Tuesday, May 31, 2016

To Raj Nivas for Farming - phase II.

For me the day began at 4 and I went about my chores without disturbing mom and Lekha. Half an hour later Lekha was up and about to give me my morning cuppa tea and packed breakfast. I wished her many happy returns for it happens to be her birthday. The Malayalam calendar shows her big day as 11 Jun which will be celebrated.

Ashraf was bang on time when he honked outside our gate at 0520h. At the railway station the queue for tickets was short but the newspaper kiosk had not opened. The train was on time for a change and I could get hold of the day's Malayala Manorama that was gifted to me by a gracious passenger before he disembarked. I tucked into my breakfast at Ernakulam, around 20 minutes past 8.

The heavy rush of passengers dwindled after Ernakulam and there were four ladies who were on a non stop chatter about all that's happening in their family. Couldn't help but overhear about a youngster battling it out for his life and they're headed to the hospital to see him.

The train reached Kollam at 1230h and I'd bought myself a vegetarian meal which was quickly devoured. The train resumed its journey though now on a westward course. My copassenger was a young lady who seemed to be regretting the decision to have chosen the train journey to reach her school at Anchal, which could have been undertaken by a bus journey of a much shorter duration both by virtue of time and distance, which I explained. She teaches English and has taken up the job just a year back. She hails from my grandmother's place in Kuttanad and was thrilled to hear that I was the grandson of PN Panicker. She did tell me that come next week, her school would be bracing up for the 'Vaayana dinam' on 19 Jun. I've added one more follower for myself.

Raj Nivas looked nice with the grass clipped short but the ongoing rains is gonna change all that. We couldn't go for collection of the saplings, this evening, because the pick up truck wasn't free.


The do at Sasi's place was nice. Today was his last day in office. Met most of the local crowd. I made it a point to meet Kamalamma chechi, his mother.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Some quaint feedback.

Lekha and her assistant had gone to the priest nearby to trace the missing valuables. Yes, earlier this month such an incident had occurred much to our consternation and the culprit can't be pinpointed!

It was Lekha's assistant who'd mooted the idea of going to the priest whose services had been employed by her mom during a difficult situation, earlier. The gentleman seems to have a large clientele. These were what he'd to say:-

      (a) The valuables have been swiped by someone known.
      (b) It will be retrieved shortly.
      (c) Some corrective offerings to certain deities were mandatory.

Lekha had returned to seek my endorsement and I've decided to go by her suggestions. Let time prove the efficacy because there's nothing else that we can do at this juncture.

As a part of my evening walk, I'd gone to the town to pick up small things that needed augmentation, during my absence for the next couple of days as I'm off early morning tomorrow to complete the second phase of farming. The requisite saplings and workers are ready.

I got a taste of the boorishness of two men who refused to ferry me through the rains to a waiting autorickshaw, wonder why? But soon after, it was another autorickshaw driver and his family who'd arranged a vehicle for me to be dropped at the railway station, early morning tomorrow.


(a) Had mom's tablet broken into three quarters - something neither she nor Lekha can do - for the period of my absence.
(b) The packing was done, had a final word with the caretaker to confirm that everything was taped up and in place for execution.
(c) Had got an invite for a gentleman's retirement do. He's, incidentally, Kamalamma chechi's third son.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Two years of Modi rule.

The Modi government celebrated its two years in power on a specially erected stage at the India Gate in New Delhi. Perhaps, as a government, it needs such jamborees to highlight what it's done; otherwise the noteworthy happenings get stifled by the opposition's onslaught on its inaction - wrong perceptions can stick and prove to be damaging at the time of the reckoning, during elections!

As a common man, I'd like to do an assessment on the subject. How has it affected me? What has changed from the state of affairs during the times of the Manmohan Singh government? 

    * There's a general feeling that we, now, have a Prime Minister who's strong and means business.
    * Though the drive for cleanliness has taken off in a big way, the actual levels achieved in many 
       places is abysmally poor. The drive has been effective only in certain big cities!
    * The myth that the minorities were unsafe during the reign of this government has been proved
    * The fear of the Hindu fringe groups having an upper hand has also been found to be false,
       occasional utterances from a few of these, notwithstanding.
    * In foreign affairs, there has been an all round success. Judjing from the feedback received from
       friends, relatives and news from abroad, the pro active diplomacy of the government has 
       provided a tremendous boost to the confidence of the Indian diaspora living all over the world.
       We've a peaceful coexistence with our immediate neighbours but Pakistan continues to be a
       thorn in the flesh and China continues to put impediments to our interests despite positive
       overtures from our side. 
    * Probably because the political dispensation that runs Kerala is different, the tautness of the 
       government services at work have their own characteristics. However, since cases of corruption  
       are immediately reported upon and action taken, as also given wide publicity by an active media
       the government servants are more approachable and helpful.
    * Beef has, suddenly, become a bad word. There are people who've stopped having it for fear of
       reprisals from fringe groups. 
    * Jobs are available but our attitude remains obnoxious - like for eg:- a Malayalee always prefers a 
       white collar job and shuns menial jobs - the consequent flow of workforce from the north east is 
       what we see these days in Kerala.
    * Technology is slowly inching towards the poor.......the boom of wi fi in removing the problems
       of bad connectivity is one such example.


Progress is being made but the caution should be that our values cannot be wished away in the process of inducting technology and making great strides towards overall prosperity!

Saturday, May 28, 2016


It's a leisurely day to begin with. Lekha'd to pick up grocery for the month. Usually, she prefers going with her assistant and catches an auto rickshaw, clubbing a host of jobs together. Last time I'd seen her coming back with a whole lot of things and I'd made a mental note, then, that I'd drive her around for the job from then on.

And so, we set off by about a half past 10 and our first point of call was the dry cleaners. I seriously doubt as to whether these people carry out 'real' dry wash with petrol et all, but being left with no other option, they were the best bet! Lekha put across to them rather nicely that two pieces of ours viz. a dhothi and a kameez had been misplaced and demanded an early solution; the proprietor who happened to be there has assured her that he'd right the wrong at the earliest.

Our next stop was at the department store where I decided stay in the car itself while Lekha picked up the items. I'd seen her preparing the long, comprehensive list over the past couple of days to ensure that she didn't miss out on anything. I was reminded of similar lists, compiled by my grandmother, when we used to stay in a joint family at Thiruvananthapuram, years back. I was studying in class IV and it was mine and and my younger uncle's duty to collect the monthly grocery requirements from the provision store nearby - this job went away from me when I'd become a boarded in the Sainik School in class VII!

My sister from Palakkad walked in as I parked the Chevy at our porch. My youngest aunt fetched up from Thiruvananthapuram an hour after teatime and after a quick wash and change, had gone along with my sister to the temple. They did have a tough time in getting a peek at the good Lord as the temple was packed with a huge influx of pilgrims!

And then, it was reminiscing time and we caught up from where we'd left last. Mom was an active participant as she chipped in whenever the conversation was of interest to her.


Mom's cryptic comment at the end of it all, "My kid sister talks a hell of a lot, so much so that she doesn't have the patience to listen to the others." I couldn't agree with her more!

Friday, May 27, 2016

A trend that I don't understand!

President Barrack Obama's recent visit to Japan was interesting in that, he became the first US President to visit the atomic bomb ravaged town of Hiroshima in the course of his visit. Also, came the local  lament that he did not visit Nagasaki - were the votaries of this statement wanting a President to visit each of the places ravaged by his forces in the past, I wonder? Understand his discomfort, too, as he must have gone through the protocol!

It's my opinion that he did right by not apologising for the dropping of the bomb and the consequent devastation caused by the US forces during the World War II. His statement that leaders take critical decisions during wartime depending upon the circumstances and the requirement of the hour was apt. By doing so, he had endorsed President Truman's hardest decision during those tumultuous years!

In recent years, it has become a fashion or should I say, a trend for leaders to apologise for actions of their predecessors'! To me it appears comical and more importantly, unnecessary due to the following reasons:-

    (a) You're apologising to the generations who do not really understand/are trying to put the blot
          or the mind numbing event behind them.
    (b) A belated apology, in time and space, doesn't bring solace or the intended effect to the actual
    (c)  Then, why is it done? Perhaps, to free oneself off the guilt of having wronged? But does it have
          any bearing on the people who had suffered the ignominy and pain associated with the

To cite an example, no one from the Jewish community can ever forget Auschwitz or those dreaded gas chambers where millions of Jews were exterminated during Hitler's rule of Nazi Germany. But that also doesn't mean that they find the subsequent generations of Germans guilty or responsible for that horrible past!

Therefore, my advice is 'stop apologising for the past' but make sure that such mistakes are never, ever repeated!


(a) Be good in thoughts and actions but is it really possible to follow during the conduct of statecraft?
(b) Today happens to be the 52nd remembrance day of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal
      Nehru. My prayers.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Two quick forays into town.

There were a lot of small yet important tasks that were pending and required to be carried out without delay. Hence, I'd left home a trifle after 11 and the first step looked ominous to me. I'd taken my Chevy out of the gate when I saw our neighbourhood eye clinic thrumming with activity and it's gonna be so from now, for a while. Two wheelers and cars were parked within the lane stretching towards my house and driving out, would have involved asking each of the senseless guys, who'd done so, to give way. At best it could be tedious and would require tremendous patience not to fly off the handle and therefore, I decided to take an auto rickshaw for tying up a long list of work.

The rick driver took a circuitous route as the normal route was clogged with traffic thanks to the unprecedented crowds thronging the temple to have a 'darshan' during the 'Vysakha maasam'! An aunt of mine had called up to say that she was fetching up this Saturday for the same purpose - a darshan on this occasion is supposed to augur well for the devotee, on completion!

The jobs were completed one after the other and except for the non availability of the curtain hook, I was able to complete everything that I'd set out for. I'd a very understanding auto rickshaw driver in Unni! The afternoon was hot and gummy. We'd taken for granted that since my friend, Anchy hadn't called up yesterday regarding his firm plans of coming in here, he'd dropped the idea of visiting us on his return from Ezhimala. How was I so sure, when the crow had cawed seriously this morning heralding the arrival of possible visitors during the course of the day? The lady of the neighbourhood, Warriath house had dropped by and soon after, I'd taken mom out for her evening stroll.

As I was getting ready for my usual walk, Anchy called me to say that they're 35 kms short of our place. After a quick appraisal of the time available, prior to their arrival, I'd made a dash for urgent purchases and missed getting caught in the thundershowers by a whisker. The Anchies came in soon after, along with their elder daughter, Sneha and her two children -Neil and Luke.

And it was a wonderful, boisterous evening subsequently!


Caught up with the Anchies from where we'd left last!   

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pinarayi Vijayan and his team take over.

In the run up to the swearing in ceremony of the new LDF government, the people of Kerala were witness to a lot of unusual scenes like:-
    (a) Pinarayi Vijayan's smiling and a more humane visage.
    (b) His initial call on VS Achuthanandan, minutes prior to the latter's press conference after
          being overlooked to the post of chief minister.
    (c) His call on Smt Gauri Amma, with the camera panning her dour looks despite the bonhomie.
    (d) The general atmosphere of festivities whipped up by the enthusiastic LDF supporters.
    (e) Pinarayi Vijayan's press conference warning everyone to be wary of people who masquerade
         as his close ones.
    (f) The swiftness in the formation of the cabinet and allocation of portfolios. In contrast, Oommen
         Chandy had taken, comparatively, a long time to finalise his cabinet as he'd to satisfy many
    (g) The colourful swearing in ceremony at the Central Stadium that had a wide cross section
          of the society as audience.
    (h) Restricting the strength of the ministers' personal staff and advising them to be above board
          like their ministers is sound advice considering the havoc this section had created during the
          Oommen Chandy regime.

Pinarayi Vijayan has begun well and it's my sincere wish that he takes on a zero tolerance towards corruption. It was, however, a mismatch to the overall mood in the dour looks of VS Achuthanandan, throughout the ceremony, even as the new ministers shook hands with him!

The investigation into the Jisha murder case has now been handed over to B Sandhya, ADGP as the follow through of the LDF's persistent charge, during campaigning, that the investigations weren't proceeding on the right lines. What the new government must realise is that such actions demoralise the police force considerably and must be avoided in future.


The Foundation will be keenly looking at what the new education minister and his team does regarding the 'Vaayana Dinam' that's just around the corner. There's a section within the CPM that has always tried to undermine PN Panicker's contributions to the Library Movement because he'd refused to let party politics from vitiating the atmosphere within the organisation.    

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Some interesting, some worrying developments!

Reading about various happenings all over the globe and viewing quite a few of them on the visual media, one wonders what the future has in store for us and the coming generations. Have we done enough to ensure that our children and their succeeding generations been handed over a world that's kinder and pure from the existential point of view? I must concede that I've certain apprehensions but I'm sure that the succeeding generations will overcome adversities to carve a niche of their own. So, without much ado, here I go.

 (a) The Chabahar Initiative.

       The Iranian President had said that his country was rich in energy while India had "rich minds",
       during the Indian Prime Minister's successful visit. The agreement to develop and use the Iranian
       port of Chabahar promises great spin offs for both the countries. I shall list out as to what the
       outcome means to India:-

          (i) It will help to gain a foothold on those strategic shores within the immediate neighbourhood
               of the Pakistani port of Gwadar that China is helping it to develop.
         (ii) It will help it to contribute to Afghanistan's economic development and stability.
        (iii) The Chabahar corridor is complemented by the India-supported International 'North-South
               Transit Corridor' that goes north westwards from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas and both
               corridors go towards Central Asia, Russia and Europe. The Central Asian Republics have
               been anxious to see a larger Indian presence in the area.
        (iv) It will be competing directly with the Chinese project of OBOR(One Belt One Road) that
               seeks to recreate the old silk route which had dominated Eurasian commerce and culture for
               over two millenia.

        This is what proactive diplomacy is all about!

   (b) Bread and Cancer?

        The Center for Science and Environment(CSE) has found high levels of Potassium Bromate
        and Potassium Iodate in about 84% of packaged bread that's available in our market. While
        the former compound is cancer producing, the latter can affect the functioning of the thyroid.
        The use of both additives as flour treatment agents in bakery products is banned in countries
        like the UK, EU nations, Canada, Australia and China.

        The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India allows the use of the two additives at 50
        parts per million for bread and 20 parts per million for bakery flour. Some manufacturers
        have cited this to defend themselves, suggesting that the standards in India need immediate

   (c) Direct Bank Transfer with Non-functional ATMs?

        According to a recent RBI survey of about 4,000 odd ATMs of different banks across a
        wide geographic coverage, shows that a third of the ATMs were non-functional and also had
        specific problems like:-

            (i) Non adherence to standard display material.
           (ii) Lack of adequate facilities for the differently abled.
          (iii) Private sector banks have been going slow on putting up cash vending machines.

        Commercial banks, together, have 1,00,671 on-site cash vending machines and 96,656 
        off-site cash vending machines as of Feb, this year!


The Foundation felicitated the chief minister designate, Pinarayi Vijayan, at the AKG Center by draping a shawl around him, eliciting a playful quip that we're following the formalities prevalent in Tamilnadu.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Reminded of those halcyon days!

Adieu Arya Premji, K Anirudhan!

The day was witness to the passing away of two stalwarts who'd carved a niche for themselves in the psyche of the Malayalees. The media has been giving the story of their lives, however, I shall put in a few words..

Arya ma'am - all of 99 yrs - became part of Kerala's folklore when she married veteran Malayalam actor, Premji, at the age of 27 after being a widow for 12 long years. For this reason she was ostracised from her community. (The marriage had taken place at a time when widow remarriage wasn't approved within the Namboothiri community to which she belonged!) She was earlier married at the age of 14 to become a widow a year later. She became an active participant and strong supporter of social reforms. Being a representative of the undivided communist party, she was elected to the Thrissur municipality in '64. RIP, ma'am. My tears and prayers.

Anirudhan sir - all of 92 yrs - was a familiar name for school going kids like me during the '60s when his name was prominently splashed on the walls of Thiruvananthapuram city during the Assembly and Parliament elections of '65 and '67 from the constituencies of Attingal and Chirayankeezhu respectively. I remember having met him, along with my grandfather, a couple of times and the way he used to tousle my hair while inquiring about my schooling! RIP sir. My tears and prayers.

My Senior's What'sApp Message!

My senior in school and Prasad Housemate, Col Madhavarajan had sent me a very quaint message on What'sApp this morning. Captioned "Those were the days", he'd sent me images of the following:-

     (a) A cinema ticket.

           It was of the Galaxy theatre of Rajkot for the movie, Deewar on 01 May '75. The info
           is written in ornamental letters with the manager's signature affixed.

     (b) A meal ticket.

           It was of the Moti Mahal restaurant of Bombay dated 28 Dec '71 for one Masala Dosa
           and one cup coffee, each costing Re.1/- along with an ST of Re.0/06 and S. Ch(I can't
           decipher that, can anyone help, pse?) of Re.0/10 making it a grand total of Rs.2/16!

     (c)  A fuel ticket.

           It was of the Bharat Petrol Supply Co. of Bassein dated 02 Feb '63 for 5(Five) litres of
           Petrol @ Rs.3/60!


 The essential details were carefully and painstakingly written by the people who sat at the bill
 desk! Today, though we've computer printouts, where manual practices are maintained they do
not find it necessary to fill in the requisite details and if it's done, it would be in an unreadable

Those halcyon days! And we wanted to grow up damn fast those days!! What a pity?


I came across a Tibetan proverb and wanted it to be passed on to you,

      "The secret to living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love
         without measure."

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A quiet Sunday.

The day had begun with a lot of action as Indira kunjamma and gang had gone to the Guruvayur temple for an early morning 'darshan'. She'd got herself and her family a special permission to have a quick access into the sanctum sanctorum. Despite that, they'd to wait till about 9 o'clock as an important 'pooja' was under way. Just another beautiful example of 'Man proposes, God disposes'. Consequently, they'd returned by about 11 and were headed back to Thiruvananthapuram, half an hour later with a promise to be back on 05/06 Jun for another tete-e-tete with god!

I'm amazed with their perseverance to visit the temple time and again at the slightest pretext. What, however, gives it a nice hue is that they like spending time with us!

The pending work at settling down, post our return, was recommenced and given an impetus. A lot more needs to be done. I also made it a point to answer each and every mail received by us on the occasion of our silver wedding anniversary. It was a delicate job as I wanted our personal touch in each reply, to take away the exasperation that could have set in because of our prolonged silence, all this while. They do not know that I'd forgotten my laptop, you see! And one can't hide behind the cliched answer that one was busy when there were no reasons to be so and also when one wasn't, at all!!

                 *                               *                               *

Tomorrow, the RLV-TD(Reusable Launch Vehicle - Technology Demonstrator) will be launched by the ISRO from its launchpad at the Sriharikota complex. It will be yet another feather on the ISRO's cap and the front runner to future interplanetary shuttles on the lines of RTC buses and the airlines' planes.


A quiet Sunday. We could have had another set of guests today, in the Ancheries, but my delay in answering the call spoiled the chances as they're passing by, enroute to the Naval Academy. They'd be dropping by on the 25th, on their return leg!


Saturday, May 21, 2016

A house full of people.

The day had begun on the usual note. We haven't finished our unpacking to the extent that we'd have loved - the entire cycle consists of taking out the clothes from the bags, them being put into the washing machine, on completion further on the clotheslines for drying and ultimately folded into neat bundles on the ironing board, awaiting the dhobhi. Alas, this time it was not to be. We're gonna have guests this evening.

Indira kunjamma, her daughter, Reshmi, son, Kripashankar and his cousin, Madhav were the guests along with the driver, Sujesh they'd hired. They're coming to view the krishnanaattom, story being "Kaaliyamardanam", that Reshmi had arranged to safeguard her husband's health. They'd fetched up much after 2130h and an angry me had to give it to them on arrival, prompting Kripashankar to say that he was seeing me angry for the first time!

After a quick bite of dinner, they'd proceeded to the temple and I'd accompanied them to show them the way. On return, had a long chat with my cousin and was able to clear a few of her apprehensions regarding her son's medical management. She'd to stay back from the temple visit, along with the others, due to natural reasons.

Well, the house is full, yet again! Mom was very excited and was a trifle sad that her sister and her family had arrived so late!

         *                                         *                                          *

Sujesh works for a taxi company, is from a well to do family and was in love with an engineer, who was doing her apprenticeship at the Foundation, a year back. Cupid had struck quite a while back and their romantic liaison was the talk of the office during those initial days. Both, my maman and I viewed their attraction towards each other, as a natural progression, till her parents struck. One fine evening, her closest relations had ganged up to take her away to her house, where she's living at present leaving her love in suspended animation. Both of them have been logging high telephone bills, over the past so many months, keeping themselves updated about one another.

Hope their love succeeds and the couple is able to embark on their life's journey, together, at the earliest!


The walks were nice. Life, in Thrissur district, had come to a grinding halt due to the call made by the BJP on account of one of their party men being killed by the CPM, yesterday, during the revelry of the party's performance in the elections..    

Friday, May 20, 2016

Back at The Quarterdeck.

There seemed to be a celestial collusion! Just as it was on the early morning of the 7th, when we're leaving for Raj Nivas - there was a power outage and we're through our early morning chores thanks to the emergency lighting - there was a power failure and consequently, had to go through our chores with candles and emergency lighting! I'd quickly delayed our departure time, firstly because I wanted everyone to sleep more and secondly, because there would be some daylight time before we set off! There were heavy rains prior to 6 o'clock and I simply hoped that it would stop while we got into the car and when Mini disembarked at Sanil's place.

We could leave home by a half past 6, spend a few minutes at the small snake temple at Ranadalummodu as per mom's wishes and then, shaped course to Ayur, 18 kms south. Mini had guided me through a shorter route and we reached Sanil's place half an hour later. Mini had gotten off with her luggage, we interacted with Sanil's mom - she's a year junior to my mom but is much active compared to her - and left without much ado through the pitter patter. Breakfast of 'appam and muttakkari' at a wayside restaurant immediately close to the petrol bunk that I frequent, where the Chevy was topped up and the tyre pressure checked.

Because of the cool environment, everyone's bladders were active and so we stopped in between at another place that we frequent. The met forecasters had warned about heavy rains all over the state thanks to the depression over the Bay of Bengal and it was experienced till Kochi. From then on it was a dry spell, all through, and we reached 'The Quarterdeck' at teatime exactly after a fortnight. The drive was smooth without even a hint of erratic drivers all through.

The unpacking and the opening up of the house were achieved without any hitches and I could go for my customary walk which was a great source of relaxation. I was particularly at peace that I'd completed all the work that I'd planned and could put the remainder, in motion, to their logical completion. Mom and Lekha did not look tired after the long journey!


1. I forgot to mention earlier that my attempt at psephology was a miserable failure. The attempt at forecasting the results, that is. Only goes to prove that my inputs were inadequate and I went by my heart and did my subconscious mind influence my effort? Nevertheless, my apologies!!

2. Today, while driving, the speedometer showed '1019.7' at one stage and what surprised me was that the number was my academy roll number, sans the decimal point. Some strange coincidence, this!

3. The LDF has begun on an inauspicious note, according to my opinion, for the following reasons:-
    (a) VS Achuthanandan has been sidelined to make Pinarayi Vijayan the chief minister. The old
          warhorse had campaigned effectively and vigorously, paving the way for the huge mandate
          that the LDF has mustered. If he'd stayed away, the LDF would have been nowhere with
          Pinarayi Vijayan and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan at the helm. By dumping him, the party has once
          again shown that it's heartless!
    (b) Pinarayi Vijayan needs to come clean on the SNC Lavalin case, otherwise that blot on him
          will remain forever just as he blames others of wrongdoing.
    (c) On the eve of the declaration of results some CPM workers were found with over 18,000
          bogus votes in Pinarayi Vijayan's constituency. Nothing has been said about this so far. He
          needs to tell the people as to what it was all about.
    (d) Sitaram Yechury has, thankfully, lost his bluster after the unholy nexus between the left and
          the Congress that he'd scripted in West Bengal, dumping ideology for short term gains. It was
          thus a chastened Yechury, who abandoned VS Achuthanandan to save his face among the
          CPM's top leadership, who're Pinarayi Vijayan's supporters.
    (e) Towards evening, the media was speculating on the would-be-ministers of the LDF government
         and I was aghast to see the following mentioned for the reasons mentioned against their names:-
          (i) EP Jayarajan               who can forget the sight of the guy overturning the Speaker's chair
                                                   and pushing it over the barricade during the fracas in the Assembly?
                                                   How can he, as a minister, advocate restraint, maturity and decent
                                                   behaviour when he'd proved that he didn't have them at all? 
         (ii) MM Mani                   how can one ever forget the arrogance that this guy'd shown when
                                                   he justified the killings/hounding out/wounding of those who did not
                                                   agree with the party's ideology?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A short trip.

Lekha and Mini had wanted to visit the snake temple of Mannarassala at Kayankulam, 70 kms away. We'd got up at 4 and set off before 6. I'd taken an alternate route to save my Chevy's undercarriage from hitting heavy dirt at a particular spot of ongoing roadwork on the usual route. Must have fumbled at one of the turns because I found that we're headed the wrong direction. Ten minutes later and after traversing an additional 10 kms, we're headed correctly towards our destination.

The crowd was very less at the temple because it was a working day and also because of the coverage of the election results and hence, had a good 'darshan' of the deities both at the Karthikeya temple and at Mannaarassala. After a nice breakfast at the devaswom canteen, we'd headed back. The unseated liner beneath the bumper was fastened properly at the Chevy's service center enroute.

We reached Padmakumar's mother a trifle after 11. The poor thing had a bad cold and she was watching the television. The LDF was heading for a spectacular victory. After spending about an hour out there, we headed home to a sumptuous lunch. We also saw two women pulling out the weeds from the front lawns. They're neither arranged by the caretaker nor by me and it was then that mom had said that it was of her doing and had forgotten to inform me!

Kochikka and Kunjikutty, in their mid 60s, were talkative but efficient in what they're doing. Kochikka is extremely talented and sang a couple of folk songs for my benefit. I must put her on to the library's secretary for deploying her on entertainment activities on special occasions!


A crisp call on Venu and Mallika, after teatime, to hand over a small gift to their daughter who was getting married on the 26th and to convey our regrets about our no show completed the day's commitments!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A flat day!

While at the NDA, we cadets used to look forward to D-6(Day 6 of a training cycle of 12 working days) because that day did not have outdoors. So, we put on our working rig in the morning and proceeded for academics, giving us ample time to have a liesurely breakfast. Tucking in as many toasts as possible was a cadet's cherished activity and to have an indulgent butler like Baalam(God bless his soul!) was an added advantage for me. He was fond of me. Period!

Using that analogy, today was a flat day with me doing nothing, almost. Lekha and Mini had gone to the Ganapati kshetram and there was a consequent flood of the 'prasadam' that was given away to those who'd dropped by at our place.

The next phase of work has been planned for execution which will involve scouting for saplings of rubber, teak and coconut. On ascertaining the reasonability of price, a firm order has to be placed for the bulk consignment to ensure its availability by the second week of June after the onset of monsoons. The planting and administration of the appropriate fertilisers will complete the process. The caretaker and I've put the process in motion.

Late afternoon saw rains and it was during this period that Indira chechi, Kamalamma chechi and Thulasi had dropped by in quick succession. The first is my cousin who's my senior. She's worried about the fact that her son, aged 39 and daughter, aged 32 have not settled down as yet in life despite the fact that they're professionally well off. The second is all of 80 years, quite active and was recounting her recent trip to a string of south Indian temples. The third, Thulasi, our neighbour staying opposite, was emphatic that the results, tomorrow, will bring the LDF to power.


Tomorrow morning we will be going to the Mannarassala temple and we plan to leave by a half past 6. Will call on Padmakumar's mother on return and drop by at a nearby house to convey our inability to attend their daughter's wedding on the 26th.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Back at Raj Nivas.

Yet another day that began at 4. We were ready well in time and had hit the road by 6. Breakfast was at our favourite haunt but it was pitter patter rain all the way. Had fetched up at Kottarakkara much before 10 and stopped there for sundry purchases.

It was two kms short of home that disaster struck. An electric cable had snapped during the night's thundershowers and was lying across the road. Many motorists were hesitant to  drive over it, a detour would have involved additional kilometers and so, I decided to press on. Accordingly, I'd driven over the first segment and and went under the second that was looped above by going up a mud embankment by the side. In the process, the soft liner beneath the forward bumper was pried out off its mooring point.

Wasn't mom glad to see us? She insisted on listening to the debrief from us and was particularly thrilled about the fact that every friend of mine had enquired about her. Tender coconut and jackfruit were aplenty and the consequent filling up that I resorted to defied my tummy space!

The mason's work to build up the embankment between the first and the second tiers of the property that was damaged by the ingress and egress of the JCB, has been done. That completes the schedule of work that I'd planned during this visit and wow, it gives me a great sense of satisfaction.

The set of zinc pipes that were used to hoist the TV antenna earlier have long been in disuse after the advent of the direct-to-home system and the attendant dish antenna. It has been dismantled to be taken away by the mason who's done our work. To me, it signified the end of an era.

A very wet day!


Was reminded of that day when I'd bought our first television set - Solidaire - alongwith the pipes for perching the antenna to facilitate good reception of signals. It, however, turned out to be a disappointment as the picture lacked clarity because of grains!

Monday, May 16, 2016

An unscheduled stop over at Kochi.

The morning had begun on a liesurely note. The Westway has a nice ambience and the night was comfortable. We're ready by 8 and in the process of dressing up, had to help Lekha with the safety pins at strategic points on her saree! We both were wearing clothes with the mural paintings of Krishna and Radha emblazoned at Asha's studio in Guruvayur.

Thus the guests became our ardent admirers and we, once again, got into the limelight much to our discomfort. And there was a humorous twist to it, I'd missed out on the removal of the paper stiffner behind the collar and wore it for almost the entire duration of the wedding till it fell off ultimately much to my embarrassment.

The wedding was a neat and elegant affair with a touch of class. Pooja and Ashwin looked a smart, handsome couple and the entire ceremony was over by a half past 10. The class of '72 had a group photograph taken with the newlyweds - Mohan-Asha, Kollody-Shylaja, Venugopal-Umah, Vasu-Sujatha, Jojy-Saly, Ramanujan-Prema, Anandakrishnan-Sandhya, Padmanabhan-Ajitha, self-Lekha and Pooja's parents, Yedu-Raji formed the line up.

After the ceremonial lunch, we'd returned to our hotel and changed to set off on our return leg by a half past 12. Rains and traffic delayed our movement and by the time we reached Jojy's place it was sunset, almost. We decided to stay put for the evening and continue our onward journey tomorrow morning. It was then that we really caught up with Jojy and Saly.


1. It was really late by the time I'd hit the sack but I'd to finish the backlog of  mail and replying them, that had piled up this time, since I'd forgotten my laptop at home.

2. I felt guilty on one count. In the flurry of meeting social commitments, we didn't exercise our franchise.

3. Wish you the very best in your journey of life together, Pooja and Ashwin.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

At Kozhikode.

The day had begun at 4 when we went through our chores and set off on our long journey to Kozhikode. Hit a dirt road short of Pathanapuram, which saw my Chevy taking a hard thump below. The rest of the journey went off like a song, with breakfast at our favourite place and we reached my friend, Jojy's place before 10. After half an hour's stretching out we're off to Kozhikode in Jojy's Corolla Altis. The coastal highway was narrow at stretches with the accompaniment of many errant motorists. The saving grace was that the traffic was sparse being a Sunday and it also happened to be a day prior to elections!

We reached the town by 4 and quickly checked into the hotel where our friend had booked us. A couple of hours' rest and we're at the venue of the pre wedding reception of Pooja and Ashwin. Yedu and Raji made the occasion quite memorable for Lekha and me by announcing that 16th May was our silver wedding anniversary, made us cut a cake on stage, consequently, making us the cynosure of everyone's eyes and the audience sportingly egged us on, at least, with my awkward actions!

What made it more special was that there was a sizeable number of our classmates for the function.


A great evening and felt glad that we did make it, despite hiccups.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The electioneering is over.

The sound and fury of electioneering ended this evening. The numerous announcements, parodies of film songs and the unending movements of different vehicles will be missed by everyone, I'm sure. From whatever sloganeering that I'd heard, negativity and hurling of abuses at the opponents were not resorted to by any of the candidates.

The JCB man had begun his work at 9 and today, he'd come for work without his assistant. He wrapped up his work, pocketed his 141/2 grand and had left after about an hour's efforts giving his cell number in case we required his services again. Sajeev, being the owner and the handler of the metallic behemoth, worked to our advantage.

The painting team was reduced to just the leader, Vijayan, who happens to be Sanil's classmate till class X. He was not particularly enamoured by studies, he said in his chatacteristic low yet modulated voice when I'd queried him. Both his daughters are married while he's into painting work. He's a good artist too. His helpers had found the commuting a bit too long and hence, their absence. Vijayan had announced that he'd finish the job by tomorrow. What was nice was that Sanil had also joined him as helper and between them, relived their school going days!

My cousin, Gopu who works for the Chalachithra Academy had announced his arrival in the day. He'd come alongwith three of his colleagues to join Ganesh Kumar in the last lap of his electioneering. His promise of dropping by at Raj Nivas, in between, remained a promise.

It was pitter patter once again after 2 in the afternoon. Thankfully, the paint work wasn't affected but its absence would have been ideal.


Sanil and Mini gifted us a nice, classy plaque on the occasion of our 25th wedding anniversary that falls on the 16th. It was gifted this evening as we're setting off for Kozhikode early morning tomorrow to attend a classmate's daughter's wedding and will return only by late evening, the day after.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Work accomplishment.

The day had begun at 4, this morning for me, as I'd to drop Sanil and Mini at the bus stand so that they could board the 5 o'clock bus to Tirur. They're off to look up our cousin's newborn baby at Kidangoor. After the early morning sojourn, I'd ducked off to another short round of snooze.

The JCB man and his deputy commenced their work on the dot at 9. Their work was time related in that the total hours clocked would determine his ultimate bill @ Rs.750/- per hour. Yes, Sajeev had quoted Rs.50/- less compared to the earlier guy. Perhaps, he was trying to make a fast buck on me.

Sanil and Mini were back by lunchtime after their successful visit. Meanwhile the rain clouds were gathering and it had started to pour by about 5 o'clock. The JCB guy was frustrated that he was left with a half an hour's work but had to carry it over to tomorrow thanks to the weather.

The electioneering continued unabated. A controversy has erupted among the Malayalam film fraternity about the fact that Mohanlal and Dileep shouldn't have canvassed for Ganesh  Kumar when his opponents were also from the film fraternity. In my opinion, they've a point. While it's only but natural that the members of the fraternity will have differing political ideologies, the entire lot could have stayed away from canvassing!

Meanwhile, guests and relatives continued to pour in to meet us. Mom was thrilled to see hectic activity in and around the house, reminding her about the good old times. She was briefed about the goings on and given a peek of the changing landscape.


Over the last 48 hrs, I've graduated from a former naval officer to a 'farmer' naval officer. I must admit that I've got the hang of operating a JCB!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Action, action.

Finally, the major work that was conceived months ago began in right earnest this morning. The paint work was the first to take off. Earlier, I'd taken Sanil and the team leader to Kottatakkara to pick up the paints and associated accessories. The team of three began their work at around 10.

Around that time, the JCB guy'd also fetched up. As he negotiated his machine into the the second tier of the ploughing areas - the one acre plot is in three tiers - the stone built embankment between the two tiers had to be breached(This is additional work and has already been factored into the total estimates). The mason who'd come by yesterday has been assigned the work as he was slated to return on Sunday to haggle and take away the huge, tall zinc pipes - consists of four sections and together extends to a total height of 12 mts! - on which was mounted the television's antenna to ensure clarity in reception, once upon a time. That it did not resolve the persistent grains on the screen due to weak signals was another matter altogether but it attracted a lot of people from the neighbourhood into our living room often leaving us with no seats to ourselves!

The work has gone off smoothly thus far and thankfully, today there were no rains. Both the jobs will spill over for another day though the painting team has told us that they'll return on Saturday as they've an urgent assignment tomorrow.

With the first coat of paint, Raj Nivas is looking cute and the boundary wall, cuter! The JCB has converted the first tier into two tracks and have commenced ploughing the second tier.

All in all, it's a day of action and simply great!


Meanwhile, the election scene in the Pathanapuram constituency is heating up. The three cine actors - Ganesh Kumar(LDF),  Jagadeesh Kumar(UDF) and 'Bhiman' Raghu(NDA) - are in the fray. The parodies of Malayalam film songs add colour and flavour to the heated campaign.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Some action!

This morning the mason had come along with his help and commenced the work. He went about his work systematically and quickly, to beat the afternoon rains. It was a big relief to see them pull down the parasital growth that had come out of a huge crack in the boundary wall. All it would have taken was a couple of months for that part of the wall to collapse! The repair work was on not only for the wall but also for a few spots, both on the outsides and the inards of the house.

Lekha'd returned from the temple visit along with her elder sister, her daughter-in-law and her three month old son. After lunch, I'd to drop them back at Kottarakkara through pitter patter rain. This time I seem to be hitting the road to Kottarakkara a bit too often, for errands!

Our attending my friend, Yedu's daughter's wedding at Kozhikode on the 15th and 16th continues to be in suspended animation. Vijayakumar, from Thiruvananthapuram, is still undecided and frankly, the poor guy will be driving up and down just for my sake and due to his eagerness to be at our classmates' conglomeration! I've a plan 'B' too in case Vijay drops the idea. We'll drive towards Kozhikode after picking up Jojy and Saly from Kochi to be in time for the evening's reception.

Shiny, the milk delivering lady, had brought her son for counselling. The lad has not been able to clear his degree course. He was receptive to my inputs and has taken down my cell number to contact me whenever he needed my assistance!

The rains did give me the jitters. Hope my plans don't get watered down - pun intended.


(a) Why speculate over things that I've no control over? Just chillax!
(b) The way people approach me for their children's 'professional debut', I get the impression that I've been anointed Chairman, UPSC!
(c) Hope I'm able to vote on the return leg!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A day wasted.

I'd hoped that work would get started today but it was not to be. The guys who'd promised to take on the jobs were surprisingly not to be seen for reasons unknown. Probably, the last day of the nearby Ganesh temple's festivities was the distraction or was it the rains? Time's ticking away and I've plenty lined up. Sanil's presence has been of a great help because he has the knack of dealing with them and arriving at reasonable costs because of his agricultural knowledge and related estimates.

Our caretaker has been busy and therefore, we'd decided to tap other resources. Accordingly, another JCB guy was roped in and given the scope of work. He has given his quote and promised to begin work by tomorrow afternoon. He'd, further, confirmed by late evening that he stood by his commitment.

The mason had come by, assessed the work, given his quote and after haggling, arrived at a reasonable cost. He'll begin his part of the work by early morning tomorrow. It's only after he finishes his repair work can the painter do his share of work. The boundary wall along with the gate will be refurbished simultaneously.

There was a continuous drizzle all through the day and hope it doesn't persist so as to spill over to tomorrow because if that were to happen, the JCB work will have to be delayed. Meanwhile, the internal electrical and plumbing repairs were carried out this morning.

We'd a continuous stream of guests all through the day. Mom was, therefore, engaged and was joyous thanks to the interactions. I heard her tell a few to ask the others to drop by over the next few days!


So near yet so far!

Monday, May 9, 2016

An interesting story.

I'm gonna tell you a real life story. It's about four siblings who lost their father recently. Their mother had passed away about two decades back. The first two are girls, followed by a boy and finally, a girl. The youngest sibling's husband is the main protagonist of this story and taking the hint of an old Tamil superhit, I shall name him, 'Raja part Rangadurai'(Rangadurai in the role of the king).

Since the father had not put down the distribution of his assets in writing, the siblings had gotten together after all ceremonies related to the funeral were over. Rangadurai was visible almost everywhere, going out of his way to be good to everyone, showering gifts to one and all, together with frenzied interaction with the elders that mattered - regarding the division of assets, that is. To be in their good books was important for him to put his scheme of things into motion, as the people around were going to realise in due course of time.

He first got around the brother and another guy, who's pretty close to the family to support his plans to divide the assets. To begin with, he read out to the still grieving siblings that their father had authorised his wife to take hold of the assets and distribute it in the manner that she deemed fit - from a piece of paper that mysteriously disappeared soon after!

What did him in was the undue hurry that he showed in the process. After selecting the best  part of the property, he'd got the papers ready and egged the two elder sisters to reach his place to affix their signatures. The sisters smelt something fishy for the following reasons:-
        (a) the registration process was being done in Ranga's backyard
        (a) the advocates were his friends and
        (c) his wife was the overwhelming beneficiary!
Both the elder sisters, then ,did the next best thing - expressed their doubts about its efficacy. Ranga went into an uncontrollable fit of rage.


Poor Ranga has realised that his machinations and the carefully orchestrated plans had come to a nought. The biggest blow is that the family elders have realised his complicity and almost everyone whom he'd cultivated have started deriding him.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A nice occasion.

The day had begun early as we'd to attend our caretaker's son, Prashanth's wedding. At about a half past 8 a Qualis was sent for us to go to the venue of the wedding, about 35 kms away on the NH 47, towards Thiruvananthapuram. We'd taken our neighbour, also, along with us and she kept me absorbed with her life story all through the journey.

The wedding was solemnised between a half past 11 and 12. Negotiating the long flight of stairs towards the dining hall was difficult for mom. The caretaker and his family looked after us well by putting us on an uncomfortably high pedestal. They're actually showing their gratitude for having got their elder son a good job, years ago, after which the family's fortunes had taken an upward swing.

Padmakumar came in around tea time and soon after, we'd gone to attend the newlyweds' reception. It was simple and elegant.

Sanil and I had gone to Kottarakkara to see off Padmakumar and Rema, who're returning to Palakkad by the long haul Coimbatore bound superfast bus. Since it was that late in the day, I could park my Chevy close to the entry point of the bus stand and I was thrilled for dunno what!

The road to our house is being done up and therefore, only slow driving was possible. We're at home by a quarter to 10.


1. The farming activities have to begin tomorrow with the tying up done thus far. Only then will they finish by the time it's time for us to return.
2. Meanwhile, the election scene has heated up but we've given the local candidates - the three of them are cine actors, incidentally - a reason to feel let down as our votes were at Guruvayur!
3. It's comparatively less hot here.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

At Raj Nivas.

We're off from 'The Quarterdeck' fifteen minutes behind schedule thanks to a power outage owing to a flash downpour. Since the traffic was sparse I could step on the gas without curbs. We're at our favourable restaurant at Kochi for breakfast by a quarter past 8. The wait at the toothy's took more than two hours. By the time we'd shaped our course homeward it was past 11.

The journey to Alappuzha was smooth and we halted for lunch at a wayside motel. There were a few things that had to be bought at Kottarakkara and since parking was difficult out there, we'd stopped for tea at a small, wayside tea shop. Kunjamma served us lovely tea and vadas that were out of this world. Lekha and Rema, then, took an auto to buy the sundries while mom and I waited at a parking spot that was crowded with vehicles in a haphazardly fashion.

We reached Raj Nivas around 5 and quickly went about setting up things like starting up the fridge, changing the sheets, getting the television going, activating the telephone and working the motor to fill up the newly fixed overhead tank with water. After a quick freshening up, we're at our caretaker's place for the reception on the eve of his youmger son's wedding.


It's great meeting people

Friday, May 6, 2016

Tying up loose ends.

It was hectic today as I'd to do quite a few things before leaving for my dad's house tomorrow morning. I'm gonna be a farmer for the next fortnight or so as things have to be organised after the recent cutting of the rubber trees. The whole acre of land surrounding the house has to be ploughed with the help of a JCB and it's estimated that it will take about 21/2 days for the work to be completed and the big machine is gonna be available @ Rs.800/- per hour!

As my bank had done the relocation of resources in tax gain schemes I found, much to my dismay, that I was hard of liquid cash. It had to be carefully worked out, so that just about adequate funds were available to get much of the jobs done over the next few days. The caretaker has already done most of the tying up and it's left for me to be there for the supervision of the work. Mom's excited and my sister, Rema, did fetch up from Palakkad by lunchtime. Our younger sister, Mini, came in from Bangalore a couple of days back and she'll be joining us there tomorrow.

Clothes were given for dry cleaning while collecting those that were ready quite a while back, medicines for mom and Lekha were collected, the credit card cheque was disposed off in the drop box after its verification at the counter and the Chevy was topped up with fuel and its tyre pressure checked. These jobs couldn't wait as I'd unnecessarily break deadlines during the period of my temporary absence from 'The Quarterdeck'. Of course, there's an assistant who'll be my rear link out here, just in case!

The walk was nice and the process of shut down of the house has commenced. With the windows closed, the temperature within the house has risen but there's no other go as I plan to set off from here at my usual time of 6 as Lekha has an appointment with the toothy, at Ernakulam, by 9.

There never is a dull moment!


I plan to have coconut trees and teak saplings planted once the land is ready. Of course, the planting of the new saplings will be timed to meet the monsoons. There's a bit of renovation being done to the house, the front boundary wall and the gate. Hope to tick these jobs, off my slop chit, within the next ten days with a few days to spare. But, for starters, we're looking forward to attend our caretaker's younger son's wedding on Sunday!


Thursday, May 5, 2016

These things worry me!

As one sees and hears the news swirling around, one can't help but wonder about the consequences. Since it's poll time, political parties try to outdo one another in announcing sops, if voted to power - a few of the promises being outrageous, notwithstanding!

 (a) Amma's Promises.

       Jayalalitha has, in her manifesto, promised the following if voted to power:-

             (i) Mobile phones to all ration card holders.
            (ii) Employment to one member of each household through various programmes including
                  vocational training.
           (iii) Free 100 units of power.
           (iv) Wi-Fi in public places.
            (v) Free laptops for the students of classes XI and XII along with free internet connections.
           (vi) Rs.18,000/- as financial assistance under a maternity scheme.
          (vii) Waiver of farm loans.
         (viii) Creation of Amma Venture Capital Fund of Rs.500 cr to encourage new entrepreneurs.
           (ix)  Rs.100 cr Amma Collateral Guarantee Fund to provide free collateral free loans
                  to SMEs and
            (x) Rs.500/- coupon for people to buy hand loom clothes from the state run Co-optex outlets
                  during Pongal.

       Wonder what resources would be left for the state to be governed in terms of agriculture,
       Industries and Infrastructural outlays? And don't you think that an average Tamilian is being
       converted into a lazy guy because the state provides him with everything?

  (b) Post Indo-Bangladesh Border Accord.

        For the first time since independence, more than 84% of the voters of the 25 constituencies of
        the erstwhile enclaves of Cooch Behar and Midnapore districts had exercised their franchise
        during the final phase of elections in West Bengal today.

        Wow, history has been created!

   (c) Simply deplorable.

        Col Jasjit Singh has been arrested in Aizawl for his alleged involvement in planning the
        highway robbery of gold biscuits, worth Rs.14.5 cr, smuggled from Myanmar, on 14 Dec '15.
        What was even worse was that he was in his uniform as the police took him away to jail
        after the court which was hearing his plea denied him an anticipatory bail.

        He seems to have worn the uniform to evoke sympathy from the court. Not Acceptable! Sad!!


My good friend and course mate, Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, will take over as the Chief of the Naval Staff on the 31st of this month and the beauty is that he'll have a full three year tenure. Here's my message for you on the occasion, Sunil, "So, finally, the news that we're waiting for has come around. Here's us wishing you and Reena the very best and hope to see momentous happenings in the IN during your watch." 


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

This is not on!

The 'Justice for Jisha' chant is on. The opposition has taken advantage of the situation, taken to the streets in Perumbavoor and have been making statements by a dime a dozen. Their allegations center around the following:-

      (a) The police has been slow in investigating the case.
      (b) The culprits are still at large and therefore, as per VS Achuthanandan,
      (c) The investigations should be handed over to a new team.

The matter has created an uproar in both the houses of the Parliament. The central government is sending one of its ministers to ascertain the facts. The women's groups and the National Human Rights Commission are demanding early action. And what's the outcome?

While appreciating the anxiety of the people to bring the culprits to book, go through a speedy trial and hand him/them the maximum punishment for their heinous crime, it's important that the investigators are encouraged to cover every angle of the case to reach the right inferences and nab the correct culprits. Otherwise, we'd be doing a disservice to the police and even, poor Jisha if the real culprit is not identified because hasty conclusions can arrive at faulty surmises!  

Too much of pressure has been brought to bear on the Kerala Police to crack the case. The prime suspect is yet to be identified and as of date, it seems to have hit a dead end. The police should not be demoralised as they go through their fact finding mission and it's important that they're given the right encouragement and atmospherics to crack the case.

Jisha will get her justice. I'm sure.


(a) A few thundershowers have come by but there's no respite to the heat!

(b) It was Athira's engagement ceremony in the evening. The crowd consisted of the immediate
      family and Viji chechi's absence was felt. Babu chettan, Meera and Athira were graceful in their
      personal grief as they went about the ceremonies! In the meanwhile, we'd a whole lot of guests
      coming by to attend the wedding. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Jisha, we hang our heads in shame.

Exactly a week back, last Thursday, 29 year old law student Jisha was brutally killed - her body had 30 wounds and the death was supposed to have been caused by the blow on her head - and raped. Subsequently, her intestines were pulled out with a sharp object. The crime reminds one of the infamous Delhi gang rape case that had happened not long ago.

Jisha's parents have been living separately for many years. She was with her mother, staying in a small shanty at Perumbavoor and they're finding it hard to make both ends meet. Rajeshwari, Jisha's mother, had returned from work in the evening of 28 Apr to find her daughter murdered in a gruesome manner. The police is investigating and slowly veering round to the perpetrators of the heinous crime. Meanwhile, a mass movement involving civic groups and other organisations have got active on the social media and even taken to the streets, seeking early arrest, along with the toughest of punishments to the perpetrators.

The sizzling heat of the summer coupled with the election rhetoric going up in decibels every minute haven't dampened the call for Justice for Jisha.

Jisha, we've let you down. As we shed tears and join the voices for getting you justice, there's a deep sense of guilt, within, each one of us, Malayalees, for not being with you in your hour of extreme peril.

RIP, Jisha! My tears and prayers. How does one console your poor mother?


Jisha, you shall get your justice. We will ensure that and hope to make Kerala, a safe place for women.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A hotchpotch of thoughts..

My classmate, Mohanachandran and his wife, Manju had got out of the house with me, by 6, after spending a busy Sunday with us. I took off for the walk while they'd caught an autorickshaw to be at the temple for a few connected ceremonies of the wedding that they'd come to attend. I, too, joined the wedding by 1100h.

Gayatri and Akhil are IT professionals at the Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram. It was yet another brief and well organised wedding. I could meet many of Gopee Krishnan's classmates - the bride's father and five years my junior at school. It was a nice interaction with the class of '91 who've a great classmate spirit like ours. The highlight was a group photograph of the SSKZM gang and their families with the newly wed couple.

Gayatri and Akhil, wish you a fantastic married life. May all your wishes come true!

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Indira kunjamma, my aunt, had called up to say that she and her grandson would be arriving along with Maman on the night of 04th/05th to attend a relative's wedding. Suma kunjamma, her younger sister, will be arriving earlier that day for the same purpose. So, we're gonna have a crowd on those days. As I keep saying, there never is a dull moment!

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The election heat is slowly catching on. I'm now convinced that the BJP is on an inquiry mode to see as to how the votes come to the party, to prepare its strategy for the General Elections of '19. Otherwise, one can't understand the logic of the following(I'm citing just three examples, there are quite a few):-
        (a) Sreesanth in Thiruvananthapuram Central    -   anticipating a good chunk of votes from the
              new voter group as many youngsters seem to be fond of him, despite his antics on and off
              the field.
        (b) Fielding a Hindu lady advocate in Guruvayur, opposing Muslim candidates from both the
              UDF and the LDF. One mustn't forget the sizeable Muslim population out here!
        (c) Simultaneously, fielding a Muslim candidate in one of the constituencies of the Muslim
              dominated district of Malappuram.

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As more exposures about the Westland Agusta deal come out in the open, what convinced me about the veracity of the charges was the story about the swift movement of a related file, through many important desks, within the course of a single day! Having been used to the lethargic file movements within the MoD, during my stints at the Naval Headquarters earlier, it just meant two things....(a) The top most guy desired it and (b) We could refrain from red tapism if we really want it! So, what was the real reason?.........It surely needed quick clearance because Modi and his team were taking over, 72 hrs from that day!!

And moreover, Shashi Kant Sharma, the DG(Acquisition) during the Westland Agusta deal was made the Comptroller & Auditor General! A sure example of setting a thief to catch a thief!!


Convectional rains are expected within the next couple of days. One's expecting some respite from this terrible heat!



Sunday, May 1, 2016

Life's unexpected twists and turns.

Lekha's school mate and friend gave us the bad news this evening. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, has already undergone four chemos and has to go through another two. Radiation sessions have also been going on intermittently.

She's currently with her doctor-husband in London, will continue with the treatment to its logical conclusion and return to the country only sometime, next year.

It seemed that the family was slowly on an upswing, after their eldest son - they've three sons - had got over his educational blues, passed his engineering and has taken up a good assignment in one of the automobile companies. The second is doing medicine and the third has finished school.

Hope the family gets back to its finer times as early as possible.

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My classmate and good friend was diagnosed with colon cancer about five years back. He and his wife went about sorting the issue in a matter-of-fact manner. They also did a wise thing by keeping a doctor-classmate of ours, currently practising in Chicago, in the loop. My friend, too, went through the mandatory chemo sessions and radiations and was cleared off the malignant growth.

But a year later, on examination, the doctor found another growth which was tackled in a similar fashion. The fact was that the examination was prompted by our friend from Chicago and initially, the patient was reluctant to go through one!

He's now normal, has put on weight and regained some of his lost hair. His sense of humour has improved tremendously and he's become the life of our get togethers! Hats off to the lady who didn't waver even once and was a source of courage all through!!


Life has plenty to offer, both good and bad. It's important that one takes them in one's stride without going into a cocoon of self pity.