Saturday, January 31, 2015

If this guy is not a monster, who is?

He calls himself, Mohammed Nisham, has a fleet of costly cars and has rubbed shoulders the wrong way with the law, not once but many a time and has never been booked in the real sense. Probably his wealth or his connections with the people who matter have kept him out of law's reach. Eleven cases have been charged against him earlier.

Let's go through his misdemeanours to understand as to why he's but a habitual offender and a monster:-

 (a) Jul '03        Assaults a person over a parking dispute in a shopping complex in Thrissur. Had to
                         remit only a fine in the case.
 (b) Apr '05      Assaults his business partner over differences of opinion. Acquitted in the case.
 (c) Jan '12       Viyyur police initiates case against him under Section 107 of the IPC for his frequent
                         involvement in cases and brawls. Case pending with SDM, Thrissur.
 (d) Jun '12       Assaults another. The High Court quashes the FIR.
 (d) Jul '12        Charged with drunken driving. Remits Rs. 3,500/- as fine.
 (e) Date not     Pays a fine to a two wheeler driver who files a case against his company for a flex
      known        board that had crashed on him.
 (f) Apr '13       Case registered against him for permitting his 9 yr old son to drive his Ferrari. It's
                         pending with the Kunnamkulam first class judicial magistrate's court.
 (g) Jun '13       Case registered for detaining a woman SI in his luxury car for questioning him on
                         charges of drunken driving. It's in the trial phase.
 (h)    "              Was accused of posting defamatory pictures of his younger brother's wife on FB.
 (j)  Dec '13      His wife files a case against him for harassing her for more dowry. The police had
                         filed a chargesheet but the HC had quashed the FIR.
 (k) 31 Jan '15  Taken under judicial custody for running over the residential security guard and
                         subsequently beating him up for delay in opening the gate. The victim continues to
                         be in a serious condition!


The guy seems to be getting away after his misdemeanours. Why isn't he being punished? Thankfully, this time, the Chief Minister has promised action! 

Friday, January 30, 2015

These things puzzle me!

There are a lot of things that are happening around us. A few of them make me wonder as to whether the protagonists are fully aware of what they are doing or is it that they are making the best of their fifteen minutes' fame. Whatever said and done, as passive observers, one can only suppress a chuckle at the gaffes that are made. Do they lack intelligence? No, then why do they do such idiotic things? Let's go through a couple of them that had snatched the headlines:-

 (a) Lalisom.

  Last week, while driving, I happened to hear a young Malayalam music director on one of the FM
  channels. He's the prime mover of a music band, which has collated the film songs picturised on
  Mohanlal over the years and has brought about the feelings of the actor when he shot for those
  frames. Commendable indeed because it would definitely be interesting since the actor continues
  to be a favourite for Malayalees, the world over!

  But what stumped me was his explanation for naming the band and its almost two and a half hour
  programme as 'Lalisom'. To quote him, it's to "exhort the youth and the young to follow the lifestyle
  of Mohanlal". If I say that I was stumped on hearing it, it would be an understatement. I mean, it's
  understandable that people in their younger days do a lot of hero worshipping before coming to the
  sad conclusion that their hero, too, has feet of clay!

  Ratheesh Vega, that's the name of the music director, seems to be 'fida' over his hero and has the
  freedom to show it unabashedly. But to exhort the youth and the young to follow his hero's foot           steps, forgetting the idiosyncrasies of the actor not worthy of emulation, is going a bit too far!
  The band is to go public at the inauguration of the 35th National Games tomorrow!

  (b) Obama's parting advice!

  The US President had concluded a hugely successful visit to India last week. He and Modi seem
  to enjoy a cosy relationship and it's fondly hoped that the two countries benefit from it in the years
  ahead! To me, the only aspect that did not seem to sound right was his exhorting a select gathering
  to preserve the country's religious pluralism.

  This country had always supported religious pluralism. Hinduism is a way of life and it has been
  the most flexible in its attitude towards other religions, so much so, that it has assimilated the good
  from them over the years.

  What has been a sore point is the appeasement of minorities, in the garb of secularism, to promote
  vote bank politics. It is this aspect that is abhorred by many if not most.

  And wasn't the US President briefed about the numerous Christian Missionaries that had come into
  the country and preached Christianity, ultimately resulting in conversions? If a few of them did a
  reconversion under the garb of 'ghar wapasi', it just goes to show the freedom that one has to follow
  the religion of one's choice, that exists in this country!


Had always thought that Kiran Bedi, the chief ministerial candidate of the BJP in the current elections to the Delhi Assembly, had brains. But she has shown that she's a greenhorn in so far as politics is concerned. Her numerous gaffes have made the party field their stalwarts - including ministers of the union cabinet - to take on the AAP. For us, as spectators, it gives us reasons to laugh aplenty!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

At Dharmettan's place.

It's the twelfth day after Dharmettan had passed into eternity. The family had invited the neighbourhood for the traditional feast and we'd gone to his house by about 1000h. Sathiamma cried on seeing us with her teary-eyed daughter sitting beside her.

The twelve days that had gone by had blunted their grief a little but on seeing us, I suppose, had broken the floodgates of their tears and we could only, watch them helplessly relive the agony. Choking through her tears, she touched upon the final days with her husband and a few of those incidents/conversations are reproduced below:-

 (a) The dhoti and the shirt that we'd given him as 'onakkodi' was a prized possession and he
       used to wear them on all important functions that he attended subsequently.

 (b) He used to talk about the last Diwali which he said was the best that he'd participated in, after
      what was a long time. I'd even pressed a few crackling sparklers into his hands which he was
      mortally scared of.

 (c) He kept telling her that she could find a job at our place after his death.

 (d) He'd rice and prawns curry(his favourite food) prepared by his daughter, 22 days earlier after
       which his physical condition prevented him from having anything but milk! Vomiting blood
       had by then become a regular phenomenon and he used to be racked with severe pain.

 (e) He also did recall his daughter's wedding and about the time that we'd spent with him on the

Before we moved out of the house, we'd paused in front of his garlanded, smiling photograph to say our silent prayers and bid him a final farewell. A bowl of rice with his favourite prawns curry was kept as an offering in front of the photograph. His soul must have been around, desperately wanting to tell his near and dear ones that he didn't require them anymore as it was getting ready for its ultimate flight into eternity!


Dharmettan's ashes had been immersed at Panchavati, a coastal hamlet about 25 kms north from here, last Sunday.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A remedy that went awry!

1. The overdose.

Mom had got up with a complaint that her bowel movements weren't smooth. Last night I'd given her a dose of the purgative on the doctor's instructions and was hoping that everything would be okay by morning. Mom's complaint had to be taken seriously, otherwise she could get to be irritable. Perhaps, she required another dose of the medicine.

After breakfast, she was administered the second dose and I'd gone on an urgent errand. An hour later I'd got a call from Lekha that mom was having loose motions! It took the whole of the forenoon for her condition to get back to normal, the overarching requirement being that she didn't get dehydrated in the process!

             *             *             *

2. At the service station.

My Chevy was handed over to the service station for the mandatory repairs after the close encounter with a lorry last week. Could also ask them to look into a couple of problem areas as the duration of the repairs was gonna take up a whole week. I've two weddings to attend and the e-literacy field work in the district of Pathanamthitta coming up next week.

Perhaps, my Chevy has to remain admitted for more than a week. My mind had been unsettled ever since the accident because the dent looked unwieldy and definitely, was unnecessary!

              *            *            *

3. Anto to the rescue.

After handing over my car, I'd walked to the nearby bus stop to hop on to one of the numerous private buses plying from Thrissur to Guruvayur. Usually, the buses stop to take in passengers but my experience was different for the day, wonder why? Despite my flagging a bus to stop, it zapped past me much to my surprise.

As I was standing flummoxed, Anto had come by after stopping his rick a few feet ahead. He was on a return trip from the Thrissur Railway Station and offered me a free lift. Wasn't he godsend?


A hectic day but could clear up the backlog of work that had piled up. Phew!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Another day wasted!

The day of yet another 'hartal', called by the BJP, pressing for the state's Finance Minister, KM Mani's resignation as he's been accused to have accepted a bribe of Rs.5 crores from the bar owners to safeguard their interests in the current bar closure order of the government!

The political parties try all the tricks that they know of to bring down a government or at least give it the jitters, for the wrongs as conceived by each. The LDF still smarts at the weaning away of an MLA from their stables into the UDF's fold so that the latter could have a marginal majority!

Hartals are hated by the public at large and they're smarting at the political parties who've the audacity to disrupt their daily lives and claim that they're doing so in consonance with their wishes!

In this case, they don't care whether KM Mani continues to be the minister or not. He'll, anyway, have to sort out the numerous statements and counter statements being made on the subject!! But come what may, Pala, the constituency that has returned him to the state's Assembly for the past so many decades will see him through the next time too - that seems to be the trend, unfortunately!!!

                 *                                                  *                                                        *

Barrack Obama's rapport with Narendra Modi seems to be crackling and it's evident from the body language of the two leaders at every function. How much of it transforms to constructive work on the ground needs to be seen. It's said that personal relationships do not play a major role in relationships between governments, as it's the interests that are more prominent and permanent! Is there gonna be a change, this time? We shall wait and watch.

                  *                                                  *                                                       *

One of India's illustrious sons, RK Laxman, has passed into the mist of time on Republic Day. His 'handiwork' shall now be a dream. RIP, sir! My salutes to a legend with prayers. I've your autographed book of cartoons gifted to me by someone close and it's one of my valuable treasures!


The book was gifted to me by the Samsons, on one of my visits to their residence at Bandra, at the end of a lovely evening that I'd spent with them. I've been flipping through the pages ever since I came to know of the passing away of the great cartoonist!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Another wedding!

Lakshmi got married to Rajesh at a colourful ceremony in our backyard - the Lulu Convention Center. In fact, we're the first to be invited as the former's parents had kicked off the inviting process after a 'darshan' at the Guruvayur temple, about two months back.

I shall remember the wedding for many reasons and I'm gonna list them below:-

    (a) The couple looked made for each other. He's working for a multi-national company at
          Bangalore, while she will now migrate there having resigned from her current job at Pune.

    (b) The venue was spacious with the latest of arrangements and catering to a guest list of over
          3,000 and the parking area for vehicles was adequate.

    (c) The spread for the lunch was fairly large that, I concentrated on what had been served already
          and did not bid for anything else! And, for starters, was baffled as to from which end of the
          banana leaf that I must begin the onslaught!! 

    (d) The cuisine catered for both, the Malayalees and the generous sprinkling of Tamilians that 
          made up the guest list.

    (e) Since the bride's father, an ex-chartered accountant and a businessman, owned several 
          educational institutions including professional colleges, there were numerous guests who're
          carrying gifts that they wanted to handover and then, pose for photographs - reminded me of
          Don Corleone's daughter, Connie's wedding in the movie, 'The Godfather'! Wonder why?

    (f) The array of photographers were 'mafia' like who decided as to who'd be clicked and who 
          wouldn't. Luckily, they didn't come in between the audience and the activities that were taking 
          place on the stage. Why did the families abdicate this responsibility of their's?

    (g) Met a lot of people whom I was seeing after a long, long time and many more were
          introduced to us.

Here's us wishing you, Lakshmi and Rajesh, a long and happy married life!


Thanks, Geetha and Gopan for having us in an important event of your lives!



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sebastian and Molovika.

Lekha and me had taken off by 9 AM for Kochi to attend my classmate's son's wedding. Despite a few hiccups in the traffic enroute, we're able to reach the venue half an hour into the wedding service at the church. There were a lot many class mates in attendance and it was nice to be among them as there was much to catch up with.

Kuruvilla Philip(Roll no. 420) and his wife, Becky were the surprise. All the rest, including me, were seeing him for the first time after we'd left school. Was he unsure of the reactions from us - service guys, with that chip(?) on their shoulders - because he looked out of place amid us but after the initial process of the proverbial breaking of the ice, he too got to be outgoing.

The wedding was a dignified and grand affair between a 'Mallu' boy and a 'Bong' girl. Sebastian and Molovika looked very much in love but what I couldn't figure out was the bridegroom's shaved head at such an important and photogenic occasion of his life. Perhaps, this look is the in thing these days! But they looked good together and here's us wishing them a wonderful married life and everything that they wish for!

A nice lunch, lots of conversation, the mandatory photographic session with the newlyweds and their parents and soon after, we're on our return trip. Despite being a Sunday, the traffic was heavy and it took almost two hours for us to reach home, in time for the evening cuppa tea! In the meanwhile, my cousin from Thiruvananthapuram who was here to attend a wedding had dropped in at 'The Quarterdeck' to meet mom and Achu. Understand that we'd missed each other by a whisker!!


(a) Thanks, Deric and Meera, for giving us the occasion to be with you on your special day.

(b) With four days of antibiotics, mom is definitely looking better. And Achu goes back tomorrow for the next three days to be with his paternal grandmother. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Mission accomplished....the dash back!

Seeing Raj Nivas agog with activity, we'd a continuous stream of people coming in to meet mom and quite a few of them were surprised, even anguished to see her present 'avatar', what with the devastation caused by the recent viral fever!

My sister, Rema, had arrived early in the morning to help us with the 'ration card renewal' process. The ration shop dealer who serves my mom dropped by to hand over the application forms, for the purpose, which my sister and I filled up and sequenced the necessary attachments. We're ready to go to the nearby school where the event was on but many who'd returned on completion, warned us about the sizeable crowd and my heart sank because we'd to return to Guruvayur by a reasonable time...was it going to be a no, no?

The car could be parked close behind the school so that mom needed to walk the least distance. And then, stepped in the ration shop dealer! She quickly steered mom, along with my sister and went through the registration process. Within a matter of ten minutes, the whole thing was behind us and we could get back home. Thanks, Vijayalakshmi, for your indulgence and help!!

A quick lunch, a brief stop to meet Pidavoor Amma, drop Rema and pick up Achu before we resumed our journey. The traffic was heavy, with the passage through Alappuzha, Kochi and even the normally quiet Potta - thanks to the church's annual celebrations - saw us crawling at these places. Another stop at our favourite place for a snack before we, finally, romped home by a 5 past 10!

As we wound up for the day, I was glad that the mission was accomplished within the available parameters.


Tomorrow, despite being a Sunday, is gonna be an early one as we need to attend my classmate and friend, Deric's son's wedding at Kalamasserry

Friday, January 23, 2015

Finally, with the doctor!

We'd got off from 'The Quarterdeck' at nine minutes past 6. Achu had to be dropped at the railway station for his trip to Palakkad and after dropping him, a turn was missed and therefore, had to go round the Swaraj Square and 'Vadakkunnathan' twice, resulting in loss of valuable time. Breakfast was a trifle early at the Saravana Bhavan, on the outskirts of Thrissur.

The traffic was heavy and on top of that, a heavy goods-laden truck came and touched my Chevy on the starboard quarter at Kalamasserri, making a visit to the service station an immediate necessity. There was no question of extracting the price from the truck driver as the traffic had piled up and the motorists - already fed up with the inordinate delay - would have resented it if I'd delayed it further while trying to take charge of the errant driver!

By the time we could be with the doctor, it was an hour later than the appointed time. Finally, the remedial action was put in place - medicines altered, a seven-day course of antibiotics ordered and dosages of two of the existing medicines increased! The bonhomie between them was very much there but the infection has taken its toll, mom seemed to be tired after the journey which she finds exhausting!

A quick lunch at 'The Brigade's' and the journey was resumed. We could meet Lekha's dad on the way and by sunset time, we're back at the 'Raj Nivas'. The evening was packed with people coming by to meet mom and say hello to her. Though travel weary and badly wanting to hit the sack early, it was pretty late, by the time we could settle down!


The doc had reiterated that my mom's weakness was temporary and that, it was because of the recent viral fever. The recuperation was gonna be a bit longer due to the age factor!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The 'Parikrama'.

I was at the Guruvayur temple on the dot at a half past 5 in the morning, thanks to a punctual Anto and his well oiled rick and was there for two reasons:-

    - to let my nephew, Achu, to have his morning 'darshan' of the Lord.
    - to do the parikrama of the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord as part of a pact that I'd made with Him
      a fortnight back, while at Bombay. Side rolling the entire pathway or what's commonly known
      among us, Malayalees, as 'sayanapradakshinam'.

The ever dependable Narayanan and his graceful wife, Rema were there at hand to see through the activities to their logical conclusion. Dorning the dhoti and a longish towel tied firmly around my waist, I'd a dip at the temple tank and after squeezing the dhoti hard to stop the drip-drip of the wetness, I'd begun the roll from the eastern or the main entrance of the temple. A timely tip from a well meaning elderly gentleman to continuously 'feel' the upper extremity of the pathway - the right edge, as it appears to us when we go around on foot - ensured that I stayed on course without any deviation!

On completion, Narayanan, who walked along to keep the people out of my way, had told me that I'd done it under ten minutes and there weren't any stoppages! Except for the continuing spin of my head which lasted for a few seconds, there was no difficulty, whatsoever!! And soon after, we'd gone for His darshan!!! Meanwhile, Rema had taken Achu around explaining to him the relevance of each of the figures that were carved all along the sides of the temple. For him it was a wonderful experience as he later confided in me.

Mom had not slept a wink, throughout the night thanks to her restlessness and consequently, I who was in attendance, could not sleep either! She was into her early morning sleep when I'd left her. I'd also decided to show her to a doctor nearby, if her condition were to persist!

But, thankfully, on my return from the temple, I found that she looked and sounded much better and kept improving through the day. She was back to being her witty best when two rounds of guests had dropped by. I was glad that she'd recuperated completely and seemed to be ready to undertake the trip tomorrow to meet her doctor and finally spend the evening at our ancestral house!

I'd like to believe that more than the medicines, it was my circumambulation of the good Lord that had brought about the turn around!


Recalling the Bangalore fiasco, I'd insisted on carrying warm clothes like a light pullover, a pair of socks and a shawl for mom but forgot to put them to use when we went for the movie 'PK' and the harsh controlled atmosphere of the multiplex! It was this carelessness that I was repenting about during my morning tryst with God!      

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Continuing enigma!

Mom isn't keeping well. In fact, she hasn't been okay after the viral fever that had struck during our Bangalore visit. This morning, I'd the lab staff of the Rajah Hospital home for collecting the blood, urine samples and hit an unexpected emergency.

The pathology team had fetched up half an hour late and mom couldn't hold on for that long and had, consequently, gone round the corner. So when the appointed time had come about, she was unable to provide the sample! Half an hour after the team had left, we could collect the requisite output and I'd to rush to the hospital to hand over the same. Mom was apologetic and it took time to convince her that it was not a bother at all!!

The results were passed on to me over the telephone, through e-mail and a hard copy, by hand! The staff nurse was insistent that I informed her doctor about a lingering infection, highlighted by a 'higher than normal' ESR reading. And sure enough, by evening she was quite under the weather and had to be propped up with antibiotics as directed by the doctor, after hearing the values.

There were a few anxious moments which, even saw me cursing myself for having made that trip to Bangalore!

Anyways, I'm sure that her doctor would solve the vexed issue when we meet him on Friday. Mom is eagerly looking forward to this visit. I shall keep my fingers crossed as it's gonna be a longish journey!


Tomorrow is gonna be an early day with my 'sayanapradakshinam' at the Guruvayur temple in the early hours. I'd taken this vow when I'd seen mom's pitiable state while at Bangalore. Narayanan, my 'ole friend from Delhi has been gracious to offer me company during the effort!     

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Kerala runs while Delhi warms up!

The day had begun with tremendous enthusiasm charging the atmosphere. Everyone wanted to be part of the 'Run Kerala Run' event that was the curtain raiser for the National Games, commencing from 31 Jan since every district was conducting its own 'run' with its celebrities, at 1030h. Sachin Tendulkar set the event going at the state's capital, in Thiruvananthapuram.

And the whole of Kerala ran at 1030h! Participation was on massive proportions and the driver of the rick that I'd hired much later in the day, was sporting a red coloured visor issued to the participants on the occasion. Politicians, film actors, people from almost all conceivable vocations had participated, in the colourful event, giving the impression that Kerala had neither friends nor foes among its population.

It's my fond hope that the National Games goes through flawlessly so that everyone goes back with good memories of an efficiently run event of a high voltage caliber! And also, hopefully, that there are no corruption charges against the conducting authority!! May the sports personalities excel in their events by their tremendous performances!!!

                     *                                             *                                             *

The run up to the Delhi elections has begun to acquire the zing and the heat with Kiran Bedi being projected as the BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate. The fallout has been instantaneous:-

      - Kejriwal invites Bedi for a public debate covered by the media to which the latter's retort
        was that she wouldn't during the run up to the elections but afterwards, on the floor of the
        Assembly. We mustn't forget that Bedi and Kejriwal had commenced their political aspirations
        by joining Anna Hazare's cleanse India from political  corruption campaign before they fell out.   
      - The rumblings of dissatisfaction in the Delhi unit of the BJP, by the chief ministerial aspirants,
         for being thrust with an outsider like Kiran Bedi! How it's gonna affect the party's final showing
         is for the psephologists to guess!

      - The Congress seems to be no great an adversary and they seem to have conceded defeat when
         their ex-CM has said that the party will lend support to Kejriwal's AAP.

      - Kejriwal's utterances are audacious without the backing of that essential commodity, the truth!
        He'd have been the chief minister now and there would have been no elections, had it not been
        for his prime ministerial ambitions!

It's gonna be an interesting battle for the ballots! May the best team win!!


Mom's discomfort for the last couple of days has been due to the intake of a different genre of the 'Revital'. The medicine was withdrawn forthwith and she's back to normal! A mistake that could have been avoided but had gone by the pharmacist's advise notwithstanding the warning by my sixth sense!!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Has left his nest........for ever..

Got the depressing news this morning that Dharmettan had passed into the mist of time yesterday morning around 0730h. The wife and daughter had asked someone, who'd attended the funeral, to inform us but obviously, that someone had forgotten.

Sathiamma's - his wife - narration goes something like this, "He was awake around 5 o'clock and was keen to talk to everybody. Luckily, his sister and her children were also there....they'd decided to spend the night at the house after fetching up last evening. Dharmettan seemed to be excited and around 7 o'clock, he vomited blood and after a brief show of acute restlessness lay still".

So, his doctor the encologist of the Thrissur Medical College was right after all. He'd predicted a couple of more months for Dharmettan, around mid-November, after putting him through a battery of tests. Accordingly, his daughter's wedding originally slated for 31 Jan was advanced!

My mind goes back to the first time that I'd met Dharmettan. He'd paid up our electricity bill and had come to give us the receipt and I remember his reluctance to accept my thanks saying that he'd really done nothing! For Onam, we'd presented him with a shirt and a dhoti which he had worn and fetched us our share of the 'temple paayasam' on his own initiative. He'd to be really pressurised to collect the Rs.350/- which he'd expended for the purpose.

He was very fond of the clothes and used to wear them quite often. We'd called the family to play Diwali with us and I'd thrust a few sparklers into his hand during the course of the evening. And after dinner, he drew me aside for two things - the first was for Rs.500/- insisting that I shouldn't let his family know about it and the second that his wife would always remain with us much after he'd gone from this world! And wasn't he very effusive with his gratitude for having been invited to our place on the occasion?

The next and the last time that I'd met him was at the time of his daughter's wedding. He looked very, very tired and had clutched my hands as we parted. Did he have the inkling that he'd never be meeting me again, I wonder?

A noble soul, a wonderful human being and a kindhearted gentleman.

RIP Dharmetta! May your family have the strength to tide over these troubled times....their months of tremendous pressure and anxiety have come to an end.


(a) Sathiamma also had stated that he was dressed in his favourite clothes - presented as 'onakkodi' by us - while he lay in state!

(b) My mom and I'd prayed to Guruvayoorappan that we wanted him to be around with us till the next Diwali but obviously, He wanted him earlier. Really didn't expect to say adieu to you so early, Dharmetta!

(c) My mom recalls the evening that the entire family had come to spend time with her when we'd gone to attend a wedding reception. After a brief conversation and a snatch of television viewing - "Wasn't focused at all" - she remembers him having gone into a short nap till our return.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Light and sound......a train journey!

We'd checked off from our hotel by a half past 7 and were headed towards Neelamperoor. The dampener was that my maman wasn't keeping well.

We reached Neelamperoor about an hour later, paid a visit to the goddess at the famous temple and then, dropped in at Puthuvayil House. Santha kunjamma and Unni, badly off healthwise, were there, the others having gone to their family temple - a bit far away - for paying their obeisance. After spending about an hour and wolfing down a fine, impromptu breakfast provided by my ma'asi, we'd resumed our journey. Enroute, we also met an aunt of my mom who'd undergone a recent surgery. I was dropped at the Changanasserry Railway station, soon after, while the others had continued their onward journey to Thiruvananthapuram.

I was able to get a ticket to Thrissur on the Secunderabad bound 'Sabari Express' and was moving towards the appropriate platform, when I inquired of a college going, young man regarding the train's exact arrival time. He was extremely rude and had brushed me off as though he was on to something important whereas, he was on his cellphone talking to somebody. I shrugged the fellow off as a case of bad upbringing.

I'd found a seat on the platform and was glancing at the day's newspaper when the same lad rudely interrupts me to ask as to whether I was seated where the reservation compartment of the train would stop. I was nasty enough to tell him that I wouldn't like to clear his doubt as he didn't deserve my help because of his boorish behaviour, a few minutes ago. I'd further added that his unacceptable behaviour was because of his bad upbringing.

He immediately changed his countenance and apologised for his brusqueness. He was Rohan, the chairman of the students' union of his college and was also the director of a band composing devotional songs. Profusely apologetic for his mistake, he was my mate throughout the journey, thereafter.

The train was fairly filled up with the people from Andhra, who're returning after their 'Sabarimala darshan' and they just wouldn't let us into their compartment without seeing our reservation tickets. An old lady was pretty rude who kept saying something in Telugu and from the way she said it, it was quite apparent that she disapproved of our entering the compartment. I was about to tell her the rules when I thought that she'd something that was 'not all right' with her breasts - probably, a case of mastectomy due to some grave illness, perhaps - and hence, remained tight lipped!

It was after a while that I came to realise that she was safe keeping her cellphone and her small, money purse in either of her 'blouse fronts' and those were the unshapely objects that had made me jump to my earlier conclusion that she must have had gone through a complete mastectomy!


The journey had taken a little over three hours. The connections from Thrissur to Guruvayur were immediate and I was at 'The Quarterdeck' a trifle after 1430h to be in time for a late lunch!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

PN Panicker lives on.

The second phase of our field work in Kottayam covered three panchayats today, viz. Kaduthuruthy, Paambaadi and Puthuppalli.

The experiences were the same as that of yesterday's. Let me recapitulate:-

    (a) tremendous enthusiasm among the people.
    (b) the participants in the three panchayats were predominantly women.
    (c) the people are pretty sure of wanting to be e-literate.

As we finished the day's proceedings, I'd be failing in my duty if I did not mention the three individuals whom I'd the privilege of interacting with, during the beat. They were:-

  (a) Kaanaayi Kunhiraman.

       The sculptor, par excellence, who was at his current assignment in the premises of the Kottayam
       Public Library. The theme revolves around the importance of the mother being the real and the
       right guiding force in moulding the children's education. The second exhibit depicts a bird, with
       her egg, looking up to the heavens for celestial intervention to help her find the right place to
       build her nest! And the third depicts the evolution of the Malayalam alphabets over the ages.

       To meet us, he'd to get down from the top most platform of the scaffolding from where he was
       giving instructions to his worker, providing the final touches to the face of the mother. His wife,
       Nalini chechi, ensures and supervises the correct mix of the mortar and the connected
       ingredients! Just shows the couple's dedication. They consider their work of art as their children!!
       He's all of 76 years and would be undertaking the making of a statue of PN Panicker, shortly. He
       remembered his association with my grandfather very fondly.

  (b) CG Vasudevan Nair.

        The Secretary of the Kottayam Public Library is an enigma and his energy at 80 years, despite
        his medical problems, is worthy of emulation. His enthusiasm is infectious. He has been
        a faithful Lieutenant to my grandfather and had joined us on our two day fieldwork as "he
        owed it to PN Panicker's memory and it gives him tremendous energy", to quote him!His
        simplicity is disarming.

        Hats off to you, sir! My prayers and wishes shall always be with you.

   (c) Somanathan.

        The young journalist at the news bureau desk of the Malayalam daily, Kerala Kaumudi,
        surprised Vasudevan Nair sir and me when he showed us a spate of letters written to him by my
        grandfather. We'd gone there to hand over the press release on the two day proceedings of the
        Foundation in the six panchayats of Kottayam. To ensure that the letters did not get worn out
        due to age, he'd scanned each of them and put them into a neat folder on his desk top!

        The final public meeting that my grandfather had taken part in Apr '95 was described with all
        the intricate details that brought a lump in my throat. His is a story of undiluted admiration of
        his hero and mentor!


A day when PN Panicker was very much alive all through!     

Friday, January 16, 2015

On the field!

The day had started early morning at 3 and we'd kicked off for the fieldwork in the Kottayam district that's gonna cover today and tomorrow. The three panchayats that were covered were Eeraattupettah, Bharanangaanam and Kuravilangaadu, in that order.

We're at the first venue on the dot at 10. The panchayat has a predominant Muslim population and it's heartening to note the tremendous enthusiasm, especially among the womenfolk, to become e-literate. Their probing queries and genuine doubts could be removed by the interactive sessions that we'd with them. Our second tryst with the folks of Bharanangaanam was equally interesting because their enthusiasm was equally intense if not of a greater intensity and had commenced at a half past 12.

They'd provided us with an excellent lunch - the handiwork of the 'Kudumbasree' ladies, a self help group - after the interaction. We're privy to the display of some fine sentiments in all the three panchayats.

The third and the final interaction was at Kuravilangaadu, which was not lagging behind in enthusiasm and we could begin our interaction on the dot at 1500h. By the time we'd finished with the programme, it was a trifle beyond 1700h.

A satisfying day with the following observations:-

   (a) enormous enthusiasm among the masses to be e-literate.
   (b) the womenfolk easily beat their male counterparts in the interest shown and the queries asked.
   (c) the elderly people do not shy away from becoming e-literate. Perhaps, their grandchildren, must
         take the credit for inculcating this urge!


The interactions with the people make me forget my own tiredness - I'm used to afternoon siestas, you see - and have set aside many things that I've to do that continue to languish on the slop chits!


It's mom and dad's wedding anniversary today!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

In a tearing hurry!

There were lots of things that needed to be done for the day. It started up with meeting people, a complete review of the existing projects and fine tuning was applied as and where required.The trip to Chathannoor could not be squeezed in due to paucity of time, an action packed schedule and the preparations for the trip tomorrow to cover six panchayats of the district of Kottayam.

It was also my luck to be in station to attend a friend's son's wedding reception though he'd not invited me. The apologetic look coupled with a long wound apology as to how he'd missed me out made me realise that he felt very small on his inadvertent slip and I'd to use all the powers of my conviction that the very fact that I'd fetched up for the lovely evening function showed that it did not matter at all!

After the function, we'd dashed off to my cousin's place to look up his wife, primarily, who'd injured her left shoulder in a fall and was in the painful process of recuperation. Earlier, an uncle who'd been having a recurrent eye problem was to be visited but he made things easier for us by being an attendee at the reception and spared us the drive to his place - no, I ain't being nasty! But the visit to another cousin and her little son could not be managed because it had gotten to be quite late in the evening.

Packing of my meager personal effects was accomplished to facilitate an early morning get away at 0430h.


Joseph, a gentleman that I was meeting for the first time tells me that I would be soon heading an enterprise! Well!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A sentimental meeting.

The forenoon hours were spent at the Foundation in meeting people, consulting with experts and tracking our projects that are ongoing.

In the evening, we'd gone to look up Vichaani kunjamma, who's been reported to have not been keeping well of late. I was seeing her after almost three months and she was lying down in her room, comparatively early in the evening. But, then, she was always the one who hit the sack early - as a habit - to get up early at 4, in the morning without fail!

The quick lighting up of her face, on seeing me, reinforced the fact that I continued to have a special place in her heart. And when she saw Maman and his family, her happiness knew no bounds. The next half an hour was of great sentimental value and I've been able to extract a promise from my ma'asi to visit us at Guruvayur to spend a few days with us, with special emphasis on mom.

How times have changed? Vichaani kunjamma's office used to be a stone's throw away from my school, the Holy Angels' Convent. Soon after being admitted into the school, I suffered from 'severe homesickness' and used to sulk from class at the slightest pretext and end up at my ma'asi's office! The entire office staff used to egg me on to give up my sulking tendencies to do well in life!! Vichaani kunjamma used to be known for her exquisite and appropriate choice of clothes and made any meeting lively with her practical approach.

She, now, is quieter and lonely ever since the passing away of Santhan kochachan, three years back. Her subdued persona unsettles me.........can time bring about such drastic changes? Perhaps, major upheavals may bring about cataclysmic changes and kochachan's departure is an irrepairable loss....not only for her but for all of us. We're yet to get over that sad night!


After a quick bite, we'd gone to see the Malayalam movie, 'Varsham'. A possible story, tautly edited and nicely told with stellar performances by Mammootty, Asha Sarath and the rest of the cast!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Witnessing history

Had got up with the alarm at 4 and after quickly going through the morning chores, was off to the railway station by Anto's autorickshaw. Disaster struck soon after we'd reached the Mammiyoor kshetram - I'd forgotten to carry my cellphone! Luckily since I was well in time, we could make a quick dash back, fetch the stuff and proceed onward.

The journey was okay, but at Pudukkad, the train had an unscheduled stop of 20 minutes because somebody had pulled the chain! And that upset my meeting up with somebody at Idapalli to whom I'd to hand over an important piece of paper. The best thing that happened was that a ticket was waiting for me by the faster, Jan Shatabdi thanks to Paulson, Ramjith - both my ex-shipmates - and PT Joseph of the railways. What I'd to do was to just get off the Fast Passenger at the Ernakulam North railway station, collect it and press on with my journey to Thiruvananthapuram.

Memories of my schooldays and the numerous football matches that were witnessed whizzed past my mind as the train crossed Kaniyapuram and Kazhakuttam stations. By 2 o'clock, I'd reached the Foundation's office and without ado, joined in the preparations for attending a public programme that was to take place at 1600h at the premises of the Karakulam panchayat of Thiruvananthapuram district.

The mood at the venue was electrifying and there was tremendous enthusiasm that rent the air. Mr. Kunhalikutty, the state's Industry and IT minister, had declared the panchayat 100% e-literate, which incidentally, was the second in the district to have achieved this distinction as part of our ongoing drive. 68 year old, Paru, was thrilled to bits and was all smiles as she received her certificate proclaiming her 'e-literate' from the minister. She's, incidentally, a farm labourer!

History was being made!!


Snapshots of an earlier album flipped past during the event. The sight of Kathamma, an elderly lady of about 80 years, hugging my grandfather for having achieved the ability to write her name and put down her signature thanks to the relentless work of Muthachan's KANFED(Kerala Association for Non Formal Education and Development), came into focus with striking clarity.

......I'm sure Muthachan was there at the meeting grounds in spirit! And no pun intended, please!!


Monday, January 12, 2015

Frenetic activity!

Mom was slowly getting back to normalcy. Her doctor's advice of 'Betonin' to get back her appetite seemed to be on track! I'd rushed to our familiar medical shop to get the medicine.

Achu came in by 11 AM and slowly, the things were falling in place before I take off for Thiruvananthapuram tomorrow morning. Priya's request to send in my thoughts about her father, who's turning 60 later this month, has been heeded to. I could finally put my thoughts on paper about Babu, my classmate and friend. Phew! The effort was sent by speed post to overcome the delay on my part!!

Three things are gonna been done during my absence. Our land line telephone needs to be brought on stream, the guys had promised to restore it this week positively as the problem was with the cable and that I was to wait out my mandatory time in the queue as there were many other complainants before me! So much about the services being prompt in our country!! We need to go a long way on that front. Can't still understand as to why we can't take it as a pride to do work expected of us promptly and efficiently, thereby, avoiding unnecessary clutter. It's our silly need to feel important, as simple as that.

And then there was a call from the Foundation asking me to pick up a few diaries from the temple trust's library. I was woefully aware of the additional burden that I'd to carry but guys seemed to understand  my discomfiture(?) because they're out of stock!

We decided to call it an early night as it's gonna be a long day tomorrow.

To be frank, I ain't comfortable leaving Lekha in a flux, but the Foundation's requirement needs to be met. Period!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Life's cycle.

The last few days have given me great insight about life. Mom continues to be on a shaky wicket in that her appetite seems to have eluded her. Is it the result of the fairly insistent course of antibiotics, I wonder? Or is it that there's a residual fever, deep within, which is killing her need to eat? Her doctor has given a tonic to turn the tables and it's my fond hope that it works before I cast off for Thiruvananthapuram.

And yes, I was gonna talk about life's cycle. Let's take the case of a baby girl, as an example. The kid is dependent on her parents, during her formative years with an affinity towards the father to whom she confides with all her requirements. This undergoes a slight variation when she metamorphoses into a woman, when the mother becomes her confidante for setting aside 'purely girlie doubts' that she's uncomfortable asking her father about, but he continues to remain her hero!

Then comes marriage and a life with her man wherein they raise their own family. Life begins to center around the two of them and the children they sire. Though the father continues to be an important figure in her life, the focus would have shifted to the husband for taking important decisions for her family.

Life goes on and the children have acquired the stature to live their own individual lives and set up their families, facilitated by the parents. And as age advances, the parents usually end up staying with or within the vicinity of their children for life's intricate needs.

........My mom has been with me for over a year. And over the last few days, she's been dependent on me for toweling her hair dry after bath, putting on the safety pins and the hooks of her blouse, wearing of the sandals, taking medicines at appropriate times, moving up and down the stairs - once in the morning and once in the evening - and finally, for tucking her to bed for the night. Lekha isn't called as she's invariably caught up with some household chores!


Life's inevitable cycle that one has to go through!      

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Gearing up for next week's move.

I've been asked to fetch up at Thiruvananthapuram by Monday, for the next phase of the e-literacy programme of the Foundation. As I'd said earlier, this time we endeavour to cover the panchayats of Wyanad and Ernakulam districts.

Mom was not very happy to hear about it. Her health needs a bit more of perking up. The appetite has not returned and she's weak thanks to the antibiotic administration. I've already decided to delay my departure by a day and will tap the doctor, at hand, if the problem persists beyond Sunday. The viral fever, ex-Bangalore, has been crippling, I must say. Had taken a unilateral decision of restricting mom's antibiotic intake to three days as against the five that the doctor had advised. The reasons were two:-

     (a) it was very, very potent and I did not want mom to be unnecessarily stuffed with medicines.
     (b) there was a perceptible improvement in her overall condition.

I hope that the consequential break of three days wouldn't increase the in-built bacterial resistance to the medicine. My nephew, Achu, has been asked to join mom and Lekha to raise the spirits while I'm gonna be away.

The continuing delay in the restoration of our faulty telephone has been an irritant. Citing problems on the cable, I've been assured that it would be taken up next week as I'm in queue. Though, with two cellphones in hand, the problem is not acute its non-availability is definitely a sore point. And above all, mom finds it comfortable to use the landline compared to the cellphone!


As mom was coming down the staircase, she paused for a moment at the huge collage of photographs slung on the wall with a smile. When queried, she narrated the occasion a particular photograph was shot by dad, years ago. The photograph shows me explaining to my sisters, something that I was reading from a comic!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Some interesting scientific observations/happenings!

Science has been a vital aspect in the growth of mankind. The discoveries in the field over the years have given man new insights about life while inventions have contributed to living life easier. Now, consider a couple of these:-

    (a) Music binds mankind.

         Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, long back in the 19th century had called music the "universal
         language of mankind" and now, there's scientific proof that he was right!

         Academic researchers drawn from McGill University, Technische Universitat Berlin and
         l'Universite de Montreal travelled to the Congo to study how an isolated group - the Mbenzele
         Pygmies live without radio, television and electricity - responded to music. They've come to
         the conclusion that music can emotionally affect different groups in precisely the same manner!
         They compared the results with the way a group of Canadians from Montreal responded to the
         same, largely classical, western music and that created by the Pygmies. Earlier, the Africans of
         the Congolese rain forest were treated to music from Wagner to Star Wars!!

         The participants in the study would mark the end of each clip with an emoticon expressing how
         the music made them feel from a range of calm to excited. There were also tests with biosensors
         to check heartbeats and sweat on the palms, the breathing rate and little sensors to measure
         changes in the smiling and frowning muscles.

   (b) The star's age.

         Astronomers have been able to accurately estimate the age of a celestial star from how fast it
         is spinning. The team of astronomers had measured the spin speeds of stars that are more than
         a billion years old and they matched their predictions. They add that, just like the humans the
         stars, too, slow down as they age!

         The scientists of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have set themselves a goal             to construct a clock that can measure accurate and precise ages of stars from their spins.


Exciting times, indeed!



Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mom @ 80!

Today's mom's 80th birthday.

She's slowly limping back to normalcy after the nasty viral fever that had struck her while at Bangalore. The airconditioned multiplex did the trick, I'd forgotten to arm her with a pair of socks and a shawl!

In the morning at 6, I'd gone to her room to fetch my hat before going out for my walk when I found her already up and about. Kissing her on her forehead, I wished her many happy returns soon followed by Lekha and my sisters, Rema and Minni. Preetha, Lekha's understudy, had been dispatched to the temple for a special offering on her name.

Sudha, a management graduate who's gotten to be friendly with us on her earlier visits, dropped by and turned out to be the special guest for the cake cutting ceremony and then, there was the traditional lunch readied by Lekha and Preetha. Mom was visibly thrilled with the goings on while calls from our friends and relations kept coming from far and wide and wishes poured in.

           *                                               *                                                 *

Had called up Kurup kochachan, in the course of the day. I'd forgotten to wish him on his birthday that had quietly passed by on the 30th of last month. My mom's illness, followed by a spate of activities at Bangalore could be cited as excuses but they'd sound banal even to my own ears and hence, I desist. And wasn't he thrilled? He's waiting for two things, he said viz.

   (a) The next meeting of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy - of which he's a member - at
         Thrissur after which he stays with us here, at 'The Quarterdeck'.

   (b) The get together of the entire family that I'm planning at his residence at Paravoor. Indira
         kunjamma, currently at Pondicherry with her elder daughter, will return by early march after
         which the quorum would be complete!

He's the patriarch of the family and is coping with his aches and the pains, with Madhavan, the male nurse attending on him. His children, Gopu, Kala and Kannan visit him every week.


The first phase of 'the e-literacy programme' needs to be completed soon. There are 21 more panchayats to be visited so as to explain the nuances of the programme, spread across the districts of Wyanad, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Pathanamthitta. The next week, therefore, is gonna be full of movement!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's dad's third Remembrance Day.

Today was dad's third Remembrance Day as per the Malayalam calendar.

Time has really flown, since my dad had passed into the mist of time in the afternoon of 10 Jan 2012. I'd gone to the nearby 'Thiruvenkidam' temple, around 7 AM, to perform the yearly ceremony. Hari 'Thirumeni' steered us - there were four others with me - through the proceedings with clipped short instructions, that took a little over forty minutes. In his mid 40s, he'd gone about giving us the requisite ingredients that were to be offered to the 'souls' taking quick, short strides despite being restrained by his huge bloated legs thanks to the sickening ailment of Filariasis.

What I liked about him was that he didn't have a business like attitude, unlike quite a few others who're eager to make a fast buck during such occasions.

And dad remained in my thoughts all through the day. Mom - she's still recovering from the nasty viral fever and the after effects of the antibiotics administered on her - recalled a few anecdotes about my dad and laughed at his clumsy moments. A few distinct snapshots that zoomed into my mind from the deep recesses of my mind were:-

       - my dad trying to wake me up - I was feigning sleep and was angry with him for not having
         taken me along for an outing - to give me chocolates and a toy.

       - him walking away without looking back, even once, after admitting me at the boarding school.
         Earlier, he'd told me that I needed to be a brave boy!

       - his excited demeanour at my passing out from the NDA, Kharakvasla.

       - his happy countenance, at the New Delhi airport, when he and mom had come to spend a few
         days with us.

       - his thrill throughout the journey when we'd gone to the 'Palani' temple of Tamilnadu. He'd then
         told us that we needed to undertake such trips more frequently but little did I realise that it was
         gonna be his last trip!

Dad, we miss you!


It was a day of getting back to the 'Guruvayur frequency'! Clothes had to be washed, interrupted services had to be restarted and a few errands had to be run!!       

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bangalore to Guruvayur in 9 hrs.

I don't claim to be a fast driver, in fact, I must confess that I'm never comfortable beyond 90 kmph though I'd touched 120, in a sustained manner today, since the highway was really good. It's the odd vehicle that cuts across through the gaps in the center median that upsets once calculations and can end up in disasters, that are always waiting to happen.

We'd kicked off from my sister, Minni's place at Gottigere, Bangalore at the crack of dawn by 6 and the traffic was absolutely manageable. There was a bit of a faux pas committed by me in finding a stopover for a rest room break as mom and Lekha, why even me, had desperately wanted that break, as our bladders had begun to agitate, but the appropriate(?) place just didn't fetch up. Finally, there was this old lady's teashop by the wayside that stood out as a godsend! She was very kind and seeing my mom's difficulty in getting out of and into the car, she gave her a 'special' cup of tea. Kindness, yet again, from the quarters that one least expects it from!

And soon after, we drove past numerous swanky joints - a recurring phenomenon, always. You may have experienced it yourselves! - that came by but I can bet, without the kindness and thoughtfulness of the ever smiling Maariamma!

At Palakkad, we'd gotten into my sister's flat where she'd kept hot beverage for us before leaving for her school in the morning. Subsequent stops for lunch and for picking up some fruits, were the only breaks, that I'd allowed in between, before driving into 'The Quarterdeck' ...........after a fortnight! We'd done it in 9 hours flat!!

And as I parked my Chevy at the porch, Mom did echo our collective sentiments, "It's nice to be back"!


(a) It's disheartening to find the landline telephone dead.
(b) The grandfather clock had also stopped working!
(c) The evening walk was exhilarating and I could meet many of the people that I usually come across during the time.......and wish a few of them a happy new year, belatedly!!   

Monday, January 5, 2015

Back at Bangalore.

The morning went by without me doing anything much as we're booked on an evening flight. The guesthouse staff were expressive in their farewells as we left soon after lunch.

Alam, my 'saarthi', was as efficient as ever but hit a bad note when he was flagged down by a traffic cop for jumping a traffic light. He went running to the cops to justify his misdemeanor citing the reason that I was getting late for my flight. The cop was a nice fella and I did apologise to him for Alam's error saying that I should have corrected it then and there, when it took place.

At the airport we'd come across KS Vasan, my senior at school, quite accidentally and it was nice catching up with him after leaving the Academy. He has been able to indulge in his passion for flying by owning a small, light aircraft at Denver, USA that doesn't require any license as I understand. What was interesting was that he continues to be the simple guy that he was known to be at school! He'll be going back to Denver after 10 days but has promised to visit us at Guruvayur later!!

The flight was late by about 15 mts corresponding to the delay in taking off from Bombay. The Bangalore airport is the one that has really catered to the needs of the thousands of passengers by having the coach and cab facilities pretty close to the Departure and Arrival terminals!


Got our things ready for an early take off tomorrow morning. Mini had received us with a lovely dinner as usual. Thanks sis for everything!    

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A late but interesting afternoon.

Prakash Vishwe had left for Pune early in the morning and soon after we'd left the guest house for dropping the Inanis at the Bandra Railway terminus before heading for the Garewals' for an afternoon tryst. I shan't forget the journey for a long time to come.

The roads were choc-a-bloc with people in a celebratory mood thanks to the Milad-ul-Nabi. There were colourful pandals by the wayside waiting to provide food and water to the participants in a long procession of trucks and other carriers. Moving from one place to another was excruciatingly slow, one could lose one's temper at the drop of a hat.

And finally, we did reach the Garewals by 1630h......for lunch! But as the afternoon had melted by, we realised that out tortuous journey was worth undergoing for the sheer pleasure in meeting up with Gary sir and Sarabjeet.

The evening was short and sweet but meeting up with people continued to be the salient theme.


Could not make it to Pune to look up a friend simply because time couldn't be squeezed and suitable exit and return couldn't be worked out. Our loss!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A great union at Rithika's wedding!

I'd got up at 4 in the morning with thoughts of mom. After going through the morning chores, earlier than usual, I'd begun saying my daily prayers. It was then that I'd promised 'Guruvayoorappan' that I'd do the 'sayanapradakshinam'(side rolling on the inner pathway around the sanctum sanctorum) if I got good news about mom later in the morning.

And, as if on cue, my sister did tell me that mom was much better by about breakfast time! Phew!! God had responded!!!

The elaborate rituals and ceremonies, connected with the wedding, went through most of the forenoon and had ended by lunchtime. We did have the privilege of meeting up with more people but interacting with Mhaisalkar's wife, sister and mother was a wonderful moment.

The reception that followed, in the evening, at the Army Institute was colourful and gregarious. A brigadier had walked up to me in the course of the evening and introduced himself as my cadet at the NDA. He told Lekha that I was a 'terror' to him and his course mates during their training time and had attributed my efforts for his having come thus far in life. The 'Kodak' moment of the evening was when Pushpa, his wife, had captured us on his cellphone so that he could upload it to all his friends!
Thanks, Pradeep Nair, for making my day!


As we're driving into Colaba, we saw the infamous 'Adarsh' extending skyward like a huge behemoth but completely dark as though it was trying to hide itself because of its ignominy! I'd call it the symbol of blatant corruption indulged in by a few 'supposed to be honourable men'!!   

Friday, January 2, 2015

A guilt ridden journey

It was the early morning bus that brought us to the airport. The weather was nippy and the almost one hour wait at the Koramangala bus stop passed by without my realising it thanks to my conversation with Gopi Chittappan. It was at the airport that we'd realised that Lekha's identity card was not on person. The security staff was explained about the piquant situation and the young lady had allowed us entry into the airport!

The flight was uneventful and we reached Bombay at the appointed hour. Alam, my 'saarthi' during our stay, out here, seemed to have a cosmic connect with me as he'd given a call within minutes of my reactivating my cellphone after the landing formalities were over. The baggage clearance took an awfully long amount of time but soon we're off to the guesthouse that was gonna be our home for the next few days.

I'd called up my sister to inquire about mom's state and the answer was not very encouraging. The lab results were to be collected and shown to the doctor, which my sister did towards evening and she'd connected me to the doctor who said that he might have to admit mom if her condition did not improve within another 24 hrs. Her coughs had gotten to be too harsh and he'd prescribed a very potent drug to control it.

Suresh Inani with his wife, Indira and Prakash Vishwe had arrived before teatime and after, respectively. It was the commencement of a long, almost non stop chatter updating each other about ourselves since we're meeting up after having passed out of the Academy, so many years back. I felt that I was back in the Hunter Squadron as we recalled a slew of anecdotes.

The 'sangeet ceremony' was a grand affair and meeting up with Shekhar Murthy and Vijaya was simply great. The evening was exquisite meeting a whole lot of people - both friends and their relatives! It was almost midnight when we'd hit the sack.


As I was drifting to sleep, a strong feeling of guilt had overpowered me. I was having a ball out here while mom was suffering. Did I do the right thing by embarking on this trip notwithstanding the risk of losing the entire ticket fee?    

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The first day!

The Bangalore sky was overcast as I'd got up from bed. And rains weren't far behind. But despite all this, the weather was comparatively warm.

The packing was accomplished within no time. And we're ready to leave about an hour before the evening tea. Mom had also decided to accompany us in the car and her earlier weakness was nowhere to be witnessed! As I'd a quick glance at her weakness during lunchtime, I'd warned my sister that she must be having her weakness thanks to the regimen of antibiotics.

But it was glad having her along with us during our journey to Koramagala, the place where Lekha's uncle stayed. We'd seen them off soon after but not before mom's impromptu going around the corner at the parking space where there was hardly any movement of people.

Did I see my mom grow old over the last few days? The sudden discomfort, the consequent medical management and her almost passive existence have been quite worrying. Hope she regains her chirpiness by the time we return from Bombay! She'd nodded vigorously when I'd told her that she must be ready by 05 Jan in all respects so that we could leave for Palakkad and onward to Guruvayur on 06 Jan.

The deadline is real in that 07 Jan happens to be my dad's remembrance day and 08 Jan, my mom's birthday! I need to be at Guruvayur, positively, by PM 06 Jan. Period!


It was a wonderful evening with Lekha's Gopi chittappan and Jayanthi kunjamma. Moni, Derek and Adrian had dropped by to be with us. The evening at Korammangala was heavenly........And we've an early day tomorrow!