Monday, April 30, 2012

Mom's finally with me!

After a lot of cajoling and coaxing, I've finally been able to get my mom to be with us, at Kochi, albeit for a few weeks! I'd made a dash for home late Sunday to accomplish this as she continued to insist that she did not want to 'leave' dad all by himself at home.

And this is her first outing after dad's passing away. As she entered our house and moved into her room, she was overwhelmed and in tears, as she remembered the last time she'd come to spend time with us alongwith dad. I could only hug her silently and let the situation pass! I hope that this change would help in pepping her up.


The eternal mother of the Hindi movie screen - Achala Sachdev - died today after a protracted illness. One can never forget her coy moves with the late Balraj Sahni to the immortal number, 'Ae meri zohra jabeen' in the blockbuster 'Waqt', made years ago. She did indeed make a loving mother on the silver screen and that too, in so many films amassing a lot many admirer!

RIP, Achala Sachdev.  My humble prayers. My mom, too, sends you her's!

Rising suicides.

Dateline 29 Apr.

Educational loans and the attendant uncertainties are wreaking havoc in Kerala's society. More and more children aspire for things beyond their parents' reach only to find that they've got entangled themselves into a debt trap.

I'd earlier discussed this malaise to highlight the rising number of hapless parents who've had to forego their savings, to the last penny, literally because their ungrateful children refused to repay the loan as they termed it as a 'debt' brought upon them by their mentors, who'd no right to do so. If that be so, weren't they in the wrong for having aspired for something much beyond their parents' reach? And why didn't the parents drive home the point and advise their children accordingly?

This is what our parents had done and they're definitely not wrong. By doing so, they'd actually taught us to live clean and live within our means. The parents of today need to understand this, indulge on their children as much as they want to but always keeping within the ambit of reality.

Otherwise, the very same children upon whom they'd showered their unrestricted love and affection during their formative years, would turn around to despise them and point fingers at, for all the wrong things befalling them.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The need to be steadfast........

My friend and his wife used to go through magazines, did umpteen market surveys in addition
to assimilating experiences and opinions of the others regarding the setting up of their new home.
Be it the colour schemes for the internal and external painting of their house, the furniture, the soft
furnishings or the knick knacks to be placed at vantage positions were thoughtfully gone through
and the house was got ready just a couple of weeks back.

We'd visited their house and were thoroughly impressed by the way the things were set up - every
aspect showed the couple's meticulous and thoughtful moves. It was indeed their 'dream nest' as
they called it. But alas, the idyllic situation was not to remain for long.

Their son, working in the US, had fetched up on a short break. The brash young man found fault
with everything that his parents had so painstakingly accomplished. On his diktat, the existing fur-
niture were substituted with branded ones, the soft furnishings are being changed to suit the young
man's taste.

His parents aren't complaining but their pain is palpable to a few of us, who know them well. I'm
angry with them for the changes that they've made, incurring wasteful expenditure - for their inability
to tell their son that he needed to accept their choice and decisions! 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Zohra Sehgal @ 100!

Noted film, theatre and television personality, Zohra Sehgal celebrates her 100th birthday today. It should be celebration time for the entire nation because she's a valuable gem, by virtue of her tireless contribution to India's art and culture.

Born a year before Indian cinema, her zest for life, wit and charm remain unmatched as she continues to inspire generations. In 1994, she was diagnosed with cancer but she'd fought it off clearly depicting her inner strength! She articulates well and hasn't let age dampen her spirit even a wee bit - in fact, as someone has rightly put it, she's a livewire!!

I've seen her in the Hindi fims, 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam', 'Dil Se' and as Mr. Bachchan's bindaas mom in 'Cheeni Kum'. She's also had a stint on the international entertainment arena beginning in the mid '60s. For her lifetime contribution, a grateful nation had bestowed its civilian honours twice - Padma Shri in 1998 and Padma Vibhushan in 2010.

What do I wish her on this special day other than offer my humble prayers, like millions of other Indians, for her continued well being? May she continue to entertain us in her inimitable style. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Strictly for mom.

We'd - mom, my two sisters and me - set off by 9, in the morning, to wrap up the pending work at the bank and the post office which had been painstakingly brought to this stage by my younger sister over the past few weeks. I do admire her patience because the official procedures - at times, seemingly unreasonable but I suppose, a requisite to thwart frauds - can upset even the stouthearted! To make matters worse, there was this lady at the particular desk who was obnoxious, to say the least and who'd to be firmly reminded that she was getting paid to provide hassle free service to each and every customer.

Earlier, as mom was being escorted back to our car from the premises of the post office, I was reminded of having gone through a similar exercise with dad, a few years back. His slow gait and the way he negotiated the flight of steps was now being replicated by mom(I remember that she was springy and quick, then). I could only be a helpless bystander to this disturbing transition of life, caused by time!

Her statement, as she got into the car, was equally disturbing and did it have an ominous note? I quote, "My association with the postal department began when I was 27 and today, I'm bidding my final bye". Fifty long years, she's touching 77!

She'd started as a teacher in the same school where I was and I used to dread when my class teachers took me to her for my lapses - which was all too frequent like fighting with other kids especially the girls to being inattentive in class or even making noise and disobeying the class monitor! It was after her stint as a teacher, that she'd taken up the job of the 'Branch Post Mistress' in the nearby post office while willingly surrendering her promotion prospects to facilitate her children's education!! Her statement bidding her farewell, therefore, brought a lump in my throat.

She's promised to be with us for the whole of next month, after a lot of persuasion. It's her common refrain these days when she says that she doesn't want to leave dad all to himself!

I'd be making another trip on the 30th, to fetch the three of them, when my niece finishes her exams.

Just before I took off back to Kochi, she handed me a cheque, in a neat white envelope, asking me to deposit it into my account at the earliest! ........What do I say? After all, mom is mom!!      

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

On the move.

Off for home, on a working day, for completing the bank work to put all the accounts
started by dad into my mom's name.

The drive's gonna be tough. We shall overcome, however!


The drive, indeed, was peaceful and we reached home much before sunset. I'd anticipated the highway to be clogged with traffic but thankfully, there were no bottlenecks. Mom was thrilled to have us at home all over again!

I could spend some quiet moments at the spot where dad was cremated which had a lush green growth of an assorted range of pulses - the seeds of which were sown by me, as per tradition, after the collection of his ashes for immersion - with a coconut palm coming up, amidst them, marking the midriff region while his body was placed on the pyre.

..........Time really flies.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A simple soul.

Shashi Kant Singh - popularly called 'SK' by his team mates and friends - is one of my boys who's recently joined our outfit after a successful tenure at sea. He's proud of the fact that he belongs to the Jat community and  hails from western UP.

He has a younger brother who's studying in X class and is quite attached to his parents(the father concentrates on potato farming on a sizeable tract of land at Ghazipur, in UP). He is slightly built and short-statured unlike the usual characteristics of the Jats that one's so very familiar with. A hard working individual, he's reliable and keen. The thing that I find the best in him is his refreshing candour and he's disarmingly simple in his outlook towards life, in general! His needs are minimal and he's ever ready to help his team mates, so much so, that he's become quite popular among them within a short span time.

He's been married just a year back and as per the customs and traditions that we follow in the services, I'd handed over a card on his wedding anniversary, this morning. I was surprised to see tears in his eyes, and felt that he was making a fuss when he was profuse with his 'thanks' and said that this was the first time that he'd received a greeting card in life. I was further flustered when he touched my feet and I think I was clumsy when I'd patted him on his back!

And I can say without hesitation that the services is full of such men and one can rest assured that the country is in the safe hands of men like SK. May god be with him in all his endeavours and here's wishing that he gets whatever he wishes for!


No I don't claim to be a 'master' in the English language. But I must let you on to this about SK. While on duty, when he gives the mandatory report to me, he usually says and I quote, "Everything correct, sir. There's no any message". Isn't that cute?  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ad nauseum!

The Maoists have struck again, this time, in Chhattisgarh. They've abducted Alex Paul Menon, the collector of Sukma district and mind you, he's the first incumbent in that post! The abduction drama took place on 21 Apr after the renegades had knocked off two of his bodyguards. His crime? The local people had started warming up to his people friendly policies and his efforts at being one with them, by offering himself without the usual bureaucratic restrictions were getting to be a big draw!

Sukma, incidentally, has a tryst with the past. Located at the state's southern most tip, in the tri-junction of Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, many areas of the Sukma district form part of the so called liberated(?) zone of 'Dandakaranya' of the Maoists. And the perennial river, Sabari - named after a tribal woman, by that name, who'd offered berries to Lord Rama while on his 14 year exile - flows through the district!

I felt sad, yet proud, to see the collector's wife, Asha Menon, making an emotional appeal to her husband's abductors on prime time TV without a tear in her eyes and maintaining a steely calm in the face of such an adversity. I'm sure her husband will return safe, without any harm, as the whole country has joined her in her prayers.

And she's the face of the Indian woman - strong and resolute, who can make anything impossible, happen!

 I too join in your vigil, Asha!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What a blow?

I'd not seen the movie 'Dirty Picture' and was therefore thrilled to hear that it was being aired on television, over the weekend. From the rave reviews the film got when it was released all over the country to Vidya Balan sweeping all the awards for her stunning performance, the movie has had an irresistible attraction!

Moreover, it was a sort of biopic that covered the lives and times of the sizzling south Indian actress, 'Silk Smita' whose life was sadly cut short, years back, when she'd committed suicide.

It was announced that the movie would be aired at 2000h, today on Sony TV. But, subsequently, the airing time was changed to late night hours - after 2300h - following directives from the ministry of Information & Broadcasting  because, presumably, parents/elders would be available and be able to guide the children during viewing time! If that was the reason, I must say that we're indeed living in a fool's paradise and are pretty hare brained!! Our children will have the last laugh!!!

I can't understand the irrational argument and wayside excuses when I'd like to believe that the people who take these decisions are in touch with reality and have their ears to the ground. Otherwise, they need to have a break and take a walk.


Anyways, the upshot of the whole incident was that the channel was continuously apologising for being unable to air the movie as promised. Instead, it showed the movie, '3 Idiots' yet another time and thankfully, at a stretch, with no commercial breaks! 

Whither Kerala? The remedy needs to be found soon.

Dateline 21 Apr.

I'd touched upon certain ominous portents with regard to the wellness of the mallus in this forum earlier. It can be appreciated from recent statistics that are available in the public domain and I'm listing them below to highlight the seriousness of the matter:-

     (a) 8 to 10 divorce cases are filed in each of the family courts on a daily basis - and there are 16 courts!
     (b) Of the 23.43 lakh divorced or separated women in the country, 1.98 lakh women belong to Kerala.
     (c) 80% of suicides are committed by people between the ages of 15 and 59. 78%, out of them, are
           married individuals.

And there are some more interesting information:-

     (a) Anything, from the partner's body odour to infidelity, triggers divorce. Marital discord gets enhanced by
          ego clash, economic independence, low tolerance levels, debt, drinking and impotency!

     (b) There are increasing instances of wives misusing the provisions of the anti-dowry laws to
           blackmail their husbands.

     (c) When a woman registers a complaint against her husband, even on the basis of apprehension, he stands
           a good chance of getting arrested. Subsequently, where's the chance of a compromise when bruised
           egos are at work, overtime?

     (d) Ironically, the same law has boomeranged, in a sense, with the increased number of arrests of mothers-
          in-law and sisters-in-law.

Do these trends show a decaying society? Or is it merely because we mallus are aping the west blindly, if I were to make a tongue-in-cheek statement?

The regressive slide needs to be arrested and remedial measures need to be evolved and institutionalised. And yes, we will!     

Friday, April 20, 2012

'Horror' remembered.

On Thursday, this week, the memories of the 'holocaust' were revisited in Europe. The event is called 'March of the Living' and is held every year to remember the six million Jews killed during the Second World War.

It was one of the worst crimes perpetrated on a community just because of one man's hatred. Hitler used to call them 'vermin' and he went about exterminating them using his loyal forces, through methods that can only be termed as barbaric. I'd like to believe that it was his own personal agenda because the average German is peace loving and hugely tolerant of other communities.

The attendant tortures, imprisonment and the methods used for extermination when read from countless books, journals and other media representations raise one's hackles making one wonder as to how a human being can be so hateful of another, so much so, that you bray for his/her life. It can only be the handiwork of a few psychologically misplaced group!

Let's hope that such an incident is never repeated, ever on this earth. To be targeted by the others and not being accepted by the society, at large, is the worst form of existence!


Idi Amin's Uganda, Pol Pot's Cambodia and the Kosovo misadventure are subsequent instances of large scale killing of innocents, what did the world do? Watched helplessly!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

In right earnest.

Peace Boat, a Japan based international NGO and a non profit organisation, is currently at Kochi after they'd begun their global peace voyage on 24 Jan, this year. The group also included ten members of another non profit organisation called 'On the road' from Japan's tsunami - hit sectors. They'd come to collect goodwill and prayers!

They carried a portable shrine called 'Mikoshi' - divine palanquin - which is of dimensions 4mt x 1mt x 2mt to garner prayers for the fast recovery of tsunami victims who're still in the process of rebuilding their lives. The structure was decorated with numerous articles - blocks with writings in various languages received from well wishers - from places visited during the voyage.

Since its inception in 1983, Peace Boat has been in the process of raising awareness and building connections internationally among groups that work for peace, human rights, environmental protection and sustainable development.

This is a call straight from the heart! Here's wishing them fair winds, following seas and adequate water beneath their keel, always and every time!!    

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rambling thoughts.

1. No criticisms?

Wonder what Mamata Banerjee is upto? From her actions and utterances, she seems to be on a disastrous path of frittering away the tremendous goodwill of the masses she'd accumulated over the past so many years, thanks to the misrule of the communists.

Her zero level tolerance of any form of criticism of her policies is fraught with danger. A good leader must keep her ear to the ground and listen to the groundswell of criticism/dissent, understand and analyse as to what's causing them and apply swift corrective action even to the extent of scrapping a wrong order, if required. Ego has no place in such instances. And good points/suggestions, coming from the opposition, must be accepted as an opportunity for implementation.

And it goes without saying that one should not take oneself seriously and must be able to take on jokes and have the ability to laugh at oneself. It can be stifling otherwise!

A couple of her recent actions, appended below, does not even sound rational :-

     (a) Putting behind bars, a gentleman who'd featured her in one of his cartoons.
     (b) Exhorting people to shun the communists to the extent of ostracising them socially.

Here's hoping that she comes out of her idiosyncrasies soon.

2. India set to join the select club of the ICBM gang.

India's poised to test fire the over 5,000 km range Agni V rocket. To me, as an Indian, it's a moment of great pride and achievement. With the ICBM in our arsenal, our strategic position will be greatly enhanced. The nuclear capable Agni V, weighing about 50 tons and of length 17.5 mts, is surely gonna be a game changer and comes at a time when China has been up to tricks on our northern borders.

3. The eternal romance of the Titanic saga.

What makes the Titanic saga an enduring, nay endearing, story for the people all around the world? It's the centenary of the ship's sinking and its lasting appeal prods people to write books, pen TV dramas and of course, the latest is the return of James Cameron's Oscar sweeping movie of 1997 in 3D.

To my mind, the fact that the ship's passengers formed a slice of every strata of society and their collective ecstasies, dreams, the fears and the final disaster when death chose its victims with scant regard to their social positions makes it fascinating, even intriguing. It mirrors the ecstasy and the agony that's life which is a continuous journey to the unknown!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Vickey's last journey.

     By 1330h, the prayer led by the Bishop had begun and there was a huge crowd in attendance.
Vickey, all decked up in her finery, was at peace and lying in state in the idyllic forecourt of Ike's 
house. On behalf of all of us, classmates, a clutch of flowers was placed on Vickey with the words, 
"SSKZM's class of '72"(as none of the wreaths on order matched my expectations). Ike looked 
calm and composed but he too broke down as he placed his last kiss on her brow. I could just stand 
there, watching helplessly, trying to share his grief. Their children, Elizabeth and Joseph Ike showed 
remarkable restraint all through the afternoon. However, the most poignant moment was when the mothers - Ike's and Vickey's - bade their farewells. I don't think there were any eyes that weren't moist then(I remembered a piece of conversation that I'd with her, sometime back, when I told her that she'd attain heaven for looking after her mother and mother-in-law to which, her answer was a high octane laughter).

 The church and the cemetery had an idyllic setting. After a short mass, the coffin was lowered into the 
family crypt and I'd joined the family in the customary sprinkling of incense/mud over the coffin. 

Victoria D'Souza Isenhower had passed into the mist of time, leaving us with a host of fond memories, sometime between 1430h and 1500h. 


On return and on reaching my place, I'd hugged Lekha, which was quite uncharacteristic of me and elicited
an immediate retort from her, "cut the crap". 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Goodbye Vickey!

Vickey Ike, the wife of my classmate, course mate at the Academy and a close friend passed away around 7, this morning. She'd fought a brave battle against the dreaded cancer which was gnawing away her innards during the past year. She had gone through the adversity with a cheer, never once letting the others know as to what she was going through. Such was her indomitable spirit coupled with a never-say-die attitude.

I've had the proud privilege of having interacted with her closely during our stay at Delhi. Her unrestrained laughter over my PJs, coupled with the protective manner with which she'd looked after Lekha shall remain etched deep within and  continue to be evergreen in mind till my very end. 

She'd a special quality in bringing about a camaraderie, along with a comfortable bonhomie amongst people whom she came across. The numerous occasions and the fantastic moments spent with her shall always be treasured and I can assure you, Vickey, that you shall always remain in our thoughts. You've given two wonderful children in Joseph and Elizabeth, brought up with the right value system and traditional virtues.

And she'd more Sainik School spirit than all of us, alumni, put together!  

Your loss to Ike, Joseph and Elizabeth and for all of us, who're lucky to be in your extended family, is irreplaceable.

RIP, Victoria D'Souza Isenhower. My humble prayers and tears.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A gregarious 'pot luck'.

The return from home was uneventful and we're able to fetch up, back at our place, just in time to facilitate my customary evening walk!

We'd a pleasant appointment thereafter, in joining up for a pot luck at my friend's place. The ladies had decided upon the menu and the dishes that each one was to contribute. I've always found such interactions to be meaningful and great occasions to unwind and pick up new friends, who share my interests! The occasion was no different and the evening was spent fruitfully, with us deciding to embark on a new project towards rain harvesting and waste disposal. It's our fervent hope that we'd be able to make a small contribution to the society without fanfare or publicity!!


Depressing news from the national highway of the 'highly' literate state. A forty year old gentleman, who also happens to be an ex-serviceman, died in one of the city hospitals after two days of battle for survival, simply because timely medical help was not provided.

He was on his two wheeler and was rammed by a tipper lorry, which fled the scene like all cowards do. But more ignominy was in store for the hapless gentleman. He lay bleeding on the road for a couple of hours because :-
       (a) the local police guys refused to act because the spot of the accident happened to be in disputed
            jurisdiction between the two adjacent police stations.

       (b) no vehicle that passed by the accident victim was willing to stop and transfer him to the nearest
            hospital for timely medical assistance.

Truly and without doubt, this is god's own country with devil's own people - me, included! Absolutely, disgusting!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

On the Vishu trail

Dateline 13 Apr.

We're off for home to be with my mom on the occasion of the first Vishu, without dad. My nephew, Achu, was with us for the journey.

Our first stop, before leaving the city, was at my classmate's place to look up his young grandson who'd be celebrating his 28th day on Monday. It was a pleasant visit and the li'l one seemed to be full of vigour and vitality, with a tendency to put his entire right fist into his mouth especially when he was hungry. He seemed to be at ease with me because no sooner had I picked him up, did he decide to release himself!

I, then, got into a bad traffic snarl and had to wait out the crawl as I'd unwittingly taken a wrong turn and the whole maneuver ate up a considerable amount of time, testing my patience to the limits! 

Our journey had one flaw towards the the last stretch of 25 kms. I was waiting dead stop before a set of rumblers as another car was negotiating them. There was a sudden screech of brakes behind and a pick up truck just managed to wash off his speed and graced the right quarter of my Cruze in the process. Knowing that he was at fault, he did not stop and went full clip ahead. I tried giving him a chase, but the guy must have got into one of the side lanes to avoid being apprehended! 

I must say that Dame Luck was with me this time and a mishap was averted. The dent and the scratch of rubber on my car was, however, a dampener and shall remain so till the mechanic does the needful.

14 Apr.

The viewing of the 'vishukkani' was a low key affair and it was only at my mom's behest that dad would have liked it this a way because he hated brooding over things unnecessarily and especially, over things that we'd no control. The highlight, as usual, was being able to meet a whole lot of well wishers, guests and relatives. In the process, I could get myself updated with the latest happenings in the family, as well as, the extended one! 

The only thing that dampened my spirits was the ugly dent on my car!! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Somebody special?

As I'd recounted earlier on this forum, there's a gentleman who regularly feeds pigeons around sevenish, every morning. It's quite absorbing to note as to how the birds conglomerate minutes before that waiting for the benevolence! They fly in from all directions, perch themselves comfortably on the roof of the nearest shed as well as on the tank top above the water sump - probably, discussing all
that had happened over the previous hours!!

The whole flock is of uniform colour that we're mostly familiar with except for one that's virgin
white. It stands out spectacularly against the backdrop of the remaining seventy or eighty birds. Is
it a special one? Or is the difference in hue due to a flaw, I mean, a medical problem like er,
Leukoderma or problems of pigmentation - a sort of genetic disorder that it has inherited? Do birds
have this error like the humans?

I'd like to believe that its whiteness is its natural hue. A special one indeed!

A general human weakness for fair skin, huh? Aw shucks, and all this while I was under the impression that I was free of such vagaries!   

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

When the earth trembled.....

It was around a quarter past two or thereabouts. I was having my lunch, all by myself, as Lekha'd gone on an errand and was scheduled to be back only after about three hours.

I began to feel a bit unsteady making me wonder as to what was going wrong with me despite the fact that I was hale and hearty. I'd then gone into the kitchen to fetch another spoon for the dessert, when I felt the whole block - it's twelve storeyed - swaying to and fro, as if keeping in pace with the prevalent breeze. Meanwhile, the residents, comprising mainly, women and children had spilled out of the building and were spreading conveniently all across the lawn, desperately trying to keep themselves away from the scorching sun - the most admirable thing about everyone of them was that there was no sense of panic at all! They seemed to be curious and most of them were seen talking animatedly over their cellphones, perhaps to their near and dear ones, relating their experiences.

It was the after shock of the earth tremours that had struck the island of Sumatra, many hundred miles east of us!

I'd gone down and tried speaking to as many of them - to the extent feasible - to remove apprehensions, if any and also to ensure myself that the three highrises of our residential area were free of people, just as a matter of precaution. And I quietly, tiptoed back to my house to finish my lunch and catch my forty winks - earthquake be damned!

But that was not to be. As I'd started floating into a comfortable slumber, the telephone had begun to ring and the calls never seemed to subside!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The elusive one!

As we're on our way to attend a function, the level cross was shut to allow a passing train to go past when a young boy vending lottery tickets, accosted me and tried to persuade me into buying one. I'm weary of buying them and I've not done it till now, though these days, they advertise to the effect that a percentage of the sales proceeds would be used for life saving activities like kidney transplants, cardiology management and other medical assistance for the poor and the needy! A laudable welfare activity initiated by the Oommen Chandy government of Kerala.

Lottery and anything connected with it invokes two distinct memories in me, always and every time.

Firstly, I must confess that Dame Luck has never been on my side whenever I've resorted to testing my chances. I must have played a number of 'tombolas(housies)' but to no avail. The saddest part is that I haven't even won a single line, let alone the full house! And I find it to be so very conspiratorial, in that, I tick almost all the numbers in the first flush only to be left with a lone number - and mind you, this has been the way always, till I gave up playing a couple of years back! And I bet that they're the losers, not me!!

It takes me to my second narrative that encompasses the interview that I'd attended at the services selection board for the NDA. The President and the members had put me through a whole range of questions when I was asked by the lady psychologist as to what I'd do if I were to win a lottery. My answer was that I'd invest it in a small scale enterprise with the twin aims of providing jobs for a few and generating income to venture into further avenues. I was then asked as to whether I'd part with the booty if a needy friend asked for a loan, to which I'd answered in the affirmative.

The situation was further tightened when the President butted in saying that the friend was in no condition to return the money and he wanted to ascertain as to what I'd do in such a scenario. My answer, without any hesitation, was that it was anyways something that had come my way without any effort on my part and therefore, would willingly accept that it was actually not mine in the real sense, after all! And laugh the whole thing off as a dream gone kaput!!


I've later on visited this incident, many times over and have asked myself as to whether I'd answered in that manner to impress my interviewers without really meaning it. I must unhesitatingly say - crossing my heart - that my response would have been the same as I'd spoken then!

Probably, that's the reason why I haven't had any success, thus far, on this score!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Crazy deeds, crazier happenings!

1. Anger's manifestations?

The lovers' tiff, in Indiana of the US, has hurt the man badly so it seems. The man had ended their eight month relationship only a few days prior to the incident. His ex-girlfriend had barged into his home, grabbed hold of his 'family jewels' and squeezed them as hard as she could, leaving a big tear to his scrotum! He's gonna spend a while in a hospital to mend himself.

A repetition of the 'Bobbit' episode where the guy's penis was severed with a knife, as he was suspected of infidelity? Some things never change, huh!

2. Where love has gone sour.

There's a couple, living close by, for whom love has become a thing of the past. They'd got married sometime back, after a whirlwind courtship that'd raised a lot of heat and dust then - both were from different religious backgrounds! Finally, the families had come around to accept the relationship and the couple is blessed with a very cute daughter. Unfortunately, for some unknown reasons, there has been a setback in the relationship, with the neighbours being mute witnesses to varying degrees of domestic violence.

The lady has had enough and has walked out of the relationship, taking her daughter along with her. She might not have bargained for the resultant backlash - her husband has been stalking her with the aim of causing harm.

What's the use of forcing a relationship, I wonder? What would he achieve by causing harm to his wife except that he'd be putting himself into trouble and untold suffering?

And was their love for each other so shallow, so short stinted?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

In pursuit of a mirage?

In life we often hanker for something, expend our resources to achieve it - go through heartburns in the process of its attainment - only to realise that it was after all yours right from the start!

Life is indeed mysterious and might seemingly appear to be irrational, brimming with madness. Events take place, at times, at an alarming rate and when everything looks hunky dory, disaster strikes upsetting sanity when one's world seems to flip.

I happened to watch an upcoming, young and successful actress of the Malayalam movies in conversation with her interviewer. She was clear headed, bubbling with enthusiasm and it was fairly obvious that life has been going good for her thus far. Her performances relate to this wellness and I fervently hope that she gets to live her life the way she hopes she will. May god give her the strength to take in the rough along with the smooth as they occur.

And may she continue to smile and gladden her audiences through her performances in the years to come.   

Saturday, April 7, 2012

An educative drive.

The first half of the day was spent in driving my Cruze with a purpose - for a market survey
of household furniture! It was truly educative and an eye opener for me to realise as to how
ignorant I was on these matters.

Three things that I've realised, over the course of the day, are as follows:-

           (a) There's enormous talent in our own backyard but they do not get the necessary
           encouragement because of our fetish for established brand names.

           (b) Lack of official endorsement and their inability to market their wares in an
           otherwise vigorous environment deflate their enthusiasm within no time, only to
           make them leave the field, without even putting up a decent fight!

           (c) The big fish in the business quickly move in to mop up the failed ones to ensure
           that they never get up to fight again, thereby snuffing out any semblance of a comp-
           etition that could arise.

And I thought that there was enough space for all participants. With that sort of variety to
choose from, the customer would surely have become king and get the best bang for the

When will we ever improve and begin to realise and encourage our own treasure of expertise
and talent?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday.

On this day, over two milleniums back, Jesus Christ had shed his blood, willingly gave his
life, forgiving even his tormentors and those who'd crucified him. His death brought to
humanity redemption and a claim to paradise.

Jesus did not die for his own sins but for the sins of mankind. And sin had come into this
world through the disobedient act of Adam and Eve and redemption came by means of the
obedience of Jesus. Cross is the tree that converted the curse into a blessing.

Jesus said, "I'm the resurrection and the life. He who believes in one, though he may die, he
shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die".

And the Hindu philosophy talks of the 'cycle of births and rebirths' and attainment of the
universal soul!


The peaceful procession taken out from the local church through the heart of the temple town
of Guruvayoor had the stamp of religious amity and tolerance. A great experience indeed!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

'Baghban' at Guruvayoor.

Have been on the move since morning. By mid day, we'd fetched up at Guruvayoor. It's part
of our ongoing efforts to get our house to an acceptable standard!

People have been apportioned responsibilities, targets set with a mental PERT chart drawn and the
the 'critical path' has been established. It shall be a ruthless effort to achieve results from now

Towards the end of the day, in the comfortable environs of our hotel room, we watched the
movie, 'Baghban' for the nth time. It's a movie that has never failed to elicit deep emotions as
I fail to understand that children, carefully nurtured by their parents, can be so cruel and selfish
when their turn comes by to give in return. How can one's parents and their needs can ever
become "they and their's"?


I'd recently been at my parents' place to tie up some loose ends for my mom. During that trip
I was required to visit the immediate neighbours who'd lost a dear one - they'd been a great help
during my dad's final days and the subsequent ceremonies. I was told by the patriarch that he'd
no other go but to reduce the last rites to just five days as everyone was clamouring to get back
to their homes and work. "Everyone doesn't love his parents the way you do", he added wist
fully, with a faraway look.

And I thought that I'd just done my duty!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Much ado about nothing!

This morning's headlines of the Indian Express suggesting a sinister motive in the move of a small
column of a mechanised infantry towards Delhi, in January this year, is mischief meant to create
confusion and increase distrust between the armed forces and the government, in the present scenario.

Both the government and the Army were quick to rebut the story and thankfully, the entire political
class had handled the matter with dignity and honour in parliament by roundly trashing the report
as unfounded and served it the contempt that it deserved!The initiators of the bizarre story forget the fact that the armed forces is the only bastion where values, courage, honour, integrity, keeping one's word, chivalry etc mean a lot! Where, just the singing of the national anthem brings one to rigid attention with the attendant goose pimples and the hair standing on end.

There's something else that amazes me when I hear and see cases of indiscretion. I'd like to believe that their parents - just like mine - had ingrained into them the need to be honest and do only the right things in life.

If that be so, where did they learn to do otherwise or why did they deviate from the right path when it comes to doing the right thing for one's country?


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Kahani - a poignant movie!

She stands with her bulging pregnancy, outside the Kolkatta airport and flags down a taxi. The taxi driver is puzzled to hear from the passenger her destination...... the  police station at Kalighat!  “For the first time  I am coming across someone arriving by air  and asking to be taken to the police station”, he mumbles to himself.

The young man, standing inside the metro train, swaying and holding onto the support above, is curious about the baby milk bottle left behind by a careless mother on the seat . He bends down to pick it up and throws it into the trash can. 
An explosion ..... white gas......and lots of dead bodies. A terrorist attack, with the nerve gas, Sarin.

Cut....flashback! He is necking Vidya Balan in a flat  in London . The picture of a happy, contended couple. Immediately after, you see her cringing in distress, holding the photo of a serious, young man who was definitely not the one, having a whale of a time with her, just minutes earlier. 

From then on she's on a mission. Armed with this photo, she's on a trip to to trace out  the guy  - a terrorist - whom she professes to the people, that she comes across, to be her husband. The police inspector is smitten by her beauty and goes out of his way to help her trace the man. By doing so, he doesn't realise that he's after a dreaded terrorist .

As he gains valuable leads, he's shocked by the systemic way in which his leads and informers are eliminated.
The IB, too, gets into the bandwagon, driven by the pregnant lady and the lovesick policeman.

Will the lady come across the terrorist? Who has the last laugh? How does the end get depicted? I shall leave it to the potential viewers in movie halls, across the country.


(a) The above piece has been adapted from a friend's write up and I thank him for the inputs! 

(b) Authentic portrayal of Bengali culture, music, food and a riveting storyline.  Good performances from all the protagonists. Another national award for Vidya Balan?

(c) You will bathroom sing the energetic background score, ‘Aami shotti bolchi‘ for weeks! 
 And hum along with Amitabh Bachchan , singing Tagore’s immortal song ‘ Ekla cholo re‘.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The romantic piano.

I've always been fascinated by this fantastic musical instrument. And I'd add that it has an aura of romance with  a touch of class! Probably, my opinion has come about from watching a lot of old Hindi movies where the hero always conveyed his feelings through a melody where the 'sacred' instrument was a must as an accompaniment. And my favourite has been 'Aaj ki raat mein ne......' featuring Dilip Kumar and Waheeda Rehman.

Why it has come suddenly in my thoughts is because of the news that the Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi possesses one and she plays it to unwind. So much so, that during her long imprisonment, people would slip past police pickets near her home simply to hear its sound and be reassured that she was alive! And what gives the right touch of intrigue is that the instrument was repaired and preserved by a close-knit group of men from the neighbourhood of Yangon so as to ensure the perseverance of the owner in her eternal struggle for democracy!

 The Burmese people should thank the piano for having preserved the sanity of its loved leader who's a romantic at heart!

My own tryst with the piano goes way back during my convent years, when Sister Anne used to play on the instrument and taught me to move the tabs to bring out my own version of 'Do - Re - Me - So - Fa - La - Ti'. This was carried on to a greater level, thanks to the efforts of Mr. AP Soans, our English teacher in the Sainik School.

But I must hasten to add that I'm still a rookie at it but would give anything to hear a good musical rendition on the instrument - anywhere, anytime!  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The weekend diary.

31 Mar.

Once Rema, my sister, had arrived from Palakkad we set off for my home and mom, a trifle after 12. The drive was smooth and hassle-free with us stopping short of Ambalapuzha to have a quick bite of lunch which Lekha'd prepared meticulously. I've always found that food had outside the usual environment has an exquisite taste and it was no different, this time too!

While Lekha and Rema, had gone to pick up the cake that was ordered, I'd gone to the 'comfort station' at hand to relieve my bladder. I realised much to my horror, after the deed, that I wasn't able to pay the mandatory charge of Rs.2/- for using the facility - which was spotlessly clean and smelt nice of disinfectants - as my wallet was with Lekha. Very sheepishly I mumbled to the caretaker that I'd pay him a while later as I did not have any money on me. His quick gaze at my Cruze, parked nearby, and back at me 'spoke a lot' without uttering a single word and it was yet another occasion that I wished I'd shrunk into my clothes!

The evening cake cutting ceremony as part of the birthday celebrations of my niece, Ammu and my sister Rema was a raucous occasion with an accompanying round of photography, as usual. Mom was jubilant to see all of us together but what amazes me is that she's aged fast over the last couple of months, after dad's passing away. We, then updated ourselves with the happenings, thus far, insofar as mom's personal work was concerned, over candle light and the emergency light as we're following the 'Earth hour'.

While mom and me were discussing matters after dinner, I'd tried to work on my laptop but to my utter horror discovered that my portable telejack was misbehaving, yet again.

The day'd been full of activities - and that too, pleasant ones - and it was quite late when we hit the sack. Dad's presence and his occasional conversational gems were sorely missed. Earlier, on arrival, we'd spent a few quiet moments at the place where he was cremated and of course, the place where mom has arranged his personal effects, in the drawing room, has become our favourite spot for contemplation!

01 Apr.

We'd kicked off back for Kochi soon after breakfast and had picked up Lekha's sister and her two children, to send them off from our place, for their onward journey to Tirur. The journey was comfortable and free of glitches, all through.

In the evening, there again was a necessary social call, on my aunt - who's all of 76 years - who's been restricted to staying in her second floor flat thanks to immobility caused by arthritis. She'd to be gently prodded to shift to the ground floor flat, taken on rent just for her sake. The shift would facilitate her movements with an occasional outing to lighten her and have a change of environment to shake of the boredom. Her daughter had insisted that I do the egging on as the old lady'd never refuse my request!? We've collectively been able to convince her that the shift would do a world of good and she'll be doing so on 12 Apr, just prior to Vishu.

By the time we'd hit the sack, it was past midnight and the end of yet another day when personal tasks had been the mainstay!!