Walks with the Hill Breeze


Even if the guilty was known to the entire butcher fraternity in Mussoorie, these people were loyal to one another and would not readily disclose their knowledge to the police.

Keemat reflected that this attitude was a relic of colonial times when the police had been looked upon as a willing instrument of foreign oppression.

                                                                                Who Killed the Rani-

                                                                From Ruskin Bond’s collection- A Season of Ghosts

Recently a loved one passed away physically.

I went to the Credit river -Riverwood conservancy Mississauga, and prayed quietly for the soul of the loved one and also for the legacy and peace of her family.


Then I went through some pages from the Season of Ghosts collection of Ruskin Bond.

In many intimate ways, she and her brothers showed me a different flavour of the Himalayas- and the nuances of the roads of Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun, Mussoorie, Landour, Srinagar, the hill temples and the spiritual traditions around them.

 In our many walks and discussions together, since when I was an adolescent, then young adult and now in middle age, we have woven together the tapestry of many rich memories- and discussed the stories of Ruskin Bond.

These taught me to listen to the music of the breeze in hill forests.


The story- who killed the Rani- has many layers of law, justice and society.

“Then you would have put your personal feelings above your duty to uphold the law?”

“Yes, I think so. I believe justice is greater than the law. And I believe personal loyalties come first- if they don’t, we are doomed as human beings.”

He seemed relieved at this sincere expression of my own philosophy and outlook.

                                                                Inspector Keemat Lal- who solved the murder

but let the perpetrator go

                                                                (I will not spoil the fun by telling the whole story)

As I remember our many interactions together, the words of Ruskin Bond -from his collection

Rain in the Mountains come alive.

The fellow walkers taught to appreciate words , build a home library, look for nuances between the lines

Will meet again, and discuss these and other nuances.

Au Revoir -dear Fellow Traveler




On passing away of my mother- 2011

While returning from Srinagar Garhwal

While returning, visited some relatives, had long talks, went for walks in the fields near Rajaji National Park. A tusker is known to be roaming around in the nights over there, creating panic and loss of life and property.



Remembering Fellow Walkers

My grandfather was one of the first persons who taught me how to write notes, editing letters I used to send to him in the 1970s when he was in Moscow





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Father’s day walks-2020

“Try not to become men of success. Rather, become men of value.” —ALBERT EINSTEIN

Back of very life there are principles that have fashioned it- George Lorimer


Graydon Rock-2020-June-Sahil and PB

Graydon Rock-2020-June-Sahil and PB

Going for walks, being part of museum societies and professional groups has been a part of the legacy handed down to me by my father. Around Father’s day, went for a walk to Port Credit area, and took my son to Graydon rock- and we reflected on some of the walks- actual and intellectual – we have been through the years, remembering the time- when he first joined the Gordon Graydon school in 2014.

Being part of the Indian diaspora, there were some seniors in Libya, Malta, who helped us walk this path, and in listening to their stories, experiences, we learned directly and indirectly how to navigate the different layers of life in different continents.


My father, a military doctor, who served in the Indian army for 33 years, used to meditate daily-two times a day- for 20 minutes minimum each session. This was the discipline passed on to him by his father- and seniors. One of his colleagues told of meditation being like holding the Bow in tension, so that the arrow is launched. These meditations he told of, initially in the time of our morning walks in Lullananagar-Pune, and then we went for walks to hill temples around Shimla, Rishikesh, Srinagar.


As we walked to the Ridge from Upper Kaithu Bazaar, via the Kali Bari temple, my father showed me the school where he had studied as a child- in British India, before he shifted to Delhi for his pre-medical studies. The Ridge in Shimla and our walks to Jakhoo temple- have been part of our family memories.


MUMBAI-Pinnacle school-Malad-2008-The Police man-on Annual Day

MUMBAI-Pinnacle school-Malad-2008-The Police man-on Annual Day

In Port Credit, as we walked the waterfront- to sit at Ben Machree Trail, we went through Chris Bonington’s Quest for Adventure.

In this book- Bonington has written about the wide spectrum of adventurous activities , he wanted to see what they have in common, not so much in motive-the why of it- but rather the how.

In studying what took place in an adventure, be it an attempt to row the Atlantic, cross one of the Poles, or climb a mountain, the reasons for doing it emerge on their own.

An adventure

1-Involves a journey or a sustained endeavor

2- In this endeavor- there are elements of risk and of the unknown

3- The risk involved is something that an individual chooses to do and threatens no one but himself.


One of the things I learned from my father is to design a living, life, library , legacy in many ways, right from early childhood. In starting the Home Library with an encyclopedia, he imbibed the love of the written word in us. In going for walks, we learned different facets of nature. The legacy of the Home Library is a living manifestation of what my parents started in the early 1970s. To that we added the Art society and Museum society literature to add depth and understanding


This frontier was a result of technological coordination and discipline. This could not be achieved in a default mode. We have read different chapters from this book, and around Father’s day- we again went back into the moments of this Giant Step for Mankind


“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” he said for the benefit of viewing millions. The perspective was unlike anything one could imagine on earth. The lack of atmosphere meant that there was no different in clarity between a rock a few feet away and one on the far horizon; it was a world of extremes, of a black sky and brilliant white sun, of shadows as sharp as a cutting edge.Buzz Aldrim came out to join Neil Armstrong. With the mind of an engineer, he sought to analyze his visual and tactile experience :

 I immediately looked down at my feet and became intrigued with the peculiar properties of the lunar dust. If one kicks sand on a beach, it scatters in numerous directions with some grains travelling further than others. On the moon the dust travels exactly and precisely as it goes in various directions, and every grain of it lands very nearly the same distance away.


Who has influenced you most in the area of values? Try to recall as many of the people as possible and write their names here. Then write the value or character quality they encouraged you to adopt.

* * *

As I remember the meditations, walks, disciplines of my father, around Father’s day, I remember the way he used to keep revision flash cards and lists, and built libraries.


These I saw him make for his exams, the notes on important drugs and diseases.

I have applied these in my own readings- and studies. Read the subject and topic and find out what the main points are. If one does not have a clear understanding of these, you will not be able to practice the subject.

Then give it your best shot, and revise these regularly


As a professional, he used to make lists. I find copies of these lists, in our family home in Palam even today.

These I refined into making Check Lists.

Check list is a list which you will go through at the conclusion of any task, as that will give a closing of the loop.

Try to cover all the important bases of a particular topic.


In our on-going Garden program (2020-June) we got a tree from Sheridan Burnamthorpe, with the help of Naj. As the previous tree had not been healthy in the same spot, we made a detailed note of what went wrong.

This can be done in any field or enquiry by trying to ask three questions

1-What do we have

2-What do we don’t have

3-What should go


What we have

We have a tree, and an area to plant it, with shovel, soil, nourishing mixes and edges-to give proper boundaries to the planting area

  • What we do not have

At present- the clearing of the weeds had to be done

Also a review of the past failure of having a healthy plant there- makes us believe that there was water logging, leading to root stress.

Stress to the plant can be due to lack of water or too much water.

Given the soggy soil which I saw as I tried to dig, I think the reason was Water Stress

  • What should go

Do not repeat the mistake of Novice Gardeners- Planting too much too soon.

So – around this tree, will have a clear zone and not plant any tree or plant in the proximity.

Have close monitoring.

  • – –

This is a Current application of what my father taught me about making lists

1970s- I saw him make lists of drugs and main diseases, their interactions and indications

          I saw the same application in my Teachers- for example the English teachers divided the subject into grammar, comprehension, writing assignments and essays and then made us work through the exercises so that we grasped the subject

1980s- As a family we moved to Northern India-Delhi after many years in Western India-Pune. In this time he guided us through our high school, college years.

            I see the same application in the phase of my sons, now in Ryerson-2020, after having worked through the Peel board-2012-2018, after two years in Malta


            The journeys which my father helped me start by taking me to museums, building libraries and expanding my horizons, I continued with my sons.

This led to us become members of institutions such as the Ontario Science Centre. In this we saw different aspects of the manifestations of science


JOURNEYS OF SCIENCE-walks through the galleries of Ontario Science Centre-2015, remembering his grandmother-was a a botanist by training

TORONTO ZOO-2014-October

2014-October-discussing the science behind zoo animals- like the Hyena and Giant Panda.


Managing your life according to your values isn’t easy. Why? Because your values will be

tested daily by those who do not embrace them.

1-Negative people may discount you when you display a positive attitude.

2-Unteachable people won’t understand your dedication to personal growth.

3-And those whose priorities are different from yours will try to convince you to follow them or make unwise compromises.

Steering clear of such people, was one of the things my father taught me. In avoiding unnecessary

arguments and getting to a proper well thought out agenda, and then following it up is one of the ways


Having a small note book to review and reflect on values, lessons learned, application points for follow-

up is a great thinking companion which gives Focus.

Ben Franklin used to get up in the morning asking himself, “What good will I do today?” When

he went to bed, he asked himself, “What good did I do today?”


How do you think and paint dreams- Art Museum Societies- Surrealism thoughts

at the Art Gallery of Ontario

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NURTURING -Lessons my aunt taught me


Has anyone nurtured you?

Put ‘learning nurturing’ on your list of exercises to see what lessons and teachers Life brings

On reading this exercise in a workbook- I remembered my aunt, my mother’s younger sister.

When I was in secondary school- my aunt taught me about different ways of imbibing lessons.

Remembering by writing, is different from reciting, and that is different from explaining to a study partner. Learning by reading is different. The same subject will look different when seen in written, spoken, sharing, reading form. This master class has stayed with me in many ways over the decades.

Those were the times when my aunt used to come to our house from her University campus in Sagar-Madhya Pradesh-Central India. I used to study in St.Vincent’s high school, Pune (established 1867). St.Vincent’s is the school where I studied from Grade 3 to 8.

The teachers were then introducing us to concepts of science, and we even had not separated the three main sciences- biology, chemistry, physics. The mathematics teacher taught us the importance of learning the multiplication tables.


In the journeys of learning, I imbibed this lesson to write the summary main points of a particular subject.

So, when science teachers- made charts about the classification of organisms and the concept of genetics,  I came to know about Carolus Linnaeus in a bit more detail. And how these giants are related to Darwin (Evolution) , Mendel (Genetics)

Our modern understanding of how traits may be inherited through generations comes from the principles proposed by Gregor Mendel in 1865. However, Mendel didn’t discover these foundational principles of inheritance by studying human beings, but rather by studying Pisum sativum, or the common pea plant. Indeed, after eight years of tedious experiments with these plants, and—by his own admission—”some courage” to persist with them, Mendel proposed three foundational principles of inheritance. These principles eventually assisted clinicians in human disease research; for example, within just a couple of years of the rediscovery of Mendel’s work, Archibald Garrod applied these principles to his study of Alkaptonuria (1)


The speaking of points learned, took a different level when my Hindi Grade 9 teacher told she will give 100 marks to anyone who will memorize 500 lines of poetry for the Hindi language project.

This made me try this venture- and got me introduced to poets whom I was not familiar with, as I had come into the Central board curriculum- Kendriya Vidyalaya Southern Command-KVSC-Pune (1981-82)  after spending 8 years in the Maharashtra board, in which they did not have that level of depth in study of the Hindi language.

I did not get 100 marks, but I was given in 90 plus for this project.

My aunt is a professional historian and teacher. Though she never told me directly, maybe somewhere the interest in the history of the subject, the way the knowledge has evolved -the theory of knowledge has become one of my methods to study a subject in deeper manner.

So I read books on the history of medicine, and came to see the way concepts of lab medicine, imaging medicine, and the marriage of computers to medicine helped push the level of knowledge to a different level.


My aunt gifted to me the biography of Gandhi-The story of my Experiments with truth, when I was studying in Medical school (Maulana Azad Medical College-1985 batch-Delhi). This was a significant addition to the home library, my grandfather had presented me with the Autobiography of Nehru in November 1982- (my last birthday gift from my grandfather-he passed away in March 1983)

On self denial and self fulfilment- the relation of Tolstoy, Gandhi to Sermon on the Mount

Both Tolstoy and Gandhi considered themselves followers of the Sermon on the Mount from the New Testament, in which Jesus Christ expressed the idea of complete self-denial for the sake of his fellow men. Gandhi also continued to seek moral guidance in the Bhagavad-Gita, which inspired him to view his work not as self-denial at all, but as a higher form of self-fulfillment. Adopting a philosophy of selflessness even as a public man, Gandhi refused to accept any payment for his work on behalf of the Indian population, preferring to support himself with his law practice alone. (4)

Gandhi-My Father

Recently we saw the touching movie-Gandhi -my Father

Gandhi My Father paints the picture of Gandhi’s intricate, complex and strained relationship with his son Harilal Gandhi. From the onset, the two had dreams in opposite directions. Harilal’s ambition was to study abroad and become a barrister like his father, while Gandhi hoped that his son would join him and fight for his ideals and causes in India.

Harilal finds it unbearable to live in the enormous shadow of his father. Gandhi is assassinated before the two can reconcile and Harilal attends his father’s funeral virtually as a stranger, almost unrecognizable to those around him. A short while later, he passes away, alone and in poverty, having failed to find his own identity.(5)



Has anyone nurtured you?

As I thought about the many direct and indirect lessons I imbibed from that master-lesson which my aunt taught me- learning by writing is different from learning by reading, speaking or sharing with someone has had so many manifestations over the decades.

Using this theme – my mind’s eye went back to geography projects in secondary school, to plant classification projects in high school. Now, as I look back, from doing portfolios in photography, to the discussions of books in a reading group, I smile at the many manifestations.


1-MENDEL- 1865- Eight years on Pea plants- Pisum sativum



3- Earlier Perspectives-Discussions in the Tripoli Reading Group



Readings from “Notes of a Native Son”

“But as for me and my house” my father had said, “we will serve the Lord”. I wondered, as we drove him to his resting place, what this line had meant for him. I had heard him preach it many times. I had preached it once myself, proudly giving it an interpretation different from my father’s…..All of my father’s texts and songs, which I had decided were meaningless, were arranged before me at his death like empty bottles, waiting to hold the meaning which life would give them for me. This was his legacy: nothing is ever escaped. That bleakly memorable morning I hated the unbelievable streets and the Negroes and whites who had, equally, made them that way. But I know that it was folly, as my father would have said, this bitterness was folly”




His daughter Emily Raboteou mentioned her father Albert in a most eloquent way in her essay –Searching For Zion-

“Tamar’s father was an expert in medieval Jewish history, while mine specialized in antebellum African American Christianity. Both men made careers of retrieving and reconstructing the rich histories of ingloriously interrupted peoples. Both were quietly angry men, and Tamar and I were sensitive to their anger, which was at once historical and personal. I was acutely aware of the grandfather I had lost to a racially motivated crime under Jim Crow, though my father didn’t discuss the murder with me. He didn’t need to give words to my grandfather’s absence any more than Tamar’s father had to give words to the Holocaust. There were ghosts in our houses.”

see blog https://gracereadings.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/easter-discussions-a-religious-history-of-african-americans/


4- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Story_of_My_Experiments_with_Truth

5- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandhi,_My_Father

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