Meeting Norman after 51 years

First Sight
Norman Guido was a good friend in school. Yet as it almost always happens we drifted apart as we each went our own way after school. I went on to graduate from the College of Engineering , Guindy in Chennai and then the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and lived the life of a hard driving corporate executive; he became a well know plastic surgeon and head of the department of Plastic Surgery at St John’s Hospital in Bangalore.

My quest to seek out school mates as part of the pre-work  for a book I am working on led me to Norman . I live most of the time at New Delhi but visit Bangalore for a few months of the year generally to avoid the chill and pollution in Delhi during the winter months. In Bangalore this year, I sent Norman a tentative message on my mobile phone wondering how he would take it and how was he placed in terms of time and would he be reticent about meeting me. He took a while to respond and then we fixed up a meeting at his house which curiously enough was just about five kilometres from my home in Bangalore.

What was I getting into was a question that played around in my head as it did in his. He wanted to know what I would like to drink and if I would eat non- vegetarian food and what not. He was as tentative as I was about this meeting from out of nowhere .

When we did meet he was just as keen on connecting with me as I was with him and we spent all of three hours just getting to know what each of us had been up to all these years. Fifty one years had almost totally erased the images I had of him in my memory bank but the human brain is so amazing that when we met it started to re-create elements of the Norman Guido I knew way back in our school days.

Norman is keen on contributing his thoughts and ideas for my book on the Anglo Indian community and I dare say he likes and needs my company. I can be a little presumptuous as I think I can show him how to lead an active life in retirement and in turn I am enjoying the company of a wonderful human being who has devoted his life thus far to his profession and has a passion for oil painting and classical music.

Ahoy 2016

Many people ask me what I am doing, now that I have got off the corporate treadmill and some venture to ask, “Nothing?”  To cut a long story short I just say that I am leading a relaxed and stress free life. No time like now to reflect on what I do and add a tweak here and there.

Ever since I rejoined the Soka Gakkai in Feb last year I have been back to reasonably active participation in District and Chapter level meetings. My prayers and chanting though not as regular as they should be, have picked up a lot. I am happy to be back on the path of seeking and wish to truly understand the mentor disciple relationship and what it means at a deeper level to practice for others. Last year was momentous because my wife finally joined me in the practice and largely due to my brother in law Ram’s prodding, the family chanted together both at Sheikh Sarai in Delhi and at our home in Bangalore.

The need to stay healthy and fit has always been a prime concern. Over the last year I continued sessions with my personal trainer and cycling. I am thankfully at a higher level of fitness at the end of the year than at the start. Once again I plan to participate in a 250 kms cycle ride at the Desert 500 event in February this year. I plan to dedicate this effort to cancer care and relief for the underprivileged sections of society and I am searching for an appropriate NGO to link up with. Sadly in 2015 a few more family members have succumbed to cancer or are engaged in battling the scourge.

Last year I finally went on a trek in the Himalayas with Sandeep Talpade and his group. I made new friends, enjoyed the trek and I am looking forward to another one this year with Sandeep or with any other capable organizer.

View from our high altitude camp
View from our high altitude camp

I finally got off the mark with the research and pre-work for a book I have decided to publish on the Anglo Indian community. I am enjoying connecting with my Anglo Indian school friends and other who may be helpful in developing the theme and story line of the book. I plan to visit Melbourne to connect with my friends and will spend most of the current year in writing this book. Blogging is also set for a revival as I work through the Blogging 101 exercises of Word Press. I am not sure about continuing with the Writer’s Bureau writing exercises as this has now entered the fiction writing phase which I am not keen on pursuing at this stage.

Engaging with friends for the book, attending meetings of the Soka Gakkai and actively keeping in touch with friends from my corporate and student days is ensuring a healthy social life. Family life is also thriving and I am feeling good about it. The months we spend in Bangalore to get away from the winter chill in Delhi is increasing engagement with family and friends. Another momentous event was my son Shirish’s marriage to his long time girl friend Corinna in Canada. My wife and I attended this beautifully conducted event in Canada.IMG_4325

I have been seeking opportunities for sharpening the saw but I can do with more concerted actions. A clutch of courses through Coursera have helped and I would continue this in 2016. I plan also to spend significantly more time on hobbies such as chess and photography. As a member of the blogging community I also plan to do my share of reading of the bogs I am following. The Blogging 101 exercises are helping me polish up blogging skills besides introducing me to likeminded bloggers with whom I share common interests and this is opening up for me a new social world.

Well I suppose I have my hands reasonably full but if anyone still wants to know what I do these days, I am leading a relaxed stress free life!!IMG_4355


A new begining

I will be more consistent in posting on my blog this year. The last few years were tardy in this regard and I  lost the urge to blog. The WordPress 101 exercises will surely get me off the ground once again.

When I look back  all the way to 2006 when I first started out on this blog, I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences as I muddled through life ; the highs and lows and what led to eventual successes. I wanted to bare it all to an unseen world around me and in some ways I felt I may be of help to others who may likewise be plodding through life. The need to be of assistance to others was as much of a motivator as the need to share.

Some where along the path I felt I was not really achieving anything by my blog posts and post retirement several other activities took front stage and blogging slipped into the background. WordPress 101 is forcing me to reassess why I choose to blog.

My blog can only be meaningful to like minded people with similar interests. I believe I have tons to learn from others just as I have a fair amount to share. The new beginning is going to be all about reaching out to other people and learning from them and sharing with them.

My areas of interest are spiritualism, fitness, travel and adventure and hobbies such as photography, chess and writing. I look forward to hearing from  others with similar interests and sharing experiences.