Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Off to my dad's house.

After the customary walk in the morning, we're off to Kottarakkara to attend an official function and to take stock of things at my dad's house. I'd taken the NH17 after what seemed to be a long time. The drive was pleasant and we'd reached our destination much before sunset.

Meeting up with people, review of earlier assignments and assessment of things to be done in the future will be the mainstay!

Nice seeing my kid sister who's back from Bangalore!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A couple of points.

Finally, the morning had arrived when I could pick up my Chevy from the service station. After a hurried breakfast, I'd an autorickshaw drop me at the spot from where I could board a private bus to cover the ten kilometers to my destination. Kindness begets kindness, so when I'd offered my seat to an elderly gentleman - badly shaking due to nicotine tremours - a college going kid offered me his seat. Damn sweet of him!

The stay at the servicing station was for an hour and I saw my Chevy being washed down, dried, rubbed and polished before the handing over. As I went about the list of defects that I'd wanted them to liquidate, guys might have considered me to be a real fussy guy - but, what the hell one's entitled to ensure that one gets the best bang for the buck! In that department, Manikandan, the technical advisor and Prasobh, the service advisor had done a meticulous job.

Driving back, hence, was pure ecstasy. My Chevy was blemish less for a change! God, one did wait for the situation for a fairly long time!! Tomorrow, we're off to Kottarakkara to attend an official function and the whole family is gonna conglomerate with my younger sister being down from Bangalore on vacation. There are quite a few things that I hope to achieve during the trip.

           *                                                       *                                                             *
The afternoon siesta had to be shelved. Mom had to be taken to the Eye specialist, who sees patients twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in our immediate neighbourhood. Mom has been complaining of a diminishing sight on her right eye combined with an egress of tears when she concentrates on the television or while reading. She was driven to the clinic, though the distance was a mere 50 mts, because she finds it difficult to walk even such short distances, at a stretch.

The pre-checks had confirmed that there wasn't any need to change her glasses. The doctor has, however, said that she has a thin, white film over her right eye and has referred my mom to another doctor for laser treatment - she's had the cataract surgery performed on both her eyes in a reputed hospital, at Kochi, in May '11 - and she has called her for a review, subsequently. My mom's a bit unhappy because she'd expected her difficulty to be solved with a few medicines like drops, ointment and the works as she's not particularly inclined for a surgery - however, minor it's gonna be!

But what was a real spoiler was that I'd worn my footwear into the clinic while the entire lot, including the doctor, had removed them outside the entrance. I was in the wrong because frankly, I wasn't aware of the rule but I also know from my Academy days, that, 'Ignorance of orders is no excuse'! It's when we're within the safe confines of my house and my sister had pointed out the faux pas did I feel very guilty and ashamed for violating an existing rule. Why didn't the sisters in attendance correct me?



My sister, Rema and Achu had arrived by lunch time to join us for the trip tomorrow. I've been going through the interview that my nephew had recently attended in a fair amount of detail. He seems to have enjoyed it thoroughly and calls it a worthwhile experience!

Monday, April 28, 2014

A flash shutdown.

Thrissur district woke up to a shutdown because of a 'hartal' called by a group called the Hindu Aikyavedi that had the blessings of the local BJP unit!

So, a Monday that was supposed to be packed with activity turned out to be a damp squib. Vehicles did not ply on the roads fearing retribution from some misguided youth or even miscreants that take advantage of such situations. Most of the shops were shuttered except for the ones within the inner circle of the Guruvayur temple and therefore, commerce was non existent. And what was it all for?

A misunderstanding over the taking out of a procession by a church as part of its festivities. Was there a mischief in deliberately bringing about a mismatch of ideas over the issue? One will never know till the reasons are identified and analysed which is gonna take its own time. Imagine the terrible consequences to the general public who must have scheduled a lot of activities for the day to helplessly watch the initiative being wrested from their hands and opportunity being frittered away due to an ill timed, wrong decision.

On a personal level, the servicing agency had called up to say that they weren't working and that I would have to collect my car tomorrow. However, the boys had come to clean up the overhead filter of the water tank and clear up the garden that were tied up a few days back. When queried, they said that they couldn't stay away from getting their daily earnings just because of someone's stupid directive to strike work! I'd complimented them for their bold decision because I was aware that they're taking a tremendous risk of being labelled as 'turncoats' and subjected to all kinds of retaliatory tactics by the perpetrators of the strike if they're to come to know about their venture.


Due to a slight drizzle in the wee hours of the morning, the day was unbearably sultry and hot to add to the misery brought about by the strike. What a waste of a day?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A few more queries.

As the election juggernaut rolls into its final phases, there's a lot of heat and pyrotechnics being generated every day by the utterances of wayward politicians and my queries flow from them. I wonder as to how some of those narrow minded politicians can serve us as impartial parliamentarians and bring about legislative efforts towards the benefit of the people at large. Sample a few and it doesn't require much common sense to realise that many of them do not even have the wherewithal to think rationally. Probably, they form the rabble rousers of the political parties for perpetuating all sorts of gimmickry, within the confines of the parliament where they enjoy immunity, when the chips are down!

And mind you, not a single political party is free from this malaise. Money power has played out at the hustings and muscle power dictates subsequently. Let's see a few of those faces of notoriety:-

   (a) Giriraj Singh.

         When he made those outrageous remarks against the Muslims, why didn't Modi who was at the dais
         stop him from making that hate speech? Though his subsequent statement asked the party men to
         refrain from such narrow minded thoughts, the damage was done. Does it mean that he - the prime
         ministerial candidate - is bound by restrictions? Wouldn't it affect his subsequent performance? Can
         he, then provide good governance which has been his constant refrain?

   (b) Farooq Abdulla.

        He's had a unique place in Indian politics simply by virtue of the family that he comes from which was
        close to the first family, since Nehru's days. Since he's currently a minister in the union cabinet, his
        call for those who vote for Modi to drown themselves in the ocean, were uncalled for. Does it mean
        that he, till now as a minister, been only for those who supported him and his cronies, the fact that he's
        not an administrative wonder, not withstanding!

   (c) Priyanka's barbs and Modi's counters.

        While the mud slinging on each other has gone on to shriller decibels, the actual problems of bad
         governance or a complete paralysis of governance, corruption, dilution of constitutional institutions,
         an inadequacy of foreign policy initiatives and other important problem areas have been tucked
         away. Wonder whom it benefits and why?

   (d) Manmohan Singh's angst.

        Why does he've to be apologetic about his half-brother becoming a BJP member? One cannot
        dictate the political preferences of one's family members. There are many political families that have
        their members spread across evenly between the treasury benches and the opposition so that they
        enjoy the best of both - a shameless situation and the singular reason for many of the corrupt guys
        evading the law, for years. Why hasn't anyone of the Congress come to defend its PM, on the issue,
        while there was a chorus to defend Rahul vs Varun?

Strange! My queries seem to be simply multiplying when I see the hypocrisy at play in our political system.


We've travelled through a month of the summer with the accompaniment of the din of politics. The 16th of May seems to be at a tantalising distance now. Let it usher in a welcome change in attitudes and the way we play politics from now on.    

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Was I being harsh?

I'm back to the narration about the roadwork in front of my house. Mistakes have been rectified as the all pervading slush, that made vehicular movements virtually impossible yesterday, has been layered with another round of rock flakes and the accompanying powder, with minimal amount of water. The road roller was run over the surface in the aftermath and it now appears to be a neat work.

As the operations were winding down, Satish, one of the boys of the team had asked my permission to wash himself down at the garden tap in my courtyard. He was the communicator on behalf of the others who're labourers from Tamilnadu. We'd kept a steady stream of fresh water running for them - both at room temperature and chilled - throughout the day so that they could take some respite from the heat and in the process, I'd got to be friendly with the young man.

I'd agreed to his request with a rider, in that, he should use up the water in the container beside the tap and to avoid using the running water. Running water had the tendency of getting over utilised - a tremendous loss in the present circumstances when the water level in the well was being watched with a lot of trepidation! The moment I'd uttered those words, the smiling visage of Satish - that I'd got accustomed through the day - seemed to change and did I see a look of betrayal instead? I could imagine his anguish on hearing me:-

  (a) we'd been working all day long for his benefit and the guy doesn't even have the decency to provide
        water for cleaning up. So what if a little water gets wasted in the process?
  (b) only running water can effectively remove the dirt off my body and why doesn't this guy understand
        this basic tenet?

He and his friends did use up the water from the container to clean themselves up despite their initial reservations.


Looking back at the episode, Satish's look continued to haunt me. Wasn't I being unnecessarily harsh? So what if a bit of water had gone waste? Heavens would not have fallen down. And something, deep within, says that I could have been more magnanimous!

Apologies, Satish for my churlishness, miserliness and selfishness. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Charlie Mike's here!

He's been threatening all the while that he'd make it here and since it's been going on for the last so many years, I'd taken it as another desire of his which he's been constantly shelving because of the pressures at his home. Well, today he finally did make it, by about a half past 8 in the evening, after attending a wedding in the family at Kochi and he was accompanied by his family.

His two sons have grown up to strapping young men, both having overcome medical problems of a prolonged nature. His elder son, an engineer and all of 28 yrs has not been able to cosy up to a work of his liking and that aspect has taken a toll of his persona, making him unsure about life. He has, however, begun to thaw and should be doing well within a matter of time, now that the ghosts of his past have been exorcised! The younger son has been doing well and has picked up a good job in the national capital around the end of last year.

But I've seen the actual person that Charlie Mike actually is. Always full of energy, ever bubbling with enthusiasm, he used to keep the people around him in splits with his spontaneous wit and he has a wonderful timing at that! And above all, he possesses the wonderful quality of taking himself lightly. We're, incidentally, classmates in school but not that friendly as each of us moved with our own circle of friends, then. It was after joining the navy that we got to be good friends and many events were scripted by the two of us - providing mirthful laughter to our course mates - during those initial training days!

And a few years into our professional life, we'd gone our ways due to the requirements of service and a little while later we'd lost touch with each other. In his life there were a few mishaps which made him withdraw into a shell always nurturing a hope that I'd seek him in due course - as per his candid admission, later. And the biggest casualty, during that period, was his positive orientation.

Over the last few years of our reconnect, he's slowly come out of his enforced gloom and has started smiling more frequently as of old. I'd like to believe that I'd a miniscule part to play in this transformation of his. And so, his presence with family at my place was a time for catching up from where we'd left last.

In the process, we'd lost the track of time. I found that my mom was watching us intently throughout the evening. A wonderful day, indeed.


The flow of guests to 'The Quarterdeck' has been picking up steadily of late. Hope it continues so that the monotony is broken once in a while!  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Boxed up!

As I'd said yesterday, the road in front of my house was being resurfaced with granite flakes and soft mud. Today was the second and the final day for the work to be completed. The working team had come by 8, in the morning and they had gone about their work in right earnest to spread the material evenly on the existing strip.

The road roller had come after the lunch hour accompanied by the water bowser and they went about their turns without much ado. But by the end of their efforts, the entire road had got so slushy that any movement, on foot, needed superhuman efforts to walk through the muck that was ankle deep. What had happened was that their estimates had gone horribly wrong viz.:-

      (a) the entire amount of water brought in by the bowser was emptied onto the mud filled road. It had
           come at a price and there was no question of sending back the unused water, so it seemed!
      (b) the oppressive heat would dry up the wetness - despite the excess - without delay.

In fact, the contractor sensing my unease, had come to assure me that things would get squared up within no time and that the offensive looking slush would get sorted out on its own. While delivering this piece of conversation he, himself, looked pathetic with the rolled up sleeves of his trousers and his footwear in his hands badly caked with an overdose of dirt! His demeanour further convinced me that my unease was not misplaced!!
A few of the vendors, who provided services to our houses, beat a hasty retreat without venturing on their intended work, despite their good intentions. My evening walk was given a convenient go by as I didn't want to be a carrier of dirt into my house! We're truly boxed up!!

Was the strengthening of the road a bad idea, after all? Or was it the overindulgence on the water, by the road laying team, that had brought about the mess?


After reviewing the situation, the contractor has suggested that a couple of truckloads of rock sand could be spread and the road roller administered on the surface to retrieve the situation. And the cost, an additional
Rs.10 grand for no fault of ours! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Boby Chemmanur's feat and other stories.

Today's thoughts are a collage of happenings that have taken place within proximity - I must hasten to add that I'm not emphasising upon the distances of the places of their actual happening - but each of them has touched a cord deep within and hence the mention. So, without much ado, here I go:-

  (a) Boby Chemmanur's feat.

  Boby Chemmanur had undertaken a run of 812 km - from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram - which
  ended yesterday at the state's capital. This was to create awareness among the Malayalees about the
  importance of donating blood as a humanitarian cause. He plans to set up blood donation centers in
  every district of the state so that blood is readily available and at cheap rates so that every individual

  As his name suggests, he's an industrialist - Chemmanur Jewellers is one of the leading outlets in the gold
  market. What makes people like him get into ventures - putting himself into extreme hardships - towards
  the welfare of the society is an anathema for many. Without jumping into any negative conclusions, it's my
  fond hope that his efforts would be the trailblazer for 'blood banks' at every nook and corner of the state
  and incidences of death due to non-availability or non-affordability of blood is gonna be a thing of the past!
  May God bless you Boby, for your noble efforts!

  (b) Rugma has done it.

  Several months ago, Rugma, a young lady from a very poor family and whose father has been bed ridden
  for long had come to meet me, along with her mother, with a desire to join the military nursing service. I'd
  given her a few tips to approach the sequence of written examination followed by the interview. She's a
  good learner and had also practised a great deal towards the run up and had come to seek my blessings(?)
  earlier this week before going for the final interview. Frankly, I'm ill at ease on such occasions because
  usually, the protagonist expects one to give the necessary impetus to achieving the goal, by putting in a  
  word at the right quarters which I don't.

  This afternoon, the thrilled young lady had called up from Bangalore to thank me on her clearing the final
  hurdle. How does one convince her that she'd done it on her own steam? I'm glad for the family as its bad
  days are slowly coming to an end!

  (c) A milk vendor with a difference.

  This evening, while on my usual walk, I'd stopped by a milk booth - actually, a room of the owner's
  house - to buy a couple of packets when the owner told me that he's been observing my outings both
  in the mornings and the evenings and suggested that I do my exercise at a school compound in the
  vicinity without being exposed to the dangers of the busy traffic. He's a franchisee of the 'milma' - The
  Kerala Milk Marketing Federation - and said that he's been in the business of selling milk over the past
  so many years.

  He spoke good English and asked me quite a few personal questions and somewhere, in between, had
  meandered into 'Transactional Analysis' - my pet subject. It's refreshing to get to know him and I did say
  that in so many words.

 "Ramachandran - that's his name - it's because I take this route that we've been able to befriend in this
  manner and I'm glad about it". It's one more friend that I've picked up thanks to my walk!


The road, in front of my house, is being hardened for resurfacing. Otherwise, during the monsoons, the whole place turns out to be a messy slush, making driving and mere walking, a horrible experience. Truckloads of rubble and mud have been dumped - and they have not been spread evenly - boxing up vehicular movements to and from my house despite the contractor's promise that there would be no hindrances in the course of his men's work. So much about promises and adherence to one's words!        

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Finally, at the service station. Phew!

16 Jan.  My Chevy suffers the first damage on her port side when I negotiate her through a curve on a narrow stretch of road to bring home the 'ayurvedic' physician to have my mom checked for her body aches and pains, consequent to a fall.

12 Feb. The car suffers a second damage when an oncoming tipper lorry smashes the starboard rear view mirror into smithereens. Since I was headed to the servicing station and on advice from the technical guys, the rear view mirrors were provided with alternate chrome plated covers - an arrangement that I'd agreed to as a stop gap arrangement as there wasn't any other alternative because they didn't have the original backing on stock, the chrome backings were comparatively cheap and the car was anyway, falling due for her servicing @ 45,000 km shortly, when I'd the option to return to the original backings and there was no question of 'admitting' her as Lekha's treatment at the Jubilee Mission Hospital was poised to commence a few days from then.

17 Feb. The car suffers the third damage from a Kinetic Honda, driven by a young lady, this time on her port side which turns out to be a fairly large black patch.

Many of the people who happened to see the car's ignominy, during the period, had a lot of questions for me to answer and I'd to patiently narrate the incidents with the ultimate blame heaped upon myself - there's no escaping that! And it wasn't yet time for the vehicle to be taken to the servicing station as events simply overtook my schedule and a few long distant trips had to be undertaken soon after the hospital attachment.

Consequently, when stopped at the traffic lights, my Chevy came under intense scrutiny of the other motorists. Probably, pitying the plight of the good car in the hands of a wayward(?) owner?!

Finally, the great day had dawned and I could hand over my Chevy for her servicing and defect rectification, today. And I ain't even thinking of the final bill because the work needs to be done and the car has to be brought back to its smart looks!


As I was driven off from the servicing station, my customer service advisor tells me and I quote, "Sir, you're one of the few owners that I've come across who loves his/her vehicle so much. Don't worry I assure you of our best support at all times". I'd acknowledged his compliments but he's never gonna know the tremendous anguish that I used to have in driving my 'defaced' Chevy for the past two months!    

Monday, April 21, 2014

Is there a conspiracy angle after all?

As the election process is hurtling towards its final phases and with the increasing number of wild and inflammatory speeches being made by people from almost all parties, an impartial observer like me can't avoid seeing a conspiracy in the run up to the final results. I shall try to put down the queries that have begun to disturb me as I find that there's a method in the madness.

This is notwithstanding the known fact that most of the politicians are hypocrites, have alibis to support every action of their's and will do anything to cling on to power. Let me, thus, go through the events that have taken place in these last few weeks that do not augur well:-

      (a) People like Azam Khan and Pravin Togadia have been let loose. They make outrageous statements
           and seem to be getting away with them. I can't believe that they do not have the backing of the
           political outfits that they represent? Is it to show the BJP as a party that cannot but be 
           communal especially, after exit polls predict the party of getting an impressive number of
      (b) A few of the candidates have made utterances that make the common man wonder as to what
            qualified them to get tickets of the parties to fight elections. The numbers have been more on the
            BJP's bandwagon. Is there a '160 club' within the party as per which stalwarts like Advani
            and the seniors who feel that they've been sidelined by Modi, are not looking for more than
            160 seats? They feel that they could then be back to center stage and attract partners in
            government formation who hate Modi.

      (c) Articles about Vadra's misdemeanours are being rolled out in the foreign media with a remarkable
           regularity when their Indian counterparts are comparatively quiet. Why is it so? Is there a tacit
           understanding between the two major parties that they shan't attack each other on such
           contentious issues?

One thing has become crystal clear. Narendra Modi has managed to get the spotlight on him and many people of the Congress who chose to ignore him initially have realised their blunder and have now come out against him, literally making the 2014 elections a fight between Modi and the rest!

And may the best man win!  


It's the vibrancy of the Indian democracy that's on show. We shall show the world the true meaning of 'Unity in diversity' on 16 May as the election results roll out.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A blast from the past!

I'd my friend and his family dropping in on us this afternoon. Actually, we'd planned it before when he'd informed me about his proposed trip to the temple town about a month back. We're together at Chilka during '89-'90 and had struck a fine relationship. We'd to catch up on many things and it turned out that he'd looked forward to the late afternoon meeting just as eagerly as I did!

As we went through the personalities and events of the past, it's exhilarating to note that his sense of humour was intact and he continued to possess that wonderful quality of laughing so very easily. Thanks, Kothuri sir, it's nice of you to come by and I look forward to your next trip as you say that you've your annual pilgrimage to this place in place.

      *                                                    *                                                      *

The Mercury continues to rise and the summer heat has become a scorcher. Air conditioners have become a must but what about the many who can't afford them or the others who detest and feel miserable in controlled temperatures? Actually, high roofed, tiled houses of the past are the natural remedies but their maintenance and the expertise at setting them up are hard to get these days. The water table has been steadily receding and one wonders as to whether the well in our courtyard will see us through this summer, without difficulty!

Meanwhile, the consumption of water has been fairly constant if not for the occasional spikes!

       *                                                   *                                                      *

The evening walk was okay with me taking off a little earlier than usual. And somewhere in between, a few youngsters beckoned me to join them in their game of cricket which I readily accepted. In that short span of time, I tried to impart my little knowledge of the game to all those present who seemed to be quite excited about the whole affair.

And as I broke off to resume my walk, they said in unison that they looked forward to my joining them tomorrow. I waved at them without offering a commitment!


By the time I'd hit the sack, it was almost midnight. The evening hours just seem to be too little and in too great a hurry to play out!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

I'm completely baffled!

Probably, this is my ignorance about movies and the technicalities of film making talking. But what I can't understand is that every time the film awards are announced at the national or the state levels, there's a flurry of dissent coupled with a lot of angry exchanges. If the selection process had been above board, would such a situation arise? No, I ain't questioning the competency of the 'Awards Committe'. On the flip side, can we say that it's the venting of feelings against the winners by those who'd missed it narrowly?

Now, allow me to go into the specifics. Suraj Venjaramoodu was declared the 'Best Actor' for his role in the Malayalam film, 'Perariyathavar' in the 61st National Film Awards. He shares this honour with Raj Kumar Rao for his role in the Hindi film, 'Shahid' - a biopic on the slain lawyer activist, Shahid Azmi.

A day later, the state film awards are announced. Suraj Venjaramoodu is adjudged the 'Best Actor in a Comic role' for his performances in the Malayalam movies, 'Daivathinte Swantham Cleetus' and 'Pullippulikalum Aattinkuttiyum'. The state awards committee then explained their decision by saying that Suraj did not figure in the short listed names for the 'Best Actor' category. And it's because of this mismatch that I, as a layman and as someone who enjoys seeing good movies, have the following doubts:-

   (a) Was 'Perariyathavar', the movie that had fetched Suraj his national award, among the 85 odd films
        that were screened for the Awards Committee to arrive at their decision?
   (b) If the answer to the above question is in the affirmative, why did it not come in the roll of honours
         because the yardstick for selection - be it at the national or at the state levels - would have been
         the same?
Over the next few days, there would be raging discussions and mud slinging on the media. A lot of bad blood is gonna be shed without any outcome. Sad!

And Congratulations Suraj! May there be many more to come your way!!


Came across this cute note written by a child on her Maths book,

    "Dear Maths,
     Please grow up and start solving your problems yourself. I have my own problems".    

Friday, April 18, 2014

A thought provoking call!

I was drifting into my afternoon siesta when the cellphone had begun to ring. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't irritated but attend to the call, I did without delay. It was my uncle - the former 'Munshi' - from Thiruvananthapuram. Hearing him, I'd felt guilty because I'd missed out on talking to him last Sunday and no, there's no worthwhile alibi! I make it a point to talk to all my elders every weekend which is my way of showing them that I care - too little when I take into account their contributions towards my growth, I agree!

He was excited when he said that he'd just dreamt that I'd been anointed as the new naval chief. He's been following the resignation of the previous incumbent and the tortuous fifty odd days that the government had taken to appoint his successor. I'd thanked him profusely saying that I was glad that I'd become the chief, at least in his dreams.

To another query of mine, he said that he was being overtaken by loneliness without blaming anyone but himself and added that his children were too busy with their work and family commitments. Ever since the passing away of my aunt - Leela kunjamma - two years back he's been staying with his three children, in turns, though he prefers staying with his eldest son in Thiruvananthapuram - and where he's currently - as "it's a city where something or the other keeps happening every moment", to quote him. It was disheartening to hear about his feeling of loneliness and I'd mentally jotted down to prod my cousin to ensure that he spends quality time with his dad, everyday.

And I must get him to my house for a break as I'm sure that he and my mom will get along like a house on fire, like the days of old. But, I'm now seized with yet another doubt, am I taking my mom's presence with me for granted?


The pressures of work and family commitments have made many professionals to push their aged parents into old age homes. By providing the monthly remittances, they feel smug about the fact that they're looking after their parents without realising that their elders need much less - a fraction of their time and the consequent sense of belonging! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Shekhar Sinha and Robin Dhowan.

Today's news reports on the appointment of the new naval chief and the consequent upheavals(?) within the Indian navy could only elicit a contemptuous laughter from within, simply because they've got it all wrong. Probably, the news item has captured more eyeballs than usual, because the government has bucked the trend for the third time in history in giving the seniority criterion the go by.

Usually, the senior most among the lot succeeds to the top post as it puts to rest unnecessary rumours and stories and let's face facts - all those who've reached those positions have almost similar qualifications to occupy the high chair. The couple of times that this trend was bucked was in the case of:-

    (a) SK Sinha   vs. AK Vaidya  - the latter went on to become the Army Chief while the former was the
                                                      senior of the two. It happened in '83.
    (b) MM Singh vs. SK Mehra   - the latter went on to become the Air Chief while the former was the
                                                      senior of the two. It happened in '88.

Knowing both the guys, Sinha and Dhowan - I must hasten to add, here, that as a junior who has had the privilege of having interacted with the two - the news about the so called 'succession wars' is nothing but balderdash. Perhaps, in the run up to the appointment both must have had their credentials compared but once the appointment was made, the decision would have been accepted by the concerned parties without further questions. That the person who lost out in the reckoning being left with the  feeling of 'so near and yet, so far' sort of a syndrome is not being brushed aside because it's only but logical to be in that frame of mind. The service way of thinking and the deep bonds that have been forged over the years have their way in tiding over such situations which cannot be comprehended by the man in the civvy street! And it's here that I'd like to mention the qualities of the two.

I shall touch upon Robin Dhowan first because in my naval service, he was the first whom I'd come across as a young cadet on board the good 'ole INS Delhi(ex HMS Achilles of the famous Battle of the River Plate during World War II) when he was a Lieutenant. What I remember of him was the way he did his homework before every evolution and the manner in which he took it upon himself to teach us the rudiments of life at sea. Ever since, he's always shown an inclination to know about me whenever we'd bumped into each other, be it in the corridors of the South block or while on operational stints!

Shekhar Sinha and me were in command of two ships and had extensively worked together on deployments in connection with the Sri Lanka operations. He's the ability to laugh so easily and was always ready to provide assistance during those deployments. In fact, both of us had featured in the first list of the Republic Day honours of '88 with the award of the Naosena Medal(Gallantry) - Sinha had actually got a 'Bar to his earlier NM', then!

Both of them have the service uppermost in their minds and have been brought up in the mould of the highest traditions of service that every man in uniform upholds in life. Disparaging stories and rumour mongering have no place in that realm.

For the officers, the men and the civilians of the Indian Navy, it's a new chief at the helm who'll guide them and lay down policies towards the betterment of the service! The show goes on!!


If the news bytes are to be believed, the Ministry of Defence is of the opinion that Shekhar Sinha's head had to roll as he'd to shoulder the responsibility of the spate of accidents that had taken place in his command. If that be so, how about the Defence Secretary and his other cronies taking a rap on their knuckles for the lapses as they too come within the ambit of accountability? Of course, the Defence Minister should have been the first as I'd said earlier on this forum!                 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A short, sweet trip!

It's a short trip to Kollam where our classmate's son was getting married at the Anandavalleeswaram temple. We're four of us who'd set off from Kochi after an early breakfast.

The trip was fine with the four of us reminiscing our school days and a wide range of personalities, who'd flitted in and out of our lives during our stay there, were recalled. The ubercool environs of Josekutty Thomas' Audi made it comfortable. By going through the many events and incidents, we could get newer insights into our behavioural pattern while at school. There were no ill feelings from the past and instead, a collective eagerness to be networked to one and all so as to get as many of us as possible in the get together, that's being planned for the next year, was evident.

By the time we reached the venue, Arjun and Shilpa'd become man and wife. After wishing them and exchanging pleasantries, it was time to interact with our other classmates who'd fetched up from Thiruvananthapuram and nearabouts. Though we did meet quite a few of the guests, after the initial stages, our group remained as one, spinning one yarn after the other, punctuated with frequent guffaws.

All too soon, it was time to break up and the four of us were back on the home stretch. The farewell was a bit long drawn out because all of us didn't want to part company and tried to linger on for that extra minute, that could be tweaked out in the available circumstances. But most of us had to get back and there were deadlines that had to be met.

By the time I was at The Quarterdeck, it's about 8 PM. My sister and nephew had arrived an hour earlier and they're gonna be here with us for a couple of days!


The interaction with my sister and her son, eased out the melancholia that was within me at having to disengage with my classmates earlier on!    

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Our first Vishu and other stories.

I'd got up by 5 to light the lamp and usher Lekha and mom, in that order, to see the 'Vishukkani'. The light drizzle that was prevalent after midnight had long stopped and an oppressive humidity had taken its place. To my glee, I'd mentally noted that I did not have to water the grassy expanse and the plants in the backyard because of the ample wetness but yes, the flower pots on the balcony needed to be watered. I'd decided to catch up on some more sleep as the decision to give my early morning walk a miss was taken without remorse, in the process!

       *                                                *                                                 *

Sadly, missed the newspaper boy when he'd dropped the day's editions. It's a custom that one hands over the 'Vishu Kaineetam' - a token of satisfaction for the services rendered and to commemorate the auspicious occasion - to everyone that drops by. Sathi Amma, Lekha's deputy and help, had come by in the meanwhile and helped her with the household chores. She'd made a quick exit on receiving her 'kaineetam' as she was expecting a few visitors at her place! Nice of her to make it on a holiday.

Earlier, mom had given us our 'kaineetam' and I'd, in turn, handed over Lekha and Sathi Amma, their's, as custom dictates!

       *                                                 *                                                  *

My friend's Man Friday had decided to visit the temple town. He'd expressed his desire when I'd visited the place at Kottayam, a couple of months back. Quiet, simple and efficient, his only weakness was that he drank toddy as though there was no tomorrow. An extremely likeable guy who'd run errands for me and had washed down my Chevy.

He was in an inebriated state and had to be allowed to rest for a while before being packed off back to Kottayam as I was off on a trip to Kochi and Kollam, to attend the marriage of my class mate's son tomorrow. There will be four of our classmates - including me, that is - who'll be attending the function taking place at the Anandavalleeswaram temple, at forenoon, tomorrow.

       *                                                 *                                                   *

The journey was by the long distance private bus after a long time. The drivers of these buses can seriously imperil the lives of those with weak hearts as they swerve, overtake other vehicles when there's hardly any space and slam on the brakes with a gay abandon! Our driver's multitasking qualities - like glancing frequently over his shoulder to put in a word to the conductor while overtaking other vehicles and negotiating bends - sure gave me the jitters!

Had reached my friend's place just in time as they returned from church. And it was a long yakkitiyak, after that, over a superb vegetarian dinner! Thanks Jojy and Saly for making my short visit comfortable and pleasant!!


It's, indeed, a fast paced Vishu! Meanwhile, calls and messages kept pouring in and I only hope that I haven't missed out anyone with my replies.          

Monday, April 14, 2014

Organising the 'Vishukkani'.

A major part of the day was spent in designing the 'Vishukkani' as this was going to be our first Vishu at The Quarterdeck. The ingredients that go to the making up of the Vishukkani had to be bought from the market except for the few that were available in house.

For the information of the 'non mallus', Vishukkani is a carefully laid out visual of the common items that are essential in daily life at the 'sanctum santorum' that most people establish in their homes to house their favourite gods. And to my mind, the most important item is the bright yellow Laburnum flowers - the irony, these days, is that the trees bloom as early as in the month of January and by the time the day of Vishu dawns, the abundance of the flowers would have begun to dwindle, so much so, that people having these trees in their courtyards/backyards pluck the flowers to distribute to the needy public at a price and make a a fast buck!

The concept of setting up the Vishukkani and to view it, first thing on the day of Vishu, is to pray to the gods for continued prosperity and contentment.

We'd set off to the market by about a half past 11 - the oppressive heat was thankfully on hold with two back to back thundershowers but the humidity had to be endured - and after about an hour and a half, all the essential ingredients had been bought including a clutch of the elusive Laburnum. It's only then that I could breathe easy.

Later on, during my evening walk, I'd collected another clutch of the bright yellow flower and felt totally 'armed' for ushering in Vishu tomorrow. And by late evening mom, Lekha and me had got around to setting up the Vishukkani. Mom's experience coupled with Lekha's imagination were more than enough to set up the impressive 'kani' and I'd say that my contribution was that of a working hand who meekly took orders and executed them!

And as we turned in for the night, it was with the smug feeling that Vishu was gonna be ushered in with the elegance and gusto that it truly deserves!


And yes, this is the holy week. The people, world over, are into prayers for the purification of the selves!   

Sunday, April 13, 2014

India needs to shed its sentimental outlook!

Human beings are sentimental. In fact, it's this quality that differentiates him from the animals that inhabit the jungles, though after seeing quite a few documentaries on wild life, I've doubts about the age old belief! Probably, the supporters of the theory might harp on the saying that 'exceptions do not prove the rule'.

We, Indians, are very, very sentimental.......too sentimental to a fault. How can we, otherwise, ever justify the enormous love and affection that we'd bestowed on Sonia Gandhi and her family? Her faults and shortcomings were brushed aside as a woman's genuine mistakes as she charted the murky and dangerous waters of politics. The nation really grieved when she didn't make it to the Prime Ministerial chair and were sold on the subsequent gimmick that indeed she'd never hankered for power but had always wanted to serve the country.

It's this bubble that has been burst by the two books on the UPA I and II governments viz.

     (a) Sanjaya Baru's  'The Reluctant Prime Minister' and
     (b) PC Parakh's     'Crusader or Conspirator? Coalgate and Other Truths'.

As had been cited earlier, the former was in the PMO during the UPA I while the latter was the Coal Secretary to the Government of India, when a massive scam had surfaced during the process of the coal block allocations.

What becomes abundantly clear is that Sonia Gandhi had played a direct role in the major decision making process while Manmohan Singh and his cabinet were mere puppets! Authority without accountability.....what a scary scene it is? And it's based on this piece of news that my queries come tumbling, which are:-

     (a) Suresh Kalmadi's defiance, for months, and refusal to step down from the Commonwealth
          Organiser's post. Wasn't it because he'd just been the 'front man' for someone else?
     (b) A Raja's defiance to quit on account of the scam that was around the allocation of the 2G spectrum?
     (c) Pawan Bansal's drama over the Railway Recruitment scam and subsequently, allowed to fight the
          Lok Sabha elections by the Congress high command?
     (d) Ashok Chavan, tainted by the infamous 'Adarsh' scam, being given the go ahead to fight the elections.

As a follow through, the additional doubts that worry me as an Indian citizen are:-

      (a) Why did the setback to the 'naval submarine acquisition programme' happen?
      (b) Were the induction of substandard spares the cause for the spate of accidents in the armed forces
            or was it the inordinate delays in the acquisition process ?
      (c) Was there a sinister design in the realm of national security? Or has it been a bungling by the
           inefficient troika of P Chidambaram(the Finance Minister), Sushil Kumar Shinde(the Home Minister)
           and AK Antony(the Defence Minister), all of whom'd Sonia Gandhi's patronage.

My take on the series of revelations is that, perhaps, it got a nudge from Manmohan Singh, himself, to come out clean on the entire set of corruption charges against him! On a personal level, I feel angry with him and no, there's no sympathy for his helplessness for having been on the chair for 10 years!! He ought to have resigned long ago when he'd first realised that he was being used!!!

Come to think of his plight when his own ministers used to bypass him or did not feel it necessary to keep him in the loop for the decisions that they took! And he was left to fend for the answers in the Parliament with hardly any support from his own party either!!


It would be worthwhile to take a look at the way the Americans handle sentimentality. I think that they're a practical people. Years back, when Kennedy was brutally assassinated and the television grabs showed Jacqueline Kennedy in blood splattered clothes, the whole of America had grieved. But in their moment of grief not a single American had clamoured for making Jacqueline Kennedy the President!

We need to emulate them on this score, at least!      

Saturday, April 12, 2014

To cross check or not.

I've always been of the opinion that the need to cross check on anyone's information was unnecessary. It's because of my firm belief that the information collector would have validated the authenticity of the source, the content of the information and ensured that there was no room for even an iota of ambiguity! Alas, this morning's experience has proved me otherwise.

Lekha's brother and family had been with us for the past couple of days and they're slated to go on their return trip by this morning's train. All along, I was under the impression that this particular train took off from here at 0600h everyday. When Lekha'd queried her brother as to whether there was a need to cross check, his wife had categorically stated that she'd checked at the counter - at the time of departure - and ascertained that the scheduled time was 0700h. The matter was, therefore, accepted as gospel and forgotten about till this morning.

After their morning chores and with the last minute rounds of, "When will we see you next?' '' By the next summer hols for sure and during that time we shall endeavour to stay for a longer while", they're ready to leave. I'd chauffeured them to the Railway Station and they'd proceeded to get their tickets from the counter. The train's destination was their's too and they'd confirmed that it was their train that was indeed standing on platform no.1 and without much ado, I'd taken off for home as I generally hate long drawn out goodbyes!

An hour later, Lekha'd rung her brother up to confirm as to whether everything was going as per schedule when she was told the following:-

    (a) their train had actually left the station at 6 AM at its scheduled time.
    (b) the train that they'd seen standing at platform no.1 was another one which would drop them two hours
          from then, at a junction, from where they'd have to board a connecting train and their arrival back at
          their destination was gonna be correspondingly delayed!


I'm now convinced that a cross check of another's information would be a prudent action after all. It avoids anxiety, mix ups and associated difficulties to all the concerned parties! Yet another lesson in the journey of life!!   

Friday, April 11, 2014

Elections, after all, throws up facts!

Since the biggest elections are under away can't resist going back to the stories connected with it which, of course, the media has covered/been covering in depth. So I wouldn't like to repeat them but would like to go through a few of them from my viewpoint and here I go:-

      (a) The truth is out.

       The book, 'The Accidental Prime Minister' written by the PM's ex-media adviser, Sanjaya Baru, has
       confirmed that was always speculated in the public domain - it's Sonia Gandhi who'd cleared almost
       all the important files for the Prime Minister. Logic, then, suggests that all the scam-ridden actions like
       the Commonwealth Games imbroglio, 2G spectrum allocation, coal block allocations and wonder how
       many more unearthed ones can be heaped on her about which she owes an explanation to the people
       of this country. Is this what she's given back to her simple party workers who'd loved her whole
       heartedly and literally, wept when she couldn't become PM in the first attempt. And remember the
       drama that was played around implying that she'd sacrificed it all when all she was doing was to wield
       power from behind - responsibility without accountability!

      (b) Personal slanging.

       One was under the impression that Rahul Gandhi and his friends didn't require to go after their
       political opponents on a personal level however much the provocation. Their new ideas and vision
       for the country - explained properly and patiently to the people - were more than adequate to carry
       them along because they'd started off on a lot of goodwill. But over the last weeks, they've proved
       that they intend carrying on with the dirty tricks of their predecessors with a viciousness that leaves
       a bad taste in the mouth. And his remarks about Modi's wife reminded one about a crass remark,
       made years earlier, by his dad, 'naani yaad kara denge' - that dented his gentlemanly image for the
       first time!

       (c) Dad's the limit!

        The Hindi film actress, Ayesha Takia, has reasons to be disgusted with her dad-in-law for saying out his
        mind on rape and about his opinion about rapists. He's just trying to be more loyal than the king -
        his political leader, Mulayam Singh Yadav. Sincerely hope that his constituency and its voters would
        teach him a lesson at the hustings! Enough is enough!!


One has always wondered as to how one can show one's face in public after uttering absolutely horrible and mean things about the others. I suppose, this is what shamelessness and a thick hide are all about! And how can these people ever provide path breaking legislation meant for the good of their people?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sanath's 'whirlwind' tour.

It was raining guests today. After casting her vote, Lekha's kid sister along with her second son and a thorough brat, Sanath, had fetched up around lunch time. His latest craze is a set of toy guns that fires darts!

And for some unfathomable reason, his first target was my mom. The dart that he'd fired landed straight on the right eyepiece of her spectacles. Thankfully, because of its quality, there wasn't any damage except for the fact that my mom was left shaken for a while and because of the spontaneous chorus of disapproval from all quarters, he'd quietly dumped the guns and taken on to other pastimes.

I heard him ask Lekha, for the nth time, as to why he didn't figure in the two collages of the photographs from our albums. As I'd said earlier too, it's a tricky question and the fact is that the omission has been accidental! I suppose for him it's beyond his realm of thinking that we could forget him in our scheme of things. The strange look that he gives after perusing them seems to say, 'Look, this isn't fair and I can't for the life of me understand as to why you did it. And how about taking a corrective action please?'

He was running all around the house at his frenetic pace and his mother had crossed her heart that nothing uncomfortable should befall upon him. It's the same old story about all moms with hyperactive kids! And as usual, he was very reluctant to leave when the time had come. As they're getting into the car, I heard him ask his mother, "Why can't we stay here till the holidays get over?"

And we're breathing easy that yet another 'whirlwind' tour of young Sanath had gone off without major hitches!

The guests continued to trickle as was scheduled quite a while back.


Sadly, we happened to be among the 28% of the voters of this constituency, who did not cast their franchise today. Some glitch about the change in our residential address. Feeling bad!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

This man needs to be booted out of electoral politics forever.

I'd watched the 'Newshour' of last evening and again at 2100h, this evening on the Times Now channel. It was preposterous to hear Mohammed Azam Khan, a minister of the Uttar Pradesh cabinet, tell at a public meeting that the Kargil war was won by the Muslims alone.

Now, one can reach any level of desperation for votes and resort to gimmicks, but to make it at the expense of martyred soldiers can never be accepted, can never be tolerated and can never be endorsed. Apologists for the coward - yes, that's the term that I'd like to use for the man and mind you, this is not the first time that he's said atrocious things and got away - might say that he'd uttered them in the heat of the moment. If, as a senior politician, he's unable to keep his emotions and utterances under check, he should be kicked out of the political arena - the earlier, the better. Unfortunately, his party bosses bank on him thanks to the vote bank politics that they're playing.

For him, it's become a habit and what he's actually doing is to time and again, mock at the institutions which he feels won't dare to 'touch'(?) him because of his religion. He's deliberately hidden the apolitical fabric of our armed forces where all religions or faiths are respected and practised as though it's the most logical and natural thing to do.

What I'm amazed about the man is that he's won election after election without any achievement at governance to his credit but for his rhetoric and crass condemnation of the others. Are the voters of his constituency oblivious of his shenanigans? Why do they let a crass guy like him take them for a ride again and again?

Even after the massive backlash over his statement regarding the Kargil war, he's not apologised to the near and dear ones of the martyrs, the armed forces and his countrymen, strictly in that order. Hope he does it without further delay and subsequently, he needs to be booted out forever! There's no other alternative!! Venomous guys like him cannot be offered the responsibility of deciding upon the country's future in Parliament.


The day was quite peaceful and quiet with the expected anticipation of the elections tomorrow. In fact, the usual noise that's prevalent all around was conspicuously absent.        

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Electioneering in Kerala has ended.

The Keralites go to the polling booths on 10 Apr when the fate of the 20 parliamentary seats will be decided. The electioneering had drawn to a close this evening around 1800h.

The din of the loudspeakers perched on vehicles, the makeshift 'pandals' that saw the candidates selling their ideas and the participation of the national leaders of various political parties who'd made it a point to canvas for votes on behalf of their candidates had kept the tempo high despite the harsh summer heat. It's also equally interesting to hear popular film songs parodied by all political outfits, asking for votes. The charges and the counter charges traded by the political parties, many a time bordered on the bizarre, stooping to dangerously low levels of propriety and civility.

Except for the campaigning activities of the UDF, the LDF and the BJP that were high on visibility, the other contenders were seldom heard or seen much to the regret of the voters who're looking forward to the interactions with them to understand as to what they rooted  for and what prodded them to remain in the fray despite the overwhelming clout(?) the three major political dispensations seemed to have. Sarah Joseph, the prolific writer and the Aam Aadmi Party's candidate didn't seem to have the funds to sustain a high profile campaign. One can never forget the photograph on most of the newspapers that showed rows of empty chairs and tables at a 'fund raising dinner' that the party had organised, earlier on, before the heat of the campaign was picking up.

I suppose Kejriwal and his ideas have not gone down well with the Malayalees or are we going to see something different when the results are declared?  

My take.

The queries that bother me after seeing the electioneering, this time, are:-

    (a) Why do the political outfits offer us the same candidates time and again? Or 'fresh faces' is a
          euphemism for guys with plenty of money power and who're the blue-eyed boys of the powers
          that be of all political parties?
    (b) Has all of them kept their expenditures within the ceiling of Rs.70 lakhs, as laid down by the EC?
    (c) Much has been talked and written about the changes that were sweeping in especially, with the
         Delhi elections when the AAP had made an impressive debut. But where have these changes gone?
    (d) Or is it that the Malayalees just do not want to change?


I'm not gonna make any predictions because psephology is not my cup of tea and neither can I understand as to which way the political winds are blowing. But dispassionately viewing all the candidates in the fray, I think O Rajagopal deserves to win as he's been instrumental in doing a lot for the state when he was the Minister of State, Railways in the Vajpayee cabinet!    

Monday, April 7, 2014

Apprehensions of age.

Mom's back with us after almost a month's hiatus and 'The Quarterdeck' is already filled with the sounds and other accompanying facets thanks to her presence. There are certain favourite places where she perches herself so that she's able to survey the entire scene, not missing out on even a single sight or sound, her hearing constraint notwithstanding!

We've structured our day to day activities to suit her requirements. By the time I'm back from my early morning walk, she'd have already woken up and progressed through her bath - an early morning bath is a pre-requisite before she has her morning cuppa, which has to be served piping hot but she drinks it only after much of the heat has lost its intensity. She browses the newspaper and offers reactions on some of the stories that has agitated her and mind you, it has a lot of sense packed in it.

The daylight hours are spent by her in monitoring the various activities that are going on in the house and she takes short naps, in between, at random. Every phone call is monitored and she's to be told about the identity of the caller and the contents of the conversations. Her afternoon siesta after a carefully measured lunch of rice - a must for lunch and dinner - and other attendant curry and vegetables is exactly for a duration of an hour and nothing more. The medicines are taken after she's carefully taken them out from their wrappings and bottles at designated timings.

By sunset, she insists on the main door being closed and bolted - we've frequent fights on this one - lights burning in all rooms and anxiously waits for my return from the evening walk. This evening, there was a thundershower which was more of a combination of lightning and thunder with very less rain and she seemed to be scared. This is unlike my mom that I'm familiar with but I suppose it's the metamorphosis of a human being consequent to advancing age!

And soon it's bedtime, at about 2145h, and I accompany her up the steps to her bedroom - she's brought down in a similar fashion in the morning, reminding me of the cane-orderlies steering the flight of stairs to and from the quarterdeck for the accompanying VVIPs.


At times, I tend to fly off my handle when mom repeats a query more than once. She doesn't react to my tantrums and let it pass, leaving me guilty and confused about my lack of maturity. But I'm sure she understands that there's not even a hint of malice in my thought or deed!


Sunday, April 6, 2014

The games politicians play.

Thanks to election time, it's raining amusing behavioural aspects of individuals and shows the ridiculous extent that they can go, hoping like mad that each action of their's is gonna fetch them votes! Now, consider these:-

    (a) Pulling down view cutters.

     Depending on the security threat upon the individual, the police go by their bible on security and one of
     the materials that they use extensively is the green sack-like material to cover vantage points to block the
     view of a possible mischief monger and they call it the 'view cutter'. It was one such thing that was pulled
     down by Rahul Gandhi, quick to be taken up by none other than the Chief Minister and other worthies
     on the dais much to the consternation of the security personnel. The politicians had resorted to the act
     because they wanted to be 'in touch' with their political workers!

     Now who gets blamed, if god forbid, something wrong were to happen? The professional assessment
     by the security apparatus must be accepted without question.

    (b) Getting to be over friendly.

    We're returning from my sister's place at Palakkad with mom and somewhere enroute, we'd to cross
    the long motorcade of a candidate. He was on a topless vehicle and waving to one and all. When our
    car was passing by his vehicle, he'd bent down to the extent feasible and waved vigorously with a wide
    grin on his face. So much about being outgoing and friendliness.

    Do these same people display such enthusiasm once elected? I doubt it.

    (c) Making explosive statements and then blame about being 'misquoted'.

    Every politician is guilty on this count. They make outrageous comments, challenge their opponents
    on silly issues and can go to any extent for getting responses from the audience. Later, when they come
    under the Election Commission's scanner they sheepishly report that they've been misquoted. But the
    electronic eye nails their lie.

    Wonder what happens finally? Or is it that the complaints are registered and after warnings are issued,
    the matter is conveniently closed? Public memory is short.


But whatever one might say, the elections with all its attendant frills, games and boisterousness, is the hallmark of a true, vibrant democracy. We, Indians, can really be proud about it!   

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A different experience altogether!

A forenoon that was crowded with activity. It's a combination of additions/alterations to 'The Quarterdeck', running errands for the household requirements and squaring up of a few personal work that have been pending since long. Everything had gone off well, notwithstanding the glitch at the ATM to pull out money which has been a constant bugbear that reminds me of my erratic interphase with technology!

We'd set off for Palakkad by a half past three in the afternoon. Achu was getting back and mom had to be brought back from my sister's place. We must have traversed around ten kilometers when a police patrol had flagged us to a stop to subject the vehicle to a search. I'd read in the papers - co-incidentally this morning - that there's been a lot of movement of currency notes, in bulk, that were being used by all the political parties without exception for their electioneering work. Consequently, random checks were being conducted at many spots on vehicles.

I'd opened the boot and saw the junior policemen 'groping' my bags - there were two of them - and I'd even suggested that they could open them to carry out a meaningful search which they refused giving off a weary shrug. It's then that the Circle Inspector - the team leader - who'd told me and I quote, "Sir, thanks for the co-operation. You may please go now". I'd noticed, in the meanwhile, a photographer in attendance who'd been clicking away my car's number plate and the boot space which just didn't seem right. It was then that I told the team leader that he'd be on a better wicket if the antecedents of the motorists were ascertained and incriminating evidence gathered, before resorting to photography.

And to convey to the team that I meant business, I'd told them that I'd be informing the police IG of the area - he's related to Lekha - about my observations. Was the team jolted out of their stupor? I don't know, because I'd continued with my onward journey without any further ado.


1. I know that I'd done something that I abhor doing viz. name dropping and flashing my connections. But photography, without permission, is just not done. We're not a police state, remember?!

2. And yes, I'd informed Lekha's relative late in the evening who's promised to get around what had happened!!    

Friday, April 4, 2014

A pure breed!

Aswin, my nephew, has been with us for the past couple of days as I'd mentioned earlier. He's going through a spate of interviews and tests towards picking up his dream job.

Whenever he comes into my field of thoughts, I'm always impressed by the way he conducts himself, his tremendous passion to assimilate the nuances of life, his ability to laugh at himself and above all, his clear-headed aim of wanting to become a space scientist. With his single minded pursuit, I'm sure he'd succeed in his endeavour and my prayers and wishes shall always be with him.

He's like a young bird, having learnt to fly, poised to take off into the wide, wild world. These times that he spends with us are gonna reduce when he embarks upon his career and more importantly, on a life of his own. Then, perhaps, his parents and all the rest of us would look forward to him finding time for us - a situation that depends on how much he prefers spending his time with us. And if he's been silently suffering my company because of family compulsions, the outcome would not be very difficult to understand! Having said that, I'd like to believe that he endorses me and my idiosyncrasies.

I've tried to compare myself - when I was his age - with him and have always come a cropper. His clarity of thought, despite the exuberance and idealism of age, is remarkable on various issues. He, to put it in his own words, is on a voyage of discovery about life. And his simplicity, nay lack of complexities, makes him an adorable young man. It's my fond hope that he gets everything that he wishes for in the journey of his life!

Good luck, Achu, my l'il one. May success embrace you at each stage and may you have the strength to convert adversity into opportunity to do even better to come out with flying colours!


Recapitulating my own life, I wonder what my mom and dad might have felt when I'd asked them on my first vacation from school while studying in class VII, "Don't you like me? Why did you've to send me into a boarding school?"      

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A busy day in a different manner.

The pump that pushes water from the well on to the overhead tank definitely did have problems, three days back and I'd informed the concerned company as the instrument was still under the warranty period. Probably, the heat had got the better of the tough engineering equipment but jokes apart, it had a tendency to cut off midway and restart, after it had cooled off sufficiently!

The company's representative had finally fetched up to ascertain the defect and lo and behold, the machine worked perfectly. This has been a perennial experience in my life. He looked at me and I gave him a rather apologetic look but stood my stand that I'm yet to go off my senses to call for him for imaginary defects! What had swung things in my favour was that it was the franchisee's representative who'd first attended to the defect and reported the error. I was told that a new unit would be installed, in lieu, within 24 hours.

My nephew, Achu'd fetched up by lunchtime to spend a couple of days with us during which he'll call on Guruvayurappan and is also brushing up on the finer skills that are essential while attending an interview and he's quite a few of them lined up during the month. Talking to him is a pleasure because he's two sterling qualities viz he's a good listener and he's willing to learn! He's a great affinity for aeronautical engineering coupled with space technology and it's my fond hope that he joins the profession of his calling. After a bad show at the 10+2 exams, he's clawed himself back into the reckoning with a distinction in his BE exams.

The long procession of the plumber and the electrician had gone on to tackle the problem areas and hence, the afternoon siesta had to be bunked which forces me to hit the sack, earlier than normal, in the evening much to my dislike. The evening drive to the market, after the customary walk, was nice with Achu providing me a helping hand to cart bags containing provisions that were listed on Lekha's long list.

By the time I'd turned in for the night, it was a few minutes to midnight.    


Francis, from Kochi, had come to fine tune the grandfather clock earlier in the day. A thorough professional who knows his job. He rues the fact that he'd not concentrated on his education but thanks his dad for having taught him the skill of attending to the 'time' machines from whim he derives tremendous satisfaction! He's promised to look us up and our clock, whenever he were to pass by, from now on. Damn sweet of him!! 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A botch up or deliberate clumsiness?

Ex-Naval officer Ravishankaran, of the infamous Naval war room leak case, has come back to haunt the collective conscience of this country. A London court has found that there's no hard evidence against the individual that calls for his extradition to India!

Isn't that a laugh? Firstly, he seems to have had a free access into the 'high security zone' of the defence forces. Secondly, he'd collected information that covered the canvas of national security for the use of economic activity! He, being the nephew of the then naval chief's wife and himself, being an ex-serviceman, must have naturally opened forbidden doors for him. And one can never forget that chief's statement made through one of his articles, soon after the scam had broken out and I quote, "One has no control over the relationships one acquires through marriage!" What had forced him to disown his near and dear ones, one wondered then.

On initial reading of the fiasco, it's abundantly clear that the CBI - that's handling the matter - has botched up the case, in that, it had not made its case fool proof and strong enough to bring about his extradition. It's this fact that's absolutely difficult to digest because the government would have come down upon it like a ton of bricks for a grave mistake made on the turf of national security. Since that doesn't seem to have happened, were there any other consideration?

It's one's fond hope that the error is corrected forthwith and Ravishankaran brought back to the country, so that the law of the land takes over and delivers speedy justice.


On a personal level, I feel sad that he was a first termer when I was a member of the Directing Staff at the NDA. Where had one gone wrong in drilling into him and his course mates, the Academy's credo of ' Service before self'?  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A case of intolerance?

Unknown people had attacked the head office and the residence of Ravi Deecee, the CEO of DC Books on Monday night, reportedly over the release of the book, "Amrithanandamayi Madom : Oru Sanyasiniyude Velipeduthalukal"(Amrithanandamayi Math : A Sanyasin's Revelations).

The incident had actually begun earlier in the day when two persons had visited an outlet of DC Books, bought a couple of copies of the said book and tore them to pieces within the premises, soon after. The stone pelting at the proprietor's house took place around 2230 h by motor cycle riding miscreants who'd sped away soon after.

The 'math' had come under intense scrutiny when an interview with a foreign ex-devotee was aired on one of the Malayalam news channels. During the interview, the lady had gone onto say as to how she was sexually exploited by the number two man in the hierarchy and about the other sordid goings on within its premises. Predictably, there were instant reactions from the public for and against the 'math'. A few of the ardent supporters of the 'Amma' like film actor, Mohanlal, had come out openly in support of the math, citing the numerous charitable activities that the organisation has been doing for the well being of the society.

My take.

There would be differing opinions among the people about anything and everything. In this specific case, it's because of the fact that there's a large percentage of the population who view 'godmen' as ushers to god and seriously wonder about their relevance especially, when they're convinced that they don't require ushers to attain their god!        

And it's incumbent upon the organisation to remove the mistrust that has been generated by the young lady's revelations. Acts like those of the miscreants smack of cowardice! It's possible that the organisation had come to know of the mischief, much after it had been committed but perceptions are such that a needle of suspicion point towards it.

The math has been doing a lot of yeoman service for the welfare of the poor and the downtrodden in society. Its contributions in the field of education and healthcare are notable and praiseworthy. Here's hoping that the math is able to clear itself off the allegations and continue to do its welfare activities, targeting larger sections of the needy!


Came across a lovely saying and I quote,

    "If you're depressed,
        you're living in the past.

     If you're anxious,
        you're living in the future.

     If you're at peace,
        you're living in the present".