farewell, dear friend…

Farewell, Dear Friend..


Vivek Hande



The other day I bid adieu to a very dear friend.  I remember the friend with a lump in my throat and I cannot help, but get a trifle sentimental and emotional when I recollect our association.


I let go off him the other day after a very close association of more than two decades. I should probably have let him go many years ago, but somehow I just could not get myself to do so. There have been other friends who have come into my life after him and have been welcomed equally warmly and affectionately into the family. But he was truly special.


I am talking of my very first car. Of considerable vintage, he carried himself with pride and had a jaunty air about him till the very end. We became friends when I was doing my residency in Medicine and he helped me through that daunting phase. The leather interiors were a welcome haven from the onslaught of the rigours of   clinical medicine and the awfully heavy OPDs and the unending ward work and the seniors breathing down your neck and back. When I got in, I was king and nothing and none else mattered.  We were both extremely fond of Brahms and Chopin and he would ensure the best fidelity and quality sound from the rather old music system. He was very particular about his health and ensured that I would not waste time taking him to any mechanic or garage- he continued to chug along faithfully.


Towards the end of the month, when I was invariably a trifle hard up, he would gallantly whip himself and stretch the last bit of petrol to unimaginable miles on the road. He was my friend, philosopher and guide and would listen silently as I raged or raved about something or the other. He carried my wife and kids over the years for hospital visits, school concerts, competitions and various events. He never let me down when the family needed him.  He also helped transport hysterical neighbors, bawling kids and drunken colleagues as and when needed; at weird hours of the day and night- never a whine of protest…


When he started becoming a little wheezy and started looking a little run down – a fresh coat of paint and some snazzy new accessories and he was back in business and like how! He got a new lease of life and he was ready to string it out for a few more years. I acquired new sets of wheels over the years; he might have felt slighted and jealous but never did he convey his displeasure in any way. I thought at times of letting him go and let him rest but he would not have any of it. He would perform more enthusiastically and I felt bad even thinking of letting him go.


But you can’t defeat age. The visits to the garage and examinations by the mechanic started becoming more frequent. He was kind of struggling to cope. He was feeling guilty letting me down again and again and I finally allowed myself to be convinced by him to let him go. An elderly neighbour decided to take him into his family for his morning drive to the walking plaza and back- he said he had no where else to drive and he needed a set of wheels only to transport him in the morning. I thought he would be well cared for with him.


I dropped him off at his place and I said my final goodbyes. I wanted to make it the least painful for him. I stroked him one last time and turned around. I really thought I saw a tear roll down from him or was it the radiator leaking??


don”t be an ass

Don’t be an Ass!!


Vivek Hande  



I have often been told, in connection with many things,”Don’t be an Ass”. I have shared the same compliment with my boys and colleagues and friends as well. But after, a recent encounter with the Indian Wild Ass in the Little Rann of Kutch(LRK), I realized that it is well nigh impossible to be an Ass and I have decided that I am going to use the expression only when I want to genuinely compliment someone. Hence forth, it is going to be ,” Wow, you are like an Ass” or “ This is terrific. Only an Ass can do this!”



The Indian Wild Ass is colloquially called the Khur. The Wild Indian Ass is almost exclusively confined to the LRK and a some pockets of the Greater Rann of Kutch. While there are large number of asses of different shape , size, color and nationality(many on two feet!), the Wild Indian Ass are numbered at just about over four thousand!


         They are an extremely hardy lot and survive the tremendous variations in temperature in the LRK. They are capable of achieving running speeds of 70-80 kilometers per hour. They feed on the dry grassy vegetation in the LRK, called the Murad- the grass is rich in moisture content and can survive the desert conditions of the LRK. They usually live in large family herds but the Male Stallions are a bit of Lone rangers and live solitarily or in small groups of one or two.



The Indian Wild Ass cuts an impressive figure in the vast arid stretches of the LRK. They are usually brownish or sandy in color and have a distinctive stripe running down its back and when they gallop across the Kutch raising plumes of dust in its wake; you are transported to childhood memories of Zane Grey and JT Edson and the Wild West!!


This is a salute to the magnificent Indian Wild Ass ; small in numbers but big in heart and impressive in its dogged determination to survive the unfriendly conditions in the LRK. The next time on, I am not going to tell my boys “Don’t be an Ass. It will have to be,” Try and become an Ass!!”

the blogger’s block

The Blogger’s Block ..


 Vivek Hande



We are denizens of the Blogosphere . All those of you who write or read blogs are citizens of this widely networked world.  “Blog” – used as a noun or a verb has become an integral part of our lexicon today. I recently discovered that the word “Blog” is an abridged version of “Weblog”. Peter Merholz , in 1999 , split the word in jest to “we blog” and we have been blogging ever since in real earnest!


Blogging is addictive and one goes through a day looking at events, or encounters or experiences or reflecting on emotions and thoughts and trying to mentally figure the best way to put down ones’ impressions in print. If you are a hard – core blogger , absence from the Blogosphere( for reasons of work/travel/paucity of time/ill health/inertia/ lethargy /lack of inspiration etc. etc.) troubles you and makes you feel restless and irritable and impatient . You ache to get back to it and you keep feeling something is missing from your everyday routine.   It is a familiar world and you are comfortable navigating it and you know the speed breakers and the corners and the rough edges and you are occasionally surprised by a blind end or a cul- de sac but one does know how to find one’s way.


I am returning to the Blogosphere after a bit of a time. A combination of many of the reasons I mentioned earlier kept me away.  I really wonder what I ought to blog about. I am itching to put my thoughts down but can’t get a handle on a subject or a thought. Maybe I could write about politicians but then why get ones’ hands dirty. I could write about my travels but I haven’t really traveled anywhere recently other than to my place of work. I could write about my neighbors , but then I do need to continue to stay where I am residing. I could, perhaps talk about my efforts at losing weight but then they are issues which are only weighing me down. Maybe, my struggles with my golf handicap could be a subject but I think I will wait to write about it after I master the course(that is a blog which may go unwritten)! I could write about climate change but the climate is changing far too soon before I can pen down my thoughts.


Anyway, I am sure I will think of something to write. In the meantime, let me just savor the feeling of being back in the Blogosphere . I am sure I will get over the Blogger’s Block !!