Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ayodhya - Much ado about nothing!

Over the last few days, the media has been crying hoarse about Ayodhya and exhorting everyone to be an Indian first and only then let loyalty on account of religion, region, caste, creed to play on their emotions. Honestly, as a common man, I'm confused and am wondering as to what the fuss is all about - doesn't this amount to incitement of a different kind?

I (and I bet) the brute majority also think so, that too much of noise is being raised over a non issue. By having a temple or a mosque at Ayodhya the reality is that it will neither alter the living conditions of the common man for good nor will it enhance the prestige of our country on the international firmament. Ofcourse, building a religious edifice with the consensus of all sections of society would be a different thing altogether.

Today, after 1500h, the verdict on the following will be pronounced by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court over the following, after 60 years of legal scrutiny:-
(a) Did Ram indeed live there?
(b) Was Babri Masjid really a mosque?
(c) When was it built and by whom?
(d) Was the mosque built after destroying a temple?
(e) Were idols placed in the night of 22/23 Dec, 1949?
(f) Is the claim time barred?
(g) What will be the status of the disputed site?

The three member bench consisting of Justices SU Khan, Sudhir Agarwal and DV Sharma have a great responsibilty and I'm sure they'd have applied themselves completely on the merits and demerits of the case while delivering the judgement. And I'm sure that by the end of it all, these difficult times shall also pass with no untoward incident.

Notwithstanding the outcome of the case, the common man realises that this country can remain strong and vibrant only when people of all religions and faiths, caste or creed co-exist peacefully, together. The requirement that he envisions is an all round development, wherein he can enjoy the best of infrastructural facilities and services, coupled with the latest technology.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

When sight is denied.

Last evening, I was watching the music reality show on the Asianet channel called 'Idea Star Singer - Season 5'. I've spoken about this programme earlier too and said that it's a step in the right direction as raw talent, drawn from a wide spectrum of contestants from malayalees the world over, who'd have otherwise withered away without getting due recognition, are getting a fantastic stage to exhibit their talent.

I was particularly impressed by Babu Padmanabhan of Kayamkulam, Kerala who sang an old melody 'Manjalayil mungi thorthi' which had catapulted the playback singer, P Jayachandran to fame. Babu sang with the right feel and intensity associated with the song. What made it all the more endearing was that the youngster is physically challenged in that he does not have the power of sight. What's astounding is that he feelingly explains the colours of life, through his rendition, without having seen them even once! It's definitely a gift that He has provided to the youngster.

And can anyone forget the fact that Beethoven, when he composed his best music from the 'Fifth Symphony' onwards, he was stone deaf. Imagine having to go through the disadvantage of not being able to hear one's own creation! But I'm sure that he must have 'felt and understood' his work in his own inimitable way.

And here, we curse our rotten luck when things don't go well in our lives without realising that we're much better off than many of our counterparts!!

May Babu Padmanabhan have a wonderful run on the reality show and I shall cheer him from the ringside!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy birthday, Lata Mangeshkar!

Today's Bharath Ratna Lata Mangeshkar's 81st birthday. Wishing her many happy returns of the day and many more years of good health and happiness. We, Indians, are proud to say that you are ours!

Why the frequent memory lapses?

Of late, I've found that I seem to be having frequent bouts of amnesia or memory lapses. I've always been absent minded since childhood and so, I did not give it a second thought, thus far. But yesterday, there were a few small incidents that had my friends pulling my leg and honestly, I wasn't under any tension during the period!

I shall enumerate the incidents, though trivial as they may sound and here I go:-
(a) Left my vehicle at the parking lot with the keys on the door.
(b) Sent a mail meant for a dear friend to another address.
(c) Completely missed another friend's special day whom I was supposed to call up.

It's said that these infirmities are sure signs of growing old but I refuse to subscribe to that point of view. Then, am I a sure case of Alzheimer's in the making? Or is it a case of selective amnesia, I wonder?

The dividing line between sanity and insanity is very, very thin. And one's also aware of the fact that everyone comes into this world on a pre-ordained script, written by the master script writer.

And Kris Kristoffereson had sung,
"Yesteday's dead and gone
And tomorrow's out of sight".

So why me worry? Will take it as it comes. But is there a problem in the first place?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Birthday!

I would like to wish 'Google' many happy returns on its twelfth birthday. You've indeed enlightened millions of people all over the world by being the 'means' to improve communications on the touch of a button. Here's wishing you an exciting teenage!

Yamuna has Agra floating.

The flood waters of the Yamuna have badly inundated Agra. People have been subjected to untold misery and I'm amazed as to how people can continue to smile despite the hardships they've to go through! Yet another point to show that Indians are made of sterner stuff.

Jang Bahadur is back.

After having attended his wife's funeral and connected ceremonies, my man Friday's back. His children have been put under the care of their grandmothers - his mother and mother-in-law. The tragedy has taken its toll on him and one look at his sorry plight, I did not have the heart to give him that tight slap that I'd promised to deliver for causing misery and the untimely end of his wife.

But I can see another danger looming large. There'd now be a clamour for him to get married again - for the sake of bringing up his children - and he's gonna succumb to that call. I've warned him against that possibility as I'm sure he'll end up producing more children, increasing his agony!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Arzoo is now mine!

This evening I was on my customary walk, when Arzoo and her parents were on the reciprocal. I had written earlier about this beautiful girl who has Down's syndrome coupled with a bit of disability. I was biding my time to see her on her walk so as to make friends with her. And after a long wait, I have achieved what seemed to be impossible or very slow in coming! And I want to describe those exciting moments.

I'd crossed them as I was engrossed in my thoughts when I was distracted by a conversation coming from a group, across the road over a dark patch of the road and it was then that I saw the threesome - Arzoo with her parents! I ran across to them and took permission from the parents to allow me to make friends with their daughter. However, much as they coaxed her to wish me, she remained quite reticent and turned away from me onto her mother's shoulder. I knew that I did not have much time and couldn't afford to keep all of them waiting till I'd my way. And at that precise moment, when I'd decided to turn away from them sad at the botched chance, Arzoo turned towards me, wishing and threw a dazzling smile - I really felt weak in my knees, honestly! The little one's indeed very beautiful and she'd made my day, nay evening and I felt on top of the world!!

Girls still find me irresistibly charming, eh? Jokes apart, to me, befriending Arzoo was a very special moment and the highlight of the day.

Another day with Dev Anand.

Earlier, this morning, on the programme 'Rangoli' on national television, there was yet another instalment of songs picturised on Dev Anand. And all the selections were simply wonderful.

Of course, my favourite 'Itna madir, itna madhur, tera mera pyaar' from the movie 'Prem Pujari' is yet to come by and is eagerly awaited.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Heartiest congratulations ONV sir!

The illustrious poet lyricist from Kerala, Mr. ONV Kurup and the noted Urdu poet Mr. Akhlaq Khan Shaharyar have won the coveted Jnanpith Award for their outstanding contributions, for the years 2007 and 2008 respectively. The country, as a whole, salutes these geniuses for their outstanding work.

Shaharyar saab shall always be remembered for that soulful number, 'In aankhon ki masti' in the movie 'Umrao Jaan'.

On a personal level, my heartiest felicitations to ONV sir(as he's fondly known in Kerala) for this achievement of his. He's an ardent admirer of my Muthachan and always makes it a point to attend all the functions of the Foundation and render his classic touch. And that aspect makes sir's achievement very special for each and everyone back home as they consider ONV sir's achievement as their very own!

The 79 year old ONV sir is a communist at heart and sincerely believes that the thoughts of Marx and Lenin, if followed to the letter, would indeed bring about the classless society that they'd visualised. His lyrics have a rare texture impregnated with meaning, a sense of purpose and a charming simplicity in thought.

Here's wishing ONV sir and his gracious wife many more years of togetherness coupled with fond memories and may there be more poetic offerings from that blessed pen!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

From a babe-in-arms to a lady onto matrimony!

Today, we got our invitation card from my friends, Murali and Radhika, to attend their daughter, Sharanya's wedding on the 3rd of November. A simple but elegantly made card with the right aesthetics, yet again affirming the simplicity of the family.

I remember the little girl as a babe-in-arms who was a very well behaved child and have carried her around a number of times. She was born with a cleft lip and I remember her parents going through considerable agony during those times, over the issue. Anyways, right medical management coupled with a corrective surgery made the problem a past history. The little girl did well in her studies both in school and college and has grown up to be a smart young lady. She has just graduated from an air hostess academy in Bangalore and is to join an airline shortly.

The young lady is to wed a young, dashing engineer from the navy and the ceremony will take place at Kochi. And we're surely going to attend the wedding to wish the young couple the very best on their life's journey.

Just ruminating about how time has flown and suddenly get this feeling that I've piled on a lot of years and have graduated to being a 'buzurg' nay, 'Kaarnavar'!

23 September. Celestially significant!

Today is a special day due to a celestial activity, the significance being that the day equals night! It's also called the 'Autumnal Equinox'.

And why is it so? The elliptical path that the earth traverses to go around the sun once( the duration as we all know is 365 days or a calendar year) is called the 'ecliptic'. And the ecliptic crosses the equator at two diametrically opposite points which are named as the 'First point of Aries' and the 'First point of Libra'.

On 23rd Sep, every year, the earth is at the First point of Libra. And this point of time denotes the beginning of the 'Winter Solstice'. The sun is now on its way into the southern hemisphere.

And it is time to get my woollens ready, over the next couple of months, to be in time to face the winters!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How can we be so callous?

It was only yesterday that the foot overbridge, that was to be the gateway to the main stadium from the parking lot meant exclusively for the athletes and the officials of the Commonwealth Games, had come crashing down. Call it bad workmanship or lack of expertise or even use of substandard material - I suspect the third - being the reason for the monumental collapse but it has come about at the most inopportune time and has become a major cause for embarassment to all of us, Indians.

But the aftermath has been even more pathetic. Blame game has started and if it were left to the 'bigwigs', then it's that lowly worker who's to blame. What's absolutely disgusting are the totally insensitive statements made by responsible people and I'm just citing three atrocious ones:-

(a) The foot overbridge was meant not for the athletes but for the spectators - Sheila Dixit, CM. (As though the spectators' lives had no value!)
(b) The westerners have a different sense of hygiene compared to that of ours - Mr. Bhanot, Secy, Organising Committee, CWG. (As though filthy toilets and dirty linen are okay with us!)
(c) We are looking into it - Mr. Jayapal Reddy, Union Minister of Urban Development. (Wonder what he's looking at?)

Why the hell can't people admit their mistakes, take responsibilty for the 'snafu' and stop making callous statements? For heaven's sake, save us from further embarassments, please!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Can I be so selfish?

This morning my niece had called up to say that her grandfather was no more. He'd breathed his last in the wee hours of the morning after three. I was stunned on hearing that bit of information, as she and her mother(my younger sister, Minni) were staying with my parents to facilitate her studies.

I think my initial reaction was measured as I did not want her to be further distressed and therefore, let her do the talking so that I could get the details(Dad was perfectly okay when I'd spoken to him last Sunday and how did it happen? The suddenness was all the more disturbing). Mentally, I was also working out our travel plans.

And then she narrated as to how they'd got a call past midnight that her paternal grandfather had desired to see the both of them at the earliest. My mother, sister and niece immediately set off for Ayur, about 24 kms away, and was in hand to see his life ebbing away. Mr. P Gangadharan Pillai - my brother-in-law Sanil's father aged 77yrs - passed into eternity a trifle after three.

I was suddenly relieved as it surmised that my dad was safe. I feel sheepish saying this, but I was momentarily happy. Can I be so selfish? Just goes to show that I'm too less a mortal and need to evolve more as a human being!


Ayur achan, as I used to address Sanil's father, was an affable man who was a retired Headmaster of the local high school and a loyal communist. And he could talk on any subject under the sun! I used to make it a point to visit him, at least once during my leave, just to listen to him and he'd once said that he always looked forward to those interactions(Wonder whether it was to please me?) I shall miss him from now on. Ayur acha, apologies for my selfishness and RIP.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A lovely musical start to a Sunday morning

This morning’s ‘Rangoli’, on the national channel, was a tribute to one of the greatest lyricists of the Hindi movie world viz. Sahir Ludhianvi. The programme had given a fairly detailed account of the poet’s life and also had covered a few of his memorable numbers. The three that I liked of the lot were as follows:-

(a) “Aage bhi jaane na tu, peeche bhi jaane na tu” - Waqt.
(b) “Jaane bhi kaise, log the jinko pyar hi pyar mila” - Sahib, Biwi aur Gulaam.
(c) “Aaja aajaa re, tum ko mera pyar pukare” - Gumraah.

All are haunting melodies and my favourites. A lovely way to start a day indeed! Thanks Doordarshan for making my day!

The verdict on Ayodhya.

The way the media has been going on and on about 24 Sep being the day when the Ayodhya verdict is going to be delivered, there’s a sudden curiosity that has been roused amongst the common man which is sadly, coupled with a sense of apprehension. It’s my fond hope that the verdict would be a step to durable peace to a vexed issue and all concerned quarters would strive to achieve an amicable settlement.

An active media is indeed necessary to ensure that wrongdoings are kept down to a minimum if not their total absence. But it has its pitfalls too. To cite this particular case, most of the Indians would have now come to understand the anatomy of the Ayodhya default and therefore, hope for an early and peaceful resolution. However, the rabble rousers and the cynics could use the coverage to their advantage, if not checked well in time. And therein lies the dichotomy!

A golden day for Indian sport.

Mary Kom, has done the country proud by winning the gold medal in the World Boxing Championship. And our Davis Cup team has rallied from behind to snatch a 3-2 victory from Brazil, at Madras. I must confess that I’d almost given up hope of winning the reverse singles. Sorry boys for losing faith in you, albeit for a short time. What a wonderful Sunday it was for Indian sport!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Moment of Truth

This evening as I was surfing channels on my TV, I stumbled upon the programme ‘The Moment of Truth’ on the Star World channel. A guy called Josh was on the ‘hot seat’ and by the time he’d answered 15 questions and decided to quit the show, I thought his marriage was all but over. I make this observation after having seen his wife’s reaction – especially over two of his answers viz. that he’d dated a transsexual and had physical relationship with a porn star(Or was it all a put on to make the programme more authentic? One really needs to take many of these reality shows with a pinch of salt, as people are willing to do anything for their 15 minutes of fame).
I’d posed this doubt of mine on another forum and I repeat it yet again. Why do people get to do this? One understands that one gets a lot of money if all the questions are answered and I believe there’s a total of 24 of them, getting intensely personal as the contestant reaches the pinnacle.

Can one sacrifice relationships just for the sake of money as life is all about understanding the sensitivities of people that matter in one’s life?

For those of you who’re not with me as yet, a brief explanation about this programme would be in order. A contestant is made to go through intimate aspects of his/her life under a polygraph test –through the use of the truth serum(Incidentally, the veracity of the polygraph test is yet to be established even today). When the individual comes on the show and sits on the hot seat, questions are asked by the moderator and the answers provided are cleared after validating them with the earlier answers given under the influence of the truth serum. It goes without saying that both the answers must match to get the contestant to go to the next level.

The ‘desi’ version had come on as ‘Sach Ka Saamna’ and I was a keen follower of the programme. But the last episode had my favourite small screen actress, Roopa Ganguli – Draupadi, of the Mahabharat fame – who was sadly, a pale imitation of her former self and especially, after having lived life on her terms. Her weepy and under confident visage still remains etched in my mind and I really felt bad for the poor lady.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The national film awards

The national film awards have been announced. I hope there aren't any controversy on the jury's decision this time. Often, soon after the announcements are made, a lot of charges and countercharges are traded and on a couple of occasions, a few of the jury members themselves had gone public airing their dissent. By doing so two things are unwittingly brought about and they are:-
(a) the winner of the award loses the lofty pedestal that he's been placed on
(b) the award gets tainted.

Here's my felicitations to all the award winners and may there be many more to come for each one of them.

On a personal level, after every award function at the national level, I've been persistently left with a few unanswered questions which are :-
(a) Eventhough being a mallu, I'm quite thrilled that Malayalam films, alongwith the Bengali films have had a superior edge most of the times, what are the other language films doing? I simply can't believe that the others do not have it in them to do well.
(b) If the answer to the above is a 'nay'- though I can't believe it to be so - what are we doing to bring up the standards?
(c) And related to my doubts expressed above, do these awards really have a national flavour then?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

And now to a matchmaker's role!

In this life of ours, one has to don many roles and many a time, one’s left gasping for one’s breath at the end of it all. For the last 24 hours, I had to play the role of a matchmaker for a ‘beautiful MBA girl’(as passed on to me from an aunt of mine from Thiruvananthapuram) and a young naval officer(their ‘horror scopes’ had matched, so it seems) and I was to find out whether the boy was really good.
I’ve very diplomatically sidestepped similar issues, previously, as I feel ill at ease on such errands because my idea of ‘goodness’ of a person has nothing to do with, say for example, his drinking habits or more appropriately his ebullience in a bar(which is precisely what the enquirer needs to know especially if the prospective groom is from the armed forces). No amount of excuses could, however, bail me out of this one and so I had to do something to safeguard my reputation!
Anyways, all’s well that ends well. The boy’s superior happens to be my old shipmate and the requisite information was, therefore, not hard to come by. The boy’s a teetotaler and as I could gather from the response that I got from the other end of the telephone, that singular information had gone down well with the would-be-bride’s parents and I’d done an excellent job – fast work and clear cut information, you see!!

I’ve heard from some well meaning guys that those who imbibed the spirits were, usually, good hearted and those who don’t, cannot be believed at face value and therein lies the dichotomy that I’m in, after today’s actions of mine!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Metro rail comes closer.

Ever since Sreedharan and his Metro Rail have come in, Delhi has never been the same. As more and more townships and the areas outside the metropolis - like NOIDA of UP and Gurgaon of Haryana - get linked, the increased connectivity has eased the commuting woes of the average Delhiite tremendously.

For people like me residing at Arjan Vihar at Delhi Cantt, seeing the Metro extension from Connaught Place to the airport slowly coming to life (trials have begun from the beginning of this week), has been thrilling. The 'Express Line' as it's gonna be called is going to be operational by the end of this month. The Dhaula Kuan Metro station, where work is going at a feverish pitch, is situated opposite to our area.

Three cheers to Sreedharan and his team for their commendable work. May the likes of their tribe increase for the betterment of the country!


A couple of blogs back, I'd gone gaga over the bountiful Yamuna. I was using my poetic license to romanticise the swollen river. Well, now that more and more people, dwelling alongside the river, are going through the misery of the floods, I'm in a dilemma as to whether I should continue to remain romantic!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I'm still a bad man!

This morning was a rush rush affair. Lekha'd to be taken to the Army Hospital - Research and Referral, a stone's throwaway from us, for undergoing lab tests based on which her doctor was going to provide the final decision on her present medical condition.

Thanks to the traffic trials for the impending Commonwealth Games, driving through the vehicles that had piled on the road by then and changing lanes were a harrowing experience, as well as a Herculean task. And on reaching the parking area, the military policeman, on duty, was boorish to say the least, in trying to shoo me away - perhaps, my van does not match up to his expectations! Anyways, I dropped Lekha at the place where I'd wanted, to reduce the distance that she'd to walk, of course only, after giving the cop his explanation.

Getting through the reception counter was equally unpleasant. How one always wishes that people on duty at these 'gateways' were courteous and friendly! The sister, who drew the blood sample was seen to rotate the syringe, after insertion, and I could only watch helplessly at Lekha's discomfort with pain. And then came in the coup-de-gras. Lekha, simply could not muster up enough sample of her urine into the narrow mouthed test tube and looked totally ill at ease!

And the boor that I am, just could not control my anger and let go at my wife.

My frayed nerves were brought back under control, we organised glasses of water from the nearby cooler and she was able to do the needful, subsequently. A bad show, on my part and I find that I need to go a long way towards 'anger management' and becoming a 'nice' man!!

At the end of it, after dropping Lekha at home, I was able to scramble home in time for a scheduled meeting.

Monday, September 13, 2010

For the good times...

As Kris Kristofferson belts out this number from my collections, I thought I must share its words with you as they’re simply super. And so, here we go:-

“Don’t look so sad, I know it’s over
But life goes on and this whole world will keep on turnin’.
Let’s just be glad we’d some time to spend together.

There’s no need to watch the bridges that were burnin’.

Lay your head upon my pillow
Hold your warm and tender body close to mine
It’ll whisper of the raindrops blowin’ soft against the windows
Make believe you love me one more time, for the good times.
I’ll get along, you find another
And I’ll be here if you should find you ever need me.
Don’t say your words about tomorrow or forever.

There’s no need to watch the bridges that were burnin’."

This number was originally sung and immortalized by Pery Como, but it became a rage in the mid ‘70s when Kris Kristofferson sang it all over again.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Amar Prem

I was delighted to watch the ageless Bengali classic and one of the Hindi movie superhits of the early '70s called 'Amar Prem'. Since it was another rainy day out here and Lekha's continued medical status requires her to avoid much of movement, going out of the comfortable environs of our house was simply out of the question.

And the national channel was beaming the movie as luck would have it. Amar Prem is a period film and the main protagonists - the rich,lonely bachelor and the 'tawaif'- played by Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore respectively, bring out the essence of the emotion of love in all its purity. All the numbers are simply superb.

Selfless love towards another is the ultimate expression that a human being can achieve during his lifetime. All doubts as to whether it's love or lust or a feeling coupled with both can be laid to rest if the meaning of 'selfless love' is understood. Have I achieved it? Shall keep you all under suspense for a little while more.


Just finished viewing a 20 minute video clip on the National Defence Academy. As familiar surroundings coupled with activities came into view, I was transformed back in time, to my cadet's days and was almost sure that I'd be able to recollect everyday of mine out there. And as the Passing out Parade was shown, I too felt that I was passing through the 'quarterdeck' once more against the haunting melody of 'Auld Lang Syne'. If I've another life, I'd like to repeat my days in the Academy all over again.

A case of 'Amar Prem', eh?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A 'kalyug' phenomenon, indeed!

It was this bizarre news about a young man, who’d killed his 70-day old child by hitting it on the ground(Reminded me of Kamsa and his ways of handling his sister, Devaki's children), that shocked me. The tragedy becomes unacceptable as the incident happened in a fisherman’s family at Punnapra in Alappuzha, Kerala.
The story goes something like this. The family was blessed with a son, seventy days back and there was all round happiness. On the 28th day after childbirth, when the usual ceremony of tying the sacred thread on the child was being performed, the astrologer at hand predicted that the child would bring about extreme hardship and the end of the father! This was the trigger for the father to carry out the gruesome killing – which he’d carried out under the influence of liquor!
So it’s official, literate Kerala is uneducated and isn't it paradoxical that we, malayalees have the gumption to deride the ‘backwardness’ of Bihar?

The professor's woes continues.
The professor whose hand was hacked a month back by muslim youth, belonging to an extremist outfit, has been ousted from the institution thanks to the pressure from the church! Mr. Joseph’s cup of woes seems to continue to overflow!! A donation drive towards his welfare, thanks to the media, has been a step in the right direction and there has been a tremendous response from the mallus which is good news!!!

Today’s the 9th anniversary of the destruction of the 'twin towers' by Al Qaida operatives. I remember that I was watching the TV at the time when the first visuals of the destruction were being beamed and was quite annoyed at some sort of a computer game disturbing the viewing of my favourite programme. That it turned out to be a tragedy of monumental proportions sank in slowly as I could never believe that such a thing could ever happen, even in the wildest of my dreams. The deep wound that was handed over, by virtue of the ghastly incident, continues to fester amongst a sizeable number of Americans and likeminded people, the world over! My prayers for those, who’d lost their lives.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A holy weekend.

This weekend has a unique quality. Three religions of the world are celebrating important occasions over the coming days.

The Hindus celebrate the ‘Ganesh Chathurthi’ with great fervor. I have always felt that most people rever Lord Ganesh out of a sense of fear that if he’s displeased nothing worthwhile can take off in their life. And I’ve always enjoyed the way the Maharashtrians celebrate this festival(Especially, the way my friends, Dinesh and Indu Kapadia celebrate the occasion every year and this time, I’ve promised to be with them mentally). And here’s me joining the chorus, ‘Ganapati bappa moriya'!

The Christians celebrate the birthday of Virgin Mary during this particular time. And I join my Christian friends on this joyous occasion. May God bless you in all your endeavours!

The Muslims celebrate the ‘Id-ul-Fitr (Ramadan) over this period. We’ve already wished our friends in Kerala who’re celebrating their great day today and shall wish our friends, in Delhi and places around, tomorrow. Id mubarak to all of you!

Actually, two things need to be underlined on this occasion, which are:-
(a) One is in constant touch with one’s folks close to one’s heart and the bonds are reinforced when one interacts with people during the occasion.
(b) All religions have celebration times coinciding on same dates, proving the fact that in the ultimate analysis, all religions tell mankind the same thing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bopanna-Qureshi pair reach the US Open semi finals!

It's indeed gladdening news that India's Bopanna and Pakistan's Qureshi have rallied to reach the semi finals of the US Open. Well, the guys have put in their heart and soul, improving their performance at every step, to give a great display of their game.

Here's wishing them success in the finals.

Just another example to show that Pakistan must endeavour to be friendly with India and it will benefit in the long run, rather than wasting its resources on fighting a losing battle!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A dull and rainy day, yet again!

Today is yet another day when the sky has been overcast since first light. I think the Delhi Chief Minister was absolutely dot on when she'd said almost a fortnight ago that the raingod was against her and the Delhiites because of the generous amount of rains this season. The rains have knocked the bottom of her statement, that with all the facilities that are coming up in the run up to the Commonwealth Games, Delhi is a world class city(I think I'm getting repetitive on this issue and hence shall desist from now on).

I hope a lesson is learnt by all of us not to procrastinate, ever. Had it not been for these unscheduled rains, the CWG sites would have been cleared and ready by now. Flu, of all varieties, are rampant and Delhi is rambling on.

Hope things get all right over the next fortnight and Delhi will come up trumps in the end.

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down! Remember Carpenters?

After 38 years!

Around a half past four this evening, I got a call from my classmate, Jacob Joseph, who was on a short visit to Delhi on official tour. We decided to meet over a short break of 40mts, after working hours and before an appointment with Lekha’s doctor. As we got around to updating ourselves, the long time gap of 38 years of not interacting with each other, just vanished without a trace.

Jacob, amongst the two guys of the Sainik School batch of ’72 who’d joined the IIT, Madras when I’d moved on to the NDA, is currently working for Tata Power and is centred at Bombay. His wife, Suma is a lecturer at the Chembur College and they’ve two sons – the elder one is an engineer, based at Minneapolis, US and the younger one is currently doing engineering at Bombay.

Jacob Joseph was one of my able ‘Prefects’ during my tenure as House Captain of No. 5 Dormitory in school.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This is what life's all about!

I was woken up by an ever insistent phone of mine in the morning before my usual waking hours. As I got up groggily, I was annoyed that the caller had cut it before I could answer. On checking, I found that it was a member of my staff and my man Friday of sorts, Jang Bahadur Yadav. When I finally made contact, it was a weepy Bahadur trying to inform me about the death of his wife that had happened sometime, late last night. She'd succumbed to complications as a result of a terminated pregnancy.

I was seething with anger at the guy but controlled myself owing to the circumstances. The Bahadurs have five children(four daughters and a son) ranging from the eldest who's 17 years to the boy who's all of five years and was just admitted into class I, last summer. Mrs Bahadur and their five children were staying at his house, somewhere in the innards of Rae Bareilly while he was maintaining a second establishment here at Delhi, to pursue his profession. He made it to his hometown at least once every month and it always amazed me to see him stock up provisions, clothes, toys and whatever else in his travel bag that he perpetually kept at the office(reminded me of the industrious ants and their meticulous ways of stocking up for a rainy day). He'd just returned from his house yesterday after the long weekend and had reported that everything was fine with his family.

A bit about Bahadur, at this juncture, I think would be appropriate. He has no vices, lives well within his means, does not waste money unnecessarily and has shown me as to how he'd invested his savings for his family. And coming to realise his nature, I once queried him as to why he'd not practiced family planning. The answer was the usual one that hears from an average Indian. Anyways, in Bahadur's case it was the continuous taunts of one of his sisters-in-law who doubted his ability to produce sons, that compelled(?) the couple to end up with an unwieldy family! And Mrs Bahadur went ahead ,without any complaint, to save her husband's honour.

From Bahadur's narrations, what I'd conjured of his wife was that she was a tough lady managing their house and agricultural land efficiently- she was in her early thirties - and also supported her husband by providing advice as and when he required it. She was illiterate but worldly wise and practical.

Their world has been shattered. The children would need support and emotional sustenance. I pray for the departed soul and sincerely hope that Bahadur has the strength to tide over this difficult phase of his life.

Having narrated the story of the Bahadurs, I've three doubts:-
(a) Does woman view guys with daughters as those with reduced manliness?
(b) Why don't men offer themselves for birth control measures instead of
thrusting their womenfolk into doing so- though I must hasten to add that
it cannot be gender specific but health based?
(c) Was the script for Mrs Bahadur, written by the Almighty, confined to producing
five children and pass away into eternity?

Monday, September 6, 2010

A post script with an apology for being late.

Finally and thankfully, the hostage crisis epicentred in the jungles of Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhathisgarh are over and three of the four policemen are back with their respective families. One can imagine the tremendous relief that the three officers are going through and the unrestrained happiness in the homes of the three lucky families.

I'm happy for Sub Inspector Abhay Yadav on his return and unconditionally withdraw my epitaph written on him when the news of his killing was beamed earlier. May God give him a long and satisfying life!

And I'd like to pay my last respects to the unfortunate, ASI Lukas Tete who was killed by his captors. I grieve with his family at this unmitigating loss and pray to God that they be given strength to tide over this difficult period. And Lukas Tete, I'm sure your sacrifice will not go in vain!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Remembering my teachers on 'Teacher's Day'

Today is 5th of September, celebrated as ‘Teacher’s Day’. While paying my humble tribute to all my teachers in making me what I am today, I shall try to share fond memories that I’ve had with a few of them that continue to stay evergreen in memory. Nurturing of minds and their attachment towards their students are clearly evident. And so, here I go.

Sosamma Thomas ma’am and Mary Fernandez ma’am still remain vividly from my earliest schooling memory. The former’s passionate power of reasoning over my misdemeanours and the latter’s keen interest in shaping the actor in me remain etched in my mind. And I was also very much in love with the latter!

Primary School.
Sister Anne with her kind and encouraging visage made me participate in all activities of the Convent and I daresay, I did fairly well in most that gave me tremendous confidence in myself and she was extremely happy about the whole thing as though it was her own personal triumph. Pallippad Bhaskaran Nair sir of Model School was the first to fine tune the art of public speaking in me when I was in the V and VI classes.

High School.
While at Sainik School, I’d the privilege of being nurtured by a host of wonderful teachers who went beyond their call of duty to make each one of us strive for excellence in everything we did. And it was there that those gentlemen showed us that a teacher’s work was not restricted to the classroom between 9 o’clock and 4 o’clock but much beyond it. They were with us right from the early morning sessions of PT, at the games fields in the evening, at the auditorium to teach us the nuances and the finer aspects of cultural activities and guiding us through the day’s portions at the self study period in the cosy confines of our ‘Houses’.
N Balakrishnan Nair sir (NBN for short. His Chemistry classes were highly informative and never left us with any doubts), KK Muthanna sir(My first House Master who took immense care of me and helped us to adjust to the school life easily), Samuel Raj sir(His classes on Social Studies were wholesome punctuated with interesting stories), BC Pande sir(He taught us Hindi with a passion and took great pains to make us mallus understand the language), GD Tekale sir(He was a very compassionate man and I must admit that I’d no direct experience of his guidance as he taught Sanskrit and mine was Hindi), CV Sankaranarayanan sir(His Maths classes were simply superb and he’d a very high sense of humour), JS Iyer sir(His Maths classes were also illuminating with a liberal dose of anecdotes), AP Soans(Our English teacher par excellence with an ever helping attitude), K Madhavan Nair sir and K Vasudevan sir(They were our teachers in Physics and were meticulous in their efforts to make us understand every detail).

National Defence Academy.
Mr.AB Santram taught me the difficult Chinese language in a very interesting manner, that I ended up liking it and doing well in the prelims. Mr. CR Rajan taught me to like the subject of Military History with his enormous knowledge and classy delivery and Mr. SH Hussainy, with his quiet efficiency, got me to delicately tread on the intricacies of Differentiation and Integration in Maths.

The teachers around me.
And may I also make a mention of Rachayita Banerjee and Rashmi George, both teachers and my friends, who go to great lengths while preparing to teach their students. Their teaching styles, coupled with dedication and passion, make them unique.

All the personalities that I've listed above have one thing in common - their immense love for the children that pass through their watch and it's this quality of their's that I salute from the depths of my heart.

Happy Teacher’s Day!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Today's happenings

Ignominy, thy name is cricket!

I’d not like to go into the sordid saga of match fixing and the unholy alliance between players and bookies to make a fast buck, as details of the Pakistani team’s misdemeanour keep tumbling out every day. And as someone had said it, many of the players are in the game not because they love it but for the money, wine and women!
The good thing that will come about, at the end of all this madness, is that the craze about the game prevalent as of now will die and the hype will be tempered. Cricket will just be any other game and that metamorphosis will be good in the long run.
A gentleman’s game has degenerated into a fraudster’s game. What a fall?

The brashness of Bangalore's Commissioner of Police

How can a person in authority and someone on whom every ordinary citizen looks for safety, security and succour during times of crisis ever utter anything irresponsible? His taunt - to a question posed by the media regarding the brutality committed on a young girl by a cop, under his charge, was that they should be thankful that it wasn't a case of rape - is simply not acceptable. The dignity of the office needs to be upheld at all times.

Saina's hasty retraction

Why did the star badminton player retract her adverse comments on the stadia, prepared for the Commonwealth Games, by the end of the day? Pressure from the powers that be, for sure. Why can't we bear to hear some honest criticism? A couple of weeks from now, when similar if not more vitriolic comments come from the foreign athletes, how do we sort them out? Gag them?

Friday, September 3, 2010

A bungling shopper - a truly lost case!

Long ago, during my primary school days, I remember reading a lesson called ‘The Three Wise Men of Gotham’ in my English Reader. Those men were simply hilarious for their stupidity and this one story highlights that aspect.

They go to the nearby town to buy grocery and as per their list a dozen tins of cheese are included. Since they had accumulated a fairly heavy buy by the end of it all, they hit upon a brilliant idea of reducing their load and not without reasons, which was to make their return journey pleasurable. They decide to roll down the cheese tins towards the direction of their home in the village fully confident that the tins would fetch up much earlier than their own arrival! The story has it that those ‘wise’ men are still waiting for the cheese tins to arrive at their destination.

This evening, a similar situation was faced by yours truly. Since Lekha was laid up, I’d to do the marketing bit. After my usual evening walk and warming down exercises, I set off for the big evolution and had her prepare the ‘wish’ list. A religious procession, that seemed to be never ending, was an impediment to my scheme of things but I did not let it hamper my enthusiasm. My first destination happened to be the meat shop from where a favourite fish was bought(Lekha was subsequently unsatisfied with the standard of cleaning done by the vendor because she has her way always - best example of gender discrimination on the part of the vendor because that boy ensured that I was satisfied with his work). And I did not want to lose any time fighting a ‘lost’ case with him, in the prevailing circumstances.

The next stop was at the grocer’s. The old lady at the counter hit the roof laughing when I’d asked her for a kilogram of coffee powder. I’m still to understand this double standard – one can buy a kg of tea but not a kg of coffee and mind you, I'm yet to get a convincing explanation on this one! Anyways, after getting my requirements from the shop owner(wonder why she’d that patronizing look on her face?), my next stop was at the shop which sold fresh provisions. And soon, I’d become an interesting specimen to the passersby and the vendor, Akhil studying in class XII had become overtly, condescending, as I read through my wife’s list with my reading glasses on my nosebridge(must have been a comical sight, perhaps) – alas, why can’t people let you be the way you are? The fruit vendor, after that, became very protective of me in that he directed his son to help me with my ‘luggage’. And the young lad gave me a very ‘understanding’(?) wave as I pulled off from the kerb, once my van was loaded.

Do I give an impression to the others like a ‘lost babe in the woods’? I sincerely hope not!!


Today, the Indian Air Force has bestowed the rank of Group Captain to Sachin Tendulkar. Coming as it is on the heels of Kapil Dev and Mohanlal(the mallu fimdom’s superstar), who’d earlier been made Lieutenant Colonels, one wonders as to whether we really needed to do this at all. Are those ranks so cheap to achieve and why are we making icons when there are none? I call such exercises as gimmickry and attention grabbing ventures devoid of any meaningful outcome. Sachin, Kapil Dev and Mohanlal have achieved greatness in their respective fields, we all love them for that and I’d like them to get many more laurels on their onward endeavours! But for heaven’s sake let us not degrade the ranks of the services through such inocuous activities!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Some shenanigans, these!

This evening’s headline, during primetime, on almost all the news channels was the killing of Police Sub Inspector Abhay Yadav by the Maoists, on crossing the first of their deadlines. Is the state being held to ransom by a group of people who’ve taken the law into their own hands?
And what a shameful sight of an elected Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, showing his helplessness regarding taking any action despite the fact that he has the instruments of power with which he’s supposed to ensure the safety of his people, who’ve elected him and entrusted him with that power - a paradox, to put it mildly. He’s incidentally hoping to come to power in the forthcoming assembly elections, again, on the basis of having provided good governance! Doesn’t he understand that a tight law and order apparatus, that ensures safety of his people, is an equally important part of governance?
It’s further disgusting to see games being played by all the political parties at such grave times. The TV grab, showing the heart rending appeals made by the affected families, makes one feel angry with all those who could have taken action but seem to be totally paralysed and thus, reduced to being mere spectators!
And what’s going to be the fate of the other three cops, who’re captured along with Sub Inspector Abhay Yadav in the Lakhisarai jungles, after their captors next deadline runs out?
I’d like to spare my thought for the grieving families and hope like mad that the other three captives are freed and spared of further agony. And RIP Sub Inspector Abhay Yadav, please accept the salute of a fellow soldier and let me assure you that we shall always be proud of you and that your sacrifice shall not go in vain!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Janamashtami - Tonight's Lord Krishna's birthday!

The whole of India is celebrating 'Janamashtami' - the birthday of Lord Krishna tonight. The event is celebrated with verve, vigour and exuberance all over the country but I must admit that it's a trifle more colourful in northern India than in the south.

I must admit to having a sneaky preference to Lord Krishna amongst the pantheon of the Hindu gods. He's the most practical and this aspect is very evident in the Bhagawad Gita which explains life and its intricacies so beautifully through its eighteen chapters. And the way he urges Arjuna, at the end of it all, to do his 'karma' is the most poignant and I quote,

" O' Arjuna,
slain - you'll attain heaven
Victorious - you'll enjoy the earth
Therefore, stand up, O' Arjuna with a resolve to fight".


Scientists who dabble in history, using the tools of the subject of Geology and through a process of carbon dating (alongwith assorted means) of areas where the Mahabharatha and the Ramayana were supposed to have taken place , have established accurate timelines as mentioned below:-

Lord Krishna.

Date of birth 27 Jul 3112 BC.
The Mahabharatha War 22 Nov 3067 BC.
Death 13 Apr 3031 BC.

Sri Rama.

Date of birth 10 Jan 5114 BC.
His exile 05 Jan 5089 BC.
Ravana's killing 04 Dec 5076 BC.

I'm sure there'd be many doubting Thomases and why not - the more, the merrier! Anyways, a very happy Janamashtami to all of you out there!!