Wednesday, July 31, 2013

From here and there....

It was a normal day like any other. I'd fetched up at work, a trifle earlier than usual as there was an appointment that had to be kept at any cost. Just as I'd finished clearing the morning clutter, my friend and classmate had arrived to make it in time for bidding our final adieu to another classmate's mother. The time given to us was 1000 h after which the funeral cortege was to leave for the cremation grounds. But by the time we could get through the busy morning traffic and the narrow lanes towards Fort Kochi, it was 20 mts past 10.

 (a) She was waiting for us.

 We're in two minds as to whether we should proceed to the cremation grounds direct, since we're late or to          
 fetch up at the house anyways and then, proceed onward. Thankfully, the old lady was lying in state and me
 and my friend were the last guys to file past her and offer her our prayers. As I stood mumbling my prayer
 without taking my eyes off her, she seemed to be telling me, "You kept me waiting, but I knew that you'd
 come to see me".

 And we followed her to the cremation grounds. The connected ceremonies didn't take much time and soon,
 the body was kept on the pyre and the fire had engulfed it all too soon. Her familiar visage had become
 history. Our friend and classmate seemed to be collected and composed but his son was sobbing
 uncontrollably, all through!

 (b) Axed for doing her duty.

 The sacking of Durga Shakti Nagpal, the 28 yr old Sub-Divisional Magistrate of the Gautam Budh
 Nagar(NOIDA) of Uttar Pradesh, shows the callousness of vote bank politics. Actually, she'd taken on
 the might of the sand mafia that had unbridled political patronage. But to put wool into the eyes of the
 public, the administration has cited the inciting of communal tempers because she'd ordered demolition
 of a wall around a mosque, at the Kadalpur village, with JCBs.

 And the fact was that the villagers had brought down the illegal structure on their own volition after the
 discussions initiated at the behest of the young lady!

 O! The games politicians play to snare votes!!

 I'm sure the gritty SDM will get back her chair eventually.


Today's the 31st remembrance day of the late Mohammad Rafi. Without doubt, he continues to live in us through his memorable numbers!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

'Raag Rang'.

This evening's 'Raag Rang' programme on the Malayalam television channel, 'Indiavision', was a tribute to that evergreen actress and my favourite, Waheeda Rehman.

Among the numbers picturised on her that had figured, my all time favourite, 'Paan khao sainya hamaaro.....' from the Raj Kapoor - Waheeda Rehman starrer, 'Teesri Kasam' sung by the inimitable Asha Bhonsale, was aired. And my day was made. I was sure that the number, 'Chaudhavi ka chand......' would also be aired during the packed half an hour programme that's, thankfully, free of too many commercials and had waged a bet on that score with Lekha.

Sadly, I was wrong and did lose that bet!


1. Earlier, in the day, I'd spent some time with a classmate of mine who'd lost his mother. In her mid 80s, she'd been bedridden for the last four years and I was told that the last fortnight was sort of bad and she'd started sinking. Yesterday, as he was trying to feed her around 10, in the morning, her life had ebbed away. The funeral is gonna be delayed by a day as her daughter is expected from abroad in the wee hours of tomorrow morning.

2. RIP, amma! My humble prayers!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

I wasn't right!

I feel bad for a wrong that I'd done earlier in the day. My misdemeanour was the cause of angst - albeit momentarily - for the traffic cop on duty. And here I must reiterate that he was a damn decent guy unlike some of the nasty ones - are they really so? Aren't we to blame for their boorish behaviour? They're doing their duty and while doing so, bearing the brunt of the weather, an occasional snap is all but human because some of us, errant motorists, can really drive them crazy. My story highlights such a misstep that I could have easily avoided and as I punch in these thoughts, I sincerely send my apologies yet again to that gentleman cop for having caused him anguish.

I was driving my Chevy on one of the side roads and endeavouring to turn right, to join the main arterial road. The cop had just stopped the ingress of vehicles into the side road that I was in and had given the go ahead for the resumption of traffic on the arterial road. Due to the queue of vehicles making into the side road, there was a delay in the resumption of the flow of traffic and sensing it to be advantageous, I'd quickly swung right and guided my vehicle into the intended direction! And at that split moment, the regular flow had resumed and I just managed to clear the first vehicle by a whisker - I'd acted smart you see and was pleased as Punch for having pulled off this great(?) feat.

It was then that I saw the exasperated traffic policeman showing off a helpless gesture saying that if motorists disobeyed him, how would he be able to do an effective job. I was ashamed and conveyed my genuine regrets to him before scooting away from the scene.

I felt like kicking my shin for my unpardonable behaviour and the feeling of regret had persisted for quite a while. The very fact that I'm punching in those feelings underscores that they continue to persist! And to make matters worse, the 'helpless' visage of the cop continues to haunt.

He's a thorough gentleman! And I, a bad citizen!!


The counter point that I was trying to make was that I was reducing his worries by taking advantage of a favourable situation. But the argument falls flat, if all motorists were to take advantage of the favourable situations as perceived by them causing confusion galore!   

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A kaleidoscope of emotions.

The day turned out to be hectic and had kept me busy. The first item of the day was the X-country run for the children of our residential area. I was glad to see the enthusiastic response of the participants that consisted of children of all age groups who're chaperoned by their parents and all of them sported colourful sports attire. The race was flagged off on the dot at a half-past-6, the course was about 21/2 kms and I was impressed with the performance of the participants:-

 (a) The kids know what they want!

 I was giving away the prizes after all the participants had returned. I'd told the organisers that while the
 first three winners, in each age category, were to be identified for the award of the prizes all participants
 were to be given sweets for having graced the occasion by their sheer presence. The secretary, standing
 beside me had, perhaps, got carried away by the gaiety of the occasion and handed over a gift to a child
 while I applauded as though there was nothing amiss.

 But the kid's reaction was swift and clear. After receiving the bunch of chocolates, she quickly handed them
 over to me saying, "Uncle, you must give me the prize". Was it the little one's way of telling us that there
 could be no deviations in protocol?

 (b) Kurup kochachan's excitement!

 Kurup kochachan - the late Leela kunjamma's husband - has been at Kochi for the past three weeks at his
 son's place. We'd invited him to come and stay with us for the week and accordingly, I was to pick him up
 around tea time. He seemed to be thoroughly excited and I shall leave it to my young nephew, Ramu's,
 report to me to highlight the old gentleman's feelings and I quote,

     "Uncle, you know grandpa has been
               (i) dressed up since morning.
              (ii) peeping out of the front window, every time he would hear the sound of a car.
             (iii) less enthusiastic in having his lunch and ate very little.
       And uncle, you must bring him back by next Sunday, in the morning itself".

  Was struck by two aspects:-
                (i) the deep bond between the grandfather and his grandson.
               (ii) kochachan's excitement to come to our place.

   Am deeply humbled!

 (c) I was to do it!

 I'd set off for my customary evening walk even though dark, rain clouds were slowly filling up from
 the west. And wondered as to whether I could beat it. Well, as it turned out to be, I'd just finished
 my usual circuit when the rain came pouring!

 I think the weather played ball with me and had ensured that I completed the much needed(?) work
 out after a laid back week!!


All in all, a hectic Sunday that I'd thoroughly enjoyed!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Damned if you do.....damned if you don't....

What's wrong with us Malayalees? Why can't we look at the positive side of life? I'm gonna cite an incident that took place just the other day and hence, remains fresh in everyone's minds.

I've been talking about the pathetic condition of the roads all over Kerala. The appalling conditions, the crater-like potholes and the absence of the centre median, even on a substantial stretch of the highways have taken taken their toll - hundreds of lives have been lost, this year itself. There was this recent incident where two youth on a two wheeler, while trying to avoid a huge pothole hit a mount of stones kept nearby for roadwork and fell on the road, only to be run over by a speeding bus that charged in from behind - yes, speeding on such a road! Doesn't the driver need to be banned from taking the wheel ever again?

Anguished by the piece of news, Jayasurya, a popular actor of the Malayalam movies and a few of his friends had embarked upon filling up the potholes across a stretch of an arterial road of the city. Rather than appreciating his gesture, he's now portrayed as the villain.

And by whom? None other than the Hon Mayor of the city, the minister and his department, the public works department. Their argument - the potholes have been filled up unscientifically, making it more hazardous and dangerous for the driving motorists and that the actor had done so to gain cheap other words, brownie points at their expense!

Indeed, the general public had welcomed the actor's noble thought. And to a layman like me, the question that automatically rises is that if he'd really wanted publicity, why did he and his men choose to take up the work at night when the traffic had dwindled and that too, sans elaborate media coverage?

O! We mallus!! Why are we like this?


As I punch in these thoughts, the old number 'Dhal gaya din' from the Hindi movie 'Humjoli' - picturised on Jeetender and Leena Chandavarkar playing badminton is emanating from the music system. The mallus' plight reminded me of that of the shuttle!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Strange are the ways.....

I'm surprised at the things that are happening around me as gleaned from the day's newspapers. Why do they happen in the first place? Or is it that the so called checks and procedures that are in place, are bypassed without going into the ethos behind their evolution/existence? Let me go through a few that caught my eye:-

 (a) An unusual inclusion!

 An 'Ode to the Sea' is an unusual poem because its author is suspected Al Qaeda terrorist, Ibrahim
 al-Rubaish. The poem was included in the syllabus for the degree level studies by the Calicut
 University in 2011.

 A Saudi national and a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, the author is reportedly active in the
 ranks of the Al Qaeda even to this day and his name is reportedly included on the Saudi Interior
 ministry's list of most wanted terrorists since 2009.

 Given the controversial background of its author, the poem has now been recommended for removal
 from the third semester textbook, 'Literature and Contemporary Issues' of the Varsity.

 (b) A strange request!

 About a year ago, 65 MPs seem to have written to US President, Barrack Obama asking him to
 refuse his country's visa to the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi. Though many of the MPs
 whose names figure in the list have said that their signatures have been forged, such a missive is
 in bad taste. The dynamics of political and ideological differences between people must remain
 within the country and the fraternity has to project itself as one single entity when it comes to
 projecting a national image outside the country.

 There can be no dilution on that front, otherwise we'd become a laughing stock and who knows,
 could also get to be vulnerable to exploitation/blackmail from outside.

 (c)An unnecessary feud!

 Bharat Ratna Amartya Sen, the Nobel laureate in Economics was expressing his point of view
 when he had said that he didn't want to see Narendra Modi as the country's PM since he lacked
 secular credentials. He'd gone on to add that he wasn't in favour of Modi's style of governance.
 It flows from his 'Right to freedom of expression' as a free citizen of this country.

 BJP MP, Chandan Mitra's call for stripping the economist off his 'Bharat Ratna' on account of his
 utterances is churlish and unreasonable. His call for such an outlandish act is because of his
 'possessiveness' of the award as it was given to Mr. Sen by the Vajpayee government. And rightly,
 his party has distanced itself from the MP's demand. A feud that could have best been avoided - in a democracy, there would be supporters as well as critics. All have to be taken along and the critics brought over to your side by your right deeds.


It's strange that we waste a lot of energy over non-issues while the important ones are missed out on - purposely, I often wonder - or conveniently glossed over!     

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Remembering Ammachi....

Exactly, 22 yrs back, I lost my Ammachi - my mom's mom - who'd passed into the mist of time around 2123 hrs on this cursed day of 1991. A noble soul whose needs were minimal and she'd always endeavoured to give and being her eldest grandson, I was fortunate to receive her unrestricted love. We're more of friends and I could discuss anything and everything with her - my hopes, fears and apprehensions. She used to wait for my return on recess - from the boarding school - to see movies and also to be taken to the doctor for her ailments. And as a run up she'd stop going to  movies with the others of the family, at least one month before my arrival, so that we could see them together.

25 Jul '91......She was sinking and from eye-witness accounts, she knew that it was time for her final journey. It'd begun like any other day, she'd washed her clothes, had her bath and had gone about her usual chores. But by evening she was tired and was lying on the sofa watching her favourite programme on television. A palpable wheezing sound was accompanying her breathing and by about a quarter to 8, my uncle was taking her to the hospital and as she was getting into the car, my grandfather had told her something which he regretted till his end and I quote, "Don't worry, nothing will happen to you. You'll only go after me". Three hours later, her lifeless body was brought into the house! I can understand the misery that Muthachan went through then, which he'd narrated to me, much later, in one unguarded moment.

My uncle had driven her to the nearest hospital about which she'd a poor opinion. It was there that she'd undergone a few moments of uncontrolled spasms and had tried to remove her clothes. The doctor who'd come to attend her had instructed my uncle and the others that she be taken to a bigger hospital without delay. She'd lapsed into silence as the car sped towards the Sri Uthradom Thirunal hospital and as they crossed the gate, her last question to my kid sister, Minni was as to where they'd reached and she seems to have registered the name of the hospital on hearing it. That was her last bit of communication. She was quickly wheeled into the ICU and despite emergency medical aid that was administered, the doctors couldn't save her.

Ammachi had kept her tryst with destiny.

From then on, this day has been a cursed one.

........Even though I'd kept myself busy the whole day, I found that I was drifting into those wonderful times and memories that only I was privy to, that had come flooding by without restraint. Would you believe me if I were to tell you that I miss you even to this day, Ammachi? And how do I let you know it?


Once I'd seen my grandmother signing as 'C Chempakakutty Amma' - her maiden name - on a document and I was curious because she always signed her name as 'Mrs PN Panicker'. It was after a bit of coaxing that she revealed that she'd had a tiff with Muthachan on the previous day and that she wanted him to know that she had an identity of her own and didn't require his name for props!      

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A short trip.

It was work as usual and I'd wound up my activities well within the stipulated time with some time to spare. The railway level cross enroute didn't keep me waiting for long. The sun was shining for a brief while and after a quick lunch, we'd hit the highway on our trip to Guruvayur.

Thankfully, the stretch of road that we'd to negotiate was comparatively free of potholes and bad maintenance. Though the rains and heavy traffic did slow us we're at the temple town by teatime and checked in to our favourite haunt. After  talking to the concerned people to take stock of the progress of work on our house and fixing up our activities for tomorrow, we're off to pay obeisance at Guruvayoorappan's abode.

The crowd was much less and we could have a brief glimpse of the good Lord in his resplendent self.


And we're gonna be here till the weekend to give a further impetus in getting our house ready!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Can't understand human behaviour!

Near Manjeri, in north Kerala, a gruesome accident was perpetuated by a guy in which his wife, Sabira(21 yrs) and two young daughters - Fatima Fida(41/2 yrs) and Fatima Nida(21/2 yrs) - were drowned to death. The incident becomes all the more painful when it's told that the youngest one was fast asleep in her mom's arms - death had enveloped her thanks to the machinations of her dad!

Mohammed Shareef(33 yrs) wanted to obliterate his family for two reasons:-

           (a) He was in love with another girl and was preparing to get married to her.
           (b) Sabira, his wife, had demanded that her gold ornaments be returned which he'd sold away
                without her knowledge.

He was scheming, all the while, to "dispose off" his family through a foolproof method! And yes, the catalyst for the sequence of the murder were the scenes from an old Hollywood movie that he happened to see, sometime back.

On the ill fated day, he'd avoided taking his car and took his two wheeler instead. He'd bought a saree for his unsuspecting wife, did some sundry shopping and then drove through a route - which did not head towards his house and his wife'd innocently asked him as to why he was taking it - which had a sizeable water point, about midway, into which he drove his vehicle. Quickly swimming ashore, he stood as a spectator to take in the manner in which the three hapless lives met their watery graves! And then, taking the lifeless body of the younger child along with him, he knocked at a nearby house for help.

Of course his game was found out, the police had punched holes in his story and he was forced to spill the beans.

Interestingly, Shareef, a local contractor, is an active member of 'Tablighi Jamaat' that offers moral guidance to Muslims!

My take.

How did the guy manage to do such a heinous crime? Is he devoid of finer feelings? I mean, how could he see lives being smothered before him? Could he have ever lived peacefully thereafter?

Just can't understand human behaviour!


My uncle - the eldest son of my 93 year old grand aunt - had undergone an open heart bypass surgery this afternoon. I'd planned to go to Guruvayur to monitor the progress of work on my home. But since I'd volunteered to donate blood(My blood group being O+, I'm a universal donor, you see!) in case of an emergency, the earlier programme was cancelled. The surgery has gone off well and he's plugged on to a mandatory 4 hour ventilator regime. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

The mid-day meal scheme - who benefits?

The mid-day meal scheme by which, the children studying in schools all over India, are assured of a square meal during their forenoon recess has come under intense scrutiny of the public and the media thanks to the murky goings on behind the programme.

I'd like to go back in time and trace the beginning of this noble scheme. I'd like to believe that it was introduced, not as another electoral gimmick, but as a genuine thrust to fulfill the following requirements:-

      (a) To ensure that no child in India went hungry.
      (b) All children would be provided a scrumptious, nutritious and clean food.
      (c) The children would get motivated to attend school and the parents would ensure their attendance.
      (d) Since the food was prepared from a single source within the school, there was no disparity in the
           quality and did not bring to fore the economic backgrounds that each child came from.
      (e) By breaking bread together, the children developed the bond of togetherness. The loyalty to their
           institution was a consequent result.
      (f) Education for all, root out illiteracy and thereby, ensure an all inclusive growth.

For the scheme to succeed, the following actions were crucial:-

      (a) Close monitoring of the right quality and quantity of the resources that were flowing in.
      (b) The cooks and the food handlers were periodically checked for cleanliness and hygiene.
      (c) A core team drawn from the school's management/staff, the parents and the students to closely
           take stock of the day to day activities, take in suggestions and provide the necessary course
           corrections from time to time.
      (d) A strict accounting and audit of the resources by another team - drawn from the same mix as
            mentioned above - to ensure scrupulous use of the resources.

But alas, the middlemen, the touts and the fraudsters had easily found their way into the programme and have been merrily making a fast buck at the expense of the unsuspecting children. And the result is there for everyone to see - the media has only been able to touch upon a tip of the iceberg of corruption - which is disgusting and unacceptable. So you have:-

       (a) Substandard food grains and absence of essential ingredients.
       (b) Maggot and worm infested food stuff(the television grab showing the rotten eggs that were gonna
            be used in a school in Tamilnadu, angered me to no end let alone the aversion that it's caused!)
       (c) Unimaginably unhygienic conditions where food is prepared.
       (d) No one responsible or accountable for its flawless execution and smooth conduct.
       (e) Ever increasing cases of children falling sick and as in the latest case in Bihar, death of innocent


The perpetrators of the crime need to be rounded up and brought to book as they're the worst scum in this world, stealing food from the children's plates. Don't they deserve the ultimate punishment?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Rajnikant, yet again.

A young gentleman, in his late 20s, had come to me for help. He's a dentist who is looking forward to do his post graduation shortly. Well mannered and with the right values imbibed from his home, he's poised to do well in life for sure.

He hails from Chandrapur in Maharashtra and his parents are still in the government service. He's all set to marry his friend of four years by the next year. After having got what he'd wanted he was expansive and in a mood to interact. And that was the time a curious me had asked him about his name. To be named after the Tamil movie world's superstar is no ordinary stuff and a strong affinity of someone from among his close relatives must have been the guiding factor, so I surmised!

And sure enough, it was his dad's weakness for the star that was the prime mover for him to be named after the celluloid hero. It appears that his dad was so impressed by the actor - there are many who fall in this category not to talk of the 'Fan's Associations' in the star's name - that he used to find time even during the working hours to see a film that starred his favourite! Such blind craze is to be seen to be believed.

And further, the dad boasts of having seen all films of the actor that have been released thus far.

The young man is proud of his dad and doesn't mind the occasional ribs by his friends on his dad's fetish. He's gonna be with his parents for a month or so, on a break.


Years back, I was watching an 'MGR' movie in one of the cinemas at Thiruvananthapuram. During one of the fight sequences, between MGR and the villain, the latter manages to knock off the knife from the hero making him totally vulnerable to his diktats. A worked up and distraught viewer sitting among the front rows howled out a loud, "Inna anna kathi"(Here, big brother have this knife) and had chucked his own possession at the screen.    

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Unnecessary melancholia and other stories!

I shall put across a collage of thoughts that seem to be crowding my mind at this instant of time. Most of them can be classified as trivia but get them off my chest, I must.

1. Oh, these soaps!

I've often been pulling my friends' legs on seeing their serious attachment to the television soaps that they watch and used to be quite amazed when their moods dipped or soar when things happened negatively or positively for their favourite characters. I'd always maintained that I never got seriously involved in the fair on offer and usually watched them as a time pass.

But much to my chagrin and surprise, I found that I too am falling into the same vicious cycle that I used to tom tom myself as being free from. I'm speaking with particular reference to 'Kunkumappoovu' on Asianet and 'Utharan' on Colours. The way the protagonists - who were liked for their clear thinking and principled stands - flip unexpectedly and switch their stands to something that they shouldn't be doing brings about a sense of frustration. To my horror I realised that I was getting addicted and was guilty of the same lapse as that of my friends of which I'd been critical all along!

Et tu Rajeev?

2. Delhi afloat.

It was once again sad to see the plight of the Delhiites going about their lives on a day of the deluge. Continuous rains had thrown the traffic out of gear and water had accumulated on the roads with levels going above that of the cars' bonnets, at certain places. It gave me mixed feelings - bad to see familiar places that I used to frequent not long ago in a pathetically helpless condition and glad that I was far away from it all!

I'm sure that those vehicles have to be taken to their respective service stations for a thorough overhaul before being put to further use.

Why didn't they show the airport and its premises? Or did I miss out on the grabs?

3. When the young 'un takes wings.

Achu, my nephew, was off to Hyderabad as he was embarking on the next phase of his life after having completed his course in engineering. His mother - and I'm sure, his father too but he managed to keep his emotions masked - was sad that soon he'd be on his own and that his presence amid them would be reduced to occasional trysts, dictated by his professional requirements.

Lekha and me had a long chat with them over the telephone to bring down their agony but I doubt as to whether we'd accomplished anything. Only time, I guess, would do the needful.


I'm reminded of a friend's hastily scribbled scrawl on my autograph connecting a few of the works of the 'Bard of Avon' and I quote,
       "Life is neither a tempest nor a midsummer night's dream. It's a comedy of errors and you can make it
        as you like it".  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Can parents be so inhuman?

Shafeeq, a five year old boy, in a ventilator of a private hospital at Kumily of Idukki district, has been fighting for life since last Tuesday. His condition has been brought about by unimaginable physical torture by his father and stepmother.

Further details:-
      (a) Sherif, all of 27 yrs, is a daily wage worker and has been staying in a rented house at the first mile
           in Kumily. He's the father.
      (b) Aleesha, aged 26, is the stepmother. She has a baby girl from her first marriage and another from
           her marriage to Sherif.
      (c) Young Shafeeq is the second of two children from Sharif's first marriage.
      (d) Shafeeq was brought to the hospital in an unconscious state by his father and stepmother saying
           that the boy had suffered head injuries after falling from a ladder.

The findings of the doctors tending the young child at the hospital are horrifying:-

      (a) Burn marks all over the body.
      (b) Scars on the skin caused by pinching.
      (c) A deep wound on his head.
      (d) Left leg, broken at two places below the knee and one of the fractures has happened sometime ago.
      (e) He's in an extremely critical condition.

My take.

My dear li'l Shafeeq,

1. What wrong have you done to get such awful parents?
2. I must admire you for the enormous reserves of strength that you possess. How did you manage to
    absorb all the pain - both physical and I'm sure mental too?
3. I admire your struggle to survive despite your horrifying experiences in life, thus far. You're a fighter and
    here's my sincere wish and prayers that you recover earliest. I would also like to play a part in your
    rehabilitation and show you that life can be much better.

Love. An agonising uncle.


God, pse look after the little child and do not make him feel the pain.


And God, if I may ask, why have you blessed these brutish people with children? Haven't you erred?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Of inefficiency and sloth....

There's a big joke that's going on around here on which Kochiites can have a hearty laughter.

It's all about an ill conceived project to have a windmill smack opposite the harbour mouth and beside the marine drive, to provide electric power supply to the ornamental lighting adorning the entire stretch of the walkway at the Marine Drive. The idea was that of the GCDA(Greater Cochin Development authority). A nice idea, I must admit but it's its execution that smacks of ineptitude, corruption and sloth.

A fortnight back, the windmill was erected and commissioned with great fanfare and pomp. Within 24 hrs, the fan had fallen off much to everyone's disgust and to make matters worse, the explanation given was that a massive gust of wind had brought down the structure - and the Kochiites are still wondering as to when that gust of wind had blown over them. Again just a couple of days back, the leaves were put back in place and the windmill was recommissioned. The blades of the windmill have been blown off yet again.

Obviously, there's something wrong with the equipment and its installation. That the project was given to a company that has no past experience in the field of windmills and generation of power from the wind, has already become a talking point and I shall not dwell upon it. I would like to believe that it would be investigated thoroughly and the guilty brought to book at the earliest. But, as a layman and as a dweller in the city, I've the following queries:-

      (a) Where's the famed pride in the quality of one's work? I'd expect people to admire my efforts on the
           accomplishment of a difficult job.
      (b) What about the thoroughness in one's knowledge that's essential for a successful project? Hollow
            promises and lack of expertise cannot be of any help.
      (c) Or were the executors of the project cocking a snook at us, at large?
      (d) And doesn't the feeling that, they're quite sure of getting away despite the fiasco, gain currency?


Paradoxical, to put it mildly. Kerala's requirement of electricity far exceeds the power generation from all its hydel projects. Alternate sources like solar energy and wind power need to be tapped without further delay. We seem to be doing just that but with a crooked mind - to make a fast buck at whatever cost! When will we learn or will we ever?     

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The first of the Malayalam month, Karkkidakom.

Today is the first day of the month of 'Karkkidakam' on the Malayalam calendar.

 And the 'mallus' the world over also call this month the 'Ramayana maasam'. In almost every household, the matriarch would begin reciting the Ramayana, from cover to cover, so as to go through the entire epic by the end of this month.

The reason is quite simple. Lord Sri Rama was born in this month, as per the Malayalam calendar and his star was 'Punartham'. And as all are aware, this was one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu as a human being, to cleanse the world and its inhabitants of all the evils!

At home, my mom religiously goes over the recital of the Ramayana and as a rule, she usually does it late in the evening after she's finished her chores. I've been seeing this ritual since my childhood and have always felt that her prayers give the family the strength to ward off all evils - a 'raksha kavach' of sorts!

The 'mallus' also call this as the 'panja maasam' - when the households have come to the reserve stock of their foodgrains and other resources and are literally scooping out the last bit of grain from their domestic granary. The following month is 'Chingam' and the time for harvest, the piling up of yet another fresh stock of grains and other resources.

And the rains continue in full fury only to taper, in intensity, by the end of the month.


All the Malayalam channels on the television have a half an hour slot in the morning, earmarked for the Ramayana recital. It was nice to hear the rendition but in no way can substitute the way mom does!  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

'Jaanam samjhaa karo....'

As I was driving to work this morning, this number from Asha Bhonsle's popular Indipop album, was heard on the FM and I knew that the day was gonna be good, nay fantastic. Wonder whether the pep in the music made me drive faster than my usual speed and no, I'd no traffic cop gunning for me. My man, Friday was surprised to see me sitting in my Chevy much after I'd brought it to a halt as I wanted to hear the number till its end!

And yes, the day turned out to be fine...

1. A wedding invite.

Bunty and Babli, our helps all through the long tenure that we'd at Delhi, had called up to inform us about their daughter, Deepika's, wedding that has been fixed for the 14th of February next year. The would-be-bridegroom is a tourist taxi driver from a reasonably, well off family. She's all of 19 yrs and has been indifferent to her studies, but has cleared her class XI and is currently going to class XII - she'd dropped two years in between, just like that!

They've four children in all - a boy, who's the eldest followed by three daughters - well behaved and smart. I'd told them that it was a bit too early for the young lady to get married but I suppose their eagerness to go through their parental responsibilities, as quickly as possible, has brought them to such a decision!

Made a note of the date in my diary and we intend attending the ceremony.

2.E Sreedharan honoured.

The Rotary International District 3201 of Ernakulam felicitated the metro-man by giving him the 'For the Sake of Honour' award. Though the name of the prize confused me thoroughly, I was personally glad because of the fact that the Rotary Governor, Dr. K Ajayakumar, happens to be a nice soul that I know - he's my classmate from school and we used to be in our school's cricket team.

Quite active in the medical profession, he's taken upon himself to initiate programmes to alleviate the problems of the not-so-lucky among us, during his Governorship. Way to go Ajay, here's us wishing you all the best in your endeavour!


There was this late night musical programme, 'Raag Rang' on one of the Malayalam television channels which paid rich tributes to the late Pran saheb. The programme had covered the numbers picturised on him in various Hindi movies and the last one was the delightful, 'Hum bolega tho bologe ki boltha hai....' from the Amitabh Bachchan-Hema Malini starrer, 'Kasauti'.

Monday, July 15, 2013

In right earnest.

A feeling of whiling away time without doing anything substantial gnaws my mind many a time. Wonder whether the phenomenon is unique in me and I've always wondered as to why it recurs from time to time. And mind you, it has no set frequency or is there, that I haven't been able to grasp?

I've not dwelt upon it either as it has always been a passing thought but I must admit that the strong feeling of guilt for having let go precious time that's never gonna come back ever, has been overwhelming! And regarding the frequency of its happening I'm without a clue. Have I been able to befuddle my readers? While tendering my apologies I must reiterate the fact that I continue to be a confused bundle of thoughts.

Today was such a day when I was revisited by the forlorn thought. The paradox was that there were so many things that had been accomplished, many pending jobs have been given the requisite impetus and small milestones were achieved towards attainment of the overall aim. Along with the official work, quite a few actions were undertaken on a personal level that were long put off for flimsy reasons!

Despite the foregoing, as I was ruminating over my day's activities through a critical viewpoint I realised that I'd flunked my own test regarding my achievements. Deep within there was a predominant feeling that I was concentrating on trivia and had much better things to accomplish. And so, what was I waiting for? But no amount of introspection could help me to get my finger on the pulse of what I really intended to do and accomplish!

Am I losing my sanity then? I don't think so. And I hope not!


The mind is the most complex aspect of the anatomy of a human being. And one can't afford to trifle with it. Dunno whether the extract of Robert Frost's poem can be used to sum up my current state of mind but I'm gonna do just that anyways,

              "The woods are lovely, dark and deep
                But I've promises to keep
                And miles to go before I sleep
                And miles to go before I sleep".

Sunday, July 14, 2013

An embarrassing faux pas.

It was well past afternoon when a classmate of mine had called up to find out as to whether we're game for an evening visit to yet another classmate of our's who'd recently joined the ever growing tribe of the 'grandfather's club' from among us. I decided to squeeze in the visit before the arrival of our guests, who're expected later in the evening, to our place, for an overnight stay.

To be on time, I'd stepped out on my customary walk a tad earlier than usual and sure enough, Lekha did receive a call from a friend of our's wondering as to whether I wasn't a bit too early for my evening sojourn. Seemingly, they'd driven past me on their way home. They must have surmised that I was sorta' mad to be out on exercise with the sun - yes, for a change there was a respite in the rains - still shining brightly!

We're ready and had set off for our destination at the appointed hour. The traffic was sparse and smooth flowing and we're on the doorbell of our friend's house within a matter of half an hour. We'd carried two sets of gifts - an assortment of infant's clothes - on my prodding that the new arrival was a baby boy.

It was after exchanging pleasantries and on talking to the 'new' mother that we came to know that her bundle of joy was indeed a baby girl. The culprit for the faux pas was your's truly and if looks could have killed me I'd have become memory thanks to the collective stares that said, 'Come on, you couldn't have been so dumb?' And they all laughed and as though taking the cue, the little one too made some noise in her sleep. To me it appeared that she was telling me in her own cute way that I hadn't surprised her!

The others were quite sporting I must say. But it was yet another occasion when I'd wanted to shrink into my clothes!


Usually, I admit that I ain't sure and would have tried to ascertain the facts to avoid an embarrassment. Why was I so sure, in this case? I still can't fathom!      

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Li'l Shanaya's baptism.

Shanaya is just over a 100 days old. And today has been an important milestone in her life. She'd officially entered the church that she'd continue to visit all through her life - it was the day of her baptism!

She made her arrival known to everyone assembled at the haloed surroundings of the church in her own inimitable way. She cried almost through the entire ceremony. In her mother's words, she was virtually fasting and had not had a feed since morning as she wasn't interested then, despite the offer. Probably, it foretells about her piety and attitude towards religion that she'd have something only after the mandatory prayers - a principled young lady, this!

I'd finished my day's work and was in time to be at the church a trifle past 11 just as the homily was beginning. The head priest outlined as to what would be the course of activities in the hour-long proceedings and the implications of each of his actions. It was tremendously educative and I must admit that I did feel humbled by the dignified and ornate facade of the church along with the solemnness of the occasion.

A ceremonial lunch was laid in a hotel nearby on completion of the proceedings at the church and it was delightful to see the young star of the occasion full of smiles, quite contended and happy with herself. As the entire family - her parents, grandparents, both maternal and paternal and the young ma'asi, who'd specifically flown down from abroad to be at the occasion which was, indeed a great gesture on her part - lined up at the dais, it was a beautiful snapshot for posterity and should definitely find its special place in the li'l one's personal album forever!

I said a small prayer for Shanaya and wished that she gets whatever she wished for in her life.

A Saturday's forenoon well spent! Thanks, li'l Shanaya, for making it happen!!


1. I was amused to see many of my friends at lunch, having given the formalities at the church a miss. No, I ain't ridiculing them - ardent church goers, mind you - because many of them firmly believe that one visit, on Sunday, is more than adequate to keep their god in good humour!

2. Which brings me to my doubt as to whether we really need to visit religious places to show our allegiance to god. I'm sure even god wouldn't want that!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Snippets of the day.

I'm touching upon certain snippets of the news of the day that touched me deep within. And here I go....

1. Adieu Pran saheb.

The legendary actor and as cited by many, the charming villain, Pran passed into the mist of time this evening at Bombay. He was 93 and had been ailing for awhile. He was the reigning villain in the Hindi movie world when I was a school going kid. I can never forget him in his roles in the movies 'Purab aur Paschim' and 'Zanjeer' to name just a couple out of the 400 odd roles that he'd essayed during his lifetime. I remember having been so incensed with him while viewing the movie 'Ram aur Shyam' in which he whips the meeker Dilip Kumar without mercy and if it were possible, I'd have snatched that whip myself and thrashed him then. Not to forget the movie 'Kasauti' in which he acts as a gorkha and sings that memorable number, 'Hum bolega tho bologe ki bolta hai....' I guess I can go on and on....

The uniqueness of his 'villainy' on screen was that he played by certain rules and principles. No doubt, it was dictated by the trends of the times compared to the nasty and detestable villains of today! And he carried it off with an elan.

RIP Pran saheb. My humble homage and prayers for a great actor and here's wishing you peace in eternity!

2. 'Malala day'.

Pakistani teenager, Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head and seriously injured by the Taliban a few years back, celebrated her 16th birthday in style. She was given life saving treatment in the UK where she now lives. Today, she told the United Nations in her first public speech after the assassination attempt on her, that she would not be cowed down by terrorists. A spunky girl, I must say, and how I wish that her own country could take a strong stand like her against terrorism.

The United Nations has declared 12 Jul - her birthday - as 'Malala day' taking into account her courageous stand against terrorism of any kind.

Malala, you've shown real guts and steely countenance. May there be many more like you!


Reflective yet encouraging, to sum up today's mixed feelings! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The afternoon musings.

This afternoon we'd an appointment with Lekha's doctor at the Amritha Institute of Medical Sciences. We'd set off by a quarter to 3, but a series of traffic snarls - caused by the badly potholed stretches of road - ensured that the distance of about 11 kms was covered in a trifle over an hour.

But the approach road of the railway overbridge at Idappalli on the NH17, or the lack of it, was pathetic to say the least. There was no sign of the surface bitumen, the potholes have become huge craters and the unfortunate motorists on their two wheelers and those, in their cars with smaller wheel dimensions had a tough time negotiating them. The condition was the same of the road receding from the bridge and a heavy downpour made matters worse.

How can things be led to slide to this sorry pass? Can't anything be done to the contractor who'd taken up the resurfacing work on the road not even a year back? It's more than evident that he, with the connivance of the corrupt officials, had done a substandard job and pocketed crores of rupees. It's my firm opinion that these guys need to be tried in a fast-track court, paraded in public to show the face of corruption and suitably punished, thereafter.

*                                                 *                                              *

Due to the inclement weather, I'd expected to come across less number of patients compared to the throng on a normal day. But my expectations were belied in that the strength was almost equal if not more than the usual attendance. Just proves that ailments are aplenty and our dependence on medical cover is something that cannot be wished away. Blame it on our style of living, huh!

*                                                 *                                               *

I still err in exhibiting good manners or on being nice to the others. After what seemed to be a long wait - over 21/2 hrs and that too based on an appointment fixed a month back - we'd finally reached the vicinity of the doctor's room and got to sit on chairs provided for the waiting patients. No sooner had I sat on my chair, came an elderly gentleman for whom I'd eventually offered my seat after an initial 'lethargy'. Reminiscing over it later, why didn't I do so readily? Probably, the 'Mr. Hyde' of my personality was momentarily overbearing at that point of time!

That the elderly gentleman had politely refused the offer because he was badly arthritic and had difficulty in getting up after sitting down did not play down the guilt in me. I suppose I deserved it for being boorish, albeit for a short while!!


Meeting the doctor and the short interaction was educative and interesting as usual with the doctor being thoroughly happy with the way Lekha's medical condition has progressed thus far. We've promised to meet up for the next review after a couple of months.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Another wasted day!

Yet another day that went down the drain! The Left Democratic Front had called for the dawn-to-dusk 'hartal' in protest against what they termed 'the police excesses' on their leaders.

What they had conveniently forgotten was the provocation from their side simply because the police force is the favourite whipping boy for all. The state is reeling under the havoc caused by the monsoons and the people are crying for help at many places where the devastation has been of epic proportions and it's there that both the ruling and the opposition fronts should have been concentrating their efforts on. And after having controlled the situation, they could have gone back to scoring brownie points!

But is anyone bothered about governance? Do the people's problems have any priority in their scheme of things? And the Metro-rail work took its first major hit in having to stop work thanks to the absence of the workers - E Sreedharan and his team had projected the requirement of 1,095 working days(three years) for the project's successful completion. Mind you, this seems to be the first disruption and cannot be the last from past experiences.

The time and cost overruns be damned!

I'd a wonderful time in driving my Chevy to work. The normally choc-a-bloc roads were empty with very few vehicles plying. And it was pouring almost all through the day. The loss of man hours and the consequent output, is yet to be ascertained but make no mistake it's gonna be in crores! We just don't want to learn our lessons. The progress of the state can afford to wait - so seems to be the message that our political class is trying to convey.


It was a harrying time for the hapless inbound passengers - who'd come in by rail, road and air - but most of them had taken the vagaries in their stride. As if they'd any other option?

But it was heartening to see the 'do-gooders' in various 'avatars'. The members of 'Bullethood' - a group of Royal Enfield Bullet riders ferried hundreds of stranded passengers to their destinations and the food made by the prison inmates was godsend to them as all eating joints had downed their shutters!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

It's rains all the way.

The south-west monsoon has been going strong and from all accounts, this year it's gonna be on the surplus side, at least in Kerala. When viewed from the extreme heat and the subsequent drought conditions prior to its onset, the downpour was essential.

It must have taken the first fortnight's rainfall to thaw the parched land and consequently, build up on the water table's reserves. The huge playground-like river beds have once again become things of the past and all the rivers are overflowing. In fact, quite a few of them have devastated the dwelling units on their banks and are continuing to wreak havoc.

The children are having a whale of a time. Their schools are shut, from time to time, to keep the tiny tots away from the nature's fury and at times, for their schools to be used for sheltering the unfortunate people affected by the incessant rains - displaced from their homes due to extensive water logging and the collapse of shanties and low cost constructions!

The essential services like electricity, water, telephones - and you can add the internet too - have survived the initial erratic existence and are functioning to acceptable standards. But the condition of the roads, including the main thoroughfares, is simply pathetic. Everyday sees the birth of new potholes with the existing ones transforming themselves to huge, unmanageable craters thanks to the mad rush of traffic which keeps on unabated. Harried motorists, in turn, take out their frustration rising out of the chaos on their fellow motorists - I'm sure that the number of cases of hypertension is gonna hit the roof by the time this monsoon comes to an end!

Illnesses, connected with the season, are on the rampage and the outpatient departments of most of the hospitals are bursting at the seams thanks to the ever increasing swell of patients. The waste management system has been in limbo, long since and has been a contributing factor in the spread of the diseases.


The people were eagerly looking forward to the monsoons when they're reeling under the unprecedented drought conditions of the summer and once the rains have begun to fall, the very same people desperately hope for it to come to an early end. A real paradox, indeed!    

Monday, July 8, 2013

The extra-constitutional authorities!

These days, the media in Kerala is all agog with excitement and provides a daily dose of interesting stories concerning a big, still unfurling fraud that's known by the sobriquet, 'the solar scam case'.

For the layman, the case is all about a con couple - Saritha and Biju - who went about swindling money from unsuspecting people, in the name of setting up domestic/industrial plants working on solar energy, unabashedly brandishing their political patronage to bring difficult customers to toe their line. From the stories that have come out thus far, the fraud couple seems to have had unrestricted access to anyone and everyone that matter in the corridors of power. The chief minister, immediately on taking over, had thrown open his office to public gaze and had even installed an  electronic surveillance system within his office and the secretariat, to emphasise that he'd nothing to hide in his official dealings and that his chief ministership was like an open book for all to see.

But the fact of the matter seems to be that the fraud duo had patronage within his secretariat! As the details of telephonic conversations of the couple get analysed, the sad fact is that they'd friends across the political spectrum. Many heads might roll, a lot many reputations - carefully built over a period - are gonna bite the dust. These would be the short term effects and I do not have anything to say as I'm no political commentator and also because the matter is being probed. But what seems to be glossed over and is getting buried in the din is the enormous power that is wielded by the personal staff of our ministers or the secretariat.

The coterie - I'm gonna call them that - is chosen from the closest associates of the political leader. The personal attributes of integrity, education, people skills and finer aspects of behaviour have no weightage in their selection. Boorish behaviour - a studied aloofness, an air of self importance, tendency to stonewall efforts at meeting his boss, a continuous tryst on the telephones and an obnoxious arrogance - is but the 'sine qua non' of these extra constitutional authorities! Their political bosses would be much more accessible and people friendly in comparison!! Using their clout arising from their proximity to the seats of power, they go about attaining their personal goals - unthinkable to the common man - without compunction or guilt!!!

It's high time that the selection process of the personal staff of ministers is streamlined to ensure that merit and above all, integrity of the highest order is assured.


Is it wishful thinking because the cynical masses have long since surmised that the 'backroom guys' of the seat of power are essentially the fixers, the dealers and the middlemen? They're a must for their leader's survival, you see!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

An educative evening....

I'd met young Ashwin at this evening's get together at his residence. His dad and I are comrades at arms. He's doing his post graduation in dental surgery and on completion, wants to go into the interiors of Madhya Pradesh to do his further practice. He's also poised to marry the girl - whom he's been in love with for the last few years - by the end of this year and has invited me for the same.

He's been part of a global team of doctors and social workers, which had done extensive philanthropy work on the western coast of Africa viz. the Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Sensing my interest on his work and impressed by my awareness of the area, he was soon showing me a comprehensive album on the activities covered by the team on his personal computer.

I've read about the abject poverty in many of the nation states of the African continent. Illiteracy and the harsh natural elements of extreme weather, coupled with the wild flora and the fauna make the human population literally fighting every minute for their existence. Adding to their miseries is the lack of effective communications - the main highway in the Ivory Coast is a wide dusty, unmetalled road, just to cite an example - and a life that hasn't been exposed to the technology that you and I are aware of!

Frames showing hospitals and their 'operation theatres' gives one the impression that time has stood still in those countries for many, many years. Primitiveness - what it was here, in our country, almost two centuries back and no, I ain't exaggerating. Yes, that's the vintage as per my reckoning! - is the way of life in those hapless countries during this modern, technologically driven times that we're familiar with outside it!!

How come they missed the path of development? Apologists who find the dependence on technology as the cause of all ills prevalent in the society are quick to add that human beings, from such environment, are simple, straight hearted and outrightly innocent. How come, then, do those people behave otherwise towards their fellow brethren with scant regard to the finer feelings of accommodation and love?

An eye opener! Will those people be able to experience the benefits of technology in this century itself? Or will they have to satisfy themselves with just cooked rice and no add ons, which is their only square meal and that too, just once in a day for many?


1. Have read that when slavery was abolished in the United States, the freed ones had returned/migrated back into Africa. And they'd taken charge of the existing population to suit their whims and fancies. Have they purposely kept development away from the country lest their free run would get arrested? Paradoxical and sad.

2. Thanks, Ashwin for the valuable education!

3. And here's wishing that many more kindhearted people like you embark on a journey to provide comfort and succour to the suffering masses and to bring them to our standards at the earliest!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Living everyday....

This evening, while on my customary walk, I happened to come across my friend and his wife who'd returned to the city after a short trip. They're quick to give us an invite to spend the evening with them for supper and discussions. Since we're fancy free and footloose the offer was accepted and consequently, we're at their door by a half past 8.

It was a laid back evening with discussions on a host of issues. There were a few others too, in attendance, and the conversation veered around a fundamental aspect as I could surmise. People have already begun to worry about their future and that too, quite distant in terms of time and life. The scenario of being a 'burden'(?) to one's children due to infirmities and the consequent requirement to attach themselves to a well run old age shelter with like-minded people - whom they presume would never leave them in the lurch and who'd provide the much needed support - looms large giving them the nightmares!

I really couldn't accept their way of thinking, fundamentally because I never looked too far in life. Life is at its splendid best when one lives from one day to the next, without worrying about the uncertainties and the numerous possibilities that are mere figments of imagination. Secondly, never expect anything from the others be it even from your own folks! And take things with a smile - always and every time. It leaves people guessing....

I ended being the soothsayer with an open invitation for anyone, among them, to come and stay at my place for as much time as they chose to! And we all had a hearty laugh as we broke up, a trifle after midnight!!


Ruminating over the evening, a thought struck me as I punch in these words, "Is anyone of them having a problem with their children"? If it's in the affirmative, the blame is on them for not having brought up their children with the right values and the ways of life because looking after one's parents and elders is but a natural progression as per the diktat of nature!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Food assured?

The much tom-tommed 'food security bill' has got its nod from the President of India in the form of an ordinance. It now needs the ratification of the Parliament within the next six months, failing which, it gets to be persona non grata.

To ensure food for all is indeed a very noble thought. In this country of our's there is a multitude of people who do not have the luxury of having even a single square meal every day. Once the mechanics of the bill come to bear, it's sincerely hoped that the government has plugged all the loopholes to ensure that no Indian ever goes hungry. In fact, the factors that need to be emphasised are:-

      (a) an effective distribution system. Identification of vantage points/shelters where the distribution will be
           done so as to avoid missing out even a single beneficiary.
      (b) proper identification of the beneficiaries and the consequent maintenance of a comprehensive data
           bank that's fool proof.
      (c) effective and lasting communications with the beneficiaries.
      (d) zero tolerance for touts and middlemen. Swift disposal of cases concerning fraud in the system with
           the harshest of punishments. Death penalty, perhaps, as such a misdemeanour is akin to grabbing
           food from the hapless one's plate who's too feeble to retaliate and hence, heinously wrong.
      (e) the smooth flow of resources into the programme to ensure its robust implementation.
      (f) quality, in terms of cleanliness and nutritious content, must be ensured at all times.

The costs that are projected to be incurred on account of this programme is estimated to be at a whopping Rs. 125,000 crores.

From past experiences, it's been seen that such welfare schemes are beset with a host of problems resulting in the actual beneficiaries not getting the benefits. And therefore, the cynical me would like to don the role of the Devil's advocate and voice my queries:-

       (a) why is it being pushed through in haste? Is it out of political expediency?
       (b) do we really have the resources to implement this programme? To have a welfare state rooted in
             socialistic ideals sounds good but the wherewithal for its sustenance is a must. (It need not be
             reminded that the collapse of the Soviet Union was fundamentally due to contradicting economics
             pitted against the harsh market realities at work).
       (c) are we unwittingly promoting a 'lazy' population who'd bank on the government for their daily
            living and sustenance ever after?


1. It's my fond hope that the Parliament debates on the bill so as to encompass meaningful additions and alterations, from all the sections across the political spectrum, to make it a foolproof piece of legislation. And in the process, our country would become a trailblazer in ensuring that not a single citizen of her's goes hungry!

2. And what about the middle class whose contribution to the government's coffers, in the form of taxes, that's gonna bear the brunt of the outlay for the programme?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The General body meeting.

Today was the General body meeting of our residential area. An annual affair, it's now been reduced to a ritual attended by a few and I seriously wonder as to whether many of the residents really care. I mean I wonder whether they're aware as to why such a conglomeration is a must and by giving it the miss, they're in effect missing out on the following:-

      (a) the aim that the residential area's governing committee has set itself to attain.
      (b) the services that are being provided and what the residents are entitled to.
      (c) the existing rules concerning the security of the walled 'township' and the connected rules in place.
      (d) the details of the income and expenditure of the fund being maintained by the committee.
      (e) the identities of the committee's members and election of the new office bearers in rotation.
      (f)  the details of activities, trends and things to watch for to ensure safety and the well being of the  
      (g) the reporting of lapses, aspects of maintenance that have been overlooked and those that need the
           urgent attention for being set right.
      (h) the progress/completion of the agenda points of the previous meeting and reasons for not achieving
           targets that have been laid down.
      (j) the targets that are to be set for the forthcoming year.

I can go on to underscore the importance of the meeting and the necessity of all the residents' robust participation to have a vibrant and happy population. But alas, all efforts to bring in everybody have proved to be in vain. The statistics of the attendance gives credence to the sorry tale - out of the total strength of 132 families, give or take about 20 being held up for various reasons like availing leave, stuck with an unavoidable commitment that had just cropped up etc, only 62 members were present. A dismal show indeed!

Wonder why the recalcitrance? Is it because of our 'couldn't care' attitude? Or is it because of the feeling that there's nothing much to be attained at a personal level? Or is it because of the thought that if the services were to be found wanting, the committee members were always there to take the flak or can be hauled upon coal?


1. I'd told the gathering which summed up my feelings, "Less participation and no serious points mean only either of the two situations. One where everyone's happy with the state of affairs and the other, where none is happy about what's on offer. I'd like to earnestly believe that it's the former".

2. The crowd has agreed on the conduct of a social evening involving the talent available within the premises as a farewell gesture for your's truly as I ride out into the sunset by November, this year!

3. And after the meet, there were quite a few who'd called me up to apologise and give me reasons for their absence!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Egypt - back to square one!

Egypt's powerful army has ousted the country's first democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi and suspended the constitution after its 48 hr deadline for him to meet the people's demand and accept a power sharing formula.

Increasingly seen to be pandering his political outfit, the Muslim Brotherhood, he seemed to be putting the clock back in so far as traditions, customs and accommodation of opponents of the outfit's scheme of things. I'm no political commentator and hence, I consider myself ill equipped to venture into any sort of analysis about the factors that have brought Egypt to her present impasse.

But as a layman, I can easily see as to what had gone wrong and my opinion has been formed over a period of time spent on watching the television news grabs of various channels and reading a cross scetion of the print media. From those inputs, the following are discernible:-

              (a) Morsi, never got around to providing good governance to the people of Egypt.
              (b) He was unsure of his standing in that neither he nor his political outfit, the Muslim Brotherhood,
                   had won a clear mandate in the last elections.
              (c) Consequently, he was in a process of consolidating his own position and that of his party's by
                   some means or the other.
              (d) In doing so, he seemed to have missed out on the aspirations of the people - to provide a clean
                   and effective government that would systematically dismantle the system that was in place
                   over years of military dictatorship.

The simple fact that he and his supporters seem to have forgotten is that, if they'd provided good governance and cleansed up the detestable system that they'd inherited, they could have easily consolidated their position and earned a lasting place in their people's hearts. And could have ruled for years, perhaps, at the behest of the very same people who're happy at their exit now.

Morsi and his supporters seemed to increasingly follow the footsteps of Mubarak and his cronies. Paradoxical stuff!


Whither Egypt? Has the Arab spring that had brought the Tahrir Square to the living rooms of millions of houses around the globe, a couple of years back, gone in vain? Will the lives lost on that Square ever pardon Morsi and his cronies for having let go a historical opportunity to bring back the country to peace and sanity?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Interesting tidbits.....

 Am putting down something that I've come across. Did you know what the following acronyms - that we use almost everyday - expanded themselves into? So, here we go:-

      (a) News            North, East, West, South.
      (b) Chess           Chariot, Horse, Elephant, Soldiers.
      (c) Cold             Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease.
      (d) Joke             Joy of Kid's Entertainment.
      (e) Aim              Ambition in Mind.
      (f)  Date             Day and Time Evolution.
      (g) Eat                Energy and taste.
      (h) Tea               Taste and Energy Admitted.
      (j)  Pen               Power Enriched in Nib.
      (k) Smile            Sweet Memories in Lips' Expression.
      (l)  Bye              Be with You Everytime!


1. Frankly speaking, I'd be kidding if I were to say that I'd known all of these before. In fact, I didn't even know that some of these commonly used words were indeed acronyms!

2. But anything and everything is knowledge in the continuous process of growth. As knowledge is power!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

This, to me, is illiteracy!

I happened to meet up with a friend of mine, a doctor who's very popular thanks to her flawless bedside manners and who has the interest of her patients, uppermost in her mind. Within a comparatively short span of time, she's made her mark in her profession and many awards - national and international - have come her way in recognition of her tireless efforts in her profession.

Interacting with her has been a pleasure as I've always benefited from the fund of knowledge of which she's a repository. She claims that she too looks forward to our interactions but I've always felt that it's her humble and magnanimous way of putting me at ease, more aptly, my fragile ego at ease!

Since it was just a week after the 'Vaayana vaaram', our conversation had meandered to the topic as to whether we 'literate mallus' had a head start on our counterparts, from the rest of the country, on general attitudes and behaviour! Much to my dismay, the stark reality is different as gleaned from the facts on the ground and who, better than a doctor, can appreciate this social aspect because of the numerous patients that he or she comes across, day in and day out.

The case goes something like this. A young lady in her mid 30s, while tending her aged father had missed a step and fallen hard on the ground taking a bad hit from a piece of furniture that came her way, in the process. The saving grace was that she was able to save her father from falling. But the hapless lady went through excruciating pain for almost a week and she'd administered painkillers and other drugs to lessen her discomfort due to the following reasons:-

    (a) the discomfort was centered around her private parts and therefore, showed a reluctance to expose(?)
    (b) to make matters worse, there were only male doctors in the immediate environment.
    (c) she'd not informed either her husband or her son as she felt self conscious.

What was appalling was that she seemed to have missed out on the following fundamentals:-

    (a) the basic ethics of a doctor-patient relationship.
    (b) a female patient's right to have a chaperone/attendant while being attended to by a male doctor.
    (c) the details of lady doctors - even from outside the immediate environment - if such a feeling existed.
    (d) the perils of self administering pain killers or drugs.

Luckily for the young lady, she'd fetched up finally at my friend's treatment room. She's on a long, yet sure, road to recovery because of valuable time lost initially.


The young lady is a double graduate from reputed universities. But can you blame me when I say that it's a case of illiteracy notwithstanding the educational certificates that she possesses?