Category Archives: Random observations and musings

Hunting for post boxes in this send-by-courier era

My father worked in the postal department; for me, as a child, red meant post-box red. Letters were everywhere. Sitting in a post office, waiting for my father to complete work, I’d see postmen hefting sacks of letters, or pouring out the contents on a table/ the floor. I’d see letters sorted expertly into piles, then bagged and put in vans. The smell of paper, of gum (that thick sort they used), pervaded the air. Once, when I had to go somewhere, I sat behind a postman’s cycle instead of a sack of letters.

On the convention that women should be (called) beautiful…

Everyone likes to look at beautiful things, and most people (men and women) assume that the best compliment to give to a woman is that she is beautiful. Other than when a person is downright-unbeautiful, people give such compliments. I consider this norm not just irrelevant but also somewhat shallow when given unsincerely, as a sort of knee-jerk reaction. It rarely involves noting the person’s expression or mood or character or actions. It’s just a token. As a child I was distinctly unbeautiful (as per the ruling conventions). (Still am, but it no longer matters to me). Persons who wanted to compliment me (on my looks, because when it comes to girls, that is what matters), would be stumped about what to say. They would, instead, dole out advice on how I could become beautiful. Daily facepacks with gram flour and cream and lemon? Avoid the sun? Clean the face …

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A hot day, buttermilk, and the satisfied discards of the litter-ati

So, right in front of our car is a bus. And somewhere, way ahead, is a closed railway gate. It’s a hot day. The bus is a long-distance bus, but not of the luxury sort. The situation presents a business opportunity. Sure enough, along comes a man with a cloth bag. There are plastic straws in a plastic pouch in his shirt pocket. His bag is full of plastic pouches with buttermilk and he takes out a couple of pouches and waves them out to the passengers in the bus. Hands wave back at him. Business is brisk. Dozens of packets are sold. Some passengers even get down to buy them. The vendor walks away. And then the plastic packets start flying out of the window, sucked empty. Straws, too. They are thrown by the persons inside the bus, who do not even bother to check if anyone is passing …

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From gobbling paper books to byting ebooks

I’ve always loved books. Always read a lot through libraries, and bought a lot of books. As my father was often transferred, this sometimes ended up in a race where I would buy books and my mother would persuade me to give them away, and many of my favorite purchases (huge piles of comics, lots of other stuff including Agatha Christies, Perry Mason and Chase) would vanish between the times I would go to hostel and return for vacations at a new location where my father had next got transferred. Later, when I moved away from parental packing and disposal techniques, my collection became unwieldy enough for me to offer books free to friends and neighbors. But the overall trend has always been upwards. Last year, I moved house. As I dusted and packed shelf after shelf of books, and later dusted and unpacked them, I had to admit to …

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