Some years ago, when we passed a group of girls, I told my friend with a sense of elation in my voice, “Did you notice? All of them looked at me for more than a few seconds”. The harangue that followed pricked my bloated pride.”They looked at you twice because the shirt and trousers you wear do not match in colour”. So saying, he taught me the nuances of sartorial taste. “In fact, women have a far developed sense of colour, matching patterns and so on. So, if they look at you more than once, they do not approve of your choice of colour, the way of wearing or the pattern and design of your clothes. No doubt they spend a lot of time in the selection of their clothes, shoes jewels and even the frames for their glasses”
Are you a nervous person? You may claim to be otherwise. But experience tells us that no one can truthfully answer this question. Only a crisis would give you the opportunity to realize your own weakness or strength. I believed myself to be a person free from nervousness. But I wasn’t. I learnt this truth the hard way. In the examination hall. In the conference room where many higher ups were present. How can you find you are truly nervous or not? There are simple tests. Answer the following questions truthfully. Baba mail subjects you to so many tests. You dutifully answer them. You also accept their interpretation. Such questions and interpretations are as accurate as the predictions by a soothsayer sitting under a banian tree on one of the Indian road junctions. Well, I can promise you, mine is different. Here you go. I wish you all success.
- Do you forget the answers to questions when you are writing an exam, but you can recall the answers after you leave the exam hall?
- Do you stammer when called to give an account of your performance before the higher ups?
- My third question, ….well I .. have forgotten. Though I came prepared with a dozen questions on this subject, I forgot the rest of them because I developed nervousness after my second question. An examiner can also become nervous. You must remember the word ‘nervousness’ has another name. It is’cold feet’.
Every one ruminates about the past. Some of the past experiences may be pleasant.Some may not be. My ruminations about my past have only strengthened my belief in God. Sounds paradoxical? But it is true. Many times I had regretted why I had taken a particular decision while in cross road. But later events proved that God had been on my side when I took such decision. If I had taken a different route, my life could have been ruined. No doubt some people had taken advantage over me. But in the long run, they have not gained anything and I have not lost anything. I have made some bad investment also. But that too gave me a valuable lesson about the wise way of investing money. Bad debts? Quite a few. But they never shook my financial foundation. The only rumination that really pains me is the thought of my father. If only he had lived a few years longer?
Palaeo food is the new fad in town. I have my own doubt. Some years ago it used to be 1.22 litres of water in the morning. Later, it was followed by oil-pulling. What is oil-pulling? Put a tablespoonful of sesame oil in your mouth the first thing in the morning. Go on rinsing it between your teeth. Don’t spit it for as long as possible. It may be five minutes, ten minutes, or even fifteen minutes, depending upon your individual ability to keep such a mass of saliva in your mouth. Remember you have to go on agitating the saliva in your mouth. When you feel you can hold it no longer, you spit it out. NEVER swallow it. You are assured that ALL the impurities in your body, together with the harmful micro organisms are pulled out and you spit them out at the end. Hence it is christened ‘Oil Pulling’ A relative of mine who faithfully followed the remedy gave it up after trying it for many months and finding no worthwhile improvement in her health. It is imported from Russia, we are told. As it is a product of a foreign country, that too the paradise of the proletariat, you should have no doubt about its efficacy. But, unfortunately, the woman in question was a bourgeois and the therapy failed to work in her case. That’s the only rational explanation I could give you. But why do I doubt the efficacy of Palaeo food? In palaeo food therapy, you have to forego almost all the food naturally found in the earth – almost all the fruits, legumes, cereals, cheap nuts, and so on. The recommended nuts like walnuts are prohibitively costly. I agree that refined sugar is harmful. But why the plantains, mangoes and apples are ruled out ? You are told that fish, eggs and pork are good for your health, but not chicken and meat. Can you blame me if I doubt the claims made about the therapeutic value of this recently discovered theory of health? No doubt I have an open mind and I’m subject to correction, if I ‘m proved wrong.
“Is what I heard about you true?”, our manager asked me bluntly without any preliminary formalities.
“What is it that you heard about me, sir?”, I asked him politely
“Don’t kid me. I heard that you married a young woman?”
“Yes, sir, I did”, I replied with a straight face.
My officer was taken aback with my straight forward answer. He probably thought I would deny that. My reply made him very much surprised. Shocked would be the proper word.
“So, the gossip at the office is true?”
“Gossip? What do you mean sir?”
“That you married a young woman”
“Yes, sir. I married a young woman. After all who would marry a old woman?”
“Are you joking?”, he seemed to be furious, “my question is why did you do that”
“Because, sir, my father and my mother asked me to do so”
“Your father and your mother? But you told me you lost your parents long ago?”
“Yes sir, I lost them both a year after my marriage. Soon after I landed a government job, my parents arranged my marriage with a young girl and I married her thirty-five years ago”
I do not make predictions. That’s not my job. Whatever prediction I made never came true – except about one word. What was that word ? ‘Lovingly’. Long ago, when I was in ninth standard, I had an argument with my class-mate. What is the best way of concluding a letter? My class-mate said ‘Yours lovingly’. I differed. I said ‘Lovingly yours’ was the best term to conclude a letter with. Not content with my argument, I wrote it on the blackboard as well. “See, how nice it looks. Lovingly yours”. Suddenly, my class-mate and the whole class became silent. I attributed the silence to my friend’s acceptance of defeat. A sharp blow on my back brought me to reality. Our maths teacher, the terror of terrors had sneaked into the class. The silence was broken by the thundering voice of the mathematical genius. “How dare you write a love letter on the black board?”, he shouted. Love letter? It was far from my mind. In the Indian class room, the word ‘love’ was always associated with ‘sex’. You may think how foolish people should have been in those days. You are not supposed to talk with a girl in your class, even if it were related to your lessons. My legs began to tremble. He may give me some punishment and leave me at that. But, if he decides to send me to the affectionate care of the headmaster? My whole body began to tremble. On that day I cursed the word ‘lovingly’. You will disappear from the world, I fumed. Now it seems my words are coming true. Nobody writes a letter. The days when the postman was an eagerly sought after messenger are gone. The word may pass into oblivion. But, you young boys, you are blessed with cell phones and a dear one to pick up your message. Enjoy it. I wholeheartedly bless you. Celebrate the Valentine’s Day with all the fervour it is entitled to.
What was the first device ever produced through man’s craft? I bet on ‘fish-hook’. It was probably followed by the trap for small animals and birds. I forgot the catapult, working on the third law of Sir Isaac Newton, though the early man had never heard about Newton or his laws of motion.
Many of us do not recognize the importance of the love and affection shown by the grand parents in bringing up the children. We engage baby-sitters who have no affection and love for the children who are not connected with them in any way. Besides, they may not be intelligent enough to develop the psychological potential of the children. In my case, it was my grand mother who instilled a desire to come up in life. She told me stories from Pancha thanthra (Literally, it means the five tricks or ways of living, in the form of stories and sub-plots dealing with the realities of life), the Bhagavatham (the story of Lord Krishna), Ramayana and Maha Bharatha (the two epics of India). The story session started after I finished with my school lessons and had my dinner. (In fact, if these two obligations were not fulfilled, the story session did not take place). Such sessions help to develop a love and respect for our heritage, besides providing a link to our ancestral culture, which in turn develop our moral strength. By playing on our imagination, it develops our intelligence potential.
I gave up smoking many years ago. Only for the first two or three weeks I couldn’t resist the temptation to smoke. Later, I overcame the temptation to smoke. But that is not the case with following diet control. A couple of weeks later, a cake presented to me by my Christian friends made my dieting go hay ware. I couldn’t resist the temptation to taste the cake.
Many of the idioms and phrases in use today were born when man was following his earlier occupations like food-gathering, fishing and hunting and later on farming and rearing livestock. “Wind fall” is a good example – meaning unexpected luck. The wind came to the fruit-gatherer’s aid so that he could collect fruits without the difficulty of climbing on the tree or pelting stones at the fruits. The corrupt official was caught by a bait offered to him is another example born out of the fishing occupation. When we say that “the criminal got scent of the police presence and disappeared from the scene”, you borrow a word from the hunting occupation. Any hunter worth his salt knows that a quarry animal should be followed upwind – that is, the wind should blow from the animal to the hunter. Otherwise, the animal catches the scent of the hunter and scoots away. It has been recorded by a hunter that a panther rolled on cattle dung before stalking his prey, so that his scent could be drowned in the smell of the cattle dung.