Friday, July 31, 2015

A continuous boundary with Bangladesh!

1. The process of handing over Bangladesh's villages within India and India's villages within Bangladesh had begun from the midnight of this day. It's gonna take 11 months for completion and that date will be 30 Jun '16! The agony of the people having to spend in no-man's land without developmental activities coming in must have been a nightmare!


2. The Land Boundary Arrangement(LBA) was signed by the then Prime Ministers of the two countries, Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Mujibhur Rehman in '74. But the assassination of Sheikh Mujib, soon after, saw the agreement put into cold storage! Let's see the significant aspects of this agreement.

    (a) 162 villages will be exchanged the breakdown of which is:-

          * India will give away 51 villages covering 7,110 acres.
          * Bangladesh will give away 111 villages covering 17,160 acres. 

     (b) Total number of people that will be affected:-
           * Indians staying in Bangladesh               37,000
           * Bangladeshis in India                            14,000

3. The LBA was revived and ratified by the Lok Sabha in May, this year, following which the instrument was mutually exchanged by Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina on 06 Jun.

4. How did such a phenomenon come about?

    Before India's independence, the Raja of Cooch Behar had gifted away these villages consequent       to losing chess games, played with the local chieftains/rulers!

Some other characteristics of the Agreement.

     * The villagers will have the option of retaining citizenship of whichever country they choose.
     * The right to dual citizenship can also be exercised by them. In a joint survey that was 
        conducted none of those dwelling in the Bangladeshi villages within India want to let go of 
        their Indian citizenship and another 600 have expressed keenness to migrate into India/possess
        Indian citizenship.
     *  The people will have the right to have land holdings on a pro rata basis of their existing 
     *  The relocation will begin in Nov, this year and the Indian government has set aside Rs.3,068
         crores for the purpose.

5. The process of handing over 100 Bangladeshi villages and 50 Indian villages had begun at midnight.


A continuous boundary with Bangladesh at long last! Let's hope that this is a trailblazer for a peaceful atmosphere on this border and there will be no more influx of illegal migrants, henceforth! And perhaps, an early agreement on the Teesta water sharing can also not be far behind!! 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Remembrance day of my Ammachi, Mrs. PN Panicker.

Today's the 24th remembrance day of my grandmother as per the Malayalam calendar. My mom and I went through a lot many occasions when Ammachi had guided all of us through her wisdom and matured opinions.

Mom recounted how my grandfather used to bring in people home at short notice and expected my grandmother to provide them with food and many a time, lodging too! It was my ammachi's resourcefulness that at the end of it all, everyone went away happy, singing her praise!! And mind you they're subsisting on a primary school teacher's meagre pension......A truly remarkable lady!

We found that the pain that was inflicted by her passing into the mist of time continued to linger despite the passage of time........ I'd wanted to get my grandparents to the house that we'd set up while at Ooty and I remember ammachi's reply when I'd expressed my desire before leaving for the staff course and I quote, "You tell your Muthachan, who won't say no to you and I'll make sure that we make it."

Ammachi, I miss you........... Mom misses you too!

      *                                *                                  *

Peikarumbu, the resting place of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is soon gonna be a centre of tourist attraction. Such is his popularity that Rameswaram, that boasts of being a popular pilgrim centre will further go up in the earning of revenue from tourists, who'd flock to pay their respects to the late President and try to know more about him from the accompanying library and memorabilia, in the proposed memorial!


I got an unexpected call from a friend and instructor of mine during my long course - and mind you, he was a damn good teacher. I'd earlier been sounded by a mutual friend about his impending visit to the temple town. Today's call was basically to confirm that programme of his!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Those who kill innocent people are no human beings.

Yakub Memon, a chartered accountant by profession, and 11 others were slapped with the death penalty by the special TADA court in Jul '07 for the 13 serial blasts of Bombay in Jul '93 in which 257 people were killed and 712 were injured. The Supreme Court had upheld Memon's death sentence while commuting the others' to life imprisonment.

Mind you, Ibrahim alias Tiger Memon, the main accused and Dawood Ibrahim, the master mind are still at large. To recap, Memon was found guilty of the following:-

            - criminal conspiracy
            - aiding, abetting and facilitating a terrorist attack
            - illegal possession and transportation of arms and ammunition
            - possessing explosives intending to endanger lives.

My take.

What baffles me is that many social activists and politicians have lent their voice in support of his clemency. Probably, they've arguments for their stand but I just can't comprehend them.

I'm of the opinion that:-

         (a) Those who kill innocent people are no human beings and deserve no kindness.
         (b) They could be brainwashed in thinking that they're carrying out a holy war(Jihad means
               that) and it's futile trying to bring them back to sanity after having committed the crime.
         (c) The rest of the society will always look at them as wrongdoers and hence, their
               rehabilitation and complete acceptance is impossible.
         (d) They, themselves, might not like to prolong their condemned, wretched lives!
         (e) Capital punishment, therefore, is the only redeemer.


Why doesn't education overcome the process of getting brainwashed? It should have helped them to come to the simple conclusion that destroying the life of another is not the done thing.

While in prison, Yakub Memon had earned two masters degrees in English Literature and Political Science from the Indira Gandhi National Open University.  


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A quiet existence.

I was asked to be at Thiruvananthapuram on 30 Jul, to be made the head of the feeder organisation that provides the administrative/executive umbrella for the Foundation's activities. The executive committee, comprising of 11 distinguished members, drawn from various walks of life, are meeting up for the purpose.  The added factor was that the day also happens to be the 24th remembrance day of my Ammachi and the family had wanted me to join them for the connected ceremony.  

It's a fairly tricky proposition on three counts viz.:-

    (a) Lekha's foot is being bandaged everyday after cleaning and massage to ensure that the graft
          is secure in its place while integrating the newly-formed contours, post surgery into a smooth,
          leveled disposition. It takes up half an hour every morning though her assistant helps me with

     (b) I walk mom - though not really in need of any assistance as she does all her work herself -
           every evening in the courtyard. This, along with two excursions up and down the flight of
           seventeen steps of the main staircase, form her main workout every day! The beauty about it
           is that Lekha substitutes for me in case of my absence and conducts it even better than I do!

     (c) In addition to the above, I've been following a 'siddha' course of medicines for skin eruptions
          thanks to an allergy. Carrying the oils and having medicines alternately, with water and milk
          against a prescribed periodicity is not only a pain but would entail the hosts' indulgence -
          though it's family - and I wanted to avoid it.

I was desperately hoping, against hopes, for the postponement of the meeting. A delay of one week would sort out the factor mentioned at serial (c) above.

This sort of a quiet existence has been in place from mid-May, over a month after the 'yatra' through all the districts of the state. But other important milestones could be achieved during the period.


Finally, the way out is in sight. The meeting has been postponed to 07 Aug!


Monday, July 27, 2015

Adieu, Abdul Kalam sir.

He'd many names...

        * the missile man of India
        * the mad Indian scientist(What Pakistan called him after the second Pokharan explosion).
        * the people's President!

Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Kalam, all of 83 years, passed into the mist of time at 1852h in the midst of one of his passionate endeavours - interacting with the youth at IIM, Shillong. The media has been covering every aspect of this great son of India and hence, I shall desist from dwelling more on him. He shall be remembered for his simplicity, easy accessibility, minimal requirements and humility.

RIP, Abdul Kalam sir. My tears and prayers for a worthy icon of the country.


We're in the process of acquiring his guidance for our activities at the PN Panicker Foundation, especially with the e-literacy project, after the passing away of Justice Krishna Iyer. I suppose that will remain an unfulfilled dream.

      *                                     *                                         *

Did you know?

Here's an interesting story about why a horse-shoe is considered to be a good luck charm.

Long, long ago in England, there lived a blacksmith named Dunstan. In those days, one of the main jobs a blacksmith did was the making and fitting of horseshoes. On a wild, windy night a man came to Dunstan's smithy asking him to fit horseshoes on his feet. The startled Dunstan noticed that his visitor had hooves and not, normal feet, for, it was the Devil himself.

While Dunstan nailed the horseshoes into the Devil's feet, he'd chained the latter while he writhed in pain. He was released on completion after the extraction of a promise that the Devil would never enter a building which had a horseshoe over the door.

The superstition of hanging a horseshoe at the main door of the house persists even to this day!   


A quiet and uneventful day which ended up in a pall of gloom after the news from Shillong. It was as though one had lost one's own! 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

This is how crazy we, Indians, can be!

I'm just going to narrate a few incidents that happened today, in different parts of the country, to show as to how crazy we can be. And so, here I go:-

 (a) From Bombay. 

       Salman Khan tweets that Yakub Memon - waiting for the gallows on the 30th of this month for
       his involvement in the Bombay blasts of '93 - is innocent and it's his brother, Tiger Memon, who
       should be paraded, tried and punished. Protests were quick to erupt and later on in the day, he'd
       removed the tweet and apologised after being prodded by his dad, Salim Khan.

       And everything is back to normal, thankfully!

  (b) From Calcutta.

        There has been a news item that's abuzz on the social media that stray dogs are being massacred
        indiscriminately in Kerala. It, further, exhorts tourists to keep away from the state whereas this
        forum had pointed out the truth, on the ground, a few posts back. Well, in Calcutta, the film
        fraternity had held street protests, along with dogs, asking everyone to shun Kerala on this

        Truth, the casualty, even with an ever alert media and many television channels per language?

   (c) From Delhi.

         'Kargil Diwas' was being celebrated with the political leaders and service officers paying
         floral tributes at the Amar Jawan Jyothi at New Delhi and many other places all over the
         country. Ironically, the 'powers that be' gave a wide berth to the striking ex-servicemen in
         the nearby Jantar Mantar and other places, elsewhere in every state. They're trying to coax the
         government on speedy implementation of the 'One Rank One Pension'(OROP) which they've
         been promising since ages!

         False show of solidarity with the serving servicemen while shunning the ex-servicemen who'd
         given their best years for the country?

   (d) From Kozhikode, Kerala.

         The owner of a swanky car had parked his vehicle across a main thoroughfare of the city
         after overtaking a bus of the state road transport corporation, for having caused a minor
         damage on its chassis. The bus driver insisted that he'd done nothing wrong while the car
         owner insisted upon financial compensation for making good the damage. A consensus was
         being arrived at to call in the police to sort the matter out.

         With both sides hardening their stand and traffic piling up on either direction, a few 'peace
         initiators' and the already delayed passengers arrived upon a novel idea. Collecting @ Rs.10/-,
         Rs.5/-, Rs.2/- and even Re.1/- from the passengers, they could cough up Rs.350/- to hand
         over to the owner who was satisfied with the amount and drove away!

         Every man, I've heard, has a price. I never knew that there could be such lowly priced ones
         too. What about the time loss that he'd caused to the bus passengers and the traffic snarl that


Does it require anything else to show that we're a crazy lot?   

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Baffled, yet again!

1. The Delhi trial court has dropped charges against Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila in the IPL spot-fixing case, that had rocked the nation two years ago, because the police had failed to make out a case against them. The three were accused of cheating and conspiracy along with charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime(MCOCA)! They're banned from the game for life by the BCCI, soon after the police action!

2. What baffles me is that even after the charges have been cleared, the BCCI has reiterated that its ban against the three players will remain. Secondly, Sreesanth consumed almost the entire prime time television of all the Malayalam channels today.......... A sensational case, with tell tale evidence as touted then, ending up in a whimper........does it all add up, I wonder!

        *                                   *                                    *

3. The logjam in Parliament continues and no solution seems to be in sight. As reported, Rahul Gandhi has said that the opposition will continue to boycott the session until Sushma Swaraj resigns while the ruling party has said that its minister was willing to have the matter discussed on the floor of the house and that, she'll not resign. In parliamentary democracy, the ruling party and the opposition taking diametrically opposite views is not uncommon but disruptive tactics - of a prolonged nature as it's happening in this case - are never resorted to. Discussions by the sane bring everyone back on to the negotiating table.

4. My question is as to whether the decision to disrupt the session is an individual decision of the inexperienced Rahul Gandhi because the following factors point to such a situation:-

        (a) there are rumblings within the party against the continuous disruption as the party gets a
             bad name that it's running away from discussions within the house.
        (b) the allies of the Congress also don't seem to want to continue this sort of stonewalling
              because by doing so, they're playing into the hands of the BJP.
        (c) more muck is being thrown around its chief ministers and it can have after effects locally.
             Though on this aspect, by showing the other as bad, the BJP can't afford to wash away its
             sins. Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje have to speak the truth and face action.

5. But what baffles me is that by resorting to disruptive tactics why are you delaying the 'reforms process'? You've no right to play with the nation's destiny!

         *                                    *                                       *

6. VS Achuthanandan, the leader of the opposition, continues to hurl personal charges at his opponents and the lion's share is reserved for the chief minister. It would have been nice had he also accepted charges against him in a sporting manner. Instead, he's shown a zero level tolerance which is sad. Decency and gentlemanly behaviour necessitate that!

Or is it the way that he wants to prove that he's an 'effective' leader of the opposition to his party bosses? .........Sad at the plight of the founding member of the party!  


There doesn't seem to be a dull moment, ever!

Friday, July 24, 2015

A first in Kerala.

Though these might have happened umpteen number of times and continue to happen in the developed countries, it was a unique activity in God's own country.

 The backdrop.

 Advocate Neelakanta Sarma - all of 46 yrs - had collapsed in his bathroom and was shifted to the
 Sri Chithira Thirunal Hospital on 06 Jul. He was declared brain dead consequent to brain  hemorrhage, this morning. His family had given consent to the transplant of his vital organs viz.
 heart, kidneys and cornea to needy patients. Venue - Thiruvananthapuram.

 Mathew Achadan - all of 47 yrs - an autorickshaw driver, detected with diluted cardiomyopathy  
 and under treatment for the last three months at the Lisie Hospital. Venue - Kochi.

 The Kerala Government has initiated a novel medical initiative called "Mrithasanjivani", wherein
 it will ensure that patients are assisted with prompt services - like the Air Ambulance to circumvent
 traffic snarls and mishaps - for medical assistance, without delay.

 The Operation.

 Sarma's heart from the Sri Chithira Thirunal Hospital was transferred to Mathew Achadan, at the  Lisie Hospital, after a 71 minute journey, the bulk of which was in an Indian Naval Dornier. The  surgery was conducted  successfully, soon after. It was a collective effort on the  part of the doctors,  the cops, the Collector  of Kochi, the IN and the IAF and above all, the government with the chief  minister signing the requisite papers in the middle of the night, around a quarter to 2!

 Just goes to show as to what collective action can do!

 Another interesting yet related story.

 Mathew Achadan had given up hope when the doctors had told him that he needed to go for a heart
 transplant for two vexed reasons viz. finding a suitable donor and arranging the money. It was his
 friends and neighbours, who went about determinedly and collected Rs.25 lakhs for the purpose!


A great story that has ended well. And it all began with a phone call by the Ernakulam district Collector to the Indian Navy's PRO, this morning!  

The only misgiving that I'd of the entire operation was that the blood match wasn't confirmed through tests - a very important factor - though both were of the O+ blood group. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Was I overbearing?

1. At the Ophthalmologist's.

    Mom had wanted to meet the eye specialist, next door, because her left eye was giving her                   problems. We'd met her a month back and since 'nothing clinical was detected', she'd advised
    hot water fomentation over the eyes, thrice a day. That she didn't prescribe any medicine was
    something that didn't go down well with my mom then! Her affinity for medicines amazes me
    and on that score, we pull her legs quite often.

    I don't like to take any chances regarding others' medical discomfort and hence, we'd trekked
    the 75 metre distance to the clinic towards a quarter-to-5 as the clinic wound up usually by 5 -
    it functioned only on Tuesdays and Fridays while the main clinic was in the heart of Thrissur town.
    The main doctor hadn't come this afternoon and her colleague was in chair, instead and she
    went about examining my mom's problematic eye(Earlier, mom had expressed her disappointment
    about the absence of the main doctor with whom she was cosy and I'd to hush her as we're getting
    within earshot of today's incumbent. The problem is that she tends to speak loud because of her           hearing problem and imagine the resulting embarrassment had the doctor heard my mom!)

    She was attractive but visibly uncomfortable, wonder why? I make it a point to look into people's
    eyes while saying my piece and I just couldn't fathom as to what about me was bothering her. No,
    I'm well past the hill for people to take note of me and as I'd said in this forum earlier I've pegged
    myself at 3 out of a scale of 10, in the looks department. To ease the situation, I'd asked her as to
    what her name was as we walked away out of the cabin....... Was I overbearing? If affirmative, my
    apologies for that was never my intention!

2. Elated but sad!

    Ajith, my classmate and a good friend, has been at an ashram on the foothills of the Himalayas
    for over the last 10 years after putting in his papers from the IAF, while commanding a chopper
    unit, as part of a UN peacekeeping mission in Congo. We're classmates at school, course mates
    at the NDA and have been in touch all the way. We'd spent a delightful couple of hours when
    he'd visited us last year and made it a point to return the next day to have supper with us at my
    persistence. His food habits are simple and he avoids the masala, in fact, he's stopped having
    pickle that he was once very fond of . A die hard bachelor, he was the mentor of his family and
    had recently bequethed his pension and other benefits to a nephew of his, since he didn't require
    them anymore!

    He'd called up a while back to say that he'd moved into the 'Vaanaprastha ashram' (The Hindu
    philosophy says that a soul after taking birth as a human being, goes through four phases or
    'ashramas' - saisavam, grihastham, vaanaprastham and sanyaasam - before it attains the
    Universal soul or become one with God). He said it with the utmost humility, there was neither
    elation nor sadness. The spiritual part of my personality was elated by my friend's unique
    achievement but the mortal part felt immensely sad that I might never come across him again.
    Years back, we'd taken off together from the same starting blocks of life and now he's left me so
    far behind and I don't think that I'll cross the 'grihastham' ashram in this life of mine.

    This afternoon, I received a mail from him saying that he wouldn't be able to attend the get
    together that we're organising in December on attaining 60 years!


I've nursed this plan of doing a 'Kailash Manasarovar yatra' - it's gotten easier with the Nathu La
route opening up, now - and spending some time with Ajith at his ashram. At least that would enable me to spend time with my esteemed friend and give me another chance to see him!        

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The end of a chapter?

Today was Lekha's review, by her doctor, at the hospital. Our 'saarthi' George was at our courtyard on the dot at 0845h and we could reach the hospital before 1000h. The review was short and sweet with Lekha's doctor advising us as to how we should go about tending the area of the surgery over the next three months. We could meet him on an 'as required' basis, which meant that our frequent visits to the hospital had come to an end. George seemed to be very sad and I reiterated to him that his services would be required whenever I decide not to drive!

Today happens to be the culmination of sixty days from the date of Lekha's surgery and I was taken back in time, going through all the activities, that has brought us to the end of the entire exercise. Here, I go:-

                01 - 14 Mar                         Am on a 'Yatra' crisscrossing the state.
                18 Mar                                 A couple of ruptures noted on the graft, put in place, on Lekha's
                                                             left foot last year, at the Jubilee Mission Hospital.
                19 Mar - 03 Apr                  A series of tests carried out to ascertain that the rupture wasn't
                                                             due to the perking up of the SLE.
                06 Apr                                  Met Lekha's primary doctor, the immunologist, who puts us
                                                             on to Dr. RB Jyoshid, the Plastic Surgeon, of the Elite Mission
                20 Apr                                  Our first meeting with the doctor. He puts her on a course
                                                             of antibiotics with tentative admission on 13/5.
                13 May                                 The wound found to be infected still and recommends a
                                                             five day intravenous antibiotic course at a nearby hospital.
                14 - 18 May                         Intravenous administration of the antibiotic at Rajah hospital.
                20 May                                Admission at the Elite Mission Hospital.
                21 May                                Surgery.
                31 May                                Discharged from the hospital.
                04 Jun - 22 Jul                    Weekly reviews and dressing of the wound.

There are many to thank for the smooth conduct of the entire exercise without whose help, it would have been impossible for me to go through the period. A special mention must be made about Lekha's assistant who was adept in the dressing up of the wound, that would beat even the nurses' expertise. I don't think I could have accomplished that on my own!


It's my fond hope that the chapter of 'The non healing ulcer' has come to an end, for good.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The stray dog menace.

Everyday there are graphic reports about the stray dog menace all across the state. Many a time it's the little children that bear the brunt of their savagery. The sad part about the whole story is that the problem does not seem to have any remedy in sight or is it that the powers-that-be considers it unimportant?.

Strange as it may sound, the Kerala government is in a predicament to initiate measures because of the central government's ban on culling of stray dogs. While it's understandable that the poor animals need to be handled in a humane manner, try giving that answer to someone who has borne the brunt of an animal's waywardness and the reactions could be violent, depending upon the experiences!

In a way, we Malayalees need to answer for the proliferation of stray dogs. There's nothing like an institutionalised waste management system prevalent in the state. The streets have mounts of filth - often emitting unimaginably, repulsive stench - lying untended for days with the conservancy department of the municipalities/panchayats doing a very haphazard job. Why they don't fathom their importance and go about their job of collection and disposal of garbage is something that beats my comprehension! To top it all, the government doesn't seem to have the will to bring about a comprehensive waste management grid across the state.

Above all this comes the directives of the central government. While it's their duty to give out broad guidelines on each subject, local requirements need to be taken into consideration for the meaningful implementation of such directives/law with the addition of suitable amendments or deletion of points that are irrelevant.


Roads with clogged drainage, many others without drainage, water points continuously taking in dangerously toxic effluents, rivers badly polluted by industrial waste......everything points to a criminal neglect on the part of the powers that be towards rectifying the peoblem! Nobody seems to care. The normally self assured Mallu seems to be studiously avoiding the problem, the tremendous dangers posed towards maintaining a good and robust health notwithstanding!  


It's my fond hope that the hospitals, across the state, are managing their waste in a proper manner!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

With trepidation.....


1. Arya, Raji and Athira were 16 years old and Plus 2 students of the Government Higher Secondary School at Konni of Pathanamthitta district. On the morning of 09 Jul, the three young ladies had left their homes for school, were declared missing with the police launching an all out search on the basis of a few clues without much success. On the 13th, all the three of them were retrieved from beside the stretch of railway track between Thrissur and Palakkad stations.

2. They'd presumably attempted suicide by jumping off a running train with Raji and Athira dying on the spot while Arya was found in a serious condition, nearby. She, who was transferred for intensive care at the Thrissur Medical College Hospital, succumbed to her grievous injuries this evening at 1600h.

Reasons unknown.

3. The investigation is on but the police is yet to put the finger on the actual cause that had forced the young ladies to their unfortunate end. One of them had a computer tablet and from inputs available, the three of them were active on the social media fueling rumours that they're disenchanted with life seeing the tremendous opportunities that were 'seemingly' out of reach for them thanks to their financial status in the society! Only the successful conclusion of the investigation will tell us the truth.

My take.    

4. The Foundation is on an ambitious project of making Kerala 100% e-literate over a period of three years. Already, 100 panchayats (@ seven to eight panchayats per district) are in varying stages of attaining this unique distinction - as part of the first phase of the endeavour - and there's a great deal of enthusiasm among the masses to attain computer literacy.

5. While pointing out the tremendous advantages by possessing skills in the usage of computers, the attendant problems regarding its misuse is not mulled over. It's our fond hope that everyone would take advantage of the 'good' aspects of this technology and shun the negative ones!


It's my firm belief that when everyone becomes computer literate there will be a willing and wholehearted acceptance of the attendant responsibility of using the technology correctly. The miniscule few or the exceptions will be taken care of by the society itself. It's the right of every man to avail of the prevalent state-of-the-art technology to be part of the all inclusive growth of the society, that we at the PN Panicker Foundation envisage!  

Their families - despite financial limitations - were eager to see their children do well in life. The 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Inferences on the sights around!

It has been raining almost continuously over the past three days and the phenomenon is expected to continue in the same vein till Thursday. Over a month through the monsoon, the system seems to have steadied up and therefore:-

       - there are no more frequent power interruptions. But to say that it has ceased totally would be
         a departure from the fact on the ground.
       - the telephone line is active and its non-operational phase has also reduced and the net is,
         thankfully available.
       - the roads are comparatively good and there hasn't been too many potholes, this time. I must
         hasten to add that my driving forays have reduced considerably thanks to Lekha's medical
         requirements. The Chevy stands at the porch gleaming, after its last wash.
       - the temple seems to be choc-a-bloc with devotees thanks to the Ramayana 'maasam' and the
         'parikrama' of the four temples. The pouring rain seems to add to the mystifying, soulful

The four cents of land sandwiched between our house and the neighbour's had been acquired by the Warriath patriarch. Pushpakaran, the farmhand, has converted it into a beautiful vegetable garden along with quite a few banana trees. The piece of land, contiguous to the two major plots of the patriarch - one in front and the other behind my house - had dwarf walls marking its north and south boundary which was quite pleasing to the eye. However, all that has changed overnight, with the patriarch deciding to build a full fledged wall, in place of the dwarfed one, giving it a boxed up look and obscuring a nice, angular view that we had of anything approaching our house from the main road.

Why the old gentleman had decided to get it done is something neither I have been able to fathom nor has my neighbour. Probably, he was wanting to spend some of his moolah - believe me, most of us get into this syndrome once in a while - it's a way of keeping oneself busy!


Since we're confined within the house, our Muslim neighbour had sent us a scrumptious lunch on the occasion of Ramzan. Though I was on a strict vegetarian diet on the doctor's orders, I'd decided to circumvent her diktat just for this once and gorged on the exquisite fair! 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

What a 'laff'?

Slamming the Modi government for its inept handling of the foreign policy, a worthy of the Congress party had the following observations and before I go any further, I must reiterate that I'm quoting from press reports gleaned from the national newspapers:-

   "The so-called India-Pakistan joint statement issued at Ufa is not a breakthrough but 

The very same worthy went a step further by saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has failed the country with respect to Jammu and Kashmir and foreign policy. He argues that the Modi government was incapable of strategic thinking! He believes that the current foreign policy has a tinge of policing in it!!

And everyone of you might be trying to figure out as to who this worthy was. It's none other than Mr. Salman Khurshid, the minister of external affairs of the previous UPA government! His tenure was the most lacklustre in the country's history and best known for its 'reactive orientation', completely lacking in initiative and clarity of thought.

My take.

Yet another example of personal hatred colouring professional vision. For the sake of the country's good, speak right and do not criticise for the sake of doing so. By doing so, your own credentials are gonna take a hit. Or am I missing the point? Is he ruing the loss of opportunities during his tenure?

One can only 'laff' at his discomfiture!


It was yet another wet day. After a break in monsoon during the first half of the month, is it gaining momentum? If affirmative, it's good for the entire country!

Friday, July 17, 2015

The first of Karkkidakom, the month of the Ramayana!

Today's the first of the Malayalam month of Karkkidakom and the recital of the Ramayana had begun this morning - it'll be recited from cover to cover within the month - by the lady of the house, as per tradition. Both mom and Lekha are at it and it's soothing to hear the great story all over again. The recitals are carried out, both in the morning as well as in the evening. The spirit behind the recital is best summed up by the following Sanskrit couplet:-

       "Yaaval sthasyanthi girayaha sarithascha mahithale
         Taavad Ramayanakatha lokeshu pracharishyathi"

         (So long as the mountains and the rivers exist on this earth, the story of the Ramayana
          will continue to spread)

The recital is also being conducted, by veterans, at the Guruvayur temple. Along with the attendant prayers, there's a mad scramble among the hard core devotees to do a 'parikrama' of four temples - completed within a day. The temples must have Sri Ram, Bharath, Laxman and Shatrughnan as the deities and in Thrissur district, the temples within a span of 60 kms, are:-

         - Thriprayaar                   (Sri Ram)
         - Moozhikkulam               (Laxman)
         - Koodalmaanikyam        (Bharath) and
         - Paayammal                     (Shatrughnan).

The holy month has started off in right earnest!

         *                       *                        *

2. A 'glee' that just ain't acceptable! 

    As I was browsing the net, I came across a depressing shot of a dejected Prime Minister Narendra       Modi seated with hunched shoulders and looking below, with the caption, "This is a huge setback 
    for Modi" because his so-called business friendly(?) Land Acquisition Bill faces fierce                         parliamentary opposition. The originator seems to be dancing with glee at the PM's discomfiture
    and mind you, he's fully aware that the legislation will herald progress and boost Modi's image
    further, which is what he and his ilk are mightily against!

    I'm aware that the bulk of the Indian media has pro-Congress leanings while the remaining
    have Communist affiliations but was under the impression that they backed the truth and lauded
    the good work of any government, without refrain, while flaying it for wrong policies/corrupt
    practices which essentially, are the true hallmarks of a vibrant fourth estate, as the watchdog in a
    democracy. Flay it for its mistakes but don't be parsimonious in lauding it for its good work!

    Everyone knows that the greatest impediment to our country's progress are archaic laws,                     bureaucratic stone walling and corrupt practices. The Prime Minister and his team, must be
    supported by the opposition, in his efforts to clean up the system and put the country on the
    track to rapid progress because it's what's essential for the country at this juncture. Let not narrow
    considerations bog down the momentum of change!


Rahul Gandhi's script writer has got it wrong again. Why're you bogged down with 56" and 5.6"?
You're young and must be having a lot of good ideas to take the country forward. Sell your vision rather than going on a one-track anti-Modi tirade........ negativity never helps! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Pakistani military establishment refuses to learn.

For the past few days, ever since Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif, while at the Russian town of Ufa, shook hands and agreed to holding NSA level talks between the two countries, the Pakistani military establishment had begun its age old machinations. Before any such meeting, through the course of the meeting and after its outcome - also in this case before the Indian PM's slated visit to Jammu and Kashmir tomorrow - the Pakistani armed forces have resorted to unprovoked firing inflicting casualties on the civilian population who stay near the border areas. Firing, this time, has been concentrated at Akhnoor, Poonch and RS Pura.

Their motive is very clear and have been tabulated many times but shall be repeated yet again:-

   (a) No civilian ruler can take decisions for the country except for the defence forces.
   (b) Reiterating the supremacy of the armed forces, who can only survive on an anti-India bias
         without which their existence might be questioned by their common man.
   (c) The mistaken hope to keep the Kashmir issue alive at the international level.
   (d) This time, however, they seem to be mulling over the use of nuclear weapons, under their
         charge, completely forgetting that the idea of 'a limited nuclear exchange' cannot alter the
         ground situation where the Indian Army would give them a crushing defeat at a place and
         time of its choosing!

This time they'd made an another grave error. They'd splashed through their captive media - mainly for international consumption - that the skirmishes were brought about by the violation of their airspace by an Indian UAV which they'd shot down. The videos of the destroyed drone were publicised with much hue and cry, without realising the futility of it all because:-

    (a) It had Chinese markings and it's a known fact that India doesn't have any Chinese stuff in its
    (b) The particular variety was available commercially and could be bought off the shelf.
    (c) The Indian Army has confirmed that it hasn't lost any of its drones in the past few days!

Why doesn't the Paki military establishment give up its tiresome, cliche worn antics? Why don't they go back to their barracks, train to be better and efficient, while leaving their civilians to rule the country and save it from an economic as well as existential crisis? Or do they want to see their country's dismemberment by the uprisings within?

It shan't take long as gleaned  from the ground realities in Baluchistan and Sind, which incidentally is not what we want! We would any day like to have Pakistan - intact as a buffer - to the Al Qaida and maybe, the ISIS!


Here's a story of an interesting deviation of nature....... At Puthoor, a small hamlet in the nearby area, Suresh Kumar's rooster has been laying eggs for the past five days. The following information make it all the more interesting:-

       (a) The 'hero' is one among the five birds received from the Panchayat at reduced rates.
       (b) He has the usual trappings of a traditional rooster like:-

             (i) Gets excited by the hens around.
            (ii) Wakes up people right at the break of dawn by the customary call.
       (c) He has, however, been different from his female counterparts in the following manner:-

             (i) Lays eggs at the sight of a human being after reaching his/her proximity.
            (ii) Tremendous pressure is brought to bear that the first of the lot had broken due to impact
                  on the ground and always lays them standing.

A case of a genetic disorder, says the veterinarian.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The logjam continues....

The meeting called by the PM, of all the chief ministers, has ended up being unproductive. The Congress chief ministers had boycotted it while the other opposition parties have reiterated that they would oppose the Land Acquisition Bill in its present form.

The CMs of Maharashtra and Punjab have, meanwhile, sought amendments taking into account the factors specific to their states.

And Anna Hazare has threatened to go on a hunger strike from 02 Oct regarding the Land Acquisition Bill.

So, the logjam continues. Our political parties don't seem to have the interest of the nation in their agenda. Their pathological hatred towards Narendra Modi dictates every action of their's. The land acquisition and the labour reform bills are the ones, when cleared, that will be the harbingers of change. Why delay something that's gonna be beneficial or is it a selfish motive to ensure that Modi never succeeds, come what may? What seems to fuel their apprehensions has been his systematic success in foreign policy in which he has been a trailblazer, opening up a whole lot of interesting opportunities! The policy initiatives have been proactive from day 1!!

What the opposition seems to be sadly missing out on is that in a Parliamentary democracy, nothing can be credited to an individual or a party. The treasury as well as the opposition benches get the accolades for legislation of meaningful and timely laws.

Sad! When will this country get rid of its narrow minded politicians?

Adieu, MSV!

The legendary music composer, MS Viswanathan - fondly called MSV - passed into the mist of time at about 0630h, yesterday. He was 88 and was cremated today which was witnessed by an overwhelming crowd of his fans. Reams of material in print and unending farewells on the visual media have covered the deeds and life of the musical genius and anything that I attempt to add will end up as a classical case of 'carrying coal to Newcastle' and hence, I desist.

RIP, MSV! Salute to a maestro and a legend. Here's wishing that his near and dear ones have the strength to pass through these stressful times.

Saw the photograph of his Ambassador car with the registration number MSV 5052 (All Tamilnadu vehicles used to have the prefix of 'MS' for Madras, those days!) standing on the porch of his house. Was reminded of my own first car, a '67 vintage, two door Standard Herald - model 'Cleopatra' numbered MSR 2931. 


The state assembly is currently in session. Every forenoon sees the lawmakers active till 'Question Hour' after which the entire opposition makes an exit, citing faulty moves by the government. Does being in the opposition mean that one must not see through the normal conduct of the House?


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Momentous happenings.

It was a day of momentous happenings. To my mind, the achievements of the day are the logical conclusion of past decisions and the consequent state of affairs.

  1. Iran's nuclear deal.

      I'm no strategic analyst and tend to look at events from the standpoint of a common man                     interested in world affairs where making and unmaking of friends take place on the basis of                 prevailing interests between nations. The issues that are important in a particular region aren't             fully comprehended by the outside powers, involved in the high stakes, as they've their own                 interests to pursue. But for someone who's a keen observer of history, it's not difficult to discern         the cyclic of the unfolding events.

      I'm reminded of the days of the Shah of Iran who was cosy with the US when Iran used to be in
      its good books. It, however, looked on wearily as the Shah was overthrown and Ayatollah
      Khomeini, the popular cleric, began his conservative rule. His regime took on an animosity
      towards the US which invited sanctions from the superpower and as time went by it had become
      a 'pariah' in international transactions as sanctions were clamped on. That the country's abundant
      resources and the affinity among the Muslim nations of west Asia helped Iran to tide over its
      isolation need no elaboration. Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, was the counter that the US had at
      that time and his bloody removal which brought about the splintering of Iraq had made the
      present situation a necessity.

      Iran returning to the world's scheme of things will see a mark shift in Israel's threat perception,
      against the nuclear backdrop. But for India, walking a tight rope with both Israel and Iran - being
      her friends - would be interesting besides throwing up exciting possibilities.

  2. The IPL stables are beginning to be cleared.

      A platform for sleaze and all the wrongdoings that brought immense disrepute to the game of
      cricket is slowly being cleaned up. With the Lodha Commission establishing the guilt of Raj
      Kundra of the Rajasthan Royals and Gurunath Meiyappan of the Chennai Super Kings,
      banning them for life and with the two teams being sent on a two year sabbatical, Indian cricket
      is hopefully going to be clean.

      I must hasten to add that these are very early clean ups and much more needs to be done with
      more wrongdoers to be brought under the law.


Better late than never!

Monday, July 13, 2015

At the frontier of our solar system!

NASA's spacecraft, New Horizons, which has travelled 5 billion kms in 9 years, is all set to show us Pluto for the first time. The closest distance the craft will get to Pluto is 12,500 kms at 1719h (or 5.19 PM which is incidentally, my roll number at school and hence the thrill, at the strange co-incidence!) tomorrow, 14 Jul.

A few more vital statistics of the New Horizons:-

     (a) 19 Jan 2006                              Launched on board an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral.
     (b) Highest speed reached             58,536 km/hr
     (c) Weight                                     478 kg
     (d) Why the interest in Pluto?

            (i) In 2006, Pluto was denoted to a minor/dwarf planet because it lacks a clear orbital path
                 free of other objects, in fact, it crosses Neptune's orbit at times!
           (ii) Is one of the largest objects in the Kuiper Belt, a vast area of the outer solar system
                 where icy objects circle the sun.
          (iii) There's no form of life on it as it's cold and dark with temperatures at -223 degrees Celsius.
                 A lot of the surface is reddish brown as it's covered in complex chemical compounds
                 called 'Tholins'.
          (iv) It's important for understanding our solar system and the information collected will offer
                a few more pieces in the puzzle as to how mankind ended up living on the Earth!

      (e) Time needed for two-way communication between New Horizons and Earth is 9 hrs.
      (f) After flying past Pluto, the New Horizons will go to the Kuiper Belt.
      (g) Pluto, incidentally, has 5 moons.
      (h) And the planet takes 248 years to go round the Sun once.

The trajectory of the New Horizons, after lift off, with respect to the occasions it crossed the orbits of the planets enroute:-

      (a) Mars                           07 Mar '06.
      (b) Jupiter                        28 Feb  '07.
      (c) Saturn                         08 Jun  '08.
      (d) Uranus                        18 Jul   '11.
      (e) Neptune                      25 Aug '14.


What a long and lonely journey, huh?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Ejaz's cup of woes.

I go to the nearby parlour for my grooming - though, left to me I'd call it a simple and plain haircut with the luxury of a massage thrown in - twice a month. Having lived a naval life, even the slightest lengthening of the hair around my ears irritates me and hence the frequency. My mom wonders as to whether there was any hair at all to cut and consequently, feels that my visits to the parlour was financially favourable to its owner! She, has arrived at this conclusion thanks to my receding hairline and the sparse mop of hair on my head!!

This time my visit had gotten late because of Lekha's hospitalisation and surgery. Ejaz is the guy whom I prefer out of the lot because he's aware of a lot of things and maintains a conversation all through the exercise and most importantly, possesses a cheerful countenance. Tall, bespectacled and all of 33 years, he was working in a women's beauty parlour at Kochi before coming to work here.

After acquainting himself about the reasons for my delayed visit, he'd opened his heart about the mess in his family life. He'd married - about seven years back - to a fairly well educated girl and they've two sons. She's possessive of him and does not look upon favourably at the way he looks after his mom and kid sister. He admits that he too was short tempered and the relationship had seen a prolonged separation of three years as of date. From his looks - that I could glean from the massive mirror in front, during the narrative - I could see that he has decided to sever it at the earliest though he's unsure as to how he's gonna tackle the issue of the custody of his children.

He's currently in love with a girl from another religion and is in search of a house on rent for them to set up their home. The girl's mother is also keen to stay with them. The stumbling block seems to be two factors:-

         (a) When it comes to brass tacks, the local populace could be very touchy in matters of religion.
               An inter-religious marriage can get frowned upon and never get endorsed.
         (b) Seeking divorce from his wife of seven years who insists that she'd never let him go.


At an appropriate point of time the society will have to be taken into confidence so that Ejaz can lead a life of his own and live in peace!      

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Do these happen only in India?

Am reproducing two interesting happenings of the day. To an impartial observer the reactions to the couple would be either of the three:-

       (a) What's there to it? It's a case of much ado about nothing!
       (b) Will this be the ultimate antidote for all that shouldn't be happening?
       (c) Oh! Attention seekers are the same everywhere!!

Now, coming to the happenings.

  1. The Protocol Blushes.

      Venue.                Kerala Police Academy, Irinjalakuda, Thrissur.
      Event.                 (a) The passing out parade of the 11th batch of women constables.
                                 (b) Inauguration of the Rural Women Police Station.
      Chief Guest.       Mr. Ramesh Chennithala, the Home Minister.

      The incident.

      The Home Minister arrives at the venue of the passing out parade. ADGP Rishi Raj Singh, one
      of the guests, continues to remain seated as the chief guest moves past while many others, sitting
      in the same enclosure, stand up with a few, even saluting him.

     The media has projected it as the ADGP's purposeful insult to the chief guest. The following info
     are, incidentally, relevant to the unseemly controversy:-

          (a) Rishi Raj Singh is known as a thorough professional who brooks no nonsense, even from
                his superiors. In his two prior appointments as the Traffic Commissioner and Motor
                Vehicle Department head, he'd ensured strict implementation of the existing rules                                 reducing traffic offences substantially while rubbing the-powers-that-be on the wrong
                side! He was shunted to head the vigilance department of the state's Electricity Board.
                There, too, he'd initiated strong measures against habitual power thieves while serving
                electricity bills to erring organisations/individuals. He has recently been inducted back
                into his parent organisation - the Kerala Police. 
          (b) The protocol is quite clear in this case.....Rishi Raj Singh, being a guest, is to stand up
                only while the National Anthem is played while it's the duty of the host to receive the
                chief guest!

       Then why do such things keep getting highlighted when it's clear that they fall into the category
       of 'much ado about nothing'!The reasons aren't very difficult to understand because:-

          (a) Ignorance of rules on the part of the professionals.
          (b) The 'Sirji' phenomenon popular in our country ( A senior needs to be addressed rightfully as                 'Sir' and 'Sirji' is nothing but sycophancy).
     2. Prevention of Malpractices at Examinations.

         Given that the types of malpractices indulged in public examinations by all concerned have
         touched an all time low and has become a sort of an 'organised crime', the Central Board of
         Secondary Education(CBSE) has issued a diktat on the wardrobe to be worn by candidates at
         the forthcoming All India Pre-Medical Test(AIPMT) to be held on 25 Jul which is:-

                  * Light coloured half sleeve 'T' shirt/kurta
                  * Light coloured trouser
                  * No religious charms/ amulets
                  * No nose rings, ear rings, bracelets, chains, necklaces, brooches and pendants
                  * No shoes
                  * Avoid clothing with large buttons
                  * No belts and
                  * No scarves and caps.

         Can't really blame the Board for promulgating such an unprecedented order because 
         the indulgence in unfair practices had reached the nadir, so much so, that the previous 
         set of results for the same test were cancelled by the Supreme Court of India.

         To the generations who'd be attempting competitive examinations in their lives, I've only
         one thing to say and that is, "Do not miss out on the thrill or the high that you get while
         cracking an exam on your own efforts."


Do these happen only in India or they global phenomena..... er, the trend of the times? I mean, the lack of professionalism or the indulgence in unfair practices? 

Friday, July 10, 2015

'Out-of-the-body' phenomenon.

During week days, I watch the programme, 'Code Red' aired between 2230 and 2330h on the Colors television channel and I must say that I've got hooked on to it because it covers the quaint traditions, customs and practices prevalent in various parts of our country and each day's episode covers one story, based on real life incidents.

Recently, there was this story about an 'out-of-the-body' experience in a Calcutta based hospital. It was about nurse Sandhya, who used to be committed and caring about the patients under her charge. In the course of her work, she stumbles upon the wrong doings on the part of the head of the medicine purchase cell who incapacitates her and converts her into a living vegetable when she threatens to blow the lid off the unethical, covert practice.

She'd, by then, acquired a lot many admirers from among the patients, their attendants and the members of the hospital staff and they decide to put her in 'Room number 6' where she was privy to special attention and a liberal dose of 'Rabindra sangeet' - her vegetative state, notwithstanding (Reminded me about the recently deceased nurse Aruna Shanbaug of the Bombay Hospital). Stories abound among the inmates of the hospital about Sandhya - always on vigilant rounds - to ensure that nothing went wrong in the hospital!

My take.

I've touched upon this aspect earlier too but in a different context. The 'out-of-the-body' phenomenon is something that all of us would have experienced, many a time, in the course of our lives. Let me try to explain....

One is deep in thought about a past event or an individual and before one realises, the mind(or is it the soul?) gets tranferred to those circumstances and after a brief stay out there, returns to the body as though nothing had happened! The apprehension I'd shared in my earlier story was that the mind always returned to its own body and I'd wondered at the unlikely possibility of the minds switching bodies on return and the resulting confusion/catastrophe that it would create!

Adieu Omar Sharif.  

Another of my favourite actors has passed into the mist of time. He was 83 and was suffering from the dreaded Alzheimer's illness. I remember my first movie of his, Dr. Zhivago, where he'd acted in the title role so effortlessly and having developed a liking for his way of acting saw, 'Lawrence of Arabia' in which he'd acted as Sherif Ali - at first sceptical and goes on to become a loyal friend of Lawrence, played by Peter O'Toole. I've also seen him in Jenghiz Khan, The Yellow Rolls Royce, The Night of the Generals, Funny Girl, The Appointment and Mackenna's gold - in fact, have seen them an umpteen number of times!

An Egyptian by birth, he'd married his co-star, Faten Hamama, in '55 and divorced her in '74 (Incidentally, she had died earlier, in January, this year at the age of 83!). Their son, Tarek, acted as the young 'Yuri Zhivago' in Dr. Zhivago when he was nine years old.

RIP, Omar Sharif! My salute to a fine actor!!


Another one of those hectic days and I was able to catch up with a whole lot of work that had piled up!


Thursday, July 9, 2015

The FTII imbroglio.

I've always looked at the Film and Television Institute of India(FTII) with awe and appreciation. During my days at the NDA in Pune, I'd a friend doing a course on cinematography at the haloed institute who used to drill into me the nuances of the art of film making, as she perceived it. Her approach and in depth knowledge about her subject were catalyst to my being a sort of a film buff subsequently. More about it later.

Coming back to the institute, I view it as a cradle for film makers. I must hasten to add that I've a few friends in the film industry, who've achieved greatness without having passed through the portals of this great institution which supports the argument that some among us have it in us - a genetic inheritance, perhaps - and therefore, do not require any formal training!.... The members of the institute used to entertain us - the cadets and the faculty of the NDA - every Autumn term, if my memory serves me right, for over two hours which was a heavenly experience!

The evergreen number, "Starry, starry night....." sung by a young lady in a glittering white gown - during such a performance, in my second term at the Academy - had got on to be one of my favourite numbers thanks to her voice and the sheer grandeur of its presentation. And there are many such lingering memories!

So, when I read about the present imbroglio - which has gone on for over a month, unfortunately - it saddens me immensely. For the uninitiated, the students and the faculty of the FTII are protesting against the appointment of Mr. Gajendra Chauhan (Yudhishthir, of the Mahabharatha) as the Chairperson of the Institute because they're of the opinion that he doesn't have the stature to be the head of the Institute. None of the concerned parties seem to be in any mood to compromise and to make matters worse, a few veterans have also voiced their support in favour of the students and the faculty.

Being a well wisher of the Institute, I've the following queries to each of the warring parties of the imbroglio:-

      (a) The students and the faculty of the Institute. Since when does the appointing authority - in
            this case, the government of India - take an institution's endorsement for the appointment
            of its head? 
      (b) The Government of India. Isn't it time to make the FTII autonomous? The creative field
            must be given freedom in pursuit of their skills. 
      (c) The famed veterans. You're respected for your achievements and you're also aware of the
            fact that every individual in the creative field needs to be respected for his contributions.
           Your opinions count and therefore, your utterances need to be above board, they should not
           belittle anyone from your flock whatever be his/her credentials. 
      (d) Mr. Gajendra Chauhan. If I were you, I wouldn't like to sit on that chair. Would you still
            like to adorn an appointment when the entire institution is against it?


It's my fervent wish that the disputing parties got on to the negotiating table to arrive at an early way out.


I'd like to present just a couple of nuggets from what I'd gleaned from my cinematographic friend:-

  (a) In 'Swayamvaram', the camera initially focuses on two guys speaking to each other. And
        through this conversation, they go away from the audience. The camera continues to pan
        them and finally the viewer is left watching only their lip movements, the conversation having
        gone beyond earshot! Adoor Gopalakrishnan was commended for his attention to details!!

  (b) In 'Elipathayam', one of the initial shots was of a guy running with a rat in the trap to the 
        nearby river to kill the animal by drowning and there's a distinct background score that goes
        along with the scene. The same music is played when the villagers take the head of the Nair                 family - in a fit of rage at his lethargy and self preservation - to the riverside, towards the
        end of the movie.

Frankly speaking I don't have the patience to go into such minute aspects of film making while watching one!   


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Just not on, Hema Malini!

One doesn't have to say that you've a special place in the Indian hearts. It's not because of your personal qualities but thanks to the halo brought about by many of the characters played by you in your movies. But you seem to be frittering away the enormous amount of goodwill by sheer outrageous behaviour!

What else does one say to your tweets blaming the child's father for the accident. For the uninitiated, her Mercedes was involved in a collision with an Alto near Dausa, on the Delhi-Jaipur highway on the night of 02 Jul. While she was moved to a nearby hospital almost immediately, the Khandelwals, who're the inhabitants of the Alto didn't get immediate attention, whereby their two year old girl died bleeding! There were other passengers who're seriously injured and are now under medical management.

Your blaming the child's dad for the accident, through your tweets, was in real bad taste. As an MP and a responsible citizen of India, your action in the aftermath of the accident should have been the following:-

       (a) Insist on the Alto's passengers being moved for immediate medical attention at the hospital
            you're being taken to. Your alibi about you not being in a condition to take charge of the                   situation does not hold water because there were others - your daughter, son-in-law and
            the driver - who should have done the needful.

       (b) There seems to be some mystery shrouding the entire sequence of the case. Consider the
             following pieces of information that the media had brought about, related to the accident:-

                       (i) Your driver was released on bail soon after the initial questioning.
                      (ii) You were on the driver's seat at the time of the accident and
                            under the influence of alcohol.
        (c) Nothing specific has been said about the sequence of the accident, as to who was at fault and               why there was an inordinate delay in providing medical support to the passengers of the Alto               or are we to believe that there's a caste system prevalent in such matters too?

Ma'am, you must understand that the family is in a state of trauma, having lost their little child and a few of them aren't medically fit thanks to the injuries caused because of the accident. That's why your 'blame game' is simply not acceptable. Or has it been done with the following in mind:-

         (a) to influence the case in your favour?
         (b) to negotiate on the compensation that you've to give? And pray what's the price of a little
               girl who has passed into the mist of time?

Because your actions, simply, plead for a credible answer! And you can't afford to be dithering either!!

RIP, Little Chinni! My tears and prayers. Apologies for many of us being heartless. Here's wishing that your family has sufficient strength to tide over these stressful times!


Reports of your tantrums during the elections, while campaigning in your constituency were of bad taste. They're, however, not given much cognisanse because many times, the public can get enthusiastic while being with a celebrity and forget minor courtesies in the heat of the moment. That has to be taken sportingly - though I must hasten to add that uncouth behaviour has to be set right with the help of the organisers, then and there - because this is what one has to pay for one's celebrity status, otherwise don't aspire to be in politics. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

From here and there.

Interesting happenings and information, are always worth a know. It makes us understand people and their thinking processes. Success is sure to follow in this unending quest but after testing the limits of patience. I'd love to quote Rudyard Kipling in this context:-

        "Some men see things as they are and say, why.
          I dream things that never were and say why not."

 (a) NASA's Boomerang shaped Aircraft to fly on MARS.

       The red planet is fast catching the fancy of all space nations. Probes have been sent in the past
       and vital information has been gleaned. Probably, it could be inhabited by man and much of
       the resource constraints on the earth could be solved by having that planet for human settlement!
       The proposed aircraft will:-

               (i) Check if the conditions are okay for man to land on the red planet.
              (ii) The first flight to Mars will be in the 2020s and
             (iii) A prototype of the preliminary design will be ready later this year.

  (b) Craters.

        There are 128 craters, as per a recent count, on the surface of the earth. These are nothing but
        depressions caused by asteroids slamming into the planet. One was under the impression that
        numbers were much, much more. The scientists, looking into these aspects, have said that
        erosion, tectonics and volcanic phenomena eat up craters on earth.

        So, there might have been quite a few more which have been gobbled up and now cease to exist!

   (c) Supporters of Greece.

        'Greek Bailout Fund' is a crowd funding campaign set up by London-based marketing manager
        Thom Feeney to sort the problem out - he's used more colourful language though that's not
        the crux of the matter. The campaign has, thus far, raised more than 1.7 million euros over six
        days but likely to fall short of the 1.6 billion euro target despite tempting offers of postcards
        from Greece and bottles of ouzo for each pledge!


There's no dearth of well meaning people with mind boggling ideas, in this world! 

Monday, July 6, 2015

These things baffle me....

I scan the media - both print and visual - pretty closely to ascertain what's going on around me. So a few aspects that I'm gonna relate have baffled me....honestly and I'm sure that there would be very many who're in the same boat that I'm in! Without much ado, let me touch upon them.

 (a) The Lalit Modi saga.

       For over a fortnight, the media was agog with facts and clippings to show that Lalit Modi - the
       ex-IPL chief who was unceremoniously booted out because of questionable financial dealings
       while he was at its helm - was cosy with Sushma Swaraj, our foreign minister and Vasundhara            Raje Scindia, the chief minister of Rajasthan. It almost appeared that the scalps of these two
       BJP leaders were gonna be taken over the 'conflict-of-interest' issue as their near and dear ones
       had received favours from Lalit Modi.

       Connected to the news, the following were also bandied about/had taken place:-

             (i) Prime Minister's silence on the entire issue.
            (ii) The RSS's diktats that there wasn't any misdemeanour and therefore, no action be taken
                  on the duo.
           (iii) Jairam Ramesh, the Congress spokesman, comes up on all the channels claiming that his
                  party would soon form governments in Delhi and Rajasthan.

       And presto, then, came another disclosure from Lalit Modi about how Rahul Gandhi and Robert
       Vadra had enjoyed his hospitality.

       Ever since that episode, all the channels have gone strangely silent on what they termed as
       "Lalit Gate".... Making me and millions of viewers like me feel duped and having been 'taken for
       a jolly!'

    (b) The Bar Bribery case.

          During the months of May and Jun, the bar bribery case - refers to Kerala's FM having taken
          a bribe from Biju Ramesh of the Bar Owners' Association - grabbed the local media headlines
          which got to be shriller towards the run up to the Aruvikkara by election.

          Connected to the news, the following were also played out:-

                 (i) Biju Ramesh saying that he'd decide on his subsequent plan of action, after discussing
                      with the opposition leadership, when the commission going into the scam pointed out
                      a few loopholes in his statements.
                (ii) Oommen Chandy's government was shown mired in all sorts of corrupt activities.

         And presto, then, came the results of the Aruvikkara by election where the people voted
         overwhelmingly for Oommen Chandy's candidate.

         Ever since, all the local channels have gone strangely silent on the 'bar bribery case.'......
         Making mallus like me wonder as to whether there was any case to answer in the first place!

         On what basis does the media give overnight publicity to people like Biju Ramesh, Feni
         Balakrishnan, Saritha Nair, Biju Radhakrishnan etc when all of them are supposed to be party
         to the crime?

      (c) The Vyapam case.

            Similarly, the investigation into the scam has been instituted in '13 with no concrete
            conclusions till date. Were 44 and more deaths required for the media and the others to
            realise the gravity of the scam?

            Wish the watchdogs of democracy had reacted much earlier to prevent so many unfortunate


Probably, I'm old fashioned in my thinking. I've always been under the impression that when a misdemeanour comes to light, the concerned agencies looking into the charges and the watchdogs, like the media, did thorough investigations to bring out the facts of the case for public scrutiny/consumption. Frivolousness has to be avoided at all costs because reputations are being besmirched and the sanctity of institutions trivialised.......all in the deadly and dirty game of one upmanship!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The monstrous 'Vyapam' scam!

1. The scam, obviously, has been brewing in Madhya Pradesh for years but has acquired national attention after the deaths of 44 (25 officially confirmed, though!) of the accused/witnesses.

What's the Vyapam scam?

2. An investigation launched in '13(The CM's testimony to the fact that he's clean and above board on the issue, since he'd ordered the probe) revealed that the officers of the state's professional exam board(Vyapam) were manipulating various tests for medical aspirants, police constables, contractual teachers and other government employees - perhaps, for over a decade! The number of government institutions that this scam has allegedly compromised includes the office of the Governor of the state!!

And where has the probe reached?

3. Zilch! The probing agency reports to the chief minister and has no answers - till date - to the string of suspicious deaths of either the accused or the witnesses connected with the case, owing to suicides or road accidents.

Who could be involved?

4. From the manner in which the whole drama is being played out, it can easily be surmised that those people who're involved in the wrongdoing is a powerful syndicate comprising politicians, bureaucrats, top cops and doctors, a large number of students and their parents. And there're reasons to come to this conclusion viz. :-

       -  Surging aspirations
       -  Poor education
       -  Prohibitive college cut offs and
       -  Too little to chose after reservations.

My take.

5. I tend to agree with the demand that an independent agency, like the CBI, needs to step in to probe charges of foul play and state connivance.


To quote another source, is it an epidemic of mass cheating?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

An embarrassment and another story.

Today's thoughts is about a personal experience and something that arrested my attention by its uniqueness. Life's, indeed, on.

 1. An embarrassment.

     I'd visited the local 'sidha' doctor after days of coaxing by Biju, her compounder. I'd gone to the
     clinic, a few days earlier to collect a combination of oils for my mom's joint pain and during that
     visit, I'd mentioned about the rashes on my skin because of itching. The doctor comes at odd times      -  for me, of course - between 1630 and 1800h on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and I just
     couldn't match my timings because of the work that I'm doing and the errands that I run.

     This evening, Biju, however, ensured that I made it by personally coming to my house and
     had taken charge of the situation. The meeting with the doctor, Femin, was good in that the
     ailment could be properly put across to help the doctor come to the correct diagnosis. At the end
     of it all, I'd asked her about her consultation fees which turned out to be Rs.100/-. I'd immediately
     fished out my wallet, with a flourish, to find that there was only a 50 rupee note in it. It was
     embarrassing and I was apologetic, though she was very kind and said, "Not to worry sir, I'm
     charging you only because you'd inquired about it. For me, it's a treat to have befriended you
     and have you as my patient. I shall collect my fees after seven days, when I'd like to take stock
     of my medicines' effect on your ailment!"

     Never before had I felt so small!

  2. An usual meeting of classmates.

      Mindy Glazer and Arthur Booth, all of 49 yrs, were classmates - years earlier - at the Miami
      Beach School. Years later, they're face to face as the judge and the accused in a burglary case
      at the Miami-Dade Court.

      Arthur hadn't recognised the judge until she said the following, "OK, Mr. Booth, I've a question
      for you. Did you go to Nautilus for middle school?"

      Arthur, who was arrested on several charges including burglary, theft, fleeing and resisting
      arrest realised as to who Mindy actually was. He, then, put his head in his hands and sobbed.
      The rest of the story is best understood through Mindy's words....

         To Arthur

            " I'm sorry to see you there, I always wondered what happened to you."

         To the courtroom

            " He was the nicest kid in Middle School.....He was the best kid.... I used to play football with
            him...all the kids.....and look what has happened finally to Arthur." 

         And finally, to Arthur

            "Good Luck to you, sir, I hope you're able to come out of this OK and just lead a lawful life."

        Judge Mindy set Booth bail at $44,000.


His friends remember Arthur Booth to have been a dedicated student and athlete but unfortunately gotten drugs to take charge of his life. And he'd eventually turned to crime! Sad!!