Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A nasty experience!

Yesterday, after Lekha's review by her doctor he'd recommended certain mandatory tests to be done. Accordingly, I'd called up a reputed pathological laboratory and had requested the doctor there, to send his representative to collect the samples this morning. However, the doctor expressed his inability to accede to my request as he was at home and had asked me to sms my telephone number to him promising that he would fill in the details after an hour or so.
Since I had not heard anything from him, I tried to contact him after my customary evening walk and had a harrowing experience. On the first ring, the receiver on the other end was picked up by a lady who then asked me to hold on till the doctor came and attended to my requirements.

After a while, I heard the gentleman asking as to who the caller was and immediately after, the call was disconnected. I tried the number a couple of times more but the same wretched experience was repeated. Having reached a dead end, I then contacted their HQs in Bombay to help me out and was given a few more telephone numbers of their other franchisees nearby. But after trying out each and every number I'd come to the conclusion that none of them would be of any help in my hour of need. And I sadly realised that the only alternative left for me was to take my wife to a nearby laboratory in the morning.

Lekha was in bad shape, with unbearable pain and could hardly walk. But after much coaxing and bulldozing on my part, I was able to take her to a pathological laboratory in the nearby Sadr market. With a bit of cajoling, the medical attendant, Sunil, graciously agreed to draw the blood sample from Lekha who was seated in the car and thus the event was successfully carried out. The results were in hand by evening and we're able to pass on the information to Lekha's doctor who could then fine tune the medicines being administered on her.

Though everything had ended well, I'd unfinished work. I called up the Bombay HQs of the pathological laboratory, whose franchisee had misbehaved and lodged a complaint on the basis of three factors viz.
(a) The doctor had misbehaved, in that, he'd refused to take a genuine call.
(b) If he could do this to a serviceman like me, then what would be the plight of a common man from the civvy street?
(c) The patient was suffering and don't these guys have the basic decency to uphold the Hippocratic oath that they'd faithfully taken on completion of their course?

I've, in my capacity as a citizen of this country, further told the HQs at Bombay that they needed to take action and let me know about it, just for the simple fact that the gentleman never, ever repeats such uncouth behaviour to another unsuspecting but needy customer!

Monday, November 29, 2010

My wandering thoughts!

This is a favourite column of mine that comes in the Sunday edition of the Hindustan Times and Vir Sanghvi, its author writes passionately, on issues, as I reckon. So I was really sad to read that he's taking a hiatus for sometime - and the sad thing is that he's not mentioned as to how long he's gonna stay away.
It's the result of the 'Radiia tapes' that have revealed a nexus between the media and the politicians. From the looks of it I'm sure that there's still more left to come out regarding the sordid affair. It's my fervent hope that the guys whom I'd considered as heroes do not turn out to be otherwise!

The third Delhi Gay Parade.
There was yet another edition of the LGBTs'(Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders) conglomeration, yesterday. They'd come out of their shyness to join hands and express solidarity to one another. Many of them carried flags bearing rainbow colours as a symbol of their fraternity.
I think, we Indians have grown up and shown magnanimity in accepting the fraternity. At least, these days one doesn't hear of any violent reactions to the unfortunate lot - I hope I'm not sounding patronising, but they too have a right to live. But no PDA -public display of affection - please!

The Wikileaks saga.
The Wikileaks are going to give many of us troublesome times as we come to know what the Americans think of us as a nation. The wisest thing is to reiterate the adage that 'in the realm of international relationships there are no permanent friendships but permanent interests that endure.'

Sunday, November 28, 2010

At the service station.

Unlike what it's on a usual Sunday morning, today I'd to get up early to meet up with an appointment at the service station. My Cruze was due for its first (and free) servicing and alongwith my man Friday, Bunty, we set off around a half past eight to our destination. Despite our early kick off, my vehicle could only be registered as the second and those boys at the service station were polite yet businesslike. And I was introduced to the young, ever smiling and bespectacled, Dinesh Surya who'd be my 'service advisor' from now on and shall be associated with my car thoughout its attachment to the service station! Dinesh quickly outlined to me as to what would be done on my car and as it was driven into the servicing bay, I moved into the customer lounge.

I'd brought with me enough reading material and no sooner had I begun to browse my newspaper when a youngster, around his late 20s, came and sat next to me. I'm not exaggerating but that boy was continuously talking to his friend into his cellphone for the next one and a half hours, regarding anything and everything - some stamina, that was!

Then, there was this well groomed lady who'd come in with her Cheverolet Spark and was generally critical and angry with all and sundry - and to my reckoning, for nothing in particular that I could visibly comprehend. And seeing my quizzical face, Dinesh quickly filled in saying that there were quite a few customers who were vain, proud and ill mannered. I was disappointed because the lady had really impressed me with her initial poise and chic!

And then there was this portly gentleman, with a generous paunch, who was continuously updating himself on the 'one day international' at Gauhati, from the television set at the lounge. He was particularly harsh on the Indian players who'd supposedly missed a big hit according to his calculations(he used some real colourful words from the Hindi vocabulary for the purpose) and the New Zealanders who took wickets.

As I bid farewell to Dinesh and drove out of the premises, I noted that I really did not mind the two and a half hours spent at the servicing station, that I'd be frequenting from now on. And Dinesh gave me the parting shot, by thrusting his business card into my hands and saying that I just needed to get in touch with him if I required anything - even a complimentary wash for my car. I've become one of his favourite customers. Well!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A severe misdemeanour!

Yesterday, I was telephonically told that a cheque of mine had not been honoured. And I simply could not believe it and hence, invited the organisation's representative to meet me this evening. On the appointed hour, the youngster was at my door and on perusal, I found much to my embarassment that I'd not put down my signature after writing the amount. A grave slip on my part, that's totally unpardonable, because one's supposed to be very meticulous while doing such things. No, it wasn't supposed to be a practical joke either! Honest!

A fresh cheque was issued and apologies tendered to the representative and to the head of the organisation. They were extremely nice and tried to save me from further embarassment by saying that it could have been an inadvertent slip on my part, thanks to my busy schedule!

A fact that I'd like to dismiss and label it as carelessness at its extreme. I shan't forgive myself for this misdemeanour for sometime to come and it's my fervent hope that it never, ever occurs again!

Friday, November 26, 2010


"Rajeev, I'm sorry that your name did not come to my mind readily when I was to give a suitable name to be part of a delegation to tour the US." This came from a friend of mine who used to be a regular visitor to my house everyday those days. I'd laughed it off as an inadvertent miss on his part and then went on to put him at ease.

* * *

"Sir, I used to deliberately keep you from meeting and interacting with that senior as I fully well knew that he was quite fond of you. Now, I feel that I'd not played fair by you, hope you'd understand." This by a youngster, who's doing well today, in one of his candid confessions this morning when he'd met me after a long break.

* * *

"Sir, I'd like you to give me an insight into a few topics and if you don't mind I'd like to note down the salient points. And here's a personal request that if the topic were to come up for discussion in a forum please let me tackle it and give me moral support by being with me silently." A junior's earnest request of me this evening.

* * *

In view of the foregoing, I seriously wonder:-
(a) Am I overbearing?
(b) Am I competing with people with whom I've no intention of competing?
(c) Am I unsettling the other's peace?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A humble homage!

Tomorrow's the anniversary of the ghastly 26/11 tragedy, played out in Bombay, two years ago. I hope that all corrective measures are in place to ensure that such an incident is never repeated again. It's only then that we can safely say that the sacrifices made by all of them, during the course of the event, have not gone in vain.
On a very personal level, I salute their resoluteness and pray for peace in their eternal lives.

It serves them right.
Today's news had a coverage of the seminar attended by one of the Kashmiri separatists - Mirwaiz Umer Farooq - at Chandigarh. The crowd was predominantly made up of Kashmiri pandits and it was so angered by Mirwaiz, when he said that 'he'd come from Kashmir to Hindustan to be at the seminar', that a few of them charged into the podium and manhandled the guy. To my mind the guy deserves it because his double standards stand exposed, as he has been a liberal receipient of this nation's resources in making him what he's today and has now bitten the hand that has fed him.

The turncoats try to score brownie points just to stay in the news but what they do not realise is that at some point of time their two timing is found out and then they lose their place under the sun - even their so called friends shun them.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I & me - in retrospective!

The day has been characteristically dull, all through, with a bit of the sun around noon. And then it rained and rained creating numerous puddles all over the city but must hasten to add that the traffic wasn't affected. I did not take any chance in that I'd gone for my customary evening walk, armed to the teeth against the cold, with a hooded windcheater and an umbrella.

Today's my birthday and it was nice to hear from friends, right from the morning, who'd called up to catch up from where we'd left last. A high tea was hosted for the entire office staff on the occasion. But the surprise was in the evening when Lekha and my uncle, who's currently on a short visit, had organised a small party in my honour with a few close friends of ours who are currently here at Delhi. I must sheepishly confess that I like celebrating my birthdays and receiving gifts - I'm still a child, you see!

I've done an audit on my life thus far and have come to the firm conclusion that I've got almost everything that I've wanted though I'd be kidding if I were to say that there've been no disappointments. I believe in Aristotle's saying that every individual is allowed to draw whatever resources one requires from the surrounding environment and society till the age of 30, after which, one's required to give back one's resources to that very same society, in gratitude.

Towards this end, I too have been contributing my mite that I'd rather keep as a secret within me because bragging about it just makes one's actions look contrived and hankering for publicity!

Incidentally, my birthday as per the Malayalam calender is on 05 Dec and all my relatives would do the honours on that day. So you see, I've two birthdays every year!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On the beaten track.

Today was yet another day when I'd offered my shoulder for comfort and the receipient was none other than my friend Chaitanya. He was really sad that he'd missed his promotion to the next rank and in my assessment, he was a deserving candidate as he has all the requisites of a senior officer and to top it all, he's a nice human being. (Chaitanya, Thampi and yours truly were the threesome that Amba's wardroom of 1981 looked upto, for the style statement in whatever we did! Frankly, to my mind we just went about doing the things that gave us satisfaction and we'd an excellent rapport).

I've been through similar situations before too. From Jayaraman(intelligent and efficient with a nose for understanding the most complex issues in a jiffy and in my appraisal, the most deserving candidate for promotion) to Sukhjinder Singh(a legal wizard) to Swapan Kumar Gupta(a slogger of an engineer) to Mohinder Paul(a meticulous techie), Randeep Singh(the go getter)and now to Chaitanya, I'd been given the rare privilege by each one of them - though miles senior to me - to get a peek into their aspirations, innermost thoughts and the despair that they went through. I could only provide my silent company during their trying times - whether it made any dent on their personal agony would be best answered by them but I'd like to believe that I was of some help.

They are all fine gentlemen and I've had the privilege of learning quite a lot of things about life thanks to my personal interactions with them and shall remain eternally thankful to each one of them for the tremendous education imparted to me! One common doubt expressed everytime during my conversations with them was the dilemma of getting one's personal life harmoniously intertwined with the professional life and to my mind, sacrifices were a must.

It's my fond hope that Chatanya, too, would get over the pain within a short span of time and realise that successes and failures are transient and they've a time tag, beyond which they have no relevance!! Kya dialogue maara, eh?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nostalgia and other thoughts.

This evening while I was on my customary walk, I was fortunate to revisit the old martial tune of 'Colonel Bogey'(Incidentally, Colonel Bogey is a fictional figure who played flawless golf). It was being played by an Army band in one of the Messes that happens to be on my route. I've marched numerous times, over my three years at the NDA, to the effervescent score that never failed to ignite a patriotic fervour from deep within me.
And hearing it again, after a long lapse, almost made me to fashion my strides to match the tune! I guess some things never change!!

A fantastic performance.
The viewing of today's episode of 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' was indeed a treat. Raahat Taslim, a housewife from Giridih, was in fantastic form and walked away with Rs. 1 crore after what seemed to be an effortless performance on her part. She was smart and confident with a wide repertoire of knowledge. Congratulations Raahat and here's wishing that your boutique comes up well at the earliest.

The Bihar Election Results.
Going by the exit polls of all the major media channels, Nitish Kumar is all set to return to power with a thumping majority, thanks to his good work over the last five years. The people of Bihar have started to understand the meaning of 'development' and there's an all round respect for law and order. May the state continue to prosper under an honest and genuine leadership. (I'm, of course, still puzzled by his insistence on keeping Narendra Modi out of the election campaign - perhaps, he has a genuine reason or was he being prude and playing to the gallery?)
The people of Bihar definitely deserve good governance and development in all spheres at a hectic pace!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Back from a rejuvenating trip.

17 Nov.
The T3 terminal of the IGI airport at Delhi is indeed swanky with state-of-the-art systems and a pleasant ambience. And for once there were no glitches and the entire departure process was a pleasant experience. Felt really proud that such facilities have come to stay in our country. Chaitanya Shiroor was my fellow passenger and we could catch up on a number of things. Our flight departed an hour late and correspondingly landed at Kochi at 2130h where an efficient Francis was waiting with our vehicle, to receive us.

18 Nov.
After the official work got over, it was around 1430h and I decided to give my parents a surprise. Francis, literally chased a superfast bus slated for Thiruvananthapuram and helped me board it at Thoppumpady. I reached home by 2030h and didn't I give a surprise to my parents? It was a nice evening that stretched to midnight, with us talking about anything and everything - the nicest thing was that my parents, used to sleeping at 2200h, decided to stretch their evening for my sake!

19 Nov.
I left my house, alongwith my sister who was off to her school, after an early breakfast. The journey was fine and I was back in the Command mess by lunchtime. The rest of the evening was spent by visiting close friends and relatives with Chaitanya Shiroor in tow. Wonder whether he'd enjoyed the madness, that I'd put him through, in the course of the evening? And by the time we hit the sack it was around midnight!

20 Nov.
We'd to go to the airport by 0500h and as we passed through the bridge span over the River Periyar, I was reminded of the tragedy of Dec 1970, yet again.
I was in class X then and our entire class was housed at the YMCA complex (situated on the bank of the Periyar) in connection with our industrial visit to Aluva and the places around. After the visit, ten of us(I was one amongst them) were to go on a trek up the Anamudi hill. But alas, fate had willed otherwise. TD Gopinath, a classmate, lost his life in the treacherous waters of the Periyar.
In the morning, I and Gopinath had gone to the bathing ghat which was at the bottom of a flight of steps by the riverbank, right in front of the YMCA building. I'd called him up after finishing my bath but he said that he wanted to be in the water for a bit more of time and he seemed to be enjoying playing(that's the sight of Gopinath that's imprinted in my mind like a frozen snapshot) with a few others who're still in various stages of their bathing ritual! Little did I realise then that I was hearing him(and seeing him too) for the last time and I'd often wonder as to whether I'd have left him, if I'd the slightest premonition of the unfortunate sequence of events that were going to unfold soon after! To me, ever since that date, the bridgespan(the bathing ghat of the YMCA is visible from the span) over the Periyar at Aluva, has become a place where I shed a silent tear for TDG, always and everytime.
There was a three hour long wait at the airport as the Instrument Landing System had failed due to the previous night's heavy rains coupled with lightning and thunder. And correspondingly, we'd reached Delhi by 1330h and was still in time for a sumptuous lunch at home.

And to the doctor.
I was reeling under the onslaught of a nagging sinus, an irritating cough and the pain due to an ingrown nail on my right hand index finger. So I'd to visit the doctor alongwith Lekha, who was also due for her review. The result was a bandage on my index finger after an incision that was a bit painful while being executed but the doc did a good job!

21 Nov.
It was a quiet day, all through, with us going through our Sunday morning ritual of calling up everyone to update ourselves about each of them.
And today happens to be 'kartik purnima' - yet another festival of lights. As I punch in this piece, Lekha is busy getting the 'diyas' ready for being lit up!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Off to Kochi.

It's another dull day with an overcast sky and without a hint of the sun. It's also a holiday in view of Bakr Id, but the customary visits to my friends to wish them on the occasion had to be restricted to a few telephone calls. I'm off to Kochi on work and it's my sincere hope that the departure process at the new terminal T3 is less painful than what it has been over the last few days.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Couldn't help it!

This morning I'd a date with the RTO of Gurgaon to register my new possession - the Chevrolet Cruze. And surprisingly, a dull day with an overcast sky did not dampen my enthusiasm even a wee bit, as driving through the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, weaving through a moderately heavy traffic, pumped up my adrenaline instead! And we - Sanjeev, my man Friday and Dhan Singh, my go between with the RTO and I( was in uniform for two reasons. Firstly, so that no one messed up with things and secondly, to get back to work within the shortest possible time) - reached the place well within time.

The verification and the actual part of the registration process just took about ten minutes flat, much to my pleasant surprise. And then it happened.

A youngster - must have been in his late 20s -thrust a parking ticket into Sanjeev's hands, which was strongly reacted against by one of the RTOs saying that it was illegal and asked my man Friday to chuck it away. And I'd thought that the entire episode was over without any need for my intervention. But as I manouvred the car out of the enclosure, the youngster accosted me in a belligerant manner insisting that I paid for the parking which, incidentally was a paltry Rs. 15/-. To the statement that I was a serviceman, he said that no one was exempt and once again, insisted on getting his money. And that was the time I lost my shirt.

I've this fetish that no one has the right to disrespect a service uniform - and I strongly believe that this responsibility rests, equally, on both the wearer and the beholder. Period! In a slightly raised voice I'd to tell the youngster that what he was doing wasn't right as endorsed by one of the RTOs earlier. Probably, the menace in my voice made him back off after retrieving the parking ticket from Sanjeev. I wasn't pleased at my victory, in fact, I lost the plot when I'd raised my voice!

But why did he do it - he might've never seen a naval guy in whites and must've passed me for a valet, driving a luxury car from one of the nearby star hotels?

I'll never know that answer, ever!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A couple of thoughts.

My sinus has been misbehaving.

It was a miserable day for me today. My sinus was on a rampage and I'd to keep visiting the nearby washroom to let go the phlegm that kept coming out, seemingly without any end. Concentration was indeed difficult and wonder how people, who'd interacted with me, suffered through my strangely rotten behaviour. I only hope that everything goes fine as tomorrow's gonna be a long day with me having to begin it with a necessary trip to Gurgaon.

My aunt on a Delhi jaunt.

Pappi, my aunt, has been with us since Sunday. She'd come in connection with some work at the BIS which she could do this morning. We've not been able to take her out due to the pressures of the working days, but she continues to insist that she finds the time spent with us quite interesting and I'd like to believe that statement. She leaves for Thiruvananthapuram tomorrow and has promised to visit us soon. For us, it was a nice interaction when we learnt quite a lot of new things. Thanks Pappi kunjamma, just keep visiting us!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

14 Nov - Children's day.

I've always looked up to 14 Nov and the associated Children's day activities. I've won quite a few prizes be it for recitation, painting, essay writing etc during my early school days and later on for weightier competitions like debates, quiz competitions - the beauty of having participated in those competitions was that at least a prize or two were assured. And I love receiving gifts!

The second factor is that it's the birthday of Jawaharlal Nehru. I must let you into this one, my family, beginning with my grandparents, were ardent fans of his. So much so, on the day of his death there was no supper made in our house and we're in a state of mourning and as a kid of class IV, I couldn't comprehend the situation then. He, indeed, is a classic case of a charismatic leader and mind you, if he'd wanted he could have been dictatorial in his ways and ridden roughshod with his own agenda. Despite the whole hearted support of the entire country, he respected a free idea of thoughts. Admittedly, he'd made many mistakes during his lifetime but the position that he put India on the world stage, is the foundation on which the world still looks up to us as a great country!

I like every word and the ethos that he'd put into that masterpiece of his, " Discovery of India" because it underlines his tremendous love for his country. And so, rightfully, remembering him on his birthday is a tribute that we owe to this great son of India!!

And coming to children, for whom this day is dedicated because of his fondness for them. It's a treat to interact with the children of today - a privilege that I'd today being a spectator in a function organised by a school nearby - as I find them to be clearer in outlook and more knowledgable when I compare with what I was at that stage - I should confess that I was a hopelessly lost case!!!

I'm proud of the fact that today's children are tomorrow's citizens who'll surely take the country to further greatness. And may the spirit of 'Chacha Nehru' be their guiding beacon!!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

An unexpected farewell.

This morning, Lekha and me had gone to the nearby market to fetch sundries and as part of our regular rounds, we'd made a visit to the 'SP Store' - a 'malayalikkada' which is run by an elderly malayalee couple. Usually, groceries that have a typical Kerala flavour are available there and on occasions - thanks to the camaraderie built up between us - they used to call us to announce fresh arrivals, telephonically. The 75 year old gentleman who's an ex-fauji(I've never asked him his name but called him 'chettan') had been admitted in a nearby hospital, almost a fortnight back, as gleaned by Lekha from the old lady last month while making purchases in connection with the visit of our guests from Kerala.

Today, the tearful old lady(chechi, as I call her) told us about his death that had occurred on the eve of Diwali. He'd suffered a massive heart attack eventhough he was showing considerable improvement in the previous days. They have a son and a daughter, who're abroad, but have since fetched up to attend the last rites. We're only too shocked by the suddenness of his passing away.

Chettan, as I knew him, was a genial man ever smiling with big, dark and brooding eyes behind a thick black rimmed pair of spectacles. I'd this curious feeling that the old lady did not quite trust his ability to calculate and distribute items to the customers, in recent times, as he was frequently sick and consequently, feeble and distracted. The winter months were miserable for him as he'd breathing problems and a worrisome heart but still managed to smile through, when he used to talk to us.

We shall miss him, whenever we visit that gocery store from now on. RIP chetta, you're indeed a good man!

The old lady also narrated this interesting story about his funeral related activities. His ashes were carried to Haridwar for immersion in the River Ganga. Just as the ceremony was being played out, a snake came out from nowhere and gave a few anxious moments to the bathers at the ghat. Chechi is convinced that Lord Siva had come to bless him as chettan was an ardent devotee of Siva!!

Truth is stranger than fiction!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

When the past came in effortlessly.

Lekha and me had attended a wedding ceremony of the son of a very dear friend. The couple, Vibhav and Vanshika, have grown up in front of us and are coworkers in WIPRO at Bangalore. The function in the evening was, therefore, a close and cosy affair at the lawns of the Subroto Park, a stone's throw away from our house. We had the opportunity to meet many of our friends with whom we'd not interacted for quite a while and every piece of conversation, laced with genuine feelings, was a trip down memory lane. Telephone numbers have been exchanged and addresses have been updated with the promise that, from now on, we shall remain in touch come what may and hope it stays that way because in the eagerness to live our own lives, the promise is, more often than not, broken!

Thanks, KVK sir and Anita for having made this possible by inviting us into your intimate circle.

And Vibhav and Vanshika, here's uncle and aunty once again wishing you the very best in your journey of life. May all good things happen for you!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How much money is enough?

I've always been amused when people have asked me as to how much money should one have to feel comfortable in life. This is a question that can be answered only by the individual, as I reckon, because one's limits and datum are best known to one's own self. I must, however, corelate this doubt with two of the contestants that I saw on the 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' show, over the last couple of days.

Prem Batar of Meerut had won Rs. 1 crore and he went for the jackpot question of Rs. 5 crores despite the fact that he wasn't sure of the answer, his father and the expert on the show prodded him to quit and he was left with no lifeline. He, finally, had to leave with Rs. 3,20,000/-. Why did he do it? Surprisingly, when I searched for an answer within myself, I came to the conclusion that I too would have done the same thing that Prem Batar did! Perhaps, when one's in a position like that, the gambler within oneself gets emboldened to go for the kill with a scant regard to playing safe and doesn't, for a fraction of a moment, think about losing or the consequence of losing - it's a sheer gut reaction that goes awry!

Jyotsna Singh, a police constable disarmingly simple in outlook and her heart rending request to her estranged parents(on account of her love marriage!) to get in touch with her, must have tugged at the toughest of hearts. Interestingly, she'd got on the hot seat soon after Prem and had won a purse money of Rs. 12,50,000/- when faced with a question, where she decided to quit as she was unsure of the answer. The best part, according to me which showed the strength of her character, was yet to come.

Before quitting, when asked to hazard a guess, she'd indeed told the correct answer and everyone in the audience(that accounted for me too in front of my television set, at home) including Amitabh Bachchan, the host felt that she should have taken the call. Despite all these reactions, Jyotsna was absolutely at peace with herself and did not feel that she'd lost anything - for her, the amount she'd won was more than adequate and satisfying! Simply great and three cheers to Jyotsna for her resoluteness!!

And so, how much money is adequate enough? The jury is still out on the issue!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chavan is sacked, Kalmadi is dumped!

So screamed the headlines of most of the newspapers of the day. Chavan's scalp being taken is understandable as he holds a position of responsibilty but what on earth is Kalmadi doing? Sacking him from the Congress party's organisational hierarchy doesn't mean a thing except when it paves way for more serious and swift investigations on his misdemeanour! And the snatching away of the chief ministership from Chavan is not the punishment - his role in the Adarsh society scam, hopefully, will go full ahead in the coming days.

Chavan's statement that his mother-in-law is not his relative made delirious reading. Arun Prakash, a former naval chief, had also made a similar remark in one of his articles( when Mrs. Prakash's nephew figured in a controversy) where he said and I quote, "one inherits relations out of marriage that one has no control of".

If extrapolated, one can go on to say that one inherits relations in life, at birth, about which one has absolutely no control. What makes these people mouth such atrocious statements that are preposterous and sadly, insensitive to the feelings of their near and dear ones? Is a position of authority so very important in their lives, to be clung on, even at the cost of sacred relationships?

I pity them and especially, against the backdrop of what's said in the Bhagvad Gita that all human beings come into this world on a pre-ordained script, written by the master script writer of them all. Anyone who feels that he's in control of his life totally and at all times, is living in perpetual delusion!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Today I met a real hero.

Saurabh, a young naval Commander, came to my office this afternoon to understand the nuances of a contract. He wanted to clear some of his long standing doubts on the subject with specific reference to a particular case and I was only too pleased to oblige.

After going through the official work that he'd come for I'd casually asked him as to why he was sporting a crepe bandage on his right wrist. His answer was something that I was not expecting at all. About five years back, he was stricken with Dengue fever. His platelet count continued to be abysmally low over a period of time, that his doctor had almost written him off! He tried quite a number of variations in his intake of medicines and diet and he claims that the most effective of the entire gamut was the course of 'freshly germinated wheat grass' that he went for. He claims he has come a long way from those bad days and has calmly accepted the harsh fact that frequent pains around his joints were something that he'd to live with. To reduce the intensity of the pain, he wears appropriate caps/crepe bandages around his joints and even around his waist to support his backbone, during winters.

And mind you, during his student days at the Delhi University, he used to play cricket with the likes of Maninder Singh, L Sivaramakrishnan and others for his college. Saurabh is all of 42 years of age and is currently staying here, at Delhi, with his wife and two sons.

Throughout our interaction this afternoon, what was most striking was the positive manner in which he looked at life in general and his all pervading cheerful nature. He's instantly become my hero and here's wishing that he goes far ahead in life shedding the pains completely!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The heartburns have begun!

Lekha and me had gone to the airport to drop my cousin in our Chevrolet Cruze. After a lot of minute and careful calculations, I'd parked the vehicle nicely(for a change!) at the kerb, earmarked for dropping the passengers. Little did I realise that my relief, at having done so, was going to be so shortlived and that I'd be staring at disaster of gargantuan proportions!

A Toyota Qualis came in and screeched to a halt uncomfortably close to my Cruze which instantly prompted me to give its driver the dirtiest look from my repertoire. I saw a lady trying to get out of its rear seat after having pushed her door outward, with all her might. I managed to retrieve the situation by quickly holding the 'menacing' door with both my hands, a few millimetres from my car's body and helped the lady to disembark within the cramped space. She was definitely flummoxed by this sudden show of chivalry by an 'alien' and sensing that something was amiss, her husband approached me with a menacing look.

All went well as the episode had, by then, been appreciated by the parties concerned and each one of us then went about doing our unfinished tasks.

I realised that my heartburns, on this score, were just about to begin as Delhiites drive around with a gay abandon and no one is bothered about my car being new!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A quiet Sunday!

After a hectic ten days, with guests in the house, today has indeed been laidback and quiet. The guests left yesterday, in two batches - the first, by a morning flight and the second, by an evening train. I'm a bit bothered about the second lot, in that, they will be passing close through the coasts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu, where a massive cyclone is gonna hit sometime this evening, which will definitely affect their movement. I only hope that their agony is for a short period, if at all there has to be one!

The house has suddenly become quiet after the sounds of laughter and conversations have died down. Lekha and me have got back to our normal routine.

The general outlook in the neighbourhood has also become subdued, since the depletion of the last clutch of Diwali crackers and there's an unusual quiet that has been brought about by the traffic regulations in force, thanks to the Obama visit and because he's been put up in the ITC Hotel Maurya, a stone's throw away from where I sit!

And it's acceptably cool, climatewise!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The American obsession.

The Obama visit has elicited the same old Indian Reactions. Are we the friends that the Americans really want? Do they prefer us over Pakistan? Will we get unstinted support from them in all our endeavours? Shouldn't they be cultivating us since we're more genuine and above all, a democracy?

The questions are endless but many of the originators of these riddles are 'greenhorns' insofar as international relations between countries are concerned. In matters of international relations and diplomacy, it is permanent interests that determine a country's actions rather than friendships. For instance, the yanks are engaged with the Pakistanis in their fight against terror and more importantly, bring Osama Bin Laden - the 9/11 perpetrator - to book. Towards this end, it's important for the yanks to keep the Pakis in good humour and by uttering something against them, from Indian soil, would definitely have a retarding effect and more importantly, endanger their troops fighting in Afghanistan. It's another matter that Pakistan is in real trouble, in that, the Yanks have long since realised that they're and have been playing the dangerous game of 'running with the hare and hunting with the hounds'!

And Obama's visit to this country has been badly timed, coming as it is, soon after the drubbing that his party has undergone in the elections to the Senate and the House of Representatives. He'd campaigned vigorously against outsourcing of jobs as an important step to kickstart the American economy and offer more jobs for his countrymen. So how can he sing a different tune for the sake of making India feel good?

But what needs to be understood and appreciated is that the Yanks now fully understand the importance of teaming up with India and has been taking significant steps in this regard. It is, therefore, upto our government to take this forward to establish a meaningful patnership between the two countries on an equal footing!

It's hightime that India realises that it does not require American endorsement in everything that she does!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

A riotous Diwali.

Lekha and I've started celebrating festivals the way the people in the north of India do. We've always had quite a few people with us on such occasions and we also make it a point to have Meena, Lekha's assistant and her family to join us then. It gives us tremendous satisfaction to see the kids in action with the Diwali crackers.

And this time, we'd my cousin and her folks along with a newly married couple celebrating their first Diwali. With so many people thrown in, the get together had to be boisterous. And so it was. There were the others in the neighbourhood celebrating it with equal vigour, resulting in a boisterous atmosphere.

The festival of lights underscores the rich tradition and culture of this great country. It's my fond hope that every Indian finds true happiness and a taste of brotherhood on such occasions. Poverty should be eradicated in toto so that each and every household is lit up by the glow of its own 'diyas'.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

On the eve of Diwali!

It was a light day at the office as the staff attendance had dwindled to a bare minimum. Many people had come to meet yours truly, personally, to offer Diwali greetings and exchange pleasantries. And I tried to connect up with as as many friends as possible on the occasion.

There was a power interruption in my block at sunset and thinking that I'd beat it, I'd set off for my walk earlier than usual. But it was not to be. The hassled guy, Ajith Kumar, who was on duty told me on enquiry, that power would be restored only after midnight as a length of cable that had got burnt needed replacement and that the whole repair work would take up a longer time as the new cable had to be fetched from the store. So, it ended up with me watching the other well lit buildings from the dark confines of my home, the brightly lit 'diyas' on my balcony notwithstanding!

The one thing that strikes me the most is the fervour with which the people in the north of India celebrate festivals. The intensity is much greater than what we in the south display or is it my mistaken perceptions?

Lekha returns from Kochi and my cousin's gang from Simla, tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A wonderful journey.

Yesterday afternoon I'd boarded the Amritsar Express alongwith my friend, Swaroop Nandi, for Ludhiana. The journey was meant to be time bound. But the Indian Railways had other plans - the train started about an hour and a half late. I'd resigned to the fact that I could take the delivery of my new car a day late as the showroom would have put down its shutters for the day, by the time we reached there.

The gloom was lifted by a considerable extent thanks to the following:-
(a) Swaroop's inquisitiveness over an assorted set of issues.
(b) Two teenage girls(sisters) solving the puzzle of the Rubik's cube under six minutes.
(c) An energetic group of school children at their active best with their singing, anthakshari and excited chatter.
(d) A friendly young businessman, Rajat, from Phagwara who was my immediate neighbour.

I'd, in the meanwhile, been updating my whereabouts to the dealer, who made arrangements to have us picked up from the railway station and transport us to the showroom which was opened for our sake at that late hour(around 2130 h), so that I could complete all paperwork to set off for Delhi early in the morning. And a patient Gurmukh Singhji, a retired serviceman who was the Manager and the young salesman, Sulabh made that possible by their dedication to the work in hand.

After spending the night at a nearby hotel, we're up and about by 0530h and an hour later, we'd set off for Delhi, clipping in the new car. The showroom's sentry, Balighar Singh(another retired fauji) was more than helpful and very, very respectful.

The journey was indeed a pleasure with me driving the 'mean machine' to my heart's content and achieving speeds of my choice and comfort. And I do not know whether the metaphor's appropriate here, but "I really felt like a bird in the sky".

1. Lekha and me are the proud owners of a Chevrolet Cruze.
2. Today's the day of the 'dhanterras' and it's auspicious to buy metal, in any form and we seem to have purchased a metallic giant on the occasion. Well!

Lekha is currently at Kochi attending the wedding and reception of li'l Sharanya.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Rainy days and Mondays.

"Rainy days and Mondays always get me down".

This is a number from the 'Carpenters' that's been close to my heart, ever since I'd heard it, for the first time, aeons ago.

And from experience, it's the truth. The dull and grey visage of a rainy day always has this effect on my outlook and the prevailing wetness dampens my spirit.

Not to talk of Mondays especially, after having had a fantastic and hectic weekend. The want of extending the weekend mirth comes strong at times.

Today's yet another Monday, there's plenty of work to do before I take off for Ludhiana tomorrow and therefore, this one has been welcome for a change.