Saturday, November 30, 2013

A quiet day!

It's indeed a quiet day in the real sense.

    - the newspaper boy was told of our requirements and he's promised to supply them from
      tomorrow. Probably, it makes his calculations easy as to morrow would be the first of a new
      month because he was unable to gimme a copy of the day's newspaper

    - the television/the cable guy would've been untraceable but for my neighbour's - he's all of 89 
      years, fit as a fiddle and keeps a hawk's eye on anything and everything that happens in our
      compound and last evening, he and his wife had given us company during the puja - persistence. 
      The cable television guy has promised to do the needful tomorrow.

    - the landline telephone is gonna take time but Sudhakaran, the guy responsible for the installation,
      has promised quick action. He'd taken great pains to trace the lines laid within the house because
      it's been about four years since the initial installation and there weren't any route diagrams!

So, imagine having none of the tools necessary for time pass, these days, except for my laptop! I must hasten to say that I did enjoy the situation and got reminded that I was in this world only because of the calls that kept coming on my cellphone.

The patriarch has been helpful and when I thank him, he retorts as to why I'm thanking him because he's enjoying doing things for us. The old lady was gracious enough to dispatch her maid to help Lekha with her chores and to clean up the house after what was left of the last evening's puja. I'm reminded of a saying so appropriate to the situation and I quote,

     "We don't meet people by accident. They're meant to cross our path for a reason".

And no, I didn't mean the small help provided by the couple but for their genuineness to help us because we're new out here!


It's also the sixth day of living out of our suitcases. Hopefully, Anoop and Savitha will help us to have our stuff out of the packing cases and lay them out in the shelves meant for the purpose by tomorrow.

Friday, November 29, 2013

At 'The Quarterdeck' finally!

We'd got up at a half past 3, this morning, to be in time for the 'Ganapati homam' which had to be finished before sunrise. Towards the end of the hour long prayer and chants, small figurines of the heads of the turtle, buffalo, elephant, pig and lion were buried within the floor and the god's seat was firmly placed above the spot for two reasons viz:-

       (a) the animals would absorb the negative aura, if any, that are inherent in the house - in other
            words, an antidote for bad 'vaastu'.
       (b) the spot's importance in the scheme of things in that by being beneath the god's place in the
            house, everyone's gonna treat it deferentially.

A quick breakfast and it was time for the house warming ceremony. Between a half past 9 and 10, the cooking range was lit from the fire from the makeshift stove used for the earlier ceremony. Lekha's pitcher of milk had boiled and spilled out in the southerly direction. The priest has consequently asked us to seek the blessings of our relations who have passed into the mist of time to ensure a trouble free stay at the new house. So much about symbolism!

There was a tight bunch of guests who'd made it for the lunch which was basically a thanksgiving to all the workers who'd put in efforts to get the house to its present state. They're also distributed with new clothes as part of the custom!

The evening 'puja', after sunset, for the goddess was a colourful affair. A very bright 'rangoli' and chants with an array of seven brightly lit lamps made it ceremonial, ethereal and with a mesmerising aura.


After seeing the last guest off, we'd settled down for the evening and it was our first night at 'The Quarterdeck'. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fanaticism on an apogee.

The Pakistani taliban has asked its countrymen to stop praising Sachin Tendulkar. They are fed up with the unending tributes to the little master by anyone and everyone who's fond of the game in Pakistan.

I just can't understand the sheer audacity of those mean people who're trying to curb the freedom of expression of their countrymen. It would be sad if the media and the people who love the game are muzzled by the threats and start obeying the diktats lest they lose their lives or risk being tormented. Definitely not a good sign insofar as the nation's health is concerned!


Work doesn't seem to end. Guys have been working without break to beat the deadline. We did help them in running errands, chat up with them and served them refreshments at appropriate intervals. And by the time we made our final exit, we found that we'd just made it in time for the last sitting for supper at the hotel!

Tomorrow's gonna be a long day.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A quiet house thrums now!

It was like any other other new house till the other day. Locked and awaiting the owner's favourable decision to activate it - for his/her own use or for being converted into a milch cow for tenants to occupy in quick succession. Giving a house on rent for one tenant over long periods of time can  pave the way for protracted legal battles between the rightful owner and the pretender.

'The Quarterdeck' is slowly beginning to show signs of life. The lights have come on, fans circulate the air within and the motor pumps up water from the well into the overhead tank. The tank overflows due to someone's error, a sharp shout for switching off the motor and the gushing water turns to a trickle till it comes to a complete halt. Signs of life, accentuating on the man's priorities in life!

The workforce is active, the sounds of drills and jigs deafening and the excited conversation amid the workers rent the air. The deadline has to be met, appreciation about the work must come their way while the owner's wallet gets steadily slimmer!

As we came off from the house by about 8, in the evening, I could see that our nest had taken life and was on its own. It will have its own unique sights and sounds - and hopefully, be the host to a multitude of guests.


And yet, there seems to be a lot to do over the next thirty six hours!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Setting up the nest.

The day was spent in monitoring the progress of work in our house and helping the boys at work by running errands to ensure that resources were never in short supply.

It was also a day marked by us calling on people in the immediate neighbourhood to announce our arrival and inform them about the impending commissioning of our house. It was also a process of learning about human kindness and the intrinsic goodness of people. Help has been coming in from unexpected quarters and from people whom I'm meeting for the first time.

And yes, the process of my domestication is surely on in right earnest!


While going through the procedures of restoring the cooking gas connection, getting a new telephone connection or getting a new water connection from the municipality, following doubts have crept into my mind:-

        (a) Are procedures meant to be used to frustrate or help the common citizen?
        (b) Is the citizen a punching bag for the bureaucrats to take out their frustration on?
        (c) Are impediments put deliberately to disillusion the citizen and drive them away?
        (d) Are they tools to encourage corruption?
        (e) Are we generating an environment of distrust?
        (f) And finally, if the rules are so stringent for everyone how come the frauds have their way?
Why can't we set up a simple, user friendly system genuinely to help the common man or am I living in Utopia by thinking so? 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Finally, at Guruvayur - lock, stock and barrel!

I'd driven to the naval hospital to give my blood for one last check up. My veins displayed their usual reluctance to show up but the young medical assistant was quite good, in that, he could draw the sample after a couple of minutes' efforts and no, I didn't even know as to when he'd plunged the needle into me.

We'd finally kicked off on our way to Guruvayur at a trifle past 12. Earlier, I'd a walk around of our house for the past couple of years and nine months - the mute witness to many happy occasions and wonderful moments. Though I've the permission to retain the flat for another three months, I somehow get the feeling that it's no more mine.

The drive was nice and we'd reached our house by teatime where the draper and his team were putting in the pelmets and they'd hung a set of curtains to show us the final effect. They looked nice!

The run up to the commissioning of the house has been divided into milestones and I find that there are a whole lot of things to be done over the next three days and duties have been assigned to each in the team.


And just prior to supper, I was able to meet the priest who'd preside over the three 'pujas' on the day of the commissioning. It was an interesting though brief session where he narrated the finer aspects of the ceremony and the implications! 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The day after.

It was a Sunday and therefore, the feeling of not having to go to work didn't come into play . Instead, the residential area committee had organised a morning X-country for the children and I was given the honour of being the chief guest and to give away the prizes - a task that would be my swan song. A flash rain in the early morning didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the participants but I wished that the crowd was bigger.

Manu, Shihab and Kuriakose trooped in by a half past 9 to do the packing and transportation of our belongings and they went about their task in right earnest. Papers and documents, thought to have been lost, surfaced mysteriously but the task of discarding possessions was undertaken rather strictly. The fully laden pick up truck was stacked up with the household goods and could take off just around lunch time. There was a mishap, when Lekha'd slipped and fallen on a patch of water. I sincerely hope that it's minor but she had already begun to limp, soon after.

There was a bit of a doubt among the boys who kept insisting that we should carry the deities in our 'puja room' packed, in our car. After much quizzing, we realised that it was more of a mental block because they were doubtful as to how we'd take it when they - from different religions - would handle 'our gods'. We'd put them at ease by saying that our gods were very sporting and would not not mind it a wee bit!

After a lovely farewell lunch, hosted by my cousin in a star hotel, it was time for a work out and to prepare for the evening farewell that we're hosting at the 'Birdies'. The crowd consisted of close friends, well wishers and the many who'd pulled along with me in achieving my vision, over the two years and eleven months that I was here. It was a great evening when sentiments were expressed and emotions exchanged.

Our work at Kochi has come to its logical conclusion and we move off to Guruvayur tomorrow, in the morning. The almost barren house, except for the bare essentials for our stay in the night, was another reminder of the inevitability of life - change!


1. The final phase of work in our new house will have to be speeded up so that the house warming on 29 Nov can take place with the least of glitches.

2. 58 years ago, on this day, this bloke had come into being. Telephone calls, smses and e-mail came flooding and it gave me a wonderful feeling of being wanted. A hectic but wonderful day!  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Onward sunset boulevard!

1. Today’s my last day in uniform marking the completion of a journey which had begun way back on 28 Jan 67 when I’d joined class VII at the Sainik School, Kazhakootam. The transformation of a gawky, homesick lad to his present disposition has been a continuous process and is still on, thanks to a whole lot of people who’d  flitted in and out of his life, over the years.

2. After my initial schooling at the Naval Primary School, Bombay, the Holy Angel’s Convent and the Model School (the latter two at Thiruvananthapuram) I‘d reached the portals of the SSKZM. I was terribly homesick and didn’t want the others to know about it and I used to cry into my pillows! And another trait – that I’d got rid off after painstaking efforts – making fun of the others and reacting against anyone who did that to me. Consequently, I’d made and unmade friends and enemies at school, many times over. The roles of Prefect, House Captain and an Under Officer in the NCC, helped me gain confidence in myself and in taking a stand on issues, come what may, from an early age. I would be kidding if I said that there weren’t any events that had saddened me while at school – not being selected for the Advanced Leadership Course and the Republic Day Camp were dampeners. And the villain was my height!

3. My brief stint at the University College, prior to joining the NDA was an eye opener in the real sense and a trend setter in making new friends. I tasted the tremendous freedom on the college campus and the nasty goings on of campus politics. I’d opted for the Physics (Main) with Chemistry and Maths as subsidiaries and had the privilege to learn from fantastic teachers like Vishnu Narayanan Namboothiri sir (English) and Sankaran Namboothiri sir (Physics). I’d briefly nursed dreams of becoming a doctor - the manner in which everyone looked up to the doctor, when life was at stake, bolstered by so many movies that I was privy to gave a heady feeling, so I thought. But this brief dream was brushed aside when the NDA results had come about. How I could do medicine without doing the Pre-Degree Course with Biology main was a question that defied logic – probably deep within I knew that I would get into the NDA!
4. Life at the Academy was fast paced and gruelling. I’d learnt the art of survivability – thanks to my school life and the Academy life – at an early age. And I used to get noticed in all gatherings because of my height. I was the shortest in our course in the Hunter Squadron and because of it, I was exposed to a lot of ragging initially, so much so, that quite a few of my seniors used to inquire as to why I’d no friends/school types/place types among the seniors so that I could get exempted from the fallins . The upshot of the experience was that I could absorb a lot of physical pain and had vowed to myself that I wouldn’t resort to ragging my juniors. In return, they’d given me a wonderful gift that remains etched in my memory, “Blue in decency” in the write up on the passing out course in the NDA journal and I'd made a lot of friends with whom I continue to interact even to this day. I must let you into this one. When the appointments were announced in the 6th term, much to my chagrin, I found that I was made the CQMS(Cadet Quarter Master Sergeant) – a thankless and glamourless one as he did not have a ‘cane'. I’d put it across to my Divisional Officer that I did not want to take over the job. It was then that my Squadron Commander had stepped in to tell me that this post was given to me taking my integrity into account! 

5.  I’m among the very few with the dubious distinction of having passed out of the NDA twice and the story goes like this. I’d passed out first as an Air Force Cadet and had fetched up in the Elementary Flying School, Bidar. The instructors were hard task masters but friendly and indulgent towards me. They insisted that I must report my height as '4 ft fuck all inches' whenever queried. And while I’d got the hang of landing the trainer HT-2, my take offs were hoary for which I was introduced in the crew room as 'the guy who takes off from anywhere other than the tarmac'. For fitting into the bucket seat of the aircraft, I used to use a couple of cushions beneath and the second couple behind so that I could touch the rudder pedals fully adjusted towards me – a matter that was the cause for mirthful laughter and leg pulling.

6. But on the day of my solo check, due to mid-flight vibrations of the vintage aircraft, the rudder pedals had gone back to their  original position rendering me rudderless – I understood the meaning  of the word in  all its horrific consequences that day! Though the instructors did try to egg me on for another attempt at solo, my passion (?) for flying  had diminished when they confirmed that I could only become a transport/ helicopter pilot – because in those days my mind was full of being a MiG/Gnat pilot or nothing else.  Consequently, I'd returned to the Academy for my second 6th term as a naval cadet. And it was the time that I’d attained ‘Nirvana’ – came to know the Academy better and I was made a ‘cane appointment’ despite my insistence that it should be given to the guys from the actual course and not to people like me who had already had their chance!

7. I'd joined the good ‘ole Delhi (Ex HMS Achilles baptised in the second world war’s Battle of the River Plate) along with  my course mates in Jan 77, as a cadet for six months of training that brushed up the rudiments of life at sea, followed by six months of training as a Midshipman on board the old Beas.

8. I’d done the conventional with the unconventional, gone by the books and completely out of them and some of those pranks during those heady, initial days after getting my commission along with a few involuntary actions that made me a hero to the others in the course of my service life that come readily to my mind are as follows:-

-          Sitting on the footpath with friends opposite the Metro cinema in Bombay having “paav bhaji” – that guy with the push cart made it really well - fully tanked up, well past midnight.
-           Pulling on cigarettes, packed with Afghan charas, sitting on the low parapet wall beside the road at Malabar Hill with my circle of doctor friends.
-          Lying fully stretched on the marine drive at Chowpatty after being thrown off my bike and watching a Best double decker clipping past half a foot away.
-          Enjoying a mujra at the Bombay central where I’d got sentimental about the dancer as she’d given me a lot of ‘bhav’ (?) over the evening.
-          Missing death by an inch when I’d  gone on a Srilankan Naval ‘Kruger’ while chasing an LTTE boat who’d fired at us from their machine gun and a lead had singed my hair .
-          Saved a sailor from death from a taut tug wire rope that had entangled his leg (In gratitude, he has named his son after me)
-          Scooped out a sailor who’d fallen overboard with the ramp door of my ship flouting all rules of ship handling and seamanship.

9.  I can go on and on  but suffice to understand that these activities if they’d come out in the open,  either my family would have disowned me long before or the Navy would have court martialed me! With the highs came the lows but the main theme in my life has been to bounce back to live life all over again after the real bad patches.

10. As I pass through my last day in office and the handing/taking over activities are on in full swing, I suddenly realise that I'd be missing the trappings of service! And no, I do not have anything in mind and am in a 'fancy free and foot loose' sort of a situation. We'll be moving to Guruvayur on Monday morning and the commissioning of our new house is gonna be on 29 Nov. I've named the house 'The Quarterdeck' though Lekha has preferred the name, 'Sukriti'. 


It's onward sunset boulevard!


Friday, November 22, 2013

A lesson taught by young Satish.

Satish, is the gentleman who distributes milk in our residential area. A simple guy, always ready to accept blame heaped on him, to a fault. When I'd just taken up the duties of the president, the caretaker had told me about the perpetual struggle he'd to undergo to collect his monthly dues from the residents due to the 'come laters', accompanied with bizarre excuses. Sample some:-

             "Come later,
                              (a) sahib is sleeping.
                              (b) we don't have change.
                              (c) is this the time to come? The child is sleeping.
                              (d) don't you see that we're going out?
                              (e) don't you see that we've guests? Don't disturb us.
                              (e) you can wait for a few more days. I'm not really happy with your work".

The poor guy could not come up with an effective response to such tepid bureaucratic nonsense from the residents. An outlet for bakery products, that he'd begun, sank without a trace because he couldn't resist customers who insisted on credit and he seemed to be all at sea as he didn't know their names and feared asking them at the time of transaction!

The first thing that was introduced was to collect his service charges through the monthly subscriptions paid by the residents. Satish had regained his ear-to-ear grin and had leased out the bakery premises to an efficient young lady who was adept in dealing with the customers.

Yesterday, Satish was asked to supply another packet of milk because only one coupon had been honoured while the other seemed to be missing. Probably a mistake made by his understudy? And when Satish was queried, he promptly provided the second, tending an apology too in his unique style. It was soon after he'd left that the elusive coupon was found stuck to the previous packet obviously due to the wetness thanks to its retrieval from the freezer, prior to distribution.

I'd called up Satish, to apologise and to give him the coupon. And I couldn't resist but ask him as to why he'd not put across his case strongly that he hadn't found the coupon. His answer to that was profound and made me really small and I quote, "Sir, my explanation would be interpreted as acting smart to cover up my mistake and in any such argument, I'd end up being the loser! There's no point in fighting over trivia, after all, it's just a packet of milk. I want to maintain a good relationship with everyone".

The lump in my throat was pronounced.


1. Satish has had not much of a formal education but the lessons that he has learned from life and that too at such a young age is tremendous.
2. Sorry Satish for the faux pas. I'm convinced that I'm a boor and thanks for your valuable lesson on humility!! I shall narrate the episode to everyone during our next get together only to ensure that they know of your intrinsic worth.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Back home.

Palai, my saarthi, had done the trick. We'd left by about 9 for the airport and the road had some real narrow stretches, thanks to the metro rail work of Madras. How our man managed to reach the airport by about 40' was something that had dazed me completely. He could speed even while driving bumper to bumper, almost giving one the impression that he'd shove the rear of the car in front of him to suit his convenience and the motorists who'd a whiff of his driving skills didn't seem to mind, in fact they seem to be deferential to his prowess.

Incidentally, going back to the metro work in the city, I happened to read in the TOI that the tunnel boring machine's activities have been causing cracks and massive damages to the buildings enroute. But the 'Madrasis' - the people living in the city, I mean - have taken such happenings very, very sportingly as they feel that the coming of the metro is ultimately, gonna be a boon to the city as well as for all of them. This positive attitude of the people of Madras is their 'usp'!

Devinder Singh, who was specifically assigned to take care of me was a tall, handsome sardar from Gurdaspur. The smile on his face seemed to be there forever and in his olive greens, he looked smart and he has a heart that can't hurt even a fly as I understood his persona over the last eighteen hours of our association. And to let you into a secret - never did I feel embarrassed for being short statured as he gave me a crisp salute when I left them towards the departure lounge of the airport. I've already stated elsewhere that I hate being 'looked down upon' by women and by people who look up to me!

The flight was uneventful and short. And after a quick bite of lunch, I was back at work trying to finish up the backlog as the clock has started ticking towards my farewell opera. Today was one when I wished that a day had indeed more than 24 hours. Ramesh Rai, from Gopalganj of Bihar, was my saarthi for the day and boy, he'd scorched the 34 km distance from the airport to my home in record time. I'd congratulated him earlier because he's of a rare species and lucky to have married his lady love at the tender age of 23! I said a quick prayer to my god for safeguarding him and his wife because, I'm convinced that they deserve it. As I left him and got into the lift of my block, he was grinning from ear to ear and gave me a fond farewell.


Am I sounding too mushy. Hope I am not!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Off to the Coromondel coast.

As my flight was delayed by yet another hour, it was becoming amply clear that the additional time was adequate for squeezing in enough work that needed to be done. Lekha and mom had kicked off by a quarter past 7 towards Guruvayur and subsequently, Palakkad. Savitha and her mom had fetched up for work at their usual time.

I'd left home by a quarter to 11 and we're speeding by comfortably by the airport-seaport road. Vincent, our saarthi, had a fund of anecdotes to regale us with! But what I was really enthused was by his unique idea to release our country from the wretchedness caused by our political dispensation and to quote him, "Sir, our entire country must be given on lease to some other and just like the Britishers had ruled us, we must be taken charge off to deliver the targets set by them and we shall deliver".

A crazy yet thought provoking statement. And he was speaking from his bitter experiences, beginning with a six year's hard work in Trichy in Tamilnadu, another six years in Bombay followed by twelve years in Saudi Arabia. He was the third sibling and the eldest son out of eight siblings and his mother had carefully utilised the funds provided by his bank balances to nurture every one of them. The beauty was that he did not bear any grudge or ill will towards anyone of them despite the fact that two of his nephews had taken him for a ride and made him lose a substantial amount of his savings! He was running his car as a taxi for an agency that was exploiting him and his counterparts.

What was intriguing from his narrative was that the owners of the taxis along with the drivers were being exploited while the agents and the middlemen earned their 'cuts' without doing an iota of work. What are the trade unions doing about this exploitation?

The sight of the Coromandel coast was as elegant as always. And Devinder Singh, along with Palai, were waiting with the vehicle - they'd been there for more than an hour as the flight was late.

The evening's farewell in my honour was a fantastic affair and I'd tried to keep the crowd amused with my anecdotes! The narration - for a change - flowed without any interruptions!!


A short yet heavy trip! And my last, in uniform!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Persuading mom.

This morning I'd taken my mom for a review by her doctor of her overall physical and medical status. And this time it was just mom and me as we hurtled towards the clinic to keep the appointment as my man, Friday had gotten late. He had, however, joined up later. I was reminded of the first time, about three months back when I'd taken her to meet with the doctor.

Hardly able to walk, I'd taken the services of two of my boys to help me in transferring her from one place to the other. The doctor's correct prognosis and mom's readiness to follow his instructions along with the medicines have done the trick. He's thrilled with the progress his patient has made and as usual, they're in conversation, totally oblivious of me. He's expressed his desire to see her once in two months.

I'd wanted to have this review done to day as mom was being shifted to my sister's place at Palakkad for the next one month or so as we go through the throes of shifting berth to our house at Guruvayur from Kochi. As we got back into the car, I saw mom tell Joginder and Bijoy that all they needed to do was to walk with her as she could do it herself. She'd another appointment soon after with her dentist to have the stitches removed, post extraction.

And much later, as I helped her pack her personal effects she had wondered aloud as to why she couldn't be with us while we're shifting and I'd to explain to her the tremendous strain that she'd be subjected to in the process. I'd to keep going over it many a time that at some point, I'd lost my patience and howled at her - I'm bad and continue to be so, you see! And then told myself that I couldn't afford to lose my cool and definitely, not at mom. But knowing her, I know that she'd never hold that misdemeanour of mine against me. And I was unable to convince her on the thoughts behind my decision.


As she got up after watching her favourite soap on the television, she'd given me a list of 'dos' for the morning before I went for my walk:-

    - "wake me up after the puja room lamp is lit
    - switch on the geyser for about 10' as I need warm water to bathe
    - should I've my medicines then and so on and so forth......"

And as she turned in, she said almost inaudibly, "I shall miss this".  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Another day wasted.

Today was marked by a 'hartal' called by the Left Democratic Front to show their angst on account of the implementation of the Kasturirangan report. The report, in layman's knowledge and as per my understanding, lays stress on avoiding the use of the western ghats for habitation and the wanton clearing of forests towards setting up human settlements.

A very sensitive issue that has political overtones as the existing 'settlers' constitute a strong vote bank for the state-centric Kerala Congress parties. It goes without saying that those parties were the first to take up arms against a recent diktat - regarding the implementation of the report - from the central government. The LDF also seems to be smelling victory in dislodging the present government by wooing the Kerala Congress, over to their side! The clamour by the district level functionaries of the Muslim League today for leaving the United Democratic Front must have given a further impetus to the LDF's thinking!!

The church having made certain strong observations have also complicated the matter.

All political parties assume postures, citing imaginary hardships being thrust on the people by the government's wrong policies - the paradox that they too constitute the front and enjoy the advantages of being in power is quietly stifled under the high decibel arguments that they rake up - to gain advantage when the elections come calling. Have the constituents of the UDF started feeling that to be with the Congress during the imminent Lok Sabha elections is gonna be disadvantageous for them?

The coming days will see quite a few political somersaults, much to the mirth of the general public!


1. As I was driving home after work, this evening, the realisation dawned that I'd a nice, uninterrupted view of the exit from the compound. Usually, the view is marred thanks to the numerous pick up trucks parked haphazardly on either side of the exit and they get miffed, all too often, when told of the discomfort that they're causing! And their counter is to ask for suitable parking space for themselves - yet another case of a 'heads-I-win-tails-you-lose' syndrome.

2. And one doesn't have to lament over the loss of precious man hours, zero earnings due to lack of production  and the overall loss to the state's exchequer again and again. Sadly, no one seems to care!

3. Lastly, I can bet that the report has not been read by the very same people who've taken up the cudgels against it. Why can't the report be put in the realm of the public domain so that everyone is aware of the pros and the cons that will also quieten the ignoramuses?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A quiet Sunday.

The day meandered with nothing much happening all through. But paradoxical though it may sound, there was a lot of running around to do to get things done. As the day to leave Kochi nears, tying up the loose ends have gained priority but the end seems to be nowhere in sight. And I want to go through it with the least of hassles.

Tomorrow will be a washout as the LDF has called for a 'hartal'. Most of the shops and allied services will be shuttered and no serious business will be allowed to happen because of restrictions in the movement of vehicles on the roads. Mom's review by her doctor and the dentist will, therefore, have to wait till Tuesday before shifting her to my sister's place at Palakkad, so that she doesn't have to go through the upheavals of our intended movement.

My boys had given me an emotional farewell in the evening at the Merchant Navy Club, near our workplace. There were nice words uttered and anecdotes recalled - that spanned the entire period of my tenure out here - that pleasantly surprised me. I realised that I was being minutely watched and followed all these days, weeks and months! I'm gonna miss them for sure and I hope that the kudos and the applause the team is receiving from all quarters will continue even after my exit because the efforts have been their's. I only happened to be at the till giving my inputs, when required.


How time flies? It seems that it was just the other day when I'd assumed command of this fine unit after coming in from New Delhi and it will be 63 days short of three years when I hand over the baton to my successor, this Saturday.

The only constant in life is change, they say and so be it!  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Opinion polls - a viewpoint!

Most political parties suddenly want the opinion polls on election outcomes to be pulled off. By insisting on such an option, the concerned parties seem to have lost the plot, according to me. The fact is that the polls do not make much impact in the thinking process of anyone as the ultimate choice of action has already been arrived at. I mean, you don't expect me to vote for a person - whom I do not support - just because the opinion polls shout out that he or she's gonna be the outright winner, do you? It's as simple as that!

The apologists go a step further. They say that the majority of the people are not knowledgeable, behave like a mob and therefore, get swayed by external forces and change their opinions(by doing so they seem to be questioning the people's ability to have opinions on any issue, whatsoever!) at the drop of a hat. Nothing could be further than the truth as the Indian people - be it the urban population or the rural masses - have time and again shown that they've an opinion of their own and taken appropriate decisions!

I've always had my own queries on opinion polls for the following reasons:-

 (a) the agency that conducts the opinion polls must be impartial beyond doubt. Otherwise, findings can be
      twisted to suit its thinking on the possible outcome!
 (b) the sample size is a critical factor because many psephologists have bitten the dust in the past with
      predictions that were wholly out of sync with that of the population that was quizzed.
 (c) do we have the tendency to give wrong inputs to chuckle with glee at the end, to have misled the
      opinion polls which turns out to be way off the mark vis-a-vis the final outcome?

But the polls really give ample impetus in the run up to the elections. They give the necessary 'masala' and generate interest in people to follow them. And what about the legal angle of our 'right to freedom of speech' as assured by the constitution? The election commission has a tricky problem to solve.


Had compered a function in the evening. Initially, I'd begun with butterflies in my stomach cursing the chief organiser for having zeroed in on me for the honour(or dishonour, if things fell flat?). But surprisingly, I found that the audience lapped up my PJs raising my confidence levels. Were they being nice to me, I wonder and no, I won't be able to tell you as to how I was because it's beyond my purview!

Friday, November 15, 2013

A turn around!

Today's thoughts cover a hotch-potch of many events that seem to be taking place together but they're interesting milestones, all the same. Let me coast on, without much ado.

 (a) China is relaxing its one child policy.

 Couples will be allowed to have two children if one of the parents is an only child. The one child norm was
 strictly enforced - often brutally, when authorities relied on permits, fines and in a few cases,  forced
 sterilisations and late-term abortions! Well, things seem to have been looked at practically by the communist
 party's plenum taking a serious note of the acute gender imbalance prevalent in the country. Statistics for the
 year 2012, says that almost 118 boys were born for every 100 girls with the practice of female infanticide
 and the abandoning of baby girls have become rampant.

 A point worth considering in our country too?

 (b) Justice VR Krishna Iyer's birthday.

 Justice VR Krishna Iyer celebrated his 99th birthday in style. People, from all walks of life, have been
 visiting him to convey their love, affection and regards to one of the best legal minds of this country. On
 behalf of the PN Panicker Foundation, I wish him continued good health and strength to guide us with his
 wisdom and deep insight about the society's requirements.

 (c) Sachin Tendulkar's last Test.

 I must confess that I felt quite sad that Sachin got out at 74 and could not make a century in his last test.
 Well, what does one say about him? The media has been full of Sachin memorabilia and I wouldn't like to
 add on anything so as to cause unwanted fatigue. But Indian cricket is gonna miss him and the impeccable
 manner in which he carried himself all through!

 Success never went into his head.

 (d) Carlsen, one up.

 Carlsen has notched a win in the fifth game, playing with white pieces. As he, himself had said that the first
 to win a game need not necessarily win the match in the post-match press conference, the game is still open
 and can be anybody's.

 What's heartening is that the enthusiasm for chess has picked up among the Indians. Hope that it's gonna be
 an enduring trend!


The central government's latest diktat on the implementation of the Kasturirangan committee report on the
protection of eco-sensitive areas of the western ghats, has unleashed violence and unrest in the hilly tracts of the districts of northern Kerala. Political parties must ensure that peace prevails and rumour mongering avoided at all costs because it's too easy to incite the people, who'd be affected by the implementation.   

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A salute to the silent workers.

The sudden rains accompanied with strong winds, sometime during the dark hours had uprooted a huge rain tree on the main avenue, leading towards our residential area. The fallen tree would have definitely caused a traffic block for the whole or most part of the day but for the prompt action taken by the concerned authorities. I was witness to a team of 11 personnel of the Fire Service Force methodically having the huge trunk cut into numerous pieces and neatly stacking them up by the roadside for subsequent disposal. They're being guided in their task by the police team, on duty, from the nearby post.

They'd sacrificed their sleep so that the public could use the thoroughfare by the crack of dawn! Hats off to those gentlemen whose silent efforts go unnoticed and I wouldn't be wrong when I say that many of us take their efforts for granted. I'd tried to make conversation with their team leader and thanked the team for their efficient work and his answer was unassuming and typical of these simple souls and I quote, "Sir, we're just doing our duty". But I knew that he was mightily pleased that appreciation from the public was forthcoming and I'd continued with my early morning walk.

Thanks for your efforts and salutes to your professionalism!


1. We'd set off by a quarter to 8 to Haripad to attend my uncle's grandson's wedding. Shruti, a teacher and Sreejith, an IT professional at Bangalore got wedded at a colourful ceremony at an auditorium beside the NH 47 itself. It was nice meeting a few of our relations from my dad's family after what seemed to be quite a while. Mom was the center of attraction, being the eldest matriarch in attendance and wasn't she quite excited? Incidentally, today's a holiday in view of Muharram.

2. It also happens to be the 124th birth anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru which was celebrated with pomp and gaiety in all the schools, yesterday.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The overwhelming desire to help.

Salma, the daughter of Lily and Lekha's understudy, has to undergo a surgery urgently. It's gonna cost a lot of money and they need financial assistance.

I'd convened an extraordinary meeting of the core committee of the residential area's decision making body and had presented the case to help out the family. And there was a groundswell of support and I sensed an overwhelming desire to help on the part of the members which was heartening.

The drive has begun in right earnest and we're gonna make it in time for the surgery, scheduled for the coming Monday.

Salma, you're gonna get well. We'll monitor your early recovery.


There's goodness in everybody. Yes, I strongly believe in Douglas McGregor's 'Theory Y' on motivation!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Killers on mobikes!

There has been a spate of accidents, involving two-wheelers, on the roads of Kochi. Six year old Christina Jose, hit by a speeding bike on Monday, is the latest to lose precious life for no fault of her's but to the reckless error of a speed crazy monster. And to understand the magnitude of the crisis, I'm gonna reel out statistics even at the cost of being considered ruthless!

According to police records, 95% of two-wheeler accidents have been caused by 100cc, 150cc and 200cc bikes and the ones, courtesy the superbikes - >500cc - were less, perhaps showing that their ownership is restricted to a clutch of super-rich brats, flaunting their wealth and exhibiting a false sense of bravado! But the menace of the mobikes is here to stay.

Being a frequent driver myself, the one thing that amazes me is that most of us behind the wheel seem to be short on two things - patience and compassion. I was fortunate to be taught the rudiments of driving by the offensive moustached, yet gentle-as-a-lamb, Sasi - our family's trusted 'saarthi' for years. It was he who'd ingrained into my system that one must drive in such a manner so as to never give any sort of discomfort to the other motorists.

Driving, today, has become a night mare. Let me try to list out the 'nays', generally, indulged in by the mobikers:-

            (a) driving at prohibitive speeds.
            (b) weaving through traffic through gaps that aren't there but forced to provide by the four-wheeler
                  driver who wants to avoid any form of disfigurement to his/her own vehicle.
            (c) using high capacity horns - usually meant for heavy vehicles - continuously and menacingly.
            (d) flouting rules and overtake from either sides, giving lane-driving the go by. Overtaking from
                 the inner side of a turn is the most bizarre of them all!
            (e) using cellphones or listening to music on headphones with a gay abandon. How do they get
                 to hear the other vehicles, I wonder?
            (f) breaking into conversation while driving abreast of each other, giving the other motorists the
                scantest regard.
            (g) indulging in offensive driving to scare the wits of those who might try to give sane advice and
                 a tip or two to safe driving.
            (h) risking their own lives by not wearing helmets.

With such sort of fellow travellers, how can one ever think of safe driving?

Stern measures are the need of the hour. To begin with, how about 'on-the-spot-cancellation-of driving licences' for dangerous drivers?


1. My prayers for young Christina and may her folks have the strength to tide over their grief.
2. Wonder what Sasi would have to say if he'd been witness to the chaos on the roads today?
3. Driving should invoke comfort and pleasure while attaining the intended destination. It should generate a 'feel good' emotion failing which, it's gonna affect the health of the driver!      

Monday, November 11, 2013

All in a day!

It's the start of another week and the city of Kochi has been preparing for a few events for long. Thankfully, there has been no disruptions of traffic in the course of today's event even though the newspapers had warned the public of traffic regulations!

 (a) Prince Charles is in town.

 Prince Charles and his wife have commenced their four day visit to Kerala this morning. They're being
 given a glimpse of the best of God's own country and seem to be overawed by the art and cultural milieu
 presented by the local artistes. And on the 14th, the Prince would be celebrating his birthday at the lake
 resort of Kumarakom.

 Royalty continues to generate great interest among us commoners!

 (b) India vs West Indies.

 Kochi will host the first one day international between India and the West Indies on 21 Nov. To honour
 Sachin Tendulkar, the VIP pavilion is gonna be named after him and the ceremony is gonna take place a
 day prior to the match.

 The Malayalees are quite ecstatic about the affair!

 (c) Kasparov at Madras.

 Gary Kasparov is at Chennai to witness the Anand - Carlsen fight for the world championship. His
 utterances, thus far, seem to be showing a bias towards the Norwegian. It's fine but is it also a planned
 strategy to put psychological pressure on Anand to commit crucial errors or to provide finer tips to
 the young contender? Notwithstanding the foregoing, may the best man win!

 I must recall that, years back, I'd felt low when Fischer had beaten Spassky. The latter was quiet and
 dignified compared to his abrasive opponent!


Seeing the untold suffering and devastation caused by the typhoon 'Haiyan' on Philippines, through the numerous television grabs, one feels sad. Nature's fury has been quite harsh. My humble prayers for the thousands who'd lost their lives and it's my fond hope that the rehabilitation process is gonna be swift and all encompassing!   

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Another hectic Sunday.

Lekha was up early in the morning to pay her visit to the Kottarakkara 'Ganapati kshetram'. Over the years, I've observed with a sort of curiosity in the manner with which she dictates terms with her favourite god and gets away with them! And as I've said earlier I'm not always inclined to visit temples because everyone has his or her beliefs on the subject and I've learnt to accept that in toto.

We'd commenced our journey back to Kochi a trifle after 10 and the drive was smooth, uneventful. And we're back at home in time to have the afternoon siesta.

Leaving the trivia aside, let me indulge in a bit of serious talk. And since I'd started this piece with temple going and people's belief in a power capable of granting favours in return for the good deeds or hand out instant retribution for wrongs done, let me embark on my voyage to know a bit more about myself. To get into the 'good books' of the god, man can go to any extent and the one action that has always made me smile is when people pay penance before the elephant headed god, holding both their ears and bowing in quick succession with the fond thought that their mistakes would definitely be pardoned! Had they proffered their apologies to their victims directly, much of the anguish and the fear of retribution from celestial powers could have been avoided!!

But hold it, they also take it as an occasion to wipe their slates clean off all the backlog of bad 'karma' and would't take much time to get on with the next fresh round of misdemeanour!!

No, I ain't suggesting that I'm beyond all this. I've my share of the wrongs along with the rights, with the meek acknowledgement that the tendency is more towards the former, I'm still in the process of growing up.


I've trekked up the shrine of Sabarimala for my tete-e-tete with Lord Ayyappa for eighteen years. The strict regimen of 45 days' abstinence from the good(?) things of life - during the Nov, Dec months - was followed in right earnest and I enjoyed every bit of it with the satisfaction that I could do so without missing any of it!

And I must let you into this trivia - when I'd gone on my first trek up as I wound through the long, serpentine queue and reached the sanctum sanctorum, the sight that I was privy to was the priest's backside obliterating the view of the good lord. And before the priest moved away, I was whisked away from the spot by the policemen on duty saying that my time with Lord Ayyappa was long nigh over! Later on it was courtesy my uncle's ingenuity that I did indeed get a full 'darshan'.

Was it the god's way of telling me that he wasn't pleased with my preparations to visit him, I wonder? I've asked this question to many knowledgeable people but all that I've got as answer has been an uneasy smile! They do not want to hurt my feelings by telling the truth, perhaps!!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Two differing commitments.

A day when two differing social commitments had to be met.

Am driving and shall fill in with the details after I reach the destination.....

And finally, the story.....

The first event was a wedding engagement ceremony and the guy who was involved was Sakthi, Lekha's nephew who's taken up a job in Bahrain. His engagement with Gopika was a simple ceremony involving a close clutch of friends and relatives. And the morning drive from our place was indeed a long one through narrow, dusty roads towards Kallada. It was nice meeting up with Lekha's folks after what seemed to be a long time. The conversations were lively and catching up with folks was not only interesting but a requisite after the long hiatus! The elders look healthy and majestic and though age has taken its toll, their spirits continue to be alive and kicking.

The effortless return drive and a short snooze were enough for us to take on the next commitment - offer our condolences to the family of the 94 year old Saraswathi Amma, who'd passed away about 10 days back. An aristocratic lady who had a pleasant countenance and exchanged happiness with the others despite her physical discomfort. She used to tell me that she liked her interactions with me! I said my small prayer for her at the newly made mount of mud where her physical remains were consigned to the flames last week and a gentle breeze blew past, at that very instant, making me feel her presence.

RIP Vidya's Achamma. I shall always remember your smiling face and the wonderful things that you've told me and above all, miss your inquisitiveness about the way the things were going for me. My humble prayers.


Since the stretch of road was bad, we'd taken an autorickshaw to go to Vidya's house. Thank god we did so, my Chevy would have been badly mauled had I insisted on driving it.  


Friday, November 8, 2013

Another trip to home.

After a hectic forenoon, it was time to kick start for home. There's an engagement ceremony in Lekha's family that needs to be attended.

The drive was uneventful but interesting as mom was in her elements, regaling us with her anecdotes. We'd stopped at a roadside eatery for the evening cuppa and to freshen up. There was a line up of a flight of stairs and negotiating them with mom made me feel guilty. Made a mental note that I'd never again visit the place with people who've problems of locomotion.

Reached  home a bit after sunset.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Some lingering doubts....

I've been following the spate of news that seem to fill both, the air and the columns. And I've begun to wonder as to whether the numerous doubts that have cluttered my mind regarding them are genuine or whether they're the product of an information overkill when the actuals start getting fuzzy in the wake of continuous reportage. Let me try to list them out:-

 (a) The SNC Lavalin case.

      Pinarayi Vijayan, the CPM's state secretary and his cronies have been claiming it as their leader's
      exoneration when the CBI special court had given its verdict to the effect that Vijayan and the 
      bureaucrats could be delinked due to some technicalities. It's another matter that the Canadian 
      company, Lavalin is yet to respond to the chargesheet till date. So, in other words the legal battle
      against the company will continue.

      And this peculiar decision is being tom-tommed as the leader's moral victory and proof of his

      The consequential questions that arise are:-

                 (i) the loss of Rs. 345 crores to the state's exchequer is only attributable to the company?
                (ii) the whereabouts of Rs. 100 crores to be paid to the cancer research institute at Kannur.
               (iii) if everyone from the Indian side, who'd negotiated the deal, is clean then how is it that the
                     CAG has found gaping discrepancies? Now, don't tell me that it's out of personal vendetta
                     or witch-hunt?

  (b) The PM's dilemma.

        The Indian Prime Minister seems to be in a dilemma. To attend or not to attend the Commonwealth
        Heads of Government Meeting at Colombo is the bugbear. The political matrix of Tamilnadu has put
        the spanner in the works.

        My queries essentially are as follows:-

                  (i) Shouldn't the Sri Lankan government's treatment of their Tamil population be brought
                      to the fore when 58 other countries of the world are participating?
                 (ii) With the international spotlight on the meet, wouldn't we be botching up our chances if
                      we pass off this golden opportunity to prevail upon the other countries to push for a positive
                      response from the Sri Lankans?

   (c) Frequent power disruptions.

        It's getting to be curiouser and curiouser. The generators of the Moolamattam power house seem to
        be going out of order a bit to frequently. The latest incident when the power supply has been affected
        is due to the burning away of a 220 kv powerline of a connected transformer. The Kerala State 
        Electricity Board and the Government need to ask themselves the following:-

                    (i) What's the reason for the high rate of failures of this powerhouse?
                   (ii) Weren't the the generators overhauled recently? So, why should these breakdowns take
                        place at all?
                   (iii) Aren't preventive maintenance being carried out as per their schedules?
                   (iv) Are the spares that are being used not upto the standards?


As a citizen, these queries bug me. No one seems to care. Efficiency and straightforwardness seem to have made way for sleaze and rampant corruption. And we seem to hurtle on with a gay abandon! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The world is indeed small.

Two things that happened today cannot be forgotten - the first was because I'd not done enough homework and the second was a matter of coincidence, coupled with a bit of carefully done homework!

My uncle and aunt had to go to Chengannur in preparation for their grandson's wedding and had decided to go by the Kerala Express from New Delhi, passing through Ernakulam by 0930h. And I'd dropped them at the railway station about 15 minutes before the train's arrival time. Because of the parking woes, I'd bid them bye and made my way to the office.

I'd come to know that the train was late by an hour and a half when my uncle had called me to announce his arrival at the destination by about a quarter past 2.

Felt miserable, because I should have checked the train's schedule before taking them to the railway station. Bad show!

My mom had to got to a local bank for her 'life certificate' as she's a family pensioner. Based on prior homework, we could reach the bank at the appointed hour, with mom, to complete the formalities. The whole rigmarole didn't last more than 10 minutes despite the fact that my mom's pension account was actually at the bank's branch near my dad's house near Kottarakkara.

As we're through with the necessary endorsements and online submission of the certificate to the parent branch, the manager and I came to know that we're from the same school. And then it was on to our journey down memory lane.


The spat within the scientific community that the Mars mission is nothing to be proud of, as nothing much is being achieved in terms of new equipment/systems being tried out, has been a dampener. The continued dependence on the PSLV rocket is also being bandied as something that could have been replaced by the indigenous cryogenic engine!

A case of showmanship without substance or is it a wilful clash of egos? The British press has also not been very enthusiastic about the 'Mangalyaan'! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Li'l Paro's proprietorial behaviour.

I'd come down the stairs to the ground floor to go on my evening walk. And, all of a sudden, a little hand held mine and when I turned around, I noted that it was none other than my li'l Paro.

Holding my hand firmly, she wanted me to take her, by the lift, to her house on the 12th and top floor of our building. I'd no choice but to follow suit as per the little lady's directions and she pointed at a few red blotches, on her knees and elbows, obviously because of missing skin thanks to a fall on a rough surface. To my query as to who'd pushed her and caused the wounds, she very calmly said that it was due to her own fault and no one else was to blame. Her mom, exercising on the lawn, had sent her to her home to have the wounds cleaned by her brother - a class III student!

On reaching the house, she's in a bit of a dilemma - albeit, for a very, very short while - as to whether I should be sent away forthwith or whether I should be kept waiting so that she could accompany me downstairs, after the cleansing of her wounds. She waved at me, gave me a cute smile and walked into her house!

I must admit that I was quite pleased by her 'proprietorial' attitude towards me!!

*                             *                             *

After what seemed to be a long time, we could finally look up my friend's grandchild. The li'l boy was being lullabied to sleep by his mother when we'd reached their doorbell. And he then decided to give his sleep the go by and we'd held him in turns with him watching each one of us rather intently, through his wide bright eyes!

He's all of 40 days and would probably fly to his dad, currently in the US, doing a project!

*                              *                              *

And soon after, we'd gone to li'l Shanaya. I was able to make amends to my earlier faux pas with her. I carried her around to make up for my previous lapse of not having done so because I was sweaty after my exercises.

And she seemed to accept my proposition without any reservation, whatsoever!


I seem to be readily getting accepted by the little kids! Am I becoming their Pied Piper? 

Monday, November 4, 2013


My uncle from Nasik is visiting us. And his discourses on the Bhagvad Gita have begun in right earnest - and boy, it's an experience! They'd arrived earlier in the day and shall be with us for a couple of days.

He's a fantastic grasp of the Gita and his interpretations, peppered with anecdotes, make it a very wonderful experience. He's here to attend his grandson's wedding and will be around in Kerala for the whole of this month. Another reason for feeling close to him is the similarity that he has with my dad's outlook towards life.

*                             *                                 *

There was a trip that I was planning to do and the preparations had been going on for the past few days - like deciding the place of our stay, the itinerary - and that'd have been hectic as I look back, in hindsight and the jotting down of necessary stuff to be done within the short stay. I'd even called up my friends about our programme with a promise that I'd be meeting each of them.

Well, it's to be shelved due to some technical reason. The youngster who'd realised that he'd made an error in his briefing earlier, based on which I'd made my decision was in tears when he realised that I was gonna lose some money because of the cancellation of our air tickets.

I tried to pacify him with the following:-

            (a) that the money that I was losing never belonged to me in the first place and so, it didn't pinch
                 me a wee bit!
            (b) that I was glad that he'd told me the harsh fact now rather than making me go through the whole
                  hog and end up with cuts in my pay at a later stage!!

He'd that puzzled look on his face as he went away. Did he expect me to throw a tantrum at him and howl away?

*                              *                                  *

I'd spoken about the actress, Shweta Menon's angst just the other day. Wonder what sort of pressures from which quarters had been brought to bear upon her that made her drop all the charges!

Her nightmare seems to have just begun. And I sincerely hope that she's able to tide over the relentless onslaught.

The guys who'd been implicated earlier and after having been absolved by the lady by her naive action, have now started singing a different tune. How shameless can guys be? And what about the visuals that show them in their true colours? Can they ever overcome that?


The lady who presses the clothes for the people dwelling in the residential area had come to me saying that she's being unnecessarily victimised by one of her customers, asking for a hefty compensation for a saree that had got burnt accidentally while pressing. While she'd agreed to pay Rs. 4 grand in return for the burnt saree,
the owner was insisting on taking the money(as a punishment) as well as retaining the damaged garment(because of sentiments)!

I'm flummoxed! There's never a dull moment!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Diwali - the festival of lights.

The day had begun with a bright sun, a welcome change from that of yesterday which had an overcast sky and pitter-patter rains in instalments, with strong accompanying winds that made the lighting up of the small earthenware lamps a nightmarish proposition.

In Kerala, the festival was celebrated yesterday but the inmates of our residential area had kept the major chunk of their crackers and other assorted gear for this evening. And boy, what a wonderful evening it was! People were out in their Sunday best after prayers, soon after sunset. Visits to the others' houses to convey the Diwali wishes made it a great social evening and the whole place was lit up with spectacular ornamental lighting. There was gaiety and bonhomie all around and the bursting of crackers, numerous rockets that exploded in midair into colourful spangles and the chorus of gregarious noise of the children and their elders rent the air almost incessantly all through the evening, much past the usual bedtime.

There was a steady stream of visitors into our house with wishes and home made sweets. I must shamefully admit that our stock of sweets - used to receive the guests - had run out in between and we'd to dip into the ones that we'd got as gifts! Poor anticipation of the number of people who came by, on my part!!
It was mom's first Diwali with us and she seemed to be the most excited of the lot, striking conversation and exhorting everyone to partake the sweets in her unique style with a smattering of Hindi, English and Malayalam - she's made quite a few friends in the bargain.

Earlier in the day, it was catching up with many of our friends through e-mail, smses and calls which had gone on almost non-stop. It was simply great to catch up with the news of one's inner circle of friends and relatives.

A great day indeed!


This is the last 'Diwali' for me as the patriarch of this small but wonderful bunch of people as we shift berth to our home by the end of this month. And it has been a great experience!    

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Shweta Menon's angst.

For the last two days, the local media has been on an overdrive to cover the ignominy suffered by the actress, Shweta Menon while she was the chief guest at an official function at Kollam, a couple of days back. .

In these days of an all pervading mistrust engulfing the society, any unwanted visual is designated as 'morphed' by the parties directly involved, for their own selfish reasons to get a reprieve. And a few of them have proved to be so in the past as unscrupulous elements had succeeded to create a smoke screen to cover their mistakes. In the process, one often comes across the hopeless situation when both, the aggrieved and the accused end up crying foul over an issue!

Her difficult moments

She'd arrived at the venue of the event at the appointed hour and was received by the organisers that included Peethambara Kurup, the local MP of the Congress party and the Collector, among others. She was at the venue till the completion of the event, delivering her inaugural speech and even partaking in a singing bout with Kalabhavan Mani, her colleague from the film world despite her 'nightmarish experience'.

The MP was continuously endeavouring for a body contact at the slightest pretext. The Collector - who was the main organiser - had sympathised with her on her plight when she'd reported the matter to him. And her agony had begun. The opposition's wing, the DYFI, has filed a case against the MP for his alleged misdemeanour and even, had burnt his effigy!

Two aspects need to be touched upon at this juncture:-

    (a) The media visuals that had covered the event show the MP trying to make body contact with the
          actress many a time. Again, two factors require mention at this stage, which are:-

          (i) there wasn't any surge or unmanageable movement of the crowd in the immediate
              vicinity of the actress, the MP and the other dignitaries.
         (ii) the MP has not been at the wrong end of the media's coverage as he hasn't been into
              any controversies, thus far.
     (b) The Collector has vehemently denied that the actress had reported the matter to him and that's what
           has saddened the actress - painting her as a liar.

She and her husband are preparing to give their written complaint to the chief minister.

Meanwhile, the media has gone to town on the issue and is all agog with quite an array of 'panel discussions'.


1. Is anyone of us, among the common public, of the opinion that actors are of easy virtue and anyone has the freedom(?) to misbehave with them?

2. If one respects one's mother, sister and wife and expects everyone else to follow suit then he has no right to misbehave with others' mothers, sisters or wives. Period!

3. While the media is doing a fantastic job in bringing out wrongdoings into public domain and must continue to do so, being the most effective watchdog for the society, it needs to show restraint and maturity in the subsequent coverage of issues.

Didn't I tell you that we, Malayalees, are a sexy people? I mean, we've sex in our mind always!