Saturday, September 30, 2017

Where Ravana is worshipped in India.

It would be worthwhile to know about the flip side of the Dussehra celebrations that extols Sri Rama's victory over King Ravana. There are six places where Ravana is worshipped in India and here's a rundown of those places.

 1. Mandsaur, MP.

     Situated at the MP-Rajasthan border, it's the paternal home of Ravana's wife, Mandodari. Ravana's
     worshipped and respected for his unparalleled knowledge and devout dedication to Lord Shiva.
     During Dussehra, people mourn the death of Ravana and hold prayers. The place boasts of a 35 ft
     statue of Ravana!

 2. Bisrakh, UP.

     Bisrakh derives its name after Rishi Vishrava - the father of Ravana. It's the birthplace of Ravana
     and he's considered a 'maha brahmin' here. It's believed that Vishrava discovered a Swayambhu
     (Self manifested) Shiva Linga and since then it has been worshipped by the locals. People perform
     yagnas and peace prayers for Ravana's soul during the Navratri festival.

 3. Gadchiroli, Maharashtra.

     The Gond tribe of Gadchiroli worship Dashana(Ravana) and his son, Meghnad as Gods. They
     extend adulation to Ravana during the tribal festival, Falgun. As per the Gonds, Ravana was never
     demonised in the Valmiki Ramayana and Sage Valmiki clearly mentions that Ravana did not do
     anything wrong or malign Sita. It's in Tulsidas' Ramayana that Ravana was considered a cruel
     king and devilish.

 4. Kangra, HP.

     Ravana 'dahan' is also not observed in the beautiful district of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh. As
     the legend goes, Ravana appeased Lord Shiva with his devotion and austerity at Baijnath Kangra.
     It is believed that Lord Shiva granted him his boon here. Hence, Ravana is revered as a great
     devotee of Lord Shiva.

 5. Mandya and Kolar, Karnataka.

     There are many temples of Lord Shiva where Ravana is also worshipped for his unfathomable
     devotion for Lord Shiva. During the harvest festival, Lankadipathi(The king of Lanka) is
     worshipped by the people of Kolar district in Karnataka. In a procession along with Lord
     Shiva's idol, a ten headed(Dashanan) and twenty armed idol of Ravana is also worshipped by the
     locals. In the Mandya district, a temple of Ravana is visited by the Hindu devotees to honour his
     dedication to Lord Shiva.

 6. Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

     The Maudgil Brahmins of Jodhpur are said to have come from Lanka during Ravana's marriage
     to Mandodari. The marriage was performed at Ravan Kin Chanwari at Mandore. Rather than
     burning effigies of Ravana, Shraadh and Pind Daan is performed as per Hindu rituals for the
     Lankeshwar by his descendants, the Maudgil Brahmins of Jodhpur.


1. Happened to watch the Super Dancer 2 Reality show on Sony television, this evening at 2000 hrs. The talent exhibited by the contestants aged between 5 and 12 years is awesome, to say the least. Among them, I was touched by 5 year old Vaishnavi's - from Panipat - dancing skills trained by her handicapped 'Guru' Bhande. Her leg movements were taught by him with his hand movements! Rarely do I let emotions overpower me while I watch a movie or a television programme but this evening, I realised that my eyes were moist at the end of it!!

2. Was proud to listen to my course mate and friend, Lt Gen DS Hooda taking on questions about the surgical strikes from Arnab Goswami on Republic television at 2100 hrs, on the eve of its first anniversary. Attaboy Hooda, way to go!     

Friday, September 29, 2017

Sad news on Mahanavami.

22 people were killed and 27, injured in a stampede on the dilapidated and narrow foot over bridge that connects Elphinstone Road and Parel Metro stations in Bombay. It's said that four trains had arrived at the two stations simultaneously, forcing people to do the mad scramble and the rain made it even more dicey.

What does one say? The Indian Railways need to modernise its stations on a war footing as most have not seen a face lift for years. The zonal organisations must systematically exercise this undertaking, without delay, so that the stations have the latest facilities and cares for the passengers.

Have used this foot over bridge many a time during my days at Bombay, I can easily say that it hasn't undergone any change for the last 30 years - after seeing the television grabs of the site! Yes, I do agree with the statement that it was a disaster waiting to happen.

If one has to get a feel as to how time passes, one needs to just stand at one of these foot over bridges and watch the scramble of the passengers, in and out of the stations. Each one is focused on his/her journey that I'm sure many, if not all, go through their paths everyday without deviations, as though drawn by a conditioned reflex and a vague knowledge about the entire layout.

My prayers for the deceased and sincerely hope that their near and dear ones are able to cope with the tremendous shock and the sad loss.

            *                              *                                *

Mini, my younger sister and Sanil arrived at Coimbatore yesterday and along with Midhun-Ammu, they had been to the Thirumaandhaam Kunnu temple to round off my sister's vows regarding Ammu's marriage. She has been waiting for the right moment to visit the temple and it, finally, had arrived today. After the 'darshan', they made a detour to our place and the four of them were with us for lunch today.

It was, thus, a boisterous afternoon and the dining table was 'house full' after quite a while. They left for Coimbatore by about a half past 2 and had called us up at about 6 to say that they'd reached out there. It was nice of Sanil to make two back-to-back trips within a span of 10 hours.

            *                               *                               *

As we celebrate Dussehra these days, let me take you through its inherent meaning.

     "Dasha Hara is a Sanskrit word which means removal of ten bad qualities within you,
       which are:-

          * Ahankara(Ego)
          * Amanavta(Cruelty)
          * Anyaaya(Injustice)
          * Kama(Lust)
          * Krodha(Anger)
          * Lobha(Greed)
          * Mada(Pride)
          * Matsara(Jealousy)
          * Moha(Attachment)
          * Swartha(Selfishness)

      Tomorrow is Vijayadashami, signifying "Vijaya" over the ten bad qualities!"


Joy, the grocery shop owner, was overjoyed to meet yours truly after a long lapse and he wanted to know the reason for the absence. I'd fetched up at his shop by about a quarter past 7, after my customary walk, to buy the split 'chana' dal that Lekha had wanted for preparing tomorrow's breakfast! Damn sweet of him!!


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Adieu Hef!

Hugh Hefner liked people to address him as 'Hef' and hence, the heading of my post. He passed into the mist of time yesterday, at his home, the Playboy Mansion near Beverly Hills, California. He was all of 91 years. He'll be buried in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, where he'd bought the mausoleum drawer(Crypt) next to Marilyn Monroe's 25 years ago.

Fact file.

 (a) Founded Playboy magazine in 1953, using a picture of a nude Marilyn Monroe, a $600 loan
       against his furniture and investments from family members to launch the magazine with a total
       of $8,000. He'd earlier bought the rights for a nude calendar photo of Marylin Monroe for $500.
 (b) Playboy's circulation reached 1 million in 1960 and peaked at about 7 million in the 1970s.
 (c)  Playboy was born more in fun than in anger. Hef's first publisher's message was, "We don't
        expect to solve any world problems or prove any great moral truths".
 (d) He wielded fierce resentment against his era's sexual strictures which he said had choked off
       his own youth. He was a virgin until he was 22.
 (e) The magazine was a forum for serious interviews, the subjects including Jimmy Carter(Who'd
       famously confessed, "I've committed adultery in my heart many times!"), Bertrand Russel, Jean
       Paul Sartre and malcolm X in addition to the many glossy photographs of beautiful, nude
 (f) His company branched into movie, cable and digital production, sold its own line of clothing
       and jewellery and opened clubs, resorts and casinos.
 (g)  Its rabbit logo was recognised all over the world. In the Playboy Clubs, the waitresses, called
       bunnies, were dressed in brief satin suits with cotton fluffs fastened to their derrieres.
 (h) He'll be remembered as an ageless sophisticate in silk pajamas and a smoking jacket, hosting
       a never-ending party for famous and fascinating people.

An appropriate quote from a popular daily.

       "Hugh Hefner turned silk pajamas into a work uniform, women into centerfolds and
         sexual desire into a worldwide multimedia empire. With Playboy, he helped slip sex
         out of the confines of plain brown wrappers and into mainstream conversation. In '53,
         a time when in the US, the states could legally ban contraceptives and the word 'Pregnant'
         was not allowed on 'I love Lucy', Hefner published the first issue of Playboy, featuring
         naked photos of Marilyn Monroe.

My take.

I remember my first tryst with the Playboy magazine in the early '70s, while I was in Class X at school. A classmate of mine, who used to go abroad to Dubai during vacations, had lent me his copy to browse and I was fascinated with the magazine instantaneously! It used to be read in the lonely corner of the study hall/common room when no one was around because Prefect Rajeev - the good boy(?) - to be seen with such 'sleaze'(?) would have been blasphemous!! I remember having jotted down the experience in my diary too!!! Since then, I'd collected quite a few copies while I was on board various ships and one fine day, handed over the collection to a few juniors who wanted them!

RIP Hef! Salute to a revolutionary!! May your near and dear ones have the strength to tide over these difficult times.


It was another quiet day. Was reminded of the Pooja holidays of old, when we used to have our books placed in the pooja room and during those two days our parents never insisted on us to study. We, further, used to be on the prowl to catch erring cousins who happened to read anything, accidentally.         

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The news views.

1. The Gathering Storm.

The economy has slowed down and it was bound to happen with tough reforms being undertaken one after the other. The demonetisation of November last and the introduction of GST, this year was anticipated to slow down the economy. Things have to settle down and they will eventually bring up the economy in the long run.

The opposition is gonna take advantage of the current situation and it's but a natural phenomenon in politics. There's nothing wrong with it! Lies and half truths will be bandied about and the government must be ready with adequately smart measures to give the necessary upswing to the economy and thereby, counter the propaganda.

All the political players know that it would be a dream to win the general elections of '19, because the government that comes to power will enjoy the fruits of the reforms, painstakingly being undertaken now.

And that is the reason for the voice of the naysayers to have reached the crescendo, as of now. That it also contains the voices of BJP leaders like Yashwant Sinha, Subramaniam Swamy and the likes makes it all the more painful and difficult for PM Modi.

2. Dileep's Antics.

Film actor Dileep's, yet another appeal for bail in the High Court, will get the court's decision on
Friday. The actor's latest movie, 'Ramaleela' is also being released that day, across Kerala and other
selected places. The movie's promotion is being carried out on all television channels with the film
fraternity vehemently supporting him as if to say that he can do no wrong!

Strange! Is he expecting a sympathy wave from the masses? One thing, however, needs to be said. If his movie has the right mix and a good story, it can have the cash registers ringing but will it wipe off the guy's evil side? Am also looking forward to the Malayalam film industry's response and their collective attitude towards him, subsequent to that.

3. Political Affilations.

One's political affiliations must never come in the way of personal relationships. In fact, it must be understood that everyone has his/her own political affiliation and it should be given its due respect. Despite that, if people were to persist with their political agenda, according to me, it could portend  one of the following:-

     (a) They're trying to foist their political ideology on me or
     (b) They're ridiculing my political affiliations.

Both the options are unacceptable. So, why discuss politics or if it becomes absolutely necessary, let us be magnanimous enough to agree to disagree with no hard feelings!


Had taken Lekha to the Vasan Dental Center, out here, for a root canal treatment of one of her teeth, as recommended by her doctor at Ernakulam. The consultant doctor, on seeing the x-ray, thinks otherwise. They'll discuss and arrive at a decision by Tuesday next, when we make a visit there.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


I'm doing a round up of the news that were prominent yesterday and today. The sheer crassness is visible and it's this aspect that is being accentuated. Here I go.

 (a) The Tom-tomming of a Non Event!

       Since when has a recommendation for an award gained so much prominence? And that too
       when that recommendation is poised to go through various levels before it reaches the selection
       committee which has the final say, barring an exception when the government puts itself behind
       a particular name that has acquired eligibility due to some extraordinary reason and which didn't
       figure in the first consolidated list!

       This time, PV Sindhu, the Badminton player who has excelled at various events richly deserves
       recognition. Her recommendation for the 'Padma Bhushan', by the state, is appropriate but does
       it have to be tom-tommed about so early as the name goes through the selection process? Is it
       that pressure is being put on the selection committee? And what happens if for some reason, she
       is angled for another award and perhaps, misses it?

       In fact, in some newspapers the news made it as though she's getting it! It's bad journalism!!

  (b) The Solar Commission Report is Finally Ready. Phew!

        Justice Sivarajan, today, submitted his much awaited report about the solar scam to the chief
        minister. The commission was appointed in Sep '13 and was expected to submit its report within
        six months. After several extensions and renewed timelines, it has materialised now. Actually,
        the political purpose to set up the commission has long since become redundant due to the
        reasons mentioned below:-

           (i) The UDF, in power then, wanted to tide over the crisis where its chief minister was
                being pointed a finger at because the members of his office were directly involved.
          (ii) The LDF wanted to bring down the government and fight on a strong wicket of corruption
                against its opponent, in the resulting Assembly elections.
         (iii) And was there a concerted effort to finish off Oommen Chandy's political career as he
                seemed to have become invincible by then, within and outside the party?

       The report has become a damp squib except for the juicy details of ministers, MPs, MLAs and
       other politicos who'd received favours from Sarita, a household name thanks to the scam.
  (c) An Unsettled Agenda.

       The new admissions for the MBBS course, this year, is yet an unfinished matter. The last
       meeting with the government and the managements of the colleges had decided on the banks
       providing 'guarantee' for each student so that the parents did not have to shell out huge sums
       from their pockets. Obviously, the nuances regarding the bank guarantees have not been sorted
       out and hence, many students are unable to furnish them.

       The Malabar Medical College at Calicut had kept such students out of the class which fetched
       immediate reaction from the students' organisations in the form of protests that forced the
       Principal to give a written undertaking that the students will not be penalised for the absence of
       Bank Guarantees!.........Not a fair deal there!!

       I'd like to read the problem as a whole.

           (i) The Chief Minister says that education institutions should not look for profit. A noble
                thought, Mr. Chief Minister.
          (ii) The managements say that they've got into the business of education to augment the
                opportunities for children by providing additional seats to the government quota. Since
                it isn't strictly for charity, a reasonable profit is desired. They, too, have a point.
         (iii) The banks seem to have a problem in issuing guarantees.

        So, the problem areas have not been addressed and it's a simmering dissent. A quick action is
        a must rather than using the students' unions for conflict resolution!

       Having said all that, here's my question to the managements. Just like it happens on toll booths
       across the highways, the levying of toll is discontinued once it's deemed that enough has been
       collected to neutralise the expenditure incurred on the making of the road, can't a system be put
       in place where the private colleges stop collecting their capitation after they break even on the
       initial capital ploughed in?


A quiet existence, for the time being, is my present motto.   


Monday, September 25, 2017

The blunders that have made Pakistan what it is today.

I happened to listen to the popular and much respected Najam Sethi of Pakistan who is known for his incisive analyses on what ails his country and must confess that I've started following his observations. He speaks about the 10 blunders that Pakistan has committed, over the years, to bring it to the pathetic state that it is in, today. He calls them blunders because they're turning points that took the country on an irreversible course to its present state. So, without much ado, here I go:-

 1. The Decision to Align with the US.

     Soon after independence, with Jinnah running the country, the civil-military establishments                 decided to have a strategic relationship with the US and ended up being its stooge instead. It
     was flawed right from the start because it was an unequal partnership!

 2. The Dismissal of the Constituent Assembly in 1954.

      Governor General Ghulam Ahmed's dismissal of the Constituent Assembly in '54 under the
      clause of 'Law of Necessity' was the next suicidal step that paved the way for future martial
      rule in the country! The sad part was that the Federal Court also supported it.

 3. The Formation of East and West Pakistan in 1954.

      Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Bogra makes two composite units of the country viz. East
      and West Pakistan. The basis seemed to be because of geographic separation and the glaring
      inequalities between the regions was overlooked. Ayub Khan, on taking over the country, sealed
      the decision.

 4. Not Accepting the Election Verdict in East Pakistan.

     President Yahya Khan's decision in '70, not to accept the election verdict in East Pakistan
     which was won by Sheikh Mujibhur Rehman and his Awami League party. Bhutto, went along
     with the military rulers and consequently, the birth of Bangladesh was inevitable.

 5. Bhutto's Political Assassination.

     Bhutto's removal from the national scene saw the rise of dynasty politics, politics on the basis of
     'Shahadat' and a total lack of issues between competing parties in elections.

 6. The Civil War in Afghanistan post Soviet Invasion.

     Till the early '80s, Kabul used to be the holiday destination for many Pakistanis. The Americans
     were called in by President Zia-ul-Haq to foment trouble in Afghanistan and the over thirty years
     of destabilising that country brought about the sectarianism, Shia-Sunni conflicts and the call for
     Jihad by Pakistan for its misadventures in Kashmir. Once unleashed, these forces were beyond

 7. The Kargil Misadventure.

     Completely misreading the Indian response, Musharraf had, with the knowledge of a limited few
     senior officers, launched the Kargil misadventure by launching regular troops masquerading as
     'jehadists'. This was his idea of countering Nawaz Sharif's bus diplomacy with PM Vajpayee. The
     outcome, as we know in India, was that it could not claim the bodies of their soldiers to give them
     a decent burial which had to be undertaken by the ethical Indian Army!

 8. Post 9/11 and the War on Terror.

     The US told Musharraf and his guys that 'you're with us or not with us in the war on terror'.
     Looking forward to get dollars and military hardware, the Pakis warmed up to the idea but was
     actually two timing the Americans by taking a soft attitude towards the Taliban and the other
     terrorist groups. The Americans were quick to understand this perfidy and it embarked on its
     own intervention in Afghanistan, sidelining Pakistan completely.

 9. Musharraf's Removal from the Scene.

     Sometime in '06, Musharraf had taken the extreme step of dismissing Iftikar Mohammed
     Chaudhary, the Chief Justice of the top court on the basis of very silly reasons, weakening the
     judiciary. The derailment of peace with India and the assassination of Benazir Bhutto weakened
     him and his overthrow was just a matter of time.

10. Zardari becoming President.

      Zardari's insistence on becoming President threw away all the chances of a rapproachment
      between the political parties and the resulting instability is there for everyone to see, even today.
      Zardari had taken that unwise step with the fond hope of sorting out his legal problems but it
      was not to be.

These were the blunders as accepted by the respected Pakistani journalist.


If you're to ask me, the first blunder was when Jinnah had decided to secede from India in 1947! Pakistan had begun its journey to ignominy!!




Sunday, September 24, 2017

A blast into the past...


It is said that 80% of the fighting male population of the civilization was wiped out in the eighteen days Mahabharata war. Sanjay, at the end of the war went to the spot where the greatest war took place, Kurukshetra. He looked around and wondered if the war really happened, if the ground beneath him had soaked all that blood, if the great Pandavas and Krishna stood where he stood.

The Meaning of Life.

"You will never know the truth about that!" said an aging soft voice. Sanjay turned around to find an old man in saffron robes appearing out of a column of dust. "I know you are here to find out about the Kurukshetra war but you cannot know about that war till you know what the real war is about", the old man said enigmatically.

"What do you mean?"

The Mahabharata is an epic, a ballad, perhaps a reality but definitely a philosophy. The old man smiled luring Sanjay into more questions. "Can you tell me what the philosophy is, then?" Sanjay requested.

The Pandavas are nothing but your five senses:-

      Touch and

and do you know what the Kauravas are?" He asked, narrowing his eyes.

"The Kauravas are the hundred vices that attack your senses everyday but you can fight them....and do you know how?"

Sanjay shook his head again.

"When Krishna rides your chariot!"

The old man smiled brighter and Sanjay gasped at that gem of insight.

Krishna is your inner voice, your soul, your guiding light and if you let your life in his hands you have nothing to worry.

Sanjay was stupefied but came around quickly with another question.

"Then why are Dronacharya and Bhishma fighting for the Kauravas, if they are vices?"

The old man nodded, sadder for the question.

"It just means that as you grow up, your perception of your elders change. The elders who you thought were perfect in your growing up years are not all that perfect. They have faults. And one day you will have to decide if they are for your good or your bad. Then you may also realise that you may have to fight them for the good. It is the hardest part of growing up and that is why the Gita is important.

Sanjay slumped down on the ground not because he was tired but because he could not understand and was struck by the enormity of it all.

"What about Karna?" he whispered.

"Ah!" said the old man. "You have saved the best for last. Karna is the brother to your senses, he is desire, he is a part of you but stands with the vices. He feels wronged and makes excuses for being with the vices as your desire does all the time.

Does your desire not give you excuses to embrace vices?" 

Sanjay nodded silently. He looked at the ground, consumed with a million thoughts, trying to put everything together and then when he looked up the old man was gone......disappeared in the column of dust......leaving behind the great philosophy of Life!


Yesterday, I happened to hear Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev, referring to an individual as 'a piece of earth'. Well that gives a profound twist to our existence! Doesn't it?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Will the KSRTC revive after this massive infusion?

The state government has proposed a revival package of Rs.1,922 crores for the KSRTC(Kerala State Road Transport Corporation) and the breakdown of the inflows are as under:-

    (a) Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board      Rs. 831 cr.
    (b) Grant                                                                     Rs. 790 cr.
    (c) Compensation for the travel concession
          provided by the corporation                                 Rs. 211 cr.
    (d) For other projects                                                 Rs.  90 cr.

There is also an attempt by the corporation to take loan of Rs. 3,200 crores from a consortium of banks, at lower interest rates, which is in its final stage(Because in the present situation, after the daily expenses including the repayment of loan there is no revenue left to pay the salary and pension). Currently, the corporation pays Rs. 3.2 cr per day as repayment of loan while it's gonna be Rs. 93 lakhs in the new agreement. The repayment will be carried out over 20 years and the corporation will have to pledge 28 of its depots for the loan!

My take.

While the fund inflows to infuse life into a failed organisation are massive, it's the fact that it caters to the poorest man that defies criticism on such an action. The sad part is that nothing is being mooted about the following:-

     (a) The unacceptable and shoddy work culture prevalent within the organisation.
     (b) Rampant trade unionism that has no positive output.
     (c) The lack of feeling and a sense of belonging to the organisation among the workers.
     (d) Manpower that's far in excess.
     (e) Massive corruption among individual workers through their 'understanding' with their
          counterparts working in the private buses.

The corporation can only become a viable and profitable organisation if the points, mentioned above, are sorted out without fear or favour. Otherwise, any amount of funds being infused will go down the drain! The attitudes need to change otherwise it's a no go!!


Wonder how an average worker of the KSRTC can walk with his head held high when his organisation has been suffering - over the years - thanks to bad leadership and his faulty work ethics?    

Friday, September 22, 2017

How work gets stalled, facts get distorted.

1. The Elusive Road Repairs.

    Despite the PWD minister's assurance that money has been allotted for the road repair work, all
    over the state, nothing is gonna come out of it and the stated deadlines shall remain only on paper.
    This is because of the government's lack of clarity on the application and levying of the GST on
    proposed works.

    What is the actual problem? The contractors are the service providers while the various central
    and state government departments, quasi-governmental agencies and local self governments are
    service receivers. It's the deafening silence as to whether the service receivers will reimburse the
    indirect taxes paid in advance by the service providers for executing the repairs, that remains the
    problem area.

    Since the matter needs resolution, work amounting to Rs.1,500 crores will not commence. The net
    result is that the motorists can continue to grin and bear it when they come across the ever
    increasing number of potholes on the highways and the smaller roads, some of which are pathetic!

2. Rumour Mongering.

    There seems to be a concerted effort on the social media and in certain sections of the press,
    inimical to PM Modi, to show that the Indian economy is failing. They cite that the demonetisat-
    ion exercise was wrong and the GST has been brought about hastily creating a failing(?)

    What the naysayers forget is that the system takes time to react to change. The economy is
    reacting positively and it might take a quarter or two for it to steady up. What has become amply
    clear is that there are very many of us who want the reforms to fail, the system to collapse to
    bundle out Modi and they're the ones who've been vociferously saying that Rahul Gandhi has
    come of age which brings me to my next point.

3. Rahul Gandhi's Roadshow in the US.

    After criticising Prime Minister Modi for his foreign tours, why has Rahul Gandhi and his party
    embarked on this roadshow in the US? He has been making gaffes one after the other but I must
    acknowledge that he has put across a few points from the perspective of a responsible opposition!
    The guys accompanying him must whet his script and provide corrections lest he continues to
    make a fool of himself. He's comparatively young, prone to make mistakes and needs to do a lot
    of homework because what he must understand is that he has reached his current position only
    by virtue of his birth and not for any great qualities of leadership.

    He must surround himself with well meaning people, experts in various fields and take their
    advice rather than trample upon them and sound like a know all, because he cannot pull it off
    on his own as he lacks the wherewithal, poor fellow!

    My final query. Did he require this roadshow? That, too, in the US? Or are we going to see
    similar ones in the other countries, too, to woo the Indian diaspora spread all over? The Congress
    has realised that they've been neglecting this audience all this while, but why copycat Modi?
    Don't you have your own unique thinking and execution?

My random thoughts, as I see falsehoods and half truths being bandied about - with nary a caution and with a gay abandon. Sad but true! - in the mad scramble of getting into a position of advantage(?) in the general elections of '19.


Our maid's indisposition has begun to worry because Lekha interacts with her almost continuously after she comes in for work. We've asked her to take rest for a couple of days but she insists that she's okay. Hope everything ends up well.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

What a shame?

1. An Unwanted Order.

The Mamata Banerjee government's order said,

     "Owing to Muharram, restriction would be placed on idol immersion from 2200 hrs on 30 Sep
       and it would be totally banned on 01 Oct".

It was an irresponsible order for a government to make and that too, just for 'minority appeasement'.

The Calcutta High Court bench, headed by Acting Chief Justice Rakesh Tiwary, has lifted the ban and made the following observations after hearing three PILs challenging the restrictions:-

     * It's a clear endeavour to appease the minority section.
     * Exercising extreme power without any basis and
     * Asked as to whether it could pass such an arbitrary order just because it's the state?

Thankfully, the judiciary has effectively thwarted a political move that was aimed at the Muslim vote bank in view of the forthcoming elections!

2. A Rethink Among the Comrades?

Confucius, the 'Socrates' of China is being resurrected by the Chinese Communist Party. At a recent international conference in memory of the great thinker, there were many top communist party bigwigs who were active participants. President Xi Jinping had, recently, emphasised that Confucius was the mainstay of Chinese culture.

It should not be forgotten that Mao Ze Dong had dubbed the thinker as a feudalist and any mention of him was taboo during the times of the 'Cultural Revolution'!

Having talked about the great philosopher, let me recall a few quotes of his:-

      * I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
      * Every thing has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
      * Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated.
      * Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
      * Wherever you go, go with all your heart.


It had rained through most of the day. Radhan chettan and Sathi chechi left for their house after breakfast. I'm thankful to them for being able to participate in the Neelamperoor Pooram, this year.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The return.

The 'Thothukali' had reached its zenith and the time was a half an hour past midnight. We, then, moved towards our Annams for the parade. The first that I'd attended and danced to, showering flower petals at, was Radhan chettan's Annam. Little Achu was with me and I'd encouraged/helped him with the carrying of the Annam towards the Devi's perch. It was a heady feeling!

The actions were replicated with Indira kunjamma's Annam and she was damn thrilled that I was there, as promised. I had that personal satisfaction at being there and for being an active participant in the Pooram festivities! We saw the parading of the massive Annams and the time was a half past 2, when we decided to call it a day.

We reached home an hour later but not before being accosted by a mobile police patrol who took down our particulars and left us after being satisfied that we, indeed, were returning from the Neelamperoor Pooram festivities. After an hour's conversation on reaching home, we'd tucked into our beds at the unearthly hour of a half past 3 for the night's sleep and got up at a half past 8! We went through the chores and were off on our return trip by a half past 1, but not before cutting Achu's birthday cake and wishing him a happy birthday!!

Enroute, we'd met up with Babu chettan at Kottayam and Radhan chettan's friend at Kudamaloor. The journey was nice and this time, I'd taken the old MC Road, via Vyttila. We'd dropped in at a restaurant, soon after Kalamasserry, for a cup of tea and snack and it took quite a while for that cuppa to materialise and that, too, without a snack! I was disgusted and then, had to drive into the roadside eatery ten kilometers past Angamaly, to get that snack!!

The drive from Thrissur to Guruvayur saw us passing through the Sobha City bottleneck with ease but had got bogged down at the 'Muthuvara' bottleneck because of the huge potholes on the broken road. Radhan chettan wanted to ease his bladder and I was able to find a secluded spot soon after, as I was aware of the fact that he was not able to hold his urine because of being badly diabetic.

We're back at 'The Quarterdeck' by a half past 7.


1. It was a drive of about 450 kms, spread over four days and during that period, we're able to participate in the Pooram festivities with gusto. I'd nothing to worry about Lekha as she was under the watchful eyes of Sathi chechi, Vrinda and Vidya.

2. Radhan chettan and Sathi chechi were with us for the evening.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Neelamperoor 'Pooram'.

And finally, the great day had arrived. It was a leisurely morning as we went through the chores with gusto. Lekha, in the meanwhile, had gone to the Panachikkadu temple along with my cousin. Soon after their return, we'd set off for Neelamperoor to be in time for the afternoon puja.

We'd reached there on time and thanks to my cousin, Vrinda's smartness, we could be at the sanctum sanctorum without much wait. Neelamperoor Amma was decked up for the occasion and I'd a nice tete-e-tete with her! Met Suma kunjamma and Kala, it was nice meeting up with them. They returned to their homes soon after. It was yet another occasion to meet up with all our elderly relations out there and in between, a tinge of sadness crept in at the thought of having to leave this place tomorrow.

We returned for lunch at Sarala kunjamma's house and it was a boisterous one at that. Meanwhile, Indira kunjamma and Kripashanker's movement towards the venue was also being monitored. Earlier, Vishnu, from my office at Kollam, was being vectored on to the temple's premises. I'd to sign a few papers that were required to be sent to New Delhi. Thankfully, he was able to reach without difficulty and accomplish his task and in the process, was mesmerised by the grandeur of the preparations for the 'pooram'.

After an hour's siesta and freshening up, we'd returned to the temple to participate in the final serials of the pooram. Our floats(Annam, as they call them) were ready - one was Radhan chettan's and the other was Indira kunjamma's. The carpenter who had worked behind the scenes had broken the coconuts in each case to tell us as to whether the 'Annam' that we'd ordered augured well for us.

How he'd come to those conclusions was through a simple process. After breaking the coconut with care, into two equal halves, he'd retained the water and added just enough plain water to maintain full levels. Into that a 'tulsi' leaf was broken into half and put into the 'eyed' half of the coconut. The leaf floated and settled below, on the floor of the nut, pointing its sharp edge towards one of the cardinal directions, based on which he made his assessment! (Radhan chettan's was Chingam 'raashi' and Indira kunjamma's was Kanni)

Saji, the late Divakaran chittappan's son, after giving us dinner had me change into the rig for the evening serials - a coloured dhoti and a towel draped on my shoulder. The sequence of the serials was as follows:-

    (a) The gold replica of Neelamperoor Amma, is brought out at the doorstep of the temple so that
          she witnesses the evening's proceedings.
    (b) The senior most temple authority goes to her, asking for forgiveness for any mistake that any
          of them could have committed during the previous 16 days, in the run up to the festivities.
    (c) The 'padayani'(the gathering of the armed forces for war) begins with the recital of the
          story of Ramayana in a sing song format and the guys dance around - a quaint action, with
          plenty of movements - a bonfire.
    (d) The leader of the group, then, goes to the memorial of the ancient king, Cheraman Perumal,
          which is within the premises of the temple, seeks his permission and blessings to go for war.
    (e) The 'thothukali'(A series of systematic and syncronised provocative actions with the shoulder
          towels by the menfolk, that have gathered, follows. They do it around dry coconut leaves that
          have been woven together and lit up as bonfires.
    (f) And then, follows the march past of the 'Annams' as they are brought by four carriers, each, in
         a delectable dancing motion, to the Amma for blessings before they depart for war. There were
         92 Annams this year!
    (g) The smaller ones('Onnekaal kol' of a height of 31/2 ft are followed by the massive ones of
          the temple committee, an option that ensures that the pooram is conducted even if there are no
          new offerings!
    (h) As it draws to a close, food is offered for the spirits as thanksgiving and the whole temple
          premises come to a silent regime after the light and sound of so many days.

It's 2245 hrs and the 'Padayani' has just begun.


Nice to be part of the Pooram where my grandparents, parents and the entire 'Puthuvayil' family had been actively part of for the past years.


Monday, September 18, 2017

At Neelamperoor.

After a restful night, a quick run through the morning chores, we're off to Neelamperoor by a half past 7. I'd wiped down the Chevy, in the meanwhile, and we're off as was planned earlier. On reaching there, it was a sentimental journey down memory lane. We're there for about six hours.

But going towards Neelamperoor was a stupendous task as the road was submerged, at three places, under the flood waters from the nearby paddy fields.

Prayed at the Neelamperoor Devi kshetram and sat there to recite my daily prayers. While sitting at the temple's concrete seating, that extends all around, I'd tried to go back in time to visualise my grandparents, my mom and all their relations visiting the temple especially during the 'Pooram' and going about their chores. The splendid aura struck me and I wished that time stood still so that I could stay on there, forever!

And then, it was time to visit our close relations and a visit to the Puthuvayil House was only but a part of the itinerary! It was a great moment to be at that sacred place and I kept looking into each nook and corner of the house for, I do not know what....I only knew that my mom and her parents had spent their lovely moments in that house of their's!

And then it was time to visit our relations...

Gomathi peramma, Santha kunjamma, Payyampilli chittamma, Alappurathe Ammoomma - each one of them showed their affinity and love to their dear Chandramma's son! It was exhilarating yet humbling. I'd made it a point to visit everyone today itself as tomorrow, during the 'pooram', it might turn out to be tricky because of the crowd.

Back home, it was great to spend time with the children. Radhan chettan's sons had come to meet up with him and their interaction had taken time. Rain was also a spoiler and our intended trip to Neelamperoor in the evening had to be called off.


It was another late night!

To Neelamperoor.

Dateline 17 Sep.

Had gone through our chores and were getting things ready for our forthcoming trip to Neelamperoor with Radhan chettan and Sathi chechi. I was still trying to reconcile with the thought of kicking off from here at the unearthly hour of 0300 hrs through the seemingly ceaseless rain. Meanwhile, around a half past 11, I'd made a dash to the Guruvayur temple to deposit Rajamma chechi's offerings at the 'hundi' that she'd handed over to us during our last visit, for disposal.

Radhan chettan and Sathi chechi had dropped by about a quarter past 2 and it was then that the idea of a kick off for Neelamperoor came into my mind by teatime, as Lekha had to finish the packing. Once the idea had crystallised, it was only but a matter of time that we'd wound up 'The Quarterdeck' and we're all set to leave by teatime.

The rain was holding as we left Guruvayur, by about a quarter to 4, but it had begun falling heavily after we had crossed the toll gate at Paliyekkara. The stretch up to Angamali was comfortable, despite the pouring rain, because of the central median but beyond that, it was pure torture with guys coming from the opposite direction with their headlights on hi beam. Then I made an other mistake by choosing the highway to Kottayam via Koothattukulam, which has been in a state of repair/disrepair since I'd travelled through that stretch almost over a year back. To add to my woes, the stretch of the highway was badly lit and it seemed to stretch on endlessly!

We entered Puthuppally by a quarter to 9 and reached Sarala kunjamma's house by 9. I felt glad that I'd undertaken the trip in the afternoon itself because we're at home much before bedtime. Sarala kunjamma and family had shifted into this house just about a month earlier and they're still in the process of settling down in the huge house but they had accepted us with open arms and that too without any hesitation!

Sarala kunjamma is Puthuvayil Kesava Panicker's fourth and youngest daughter. Her husband, Unni kochachhan had been discharged from a nearby hospital a couple of days back and her daughters, Vrinda, Vidya, their children, Nandu, Achu and Thumbi formed the family. The conversation was boisterous and I was overjoyed to be at the house after a long, long time. The dinner, subsequently, was boisterous and the updates about the 'Puthuvayil' family came in thick and fast.

It was an absolutely late night and we're really tired! A very comforting night at that, too!!


I shall never forget the sight of Unni kochachhan having got his room curtains drawn apart so that he could view me all the time as we sat in conservation. He was happy that we'd decided to stay at his place and was overjoyed that we're gonna be there for the next two days! Felt humbled!!


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Adieu Marshal of the Air!

Marshal of the Air Arjan Singh passed into the mist of time, this evening, bringing to an end the spectacular innings of a very charismatic and respected leader of India. He was all of 98 years.

I shan't venture to write an epitaph on him because there are many who knew him up close, worked with him and interacted with him, one on one and it's they who should be giving us anecdotes about him. I must hasten to add that whatever I know about him is there in the public domain!

But I shall definitely tell you as to how he has figured all through my life, thus far.

In the early '60s, while I was studying at the Naval Primary School at Colaba, Bombay, I'd come across his name for the first time, when the then Air Marshal Arjan Singh became the Air Chief. His leadership of the Indian Air Force during the Indo-Pak war of '65 was spectacular and the heroic tales of how the Air Force's timely support to the Indian Army scripted the outcome of that war in various sectors, is folklore.

The manner in which the Air Force demolished the Pakistani tanks in the Khem Kharan sector, during the war, later became the basis of the money grossing Hindi movie, 'Border' made by JP Datta. That and many other battles changed the complexion of the '65 war and Ayub Khan's grandiose plans to gain an upper hand on our western border lay in tatters.

Soon after the war, the government having seen the synergy between the forces during the war, had upgraded the Air Chief's post to that of an Air Chief Marshal and Arjan Singh became the first ACM. After being at the helm of the IAF for about six years, he'd retired at 50 years and went on to become India's Ambassador in Switzerland and the Holy See. Thus, all through my studies in school, up to class XI and subsequently, at the NDA, his name figured in the General Knowledge books and had to be reproduced at various examinations/competitions that I had taken part in.

After another similar appointment abroad, he returned to India to become the Lieutenant Governor of the union territory of Delhi.

It was in Apr 2000 that I'd reached New Delhi thanks to my appointment at the Naval Headquarters. After a year in a hired accommodation at NOIDA, we shifted to an MES-allotted accommodation in the Delhi cantonment. Initially, the defence officers' enclave that we'd shifted into was known as 'Arjun Vihar' but it was soon changed to 'Arjan Vihar' and it was then, that we came to know that the colony was, indeed, named after the Air Chief Marshal!

He was constituted 'Marshal of the Air' in 2002 and since then, I and my service mates took it as a matter of pride whenever the Marshal of the Air Arjan Singh graced public occasions. He was handsome and dignified and carried his rank to perfection. He'd, by then, become an icon of our times!

RIP Marshal of the Air Arjan Singh! My salute to a charismatic leader and an icon of flawless leadership. They don't make them leaders like you any more!


Have finally decided to go to Neelamperoor to attend the 'Pooram'(The annual festival) of the famous Devi temple out there, after days of dithering. Radhan chettan and Sathi chechi are thrilled that they're coming along with us! Neelamperoor also happens to be my grandfather's ancestral place, where my mom had spent a few years of her's really a place of pilgrimage, for me!


Friday, September 15, 2017


1. What's wrong with the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un? He seems to be smarting for a fight with the US and Japan. The firing of yet another ballistic missile over Japan is outright provocation after the UN sanctions that have been announced against that country. It's like testing the patience of the US and Japan and cocking a snook at the world at large.

Has he gone out of his mind? Is he looking for a hit back but then, what's he gonna achieve? He must concentrate on the well being of his own country because he's not gonna achieve anything by being aggressive with the others. China, as well as Russia, seem to be at a loss about taking a credible and appropriate stand against North Korea.

Or is he nearing his end? Is this the death knell that's sounding? Let not the poor North Korean people suffer for their leader's megalomania!

2. What's the mechanics of the daily regulation of fuel oil pricing by the oil companies in our country? The fuel prices have touched a new high and the government refuses to interfere. The mechanism was justified, at its inception, saying that the savings could be passed on to the consumer without any delay in case of a lowering of the prices.

It's a well known fact that it was on account of the state governments' insistence on keeping 'oil' away from the purview of the GST that the prevalent regime has continued. As per the existing system, both the central and the state governments levy taxes on petroleum and its products and use the income for running the governments. Had the oil prices been brought under the GST, only the central government would have got the taxes with the state governments getting nothing.

It's said that the price of petrol would, consequently, have come down to Rs.35/- per litre. The common man, meanwhile, suffers from the hike in oil prices!

3. The Dileep case is getting curious.

With the prime accused, Sunil Kumar aka Pulsar Suni, revealing that actor-director Nadirsha had handed over the money to him on completion of the job, the latter had to report for the police investigation as per the court directives, which was in response to his request for an anticipatory bail. Today, however, when he'd arrived at the investigation premises, his BP had shot up and blood sugar levels had shown a decline due to which he was shifted to a hospital. The investigation had turned out to be a no show.

Why should he have such reactions if he was innocent and had nothing to do with the case?


Tintoo, has done a damn good job in dry cleaning our clothes this time. You might laugh at my statement but at Guruvayur which is a one-horse town, such services are not up to the mark. Why do I've this sneaky feeling that he'd got it done elsewhere?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Rohingyas.

Who are the Rohingyas?

 * They're a Muslim ethnic group in Buddhist Myanmar and are approximately 1.1 million in
 * They're said to be the world's most persecuted minority.
 * They've faced systematic persecution since Myanmar's independence in 1948.
 * Most of them reside in the Rakhine state on the country's western coast/border.
 * It's regarded as one of the poorest states and lacks basic services in education and health care.

From the pages of history.

 * Historians are unanimous in their conclusion that the group has been residing in Arakan(Rakhine)
    as early as from the 12th century.
 * When the British ruled between 1824 and 1948, they administered Myanmar as a province of
    India and thus, any migration of labourers between Myamnmar and other south Asian nation
    countries (like Bangladesh) was considered internal. The majority of the native Myanmar
    population did not like that.
 * In fact, many people of Myanmar consider them to be Bengalis or people from Bangladesh.
 * The discriminating 1982 Citizenship Law, officially prevented them from obtaining citizenship!

The sad facts.

 * Over the years, military crackdown on them have forced hundreds of thousands to escape.
 * Between 1991-'92, more than 2,50,000 refugees fled to south eastern Bangladesh. With the influx,
    the Bangladeshi government insisted that the refugees must return to Rakhine.
 * By 1997 about 2,30,000 refugees had returned.
 * The Burmese government declared that they would not receive anymore refugees after 15 Aug '97.
 * What's sad is that Aung San Suui Kyi, who fought for democracy and reforms in Myanmar, has
    not uttered a single word on the issue. She has decided to skip the UN General Assembly meeting,
    next month, for the fear of having to face criticism in the world body!

The Indian dilemma.

 * Many of the original Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh have already migrated into India. Who
    knows as to how many of them form the new population of labourers in Kerala, to cite just one
 * India, a developing country, is striving to look after its population to get rid of their poverty. Any
    additional set of refugees will upset that apple cart in addition to creating security issues.
 * But many of our politicians are trying to convert this into a 'humanitarian issue' and beat the Modi
    government with that stick, talking about the country's ethical past! The new population could be
    added to their vote bank, you see.

My take.

 * India must put diplomatic pressure on Myanmar to sort out the ethnic issue once for all. The               Rohingyas must be made Myanmarese citizens through an amendment to their Constitution.
 * The refugees who've come into India must be sent back to their country with honour and dignity.


Am reminded about the ethnic conflict in our neighbouring Sri Lanka. The majority Buddhists, there, do not accept Tamilians to be their fellow countrymen, fellow citizens. The problem, here, is identical! Sad!!


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Yet another controversy and another story.

The Backdrop.

Father Tom Uzhunnalil, after 557 days captivity with the Islamic State terrorists in Yemen, was released last Tuesday. The Holy See, Oman and Yemen had brought about the vicar's final release. Father Tom was immediately transferred to Vatican and he'd the following to say:-

    (a) After being kidnapped, he was shifted thrice, always blindfolded.
    (b) He was never ill treated by his captors.
    (c) They provided him medicines for his diabetic condition.
    (d) He used to communicate with them in Arabic and English.
    (e) He was forced to wear the same clothes for the entire period of captivity.

The Controversy.

An malicious propaganda has been unleashed saying that the union government had no role to play in his release. This is one of the most juvenile blame game that I've come across. Countries react to the concerned government's call to execute their action and consequently, get into dialogue with the concerned. As the minister put it, the Ministry of External Affairs goes about its job quietly. If the Vatican, Oman and Yemen had finally come round to the negotiations, it was the logical conclusion of the past work, done in this regard, by the government of India.

If you don't like Modi and his policies, hate him but kindly have the decency to acknowledge the good work being done, too.

      *                                *                                   *

Are Our Engineers Not Up to the Mark?

I'd come across an article that's worrying me in an overall context. It's about the making of Amaravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh along the banks of the River Krishna and touted as a
model of a planned city. But its residents will have to shell out a lot of money for drinking water and during heavy rains, a threat of floods will loom over them.

This is because the city is coming up on the floodplains and palaeo channels - the extinct course of a river - that play a key role in controlling the overflow from the Krishna and ensuring the availability of potable water, in a region plagued with the scourge of groundwater salinity!

Aren't the engineers, concerned with the work, seized about the problem? They'd better or else they'll be ridiculed by generations for their ignorance/wilful negligence!


Another one of those quiet days but finished a few more pending work. I'd gone to a bank to link up my accounts, there, with the Aadhaar card. Rose, at the counter, did an efficient job about it within ten minutes. What was sad was that the entire lot of staff has undergone a change which, of course, invigorates the system but for the customer, it could be a dampener as I'd felt today...... I was reminded of the times when the outgoing and friendly, Mohanachandran was at its helm!


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

An alternative to China's One-Belt-One-Road policy.

The three day visit to India by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe begins from tomorrow. He and Prime Minister share a rapport that has been visible all through. His talks with Narendra Modi begins at Ahmedabad. Chinese President Xi Jinping was similarly hosted in Ahmedabad with much fanfare in 2014 but the relationship between the two countries hasn't taken off as expected and on the contrary, the recent Doklam stand off was the latest incident to show that the ride continues to be bumpy!

Our relationship with Japan, on the other hand, has been on the upswing with a rise in exports and about 1,305 Japanese companies having branches in India. The highlights of the partnership are the Japanese investments in projects like the Delhi Metro and the futuristic Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor! The two Prime Ministers will lay the foundation stone for the Rs.1.1 lakh crore Bombay-Ahmedabad bullet train project which Japan is financing.

An Indian bullet train against the backdrop of the shabby state and unsatisfactory safety record of the Indian Railways may raise many eyebrows. But two points need to be noted in this context. First, the bullet train will have a separate financing stream. Second, the project can be used as a model to upgrade technology, standards and protocols across the railways!

The biggest spin off is the expected launch of the Asia Africa Growth Corridor. The corridor is meant to build capacity and boost human resource development in Africa, create quality infrastructure and facilitate people-to-people partnerships thereby seeking to connect differing growth poles through local ownership of projects, skill development and transfer of technology.

To my mind, it has a two fold strategy on the part of India. Its Africa policy is, finally, on the anvil after decades of dithering and it's a viable alternative to the Chinese OBOR policy! It's different from the Chinese initiative in that it offers a model of development - in Asia and Africa - that respects sovereignty and democratic principles.


It's against this backdrop that one is wonder struck by Rahul Gandhi's observation - at the University of California, Berkeley - that India has lost its vision ever since the Congress is out of power at the Center.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

How I put my foot into my mouth!

Babu chettan of Neelamperoor had arrived, by about 9, to spend the morning with us. His elder daughter is in Madras while the younger one is at Coimbatore. Ever since the death of his wife, he has been shuttling between Madras, Coimbatore and Kottayam, where he has his own house. He leads a lonely life and has quite a few medical problems to add to his woes.

After taking his permission, I'd darted out of the house for running an errand. There was a heavy rush at the bank and I saw that both, the manager and Subha were busy taking care of the customers. There was Raju, the peon-cum-messenger, who was sitting free and he took care of all that I'd gone for. I suppose his experience and cross training has made him a Jack of all trades! I could return home without much delay and could continue with my interaction with Babu chettan.

He left after his evening tea, fondly remembering mom's presence during his last visit. We met him later on in the evening at the Guruvayur Town hall where the wedding reception of Ajith and Raveena was on. It was a well organised event and we're introduced to many of the couple's friends. We're then called for a photograph with the newly wedded couple.

It was there that I'd put my foot into my mouth, something that I've been doing over the years! On wishing Raveena, I'd told her, "You're looking good in your natural self. Yesterday, your beautician hadn't done justice to your appearance". Lekha, later on, told me that the poor thing had stiffened on hearing me which I must frankly admit that I did not notice. What no one understood was that I was just being nice.

          *                                   *                                     *

The rains have been ongoing and from the latest meteorological information, the rains of the south west monsoon will cease by the end of this month and by mid October, the north east monsoon will be on its way bringing in plenty of rain. The caretaker of the 'Raj Nivas' had called up to say that the weeds around the rubber saplings were getting to be unmanageable and needed to be removed, the rains notwithstanding. It would require 23 men to do the work @ Rs.700/- per head after which the appropriate fertilisers will be applied. The requisite amount was transferred into his account forthwith as the work will commence tomorrow.

Agriculture demands periodic attention, the promptness with which one gets the work done will ensure the availability of the workers - we've still been using the local manpower instead of the immigrant labour.


Padmakumar, my brother-in-law is down with Chicken pox. My sister says that he's in bad shape. Get well soon, Padmakumar!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

From a wedding diary.

We're up by 5, went through the morning chores as we'd to meet up with the car that was picking us up at a half past 7. The car would have the boy's grandparents other than us!

Lekha's friend, Seena, had arrived at a half past 6 to help her with her saree and the dressing up for the wedding. So, by a half past 7, we're ready, locked the house and had gone the 70 odd metres on the main road in anticipation of the vehicle that was gonna take us to the venue. That it took almost an hour for it to reach us speaks of the parking problems/traffic snarls in the vicinity of the temple. Finally, we're off by a half past 8 and our destination was about 60 kms, north, from here.

The roads were okay but the ones within the Malappuram district were really bad, especially within a 15 km radius near Perinthalmanna. Suresh, our chauffeur, had a ready answer for this state of affairs. The PWD and road work are handled by the CPM in the LDF ministry and they have an 'order of priority' in the repair and the upkeep of the roads/highways. It's the Muslim League that has held this portfolio in the UDF ministry, since times immemorial and the concerned ministers have always showed a preference to the roads of Malappuram district! The LDF ministry is just sorting out the havoc caused by that preference. This is the politics of the roads and who suffers ultimately? The average citizen!

We're at the Mangalya Auditorium at the foothill of the famous 'Thirumaandhaam kunnu temple' by a half past 10. The place gives me the feeling that time stands still, once in a way, on its own accord! And now, from the pages of the wedding diary.

  (a) Superstition, still plays a major role. 

        Both the boy and the girl have just attained marriageable age and one considers that as a trifle
        too early. In this case, the horoscopes of both indicate that this the right time for them to marry,
        failing which, they could end up marrying only in their late 30s which was unthinkable to both
        the families and hence, the wedding was decided. I only hope that the couple shows a restraint
        in siring children in the immediate future!

  (b) The girl's family.

        The father is working in Bahrain, the mother is a housewife and they've four daughters. 
        Raveena is the youngest. A family that's close knit and are fervent 'Thirumaandhaam kunnu
        Amma's devotees'. 

  (c) Overdoing the make up.

        In the name of dressing up the bride, the beauticians overdo the make up at times. Raveena is
        a sweet looking girl but her make up was so badly done that if I'd got a chance, I'd have given 
        her beautician a tight slap. The face was dark after the make up that the girl's elegance was
        lost behind the layers of material applied!

  (d) It was a long trudge!

        The bride and her immediate relations had started from Angadippuram at 3, in the morning, to
        be in time for the 'Thaalikettu' before Guruvayoorappan at 7, then returned to Angadippuram
        well in time to receive the bridegroom and his folks for the wedding, followed by lunch. The
        couple, then, returned to be received at the boy's house, ceremonially at 4, in the evening. Too
        much of travel for the poor couple and that too, within a short time...... O, these beliefs!

We're back home after all the ceremonies were over. It was a cute wedding with quaint traditions and ceremonies!


The evening walk was nice and enabled me to unwind.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Another one of those quiet days!

Last evening, Indira kunjamma had called me up to say that it would be nice if I tendered an apology on our family's What'sApp site. I'd posted a stern message - a couple of days ago - which had given heartburns to a few and though all supported my chiding the two cousins, some felt that I'd exceeded the limits of propriety expected of me regarding a particular issue.

I'd got up in the wee hours of the morning and my aunt's suggestion was weighing heavily upon me. After the morning chores, I was washing down my car when my aunt had called me yet again to say that she was waiting to read my new post. I'd to tell her that I wasn't able to articulate an appropriate formulation and was at my wit's end, regarding the issue, but I'd made a mental note that I could not let her down and had to do the needful, today itself.

I'd called up Lekshmi, her elder daughter, to tell her about my predicament and she, too, said that I'd be able to do the needful. Incidentally, I'd gone out by about a half past 11 to deposit a cheque in the bank quite forgetting the fact that today was the second Saturday of the month and that the banks had a holiday. I'd bought a few medicines instead and returned a chastened man.

It was after teatime that I'd mentally tuned myself to punch in that post and then, without hesitation, my thoughts got channelised or should I say, crystallised? Consequently, I felt light and nice. My aunt was quick to acknowledge the post and I was glad that I hadn't let her down!

We went to Ajith's house, next door, to attend the family's get together on the eve of his marriage that's gonna take place tomorrow at Angadippuram, Perinthalmanna which is about 60 kms north of our location. We were introduced to a whole lot of relatives that Lekha and I were meeting for the first time. Ajith's mother, Sujatha is the daughter of Sathi chechi, who's married to Radhan chettan, my cousin from P Kesava Panicker's family.

It was a pleasant evening and after a light dinner, we'd returned to 'The Quarterdeck' to crowd around our television set to watch our favourite programmes.


Tomorrow's gonna be an early day for us as the vehicle is gonna pick us up at a half past 7.    

Friday, September 8, 2017

News views yet again.

Though we're on the move, I was keeping myself abreast of the day's news. The churlishness among people and mouthing accusations have become the order of the day. Sad!

 (a) Who Killed Gauri Lankesh?

        The brutal murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh by unknown motor cycle borne miscreants has
        definitely sent shock waves. The police, as well as the SIT, have been investigating the case
        but a breakthrough is yet to be achieved. Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury talk
        as though they're sure as to who the killers are and make public statements accordingly.

        Everything is, finally, laid at the doorstep of the Prime Minister. The pessimistic outlook on
        their performance at the general elections of '19 seems to be prompting them to make mistake
        after mistake. What a sad spectacle it all makes! Digvijaya Singh's tweets were in the same
        vein and it's obnoxious!

        It's my firm hope that the murderers of the journalist are brought to book at the earliest and the
        case must be taken on fast track to mete out justice, forthwith.

  (b) Why Safety Continues to be a Problem for the Indian Railways?

        The reply by the chairman of the Railway Board to the Parliament's Railway Convention
        committee gives the root cause of the accidents that occur viz. "Maintenance remains a 
        a constraint, particularly on high density routes where we've been introducing trains and 
        there's no sufficient time and that has been the bottleneck rather than anything else".

        How the railways sorts out this vexed issue will bring down the accident rate. Action needs to
        be taken without further delay and yes, in the process, the commuters can get inconvenienced.
        But it needs to be done, forthwith.

   (c) The Rivers Are Getting Salty.

         "Follow the river and you'll find the sea", so says an old saying but in Tamilnadu, it's bucking
         the trend. The sea, as if in search of the river, is making incursions inland, with disastrous
         results. The most glaring example is that of River Cauvery where seawater incursion has
         taken place by about 20 kms upstream in parts of the delta which includes the rice bowl,

         The incursion takes place because of the lack of the flow of water in the rivers.

         A detailed study to improve the river flow and identifying related problem areas need to be
         undertaken to arrive at countermeasures, forthwith.

   (d) Another Twist.

         Nadirsha, a friend of cine actor, Dileep is wanted by the police for questioning in connection
         with the abduction of a Malayalam film actress. Why had he put up for anticipatory bail - the
         court has turned it down - if he's clean and has nothing to do with the case?

         And a question for the Mohanlal apologists. The actor is supposed to convey his 'anguish' over
         social issues that sadden(?) him through his blog, from time to time. Surprisingly, he has been
         silent on this unfortunate incident. What has happened?

         The investigations need to be carried out to its logical conclusion and if Nadirsha needs to be
         questioned it needs to be done, forthwith.



After a leisurely grooming, we're ready to kick off by a quarter past 9. The morning conversations over tea and then, during breakfast with Ramakrishnan and Rajamma chechi were interesting as it helped us to update ourselves about the family. Incidentally, Ramesh had inquired of us as to why we weren't staying at their place, this time. We'd actually stayed away because we'd anticipated plenty of guests there as he and Bindu are quite popular among us.

He goes for his chemos - there's gonna be three of them, this time - from today. Must look him up after the medical activity.

The road towards Idappalli and the highway beyond, were comparatively sparse and our movement was smooth. We reached Guruvayur by 12 and after finishing up a small job at the bank, sundry purchases and dropping my credit card cheque at the drop box, we reached home by a few minutes to spare for the clock to strike 1. Preetha had, in the meanwhile, spread a simple but fantastic lunch.

It was curtains to yet another cute outing.   

Thursday, September 7, 2017

To Kochi.

The day had begun as usual with us going around our chores. Our maid, who was on leave till yesterday for Onam had fetched up earlier and we left for Kochi by a trifle after 9. There was a bit of trepidation anticipating traffic snarls, at the familiar sites on our way through Thrissur town and the deviations owing to the traditional 'Pulikali' this afternoon. But, thankfully, we're spared of it and I could hit the highway, at Paliyekkara, an hour later.

The journey was fine as we weaved our way through comparatively sparse traffic, reached Kochi before a half past 12 and could do a couple of things before lunch time. Lunch at my cousin's place was sumptuous and nice with Ramakrishnan and Rajamma chechi, with Gauri in attendance.

Lekha's medical parameters will be on check and the frequent travels need to be regulated. The idea is that she mustn't get too tired. Climbing of stairs needs to be minimised!

After a much needed and welcome siesta, we're ready to attend a wedding reception. It was raining and Jojy, my friend, had booked a Uber cab for us. The cab had fetched up late but its driver, Vipin had taken my cousin and her mom to the Jubilee Mission hospital, a couple of years back and he was thrilled to be taking us along. We reached the venue by 8 and everyone had begun to wonder as to why we're getting late. Lekha and I have become 'confirmed guests' on similar occasions - as I'd said earlier, it's these get togethers that cement and revive relationships, an essential part of life!

The evening was fantastic in that we'd a great time in interacting with the guests and our classmates in particular. Savio and Annie played the perfect hosts. MaryAnne and Mathew looked the perfect couple and we'd the privilege of wishing them a long and happy married life. The group photograph of the entire lot of classmates along with their spouses with the newly weds was, needless to say, the Kodak moment of the day. May all the good things happen to you, MaryAnne and Mathew! Take care.

Jacob Cyriac and Sheeba were gracious to drop us back despite the fact that they'd to take a detour from Vyttila, their destination. Damn sweet of them!


Ramakrishnan was up and awake to receive us. Damn sweet of him, too!! 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

News views.

Going by the happenings of the past 24 hrs, one wonders whether there's a pattern in all of these? The analyses will give a definite picture, I'm sure and so, here I go.

 1. A Sudden Fondness.

     Over the past few days, the people of the Malayalam film industry have suddenly shown a
     fondness for Dileep, who's in jail. Yesterday, Ganesh Kumar, had gone on record to say that
     the jailed actor must be respected till he's found to be guilty. He also said that the chief minister
     could be approached to correct the investigations thus far, if the police has made a mistake. What
     a brazen way of trying to influence the case?

     There has been reports of the actor getting special consideration within the jail which was,
     however, rubbished by the Aluva jail superintendent. The television channels have been
     bombarding the viewers with an array of the actor's movies as part of the special broadcast during
     Onam and an unnatural number of songs picturised on him on the 'pure' music channels.

     Are these attempts to let go off the blighter by watering down the investigations? I hope that my
     fears are unfounded and the case, through its logical conclusion, will surely remove the rottenness
     within the film industry!

 2. The Thawing at Doklam.

     The Sino-Indian stand off at Doklam seems to have petered off for now. Wonder why the Chinese
     backed down after all the bluster. Were they due to any off the following reasons?

         (a) Bhutan took an uncompromising stand that was favourably oriented with Indian perceptions.
         (b) India did not show a tendency to blink anytime during this 'eyeball-to-eyeball' confrontation.
         (c) China did not want a possible boycott of the 'BRICS' summit by the Indian PM.

     Maintaining peace and tranquility at the border was a must for fruitful engagement between the
     two countries, the leaders concluded after their one-to-one meeting. The naming of the terror
     organisations, operating from Pakistani soil, on the summit's declaration has been good and is a
     victory of sorts for Indian diplomacy!

 3. A Change in Mindset.

     I've been watching with increasing disappointment at the reaction of liberally educated people
     reacting and offering comments about the so called beef ban, increased thrust on Hindutva by
     the fringe groups, the JNU happenings of the past and a few, that continue to happen in the name
     of free speech, the Rohit Vemula case etc on What'sApp and other social media.

     Consequently, in my personal interactions with many of the people, I've pointedly asked them
     as to whether they felt threatened or they believed in what the ex-Vice President, Hamid Ansari,
     had said about a fear among the minorities since the Modi government had taken over in '14. The
     answers were only endorsing the political ideology that they believed in!
     Frankly speaking, I haven't seen any change and it's certain that fringe groups could whip up
     hysteria with the opposition immediately taking up the issue and making it a stick to beat Modi
     with. The problems, thus, were blown out of proportion when viewed impartially. India cannot 
     and will not become a Hindu land that is a mirror image to an Islamic Pakistan.

     If anyone has such misguided notions, he/she must shed it forthwith because it's the multiplicity
     of cultures, religion and faiths that makes India strong and vibrant. A single religion country like
     Pakistan has shown the pitfalls and is not needed.

     It's against this background that I liked the newly inducted minister, Alphons Kannanthanam, say
     unequivocally that 'beef ban' is not in Modi's agenda. Cynics might call him a 'Modi-bhakt' but
     that's the fact!

 4. Meet Our New Raksha Mantri.

     It's Prime Minister Modi's master stroke when he made the able Nirmala Sitharaman his new
     defence minister. She has the grit and the chutzpah to carry it off efficiently though there might be
     very little that she could do in the strategic decisions taken by her predecessor. I shall be keeping
     a close watch on her moves and it's my fond hope that she visits the veterans sitting at the Jantar
     Mantar and finds a solution for the vexed problem of OROP and pensions forthwith!

     Best wishes to you ma'am for a fruitful tenure and here's hoping that you'd bring in new initiatives
     that your illustrious predecessors didn't attempt.


Suresh's ashes have been taken by a small group of people, from both the families, to Kanyakumari followed by Rameswaram. They'll return by early morning the day after. I was supposed to be part of that group but had to change plans because of Lekha's medical management.   

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Lekha's medical review.

The day had begun at 4 as we went through our chores and had hit the road by a trifle after 6. I didn't quite like the pitter patter rain that persisted as I got into the Chevy and opened/passed through the two gates. I'd made up my mind to go on the NH 17, though it was potholed all over because I'd seen the Youth Congress guys agitating at the Paliyekkara toll to bring down hiked rates on the news, last evening. There was no point in taking chances.

We reached Oottupura at Panampilli Nagar by a 20' past 8. After a quick breakfast and we're off to Shenoy Care and reached there by a quarter past 9. We could meet the doctor by about a half past 11. This time, Lekha had three things to tell the doctor viz.:-

       (a) Her Haemoglobin has come down to 10. Was it because of our extensive travel and attending
             functions, all through the last month?
       (b) The fall that she had, two evenings back, was giving her discomfort but there were no
             visible bruises.
       (c) The frequent pain on her left knee.

After a thorough examination and going through the path lab results, the doctor had put us at ease and has put her under observation. The next visit is on 05 Dec.

We, then, made a quick detour to the naval canteen only to find it locked for the day and decided to revisit on Thursday when we'd be down to attend a function. Had the buffet at a place in Panampilli nagar, which was nice. I'd decided to take the Aluva route for our return but the wait at Idappalli was for almost 45'! The crowds visiting the Lulu Mall and those who're taking their ride on the Kochi Metro and their vehicles were the reason for the clog and some guys drove crazily!!

We reached 'The Quarterdeck' a few minutes before 5. It was another unpacking and washing process to be ready for the next outing.

The walk was nice and this evening, I'd walked it to the temple. had a 'darshan' of the Lord but the 'Ganesh Bakery', off the western gate of the temple, that sold the dosa batter and milk was closed. Had returned in an auto rickshaw as I felt lethargic!


1. Another hectic day, with calls and messages continuously pouring in on account of Onam. Felt nice.

2. What I'd observed at Padmanabha Shenoy's clinic. Everyone who came out of his consulting room had a smile on his/her face. When we're coming out after consulting him, I'd faltered on the leg of the chair on which I was sitting, prompting him to say, "Sir, don't fall here, you must take care". That caution brought a smile on to mine and Lekha's faces and we walked out". He has that personal touch with people....a true professional with a mark of greatness!