Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Meeting Ajay (Princess Diana) After All These Years

 Ajay was two years my senior at Osmania College of Engineering. He had none of those airs then, none now. So chilled out was he that I would call him Princess Diana - he really looked attractive - and had the sweetest smile. If there were two people who I thought would be stunningly good looking as women he was one - the other was Boy George.

Me and Princess Di (Ajay)

Anyway Ajay and his class mate Krishna and Sridhar were all serious cricketers with pretty solid talent. Ajay was playing for an A division club Gujarathi CC, Krishna was one of the fastest bowlers I had ever seen and Sridhar had this beautiful outswinger and played for Osmania. they welcomed me into the college as I was already a state player and we played several games. 

Apart from the banter and madness at college, Ajay and I had a couple of star turn. We were both playing for Osmania Combined Colleges in the 3 day Abbasi Inter Collegiate tournament. The final against Nizam College was at Osmania A grounds. Packed crowd. The star studded Nizam College batting piled up 425 in their first innings with Ehtesham getting a huge hundred, 188, I think. Suresh, Swaroop, Clement, Zakir, Chakkar and others were part of that squad. In reply we were some 200 for 7 when I walked in at number 9. Ajay was already at the crease. We only looked at one another and decided we would hang in there. No other strategy - just  stay at the wicket.

Within 20 minutes we started seeing the ball well and boundaries started flowing - a fifty partnership, then a hundred, then a 150. Ajay got to his 50 and soon I got to mine. And then, after adding a scintillating 188 runs for the 9th wicket Ajay fell at some 380. I was on 80 and completed my hundred. When I got out at 408 we were agonisingly short of the first innings lead by a mere 20 runs. If Ajay had not got out we would have got it that day.

But the best part was the way we tore apart their second new ball - straight drives, pulls, cover drives, flicks off Vasanth Pai and Kannan - and we must have added 50 in six overs. The crowd went berserk and I remember how exhilarated everyone was.

Ajay and I can never forget that. 

We kept in touch after college. Krishna died - of a heart attack while playing a match when he was all of 24.  Ajay did his MBA in Badruka perhaps and was kind enough to gift me his wicket on the only hat trick i ever got in my life - in an Inter Collegiate game.  And once in a while in league matches.

I would bump into Ajay when we started working - at Srinagar Colony. Then he went abroad. We kept in touch somehow - he always made the effort to call. A few years ago Ajay was part of an Amway team that bought some 5000 copies of 50 Not Out. Imagine his surprise when he got a copy gifted by his office in the UK. He instantly called me and we had a lovely time talking about it. He tells me his colleagues gave him a lot of bhav when they found out his old mate had written that book. He also tells me they were all quite happy with the content.

Ajay, second row from bottom on the left

He still looks just the same. He came this Diwali with his family. He's very proud of his daughters and what they achieved - Nishta and Disha. Sometime I should meet them all. He was talking of his long courting period and the love letters their children had found on this trip. We drank a couple of coffees at Minerva and spent a lovely one hour and a half. While we were elaving he politely said thank you to the waiter - perhaps it was being in the UK but Ajay would probably do it even otherwise. I would like to do that myself. I realise I am not very good at these.

'I have few people with whom I connect,' he says with rare honesty. 'I am so glad we met.' I am so glad for all the years we have known, the moments we spent together, the laughs we shared, the highs and lows we experienced.

Thanks Ajay for making it. It was lovely meeting and I hope to meet up before you go back.        

Monday, October 24, 2022

Thought for the Day - There's No One to Blame but You

 We cannot blame anyone but ourselves. If something happened that we did not like its because we set ourselves up for it, we allowed it, we expected it. So if one feels that I have done this and I expect this much its clearly not going to hold simply because this contract is in your mind and no one else knows about it. So getting upset with someone else is pointless because we are only postponing the lesson.

The window to your soul

Its only us to blame and no one else.

So get back to yourself, your life, things you want to do, things that make you happy, things that are about you and not about what others are doing or should be doing. Just live your life and be happy with yourself and that should be enough. Own your life. Then when others come in, you welcome them and not look at them with resentment or anger that they did not do something for you.

Start doing stuff for yourself. If you can look at yourself and make yourself happy and not feel obliged to make someone else happy when they do not even know about it, I feel you can feel quite empowered and definitely happier. Simply because the worst they can say is - hey you are not doing stuff that I expected - if at all. But that's their problem. At least you are happy. A

When you own things, I feel we can instantly look at where we are lacking self love in such situations. I sometimes feel that others are not doing something and its part of the deal or being a friend or whatever but hey, feeling bad for myself is only a pointer that I need to give myself some love.

Stop blaming others. Instead start loving yourself. That should save you much time and energy.     

Diwali Mela at Daksha - Anjali's Last Mela

 Over these past decade and more, we enjoyed several of these Diwali meals conducted by Daksha School. Kids would put up stalls, ell stuff, have games and there would be great food. The proceeds of the funds raised would go to a fine charity. I remember how Anjali once set up a used books stall and it raised quite some money.

So when Daksha announced the Diwali mela this time we had to go. After all it has some great memories for us and it would be the last. So we went, met some people, ate some food and generally had fun. My sister Nalini and nephew Abhishek also came - they have faithfully visited the Mela every year as long as I can remember.

The kids look so grown up and like mini adults. The crowd was a lot now with the school growing up to the 10th class. I met ome of Anjali's old mates who dropped off and went to other schools - Rishabh for one.


Lovely Talk on Parenting by Aarti Rajaratnam!

 Daksha School (Anjali' school) organised a talk by child psychology expert Aarti Rajaratnam who took a session for the teachers and then spared an hour for parents. We were asked to be mandatorily present and we  went. Aarti spoke very well and covered a myriad of topics in an hour. How children have this 'audience' syndrome (they believe they are being watched by 50-500 people all the time), how they follow our behaviors, how they cope with hormonal changes, stress, body shaming. 

Aarti Rajaratnam

She spoke about how they have this thing with gadgets - something she said was an ocular lock - when our eyes lock into a small screen it goes into a prehistoric manner - the eyes fully lock into the screen much in the same way as we would look at predators and that would bring full focus on that screen and cut off all other senses from activating. Which is why when people get locked into screens it takes a while for them to disengage. I loved that.

Us parents!

Also how boys need space and cannot sit still and how girls easily cry. 

Anita giving a vote of thanks

She mainly stressed on one thing - build a connection with the child. Gently start making time with the child where you can chat for 15-20 minutes everyday without gadgets, in an environment which encourages conversations and sharing and connections. I am so glad Daksha and Anita thought of this initiative and invited her for a workshop with teachers on how to handle kids.

Sagar's Black and White Photography

 Sagar cliicks some fine pictures and here are a few.

The gate in the evening sun

Ms Akela

Rain on the car's window



Lovely series!

A Lovely Note from Pawan - Just a Drop!

 I got this lovely note from Pawan today wishing me a Happy Deepavali. It was the best I received today. I like Pawan and his thought process - he was a very interesting cricketer and thinks very differently. Here's what he sent.

Happy Deepavali!

 Just a small drop 💧 

A couple of days ago, when I was going to bed, I heard the sound of drops of water from the tap in the bathroom in slow succession, but since it was dropping into an empty bucket, I decided to let it be.

When I woke up the next morning, the bucket was almost full! I was surprised that just drops even in such slow successions could produce that much.

I couldn't help it, 'Just drops?!' I questioned rhetorically.

The following night, I made sure that the tap in my bathroom was locked completely and I checked the bucket and saw that it was empty, though wet. Then I went back to sleep.

The next morning, the bucket was not wet as I had left it, but it was now completely dry!

Then I suddenly realized the importance of a drop and how much difference it can make in all ramifications of one's life compared to a dry tap.

Imagine letting the drops be for a year, I would be scooping with drums at the end of the year!

That is the kind of difference a Drop can make. 

So, how about that drop in savings and investment?

How about that drop of kindness and love every day? 

How about a drop in reading useful books or financial posts today and every day?

How about that drop of a verse of the scripture, a drop of prayer and worship today and every day?

How about a drop a step towards your dream and passion today and every day?

How about a drop of giving into your charity account?

What virtue and discipline will you start today in little drops?

Start the drops today,

Never neglect the importance of a drop, for when the harvest time comes, you would have made a big difference. 

So this Deepavali, let's start adding at least a drop of all good things regularly. 

Happy Deepavali!

Virat Kohli's Humility Wins Over his Intensity

 I watched the last four overs of today's game against Pakistan. With 60 runs to get and 4 overs to go, Hardik not really timing the ball, it looked gone. But something inside me told me that this would end in a last ball finish - I had a grander vision - that Virat would hit a winning six or something like that.

It's kind of true that we sense the energy across the screen - good or bad - and this was a good one. There was this honesty between Hardik and Virat that this was a mountain and they would last it out and see - a moment of pure surrender with no ego but at the same time staying still and open to all opportunities. Hardik gave up when he lost that stillness and tried to hit Nawaz but Virat stayed true to his inner stillness, his belief, his humility. He could well lose, but he would stay till the end and give it his best.

When Harsha Bhogle said that in all these years he had not detected a weak moment in Virat but today he saw a tear perhaps, its a sign of that humility, of the power of surrender, of staying true to the game, to what it taught you, and staying humble and under it. And when you do that and keep your eyes and ears open, it opens doors. You don't control and try to make anything happen in a pre-planned manner - you  just let it happen.

The way he explained it after the game - the well placed four over extra cover, the hard run twos and threes all added up to the grand flourishes of sixes off consecutive balls off Rauf, of getting Afridi rattled (he is not the best death bowler in my opinion) and then letting others take over and finish the game - be it Kartik or Ashwin.

Complete team work. And with such a nice example, it looks really good for India now. This is the attitude we needed, the softness and flexibility in our approach. Good dressing room stuff. And certainly Rahul Dravid must be contributing in his own way to that.

I was not optimistic of India's chances this World Cup but now I am.Not just for this tournament, but going forward too. Well done India.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

The Communication Book - Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschappeler

 44 Ideas for better conversations they say and some are indeed good ideas. Let's examine a few.

1) The 6 Principles of Persuasion are - reciprocity, authority, consistency, consensus, scarcity and liking

2) The principles of having effective meetings are - keep them short - like 15 minutes, have them standing and definitely keep smart phones switched off and insist on handwritten notes.

3) As a boss - don't criticise, praise (but not too much), practice what you preach

4) The Salami principle - if you're getting a big idea across to a skeptical group, present it in small slices, so they can digest it slowly

5) A good speech is made of a good -argument (logos), presentation (ethos) and audience (pathos). Repetition of key phrases, irony and analogies help drive home the idea

6) Storytelling is the best way to communicate - start with something abstract, orient the setting, add complications, resolve the crisis, evaluate and find the moral or lesson

7) Focus on one idea with the idea that people who listen to it talk to others about it

8) Negotiation - remember its about the thing and not the person, look for similarities and not differences, look for good enough and not perfect, look win win

9) Feedback - when giving feedback make it such that it makes a difference to the other person, that you get the behavior we want, the behavior that's good for them, appreciative enquiry is a good method

10) Don't fall into Groupthink - allow objections, doubts, have two teams come up with two different ideas 

11) When you're presenting - never be hesitant, talk less, act ignorant and sometimes just give up

Self Talk

12) Self Talk better be constructive - no generalisations, no rash conclusions, no self blame. Stay positive, or at least neutral

13) Listen, don't talk, don't finish their sentences, watch your body language, notice little things, be a friend and not a judge

14) To begin conversations with strangers - ask for advice, ask second questions, listen, don't start conversations that do not interest you

15) The Iceberg Model - means that we only see 10% but the 90% underneath (the subconscious) drives our behaviors. To get others to show themselves, show yourself

16) A minority opinion can appear to be a majority opinion if its proponents appear confident and present their opinions confidently

17) Words can trigger actions - what do we do when we speak? What impact do we have?       

18) The stronger our anchor, the harder it is to be persuaded by a different opinion. The stronger you pull at another anchor, the stronger the resistance.

19) Apologies - Take full responsibility ('I am sorry I hurt you' and not 'I am sorry you felt that way'), do not justify, avoid using 'I am sorry 'but', don't ask for forgiveness and change your behavior next time

20) Understanding various types of lies - let's take the question 'how do I look?'

21) A white lie is one where we lie for others benefit at our risk of being found out later (you look great, though they may not), A Grey lie is one where both benefit, a Black lie is one where only you benefit and a Red lie is one where no one benefits - you lie for the sake of lying

22) If it's important, keep it short

Love and Friendship

23) How relationships fail - everyone is communicating even if they are saying nothing, remember there is a relationship and there is a content aspect, communication is 7% words, 38% tone and 55% body language

24) Cause and effect - ask good questions and listen

25) Non-violent communication - would you rather be right or happy

26) Giraffe language - observe without evaluating, acknowledge your feelings, acknowledge their needs and take them seriously, express clear and achievable goals

27) To be understood -say just enough, tell the truth (don't speculate), don't say irrelevant stuff, avoid ambiguity, say what's true and important and express clearly

28) What's good distance - < 50 cms (intimate, 50-120 cms (personal), 120-360 cms (social), > 360 cms (public)

29) The 4 Layers in messages - 1) content 2) appeal 3) relationship 4) self-disclosure

30) Game theory - 2 sides go along as per their plan and stick to it

31) 2nd Order Observation - Sometimes we need an external eye because we cannot see that we are seeing something

32) Transactional Analysis - Parent ego, adult ego, child ego. When communication is not working ask what state you are in

33) Parent talk - role model actions, correct the content and not the form, be consistent, implement threats immediately, praise the action and not the person, ignore bad behavior, offer alternatives, tell what she should do and not what she should not do, ask questions that can be answered

Words and Meanings

34) The world is seen according to the context or frame we choose to put it in

35) The medium is the message 

36) To detect fake news ask -who/what/which/to whom and effect

37) Why we get addicted to online stuff - for information, entertainment, we identify with role models, social interest and escapism

38) Understanding messages - encoding and decoding (as it is, dissonance and a combination of the two)

39) People understand complicated matter better through images than words

40) Euphemisms and dysphemisms (softening and magnifying)

41) Sophism - corelation does not imply causation For an objective opinion, check what has been excluded

42)  Peak - end - always look for the peak but whatever happens, end well and all is forgiven.

Good stuff. Some of them are known (but its about practice, my friend). Some of the points hit home - apology, peak end, context, lies etc. Definitely worth reading and practicng.

Girivan - A Meeting of Cousins (Old Associates)

 Chhaya and Shubha, Shobha's cousins, were in Pune - from Germany and Australia respectively, after a long time. I have not seen them in years, a decade or so I guess. Anyway they were our partners in crime in those hedy 90s when we would all gang up at Happy Colony, play loud music and drink rum and coke and perhaps sing along more often than not. It was a great time that we had so when we knew they were in town, one of us decided to go. Finally turned out to be me.

The meeting was at Girivan which is a lovely place some 90 minutes away from Pune (been there before some years ago). It took us over two hours to get there from Magarpatta and Gauri and Mangala tai and me kept company along the way. Once there we met everyone present - Asha maushi, Shashi maushi, Prashanth, Chitra, Meera, Chhaya, Shubha, Parth, Maria, Manik maushi, Jyo, Mihir, Miskil, Kabir. Lewis and Maxine came with us and we were joined by Khayal.

I met my best friend from Australia - Maya - Shubha's daughter who decided to take me straight to the rabbits. We promised each other that we would be best friends forever and she instantly asked me as best friend if I could get her ice cream. I realised that my old failing of saying more than I should got me into this (I old her she could ask me anything she wanted). Luckily I found her an ice cream and things were smooth enough for us to end on the same high note. 

Lewis and the rabbits

Maya and me - BFFs

Lewis, Maya, Khayal and Maxine

Lewis, Khayal and Maxine
Some nice lunch, tea and we headed back. I took a ride with Mihir which was quite pleasant as we discussed his life as an activist and a social worker.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Some Interesting Behaviors by Train Passengers

 I was on the platform for a while so I was watching the people to see how they behaved. 

1) A bunch of 35-40 year olds going for an interview to Pune I guess. Someone seemed to have come to the platform across the tracks and one of them volunteered to go over and help. Wisely he was taking the steps or the elevator when a couple of them exhorted him to jump over the tracks. Really, really, pushed him but thankfully he held on despite their barbs.  You don't need enemies when you have friends like these.

2) An announcement over the public speaker system for a lady from the hospitality or housekeeping or cleaning up staff - and soon enough I saw this slim lady hop on to the tracks and cross over and jump on to the platform on the other side. Why are they not asked to take the stairs?

3) This was a first. I saw a guy walking about near me and when he came walking back towards me, bag in hand and all, I was shocked to see him foaming at the mouth. I wondered if he has poisoned himself or had some reaction but he was walking quite casually. I watched him closely as he passed me by and realised he was brushing his teeth, walking on the platform, fully dressed, at 3 in the afternoon, tooth brush in hand. Amazing oral hygiene but he sure gave me a start.

4) In the Vistadome, a rather quiet place, we found a guy who got on at Solapur and who spoke loudly enough for the whole compartment to hear - for a very long time. How he had set up many restaurants in Solapur, how they have to get their money out, how the Bombay scheme will make them rich, how he will show great quality work in the next few months, how he will take care of his health - all very loudly. He also had this way of using cricketing metaphors - woh aapko clean bowled karne ke liye aaye the, lekin app ne apna wicket nahin diya etc. Luckily he fell asleep after that 30 minutes. 

On the return journey we had this gentleman who sells some engineering products and who was talking to his salespeople, his receptionist Meena who would keep calling him every now and then with no reason, his customers, some credit card types who he told he would talk after his visit. I was sitting a clear 1-15 feet away and still got all the details - wish their girlfriends or mistresses had called. It would have been more fun.

5) On the return journey the train came on to the platform and all of us were waiting for them to open the doors. But there were at least to people who went and wrestled with the doors, tried to prise open the handle, this way and that, pushed against it with all their force - as if there was a death threat behind them and they needed to get into the train for safety. Before they broke open the door others told them - they will open the door sir, please wait.

6) There was this young girl who was next to me, a professional hip hop dancer who was on the way to some underground battle in Pune. I was so impressed with her - she took the train and was going to find the place herself, has been travelling solo for a while, spending her own money, pursuing her passion, teaching dance at Cult Fit, open to meeting people. For a change I offered her all the stuff that the catering served me and she modestly shared a bit which was nice and some type of an icebreaker. We had a nice chat about her career, about this underground battle, her chances and so on. One confident young girl she was. And very polite and smart.

The TTEs do not ask you for your ticket anymore which is such a relief - now they just ask you your seat number and name and figure it out from the details they have. Finally good sense prevails! People with a lot of baggage struggling, toilets stinking etc are still the norm but let's look at progress. The stations were clean, the staff courteous and generally a far more pleasant experience. Now, were there other things I forgot? Let me think.    

Monday, October 17, 2022

The Pune - Hyderabad Shatabdi After a Long Time

 The Shatabdi had become our preferred mode of travel when the Pune-Hyd highway was being developed - almost for a decade - and then we started to drive again. But then came the pandemic and the trains stopped and so did the Shatabdi, my fav train right now. It has now come with a new attraction - the Vistadome which I was keen to try.

So when I had to go on a quick trip to Pune last weekend I booked myself on the Shatabdi and traveleld to Pune in the Vistadome and from Pune in the first class. Enjoyed both journeys and got two books done along the way - Tender is the Night and Communication Strategy.

Hyderabad to Pune 


And Pune to Hyd

Good fun!

Superb Piece by Krishna - Fiction is Dead, Long Live Fiction

 Brilliant. Well done Krishna.

Tender is the Night - F Scott Fitzgerald

 I remember this novel being on my father's shelf and could never forget the name. Ever since I have always wanted to read this novel and when Abhinay gave it to me to read, I was waiting to get down to it.

The novel however is not easy to read as there are many characters and much happens that it needs a lot of concentration. After a couple of attempts to read it thoroughly I adopted my skim method to get past the book because I knew I would never read it otherwise.

It is apparently a story that mirrors Fitzgerald's life and one wonders when you read their stories that its rather difficult to live such lives. The hero of the story is Dr Dick Divers, a psychiatrist, a charming man, who marries a patient of his Nicole who has been subject to abuse from her rich father. She appears to recover and Dick also sets up a practice. They live on the French Riviera with friends and parties where he meets Rosemary, a young actress who falls in love with him. He does not have an affair with her though he says he loves her. Much happens but towards the end Dick grows into an alcoholic, Nicole is sent to some treatment where she recovers but then marries their friend Tommy. Dick pines away for Rosemary and lives a lonely, alcoholic life somewhere in the wilderness, managing a small practice.

Its depressing and gets into you. Not the best of books to read when you are looking for something to pick you up. But its a classic and you know why - you cannot forget the mood, the theme, the characters - they seep into you forever. But then read about Fitzgerald's own story and its rather depressing too.     

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Pointers to a Team that won Two Games

 V called and we discussed how the team has won two matches and is now facing tougher teams. There is a rest day and he wanted to do some exercises with the team. They had already done one exercise where each member of the team had pledged that they would win the tournament this year. Taking off from there we decided some exercise for tomorrow.

1) First, to read out and reiterate the team's commitment to win the tournament. The Manager will read out each players statement and the team will together, once again, reiterate their commitment to win the tournament this year again. The mood is high energy and congratulatory since we have won two games already.

Action: After reading it all out, the team gets together and once again reiterates together that they will win the tournament.

2) After the reiteration to win the tournament, each player will then write on a piece of paper 2 or three points each on 

1) what the team did well in the first two games (2-3 points) and 

2) areas that the team needs to work on going into the next match (2-3 points) 

Each player will then read out their points. The captain or someone from the team can write on a white board the points - first on what the team is doing well, and then the second list on what the team needs to tighten. The points can then be discussed. Have everyone participate and involved.

3) Have the team contemplate on these questions?

At what percentage of our potential are we playing?

How can we make it 100% in the next match? 

How can we help each other bring out the best in each one and give 100% as a team?

Let them come out with 4-5 practices to follow to bring out the best in the team, by supporting and encouraging one another. Let them find the magic formula - we have the best talent, all the resources we need - how can we come together and win match by match.

4) Have the concept of the individuals and the team go into each match with a 'best in season performance' goal. It means that when they walk into this game they will try as individuals to give their best performance of the season. (Can be done on the morning of the game also to reiterate)

5) Have the players visualise what will happen to their lives and their lives can change if they win the tournament. Give them 10 minutes and ask them to list as many good things as possible - first time, history, name, fame, opportunities, money, champions, careers, jobs, IPL, family pride, movies....let them list as many as they want...have fun and enjoy the process so they all feel the high energy of the possibility.     

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Thought for the Day - It's Always 50:50

 I remember reading this powerful line in a book and it always stayed with me - something about how relationships will not work if they are not equal. If someone feels more than or less than, they will not work. What I also took it as was that in inequal relationships there is no space for communication.


One common point of conflict in all relationships is that both partners feel they have done more than the other. When this 'I did this more than you' or contrarily, 'you never did this' comes up, it just goes from one exchange to another. You can never resolve anything that starts there. Clearly any relationship that works on 'I did more' is going to be rough because one or both will feel the unfairness of it all, the imbalance of it all.

Which is why, one must, in a working relationship, simply accept that it is always 50:50. There could be different ways of showing it, doing it, being there, but hey, if its working, its still 50:50. And if one can hold this thought and stay with it, then the relationship has a chance. Because then both parties are on equal footing and when they are equal, they can communicate.

So, if you want this thing to work, get this clear. 50:50. No more. No less. If you did this, the other did something else. Done.

Your relationship will suddenly bloom if you can stay there at 50:50. If you perceive any change, at least you can talk about it from the 50:50 angle and not from a victim-perpetrator angle.

Keep the Balance Within  

One also realises that most times relationships become burdened by what's outside it. Other people, work, outside relationships, family, in-laws and so on. Many times these outside influences add to the imbalance and unfairness one perceives in the relationship and adds stress to it. What could be a good relationship between the two partners gets messed up because of external factors. They become bigger than this and cause imbalance.

How then?

I think one should first figure their core relationship out. And stay equal there. Arrive at 50:50. Let bygones be bygones. Lay the old stories to rest. Start afresh on 50:50. That way both are on the same side, both feel equal and there's space to talk.

Then, once this core relationship is in strong space, they can look at external factors that are causing the imbalance and decide how to deal with them together. From the same side of the table. 

I think it might help to keep this perspective of being equal within the relationship first and then, dealing with external factors that stress their relationship next.

And with that milord, I rest my case.      

Thought for the Day - I Need Only My Permission, My Validation

 So much of our victim story is because we are always looking out for others permission, validation and approval. Our remote is in their hands or rather, we force the remote into their hands and ask them what to do. We want them to put the channel we want, and get disappointed when they put the channel they want.

Does not make sense does it?

The way to go about it would be to use our remote ourselves and see what we want and be OK with what we want to watch. The day we are comfortable with our own permission, approval and validation, we are done. We are happy. We are ourselves.

We are no longer the victim. We are dong exactly what we want and there's no one to blame.     

Some Interesting Places in Telangana

For many years I have been wanting to see the Ramappa temple which I had seen when I was a child. But the memory of floating bricks etc remaining just as the expanse of Pakhal lake remained in the 10 year old mind. So when the prospect of going to Ramappa came up after a recent family function, I was game for it.

Ramappa temple is a 11th century temple constructed by Ramappa and they say it is probably the only temple known after the architect and not the deity. The deity is Shiva and there are wonderful temples for Shiva and Nandi - the main temple is live. It is now a UNESCO Heritage site. I found no guide there which is a pity - why don't they train the locals and provide them some livelihood and it would make our lives easier too. Nor was there any security at the temple. There was some crowd but that was to be expected.

Cable bridge at Laknavaram

TSTDC Resort at the Laknavaram island

Having seen the temple we decided to go further to the Laknavaram lake which is a beautiful place - a large placid lake which can be accessed by a cable bridge to walk on. There are rooms to rent on the island. Best of all is that there is another island that offers more rooms which can only be accessed by boat. The chai guy told me that the second island is beautiful because one can only see water and mist on a wintry morning. Maybe worth a visit sometime.


Bogatha waterfalls

Some pics from the trip.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Claire Keegan - Small Things Like These

 Claire Keegan is an award winning writer with a resume that makes me want to stop writing. But the book makes me want to write simply because it is concise at 109 pages and I think i can manage a few stories like that.

It is set in 1985. Furlong a coal and log shop owner who grows up without a father, somehow makes a decent living and has a family with five daughters. He is very empathetic to others and especially children who have troubles and finds himself uncovering a scandal in the local nunnery and the church - young girls being used for some weird purposes. He uncovers a young girl who wants to run away from the laundry in the nunnery and turns out she has a child and is separated from the child. The nuns act like everything is normal. Furlong does no heroics except take the girl home but the Magdalen Laundries as they were known later did become a scandal - meant to house and provide for fallen women who then become easy preys for people in the church to abuse.

Leaves an imprint. I'll never forget the story.    

Jogi - Movie

 2022. Set in the backdrop of Indira Gandhi's assassination and the anti-Sikh riots that followed, it follows a young Sikh Jogi who is trying to save as many Sikhs as possible by taking them over to Mohali with the help of one cop friend. There's some backstory about him and another cop with a love interest. But somehow didn't have the impact I thought it would have, nor did it give me any insights into what really happened.

Shakini - Dakini - Movie

 2022. Cop movie with a twist - two female police officer trainees who bust a trafficking racket. Quite enjoyable. The girls put in a lot of action - Regina and Nivetha.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Deewar - Movie

 While watching PS1 Anjali saw the Amitabh Bachchan festival that was announced at PVR - Deewar, Don etc. She immediately said she wanted to watch Deewar and we booked tickets and here we are. The theatre was full and though we booked well in advance, we got seats third from the screen.

I was unsure how ti would be watching it now after so  many years 0 45 years and more looks like - but not for a moment did I get bored. And it was fantastic the way they did not miss a trick - piling it on scene by scene moment by moment. I realised how they took care of the details - when Amitabh comes to the temple all injured and gets off the car, he first kicks off his shoes before he enters the temple! Stuff like that.

Could not resist this 

Could have done without Aruna Irani's song perhaps but Amitabh was just as good as ever. His eyes, his style, his body language, he just loomed over everyone in every scene. No wonder we'd go nuts watching his movies then. Anjali was happily whooping and clapping with the rest at the scenes, the dialogues.

Fantastic.  I asked myself - hey would you watch it again tomorrow - and I think, why not? I would happily do that. Can't say that about many new movies though.