I have/had many hobbies. Crossword was one such

Crosswords helped me analyze, think, rack my brain and identify the ideal solutions.

My father initiated this hobby. 1/n
Though we share many interests, some of the family members were also interested in other hobbies we shared like Reading, Music, Sports. Mother was interested in Music, brother and sister in Reading, and brother again in Sports. 2/n
Photography was my exclusive domain for you can't expect three Capricorns and one Taurus to have any kind of aesthetic sense. Crossword was where the minds of my father and me were in sync. He would get hold of the paper first in the morning. 3/n
Since he had a photographic memory which would enable him to recollect a clue that was once seen by him (Phenomenal memory he had!!), he will write 12 of the 30 odd clues within no time. But his mind was logical and sequential, while I had & still have a beautiful right brain 4/n
Complex and Offbeat clues were my domain, whereas I got bored with routine clues and had no interest in them. A proud man, he grudgingly accepted my competence in this area and appreciated my ability to find bizarre solutions to not so common clues. 5/n
Together we cracked the Hindu and Indian Express Crosswords in an hour or so everyday.

Crosswords improved my vocabulary and spelling tremendously.

I started on crosswords way back in 1980s and did for nearly 25 years, though I lost interest on my fathers demise in 2004 6/n
Since the words were always associated with a clue, the learning was quick and efficient. Each clue presented a problem that had only one solution, the ideal one. One has to be tenacious to get that one solution. 7/n
Jogging your memory, referring Thesaurus and cross checking with Dictionaries, every day started with a mini research.

We would never rest till we found the solution to a clue. 8/n
We threw back and forth various options and the mind worked like a Intel processor searching databases stored in the recess of the mind for any spark

The euphoria on getting the right word meant we had a cause for celebration. 9/n
One always needs small victories everyday to keep going.
Needless to say Crosswords expanded the cubic capacity of the brain, made it active, fostered a spirit of quest and the need to accomplish a task begun (an incomplete crossword is very very irritating). 10/n
All these skills prepared me to tackle the Knowledge Economy later in the life.

My enduring memory was when I traveled to Calicut University Campus on 31 October 1984. 150 kms from my house. 11/n
On seeing my name as #1 Rank Holder in the MBA Entrance Exam, I was eager to get back home. Suddenly roads were blocked, traffic came to a standstill as news spread of Indira Gandhi being Assassinated. It was 11 am. I hitch hiked, walked, got food from good samaritans 12/n
and finally stumbled at a family friends house 15 kms away from my home at 3 am on 1st Nov. There was no way of contacting my parents. I stayed in the Family Friends house that day, and he dropped me on 2nd Nov in his two wheeler at 10 am and drove away 13/n
Father was sitting in his easy chair with legs stretched writing cross words in the porch. He lifted his head, saw me, and said,

"Dead End"

just as I was climbing the small flight of stairs to the house.

He was asking me the solution to the clue. I couldn't believe 14/n
"3-2-3" , he went on impatiently giving me the word structure

"Cul-de-Sac", I said in sotto voce

"Correct. Poyi kulichu sappidu" (Take bath and eat)

"By the way Appa, I got selected with First Rank"

He didnt seem to hear as he was already attacking next clue n/n

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