When we are strong and physically able, how easy it is to trust everybody! We do so because we have complete confidence in ourselves, that in case of any trouble, our strength, both physical and mental, will take care of the situation. But as we age, this confidence grows weaker. We tend to look more suspiciously at strangers or new acquaintances and do not make friends so easily. “Who knows what he or she really wants!” we think to ourselves whenever somebody gets a little friendly.

Many years ago while walking through a village in the outskirts of the city, I suddenly stopped and held the arm of a friend who was walking alongside, "Listen!" I said and we both stopped and listened. I saw his face grow from curiosity to enlightenment, "Isn't it beautiful!" I whispered and he nodded.

It was the sound of the wind gently rustling the leaves of a tree.

It was two months ago in America, I opened the top drawer where I’m sure my daughter had said the mugs were kept, but a packet of coffee powder stared back at me, or was it chilly powder? But they don’t keep chilly powder on shelves, do they in America? Let it be, I told myself, not ready to solve the coffee and chilly powder problem right now, and opened the drawer below and nearly had forks and spoons and all the rest of the cutlery fall on my toes. I quickly closed the drawer on those murderous weapons and looked into the shelves on top.

I remember my thoughts and what followed: Where’s my coffee mug?

Last evening as I looked up from my writing, I smiled at the vegetable puff my wife brought me along with my mug of tea. It wasn’t the puff or tea that made me smile but the tomato ketchup poured quite lavishly for me. I love tomato ketchup, and many, many moons ago, when Kisan was the only company manufacturing it in India, and it being a rarity in my home because those days anything tasty or delicious was always rare in most homes, I decided that it needed to have a place on our table.

So that birthday, not mine, but my mother’s, what a pleasant surprise she got from her twelve year old son, to find he had gifted her a bottle of tomato sauce.

As I read about Trump ranting and raving about immigrants, I remember my father telling me about travel in his days. Those were days, he told me, when one hardly reserved seats when travelling but took one’s chances in crowded, congested, claustrophobic third class compartments.

First you arrived, along with seemingly a million others on the platform, waited for yon smoke spouting train and as you looked with dismay at the doorway of each compartment, it seemed warriors, bristling with rage, guarded each entrance, preventing entry. You pleaded, pushed, even pinched your first leg in, then the other. Shoved back, you thrust more determined and finally as the train left the station you were perched precariously maybe, but victoriously on step number one.