Who am I?

My name, as my parents gave me, is Ramu Das. There are some problems with this name, which my parents never fathomed, but having lived with this name for so many years, I have experienced first-hand the ridicule because of it.

In the old Hindi movies, and in some books, the name Ramu often appears. Along with that name, another word called Kaka is added. “Ramu Kaka” in the Indian context is understood to mean a loyal and humble servant (often old), always at the beck and call of the owner. In the past, my cousins took great delight in calling me Ramu Kaka and ordering, “bring some jelebis?” (Jelebi is a circular sweet snack people relish in India). They also took great delight in watching me fuming at the mouth. When I was composed again, I would counter by thanking them for the honorific title of kaka, meaning uncle, which makes me their father’s equal.

If the first name was to do me a great disservice, the last name was equally liable. The title ‘Das’ is short for ‘Dasa’, which again means a servant, but it does not mean the servant of any human but of god. The surname Das is very common and can be found among the Bengalis, Oriyas, Assamese, Punjabis, and, which surprised me, among the people of Uttarakhand. When I pronounce my title, people from those communities often think I belong to them and appear to be more sympathetic towards me. When they get to know that I am a Bengali, I attract, naturally, more interest from the Bengalis. Nevertheless, the similarity of the surname goes into forming a better rapport with people from the others communities as well.

Ramu is one of the names of the Hindu Lord Vishnu who preserves and protects the universe. Ramu means someone who can be counted on in troubled times. The surname Das can mean someone who devotes. Therefore, as a whole, Ramu Das can mean someone who is devoted to the good of the world. That’s what my parents actually intended my name to mean.

I spent my childhood and adolescence in the beautiful North-Eastern state of India called Nagaland where I completed my schooling. My ancestors hail from the Sylhet district of Bengal (undivided India). During the partition of India, some parts of the Sylhet Division were passed on to what we presently know as Bangladesh. The other part, the Barak Valley of present Assam, remained in India, and of that I am a native.

After my schooling, I came to Mumbai in 2009 and worked for a year to accumulate the amount required for my higher studies. I completed my bachelor’s degree, but had the urge to learn more, so completed a Master’s degree and some more post-graduate courses in fields like literature, writing, and human rights.

I wonder if life is a big joke because no matter how hard I try, I don’t get it. Sometimes that makes me wonder: who am I? Where am I going? What is the purpose of my life? And so many other philosophical questions occupy my mind. Surely, I’ll try to comprehend all these questions and find the real meaning of life. I swear I’ll do it before I die!

I speak little and think more than I should (but when I get very close to someone, I can speak and think like no one ever has done before, and maybe bore the person to death). I won’t say I am anti-social, but in public places I try to speak as little as possible because I fear my words might go over people’s heads and they might call me a fool; you know when people cannot understand something you say or do; they criticize you (and call you a fool).

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I try to be funny for the sake of laughter. I think I have a great sense of humor and I enjoy the company of those who have a sense of humor.

I strive to bring a little smile to people’s faces, provided they don’t intend to cause any injury or harm anyone by any means. I can lay down my life for you, but wait, if you turn on me, my friend, it’s over. Criticise me wherever necessary, but go a little easy on me… for I’m somewhat emotional. I mean what I say and I expect my friends (people) to do the same, and sometimes I don’t mean what I say and I still expect my friends to understand me. I’m definitely not a man of great stature, — even if I were, I won’t say it, or try to prove it — but I’m always ready to lend a helping hand as long as I can. If, however, my selfless endeavour cannot be appreciated, it shouldn’t be demeaned either.

I am an avid reader, but I wasn’t so some years ago, especially during my childhood. However, after knowing that all a person can learn from, other than his experiences, can be found in the books, and since then I read–or at least try to read–every day. I’ve started reading the works of some of the greatest writers of all times, and among my favourites are Thomas Hardy, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Daniel Defoe, E.M. Forster, Emily Bronte, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, R.K. Narayan, V.S. Naipaul, Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Seth, Khushwant Singh and some more authors whose name I don’t remember (I’m bad at recalling names). I like the works of some new writers as well, but more often than not I look for those writers’ work which have been shortlisted for prizes such as the Booker Prize, Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize in literature, or Sahitya Akademi Award, and such other reputed prizes.

I love animals because my feelings are akin to the following words of of A. D. Williams: “When I look into the eyes of an animal, I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul.”100_5156

I had a pet dog called Tiger, and a cat called Mini. I can tell you one thing for sure: people could betray me, but Tiger and Mini never knew how to do so. They remained loyal in happy and hard times. Both died of old age.

Music peps up my mood. Country music is my favourite. I often tune in to old as well as new Hindi and English songs.

I like watching the good movies more than once, and from the bad movies I always learn something, that is, never to watch such movies again.

That’s more or less about me. Thank you for reading; you’ve done a terrific job. If you ever feel like getting in-touch with me, you can send me an e-mail at dada@ramudas.com.

37 thoughts on “Who am I?”

  1. Sorry to burst the bubble but I’ve found out that…life is a joke. And like you, I don’t often get it. But I laugh at it anyway. Har-dee-har!

    Nah, just dropping by to say I liked reading about you on this page. Haven’t gone around yet but will do as soon as I can. I liked what I’ve read thus far. See ya. 🙂

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  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yours looks quite entertaining 😉 I love your title. “Thinking Man.” I wish there were more thinking men in the world today… I’ll be back by. I’ve enjoyed talking to Subhabrata in recent times, too! Best regards.

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  3. Hey! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and letting me have the priviledge to discover yours. Its even more nice to find out that you belong to North East as I am a North eastern too! :)! It feels great to find you here! Keep penning! 🙂

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  4. Just came across your blog and found it very interesting… Had many friends from North east during my schooling days and learnt how to swear which I still remember but can’t write it out here… Anyways good luck with ur writing happy blogging, Feel free to visit my site when u find time.
    Ajeeth boaz

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  5. Well, I’ve been nominated for nothing, so the fact you lowered your standards to read my work is an honor. I know an Amal Das here in the states — an orthopaedic surgeon in North Carolina. No relation, I bet. Your decision to read the great writers will imbue you with a rich and wonderful literary background. Don’t forget Mark Twain, who really hated Charles Dickens.

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    1. Well, sir, to a certain extent such nominations do give me joy, but, to speak the truth, they mean very little to me. I just read your stuffs, be rest assured, your work is wonderful. So, it is you who have embellished my blog by your sweet comment.

      Oh, Mark Twain, he was a great dude! I need to update my ‘about me’ page and add a some more information. I purchased two of Mark Twain’s novels: ‘The Huckleberry Finn’ and ‘Tom Sawyer’, but so far haven’t had the time to read them. I never knew that Mark Twain hated Charles Dickens. Thanks for enlightening me about that. They are, without dispute, the greatest writers of all times.

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      1. They were contemporaries. Dickens wrote to survive. A Christmas Carol was his big break. Twain (Sam Clemons) was a satirist, as well as someone who captured the heart of Americana during his day. The two were contemporaries. Dickens toured the U.S. at one point, and only incurred Twain’s sarcasm and literary venom. Also, Edgar Allen Poe would be someone to read.

        As to being the greatest writers of all times, I’m not as certain of that distinction.

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  6. Thanks for the add! I look forward to read your blog about your life in Mumbai.
    Did you see the movie “Into the Wild”? It is a favorite of mine… -Ed

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    1. Your visit will surely make me happy, as it has done now. Keep visiting, I shall return the favor.

      No, I haven’t watched that movie you mentioned, but your mentioning of it has stirred my curiosity a little, moreover, it is your favorite you say; I’ll watch it by all means.

      Have you watched this movie called Cast Away? or this one called Schindler’s List? Worth watching these movies are.

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  7. I join the above chorus in saying that your profile page here is impressive … you are impressive. I love to read the words of a man with strength of soul and sensitivity of heart. Discovering you was a stroke of good luck!

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  8. Thank you Ramu, for the follow!
    I am not yet at the worldweary stage when a comment or a follow means nothing- I treasure both!
    You have a nice blog; keep thinking!
    I am a temporary transplant to the NE, but still nice to meet someone who has grown up in the NE!
    Lovely meeting you.

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    1. As you treasure every comment or a follow, or, let me add, every like, you give me a reason to think that like-minded people are still alive. I had been to your blog and, after reading a few lines, found it worth following, though I should say I was in a hurry when I did that, hence there was neither a comment nor a like from me… but, rest assured, I will do that shortly.

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      1. Forgot the “Like”‘ indeed. Thanks again for your kind words. I too have yet to read your earlier posts, but did read the recent ones though, and found them thought provoking.

        I somehow get into the descriptive mode, despite secretly aspiring to write fiction. Poetry, only when it is spontaneous; cannot plan it.

        Please go through one of my earlier entries, Standing outside..looking in, which is about the impressions of north east India as they appeared to a total stranger.
        Do not be disappointed, there are indeed many like minded people around in cyberspace!

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  9. Writing to let you know that yours is one of the blogs I have nominated for the Liebster Award. It is a virtual blogger award. I hope you will accept it!
    Please visit my blog- the info is on the first page you will see (Post dated 27/12/2014).
    Wishing you a great year ahead!

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  10. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Have you read our American novels: “The Great Gatsby, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Catch 22”? They will give you more of an understanding of different aspects of our culture. There are many,many more I would recommend, but I applaud your reading habits.

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    1. I am really very happy to know that you enjoyed this post (more because you had the time to read all of it, which, in comparison to other people’s profile description, is very lengthy). Thank you, indeed!

      I read “The Great Gatsby”, and thought it was a great novel (right deserves the place where it is), and I have purchased “Catch 22” but have not read it yet (lazy me). I did not know a book called “A Prayer for Owen Meany” existed, but now that you have informed me about its existence (and, I believe you, of course), I am really curious to read and know the story.

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      1. I have now added these two works by John Irving on my reading list. “Original perspective on life”… hmm, that sounds promising. I tend to read realistic fiction because I want to connect to things that I read, I want to find myself in what I read, partially or wholly. But, from time to time, I also read other genres just because of the beauty of the language (some writers really have a way with words) and to get a feel of the human imaginative power.

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A Thinking Man

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