Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

Mr Gay India

April 25, 2019

My friends Stephen and Gordon sent me this link to Franklin’s interview of Samarpan Maiti:

http://www.khabar.com/…/mr-gay-india-samarpan-maiti-breaks-…

My response to them:

Samarpan comes across as such an honest person. The social stigma across the spectrum continues, since the British infected us with their Victorian prudery and morals. Somehow, I feel, before the British came over, we were far more accepting of all kinds of orientations.

I have gay friends here who are still very much “in the closet” or who are open but oh so prickly (er, rather a terrible word to use!) about themselves; I have one friend who finally moved to Germany, married and who says he will not return to India to live, because of the difference in the attitudes of acceptance. I do not know even one woman who is openly gay. Apparently they do not exist….not in my middle-class world, anyway.

In India, we actually go a few steps further. Open expressions of heterosexuality are also frowned upon (except in urban pockets). The front of the bus is for only women and the back of the bus is for men. (I am not joking.) We like to pretend that sex, of any kind, does not exist…our storks are overworked … bringing all those billions of babies to our country!

Looking forward to animated discussions when you come here. Hugs to all of you, since you are all in the US right now! Steve, Gordon, following all your posts on FB, and I wish I could attend the events on Vashon! …and I follow Franklin’s posts on FB, too…I enjoy his sense of humour very much.

Franklin, thank you for a well-conducted and articulately-written interview.

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The 64 squares of war

February 27, 2019

In every chess game, it is the pawns who get sacrificed first, and then, maybe, some of the others up the heirarchy.
The kings remain, stodgily moving, perhaps, a square or two…and the game ends before any king can be slain. We mourn our soldiers, and similarly, the other country will also mourn its brave soldiers.
As for the terrorist training camps…I weep for the poor youths who are brainwashed by evil ones. It is the evil that must be wiped out, and it is the youth that get wiped out instead….these are my thoughts on the 64 squares of war.

Why I like FaceBook

December 14, 2018

Here I dip into someone’s thought.
There I see what someone’s bought.
I admire someone’s photograph.
I wish someone would cut their rant in half.
Read someone’s movie review.
Muse on someone’s political hue.
I tarry over someone’s art;
Someone’s music, that is a class apart.
Satisfied, I go to bed.
My friends…you fill up most of my head!
I’ll be back again tomorrow.
To check on you, in smiles or sorrow.
A lovely way to look and see
What’s up with you…. on FB!

When does old age begin?

October 24, 2018

I turned 64 yesterday, and was musing on what old age is, and when it begins.

Certainly, as I grew up, the horizons of old age shifted. In my childhood, 60 was an unimaginable old age, and life expectancy being what was in India then, a man who turned 60 would have a big ceremony to mark the occasion.

When I first started travelling abroad, I was much struck by the fact that people in the “developed” countries of the west…and many people in eastern countries…seemed to be hale and healthy at what I considered an advanced age. The trains I took in Switzerland were full of 80 year olds, having a good time as they enjoyed the relaxation of a life after work and career.

Of my immediate family, my parents both died at 66, and my mother in law at 59. None of my parents’ siblings made it beyond 70. My father-in-law an inveterate walker and cyclist, lived up to 87, but it was dependent and sick old age for the last few years, after a series of strokes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s took their toll on his physical and mental health.

In spite of all that, the increase in the average life expectancy began to reflect in many other extended family members and friends. As I grew old, 50 became the new 40, and now, 60 took up the same position too. I have friends’ parents who are in their eighties, living independently and enjoying reasonably good health.

One of the most unusual example of old age I have seen was my WASP son-in-law’s paternal grandfather. With the help of two consecutive pacemakers, he made it to an independent 101. And then he did something which I have not seen anyone else do…he took charge of his destiny and After a few episodes of congestive heart failure, decided he’d had a full life. He asked his pacemaker to be switched off, and passed away the next day after that.The only parallel I know for this was the story of Bhishma in the Mahabharata, who had the boon of “icchA maraNam” (death at one’s own will) and exercised that will when he decided that his life’s work of protecting the kingdom was over.

Today, I am surrounded by so many people of my age, or older, and what I notice is the importance of good health in their happiness. Independence of life, and good health, are the essential parameters, I find, of a good quality of life in one’s sixties, and beyond.

But an intangible which I think very important …is…the ability to also get along with people younger….and much younger….than one. I can truly say that I don’t seem to consider someone’s age in interacting with them; I have very close friends who are 20 years older than I am, and 30 years younger. I am so lucky in being able to enjoy the company of children so much that I find the thought of a senior citizen’s home, where there may not be many children, not appealing at all….yet!

Another intangible is the attitude we bring to age. Far too often do I see people who are young, thinking of anyone beyond a certain age, to be “old”. Also, many of the people I see, of my own age, seem to think they are “old”, and begin moaning and groaning about their small ailments. At 50, a friend told me,”Our lives are over, now we have to live for our children!” I disagree. I love my child, but I can’t live only for her! In fact, perhaps my keeping up my own interests and activities, and the fact of my having friends of all ages, has kept me healthy…I am not so sure of this, though!

This is because good health, unfortunately, is not always the guaranteed result of regular habits and a disciplined life. Illness and disease come out of nowhere and strike hard, making a mockery (mocking a makery?) of one’s will to be independent. Dependent, and sickly, old age, is a daily torture. The ageless personality in the suffering body chafes at the restrictions that hedge and control life.

So what is the point of all this musing? Er, nothing…it’s just musing…meandering, and possibly a sign of old age. Three sure signs of mental “old age”, according to me, are….1. A perpetual harking back to the good old days, and a feeling that the quality of life has gone down in all ways; mores and values have deteriorated. 2. What a wit called anec-dotage…the tendency to live in that now-glowing past, and recount endless stories of one’s prime.

And 3…the tendency, in the age of the internet, to keep on forwarding stuff! When I start sending you forwards (instead of sharing my own thoughts) regularly, can you come and snuff me out,please? Thank you!

Sounds…

July 26, 2018

My walk home from my daughter’s, in terms of sounds:
the burbling, liquid sound of the Red-whiskered Bulbul and a couple of Tailorbirds, then the harsh cawing of crows.
The rasping of two coconut brooms that a pourakramika uses to clean leaf litter and trash.
The clank of the bucket and mug, that maid wields to wash the front the house.
The echoing call of “soppu!” from a pushcart vendor.
Cars, two-wheelers and the whine of autos as I cross the main road.
Snatches of conversation as I pass people, some of it very intriguing.
The monsoon wind soughing through the branches of a large Gulmohar tree.
The Venkatesha Suprabhatam from the phone of one walker who has apparently not heard of earphones.
The “ha-ha-ha” of the Laughter Club.
The honking horns of impatient motorists rushing to work.
Mukesh’s “chal ri sajni” from an open window.
A program on Ambabai, on Amurthavarshini channel, in my own ears.
My own footsteps as I climb the four floors.
Finally, the key in my front door…

Food, and food for thought, 250418

April 26, 2018

Sometimes, the juxtaposition of two things strikes the eye, as it did when I saw this gentleman, along with a book that a young lady had left open on another table. The caption occurred to me at once.

IMG_6287

As he got up, the gentleman called the attention of yet another man to the glasses he’d left behind when moving to another table. Such casual helpfulness, somehow, made me feel very happy!

So much to see and observe even on a short visit to a Darshini (this one was Coffee Thindi in Jayangar 4th T Block)

Muthanallur Lake, 110218

February 11, 2018

Is it not an irony
That the fertilizer used in the field
(Where rose bushes are dotted with blooms)
Reeks of garlic?
And that the field of roses
Is right next to a pig farm
Where the snorting of the porcines
Drowns out any poetic thoughts
I may have about the flowers?
Or is this the way the world is,
The mundane existing with the rare,
The bad with the good, the lovely with the ugly?
I walk on, reflecting on the concepts
Of aesthetics, and what makes me think
Some things are appealing, and others, not.

Purity

February 8, 2018

What is “pure”?
When is Ganga pure?
When She emerges from Avani,
Or when She is made stronger
As other rivers join Her
To make the broad, deep ad mighty flow?
Is she pure when, at Gangotri, and all down Her course,
Pilgrims dump trash into her…
Plastic packets of camphor, incense sticks, and oil…
Or when She mixes with the Yamuna?
Is she pure when, sharing Herself,
She flows at many points and mingles with Sagara?
Should we just clone living beings
To ensure “purity”?
Because breeding, by its very nature,
Is mixing and evolving.
The very concept of purity
Confuses me, and I am unable to intuit it.

A blank wall

December 3, 2017

When I think of Death, I face a blank wall.
I realize that I do not know Death at all.
Will I just stop? Will I cease to be?
Or is there, just further, what I cannot see?
Will I be born again? / As a human, or a worm?
Would I move in someone’s bloodstream…
A single-celled germ?
Would my spirit float free?
Would my sins be wiped out?
Would I live on, just not me,
Only when I got talked about?
Would I really exist, apart from this shell?
Would I ascend to Heaven, or just go to hell?
For the answers to these…
Upon whom can I call?
I can ask as much as I please…
No one knows Death, at all!

Why I travel by train in India

October 13, 2017

Why I travel by train rather than by flight.
1. I have to reach the station only half an hour before the train, not two or three hours ahead of departure.
2. The railway station is 15 km away as opposed to the airport’s 45 km. (which mandates a journey of its own).
3. I don’t have horrible luggage restrictions which mean I cannot take an extra pair of socks.
4. I don’t have to screen my luggage (well, except in Old Delhi Station).
5.I don’t have to stand in long security check queues.
6. I don’t need to have my sunscreen lotion and (yes, once) safety pins thrown away.
7. I can pack home food and lots of water for the journey.
8. I get a lot of free time on the train.
9. I have enough time to both strike up conversations with fellow passengers as well as commune with myself.
10. The view from the window is as spectucular as the one from the air.
Oh, and
11. I get a senior citizen’s discount!

I can also add to this, that train travel is definitely more “green” than air travel…and that food on the train is mediumly priced junkola as opposed to exorbitantly priced junkola at airports and on flights.