Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm a Jonah for some!

We're just back from a party that was celebrating the 28th day of a new born baby. She's been christened 'Atulya' and she's simply cute and adorable. I wish the li'l one a wonderful future with all her wishes coming true as the years progress.

Atulya is the granddaughter of a friend of mine who's a classmate from school. We've been in touch for quite a while thanks to a chance meeting at Bombay about 10 years back and ever since, we'd effectively made up for lost time with at least once a week of 'hi and bye' conversations. My friend and his good lady used to feel let down if I'd not contacted them and would insist on knowing the reasons for my slip up. Since they're successful professionals in the civvy street, I surmised that it was their genuine need to be friends with us that made them feel possessive about our relationship and frankly, I basked in that glory(?)

However, all that changed sometime around the month of September last year. The communication had become infrequent and my own efforts at rekindling it were not quite successful. Since I got busy with my movement away from Delhi and other connected events, I did not pursue it further. So, it was a pleasant surprise when we got the invite for the celebration and their insistence that we should attend, backed up by numerous telephone calls.

And weren't they thrilled to see us, shown by their genuine expressions throughout the get together. During the course of our conversation and to my persistent queries, my friend spelt out the reason for their sudden hibernation. They'd decided - on their elders' advice - that we should be kept out of the loop of the impending childbirth as we'd no biological children and would not take kindly to that bit of news(out of jealousy, perhaps or a question of sour grapes - they didn't spell that out but left it to our imagination!). I've told in this forum earlier that I've the trappings of a good script writer and thus, mustering all the reserves of imagination in me, I've been asking myself since then as to why I or Lekha should feel strongly against the growing family tree of the others! The answer still beats me!!

So, it was with a deep sense of hurt, a badly bruised ego and bewilderment at people's perceptions that I'd returned from the party. My friend and family will be leaving for their foreign destination this weekend and have promised to restore our weekly communication from now on.

Sadly, I seem to have lost the inclination!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The end justifies the means - no way!

In school, during my final years and while at the NDA, I'd always put in my thought on this topic, rather vehemently, during the heated debating competitions. The argument was simple, if one achieves an end through unscrupulous means, the conscience - if one has it, that is - can never ever accept it! One may hoodwink every other for any amount of time but kidding one's conscience - no way!!

I'm referring to this theory of mine against the backdrop of the World Athletic Championship currently being held at Daegu in South Korea. And the specific event is the men's 100 mts. The reigning champion and the strong favourite, Usain Bolt, was out of the reckoning due to a false start. It has come to light that he was distracted by a fellow runner, adjacent to him(who went on to win the crown, I'm not quite sure!) resulting in the false start and the subsequent disqualification.

The winner might have got his 15 minutes of fame but at what cost? Can his conscience ever get over the guilt of having achieved something that wasn't rightfully his? Never!


Since I've quoted an athletic example, I'd like to share with you a very humorous incident from an athletic field, years back from school. The annual athletic meet of my school was on in full swing and the event was the 100 mts(seniors) where Dalbir Singh Chauhan(of class X belonging to the Ashoka House. I was from Prasad) was the hot favourite and the one tipped to win. The Ashoka House Master - a well meaning Maharashtrian gentleman - was the official timekeeper and hence stationed smack on the finishing line. As the race got off on predictable lines, so excited was the House Master that he was seen to be jumping with joy at Dalbir's performance and totally absorbed with the race like the rest of us.

The race was over and Dalbir had romped in first. He, naturally wanted to see his timing when the timekeeper realised that he'd unwittingly squeezed the stopwatch shut at 7.3 seconds at the height of his excitement. Unfazed, he restarted the watch and let it run to over 11 seconds saying that the then world 100 mts' timing was 9.9 seconds and Dalbir did not have the world class facilities to back him up, in the circumstances! In other words, it was his considered opinion that the timing had to be over 11 seconds! Dalbir, to put it bluntly, was crestfallen!!

I can still see Dalbir's fallen jaw at the ridiculous argument put forth by his House Master.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Where's the doubt?

I'm totally aghast at the politics being played out by Karunanidhi and his cohorts in clamouring for the release of the murderers of Rajiv Gandhi. Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan - all part of the heinous crime - have lost their plea for clemency from the President of India and are to hang on the 9th of next month.

While the 'apologists for pardon' concede that the three'd indeed done a dastardly crime, their recommendations are based on the larger sentiments of the Tamilians - wonder what that means? The guilty needs to be punished and there can be no soft approach. One can never forget the fact that Karunanidhi, the then CM of Tamilnadu, had refused to be part of the reception formalities accorded to the Indian Peace Keeping Forces returning from Sri Lanka in 1989. It seriously made one wonder, then, as to where this guy's loyalty lay!

How can one be so indifferent to the country's armed forces? Again, how can the same person be pleading the case of wrongdoers, who'd brutally snubbed the life of a charismatic leader? Would he've done so if he'd lost someone from his own kith and kin? And the timing is most important! Many of his close relations and partymen have been entangled in cases of corruption of unimaginable and staggering proportions!! The public attention and intense media scrutiny need to be deflected and hence this act.

A plain case of double standards!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Anna, the incredible!

Thank god the ordeal is finally over - he'd fasted for 288 hrs, on our behalf, to usher in a robust 'Janlokpal bill' to root out corruption that has seeped into every level of our society! I'd kept my fingers crossed about his health taking a turn for the worse because it was evident that he was punishing his system.

What makes people like Anna Hazare do heroic deeds like these with the least concern for their safety and well being? I suppose, in Anna's case, it's his commitment to the wellness of his countrymen which he's willing to attain even at the cost of his own life. A militaryman - who'd seen action in the Indo-Pak conflict of 1965 - he'd disciplined himself to attain the halo that's his today and rightfully, that too!

May god give him the requisite strength to bring about the change that the entire country seems to be yearning for. And as I'd said earlier, I'm simply glad that he has called off his fast and recoups his health at the earliest.

Thank you Anna for taking up the cause on our behalf. Thanks indeed!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

God's wonderful creation - dog!

I was touched by the heartbreaking image of the Labrador 'Hawkeye' lying sad beside his US Navy SEAL master, Jon Tumlinson's coffin. Incidentally, Tumlinson was one of the 38 killed when a helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan early this month.

I was reminded of Bruno, our pet Dobermann who used to be a tremendous source of joy for Lekha and me. Everytime, we went out of the house and returned, his welcome was unique, intense and spontaneous!

Dogs are definitely man's greatest friends!!


And a mother's prayer that I want to share,
"Well, your bag is packed
Your food is in the bag.
The shirt is tucked in
And I don't think it'll stay for long
But that's all right.
The teacher had better know that we tried.
It's time to get over there
And let the world know you've arrived".

Friday, August 26, 2011

A fond meeting!

During my recent trip to Madras, apart from the usual interactions with friends while fulfilling the parameters of official work, I'd the pleasure of spending a memorable couple of hours with the 86 year old Laila Samson, wife of the late Admiral Samson.

She's chirpy, so full of life and I must confess that I look forward to spending time with her. From the moment I enter her house, she pampers me and insists upon looking after me in her own inimitable manner reminding me of the wonderful times that I've spent with her and the Admiral at their Bandra home, years earlier! Her girlish delight in listening to as well as narrating anecdotes and the way she breaks into peels of laughter makes her charming company, always and everytime. I return rejuvenated and contended in that I've spent quality time with someone whom I'm fond of and mind you, every moment spent with her is education in the true sense.

Ma'am here's praying to God that he'd better be with you always and bless you with good health and happiness. Take care!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

When distances and time didn't matter.

1. A wonderful journey.

I was to catch the early morning flight to Madras and had to kick off for the airport at 5 AM. My co-passengers were Varghese and Rattan Yadav. On passage, I'd the privilege of getting to know the two of them closely as they opened up about their personal details. Varghese had undergone a messy divorce, thanks to an overbearing mother-in-law but is now contended in his second marriage and to put it in his own words, their's is a family of his child, her child and their children. Rattan, on the other hand, was a contended man on his personal front with two young children!

2. My 'Rajnikant'.

On fetching up at Madras, I was greeted by an enthusiastic youngster 'Rajanikant' who was going to be my 'saarthi' for the duration of my stay out here and insisted on my addressing him as 'Rajani'. Since the main arterial road was jammed with vehicles, he took me on a circuitous route along the Mahabalipuram road which resulted in a 'Madras darshan' for me!

Thanks Rajani, you really made my day!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Met a real life hero(or heroine?)

I'd gone to the service station to drop my Cruze for repairs. After explaining the work to be done to the Service engineer, I'd caught an autorickshaw to return to my house.

The driver of the vehicle was a young lady who wove her vehicle, in and out of traffic, rather expertly and drove well. She is Ramani from one of the nearby hamlets of Kochi and her vehicle has been sponsored by the self help group 'Kudumbasree'. Actually, she was working as a domestic help, a few years back and it was then that she used to attend regular driving classes, during her spare time, as she wanted to do something different!

Meanwhile, she'd got married at the behest of her parents only to realise that her married life had pitfalls. Her husband used to ill treat her and she suffered domestic violence silently for a while, hoping that things would turn for the better but Dame Luck eluded her. She divorced him a year later and took up 'autorickshaw driving' thanks to the timely help and guidance from the local Kudumbasree project team. On an average, she makes about Rs. 300/-daily, after meeting all expenses in connection with the running of the vehicle. She looks after her aged parents and the education of her two younger sisters with this remuneration and mind you, she's an elder brother and sister, who live their own lives!

Seeing her confident and optimistic demeanour, I couldn't help but admire her perseverance and clarity of thought. And I really felt nice as I came off from the ride!

Here's wishing that Ramani does well in her endeavours. And may there be many more Ramanis, because emanicipated women form the very foundation of a strong and vibrant nation!

Ramani's autorick is named 'Butterfly'. Aptly named, isn't she?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A great weekend.

1. At Kottayam.

On invite, Lekha and me had driven down to Kottayam to spend the weekend with our friends. Their two daughters were also there on a very short visit. The drive, the stay and the interaction were indeed memorable and thank god, we could make it!

The daughters have grown up to be beautiful and confident young ladies - Sneha is a doctor and currently doing her post graduation in Anaesthesia while, Soumya is a busy journalist. It was a pleasure catching up with them and to assimilate their hopes and aspirations. Here's us wishing them both the very best in all their endeavours.

2. At Sr Alphonsa's home.

On our return drive to Kochi, we'd the pleasure of visiting the memorial dedicated to Sr Alphonsa who'd attained sainthood in the recent past. Seeing the cot and the room of the house where little Alphonsa was born was ethereal. Truly humbling indeed!

3. And disaster struck!

As we're driving back from the memorial, my Cruze's port bumper took the impact of the railings of a narrow culvert while negotiating it. It's gonna be yet another visit tomorrow to the servicing station to make good the damage! When will I be a perfect driver?

4. Good news, good news!!

On reaching Kochi, Gavvy, a young man with the right values and whom we're fond of, informs us that he's soon gonna be a father, the d-month being Feb '12. Well, it's the perfect icing on the cake and mind you, today's an auspicious day as we mallus are celebrating the 'Janamashtami'!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Two unusual sights.

Two people seen on two differing occasions. And I shall never forget them!

Scene 1.

- 74 years old
- weighs 3 kgs less as he's been fasting for over 60 hrs while in Tihar jail.

He breaks into a sprint to ward off the rains and board the vehicle meant for him. Accompanying security personnel and followers have a tough time catching up with him. Well, he's the real hero of today's India. And he's Anna Hazare!

Scene 2.

- Timewise, an earlier snapshot.
- At the funeral ceremony of Shammi Kapoor at 'Banganga' in Bombay.

A wheelchair bound Shashi Kapoor tearfully bidding farewell to his brother. He looked a far cry from what we'd seen of him and adored over the years, in film after film. Was reminded of the saying, 'Time erodes gratitude just as it does beauty'.


The music maestro, Johnson, of the Malayalam movies has passed into eternity. He shall, however, continue to live amidst us by the sheer quality of his musical scores. RIP!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mallus' appetite for gold!

On the huge electronic screen at the Manorama Junction, I'd read that a gold sovereign(8 gm) costs Rs. 20,240/- and thought that the hardcore mallu goldshoppers would take it easy and wait for the climbdown to begin before their next round of purchases. But how completely wrong I was!

Kerala has an abundance of gold showrooms - Bhima, Malabar, Josco, Alappat...the names are endless! And one must see it to believe the unprecedented footfalls in these showrooms and those who opine that the common man does not have the money to buy gold due to spiralling prices, have simply got it all wrong!! The clamour for owning more and more of the yellow metal just doesn't seem to die down or even achieve a momentary pause.

To illustrate my point, yesterday was supposed to be a good 'muhurat' for weddings and a record number of marriages were solemnised on the occasion. The media had covered the event quite extensively(I'd agree to a certain degree that only the ostentatious ones were covered by the media for obvious reasons) and most of the brides resembled 'nimblefooted gold showrooms' with layers of ornaments of varying sizes and shapes, adorning their bodies!

O, us mallus and our craze for gold! We'd beat anyone and everyone on this score. And who knows, Midas, the mythological character with the golden touch, might have been a mallu? Perhaps!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Farewell, Shammi Kapoor.

Shammi Kapoor had passed away over the weekend. I'd purposely kept my thoughts about him on hold, as I was poring through the reminiscences, from all over, on the media as well as the cyberworld and thankfully, am now privy to the many facets of his personality. He was the master entertainer of his times. During my childhood days, I'd been to a number of movies of his, thanks to my parents who enjoyed watching movies. The lasting impression that I have of his movies is that they all had happy endings with plenty of fun, frolic and tomfoolery. His theatrics and antics were a treat - I enjoyed them and continue to do so, for sure.

Reminiscing further, I'd like to list out a few of my favourite numbers, picturised on him when he'd spun his magic:-
(a) 'Ae gulbadan' in Professor.
(b) 'Ye chand sa roshan' in Kashmir ki kali.
(c) 'Deewana hua badal' in Kashmir ki kali.
(d)'Dil ke jharokhon mein' in Brahmachari.
(e) 'Ahsaan tera hoga mujh par' in Rajkumar.
(f) 'Jawaniyan yeh mast mast' in Tumsa nahin dekha.
(g) 'Akele akele kahan ja rahe ho' in An evening in Paris.
(h) 'Dil deke dekho' in the film by the same name.
(j) 'Deewana mujhsa nahin' in Teesri Manzil and
(k)' Tumse achha kaun hai' in the film by the same name.

I guess I can go on and on of the numbers that he and the gifted Mohammed Rafi have immortalised.

And in his passing, I feel that a part of my childhood has gone away, never to return. Shammi Kapoorji, RIP.

And for all the users of the cyberworld, he shall remain immortal so long as the Yahoo search engine continues to chug along, as it was named so, to celebrate his passionate use of the medium!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The first of Chingam has dawned!

Today is the first of the month of 'Chingam' as per the Malayalam calender and ten days on, the Onam festivities will begin. Malayalees, the world over would have begun preparations to usher in the Onam celebrations in their own, inimitable way. The frenzy has already begun here, in the state, with people making a scramble to the markets for onam - related purchases. The thrill of the impending festivities and celebrations fill the air, with most of the womenfolk preferring to dress in the traditional 'Kasavu' sarees! May I take this opportunity to wish all malayalees a very happy and prosperous Onam.

I'm in Kerala, during this time of the year, after a lapse of 11 years and hence, excited to assimilate the sights, sounds and smells associated with the festivities!

The Ramayana revisited.

Yesterday was the last day of the Malayalam month of 'Karkidakam' and during the 31 days of that month, in most of the Hindu households, the Ramayana would have been recited - from its beginning to the end - by the lady of the house. My mom does it religiously every year and this time, she says it was all the more enjoyable because her sight has been restored to its original clarity thanks to the corrective surgery.

Ma, seeing you at it last weekend, was absolutely nice that I felt being a young kid all over again!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

All for an effective Lokpal Bill?

1. Wonder what's happening?

2. Just stating the way things have proceeded thus far!
(a) A draft bill on the subject has been tabled by the government in the parliament for discussions. Its version is not acceptable to the civil society, headed by Anna Hazare, as they feel that corruption cannot be curbed with such a 'toothless' version.
(b) The government feels that team Hazare is unnecessarily raking up issues, which are uncalled for, as the matter is in parliament and in a democracy the parliament is paramount!
(c) Anna Hazare had declared earlier that he'd begin a hunger strike from 16 Aug if the bill is not tabled in parliament, encompassing the salient features that he'd suggested.
(d) Both sides dig into their stated positions.
(e) Meanwhile, the Delhi police issues prohibitory orders and introduces preconditions on the conduct of the fast which is turned down by Anna Hazare.
(f) Anna Hazare is arrested and put into Tihar jail PM 16 Aug.

2. Why're the political parties playing games now? They must get onto the negotiating table, call Anna Hazare and discuss to bring about a Lokpal bill that will act as a check, effectively, against corruption.

3. That's the only way to get out of an ugly situation created by narrowminded thinking. No one is a loser, if any of the concerned parties is to take a step backward, for the good of the country!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The weekend musings.

1. Farewell Rosie.

Rosie aunty was all of 84 years, very active, who knew only to love the others unconditionally and I was one of its privileged recipients. She'd lived her life well because even in this advanced age, she did not depend on any medicine unlike many of her contemporaries. And she was a repository of anecdotes and interesting tidbits about life, which she used to regale me with while I used to tuck in many of her mouth watering culinary delights, during my visits.

As I stood in silent prayer by her grave last Saturday, after the Mass, a gentle breeze caressed me and I was sure it was Rosie aunty's unmistakable presence assuring me that she'd continue to look after me from so near, yet so far!

I shall ever remain indebted to you for all that you've given me for almost nothing in return. RIP.

2. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World.

The drive home was bad as the highway was unusually packed with vehicles, carrying spectators returning from the Nehru trophy boat race. While the race was well conducted and the sights as scintillating as ever, getting out of the festive crowd took its own time but I must confess that I did not have the heart to lose my temper lest I lost all those nice experiences of the previous couple of hours!

By the time we'd reached home it was a half past 8 and my parents were waiting to have supper with us. It was a nice, noisy and boisterous evening where interesting information was received as well as shared, with young Ammu's experiences of her college life coupled with her recent educational tour standing out for the sheer variety of anecdotes!

It was past midnight when we hit the sack but what was heartening was that dad and mom stayed awake and were active participants in the entire proceedings!!

3. Prayers for our Cruze.

Yet another puja was conducted at the Kottarakkara Ganapati kshetram to ward off 'evil eyes' on our Cruze. I was a mute witness to the rigmarole but wasn't taking any chances as I did not want my Cruze to go through any more difficult time!

And invoking celestial blessings is the only sure way to prevent unwanted miseries!!

4. The grand finale of 'Munch Junior Star Singer' Show.

The final show at a colourful stage at the 'Nishagandhi auditorium' in Thiruvananthapuram was telecast live and we're enthusiastic spectators of the event in front of our television. The judges seemed to have a tough time deciding upon the winners as each of the five kids - under 16 - who'd reached the finals of the musical reality show that had voyaged through almost a year, gave memorable performances.

May god help them as they carve a niche in the world of music for themselves and continue to regale us for the years to come!

5. Back with my Favourite KBC.

It was nice to be back in front of the television set to watch the latest version of the 'Kaun Banega Crorepati'. Mr. Bachchan, as the quizmaster, conducts the show with the elan and class that only he possesses! However, what was touching were the real life stories of a few of the participants and Archana Goswami's mother Usha, according to me, is truly larger than life.

She'd the guts to defy her husband and family who'd asked her to abort her child as it happened to be a girl. She'd then taken off to Varanasi, given birth to that child and brought her up single handedly and Archana, was there for the whole world to see. Truly remarkable!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A taint that will be difficult to overcome.

The Directorate of Income Tax had recently conducted raids of the houses and allied business stakes of Mammooty and Mohanlal, the two superstars of the Malayalam film world. The unaccounted wealth between the two actors has been pegged at Rs. 30 cr, in the form of priceless paintings, valuable antiques, cash, ornaments, real estate and assets abroad!

The details would be arrived at probably, sometime later.

These two gentlemen have tremendous popular appeal, thanks to the acting prowess that they'd displayed in film after film, over the last three decades. Having essayed numerous characters untainted by corruption of any kind, always standing by the truth, their reel - life image had rubbed on to their real - life image too and hence, the taint that has now set in would be difficult for them to overcome!

Sad. Yet another example of people whom you like, turning out to be with feet of clay!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A hotchpotch of emotions.

1. Adieu Dr. PC Alexander sir!

During my stay at Delhi, I've had the privilege of interacting with this erudite scholar, as I knew him to be. For me, those sessions with him were a process of learning and continued education about life, in general. He used to patiently answer many of my queries and fondly call me, 'Commander'.

I remember telling him, during one of those sessions, that though I was greatly benefited from my interactions he was probably at a disadvantage, as there was nothing worthwhile as contributions from me. To which his reply was quick and candid and I quote, "You've a lot of qualities of your grandfather and to me, by interacting with you I feel that I'm making good lost opportunities with him". It was indeed humbling.

I shall never ever forget your kindness and concern showered upon me, sir. I offer my prayers. RIP.

2. An atrocious act.

The TV grab showing policemen on the rampage over hapless farmers, on the Bombay - Pune expressway was disgusting and shocking. For once, I wondered as to whether this was happening in our country! Sadly, it was and reminded me of those barbaric existence of human beings, in retrospect.

A few months back, I'd happened to read a survey on policemen - the world over - which had highlighted the fact that about 70% of any police force consists of people with a criminal bend of mind. I'd laughed it off then as yet another report generalising issues, based on a few extreme cases. But, yesterday, after seeing the policemen firing at unarmed people, fleeing away from them, I've reached the conclusion that the report has a point, perhaps!

The guilty needs to be brought to book, forthwith, without any dilly dallying and steps to regain people's faith in their police force as their 'saviours and protectors' should be initiated by the police straight away.

Those gruesome scenes will take a while to go away from memory!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Between myth and reality!

The grand Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple of Thiruvananthapuram continues to be in the limelight. The hype regarding opening up of the remaining vault, containing treasure and other valuables, doesn't seem to subside. It's now reached a state where the powers that be have to take a call between myth and reality!


The court had stayed the opening of the remaining vault termed as 'B' vault and said that it would announce a suitable date later. Meanwhile, a team has been set up by the Government of Kerala to assess the actual value of the treasures that have been found in the vaults opened thus far.


The 'B' vault has the insignia of a serpent on its ornate door and people are chary about opening it, citing ominous happenings that would befall upon the royal family of Thiruvananthapuram - the true inheritors of this mammoth wealth though they've termed it as god's, the people of the state and the country, as a whole - strictly, in that order!

Consequently, on directives from the royal family, a 'devaprasnam'(a question and answer session between the 'tantris' and god, where answers are provided by Him to questions posed, in the form of indicators/results/signs during the course of the long puja) has been progressing over the last four days, within the precincts of the temple. The upshot of the entire rigmarole is that god has ordained that it'd be inappropriate to open the remaining vault as it would bring about untold misery and extremely bad happenings, as cited earlier.

My take.
It's really tough to take a call on this aspect because the fear of the unknown is 'great' as it involves god and impinges upon one's faith! Notwithstanding that, I'm of the opinion that the remaining vault must also be opened and the entire wealth be quantified correctly - once and for all!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A couple of interesting tidbits.

1. The 'Parijata' flower.

Have you ever wondered as to why this flower blooms only during dark hours, from sunset to sunrise?

Well, as per Hindu mythology, 'Parijata' was a princess of an ancient Hindu kingdom. She was besotted by the strength and importance of the sun. She was also impressed with the deference shown by the people, in general, towards the sun in their day-to-day life and naturally fell in love with 'him'. The sun too reciprocated the feelings and hence, their wedding was fixed to take place on an auspicious day.

But, on the appointed day, the sun did not turn up and so the wedding had to be cancelled. Parijata was so incensed and sad at the fiasco, that she vowed to hate the sun from that day. And the Parijata flower is a consequential rebirth of her soul, in fulfillment of her vow!

2. The dilemma of the 'Burj Khalifa' residents.

Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building - 160 storeyed and 826 metres high - is located in Dubai. The building was inaugurated with much fanfare, sometime last year.

The Islamic affairs department of Dubai has told the residents living in the building to observe varied timings for beginning and ending their fasts during Ramadan, this year. (The reason is yet another illustration that highlights as to how man's work impinges upon nature's balances!) The greater the distance from the ground or higher the floor, the longer the duration of fasting because people on top of the tower witness the sunrise early and the sunset later than those on the ground floor.

Of course, the difference in timings is going to be only a matter of minutes and therefore, doesn't upset the people who go about their prayers with diligence!

Monday, August 8, 2011

On the reverse!

I happened to come across a wall poster depicting a nicely paved road, lined with identical looking trees on either side with the following inscription,

'Backward, turn backward, O Time in your flight
Make me a child again just for tonight'.

And into a bit of day dreaming, I wonder if such a situation could ever happen when everyone of us could travel in a time machine that would transport us to a particular time period of one's choice whenever one felt like it! The advantage is that one gets a chance to be with the people with whom one wants to be with.

But the flip side would be that, if such an improbable situation is reached, there might be almost the entire lot of mankind, preferring to be in the cherished domain, resulting in a cosmic confusion!!

Feel that I've lost it? No, I'm a firm believer of what Rudyard Kipling had to say on this score and I quote him for justifying myself,

"Some men see things as they are and say why
I dream things that never were and say why not".

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Two wrongs.

1. The Indian cricket team's woes.
Nemesis has caught up with the Indian cricket team. Its pathetic showing in the first two tests against England doesn't have to be retold. A spate of injuries have made certain key players unavailable. And mind you, all thes guys were active on the IPL format of the game and are suffering from sheer fatigue of too much cricket.

A sad case of greed for money and glamour overtaking national commitments. The BCCI needs to be hauled over burning coal alongwith the unfit players!

2. Ex-minister R Balakrishna Pillai out of jail.
He was found guilty on the infamous 'Edamalayar case' for having caused a loss to the exchequer by a decison, of his, as the then power minister. In fact, the current opposition leader VS Achuthanandan is credited to have brought him to book.

Incidentally, R Balakrishna Pillai's son is a minister in the present UDF cabinet. The shamelessness with which he's been shifted into a '5 star private hospital' citing health reasons needs to be condemned all round. It's a clear example of people with power and pelf cocking a snook at the country's judiciary and for that singular reason, should be condemned and the gentleman sent back to jail, where he rightfully belongs!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Another day of atonement.

06 Aug 1945 shall always remain poignant in the collective human psyche because of its catastrophic dimensions. Till then, ignorant of the terrible fallout of unbridled nuclear energy, mankind was witness to that genie's potency, which it had unwittingly, released to subdue a recalcitrant enemy!

I've always wondered as to why man hates man and fights over trivia. And this phenomenon is prevalent at various levels - be it between siblings, between parents and siblings, between husband and wife, the list can go on and on - it's endless! Human energy is wasted in strategies and counterstrategies to counter the actions of the 'perceived' enemy.

On this day, it'd be in the fitness of things that we rededicate ourselves to promote universal peace and brotherhood! Am I asking for too much?

I'm reminded of a thought passed on to me by Sister Anne of the convent, that I was in, years back. It goes something like this:-
"At ebb tide I wrote a line upon the sand
And gave it all my heart and all my soul
At flood tide I returned to read what I'd transcribed
Only to find my ignorance upon the shore".

Friday, August 5, 2011

A great evening.

To be with four generations of a family is indeed a rare privilege. The Joshis had organised a 'theme party'
for yours truly, the theme being 'the return of the prodigal chacha' - the handiwork of the two young ladies
whom I'd seen growing up!

The love and affection shown has greatly humbled me. I shall remain indebted to them for the rest of my
life. May God be with the family in all their endeavours. And take care!


I didn't want the evening to end!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

On the lecture circuit, yet again!

I'm excited about my 'lecture date' that has come around. This year, the thrill is that I've been asked to do the honours by my previous organisation, which I consider as a rare privilege! As I've said earlier, more than the first one hour of my monologue, I look forward to the subsequent interaction/question & answer session with the participants which is tricky, thought provoking and an adrenaline charging exercise. It gives me a tremendous sense of satisfaction when, at the end of it all after having tackled all the queries, the class gives a standing ovation for the efforts put in. And I consider it as the best remuneration!!

I look forward to interacting with a few of my friends at Bombay during the run up and on completion, proceed to Pune, which is my 'city of joy'. Again, as I'd cited earlier on this forum, I've spent a part of my impressionable years in the city while at the NDA and hence, coming back to the city gives me a high, always and everytime.

And the added attraction, this time, is that I'm going to be with four generations of the Joshis as I'd be seeing li'l Chinky's bundle of joy for the first time! The excitement is getting to be palpable!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

e-mail habits.

I get a tremendous sense of happiness when I see mail in my inbox from friends, relatives and well wishers. I believe that it's through this electronic correspondence that I'm able to 'talk' to people with whom I'd have, otherwise, preferred to be with everyday of my life! I 'see' and 'feel' the sender as I read the contents of the mail. Therefore, when it comes to my turn, I put my heart and soul into everything that I scribble in my mail.

I dunno whether I'm expecting too much from the others because many of them might be too busy that they do not have the time to spend in front of their PCs, unlike me! But here too, I'd like to play the Devil's advocate and say that one's never - repeat, never - busy when it comes to one's near and dear ones!! And hence my doubt.

Meaningless 'forwards' are sent by many, making me wonder as to what purpose is being achieved by the sender in doing so. Are they indirectly trying to tell me that, 'hey, look here chum I've nothing of interest to tell you but you'd better send me meaningful mail and don't you dither! That's my right'. Grossly unfair upon poor me!!

To cite another example, today, I'm amused to find a flurry of wedding anniversary wishes in my inbox - from my classmates group - wishing the gentleman(by name) and no, it's not mine if you please. Obviously, they did not know his wife's name and did not take the trouble to find out as to what it was from somebody who knew it! The basic courtesy is that wedding anniversary wishes are always conveyed to both husband and wife. And all these class fellows of mine are fully aware of these traditions. If so, why did they make that unpardonable mistake? I suppose - pardon me for being brutally critical -they simply don't care! And have done just a routine thing!!

For god's sake, e-mails have a tremendous meaning!


And today, I'm told that one can attend important functions 'virtually' despite being away in far places thanks to the magic of the cyberworld. And to cite an illustration, the media talks of two brothers, working in the Americas, who'd witnessed their mother's last moments and consequently, attended her funeral in an obscure hamlet near Kottayam, through a website created for the purpose!

Isn't it ludicrous?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Where did the roads go?

Lekha and me had taken off on Saturday for a long drive. It was mainly to drop my nephew, Achu, at the Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Engineering College at Ujire about 70 kms east of Mangalore. And since we're passing through that area, we'd also decided to take a detour and visit the 'Mookambika Temple' at Kolloor, about 35 kms east of Kundapura.

The drive, in my Cruze, was effortless, comfortable and devoid of any problem whatsoever but for the pathetic condition of the roads. In fact, to be frank, one wondered as to where the roads were at certain places!

My woes began from Kozhikode to Kannur and beyond, to Mangalore and Kundapura! At certain places, I'd to look for potholes of lesser sizes to negotiate my way through! The sad fact is that the authorities don't seem to care. How can they let roads - an important aspect of effective communication - to deteriorate to such abysmal levels causing all round hardship to people? Continuous and blinding rains, coupled with quite a few nasty drivers made it an unforgettable experience!

If one were to ask me, the entire lot of guys responsible for their upkeep alongwith the greedy and corrupt contractors should be shot!


(a) At the end of it, I'd logged a distance of 1,389 kms over a span of three days without signs of tiredness!

(b) I'd got over the setback caused by the couple of accidents prior to the journey!!