It Happens…

First of a series of short vignettes on life around as seen, heard, felt or even read about:

I was on my morning ritual – walking around the outer periphery of Diamond Garden near where I live, with an enthusiasm that wasn’t exactly gushing, taking in the usual sights: other walkers speeding past me with an ease that at first annoyed me to no end, now at peace with it; straight-from-Nashik farm vegetables sold in a brisk but unlicensed trade under the fear of sudden raids and confiscation by allegedly-bribe-taking authorities; a motley bunch of young and old of both sexes collecting inside the Garden, flinging their limbs about as directed by a trainer and emitting noises from the deep-end of their voice boxes like they do in a movie on martial arts; an enterprising middle-aged lady serving, in small plastic cups designed to hold only a little more than a spoon-full, a chlorophyll-rich herbal concoction of ingredients pulled from half-a-dozen polished containers, perhaps to make up for an husband idling or lying senselessly drunk at home; another bunch, mostly in their sixties and above, in casual postures, letting out bursts of loud mirthless laughs – do these qualify for health benefits? – sure to  startle the unwary; a homeless guy looking like a runaway from coal mines, sitting feet up on one of those shiny steel benches reading a newspaper in English; …

I’m digressing.

Into what was my third round I think, this man crossed my path heading somewhere beyond the Garden, clad in a black dhoti usually worn by Ayappa devout’s, unshaven, with a small sandal-paste-kumkum tilak on his forehead.  As he pulled ahead of me, as they all do…ugh…, I read ‘TATAVAMSI’ printed at the back of a sleeve-less jacket he wore over his shirt. I was intrigued. One has heard of many vamsam’s (lineages) named after illustrious guru’s, acharya’s and even venerable rishi’s from mythology. But a vamsam by this name TATA – this was a new one for me. Who was this TATA his grandchildren so proudly and publicly announce to the world? Why not take his name? The word means grandfather in Thamizh.

Well, the question remained in my head for a few moments, going out of my mind no sooner he went out of my sight.

Then, it was not to be. In my penultimate round executed more in joy than in breath – the end was in sight, you know – this guy was walking right back along the same way he had gone, crossing me again. Curiosity could not be contained. I stopped him in his stride to ask him politely who was this TATA and what was grand about his grandfather that he went about carrying the old man on his back instead of in his heart as the usual practice was. He was startled out of his wits to be suddenly accosted by a perfect stranger and hit straight out of the blue with a query that made no sense to him even after he recovered his wits about him. Helpfully I drew his attention to the words he carried on his back.

‘Oh,’ he burst out laughing, ‘Sir, it’s nothing about my poor diseased TATA who would have given his life to belong to a worthy vamsam, it’s TATVAMASI.’

No elaboration was needed for the profound advaidhik pronouncement from the scriptures.

‘Oh,’ I said.

Moving on, mercifully and gracefully he didn’t make it worse for me. Having said that, I must also tell you this – at my age, it takes lot more than this for me to be shamed, a limit not challenged yet.

At the same time, inescapable’s cannot be ducked for long, Regrettably it looks like the long delayed visit to my doctor would be sooner than I had planned for my cataract. Though it would still leave me with the flawed ‘auto-suggest/correct’ feature embedded in my grey cells unfixed.

End

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Musings Of An Idle Philosopher

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Theory And Practice (A Short Story)

meghalaya-ladrampai-coal-mine-labourer-from-nepal-shaym-prasad-pokharel

It was early morning on the 16th day of Margazhi (the month). The day’s discourse concluded on the 16th Thiruppavai paasuram (see note on Thiruppavai at the end), peeling away its literal sense to uncover its manifold metaphorical allusions:

*naayaganaay ninRa, nandagOpanuDaiya
kOyil kaappaanE!* koDit tOnRum tOraNa
vaayil kaappaanE!* maNik kadavaM taaL tiRavaay*…   

The audience dispersed, some to the adjoining temple for darshan and some spilling onto the street heading homewards.

The man and the woman, the first to emerge, paused at the gate where footwears were left behind on the outside before entering the temple.

She saw here and there and said: ‘I can’t find my chappals. Had left them right here.’

The man: ‘Look carefully, it must be somewhere here.’

‘I’ve seen all around…it’s not here. It is a new one.’

‘Whoever told you to wear a new pair to the temple?’

Losing one’s footwear, especially new, at public places like temples is not uncommon.

The man turned to the meek looking Nepali in a crumpled ill-fitting khaki standing at the gate: ‘Watchman, did you see anyone take off wearing her chappals?’

The poor immigrant was used to rudeness: ‘No, Sir. No one was here in the time I’m standing here on watch. You’re the first to come over here.’

Giving him a disdainful look reserved for an erring domestic, the man to his wife in Tamizh: ‘Who knows, this fellow may have swiped it himself. You can’t trust them at all. Days are such…’

The Nepali guessed they were talking about him, none of it complimentary. Mumbling to himself: ‘Don’t they know I’m here to guard the temple’s things and god’s against theft and not for keeping a watch on footwears left outside?’

Just then the woman cried an excited ‘Eureka’: ‘Oh, I found them…thank god. Some mutt had left his jumbo shoes on top of my chappals. That’s why…’

They left, not looking back.

Back at home, his mother to the woman: ‘So how was it today?’

Every day when they returned from the discourse, his mother always wanted know. It would not be out of place to mention she had been to at least half a dozen discourses on the subject before her knees gave way. Still…

The woman summed it up for her: ‘Amma, it was very nice today. In today’s paasuram, the thOzigal (cow-herd girl-friends) are up and ready – they have assembled in front of Nandagopan’s palatial house, also Krishna’s residence. And you know what? This is so much like what happens today…to gain entry into the house for Krishna’s darshan, they try to enlist the support of others who matter – first, the guard at the main gate, then another watching the courtyard and the inner door. That’s not all – once inside, they now appeal to Krishna’s elder brother Balram too and mother Yashodha. Even here, see how smart they’re: when they address the guards, it’s not by their names, but by describing the important job they are doing – remember how Krishna is under constant threats from asura’s assuming unimaginable forms – massaging their professional pride! The operating principle here’s: ‘When you go to seek favors (god’s grace), don’t offend others on the way. In fact it helps to get them on your side!` Just like what we do today, isn’t it? Digressing briefly at this point, the upanyasakar (the speaker at the discourse) pointed out, how many of us understand and appreciate, whenever we go to temples, the job dwarapaalakaa’s (the two iconic door-keepers depicted on the doors at the entrance; full-sized stone moorthy’s (icons) in bigger temples) do – keeping watch on in-comers – and are worthy of our serious devotion as noble servants of god?  And, we hardly notice them much less bow to these watchmen…’

End

 

 

Source: Image from United We Blog!

On Thiruppavai (from Wiki):

The Tiruppavai is a collection of thirty stanzas (paasurams) written in Tamizh by Andal, belonging to the pavai genre of songs, in praise of the Lord Vishnu. Andal assumes the guise of a cowherd in these 30 verses and is intent upon performing a particular religious vow to marry the Lord, thereby obtain His everlasting company, and inviting all her girl-friends to join her. Sri Vaishnavas sing these stanzas every day of the year in the temple as well as in their homes to bring peace, prosperity and Divine Grace. This practice assumes special significance during Margazhi: each day of this month gets its name from one of the thirty verses. There are references to this vow in the late-sangam era Tamil musical anthology Paripadal.

 

Musings Of An Idle Philosopher

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1. Why nothing happens to me only? (Why not me?)

2. Why do they happen like this to me only? (Why me?)

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Source: fb (Sirikka, Sindhikka) /groups/1893540544250194/

The Story Of A Rich Man

Rich Men

The man was once asked, “How does it feel to be the richest man in the land?”

He said,

Richest man in the land…mmm…Well, I don’t know about that, but I certainly know of one who’s…”

After a pause,

“Many years ago, one day, while on duty in the downtown area, I paused at a stall selling newspapers.

A title in bold carried by one of them on display caught my sight. I wanted​ to buy a copy.

Rummaging my pockets, I couldn’t find the change (coins).

I stood there for a moment with my eyes still fixed on the paper, before moving away.

The observant boy ‘manning’ the stall pulled one and said:

“Take it.”

I said, “But I don’t have change”

“No problem, I’ll give you for free”.

The paper, on the inside, had an advertisement I found on subsequent perusal that was to change my life forever.

Six years later:

I was living in an affluent suburb and working from a marquee address in the central district. Downtown never figured in my beat.

On one occasion I suddenly remembered the incident – can’t quite recall what exactly triggered it. And I decided to find the boy.

Cutting to the chase, after a month and a half of search he was located – still at it, selling newspapers from a street a little away from where I had seen him last.

I asked him, “Remember me?”

There was no recognition. He looked at me head-to-toes, at my business suit, the sleek car I had alighted from…all way out of his league.

“You gave me for free a newspaper one day many years ago. I didn’t have the needed change.”

After some effort, “Yes, now I do.”

“I want to compensate you for what you did…and more. Tell me what would…?”

He cut in: “That’s very generous of you. Though, it still won’t be the same!”

“Eh?”

He said, “I gave you when you were poor and I could hardly afford give-away’s; you want to give me now, when you are rich. See?”

More words between us, to no avail…he stood where he stood.

I came away, my purse as heavy as ever, not a rupee poorer.

So, here I’m, unable to discharge my debt I owed. Now, what do you think? Does that make me…

End

 

 

Source – Based on a story from Vijay (quora.com/profile/Vijay-Kr-25) coming originally from Institute of Chartered Accountants of India – CA Students. Images from Success Stories and rediff.com

This Is The ‘Hole’ Story…

And it comes from an authority no less than the Smithsonian. While reading an an article on an intriguing question – it was never a question in my head until now – of why fish don’t swim upside down, I stumbled on this factoid that may be at the root of, well, many things from etymology of ‘a**hole’ to …!

Smithsonian

For those of you who must know why fish don’t swim upside down:

The leading explanation is that fish began life right side up, evolutionarily speaking, and so most never had a reason to change. “Just between us, yeah, they never bothered,” says Milton Love, a semi-retired marine zoologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Don’t you wish more of science had such answers!

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Source: smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-dont-fish-swim-upside-down-180967192/?

 

The Customer Is Always Right…

Like how – read this delightful piece from here:

call-center-1027342 Pixabay

“Good morning, Dropbox help line. How may I assist you?”

“I installed your product, Boxdrop, just the way my friend told me to.”

“That’s good, ma’am. By the way, it’s Dropbox. What seems to be the problem?”

“I gave Boxdrop all my files, just the way my friend said. Moved ’em to the Boxdrop folder, and then they were gone.”

“Dropbox, ma’am. Gone, you say? Let’s try to figure out what happened.”

“Now I get email telling me I need to pay if I want my files back. You people are crooks!”

“I understand you’re upset, but let me assure you Dropbox is a reputable company.”

“Why do you keep saying Dropbox?”

“The confusion is understandable. People sometimes reverse the names, but we’re Dropbox, not Boxdrop.”

“Nope. B-O-X-D-R-O-P dot R-U. You don’t even know the name of your own product!”

1a618715 Pinterest

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Source: hfischer.org/micro-fiction and picture from Pinterest and Pixabay