points of view on the same topic.

Posted in Customer Service, Humor, People | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Magnificent Seven.

mag7

I haven’t seen a blue blooded Western with gunmen, guns, horses, Indians, saloons etc, in a long long time. When I found that Denzel Washington was acting in a remake of The Magnificent Seven, I just couldn’t stop fretting till I was able to see it earlier today.

Like I so often find, the theater was almost empty and I am glad that I went today as with that kind of reception, it is almost certain that it will be taken off tomorrow. I don’t have to fret any more.

Denzel Washington is the only name that I could recognize in the entire team and he did not disappoint me. None of the others did either.

I have forgotten how many times I saw the 1960 version with heavy weights like Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve Mcqueen, and Charles Bronson in it. It was certainly more than four but quite by how many more, I can’t remember. It was that long ago.

The basic plot remains the same but the locale, characters and action differs from the 1960 version. The difference however does not take away anything from the attraction that such a story has for viewers.

I enjoyed it thoroughly as did my friend Ramesh. Both of us were thrilled to have seen another Western after such a long time.

If you have not already seen, it and you like to watch Westerns, this should be a ‘must see’ film on your list.

 

Posted in Movies, Nostalgia | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

40 Questions.

Kylie has inspired me to do this exercise. She has already done so at her blog in two instalments.

1. Are you named after anyone?
Yes, Ramana Maharshi.

2. When was the last time you cried?
I don’t remember.

3. Do you like your handwriting?
Yes.

4. What is your favourite lunch meat?
I am a vegetarian.

5. Do you have any kids?
Yes. One. A son.

6. Do you use sarcasm?
Yes, but rarely. It often fails!

7. If you were another person, would you be friends?
You bet!

8. Do you still have tonsils?
Yes. In my childhood, whenever they acted up I was asked to gargle with warm salted water and that seems to have kept them under control.

9. Would you bungee jump?
No. Both my hip joints have been replaced and revised. Can’t afford to indulge in such adventures.

10. What is your favourite cereal?
Rice.

11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
Yes. I wear shoes with laces only for walking as an exercise. I wear pumps otherwise.

12. Do you think you are strong?
Mentally yes but due to my age and the hip problems, physically not.

13. What is your favourite ice cream flavour?
Cashew nuts and resins.

14. What is the first thing you notice about people?
Their eyes.

15. Red or pink?
Neither. Blue.

16. What do you least like about yourself?
My pot belly.

17. What colour pants and shoes are you wearing?
White pajama bottom and black flip flop slippers.

18. What was the last thing you ate?
Amul Dark Chocolate.

19. What are you listening to right now?
Sound of traffic on the road.

20. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?
Blue.

21. Favourite Smell?

Petrichor.

22. Favourite sport to watch?

Cricket.

23. Who did you last talk to?

My friend Ramesh enquiring about his health.

24. Real hair colour?

Grey.

25. Do you wear contacts?

No. I however wear corrective spectacles for myopia.  Another answer could be, I try not to wear them down, but sometimes it just happens.

26. Favourite food?

Tamil Brahmin cuisine.

27. Scary movies or happy endings?

Happy endings. I don’t watch scary movies.  The world is scary enough as it is.

28. Last movie you watched?

Parched.  I have written a blog post on it,

29. What colour shirt are you wearing?

White Kurta.

30. Summer or winter?

Neither.  Monsoon is my favourite season.

31. Hugs or kisses?

Both thank you.

32. Favourite sweet food?

Kulfi Ice Cream.

33. What book are you currently reading?

Theatres Of Democracy, Between The Epic And The Everyday  by Shiv Visvanathan, Awaken Bharata, A Call For India’s Rebirth by David Frawley and A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.

34. What is on your mouse pad?

It is blank.

35. What did you last watch on TV?

Crime Patrol. Dial 100.

36. Rolling Stones or Beatles?

Beatles every time thank you.

37. Favourite sound?

Falling rain drops.

38. What is the farthest you have travelled?

Atlanta, USA.

39. Do you have a special talent?

Yes, lazing around.

40. Where were you born?

Dr. Patro’s Maternity Home, Bombay.

Posted in Blogging | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Parched.

parched

Parched should easily qualify to be the mother of all Indian Chick Flicks.

This film earned three wins and a nomination in International Film Festivals.

I understand that it has not done very well at the box office in India during the first few days of its release, despite the subject being of great national importance in the present day India where feudalism and patriarchy is increasingly under pressure from modernists. I hope that it will change soon and more people here will see it for the message that it carries. Hope for Indian women and shame for Indian men.

It is a powerful story dramatically brought alive on the screen by excellent direction, acting, editing and photography. It would help if one has been to this part of India and has some knowledge of local customs and practices including bride price being paid instead of the more common dowry. If one does not have that background, it does not matter as many universal truths are tackled effectively.

As I have been saying in my recent posts on Indian films, there is a dramatic shift in such films being made and I am very excited about this development. I hope to get to see more such films in the future.

If you possibly can get to see the film, please do not miss it.

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Lady!

This post’s inspiration comes from an exchange in Cheerful Monk’s Post at her blog on Shoe Laces.  Please click on the image to get a larger resolution.

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Synchronicity again and my friend Mazo posted this song on facebook. Thank you Mazo.

Posted in Blogging, Humor, Music | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Bridget Jones’s Baby.

bridget-jones-baby-poster-slide

Still The Lucky Few in her comments on my post Akira had suggested that I review some chick flicks and here is one!

While it can stand alone on its own merits, it still would be better if the viewer has seen Bridget Jones’s Diary. The action is ten years later to the diary film and some of the characters are the same.

It would also help if you can easily follow the English accents/innuendos if you are used to only Americanese.

Bridget Jones’s Baby is difficult to pigeon hole. It is a chick flick, tragicomedy cum standard bearer for feminism, single parenthood, same sex relationships etc.

With so much going for it, it has to entertain viewers and that it does quite well subject to the provisos contained in the second and third paragraphs of this post. I was very entertained and was glad that I spent the little over two hours of a Sunday watching it. If you can catch it, do see it.

Professional performances by the entire team should be lauded and the concluding scene of the newspaper headline suggesting that Daniel Cleaver is alive would indicate that the franchise is already working on a sequel!

Posted in Blogging, Movies | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Offspring.

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I am given to understand that the parents on this photograph kept trying till they got their heart’s desire of two sons. That reminded me of my parents’ desire to keep trying till they got a daughter.

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The next photograph is circa 1967 when all the siblings were still single.  From left to right Arvind the son my parents got immediately after me, our father, Padmini the daughter that they kept trying for, our mother, yours truly and Barath the number three of the family.  Three brothers and a sister finally and you can imagine what a privileged position that is to be!  I have always told Arvind that life for the two of us would have been very different had he been born a girl!

Between the four siblings we produced five boys and three girls! I shall save a post for those eight for another day.

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Fast forward circa end 2012 when the four of us siblings got together again at Chennai where Arvind and Padmini have settled down. From left to right, Arvind, Barath, yours truly and Padmini. Not a great photograph but enough to show that the fourth generation, ie the grand children of the siblings have come into the scene. Six grand children are missing, being in the UK, Bangalore and in Delhi. Four boys and two girls away, leaving two boys and two girls with us at the reunion. Totally six boys and four girls. Two children, my son Ranjan and Padmini’s daughter Nitila have no children. The ratio has improved but still not the ideal fifty-fifty, but I don’t think that there is any scope for that in the future.

When the whole family including all the sons and daughters in law and all the grandchildren get together again, I hope soon, I shall write again with photographs.

Posted in Family, Relationships | Tagged | 18 Comments

Profit Based Healthcare.

'You're right, we did make a profit.'

‘You’re right, we did make a profit.’

What a topic to write on! One of my pet grouses is the modern medical profession’s obsession with profits rather than patient welfare and very obligingly, Shackman has suggested this week’s Friday LBC topic to enable me to let off some steam! You may find another blogger Pravin also writing on this subject.

To start with, for those who may be interested about the medical profession in India, there is a remarkable book written by a group of doctors exposing some of the malpractices prevalent, reading which is a hair raising experience. I have read this a few times to stress points in discussions with some friends and am quite shocked at this knowledge being quite well prevalent but more astonishingly accepted as a fact of life. This drives me to believe that one has to be very lucky to find ethical medical practitioners.

I will share with my readers two personal stories to give my take on the subject.

A very long time ago, both my replaced hip joints needed to be revised and the surgeon I had been recommended to perform the revisions recommended that I get them done at a famous hospital in our town. The first one went without incident and I was quite happy with the outcome. The second one done after just two months went off well but the recovery process from the surgery took a very peculiar route at the hospital. Doctors who had nothing to do with my case would visit me and make some general enquiries and disappear. It was at the time of settling the bill that I found that those visits were being billed to me and I simply refused to pay. When the administrator came to find out what had happened, I pointed out this to him asked him to check from my surgeon if these were called in for consultation by him. I told the administrator that I will not pay and he could do what he wanted and that I was perfectly willing to stay on in the hospital till the bill was brought for settlement without the additional charges. My surgeon who has since then become a personal friend also supported me and after much toing and froing, the bill was reduced. I paid and got discharged albeit later than I should have been.

Another revision became necessary after ten years and on my refusing to go the same hospital again, the same surgeon suggested that we arrange for it in another newer hospital where too he had accreditation and I readily agreed and it was a delightful experience.

I have written about the other incident with my frozen shoulder when I wrote about My Health.

If I had such unpleasant experiences, I have also had some very good experiences which too are brought out clearly in the two stories that I have shared above. There are many more concerning the experiences that I have had with my GP as well my late wife’s Cardiologist. I also had some very good experiences with specialists and another hospital where I had to take my late father. Moreover, I recently had a serious problem for which I had to consult a specialist who not only made home visits as an exception, but also was very fair in the charging of his fees and most importantly, he gave me a lot of confidence and in a very short time cured me too.

So, we do have the two ends of the spectrum operating here in India as is confirmed by others. While I have had experiences of both things like this report contents also happen here.

I am sure that Shackman has similar tales to tell having undergone some serious issues with medicine in the recent past. I also keep reading about some serious issues with the Pharma industry like this article in The Washington Post. There are a number of other horror stories about which my readers know and I look forward to comments on whether the both good and bad exists in their patches of green too.

I also look forward to seeing some appropriate music links from Shackman for this most unlikely topic for music!

Posted in Blogging, Family, Medicine | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Pink.

pink

Pink is high among the most powerful courtroom drama movies that I have seen including British and Hollywood films. I have written about other Indian films that are changing how Indian movie makers are changing and this is another instance of such a change. I am delighted that Indian movie producers are now willing to address serious social issues while keeping the commercial aspects in view as well. The issues raised are not only India specific as the gender issues are universal.  It is so pleasing to see no song and dance routines and idiotic and irrelevant foreign locales.

Pink’s  story is powerful because it projects reality without holding anything back and the direction is faultless. The background information is not shown till the titles start to roll at the end, but for all that, the presentation is excellent.  The viewers are kept glued to their seats without losing interest even for a moment.

While Amitabh Bachchan‘s performance can be justified due to his seniority in the trade, the three female leads, all new to me, and the young male characters, produce amazing performances. There is hope yet for the future of Indian films if such talent can be found and nurtured. The deliberate bringing together of girls from Delhi, Meghalaya and a Muslim is a very thoughtful idea to showcase reality and the producer must be complimented for that.

I was particularly impressed with one of the accused asking the cross examining lawyer “do you know who you are talking to?”, such a typically Delhi bravado, and in a different scene, his powerful politician uncle asking him to grow up and leave the trash behind.

I give it a five out of five rating and highly recommend viewing it to my readers.

PS. The residential colony that features prominently in the film is Sarva Priya Vihar where, we had lived between 1980 and 1983 when it was relatively new. I had gone there for old time’s sake two years ago and saw the house where we lived from the outside.

Posted in Movies, Sociology | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Irresistible Attraction.

Man kissing mature man's bald head

Man kissing mature man’s bald head

As I was going through my mail on my computer this morning, my son Ranjan who had come downstairs on some errand, came along behind me and planted a few kisses on top of my head, with a semi hug and disappeared as eerily as he had appeared.

This is not the first time that it has happened. He does this quite often, particularly when I am sitting on a sofa solving crossword puzzles in the mornings.

My daughter in love Manjiree is no less attracted to my head and will sneak up behind me when I am sitting on my recliner and reading to plant a few kisses and coo a bit before disappearing.

There must be something irresistible about a bald head with a friar’s fringe that attracts them to perform these rites on a regular basis.

Not to be left alone, Chutki will inevitably catch me when I am fast asleep by nosing around my fingers that may be at the edge of the bed. Having made her presence felt and heard me acknowledge that, she too will disappear to her place of rest.

I am not complaining. Just making an observation and feeling grateful about such nice things happening in my life on a regular basis!

Posted in Family, Gratitude, Relationships | Tagged | 13 Comments