Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Meeting people.

We'd interactions planned with the people of four panchayats of Alappuzha district, basically to outline the steps to be adhered by them towards achieving cent percent e-literacy.

The datum to achieve cent percent literacy, laid down by PN Panicker years ago, was that every individual should be able to write his/her name along with the signature. Likewise, the datum set for acquiring cent percent e-literacy is that every individual should be able to send and receive an e-mail! The steps to be undertaken to achieve this aim were to be outlined to every panchayat of the state and hence our visit to the district.

The interactions at the Haripad, Karuvatta, Ambalapuzha(North) and the Punnapra(North) panchayats were spread through the day and boy, it's an experience of a lifetime! The following factors were visible all through:-

     (a) A sustained enthusiasm to assimilate technology.
     (b) The resoluteness in wanting to achieve the target within a shorter time duration.
     (c) The overwhelming enthusiasm of the women participants.
     (d) The touching show of affection showered upon my maman and me, just because we're related
           to the legendary PN Panicker. In fact, the folks at Ambalapuzha displayed their proprietorial
           affinity towards us because it happens to be Mrs. PN Panicker's birthplace!

The people's expectations are scary!

After the interactions got over, a trifle before sunset, we'd settled down for the night at the government guest house. A light meal at the Indian Coffee House and we're off to see a Malayalam movie but it was on reaching the cinema that we came to know that the one that we'd wanted to see had already been withdrawn. And hence, we did make a hasty retreat back to the confines of our room and call it an early night!


Just goes to show that everything need not go the way one desires!

Monday, September 29, 2014

A kaleidoscopic day.

The day had begun at 4, as I'd to catch the 6 AM train. Anto had ensured that I was at the railway station on the dot. The train was running on time till three stations before my destination and then got delayed by over an hour and for once, I was happy it was so as I'd lesser time to while away because my assignment for the Foundation was around 1530 h at the Collector's office.

On reaching the destination, the idea about spending my spare time had crystallised. I'd decided to call on an uncle and two aunts, whom I'd not seen for a very long time. Clutching a meagre fruit basket, I'd landed at the huge house around lunch time at the insistence of my senior aunt. My uncle, whose kidneys are weak, has got used to the pouch to remove his urine periodically. And what I felt nice was that at 80, he's peppy about life despite his physical discomfort.

My senior aunt, all of 78 years, was looking forward to the cataract operation on her left eye, a fortnight from now. With her positive outlook towards life, she's braved many a storm like breaking off with her Maharashtrian husband, barely a year into marriage as he was a compulsive wife beater! I remember my grandfather grieving over the issue as he'd given the go ahead for the marriage, as the patriarch. Her only son is the apple of her eye but she's worried because of his precarious medical condition!

The second aunt is, sadly, inflicted with the Parkinson's Syndrome but ambles along. Today, according to her two daughters, she'd been eagerly awaiting my arrival from the time she'd heard about my plans. I was humbled seeing her excitement and was left with a lump in my throat for having done so little for the three of them! All of them have expressed their desire to meet my mom and I've promised them that I'd get her at Neelamperoor during the third week of October on the auspicious beginning of  the Malayalam month of 'Vrushchikam'.

And on the way to the collectorate, my cousin had taken me to Vijayalaksmi chechi who's bed ridden thanks to a paralytic attack. There's a tremendous improvement in her condition and I saw her eyes swell with tears when I kissed her forehead and told her that she looked beautiful. Hope she's able to take care of herself, pretty soon!

The meeting went off like clock work with my maman giving the process of implementation of the programme that would make the district cent percent 'e-literate'. And soon after, we're at Haripad for spending the night.

Tomorrow is gonna be a whirlwind visit to four panchayats, to review the milestones achieved and avoid mid-course correction, where necessary!


I'll keep that date with Neelamperoor next month so that my mom and her cousins can interact!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

And now Modi, the rockstar!

What a performance it has been by the Indian Prime Minister! The US and seemingly, the whole lot of the Indian Americans are celebrating the visit of an Indian Prime Minister!!

His performance at the Madison Square Garden - a place one usually associated with the likes of Bruce Springstein, Barbara Streisand and others - has been nothing short of spectacular with the maximum visual impact! The most important aspect is that he's spoken from his heart to connect with the masses.

Even in his speech at the General Assembly, while putting the record straight with regard to Pakistan, he'd gone ahead and touched upon all the important aspects that matter in today's world like terrorism, the health hazard brought about by the deadly Ebola virus and the long awaited UN Security Council's overhaul. It was as though, the Indian leader while being aware of his country's strengths and weaknesses, was pitching for the global good on the world arena - the attitude of a true statesman!

My take.

Some of the points that I'm gonna list out are worth thinking about at this juncture, which are:-

    (a) The country, where he's raising a storm, had denied a visa for him for over a decade. He could
          have sulked and refused the invitation.

    (b) So, the argument that it's his nationalism and the genuine interest to do things in his country's
          interest has brought him there seems to be valid.

    (c)  How did his detractors back home manage to pin him down all these years? Did it have
           overseas' patronage as has been always doubted in various quarters?

    (d) For the US, it's business that matters and it makes great sense for that country that here comes
          an Indian leader who says that his country is ready for its investors!


(a) We're privileged to be present at a moment of time when momentous things are gonna happen.
(b) His performance at the Central Park, earlier, before an audience of over 60,000 people was again a smash hit!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A wet, busy and a happening Saturday!

Rajeev and Anamika, ten days into their married life, had come calling. Their aim was to visit the Guruvayur temple as many times as possible and in the process, tick off their first social call. A couple with the finest of values, friendly and outgoing nature, who, through their interaction have gotten close to us. My mom was the most active among us in ensuring that the young couple, never even once, felt out of place in the house.

The heavens decided to open in the evening and heavy rains had lashed out, complete with lightning and thunder. It was a sing song session in the evening and one did not realise as to how quickly time had passed. All in all, it was a pleasant day!

             *                                              *                                                      *

At long last, nemesis seems to have caught up with Jayalalitha as she was handed out a four-year jail term along with a fine of Rs.100 crores for being found guilty in the disproportionate assets case, during her first tenure as the chief minister in 1991-'96. Consequently, her party men had gone on a rampage all over Tamilnadu, disrupting normal life.

To add to her woes, the Karnataka High Court is on vacation till 06 Oct on account of Dussehra, which has to grant her bail if she were to apply for one. And sure enough, she's followed many of her political predecessors, in complaining of giddiness soon after, that necessitated her shift into the jail's hospital!

It's a tribute to the country's judiciary that it brings the high and the mighty to book when found guilty, despite the inordinate time delays(This particular case had taken 18 tortuous years) that are usually brought about by the shenanigans of the guilty!

             *                                               *                                                     *

With the Indian media being active in the US, on the sidelines of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly, I wonder as to what impact has it had to shape the public opinion out there in connection with Prime Minister Modi's visit. The Indian and Pakistani lobbies have been working overtime to strike the right chord in which the former, definitely, seems to have quite an edge!

The PM seems to have hit the right note which is an achievement for him in a country, that had denied him a visa all these years on account of the riots that had taken place in Gujarat in 2002, under his watch!


I'd visited the chemist this evening after the last episode that I'd talked of. The promptness, coupled with a smile, was heartening!

Friday, September 26, 2014

The cost of happiness........it's damn cheap!

My uncle, Kurup kochachan, has been staying with his eldest son ever since the death of my aunt in Oct '11. He used to shift into his daughter's house at Kayamkulam and to his younger son's house at Kochi from time to time but always felt short of the elusive happiness, that he was in search of. Last week, he'd returned to his house at Paravoor with a male nurse to look after him.

I'd called him up a couple of days back to find out as to how he was doing and as to whether the new arrangement suited him. Firstly, the change was palpable as there was a bubbling enthusiasm in his conversation. He went on about the regular walks that he'd embarked upon, the extra energy that comes from within, just because of the fact that he's around familiar surroundings and ended with the final statement and I quote, "Your aunt is around and is taking care of me. I can feel her".

One might laugh it off as an old man's imagination but I'd not like to downplay the feelings. He's actually enjoying every moment of his and I only wish that the arrangement was arrived at, much earlier! His children would be visiting him, in turns, once every week.

Happiness at such low costs! Great!! And I've initiated a plan for the conglomeration of the entire PN Panicker's clan sometime around mid-October at Paravoor to commemorate the occasion. Perhaps, celebrate Diwali there?

           *                                         *                                             *

There's a problem in communication. And because of it I've made the rounds of the local 'Akshaya Center' - the online hub for all major activities like applying/renewal of passport, driving licence, voters' ID card etc, the list is endless - twice and that too without achieving what I'd wanted! My requirement was to migrate our names into the local voters' list as our voters' identity cards are Kochi-rooted, based on our last residential address.

The girls manning the center don't seem to be getting the gist. They look harried though I'd found on both the occasions that the crowd was manageable. Perhaps, they're used to harsh and persistent queries from impatient customers and a soft spoken approach is dealt with, in a lax manner. Is it a case of decency being mistaken for weakness, which is a typical 'Malayalee' failing?

Lekha has agreed to take on the task next time. Phew!!


There's gonna be a flurry of guests for the weekend before I'm off for the Foundation's activities, next week. Never a dull moment, huh!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Is the ISIS dwindling?

The alliance of the US, the Saudi Arabia and the UAE had pounded the ISIS strongholds on either side of the border of Syria and Iraq, through numerous air sorties. It's commendable that countries like Jordan have also joined the alliance to fight the curse, that the outfit is all about, despite the enormous danger of backfire from the terrorists upon their countries!

France has since joined in after their tourist was beheaded despite pleas to free him. England is poised to join the coalition in due course.

The inhuman attitude of the terrorist outfit came once again to the fore, when it publicly executed the Iraqi woman lawyer, Samira Salih al-Nuaimi for her Facebook posts that were critical of its destruction of religious sites in Mosul. She was taken away from her home on 17 Sep, tortured relentlessly for five days and executed!

What sort of beasts are they? Stories abound as to how they seize young girls and subject them to the worst forms of sexual assault. Don't these guys have their mothers and sisters and haven't they been groomed to respect women? How've they grown up to be the monsters that they are?

My take.

Will aerial assaults, by themselves, be enough to finish of this deadly band of guys? They'll have no compunction to use the poor, unsuspecting civilians as shields from being identified and targeted and later on use the very same pictures to show as to how innocents had been killed by the allied strikes, to score brownie points with the rest of the world.

Eventually, 'boots will have to be deployed on the ground' - a euphemism for the army columns - to mop up the last of the deadly 'virus' and consolidate the success of the airstrikes. But will the governments, including that of the US, risk it because of its attendant military casualties? And mind you, Obama had come to power on his relentless anti-war criticism against George Bush's deployment of the American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan with a promise of pullback of all forces from foreign soil!


There is no half baked solution to tackle terrorism that has become rampant in almost every part of the globe. It has to be done collectively to pool the resources for concentrated application relentlessly at the targets to maximise the destruction of evil! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A proud Indian!

As India's 'Mars Orbiter Mission' successfully reached its climax this morning, I was one among the crores of proud Indians who stood up and savoured the special moment. The country's satellite has been positioned in an elliptical orbit(perigee 420 km and apogee 80,000 km)  around the red planet and that's gonna beam vital information to our scientists which would go a long way in unraveling its mysteries.

I'm not going into the technical details because the media has been focusing on them making the details of the entire mission known to everyone and therefore, shall speak as a layman. Two factors make this success very special for the scientists of the Indian space establishment which are:-

     (a) It's been achieved at a comparatively low cost of around Rs.450 crores.
     (b) It's been achieved at first shot unlike all the other space agencies that had to bear with initial
           failures and glitches. Though the European Space Agency had got it right the first time, it
           must be understood that it's a conglomeration of several countries.

It was the culmination of a ten month long journey by the spacecraft and is a great step towards the future of interplanetary travel. In this exclusive club, India has joined up with the US, Russia and Europe as the sole representative of Asia! The following scientific activities will be performed by the satellite while going around the red planet:-

     (a) Measure the relative abundance of Deuterium and Hydrogen in its upper atmosphere to
          understand the previous presence of water on the planet.

     (b) A Methane sensor will look for the sources of the gas.

     (c) While the colour camera clicks away, a thermal infrared spectrometer will study heat                            emissions, minerals and soil.

Truly a red letter day in the calendar of every Indian! My salutes to the ISRO scientists!!


I'd called up to congratulate my friends - a scientist couple closely associated with the project - soon after hearing the great news. They're on cloud nine and profuse in their expression of thanks!  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The game that China's playing!


(a) Xi Jinping, the President of China, accompanied by his wife, arrives in India on a three day visit.
(b) A border incursion and a tamasha of sorts is played out on the Line of Actual Control at Chumar,
      eastern Ladakh by the PLA and a handful of civilians by refusing to allow the ongoing road                 building activities on the Indian side of the LAC. The fact was that it started on 10 Sep, days
      before the visit and continued during his visit, prompting him to say that he'd given the necessary
      instructions. But the mockery continues to this day, nonstop.
(c) Xi Jinping returns to his country and in an address to his armed forces exhorts them to be fully
      equipped to win 'regional wars' in his capacity as the chairman of the 'central military
(d) China calls for a flag meeting of the military personnel from both sides to solve the Chumar


(a) China has shown duplicity, coupled with a sinister design all through, in her dealings with India.
(b) During the fifties and the sixties, India's Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was straddling
      the world's stage like a colossus with his advocacy of not being aligned to either the US or the
      USSR - the then two superpowers - and the policy of 'Panchsheel' - shorn of all the niceties, it
      harped on peaceful coexistence - with China.
(c) Nehru, along with, Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt and Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia were calling
     the shots on the shenanigans of the two superpowers in the name of the 'cold war'.
(d) Nehru, also, made a strong pitch for China to be a permanent member in the UN Security Council
      hoping that such diplomatic niceties would bring that country closer to his!

The sinister game that China played.

(a) For Mao Tse Tung and China, Nehru having become a statesman, respected all over the world
     was bad news. His wings had to be clipped.
(b) China has always wanted to be the sole leader among the Asian nations. She never wants India to
      share that space on equal terms.
(c) The Chinese forces gave a crushing blow to the Indian armed forces during the Sino-Indian                 conflict of 1962, which shattered Nehru's confidence completely.

The error that India had committed.

Buoyed by his success on the international diplomatic arena, Prime Minister Nehru even went to the extent of wanting to reduce the strength of his armed forces. An egotist defence minister, in the form of VK Krishna Menon and the subserviant senior officers of the armed forces - how can they ever be pardoned for pushing their men into the harshest of fighting conditions of the Himalayas without proper logistics viz. clothing, arms and ammunition and clear cut directives - made matters worse despite the heroics, on the battlefield, in the face of the most daunting of challenges!

History being repeated?

(a) China wants to know as to how the present Indian leadership would react and hence, the eyeball to eyeball confrontation at Chumar for starters. It cannot afford to lose that psychological war and will therefore, try all the tricks available to give herself an upper hand!

(b) She seems to be having problems with almost all of her neighbours - Japan, Vietnam and India along with her traditional adversary, Taiwan. Opening too many fronts can be to her disadvantage or does she harbour the notion that her huge military assets can take on everyone at one go?

(c) The latest input is that she's cross with India over her recent overtures to Japan.

My take.

India should stand firm and continue with the task of connecting the border areas near the LAC, with the necessary infrastructure that her armed forces had always been asking for.


China needs to be tackled with diplomatic finesse without lowering our guard, ever! And give her a 'bloody' nose if she were to embark on a misadventure of a regional war with us!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Who's the real culprit?

This is about an incident that happened south of Thiruvananthapuram which ended in the loss of a life last Sunday.

The incident.

The police had initiated an intense checking of vehicles, along with their papers, last Sunday, on the highway at Kanjirakulam, south of Thiruvananthapuram. An autorickshaw that had happened to pass by tried to speed past, without stopping, enraging the Sub Inspector on the spot who managed to clamber on to the erring vehicle. Consequently, the rick had lost control and rammed headlong into a motor bike coming its way and the autorickshaw driver had taken the impact, dying instantly. May god bless his soul!

The aftermath.

The resulting situation was totally beyond the control of the police which had to even resort to lathi charge and tear gas application because of the following:-

      (a) the local population had enforced a blockade of the road.
      (b) a few of the state's road transport corporation buses that were passing through were stopped
            and vandalised.
      (c) the blockade had the backing of the entire spectrum of the political parties.
      (d) the sub inspector and the rider of the bike that had collided were injured requiring medical

A quick fix solution.

The Sub Inspector was suspended because of public pressure!

My take.

In this case, who's the real culprit? I think, the policeman was simply carrying out his duty in trying to stop the autorickshaw, whose driver was obviously running away from the scene for whatever reasons he might have had and it was unfortunate that he'd lost his life in the bargain.

It's said that one mustn't speak ill of the dead but, in this case, the deceased gentleman was in the wrong and this fact should have been highlighted to defuse the situation and prevent it from flaring up. None of the unnecessary events that had kicked in during the aftermath can be justified either. Who pays for the damaged buses of an organisation that's struggling to survive?

And the prompt suspension of the police Sub Inspector has ramifications - the entire force would be utterly demoralised.


The words of the man who does his duty sincerely must be taken heed of always and every time.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Weird, yet amusing news!

Over the past few days, one has been privy to a lot of news snatches that has amusing connotations. My endeavour is to mull over a few of those that had tickled my funny bone and here I go:-

   (a) The Air India treats all of us as equals. 

    The Union Minister of State for Finance, Nirmala Sitharaman, was on an Air India flight to attend
    the G-20 conference in Cairns. She'd to skip an event because her luggage had got misplaced! At
    least, the national carrier shows equality in taking care of its passengers' requirements!!

    I'd say two cheers to Air India for that gaffe. One can imagine the rough times that it gives to
    ordinary passengers. I've been told of selective treatment to the passengers on the Air India
    Express that operate on the routes to the gulf countries where the majority are workers earning
    their livelihood on construction sites, nursing service and the not so 'hi-fi' jobs that lack

    The treatment meted out to them, be it in the airlines' front offices or be it in the flight, leaves
    much to be desired. A dispassionate observer might get the impression that all those
    passengers are travelling for free from the way the airlines' staff behave!

    (b) Vladimir Putin, the dictator?

    The Russian President Vladimir Putin is gonna decide tomorrow as to whether Russia needs to
    be disconnected from cyberspace. It's the last forum for free expression in the country during
    emergency situations such as military hostilities or major protests.

    Since the mainstream media is firmly under Kremlin's control, it's the social media and internet
    news sites that have offered space for its citizens' to come out strongly against Russia's Ukraine
    policy. Putin seems to be taking a leaf out of his Chinese counterpart's view on such matters
    but what he seems to forget is that the authorities will face technical difficulties because unlike
    China, Russia is firmly integrated into the global web.

    Such a contemplation by Putin, however, makes one thing clear that he, himself knows that what
    he's doing in Ukraine is wrong! But say he gets to gag the cyberspace, how long does he expect
    to hold it like that? Not very long, for sure and the ultimate loser will be his own self!

    (c) The deadlock continues.

    The eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation between PLA soldiers and a bunch of civilians and the Indian
    Army-civilians in the Chumar sector of eastern ladakh continues despite the Chinese President's
    insistence that he'd passed orders to his army to extricate itself from the stand off on 18 Sep.

    Now, do we take it that the PLA has been openly defiant of its President? Whom are you trying to
    kid, Xi Jinping?


Can't help but laugh at such weird happenings. We've a service provider that doesn't have 'efficiency' in its operational menu, there's a world leader who seems to have not learnt from history and another leader who's pretending that he's weak!  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The return from Kochi.

After a timely breakfast, we'd kicked off for essential work by 10. An hour later we're on the highway, headed for Palakkad. The journey was nice but for a tragic accident on the opposite lane - a white sedan had its windshield badly caved in due to the impact of the pillion rider of a two wheeler. By the time our Chevy was crossing the accident site, assistance was on with an ambulance in attendance and therefore, I didn't have to stop because of my firm belief that such tragic situations do not require spectators.

They can cause distraction to the relief operations and will be an impediment for the smooth flow of traffic through the consequential restricted space available! I only hope that the victims aren't gravely injured and pray for their speedy recovery.

       *                                             *                                          *

Meanwhile, the traffic through State Highway1 was seriously hampered that resulted in a massive block because a concrete slab of the bridge over the Kaladi river had fallen off. Luckily, there was no mishap but I can imagine the plight of the passengers who're stranded on the road, especially those who're headed for the airport to board their flights!

Consequently, for us on the National Highway 47, we'd lesser traffic to reckon with from Angamali onwards as the affected state highway, that connected up there, was quiet because of the closure of traffic on the faulty bridge.

        *                                            *                                           *

The work on the NH 47 is proceeding at a snail's pace and at many places, the road was either broken or had potholes that prevented a smooth drive. Dust was whipped up by the winds that gusted occasionally and by the 'tipper lorries' that ran crazy speeds! 

We're at my sister's place by teatime and wasn't mom thrilled to see us back?!


When will we've smooth, wide highways that would make travel a pleasure? Towards that end, the Ernakulam - Coimbatore stretch via Palakkad, once completed - within a year I reckon - will be a major boost!

Friday, September 19, 2014

A confusing diplomatic offensive!

Xi Jinping, the President of China was in this country which was his maiden visit and the third by a Chinese president.

As he was visiting, his troops and about thirty odd civilians were active on the Line of Actual Control(LAC) disrupting the work on the Indian side of the border where new roads were being laid to give a fillip to the infrastructure, so badly needed for the logistics of our troops, coupled with other necessary support and back up systems. It doesn't require rocket science or strategic wisdom for a layman to deduce that these incursions were deliberate, preplanned and timed.

Considering the fact that Xi Jinping is the General Secretary of the Communist party and also the head of the armed forces, isn't it a joke that the incursions were permitted to be carried out? It's basic decency that one puts aside one's differences, however, enormous they are when one comes calling and that too, for the first time! It was lacking in taste, a diplomatic treachery and above all, a clear indication that the Chinese weren't expecting anything to come out of this meeting. And if that be the case, why did he come here in the first place?

Bombay and Shanghai to be twin cities, Ahmedabad and Guangzhou another pair of twin cities, setting up of a few technology parks, assistance in capacity enhancement of the railways and similar insignificant steps - despite the fact that both are developing nations and both have large populations - were bandied about instead of outlining political and economic directions that the two giants would provide the rest of Asia over the coming decades. Perhaps, China thinks that she's the sole leader of that space and definitely, would not like India to be anywhere near her on the leadership issue.

China, dreads a strong and resurgent India as she's fully aware of the fact that this country has the wherewithal to take her on but continues to fumble with no specific aim - a situation that she's very comfortable about.

Points to ponder.

Apologists for China - and there are plenty of them. I was petrified to hear a news scribe say that the border incursions were without the knowledge of the President! Atrocious and unacceptable for the reasons cited above - would say that we shouldn't have sent our President to Vietnam which has angered the dragon. Then, why did he come here after Burma and Sri Lanka?

The Chinese have always given us reasons to be suspicious about their dealings with us. Economic co-operation is impossible without the foundation of a friendly relationship with a healthy respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

So, how about the following, Mr Xi Jinping:-

     (a) Stop the shenanigans of the PLA Army on the border, forthwith.
     (b) Stop the stapled visa bullshit for people visiting your country, from Arunachal Pradesh.
     (c) Stop your massive hydroelectric project on the Brahmaputra.

If you were to do that we'll consider you , a gentleman with an exemplary sense of honour and we shall receive you with open arms, notwithstanding your warts and the moles!


1. And isn't it strange that our communist brethren have not spoken a word against the incursions on the Sino-Indian border. Their silence has been deafening! 

2. It's my fond hope that Prime Minister Modi will outline positive steps to take the relations between the two countries from the nadir of the present times!!   

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A smooth drive.

It's time for Lekha's medical review at the AIMS, Kochi. The latest parameters of her blood and the effects of physiotherapy, over ten days, have been tabulated for her doctor's perusal. Armed with these, we'd set off from our house to my sister's place at Palakkad - a distance of almost a hundred km - soon after lunch.

The weather was bright and sunny and the traffic was not that heavy, despite it being a working day, wonder why? Driving through was sheer pleasure and we'd stopped at a wayside tea stall for a timely, hot cup of tea. These guys make it damn well and it's sheer pleasure to watch the tea maker make the 'one yarder'!

Mom seemed to be enjoying the drive, in between her naps, relishing the hot cup of tea and brightened up the vendor by her remark that she hadn't drunk such a good beverage for a long, long while. The schools had closed for the day and almost all the bus stops enroute were crowded with children, eagerly waiting to get back home and the private buses plying them were packing them into their innards like sardines.

And all too soon we'd reached the town where the main highway from Coimbatore was being augmented with a massive flyover belching dirt and muck all over. Work seems to be on a feverish pitch but one needs to keep one's fingers crossed regarding the estimated date of completion!

My sister had fetched up from her school by the time we'd reached their parking space. It's always nice to be back here as this place has its own charm. The catching up did take up the whole of the evening and into the night.

It's gonna be an early morning drive tomorrow to Kochi to keep up the appointment with Lekha's doctor.


Caught up with the day's news as I was keen to know of the outcome of the Scotland referendum! And it's nice to know that our Prime Minister did some tough talking with the Chinese President about the incursions on the LAC. Hope the results are palpable on the ground!     

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

First come, first serve.

Lekha had gone this morning to the chemist next door and the guys at the counter there, Oommer and Gopakumar, were profusely apologetic for not having been able to attend to 'sir' last evening because of a heavy rush of customers. She was taken aback as she had gone to the shop for the first time. They'd deduced our relationship from the medicines that she'd ordered and hence, the reaction!

Last evening, on the return leg of my customary walk, I'd gone into the store to pick up a few medicines and at that time there were two customers with their long list of medicines that were being attended to, keeping both the guys at the counter, occupied. I'd joined the queue and rightfully, it should have been my turn soon after. But, in came a couple of men who'd literally barged in, called out for their medicines and to my surprise, their requirements were handed over without delay. And following them, came a huge man who squeezed himself into the front, obliterating me from the salesmen's view in the bargain, perhaps.

I must have waited for almost ten minutes and fearing that any more waiting would upset my exercise cycle, decided to drop the idea of making the purchases then and headed for home. There were occasions - in the course of the moments that I'd waited - when the salesmen avoided their gaze towards me, a phenomenon that many resort to when they realise that they're in the wrong or when they know that they're doing something that's not justifiable!

It's incumbent on the salesgirls and the salesmen, at the counters, that they deal with every customer on an equal footing and must cater to the requirements on a 'first-come-first-serve' basis, without fear or favour. The customers who demand preferential treatment, for whatever reasons, must be told to be part of the queue. Period!


Yet another occasion when I realised that decency never pays! People have a tendency to take you for granted!!    

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Interesting happenings.

Through the outcome of the bypolls for three parliamentary seats and 32 Assembly seats, the BJP has been shown its place by the voters. The venom-spewing rabblerousers, giving their own twist to the word, 'Hindutva', have been conveyed an unequivocal sentiment - do not create differences between communities on the philosophy of hate. The party needs to introspect and root for development and provide effective governance. Whoever said that the Indian voter never applied his mind needs to reappreciate his understanding about them. Period!

What I feel strongly about is that these goons bandy their thoughts about 'Hindutva' as though they're speaking for the entire community, which is the farthest from the truth.

      *                                      *                                      *

The days of the needles and the syringes are gonna be a thing of the past if the tests on the 'nanopatch' are gonna be successful. The WHO has announced the launch of the clinical trials for administering polio vaccine using a 'nanopatch', which is a chip comprising thousands of microscopic bumps.

While the traditional needle and syringe delivers the medicine to the muscle, the nanopatch concentrates on the abundant immune cells under the skin and can be removed within a few hours after administration. It's smaller than the size of a postage stamp and its inventor, Mark Kendall of the University of Queensland, Australia assures us that it will be cheaper than its predecessor!

We might have to wait a few more years for its commercial introduction and till then, have to be content with the needle and syringe wielding nurses!!

       *                                       *                                     *

'Mangalyaan', the Mars Orbiter Mission, is reaching its final countdown on the 24th of this month when it enters that planet's orbit. All the milestones have been achieved, thus far, without glitches and if the final phase also takes place free of hiccups, then the Indian space scientists will have yet another feather in their caps - we'll be the only country that would have achieved such a feat at the first instance because all the other nations that have tried their luck had to contend with repeated failures before achieving the target!


George, a retired employee of the state's Road Transport Organisation, was the 'saarthi' for our trip to nearby Perinthalmanna to attend a wedding reception of a close relative. It was a short, sweet journey that gave us the opportunity to meet more people.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sad, time has stood still where it shouldn't have!

It was with a heavy heart that I read the article in the newspaper that the iconic HMT - known among the average Indian as the 'Time keepers of the nation' though they're into manufacturing machine tools, etc - is soon gonna shut down.

I was reminded of my first proud possession - an HMT Sona watch - that my dad had gifted me when I passed class XI from school and was also poised to join the National Defence Academy. The pristine white dial and the two golden hands within a shiny gold rim was strung on an elegant black leather strap. It hardly mattered, then, that there were other more expensive models. It was remarkably thin and I wore it with pride. A couple of my course mates at the Academy had also made it a point to wear my prized possession when they went out on 'liberty' to the then city of 'Poona'.

In fact, I can also proudly claim that my watch was a mute witness to a developing 'love story' between a course mate of mine and his future wife!

Years later, in the fall of '88, while on a visit to Jalandhar, my friends, the Banerjees had gifted me a steel rimmed, hexagonal shaped HMT Quartz strung on a steel strap. From then on, I'd the luxury of wearing the two alternately!

Not long after, Titan stormed the watch market with a vast array of models and was soon able to strike a favourable cord with the Indian customer. HMT, being a public sector undertaking, did not cater to the changing requirements of the customer. It mulishly went about its work and soon plummeted to being an unwieldy organisation, that was cash strapped.

And hence, the decision to shut down the once proud organisation that had its bustling offices and factory in Bangalore. Much of its sprawling land has been sold to the real estate guys where multi-storeyed dwelling units and offices have come about, dwarfing the beautiful tree lined avenues and the orderly residential plots within the campus.

How I wish time had not stood still there!


The HMT Sona was worn by my dad in his last years saying that he felt glad that he was wearing my watch, once gifted by him. A month before he passed away, he'd gifted it away after having it spruced up, to a farm hand who'd told him that he wanted to gift it to his child, for passing his class III with high marks. The HMT Quartz continues to be an alternate wear for me even today!

Strong sentiments! And it's a priceless possession from a special friend!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A dad's angst.

This afternoon we'd a very pleasant appointment of attending a get together in town. A tautly edited entertainment programme, for a duration of an hour and a half, was the mainstay that show cased the talent within the group and I must say that it was exceptionally good. Though it's getting to be almost a year since we'd shifted into Guruvayur, this was our first tryst with the conglomeration despite repeated invites and we're the newest members to have enrolled into it. The group has been in existence since 1992 and has been able to bring about a bonding of its fraternity, both old and young!

We're three from our school, representing each of the three services and boast of being the 'largest' group from a single school!

The 'pongo' representative among us had a request - to keep 19 Apr '15 free to attend his daughter's wedding. The young lady is a doctor with the forces and is yet another example of a 'beauty with brains'. The father-daughter relationship has been the toast among us, who know the family, in that they're good friends exchanging ideas, thoughts and their apprehensions. In the process, the joke was that they generated a lot of funds for the telecom service provider with whom they're registered!

But Cupid has delivered a body blow to the lovely dad-daughter relationship.The young lady has fallen in love with a colleague of her's who's had a previous marriage that had lasted for only a month. The dad feels, that, had the young lady kept him informed about the budding relationship, he could have prevented her from taking a hasty decision......... Another dad who feels that he knew what's best for his li'l girl. The angst was clearly evident on the dad as he was at pains to fight off the sense of betrayal. I could only hear him out helplessly, fully aware of the fact that I was powerless to reduce his pain and do the next, best thing - help him lighten his burden of emotions!


The young lady is gonna feel the repercussions when the dad pulls himself back from his earlier involvement in her life. Or has she graduated in life, so much so, that her dad's role has reached its end?


We did win a prize - a lovely Borosil serving dish - when the counterfoil of our entry ticket was picked up by young Jonathan in a lucky dip!


Saturday, September 13, 2014

A great idea!

The details of the new version of the 'Road Transport and Safety Bill' has been put in the public domain and at first look, it definitely seems to be a step in the right direction. The existing version is woefully behind time, not only because of its vintage but also because of the numerous changes that have come about in the country's transportation system and the connected infrastructure over the years.

Moreover, the fatalities that one hears about everyday on the Indian roads are sickening and what's more important is that a sizeable percentage of them could have been avoided through strict implementation of rules and a little care that could have been exercised by the motorists.

Let me visit a few of the suggested fines, because for an average Indian that's what that matters:-

   (a) (i) Jump a traffic light
       (ii) Drive on the wrong side                                                      Rs. 5,000/-
      (iii) Obstruct emergency vehicles                                          (A repeat offence would invite
      (iv) Not wearing seat belt                                                        a fine of Rs. 10,000/- to Rs. 15,000/-)
                                                                                                       and licence suspended for a                                                                                                                        refresher course).

   (b) A child is killed by a speeding vehicle                               A fine of Rs.3 lakhs coupled with
                                                                                                     3 months' imprisonment.

   (c) Driving dangerously                                                            A fine of Rs. 15,000/- plus
                                                                                                     licence withdrawal plus imprisonment.

   (d) Driving without helmet                                                       A fine of Rs. 2,500/-

   (e) Using a 'communication device' while                                Rs.4,000/- to Rs. 10,000/-

Punishment to automobile dealers for releasing faulty vehicles, steps against drunken driving etc have been covered. Moreover, a central agency is gonna be set up, which will be responsible for the management of all the related issues at the macro as well as at the micro levels. The setting up of a Highway Traffic Regulation and Protection Force has also been mooted.

My take.

I hope that the following will also get sorted out by the introduction of the new legislation:-

    (a) Any state registration will be acceptable throughout the country. I mean, one doesn't have to
         go through the process of switching registration to the place of residence.

    (b) Beacon cars are a thing of the past and all, irrespective of their professional positions, are
          common citizens on the roads of the country and will attract the same penalties for the
          traffic offences committed.

    (c) Implementation with no fear or favour!


A definite step towards making driving on the Indian roads, a pleasure! Hope it comes soon - the earlier, the better!!


Friday, September 12, 2014

The myth and the fact.

1. The local media is talking about the impending hike in the rates of hiring of the autorickshaws and the taxis.

The myth.

2. The government and the concerned minister has announced that the new rates would be introduced by the end of this month. The recommendations of the Justice Ramachandran Commission will be the basis for the new rates which are:-

                    Type                                              Present                              Proposed
      (a) Autos(Minimum)                                   Rs. 15/-                                Rs. 20/-
      (b) Autos(Per km)                                      Rs. 10/-                                 Rs. 11/-
      (c) Taxi  (Minimum)                                   Rs. 100/-                              Rs. 200/-
      (d) Taxi  (Per km)                                        Rs. 10/-                                Rs. 11/-
      (e) A/c Taxi(Minimum)                               Rs. 120/-                             Rs. 220/-
      (f) A/c Taxi(Per km)                                    Rs. 10/-                               Rs. 11/-
      (g) Luxury vehicles like Innova,
           Tavera etc(Per km)                                 Rs. 12/-                                Rs. 15/-

3. The figures look very nice on paper. The facts on the ground, however, tell a different story.

The fact.

The autorickshaws have been charging a minimum rate of Rs.20/- since the last hike which means it's Rs.5/- more than the then proposed rate. The order that the fares are to be paid by the fare meter on the vehicles are generally ignored and if any customer has the temerity(!) to question the goings on, he's literally asked to 'go, take a walk'! Similar blatant violation of rates for other vehicles exists and usually, the customer who's at the receiving end quietly succumbs to the exploitation.

My take.

I must confess that I too have been allowed to be 'taken for a ride' - very often that too - by this despicable mafia as I use them to run certain pressing errands. Therefore, I really do not have a reason to crib, I understand. But how can the goings on on the ground differ from the government's diktats on the subject? If the police is asked to intervene on the issue, he'll give you that look as if to say, 'Come on, now don't tell me that you're fighting over a paltry Rs.5/-'.

The ordinary citizen is always in the wrong end of the 'heads-I-win-tails-you-lose' sort of a situation vis-a-vis the belligerent autorickshaw/taxi driver mafia.


What baffles me is that almost all of these guys come from struggling economic backgrounds and have seen their near and dear ones being subjected to uncouth behaviour, by people providing various services. And surely, that must have saddened or even angered them and logically steeled them to a resolve that they would never heap uncouth behaviour on the customers who depend on them! Therefore, their behaviour is beyond comprehension!!

Or are they giving it back in the same coin to those whom they consider affluent?  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A collage of thoughts.

It was yet another family wedding in our backyard! Renu, Lekha's niece and a banker, got married to Rejeesh, working for a multinational company in New Jersey, US. The relatives had conglomerated from far and wide last evening. Many of them had dropped by to say hello in the course of the evening and soon after the wedding/accompanying activities.

The wedding was a mad affair amid a lot of jostling and exchange of harsh words between the conductors and the various groups awaiting their turn at the ceremony on the raised dais, in front of the eastern entrance of the Guruvayur temple - there were three of them but one wasn't put to use for reasons that couldn't be comprehended. Maybe, it was their way of showing an artificial 'rush' and in the bargain, extract more money under the table! Corruption peaks in the name of god in 'God's own country'! God, are you listening or these things don't bother you anymore, is that it? There's no use preaching to a mallu in malluland, who's an incarnate of the Devil himself, huh?

       *                                          *                                               *

A few observations on a lighter note:-

      (a) Rejeesh was ill at ease wearing a dhoti and one only hoped that it didn't give way when
           serious activities were on or he could have tripped on the trail of its lower end. Thankfully,
           nothing of that sort did happen!

      (b) A relation of Lekha's, who's badly diabetic, kept having many helpings of the desserts
            in the momentary freedom that she'd got for the day. Her grandchildren did confess that
            they'd lost the count of the number of helpings availed of by the old lady.

       *                                          *                                               *

My mom seemed to enjoy herself though, in the beginning, she was wanting to keep away from the wedding with her persistent, 'what will people think about my infirmity?' And I was insistent that I wasn't going to take any of her excuses seriously and was able to prevail upon her to come along. In her usual style, she was the cynosure of everyone's eyes and had a lot many people making a beeline for her because she'd also unwittingly become the eldest matriarch of the gathering!


A great occasion to catch up with a host of close relatives! It would be another long wait for a similar conglomeration and who knows as to what time does during the interim?     

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The politics being played on nature's fury over Jammu & Kashmir.

The Indian armed forces have yet again shown as to how they matter for the state, be it during fair weather or be it during inclement weather.

They've evacuated thousands and thousands of people marooned in difficult areas and continue to be the saviours of the hapless people. Their efforts go round the clock, by day and by night, so that the people are out of harm's way. The combined efforts of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force along with the paramilitary forces have yet again shown their continued relevance in the state's well being.

I was waiting for the chief minister of J&K to come up on prime time and acknowledge the good deeds of the armed forces. Instead, he's been deafeningly silent! He's no right to play politics over a natural calamity. Is it because he's losing his cool over his continued inaction on the matter of governance and is foreseeing the rout of his party in the forthcoming elections?

And the other most interesting observation is the studious silence of the separatists viz. the Hurriyat. Those guys aren't even visible among the suffering millions when they claim to be their champions! And what is the opinion of the squeak, Yasin Malik, about the Indian armed forces which had literally fished him out of troubled waters? Not that it matters in any way, any more!

While praying for those who'd met their untimely end, it's my fond hope that the brave hearts would be instrumental in the Kashmiri peoples' settling down to normalcy once the flood waters have receded and its fury, subsided. It's also my fond hope that every individual on the civvy street acknowledges the Indian armed forces as their friend, during their good times as well as their bad times.    


Time and again the Indian armed forces have retrieved the state of Jammu & Kashmir from its numerous crises. The politicians, then, take over and make a mess of things while being petty trying to maintain their relevance. This, essentially, is the state's problem!   

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The tamasha that's going on in Delhi.

The government formation in Delhi is going through twists and turns. As a layman, I thought that there was only one way - dissolve the assembly and the parties go for a fresh mandate. This was because the AAP, during the run up to the elections, had stated that it was a party with a difference and therefore, will have no truck with either the Congress or the BJP because they're corrupt with years in power!

Post elections, none of the parties had a clear mandate. One felt nice of the principled(?) BJP stand saying that it did not have the numbers to rule. It was the party with the largest number of seats, five short of a majority. The AAP, then, went ahead and formed a government, with outside support from its arch enemy, the Congress, an action that was totally at loggerheads with its stated stand!

The arrangement worked for just 49 days because:-

     (a) Arvind Kejriwal's ambition to become the Prime Minister, buoyed by the people's support
          to his party during the Assembly elections. He was under the grandiose illusion that he'd
          a pan-Indian acceptance as his subsequent actions were to prove!

     (b) His government, while in power, did nothing but create chaos and literally was in a pitched
           battle with the Delhi Police whom it wanted to take action on people that it pointed out as
           law breakers! It was reduced to a government resorting to gimmickry.

     (c) The Congress was smarting for revenge and looked for the earliest opportunity to pull its
           rug of support under some flimsy reason or the other.

And now, post parliamentary elections and with a BJP government at the center, that party thinks it can form a government in Delhi too though the arithmetic - the seats that it has in the Assembly -remains the same. Poaching MLAs from other parties, especially the AAP, seemed to be a natural progression in the greed to rule at any cost.

We've been watching the shenanigans, thanks to an ever active media which has been asking a lot of uncomfortable questions to all the parties.

There continues to be only one alternative to this big mess - dissolve the Assembly and go for fresh elections. The mood of the people, disgusted with the goings on, needs to be expressed. Every day that's frittered away with inaction is a slap on the face of the Delhiite!


The delay is gonna affect the BJP most. What is it waiting for? Does it have inhibitions of losing Delhi? 

Monday, September 8, 2014

A house, full of guests!

My sister, Rema and her family had planned to come this day to spend a day with us on the occasion of onam. The decision was taken over a month ago when they'd spent a weekend here. It was to be on the return leg of their journey from my brother-in-law's house.

My junior uncle had planned at least three times, in the recent past, to come and spend a day with us but had to give up each time because we're out of station on some pretext or the other. Last week, while we're at Madras, he'd told us about his plans to join us this day on the return leg from his son-in-law's house.

I'd, purposely, avoided telling the both of them about the timing of their visit because they'd have cancelled their plan to avoid 'burdening' us with their combined presence...... Accordingly, the first batch had arrived around 1930h and the second, an hour later. And weren't they taken by surprise, but all the same, enjoyed meeting each other after what had seemed to be a long time!

The house was teeming with people which reminded me of my younger days as part of a joint family system. There used to be fun and gaiety on a continuous basis, ideas seemed to flow without restraint and as children, we'd a huge contingent to play and fight with, making and unmaking 'enemies' in the bargain! All those images, along with an extremely happy mom, made my evening. There was a lot of catching up to do, which was accomplished through the prevalent boisterousness.

And whenever I'm reminded about the good old days of the joint family system, can the nostalgic memories of the 'radio with the magic eye' be far behind? It was the main source of entertainment, come to think of it! The set in my grandparents' house was a 'Murphy', if my memory serves me right, around which the entire family would conglomerate every Saturday for catching up on the sound track of popular Malayalam movies.


Why did the joint family system have to break down? I've tried to pin point one singular reason for its downfall. Was it sibling rivalry? Not entirely. To my mind, it's a lack of leadership - the patriarch of impeccable integrity, clear vision, a high sense of fair play and the arbiter of justice without fear or favour is a thing of the past, an essential pre-requisite to a cohesive and vibrant joint family!


Sunday, September 7, 2014

What's the need of a relationship with such family members?

I'm gonna tell a story that's sad yet true. And yes, the protagonists are quite closely related to me making me wonder as to how cruel people can be.

The story is about three siblings - two sisters and a brother, the latter being the second among the three. All of them are married and have their own families. The sisters are settled abroad, one in the US and the other in Dubai by virtue of their spouses' professional pursuits. The guy at Dubai is a successful businessman and even has a flat to himself in the famed 'Bhurj Khalifa'. But who cares and does it really matter when a fellow sibling is suffering and he doesn't even exhibit the basic courtesy of extending a helping hand? If one were to ask me, I'd put the blame squarely on the two sisters who should have egged on their respective spouses to bring up the brother to their levels of prosperity - or at least a level lower! Strange are these days when people have become so selfish, that they loathe their relations attaining parity(?) in status with them - by getting him suitably employed in their spheres of influence!

Each of the sisters have two daughters and the four children are doing well in their studies. The brother, by contrast, has not been as lucky with his business of interior designing. He, along with his mom, wife, a son and a daughter stay at Kochi and has been through real hard times. His children are doing well in academics, the son is in class X and the daughter, in class III.

What rattles me further is that their father, who'd passed away more than a decade back, had incurred a huge debt while overseeing his daughters' marriages and a substantial portion of that debt was inherited by the son. The young man has never recovered from the messy inheritance, in the real sense and his present discomfort is consequent to that burden with a cascading effect. And the sisters, fully aware of their brothers' plight, prefer to look away as though they've no part to play in retrieving the situation!

What, then, is the use of maintaining a relationship with such mean siblings? I'd have dumped them long before and strictly kept them out of my way but I guess the youngster is more evolved and a decent guy.

For him I've this to say, "Do not fret or despair, your time shall come".


The onam was special in that we'd my aunt, her son and his family to partake the special lunch prepared by Lekha for the occasion. Their decision to join us was taken this morning, on the spur of the moment! 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

It's a nice feeling!

After a ten day sojourn, we'd returned late last night. 'The Quarterdeck' has begun to thrum with life as before and we went about our routine chores to get back to normalcy. Our neighbours had called up and from their inputs, we realised that they'd missed our presence all these days. The stillness of the house stifled them to quote one among them.

It gives a great feeling of being wanted. I must admit that we've done hardly anything for their love and affection.

       *                                               *                                                 *

This onam is gonna be quite different from the previous ones. The sky has been overcast and frequent bursts of rain has become the order of the day. The Malayalees are long gonna remember this onam as a very wet one! And no pun intended what with the 'prohibition' looming large!!

        *                                               *                                                 *

I'd gone to the drycleaners this morning and had taken an autorickshaw, as I'd a few other errands to make. Lal was the driver's name and the story of his life was interesting. Born into a family off 11 siblings - they're seven brothers and four sisters - they still follow the concept of a joint family and he vouches for the efficacy of the system. His father was a wholesale cloth merchant who ran a thriving business and was known for his philanthropy who'd passed away about ten years ago. His mother had passed away about 10 days back while she was in a conversation with his wife and she was just 73 years of age. They've instilled the right values in their children, as I found while interacting with their son.

Very shyly he'd put across that he'd married late because of a mishap. He was going to his agricultural land to oversee the casual labourers' at work and was walking through a patch of water when he was bitten by a viper. Luckily for him, the bite had taken place in the water and therefore, much of the venom had flowed out into the water. He was worried that he'd lost his vitality, in the process. Consequently, he got married quite late and his eldest child, a son, is in class I and the daughter, an infant!


The preparation for the main onam celebrations has attained a feverish pitch as people flooded the markets for their buys which is traditionally termed as the 'Uthraada paachil'(The literal translation being 'the scamper on the Uthraadom day' - which is also the 'first onam').

Friday, September 5, 2014


We're at Rajapalayam by a half past 5 early morning and after the sprucing up, resumed our journey. Another disaster - though not of the magnitude of the word, as it may sound - in the form of a tyre puncture delayed our arrival at home by a further hour. The entire expenses were quickly calculated and after having handed over our share, we'd got back home where my anxious mom was waiting amid exchanges with the people who'd made it a point to meet her on the eve of Onam.

For her, any delay in departure was late arrival at 'The Quarterdeck' firstly, but more importantly, stressful driving for her son through the dark coupled with the harsh head lights of the oncoming vehicles!

By a half past 1, we'd once again hit the road, the difference this time being that your's truly was behind the wheel of his Chevy. Our first stop was to look up Pidavoor Amma - all of 87 years and my elder brother-in-law's mom - to hand over her 'onakkodi'. She looked frail all right but the way her face had lit up, on seeing us, was priceless! As we drove off, I'd purposely looked into my rear view mirror to see her with folded hands praying for our safe journey, as usual!! And I was convinced that my journey was gonna be smooth!!!

The drive was okay with the traffic being comparatively less at three of the four 'choke points' enroute - the fourth at Aluva taking up almost an hour. It was just a 'grin and bear it' sort of a situation. We'd a light dinner at a decent place, but reaching there had taken some time and poor mom had to hold on for a fairly long time to ease her bladder. A tough proposition for a person of her age! A bad case of time management on my part, but she'd no complaint...... Sorry mom!

By the time we'd reached 'The Quarterdeck', it was a trifle after 11. Didn't realise as to how much tired we all were, as we'd sat down for a warm drink and went through a quick recapitulation of the events of the past 10 days. The satisfying thing was that all the targets set, were achieved and in the process, we could meet quite a lot of people.


On the occasion of the 'Teacher's day', my prayers and thoughts are dedicated to all the teachers who'd played their roles in shaping me to what I've become today. I can't thank them enough and would remain indebted to them for their invaluable contributions. I consider myself very fortunate to have been under their tutelage. My prayers for the departed and for the robust health of those that I've the privilege of meeting, every now and then!

And for all the teachers - who happen to be my extended family - 'Bravo Zulu' and here's wishing that you make great strides in your dedicated and noble efforts!!    

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The wedding.

We're up with the lark because the directive was to be at the auditorium by a half past 7. The auspicious moment of the wedding was sometime between 9 and a half past 10.

We're a trifle late but were well in time to see the playful bridegroom and his team making things difficult for the bride and her team to garland the guy as his bearers were raising him every now and then, when she almost managed to - pardon my usage of a phrase depicting a game but it safely puts you on the right path of imagination - 'ring the duck'. Finally, both parties were on even keel in so far as the accomplishments were concerned!

Next, the bride and her groom were made to sit on a flower bedecked swing with songs belted out by the near relatives wishing them a very happy life together - in advance, that is! Soon it was time for the final ceremony and sometime between 1028 and 1030h, Yash and Raji were man and wife. Wishes for a long and happy married life, were showered by everyone present, while pelting dried rice and flowers at the couple.

A scrumptious lunch, a quick change and by a quarter to 2, we'd set off on our return journey. Things seemed to be going fine as we got out of the city when disaster struck with the vehicle developing certain mechanical problems. Thankfully, the defect had surfaced in the vicinity of the automobile spares selling shops. It took more than three hours for the rectification process.

The rest of the journey was uneventful as I punch in these thoughts. But we still have miles to go before the final destination!


A nice outing that was full of fun and above all, very educative! Thanks Sekhar and Poorna for making it possible!! Here's us wishing Yash and Raji a very long and happy married life!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The run up to the wedding.

Brahmin boy weds chettiar girl. Yashnath weds Rajeswari!

Love has continued to transcend barriers of caste, creed, religion and whatever. Sekhar and Poorna had also given priority to their little girl's happiness just like so many other sensible parents, which, of course, includes Yash's parents too! And his maternal grandfather, a temple priest, provided the leadership to the ceremonies!!

The day had begun very early - at 6 AM - for everyone. The customs and traditions, that were followed, were not only quaint but cute. Every move has a purpose and one can only 'expose' one's ignorance if one were to laugh away these beliefs of people; let them follow theirs while you stick to yours is the practical way out!

The first ceremony was the 'purification' of the boy's parents to take part in the sacred ceremony which was followed by welcoming the boy and then it was the turn of the girl's parents and herself, to follow suit. The whole rigmarole had consumed the forenoon hours after which, everyone of us had broken off for lunch. And mind you, it's a continuous eating exercise on occasions like these with a huge spread of the tastiest south Indian vegetarian delicacies on order!

The proceedings had resumed at 4 PM and it was time for the engagement ceremony. Another round of chants of the mantras along with the connected activities! The couple and their parents wore the clothes gifted by each other on the occasion, for the 'Reception' that followed, where we're privileged to meet quite a few of the family's friends and relatives.

The food intake, all through the day, made one put a few kilos by the end of the day for sure!

Rains, meanwhile, had lashed the city amid feedback from home that Kerala was having another overdose of rains! Traffic had gone mad and it was through this mad situation that we'd embarked on a social calling - the second for the day.

By the time we'd got into the safe confines of our room, it's just another half an hour to midnight.


What a myriad blend of beautiful traditions and customs? This country is truly blessed and this is what makes life interesting!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A day on wheels.

The day had begun pretty young. Since the RSS had called for a 'hartal' for today on account of the brutal murder of one of their members in Kannur, there was a quick change in our programme as the travels people had insisted that we kick off early, so as to cross the border before 6. We're off to Madras to attend the wedding of a niece of Lekha.

It was a bit tough to get up at 0100h so as to be ready to leave Kottarakkara by 0330h. Niyaz, our 'saarthi' for the trip had come by on the dot. We made our way through an absolutely deserted highway and pouring rain, to cross over to Tamilnadu much before the time that we'd set for ourselves as the outer limit. And a few kilometers into the state, the rain was replaced by a bright, sunny outlook. It was over 800 km that we'd to cover to reach the venue of our stay at Madras. The last one and a half hour journey was through crawling traffic, off Tambaram, at peak time, a trifle after sunset! Only hope that the metro rail that's coming up is gonna change the situation for the better or is it a false hope?

With adequate breaks enroute, the journey was pleasant and full of fun. I'd actually planned to fly both ways but the plan was shot down by Lekha's folks who'd insisted upon our company! In the final analysis, it's the right decision because there were breathtaking sights and a few worthwhile moments. The ride by the tempo traveller is indeed comfortable and Niyaz, behind the wheel was simply superb.

Rajasekhar had received us at his residence in T Nagar. And he has left no stone unturned for making our participation in his daughter's wedding tomorrow and the day after absolutely glitch free!


1. Tomorrow's yet another day with a packed itinerary and it's gonna start at 6. Hope we're also able to meet a couple of our friends, during the breaks in the wedding ceremony! 

2. And the Chief Minister of Kerala, will be initiating the distribution of mobile phones as the next logical step of the PN Panicker Foundation's programme of attaining cent percent e-literacy. It's gonna take place at the Kanakakkunnu Palace, tomorrow!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

What's happening in Pakistan?

Imran Khan and the Canada-based cleric, Qadri seem to be playing with fire. They seem to be playing a sinister game that would eventually be advantageous for the armed forces. They need to answer a couple of questions to begin with which are:-

      (a) How've they realised that Nawaz Sharif had rigged the elections almost two years
            into governance?
      (b) How do they plan to govern in case Sharif goes? Is it going to be orchestrated by
            the armed forces?

If the latter be the case, then how do they become representatives for democracy? And isn't Nawaz Sharif jinxed because the General whom he makes the army chief becomes his tormentor eventually?

By past happenings, the army is weary of Nawaz Sharif because it feels that he has a propensity to appease India by compromising Pakistani interests. They seem to be still smarting about their PM not having interacted with the Kashmiri separatists, when he'd come to attend Modi's swearing in ceremony. Remember how Musharraf had scuttled the peace process after Vajpayee's bus yatra to Lahore?

It's in the interest of Pakistan's armed forces to base its foreign policy on a 'hate India' plank.

And Imran Khan seems to be a willing pawn in this dangerous game. Sad!


Imran Khan was always anti-India even during his cricketing days, despite the liberal education that he was privy to by being a sportsman on the international arena!