Sunday, June 30, 2013

Relationships have shelf life!?

I was on my afternoon siesta when I'd got this strange call. He'd called up to say that his mother was in the final(?) stages and that he wanted me to be on standby(?) stations. Wonder what that meant? He went on to add the following that:-

         (a) his mother was now confined to her bed.
         (b) an airbed has been provided to prevent bedsores.
         (c) she'd become incommunicative and conveyed her needs through gestures.
         (d) she eased herself on the bed itself, prompting the home nurse to press for her release( it was
               strange because the nurses are trained for providing assistance on such occasions, so I thought).
         (e) she'd stopped taking in any food.

And then came the final bit which was that the old lady's end was imminent and that I'd be informed about it pronto if and when it happens. Sadly, he sounded eagerly expectant!

My nap had gone for a six. Here was someone predicting the death of another human being who was none other than his mother! Was he and his family tired of it all - looking after his mother over the last few years, that is? Granted that she was a difficult patient and that he was tied down to his home without being able to move outside due to the responsibility incumbent on him to take care of his helpless mother notwithstanding  fact was that his elder brother and family stayed next door, within the same compound!

I'd visited the old lady just a fortnight back and though she'd looked fragile and weak then, she'd spoken to me about a lot many things and recounted quite a few anecdotes in the course of our meeting. Despite her weakness, she was mentally alert and chirpy.

Seeing her condition then, some worthy had expressed the doubt as to whether she'd last beyond her birthday on the 3rd of August. Controlling my anger I'd to ask the guy to shut up and he'd slipped away quietly.


The truth about life is, at times, bitter. That relationships have a way of waning and losing their lustre is no secret. Wonder what the old lady must be feeling because she must be sensing everyone's attitude towards her, for whom she'd spent her life providing love, affection and care?

A feeling of futility and a sense of having been let down?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A respite!

After continuous rains over the past three weeks, the sun was back this morning. One had almost forgotten that such a situation - of a bright sunny day - also exists. As I'd said earlier, the city's roads are thankfully holding at most places but fast deterioration resulting in crater-like potholes can be expected in the not-too-distant future. Such is the quality of the road surfaces that our country boasts of - even a kid going to the kindergarten knows that the business of resurfacing roads is a process where the politician-bureaucrat-contractor nexus embarks on making a fast buck, year after year! The guys are so thick skinned that they bandy their efforts as having provided us with roads of international standards!!

Another industry that's gonna rake in some quick 'moolah' is the tyre fixing/retreading agencies. Increasing number of tyre punctures would become the order of the day when vehicles traverse massive potholes at miserably regular intervals making driving an impossible nightmare. Thanks to the technology driven tubeless tyres on which most of the present day vehicles run, the agony has been reduced considerably but the problem still looms large!

Today has been a quieter Saturday compared to the last few that were really hectic but interesting, nevertheless. We'd friends calling on in the evening to exchange notes and to bring ourselves up with each other!


Saw the 'Godfather Part III' of Francis Ford Coppola's 'The Godfather Trilogy' on the AXN channel for the nth time. Al Pacino, as Michael Corleone, is a treat to watch especially in the scene where he holds on to his dead daughter's body and howls depicting his extreme sorrow and helplessness coupled with an impotent rage for not having been able to stave off the disaster!

And the final shot of his when death embraces him through a massive heart attack, he pitches head first on to the ground from his chair to be reduced to a crumpled heap, depicts the inevitability of life - and the only enduring truth!! And the camera pans away till it's a distant shot making the scene go straight, deep within, to tug at the heart strings for a person who'd always lived violently!!!

Friday, June 28, 2013

It's just a matter of time.....

"Aage bhi jaane na tu
 Peeche bhi jaane na tu
 Jo bhi hai bas yahi pal hai..........."

That haunting melody which was on the top of the charts many years back has still not lost its appeal and is evergreen with a depth in the meaning of its lyrics.

This evening it was the movie, 'Waqt' that was being aired on the Doordarshan national channel. I was planning to hit the sack, after what seemed to be a long day, on taking in the initial part of the 'lost and found' story of the movie that was a smashing hit in the sixties. I know that my parents were fond of the movie to such an extent that they'd seen it more than once - first, by themselves and then, with their friends - and I've heard my dad humming the tune of some of the numbers of the movie, all of which were chart busters of its era, continuing to haunt the sensibilities of the listener even to this day.

Having seen the young family disintegrate under unfortunate circumstances, I'd gone against my earlier resolve and decided to see their reunion, ending up in watching the entire movie. Each frame seemed to push my sleep away and the tiredness was a thing of the past!

Many of the protagonists have long passed into the mist of time like Balraj Sahni, Achala Sachdev, Sunil Dutt, Madan Puri, Raj Kumar etc. And seeing the young Shashi Kapoor against his wheelchair bound image of today, one couldn't help but feel bad about the impermanence of life. Probably, that's the reason as to why Sadhana has not been seen in the public realm for years. She prefers to stay young in our minds and our hearts, perhaps for eternity!


"Time erodes gratitude just as it does beauty", so the saying goes.  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A few nagging queries.

The battering rains followed by landslides and further compounded by earth tremors have made life a continuous nightmare for the people of Uttarakhand as well as for the numerous pilgrims on their way to the places of worship. For the last few days, the Army, the Air Force and the ITBP personnel have acquitted themselves well by going beyond the call of duty in providing relief and succour to the people at large and as I punch in these thoughts, they've reached the finale of their gruelling exercise.

The loss of lives of the 20 service personnel during the course of the rescue operations was a dampener but true to service traditions and work ethics, they continued to carry out their impossible missions while grieving for their fallen compatriots silently.

An estimated 3,000 persons are reported missing despite the coordinated rescue operations. Mass cremations are currently on at vantage points amid fears of an outbreak of a slew of diseases. The national disaster management team seems to have got its act together, finally after a false start!

Having said all these, I've a number of queries related to the disaster, the subsequent relief operations and the highly detestable sideshows that had taken place and I list them down at random:-

      (a) This is a season known for the visit of a multitude of pilgrims to the sacred shrines of Kedarnath,
           Badrinath etc. Don't we have any plans in place to tackle tricky contingencies? I mean, aren't there
           organisations entrusted to tackle unforeseen calamities?

      (b) The communications have been apalling - be it the roads and their alternate ones, in case of a block,
           or telephonic connections or even telegraphic communication. Hasn't the necessity of a robust
           communication network ever been felt in those inaccessible areas where people live in the normal
           course of their lives? Huddling the survivors at various rescue points seemed to be a difficult task
           as surmised from the TV grabs, covering events reported from the spot.

      (c) Does documentation of the ingress and egress of pilgrims exist? If the answer is a 'nyet', how's
           this number of 3,000 being bandied about? Or is it an approximation?

These need to be taken into consideration and it's hoped that a fool proof system would be put in place to tackle future emergencies. It would also ensure a hassle free pilgrimage to the believers!

My humble salute and prayers for the valiant men who lost their lives while trying to rescue their countrymen. May their families have the strength to tide over these difficult times.


And finally, I come to my question that I've been asking myself many a time. Why didn't the prayers offered by the thousands of pilgrims to their God come to any help to them in their moments of helplessness? Or had they all sinned beyond redemption?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

An arrival......and a departure!

It was a wet morning to begin with. Ravi, the caretaker of our residential area had given me the first call of the day and that too a gloomy one. His brother-in-law, all of 51 years and languishing in the hospital for the past week, had passed away in the wee hours of the morning. I remember him breaking down before me only the other day, immediately after switching hospitals, saying that the doctors had given up hopes on his brother-in-law.

He seemed to be very attached to this gentleman - his wife's brother - and I'd to tell him about two instances that I was aware of where the patients who'd been 'written off' by the doctors had made remarkable comebacks. Wonder whether that was soothing enough but his sobs had begun to ebb, then. The funny thing was that I wasn't too sure about the rosy picture that I was painting but was satisfied that it was able to smooth his ruffled feathers, albeit, momentarily!

The next call was from home and it was my youngest 'ma'asi', who was thrilled about the fact that she'd become a grandmother. Vani, her daughter-in-law, had given birth to a baby girl again during the wee hours of this morning. I can imagine the thrill because firstly, it was a normal delivery and secondly, the good tidings had come around soon after the messy divorce that her elder son had gone through.

Life is a great leveller, eh?

And I'd got the news of the departure and the arrival.......both within a span of barely half an hour! Consequent grief in one family while giving tremendous happiness in another!!


Was reminded of what Justice Krishna Iyer had said in his unique style of humour and I quote, "I feel as though I'm at the departure lounge awaiting the departure of my flight. The wait has been long" and winked at me. God please continue to bless him with good health because it's people like him who light up this world and is a beacon of hope, for generations, by his principled and successful life!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A peep into the life and times of PN Panicker on the concluding day of the "Vaayana vaaram".

Today was the last day of the 'Reading week' or the 'Vaayana vaaram'. A wide ranging set of programmes was organised throughout the state with the unrestricted participation of the common man despite adverse weather conditions. Muthachan would have been mighty glad if he'd been around.

On the occasion, I'd like to take you through the life and times of the simple and ordinary gentleman that PN Panicker really was who went on to achieve extraordinary milestones by his indomitable spirit, perseverance,  hard work and above all, a belief in himself.

     01 Mar 1909              Born as the second son to Puthuvayil Govinda Pillai and Janaki Amma on the
                                        day of the 'Thiruvathira' nakshatram.
                  1925              Finished schooling in and around Neelamperoor, Vazhappilli, Kurichi and
                  1926              (a) Took up job as a teacher at the Neelamperoor Middle school.
                                        (b) Set up 'Sanathana Dharmam', his first library at Neelamperoor.                              
                  1927               His trek to Kottayam and meeting with KC Mammen Mappila of the Malayala
                                        Manorama. Is able to get copies of the newspaper free for his library from then
                  1930              Married Chempakakutty Amma, who hailed from the Amayida Maliyekkapara
                                        mbil House at Ambalapuzha.
                  1931              Set up the PK Memorial library at the western entrance of the Ambalapuzha
                                        Sreekrishna temple.
      16 Sep 1945              Gave shape to the 'Travancore Grandhasala Sangham' consisting of 47 rural
                                        libraries and is ordained as its General Secretary. His tryst with Sir CP Rama
                                        swamy Aiyar, the Diwan of Travancore who'd inaugurated the conference.
                  1946              The Travancore Grandhasala Sangham gets a monthly grant of Rs.250/- from
                                        Sir CP's government who urges him to shift to Thiruvananthapuram.
      27 May 1947             The Travancore Grandhasala Sangham registers itself as per the Travancore
                                        Company Act.
                   1948             (a) The Travancore Grandhasala Sangham gets government approval.
                                        (b) Its mouthpiece, 'Grandhalokam' launched as a bimonthly publication with
                                        him as its editor.
         01 Jul 1949             Thiru-Kochi Grandhasala Sangham comes into existence on the merger of
                                        the princely states of Travancore and Kochi and the coming together of all the
                                        libraries in the two states.
      01 Nov 1956             Kerala Grandhasala Sangham comes into being on the formation of Kerala
                                        and bringing together all the libraries of the Malabar area to the existing lot.
         31 Jul 1957             Kerala Grandhasala Sangham gets its own office within the premises of the
                                        Trivandrum Public Library.
                   1970             (a) The Sangham celebrates its silver jubilee.
                                        (b) A network of 5,280 libraries have been set up all over the state making it a
                                         vibrant movement.
                                        (c) Undertook a 'padayatra' from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram. Gave
                                        Kerala the slogan, "Vaayichu valaruka, Chinthichu vivekam neduka".
                   1971             (a) Gave impetus to the idea of 'functional literacy'.
                                        (b) Instituted the Jayashankar(a keen lover of books who died quite young)
                                        memorial award to encourage reading among the children
                   1972             A printing press established at the Sangham's premises. Grandhalokam,
                                        Saakshara Keralam and neo-literacy aid publications began to be printed
                                        from here.
                   1975            The UNESCO honours the Kerala Grandhasala Sangham with the 'Nadezhda
                                       Krupskaya' award - named after Mrs. Lenin - for its extraordinary contributions
                                       towards the well being of the society.
       16 Mar 1977           (a) The government takes over the Kerala Grandhasala Sangham through an
                                       (b) A control board is set up to look after the running of the Sangham and he's
                                       made its member secretary,
                    1978           (a) He comes out of the Kerala Grandhasala Sangham, heartbroken as people
                                       play petty politics.
                                       (b) Gives shape to a new organisation 'KANFED'(Kerala Association for Non
                                       formal Education & Development) to give an impetus to functional literacy.
                                       (c) Undertakes another 'padayatra' from Kasaragod to Parassala outlining the
                                       importance of being literate.
                    1985           Ezhome of the Kannur district becomes the first village to attain cent percent
                    1991           Kerala attains cent percent literacy and becomes the first state in India to do so.
          25 Jul 1991           Mrs. PN Panicker passes into the mist of time giving him a deep body blow.
         19 Jun 1995           PN Panicker passes into the mist of time at the age of 86 years plunging the
                                       Malayalees into eternal grief.


1. An amazing body of work! He'd always expressed a desire to pass into oblivion doing karma and he had achieved that.
2. My grandfather bestest!


(a) I was fortunate to see my great grandmother in my growing years.
(b) The Panickers have seven children and my mom is their eldest child. Actually, they'd nine but lost a son and a daughter when both were quite young.

Monday, June 24, 2013 random!

A thoroughly wet day. Kochi has been afloat ever since the monsoons have begun. The city's roads are thankfully free of potholes and therefore, driving on them is okay. I intend going through a few incidents that have grabbed the headlines in the media coupled with my experiences and so, here I go:-

   (a) The Champions Trophy.

        The Indian team are the champions in the 50 over game by winning the cup convincingly. I'm both
        happy and sad at the outcome. Paradoxical, you might say but please allow me to clarify. I'm happy
        that the team had put up excellent performances in each of its matches and had defeated all the teams
        in its quest for the trophy and that too, convincingly - so, they deserved the win.

        But I'm sad because there's nothing that's right in the way we manage our cricket and in the manner in
        which we play. The recent muck that had come up needs to be sorted out and the Augean stables need
        to be cleaned up once for all. I'm apprehensive about the fact that there would be a tendency to sweep
        the unpleasantness under the carpet and show that everything is fine against the Champions trophy win.
        It should not happen and on a very personal note, Dhoni, my current cricketing hero, who's under a
        cloud needs to clear the air!

   (b) The ruckus in the Kerala Assembly.

        I saw a new acronym for Kerala in one of the newspapers of the day - 'Fraud's own country'. Sounds
        apt with the number of scams and scandals tumbling out of the cupboard, involving top politicians. The
        opposition has been clamouring for the chief minister's head saying that his secretariat has been the
        focal point of corruption. The members of his personal staff have not acquitted themselves well by their
        actions - corroborated by telephone conversations that they've had with people of questionable integrity
        - have not contributed to the transparency that the CM was always harping on!

       The personal staff of the ministers are known to be high handed, haughty and simply obnoxious. They
       often usurp the powers of their bosses and behave like extra-constitutional authorities. God forbid, if
       anyone of them feels slighted - most of them, small people with big egos - can ensure that you do not
       get the audience of the 'worthy' citing some reason or the other. As has come out in the recent brouhaha
       many of them do not even have the mandatory qualifications as the stipulations are nebulous and

       The continuing disruptions have ensured that no serious legislation would take place. With the rains
       creating havoc, a combined action for tackling the situation has not been thought about as the channel
       of communications has snapped between the treasury benches and the opposition. And the people
       of Kerala continue to suffer!

   (c) A disaster of massive proportions.

        The havoc caused by the rains in Uttarakhand continue to bring about miseries to the tens of
        thousands of pilgrims, stranded at various places on the hills. Rescue by choppers has its limitations
        but the Army, the Air Force and the paramilitary forces are doing a commendable job despite the
        tremendous odds that they're working against. And to top it all, it's absolutely shameful to see the
        political parties trying to score brownie points!


I think I can go on and on and hence, I must desist leaving the following questions to ponder:-

          (a) Whatever has happened to our 'National Disaster Management' team? They seem to be loud
               by their silence!
          (b) Why don't our leaders understand that it's good governance that we, the ordinary citizens,
                are looking for? The people who indulge in petty things or are habitual wrongdoers will stew
                in their own juice at the appropriate time.
          (c) Why do crooks and fixers form an integral part of their working environment? Don't the leaders
               want the right people to be their eyes and ears to get the correct feedback on what they do?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The return.

The day had begun with continuous rains. The early morning chat over the morning cuppa and later on to the breakfast table never seemed to finish. But I'd a tryst at the Kanakkunnu Palace by 10 for the final looking up of the arrangements for the 'Quiz Competition - inter district level' and the painting competition termed the 'riot of colours' for children across various age groups. Attractive prizes had ensured a large audience to participate despite the adverse weather conditions.

The proceedings of the fifth day of the 'Vaayana vaaram' were kicked off by the leader of the opposition in his inimitable style. Lekha and me had left the venue after the meeting and the commencement of the competitions, conducted by professionals.

Padmakumar, my elder brother-in-law, had met us quite accidentally enroute - he was attending a wedding - and became a co-traveller on his way to Palakkad. It was rains all the way but being a Sunday and with sparse traffic, the journey was uninterrupted and the only jarring note was a host of nasty potholes - that have sprouted at regular intervals - on the highway. They took the sheen out of the drive and kept me on my toes throughout!

It's the same old story - the roads break at various places, a spate of accidents occur, there's a clamour for urgent repairs and the government obliges. Repairs are undertaken on a war footing by the time the rains are over - a quick buck is made by the entire lot and quality pays a heavy price!!


Last year the minister had tomtommed that we'd have roads of international standards. Wonder what he'd meant by it? Perhaps, by the record number of potholes maybe? These guys should be whipped publicly. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The alumni day....

It was the old boys' day at school. Reaching the school was a Herculean effort as the stretch of the highway at Kazhakootam was in a pathetic state with the traffic piling on every minute.

The school and the surroundings brought back old memories. Meeting up with our masters and course mates was a fabulous experience as always.

The evening get together of all our classmates including the ones who couldn't be with us last evening made the interaction interesting. It was indeed catching up time!


Couldn't suppress the urge to hum the evergreen Carpenters number, "It's yesterday once more".

Friday, June 21, 2013

An interesting afternoon.

Disaster struck early in the morning!

I'd taken my folks for their temple 'darshan' on my way to get my mom's hearing aid tuned. She's finally agreed to use it more frequently. The approach and parking has always been tricky as the center is perched on a hillock. In the course of backing my car, the rear portion had a 'heavy' contact with the wall making my next visit to the Geeyem Motors service station inevitable and immediately after this trip. But thankfully, I can drive on for the next couple of days and finish up my errands as the damage is superficial but entails extensive chassis work!

The inauguration of the renovated library of the Upper Primary School, near our house, was at 1430 hrs. The connected function and the handing over of the books from the endowment begun in dad's memory was nicely conducted by the school authorities. A sizeable audience consisting of the school's students was attentive and inquisitive during the interactive session. And the school had given me the honour to inaugurate the revamped library by cutting the tape.

Throughout my stay at the function, I was trying to visualise as to where my dad must have sat, in the huge hall, during his student days.


After leaving my mom and sister at home, we'd taken off for Thiruvananthapuram to make it for my friend's place for a get together of our classmates.

It was a lovely and noisy evening as usual!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A humbling experience!

The second day of the 'Vaayana vaaram'.

One of the many activities was a function at the Central Jail, Poojappura for an interactive session with the inmates. For some unfortunate reason or the other they're languishing in prison - society looks at them with coloured eyes little realising that it was the very same society's ills that drove most of them to commit mistakes.

We all said a pledge - drafted by the Foundation - that we'd take up reading, improve the mindset through the knowledge achieved and never get to do anything wrong.

We'd lunch at the prison - made by the inmates - and I can assure you that the plateful of delicacies was very, very tasty.


The literacy initiatives begun for the inmates by the Foundation have really taken wings. The DGP, Mr. Alexander Jacob, a very learned gentleman and who recounted his association with my grandfather, during the library movement, had a fund of interesting anecdotes. The most apt person on the job!   

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The 'Vaayana dinam'.

Muthachan's 18th remembrance day. The week long programme or the 'vaayana vaaram' was kick started from the Kanakkunnu palace where speaker after speaker narrated anecdotes about their association with my grandfather. They further highlighted the simple man that he was, genuinely interested in bringing up the not so lucky population in the society.
....1945 hrs was the time when PN Panicker had passed into the mist of time. Spent a few moments remembering the good times in our joint family. Can those days ever come back?


Another occasion for the family to conglomerate and catch up on various issues!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

0ff for the "Vaayana dinam" programme

It was work as usual in the morning. As I went through the paces, it was raining cats and dogs outside and I was apprehensive regarding the long drive ahead. By the time I'd wound up for the day, it was lunchtime and after a quick bite, we'd hit the road.

The highway was in a pathetic state at many places and with the rainwater flooding at certain stretches the extent of the potholes was hardly discernible with me missing quite a few very, very narrowly. Notwithstanding the difficulties, we could reach home much before sunset as I'd desired. Mom, Minni and Ammu made an enjoyable crowd, during the drive, for us.

It was a chatty evening at home along with the preparations for the week long 'Vaayana vaaram'. Things had to be co-ordinated but most of the work had been tied up well in advance by my maman.


It's gonna be a long day tomorrow. We kick off for Thiruvananthapuram early in the morning. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

What a pity?

The news grab that I saw on almost every channel showing the waterlogged T3 terminal of the Indira Gandhi International airport at Delhi saddened me enormously. Incessant rains over the previous 48 hours had brought in water into the spanking new terminal hailed as the second best in the world in a survey conducted in the not too recent past.

Waters will recede, cleaning followed by mopping up with the best of equipment will be carried out and the airport authorities, I'm sure, will endeavour to bring it back to its lost glory. But sadly, it's never gonna be the same again, as many of the fixtures and materials used within the huge building, would perish because they've come in contact with water or even moisture!

And that's what makes me angry. The guys in charge of building the new terminal have collectively let us all - the tax payers - down. I'd like to ask the entire team that had worked on the project, the following questions:-

     (a) Weren't technical feasibility studies done during the conception of the project? Or were they just an
          eyewash that touched upon only the basics so that a document was available for namesake to get
          the release of funds?
     (b) Hypothetically then, if there was a detailed study done how was it that the contingency in case of
           floods - in the aftermath of heavy rains - not factored in? It's a known fact that the city being the part
           of the Indo-Gangetic plain collects up water within no time! Cases of waterlogging, at various points,
           are common occurrences during every monsoon!!

As a citizen of this country, I consider the facilities as my own and hence the disappointment coupled with an impotent rage at all those whom - I feel - have let me and my fellow citizens down.


It's yet again a sad tale of inefficiency, greed and sloth!  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Relationships revisited.

Mom had wanted to look up her 'ma'asi'(Mrs. PN Panicker's younger sister) for quite a while. This morning, we'd kicked off, for Ettumanoor, at 9 as there was a break in the rains. After visiting the Siva temple, we reached Kochammachi's house an hour later.

She's all of 93 years and looked frail but broke into a wide smile on sighting my mom. Their vibes were discernible and I took in every minute of the occasion with an attendant curiosity. Mom fed her a sweet dish prepared by her and the old lady seemed to relish every morsel. The conversation had begun from the time my mom had gone and stayed with this aunt of her's, years back. For us, present at the occasion, it was a part of our family history being unreeled, in chronological order, with the utmost clarity and the only sadness was that many of the protagonists - a majority of them actually - were no more amid us as they'd passed into the mist of time, over the years.

It was with a heavy heart that we'd left the grand old lady of the family. What gladdens me is that she doesn't take any medicines and all her faculties are in fine fettle. Walking, though, has become a problem as she's attained a harsh stoop and therefore, she spends most of her time on the sofa of the sitting room taking in the view of the entrance to her house and keeps track of everyone coming in.

Our next place of call was at young Vani's house. She's my cousin's wife, who's into her final stages of pregnancy while her husband is away sailing. I'd insisted that we should not forewarn them about our arrival and therefore, there was surprise writ large on each of their faces on seeing us! What enchanted me most was the chirpy grandmother of Vani, who's quite active at 89 years. It was a sheer treat to hear her talk and the way she made her folks provide us with a continuous stock of eatables. The way she could recite the 'slokas' from the scriptures, highlighting their meaning, confirmed the fact that she was a walking encyclopedia! Being with her for almost three hours was simply interesting!

And the last visit was at my mom's kid brother's house. After spending a while there, we'd started on our return leg and hit torrential rains, at the outskirts of Kochi. We're back in the safe environs of our house much before sunset!


1. It was as though the weather gods had played along with us and ensured that our trip went through like a song, without hitches. Earlier in the week I'd told mom that we'd make the trip only if the rains would stay away, albeit, for a short period.

2. We also had the entire family of my dad's younger brother, later in the evening, for dinner. Time has taken a toll on my aunt as she shuffles from one place to the other but the beauty about her is that she's not lost her smile.

3. Indeed, a day well spent!


Saturday, June 15, 2013

The act of giving...

I've an inability to say no to anyone who comes to me with a request. It's ingrained in my system that a person approaches you only because of two reasons and they are:-

        (a) Is confident that he'll not return empty handed and
        (b) You'll not ridicule his helplessness!

Early, this morning, the milkman had rung the doorbell - quite unusual of him as he normally puts the milk packets into the satchel hung out on the doorknob. When I'd opened the door, without any preamble he said that he needed Rs.100/- to take his kid, who'd sustained an injury, to the hospital. He further added that he'd return the money by Tuesday. I did not know as to who he was and had asked him his name. And I came to know that he was Ashraf, staying within our residential area, as his wife was working for one of the residents.

Without seeking any further clarification, I gave him the money and had shut the door. My sister, who was privy to the transaction, was apprehensive about him returning the money as she was sure that he's going to use this money for his personal indulgence. And I gave my 'smart Alec' answer that I'd be able to retrieve it without any hassles.

Later on in the day, Ramjee had come by to give me a haircut. After, the exercise, he'd asked me as to whether I could give him a wrist watch as his had gone bad and was beyond economic repairs - I'd four(all of them gifted to me by others!) which were kept on my writing table. And without giving it a second thought gave him one. The sight of him strapping it on to his wrist gave me happiness. Period!

My mom who was witness to it was quick to endorse the transaction.

Am I being stupidly sentimental? Do guys think that I'm gullible enough to be an easy prey to their emotions?


I've always been told by my elders that the person asking for help should be made to feel as though he was doing something very natural as his self esteem came under tremendous strain during such occasions. And it was important that he should never be ridiculed, ever.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Why don't these people see the writing on the wall?

In Syria, Basher Assad has dug in his heels in a bid to hold on to power despite mounting opposition. The US decision to arm the rebels - the Syrian Military Council - has got a direct shot in the arm for continuing its armed struggle against the government's forces in that country. And what had provoked such a drastic decision? The intelligence reports that talked of the use of banned arms - predominantly, the nerve gas Sarin - on innocent civilians! And as a 'tit-for-tat' action, the Russians have decided to provide 'defensive' weapons to Assad's forces.

And the result? Another period of unmitigated suffering for the innocent population!

Moving on to Turkey, its PM, Recep Erdogan, has issued an ultimatum to the anti-state protesters camping in 'Gezi Park' to clear off. The protesters have been at it for over the last fortnight or so.

Why don't these people - Assad and Erdogan - understand that they've no longevity if the common man ceases to support them? Are they under the illusion that they've many, many supporters simply because they manage to call the shots now? What they seem to forget is that the avalanche of protests is being held back by the sheer strength of the government machinery and a sustained use of force will be counter productive.

So they've two options to tide over the situation before they run out of time in the natural progression, which are:-

      (a) Get into talks with the protesters forthwith, understand their grievances and mend their ways.
      (b) Give up power and facilitate a new power regime to take charge through peaceful means.

Asking for too much? Because power is an aphrodisiac that most are unwilling to relinquish. And therefore, what happens ultimately on such occasions? The obnoxious power structure will be brought down through violent means which would sadly end up claiming the lives of innocent civilians who're reduced to being helpless bystanders!


Another case of 'Akrasia' - doing something despite being fully aware of its negative results!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

And we cry over our silly problems.......

It was from the evening news of a Malayalam channel that I came to know of the heart rending story of a young girl, in the Attappadi region of the hilly, eastern Kerala.

She's only 14 years of age, born to a very poor tribal couple of the area. She was born with a genetic defect, in that, she doesn't have an anal opening. Since her parents were economically not well off they couldn't afford a corrective surgery immediately after birth - which should have been the right thing. And it appears that there wasn't anyone around them to give the right advice. It's even doubtful as to whether the mother had delivered the child in a hospital because if it was so, a doctor would have provided the right advice and taken the necessary corrective action, as I reckon.

So, over the years, the hapless girl would spend an enormously long time in the toilet as she discharged the faeces along with her urine, which was a painful affair. Of late, it was becoming extremely painful and traumatic during her menstrual cycles, the report had recounted. The news was carried and thankfully, an alert youngster of the Surya News channel had filed the story for the world in the fond hope that the good Samaritans of the society - and there are plenty of such people, I can assure you - to provide succour to the poor little girl with an immediate medical intervention and management.

Here's hoping that the young lady is cured of her 'nightmarish' problem at the earliest. I've initiated something but would like to keep it under wraps. But I'd like to congratulate that youngster of the Surya News channel for his inquisitive reporting and for the following:-

       (a) Covering the most backward section of the society that lacks glamour. He could've easily hitched
             his camera on to a high profile case that would have fetched the channel a few additional TRPs
             and for him, a few brownie points!
       (b) The channel for airing the youngster's efforts.


We Malayalees can take pride in the fact that we've a sensitive and ever watchful media. Here's wishing it the best in their endeavour!

And we cry about our silly problems? Sad!!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Adieu telegrams....

1. "Father serious. Start immediately".

2. "Your sister's marriage fixed on 20 Jun. Arrive accordingly".

Such were the texts of messages that were received as telegrams in the not too recent past. Telegrams were usually deemed to be the harbingers of bad news - I used to have a friend who used to have his telegrams opened by the others as he dreaded bad tidings!

It all started in 1851, when the East India Company began the first telegraphic services in India with Calcutta as its base of operations. It metamorphosed into a well-knit network all over the country within no time. With the advent of the telephones, though its patronage had shrunk very minutely, it continued to be the backbone of communications for rural India till very recently. Moreover, the Indian courts used to accept only telegrams and telegram receipts as proof of evidence in civil or criminal suits!

But with the proliferation of mobile phones, SMSes and e-mail, the death knell of the telegram had been sounded and it was just a matter of time before the service came to an end.

The 162 year old telegraph service will enter the pages of history, after its yeoman service, on the 15th of July in this country.

RIP telegrams! You've done your job and that too exceedingly well. Mankind will always remember you with the attendant trepidation!!


What would be the text of the message that announces the death of the telegraph services?
......"Telegram expired. Your timely presence for its last rites expected"..... Er?


Occasions have been aplenty where the individuals expected to take action had preceded the telegram causing mirthful humour and at times, even embarassment!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A dad's angst....

I'd an unusual call late in the evening from a gentleman, currently languishing in hospital, with an attack of dengue fever - the number of cases of this fever has been steadily increasing since the onset of monsoons a week back. The waste disposal system - all over the state - has virtually collapsed, with mounts of assorted waste awaiting disposal at every nook and cranny, exploding the myth of the 'mallus' being clean and who emphasised cleanliness in their surroundings! More about it later lest I digress from the thought for the day!!

His only daughter, an IT professional, has fallen for a boy hailing from the Malabar area. He's smart, hails from a good family and is the only son to his parents but has a drawback - despite his engineering degree, he's refused to take up any job and is a member of a band with his eyes set on making a career in the Malayalam film industry as a music director! Now, it's my very personal opinion that the young man's aptitude is not to be laughed away despite the uncertainties of its accomplishment but to a father whose only daughter is to be married to a prospective son-in-law, it becomes a tough proposition.

What if the boy doesn't make it? And if at all he makes it, will the glitz and razzmatazz of the film world allow him to lead a normal family life? In continuation, will the daughter be comfortable with his fans which is but a natural fallout for all those who go on to be successful in the field? The questions were many and the father had poured his heart out. The fact that his wife and immediate family have given the green signal to the alliance coupled with his daughter's posting on her Facebook page that she's finally found her 'right' man has isolated him completely. And they've asked him not to be an impediment in the proceedings in no uncertain terms.

While appreciating his 'fatherly' apprehensions, I tried to explain to him the following:-

       (a) For any relationship to take off the most important aspect was that the boy and the girl must have
            an affinity for each other.
       (b) While putting across one's apprehensions, it was also incumbent on one to listen to the opinions
             of the other side - in this case, that of the mother and the daughter. And a final decision could be
             arrived at, within the family, once the pros and the cons are discussed at length.
       (c) Trying to answer the slew of 'what if questions' that might arise would be as futile as gazing at
            the crystal ball.
       (d) And finally, come what may, I'd stand by his decision even if it did not go by the majority!


I dunno whether I was able to smooth his ruffled feathers, my only fear being that he doesn't aggravate his illness by dwelling on unproductive thoughts because he's a simple man!      

Monday, June 10, 2013

These make me wonder.......

There are recent developments that have caught my interest because I'm sure that they'd have far reaching ramifications. And its my fervent hope that mankind benefits from them.

 (a) A wholesome approach.

      The human brain is complex and there are many aspects about it that continue to baffle researchers in the
      field. The studies that are brain related are:-

        (i) Psychology. The study of the mind and mental processes, especially in relation to one's behaviour.
       (ii) Psychiatry.   The medical specialty concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental
      (iii) Neurology.   Hovers on diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the nervous system - the brain, the
                                spinal cord and the nerves.

        The holistic approach of treating mental disorders and other brain related illnesses have increasingly
        begun to see a blurring of line between neurology, psychiatry and psychology. Neurologists who didn't
        look beyond chemical-electrical  circuitry of the brain have increasingly begun to prescribe behavioural
        therapy for treatment.

  (b) What would the human beings of the future look like?

        Computational geneticists have said that the human beings of the future - hundreds of thousands of
        years from now - will have bigger heads and bigger eyes with improved night vision! And perhaps,
        they'd be able to control their own evolution - a worrisome prospect, indeed. The increase in the size
        of the head would be to accommodate larger brains to keep pace with the increase in knowledge
        that's being assimilated!!

  (c) Heart surgeons in short supply?

       The doctors who treat the hearts are said to be susceptible to the risk of being victims of heart attack.
       Studies have pinned the reason to their working long and odd hours along with the strain of taking the
       responsibility of the outcome of their surgery. Perhaps, running a 100 mt dash on the athletic field is far
       less stressful! Would this prevent doctors, in the future, to walk away from this specialisation? I sincerely
       hope not and don't think so!!


Galloping technology and resultant trends are changing life patterns. Really exciting times!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Michael comes calling!

I'd quite a pleasant surprise this afternoon. Michael, my old shipmate, had come calling and we're seeing each other after what seemed to be ages. Dressed in an elegant suit, he'd dropped by around 12 o'clock, and was insistent on taking us out to lunch. Citing mom's locomotion problems, I persuaded him otherwise and he'd finally ended up having the meal with us.

Michael was one of the three stewards on board my ship when I was a rookie subaltern - the other two being Abdulla and Nair. And between them, they could handle any amount of get togethers with an aplomb and they'd a way of looking after the guests in their unique style. The upshot had been that many of my friends, who'd visited me then  fondly remember them, even to this day.

Michael's father was one of the stake holders of one of the Chinese fishing nets, that adorn the harbour entrance, on the Fort Kochi side. And he'd his own way at pronunciation of tricky(?) words - for example, the dish 'mutton do pyaaza' was simply, 'mutton do paisa' in his lexicon. And stories abound as to how the three musketeers went about tackling the Wardroom inmates' requirements. There was this gentleman who insisted on a piping hot cup of beverage every time and much to their consternation, he used to complain that the temperature did not match up to his requirements, even after each of them had served the cuppa' straight from the stove!

And after much racking of brains, they'd hit upon a novel idea. Along with the preparation of the beverage, the cup and saucer that would be used to serve it were put into boiling water. And never again did the gentleman crib about the temperature of the beverage served to him!

........Michael had found out my address to spend time with us. It was wonderful to catch up on his accomplishments and it was also a pleasure to speak to Nair and Abdulla with whom he was connected. I was particularly happy to note that all the three of them have done extremely well for themselves.

An afternoon well spent!


Mom and Lekha were lapping up all the escapades of your's truly during those times. Was I apprehensive that some of the 'uncomfortable' truths would come tumbling out? Just kidding, I'm as I'd told you earlier, an open book!!    

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A miraculous escape.

It was around five minutes past 8 in the evening. I was getting ready to attend a function when my cell had started ringing......there was a sense of urgency as certain calls have a way of demanding your attention forthwith. It was a very calm Radhika - a friend of our's - who had met with a road accident and was inquiring as to whether I could pick her up from the scene. She'd tried to contact her son but to no avail and she didn't want to inform her husband as he was recouping from a heart related problem.

I was dazed for a moment I must confess and had then collecting my thoughts, called up her son. I was able to get him on the first ring and he, along with his father, had rushed to the spot, soon after.

The scene looked ghastly. Radhika's car had turned turtle thanks to an overtaking autorickshaw which had made her swerve and climb on to the centre median of the road, turning the car upside down. Providentially, she didn't even have a scratch on her! There was a sizeable crowd around with the cops in attendance!!

She'd gone for her music classes and was returning home. The family was expected to join us at the function, later in the evening. During our subsequent interaction what she said really bloated my ego and I must quote that bit of reaction since it momentarily elevated me in my self esteem, "You know I was totally dazed and blank for a moment. My son came into focus and I'd called him up without success. Then the next person that had come to my mind was you and hence the call".


Nice to know that I'm perceived to be reliable and capable of wading through difficult situations. Others seem to be pretty sure on that though I ain't confident, I must confess.


Friday, June 7, 2013

'Komet' takes wings....finally!

The work on the Kochi metro commenced this morning at 1030h when the Chief Minister waved the green flag that started the piling work at the Changampuzha park, near Edapalli. This has taken place eight years after its conception and acceptance in principle, to ease the traffic nightmare that had become a daily affair much to the agony of the people of Kochi.

What went on over the last eight years was a saga of political games and vested interests playing behind the scenes. But one factor remained conspicuously clear and constant - the 'metroman', E Sreedharan had to steer the project, a desire that was overwhelmingly prevalent among every Malayalee, irrespective of political ideology or regional affiliation! And despite such overwhelming sentiments being prevalent, there was a time when it had almost come to a situation that the metroman would not be connected with the project! It was evidently some vested interests at work which feared Sreedharan as a stumbling block to their hidden agenda!

Probably, being a layman, I don't understand the mechanics of the huge number of agencies that had played a part in this project and I shall list them:-

      (a) the ministry of urban development of the union cabinet
      (b) the ministry of environment
      (c) the government of Delhi
      (d) the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation
      (e) the government of Kerala
      (f) the corporation of Kochi and
      (f)  the Kochi Metro Rail Corporation that was formed to undertake the project with E Sreedharan as
           the chief consultant!

The co-ordination between these agencies took an inordinately long time with unwanted controversies.
It's just the beginning and there's the bugbear in the name of land acquisition that's still hanging fire. Though the target date of completion is 1,095 days, the sceptic in me refuses to take this timeline as gospel. The coming days, weeks and months will show whether we 'mallus' have it in us to achieve targets while keeping our differences at bay, in the largest interest of the people!


It's my fervent hope that the 'Komet' takes off on the planned date! And hopefully, the problem of traffic woes in the city would be reduced considerably!!  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Work done against no payment!

As I'd said previously, I'd handed over my Chevy at the Geeyem Motors to change my ignition key. A few months back, the key that has a non-metallic coat had developed a crack for no rhyme or reason. I was aghast, trying to rack my brain as to how I'd managed it. Finding no reasonable answer and also being sure of the fact that it was not out of any bad handling on my part, I'd reported about it to the dealers who'd assured me that a new key would be delivered within a fortnight.

They'd also said that once they got the key, they'd require my car for two hours for programming the key as each is car-specific - prevents burglary they say!

And it was for that reason that I'd driven into the service station yesterday and had also asked the engineer to identify and rectify a new noise emanating from beneath the chassis - after the weekend trip. Wonder how that had come about, since I don't remember having had a heavy landing or having negotiated a nasty bump at prohibitive speeds! The 'customer executive', Sanju - a smart young man - while punching in my car's particulars, had asked me about its vintage and I'd confidently told him that it was out of warranty period.

But as I was sitting across Sanju, to take delivery of my car this afternoon, he'd a huge smile on his face when he told me that I owed nothing since the renewal of the ignition key and the forward bumper lining - the old lining had worked out loose and was the reason behind the scratchy noise - was free as my Chevy was still under her warranty period - for three years that would finally be over in November, this year. He then told me as to how he'd got the details from the computer and looked at me quizzically as to why I was way off the mark regarding such important information.

The net result was that I didn't have to pay a single paisa of the Rs.25 grand worth of the repairs carried out.  I was, indeed, pleasantly surprised - was it the miser in me, that expected freebies out of anything and everything, that was celebrating the occasion?


The return drive was sheer pleasure, which was predominantly because of the 'work done against no payment' issue! I never knew that there was a Shylock lurking deep within me!! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Yet another tigress!

This afternoon, I'd gone to the GM service station in connection with the programming of a new ignition key for my Chevy. The job was to take only a couple of hours, but on my onward drive, I realised that there was some obstruction under the chassis consequent to which a scraping noise emanated whenever I'd take a hard right turn. The service engineer had, therefore, wanted the vehicle for overnight repairs.

After giving the necessary instructions, I'd gone to the nearby auto-rickshaw stand to find my way home and was met by a chirpy young lady whose rick's turn it was, in the long queue, to collect a customer. Giving my destination - she'd wanted to know as to whether I was aware of the short cut available and I'd given the important milestones - I realised that she was chirpy and had a tremendous enthusiasm, coupled with pride, in her work.

The conversation between us revealed that she was Sunita - somewhere in her mid 30s - who was the sole breadwinner for her family that consisted of her mother and three daughters. She'd long detached her husband, a good for nothing guy and an alcoholic! With a shake of her head, she'd said as a matter of fact and I quote, "Sir, there's no point in looking after a sloth and my children are better off without their father. I shall give them good education and ensure that they will do better than me in life".

Her poise and the confidence with which she looked at life was what I was impressed with. And the beauty was that there was no trace of bitterness about the manner in which life had treated her till date. Seeing the security guys brace up and salute as we passed through the gate, she remarked disarmingly, "Sir, you're a big person and it was kind of you to have talked to me. Can I've your cell number?"


As I gave her my number, I couldn't help but think deep within and tell her silently that I was nothing compared to what she's in this mad race of life! Sunita, here's me wishing you all that you wish for and let life's choicest things come to you on a platter. You simply deserve it!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Another life lost......

The news of the suicide of the Hindi movie actress, Jiya Khan, is being flashed across by all the news channels and I was pleasantly surprised by the BBC airing a program on the actress - I thought they covered personalities who'd accomplished much more and am not, in any way, belittling the young lady's accomplishments - and also having an in-depth chat amid journalists on the 'Bollywood' beat, discussing about the pressures brought to bear on aspiring actors and actresses. They went on to say that the life in tinsel town was a facade of sorts and the attendant pressures could scorch even the toughest of beings!

I've seen the movies, 'Nishabd' and 'Gajini' in which the young lady had acted with an aplomb. She seemed to be quite effervescent and comfortable on the screen notching up a good 'screen presence' opposite towering actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Amir Khan, respectively, in the two movies. Sadly, she wasn't able to garner roles for herself subsequently, which seemed to be an anticlimax after a dream debut like her's that many would have hankered for! So, did that long, unproductive wait pull her down? To the extent of snuffing out her own life?

I remember a doctor friend of mine who'd told me, sometime back, about people born with suicidal tendencies. Such people tended to look at themselves as failures and derived negative meanings to everything that they saw around them. Consequently, they needed constant attention and support to bolster their confidence and to the extent feasible, must never be left alone - for, they'd brood and in an extreme moment of depression even harm themselves!

Life is but a combination of successes and failures. Going ballistic at a success or getting depressed over a failure should be avoided! Easier said than done, I know. But it's the ability to carry successes and failures with the same degree of grace and restraint, that would make an individual strong enough to take on life's paradoxes!

RIP, young lady. May you find peace in eternity and here's wishing that god gives strength to your family to tide over their trying times!


Am reminded of a quote scribbled on my autograph, a long while back, by a good friend at school which goes as,

     "At ebb tide I wrote a line upon the shore
      And I gave it all my heart and all my soul.
      At flood tide I came back to read what I'd transcribed
      Only to find my ignorance upon the shore!"

Monday, June 3, 2013

My mom.

As I'd said a while before, my mom has been with me over the last week. She's come along with my kid sister and her daughter as they've their holidays. And we've been undertaking short trips and visits during the period. This afternoon, mom had to be taken to the ENT specialist for a review that was long overdue. As she made her way to the car at the parking space I couldn't help but notice as to how frail she's become with an increasing tendency to drag her feet as she walked, since she experienced difficulty in bending her knees. The ayurvedic medical management is providing her relief, she says though I've my doubts!

It becomes an anti-climax to see her in this condition and I'm tempted to go back in years where I've seen my mom in an ever-active and dynamic mode. During my kindergarten and the first three years at school, she was a teacher in the same school and I remember her to have a great fan following. Kids and teachers used to come home even after working hours with their doubts, queries and problems but I and my sister used to get her to ourselves whenever we needed. Her 'teaching' phase ended when I was into my class II when she gave birth to my second kid sister!

I used to dread my mom when she used to teach me Maths. I mean I used to get flummoxed at the problem which gave the value of 1,000 coconuts but had wanted me to find the cost of 100. I just could not fathom as to why the bloke required the answer when he'd the option to buy larger numbers. And when I committed errors, in galore that too, she used to pinch me and I can still remember the discomfort of those painful 'administrations'!!

During my days at the boarding school or at the Academy, she never came to visit me in between like the mothers of my classmates. And when I'd queried her as to why she chose to refrain from coming to see me, her answer had her classic stamp and I quote, "You know, if I were to come and meet you in between I shall miss you after the visit and end up being miserable for days. But, don't worry, I can see you every moment". The thick headed guy that I was did not register her reply for quite a while as I remember.

When she was working as a Branch Post Mistress, years later, I used to be amazed at her sheer stamina to work continuously - manage the home and her official duties with a finesse. People, more than respecting her, simply loved her for her outgoing nature and the flair that she has for making instant friends! And as an extension of this bonding, she'd even stood for the Panchayat elections at the behest of some well meaning people but insisted on standing as an independent candidate. Though she lost by a paltry nine votes, the UDF and the LDF members had conveyed their inner feelings on her defeat(the UDF candidate had won that round).

And it's not because she's my mother that I say this but she really likes to channelise her efforts on causes for the betterment of the society and is very upright in her dealings.

I must hasten to add that her activities have now been confined within the walls of our house as she continues to receive people and listen to their woes and follows them up with her interventions, through telephonic calls or even visits to the concerned authorities or their offices if that were inevitable!

Mom, we're proud to be your children and would like to have you with us for many more years in good health.


Currently, she's gearing up for the 'Vayana Dinam'(Reading Day) on 19 Jun which happens to be the remembrance day of her father, the legendary PN Panicker. And this year, it's gonna be extra special for her as she'd be gifting books for the library of the Upper Primary School, near our house, from the endowment set up on her husband's name at the 'special assembly' to be called on that day to kick off the 'Vayana Vaaram' celebrations.       

Sunday, June 2, 2013

An impromptu musical evening...

We'd kicked off from Palakkad soon after lunch to a lovely weather. The drive was nice and uneventful. Except for a short break enroute for tea, we could fetch up back home before 1700h. Earlier, before starting on our return journey, I'd felt a heaviness in my chest and I'd promised myself that I'd go for my evening walk without fail, come hell or high water!

So, after sunset, I'd set off for my walk with the discomfort still lingering on and in my enthusiasm, I'd forgotten to arm myself with an umbrella or even to wear my cap. There were some sundries to be bought and I'd just done so and resumed my walk, when it started to pour. Caught unawares, I moved into the nearest bus shelter and since the electrical load shedding in the area was in place, the swanky new place was dark and to my mind, unoccupied.

Dunno whether it's the heavy rains or the feeling of solitude that had prompted me into my musical mood but I'd begun to sing in right earnest and that too at fairly high decibels! The number that I'd begun with was the evergreen, 'When I was just a lad of ten my father said to me.....' and then the deluge had begun almost matching up with the rains that just didn't show an inkling to stop immediately.

I'd gone on to Glen Campbell, Jimi Hendrix, Perry Como, Rod Stewart to Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar to Yesudas, Jayachandran and finally ended with my all time favourite 'Coward of the County' by Kenny Rogers - yes, I'd wandered through my repertoire of English, Hindi and Malayalam numbers in that short span of time.

And probably, on cue and fed up with my croaky voice, the lull in the rains had come about and it was then that I realised that I'd company in a young couple. They put a sheepish me at ease by complimenting me about my singing prowess. Did I disturb them in their private moments, I 'd never know. Grinning like an idiot and acknowledging their appreciation, I'd resumed my walk.


1. During my walks I'm incommunicado as I do not carry my phone with me. I was chided by my mom, on return, for giving her anxious moments - moms keep worrying irrespective of the number of years that you've piled on, in life!

2. I'd purposely avoided walking in the rain this evening because of the outbreak of illnesses at the onset of the monsoons!!       

Saturday, June 1, 2013

When three strangers worked in tandem.....

I'd hit the highway on another weekend sortie, this time to my sister's place, at Palakkad, after work. Earlier, it was an uneventful day at work except for a couple of the usual requests for urgent reservations.

Lekha was already at Palakkad after the ceremony in connection with her mom's remembrance day. So, it was mom, Minni and Ammu who were with me for the trip. And I'd taken the shortest route after a long time - motorists on this route have been subjected to frequent traffic snarls as a particular stretch was badly in need of repairs.

The stretch has undergone patchwork repairs and is passable now. I was at a comfortable speed and then came the error in my judgement. I'd begun to overtake a massive container lorry even after seeing an autorickshaw hurtling down from the opposite direction. My assumption was that he'd keep to his part of the road so that I could pass through the just adequate space between the two.

And it was while negotiating it that I realised that I'd over estimated the width of the space that was available to me. It was a two way lane and three vehicles were trying to squeeze past each other thanks to my mulish over enthusiasm! And those five to ten seconds were touch and go - the three of us were able to negotiate that stretch without mishap. And it was only possible because of the magnanimity exhibited by those two fellow motorists who'd allowed this 'mischievous' and 'foolishly adventurous' fellow motorist to have his way!

I thanked the both of them quietly for my safe passage, quite a number of times subsequently and took yet another vow that I wouldn't take chances like this ever again. Yes, they're fantastic drivers and above all, wonderful human beings!!


Wished I could have befriended them and thanked them for their magnanimity though within the circumstances, it was impossible but here's me wishing them miles and miles of safe journey.