Friday, October 18, 2013


Musings about Home Sweet Home

By Promod Puri

Back in 1972, when I immigrated to Canada and made my first home in
Winnipeg, Manitoba, I happened to meet a very helpful and friendly
person by the name of CR Bector. He was a distinguished professor of
mathematics at the University of Manitoba. And out of respect, as he was my elder and held an academic professional status, I along with other close acquaintances addressed him as ‘Doctor Sahib’ or ‘Doctor Bector’. He was not a medical doctor but had a PhD degree in his extensive portfolio of

CR Bector, although to most of us in the Indo-Canadian community sounded
like an English name, especially since the surname hails from Punjab and is typically Punjabi. He was a popular personality in Winnipeg simply because of his informal, lively and sociable temperament.

However for me, the enticing thing about him is that his real name is Chajju
Ram. It is really an old-fashioned North Indian name as we seldom come
across people with that name any longer. And his first name, Chajju, immediately strikes up memories of the famous Indian proverb “jo sukh chajju ke chobare, na balakh na bukhare.
Translation: East or West home is the best.

The name Chajju certainly resonates with the importance of home
as it is part of life’s triangle, rather I would say the most
sought-after trinity of “roti, kapadra aur Makaan”, meaning
food, clothing and shelter.

The fact is anybody with a home in reality owns his or her little sovereign
kingdom or queendom. It is one of those virtues of life which one aspires to have. Life begins and revolves around home and we also enjoy the pride of
having that possession.

Home is not merely a physical dwelling of walls, windows and doors; floors
and roofs. It is not just a rest spot either, but a cozy place of peace and
tranquility in the midst of family or friends’ lively togetherness and
entertainment. Home is the place of absolute independence within acceptable social norms.

Home sweet home is a simple expression carrying deep feelings of that warmth
and comfort which one yearns for.

If the home does not give all that is expected then it is a house, and for
that reason home sickness is better than being confined under a sort of house arrest.

Home is the place of everlasting nostalgia of living with parents,
brothers, sisters and dear ones, the childhood anecdotes of little fights and
laughs, the home-cooked food, books and beds, and a lot more. The physical
remembrance of each and every household item is also a somewhat nostalgic

Home is where we accumulate our cultural values, connect with our heritage
and acquire our family’s social, linguistic and religious identities.

Home is that place of security and independence where with elated feelings
one can unwind, recline and relax.

As eighteenth century English poet James Thompson has exquisitely expressed:

“Home is the resort
Of love, of joy, of peace, and plenty; where
Supporting and supported, polished friends
and dear relations mingle into bliss.”

But that bliss is denied to millions of homeless people all over the world sheltering under the open sky at the mercy of Mother Nature. It is this sad aspect of humanity that is visibly invisible as life goes on in busy metropolises.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Size Small


By Promod Puri

In all my adult life and now in the entry-level of my senior years I have been habitually putting on only boys' size sox because the regular ones, especially of 100 percent cotton, always gimme a little flabby nuisance at the ankles. It is not that I am of diminutive framework, but my feet somehow did not mature beyond size 8.

I accepted long time ago this abnormality, if one can tag me with that, but it was a done deal conforming to my feet's karma. However, in my early ordeal years the consoling factor was that there used to be no tax on children's clothing, and my shopping for sox was always tax free. Not any more. Still, it is a cheaper buy compare to the price of men's socks especially the name brand "gold" toes ones.

I am unquestionably aware that I'm not alone in the small foot grade. There is a whole flock of men looking to cozily snug their feet in size small as they shop discreetly in the boys's section or even ladies section like I did many times.

Most of the sox available in the men's section are deceitfully labeled as "size 7 to 11" or more vaguely as "size 7 to 13". How that is possible! The feet don't magically shrink or expand to wriggle or drop into a sox, nor the latter is elastic enough to fit one size for all. But people of all adult ages do buy those seven-elevens or seven-thirteens.

My discriminating aversion create that bumpy layer in the hind foot or droopy folds at the toes when wearing extra size sox. It seems to be ok for those adults who don't care much about that soft bump, or perhaps they like the extra little cushioning. Anyway, that is a personal choice.

But my story does not end at the foot level.

Accepting that the age factor has taken off some layers of fat in the upper body, a natural physiological phenomenon including some muscle loss if I ever accumulated one, that lately I have downgraded myself from size "m" to size "s" shirts. Perhaps, it was overdue, but I knowingly ignored the fact, with some reticent feeling, that size small was the perfect fit to represent me physically speaking.

However, unlike sox buying for which I have to go to somewhat reluctant area of boys' section ( ladies's too ), the small size shirt shopping in the men's territory is a commonplace area for everybody from medium, large, extra large to 2extra large sizes folks.

As a matter of fact it is true for many men who just need the small size but they keep on wearing shirts and other outfits beyond their size. It is a puzzling commitment not to accept that their real fitting size is small.

And for many others small is ok in the neck area but arms and shoulders are too short or still too long. Still the main problem arises for those with Bartlett pear belly where the shirt buttons refuse to close, especially when one tries to sit down. This is a real personal dilemma which the readymade shirt makers have not addressed at all.

Not only that, both the designers and manufacturers have not realized the changing demographics that the population is now of mixed races with different sizes. And that we need further subdivisions within a size, like extra small, medium or large small; or small medium,medium medium or large medium. After all one size does not fit all.

In short my message to the shirt designers, manufacturers and retailers is simple and clear: the body needs a shirt to fit into, nor the shirt needs a body for the right fit.