Wednesday, August 31, 2016

This is what sportsman spirit is all about!

Yogeshwar Dutt, we're proud of you!

 * India's wrestler, Yogeshwar Dutt's 2012 Olympics bronze medal was set to be upgraded to silver.
 * Russian Basi Kudukhov had won it but was tested positive for a banned substance after test.
 * Yogeshwar had lost to Kudukhov in the pre quarters of the London Olympics but reached the
    repechage round where he managed to emerge victorious in three different rounds to win the
 * But he'd a miserable show at the Rio Olympics.
 * Was returning home without a medal when he got the news of the upgrade.
 * He praised the Russian for being a quality wrestler and asked his family to keep the medal.
 * Kudukhov died in 2013 in a car accident.
 * Yogeshwar says that human feelings are paramount to him!

Yogeshwar, take a bow. My salute to you for being a good human being.    

        *                                       *                                          *

The journey by the Volvo bus of the road transport corporation was nice. Since I'd hopped on the bus at the last minute, I'd got seat no.43 the left window sider of the last row. The suspension of the vehicle is good and therefore, the rough rides that the bus was taking, thanks to bad roads, were not passed on to the passenger! The places that I'd passed by, on the reciprocal only yesterday, were hurtling behind at a fantastic speed. The stop at the Ernakulam bus stand, around 2 AM was the longest and lasted for about half an hour. We'd reached Thrissur at 4 and the first bus towards Guruvayur was only at 5 and therefore, I'd ample time to read through the accumulated mail and send replies from my laptop! It's fruitful time spent.

The limited stop fast passenger had reached the Little Flower College gate at 0530 hrs and all I'd to do was to take that small walk to my house which marked the end of the eventful short trip!

          *                                        *                                          *

Rema was seen off at 0945 hrs from the nearby stop. Her presence was a great help for us and for mom, in particular. Mom is much better and by this evening's dosage of the Syndopa Plus, she's on three tablets a day, for the Parkinson's Syndrome.


Rema had said that she'd walked up the stairs to her bedroom, enthusiastically, last night but it took an awfully long time for her to come down, earlier this morning. There seemed to be a hesitation and a fear of falling that caused it. She'll get around that, too, shortly, I'm sure!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Vice President's inauguration.

The day for Maman and me had begun at 0430 hrs. We'd to go to the road transport corporation's stand to meet Biju, who was driving in from Palakkad with a fresh corn of paddy that was to be gifted to the Vice President, later on in the day! It depicted the plentiness during the harvest season - an appropriate gift on the occasion of the forthcoming Onam!! On return, we'd an early morning cup of tea from a roadside vendor. We made a quick detour to the Kanakakkunnu Palace and found the huge and prominent flex boards with the smiling visage of PN Panicker adorning the entrance. The main gate had the arch informing about the inaugural of the digital library movement, later in the day.

Sleep was difficult to come by and I'd caught up on the clearing of mail in my cluttered mailbox. After a quick bath, prayers and breakfast of steaming hot idlis, we're off for the Foundation. There were lots of small things that needed tying up like calling up friends and well wishers to remind them of their participation in the programme, besides fine tuning Maman's welcome speech and the script of the Master of Ceremonies.

There was a pleasant work that was entrusted to me during the forenoon to select and buy books to be handed over to the guests in the course of the welcome speech. For this purpose, I'd gone to the DC Books' Crossword at the Statue Junction. I'd picked up the 'Ivory Throne' by Manu S Pillai, that covered the chronicles, intrigues, black magic and what have you, in the small kingdom of Travancore! I never knew that it would become a much sought after information to the press, later on, as they were keen to know as to what book we'd presented because the VP was thrilled receiving it from Kripashankar, my little nephew!!     

After a simple lunch of 'curd rice' for the whole lot of us at the Foundation, by about a half past 1, we're off to the venue. The final run up like marking seats on the dais as per protocol, receiving guests, a few re-runs of the commentary with Anjana, the MC, along with meeting up with the family were squeezed in as the tempo of the wait hiked the tension in Maman. The one-minute clip on the digital library programme that was being inaugurated was lovely - Vignesh and his team had really burnt the proverbial midnight oil after the suggestions given to him last night. What satisfied me was that he was in sync with what I'd in mind!

The programme began, on the dot at 4. The national anthem followed by the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by the guests on the dais and Maman's welcome speech punctuated with the presentation of books went by like clockwork. Speeches by Prof PJ Kurien, the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Governor P Sathasivam and the Vice President were short and to the point but the programme still overshot the assigned time of 45 mts! The switching on of the programme, by a click of the mouse, by the chief guest and the presentation of the 'nelkathir'(Corn of paddy) by the CM to the VP were the highlights of the programme. The second and final rendition of the national anthem brought down the curtains on a well executed event - no, I ain't saying this but is based on the feedback received!

I made a quick exit on completion of the programme to Madhavan Nair sir's house whose wife and my classmate, Suresh Laxman's mother-in-law, had passed away recently. It was to offer my belated condolences. Sir, has taken the loss in his stride and recounted his initial days on picking up his job! The fact was that he never wanted to become a teacher and his dream was to become a scientist! But in the bargain, what a fantastic teacher, he'd become?

A quick dinner with Suresh and Sindhu and I'd decided to take a road transport corporation bus for my return journey as the trains were running late, post the Karukutty accident. Actually, I'd read on the Manorama-on-line, earlier this afternoon, forecasting a breakdown of rail traffic due to the engineers being disheartened about a colleague of their's being suspended as he was held responsible for the mishap! I'd decided to forego my reservation on the Madras-Guruvayur Express scheduled to depart at 2310 hrs!!

Suresh Laxman had dropped me at the bus stand, just in time, for me to board the late night Volvo headed for Coimbatore!


1. Coincidentally, the up and down journeys during this trip were by unscheduled bus journeys.

2. Also, there was good news from Lekha that mom had walked up the stairs, in the evening, to her bedroom. Phew! A sign that she's back to normalcy?  

Monday, August 29, 2016

A seemingly endless journey!

The day had begun at a half past 5 for me and I'd woken Lekha up at 6 because I didn't want her to unnecessarily get up early just because I was embarking on a journey. My packing had been completed last evening after I'd returned from the walk. Anto was at the gate, on the dot at 7, as per earlier arrangements. Mom gave me the go ahead, as I touched her feet before leaving, with the words, "Do well and come back immediately after the ceremony is over".

I could get the super fast to Thiruvananthapuram departing at 0725 hrs and managed to get a seat at the rear end. Boy, the bus was jam packed as the train services, up and down, remained disrupted! Small irritations like the passengers standing close to me leaned on the backrest of the seat, stepped on my feet and made their posture comfortable by asking me to shift my luggage frequently, were there during the initial stages. A few of them were taking the road journey after having travelled by train till then; they'd not even performed their morning chores and hence, emitted foul smells! When one travels in a public transport all such irritants are attendant and cannot be wished away!! The journey to the Vyttila hub at Ernakulam took about three hours.

As I charged towards the rest room to ease the pressure on my bladder, there was a low floor air conditioned bus to Thiruvananthapuram ready to leave but I'd reconciled to the fact that I wasn't gonna get it while I went about answering the nature's call. The lady at the enquiry told me that the next bus was at 1140 hrs and therefore, I'd helped myself to a snack and washed it down with a cup of tea. The bus left the terminal about 5 mts earlier than its scheduled departure.

At Alappuzha, a young lady doctor had become my co-passenger. We'd a long wound conversation on many issues - she was a good listener but seemed to be bothered with something - because from a call that I'd attended, she had come to know about the purpose of my journey. She'd posed a lot of queries regarding the libraries and the Library Movement. The long journey was, therefore, quite passable......... As we passed Kollam, I saw three IAF choppers parked at the main ground that had brought in the Vice President for an event!

At the Kollam bus stand, there was a change of our bus because its front door had jammed and the air conditioning wasn't effective. Anu, the doctor, offered to look after my overnighter while I'd gone to the rest room and we'd tea, waiting for the alternative bus. I didn't get to see her subsequently during the journey and was reminded of the saying that - "People come into your life for a reason, a season and for lifelong" - in this case, she'd briefly stepped in to break the monotony of a long journey!

On reaching Thiruvananthapuram, Omanakuttan was a trifle late to pick me up because of a bad accident enroute and as I reached the Foundation, I came to know that my slot in the official function was nixed to accommodate a representative of the Public Libraries to avoid rancour. My role had, therefore, become  that of a backroom boy and masking my disappointment, I put Maman and the members of the staff at ease. Omanakuttan seemed to be the worst affected by my removal - damn sweet of him!

Anjana, the MC, was given the script and we'd gone through the entire procedure, thrice, to boost her confidence and to make her aware of the nuances! We'd, then, gone to the Kanakakkunnu palace, to see that the flex boards, the stage and the seating suited our requirement and during the process, the reps of the Delhi Police came in, to okay them as well as to understand the minute-to-minute of the entire ceremony!

I'd, further, fine tuned Maman's speech, had a working dinner and we'd headed home, satisfied with our efforts for the day.


The entrance to the Kanakakkunnu Palace had two huge cut outs of a smiling PN Panicker, along with that of the Vice President, the Governor and the chief minister - the dignitaries who'd be there with many others - with the title of the day's programme displayed prominently. It was gonna be a successful event....I did get the gut feeling!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Sunday that kept me busy.

It was a sleepless night as mom kept complaining about pain in her right knee. I'd decided to keep vigil on her and kept rubbing her knee and the shin every now and then, with ayurvedic oil, when the pain appeared unbearable! I'd gone about my morning chores, helped mom while she'd her bath and in the meanwhile, Lekha was busy preparing breakfast so that Jojy could leave for Kochi by a half past 8.

I'd dropped him at the state road transport corporation's bus stand from where he got his bus almost immediately! And returned to do the sundry work like putting the soiled bed linen into the washing machine followed by the soiled clothes in round two! I didn't want Lekha to climb up the stairs unnecessarily. The new sheets and spreads were also placed. I was off to the hair styling saloon for my appointment and thankfully, it's Sajeesh this time who knew exactly as to what I wanted. He did a thorough job that I slept while he administered the massage!

From there, it was straight, by a rick, to the chemist to buy mom's medicines that required refill during my absence and I'd to collect eggs for the kitchen. By the time I'd finished my bath and done all the sundry work, it was a half past 1 when Padmakumar and Rema had fetched up. The boisterous lunch followed by non stop conversation, in which mom was an active participant, put paid the need for a siesta!

It was at this juncture that Paulson, reported about the cancellation of the train in which I was booked for tomorrow, to go to Thiruvananthapuram, due to a derailment at of the Mangalore Express, at Karukutty, in the wee hours. The departure has been rescheduled as I've to catch a bus to Ernakulam and then, proceed to Thiruvananthapuram preferrably by a low floor bus. Well, I only hope that the crowd is manageable since there would be many who'd chose the road transport due to the cancellation of the trains!

The walk was fairly brisk and I enjoyed every bit of it. A quick round of packing, an animated supper and mom refusing to climb up the stairs resulted in a late evening.


Priya and Seetharaman, who're also supposed to be going to Thiruvananthapuram to attend the function may pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat at the last moment. Let's see as to how luck is gonna favour me tomorrow!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

To Kochi and back.

Lekha had an appointment with her dentist at 11 in the morning. There were a few things to be tied up before leaving though my sister, Rema, was also in attendance having come in yesterday. After finishing her morning chores, Lekha was ready and we'd set off for Kochi by a quarter past 8.

To help me through the morning traffic, I'd employed Johnson to drive my car for the purpose so that I could take myself off the driving woes just for this episode! He did a good job and yet, we're at the dentist's with just a minute to spare for the appointed hour of 11!! But it was of no use as the doctor was performing surgery on an earlier patient who'd fetched up late and in the bargain, we lost about an hour.

The toothy had taken fresh measurements for Lekha's new dental furniture as the old one had given way. The renewal process and replacement comes under the ten year warranty for the dental treatment and is, therefore, free! Enroute, we'd lunch at a new place near Kalamasserry and by the time we reached The Quarterdeck, it was a quarter past 3. Radhan chettan, my cousin, who'd come by 10 in the morning was there to hand over the 10 grand that he'd taken a couple of months back and I'd given him a bottle of brandy that I'd promised.

Jojy, my classmate, had come to Guruvayur to attend a wedding after which he'd come to spend the evening at our place. In fact, he'd come earlier while we're still at Kochi and had gone for his afternoon snooze after spending time with mom and Radhan chettan.

I'd gone for the evening walk as usual and returned to settle down with mom, Lekha and Jojy. Mom was her relaxed self, enjoying the interaction thoroughly. I told her about my trip to Thiruvananthapuram on Monday and she's given me the green signal! Rema, my sister, will be here by tomorrow evening to assist Lekha during my absence!


Johnson just wouldn't tell me what his charges were. Checked out with George, my usual sa'arthi, who told me what the actual rates were. Whereupon, I'd called up Johnson, apologised to him and handed over the remaining Rs.200/-!

Friday, August 26, 2016

An uneasy Friday.

Had got up at 6, only to find that my mom was lying wet on her bed but fast asleep. Despite my getting up every hour last night, I could not be of much help to her. While Lekha was giving her a bath, the soiled clothes were removed and necessary actions were taken. My mom looked listless and weak. I was beginning to wonder as to whether I was on the right track regarding my decisions thus far. Should I take her to the hospital nearby, I wondered.

Accordingly, I'd called up the administrator, Pradeep Kumar of the nearby hospital, who wanted me to get her there within an hour as they're proceeding to attend the wedding of a staff member. Then I'd called up Jimmy Francis who asked me as to whether I was keen to show my mom to an orthopaedic guy because of the pain on her right leg. I'd to tell him that I wasn't sure.

And then I'd called up Mathew Abraham, her doctor. I told him three things and the course of the conversation went something like this:-

  - "Doctor, the tests that you'd wanted mom to go through have been done and the results say that
     there's nothing wrong.
  - But she continues to be listless and weak.
  - She's asked me to convey to you that there are too many tablets for her to consume which needs
     to be reduced."

He was quick to reduce the dosages of Sallaki 600 and Megafree Flex to once a day from the twice
a day frequency. He was pretty sure that her weakness was due to the long journey, that she'd undertaken, while undergoing the antibiotic course! .........She, meanwhile, was slowly showing signs of improvement!

Rema, my sister, had arrived from Palakkad by teatime and the mere sight of her brought my mom back to near normalcy. So, that was the antidote, after all.

Meanwhile, another emergency had popped up. Oil from the engine of my Chevy was dripping and it's happening soon after the 60,000 km-service which was not acceptable. I'd called up the Geeyem Motors about it, asked  for its rectification as I'd to take Lekha for her appointment with the dentist at Kochi, tomorrow morning. Their emergency team was at my place much before I'd returned from my walk and the problem was licked. Actually, it's the excess oil that had spilled on to the shield beneath the engine! It was an error on their part, make no mistake about it. Anyway, all's well that ends well.

The dinner was boisterous and my mom was back in her ebullient self. Well, what else did I need after the depressing times that I went through earlier in the day?


And it was good news at 9. Women have been allowed into the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah in Bombay by its High Court!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Inhuman and insensitive!

Yes, this story is from Kalahandi, which has always been in the news for its poverty and inhuman conditions. I was under the impression that with the developmental process being on under Navin Patnaik's rule, things had changed and more importantly, attitudes had changed. But from what comes out here, everything remains the same.....sad!

Dana Manjhi, from the Melghar village of Kalahandi, lost his wife, Amangadei, to tuberculosis on Wednesday morning at the district hospital in Bhawanipatna. He'd finished up his paltry savings in the course of the treatment and had no money to transport her body to his village for the last rites and cremation. His pleas for a transport with the hospital authorities fell on deaf ears!

So, he carried the body, wrapped in old sheets from the hospital and started the long trek of 60 kms, back to his village, with his teenage daughter in tow. After traversing over 10 km, some youth had reported the matter to the local authorities and with the media covering the episode, the family got the much needed vehicle!

What does one say about the hospital authorities who didn't respond to a genuine requirement from a frantic gentleman and that, too, when he wasn't asking for much! ........They need to be taken to task without delay and no mercy should be shown for their inhuman attitude!!

       *                                   *                                    *

What's happened in Maharashtra during the Janamashtami celebrations is not in the fitness of things. Thousands of youngsters had joined the 'Dahi Handi' where some groups had violated the 20 ft ceiling for the human pyramids, set by the Supreme Court, concerned over casualties and injuries suffered by 'Govindas', as the participants are known. Raj Thackeray, sponsored celebrations in Thane had strung the Dahi Handi at a height of 49 ft. See how he has incited people without getting involved directly and he's always shown that he's a rogue among politicians by goading one section of the society over the other with some smouldering differences in opinion! In other words, he's a penchant for fishing in troubled waters!!

I would term such defiance of law as the resort of publicity seeking individuals who want to remain in the limelight!

        *                                  *                                     *

The marathon runner, Jaisha's complaint about lack of drinking water in the Indian stalls, at the vantage points during the run at the recently concluded Rio Olympics, was a shocker. Rather than addressing the issue and identifying the people responsible, she has been made to change her original statement to save the culprits! Why can't we be man enough to admit our faults and take the punishment?


1. I was fast asleep after seeing my mom tucked safely in bed. Around 3, I'd got up and when I went to look her up, I found her lying prostrate on the bed, obviously, having slipped on the water dropped below! She needs close attention and I've arranged for a nurse to look after her during the dark hours. Saritha, the nurse who has been assigned by the organisation made her acquaintance visit this evening, around sunset.

I can be totally unreliable while I'm asleep! Hence this unprecedented step for the next few days!!

2. Ramanujan and Prema had come by in the afternoon after attending the wedding. Unlike in the past, mom did spend time with them towards the end but had preferred to have her snooze even after hearing about their arrival!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Trepidation remains.....

We'd gotten off to a pleasant Janamashtami. The Ramanujans - my classmate and his wife, Prema - had altered their programme due to some last minute hitch and will now be dropping by tomorrow, at teatime.

My classmate and friend, Ajith, from his ashram at the Himalayan foothills had transferred money into my account, a few days back, to gift the eight volumes of the 'Mahabhagavatham', written by Shri Gopalan Nair, to my mom on the occasion of Lord Krishna's birthday. I'd bought the neat, yet bulky package and lugged it from the Devaswom Book Stall at the eastern entrance of the temple to our place in an auto rickshaw. Reaching the place through the huge crowd, waiting to watch the colourful procession on this auspicious day, was a difficult maneuver indeed. Mom was thrilled to see the gift though she said that her faculty of concentration precludes her from reading large volumes of material at this juncture! We'd a chat with Ajith, too!!

       *                                     *                                       *

There was another myth that I'd to sort out and it's regarding the 'dry cleaners'. Except for the ones in the metropolitan cities - and that, too, a few - most do normal washing of the clothes and claim to have carried out a 'dry wash', charging exorbitant rates! In a one-horse town like Guruvayur, the cynic in me, has veered around to this opinion after first hand experience. There used to be a place where we used to give our clothes regularly over the last few years - though the cleanliness achieved was acceptable, there used to be regular occasions of misplaced clothes! More importantly, post wash, the clothes did not have the aroma of having been cleaned by petroleum products which actually should, if they've been genuinely dry cleaned.

So, this morning, I'd given our clothes to a women's organisation for the needful. The only thing that struck me was that the young lady at the counter made a mention of the clothes and the number of pieces, along with my cell number, on her register but did not give any token of having received them from me! A strange system and when I queried her, she smiled and said that that was the way it worked and asked me to collect the clothes, a week from now!!

        *                                    *                                        *

The evening walk was, as usual, uneventful. After supper, when it was time to hit the sack, mom showed a reluctance to climb up the stairs to get to her bedroom. So, the plan was changed and her bed was readied in the bedroom below. But while guiding her to the bed, she complained that the way I was holding her was causing pain and began to weep. That baffled me, because I never intended to hurt her.......but! Hope it's not the Parkinson's syndrome that's causing this unexpected behaviour!!


Earlier in the day, I'd spoken to Mathew Abraham, the neuro physician - her doctor, at Kochi - who was returning after a short stay with his daughter at Bangalore. He has asked me to have three tests to be carried out on mom's blood..........accordingly, the neighbourly hospital's path lab team has been asked to fetch up at 7, tomorrow morning!!      


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Anxious moments....

Had got up on cue - forgot to set the alarm - and went for my customary walk. On return, went up to help mom and she'd come down the stairs with me. She said her prayers at the puja room and after having her morning cup of tea, she was trying to sit down to read the newspaper when the emergency had occurred. She was complaining about the pain on her right knee, when I told her that she'll have to bear it and walk, in a serious and loud voice.

My mom just passed out and started slumping downward. Since I was guiding her walk, I could hold her, break the fall and slowly get her to lie down on the floor. Going through an utter bankruptcy of thought, I'd fetched some cold water and sprinkled it on her face. She was quick to react, saying that she was wet and I and Lekha had picked her up and guided her on to the bed. I cannot explain the relief that had swept over me then.

I called up Jimmy Francis, MD who'd advised her transfer to the casualty of the nearest hospital so that her BP and other parameters could be checked, along with a saline drip, if necessary. He also did give me an option of taking her to the hospital only if her condition was not okay! Further, he'd promised to look her up in the evening.....meanwhile, my mom was fast asleep and about 45' later, passed urine and I'd the sample taken to the hospital's lab for its routine examination, which was anyway due after the 7-day antibiotic course.

By afternoon she was back to normal, had rice gruel for lunch. Jimmy fetched up before he went to his clinic, around 1730 hrs, and examined her thoroughly. Meanwhile, her urine results had also been received which showed that the urinary tract infection was passe. His conclusion was that the blackout was due to the weakness caused by the long stretch of travel over the previous few days but added that she'd be under his observation. He wouldn't take any consultation fee with the words, "Sir, I've come to call on you and befriend you, so how do I take money?" My mom kissed his hand saying that she now has yet another son! But how do I thank Jimmy's large heartedness?

Just goes to show that there's goodness all around and it's people like Jimmy who make this earth worth living! Thanks, Jimmy yet again, you don't realise as to what a great solace you'd been to us today by your words of assurance and genuine concern!! We shall remain indebted!!!


(a) To my query to the doctor as to whether my raised voice had initiated my mom's blackout, he'd said that it had no relevance. Was he putting me at ease, I wonder?

(b) Actually, had expected Jimmy to come after his clinic hours around 2030 hrs and hence, I was washing down my Chevy, in my outdoor rig which I usually wear while doing a rough and tough job, as he drove in. Hope he didn't think that I was taking his visit too casually because I should have been dressed in formals!

(c) Maman had called up from Thiruvananthapuram inquiring about his elder sister's and Lekha's health. It was also to tell me that I should fetch up there by the 28th as Mr. Hamid Ansari, the Vice President of India, was inaugurating the 'Digital Library' initiative of the PN Panicker Foundation, at the Kanakakkunnu Palace, on the 30th.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Back at 'The Quarterdeck'.

We'd got up leisurely as the appointment with the family advocate was at 11. Accordingly, we'd set off from Raj Nivas by a half past 9 and headed straight for the Ganapathi kshetram to facilitate Lekha to have the 'darshan' while mom and I sat in the Chevy, at the parking space. Since the dawn-to-dusk puja was on, the much awaited sweet meat - 'unniyappam' - was not available.

Both of us, after leaving mom at Lekha's sister's place, had gone to the advocate so that the final writing of the title deed of the property division of Lekha's dad could be finalised. Frankly speaking, it was a nauseating affair to hear the lies spoken to by Lekha's younger brother and sister, for whom she always had a soft corner and had helped many a time, before their marriage! I could feel the deep hurt, their behaviour have caused her. The advocate has taken it upon himself to solve the matter amicably when I told him that the property in question was so small that fighting over it was downright silly and that we're withdrawing from further sittings! To me, the two younger siblings of Lekha have become persona non grata from this day!

After lunch, we'd set off from Kottarakkara for Guruvayur. My mom was quite eager to go to the Kalpakavadi Inn, though it was a bit early for the evening tea! It was only after we reached there that we realised that she'd wanted to go to the toilet. Wonder whether I'd done the right thing by bringing mom all the way on this journey which could be tiring for her. She has complained about pain on her right knee and moves around only with my support but when I hold her firmly, she complains of holding her too tight.

Wonder whether I'm getting too hyper because I'd howled at mom when she refused Lekha's help at the toilet.

We could navigate through the usual choke points of Alappuzha, Kundannoor, Vyttila, Idappalli, Aluva and Angamali without any hitch and it was relieving to hear that the Kundannoor point had a massive traffic jam, soon after we'd traversed it when a tanker lorry had flipped over! But the motorists who got caught in it must have had a tough time!!

Our last stop was at the coffee joint, 20 kms after Angamali, where I'd insisted on mom going around the wash room. Often she refrains from doing so, because the process of getting up, walking up to the point and the return to her seat become laborious, cumbersome and painful. I goad her into it, telling that the delay due to her taking enormous time was acceptable to me.

We reached 'The Quarterdeck' at 2130 hrs and quickly got down to supper, followed by unpacking. By the time I'd seen mom off to bed, it was 2230 hrs.


Three things for tomorrow:-
   (a) Mom's urine sample to the nearby lab see whether the infection has been brought under control
         after a week's antibiotic course.
   (b) Check out on a nurse for mom and
   (c) Fix up with Jimmy Francis, MD to look up mom.             

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Off to the wedding.

The day had begun on a leisurely note. Spoke to dad and briefed him about our stay and scheduled programme, while spending time at his cremation site. 

We're off for the wedding by about a half past 9 and reached there a three quarters of an hour later. Parking was a Herculean effort but finally, found a suitable place but realised that I'd have to wait for almost the entire lot to leave to get us off from the venue! There were a whole lot of relatives from Lekha's family and the elders, including my mom decided to sit down below at level 1, next to the dining hall, because they were not in a position to climb up the long flight of stairs to the first floor where the wedding was taking place. Certain oddities were noticed:-

   (a) Since everyone knew that the elders were sitting down below, the boy who was my 
         sister-in-law's brother or both - the would-be-bride and he - could have come to them and
         sought their blessings.
   (b) When weddings are planned, care needs to be taken to ensure participation of the entire lot of
          guests and in these days LED screens, could be deployed judiciously to ensure the same.
   (c) The wedding day is a 'mad' day for the people concerned and therefore, slip ups are capable of
         creeping in despite the best of intentions and it's best to laugh them off without taking things
         to heart at 'slights that might not have been intentional'!

I felt bad that mom was made to go through the discomfort but she took it very sportingly and the enduring snapshot of this wedding was the manner in which my mom ate her food, while spilling the 'paayasam' on to her dress which I'd washed off then and there. I was reminded of my dad, in similar circumstances, a year before he passed away and couldn't help but note the similarities! 

The journey back was quiet and we're in time for our siesta.

People dropped by to meet and chat up with mom and she was excited like a kid as they told her as to how much they missed her. Her day was made!


The rubber trees have grown taller but there's plenty of weeds around them. The next weeding out process will begin tomorrow but it will be directed at the immediate surroundings of each sapling! The complete weeding out can only be undertaken when the sun gets stronger and there's no trace of rain!  

Saturday, August 20, 2016

At Raj Nivas, from The Quarterdeck.

Our day had begun at 0430 hrs. Mom, Lekha and I were ready by a quarter to 7 and we left soon after. The traffic was sparse being a Saturday morning. We reached our favourite jaunt, at Paliyekkara, for breakfast. The security guard, Nair, received us with the warmth that he's associated with. Left the place after half an hour but not before wishing Nair an advance 'happy onam' along with a small token of our love.

The passage through Ernakulam and Alappuzha was okay but the highway was bad at many stretches which marred the enjoyment of driving. Lunch was at the Kalpakavadi Inn and the manager looked after us and catered to our needs in his usual affable manner. After spendind a little over half an hour with our lunch and sending replies to a few of the accumulated messages on What'sApp, we're on the final leg to Kottarakkara. After reaching  there, the car was parked at the earmarked space amidst the massive influx of vehicles and Lekha set off for getting a few urgent things done like getting mom's gold chain repaired, buying necessary ingredients for tea at her sister's place, the big bananas for Pidavoor amma, which she fond of and to recharge our dish TV.

Tea at Latha's place was a pleasant affair. Little Pran has grown up further and came into my arms without hesitation. After spending an hour there, we were off to look up Pidavoor amma. She looked frail and weak after her recent fall but was quite happy to meet all of us and mom held her hand almost throughout the time that we're there. She went back to lying down on her bed but insisted upon my helping her to sit up, despite the presence of Ramachandrettan and Bharathi chechi, her elder son and daughter! Her eyes had welled up when Lekha'd told her to be careful and then she hugged my mom. She stood with folded hands, praying for a safe journey ahead as we drove off.

We reached home a trifle after sunset, in time to light the evening lamp at the puja room. Coming back to dad's house is a nice feeling as always. The good 'ole times come in torrents except for the sad fact that many of them who'd made it possible now viewed us from their photographs that adorn the walls.


Despite all the efforts, the television failed to come on due to an error in the electronic card. One can't get everything right, huh?

Friday, August 19, 2016

How do I dissipate this anger of mine?

My neighbour told me this heart rending story and I'm wild with rage. You might wonder why? So, please listen to the story....

  "My neighbour's domestic help is in a spin ever since her mother has been admitted in a reputed
    hospital in town. She's brain dead but the following is continuing:-

        (a) She is kept in the ICU.
        (b) Oxygen cylinders are changed for reasons known only to the hospital's faculty. I mean, why
              does a brain dead patient require Oxygen?
        (c) The family is of the low income group.
        (d) Costly medicines are being called for, in the name of the patient, but does she really require

    My questions to the hospital and the attendant doctors are the following:-

        (a) Will you do this to a close relative of yours under similar medical conditions?
        (b) Don't you have a sense of responsibility to the patient and her relatives?
        (c) How much money are you going to make on this patient?
        (d) Where are your morals and medical ethics?
        (e) Are you hell bent on making good your losses at the expense of this poor family? 

My take.

I have long since heard about the business mindedness of the people in the medical profession. But this really takes the cake. Wonder what I can do for the poor lady?

       *                                *                                 *

Reached the Geeyem Motors with a few minutes to spare for 1700 hrs. I'd to wait for another hour before I got my vehicle as the water wash was still in progress when I stepped in. The Chevy was smooth as I realised it during my return drive and had topped up the fuel tank and checked the tyre pressure at the petrol pump near our place.

       *                                *                                  *

Aniyan, Lakshmi and their son, Gopu had dropped by to invite us for their daughter, Gayatri's wedding which is gonna be a three day extravaganza during the second week of December at Kollam. It was nice catching up with them after a long time!


Tomorrow is a gonna be a long day as we drive down to my dad's place after a while. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Stupendous Performances!

Firstly, I must convey my apologies to Sakshi Malik for reacting a day late on her winning the bronze medal in the 58 kg Freestyle Wrestling event. You've brought glory to us and to your country by your perseverance and hard work, when many of us had resigned to the fact that our contingent might return from the Rio Olympics with a 'no score'! What makes it all the more sweet is that her coach is Kuldeep Singh, an ex-Master Chief Petty Officer of the Indian Navy!!

Congratulations Sakshi, yet again, on your great show. May there be many more victories for you in the years to come. Here's wishing you all the best in your endeavour!

And congratulations, PV Sindhu on your fantastic performance on the Badminton Court! Your entry into the finals has all your countrymen praying for you to get the coveted gold! May god be with you!! Pullela Gopichand, you've carved a real gem that India's gonna be proud of!!!

Not to forget the gutsy, Dipa Karmakar, who'd started it all and there was no eye that wasn't moist nor was there any throat that didn't have a lump when she missed a medal by a whisker. Your first Produnova was the defining moment for India at the Rio Olympics! May you scorch the gymnastic arena in the years to come!!

Dipa, Sakshi and Sindhu, you girls have given us plenty to cheer and walk with our heads held high!

    *                                     *                                           *

Had gone to the Geeyem Motors by about 1030 hrs to hand over our Chevy for its servicing after having done over 60,000 km. It's gonna take a day and I should get the vehicle back by tomorrow evening. We're off on a trip to my dad's house, from where we attend a wedding in the family on Sunday. Since we'd discussed about it last month, the complete set of spares, for the mandatory servicing, has been made available. The efficient customer adviser, the smiling coffee provider and the drop at the Amala Hospital bus stop - by one of their drivers - from where I could catch the return bus made the trip short and sweet!

     *                                    *                                           *

During the evening walk, I'd met the chemist from whom I regularly pick up our medicines. This evening it was to find an antidote for my lingering cough and Lekha's. Oommer and Gopan didn't disappoint me! Let's wait for the outcome!!


The DTH went blank just like that and I remembered the service rep telling me, after his last visit, that our banana trees that were adjacent to the dish had their leaves covering its clear view of the sky, bringing about such interruptions. So, armed with a knife, I'd gone on to the terrace and chopped off a few leaves from the base and left them in our kitchen garden. The farmhand was quick to point out that it's not a good practice to cut banana leaves and leave them, in full, as it conveyed bad omen and had gone on to cut them into several small pieces.

Among us a corpse is kept on a clean, full length banana leaf for the last rites after which it's shifted to the pyre. An uncut banana leaf portends death, perhaps!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Chingam Onnu (The first of Chingam).

And it's the beginning of another new year on the Malayalam calendar. I'd got up early and revived my customary walk after the long break due to the monsoon. It was nice to take in the fresh air and the morning sights that were familiar!

On return, helped mom to go about her morning chores - I'd asked her to delay her getting up by half an hour because of the resumption of my walk - like switching on/off the geyser, her clothes put for wash and the bed sheet out in the balcony for airing. She washes her footwear and the washed pair is placed at a particular spot near her bed so that she can wear it comfortably, on getting ready.

Lekha had gone to the temple for her tryst with Guruvayurappan on the auspicious day!

Meanwhile, my neighbour and I'd gone to our panchayat office to pay up the property tax, as this time we have missed out on the exemption, because we'd submitted our application late, by a few days! Thankfully, there weren't many people in the queue - in fact, we're at the second and third slots, respectively and could return within about 45'.

               *                                 *                                *

I'd called up the Geeyem Motors for my Chevy's servicing after having run over 60,000 km. It's a major one and requires a complete day. It has been booked for tomorrow so that it's ready for the long trip on Saturday, to my dad's house, to attend a wedding. The work of removing the weeds around the rubber saplings has to be undertaken to control their growth, aided by the heavy monsoons that had lashed over the area during the last couple of months. It's an ongoing process and there's no point in lamenting over frequent expenses on that score. The caretaker has been insistent that I visit the place at the earliest to sort out related issues. That work will also get initiated during the trip!


A quiet day otherwise!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The last day of Karkidakom!

Well, today marks the last day of the Malayalam month, Karkidakom. Preparations are on everywhere, to welcome the first of Chingam tomorrow. The temple is seeing a generous spurt in pilgrims this season.

     *                                  *                                     *

Indira kunjamma, has improved to a great extent. She has got back her appetite and is chatty over the telephone. She'd asked me to book one of the meditation halls for her 'Narayaneeyam' recital on the 11th of Sep. Unfortunately, the halls have been booked out already as I came to know when I'd visited the particular counter at the Devaswom Office. She could do the recitation at any convenient spot within the premises of the temple, the authorities said. I'd wanted to cross check with her and to see as to whether the alternate dates on offer were suitable but she was neither on the land phone nor answering her cellphone. Only later did she confirm that she'd made a foray to her bank - a sure sign that she's doing well and thank god for that!

      *                                  *                                    *

Met the smart young lady in my bank who'd been absent during my last couple of visits - I limit my visits to a maximum of two per month because frankly, I do not have too much of wealth! A simple man who's comfortable with what I've got.....that's the bottom line. She'd got my work done in a jiffy; the manager was busy, meanwhile, with another couple.

       *                                 *                                     *

Daljeet, my friend and course mate from the merchant marine who now runs a popular eatery at New Delhi, lost his 94 year old dad, a retired Colonel who was highly respected and loved. RIP sir, my tears and prayers! Daljeet, here's wishing that you and the family have the strength to tide over these stressful times. Take care.

       *                                  *                                     *

After rounding off my evening walk, I had gone to the new clinic that has been opened by a doctor couple in our neighbourhood. Actually, I'd met the lady a few days back for an opinion on the antibiotic to be administered on my mom. She's a Pulmonologist and a Sardarni, to boot. As luck would have it, Jimmy Francis, MD was free after sending away a patient and there were none waiting, at that point of time! So we acquainted ourselves and he gave me his cell number promising that he'd call on, as and when necessary, provided I rang him up by 2000 hrs, half an hour before his secure! An unassuming gentleman and it's comfortable to have a doctor, known to you, in the near vicinity to cater for an emergency!!


What I hate about the days succeeding holidays is the lack of newspapers. One's copy along with the morning cuppa is a starter!

Monday, August 15, 2016

The 70th Independence Day.

It was a bright morning and as I'd told myself, I hoisted the tricolour atop my balcony at 0800 hrs. Felt proud of it and I'd informed about it to my friends on the What'sApp who wanted the snaps of the fluttering flag, which I was only too eager to oblige!

      *                                       *                                         *

My sister had called up to say that she was at Pidavoor, her husband's place, as her mother-in-law - all of 87 yrs - had a fall in the kitchen, earlier in the morning, just prior to their departure. Luckily, there was no fracture but the old lady had thrown up whenever she was made to eat which she was, otherwise, refraining from! Meanwhile, Padmakumar and Achu had reached Palakkad a trifle after sunset and the latter had left for Bangalore by the evening's Volvo in which he'd a reservation.

       *                                      *                                          *

Meanwhile my cousin, Sindhu, had called to report about her mom's condition. Vilasini kunjamma, her mom, suffers from Alzheimer's condition and off late, seems to have no control of her bowel movements resulting in her frequent shuttles to the bathroom. Consequently, she's hungry and heads for the fridge to eat anything and everything that's available. My cousin's woes have multiplied because of her own discomfort with a prolapsed disc in her vertebral column. I'd asked her to take up an appointment with her mom's doctor forthwith and perhaps, seek an admission in the hospital for close monitoring of her present condition and to control the bowel movements. On hanging up, I'd called up my Maman for monitoring the case and to provide help as required as he was at Thiruvananthapuram..

        *                                      *                                         *

The walk to the chemist wasn't futile as he'd got three of the five tablets that my mom required. Actually, his suppliers had goofed up earlier in the day and had provided the three to help me tide over the situation! Well, things are looking up, definitely.

        *                                      *                                         *

My friend, Ajith, had called up, from his ashram at the Himalayan foothills, to say that he'd put money into my account to gift my mom with the 'Mahabhagavatham' for this Janamashtami. I tried telling him that she didn't do prolonged reading these days but he was insistent. I shall do the needful and perhaps, the book could become handy for Lekha and me. Damn sweet of him!


It's the 70th Independence Day. What I shall remember of this day is the mention of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan by the Prime Minister, in his speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, for the first time. Pakistan seems to have gone crazy over it from their initial reactions!


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Inner thoughts.......

1. Just for a medicine.

Finally, was able to salvage the situation and manage two of the seven antibiotic tablets for mom's infection as ordered by the doctor. On occasions like this, Guruvayur can turn out to be a one-horse-town! Let me take you through a recap on mom's requirement......

     - Mom reviewed by her doctor, on 27 Jul, who puts her on Niftas(1 OD) for 10 days for her
       infection and report to him with a urine RE after the course.
     - The result show that there's no substantial change. He asks for a culture.
     - Accordingly, the culture report was shown to a nearby physician who gave her suggestions.
       The doctor was informed about it who recommended a 7 day course of Zanocin OD.
     - Getting the tablets seemed to be a Herculean task and the chemist that I frequent, has promised
        to get them for me by Monday.
     - Got two tablets from a chemist at the padinjaare nada(The western gate) which frankly, I'd least
     - So, the course was begun as per the doctor's instructions.

.......Hope I'm able to get the remaining tablets on Monday!

      *                                   *                                     *

2. Dipa Karmakar.

What does one say about this unlucky young lady? The passion was there..the fire was there....the focus was there......yet she comes fourth, missing the medal by a whisker! Rest assured Dipa, you shall rule our hearts for years to come. Your feat is extraordinary!! All Indians will pray for you in your future endeavour because you've become part of folklore!!!

      *                                    *                                     *

3. The Olympic fiasco.

Why does the Indian Olympic teams always end up in the fourth position, missing medals by a whisker? Some say that we lack the fighting spirit.....some others say that we give up easily...some say that the best sportsmen are never chosen because of rank corruption in our sports bodies.

I happened to read an article on why India lacked sportsmen of world class in the Chinese print media. These are the reasons it says:-

      (a) Lack of infrastructure and state-of-the-art training facilities.
      (b) The information about the Olympics is not passed on to the rural masses.
      (c) Our obsession for the game of cricket and
      (d) The reluctance to pursue sports as a career because of an excessive insistence upon the
            children to take up medicine, engineering, IT etc by their parents and nothing else.

I tend to agree with all the points and would like to add that corruption also be added as a major curse. I mean, I just can't understand as to why Sharad Pawar should be a cricket administrator or VK Malhotra, the head of the Archery discipline!


I've taken my tricolour out of the safe. It has been ironed and kept ready for hoist tomorrow morning, at 0800 hrs, on the occasion of the 70th Independence Day.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Some unusual sights and sounds.

1. Salute to a loving dad.

I was sent a snap, this afternoon on my What'sApp page by a course mate, of Col Vijendra Thapar(Retd) - the father of the late Captain Vijayant Thapar, VrC, who was martyred in the Kargil war - resting on the rocks after having climbed about 16,000 ft to fulfill his emotional wish of 17 years, which was the same spot where his son had fallen.

It shows his immense love for his son. He, perhaps, was trying to capture his son's last moments in the solitude. My salute to him and a prayer for his valiant son.

2. SFI opposes Sankaracharya's statue.

A bitter row has erupted between the student unions affiliated to the left and the BJP on the installation of a statue of the philosopher at the new entrance of the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit at Kalady.

The decision to install the statue was taken at the university's syndicate meeting in Nov '15. The funding for the project has been provided by the central government under the 'Rashtriya Uchchattar
Shiksha Abhiyan" and ever since, has been opposed by the SFI and certain teachers' unions. TG Jyothilal, the well known sculptor and the head of the painting department at the university, has been tasked to make the 7 ft high concrete statue that will be made in four parts, the first of which was installed yesterday.

It's yet a case of 'much ado about nothing'.

3. KM Mani leaves UDF only to be wooed by the LDF.

The former Finance Minister in the UDF cabinet, after having left the dispensation, is being wooed by the LDF which was, till recently. hammer and tongs at him in the infamous 'bar bribery case'. The reason that is being given is that Mani and his party will be decimated if it were to join the BJP-led NDA, with the likely induction of his son, an MP, into the central cabinet.

  (a) For the BJP to get him into their fold will be a shot in the arm as he belongs to the Christian
  (b) He's known to cosy up with anyone to retain power.
  (c) In politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies!


My prayers are for Dipa Karmakar, who will be vaulting in the finals tomorrow at the Rio Olympics. I'm sure that she'll get the gold. The supremely daring vault or the death vault is named after the Russian gymnast, Yelena Produnova, who'd done it first in 1999. Dipa is the first Indian and the fifth woman to make it into an Olympic final, since Produnova doing the vault! 

For me, Dipa doing the Produnova, shall be the frozen snapshot of the Rio Olympics '16!

Friday, August 12, 2016

A quiet Friday.

It's a quiet day to begin with. Aniyan, my younger uncle, had arrived by lunchtime after his 'darshan' at the temple. He'd placed a small traditional lamp at the sanctum sanctorum, on behalf of his daughter, as she'd a medical discomfort that has since been sorted out and as usual, he'd brought us a container of the fabled 'paayasam' - he brings it during every visit of his for my mom, ever since she'd asked him right at the start after our settling down here as to why he'd come empty handed!

Meanwhile my friend, Ajith, had called up seeking help. And I also had to pick up medicines for mom and Lekha. Accordingly, after lunch, I'd caught an auto rickshaw to drop Aniyan at the bus stand, placed an order for the 'Mahabhagavatham' for Ajith's friend, whose packaging and parcel will also be taken care of by the Guruvayur Devaswom and bought the requisite medicines. The siesta was correspondingly shortened!

Rema and Achu had arrived by teatime. We're seeing Achu after a long while. It's always worthwhile to hear his office yarns and from what he said, it seems that he's poised for another great break. They're on their way to spend this long weekend with his paternal grandmother. Padmakumar came in by a quarter to 8, as he'd followed them after office hours, by bus.

The evening had become quite noisy and full of conversation eventually getting to be late. They take off by 7, tomorrow morning and have a long day.

      *                                        *                                             *

Lekha completed the recital of the Ramayana, this morning, for the season. The chapter that describes the sad action of Rama sending Sita away, when one of his citizens questions her purity, is avoided. That's an unwritten law of the recitation! Meanwhile, my mom continues to do her random recital of a few verses which will go on till the last day of the Ramayana maasam!

What an irony?

Irom Sharmila, the famed  human rights' activist had given up her fast of 16 years, on 09 Aug. Her mother and brother have ridiculed her decision because she'd given up her struggle without seeing the AFSPA withdrawn. They're also not happy about her desire to get married to her friend, Desmond Coutinho, an Indian born British national and to contest elections to become the chief minister of the state.

It's what I call the ultimate irony in that an individual is not allowed to choose her path which is being unfair to the young lady, to say the least! Let me assure you that you're assured of my support - and I'm sure that there are very many others like me - to do your heart's calling. That's your right, Irom Sharmila. Period!


It's gonna be a long, quiet weekend. There's a conglomeration of the defence personnel of the district on the occasion of the Independence Day.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Adieu Sindhu's mom.

Sindhu's mom and a senior master of our school, Madhavan Nair sir's wife, all of 79 years, passed into the mist of time this afternoon. I'd spoken to her son-in-law and classmate, Suresh Laxman, on seeing the message on our What'sApp group. This was what he'd to say.

A couple of days back, she'd undergone a battery of tests at the Military Hospital and her medicines tweaked to control the high blood sugar count. Last night, Madhavan Nair sir had called up one of their relatives, a doctor and diabetologist, regarding her medical condition. Accordingly, she'd gone to the hospital, where he works, for observation and further checks. "She'd walked into the car and seemingly showed no signs of discomfort." Another set of tests were carried out and the doctor had decided to put her on insulin to control the rise in sugar count. Subsequent to it, she'd gone off to sleep perhaps, due to tiredness! Around 1430 hrs, the monitors showed total inactivity and the doctor didn't take much time to confirm the worst.

Did she see her end coming? Looks like it. She'd cleared her table and written her will, a fortnight back! Her cremation is gonna take place, tomorrow, at a half past 12. The Nairs have three children, a daughter and two sons.

..........Takes me back in time, to those halcyon days at school. I didn't have the privilege of knowing Sindhu's mom, well, unlike many of my classmates who stayed on in the No.2 Dormitory whose House Master was the mercurial Madhavan Nair sir, while I'd moved out to become a Prefect and then, a House Captain. From all accounts, she was like a mother for everyone.

But I'd made up for it during the last few years while staying with Suresh and Sindhu during our trips to Thiruvananthapuram(Usually, we stay with my relations when we go there in connection with the Foundation's work or family related activities and for the rest, it's with the Laxmans!) When I'd touched her feet along with sir's, I told her that sir was incomplete without her and her surprise turned to a warm smile, that was her trade mark and I remember sir, too, gave me an indulgent smile.

During our last meeting, she'd promised to come to Guruvayur along with the others on our invite and that will remain an unfulfilled promise.

RIP Sindhu's mom! Our tears and prayers. We shall miss your smiling presence when we reach there next. Here's wishing Sindhu and Suresh the strength to tide over these stressful times.


Mom's urine sample was collected and handed over to the hospital lab for 'culture'. The results are expected on Saturday when the antibiotic to be administered will be decided.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Three heists, one after the other.

These are three stories of heist that happened almost one after the other or one can even say, concurrently because of the time overlap. Consider these:-

  (a) The SBI ATM at Althara, Thiruvananthapuram.

        - carried out by an all Romanian gang of four.
        - they'd used a wi-fi device to hack into the bank's server and access the information passed
          between the ATM and server during each transaction.
        - one apprehended by the police while the whereabouts of the remaining not known.
  (b) The Syndicate Bank ATM at Vazhakala, Kochi.

        - carried out by a UP(Ansari) - West Bengal(Mohammed Imran) duo.
        - a failed attempt though, carried out last Saturday.
        - they'd made a similar attempt on another ATM last July and failed.
        - they spray painted the surveillance camera within the ATM to facilitate their deed.
        - Ansari has been apprehended by the police but not before he'd knifed his partner to death as
          he suspected betrayal!

   (c) On board the Madras-bound Trichy Express.

        - happened on Monday night.
        - the train, in one of its carriages, was transporting soiled currency notes worth Rs.342 crores
          from Salem to Madras to be h/o to the RBI.
        - the thieves made off with Rs.5.78 crores mid-journey by cutting the roof of the carriage.
        - the culprits are yet to be apprehended.

My take.

Is it a growing trend? Fraud and theft become the accepted tools for misguided youth to make a quick buck! What they don't realise is that they'd get caught eventually, however much they try to conceal their tracks and their lives are spoiled forever!!


An early morning dash to the nearby hospital to h/o mom's urine sample to understand the effect of the antibiotic that she's been having over the past ten days. It persists, say the results. Tomorrow a sample needs to be given for 'culture' as per the doctor's instructions! Lekha's cough persists but on a lesser intensity!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What I think we should do in Kashmir.

1. The Prime Minister has broken his silence on the unnecessary unrest over the killing of Burhan Wani, a hard core terrorist. He's spoken about following the Vajpayee legacy on Kashmir based on 'Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat and Jamhuriyat'. He articulated well and came down heavily upon those who have given the youth stones to pelt at the security forces when those hands should be holding laptops, volleyballs and cricket bats.

2. While it's my sincere hope to see an orchestrated effort on his and his government's part to get Kashmir along with the rest of the country, I've a few suggestions regarding a sustained and unwavering policy, the highlights of which are as follows:-

   (a) Keep a close watch on Pakistani activities on the Jammu and Kashmir borders, stop the
         infiltration of terrorists and if the Pakistani army embarks on a misadventure, give it a bloody
         nose that shall be remembered for years.
   (b) Eliminate venomous guys like Syed Salahuddin, Hafiz Sayeed and others whose double game
         is there for all to see. While ensuring that their children were well settled in different walks of
         life, they exhort the innocent Kashmiri youth in inciting violence against India.
   (c) Push the parasitic Kashmiri separatists like Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar and others out of the state.
         Let them enjoy the hospitality of their Pakistani hosts and for starters, withdraw their Indian
   (d) Must initiate efforts to integrate the PoK with our Jammu and Kashmir.
   (e) Meanwhile, the state government must provide good governance to its people.
   (f) The state machinery should be utilised to showcase the good things that we've done in Kashmir
         and effectively counter false propaganda.
   (g) Keep opportunistic politicians on a tight leash and show them their place if they're up to tricks
   (h) And make things conducive for the entire set of the evicted Kashmiri Pandits to settle down at
         their homes.

3. Regarding Kashmir, India needs to be proactive and never, reactive. Period! Let none have any doubt that, Kashmir has been ours, is ours and will always be ours!


Had gone to clear the bills at the KSEB office and the nearby, bank. Thankfully, there wasn't any crowd!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Back to Guruvayur via Palakkad.

We'd got up early in the morning and went about our chores with gusto as it was gonna be a long day. After bidding farewell to Saly and li'l Shanaya, who're waiting for the latter's school bus, we'd headed straight for Lekha's dentist. Benoy, my man from our Kollam outfit meanwhile, had fetched up with the pay cheques of the outfit's personnel that were to be countersigned, as they'd to be paid by the mid month.

The first co-ordinated act went off like clockwork. The dentist has given the next appointment on the 27th for remaking the dental furniture. He told us about a new ailment that he was doing research on. Many people complain about a migraine-like pain, take medication as prescribed by their doctors without actually knowing the root cause and learn to live with the discomfort as there's no change, obviously. As per his findings - he's done two courses related to it, one in the US too and is left with the third and the last - the pain could be because of unequal pressures on the muscles caused by prolonged chewing with uneven/faulty teeth that manifests in the form of head aches. He is, incidentally, only the third dental surgeon in the world, who's a super specialist on the subject!

My sister, Rema, has been having this problem over a while and I did tell him about her. He's gonna look at her dentures on the same day when Lekha meets him next!

We'd taken off for Palakkad soon after. The journey was fine, rains were holding during the majority of the passage and I'd decided to get through the Kuthiraan route this time - Jojy had checked it out with a colleague of his, for me, earlier - which gave me the confidence. We're at my sister's place by lunch time and our plan was to take off for Guruvayur soon after. But that was not to be! Lekha'd developed severe stomach cramps and she was given a tablet, as recommended by her doctor, on such occasions. We, eventually, left by a half past 3 when the pain had subsided.

Mom also has a red colouration in her left eye that was brought about when her finger had brushed accidentally, sometime earlier in the day. The journey was uneventful and we reached 'The Quarterdeck' before 5, passing through uncomplicated traffic!

Lekha's cough has been a cause of continuous worry and this evening it seems to have aggravated - probably because of the last five days of hectic activity, late night sleep and travelling in the air conditioned environs of the car. Will monitor her for tomorrow with home remedies and if it doesn't subside, she'll be taken to the nearby clinic run by an interesting doctor couple - a Mallu medical specialist and a Sardarni radiologist! And mom will be shown to the ophthalmologist, next door!!

It's nice to be back.....


Distance driven during this phase of outing.......583.6 km! And Lekha'd kept up her recital of the Ramayana all through, without any break!!


Sunday, August 7, 2016

A memorable call!

It was yet another leisurely day. We're ready well within time and raring to go. This morning's pleasant work for us was to call on an 85 yr old lady, who's Saly's mom. We'd heard about her travails from Jojy and Saly after her return from Dubai, where she was with her son and his family.

The roads were comparatively devoid of traffic and hence our journey was smooth, without any hitch whatsoever! To our pleasant surprise, we saw a very lively lady who was eager to interact with us and she was sure that Lekha was one of the young girls that had grown up in the vicinity of her daughter's house! She gave me one of those rare smiles when I'd told her that she was beautiful - and no ain't pulling a fast one, she's indeed cute and during her heydays must have been quite a head turner!

Her son, his wife and their daughter were in accompaniment and it was a pleasure meeting the entire family. We left the place after spending more than an hour but the persona of the old lady was impressionable! Do we have a cosmic connection?

        *                                          *                                          *

We'd picked up lunch enroute from a favourite haunt. Back at home, it was reminiscences about the good 'ole times......... The smiling visage of the old lady continued to linger all through the day.

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There's this story of a mother who's worried about her daughters, in their late 20s, for not having found suitable boys for them to be married to. The fact remains that these take place at the time and space that they're intended to happen. Any amount of worrying can be of no help but I suppose when these things happen for the others, with seemingly relative ease, the apprehensions tend to rise. As good friends the hope that things will finally end up favourably needs to be continuously bolstered!


It's another quiet day.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

With Jojy and Saly.

After a leisurely morning and interaction with everyone, we'd set off for Shenoy Care to buy the medicine that was not decipherable on the doctor's prescription slip. My cousin had uploaded it on What'sApp for a reliable chemist who, too, couldn't make it it out and hence, we'd to make a trip to the clinic! From there we'd made it for lunch at Jojy-Saly's place.

It's great being with them yet again. The evening's 'pot luck' gathering was a nice affair and it was great catching up with everyone. Vasudevan, our 'saarthi' of the Uber Taxi Service, was a nice guy who drove well, made interesting conversation had a tough time with the horrible evening traffic. He's a graduate doing a two year course on IT and he drives the car belonging to his friend - who's currently vacationing with his family in Spain - just for pleasure.

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It has been raining off and on out here. The movements were, therefore, restricted to avoid driving with what I like to call as 'wipers on' driving. Had called up my sister and mom to tell them about our changed programme thanks to Lekha's Monday morning appointment with the dentist. I will also be able to do some work for our Kollam outfit by virtue of being at Kochi.

            *                                  *                                   *

Lekha's cough continues unabated, having picked up in intensity since this morning. It's a continuing source of worry though the doctor brushed it aside as a minor allergic reaction. Hope the intake of the new medicine will make the difference. Incidentally, my bad throat has become all right. Phew!

            *                                   *                                   *

Got an opportunity, during the day, to explain to a small group of people about our ongoing e-literacy campaign. Many of them were keen to help us in our endeavour because they're sure that it was not only a noble cause but also contemporary. Their reactions did give me a nice feeling.


Catching up with the news is always tricky when one's on the move. From that viewpoint, I've been comparatively blank!

Friday, August 5, 2016

From my aunt's to chellakkili's.

The movie had finished by about a half past 2 and by the time we'd hit the sack, it was almost 3! The movie was nice; it was about the meeting of two who relate to each other as soulmates right from the first instance that they come in contact with each other. Mammootty and Huma Qureshi make a great pair and the countryside of London is seen at its scenic best. Perhaps, a bit more trimming down would have made the movie even better! (My little nephew, Vivek, had warned me at the outset when he was going to fetch the tickets with, "Uncle the movie is slow and it isn't attracting crowds", but his parents were pretty clear that his remark was because of the fact that he was an ardent Mohanlal fan!)

The house was agog with activity this morning at a half past 5. Sajeev had visited the nearby temple, along with his wife, gone about his final checks on the luggage that he was carrying and left by the Uber by 8 o'clock. Lekha and I'd made it a point to cushion the family's angst on account of the farewell - that was the least we could do in the circumstances!

We, too, left the house by about a half past 10 and drove straight to Lekha's doctor. We'd spent a total of an hour and a half at his clinic during which the results of her liver function test were carefully analysed and steps taken to roll back the reading that had exceeded the limits, albeit, marginally. The intake of Folitrax has been trimmed down by 5 mg and she's to revert back for the next review after two months and accordingly, the next visit has been fixed for 07 Oct. The dental surgeon, who was to see her tomorrow, was apologetic when he called up to say that her appointment was being shifted to Monday as he was taken up with a sudden change in his schedule and did she mind!

For us, it calls for another quick visit to Ernakulam at the start of the next week! Well, life can be full of unexpected changes and everything doesn't take a textbook ending, however, much one has done one's homework. One can gnash one's teeth in disgust but the wise thing would be to accept the situation as it turns out to be! I think I've become more flexible as days pass by!!

A quick visit to the canteen for groceries, sundry shopping at the 'Broadway' and we're at chellakkili's - my cousin - place before sunset. She did fetch up a bit late from her work but made up for it by sitting late into the evening with us, spinning yarn!


Ramakrishnan's mom @ 103 years seldom reacts these days. Touched her feet and saw her tired body that has emaciated further! But what is important is that Ramakrishnan is happy that his mom is with him!!    

Thursday, August 4, 2016

At Kochi.

Am punching these thoughts, sitting at the bright and colourful lounge of the PVR Cinema, at the Lulu Mall at Kochi, awaiting the commencement of the film that we're gonna see.

Had got up as usual and went about the morning chores. I wasn't fully in my beans as the cough has been taking its toll over the past few days - the latest form of viral fever this season. I knew that the long drive required for the present assignment is gonna delay the healing process but, then, there was no short cut!

It's raining in the morning as we got ready to leave Palakkad but by the time we'd kicked off soon after breakfast, the rains were holding and we'd a dry passage. There was an initial doubt as to which route we should take as I'd been hearing about traffic slowdowns on the Kuthiraan route because of the ongoing repair work on certain stretches, closer to Thrissur. I didn't want to take a chance and therefore, headed for Guruvayur to press on further on the comparatively narrow NH17. The other reason was that it gave me easy access to Leela chittamma's house without having to get into the crazy traffic of the Ernakulam town!

The drive was nice and we came across occasional rains and the one that lashed while we passed through the temple town of Kodungalloor was the harshest! We're at my chittamma's place a trifle late for lunch but it was fun, breaking bread with one's close relatives, after what seemed to be a long time; in fact the last time that we'd ganged up here was over two years back just before her son, Sajeev, was moving abroad on work.

He's doing well and is currently, on a two month leave that is finishing tomorrow. The family -consisting of his mom, mom-in-law, wife and two children - will get back to its normal routine from tomorrow.

We'd gone out, after dinner, for the Malayalam movie, "White", at the Lulu shopping mall, which is a stone's throw away from my chittamma's place. Well, the great thing was that we'd chittamma coming out of the house after years - thanks to her varicose problem and the knee difficulty.

.........A nice, leisurely day!


Was it right to have spent the evening with them? Did they wish to spend the evening with Sajeev on his penultimate day at home before he went for his assignment? I'd not checked on that aspect of 'intrusion' on my part.....the duffer, that I am!        

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Divine Intervention?

The Mridanga Saileswari Temple is an ancient place of worship in Kerala's northern district of Kannur and is situated atop a hillock. The belief among the faithfuls is that one gets whatever one wishes for by visiting the temple and praying there!

Someone had sent me a short audio clip where an ex-DGP had spoken about this temple on What'sApp. The facts that he's divulged, about the strength of the deity, sounds astounding but they were based on incidents that have taken place.

It starts from when he was posted quite a while back at Kannur, in the earlier days. When the worth of the deity was said to have been evaluated at Rs.1 crore, he'd insisted on setting up a tight security cordon around the temple which the local temple administration did not take very seriously. A few years later, the deity was stolen but the police got a note along with the stolen deity in a sack, roughly about a 100 kms, south of the temple, within a short span of time. The thieves had abandoned it, informed the police for an early retrieval and consequently, it was reinstalled back in the temple.

A few years later, the deity was stolen for a second time. It was again abandoned, this time, just about 25 km away and the thieves had left a note giving the exact spot where they'd abandoned it saying that the deity should be installed back at its rightful place. For a second time, the deity was reinstalled with a longish 'puja' ceremony that lasted for about a week.

A similar lost-and-found incident had taken place for the third time with the thieves repeating what their 'predecessors' had done and the deity restored at its original abode. The police were able to apprehend the three sets of thieves after a lapse of time and they're curious to know as to why their behavioural patterns, consequent to the theft, had been identical! The revelation astounded them and this is what had intrigued me too viz.:-

     (a) On moving away from the scene of crime, the thieves lose their sense of direction rendering
           them helpless and scared.
     (b) Their bowel movements get affected because the efficacy of the sphincter muscle is rendered
           useless in each of the culprits.

A case of divine intervention? Was this knowledge the reason for the temple administration's unenthusiastic response to the setting up of the security cordon?


We'd set off for Palakkad soon after lunch around a half past 1. The traffic on the road was sparse and we're at my sister's place before 4, just in time for tea. Rema, meanwhile, had gone to her coaching center!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Retrieving my Chevy.

After the usual morning chores, I was out of the house on my way to the service station to collect our Chevy. I'd clubbed a few more jobs and most importantly, handed over mom's prescription to the chemist that I frequent to have her monthly stock of medicines packed up and kept ready for collection by the time I returned.

The journey by the bus was okay but I got caught on the wrong seat with the sun falling directly on me throughout the easterly journey! The Chevy was ready as Manikandan had taken me to show it parked at the test bay. The battery had been changed, the tinkering and paint work that were carried out gave it a spanking new look. The on board computer had been corrected but the front bottom liner was to be set correctly and he'd immediately got a mechanic to do the needful.

Since we've to go to Kochi, for Lekha's medical review on the 5th and the 6th, a total of about 500 kms will be logged for the entire trip. The mandatory servicing after having run 60,000 kms will be carried out after the return........ The return journey was nice with sparse traffic and I'd picked up the medicines enroute.

     *                                   *                                       *

Earlier, before I was leaving from the auto rickshaw stand in the morning, one of the drivers, Ramesh, thrust a a speech written by him, to be read by his daughter on the occasion of the Independence Day. He wanted me to translate the Malayalam script into English, "Adding/slashing as you deem fit, sir", he'd said. Now, that's a darned serious stuff and great responsibility that he has thrust upon me!

The little girl is studying in a convent nearby and her school is conducting a competition on the occasion of the Independence Day. Every kid is being asked to read out something on the occasion and her dad has sought the help of yours truly! And that's that!!


The cough thanks to a viral attack has been persistent and harsh. Am on home made remedies.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The beginning of August.

Another August to begin with. The three of us - mom, Lekha and I - were looking forward to this day as Preetha, our maid, was coming back for work after a hiatus of over a month and her absence was felt by us, everyday, for the last so many days. What was nice to know was that she, too, missed coming here all these days!

The sky was overcast most of the day with rains pouring now and then. I could go out for my customary walk in the evening despite the fact that my throat was not all right with the threat of a deadly cough looming large. The results of the lab tests on Lekha were brought in by a half past 10, this morning and we're now ready for her review on the 5th at Kochi.

Our Chevy, at the service station, was ready by 1700 hrs but I decided to collect it tomorrow as I felt lethargic. There was no hurry.

    *                                      *                                           *

The gang rape off Bulandshahr has been getting prime time space on the television channels. What saddens me is that those ladies have gone through the ignominy and are being subjected to further mental torture by a few including the obnoxious, Azam Khan, who finds a conspiracy against his party through the incident. Doesn't this guy have a family of his own? What would he have felt if someone were to say the same thing if, god forbid, a similar incident had befallen on someone from his family? Just because he's from a minority community, doesn't mean that he has the licence to utter gibberish. Will this guy ever grow?

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Hafiz Saeed has gone one step further after his latest India bashing, near the Wagah Border, by saying that his terrorist outfit is gonna agitate in Pakistan if our Home Minister, visited Pakistan on 03 - 04 Aug in connection with the SAARC summit. Well, it's up to the Pakistani government to tackle this issue but what amazes me is that Nawaz Sharif, despite our Prime Minister's personal visit - a few months back - to a function at his house, despite our security agencies' misgivings, has not been able to reciprocate the goodwill. Is it because he's afraid of his defence forces? Any meaningful debate that he might like to initiate with India will be misconstrued as weakness in his country which will find reason for another military take over?

Pakistan, in the doldrums on all fronts, has not been able to get off its India-centric foreign policy which is orchestrated by its armed forces. But why are we giving too much of our time discussing Pakistan? Why can't we just blank out that country from our psyche?


I can foresee a lot of travel during the month. Hope the rains are completely over by then!