Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Not that this was a unique idea. Many cities abroad - Singapore, London come to my mind, foremost, in this regard - follow this on an everyday basis. The use of personal/private vehicles is strictly a no - no and everyone is encouraged to use the efficient public transportation system. It avoids traffic congestion, brings about enormous saving in fuel and reduces pollution with the added advantage for the commuter at not having to worry about a parking space, at the end of the journey!
And someone with noble intentions had thought of such a 'bus day' once every month in Kochi and today was the beginning.
Sadly, Kochiites couldn't care a damn. The roads continue to be clogged with a number of private vehicles and it's business, as usual, at the petrol pumps! We boast of being the most literate state. But today's exhibition of our civic sense shows how uneducated we Kochiites, nay, Malayalees are!!
Travelling by bus in uniform was a unique experience. One became the object of thorough scrutiny, critical observations and was subject to inquisitive queries. I must say that the uniform indeed spreads an aura of 'shock and awe' amongst the civil population!
Monday, May 30, 2011
Then how've they become very common these days? What has changed drastically in our country? One doesn't have to search too hard to find an answer because the most significant thing that has happened out here is the break up of the joint family system. Gone are the days when the patriarch ruled his family with a firm but gentle hand. He was aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each member of his family and took remedial measures in his own way as deemed fit. An occasional rebellion within the family would be quelled with damage control measures that were swift and forthcoming - there was no dithering whatsoever!
Stories abound when the patriarch ensured that one of his many children would be chosen to be with him, to look after the family assets and assist him in his daily chores. The other children who'd gone out into the outside world, in search of their livelihood, would be told to send a small portion of their monthly emoluments to the patriarch himself, which would be suitably doled out to the son with him as remuneration and mind you, no one dared to question that arrangement!
Apart from the economic control, the patriarch used to insist on the annual get together of the family under his roof for the simple reason that every child was aware of his or her family tree!
And what was the outcome? There was no feeling of loneliness even if the patriarch's sprawling house was in the remotest corner of the earth. There was a general sense of wellness and the nice feel of being wanted - a sense of belonging! It's this aspect that has taken a beating upon the break up of the joint family system. And it goes without saying that loneliness triggers ailments like the Alzheimer's and the Parkinson's - their medical reasons not withstanding!!
Will the joint family system ever come back? Not in its original sense, I suppose. But increasing cases of like minded friends conglomerating to live in colonies - with familiar people in their lives - or at a stone's throw away from each other is a case in point - the joint family system is coming back in a refurbished way to suit the need of the times!
Sunday, May 29, 2011
I know that I'm speaking a bit too soon as the monsoon's date with Kerala is on 31 May and what I've seen so far are the pre-monsoon showers. The intensity and the fury of the rains will be there for everyone to see and feel.
And 31 May is being observed as the 'use bus only' day in Kochi. It's a drive to exhort people against using their personal vehicles and use the public transportation system instead. A noble thought - practised in many countries and so is nothing new as a concept - and I only hope that all the Kochiites would join the drive wholeheartedly.
I'm gonna give rest to my official transport that day!
Saturday, May 28, 2011
At the St Antony's church at Madivala, where the wedding was solemnised, I got the opportunity to meet up with our Chemistry master at school, Mr. N Balakrishnan Nair(popularly known as NBN sir). I'd last met him at his house at N Paravoor, in Kerala, almost 15 years back. All of 82 years he's lost weght, has become frail and held my hand to negotiate the flight of steps to the Bishop's quarters where light refreshments had been organised. So I'd sir exclusively to myself for almost an hour and it was a great experience. His sense of humour continues to be sparkling and he remains the simple, kind and wonderful person that he was known to be. When I told him that I and my classmates are what we are today thanks to him and his counterparts' efforts, his answer had the distinct stamp of NBN wit and I quote, 'just like the newspaperboy delivers the newspapers regularly without fail, like the milkman supplies milk daily, we too did what we were supposed to do and it was nothing out of the way. Your love and affection overwhelm me'.
As he got into his car, I touched his feet as traditions go and he showered my forehead with kisses. Honestly and I ain't kidding, I consider it more valuable than the gallantry medal that I've in my kitty.
It was a lovely Sunday afternoon well spent and I thanked the Tharians - Sonia's parents - for offering me this rare opportunity.
Friday, May 27, 2011
It was miserable for the past few days since I was unable to give expression to my random thoughts. It really was a wretched existence! Am I addicted to blogging? If that's so, I really don't mind!!
Can't really express the tremendous sense of satisfaction and happiness in having got back to my blogspot. It's literally like having received a new lease of life.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Today was the first 'hartal' that the new government under Oommen Chandy has faced which was actually called to convey the displeasure of the people at the steep hike in the price of petrol and associated products. The 'hartal' was called by the opposition parties and they've claimed success in all respect which meant that the common man was put to undue hardship and agony!
The Chief minister is in Delhi to get the list of ministers of the Congress cleared from the 'high command'. Consider the ignominy that he's to go through as finally, he'd be thrust with a few names not much to his liking, but with the existing factionalism within the state's unit of the party, this is an exercise that he must go through to satisfy everyone. What they don't realise is that everyone else outside his party(and within his party too, I'm sure)understands the game so whom are they kidding by this exercise, I wonder?
Didi in Writers Building.
I, for one, am extremely glad to see Mamta Banerjee take over as the Chief minister of West Bengal throwing the communists from power after 34 long years. Here's wishing that she provides a clean and efficient administration for the state which deserves it after a long period of stagnation. I must hastily add that I'm fond of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya too, who's a good man but has been let down by his cadres who'd tasted power for a long time. But he too had made his mistakes - imagine the commies, in the early seventies clamouring for land for every man grabbing the same land from them, 30 years later, in pursuit of industrialisation! Nandigram and Singur will always haunt them!!
And the Bongs from now on, like their counterparts in Kerala, should elect political parties of different hues every alternate election. That's the only way that they can keep the politicians under control!
1. Finally, the law has caught up with her and Kanimozhi has landed in jail for her past misdeeds. Did it take a beating for the DMK in the elections to prompt the union government to take her to task? I shudder to think of the outcome if the results at the hustings had been otherwise! Here's wishing that the vengeful Jaya amma brings the whole act to its logical conclusion!!
2. The River Periyar provides fresh water to a sizeable part of Kerala. For the last couple of days, a lot of dead fish has been thrown up thanks to the toxic waste spewed into the river by the industrial complexes on its banks. How can we do such mindless things? What says the Pollution Control body? What can be done when the people themselves are not caring about their fellow citizens?
Thursday, May 19, 2011
This morning, he did what me and my sisters thought to be unthinkable! While going through his morning chores, he'd used my mom's toothbrush. My mom, incidentally, is very particular about her personal effects and this was one area where she's not particularly enthused about what had happened. We waited with bated breath to see sparks fly but much against our 'expectations', she'd realised my dad's faux pas and excused him for his misdemeanour(?!). She'd the brush scrubbed thoroughly to use it herself and we all heaved a sigh of relief that the incident passed off peacefully!!
I guess my parents also believe in the maxim that 'love is sharing a toothbrush'.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Based on my interactions and what my boys go through day in and day out, I've been able to categorise the customers into three groups which are:-
(a) The insistent.
(b) The meek and
(c) The indifferent.
The first lot are very hard to please as they generally come with a negative attitude. For them everything that takes place at the interactions is detrimental to their requirements, to the extent that they feel that we're their 'enemies'. Nothing, that's told to them, is accepted totally and they're very hard to please. One's patience, tact and the power of reasoning come to serious test all the time as their barbs, criticisms or the insinuations can get out of hand.
The second lot are comparatively quiet and not quite forthcoming. They accept whatever's being told to them as the best of a bad bargain. At times one would like to go out of one's way to help them, provided they spelt out their needs clearly.
The third lot is the most difficult of the three to please. However much of help one provides for this category, they remain dissatisfied and are gleefully keen to point out a flaw to sport that 'see, I told you so' sort of look.
Notwithstanding the above, interacting with people is a stimulating experience. It's gives me a chance to improve and become a wholesome personality!
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
And it was a day well spent and the love and affection on display were indeed humbling!
The venue of the picnic was the Hill Palace at Thrippunithura. Thrippunithura was the capital of the erstwhile Kochi state during the time of royalty in the first half of the twentieth century -and this is a monument that had seen hectic activity in the not too recent past!
Monday, May 16, 2011
And after her visit to the eyecare, she had an appointment with the ENT guy as she's woefully hard of hearing. The fact is that she had bought herself a hearing aid, about four years back, but has not got used to it as she finds it totally irritating and noisy! Thus, speaking to her over the telephone has become a nightmare. With the help of the doctor I was able to convince her that the use of the aid was essential to get her out of her present discomfort.
After our return from the clinic and throughout the course of the evening, she'd bravely put on the aid and has decided to use it more often, much to our delight. Hope she's able to get over her discomfort and get used to the contraption at the earliest.
It will help her to be adequate!
Sunday, May 15, 2011
The Governor of Karnataka seems to have his own version of democracy. I should hasten to add that I'm no supporter of the state's Chief Minister either.
Once the people have elected a political dispensation to rule them, the government should be allowed to do its job. It'll be judged by the very same electorate on the basis of its performance at the appropriate time. The Governor has no business in upsetting this applecart unless and until he or she has corroborative evidence to nail the government for its undoings and only then, use them to dislodge it by constitutional means without any delay whatsoever.
In Karnataka, the game between the Governor and its Chief Minister keeps taking place at regular intervals much to the consternation of the people. Is the former trying to please his political bosses? And when does the Chief Minister get to rule his state? He seems to have time only to make thanksgiving visits to the temples once a crisis has blown over!
Another political pantomime that's disgusting and avoidable.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
A teacher by profession, her dedication to her students is total. On my previous visits to Mysore, where she was living till about six months back, I've seen many of the parents coming up to thank her for reforming their errant children. She takes on the weak students, analyses them in depth and mentors them. In fact, when her son, Achu, had failed in a couple of subjects in class XII sometime back, she was wondering aloud as to why his teacher hadn't noted his flaws and applied remedial measures.
Going back in time, I don't recollect having fought with this kid sister of mine ever and I was indeed, ready to part with my personal effects without any hesitation. We used to have long discussions when irritants cropped up and on topics of a wide ranging theme! Subsequently, once our younger sister, Renjini aka Minni joined us, we'd taken on the mantle of protecting her since she used to have episodes of epileptic fits in her childhood.
Between Rema and me, we've caught up with a lot of things thanks to her presence amidst us and I only wish that these times would go on and on!
Friday, May 13, 2011
It was the day of the 'Thrissur Pooram' yesterday. The annual festival at the 'Vadakkunnatha Siva kshetram' alongwith the 'Paramekkavil kshetram', the abode of the Goddess nearby, at the heart of the town of Thrissur, is an event that we, mallus, are proud of simply because of the bright colours and melodious sounds, seeped in heritage, alongwith the array of a large number of caparisoned elephants that have their own distinct flavour. Since we're back in Kerala, after what has been a long time, we'd wanted to see the event at close quarters but to no avail, as work kept us busy. The crowd is so overwhelming that one has to arrange for the 'darshan' well in advance.
Hope to view it in the near future!
To live without a stomach!
Tommy and Pinky are one of our hosts, at Bangalore, whenever we visit the city. The bonding had developed since my school days when I was his House Captain in his formative and impressionable years. Lekha and Pinky have become good friends down the years.
Tommy's mom, all of 76 years, had recently undergone a major surgery wherein her stomach was removed thanks to a malignant growth and the intestines have been connected up to the gullet through an external arrangement! Consequently, she's on a strictly controlled diet regime. But despite her medical difficulties, she continues to smile and that's what has endeared her to me.
She's anxiously waiting to witness her grand daughter's wedding next week and her excitement is outright infectious! God, pse do not put her through too much of pain.
The election results.
The election results, of the recently conducted polls in Assam, Kerala, Pondicherry, Kerala and West Bengal have been on predicted lines except in Tamilnadu, where Amma has trounced Karunanidhi. As I listen to the live broadcasts, the following come as a rewind:-
(a) The prophetic words of Parvez bhai, who was my 'saarthi' while on duty to Calcutta sometime late last year and I quote, 'sahib, is baar laal jhande ko Bengal mahasagar mein hum dubo denge'.
(b) Another forecast from Raghavan, yet another 'saarthi' of mine when I was on duty to Madras and I quote, 'sahib, jo Vijayakanth(we'd the ignominy of seeing him hit one of his party workers in full public view during the campaigning!) ka party se alliance karega, wo idhar jeet jayega'.
(c) The vegetable vendor close by our house who'd told me and I quote, 'sahib, sab political parties ek jaisa hai. Idhar is baar UDF ayenge, magar mere khyal se unko zyada seats nahin milna chahiye. Tab woh theek tharah se rule karenge'.
Simple people with infinite wisdom! It's no wonder then that their predictions have come true. They're the people of India and they dictate their own terms!
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Imagine being with the person you like for the entire lifetime, without losing sight even once. A blissful state to be in when one's passionately in love and has very intense feelings - kind of sleeping and waking together, exchanging innermost thoughts and feelings during every waking hour! Sounding mushy........ not really, it's possible!!
But the flip side is equally interesting. Won't it be boring to be with a single person all through one's lifetime? Doesn't one yearn to be within one's own space with unfettered freedom many a time? This is the dichotomy or the paradox hidden in the statement!
Taking a cue from the saying, where would I like to be now? In San Fransisco or in Europe or somewhere within India - in Delhi, Madras or even Kochi, perhaps? Well, I shall keep that as my personal secret, at least for now!
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
According to the poll surveys, Assam is getting Tarun Gogoi back for another term, the Congress led UDF is gonna get a chance in Kerala, Jayalalitha and her AIDMK by a wafer thin majority in Tamilnadu and Mamta's Trinamool Congress by a brute majority in West Bengal.
Judging from the prevalent mood, as gleaned from the media, the predictions are on expected lines but my take is as follows:-
(a) Karunanidhi's DMK still holds sway in the state despite the numerous scandals associated with it. Or are the people of the state weary of Jayalalitha's famous tantrums if she were to come to power? It's rather amusing to note that one of her poll promises is that, if voted to power, her government would organise 'Manasarovar yatras' for the Hindus and 'Jerusalem trips' for the Christians!
(b) The communists seem to be totally out of favour with the Bongs after 30 years of rule or misrule? Only History will put it in the right perspective in due course!
(c) One of the poll surveys has predicted the commonist led LDF's return to power in Kerala! Hope not, as it's my belief, that every political dispensation should be given a chance to come to power and that keeps them on their toes. In Kerala, thus far, the fronts have been ruling alternately which has worked out favourably!!
(d) Has Tarun Gogoi been so good or, is it that the opposition is in total disarray?
Come 13th and we'll know the minds of the people.
Monday, May 9, 2011
As we're waiting for my mom's turn to go for her surgery, Mr. MP Augustine, a fellow patient on the neighbouring bed, was a continuous source of entertainment with his smart one liners and witty anecdotes and I must say, he'd lightened the mood of the gathering in that big room. He was in his early seventies, with a tall and imposing personality and had a booming voice.
The best quip of his was when he asked the sister for the refund for the catheter, that she pulled out off his wrist once its requirement was over!
And yes, 'MP' are his initials but he says that people go out of the way to look after him because they mistake him to be a Member of Parliament!!
I could get mom, post surgery, for lunch at home. The cataract surgery has become so simplified compared to what I'd seen earlier. Cheers to the marvels of technology! She goes for the surgery on her left eye tomorrow and I'm surely gonna miss Mr. Augustine MP!!
Sunday, May 8, 2011
But yesterday morning, I had decided to venture into unsure territory and make breakfast for my parents and me. With a porridge of cornflakes, single fried egg for mom(dad's a pure vegetarian) and a few hot, crisp toasts alongwith butter and jam, with a cup of tea to wash them down, my menu was strictly colonial and sounded impressive!?
I know that it's nothing very worthwhile but dad's remark that the toasts were correctly crisp and the tea was good at the end of it all alongwith my mom's wholehearted endorsement, made my day. I hope they hadn't said that to please me! But yes, I'm a passable chef!!
Saturday, May 7, 2011
But, the start was stormy in a sense. Getting dad from my house on to the lift and then into the car was a Herculean effort. Every step that he took was with a lot of hesitation - wonder why especially because of the fact that he'd desired such a trip. He seemed to have lost confidence in his ability to walk - and presented a sorry spectacle! (My suggestion of using a wheelchair was vetoed without hesitation). A passive observer would have taken it as me forcing my dad to do something much against his wishes! And at the end of it, as he took his seat, he wanted to go round the corner much to my annoyance. Quickly correcting myself, I let him do just that with the deft use of a mug and a bucket that I carry in the boot of my car, these days.
The drive to Palakkad was nice and we'd a wonderful evening at my sister's place meeting a lot of new people. More importantly, my parents were glad to have made that trip as my dad had conceived this journey ever since I'd returned from Delhi. The next morning saw us driving back to Kochi via Guruvayoor, meeting a few relatives and friends enroute.
A smooth drive without any glitches, meeting lots of people after what seemed to be a long time and above all, the fulfillment of my mom and dad's wish made the weekend very, very special!
Friday, May 6, 2011
My immediate neighbour Air Marshal (Retd) Radhakrishnan happens to be from Sainik School, Kazakootam like me though he is miles senior - he's in class XI when I'd joined class VII in 1967! He seems to be excited as a guy with similar background is fetching up close to him.
Meanwhile, many of my relatives and friends have been visiting the place just to ascertain as to what had excited and prompted yours truly(which I've narrated earlier) to buy that house. In the process, they've been knocking on the Air Marshal's door to make sure that they're seeing the right one.
And the Air Marshal's quip, "Bloody chap, I've seen and heard of hundreds of thousands of people flocking to the shrines of saints who're dead and gone, but your house is the first case of a living guy's abode being visited by many!" He couldn't have pulled my leg in a better fashion.
It's a belief nurtured by many Hindus, out here, that a pilgrimage to Guruvayoor is only complete, if one were to call on Lord Krishna(Guruvayoor), 'Edapperiyathu devi', the goddess within the compound of the temple and Lord Siva of the 'Mammiyoor Kshetram', a stone's throwaway from the Gurvayoor temple!
And now, I must let you into this little secret that I'm sure many of the people who come to Guruvayoor will also come to meet me, otherwise, their trip would not be complete. And yes, this was also a factor in my decision to buy the house!!
Thursday, May 5, 2011
It was on interaction with a few spirited youngsters that I came to know that they're celebrating the outcome of an IPL match - the Kochi Tuskers had beaten the Kolkata Knight Riders(Shahrukh Khan in attendance, if you pse!) in one of the Round Robin matches, at the nearby Kaloor International stadium. What a thing to celebrate but I didn't want to be a spoilsport and spent some more time with the youngsters - one amongst them plays well and I call him 'Tachin Sendulkar' who was the most vociferous supporter of the Tuskers.
As I'd said earlier on this forum, I've still not been able to find a liking for this format of the game which I find to be garishly commercialised. And can anyone tell me as to why I should root for Nita Ambani's Mumbai Indians against Mallya's Royal Challengers or for that matter any of the teams owned by someone, with whom I don't relate at all?
Perhaps, I'm too old fashioned!
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
While he'd ruthlessly recruited young children into the Al Quida to spread terror across the world, in this will of his, he's supposed to have forbidden his children from joining the dreaded outfit! Just goes to show that, deep within him, he was aware of the fact that his calls for 'jehad' were not right! And moreover, he wanted his children to be good, law abiding citizens!! To facilitate this, he's asked his wives not to remarry so that they're able to concentrate on their upbringing. And what about those youngsters whom he'd trained to be the 'merchants of terror'? They be damned, huh! What fine doublespeak, this?
Osama, to my mind, was also aware of the violent and untimely death that was awaiting him but continued to do the ghastly things and wreak havoc all over the world. Wonder what sort of life did he lead through the last few years, as a fugitive, in Abottabad expecting the knock of death anytime on his door? And it eventually visited him in the wee hours of the morning, last Monday, in the form of the US Special Ops squad! A sure case of Akrasia - doing things, fully aware of the endgame!!
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
We'd gone to the nearest unit of the Vasan Eye Care where she went through all the tests and the ophthalmologist told her, in no uncertain terms, that the cataract in both her eyes had ripened and required immediate removal. My mom tried to convince the doctor that an upgraded pair of spectacles should do the needful but thankfully, he was gently firm with his medical advice!!
Knowing my mom, she's dead scared of 'operation theatres' and that was the main reason for her wishing away the inevitable till now. As she went through the various stages of examination, prior to the surgery, I found her to be allaying her fears by being excessively talkative to the numerous attendants and technicians that she came by. She'd also insisted on seeing the surgeon who was to do the surgery on her and after her interaction with him, has come away convinced that she's in safe hands!!!
In the process, she'd become a source of entertainment to all those around but has already picked up quite a few well wishers and friends, in the bargain!
Monday, May 2, 2011
Dad has become weaker and falters quite often while moving about in the house, his walking stick notwithstanding! As I see his deterioration, I wonder whether it's faster thanks to his 'Parkinson's syndrome' or sheer old age. It's when I see others, older than him, in much better physical health that I feel that the ailment is taking its toll. My mom is often perplexed and gets angry because, as I know her, she hates seeing her husband in such a helpless state!
He interacts with us but only on being cajoled and quickly gets back into a shell of his own. To add to it, he gets into periods of erratic activity when he acts disjointedly, attains a 'trance' like state and becomes violent. Throughout such episodes, he has a vacant stare and can scare the daylights out of people not aware of the vagaries of the ailment. During such times, I chide him as I do not like to see him in that condition - I only hope that he accepts my boorish behaviour as an act of my immaturity and forgives me.
He's stated time and again that he feels safe when I'm around and I've this sneaky feeling that he's sure that I can do anything to prevent any harm befalling him! How I wish I'd such superhuman powers!!
I often recall his youthful robustness and the gruelling games of Tennis that he used to play, years back. His analysis of people and events were always dot on. His rendering of the intricate stanzas of the Bhagwad Gita, accompanied by connected explanations laced with appropriate anecdotes, was an all time treat. These days, he has minimised such intellectual forays to a great extent.
Dad, hang on to your inner strength that you've in abundance and I'm sure, together, we shall overcome!
As I punch in these thoughts into my laptop, sitting at the foot of his bed I can see him looking at me very intently. Wonder what's going on in his mind?
Sunday, May 1, 2011
My paternal grandparents(N Krishna Panicker and Kalyani Amma) had lived on to 85 yrs and 81 yrs respectively while my maternal grandparents(PN Panicker and Chempakakutty Amma) had lived on to 86 yrs and 76 yrs respectively. Though Mrs. PN Panicker's end was untimely thanks to a massive heart attack all of a sudden, all the four of them were quite active, travelling far and wide, till their final few days. Of course, my grandparents - all the four of them - had led a very healthy life but, so have my parents.
And that's what puzles me. Why've they become so weak and brittle? A measure of the times? Perhaps! O God, pse look after them and do not give them troubled times!!