Diwali / Deepavali At Home.

Since the day before yesterday, we have been in our annual Diwali mood and today is the culmination with two more days of tapering off to come.

Some photographs taken just a few minutes ago showing the festival of lights in all its glory at home, starting with one of my daughter in love Manjiree, lighting up a few lamps that had extinguished in the wind.

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Victoria And Abdul.

My friend and I were the only two viewers and so the multiplex decided to show Victoria and Abdul to us in their Gold Class theater which gave us reclining chairs and a smaller auditorium but also charged three times the normal price. Having gone all that far sacrificing our siestas, we decided to see it any way.

I am glad that we did. I shall come to the rating part of it later but Judi Dench does not disappoint. I had never Ali Fazal before and I was impressed with his performance as well.

The story is very human and touching but weak for all that. A highly unlikely one, it tries to white wash a bit of the colonial era with little success.

If at all you wish to see it, see it for the histrionics of Dench and Fazal besides some excellent photography.

I would rate it at a mere three out of five stars.

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Memory Trigger 20. Oil Bath.

In my community of Tamil Brahmins, the deepavali day starts with the lady of the house applying oil on the head of all members of the family. Everyone then goes to take a bath and comes out to partake in the festivities that would follow.

My late mother used to do this for us when we were children and after we grew up whenever she was with one of us, she would do the same. The last time that she did it for me was in 1998, the year before she bid us all goodbye.

During the mid seventies, I was posted to a company gated community where some young Management Trainees were housed in Bachelor Quarters and the ones from Tamil Nadu used to spend a lot of time in our home as ours was one of the two Tamilian homes in the compound.

One such bachelor of those days, parted company with my then employer in 1982 and dropped out of sight. Before that, I had visited him during a vacation at his home to meet his parents and have very happy memories of that visit when I was extended an amazing hospitality and gifted with a reed mat by his father which lasted for over forty years.

This friend from those days, suddenly rang me up last week after having obtained my telephone number through a very circuitous but persistent effort and threw me for a literal toss! After having caught up with all that had happened since then in our lives, we asked about verious people of mututal acquaintance.

Hearing from him after 35 years was an amazing experience and both of us went on a nostalgia trip talking about our days at the compound. He particularly remembered the two occasions when he had the privilege of getting oil applied on his head by my mother and spending Deepavali with us at home enjoying the goodies throughout the day.

Just another story to bring back old memories and regrets? No, the punchline is in the friend’s name. Mohammed Iqbal.

Posted in Family, Friendship, India, Nostalgia, Relationships, Tambrams | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

National Parks.

Unlike American National Parks, the Indian ones are mostly protected areas for endangered wild life. There are 103 such National Parks now and more are expected to be added to the list.

I have been only to two of them and that too for very brief visits over two week ends. The Jim Corbett National Park and The Sultanpur National Park.
I never had the financial resources to spend more time in any of these parks as every possible vacation was used to visit family or to go for meditation camps. By the time I could afford to go, I had had my hips replaced and roughing it out camping in such parks was completely out of the question. My loss.

I hope that my children will visit more of them.

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.

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Chef is a Hindi movie that I saw yesterday. It is an official Hindi version of the American movie of the same name. I have not seen the American version of the film and therefore am unable to compare the two.

I went to see it yesterday because I like to see Saif Ali Khan. I was not disappointed.

He does his best, as does the child actor who plays his son.

The film however flops because the story line is unrealistic in the Indian context and is very weak. Despite the very effective photography of scenic locations in Kerala and Goa, the film suffers because it is totally impossible. Delhi and Amritsar filming is overdone and does not reflect the two cities of today.

We were altogether five viewers in the hall yesterday and the box office staff tell me that the film is a flop. I am not surprised.

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Memory Trigger 19. Bradshaw And Higginbotham’s.

When I responded to Cheerful Monk’s lament about the inability of Amtrak to give some indication of the ETA of their delayed train journey, without even thinking about it I used a Proper Noun which was, at least for my generation, a generic term – Bradshaw. I quote – “Here, by and large, our trains run on time and since someone or the other will be carrying a Bradshaw, or the conductor will have information on the status from station to station.”

My earliest memory of a Bradshaw goes back to my boyhood when my uncle used to visit Chennai, then called Madras, where we lived then, to attend to Senate Meetings in the Madras University. He used to come and go back to the small town from which he came by train and would share his experiences with us about the journey, and also show us the Bradshaw to explain how he kept track whether the train would be on time or not.

Subsequenlty, when all grown up and I was a travelling salesman, the Bradshaw regularly bought from Higginbothoms railway book stalls was a constant companion. Higginbotham’s played a very important role in my life by not only being the source for Bradshaws, but also for many novels and non fiction books that I regularly bought to keep myself entertained during long train journeys and lonely hotel nights during times when there was no Television or radios in hotel rooms or railway retiring and / or waiting rooms.

Cheerful Monk’s post simply brought back those memories and I am amazed that the Indian Railway Time Table is still called Indian Bradshaw and Higginbotham’s is still going strong.

Two more names from our  colonial heitage!

Posted in Blogging, Books / Reading, India, Nostalgia | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments


Definition of charpoy

plural charpoys
:a bed used especially in India consisting of a frame strung with tapes or light rope

You will see the humble charpoys in almost all rural and semi urban homes in India.

On what we call dhabas here which are truck stops where long distance truck drivers stop for a meal and some rest, you will find a number of them in the front courtyards.

I personally cannot use them any more due to the condition of my hips, but they are very comfortable and act like hammocks in set frames.

This humble but ubiquitous piece of furniture from India has now gone global!  At least a start has been made in Australia!  The story behind this development has been nothing less than a sensation in the Indian media. The social media too has been very active posting the advertisement from Australia.

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Life Without Social Media.

I cannot for the world of it remember what made me come up with this topic for our LBC Friday posts. Having come up with it however, I find it quite a challenge to write something about it. Moreover, when I inserted the image of the different types of social media alongside, I was flabbergasted that there are so many, most of them, I had never even heard of.

I use WhatsApp and Facebook regularly and see many clips on youtube whenever I get any reference to one. Apart from these, I use my blog and visit some blogs written by other bloggers. Other than these, I don’t use any app from the wide range available. I however cannot imagine spending a day without these social media applications that I use regularly. They take up some time which otherwise would have been spent watching birds and butterflies in my garden. Sometimes I wonder if that would not be a better way to spend my time!

And to close this post, and to get my readers to have a good laugh, let me use another social media application to show this clip”

I had 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, Facebook, Humor, Sociology, WhatsApp | 12 Comments


I saw Simran primarily because Kangana Ranaut acted in it.

The Wiki post gives details about the movie and all that I wish to say is that Kangana did not disappoint as an actress, but there was nothing else to write about. A very poor story line and exaggerated role playing by the other members of the cast left me rather regretting having gone to see the film

That is why I did not review the film immediately after I saw it as I normally would have but, I am writing this post because of another story that I came across yesterday.

Simran’s father in the movie does not abet her in her bank heists but the character nonchalantly robs banks just as the lady in the press report does! What chutzpa!

Poor father/s! In the film, Simran is visited in prison by her parents where her father loses his cool because she comes up with another crazy idea post release from prison. Portraying a serious character flaw that during the narrative she mentions a couple of times to her beau!

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The Butterfly Effect.

Please click on the following image to get a larger resolution.

Saudi Arabia allows women to drive! Made sensational headlines in many parts of the world.

The decision was called a major milestone for the country!

Women rejoiced as did many liberal men. I did too despite not being either.

Unfortunately however, neither I nor most people who welcomed this news think far enough about the matter.

In India, in one of our states, the news has sent alarm bells ringing.

Is this the butterfly effect or the doctrine of double effect?

Posted in Economics, India, Relationships | Tagged , | 16 Comments