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?  

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