Friday, August 31, 2012

A long journey.

The day had begun with us driving off for Thiruvananthapuram from our ancestral house, after an early breakfast. The agenda was a family get together at my maman's new house - so it was a combination of the house warming activity with the family's conglomeration under my mom's stewardship. The drive was smooth and we're the first to reach as desired by mom.

There was a mishap enroute caused by my refusal to use the 'horn' at pedestrians. A passerby was seen rubbing his right elbow that had hit my car's left rear view mirror as he was flaying his arms in an animated discussion with his friend. Thankfully, there was no serious injury! I was flayed mercilessly by my co-passengers for my lapse, though.

As the family started filling up its quorum, there was much bonhomie and catching up that usually goes on during such occasions. And soon, it was time for lunch and return. It was another swift drive and after dropping mom, Minni and Ammu at home we're off on our onward trip to Kochi. The rains had begun and we're stuck on the highway thanks to the procession, south bound to Varkala for the 'chathayam day celebrations'. The beasts in the motorists were visible off and on but thankfully, the situation didn't last for more than an hour as continuous downpour dampened the enthusiasm of the participants, who scrambled towards nearby shelters! As a hapless motorist, I could only thank the rains for being god sent to help me and others like me, tide over a miserably, wretched situation!!

By the time we'd fetched up at our place, it was dinner time with the rains continuing to lash furiously!


A short break packed with a lot of activities and I was satisfied that every event chalked out on our calendar could be meticulously adhered to. It also gave me the privilege of meeting a whole lot of my relations during onam.

 An aunt, however, quipped and I quote, 'it was nice meeting you after quite a while but the meeting was too short because you'd to go early. I'd wanted the get together to go on and on'. My apologies to you on that score, ma'asi!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Increased responsibilty.

Additional charge on account of my friend's move has come round. It's gonna see me shuttling between Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram on an increased frequency. But with the prevalent rains, the travel will be on a wet note.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A quiet onam with mom.

This onam has been unlike the previous ones. We'd kicked off from Kochi for home at first light. The journey was smooth though the rains were persistant all through. The journey was smooth as traffic was sparse thanks to the holiday on account of Thiruvonam.

My sisters, Rema and Minni, were spending the day with their inlaws and Lekha, with her dad. So after dropping Lekha at her place, I had settled down at home with mom. In fact, I let mom fuss over me like good old times spending a great amount of time in the kitchen as she went about getting our lunch ready. She went through stories about my grandparents, dad and our childhood escapades.

Yes, this onam has been very, very special!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mahabali isn't gonna like this!

Today's the first day of onam - 'uthradam'(the star today according to the malayalam calendar). Malayalees, the world over, would have stocked up with provisions and other stuff for celebrating the festival over the coming days - the last minute purchases or rather the scurrying to get all those missed during the previous buys is termed the 'uthradapaachil'. They want to show the best to their beloved and popular king, Mahabali, who's on a visit to his ex-kingdom as per the boon granted to him by Lord Vishnu, eons ago! And the visit's gonna last the entire Malayalam month of 'chingam'(commenced from 17 Aug and will end on 16 Sep).

He's definitely gonna go back with a promise never to return after seeing his people disgustingly deviant from acceptable behaviour. The reasons are simple:-

      (a) The government servants have prefixed and suffixed their leave to take maximum advantage
            of the holidays published officially, on account of the festival. One can forget serious work to
            be done for the rest of the week!

      (b) We mallus are gonna break our own previous record of consumption of liquor this time!

      (c) And we're not gonna let anyone do meaningful work while we mallus celebrate our festival!


(i) I've always wondered as to what really was the extent of Mahabali's Kerala? This is because of
     my knowledge that the state's present form had come into being on 01 Nov 1956 on the basis of

(ii) Mahabali must be definitely on stents - and quite a number of them at that - in his bloodstream
      thanks to the shocks of his previous visits. Hope he doesn't get a cardiac arrest on this visit of his.

(iii) I believe he's pinning a lot of hopes in the forthcoming 'Emerging Kerala' that's gonna encourage
       new investors in the state. I only wish them luck and lots of strength to take on the restive
       workforce available here. Everyone of us want white collar jobs so that we can take charge of
       others and do nothing else - we don't like to work, you see!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Changing times....

1. The new horizon.

Finally, official clearance has been given for helicopter services to the Sabarimala pilgrim. If everything goes right, the services will commence this upcoming season. I suppose it'll not be too long for the pilgrims' progress on the proposed rope way too! Such steps were stonewalled in the past by vested interests fearing that it would be a dead give away of the man made 'makarajyothi' seen in the direction of 'ponnambalamedu' hill in the vicinity, on the first day of the Malayalam month of 'Makaram'.

What the naysayers didn't realise all these years and wisdom seems to have now dawned on them is that Lord Ayyappan, the deity, does not require gimmicks to sustain his popularity among the millions of pilgrims! The new facilities would definitely ease the congestion on the roads but one needs to wait and watch as to when the entire system would be set in place.

For the purists, of course, it's a retrograde step. In their opinion, a 'darshan' of the Lord should only be after the mandatory 45 days of abstinence and prayer, followed by the long trek of almost 50 kms through Erumeli!

2. Adieu Neil Armstrong.

On 21 Jul '69, the moon came into our backyard when Neil Armstrong set foot on it with his famous words, "A small step for man, but a giant leap for mankind". Over the years, he'd reiterated that he was misquoted and what he'd actually said was, "A small step for a man, but a giant leap for mankind". What actually had shown through was the man's humility despite his great achievement because he was only too aware that the feat could be pulled off thanks to the collective efforts of the scores of scientists and technicians who worked round the clock to convert 'dream' to 'reality'.

And it also showcased man's quest of knowledge and his curiosity to unravel the unknown!

RIP Neil Armstrong, you shall be remembered by the entire world and by generations to come for being the chosen one to step foot on the moon, first! My humble prayers for a hero.

3.  Adieu AK Hangal saab.

A frail man who epitomised the grandfather, father and uncle through the numerous roles that he'd donned on the silver screen. I, for one, can never forget his grieving visage in 'Sholay' - the blockbuster of all times!

He'd gotten into the tinsel world when he was 50 but quietly plodded on with singular dedication and love for his work, notching up an impressive body of work despite advancing age and the attendant vagaries. It's indeed sad to know that he died penniless and that his pride did not permit him to seek help from the others. People of his stock are dwindling and very rare to find.

RIP Hangal saab, you shall always be remembered for your dedication to work. My humble prayers. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Sunday hotch-potch!

1. A spate of traffic snarls.

It looked so conspiratorial. We're driving down to Kovalam to attend a wedding in the family. Enroute, there were traffic snarls galore delaying us, for long hours, at various places. Enquiries elicited the weak alibi that most of the malayalees were out on the roads, doing their onam shopping, in the towns through which the wretched highway passes. Why I said that the reason meted out as the cause, did not hold water was that the policemen, on duty at crucial points, seemed to give priority to crossing traffic - sparse in comparison -   than to the arterial one! The result was that there were serpentine queues of vehicles on the north-south axis which took an inordinately long time to clear!

Traffic snarls bring out the beasts in people behind the wheels. Listing out a couple:-

      (a) Continuous use of the horn that gets to be irritable and grates on one's nerves. The sounds made by
            certain contraptions can really jolt anyone. Wonder whether the law permits these ones?

      (b) One's nicely aligned to the vehicles, before and after, while waiting for the impasse to pass when guys
            overtake trying to squeeze into a slot ahead, raising doubts as to whether one had been foolish to be    
            law abiding in being in the queue!

I wasn't quite happy to be in that situation but had to grin and bear it, all the same.

2. The bride's faux pas.

Lekha's nephew, Avinash was getting married to Vinitha. As all nair weddings go, this too, had its fair share of gaffes and faux pas. To list just one, when the bride's father handed over the garland to her for adorning the groom she almost put the garland around herself, eliciting instant 'shhs' and laughter from the audience. Probably, the young lady was weighed in by the situation and was quite flummoxed by the flurry of directives received from various quarters - a common happening during weddings, since everyone seems to be wanting to desperately display his/her knowledge to impress the others!

To my query as to why she almost did the unthinkable, the poor girl gave me a weak smile!

3. A few reactions.

While driving, one comes across a lot many reactions from fellow drivers who traverse along. I shall  put down a few that made me curious as to why they'd done so:-

    (a) A Chevrolet Cruze LTZ came honking, tried to overtake thrice but couldn't do so because other
         vehicles came in his way. Thereafter, he kept a discreet distance behind me without, even once, trying
         to overtake!
    (b) A Tata pick up truck kept honking continuously and slowed down drastically, after overtaking. After a
         while, when I'd overtaken him, he showed his clenched fist at me. I couldn't register his reactions
         further as I'd to turn away at the next junction. And no, I'd not tried to hamper his movement at all!
    (c) A gleaming white Ambassador who kept honking but never even once attempted to overtake!

I'm curious as to why they had behaved that way. Was each one of them trying to eliminate the boredom that tends to set in while on long drives..............or am I a bad driver.... I wonder?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ullas - my able assistant.

Ullas, my able assistant, has got his marching orders. We'd given him a farewell just the other day where he got sentimental and said that he'd enjoyed this tenure of his thoroughly while learning quite a bit on the job!

For me, being more than an able understudy, he was a friend, philosopher and guide. I'd never prevented him from shooting from the hip because it gave me the pulse of the organisation. Brought up in the best of traditions and values, he was a pillar of support for his juniors.

His wife and two sons form his family and they'll continue to be at their hometown near Pathanamthitta, while he proceeds for his new appointment. Sincere and hardworking, he'll be an asset to any organisation that he works for.

I shall miss you, Ullas, but you need to move on for your professional advancement. Here's wishing that only good things happen to you. May god be with you in all your endeavours!

Friday, August 24, 2012

A great backwater cruise.

The day was hectic, packed with activities and meeting deadlines. Everything went about with clockwork precision and there was no question of any sort of error creeping into my work.

At home too, we'd an uncle and aunt at lunch as they'd flown in from Bangalore to attend a wedding in the family. Catching up with them was nice as we're meeting after almost a year. The uncle - in his early 70s - has finally kicked the butt and consequently, his awful coughs have become a thing of the past. And the aunt is cute and pleasant, having preserved herself!

In the evening, we're on a boat cruise in the backwaters of Kochi. For some odd reason, it was nil wind conditions for almost the entire evening! However, that did not dampen the group's enthusiasm and I must say that we enjoyed every minute of the outing.

The city's rapid growth - though, sadly haphazard - was there, for all, to see. A host of multi-storeyed apartments dot the entire waterfront but what dismayed me most was that the signature bridge astride the marine drive's walkway, overlooking the port's channel mouth, has been marginalised to the point of being insignificant, thanks to the behemoth of a building in its proximity.

It's testimony to the unholy politician-real estate sharks-town planners-corporators' nexus. No multi-storeyed building should have been permitted to come up within the 100 metres'  space on either side of the bridge! Architecture of a city must have the aesthetics while keeping in mind the practical difficulties and actual requirements!!

Sad!!! The thrill of the boat cruise was dampened by the disfigured sight of Kochi's waterfront.   

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Imaginatively done!

Kala's house has been tastefully built on the sprawling land in front of the ancestral house. It has an idyllic setting with abundant greenery all around so much so that the interiors remain cool despite the prevalent weather outside!

The land on which the house stands used to be cultivable land - once upon a time - where paddy was grown and the whole area used to get waterlogged during monsoons. The foundation, thus required piling efforts to acquire the firmness that it has acquired today. The house has a touch of tradition coupled with modernity. Natural lighting streams in unhindered and the breeze flows through unfettered. Its entrance - though in the process of completion - has the touch of the grandiose ones of the old 'nair tharavadu'.

But what appealed to me the most was the continuous marbled veranda all around the house, which gives it a stately appearance. And as of now, it's uncluttered with just the right amount of furniture and showpieces. It's my fond hope that it continues to remain so and have also conveyed this wish of mine to the family.

And may all good things happen in that house. Leela kunjamma must be mighty pleased to see it from up there! Without her, Kurup kochachan though happy, looks lost!!


I've already made up my mind to go and spend a weekend out there. And one of the things that I look forward to do then is to settle down with a book, on the rocking chair perched in the outer veranda. And probably, watch the rains pitter-patter!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Another move.

After the day's work, we're off to my home to be at my cousin, Kala's housewarming which is to take place  tomorrow and we need to be at Kayamkulam for the purpose .

In the evening, my mom had got her refrigerator of 44 yrs exchanged with a new one. Actually, the old one had started giving her a lot of problems of late but she wouldn't agree to part with it saying that she'd a sentimental attachment with the piece! No amount of reasoning could persuade her until the stand on which it was perched gave way, last week!!

We'd reached home a trifle after sunset and though the journey was uneventful, the roads were in a pathetic state and driving was far from being enjoyable. While driving, one was careful to chart out an acceptable path for the vehicle to chug along, avoiding potholes to the extent feasible. The motorists crissed and crossed, and often came across perilously close to one another - honking madly and occasionally, losing their composure in the bargain!

Same old problem - the pathetic state of roads post monsoons! And mind you, this time the monsoons haven't been heavy. Whom does one whip, 'the contractor who made a fast buck getting the roads done last year' or the minister who's responsible for maintaining it?


Mahabali, the king who would be on his annual visit during Onam will have a tough time on his chariot. Or is he gonna come by a SUV, the acronym for a 'special utility vehicle'?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

India on camera!

The CCTV grab showing a minister of the union cabinet advising the gentleman on the chair of the Rajya Sabha, regarding the conduct of the proceedings is indeed saddening. It shows the way as to how people in power conduct their day to day activities, with scant regard to the customs, traditions and ethics in general conduct. Some of the political leaders do not seem to understand the meaning of 'propriety' and are far from being decent!

The irony of the whole thing was that Prof PJ Kurien was elected unanimously as the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, just a while before the unfortunate incident. The overwhelming support that he got from the members of parliament - cutting across party lines - showed his all round acceptability and the show of consensus was a rare commodity in the conduct of the house after what seemed to be a long while. I'm sure he wouldn't have wanted the beginning of his stewardship to be marred by such an unsavoury incident!

Hope he's able to get over the false start with his wisdom and impartial conduct of the proceedings in the days to come.


PJ Kurien is an active member of the PN Panicker foundation and to quote him, 'a lifelong admirer of the late PN Panicker'. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

The wedding and the reception.

The activity packed morning passed off in a blur. The first was a visit to the reputed 'sivakshetram' for a 'darshan' followed by the activities connected with the wedding. Thankfully, the entire sequence was well rounded within a short time frame and there weren't any glitches. Sandip(my youngest aunt, Sumangala's son) and Vani were man and wife by 0950h.

After an early lunch, the newly wedded couple had to rush off to Thiruvananthapuram to be in time for the 'grihapravesham' at Sandip's house, before 4 PM.

Lekha and me set off northward, back to Kochi while most of the rest of the family headed southward. The drive was smooth and the traffic on the highway was sparse thanks to the day being a holiday.

We'd another date in the evening. It was to attend the wedding reception of Nidhin who works in our office. The drive, though short, was through the crowded thoroughfare of Edakochi. The private buses and the autorickshaws drove as they owned the roads and generally kept their fellow motorists on their tows. We'd gone as one huge group and I can never forget the genuine look of thrill on the young man's face on sighting us. It was nice to meet their folks whom he took pains to introduce to us.

The photography and the coverage by video seemed to go on and on without any let up. And frankly, being in the limelight is something that I shun but this evening, it was thrust upon me. A very dignified and nicely conducted event.


Here's wishing the two newlyweds of the day a long and happy married life. May they get whatever they wish for!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Off to Ettumanoor.

Yet again it's travel time. We're off to Ettumanoor to attend a reception followed by the wedding of my cousin.

The journey of about 60 kms was short and we're in time for the 'Mylanchi kalyanam'. It's a nice, quaint tradition where every relative and friend (females only) from the bride's family applies 'henna' on her hands - a tradition, I suppose, to indicate that all the participants are thrilled about the happy occasion. Now don't get me wrong because from what I've just said, I wouldn't blame anyone for having come to the conclusion that the bride's palms would be a wretched pattern of the paste by the end of it all! In reality, the henna application has long since been completed and she holds a 'paan' leaf in her open palms for the others to do the needful as tradition dictates!

The accompanying merriment in the form of the traditional dances like the 'thiruvathirakkali', 'kaikottikkali and the works made the evening colourful and absorbing. It had a mesmerising effect and time, really, flew!

The evening had stretched on to late night with many of us cousins getting together to exchange information and to catch up from where we'd left last. It was also an occasion to meet quite a few of the close relations with whom one doesn't keep in touch regularly and it's then that the realisation dawns that we, generally, confine ourselves to a very small group even within the family.


A hectic day, nay evening, to be precise and I was glad to interact with a lot many of my relations. And promises have been made to sustain the interaction.  

Dateline 18 Aug.

Returned to Kochi after a nice trip. It was from Madras to Kochi via Bangalore and consequently, there was a repeat refreshment on both the legs of the journey - four arrow root biscuits and a mango juice! While appreciating the austerity measures and the fact that it's a shuttle service, I've the following questions:-

    (a) Can't anyone in the Air India think of providing two different menus for refreshments?
    (b) Or is it that they go by their argument that the passengers are different in each leg simply ignoring the
          fact that it's not so on the ground?
    (c) And after all these measures, why is the airline still running heavy losses?

I suppose it's sloth, unimaginative practices and insensitivity to the passengers' needs that are the hallmarks of a journey in the national airline. Sad! And nobody seems to care!!

Met Marys after a long while - she'd arrived from Port Blair the previous evening - and it was nice catching up with her from where we'd left last. She was off to be with her father who's 84 and to put it in her own words, has a host of medical complications. She'd be with him for about three weeks and would be reviewing his medical management.

On arrival at Kochi, it was a scoot to Aluva to attend a meeting and by the time I reached home, it was sunset and was just in time for my walk.


It took more than an hour to traverse a distance of 10 kms thanks to the heavy crowd of shoppers in view of the forthcoming festivals of Id-ul-Fitr and Onam. Whoever says that the average malayalee doesn't have money is talking utter gibberish and is unaware of the facts on the ground!

Friday, August 17, 2012

My girl.

Whenever I'm in the city I endeavour to make a connect with my girl. In fact, I look forward to spending time with her and it's always ensured that I'm not involved in anything official. I make it a point to square up all entrusted jobs before that.

This evening too I was at her doorstep much before sunset. I'd surprised her as usual but I prefer keeping my visits that a way because I do not want her to get into a frenzy, preparing things for me, I mean, things that I like. As I handed over a clutch of bright red roses to her, she was thrilled and muttered, "You're the only one who gets me flowers!" And that was the defining moment of the visit.

As I sat on the rocking chair, pulling it close to her so as to hear her clearly, she'd started to make a fuss over what I was supposed to be given and Anandi had got on to tea making. And as the piping hot cup of tea reached me, she showed her annoyance at the faire not being upto her standards. Pushkin, Thambi and Inji, the cat were observing me down to the minutest detail to find out as to who this guy was who was usurping their space.

Our talk session stretched for over a couple of hours with her peels of laughter erupting on every PJ of mine. And it was time for me to return for the evening's function.

She looked much better than what she did the last time I saw her!
She's 86 and diabetic.
She's Laila, my girl, as she continues to smile!      

Thursday, August 16, 2012

At Madras!

I simply can't come to playing the game that many seem to be doing - call cities, roads etc with names that have the local flavour. While I agree with the fact that the local cultural ethos may be brought to bear on nomenclatures there should be pragmatism and the tendency to go overboard, should at best, be avoided.

Anyways, I shall retain the older names as I'm familiar with them and I only hope that some rabid guys don't join issue with me.

I landed up at Madras on work, half an hour later than the scheduled time of arrival. It was a smooth flight but I'd another glimpse of human behaviour in the aircraft, which I shall narrate. The couple sitting in front of me were off to the Thirupati temple gathered from their conversational pieces which were at a higher decibel level than normal - they're a foursome, actually. The lady was ungodly sick - thanks to the samosa she'd eaten at the departure lounge - according to her husband. Sometime, during the flight, she'd dropped her hair clip and was requesting through the gestures of her hand - through the gaps in her chair's backrest - to retrieve it for her! It was rather strange, for, had I been in her place I'd have got up and made the request formally. Anyways, chivalry runs deep and the clip was retrieved without ado.

My 'saarthi' was Ilamparuthi - meaning, the early morning sun, in Tamil - a smiling, positive, young man. He's currently doing his BEd but he's ambitions to start a travel agency, owning a fleet of vehicles. He's 28 and the second of three children to his parents - his father is the head teacher of a middle school. To a specific question as to when he was contemplating marriage and as to whether he was in love, he says that these have never been contemplated as his father was strict and that he doesn't stand such 'nonsense'!

I was pleasantly surprised to see a youngster of his generation being mortally scared of his dad. But it's a fear that flows out of his respect for the old man. May god bless you in your endeavours, young man!

And Ilamparuthi is gonna be my company for the next couple of days. 


The Madras traffic is as mad as ever, with roads reduced in width thanks to the metro coming up!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The 66th Independence Day.

As usual, the country celebrated the Independence day with the pomp and ceremony that it deserves.

But what we need to seriously think is as to whether it's just enough to settle for the homilies and the symbolism without making an effort to remove the sloth that has permeated into every layer of our society and the system that we follow. Our country cannot afford to go on like this, with the corrupt amassing wealth and the poor getting poorer.

The existing laws must be uniformly applied to each and everyone. There needs to be zero tolerance for corruption and wrongdoings in society need to be quickly dealt with and the guilty brought to book without fear or favour!

It's my fond hope that a vibrant, strong and tolerant India would become a force to reckon with. The years from now on will be that of India's and nobody shall take that away from us.

A tall order from the present day's state of affairs but can't I dream?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A quick trip.

After squaring up the work for the day, it was time to make a quick dash to Guruvayoor basically to take stock of the progress of work in our house.

The drive was nice though there were three occasions when I'd come across errant drivers. The most audacious of the three was an SUV, whose driver seemed to understand the delay to get the right of way at a junction but his pillion friend was showing his fists at me in annoyance! It had to be ignored much against my wishes as the traffic was real heavy and I didn't want to be a spoilsport to the others on the road. And then, of course, there was a driver of a private bus coming from the opposite direction who did try to egg me off the road and finally, showed his frustration by showing a clenched fist at me. The third was a youngster on his bike, driving all over, who'd to be told that he'd end up at the wrong end of the law for driving inebriated.

But it was okay. We could reach our destination within the stipulated time for the debrief and the briefing! There's lots left to do!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

We're anti-progress deep within!

I've seen a tendency among many of us taking an anti-progress stand on issues concerning our fellow human beings. I've wondered whether this quirky behavioural aspect stems from a feeling of disquiet or plain jealousy in the other's progress. Deep within, one doesn't want the person perceived to be below one's stature to overtake one in the course of one's life.

Let me try to amplify this behavioural pattern by narrating two real life incidents. I was on my evening walk as usual -  incidentally, so many things concerning us are available on a platter on such occasions. One just needs to keep one's eyes and ears open to take in the sights and sounds!

A lady - a casual labourer, presumably after a weary day's work - was headed home. She seemed to have a handful of groceries purchased out of her earnings and thumbed an autorickshaw that was passing by, at that instant. It was the driver's actions that caught my fancy - he continues to coast further, then stops, cranes his neck out of the vehicle to study the person who'd hailed him and for some reason, decides that she doesn't measure up to his standards(?) and starts driving away. By this time, the lady had reached the rick and she's earnestly requesting him, "Sir, please take me I'm already late and my husband has to eat something before he takes his medicines". That was the time when I decided to intervene and chided the driver for being petty and class conscious. A small crowd had started gathering around us hearing my high decibel queries and thankfully, the driver relented and sped away with the hapless lady. My doubt is simple, if he gets the fare why should he bother about the 'class' of the person providing the fare? Or was he bugged by the fact that the casual labourer had the audacity to think of travelling in a rick when she should have walked it to her destination?

I must confess that the second incident that I'm gonna narrate is a bit earlier in vintage but absolutely relevant to the aspect being discussed here. It was at one of the departmental stores near our house, at Delhi. The shopkeeper, as well as his helps, were thoroughly respectful and alert while taking care of us 'saab log' but disdainful and brusque while dealing with the domestic helps who also went there for their requirements. He'd to be once told that as far as he was concerned, he should be treating all his customers alike, as everyone was paying him for the purchases! There were even complaints that he would offer stuff of differing quality based on the 'status' of his customers!!


I've cited the two incidents - one from Kochi and the other from Delhi - deliberately, to highlight this flaw in the Indian way of thinking. It's the famous 'KUPD'(kiss up piss down) syndrome - that the Indians are known for - at play here!     

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Against the tenets of astrological predictions!

My mother had called me to say that I should not drive because the astrological column, 'This week for you' has predicted a catastrophe for your's truly on the roads. She was giving me this warning as we're supposed to be at home for the weekend to attend a family event.

She makes it a point to read the column and asks us to take remedial action so that no harm comes our way. A noble and selfless thought but what she doesn't seem to understand is that one would be bound to the four walls of one's home, not being able to do anything, if one were to take note of such warnings!

But mom is mom and she'll always worry about her children. Actually her genuine concern about our safety is adequate enough to tide over any sort of emergency that might crop up! And I'm pretty sure that she's made a tryst with her God for a 'puja' or an offering to ensure that no harm befalls us!


Anyways, the journeys up and down had gone off smoothly without hiccups. My mom's prayers have worked, yet again!

The marvel of technology!

Dateline 11 Aug.

The left aft rear tyre of my Cruze had been showing an air leakage for a while and since I was not slated to go on a long drive over the last fortnight, I was plain lazy to take up the repairs on a 'war footing'. But I couldn't avoid it any further and this morning, I'd gone to the JK Tyres outlet to get the needful done.

Many of my friends abroad would laugh reading this because they would have been in the know how of maintaining a tubeless tyre for the last so many years. Technology's delayed entry into our country needs to be taken in our stride due to the fact that we're a 'developing nation'!

But I must admit that it was my first experience because this was the first puncture after the car had clocked a trifle under 20,000 kms. The guys at the repair station were all business as they went about removing the tyre using their jigs and fixtures. I was curious to know as to why they say that even if a sharp object attaches itself to these tyres, one could drive on - without stopping - to a tyre fixing unit for defect rectification unlike the normal ones with tubes!

The villain was a 2" long nail that was removed and a 'teflon' like material was stuffed into the hole which is supposed to spread in a semi liquid state and cover the puncture as the tyre begins to run. No more 'tyre pincture'(as quoted from one of the roadside cycle/tyre repair shops of a Delhi roadside!) being set right by them for a measly Rs. 5/- or even Rs.10/- The flip side is that a cure for the tubeless is Rs.100/-

Well, good services will have to be paid for! I was impressed because the whole cycle of events took just over ten minutes and I could kick off on my long drive home soon after.

Friday, August 10, 2012

This is the India that I dread.

This is the India that I dread and weep for. I shall take you through some of the news that are hitting the headlines now. And mind you, it's a malaise that's all pervading and not restricted to the states which are currently splashed all over the media. This is what we say is our 'sab chalta hai' attitude. Decency, abiding by the laws of the land and setting an example to the younger generations have all been given the go by. And who cares as to what the youngsters think about us? They'll take care of things when their turn comes about, we should not molly coddle them seems to be the thought!

Let's now go through the people, currently in the news, for all the wrong reasons:-

     (a) A minister's advice.
          Shivpal Singh Yadav, the PWD minister in the UP cabinet and Mulayam Singh's
          brother, exhorting the officials of his department that a small amount of corruption is okay by him after
          hard work. While condemning the statement, what he doesn't seem to understand is that the word          
          'small' connotes differently to different people.  
     (b) An absconding minister.
           Gopal Kanda, a Haryana minister accused of abetting the murder of his former employee, Geetika
           Ganju continues to remain elusive from the law enforcement agencies. The blighter, along with his
           cronies, seem to have suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth. I can't believe that he doesn't
           have the blessings of powerful forces which make a mockery of the system, that's followed by the
           poor law abiding citizens like you and me.

      (c) Anna Hazare's Team.
           The team stood for rooting out corruption in our country and we're witness to enthusiastic  
           endorsement from all over, last year. Now, the enthusiasm seems to have died down and we've
           the team members pulling in different directions, each with their own points of view. What baffles me
           is that why should there be a difference of opinion if their sole aim was to root out corruption? Except
           for the old man, are the others sincere in their quest?


Why is this mentality prevalent among us? Is it because of the periodic subjugation of the country by foreign invaders and our efforts to please them, that has made us so?          

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Now that calls for diplomacy!

I'm back to trivia concerning our residents' welfare association and naturally, some of you might even ask, 'why, if it's trivia?' My answer is that it gives an insight into human behaviour - as to what actuates it and makes one do things that one wouldn't think of doing in the normal sense.

This evening, as I was going around the residential area to take in the extent of cleanliness, two gentlemen accosted me to say that putting up new notice boards in the main foyers of each of the three main buildings was unnecessary and rounded it off by saying that it was a 'wastefull expenditure of our money'. The fact that one among them happened to be my predecessor touched me to the quick. There, of course, was a better side to the episode in which a third gentleman, who'd joined us just then told me that he'd take on two vexed issues and will have them sorted out by the end of the month!

The interaction did exercise my mind as I went about my walk. On my return, my predecessor called me up and began with a note of apology. While agreeing to the need for the notice boards, he said that he'd voiced his opinion against the project simply because it was conceived and executed by DB - I shall restrict it to his initials - and was turned down by him during his tenure at the helm!

I could only tell him that I'd stand by the decision as it was cleared by me and therefore, the buck stopped with me.


The beauty of the whole thing is that my predecessor - a hyperactive Bong who's quite fond of me - is a genuine guy whose relentless efforts have given the colony its swanky look. And it's this indulgence of his that the team needs!

So, diplomacy is the need of the hour to avoid antagonising anyone! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why the dual personality?

I'm amazed by people who maintain a dual identity in their lives. While one comes across many who strain to wear too many hats at the same time in real life, it's very glaring to see people resort to it quite frequently, if not continuously, on social networks. What baffles me is that they seem to be content to fool all the people all the time - which is nigh impossible as per the laws of nature!

Just to give an insight into this vagary of human behaviour, I'd this person about whom I'm fairly well aware of since school days claiming to have read a short story written by a particular author. Unfortunately for him, what was transparent was that he'd not read the piece as the name that he'd trotted as its author was way off the mark! Why he did that defies me for the following reasons:-

        (a) Obviously, he wanted to be part of the conversation and was trying to put his best foot forward. But
              did he think that all the others would be unaware of the fact?
        (b) He was banking on the goodwill of the others, who'd keep quiet, giving him the benefit of the doubt
              and not give much credence to his follies. But did he forget that some can be real nasty?
        (c)  He wants to be an active part of the group where he's heard and appreciated. Then, why can't he
              be just his normal self ?

In fact, if I were him, I'd insist on being accepted in toto with my warts and my moles!

Looking through the prism of 'Transactional Analysis', he's a classic example of an individual needing 'strokes' from the others and therefore, playing the psychological game, 'kick me'.


It's prudent to belong to a group where one's considered an equal and for the endearing personal qualities.  These cannot be faked and as they say, 'truth will out' - there will be no strain if you remain your normal self, always and every time!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

At the green grocer's....

I was off for my customary evening walk when Lekha asked me to pick up a kilogram of tomatoes on my return. I realised that the walk was being punctuated with a lot of activities, before and after!

At the start was an urgent meeting of the residential association's core committee that had to decide on emergency payments to two of our workers - the first was the requirement of Joginder, our gardener from Bihar, on account of his infant daughter's death back home and the second was that of Majid, our garbage collector from the border district of Tamilnadu, on account of electrical connection being provided to his newly built house. Both are sincere workers and their needs genuine and hence, approving the payments was unanimously agreed upon. A couple of other points were also discussed and necessary directives given before I eventually set out for my walk, half an hour later than usual.

It had started to drizzle which soon developed into a downpour but the lazy guy that I was, refused to go back home to collect my raincape and in the process, got drenched to the skin of my teeth! But I must confess that I enjoyed getting wet and ploughing through the downpour. In the process, a few uncouth drivers drove past me through the roadside puddles splashing the mucky water on to my sports togs. But none of these, otherwise major irritants, could 'dampen' my spirits!

After the walk, I'd got into Sunny's - the grocer in our residential area - shop to get the tomatoes. The few people, who're in various process of collecting their purchases, gave way for your's truly probably feeling pity on my 'thoroughly-battered-by-nature' looks and not repeat not because of my exalted(?!) status, mind you! I picked and chose the vegetable - purely going by the brightness of the colour though I was painfully aware of artificial colours being used by unscrupulous vendors - and had collected a large mound within no time.

Sunny, smilingly and without removing, even once, his eyes from mine kept demolishing the mound by putting back the excess vegetable back into the display sack saying, "madam hota toh sahi number pick up karti"(meaning that Lekha'd would have picked up the right amount, implying perhaps that I was a 'dumbo' - or did he mean that? - Will he dare do that? Now, that's my alter ego and I've no control over it!).

More ignominy was in store once I reached my home. Lekha found fault with almost all the tomatoes that I'd picked up!

And no, my spirits continued to be high!!    

Monday, August 6, 2012

'Curiosity'....... killed the cat.


"Mars is in the 7th house and it's in retrograde. Hence, this is not the ideal time for the marriage of your daughter. The other factor is that if it doesn't take place within this year, she'd have a late marriage!"

"Mars is following Venus and it's in the fourth house. This is the right time for your boy to get married. Planetary positioning cannot be better".

"Chovva dosham".............."Mangalik"...............O! The cussedness!

I've just given two fictitious astrological predictions, hastily concocted from my imagination. And no, they don't mean a thing either! But similar predictions have baffled and upset parents in the past, continue to upset many now and will do so in the future thanks to man's faith in astrology. Mind you, astrology has a strong scientific foundation backed by mathematical calculations and hence, his belief in it is not unfounded.

The past.

Thanks to astrology, the common man has heard a lot about the planet Mars and has varying perceptions about the planet's influence on his/her life. It's that myth/haloed status of the red planet that is being validated by the landing of the spacecraft, 'Curiosity' on it today after having traversed a distance of 56.7 crore kms over 255 days(The rocket carrying the spacecraft, resembling a small car, had lifted off from Cape Canaveral, USA on 26 Nov 2011). It's the triumph of science and robotics, in particular!

The present.

Over the coming months, Curiosity is going to travel extensively over the surface of the planet beaming back important information that should help mankind in taking major decisions regarding the planet's inclusion in our lives. Till now, we've been familiar with the green coloured(wonder why this colour was always associated) Martian with a short, single antenna sticking out from what's supposed to be its head - curious about us human beings - from the numerous comics that we've browsed!

And suddenly, Mars appears to be right at our backyard!!

The future.

.....Man sets up the first colony on Mars. The 'Earth - Mars' shuttle is always over subscribed but the duration of journey has been greatly compressed through space capsules hurtling beyond unimaginable speeds, perhaps even breaking the 'light barrier' - if I were to be permitted to express my wild and unbridled ideas!


We're witness to really interesting times. Cheers to science! And special cheers to man's continuing thirst for knowledge!!


I'm reminded of what Rudyard Kipling had said and I quote,
      "Some men see things as they are and say, why
        I dream things that never were and say, why not".

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The enduring phenomenon and other stories.

1. Marilyn Monroe.

It's 50 years since the actress' tragic end - suicide or no suicide, the mystery continues! Here's an actress who's perhaps, known all over the world with an enduring image of her's with her skirt billowing by a swish of naughty, conspiratorial breeze! Her factfile - reality coupled with the imaginary - continues to fascinate people with an unmatched intensity. As it was said by one of the television anchors, had she been alive, she'd have been 86 years old. But the question is would we like to imagine a Marylin Monroe whose beauty has been ravaged by time?

There has been stunningly beautiful women before and after her, but her legacy continues. So, what makes everything about her hauntingly mysterious yet exquisite? To my mind, it's her sex appeal coupled with a vulnerable innocence that have endeared herself to many all across the globe.

2.  Guns for personal safety?

Was quite amused about the bit of news saying that the Delhi police has been flooded with increased women applicants for gun licences. It sadly shows the fear psychosis that's increasingly spreading among the womenfolk in our country thanks to being at the receiving end of indecent behaviour and even graver threats to their lives.

Does it show a more sinister side of our society with permissiveness taking a new turn? I would like to believe that it's a passing aberration. But coming back to owning personal fire arms, it can become extremely dangerous if possessed by people who've no control of their anger! It goes without saying that this aspect is applicable to both, men and women.

I would still stand by women being trained in martial arts so that they can ensure their personal safety with a liberal dose of chilli powder, on person, for use in case of an impasse!

3. The Indian tennis fiasco at the London Olympics.

It was just a month back that the main protagonists were bickering for partners to play at the London Olympics. The bickering was further vitiated when the fathers of Paes and Bhupathi had joined in the verbal slugfest and one could only laugh it away as a bad joke - what else can one surmise if players begin to think that they're bigger than the game and more important than their country?

Frankly, I was under the impression that they'd give a spirited account of themselves on the olympic courts with the same intensity as their verbal onslaught at one another, weeks before the team was being finalised.

Wonder what each one of them have to say now when they've gone out of the reckoning in the preliminary rounds itself? They've given us a reason to hang our heads in shame!


Saturday, August 4, 2012

That's the way!

Thankfully, it's more cheerful news from the London Olympics and I'm glad that my gloomy prediction on the outcome, a couple of days back, has been proved wrong! Sania has done us proud by winning the bronze medal in Badminton. I'd felt sorry for the young lady when she'd lost to the world's no.1 in the semifinals. Here's wishing her many more laurels and surely, the medal is testimony to her grit, determination and perseverence.

Having said that I've this serious doubt. Can't we Indians get past the Americans, the Chinese etc and be the number one in the overall medals tally in any of the future Olympic games? While sadly admitting that infrastructure wise we've a long way to go, that there's rampant corruption, groupism and vested interests playing havoc to the sporting system of the country, that sports has never been given its priority by us, as a people, can't an Indian ever be say, the fastest man on earth or the world record holding pole vaulter, high jumper, short putter or whatever?

Or is it that as a race, we're inferior to the Europeans, Africans or the Chinese and we can never hope to match their power or skills on the sporting arena let alone overcome them?

I simply can't believe that balderdash. We've it in us - I can say this from what I've seen of some of my classmates at school and coursemates at the Academy, if they'd the right guidance and were given the right opportunities, they'd have been world beaters in their respective sport!

As the first step, sports needs to be liberated from petty thinking and politicking. We need to accept that world beaters can be found in any corner of this nation irrespective of caste, creed, religion or region. Once they're identified, give them the best that we can afford and surely, one day we'll be heading the medals' tally in any international competition through their 'do-or-die' performances!

Am I speaking through my hat or am I living a Utopian dream?

Friday, August 3, 2012

A few thoughts for the day........

1. A cause for cheer.

 Finally, Vijay Kumar has given us a reason to cheer for this weekend by winning a silver medal in the men's 25 mt rapid fire pistol event at the London Olympics. The army man had shown grit, tenacity and persistence  by pulling off this feat. Congratulations Vijay, from the bottom of my heart, you've made your country proud!

Here's wishing you many more laurels in the years to come!!

2. People power to the fore, yet again.

 The people of Vilappilsala - a hamlet in the suburb of the city of Thiruvananthapuram - have done it again. They've long been against the operation of the waste management plant situated within and had forced its shutdown quite a while back. Armed with the High Court's directive, the authorities had gone to the site with accessories required to refurbish the existing plant, along with a contingent of policemen, but to no avail.

The people had blocked the entire lot of entry/exit routes and after two hours of effort, the authorities beat a hasty retreat.

It's my opinion that decisions in this matter are being taken without realising the ground situation. I, once again reiterate that all the stake holders must sit around a negotiating table to thrash out the differences to bring about a lasting solution to this vexed problem. It need not be told that the waste management of Kerala's capital city has broken down, consequent to the impasse.

3. Where self assessment goes awry.

I was quite amused by the former power minister - Sishil Kumar Shinde's - claim that he was a very successful minister. Bravado is good but when stretched beyond a certain degree, it shows the individual in poor light, in fact, comical to be precise. One's efficiency can only be measured by the others outside that system. Why doesn't this 'simpleton' realise it?

Or is he trying to justify his elevation to the Home Ministry? Even if the answer is affirmative, he'd have to prove his mettle on the ground which one hopes is not an uphill task for him. Anyways, let's wish him the very best in his new avatar!  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Do we need this?

A hartal called by the CPM, to protest the arrest of P Jayarajan in connection with the Shukoor - a young Muslim League activist - murder case, has been total. Over and above the fact that it disrupted normal life, there was violence in many parts of the state but its intensity was felt in the Kannur and Kasaragode districts of north Kerala. There has been large scale destruction of public property and news confirm targeted attacks on the media and their rival parties' assets.

Isn't there a legal process to redress one's grievance? The charge against Jayarajan is that he was aware of the fact that Shukoor would be 'sorted out' and did not do a thing to prevent it from happening, thereby becoming a part of the conspiracy, which is a criminal case and invites strict punishment as per the Indian Penal Code. Accepting the argument - for a moment - that the government in power is hounding out the opposition and the CPM, in particular after the murder of TP Chandrasekharan, did it have to go on a rampage and give enormous difficulty to the common man? ......It's totally unjustifiable.

The only way to clear his name on the issue, is for Jayarajan to go the whole hog of the legal process! There's no short cut on that score.

As a citizen, I've this nagging doubt - what's the difference between a 'strike'(banned by the court) and the 'hartal' of today? Is there any difference at all? Or is it a joshing of nomenclatures to hoodwink the law? I mean, whom are we kidding in the process?


One of the early fall outs of the hartal, was a teary and frantic call from a young Major stranded at the Ernakulam Junction railway station, along with his wife and two children - a boy of six and an infant girl
- wanting to reach the airport about 35 kms away to catch their onward flight. Just managed to get a private vehicle, with two of my men in uniform to ferry the hapless family to their destination!

I'm sure that there would be many more cases of agony - unknown, for the lack of media coverage - caused by these heartless guys who called for the hartal!


I'm no Nostradamus but I can predict one thing based on the games politicians play. If and when the LDF
 were to come to power next, P Jayarajan would want to be the Home Minister and he'll use the same system to bring out another outcome of the same case.

Can you blame me for being cynical?    

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

'Thattathin Marayathu'.

I saw the malayalam movie this evening. Roughly translated it means, 'Behind the veil'. And it's a refreshingly told love story!

It's love at first sight between Vinod, a Nair boy and Ayisha, a muslim girl somewhere in Kerala's northern hamlet of Thalasserry. The boy is a worker of the communist party and the film also essays the uneasy relationship that exists between the political parties and various religious groups. One of the protagonists makes a very poignant statement and I quote, "Here, you do not have the right to live life on your terms but it's dictated by others, who think that they are the custodians and consequently, know what's right for you".

The story has been tautly told, with abundant and good, clean humour thrown in while encompassing the essential features that actuate today's youth.

For me, watching the movie was another experience. Rarely did I hear anyone's cellphone ringing and though the little multiplex was crowded to capacity, there was pin drop silence as the audience was minutely savouring every bit of the conversation. Three college-going young ladies, who sat beside me, used to go into peels of laughter, every time humorous dialogues were exchanged by the characters on screen. It was fairly clear that they're seeing the movie for the umpteenth time and knew the dialogues by heart, to their last punctuation!

All in all, a movie worth watching that's truly an entertainer!


Malayalam movies are passing through exciting times, once again proving the adage that a good story when put across tastefully, will have the audience coming in droves!

I must confess that I came to know that the word 'thattam' meant a veil, only now. So much about my proficiency in Malayalam and that's the reason that I've begun my post in a sort of an unsure manner!