Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why aren't we considerate about others?

I've repeatedly come across people who're unwilling to pay their dues, be it to the newspaperboy or to the milkman or the subscription that's required to be paid for allied services like the lift, potable water etc while staying within walled compounds.

The complaints that have been reported are silly and at times, really unofficerlike - to use a service jargon! I shall try to list out the common excuses that people resort to while shooing away the guys who knock at their doors to collect their rightful share and here they are(I've taken the liberty to add my comments/reactions within brackets):-

     (a) Sahib is not at home. He has the money. (Now, don't tell me that you're a prisoner in your own
           home? Your husband has every reason to be behind bars for ill treating you!)

     (b) I don't have the change, come later. (Come on, don't disturb me on something very silly! I only
           keep big denominations).

     (c) Don't disturb me. Don't you see that I was sleeping? (My beauty sleep is the most precious
           in this world and don't you dare disturb me!)

     (d) My little child is fast asleep after a lot of effort. Your ringing of the bell has disturbed her. Come
           later. (Get lost! And usually slams the door shut, loud enough to wake up the sleeping child!)

My take.

Why can't people be considerate of others? If we do not get our pay by the last day of the month, it pinches us and extending the same argument, the vendors who come and knock at our doors to collect their dues are simply asking for their remuneration for the services rendered. And what's the point in holding on to something that isn't yours?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Instantaneous chaos!

After clearing the usual morning load of work, I'd taken time off to attend the wedding of Chakki, the daughter of a classmate and course mate of mine. Another friend of mine had expressed his desire to accompany us and it wasn't long before he had joined us and we're off to the venue without realising as to what we're in for.

The MG road, which is the main arterial road of the town, was jammed hopelessly with vehicles piled up choc-a-bloc and waiting eagerly for the chaos to untangle at the earliest. The traffic policemen on the beat were hard pressed and the restraint they showed in handling errant drivers was remarkable. It took quite a while for us to reach the venue but by the time we'd reached there, the marriage ceremony had been conducted. We could only apologise to the new couple for not having arrived on time. And I shall never forget the quip - "you're the nearest and have still managed to come late" - by one of our friends and I could only return a sheepish grin as a plausible reply!

And what was the reason for the monumental traffic snarl? Thousands of members of the 'kudumbi' community had organised a 'rail roko' movement and also taken to the streets causing blockage of traffic, in anger, at the government's decision of excluding the community from the list of the scheduled castes!


The roads have been dug up for laying underground cables and in addition, the surface has taken a beating, exposing cracks and holes at various places. Driving through these roads, during the thick of the monsoon - which is just around the corner - is gonna be very difficult. It's the same story as it was last time! And somebody had said that the roads, this time, have been surfaced to international(?) standards. You, got to be joking!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Madness or methodicity in the madness?

One'd always thought and hoped that Kerala, being the most literate state, had a clean and vibrant political system with lots of sound and fury where each and every political outfit respected the other, while fiercely guarding their core issues. Care was also taken not to exceed the limits of propriety while taking on one another on ideological issues.

I can vouch for this healthy state of affairs when we've had the representatives of the entire political spectrum - setting aside ideological differences - eager to be part of the activities organised under the auspices of my grandfather's foundation. And, therefore, it's my belief that the present state of affairs in the murder of TP Chandrasekharan and the volley of allegations and counterallegations by the political parties, in its aftermath, are aberrations that would get cleared once the culprits are brought to book.

I must hasten to add that the startling revelations made by MM Mani, the secretary of Idukki's CPM outfit, that the party had taken on its political opponents with ruthlessness in the early '80s have deepened the gravity of the crisis and has only confirmed political highhandedness in the most literate state! And it's in the fitness of things that some of the cases of those times are being brought under the scanner all over again. The guilty need to be brought to book at this late stage at least!

Though it's the best thing that has happened to expose the rot in the system, why did he open up now? I can only think of one of the following reasons:-

   (a) To impress upon his leaders as to how loyal he's to them. Using his lung power, he was trying
         to provide a counter argument in the heat of the moment. And justifying the old adage that
         'ultimately, truth will out'.

   (b) VS Achuthanandan has been harping on finding the culprits behind TP's murder at the earliest.
         Was Mani's outbursts meant to dilute his stand because he happened to be the secretary of the
         CPM's state unit at that time?


However much disgusting the entire situation is, it's one's hope that this will be a stepping stone to cleaning the system and to bring the guilty to book, eventually.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The faithful follower.

This morning I got a call from one of my 'Bong' friends and we'd caught up with each other after what seemed to be a long time. With him around, it's fun and laughter all the way as we share a lot of things in common! And I must tell you as to how we'd ended up being buddies thanks to a humorous incident.

We're at the examination hall to attempt an important subject. He was seated behind me saying that he wasn't confident at all and the examination started on the dot, as per schedule. All of us started attempting the longish question paper in right earnest. I've this habit of answering all my examination papers from the last question and work upwards. And if you're to ask me as to why I do so, I really do not have an answer and no, there's nothing superstitious about it but a habit evolved over time!

 I remember that there were thirteen questions in all and I'd begun with the one at serial 13(c), left a blank against 13(b) as I was unsure of the answer and decided to attempt it later, time permitting and so on! (If my memory serves me right, I'd left it blank, even while returning the answer sheets, as the answer was not forthcoming!)

A few days later, the instructor walked in with the corrected papers and began distributing them, giving his comments on each. My paper was given at the end with the comment that he expected everyone to emulate the manner in which I'd answered the paper - my score was 86 and I was first.

It was then that my friend made an unequivocal declaration and I quote, 'Sir, I can't fail in this paper. Probably, my handwriting might have let me down!' The instructor decided to tackle the issue by checking out his answers against mine and as he went about doing so his mood had changed. I could sense that trouble was just around the corner, waiting to embrace me! And then came the unkindest cut, 'Who has copied whose?'

My friend had then offered his feeble explanation that he'd indulged in a bit of a 'look-see' to ensure as to  whether he'd got them answers right! The instructor was red faced and left the class in a huff.


(a) I was finally given pass marks(40%) for aiding and abetting a partner in crime(?) and my friend was failed requiring him to go through a re-scrub!

(b) My friend is yet to answer me as to why he'd recreated my answer sheet verbatim - with the blank spaces, punctuation et all!!


Was awarded a month's negative seniority for this incident and frankly speaking, it has never affected me, ever. After all, what's a month's negative seniority vis-a-vis a life long friendship?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

My friend's birthday.

Today happens to be my classmate's birthday but wishing him 'many happy returns' was a hard task - nay, inappropriate according to me - simply because he'd lost his wife recently. He's still in mourning and the 41st day ceremony is slated for sometime, next week.

I must confess - after a lot of contemplation - that I'd resorted to sending him a mail rather than speak to him over the telephone. It shows the 'funk' in me to tackle such difficult situations!

But he was eloquent in his reaction and sentimental to the core.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Off to Kidangoor.

After working hours, we'd set off for a function in the family being held at Kidangoor, short of Kottayam.

Enroute, we'd stopped at Ettumanoor to look up and spend time with my grand aunt who's 92 yrs and in fine fettle, though she has problems of locomotion. Her mind is sharp and I was really bowled over when she gleefully announced my arrival, to the others in the house, on sighting me. She was insistent that I sit next to her on the sofa and had her right hand intertwined with my left, as she picked up the thread of conversation and narrated quite a few anecdotes.

Chiding me for not making my visits more frequent, she narrated the happenings of the day when I was packed off to the Sainik School. My great grandmother seemed to have been extremely sad that I was being sent away. And she went on to narrate as to how upset she was when I'd returned on my first vacation in a pair of jeans that was faded at the right places. She just couldn't comprehend as to how I could be wearing faded clothes and was sure that the school authorities(she'd surmised that the trouser was issued by the school) had given the requisite quality checks the short shrift, despite my fervent explanations! She'd even given me money to buy new clothes before I went back to school!!

Wonder what my great grandmother would have had to say if she saw the current vogue of wearing torn jeans?

The chatty coffee evening - spread over a couple of hours - that I'd with my grand aunt prompted me to take a resolve that I would drop in more often. And I hope to stick to that!! God, do please take care of my grand aunt!       

Friday, May 25, 2012

On the run.

Everyday, there's some thing or the other that keeps cropping up and yes, it's taxing - and patience is not my virtue - to pay attention to the minutest details and I shall cite just two examples to highlight as to why I say this:-

     (a) An old lady has been admitted in a hospital nearby for cardiology complications and is in the coronary
          care unit. She's fond of me, has looked after me many a time saying that she looks forward to my
          visits and I'm aware of the fact that she likes listening to my rendition of the excerpts from any old  
          classic. I intend doing that this evening as it's my belief that she'd get better!

     (b) Soon after, I do have to attend the birthday celebrations of a li'l girl and she's already told me as to what
           she needs from me as a present.

Now, the problem is that I need to club both the things one after the other. The timings at the hospital need to
be adhered to and I need to take permission for spending some time with the old lay within the 'out of bounds' area. The li'l one's requirement needs to be picked up and gift-wrapped. I've no problems doing any of these activities because I like doing them because that's my way of returning their love, albeit, in a very small measure.

But to achieve it through horrible traffic that would be prevalent at the time makes me shudder! I only hope that my fellow motorists, that I'd encounter, would drive with compassion.

You see, I'm on the run, literally!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The inventor of the 'remote control' passes away.

Eugene Polley has passed into the mist of time. He was 96. It was the Zenith Electronics Corporation, where he'd begun his career in the stockroom before moving into engineering and eventually inventing the device called the 'Flash-Matic", which had announced his passing away.

The gun like device was a revolutionary invention in 1955. It worked by pointing light at photosensitive cells in the corners of the television screen and activating picture and sound besides changing channels. The device, thus, gave birth to the population of 'couch potatoes'!

Potential buyers were lured by the then advertisement and I quote,

        "A flash of light from across the room(no wires, no cords) turns set on, off or changes channels......and you remain in your seat. You can also shut off long, annoying commercials while picture remains on screen! You've to see it to believe it!"

Polley was paid a bonus of $ 1,000 for this work of his and went on to earn 18 patents in 47 years.

Thanks, Eugene Polley, for making our lives easier. RIP.


Soon after Polley's invention, his device was overtaken and replaced by a more enduring one made by Robert Adler, who, over time, has often been named as the remote's sole inventor! However, we now know the actual trailblazer!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Luxury in jails - is it necessary?

This was one among the topics that were discussed at the 29th state conference of the Kerala Police Association held at Tirur of the Malappuram district today.

There has been an increasing number of cases which has brought out the nexus between the policemen and the criminals. The criminals, while in jail, are provided five star luxuries with the active connivance of the policemen who're positioned to ensure their discipline and good conduct! Such disorderly conduct, I'm sure, is not rampant but is restricted to a misguided few who'd definitely be taken to task and brought to book as per established service procedures.

A call has been made by the top brass, to the Associations, to take the initiative to curb criminal activities and mafia connections among their subordinates. The police would enjoy public support only if they're sincere in their duties, it was emphasised. It was also highlighted that while provision of adequate facilities were a must for the prisoners in jail, providing luxuries would only encourage criminal activities.

My take.

The prisoners have fetched up in jails because of their mistakes and criminal backgrounds, substantiated by the law. They're, therefore, required to be reformed through corrective measures - within the limits of human decency - during their jail sentences. While adequate facilities are a must for all inmates in jail, special treatment to a selected few and luxuries are a strict no-no for the maintenance of discipline. The criminality needs to be removed before the individual is returned to society and towards its attainment, corrective corporal punishment may also have to be applied.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Space flights for the public.

The US company, Space X, has blazed the trail in space travel by becoming the first private company to launch its own spacecraft to the ISS(International Space Station), currently in orbit, miles above our world.

The company's Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida at the break of dawn carrying into space a capsule called 'Dragon' that's packed with about 450 kgs of space station provisions. Till now, only government sponsored flights have flown on such expeditions! It's common knowledge that NASA had retired its space shuttle flights only last year.

The mission is set to include a fly-by and berthing with the space station before returning by this month end.

My take.

This is a precursor of commercial space flights in the future - first to the space station, followed by the setting up of similar stations, to be used as brief stopovers for replenishment of fuel/provisions and to the ultimate destination of planets in the earth's nearer realm. Consider this - a trip to Mars after a a week's halt on Venus! Science is gonna make the unthinkable, possible a few years from now.


Imagine people making inter-planetary journeys as frequently as one does, these days, between Chandini Chowk and Connaught Place making terrestrial distances look ridiculously insignificant and miniscule!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Interesting tidbits.

I'm gonna touch upon a few interesting information that I've come across in the course of my reading. Hope they tickle the senses of my readers too and here I go,

1. The best and the worst.

In a passenger liner aircraft, the best seat is 6A and the worst is 31E. This conclusion has been arrived at after validating user responses over a period of time. I'd doubts initially as to whether this would remain sacrosanct for all types of aircraft, but what I gather is that it's so  for all. The popularity of 6A is due to the legroom, an uninterrupted view of the sky without the wings or the engines mounted on them to come in between the line of sight and the comparatively short distances to the exit/toilet! On the other hand, 31E is crammed(I thought that was so for all the seats in the middle rows!) and for all the opposites that one can conjure up.

I'm talking about the!

2. Alarmingly dwindling vulture population!

The Indian subcontinent has been increasingly facing difficulties in the disposal of carcasses - both human and that of animals. A monumental, environmental disaster! This is because of the dwindling of the vulture population that feed on the cadaver and the singular reason for the shrinkage in their population is the use of a highly toxic chemical while handling the corpses. The Parsi custom of disposing of the dead has been worst hit and is worrisome. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh need to initiate novel methods for the enhancement of the vulture population. It's heartening to note that concrete remedial measures are on the anvil in  our country!

But there seems to be no dearth of 'culture vultures' in our country!

3. Temporary loss of peripheral vision.

While on a long drive and when one's behind the steering wheel, it gets to be a common habit to get fixated on the road ahead. What happens, consequently, is a temporary loss of peripheral vision and it gets pronounced as the speed increases! The disastrous consequences cannot be over emphasised during such situations. It would be prudent, therefore, for the driver to shift his gaze on to the dashboard or swivel the head sideways to take in the sights on offer, once in a way.

This is not applicable to people, like me, who've a faulty vision of the future!     

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Got me another friend!

Yesterday, I'd checked a guy at being slack in carrying out his duties at the sentry post. Actually, I was aghast that the chap could be casual while on his watch and that too, with live arms on his person!

I'd asked him about his personal particulars, tried to ascertain as to whether he was ill or was there anything troubling him. The answer was in the negative and I'd asked him to report to me, in a particular rig, as punishment for his recalcitrance. Accordingly, he'd come to me today at the appointed hour. Further quizzing revealed that he was indeed worried that his girl friend - doing her MBA at an institution at Muzaffarpur - had refused to take his calls for no rhyme or reason.

While emphasising the need to be alert on duty, I passed on a gem that one of my instructors - Naib Subedar Bhoopal Singh - had passed on to me during my training years at the Academy and I quote, "Always respect your weapon and it will stand you in good 'stud'(meaning 'stead')". After the ML(moral lecture), he was put at ease and asked to dial up his girl which elicited a prompt response. I spoke to the young lady, upon his insistence, to apprise her of the torrid time that she'd given him and the agony that he'd to go through, consequently! And her answer, "Sir, I wanted him to understand my place in his life" stunned me for a moment.

I can see that the poor guy's got himself a handful and I wonder as to whether all the military training that he's imbibed, thus far, is going to help him to tackle such volleys! But what was interesting and touching was the way that his face had lit up on hearing her voice.

Nitin - yes, that's his name - has become my latest friend. And I wish him and his lady love, Neeru(they're tying the knot, this November!) the very best!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Chandradeep, the hair stylist of the ship that I'd commanded, was able to reach me finally. He was mighty pleased to meet me as much as I was to see him after quite a while.

The disarmingly simple man from the interiors of western UP used to take great pains to enhance my looks(?) while narrating one anecdote after the other, which made those sessions interesting and informative. The intricacies of potato farming and the care with which goats were to be looked after for higher milk yield - just to name a couple - were interesting lessons that he'd imparted during those interactions! His wife and two sons stay in the village that he hails from and he visits them once a year when he goes on his month long leave.

My session with him this afternoon was after a fairly long hiatus. His thrill was all too evident when he had called up his wife and children on his cellphone and insisted that I talk to them. For me it was another lesson in human behaviour - I haven't done anything to fetch me his unrestricted love, affection and loyalty. He's promised to visit me once a fortnight from now on. And I really have nothing to offer!

It's truly humbling!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

A relationship in limbo.

I'm extremely saddened by the deteriorating relationship of a couple that I know of very well. Events seem to be overtaking them and onlookers, who should have continued to remain so, have become the key players and the actual people who should have taken charge of the situation have been reduced to being mere spectators!

And the root of the problem? Alcoholism!

Let me try to retrace the couple's travails. The young man was a sporting enthusiast, used to be honest about his workouts everyday and post - exercises, used to have a drink or two and never beyond. He used to say that the workouts permitted him to indulge! But over a period, the indulgence got to be extravagant that sadly, today he requires alcohol daily and more often than not, drinks himself silly and gets knocked off his senses in the process, almost regularly. He's also begun another attendant habit(which, I understand is the secondary stage of alcoholism!) - long chats with the opposite sex(at least, he thinks so but is fraught with danger because cyber frauds take advantage of the situation, posing as people that they really aren't) on the net. It's he who has come to the conclusion that he must part ways with his wife.

And what does the poor lady resort to? Like the typical suffering, Indian wife she consults astrologers(and gets hoodwinked by the guys, in the bargain!) and visits temples doing 'pujas' in the fond hope that her husband will eventually return, unscathed once the evil forces recede!

My take.

What needs to be done is to have him admitted into a de-addiction centre where the healing process starts in right earnest, without further delay. But the guy is firmly resisting it with the alibi that if at all he were to have a drink, post treatment, the results could be catastrophic, even fatal! And his so - called well wishers, the onlookers as I'd mentioned earlier - reinforce this fear of his, putting his family on the defensive and to inaction.

To the query as to why he should be indulging - post treatment - he remains silent!!


The situation has been agonising and has become an intensely personal grief as the protagonists happen to be my kid sister and her husband!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Another facet!

Shah Rukh Khan's ugly spat at the Wankhade stadium of Bombay, with a security guard, is another manifestation of a malaise prevalent in our country.

Here, unfortunately, law seems to be different for different people. Those with power and pelf enjoy a garish level of freedom which makes an ordinary citizen wonder as to what his fault was to be born in humble surroundings and not to parents, who can manipulate the law. Shah Rukh Khan has tried to show that he's a successful cine star (have I belittled him by not calling him a superstar or reigning no.1? It's better that he realises that success has a shelf life and will pass), who has mass adulation and therefore, demands separate nay specialised treatment.

And it's this misplaced attitude that finds him in discomfort whenever he goes abroad - especially to the US - while being subjected to stringent security checks. What he doesn't realise or is pretending to be ignorant of, is that security can only be effective, if it's uniformly applied to one and all.

It's also laughable that these guys have their own bodyguards to keep them away from the public, whose patronage - of filling up cinemas all over the country, every Friday, to see and endorse their theatrics on the screen - paradoxically, is what gives them their exalted status! The spectator is enamoured by the sterling qualities of their favourite hero on screen and surmises that he's the same qualities in real life too!! And it's incidents like the one mentioned above that make them realise that their 'god' was after all human!!!

It would be interesting to note as to who'd be eventually made the villain of this story. The media has already brought out that our 'god' was under the influence of alcohol. And so, I'd be closely following the sordid drama unfold, in the days to come!  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A nasty one!

It was a nice afternoon and we're headed for home to drop mom, my sister and my niece after their short break with us for the past three weeks.

The chevy was cruising at a comfortable speed on the highway and the weather was good - sunny, yet not hot! We're talking on various issues and the accompanying music on the FM radio was appropriate, matching our moods. My aim was to traverse the stretch of about 170 km at a safe pace, so as to reach home before sunset to make the settling down easy and comfortable.

Everything was going fine, when all of a sudden, a guy in an Audi charged at us from behind and for some unknown reason passed dangerously close to my car and while overtaking, deliberately reduced his speed pointing the bonnet across my way and I'd no other option but to swerve off the road and in the process, hit  dirt, sloping dangerously down the side. I couldn't comprehend the guy's action and was real angry because he'd so much of room to overtake comfortably. My niece, later said, that the person seated next to him had looked back with a grin on his face surely enjoying the discomfort that they'd put us in.

My first reaction, as I'd said, was anger which turned to a tremendous relief that nothing untoward had taken place! I'd retrieved my chevy from the slush and we continued our journey without further incidents.

But, why did the guy behave in that manner? Was he not relishing my chevy doing a decent speed? Or did he expect me to slow down and see him off and then, continue my journey? Were they a bunch of sadists, I wonder?

Or are they the guys who get kicks from seeing others in discomfort? I, again, wonder!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Two facets of our country!

I can't resist getting amazed at what I see around me. To use a cliche, 'it happens only in India!'

1. A hero's homecoming.

Former telecom minister, A Raja, has finally been granted bail with riders. There's nothing unusual about it and it just goes to prove the fairness of our judiciary and the justice system. But what's mind boggling is the hero's welcome that the blighter got on coming out of jail. What does it show or what is being proved? Let me try to answer my own queries:-
        (a) Are he and his cohorts trying to show his(?) popularity among the masses and thereby suggesting that
             he should be handled with care?

        (b) Is he making a statement that if his followers have accepted him with his warts and the moles, as to
             why the law can't also see his misdemeanour in a lighter vein and allow him to walk free?

        (c) What prevents him from tampering the records that incriminate him, by proxy?

Having said all that, his family's jubilation in having him back in their fold is discernible. But he needs to understand that a mere grant of bail does not absolve him of his wrongs!

2. The taint in cricket.

The media has come up with yet another expose that accentuates the rot in the game. The garishness of the IPL version of the game is an eye sore and the play of money was always there for everyone to see. But to catch youngsters indulging in malpractice - in camera - has given a further body blow to the game. Saddened by the turn of events, I've been asking the following questions:-

         (a) Aren't the youngsters inducted, to represent various teams, happy with the remuneration that they
              have been assured?

         (b) If they aren't, how much more would satisfy them? And what's the value system that they've
               imbibed if they have embarked on wrong practices which can only bring about their ultimate ruin?

         (c) Or is there something more sinister?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Satyameva Jayate!

India has come a long way in the world of the small screen. Be it the fare or the soaps being dished out, the maze of advertisements coupled with incessant news coverage, TV viewing has become interesting notwithstanding the fact that many of them are local adaptations of themes lifted from foreign networks!

We've traversed a long way from the 'Humlog - Buniyad' days, to the 'Khandaan - Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi - Sidhartha Basu's Quiz time' - where the hostess, Kavita Agarwal melted into the camera with her smiles, through the 'Ramayan - Mahabharath' sagas bringing life in India on Sunday mornings to a grinding halt, to weepy 'saas bahu' serials where everyone from the family even went to bed with full make up on, to the 'Kaun Banega Crorepati - We, the People - Sach ka Saamna' alongwith a host of movie based serials and now to the Aamir Khan hosted 'Satyameva Jayate'. The experience has been heady for the sheer variety of the programmes catering to each section of the society.

The current programme has generated a lot of viewer interest not only because it's hosted by the popular cine actor but also because of the fact that it shows our country where everything goes. Socially relevant subjects like 'female foeticide' and 'child sexual abuse' have been touched upon during its first couple of episodes and the presentation is aesthetic. Such a programme would not have been considered for telecast say, about ten years back!

The question that comes to my mind is that will the society assimilate these inputs in the right spirit and discard wrong practices? Or would it be yet another serial viewed with a cynical scepticism?

If the latter be the case, then it's gonna be unfortunate! I sincerely hope that it would not be so!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's day.

The entire family had come together, for the first time after dad's passing away, at my sister's place at Palakkad.

We'd actually set off from Kochi yesterday afternoon for a quick visit to Guruvayoor to fulfill my kid sister's requirements.  The drive was blemish free and after the needful at the temple town, we had reached Palakkad driving through post sunset hours - just what I hate because of the 'battle of the headlights' backed up by rash driving by errant drivers - just to be in time for my sister's well laid out supper! Mom did emphasise that she's on such a journey, for the first time, without dad. She misses him thoroughly though it still remains fresh in memory of the numerous fights that they both used to have - of course, the mismatch in ideas between them never lasted beyond a few minutes!!

So, this morning, it was coincidental that all of us were at hand to wish her a 'Happy Mother's day' and we'd ensured that there were no excessive show of sentiments as her last year's quip of 'don't tell me you require a Mother's day to remember me' still rung in our ears! But it was great having her amid us and to hear stories from the fund of anecdotes that she has from her life's experiences!!

Lekha, my nephew and niece were particularly eager - they made mom to repeat many of the stories concerning your's truly - and kicked about what they heard. The day passed on with food breaks in between and mom holding centre stage, all through! It was like going through life in a flashback well chronicled, with an attention to the minutest of details!

Felt thankful to god for making Chandramathy Nair my mom.


We're back at Kochi by sunset after a smooth drive when there was comparatively less traffic on the highway!   

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Great Expectations!

As one makes friends in the course of one's life, one's responsibility towards the extended family needs to be fulfilled as appropriate. Their expectations might not be expressed but they get amply evident when one, even inadvertently, misses out on something. I'd like to narrate an incident of this genre.

A couple of months back, a friend had asked me to get a reservation done for him in a long distance train. In the normal course of events, I'd have told the guy at the desk to note the request, in pencil, which would be inked and confirmed on receipt of a formal, written request which is mandatory for audit! And I should have told the individual to follow up accordingly.

Well, today, a very hurt RK - let me call him that - rang up to say that his name didn't figure in the final list and was at a loss as to what needed to be done because he'd to travel at all costs. Though he did not say anything to the effect, I could feel his 'you've let me down' during the empty chasm of conversation. His final plea of 'pse do something to retrieve the situation' still rings in my mind.

Though the situation was indeed retrieved and RK was able to travel, I'm still at a loss as to how and why the lapse had occurred on my part. My boys insist that the formal request had never reached us as records indicated. But I wouldn't like to wash off my lapse with bureaucratic alibis and so, the dilemma exists!

Yes, expectations are scary!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Are we serious or frivolous?

As a people, are we Indians too serious or frivolous?

Let's just take two recent issues that had occupied much space of the visual media. The first is the gruesome killing of a forest official just because he'd asked some tourists to refrain from misbehaving and to maintain etiquette that was expected of them. The guys who're requested thus must have felt that they're above the law and didn't quite relish the audacity of the government official to teach them a thing or two in manners. Their reaction led to the unfortunate incident!

The second was the uproar caused in parliament regarding a cartoon on Dr. BR Ambedkar in one of the text books published for the schools. Our worthy lawmakers feel that the great man has been belittled.

My take.

In the first case what were the others doing when they realised that something unfair was going on? Isn't it the oft repeated case of not reacting till it affects 'me and my close ones'? And what about the culprits in this case? A simple example about taking themselves seriously and assuming to be more important than the others!

And it's a known fact that every citizen of this country understands the great contributions of Dr. Ambedkar. His role in evolving our 'Constitution' is an established fact. No cartoon can lower the greatness of the man. Period! The fracas in Parliament is basically the antics of votebank politics and nothing else!!


We've so many milestones that need to be achieved for our country to be prosperous and yes, to be a superpower! Let's not waste our energies and efforts on frivolous matters! And let's make an earnest effort to like our countrymen and work together to achieve our noble aims!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Yet another medical examination!

It's time for another annual medical examination and I was going about it as meticulously as ever. The first thing was to report at the blood sample collection room of our immaculately clean hospital and I sighted and wished the 'mutti kolo' sister who'd given me a harrowing time during the last time. I hoped like mad that she wouldn't draw blood from me this time.

Wonder whether my apprehensions were writ large on my face because she put a young medical assistant, under her charge, to do the needful and he did a marvelous job - I didn't even know when the needle had gone in! She smiled and commented, "sir, this time your veins are behaving(I had told earlier on this forum that my veins have a peculiar property of disappearing deep within my skin whenever blood has to be drawn). Aiyo, I still remember a lot of blood being spilled last time" - as she put the blame squarely on my poor veins because she wouldn't blame 'sir', thanks to the hierarchical pyramid that we both are in!!

Next was my turn at the point where urine samples were being collected. I've a problem here too - my bladder gives a near empty sign whenever a sample needs to be taken! And today, it was no different. As I was psyching myself to give out a few frantic drops, there was an insistent, harsh knock on the toilet door and I knew that the caller was under extreme duress. Unfinished, I came out to see an elderly gentleman desperately waiting to go round the corner for he'd collected an unmanageable quantity in his bladder to facilitate a sonograph scan. 

Finally, I did manage to give my sample but the sister, at hand, observed, "sir, I do not know whether the quantity is sufficient". And I gave her the look as if to say, 'pse make sure that it's sufficient because I've run out of stock!' Does this happen only to me or is it a universal phenomenon, I wonder?

My last stop was at the ECG lab. Before me was a burly yet bubbly sardar, awaiting his turn. As he was asked to take his position on the bed, he swiftly went on to strip down to his underwear when the meek looking medical assistant at hand, not without a twinge of anxiety writ large on his face - was he worried about the sardar's sexual orientation, eh? - exclaimed, "sahib, aap kar kya rahe ho? Itna kapda utaarne ki zaroorat kya hai?"(sir, what're you upto? What was the need to strip this much?) and started moving towards the exit - just in case....?

I couldn't suppress a naughty chuckle and I only hope that it doesn't get reflected in my cadiogram as alarming spikes!

Who says medical examination is dull, solemn and drab? I veto it, pronto!! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ominous trends, caused by a lack of leadership!

I'm struck by the import of two recent articles that had come up for discussions in the public domain. The first was about the increasing number of children and adolescents indulging in crimes, triggered by wayward behaviour like abuse of drugs and failed education. The second was about parents banking on private detective agencies to pry on their children as the disconnect in the family is growing alarmingly.

Studies by sociologists have revealed that the trend of children taking up bad habits and keeping bad company stems from the irresponsible behaviour of their parents! While catering to every whim and fancy of the child, the parents try to make space for their irresponsible lives with the result that they cease to be effective arbitrators when a mess up occurs. And paradoxically, the guilt gets to be so overbearing that the parents take the easier way out by running away from the problem without grappling with it as they do not want to be seen as being 'mulish and not in touch with reality' by their wards. They do not want to be unpopular, either!

The rot that has set in the society runs deep. No amount of education can stand in for a lack of leadership and motivation in the fundamental/basic unit of a society which is the family. Collective prayers and breaking bread together at homes - to name just a couple - were insisted upon by families till the not-so-recent-past which have been given the go by, by the nuclear families who've embraced the escapist 'laissez- faire' syndrome to cover up individual inadequacies/weaknesses! The patriarch who guided his family adopting a no-nonsense approach has now become the butt of puerile humour and a 'comic' character in many a contemporary movie.

But what's unfortunately being glossed over, is that most of the patriarchs provided leadership through exemplary behaviour! And the absence of such a towering presence is essentially the problem!!

This deficiency in leadership, at the grassroots, just seems to be increasing!      

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When the victim becomes the accused.......

Today there was an ugly situation at our residential area. The matter was, of course, settled after some deft handling of frayed tempers but the whole fracas did tax the patience factor.

There was a repair work, on the toilet outlet pipes, that has been begun in one of the multi-storeyed buildings which entailed the inmates to refrain from using the toilets of that particular section. Adequate warnings and door-to-door instructions were passed on to the affected population by the contractor, himself. The fact was that the workers had to work in extremely difficult conditions as their work space was a small platform on each floor that restricted their movements. Anyone, using the affected toilets even unknowingly, would bring about any of the following two situations:-

          (a) the entire muck would get splattered onto the poor worker in his work station.
          (b) the resultant wetness/soiled state would momentarily make the worker lose his balance resulting in a      
               fatal fall down many floors.

The work had commenced on Monday, the 7th and all of us heaved a collective sigh of relief for an unblemished  day, with no untoward incident. But today happened to be otherwise. Someone had used the forbidden toilet in her house resulting in the splatter of muck onto a poor, unsuspecting worker perched on the uncomfortable position. And all hell broke loose. The affected youngster charged to the recalcitrant house and let go off his disgust at the lady of that house!

No amount of apology from the contractor and the caretaker could pacify the fuming young lady subsequently,  insisting on an apology from the protagonist himself who simply refused to do so, despite advice from his employer, insisting that he wasn't at fault. The stalemate would have continued but for our intervention because stoppage of work was not in the interest of the inmates and the housing society. To retrieve the situation, I'd personally apologised to the young lady on behalf of the society and left her with the query, 'how'd you expect the man on whom you'd splattered filth - even though unknowingly, perhaps - to apologise to you, especially when he's a casual labourer without the backing of education and for whom, chivalry was an alien word?' Thankfully, it did have the desired effect!


The contractor has, however, promised that the boy would ultimately tender an apology, to the lady, in the course of the week when he sees light to reason! The young man's a nice guy after all! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

A murder most foul.

The media has been covering extensively, over the past few days, the brutal assassination of TP Chandrasekharan, the leader of the RMP - a runaway faction of the CPM. He'd 51 ugly slashes, all over his body including his face(the garish stitches were visible as his body lay in state. I bet the guys must have had a tough time stitching up the face - to make it presentable - on the post-mortem table!) presumably, to ensure that the man didn't have an iota of a chance of survival.


The gentleman, was in the CPM, not long ago and was supposed to be part of the Achuthanandan faction. When differences of opinion and ideological mismatch loomed large, he had left the party and started his own outfit. The local CPM outfit - Onchiyam of Vadakara in the district of Kozhikode - didn't anticipate the large scale exodus of its rank and file into the new outfit, owing allegiance to TP, as he was popularly known! The police confirm that there were death threats to him, from unidentified quarters, but the man refused to have security cover saying that his life would be snuffed out even if he had moved around with a posse of security guards! On the fateful night, around 10 PM, he was on his mobike when accosted by a gang, who'd followed him in a car and then proceeded to give him his gruesome end.

Political parties, of all hues, have gone to town trading charges and counter charges as is the wretched practice out here. Meanwhile, the police is on the job to establish the killers and untangle the case.

My take.

How can one take another's life just because of a difference in opinion or for that matter, ideology? I thought the biggest thrill would be to verbally deal with one's opponent and make him finally accept the merits of one's stand by sheer logic and the facts to support it. In the process, one would have made yet another friend on a  stronger foundation bolstered by mutual respect.

Does heightened literacy convert minds into doing irrational behaviour stemming from zero tolerance of others' ideas? Then what's the difference between us and those who live under authoritarian rule? No human being has the right to take another's life.

It's a matter of shame, for all of us malayalees, that such a heinous act has been committed. It's every man's hope that the police and the law would bring the guilty to book, at the earliest.

And yes, I repeat the question that I'd asked earlier - whither Kerala? RIP TP and may god give your family the necessary strength to tide over these difficult times! And for heaven's sake please refrain from playing political games over a dead man!!

The thing that bugs me is as to what sort of guys are the killers? Are they so clinical and mechanical in their thoughts that they no more understand the niceties of life and does only money motivate them? And what're they gonna do with loads of money, that they acquire in this manner, when guilt will continue to haunt their lives till their ends? 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

On the occasion of 'World Lupus Day'.

It was a hectic day despite the fact that I keep my Sundays comparatively free and light. We'd been invited to the AIMS(Amritha Institute of Medical Sciences) on the occasion of the 'World Lupus Day' which, incidentally, falls on 10 May.

Actually, we'd been sounded much earlier by Lekha's doctor, the dedicated and affable Dr. Padmanabha Shenoy during our visit to him last month for review. The meet was a conglomeration of SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) patients organised by the Rheumatology department of the hospital and the afternoon began with a 'breaking the ice' soft drink which resulted in a free and frank interaction of the participants with one another. What touched a deep chord was the experiences shared by the patients on their road to recovery. On a personal level, Lekha and I relived those horrible days when the illness had struck our small, little world and the superb efforts of Dr. Joseph Kurien, at the Lisie hospital, in bringing her back to normalcy.

SLE has the following characteristics:-

   (a) It is usually seen to be active in girls between the ages of 20 and 40 yrs.
   (b) The ratio of occurrence is about 1:20,000.
   (c) It's difficult to diagnose and could lead to damages of the internal organs leading to death.

Experts, present at the meet, outlined the salient features of the ailment that added to the knowledge quotient of everyone present. The interaction of the cine actress, Reema Kallingal, with the patients and their relatives brought out poignant stories of families that had gone through the trauma of the illness and come out of it all to lead a near normal life. Veteran journalist, Leela Menon's narration of her personal travails was an inspiration to the audience about living life to the full, despite adversities. There was a one man skit, wrapped in humour, towards the end which we'd to unfortunately forego due to prior commitments.

An afternoon well spent. Thanks, Dr. Shenoy for giving us the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful get together. Here's us wishing you the very best in all your endeavours!


Lekha narrated her personal agony and her fight with the illness. She has picked up quite a few friends from the gathering who've become her admirers after hearing her story. She also got an autograph from the actress for my li'l niece, Ammu as both of them have been thoroughly impressed by the young lady's sensitive portrayal of the main character in the recently released Malayalam movie, '22 Female Kottayam'.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Blast from the past!

This evening we'd a pleasant engagement of attending a wedding reception of a young couple at one of the swanky retreats of Kochi. The invitation was by word of mouth, in that the bridegroom happened to be the grandson of my mom's playmate and friend at Ambalappuzha, when she used to be in frocks and half skirts. Mohana aunty had come to know that mom was in town and had invited us over the telephone, profusely apologetic for the manner that she was passing on the invitation - but she seemed to be desperately genuine about meeting mom.

And so we're at the tastily decorated venue at the appointed hour and boy, the evening was worth the nasty drive through horrible traffic.

I think mom enjoyed every bit of the evening as many of her friends of her childhood days were in attendance and she'd a sizeable crowd around her, throughout her presence. Came to hear a lot of anecdotes and that too for the first time, about mom during her schoolgirl days. I was more of an observer of the entire evening's proceedings and felt glad that mom was having a swell time. It was also great to know more about her when I was under the impression that I knew all about her.

All in all, an evening well spent! The upshot of the get together was that we've a whole lot of invites over the next few days before mom returns home. Never realised that were a few relatives staying pretty close to us - social interactions are going to get more hectic when I was trying to tone it down, thus far!


The traditional orchestra was in attendance, for the evening, which was a definite and refreshing change from the usual bands that are active on such occasions. But what else would have been appropriate when the bridegroom happens to belong to the family of the famed 'Ambalappuzha brothers' of old?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Close encounters of the pleasant kind.

After fetching up at the office, earlier than usual to clear the morning work, I'd gone along with a classmate of mine to attend the wedding of the son of a classmate of ours. Since the venue happened to be pretty close by, fetching up there was easy with the travelling distance and time being within manageable limits!

I must hastily admit that we'd fetched up a trifle late, just after the priest had pronounced the couple, man and wife!

The venue was a wayside resort with the scenic backwaters as the backdrop. The entire area and the main dais  was beautifully and tastefully decorated. The young couple - pretty smart looking and made for each other - was resplendent and radiant, trying to get used to the sudden limelight that they're being thrust into. After wishing them the best in their life together and congratulating their parents for the wonderful event on show, it was time to interact  with a dozen of my classmates and their wives, who're in attendance! Within no time, we'd updated ourselves with the news and happenings in one another's lives with a promise to meet up next month at school, on the occasion of the Alumni day.

I've always come back rejuvenated after such outings because of the tremendous happiness derived while being with my classmates and friends. And I suppose the feelings are reciprocated with equal fervour. The elaborate spread of lunch on the banana leaf had the traditional flavour and I tucked into it heartily - yes, to the point of eating myself silly - as always!

As we sped back, so that I could be back at work on time, sleep had to be consciously thwarted to keep the conversational flow with my friend going - and boy, the going was tough!


An observation from the wedding hall. Mallu ladies are increasingly showing an inclination to wear the traditional two piece dress of 'mundum neryathum' on such occasions. There was a sizeable sprinkling in the rig at the function and I felt glad at this loyalty! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Truly intriguing!

A story that had come in the newspapers, a couple of days back, talked of a car with - if I recollect correctly - four people which was speeding down the highway when a huge tree happened to fall on it. The gentleman, behind the wheel, died instantaneously while the other three had escaped miraculously without even a scratch. The car is badly mangled and needs extensive repairs. The incident had taken place somewhere off Chandigarh.
            *                                    *                                    *

I was reminded of another story that had hit the print media quite a few years back and the incident had taken place somewhere in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. A teenaged boy was cycling towards his school when, all of a sudden, a large python had slipped off the clutches of an eagle passing by above. The scared reptile fell on the hapless boy, bit him in its dazed and frightened state killing him instantaneously and died along with him.

            *                                     *                                    *

A family of five - the parents and three children - had planned to go on a long drive around eastern India and had decided to visit as many religious places, as possible, enroute. As they completed almost the entire journey and was left with just one more temple to visit, the eldest son got a recall from his office to return to work. He, then, bade his bye and left the family to continue with their drive. Soon after, the car met with a ghastly accident when it hit a long distance bus head on, killing all the four occupants instantaneously.


What does one make out from the three totally unconnected stories? Nothing, I'd say.

But delving deeper into the philosophy of life, the end arrives unmistakably and on time. It's just waiting for the script - yes, written by the master script-writer - to come to its end!

Otherwise, how does one explain the deaths of the driver(in the first story), the boy(in the second) and the remaining four of that family(in the last)? One gets the creepy feeling that in each case, the protagonists had arrived on their farewell stage to act out their ends!!

An after thought!

Life, indeed, is beautiful, mysterious and a great teacher!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The bloody killers!

Here's yet another case of boorish behaviour by our fellow countrymen, this time, from Bangalore.

Three youngsters, barely out of their teens, struck and pushed 60 year old Alageshan, an employee of the BEML, who'd a heavy fall in the process and was declared 'brought in dead' by the hospital, where he was rushed for medical assistance. And what was the elder's act that invited the wrath of the youngsters? He'd asked them to refrain from sexually harassing his niece and in the process, given a tight slap to one of the three miscreants whose brutal retaliation resulted in his untimely and gruesome end!

TV grabs of the three miscreants show them covering their faces with their personal clothing. The police should actually prevent such thugs from doing so to ensure that the whole world sees them, make them easily identifiable for posterity to be despised, denigrated and shunned by the general public.

But before all that, the case must be tried in a fast track court and appropriate punishment meted out at the earliest. These murderers must be given the lesson of their lives swiftly, without compassion. Any delay would be an affront to the departed soul.

RIP Alageshan. I'm sure that your efforts will not go waste.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

01 May.

Celebrated, the world over, as May day, it's the day dedicated to the industrial worker for his contribution to the society at large. It need not be emphasised that the meanest and the hardest manual jobs continue to be the mainstay of an industrial worker, the technological advances notwithstanding! The working environment could also get to be difficult and harsh depending upon the specialisation.

At Kochi, especially the port area on the Willingdon island wore a deserted look and seemed to be unusually quiet with the cranes and the timer horn being silent. But the streets were a sea of red with the industrial workers being active in a rally organised on the occasion. Red flags, buntings and festoons were visible all around.

While appreciating the need for the workers to be united and be an organised force to combat their exploitation, I've a query and an observation, which are:-

      (a) Ideally, such a day should not be a holiday. It should be the day when every worker ensures
           maximum output through his day's efforts.

      (b) Because of the holiday, tomorrow there shall be no newspapers alongwith the morning cuppa tea!
           And that's gonna be a dampener for a day to begin with!


Today's the day of the famous 'Thrissur Pooram' at the forecourt of the Vadakkunnatha Kshetram. The visual and the audio feast provided by the majestic array of caparisoned elephants, the spectacular 'kudamattom' (the change of the colourful umbrellas) and the accompanying 'melom' (traditional orchestration) coupled with the fireworks display have made it an event to remember and one begins to count the days for the next year's extravaganza even before the present one's ended!

The 'pooram', actually, marks the conglomeration of the various gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon!