Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Barbaric! An act that needs condemnation and swift redressal.

58 year old Iqlakh and his son, living in Bisada of the Dadri area in Greater NOIDA, Uttar Pradesh faced a mob fury with fatal results. While the former was lynched to death, the latter is battling for life in a hospital with grievous injuries on the misplaced information that the family was having beef.

It's a truly barbaric act that needs all round condemnation and immediate redressal by rounding up the guilty and subjecting them to the proceedings of a fast court appointed for the purpose!

What's even worse is that the police has sent the meat, kept in the fridge of the house, for forensic investigation to ascertain whether it was beef. And what happens if it were to be beef? Don't the people of this country have the freedom to choose their food? What have we come to? This incident pales the activities of the Taliban and the ISIS!

The run up to the horror:-

  (a) Rumours were spread that the family had slaughtered a cow and had beef.
  (b) The priest was forced to announce that the family had beef, on the temple loudspeaker, by two
  (c) On hearing this, a mob had rushed to Iqlakh's house, vandalised the place, misbehaved with
        the ladies, lynched Iqlakh and grievously injured his son.
  (d) The sad thing was that there were many onlookers and they remained just that, without trying
        to resist the wrongdoers!

The factors that point to mischief:-

   (a) In the past few months there have been attempts to disturb the prevalent communal harmony
         in the area.
   (b) Two cows had died in a 'gaushala' and there were attempts to project the incident as cow 
         slaughter at the time of the disposal of the carcasses and incite people.

The Result.

The Muslims of the area are thinking of migrating from the area! Sad!!

My Take.

Guys who do not understand Hinduism, its all encompassing goodness with the inherent flexibility of accepting the good from all the other religions and tolerance towards faiths are masquerading as its custodians/guardians by brandishing their own narrow interpretations. This cannot be allowed!


India is a great country. Her image cannot be sullied by a handful of narrow minded goons!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A script gone awry? All about woman power (Pembilai Orumai) in Kerala's plantations!

A 9 day protest by about 7,000 women workers of the Kannan Devan Hills Plantations Company Private Limited had begun on 06 Sep. They'd picketed the roads and the feeder highway, so effectively, that traffic to and from Munnar came to a grinding halt, cutting off supplies to the district resulting in stranded tourists and mass cancellation of tourist reservations.

The women workers' grievances were the following:-

    (a) that they're doing strenuous jobs like:-
           (i) picking tea leaves
          (ii) heaving sacks of plucked tea leaves and
         (iii) loading the sacks on to the trucks
         and their pay ranged from Rs.170/- to Rs.230/- every working day which often stretched up to
         12 lours while the men got the same wages for lighter tasks like fostering of plants! Therefore,
         an increase of wages to Rs.500/- per day.

    (b) better conditions, both in terms of bonus and facilities and
    (c) scaling up medical facilities.

The highlights of the agitation was that, alleging collusion between the trade unions and the management, they:-

     (a) kept the trade unions away from their agitation
     (b) kept the political parties at arm's distance.
     (c) chased away the local legislator and
     (d) insisted upon the chief minister's intervention for an amicable solution.

Accordingly, the deadlock was broken on 13 Sep, after a day long consultation in Kochi led by the chief minister, his cabinet colleagues, trade union leaders, representatives of the workers and the management of the Company. The grievance about wages - covering the entire lot of plantation workers of tea, coffee, spices, rubber etc -  was to be looked at during the Plantation Labour Committee meeting of 26 Sep.

The immediate effect was that the political parties and their trade unions were stunned at their isolation and were eager to get back into the scheme of things! Assessment meetings, self criticism and assorted huddles were organised among the trade unions to come up trumps from the ignominy of isolation!!  

The Plantation Labour Committee meeting of 26 Sep could not arrive at a consensus regarding the pegging of minimum wages at Rs.500/- as the managements expressed their inability to cater for the hike. The representatives of the women workers who weren't party to this meeting, in the meanwhile, had got another assurance from the chief minister that the problem would be settled amicably.  

Seizing the window of opportunity, the entire array of trade unions had called for striking work on 28 Sep. The women power had decided to stay off from the 'hartal' with the rider that it wouldn't enforce any decision on its members!

That the trade unions could wean away a majority of the women workers into their call for striking work brought about a quick end to the unity of the 'women power'.


Is it the end of the 'women power'(Pembilai Orumai) or was it a misstep? Only time will tell!


Monday, September 28, 2015

PM Modi's foreign policy initiatives.

There has been a sea change in the way the Prime Minister's visits abroad are executed ever since Narendra Modi has taken over the mantle of the country's leadership.

Earlier, the PMs used to go abroad and the following rituals were played out each time, without change, for the last so many years. Let me try to recap those activities:-

    (a) the spokesman from the ministry of external affairs gives out a sketchy press briefing on
         the impending visit abroad by the PM and his/her itinerary.
    (b) the PM is seen off by his cabinet colleagues and a host of dignitaries with much garlanding,
          handing over of bouquets, adorning of shawls and of course, touching of feet, embraces or
          a mere nod of head - depending upon the individual's closeness to the leader.
    (c) the PM is always accompanied by a fairly large contingent of the press corps which towards
          the latter years, used to interview the PM on board his flight, both on the outward and the
          return legs - probably to give it the 'foreign twang'!
    (d) the PM does one-on-one meetings with the visiting country's leaders, gives lectures as
          scheduled, attends state banquets where speeches couched in diplomatic jargon were
          delivered and perhaps, goes for sight seeing, depending upon the time available. There was
          no time earmarked for the Indian diaspora in the visiting countries!
    (e) the feedback about the visiting country's press coverage about the visit was never known
          though with the visual media getting to be omnipresent these days, the information is instantly
          passed on!
    (f) Most of the visits could be termed as 'politically correct, staid and banal!' What benefits the
         country had accrued from all those visits are there for all of us to see.

Whereas, what we see today is a highly visible Prime Minister, who carries out his official engagements with the world leaders rather vigorously and makes it a point to be with and interact with the Indian diaspora in all the countries that he's visited thus far. And he's made it a point to use Hindi as the medium to put across his thoughts! (He, sure, has picked up some instant followers like Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif wanting to carry out his dialogue with Obama, in Urdu, from some story that I heard in the course of this visit!!) 

Taking the role of the Devil's advocate, the questions that come instantly are, 'Isn't there a tinge of theatrics in all of these? Should the PM get into such minute details?' And before I answer the questions, here're a few reactions from the Indians abroad who've participated in such interactions - a generous sprinkling of them being my friends, I must admit:-

       (a) "We feel proud to have a hands-on PM who's really bothered about us and our activities".
       (b) "The people around us are also impressed by our PM and are keen to know more about
       (c) "We'd definitely like to get back to India and contribute towards nation building as the PM
             has exhorted us".
       (d) "The Prime Minister is sincere about bringing in sweeping changes to the retrograde practices
             in vogue".
       (e) "We want him to succeed and transform India to a strong and developed nation, respected by
             the world!"

My take.

PM Modi, has definitely given a new impetus in the manner we conduct our foreign policy. His hectic schedule of visiting a number of countries has been a necessity to strengthen bilateral relations and in projecting a 'happening India.' The results will be visible in the not-too-distant future! And my personal advice to the PM would be to avoid barbs on his opponents, they're not worth it and definitely, not on foreign soil!!

Here's wishing that India gains its rightful stature in the comity of nations!!


At least a few members of the opposition must be ruing the day when they thumped their chests, on Modi's elevation as the PM, saying that the country's foreign policy was gonna be direction-less because a person with 'neither-an-idea-about-it' nor 'experience' is gonna be at the helm. The PM, definitely, must be having the last laugh on those doomsayers!   


Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Supermoon.

The lunar tetrad or the fourth lunar eclipse of today will not be visible for the stargazers of Kerala and India but will be visible to the people of the Americas, Europe, Africa and parts of the middle east. The spectacle called the 'blood moon' as the moon appears red soon after the eclipse, thanks to the sun's rays reflected off the earth will, however, be visible.

This lunar eclipse is considered special because it occurs on a night when the moon will be a 'super moon'.

The Super Moon.

A full or a new moon that occurs closest to the fall equinox and where the moon is at its perigee or the closest approach to the earth. This results in the moon appearing up to 14% larger in diameter! 

Some other interesting information:-

      (a) In the lunar tetrad, the fourth lunar eclipse takes place tonight 27-28 Sep '15. The
           previous ones had taken place on:-

                 (i) the night of 14-15 Apr 2014.
                (ii) the night of 07-08 Oct 2014 and
               (iii) the night of 04-05 Apr 2015.

      (b) The last occurrence of a lunar eclipse followed by the super moon had taken
            place 33 years back.

      (c) In a span of 115 years, the phenomenon had occurred only four times.


A nice message sent to me on what'sapp by one of my friends which actually reflects the paradox that we live in.
                                                My head says, "who cares?" 
                                    but my heart whispers, "you do, stupid!"

Saturday, September 26, 2015

An interesting study.

Notice. This is not meant to be an alarm. I must reiterate that it's neither due to any over anxiety on my part regarding death, which is the only truth in life and will visit each one of us at a pre-ordained time nor is it a ready reckoner in case of a cardiac emergency! I'm merely passing on an interesting study conducted by the Kerala chapter of the Indian Society of Cardiology.

The Study.

The multi-centre observational study was aimed at identifying the initial reactions of the patients when confronted with acute chest pain.

A Few Interesting Statistics. 

  (a) Almost 85% of those who undergo cardiac emergency take about 1 to 6 hours to seek medical
       aid, leading to complicated situations.
  (b) A majority of patients try alternative therapies or self medication before reaching the hospitals.
  (c) Some even think that they would be relieved of the pain without taking any medicine.
  (d) The patients who reached the hospital within an hour had undergone primary angioplasty to
        relieve the block/clot as soon as possible reducing the damage to heart cells.

The Golden Hour.

This is the time period lasting for an hour or less, following traumatic injury being sustained during a cardiac emergency, during which there is the highest likelihood that death will be prevented if prompt medical treatment is provided.


Only 12% of the people who experience chest pain, leading to heart attack, reach hospitals during the golden hour.


So, are most of the remaining ones on the flight into the mist of time? And what about some of the 12% who also end up in the same manner? The mystery of life - the script of life - that only He, why worry?  

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pakistan continues to be in a time warp.

Ever since Independence, whenever leaders of the world conglomerated at the UN, Pakistan used to project itself as an aggrieved party in India-Pakistan relations. India's aggressiveness, the Kashmir issue - tried to convert it to its advantage because of the then Indian PM Jawaharlal Nehru's statesmanlike offer of going for a UN observed referendum among the Kashmiris to determine which country they'd like to be with (That J&K wanted to be with India was a known fact and Pakistan, consequently was opposed to it and ensured that it didn't happen) - and in recent times, giving silly excuses to cover up the terrorist activities, sponsored by it, in Jammu & Kashmir.

That it was able to garner some of the world attention, earlier, was because of the then prevalent international situation. Many a time it bothered every Indian as to why we're so reactive and Pakistan-centric. But things have changed, firstly, the world order by itself and secondly, the great strides India has achieved in many fields that it has become an economic power that's being wooed by many of the developed countries.

With PM Modi's ascension to power, the thrust has been to project India as a land of economic opportunities so as to attract as many foreign investors as possible aimed at infrastructural build up, availability of state-of-the-art technology, tremendous employment other words, to secure a climate for all round development wherein petty issues on the basis of caste and religion will ultimately recede into insignificance.

And in this calculus, Pakistan figures nowhere, which is what is hurting that country and its leaders. That it was whipping up its hyphenation with India - by many of the developed nations beginning with the US - to stay relevant in international affairs was a known fact. But by the signing of the Indo-US nuclear agreement and the subsequent happenings, everything had begun to change!

Realising its increasing irrelevance, see what it has scripted today. Its UN representative, Ms. Maleeha Lodhi has dropped the bombshell of 'the great wall that India is building along the LoC' - which is illegal as it is in disputed(?) territory! Now, how will that country pull it off before being trashed as circulating a false and malicious propaganda? The question is, who has scripted this pantomime - PM Nawaz Sharif and his political affiliations or the GHQ of the Pakistan Defence Forces?

Feel bad for the average Pakistani citizen - his political and military leadership are continuing to build up their nuclear arsenal at great costs on an anti-India sentiment which should have rightfully been used for his welfare and well being!


The urgent requirement for Pakistan is to revive its economy that's in dire straits. For a change, why can't it shed its 'India-hatred' and concentrate on its own survival?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A trail of unwanted happenings!

These times shall be singularly remembered for the unfortunate incidents that have taken place around the globe. It's my fond hope that the concerned people take remedial actions that shall preclude repetition of the events ever again.

 (a) Tragedy at the Hajj.

       Lakhs of pilgrims had converged in Mina - 5 km from Mecca - to throw pebbles at one of the
       three walls, symbolising Satan, for the last ritual of the Hajj pilgrimage which officially ends
       on Sunday. Bad crowd control, had resulted in a stampede that brought about the death of over          700 pilgrims and injuring over 800. The prevalent oppressive weather conditions contributed
       to the discomfort of the pilgrims.

       Sadly, it was just a week before, that 100 pilgrims had lost their lives at Mecca due to a crane

       Perhaps, this Hajj pilgrimage will be remembered by the faithful as a 'bloody' event for years
       to come. But wait a minute, there are many who consider death during the pilgrimage as lucky
       with an assured passage to heaven! May their thoughts turn out to be the truth!! 

       My tears and prayers for the departed. 

  (b) Nawaz Sharif's Misplaced Agenda.

        The Pakistani PM's meeting with Kashmiri separatists in New York is only the prelude for him 
        to make a strong(?) statement on Kashmir and warn against India's inclusion in an expanded
        UN Security Council. 

        Meanwhile, Pakistani separatists/displaced persons such as mohajirs, Baloch and Pashtoons
        have planned a demonstration in front of the UN on 30 Sep to protest against:-

                          * human rights violations
                          * extra judicial killings
                          * enforced disappearances and
                          * state sponsored terrorism.

        And what would be your reaction to that, Mr. Prime Minister?

   (c) The Volkswagen Mess.

         Volkswagen has admitted that it deceived US regulators about how much its diesel cars pollute.
         It programmed its cars to detect when they're being tested and alter the readings of the diesel
         engines to conceal their true emissions! 

         Its Chief Executive has already paid the price with his scalp!!

         What a shame for the mighty company?


My sister has come down on a one day trip to be with us. The two of us had gone to the Guruvayur temple, around 2200h, to see 'Avataaram' enacted through the dance form of 'Krishnanaattom'....... a nice experience!


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Is there a tendency to show the defence forces in bad light because of OROP?

I've always been an ardent reader of the ToI for quite a few years. It's because, I'd always thought that the paper covered news in an objective manner and had a wide range of reportage. However, of late, from many of the articles that I've been reading, a disappointment of sorts has been building up deep within. The immediate provocation has been the coverage on the 'One Rank One Pension(OROP)' demand made by the defence forces.

The sentiments expressed reminds me of an aunt's reaction to OROP. The well meaning person that she is and I must ascertain, quite fond of me said the other day, during her visit to my house, after a visit to the Guruvayur temple and I quote, "Why're you asking a cash strapped(?) government for so much. You get your free rations, free booze and most of the things subsidised through your canteens that it's preposterous that you should be asking for a yearly hike in pension and other perks". Mind you she's a government servant placed in a good appointment and doing well, professionally!

It was then that I realised that she was ignorant of even the basics. I mean, how do I convince her that I don't get free rations, free booze or subsidised items? If an educated(?) individual like her can harbour such thoughts why blame the many who write all sorts of articles in the newspapers/magazines and those who come up on panel discussions on the various television channels who never care to keep abreast of the facts or research on the subject that they provide opinions on? The case in point is Chetan Bhagat's - unfortunately, the son of a gentleman that had donned the uniform - article on OROP! By now, he must be privy to several angry retorts from a wide section of the society and I don't want to add to it but personally, I still fail to understand as to what made him write that goddamn piece!!

Threats like the paramilitary veterans are also getting ready to start an agitation asking for OROP seem to be meant to tell the armed forces veterans, "Look at what you've done. You've opened up the floodgates of similar demands which is not fair!"

As history points out, the armed forces had graciously agreed to less pay and perks compared to their counterparts, the world over, on the then PM Jawaharlal Nehru's request against the poor economic state of the country at the time of Independence. That it continued to get systematically reduced along with its status in the pecking order by the crafty machinations of the bureaucracy over a period of time - a phenomenon/tussle that exists between the bureaucracy and the armed forces in every democracy - has brought about the present standoff.  

With PM Modi, firmly committed to providing the OROP, I'm sure the end of the unnecessary logjam is in sight.


Earlier, my maman and folks had fetched up, from Thiruvananthapuram, an hour past midnight. The house is full of noise and mirth, after a long time.     

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why the haste?

The  news that one had to save messages, chats etc for 90 days and offer them for governmental scrutiny - presumably, on grounds of security - that had come out yesterday, was a dampener. Why did the government act in haste? While appreciating the fact that cyber crimes are on the rise and the medium is being misused by miscreants there's an urgent need to keep this medium sanitised and free of misuse - a task, easier said than done!

Therefore, while the government's eagerness to lay down a comprehensive law regarding its usage is well understood - as one of its well wishers - I feel let down when they bring out something only to backtrack almost instantly, as it has been in this case. It points to three factors:-

      (a) Because of being too eager to bring in something, the subject is given the short shrift without
           an in depth study of each and every aspect.
      (b) Any law must answer the three basic questions - Is it implementable? Does it cover all
            conceivable permutations & combinations towards implementation? And lastly, is it
            flexible enough to be acceptable across the entire section of population for which it's
            intended? Were these overlooked?
      (c) And finally, can the implementation be monitored without any loophole? Wasn't it thought

The tremendous backlash by almost the entire population coupled with negative reactions on the social media must have forced the government to rescind the 'draft encryption policy'. And I must congratulate it for bowing to the majority thinking without taking it as an ego issue, a step not normally adopted by many in power(In this context, while this government has shown tremendous maturity and flexibility on issues like the Land Acquisition Bill and the Encryption Bill, I still can't understand its continued mulishness on the Gajendra Chauhan vs. FTII issue or does it show the difference in class between Ravishankar Prasad and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore - the ministers that head the two ministries?)

While adequate safeguards are a must on cyber usage to prevent its misuse, the freedom to use it must remain with every citizen due to him/her with all its attendant privacy, to the extent feasible!


We're on the threshold of momentous happenings and on a sure path to becoming a super power. Mera Bharath Mahaan!


Monday, September 21, 2015

Mom's fall but thankfully, no mishap.

I'd just returned from my morning walk and was watering the plants on the balcony of the house when I heard a loud thump on the door from my mom's bathroom. She called for me soon after and when I reached there I found her sprawled on the floor - she was in the course of finishing her bath.

Mom uses Ayurvedic oils for her aches and pains and I guess it was the deadly combination of oils and soap that saw her take a misstep and fall. I could lift her up and she continued with her bath as though nothing had happened. I was thankful to God that nothing untoward had happened and felt guilty of the fact that the bathroom did not have a bath mat. Lekha had gone to the market and fetched a couple of bath mats, in the afternoon.

A dicey situation that ended in a whimper. My mom's stars saw her through!

         *                                               *                                                    *

Majo, the service engineer from Faber India knocked on the door at 1430h to attend to the cooking range complaint that we'd reported a couple of days back. Sarath, the familiar guy from the company who'd tended the range, thus far, was conspicuous by his absence and on query, came to know that he'd joined another firm covering similar aspects. Probably, the moolah was better there?

The new guy was equally meticulous and quick in his work. His demeanour was good and it didn't take long for endearing himself to us with his conduct overall.

          *                                               *                                                    *

The scavengers, from the Municipality, have not been regular in their visits during the month. Since the wet waste is used up in the backyard as manure, we don't have the problem of crows tearing up the wrapped up dry waste, awaiting disposal.

Their irregular visits, however, need to be addressed!

          *                                               *                                                    *

A pause in the rains has raised the overall temperatures. And come to think of it, the Met department had predicted a wet fortnight!


Two instances of unacceptable apathy among people as reported by Times Now, this evening:-

     (a) In Katni, Madhya Pradesh, 45 year old Latori Lal was buried alive in a pothole by the road
           repair workers. Molten bitumen was poured over him, obviously unseen/unobserved by the
           workers in the vicinity. Just can't believe that nobody saw the hapless man!
     (b) In Bangalore, 25 year old Stuthi was thrown off her scooter having hit a huge pothole and
           died of serious head injuries. When questioned about who needed to accept responsibility
           for the unfortunate incident, an insensitive BDA Commissioner replies that all roads are bad!

Can we be so callous?


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Playing the Devil's advocate.

Was aghast at some of the happenings and couldn't help come up with my own doubts. Probably I'm wrong - and I sincerely hope that I'm - but I must confess to having these queries. Without much ado, here I go.

  (a) The Tennis Fiasco.

        The world group playoff between the Czech Republic and India ended up 3-1, in favour of the
        Czechs as the final reverse rubber was called off because its outcome was inconsequential and
        the weather was hot! Tennis experts say that the doubles pair of Paes-Bopanna's loss in their
        game - despite being favourites - handed over the Czechs the victory. It means, for India, it's
        back to the grind of the Asia-Oceania Group 1.

        There was an innocuous report a couple of days back wherein, Bopanna seems to have stated
        that it was up to Sania Mirza to decide as to whom she'd like to pair with in the mixed doubles
        for the country in the forthcoming Olympics - the toss up being between him and Paes. With
        petty feuds prevalent, how can it prevent an outsider, like me, to wonder as to whether there was         any chance of harmony between them, when they played together? Sad!

  (b) The Craze about Salon Visits.

        Lakme Lever, has reiterated that the chain is expanding @ 2 salons per week. This has been
        made possible by increasing exposure, more social occasions and higher disposable incomes
        leading to an increase in frequency of visits to salons. And the consumers expect something new
        with every visit. Incidentally, hair care market forms a large part of grooming consumption in

        Trends show that there's a tendency of experimentation on hairstyles and nails!

        One must, while carrying out parental duties, be prepared to have one's child sporting a pink
        hairstyle and long nails in the not-too-distant future!

  (c) No Sleeper Tickets Across the Counter.

       There was this beautiful system that was practised by the Railways in Kerala and perhaps, all
       across the country. To do an unscheduled travel, a passenger could buy a sleeper class ticket
       and travel in a reserved compartment during daytime. It avoided one's entry into the heavily
       packed unreserved compartments! This system has been given the go by but interestingly,
       even in the railways there seems to be a difference in opinion in the matter. The DRM, Palakkad
       has already begun implementing the order, while his counterpart at Thiruvananthapuram is yet
       to do so. The backlash from the regular commuters has been swift! The reason for introducing
       this change? ..........To safeguard(?) the rights of the reserved passengers

       Why's the railways hellbent on reducing their earnings? Is it trying to encourage ticketless
       travel that's quite rampant in certain stretches of Bihar and UP?


Trends are a changing! Are they for the good, only time will tell.

The railways have since rescinded the order in Kerala!


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Interesting happenings.

Everyday brings about unimaginable incidents to the fore. Happenings that couldn't be conceived or dreamt about earlier, are taking place with a remarkable regularity. Can we safely surmise that these are the emerging trends that are irreversible or are they just a one time wonder? Let's visit a few of them here:-

 (a) Woman power.

       In the hilly district of Munnar, a quiet revolution of sorts was brewing over ten days. The
       womenfolk working in the tea estates - disgusted with the empty promises of the managements
       and the two timing maneuvers of the trade unions, for years - decided to take matters into their
       hands and had gone on an agitation asking for their rights of increased wages and connected
       perks. The main highway was blocked and their demands were put across forcibly through a
       well orchestrated media coverage.

       Throughout the period of agitation, the striking women ensured that no political party or trade
       union joined up with them and take credit for the outcome. Their insistence was upon the Chief
       Minister's indulgence in brokering a deal with the concerned parties which is what eventually
       happened, much to the consternation of the trade unions and the political parties who're still
       trying to rework a strategy to regain lost ground! Meanwhile the women group has planned to
       form their own trade union, tomorrow.

       Viva woman power!

  (b) The Papal visit to Cuba and the US.

        After brokering the thaw in US - Cuban animosity, of the last fifty years, Pope Francis is on a
        maiden visit to these two countries. He's scheduled to meet up with the ailing revolutionary,
        Fidel Castro before he flies off to the US on Tuesday. The Pope's official engagements during
        the visit would be his address to the joint session of the American parliament followed up with
        another address to the UN General Assembly, in addition to his religious engagements!

  (c) The Split in the Community on Terror Issue.

        Two factions of Sunnis, two groups of Mujahids and representatives of the Indian Union
        Muslim League had boycotted the campaign against the Islamic State(IS), organised by the
        Jamaat-e-Islami at Kozhikode exposing the fissures among Kerala's Muslim community on
        fighting terrorism. The state has recently become weary of growing IS influence among its
        youth, especially those working abroad in the Gulf region!

        It's my fervent appeal to the right thinking people of all religious communities to come out
        strongly against terrorism and the convoluted views of the fringe groups of their communities.
        Silence on the matter will be suicidal and one'd never be able to pardon oneself if the curse
        gains an upper hand!


Rahul Gandhi and his script writers for the Bihar election, don't seem to have learnt from their past mistakes. His 'suit-boot ka sarkar' comment against the backdrop of the dropped Land Acquisition Ordinance is gonna fall flat. Why doesn't he announce concrete programmes for the rejuvenation of Bihar if his party's voted to power, to counter Modi's increasing popularity? Will these guys ever learn?


Friday, September 18, 2015

The Netaji Papers.

Kudos to Mamata Banerjee and her government for declassifying 64 confidential files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose - the criticism that she did it to take advantage while she fights the West Bengal Assembly elections next year, notwithstanding! The initial observation after a peep into the declassified files punches holes in the existing official version of 70 years that Netaji was killed in an air crash in Taihoku - then under Japanese control - on 18 Aug '45!

The files have a number of correspondences and references that point to Netaji's presence beyond '45. The Howrah CID report of that time quotes British and US intelligence reports that Netaji was alive post '45. There's evidence of an elaborate snooping on Netaji's entire family by state intelligence officers decades after India's independence.

It has raised more questions than answering the existing ones. My personal queries are:-

   (a) What was the need for this massive cover up?
   (b) Who scripted this 70 year old mystery that will continue to play on till the 130 odd classified
         files, held by the central government, are declassified?
   (c) Why should it affect our relationship with certain foreign countries - as the government has
         been reiterating - because the actions had been taken by the then governments taking into
         account the prevailing circumstances and perceived fall outs?
   (d) What was the need to snoop on the family? Was it to prevent possible revelations regarding
         Netaji's existence? Or was it that the then Indian government trying to bolster the 'air crash
         theory' failing which its credibility would have been lost or did it perceive a threat in the                      political landscape by the return of the charismatic leader?

It's my fond hope that the union government also declassifies the files in its custody as a logical conclusion to the flow of events.

My take.

It's my personal opinion that all classified documents, held by the government, must be declassified after 25 years. This will prevent foul play or selective leakage to help the powers that be.


Close on the heels of the declassification of the Netaji papers must come the declassification of the Henderson-Brooks' Report on the Sino-Indian Conflict of '62. It will help the political and military establishments to learn from the mistakes of the past so that they are never repeated again!     

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Blasphemous! Simply not acceptable!

My reactions to some of the news bytes that are in circulation now.

 (a) No to Rajnikant as Tippu Sultan.

      First, it was the ban on eating meat on festivals of a certain community(I'm dead sure that even
      the Jains wouldn't have minded the others having what they wanted!), then the murder of eminent
      Kannada scholar and rationalist MM Kalburgi for his views on idol worship by a fringe Hindutva
      group, followed by a 'ghar waapasi' call for AR Rahman after he provided the background score
      and music for an Iranian film on the Prophet, it's now the preposterous appeal(?) to Rajnikant not       to play the role of Tippu Sultan, which has been offered to him in a forthcoming film on the                 ruthless king.

      Don't these guys understand that every individual is assured 'Freedom of expression, thought and
      action', in this country, as enshrined in our Constitution? Thankfully, the courts have intervened
      to cast some of these obnoxious 'fatwas' aside.

      PM Modi has, time and again, reiterated that neither he nor his government subscribe to such
      extreme views. Why, then, have such fringe groups found their voices now? Or is it a new trend?
      Whatever be the case, I'm of the opinion that all right thinking people must raise their voice                 against such unwanted intrusions in our lives. They don't have any right to dictate our choices in
      life. Period!

 (b) A Lukewarm Response to 'Swachh Bharat'.

       Much as anyone of us would like it, along with the PM who's given an impetus to this                          programme, an online survey has brought out the revelation that much more needs to happen
       in most parts of the country regarding cleanliness. I've been observing the surroundings of
       a few places that I'd visited over the past few days and found that the concerned municipalities/
       panchayats care a damn for maintaining a clean habitat. Why this apathy I wonder?

       Is it that we, Indians, are least worried about keeping our surroundings clean the onslaught of
       deadly ailments, notwithstanding? Or is it that since it's a Modi-initiative, it needs to be ensured
       that the programme never really takes off so that his opponents/critics have another stick to beat
       him with?

 (c) The Collection of 'Elite' Sperms.

       I was quite amused by the news that Ruijin Hospital of Shanghai, China is looking for
       donations of sperm from men who're over 165 cm tall and possess at least a college degree!
       Was reminded of Hitler's drive to bring up a pure 'Aryan race' by forcibly accommodating
       select couples to cohabit and procreate.

       Probably, the Chinese hospital is forced to do this because of increasing demands from women
       preferring such qualities!

       Can't help thinking a twad ahead. When man ultimately, solves the mystery of life and death,
       what prevents him from going in for 'designer deaths'?

       Some things never change, huh!


Happened to read that the PLA top brass of China have endorsed the Pakistani version of the Indo-Pak war of '65. If it's true, it's at their own peril because as a military strategist, I'd go through both the versions before arriving at a conclusion!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A rewind of sad memories!

1. Note. I've changed the actual names of the characters that appear in this true story to keep their identities protected.

2. Background.

    Raj and Ragini were madly in love with each other and they're first cousins - Ragini's dad was
    Raj's mom's brother. Their marriage took place at Thiruvananthapuram on 30 Dec '07 with great
    pomp and show and we'd attended that event. I remember Ragini, telling us in passing then, that
    her folks were initially against the relationship and it took a lot of convincing on her part to bring
    about the fairy tale ending!

    Both were commissioned officers in the defence forces, though in different services. Their life
    together had begun well and they're soon blessed with a baby girl. Three years into this idyllic 
    situation, on a Sunday when the house had her parents, her 'sahayak' and the domestic help,
    Raj took his life!

3. This morning, she'd called us to say that she and her family - her mom, elder sister, her husband and son along with her daughter - had finished their 'darshan' of Guruvayoorappan and would like to drop by.

4. Her daughter, Ananya and all of five years is a lovely little girl who's outgoing and friendly. The family was very keen to unload their pain and I let them do it. Actually, there was no communication with them ever since the unfortunate incident and I'd respected their privacy. His superior had informed me, then, that Raj was disgusted with life as he'd missed a deputation abroad for a prestigious course. It took me by surprise because I thought that Raj was a happy-go-lucky guy.

5. The story that came from the family had the following salient points:-

    (a) Raj was quite an introvert and while at home, generally kept to himself. At times, he even
          used to lock up his door while doing his work.
    (b) Ragini was an out and out extrovert - she seems to have changed and looks quite unsure of
          herself. The shock is yet to wear off, I presume! - and it was for this singular reason that her
          folks weren't quite enthusiastic about their marriage, initially, but gave in finally to her
    (c) There were times when he'd threatened suicide - not once, but more than once!
    (d) She, still, doesn't know as to what had triggered his unfortunate end.


1. Wonder how Raj could think of going away when he'd sired such a cute daughter?
2. Time, I'm sure, will heal the wound. Ragini must endeavour to start afresh. She's currently posted in the north east and is left with three more years in service!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The return leg - Thalavoor to Guruvayur.

The alarm set off at a half past 4 and we woke up mom at 5. The morning chores were gone through and we set off from Raj Nivas at 7. I'd taken the route via Pathanapuram, this time and by a half past 8, we'd driven into the Kalpakavadi Restaurant whose Appam and egg curry was a favourite for all the three of us.

After the timely break, the journey was smooth and uneventful. The major choke points viz. the town of Alappuzha, Kundannoor, Vyttila, Idappalli and Aluva were open with flowing traffic that we fetched up at the Saravana Bhavan, at the Paaliyekkara toll, for lunch on the dot. Before leaving, I'd called up the Geeyem Motors confirming our arrival to fix up the broken rear view mirror. There was a half hour's delay as the item, that was couriered by their Ernakulam branch, had to be taken on charge so that the billing process could be completed!

The next wait - again for about half an hour - was at the dry cleaners, where I'd to take the delivery of three sets of clothes because of the onam holidays and our frequent moves out of Guruvayur, over the past few weeks. Sure enough there was a mismatch on one set which, of course, was sorted out without any problem! And by the time we reached 'The Quarterdeck', it was 4.

I went for my evening walk at the usual time and was able to scramble home much before the rains fell. Felt refreshed after the exercises as the last four days were full of travel and no exercises! Even mom could be given her evening walk as I didn't want her to feel travel weary.

It was a spate of telephone calls in the evening to report our safe arrival at Guruvayur and the updation of our recent activities to friends and relatives. The journey was simply wonderful!


(a) The total distance covered during the period was 889.6 kms!
(b) A beautiful message received during the journey said and I quote, "We're not human beings going through a temporary spiritual experience, we're spiritual beings going through a temporary human experience....."
(c) The money spent on the 'Left hand mirror episode' was Rs.4,863, out of which, the component of 863 was the cost of my car's new mirror!                        

Monday, September 14, 2015

At Raj Nivas, Thalavoor.

Raj Nivas was thrumming with life as usual. It's a leisurely morning. Lekha'd gone to the temple in the morning, after a long wait for the auto rickshaw! Mom and me were at home and we continuously engaged ourselves with the stream of visitors into our house. It's not difficult to realise that the house under lock and key is something that the people are unhappy about! We assured them that we'd come more often and spend time out here - perhaps for about 10 days, every month.

And today was the great day!

70 years back, on this day, the Travancore Library Association(Thiruvithaamkoor Grandhasala Sangham) was formally inaugurated by Sir CP Ramaswamy Aiyer, the then Diwan of Travancore, at a glittering and well attended function at Ambalapuzha. The kingdom of Travancore extended from Kanyakumari, in the south, to N Paravur, in the north - though I must hasten to add that it did not encompass the entire area between the places mentioned as the kingdom of Kochi existed as a separate entity, centred around the present day Thrippunithura, in between. 

The chief organiser was the 36 year old, primary school teacher, PN Panicker. There were about 150 libraries - many functional, a few irregularly functional and yet others, non functional - in the kingdom of Travancore, those days. Invitation letters were sent to all but only 47 were represented at the meeting. The venue was the Sahitya Panchaanan Theater near the PK Memorial Library.

The following were achieved at the meeting:-

    (a) Official registration of the Travancore Library Association. The organisation formed had
          the undermentioned as its executive committee:-
              (i) KM Kesavan                               President.
             (ii) PN Panicker                               General Secretary.
            (iii) Vaayansaala Kesava Pillai        Treasurer.

           The working committee had 11 other members. 
     (b) A group of six were to co-ordinate with the government regarding assistance, both                            administrative and financial.

Accordingly, around 1730h, the leaders of the local 'Sanmaarga Sandayani Library' - the library started by my paternal grandfather, NK Panicker - had arrived at our place so that we could plant two saplings, that of a mango and a jackfruit, in memory of NK Panicker and PN Panicker. This was followed by the lighting of 70 lamps at the entrance of the library to commemorate the event!


(a) Back into history, the Diwan before getting into his car on return, shook hands with PN Panicker and told him to shift to Thiruvananthapuram to continue with his work and the latter accepted the invitation. The rest is history!

(b) For me it was a great honour to inaugurate the event and come to think of it, I was too small a person to be doing so!

As children, men, women and elders - Kamalamma chechi, all of 79 yrs, was the eldest in the gathering -  lit their lamps from the lamp that I'd lit I realised that I was basking in my grandfather's glory. An accident of birth, remember!?


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Leg 3 - Guruvayur to Thalavoor.

While going to sleep, Lekha and I'd decided not to press on leaving at 6. The day's proceedings had exhausted us and I didn't want to put more pressure on mom and Lekha. The alarm, curiously, played ball to a conspiracy and didn't go off at 0430h! Earlier, I'd got up around 10 past 3, tiptoed to mom's room to see whether she was okay and knocked off to sleep to get up at the appointed hour.

And when I got up later, it was a quarter past 5. The departure was, finally, by a quarter to 8, thoroughly disgusted at not having been able to sight the newspaper boy. But as we hit the highway, the familiar visage of Ramakrishnan was sighted and the day's newspapers were retrieved from him. Breakfast was at our familiar haunt and the journey was uneventful as the Sunday traffic wasn't messy. The church going crowds were visible at many places and it was a pleasant sight as always. The usual choke points were passed by with ease and we'd reached our haunt for lunch, about half an hour in advance!

I was thanking my stars for the journey having gone off peacefully, thus far. The time was a quarter past 3 and then, disaster struck - making my happiness quite short lived. Actually, the bugbear was another state road transport corporation's bus who edged my Chevy to the edge of the road, forcing me to touch hard on the rear view mirror of a parked car, forcing its mirror to fall off. Mine, too, had fallen off and cracked beyond repair. As I went to park my car in a safer position, a guy from the family came in and yanked my car's ignition key accusing me of trying to scoot. However much I tried to explain that such a tendency was not in my blood, they - by this time two more guys known to the family had joined up - would not listen

I, then, asked the owner as to what he desired but the others' were dictating terms - they wanted 4 grand. As I gave the money to the owner, without haggling, the same guys, who're acutely 'militant' just a while before had softened down and wanted to know more about me. That was the time when I said that I wasn't interested in extending my hand of friendship as they'd doubted my integrity, my intentions as one of them held on to my car's keys till the end and I thought that that was very ungentlemanly, as I perceive!

It was a disheartened me who did the remaining part of the journey. We'd called on Lekha's dad and Pidavoor amma enroute before reaching my dad's house. And then, it was a fairly long train of guests who were eager to meet mom!

It's almost five months since we'd come here last!!


The briefing for tomorrow's function was long but it gave us the gist of the day's programme.  

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Leg 2 - Kochi to Guruvayur via Palakkad.

It was a comparatively late morning from what it was yesterday. The chores were gone through, farewells made and this time, Ramakrishnan's mom just gave us a hard look and that's that! Probably, she was more occupied with her breakfast of oats beaten with fruits! And we left by 9, to look up Sidharth, who'd recently undergone an open heart bypass surgery.

Boy, weren't I glad to meet him? I'd been monitoring his progress from Meera, his wife. Not knowing what to do, we hugged each other tight and I could barely manage to get these words out of my mouth, "Old chap, you're out to put us on tenterhooks, huh?" But it was really great to see him and I think, he too expressed similar sentiments! He, then, went on to explain regarding the run up to his hospitalisation and the surgery, in graphic detail. Every happening just fell into place as I could make it out to be.

We took off for Palakkad by a quarter past 10 and except for about a wait of almost half an hour at the Idapalli junction, the journey was uneventful and smooth. We reached my sister's house by lunch time, had a quick bite of what she'd made for us before trotting off to school in the morning. Mom was excited and she kept narrating her experiences of the past week. I'd my forty winks and by a half past 2, we're off to Guruvayur after slipping the house keys into one of the shoes, neatly arranged on the rack outside her house!

Again, the journey was quiet and we're back at 'The Quarterdeck' by teatime. Meanwhile, I'd the Chevy topped up and the tyre pressure checked before giving her a nice wash in preparation for the early morning get away tomorrow. The evening walk was a godsend when I could relax and do sundry purchases.

Meanwhile, we're informed that things were done up at my dad's house for our stay. The programme for the 14th was explained by the organisers. Well, recalling a 70 year old event in which my grandfather was the prime mover, is really gonna be great! And from what I gather from various sources, the state is getting ready to celebrate the occasion in a big way!!


Have told mom and Lekha that I wasn't going to insist on a 6 o'clock get away as I do usually, to ensure that they've rested well, after today's journey. Probably, we'll hit the road by 7!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Leg 1 - Guruvayur to Kochi.

Woke up at 4, a meticulous yet quick run through the chores and we're out of 'The Quarterdeck' by 6 past 6. Breakfast at our usual haunt and by 9, we're at Ernakulam. It was a twad early but we still decided to wait for about 20 minutes to pick up the monthly stock of grocery from the store. A quick dash in an autorickshaw, after parking the Chevy at a safe place - driving through Kochi, these days, will make one go mad thanks to the already narrow roads getting narrower because of the ongoing work of the Kochi Metro - to pick up a few things and we're at my cousin's place, in time, for lunch.

Ramakrishnan's mom was alert and responded to our queries with a twitch of her eyes, a few guttaral sounds and gave us a beautiful smile before she went into another round of sleep. She's batting at 102 and has been reduced to a bag of bones!

The afternoon siesta was comparatively longer, probably due to the exhaustion of the early morning wake up followed by the drive. We're at Lekha's doctor's clinic, half an hour before the appointed hour of 2000h and saw a fairly large crowd waiting patiently, to meet him. Parking was tricky, but the old security man, Jose, turned out to be a sweetheart, in that, he ensured that I got a decent space amid the grassy space, wet with rain and waterlogged at many spots. At the counter, much to our horror, we're told that the 102nd patient was with the doctor and could estimate our rough wait that we'd to go through because Lekha was at serial 165!

Though we knew that everything was under control through the lab results, the expression on Padmanabha Shenoy's face on seeing Lekha, said it all. He was genuinely happy to see her, after five months, with the problem of the non healing ulcer having been sorted out. After a few pleasantries - we couldn't take up his time because there were almost 30 patients, still, waiting to see him and the time was 2130h. With Jose's umbrella, we could defy the rain and get into the car. The car was, in between, parked at a comfortable spot on his prodding!

As I thanked him and slipped a tip into his pocket, I wondered as to whether we'd a cosmic connection from the past, in the friendly manner that he'd received us from the start. And despite his age, he was agile and fit! Without much ado, we drove to my cousin's and over a late supper, could finally have a lengthy conversation with everyone, upsetting their usual routine in the bargain!!


Lekha's next appointment with her doctor - 1000h on 08 Dec! It was fixed before we'd left the clinic!!  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

What's happening?

Depressing scenes from Syria, showing civilians suffering from chemical warfare, have been beamed by most of the channels. Small children have been worst hit. Sadly, the medical resources aren't adequate enough to meet the rising demands. Meanwhile, the tussle for supremacy is on between Assad's forces, the rebels and the IS - one can't imagine the plight of the people who come within the crossfire.

Meanwhile, the steady stream of refugees from Syria and Afghanistan continue to knock on the doors of Europe. It's an unending, heavy flow in search of peace, prosperity and decent living. But will the citizens of the host nations take to them kindly, knowing fully well that they'll have to share their resources with them?

The European leadership has begun to address the issue by agreeing to take in the refugees in a phased manner. But the details vis-a-vis the actual numbers etc. need to evolve and till such time that's reached, the problem is gonna be live.

        *                                        *                                            *

The ban on eating meat has spread to two more states viz. Rajasthan and J&K. How effective it's gonna be, needs to be seen especially when in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena and Raj Thackeray's MNS have decided to defy the ban. Paradoxical, because BJP seems to have taken a leaf out of their past tactics and they seem to be against it!

Petty politics trying to define as to what the people should eat. Can we hit anything lower than this?

        *                                         *                                            *

The next few weeks are gonna witness yet another round of games played by the political parties in battleground Bihar. It would be interesting to know the outcome! Wish one had the crystal ball though one survey says that Nitish's alliance is gonna come back to power. But can such a contradicting set of partners last long together?


Tomorrow's an early day when we head to Ernakulam for Lekha's medical review and the day is action packed!    

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

To the service station.

I was toying with the idea as to when I should take the Chevy to the service station to fix the rear view mirror that had worked out loose during the trip to Tirur, last week. Actually, the following apprehensions held me back from taking a firm decision over the last few days:-

   (a) We're slated to go to Ernakulam on 10 Sep in the run up to Lekha's medical review. I could
         have it fixed enroute, because the process shouldn't take more than five minutes.
   (b) It's been raining almost continuously and I didn't want the water to seep into the innards of the
         mirror holder, resulting in the electrical system getting to be erratic.
   (c) The tricky maneuver from our lane to the highway has always been a dampener due to the
         vehicles charging at prohibitive speeds and they get to be visible only at the end which leaves
         no room to pull out. This plays at the back of my mind because my neighbour had a bad                      instance when a bike guy had rammed into his car with all the force, a few months back! The
         local police guy was convinced of our demand that either a speed breaker or a convex mirror on
         the opposite wall, could lick the problem but as all such requirements are concerned, the inertia
         continues without remedy.

Finally, I decided to go there this afternoon and had the problem sorted out. I must admit that the fear of the glass falling off still lingers....can't help it, though Manilal, the mechanic guaranteed that it wouldn't! I was back home by tea time. In the process, I could put in fuel and check tyre pressure.

         *                                         *                                           *

Earlier in the day, I'd confirmed about our attendance to a lunch with the veterans this Sunday. The organiser - a school mate of mine was thrilled, because my neighbour had also confirmed about his participation soon after. Something deep within me told me that I might have to change the decision, wonder why? And sure enough, the reason presented itself by evening.

It's the 70th anniversary of the Kerala Library Movement. PN Panicker had organised the first meeting of the 47 rural libraries - calling it the 'Thiruvithaankoor(Travancore) Grandhasala Sangham' - in these days of 1945 with the then Diwan of Travancore, Sir CP Ramaswamy Aiyer presiding over the gala event. To commemorate the occasion, there's a meeting that's being organised, this Sunday, at the library close to my dad's house which was set up in the presence of both my grandfathers and as mom says, that had eventually paved the way for her marriage with dad!

The invitation was accepted. I've the unpleasant task of regretting my decision on the Sunday lunch tomorrow morning!


It means, that after Lekha's review by her doctor on the 11th, we make a dash for Palakkad early morning on 12th, pick up mom and then, head for dad's house. I shall be behind the wheel for over 500 kms, phew!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

My observations on the news from here and there.

News, news and more news. Am befuddled by some of the happenings that are being reported/have been reported! My biggest query is that governments that should be concentrating on enacting good laws to administer, are often doing things that are best left alone. Without much ado, therefore, let's go ahead:-

  (a) Meat ban in Bombay.

        Residents of Mira Road and Bhayander of Bombay's northern suburbs will have to go without
        meat for eight days during the Jain fasting period of Paryushan, this month. Interestingly, the
        Jain Swetambaras will fast from 11-18 Sep while the Jain Digambaras will do so from 18-27th.
        And the following are worth remembering:-

               (i) Out of the region's population of 8.5 lakhs, 1.25 lakhs are Jains.
              (ii) BJP was catapulted to power in the Mira Road-Bhayander Corporation based on their
                    promise of banning sale of meat and slaughter of animals during the fasting period.
             (iii) Its partner in power, the Shiv Sena, meanwhile opposes the ban along with the                                     opposition but to no avail.
             (iv) A state government resolution of '07 backs a ban on meat for two days.

        Why should the people's option of eating become a 'tamasha' to score political brownie

     (b) IS Fighters seize last major Syrian Oilfield.

           Jazal, a medium sized oilfield that holds Syria's main natural gas fields and multi-million
           dollar extraction facilities have fallen to the IS fighters. With this, the last of the Syrian
           government controlled oilfields have fallen to the enemy.

           With the IS gaining control of large swathes of land in Africa, flush with resources, it's
           gonna be a dangerous situation. With the refugees - all able bodied men and women along
           with their children - taking flight to Europe and elsewhere, the region has literally been
           handed over to these cruel set of people, on a platter.

           Wonder what's happening to the aerial assaults by the allied forces against the IS? Meanwhile,
           news about destruction of a Yemeni port by the Saudi-led alliance has hit headlines.

      (c) The Pope's Reforms.

            Pope Francis has reformed the Roman Catholic Church's cumbersome marriage annulment
            procedures in yet another sign of being practical and moving ahead with the times. It was
            through a written document by the Pope, himself, known as Motu Proprio - in Latin,                           meaning, by his own initiative.

            The new procedure follows the Pope's appointment of an 11-member commission of lawyers
            and theologians to propose reform of the process that was set up last September.


The Congress has once again come out with its cliched arguments of the PM's inability of bringing in reforms and thereby labeling him a 'hawa baaz', for not having fulfilled his poll promises. But it doesn't realise that the people have been watching the Rahul Gandhi way of non co-operation on the following:-

        (a) The GST Bill.
        (b) The Land Acquisition Bill - the Modi govt has, however, smartly let it lapse after the last

It's one's fond hope that such disruptive tactics doesn't sound its own death knell, in the long run!

But the Modi government has also not come clean on the OROP issue. It must swiftly take decisive action to reduce differences with the veterans or else will have to, eventually, face its backlash!        

Monday, September 7, 2015

A comedy of errors!

The day had begun with rains, almost giving an impression that the weather god was making up for the lack of rains and the soaring heat of the past fortnight or so. It was through a light drizzle that we drove up to the nearby hospital for giving Lekha's blood and urine samples in preparation for the review by her doctor, later in the week. Since the right rear view mirror had worked out loose during our trip to Tirur, last Tuesday, it was stowed within the vehicle and to avoid the rains from wetting the innards of the 'mirror holder', I'd neatly covered the entire unit with a polythene bag and put a rubber band around it to hold it in position. No sooner had we taken off and after tiding over the tricky initial maneuver of guiding the Chevy from our lane onto the highway, a quick glance at the rear view mirror holder made me realise that the plastic cover had long blown off and it was shipping in the raindrops.

       *                                       *                                             *

We're at the laboratory well in time. The initial registration, paying up the money and the drawing of the blood samples had progressed without much of a problem though the sister, smilingly, made two attempts before getting the right vein and consequently, drew the right amount that was required. Lekha'd, then, gone around to collect her urine sample. After a while I saw her coming out of the rest room, utterly dejected and on inquiry, realised that she'd dropped the sample while trying to secure the crucible with the stopper.

So, we'd to return home and an hour later I'd deposited another sample and had to make a second trip to the hospital in the bargain.

       *                                        *                                            *

I'd gone to the town for doing the routine, mundane jobs like handing over the clothes to the dry cleaners, the usual bank jobs and paying of bills. To make it look natural, I'd leave my pouch in the rickshaw itself - I usually avoid taking my car to the town unless there're quite a few things that I've to buy and their stowage in the boot is easier as the problem of parking is acute - and on one such errand, dropped my cellphone in the vehicle. Soon after, I'd seen off the rick, there was a call on my phone and the good guy that he was, Mohan, retraced his way to hand over the instrument. Damn sweet of him!

        *                                       *                                           *

The messenger, armed with Lekha's results, had gone and handed over the folder to my neighbour - and the owner of the hospital - due to a faulty communication. I was taken aback when he'd called me around teatime to say that I needn't worry because the results were okay. He, then, had sent the report through one of his boys.


The rains, thankfully, have brought the temperatures down and though it prevented my morning walk, I could go out during the evening and make up for the lost opportunity.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

A fast moving Sunday.

My sister decided to descend upon us this morning and in the process, improve her driving prowess. They'd reached here by a half past 10. The interaction was interesting, as usual and we're brought abreast with the news from back home, where she'd gone to spend the onam break. Padmakumar's mom had sent us her trademark 'banana chips' along with a bunch of bananas from the compound of our ancestral house.

      *                                           *                                                *

Mom packed her small bag to go along with my sister, to save me from a trip all the way to Palakkad on 10 Sep, before we proceed to Ernakulam to meet up with Lekha's doctor for her review. We'll bring her back on our return on the 12th. My mom and the mother of my sister's neighbour are good friends, who happens to be there currently and their interactions would offset mom's oft repeated complaint that she doesn't have a suitable person to converse with, albeit for a short while!

They're off by 1600h, to Palakkad and could reach their destination around sunset.

       *                                           *                                               *

Pat and Joyce, my friends from Bombay, had arrived on the dot at Kochi and Radhakrishnan, had brought them to the hotel - at the west 'nada' of the Guruvayur temple - where they'd done their bookings online, much earlier. Narayanan, my friend and I'd taken the couple around the temple and helped the lady weigh herself against dates according to a vow that she'd kept. After visiting the Mammiyoor Siva temple enroute, they're brought to 'The Quarterdeck' for interaction over a light supper.

The catching up did take up a couple of hours before they returned to their hotel for the night. Tomorrow morning, they'd be off for Kochi after a visit to the 'Vadakkunnathan' at Thrissur.

They reiterated that this was the best visit to Guruvayur till date. Felt thoroughly satisfied!


The house suddenly has become sort of empty with mom's movement to Palakkad.    

Saturday, September 5, 2015

A proud salute.

RIP, Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami! My salute for your valour and in the gallant manner that you went down fighting for our country!! Your life shall definitely become folklore for the generations to come. My tears and prayers and here's my fond hope that your near and dear ones - especially, your wife and 7 year old daughter - have the strength to tide over these stressful times.

Goswami had proved his mettle by an active participant in three anti-terrorist missions in the Kashmir valley in which he had personally taken the scalp of 10 terrorists and captured one before laying down his life but not before ensuring that his last mission was a success! The Army's Northern Command had proudly announced and I quote, "Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami has created a unique history by eliminating 10 terrorists in 11 days. The missions were:-

       (a) 23 Aug        In Khurmur, Handwara where 3 LeT terrorists were killed by him.
       (b) 26-27 Aug   In a back-to-back operation in Rafiabad, where 3 more LeT terrorists
                                 were eliminated by him.
       (c) 03 Sep         In the Hafruda forest, near Kupwara, where he'd mowed down 4 terrorists
                                before laying down his life.

I'm proud to be Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami's countryman! He hails from Indira Nagar of Nainital.

           *                                       *                                            *

Today's Teachers' Day. 

I humbly pay my homage to all those teachers who've taken great pains to shape my destiny through their efforts, loving care and blessings and who've passed into the mist of time. To the rest, I take this occasion to sincerely thank you all from the bottom of my heart for having invested your valuable time in me to make me what I am. And to all among my friends and relatives who're into the noble profession of teaching, "Bash on regardless with your dedication and perseverance! May God be with you in your endeavour!"


Lekha and I'd gone to Kozhikode to attend the wedding of the son of a close friend. It was a well conducted wedding and here's me wishing Deepu and Kavita a happy, successful and long married life.

Anchie, another friend of ours, was with us on the occasion. As we sat down to partake the feast, disaster descended upon him in the form of a millepede wriggling on his banana leaf. Nonchalantly, he'd it removed and asked the person to serve him on the same leaf. Finally, I'd to get him to remove it and use another one, marveling at his poise all the time!     

Friday, September 4, 2015

A quiet day.

I was determined to recommence my morning walk, now that Lekha has regained her health and can move around. But the inertia had set in because it's been a long break since 20 May and I was utterly lazy to get up in the mornings. Last night, I'd told myself rather firmly, "Look Rajeev, you've had your fun and it's begun to show on your overall hulk. So, get cracking tomorrow morning itself."

The words seemed to have a sobering effect and I was up at 5 to go through my chores. The morning air was cool and crisp and as I passed along, there were a few who finally looked satisfied to see me on my regular circuit, because they said it in so many words. A few others gave me that knowing smile and there were others, still, who whispered to one another,

For me, it was plain happiness that I could finally let go off my inertia and was back on to healthy trends! Mom and Lekha were happy, too!!

       *                                              *                                               *

Mujib, the air conditioner mechanic, came in promptly at 1 after his lunch. He'd come because I'd launched a complaint that the air conditioner's voltage stabilizer had got burnt. About 10 days back, we're woken up in the middle of the night, with thick black, pungent smoke emanating from the stabilizer.

Without hesitation, he replaced the existing one with a new machine and thankfully, it's begun working well. I was surprised that he didn't even check as to what was wrong with the machine and when I asked him about it, replied, "Sir, I know that people like you will never report falsehoods because you mean business and respect people like us. It's my pleasure."

My doubt persisted as to why would anyone call up the service providers and provide falsehoods. Isn't it a waste of time when you've too many people coming in and going out of one's house under some pretext or the other? And moreover, what kicks do one get by reporting fictitious defects? I didn't ask Mujib these and decided to keep them to myself!

And I came to know that I was a valuable(?) customer to the company! Well!!

       *                                             *                                               *

I'd gone to collect a telephone unit that I'd given to the showroom, which had sold me the item a couple of years back, for repairs. While handing over the unit, I'd insisted that if the repair charges turned out to be steep and buying a new unit was a smarter option, they shouldn't hesitate to tell me. The unit had a problem that could be licked and that too, for a song. While taking its delivery, I learnt a few technical information which were:-

     (a) The ring tone of a telephone unit, with caller ID facility, will always be of low decibels.
     (b) To identify the caller, it's a must that the date and time are corrected periodically.

Probably, everyone knows and I took all this while to understand!

The return was by an auto rickshaw, driven by a guy called Abhilash. A very decent guy, I must say!


Tomorrow, is gonna be a long day. We've a wedding to attend at Kozhikode!  

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Based on certain news bytes and recent experiences, I've left my mind to wander. Accordingly, I've called them 'musings'......

 (a) Is it Bye Bye Schengen?

       Since its creation in '95, the Schengen area - named after a border town in Luxembourg - has
       abolished passport controls for travel between 22 of the European Union's 28 countries and non
       -EU Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein. It had sort off swept away psychological
       and physical barriers among the Europeans giving an impetus for Europe's single market.

       The system has begun creaking under the biggest refugee crisis, post World War II, as people
       from Syria, Afghanistan and Africa flood Europe seeking refuge from war and repression.
       The lack of a EU-wide asylum policy is a key problem with different countries dealing with
       the subject in differing ways and the following situations are becoming potent:-

           (i) disputes arise over the fairness of the distribution across the bloc especially when the
                refugees often seek those countries with the most favourable terms.
          (ii) confusion over how migration rules and Schengen overlap.
         (iii) severe anti-immigration climate prevails in many European countries.

       It's my fond hope that a statesman like decision is taken by the combined leadership of the
       region. The earlier it happens, the better!

  (b) A call that didn't excite.

        I was doing something unimportant when an unknown number had begun to ring insistently,
        this morning. Answering it, I realised the call was that of a friend whom I'd given up long
        before because of his inconsistency and perceived differences in thinking. He'd begun with
        ascertaining about Lekha's current medical status and as to what I was up to, though he                         admitted that he was keeping a track of my activities through what was covered by the media.

        We spoke for more than half an hour but sadly, I realised that it didn't excite me as it would
        have done earlier. I suppose I'm a bit too harsh on such people and I don't have to elaborate
        any further when I say that I'd deleted his number from my record of contacts, quite a while
        back, the problem being that I can't fake my emotions!


The Road Accident Report for the year '14 brought out by the road transport and highways ministry says that the country's killer roads have claimed lives of 75,000 youth, between the age group of 15 - 34 years. It's a global phenomenon too as per the WHO. Moreover, newer vehicles seem to be more prone to accidents!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

An utterly wasteful day.

The day had begun, as usual, with an eerie silence as normal life had come to a standstill. There were no vehicles on the otherwise busy highway and shops were shuttered on the daylong - midnight to midnight - strike called by 10 central trade unions against government policies, termed by them, as 'anti-workers'. Let's quickly run through those lapses along with my comments in italics:-

      (a) Changes in labour laws. Many of the existing laws are archaic that demands renewal as per
            the changed circumstances, modernisation and state of the art technology that's simplified
            the degree of difficulty for the workers.
      (b) Privatisation of PSUs. Despite governmental utterances, the progress on this aspect is too
            slow. For example, almost every Indian is looking forward to the privatisation
            of the loss accumulating, national carrier, Air India!
      (c)  Minimum Wages to be pegged at Rs.15,000/-. Rationalisation of wages is a must but
             the attendant responsibility of the labourer to shed his hostility towards his customers is a
      (d) Arrest rise in prices. The less said the better, for example, just follow the price of onions over
            the last month. I must confess that I see a conspiracy on this aspect to show the Modi 
            government in poor light by its opponents!
      (e) Reduce unemployment. A valid point which should find a solution with more investments
            by firms towards all round development.
      (f)  Strict Implementation of Labour Laws. Has there been any dilution in their enforcement?
            If affirmative, it needs to be avoided.
      (g) No Legal Amendments Permissible. To fine tune a particular law, amendments are a must!
      (h) Abandon disinvestment. Many of the PSUs are loss making and disinvestment is a viable
      (j) Social Security for all Workers. A desirable point but does the government have the                          resources to pull it off?

The BMS, the trade union with its affiliation to the BJP, had stayed away from the strike call.

The Results.

The total loss suffered by the country in economic terms is around Rs.25,000/- crores due to lack of productivity!

And consider these, which can never be quantified:-

     (a) The railways were exempted but the taxis, buses and autorickshaws didn't ply off the railway
           stations making travel weary passengers stay at the platform, many a time, with nothing to
           eat or drink. The Thrissur Railway Station proved to be an exception with all the utility 
           services deciding to work as though it's a normal day!
     (b) People requiring medical assistance had difficulty in reaching their destinations.
     (c) Eateries were shut forcing pilgrims to go hungry for long hours and consequently be                            dependent on temple offerings.
     (d) Fear psychosis existed among many to take their vehicles out fearing backlash by unruly

I guess one can go on and on. The story is the same and the same old, miserable story continues!


One doesn't know how to react to Gurudas Dasgupta's statement post strike, "The strike was hugely successful". You put your countrymen through untold misery and claim success. What a tragedy? Do you have a heart, Mr. Dasgupta?