Exploring Microcosms-Expanding into Macrocosms

But less obvious is the fact that the most important part of our culture is our particular family.The most basic culture in which we develop is the culture of our family, and our parents are its ‘culture leaders’. Moreover , the most significant aspect of that culture is not what our parents tell us about God and the nature of things but rather what they do- how they behave towards each other , towards our siblings , and above all, towards us.

In other words, what we learn about the nature of the world when we are growing up is determined by the actual nature of our experience in the microcosm of the family.

The Road Less Traveled- M.Scott Peck

A new psychology of Love, Traditional values

and Spiritual Growth

On January 30, was the marriage anniversary of my parents, who were married in 1967-in Benares, India. My aunt-my mother’s younger sister-Abha Mausi-ji the one amongst our whole family who probably misses my mother the most- rang up from Delhi and told how it had been “Basant Panchami” in 1967 on that day and it is Basant Panchami again on the same day this year -2020. My parents are no more, but their legacy lives on.

Basant Panchami- is the festival which marks the end of the winter and heralds in spring, is dedicated to goddess Saraswati.


One of the first memories I have of childhood is the home library which my parents started building.

This was before I even started formal school in Pune-Khadki Cantonment area. They got an Encyclopedia for us, and over the years, I went through those volumes.

Later, my grandparents also gifted a collection from Benares, and we went through those too, and compared  what was said in the two sets-giving a great sense of the world in its different dimensions.

The home library which we have in Mississauga, Ontario is an extension of that first library which my parents started around 1970.

When I decided to stay in Ontario for good- in December 2016, I carried with me the book gifted to me by my Nanaji- Maternal Grandfather-Professor GPU (Ganesh Prasad Uniyal) -The Autobiography of Jawaharlal Nehru – which he gave to me in 1982- the last birthday gift he gave us, as he passed away the coming year in 1983. Three books which he gifted- A dictionary, Glimpses of World history by Nehru, and Autobiography of Nehru have enriched our life in many ways over the past decades.






As I went through the book- The Road Less Traveled by M Scott Peck- which I have been reading as a comparative study with “Man’s Search for Meaning” By Viktor Frankl which was discussed in our Monthly Book Club- I came across Peck’s assertion of -Religion of Science- in which he interrogates the world of spiritual growth and its relation with science.

See blog


In the case of my parents- I first saw revision flash cards used by my father-again even before I started going to formal school.

My niece Divya-ji -who is going through medical studies -the third generation of our family to enter medicine, often asks me what my father PN Bhatt would have advised her. I told her, how my father had a more gentle patient approach- something which I have tried to imbibe over the years- but have still got a long way to go. (Whenever I am impatient with my sons and nieces-nephews- my sisters gently remind me- Have you forgotten your own days Bhaiya).

In the early seventies my father was giving the MD Anesthesiology exam from University of Pune. He had many revision flash cards, of different drugs, their main actions, interactions with other drugs, the main side effects and the contraindications.

I tell who ever asks for advice of study -especially for Professional courses- to make Revision Flash cards, which will be the essence of the course- points without which you will not be given that degree or license to practice.

In a way-science is a religion- practiced by our family for many decades.

In Grade 12- high school (Army Public School-Delhi-1985) I did a science project on the plants of the Ridge of Delhi. My mother had done Masters in Botany.

I was influenced by my father and uncles and followed medicine. Over the decades, have made many different sets of flash cards. These have helped navigate through the different mazes of medicine and their applications.



My parents, grandparents and uncles inculcated the love of walking -especially in the magic hour when night turns into day- in me. We first started going for walks in Lullanagar area of Pune in the mid seventies. Over the decades we went for walks to the Hill Temples in and around Shimla region and Rishikesh Regions of India. In those hills- my father told me about his own family- their origins from Pauri Garhwal and how they shifted to Shimla region in around 1890s, and built a house in Upper Kaithu Bazaar Shimla. As a medical intern, my father took me to those same areas again, and many childhood memories came alive. We climbed up to the Jakhoo Temple of Shimla, which legend has it- was one of the places where the God Hanuman stopped when he came to bring medicines for Ram’s younger brother Laxman.

See Blog- Walkers at Lullanagar



Work and life, took me to different continents. I could not -for many reasons and failings- take my own sons for a walk to the hills of Shimla region -in their younger days. But in the same spirit of walking and exploration we did go to temples of Malta and Gozo area , and Sabratha-Leptis areas of Libya-North Africa and explored many walking trails in Mississauga and Southern Ontario area.





Its no good to spend all your time reliving the good ol’ days .

But there is a lot to learn if you can let your memories take you back to a truer you.

Dr. Phil McGraw- The Self Matters-Companion

On the anniversary of my parents wedding- (1967) – I looked back at some of the things they taught and imbibed in us. We went through collages of the home library systems, our journals and looked at the walks of the decades gone by.





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Early Rubens-Year end Diary-notes-2019

Early-Rubens- The Fallen Christ- Art Gallery of Ontario

Having a designated thinking place, and scheduling the time to go there, helps shape thinking. Over the years, have tried to follow this practice-individually and jointly -with different groups. 2019- marked the third consecutive year, when I stayed in Ontario-Canada. We went for a walk to Art Gallery of Ontario- and saw a special exhibition of paintings of Rubens- his works reflecting the changes in Europe during the 1400s- and the many currents with Reformation and Counter-Reformation.


AGO- Many lovely hours spent exploring themes

Being part of an Art museum is different from say a science museum, zoo, or general museum.

Over the years we have been part of a General Museum- (Royal Ontario Museum) , a zoo (The Toronto Zoo) , a science Museum (Ontario Science centre) and the Art museum (Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of Hamilton).

My father -Prem Narain- first took me to museums, in the early 1970s, just as his father Bhawani -took him to different trade fairs and museums. We also prayed in some of the temples where our forefathers have prayed- the Jakhoo temple of Shimla region, the Bilu Kedar and Dhari-Devi temples of Srinagar region-of Uttarakhand and the Hanuman Temple of Connaught Place-Delhi region and the Parvati templ of Pune region.

As we read the narratives of Rubens stay in Italy and then his shift back to Antwerp, we recalled the journeys of Caravaggio from Italy to Malta. Or the Dr.Bhau Daji Lad (formerly Victoria and Albert ) and Chatrapati Shivaji Sangrahalya (formerly Prince of Wales) Museums of Delhi region- in which there are very interesting dioramas of different travelers and migrants from distant lands -like present day Iran, Greece, Portugal- who made Western India their home.

Huntsville-Algonquin -2017-August

See blog-https://prashantbhatt.com/museums-with-the-children/



One of the paintings of Rubens, which has been analyzed in great detail is-Massacre of the Innocents.

Different painters have interpreted this Biblical theme- in which Kind Herod massacred all male children when he came to know that Christ has been born.

As a thinking exercise- the curators have sourced the original images which served as an inspiration for Rubens for this figures in the paintings



George Brown House-Beverly Street-Toronto..It was home to father of Confederation, Reform party politician, Publisher-George Brown – He was killed here in 1880- shot by a disgruntled dismissed employee of the Globe newspaper- which he had established. .

In the past year, we have added some books from the Tom Thomson collection (My father communed with objects- his son writes in the introduction- and how he developed many interesting relations due to these communions). We went granular on the Impressionism in the age of Industry exhibition of AGO, and saw different constructions going on in the GTA region in a new light due to this exhibition. The highway expansion at Ford -QEW-403 junction-between Mississauga and Oakville is one such area.

On art themes-the book-The Anatomy lesson of Dr.Tulp, by Rembrandt-and the novel by Nina Siegal, in which she traces the life of the subject-Aris Kindt and the methodology and philosophy of Rembrandt-is an addition to the home library.


In the winter break- we went to see some special exhibitions- (Wild life photographer of the year-ROM to Early Rubens- AGO) and remembered some of the other special exhibitions we have seen in 2019- (Age of Rembrandt-ROM, Jodhpur-ROM, Ipressionism in age of Industry, Brian Jungen-AGO.


See https://www.nhm.ac.uk/press-office/Wildlife-Photographer-of-the-Year/gripping-action-shot-wins-wpy.html


It was also a time to look back on similar gallery walks in Malta, India, and develop our home library.

Action point- We sat together and revisited some heritage walks- like Peterborough area-Sep 2019, Thousand Islands-Gananoque- 2018, Algonquin -2017, or going back even further-Xlendi-Gozo-2010.

Yester years- A town is its peple. Gananoque – 2018-September walks

Over the years we have walked through different areas- and explored local histories


SLEIMA-MALTA-2011- We did not inherit this earth from our ancestors, we borrowed it from our Children..Native American Proverb
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Tuesday-Janry 20th-1846

Mamma told me to note down what we were all about on the 4th of January 1846.

We were all standing round dear Mammas bed talking to her about her being sick.

What will we all be about the 4th of January next year

                                                Wednesday-Janry 21st , 1846

Mr Ambrose came and I took my music lesson and Minnie went to her lessons with Mr.Thomson..


Remembering my mother Nirja Bhatt nee Uniyal ,  I recalled some of the things she taught me. I will go through three of them in a bit more detail.

Around this time, our family made a visit to the Dundurn Castle, Burlington Heights, and I came across the beautiful diary of Sophia MacNab-written around 1846, which is the best living document of life then in and around the castle.





In 2016, when I visited our home in Palam, Delhi region India I went through some of the drawers and lists she had made over the years, when she had done maintenance projects in the house, invited relatives to live and done the different shiftings which a military family has to make.  This habit of making lists, I have tried to imbibe from her, and refined them into making points of Tracking.


My mother was my first teacher. Right from the days I started going to pre-school of Mrs.Lawrence on Bombay-Poona Road of Khadki Cantonment of Pune region, she would help me with my homework. She helped me in the major transitions from different school districts-Loyola Pashan area to St.Vincent’s Pune Camp area, from the boards-Maharashtra board to Central board-Kendriya Vidyalaya Southern Command. The level of Hindi taught at Central board level is different from the Maharashtra board.

She also helped us transition-during high school from Pune to Delhi. That was the year of the 9th Asiad games. We also came into closer touch with our extended family. And I started going for walks in the Rishikesh Mussorrie regions of Garhwal.


SISTERS…Visiting Benares-India-2017 …
Earlier Perspectives-

In a series written in 2013, remembering and telling about my father to my sons, I told of Benares-  a place where my father got a feel of the family in a different way.
 His own mother had passed away when he was less than five years old.
After his marriage in 1967, he first time came to have a sense of the family –in a more integrated way- when he associated with the Uniyal family of BHU.

Recently my mother’s sister-my aunty shifted house. She is the one , of all our relatives who misses my mother the most. In 2015, when I took her to Palam from Vasant Kunj, she requested the tenants to see the insides of the first floor where they were living. With great emotion she said-each corner of this house reminds me of so many things.  One year on- my mother’s sisters again wanted to go to Palam to pray in the house of their Didi. We made the pilgrimage again, and went through family memorabilia and albums.

When my mother passed away in 2011, I gifted the eye cleaning glass of my grandfather to her youngest sister. This is a family relic which belongs to her. In 2013, I went to visit my father’s sister, and gifted to her the Buddha bust, which I had gifted to my mother in 2009-when I last saw her physically.


As we went through the lists, homework diaries and sisterhood nuances, I thought of the richness which comes into life through these associations. I have been a diary-journal keeper for over three decades. The home library which my parents first started for me in 1971-by buying an encyclopaedia has grown over time.  

In that library-I added the Diary of Sophia Mcnab around Mother’s day. Dundurn Castle overlooking the sparkling waters of Burlington Bay, dominated Burlington Heights in 1846. Those Heights the Duke of Wellington remembered to be the crucial defensive bastion of Upper Canada. From those Heights, Colonel John Harvey, deputy adjutant-general to the forces in Canada, led his mixed force of British regulars of the 49th and 8th King’s regiments and Canadian Militia down Hamilton’s York and Main streets to the Red Hill, to attack and force the retreat of the American invades at Stoney Creek in the ‘wee sma’ hours” of June 6,1813.

But this diary and each room of the castle also remind us of the many flavours of life, which will inevitably come the way of a family.  The guide told about the great aunt, aunt and daughter all named Sophia. Dear Mamma, Lady MacNab nee Stuart, eldest daughter of Sheriff John Stuart of the Johnston District and Sophia Jones and grand-duagher of the Reverent John Stuart, the first Anglican rector of Kingston, had married Allan Napier Macnab as a girl of nineteen. She died in 1846 less than two months after her 34th birthday


As I discussed some aspects of my mother’s life, her journeys and associations and the richness of her habits of daily disciplines of keeping logs, notes, accounts, with my sons, the mind’s eye went back to the last picture of my mother with her grandsons Sagar and Sahil- around June 2010, taken in Bandra-Mumbai region.

By the next year, they were in Malta, and within that year, she had passed away physically

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Thinking through Letters-Sagar around 20

In a previous article this writer told about his realization that what he had before him was not the dish he had ordered for his forties

        The Crack Up – F Scott Fitzgerald

    from the anthology of Best American essays, in our Home Library in Mississauga, Ontario.. got this book from Chicago in 2010, from Barnes and Noble in front of Art Institute of Chicago

                                        * * * 

My elder son Sagar completed 20 years on Feb 28. Around that time, I used Letters as a Thinking Tool – to shape our joint thinking. 


 In his book -15 laws of growth Writer Speaker John Maxwell writes that his highest highs and lowest lows both have come from his family. He writes how he has learnt to be available, but keep out of his growing children’s decision making unless asked. That can be difficult for a person of his personality, he acknowledges  

Around 10 years ago the children used to stay in Malad Mumbai 

See blog


   Then in 2010 , we shifted to Sweiqi Malta , in 2012 to Mississauga Ontario.


   One of the tools of reflection I have jointly engaged in , with my sons is to write a letter to a loved one who has passed away. Over the years, this exercise has helped shape our joint thinking as I encouraged the children to write under the following headings 

1- As Life Is

2- What we are as a group or people

3- What we can become 


   I write to my grandfather, just as I encouraged my sons to write to their grandmother, and they wrote about their classes in Peel ( Camilla, Gordon Graydon, Glenforest) and now Ryerson University and the different walks taken in art galleries, parks and museums 

Some walks in year gone by – Drummond Hill – Niagara region

THE ZERO HOUR … This is a technique to incubate and simmer various thoughts 

LEGACY … they say, grandchildren are the legacy which one will never see physically

THE HOME LIBRARY…is a resource built intentionally to read and reflect on works of literature, self improvement, art and also included in these are the personal photo-albums, and journals.


The Malta Years 2010-12.. when children were in middle school- St Edwards Cottonera , just before their Teenage years

Some Memories of Walks – Thinking places (Is there some magic in creating a Thinking Place-Answer -No
But if you create a thinking place, and schedule a time to go there, chances of your intentionally thinking and reflecting grow manifold


May 2018

IN DETAILS ( an edited version of my letter to loved one who has passed away.. my maternal grandfather GPU Ganesh Prasad Uniyal. I often use the framework of Literature to write to GPU who was a University professor of Political science ( Banaras Hindu University and Sagar University) 

… Around the 20 th birthday of my son Sagar, I write to my grandfather. The milieu of India of 1960s/70s and the campuses where we stayed comes alive. In our home library is an anthology of essays, and I picked up Crack up by Fitzgerald again . 

 The writer speaks about the dish which he had not ordered for his forties and how he and the dish were one. He described himself as a cracked plate, the kind that one wonders is worth preserving… sometimes though the cracked plate has to be retained in the pantry, has to be kept in service as a household necessity. It can never be warmed on the stove nor shuffled with the other plates in the dishpan; it will not be brought out for company, but it will do to hold crackers late at night or to go into the icebox under leftovers…..

   I studied ‘ Crack up’ again and thought of the family journeys and collections of past ten years. We have direct experiences of the Diaspora in Libya, Malta and Canada. In supporting and furthering these, one gets a feel of the shape of the family and community, the scopes, limitations and possibilities 


Using thinking tools like Home library, Zero hour, legacy, as life is, what we are as a group or people, what we can become, what are our highest highs and lowest lows.. we drafted letters to loved ones who have passed away

 This helps shape perspectives.

MUSEUMS AS THINKING PLACES-Special exhibition on Textiles in Royal Ontario Museum-2018..thinking in the year gone by
Walks in year gone by-Port Credit-Jack Darling Memorial Park-Mississauga-Ontario
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After 34 years

Four siblings decided to take a holiday together without their spouses or children to reconnect and see if they could revive and reconnect with the sense of the family of their parents and those times . This exercise led them to rediscover many interesting things about themselves and how they remember, feel about their childhood and adolescent years. 


Downtown Toronto

It also made them reorient and relook at some aspects of their current identity and families.

So when Raghu, my friend from High School years ( Army Public School- Dhaula Kuan- Delhi -1985 batch) told me he will be coming to Toronto area I made it a point to meet him , and meet him alone , and reconnect with those times and days. 

Reunion-Toronto-2019-APS 85 batch


We spent some magical hours recalling those high school years, our teachers, class mates , classes, and the atmosphere of the school. 

We spoke intimately and had a good laugh at some of our ways then. My apprehension that sometimes friends who were close in a different period of life, when they meet after many years are not able to connect or find common themes to talk about was laid to rest as we spoke freely about ‘ Every secret thing’ … those I cannot put on a public blog. 

Then I spent some time reviewing my jottings of yesteryears ( decades) . It was in the early 1980 s – around the year of the 9 th Asiad that I started keeping diaries, logs of how much we ran, who we talked to,which movie we saw.


We remembered our projects. I had done a study of the plants of the Delhi ridge area. He remembered how his soldering did not work in the first try.


Then there was the day when one of us kept a lizard( toy) on the teacher ‘ s seat. The Chemistry teacher said he will report it to higher ups if the person who did the prank would not come up. ( that is how I remember the incident) . Our classmate owned up. He was a person of character. He later joined the Defence forces( NDA) . Then he passed away. 

These and many other sweet sour memories came alive as we talked for hours in downtown Toronto.

There had been a freezing rain alert , but I drove from Stoney Creek Hamilton to meet my good friend Raghu. 



We used to go to see movies at Chanakya cinema from APS. When many students missed class to see the movie To Sir With love, the school decided to make it official. The many nuances of literature and life taught by our English teachers kindled a love of trying to see between the lines. We had nicknamed our English teacher Mrs Majumdar – Mata. 


Raghu went into Engineering , I went into medicine, but the love of the written word remains. 

It should probably read – To Madam With Love.. the English teacher who kindled this life long habit which has enriched life on so many ways. 


How the movies like the Cult classic- Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron – formed part of our identity



How the movies like Heat and Dust made us relook at the influences of British Colonialism 


We talked about our parents, the life in India in the 70s, 80s and then about our children who now grow in North American society. Being from services background, when we came to civil life, we did find that things work in a different way .

Over the decades, we now , sitting in a cold freezing rain day in Toronto, went the memories of events which shaped our identities and those of the previous and next generations.

Thirty four years is a good enough time to meet and have a wide angle view of life, societies and identities 

Thanks Raghu , for everything 

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Year End Journal-2018

Take Pleasure in beautiful things, to defeat the sadness and sorrow of life-

Year End Journal-2018

Blog-Nov 2018-Clock Tower near Historical Post Office-Gananoque


So I nod again, I try to recall an earlier time, before Grandpa arrived, a time when the world was so safe and small and manageable- my parents were in charge of it, and nothing could go wrong.

Rohinton Mistry-Family Matters

If death’s a man-let him come close to me

That I can clasp him tightly to my breast

I’ll take from him a soul, pure colourless

He’ll take from me a coloured frock, no more!


As I look back at some experiences of 2018, I review three accountability calibration partners with whom I have kept regular correspondence over the years.

The year end journal,2018, made me look back at some walks-journeys taken with the grandparents of my sons-Indian citizens on whose passport the birth place is written as Karachi.

This year, they visited Mississauga,  and saw their grandchildren grown up.

When they had left Mumbai, in 2010 for Malta, they had been in secondary school, now both are attending University.

When they parted from Mumbai for Malta, their Nani-ji had told me-in a sad refrain- “Give them so much love, that they never miss me.” It is an impossible task to accomplish fully, but a credo worth trying to live by, even if one falls short, it will be good guiding star.


In the Canadian phase, I met and talked closely with some of our Pakistani brothers-sisters and came to know some whose families are from Purani Dilli..Old Delhi.

“You are from Delhi, I told a colleague.”

She said- “No, my mother was from Delhi.”

To that I pressed her- once from Pyaari Dilli..always from Pyaari Dilli, and told her about Karims, Golcha, Nizamuddin and then many Galis of Dilli.

In the same way, I talked to my father-in-law and he recalled his childhood in Karachi, which is a sister city of Mumbai

In September 2018- while on a retreat to Ganonoque –Thousand Islands area- I had tried to answer the question of –What is the use of writing it all down. In that blog had written about letters, logbooks, journals, day timers –the review and reflection on them.

For a more nuanced version- See blog


The Year End notes-of yesteryears

This year marks the tenth year I have been keeping this blog-since 2008

The earlier perspectives have been recorded and the links can be found below, of many discussions, journeys, and perspectives gained from not only visiting places, but also staying in different countries across four continents. Every life has a philosophy which defines it, and refining and re-defining these has been a quest which makes one look back at the year gone by.

In 2015-Reading journal…From that year, I have separated the Reading journal from more personal entries related to family and friends. There still is an overlap, and the work to streamline these is an ongoing process.

Year end notes-2018.

Windows into Canadian life..

In gathering perspectives, I tried to record some conversations with persons who were born and brought up in Canada, rather than those who were born in other countries and adopted this country, and were accommodated in the system as landed immigrants.

Through my work, I meet such persons who I would not usually meet in my social setting.

I met Canadians who live in Farm areas in places like Milgrove or even in Trailer homes in national parks. They find cities like Burlington very congested, and cannot even think of living in a place like Mississauga or Toronto.


Having an accountability partner is a great way to reflect and grow.

In this year, I continued regular correspondence with two personal and one professional accountability partner who have known me for decades.

The intention of having a Calibration appointment, and then reviewing what we discussed, what we planned, how was the execution of the plan different from what we had expected, leads to many refinements.

Poems from Delhi.

While many of the things we discussed in those letters-Calibration appointments are private, one of the accountability partners has a way of writing poems –which tell many things between the lines.

He wrote to me about the histories of Delhi through the ages, the traditions of Buddhism originating and developing-evolving in modern day Bihar-North Indian plains, Mathematics in Medieval India and the concept of Paradox a- comparison between the Greek and Indian concepts.

In these letters, in which he told me that he has seen me from the days of my primary school, when he first taught me to keep notes, we used to read the children’s books- Enid Blyton, which I would collect from the Libraries in Main Street-Pune Cantonment. Later as I grew, I was introduced to biographies –which my Nana-ji gifted me- on my 15th birthday, -Of Nehru and his letters to his daughter from Prison, and the stories of the hills written by Ruskin Bond.

My Mausa-ji never directly told me to return. But in his letters, the many milieus and situations in life, which we have worked and journeyed together, he taught me many things, which make me wonder at the many roots, associations, possibilities which one has in one’s own country, and how a foreign society, may give many opportunities, but also takes away many things.

Images and their interpretation

Over 25 years ago, I first joined a medical college (KEM-Seth GS-Mumbai) in a line which is about reading and interpreting images, putting them in a clinical context and trying to help the patients. Imaging sciences took me to different places- starting from Mumbai in 1993.

This was after eight years of graduate study followed by house jobs in medicine,psychiatry and teaching posts in Microbiology in Delhi University- (MAMC-Delhi-1985 batch)

In this phase of Canada, I have kept regular monthly calibrations with a mentor who has seen me through the immediate post graduate period, and  we discussed many aspects of imaging, teaching, market conditions, the universities and their rules, the registration bodies and their bureaucracies, which impact persons at different phases of their life and career.

He wrote to me of the way Imaging sciences were organized in the 1990s, and this reflection made me look back twenty years further, to the times when my father had first done specialization in Cardiac Anesthesia, how the twining of institutions- (Armed Forces Medical College –Pune and Christian Medical College Vellore)-led to the development of  departments and a specialty in several institutions.

In my own case, he helped me through basic interpretation to organizing a department , how to weave a team together to how to talk with clinicians. Many of these things I applied and developed in my own way while working in Tripoli-Libya (LSMC).

Many a time , when I talk about the limitations of the scope of work in Canada for an internationally trained doctor, he tells me about seeing the bigger picture and also the phase of life of the family.

During some of these discussions, one senior mentor/calibration partner told me to take in positively

“It is good that you have the opportunity to serve people, in a field which you have been trained, in whatever capacity the system of Canada accepts.”

Contents and Style

Writing accountability and calibration notes to these two mentors of mine, and then reviewing their inputs, and also a third accountability partner who is not directly a mentor, but has known me for long, made me see how the same content can be interpreted in a different way.

Exploring the parks..The walks to hill temples like Parvati in Pune, or Jakhoo-Tara Devi in Shimla region have evolved into walks and reflections in cemeteries and prayer houses in Hamilton region. Around two months ago, I again went walking in the Dundurn region of Hamilton and exploring a bit more of the city- I came to know of the story of Richard Beasley

Richard Beasley was one of Hamilton’s first settlers who came to Canada from New York in 1777. Beasley occupied Burlington Heights (now the site of Dundurn and Harvey Parks) in 1790 & was granted land by the Crown in 1799.

Blog - retreats.jpg-1

LETTERS – Reviewing old letters give great insights into life, vision, possibilities- a letter written in 1941 from Essex to my grandfather -Ganesh Prasad Uniyal -then a student of Professor Harold Laski

As I walked from Barton street towards James street, I came across Beasley Park. Earlier in the day, I had walked from Art Gallery of Hamilton and had overshot Barton street, and walked almost right up to Lake Ontario. Every journey has its surprises- this overshooting led to Immigration square of Hamilton, and the statue of Leonardo Sciascia, the writer and activist from Sicily –Italy, born in Racalmuto-the sister city of Hamilton. Mangalore of India is also a sister city of Hamilton.

These walks reminded me of the many walks I have taken in and around Delhi-Meerut region –alone and sometimes with some friends who will brave it to some of these lonely beautiful places, where sometimes dogs can growl very ferociously. It also reminded me of the Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries in North Africa- where I have walked (alone and with some close friends) in Tobruk, Benghazi, Tripoli and Byzantine –and Roman/Greek time churches and temples in Eastern Libya-like Shahat and Susa and Western Libya-Sabratha and Leptis.

The Third accountability partner.

Through letters, and calibrations, this accountability partner, who has followed many of my different walks gently reminded me that as the years advance, one has to decide once and for all how many places one can develop in and follow-up with justice.

We have explored through letters, the bird-chirpings of Landour of Mussoorie region to the walks in Dundurn region of Hamilton.


While going through these notes and letters, and related reflections, I looked again at the following lines of Rohinton Mistry’s novel- Family matters (gifted to me by my cousin sister-a University level History teacher)

All those things were gifts from Grandpa, she smiles, Aren’t they gorgeous?

I nod. It reminds me of the time long ago when Grandpa came to live with us in Pleasant Villa. And how my world suddenly became a much bigger place, much more complicated and painful. I think of Grandpa sleeping on the settee beside me, holding my hand to comfort me. And later, me holding his when he had bad dreams. I think of the violin music we enjoyed and the words he taught me, the stories he told, to describe and understand the world.

“Remember what Grandpa said to us one day?” continues my mother,  “to take pleasure in these beautiful things, to defeat the sadness and sorrow of life.”

I feel she is seeking approval for her decision to use the good china today. So I nod again, I try to recall an earlier time, before Grandpa arrived, a time when the world was so safe and small and manageable – my parents were in charge of it, and nothing could go wrong

* * *

END NOTE…Literature has a way of teaching and instructing, and when all the letters, interpretations and contexts are over, one can still go into a great piece of literature and gain a fresh perspective.

Earlier Perspectives

2008- Passport lost and found in Delhi


LODHI..Delhi..one of our Thinking Places-over four generations

This November I lost my passport on a visit to India. There were some troubled hours, before I found it again, thanks to the railway police at Hazrat Nizamuddin, Delhi.

In all these troubled moments, many people helped me in their own ways. They congratulated me on having found my passport.

But my six year old nephew Mayank was the only one who was not happy on me finding the passport.

“Uncle, it is very bad that your passport was found”

“Why?” everyone stopped to hear his reasoning.

“Because now you can go back to Tripoli and will not be taking me to the zoo.”

Such is life, as seen through the eyes of an innocent 6 year old.


2010-A visit to Art Institute of Chicago

“She is weeping” my friend told me.

Initially I thought it was a trained actor giving a performance

but after some time I realized that she was really weeping as she

read out Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King” with the portraits of

Julia Margaret Cameron in the background.

See blog- https://prashantbhatt.com/2010/12/17/diary/

2011- The Civil War in Libya- witnessing a 21st century revolution

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2011-feb-17-revolution-of-libya.jpg

“He is not courageous, but there was no flight out, and he does not like to go by land or sea,” one friend summarized this year as we recalled the days of uprising-the failed uprising of February, the months of preparation and the successful insurrection of August 20,2011.


2012-Exploring Musical Cultural Memory-

Is there something like musical cultural memory.

From the answers that came alive on a cold winter evening, the answer is Yes.


2013- Diaspora who made Tripoli their home

He wed Luigia Delle Fabriche, who was born in 1866 and died in Tripoli on Jan. 19, 1931. In Tripoli, Libya, where Pietro emigrated, he formed a construction company, together with his son Pietro and daughter Margherita. He died in Tripoli on Dec. 25, 1933. He and his wife are buried in a private chapel within the Christian Cemetery at Gargarish, Tripoli.

Interacting with his descendants gave me a better feel of Tripoli through the centuries and added to Margaret Atwood’s words

“There is always more to be known about it than you can ever know.”


2014-Walks in Konya, Garhwal, Niagara

This year I had some interesting walks.

Three regions where I walked were –Rishikesh-Landour region of Garhwal in spring, in Toronto-Niagara region in Fall and in Istanbul-Konya region in beginning of winter.

2015-The Ontario Museums

Special exhibitions on Myth Busters, made us look at the science behind some daily things.Earlier we had seen the Science of Rock and Roll, and Brain.

These exhibitions help us reflect on the way science has changed our lives.


2016- On journalism and social activism in Garhwal Himalayas-India

The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”


Amidst the downward tendency and proneness of things, when every voice is raised for a new road or another statute or a subscription of stock; for an improvement in dress, or in dentistry; for a new house or a larger business ; for a political party, or the division of an estate; will you not tolerate one or two solitary voices in the land, speaking for thoughts and principles not marketable or perishable?


See Blogs



2017-Nuances of Immigrant professionals life in Canada

Sitting in different Tim Horton cafes from Falstaff road (Where I told him the story of Falstaff- the great character of Shakespeare’s history plays- King Henry V- and the tavern life which he represented, and was rebuffed when Prince Hal became the king)…to Victoria Park Avenue- where we would gather after the preparatory classes (where the instructor would explain around 10 MCQs in 3 hours, repeating the points again and again..and we realized how – sitting in a class which is uneven, with people of different levels of reading- one has to be very patient) ..to the Tim near 1 Eva Road-where we gave our different licensing exams.


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Around 51-Looking back

The home library, parenting,walks marked some ways to further inroads into North American society this year.

Refined the Thinking places- and used two park – areas for walks for this purpose in an intentional manner. Apart from Riverwood, Port Credit areas of Mississauga, Wilket-Edwards-Central Don river area of Toronto and the Dundurn area of Burlington Heights-Hamilton were some of my favourite thinking places.

DUNDURN AREA OF HAMILTON..A lovely thinking place


The Global leadership summit conference of 2018 introduced me to the works and thoughts of the restaurateur Danny Meyers.

The closest I have personally seen/known someone like Danny is Ismail bhai of Safir restaurant Tripoli, and remembered the many meals and discussions we had in Safir.

The talk about –Setting the Table- by Danny Meyers, which I saw in the Portico Church of Mississauga, in August this year led to his book, which gives many interesting insights into the world of restaurants and hospitality. Anthony Bourdain’s-Kitchen Confidential is another addition to the home library, which adds many valuable insights into the world of hospitality.


One of the first books of the current home library, which I started gathering in Tripoli in 2004, was –Quest for adventure- by Chris Bonnington.

Having been part of formal and informal book and reading clubs for almost thirty years, I found the Everest Analogy a very useful tool to explain some things to a friend from a different civilization and cultural background, who is finding roots in North American Canadian society.

While the conversations are private, the analogy of Everest did work out well to drive in some truths.


This year, my younger son Sahil graduated from school.

See Blog- For a Few moments more


Parenting is an activity, which helps one evolve into a better long term thinker.

After 18 years, one is not very sure whether one’s boys, having grown up in different parts of the world have the skills to navigate the many mazes of Canadian society.

Weekly Gazette ..I use this weekly write-up as a tool to define the frameworks under which we can cooperate and grow together. In this we discuss many aspects of family life. Many of these are private and sensitive. This month-and year, mark the 100th year since World War 1 got over.

There was a special article on the history of St.Edward’s college-the buildings were a military hospital which treated the wounded from World War 1.

My boys studied in St Edward’ s college, Cottonera, Malta for two years ( 2010-12)


Blog-Nov 2018-4



The article also told about Sister Violet Briffa, who later became matron of the college till 1965.



Is there a magic about a designated thinking place?

Not really.

But if one has a designated place to think and one takes the time to go there to think, there is a better chance that one will go beyond the clichés and I-am-fine-thank-yous and see the underlying processes, nuances and details which deepen one’s humanity.

Grief is a Journey…Went through this book by Keneth Doka, and it has many interesting points for application for persons who are going through any major transition, transformation or change.




This evolved with trips to 1000 Islands where we stayed in the historical post office. The post man would visit the residents of the 1000 islands and was an important person during the wars of 1812-14 as he knew the place very well.

Blog-Nov 2018-Clock Tower near Historical Post Office-Gananoque


Blog-Nov 2018-6

THE HISTORICAL SOCIETIES..reminded me of similar societies, Reading Groups and Every day History Societies we used to run in Tripoli-Libya..to collect, preserve, disseminate objects relevant to local history. The Diaspora in Arab world


Blog-Nov 2018-Jones Shovel Company-Gananoque

Here, we walked, talked through important family issues with three generations and their own unique takes on the way they see life in North America.


The Day we ferried in 1000 islands area-the American flags were at half-mast in memory of Senator John McCain. Listened to the BBC podcast-the life and times of John McCain,





This tool –has been further refined over the years.

This year, I often wondered what my parents would have told me, in a situation and country which does not easily recognize foreign educational credentials.

But I held on, as one can later re-integrate many things.



Blog-Nov 2018-2

ITALIAN WRITER-LEONARDO SCIASCIA …Born in Racalmuto-the sister city of Hamilton-Leonardo Sciascia  published Gli zii di Sicilia (Uncles of Sicily), which includes sharp views about themes such as the influence of the U.S. and of communism in the world, and the 19th century unification of Italy.


The sculpture of Italian writer Leonardo Sciascia.
Reminded me of the statue of writer Manwel Dimech-of Malta, in Valletta


Walks will continue, as one learns to work around various issues



2016- https://prashantbhatt.com/2016/11/26/maturing-or-prospering-perspectives/

2015- https://prashantbhatt.com/2015/11/26/readings-and-walks/

2011- https://prashantbhatt.com/2011/11/26/evening-walk-in-rome/




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