Saturday, May 31, 2014

The faulty Haemogram.

Lekha is due for her doctor's review on 02 Jun and as a prelude to it, tests had to be carried out. Samples were drawn in a local pathology laboratory so that we could meet the doctor, armed with the results, to help him in the prognosis to fine tune the medicines that are being administered.

The said lab has limited facilities and hence, samples are sent to another at Thrissur for analysis. The 'complete blood count' or the haemogram fell under such a path and the results were promised 48 hours after the drawing of samples. This afternoon, after collecting my Chevy from the service station(The cause of the erratic working of the air conditioning system was finally identified and rectified. Phew!), I'd gone to collect the results from the lab which I'd pocketed, on receipt after a quick glance of the readings and the assurances given by the young lady at the counter saying that the readings were generally okay and that there was no cause for worry.

It was after reaching home and when I was trying to tuck in the results chronologically into Lekha's medical folder that I realised that the haemogram was silent on the ESR(Erythro Sedimentation Rate) reading! For an SLE patient like her, this aspect needs to be constantly monitored to ascertain as to whether the ailment was showing signs of a perking up. All my efforts at taking the complete medical history for the doctor's perusal seem to have gone in vain and it angered me. I'd immediately rung up the lab and told them about the faulty and incomplete haemogram and demanded a quick remedy because tomorrow was a Sunday and our tryst with the doctor was on Monday afternoon, at Kochi. I remember telling them that it was a breach of faith when the receptionist tried to offer an explanation that I'd not insisted upon the ESR bit!

The upshot of the conversation was that the apologetic lab authorities took a fresh draw of blood and had provided the ESR readings within a matter of an hour, without charging a penny. .......And they kept apologising for their faux pas. 

I suppose I was able to educate them about the contents of a haemogram and sincerely hope that they do not repeat the mistake, ever!


The ESR reading that I finally got has given me a cause for worry. Hope the doctor gives a soothing(?) prognosis!    

Friday, May 30, 2014

It sure is a farcical world!

In life there's ample scope for farces to be played. In many cases, it's resorted to tide over a difficult situation or to cover up a mistake. But what happens when those people who hog the limelight 24x7 resort to it? Since they're quoted and quoted again by the ever prying media, the falsehood becomes glaring. Let's go through a few of those that are doing the rounds much to the mirth of us commoners:-

  (a) The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee has been in confabulations for the last few days to analyse
       the party's poll performance. Though it's done fairly well in the state, had discretion been shown in the
       selection of candidates, the party could have fared even better. But the party's dismal performance at
       the national level was another matter altogether.The state's unit of the party wanted to avoid direct
       pin pointing at individuals - read Rahul Gandhi. In fact, when one of its senior leaders, TH Mustapha,
       had said it out openly, he was suspended pronto! - And at the finale, they went ahead and praised the
       young man for his dynamic qualities of leadership! Farce no. 1!!

   (b) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has written to the Director, Special Protection Group that the special security
        cover accorded to her and her husband should be withdrawn forthwith. Vadra was exempted from
        being frisked at the airport in the VVIP category. She goes on to say in her letter that it was never
        asked for by anyone from the family but was provided at the insistence of the past bosses of the SPG.
        Did it take a rout in the election to realise that after years of enjoying the privilege? Farce no. 2!

   (c) The Chief Minister of UP, when quizzed by a young lady journalist about the gruesome rape and
         hanging of the two teenage girls at Etawah, tells her that she should be happy that she's
         safe! Is it arrogance or anger at the miserable performance of his party in the recent polls? Would
         he have shown the same insensitivity if such a dastardly act had been committed on any one of his
         kith and kin? Farce no.3!

   (d) The general grouse among the Congressman, spearheaded by Ajay Makken is on Smriti Irani's -
         the new minister of the Human Resource Development in Modi's cabinet - educational qualifications.
         Why hadn't he raised this point on the ministers of his party's government of which, he too was a
          part of, till recently? Farce no. 4!

   (e) Omar Abdulla's, the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, abrasive comment on the continuance
         of his state within India if and when the central government were to abrogate Article 370 of the
         Indian Constitution. Not long ago, he'd captured our collective imagination and appreciation when in
         Parliament he'd announced that he was proud to be an Indian. Were those words of his mere                        verbal calisthenics to score brownie points, then? Farce no. 5!

   (f) The decision by the governments of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to include the life and times of
        Narendra Modi in the educational curriculum. Sycophancy, yet again? Thankfully, the PM himself
        has shot down the idea! Why did the governments do it in the first place? Farce no. 6!!

I can go on and on about such farcical happenings and hence, I stop for the time being!


The air conditioning system of my Chevy has been erratic for a while and I'd taken the car to the servicing station for remedy. But alas, even at the end of the day, they haven't been able to pin point the fault. I might have to pull back the car from there tomorrow as I've an urgent requirement to go to Kochi on Monday.  

Thursday, May 29, 2014


1. After the thundershowers of last night, the morning was calm with a fresh, cleaned up look of the environment. The morning walk was refreshing and rejuvenating.

2. Ajith had come by a trifle after 9 and we'd another round of chat over a number of things including his bachelorhood. He'd decided to be a bachelor at the age of 17 when out of the six brothers, the second had got married and his wife had come home. He realised that the conflict of interests that he was witness to subsequently, could best be avoided by remaining single - a point that wasn't very convincing though. But being the simple soul and the thorough gentleman that he is, with the added quality of being very sensitive, he seems to have a point. The fact that he'd not come across anybody from the fairer sex, all these years, to convince him otherwise is perplexing. We, his classmates, seem to have collectively let him down on this score!

3. He left soon after, back to his hometown.

4. Ramesh Babu, a schoolmate of mine, had called up and broached on a lecture series on 'contract management' that's gonna involve a lot of travel for me. We've decided to work on the pros and the cons, the nuances when he visits me, here, during the first week of next month.

5. My neighbour had hired a casual labourer to remove the slush from the road in front of our house. Bidesh, from Orissa, has done a neat job and the road is now free of glitches, ready to face the onslaught of the monsoons!

6. The evening walk had begun with the sight of a young man trying to pick himself and his cycle up after a bad fall. He was inebriated. Period! Blood was oozing out from a bad gash on the bridge of his nose. I asked him as to whether he was all right to which his answer was an inaudible mumble - the effect of the alcohol that he'd imbibed was still very strong! I could manage an escort for him to be taken to the nearest clinic for first aid. Why do people drink themselves silly, I wonder?

7. My uncle and family had fetched up after 2230h. They're gonna be here, with us, for the next two days.


The day had begun with a faux pas on my part. Lekha'd operated the motor for drawing up water from the well and despite the mandatory seven minutes of running, the taps continued to remain dry. The reason was not hard to find, I'd forgotten to turn the valves back into position after washing down my Chevy yesterday.

..........Rajeev, when will you learn? Or will you, ever?


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Oh, this disgusting attitude!


1. Ajith, my friend, was staying in an inn nearby to facilitate the early morning 'darshan' of the good Lord, after his meditation. He'd, while vacating the room the day before yesterday, forgotten his cellphone behind. On finding out, he'd called me up for its retrieval and passing it on to him.

The follow up.

2. After pocketing the instrument from the receptionist at the inn - he'd made sure of my identity and that's what I call a job, well done - I'd gone across to the post office that services our area and asked the Branch Post Mistress as to what the charges would be to send the cellphone to Ajith's residence by speed post. She'd called up a friend of her's in the profession, who in turn asked her to find out the forwarding address and then advised her against accepting the cellphone. She turned back to me to say that she was unable to accept the responsibility because of previous incidents when similar articles had got lost on transit.

3. I felt sorry for the young lady because what she was doing was actually 'playing safe'. I told her that she must not let past happenings to limit her style of working and must learn to take risks, accept responsibility for her actions and always 'pressure test' the envelope of her professional capabilities. With a winsome smile, she said that she'd have been willing to do just that if she'd a superior like me! I wasn't impressed and headed for the local courier service.

4. The young lady at the counter, after hearing out my query, said rather matter-of-factly that the courier service did not cover the forwarding address. On further inquiry, she gave me the info about the nearest point they could send the article from where the addressee'd to retrieve it. This is another attitude of our's - the Malayalees' - that disgusts me. The service providers are parsimonious about parting with information so vital for the customer to take action, unlike their north Indian counterparts who ensure that their customers either use their services or buy the item at the end of their interaction with them. Sadly, here they give one the impression that they're doing the others a great favour by doing their job!

5. My attempts to get in touch with my friend were in vain and so, I returned home without taking any action.


Ajith had called up later on and said that he was coming in tomorrow to collect his cellphone personally. The problem was, thus, licked without further ado!  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What a great change!

This morning my friend, Ramesh and his wife had come calling. Over the last year, he was under treatment for intestinal cancer and had gone through some tough times. But with the right medical management that consisted of a couple of surgeries along with radiation, the malignancy has been removed. A class mate of our's, who is a doctor in Chicago, was also monitoring the case providing inputs as and when needed.

It's a combination of Ramesh's inner strength, his family's solid support and the right treatment that have helped in arriving at the present circumstances.

He was with us for almost an hour and I find that he's looking good, his sense of humour was intact and there has been a substantial reduction of his fabled weight - he was roly poly always and we, his class fellows cannot think of him otherwise and I don't have to say this but he continues to be the butt of jokes on his ample girth.

We're gonna meet at the Old Boys' Day at school next month and this time, hope to have a sizeable presence of our class mates and their families. The doc from Chicago was among the first to confirm about his participation, damn nice of him! Looking forward to the conglomeration!!


1. Ramakrishnan, the newspaper boy, had erred today in that he did not give us our copies of the newspapers making us feel that something vital was missing. I'd taken my neighbour's copies to browse during the latter part of the day which turned out to be the face saver!

2. Our neighbour has had the mud from the forecourt sprinkled on the cobbled pathway in front of our houses while getting the lawn tiled. The morning showers have made a mess of the new mud and passersby gather cakes of slush and dirt onto their footwear making them clumsily heavy footed!!  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Kottarakkara to Guruvayur via Ayoor.

After a late night, it's once again time to get behind the wheel to get to our place at Guruvayur. My sister and niece had to be dropped at Ayur, about 18 km in reciprocal to the direction that we'd to take. I shall touch upon a few thoughts and events that had taken place during the day. So, here I go:-

  (a) Even the KSRTC driver understands.

   We're passing through a narrow stretch of the highway - heavily barricaded by the Metro activities -
    when a road transport corporation bus passed by much too close for comfort, putting me into a spot.
    My reaction was to palm my chin, as though in contemplation as to what the guy was up to, all the while
    knowing he was seeing me through his rear view mirror. His reaction was not that I was prepared for -
    he'd stopped at a wider stretch ahead and asked me to overtake. Probably, it's his way of acknowledging
    his mistake and was nice of him. I waved at him as I went past and he, too, had reciprocated with a wide
    grin on his face. I'd made another friend without knowing his identity!

   (b) After a long while.

    My friend and classmate, Ajith had made a connect during the journey, saying that he was at Guruvayur
    and wanted to meet up with us. Accordingly, he'd fetched up around 2000h. His spiritual evolution has
    been tremendous, in fact, he spends a good time of his life at an 'ashram' on the foothills of the Himalayas,
    about fours by road from Nainital. One of the two bachelors of our class, he has always been helpful,
    a gentleman to his fingertips and humble to a fault. The three hours that he'd spent with us were absorbing
    and enlightening. My mom and he'd become good friends during the course of the interaction.

   (c) Arjun's call.

    As I was winding up with Ajith, young Arjun had called me up from Madras to give me his travel
    details. He's the eldest son of my class mate, Charlie Mike and has had some difficulty in his personal
    life owing to medical problems. The family had visited us last month and ever since the visit, he was
    very keen to come and spend time with us on a 'learning curve' as he puts it. He sounded very excited
    and will be with us from 26 Jun to 01 Jul.


A long day and a fairly long drive but everything had gone by with clockwork precision!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

When help came by.

The night was miserable. Lekha was unable to sleep thanks to a painful left leg - it's the same one that had undergone the skin graft recently and had slowly been restored to normalcy. At some point last evening, while she was getting out of the car she'd sprained it. A double dose of 'Ultracet' didn't help and I was at my wit's end because today was gonna be a long day as we'd to reach my dad's place at all costs to fetch mom back to Guruvayur. My younger sister, who was presently looking after her, was leaving for Bangalore tomorrow.

We'd gone off to the airport by 6 AM, even though I'd received an sms from the airlines that our flight was delayed by over two hours. I didn't want to put pressure on Sekhar for transport by changing my time of departure for the airport. Meanwhile, Lekha was writhing with pain all through and I tried to give her assurances that all would be okay as the pain killer takes effect. But it was not to be!

And then came the Raos - Sekhar's relations that we'd befriended the previous evening during the wedding reception - and seeing Lekha's discomfort, Lalitha gave her a 'Combiflam'. Within a matter of about half an hour, things had improved. However, I didn't want to take any chances and had rung up Gary, at Bombay, for additional reinforcements of pain killers and a wheelchair. She'd, by then, become a wheelchair bound passenger!

The lunch planned by Sarabjeet and Gary, for us at their house, had to be given the go by as the transit time was reduced because of the delayed start of our flight from Nagpur. We're at Kochi at the appointed hour and Nixon, negotiated his car through the by lanes and fetched us at my Chevy, so that I could get about a couple of hours of daylight driving - I hate night driving, you see.

We could reach home by about a quarter past 9. Mom was quite happy to see us and my sister, absolutely relieved!


I'd be failing in my duty if I didn't mention the people who'd helped us on their own initiative without which I'd have been a goner and they're:-

    (a) Pradip . The ever smiling 'saarthi' from Sekhar's stable who'd arrived on the dot at 6 to convey us
                       to the airport and was willing to take us at the revised timing.
    (b) Lalitha.  She gave the healing touch.
    (c) Gary.     He'd screwed up his Sunday just to be with us.
    (d) Nixon.   The trouble that he took to negotiate the side lanes to ensure that we didn't get delayed.
    (e) Paulson. My ex-2i/c who'd come by to see that we're not plagued with any problem.

How do I repay each of them for their kindness?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A pleasant yet hectic day.

The day had begun at 0902h as it was an important 'muhurat' on Radhika-Lalit wedding day but we'd missed it by a whisker and rather than put the blame on the others, I'd taken it upon myself! After a brief interlude for breakfast, the rituals continued till lunchtime and it was interesting to note the customs and traditions that were being followed. We're, indeed, glad to be there!!

The interaction with the others continued unabated and I've now a stack of visiting cards given to me, by a few of the guests that I'd come across, with a promise to keep in touch. The lunch had a distinct Maharashtrian touch and I gorged on the exquisite 'poorenpolis'!

After the snooze, post lunch, we're on the dot at the lawns of Sekhar's house for the final event - the reception organised by Lalit's folks. A few new friends have been added to the list but it remains to be seen that the relationships continue.

Congratulations, Lalit and Radhika as you embark on a new journey together. Here's wishing that you get whatever you wish for and thanks, Sekhar and Vijaya for making this possible - our presence, that is. It's a wonderful get together.


I was once again pulled on to the center stage when my friends had insisted on my singing the all time favourite, 'Jamaican farewell' and in turn, I'd everyone singing the chorus with me. The texture of the evening had changed forthwith!

Friday, May 23, 2014

In the city of oranges.

The flight to Nagpur was at 0900h with a transit halt at Bombay for about four hours. We're off to attend the wedding of Radhika and Lalit - the bride is the daughter of my good friend, Academy course mate and Squadron mate, Sekhar Murthy. Gary, who was again with me years back at the Academy as a Divisional Officer, had fixed up a tryst at his place on our return leg. Working for the Jet Airways, he was 'monitoring our flight' throughout, as he cutely put it!

Though I'd sound gossipy, I must add on a couple of vignettes from the onward flight.

  (a) The 'silent' communication.

  There was this cute, newly married couple, presumably from Rajasthan - the aircraft had arrived at
  Bombay from Jodhpur - accompanied by the gentleman's mother. Both the ladies had the 'pallus'
  of their sarees draped around their faces as per custom. As they took the seats in front of us, the
  mother insisted on sitting between the couple, much to the chagrin of the husband! Couldn't help
  but notice the stolen glances and the silent communication between the couple all through the flight
  duration of an hour and twenty minutes!!

  (b) A 'smelly' neighbour.

   Now, this is gonna sound rather nasty but say it, I will because of the agony it had caused all
   through the journey. A pretty young lady was my neighbour on the aisle seat smartly dressed
   in jeans, jacket, leather boots et all. That she was reeking of sweat causing nausea, would be an
   under statement. She must have had to make the trip in haste to fulfill an urgent commitment,
   and had sweated through to make it in, perhaps! And she made the cardinal mistake of unfastening
   her seat belt, soon after the aircraft had landed and was taxiing into its parking bay. She definitely
   must have been 'dying' to meet her commitment but I sincerely hope that she maintains her personal
   hygiene, in future, though you would rightly insist that it's no bloody business of mine!

Pradeep, our 'saarthi' was at hand with a placard bearing my name at the entrance of the airport. The temperature outside was a blazing 46 degrees Celsius!


I think we're the only guests of Sekhar and Vijaya, other than the immediate family, who'd travelled farthest to attend the wedding and because of it, became the cynosure of everyone's attention much to my discomfort. How could I tell them that it was only a couple of years ago when I'd attended my classmate's son's wedding reception and we're housed at their place, 'the course mate and good friend factors' notwithstanding?!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

How old are you?

We'd kicked off from our house by a quarter to 10. The first stop was at the nearest petrol pump to fuel the Chevy and check tyre pressure. And after handing over the soiled clothes at the dry cleaners, we shaped course for Kochi.

Murali and Radhika are our hosts for the day. We'd gone for the Malayalam movie, 'How old are you?' A comeback movie for Manju Warrier by Roshan Andrews. A nicely made movie which essays the story of a firebrand young lady during her student days, reduced to an unsure housewife adjusting to the diktats of her family. How she overcomes the situation is the crux.

My take.

Stories like this are common in our environment. It puzzles me when women accept being reduced to doormats. A successful marriage is the harmonious togetherness of two individuals with their personalities intact. Superiority or inferiority does not figure there.


It's a comparatively early evening. Earlier in the day I'd the privilege of interacting with K Venugopal and C Maniraj, my classmates from school.  It wasn't planned and had happened just like that. And weren't I glad for that?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Adieu, MP!

The fateful night of 28 Jun 1988 saw young Flying Officer MP Anil Kumar, a fighter pilot, returning after night flying on his mobike crash into the horizontal bar at the security post of the IAF base at Pathankot . Three of his vertebrae close to the region of the neck had got shattered in the accident and the unfortunate young man became a quadriplegic(completely paralysed below the neck). His story is that of grit, courage and determination in the face of all odds and how he outlived the adversity will be a story that shall continue to fire the imagination for generations to come.

To spend 26 years on a wheelchair with minimal freedom of movement of the body, requires extraordinary strength from within which MP Anil Kumar had in abundance!

He'd joined school in '73 and had passed out in '81 only to join the 65th course of the NDA. He, then, passed out of the Academy as the Best Air Force Cadet of the passing out course and had won the coveted medal for excelling in aerobatics as an under trainee in the IAF.

MP, as he's popularly known, did not resign to his pitiful state and while being an inmate of the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre at Kirkee, for the past 26 years, used to write articles in the national English dailies and the journal, Indian Defence Review. Initially, he used to make his literary forays by holding the pen in his mouth and had later on, graduated to the computer with a special keyboard and used a stick held by his mouth yet again, to punch his thoughts on the keyboard . His autobiography 'Airborne to chairborne' gives an excellent narration of how he'd overcome all odds and as to how he was at peace with his life without any regret.

His story has since been incorporated into the class X English syllabus by the government of Maharashtra and five years back, the Kerala government had included it in the class VIII syllabus.

He'd celebrated his 50th birthday on 05 May but the sad news was that he was fighting another deadly enemy, in the form of blood cancer, by that time. Despite his fighting spirit and the prayers of his relatives, friends and school mates, he'd passed into the mist of time yesterday. His mortal remains were consigned to the flames at the Bopodi crematorium at 1130h today. He's survived by his mother, a brother and two sisters.

RIP, MP! My salutes for your grit in the face of great adversity and the positive outlook that you exuded always. Here's wishing that your family is able to muster the strength to pass through these difficult times. And I'm certain that your life story shall be the inspiration for generations to come.


I'd last met MP in Jun '12 when we'd a school get together at the NDA. He was a keen participant in all the serials and showed a childlike eagerness to interact with each and everyone of us.


And yes, he was roll no.1122 at school!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The unkindest cut.

We'd kicked off from home by about a half past 9. After dropping my sister at Kottarakkara, we'd shaped our course for Guruvayur. The roads were quite crowded thanks to the traffic usually prevalent on working days and so, driving through the maze was tricky yet interesting!

The weather was unbearably hot and humid despite the car's air conditioning system running at full blast - I mean we could feel it in the immediate envelope all around us. The highway, at certain stretches, was worn out exposing a few uncomfortable potholes though I must hasten to add that the repair work was being undertaken at many of the places - a sight that was new to me from the experiences of the past. They're gearing up for the monsoons which is just a fortnight away, judging from the meteorologist's forecast.

A light lunch and the evening tea, along with a snack, were savoured at roadside eateries. I enjoy the tea on such occasions - because of its flavour - and I'm always left mightily impressed by the deft making of the 'one-yard tea'. I must confess that I've tried replicating the action at home with disastrous results!

Guruvayur, these days, has a facade of an old fort thanks to the 'Kerala Water Authority' having dug around the temple town for relaying the underground water pipes. It was one such area at the town's entry point that I was trying to breach through with my Chevy with negative consequences. As I was negotiating a tight 's' curve, the port tail board suffered a dent from the concrete pipe that was jutting out - purely my mistake as I'd misjudged the space that was available for negotiating the turn.

The proverbial 'unkindest cut' to my Chevy after it had provided excellent service all through the last four days, covering over 800 km! Will I ever learn?  


We're back home by a trifle past 5. I could embark on my evening walk, as usual, that helped shed the lethargy caused by the lack of physical activity, over the last four days, as it was a never ending cycle of attending one function or the other.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Meeting family requirements.

By 9 AM we're on the road, headed this time to the venue of the wedding. More on the day's events after the journey.

The drive to the venue was 23 km long but the road was good and the traffic, manageable. Enroute, we passed through a place that had witnessed a nasty accident involving a Kinetic Honda and a Tata Sumo during the wee hours of the morning. Though the affected passengers had been shifted to a nearby hospital, the vehicles remained at the scene of the accident at grotesque angles!

The wedding was a short affair followed by the traditional lunch. The interaction with friends and relatives was exhilarating followed by the ferrying of a few of my close relatives to the nearest railway station, which was about twelve km away. By the time we'd reached home it's around a half past 2 and as I tried to catch up on my forty winks, our old maid and family had come requesting me to advise her son as to what profession he should pick up based on his brilliant performance in the 10 plus 2 examination.

My mom was particularly thrilled to meet up with her and assured them that I'd help them, which is actually a tall order!

The evening's reception at the lawns of Lekha's ancestral house was a grand affair. By the time we're back home it was a half past 9 and I'd the satisfaction of doing everything that I'd planned to do and more on this trip!


Lekha has come along with us after having spent the last three days with her folks in connection with the wedding and related activities.

And here's wishing Sakthi and Indu a long and happy married life with all that they wish for!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A long day.

It's indeed a long day, today, by virtue of the distances covered and people met! I'm behind the wheel and shall fill up on the details on completion of the journey.

Within the tight schedule, I'd squeezed in a visit to my cousin's place at Thiruvananthapuram, to offer my condolences to his wife who'd lost her mother a week earlier. The old lady was languishing for about fourteen years after sustaining a bad fall. The family was well knit, in that, the siblings that consist of two sisters and two brothers had shared the responsibility of looking after their parents. My cousin's wife, though second in the pecking order by virtue of her age, has been looking after the aged parents because of their special affinity towards her! We'd taken leave of them after lunch, upon their insistence as per a custom, that dictated 'feeding' of all people who called on the family to offer their condolences.

Immediately, on return, it's yet another call on similar lines at another cousin's - in our immediate neighbourhood - place. In this case, his wife had lost her 'ma'asi' who was bed ridden for long. What's great is that she'd taken on the onerous task of looking after her mom and two sisters despite the fact that she was working as a teacher in a school nearby! And there were no cribs, she'd taken on the additional responsibility with a smile!

The penultimate function was to call on a family where the wedding of the son was taking place at the same time as that of Lekha's nephew tomorrow. Without ado, I'd sought their permission to attend the wedding in the family after wishing the young man!

And then it was off to the wedding reception, a function that was short and sweet. It was an opportunity to meet up with Lekha's folks after quite a while.


As I turned in for the night, pooped by the long drive and the excitement of interacting with many people, sleep came in a jiffy! 

Saturday, May 17, 2014


This morning, after wolfing down my aunt's yummy breakfast of steaming idlis, chutney with the coconut aroma and filtered coffee, the three of us had kicked off on our onward trip to my dad's place. I'd to, however, make my error and so, as I backed the Chevy out of my aunt's place its right bow scraped neatly(?) against the wrought iron gate of the house!

The young ones, Vivek and Lakshmi, were fast asleep after the late night and I can bet that they'd missed us and felt terribly sad that they couldn't see us off!

Our first destination was Puthupally, about a 100 km away, to look up my aunt who has been undergoing ayurvedic treatment for her diabetes for the last couple of months. The clinic doesn't have the facade of the usual clinics that one's familiar with but it's an old 'Nair' bungalow replete with the traditional trappings, set against an abundant lush green backdrop with a stream of clean water, swiftly flowing bewitchingly close to the ornamental house. A place that enchanted me at first sight as I parked my Chevy at its courtyard!

Walking into the house, I'd woken up my aunt who seemed to be in a state of delirium thanks to the excruciating pain as she undergoes the second stage of treatment and the gradual, yet complete shedding of the gangrenous portion of her left foot is on.

And as she came out of her stupor, she looked straight into my eyes and flashed a brilliant smile or should I say, a million volt smile? ......... It made my day. It was worth the drive, the early morning mishap and the difficult patch of roads that I'd negotiated, notwithstanding! A short conversation with the unassuming doctor was educative and I've picked up yet another friend!!

We'd reached Lekha's sister's place by lunchtime.

And ultimately, at my dad's house a trifle after sunset!


We shall be here for the next three days as the formalities of the wedding of Lekha's nephew unfold. But tomorrow there would be a quick, short trip to Thiruvananthapuram to offer our condolences to my cousin who'd recently lost his mother-in-law due to old age related ailments.


Friday, May 16, 2014

A tight schedule!

We'd kicked off from Guruvayur on the dot at 6. There were too many things to do and time seemed to be at a premium.

Mom had appointments with two of her doctors - the neuro physician and the ophthalmologist. The schedule was programmed about a week ago. As luck would have it, because it was counting day and the declaration of the election results, the roads had less traffic and driving was nice. After a light breakfast at an eatery nearby, we're on time to meet the neuro physician. The ready smile and his happiness on seeing us were genuine and he seemed to be making amends for not having met us last time but I must admit that it's my fault that it was requested for at too short a notice!

What he told me was heartening, in that, my mom was responding well to the medicines and he's reduced the dosages. The session with the ophthalmologist was equally nice and her right eye is back to normal after the laser work.

Lekha's doctor, however, has given 02 Jun for his review and from that point of view, this trip has gone haywire!

Our over night stay was at my uncle's - dad's youngest brother - place at Edappalli. His grandchildren and Sajeev and Shalini's children, Vivek and Lakshmi, got to know us better I must say. My aunt was her cute smiling self and it was great to be at their place after what seemed to be long time!


We saw the late night show of the Malayalam, 'God's own country'. Crafted by a budding director, it told of a story of three different people who'd never met before but got their lives intertwined by a mere quirk of fate thanks to the incidents of a single day!

It's my first visit to the Lulu Mall and I must say that the place was vibrant even around the midnight hours and the footfalls continue to increase everyday. The stink from an 'apology of a moat' on its southern side has spoiled the show. One only hopes that the matter gets sorted out at the earliest!  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

There's corruption everywhere...

Corruption seems to be all pervading in this country and the situation has come to a sorry pass. And we've only ourselves to blame because we do not want to waste time by waiting in a queue to get a job done and therefore, are willing to bribe the ones in the hierarchy to enable us to buck the system!

I'd gone to the local outfit to pay my current month's telephone bill. I'd stood in the queue and after about twenty minutes, was able to come out with the job having been accomplished. And I'd come on another purpose too. I'd to find out as to why I wasn't given the ISD facility on my land line despite my having asked for it in my application for the initial connection.

Firstly, the officer at the counter seemed to be out of his depth and he'd asked me to submit a fresh application seeking the said additional facility and had offered a piece of paper and pen to me to do the needful. It was then that another gentleman of the organisation turned up at the counter that I was in and he gave me a clearer perspective, in that I'd to give a fresh request, on a prescribed format, which had to be endorsed by their 'Principal General Manager' and the additional fee that I'd to pay was Rs. 1,500/-, with an assurance that it would be processed by the office itself.

My doubt was simple and I did communicate it to them in no uncertain terms, the gist of which was as follows:-

 (a) I'd very clearly listed out my requirements in the initial application form which had covered STD facility,
      broadband cover, a parallel connection to help out my mom and Lekha because of their medical
      constraints and an ISD facility.

 (b) My land line had all the facilities that I'd requisitioned for, barring the ISD cover and I was scratching my
      head all this while as to why they hadn't informed me about the reasons for the missing facility.

 (c) I'd to remind them of three specific aspects about your's truly that were reflected in the original
      application viz. :-
                 (i) that I was a Captain of the Indian Navy.
                (ii) that I was a gallantry award winner and
               (iii) that my mom and Lekha were medical cases that required constant attention.

On hearing me, they'd gone into a huddle and had requested me to submit the additional application as quickly as possible. I'd then walked out of the office knowing fully well that I'd been wronged.

Wonder how the new government would tackle this aspect of corruption?


On reaching home, it's Lekha who'd pointed out the folly of going for the ISD facility on our land line when our cellphones were already equipped with this cover....... But to me, it was another fight for my rights!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Much ado about nothing!

Here's a case of how facts get twisted out of shape. What makes it a point worth pondering upon is that the protagonists of 'twisting the story' are supposedly literate if not well educated.

The Background.

A few weeks back, the 11 year old daughter of a priest at the Sabarimala shrine had entered the premises of the temple to pay obeisance to Lord Aiyayappan, the deity. Now, as per traditions and the mythology surrounding the temple and the deity, the following points need to be understood:-

  (a) Lord Aiyyappan is the offspring of Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu(In his avatar as Mohini, that demolished
       a demon who'd gotten big for his boots after being granted the boon of invincibility by Lord
       Siva). The former had fallen for the bewitching beauty of the latter - just goes to prove that even gods
       are fallible and have their moments of weaknesses!

  (b) Since the child was conceived under extraordinary circumstances, it's supposed to have been released
        from the thigh of Lord Vishnu and the royal family of Pandalam became the foster parents of the child
        named 'Manikantan' who is known the world over as Lord Aiyyappan.

  (c) As per his promise to the foster parents he had decided to remain celibate so that he never came in the
       line of succession of the royal throne to facilitate the ascendancy of their biological children.

  (d) The consequent tradition associated with Lord Aiyyappan and the Sabarimala shrine is that no female
        pilgrim - between the ages of attaining puberty till the advent of menopause - is permitted into the

The entry of the child was, thus, against the spirit of the existing tradition and the fact is that the priest was definitely aware of it

The Remedy.

To right the wrong and to cleanse the temple - which is a common religious practice - the Travancore
Devaswom Board is overseeing the 'purification rituals' and the expenses will be borne by the errant priest!

The Aftermath.

A section of the social media users blackened their profile on Facebook and covered pictures to protest the ritual which they dubbed as discriminatory and uncivilised. They've asked the Kerala government - through a message signed by many, including social activists - to back out of the decision to carry out the 'purification rituals' which was akin to the reprehensible public trial of a young girl in the name of violation of rituals!

My Take.

Every institution has traditions - at times quaint - unique to it and I don't think it's right on the part of the outsiders to question them against the backdrop of modern thinking, pragmatism etc. And from the narration above, the tradition has a religious reasoning and it would be prudent to respect it.


Another social event - the commissioning of Raju and Bindu's new house in our immediate neighbourhood - was attended when we got to meet a lot of people. It was a pleasant forenoon indeed!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How they lost the plot.

The exit polls on the recently conducted Parliamentary elections are out and all of them give Narendra Modi and BJP the green signal to rule from Delhi after 16 May. The differences between the various polls is the extent of victory and we do not have to wait too long for the results! Let the media and the psephologists explain their findings but I'd like to go through some of the main players who'd lost the plot in the course of the electioneering which, of course, is a personal viewpoint. Here I go:-

  (a) Rahul Gandhi.

   The poor guy has quite a few instances of misdemeanour where his lack of maturity showed through and
   must have made an average Indian shudder as to what the country would become if entrusted in his hands
   just because of an accident of birth. Let me list them:-

       (i) the tearing up of a draft legislation in front of an embarrassed Manmohan Singh which was being
           covered extensively by the media. It's okay that we all know that the Prime Minister held the position
           courtesy his family but his age should never have been humiliated. It's just not acceptable. And why
           wasn't he deployed for campaigning? A case of being dumped before demiting office, now that his
           utility is over?

       (ii) calling the Gujarat model of development as 'toffee model'. The statistics held by the central
            government and above all, the people of Gujarat, were being scoffed at by that single remark. It
            clearly showed his lack of understanding of key issues.

       (iii) saying in one of his rallies that there will be a carnage off 22,000 people if Modi were to be the
             PM. That was the limit! But who were his script writers and who were his advisers? They need
             to be hauled on burning coal!

     (b) Mulayam Singh.

           The day when neither he nor his son - I'd thought that he'd would be refreshingly different because
           of his age - contradict Azam Khan when he made that stupid remark that Kargil was won by the
           Muslims of the Indian Army. What became clear was their brazen minority appeasement for votes!

     (c) Sonia Gandhi.

          She was always attacking Modi for the riots and many other things. Many a time I got this
          impression that she's parroting her speeches in Hindi without grasping their meaning. And what
          amazes me is that she never touched upon the legislative pieces that she'd worked hard to pass
          through parliament like the Food Security Bill, the Right to Information Bill or the Right to
          Education Bill. Or was it deliberate knowing fully well that these pieces of legislation would be
          a heavy drain on the state exchequer and were really not viable? But whatever said and done,
          the RTI definitely has been appropriate and timely to some extent but it needs to cover everyone
          for total effect.

     (d) Mamata Banerjee.

          Her swipe that had she been in Delhi, she'd have seen to it that Modi was sent out of Bengal by
          the first available flight dragging him by having a rope tied around his waist - probably, a case of
          bad translation of her thoughts in Bengali - when he questioned her 'Poribortan' of Bengal
          after taking over from the CPM, brought her down in my esteem. Perhaps, she's a reason to
          fume when her personal integrity was being brought under scrutiny for no rhyme or reason but
          she's shown, time and again, that she doesn't take criticism well.

I can keep going on and on about the leaders of each political dispensation but would then make it too long and unwieldy and hence, I desist.


Manishankar Aiyar must be ruing the day when he'd crassly said that the PM's chair wasn't vacant for Modi but that there was a vacancy of a tea vendor at the Congress' office at New Delhi. Who'll have the last laugh? And proverbially, he who laughs last, laughs best!  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Money comes....and goes..

I've heard this saying many a time and I suppose it's a 'fiscal rule' if I were to be permitted to coin a phrase. This story of mine will highlight what I'm trying to put across.

About three years back, Ramjee who used to visit me twice a month for haircut asked for Rs.40 grand to put his son into a public school. He'd actually taken the amount in two instalments and had promised to return in instalments before the calendar year got over. I've been impressed by his business acumen in that he'd got himself tenders - amid stiff competition - to run three saloons in Kochi and had provided employment for several youth and of course, his close relatives carefully chosen from his hometown in Bihar!

But despite all his promises he'd slipped up on repaying the amount and since coercion was not in my lexicon, I'd patiently given him time to return the amount. Sceptics might call me a 'soft' guy on money matters and the few, who knew about our transaction, had even asked me to forget the whole thing as a bad joke. But I was confident that the goodness inherent in him would ensure the return in due course. And sure enough, on the 10th of this month, he'd returned the last of the instalments.

A day later my relation, staying close to us here at Guruvayur, had called up to say that he was going through a financial crisis as his pension has not been forthcoming thanks to the problem riddled ex-organisation of his viz. the KSRTC. I must confess that I do not have the heart to say no to somebody when I've the wherewithal and I also strongly believe that when somebody asks for assistance, he's literally on his knees and therefore, not appropriate to belittle him further by sitting on the request or taunt about the 'repayability factor'. Anything given away should be done with dignity and without any denting of the person's ego further, otherwise it ceases to be a 'help' in the real case.

As directed, he and his wife had come to collect Rs.10 grand from me this afternoon. I can never forget the look that he'd given me as he took leave and I never asked him as to when he'd repay the amount. I only hope that his financial mess gets sorted out at the earliest and that, in turn, would pave the return of my money!

Yes, life is full of hopes and expectations. And it has to go on!


We'd my aunt - mom's youngest sister - and a cousin dropping in on us today. They'd come to pay their obeisance to the good Lord. And they're seen off by the night train to Thiruvananthapuram. It's nice catching up with them after what has been a long time!  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A quiet 'Mother's Day'.

It was like any other day and my mom had got up at her usual time. The geyser in her bathroom had misbehaved for no rhyme or reason and she'd used the normal water for her bath without complaint. (On cross checking, I'd found that it was her impatience that made it appear that the contraption was misbehaving and when I told her about it, she'd laughed with me!)

As I escorted her down the stairs into the dining hall, I wished her a happy Mother's Day and wanted to know as to whether she was keen on doing anything different during the day. I still remember her counter, a few years back on a similar occasion, as to whether it required a 'Mother's Day' for me to remember her. To put things in perspective, it's Mother's Day - everyday for me - since she stays with us. We've our serious discussions, we remember the things that we'd done together as family, her childhood and the hectic life with her parents, we discuss and laugh about my dad's clumsiness  and of course, we fight too especially, when she gets fussy over me. Lekha observes that we're more like kids when we're together!

The day had meandered through with a few people dropping in on us with my mom taking on the job of chief hostess. The lunch had her choices on the table and it turned out to be long drawn out and boisterous. After a short siesta, she had her half an hour's walk in our courtyard which, she reiterates, helps her to unwind. And as I was going out for my evening walk, I did howl at her because she'd insisted upon my carrying an umbrella and a torch which I consider as bothersome appendages for smooth exercising.

And then, it was 'fruit time' when the three of us had fruits while running through the day's accomplishments - nil in my case - and later, watched a couple of programmes on the television. She'd her supper a trifle after 9 and as I escorted her up the staircase, to her bedroom, she tells me softly that she'd enjoyed the day thoroughly and I'd searchingly watched her face as to whether she was telling it to satisfy me.

And it was curtains to yet another day. Another Mother's Day, to be precise. Did I keep it too bland? Should I've done anything better?


My mom bestest!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The gentleman with the cute Pug.

On my morning walks, there are many people whom I pass, on a regular basis and many of them are on a hand waving or a smiling relationship with me, by now. One of them happens to be a gentleman with his new canine acquisition - a cute Pug and the two of them remind me about my sojourns with Bruno, years ago.

Usually, he and the pup are accompanied by either of his children - a boy and a girl, who're extremely proud of their pet! In the initial stages, I used to see the owner literally tugging at the pup to make headway making me wonder as to whether he was endeavouring to catch up with me and my pace. So, I'd to tell him, once, that the dog needed to be given time for his sniffs and capers that accelerate the process of doing his job and if he wanted to pursue his walk to exercise himself, he'd to do another circuit after leaving the animal back at his home on completion of its outing.

He's eager to know about the nuances of parenting a dog and takes tips from me, every now and then. I try to recall the milestones of Bruno from my memory and pass on the information in the 'why-when-what' format. I daresay I've become a vet of sorts! Probably realising my usefulness, his Pug has taken a liking for your's truly. The Pug is named Tiger and has a white coat with a cute black patch around its mouth! His owner adds that the canine is fiercely carnivorous and all attempts at feeding him with vegetarian fair have been met with stiff resistance.

I must confess that I feel nice seeing the pup every day and feel that I've missed out on something if I did not see him on my walking spree!  


I've kept my inclination in check to acquire my own canine - friends have suggested that I must go for a pair this time so that the devastation is minimal if one of them were to pass away as the other's presence would soften the shock, a fact that I can't comprehend. But there are far bigger reasons in my hesitation, which are:-

      (a) Bruno is still very much 'live' within my system and his loss continues to be a festering wound.
      (b) One's movements get hampered with the presence of a pet and there's quite a bit of travel for us
            under the present circumstances.

Friday, May 9, 2014

'The Thrissur Pooram'.

Today has been a great day for the people of Thrissur because it's the day of the 'Thrissur Pooram' a grand spectacle that is being played out on the expansive grounds - the 'Thekkinkadu Maidan' - of the iconic 'Vadakkunnatha kshetram'. Ironically, this annual festival is of recent origin, in that, it's only 200 years old and there are 'poorams'(festivals) of the temples nearby that are being played out for over 2,000 years but they lack the fervour and the grand spectacle of the one at Thrissur.


The story has it that the local king, Sakthan Thampuran, was slighted when he'd gone to attend the oldest 'pooram' of the temple in the outskirts of Thrissur and on the rebound had drawn the concept, thus becoming the architect of the Thrissur Pooram. The event is the most extravagant and colourful festival of Kerala, the highlight being the active participation of all communities regardless of their religious affiliations!

What's it all about?

The main participants of the Pooram are the 'Thiruvambady' and the 'Paaramekkavu' temples, the other participants are drawn from the eight neighbouring temples. The deities from all these temples arrive on caparisoned elephants, along with percussion and other paraphernalia at the Thekkinkadu Maidan and pay obeisance to Lord Siva - known as 'Vadakkunnathan' - at the Vadakkunnatha kshetram and return to their abodes. The main function of the Pooram is the ceremonial face-to-face of the Paramekkavu and the Thiruvambady goddesses! The 'Kudamaattam' - the swift change of colourful parasols atop caparisoned elephants, music by the traditional bands and the gracious and synchronous moves of hundreds of the 'Panchaari melam' dancers are all part of that face off.

The seven day festival had begun with the ceremonial flag hoisting by the participating temples, the sixth day being the main Pooram followed by fireworks in the wee hours of the seventh morning.

The colours and the myriad sounds of the percussion and other traditional musical instruments make it spectacular and an event to remember. No wonder, then, that the UNESCO has adjudged the Thrissur Pooram as the most spectacular event on the planet!


1. It has been raining cats and dogs, in Kerala, for the last three days thanks to a trough of low in the Arabian Sea and the forecast was that it was moving northward predicting heavy rains in these parts of the state today. The believers, however, were absolutely sure that 'Vadakkunnathan' would see to it that the Thrissur Pooram will go on unhindered and sure enough, the sky was more or less clear throughout the day. Subsequent met reports talked about incessant rains on the Karnataka coast......a game played by the good Lord, himself, perhaps!

2. My nephew is at the Pooram site and has been feeding me with real time clips through his cellphone supplemented with commentaries. Live coverage of a different kind and it was top class! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Narendra Modi - My perceptions.

Election 2014 will go down in history as one in which a population - disenchanted with widespread corruption, a paralysed government and the resulting apathy towards all political parties in the way they played petty politics - was suddenly galvanised into action wherein they took unprecedented interest in participating in the elections. The singular factor that brought about this turn around was the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi. The contest, as we stand at the last phase of the elections, has come to be a face off between him and the rest!

He's indeed come a long way from what he was just a few months back - the chief minister of a state not fully known all over the country except, perhaps, for the ignominy of the Gujarat riots of 2002 that took place under his watch. The reasons are many but the following definitely played a role:-

          (a) No political party thought that he would be anointed the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate. They
               expected massive convulsions within the party what with leaders like Advani, Joshi and Jaswant
               Singh pressing for their rightful positions at the helm! That such things were nipped before the
               kick starting of the campaign showed his mastery in assuming the leadership mantle.

          (b) The UPA governments I and II, with the backing of the state machinery, tried to bring him
                 to book for his alleged complicity in the '02 riots - a deliberate attempt at inaction when his state
                 burned, presumably to teach the Muslims a lesson and show them their place - failed miserably
                 with the Special Investigation Team set up by the Supreme Court giving him a clean chit. The
                 efforts of the Sanjeev Bhatts and the Teesta Setalvads failed to indict him, planting a certain
                 amount of doubt among the common man as to whether the stories that were spun out were
                 just that.

          (c) The development that Gujarat has seen over his years as Chief Minister was a fact evident
               on the ground and tom-tommed by even the statisticians of the union government. People began
               asking aloud as to why such a development model could not be pursued in the other states too.

          (d) The grave error on the part of the Congress bigwigs to ignore him completely in their campaign
                speeches at the initial stages.

          (e) The sidelining of Manmohan Singh by the Congress bigwigs resulting in massive scams, policy
               paralysis and complete inaction of the government. The people's disenchantment was swift
               especially after the fact that all policy files were scrutinised and decided by Sonia Gandhi was
               brought to light.

I happened to follow his interview with Arnab Goswami on 'Times Now' this evening. He came across as one who'd a clarity of thought, strong and not wavering on convictions with a thrust on development and governance.

He's shouldered the entire campaign activity of his party by presiding over 400 rallies and making public appearances, all over the country.

Let's see as to what India gives him on the 16th of May and I wish him the best. He deserves to be given a chance to lead this country.


One thing is for sure. There's gonna be a sea change in the way politics will be played in this country after elections '14!  


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The case of the Mullaperiyar dam.

In my view, fully knowledgeable of the fact that I'd be termed a 'turncoat' speaking against the interest(?) of my state, the case of the Mullaperiyar dam has been unnecessarily dramatised by certain political parties towards their game of vote bank politics. I'm of the firm opinion that the river waters within our country must be shared by the riparian states through a policy of equanimity coupled with accommodation.

The 'fight' between Tamilnadu and Kerala, over the waters that's stemmed by the dam, reminds me of the dynamics at play on the Indo-Pakistan borders! Please do not forget the fact that both the states are very much part of this country!!

The Background.

The dam built across the River Periyar is 120 years old. On its commissioning, its creator, Colonel John Pennycuick had given a guarantee for its life as 30 years. But the dam had begun to leak right from the beginning and was damaged in the floods of 1924, which was the first major setback followed by the damage to its 'head sluices' in 1925. The damages were repaired by the then Madras government! (Kerala and Tamilnadu had come into existence in 1956 during the reorganisation of states on linguistic basis).

The controversy over the dam started with an article in the Times of India of 11 May 1962. This was invoked by a gentleman named PS Nair(who was working in the PMG's office in Ahmedabad) in his complaint to the then Chief Minister of Kerala, Mr. Pattom Thanu Pillai. The government secretary, in turn, had taken up the matter with Tamilnadu laying the foundation for the interstate dispute.

The Expert Committee's Findings.

The dam is safe from the hydrological and structural viewpoints. That it is situated in a likely seismic zone does not alter the fact that ample reserves exist in the strength and other properties of the dam material against likely stresses.

The Supreme Court's Ruling.

The Supreme Court today has ruled that the full reservoir level be retained at 142 ft as against Kerala's plea of maintaining it at 136 ft citing safety reasons from the facts mentioned above.

The Aftermath.

Sadly, vested interests have already termed the Supreme Court's ruling as a victory(?) for Tamilnadu and injustice to Kerala. 

My take.

It's high time that all the political parties accepted the verdict of the Supreme Court in the right spirit. In the meantime, the governments of Tamilnadu and Kerala should sit across the negotiating table to work out the modalities of building a new dam, in a time bound manner.


A statewide 'hartal' has been called in Kerala, tomorrow, to protest against the injustice(?) meted out to the people of Kerala. The flip side of the clarion call is that it does not have the support of the entire spectrum of the political parties of the state! 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Rains have come in and other stories.

Another collage of thoughts as there were quite a few but significant things that had happened today and so, here, I go:-

  (a) Rains have come in right earnest.

   After the hesitation, the rains have been on in right earnest. From what was experienced over the last
   month, the pre-monsoon showers had mysteriously kept away from most of northern Kerala while it
   was active in the southern stretch. Well, from this morning, things have changed and the meteorological
   department has forecast heavy showers over the next four days. Thankfully, the intensity of the heat has
   come down drastically and the cool whiff of air was very soothing. The newly surfaced road track in front
   of my house has been a boon and timely laid! .....The losses in the state, due to the thunder showers have
   been heavy.

   May the spate of rains continue but hope that there would be no more damages.

   (b) An eventful one year.

    The poly clinic, for the ex-servicemen out here, was celebrating its first anniversary today. Me and my
     neighbour were there at the appointed hour as we'd been invited by the Director of the clinic. And it
     so happens that all the three of us were from the same school and clicked for posterity on the occasion.
     The clinic has grown significantly by adding on quite a lot of additional facilities thanks to the dynamism
     and the dedication of the Director and his staff.

     May the organisation be a boon for all the ex-servicemen dependent on it for their medical cover.

   (c) A case of telepathy?

    I'd, after dropping my neighbour at his residence, proceeded to run quite a few errands that were
    awaiting accomplishment all this while thanks to my tardiness. One among them was the reservation
    for our trip to Nagpur and back, towards the third week of the month. Soon after I'd reached home,
    my friend had called up from Nagpur to confirm about our attendance. How did he know that I'd just
    done the reservations? Was it telepathy, in play? He was, however, lamenting about the poor response
    from the other course mates of our Squadron.

    May there be more of our course mates attending the do, I'm gonna prod them into attending!

    (d) Singin' in the rain.

     The evening rains put my plans for the customary walk in tatters. I'd substituted it by exercising on the
     walker and after the work out schedule, it's great to sit at the balcony watching the rains, gently rocking
     on my favourite chair. Time well spent.

     May there be many more occasions, like today's, to enjoy nature.


It was a pleasure to meet up with many of the veterans at the official function this morning. Yes, time had eroded their 'beauty' but not their resilience, not their grit and not their sense of humour! 

Monday, May 5, 2014

A collage of thoughts.

Today's thoughts are but a random collection of what I'd experienced during the course of the day. And so, without much ado, let me begin:-

  (a) The first major pre-monsoon shower.

   Last week when we'd gone to our ancestral house, the entire belt was experiencing pre-monsoon showers
   as never before so much so that it gave one the impression that it was the monsoon itself. Comparatively,
   Guruvayur was devoid of rains and the heat was getting to be very, very oppressive. But past midnight,
   around 2 o'clock, the showers had inundated the place with all its attendant fury. The high temperatures
   had receded and pleasantness had returned, albeit, for a short while. The day continued to have an
   overcast sky all through but the humidity was passable.

   And I'd stayed indoors for the most part of the day!

   (b) My sister leaves for Palakkad.

    My younger sister and family, who were with us for the last couple of days, left for Palakkad this morning.
    After staying there for a day, they'd be off to Delhi to spend a week visiting friends and relatives. They
    were literally rushing towards the private bus stop nearby and managed to board the 'limited stop' bus to
    their destination with hardly any time to spare! And they're blaming themselves for not having got up a half
    an hour earlier!!

    The house wore a deserted and silent look after all the chatter and laughter of the past days!

   (c) A real shock.

    I was on my evening walk and one of the errands was to pick up mom's medicines. During the onward
    trip, I was able to get my pocket watch fixed that was not working for quite a while. As I was reaching
    the outer precincts of the temple, a dignified looking gentleman that I'd come abreast with, started getting
    violent and abusive. It was then that I realised that he wasn't sound mentally as his family that was
    lagging behind - I felt anger rising in me at them for their callous handling of a sick person - was trying to
    desperately beckon him to stop as they caught up.

    There's a thin dividing line between sanity and insanity. May the gentleman collect his thoughts and return
     to normalcy at the earliest!


A quiet day when I did nothing. God, how can precious time be frittered away like this and the sad fact is that it's becoming all too frequent these days? 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A much belated connect.

A fortnight back, I'd written about a friend of mine who'd called on us during his annual tryst to the temple town. One of the information that he'd handed over, then, was a mutual friend's contact number with a word of caution.

That friend of our's had recently undergone a major surgery on account of intestinal cancer in Bombay and was under the care of the hospital even now. The reserved character that he was had become more aloof, only spoke with a very few and attended his cellphone accordingly. His wife, the sole attendant, screened the incoming calls to reduce his agony. Their only daughter, married in February this year along with her husband, is in the mile-high city of Atlanta, US.

During his heydays, my friend(I shall maintain his personality so for the sake of confidentiality) used to be a compulsive introvert and it was a Herculean effort to draw him out of his shell. I think I can almost recount the number of times that I've seen him laughing without inhibitions. But, all the same, he's a great guy who goes out of his way to help the needy and would fight his way through even if his adversary was miles senior to him, for a worthy cause. Consequently, he'd lost out on the professional front and his gag was, "Look I'm out of the rat race because you see, I wasn't cut out to be one!"

According to hearsay, he'd taken the news of his ailment badly but my friend was insistent that a pep talk from me would lighten him up. I was hesitant and the very fact that it took a fortnight on my part to establish contact showed my hopeless inadequacy in this regard. This evening, I'd chided myself saying that enough was enough and made that call. And boy, I'm glad that I did it. Conversation flowed freely and it was he who'd broached the topic about his illness. He sounded philosophical and attributed its trigger to be our conversation. Our lengthy exchange ended with his words, "Rajeev, I knew that you'd contact me at some point of time. Usually, I make it to the temple town at least once a year and this time, I look forward to being with you".

And it's simply nice to hear that.


A weekend that sped past at breakneck speed thanks to the presence of my younger sister and family, who've fetched up from Bangalore on vacation. It's nice catching up with them!  

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A close crop!

I've been wanting to visit the hair dresser over the last week but couldn't make it thanks to the numerous work that had come up. Thanks to the habit that has been ingrained over the years, since my school days, if a few strands of hair peeped over the ear lobes or the hair in the nostrils peeped out, it brings about an unease that cannot be described in words! And so it was with me for the past few days!!

And this morning I'd finally found my way to the saloon after having taken up an appointment. Named 'Amigos', its proprietor had set up the hi-tech center that provides a lot of services to its customers - from a simple haircut to a complete body massage with the help of modern equipment and contraptions manned by young boys - after his fairly long stint in one of the gulf countries. He'd proudly taken me around the saloon to explain the facilities that were available - during my first visit - and had recommended that I must avail of the 'complete body massage' facility as he insisted it to be the highlight of his outfit that no other in the field could provide.

The young man who'd embarked on working on my head went about his work in right earnest after giving the preliminary head wash. As he went about his pace, I'd dozed off and by the time I'd snapped out of it, I saw a different your's truly looking back at me from the mirror in front with much of my sparse thatch of hair shortened beyond the usual length. I'd the urge to howl at the protagonist but checked my rising temper as I realised that my dozing off had prevented my providing the necessary directives at the crucial time. But I did tell him that he'd exceeded his brief today especially because of the fact that he'd worked on my hairstyle during my previous visit and therefore, knew as to what I preferred. He mumbled an apology and was he scared that I'd complain to his boss? His looks seemed to suggest that though I hadn't even thought of doing anything of that sort!

As I passed through the reception counter, seeing myself in the full length mirror I realised that I resembled a plucked chicken and couldn't help but smile at the transformation - out of sheer helplessness, perhaps! Or was I having a dig at my new found looks?

I sure did resemble one of those stiff looking guys of Hitler's feared Gestapo of old!!    


Quite a few jobs that had piled up over the past few days have been cleared. The Quarterdeck was agog with activity with my younger sister and gang having fetched up this morning and they're gonna be here for the next couple of days!  

Friday, May 2, 2014

On the return leg.

The rains, through the night, had dampened the place. What saddened me was that the roof that was relaid recently, had sprung leaks at three places. The team leader of the work has been instructed to rectify the defects at the earliest. Workmanship and the intricate knowledge that the work requires have been on the decline, sad!

We could kick off on our journey an hour later than I'd planned but I did not try to hasten the process because mom and the others required time and there was no point in making them get up early. Barring a freshening up and breakfast break at our favourite place, the journey was glitch free though there were a couple of massive traffic jams. So, mom's appointment with the eye specialist could take place only by a 5' past 12. The registration, examination, preparation and the final correction by laser were all over by about a half past 1 and we'd decided to have a quick lunch at the immaculate canteen of the hospital - gloved and head geared food handlers, good vegetarian meal and the innovative and unobtrusive waste disposal were the highlights.

And we're back on the road, headed for Guruvayur, before 2. The drive was fine, with the air conditioner at full clip to beat the harsh external heat - what a difference in weather it was towards the north, with no sign of rain! About 20 kms short of our destination, we'd stopped at a roadside tea stall to have the 'one yarder' tea that all of us are fond of. Simply watching the guy - his name's Chandran - making tea was fascinating. He and three of his friends had begun the 'tea stall venture', based on their experiences at work in a star hotel nearby and seem to be doing a good job!

At home by 5 and I could easily go for my evening walk as usual. Rema and Achu were with us and they'd be leaving for Palakkad tomorrow morning while Minni and family will be fetching up around the same time, to be with us for the next two days.


A short trip that was loaded with symbolism, when I got the opportunity to meet many people and could also get my mom's eye problem sorted out. The fact, however, was that the laser correction for removing the membrane over her right eye had come about exactly two years after the cataract surgery was carried out on both her eyes!   

Thursday, May 1, 2014

At my dad's place.

The day was bright and sunny. I've always wondered as to what emotions my mom goes through when we return to the house that she and dad had carefully nurtured over the years.

Today, it remains closed most of the times with the caretaker looking after its overall maintenance and security. And the most notable thing is that she gets charged and active during the time that she's here!

Have I done something painful for her by shifting her to Guruvayur with us though she keeps reiterating that she's quite happy to be in the new environment?