Monday, May 31, 2010

Ammu, my niece back to Kerala.

My sister has finally taken the decision to go to Kerala to facilitate her daughter's higher education. The Engineering College at Ezhukone, about 15 kms from my parents' house has the requisite facilities. My sister can also continue with her teaching in a school near the college. Both of them should be moving from Delhi sometime by the third week of Jun. Lekha and me will surely miss them but this I reckon, is the best arrangement in the present situation!
It's also a blessing in disguise. My parents will have company and in fact, they're quite happy about the way things have shaped up. They've stopped thinking of coming to Delhi and be with us, as they'd planned earlier.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A sad spectacle!

I'd written on the subject earlier too. But I'm repeating my anguish after seeing the unwanted negative coverage, the services seem to be getting in the media, over the past few days. There has been a spate of confessions, trading of charges and countercharges after the Armed Forces' tribunal's favourite verdict on Brig(Retd) Davinder Singh's appeal. While one way to look at these happenings in a positive manner is to believe that the muck, collected over the years, will get cleared once for all. But what would eventually happen is that pettiness would overrule sane thinking and saner voices consequent to which every individual would like to blurt out all the 'unfair' happenings of his service life and bring the entire institution of the 'armed forces' into disrepute eventually bring it down in the common man's esteem!
The oft repeated saying that "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away" is pregnant with a poignant meaning. A soldier is a gentleman, always and everytime, and he never carries any grudge despite the injustices he has had to face in the course of his professional growth, as it was accepted as an essential aspect of life! And he lives up to the saying, "If you are a gentleman, nothing else matters. If you are not a gentleman, still nothing matters", despite all odds which, essentially is what's meant by the strength of character - tempered with practice and self discipline!!

A nice meeting

Ajit, a course mate of mine from the IN, fetched up at Delhi last evening along with his son who's to appear for an interview at the IIT, Delhi for his post graduation. They'll be here till Monday afternoon when they take off for Roorkee for yet another interview. I'm amazed at the way the parents, these days, go the whole hog to help their children in their pursuit of educational milestones. Comparing the situation, were our parents indifferent or are the parents of today more involved? I seem to be in a state of confusion over the issue.
Anyways, it was a nice evening reminiscing old happenings, along with trivia, and I must admit that I'd a fantastic time and to my mind, even Ajit did. Lekha, ofcourse did ask a few pointed questions about which, Ajit was only too eager to fill in. His son, Arvind must have come to the conclusion that both, his dad and this uncle were mad and must have wondered as to how we could get away from self created problems, unscathed!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A welcome holiday

Budha Purnima
Today is 'Budha Purnima' and it's a closed holiday. We did not venture out anywhere thanks to the sizzling heat prevalent outside except for our usual evening walks. Late in the evening, the temperature came down a bit thanks to a dust storm. But there's no sign of rain as yet! The peacocks' cries are getting shriller for the raingod to be kind. And can we ever stop hoping for cooler climes?

The fudged report on Kargil
Sad to hear about the fudged Kargil report consequent to the judgement given by the Armed Forces' Tribunal to Brig(Retd) Davinder Singh who'd to exit from the scene of action, rather ignominously, thanks to his bad vibes with his then Corps Commander, Lt Gen(Retd) Kishan Pal. Dirty linen is being washed in public and it's indeed sad. The only positive note is that, in future, the seniors would be more circumspect in their actions and avoid being vindictive on their subordinates for telling the truth. To my mind, this bickering brings down all those youngsters' (who'd laid down their lives so valiantly for the sake of their country) efforts to naught.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A collage of thoughts, again!

My net is down
My computer has been down for some unknown reason since yesterday and the troubleshooter is yet to arrive and so, I squeeze in time at the office to put in my thoughts. And hence, my apology of having missed a day's ruminations.

Finally, in the dock!
And SPS Rathore, the former DGP and the accused in the abetment of Ruchika's suicide that took place 20 years ago, is finally in jail for his past misdeeds. Kudos to her parents and friend who dared to ensnare the monster. And justice, though late, has come at last. The relentless pressure brought to bear on the powers that be, by the media has been a great help. Hope the guy is punished for the remaining charges as well.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A lovely morning!

Waking up today was a nice experience with the call of the cuckoo. After lighting the traditional lamp and switching on the 'devraag' on the tuner, I went though my normal Monday morning chores - which includes putting the bedlinen and heavy clothes into the washing machine. And after the recital of my prayers and remembering all those near and dear ones, who've been responsible for what I'm today but unfortunately not amidst us (consists of relations as well as many others with whom I've had the privilege of interacting with), I'd gone out into my balcony only to be lucky to catch the sight of a proud peacock with his two peahens and four young ones walking majestically across, with a sense of purpose!
And yes, the call of the 'gurbani' played in the background. The day had to be good, though hot!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A hectic weekend and a couple of sad incidents.

Oh, the Indian Railways!
This weekend was rather hectic. My sister and niece were returning from Kerala, after vacation, by the Kerala Express. The train had got caught up in the ravages of cyclone 'Laila' enroute in the Andhra region, giving us some anxious moments and finally, fetched up at the New Delhi Railway station early this morning by 0530h, only 15 hrs late! Thankfully, my sister and us were in touch through our cell phones because getting the accurate 'sitrep' from the railway enquiries was wishful thinking. When will our authorities, sitting on the enquiry portals of the railways/ airports, learn to patiently understand the requirements of people who ask their queries and provide the actual information? And when will the passengers of our national carriers- both the railways and the airways- begin enjoying avenues of entertainment/ information availability through the internet, while travelling? Is one asking for too much?
Tragedy at Mangalore.
The Air India Express crash at Mangalore was a sad and tragic affair. The death of 158 people and the crash of their dreams was a numbing shock. Here's me wishing their near and dear ones all the strength to tide their grief and a sincere prayer for the departed.
A tippler's ignominous drive.
Another tragedy was a brother officer's wife mowing down two passengers travelling in an auto rickshaw and grievously injuring two others, in our backyard near the Gopinath market at Delhi Cantt. The battered auto rickshaw and the Honda City car were a horrific sight. Lt Col Rahul Singh and his wife, Nivedita stay in the nearby Army Battle Honours Mess and one wonders as to why she had to go through this ignominy of driving after consumption of alcohol. She might get away lightly from the dispensation of the law but can she ever forgive herself for having caused agony to so many people, in one unguarded and careless moment of her life?

Friday, May 21, 2010

What a blow?

Ammu's results of her recently concluded class XII examinations are out. Both Lekha and me were disillusioned on getting the information this morning. She's got an overall aggregate of 61.1%. She must be wondering as to how this has happened. Her father and mother are going to be really stressed. Ammu and her mother will arrive tomorrow at Delhi, by lunchtime. Must steel my resolve and appear to show them that there's absolutely nothing to worry about when I go to pick them up.
I'm sure there are a lot of avenues open to the young lady and she'll go on to do well from here, after learning her lessons from this hard experience. The next few weeks will be dedicated towards this effort.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

At long last!

Ravisankaran, wanted in connection with the Navy's Warroom leak case has been apprehended by the London police. He must have given a lot of heartburns to his family ever since the scandal hit the headlines.
He, I understand, is from the 67th course of the NDA. If that were to be true, he'd have passed his first term through my hands as I was one of the DivOs out there, at the NDA Wing and in Mike Squadron. I do not remember him and therefore, I reckon that he must have been in the other squadron viz. November. And he was not outstanding in any of the disciplines, wherein, he'd have been in the limelight and known to all of us, in the directing staff.
Had come to know that his father is a retired Colonel from the Army and the family resides in Pune. Wonder what kaliedoscope of emotions are they going through? But truth has to come out and it will. Hope that the parents are not lacerated by their son's misdeeds!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

And now the results!

Three youngsters from my family had appeared for the class XII exams - Aniyan, Manu and Ammu. The results are out for the first two and they've scored 75% in Commerce and 74% in Science, respectively. Nothing very spectacular, I must admit, in these days of kids getting close to max marks! Ammu's will take another couple of days, as she belongs to the Delhi circle. The tension that the parents underwent anticipating the results was palpable. Hope all's well that ends well and all the three of them are able to pursue what they want to do without much hiccups!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Maoists - it's time that they're reined in!

Another horrible massacre and this time it includes innocent civilians! What had those poor people done to meet up with their bloody end? Politicians, across the spectrum, must get their act together and give the necessary moral support to the central and state governments (it has to be a combined effort for maximum gains) to take on the adversary and sort the issue out, once for all. I sincerely believe that a combination of force coupled with sustained social and economic activities to alleviate poverty and exploitation is the need of the hour.

Monday, May 17, 2010

19 and counting -My years with Lekha

1. It was Nov '90 and I was at home on a few weeks' leave. My parents had given me an ultimatum to get married and I'd told them that they could zero in on the girl, based on my requirements. And my stand was that I'd see only one girl and go through the formalities of a formal 'getting to know each other' ceremony which should culminate in marriage. Till then, I'd been falling in and out of love with girls(?) at an alarming frequency (higher than the number of times Bombayites got in and out of their BEST buses) and must admit that most of the times, it was one sided – and that too strictly, from my side! It was then that Lekha arrived.

2. She was at her home, nursing her wounds after being bruised in her college- NSS Perunthanni, Thiruvananthapuram- elections for the post of 'chairperson'. Her home was just eight kms away from mine, at Kottarakkara. We met and I'd liked her instantly because she was slim and the rest of the activities went off with clockwork precision and we got married on 16 May '91. And after our formal and mandatory visits to her and my relations, we fetched up at the Staff College at Wellington, Ooty by early Jun. Three months into this idyllic situation and disaster struck. She had a perpetual low fever and her appetite started getting to disappear gradually. In the meanwhile, she'd got to be friendly with a local beautician and they used to interact quite frequently exchanging tips on the nuances of looking good. In one such foray of hers ( as I was going to be late on an exercise and because the beautician realized that we're newly married) after the 'hennaing' of her hair, Lekha returned home and had bath in lukewarm water (the geyser being of ancient vintage, took its own time to deliver) before I fetched up, back from college.

3. By next morning, she was too sick and unable to get up from bed and our usual habit of having breakfast together had to be dropped. She was taken to the nearby military hospital where she was diagnosed for 'Rheumatoid Arthritis' though the Medical Specialist, Lt Col Bhatta, had expressed the doubt that she could be having an LE cell phenomenon and put her through a battery of tests and I saw that look of 'horrified surprise' on his face when the lady attendant recorded my wife's weight as 25 Kgs and I instantly realized that I'd a serious problem in my hands. Since nothing much had come out of those tests, it was deduced that Lekha's ailment was Rheumatoid Arthritis!

4. Ayurveda was considered the best form of treatment for the ailment, and so Lekha went back home and was with my parents, while being managed medically at the Kottakkal Arya Vaidyasala. Meanwhile, I'd finished the staff course and was posted at Kochi. Lekha continued to have bouts of low fever and pain in the joints and for immediate relief, she was put on a high dosage of NSAIDS (Non Steroid Anti Inflammatory Drugs) as I'd insisted on my friend and doctor, Sujith Vasudevan, that any use of steroids was a big no, as I dreaded its after effects from whatever medical journals that I'd gleaned from and poor Lekha used to get ulcers in her mouth quite frequently, because of the high intake of tablets like Aspirin, Dispirin etc. The naval doctors, were incidentally, advocating gold therapy and had placed an order for the requisite dosage on the local market.

5. By Aug '93, things started worsening as there was no let up on the fever and she suffered from what, in medical parlance, is termed as a 'lateral foot drop' and was admitted in the Lisy Hospital at Ernakulam under the care of a 72 year old, experienced doctor named Joseph Kurien. Within a couple of days, she'd become totally immobile as her hands and legs had gone cold and limp; the services of a nurse from the Red Cross were solicited to assist me in taking care of her immediate needs in the hospital room.

6. 18 Aug '93 can never be forgotten and shall ever remain etched in my mind. Lekha'd started with mild epileptic tremours around 8 in the morning which continued at an agonising frequency of 11/2 to 2 hrs and by 2120h she'd slipped into coma, after a massive episode. The doctor made an unprecedented visit to the hospital, soon after, and had her shifted to the CCU, that night itself and told me that I should inform our near and dear ones, confirming the diagnosis as SLE(Systemic Lupus Erythmatosus) that had the following characteristics:-
(a) Very difficult to diagnose
(b) Very active in girls between 20 and 30 yrs of age
(c) The ratio of occurrence was 1: 20,000
(d) And usually, eight out of ten cases were fatal.

7. There was an utter sense of despair and helplessness. In the run up to this stage, she'd expressed a desire to eat fried fish and ice creams but I'd refrained her from having them because of her lingering fever. I remember having prayed to God then, to get her back for me as I wanted to get her the fried fish and ice creams, that were very much affordable by me. And sitting on the bench, outside the CCU, I learnt my lessons about life.

8. My man Friday, came running to me the next morning, asking me to take charge of my in laws and their immediate circle of friends and relatives as they were making arrangements for a hearse to take Lekha's body to Kottarakkara for the ceremonies at their ancestral home. I reckon, that it was the first and last time that I'd given a verbal lashing to them for dwelling on such things when they should have been praying for her recovery, instead. My parents and sisters, on the other hand, were wondering aloud as to why this was happening to their son/brother. But the moist poignant of them all, was the breaking of a hundred and one  coconuts at the Pazhavangadi Ganapati temple, Thiruvananthapuram by my aunt, whose daughter was getting married on 23 Aug, with an earnest request to God that Lekha's end should happen only after that date. As I recapitulate the incident, I've no ill feeling towards my aunt or the others because this is the reality of life, whether one likes it or not. Grief is intensely personal. I also remember almost all of you, who were at Kochi then, coming and consoling me during those difficult times.

9. Meanwhile, there were a few relatives who even advised me to dump Lekha since she'd been ill soon after marriage and especially after the doctor had said that this was hereditary. Incidentally, there'd been no trace of any such ailment amongst Lekha's parents or grandparents - both maternal and paternal and if hereditary issues are to be addressed, one has to actually go back to the previous seven generations as I gathered subsequently. I'm a bit old fashioned in this regard, as I consider marriage is for keeps and therefore, one cannot treat it in the same manner as if one were buying vegetables. And, if I were to have undergone the same predicament, I'd have felt bad if my wife had dumped me!

10. I kept persisting on Dr Joseph Kurien to do all that he could to get Lekha back but he was worried as to what form she'd be in the aftermath of the 48 hour long epileptic episode. And moreover, to make matters worse, the infusions were being pumped into her body through the jugular that was cut for the purpose and his worry was that infection should not set in, which was very much a possibilty even in the most sanitised hospital. He used to keep me posted about everything, so much so that, his juniors and the others around took me to be a doctor!

11. It was on the eighth day, when Lekha'd finally come out of her deeply comatose stage and I still cannot forget an excited Philomena Josekutty Thomas- a classmate's wife- coming out of the CCU to give me the good news(Ever since that day, Philomena you've a very special place in our life just as Mohanachandran- yet another classmate of mine and a vet- has, who'd done a very difficult surgery on Bruno, despite his busy schedule without taking any remuneration. I reckon, we shall ever remain indebted to you for your acts of kindness and concern). The process of graduating to normalcy was long and painful but being the fighter that she is, Lekha could overcome this quite easily. Intense physiotherapy for a year, coupled with a sustained dosage of steroids over nine years, has reduced the after effects to deformities in her hands and of course, she has put on weight. Dripping water taps and doors ajar, once an anathema have become music to me now, because they've become a requisite for Lekha's sake. And I must confess that I was like Shashi Kapoor in the movie, 'Satyam, Sivam, Sundaram' who used to abhor deformity in people but Lekha's condition has mellowed me on that aspect too. I think life has taught me to be a better person.

12. For the last 10 years, Lekha's off all medicines. There are two schools of thought, amongst the medical fraternity, in the management of SLE patients. One is to put the individual on a sustained, yet reduced dosage of steroids for the entire lifetime but then the person would always have the feeling of being sick deep within. The second is to take the individual off medicines completely and use a heavy dosage, if the illness were to perk up again. We've chosen the latter option and consequently, she's under constant medical surveillance.

13. Life has been wonderful all these years and I'm glad that Lekha is by my side which is the most important thing. I do not look too much into the future and I've made it a point never to say no to her. While we've been with friends, relatives and most of you, it's a humbling feeling whenever I see each one of you go out of your way to look after Lekha and I get jealous of all the attention that she gets. Thanks all of you from the bottom of my heart for giving us so much of love and affection, I guess we shall remain indebted to all of you till our very end. Thanks, indeed!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A hectic weekend

The weekend just came and zipped past. On saturday, Lekha and I'd gone to NOIDA on our monthly sojourn, in this heat, to stick to our appointments. Interacting with the Rais(Lekha's beautician alongwith the Air Commodore) and Swaroop Nandi (our garage engineer) was as usual, exhilarating and fruitful. The drive was nice and swift as the traffic was smooth flowing. An evening visit to the nearby markets, at Sadr and Gopinath, for the usual purchases went off like a song, with a high intake of ice cream!
16 May'10, being our 19th wedding anniversary, was begun with a visit to the nearby 'ganapati kshetram'. Further, it was a day of receiving calls from near and dear ones, wishing us on our special day and I must admit that we indeed felt nice. And we'd a get together at our place in the evening, of some very close friends, to draw the day to a happy ending!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

In search of a parking spot

New Delhi is fast becoming a problem city insofar as parking of vehicles is concerned. According to recent reports, approximately 4,000 vehicles are added everyday onto the Delhi roads. And mind you, the 'Tata Nano' is yet to hit the roads in a big way thanks to the initial technical glitches that the model has faced. Thankfully, the traffic still moves in the city because of its wide and spacious roads, but how long will it continue to be so is the big question and many, many more parking facilities need to be set up without any delay whatsoever.
And while improving the public transportation system - availability of a bus from any stop at a frequency of three minutes, for a commuter - a no-nonsense diktat to the effect that private vehicles shall not ply on the roads from 6 AM to 6 PM and heavy fining of any vehicle that does not have a minimum number of four passengers, should bring about some semblance of discipline amongst the uncouth and impatient Delhi population!
Till then, it's prudent to join the mad rush and be more uncouth than your neighbour, and hope like mad that nothing goes wrong, if you do not wish to miss on your deadlines!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The miracle

The news about the crash of a Libyan civilian aircraft, with 110 passengers, on the tarmac of the Tripoli airport was saddening. But what was remarkable was that there is a lone survivor in a 10 year old Dutch boy who is recouping in a hospital. Wonder what that little boy must have gone through, moments before the crash? I mean, did the others have any premonition about their impending ends or were there any visible behavioural changes in them, which were experienced by the young one?
I'm asking these questions against the backdrop of a book named, 'Life after Life' that I'd been told about, long ago. This book has been written by a couple of doctors, based on the experiences narrated to them by scores of patients who'd gone through near fatal medical conditions and were fortunate to return to normal lives, subsequently. Each individual reiterates having seen something 'taking flight' from their bodies(the soul, perhaps?!) and traversing through a longish tunnel, at the end of which was a very bright- but not blinding- light. And the most interesting part of the narrations is that all of them, during this period of 'suspended animation' had seen their loved ones who'd died earlier, urging them to return to where they had come from, because they were still left with many more years of life!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Achan and Amma coming to Delhi

This morning, my Amma had called up Lekha to tell her that she and Achan would be accompanying my Maman, on his next visit to Delhi so that they could be with us. It should take place sometime later, in the third week of this month. Well, it would be nice to have them close to us, as Lekha and I would not have to worry further about their personal safety when they stay all by themselves in their house at Kottarakkara, Kerala. Moreover, it would be fun to see Achan being a kid all over again and he usually, comes out with his anecdotes with a bit of prodding. And the house is going to give the impression of being full.
I can foresee a lot of activity for Babli and Bunty - our servant maid and her husband - who really take pride in looking after my parents.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Records missing?

It's agonising news to hear that the records of the '71 Indo-Pak war are not available as they've been reported to be destroyed. It's unfortunate that we, as a people, give scant respect to history and do not give the importance of preserving documents/ relevant material for posterity, its rightful due. One cannot ignore the adage that 'those who ignore history will have the misfortune of being dumped into the dustbin of history for repeating the mistakes that could have been avoided'. Experience and lessons learnt are vital to every individual for progression in life.
And, on the contrary, there was an incident in Kerala a few years back, when the 'Malayala Manorama' group of publications had come out with a biography on Sreesanth, the cricketer from the state. One always thought that autobiographies/ biographies are written where the individual's long standing experiences with life would serve as a feat to be emulated by the future generations! In fact, I'd upset the the proprietor of the publication for having expressed my misgivings at a function organised by my grandfather's foundation then. Just another instance of our lack of understanding history!!
Coming back to the present, it's my fond hope that veterans who've participated in the war are interacted with, forthwith, and relevant information collected so that much of the lost narrative is retrieved.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Our 'enlightened' politicians

First we've the case of a minister, Jairam Ramesh, who in his wisdom has realised that we, as a country, do not have an open mind towards the Chinese in maintaining our relationship with the dragon country. He berates the Home Minister and the Defence Minister for their narrow mindsets and wants them to shun their archaic beliefs and embrace the Chinese with open arms. And mind you, he's fully aware of the fact that China has always antogonised us on many international fora because they are only bothered about their national interests as they know fully well that India is a threat to their standing in the world order. Why do people have to bend over backwards and curry favour in this deplorable fashion? Jairam Ramesh - is he yet another example of one, who'd got carried away by his hosts' hospitality?

Secondly, it was sad to hear Navin Jindal, a young MP speak in support of the 'Khap panchayats' of his home state, Haryana. Frankly, I felt disillusioned hearing him so, because I'd wanted him to be progressive thanks to his liberal education and youthful stature but he has turned out to be worse than his predecessors in playing up to vote bank requirements. How can he bat for a barbarious activity that many of these 'kangaroo courts' resort to in dispensing with death sentences to poor, hapless fellowmen who have neither the power or pelf to withstand their onslaught? Shouldn't he be advocating for all people abiding by the judiciary system of his country?

Oh! Indian cricket!!

Why do we Indians have to be sujected to such torture everytime our team plays a match on international tournaments? They go and lose handsomely and is on the verge of being thrown out of the entire drama. Consequently we're told that, if team A beats team B and also, if team C beats team D by a wide margin(usually, a tall order!), then our team has a chance of being part of the reckoning. And we, as a country, sit on the edge of our seats, chewing even our toenails and appeasing gods, of all hues, only to see our 'valiant boys' play well and come back with the trophy. This is just not cricket and simply, not fair! When will our cricketers learn to play for their country with all their heart and all their soul?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Amma and Mother's day

I've always wondered as to why the westerners celebrated certain days accentuating relationships because for us, family ties are important right from the day that one's born into this world. I mean one often thinks about one's parents or other near and dear ones, at times even more than once, in a day!
I suppose these cardinal dates had become relevant in the west from the early '70s when the 'Beatles' and the 'Woodstock festival' had become a rage, the 'hippie' culture came in with a bang, making the younger generation of those days rebel against the existing rules and traditions prevalent in society. And the institution that was worst hit was the 'family' and permissive living had become a way of life in defiance of parental control. Things have come a long way and today, it's heartening to note that family ties are once again becoming robust and people of different generations have accepted and understood the importance of nurturing these ties!
I'm increasingly bewildered by what's being embraced by the Indian society of today of the mores of the '70s that the west has long since discarded. Anyways, to be with the Jones's, Lekha and I made our usual call home to wish my Amma, a happy Mother's day and her pleasant retort was, 'don't tell me you require this day to remember me?'
And for once I was stumped for an answer!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

India is the leader - always and everywhere!

Exactly, 43 years back, Kerala was the first to experience the uncertainty of a hung assembly after a general election. The mallus were fed up with the wheeling dealings of the political parties and had voted in disgust. Politicos of all hues got into a huddle to find a way out of the impasse and finally, if I remember correctly, about seven to eight parties got together, under the leadership of the CPM, and claimed the right to form the government. The pessimists shook their heads and opined that the idea was absolutely unworkable while the optimists said that corruption would now become a thing of the past, as each political party in power will serve as a watchdog for the other against improprieties! The apprehensions were all unfounded as mallus proved to the world as to how political parties can be collectively corrupt in such set ups making coalition politics a continuous fixture in the state, from then till date.
And somewhere from the mid ‘90s, coalition politics became a reality in the formation of the central governments in Delhi and as is seen now, it doesn’t seem to have an alternative either, however much the Congress or the BJP would love to have it otherwise!
And in 2010, the Britishers are grappling with the problem of a hung parliament and it seems, in all likelihood, that the Tories under Cameron are gonna gang up with the LibDems under Clegg to form their first coalition government! I’m sure the mallus can teach them a thing or two about, ‘Politics being the art of managing the unmanageable.’
And who is the dimwit that has said that we aren’t world leaders?

Both the optimist and the pessimist contribute to society. The former invents the aeroplane while the latter invents the parachute!

Friday, May 7, 2010

From here and there.

(a) The Delhi dust storms.

The day has been hot but manageable but the famed dust storms have begun. In fact, today's was the first of the season. Wonder how much of muck gets into one's system in the process? But anyone in Delhi gets ruggedised by the harshness of the weather out here and I'm no exception. I've no cribs at all because there are so many unfortunate people, without adequate shelter or protective clothing who brave these vagaries without even giving them a second thought. May God give them the strength to tide over the difficulties!

(b) Unsafe Delhi

Yet another case of rape last night. A 25 year old model, after her shoot, caught an autorikshaw to travel from Faridabad to Badarpur around 2200h. Enroute, the driver alongwith two of his friends who'd hopped on midway, ravaged the poor girl. Why does this happen again and again? And why did the young lady have to travel alone at that time of the night, when she must have been aware of the perils? The guys need to be castrated as per 'Shariat law' according to me.


1. Radhakrishnan, my classmate, has rejoined our classgroups and thankfully, he has understood my viewpoint after a mail that I'd sent him.

2. Supriya's father has had the corrective surgery done on him and things are under control. He should be out of the ICU after 24h of intense observation, which is the usual procedure.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Justice at last!

Kasab, the lone terrorist, who was part of the Bombay mayhem of 26/11 has finally been administered justice by the law of the land. Rightfully, he has been awarded the death penalty. One remembers how the court proceedings began with the initial doubt about his age and one almost thought that he was being adjudjed a juvenile and wondered whether the proceedings will ever take off and if at all it does, when would it end. To make matters worse, the defence lawyers underwent a shuffle. Thanks to the judiciary of this country and its firm foundation, a methodicity in the madness was established as numerous witnesses, alongwith the circumstantial evidence that were available were systematically examined and analysed, guilt established and finally, judjement has been pronounced.
I used to wonder as to why we'd to go through the laborious process of the legal proceedings when the guy's guilt had been established, beyond doubt, thanks to the media grab of the mayhem. But I suppose, international conventions and respect to human life dictate such actions. While following this case, I also understood the essential difference between the'penal law' and the 'law of the Shariat.' The latter is followed in many of the Islamic countries. While the basic tenet of the penal law allows 'the guilty to go scotfree for the lack of evidence or whatever, no innocent should be punished', the Shariat, on the other hand works on the precept that 'the innocent may get punished so that the guilty should never go unpunished.'
Having handed over Kasab his fate, wonder what feelings, the families of Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Karkare and the other brave soldiers who died on that fateful day, are going through? Their loss continues to be felt even to this day, I'm sure.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Today's highlights

(a) Supriya’s father under the surgeon’s knife.
Mr. Gopalan had undergone a surgery yesterday at the Amrutha hospital, Kochi
on a ballooned artery around the abdominal area. He, however, is under
observation as there is a continuous blood drip from the wound, internally. Perhaps,
he’d need to undergo another corrective surgery after the doctor takes the call
tomorrow morning. Here’s wishing the old gentleman a speedy recovery.

(b) Towards yet another honour killing?
Our servant maid, Meena’s niece has run away with her boyfriend yesterday evening.
The girl is just about 17 yrs old and was doing a beautician’s course nearby, from
where she’d made her getaway. The family seems to be extremely worried about the
bad name that it’s going to fetch them and her grandmother says that the errant girl
needs to be done away with, after retrieval. Now that’s a dangerous thought and one
only hopes that those harsh words were uttered in the heat of the moment and means
nothing more. We’ve asked Meena to advise the old lady accordingly and hope all
concerned will exercise restraint and apply wisdom to tide over the crisis!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Is it wrong to put across my point of view forcefully?

Over the years I’ve come to understand that one must put across one’s point of view, on any given subject, failing which it’s usually misconstrued that one’s support is assured whereas, one would have preferred the option of silence lest somebody would get hurt! It’s entirely possible that feathers would be ruffled but in the final analysis, the aggrieved party would appreciate the fact that one had fired from the hip and not resorted to surreptitious bickering behind closed doors. Lekha calls my faux pas –and numerous ones at that – a ‘foot-in-the-mouth syndrome’ but all the same, understands and endorses this behaviour of mine.
Cdr(Rtd) Jojy Kunchattil, a classmate from the Sainik School, had given an invite to all of us through our group mail on ‘yahoo’ for his son’s wedding at Kochi (which was in addition to the personal calls made by him and his wife followed with the mailing of cards). This was objected to by Radhakrishnan –another classmate of ours, a banker and an otherwise carefree guy- who insisted that the two Major Generals from our course should not have been invited in this manner as protocol demanded it. Some guys, including Jojy, conveyed their displeasure in conversation and I realized that they were merely keeping quiet so that bad blood would not be spilled on the circuit! But I chipped in with my mail saying that friendship and protocol are incompatible and the suggestion from my friend of deferential treatment on the basis of protocol smacked of sycophancy. All hell broke loose and Radhakrishnan has signed off from the circuit saying that he does not want to be part of the group anymore. I must hasten to add that it has saddened me as I'd never wanted it to end up in this manner.
It’s my sincere hope that Radhakrishnan comes round, rejoins our group and appreciates my point of view.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Experiences of a long weekend

Last Wednesday I took off on a long weekend and with the hectic schedule that I’d prepared for myself, I couldn’t get to my favourite pastime of blogging and every evening when I went to bed, there was this guilty feeling that I’d not lived my day completely! Is this addiction? I sincerely hope it isn’t. To make up for lost time, I shall put in some of my experiences and impressions of people that gave me added insight to my eternal quest about the meaning of life. And so, here I go.

Wednesday, 28 Apr.
(a) Onward journey. Totally uneventful on the flight that took off an hour later than its schedule to beat the evening thundershowers prevalent at Kochi, these days and reached correspondingly, an hour later. The cab driver, who drove me into town, was Sundaresan who gave me a rundown of his dreams and aspirations gone sour. He has been driving for the past six years and is trying to be a contended man. Before taking up driving, he was into the business of ‘brick making’ and the kiln that he owned once upon a time, is now covered under asphalt and concrete that forms the highway end of the Kochi airport’s runway. He was supposed to have been compensated for the land acquired by the airport authority but our man was not benefited from the transaction as his younger brother played truant and pocketed the money himself. He has four brothers and two sisters, who now find it infradig that their brother is driving a cab and keep away from him and his family. He has two children, a boy who’s studying in class XII and a daughter studying in class VIII. He’s thinking of buying a brick kiln in Wyanad, but has to reorient his workers adept in machine cutting of the final product to the nuances of manual cutting – a practice that’s popular in that part of Kerala. Bid him adieu wishing that his dream would indeed come true at the earliest.
(b) My stay for the day was at my cousin, Prabha’s place where it was a musical evening and I too contributed to the occasion by singing a few old Malayalam songs in my offkey voice but no one seemed to mind!

Thursday, 29 Apr.
Was off on my way to my parents’ house at Kottarakkara, early in the morning itself by the ‘superfast’ of the Road Transport Corporation. Had to change two buses though and reached home by lunchtime to give a pleasant(?) surprise to my parents as well as my sister, Rema who was there on a short break. My father looked good and my mother, as pretty as ever and I’d attribute this outlook to my sister’s presence, who can really take charge of my parents on their errant behaviour of quarreling with each other over trivia. My mother refuses to wear the hearing aid bought for her and continues to comprehend conversations in a manner convenient and suitable, as perceived by her. And my father, has this habit of leaving his walking stick aside and gropes the wall to propel himself to his destination and he desists from it, with a laugh, when I call him ‘Spiderman’. With Rema and me, all by ourselves with our parents, it was like a flashback to our childhood days and indeed with all the talking that we did that day, it turned out to be a very late night! She definitely is relaxed since her son, Achu has started doing well in his studies.

Friday, 30 Apr.
(a)Took off again by 8 in the morning and dropped in to see Murukesan, my brother-in-law who’s convalescing from a massive stroke. Partially immobilized on his left side, his health seems to be picking up but I did notice a flash of helplessness in his eyes with a tendency of giving it all up which is what the doctor has warned against. Hope he’s able to over come this.
(b) It was the Road Transport Corporation that brought me back to Kochi safely and on time though at Kottayam, enroute I almost lost my small overnighter while changing buses. I was able to take part in the meeting, at the shipyard, as scheduled which worked out to be fruitful.
(c) Stayed with my friends, Murali and Radhika and it was catch up time from where we’d left years back with their son, Deepak giving stories of his exploits as an engineer in the merchant marine. We also called on my classmate, Jojy , his wife Saly and their son, Felix who was getting married the next day.

Saturday, 01 May.
(a) Got up leisurely and we were off to the wedding by 1100h. The Christian weddings always fascinate me and this was no exception. But it was again a matter of great joy to meet people from the past and there were just too many of them like Rajan George-Rashmi, Ancheri-Geetha, Mathew George-Sarah, the Sasidharans, Laxman-Sindhu and so many more that I can go on and on. We exchanged telephone numbers and promised to keep in touch from now on and the chatting continued through the reception. And lest I forget, the newly weds, Felix and Mily made a handsome couple!
(b) Called on my course mate, Suresh and Supriya in the evening and it was something that I shall cherish for the years to come. I was privileged to meet Supriya’s parents, Mr and Mrs. Gopalan who are elegant in their simplicity and can laugh so very easily- especially, after the tragic loss of one of their daughters to cancer only recently. They patiently gave a hearing to my continuous verbal onslaught and laughed at my PJs with relish.
Supriya’s father is an alumnus of the famed Maharajah’s College situated in the heart of Kochi. He was doing his graduation during 1943-45 and was an athlete par excellence, his strong points being the 100, 200, 400 and 800 mts hurdles. In those days, there used to be ‘Kochi Olympics’ and during the occasion, he used to sweep the medals for his discipline. As he told us of his exploits, it was amply clear that his healthy physique without a hint of a paunch was due to the simple and Spartan life that he led. May God give the Gopalans a long and happy life. They’ve really endeared themselves to me and it was an evening well spent.

Sunday, 02 May.
Was back in Delhi and at my home by 1710h. The evening walk was indeed a booster and a necessity to get my system back to normalcy after my heavy indulgence, over the previous few days, of the finer things of life!