Friday, November 30, 2012

The Gujral doctrine and Palestine's endorsement.

I shall touch upon two events that took place today. Both seemingly have no connections but a bit of digging into history will throw up the connections.

1. The Gujral doctrine.

The former Prime Minister passed into the mist of time this afternoon. He shall always bear testimony to the fact that decency and being a gentleman in politics don't mean much in our political environment. His tenure showed him as an ineffective leader thanks to the contradictory pulls of coalition politics - small and ambitious men of ragtag political parties prevented him from taking any meaningful decisions! But he shall always be remembered for the emphasis that he laid on carrying our neighbours alongwith us adding that India, as the big brother, could afford to be more magnanimous and giving, to cement relationships - euphemistically termed the 'Gujral Doctrine'.

Probably, the process of give and take must have been nurtured deep within him as he and his parents had felt the traumatic phase of partition, post independence.

He'd held the office of the foreign minister too, among many others, and was an important link in shaping our foreign policy during the cold war years and the period, immediately after. This included our stand on Palestine from times immemorial and hence, the connection!

RIP Mr. Gujral. This nation shall always remember your contributions with gratitude, I'm sure.

2. Palestine's endorsement by the UN.

Palestine has become 'a non-member state with observer status' at the world body, thanks to a historical resolution passed by the General assembly. It also should not be forgotten that the US and Israel had fiercely opposed the motion.

What's interesting is that exactly 65 years ago, the same 'august body' had passed a resolution - known as No. 181 - allowing the division of the then British ruled state - consisting of the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem - into a Jewish state(Israel) and an Arab country(Palestine).

There's much more distance to traverse to attain the gospel of 'peaceful existence of nations' respecting the right of every nation state to co-exist with its neighbours with dignity and honour! It's one's hope that one of the world's most explosive spots - West Asia - is on a sure path to peace and prosperity.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Under painful circumstances!

To me, an injection is something that I look at with mortal fear. Every time the doctor advises one, I go through a total state of fear and restlessness till the ordeal is over. And it's for this reason that I admire women. Their eagerness to have their ears(though the enthusiasm on their part is debatable as the exercise is carried out when they're babes in arms and therefore, do not have a choice, perhaps!), these days even ear lobes, nose and belly buttons(for the flashy, though) perforated has surprised me no end and continue to do so. As I'd said earlier, it amazes me that anyone can go through pain only to adorn ornaments!

Today, it was Lekha's turn to go through discomfort on this score. Her stud on the left ear was troubling her for the last couple of days. When the jewellers were shown the recalcitrant stud, they'd suggested medical intervention to retrieve it as she'd managed to screw the stud's key onto the soft flesh surrounding it. Probably, her fingers were unable to appreciate the actual extent to which it was being screwed in, thanks to a lack of sensation at the extremities!

The doctor had retrieved it, applied a soothing balm and has advised her to avoid wearing the stud for the next one month. Consequently, she sports a small bandage around the tip of her left ear lobe!


The upshot of the incident is that she's reluctant to attend functions where people would be conglomerating. No amount of my telling her that there would hardly be anyone who'd be bothered about the fact that she's not wearing her studs has had any effect. So, attending them would be a solo performance on the part of your's truly! And there're quite a few lined up, much to my discomfort!! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

At long last!

I'm very, very impatient. And that too, the accompanying irritation consumes the whole of me especially when a deadline is to be met. One thing, after the other, starts going wrong and it looks so conspiratorial.

It happens to be a similar situation right now. I'm hurtling dangerously close to the deadline to write down my thoughts but the telephone line seems to be off and there seems to be a loose connection. Again, my thoughts are hazy and yet to crystallise! Life can, indeed, be difficult!!


The line has just come around. And I've decided to lay bare the confusion that's surrounding me. Apologies, folks!   

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A game changer, they say.

The UDF government in Kerala has tom-tommed its decision as the game changer of all times. Come 01 Jan '13, a set of subsidies will be paid directly into the bank accounts of individuals to ensure speedy disbursement, avoid duplication and also to prevent exploitation by middlemen! The idea seems to have germinated from the late Rajiv Gandhi's lament that only 15 paise out of every rupee, spent by the government on an individual's welfare, reaches the beneficiary!! By end '13, the central government intends to have this scheme extended to the entire country.

The first list of subsidies will have 29 items, the notable among them being the widow pension, the old age pension, pension for the handicapped and the educational scholarships.

Much of the beneficiaries would belong to the families living below poverty line who do not boast of having a personal bank account. And what's on offer to tide over this difficulty? The following steps have been mooted:-

     (a) 'Aadhaar' documents would suffice to open an account.
     (b) No money is required as initial deposit.
     (c) If direct access to the bank is difficult, the account holder can operate by proxy. The bank reps
          will visit such homes for direct disbursement through portable 'mini ATMs'.
     (d) The 'anganwadi' workers, teachers and 'self help groups' can assume the role of bank reps!
           Their remuneration would be determined by the volume of their business. Post Offices and
           hospitals can also do the duties of bank reps.
     (e) No minimum amount, will be insisted upon, in the account!

At one look it looks a fine idea with noble intentions. Let's see how it rolls!


Being a thoroughbred Malayalee and having been witness to many a grandiose scheme turning out to be duds, I've the following doubts:-
     (a) Wouldn't the poor people be open to exploitation by a new breed of population in the form
           of bank reps?
     (b) How many of the 'bpl' population have the 'aadhaar' documents?
     (c) And mind you, the project is being taken up just before a general election. Isn't it another
          poll gimmick?
     (d) Who's the greatest beneficiary? The banks. And the banking system is gonna encompass the
           entire Indian population.
     (e) A small question, finally. What about the illiterates, though Kerala seems to be on a good    
          wicket here?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Why the intolerance?

I'm part of my school's group on the net where anecdotes, appeals for help/assistance, news about the old boys who're seldom heard and spirited discussions on various issues take place quite frequently. In other words, it's a lively forum and I spend sometime, everyday, to go through the happenings on the circuit. And I must admit that I come away a much wiser man on issues, having perused the opinions of a wide cross section of my school mates in terms of age and geographical separation - it definitely ensures a meaningful dialogue!

But, of late, there are trends that alarm and sadden me. An opinion is viciously trashed and the originator is often hit below the belt with sarcastic comments tinged with malicious content. The individual is almost asked to just "shut up".

The great art of a debate or a discussion is the thrill that one gets from hearing all the opposing and contradicting viewpoints on a subject and by using reasonable and forceful articulations, one's able to get the majority, if not everyone, to accept one's way of thinking! And of course, in extreme situations, agree to disagree but never by belittling the opposition nor by resorting to personal digs.

Sadly, the tendency to shout down the opposition is a rising trend and individuals have displayed levels of intolerance that doesn't augur well. I'd still like to believe that it's an aberration and an attempt to generate 'heat' in the circuit and shall wait for it to pass.


What amazes me is that the intolerant behaviour is generally restricted to guys who've been nurtured by many of us or even my seniors. I thought the mulishness came from some of our elders with their set pattern of thinking or am I far off the mark on this one? 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Weekend musings.

It was a busy weekend as I'd packed quite a few activities that needed to be done and could not be made to wait. A sense of timing is a must to put things in perspective.

1. To the hospital.

97 year old grand aunt of mine , Ammini Amma, has been having difficulty in breathing and is fighting a general weakness because of alarmingly low Sodium levels in her system. She's been derisive occasionally but at other times, shows clarity in her thinking. I'd gone to meet her and though she didn't seem to recognise me by sight - she held on to my hand tightly while blabbering away, incoherently, all through.

It's my fond hope that she comes out of this difficulty as quickly as possible. One might call us greedy and not in sync with life's vagaries, but what's wrong in us wanting her to be around for some more time?

2. Voter's ID card.

We'll soon have our voter's ID card. The online registration, the consequent appointment for photography and other activities had taken its stipulated time but finally, that work has been done. At least, one feels armed for the next elections and is not required to scan voters' lists and move around with slips, in lieu. Whatever said and done, the election commission has been going about it systematically and there sure's a methodicity in the madness.

3.  Review of the security system.

Owing to the recent burglary, the entire security system of our residential area is under close scrutiny. I really feel small because I've been reactive, rather than being proactive, in this aspect and the irony is total when I've been a staunch critic of the security system prevalent all around! Tighter measures - which might invite strong disapproval from the residents themselves - including plugging of the gaps of a porous boundary and enhancing the height/augmenting with coils of barbed wire of a section of the wall and instituting a 'biometric' entry for all are some of the measures that are being discussed.

But the biggest hurdle is to bring about a change in attitude in the people. They've to understand that security can only be foolproof if they're willing to go through frequent queries by the sentry and frisks, if required. There's no short cut to an efficient and effective security system. The administering of the 'bitter pill' is my responsibility and I need to do it at the earliest.

4. 'Changing' neighbourhood.

Our neighbours are set to move for Bombay shortly. They're in the process of undoing their house and putting their articles into packing cartons. We've been providing them with logistic support which is the usual custom anywhere and there's nothing great to write home about. But they've been extremely grateful and have gone to town about our 'helpful' attitude. I can only smile at the fact that it just requires minutely small deeds to get acclaimed and as I'd said, we've not done anything spectacular or gone out of the way.


And there was a bit of work which required my presence in station and therefore, going home to meet mom had to be put off. She's recovered completely and probably sensing my predicament, she had said, "You don't have to worry about me and anyways, I'm going to be with you by the second week of next month when your sister goes off to Bangalore", during our customary morning chat, today, over the telephone.

Was she disappointed with me? Had I let her down?......She'll never let me know!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A couple of thoughts.

1. 24 Nov.

Today's my birthday and as is the usual trend, there were calls, smses and messages by e-mail from friends - quite a few of them were being heard after a long, long time. I really can't explain the sheer thrill that I'd experienced from each of the gestures. While thanking each one of them, it's great to know that they care and that the bonds that we'd created continue to exist with the same intensity overcoming time and distances.

The most notable was when my phone went off charge, talking to young Gavvy - a youngster that I'm fond of - who'd called me yet again on the landline to continue with our conversation. A truly amazing day as messages continued to pour in even into the night. Now it would be understood as to why I like celebrating my birthdays. And mind you, my birthday as per the Malayalam calendar is on the twelfth of next month when my family makes it a point to get in touch. Yes, it's a double delight!

Today is auspicious because it's the day when the 'Ekadasi' is celebrated with all the attendant pomp and show at the Guruvayur temple - its significance being that almost 5,000 years ago, Lord Krishna had imparted the 'Gitopadesam' to an unsure Arjuna, prior to the battle of 'Kurukshetra'. Arjuna's transformation and the course that the battle had subsequently taken is folklore. It also happens to be the day when Melpathoor Narayana Bhattathiri had dedicated his 'Narayaneeyam' to his god and to the people.

2. A sad end.

Came to know that Prakash, my cousin's husband, had passed into the mist of time but the exact whereabouts of his end is still a mystery thanks to his close family wanting to keep it a secret. And it has a sad story behind it.

They used to stay near my father's house till a couple of years back. Prakash and Syamala chechi have a son and a daughter and their small world took a jolt when the son - a well behaved young man who was into the business of film making as an assistant director - went and married a girl older than him and to make matters worse(?), she was from another community. The angry parents separated the couple forcibly and had their son under lock and key in their house claiming that he was mentally unsound. That the girl and a few of her close associates came and took away the boy, with police help, was a blow to Prakash's ego whose carefully nurtured image in the village was in tatters. So overwheming was the bruised ego that they'd left their house one night and had lived in an undisclosed place ever since. The story has it that they're with their daughter, at Kochi, when his end came about thanks to the cirhossis of his liver.

On behalf of the family, I'm endeavouring to get my cousin and her children back to their house and in the process try to put it across to her that ego and false pride have no place in life, if one were to wish for peace and tranquility. And yes, I'd be leaving the narrative incomplete if I did not mention the fact that my cousin's mother had rocked their household, years back, when she'd eloped with the man she loved while she was staying with my dad and they're pursuing with their studies.

RIP Prakash and my prayers will be with you. And wish me luck to get your family on even keel!  

Friday, November 23, 2012

In the line of fire.

Mac Murphy has expounded famously that, 'If anything has to go wrong, it will'.

Well it seems that the axiom has proved to be true in our residential area today. I'd started feeling comfortable that all checks and procedures have been streamlined for the smooth running of the residential area with the state of security established at 'Zulu Alpha' levels - meaning that no loophole was left unattended! And now it seems as to how foolhardy I was in that assumption of mine.

I got a call this morning, from the caretaker, that the house of a resident - the family is away on leave - has been burgled. The padlock on the main door of the house has been mysteriously left untampered with, and it has been unhinged instead. Whosoever had done it had kept an enormous amount of time in hand to carry out the perfidy! On initial check, one of the cupboards within the house is seen to be ransacked. Further losses, if any, will be pinpointed once the owner returns and thankfully, he's from the neighbourhood and so, it's not gonna take much time.

The case will be thoroughly investigated by the appropriate agencies and the culprits brought to book. And till that happens it would be miserable. I would be naive if I were to ask as to why this is happening because my assumption is that everyone staying, under my umbrella, is contended and no one requires wealth acquired through ill gotten means. And I shall definitely not resort to any crystal ball gazing to ascertain the guilty though the temptation gets strong in the course of time when pieces of information come trickling down.


I need to have a relook at the security arrangements that have been put in place. Perhaps, a revamp is required as I must have missed out on the details. And the buck stops with me. Period!  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Another farewell.

It was fairly a quiet day with nothing much happening. Around 7, in the morning, I'd made a dash to the nearby lab to collect Lekha's test results as she'd an appointment with her doctor later in the day. Eventhough, we'd fetched up at the hospital by a half past 3, we could return only by 8 thanks to the fairly long queue of patients before us. So my evening walk had gone for a toss and on returning home it was a quiet dinner, viewing of the TV for a few of our favourite programmes and as I was floating into sleep came a call from Thiruvananthapuram, informing me about the passing away of Mr. P Govinda Pillai, the veteran Marxist idealogue and one of the popular leaders of the CPM. He was 86.

I remembered the gentle, bespectacled elder with whom I'd the privilege to interact, a few years back when I'd fetched him from his house, for a programme on the occasion of my grandfather's remembrance day.

He and my grandfather were friends because they'd a common passion - books and the library! And it was only befitting that he graced the occasion. On introducing myself, he'd expressed his happiness at having met my grandfather's grandson and he was only too eager to pass on quite a few anecdotes that bound the two of them. For me it was interesting information and I lapped it all up, savouring each story. As we're about 20 minutes into our journey to the venue, I found him to be restless and going through a bit of discomfort. As I gave him a glass of water to drink, he said that he'd like to have a chocolate to tide over his discomfort which seemed to bother him - and weakly he conceded that he was badly diabetic. 

I remember having pulled my car towards a shop by the roadside, literally grabbed a couple of Cadbury's chocolate bars from the shopkeeper, unwrapped one and handed it over to PG(he was popularly known by his initials) sir who'd started sweating by then. I waited awhile as he devoured the chocolates and slowly returned to his normal self - I must concede that they're agonising moments for me! And as we continued our journey towards the venue, he continued with his stock of anecdotes about my grandfather without giving an inkling of the acute discomfort that had engulfed him, only moments earlier.

As I drove in through the gates of the VJT Hall and dropped him at the venue, he tells the crowd that had gathered to receive him, "I owe my life to PN Panicker's grandson and had he not taken appropriate action you wouldn't have had me here this moment". And turning to me he said, "I owe you some money for those chocolates and I shall keep it that way just to ensure that you return to me and I shall tell you more about your grandfather and of course, give you the money!" 

RIP PG sir. My humble prayers and I shall always remember the time spent with you and the enormous love that you'd showered upon me then.


In the eagerness of living my life, I have not had an opportunity to meet up with him subsequently and the loss is entirely, not for the cost of the chocolates(it was a grandson's gift to his grandfather's friend) but for the immense fund of anecdotes concerning the two of them! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A collage of thoughts....

There are too many things happening and hence, my thoughts are a wandering. Therefore, I'm going in for a hotch-potch today and here I go.....

(a) The silent hero.

There are very many heroes in society, leading normal lives but contribute immensely to the society through their lofty deeds making us wonder as to what makes them extraordinary. The values they'd have picked up from their homes, in the course of their upbringing must be the greatest contributor, as I reckon. Now take the example of the hangman who'd put the noose around Ajmal Kasab's neck and had carried out the execution. He refused his remuneration of Rs.5,000/- for the task saying that he'd carried out the duty for his country and for the unfortunate ones who'd lost their lives in the 26/11 carnage!

My salute to the gentleman, he's become my hero!!

(b) Shallow knowledge.

I've a modest opinion of my awareness of things and am of the opinion that I've much to learn. My biggest problem is that I've the propensity to resort to taking short cuts for results! To cite an example, this morning my kid sister had called up to get the synonym for 'a publicity hungry person'. The answer seemed to be on the tip of my tongue but had refused to come out despite my best(?) efforts. And what did I resort to then?

Called up my classmate, Padmasenan(at Kochi), a journalist and friend,Theresa(currently at Calcutta in connection with her son's wedding) and yet another friend, Chaitanya(at Delhi) to get the answer! Please observe the sheer spread, the distances covered(albeit by way of speech passing through telephone cables) and the extent of the inquiry in search of a quick fix solution with no damn effort on the part of your's truly!

(c) A great evening.

Yesoma and Vijayan had invited us to spend the evening at their place at Thuravoor. I was initially hesitant to accept the invite because their house was about 30 kms from where I live and getting out of the bottleneck of the traffic prevalent at the peak hours of the evening was a daunting task. But I'd finally come round to going there. And thank god I did because it was a simply wonderful evening.

Vijayan's parents' presence was the highlight of the evening as they met and showed their genuine glee at having us there. And for the occasion I'd decided to give a temporary break to my Sabarimala vows to partake freshly tapped toddy(I can be tempted by small things, eh?)  and boy, the spread on the dinner table consisted of a wide range of down-to-earth Malayalee cuisine!

We made friends with the entire family and the interaction with each of them was truly interesting and illuminating. As minutes melted into hours and the time to bid farewell had come about, I wished for a second that the evening could continue. Thanks once again to the genial and caring hosts for the time well spent - it showed that you care!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Where love has gone sour.....

It was disgusting to read about the Brazilian football goalkeeper, Bruno Fernandez who's landed himself in ignominy thanks to his brutal bent of mind. A one time hero to his countrymen, he's hated and despised by the very same people who wish that he's punished for the dastardly crime that he'd committed two years ago.

He and his goons, had murdered Elisa - a model with whom he'd sired a child but was doubtful as to  whether the child was his - cut her body into pieces and fed them to the dogs after violating her! The case comes up for hearing in the Brazilian top court shortly.

My take.

I've spoken about this subject earlier but would like to reiterate my thoughts yet again. Love is a beautiful thing and when one's in love, one's confident of achieving anything and everything while having the object of one's love by one's side. There're positive vibes all around. And it's this state of bliss that's rudely shattered when the same love goes sour. To the extent feasible one tries to cling on to the relationship based on the finer feelings, thoughts and small incidents that added sparkle during its vibrancy.

If the relationship cannot be retrieved, there's no point in forcing it to stay as a healthy bond has to come by naturally and with ease. The mutual feelings must come from within and communication is vital.

And once the decision to disengage has been arrived at, a healthy distance must be maintained and each other's privacy is to be respected as the strain of coming out of a relationship takes an unimaginable toll on the affected parties - and make no mistake, the scars can be equally intense for both the parties involved, they don't have a gender bias!


What makes me sad in this particular case of Bruno and Elisa are the following:-

       (a) Communication had broken down irretrievably between the two.
       (b) The crafty manner in which Elisa was lured to her gory end by promising wedlock and acceptance of
             the child's fatherhood.
       (c) How can someone be killed with whom you've had intimate moments?
       (d) The inherent bestiality and perversity  in violating her before killing her.
       (e) The insane rage that made him and his cronies to cut the lifeless body to pieces. I was under the
             impression that a sportsman like him could never possess such negative behaviour.
       (f) And lastly, imagine the plight of the child as it grows up against the backdrop of the ghastly story
            its birth had scripted.


A human being has no right to take away another's life, however unacceptable the other is.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

In perpetuity.

Got the unsettling news that my mom has had a fall this morning. The wounds are superficial, as I reckon, after my chat with her. Was there a hint of a lack of confidence in her ability to look after herself any more? She'd quickly negated my suggestion of coming and staying with us at Kochi, though.

The sequence of events that led to the mishap was some thing like what I'm gonna narrate. There was a workforce of five girls who're deployed, since 8 AM, to trim the grass and do up the hedges in the compound surrounding the house. My mom had gone to meet each one of them, provide a cup of tea that she'd prepared herself and have a chat in the bargain. This is familiar behaviour, in that, I've seen my father and before him, my grandfather interacting with the people who came working on our fields and catering to their needs, the harshness of the weather notwithstanding - the only difference being that the size of land that we have has dwindled drastically, as much of it has been sold as it was becoming unwieldy and getting labourers on time was becoming a task nigh impossible!

My mom had an umbrella over her head to beat the sun and that happened to be her undoing. On her return, after the interaction with the fifth girl, she'd tripped on an exposed root of a tree and went for a toss with the teapot, umbrella et all. I suppose since she was on a philanthropic beat, the fall did not incapacitate her even for a moment. Ammu, my niece, who was studying indoors rushed out to retrieve her grandmother and administered timely first aid. A retired compounder, who stays in the vicinity, was summoned and he administered a Tetanus shot. And most importantly, he's confirmed that there's no fracture!

At 76 years of age, my mom's been keeping good health and thankfully, doesn't have any medicines to take the only exception being a table spoonful of Bayer's tonic every morning, along with her breakfast! But ever since my dad's passing away she seems to have 'put on years' suddenly and I pull her leg saying that she walked like Shah Rukh Khan, the robot, in his movie 'Ra One'. And she just can't sit idle!!

God, pse take care of her and see that no harm befalls her. ( I'm sure He would because she plucks the flowers from the garden for her 'puja' in the mornings and lights the lamp, both in the morning and in the evening, chants her favourite set of prayers and reads a portion of the 'Mahabhagavatham' twice, everyday).


(a) I will be making a dash over the weekend to look her up and give a few books for her to read.
(b) Of late she's less enthusiastic to attend the telephone as she's become a bit hard of hearing! But her eyesight has been good after the cataract operation carried out on both the eyes last year at Kochi, with dad around!!
(c) And yes, her discomfort is a worrisome thought.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Meeting dad's friend.

Today, I'd the proud privilege of being the co-host of a 'lunch get together' for the veterans. And it gave me tremendous pleasure to meet many of the old stalwarts who'd played significant roles in my professional growth. It was my endeavour to meet as many people, as possible, to catch up from where we'd left last and to update contact numbers and addresses, in the process.

And in the course of the afternoon, I'd come across Lt(Retd) Job. Short statured and slightly built, he looked fit at 86. He says that his memory has been failing him,of late, but looking at me he could recollect my dad. He was shocked to hear about my dad's passing away and I'd to sheepishly admit that I'd forgotten to intimate him due to an oversight. I saw his eyes brimming with tears which he quickly wiped off with his handkerchief and narrated an incident that he and dad were privy to.

They're in the Alibaug Customs Collectorate together in the late '70s and alongwith Mr. Warekar, the Superintendent, formed a close knit threesome. One day while they're out on work, they'd come across a four year old girl who'd almost come under the wheels of the vehicle that they're travelling in. My father was insistent that the child be adopted by them and though initially reluctant, they went by my dad's wishes because they knew that Nair saab could never go wrong as he'd attained a 'saintly hue' through his discourses on the Bhagvad Gita. The little one was given the best of everything and today, she's settled abroad with her family and doing well. It was another aspect of my dad that has come into focus and I really felt proud of him.


A well spent afternoon and I constantly felt the presence of my dad, all through. And I've been entrusted to inform their foster daughter of my dad's passing away.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Balasaheb Thackeray.

He's the original promoter of the 'son of the soil' ideology. That it caused incalculable suffering, mainly to the numerous south Indians at Bombay in search of work, in the late 60s and the early 70s is history. And the paradox about the whole thing was that he was funded by many south Indians - probably, it was their way of assuring their own survival despite being wealthy and doing well for themselves! Balasaheb and his men could bring the mightiest to their knees by their strong arm tactics.

As someone had articulated, the south Indian migrants had grabbed most of the job opportunities in Bombay and elsewhere. They'd sensed that their success would be in the hotel industry and consequently, many eating joints had sprung up, in quick succession, to satisfy the gastronomic needs of the factory/mill workers who're on the move continuously - from home to workplace and back, depending upon the shifts that they worked in! And for their eateries' inhouse support, the proprietors brought in their relations and good friends who're thrilled to find employment in the land of their dreams. With their earnings so accrued, many of them eventually decided to set up permanent homes close to their places of activity! Dadar, Matunga, Chembur are some of the early places, in Bombay, of migrant south Indian settlement.

That the local Maharashtrians were fast losing their jobs and relevance of sorts was observed by Balasaheb. Through novel methods, he advertised the need to rescue the 'marathi manoos' from his sad plight. The rest is history. He'd indeed brought about the resurgence of the 'sons of the soil' and in return they're ready to do anything for him. The consequential effect was that the trade unionism in Maharashtra, hitherto a communist monopoly, became his Shivsena's stronghold!

His strongpoint was that he never hankered for loaves of political office - eventhough any post was available for his asking - as he believed himself to be a trustee of the people's rights and hence, could not hold an office of profit! But he was the ultimate power behind the throne!! And as a politician, he was different from the rest of the pack, in that he took a stand - right or wrong! Probably, that sums up the reason for the huge number of followers and admirers that he has left behind.

A leader is supposed to take the entire society alongwith him, thereby accentuating the fact that he constantly works for each and everyone's betterment, where no division on the basis of caste, creed, religion or region has any relevance. From that point of view, Balasaheb's leadership will come under the scanner in the annals of history and it's for the historians to do their bit on that score.

But, for now RIP Mr. Thackeray.


(a) It's said that his surname is Thakare, which had undergone a metamorphosis during his growth in the political firmament as 'Thackeray'. Probably, it was his need to be different from the rest that showed, in the process!
(b) He sure must have been a worried man when his nephew upstaged him with his own version of the 'son of the soil' policy - more violent and vituperative against the thousands of poor migrant labourers from Bihar. Life, for him, had really come full circle!!
(c) I've seen people from all walks of life visiting him over the years. Was it out of reverence or was it out of fear, I wonder?

Friday, November 16, 2012


Today was a hectic one. My wits were tested after a long while.

A friend of mine was upset that I'd commented upon his mail rather 'harshly'. It all began when another friend of ours had wished us on 'veterans day' and our man tried to quote the dictionary and said that the word 'veteran' has a derogatory connotation! To my mind, the retort was misplaced and uncalled for in the context and I'd said so in my reply to which he'd taken umbrage to. I'd to mollify him and tell him that e-mails on the circuit were to be perused with an open mind and when one were to pen one's thoughts, care had to be taken not to offend the reader without in anyway, diluting the message that one wanted to convey. It really took quite a while - over the telephone - to make him understand my point of view and I'd done so to ensure that he didn't sulk and  stay away from interacting with us, on the circuit!

Meanwhile, the review by the inspecting officer was on in full swing. I understand that he's quite satisfied with what he saw!

The evening saw me go through some real anxious moments when Lekha'd complained of severe stomach cramps. Almost the entire range of home remedies were tried thanks to directives from her help, over the telephone. Ginger - crushed with honey and wholesome, for chewing - garlic, a tot of brandy and finally, a few drops of 'pudin hara' covered the spectrum! Roy, the resident doctor, was cute enough to come down for a late night house call to endorse the actions taken till then. What actually bothered me was that she has stones in her gall bladder which have been 'asymptomatic' till now. Her doctors have maintained that nothing needed to be done till they begin to get difficult and bothersome. Have they got active? Probably, an ultrasound scan, in the next medical review, would be in order.

The cramps had finally subsided just before bed time. Phew!


Earlier, I was at the range watching my boys at firing. I too had tried my hand at it. And how did I fare? Er, let me put it that I would have loved to see more of my rounds on the target!! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

All in a day's work...

0600 h     Got up on the dot, went through my chores and was ready on time.
0850 h     Sebastian was clipping towards the office and we'd decided to take the route that
                circumvented the railway level crossing. After having dropped me, he was despatched
                to the Ernakulam Junction railway station to pick up the inspecting officer.
0935 h     A commuter comes seeking a reservation and one's able to oblige him. He returns
                thoroughly impressed and eternally grateful.
1000 h     Sebastian returns after dropping the guest at his designated place of stay. He's able
                to manage this feat because the roads are less crowded thanks to the striking auto
                rickshaws and taxis. Their strike is for an indefinite period as they are harking for higher
                rates of fares.
1030 h     Work is on at its usual pace. Guests' visit continues at its regular pace but today it seems
                that I've more than my normal share! The telephone needs constant attention.
1110 h     Queries from people regarding the 'Jan Vigyan Jatha' - as to where it was as of date, its
                charter and achievements thus far. Thankfully, the updates had reached me on time.
1205 h     Books, documents gone through - for the last time - prior to their inspection.
1300 h     Off for lunch. Following people of the residential association come with their problems that
                needed sorting out:-
                      (a) Santosh, the milkman, is facing difficulties in converting coupons to money. He's seeking
                           support for his bakery. He was advised as to how he needed to go about doing things
                           as his procedures weren't rightly prioritised.
                      (b) The garbage collector needs a loan of Rs. 20 grand for getting a water connection to his
                            house. The requirement seems genuine but he's just finished paying up an earlier loan.
                            Must see the in house rules on the issue before giving a final decision.
1430 h     Back at the office with much of my afternoon siesta knocked off!
1515 h     Activities for tomorrow tied up, down to the last minute. My car's insurance renewed as the  
                salesman had taken prior appointment.
1745 h     A little bit of football with the kids, soon after my return. I happen to be their Santa Claus!
1830 h     Off for my customary walk.
2030 h     Dropped Jojy and Saly at the Ernakulam Town railway station as they're to board the night
                train to Madras and there were no autorickshaws or taxis, thanks to the strike.
2130 h     A quiet dinner and watched a few favourite programmes on the television. Snatches of  
                conversation with Lekha, in between, got me updated with her activities of the day.
2300 h     At my laptop punching these thoughts. My sisters call up to catch up with me and my activities.
                Had to give my younger sister certain suggestions in connection with her work. The other sister
                wanted to know as to whether I'd be visiting Palakkad this coming weekend and I'd to concede
                sheepishly that it was yet to be decided as things were fluid. Tried to catch up on some reading
                but sleep was beckoning and so, gave it up after about 15 minutes.


A mundane life with equally mundane activities! But I was kept busy all the time. Are my priorities right, I wonder?   

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A welcome and a farewell.

Today happens to be a peculiar day for me insofar as experiences go - one was that of happiness while the other was that of sorrow.

As I'd cited earlier, on taking over as the president of our residential association, I'd made it a point to make personal calls at the homes of residents to be an active participant in their times of happiness as well as sorrows. The gesture was meant to convey to everyone, in the enclave, that we all belonged to one big family and anything and everything that were to befall on anyone of us would impinge upon the rest. Moreover, any timely help that's required by the affected family - perhaps, dazed momentarily by the enormity of the occasion - could be provided by us, bystanders.

So, after my customary walk in the evening, we'd - the secretary and me - gone calling. Niting and Sneha have been blessed with a baby girl and they've decided to call her Isha. They've a son, Dhruv, who's into playschool. The little one was wide awake during the time of our arrival and she looked the happy bundle of joy for the family in every way! They now make a happy foursome - father, mother, son and daughter. Li'l Isha seems to be a happy child as she gurgled and moved her limbs rather ecstatically in the crib, while being in a world of her own.

And it was during my walk that a friend had told me about the demise of a friend's father earlier in the day. Satish's dad was all of 92 yrs, had suffered a broken thigh bone from a fall a fortnight ago and was in hospital. The recovery was steady and he was supposed to be discharged three days back, when he'd suffered a cardiac arrest and consequently, needed the assistance of a ventilator. The end came in a trifle past mid afternoon, today.

I'd the privilege of interacting with Satish's dad, quite a while back. His scholarly and literary pursuits were of a high order and he was giving the finishing touches to the 'Bhagavad Gita' written by him for comprehension of the children, before being hospitalised. Satish has promised to hand over the manuscript to a leading publisher and get the book out as early as possible. The thing that I was drawn towards the father-son duo was that they're more like friends and 'discussed anything and everything under the sun'. Satish, naturally, is heartbroken and his words did choke, quite often, as he spoke about his dad. I could only lend my ears.


(a) May only wonderful things happen to li'l Isha.
(b) My humble prayers and salute to a wonderful soul that was Satish's dad. And here's wishing that Satish    
      has the strength to tide over these difficult times.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A spirited Diwali.

The ceremonies connected with Leela kunjamma's remembrance day had begun in right earnest, in the morning, and the house was teeming with close friends and relatives. The entire compound looked clean thanks to the neatly cropped grass and pruned trees. The neighbours were thrilled to see the house inhabited and full of noise/high decibel conversation which was being missed all the while.

An old lady had asked me as to where my dad was and when I told her about his passing away, she's surprised. And then she'd added, as an afterthought, that the person - meaning, Leela kunjamma - who used to give her nuggets of information, about the family, was no more there. I could feel her agony.

And soon afterwards, post lunch, we're off to drop mom, my sister and niece at the ancestral home before pressing on for Kochi. The journey was uneventful but I must say that I was rather amused by a Mercedes Benz keeping station with my Chevy, almost through the entire stretch. We'd, incidentally, entered one of the 'highway inns' simultaneously and reached Kochi a trifle past sunset and saw that the Diwali celebrations were on, in our residential area, with full pomp and splendour. And I must reiterate that the enthusiasm among the participants - from the children to the elders - was a few notches higher than what I'd seen last year.

For me the celebrations were muted because there were three 'farewells' within the family but the crowd wanted me to join them and I did just that because there was no reason to disappoint them. I'm sure that Leela kunjamma, Santhan kochachan and my dad did not have any issue on this aspect! I did indulge on the numerous sweets that were in circulation and thoroughly enjoyed the company of the excited children. Their enthusiasm was infectious. By insisting that I meet up with everybody, my status as the 'patriarch' was being accentuated!

And boy, it was a noisy, mad, colourful and a long, long evening!


I will have to resort to some spirited exercises and longer, brisker walks over the next few days to knock off the additional 'kgs' that I've added on thanks to the intake of sweets! But it was an experience of a lifetime, what with all the attendant love and affection that were showered upon, so generously. Yes, I'm proud to say that it's my huge, big family! Just simply mine!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Remembering Leela kunjamma.

13 Nov is my "ma'asi's" remembrance day according to the Malayalam calendar. The whole family had decided to conglomerate at her house at Paravoor.

Accordingly, we'd kicked off from Kochi around noon. The journey was comparatively smooth except for the stretch of the highway short of Kayamkulam - and boy, it's very, very bad! The first stop was at home and after a piping hot cup of mom's tea, we'd recommenced our journey towards Paravoor. I could see an air of excitement - tinged with sadness, though - in my mom because she's still not got over the fact that her kid sister was not with her anymore!

After an hour's journey, we're at 'Aswathy' and it was nice to meet everyone from the family together. And then came the most important item in the agenda - all of us bunched up into a circle to share each and everyone's individual experiences with Leela kunjamma. And memories of the immense love she'd selflessly given to each one of us came flooding, thick and fast. Kurup kochachan, too, had actively participated in the proceedings. It went on late into the night and had to be closed because everyone was supposed to be ready early morning tomorrow for the connected ceremonies.

It was an experience that I'd not have bartered for anything. I'd politely declined an official dinner at Thiruvananthapuram and a few of my classmates who're at the do had called up, in between, to say that they did miss our presence but appreciated my choice!

Leela kunjamma, we sorely miss you. It's my sincere hope that I'd lived up to your expectations.


How time flies! It seemed to be just the other day that Kurup kochachan and Leela kunjamma had come and spent a week with us, at our place, in Delhi. And how I wish time had stood still after rewinding to that spot!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The sibling bonding.

I'd quite a few frantic calls from Ravi, the caretaker of our residential area and since I'd hit the highway and was on to an interesting 'race' with two other fellow motorists, it took me a while to attend to his call.

For the first half a minute there was an impregnated silence and I'd concluded that Ravi was trying to contact me on some trivia and there was a touch of irritability in my tone when I'd asked him as to what it was. And suddenly, the floodgates opened and he was sobbing uncontrollably so much so that his words, been sobs, were getting choked. In bits and pieces, he told me that he'd got the sad news that his sister had passed away. I gathered that she was in her early sixties, was ailing with respiratorial problems for a while and is survived by her husband and three children who're well settled, staying close by.

While offering my awkward condolences, I told him that he'd to garner all the strength that he could muster and give the soothing effect to his sister's family. What came strongly was the strong bonding between the siblings! Felt nice.


Just had a close shave with a superfast bus of the state's road transport corporation. The fault was mine in that I'd not looked at the rear view mirror as he came charging and overtook me by the left. And I'd begun to initiate a turn to the left! Your's truly is required in this world for some more time, eh?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

At Guruvayur yet again!

We'd driven off from Kochi early this morning for Guruvayur. There were three requirements - one was to look up an elderly lady who has been hospitalised as her health has taken a turn for the worse, the second was to meet with the people from 'Classic Kitchen' for a few essential inputs for our house and the third was to attend a wedding in the family.

Actually, I'd got myself booked for a quick dash to Pune and back to surprise my friends as their grandson is being put through the sacred 'annaprashna'(the auspicious first adult meal!) But alas, it was not to be. It would have given me an opportunity to see the little one too. I shall, however, say my prayers for him and ask Guruvayurappan to give him everything that he wishes for.

The old lady seems to be in a pretty bad shape and I only hope that she doesn't suffer. Her greatest asset is that she continues to spread happiness. She's extremely fond of my dad and spoke about him to me as I held her hand, sitting beside her.

It's hectic as usual. But I suppose this is the essence of living! 


Guruvayur is getting ready for the 'ekadasi' which falls on the 24th of this month. The crowds visiting the temple will be unprecedented as always. And what's the significance of that day?

It was on that day that Lord Krishna had imparted the 'Gitopadesam' to Arjuna, his favourite disciple!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Taking everyone together.

It sure's a testing task to take an entire group along. And as the size of the group increases, the efforts required to keep it cohesive and interactive automatically rises. No gain without pain they say. The tremendous satisfaction that one derives at the end of it all, on attaining the group's objective brings about an exhilaration that's invaluable. And which cannot be shared with anyone!

I haven't been successful too on this front. One happens to be a friend who wants to stay away from one and all because of an ailment that inflicts him. While he interacts with me on a personal level, his instructions are that I must ensure that no other - among his classmates - must get anywhere near him. It's a tall order because there are very many among them who genuinely want to be of some help to him in his times of difficulty. It's my fond hope that time would ultimately get him to come out of his self imposed exile.

The other friend just wants to stay incommunicado with the rest because of his elder son - he's two sons and the elder one is on drugs for epilepsy. Consequently, he needs to be sheltered and most of the times he remains at home under the watchful eyes of his parents. My friend is a doting father and goes through the agony himself!


Life is a great teacher. Others' experiences have been valuable and important lessons in my growth. And perhaps, it's made me a better person though this is for the others to say, not me!!  

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Today, happens to be Abraham 'Bram' Stoker's 165th birth anniversary. He's a lot of literary efforts to his credit but the one that had the world by storm and continues to be a popular read is 'Dracula'. It came subsequently as a film called 'Dracula - The Prince of darkness' which went on to be a smashing hit after its release. Christopher Lee had immortalised the title role with his convincing performance in it.

I distinctly remember the scene in which he slithers down a rope - slung from the castle roof - head first, like the lizard and that had given me a frighteningly creepy sensation. But the film was tautly made and made interesting viewing!

While at school, it was during the days while I was in class XI when among us classmates, there used to be an oft waged bet wherein one was to walk through a dark stretch of a muddy path, within the school premises, during midnight or immediately past it after reading a few chapters of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Anyone who could do it successfully was entitled to an extra serving of our favourite pudding served in the mess, a movie ticket at the expense of the bet wagers and the title of a 'braveheart' bestowed upon him.

Being a House Captain, I couldn't afford to get into frivolous challenges and therefore, gave an alibi that the incentives did not excite me a wee bit! Those were the days!!


Chaitanya, from Delhi on work, had come calling and had spent the evening with us. It was again an occasion to recall the crazy times that we had together in the not too recent past and there was mirthful laughter all around making others, in the banquet hall of the hotel where he'd taken us, wonder as to what was happening!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

This day, last year.

It was in the wee hours of this day, last year, that Santhan kochachan had passed into the mist of time. His loss to the family continues to be unbearable and Vilasini kunjamma, his wife has never been the same. Gone are her cheerful countenance, the easy manner in which she made friends with the others and above all, her interest to present herself immaculately dressed and groomed at all times. Her conversational pieces have been restricted to monosyllables and on very rare occasions extend to a few words after which she quickly retreats into her shell.

The thing that I remember about that sad day was that she hadn't shed a tear and seemed to be dazed about his going away so abruptly. And he was one husband who pampered his wife to the hilt! The common refrain within the family was that their love affair was a continuing saga with no diminishing in its intensity even after so many years.

There was an incident that had taken place a couple of months back at my cousin's wedding. She'd refused to have a wash and change to get ready for the occasion. Even my mom had tried to coax her into doing so but was unsuccessful. Eventually, she'd relented after I'd talked to her and boy, it required all my powers of persuasion with the entire family looking on. I've this sneaky feeling that she's in a surreal world with my kochachan. The doctor, who's looking after her medical management, says that she'd change, for the good, in course of time and patience was required.

It's my fond hope that we'd see a chirpy kunjamma amidst us as soon as possible!


I was immensely sad at the defeat of Mitt Romney at the US Presidential election, wonder why? Was I an American in my previous birth? And that too a Republican at that?  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The struggle.

Appukuttan kochachan was immediately younger to my dad and had died quite early. From childhood he had not shown any particular keenness towards his studies, so say the family elders. Soft spoken and shy, he'd strikingly good looks and was an obedient son to his parents. And he used to adore my dad and literally worshiped him

I must let you on to one of his childhood escapades that's common folklore in the family. There was a small stationery shop in the vicinity which used to be frequented by him. The shopkeeper was fond of him and entrusted the shop to the young lad frequently, as he went about running his errands. The crusty old businessman that he was, counted the number of toffees before he went off, just to make sure that his 'substitute' did not venture into relishing the goodies during his absence.

On his return, he used to count the toffees all over again to ensure that there was no indulgence on the part of the youngster. Then one day, the cat was out of the bag. Two people had complained that the toffees bought from the shop had an altogether different taste from what they, otherwise did when bought from other shops! On intense scrutiny, it was discovered that the young lad used to savour the toffees - without chewing - and put them back neatly within the confines of their wrappers!

Appukuttan kochachan, soon after, had got selected into the state's mounted police force and had shifted to Thiruvananthapuram. It was while staying in a rented room, all by himself, that cupid had struck and he fell in love with a girl from a very poor family, staying within the vicinity. Once he'd decided to marry her, no amount of pressure from his parents deterred him from his decision and after marriage, he'd studiously avoided taking his family to his parental home.

My kochachan and Saudamini chittamma sired six children and over the next decade went through the throes of a hand-to-mouth-existence, with the family subsisting on my kochachan's meagre earnings! I was in school those days and used to stay with my maternal grandparents during vacation. And my parents used to insist that I visited my kochachan at least once during those breaks and I still remember the 'festive air' in the cramped police quarters in connection with your's truly's arrival! It was much later that there was a thaw in the relations between my kochachan and his father. His family never visited the ancestral home though and his visits, too, were restricted. Such was his father's wrath - on marrying a girl of his choice - which he feared!! (But I must admit, at this juncture, that I've had the privilege of having seen and experienced my paternal grandfather's softer side too. Probably, his son's rebellion was a bit too much for him to stomach after a similar episode, earlier, concerning one of his daughters).

Wonder whether there's the 'proverbial curse' in the family. All his children - three sons and three daughters -   are well settled except for the eldest son, who's had a chequered career - he did not do well in his studies either - when he'd started as a newspaperboy, then as a salesman for a company and is now on to small scale contract work in the real estate business. His son - studies have been his 'Waterloo' too - had given me a call just a while back saying that he's off to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, this Friday, for work. It's my fond hope that the flow of the 'gulf remittances' would improve the fortunes of his family.


(a) I'd wanted to be of some help to the youngster but could never get in touch with him those days as he kept himself studiously away from me.

(b) It was at my father's funeral that I'd met him when he'd broken down while telling me all about himself. I'd then provided him with a paltry monetary assistance. And he says that things have been going fine for him ever since!       

Monday, November 5, 2012

Disgustingly insensitive!

Thankfully, Soumya doesn't have to go through the ignominy of an insensitive barter that's going on in her name.

The young lady - she was 23 and an employee of a private firm - had met her violent end during a train journey on 01 Feb 2011. She was pushed out of the train by a marauder and while lying seriously injured near the railway track at Vallathol Nagar, was raped by him. She did not survive the ordeal and her soul had taken flight from this unkind and insensitive world. To my mind it was good that she did not survive because the grievous injuries that she'd sustained, coupled with the mental trauma of rape, would have made her life a living hell!

The Railway Claims Tribunal has directed the Southern Railway to pay a solatium of Rs.4 lakhs to Soumya's mother based on a compensation claim filed on her daughter's tragic end. As far as governmental institutions go, one understands the fact that they cannot afford to get bogged down by sentiments and have to give directives satisfying the aggrieved parties, to the extent feasible, based on the merits of the case.

But going beyond practicalities, my mind is in a turmoil thanks to the following questions that reverberate within :-

      (a) Would I, as a parent to have undergone such a loss, ever have approached a court asking for

      (b) Can anyone quantify the intrinsic worth of a human life in terms of money?

      (c) And what about the Southern Railway's argument that a sum of Rs.3 lakhs, paid to the family on the
           immediate aftermath of the incident, be deducted(thankfully, this was shot down by the tribunal) from
           the solatium?


If we can't respect human life, at least, let's have the decency not to disrespect the dead!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The first guests at our unfinished home!

Jojy-Saly and Murali-Radhika were the first guests in our unfinished house. We'd wanted them to come by, offer their suggestions and see as to what all were implementable among them before 'the point of no return'. As I maintain, when one buys a finished house, one really surrenders the freedom to have it one's way - in other words, one needs to accept the attendant constraints without going in for too many additions and alterations!

The changes that one can bring about have to be aesthetic, practical, badly needed for better living and finally, backed with funds, of course. My friends have suggested quite a few changes, all of them being implementable except for one - the enlargement of the guests' bedroom(it's a wee bit small too!) on the top floor! And why? The resultant protrusion will eat away the the splendid expanse of the balcony. On the other hand, the enclosing of the balcony with French windows, all around, seems to be a better proposition but the natural air flow will be cut off as the enclosure would have to be provided with controlled atmospherics!

Meanwhile, work continues at a reasonable pace. The new trusses that have been erected at the front and the rear have enlarged the footprint of the house without altering its original facade.

We'd kicked off back to Kochi by around 1430 h and was at our place by teatime. And I could catch up with my customary evening walk!


Saw the evening's episode of KBC that had Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif on the hot seat to sell their new movie, 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan', the last film made by the late Yash Chopra. It was two hours of sheer entertainment, masterly performed by the three of them! And educative, as well.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

At Guruvayur, yet again!

It was an early morning get away from Kochi for Guruvayur. And the task - to monitor the progress of work at our house, clear doubts and remove bottlenecks and of course, clear payments on work completed. And above all, to familiarise with the new place that's gonna be our abode!

 It was not only fun but educative to be with the skilled labourers. Their explanations on why a work was done in a particular manner was illuminative of their immaculate thought processes. The house has begun to acquire life and the immediate neighbours have also started taking notice of our frequent visits. And I believe that a few of them are curious to know as to why we've decided to settle down here where we've no roots!

And the day was topped off with a darshan of the 'Mammiyoor Sivan' in the evening. The temple was comparatively less crowded and everything went off with clockwork precision.


Guruvayur is getting ready for the 'ekadasi' which falls on the 25th of this month. The crowds visiting the temple will be unprecedented as always. And what's the significance of the day?

It was on this day that Lord Krishna had imparted the 'Gitopadesam' to Arjuna, his favourite disciple!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Karva Chauth in Kochi!

I was called up late last night for permission to celebrate 'karva chauth' and on an impulse, my counter to them was as to why they're doing so for celebrating such a lovely festival - so popular in the north and many had been the occasions when we're invited to the celebrations, while we were at Delhi.

I'd given the go ahead as I was thrilled to know that the festival would be celebrated within the premises of the enclave of which I was the patriarch(?). And the enthusiasm seemed to be infectious in that there was a sizeable number of ladies who had come forth to participate!

It was simply great to watch the ladies - across the spectrum of age - going through the intricate motions of the various stages of the prayers and eventually, setting their sights for a glimpse of the moon - to break their daylong fast for the longevity of their husbands - through the break in the thick cloud cover. Thankfully, the rains had held back all the while.

I'd to attend an official function in the evening and was a bit late to return. And I was humbled by the fact that a few of them had insisted on personally thanking me for the opportunity given. Kindness begets kindness and I'd reiterated that I'd done nothing out of the way.


Sad to have missed out on the entire sequence of events that make up the 'karva chauth' proceedings. But I'm elated that the celebrations took place in our enclave! May they get whatever they'd wished for!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Changing trends?

Are these changing trends? Or is it a case of old wine in new bottles?

1. Tech savvy astrologers.

I am rather amused to hear that the astrologers are going hi-tech. And why not? One has to be with the times, you see. 'Kavadi kriya' is gonna be a thing of the past once the older generations pass by. They used to calculate the planetary positions and predict their consequential effects through the use of 'cowries' - the 'kadapayadi' method as it's also known - with the affected parties hanging to every word that they uttered. They made or broke lives, you see.

The new generation astrologers prefer to use calculators, computers and laptops for their astrological calculations. The system is faster and fault less they say. But can one say that with definiteness? My doubt is that of the layman's. The software are man made and hence, prone to errors. Whereas, the cowrie can never  go wrong which is, incidentally, an abacus of sorts as my comprehension goes.

But is there any need to know about one's future? And can the experiences that are encountered in life be predicted, ever? At best, the milestones can be established as I reckon. Anyways, what's the fun in living if one knows everything that's gonna happen in one's life. The thrill is in the mystery, I feel!

But having said that I must confess to going through the 'This week for you' column, in my copy of the Sunday ToI rather diligently only to realise - at the end of the week - that the predictions didn't happen!!

2. Corruption everywhere.

Accusations and counter-accusations of corruption have been flying thick and fast on anyone and everyone, that we're familiar with, on the political landscape. Many of the stories actually do not surprise me but as the magnitude gets exposed, it's a frightening thought. It gives a feeling that those of us who obey the law and are happy with whatever we have - without aspiring for anything that's not our's - are a minority. What makes me sadder is the level of corruption that has seeped into the younger generations. Why do we've to follow wrong things, wrong practices? No, I ain't pontificating.

Life is so comfortable when one's happy with whatever one has. One knocks off to sleep the moment one touches one's bed, I mean, sleep is never troublesome. And most importantly, one can live with one's head held high without having to lower it in front of anybody, ever. Isn't that the most powerful and meaningful existence in this world?


To wield power does one need to be corrupt? Sadly, the corrupt seems to get maximum coverage and what they do and utter become 'headline' news or 'breaking' news! Gosh, some are adept in hoodwinking the common man eternally!