Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Have wrapped up the 'Fitness Reports'.

Today was hectic. I'd set myself a deadline to finish up the 'fitness reports' on three of my boys. The marks that I'd intended to give each of them, based on their performance in the past year and the attendant pen picture had been formulated on my writing pad. It was only their transfer into the appropriate forms that remained.

Once the transcription was over, it was time to show them their reports. They've the right to know as to what  I thought about them. As I'd each of them with me, I held out this refrain, "Look this is what I've written of you. Read through and if you feel that I haven't reflected your qualities correctly, missed out on any aspect that should have rightfully found its place according to you or if you disagree with my observations, do let me know. I'm ready to change the report without hesitation but the onus is on you to convince me".

A dictum that I've followed all these years as I did not want anyone to go away from me with the thought that I said something and had written something else about him! The reactions from the assessees have always been the same - they become speechless and generally, nod in agreement! Is it because an individual gets quite embarrassed to see himself in words and wants to get over the discomfort as quickly as possible, I wonder? I must, however, explain two reactions that stand vividly in my mind even now.

The first was Mohan, my navigator. He was impulsive and showed a tendency to take short cuts in the things that he did and I'd advised him of the importance of being meticulous and deliberate while putting down his thoughts on paper so that he never did have to cringe later. It was his over enthusiasm and the propensity to get instant results that propelled him to doing so and I'd reflected it in his report with the observation that he'd improve upon this trait as he matured further and if guided by his superiors correctly. It was a harsh indictment on his performance but he'd meekly accepted what I'd written and I felt that it was probably because he was resigned to the fact that however much he'd try to convince me I'd be defiant and stick to my point of view! Immediately after, he was transferred on another assignment and I'd forgotten all about the incident when I received a lovely card from him on my birthday, months later, with some real nice words. I was thrilled and realised as to how wrong I was in my perception of his final reaction. Incidentally, he still wishes me, without fail, on every birthday of mine!

The second instance was that of Kumar, my engineer on another ship. He was efficient and sincere in his work and I'd given him a 7.4 out of an aggregate of 10, highlighting all his plus points - which was indeed a 'thumping' report in the assessment parlance! His reaction but zapped me when he said, "You've marked me too low since I've been getting 9s and 10s from my previous captains. I feel sorry for the fact I'd the misfortune of serving under you, sir". And he'd walked off in a huff leaving me stunned or should I say, pained? A month later when his name figured in the list of newly promoted officers, he'd come with his wife to give us sweets and apologise to me for his brusque reaction. Though I'd made the right noises then I sadly realised that something - what I used to feel about him - had snapped from deep within!


I must admit the fact that I get a tremendous rush of adrenaline - despite my explanation of the usual reactions from people on being shown their reports - when the protagonists accept my version about them.
Out of genuine satisfaction of having got it right or is it the ego that I can do nothing wrong? I really can't say! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A hectic but an interesting day.

I'd boarded the 0550 h Intercity for Thiruvananthapuram. The journey was fine except for the friendly and portly gentleman who sat next to me when he fell fast asleep, soon after the train had begun moving. He snored.....and he snored......and he snored, quite oblivious of the scenery whizzing past him except for the brief moment when he'd to show his ticket to the travelling ticket examiner. He smiled at me and went back to sleep again.......almost instantaneously!

I reached the lawns of the Raj Bhavan, well within time and went about helping the team with last minute touches to the dias from where speeches would be made, a memento presented to the honourable President and the way he'd be steered to the podium from where he'd flag off the 'yatra' of the PN Panicker Foundation. In addition, the decking up of the vehicles had also required some redoing - there were glitches galore towards the run up, but the collective will of everyone present made the event a memorable one and devoid of any faux pas whatsoever.

The speeches were, thankfully, short and the President did pay glowing tributes to my grandfather and I was proud that he was being remembered by a grateful nation for his unique contribution to society. And it was time to get back to Kochi to attend another pressing assignment! After a quick and boisterous lunch with the family, I'd to rush to the railway station to catch my train.

This time my fellow traveller was Sheeba, a young lady working in the education sector and to sum up her work - she's a teacher of the teachers. Her dedication to work was evident from the way she managed it deftly through her cellphone and the internet! Here's wishing that she's rewarded for her sincerity and hard work.

On reaching Kochi, it was a quick dash to the wedding reception of young Sumesh and Kunjumary. The event was the culmination of the last one month's activities on the part of the parents, after they'd come to know that their children had got married without their approval. A great act of maturity on their part and more importantly, what it underlined was their tremendous love towards their children. And the young couple looked happy and free of worry and went out of their way to express their gratitude to your's truly for batting for them. Here's us wishing them both a very happy married life with all that they wish for!


As I hit the sack after a late night, I felt contended and happy for no particular reason!    

Monday, October 29, 2012

Assessing another.

Today, I'd planned to write the 'fitness reports' of three of my boys. Each one of them has contributed to the efficient working of the organisation in his own inimmitable way.

At the end of the forenoon session, I'd nothing on my scribble pad except for a few words that I'd made up in my mind to use in each of their pen pictures. But my thoughts did not flow and showed an unusual reluctance to firm up. It remained so even at the end of the afternoon session and a dejected me had carried the pad home to get into the right mood to pen down my thoughts.

The fact that since the three of them are good in their profession and conduct themselves as 'seniors' - worthy of emulation by their subordinates - I do not want to err in any manner in assessing them. The evening walk helped me to reflect upon them and by the end of it, I'd a sketchy script on each. And as I punch in the tabs of my keyboard, my thoughts are getting clearer by the minute. And I shall have the draft pen pictures fine tuned during the train journey to Thiruvananthapuram, tomorrow.

Phew, assessing another is the most difficult task. And I'm gonna show them what I've written and give them the option to correct me if I were wrong, as is my wont on such occasions!


 I shall send the completed reports to the reviewing officer on 31 Oct.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A quiet Sunday.

The day had begun with that favourite number of mine, 'Phoolon ke rang se.......' from the Hindi movie 'Prem Pujari' and I knew that the day was going to be fine. Today's programme of 'Rangoli' was dedicated to Sachin Dev Burman and the clutch of songs presented was superb!

The day meandered with me doing nothing serious except for tying up loose ends for the month long 'Yatra', undertaken by the PN Panicker Foundation, that will be flagged off from the Raj Bhavan, Thiruvananthapuram at 1200 h on 30 Oct, by the President of India. Its smooth conduct, backed up by logistics support to cover the itinerary, crowd management and follow up actions have been put in place by the dedicated team formed for the purpose. It's my fond hope that we're able to live up to the expectations of the people, especially the youth and have them willingly join our bandwagon! My maman will be leading the caravan and I shall be giving my support from time to time, work permitting!! We hope to instill scientific temper among the youth by showing as to how science can be incorporated in daily life and make things easier.

And it was a wonderful evening at Radhika and Murali Nair's newly done up flat just a stone's throw away from the place we live. The care taken in doing up the house is reflected in the superb elegance that's on display and as Murali, unhesitatingly admits, it's due to the lady's eye for details and her class! Here's wishing that you've happy tidings in your wonderfully crafted nest!!


I was impressed by the effective utility of space and the flow of natural lighting. It's a dream home as per my concept.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A kaleidoscope of emotions!

On this day, exactly a year back, Leel kunjamma - my ma'asi - had passed into the mist of time when an angioplasty performed on her had gone horribly wrong. Her absence continues to give pain deep within. I tried to recall many of the wonderful moments spent with her, the things that elated her and the ones that worried her and feel the wonderful person that she was. In the Malayalam calendar, which is based on the lunar transitions, the star on which she passed away falls on 13 Nov - the day Deepavali is going to be celebrated this year. The whole family has promised to be at her house at Paravoor on her remembrance day!

And today happens to be Santhan kochachan's - Vilasini kunjamma's husband - remembrance day as per the Malayalam calendar. He'd passed away nine days after Leel kunjamma. It was prayers in the morning followed by lunch for the needy at Thiruvallam, a sleepy hamlet south of Thiruvananthapuram. It was also an occasion to remember our wonderful association - he and kunjamma, standing in for my mom and dad, as my guests for the school's annual days and athletic meets, our formidable twosome in the game of cards - the list is endless!

How time flies? One year without them and the pain lingers on.............


Amrit Gopal Singh and Padma Koijam, alongwith their children, had come to spend the evening with us after what seemed to be a long time. We're together, in the directing staff at the NDA, years back and they'd looked after me then and put up with my idiosynchracies! The handsome couple continue to maintain their charm and grace and the tremendous zest for life.

It was yet another nostalgic trip down memory lane!


Kurup kochachan, Leela kunjamma's husband, kept a fast in her remembrance. It just shows as to how much he misses her and when queried as to why he was doing so despite his frail health, his reply was that he'd checked with his doctor who'd cleared him and advised the intake of water at regular intervals. He also wanted to let Leela kunjamma, up there, to know that he was endeavouring to make up for all that he'd not told her during her lifetime!

Just reiterates the fact that in the eagerness of living our lives, one often tends to forget to display small acts of kindness to our near and dear ones, who bear the brunt of one's boorish behaviour!! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

I did a big(?) 'un today!

Santosh, our milk vendor, had always wanted to set up a bakery stall within the premises of our residential area and he'd expressed his desire from day 'one' that he'd met me. Though the youngster is sincere and methodical, I was apprehensive about his success on one count. The only language that he's comfortable with is Malayalam while most of the residents usually use either English or Hindi. The net result(as I thought) would be that, more often than not, he'd have to resort to sign language that might result in unwanted situations and he'd end up being a loser! Communication is essential to run a thriving business, you see!

Anyways, today he'd fixed up the inauguration of his stall in a common room of one of the blocks and insisted upon my inaugurating it. Actually, over the past week he was insistent and I avoided swallowing the bait and told him that I was a Jonah of sorts and that his business was doomed to fail if I were to inaugurate it. But egged on by certain committee members, I was ultimately beaten to submission.

The red tape was cut at 1431 h, this afternoon, with much fanfare and with your's truly thrust into the limelight. I've this funny quality on such occasions - words fail me, I fluff the punchlines and generally, am left grinning, from ear to ear, like an underdeveloped idiot. This afternoon was no exception and I went through the motions like a zombie.

Here's wishing that Santosh thrives in his venture!


RN and Rajni Parmar came calling this evening, alongwith their children. They're on a tour of Kochi and the Lakshadweep Islands and had kept the evening for being with us - damn sweet of them. RN and me were in a car pool, while commuting to work during my stint at Delhi and we've had a long association.

 It's a nostalgic journey down memory lane!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My take.

1. Phenomenal greed.

Rajat K Gupta, the former Goldman Sachs' director, was sentenced to a two year jail term for leaking boardroom secrets to the former hedge fund manager, Raj Rajaratnam. He's also to pay a fine of $5 million. As he seems to have stated on hearing the verdict, a hard earned reputation built through the years lay in tatters.

My take.
He's intelligent enough to have understood the consequences of a wrongdoing. He was professionally well placed, had a dream job and yet, stooped low. Why did he do it? The lure of more money? And how much of it was required to satisfy him? Will his family and friends be able to pardon him ever for having brought in disrepute? I'm sure that his parents had brought him up emphasising upon personal integrity and doing honourable things in life. Hasn't he let them down?

I have no sympathy for people like him. His misdemeanour cannot be pardoned!

2. Will miss him.

Jaspal Bhatti died of a tragic road accident off Jalandhar. The world of stand up comedy will miss him. He'd endeared himself to millions of viewers when he pilloried political and social corruption through comedy!

My take.
I am an ardent fan of his. His comedy was clean and had an earnestness in the manner it was put across to the viewers. And I was amused to see him on a reality dance show in which he'd acquitted himself very well showing that he was capable of taking barbs on himself too. His untimely end is a shocker.

RIP Mr. Jaspal Bhatti. A humble salute to you for making us laugh without inhibitions. Here's wishing the family the strength to tide over these difficult times.

3. Kingfisher grounded.

I am one among the many keen patrons of the Kingfisher Airlines. The airlines had come in like a whiff of fresh air with their businesslike approach in looking after the passenger's needs, in fact the Indian public was thrilled to be addressed as 'guests' with matching hospitality at the counters and good inflight care. And now, the licence for its operations has been cancelled.

My take.
How could  a streamlined system fail so miserably? Or wasn't it streamlined ever, right from the beginning? Arrogance and sloth, right from the top, have been the bane of this airline. Mallya does not have the right to leave his customers in the lurch if he claims to be a responsible businessman!

Sad! The airlines industry would become efficient and exciting only when there are more number of players in it, with each outdoing the other in following the right practices to ensure passenger satisfaction!! Here's hoping that the Kingfisher gets revived at the earliest, perhaps, even with a change in the management if need be?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The bully.

We'd set off from home, after an early lunch, for Kochi. The weather was nice though the sky was overcast and thankfully, the roads were empty due to the spate of holidays this week - Dussehra followed by Bakr Id.  I shudder to think of the traffic, that's gonna be, this Sunday!

The roads were okay as patchwork has been resorted to but I'm sure that the crafty 'contractor-bureaucrat' nexus would show the work as 'fully resurfaced' and claim the money accordingly. In some places, work was going on as though they're working against a deadline. So, driving along was an okay experience. But, on the home stretch, I did encounter a bully - and a real mean one at that.

The guy was driving a huge black 'Bolero' and he was sounding the horn almost continuously. He didn't seem to be in any hurry and was following me even though I'd given him a couple of chances to overtake my Chevy. But he chugged on behind me with his horn blaring away, unabated. It was then that I decided to tackle him my way. Bringing my car to a sudden halt at a narrow stretch, I got out and approached him asking him as to what his problem was. He seemed to be taken aback by my action because he shrugged and made a noise with his mouth implying that he didn't mean by what he did. He must have also seen my identity card dangling from my neck which brought him back to his senses almost instantly.

I just walked away from him after saying that he could overtake me forthwith but if he chose to follow me, he shall not 'sit on his horn'. And from then on, he dropped back a few 100 metres and maintained that distance till we entered Kochi.


Wonder why he tried to be a bully? He was driving by himself and probably, to fight the monotony, he might have resorted to his wicked pastime.

And by telling him to behave was I becoming a bully, on the rebound?

A very special occasion.

Dateline 23 Oct.

Today, mom, Lekha and me had the proud privilege of attending a very special occasion. The first birthday of li'l Yukta - a sweet girl who's smart and completely, in charge of her emotions! The way she emotes in front of the camera is to be seen to be believed. I must confess that I've fallen for this little one at first sight!!

Her parents, Sarath and Anju, are blessed ones. Here's wishing Yukta everything that she wishes for in life. O god, please be with her always and every time.

And it was great to interact with the entire family - a whole range of generations(four, to be precise) - of Padmakumar's who's my sister, Rema's husband.


(a) Padmakumar, while playing with the little kid, accidentally burst the balloon in her hand. Though many of us, standing next to her at the time of the incident, expected her to wail her reaction was totally unexpected! She was very, very angry and conveyed her feelings without masking it!!

(b) And she calls herself, 'Utha'!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

At home for Puja.

Reached home by sunset to be with mom for Puja.

I'd returned from work for lunch and the three of us, Lekha and my nephew, Achu doing his final engineering  had kicked off for home by 1300 h. Achu had kept us regaled with his stories - the usual 'snoozer' on entering any vehicle was wide awake and had us in splits with his anecdotes. I shall pass on a few gems:-

   (a) On being asked about his girlfriends. Oh mama, I'm friendly with many of them and we do
         discuss almost anything under the sun, but none of them has let off sparks. Probably, I'm
         not good enough for their sparks to get ignited. (What we're privy to, however, was that he was
         on a continuous texting spree on his cellphone during breaks in our conversation).

   (b) On his getting the driving licence. Mama, in my group, everyone was convinced that I
         wouldn't clear as I made errors galore during the run up to the tests by over running the 'H' and
         breaking out of the '8'. Probably, that put their expectation levels on me a few notches lower
         which made it easier for me to clear the test, finally.

   (c) On his future plans. Mama, I never look at life too far because I find it comfortable this way.
         The fact that I get attention from each one of you keeps me thrilled and I'm sure only good
         things will happen to me, so why should I worry?

I was on a learning curve and boy, what an experience? This drive shall remain etched in my mind for years!


My mom was thrilled with the photograph of 'Guruvayoorappan' that was bought a fortnight back. And seeing her happy made my day.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Adieu Yashji!

Yash Chopra passed into the mist of time this evening, around 1730 h, due to a multiple organ failure after contracting the dreaded dengue fever. His passing away is a big loss to the Hindi film world. His last film, slated for a Deepavali release, this year, is named 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'. Seen against today's happenings, it sounds so prophetic. Was Yashji aware that his end was coming?

I'd seen his last interview with Shah Rukh Khan. I thought that somewhere during the course of that conversation, he sounded as though the moment of reckoning had come about for him and he was ready to move on.

Yash Chopra, the master craftsman, has given us a lot of good Hindi films during his lifetime. I've seen the films Waqt, Deewar, Trishul , Silsila, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Veer Zaara more than once and will not miss out a chance to see them yet again. His films had a way of rocking one's sensibilities and tame them to submission and accept them wholeheartedly. The 'feel good' factor was amply evident!

RIP Yashji. My humble bow to a fantastic film maker. Here's wishing that god gives his family the strength to tide over their huge loss. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Your position in society matters!

19 Oct....Abu Dhabi - Kochi flight makes an emergency landing at Thiruvananthapuram due to bad weather. Passengers protest when told by the Air India management that they'd be transported to Kochi by road. After a see-saw battle of wits between the two sides, the flight takes off after seven hours, manned by a different set of crew! The 'hijack' drama, that happened in the course of events, is being investigated

20 Oct....Doha - Kozhikode - Kochi flight lands at Kochi directly as Kozhikode has bad weather. The passengers for Kozhikode are kept waiting and reach their destination after 10 hours, again after a serious stand off between the passengers and the Air India management!

And what is common between the two flights? They're the so called cheap and low fare 'Air India Express' flights catering to the needs of thousands of ordinary Malayalees, eking out a livelihood in the Gulf region. A majority of them are from economically backward families and have opted to go through the hard grind as they've no other option in getting a decent job, back home!

Consequently, they can't speak the propah' English with an 'Oxbridge' accent and are at times, a bit easy on manners while interacting with the others! So, what does the Air India crew and the ground staff at the airports do? Treat them as 'cattle class'! If they've the audacity to complain about their in-flight predicaments or about the pecadilloes meted out to them by the ground staff at the airports, they've to be taught a lesson. Period!

An old Indian weakness. When will we ever learn? When will we learn to respect the rights of the 'customer'?


Why're we bothered about a customer's background? To provide preferential treatment? And to what avail?

 You'd better have a lineage or have 'connections', to brandish, for travelling trouble free! We're class conscious, you see!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

50 years ago.....

On the night of 19 Oct '62 Chinese troops began closing in on Indian positions along the border. At the crack of dawn, the attack had commenced and within days, the Indian resistance had crumbled. A month later, the Chinese announced a unilateral ceasefire and pulled back. The Bandung declaration of 'Hindi,Chini bhai bhai' lay in tatters.

This is one part of our history that Indians want to collectively forget but can never do. But why are we wanting to run away without learning the lessons, so very important to avoid repeating the mistakes in future?
And what about the sacrifice of those valiant men who had laid down their lives in defence of their motherland? Have they been in vain? Major Shaitan Singh and his 114 men of the 13 Kumaon by fighting the much superior Chinese, in terms of numbers and equipment, at Rezang La near Chusul in Ladakh mirror the grit and perseverance of the Indian soldier. I've just cited one for the sake of brevity but must hasten to add that there are many more heroes who'd come out with flying colours during the conflict!

It's amply clear from the researches done on the conflict and the number of books written on the debacle that the fundamental reason for our dismal show was a lack of leadership - both political and military. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was a colossus in the world's arena and as he'd admitted later, erred in his assessment of the ground realities. In foreign policy or on defence matters, there's no space for romanticism or complacency. It has to be based on hard realities. The military leaders did not give a good account of themselves, either, by not standing upto a bullying defence minister and giving the right professional assessment. Subservience and meek acceptance of their political masters' diktats showed them in poor light - General Thapar and Lt General Kaul to cite just two!

As I read the stories of valour of simple men on the world's most treacherous battlefield viz. the Himalayas, I feel proud of the fact that the Indian soldier is the best in the world. And to understand their sacrifice best, the inscription on the memorial at Kohima, Nagaland sums up eloquently and I quote, "When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today".

My salute to the valiant Indian soldier who perished fighting for his country in the worst conditions of adversity.


And it's high time that the archives of the Sino-Indian conflict are made public so that lessons are learnt for future reckoning!        

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A non-veg 'masala dosa'?

I've a weakness for two things, probably highlighting my 'Malayalee' roots - the masala dosa and the filtered coffee. Though dietary purists might argue that both the dishes have a 'Tamilian' connection, I'd like to counter by saying that they've a south Indian appeal and therefore, pegging it down to one region or culture would be grossly unfair and it would be like cocking a snook at their universal appeal and popularity.

A single masala dosa, with its yummy stuffing of a combination of potatoes, onions and the requisite spices is enough to satisfy my gastronomic needs at any time of the day. Washing it down with a cup of filtered coffee makes the snacking memorable and complete. Piping hot, filtered coffee mixed nicely by pouring it once or twice from the steel tumbler into the round dish that acts as the saucer and finally having the brew, sip by sip, from the 'saucer' is the only sure way to enjoy the experience! The flavour and the aroma add to the heady feeling!!

But I suppose someone's evil eyes(?) have fallen upon my preferences. It was a blow to see the news coverage on the Asianet about a couple having been served with a non vegetarian masala dosa - a cooked, fat centipede amid the stuffing - at a vegetarian restaurant in Thiruvananthapuram. Ever since I saw those visuals, there's been an uneasy churning in my stomach and I'm unable to get over it.

It'll take a long time for me get over the predicament. And the masala dosa, as a snack, is a strict no no for me for the time being!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Has the medical profession lost its human touch?

This evening, we'd gone to Rani, a friend of ours, to offer our condolences. She's lost her 85 year old mother.

The old lady, apparently, had no major problems and her vital organs were in sound shape. Last week, she'd complained of a lack of appetite and had restricted herself to having only fluids. After trying out the usual home remedies that didn't yield tangible results, they'd decided to take the old lady to the nearby hospital which has 5 star facilities! After the initial check up and detecting nothing, the doctors attending on her decided to rule out the possibility of 'meningitis' and accordingly, tried to extract the fluid from her spinal chord (A friend of mine in the profession, has said that this exercise is never to be resorted to on a heart patient - that the old lady was - and her age should have also been factored in).

And that was the game changer, the old lady never recovered from her subsequent coma and was, consequently, hooked on to a ventilator. After a couple of days, she was taken off the life support system -  again a unilateral decision taken by the hospital authorities, without taking the consent of the family! More ignominy was to follow. The family was asked by the staff to remove the numerous tubes and attachments on the old lady citing - now, hold your breath because this is the most intriguing part of the sordid drama - that they would not do it because anything could go wrong in the process!

Which meant that the intricate task of removing the tubes and attachments, put in place by the trained hospital staff, was to be done by the agonising family members at their own risk! A perfect case of adding fuel to the proverbial fire! And for the five day ordeal, the family was fleeced a sum of Rs.2.75 lakhs.

Is this what the common man must expect when he approaches hospitals? Where is the ethics? What about bedside manners? Have all these been given the go by? Has the medical profession lost its human touch?

This is the sad story of an elderly lady who walked into her car, from her house, to go for a medical check up to find a remedy for her lack of appetite only to return lifeless, five days later.

RIP, Rani's amma. My humble prayers. And may god give Rani and her family the strength to tide over these stressful times!


We're at their place a couple of months before and it turned out to be a musical evening. I'd tried my hand at singing a few evergreen Malayalam movie songs. Rani's amma was very appreciative of my efforts and insisted on me sitting next to her at the dinner table, so that she could know more about me. Little did I know then that it was gonna be the last time that I'd be interacting with her!

I'd like to believe that the incident that I've narrated above is an aberration. I'm sure that the majority in the profession are dedicated and strive to serve the people who arrive at their doorstep for succour! But we need to take care of those erring few!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Someone's cross with me.

I was on my customary evening walk fully armed against the pouring rain with my cap and an umbrella. Despite the cover, the rains whipped by to get me wet to a considerable extent. But I was happy that the usual traffic was moving at an acceptable speed and people were almost completely off the pavements and the road and quite a few of them were huddled at the bus shelters/shopping arcades waiting for the rains to pass. And consequentially, I enjoyed a tremendous freedom of movement!

I'd to purchase a few medicines, the normal ones that I stock up in my medicine box to tide over common ailments like a cold, cough or a head ache that do not require expert 'medical' advice! There's a medical store, enroute, that I frequent and it was into that shop that I'd breezed in. Among the people who provide services at the counter is Damodaranji, an elderly gentleman into his 70s, who always greets me with a smile and wishes, without fail. But today, he seemed to be dour and not particularly enthused at seeing me. Moreover, he didn't return my salutations, either.

Actually, there was an incident that had taken place about ten days ago when I'd purchased a bottle of 'Gelucil' suspension which was picked up from the rack, billed and handed over to me by an enthusiastic Damodaranji. On reaching home and after unpacking the packet did I realise, to my utter horror, that the medicine had already overshot its shelf life by almost a year. I'd the sample returned the very next day through my Man Friday and its cost retrieved, since the store had no stock of the medicine at that time. The oversight must have then been attributed to Damodaranji's advancing age and failing vision, his 'soda bottle' glasses notwithstanding! The attribution of error to him must have hit him hard and punctured his ego.

I must actually take the blame because I should have cross checked, then and there, but what do I say when I'm blind as a bat without my glasses? And I don't wear them when I'm on my walks!

Now, the question is, as to how do I mollify a sullen Damodaranji?


I'd visited the store the very next day, after the medicine was returned, to accept the blame but the proprietor and his team were magnanimous in reiterating their oversight. But sadly, Damodaranji was absent that day!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Adieu Veeru sir.

Brigadier Varinder Singh, Vir Chakra passed into the mist of time last Friday. He'd collapsed while playing basketball and died a few hours later, owing to a massive heart attack. He's survived by his wife, Anita, a daughter who's married and a son.

Veeru sir, as I used to call him, is from the 48th course of the NDA and we're together in the Hunter Squadron. Six months senior to me, he was considered to be a very decent and gentlemanly senior by all his juniors. The tall and handsome sardar excelled in all the outdoors, especially on the hockey fields and the basketball courts! And he used to groove to western music in the squadron's ante room. A few years later, he'd followed me into the directing staff of the Academy's wing at Ghorpuri as I was just finishing my tenure. We've had some memorable times together and I still can't believe that I would never see his smiling visage anymore.

In May '87, then Major Varinder Singh had led a group of his 8 JAK LI men in a daunting assault at a snow peak over 21,000 ft called the 'Quaid Post' in the Siachen glacier and wrested it from the Pakistanis after a brief yet bitter struggle. Then N/Sub Bana Singh with a handful of men had achieved the impossible during the final stages of the operations. Veeru was wounded during the exchange of fire. For their supreme courage and valour, N/Sub Bana Singh was awarded the Param Vir Chakra and Veeru, the Vir Chakra. And 'Quaid Post' has been known as 'Bana Top' from then on.

To quote Veeru's impressions on the aftermath of the operations, "We'd no strength to celebrate. At 21,000 ft nobody does the bhangra, yells war cries or hoists the tricolour. Ultimately, sheer doggedness wins and Pande(young 2/Lt Rajiv Pande and his nine men were killed by the Pakis in the run up) had to be avenged. If we'd ever hesitated, the post would still be with the Pakis."

Brave words from the gentleman senior, grooving to the strains of popular English music in the ante room of the Hunter Squadron of the NDA. The scene remains in my mind like a frozen snapshot from a favourite album.

RIP Veeru sir. My salute to a worthy and courageous senior! May god give strength to Anita and the children to tide over these difficult times.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday musings.

We're at Guruvayur for the weekend on our monthly visit for a 'darshan' of the good Lord and to monitor the progress of work in our home. The drive was good and we stayed at our usual haunt! I'm recounting a few experiences of mine during the weekend.

(a) A trader's act of kindness.

Soon after the visit to the temple, we'd got into one of the shops on either side of the eastern approach to the temple to buy a photograph of the deity for my mom. After a long search, a piece was selected and I was pulling out my wallet from my pocket to pay up the amount, when the shopkeeper asked me, "Sir, you've been a bit unusual in that you have not tried to haggle about the price which is a normal happening out here. Are you really happy with what you've picked up?"

My answer was simple, "Look, this is for my mom. I'm sure she'd like this piece and therefore, am willing to pay any amount for it. But I'm sure that you've charged me a reasonable rate". He was generous in giving me a rebate of Rs.50/- saying that it was his special offer for my mom. I was touched by his benevolent act and could only thank him from the bottom of my heart.

....And who says that traders are out to squeeze money out of customers? Moreover, he's given me a standing invite for future purchases!

(b) An evening at my friend's place.

On return to Kochi, after my customary evening walk, we're just in time to fetch up for dinner at our friends' place which they've recently occupied after having it done up. It's a beautiful flat spread over 1,567sq ft, with tastefully crafted interiors and the right amount of furniture and artefacts. And we're witness to a few rare qualities that's fast disappearing in the present day of 'fast' life.

I've always known about my friend's capability of preservation of even the smallest of things, all through. But this evening's stuff was the cutest. Two small baby frocks - with the smocking and other intricate stitches intact and looking as good as new - presented to her daughter 23 years back, soon after birth, were exhibited for our benefit. And the person who'd presented them was also with us! Wasn't she thrilled or was she surprised?

Rare qualities, indeed, seen among a very few!

And amid us, elders, there was young Vidhant - a school going kid - who'd sat with us without showing any kind of irritation or impatience and answered our queries clearly, without hesitation, showing his fine upbringing. Throughout the evening, the youngster did not ask for watching the television or playing the video game and we did come to know that he's a keen player of cricket! Again, a rare specimen these days and I'd taken an instant liking for him!

Here's wishing that young Vidhant gets all that he wishes for. And thanks, Suresh and Supriya for the wonderful evening and may your new abode bring you happy tidings in the years to come!!


Before going to my friend's place for the evening, Lekha and me were in a bit of a dilemma as to what we should take. After much racking of the brains, we'd decided to carry pastries instead of a showpiece, which would not have fitted into their scheme of things....perhaps!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Adieu Appu!

Appu, passed into the mist of time today at 11 AM local time at the Hamad General Hospital, Doha in Qatar where he'd been on a ventilator for the past week.

Roll No. 745, Cadet PV Appukuttan was a young lad in my house when he was studying in class VII - as I reckon - at school. Short statured and quiet, he abhored coming into the limelight but was mischievous enough to get his classmates into trouble! And once the 'source of trouble' was identified, Appukuttan always had that innocent look on his face that I used to give him the benefit of the doubt and the fact was that the mate whom he'd got into trouble also didn't mind him being let away! Such was his persona.

As per a medical overview put out by one of his classmates, he was found to be suffering from lung cancer two years back and the consequential treatment regime of chemo and radiations contributed to liver and kidney complications. Despite such odds, he used to regale us on the school's OBA(Old Boys' Association) circuit with his superb, thought provoking poems. And boy, wasn't he spontaneous? Yes, he seemed to be the bard of his course, a quality of his that I came to know of, so late. To make amends, I'd sent him a mail in appreciation and the generous compliments that he showered upon his former House Captain was touching and had his inimitable signature.

RIP Appu. A salute to your indomitable spirit and outgoing nature despite adversities. May god give Rema, Abhirami and Arya the strength to tide over these difficult times!

Friday, October 12, 2012

A nostalgic musical evening.

Thanks to my cousin, we're invited to a musical evening at the nearby IMA Hall. Samir Date and the gorgeous Deepali Somaiya were the main performers, ably assisted by Jeetender.

The programme was called 'Guldasta' and the trio sang songs from the films of Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna and Shammi Kapoor. The three hour programme was sheer bliss and a journey through nostalgia. And for a change, the Malayalee audience was sporting and knowledgeable about the musical extravaganza!

The programme was followed by a scrumptious dinner and by the time we'd reached home after dropping an elderly couple enroute, it was almost close to midnight and I'd to punch in these thoughts against a deadline of time!


Tomorrow, by first light, we're off to Guruvayur to attend to a few personal requirements and to take stock of the progress of work in our house.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

KFC's tryst with infamy.

The Kentucky Fried Chicken's outlet in Thiruvananthapuram has been in the news for all the wrong reasons over the past few days.

Last week, a family had ordered a meal for themselves and as the first piece of a chicken served was broken, out came worms, much to the discomfort of everyone present in the outlet during that time. The customer was pleaded with by the eatery's management for not making the incident an issue and it's understood that several enticements were offered to hush it up!

When the enticements did not work, the management even tried to, unsuccessfully, implicate the affected customer saying that the family had brought in the food, from elsewhere, for consumption in the eatery!

The customer, in the meanwhile, had immediately notified two of his close friends in the 'food safety inspectorate' and the police. The retribution was swift and the concerned law making agencies swooped into the outlet and  collected samples of the stock that were available in the ready use lockers. There were more shocks in store for the patrons as some of the chicken in the freezers were of May '12 vintage as was shown on almost all the news channels of the visual media!

The upshot of the entire episode is that the shutters have come down on the fairly popular eatery which used to be frequented by young kids and the 'Infopark' crowd!

On a personal level, I find all preparations in similar eateries bland and unappealing to my palate. I would any day settle for the hot and spicy curries with the 'desi' flavour


(a) What raises one's hackles is the vintage of stock so brazenly used to feed the KFC's blind believers! Do these foreign outlets have no ethics and loyalty for the many Indians, who're their loyal customers? Would they've dared to err in such a manner in the developed countries that they do business in?

(b) And we're getting ready for receiving departmental store chains like the Walmart into our country. Hope that their contractual obligations cover the aspect of quality services backed by stringent periodical checks and harsh penalties in case of a let down!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

'Trivandrum Lodge' - an interesting movie.

A few days back, I'd written about the refreshing turn of genre discernible among the current crop of Malayalam movies and it's my sincere hope that it's not a flash in the pan but an ongoing trend!

This evening, Lekha and me had the privilege of viewing this nicely made movie. The story hinges on the sex escapades of a divorcee against the backdrop of a conservative Kerala society. The protagonist portrayed by Honey Rose is brilliant and has a refreshing candour. Though the film is replete with sexual overtones throughout and the dialogues are peppered with frequently used colloquial sexual innuendos, it's far from being vulgar and the kudos must go to the director, VK Prakash.

Trivandrum Lodge is a dilapidated, seedy looking hotel in the Willingdon Island of Kochi and has the modern Vallarpadam Container Transshipment Terminal, in front of it across the backwaters, as a contrast! Its inmates consist the majority of the characters of the movie - from wannabe film stars, an elderly piano teacher and his pushy, matronly wife who tends the kitchen that caters for the gastronomical requirements of everyone, the simpleton who came in as a worker in the nearby massage parlour craving for his first sexual experience and the elderly guy claiming to await his thousandth experience with a police woman egging him on....they make a cute bunch! The janitor and the primary school going son of the owner who make a visit to the lodge every month to collect the rent, the wealthy owner who lives in the memory of his late wife and his father, who stays separately, tending a modest tea shop, are the other characters that lend credence to a plausible story.

The tender relationship between the school children, Arjun and Amala, have been aesthetically shot (It reminded me of the possessiveness that I'd shown for my classmate, Girija Thampi in the third standard of the Holy Angels' Convent, years back). And the following visuals continue to linger long after one comes out of the cinema:-

    (a) The anxiety writ large on everyone's face when the simpleton is giving a massage to the young lady
         behind closed doors.
    (b) The call girl's casual reference to her paralysed husband behind the curtain, used as a partition in the
          room and the consequent dampening of the simpleton's sexual urge.
    (c) The simpleton's browsing of cheap pornographic books in preparation for his maiden sexual
    (d) The nuances of the grandfather-father-son relationship.
    (e) The husband's look of being cuckolded when he sees another guy in his divorced wife's hotel room.
    (f) The elderly man's exaggerated narration of his 999 sexual escapades and the longing for the landmark
         experience, with a rider.

Well, another watchable movie and I congratulate its makers for their efforts!


The show was almost house full. However, the female audience including Lekha, was just a handful. The majority consisted of young gentlemen in their teens or out of it, working in IT firms predominantly(the guys who sat next to us were all from the nearby Infopark).

Was it just an aberration for this particular show or does it reflect the famous 'malayalee prudishness'? I sincerely hope that it's the former!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Merit vs mediocrity.

Increasing number of individuals, sitting in fairly influential positions in their respective organisational hierarchy, have been coming under the scanner on charges of corruption and nepotism.

The latest individual who has come under a cloud, in Kerala, is the state's Information Officer who's alleged to have influenced the investigating officer looking into the details of a land allotment case involving VS Achuthanandan, during his tenure as chief minister!

Why do such things happen? It's common knowledge that there are unscrupulous guys, who're willing to sell themselves, to do anything and everything for their bosses and acquire the crumbs of office, in return, as gratification. In the bargain, what they suppress is the subsequent lack of faith and respect for one another! For the superior, it's the apprehension that the guy could go against him when he gets a new boss while it's the guilt factor that could be the reason for the subordinate - the result is, without doubt, a trust deficit in the relationship.

In forging such unholy relationships, merit gets trampled upon and mediocrity prevails. A 'yes man' is preferrable to carry out one's agenda and if his weaknesses are also known, then his loyalty is assured for life! But what's the result?

Such guys are unaware of their organisational requirements and they're incapable of registering ominous signs of an impending disaster whereas, a professionally sound guy would have his organisational well being uppermost in his mind! And he wouldn't hesitate to take hard decisions for the sake of his organisation much to the dislike of his superior!!


To bring about a drastic change in this regard requires a change in attitude. Knowledge and selflessness are its essential ingredients!   

Monday, October 8, 2012

The enemy within!

As I'd recounted earlier on this forum, I'm the president of a residential welfare organisation. It's fun because I've come to learn a lot many new things and have developed more patience while dealing with people. To my mind, none of their problems is trivial and providing a solution at the quickest possible time has been my endeavour.

But what amazes me is the dual face that certain individuals project. To elucidate the point, I've two illustrations. The first is about a person who's ironically, a member of my core committee too. On my taking over, he'd brought in a barber for the residents. Though good at his job and well behaved, the barber had a propensity to borrow money from residents and absent himself frequently without valid reasons. The core committee had repeatedly asked him to sign a contract with the organisation which he, for reasons unknown, kept putting off. The last straw that broke the proverbial camel's back was when he'd disappeared  to his hometown in Bihar - all of a sudden - and had remained absent for over a month.

The core committee put another barber in place and gave it a stamp of approval by signing a contractual agreement with him. Ever since, the committee member, in question, has been after the new incumbent, finding fault at every step of his, making his life miserable. He's now been told by your's truly to behave and seems to have been chastised - at least, for the time being!

The second person amazes me even further. He, outwardly, while being very respectful and repeatedly assuring us of his support, does things on the contrary much to my discomfort. We'd to get an area - in the frontage of one of the buildings - ready for seating connected officials to carry out paper work for the overall maintenance of the residential area. For the purpose, his car had to be removed out of its stilt parking area for two days. Since he's away on leave my boys had conveyed the requirement to his wife who'd readily agreed to it last evening. But, sometime this morning, he'd called up the security sentry at the gate and told him to convey it to us that his car should not be touched. And all attempts at contacting him turned out to be futile! It was strange and I really had not expected this from him, a happy-go-lucky bong as I see him and from whom I'd taken over!!

A visibly angry caretaker tells me, "sir, he's jealous of you because you've achieved so many things within a very short period".


I'm reminded of an old saying in this context and I quote, 'In an organisation those who matter, do not bother and those who bother, do not matter'.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

A quiet Sunday.

It was, indeed, a quiet Sunday. After weeks of hectic travel and meeting people, it was a day spent at home. On such occasions, listening to music becomes the core theme and so it was today too, the prime mover being the musical programme, 'Rangoli' on the national channel which covered a Guru Dutt special. All the numbers covered in it were my favourites and that, set the trend.

Talking to mom is mandatory on all Sunday mornings and today she's given me the task of getting her a new, framed photograph of her favourite deity, Guruvayoorappan. My sister and niece had also chipped in with their inputs and generally, things seem to be going fine out there.

Malayalam movies are getting to be interesting with daring themes being explored and quite a few of them by debutant film makers have been worth watching. A movie of this genre was '22, Female, Kottayam' that I'd missed watching at a cinema and was being aired on the television. The film gets its name from the details filled on the application form for a passport! The main protagonist, Tessa's transformation from a meek, back home type of a girl to the confident lady ready-to-take-on-the-bad-world around her, thanks to her sad experiences with the guy that she was in love and with men, in general, forms the backbone of the story. Reema Kallingal, the actor, has done a commendable job in etching out the contours of the character by her subdued acting.

And then, of course, it was the classy way in which the West Indians overpowered the Sri Lankans in the finals of the T20 World Cup finals that kept us glued to the set. The latter's loss, in front of a capacity home crowd, was stunning as was visible by the quiet that prevailed in the final overs!


And I must admit that I was batting for the Windies all the way!    

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Temple renovation and a television programme.

The society that we live in and the way that we're brought up induce certain beliefs in us that are followed implicitly, without a question being raised even by the enlightened among us.

And are all the inmates of the country's jails actually guilty of the crimes attributed to them? I'm asking this query because our justice system is based on the noble thought that "let the guilty get the benefit of the doubt so that not even a single innocent is punished, ever".

1. Temple renovation.

     My father's family has inherited a 'Sree Krishna' temple in our village and it's a popular shrine. Over the years, it has been renovated many times over with the generous contributions from the people and the family, so much so that, today, the entire complex looks impressive.

     A couple of months back, there was a request from the priest that the 'sarpakkaavu' - the snake temple - required further streamlining, in that, the ground around the deity and the approaches required levelling and paving of tiles to prevent waterlogging during rains. We'd decided to foot the bill, in toto, and towards that end a sum of fourteen grand rupees was handed over to one of the trustees. But the irony was when a receipt for the amount as well as the insistence on a detail break up of the expenses at project completion was insisted upon, the guy felt offended, says my sister who'd handed over the money. His answer was typical, "these things are a matter of faith and trust and we've already given you our estimates. You've to believe us otherwise, you can take back your money".

How does one educate him that expenses of any kind of public money requires transparency in accounting? The temple trust will be prevailed upon to come around to our way of thinking!

2. Nammal Thammil.

     This is a programme on the Asianet channel on the lines of Barkha Dutt's 'We, the people' on NDTV and boasts of a large fan following. Tonight's episode showed the programme being conducted in one of the jails with an emphasis on women prisoners. The stories of the women prisoners, gave me the impression that they've been punished for crimes they'd not committed - at least, that was the message deduced from the teary narrations of those prisoners!

     The implication was that the cases were distorted at the investigation stage to help out the guilty, who're still at large and continue to live in the society as 'decent and reputed' people!

      Felt very disturbed at the end of it all. Was there even an iota of truth in those heart rending narrations? We need to introspect and provide a remedy! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

My pet hates at a cinema.

This evening, since my maman, who was with us for a couple of days, had expressed a desire to see a movie with us we'd gone for one.

As usual, by the time I'd parked my Chevy at a safe place, I'd missed out on about 20' of the movie. Not that anything was missed though! But at the cinema, it was the same old story!

The cellphones rang with an alarming frequency and a few guys did have the audacity to talk into them at unacceptably, high decibel levels and the conversational contents - frivolous that could have best been done elsewhere and definitely, that could have waited for the show to be over! A family, consisting of the middle aged father and mother along with their two children, sitting immediately behind us, were simply ill mannered, in that, they're creating havoc with their feet on our backrests. After suffering for a while, I'd to get up and tell them to cease their 'footwork' forthwith and probably, there must have been enough menace in my looks that they're chastised into a subdued existence thereafter.

Post interval, there was the inevitable 'chomp chomping' of the wafers and popcorn purchased from the counter. While I've no issue on the audience conquering their pangs of hunger by having snacks, the 'chomping' could be kept at an acceptable(?) decibel level with a wee bit of effort! But what they don't realise is the mammoth problem resultant of such indulgences - plenty of cockroaches and rodents moving freely in the auditorium.

And the undue hurry during the exit, on the part of a few, makes one wonder as to what their next agenda was all about, especially, after the second show!  


But all said and done - my pet hates notwithstanding - I enjoy watching movies at the cinema and especially, at a late night show!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Seen here, heard there.........

1. Toilets - a must in all schools.

The Kerala government has decided that all the schools in the state must have toilets, in the premises, for the students. Thankfully, wisdom has dawned at this late stage and it's one's fond hope that the drive doesn't lose steam in the coming days after the initial brouhaha. What must be seriously asked is as to how these schools were established, in the first place, without insisting upon this primary requirement?

2. The attack in London.

Lt Gen(Retd) KS Brar was attacked by unknown persons - apologists of the redundant Khalistan movement, in all probability - in London and was left wounded. Thankfully, the old man has come out of it without serious damages. Intelligence agencies are trying to ascertain as to whether it's a precursor to the revival of terrorism in Punjab. 

But what needs to be stopped forthwith is the construction of a three floor structure adjacent to the Akal Takht, in the Golden Temple, termed 'shaheed ganj' attempting to glorify Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his cohorts. If not, it will be a grave injustice to many of the soldiers(who fought against all odds with heavy constraints imposed upon them on the use of weapons) and civilians(used as human shields by the inhuman and unscrupulous terrorists) who lost their lives in Operation Bluestar of Jun '84 while restoring the sanctity of the ultimate temple of worship of the sikhs.

3. India out of the T20 World Cup.

India has been rendered out of the reckoning in the ongoing T20 World Cup matches in Sri Lanka eventhough it had thrashed Pakistan in its last league match. I'd attribute it to Dame Luck not being on our side. Regarding the ultimate winner of the cup, may the best team win!

And for the millions of crazy fans of the game in our country, they do not have to crowd around television sets anymore and can work to raise productivity instead!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My fellow travellers.

I'd boarded the early morning Intercity Express to Thiruvananthapuram on work. I'd boarded the train in the nick of time as it had started moving just after I'd boarded. So much about my time management!

I was curious to see the site of the recent accident at the Aroor level cross but the place has been spruced up with the point being manned and the newly inducted, young man was smartly waving his green flag. Ironically, it required a gruesome accident (in which five car borne passengers - including a two year old child - had perished, just a fortnight back) to bring about this idealistic state.

Meanwhile, Asokan (I could get his name from the calls that he made!), a railway catering contractor, was continuously on his cellphone issuing instructions to his minions. And around a half past seven, my breakfast of idlis, vada and sambar on order, that had fetched up, turned out to be cold and insipid. Seeing the miserable stuff, he took it upon himself to get me a better treat in lieu! Damn sweet of him. He was going to the city to meet up with the railway's divisional railway manager to renew his contract.

There was this lady, Chandrakanta(again, the name was gleaned from her high-decibel conversations), a deputy director in the state's education department who'd replicated her office into our space in the train. A meek looking, bespectacled assistant - Shankar - who said 'yes' to everything she said as she browsed through her mail off the lap top, was in attendance! She did give the impression that if she stopped working, her office would come to a standstill. She's going to the capital to attend a very important meeting called by the secretary of education! I also happened to hear her assistant's not so charitable opinion about Asokan that he conveyed to his boss!!

Then there was a father - son duo, on the side seats, immaculately turned out but who remained fairly silent except for snatches of conversation in hushed undertones, occasionally among themselves and generally gave the impression that they were not meant to be there! They'd an appointment with a minister on arrival.

There were two other gentlemen, who're asleep throughout the journey giving the impression that train travel had a sleep inducing effect on them and one of them was snoring at fairly high decibels.

And I browsed through Louis L'Amour's 'Kilrone' for the nth time.


The train was bang on time for a change. The return journey, by the Jan Shatabdi was uneventful and it was also immaculately on time. Kudos to the Indian Railways!

And I've handed over the additional charge of Thiruvananthapuram to the new incumbent after 30 calender days!! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gandhi Jayanti.

On the 143rd birth anniversary of the mahatma, let's solemnly reaffirm our faith and allegiance to his ideals and his unflinching faith in the power of the 'truth'.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A white lie...or an act of escapism?

Boy meets girl......sparks fly at first sight......Cupid has found his mark......everything ends happily! This is truly 'filmi' but it does happen once a way, I'm sure!! At least, I can vouch for a few cases within my immediate family.

Boy meets girl......sparks fly at first sight......Cupid has found his mark......but there's a problem here. Both are from different faiths. The respective parents go through agony....feel bad about having been let down, especially when they'd brought up each of their children as friends and had deduced that there were no secrets between them. Since I'm close to the boy's family, my opinion and support were sought. Going through the entire sequence of events, there was no alternative but to bring the agonising parents to accept reality and work out a way to welcome their 'new' daughter-in-law because the young couple was already living together!

The boy's parents had gone to the youngsters' workplace last weekend and went through a simple marriage ceremony at one of the city's temples. And as a follow through, the parents were to meet this evening, at the girl's house, with your's truly accompanying them. I think my PJs helped, to a certain extent, in removing the initial awkwardness. And the two families got together to make their newfound relationship meaningful and take it forward for the sake of their children.

Parents, who truly loved their children and hats off, to the flexibility in their attitude!

As we're returning from the interaction, the boy's father had asked me for my opinion about the young lady. The girl definitely will not scorch the ramps of a fashion parade but then who am I, a lesser mortal, to sit in judgement of her physical appearance and heap further agony on the sad parents? My answer was measured, "She's okay. I'm sure that your son has found some sterling qualities in her which needs to be respected and accepted. They're quite comfortable as a couple and that's what we should be happy about".


We're served a delicious 'Malayalee' snack of idlis and sambar alongwith other delicacies. When I enquired of her father as to why he wasn't joining us, his "I've already finished my share of 15 idlis" gave me an impetus to bash on regardless!