Thursday, January 31, 2013

The case that has come back to haunt the Keralites.

The Suryanelli case.

1. The case that shook Kerala in early 1996, in which a teenage girl was enticed, abducted and sexually exploited by a bus conductor and then handed over to several men, for exploitation for over 40 days. This happened to be the first of its kind, exposing the crass deprivation that the Malayalee will have to rue about, forever.

(a) The present.

A young lady, all of 33 years, and a last grade employee in the Sales tax department had come to hear that the Supreme Court had overturned the High Court verdict and asked for a retrial of the case. She was enjoying her lunch recess when she heard the news and was too overwhelmed to react!

(b) The past.

A girl, studying in class IX at the Little Flower English Medium School, Nallathanni at Munnar goes missing. She hails from Suryanelli of Idukki district. She was abducted and transported from place to place, being violated all the time in captivity.

2. The anatomy of the case.

    16 Jan 1996                      The girl student of class IX goes missing. She was lured by Raju, a bus
                                             conductor under the pretext of love, assisted by his accomplice in crime,
    26 Jan '96                          The girl's father lodges a complaint at Munnar police station.
    26 Feb '96                         The girl returns home. Her father lodges another complaint based on his
                                              daughter's story.
    18 Mar '96                         The case is handed over to a special team of the Crime Branch for
    06 Jul '96                            Siby Mathews, DIG takes over charge of the investigation.
    19 Jul '96                            He files the chargesheet at the court in Devikulam.
    23 Aug '96                          The court rejects the chargesheet saying that it's not backed by
                                               adequate proof.
    26 Aug '97                          The same court accepts the chargesheet.
    19 Dec '98                          The state cabinet decides to set up a special court at Kottayam to try
                                               the case.
    16 Nov '99                         The trial starts in the special court at Kottayam.
    18 Aug '00                          The trial is completed.
    02 Sep '00                          The judge convicts 35 and acquits 5, out of the 40 accused.
    06 Sep '00                          The convicted are awarded punishment.
    17 Sep '00                          The main accused, Dharmarajan, an advocate is arrested.
    13 Jul '02                            Dharmarajan is awarded life imprisonment by the special court of Kottayam.
    02 Nov '04                         Reji, the fourth convict, commits suicide.
    20 Jan '05                           Based on the convicts' appeal against the special court's judgement
                                               the High Court acquits everyone, except Dharmarajan. (The court is
                                               critical about the fact that the young lady did not attempt to escape
                                               from her captors during the prolonged period of captivity!)
    11 May '05                         The state government appeals against the HC judgement in the Supreme
                                               Court ( The UDF is in power and it shouldn't be forgotten that the
                                               misdemeanour had taken place during one of its previous regimes and the
                                               LDF was relentless in its charge that a senior Congress politician was
    31 Jan '13                           The Supreme Court overturns the judgement and directs that a retrial
                                               be carried out.


Who's trying to save whom? Being an Indian and a Malayalee, I'm apalled by the travesty of justice. When can that young lady hope to get a reprieve from the trauma?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Martyrs' day and other stories.

Today is 30 Jan and it was on this day, 64 years back, that Gandhiji was assassinated. We'd assembled at a common place in the office and spent two minutes in silence to pray for all the martyrs, who'd laid down their lives for the sake of this country and her well being.

1. Gandhiji's relevance.

    Does Gandhiji's thoughts and ideals still have relevance in today's world? Notwithstanding the fact that he's  all pervading in that he's on the currency notes, most main thoroughfares of the Indian cities are named after him, all government offices have his photograph at vantage positions and numerous social welfare projects continue to be named after him. But, as his countrymen, do we emulate his ideals? Sadly, we don't. Is it because they're difficult to emulate? Or is it that we simply don't care?

I think the answer to that pertinent question is that it's a combination of both. They're difficult to emulate because the results need not be quick, spectacular or sensational which is what most, if not all of us, prefer. And what's the use of being tolerant and considering the others as one's own brethren?

If that be the case, aren't we fooling ourselves by religiously celebrating his birthday and his remembrance day?

2. A tricky issue.

    This evening there was an unfortunate incident in the residential area that I live in. I was all set to go for my evening walk when the secretary had called up to say that he'd something to show me that required my urgent intervention. As I walked in to one of the shops, doing business within the complex, there were packets of delicacies strewn on the floor and most of them were badly damaged.

On enquiry, it was revealed that it was the handiwork of one of the residents who'd chucked them on the vendor, in anger because of petty differences. After tasking three members of the core committee of the residential organisation to investigate, I'd rushed off for my evening walk.

On return, along with a few of the core committee members, I'd reviewed the case and found that the resident was to blame. And realising that, the resident tried the time tested strategy of getting into the offensive. It took a while to nail every point that she'd come up with and after listening to the vendor's version of the story, I'd to tell her that she did not have the right to be belligerent and throw her rank at the poor vendor. With the promise of making good the damages and proffering of apologies from both the sides, the issue was settled. Phew!

There never seems to be a dull moment.

3. The recalcitrant boss.

    One of my boys has got his marching orders and he wanted me to talk to his new boss to allow him to take three weeks off, beyond his reporting date, to get married - which had been fixed much earlier - and then make arrangements to take his newly wedded wife and mother to the new station. Despite my recommendations, his new boss was adamant that the youngster reported on the due date.

The youngster is sad but how does one make his boss see the light of reason. I must speak to him yet again and try to 'soften' him after a break of a few days!


(a) Gandhiji watches us from all the vantage positions that he's been placed and must be horrified to witness what his countrymen are doing!

(b) Quite a few of us get carried away by the official postions that we adorn and armed with that might(?)  we boot our juniors, act smart with our colleagues to be up front in the rat race and shamelessly bootlick our seniors!!

(c) Many a time, we tend to get into rigid positions and refuse to relent later because of our ego. I can already anticipate a troubled relationship between the youngster and his boss. And on top of that, he's got a family to tend. His trouble free bachelor days are coming to an end, for sure!  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A sad feeling.

The sixth accused in the Delhi gangrape case has been declared a minor by the 'Juvenile Justice Board'. His age turns out to be 17 years and six months as gleaned from the records submitted by the Principal of the school in which he'd studied. The board relies on the birth certificate and the school records to fix the age.

What, exactly, does the law say?
    (a) Section 15(g) of the Juvenile Justice(Care and Protection of children) Act stipulates that a juvenile
         aged between 16 to 18 years if convicted of any offence can be sent to a special home for reformation,
         for a period of three years at the maximum and thereafter, be released on probation.
    (b) Section 16 of the Act says that a juvenile can be kept at the special home only till he attains 18 years  
         of age and he cannot be sent to jail thereafter.

What would be the implications?

     It would enable the accused to walk free by 04 Jun '13, when he will attain 18 years of age.

The family of the young lady is devastated because the accused was the most brutal of the six in torturing her.


I'm sad at the development. Something deep within has been churning ever since! It's my fond hope that we do not let down the young lady who'd gone down valiantly!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

The mess that's the KSRTC.

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation is truly a white elephant. Everything is wrong with this organisation. And I'm not going to back up my statement with hard statistics because it has been done many times over and no one has learnt any lessons from them, so why labour?

I've seen this pampered organisation over the years. Everything is wrong with it! Let me highlight the things that I've realised are the true causes for its decline:-

      (a) Bad leadership. The person who sits at the top needs to run an effective organisation. He needs to
           take stock of the health of the organisation and administer the bitter pill, if necessary, to straighten
           it. Ill health has to be treated, never be allowed to fester and populism will end up in disaster.
           Unfortunately the chairmen, who'd held the position being political appointees, were ignorant of the
           dynamics of a transport organisation and they didn't seem to care as they're more busy playing
           politics all the time.

      (b) Unnecessary governmental interference. Since the chairmen, appointed by it, turned out to be
            ineffective even the day to day running of the organisation had to be taken over by the government
           especially, when certain 'aggressive' transport ministers made it a prestigious issue to see that their
           writ ran, always and every time.

      (c) Disastrous trade unionism. The workers are divided among the various trade unions whose aim
           seems to ruin the organisation. Why don't they realise that if their organisation isn't healthy and is
           not running well, their fate would be in jeopardy? While the right of the worker against exploitation
           of any kind is reprehensible and the trade unions must be vigilant on this aspect, they've no right to                   
           come in the way of running an efficient organisation.

       (d) An unfriendly workforce. The drivers and the conductors that man the vehicles of the corporation
            are the most unfriendly workforce that one has come across. What they seem to forget is that they're
            paid to to do their work sincerely and efficiently - with the attendant courtesies to be shown to the
            common man, their customer. Boarding a bus from the stops other than the bus stands can be a
            disappointing experience and asking for the balance change brings out the boor in many!

       (e) The angry public. And periodically, during the hartals and bandhs called by the various political
            parties, the agitating public destroy the vehicles of the corporation causing further loss to the loss
            making organisation!

And now, the government has given a reprieve of Rs. 28 crores, to the corporation, to tide over its dichotomy over increased prices of diesel. Another case of aimless expenditure but it has been pressed on for political expediency.

Why can't the organisation be privatised, handed over to the workers and make them convert it into an efficiently run organisation? And yes, all the stake holders must promise to nurture it, come what may. And above all, take pride in the organisation!


I happened to travel in one of the Volvo buses of the neighbouring Karnataka state road transport corporation which is perhaps the only public transportation system running efficiently and is making profit. And I wonder as to why our blessed KSRTC(Ironically, they share the same acronym!) had to be so bad!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A hectic day with humorous asides!

We'd gone to Guruvayur for the weekend. Driving, though hectic, was a pleasure as the traffic was sparse and the roads were good. There was plenty of humour by the wayside and I tried to take in as much as I could. In the process, time just melted away. I'd like to share a few gems that I'd come across.

1. Our craze to go abroad.

There's a flurry of coaching institutions that promise a host of things to the members. The sentiment that is being exploited is an Indian's urge to go abroad to make it big or make quick money. And the most catchy one was, "Study - migrate - settle". I'm curious to know as to how they manage that and I could see an impressive crowd of prospective settlers in the institute!

2. Spellings that are imaginative or should I say wild?

Here are a few samples of these howlers:-

       (a) 'Chinees' food.
       (b) Lunch 'brekk'.
       (c) Tyre 'puncher'.


Travel can be real fun and there's no question of boredom setting in.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The 64th Republic day and other stories.

A collage of thoughts on the occasion of another Republic day celebrations.

1. The Republic day celebrations.

Do the pomp and pageantry associated with the R Day celebrations really affect the common man? I mean, does the occasion really make us more patriotic and induce vigour in our feeling that we're Indians? Sadly, it doesn't and to my mind, for many including the organisers, it's reduced to an activity that needs to be done as a matter of routine.

The parade at Delhi was elegant as usual with the show of our military might coupled with a slice of our cultural heritage drawn from all over. The live telecast was being watched at home after the morning's hoisting of the flag and associated activities.

Lekha's nephew, all of four years, insisted on flipping the channel on the television to watch a Malayalam movie on the air. That exactly, seems to be our outlook towards the celebrations. And no, I'm not hinting that the interest shown in the activities or lack of it is an indicator of our patriotism. Yet, something isn't right, right?

2. The double standards.

David Headly, the mastermind behind the Bombay blasts of 2008, has been found guilty on all the charges against him by a US court and has been punished with a jail sentence of 35 years. Didn't he deserve the capital punishment? He has to answer for the many innocents who'd lost their lives in the mayhem.

Aren't Indian lives precious? Would the verdict have been different if it had affected the citizens of the US? I would be inclined to believe so.

A sure case of double standards.

3. Refusal of the Padma award.

S Janaki, the nightingale from Andhra Pradesh, who has sung over 24,000 songs for the south Indian films was in the list of the 'Padmabhushan' awardees on the occasion of this R Day. A recognition that has come too late for the 70 year old singer. And rightly, she has refused the award.

Why is it that the prestigious award gets embroiled itself in controversies, year after year? Is genuine talent being overlooked to make way for other considerations?


And it's 50 years since Lata Mangeshkar had sung 'Ai mere vatan ke logon'. Kavi Pradeep's immortal classic had come alive when she'd sung it before the then PM, Jawaharlal Nehru, moving him to tears. And the day was 27 Jan 1963!

Friday, January 25, 2013

'Viswaroopam' - another case of intolerance!

Kamalahaasan's latest movie, 'Viswaroopam' has been the target of Muslim organisations saying that it has objectionable contents related to Islam. It's the latest case of intolerance to an individual's freedom of expression.

And who're the latest upholders of the faith? A fringe organisation called the 'Popular Front of India' and they've already done enough damage by stopping the screening of the film at many places. And what's their grievance? The film shows characters chanting verses from the Holy Quran before committing terrorist acts thereby giving an impression that the scripture is the root cause of terrorism.

Delving further into the objectionable parts of the narrative, the following depictions are found to be unacceptable:-
      (a) It talks of an Afghan father teaching his young son to identify ammunition blindfolded but when he
           steps away for a while, his mother comes and frees him
      (b) A Taliban leader says that he'd taken refuge in Coimbatore, Madurai and Ahmedabad showing the
            local Muslims in poor light.
      (c) Terrorists chant 'Allahu Akbar' ahead of an attack.
      (d) And the film ends with the hints of a sequel!

Well, these are perceptional differences. While artistic freedom needs to be respected, the artist too needs to  appreciate as to where he should draw the line to avoid violation of the other's sentiments. Maturity is to understand the point of view being put across, however uncomfortable it's gonna be, and counter it with meaningful dialogue to clear the grey areas! But unfortunately, what we see today is that a few with overwhelming lung power shout down dissent of any kind and thrust their viewpoint - totally unacceptable,  perhaps - upon the majority!!


1. Why're the good people in the society letting things go this way? Where're the well meaning people who're respected and loved by their countrymen who should be vociferous in their opinions on the subject?
2. It's my fond hope that the movie will outlive all the hiccups and run to packed houses. I shall surely see it.

Or is it much ado about nothing? The whipping up of initial controversies to set the cash registers ringing? I hope not because according to me, it'd be a cheap stunt!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A decision with far reaching implications.

The US government has cleared deployment of women for combat duties. In other words, the female combatant will fight shoulder to shoulder with her male counterpart on the borders! One might argue that in these days of missile warfare, the opposing forces would rarely come face to face with the enemy as they'd be many miles apart and  any fear about women combatants being taken prisoners and subjected to inhuman treatment is misplaced, not worth even a second thought!

I'm of the opinion that women should not be deployed on combat duties. It's fraught with danger and an unscrupulous enemy can torture and misbehave with them, on capture. The badly mutilated bodies, displaying intimate parts, when zoomed into the living rooms on television would be repulsive and unacceptable to a viewer. At least, it would be for me. Call me old fashioned or whatever.

So, for us, this option is a strict no no!!


Which means no woman combat pilots in the IAF and no woman combatants on board IN ships!
The Indian woman is too precious to be trifled with by our enemies who do not abide by the Geneva conventions on combat.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The wedding and the return.

The day had begun at 4 AM so that we could be at the venue to be in time for the wedding. This time the ladies had changed into sarees of an orange-red hue and they matched the backdrop, elegantly. And I shall continue with the snippets:-

   (a) The wedding.

         The ceremony was comparatively shorter, in that, it lasted for a trifle over an hour. Prasanna and
         Lavanya became man and wife, as they followed the priest's diktats and carried out activities that
         culminated in the tying of the 'thali' and the exchange of huge but colourful garlands. The traditional
         orchestra had hit the crescendo and the entire atmosphere was charged, yet soothing. The subsequent
         photographic/video session went on and on, but since we'd to leave soon after, we lost no time to
         hit the banquet hall for the 'high' breakfast!

    (b) A to Z.

          The breakfast consisted of a train of dishes - literally the 'a' to 'z' of Tamilian delicacies - and I must
          sheepishly admit that I ate myself silly as I'd made up my mind to taste everything that was being
          served. It was evident that the caterers had done a fantastic job.

    (c) And back to Kochi.

         Soon it was time to bid farewell to the hosts as we'd a long journey - 325 kms - ahead of us to be
         at home at a reasonable time. Rajapalayam Amma was eloquent with her words when she said, "I
         know now as to how much you love me. Give me a call when you reach Kochi". The 87 year old
         sprightly lady had personally ensured that we're looked after well by enquiring about the minutest
         details with the organisers!


1. A wonderful experience of a Tamilian wedding where the associated pomp and splendour had a subdued elegance without even a hint of garishness!

2. But there was a wrong note that was prevalent in the background. Two of Lavanya's uncles and their families had refused to participate in the wedding due to their personal differences with her mom, over family property. On my return, I'd called up the elder one to convey my disappointment. I was always under the impression that since he has travelled far and wide, all over the world, his education about life was more rounded, devoid of pettiness. But my reading seems to have been way off the mark. Sad! Wonder how Rajapalayam amma has taken it? She made it a point not to show her disappointment.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To Rajapalayam - a short trip.

Lekha's niece, Lavanya, was getting married at the small, yet lively hamlet of Rajapalayam in Tamilnadu. To attend the function, we'd set off at around a half past 6 from Kochi, in my Chevy, to Lekha's house at Kottarakkara. And from there, the 162 km journey, eastward was performed in a hired Xylo. Mani, our saarthi, was an expert who got us there by a half past 3. The connected ceremonies started in right earnest and I shan't labour on the them but generally highlight certain snippets that were soaked in during our short, hectic and beautiful stay. And so here, I go:-

   (a) The road 'dwellers'.

        The people of the hamlet have this peculiar habit of walking on the crowded roads with a gay
        abandon. There was a humorous incident when a couple stepped into our way, for no rhyme or reason,
        seemed to remember something all of a sudden and pulled back to the kerb before walking away,
        completely oblivious of the chaos they'd bestowed on the traffic! The cyclists and the other two
        wheelers make driving a horrifying experience - could only empathise with Mani at his sorry plight!
        Driving on Rajapalayam's roads needs a reservoir of patience on the part of the driver!

    (b) Shyam.

          Lavanya's kid brother, Shyam, all of 14 years is mentally challenged and a very handsome and
          friendly boy. But he can get moody if he finds that he does not get enough attention and during those
          episodes, he goes about hurting himself by banging his head on the wall. I was witness to such an
          incident because his sister was locked up in a room for the beauticians to do the needful.

          And much later, I happened to sit on the garden swing taking in the rendition by the team of the all
          female 'sringara melam', who'd been invited to perform on the occasion and brought in for the purpose
          from Konni, in Kerala. Shyam passed by, a couple of times, and I'd noticed during his last pass that
          he was very, very agitated - on enquiry I was told that he was irritated because I was occupying his
          favourite spot. I really felt sheepish and moved off hastily to let him enjoy the swing.

    (c) The 'nischaya tamboolam'.

         The 'engagement ceremony' is known by this name. A spacious and well lit auditorium that was
         tastefully decorated with flowers - zinnias and marigolds - gave an orange-red hue to the entire
         environment. It started at 7, in the evening, to go on to midnight with the traditional orchestra in
         attendance. The ladies in their blue sarees - they'd decided on this aspect earlier - presented a
         soothing contrast. Mantras were chanted at the sacred fire with the girl and the boy, alongwith
         their parents doing things, on the priest's diktats.
         The thing that shall always remain etched in my mind - of the evening - was the manner in which
         garlands were exchanged between every relation in the family.


We broke off by midnight to the hotel where we're put up, with strict orders that we should be present by 6, in the morning, to be in time for the wedding!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Adieu, Laila Samson!

A searing pain has engulfed me since afternoon after reading her daughter's epitaph for her mom, that had reached me by post today, almost a month late. Laila Samson had passed into the mist of time, in her sleep at about 0700 h on 23 Dec '12 as I gathered much to my dismay, when I spoke to Leela to offer my condolences. My communications have been pathetic and I hang my head in shame on that count!

The first thing that came to my mind was our last meeting on 17 Aug....... I used to look forward to my official trips to Madras because one of the evenings was only meant for her and we used to discuss a variety of subjects during those meetings. And she'd a fund of anecdotes that I never tired to hear. I used to feel thrilled to hear her peels of laughter on my PJs. And it was during that last visit that she had insisted on my having a drink from the stock that her son had left on his previous visit! Was that her way of bidding farewell to me in the true service traditions?

It was during an earlier visit, last year, when she'd asked me as to whether I could write a letter to her. In these days of e-mail and twitter, my letter writing habit had long got rusted but I didn't want to disappoint her. On my return to Kochi, I did manage to write one and it's my hope that she did realise - after reading my scribble - that I could never let her down.

My trysts with Admiral and Mrs.Samson began in the mid '80s while I was posted at Coimbatore and they're staying at Coonoor. For me it was education every moment that I'd spent with them. My companion, during their trips to Bombay, was their lovable dachshund, 'Chhotu'! Subsequently, we've had numerous evenings at their house in Bandra where Mrs. Samson used to rustle up exquisite meals and I used to insist on taking them out to dessert - both of them had a weakness for natural ice creams and we discovered, much to our surprise, that all the three of us had a fondness for the 'sitaphal' flavour!

I could go on and on. But the thought that comes back again and again, is that our bond had transcended over the ages. One's in this world on a pre-ordained script and a goner is one who believes that one's in control of one's life in this world! The soul sheds its identity and moves on to acquire different forms, till it attains the 'universal soul' or god. And the analogy that comes from this belief is that one does come across everyone that one has done business(?) with in one's previous birth(s) in this birth!!

I'm sure that we've had trysts in the past! But in what way, I do not know but how I wish I did!!

RIP Laila Samson. I'm sure you'd be happy wherever you are, in the Admiral's company. Your kindness shall always remain deep within. My salute to the beautiful, dignified and caring person that you were and I shall miss you, every moment, till my end.


(a) Wonder what I'll do on my next visit to Madras? Probably, place a bunch of flowers at 'Srinidhi' where I'd met her last. She was simply fond of flowers!

(b) 2012 has been bad. Ten days into the year, my dad had left us and eight days short of the year's end, Laila Samson had left us. When people, dear to you, leave this world your enthusiasm to live diminishes. Is this, then, the beginning of my end?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Heartening news from Charlie Mike.

This evening I'd called up Charlie Mike, my buddy in school and the Academy, in return to his 'sms' giving me his new residential address. Actually, I was a few days late and began my conversation on a note of apology.

But Charlie Mike was excited and was on a talking spree. He's ecstatic about his dream house which is a spacious flat on the ninth floor of one of the three towers(each tower has twelve floors) of a new gated colony on the old Mahabalipuram road of Madras, overlooking the sea. He went on and on about the unique sunrises that he saw everyday and the relative lack of polluted air. He has the chirpy company of the birds flying in formation - as though they're military aircraft on aerobatic sorties. There's a swimming pool too which he frequents.

He's shifted into this flat just a week back and the process of settling down was still on. His wife and elder son had also come on the line and they too sounded very, very happy. I was gladdened by the pleasant tidings because they deserve it.

Charlie Mike and his family had gone through bad days. A nasty knee injury had slowed him down and the elder son's frequent epileptic seizures kept him from sticking to a job for long as he got disinterested pretty fast and preferred to stay at home most of the time. His younger son had a peculiar problem of overgrowing bones that needed trimming, every now and then, through painful surgeries. To top it all, there was ill feeling between him and his siblings -  a brother and a sister whom he was fond of - on account of the inheritance of their ancestral property. In a fit of disgust, he'd given up his share and walked away! The two bedroom flat, at Anna Nagar, in which he lived in till about 10 days back was a place he didn't want his friends to drop by, fearing a negative reaction about his 'plight'. He'd, therefore, kept away from all of us without giving any of us an idea about his whereabouts or his contact numbers. But during this period of self imposed exile, he was sure that I'd trace him out some way or the other and reach him - so said his wife when I finally met him! And mind you, it was a long search despite improved communications at our disposal these days.

It was while I'd gone to Madras on work, early last year, that I'd made it a point to visit Charlie Mike at his house. He and his family were quite apologetic about the cramped space within the flat. It took all the powers of convincing on my part to tell them that, to me, it was just being with them that mattered and not the grandeur of the house that they lived in!

We've been in regular touch after that, so much so, that he'd come and spent a weekend with us during the latter part of last year.

I've always liked the Charlie Mike of yore, who was full of life and could have the others in splits by his fantastic sense of humour. And after hearing him today, I think he has regained that part of his personality for sure!


We're on the telephone for over two hours and I was on a listening mode throughout, prompting Lekha to say that I was a good listener. I could only manage a grin as reply!!   

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A dash to Kayamkulam.

Yesterday evening we'd received the news that my cousin, Kala's, father-in-law had passed away in his sleep. He was badly diabetic but his end seemed to have been peaceful.

Vadaambil Sivasankara Pillai was all of 75 and a widower. His wife - a trifle elder to him and no, I haven't seen her - had passed into the mist of time quite a while back and their only son - Unni, as we call him, is Kala's husband. A soft spoken gentleman, he was loved and respected by the people around for his philanthropy and helpful attitude.

During my visits there, in the past, I have always had very interesting conversations with him and in the process learnt a lot about the local happenings, customs and traditions. And it was during those interactions that I realised as to what a reservoir of knowledge he was. A keen observer of people, he would go out of his way to understand their worries and problems, often ending up in providing help for many. When stricken with Leucoderma, after suffering the initial loss of confidence, he came back in a strong manner to exhibit his tremendous zest for life. The example that I'd like to highlight on this quality of his was when he'd learnt driving in his late 60s and bought a Maruti Zen to drive around! He'd the ability to laugh at life and kept himself busy by taking part in a number of social activities of his hamlet. 

His funeral was scheduled for 12 o'clock today and I'd to pay my last respects to him. But by the time I'd finished my work at office and we'd reached Kayamkulam, it was about a half past one. I stood in front of the burning pyre and mumbled my apologies for being late. His favourite reclining chair stood at the verandah, overlooking the spot, empty but perhaps, pregnant with stories of its frequent user! Wish it had the power to speak!!

RIP Vadambil acha. My humble prayers and thanks for your valuable time that you gave me during my visits.


After spending a trifle over three hours with the family, we kicked off back for Kochi and it was a smooth drive all the way back.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Small things that gave me immense pleasure.

1. Sebastian's birthday.

It was my 'saarthi', Sebastian's birthday. And as is the custom I gave him a card, first thing in the morning, while wishing him. Lekha and Achu, my nephew who's currently with us, had also wished him when he'd rung the doorbell to announce his arrival. The genuine thrill writ large on his face gladdened me and I knew that his day was made and seeing him so, made mine too.

His colleagues in the office were also enthusiastic in their wishes as he trooped in after me. Ever since I've taken over this appointment, I'd insisted on maintaining the finer service traditions and customs and what finer event needs celebration than one's own birthday? I believe that it gives the individual a sense of being wanted.

Sebastian had, in return, treated us to a 'high tea' that consisted of pastries and rolls - must have made a hole in his pocket, for sure! May he get whatever he wishes for in the coming year!

2. Calls.

In our residential area, we've three blocks with the fourth in the making. Each block has twelve floors and each floor has four flats. In the second floor of the block, that we live in, it's a coincidence that the remaining three have just been occupied by new arrivals.

We'd given them a fortnight for settling down and frankly, must admit that I'd expected each one of them to call on us to formally announce their arrival, as is the age old service tradition. Such formal calls help people to understand their immediate neighbours more closely and makes rendering/acquiring of assistance at the time of need, very easy sans inhibitions.

Since none of them was seen thus far, Lekha and me had decided to visit each of them to inform them that we're their immediate neighbours and could be approached in times of need or for any help that might pop up. Were they nonplussed, I wouldn't know. It was not my intention, though. And in the process, picked up two kids - Nihaar, studying in class I and Saaksham, studying in the UKG, oops SKG - as my latest friends.

3. Getting to know more about Achu.

My nephew has been with us for the last week. He's currently pursuing a project of his at the Cochin Shipyard Ltd. Discussions with him has always been interesting as I get an insight as to what he and his generation think about us, what they aspire to be, what actuates them and what puts them off.

I daresay that I'm learning in the process and I look forward to those interactions. Wonder whether he relishes it in equal measure?


As I write this piece, the number from the movie, 'The Sound of Music' keeps playing deep within, "......These are a few of my favourite things".

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's hightime that such structural changes came by.

1. For long, we've been doled out a host of 'subsidies' by successive governments, under the pretext of helping the 'aam aadmi'(made further popular by Vadra's famous tweet - 'mango people') in our efforts at socialism. The flip side was to tax the rich - which was too lopsided - as the steps taken towards achieving it, invariably, affected the middle class with the 'lower middle class' bearing the brunt.

2. To put it in perspective, let's be clear by the fact that whatever be the tax regimes, neither the rich nor the poor are really affected. Its effects are felt by the wannabe rich - the high percentage of the population that constitutes the 'middle class'. To illustrate it let me take you through some of the ridiculous myths that we've been fed over the years:-

    (a) Anyone who 'owns' a car is classified as being rich. And almost all the cars, until recently, were petrol
         driven. Hence, because tax deductions had to be made to fill the government's coffers, the price of
         petrol was continuously hiked, over the past, that Indian petrol is the dearest in the world.

    (b) Farmers on agricultural activity used generators, irrigation pumps and tractors that guzzled diesel. But
          they'd to be given subsidised diesel, not necessarily as a welfare measure, but for other reasons which
          are highlighted by the following:-

                (i) All farming activity, in the country, is restricted to rural areas only.
                (ii) Only the wealthy farmers - with huge land holdings - can afford and therefore, own farming
                     implements like tractors, pumps and generators(When former PM, Deve Gowda, called
                     himself  'a humble farmer' one could only laugh cynically as he and his family possess vast    
                     land holdings).
                (iii) They also had a large part of the rural folk, whose daily earnings were from the work done on
                      their agricultural tract, under their strict control. And whose remuneration was a pittance!                      
                      Moreover, their thought processes were shaped by their masters - an incredible and
                      pliant votebank!
                (iv) It can thus be seen that the subsidised diesel was actually to pander to the whims and fancies
                      of those few rich farmers.

      (c) With improved education and the continuous feed of information, drastic changes are coming around
            in the rural landscape. The educated aspires for better jobs, better remuneration and a life better
            than what their parents and elders had lived thus far.

      (d) The case of subsidy in cooking gas doesn't have to be amplified because, it too, follows a similar

3. This situation could not have gone any further without the total collapse of the country's economics with the rich growing richer and the poor getting poorer. The new thrust is fine, though it's gonna pinch us and soon find us gasping for the next 'pay commission'!


(a) My Chevy is diesel driven and the economics derived over a petrol driven one is gonna dwindle in the not too distant future.

(b) Only hope that sloth and unproductive governmental expenditure are also removed in right earnest.


The  freight, both by rail and by road, entails diesel guzzling traction. The cascading effect of increased price of diesel is the price rise off all commodities. A never ending circle!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My mind's a wanderin'....

My mind wanders as today's 16 Jan.

The date is significant as it happens to be my mom and dad's wedding anniversary and the second after dad's passing away. I'd woken up with thoughts about them and had told myself, as I went to bed last night, to speak to mom - no, not to remind her about dad's absence but to simply know as to how she was doing. 

She was chirpy as usual. Minni and Ammu had, by then left for their school, college respectively. But Minni had ensured that the nurse from the nearby pathological laboratory had come in to draw mom's blood samples. The physician, managing her, had called for her vital parameters as her 'diastole' was high and she was appreciative of the nursing staff - "I didn't even know as to when she'd inserted the needle" - who'd fetched up to draw the samples. The hard work being put in by the young man who taps the rubber trees in our compound, the hospitalisation of our neighbour on account of an erratic spleen, the frenzied preparations towards the local temple's annual festival and many more such 'bits' were the topics of our conversation. And as an afterthought, she said that she'd recall her wedding at 1142h by being at dad's corner in the sitting room of the house!

I've seen her aging faster over the past year and I presume that some of her infirmities are due to dad's exit. She must be getting used to the loneliness after having looked after the minutest requirements of dad. Their's was a beautiful relationship in that their concern for each other and the worries about me and my sisters - for no rhyme or reason, really - seemed to be the 'sine qua non' of their existence. 


All the cake cutting ceremonies with a smattering of my parents' well wishers who graced the occasion, on this day in the past, came alive as I browsed through a few of the photo albums that I have. Those good old days........! Couldn't prevent my eyes going misty.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

We've done it!

1. Our collective response.

When the Prime Minister stated that it would 'not be business as usual with Pakistan anymore', it was the collective expression of all the Indians on the barbaric act of the their troops on the LoC. Never has it been so poignantly put across to the Pakis and it's my fond hope that they'd react quickly by:-

     (a) Returning the severed head of the Indian soldier to his family, forthwith, so that they're able to carry
          out the last rites to the logical conclusion and
     (b) Bringing the perpetrators of the heinous crime to book.

As I'd asked earlier on this forum, what sort of a people are the Pakis who do not respect the dead? Their army, by its act, has violated the basic tenets of the Geneva convention on this aspect. Do they also expect their men to be treated by us in this manner? Their government and the army continue to be on a denial mode confirming that they're a bunch of cowards.

Our Army chief's call to his troops to respond appropriately, on the occasion of the Army day, would definitely boost the morale of his men standing on eternal vigil at the borders.

2. India thrash England.

India beat England by 127 runs in the second one dayer at Kochi. Today, everything that they did on the field, turned out to be right. The Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, at Kaloor, was packed to capacity and the spectators were treated to an extravaganza!

Kochi seems to be a lucky haunt for the Indian cricket team!


A fine day, when everything seemed to be going the Indian way. Proud to be an Indian!

Monday, January 14, 2013

An unusual call.

A couple of days back, I'd seen the appreciative messages from a group of my school mates who'd participated in a private get together organised on a beach, in the vicinity of the school. And one among them was Sajjad, two to three years junior to me who was well behaved and likeable, thanks to his unspoilt and pleasant manners.

I think I can take the credit, in a minutely small way in having mentored him and take pride in his growth over the years as I was his Prefect, way back in school. He has done well for himself and is running a private enterprise - dealing with educational research and consultancy - today, after hanging his uniform a few years back.

I'd sent him a mail asking him about his whereabouts, his family and as to what he was doing at present. I was pretty sure that he'd be prompt in his reply but the alacrity with which he did it surprised - or should I say, scared - me! I'd hit the sack and was deep in slumber, when around a half past 2 well past midnight, my cellphone had started to ring incessantly. I was shaken up and was waiting for the worst because one doesn't expect anything but bad news at such an unearthly hour. And to make matters worse, the number beeping seemed to be unfamiliar! After a few more rings it ceased. It was my turn to call back on the number, when a sheepish and profusely apologising Sajjad came on the line to say that he'd, on saving my number - that I'd passed by e-mail - accidentally pressed on the 'call' button! I do not know what my overwhelming emotion was - relieved that it was no heart wrenching bit of news or annoyed to be disturbed over trivia?! Whatever it was, I'd no intention to lambast poor Sajjad who'd got in touch - albeit, unwittingly and badly timed - after what seemed to be a long, long time. After mumbling that I'd get back to him, first thing in the morning, I'd switched off and resumed my slumber.

His call underlined the strong bond of our relationship! Thanks, Sajjad for your kindness and may good things happen to you!!


Did speak to him this morning. He has a daughter and son, both software engineers, and the daughter was married just last month and the son is awaiting call from 'Cognizant' in Pune. They're settled in Thiruvananthapuram and he's delighted that his private venture - in which he's helped by a few of his close friends - has taken off well.

Had also called up his close friend and buddy, Rishikesh after getting his number from him. He was on a visit to a temple and has promised to call up on reaching his house. But wasn't he thrilled?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A quiet Sunday.

After quite a while, it was a quiet Sunday at home. I mean, we're in town and the only outing that was planned for the day was to look up Radhakrishnan, at Aluva, who'd lost his wife in a tragic road accident three weeks ago. Being a Sunday, the roads were comparatively less crowded and the drive took no more than half an hour, only because I wasn't familiar with the route!

He's come out of it unscathed, at least when viewed externally. But his internal trauma could be too intense to fade as he considers himself guilty about having caused his wife's tragic end. And having been an earlier owner of a couple of buses, he seems to be pretty sure that the private bus that had caused the accident had actually rammed him from behind and that their alibi of the brakes having failed was a big hoax! (I didn't ask him to elaborate upon his suspicion but the input did confirm my earlier surmise that most of the vehicles, plying on the roads of Kochi, flouted rules without any concern about the safety of the passenger, the other motorists or the pedestrians!)

As of now, Radhakrishnan is nursing two external injuries viz.:-

    (a) A shattered left leg, held in place by a steel rod that will take about three months to heal. For that he
         needs to remain in bed on his back, restricting all his movements.
    (b) A torn right ear lobe put back in its place by a series of stitches which seems to be giving him a lot of  

We'd returned after being with him for a good part of the forenoon with a promise to look him up again. His younger daughter, Ammu's engagement is the event that he's looking forward to eagerly and mumbles that the boy has been 'cleared' by his wife a few days prior to her end!


It was sad to hear about the passing away of Rusi Surti, the all rounder of the Indian cricket team of the '60s and the early '70s. He was 76 and had suffered a massive heart attack, a few days back, and was being treated at the Jaslok hospital in Bombay.

His fielding prowess was legendary and his all round performances were always a treat to hear and read about those days, before the advent of television in our country.

Bowing to a legend. RIP Mr. Surti!


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Of highs and lows.....

1. A New Champion.

I felt extremely pleased when Sunmeet Kaur Sawhney won the Rs. 5 crore at the Kaun Banega Crorepati. Her win is all the more notable because of the following:-

     (a) She's a teacher in a tuition centre and had acquired her knowledge through her efforts at
           the tuition classes over the years.
     (b) Her way of answering each of the questions showed her in depth knowledge and the
           tremendous power of retention.
     (c) She'd the wholehearted encouragement of the family, consisting of her husband and two

Extremely gladdening! May her wishes take wings with the prize money that she's won and may she continue with her winning ways and humility!!

My salute to a true champion.

2. We weep for you.

Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh laid down their lives while fighting Pakistani troops along the LoC in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir. They're part of a patrol party that was brutally assaulted. The Pakistanis had chopped off one jawan's head and carried it with them while the other jawan's body was badly mutilated.

I happened to read somewhere that the Pakis have this way of presenting the heads of Indian military personnel, they've killed on the battlefield, to their senior officers' as prize(The first instance was supposedly during the Kargil conflict and the recipient was the vily old chap, Musharaff). Bad men who can't respect the dead! The general should have ticked off the subordinate that it's not the done thing!!

With all the earnestness with which we're trying to improve relations with them, such actions by their Army are morale downers and a retrograde step! It's for their superiors to advise their subordinates from resorting to such inhuman acts.

My salutes and a humble prayer to Hemraj and Sudhakar Singh for their supreme sacrifice. May the families have the strength to tide over their irretrievable loss.

3. The In-camera proceedings.

Perhaps, the in-camera court proceedings on the Delhi gangrape case is in order to prevent whipping up the common man's emotions. But on the flip side, I feel that the entire world would have come to know what that hapless girl was subjected to and coupled with the final punishment, would have set an example to reduce future misdemeanour, if it had been done otherwise!


A week when bad news eclipsed the good news. We're, indeed, going through trying times!   

Friday, January 11, 2013

Chirag and Chandini.

I was into the pathway leading to my block on the last lap of my customary evening walk. On either side of the pathway, in the garden, there were families at various activities - a few taking a stroll, a few others gossiping  and the children, generally at play.

I was at my usual pace as there was a meeting of the core group of the residential association to evaluate the security system, currently in place with effect from 01 Jan. And I'd to do my yoga and other ground exercises during the cooling down process before calling the meeting. I was just about making it in time.

Two young kids were running into the garden behind me and since I was sure that I would be clear off their path, I did not take any avoiding action. But the little boy tripped on my right heel and fell on the metalled pathway. I'd even heard the dull thud of his heavy fall. I picked him up and what came into instant view was the child's calm, yet curious face and I could make out that he was all of about no more than two years. I mumbled a few apologies as I dusted the mud off him, when his sister tells me, "Uncle, he didn't see you and you don't have to say sorry".

It was from her that I came to know that she was Chandini, studying in the senior Kindergarten and that he was her kid brother whose name was Chirag. And mind you, there was not even a squeak from the li'l one all this while. My eyes had misted, wonder why, as I saw the two adorable kids run into the garden to join the others at play. All I could do was to wish them well and say a silent prayer to that as I continued with my schedule!


There's a belief that one comes across everybody that one had done 'business' with in the previous birth, at some point of time or the other! Perhaps, Chirag and Chandini are the latest in that long list!! Wonder what they're to me then?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

This day last year.

It was a day of prayers, for the small knit members of the family, at my father's house. It has been a year since dad passed away and how time has flown!

We'd got up at 5, in the morning, to go through the morning chores and for reciting our prayers. This lasted almost till around 8 o'clock, when the professionals - Sulochana and Rukmini - began their recital of the excerpts of the 'Mahabhaagavatham'. Our family was in full strength and we followed the two vocalists all through the day in their rendition of the sacred book. We'd taken the decision among us to conduct my dad's first remembrance day in this quiet manner. And as we went through the day, 'dad's corner' in the sitting room - his favourite sofa with the side table that has his 'puja' books, his spectacles, other personal effects like his walking stick etc - seemed to come live!

Mom, along with my younger sister, Minni and her daughter, Ammu, had got every minute thing in place and it was clear that they'd done a thorough home work to make the prayer meeting free from glitches! In fact, the only thing that seemed to have gone 'out of sync' was when a few of our near relatives expressed their unhappiness of not being invited to the day's event! It took some convincing on our part to drive home the point that it was meant only for the immediate family members.

By 1715h, it was concluded and through a 'trick' by opening the closed 'Mahabhaagavatham' - the page that opened was the narration of Kamsa's death at the hands of Lord Krishna - it was conveyed that my dad's soul was satisfied with the day's proceedings! Though, on a very personal level, I've my own take on this I refrained from saying anything lest it might bruise and upset others.

But I must say that there was a tremendous sense of satisfaction at having got time to concentrate on thoughts of dad.


Early in the morning, my nephew, Achu, had placed the customary offering of rice  - cooked by him on a makeshift 'chulha', near a spot where my dad was cremated - by inviting the crows, clapping with 'wet' hands. And three of them had swooped down, instantly.

He was unable to join us, thanks to his semester exams, when all of us had done it on 31 Jan, the date that was as per the Malayalam calendar.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Another instance of wickedness!

Sebastian, my 'saarthi', was driving me to the office this morning. Somewhere, enroute, there came this red Swift car and the guy started  to honk eventhough he'd no space to squeeze past. As his honk got incessant, I'd turned around to view him through the rear opening of my Gypsy and his answer to that was a series of honks. I get upset when guys do not respect people in uniform and left to myself, I'd have given him a bit of dressing down and appropriate advice.

Since, I'd to fulfill a prior appointment, time was at a premium and so, I'd to leave. The blighter had lost a chance to learn something new!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Why're we taking these things lightly?

It's getting crazier by the day. This time the bizarre event has taken place in the Punjab. The assassins of the former PM, Mrs Indira Gandhi, have been honoured(?) by the SGPC(Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee).

What sort of a crazy act is this? It revolves around the death of a national leader, brutally gunned down by her own security guards. The lengthy trial and its aftermath are sad, recent memories in the psyche of every Indian. And what I don't understand is as to why they have been honoured. For assassinating a Prime Minister? Then, don't they come under the charge of treason because it's as good as waging a war against the state?

Going back a bit more into recent history, Mrs. Gandhi had taken the courageous, though painful, decision of executing Operation Bluestar to flush out the religious zealots/terrorists hiding in the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple. Many lives were lost, especially those of the armed forces. We need to respect their sacrifice for the nation and what cannot be forgotten was that they're operating under great constraints!

Sadly, the government of Punjab has been deafeningly silent on the issue. If religion is used for playing politics, it would have far reaching consequences, that cannot be controlled. And it's pretty clear that this has been the handiwork of a few narrow minded people in the August body, who're trying to play up to the gallery to get their 15 minutes of fame!!


Another fit case, when the law enforcing machinery of the state, is to be used swiftly without fear or favour to bring the culprits to book.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Lekha's discomfiture.

We'd been allotted the time slots of 1040h and 1050h for the Adhaar card registration. Accordingly, we're at the appointed place well in time. Going by the ever threatening power disruptions, that had become very common these days at Kochi, I said my silent prayers to ward off such an eventuality.

We'd already overcome the first obstacle, in that, three out of the four people entrusted with the registration formalities were present despite the bus strike! So the process was on but at a snail's pace and there were a whole lot of people who'd come by for the purpose. After an hour's stay, it was my turn and I, after going through the formalities, ushered in Lekha to go through her's. And then, disaster struck!

The young lady data collector was unable to take the imprints of her digital script as her hands are deformed and clubbed thanks to the ravages of the SLE, her ailment. Such a situation warranted the presence of the supervisor, who wasn't present then. Seeing us crestfallen, the data collectors, in chorus, assured us that she would positively be available by 1800h as her residence was a stone's throwaway from the data collection centre. We're consequently, asked to return for Lekha's card's formalities in the evening with the carrot that she could walk right in, without having to stand in the queue!

To return without accomplishing a task and that too, after a long wait in the queue is disheartening, to say the least. But there was another problem too. Lekha was adamant that she was not making that trip again and that she'd try to survive without an 'adhaar' card. I could imagine her feelings on being rejected from among the entire crowd for something that she wasn't even responsible. The feeling of inadequacy must have flitted past her mind, momentarily.

The rest of the day was spent in cajoling her to come round to making the second visit in the evening and by god, I was able to do so after reasoning it out with her. Deep down within myself, I could understand and empathise with her. However, there was one more minor obstacle - she was caught up with the traffic restrictions in force, thanks to the movement of the PM's motorcade.

After, overcoming the last of the glitches, we're at the adhaar centre by 10 minutes past 6. Phew!


Lekha was able to register four of her digits from the right hand and three from the left and the thumbs, with the supervisor and the lady at the counter, handling her with deference and care. And the 'adhhar' registration was behind us!!

By the time we're back at home it was well past 7 and so, my customary walk had to be given the go by.   

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Why the delay?

A guy makes inflammatory speeches against another community. The contents were full of hate and he should have come under the law's scanner. In fact, he should have been arrested and legal action initiated against him.

Instead what happened was bizarre. The government of Andhra Pradesh did not take any action till the media, by its continuous coverage, has forced them out of its stupor. The man is yet to be arrested though but his sibling has given us a bit of 'good' news - Akbaruddin Owaisi, the rabble rouser will surrender before the law! As though, he's doing us a favour!!

Why was the hesitation in taking action? A mistake has to be punished, the law cannot afford to sit idle because that will set a precedent for outrageous actions in the future. The government cannot afford to abide by the 'wait and watch policy' even if its actions are not acceptable to certain sections. Especially, if it's a matter that disrupts social harmony.

And for god's sake don't play politics while dealing with him!


Wrongdoings have to be corrected. Hope that the individual is brought to book without any further delay.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Kerala at it again!

The coming week is gonna be busy for us in Kerala. There're a series of 'flash strikes' that have been announced. I shall just run through the 'vexed' issues that are exercising(?) the average Malayalee:-

    (a) The private bus employees are going on an indefinite strike.

     The employees want their remuneration to be enhanced as the minimum rates per kilometer have been
     revised by the government. Result.....the average Malayalee, who's dependent on this essential service
     is gonna be harrassed, without doubt, because the autorickshaws and private vehicles are going to make
     a killing!

     (b) The communists' trade unions of the KSRTC(Kerala's road transport corporation) are striking for a
     day on Tuesday.

     Their strike, coupled with the private bus guys, is gonna make life miserable for the common man. This is
     because the striking guys are not going to let the non striking guys work and the road transport system
     is gonna collapse, consequently! .......Wonder what they're striking for?

     (c) The Kerala government employees are going on an indefinte strike.

     They're against the government's decision of introducing the 'contributory pension' scheme for all new
     employees being inducted from mid 2013!

     (d) The teachers of government schools are going on strike.

     They're also exercised(?) by the 'contributory pension scheme'.

So, now one can understand the seething anger(?) that's simmering in every Malayalee! For every opinion there has to be an opposing opinion. We're like that - freedom of expression, you see! But we do not know or even if we know, we don't care about the tremendous responsibility associated with such freedom!!

When will we ever learn?


The coincidence is striking. We're celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanada. And disgusted with what he'd seen in Kerala then, he was supposed to have said, "This is a madhouse". We've ensured that the tag remains!

And here's a gem from one of my friends, Kerala is 'God's own country with devil's own people'!!


Oops! I seem to have forgotten the CPM's excess land identification for handing it over to the landless. What  they didn't do while in power is being tried now, while in opposition, which is the paradox. And the state of Malappuram gave the shock to the leaders of the movement when they found that a couple of their comrades was already in possession(?) of a stretch of land that they intended to notify!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Another unnecessary fiasco.

Javed Miandad, the acidic Pakistani cricketer during his playing days - never missed a chance to needle India and its players when situations arose - was scheduled to witness the last one day international between the two teams, this Sunday. Actually, it was something that should have never come up even for consideration.

He's related to the underworld don, Dawood Ibrahim, because his son is married to the latter's daughter. And Dawood is wanted in India in connection with his complicity in the Bombay blasts. On that score, Miandad should have known that his request would never be considered by any self respecting Indian or was he cocking a snook at the famous Indian emotional sentimentalism? Embracing Pakistan as a good neighbour and the business of 'track 2' diplomacy are all very fine but should not be at the cost of our national interests. Pakistan has to take corrective measures on many of their transgressions of the past and there's no way that we can give sops to them in the name of improving relationship by burying the past, without action.

How did his visit get clearance in the first place? It's too difficult to believe that it was it cleared by some low level functionary of the government, out of ignorance. India-Pakistan atmospherics is known even to an infant thanks to the abundant number of stories in circulation. Then, was it somebody's mischief to show the government in poor light or on the wrong foot? Or was it a ploy to divert the attention of the people from the massive outpourings on display against the gruesome Delhi gang rape of last month?

He's since cancelled his visit. Thank god for minor mercies!


A controversy that could have been avoided by telling the guy, in the first place, that he wasn't welcome in this country due to his 'connections'.   

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Glad tidings to a horrific script!

Around 1430h on 06 Mar 2012.......the venue is Vettinad of Vattappara, a small hamlet in the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram.

Rajesh, an autorickshaw driver, enters the house of 15 year old Arya asking for help to retrieve his stranded vehicle. Arya, a brilliant student and the daughter of Vijayakumar(an autorickshaw driver) and Jayakumari(who worked at a medical store nearby), was preparing for her class X exams, ten days away. With the help of her friend from the neighbourhood, she helps Rajesh to ease out his vehicle. Realising, that the girl was all alone in the house, Rajesh returns asking for a screw driver and on gaining entry into the house, rapes her, strangles her and then decamps with her jewellery.......

The principal sessions judge, today, awarded the death sentence to the culprit......Rajesh is to be hanged until death as the crime he'd committed fell under the category of the 'rarest of the rare'.

Justice on fast track!

Never has a piece of news been so welcome and I felt very thrilled, wonder why? Like the Malayalees the world over, it is savoured as a personal triumph! I empathise with the young lady's parents and have been agonising over her final, gruesome moments.


I'm of the opinion that the death sentence is ideal for a rapist. My arguments for the option are on the following lines:-

       (a) A rapist has no right to live as he's forcefully changed the mental well being of his victim forever.
       (b) The rapist has a psychological problem and can never lead a normal life. So, why prolong his agony?
       (c) If he's on the loose, what prevents him from carrying out further acts of indiscretion?
       (d) Having been identified as a rapist, he'd be shunned and ostracised by society. And so, why prolong
             his agony, again?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Too much hype?

Today, it seems to have become a fashion to provide lip service to that disgusting rape incident, at Delhi, that  saw the snuffing of life of a brave young lady. Everyone says that he/she is anti-rape but no one has come up with any constructive suggestion to grapple with the problem.

I'm just giving two examples of what I consider as lip service:-

    (a) The Delhi CM had flagged off a rally ostensibly for - 'Mahila Suraksha Sammaan' - from Raj Bhavan
          to Rajghat. The irony of the whole thing is that the crime had taken place in her state and many more
          incidents are being reported. Rather than providing governance and taking steps to prevent further
          mishaps, she's resorting to gimmicks. I mean, I'm still confused about whom she was rallying against
          or trying to put across her point to. She can ill afford to shun responsibility for the transgressions of
          law by saying that the control of the Delhi Police is with the union government!

          And mind you, the union government is that of her party's. Does she think that the people of India
          are dimwits and morons?

          But a word of caution to the other CMs. They can't be smug that their states are better off because
          nothing of that sort happens in their fiefdom. They're 'safe' because many ignominies are not
          reported. Being the national capital, Delhi comes under the harsh glare of the media's eyes - a must -  
          and thus, every misdemeanour gets covered and reported!

     (b) Shashi Tharoor's suggestion to reveal the identity of the deceased young lady is fine. I, too, am of that
          opinion because it gives me an added impetus to pray for her soul. But his suggestion about naming
          the anti-rape law in her name is like playing to the gallery and not tenable because:-
                (i) His own government and party do not endorse his views. Therefore, it's a non starter.
                (ii) As stated by the Home Secretary, the provision of naming laws after individuals does not exist
                     in our statutes. And, it's very clear to understand that for any law to be effective, the  
                     nomenclature doesn't matter but its rightful implementation.

           I'd have been happy if he, in his capacity as the MoS of HRD, had thought on the lines of revamping
           our education system to inculcate the correct value system and an attitudinal change in every Indian,
           in the way we look at other's mothers, sisters, wives and daughters just as we do our's!

The six men accused in the gang rape case are in police custody. Their fast track trial begins tomorrow and it's my sincere hope that a speedy justice will be delivered.

But the more important task for each and everyone of us is to change our mindset and think together as a nation.


Does the fact that all of the accused come from poor and uninfluential families have a bearing on our outlook towards the case? Hope not, because what they've done is unpardonable!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Another new year.

The day had begun just like any other day. We'd gone off to bed around 1 AM after seeing off a few friends who'd come by to spend the new year's eve and usher in the new year with us. But there was no sense of grogginess or tiredness despite the long drive; of course it was because of complete abstinence from the 'bubbly' on account of dad's remembrance day!

I must hasten to add that my friends, who're with me, allowed me my abstinence till the stroke of midnight - going by my sentiments - and upon their insistence(?), I did succumb to having a glass of wine for ringing in the new year.

The first act of the day was to call up mom to wish her many happy returns, as today happens to be her birthday, as per the Malayalam calendar.

No new year resolutions - as has been my practice for the past so many years since most of them get broken soon after, at the slightest pretext. But on being prodded by my classmate, Savio from Chicago through a collective call on our class group mail, I've decided to keep a check on my tendency to flare up at the slightest provocation! The day was full of calls, smses and e-mail from friends, relatives and well wishers and though they kept me on my toes, it was great talking to a few of them as it has been a long time since I'd spoken to them previously!! And not to forget, the opportunity that I got to interact with a lot of people in the bargain.

It was also the day of raising of the level of security surveillance cordon around our residential area by increasing the strength of the bunch of guards. Though it has restricted ingress and egress of people, almost everyone of the residents seem to have given me the 'thumbs up' for the decision. Certain hiccups remain, but they'll be sorted out after consolidating related issues over a period of a fortnight and mid course corrections shall be applied on a thorough review.


It's my fond hope that this year would have more of pleasant experiences than the unpleasant ones. But I shall endeavour to spread cheer and hope among the small circle of people that I'd be interacting with, on a continuous, daily basis.