Monday, January 30, 2012

Remembering the Mahatma.

Today is the 64th death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The nation has paid symbolic homage to the great man at Rajghat and other places all over the country. While it's comforting to see that he's remembered at least in this manner there's an uncomfortable question that every Indian needs to address and that is - to what extent do we truly follow his teachings and the practices that he'd initiated? Sadly, it's ziltch!

The Mahatma's life is all the more relevant in these troubled times. To my mind, his greatest attribute was his steely resolve to plod on issues dear to his heart despite odds. As natural inheritors of the legacy of the Father of the nation, we need to stand steadfastly by what's right and must be united as a strong and vibrant nation.


To a query as to what he remembered as the most poignant thing that takes place on Martyrs' day (30 Jan), a guy piped up rather innocently - 'the morning tea break at work happens to be only after two gongs, soon after 11, on this day'!

Nothing more needs to be said about our ignorance about the great man!! 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The weekend musings.

1. The Saturday angst.

    (a) Falak. The brutal assault on two year old Falak - bitten, beaten and assaulted - is simply disgusting. I
     am convinced that the perpetrator/s of the dastardly act on the li'l baby is/are mentally sick. Here's
     praying that the police are able to book the culprit/s at an early date.

     But my worry is something beyond. What would be the mental health of the child if she were to recover?
     We should provide the best medical rehabilitation processes for the li'l one - the country owes it to the
     child as it'd provide the coming generations the comforting thought that 'we, indeed care'!

    (b) A late tribute.  Dr. Sukumar Azhikode, the orator par excellence and scholar had passed away last
    week. He was being treated for cancer at the Amala Hospital in Thrissur over the last couple of months.
    I'd wanted to look him up but couldn't make it though I do not have any valid reason to toss up as
    a valid excuse for my inability.

    What I remember of him was his tremendous admiration, affection and love for my grandfather, the late
    PN Panicker and shall never forget the moving piece that he'd written titled, 'Here, in the passing away of
    the great man, death has failed'.

    RIP sir. Your literary efforts  and the numerous crusades, against grave injustices committed against
    the weakest sections in society, that you'd undertaken shall always keep you alive in the minds and
    hearts of the people of Kerala.

2. The Sunday melange.

    (a) One of the numbers beamed on today's Rangoli was 'Ajeeb dastan hai yeh......' from the movie
    'Dil Apna Preeth Paraya'. The song has been picturised on
          - a sad yet ravishing looking Meena Kumari
          - a confused looking Raj Kumar
          - the naughty and ever ready to fish in troubled waters, Shyama
          - the taunting and bitchy Nadira.
     No wonder life becomes so difficult for an insider but simple and easy to an outsider - an impassive

     (b) Waheeda Rehman picturised in the number 'paan khaye sainya hamaro....' was simply delightful,
     as always.

     (c) Nandini Krishnan's review of the movie Agneepath, starring Hrtihik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra
     and others was nice especially for the line, 'Nirupa Roy delivers babies in huts and lose them in fairs'
     that tickled me no end!! The review, incidentally, figured in the day's Indian Express.

     (d) And of course, it was a day when quite a few of my friends and relatives at Kochi dropped in to
     offer their condolences on the passing away of my dad.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I remember.........

It was a half past 5, in the morning, when we'd started our journey to the 'Papanasam' beach at Varkala - about 50 kms away from my home at the foot of the 'Parabrahma Janardanaswami' temple - to bid adieu to dad's last mortal remains. And it was also my last duty to my dad as his son!

The journey was uneventful but we're reminded of a similar trip that we all had made to the temple town of Pazhani a few months back when dad was in his elements, in flashes though. I clung on to the urn carrying his ashes and realised that I've not had enough of him. As we transited, I whispered the names of important landmarks that were whizzing past to my dad till we reached the beach around a quarter to 7.

The ceremony started soon after and the affable pandit (he seemed to realise my discomfort) at the beach chanted the related mantras and at 19 minutes past 7, my dad's mortal remains were accepted by the friendly waves of the Arabian Sea. Despite the presence of the entire family and a multitude of people on the beach, I felt a tremendous sense of loneliness. The thought that dad's assuring presence was never going to be available from then on snapped something in me deep within. Wonder how mom's tackling the void though she's constantly maintained a dignified calm all through and has been consoling us from time to time.

The 'tila homam' at the temple was the final activity before our return leaving Leela kunjamma, Santhan kochachan and dad to themselves!

And I remember my dad........

    - the way he stuffed me with ice creams, soon after my tonsilitis surgery, while I was in class II.
    - when he hit me for telling a lie - the only time that I can remember - and then fretting over it
    - patiently teaching me to cycle and getting horrified when I'd a nasty gash from my first fall.
    - presenting me with an HMT Sona watch (and my first) when I'd passed class XI.
    - proudly patting me at the Sudan Block lawns soon after the passing out parade at the NDA.
    - walking with a swagger on the bridge of the ship that was my first command.
    - looking keenly at the gallantry medal that I'd received at an investiture ceremony
    - taking Bruno for his walks when we're home for vacation.
    -  and I can go on and on because he's given me so much to remember!!


Thanks to erratic net connectivity and a misbehaving laptop, I've not been able to punch in my thoughts over the last few days. Apologies for having let you down as I've nothing else to offer except words that can convey my thoughts. Here's a promise that I shall never let you, my followers and those who read my musings regularly, down ever again.

Notwithstanding the reasons cited for the inactivity, my apologies yet again.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Emotionally draining.

Today was the 'mahabhog' in connection with my dad's after death ceremonies. There was a multitude of people who'd filed into our backyard, from morning, to witness the activity at the site of the pyre and yes, I'd become the cynosure of everyone's eyes as I went about doing the penultimate duty for my father in this life.

To me the most draining experience was when I'd to pick up three pieces of dad's bones from the pyre to be preserved for further ceremonies, over the next six days, before those last mortal remains are immersed in the sacred waters.    

Thursday, January 19, 2012

O, to get a death certificate......

1. The tortuous path.

The path that needs to be taken for attaining a 'death certificate' is really tortuous. We'd informed the local panchayat office guys about my dad's passing away and other related particulars. When they'd tom-tommed just a few years back that the entire system had been computerised, I was under the impression that it would become a single window effort to get certificates from the office but that's not to be.

For some mysterious reason, they've still retained the man's importance(for manipulation or to retain their importance, I'm not sure) thereby stifling an effective man - machine interface that the system would have otherwise become!

2. Principles without reasoning?

An old lady had walked into our house to offer her condolences this afternoon. She'd helped dad alongwith the others, many a time in the past, during the seasonal farming activity on our fields and had, in turn, grown to like him. He used to help her monetarily and also intervened occasionally to get her rightful dues from the local governmental organisations.

She was sweating through all her pores, thanks to the oppressive heat, as she came up to me. My sister had brought in a glass of cold juice which she politely refused. And the reason - it's customary that one does not eat  anything from a household where death has taken place till the mandatory and connected ceremonies are over.

Seeing her hapless condition, I persisted, only to be refused gently but firmly. I then urged her to go to our neighbours and have something before started on her long trek home. Perhaps, the custom is backed by scientific reasoning too?      

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bhaskaran, my 'saarthi'.

Bhaskaran has been my 'saarthi' for the 'bhog ceremony' over the last week. Disarmingly simple in his outlook towards life, in general, he has enormous patience with me and my mistakes that I make with a remarkably regular frequency.

There's a connected story that needs mention. Bhaskaran's father, Sanku Mooppan, and my dad were classmates from school. Dad had often narrated the story of their having shared the last bench in class and their propensity to get into trouble thanks to their boyish pranks. Dad's friend stopped his studies midway soon after my grandfather had shifted dad into an English medium school in town.

The inseparable friends continued to keep in touch with each other and I've seen my dad in deep conversation with his friend during his forays on leave. In fact, Sanku Mooppan used to keep a track of my dad's leave particulars from his folks. They used to be in a different world when they're just the two of them by themselves! Their interaction could be pretty serious at times but usually, it would be in a lighter vein punctuated with guffaws.

Dad was quite sad when his friend had passed away about ten years back and had told me movingly as to how much he missed him and his wisdom.

Wonder whether the relationship is hereditary? Because, I must confess that  I've developed a liking for my dad's friend's son!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

An anniversary sans the main protagonist.

Today's 16 Jan and it happens to be my parents' wedding anniversary day. Usually, we celebrate it with mom and dad cutting the traditional anniversary cake and calling over the few people close to us and whose company my parents relish.

Consequent to my dad's passing away, today was different with him being very much 'present' amidst us despite his absence. As mom narrated the minute by minute sequence of events that unravelled this day many eons ago - on our insistence - I felt that I too was part of the gaiety and the celebrative mood prevalent then, alongwith the people whom I love most in this life of mine. The aspect of dad that came out all through the narration was his tremendous sense of humour, enormous patience and the quality of remaining unflappable even during the most exasperating circumstances.

As mom navigated along those pleasant times through her narration, we realised as to how badly she was missing dad - her running fights with him notwithstanding, when he was around!

Felt bad that I could be of no help to her as she fights her agony.  

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Interesting tidbits!

1. The most happy moments in life.

My uncle, dad's younger brother from Nasik, is with us alongwith his wife. They're the perfect people to have around in these difficult times and to top it all, my uncle is an expert in interpreting the nuances of the Bhagwad Gita, the Upanishads and the philosophy of life! He's taken upon himself to clear my stupid and mundane doubts about life, in general.

This is one interesting gem that he'd passed on for the day. A very learned man, who'd lived his life to the full in every sense of the term, was asked as to what were the happiest moments of his life. The answer was short and  crisp, given without batting an eyelid and I quote, "the half an hour that I'd spent with the barber"!!

Just goes to show that happiness can be found from the most simple things. The problem seems to be that we don't find the time, to stop and enjoy them, in the mad rush of life!!!

2. All religions speak the same.

It's a known fact that while all religions speak the same things, narrow minded people, posing as repositories of knowledge, interpret the sacred texts to suit their interests and create avoidable friction. Just to share an interesting nugget of information from what I'm observing from the 'bhog ceremony' that I'm part of, every morning.

When the 'bhog' is finally offered to all the near and dear ones who've passed into the mist of time and the crows swoop down to have it, the offering of rice mixed well with milk and curd is always placed in three portions.

It would be interesting to note that in Christianity, we always remember and revere the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost!

The number '3' being common - is it a mere coincidence? Or is there a connection?   

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Some rural employment scheme!

The government introduces various schemes for the benefit of the people. It's supposed to benefit a sizeable percentage of the population with the least amount, if not, zero corruption! And we've always been told that the top layer of bureaucrats are the ones who put unnecessary spokes.

But the truth is something else. There's this friend of mine staying in rural Kerala who wanted to get his farmland cleared off overgrowth and wild grass. He's made numerous trips, on this score, to the concerned Village Extension Centre to get his case cleared but to no avail. To quote him, he's been constantly experiencing tyranny from the lower rung bureaucratic specimen. They deliberately sit on files and make people run hither and thither on the silliest of pretexts! The aim is to demoralise a guy to such an extent that he throws in the towel in utter disgust and stomps off.

The lower rung bureaucrat then runs his own fiefdom and dispenses the goodies to his favourites.

No wonder, then, that these guys did not want to come under the purview of the proposed 'Lokpal Bill' because they're steeped in it themselves!! 

Friday, January 13, 2012

What made the crows take such a long time?

Dateline 13 Jan.

Bhaskaran, the karmi assisting me in the 'bhog' ceremony, was dot on time. After getting the things, we went about setting up the makeshift stove to prepare the 'bhog'. Thanks to the heavy overnight dew, the firewood was wet, making it a difficult proposition but finally managed to get it going.

The 'bhog' was ready at long last, the ceremony was put through its paces and the banana leaf with the three small balls of rice were offered to the crows. Despite clapping with my wet hands, many a time after the mandatory three, no crow was in sight. I was near panic - weren't my efforts sincere and pure enough, why was my dad cross? I mean, why're the crows holding back? Bhaskaran comforted me by saying that the population of the crows was low and hence, the long wait had become a necessity during these times as his experience in these matters told him.

Finally, after what seemed to be an agonisingly long wait, a couple swooped down to feast on the offering.

And boy, the relief that engulfed me was simply overwhelming.

Getting to know more of dad.

Dateline 12 Jan.

Within this short span, I've come to know very many things that my dad had done which were narrated to me by people who'd come to offer their condolences.

There were these children - Preethi (class IX) and Govind (class IV) - from a very poor labourer's family whose education is being sponsored by him through an endowment.

A lady who'd undergone a very serious accident was brought back to near normalcy through medical management in the best hospital nearby and the complete expenses were provided by dad.

A labourer's family who are grateful that my dad used to visit them whenever he passed their house's way accentuating upon his simplicity and humility, coupled with genuineness.

Well, I must admit for sure that I'm proud of my father and he's gone up in my esteem further. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cannot fake emotions.

Dateline 11 Jan.

I'm just through my father's funeral and have gone through a roller coaster of emotions. A lot many people of the place - from far and wide - had filed past my father's body lying in state and were in attendance as the final ceremony at the pyre was on.

My mind was numb and I just followed the instructions passed on to me by the gentleman who was conducting me through the entire ceremony. As I took off dad's glasses and untied the knots from the toes and the hands, I realised that his earthly form was in view for the last time and caressed his face, his cheeks and chin - desperately wanting him to get up and tell us all that he was befooling us and it was all a joke!

As the face was covered with the white and red shrouds and logs of wood were stacked up, I and my nephew lit the pyre and huge tongues of flame began engulfing the huge stack and within no time it was a raging fire. The first offering of food for the departed soul was placed on a small banana leaf and the call for the crows were given by my clapping with wet hands. The crows swooped in soon after and the offering was consumed within no time. I was told by the 'karmi' that my dad was mighty pleased with our efforts!!


The guests who'd come in had to be personally thanked and seen off on completion. Had to chat, make polite conversation, hug a kid here and hug another there and also smile at an odd occasion when someone told a joke to lighten my feelings - damn sweet of them. Later, my sister'd told me that a guy had remarked that I should've been serious and brooding all through.

I suppose, he doesn't understand that I can't fake emotions!!!          

My father has gone into the mist of time

Dateline 10 Jan.

No more waiting for son's Sunday morning calls!

As I was leaving home for the afternoon session at my office, Sanil, my younger brother-in-law called me to say that dad had passed away. Dad was fed lunch by mom and lay on bed while mom was having her lunch in the adjacent room when she heard him cough. By the time, she'd gone to see as to what the reason was, it was all over. Her partner of this life, had left her, never to return.

Dad had beaten us to it. Lekha and me were to have left for home to cut mom's birthday cake tomorrow and go on to celebrate my parents' wedding anniversary on 16 Jan. And I'd kept our programme a secret to surprise mom and dad but what I was unaware was that dad had already firmed up his plans for the ultimate journey and had in turn, decided to spring his surprise on me!

We'd fetched up at my home by about 2200h where dad was lying in state in the glass bubbled coffin. The person who's the very reason for my existence, who'd nurtured me and showered his love all through and made me what I'm today, lay still and seemed to be at peace and resting after an eventful 86 years.Was he tired of it all, did I live up to his expectations?.........I'll never ever know. 

At least, he doesn't have to wait for his son's Sunday morning calls anymore!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

My love cost you nothing!

We're passing through exciting times!

The title of my thought for the day is the name of a short film made by four college going youngsters. All of them  have a common bond - they've experienced unrequited love! To cite just one story, one amongst them lost his girl to the deadly scourge of cancer. The unrequited love messed up their lives, turned their worlds upside down - albeit for a short while and then wisdom dawned on them that their lives were not meant to be squandered away for meaningless things!

The film is the sum total of their autobiographies - if I were to take poetic licence at this juncture - depicting the objects of their love as truthfully as they could and in the process, try to knock the bottom of the adage that it's men who're promiscuous in love and not women!! Some of the aspects that they've highlighted are as follows:-

       (a) Seventy percent of teen suicides that take place in Kerala is due to failed love.
       (b) Most girls view their campus love and weaknesses as mere time passes - to have a good time while     it lasts.
       (c) Practical thinking is the byword. It's not love but good economics and bank balances that ensure
            a stable life.
       (d) Not to forget a fairly well accepted and respectable position in society for the spouse.
       (e) And lastly, the fairer sex manages the art of sharing their affection with more than one person at a given point of time with considerable ease.

My take.

I'm of the opinion that such happenings are even sided - I mean it's applicable for both boys and girls. No real comparisons can be made but perhaps, guys take longer to recover when such a mishap happens and no wonder they say that woman is the stronger sex!

I shall definitely watch the youngsters' efforts on celluloid to see as to how they've depicted such a sensitive issue. It's definitely their viewpoint and one needs to respect that.

And yes, we're indeed passing through exciting times!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Musings over the weekend.

1. A comatose Sukh Ram arises.

Can't help but laugh at the lawyer's plight who'd told in court that the corrupt Sukh Ram could not be produced in court because he was comatose which was immediately demolished by the doctors attending the former minister. And the result - Sukh Ram is finally in jail. For what duration is anyone's guess but at least one can satisfy with the thought that there's no escape from the law howsoever mighty one might be. The judiciary has done it again which deserves kudos. But what happens to the lawyer who lied before the court?

2. A white blanket.

Frames of a snow clad Kashmir and the news about the Jammu - Srinagar highway being blocked due to continuous and heavy snowfall were in the air. On a very personal level, seeing snow gives me excitement and I always feel that the people there must be enjoying the new, though, temporary environment. I'm also aware of stories and incidents that show that a fall on the ice can cause grievous injuries.

Probably, after seeing a lot of movies in which the hero(usually, overclothed) and the heroine(as always, ridiculously underclothed) frolic over ice and generally have a whale of a time, the romantic aspect of snowfall has rubbed off on me despite the fact that I used to abhor the Delhi cold!

Yet another example to show that certain things are simply good from far!

3. Have we backtracked?

There's this news that's trickling in that the defence team is slated to go on its China visit after pruning down the name of the IAF man from Arunachal Pradesh. If you remember, his visa was denied by the chinese.

I was among the many who'd felt happy when the government had called off the visit in retaliation to the chinese pettiness. But what now? Have they got away yet again by their browbeating? Sad!  

Dateline 07 Jan.

It was one of those unlucky patches that I seem to be hitting these days with regularity, wonder why? My laptop had refused to boot up and hence I could not put in my thought for the day! So, here I go under the original dateline.

Hemant Kumar.

Happened to see the programme 'Total Recall' on Hemant Kumar on the Times Now channel today. All the numbers shown had a nostalgia about them, so much so, that I watched a repeat telecast of the programme.

(a) Na jaaon sainya........
      Picturised on Meena Kumari and a very sleepy and disinterested Rehman in the movie 'Sahib, biwi aur
      gulam'. The lyrics capture the loneliness of the poor lady and the music is soul stirring!

(b) Bekaraar karke yun na jaayiye.......
      Sung by Mukesh and picturised on Biswajeet in the movie 'Bees saal baad' which is
      soulful and appropriate.

(c) Woh shyam kuch ajeeb thi
      Yeh shyam bhi ajeeb hai........
      Picturised on Rajesh Khanna and Waheeda Rehman in the movie 'Khamoshi', the whole song sequence has
      a touch of innocence accentuated by the immortal voice of Kishore Kumar.

(d) mmm.................Pukar lo
     Tumhara intezar hai.......
     Sung by the maestro himself in the same movie, his voice has the quality to arrest one's senses.

I suppose I can go on and on about the musical genius, Hemant Kumar. The Hindi movie world has really been blessed with super talent over the years and their work will remain immortal.


I also happened to hear an all time favourite of mine from the movie 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna' sung by Kishore Kumar and picturised on Dev Anand - 'phoolon ka taaron ka sabka kehna hai
                                                                        ek hazaaron mein meri behna hai......'
It was simply superb and my day was made! 

Friday, January 6, 2012

China is at it again.

1. The visa and a host of other hassles.

The Chinese government are once again up to irritating us. By denying visa to an IAF officer, just because he happens to be from Arunachal Pradesh they're repeating their boorish qualities. The list of their misdemeanour seems to be increasing. A fortnight back, they'd misbehaved with one of our diplomats as a sequel to the detention and harassment of a couple of our businessmen.

And to make it worse, the Chinese have been dumping cheap imitations of our products into the international market to kill our reputation. Even at the fear of being dubbed repetitive, the construction activity on their side of our borders in Ladakh and Pakistan occupied Kashmir seems to be going on unabated.

I think it's time that we toughened our posture towards this wretched country who doesn't play the game by the rules - sans etiquette of any sort! We need to flex our muscles in drumming up world opinion to broadcast that China is not only a bully but a rogue state!

2. Oh, these Afghans!

It's yet another sad story of the humiliation of women in that country. This time it's about a 15 year old girl who has been tortured, bruised and battered by her in laws for refusing to be pushed into prostitution! What sort of boors and cads are these people? Don't they've any value for life? And are women supposed to be used as playthings in pursuit of the pleasures of their menfolk?

Then what's the difference between them and animals? The story is not only sad but outrightly disgusting!    

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Interesting observations.

1. The dual lives that we live.

There's this couple that live nearby who've completely changed over the last couple of weeks making everyone of us wonder as to what has brought about such a transformation in them. They're outgoing and socially very active but all that seem to be a thing of the past over the last fortnight. Naturally, most of the neighbourhood was curious including yours truly! And during my evening walk while I came across them, I couldn't help but ask them about it. Their response to my query was an eye opener.

Their son who's just got a job in an MNC abroad was home on a break and his return was subject to getting a few endorsements on his passport for the final visa clearance and he's gonna be here for a while. During his stay, the parents don't want the son to feel neglected(?) and they also do not want him to be mislead by the close relationship that they maintain with their friends. I found it to be a strange apprehension and blurted out in as many words to the couple. Their answer was an uneasy smile with the promise to revert to their actual boisterousness once their son goes away.

Wonder whether the son - he's an intelligent young bloke - is aware of his parents' sacrifice(?) for his sake?

2. Are they too brittle?

My young nephew was supposed to get a letter from a government office at Thiruvananthapuram to do a one week industrial attachment with the organisation's shop floor activities, as part of his engineering study. Towards this end, I'd introduced him to the head of the organisation so that things would be easier for the youngster(in hindsight, I wonder whether I'd done the right thing?).

Alas, that was not to be. Every organisation has its fair share of unhelpful people(reminds me of the adage, 'In an organisation, those who matter do not bother and those who bother do not matter'). The youngster was made to shuttle from one desk to the other and  from one office to the other and his patience was running thin. But what the last straw that broke the proverbial camel's back was when the personal staff of a particular gentleman refused my nephew from meeting him - neither citing reasons nor giving an alternate time!

The extremely harassed and dejected youngster just dashed off to board the first available train to go back home to his parents saying that he'd decided to skip the industrial attachment altogether!!


It took a lot of cajoling and saying that it's the spirit of 'never say die' which ultimately helps anyone to garner victory in his efforts, despite adversities to bring the young man around. He'll be trying his luck yet again this Saturday and I sincerely hope that he swings it this time!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

American Pie.

Just happened to hear snatches of Don Maclean's number from an album of his, that bears the same name, after a long, long time. This was the rage of the '70s. I'm fond of this number and have heard it a countless times because the lyrics tickle me. Let me try to recall the number and here I go,

        'Bye, bye Miss American Pie
         Drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry
         End o' row o' boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
         Singin' this will be the day that I die
         This will be the day that I die.

         Have you heard of music and Rock 'n Roll.......

         And the three men I admire most
         The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost
         Rode up the last train home'
         And the music died.
         And they're singin'
         Bye, bye Miss American Pie
         Drove my chevy to the levy but the levy was dry
         End o' row o' boys were drinkin whiskey and rye
         Singin' this will be the day that I die
         This will be the day that I die.

1. I don't think that I've got all the words right. Anyone who has them and happens to read this may fill me on it, please.
2. I've tried to analyse my fascination for this number. It's, perhaps, that I'd always wanted to own a Chevy
and now that I do, it's become all the more likeable!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Walking the extra mile.

There was this elderly couple who'd their reservations done on an early morning train today - leaving Ernakulam at 0530h - to go to Coimbatore. Actually they're on the waiting list till yesterday and the confirmation had come by during the release of berths against the emergency quota thanks to a couple of deft telephone calls.

I'd gone to the station to see them off as I felt like doing so just like that and thank god, I'd gone there despite the interruption in sleep! It was on reaching the platform that we realised that the train was over five hours late and the old lady and the gentleman were totally flummoxed and at a loss as to what had to be done alternately. They had to be at Coimbatore by 10 for an important function. After much discussion and a few telephone calls, they arrived at a decision to board the long distance bus of the state road transport corporation and get off at Palakkad from where their relatives would ferry them over the remaining distance by car.

Saying that they'd find their way to the bus stand, they literally shooed me off to catch some sleep but I'd have nothing of it and insisted on seeing them board the bus. Throughout that short distance they're apologetic for the  plight(?) that they'd put me in and praised my parents for their fine son - I must admit that they're real nice words to hear at the beginning of the day!

Just prior to boarding their bus, both the gentleman and the lady hugged and showered me with kisses. I was really overwhelmed that I could radiate so much of positive energy through an insignificant act of mine. I'd done it as part of my duty and frankly, had seen my parents in them at first sight.


They're in touch with me all through the journey till they reached their destination and have promised to keep in touch with me from now on. Moreover, Lekha and me have got a standing invite to visit them at their home in New Delhi!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Another round of farewells.

It's yet another round of farewells at my workplace. Three of my boys are moving out - two on retirement and one on transfer.

I've seen these boys at close quarters and have come to like them for their simplicity, dedication to their work and the will to never let their leader down. Biju and Sajeev are starting their second innings on a very competitive civvy street. I've told them to abide by the truth which eventually wins however much the temptation might be to appropriate wrongful means. And the golden rule is that the new jobs that they take up should give them happiness and contentment.

Of the two, Biju has just walked out of the hospital after a couple of episodes of epilepsy that had shaken him, a fortnight back. The reason has not been identified despite a host of tests that have been done on him. His job options, therefore, have narrowed down completely! Sajeev, on the other hand, is looking after his wife's father who's suffering from bone cancer.

The third person moving out on transfer, Balraj, happens to be my 'saarthi'. His conduct, behind the wheel, has always been good as he drove the Gypsy with a fair amount of caution on the mad roads of Kochi.

I wish them luck and happy hunting in their new environment and sincerely hope that they retain their naivete however harsh the calling is gonna be.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Another year gone by.

Yet another year has gone by. Personally, the year had started off with a change in that we'd shifted from New Delhi to Kochi after 101/2 years.

It was a drastic change that had shaken the wits out of me and reiterated the hard fact that change was the only constant in life. I'd got so comfortable with our stay in Delhi that I was in an illusion that it would go on and on! Kochi has been nice though Lekha has had a few setbacks, healthwise. That has, however, got sorted out towards the closing days of 2011. And thanks to our being back at our place, the social calling has become hectic as nothing can be avoided lest you're considered a spoilsport or even a snob. What affects anyone in the family affects me too and their aches and ailments have become mine! And frankly, simple gestures mean so much that I'm amazed that a smile, a hug or even a few words over the telephone can do wonders and make people happy!!

2011 shall always be remembered for the spate of tragedies that had afflicted the family. I still can't fathom the loss of Vijayan chettan(from my dad's immediate family), Leela kunjamma and Santhan kochachan(from my mom's immediate family). Though each of them had minor ailments, there was nothing seriously wrong with any of them and hence their passing away gave a severe body blow but the upshot of it all was that the family got to get a bit closer in grief! Strange are the ways of life - it takes a cruel thing like death to reinforce relationships which, otherwise, is taken for granted!!

I've taken a resolve for the new year to stress on relationships and to convey to each one of my close friends and relatives that I care and what affects them really does affect me too.

"Being in touch", therefore, shall be my driving motto for the new year.