“Everyone Knows Me!” Do I?


Daily life presents us with enough opportunities for amusement, empathy, sympathy, reflection, to name a few. Some weeks ago, I had entered the outlet of a grocery chain. Along with me, a couple of men also entered.

One, a senior citizen was very fashionably groomed. I am not referring to the clothing alone. The other one was about 35-40 years of age. While I had noticed the younger one on several earlier occasions at the store, the elder gentleman seemed unfamiliar. I heard the senior gentleman, Mr S tell his younger companion Mr G, “ the tenured people here know me very well. But recently some new employees have also joined.”. G replied, “Uncle, in the last few months that I am coming here, there doesn’t seem to be any change.” Mr S responded, “ That is what I am telling… all these people know me well.”.

I had been looking for some stuff in the same aisle that the two gentlemen were in. I immediately tried to look away from them, but could not avert my eyes before G’s fell on them. Just then, an attendant approached me in response to a request from my side. G also asked her for some item. Mr S remarked, “She knows me very well.” The Sales Lady said, “ I know him well (pointing to G) , but don’t know you, Sir”. Mr S did not seem to be one to give up very easily. He became a little agitated. He said, “Madam, just last week I bought a bar of soap from this shop.”

The Sales Lady and Mr G just looked at each other. That master ‘story-teller’, Alistair Maclean would have said “The silence was so thick, one could have cut it with a knife”. The situation was indeed embarrassing. The Sales Lady just smiled understandingly at G and walked away. One could not have expected less from her. The past few months that one had seen her, she had been very polite with Customers. Sometimes firm too, where required, but never rude. Guess it was fortunate for Mr S that it was just her and not another colleague of hers. Another Lady and her taking offence at the ‘uncalled-for’ attempt at familiarity may have queered the pitch for Mr S.

In such situations, thankfully, social graces teach us to make out as if we have not seen or heard anything. I quickly finished picking my stuff and went to the check out counter. Shortly, at another counter, G and the elderly person arrived. I could sense G trying to check whether the others were observing them. I hastened to finish my checkout and leave. After all, I bump into G often at the store. Our interactions had been limited to just the cursory smile now and then. We had all along, never exchanged a word. Hence my discomfiture at G’s.

As I was leaving i could hear a now familiar voice saying, ‘…. these people know me well,…. barring a few who have joined recently’. I would have thought my ears were playing tricks on me, but somehow I looked back involuntarily. I could see G looking at me and if a typical sub-continental Indian face could become beet-root red, G’s did. Ok, I may be exaggerating a wee bit, but am sure you get the idea…. I rushed to the exit, not sure how to react.

G’s situation was perfectly understandable. But for all practical purposes he was a stranger too (for me), and there was no way i could bring myself to approach him to make the situation somewhat lighter for him. There was nothing physically/ obviously alarming and one did not know how G or his companion would take it. Here was an elderly person, as fit as a fiddle physically, but most likely suffering from age related dementia. I just left the store wondering how vulnerable our situation is, to the vagaries of Life.

Epilogue: A few days later I bumped into G at the corner of an aisle at the store. After the immediate apologies for the ‘crash’, I asked with concern how his ‘uncle’ was feeling. To make him more comfortable, I even narrated from personal experience. “Old age should ideally be a graceful period. Sadly, Dementia like Alzheimer’s strikes sometimes. The afflicted keep forgetting and/or keep repeating. My grandmother who raised me also succumbed to it.” G just shook his head, chuckled and said, “My neighbour is as fit as a fiddle, physically and mentally. Very sharp, in fact. Alzheimer’s Disease or any other kind of Dementia is surely not what he suffers from”.

Humans are a wonderful lot, evolved physically and intellectually. Homo Sapiens as a species is expected to be more sapient i.e. wiser …. However, very sadly, the I, me, myself is not easily managed…. or rather ….the ‘ I’ does not easily evolve to more mature/ spiritual levels.

One would assume this to be the case more with the youth of today. As we age we are expected to mellow and become more spiritual/ giving/ forgiving/ letting go…etc.. But Contrary to expectations, age/ experience is no indicator or measure of one’s spiritual evolution. The great atma, Ramana, the modern day Maharishi is an example. Coming back to Mr S, one hopes he avoids ‘Alzheimer’s’. The ‘I-am-the-cat’s-whiskers’ disease itself must be quite an handful for those others around….

We may need to modify ourselves. Eschew the need to have a light over ourselves. Image Courtesy: NewsTikka.com

What i learnt from the Tulasi ..Kindness ..even in small doses ..works miracles

tulasi,tulsi,basil,water,kindness,life,karma,action,cool,chilli, coolchilli,

Initial Snap

tulasi,tulsi,basil,water,kindness,life,karma,action,cool,chilli, coolchilli,
 10 minutes later

tulasi,tulsi,basil,water,kindness,life,karma,action,cool,chilli, coolchilli,
After 30 minutes

tulasi,tulsi,basil,water,kindness,life,karma,action,cool,chilli, coolchilli,
After 3 hours

The Tulasi Plant

The Tulasi or the Basil plant is probably the most revered plant in India. The Hindus see it as a symbol of Lord Vishnu. Typically the plant is treated as another family member. It is regularly worshipped by most womenfolk in a traditional Hindu household. But sometimes due to exigent situations, we may not be able to tend to it as we would normally have done due to sudden travel etc.

Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose proved to Western Science that plants have feelings too. Somethings ancient Hindus knew all along. Ancient Hindu philosophy maintains that there is life even in inanimate objects. The connections between various seemingly unconnected objects or situations that are the stuff of Quantum Physics, have already been discussed in ancient India.  But then that is material for another rumination.

A Pot and Two plants

This post is about the ‘revival’ or resuscitation of two basil plants. These plants were small and in the same ‘pot’ as a bigger basil plant. One had the opportunity to water them since one’s friend had been travelling. When one first saw the plants, the plants had already been without water for a couple of days. The bigger plant was still somehow managing and did not look too weather-beaten.           

Don’t let your shoulders Droop. Your drop of succour will come!

The two smaller plants were tender and obviously not as hardy. Their leaves were drooping, all life  gone. Only the leaves’ colour (still green) seemed to indicate that all was not lost. One immediately thought of nothing but watering the plants. After pouring water into the pot, one’s curiosity  was kindled. Could we check the progress of the small plants post the watering. To enable this, one needed to take some snaps. Therefore one immediately took a photograph for comparison later. Then subsequent photographs 10 min, 30 min, and three hours later. The photographs were very telling.

If  plants could respond to water with such enthusiasm, how much could humans and animals benefit. The world over, including India, we see kids, women, men and animals in various states of oppression/ harassment. We also see humans ending their lives in frustration. They may have lost all hope.


The thought that comes is that it is possible for each one of us (in whatever state of happiness or prosperity one may be in) to treat another life kindly. Maybe, just maybe, that being may look at life with a little more hope, with a little more positivity. With a few small doses of kindness they may actually overcome their challenges and flourish. Their only allies or support in their struggle are/is the small acts of kindness that they receive, from someone, out of the way.  Just as the two small plants revived with enthusiasm.

May we look for someone to be kind to, today?               

Let Home Be Where The Heart Is

prayer, prescription, counselling, parents, Om, Shanti, Shanthi, Life, Karma, Action, Clinic, Karman, Sen's, common, sense, charity, home, begins,

Charity Begins At Home

This is a very familiar adage which conveys that the home is the place where behaviour, character, attitude and best practices are instilled. We are not talking about the Nature part of the Nature Vs Nurture debate.

Life begins with Nature

The Nature part of the above debate talks about the DNA makeup  that is already embedded in an individual. This DNA and the attendant behavioural aspects (as witnessed in parents/ancestors) cannot be changed much unless there be a mutation. Thus the nature part of the influence on a child is very strong.

But Nuture can define our Living

The Nurture part of the debate contends that irrespective of Nature, an individual could be changed /modified to an extent due to the environment and the attendant elements. For eg: a child adopted from an orphanage may not be similar to foster parents.  But he or she gets used to certain patterns of behaviour which help mould the child’s wiring accordingly.

Nature’s Latent Potential could always surface but can be channelized

The Child would still be carrying a wayward/abusive/aggressive father’s and a shrewish/submissive mother’s genes. There is always a possibility that certain situations could trigger the expression of the above genes involuntarily. ( A recent article also indicates that as one ages, the latent gentic material increasingly expresses itself.)  But proper nurturing would help an individual manage his or her natural ‘instincts’ in a better manner!  A simple example is the way a huge majority of the human population has learnt to channelize/ sublimate/ give flavour to reproductive urges vis a vis other animals..

Nuturing begins at home, but do we realize ‘Home’ is not what it used to be

Increasingly in cities and towns, especially amongst the middle class, we see infants and children spending more time away from home than a genration or two ago. An average such child also increasingly starts being put in a nursery or ‘toddler’s club’ earlier than even a decade ago.

The breakdown of the joint family system, single parenting, both parents working, inavailability of grand parents are some of the factors. Another factor is the growth, segmentation and ambitious positioning of the foster care/ educational care  ‘Industry’.  This industry promises the moon for very young parents. The drawing/representation by three 7-year-olds of ‘My Home’ could be striking if those three 7-year-olds belong to different decades. Imagine a kid from the 1900s, another from 1970s and the third one of today.

Abdication of Responsibility;  The Home could also Harm

Thanks to the fostor care/ educational care Industry, parents have also got conditioned. They have ‘learnt’ to transfer the responsibility of the upbringing of their child on the various elements of this industry. This responsibility also gets transferred to the school and college in due course.

Parents are thus slowly moving away from the realization that they are the first teachers/ role models for their kids. They little realize the following. Their behaviour while driving, while disposing trash, while talking to their maids and drivers, while spending spending money,  are all slowly but surely, instilling a pattern of behaviour in their kids.

Forget Office, Parents need to work on Learning to Parent

Increasing use/ abuse of social media and gadgets getting primacy over facetime interactions, realtime, are only compunding the above issue.  Kids’ ‘gadget/social media’  behaviour gets reinforced when they see their parents occupied on similar ‘pursuits’.

One half suspects, with the above trends that there is an industry slowly rearing its head on how to rear children. All, complete from the planning stage (before conception, during the course, post conception ) on to working  with other service providers like maternity homes, doctors, psychologists, etc.

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