Monday, June 30, 2014

Lethargy has hit me!

I'd planned to do quite a few things today and had reiterated to myself, while on my morning walk, that everything would be completed by the end of the day. But, alas, that wasn't the way things turned out to be and I'd ended being what I've always excelled in - put off things for another day.

Let me explain by giving a silly example. I was supposed to wash down my car in the morning and had adjusted  the levers of the water motor accordingly when the dhobhi had come along with his cart to iron the clothes. I decided to postpone my work till he finished his job as I did not want him to come in the way of the gushing water and the resultant dirt to mess up his immediate surroundings! But the rains played spoilsport and he was allowed to continue, within the shelter of our extended porch, for doing the neighbour's clothes too. Soon, it was lunch time which give me an excuse to postpone my good intentions! It was as simple as that!!

Saji, my cousin, had dropped by in the afternoon to give us a feedback about his activities and his aspirations. His business of Interior Designing hasn't taken off the way he'd expected it to and he was seriously contemplating about taking up a job abroad which has come his way thanks to a relation of his wife, who works in that country. If things were to go as planned, he'd be at his new work by the first of August! The young man had come to validate this option with us and all of us, including mom, have given him the thumbs up. A sincere and hardworking guy - Dame Luck is taking her own sweet time to bestow her largesse upon him - who needs to get the right break. I'm sure he will!

The evening walk was executed through the threat of imminent rains when Lekha'd got a call from her classmate from school that she and her family would be calling on us a trifle late into the evening, after paying their obeisance to the good Lord. They're seven of them and had fetched up around a half past 9 and by the time, we'd called it a day it's close to midnight after I'd done two shuttles in my Chevy for dropping the group at their place of stay as autorickshaws/cabs were hard to get at that unearthly hour!

A day of lost opportunities, really and lethargy has hit me, yet again.


I'd wanted to send my impressions on the recent interactions that we've had among us classmates but have not been able to cajole myself into doing it. Perhaps, it's the knowledge that I'd be hurting the sentiments of a couple of them which is preventing me from doing so. I'm really surprised at my new found reticence in calling a spade, a spade lest I hurt the others whereas, my friends know me as someone who fired straight from the hip....always! Age catching up, I wonder? 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Back at 'The Quarterdeck'.

After ten days, we're back at home this evening, by teatime. It took me all of ten hours to steer my way with halts, as convenient, so as to not allow the journey to overbear us which usually happens when we're to chase 'milestones'!

We'd set off from Suresh and Sindhu's place by 6 o'clock in the morning, picked up mom from maman's place, took in the things that we'd forgotten from Indira kunjamma's place and were back on the highway an hour later. The traffic was sparse and the erratic motorists, very few and far between! And yes, there was no sight of rains forecasting a looming deficit of monsoons and the consequent power deficiencies!!

The two jobs have been completed at 'The Quarterdeck' as promised by my man, Friday, during our absence. Damn sweet of him!

The evening walk was refreshing and gave me the opportunity to burn the flab that I seem to have picked up over the past days. Most of the people that I'd come across during my walk wanted to know the reasons for my long(?) absence and it gave a nice feeling to know that one also gets missed!

And a little late into the evening, there was a downpour as if to give an impression that the rains were waiting, all these days for us to return, to fall! The downpour was welcome though the subsequent sultry heat was very, very oppressive.    

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The SSKZM Old Boys' Day.

We - that's Suresh, me and his brother-in-law, Radhu - had set off for the school to be in time for the proceedings and despite the traffic, we're in time for the commemorative meeting. And we got the dampening message that Savio, who'd come along with his wife, Annie to attend the Alumni Day - all the way from Chicago - had to make a hasty retreat to his hotel because of pain from a kidney stone that was lodged at an uncomfortable position.

After attending the Annual General body Meeting and participating in the election process of picking up the new committee members - I'm personally glad, on two counts, at the final outcome - we'd returned for calling on Savio, just to monitor his medical progress:-

    (a) the baton of leadership of the school's OBA has been handed over by the class of '72 after a fairly
         long tenure at the till.
    (b) the new President viz. Sam Samuel - my cadet - will, I'm certain, steer the organisation to greater

Being back in school was an emotional experience as always. The first thing that hits me, always and without fail, is the tremendous shrinkage of distances. Please permit me to explain....the distance from Prasad House to the cadets' mess seemed to be so great when I'd joined the school as a young lad. And today, I find that the same distance has shrunk - virtually - as though, on an inverse proportion to my adding on years! I haven't shared this 'dilemma' of mine even with my closest friends lest it becomes a reason for ribbing!

The evening dinner at the hotel for our small group of class fellows was simply super with everyone turning out to be emotional while reminiscing the halcyon days.


I'd, on the occasion, recalled an old number taught to me by the elegant English teacher of our's, the late Mr. Aylmer Patrick Soans and I saw guys getting teary as each one of them had come and hugged me tight. I quote,

    "Now's the hour when we must say good bye.
     Soon you'll be leaving far across the land.
     When you're there o' please remember us
     On your return you'll find us waiting for you".

(Note. The last line is sung on a high yet descending note!)    

Friday, June 27, 2014

With my classmates!

A memorable walk down memory lane with my classmates!

The day had begun with the viewing of the Malayalam movie, 'Bangalore days'. Taking mom up the long flight of stairs of the Sree Visakh theatre was a great task but she did it admirably well. The movie has been running to packed houses since its release and it essentially covers the growing up and coming to terms with life of a girl and two boys who're more buddies than relations! A beautiful experience after a long while!

And after dropping mom at my maman's place, we'd fetched up at Suresh and Sindhu's 'Anchorage'. And it was fun time from the word go. After catching up with all the stories, we're at the Trivandrum Club for a get together of our classmates, who'd arrived in town to attend the school's Old Boys' Day. The back thumping, the recall of every incident while at school and the impromptu variety entertainment put up by each one of us made me wish that the evening would continue forever!

And it was fairly late when we'd called it a day or was it night?


Three of our classmates had booked themselves for a weekend stay at Poovar, about 35 km from Thiruvananthapuram. On an impulse, I'd said that Lekha and me would accompany them after the Old Boys' day celebrations tomorrow and the others said that they'd follow suit! Probably, it's a way to keep our interaction going without break!!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Back to Thiruvananthapuram.

After securing the ancestral house, we'd set off for Thiruvananthapuram on the last leg of our trip. The weather was warm and sunny and we'd reached Indira kunjamma's house by lunch time. The spread that that she's offered was amazing and delicious as usual. And then a couple of hours were spent at the Foundation to take in the feedback and thank the team that had made it all possible. To clear the doubt in everyone's mind, I'd accepted the faux pas on the day of the 'Vaayana dinam' by calling upon Devabala, a class VIII student of a school in the city to deliver her experiences on reading a book before asking the guest, who'd been invited, to deliver the keynote address.

That the li'l girl rambled on, without crowd support and had far exceeded the time allotted to her didn't help. Moreover, the guests on the dais left soon after their scheduled speeches further made matters worse.

I'd a visit to the 'toothy' for the unfinished work before heading back home.

Achu's angst.

My nephew, Achu, told me the story of his friend who'd taken his life last week. The lad had displayed suicidal tendencies when he was studying with my nephew at the engineering college. And around the third academic year, his parents had been asked to take their son home for medical management. Two years later, the tragedy had taken place. I sincerely wish that his tortured soul has found peace in eternity and here's wishing that his family is able to tide over these difficult times at the earliest.

Achu's going to meet his parents at Bangalore, this weekend, to offer his condolences. He's taken it hard.


As I punch in these thoughts, Kripashankar, another nephew of mine is beside me trying to make sense out of the whole thing.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The grand finale of Vaayana vaaram '14.

Cutting across party affiliations political leaders, leading cultural luminaries and people who love PN Panicker were there in full strength at the Kanakakkunnu palace for the colourful grand finale. A week when the whole of Kerala paused to remember one of her illustrious sons.

Towards the closing hours, at the school in my dad's village, I'd the privilege of gifting books worth five grand to its library as per the endowment set up in dad's name. In a short yet finely organised programme I was given time to interact with the students, the teachers and the parents. I was also shown around an 'exhibition of the books' organised for the week. It was an afternoon well spent.

And the other story....

We'd gone to visit Pidavoor amma who's been down with an acute case of bronchial congestion. The significant factor is that she's never taken medicines all these as she believes that they're toxic. Well, this time her condition had deteriorated so badly that she'd to finally listen to her doctor. And thankfully, the medicines have taken immediate effect. As I drove away from the house, I saw her through my rear view mirror with folded hands praying for my safe journey.


With such a 'strong cover' do I've to worry about any harm coming to me?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The society's all round growth was his mantra!

It's the penultimste day of the Vaayana vaaram '14. Feedback is coming into the PN Panicker Foundation's office from all the districts about the activities over the last six days.

More, then, on PN Panicker. To recapitulate on the story that I've recounted thus far. He'd set up a vibrant network of libraries all over the state and to ensure that they'd benefit everyone, he concentrated his energy on functional literacy or non-formal education. That aim was achieved when the state became 100% literate. He'd by then set in motion the guidelines to ensure the sustained literacy of the neo-literates.

From his frequent travels all across the state, he was saddened by the sharp divisions in society on the basis of caste and religion. He was also saddened by the fact that the government's welfare schemes did not reach the poor because of exploitation by the touts and the middlemen. He propagated the saying, "Naam onnu"(We're one) and the concept of 'Souhruda Graamangal'(Friendly villages). He used to exhort his loyal band of volunteers to help the poor and the downtrodden to get their ration cards, arrange for loans from banks, apply for passports etc.

He was on this mission till his very end! A true leader of the masses!!


A truly remarkable personality who lived out his dreams!

Monday, June 23, 2014

The mother of all mass contact programmes!

It's day five of the 'Vaayana vaaram'. I'd the privilege of interacting with a cross section of the children, who'd wholeheartedly participated in the activities organised by the Foundation yesterday, being a Sunday! There were Quiz competitions, drawing competition, recitation competitions etc that kept the children occupied on a holiday, alongwith their parents in attendance.

In my continuing efforts to etch the personality of PN Panicker, let me take you further back in time.The year was 1970 and the Kerala Library Movement that he'd nurtured was poised to celebrate its silver jubilee. With his efforts, he'd set up a network of over 5,280 libraries covering even the remotest corner of the state so much so that there's a saying that there's no place in Kerala that hasn't been covered by PNP's footsteps!

As part of the silver jubilee celebrations, he'd undertaken a 'padayatra' from Kasaragod in the north to Parassala in the south. The people of Kerala, till then used to agitational 'jathas' and processions, seeking narrow gains started taking notice of this frail, white khadi clad(Full sleeves shirt, dhoti and a crisp, folded shawl over his left shoulder), short statured gentleman with the imaginative slogan "Vaayichu valaruka, Chinthichu vivekam neduka"(Read and grow, Think and attain wisdom), that he'd penned for the occasion. The hugely popular padayatra was ultimately received at the museum square at Thiruvananthapuram by none other than C Achutha Menon, the then Chief Minister.

The UNESCO, impressed by the movement's achievements, awarded it with the prestigious 'Nadezhda Krupskaya(Lenin's wife) award for its outstanding contribution towards the well being of the society.

The slogan 'Vaayichu valaruka' which has become the Malayalee's personal slogan is but the audacious dream of PN Panicker which culminated in the state achieving cent percent literacy in 1991.

An unusual love story gleaned from today's episode of the reality show, 'Idea Star Singer'. Godly, one of the contestants, had rendered a lovely number after which his patents were called on stage. Paulose(A christian) was aghast when his lovely muslim neighbour, Pathumma was being married off to a seventy year old man. And when he got the chance, he proposed to her and they'd eloped that very night, a 31st of March and tied the knot. The next day when he'd announced to the world about their wedding, everyone took it as an 'All fools' day prank! And that was that!! They are very much in love" even now from what I observed this evening. May god give them many more years of togetherness with fond memories.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Vaayana vaaram - the fourth day.

The programmes connected with the 'Vaayana vaaram' are on in full swing all over the state. Since the people of Kerala are remembering PN Panicker during the occasion, it would only be appropriate to revisit a few anecdotes that highlight his personality.

On leaving the Kerala Grandhasala Sanghom in '78, he'd started a new outfit called the KANFED - an acronym for Kerala Association for Non Formal Education and Development with the aim to achieve cent percent literacy in the state.Within no time the organisation had proved its mettle, so much so that the central government set up the State Resource Center and had appointed PNP as its Director, with a salary of Rs. 10,000/- pm. It was to ensure that the funds released for the purpose was used correctly. PNP took the directive in  letter and spirit but refused to take his salary saying that the government was already paying him a pension after his retirement as a primary school teacher. Upon the insistence of his friends and well wishers, he'd changed his stance and began to draw a token salary of Re.1/-! That the state was declared cent percent literate in '91 is testimony to the untiring efforts of PN Panicker's KANFED and other associated agencies.

Our house at Thiruvananthapuram was always full of people thanks to the robust joint family system that was popular then. Over and above the members of the family, there used to be a steady stream of visitors and my grandparents ensured that they never went back without being attended to. My ammachi, Mrs Chempakakutty Amma managed the household affairs without bothering muthachan ever with the household problems. It was in these circumstances that we're privileged to meet people from all walks of life and receive their acts of kindness, in the bargain.

My grandparents never had a house  of their own but never seemed to fret about it!


1. KANFED disintegrated a couple of years after PNP's passing away due to infighting and factionalism. Sad.

2. Wonder whether recounting the saying, "Fools build houses and wise men live in them" would be appropriate here?.....I wonder!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A novel idea!

It's the third day of the 'Vaayana vaaram'. A school near our house had carried out a unique idea termed 'Each one contribute one', whereby every student and teacher contributed one book each to the school library. Accordingly, about 2,000 books were added to the collection. What a simple yet great thought!

I've heard of PN Panicker visiting every house in the neighbourhood to collect books as contributions for the network of libraries that he was setting up. People used to shoo him away and a few even questioned his intentions. The cynical Malayalee thought that he was trying to make a fast buck by selling the books! Libraries for the common man? They scorned! What's the use of making a farmhand literate? A few had earnestly asked him.

I'm reminded of an ex- chief secretary's description of the legend and I quote, "I used to ger irritated when he used to visit me and purposely kept him waiting though I knew that he didn't want anything for himself. His dream seemed to be totally utopian, in that, he wanted the state to achieve cent percent literacy!" Unquote.

But the same gentleman with genuine grief on his face for having misbehaved with PNP had conceded, " Your grandfather had an extraordinary quality. He could never be angry with anyone and once one fell for his charm, he was able to make one dream along with him!"


Can't help but remember the words,
"Some men see things as they are and say, why
 I dream things that never were and say, why not".

Friday, June 20, 2014

To my dad's place.

The activities of the Vaayana vaaram(2) had started off in right earnest at the Kanakakkunnu Palace. As the proceedings got under way, I made myself scarce as we're on our way to my dad's place as there were a few activities scheduled there for the next few days.

The sky was overcast all through, the traffic was passable and the drive was nice.......till.....

We're about a couple of kilometers away from Lekha's place and passing through blinding rains. The speed had to be brought down as an autorickshaw was turning and during the momentary pause, there was a loud thud at the Chevy's rear, Lekha'd her head hit the roof but thankfully, mom didn't have much of a problem! Fearing the worst, I'd got out of my car but consciously kept my temper under check and inspected the impacted portion. Luckily, the damage wasn't visible and I'd a lot of distance to go and plenty of activities to do over the next eight days and the Chevy was an important factor to help me achieve the milestones!

The SUV was teeming with passengers and the three gentlemen who'd come out of the vehicle looked thoroughly apologetic for the mishap and one among them shared my name too. I'd taken down their contact number and given them mine for absorbing the shock of the impact as would be attained by the automobile mechanic. The gentleman had also apologised to Lekha for causing discomfort.

We'd reached my dad's place, by teatime, after spending a delightful afternoon at Lekha's place.


The SUV that had impacted my Chevy had a very bad gash on its front bumper. And I was always under the impression that the SUV had a tough Chevy strongest!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

19 Jun - PN Panicker's remembrance day.

The number 19 is playing a significant role this Reading day!

Today happens to be the 19th remembrance day of the legendary PN Panicker. Significantly, today sees the coinciding of the dates on the Gregorian calendar and the lunar based, Malayalam calendar. To amplify, PN Panicker had passed into the mist of time at 1913h on 19 Jun '95 on the Gregorian calendar which was the 5th of the month of 'Midhunam' in the year of 1170 on the Malayalam calendar. This phenomenon of the coinciding dates, of the two calendars, takes place every 19 years!

And prayers and ceremony mark the remembrance day on the Malayalam calendar.

Accordingly, we'd gone to Thiruvallam, about 20 kms south of the city and the only temple in the south that has Vishnu's 'avatar' of 'Parasurama' as its main deity. Since we'd made it early, in the morning, we could be part of the first group to go through the ceremony for the departed and say our prayers. And by 10 o'clock, we're at the Kanakakkunnu Palace, the venue of the inaugural ceremony of the 'Vaayana dinam' thereby, kick starting the 'Vaayana Vaaram too.

The ceremony was inaugurated by the Chief Minister and as is the usual trend, politicians from the entire political spectrum were present to speak about their experiences with the legend. The thrust in making village hubs as economic powerhouses by encouraging special skills and empowering the women to become financially independent was the main theme of this year's Reading Day.

The registration for the training capsules has been very encouraging and it was heartening to note the enthusiasm of the women participants who were many times over subscribed. A good step in the right direction which would gladden my grandfather's soul.


Made quite a few gaffes while compering the main event. No, it wasn't a case of frayed nerves but my Malayalam vocabulary, which  is extremely limited!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

At Thiruvananthapuram.

We'd set off from home by 0730h and I'd taken the longer route via Thrissur. Since we'd passed the town by 8, the traffic was tame and I could hit the highway without any loss of time. And thankfully, the rains didn't spoil the fun of driving but I can anticipate an acute shortage of electricity in the state because of poor monsoons.

I'd driven over 250 kms on the NH 47 before cutting into the state highway through the Kayamkulam - Punalur road. The road was comparatively better but sadly there's an increase in the number of potholes and by the time the monsoons are gonna be over, it would be a nightmare to drive on the highways - a situation that's all too familiar that gives an excuse for the politician-bureaucrat-contractor nexus to make quick money off the state's exchequer!

By the time I'd done the remaining 100 odd kms, it was teatime and after a quick cuppa, we'd headed to my toothy. As usual, she was efficiency personified and told me in no uncertain terms that she wasn't happy with the standard of my oral hygiene compared to what it was during my previous visit. I'd accepted the rebuke with the utmost seriousness it deserved though I'd apologised to her for not having brushed my teeth before the visit! And I didn't want to give the alibi of having driven the whole day prior to the appointment!!

Within a matter of a little over an hour she'd got back my dentures in sparkling shape. It was a pleasure, as always, to be interacting with her and nice to hear her personal thoughts, her motherly concerns about her li'l daughter's evolution and the tremendous love that she has for her mom and brothers.

I'd sum it as time well spent and regretfully, didn't charge me a penny for all the hard work that she'd put in.


Mom and Lekha seemed to be quite okay after the long drive thanks to the halts in between for breaks. The trend is gonna be the same for the long journey over the next ten days!  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What the Preity Zinta - Ness Wadia fracas portends.

I've been following the news bytes on the issue, not because it's juicy gossip but it portends a very, very sad situation. I get the impression that the laws of my country are applied differently to different people! Shorn of all the niceties, if you form part of the well healed society, the laws are gonna be applied gently and God forbid, if you're from among the plebeians - as in the days of the ancient Roman empire - they'll come down upon you like a ton of bricks!

And what I felt surprised and sad about the whole affair was that the people whom I thought were 'educated' were supporting the disgusting disparity.

What had transpired between Preity and Ness does not require rocket science to analyse and come up with an answer. It's a plain case of love having gone sour and the two individuals were finding it extremely difficult to continue with their joint business venture of co-owning the King's Punjab XI in the Indian Premier League Cricket as their personal lives were coming in the way. The bubble just burst this time because they couldn't win the cup in the final........ No one minds that because, in life, such things are common. I can assure you that these two will also find a solution to their seemingly problematic personal lives and they should be given their space and time to arrive at that point.

But what bothers me is the way the case has gone about since the filing of the FIR by the lady. Why has the gentleman not been questioned? In a normal case, by now, the accused would have made many 'chukkers' to the concerned investigation agency with the rider that he/she should remain within its precincts. Why is it then different for Ness Wadia? Is it because he's from an influential family? And why did Preity Zinta have to go abroad soon after filing the complaint if there wasn't any compelling reason?



Or are the players orchestrating for time and a pantomime is being played out to bring about an out-of-court settlement and persuade the lady to retrieve her complaint? If in the affirmative, is it legally possible?  

Monday, June 16, 2014

I'm indebted to yet another....

I'd got up early in the morning as is my usual practice and after going through the ritual of grooming, was out of the house for my walk. A quick pan of the sky did not give me an inkling of impending rains and hence, I'd set off in right earnest into a crisp and fresh morning air that had a gentle breeze flowing after an early morning shower.

I must have barely covered a kilometer when I felt the raindrops and looking up at the sky, realised that it was overcast and dark with the prospect of an impending, immediate downpour. Resigning myself to the circumstances, I'd decided to walk through the rain hoping like mad that my hat would keep my head from getting thoroughly wet and that my walking stick would essentially thwart the stray dogs from launching any adventurous onslaught!

The gentleman, in a sleeveless vest and a colourful lungi, was standing at his porch and as I passed him had called out, "Sir, you seem to have forgotten your umbrella. Please come in while I fetch mine". It was just in time, as the downpour had begun, making it seem as though it was waiting for me to get into a shelter. On his orders, I saw his wife frantically making a search for the umbrella before realising that he'd forgotten both his umbrellas in his shop the previous day.

I was, however, glad that I was able to outdo the rains and had struck a conversation with the kindhearted and generous gentleman. He's Gopalan and he went on to say that he sees me passing by on my walks - by his house in the mornings and by his shop in the evenings - everyday. Moreover, he was a member of a group that had come to my house a couple of months ago to collect contributions for his party - the CPM - to fight the parliamentary elections. I'd to concede that I didn't quite remember his face though I remembered the group's visit....did I disappoint him? He didn't show it, though.

Through the conversation, I came to know that he'd a 20 year stint in the Gulf countries beginning in early '70 and had worked at Sharjah, Amman and finally, at Kuwait from where he'd returned when Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces had overrun the oil rich kingdom, in '90. One of his sons and the daughter, along with their families, were currently at Muscat earning their livelihood. The second son, with his family, was with him, his wife and his elderly father. He runs a xeroxing shop on the arterial road, that passes nearby, which doesn't fetch him much by way of business returns but gives him the satisfaction of coming across a lot many people.

He also narrated his 'brush' with the Indian Navy when the then INS Mysore had visited the Gulf region in the aftermath of the Indo-Pak conflict of '71 and he'd - he was working as a steward in a canteen that was servicing an RAF contingent that was stationed there - footed the bill for the Indian sailors(a few annas, according to him, as they did not have small denominations and shrugged it off as an insignificant episode!) who're being ferried ashore from their ship at anchorage, while proceeding on liberty. In gratitude, they'd shown him the ship and provided him with, quote, "an out-of-the-world lunch". Unquote.

I was glad that the IN had made an indelible impression in his mind by its winning ways, as always!

The rains had subsided by then and after taking leave of him, I'd resumed my walk and the prayer recital!!


The milk of human kindness overfloweth.....   

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A late visit.

A relation of our's had succumbed to cancer last week. She was a retired teacher and all of 63 years. The odd thing was that the illness was eating away her innards for the last ten years without giving a hint of its activity despite the several tests that she used to undergo every year. The illness had finally surfaced when she'd visited her surgeon to remove a swelling in her armpit when that doctor had ordered for a biopsy.

And this had taken place just a couple of months back. The results had confirmed the worst as the ailment had reached the tertiary stage and had started affecting her liver which gave her immense pain towards the end which came around 2130h on 07 Jun. I couldn't make it for her funeral due to some pressing commitments and had mentally jotted down that I'd make it there at the earliest possible occasion.

This morning, the three of us - mom, Lekha and me - were able to visit her house, offer our prayers at her cremation spot and also spend time with the immediate family consisting of her husband, a son and a daughter. As her partner relived the final moments, it was evident that he missed her sorely but was contended that he'd provided the best medical management for her.

Our journey up and down was free of glitches, despite the rains and we're back home before teatime. Coincidentally, my kid sister and her husband had also dropped by, from Palakkad, making it look like a collective family endeavour - headed by none other than my mom - to share the family's grief!

RIP, chechi(I still do not know her name and was not willing to inquire about it because of the inappropriateness of the moment)! My prayers with the hope that your immediate family would be able to tide over their difficult times!!


Earlier in the day, around four in the morning, I'd dropped Indira kunjamma(my third ma'asi) at the Guruvayur temple as she's here as a member of the 'Narayaneeyam' prayer team. She had caught the night train, along with the group, back to Thiruvananthapuram. I observe that she has been able to tide over her age related discomfort - she's all of 72 years - thanks to her keeping busy on such spiritual activities!  

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The sad plight of Iraq!


1. Saddam Hussein had ruled the whole of Iraq with an iron hand. A military dictator, brought up by the USA, finally had gotten too big for his boots, brutally crushed any opposition and had marched his forces into Kuwait, thumbing his nose at his very own masters who'd aided him! He'd to go and the invasion of the country was but a natural progression for his slighted masters and the combined western forces with their superior armoury accomplished the 'regime change' that they'd wanted.

2. But the dichotomy had just begun. The allied forces have not been able to find a suitable successor to take over the reins of government as none of the available ones, including the present dispensation, neither has the wherewithal nor the leadership qualities to get every section of the Iraqi society together. And sadly, they've their jurisdiction only within the city of Baghdad without control over even the outlying areas of the city. Consequently, the various factions of the society are vying with one another to usurp control of the country. In other words, Iraq is never gonna be the single entity that we're familiar with up till now and one has to be optimistic in abundant measure that it would be achievable in the long run!

Where the Strategy of Intervention always fails.

3. The strategy of intervention, as history is replete with incidents, has never been successful and the factors are many. Let me try to put down a few:-

     (a) The external forces enter the fray with great hopes and succeed in their immediate tactical objective.
           They take on governing their new 'fiefdom' with the initial enthusiasm and try to introduce many of
           the practices of their country in the annexed territory. This is the hunky dory stage!
     (b) And much to their surprise, they find that the people aren't enthusiastic about their ideas. It's this
           aspect that deflates their patience over a period of time and begin to realise that 'whatever they
           did was not going to be taken by the locals because they're old fashioned and do not know(?)
           what's good for them. What they forget is that it's their ignorance of the local culture and aspirations
           that have brought them to the point of impasse. This is the disillusionment stage!
     (c) They've reached the stage when they want to hand over the responsibility to someone who catches
           their fancy and conveniently get back to their homeland, forthwith. The people to whom they hand
           over power are never accepted by the locals as they've labelled them as the foreigners' stooges
           and are on a losing wicket from day one and the interventionists don't care. The ultimate, escapist

The Aftermath.

4. The newly propped up leadership sink without any trace by the weight of their own contradictions. The vacuum of power is cherished by many and in the ensuing melee between the groups, a civil war breaks out with violence careening out of control. Iraq is in this stage today and how the people redeem themselves from this unholy mess, not of their choice or creation, is what the world is watching with bated breath! Many more innocent lives are gonna perish in the bargain. God, save Iraq! Please!!


I won't be surprised if the elements of Saddam Hussein's band of thugs muscle their way to power yet again. And that would be the ultimate paradox!

Friday, June 13, 2014

The politician vs. the bureaucrat.

In the wake of the tragic road accident that led to the death of Gopinath Munde, a union minister, the Transport Commissioner, Mr. Rishiraj Singh had passed a circular to his force of the motor vehicles department to enforce Section 138(3) of the Motor Vehicles Act which requires all passengers in a car to wear seat belts. Accordingly, the department has been on a drive, for the past few days, to nab errant travellers.

And, as per the usual 'Malayalee psyche', he'd to bitch about the unnecessary loss of freedom(?).

It's this order that the transport minister - from the August precincts of the state's legislative assembly - has asked his transport commissioner to withdraw forthwith little realising that he's doing a disservice to the general public. What makes it all the more laughable is that a sound decision has been nullified by a hasty, playing-up-to-the-gallery sort of an order.

Why do I call it a sound decision? It's because:-

  (a) All cars of the day are of a high definition that can do speeds above 100 kmph with ease.
  (b) The roads and the highways are generally good and the permissible speed of driving has been raised
        to 90 kmph.
  (c) It makes perfect sense to insist on the wearing of seat belts by every passenger to avoid grievous
       injury if and when the driver were to apply the brakes suddenly in an emergency!
  (d) To cite impracticality in execution due to the many cars of older vintage that ply on the roads is
        balderdash as none of them can do high speeds.

Then, how has this turn around come about? Again, the answers are not hard to find:-

  (a) Rishiraj Singh has made an impression among the people of Kerala as an honest and efficient cop.
  (b) His drive against over speeding buses - both government owned and private - and the insistence of
        the installation of the 'speed governors' in every vehicle made him an overnight hero among the general
        public and he was the toast of the media, being invited to chat shows and interviews on the FM
        channels much to the anguish of his contemporaries in the political arena and they're waiting for an
        occasion to 'clip his wings'.
  (c) He's given the Motor Vehicles Department - the much ridiculed, maligned as a corrupt and inept
       organisation - a fresh lease of life with a certain amount of self respect in themselves, after taking
       over its reins.

The general public might now heave a sigh of relief for having gotten out of this 'silly' order to their own disadvantage and will realise the seriousness when fatalities increase on account of this lapse. It baffles me just like the rule that mandates helmets for the drivers of two wheelers and does not insist on the same for the pillion riders, who're susceptible to graver injuries! Will we learn, ever?


While travelling in a flight recently, I found to my disbelief that the gentleman - from the clothes that he was wearing and his general demeanour, I'd concluded that he was knowledgeable - sitting next to me, unfastening his seat belt soon after the touchdown and the aircraft was on its long taxiing roll. I'd reminded him that it was necessary to continue to wear the seat belt till the aircraft came to a complete halt to prevent a mishap if the pilot were to jam on the brakes in case of an emergency. He took me to be a pesky co-traveller and held the belt without buckling it, to satisfy me but was mumbling something incoherent all the way to the dispersal!    

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A blueprint for Prime Minister Modi's economic policies?


Narendra Modi, during his campaign speeches, had harped on the menace of black money and the havoc that it was causing the Indian Economy and soon after coming to power, he has set up a high powered committee to go into the entire aspect of the vexed problem. He also used to say that the personal income tax could be scrapped. His idea seems to have been generated by the proposal given below. Is it, then, the blueprint for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's economic policy?
 The 'Arthakranti' Proposal

1. What is the Arthakranti Proposal and who has given the proposal?

2.The proposal has been given by a Pune (Maharashtra) based “Arthakranti Sansthan” which is an Economic Advisory body constituted by a group of Chartered Accountants and Engineers. This concept has been patented by the Sansthan. They reiterate that it is an effective and guaranteed solution to prevent  Black Money Generation, Price rise and Inflation, Corruption, Fiscal Deficit, Unemployment, Ransom and terrorism and will promote GDP and industrial growth, the necessary ingredients of good governance.

3. What is in the Proposal ? It has FIVE point of actions which are:-

    (a) Scrap all 56 taxes including income tax, excluding import duty.
    (b) Recall and scrap high denomination currencies of 1000, 500 and 100 rupees.
    (c) All high value transactions to be made only through banking system like cheques, DDs, online and electronic.
    (d) Fix limit of cash transactions and no taxing on cash transactions.
    (e) For govt revenue collection, introduce single point tax system through banking system – Banking Transaction Tax (2% to 0.7%) on only credit amount

4. The important points to note are:-

      (a) As on today the total banking transactions is more than Rs. 2.7 lakh crores per day amounting to  more than Rs. 800 lakh crores annually.
      (b) Less than 20% of the transactions is made through banking system today and more than 80% of the transactions are made in cash only, which are not traceable.
      (c) 78% of the Indian population spends less than Rs. 20/- daily so what's the need for 1000/- rupee notes or in other words, the high denomination notes?

5. What will happen if All THE FIFTY SIX Taxes, including income tax, are scrapped ?

     (a) Salaried people will bring home more money which will increase the purchasing power of the family.
     (b) All commodities including Petrol, Diesel, FMCG will become cheaper by 35% to 52% .
     (c) No question of tax evasion so no black money generation.
     (d) Business sector will get the boost and consequently, self employment.

6. What will happen if 1000/ 500/ 100 Rupees currency notes are recalled and scrapped?

     (a) Corruption, through cash transactions, will stop completely.
     (b) Black money will either be converted to white or will vanish as billions of 1000/500/100 currency notes, hidden in bags without use, will become useless pieces of paper.
     (c) Unaccounted hidden huge cash is skyrocketing the prices of properties, land, houses, jewellery etc and hard earned money is losing its value, this trend will stop immediately.
     (d) Kidnapping and ransom, “Supari killing” will stop.
     (e) Terrorism supported by cash transactions will stop.
     (f) Cannot buy high value property in cash showing very less registry prices.
     (g) Circulation of “Fake Currency” will stop because fake currency printing for less value notes will not be viable.

7. What will happen when Banking Transaction Tax (2% to 0.7%) is implemented?

     (a) As on today if BTT is implemented, the govt can fetch 800 x 2% = Rs.16 lakh crore where as the current taxing system is generating less than Rs.14 lakh crore revenue.
     (b)When 50% of the total transaction will be covered by BTT amounting to Rs.2,000 to 2,500 lakh crores, the govt will need to fix BTT to as low as 1% to 0.7% which will boost banking transactions.
     (c) No separate machinery like Income Tax department will be needed and the tax amount will be directly deposited into the State/Central/District administrations' accounts immediately.
     (d) As transaction tax amount will be very less, the public will prefer it instead of paying huge amounts against directly/indirectly paid FIFTY SIX taxes.
     (e) There will be no tax evasion and the govt will get huge revenue for development and employment generation.
     (f) For any additional revenue for special projects, the govt needs to only slightly raise BTT, say from 1% to 1.2% and this 0.2% increase will generate Rs. 4,00,000 crores additional fund.

8. The effects if implemented today :-

     (a)Prices of every commodity or goods will come down.
     (b)Salaried people will get more cash in hand.
     (c)Purchasing power of the society will increase.
     (d)Demand will boost, which will increase the product supply.


1. From what little I understand about economics and the financial processes, the proposal seems to be the panacea for our problems thus far and seems very simple to implement as everyone, in the country, seemingly has a bank account to facilitate the 'direct bank transfer' of subsidies, implemented by the previous government. Narendra Modi has shown a propensity to chalk out his own strategy for bringing about changes, the size of his cabinet and the clubbing of quite a few ministries and his emphasis on the efficient working of the bureaucracy are refreshing steps in the right direction to convert a 'scam-ridden' situation to a 'skill-in-abundance' situation!

2. And yes, the biggest sporting bonanza in the form of the Football World Cup extravaganza has commenced in Brazil. A month of ecstasy for all footballers!  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

VK Singh's latest salvo.

1. The Modi government could do well without this controversy that has erupted. VK Singh, one of its ministers, has tweeted his unhappiness over the government's clearance of Lt General DS Suhag's appointment as the next Army chief. VK Singh's reaction goes against the tenet of collective responsibility of the members of a cabinet.

2. As an impartial observer, I'd like to go into the factors that have played towards the present ugly scenario:-

    (a) VK Singh was unhappy over the succession chain of the COAS which he says was cobbled up
          by one of his predecessors, Gen JJ Singh, to get 'his men' into the spotlight. His lost battle in
          the issue of his age prevented him from getting the extra tenure as chief which he felt was rightfully
    (b) The then government had ensured that Gen Bikram Singh became the Army chief, after him, despite
          his observation that he was under a cloud on two of his tenures, the first in Jammu & Kashmir and
          the second as the head of an Indian peacekeeping mission abroad.
    (c) His transition to politics and his subsequent battle at the hustings on a BJP ticket, played up an idea -
         the perpetrator/(s) is anybody's guess - which was that if elected, he'd become the minister of defence
         and in turn, set right(?) whatever was wrong meaning, shorn of all the niceties, he'd ensure that Lt Gen
         Suhag would not be allowed to take over as the next Army chief. That the previous government should
          have let the new government to decide on the appointment of the COAS - a thought expressed by
          a wide section of the thinkers on the subject - was overlooked and the appointment was announced
          giving the impression that Suhag was being inducted through the backdoor because of his
          besmirched(?) past, strengthened the argument.
     (d) Notwithstanding VK Singh's reservations, the defence minister had categorically stated in Parliament
           that the government stood by Suhag's appointment as Army chief.
     (e) The affidavit filed during the transition period between the two governments, by the Ministry of                      Defence, under the previous Solicitor General, Mohan Parasaran, was worded in a manner that
           showed the then Army chief, Gen VK Singh in poor light for slapping a 'discipline and vigilance
           ban' on Suhag, days prior to handing over his duties. This, incidentally, seems to be the main cause
           of his unhappiness!

3. From the aforesaid, I've the following queries - in the order of chronology - to all the concerned parties:-

       (a) Why did the Manmohan Singh government take the decision to appoint the new chief, which should
             have been rightfully left to the succeeding government?
       (b) Wasn't Mohan Parasaran, the previous SG, ethically and morally bound to take clearance, from the
             new dispensation, for the affidavit being filed in the Supreme Court or was that a deliberate mischief
             egged on by his loyalty to his masters to cause heartburn to the new incumbents?
       (c) Doesn't VK Singh, now that he's a minister in the government, come under the code of collective
             responsibility to accept the decision without his personal thoughts and prejudices coming in the way?
       (d) And General Suhag, what would you like to tell your men whom you're gonna command a few
             weeks from now who might go by the age old maxim that 'there's no smoke without fire' to clear
             your own personal honour?


An ugly situation that we could have done without but does that mean that we should sweep the muck beneath the carpet? And yes, it's a case of small men with big egos!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Lekshmi and her family come calling.

I'm quite impressed with this cousin of mine. They frequently visit the temples as a family and spend quite an amount of their personal time on similar religious pursuits.

They'd come down at the temple town yesterday evening and had left by about 8, this evening, back to Pondicherry after spending almost a full day at the temple. Not wanting to bother us they'd rented an accommodation at the temple premises. Such mental stamina - I'm not even talking about the physical aspect - comes only to a few with a steadfast mind and clarity of purpose. What I'm fascinated with is the children's bend of mind on the issue - Keerthana is in class XII and Madhav, in class X.

The kudos must go to the parents for their fine upbringing.

They'd called on us this afternoon and it was nice to interact with them after what has been a long, long while when we'd gone to meet them, during a Dussehra holiday, when they're at Ahmedabad. It was a fun filled week with them but what I remember even to this day is li'l Madhav crying uncontrollably, as he bade us goodbye at the airport! He' s been a soul mate ever since!


Here's wishing that god is with them in all their endeavour!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sindhurakshak has been made to float again.

After almost ten months of the tragic explosion and the consequent sinking of the Indian navy's Kilo class submarine, Sindhurakshak she has been salvaged and made to float all over again. Though the chances of refurbishing the boat and making it operational once again are remote - the costs would be prohibitive and it would be cost effective to go for a new one instead, as I see it. I could be wrong and I'd be damn glad if I were - as a navyman, I'm glad that such an exercise was undertaken because it helps in the following:-

 (a) Establish the cause(s) of the disaster. Analyse the pitfalls so that the run up is never repeated, ever. It's
      my fervent hope that the study is made available to every navyman and not tucked away as another
      confidential document.
 (b) The mortal remains of those who're trapped inside could be retrieved giving tremendous relief to their
       families, who've been waiting patiently all this while though I would like to warn them that some of the
       sights might not be very pleasant!
 (c) The alongside berth would be available, once again, for the berthing of ships and submarines which
       would be a great relief for the naval dockyard against the existing backdrop.

       *                                            *                                            *

The activism of the radical group, Hindu Rashtra Sena, is unwanted and should be discouraged at all costs. Whoever has given them the right to do mindless acts does not know the meaning of the word, 'Hindu' and less said about the crowd, the better it would be as they seem to be an excitable bunch of people who react to the least amount of provocation.

For the nth time I'd like to reiterate from what I've been taught, what I understand and what I strongly believe to be true is that Hinduism is a way of life, that's flexible and all inclusive! Narrow minded thinking on the basis of caste and religion has no place in its philosophy!! 

All those who're guilty of the gory death of the unfortunate young man, must be brought to book at the earliest. And I sincerely hope that the politicians would refrain from scoring brownie points by their thoughtless words and deeds. Also, let it not slip into a debating point for the central and state governments, please!

       *                                            *                                             *

The tragic death of the 29 engineering students - who're on an excursion from Hyderabad - on the banks of the river Beas in Himachal Pradesh is yet an example of 'ignorance of orders owing to a lack of communication' in today's world of high end technology.

As usual, the blame game is on without anyone wanting to accept responsibility for the serious lapse. Will we ever learn?

May the near and dear ones of the ill fated students have the courage to tide over their immense grief and distressing times.


Apologies for having touched upon topics with a negative touch. But it's necessary to learn from mistakes, however sad and mindless they may be, so that they're never repeated. Ever!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The grandfather clock's ticking and other trivia......

Rains have become the order of the day, the unbearable heat has subsided and the monsoon-related issues have begun to prop up. But what the hell, it's fun to watch the rains and for me, it's become a convenient tool to blame the rains for putting off things! I could squeeze in my walk this evening despite the threatening and menacing dark clouds. And so, let me now take you through some trivia:-

 (a) The grandfather clock.

 Ever since its setting up, it has shown a propensity to lose time and gets to be approximately 25' late
 over the period pf a week. The service engineer had instructed me as to how I should reduce the length
 of the pendulum to reverse the trend and it's been a laborious toil but I seem to have hit the right note!
 Probably, all it required was an acclimatisation of sorts and I've also come to grapple the vexed issue
 of the chimes going haywire, for no rhyme or reason!

 (b) The kitten has been taken away.

 I'd talked about a canine visitor a few days back and after our recent trip to Kochi for Lekha's medical
 review, much to my angst I realised that the vociferous kitten was neither to be heard nor seen. Fearing
 the worst I'd queried a few of the people who frequent our area about its whereabouts when Kannan,
 the head of the scavenging team, told me that he'd taken it away as his pet. I can't mention the tremendous
 relief that I got on hearing that bit of news!

 (c) The kitchen garden now has a shape.

 I'd Pushpakaran, a farm labourer, employed for the forenoon to do up the nascent kitchen garden and
 boy, he has done a wonderful job prompting my neighbour to ask me as to how I'd managed to rope
 in his services as he was quite withdrawn and rarely took up work other than for the household which
 has been looking after the sustenance of his family for the last 30 years or so. I'd actually spoken to the
 89 year old patriarch a couple of days back who'd readily agreed to release the guy.

 The plants have now been pruned and provided with supports, wild and unwanted growth has been
 weeded out and the overhead branches of the neighbourhood tree that came in the way of the upward
 trajectory of the drumstick plants and the banana tree have been pruned! It's a thoroughly professional

 I've told him that I've handed over the care of the kitchen garden to him and that he should do the needful
 as and when required! To which he lowered his head, smiled and had, then, nodded!!


The Asha Parekh episode on the 'Total Recall' and the 'Gaata rahe mera dil' from the movie, Guide on the
'Raag Rang' programme really made my day!


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Biju's excited call.

Biju was with me on my ship, quite a while back. He was the civilian bearer who saw to it that the uniforms were well tended and the shoes well polished. Further, he used to run essential errands when the ship was in harbour. He hailed from a place quite close to my ancestral house near Kottarakkara. After handing over command, my personal effects were being brought out to be loaded on to the vehicle that would take me to the railway station from where I was proceeding to my new duty station, when I noticed a couple of bags that were not mine among the several pieces that, by now, I was familiar with.

On query, I was told that they're Biju's who'd decided to leave the ship and tag along with me. I was flummoxed momentarily, because he was gonna be my responsibility as I wasn't entitled to a personal staff at that early stage in my career. My apprehensions notwithstanding and seeing the youngster's enthusiasm, I let him come along and soon after, had sponsored him as a candidate for entry into the IN. Rest, as they say, is history because he'd passed the examination with flying colours and is now a Chief Petty Officer in the Indian Navy, currently posted at Kochi.

He used to religiously visit my parents every time he came down on leave and it was on one such occasion that he'd insisted on my mom to initiate his elder daughter into the world of learning. And ever since, she was accepted as a goddaughter by mom, who used to take a keen interest in her academic performance.

This evening, a very excited Biju had called us to inform us about his daughter's stellar performance in the class X Board exam, where she'd scored an overall percentage of 86% and he'd attributed it to my mom's initiation of his daughter into the world of letters!

My mom was exhilarated, to say the least!


I could squeeze in my evening walk just before the arrival of Praveen and his family, who was coming to spend a day with us. His daughter, Shania who's now into the upper kindergarten, took to us as though she'd known us for many, many years! And we're seeing her for the first time........a cosmic connection, perhaps?     

Friday, June 6, 2014

Watching the rain.

Rains have begun in right earnest but the South West monsoon requires to catch up a lot on volume and fury. Due to extremely low levels of water in the catchment areas of almost all the hydel power projects in the state, coupled with the breakdowns and ongoing repairs/maintenance of the associated generators, the state electricity board has clamped a 45' load shedding and the result is that in our area, we're at the mercy of the inverters from 2100h to 2145h - not to mention that I miss out on Arnab Goswami's Newshour, in the process!

Since the rains are yet to gather the characteristic momentum, the oppressive humidity continues to bother and venturing out of the house without an umbrella would be at one's own peril. I shudder to miss out on my morning and evening walks as walking with an umbrella cramps both the style and the speed, with the constant fear of dirty water being splashed on to one's person by speeding vehicles that pass by. So exercises on the walker have become the theme.

The view of the rains, from my balcony, is pretty nice and against the backdrop of the expansive greenery in front, stirs finer feelings from deep within. Another accessory that I am fond of is the rocking chair. With a favourite book in hand, gently rocking to and fro and hearing the rains fall all around me gives an unexplainable calm - a 'bliss of solitude!'


Shakthi and Indu left after breakfast on their onward journey. Soon after, Praveen - an old shipmate - had called up to inform that he'd like to spend the Saturday with us. He's being accompanied by his wife and daughter! Yes, it's raining guests!!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The day just whizzed past!

It was a normal day like any other with the hint of a rain all through and the resultant humidity sapped one's energy. I'd ventured out in the morning for bank work and for stocking up mom's medicines for the month. We're expecting guests - my neighbour refers to them as 'bouncers' in his slang - during the latter part of the day and therefore, a few knick-knacks had to be bought from the grocer's.

It's Lekha's birthday by the Malayalam calendar and she'd gone on an early morning appointment with the good Lord - her first independent outing after our coming here, overcoming the aches and the pains - chauffeured by the efficient Anto, who's become part of the household with his winsome manners!

Our guests - the newlyweds of the family, Sakthi and Indu - fetched up a trifle before sunset and had opted to go to the temple soon after. Just like any other new couple, they seemed to have no sense of time and went about their chores at their own pace. We let them be on their own, carefully avoiding to stray into their precious moments of togetherness but had to draw them to conversation, before dinner time, to get to know more about the young lady who's joined the family!

And finally, it rained, easing out the oppressive temperatures. I'd also received a mail from Minhaj, the son of my good friend, Captain Khan, albeit after my pungent barb for him not having replied to my earlier mail. The poor guy was actually battling it out with his personal problems what with his dad in the ICU of a Delhi hospital thanks to a problematic lung condition and his wife suddenly taking ill with an abnormally low platelet count in her blood - hope she isn't another case of SLE and have asked him to have that ruled out by the attending doctor since the illness is very difficult to diagnose! The young man and the entire family are now in Singapore and things seem to be in hand, at least for now!

And to use my neighbour's slang - in jest though - another 'bouncer' would be fetching up for lunch tomorrow in the form of my mom's younger brother. He'd called up to announce his programme late in the evening.


Yes, indeed, the day'd just whizzed past!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The psychology behind traffic accidents.

A union minister lost his life in a tragic road accident in Delhi. Statistics say that most of the accidents occur in the wee hours of the morning or during evening rush hours. Why do these take place despite repeated warnings and road safety regulations that have been put in place by the concerned authorities?

It's a state of mind of the people behind the wheel. Let's take the first case of accidents that take place during the wee hours of the morning. Drivers, tired after long hours of overnight driving, make a beeline for suitable resting places and in the bargain, go into bursts of prohibitive speeds to hit their destinations and in the process come in the way of the other motorists trying to reach the airport or the railway station or the bus station to catch their onward connections. They're aided by the following situations:-

       (a) Comparatively empty roads that goad them to clip at speeds that they'd have otherwise hesitated
             to achieve.
       (b) Near absence of traffic policemen on the beat at those early hours.
       (c) The blinking lights on traffic intersections give them the feeling of uninterrupted passage.

And what about the situation during the evening rush hours? The motorists are generally trying to make it to their homes or to meet a deadline for a social event or even, as silly a thing like reaching a cinema where tickets are hard to get by virtue of the popularity of the film that's running.

The sad part about the roads in our country is that even important roads do not have the centre median that would ensure separation of incoming/ongoing traffic. Enthusiastic motorists, ever on the lookout to squeeze space for overtaking other vehicles, get right many a time cutting the road's central line! And lastly, there are many motorists who neither have the civic sense nor the patience to worry about the plight of the fellow motorists and drive with a gay abandon, completely oblivious of the discomfiture that they're causing.

Cases of road rage are a result of misplaced sense of right and wrong and I do not have to speak about fatal and extreme reactions that have been oft reported!


It would be nice if all the motorists bore in their minds the fundamental aspects of being a good driver which are:-

     (a) Respect fellow motorists and avoid doing things that cause discomfort to them. The thumb rule is
          that everyone must avoid actions that would upset them.
     (b) Drive at comfortable speeds depending on the traffic density and more importantly, when the driver
          is fully sure that his/her vehicle would stop at that instant when the brakes are applied.
     (c) Never try to meet a hopeless deadline. The requirement is to start well ahead of time keeping in
          mind unforeseen circumstances that might pop up! 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hunger pangs made me erratic!

We'd kicked off from my chittamma's place soon after breakfast. Actually, we'd upset her schedule with the doctor because of our delayed departure. There were two minor jobs to be done and they could be accomplished only by 10 o'clock when the offices opened! She'd then got her appointment rejigged to the revised time slot.

By about a half past 10, we're on the highway clipping back to Guruvayur and my aim was to reach around lunchtime. The traffic was manageable and I was sure that the milestone could be achieved and therefore, decided to forego the tea break after getting the go ahead from mom and Lekha.

We reached the temple town by 1 and tried to squeeze in a few minor work like paying up the cable operator, buying grocery from the department store and some fruits from the regular vendor. And it was while stopping at the shop that a major tragedy could have taken place because of a thoughtless act on my part.

I'd brought my Chevy to a comfortable stop, out of the road and on to the muddy sidewalk beside the shop and had opened the door to get out. Actually, I'd seen a two wheeler coming from behind on the rear view mirror but had surmised that there was ample space for the riders to pass by. But that was not to be as the driver was talking to the pillion rider and was momentarily out of focus from his primary job of driving. In the process, he'd narrowly missed his pillion rider from being hit by my car door and in rage, he stopped his vehicle and started abusing me.

It was then that I apologised to them by way of my hand movements and walked towards them, eliciting puzzled looks on their faces and they'd scooted away, wonder why? Did the driver realise that he too had contributed to the close call? Perhaps, he did after all........ Or did I look menacingly aggressive? I don't think so, because I was in no mood to be that!


I should have taken that tea break as my mind had beckoned. A hungry stomach had made me erratic and a disaster was averted thankfully by the stars, of course!    

Monday, June 2, 2014

And finally, the review!

The day had begun just like any other. The morning walk followed by the tending of the garden, a quick breakfast and by a quarter past 10, we'd set off for Kochi to keep the date with Lekha's doctor at the AIMS. The drive was without glitches and we're in the city by lunch time. After leaving mom at my aunt's place, we'd reached the hospital by a quarter to 3 and had got Lekha's name added to the long list of people waiting to meet up with him.

As I'd said earlier in this forum, I'm impressed with the doctor's dedication towards his work and his loyalty to the patients. Actually the relationship is mutual and the patients go back happy, smug at the thought that the doctor will see to it that they do not come into harm's way!

This meeting with the doctor was after a lapse of six months as we'd bucked the two earlier appointments - the first because the doctor wasn't keeping well and the second was because Lekha was in hospital for the Oxygen therapy. He's now asked her to meet him after 45 days after correcting the dosages of the prescribed medicines!

And after that it was a nice, boisterous dinner at my chittamma's place. The kids, Vivek and Lekshmi, are adorable and seemed to be thrilled at having us with them.


I was reminded of my evening trysts with their grandfather, my Narendran kochachan, who'd left us quite young. His portrait kept at a vantage spot of the house seemed to come to life, at least to me. I'm sure he's around watching as his son and my cousin, Sajeev braves many a storm in his life! And I'm sure that he'll come out with flying colours!! 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A refugee of sorts.

Over the last couple of days, the house has been awash with the wails of a kitten. With a pure white coat, it looks cute but we'd deliberately kept our affections away as we did not want another pet to fetter the freedom of our movements. The surmise of ignoring it was that it would look for shelter elsewhere in the neighbourhood.

But it was not to be. The little one definitely has perseverance and today, the animal lover deep within me decided to wake up. Accordingly, food and milk were placed in front of the hapless animal. I must admit that it did run away while I was placing the makeshift tray, laden with food. Hope it has the food and becomes our loyal ally in tackling the problem of the mice that occasionally fetch up from the green wilderness around.

The modest kitchen garden that we've been able to get up has a variety of trees at the nurturing stages. The stock include a couple of mango trees, three stalks of drumstick, a banana tree, a tamarind tree and vegetable plants like the brinjal, lady's finger, green chilly and finally, two heads of pineapple. Over and above all these, there are a couple of pumpkin creepers that seem to be dominating the small space by its vigorous spread, all over.

Watering the garden forms one of my essential morning activities after my return from the walk - something akin to Don Corleone's style(?) in the Godfather! He dies of a massive heart attack tending his garden, to jog your memories!

The kitten has been moving around the garden and generally, rests in a cardboard box containing a few of the used spares of the Chevy, kept at the porch. Hope it gains sufficient health, goes for greener pastures but keeps our surroundings under its surveillance in the days to come.


Do I've a connect with the little one from its previous birth? I haven't been able to comprehend the change in my attitude towards it that seems to have come about all of a sudden!