Saturday, August 31, 2013

Today's a sad day for me!

An overwhelming feeling of sadness has engulfed me on hearing that one of the guys involved in the 'Nirbhaya' gang rape case of 16 Dec, last year has been found guilty of the charges but since he was a juvenile at the time of the crime, he has been given a jail term of three years in a 'correction home'.

I suppose the Juvenile Justice Board was on a tight leash thanks to its definition of a 'juvenile'. And in this case, from what is known, it was he who was the most brutal of them all in inflicting injury to the hapless young lady after violating her sexually. So, a nagging doubt lingers in me as to whether the punishment that has been meted out to him is adequate for him to be rectified ever! So, I'd like to take the view that he's mentally very, very sick and there's nothing much that will be achieved by giving him the harshest punishment. But having said that I'd like to add a caveat - is there any point in a guy like him languish through life with his 'Mr. Hyde' persona?

Am I sounding confused? I sure am because of the overwhelming thought that we, Indians, have collectively let Nirbhaya down.

It's my fond hope that when the court hands over its verdict to the remaining four, it would take an overall view of the case and look at the 'juvenile' from an altogether new light, so that he's dealt with appropriately! I'm sure there'd be a way out and I, for one, am anticipating something that would convince all of us that the young lady's sad end was not in vain. It would also send a clear warning of fear to all potential rapists.


In the meanwhile, I'd like to assure Nirbhaya's family that I, too, am going through their agony and pray that their daughter gets her justice ultimately!   

Friday, August 30, 2013

Finally, the right match!

Had got up at a half past 3 in the morning to be on time to board the Pune-bound superfast train, from the Ernakulam south railway station, at a quarter past 5. Mom was awake and it was she who'd given me my wake up call before the alarm had gone off. The morning cycle of routines - that includes a 20' prayer sequence - were gone through and I was in time to board the train thanks to the swift clip by Anup and his autorickshaw, through those 6 kms. I'd taken a day off to be at Kozhikode to be in attendance at the engagement ceremony of my cousin Malu with Rejish.

And there's a sad story that had taken place before this event.

......Almost a year ago, Malu had gone through an engagement ceremony with great fanfare and gaiety. The boy was working as a software engineer at Singapore and everything seemed to be going hunky dory. And then, disaster had struck in the form of the guy suddenly making an unscheduled visit to her at the workplace and was quite demanding in the assigning of her personal time for his sake. He'd felt that something was amiss when she hadn't responded to his phone calls - as per her, at the most inappropriate times(Her parents were much more accommodating on the issue and tried to tell her that she needed to accept her would-be-mate's requirements, but she did not subscribe to that idea. Her stand was that he was too possessive and did not give her her space!) 

To cut the long story short, the engagement was called off and things were discussed with the boy's family and the break up was amicably settled - no tantrums, no ill will, no future interference and above all, no nitpicking as to who's to be blamed for the break up, etc! Both the families stay within the same neighbourhood, you see. Thus an arranged relationship, that had the blessings of both the families, was in tatters even before it could take off due to reasons of incompatibility! 

Apprehensions were expressed as to whether another relationship could be worked out with the condition that the new folks had to be apprised of the previous fiasco! Thankfully, everything did go off well!!

The engagement ceremony took place between 1205 and 1230 h at a banquet hall of the city's prominent hotel, witnessed by a tight bunch of relatives, friends and well wishers and thankfully, devoid of ostentation.


The wedding has been scheduled on 31 Oct, this year, at the Guruvayur temple. Here's my small prayer to god that everything goes off well, this time around! Malu simply deserves it!!

And I was back at Kochi before sunset just to be in time for my usual walk in the evening.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The need for strokes.

This morning I'd told the caretaker of our residential area that the common lighting on the second floor of our block needed to be set right at the earliest as it has been playing truant for the last couple of days. The other families on the floor were hoping that the defect would be sorted out without delay as their 'president' stayed out there!

The repair team was indeed on the job right from the time they'd stepped in for work. It was a painstaking effort to sift through the numerous lines to pin point the faulty circuit breaker(I was shocked to know that such outdated technology has been used in this comparatively new building!) and when I'd come in for lunch, the leader of the working team was at pains to tell me that the entire forenoon had been consumed to detect and rectify the defect. In fact, they're just giving the final touch.

I'd patted him on his back for his team's success but was intrigued about the fact that he was seeking recognition about something that he should have been a past master at! Perhaps, it's the need of 'strokes' felt by every human being at some point of time or the other. Eric Berne, the behavioural scientist, has explained it beautifully and in depth, in his treatise on 'The Games People Play'.


On entering my house, Lekha explained to me as to how the team had gone about their job of fixing the fault after a series of short circuits and blowing of fuses, accompanied by howls of protests from different flats. They have had a tough time indeed! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Janamashtami with mom.

It was a holiday on account of Janamashtami and so, the day had begun on a leisurely note. After the early morning rituals of lighting the lamp, a brisk walk and collecting the milk and the newspapers from the door, I'd lingered on bed for a short while more.

Mon was excited that I was gonna be at home for the day while Lekha went about her efficient manner in getting things done. The services of Joginder, the local do-gooder, were put in to do some spring cleaning at home - the muck that the ceiling fans and the mosquito proofing of the windows accumulate is tremendous - which is actually a monthly ritual!

It has been almost three weeks since mom  had come along with us and there are visible signs of improvement in her overall being after the intake of the medicines advised by the doctor-next-door. However, her movements need to improve as her confidence falters, all too often, to navigate from one place to the other. She needs support - albeit, only at times - to make her frequent visits to the toilet. It's agonising to see her take the support of the pieces of furniture for her movement.

And there was a stream of visitors and well wishers who'd come in to meet her - and the common sentiment expressed was surprise, in that, they could never ever believe to see her in this state of infirmity because they've been used to a powerhouse of a personality in mom in their past interactions!

As per the doctor's advice too, we try to keep her involved with everything that we do but her ability to concentrate on things for long has taken a beating. Rarely does she watch the television nor does she read the newspapers or the periodicals - rituals that were important to her in the past! And given a chance, she hits the bed at the slightest pretext.

Today, thankfully, she was up and about for a longer duration and has even suggested a long trip to my sister's house at Palakkad. I shall pull it off after another ten days, when I'm sure she'd have regained more vigour and vitality after the ensuing stretch of the medical regimen that she's in at present.


It was prayers and 'puja' in the houses in the neighbourhood. Resultantly, a lot of sweetmeats on offer to Lord Krishna were passed on! But as I'd said earlier, the fervour with which the people in the north celebrate such occasions has a greater intensity compared to that of their counterparts in the south. It was the same today, too.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

We don't care a damn!

A girl studying in class XII has been alleged to be raped by the godman, Asaram. And see the subsequent actions or should I call them, inaction:-

     (a) The governments of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are dragging their feet in taking definitive action
           while their police forces are raring to go to apprehend the fraudster. The fact that the governments
           are that of the BJP and the Congress, respectively, show the complicity of the major political parties
           in tackling the scourge - the sexual harassment of women and the tremendous freedom enjoyed by
           the godmen.

     (b) The guy has been at large, stalls police attempts at taking his statement and through his goons, has
           been trying to mollify, threaten and cajole the young lady and her family to retract the complaint of
           rape against him.

Why're we like this? What I can't comprehend is that both the states are due for elections shortly and don't they fear a backlash by the population against their preposterous actions? Or they're sure that the public will take any story that they spin as the elections loom large. Or more simply, but dangerous though, they simply don't care? What control does this fraudster have over the politicians, that they fear him and consequently, patronise him and make sure that he's let off from arrest, interrogation and the denouement?

They - the politicians and the godmen - definitely, have a lot many things in common and it's in their interest that each other's activities need to remain hidden!


The helplessness of the law is pathetic. Is the stringency of the law only meant for the common man while 'the high and the mighty' roam free to commit atrocities at their will and choice?

Monday, August 26, 2013

They'd touched my heart.

It was a lovely day all the way. My official engagements went by clockwork precision with no glitches whatsoever. During this short visit, I'd come across a few people with whom I'd the privilege of interacting with and it was a great experience.

1. Chitra.

The ever smiling young lady at the gate of the hotel in which I was staying. Her job was to receive guests, open the massive glass doors(I never knew that girls were employed on such duties. Perhaps, she also had the dual charge of security!) and let them in. She'd a genuine smile, unlike the plastered ones that one gets to see quite often! A mother of two, she's been at this work for over five years.

Never lose your smile, Chitra. That, indeed, is your USP!

2. Ramesh.

A man in olive greens who's my 'saarthi' for the evening. Hailing from Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh where his family consisting of his mother, wife and two children stay. He's living alone out here in pursuit of his work and finds that the arrangement is perfect as his children has uninterrupted schooling in an English medium school, back home. Has been here for the last year and is grappling with a smattering of Tamil.

He's unaware of the route to Leela's place and after a single telephone call which he'd intently listened to, he'd navigated the distance without making a single error nor did he need to recheck about the veracity of his input.

Do not lose that focus, Ramesh because that's a great asset that you have!

3. Arvind.

The young and pleasant 21 year old is undergoing a course in music under Leela's tutelage. His disarming smile and the refreshing innocence writ large on his face and in his conversation endeared him to me.

Do not lose that innocence ever, Arvind. And I'm sure that that will help you to sail smoothly through life! And here's wishing that you get everything that you wish for.

4. Priyanka.

The confident young lady with a dazzling smile at the front desk of the hotel where I'm staying. She pronounces th of thirty as th in 'Pathak'. Due to financial difficulties at home and because of the untimely demise of her mother, she'd taken up this job soon after her class X. She's endeavouring to acquire a degree in Hotel Management! As a parting advice, I've asked her to work on her diction. No, I ain't ridiculing or belittling her, honest!

May you succeed in your efforts, Priyanka and never ever lose that genuineness of your smile.


Am I sounding condescending? I hope not. But the young men and women, mentioned above, have unique personalities and have touched a chord deep within me!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

At the Coromandel coast.

Back on the Coromandel coast on work. The drive to the airport and flying out of Kochi went off without any hitch. As the airbus 320 - fairly housefull, I must say - lost height to land and the ground features attained clarity, I could see the south quay 5 of the Madras port where I must have taken my ship alongside so many times during Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka.

But on landing, trouble came in unexpectedly thanks to a momentary breakdown in technology. Was made to wait at the arrival lounge because the conveyor belt providing the checked in baggage had gone faulty. And keeping in line with the typical Indian manner of tackling adversities/emergencies, there were no announcements as to what was happening and what to expect, no official of the airlines were anywhere in immediate sight and no apologies for the discomfort caused! We'd lost an hour trying to retrieve our baggage.

And on a personal note, my agony was compounded with my cellphone refusing to come alive. It took Bhagat, my 'saarthi', just a couple of minutes to press a few buttons of the instrument to get it going. I gave him a sheepish grin and thanked him for his help.

A few errands were run, had dumped my luggage in my room and went about meeting people and enjoyed every moment. And by the time I'd turned into bed, I found that I was dog tired even though it was never felt through the course of the evening as I went about doing my stuff.


Technology and me seem to be like the parallel lines of a railway track!     

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Another tamasha in the offing!

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad's march to Ayodhya, this coming Sunday, is to score brownie points towards making their stand on building a 'Ram temple' out there. The ruling Samajwadi party is also gonna score similar points when their police forces would stop the marchers on their tracks as they'd be seen as saviours supposedly, the interests of the Muslim community!

What a sham? The two sides seem to have assumed that the entire population of this country are dimwits that lack basic intelligence. Who cannot make out that this is a game being played out by the two sides in the hope of scoring an advantage in the next round of electoral politics!

Hope that the entire pantomime goes off peacefully and we shall see the goings on of that 'reality show', live from the spot, on our television screens!


This Sunday's, therefore, gonna be busy for all of us. What a farce on a non-issue? 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Today's thoughts.

There were a few things that have cast impressions, swayed feelings and had generally kept my mind occupied through the course of the day. An event that takes place far away from oneself has a bearing, if the affected party happens to have touched your life in some way or the other. There can be other incidents that have befallen upon someone, one has never come across, that can also create ripples within oneself by their sheer audacity, intensity or what have you. Let me try explaining my frame of mind by visiting each thought.

 (a) Ranajeet's moment of achievement.

 Ranajeet was with me at work and had left the service last year after finishing his initial engagement of
 service. He was poised to embark upon a new career in his 'second innings' and had appeared in quite a
 few competitive exams in the process - he seeks banking as an ideal profession since he could be with his
 family to look after an ailing mother and oversee his daughter's education. He'd inherited a bad debt from his
 father who'd passed away a few years back and had also the responsibility of getting his kid sister married.

 He'd patiently gone about tackling his problems. The bad debt was liquidated from the lump sum money that    
 he'd got on retirement, a small house was bought and today was the day he was to give his sister's hand in
 marriage at Thiruvananthapuram. Unfortunately, I couldn't attend the function due to prior commitments but
 had sent a team to grace the occasion.

 Here's wishing that god gives him everything that he wishes for because, he simply deserves it.

 (b) Another incident of rape.

 There has been an incident of rape of a 22 year old photo-journalist, while on duty. The place of incident -
 Bombay - a city that was considered safe for women at any time of the day. Six goons are involved and
 the poor young lady is being given medical attention at the Jaslok Hospital.

 Why does this continue to happen in our country? How do we put an end to this scourge? Can the law
 of the Sha'ariat be enforced for the perpetrators of this sort of crime as an extraordinary proposition to
 instill the element of fear? Or a fast track judicial process that would ultimately dole out capital punishment
 for the guilty? There can be no other option from my point of view.

 I hang my head in shame, young lady, for your agony as we, as a nation, have let you down! Here's me
 hoping and praying that you acquire the strength to out beat the scars at the earliest.

 (c) A foreigner's nightmare.

 While browsing the net, I'd come across the horrific account put down by Micheala Cross, from the
 University of Chicago, who has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder upon her return from
 India, after a study trip last year.

 In her account, she calls India a "traveller's heaven and a woman's hell" and has gone on to narrate the
 extraordinary levels of aggressive sexual behaviour that she'd experienced during her stay. Just sample a
      (a) she's stalked, groped and masturbated at.
      (b) she's photographed on mobile cameras to the extent of being offensive when she'd joined a
           group of dancing girls at a religious function.
      (c) she's clawed at the groins and breasts while she bargained in a public market.

 Are Indian men so sex starved? Or is it that our fixation for fair skinned people a sad reality, despite our
 claim that we've put the ill effects of 'centuries of the British Raj' behind us?


The moment of introspection and the need to be good human beings as espoused in our rich cultural heritage has been our valuable legacy. And it's high time that every Indian steadfastly adheres to them, failing which he'll become a laughing stock to the rest of the world!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

All in a day's work.

I'd got up groggily a trifle late this morning and it was because I'd gotten up around a half past 4, just like that and since I was awake, had gone around to see as to whether mom was comfortable and she was. That unscheduled interruption in sleep had caused the delay but I could still give her the morning cuppa at the designated time.

Lekha was away to attend her cousin's engagement ceremony for which all the three of us were slated to go but mom and me had pulled out at the last minute as mom was still not fit to travel!

At work, I'd gone through everything that required immediate attention before I set off on another errand which was inescapable. My friend, Basil's son, Arun was getting married to his friend of the last three years, Mary at the St Mary's Basilica Cathedral. Basil and his family are based at New Delhi, had very few relations and friends out here and hence his emphasis - during the invite - that we should attend without fail to enhance the bridegroom's crowd of relatives, friends and well wishers! And as I'd said earlier, I love the charm, the customs and the traditions that are associated with a church wedding. With Basil's aid, I was able to meet up with the people of the 'inner circle' and my quip over Mary's height - that I hate being looked down upon by women - drew peels of laughter from her and everybody around, which was eagerly snapped up by the shutterbugs in attendance. And I'd again regretted, albeit for a minutely small while, for being in the limelight for no rhyme or reason!

And it was back again at work in preparation and fine tuning things for my trip to Madras that's coming up. I'd kept my lunch purposely light, despite the exquisite spread on offer, to ward off sleep during the afternoon session.

The rest of the afternoon and the evening had meandered through with me doing the usual stuff. And just before turning into bed, was lucky to catch up with two lovely numbers on television:-

       (a) "Do sitaron ka zameen par ye milan aaj ki raat......." from the Dilip Kumar, Meena Kumari starrer
             'Kohinoor' and
       (b) "Saawan ka mahina pawan kare soru...................." from the Sunil Dutt, Nutan starrer 'Milan'.


Earlier in the evening, I was appalled by a footage shown by Arnab Goswami on prime time news about the ruckus caused by the Chinese troops recently, somewhere on the Arunachal Pradesh border. And the remarkable thing that stood out was the calm, resolute and matured manner in which a young Major of the Indian Army had tackled the situation that could have gone out of hand otherwise. Way to go young man, the  nation is proud of you! It's leaders like you who give the entire nation a peaceful and comfortable night's sleep!!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Egypt - the turn of events!

The Arab it all over? The 'golden' 'morrow longed by a majority of the Egyptians is yet to turn up. Rife and uncertainty continue to be all pervading! Where 'o where is the democracy where freedom flourished?

.....The release of Hosni Mubarak, after his prison stay, is gonna take place tomorrow and no, it's not gonna make any difference as he's no political future. But many in the country would assume that his coming out of prison is akin to the rehabilitation of an old order that thrived during the six decades of military-backed rule! And for a few among them, even a reversal of the Arab spring, perhaps?

The military is in charge now and running the day to day affairs of the country. The turmoil that has been on for over seven weeks after the toppling of the Islamist President, Mohammed Morsi, shows no sign of abetting. The armed forces have been  systematically going around to nab fundamentalists and guys with extremist leanings. Most of the top leadership of the radical 'Muslim Brotherhood' have been rounded up and put into prison.

The moderates, among the people, who'd greatly enhanced the strength of the thousands that were instrumental in pulling down the oppressive regime during the Arab spring of 2011, seem to be bewildered and confused as to what should be their future plan of action.

Have the deaths of the well meaning thousands during that period gone waste?

Why can't the moderates ensure that the small percent of people wedded to extremist ideology is thoroughly exposed and sidelined? That would be the most befitting tribute to the ones who'd willingly given up their lives at the Tahrir Square, in their quest for a free and dignified existence!


Let the warring parties sit at a negotiation table, thrash out their differences and provide the people the regime of their requirement!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

On taking 'medical' decisions!

I suppose every human being takes on the role of a 'doctor' - at one time or the other - to treat minor ailments as he feels that he's adequately equipped(?) to take on the requirement at hand. The advantage is that he doesn't have to stand in a queue at a clinic, awaiting his turn and more importantly, he doesn't have to worry about the 'restrictions on intakes' that a doctor would perhaps clamp on!

But there are other times, one is forced to take medical decisions based on the ground realities. A word of caution here - your action needs to be informed to the doctor who's attending the patient failing which you could incur his wrath for having acted as though you'd a better knowledge of his own subject. Moreover, the subsequent sequence of treatment can go haywire as he'd would factor in his advice given earlier whereas the fact is otherwise.

I've taken a similar decision of late. My mom is under the expert care of a reputed doctor nearby and after examining her, as well as going through the tests conducted upon her, had prescribed the requisite medicines. One among them was to cater for her lack of sleep at nights and we'd started on the administration of the medicines in right earnest.

Sometime, past midnight, on the first day of the medicines, I'd gone on a 'look-see' as to how my mom was doing and saw the poor thing tossing around pathetically on bed, desperately wanting to go to the toilet to ease herself, but was unable to do so because of the medicine's effects. She was helped out but I'd decided on one thing then and there, that I was gonna stop its administration forthwith.

I'd reported the matter to her doctor of my decision and the reasons to back it. He was rather cute and positive about the whole thing, while endorsing my action. And I've decided to let mom be herself until a harmless method, to induce sleep, is discovered. I'm sure there are many!


My classmate, a practising doctor in Chicago, had visited us this evening. He has endorsed my decision . So, I'm a bit of a doctor myself, eh?


I'd be kidding if I didn't admit that it would be terribly agonising to see mom doing trivia, concentrating on small things like fluffing up the pillows over and over again, making numerous trips to the toilet and generally,  keeping herself busy all through the night. But it would be better that way rather than bludgeoning her slowly into a meek, withdrawn and listless individual by administering the highly potent medicines to induce sleep!

Monday, August 19, 2013

1US $ equals Rs.63.13!

For the last few weeks, one has been reading about the global meltdown of economies. The seriously affected are the 'emerging economies' of India(rupee), Brazil(real), South Africa(rand) and Indonesia(rupiah)! They suffer from the following:-

             (a) Funding deficits
             (b) Slowing economies and
             (c) Rising inflation.

Indians can take some solace, though it amounts to nothing, that the rupee has lost 13% against the US $ as against 15% by real over the same period! And the sudden 'capital flight' due to the pull out by foreign investors make the Indian and Indonesian economies more vulnerable because of their wide current account deficits.

And the 'bear' is reigning supreme on the stock markets!

This is the little that I understand when I hear of the 'falling rupee' from the news grabs. Economics and financial trends have never been my forte and had failed to catch my fancy as I feel that there's a good smattering of 'number crunchers' all around.

But what does it mean to us commoners? Randomly listing what comes to mind:-

               (a) Rising costs of essential commodities
               (b) Quantum jump in the value of the bullion(but our fascination to accumulate gold and silver
                     can never wane, you see!)
               (c) Scarcity of items due to the crazy price fluctuations
               (d) The volatility of the stock markets(thankfully, I've none and am therefore sitting pretty!)
               (e)  The rise of interest rates on loans(always a sore point!)
               (f)  And the consequent hesitation to spend!


I'm sure that this pessimistic phase cannot last long and the rupee will bounce back in strength to retain its glory. And let that happen at the earliest, the number crunchers had better come out with the antidote, pronto!!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Double standards!

We want unbridled freedom to talk ill about the others and spread venom without checking on the veracity of the stories/canards. And at the same time we get offended when we become the victims! And this is what I'd meant about double standards being practised blatantly.

The Tamil film, 'Thalaivaa' - meaning leader - starring the popular actor Vijay was released to overflowing theatres in Kerala, two Fridays back. Crowds from the border districts of Tamilnadu continue to flock into those theatres to watch the film. And it has been receiving rave reviews with film buffs giving it a three star rating for watchability!

The sad part is that the film is yet to be released in Tamilnadu and again, because of dirty politics being played behind the scenes. Its producer has been admitted into a hospital when he'd complained of chest pain. One feels sorry for him because he must have been reduced to a nervous wreck as there isn't any return for the crores that he's spent in making the movie - the delay in the ringing of the cash registers would affect his loan repayment plan and must have made a mess of his finances!

Today, one hears about a breakthrough and that the film will be released all over Tamilnadu on the 20th. But there's a rider, in that, the film will have to forgo the tagline to the title, 'it's time to lead'.

A couple of doubts come to my mind in connection with all the brouhaha on account of this movie, at this juncture:-

    (a) Does the average filmgoer ever give a serious thought to a film's title or for that matter, the contents?
    (b) Was it a deliberate attempt on the part of the film maker to project his hero as a replacement for
          the present political leadership?

I think it's a case of much ado about nothing! Can't help but be reminded about the experiences of Kamalahaasan in the not too recent past.

Come on, give us the freedom to have our share of entertainment!


On the flip side, I'd like to believe that a strong and effective leader would never be bothered about competition if he or she were to provide good governance to the people.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

A lovely rewind to the past!

First, it was Yedukumar and Raji from Oman followed by Savio George and Annie from Chicago who'd come down to Kochi on a short break. We'd met the former couple, a couple of years back at a classmate's daughter's wedding reception at Thrissur but meeting up with Savio was after a gap of 41 years, immediately on passing out from our school and hence, his wife, Annie for the first time.

The two evenings were memorable in the manner we caught up with each other's lives and by the end of it, the long gap in communication had been bridged giving the impression that there wasn't any discontinuity at all! The anecdotes, the small events that dotted our school days were recalled with enthusiasm, analysed threadbare as to why they'd elicited unique responses from the protagonists and the interaction was frequently punctuated with guffaws and mirthful laughter.

The beauty about the get together was that the ladies seemed to be aware of many of our school escapades down to the last detail and they seemed to egg us on in our rewind to the past. I've always wondered as to whether they're indulging us to get on with our favourite pastime to get us off their backs or whether they were genuinely interested in hearing the narrations. And to my pleasant surprise I've found that it was the latter reason, as underscored during all the interactions thus far.

The 'Cabinet' on the second floor gave us our initial privacy to break the ice, followed by the elegant corner of the buffet lounge of the Avenue Regent where the interaction had meandered to its logical conclusion!

An evening well spent!!


The dominant feeling was that the evening would continue non-stop with no end! It's difficult to leave our friends from school with whom we'd ganged up after a long while!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Today's hotchpotch.

Today I shall go through happenings and experiences that have baffled me or more aptly, excited me in the course of the day and here I go:-

  (a) Near-death experiences!

  Researchers have analysed the recordings of brain activity called the 'electroencephalograms'(EEGs) of
  nine anaesthetised rats undergoing an experimentally induced cardiac arrest. Within the first half a minute
  of the cardiac arrest, all the rats displayed a widespread, transient surge of highly synchronised brain
  activity usually associated with aroused brains.

  In other words, the scientists of the University of Michigan are giving credence to the 'light at the end of
  the tunnel' experiences of people who'd almost died but returned. The brain had been assumed to be
  inactive during a cardiac arrest because the blood stops flowing into the brain when the heart stops beating.

 But what's now becoming increasingly clear is that there's brain activity characteristic of conscious
 perception! These visions and perceptions have been named as 'realer than the real'.

 Yet another significant step into unlocking the mystery of life after death!

  (b) Mona Lisa's identity about to be established?

  The enigmatic lady of Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting continues to capture the imagination of people
  the world over. Scientists have inched closer in establishing the identity of the muse for the painter's creative
  masterpiece of all times!

  A tomb, in Italy's Florence, containing the family crypt of the silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo has
  been zeroed in for the purpose, for, it's believed that the merchant's wife - Lisa Gerardini - was the one
  who'd posed for the great artist. She'd become a nun after her husband's death and had ultimately passed
  into the mist of time in 1542!

  The exact identity may be just a few DNA tests away as it would help the researchers to reconstruct the
  face from the skull once the tests prove successful!

 (c) Dogs can sniff out cancer with 100% accuracy.

 It's almost sure that dogs can sniff out the signature chemical compound that indicates the presence of
 ovarian cancer among women. Researchers of the University of Pennsylvania have come to this conclusion
 based on their research on the subject. It would be a tremendous boost to the morale of women, the
 world over, because of the fact that ovarian cancer is a silent killer often diagnosed too late!


Science, tusi great ho! We're passing through exciting times indeed!!  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The 67th Independence day.

This year's Independence day has turned out to be quite memorable for more ways than one! A joyous occasion, unfortunately, marred by tragic incidents.

The wake of the Sindhurakshak tragedy is still fresh in memory as the sequence of events keep tumbling out making me wonder as to why it had to happen. As the 'pilot error' syndrome keeps buzzing I can't help but feel sad for the crew who must have seen their ends rushing at them at one unearthly moment - only to be engulfed in its fury and the inevitable finale!

And at about a half past 8, this morning, Madhu's amma had passed into the mist of time. She was 'amma' to me and our association had begun, on a dark wintry night of Delhi, about six years ago. Madhu, my friend and colleague, had called me up to say that his mom was in a bad state and as to whether I could help him take her to the Army Research & Referral hospital, nearby, for urgent medical attention. His car was down with the mechanic and hence, the request.

Those days I was a truck driver - I mean, the proud owner of a Maruti Omni! I'd swung around and the old lady was handed over to the capable doctors of the hospital. In her early 80s, after a successful treatment for cancer, her metabolic readings needed to be closely monitored and regulated, from time to time. I was always fascinated with her ever smiling visage despite her adversities. And from Madhu's account, she'd looked after her ailing husband for many years without worrying about her own personal comforts!

The two of us had developed a special bond since that cold night, so much so, that she'd announced at her grandson's wedding reception, this January, that she liked me much more than she did her son. And Madhu'd accepted it sportingly!

Yesterday, she was admitted into the naval hospital here as her parameters had gone for a toss with a serious renal malfunction. By evening she was shifted into the ventilator and buttoned up to life support systems. There had been previous occasions of a similar nature when she'd fought the odds and returned. I was hoping for her similar comeback only to be told about her end, this morning.

RIP, amma. My humble prayers and gratitude for the wonderful memories that you've given me.


An Independence day that has been a harbinger of painful memories.    

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sindhurakshak, I weep for you.

It's been a bad day for all of us who love the Indian Navy dearly. A series of explosions, sometime around midnight, ripped through INS Sindhurakshak, one of our front line submarines from the herd of the Kilo class. She was berthed at the naval dockyard in Bombay and was due to return to her home port of Visakhapatnam shortly.

I shall not go into the postmortem of the terrible accident because a Board of Inquiry has already been instituted to study the pros and the cons. And I'm sure that the cause and the prevention of recurrences of a similar nature shall be the final outcome.

18 personnel seem to have perished in the unfortunate accident. They'd have been on duty faithfully going about their jobs as is expected of them and for a few among them, the situation must have presented itself while they're asleep being off duty at that particular 'watch'(a four hour duration of duty)! The remaining crew would have been scattered all over the naval residential areas, in and around Colaba and in the shore complex that house the off duty personnel and their families. They'd be the saddest lot, in that, they'd be cursing their luck for not having been on board to face that moment of peril along with their beloved submarine - a sentiment that can only be understood by a mariner!

Commissioned into the IN on 24 Dec 1997, I refuse to believe that Sindhurakshak is passe because of the horrible accident. I'm absolutely sure that she'd be brought back to her full fighting efficiency and that she'd continue to fly the 'colours' for many more years to come, of course, carrying the pain of this horrible night in dignified silence grieving for the valiant men who'd tended her with great pride and affection.

Here's me saluting the brave men who'd given up their lives in their hour of duty. And may god give adequate strength to their families to help them tide over their stressful times.


And may the incident further enhance the IN's high state of professionalism. All the same, I weep for you Sindhurakshak!    

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The siege of Thiruvananthapuram.

The siege of the government secretariat at Thiruvananthapuram was into day two today when saner thinking and appropriate face saving measures were worked out for both the CPM-led Left Democratic Front and the Congress-led United Democratic Front. Thankfully, the siege had become history by afternoon because it had begun to hurt the people of the capital city as the infrastructure was bursting at its seams with the arrival of the comrades from the other districts.

Some of the interesting observations were:-

       (a) Central forces were brought in and kept as standby.
       (b) The state police had worked out their strategy to tackle the situation in a meticulous manner.
       (c) Both the sides showed remarkable restraint not to escalate the tension.
       (d) And a couple of interesting tidbits:-
             (i) The LDF was footing a bill of Rs. 17.35 crores, per day, for providing food and snacks for
                  its volunteers working on the siege. Several community kitchens at vantage positions were
                  supporting this effort!
            (ii) In addition, every comrade was being given a sum of Rs.1,500/- to ensure his continued
                 interest in the 'cause'!!

Just goes to show the tremendous amount of finances that all the political parties have in their kitty. Consequently, no wonder why none of them want to come under the ambit of the RTI act!

The government has agreed to conduct a judicial probe on the solar scam and the LDF, while calling off the siege, has reiterated that their cadres would continue the black flag demonstrations against the chief minister till he steps down!

My take.

I've the following doubts regarding this Quixotic drama:-

            (a) Was this really required, putting the ordinary people of the city under tremendous discomfort?
            (b) Has anyone won in this show of might?
            (c) The days of resignation by individuals, upon the slightest hint of a black mark, citing morality
                  are long since over. Truth will eventually win despite any amount of cover up! The obvious
                  end can only be delayed.

And, therefore, I feel that such an impasse could have been avoided in the first place if everyone concerned had discussed matters, setting aside their egos albeit for a short while. But that would have been like asking for the moon, I suppose! Sad!!


The best thing that has evolved out of this incident is that all sides have shown that they've the ability to exercise restraint! Cheers to that!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Observing mom...........and reminiscences.

It's mom's first full day with us. And I was on an observer's role to list down her difficulties and the problems that she faced during the course of the daily chores. It was mentally taxing - emotions had to be kept in check - as every detail had to to be recorded before consulting the doctor.

Her right knee is bothering her. The pain is being controlled with the help of oils, prescribed by the ayurveda doctor. It's further augmented by a crepe bandage applied at different intervals. Consequently, she's been moving around the house a bit more than what she did yesterday!

........It seemed like it was only yesterday that she used to walk to the branch post office of which she was the head for over 32 yrs. And mind you, there were no buses plying on the route as the road was yet to become motorable. The stretch of about 3 kms had a steep, upward gradient towards the post office end with a flight of steps to reach the summit! 

She watches the television but gets distracted very fast. And then she hits the bed slipping into deep slumber within no time. This exercise was repeated all through the day. Is she finding difficulty in concentrating on small things?

.........Till very recently, she used to be hooked on to the television programmes. There were certain favourites that used to be avidly followed and I remember how angry she'd be if there was an unscheduled power interruption during the course of her favourite soaps!

Her intake of food has become less but she continues to follow her maxim of 'eat to live and at the right time' while insisting on us having a generous helping. She'd wait for me to get back from work to have lunch together and she times her supper to suit our timings.

..........At home, she'd always insisted upon breaking bread together. She used to savour those times when the whole family - dad from his workplace and me from my boarding school days - was in attendance! Her menus were well spread and to the extent feasible, never repeated or repeated after a reasonable lapse of time!! 

She'd turned to her bed a trifle after 10 and Lekha and me had continued to do our chores for another hour before turning in. Uninterrupted sleep seemed to evade mom and she was busy in her own world, shifting the position of her pillows, putting back the crease of her 'mundum neriyathum' into place a bit too often and frequently switched on the light to have a look at the wall clock to see as to what the time was. And she tells me that it's very difficult for her to pass the night. Seeing my lost look, she laughed as if to say that she fully well knew that she was being frivolous but couldn't help it and perhaps, not to laugh at her discomfiture.....

............Was reminded of the times she'd sung a host of her favourite lullabies and rocked me and my sisters' cradles so that we'd a blissful and comfortable sleep!


Life in reality. But why should my mom suffer? Just telling you mom, I'm near you always and every time! 


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Naina's first party!

It's Naina's first party - her 28th day celebrations. We'd got the invite well in time with a rider that no reasons for our absence would be entertained! And sure enough, there were the entire families of her parents in their Sunday best for the joyous occasion. The rain god was also on a pleasant disposition, as it was a bright and sunny day.

We'd reached the venue on the dot and therefore, were able to witness the series of events meticulously planned by the li'l child's parents and in the process, could meet a whole lot of people. Many people present, recalled our earlier visit - in fact our first, four years back on the occasion of the engagement ceremony of Naina's parents. Dad was with us then, but he'd severe restrictions in his locomotion thanks to an aggravated Parkinson's syndrome. He'd to be carefully got out of the car, assisted in his movements including the intake of food lest he dropped a morsel on himself while meeting and making conversation with the people who'd made it a point to meet the patriarch. I never knew at that moment that there were many out there who'd taken note of us.

Today, as I helped mom around - she's in bad shape requiring assistance at every moment - there were many who found striking similarities with the scenes of my dad's first visit - and sadly, his last too. I suppose, it was bound to happen. My kid sister, Rema who was with us, hush-hushed into my ears that I was becoming popular by the minute, among the audience, in the manner I was assisting mom! I could only give a weak grin in retort because I couldn't understand what the fuss was all about as I wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary.

It was an emotional trip to my grand aunt's place who was in deep sleep and did not register when we'd called out her name. Sustaining only on fluids, her condition continues to be critical - what a change it has been from our visit over a month back, when she'd held on to my hand and inquired about a host of things!?


The evening get together of my classmates went off well. It's nice meeting up with Yedu and his wife, Raji and thankfully, the attendance was good. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Another hectic day.

At home and waking up to the familiar sounds unique to the place brought in a tremendous feel good sense. It was my younger kid sister who'd lit the morning lamp instead of mom as she has been severely restricted in her locomotion, over the last couple of days.

I've been wondering as to what's happening to mom, because she's really looking weak and helpless. I've this sneaky feeling that she's sad at my younger sister, shifting berth to Bangalore. Both of them have a unique relationship, in that, they share a world of their own. In fact, the ladies of our house have had their own small world of joys and thrills - dad and me had always felt that we weren't ever welcome into that world! But we didn't mind it a wee bit, in fact, we used to enjoy their togetherness from far and felt proud.

.......Back to the present. We'd deliberately kept it short, the farewell that is. And we're off with mom to Kottayam - another destination for another ceremony. Enroute, we'd met Pidavoor amma who was as effervescent as ever and Bharathi chechi, who's recovering from a nasty fall with her right leg in a cast.

The drive was bumpy and absolutely, horrible. But we could overcome the negative factors and reach our destination around sunset time.


 And yes, I've managed a small dent on my Chevy's rear bumper while backing at a restricted space. When will I ever become a driver without blemish?


Friday, August 9, 2013

On the move yet again.

The day had started off quite early. We'd organised a busy schedule of activities for the children of the residential area since it was a holiday and the beginning of a long weekend. The games that were organised were :-

       (a) X country run
       (b) Tug of war and
       (c) A Treasure hunt.

The participation was enthusiastic and I was bowled over by the spontaneous response. The boisterous morning had begun at a half past 7 and it finished all too soon by 9.

And by a half past 10, we're on the road for home. It's a long drive especially because of stretches of extremely bad road enroute. After looking up Lekha's folks we'd reached home by a half past 2. And its yakkitiyak and yummy lunch. My younger sister's off to Bangalore, as part of a relocation and to take up a new assignment.

Mom's now gonna be with us from now on.


It's a long, hectic day but very interesting.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Death is kept waiting.

It's Maganlal Barela, hailing from the Sehora district of Madhya Pradesh, who has achieved this strange feat. Or has Chitragupta, Lord Yama's faithful understudy, made an error?

Maganlal was scheduled to be hanged till death in the early hours of this morning. He'd been found guilty of having brutally beheaded his five daughters and was awarded the death penalty. He'd requested for mercy from the President of India to save him from the gallows but the petition had been rejected.

Activists of the People's Union for democratic Rights had visited the residence of the Chief Justice of India on Wednesday night who'd passed an interim stay on the execution. It was during the resumed hearing that the court was apprised of the fact that Barela had not been told about the rejection of his mercy petition by the President of India.

Consequently, the execution has been delayed by a day!

Wonder whether the news would cheer Maganlal Barela in any way whatsoever!


Just goes to prove the age old saying, "Death is inevitable and it comes at the appointed hour without any fuss". 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The lady extraordinaire!

I'm, today, gonna tell you the story of an extraordinary young lady amid us.


Six soldiers of the 21 Bihar Regiment, led by a non-commissioned officer, were on patrol near Sarla post of the Chakan Da Bagh area in Poonch sector, J&K on the Indian side of the Line of Control(LoC) on Tuesday, the 06th of August when they came under attack from the Pakistani side. The soldiers were:-

        (a) Naik              Premnath Singh
        (b) Naik              Mane Pundlik Kerba
        (c) Lance Naik    Samhu Sharan Rai
        (d) Sepoy            Raghunandan Prasad
        (e) Sepoy            Vijay Kumar Rai
        (f)  Sepoy            Sambhaji Kute.

The intense Pakistani fire killed five of them and injured Sepoy Sambhaji Kute.

I salute the brave soldiers who've made the supreme sacrifice for the nation and pray that Sepoy Sambhaji Kute recovers at the earliest to be back in the reckoning. And here's wishing that the families muster  adequate strength to tide over these trying times to come to terms with their irreplaceable loss!


The government of Bihar was the first to be off the blocks to announce a compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs for the soldiers' dependents. The families, in their hour of mourning and intense personal grief, are in a state of shock and disbelief and are slowly coming to terms with the harsh reality.

However, Pushpa Rai, the wife of the late Sepoy Vijay Kumar Rai, is made of sterner stuff. She's refused the compensation saying that it wouldn't fetch her husband back but wants military action to avenge the killings!


Pushpa, the entire nation joins you in your hour of grief. I feel proud of being your countryman. I'm sure that the Pakis will learn a lesson from this misadventure of their's.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The deluge and the aftermath.

Kerala has experienced unprecedented rains over the past few days. Communications have been affected, especially, the transportation by the roads which have become messy and at times makes one wonder as to whether there was any road at all, in the first place! Thousands have been rehabilitated in safe shelters as the flood waters have entered their houses, many others have been relocated because their houses have been washed/blown away and quite a few are reported to be missing!

The brunt of the nature's fury has been taken by the areas on the foothills of the western ghats - the district of Idukki and the eastern parts of the Kottayam and Ernakulam districts, to name just a few. Consequent landslides have compounded to the agony of the people. The Army, the Navy and the police have been rendering yeoman service to reduce the suffering of the public.

A couple of doubts crop up in my mind at this juncture:-

          (a) how come there was no advance warning about the advent of inclement weather of devastating
               proportions? That would have helped the concerned authorities to take timely remedial measures in
               mitigating the agony.

          (b) we've been thoroughly exposed about the 'progress' that we've achieved thus far. The essential
               infrastructure like the roads, the drainage and the waste management system were woefully
               inadequate or more appropriately, just not there.

The politicians have already called for 'damage assessment' and assistance from the central government - the same old cycle of reactions are gonna be set in motion, the corrupt politician-bureaucrat-contractor nexus will gobble up a sizeable chunk of the assistance through superficial work without setting right the fundamental maladies.


Today was also the 'karkkidavu vavu bali' when the Hindus prayed, with offerings, for their departed relations and loved ones. One of the mass centres that witnessed such activity, every year, was the 'Aluva manappuram', on the banks of the Periyar enroute to the Kochi airport. Incessant rains had played truant, with a swollen Peryar river overflowing its banks and inundating the area, severely restricting the area available for the ceremony.

I'd said this earlier too. I'm amused by the seriousness shown by many of us to participate in such ceremonies for the departed while the very same people showed scant respect or provided little support to those near and dear ones, when they're alive. A simple case of exhibitionism or are they scared of retribution from the 'spirits'?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Thomas, why're you late?

Over a period of time, I've picked up certain favourites - so, I've my favourite bakery, favourite grocer, favourite petrol bunk etc - that I frequent. The favourable feedback from friends and the services that these outlets provide, along with the quality and the right quantitiy of their wares, have endeared themselves to me. Not to forget - another important factor - their proximity either to my residence or the workplace. In other words, easy accessibility and the ability to park the vehicle comfortably add to the attraction!

The Indian Oil petrol bunk, near my work place, is a case in point. Prompt service and smiling attendants make the experience of fuelling a pleasant one. And in the course of my numerous visits, I've befriended many of the boys who put in the fuel. One among them is the ever smiling Thomas, who'd always have something to tell me, at times something to ask me and would crisply carry out the routine of filling up fuel followed by checking of tyre pressure - in that order or vice versa, depending on the number of customers that he's catering for at that point of time - never once losing his smile nor losing out on the thread of conversation that he'd begun.

It was during my visit to the bunk, last week, that he'd talked about a problematic toe of his. His right foot had accidentally hit a stone and he'd been nursing the injury with home made remedies without much success, as the pain had begun to bother him. To make matters worse, he's badly diabetic. One look at his toe had confirmed my worst fears - he'd gotten late to go to the doctor! The toe had already attained a bluish hue! When queried as to why he'd delayed his visit to the doctor, he cited two reasons with a disarming candour:-

       (a) the bunk was facing shortage of working hands and therefore, his going away on leave would put
            the organisation in a tight spot.
       (b) the owner and his boss, was a nice person and he did not want to antagonise him.

While his dedication to work was noteworthy, I chided him for not taking care of his health and warned him that I'd hit him the next time I came by, if he hadn't visited the doctor by then. His answer was typical - to coin a word to suit the occasion, 'Thomasish' - and I quote, "Sir, you might just do that during your next visit for I can't figure out as to when I can find time".

This morning, I'd driven into the bunk to find the smiling visage of Thomas missing. On my query, his colleague'd said that Thomas was in deep trouble as his toe has been surgically removed.


I was engulfed in an enormous, overwhelming sadness..... Thomas, why were you late?   

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Trying to understand emotions.

Kurup kochachan, after having spent the last week with us, returned to his son's place nearby. In fact, we'd gone and dropped him by teatime. He's teary eyed and wondered as to whether he'd get a chance to stay with us again, as Lekha and me were leaving. He made it sound as though it was one great opportunity to have stayed with us! A humbling thought indeed.

We'd not gone overboard to look after him, I mean, done things to 'impress' him so that he talked about it to the others. All we did was to give him the freedom to do things that he'd wanted to do and yes, we spent time with him discussing matters and events of the past that interested him. His needs were almost nothing and there's a naivete in everything he did.

Everyday, he used to be up with the lark and did his exercises using the ayurvedic oils and infusions that he carries with him, as advised by his doctor. The way he scanned the newspapers, over his morning cuppa, was something to be seen to be believed. Every bit of news, was taken in and reproduced, if and when the situation arose and I've always  been impressed with his insight and analytical ability in deciphering them. His thoughts on entertainment - especially, with respect to the movies and the plays - are incisive, contemporary and thought provoking. I used to ask my doubts and be an ardent listener to his words of wisdom. And he's a voracious reader.

Moreover, with his narrations of events and anecdotes, I've come to understand the various personalities of my family - especially, those from my mom's side - and have been able to put them in a better perspective.

You've enriched our lives during your short stint with us, Kurup kochacha! We could understand your loneliness and the way you miss Leela kunjamma, every waking moment of your's. And we know that it's an anguish that you're rather possessive about, not wanting to share with anyone else lest it lost its intensity or perhaps, the aura.

Here's us wishing you good health, a control of your faculties and the sustenance of your tremendous sense of humour. For us, it was education on a platter which no institution can ever provide. Take care!

And I hope that we've many more such occasions!!


This has been the wonderful advantage of having been brought up in a joint family system. An aspect that the present generation is unaware of and can never be privy to.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Group politics.

It's exasperating to watch politicians playing their narrow-minded games and making moves to attain one upmanship among themselves. For example, the Congress in the state has a lot many groups each sniping at other to score brownie points. Why they do it only they'd be able to justify or I won't even be surprised that even they won't be able to do so.

And the result - governance, for which we'd elected them, has taken a backseat. Most of the time, the Chief Minister and his ministers are busy trying to sort out one crisis after the other. If they're unable to get over a hurdle, they fly to Delhi for 'directives, acceptable to the entire lot of groups' to bring about a lull only to restart it after a break!

It's my fervent hope that the present dispensation ruling Kerala falls apart so that somebody, more capable, giving emphasis to governance takes over. That's the only way to teach the guys a lesson for playing petty group politics. Not that the alternative is any rosy, the opposition is equally in a disarray and will not be able to make any headway.

It's entertainment to watch 'leaders'(?) air their pearls of wisdom on the visual media only to realise their folly and retract their statements or blame it on the media for having contorted(?) their 'noble' ideas.

I think the common man is very clear. It's, "You've failed us and betrayed our faith in you. Just go away if you can't provide us good, clean and task oriented governance". And as proof, get the roads of the state motorable for a start.


The clamour for more states has begun ever since the 'Telengana' formation has been announced. Yet another example of 'small' decisions made by 'small' leaders!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Eternal love...

I'm gonna touch upon two stories for their relevance as of date. And so, here I go:-

(a) Eternal love.

 Kurup kochachan has been with me ever since last Sunday. I only hope that he's enjoying his stay with us.
 Today, he's been on a day long fast sipping water every now and then. I'd pleaded with him to avoid such
 a harsh punishment for his body, at 87 yrs, but he was insistent and said that he'd been keeping the fast,
 every month on the day of the 'ekaadasi' after his wife's - my ma'asi's - passing away!

 What pleasantly surprised me was his steadfastness and he'd rounded up the day by having a couple of
 bananas for supper. His current personality is a far cry from what he's earlier when he used to pull his wife's
 legs for being religious, for fasting on occasions and he abhors visits to religious places!

 He'd opened up to me, saying that by undergoing the fast he felt closer to his wife and had a tremendous
 satisfaction that he's doing something for her. And with a rather straight face, he'd also conceded that he
 didn't mind dying in the course of going through such a harsh penance! He was regretting that he'd not
 expressed his love, so explicitly, to his wife when she was alive.

 My take.

    (a) Leela kunjamma would be very happy, wherever she is, at this point of time.
    (b) Is this a case of 'absence making the heart grow fonder'? No, I ain't being harsh.
    (c) Why're we generally parsimonious in our expressions of our nicer feelings to the people that matter,
         only to regret it later?
    (d) Or is it a case of eternal love as I'd like to believe?

 (b) Adieu, Dakshinamurthy swamy!

 V Dakshinamurthy, all of 94 years, passed away this evening at Madras at about 1830 h. He has set
 the tunes for over 850 songs in 125 Malayalam films over a span of about 55 years and his debut was
 in the movie 'Nalla Thanka' in 1950. He was one of those rare composers to use pure classical, raga-based
 tunes for romantic numbers.

 He, indeed, was a colossus in his field. Kurup kochachan was very close to him and as he heard the news
 on television, he was in tears.

 RIP, Dakshinamurthy Swamy! My humble salute and prayers to a maestro par excellence. Your numbers
 will live on forever in the hearts of the generations to come for their sheer splendour and unique texture!


1. On a personal level, I shall ever remain indebted to Dakshinamurthy swami. His number, "Paattu paadi urakkaam njaan......." from the movie 'Seetha' was the lullaby that my mom used to sing for me, every time
she used to rock my cradle during my infant days.

2. And no, I ain't speaking from hindsight. I was out on my evening walk as usual and it must have been a few minutes past 1830 hrs, when the legend was passing into the mist of time and no, I wasn't aware of the news tickers that must have been coming in then! I was humming the lullaby that I was familiar with. Was that a coincidence?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The flip of a page, a change of date nay, month!

The flip of a page on the calender and it's a new date and a new month!

As a kid, I used to like flipping the pages of the calender and desperately wanted it to move fast so that I could grow big and take my own decisions.....and now, I'm far from enthusiastic as one more day becomes history!

The months of July and August have 31 days and this is the only time when two consecutive months have the same number of days, every year. Today also happens to be the 16th day of the Malayalam month of 'Karkkidakam' - the Ramayana recital is on in full swing and today, it's poised at Sri Rama, along with his brother Laxman, having embarked on his quest for Sita. He comes upon the dying 'Jataayu'* - who's been reduced to this state by Ravana when he'd chopped off both his wings while trying to prevent the demon king from whisking away Sita in his 'pushpaka vimaanam'. Sri Rama is, thus, aware of the whereabouts of his wife and knows as to where he should be headed!

And I shall gloss over the other important happenings of the day, which are:-

       (a) the ferocity of the monsoons seems to have reduced though the sky was overcast throughout,
            punctuated by intermittent showers.
       (b) the 45 day ban on trawling by mechanised boats have come to an end since midnight and so,
            the tempo of fishing activity, off the coast, has picked up after the lean period.
       (c) the deadline of filing individual IT returns has been extended by another five days.
       (d) the prices of petrol and diesel have been hiked by Re.0/70 and Re.0/50 respectively since


Kurup kochachan is already with us and my maman had fetched up in the evening, from Delhi. The dining table, for a change, had become crowded and it's a boisterous supper!


* Sita wishes the 'jataayu' a slow death so as to be able to apprise Sri Rama of her plight and consequently attain 'moksha' from the curse that he'd received, earlier on, from a sage.