Tuesday, February 13, 2018

India Post - nostalgia that it is

When we talk of India Post, first image that comes to our mind is that humble foot borne or cycle borne lovable figure (seen ourselves in our villages or shown in the movies) in his (those days there were only males in that job) Khaki uniform, lovingly (and also by his designation in the department) called "Postman"

Here was this character, who was lifeline to families of Soldiers posted to remote, unknown and unheard of places, Old parents whose children were working somewhere else in India, newly wed Brides who could spent barely few days with their husbands because he had to leave in search of a job, relatives who are anxious about the health of their near and dear ones in some other place and the list is endless.

There were others who were waiting for some one to tell them the news around their town, some waited for him to readout news paper for them (may be the postman was the only one who could read and write), some waited to ask the postman to write a reply to their son, husband, brother and who else for the letter they received some days ago (which also was delivered and read out by the same man).

People in the countryside might have waited for the Monsoon rain to arrive once in a year but they all waited for this vital character and a reliable one, their Postman, daily, for all 365 days (excepting Sundays).

The feeling in the town and cities has not been very different. Many a people achieved great sanctification when they sent a Money Order (New generation may not know about it and it might have been discontinued) back home and got the receipt as also letters written on a five paisa Post Card (Another thing along with Inland letter which young generation may not know) to inform them as to how they derived happiness by that meager money that was sent through Money Order.

The reliability and religiosity (Treating this job as a religion) in executing the task of delivering mail to people were (and even todate are) the hallmarks of India Post. Way back, when I was doing my BE at Bilaspur in MP (Now in CG), I have received letters where the address was just Harshad Datar, Bilaspur. It must be remembered that even those days Bilaspur was a big city.

When I asked the postman as to how such letters reach me, he explained that there are limited delivery zones in a city (Bilaspur had two, Rly Zone and CIty Zone). When a letter is received with incomplete address, all the postmen of the zone are asked if they have a person of that name in their beat. If the answer from one of the postman is yes, the letter is given to him. If the answer is no, the letter is transferred to another zone where this process is repeated. SOme postman in some zone recollects the name and delivers the letter, How wonderful.

Yet another time a letter posted by me with incomplete address (with out house no and lane no, left blank by mistake) for a Bandra East resident was still delivered. All this for a meager cost of two rupees (that w as the required postage for an envelop those days).

 Another great thing was, if any of the letter posted had less amount stamps then required, then it was termed Postage Due letter (and stamped accordingly) and was definitely delivered. The due amount was collected from the receiver. Such letters were termed "Berang" in Hindi. Knowing this habit or procedure of India Post, many a businesses intentionally posted their letters "Berang" i.e. with less postage stamps than required,, knowing fully well that due to postal procedures those letters would be definitely delivered.

There were some wonder employees of Posts. When I was at Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Ooty, we had a postman, if I remember his name correctly, called Ranga. Every year about 400 hundred officers used to join. Each was allocated a locker number and within few days, Ranga knew each officer, his name and locker Number (all mail was delivered into the lockers). He did this years after years. I am not sure if he is still around, but this humble postman received praise and high respect from each of the officer attending staff course. Similar was the story in many bases where looking at your face the Postman would tell you if there is a letter for you or not.

Post Offices were old, dusty, run down, ramshackle but the service that they provided were first class, personalized, always delivered with smile and at very meager cost. They were just superb. The Nostalgia of the Post Office and its simple, sincere and  humble postmen who toiled each day serving all, rich and poor alike. Even other things like Post Office Saving Scheme were wonderful. Some poor people new only Post Office Saving Scheme as their first and mostly last bank.

Today post offices have somewhat modernized. Importance of the Snail Mail has diminished (not gone away), personal touch of postman (at least in big cities) is also somewhat reduced but India Post Nostalgia lingers on. What an Nostalgia India Post was an it continues to be.

May "Parmatma, Supreme Being" bless all those wonderful India Post Staffers who brought solace and happiness to millions, who shared peoples grief and consoled them, who were the hopes of millions and their only medium to be in touch with their near and dear ones who were far away for various reasons.

I love India Post and may they flourish with each passing day.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Tides, Depths and Safety on the Beach - For Everyone

Visiting a beach somewhere on west or east coast of India is one of the most popular recreation of Old and young alike. The call of waves and surf, the sand and the sunshine and the music of light wind, coconut and palm trees is impossible to resist.

Add to that the fun of lounging around in the waves and water on sea beach and all the fun that one has with the sand of a beach, making castles. playing Volleyball. etc. and the combination is too much. Who does not want to enjoy all that.

However, it does pain me to read the news of some or the other person loosing his life at a chilling regularity on some or the other beach across India. When I say this, I am not referring to accidents. Accidents do happen and even the best swimmers loose their life despite having all the knowledge. What I am referring to is the common people who land up on the beach with a very naive presumption of firstly the beach is like any other play area and secondly that they know all that is needed to know.

There are many things one needs to find out even before being on the beach. There is no guaranty that despite having found out everything about a beach one will be 100 % safe (there nothing called 100% in real life) but if attempts are made to find out vital things before venturing on to a beach, the chances of being reasonably safe while enjoying everything that the beach has to offer, increase very greatly.

This blog post is an attempt to inform people of all the things that matters while going to a beach. Here is the list:-

Gradient of the beach - The continental shelf (how the depth of water increases as one gets deeper into the sea) on the west coast of India is very gradual on most of the beaches. When talking of beaches on the East coast, the situation is entirely different. The increase in depth of water for initial few meters is gradual but then the continental shelf just dips by few tens or hundreds of feet. If one is careless, after walking for few meters into the sea, that person may just find the ground beneath his feet missing. It is therefore makes sense to tread very carefully on the beaches of Visakhapattnam, Puri, Konark, etc relative to west coast beaches.

To see the depths at various places, you can see the charts (similar to maps of land areas) on the internet for west coast and east coast of India.

Tides at that Place - Tides are the periodic increase and decrease in water levels on the beaches, caused by gravitation force of moon. It is a rough cycle of about six hours. That means twice in a day High Water (Rise in water level on the beach) and twice a day Low Water (drop in water level on the beach) happens. What is important is to understand that when Low water time occurs, flooding starts. In simple terms flooding means water flows from sea towards the shore (beach) and that throws anything that is at sea towards shore. When high tide occurs, ebbing starts and the water (and every thing that is in the water on the beach) starts flowing into the sea.

I am sure some of the readers have understood the implication of Flooding (after Low tide time has happened) and ebbing (after High Tide time has passed). In any case let me explain. Whenever Flooding occurs, it is safe to venture into the water on a beach with reasonable precautions as even if you are in difficulty, you would be propelled (thrown) towards the beach. When it is Ebbing, it is reverse. If you venture in to the water on a beach, the water would try to drag into the sea and if you have gone deep, extricating (rescuing) yourself towards shore would be very tough. 

Then what should beach goers do? Go to https://www.tide-forecast.com and check the tides for the beach being visited. Here is an example for Murud on Kokan coast:-


Tuesday 6 February 20183:13 AMIST3.29 meters(10.79 ft)High Tide
7:09 AMISTSunrise
9:43 AMIST0.89 meters(2.92 ft)Low Tide
11:26 AMISTMoonset
3:56 PMIST2.79 meters(9.15 ft)High Tide
6:34 PMISTSunset
9:40 PMIST1.38 meters(4.53 ft)Low Tide

Looking at the tide table, it is safe to venture into the water on this beach between 09.43 AM and 03.56 PM, between Low tide and high tide. It is unsafe to venture into the sea after 3.56 PM to 9.40 PM, between high tide and low tide.

Shifting Sands (Bottom quality) - At many places on the beaches, the bottom is very unsafe with shifting sands. Now you stand on the firm grounds in the water and in the next minute the ground either vanishes or you get few inches under the sand. This happens because of unstable bottom.

Internal/ Circulating Currents - This phenomenon is prevalent in enclosed areas of a creek or a cove. There are internal currents and while the depth may not be much but the currents make swimming difficult and very tiring. One such place is Marve Beach at Malad (West) in Mumbai. Here, qualified deep sea divers who are generally very strong swimmers find it tough to swim across the creek. In such places, venturing in to the sea beyond keen depth should be avoided.

Seek Advise of Locals and Abide (follow) with it - Locals (or if Life Guards are there)know the sea and the beach well. Take their advice about where and when to swim on that beach. It is important for your own safety to follow their advise. If they tell you not to venture into the water, do not venture in.

This post is to add to your enjoyment while at a beach by making you aware as to what all you need to know before you step in to the water.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Life Post Retirement - Dilemma or Delight?

Let me start with a fact. All insurance companies have been advertising about investing and reaping benefits so that one can "Retire Early". They are enticing young professionals to earn enough and retire early to enjoy retired life.

Here I am. Superannuated from the Navy at the age of 56 (as retirement age is governed by rank held at the time of retirement). Going by insurance firms and their advertisement pitch, a late retiree, as their tag line is retire as early as possible to enjoy life (and the corollary is, till you retire, slog like a donkey to earn, a very stupid idea, why wait till retirement, life must be enjoyed "Every Day" till it lasts).

After over a 33 and half years wonderful affair with the IN, post retirement, I have no plans to WORK, at least in conventional sense of a 9 to 5 job. However, everyday, when I am enjoying watching TV, Long walks, Chatting with my life partner, trying to cook new dishes, meeting people, etc, I face a dilemma. The dilemma is, am I doing the right thing by not working 9 to %. To put it in my wife's words, you still have four more productive years when you can work.

I tend to agree and also disagree with her. I do face this question that by just being home and doing nothing I am wasting some useful time of life? But on the re=look on this thought I feel, if one has secure finances (though it may be a fallacy to say that finances are secured, unless invested wisely and the economic situation is stable, finances are not secured), near settled Children (at least they are done with their studies and are working) and no liabilities, should one work and by doing so, block a young man's (or woman's) chance and aspirations to do well in life.

Depending on the circumstances (also financial condition and family obligations still pending) at the time of retirement, some may face the dilemma as to what to do post  retirement. They may desperately need to look for a job. But my view is, if one does not have financial constraints, Family Obligation and liabilities and whose children are settled in life (or near settled), a delightful retired life with enjoyment of life being the end use of so much spare time is the way to go. That is what I term Delightful retirement without any dilemma.

But if one is not intellectually busy and physically active, established research indicates that such retiree's life spam is reduced drastically. How to counter that while enjoying the retirement? To me, best way is to take to Teaching at whatever level, even voluntarily and even without remuneration (if that be so). In the worst case scenario, just putting a black board (or white board) in the nearest " Jopadpatti" and teaching the children there also is a good option.

Retirement is a dilemma for few based on circumstances, but in most cases, not being greedy, being contained and being blissfully engaged in the pursuit of happiness is that delightful retirement that one seeks.

Happy Retired Life.

Monday, December 18, 2017

How not to Worry about Worry

It may sound very unusual title but I mean it. I also know whatever I write, those who tend to worry will worry and those who don't wouldn't. But then the next question is, why do I put in efforts to write when either way it's not going to work because to worry or not to worry is more to do with individual nature which is difficult (and not impossible) to change. 
The answer also is contained in what i stated earlier, individual nature. What then makes me to write about How to not to worry about worry? I being an optimist by nature, its for me to try without worrying about the outcome (see, I have put the "Bhagwat Gita" teaching into use).
I also know that whatever I am going to write is not new and every one (almost) possibly knows about it. But what I am doing is akin to research, representing the facts and thoughts in a new (So do I think) manner. May be, someone same day would actually stop worrying after reading my pearls of wisdom.
Let me start.

 Life is full of uncertainties and that is the main cause of worry. It is also a fact that all human beings worry all the time. The question is, why some people look to be in total control of themselves while some others look perpetually worried. Everyone has worries, then how is it that some are able to bottle up the worries and keep them aside while others get almost crippled leading to inaction due to excessive worrying.
This major difference is because of individual nature but more than that, those who contain their worries have learned the art of overcoming the fear of uncertainty. Rather then procrastinating, they resort to acting on the worry to resolve it or if action is not feasible at that moment or if there seem to be no solution to that worry at that point in time they keep the worry aside. 
On the other hand, those who worry all the time, despite the fact that they know the futility of those worries, get overcome by worries. They, rather then acting on the things that need to get done to get over those worries (or just keeping them aside if there is no immediate solution available), become frozen in those worries thereby losing the capacity to act. Just like Arjun was in the opening situation of Mahabharata war, only problem is, Arjun had Lord Krishna to enlighten him about importance of Action over Procrastination while we have none.

The question is, where is the solution? The solution lies in training the Mind. Changing one's nature is difficult but it is very much doable. I speak from my own experience. I used to be such an angry young child till one day the futility of this angry nature donned on me. The moment futility was understood, nature changed to an extent that one day after I got married, my "better half"  asked me, don't you ever get angry. That "the individual nature" can be modified is hence proved.

The first thing to do is understand that worry is generally associated with those thoughts where it is evident that the individual has no control or little control over the circumstances around it while the outcome is important. Some people may, though, have a sheer habit of worrying (even when a simple action would resolve the worry) like people who have "Compulsive Obsessive Disorder".

However, sometimes the individual has the capability to act to sort out the worries but does not know or intentionally decides to procrastinate and worry. Worry clouds your judgement and ability to take risk and therefore earlier one learns to either act on them or just put them out of their mind in an imaginary locker till they get time, energy and motivation to deal with it.

everyone worries but those who learn to get over the worries or has ability to keep them aside lives a peaceful and fruitful life, for rest, worry is there to give them company. Why keep this bad company.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Never Miss a Chance to Enjoy Life till it Lasts.

One of my friend's Anniversary is today. His wife has sadly departed for heavenly abode some time back. Thinking that he may not like to be wished on his anniversary. However, when he reminded us of it by a post in our whats app group we wished both of them, he in person and her in metaphor. That got my thoughts rolling.

Life is but this moment that we have because next moment is not guaranteed to anyone of us. There are enough of misunderstandings, egos and what not between people, may it be between Parents and children, may it be between siblings or between friends or between Husband and wife. Let that be.

However, with the life being so short (and get cut further short sometimes due to illness and other factors) why give credence to all the problems among us. Let us change a bit. Let the differences remain (if they can not be reconciled) but remember those people (and we too) are going away permanently later (or sooner in some case).

If they are loved ones, whatever may the difference, don't let go of them. Mend fences with them, overlook imperfections, reconcile with the situation but do stay connected. Why, because, when one leaves for another world, there no communication lines between these two worlds nor that place is connected over, 2G,4G or internet.

When there is actually very little time to love and admire them, where is time to grudge or hate a loved one. Think about it before it is too late and we have no means of telling such people how much we loved them

Let us Make a BEGINING.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Finals of 25th Marathi Commercial Drama Competition - 2012

This an old 2012 post that had got tangled with another travel blog. Untangled and reposted.

Finals of 25th Marathi Commercial Drama Competition

After many years I got the opportunity to see Marathi Nataks at Mumbai, courtsey Dept of Culture, Govt of Maharashtra.

It was the Finals of 25th Marathi Commercial (and not amateur) Drama Competition being conducted at Marathi Sahitya Sangha Mandir at Girgaum by the Dept of Culture, Govt of Maharashtra. There were a total of 10 dramas selected from about 25 entries of variety of Drama Companies. I could See Love Birds, Karun Gelo Gaon, Sukhanshi Bhandato Amhi and Mi Revati Deshpande.

It was real fun watching such quality dramas produced by these companies. The situation dead that I write the researched views about them but have no time to do research.

Let me put my quick thoughts about these dramas.

Love Birds - a thriller which holds you spell bound. the plot is superb. The struggle of Amruta Subash, the lead actress, to (so called) educate her husband (who has lost his past memories in an accident, but can remember what is taught) about his past life. One sympathises with her, the drama goes on with realisation that the hero and heroine might have killed old lover of the leading lady. As the plot unfolds, the heroine also committees one more murder. Every thing was to go as planed (for whom, guess it or see the Natak, I am not going to let the cat out) but for a private detective who has joined this plot out of sheer luck (or may be bad luck).

What comes out at the end is a action packed (emotional and not stunts) thriller which keeps you glued to your seat). The Music was good, the use of video to link up the events outside of the set, crisp dialogue delivery and acting of all the people are the strong points.

Karun Gelo Gaon - Is a marathi - Malvani (or so I thought) comedy with all the actors being natural and good. Vaibhav Mangale happens to be the pack leader. The drama had slapstick humour with all the ingredients thrown in like a tamasha dancer, a local MLA, film crazy villagers etc. There were some sutle but below the belt humour, some high quality humour and some very vital points made humorously. At the end the drama succeeds in highlighting the plight of the soul of Konkan, the land on the west coast.

Sukhanshi Bhandato Aamhi - is a serious drama with a lead role of a psychologist and a split personality patient. the doctor, an idealist as a Young boy from village has become materialistic due to pressures of his ambitious wife and the city called Mumbai. He is minting money and thinking that it is essential for him to mint to provide better avenues to his son.

He has been neglecting his mother who is still at his village, neglecting other aspects of life till this patient whom he admits in his hospital show him a mirror to make him understand that the mirage that he is running behind in his life is not happiness but rather a fight with real happiness. The doctor tries to run away from reality till his son decides to seek his Happiness!!! by leaving the doctor and his wife behind and migrating abroad. A very powerful story delivered superbly.

Mi, Revati Deshpande is a off beat drama. It is about gender disorder in a professor who has been living duel life of a lady and a man. his family always thinks very poorly of him because they think he seeks company of females to satisfy his male ego / taste without realisation of the reality. Only his female servant and psychologist friend who knew reality try to manage the rift. The rift widens by the additional affection shown by the professor to his erstwhile student and now his daughter in law, who is pregnant.

The rift reaches a stage where all efforts of the psychologist fried and the servant fail and the professor decides to let go of the male in him and decides to live life as a female.

A complex subject handled skillfully with lead roles of Mohan Joshi as professor, Ramesh Bhatkar as doctor friend. It was well enacted drama except for where I got the seat (in the balcony) the audio was very poor.

A very unconventional story delivered with care and elan.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Peshwas of Modern Pune - Spoof

I have not been able to blog for a considerably long time for a variety of reasons including procrastination. For last some days withdrawal symptoms have started showing. That means, I have to blog and that gives me a chance to bring out my experience in this historic city of Pune, particularly related to road users. Look at the title of the blog again. It is not Peshwa's Pune. It is Peshwas of Pune. Now let me start.

In my long naval career, I have lived in many cities including Pune but the traffic sense that I developed is based on traffic culture of Mumbai which is by and far the best in India. I really found the city most infamous for traffic sense, New Delhi, reasonably good for driving, primarily due to its wide carriageways.

And then, upon retirement from the Navy, I made Pune my abode. That is when I realised that this city has not one or two but many living Peshwas. The Peshwa was the Prime Minister of Bhosala Kings of Chatrapati Shivaji Dynasty and were the rulers on behalf of Bhosla Kings of Satara, of this part of Maharashtra. Obviously, rulers make the rules but they need not necessarily follow the rules. The Peshwas of modern Pune do not make the rules but they definitely do not follow the rules.

Recently there was a news item here in Times of India that Pune Police are going to challan the pillion riders who ride (pillion) on a two-wheeler. It made me wonder, so the Police are going to challan the pillion riders without the helmet, Good, Very Good, but in the first place, when is Police in Pune going to challan helmetless drivers of Two wheelers. Is it that they are going to challan pillions and leave the riders scot free.

I do understand. How dare Pune Police challan the riders, who are the Peshwas of Modern Pune? For information of readers, over 90 % of two-wheeler riders find it below their dignity to wear helmets, a very crucial life-saving device. Maybe they are waiting for Peshwai Pagadi (a typical headgear) or a crown.

Poor me, while parking my car anywhere in Pune, was always worried about inconveniencing other motorists. That was so till my better half pointed out to this mortal being (that is me) that I, the poor subject of this city needs to look around. The Peshwas of Modern Pune driving their four-wheelers actually parked at will, other road users be damned.

The procession of the Kings was always taken out with fanfare everywhere in India. In  Pune, the fanfare for the procession of modern Peshwas comes from honking of the horn irrespective of the Peshwas riding their two wheelers or four wheelers.

Generally, kings were never bothered about Value for Money which is a concept for commoners. Our Peshwas of Modern Pune are very different in that aspect. They are economy conscious and therefore want to maximise the return on their investment.

Therefore, with an objective of maximisation of per capita consumption of Petrol per kilometre, they do not ride one rider and one pillion. They generally ride triple seat on their two-wheelers. Bhai, economy is also important even for Peshwas of modern Pune.

Signals on the road are for traffic safety. Everyone is supposed to follow the signals. Rules, however, are not meant for Peshwas of Modern Pune. It is very common for us to find, when the signal is green for us, to find a two-wheeler with triple riders crossing your path (mind you the signal is green for us) and taking a turn (for which the signal is red) and if you show annoyance, be ready to face their anger.

Another important habit they have is driving on the wrong side. After all they are the daredevils who would like to challenge the oncoming commoners (read traffic). In Hadpsar, going towards Kondhawa, the road is split into two one-way. What makes me wonder is, there are Peshwas coming from the wrong side of both one ways whereas there are by lanes at regular interval connecting these two one ways.

When I landed up in Pune, I wondered as to why the speed of cars in Pune so slow and subdued. The wonderment got over moment I realised that was obviously in reverence to these Peshwas of Modern Pune of whom all the common (non-Peshwa) motorist were generally scared. Who would like to offend them and take on the might of these rulers of Pune Roads?

May be I also need to learn the obedience faster.