Who do I call out to?

Who do I call out to,

My Lord,

Who do I call out to?

Am standing here alone,

Having lost all hope.

Come, extend your hands,

Come, cut my bonds.

Be my savior

Rid me of my fears,

Give me your support,

Call me to you.

 

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HOW FAR IS THE OCEAN?

Do not lose heart

Till you find your destination,

And if you still have not found your destination,

Just think :

Has any river

Emanating from a mountain,

Ever asked anyone

How far the ocean is?

 

 

Thoughts & a Smile

(1) How wonderful would it be if someone were to invent a stethoscope,
which, apart from hearing the heartbeats, could also feel its pain.

(2) Rather than winning someone with arguments, defeat him with your silence,
because one who is always ready to argue, will not be able to suffer your silence.

(3) Stop chasing what your mind desires,
and then what your soul needs will come to you.

(4) Little boy to his mother:  When will I be old enough to leave house without
seeking your permission?
Mother: Even your father isn’t old enough for that as yet!!!

(5) Attraction starts diminishing,
Pretty faces appeal no more,
It is the rule of relationships,
It recedes with passage of time

 

Gunter, that character.

I met Gunter for the first time in Berlin in 1954 while studying Engineering in Germany.
We had a factory in Bombay, a family concern, for which we wanted to import some machinery. Gunter was the heir of a small manufacturing unit, again a family concern, our future suppliers. I was then working in the Cable Works of  Siemens as a trainee, and was asked to check out on this firm, since they had submitted their quotations for supplying the machinery we required. As luck would have it, one Herr Gacziack, a very senior engineer in Siemens, in whose department I was then working, happened to know the lady who was running this firm after the sad and sudden demise of her husband the previous Christmas, succumbing to a massive heart attack, while decorating the Christmas Tree. Well, things worked out very well and they received their first ever export order and with that started not only a business relationship but also a bonding of two families.

Gunter, a typical Berliner, very quick witted and full of wry humour, also my age, immediately gelled with me. I, of course as naughty and mischievous as ever was also taken up by the entire family. Gunter and I spent many an evening together at the Bar, where he would regale everyone around with his quips and antics. By the way, I did not drink any alcohol then. What a fool! Gunter also organized trips to Cologne and Dusseldorf during carnival times where we had great fun. Typically, while he himself was a very hardworking person he would often tell me: “Yagnesh, you know, work is so much much fun – but I don’t like fun!”
Years passed. I returned to India. Our relationships, both business and personal, continued. Then in 1974 my company entered into an agreement with the State of  Madhya Pradesh  to set up a manufacturing unit in the joint sector, in Bhopal. A substantial part of the machinery was being supplied by Gunter’s firm, so he came to India to oversee its installation. As the Managing Director of this firm, I used to spend a major part of my time in Bhopal. While receiving Gunter at the airport, I bumped into Mr. Nagu, who was the Chief of the police force of Madhya Pradesh. Despite our age difference (he was some twenty years older) we were pretty good friends.He immediately invited us for drinks and dinner.

That evening will forever remain etched in my memory for Gunter’s  spontaneous and witty replies to Mr. Nagu’s queries. Gunter was not very fluent in English. After downing a few pegs of whisky, a favorite drink of both Gunter and Mr. Nagu, here is what transpired between the two of them:
Mr. Nagu: Young man, are you married?
Gunter: My wife is!
Mr. Nagu: How are you doing?
Gunter: Oh, my wife has got a good job and I am in good health!

Madhya Pradesh is very famous for its tiger sanctuary, so Mr. Nagu asked Gunter if he had ever seen a tiger in the wild. Upon being replied in the negative, he said: “Come on then, I will show you one. He will be staring in your eyes from just twenty feet away!” To which Gunters cool response was: “I hope he won’t be hungry then!!!”

The same evening Gunter told me about the engine change he had secretly carried out in his Mercedes  without his mother’s knowledge. He was crazy about fast cars and was a reckless driver too. One of his legs had been amputated because of an accident. He had changed the 3 liter engine of his car with a 6 litre one, which obviously was a pretty dangerous thing to do. When Mr. Nagu overheard this, he immediately disapproved of this, it being too powerful an engine for a light body. Now Gunter himself was quite heavily built, so when Mr. Nagu was not within earshot, he quietly told me: “Yagnesh, Mr. Nagu doesn’t understand, when I drive the car, I (Gunter) sit inside and not outside!”

Some more years went by when in 1979 two of my Indian friends who had a transformer manufacturing factory sought my help. They were looking for a foreign collaborator for expansion of their factory, as also locating new sources for import of raw materials required by them. Being aware of my German connections they had approached me.
Now I knew how resourceful and well connected Gunter was. So, after checking with him and upon receiving his green signal, I embarked on that journey with these two friends to act as their facilitator, little knowing that this journey would also bring about the end of my friendship with Gunter for no fault of either one of us.

We arrived in Hanover, where Gunter had his office, attended the Trade Fair, where these friends had  their initial discussions with a Norwegian vendor with whom Gunter had arranged a meeting. It was then decided to go to Oslo for further talks at their headquarters. Gunter offered to drive us down to Hamburg from Hanover through what was then East Germany. As usual, he was his jovial and irrepressible self. The speed limit on the autobahn was 100kmph, while our guy was merrily pushing along at over
160 kmph! When I pointed to the signboard, he just said: “Oh, it means 100 km per person and we are five!” From Hamburg we had to take an overnight ferry to Oslo. At the time of our departure, we were standing on the ship’s deck with hundreds of old people waving goodbye to their friends. Upon seeing them, Gunter just could not resist himself from uttering: “Now aren’t these really museum pieces?”

Came dinnertime. We were sitting at the table and considering what to order for drinks when Gunter suddenly pulled out his wallet and thrust a visiting card in my hands, saying: “Go and introduce yourself to that young lady serving at the Bar, you will get special service.” Knowing him to the hilt and being sure in my mind that he was again up to some mischief, I checked the card. Would you believe what was printed on it?  Roughly translated, it read: “I would love to bed you, if you would too. Don’t say anything, just smile!” Well, well, well!

In the talks that followed, I was not involved in my personal capacity for obvious reasons. My friends also discussed with Gunter the modalities that were required for the import of raw materials from East European countries. Sadly, after returning to India, my friends were not prompt in responding to Gunter’s  communications. Time was of essence in doing any business and Gunter was naturally very upset and frustrated at their totally unprofessional and irresponsible behaviour. After all, he had done all the hard work in setting up everything. He felt humiliated too. I felt trapped. My friends could not give me any convincing reply for their behaviour. Gunter was very angry with me for having introduced such irresponsible persons to him. I felt ashamed as an Indian.

Thereafter, Gunter just stopped communicating in any manner with me. A beautiful friendship thus came to an abrupt end.

Spotting Some Spots

In December 1960, my wife left for Nagpur to spend some time with her parents with

our first born, who was nine months old then. In her absence, I sought out the company

of some of my bachelor friends. I was always fond of going on long drives and so it was

that on one late saturday afternoon we decided to drive down to Borivli, a far northern

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