A Birthday Requiem

Birthday & Requiem are definitionally dichotomous . But then so are so many of our thoughts & emotions : hence I excercise the Blogger’s privilege to stick with the title .

This photo is of some six decade vintage : others in the photo have been suitably cropped out . Needless to say , the one on the left is the Blogger & the one on right to-day’s birthday boy & my late Dad : Dada as I called & remember him.

It is perhaps incredible & at the same time believable ( there I go again with my penchant for dichotomous statements ) that Dada lives on :

  • in the pulsating world of www . Google search his name & one finds him in Volume 17 page 11 of the Crosfield Papers at the University of Cambridge  Centre of South Asian Studies .
  • Scroll down a bit & you find him in the scroll of honours in the History of Dist 322-D of Lions International .

In my two consecutive visits to Duliajan  Assam  in the past six months , after a hiatus of 4 decades plus , the most overwhelming sentiment that I came across was that the beautiful people of Duliajan remember Dada with a lot of love & reverence , for all the good work he did out there in the fifties & the sixties of the last century. Interstingly , most ,  almost all , of these good people had never actually met Dada & yet they spoke of him as though they knew him well , through his yeoman service in the creation & early nurturing of the multi-faceted & deeply rich socio-cultural ethos of the place called Duliajan.

What better way to remember you , Dada , on your birthday than to share with you this oven-fresh feedback , so to speak , from the place you loved so much.

Cheers & ATB

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Bol Bachchan

Caught the 10 o’clock show at Cinemax of Bol Bachchan : an outrageously stupid movie with amazing ability to make the audience laugh without respite. Some gems from the movie handled with elan by Ajay Devgn ( Devgan : numerology ?? ) who plays a village Chaudhury with a penchant for expressing Hindi proverbs  in English :

  • Main Use Kuttey Kee Maut Doongaa : I will give him the death of Tommy
  • Bagal Mein Choraa Nagar Dhindhoraa :  The Boy under armpit & city with noise pollution
  • Main Tujhe Chathi Kaa Doodh Yaad Dilaoonga :  I will make you remember Milk Number 6
  • Aaj Mera Seenaa Garv sey Chauda Ho Gayaa :  Today with pride my chest has become a blouse

And on & on : far too many howlers to recollect

Abhishek Bachchan had  just one memorable line in the movie  : about Middle Class aspirations :

  •  6-figure salary
  •  5-day week
  •  4-wheel transport
  •  3-bhk apartment
  •  2-child family
  •  1-wife love
  • He overlooked a 7-course meal , or a 7-star holiday !!

The movie should perhaps have been more appropriately called ” Bol Devgan ” instead of ” Bol Bachchan”

And : to complement the Hinglish mirth so delectably served by Ajay Devgan , a couple of photos that speak for themselves :

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A Prayer for Rustom-E-Hind Dara Singh

Most distressed to hear the news :  Dara Singh taken off ventilator support at Kokilaben Hospital & discharged so he may spend his last few hours or days in the warmth of his family’s love.

It seems like only yesterday when Dara Singh visited us at Bungalow 43 in Digboi . I was about 9 or 10 &  Dara Singh’s autograph was one of my most cherished possessions until I lost my autograph book along with many of my worldly possessions some years ago ( that, as they say, is another story for another day ).

His words in my autograph book are however still as fresh as they were the day he wrote them : ” Kakey : Health is wealth , Keep Good Health : yours in sports : Dara Singh ”

After Tea & Biscuits at the Kanuga residence , Dara Singh , with Kanuga clan in tow , called at the Mahants’ bungalow in Muliabari , Digboi where Mrs Mahant , the grand old lady of Punjabi community in Digboi  universally called  ” Bhabhi ji ” had cooked some floating-in-ghee Punjabi delicacies : Rustom-E-Hind was most gracious in accepting the warm hospitality & mingling with the hundred odd men women & children who had assembled at the Mahants’ to greet their hero.

A stop over at the India Club to interface with a larger crowd , & Dara Singh was away to Dibrugarh where he would take on an open  challenge from the Hungarian wrestler King Kong the following day.  Dara Singh / King Kong bouts were perhaps the most popular spectator sport all over India : India”s Test Cricket win over Australia in Nagpur earlier that year with legendary cricketers such as Bapu Nadkarni / Polly Umrigar coming good came a distant second.

As a member of Digboi’s first Desi family ( First Family of course was the Mclachlans from Scotland ) , I had a ring side view of the Dara Singh -King Kong bout in Dibrugarh the following evening. My moment of glory was when Dara Singh smiled & waved out to me ( so I was told & was glad to accept as reality, whereas he might have waved out to any of the several dignitaries in the VIP rows ) before getting into what seemed like a bout- to- the- finish with his arch rival King Kong.

At one stage , King Kong appeared to have an unbeatable upper hand & Dara Singh was often on the mat , though up & ready well before the count-of-ten was over. And, just as it seemed as though Dara Singh had run out of stamina , he rose from the mat for the umpteenth time , & quickly changed gears to give King Kong the charge-of-a-lifetime , culminating in his legendary ” Helicopter ” tackle , wherein he lifted the heavy frame of King Kong in a V-shaped stance , & after moving a full circle to let the frenzied crowd all around the Ring savour the moment , he dumped King Kong onto the mat from where the ferocious Hungarian could not recover within the stipulate count-of-ten.

Who knows : parhaps Dara Singh will rise from the mat yet again : ventilator support or not : & give all his admirers a cause to rejoice in his famous ” Helicopter” stance to register yet another win : this time against Death !!

Cheers & God Bless

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Monsoon Memories

Life’s a collection of Events & Non-Events : the reason why I gave my Blog page that name.

Events & Non events dominate in most  inter-personal communication  :  in my case that was so , with a negative bias , until I was over 45 . It was always BAD that  was communicated , to the near total exclusion of GOOD that meets us each day with  equal , if not greater frequency . A reflection perhaps of a mindset that GOOD is well deserved & therefore merits no mention whereas BAD is so undeserved as to merit reportage always : an inexplicable urge to take on the role of the victim as opposed to that of a beneficiary of all that the Universe has on offer .

It’s never too late, as the saying goes, to make suitable amends. And what better platform can there be than the Blog , to report GOOD that has so far remained unreported.

Some Monsoon memories would perhaps be an appropriate start : this one with a decade & a half rewind .

It was a dark, sombre & disconcerting night with pelting rain aggravating the sense of gloom all around . I hadn’t quite recovered from a malaise diagnosed as Burning Feet , & had just about recovered from a Retinal displacement in one eye that after surgical intervention had restored vision albeit at 70 % , compounded by a mild heart attack , a general sense of self deprecation , & a growing addiction to medically prescribed anti-depressants that made me feel like a Zombie.  Having lost my once high profile Marketing job in a large Company , & following unsucessful attempts spread over two years & a half to get back to a position which I felt was rightfully mine ,  I had only just started at a significantly lower position, in a new job with a very small BIFR-entrapped near bankrupt Company which entailed a 150 minute commute in crowded BEST buses each way six days a week : Company Car & Chauffeur were by now a distant memory :  contrary to the Monk who sold his Ferrari  I was more likethe Skunk who lost his Ferrari .  

It was well past 10 that night when the BEST bus came to its terminal halt outside the Santacruz depot . There was only one autorickshaw in sight & that was the coveted relief  that I needed  at the close of yet another miserable day.  I was determined to be the first claimant as I dashed towards the rick , stumbling with my impaired vision , ere I was overtaken by a tennager who so obviously was a lot more atheletic in the pursuit of  our common goal for that moment. ” ****** youngsters !! ” I swore , not quite sotto voce : I am not quite sure whether she heard my expletives : whether obscene or profane I have avoided an assessment :  but ” May I drop you somewhere , uncle ” was , for sure , a very nice thing for me to hear once she had “usurped” the Rick from right under my nose . I accepted her offer & she did drop me at my doorstep , perhaps at the cost of a detour  from her destination , & declined , ever so politely, my offer to share the Rick expense. I did not get around to asking her name nor her co-ordinates & was far too overwhelmed to even thank her suitably for her kind gesture. As I look back , I wonder if she was the manifestation of a Divine intervention : an intervention to remind me that there was GOOD all around & that all I needed to do was to see it , believe in it , & embrace it with reciprocal GOOD. A teenager , perhaps a college student , had started me off on my road to recovery . More later .

Cheers & atb & GN

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This one’s for you , Amma

I have a special  reason to dedicate my blog this evening to my late mother : Amma as I called & remember her . Herewith excerpts from my tribute to her recently at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Ladies Club of Duliajan .

” In her early fifties , Amma  suffered a cerebral stroke  which left her in a coma for several days , & bed-ridden  &  completely paralysed on one side, post-coma , described by the medical fraternity as the final milestone in her miraculous recovery from the jaws of death .

‘A disabled person who fights back is not disabled….but inspired’  was Sir Douglas Bader’s  credo  (Retd  Royal Air Force Group Captain  Sir Douglas Bader was a living legend, who , after losing both his legs in a pre-war air crash , had enlisted as a Squadron Leader with the RAF during  WWII  to play a stellar  role in the  legendary  Battle of Britain ).

His amazing story had been immortalised in the Book & the Film “ Reach for the Sky”    And he reached out to Amma  , a complete stranger , through a hand-written  letter & a personally signed copy of his book ,  to inspire her  to call on her inner strength to undergo a rigorous regime of exercise & physiotherapy to achieve re-integration into the mainstream of life. “To my way of thinking, a disabled person who achieves independence is no longer disabled”  was the inspirational message that he had delivered .

For over 20 years thereafter, Amma made every effort , as only someone with her fortitude  could , to lead as normal a life as possible . With one arm completely & one leg partially paralysed   constantly needing the support of a walking stick, she would often be in the kitchen to cook family favourites , & was very much the Lady of the Manor who refused to retire & lose a well-fought  battle against  disability.

It would make her immensely happy, if there were a way for her to know,   that the Ladies Club of Duliajan is celebrating its Golden Jubilee. She would, of course , wish the Ladies Club all success & an even more glorious future than its glorious past.  I feel honoured & privileged to be the one to convey these thoughts on her behalf. ”

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Wimbledon : then and now

Its Wimbledon season again & time to remember , almost like an annual ritual,  one Wimbledon of years ago  , when my daughter of about 8 months often watched  late-night telecasts of matches cuddled in my lap gurgling with joy every time a good shot was applauded .

Defending champion John McEnroe had already been dislodged in the Quarters by  Kevin Curren who went on  to face a very young Boris Becker in the finals ( Becker won his first Wimbledon that year to become the youngest Grand Slam winner at 17 ) .

My late mother was cremated  the day Becker beat Curren . And :  I have not watched a Wimbledon final since , for the past 27 years.

C & GN

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The second fortnight of June 2012

Like any other fortnight , this too has been a collage of events & non-events : a little more eventful, I must admit  , than several preceding fortnights.

I uploaded my US visa form ( photo with the frown included ) / recieved a Visa interview confirmation / & made it to the US Consulate in BKC for a 0745 hrs appointment ( with at least a thousand others : chat up some one top of the queue & you jump the queue without anyone objecting : never fails !! ) , completely drenched in  Monsoon’s belated arrival  ( umbrellas are not allowed ) & was back in Pune by 1900 hours : one long & eventful day.

Had a 3-day break ( complete bliss ) in a villa , most appropriately called “Divyanand” , in  Jagjit Nagar , HP ( one of several advantages of being related to successful , thoughtful , & beautiful people ) . Legend has it that Lord Hanuman , in His quest for “Sanjeevni Buti” , the medicinal plant , to revive a dying Lakshman on the battlefield in Lanka , had made a brief stop-over in Jagjit Nagar & the spot from where He kick-started the rest of his flight to the Himalayas now has a Hanuman Temple atop a hill some 2-hour trek from “Divyanand”. My kind host offered to take me to the temple on an early morning trek : I politely declined : haven’t the stamina to undertake a trek as long as that !!

Shipped out my export orders to Russia , China , Indonesia , & Netherlands ( best export month for me in a long time ) ;  cooked myself a propah 3-course Meal served to myself on the Dining Table , complete with wine / dessert / cigar & cognac (  normally dine on the sofa facing the TV )  ; treated myself to Balenese Massage ( knuckle-pressure : wow : they should call it Kneading instead of Massage ) ; redeemed significantly valued Club ITC accumulation of points  at Wills Lifestyle on loud coloured shirts (  normally wear Whites & Blacks ) ; must redeem i-mint / Kings Club / & Jet Privilege points before they lapse ; watched ” Gangs of Wasypur ” on twitter recommendation of AB ( must never take twitter seriously !! shall reciprocate by giving Bol Bachachan a miss ) ; bought a whole lot of Masalas & other cooking ingrediants  to get a bit adventurous in my culinary skills ; & thereby hangs a tale !! More the next time

Cheers & Cherio for now

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Father’s Day

Fayyaz , Sales Mgr Radisson , sent me an invite for a Special Father’s Day Supper event: I declined.

Tejaswini , Sales Mgr  Hyatt Regency did not : I would have gladly accepted : more to make amends for my last-hour back- out last month ( in favour of a Cricket Match ),  than to celebrate Father’s Day.

Fathers are not expected to celebrate : sons & daughters are !!

Not that I am unduly perturbed : merely concerned ( borrowed from Jaya Rao’s definitional nuances : Tamsiks are perturbed though not concerned ; Rajasik’s are both concerned and perturbed ; whereas Satviks are concerned though not perturbed ) . Why ? you might ask , correctly punctuated with a ? instead of a ! to show your bona-fide concern . The answer really is quite simple :

Circumstances over the years have ensured with monotonous regularity that I have never really had a special celebration dedicated to me : some occasional exceptions have been more as an add-on to other  more deserving occasions ( “oh btw this is also Lakshman’s Birthday” – variety ) : I call this the Nandi -Bull syndrome ( those who frequent a Shiva temple will understand what this means ) .

I do believe this has something to do with my Namkaran : contrary to the widely held belief my first name is not just a crisp Lakshman but an elongated though non-hyphenated Lakshmandas. May be my proud parents felt I was  good enough to be named after  some one in the Ramayana though not the numero uno Maryada-Purshottam : but the Pandit i/c of Nam-Karan ceremony saw in me the promise no higher than a mere Das to Lakshman ( Servant ka Servent ) . Or may be the priest in-charge was a Sikh granthee who felt I might just about make the grade of Lakshmandas , the Sevak of Bala & Mardana , the two close followers of Guru Nanak : ( Servant Kay Servant kaa Servant ) . I have never never really found out though , despite this little cobweb in mind , I have proudly held on to my full non abridged uncorrupted name assigned at birth . For a while I did contemplate a  pen-name, Ramanuj ( those with a working knowledge of Sandhi-vichhed in Hindi grammer will understand the connection ) to shoot darts at real-life characters bearing coincidental similarity to fictional characters in my inane drivel , but chose to revert to real-identity soon enough with a resolve not to fictionalise the inanities of Real Life characters : darts or no darts !!

Cheers GN & SD

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Miles to Go !!

Deogarh seems like a good idea !!

After over 11 hours on the highway , haven’t the energy to post other than this amazing Milestone


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Nero’s Undoing

To continue with Cavafy’s poetry : this one is an absolute gem :

Nero wasn’t worried at all when he heard what the Delphic Oracle had to say:

“Beware the age of seventy-three.

” Plenty of time to enjoy himself. He’s thirty.

The deadline the god has given him is quite enough to cope with future dangers.

So much for Nero.

And in Spain Galba secretly musters and drills his army–

Galba, now in his seventy-third year.

Cheers & Atb

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