Sunday, May 31, 2015

Out of the hospital!

Lekha was supposed to be discharged tomorrow and therefore, the Sunday had begun in the usual manner as we went about our morning chores. However, by about a half past 10, Lekha's doctor had come on an unscheduled visit, changed the wounds' dressing and discharged her from the hospital.

Being a holiday, the procedure of discharge was gone through quickly without any waste of time. George, the sa'arthi, was at the main porch by 1630h and we set off for home after an eleven day stay. As we sped past familiar landmarks, it appeared to me that I was returning after a long, long time. Wonder why the feeling of a 'time warp' was being experienced? The beauty was that Lekha, too, had gone through a similar feeling!

Lekha's understudy had got our supper ready but had given us an ominous warning that water was not coming through the pipes despite the fact that the motor had pumped water into the twin overhead tanks. She'd, however, drawn water from the well and filled up three containers to tide over our immediate needs - damn sweet of her!

Within an hour we're back at home and George had helped me to pick up Lekha on her wheelchair, up the steps and onto the front landing, from the car. The rest of the evening was spent in acclimatising her to the changed circumstances and in the use of the wheelchair and she seems to be picking up the ropes pretty fast.

The water problem needed to be licked and I'd called up the contractor who assigned the working hands for such odd jobs. The trouble shooters had arrived soon after and the problem was identified to be one of the overhead tanks that had sprung a leak. It was replaced and the new one was connected up in place which took all of three hours.

The problem was licked, literally, by the end of the day!


There never seems to be a dull moment.       

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Is there a methodicity in the madness?

I hate to be conjuring up ulterior motives, hidden conspiracies and whipping up of agendas by political parties. But the events of the past, have proved many a time that political dispensations do unimaginably unethical things to acquire power at any cost with scant regard to the country's interests.

Being a citizen with undying loyalty for my country, I'm concerned about the manner in which quite a few things have been happening over the past few weeks. Consider these:-

    (a) A longish agitation by the Gujjars seeking to be included in the list of the existing OBC list.
          The untold suffering that they meted out to lakhs of train commuters, in the process, has been
          quietly given the burial.
     (b) Statements issued by the previous defence minister of seven years - AK Antony - to the effect
           that there has been no forward action on the One Rank One Pension(OROP) even after he'd
           completed all the paperwork are indeed laughable. If, for a moment, we accept his statement
           why was he strangely silent about it during the run up to the elections and claim it as a major
           achievement of his government?
     (c) And what about the general lethargy in procuring badly needed defence equipments, arms
           and ammunition? There was a propensity to take cognisance of anonymous letters and
           blacklist defence suppliers leaving the armed forces literally begging even for the
           essentials! Mishaps saw the resignation of the then Naval Chief, with the defence minister and
           the defence secretary going away without even a question being asked of them!
     (d) The Kejriwal - Lieutenant Governor turf war in Delhi with the aim of confronting the central
The Congress, meanwhile, seems to be trying to get its rank and file accept the elevation of Rahul Gandhi in the near future by letting him loose on all fronts and consequently, he's been making rash statements - baseless without any backing with facts - almost on a day to day basis . Those who wish him well must caution him about overstretching himself and falling prey to his own machinations!

I recall a few senior opposition leaders saying that Modi had no knowledge about statecraft and the intricacies of foreign policy and making him the PM would bring unmitigated disaster for the country. Not only has he conducted himself well in his foreign outings, but he has also got the Indians staying abroad feel proud about their roots with the host countries responding very enthusiastically to his overtures.

Coming to my initial apprehension, are his opponents worried that he's gonna do well and carve a niche for himself from the modest achievements of his first year in office? And therefore, is there a methodicity in the madness?


Allow him to rule the country for the mandate that he has secured. At the end of it, crucify him if he hasn't delivered......or even better, let the people speak out during the elections!   

Friday, May 29, 2015

Time has really flown...

A lovely message had come on my cellphone, around 2000h, as I was seeing off the guests who'd dropped by to see Lekha. They were also active members of the Foundation in the district and we'd taken the opportunity to discuss the activities connected with the 'Reading Day' on the 19th of next month.

"Sonia's the proud mother of a baby boy", said the SMS from Tommie at Bangalore. Tommie, as I'd said earlier on this forum, was a cadet in my house when he was in class VII at school and I was his House Captain. We'd attended Sonia's wedding at Bangalore in May '11.

Sonia, incidentally, is a talented young lady and we've had a soft corner for her since the day we saw her as a kid. She used to take pride in showing us her talent in painting, stitching, music and what not during our stays at their house during our leave. She's currently a most sought after costume designer in the Hindi movie world - and I'm sure another Bhanu Athaiya in the making. She's definitely gonna make us proud one day.

And the news, this evening, about her becoming a mother was overwhelmingly great.....As I go back in time, I'm reminded of that moment during her school's annual day when she wore a white frock with an array of frills, white stockings and a white hat singing a beautiful, evergreen number.....and she's a mother now! How time has flown....?!

May all good things happen for you little one, take care and here's wishing that you get whatever you wish for.


The work of clearing the wild growth, back at my dad's place, has been going on over the last week at a snail's pace. I only hope that it's finished with before the monsoon sets in. I ain't very sure but the caretaker says that the monsoon's gonna be late and that we'll be able to pull it off.......If we were to miss the deadline, the next chance we get to clear it would be only in November! 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A month long 'tamasha' in the offing.

The Assembly segment of Aruvikkara, in Thiruvananthapuram is going for polls next month. The seat has fallen vacant due to the death of G Karthikeyan, the former speaker of the house. The UDF, the LDF, the BJP and now, a fourth adversary in PC George who was recently expelled from the UDF are in the fray. The BJP is going by the party's performance in the segment during the last parliamentary elections and is hoping for a maiden victory!

And the 'tamasha' has started off in right earnest. The people of the area are amused by the sudden governmental bonanza, for example to name just a couple are:-

      (a) the primary health centre that had just one doctor till now has been augmented with additional
           ones when the authorities have always been saying that they're short of doctors!
      (b) the roads criss-crossing the segment have been given a facelift.

The games politicians play are simply amazing!

The LDF has zeroed in on M Vijayakumar, a former speaker and minister as its candidate and the UDF seems to be hell bent on roping in the late Karthikeyan's kin - his wife or one of the sons and something in me tells that it's gonna be one of the sons. Let's see how my crystal ball gazing is, huh? - to seal the seat in the fond hope that it can cash in on the sympathy vote, its scam ridden reputation notwithstanding!

Over the next few weeks, tall promises will be made, wild and unsubstantiated charges will be hurled at each other making it one of the most entertaining event that will outsmart all of the reality shows on television that are currently on! It can also turn out to be the dirtiest slug fest ever seen in politics till now!!


After having said the above, it's my fond hope that all the concerned parties will exercise restraint and maintain a sense of propriety to ensure decorum and decency in electoral politics!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Today at the hospital.

It was like yet another day to begin with. I'd got up at a quarter past 5 and went about my normal chores. An hour after breakfast, Lekha was taken to the operation theatre for the dressing up of her wound. Subsequently, the doctor had confirmed that she would be discharged by next Monday, necessitating a few visits to the hospital for review and for redoing the dressing over the next few weeks. The two months' follow on rest should pass in that manner!

And now for the day's little stories.......

      *                                  *                                   *

Radha, our friend, had come by soon after Lekha was back from the operation theatre. She and her mom had returned from Coimbatore - for a change of scene for her mom after her dad's death and also because most of her relations stayed there - just a couple of days back. One look at her confirmed the fact that she was yet to be relieved off the pain of her dad's passing away. We tried our best to get her out of that state through the thread of conversation and I must say that I could elicit laughter out of her with my PJs.

As I was escorting her out of the hospital, a gentleman had stopped me to ask as to whether I was a doctor, taking me and Radha by surprise. Never knew that I looked like one in my casuals that was creased with the folds, having long lost their stiffness!

      *                                  *                                    *

Paulson's - my ex-shipmate, who'd put in his unwillingness for re-engagement while I was leaving saying that he wouldn't be able to serve under anyone after having spent time with me - parents had come by in the evening to inquire about Lekha. And as they settled down, they told us about their cute love story - Jose, a mallu Christian boy and his wife, a Hindu girl from Cudappah who'd fallen madly in love with each other at Visakhapatnam and tied the knot, 38 years ago, on the 1st of May!


Radha is getting us home cooked food tomorrow for lunch. Damn cute of her. Later, I'd to tell Mrs. Jose that we'd have a meal at their place once things were back to normal when she'd expressed her intention of serving us with food for the remaining days that we're gonna be here.

Such gestures do overwhelm me. And come to think of it.......I haven't done anything for them.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What the hell is happening?

In Kerala, why is this feeling coming to the common man that the ruling dispensation is becoming more and more helpless in containing its internal strife and acrimony? The investigation on the bar bribery case pointing at KM Mani, the Finance Minister, is increasingly becoming porous with every aspect being made public thanks to an active media with support from within the ruling dispensation.

The factors that tickle me are the following:-

     (a) Is the Oommen Chandy government corrupt as the opposition says?
     (b) If affirmative, why hasn't it taken appropriate action on the floor of the house placing solid
           proof to make the government prove its 'cleanness' rather than making wild allegations without
           anything concrete to back them up?
     (c) Every one from Saritha(of the solar scam) to Biju Ramesh(of the bar bribery case) makes
           astounding revelations on scams and loose morals as though it's one continuous reality show!
     (d) Why are the investigations taking an inordinately long time to unearth the truth?

The upshot of the whole thing is that the man on the street is fast losing faith in the institutions that need to be above board in any democracy. There are a lot of good initiatives that have been taken by the government and one of the novel ideas has been the chief minister's personal interaction with his people through 'the mass contact programmes' done district wise. Many long pending issues have been resolved from the feedback on the ground. But the sad part is that the bureaucracy sometimes sits on his directives or refuses to take action!

Politics needs to be more purposeful so as to provide the people with good governance.


Wonder when our politicians will channelise their energies towards the welfare of the people that give them their votes? And will we Malayalees ever learn to stop criticising anything and everything? 



Monday, May 25, 2015

The sixth day.

It's our sixth day at the hospital.......time seems to be flying.....It was also Lekha's birthday by the Malayalam calendar. Calls from close relations and friends had started coming in from 6 o'clock. I'd wished her many happy returns with a couple of Cadbury's chocolate bars!

The day had begun early as usual with the sister, on duty, coming and giving Lekha her first infusion. The hospital was slowly come back to life and soon extended queues in front of the doctors' rooms were in place.

Lekha's younger sister and her son were the first set of visitors of the day. She'd dropped her elder son at his boarding school nearby before coming to the hospital. And then came our neighbours. Ten minutes into our conversation, Lekha was taken to the operation theatre for the review. The cast on the graft was removed to ascertain that the healing process was on.

The doctor had then briefed me about applying another cast after three days. He, then, gave us an option of going home to return for review after five days or for staying on for another five days till the last of the casts was removed and replaced with a light dressing which would go on for the next 45 days. We chose the second option.

The doctor had clearly spelt out the following facts:-
      (a) the new wound was above the old graft to provide better anchor for the newly positioned skin.
      (b) it would, therefore, be able to take more shocks and stress from the movement of the foot,
            when things became normal.
      (c) aesthetics had been achieved but its priority was low as the preceding points had to be
           adhered to.

In short, the wound has become bigger than what it was last.


Was reminded of the words of the doctor who'd done the surgery last year, "You see sir, we shall hope and pray that Lekha's SLE never perks up again because in such an eventuality, the graft would be rejected by her system which will see the new skin as a foreign body!"

That's a disheartening thought to live with, I shall hope that such an eventuality never arises, ever!       

Sunday, May 24, 2015

When the mind wanders.......

I was watching television today and one of the programmes consisted of songs from old movies - the ones that were hits and superhits during my childhood.

I was reminded of two of my friends who used to stoke my passion about films. Mind you, the time frame takes me back to my days in class III at the Holy Angels' Convent at Thiruvananthapuram during Autumn '63. Sidney Stephen, from Pettah, was my classmate and a good friend. He used to narrate a film's story, 'frame by frame' - how he knew that I loved every aspect of his narration is something that continues to baffle me even today. The patience that he displayed in retelling the stories to my satisfaction was touching. The Sathyan-Ambika starrer, 'Aadyakiranangal' was the first of so many movies that he'd narrated to me.

I think I can passably imitate Sydney in narration but how I wish I could meet him now and spend time with him and perhaps, hear him all over again for old times sake! He'd shifted to the St Joseph's High School while I was shifted to the Model High School in Autumn '65.

Another friend was Chandrasekhar, who was with me in class V at the Model School, again at Thiruvananthapuram. He'd another added quality of reading out from the comics, exclamatory marks et all. Tarzan's immortal 'kreegah.....bundolo..' comes readily to my mind along with the expressive face of Malayalam cinema's patriarch, Madhu's brother-in-law - yes, he's related to the actor!

The passion and exuberance about life were the biggest qualities in the both of them and no, I don't remember having seen them in low spirits, ever. I'm sure that they'd be possessing the same zest towards life with equal intensity, even now.

How I wish I could be with them now! Hey, Sydney and Chandrasekhar, where are you? I want to be with you guys. Am I asking for too much? God, pse do grant me my wish!


I'm using this forum to locate these friends of mine, both Trivandrumites! Help!!

Padmakumar and Achu dropped by in the evening and it was nice having them for company. By the time they'd reached back at their home, at Palakkad, it was a half past 9.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Is it a trend that's becoming universal?

There's an increasing tendency to point out mistakes in others, often without asserting their veracity and much after the truth is out the protagonists who'd begun the nasty campaign do not even have the grace to accept their wrongdoing. Or what can one expect from such mean people? Secondly, going by the maxim that 'there's no smoke without fire', why can't the people on whom allegations have been raised show an eagerness to clear themselves and come back with greater strength?

I'm touching upon a few misdemeanour that have grabbed the headlines in the past few days that seem to reinforce this apprehension of mine:-

      (a) Fingers have been pointed at a prominent leader of the CPM in the suicide of an official of
           the Malabar Cements. Rather than disproving the allegations beyond doubt and clearing his
           name, the fault is being put on the CBI for having fabricated the evidence to implicate him!

           Why should the premium investigating agency implicate him? Or is he pointing out that the
           agency is made to do wrong things at the bidding of the political dispensation in power which
           we'd always doubted?

      (b) A serving IG was caught for copying in an examination recently. None of the witnesses -
            who're in the examination hall along with the police officer - have given evidence to the
            investigators regarding the episode. Why doesn't the police officer clear his name once for
            all by disproving the allegations? Can he ever be convincing to his subordinates, colleagues
            or superiors from now on?

           Will any invigilator make allegations on a senior police officer just like that? Is it a case of
           collective amnesia on the part of the witnesses? Or have they been silenced with dire 
           consequences if they're to come out with the truth?

      (c) The road constructing agency had wanted to collect the toll on the stretch of NH 47 - between
            Walayar and Vadakkancherri, which is just a stretch of 54 km and much short of the larger
            work - from today onwards citing that it's as per the contract! Strong public sentiments
            dissuaded them from the misadventure.

            How can an agency carry out its own agenda with complete disregard to the laws of the land?
            Or was it agreed in the contract that the agency had such powers? What's the monitoring 
            agency doing?


Why should such misdemeanour be taking place? Is it a growing trend of the times? Doesn't ethics have any place in our lives? 


Today's visitors were Lekha's dad, her elder sister, Letha and her husband, Murukesan along with Maari, their 'sa'arthi'. The doctor's customary rounds took place around the same time and they could meet each other. Even Arathi, the dietician, interacted with them.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Of sights and sounds in and around our current environment!

It was a restful night in the new room numbered 325. We're on the third floor and a slice of the town is visible and within earshot. And the day had begun at a half past 4 which is now becoming a habit, wonder why? Anyways, I've taken the quietness of the morning hours as an advantage to recite my prayers. Every hospital has its own unique signature and that's what I'm gonna gloss over in this edition of my thoughts:-

  (a) The thin dividing line.

        The reception counter, where every new patient checks in to have a dossier made on himself in         the fond hope of getting over his medical difficulty, stands beside the morgue, where he could
        end up if he were to lose that battle. A singular wall separates the 'ingress' and the 'egress' of
        life! And paradoxically, smack opposite the reception counter stands the canteen which provides
        food for the inmates of the hospital. Isn't it a bit strange that all aspects of life stand close by to
        one another in close proximity, reiterating the essence of life?

   (b) Apportioning resources to tide over the difficulty.

         Lekha's left leg is in an over sized cast to ensure zero movement of the graft, put in place. She's
         not supposed to use that leg for the next couple of months as per the doctor's diktat and she
         abhors the use of bed pans! I'd worked out the plan to move in and out of the attached rest room
         using the existing resources and had briefed her about it. She's the disadvantage of not being
         able to pivot on her free leg and therefore, has to be eased on to a wheelchair from the bed
         and then wheeled to the door of the rest room so that she can be transferred to a chair kept
         there which is finally dragged on to the destination.

         The nursing staff, in attendance, seem to appreciate the ingenuity because it takes their load off!

   (c) When the staff let go off a collective despair!

         I was returning from the canteen with milk in a styrofoam container and was passing through
         the main mezzanine when the glass of milk slipped and dropped on to the floor. The manager,
         the nursing staff present in the vicinity, the security duo and the medical shop counter girls let
         go off a collective sigh at the loss while I apologised for having spoiled the spick and span
         floor. The mopping up was done almost immediately. I found that they're monitoring me all
         through when I'd retraced my steps with a second glass of milk! Probably, I was noticed
         because the crowd was thin as it was the closing hours and for the people at work, it was a
         distraction that they didn't mind.


There's a schoolmate of mine - junior to me and no, I haven't seen him during my times - who's a paediatrician out here. He'd dropped by to say hello and assured me of help that I might need. It gave me a nice feeling, I must admit!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

The surgery.

The countdown for the surgery had begun last night itself at 10, when Lekha was told not to have any food or water from then on.

There were two more pricks before turning in for the night - one was a test dose for an antibiotic and the other for the insertion of the 'canula' into one of her veins through which infusions would be given intravenously over the next few days at the hospital! I saw her cringing, anticipating the pain, especially after the recent traumatic experience but the sister who'd done it this evening was not only an expert but also a patient gal!

Lekha's doubt about her last year's surgery being without needle pricks had to be cleared against the non availability of the 'Hyper Baric Oxygen Therapy' system. This time the healing of the wound would require antibiotics and perhaps, pain killers in the beginning.

I was up by 0430h, went through my chores and said my prayers. I'd quietly slunk off from the room to have a cuppa' tea at the canteen nearby because I didn't want to have it when Lekha wasn't able to have her's. Some might dub it as non-pragmatic behaviour but there are certain sentiments deep within that can never change!

She was wheeled into the pre-operative ward by a quarter to 8. The phones were completely abuzz with friends and family wanting to know the minute to minute of the happenings here. I was called into the post operative ward by about a quarter to 12. Did I see that overwhelming look of relief on her face on seeing me and her smile told me that all was okay. Soon after, the doctor had called me in again to explain the entire surgery and the proposed actions to heal the wound during the stay out here.

And yes, we'd got a more comfortable room on the third floor by 7 o'clock in the evening. Lekha was wheeled into the room direct, from the post operative ward around that time. Earlier she'd her first meal in the form of buns and a cup of tea that I'd collected from the local restaurant near the hospital gate.

The day of the surgery had gone off peacefully, phew and our second day, at the hospital, has also got ticked off on the calendar, in the bargain!


Sometime in the evening, my good friend Arun Nandy had called up inviting us to his daughter's wedding at Calcutta on 06 Jun. I'll have to see as to how I'm gonna pull it off - attending the wedding, I mean, because we're good friends and I know that it will mean a lot to him!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Attendant to Lekha@hospital, once more!

The graft put in place on Lekha's left foot, last year, to cover a non-healing ulcer had ruptured at two places because of her overactive schedule during the recently concluded annual festival of the Guruvayur temple. Since I was away on the 'Yatra', I wasn't there to monitor her activity which I'd have otherwise restricted!

Review by her immunologist, followed by specific tests of dsDNA and C3, have confirmed that the SLE continues to be dormant and there wasn't anything to worry on that score. It was also decided to go for a regraft under the auspices of a young and reputed plastic surgeon in the vicinity. The wound's infection has now been brought under control by the five-day course of antibiotics that got over last Monday.

After seeing off the Vijayakumars in the morning by 9, George had brought us to the hospital in town and the admission formalities were gone through. Meanwhile, Lekha was put through the pre-surgery checks by the anesthetist and prepared for the surgery scheduled at 1030 hrs tomorrow. There was a bit of a problem regarding the availability of rooms which was sorted out in the course of the day.

It's thus a hospital regime for the next seven to ten days for the both of us. And it's our fond hope that things will be brought under control forever. The doctor, taking care of Lekha, had explained his plan of action regarding the surgery tomorrow to us, along with the anesthetist.

The hospital is situated smack in the center of the city of Thrissur. The mad traffic, the sound of screeching brakes and wailing ambulances terminating at the hospital's premises have become a continuous affair. We've started getting familiar to the new sounds!


The food from the canteen nearby is tasty minus the frills! I guess it will check my increasing girth since exercising and the customary walks have been abandoned during the period of hospitalisation!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Limbering up, yet again.

I can't really say that the day was hectic because there was a lot to do but plenty of slack time was available in between.

The first activity was to get our bags ready for the hospital admission tomorrow. Since we'd already gone through a similar exercise last week the actual effort was minimal and the bag was ready much before lunchtime. My classmate, Vijayakumar, along with his family, had arrived by sunset for an overnight stay. Earlier, I'd told him about Lekha's impending hospitalisation but he was still eager to stay at our place assuring that they'd leave tomorrow by 9, when we're to proceed to the hospital! And I didn't have the heart to say 'nyet' because I was also keen on having him on board!

We shifted our personal effects to mom's bedroom while the other two were readied for the foursome. Lekha had already decided to give them a full fledged dinner instead of the earlier plan to go out. Her assistant had indeed done a good job.

My classmate out here, Ramanujan and Prema, had dropped by and interacted with the Vijayakumars before they left to have an evening visit to the temple. They'd returned by a half past 9 and then we got on to a regular singsong session! In between, ideas and thoughts were exchanged making their visit very meaningful.

For them, the visit to the temple also had a great meaning because their vow of getting their son and his wife to pray and do a special puja after the couple had gone through bad times while at the US, was fulfilled!

Thanks Vijayakumar and family for making the day very special for us in the bargain.


Everyone who'd come in today, missed mom. The Ramanujans had got Aryan, their grandson just to meet her!  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Adieu, Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug.

After being in a vegetative state for the past 42 years, Aruna passed into the mist of time this morning.

A peep into Aruna's life:-
    (a) 1966                  Hailing from Haldipur, Karnataka, joins King Edward Memorial Hospital,
                                   Bombay as a staff nurse.
    (b) 27 Nov '73        Brutally assaulted by wardboy, Sohanlal Bhartha Valmiki in her room when
                                   she was changing clothes after duty. Incensed about having been reported
                                   to the authorities on his waywardness, he'd throttled her neck with
                                   a dog chain while raping her anally.
                                   She was engaged to a junior doctor and choosing not to report on the rape lest
                                   the couple be embarrassed, the police had filed a case of attempted
                                   murder and robbery as reported by the then Dean of the KEM hospital.
                                   Sohanlal is sentenced to 7 yrs imprisonment in '74.
                                   Consequently, the following happened:-
                                      (i) she was abandoned by her family.
                                     (ii) her fiance abandoned his wait after 7 yrs.
                                    (iii) she became a permanent inmate of the hospital, taken care of by her
     (c) 1980                 Sohanlal walks out of jail and allegedly returns to attack a comatose Aruna.
                                    He's reportedly working as a wardboy in a private hospital in New Delhi.
     (d) 1999                 Activist Pinki Virani moves court for euthanasia - mercy killing.
     (e) 07 Mar 2011    Supreme Court rejects the plea for mercy killing - passive euthanasia,
                                   wherein the withdrawal of the life support systems is, however, cleared. Her
                                   colleagues insist that they'd care for her at whatever cost!
     (f) 18 Mar 2015    She passes into the mist of time by about 0830h.

My take.

What a gruesome tragedy? This is yet another example to show as to how strange life is. We answer for past sins in the cycle of births that the soul goes through. A couple of doubts creep into my mind at this juncture:-

     (a) Was Aruna, through the 42 yrs of vegetative existence, answering for her past karma?
     (b) On the other hand, Sohanlal seems to have got away lightly after committing such a heinous

RIP, Aruna! My humble prayers and tears.


Active euthanasia is illegal in our country even to this day. Isn't it time to look at it in a more pragmatic manner?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Of botched injections and bleeding forearms.

Lekha was advised a five-day antibiotic course - to be taken intravenously - to contain the infection of the non healing ulcer on her left foot before she went in for a regraft in the coming week.

Accordingly, we've been visiting the nearby hospital every morning, around 8 AM, for the five day course. Today's was the fourth day. The reception that we get is fantastic with the staff being exceptionally nice and courteous to us. But despite the best of intentions, the bureaucratic red tapism exists and a few - manning the counters like the pharmacy, the billing section to name just a couple and though minimal in numbers - are simply obnoxious by their attitude. I mean, they do not seem to have the sense of urgency to dispose off a patient!

I often wonder whether the very same people would tolerate an indifference in attitude from the hospital staff, if any of their near and dear ones was at the receiving end. I'm perplexed that they're ignorant about the fact that they exist because of the contributions from the patients and their dwindling numbers due to perceived insensitivity/bad bedside manners will eventually affect their own livelihood!

This morning, two sisters attending on Lekha, tried for over a good half an hour to pick a vein to push in the infusions. Each attempt caused tremendous pain to her as she howled in muffled tones and writhed on the bed. The sister duo was simply unable to get it right. I was watching the whole drama with anguish and could feel a rage rising within me. Had it persisted, I'd have exploded, perhaps! But deep within I knew that it was essential to hold my horses failing which I'd be inadvertently unsettling the injecting duo, prolonging the agony much to Lekha's discomfort!!

The task was finally accomplished, phew! As we took leave of the sisters, I noticed the following:-

       (a) the injecting duo seemed to find it difficult to meet us eye-to-eye because of the mess up.
       (b) they refused to bill me for their services and
       (c) they genuinely felt sorry for the botch up and rubbed Lekha's affected hand by rubbing a
             cream and massaging it.

I suppose not everyone in the medical profession - that includes the doctors along with the nursing staff - can give a hassle free, smooth injection. That ability is god given, huh! There could also be the case of a botching up on a particular attempt even for an otherwise good 'injector'(If I may be permitted to coin a word).


Lekha had five needle marks on her left forearm with caked blood showing on a couple. An outsider might have misunderstood her to be a confirmed 'junkie' at the miserable sight!


Saturday, May 16, 2015

The sand mafia.

Mafia syndicates - of all hues - seem to thrive in the tiny state of Kerala. That they've a close nexus with the politicians and the police is a known fact. Therefore, when fights spark between them it boils down to a struggle between differing political affiliations.

They seem to be a law unto themselves and the powers that be, helplessly, concede that the law that's applicable to you and me just doesn't seem to bother them! Regarding the specific aspect of sand mining, the government has promulgated a list of places from where sand can be mined and the prices established but unfortunately, there aren't very many takers.

Sand mined from unauthorised places, on the other hand, fetch a handsome amount. A normal sized truck, laden with sand, can fetch up to Rs.25,000/- and the income generated can be deduced if the truck were to make just four trips! The police has reported that they're brought under tremendous pressure if they take action against the offenders because of political patronage. In fact, stories are a plenty about political parties owning 'sand mining' stretches!

Thus, fighting such a syndicate, can only be pursued at the cost of great risks to the investigating officer. And that's what had happened to Sub Inspector KM Rajan of the Pariyaram Police Station of Kannur district. The sub inspector had boarded one of the lorries loaded with sand and the goons had driven off the vehicle to an isolated place, where he was severely beaten up and chucked out. SI Rajan, is currently admitted in a private hospital where he's battling for survival!

In summation, consider these:-

      (a) This is a state with a very high percentage of literate population.
      (b) The Malayalees are known for their stubborn attitude and a longing for white collar jobs.
      (c) The Malayalee is also known to be an arch critic of anything and everything.
      (d) The tolerance levels among people have dipped alarmingly. Even healthy criticism,
            paradoxically, has few takers.
      (e) The tendency to flout the laws and hurl the wildest of allegations on one's opponents are
            now becoming common phenomena.
      (f) Governmental positions - once considered sacrosanct and the persons holding them the
           embodiment of propriety - have lost their lustre because of the elevation of tainted and pliant
           persons! If a committee looking into a grievous lapse comes up with facts, it's ridiculed
           and its findings dumped!!
      (g) The decisions taken by one political dispensation is set aside by the other if a particular
            decision doesn't suit its ideology, the state's well being be damned!

The list is endless and it would be pointless putting them down but the end result is that the state has not made any progress in key areas. Decisions, having long term ramifications or long lead time, are quietly dumped for immediate gains. It's a bleak situation indeed!

Coming back to the heroic Sub Inspector KM Rajan. It's my fond hope that he comes out of his medical ordeal without problems.

Rajan, I salute your sense of duty and your fearlessness! May your heroics ignite a thousand young minds to follow your footsteps!!


It was our 24th wedding anniversary which we celebrated in a very quiet manner sans the usual cake cutting ceremony in the presence of friends and relatives.  

Friday, May 15, 2015

The transformation is complete!

This evening, around 5, we'd a guest who'd dropped by unannounced. In fact, as usual, I'd bungled about her name - a routine that's getting quite frequent these days - much to her unhappiness! She was Sudha, who'd dropped by on her first field assignment - about six months back or was it a year? -trying to sell her company's wares, as part of the BTech curriculum that she was following and had gotten to be our friend ever after.

A chit of a girl - hailing from the tribal belt of Idukki with her education being funded by her mother working in one of the stone quarries out there, innocence writ large on her face and the genuine surprise that she had when we'd invited her inside to show us the goods that she'd on offer - who'd the quest of knowledge in her eyes and the fire in her belly to be an achiever as she grew up, endeared herself to us instantaneously.

After establishing contact, she'd come about four more times as part of her field assignments and we did encourage her by buying a few articles, though there wasn't any hard pressed need for the same. I would hasten to add that she never pestered us to buy things from her either! It was a covenant between us. Period!

This evening's was her farewell visit and she'd got us a packet of sweets. Her training was coming to an end by 31 May, when she takes over as an Assistant Manager in the semi-governmental firm at Adimali, near her hometown. She seemed to be sad at the prospect of never having to do field work in her professional life again which had given her 'the privilege of meeting people like us'! She looked more confident of herself, had taken care to dress up tastefully with her watch strap matching the colour of her dress and just about the right amount of makeup. She's indeed grown over the last few months and we're sure that her mom would be proud of her.

I saw a tinge of sadness in her eyes when I told her that my mom was away at Palakkad to tide over the period of Lekha's impending hospitalisation. As she was sipping tea - something that she never did on her previous visits except for having a glass of water - she told us of a tragedy that had overtaken her in the recent past. Shivaram, her fiance, who was working in a private firm at Madras had a tragic end in a road mishap when his bike was hit by a speeding tipper lorry.

Lekha and me tried our best to ease her melancholy but we knew that only time would erase her pain. She took down our contact numbers and address and insisted on helping me put on the bandage around Lekha's foot.

Here's us wishing you the very best in life, young lady and we shall pray that you get whatever you wish for in the coming years. And never ever lose your simplicity!


She got out of 'The Quarterdeck', accompanying me on my walk till the bus stop nearby to wait for her bus that would eventually take her to her hostel at Mannoothy. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A recipe for disaster!


The 'Sweet Meat Street' or 'Mithaai Theruvu' in Kozhikode has all the ingredients that can cause a disaster! The street has acquired its name from the good old days when the Zamorin of Kozhikode had invited Gujarati sweet meat makers to trade in the city. Today it sells anything and everything including the famous sweets (Especially, the Kozhikodan halwa that are predominantly of orange and brown hues) and banana chips. It continues to be the busiest street in Kozhikode.

The disaster.

According to eye witnesses, fire was first sighted at Naseeruddin's 'Beauty Stores' which then quickly spread into the wholesaler 'Brothers Stores' atop it, that distributed hosiery items, at around 2145 hrs last evening. The fire raged on to gut down about seven shops resulting in a loss estimated in crores before being brought under control by the hapless fire force - more about that later! It took 16 hours to douse the fire.

History of disasters.

The street has had a string of disasters in the past viz.:-

      (a) 17 Feb 1995            18 shops were gutted down by fire.
      (b) 05 Apr 2007            Fire at MP Road at Sweet Meat street that claimed 8 lives.
      (c) 09 Dec 2010            8 shops gutted down by fire and now,
      (d) 13 May 2015           7 shops gutted down by fire.

The factors that make it prone to disasters.

What causes the disasters? Why do they happen time and again? Why aren't concrete steps taken to remove potential disasters in future?

The answers are not hard to find but first, the causes:-

       * The street consists of about 600 shops crammed into over a century-old buildings of
          unscientific design and infrastructure.
       * Outdated electrical wiring in almost all shops perennially prone to short circuits.
       * Wrong practices of stowing tons of stock ranging from textile, stationery, leather goods and
          other fancy items, often close to fire prone areas.
       * The shops are so old that they've tiled-roof structures with crumbling wooden ceilings,
          and staircases susceptible to fire.
       * Even a minor fire can flare up into a major catastrophe because of its narrow, inaccessible
          lanes and a pathetically outfitted local fire and rescue unit.

Having said the above, it's not difficult to understand as to why the disasters take place time and again, without let up!

Resistance from local merchants supported by politicians pose a major hurdle in:-
        * Improving safety standards in the market streets.
        * Scientifically redesigning the market area.

The same old problem of corruption and resistance to change! Will we ever learn?


A few steps in the right direction have been taken, post tragedy, which are:-

         (a) The Sweet Meat Street heritage project, conceived in 2005, has been given the cabinet nod
               which entails the following:-
                       (i) Improve infrastructure while preserving the heritage of the street.
                      (ii) Transparent roofing.
                     (iii) Walkways.
                     (iv) Cast iron frames and granite pillars for shops.
                      (v) Decorative lighting, rewiring and renovation of the shops with the traders' support.

         (b) The tourism department has appointed the 'State Nirmithi Kendra' as the implementing
               agency for the project @ Rs.5 crores.

It's my fond hope that it doesn't turn out to be a case of another 'never ending' project of the government!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Undoing the morning's efforts!

Lekha was poised for admission at a hospital in town and over the last 24 hrs, it was preparation time for moving into its premises for a week to ten days as the doctor had told us. The graft on her leg, put in place about a year back, had ruptured at two points showing an open wound. And keeping the wound open, however regular one was with its cleaning and dressing everyday, was inadvisable as it could cause complications later.

The surgery was slated for tomorrow afternoon. Accordingly, George had ferried us to the hospital at the appointed hour and in businesslike fashion, the previously conducted test results were collected while she underwent the two remaining ones.

Lugging the bag, full of our personal effects for the period of stay along with my laptop, called for careful navigation and security through the cramped and crowded corridors of the hospital. We're, finally, at the department of Plastic Surgery and had a short wait before the doctor could attend on Lekha's test results. And it didn't take long on his part to come to the conclusion that the surgery had to be postponed, thanks to a persistent infection of the ulcer.

A five day course of an antibiotic, at a nearby hospital, was what he then advised, rescheduling the new dates of admission and surgery for 20, 21 May, respectively.

George had to be recalled from Guruvayur for our return journey. We're back home by a trifle after our usual lunchtime. Folks were informed about the change in plans, the milkman and the newspaper boy told to continue with their visits and every window of the house had to be opened all over again! Had also set up with the local hospital about the administration of the antibiotic on Lekha from tomorrow morning.

And all through the day it was raining, pitter patter except during the evening when it had escalated into a thundershower, but thankfully, after my customary walk!


The rescheduling was brought about because of a faux pas on my part. The results were available on the 9th and all I needed to do was to collect them and show it to the doctor forthwith. The course of antibiotics could have begun by the 10th and perhaps, the rescheduling of dates could have been done accordingly! Bad show, Rajeev!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Were the allegations wrong?

I'm talking in the context of Jayalalitha's acquital in the disproportionate assets case. As a common man, being an observer and a bystander, I'm baffled by the entire sequence of the case. Let me try to list out my queries that are begging for answers and I'm sure that many of you might be in the same dilemma as I'm in, right now:-

    (a) The amount that she was supposed to have amassed was to the tune of Rs. 66 crores. How
          has the disputed amount now reduced to just Rs.22 crores? The answer has also been given that
          the prosecution was not able to give a credible argument regarding the slashed Rs.44 crores!
          From childhood, I've been taught that stealing even a rupee showed one to be lacking in
          integrity. Has someone in the prosecution had a change of heart?

     (b) By the new observations, it looks as though the trial court was all at sea while handling the
           case insofar as the technicalities are concerned. Can such serious lapses be made by a lower 

     (c) If she has been cleared of all the charges as they've been proved baseless beyond doubt, why
          is she not taking the complainant to court for slander and for besmirching her reputation? Or
          is she being magnanimous(?) in victory, a quality that she's not known to possess?

The photograph showing one of her staunch supporters pouring milk over her poster and paying obeisance was splashed on all newspapers of the day. Just shows the levels to which political leaders are deified in our country.


Hope she provides good governance to her people in her latest 'avatar'. They deserve that for their unflinching faith in her!  

Monday, May 11, 2015

The pre-monsoon showers.

It was an early morning for us and my plan was to reach 'The Quarterdeck' by 9 o'cock so that I could finish up small jobs before Lekha's hospitalisation  on Wednesday. Accordingly, we'd set off from my sister's place by a quarter to 7. The roads were empty and slowly getting to be active but the almost continuous showers, all through the route, made driving with wipers a necessity. Thankfully, when we'd reached our home there was a lull in the rain and therefore, I could open the gate and guide the Chevy into the porch without having to use the umbrella, which I wasn't carrying anyways!

The first task was to invite my uncle and aunt who're at Guruvayur since last evening to celebrate his 60th birthday. At the cake cutting ceremony, a cousin of mine and his family had come by and they're the unscheduled visitors. Last week, when I was at home, they'd told me about their proposed visit to Guruvayur shortly but I never thought that it would be at so short a time frame. Their presence, however, did enhance the aura of the occasion.

The day was dull with a pitter patter, almost all day through. My work had to be postponed since people were coming and going. Had mom been here, she'd would have been the happiest to entertain the guests. The dynamics are mutual because all those who'd come by did express their regrets at not being able to meet her!

Towards evening, Madhu and Rekha had queried as to whether they could drop by as they're passing through Guruvayur. I'd to reluctantly drop my customary walk but the downpour, soon after, justified my decision and I felt smug at having taken the right one, for a change, if you please!

It was a pleasure to meet the family after so many years. Seeing Megha, their daughter and a dentist, presently practicing at Bombay, having transformed to a confident young lady from the bouncy one year old kid who used to groove to the number, 'Joomba, joomba' from the Mohanlal starrer, 'Naadodi' of yester years as we'd seen her last, was the highlight of the evening. Rahul, their son, is a confident young lad doing his graduation in 'Commerce-finance' at Bangalore! Madhu's sister was also in accompaniment, along with her children. We've been invited for her daughter, Aishwarya's wedding slated for 31 Aug.

Kudos to you, Madhu and Rekha, for having brought up your children with the finest of values and the best of traditions!


A day that saw a train of guests coming by. And yes, it was 'yesterday once more' with the continuous showers in the background!      

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's day.

It was a laid back Sunday morning and we went about the usual chores. Since it had rained the whole night and continued to pitter patter through the morning, the plants did not require any watering. The shaded ones were watered and it was mom's turn to get my attention.

As I helped her to get ready, as is my won't every morning, I quietly wished her a 'happy mother's day'. She was quick to thank me with that look which reminded me of her question that had stumped me many years back and I quote, "Do you require a 'Mother's Day' to remember me?" So, that was that, we played it at the superficial level today, too!

I'd planned an afternoon move to Palakkad, at my sister's place, to drop mom for the period of Lekha's hospitalisation when I'd be her attendant! By 2 o'clock, we'd set off after a visit to the nearby fuel bunk for topping up and checking tyre pressure of the Chevy. The drive was smooth with a very smooth traffic all through the almost 100 km drive. The sky was overcast but we didn't encounter any rain throughout the journey.

We're at our destination by teatime and it was nice to be back at my sister's. She's gonna be at home for mom till the 19th, as her school opens on that day. The next five days will be covered by a friend of her's who stays in the nearby flat. My mom, thus, will have company during the forenoon hours. If she doesn't get company, she opts for an easier option - go off to sleep!

It was catching up time and I enjoyed every bit of it.


The only mismatch was that Padmakumar, my brother-in-law, was going through a medical problem that he was slowly coming out of. The worst is over, but the poor guy had gone through pain over the last couple of days! In fact, I'd made the trip today to meet up with him because during working days he's hard pressed for time!!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Amusing yet thought provoking sights!

I shall narrate three incidents that took place today and no, it's neither an attempt at cheap humour nor to make fun of the protagonists as each one of them did so because they ardently believed in what they did and perhaps, may repeat the actions all over again the next time that they are here. And so, here I go:-

  (a) A more powerful entity than god.

  One is aware of the long, serpentine queues of devotees thronging to have a 'darshan' of their good
  Lord at Guruvayur and these days being holidays for the children, the crowd has multiplied
  manifold. Among the devotees, there are many who come armed with 'recommendations from
  worthies' directing the local authorities for a 'special darshan' - shorn of all the niceties, it's a
  directive nudging the local officials to grant an extra-constitutional(?) permission to short cut the

  The result is that the local administrator has become very powerful and it's not uncommon to see
  a larger queue in front of his desk. He, certainly, has become more powerful dispensing favours to
  the people than the god that he's protecting.

  (b) The craze to log many 'darshans'.

  There's something about Guruvayoorappan that makes people go crazy to have a darshan of him
   many times over. To illustrate this point with an example, my aunt and a cousin had fetched up
   at 6 in the morning and visited the temple thrice during the day. Mind you, each time they'd made
   use of their 'connections' to jump the queue!

   To them, I'd two queries viz.:-
        (i) Don't you feel that you're cheating the others by jumping the queue?
       (ii) Why don't you get satisfied with one single 'darshan'?

   I didn't get a plausible explanation! Incidentally, there was another relative who'd logged eleven
   'darshans' in a day. Can you beat that?

   (c) The 'langar' at the temple.

   One of the humanitarian tasks that the temple authorities does is to provide food during the
   afternoons to the devotees. It's extremely popular and has devotees thronging during those
   hours outside the dining hall.

   Why can't Guruvayur provide food to the devotees, all through the day, on the lines of
   'Guru ka atoot langar' in the Gurudwaras, the Sikh places of worship?  


The sudden spate of guests was passe by 2100h. Had dropped my aunt and cousin at the Guruvayur Railway station and my sister and niece at the Thrissur Railway station.  

Friday, May 8, 2015

Sarath's unchanged attitude.

Sarath is an executive in a private bank. Professionally, he's doing well for himself but I'm afraid I can't say the same regarding his personal life. He continues to be a worry to his parents on that score.

Shorn of all the niceties, I must say that the lad has brought it upon himself. Let me narrate his story so that everyone is on the same grid with me and no, I ain't gossiping but am doing this basically, to educate youngsters about not messing up their lives by taking rigid stands at young ages! I'd exempt the older people from this stand of mine because rigidity in opinions, usually, come over a period of time thanks to harsh and bitter experiences!

About eight years ago, he'd fallen head over heels over a girl whom he'd met through the net and despite strong reservations within the family, against such an alliance, he'd insisted upon the same and the family meekly surrendered to his request and made the wedding a grand event. Their married life began with great pomp and show at New Bombay and Lekha and I'd enjoyed the hospitality of the enthusiastic couple during those heady days.

Their life had picked up and they're the toast of their friends with everything going well, but for the frequent tiffs between the two of them. And then, one day it happened, the young lady packed her bags, called up her dad who'd come and taken her away, vowing that he'd get the marriage annulled. Unfortunately, the couple had kept all their close relations in the dark about the brewing mismatch between them so much so that none could intervene and salvage the relationship. To my mind, two things contributed to the break up which were:-

    (a) His wife's independent attitude while he expected her to seek his endorsement in everything
          she did, including picking up a job in a top IT company.
    (b) He felt that his wife's family wasn't affluent enough to augment their lifestyle.

The paradox was that he really missed her after the break up and even went to her asking for forgiveness but by that time, the young lady had had enough and she wasn't impressed. Formalising the break up didn't take much time, thereafter.

Over the years, he seemed to be turning a new leaf but Cupid had struck yet again. He'd fallen for a colleague of his - she's from a different religion - and insists that their marriage in court needs to be a hush hush affair. It shouldn't be at Coimbatore - his colleagues mustn't know about it, at least for the time being - and it shouldn't be at Thiruvananthapuram either because most of his family and friends stay there!


I could not but resist asking him as to how relevant those factors were if he loved the girl wholeheartedly and when their parents accepted their coming together? That was almost a week back and he's yet to get back to me.

I see that his attitude hasn't changed even a wee bit and no, I ain't speaking negatively but my gut feeling says that even this relationship is taking off on shaky foundations!

You might ask of me as to why am I interested in this case. The hero of the story happens to be my cousin! Gotcha?   

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The judgement on Salman Khan.

I was watching the news channel covering the Salman Khan judgement this evening and was particularly keen to hear a friend's point of view on the issue, who happened to be on the panel debating it. I must say that she did disappoint me.

Let me put across my point of view on the subject which are:-

    (a) Re-established my faith in our judicial system.
    (b) The verdict did take a long time to come - 13 years - but it gives hope to the common man.
    (c) Why are we, Indians, so emotional?
    (d) Why should a guy like Salman Khan get away with murder because of his celebrity status,
          his good guy/large hearted image notwithstanding?
    (e) That he's erred on the following issues has been brought out very clearly:-
          (i) He'd planted the  witness - the driver.
         (ii) He'd run away from the scene of the accident.
        (iii) He was drunk while driving!
    (f) I ain't contesting the quantum of punishment meted out to him. But let's see him behind bars
         for the five years for his crime. And no dilutions on that, please!

The Hindi movie's fraternity lining up at his residence in Bandra today, lending their moral support for him, was definitely a great thing to watch on television. Never knew that people could rally around a fellow 'comrade-at-arms'! Can I safely say that this is a changing trend in our socio-cultural scene?


I shall, definitely, wait to hear the verdict on his application for bail, tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A nostalgic coming together.

1. It was my nephew, Durga Prasad's betrothal. His would be wife, Deepti, hails from Kottiyam which is about 35 kms from here and therefore, the ceremony was held there. We'd set off by 9 in two volvo buses, hired for the purpose. There were many people with whom I could interact at the pick up point, in front of the village library - the catalyst, for my parents' wedding. My paternal grandfather was viewing the entire set of proceedings from his photograph adorning its main wall.

2. The bus ride had an added attraction in the form of Mammootty's 'Fireman', a recently released blockbuster, dedicated to the brave men of the Fire Force who do the most menial jobs and yet, are the least appreciated! It was tautly edited and absorbing that I didn't know of the traffic snarls enroute. We're at the venue at its intermission.

3. The actual ceremony had not taken more than ten minutes but it was a great occasion to meet up with most of my relatives from dad's side before and after the ceremony. The traditional lunch was scrumptious and had a distinct local flavour.

4. We'd returned by a half past 1 and mom and Lekha were briefed about the proceedings. The trickle of visitors continued as we're leaving early morning tomorrow, back for Guruvayur. Li'l Vivek, his mom and grandparents were the last of the guests to leave. Meanwhile, the process of winding up the establishment was going on in full swing during the breaks. My mom, sister and niece had spent about a fortnight out here.

5. The caretaker has been given a list of maintenance work to be undertaken during the month.


Sasikala, a social worker and member of the panchayat had come to tell me the story of Arya, a talented girl from a poor family that doesn't have a decent house to live in. She'd lost her father four months back. I've joined the 'Help Arya' campaign and we shall build a house for the family. I've also noted about felicitating the young lady on the 'Vaayan dinam', next month, for her achievements.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The return to Raj Nivas.

1. The night was bad as there was a power breakdown. Coming soon on the heels of the KSEB's daylong maintenance work, it was a paradox. The cellphones were low on charge and it certainly was a dampener. The saving grace was a thundershower which brought down the temperature by a few notches.

2. The day had begun at 0430h and by the time I'd swung the gate shut and had hit the highway, we'd overshot the planned take off time of 6 o'clock by 19 mts! There were no traffic snarls and every motorist that I happened to pass by seemed to be accommodating and gentlemanly. No one seemed to be in a tearing hurry!

3. Breakfast was in our favourite haunt at Panampilli Nagar. We did meet many of our friends in between when we fetched up at the canteen to buy sundries. The sad part was that there was a massive power failure due to which the billing system took its time 'awaken'. Consequently, three quarters of an hour was lost. I'd dumped the stuff at my classmate's house before driving off homeward.

4. After lunch at Alappuzha, we're at Lekha's place an hour and a half later. Meeting her folks was stimulating with the attendant hot cuppa' tea. Her dad was more voluble this time and we left soon after, for Raj Nivas.

5. And saw my mom's thrill at seeing us. All the pent up tiredness owing to the long journey  got dissipated. Meanwhile, the train of visitors for mom continued unabated.


Got a thought provoking forward from a friend and it goes, "When you sleep on flowers, it's the beginning but when the flowers sleep on you, it's the end"........The very essence of life!

Monday, May 4, 2015

When my apology didn't work!

1. The state electricity board's local unit had told us through the newspapers that today there was gonna be a power shut down from 0900h to 1700h on account of maintenance work. They stuck to their schedule though the restoration took place beyond the announced time.I'd rushed with my Chevy to the nearest petrol bunk for topping up and checking tyre pressure as I was kicking off early morning for home.

2. The bunk was slowly getting to be crowded with vehicles and an IOC bowser was discharging its contents into the underground tanks of the bunk. Space was at a premium and maneuvering the vehicle needed Herculean effort. I'd parked my car next to the air dispenser and could persuade the young man at the counter to get the compressor on stream, have the tyre pressure checked and was negotiating my car towards the diesel dispenser when tragedy struck.

3. In the process of the maneuver, I managed to sandwich an elderly gentleman on his scooty between my car's front bumper and the petrol dispenser. I'd got out of my car quickly to ascertain as to whether the two wheeler had suffered any damage and to my relief, it didn't even have a scratch! On the other hand my car's number plate was bent.

4. And then the gentleman began to howl. I could understand his discomfort and promptly offered my unconditional apology hoping that he'd relent. By this time, the others were viewing me, I suppose, as the 'bully with the huge car'.

5. Suddenly I felt something snap within me and raising my voice above the din, I asked him to accept my apology or leave it and stop his tirade. My bluff did work as he quietly rode off from the scene.

6. I did feel bad because it was I who was in the wrong. But there didn't seem to be any other way out!


There was a total power failure in the evening during the thundershowers that followed. So much about the maintenance work of the day. Sadly, professionalism seems to be dwindling!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Are they human?

I'm voicing my angst on two news items that I've come to know of today. I could only recall my grandmother's words, "Mone, this is 'kaliyug' and anything can happen in these times because mankind has reached the limits of morality and does not have any compunction to do the most heinous act, if it works out profitable(?)"

And without much ado, here I go:-

  (a) Relief for the quake hit Nepal.

   The quake affected people of Nepal have been flooded with cheese and mayonnaise as part of the
   contributions from people! 

   My take.

   For heavens' sake do not dump your unwanted stuff to the suffering many in the name of relief.
   I've even seen torn clothes and other personal effects going into the collector's bag meant for
   providing succour to the people affected by the catastrophe - I'm citing an earlier instance! One
   has to take extreme care to select the things that one wants to donate and never take it as an
   opportunity to dump one's woefully worn out/unwanted stuff to the people in need of real help.
   Mind you, the people out there aren't begging, they're only reestablishing themselves after an
   overwhelming tragedy and the relief that's being provided will help them to look after themselves
   during the interim when their establishment is being restored!

   Apologies for being condescending but I feel strongly when callous attitude is exhibited instead
   of actions based on empathy.

   (b) 'Supari' killing of your daughter?

   A Canada based Indian mother from Punjab had hired professional killers to kill her daughter
   who dared to fall in love and marry an autorickshaw driver. 

   My take.
   Unable to digest the fact that her educated daughter had got married to an autorickshaw driver
   a mother had hired professional killers, with the connivance of a police officer, to murder her
   after a year she'd tied the knot. The mother had an accomplice in her brother, who'd schemed the
   ghastly murder. 15 years later, the law has finally caught up with them, when a bench of the
   Supreme Court of India has handed out life imprisonment to all the accused.

   Human emotions cannot be explained for its logic, which are spontaneous and situation specific
   and none has any control over it. And Cupid's ways have their own inherent logic, perhaps! As
   lesser mortals, it would be in the fittest scheme of things to accept the situation and hope for
   everything to go well rather than allow one's ego to come in the way of rational thinking!


Saw the Malayalam movie, "Bhaskar, the rascal" this afternoon which was an out and out entertainer with Mammootty and Nayantara playing the lead. The two child artistes really emoted effortlessly to bring the 'father' and the 'mother' together. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A different farewell.


1. I'd received a call, from my friend, sometime last week informing that he and his wife were back in Thrissur because of an emergency. Radha's father, Dr. PG Nair, the Dean of the Agriculture and Veterinary University of nearby Mannoothy in the mid-'70s and all of 89 yrs, had suffered two fractures at his hip owing to a fall.

2. The old man had undergone a couple of surgeries to ease himself of the pain and had alternated between the ventilator and the ICU before being normal and was to be shifted into the ward, when complications arose in the form of a lung infection which hastened his end at 1710h, yesterday. The striking thing was that his nurse was having his lunch in the adjacent room when the old man - despite warnings about not attempting to move without anybody's support - decided to go to the rest room and had lost his step in the bargain bringing about the subsequent events, leading to his end.

3. A few years back he'd shown his close family the will that he'd prepared, wherein he'd pledged his body for medical research after his death. Though there were protests initially, Radha and her mom, had to finally reconcile to the idea as he was very firm in his resolve.

The farewell.

4. We'd left for Radha's house around a half past 10 this morning though the traffic mess at Guruvayur and at two other points enroute, enabled us to reach our destination only by about a half past 11 - the distance that we'd travelled was just over 25 kms!

5. Radha's dad was lying in state inside a glass bubble at the entrance of the multi-storeyed apartments, sans the usual chants of hymns/mantras and associated ceremonies. There was a clutch of close relatives and a few of the neighbours residing in the building, beside the body. As Anil sighted us, he seemed to be relieved that someone whom he could point out to the others as his own had come by. After spending a while beside the bubble and saying a small prayer, we're introduced to each and everyone who'd assembled there.

6. The ambulance from the Medical College Hospital had come around a quarter past 12 and headed back with Dr. PG Nair's mortal remains that would help the medical students in their studies and research.

7. It was as though the gentleman had undertaken another journey from which he'd never return and the short time that we'd spent there made all of us be part of his wait for the vehicle that would convey him to his final resting place.

8. RIP, Radha's dad! My tears and prayers. May god give your near and dear ones the strength to bear your loss.


Trust us, mallus, being inquisitive about the farewell that was different. Doubting Thomases - and there were a handful - were shown the old gentleman's will to clear their doubts!


Friday, May 1, 2015

Back at 'The Quarterdeck'.

I'd actually planned to leave Raj Nivas by 0630h but could make it only by a 10 to 7. The journey was smooth as the traffic was okay and there weren't many long stoppages, except for the usual bottlenecks. The weather was blazing hot and we'd two breaks at our favourite haunts for breakfast and lunch. By the time we reached home it was a half past 2 and we did have a surprise - a pleasant one though - in store.

Ramesh and his assistant, Muniappa were busy at work on the small grassy patch in our courtyard. Actually, he'd called us about a couple of hours earlier and it was decided that he'd come back tomorrow when we'd be at home. The gate was locked and when asked, he said that they'd jumped over the wall to finish up the job at my place as the necessary implements were on their person. Though I didn't approve of the manner in which they'd entered the premises - it gives wrong ideas to the others, you see! - I was relieved that another job, on my slop chit, was being completed.

The added advantage was that Muniappa had helped me in washing down my car. The unpacking and the settling down took up the reminder of the afternoon. Even though we'd encountered rain at every place that we'd visited over the previous week, it seems to have eluded Guruvayur almost completely. The customary evening walk was nice and as usual, many whom I happened to meet did register my long absence. I gather that I've started sticking out like a sore thumb, much to my discomfort - a situation that I wasn't craving for either!

Everything seemed to be in order except for the fact that the newspaper boy had not delivered the day's newspapers despite instructions. These small things have begun to irritate, though unnecessary, because a quick glance at any of the numerous news channels that are available will give one the latest bit of news that are making the headlines!


We're missing mom's presence - she's at Raj Nivas with my sister as there is a betrothal ceremony in the family on 06 May and we've to get back there by then - and realised that she has become an integral part of 'The Quarterdeck'.