Friday, February 28, 2014

A day that kept me on my toes.

Lekha was primed for an early surgery this morning. Accordingly, I'd woken her up at 5 AM as she wanted to go through her morning ablutions including the customary bath - and to put it in her words, "So that the next few days of no bath sessions can be sorted out to an extent!" A morning cup of tea at 6 was permitted by her doctor and he did tell me that he was gonna perform the surgery under local anesthesia.

By 9, she was taken to the surgical operation theater which was in the adjacent block but what I remember about the migration was that the nursing staff-at-hand and me had to guide Lekha, on a wheelchair, through the upward and the downward gradients of the long corridors. A couple of lifts, enroute, proved handy but the entire 'operation' did take a while.

The businesslike behaviour of the doctors and the nursing staff, at times, makes one wonder as to whether they're devoid of any emotions. But what needs to be understood is that each is playing his/her part in the larger scheme of trying to save lives or setting right the wrongs of a human being through medical means - and in that process, there's no space for sentiments! But comic interludes prevail as a result.

To let you on one such incident, a nurse at the operation theater had called out for me - my personality has morphed into being Lekha's bystander over the last week and the designation shall continue till she walks out of the hospital, as I reckon and have no problems on that score - to thrust a large list of medicines/wound dressers to be fetched from one of the in-house dispensaries and I'd immediately darted away to do the needful lest the surgery got delayed because of my tardiness. During my absence, another set of nursing staff had called out for me for helping to negotiate a post operative Lekha-by-now-on-a-stretcher back to her room and were annoyed that I was missing! Much later, after I'd deposited the stuff from the dispensary at the operation theater and was explaining the reasons for my absence did one exclaim, "Oh, that stupid sister is so impatient. Those medicines and accessories were replacements for the expended ones. She has a penchant for making people run around and seems to derive a vicarious pleasure in doing so!"

The time was a few minutes short of 10 and Lekha was back in her room, post surgery, taking calls on her cellphone!


1. She isn't supposed to use her leg-in-the-cast for the next few days and therefore, going to the attached restroom, is an evolution by itself and I must confess that I can be very, very clumsy on such duties! As of now, she's been taken for the Oxygen therapy, while I punch in these thoughts of mine.

2. There never seems to be a dull moment. Ever!


By the end of the day my toes were aching. I was on them for the whole day, you see!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Distasteful and absolutely disgusting!

Saw some of our so called 'worthies' come out with their true colours on prime time television. What drives them to such unacceptable behaviour? If they cannot display civilised and acceptable behaviour, it's high time that they confined themselves to the four walls of their homes and we're neither interested in seeing nor hearing them.

Let me take you through the paces of the unacceptable behaviour:-

 (a) Salman Khurshid on Narendra Modi.

  He calls him 'impotent'. Till now we've been repeatedly told by the political establishment - mainly
  the Congress party and its allies - ably supported by the media, that the 2002 riots of Gujarat was
  aided and abetted by the chief minister and his team. And now, Khurshid is playing an altogether   
  different tune and wants us to believe this story of his. While questioning the all round development
  of the state, he says that Modi is impotent because he couldn't bring the riots under control.

  If that be the case, what prevents us from labelling Khurshid so in his avatar as the foreign minister,
  because he has failed to take any initiative to prevent the numerous Chinese incursions on our
  borders with that country?

  (b) Retired Vice Admiral PJ Jacob on Retired Commodore CU Bhaskar.

   He says that he's incompetent to talk on naval affairs. And he cites the lack of sea time of the
   Commodore! It was a sad and uncalled for comment that smacked of arrogance and definitely, not
   befitting an Admiral of his age and seniority.

   The debate on the 'Times Now', on which the unsavoury comment was made, would have gone on
   a tangent but for the matured and sporting manner that the Commodore had exhibited in handling
   the moment - he just smiled and let the situation pass! What if he'd pointed his finger at the lapses
   on the part of the Vice Admiral while he was in service?


People, who've held senior and responsible positions, are expected to maintain a decorum. If they can't, they've no business to speak on our behalf. Period! 


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Another mishap in the Indian Navy.

INS Sindhuratna, an EKM submarine acquired from Russia in 1988, was about 40 nautical miles from Bombay when disaster had struck. A fire had developed in the battery charging compartment and as per the standard operating procedure, the compartment was isolated so that the fire could be put out with the fire fighting system available in the boat.

Two personnel seem to have got trapped within the battery pit and have minimal chances of survival. It's further reported that five more personnel have been seriously injured who have since been evacuated to the hospital ashore for management.

A situation that appears almost similar to that of INS Sindhurakshak, to a layman - another submarine of the same class - that had exploded and sunk alongside, in Bombay, in Aug '13.

Admiral DK Joshi, the naval chief, has resigned owning moral responsibility for the string of accidents that have rocked the IN over the last six months. While appreciating that his action conforms to the highest of traditions, a lot many questions need to be answered at this juncture as to why the IN has reached such a sorry state. Someone needs to answer and here are the slew of questions that come to my mind off the cuff:-

 (a) Why has the navy not put across its requirements forcefully and cut through bureaucratic apathy towards
       its needs?
 (b) If the submarine acquisition programme - painstakingly scripted by the IN and thereby, a factor of great
       importance to national security - has been stalled, it called for drastic action like:-
       (i) Who has been the cause? Is it an individual, a group of individuals or a caucus? Shouldn't the cause
            have been identified, exposed and effectively, neutralised for good by now?
       (ii) Shouldn't mid-course action have been applied as quickly as possible to bring the submarine
            acquisition programme back on track? The bottlenecks of the 'Scorpene project' should have been
            removed and the production given an impetus, for starters!
       (iii) And if there's a bureaucratic stonewalling that's slowing the acquisition process in general, why
             hasn't a remedy got worked out at the highest levels?
   (c) Or have the fifth columnists within the system taken over?

Coming back to the field. My salutes and prayers for all the brave men on board the Sindhuratna. Take care!


I feel angry when the media clubs these mishaps in the same breath - the submarine accident due to material failure, a grounding that's purely due to an error of judgement or even a collision that's a combination of an error in judgement and the vagaries of the weather. They don't seem to understand what the navy is all about!  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why this shoddy approach?

The case against the Italian marines seem to be getting weak. Consider the following factors:-

 (a) The Indian government has informed the Supreme Court that it would not invoke the anti-piracy law, SUA - Suppression of Unlawful acts against safety of maritime navigation and fixed platforms on continental shelf Act, 2002.

 (b) The provisions of the act would have attracted mandatory death penalty against the two Italian marines who'd killed two Indian fishermen in Feb '12. They'd have to stand trial under criminal laws for alleged murder.

 (c) And Italy hasn't wasted a moment. Having extricated its naval personnel, it's requested the court to close the case against the marines claiming that in the absence of SUA charges, the specialised anti-terror probe outfit, the National Investigating Agency(NIA) was legally debarred from investigating the case.

 (d) After recording the Indian government's statement that SUA charges would not be mentioned in
the charge-sheet, the bench referred the NIA's jurisdiction issue to a three judge bench. After Italy files the application, the Indian government will reply to it in a week and the matter will be heard after three weeks.

My take.

There seems to be a lack of sincerity on our part to go through the trial of the Italian marines and take it to its logical conclusion. Why have we let delays plague such an important case? Are we hesitating to take the right action for fear of Italy's reactions? Sad!


It would be in our national interest to take the right action. Consequently, it's important that the case is taken to its logical conclusion. Let no one reign free in our waters because our fishermen are no cannon fodder!

Monday, February 24, 2014

The people that I've met thus far.

There are a host of people whom one comes across in the course of a day and many of them charm their way into one's heart with their pleasing manners, coupled with quaint mannerisms. There's a flip side to it as there are also quite a few who're brusque and seem to be saying, "Listen, why don't you stay away. I'm not keen to be friendly with you". Perhaps, the pressures of work keep them grumpy or it's even possible that they've problems in their lives that seem to be insurmountable, for the moment!

Let me concentrate on the former category:-

 (a) Francis and Francis.

 Francis is all of 11/2 yrs and is the latest patient admitted with burns, in the ward. An adorable
 child, who'd spilled a bowl of steaming tea all over his body during one of his pranks. He's being
 attended to by his grandparents and derives his name from his grandfather, Francis as his parents are
 away, in Saudi Arabia, connected with work.What I've noticed is that the child has unusual powers
 to withstand pain because I've rarely heard him cry except for the first day when he was brought in!

 (b) Selvam.

 Panneerselvam, from Thanjavur of Tamilnadu, is the catering assistant who's always happy. Ever
 humming tunes from popular Tamil films - he's an ardent fan of the actor, Vijay - it's a treat to watch
 him go about his job of collecting orders, distributing the food and he even, takes on additional
 responsibility of fetching things like fruits, magazines etc! He has a brother and sister - both married
 - and stay close to his parents, back in his hometown. All of 26 yrs, he says that he'd get married
 only after three years! And his blush is all too visible!!

 He sports a vermillion 'tilak' always and his ears are adorned with studs, which as he puts it, is
 as per present trends!

 (c) Sister Fancy.

 A fanciful name at that but she's the epitome of efficiency and goes about her work with a smile,
 always. She hails from the outskirts of the town and Lekha confirms that she administers injections
 without even letting her know as to when the needle had been inserted. A lovable chatterbox, who
 is on a conversational spree as she goes about her work and one can't help but like her pleasant


I must also mention the quiet efficiency of my aunt's attendant, Syamala. Her 'usp' is that she knows my aunt's requirements with being told or reminded. Of course, she's been with my aunt for the last five years and she's quite comfortable with Syamala by her side! 


Sunday, February 23, 2014

My aunt's not so positive outlook.

As I'd recounted earlier, my aunt who's diabetic, has been in this hospital for the last 45 days. The two small toes of her left leg have been removed. Under normal circumstances, things should have been okay and she would have walked out of the hospital by now. But, in her case, the pain lingers on much to her discomfort and at times, it's unbearable for her. And there are reasons for it.

My cousin had advised the doctor that the surgical removal of the affected parts should be kept to the barest minimum as her mom would find it difficult to take it in her stride. And the good doctor - as he'd confessed to me later - let the patient's emotions take charge of his professional thinking for the first time. I was livid with my cousin because I'm of the opinion that the professionals must be given a free hand at their decision making, failing which their thinking can get muddled.

This afternoon, while I was sitting at my aunt's bedside - she's going through another spasm of pain - I'd told her that we all ought to leave the hospital within the next three weeks and I was sure that she'd heal well before that. But her looks betrayed her innermost thoughts. She didn't seem to be convinced about the deadline despite the fact that she's gone on record saying that she'd believe anything that I'd tell her. I'd like to believe that it was a fleeting thought that had come about because of the pain and would pass on to more positive oriented thinking.

The doctor, meanwhile, has decided to take a wholesome review of my aunt's case tomorrow and think of a mid-course correction, if needed. I'm sure that things are gonna go well....they ought to!


Her second daughter - with whom she's quite attached - will be coming to look her up tomorrow, for the first time since her hospitalisation. Hope that the visit invigorates her! 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Attendant to Lekha @ hospital.

As per the existing rules of the hospital, a patient must have an attendant at all times. Since my aunt was also admitted in the same ward and she's her attendant, I was under the impression that I could take liberties to shuttle up and down from home to get small but essential work done out there.

But that was not to be as Lekha's doctor had read out the 'riot act' to me.

And so, finally by afternoon, I was at my 'temporary-home-for-the-next-three-weeks' with my overnighter, stuffed with personal effects. It's an all too alien world where a strict regimen is followed with zero tolerance to any nonsense - and rightly so, because people come here essentially to heal themselves and as a pre-requisite they need to lead a disciplined life.

What does an attendant do? Hardly anything, other than whiling away time. I've tried to live my 'normal' life by going for my walk - exploring and understanding the various activities of the hospital, reading a few light magazines and a book that I've brought along with me, watching the television and catch up on my sleep. I intend spending time with the in-house patients during my stay out here and learn more about life in the bargain.

My first impression.

It's like being in a secluded fort in which life has its own pace, while one can feel normal life going on at its frenetic pace just beyond the walls! One's reduced to being a prisoner of sorts!!


The strong smell of carbolic soap and phenyl is all pervading, accentuating the fact that one's in an intensely governed medical environment - shorn of all niceties, the hospital. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

A quiet evening!

The day witnessed me meeting deadlines, one after the other so that Lekha's admission into the hospital was smooth. First, it was to get her medical papers with the right endorsements from the polyclinic at Kunnamkulam. Thereafter, it was at the front office of the hospital and thankfully, everyone was helpful and by a quarter to 12, the entire process was over.

And at 1330h, she was subjected to her first session of the 'Oxygen treatment' - she was put into a glass chamber into which pure Oxygen, at 1.5 to 2 atmospheres, was pumped for a duration of an hour and fifteen minutes. These sessions are gonna continue everyday, except Sundays, to speed up the healing of the ulcer after which the skin grafting would be done. And three weeks is the anticipated duration of the entire treatment.

I'd reached home a trifle after sunset, on ensuring that everything was streamlined at the hospital for her stay. After attending to a few pending work, it was music time and I'd begun with my favourite, Neil Diamond album. Didn't get to know as to how time had passed but as I turned into bed at a half past 11, there was a tremendous sense of satisfaction at the way things had passed for the day.


My aunt, who's already admitted into the same ward, seemed to be happy that she'd be getting to see us everyday.   

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Getting what I'd sought!

Finally, it had arrived in the wee hours of this morning - our grandfather clock! Its tick-tock is now yet another sound that reverberates in the house along with the chimes.

The day had begun just like any other day. I'd to get a bank account transferred to this place and had to make an amendment to the information that I'd provided yesterday - I'd reported a personal account whereas it was actually a joint one! Clumsy on my part!!

No sooner had we returned from the outing, did we get the call from the hospital that Lekha's admission for the Oxygen therapy was scheduled for tomorrow. And everything went topsy-turvy, albeit for a short while. Mom had to be reached safely at my sister's place at Palakkad and nothing seemed to be working out! I'd spoken to my sister and inquired as to whether her favourite cabbie was available to make a morning trip with my nephew accompanying the vehicle.

Half an hour later came her call saying that Santosh, who was headed towards Palakkad had been diverted to pick up mom and that he'd be fetching up within another half an hour. A knotty problem had been resolved and mom was off by a quarter to 7 and two hours later came my sister's call reporting their arrival. Strangely, everything had fallen into place as I'd wished.

Lekha's unhealing ulcer on her left foot was inherited during her comatose stage when some junior intern or the nursing staff must have punctured her while trying to fix up an intravenous infusion. That it was unsuccessful and ultimately, they'd to resort to cutting open her jugular for the purpose. And I remember that I and the doctor, along with the nursing staff, were on tenterhooks because of the knowledge that however sanitised an ICU was, infection could set in and spoil the entire outcome! I suppose god was with Lekha in her fightback!!


Lekha would be out for three weeks. It's our sincere hope that her problem would be behind her after this tenure at the hospital. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The mad scramble.

The elections to the Parliament is just around the corner. Anyone and everyone, aspiring to be a player in the political arena and thinks that he's closely connected to the party decision makers, goes crazy and does unimaginable things to get the ticket to fight the election. Otherwise, how does one justify the following actions that border on crass opportunism and many a time, simply an endeavour to be the news maker:-

   (a) Kiran Reddy's resignation from the post of Andhra Pradesh's chief minister.
   (b) The fracas in the Rajya Sabha over the Telangana statehood bill.
   (c) Jayalalitha's move to free the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi consequent to the Supreme court's judgement.      (d) The advertisements depicting the extent of development that has come about over the past decade of
         UPA rule - I feel, that by highlighting about the metros, airports, educational institutions that have
         come up, the author of the promo has unwittingly accentuated the common refrain that only select
         constituencies of the mighty get nurtured while the majority of the towns and villages continue to be in
         the same shambles as they were, a decade ago!

Governance has taken a backseat as the government seems to have run out of ideas and has, sadly, become reactive. Much of the schemes begun to help the 'so-called-poor' is yet to take off for want of clear directives in their implementation. The 'food security bill' is a classic case in this regard.

I've a friend who shudders to envisage a regime change as he's been a beneficiary from the present government on a couple of things. What he and probably, many others like him do not understand is that, change has become inevitable. How it would manifest in the end, remains to be seen!


Newstime, on television, has been reduced to comedy shows. How else does one describe the scenes that showed an MLA slapping the watch and security staff in the Jammu & Kashmir legislature or a couple of MLAs stripped - waist above - in the Uttar Pradesh legislature?    

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The same old story!

A round up of a couple of news items that have grabbed the eyeballs and I can't believe that the administrators had neither anticipated these events nor the subsequent reactions:-

 (a) No water to drink.

      Summer is fast approaching and the depleted water tables have not been able to provide potable water
      at many places in the state. There are places where dirty water with a foul smell flow out of the taps.
      Tired of the administrative lethargy and hollow promises, ordinary people have taken to the streets. And
      mind you, one doesn't need to be reminded that it's only mid-Feb as of now and it's a long way for

(b) Rajiv Gandhi's assassins let off.

      The three assassins of Rajiv Gandhi have been spared the gallows because of the delay in disposing off
      their mercy petitions. The argument is that they've already gone through the agony many times over and
      as is the simple rule, one can't be punished for the same crime, twice. The inordinate delays have been
      the handiwork of political machinations.

      Is it fair on poor Rajiv Gandhi who'd met with a gruesome end? And now the politicians want them to be freed too! Again, a game of cheap, opportunistic politics!!


A great farce! No one seems to bother about arriving at a lasting solution to any problem. One upmanship and smart acts seem to be the order of the day. Sad! 


Monday, February 17, 2014

Sandhya, you need to be careful!

A bad day for Sandhya! And its cause was your's truly!!

We'd started off on our return trip by a half past 7, in the morning. After dropping my sister and niece at Kottarakkara, I'd opted for our oft repeated route, northward, via Kayankulam. The going was smooth and I could maintain a comfortable speed as the traffic was not heavy, despite it being a Monday morning!

I didn't see this young lady closing in on me as I was slowing down at an intersection and was looking ahead to take stock of the vehicles crossing. Three things happened, one after the other:-

           (a) knocking sounds were heard on the left side of my Chevy.
           (b) the left rear view mirror snapped shut in the secure position and
           (c) Lekha tells me, with anguish, that a motorist had been knocked down.

I'd quickly stopped the car and rushed out to see the extent of the damage caused by me. A Kinetic Honda was lying on the road and its rider was standing beside it uttering to the crowd - that had begun to swell - and also had the policeman on duty, that she was okay and that she'd no complaint against me! A guy in the crowd asked me to provide her with 'fast aid' and he looked very menacing.

I, then, spoke to the lady. She must be in her late 20s, looked shaken, showed me the superficial wounds on her right elbow repeating that she was okay when I'd offered to take her to the nearby hospital for medical attention. In the meanwhile, I'd taken a piece of paper, torn off from the policeman's pocket book, wrote down my name and contact number and handed it over to the lady. "Sandhya", she'd said when I'd inquired about her name and she was smiling, confusing me as to how I should react. I, then, apologised to her for ruining her day. And I think I heard someone in the crowd saying quite audibly, "He's knocked her down and look at her, she's smiling at him"! Did I smell a hint of jealousy?

It was then that a gentleman in the crowd had come around to explain the sequence of events leading to the accident. She'd begun to turn to the right, without switching on her two-wheeler's indicator and had literally run into my car. Probably, she'd not heard my vehicle noiselessly coming beside her! And with finale, he'd said, "Sir, she was in the wrong".

I'd picked up a few friends(?) from among the crowd including the policeman by then, I suppose, because of my handing over my personal particulars readily.

We'd then proceeded on our journey but I was unhappy about the black marks on my Chevy's body - it calls for another visit to the mechanic!


Apologies, Sandhya for having caused you discomfort. I'm glad that you'd come out of it, literally, with just a scratch! But you need to be more careful while you're on the road!!       

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A riot of colours, a seemingly endless caravan of tableaux and myriad sounds!

It's the annual festivities of a goddess's temple nearby, the preparations of which had begun a couple of months before. And as I'd said earlier, we'd specifically come down here to be part of the grand spectacle. It would also give mom to interact with the many people with whom she was looking forward to meet, so I reckoned.

The lengthy procession that consisted of a variety of bands, six caparisoned elephants, about 41 tableaux and men and women in their colourful clothes worn for the occasion holding colourful umbrellas, took about 31/2 hours to pass through one point. And since our house was by the roadside, we'd a ringside view of the entire show. The sheer vastness of the canvas and the spectacular display on order made it an unforgettable event and I was glad that we could make it!

And it was a never ending stream of guests. It's great meeting each one of them but one interaction did indeed moisten my eyes. Sumangala, from the neighbourhood, had come into our house when she was in class V and used to help my mom in her chores while going to the same school as my sisters - in fact, she's family. My dad, mom and me, quite later though, used to vie with each other to present her with gifts.

But the relationship had suffered a jolt when her elder sister fought the infamous panchayat election - which my mom had lost by a paltry margin and no, it wasn't Sumangala's sister who'd won but someone else. She'd left our house soon after and we never saw her till date and today, she confessed that the reason was that she used to deliberately avoid coming before us. And then the floodgate of her tears just seemed to burst open!

It took a while for her to be pacified and all of us admitted to the fact that we'd missed her all this while. Well, certain relationships are meant to be for keeps.

She's promised to be in touch with us from now on.


A day well spent, in the final analysis!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mom following her own diktat!

We'd taken off from Palakkad at 8, in the morning, for my dad's house at Kottarakkara with breaks as appropriate for the comfort of the others as it was a long haul of about 350 kms. My sister and niece were also in company and hence, the journey was full of chatter with plenty of eatables and beverages doing the rounds - much to my discomfort, I must add, because even a morsel dropped inside the car affects my heartbeats!

We'd stopped at a fairly okay place for lunch and the choice of the eatery is usually based on the following essential requirements:-

     (a) it should have a good ambience.
     (b) it should have a good parking area
     (c) it should have clean, dry and user-friendly rest rooms and
     (d) it should have a fairly good selection of dishes on its menu.

We'd ordered for our food and it was spread without having to wait too long. Mom was served her requirements and soon after, everyone was up against her at the way she held her plate just below her mouth as she started having her lunch. They wanted their 'mom-mom-in-law-grandmother' to be an epitome of etiquette and I could understand their apprehension as to what the others would think. I'd to assuage their feelings saying that anything the elderly people did would not be laughed at by well meaning people and those who laughed, had to be forgiven for being the upstarts that they were.

Because she'd given me her answer that was so logical and pregnant with meaning, quite a while back and I quote, "You know, I used to be very harsh on your dad when he dropped morsels of food off the plate and come to think of it, his hands used to tremble because of his Parkinson's Syndrome". And she gave that wistful, faraway look genuinely sad at her obnoxious behaviour and knowing her, she must be tendering her apology every moment she spends in front of his photograph.

I remember having a lump in my throat and to play it down, I hugged her and said, "Mom, I'm sure dad had understood it and he doesn't have anything against you".


She's resorted to her present way of having food as an atonement for her sins(?) and wants to ensure that she doesn't drop any morsel.


We're at my dad's house by sunset after making quick visits to Sanil's and Lekha's places.

Friday, February 14, 2014

What a fall! Or is it a fall, really?

It was like watching an agonisingly prolonged tableau and a terrible one at that. Arvind Kejriwal has tendered his resignation. He's cited the reason of not being allowed to table the 'Jan Lokpal bill' in the Assembly. There's another point of view that seems to be doing the rounds - Kejriwal is positioning himself as a game changer on the national firmament and perhaps, he too nurses Prime Ministerial ambitions! There's little time left before the elections are gonna be notified!!

To me, Kejriwal came down quite a few notches in esteem on the following occasions:-

      (a) the day he decided to form a government with the support of the Congress party.
      (b) the day he'd backed one of his ministers who'd asked the police to take action against certain
            African women for allegedly bad conduct.    
      (c) the day he took to the streets to force the central government to throw out the policemen who
            refused to obey his minister's bizarre orders and then, meekly surrendering to the compromise
            formula thrown at him.
      (d) for not fulfilling a single poll promise that he'd made and which could have easily been
            provided if he'd wanted:-

            (i) providing 700 litres of water to every citizen.
           (ii) bring out the rampant corrupt practices in power distribution.
          (iii) take effective steps for the safety of women in Delhi.

Sadly, he has failed in every department. Hope the Assembly is dissolved at the earliest and elections conducted. And let the Delhiites be more prudent this time and give the necessary mandate to the best among the lot to rule.


Or is it that the pantomime has been enacted well, in that, he and his party fare well in both the repeat Assembly elections and the Parliamentary elections out of a 'sympathy' wave........ I, somehow, am not able to buy that!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

It reflects upon us!

The ruckus that was on display in Parliament must shame every Indian. It's not that such a spectacle has not been witnessed before and no political party can enjoy a clean chit on this score, as everyone has resorted to such unruly tactics to suit their convenience. But what amazes me is that they seem to believe that they're doing the right, under the circumstances!

Let's analyse the anatomy of today's bedlam. It all began when the TRS - the party was formed with the sole aim of having a new state of Telangana carved out of Andhra Pradesh - had offered support to the UPA 2. Some of its MPs, consequently, became ministers in the union cabinet. How it fell out with the Congress party and the games that all the political parties indulged in, on account of the issue, made it the mess that it has now become!

Bigger states are known to be unwieldy in so far as effective governance is concerned and it's only but common sense to carve out smaller states, out of them, for better management. That it needs to be done with great care, taking all the concerned parties into confidence, is a fundamental requirement. In other words, it's to be a win-win situation for all the stakeholders involved! Instead, what we see is a free-for-all with anyone and everyone trying to take the credit and get at the pound of flesh!

Do these MPs feel that their constituencies will forgive their ambivalent stand on the issue thus far? And isn't there any security check of the MPs before entering Parliament? I mean, how did pepper sprays and knives find their way into the haloed precincts? They seem to have forgotten that it was the place where opposition to one's idea was meant to be won over with the power of reasoning, supported by facts to convince the others and garner their wholesome support.

But parliamentary niceties are not the forte of many of the members, who by virtue of their conduct, make the common man wonder as to how they've come to be elected in the first place. Sadly, most of these guys have been thrust upon us by their political outfits just because of their 'winnability factor' - a euphemism for lung power, muscle power and money power! And the consequent casualty - decency, probity and the respect for the others!

Rejection of a candidate by the voters is a step in the right direction but how effective it's gonna be to differentiate the grains from the chaffe remains to be seen. And it would be worthwhile to reflect upon the saying, "The people get the government they deserve".

Do we, Indians, really deserve this? I've my doubts.


I was amused when some of my erstwhile colleagues had made a beeline to become members of a political party, that seems to be the trend these days, prior to the parliamentary elections. Of them, there are a couple who've a history of fudging funds while in office, which incidentally were of comparatively small values - in a few thousands! They're now offering their services, to govern us, where resources are unlimited!! What a joke?       

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Our first rains!

Today we witnessed the first rains after having settled down at Guruvayur. The rains were not heavy, it's more of a pitter-patter but it did wet the countryside. Thankfully, it had come about much after I'd completed my morning walk and the sun was back by late afternoon. The day had meandered on, with me notching up a few pending work like the transfer of my personal bank account and paying up the telephone bill for the month.

Based on prior appointment, we'd headed for the car's servicing station to secure the bumper liner that had worked out loose after last evening's mishap. And as I was driving towards the place - almost within  the precincts of the town of Thrissur - a huge pick up truck had grazed and damaged my driving mirror much to my discomfort. The only comforting thought was that I was anyways headed for the servicing station to carry out essential work and this was yet another added to the list of woes!

And no, this time, I wouldn't blame the pick up truck driver because I'd seen him careen over to my side of the road to save a cyclist and perhaps, in hindsight, I could have tucked my car into my side further and stayed clear of him. The wait at the service station - my first visit after coming here - didn't take more than an hour but the mechanic, who'd attended to my Chevy's work had offered me a very difficult choice which was out of the couple mentioned below:-

     (a) the mirror assembly was not available on stock which required an advance placement of order. And
          it would cost Rs.11 grand and therefore, I'd the option of using my car with the damaged mirror that
          had its off-white backing, matching the body colour, ripped off in the morning's mishap!

     (b) to replace the backing covers of both the mirrors with chrome caps. The advantage was that they're
          readily available and cost much less at Rs. 21/2 grand.

Between Scylla and Charibdis, I chose the latter though the final look of my Chevy failed to excite me! The car looks classy only when the mirrors have the body coloured backing!!


The Chevy is due for its next servicing after completing 45,000 kms and that milestone is just about 3,000 kms away. I've decided to change the mirror backings to the original hue, at that time.      

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The simplicity!

The day was hectic in that Lekha had to be taken to two doctors with whom we'd fixed up prior appointments. The timings suited us on two counts, in that, the first was at 1300h and the other at 1645h and the destinations were in the proximity of one another! Accordingly, we'd set off from our home a trifle after 12.

Driving through heavy traffic on narrow thoroughfares is common but the difficulty to park the vehicle in a safe spot is even more daunting. As one grapples with such 'trivial' problems, there are saviours who come to one's rescue at the the most opportune moment - as though they're godsend! Today, I'd such an experience and my saviour was in the form of an ever-smiling and smart, parking attendant by the name of Kala. She seemed to have a thorough knowledge about all the vehicles parked in her crowded parking yard because on sighting me, she'd asked me to wait at a place with adequate shade from the tormenting sun so that two of the already parked vehicles had sufficient time to leave the premises.

Within a matter of ten minutes, she's directing me to my parking slot that - yet again - had sufficient shade. On securing my Chevy, I realised that my wallet was with Lekha whom I'd dropped earlier at a different part of the huge hospital complex. I'd to sheepishly tell the attendant that I was truly penniless and would do the payment when we returned after meeting the doctor. She'd smiled and let me go.

While we're leaving, I'd paid the parking fee and thanked her profusely for being simply nice. The look of surprise on her face was genuine and she managed to utter the words, "Sir, you remember my name?" I must admit that I too felt happy. What she didn't know, perhaps, was that we guys in uniform remember our men to their minutest details and keep a track of what actuates them or what saddens them to render prompt assistance when required. Remembering names has become a habit.


1. People are so simple. By addressing another by name, the transaction is enhanced as both the parties begin to respect each other!

2. I sincerely hope that Lekha's medical problems over the last couple of weeks are behind us.   

Monday, February 10, 2014


The Ancheris and us had gone for the morning show of the Malayalam movie, 'Drisyam' about which one had heard a lot but could not get to see it, till date, owing to some reason or the other. I'd followed the promos of the movie and was sure that it was a winner because it has been directed by the talented Jeethu Joseph Pallissery. I've seen his earlier movies and he's a way of putting across his efforts and this movie has, further, reinforced that aspect.

Drisyam is all about an ordinary man, Georgekutty, trying to protect his family in his unique way and he justifies his actions - which could fetch him the gravest of punishments from the court - by saying that it's his duty to safeguard the safety and honour of his family. I shan't go through the story in it's entirety because that would be unfair - to those who're planning to see it - but consider the following:-

    (a) it talks of the ills of today's 'cellphone-internet age' where misguided youngsters use technology to
         devastating effects.
    (b) indulgent parents who've no time for their children, lavish money and expensive gifts on them instead
         to tide over their guilt and in the process, nurture monsters!
    (c) the police's ways of getting at the truth that, at times, get personal and brutal.
    (d) a completely 'defanged' Mohanlal who doesn't retaliate nor thrash his opponents as he does otherwise!

The beauty about the movie is that it has a negative aspect that's unacceptable in the normal circumstances but paradoxically, ends up with the viewer coming happy out of the cinema at the outcome of Georgekutty's travails!

A nice movie with no superhuman fights, fiery and larger-than-life dialogues and unnecessary bloodshed! But every frame is gripping!!


1. After taking leave of our friends, we're to fetch up at Murali-Radhika's place at Kochi when we got the news that Lekha's doctor had taken ill and had cancelled all his appointments. It's a blow but we'd to factor in the changed circumstances and decided to return to our house at Guruvayur. And by about 1930h, we're back, surprising our neighbours!

2. Fresh appointments with two of the doctors at Thrissur have been fixed at short notice. Well, as they say, the show has to go on!! 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The return.

After having supervised the renovation of the ancestral house, this morning we'd set off on our return. Though we'd planned to kick off by 7 AM, by the time we'd actually moved out it was almost an hour late. We've packed in a lot of activities in our itinerary.

The visit to the Mannarasala temple was the first. Actually, we'd been wanting to do it much earlier but something or the other prevented us from visiting the place all this while and we've been doing it, at least once, annually. It was fairly crowded being a Sunday but the 'darshan' was comparatively easy without much difficulty. I've always felt that time has stood still within the premises of the temple in the prevalent ambiance.

The drive onward was absolutely good and we're at our friends' place at Kottayam, in time for lunch, as had been planned earlier. It was 'catching up time' and in the process, we'd lost track of time discussing about various things.

Happened to see Vaikom Mohammed Bashir's classic on celluloid viz. 'Baalyakaala sakhi' - the childhood sweetheart. A great work and I really enjoyed every frame of the movie though I must add that the ending saddened me no end!

Lekha's medical review at the AIMS is on Tuesday. All the laboratory reports are in hand. And we'd be off to Kochi early morning tomorrow.


The grandfather clock is now only a couple of days away from being a prized possession!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Base instincts!

Today was the third and final day of the work on the roof of the ancestral house. As was decided yesterday, I'd reached the site by about 0910h by which time the work was already underway. The heat was oppressive and to make matters worse, I'd a bad bout of cold. I just couldn't bear a running nose and a nagging cough and therefore, had put myself on a three day cycle of antibiotics - an action endorsed by a doctor friend of mine!

Dust was there everywhere, despite the fact that I tried to shelter myself in the best way possible. Vijayan, my man, Friday was helping me to sustain through the three days of my presence by providing me with food and water as appropriate. Damn sweet of him and his family and he has ensured that one of his two sons, would be in attendance when I'm on the table. Some royal treatment, eh? And how do I thank them for their act of kindness?

One of the dishes, this afternoon, was my favourite fish curry and I was trying to serve it on to my plate when the bowl had slipped off from my hand and fallen down onto the floor. Now, etiquette and years of grooming have drilled into me that I must not eat any food material that has fallen down, especially in today's case when dirt was all around and the floor needed a thorough scrub - an activity that was only waiting for the work 'above' to get over!

Those finely cut pieces of fish looked delectable even though they're lying on the dirty floor. Meanwhile, the boy who was in attendance had gone out, presumably to take a call on his cellphone and at this lucky(?) break, without much ado, I'd picked up the pieces and tucked them away, one after the other, before the youngster could return. And felt pleased as Punch!

All these years of refined manners be damned!! I was only acting on my base instincts!!!

And I must shamelessly admit that this is not the first time. 


It took a workforce of 21 men and two women to finish the job over three days. By sunset, the house was nicely scrubbed with water and soap and I believe it to be dust free - well, almost - as the doors and windows are tight shut. And yes, the house is ready to host the entire family arriving next weekend to witness the annual festivities of a nearby temple.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

A request that could be heeded to.

I was amidst the din and dust of the tile relaying activity. In fact, I was sitting beneath the large, mango tree of our backyard watching the men go about their work atop the wooden lattice work in the sweltering heat, occasionally exchanging a yarn and eliciting varying reactions from raucous laughter to childlike surprise and wonder.

I must admit that I'd taken control of the captive audience at my disposal and put my story-telling ability to good use. Judging from the queries darted at me I realised they're no simpletons but a bunch of guys that were very much aware of the things happening around them. Sample just two questions tossed at me:-

    (a) "Isn't the French President wasting a lot of his personal time on frivolous activities? When
           does he get time to carry out his official duties?"
    (b) "Why can't the political parties that come to power in our country go for developing the
            villages just like the cities? By doing so, unemployment would go because people will be
            busy with jobs setting up infrastructure and there wouldn't be any need for our children to
            migrate into the cities".

I took an inordinately long time to answer the first and could only second their thoughts on the second......... And some among us have the audacity to call our people dumb!


It was sometime during late afternoon when a relative of mine had called up to help out a poor youngster - his dad is a wayside tea stall vendor and his mom, works as a domestic help - who's to pay a sum of Rs. 50 grand for a surgery, the completion of which would provide him with immediate employment abroad.

Luckily, I've a friend in the management faculty of a reputed hospital. All it needed was a call to explain the details of the case and she was gracious to give the youngster the requisite medical cover with the instruction that he must report to the concerned specialist on Monday. Damn sweet and thoughtful of her, because the boy has to reach Kochi all the way from a sleepy hamlet in Tamilnadu! And all for free......didn't I tell you that the world is so full of good, well meaning people?   

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Going back 50 years.

It's another journey down memory lane today. After having arranged for the skilled workers, almost a month back, they'd trooped in by 0800h to begin the work of removing the tiles, replace, repair/augment and nail in additional pieces to the supporting lattice work of wooden strips that held them and clean up the entire wooden ceiling beneath, before the relaying of the cleaned up tiles on my ancestral house. (Of late, there have been leakages during the rains because the iron nails holding the lattice work had corroded to nothingness, unsettling the lay of the tiles in the process).

They've traversed a bit above the halfway mark and it's gonna take the whole of tomorrow too but tonight, one can see the 'Belt of Orion', the other stars and constellations, along with  the crescent moon through the roof of the kitchen and the adjacent store room as the tiles there have been removed, cleaned and stacked up in the backyard for the night.

The roofing was done sometime in spring '65 under the supervision of my paternal grandfather. To quote my dad on how his house was built, "my dad used to write to me regarding the activities concerning the house building and I used to send him the money accordingly. I never kept an account of the money sent because I was sure that my dad wouldn't waste a penny, never use any of it for himself but yes, sometimes pay my kid sister's fees on loan - he used to insist on informing me about such transactions and would be satisfied only when he'd defrayed it from his own pocket".

And today, almost 50 years later, I was getting a job redone that was overseen by my grandfather about which my dad didn't have to bother during his lifetime thanks to the good workmanship that was ensured during the inaugural!


My wallet has thinned down considerably after my meeting with all those who'd come in to see me on observing the frenetic activity that was on.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tense moments.

I'd hit the road by a half past 7, this morning and the first destination was my sister's place at Palakkad to drop mom for a few days that we're gonna be out. Achu, my nephew, was holding the fort as his dad had gone to the office and his mom, to the school. Enroute, I'd tried to get a medicine for mom by visiting a number of medical shops but all my efforts turned to naught and finally, had to reluctantly, entrust the job to Achu - he's been successful as reported by him in the evening. He'd asked the medical shop that they frequent, to get him the medicine and they've done it. Quite resourceful of the youngster, I must say.

We'd then set off for my ancestral house by about a half past 10. The journey was smooth, no boorish motorists were encountered and in fact, there was this gentleman on a two-wheeler who'd called our attention to the underside of the Chevy. My first doubt was as to whether I'd a flat, but since they're tubeless tyres there's was nothing to worry till I came to a dead stop and I'd no intentions of stopping because the traffic was flowing at a decent pace  I'd a few tense moments - on testing, I found that the steering wheel was behaving normal and the car wasn't pulling towards any side. Did any part of the car fall off? With these negative thoughts occupying my mind, I'd come to a stop at a traffic light and it was then that I saw a long white, plastic sack that had got detached - obviously - from the Chevy's underside and lying on the road a few feet behind.

It's then that my breath had returned to normal. Somewhere, sometime earlier I remember white plastic bags billowing across the road as I swished past and it was one of those which must have temporarily found a safe haven under my car's belly and had egged the motorist to alert us. Damn sweet of him.

As we stopped for lunch, the matter was confirmed beyond doubt! But those were some real anxious moments!!


1. Could reach our destination well within sunset.

2. The mythological, 'Om namah shivaya' on the television has upset my knowledge received from my elders when I was a kid. I'd always grown up with the belief that Lord Ganesha was elder to Lord Karthikeya - the only two children of Lord Siva and Parvathi. The serial now, says that it's the other way round and to make matters worse, the two have a sister too! How does one reconcile this anomaly?   


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A case for declassifying records.

It's been a very embarrassing moment for the country with the British foreign minister's press briefing that the Indira Gandhi government had sought and received British advice regarding the conduct of the emotionally touchy, 'Operation Bluestar' in 1983. For the Congress party, it's an unparalleled embarrassment and it remains to be seen as to how it wriggles out of the situation because it's incumbent to provide answers to the people of this country. Where it seems to have committed a grave error was when its so called 'smart backroom managers' had briefed Rahul Gandhi not to apologise for the unfortunate anti-sikh riots of 1984 as an aftermath of Mrs Indira Gandhi's assassination, during his last interview with Arnab Goswami on Times Now.

It's my firm belief that, left to himself, he might have been more than  honest like anyone else from his generation and would have tendered an apology. And we, emotionally gullible Indians, would have lapped it up without inhibitions.

And here comes the meat of my thoughts for the day. All national secrets must be declassified and made available in the public domain for the people to know as to how certain decisions were taken at the highest level. The reason, always, would be that the government of the day had arrived at a particular decision - however difficult for anyone of us to understand and comprehend because we never had the total picture -
keeping the national good in mind!

By pushing such information into the public domain, it would also help the coming generations to learn from their elders' mistakes and take correct decisions and never to repeat them. In this context to cite an example, I'm of the opinion that keeping the lessons learnt from the Sino-Indian conflict of 1962 - to be specific, the Henderson-Brooke's report - a continuing mystery is a grave error. The coming generations should be able to analyse our strengths and weaknesses and get a clear vision as to what were the mistakes committed during that lost war despite heroic battles waged by the men in uniform in the face of great adversity.

And there are many more such information that're waiting to tumble out.


I'd like to pitch in for a period of 25 years after which, declassification of classified material must happen as a matter of course. Because, come what may ultimately, "truth will out".

Monday, February 3, 2014

The dishwasher.

It's a long day when I was in a spin throughout. Both mom and Lekha were down - mom had pain at her lower back and Lekha had her's in the lower abdomen. With both of them down, everything had come to a grinding halt and to make matters worse, Lekha's help wasn't available because she was attending the after death ceremonies of her close relative.

The doctors were contacted for medical advice to get the pain under control and for providing quick relief to both. Consequently, quick errands to the nearby chemist were necessary. The effects did take some time to materialise and you bet, those were agonising moments. Getting to use pain killers would have been the easy way out but I've always preferred discussing it out with the concerned medical people to avoid any error and in the process, unwanted escalation of the problem.

Lunch and supper were ordered from the nearby eatery and the takeaways took care of the inactivity of the kitchen. But in the aftermath, seeing the pile of soiled dishes in the sink, I was goaded into action in a hitherto unknown territory and got into the serious business of cleaning them only to realise that it's the toughest job one can think of which demands a lot of care for good results. Many of the ads, concerning the effectiveness of detergents and grease removers, came in and out of focus as I went about the tricky job. Our dishwasher cannot afford to wait any further!

Meanwhile, the routine chores had continued but the hardest thing was to convince the mother-daughter duo treating my mom, that the termination was only temporary and we intended to resume it once we returned after the break that was essential to carry out certain long pending work on my ancestral house. It was not difficult to appreciate that they missed my mom and her winning ways.


There are many things in day-to-day life that we take for granted. Some activities look to be simple but one can't afford to miss out on the nuances that go along with them - like say, dish washing. And I've learnt it the hard way!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

A retrograde step!

Today was the 17th day of mom's treatment at the ayurvedic clinic. Though she finds it easier to get in and out of Anto's autorickshaw and smoothly climbs up the steps of the landings leading to the spa - on the first floor - her movements, otherwise, are still painfully slow and deliberate. She gives me a feeling that there's a dent in her confidence after the fall that she had about three weeks before and is mortally scared that she might fall again.

Today's appointment went off as usual with her ribbing Anto about his vehicle's low speeds as we proceeded to the spa. Similarly, she was charm personified with the mother-daughter duo as she went through the paces of her treatment. She'd, of course, tried to impose restrictions on their treatment process by complaining about the heat of the oils being used on her and the pressures applied during the massages. And as she took leave of them, she'd even told them that she'd have preferred an in-house treatment without having to go back home everyday. I reckon, she's really got to like the duo - and translated to the treatment, I was under the impression that she was taking it all in the right spirit.

She'd bade Anto goodbye, on being dropped at our place, with the words that he should be back on the dot at 1030h tomorrow without fail. And after her evening tea, I'd coaxed her to walk for about a half an hour on our courtyard. She wasn't even halfway through the exercise when our neighbours happened to pass by, to whom she confided that the ayurveda treatment has been of no effect to her and that she preferred to be administered injections, augmented with tablets, which was a more effective form of treatment.

I must confess that I did feel distraught that our efforts, all through the previous fortnight, had been in vain and especially, when I'd insisted on sessions post treatment at the end of every week, between the three of them to find out that there was complete unanimity in the way things were progressing.

I fought with mom for not having enough faith in the system of treatment! It was then decided to call off the treatment and I'd called up the spa and Anto to inform them about the decision. To my surprise, they seemed to be sadder than me.

We're, anyways, planning to give it a break on 05 Feb for about a fortnight as I'd to go back to Kottarakkara to supervise renovation of my dad's house - for which the workers had already been alerted and arranged for - followed by Lekha's medical review by her doctor at Kochi.

And it's my fond hope that mom would come around to my way of thinking and agree to finish with the remainder of the treatment.


Why did mom have a change of heart? I've been trying to grapple with a few related inputs which are:-

 (a) she doesn't have faith in ayurvedic treatment.
 (b) she believes that only injections and tablets provide instant relief.
 (c) she fears that the intensity of our attention on her will diminish once she gets all right.

Or was it a wrong decision on my part to have put her on to this form of treatment in the first place? Because, the buck stops with me. Period.    

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A journey into the past.

After a hectic day, I'd settled down in front of the television set to watch my favourite programmes. Today marked the end of a long running serial on the Asianet channel named 'Kunkumappoovu' - literally translated, it means the 'saffron flower'. Aired during prime time, work in almost all the 'mallu' households came to a standstill because the ladies were eager to know of the travails of 'Professor Jayanthi', the lead character.

I would be lying if I were to say that I'd never watched it. I'd got sucked into the soap and would often update myself, on the lead character, with Lekha's inputs. The story had a liberal dose of sentiments, violence and emotional twists that played up to the gallery and was indeed very popular. To my mind, the singular aspect that the serial had highlighted was that even a 'goonda' was human, was passionate and was a man of principles! And that, seemed to be his undoing. He'd left his adversary with a stern warning - after bashing the daylights out of him and lecturing him about 'orderly conduct'. The seriously wounded villain jumped at the opportunity and without wasting even a second, shoved the sword into him from behind - perhaps, he was too frustrated after hearing the lousy and unconvincing moral lecture provided by the large hearted 'goonda'!! Incidentally, the goonda happened to be the professor's son-in-law!!!

The TRPs had, then, suggested that a sizeable percentage of the womenfolk had grieved along with the professor on the gory and untimely end of her son-in-law.

In the musical programme, 'Raag Rang' I was overjoyed to hear one of my favourite numbers - 'Musafir hoon yaaro, na ghar hai na thikaana, mujhe chalthe jaana hai....bas, chalthe jaana...' - from the movie, 'Parichay' picturised on a deglamourised and bespectacled Jeetender, who'd essayed the role of a teacher. It was a hit in the early '70s and I used to hear it, day in and day out wafting out of the speakers of the squadron ante room, while going through the paces of ragging and believe me, it used to buoy up my spirits every time, without fail.

Felt very nice as I hit the sack.


Mom's ayurvedic treatment seems to be proceeding on the right lines. But what surprises me is that she's yet to regain that confidence in her gait! And she's already past the halfway mark!!