Mahadevan's Monologues

If we had the vision and feeling of ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. – George Eliot

Monday, October 30, 2006


Yesterday I met a 96 years old gentleman. His wife must be either in her late eighties or ninety. I always respect aged people. North of Deccan plateau elders are generally respected unlike the south, particularly Tamil Nadu, where choicest epithets are hurled at them. I have admiration for this gentleman because, he imparted me domain knowledge in a field, which was alien to me. He showed and explained to me the difference between a compressor and a turbine, rotor and a stator in Power Plants. Having retired from a fairly senior position at Andhra Pradesh Elecrtricity Board, he has been drawing his pension close to 50 years now. He is unable to travel to spend some time with his son at Honkong and therefore with his aged wife, he occupies a two bed room apartment in a building in a decent locality at Mumbai, having disposed off his house at Hyderabad. Fortunately his daughter also stays in another apartment in the same building.

I asked him if any of his former colleagues and friends visited him to spend some time, and the reply he gave me was the provocation for this post. He said that every one of his friend and colleague had gone. Though the voice didn’t betray any emotion, I could notice the feelings in his eyes and in the sigh he heaved. I shudder to imagine a situation where all of my friends have gone where I would be haunted by loneliness and memories. Somerset Maugham said correctly that when we grow old, we would be oppressed more by the weight of memories than physical affliction or failing mental faculties. What an irony it is that elders are driven to be lonely in a crowded place! Should we not make them feel that they are wanted and that they are not alone? Old age is like the fag end of a journey. You lose the charm of the journey and eagerly look for the destination. When the train passes through Arakonam towards Chennai or approaches Bangalore Cantonment Station, one may realize this.

Late Vijay Merchant used to say often that cricketers should retire when people ask “why” and not “why not”. If we leave when people ask why, we may not have mental agony, but those around us certainly will have. If we survive till people ask us “why not”, we would suffer from loneliness, a feeling of distance and being driven out. As they declare an innings in a Cricket Match, can one not declare his ‘innings’ in this world? Ageing process is a part of life. While undergoing this process, one encounters considerable changes, for ‘change’ is the only constant factor in life. For negotiating change, one must listen to what Dr.Samuel Johnson said:

“A man, as he advances in his life, will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his company in constant repair”.
"Vanaprastha", as conceived in Indian Philosophical Thought, is a sort of net practice for the game to follow. Those who skip the practice would lose in the field.

A fine blend of readiness to embrace change from the elder and eagerness to reach out from the younger ones, is the surest remedy for a semblance of peace in this world.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Inspite of my best efforts (within my limited technical skill), I could not retrieve my earlier blogs and am forced to open a new one. Here is my first post on the new Blog.


Do not arrogate to yourself the power of position, for, we are mere surrogates.

Evaluation is always in relation to an ideal.

When you advocate a cause, you cannot adjudicate on it.

The most enabling force is to make somebody feel important.
Communications downwards should have more of instructions and less of information. Communications upwards should only be of information.

Communication is like an electric circuit; looses the force if not complete. Needs to be insulated from shock and leakage.

An effective act, is tact.

Be dependable and not dependent.

Be consistent, but not complacent. Be insistent, but not impatient.

A Role Model is not a Polestar, luminating and yet standing aloof, afar. He/she is immediate and emulative.

Competence is Skill raised to a degree. Commitment is Will conforming to one’s own decree.

Strategy is adapting to a situation; to survive or to score over.

Don’t look for an extra ordinary man. He is not around. Extra ordinary performance from an ordinary man would save the day.

Merely looking at the road plan, you cannot avoid road blocks.