Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The vigilantes strike again.

Last week the activists of a Rajput organisation, Karni Sena, entered the Jaigarh Fort and had assaulted Hindi film director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, slapped him and tore his shirt. They damaged camera and other equipment. He was shooting his magnum opus, 'Padmavati'.

The miscreants manhandled the crew and criticised the director for "distorting history in the film", which is reportedly about the medieval era Delhi ruler Alauddin Khilji who fell in love with the Rajput queen.

The film stars Shahid Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone who play the lead roles along with a large star cast.

My take.

This is just not on. Nothing has been heard from the Rajasthan government on the issue so far. Why are these hooligans trampling upon the creative freedom of an artiste? They need to be brought to book forthwith.

    *                                  *                                    *

Trump's Actions.

US President Donald Trump has initiated the following actions:-

       * Banning citizens of seven Muslim majority nations from America.
       * Overhauling of H-1B and L1 work visas which will restrict the entry of foreign immigrants
          who visit America in search of jobs.
       * A legislation that calls for more than doubling the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to
          $130,000 making it difficult for firms to replace American employees with foreign workers,
          has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

My take.

He has given his backing to these orders with a clear view of supporting the American people, who he feels, have been stymied by the easy visa regimes provided for the immigrants and have lost out over a period of time. It was these very same proposals that gave him his victory during the presidential elections and with these actions, he must have struck a favourable chord with his domestic constituency! It's also his way of acting against terrorism as the rhetoric about the majority of Muslims being good, doesn't rub off on him because if they really are, why aren't they condemning those who've embraced terrorism, in no uncertain terms?

But the question is, "Can he isolate his country and still have the US to continue to be the global superpower?"


A quiet day otherwise.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The day after.

By 2030 hrs yesterday, 'The Quarterdeck' was left with Ramadasan kochachhan-Sarojini chittamma, Sanil, Mini, Ammu and Anjali along with us after we'd seen off our guests from Thiruvananthapuram, by the evening train. This morning, Sanil and I'd gone to the railway station to see off the elderly couple by the 6 o'clock passenger, as they were on their way to Chengannoor. That they reached their destination almost four hours late, thanks to the halts enroute because of the track doubling activities, was a bitter truth.

Sanil, Mini, Ammu and Anjali had left, for Bangalore in their car, half an hour later and reached their destination by about 8, in the evening. They'd stopped on their way at the 'Poonthaanam Illam' from where it's believed that Guruvayoorappan had presented himself to take his ardent devotee to heaven in his human form. The house of Poonthanam Namboodiri, an exponent of the Krishna cult of the Bhakthi movement, known for his work, Jnanappana(Song of knowledge) is situated at Kizhattoor at Perinthalmanna in the district of Malappuram!

Life was back to normal after the frenetic activity of the last four days. Everything related to the engagement ceremony had gone off without any hitch and there was no panic either, during the course of the execution. The house had reverted to being quiet with Preetha going about efficiently doing her work and the poor girl had a lot of muck to clean! The frequent gusts of wind blow in a lot of fine particles of dust through the open yet mosquito-proofed windows!!

The walk in the evening was fine and it was good to unwind after the break of a couple of days. The heat has suddenly picked up and the use of the air conditioner has become a necessity and mind you, it's just the end of the month of January! Saw this evening's episode of the 'Crime Patrol' - the reasons that force people to commit murders are crazy, to say the least!! The sheer inability to lead a normal life subsequent to a crime, somehow, gets lost or forgotten in the heat of the moment!!! I suppose, the jail term is a great leveler and I must concede my grudging appreciation of our police force. The way they go about building up the case diary, once the FIR is filed, to the final cracking of the case involves stupendous work and an eye for detail.


(a) The student unrest in the Law Academy in Thiruvananthapuram continue without any let up. It's the 20th day of their agitation.
(b) Today is the martyrdom day of Mahatma Gandhi. My humble prayers for the great soul.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The engagement ceremony.

Indira kunjamma, Pappi kunjamma, Gopu, Sanil and I were chatting away at the control room as the guests continued to trickle in. The late night arrivals were pleasantly surprised to see us awake to receive them while we're having a rocking time recounting old get togethers of the family, while remembering our elders who weren't amid us any more.

The two ladies had secured by a half past 1 and we, guys, went on for another one and a half hours before hitting the sack. I woke up three hours later and ensured the distribution of the 'bed coffee' to all the guests - though quite a few of them were already having their tete-e-tete with Guruvayoorappan! This serial had to be ensured as the spanking new hotel was yet to have its own embedded restaurant which was, incidentally, in the making and would be commissioned only in March, this year.

Once that serial was over, Sanil and I'd made a quick get away to 'The Quarterdeck' for our wash and change while my sisters had taken over the duties from us. Lekha was at 'The Quarterdeck' taking care of Ammu's dressing up by Seena, the beautician and the subsequent photography session by Unnikrishnan. We're back by breakfast time to oversee the serial.....a few of the guests were back for another 'darshan' of their favourite God.

The ceremony had begun promptly at 1130 hrs but not before they sent me on a hunt for twine/thread to 'bind' the horoscopes of Midhun and Ammu prior to being handed over to the would-be-bridegroom's father. As per custom, it's only during this time that the girl sits down to the right of the boy. It was, then, that the intentions were announced by our Nair Service Society's president, Sasi, after asking the guests assembled as to whether anyone had any objection to this 'coming together' of Midhun and Ammu. Since there were none, rings were exchanged between the boy and the girl after the bound horoscopes were handed over by the girl's father to the boy's father. They're officially engaged and it was announced that they'd get wedded on 21 May '17 at the Thrikkonnamarkodu temple's auditorium at Thalavoor, our village.

The lunch was simple though traditional and the guests were off on their return trips, soon after. There was a comical situation when a couple had wrongly joined us for lunch as they're actually the guests of a nearby wedding. Our caterers were hesitant to serve but I told them to accommodate them too because a guest must never go hungry, on being denied food!

The hotel rooms were handed over at 1500 hrs and the entire expenditure was cleared with two cheques of my account.


My close relations had conglomerated, thereafter, at my house and were seen off by the train bound for Madras Egmore via Thiruvananthapuram at 2120 hrs. The crowd will be disembarking at their destination at the unearthly hour of 0330 hrs!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The audience start filling up the gallery.

Sreejith, his wife, Sruthi and their one year old son had knocked on our doorbell by a quarter past 6. Earlier, I'd given the directions to the auto rickshaw driver as to how they could get here. The three of them had a bad bout of cold and li'l Sreeyansh was consequently, cranky.By 8, Sanil and me were off to the Thrissur railway station to pick up Ramadasan kochachhan and Sarojini chittamma who were arriving by the Mangala express, from Nasik.

The train was half an hour behind schedule but weren't they glad to see us? The return drive was comfortable as the Saturday traffic was yet to pick up. We chatted on till lunchtime and around 1430 hrs had shifted into the hotel to standby to receive the guests. Ramadasan kochachhan and his family were the first to be given the room as per the reservation.

Trains were running late and hence the arrival schedules of the guests were also affected. But by suppertime, about fifty percent of the expected lot had arrived - the room keys were handed over and dinner provided. The idea was to not keep anyone waiting for want of my personal attention.

Midhun, the boy, had arrived by teatime and his folks - consisting of 22 - had fetched up in a tempo traveller by sunset. The sequence was to hand over the room keys, give them adequate time for a wash and change, then off to a quick temple 'darshan' so as to be in time for dinner! It worked out perfectly and therefore, the cooks and the serving boys were not harried in any which way.

I'd established my 'control room' in Room 101, at the ground floor, so that anyone could get in touch with me in case any assistance was required or to meet any contingencies. My cousin, Gopu and Sanil were with me throughout at this 'station'. My sisters, Padmakumar and Achu were sent back to 'The Quarterdeck' along with Lekha and the girls after around 2230 hrs.


Sanil's folks from Ayoor and some more of my folks from Thiruvananthapuram came in shortly after midnight. Two of my aunts had also joined us for the interaction.  

Friday, January 27, 2017

Filling up the details.

The day had begun on a quiet note, went through the usual chores and was off for my morning walk. With Rema and Mini having come in, there was boisterousness in the air and a lot of yakkitiyak!

The two of them had gone to the temple while Sanil and the girls spent a quiet morning at home. An hour after lunch, we'd gone off to Radhan chettan's house. I'd not seen him since he came out of the hospital and it was a must that Ammu took his blessings on the occasion. He was, after all, the closest relation that we have out here. There was a procession of three elephants, pageants and festivities enroute to his house on account of the annual festivities of a nearby temple and hence, our movement was disrupted for over a quarter of an hour before we could reach the house, which is on a rocky hillock.

Radhan chettan looked better, his foot is still in bandage with the medical assistant dropping by, everyday, for renewing the dressing. He was quite thrilled to see us and Sathi chechi was quick to give us tea. He blessed my niece and I'd quietly slipped Rs.10 grand into his hand, as I knew that they're badly in need of money for his ongoing treatment and because of the ongoing erratic pension disbursal of the state road transport corporation! We'd gone in Sanil's car and I'd a bit of a problem while taking off for our return because a loose pile of rubble had given way as the car was trying to gather headway.

We're back home for another round of tea and I was glad that I'd gone through with the visit as Maheshwari peramma - at Bangalore - was monitoring everything that was going on around here. And I was particular that nothing wrong should happen towards the run up to the event and anything that was to be righted was to be done without hesitation.

While I'd gone for my evening walk, Lekha, my sisters and the children had gone to the temple. It was comparatively an early evening as tomorrow was gonna be hectic as the first lot of guests were to arrive by the morning train, that fetched up at Guruvayur @ 0600 hrs.


I'd rung up Unnikrishnan, the photographer, and cancelled the video coverage of the ceremony based on the advice of my close relations including Ammu!  


Thursday, January 26, 2017

The run up to Ammu's engagement ceremony.

I'd got up on the dot at a quarter past 5 to the alarm but felt sluggish and turned back into bed, skipping the morning walk only to feel guilty subsequently. I'd hoisted the national flag atop a pole in our balcony. Rema and Padmakumar had reached by a half past 10 and immediately after, we'd sat down to do the following:-

        * Ascertain the exact number of guests.
        * Familiarise with their arrivals and departures.
        * Distribute them among the rooms booked in the hotel.

Armed with the information, the three of us had gone to the hotel where its owner and the caterer/decorating team were available for the meeting. I wanted Padmakumar to familiarise himself with the arrangements and pick holes so as to arrive at the right decisions. And after discussions, the decisions were finalised viz.:-

         * The room allocation.
         * The arrival/departure of the guests.
         * Reception of parties arriving at varying times and catering for differing strengths, like:-
            - evening tea/snacks on the 28th.
            - supper on the 28th and
            - bed tea on the 29th.
         * Breakfast on the 29th for 90% of the guests.
         * The feast on the occasion of the ceremony with provision to serve to those who were
            departing the earliest.

The decoration - only with flowers - of the podium, where the betrothal ceremony was gonna take place, was discussed and they've assured us that it would be ready for viewing at 0830 hrs on 29 Jan. The 'muhurtham' was between 1100 - 1200 hrs!

Meanwhile, Sanil, Mini, Ammu and her cousin had commenced their journey to Guruvayur, at 1000 hrs, from Bangalore.

Padmakumar left after tea by the road transport corporation's elegant low floor bus as he had desired. Sanil and gang arrived, much later, at about a half past 8. And then, it was a boisterous evening!


1. Finally, felt at ease at having put in place the mechanism that would see the event pass off without any glitch! Phew!!
2. Saw the 68th Republic day celebrations on the Rajpath at New Delhi on the television. It was elegant, as usual! The national flag was hauled down at sunset.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The civilians will never understand.......

The people in the civvy street will never understand the importance of the medals and awards that are presented to the uniformed personnel during occasions like the Republic day, the Independence day and the respective service's Raising day celebrations.

Now see the mess created insofar as the medals of the state's police force is concerned. On this Republic day, the state's police force will not get the Indian President's medals, honours and awards. The requisite information that was supposed to reach the home ministry of the central government was not sent on time and a blame game has already started on the political turf! Rather than pinpointing the problem area and take action against the defaulter, they've converted it to a political slugfest.......the actual offender quietly gets off, unscathed! A sad, recurring state of affairs in this country!!

Let's see the sequence of events that led to the monumental fiasco:-

     * Sep '16      The union home ministry asked the state government to send the list of police
                          personnel. The list is to be accompanied with the personnel's service records
                          and the annual confidential reports were to be sent. The names have to be cleared
                          by the state's IB and the CBI units.
     * Dec '16      The state's home ministry says that they'd uploaded the list on 30 Dec.
     * Jan '17       Reminder from the union home ministry sent on 03 Jan.

 Note. The net result is that the opportunity has been lost forever for the concerned police officers
           as there is no such provision for reconsidering the list on the eve of the Independence day.
           "Some of the officials would retire from service in the meantime". Sad!

And the real reason for this fiasco is that it is due to the ongoing tiff between the top IAS and IPS officers of the state!


Three of the guests have called themselves off from attending Ammu's betrothal ceremony because the train between Guruvayur and Punalur have been cancelled temporarily. Sad!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A few thoughts that come by.

I'm going by the news that are much discussed as of now and hence, this is again gonna be an analysis:-

 1. Has Akhilesh lost out in the beginning itself?

     The UP election field has now cleared out with three major outfits against each other viz. the
     Samajwadi party-Congress alliance vs the BSP vs. the BJP. Akhilesh has put his father out of
     the reckoning by wresting the party chief's post and the election commission has endorsed him
     by giving him the cycle as his election symbol.

     In this country, till not very long ago, children who fought with their parents were unacceptable.
     Has the electorate, especially the vote bank of the Samajwadi party, taken the dumping of 
     Mulayam Singh kindly? Akhilesh seems to be banking on his governance, but frankly what are
     his achievements? He had played the status quo game whenever there was a requirement of a
     firm decision and didn't take advantage of the youthful outlook that should have come naturally
     to him. Therefore, his performance in the elections is gonna be a big question mark! Or has
     disrespecting one's parents become one-of-those-normal things these days?  

  2. Shah Rukh Khan's train jamboree.

      Shah Rukh Khan and the 'Raees' team had travelled in the August Kranti Express from Bombay
      to Delhi to promote his new film. All along, especially at important stations enroute where the
      train had stoppages, there were unprecedented crowds who wanted to have a glimpse of the actor
      resulting in stampedes, the consequent lathi charge by the police to prevent the people from
      getting closer to the running train resulting in the unfortunate death of an individual at the
      Vadodhara station.

      Was it required at all? Since when has the promotion of a film been thrust on a public utility
      service like the railways? If we accept this as the latest trend, then:-

           (a) Why didn't the railways and the organisers anticipate the crowds? It doesn't require
                 rocket science to understand that film stars hunger for crowds.
           (b) Why weren't the railway protection force deployed in adequate numbers to tackle
                 unprecedented situations?
           (c) Raees is being targeted for a pan India release later this week. So why should Shah
                 Rukh Khan restrict his promotion only on the Bombay-Delhi route? Was he banking on
                 the media coverage of the tamasha to work as the promos in the other parts of the 

  3. The snowballing women agitations against US President Trump.

       I have been baffled with this phenomenon. I mean, what are the unprecedented crowds
       agitating for? Don't they want him as their President because of his earlier statements made
       against women and thereby, his obnoxious behaviour? But why don't they realise that he has
       been elected by a majority who sees in him an able leader who'd look after their interests
       notwithstanding the popular votes that he'd polled less. Perhaps, he's a changed man and so,
       give him a chance!

       It would be better on your part to allow the President to carry out the tasks that are to be 
       done. You can take him to task if he doesn't fulfill the promises that he'd given during the
       elections. If you don't let him rule, you're going against the many who'd voted for him! And
       anyways, you can change him after four years if you still don't like him!!  


Four more days to go for Ammu's betrothal ceremony. Things are slowly getting tied up as additional guests have announced their arrival.


Monday, January 23, 2017


This afternoon, soon after we'd finished lunch, Kumar had come along with his push cart, for pressing the clothes. On enquiry as to whether he'd had his food he'd replied in the negative as the eatery nearby, where he frequents, was shut down because of the procession and connected cultural bonanza of the Thaamarayoor devi temple's festivities. He'd visited our house last Saturday but seeing it locked, as we're away, he made it a point to come by as he was aware of the backlog! Damn sweet of him!!

He'd commenced his work after having the lunch provided by Lekha. As he was finishing his work, an elderly gentleman had pressed the doorbell. It was George, all of 78 years, who'd come to collect our subscriptions for the immensely popular fortnightly newspaper called the 'Guruvayur Vaartha'. Actually my friend, Narayanan has already hooked us on to its readership net by paying the initial subscription! What struck me most about George were the following:-

      (a) He's a simple man who has no greed about making money.
      (b) Otherwise how does a man get reduced to such state of 'wealthlessness' after having been
            a councilor of a municipality?
      (c) He has three daughters who're all married away at the right time but he has disowned them
           because they've been of no help to him and his wife, in their state of poverty. He added that
           it would have been better had they not had any children emphasising the fact that he and his
           wife had gone through some bitter experiences, thanks to them. He was, however, sad that his
           youngest daughter wasn't doing that well and had incurred debts.
     (d) Taking his pitiable state into consideration, the NGO has given him work with a meagre pay.
           With this income, coupled with a pension, which he expects to get shortly, he hopes that they
           could live their lives without much difficulty.
     (e) He seems to have accepted his present state with grace, though at times he's subjected to
           taunts by people. In fact, when I'd called him in to the house, he was a bit hesitant and
           wondered as to whether he'd heard my invite right!

His ruminations were over a cup of tea and that, too, on my prodding.

My take.

Why do children forget their parents and their contribution towards their growth? Can they ever hope to lead a normal life when, deep within, the guilt of abandoning their parents would be gnawing away? Yes, elderly people might have their infirmities, require assistance in carrying out their normal chores but it's the children's duty to take care of all that and instill a feeling of security in them......and it's not a hard thing at all!


1. The frailty of human life is something that one can never predict!
2. Lekha had gone to the Mammiyoor Sivakshetram this morning for the 'Mrityunjaya homam' that was conducted for me.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

News analysis.

Going through three news bytes that might have far reaching ramifications:-

 1. The Sport of Jallikkettu.

      The Supreme Court had banned the conduct of this sport - popular in Tamilnadu and played in
      the aftermath of the 'Pongal' festival. Through the sport, the best of the bulls are displayed to the
      farmers for mating their cows and it has been followed as a tradition. At times, it must be said
      that the bulls are made to go through inhuman behaviour and it's such unacceptable ill treatment
      that had forced the animal lovers - through PETA - to take up the issue with the highest court of
      the land seeking a total ban and indeed get it!

      However, the students all over the state, have initiated peaceful demonstrations everywhere,,
      beginning with the Marina Beach in Madras over the last few days, resulting in the central
      government permitting the state government to go ahead with the sport, through an ordinance.
      Consequently, the sport was held all over the state during the weekend but the protesting students
      are, now, demanding a legislation in Parliament to clear future impediments in the conduct of
      the sport!

      People power must be exercised when wrong things are carried out by those in power. And it's
      also the responsibility of the citizens to go to the courts for redressal of their grievances that are
      just and genuine.

 2. The Rising Frequency of Train Accidents.

     It's a known fact that successive governments had only paid lip service to the 'safety' aspects of
     the railways. Come budget time, all the railway ministers have launched populist schemes
     beginning with a slew of trains to/through  their parliamentary constituencies giving scant regard
     to the safety factor. The attitude was that the safety of the lakhs of people travelling by trains be

     So, there exists the problems of old tracks needing renewal, replacement of old coaches that
     carry passengers, even old wagons that ferry goods and the traffic and signalling systems that
     are crying for modernisation. And, as if this wasn't enough, the angle of sabotage by Pakistani
     elements has become a reality. The havoc that it can cause is much more than border skirmishes
     because the retaliatory action by the armed forces would have been swift and relentless. How do
     we avenge the death of innocent civilians in addition to the destruction of valuable railway stock?

 3. Increasing cases of Student Activism.

     Of late, Kerala is witness to rising student activism. That this state has always been politically
     charged notwithstanding, the activism has shown a trend that no discussions are welcome. Let's
     take the two cases that had happened/is continuing to happen:-

          (a) The Maharajah's College, Kochi.

                The Principal had taken action to remove the graffiti on the walls, within the campus and
                initiated disciplinary action on the students behind the childish act. Consequently, the
                students of the SFI group had burnt down the chair of the principal! It was an act of
                vandalism that should not be tolerated and rightfully, the entire faculty - irrespective of
                their political affiliations - had carried out a protest march in support of the Principal. The
                three responsible have been suspended by the SFI from the organisation. Wonder what
                punishment will the college give?

         (b) The Law Academy, Thiruvananthapuram.

               The student unions have been striking their classes for the last ten days demanding the
               resignation of its Principal, alleging favouritism and high handedness in the following:-

                      (i) Internal Assessment and
                     (ii) Marking of attendance.

        That both the Principals are women is another factor. It's a matter of concern that women
        are intimidated in this manner when the gentlemanly alternative of discussions, to arrive at a
        solution, is available.


The temperatures are rising steadily and I wonder what it would be as we pass through the summer months. With the north east monsoon being scanty, the state is staring at a severe drought condition!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Back at Guruvayur.

Benoy was returning to his house when an oncoming car's headlights on hi beam had momentarily blinded him resulting in the crash between the two vehicles and the car's driver - the vermin that he is - had sped off leaving the poor guy bleeding and howling with pain. He was picked by the local people and sped off to the Medical College hospital at Thiruvananthapuram. Seeing the injuries, he was shifted into the nearby KIMS hospital for immediate surgery and the doctor will inform about the further course of action after three days. Meanwhile, he is being observed in the ICU.

The director had come home for the discussions and even brought our lunch from his house. After mulling over each issue and remedial measures constituted, we'd a quick lunch and after shutting down Raj Nivas, I'd handed over the keys to the caretaker. Certain structural changes to the caretaker's son's factory have been suggested by Sasi, my director. It has become crystal clear that certain 'short cuts' have been taken by the caretaker and his family, taking advantage of our decency. The roof of the entire complex slanting into the Raj Nivas, as pointed out today, was actually directing all the waters into our plot which is in utter disregard to the existing norms! Earlier, it was my aunt - she'd worked at the municipality/corporation levels in her professional capacity - who had pointed out the unusually high decibel levels of the running machinery and before setting it up they're supposed to have taken our consent. They seem to have circumvented this important requirement and if affirmative, it's definitely a breach of trust! I looked at him and he looked away and the gratitude that I'd felt for what he and his family had done for me, for the past couple of days, seemed to dissipate. Since I was leaving, I remained silent without asking him any embarrassing questions but he has agreed to correct the anomalies forthwith.

Enroute, I'd handed over the letter and documents to my mom's bank for closure and settlement of her pension account.

I couldn't look up Benoy because of the short time at my disposal and had asked my director to do so, soon after the board meeting was over. The meeting was more or less a formality to review our activities and to prepare our course of action for the next half year. Therefore, I'd the director drop me at the Kollam railway station and since there was almost four hours to while away, I'd checked into one of the retiring rooms on the first floor of the station. I'd to pay @ Rs.420/-, which is a day's charges, whatever be the duration of occupation! The room is in need of maintenance.

The train was about 15 minutes late at Kollam but it had made up for lost time by the time it reached Guruvayur.


Another short trip in which a few things - that I'd set out to do - have been accomplished. Earlier, Lekha had reached 'The Quarterdeck', from Palakkad, around a half past 10 in the daytime and her assistant was at the bus stop to receive her.

Friday, January 20, 2017

A quiet day.

I'd the whole day to myself except for meeting people who'd dropped by though, I must admit not to the scale when mom was present. Though I've inititated steps to have the Raj Nivas to be restored, it's gonna take time and money. It cannot be done before Ammu's wedding and hence, had called Unni who has a few housing projects under his belt. I'd made my wish list and as we progressed on the discussions, Unni had explained to me as to why I should restrict to the overall painting of the house and making good the small plumbing and electrical defects. The  whole process would require a week and I will be coming to supervise the work during next month or latest by early March.

My caretaker had dropped by and he'd a lot to talk about. He's my idea of a wholesome farmer who does all his work by himself, employing specialist labour when required. He taps his rubber trees along with a help, converts them to sheets, have them dried for their ultimate disposal. He also collects coconuts from far and wide, to have them processed in their new coconut dispensing unit. Adding to this is his literary creations, both, stories and poems.He narrated a story of his for my benefit and it certainly was a good effort. His ultimate aim is to make a film on a story of his and wants me to use my 'contacts' to get a good director to direct the motion picture!.

My cousin had met me as promised and she told me her story. The poor lady has developed a persecution complex and feels that everyone is mocking at her for her pitiable plight. She has severed her relationship with her son for his 'unacceptable deed'. I could only tell her to refrain from taking harsh decisions because it's evident that they're hurting her. Her life is drifting with no aim and she's leading a lonely life. She was the smartest of the three sisters, all elder to me and her younger brother who's turned a recluse owing to years of drinking and drug abuse. He was a very intelligent youg man and I'd helped his son to join the IAF, two years back. They're, incidentally, the children of Kamalamma Appachi, one of the two who're senior to dad.


1. Tomorrow is gonna be a long day. The writing and submission of documents to mom's bank, the meeting, visits to a few of our training centers and the departure at 1838 hrs, as confirmed by Paulson this evening.

2. As I finish this, I get a call from Thiruvananthapuram that my driver, Benoy has met with an accident and is admitted at the KIMS hospital, awaiting an emergency surgery on his right leg. How will he fund his hospital expenses. I've told my director to visit him and give me a feedback. I should be able to look him up sometime next week.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The resurvey.

Was up with lark, lit the lamp at the puja room, opened up the house when the caretaker had brought the morning cuppa. The instrumental of the 'Gayatri Mantra' was playing in the background and it was soothing. I'd then gone to the spot where my parents were resting and briefed them about my trip. I was ready soon after and was on time for the delicious breakfast of 'puttum kadalayum' and bananas, that were from Guruvayur, making the combination complete!

As per the caretaker's advice, I'd gone across to the library with our land documents only to realise that the group that was there wasn't handling our case. Eventually, the particular group had come by and I couldn't resist telling the leader - a young lady with two guys as assistants - "Good Morning young lady, so you were the one who had refused to give me your name when we spoke last, over the telephone". She seemed to be momentarily uncomfortable - though I must hasten to add that that was never my intention - blurted out her name as Smita adding that she was going to tell her name but I'd cut the phone by then and smiled. She was beautiful and had a dazzling smile! You might ask me as to what that had to do with the resurvey. A valid one, I agree and shall move on to the actual survey which took not more than a half hour and they corrected their records on the basis of our inputs.

They took permission to have their packed lunches on our dining table and even took liberty to partake the curries brought for my lunch. Smita's sister, Priyadarshini, a graduate-in-the-making saw my grandfather's photograph on the mantelpiece and invited the attention of the others who, now, wanted to know our relationship. They parted as friends and took down my phone number.

Earlier at the library, I'd come across my cousin who'd been showing erratic behaviour ever since her son had married an elderly lady with two children and her daughter hadn't found a suitable boy as yet. Her husband could not stand the shock and succumbed to massive cardiac arrest soon after. She had become a recluse and refused to mingle with anyone. A relative got into trouble when he tried to strike a conversation with her while she was awaiting a bus, at the stop. She did offer condolences on mom's passing away and has said that she'd meet me tomorrow. Wonder what hell she's going through.


The purpose of my visit has been accomplished. Tomorrow is gonna be a 'flat' day as we used to say when there were no outdoors!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

At Raj Nivas.

After the usual Wednesday morning chores, it was packing time for my journey to Kottarakkara. Was ready about a half an hour before time, called up Ashraf for his rick and was at the bus stand 15 minutes before departure. Ansar, the conductor, was a friendly fellow and Anil, the driver, was damn good. The route to Vyttila was via Kodungalloor and Anil drove through the narrow stretches with an aplomb. I was also the lone passenger till Vyttila and was the only guy from the start to the finish.

We reached Kollam at 1900 hrs as Anil had promised me. No sooner had I thanked them and reached the bus bay, there was a fast passenger to Kottarakkara that I could board. By the time the bus reached its destination after traversing 30 kms, I'd missed the last private bus of 2005 hrs that would have dropped me at my doorstep. My caretaker had anticipated this and sent his son to pick me up, damn sweet of him.

The gleaming Bullet incited old passions amd with the youngster's permission, I drove the remaining 9 kms. I was driving a two wheeler after a long, long time and it was simply super. I reached Raj Nivas a trifle after 2030 hrs and the caretaker was present with his trademark grin. After a quick exchange of thoughts and after I'd seen him off I'd Lekha's packed dinner and sat down to a bit of reading.


Felt immensely at peace to be back at Raj Nivas where my parents, I believe, are always there. They will look after me during my short stay and my caretaker has promised to take care of my food.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Plans changed.

Yesterday by teatime, BR Vijayakumar, my classmate from school and Anitha had fetched up from Thiruvananthapuram. They'd an evening 'darshan' at the temple and on return, Vijay had regaled us with the old time melodies late into the night - he was the nightingale of our class! They left this morning to pray at the Mammiyoor Sivakshetram, proceed to the Kaadaampuzha devi temple about 80 km north from here to finally, settle down at another classmate, AN Ramesh's place, at Kochi for the evening.

We're supposed to leave for Palakkad after lunchtime, the day after tomorrow to pick up my sister and head towards 'Raj Nivas' on the 20th. I'd to attend the committee meeting of the JSS, Kollam on the 21st and would have returned to 'The Quarterdeck' by Sunday. There was also the need to tie up with Santosh, the engineer, regarding the sprucing up of the Raj Nivas, before Ammu's impending wedding at the Thrikkonnamarkodu temple, in May.

By evening, I'd got a call from the land revenue office at Punalur, saying that their reps would be doing the re-survey of the land around Raj Nivas on the 19th. (Last October, we'd registered a mismatch in what they'd recorded earlier against the actual holdings and they'd promised to do a resurvey within the quarter). My presence, along with the concerned land records was necessary, upsetting the plans made earlier. I'd initially asked my caretaker to tackle the issue but realised that that wouldn't solve the problem. Meanwhile, my sister from Palakkad was insisting upon my move to Kottarakkara, at the earliest, to ensure my presence at the time of the survey, which initially irritated me no end, I must confess!

Finally it was decided that I'd go by tomorrow afternoon by the road transport corporation's low floor bus to Kollam, at 1230 hrs. Lekha will have to be all by herself for the next two days, of course with her assistant giving her company by day. Not a very comfortable situation but I suppose there's no choice!


Battleground Uttar Pradesh is slowly getting ready to witness a three cornered contest in the coming Assembly polls between the BJP, the BSP and the combination of the Samajwadi party-Congress combine. The opposition has conceded that Modi is a formidable opponent and therefore, they'd combine together, despite serious differences, to form a 'mahagathbandhan' as they'd done in Bihar! The games these people play for power! Ugh!!

Monday, January 16, 2017

C Chandramathykutty Amma weds K Kuttappan Nair.

Today's the 63rd wedding anniversary of my parents. This morning, I'd headed for the temple to have yet another view of the temple mast and the surrounding area, because it was there that the most important people who matter to me in this life of mine had conglomerated 63 years back, this date, to conduct the wedding of my parents.

My dad was all of 28 yrs and my mom, 18 at the time of their wedding. Mom used to say that, those days, it was people who weren't well off financially, who conducted their children's marriages in temples while the affluent would erect 'pandals' within their compounds and conduct them. Her dad being a primary school teacher and busy in giving an impetus to the Kerala Library movement - his pet idea to make the people of Kerala 'read and grow' - was managing his daughter's wedding with his meagre resources and for him the ideal venue for the wedding of his dearest daughter was the abode of his favourite god, Guruvayurappan! The late Mannathu Padmanabhan was quite impressed with PN Panicker's decision and he'd gifted mom Rs.101/-, a princely amount those days, at the time of the wedding! Similarly, it was the gifts in the form of gold ornaments by my grandparents' close friends that gave an impressive fillip to my mom's collection!!

Paravoor TK Narayana Pillai, the first chief minister of Travancore-Cochin, Vaayanasaala Kesava Pillai, mom's immediate neighbour, who used to be widely known as 'Geethayude amma'(Mom used to fondly call her 'Uthaani'), Kunnicode Sukumaran Nair(A political leader, who'd accompanied my dad's folks) were a few of the guests along with close relatives, who'd attended the wedding. When we'd recreated their wedding day on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of their wedding in '04, by starting from Thiruvananthapuram/Thalavoor to Guruvayur and back, the only surviving guest of that wedding was Geethayude amma, who was woefully bedridden and not in a fit condition to travel. Towards the run up to the celebration, I'd visited her and she'd promised to join us in the merry making, but alas...........

And last year, mom had recounted her wedding at my insistence - all over again - because I liked the glow, coupled with a smile on her face, as she narrated it wistfully!

Certain highlights of the wedding!

    * The wedding had taken place about a month after both of them had officially met at mom's
       house 'TC 804', at Thycaud, near the main gate of Model School in Thiruvananthapuram. 
    * Dad had just four days of leave left after the marriage and had to join back on his ship!
    * Mom resumed her studies at the College for Women at Vazhuthacaud.
    * Those days invitations were handwritten but on mom's insistence, her dad had printed a few


We used to celebrate this day, religiously, every year and mom and dad looked forward to the cutting of the cake, the small gifts and the accompanying card. The last occasion that they'd celebrated it, together, was on 16 Jan '11!

I miss them.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Megha weds Srikanth.

We'd asked Ashraf to drop us in his auto rickshaw because driving my Chevy through the maze of traffic would have made me mad and finding a parking slot, close to the auditorium, could be time consuming. The returning traffic of vehicles, stacked with the Sabarimala pilgrims, was overwhelming and the roads were bursting at their seams!

Lekha and I'd fetched up at the Poonthaanam Auditorium, on the dot at a half past 10, in our Sunday bests. After the wedding was over by a quarter to 12, we'd joined up the long queue to felicitate Megha and Srikanth. As we waited for our turn, we'd the privilege of meeting up with Srikanth's parents and they're delighted to hear that we'd seen her from childhood.

.....And then, our turn came. It was a poignant moment, while I introduced ourselves to Srikanth as 'Megha's Rajeev uncle and Lekha aunty', Megha was quick to introduce us to him as, 'my parents'. She, then, touched our feet - a privilege that only we're privy to - among the huge gathering of friends and relatives that had assembled there at that time - I'm sure that many of them must have wondered about our special relationship with the young lady and a few of them must have, even felt envious! It was a touching moment and I realised that I'd given so little for this rare honour! Before parting I just said this to Srikanth, "Do take good care of our little girl" and he'd responded affirmatively.

There was a lump in my throat as though I was giving away my own and for the rest of the day, that feeling had prevailed. Here's wishing you the very best and all that you wish for, Megha, you shall always be in our thoughts and prayers! And here's wishing you both a long, happy and contended married life! May god be with you, always and every time!!

We'd then walked into the nearby, Gopika Regency to tie up the minute details of arrangements in connection with my niece, Ammu's betrothal ceremony on 29 Jan. While taking decisions on behalf of her parents I ask myself the simple question, "What would you've opted for, if it were to be for your daughter?" The answer was crystal clear, "The best, forget the costs".


Cine actor, Mohanlal has been announced 'Manorama's news maker of the year '16'. The award committee consisting of litterateur M Mukundan, Mohammed Hanish, CMD of Civil Supplies and Suja Susan George, Director of Malayalam Mission made the announcement this evening. He'd been shortlisted after a month long voting, by the public, online and by SMSes. It's crystal clear that his 'Fans association' must have gone on an overdrive to see that he got the maximum votes. What makes it worse is that he hasn't done anything spectacular during the year in consideration and the award committee gives the weak explanation that, "He's a popular actor who has the maximum influence on the public and shapes his acting along with the developing technology". Wonder what that means? I thought it was for his movie, 'Pulimurukan' having grossed Rs.100 crores, the first Malayalam film to do so but, then even if it were, the award should have gone to its director!

He was shortlisted along with O Rajagopal, MLA, Thomas Isaac, the state's finance minister and PR Sreejesh, the captain of the Indian hockey team.

If one were to ask me, PR Sreejesh is the clear winner for the enthusiasm with which he has played for the country, bringing laurels. Alas he doesn't have any 'fans' association' to bolster his chances and may I add, this is how awards lose their charm. Sad!   

Saturday, January 14, 2017

From a chubby little girl to a demure princess.

This evening we'd attended an event that had many beautiful moments. It was the 'blessing-the-bride' ceremony at the Mayura Residency at the western entrance(Padinjaare nada) of the Guruvayur temple. It was an ongoing run up to young Megha's wedding that's gonna take place tomorrow at the Poonthanam auditorium. Actually, a reception was organised at INS Dronacharya, at Kochi last evening that we'd regretted from attending because we'd guests at home.

We're at the foyer of the hotel sharp at 1930 hrs and led into the tastefully decorated auditorium on the mezzanine. We'd our first glimpse of the bride and my mind was transported back, in time, to autumn '92. I'd been allotted the flat, A 73 of the Tarangini Apartments at Kochi that had a fantastic view of the harbour entrance. Lekha was slowly finding relief from her medical woes and I was a Lieutenant Commander, posted as one of the Command Training Officers at the Southern Naval Command Headquarters, on completion of the staff course at the DSSC, Wellington.

Into our life came a chubby little girl who was a bundle of energy. Ever happy, friendly with everyone, li'l Megha - she must have been a year and a half then - used to cavort to the 'Joomba joomba' song from the Mohanlal - Mohini starrer, 'Naadodi' that was the reigning popular number of those days. It was that cute girl who'd danced into our hearts then that was now awaiting our blessings this evening.

A dentist by profession, she has been brought up with the best of values by Madhu and Rekha and it was on show as she went about seeking blessings beginning with her elderly grand aunt and a host of relatives. We waited for our turn and when it came eventually, she floored Lekha and me by addressing us as her 'parents'! After accepting our token of affection, she touched our feet as is the custom and posed for a few photographs and the videographer and I didn't want that moment to end, with her holding us and vice versa.

Srikanth is a lucky guy to have Megha as his fellow traveler in the journey of life.

As we parted for the evening, I told her that god will always be with her and she would continue to have that special place in our hearts!


Thanks Madhu and Rekha for having us amid you on a very special occasion of your lives. Rahul, their son, had met us in between and he has shed his flab. Could also meet Manohar Nambiar and Geetha, who're settled at Pune, after what has been a long time.  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Much ado about nothing!

News, these days, is coming in thick and fast. Here is my opinion on one of them:-

                                         The KVIC Calendar and Diary

        A controversy has erupted over the Prime Minister's photograph, appearing on this year's
        calendar and diary of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission. He's seen working on
        a spinning wheel(Charka) and the familiar photograph of Mahatma Gandhi, doing the same
        has been removed! I'm gonna speak for both the sides to see as to whether there was any need
        to rake up this controversy at all.

        The pros.
             (a) Mahatma Gandhi has always been associated with being the pioneer to encourage the
                  spinning of home-spun khadi. Throughout the freedom struggle, he has been shown to
                  set aside some part of his time, everyday, for this activity and even indulged in it while
                  meeting dignitaries and guests who would call on him.
            (b) Being the 'Father of the nation' his continuing presence on such advertisements is 
                  accepted by the public as a process of showing our gratefulness to him as well as to
                  let the newer generations to know about the great man!
            (c) This is an act of sycophancy on the part of the commission.

         The cons.
            (a) Here we have a prime minister who has popularised the use of khadi - an agenda that 
                  he'd set to himself right on taking over office - and if the statistics of the Commission 
                  were to be believed, the growth rate of khadi sales has gone up to 34% in 2015 - '16
                  from a meagre 2-7% before!
            (b) And who knows, he also can wield the spinning wheel as depicted, thanks to his roots?
                  Now, the image is powerful enough to capture the imagination of the public which must
                  be the root cause of concern for his opponents! The politicians look at these symbols as
                  potential vote catchers!!
            (c) With the present youth and even many of their seniors, this is not at all important
                  compared to the more pressing issues of the day and the PM has time and again shown
                  that he abhors sycophancy!!! 

My take.

A matter that could be talked about and opinions expressed but definitely, doesn't require the importance that it's getting with all the unnecessary propaganda. But I must also say that it smacks of sycophancy on the part of the commission! Yet another case of 'Much ado about nothing'.


No one can replace Mahatma Gandhi in this country and almost the entire world has acknowledged the fact.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Remembering mom, yet again.

I'd gone to my bank this morning to sign the 'Life Certificate', a document that needs to be rendered every year - to the bank that disburses one's emoluments - to validate one's existence! And I was reminded of the exercise last time, when both mom and I'd to go through the rigmarole. Of course, it was done earlier towards the end of Nov '15 as is the normal practice but owing to the demonetisation and the consequent, heavy load of work that had come up on the banks all over the country, the exercise had got delayed this year.

Mom's account was in the State bank of Travancore at Kottarakkara but since she was here, it was the local SBT that used to endorse her certificate. The soft spoken, genial and decent, Subhash was the Manager and he used to club mom's verification along with my course mate's, who lives nearby. Mom had a special affection for Subhash because he hailed from Kurichi, a hamlet close to her dad's ancestral 'Puthuvayil House' at Neelamperoor, near Kottayam, where she'd spent a good part of her childhood and we all visited, many a time, subsequently. She used to tell him about those halcyon days of her's when her uncle - P Kesava Panicker, the older and the only brother of PN Panicker - used to ensure that she got whatever she had wanted! I used to tell mom that his time was precious and that we shouldn't delay him but he used to beckon to me that all was well and that he'd all the time in the world to listen to my old lady!! Damn sweet of him!!!

There's an apocryphal story* about she wanting to pluck a mango that dangled delightfully and enticingly low - yet out of reach - and she'd insisted upon plucking the fruit herself and her uncle had got a makeshift wall erected so that she could climb upon it and do what she had wanted! And Subhash was a good listener!! He, incidentally, retired on 31 Mar '16 and had gone back to Kurichi, where he leads a quiet life these days.

Now, looking back at the whole sequence of events there seems to be a conspiratorial angle. Did mom take her eternal flight because Subhash - the genial gentleman from her neck-of-the-woods - was not going to visit her anymore to endorse her 'life certificate'? Conversely, why did Subhash have to retire so soon, his age notwithstanding?

* Note. The story was narrated to me by none other than Maheshwari Peramma, P Kesava Panicker's eldest daughter, on her recent visit to our place!


Sad to hear that our ophthalmologist-next-door is planning to shift to another location where there was adequate parking space for the vehicles that fetched her patients. The coming of the gate at the entrance of our enclave's driveway has taken its toll, huh!?


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wonder why they do this?

I'm gonna touch upon three things to show as to how hollow we can be. Wonder why we do this?

 (a) The 11th of January.

       Today happens to be the 51st Remembrance day of Lal Bahadur Shastri, our second Prime
       Minister, who had passed into the mist of time, at Tashkent, in the cold, wintry night of
       11 Jan '66. A leader who'd proved his mettle by his sagacity and simplicity in living. What
       was sad was that his party, the Congress and almost the entire media were silent and didn't
       seem to have the time to remember him.

       Probably, it's because he wasn't from a wealthy and influential family and there was no glamour
       in remembering him! How ungrateful, as a nation, can we be?

  (b) Destruction of Property.

        Student activists, across the political spectrum, have been on the rampage over the death of
        18 yr old, Jishnu Pranoy, a computer science student at the Nehru College of Engineering and
        Research at Pampady in Thrissur. He was found hanging in the hostel bathroom last week and
        it was rumoured that he was harassed by the college authorities for copying during the exams!
        The college's property has been damaged by the rampaging students with scant respect for the
        money and other resources spent on them.

        And we, now, hear that the boy had committed suicide as a 'note-on-those-lines' has been 
        recovered from his room by the investigating police team. Who'll answer for the vandalism
        and who'll pay for the replacement/repairs of the damaged equipment/furniture?

        Note. With an increasing tendency to be under the spotlight and to get their 15 minutes of
                  fame, guys blurt out to the media whatever comes into their minds, making truth the
                  biggest casualty. Guys, smarting for a fight, exploit the situation and take law into their
                  own hands! This is what has happened here and cannot be acceptable.

  (c) Cheap Statements to Grab Public Attention.

        BJP's MP, Sakshi Maharaj, has made a vitriolic statement at a public meeting in Meerut that
        the rise in population, in the country, has been due to the Muslim community. Another person,
        a district secretary of the BJP's Kerala unit, AN Radhakrishnan, has made vituperative
        statements about Malayalam film director, Kamal and has even gone to the extent of asking
        him to leave the country.

        Who has given these upstarts the freedom to mouth inanities and trample upon the fundamental
        rights of their fellow citizens? These guys must be brought to book for trying to create division
        among the peace loving population and the punishment meted out to them should act as a
        deterrent to the others who're thinking on similar lines!


The elderly lady of the Warriath House - we call her chechi and she has been restricting herself
to the innards of her house ever since her husband's death - has left for Aluva to board tomorrow's early morning flight to Doha, to be with her grand daughter - a recent mother. She has told us that she'd return after a fortnight though if her hosts would have it, they'd like her to stay on for six months! Sadly, her earlier confidence and radiance seem to have disappeared for ever!!


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness.


I'm gonna reproduce the excerpts from one of Robert Waldinger's interactive sessions(TED Talk) with an audience. Bob is a Psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and Zen priest and above all, the Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development.

TED is a non partisan, non profit organisation devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. It began in 1984 as a conference when Technology, Entertainment and Design converged and today, covers almost all topics in more than 110 languages!

The Methodology of Research

TED talk released the results of studies, on what makes people happy and healthy as they go through their lives, in Nov '15. It's based on a 75 year long study by the Harvard University researchers - from World War II times, that is - and covered 724 men, from their childhood to their 90s. Their lives were tracked year after year, asking about their work, their personal lives, their health without knowing - naturally - how their life stories were gonna turn out to be. 60 of them still participate in the study. Robert Waldinger is the fourth director of the research!

They've now widened the coverage to about 2,000 children.

And The Lessons Learnt

There were three big lessons that were learnt in the course of the study that underscores the factors contributing to a good life.

 (a) The first lesson.

       Social connections are really good for us and loneliness kills. The people who are more
       socially connected to family , friends and community are happier. They're physically healthier
       and live longer than people who're less well connected because the experience of loneliness
       turns out to be toxic. Their health declines earlier in midlife, their brain functioning declines
       sooner and they live shorter lives.

  (b) The second lesson.

        It's not just the number of friends that you have and it's not whether or not you're in a  
        committed relationship but it's the quality of your close relationships that matter. A good 
        relationship begets happiness and one yearns for such a state of perpetual harmony. For 
        example, living in the midst of conflict is really bad for health and a high conflict marriage
        is worse than getting divorced.

The study further amplifies, "After following our men all the way into their 80s, we looked back at them at midlife. It wasn't their middle age cholesterol levels that predicted how they're going to grow into healthy, happy octogenarians. It was how satisfied they were in their relationships. The most satisfied at 50s were the healthiest at 80s. Their moods stayed happy despite pains. Physical pain magnified by more emotional pain was a constant factor for those in unhappy relationships!"

   (c) The third lesson.

         Good relationships not only protect our bodies but also our brains. The feeling of attachment
         comes in relationships when one really feels that one can count on the other person, in times
         of need. Their memories stay sharper unlike the others, who do not have this luxury and they
         go into early memory decline! 


Finally, it's not the number of years that you live that matters but it's the number of years that you lived happily is what, that matters!

Monday, January 9, 2017

This is unacceptable, if true!

BSF Jawan, Tej Bahadur Yadav of the 29 Battalion, has shared a heart rending video detailing his ordeal while carrying out duties at the border. The video has, since, gone viral prompting the union home minister to initiate action and the top BSF leadership is already at the site to verify and rectify the malaise!

Let's go through the salient aspects of what the young man has projected through the video:-

         * Exposes the rot that has set into the system.
         * Deeply ingrained corruption in the upper echelons.
         * Troops aren't even getting three square meals a day(A serious charge. How does one expect 
            our soldiers to protect us on empty stomachs?)
         * The video has been uploaded from an undisclosed location(The identity of the Battalion is
            enough to pin point the location along with that of the jawan's name, provided they're
         * Living conditions are worse like:-

            - Lack of adequate shelter from adverse weather conditions.
            - Shots of dried chappatis and runny dal.
            - Insufficient quantity(One parantha with a cup of tea, for breakfast!?)
            - The 'daal', in the afternoon, is a mixture of just turmeric and salt, with nothing else.

He, then, goes on to assert that though the government is providing food and amenities, the rations are being sold in the market with the connivance of a few!

And that's serious indictment of the leadership on the ground!

My take.

I was under the impression that corruption would be unheard of at such levels because the nation's security is of paramount importance and the sentinels of our borders are provided with the best - be it weapons, food, shelter, clothing and what have you - to ensure a high state of morale, always and every time.

The veracity of the story needs to be established and the guilty brought to book, forthwith. If one were to ask me, the culprits need to be given the death penalty for undermining the health of our dear, precious soldiers and thereby, denting the nation's security!


Pushpaakaran, the farmhand, came to me with a heart wrenching story. His wife has damaged both her kidneys and her skin, overall, has become wrinkled and unhealthy. She's in her mid 40s. They've two children, a girl doing her final year graduation and a boy, studying in class 8. What beats me are two things:-

           - Why has god been so cruel to this poor family?
           -  How did they reach this stage without any remedial measures taken? A kidney ailment
              is incremental and would have shown up umpteen number of symptoms, over a period of                     time, necessitating corrective action.

I've directed them to a nephrologist of the nearby Medical College and Hospital. I only hope we aren't too late!        

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A few thoughts worth revisiting!

Don Herold(1889 - 1996) was an American humorist, writer, illustrator and cartoonist. He'd come out with an awesome collection of wisdom thoughts. Here's one:-

                 "If I had my life to live over, I'd try to make more mistakes. I would relax.
                  I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would go barefoot  
                  earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would have more
                     dogs. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.
                          I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.

         *                               *                               *

John Keats(1795 - 1821) was an English Romantic poet. He was one of the main figures of the second generation of Romantic poets along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, despite his work having been in publication for only four years before his death.            

                                       Bright Star

                 "Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art--
                   Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
                   And watching, with eternal lids apart,
                   Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
                   The moving waters at their priest like task
                   Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
                   Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
                   Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
                   No--yet still steadfast, still unchangeable
                   Pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast,
                   To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
                   Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
                   Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
                   And so live ever--or else swoon to death". 


Meaningful words.....

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A sublime paradox!

1. In Manipur.

    Irom Sharmila was the darling of her people when she fasted for 16 years against the imposition
    of the 'Armed Forces Special Powers Act'. There were threats from extremist groups that she'd
    be killed if she called off her fast! Ever since she'd called off her fast and married her friend,
    Desmond Coutinho - a British national - the very same people who'd worshiped her have thrown
    her off from that perch.

    She has begun her election campaign, riding her bicycle and organising small roadside meetings -
    the crowds are hardly any - to whip up a new political ethos, she says. It's hoped that her efforts
    will gain momentum and her meetings will attract more crowds as the election heat picks up. Hope
    it does and I shall pray for her victory.

    My doubt is, Did her folks want her only as a suffering mascot for their selfish reasons? Is she 
    unacceptable to them when she leads a normal life like them? How cruel!

2. The Bureaucratic Thinking.

     The Indian bureaucrat's thinking that he's above reproach is once again out in the open, this time
     in Kerala. Discontent has been brewing among the IAS fraternity for the last few months in the
     manner in which the Vigilance department, under Jacob Thomas, has been seeing a few of them
     for their omissions and commissions.

     The latest flash point is its decision to arraign additional chief secretary, Paul Antony, as the third
     accused in its probe against CPM leader, EP Jayarajan, for showing favouritism by appointing his
     kith and kin in governmental positions, overlooking merit and criteria! The IAS officers plan to
     go on mass leave on Monday and as a run up to it, have submitted their leave applications to the
     chief secretary to the government of Kerala.

     My doubt is, Once the bureaucrat is a party to a decision, how can he absolve himself of the
     error in the decision? How long can he insist that his boss and his subordinates are the only
     ones responsible?


Achu, Lekha and Rema had left for Tirur by a half past 9 to fetch the gold ring that Ammu is gonna slip onto Midhun's ring finger on their engagement day and were back by lunch time. So, that's yet another job done. Rema and Achu returned to Palakkad by a half past 5 and called up to say that they'd touched base by 8!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Are the Spaniards more family oriented than us, Indians?

I was always under the impression that we'd a rich cultural heritage and a robust value system rooted in family ties and camaraderie. The joint family system still exists in many parts of the country underlying the fact that an average Indian gives great importance to relationships. Paradoxically, even the so called honour killings one hears of in certain parts of the country flows from the strong family bonds that exist!

The joint family system, however, has been disintegrating steadily and nuclear families have become the order of the day, perhaps, highlighting the increasing influence of the factor of selfishness that govern us which doesn't favour providing help to one's siblings that aren't well off...... Sad!

I'd come across a very interesting article recently about the manner in which the elders are looked after by their young ones in Spain and I believe that there're lessons for us to emulate in the increasing trend of dumping one's elders into old age homes, in India.

The Fact file.

     (a) Population of Spain                               46,064,604(As of 2016).
     (b) No of people aged 100 yrs and above       > 17,000.

A few more interesting information:-

         * Most of the 100 yrs and above category of people showed a zest for life and an interest in
            pastimes from amateur dramatics to playing the piano.
         * Majority of the elderly people are surrounded by family or have loved ones calling in on
            them daily, showing how Spain continues to be a close-knit society where family ties are
            of paramount importance.
         * When questioned about their most vivid memories, many recalled the Spanish Civil War
            from 1936 to '39 that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths followed by the 36 year
            dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
         * Tips for long life ranged from a spoonful of honey a day to a regular intake of 'gazpacho' -
            a traditional cold Spanish soup from tomatoes and cucumbers!
         * Also, inhalation of the 'pine resin' keeps the common cold and and the breathing difficulties
            away(The lady of the house puts a jar of the resin under the bed of the sick!)


And all this while, we took pride in the fact that we're the most family oriented in the world! We'd better learn from the Spaniards, a lesson or two on this aspect!

The brilliant actor, Om Puri, is no more with us as he passed into the mist of time this morning. I remember seeing the movie, 'Ardh Satya', years back and being deeply disgusted with the system and empathised with Sub Inspector Anant Welankar on his helplessness and anger from within! So convincingly had he portrayed the character that it has been indelible even as I write this.

RIP, Om Puri! My tears and prayers for a great actor and here's wishing that your family has the strength to tide over these difficult times.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Mesentery - the discovery of a new organ in the human body.

A new organ has been discovered hiding from plain sight inside the human body. It's called the 'mesentery'.

The Highlights to the Discovery.

  * J Calvin Coffey, a researcher from the University Hospital Limerick in Ireland, first discovered
     that the mesentery was an organ.
  * One of the earliest descriptions of the mesentery was made by Leonardo da Vinci and for centuries
     it was generally ignored as a type of insignificant attachment of the intestine to the abdomen.
  * Over the past century, doctors who studied the mesentery assumed it was a fragmented structure
     made of separate sections, which made it pretty unimportant.
  * In 2012, Coffey and his colleagues showed through detailed microscopic examinations that the
     mesentery is actually a continuous structure.
  * Over the past four years, they've gathered further evidence that the mesentery should actually be
     a distinct organ and the latest paper makes it official.

The Aftermath.

  * It's the beginning of a whole new field of medical science that could improve our health outcomes.
  * When approached like any other organ, abdominal diseases can be categorised in terms of this
  * The next step of the researchers is to identify its functions.

In other words, the mesenteric science is in the making!


The Instagram users have an edge. Access to key information for its users, before the others, is its mantra. The network, now owned by Menlo Park, California-based Facebook Inc, was created in 2010 as a mobile app for sharing photos and videos.

Social media in yet another avatar, huh!