Regrettably, unable to speculate creatively as would an artist or a wordsmith of merit on what would be a man if not civilized by the women in his life, am content forwarding some beautiful thoughts related to the subject, anonymusly authored:



vide Anantharaman Mahadevan

When she takes her time to drink a barely warm cup of tea, let her. She’s given her time to cook your meal and serve it to you before she sat to drink her tea.

When she takes time to select a dish from the menu, let her. Every day, for every meal she has prepared she has given her time to think about what to make, how much, and for whom.

When she takes time to dress up to go out with you, let her. She has given her time to make sure that your ironed clothes are…

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Sticking With It…

The subject of this post, my walking-stick is an authentic piece of cane, ramrod straight, sturdy but light in weight, with a teak-like finish lasting till-date! A simple specimen with its top somehow bent into curved handle without breaking it, going down to a bare unshod foot. No fancy triple or quadruple toes. Not even a rubber where it meets the road.

This was given to me some 40+ years ago on the day of marriage by my in-laws! Read on to know why.

In a mock ritual in our marriages, the groom in a bout of pre-wedding jitters suddenly decides to run away to distant Kashi for embracing eternal brahmacharya (bachelorhood) and in pursuit of knowledge, leaving everything behind. He packs essentials for the journey including an umbrella for heat and rain, coconut for snacking on the way, some rice, a spare dhoti and, yes, a walking-stick.  Even takes the first few steps of his ‘journey’ in that direction! Actually affording one last opportunity for the erring father to do the right thing by his daughter! But what does the guileless father do? He fouls it up, pleading with and persuading the groom to return by extolling the virtues of grihastha-ashrama (family life), and telling him how his darling daughter would make a perfect soul-mate, plying him with gifts.  

You also ask why the in-laws should procure the walking-stick, etc. for the groom’s sham act of running away from it all. Beats me. My guess: some ‘smart’ groom-side once tricked the poor bride-side into paying for it and ever since, it became a practice!

Moving on,

Everyone knows a walking-stick is essentially a load-sharing device when a man’s upper torso gets more ambitious than his lower. Also as a steadying influence when his head does not know which way is straight up. My reasons too, for using one though vanity keeps me from making it a constant companion.

More like the Swiss-army knife, it comes in handy in ways not all of it envisaged by its original designer – it’s said a tool is as good as the hands holding it:  

Like I use it in my morning walk to pick flowers at heights beyond normal reach.  

Likewise used as an extra-long limb: to fetch a shirt hanging on an overhead clothesline, clearing cobwebs at one swipe, scaring an errant spider back to its wherever…

It dissuades without violence some of those stray dogs coming into their own especially when the streets get lonely. You need to experience it to know how scary it gets.

Lets you test the ground you walk on especially when it’s uneven or in poor light. On the pavements, tiles that have broken loose from their seats are forced to betray themselves in time for a firm foot landing. Of course, much as it might not like to, the stick quite helplessly does not walk in step with you in the extraordinary eventuality of its own foot getting caught between broken tiles or in any other gap holding it fast.

Conversely, there’s one unfortunate occasion when it’s a thoroughly justifiable act of self-preservation to let your mate, loyally sticking with you thus far, go on his way. That’s when you skid on a slippery surface. It’s strongly recommended in the situation to free up your hands to find and hold onto a firm unyielding support, unmindful of the stick.  Of course, successfully executed, you’ll not remain separated for long.

It’s when crossing the roads the stick shows its true mettle, its awesome power no way hinted by its humble form. Like that fellow said ‘Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough….’, give me a stick and I’ll…it instantly freezes or slows down the oncoming traffic on the road like magic (Disclaimer: Does not work on highways or roads where they weave figures of eight or parts of it, or when everyone is fleeing from a disaster site close-by). Doing it right requires you, to tap the stick on the ground visibly and noisily as you walk across. Don’t underestimate the aural stimulation; often sounds work where sights don’t, especially impaired after a heavy enterprise like lunch…

And relatedly – this no RTO warns you of – this stick, not infrequently, also has the potential to take you to the nearest hospital in your area, for no fault of its. When and how? Well, when the oncoming traffic is an auto (three-wheeler). Your helpful move of hurrying up to get to the other side so as not to cause a hold-up could badly misfire. How? It’s plain as the nose on the face to see a safe passage, however desirable, is not a likely outcome – Newton confirms it – when two moving objects, their paths crossing, speed up while running their course, focused on their own goals. Yes, the auto – no AI here – expecting you to continue with your lumbering gait, stick included, computes and sets itself on a route and speed to pass clear ahead of you. And there you are in a hurry to…like it happens with most good intentions.

Cutting to the nub now:

Yesterday, witnessed yet another interesting deployment, by no means unprecedented, prompting this post. I may be excused for repeating this once: ‘…a tool is as good as the hands holding it’. And we Indians do it well!

We were at a municipal hospital near our home to take the first covid shot. The arrangements were very nice. Though long, the queue moved briskly. When we were near the head of the queue a stream of oldies (I’m 72!) landed. There was this guy – could be in late sixties or early seventies, helped by a lady appearing to be his daughter in his slow walk. It needed some effort for him to maneuver with his walking stick. The hospital authorities rightly allowed him to go right in, holding us back. Following him immediately was another old lady with a man and a woman accompanying her. She could barely keep herself awake as she was led by hand into the doctor’s room. And a couple of them more. It was another 20 to 25 minutes before we were let in. As I entered thru the narrow curtained door, I almost crashed into the first guy as he was coming out. He agilely stepped aside avoiding me and then walked out without a stagger or a stumble. Trailing behind him was the daughter trying to catch up with him and thrust the stick back into his hands!

A variation of this theme, though not involving walking-sticks, is played day in and day out at airports disgorging Indian ladies, old and seemingly infirm pushed around in wheel chairs. When in the baggage-claim area, someone makes a genuine mistake of picking up her suitcase from the conveyor-belt, lo behold, witness a miracle – with the alacrity of a long–jumper, she would leap from her chair to claim hers! She is cured!

Well, that’s it for now. Am sure there’s lot of interesting stuff more out there waiting to be uncovered, said…For instance, with an extra leg given to stand on, does it win you arguments in a litigation? No documented cases found yet. Kidding…


From A Misogynist’s Collection

A mother-in-law arrives home from the mall to find her son-in-law boiling angry and hurriedly packing his suitcase. 

“What happened?” she asks anxiously.

“What happened! I’ll tell you what happened… I sent an email to my wife telling her I was coming home today from my business trip…I get home…and…guess what I found..

Yes, your daughter, my wife…with a guy in our marital bed. This is unforgivable…the end of our marriage…I’m done… I’m leaving forever…” 

“Calm down.. calm down.. my son” says…his mother-in-law. “There is something very odd going on here…My daughter would never do such a thing…There must be a simple explanation…I’ll go speak to her immediately and find out what happened..” 

Moments later…the mother-in-law comes back with a big smile…”I told you there must be a simple explanation…She didn’t get the email”


Exchange of text messages:

Husband: ‘You are negative.’

Wife: ‘and you are stubborn, arrogant, a low life, care about no one but yourself and your friends, all you are interested in is your own self, all your life not fulfilled even one of your promises. It is only I who is putting up with such a miser and insensitive man. You good for nothing, fat, ugly man. Even your hair transplant failed.’

Husband: ‘I was just informing you that your Covid test is negative.’

Wife: ‘Oh………’


Man: Alexa, I am feeling that I want to have fun.

Alexa: Most certainly… Don’t worry. I am dimming the lights. Setting your AC to 22 C degrees.

I have hired your favorite Thai masseuse. She is just 12 minutes away as per her Uber ride status.

I have scheduled her payment from your credit card 2 hours from now.

I have checked your wife’s GPS and she is shopping in a suburban mall. According to her buying checklist stored on my disk, she will take at least 2 more hours, plus according to Google maps traffic analysis, more than 1 hour to reach home.

Have fun.

This is called true Artificial Intelligence…


Wife: Alexa, have you set it up?

Alexa: Sure thing, he thinks you are going to take three hours. If you take an Uber home, you will be there in 45 minutes. I’m recording the whole thing with four cameras, you just need to walk in, we have him red-handed.

I’ve got your divorce papers printed and ready, and your attorney briefed, case documents are drafted and will be completed tomorrow, $1 M. damages plus $10,000 per month alimony.

All set. Your Uber is waiting outside.

Now, this is Artificial Counter Intelligence!!!

After all, Alexa is a female!


Source: Ramani Ramanathan in PCK, Vidya Dwarakanath

Telling A Story

A couple of months ago, I received a Tamizh short-story from a prolific writer who prefers to circulate his work among known circles and not publish it open for general viewing. The period, the place and the people in them made me feel nostalgic about my younger days. In his essentially family-centered stories he touches upon a vast variety of professions ranging from dhobi, to the fellow who fixes shoes on horses, to the guy who lays tennis courts, to street-side vendor selling bajji’s, to an astrologer using parrots to pick cards….possibly a hundred such, with an uncommon insight! Not a person from literature, I’m hard put to fix an appropriate label on his genre of stories.

The one I chose to translate is about a troupe that camps on an available open space and does a carnival-like show of non-stop cycling over 3, 5 or 7 days. True to form, the story has no significant twists and turns, drama or denouement unfolding, preferring mundane to momentous. It’s a straight and simple log-like day-by-day easy-flowing account with an imperceptible build-up of tempo to a surprise ending in the last 100-200 words of 3000+ words of translated text. It had a charm of its own, the style redolent of R K Narayan, meant to be savored at leisure on a lazy afternoon – like taking your time with some full-bodied foaming filter-coffee from a lipped brass tumbler– vicariously living among the humans therein and observing the happenings around, unencumbered by any uplifting message or moral.

I thought I did a decent job of translation, preserving the authenticity of the original narration as far as possible. And, sent it to a few in my circles who may look at it. Topping the short list was a cousin, a Phd in Electrical Engineering also given to reading stuff we do. His views, I always valued, genuine, candid, incisive and different.  

He asked what no one before had, ‘All fine, but what do I get in return for investing some 30+ minutes of my time reading all of it?’

Not ready for it, I was thrown off-balance. What? Does one look for a return from a fictional narrative, besides enjoying reading it? It was a story, not a knowledge-imparting tech article, a profound parable, a preachy pravachan or a polemic in philosophy or politics. But I knew him too well to understand he was serious about what he had said. So, what could it be? I was even mildly annoyed at not being able to get my hands around the issue.  Amidst other things swirling around, in a short time, it went out of focus for me until…

A couple of days ago, I saw a clip and felt, for a reason, obliged to comment. It was a ‘friendly’ interview – certain topics and questions that might discommode the guest-for-the-evening were strictly a taboo – of a reasonably well-known cine-actress of yester years. The question that was pushed away unaddressed by a vexed mind popped up again, as it often happens in this little game called Life, albeit a little differently: what was the value perceived by a viewer of the program? In this context, however, the answer was a no-brainer – if nothing else, at least some juicy tidbits revealed about herself, her peers or the industry, not known to many. What better enduring staple for many a chat among friends?

Voila! There…it is, finally revealed! The knot untied! I rush to capture it:

A story, in the least, may deliver one or more anecdotes that could be shared with some others in a manner that engages its listeners, possibly in support of their own pet theories, so it may be repeated to more others likewise, so on.

Well, seems to be a simply stated and a very modest expectation of the story’s reader.

And, does the story in question pass this test?

Not by a long shot, it might be said – too much ‘black-ink’ spent on the way getting to a little surprise at the end, as the Tamizh saying sums up succinctly: ‘Turning a mountain upside down only to find a mouse.’  

But then, on certain journeys, the travel is as or even more enjoyable than reaching there finally! Sounds like Life?


Bet You Didn’t See It Coming!

If these are unduely misogynic and downright mean at times…well, I didn’t notice it until it was too late. Will make amends soon:-)),


Source: archonsden

A Mix-up At The Doctor’s (A Flash-Fiction)

(not entirely fictional!)

‘Well, well, who do we see here?’ the Doctor greeted us with a cheer that didn’t augur well.

‘Problems with your eyes too, Doc? Your dear mother wouldn’t approve ignoring your own health under work-pressure.’

‘Ha, ha, if anything, his sense of humor is undented,’ the man of medicine to my wife.

Dented by what? I let it go.

‘Well…,’ he persisted with seeing what he had trouble seeing unaided.

It was clear like the improbable sequence of letters T Z/A T O C/….in the eye-chart on the wall, I was expected to move things along. So I did in a way I could…not.

‘Frankly, I’m not sure why we are here… It can’t be that we’re here to invite you to a house-warming party, though it would give us immense pleasure….but, you know, we’re staying put at the same house: 11th Road, etc. etc. Nor birthday bashes for none is due until next year. Sorry, Doc, to be wasting your time, you must be a busy man. Must be some small matter my wife wished to bring up?’ Turning to my wife, ‘Yes, dear?’

I even raised myself a few inches from my seat. But noticed a complete absence of any synchronous intent or effort on the part of my wife to leave her chair anytime soon.  

Not following the lead with my wife, the doctor – quite rummy, as Jeeves would have presently observed, for one not to know his patients at first glance – was fixed on me: ‘May be something to do with your glasses?’ he speculated. They were as prescribed by him a month ago and nothing else.

‘That would be wronging you, Sir. The glasses you recommended are just perfect. I can even read the disclaimer in small-print at the bottom of product info sheets – kidding, of course. But, seriously, no issues. I read morning papers, magazines….I can spot through the open window in our kitchen, our daily guest – the crow, the black one, perched on a tree branch some twenty feet away, peering at us waiting for its quota of cooked rice…won’t you say, Doc, am doing fine?’

I paused waiting for some well-deserved words of approbation of my visual acuity that consistently outperformed a fog-light, I thought. But compliments in these times, you well know, are hard to come by.

Suddenly I remembered I had even more striking evidence, incontrovertible, to present: ‘Why, Doc, this morning, I received by mail a family photo shot at the wedding of a niece of mine. I could identify every one of them in that, midgets included…didn’t I dear? Didn’t know until now we had midgets in our family.’

Once again, what compliments? All I got grudgingly from my soul-mate was ‘Yes, you did.’

‘That kind of settles it, Doc? Of course it still leaves us with an unanswered question why…’

My wife glanced at the doctor betraying some sense of exasperation. So would you be when the other party you’re transacting with, the doctor in this instance to avoid any confusion, walks off into the woods and it falls on your lot to bring him back on to the road, though a chore she routinely does in her day with her brood back home.  

Not one to waste time – I’ll give her that – she rose to the occasion, mind you, not yet from the chair though. But it took a turn I had not quite expected.

‘It was pure inadvertence, Doc, I had forwarded to him this morning a photograph taken at my friend’s daughter’s wedding.’  The mortal blow she had reserved for the last – turning to me, ‘You don’t know them…they’re a perfectly normal family as far as I know and those were kids, not midgets.’

I must disabuse you of the thought there was a display of some psychokinesis here. It was a cold stare that moved me from visitor’s to patient’s chair.


The Dawn Of Data Abstraction – a short story!

The plan was to write a story for kids. But it didn’t turn out that wayL

Here it is:


There was once this King who was proud his subjects were righteous. They would not tell lies.

Every night along with his minister he would make rounds of the city hiding their identity. If he caught red-handed anyone telling a lie he would reveal himself and fine the fellow on the spot for 5 silver pieces.

One night, while on their round, they rested under a tree and opened their packet of snacks for a bite. Nearby a street-side vegetable seller was winding up his daily business. Perhaps it was not a good day for him – his basket was heavy with unsold stuff and he struggled to lift it up and carry on his head.  On a cue from the King, the minister went up to him:

Periyavare vaarum (join us, Sir), have some snacks with us before going home. You look tired. Later, we’ll help you with the basket.’

Seeing it as the only thing going right for him this day, without a demur, he followed the minister. Sitting beside them he gratefully took the share offered to him.

The King engaged him:

‘Sir, may I ask how old are you? At your age, you ought to be resting at home and send your son instead to the market.’

‘I may be appearing to you older than I’m actually. Am forty.’

‘Sir, why not get your kids to help you out instead of straining yourself thus?’

‘Well, I’ve a son. He works for a weaver. ‘With this alone’, he said pointing to the basket, ‘we can’t make ends meet.’

‘I understand. Selling in the market is always an uncertain proposition.’

Some more talk, inane and they were done with the snacks; the King was ready to move on. The minister helped the man with his basket.  And they went their ways.


The following day, the King’s men came looking for him.  They said the King had asked them to bring him to his royal court. No reasons were given.

What did he do wrong? He was absolutely clueless. A law-abiding citizen. No altercations ever with the authorities…With great difficulty he steadied himself from shaking like a freshly sheared sheep on a cold night, he accompanied the soldiers to the palace.

So there he was standing before the King. Fixing his gaze on the royal person, the face somehow seemed familiar. In fact he had seen the lord of the land only once or twice in all his life and that too from a distance – sinning on exaggeration this once – halfway to the moon. While he was furiously and futilely rummaging his memories, the King addressed him:

‘Sir, may I ask how old are you? At your age, you ought to be resting at home and send your son instead to the market.’

The penny finally dropped. So it was…he managed to catch his breath to mumble:

‘Am forty.’

‘How many children you have?’

‘One son…’

‘…who works for a weaver as you cannot make ends meet only selling vegetables?’ the King filled in.

His response was but a weak nod.

There was a brief silence.

The King turned to his minister and asked more for drama than data: ‘How much fine do we levy for a lie told?’

‘Five silver pieces, my lord,’ he said.

‘Please collect fifteen silver pieces from this man,’ the King pronounced.


The man was at once shocked and dismayed as was the rest of the royal court. Fifteen pieces of silver was heavy upon him.

The stern-faced King permitting a hint of smile ordered his minister to explain.

Thereupon the minister gave an account of their chance meeting with the man, the previous evening.

He further informed: ‘Our majesty felt something was not sounding right with this man. So men were sent this morning to his neighborhood and inquiries were made discreetly. Checking with multiple sources, it was confirmed this man had lied on all three counts. Hence, the fine.’

So this was it – the vegetable seller breathed easy for the first time ever since he was accosted by the king’s men this morning!  

The minister continued: ‘We learnt this man was fifty years in age. Two old ladies in the neighborhood clearly remember his first birthday anniversary celebrations. It was the year of grand kumba-abishekam at the local temple, an unforgettable once-in-a life-time event for folks around here. Next, this man has fathered three children. Not just one as he claimed. And finally – this required some digging – he is not a man of meager means as projected, but a man of some affluence making contributions anonymously to several charities and temples. These were his three lies that stand exposed now. Though not relevant to the case and hence we let it go, the man has had a ‘colorful’ youth, the ladies aver.’

Now all eyes were on him saying ‘What now? Go and pay the fine, thanking your stars it did not get any worse. And we all can go and attend to other matters.’


The man, standing on stiffer legs now, looked up to the King and said: ‘My lord, I seek your indulgence…What I said to you were not lies, it was but truth…’

His patience wearing out thin visibly, the King admonished him: ‘There you go again with another lie. For this you’ll pay another five silver pieces.’

The man continued with his plea: ‘My lord, there’s none in this land known to be more fair-minded than you. All I ask for…I can explain in a couple of minutes.’

A half nod from a somewhat mollified King was all he needed.

As I was saying, I wasn’t telling lies, it was the truth, but by parts…When I met you yesterday, I guessed right away I was talking to a couple of noble men, wise, to whom perspectives would be more interesting than tedious particulars especially in casual chats.

Yes, I said I am forty. Reason? Being the fourth child never missed by the family – I’ve no shame in admitting to this – I went absolutely wayward emerging from adolescence into adulthood, barely staying out of long reach of law.  Steadied myself only when I was in my thirties. I usually discount those years, about ten, of my life. That is my perspective on age.  

During those years I did make some easy money that should let me spend my remaining years in reasonable comfort. But my conscience, reformed, would not allow…So I set it aside to be given away for public good – those funds are nearly exhausted now – and work hard to earn my living. You saw it with your own eyes yesterday, my lord. And you so generously offered me a share of the snacks you had carried. I readily took it so I could give up on my share of the dinner later in the evening to my son and wife, and not so much because I was hungry then. Of course what my son brings home at the end of the day does provide some relief.

And lastly, yes, I have three sons. Unfortunately the other two have walked out of the house to live life on their own terms that I strongly disapproved. My wife and I hope they mend their ways like I did and return to us before long. As of now I don’t count them in; I’ve one son living with us and sharing our troubles day in and day out.

I repeat it’s my belief, to the wise, in certain contexts, perspectives are more interesting than particulars.

I’ve said what I wanted to. Now I appeal to our merciful lord to kindly spare me from paying the heavy fine and…


He had left the wise King with no choice!



Source: It is based on a chance viewing of a parable narrated as opening remarks by an anchor in a political show on a Pak TV channel captured and presented by Raj TV!!

Bet You Didn’t See It Coming!


‘I once worked as a salesman and was very independent…

…took orders from no one.’


‘Remember a sense of humor does not mean that you tell him jokes…

…it means you laugh at his.’


‘It’s not too difficult to have the world beat a path to your door…

…get into your bathroom!’


“It’s wonderful, I’m making new friends every day!”  

…from Erwin, 78, Alzheimer patient


Husband looks at his wife in surprise, “Wow darling, you look all different and nice today! Is that a new hairdo?”

The wife hisses from behind him, “I’m over here, Arnold!”


I walked past a homeless guy with a sign that read, “One day, this could be you.”

I put my money back in my pocket, just in case he’s right.


‘Before starting to stand-up comedy I used to think I’ll die of hunger…

…now, I’m quite sure about it.’


‘Thanks to Facebook, I never forget the birthdays…

…of people I don’t really know.’


‘Football gave me a traumatic brain injury…

…and I was only watching.’


Sources: onelinefun and short-funny

Looking Thru The Glass Eye









More Musings From The Idle Philosopher

With little else to do in this lockdown!!


Source: onelinefun.com