Book Binder 2.

One comment on my earlier post My Book Binder wondering about the cost of binding books, leads me to write this post.

I use another method to make books last a bit longer by getting a transparent plastic cover put on them by a machine specially made for that purpose. This machine is operated by a rather eccentric shop keeper who sells books in our old city and would insist on leaving the book/s with him overnight or for a couple of days before he would find the time to cover and return the book.

This method is much cheaper but I have to go to the city to get it done once to leave the book there and once again to collect it.   I had a young associate who used to live close by to the shop who used to do this for me cheerfully.   Unfortunately this young man died two weeks ago and I  would now have to go myself. I am investigating possibilities of getting one of the machines and if I succeed, I will give it to a friend who runs a small lending library close to home who will be delighted to commercialise it.

Here is a specimen of such a plastic covered book.  You can see the plastic on the edges.

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My Book Binder.

I get paper back books not available as hard cover copies bound by a Book Binder about two Kms away from home. I have been doing this for a couple of decades. Due to parking problems near his shop however, I have stopped going there personally and send our help Mangal with whatever book that needs to be bound. This is more efficient as she lives just two doors away from his shop.

There are some books that I keep separately from my others for being on matters spiritual / religious and these are inevitably bound in black rexene covered cardboard covers like this one below.

I recently got a copy of the book Hindutva by Savarkar considered to be the guiding spirit of the Hindu Right movement in India.

Since only paper back was available I bought it and sent it to be bound in Black just like the one shown above. To ensure that there will no mistakes, I sent a black covered specimen along with the book with Mangal.

This is the original cover of the book.

The binder called me after he bound it to get it collected and on asking if he had followed instructions on covering it in black rexene, he said no he had not but had in saffron coloured rexene. On further enquiry and on expressing my disappointment, he said, that he could not bind the book in any other colour as the topic was Hindutva and Saffron is the colour of Hindus. This is what the bound book looks like now.

I quietly accepted defeat and have got the book now standing out among a host of black bound books.

Posted in Books / Reading, Customer Service, India, Religion | Tagged , | 19 Comments

Happy New Year.

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On old long syne.

On old long syne my Jo,
On old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect,
On old long syne.


Source for the Verse – Wikipedia.

Posted in Friendship, Gratitude | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Mumbai’s Local Trains.

This is a video of my God son Nitin and his wife Ragini dancing away at a get together last weekend at a club in a Mumbai suburb.

There is a unique story behing the get together which is so typically of Mumbai that I want to share it with my readers.

The common Mumbaikar depends on two modes of public transport the Mumbai suburban train service and the iconic BEST bus transport system.

Since punctuality is a characteristic of the Mumbaikar, s/he depends on punctual public transportation and neither disappoints. The same bus / train is boarded every day in the morning to reach one’s place of work while the return journey can be flexible.

Catching the same train every day and boarding the same coach everyday makes for some long lasting friendships and the get together that Ragini and Nitin attended was one organised by the group of people who board the same coach in the same train every day morning. While the boarders were all males, this get together was for them as well as all their family members. (Women commuters tend to board compartments specially reserved for them on each train.)

Regular commuters have a peculiar language for the train service like, local, special, non-stop express etc. They also have switch over facilities to catch different trains from one service to the other ie, from the Central to the Western systems. It is a fascinating subculture which includes, prayer groups, card playing groups, music lovers groups and so on.

Here is a link to another fascinating portal about the service.

Posted in Family, Friendship, India, People, Relationships, Sociology | Tagged , , | 8 Comments


It is perhaps fitting that the last post on the LBC weekly Friday outing is this strange subject. Last because, by mutual consent, the LBC has decided to stop writing every Friday on one subject to offer different points of view. While the LBC has been disbanded, Shackman and I have decided to continue to write every Friday on the same subject just to keep ourselves in practice. So, 2018 will have only two posts every Friday which in any case has been the case for the past few months. We are just formalising the truth of the demise of the LBC and the rebirth of a new Two On One effort.

I had never heard of Roswell and had to educate myself which I did thanks to Google Guru and Wikipedia class room. From this distance to me it appears to be a fascinating study of human behaviour. One mysterious event, some speculation by highly imaginative individuals and a legend has grown. I have nothing to add to what Wikipedia has taught me and am actually at a loss to add some meaningful contribution to the topic.

I am however of the opinion that such mysteries challenge the human mind in all settings and wish to write about one particular one that has been of quite some interest to me for decades. I have visited the site and it is indeed mysterious and while there, felt quite strange, as though that I was living in the past.

I take my readers and Shackman who has suggested this topic to a centuries old mystery in India. An abandoned village called Kuldhara which is now a tourist destination for people willing to speculate and use their imagination to come up with their own conclusions just like people do about Roswell in the USA.

Here is what Wiki uncle has to offer about Kuldhara.

I had drafted the above material three days ago and this morning I was pleasantly surprised to read this story in one of our newspapers. I would sure like to go there and spend a night just to see if any ghosts disturb me!

Shackman has suggested this week’s topic. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman<</a

Posted in Blogging, History, India | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Perfect Happiness.

“Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealisable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable. The obstacles preventing the realisation of both these extreme states are of the same nature: they derive from our human condition which is opposed to everything infinite. Our ever-insufficient knowledge of the future opposes it: and this is called, in the one instance, hope, and in the other, uncertainty of the following day. The certainty of death opposes it: for it places a limit on every joy, but also on every grief. The inevitable material cares oppose it: for as they poison every lasting happiness, they equally assiduously distract us from our misfortunes and make our consciousness of them intermittent and hence supportable.”

“Human nature is such that grief and pain — even simultaneously suffered — do not add up as a whole in our consciousness, but hide, the lesser behind the greater, according to a definite law of perspective… This is the reason why … man is never content. In fact it is not a question of a human incapacity for a state of absolute happiness, but of an ever-insufficient knowledge of the complex nature of the state of unhappiness; so that the single name of the major cause is given to all its causes, which are composite and set out in an order of urgency. And if the most immediate cause of stress comes to an end, you are grievously amazed to see that another one lies behind; and in reality a whole series of others.”

~ Primo Levy. In Survival in Auschwitz.

The Introductory Poem translated into English.

You who live safe
In your warm houses;
You who find on returning in the evening
Hot food and friendly faces:

Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who knows no peace
Who fights for a bit of bread
Who dies because of a yes and because of a no

Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
Without enough strength to remember
Vacant eyes and cold womb
Like a frog in the winter:

Reflect on the fact that this has happened:
These words I commend to you:
Inscribe them on your heart
When staying at home and going out,

Going to bed and rising up;
Repeat them to your children:
Or may your house fall down,
Illness bar your way,
Your loved ones turn away from you.

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Six Husbands.

I came across this review in Facebook shared by my sister Padmini and having found it very interesting, am sharing here with my readers. Before I am asked whether I was all six, let me answer. no but, I was five of them.

The book, “The six husbands every wife should have” (by the way the book is written by a husband – Dr. Steven Craig) talks about how a husband has to constantly grow, evolve and renew himself at least six times, by the time he turns 60….For as people grow, their relationship and the relationship’s needs change…:) (The book’s premise is that women do it naturally as they become home-keepers and mothers and grandmothers.)
1st husband – At the time of marriage, the husband has to be fun, carefree, full of dreams and potential…The couple should make each other laugh and feel good about each other.
2nd husband – After a couple of years, the husband has to grow out of his carefree, fun and life-of-every-party ways. He needs to get established in his career and begin preparing for a family.
3rd husband – When the kids come, the husband has to learn patience, be home as much as possible, and scale down all his extracurricular activities.
4th husband – As children grow, the husband has to again reinvent himself and be more focused on kids – putting them first just as the wife does. The wife needs a ‘daddy’ more than a ‘honey’. The motto must be ‘family comes first’.
5th husband – This husband needs to help children become gradually independent; supporting them through their mistakes and growing-up pangs. He needs to be responsible and trustworthy.
6th husband – By the time children leave home, the wife becomes more confident and assertive. Now she doesn’t need a strong-but-silent man whom she can lean on – instead the husband has to become vulnerable and sensitive, who opens his heart to her and values her as an equal – leaning on her for strength at times.
The book brings to light that the very qualities a wife initially loves in her man are the very things that become a thorn in their marriage during later years – if the man doesn’t outgrow them.
For marriage is a lifelong relationship that must feed the family’s emotional needs as those needs change.
A life-partner has to continuously reinvent himself/ herself. It not only makes our marriage better, but also makes us better people – and our life more fuller.
Problems in marriage occur not because we are not good people – but because we don’t grow up.
How many men (and women) have the courage to grow, evolve and change as the dynamics of marriage and family change?

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Festival Lights.

My daughter in love has been at it again. She has decorated our living room and the veranda adjoining it with sparkling strings of lights for Christmas.

She also insisted on taking a photograph of me in my favourite perch. She switched off the reading lamp which was on to help me read the magazine to my right and switched on all the strung lights.

Posted in Family | Tagged | 15 Comments

Domesticated Dogs!

My cousin Shankar does not send me only books on Buddhism. He also sends me gems like these two clips.

Posted in Humor | Tagged | 13 Comments

People Watching.

I regularly indulge in People Watching.  And no, I don’t need a pair of binoculars to indulge in that activity. The people being watched are near enough for me to read their facial expressions when uncovered, even without them. Let me explain.

Every morning, I sit for about half an hour in my veranda with my morning mugs of tea. This veranda which opens out to my garden, abuts a main artery of our neighbourhood. It is a tree lined avenue and is populated with some very nice housing societies. There is a grill between me and the garden and a chain fence between the garden and the avenue. Though the garden and the fence is covered by hedges, parts of the fence are not and I can clearly see the avenue and the passers by can see me too from the gaps.

I am more or less a fixture and many passers by wave to me and at times, some of them come near the grill to say hello too.  There have been two occasions when at a cinema theatre once and at a restaurant at another time, two gents came across and introduced themselves as a morning walkers who sees me every morning having my tea!

What are the kinds of people that I watch every morning?  To start with, my favourites. School going children waiting for their buses to come and pick them up. They inevitably cheer me up for the rest of the day. I am their favourite Old Man!

The next are those that know me and wave to me or stop to chat with me. These will be about half a dozen or so.

Then will be all the others who come in all ages and shapes, who can be sorted into different varieties.

The solos. These are single walkers or joggers of either sex very intent on their morning exercise and are totally focussed. Some of them do calisthenics while walking and that is quite impressive to watch.  Some have headphones on and are perhaps listening to music or some other audio going on.  A dangerous trend that I see now is the increasing number of people texting or reading hand held devices while walking.

The pairs. These are two of either a couple or a pair of the same sex, again either walking or jogging. The walking ones inevitably chat while on their walk.  The very recognizable couples either bring domestic disputes along on the walks just as much as home accord and the consequent smug looks come along too.  It is interesting to speculate on such pre walk scenarios at their homes.

The groups. These too consist of either walkers or joggers and the former inevitably will be talking among themselves about the hottest topic of the day. Usually politics or cricket. The joggers do not talk as they are too focussed in staying with the group at the same pace.

Besides all the above there are also bicyclists. Most are about their normal morning routine like going to work or coming off night duty but some come on obvious exercise bikes. These are also very focussed though there are some who gently pedal to enjoy the morning air.  Here too headphones are very much noticeable just as much as texters.  Luckily, I have not yet seen any mishaps but am prepared to be of help if they take place as they will sooner than later.

Finally come the maids and male servants employed in the various blocks of flats. Some of them come on bicycles, some walk and some get dropped by a member of their family while riding pillion on scooters or motorcycles.

The most mysterious are the helmet wearing motorcycle/scooter riders and also pillion riders similarly helmeted or those with faces covered to prevent air pollution!

Watching all these people, leads often to speculating about them too. For instance if someone is obese, I speculate that s/he has been ordered by a doctor to exercise. If it is someone waiting for a cab from the Uber, their occupation etc or whether they will be going off on a trip to catch a train or a flight and so on.

This pastime goes on till the newspapers arrive bringing to an end a harmless but interesting daily routine.

I have suggested this week’s topic. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman<

Posted in Blogging, People | Tagged , , | 14 Comments