Tuesday, October 31, 2017

It's appalling!

It's appalling to see the wrongdoers going about trying to white wash their doings. What really surprises me is their no-holds-barred efforts to change everything so that they can come clean. Is that possible? Aren't they living in an illusion? Let's go through each of them and their activities.

 (a) Thomas Chandy.

       The minister, under a cloud for his lake resort's encroachment of a section of the Marthandam
       Kayal, today reiterated that he's still left with claiming more areas and has thrown a challenge
       to the opposition to stop him from doing so because he's in the right.

       In other words, what he's trying to do is to discredit all the records and the reports of the
       Collector as baseless. The sad part is that he showed this bravado at a reception accorded
       to the LDF's 'Jana Jagratha Yatra', led by the CPI leader, Kanam Rajendran whose party and its
       Revenue Minister are against minister Chandy's stand.

       Mr. Chandy, how long can you hoodwink the people despite evidence mounting up on you?
       Is the ministerial chair so important for you and I wonder as to how you're able to face people
       because their faces would be mirroring their disgust of you?

 (b) Dileep.

       In a major setback to the investigating police team in the actress' molestation case, a key
       witness, has turned hostile. The employee of Kavya Madhavan's online boutique, had in an
       earlier statement, said that he'd seen 'Pulsar Suni' at the store soon after the incident. Thankfully,
       the police has video taped the witness' earlier statement, if that were to be of some help.

       It should be remembered that Dileep was granted bail with the rider that he should not influence
       the witnesses.

       There's a sudden surge of songs from Dileep's pictures proliferating on the small screen, of late.
       Is it to influence and woo us, the viewers, to take a soft stance about the actor?

       Dileep, do you want us to believe that the entire episode was the handiwork of 'Pulsar Suni'?
       Are you under the impression that you'll be able to lead a normal life after manipulating out
       of the case? Don't you've a conscience?

  (c) Advocate CP Udayabhanu.

        The High Court has declined anticipatory bail to Advocate CP Udayabhanu, the 7th accused
        in the case related to the murder of real estate agent, VA Rajeev, at Chalakudy. It has also made
        a weighty observation that, it cannot give more time for the petitioner to surrender as, "Be you            ever so high, the law is always above you'.
        The prosecution had emphasised upon the fact that the interim order, restraining the advocate's
        arrest, has weakened the prosecution's position!

        Adv CP Udayabhanu, do you think you're left with any credibility after your shenanigans?
        Will this episode let you live in peace hereafter even if you're to manage an acquittal? 

  (d) Safir Karim, IPS Probationer.

        The 2014 batch probationer was arrested in Madras, after being caught cheating with the help of
        his wife at Hyderabad and a friend, who owns an IAS coaching institute. The idea was lifted
        from the movie, 'Munnabhai MBBS', by which Karim allegedly used a spy camera to transmit
        the question paper to his wife.

        He was appearing in the civil service examination to better his previous performance and join
        the IAS!

         Safir Karim, how will you erase the doubt that has crept into my mind that your success
         in the previous civil services examination was equally flawed?  


The grassy patch at the left corner of our courtyard has gone through a change of spread. With the coconut tree and the Labernum, there's plenty of shade and the China grass that was laid in '13 had become unmanageable with weeds sprouting all over. It has, now, been removed and country grass has been planted in place. Ramesh and Muniyappa have done a good job!

The only sadness is that my mom had seen and appreciated the China grass. Another vestige of her times has gone into history!!


Monday, October 30, 2017

The return.

Had got up around 4 and since there was a temporary break in sleep, I'd recited the prayers and turned off to sleep all over again. My mind was at peace in that Rema and Achu were with Lekha for the night.

We'd left for the venue by a half past 7 to monitor the arrangements at the venue, keep a track of the delegates - their arrival/departures, freshening up after fetching up at Thiruvananthapuram and ensuring that they'd their breakfast in time so that they could assemble at the Kanakakkunnu Palace, the venue. The forenoon session had begun at a quarter past 11 with a public meeting with Prof PJ Kurien on the chair.

The subject of today's daylong workshop was "Econext". It's making the coming generations, the youth, to understand the delicate nature of the ecosystem around us, the factors that are degrading the environment and the steps to protect and safeguard the system. 

Short presentations by the experts on the subject took place soon after the meeting, with me introducing each, to the audience and summing up on the completion of the presentation. Lunch was served to everyone, soon after, so that they could be seated back in time for the afternoon session that began at 1400 hrs.

As part of the IPLM(Indian Public Library Movement) initiatives, the innovators were awarded the essential accessories like laptops and software.

The session was dedicated to the initiatives on digital literacy/the use of the knowledge for practical purposes which was accepted well by the participants. The hall was jam packed and a few enthusiasts were seen standing and assimilating the inputs, until chairs were provided.

The days proceedings came to an end by a half past 4 and it was time for me to leave. Manu had dropped me at the railway station and the Guruvayur Intercity Express left Thiruvananthapuram at a half past 5.


It was a faux pas of a different kind. After paying for a magazine, I'd forgotten to pick up my copy. It was much later, when the train was about to depart, that I realised my folly. The train was on platform 4 and I'd to go on to the first platform and I'd begun running firstly, because I couldn't bear to leave my precious reading material behind and secondly, because the time available was short. Was there a  hint of a conspiracy, in that, the elevators suddenly became non operational at that point of time making me run up and down the flight of stairs for achieving the task! Phew!!   

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A long day.

The day had begun at 4 and I still kept Anto waiting for more than five minutes. The queue at the station had formed up but the guy at the counter had taken care of the passengers, in the queue, quickly. Being a Sunday, the crowd was less.

I finished my prayers on the journey to Thrissur. Had to spend about two hours at the waiting room before the Kerala Express from New Delhi chugged in. Had got into a reserved compartment and got my ticket upgraded. The TTE took an extraordinarily long time to compute the additional charges, wonder why? He was apologetic though; again that baffled me but I left it at that.

Reached Thiruvananthapuram by a quarter past 2 and straight away joined the proceedings at the SP Grand Days. It was nice meeting up with the folks that had arrived from New Delhi. By the time we'd left them to themselves for the evening, tied up things for the meeting at the venue and had gone home, it was past 2230 hrs.

The plan to look up Vichani kunjamma had to be dropped and I'd to accept the feedback from Maman that she was much better. He and his family had met her over the last weekend.


It was a late night and therefore, a long day at that!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A variety of human behaviour.

The KSEB man had come this morning to take down the meter reading and give us the bill. I didn't like the way he'd irritatingly pressed the door bell. He seemed to be in a tearing hurry. He must begin to like his job and only then will he be pleasant; he doesn't realise that it will help his health too.

*                 *.                  *

Was short of Rs.87/- at the medical shop after making a purchase. I also remembered that I hadn't given Rs.10/- to the baker and it was pending for two days. Had finished my walk, fetched the money and carried out the payments and felt nice. But the reactions were interesting:-

  (a) Lekha. It can wait till tomorrow. Do you
        have to go out this late?
  (b) Gopan and Oommer. Sir, there was no
         tearing hurry. Come on sir, what do
         you think of us?
   (c) The baker. You aren't late and you
         don't have to apologise.


Friday, October 27, 2017

It's been six years....

Today's Leela kunjamma's sixth remembrance day but it seems that the sad incident had taken place just the other day...Looking back, I feel that it was my mom who was affected most by her sister's passing away; she simply refused to believe it.

I remember my sisters telling me that on returning home after Leela kunjamma's funeral at Paravoor, she'd lit the lamp in the puja room - as usual, in the evening - as though nothing had taken place. They have also told me that there were times whenever she used to be alone in the sitting room, she would cry with her sister's 'Sanchayanam card' in front of her. They're very, very close. Amma used to pull her sister's leg while the latter loved and respected her elder sister to the core. She used to be thrilled coming to Raj Nivas to spend time with mom and dad.

While dwelling upon their closeness, I must let you into this incident which, later on, had become a joke within the family. Kurup kochachhan being the secretary of a local library at his hometown of Paravoor had, once, gone to meet PN Panicker at his residence at Thycaud, Thiruvananthapuram. As he entered the house he saw Vichani kunjamma leaving for school and had validated what he'd heard about the Panickers' daughters being beautiful.

Not long after, his parents had come to the Panickers with the marriage proposal for their son. Everything went off smoothly and it would be best summed up in Kurup kochachhan's own words, "Rajeev, I could only have a glimpse of my would-be-wife as your mom ensured that by switching off the light at an inopportune moment." Those days, the girl and the boy, interacting before marriage was unheard of and everything that happened took place under the watchful eyes of the parents! Leela kunjamma had stood by the window of the adjacent room with its light lit. Mom had ensured that the light wasn't on for too long a time!!

Kurup kochachhan, endowed with a good sense of humour, used to later on pull my mom's leg by saying that he saw his wife - in the real sense and for the first time - on their wedding day thanks to my mom's little game! Time has dealt its blow, dementia has set in and now, he remembers events and people only on being prodded and egged on by someone. Wonder whether he remembers this day when his wife had passed into the mist of time, six years ago.

Leela kunjamma, you continue to be in our hearts and each one of us misses you.


1. Whenever the PN Panicker family used to have their gatherings, the three of them - mom, Kurup kochachhan and Leela kunjamma - used to get along like a house on fire, laughing at themselves.

2. Another one of those quiet days, when I hardly did anything.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Truth is stranger than fiction.

Today's papers carry this story.

   "The Malaysian High Commission has published in all the Malayalam newspapers an 
     advertisement with the photograph of an unidentified woman who died after falling from a
     building in Subang Jaya at Selangor."


This is another story but there could be a connection once the identity of the dead woman is established through scientific examinations including the DNA test. So, what's the story? It goes
like this:-

  (a) Omana Edadan was an ophthalmologist at Payyannur. Her husband and children live there.
  (b) She made headlines on 11 Jul '96, when she was arrested for killing Muraleedharan, her lover,
        by injecting poison while they're in the retiring room of the Ooty Railway Station. He - a 
        married man - was killed because she felt that he was drifting away from her. The lover was
        a Payyannur-based contractor.

  (c) She'd then chopped the body into pieces with a surgeon's precision and stuffed the pieces into
        a suitcase to throw it in a river.

  (d) However, the driver of the taxi she'd hired to go to Kodaikanal, for the purpose, grew 
        suspicious and alerted the police which resulted in her arrest. 

  (e) She manged to get bail on 21 Jan '01 before the trial could begin and nobody has heard of
       her since 29 Jan '01.

Other Related Information.

 (a) There were rumours, then, that she'd escaped to Malaysia under a fake passport.
 (b) Her children have confirmed that she'd called them just once from that country in '09.
 (c) Her husband and children confirm resemblance of Omana to the dead woman's photograph.

Nothing can be assertively said till the connected tests are carried out.

My take.

I've always wondered as to how a person can lead a normal life after snuffing out an other's life. If love is based on jealousy and possessiveness, it will hardly survive and if love is gone, the right thing would be is to walk away, the immense pain notwithstanding!


If the tests confirm that it's Omana then it would be yet another case of truth being stranger than fiction.


The police has, since, confirmed that it wasn't Omana who'd died. She's Merlin Ruby(37), a native of Valiyathura in Thiruvananthapuram.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017


These are my responses to some of the news bytes that have grabbed the headlines.

 (a) The Agony of a Swiss Couple.

       Quentin Jeremy Clerc and his girl friend, Marie Droz, both aged 24 and hailing from the city
       of Lausanne, Switzerland were chased, assaulted and humiliated by a group of youth bringing
       an end to their nightmarish end their dream visit to India. The couple were strolling near the
       railway station at Fatehpur Sikri after a day, spent in visiting the Taj Mahal.

       The youth started following them, passed comments - though they're lost on the couple as they
       didn't understand the language - and forced them to stop, so that they could take 'selfies' with
       Marie. When the couple resisted, the youth seem to have carried out the savage attack on the
       couple. Quentin was left with a broken skull, a clot in the brain and hearing impairment while
       Marie was left with a broken arm and multiple bruises.

       My query. 

          (i) Where were the cops? The places of sight seeing are supposed to have them in adequate
               numbers. So, where were they?
         (ii) Why didn't the other people who're in that area, then, react and restrain the youth? 

       Incidents, such as these, bring a bad name to the country!

  (b) Taj Mahal Off the Tourist Map? 

         Taj Mahal has been removed from the list of tourist destinations in Uttar Pradesh. When the
         Chief Minister was questioned about it, he'd answered that the monument is under renovation
         and hence, has been taken off temporarily from the list. (Probably, it's the handiwork of a
         bureaucratic minion who took off The Taj's name from the list of tourist destinations to gain
         favour with the political masters!)

         He'd better be right because a monument that's one of the seven wonders of the world and
         widely popular the world over, as an architectural wonder in tribute to eternal love cannot be
         sidelined. Hope it's not because of a story making the rounds that it has been built on the
         ruins of a Hindu temple - implying that the mausoleum has been built in the place of an
         ancient Siva temple, the 'Tejo Mahalaya'!

         My query.

         Is the shutting down of a monument, when it's under renovation, a common thing?

         The Taj Mahal has to continue as a tourist destination for generations to come. Period!

  (c) Xi Jinping, Another Eternal Leader in the Making?

        At the conclusion of the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist party, President Xi Jinping
        has consolidated power as the country's President and is now placed at the same level as Mao
        Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.  His intention of ruling beyond his present term has been signaled
        with no younger party man having been identified as his successor.

        My query.

        Is he gonna take a pragmatic stand on the border issue with India just as the quiet settling of
        the Dokhlam Issue? 

        His 'One Belt One Road' initiative and the 'South China Sea' expansions seem to be the  
        priority as of now. Though peaceful co-existence with its neighbours has been highlighted,
        his approach towards India needs to be watched. We must, however, continue to enhance
        our infrastructure all along the LAC. 



Why is Kerala's transport minister, Thomas Chandy, being given a long rope for his alleged violations of filling up paddy land and encroaching government land adjacent to his lake resort at Alappuzha?


Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's visit to the Taj Mahal has removed all doubts about the faux pas!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Did you know?

Elementary Mr. Watson, so would Sherlock Holmes have said about the fact file that I'm gonna unveil but it would be nice to know these. So, here I go.

 1. Your shoes are the first thing that people subconsciously notice about you. Wear nice shoes.

 2. If you sit more than 11 hours a day, there's a 50% chance you'll die within the next three years.

 3. There are at least six people in the world who look exactly like you. There's a 9% chance that 
     you'll meet one of them in your lifetime.

 4. Sleeping without a pillow reduces back pain and keeps your spine stronger.

 5. A person's height is determined by his/her father and the weight is by the mother.

 6. If a part a of your body "falls asleep" you can almost always "wake it up" by shaking your head.

 7. There are three things the human brain cannot resist noticing - food, attractive people and danger.

 8. Right handed people tend to chew their food on their right side.

 9. Putting dry tea bags in gym bags or smelly shoes will absorb the unpleasant odour.

10. According to Albert Einstein, if honey bees were to disappear from earth, humans would be dead
      within 4 years.

11. There are so many kind of apples that if you ate a new one everyday, it would take over 20 years
      to try them all. 

12. You can survive without eating for weeks but you will only live 11 days without sleeping.

13. People who laugh a lot are healthier than those who don't.

14. Laziness and inactivity kills just as many people as smoking.

15. A human brain has a capacity to store 5 times as much information as Wikipedia.

16. Our brain uses same amount of power as a 10 Watt light bulb.

17. Our body gives enough heat in 30 minutes to boil 1.5 litres of water.

18. Stomach acid (Conc HCl) is strong enough to dissolve razor blades.

19. Take a 20 to 40 minute walk everyday and smile while you walk. It's the ultimate antidepressant.


There's quite an unnecessary storm being raised over paying respect to the National Anthem, especially when it's played in cinemas. Make no mistake about it, when the anthem is played every Indian will repeat will stand up in its honour till the 52 seconds are over and yes, the only option you have is to sing along with it or keep quiet. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

What's the future gonna be?

In a decade or so, the following can be expected....this is the natural progression of life......the nature's way of bringing about change......with mankind willing to usher in the changes!

20 Major Risks to Global Financial Markets in the Coming Years.

 (a) Most people will stop buying cars in a decade-and-a-half (A prediction that 95% of all US
       passenger miles traveled will be addressed by fleets, not individuals, by 2030).

 (b) People will increase renting of assets (Over buying these) because they will never be sure of
       where they would be living a few years hence.

 (c) The cost of commute will become the 'next telecom' (Virtually free, that is!).

 (d) Most cars will be made from recycled steel, as a result of which, ore companies will go 
       belly up.

 (e) The large steel sector debt will not be able to be returned to banks.

 (f) Electric cars, with around 18 moving parts compared with 10,000 for the usual petrol/diesel
      driven variety, would accelerate the death of the automobile components industry.

 (g) The demise of the auto component industry will affect the global alloys steel sector (Including
       ore and ferro alloys).

 (h) Oil behemoths will not be able to repay their loans if oil consumption declined (Elimination

 (j) Electric vehicles will come with an unlimited warranty which means that after you once buy a
      vehicle, you'd not need to buy another, ever.

 (k) Oil based economies (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Russia, Nigeria etc) will go into a crisis.

 (l) Some of the funding coming out of some of these countries (For whatever reasons as one may
      infer) will disappear and the world will become a more peaceful place.

 (m) Cash-rich automotive lubricant companies will discover that there is nothing to reaaly

 (n) 3D printing will even out the wage arbitrage between developed and developing nations.

 (p) Robotisation (Artificial Intelligence) will clean out jobs (As it has in the banking sector where
       business has grown disproportionately faster than recruitment).

 (q) A number of skills will become obsolete (Microsurgery, for instance) because a robot will do
       it better.

 (r) Renewable energy will kick-start a long term coal decline.

 (s) Large coal behemoths employing thousands will file for bankruptcy (Already happening).

 (t) Banks will become a concept rather than a place, banks will become more about systems than

 (u) The world will move towards deflation arising out of an abundance of money and relatively
       limited spending.

 (v) The new retirement age may become 30 years (Average).


Can't believe it, can you? Well it's a possibility!



Sunday, October 22, 2017

A cute engagement ceremony.

Had got up at a quarter to 5 and had gone through the morning chores. Anto was at the gate, promptly at 6 and without much ado, we set off for Mannuthy, the point of rendezvous. He was eager to engage in a conversation as I was reciting the 'Vishnu sahasranaama sthothram'. Eventually, I'd caught up with him without having to ask him to leave me alone as I recited my prayers. Meanwhile, Rema had called up to say that they'd left Palakkad by a 10' to 6 and a simple calculation of distance and the speeds - after all, they'd engaged a professional driver - it was reckoned that it would take a little over an hour for them to reach the meeting point.

And as per clockwork precision, they'd fetched up at the spot just about a few minutes after my arrival. Anto was, soon, dispatched and we resumed our journey southward. It was a beautiful sunny day. Breakfast was at an eatery, soon after Aluva and we were at the venue by a trifle past 10. Barring a few members of the girl's family, the rest of the crowd was yet to descend. We could, therefore, get vantage seats and got to meet everyone of our relatives as they trickled in. I was seeing them after a long lapse because I'd missed the last get together of the family.

The 'muhurtham'(The auspicious time) of the engagement ceremony was after 12 and the proceedings were well conducted with no unnecessary detours/interruptions. The marriage will be on the 3rd of December at Thiruvananthapuram. Akhil and Rithu looked good as a couple. It was nice meeting up with relations and catching up.

The return trip was uneventful as Kunjan, our 'sa'arthi', wove through traffic and surged ahead. The only stop, enroute, was at the wayside eatery about 10 kms beyond Angamali but its masterpiece - the banana fritters - weren't available. So the others could not get to know the taste of the delicacy!

I was dropped off, soon after the Paliyekkara toll and I got a bus to Thrissur, just as I alighted from the car. By the time I reached home, it was a quarter past 5. A debrief was given to Lekha about the entire trip and also about the inquiries from everyone about her illness.


1. A nice, short trip and a tremendous opportunity to catch up with my folks.
2. Padmakumar and the others reached Palakkad around 1900 hrs and Mini, Ammu and Midhun took off for Coimbatore immediately thereafter and reached Coimbatore by 2215 hrs.

Missed Vichani kunjamma at the ceremony.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

How technology teased me yet again!

The modem that I use for working on the internet has become erratic, off late. I mean, it wasn't getting switched on. I tried all methods by switching it off and on a few times, changing the plug positions on the socket and yet, nothing seemed to work. It was essential as I've another disaster staring at me - the dongle, that I have, has been misplaced.

I tried recapitulating the events when I'd used the dongle last and narrowed it down to two occasions - the first, when I'd used it at Suresh's place on the night after we'd returned from our trip and the second, at 'The Quarterdeck' on reaching here, though that was very vague because there was no cause of using it. Was my mind playing tricks? Or have I begun to have a memory failure?

A quick check with Suresh, on the telephone, confirmed that the damn thing wasn't there but he's promised me about checking it out more thoroughly along with his wife, later.

Meanwhile, on my foray into the town, I looked around for buying a new one. The shopkeepers - two of them, while being very respectful - seemed to tell me that I was a bit 'ancient' for the technology but my queries did stump them and I found that they're totally clueless about the stuff that they're selling! They needed a comparative youngster to articulate and here, too, I found that the knowledge was limited. They use technical words that they weren't sure of and went in for lengthy discourses.

So, I decided to call up Jishad, who'd helped me to set up my wi-fi system initially, almost four years back. He'd answered my call and was at my place soon after. I'd taken him to the spot where the object that gave me nightmares, currently, was. He snapped on the switches and presto, everything seemed to be working perfectly! Now what do I say to that?

I could only look at Jishad with an apologetic sheepishness and reserved my dirty looks for the system at a later occasion.


Come to think of it, I really wanted that system that I've tended well, all this while, to fail in front of Jishad! Can you beat that?

Friday, October 20, 2017


1. Lekha's Medical Condition.

The medicines prescribed by Dr.Sodhi have begun to show their effects on Lekha's medical discomfort. Her fever has become a thing of the past and the cough has reduced, both in frequency and intensity! Yet she will not be able to travel and attend the betrothal ceremony of a nephew of mine that is taking place tomorrow at an auditorium in Punnappra, near Alappuzha. The course of antibiotics is for three days and there's one more day to go.

2. My Cellphone and 4G.

It was on the 12th that I'd got the 4G spectrum activated on my cellphone after the removal of the initial glitches while we're at Thiruvananthapuram. I'd requested for an international roaming regime with the service provider. The following were the experiences:-

    (a) The international roaming was pathetic because it was active only on the first and the last days,
          wonder why. The internet was non existent(I was told that I'd not specifically asked for it. I
          must admit, it sounded odd to me. I mean, anyone who takes an international roaming without
          the net facilities to go with it, is a goddamn fool).

    (b) One of my friends in our group was desperately wanting to contact his children and since his
          cellphone was erratic, I'd offered him mine to make the connect.

    (c) At the end of it, an exhorbitant bill was messaged to me. Sunil Mittal and Airtel must make
          their profits for the services that they provide but not at a cut throat rate, pse. And why's
          the service provider silent over the 'no coverage period'? A loyal customer cannot be treated

On cross checking with a few others, I understand that such miseries are common. In other words, the telecom service providers do not care about their customers and the only thing that they care about is their profits. What a sad state of affairs? 

3. The farming Activities.

It's time for the removal of the wild growth on the outer perimeter and the third level of the property around Raj Nivas. It took time to get suitable workers to do the job and along with it, manure will be applied for all the coconut trees. The caretaker had also informed me that an old coconut tree within our compound had got uprooted in the recent rain and winds which needed to be cut and disposed away. That's an added task.

He also reports that the rubber trees are quite healthy after the recent work on them. Must make a trip after the work is over.


A quiet day otherwise. 

When not everything went right.

Dateline 19 Oct.

Lekha was in a bad shape. I’d taken her to the Rajah Hospital for meeting up with the pulmonologist only to be told that she came to the hospital in the afternoon. An attempt to visit her at the clinic, nearby, ended up in a huge gash on my Chevy’s rear bumper thanks to my clumsy backing of the vehicle which hit the electric pole in the restricted space just outside her clinic. It was past 10, she hadn't arrived and we saw a few patients already in queue. Hence, we beat a hasty retreat!

Since the appointment was at 3 in the afternoon, I’d taken off for the Geeyem’s service station to admit my vehicle for corrective action, fully aware of the fact that nothing would move till the Diwali weekend was over. Manikandan , the technical adviser, estimated a ten day admission as the spares required that much time to reach here from Pune/Bangalore! Anyway, I was glad that the car was handed over for repairs. Otherwise, parked in the porch, the sight of the gash – day in and day out – would have been heart rending.

We met the pulmonologist, finally, around a quarter to 5. When she said that Lekha’s chest was clear, I heaved a sigh of relief. The delay in starting up with the antibiotics and meeting up with the doctor – it was almost a week – hadn’t aggravated the illness. Thank god for minor mercies! The doctor did tell me that she’d recognised me; her husband, a medical specialist, had treated my mom during her final days.

I skipped the walk this evening too, as I tried to catch up on a few pending work..

By night, Lekha’s cough had lost its ferocity and the ailment seemed to be slowly getting under control. Phew!


Why am I careless while handling my Chevy?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Back at 'The Quarterdeck'.

It was a comedy of errors, insofar as time went, this morning. We'd got up early without realising that the time on the cellphone was Singapore time. I'd forgotten to make the switch over after reaching Thiruvananthapuram, last night. Our friends - the hosts - had also committed the same mistake and it was only when we cross checked, that we realised our blunder. We hit the sack with a vengeance because, sleep even if its duration is short, was always welcome and it's a great feeling to find that one has more time for it!

But unlike what we thought, sleep was reluctant to embrace us and so, we decided to start our chores to make an exit by 6........however, we ended up casting off at 7!

There was a slight drizzle but the traffic was sparse and driving through was okay. We'd our breakfast at Chathannoor around 8 o'clock. My cousin had called up to say that we must have lunch at her place, though she was out lunching with friends. Ramakrishnan, his Chechi and Gauri were there to take care of us. It was nice and without much ado, we're on the road again as we didn't want the progress to be retarded. I must admit that I did feel sleepy twice and if it had persisted, a break from driving would have been necessitated.

We reached 'The Quarterdeck' by 4. Lekha'd made tea but she had begun to cough badly. The antibiotics were popped in but her misery continued and I was a helpless bystander. Tomorrow, she'll be taken to the doctor but I hope that the antibiotics kick into action soon.........it was, however, not to be!

............It was a painful night as the poor girl coughed and coughed.


Why didn't I carry a strip of the antibiotics in the medicine chest of ours? Timely administration of the right dosages would have ensured that the illness didn't flare up so much!   

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The return.

The day had begun leisurely and we had a massive breakfast by about a half past 8. Our only trip, today, was to the Universal Studios before going to the airport. It was an enjoyable visit and we did go through a few rides that were entertaining and full of fun. Lekha and I had cut off from the group by lunch time as I didn't want to strain her with too much of movement under the hot Singapore sun. We sat at a peaceful place outside a restaurant with our light lunch of chicken burgers and French fries.

The rendezvous with the group was effected at the entrance, near the globe, the symbol of the Universal Studios around a quarter to 5. Sreedhar left us at the Changi airport twenty minutes later and we'd ample time to do window shopping and to have a cup of cappuccino. The Silk Air flight had taken off, on the dot, at 2005 hrs local time.

After about four hours of flying, we'd landed at Thiruvananthapuram by 2140 hrs IST. The disembarkation/immigration formalities did not take much time and we're at Suresh's place soon after.


A memorable outing but for Lekha's medical that persisted at a low ebb.

Back in Singapore.

Dateline 16 Oct.

Like all good things must come to an end, the ship had tied up at the quay by 0700 hrs. The disembarkation was at 1000 hrs. Room 7367, our home for the last three days, was vacated without much ado and we went through the disembarkation/immigration formalities. Sreedhar, with the vehicle, was waiting for us near the pier as was planned.

It was a day spent in sight seeing of the city of Singapore.

By evening, while the ladies were dropped at the shopping mall of Mustafa's we'd ended up at a pub at the invite of Somandas, a classmate of Mohanachandran's at the Agricultural and Veterinary College, Mannoothy during the mid '70s. It was nice to get to be friendly with this outgoing gentleman.

After a light dinner, we'd to make the long trek of about 500 mts from Mustafa's to Hotel Boss, where we'd earlier checked in. I must say that Lekha had managed it well despite her discomfort.


It was a hectic day and Lekha seems to have enjoyed her shopping spree. 

At sea.

Dateline 15 Oct.

The ship was cruising all through the day, albeit at slow speeds, as told to us by the skipper last evening, soon after casting off from Port Kalang. The numerous activities continued, with us participating in many and enjoying every bit of it.

As we wound up for the day, realised that the days had just flown by, with us not having any idea as to how swift it all was!


My cell phone has gone kaput, the international roaming notwithstanding! 

At Port Kalang.

Dateline 14 Oct.

The ship had tied up alongside the quay at Port Kalang, Kuala Lampur, by 7. Lekha, was unfortunately, down with fever and we skipped our sight seeing trip, just to rest her. The only satisfaction was that we'd visited Kuala Lampur, a couple of years back.

We're on board the ship and participated in the activities that were organised for the guests who'd not gone for the sightseeing that were mostly drawn from Singapore.

The sightseeing group had returned by 1600 hrs and the ship cast off at 1700 hrs on a southerly course. The Captain had told us that the ship would do slow speeds/be stopped as the distance to be traversed, back to Singapore, was around 290 miles.


Lekha was much better by the end of the day.  

Embarking the cruise liner.

Dateline 13 Oct.

We're at the Changi airport of Singapore by 0330 hrs local time. Kumar and the vehicle fetched up at 7 and by this time, we'd spruced ourselves up.

After breakfast and a bit of sightseeing, we're at the pier to embark the 'Mariner of the Seas' of the Royal Caribbean International by 11. The embarkation was orderly as we're assigned cabins - adjacent to each other - on deck 7. Lunch - it was mammoth and the spread consisted of all varieties of food to cater for the over 3,450 guests, looked after by 1,400 crew members - was on the 11th deck, one short of the highest at the lounge, cutely named the 'Windjammer'!

Stateroom 7367 is gonna be our home for the next four days! Ketut Wiparnaya looks after our room service - a well behaved, ever smiling young man who promised us help and handed over his card.

After an hour's siesta, an emergency drill was carried out to familiarise everyone with their disembarking positions in case of an evacuation and the use of life jackets.

The ship had cast off from Singapore at 1700 hrs and shaped course northward.


The rest of the evening was spent at participating in the various shows and other variety entertainment that had been organised for us.   

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Finally, my cellphone is on stream.

It was a leisurely morning. Shaji, from the travel agency had come by to collect our travel details to Sri Lanka, in early Jan '18, in connection with our course get together.

Suresh and I left for completing pending work. The first visit was to the Airtel office to confirm the linking up with the Aadhaar, remove the glitches of the 4G and to request for an international roaming for five days with effect from today. The next step was to get a suitable cover for the instrument..

Our third stop was at the dentist's. Rajasree did a good job of fixing up the bridge which had worked out loose last night. The refixing took over an hour and I felt guilty about keeping Suresh waiting all the while.

A quick lunch and siesta after which checks were carried out prior to our departure for Singapore. The eight of us were at the international terminal by 8 o'clock. It was a boisterous evening.

The flight had taken off on time at 2240 hrs. It was sleeping time soon after stepping on board. The Silk Air looked after its passengers well.


After months of planning, the trip was on. Suresh Laxman-Sindhu, Mohanachandran-Manju, self-Lekha and Vijayakumar-Anitha formed the group.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

It just cannot be!

Was saddened by the news that hit the headlines today. The Justice Sivarajan Commission has found former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy guilty of having molested Saritha Nair along with a few other politicians. Consequently, the government has announced a vigilance probe into his conduct in the sordid case.

Is this an end to his illustrious political career? Is the over the 70 year old gentleman guilty of such a stupid act? Could he be lured into doing such lurid acts?

To my mind, it's not possible. An extremely hardworking politician, he literally burnt the midnight oil, working for the welfare of his people. His frequent mass contact programmes with the common people, to alleviate their difficulties and find immediate succour, thereby cutting through bureaucratic apathy were hailed as a novel means of administration by none other than the august body, the United Nations! He was awarded for his efforts and it was this event that raised the hackles of many of his political opponents, quite a few were simply jealous! It's the concerted efforts of a few from that segment who must be laughing in glee at such an ignominious outcome.

From then, started the discrediting campaign and he wasn't spared of criticism on anything and everything that he did, the witch hunt had begun. That his chosen men in the chief minister's office, who were nothing short of criminals - wonder why he'd them, there? The logic beat me, then. I mean, why didn't he surround himself with clean, well meaning guys? - hastened the beginning of the distrust among many people.

It's my fond hope that he comes out of this muddle, clean, through the vigilance probe. We, his admirers, will eagerly look forward to such an eventuality. As I sign off with this hope, I can't help but recall two of his acts that endeared him to me.

(a) Years back, he had just taken over as the youngest home minister of the state. He was visiting 
      Kottayam and reservations had been made for him and his accompanying staff at the government
      guest house. A few hours, prior to his arrival, PN Panicker had sought a room for himself . The
      manager, who knew him well and had initially denied accommodation, provided him with the
      room that was meant for the home minister with the rider that he had to vacate it prior to his
      arrival. PN Panicker, exhausted with his day's efforts and suffering from fever, was fast asleep
      and could not be woken up when the time had come, putting the manager into a state of panic.

      Soon after midnight, the home minister reached with his cavalcade and on being told about the
      situation, lauded the manager and said that the guest house was meant for people like PN 
      Panicker, who worked tirelessly for the people. He, then, went on to use another not-so-special
      room to spend the night!

 (b) The long time that he spent beside the body of PN Panicker, on his passing away, showed his
       tremendous respect to the people who were genuine workers.

Odd reasons to conclude that he hasn't done anything wrong, you might counter. I've just quoted two instances of him being a genuine person and therefore, would come clean off these dark days. I wish him the best.


The long drive from Guruvayur was trouble free except for the traffic blocks that we'd encountered towards the end. There was a comedy in not being able to open the boot which was eventually overcome. The evening was spent with three of my classmates along with their better halves. It was a late night!   


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Limbering up.

I'd got up earlier than the alarm at 4 and went about my usual morning chores. Lekha, meanwhile, was busy preparing the morning coffee and breakfast of steaming idlis along with the coconut chutney. She used banana leaves, made soft, by warming them over the burner to pack the breakfast for the three of them. They had bathed much against their last night's decision of having it only after completion of the journey. We left soon after and by the time we'd reached the railway station, the queue was yet to form up and so, buying the tickets was easy.

We took the path through the first platform which was augmented with a concrete pathway, at ground level, cutting across the railway tracks of the station, went to the other extremity and finally, cut back on to the third platform in front of the train parked, ready for departure. Today, the driver seemed to be an uncouth fellow, in that, he'd parked the train ahead of its parking point, cutting off the thoroughfare. Wonder what his intentions were but I saw many passengers finding it difficult to negotiate the stones that supported the tracks. Damn mean of the blighter!

Saw the train receding from sight and returned home without much ado. I'd gone to town around a half past 10 to do certain pending jobs before our trip tomorrow like the bank work, picking up a telephone instrument, securing my right bridge at the dentist's - he wouldn't take a penny for his efforts, saying that I was his favourite patient, damn sweet of him - and top up the Chevy and check the tyre pressure. Selvam, the gentleman who came for pressing the clothes once every week, was half way through his work when I drove in. I could see the pride in his eyes when I'd queried him about his son.

The newspaper boy had to be told that he shouldn't put the newspapers from tomorrow morning - I'd seen him this morning but had forgotten to tell him then......forgetfulness is taking its toll, huh! The house had to be shut down ensuring that no window/door was left open. The walk was nice and from  Gopan and Oomeer at the medical shop, came to know that the condition of the highway through Kodungalloor had potholes . The other highway, through Thrissur, has the Janaraksha yatra of the BJP passing through Chalakkudy tomorrow morning.......will have to cross that stretch before 8 o'clock!


It's gonna be a long day tomorrow.        

Monday, October 9, 2017

A day with an aunt of mine.

My aunt, Santha kunjamma, her daughter-in-law and grand daughter had fetched up at 0140 hrs at the railway station. Earlier, I'd asked them to call me up on reaching Thrissur and therefore, I could be on time to receive them. Their's was a whirlwind tour and a lot had to be done.

After they'd caught up on sleep and breakfast, they're dropped at the temple by 10. They returned only by 1400 hrs because, though the crowd was comparatively less, it was the day of the 'Udayaasthamana pooja'(Prayers all through from sunrise to sunset) and hence, the regulation of the devotees to enter the sanctum sanctorum was on. They're, however, damn thrilled that they'd a good 'darshan' of the Guruvayoorappan.

After a quick lunch and siesta, we're off to Radhan chettan's house and to his daughter's house, thereafter. In the process of backing my vehicle at Radhan chettan's place, the rear bumper had touched a roadside hoarding but since it was made up of a bamboo-bunting combination, there was no visible damage! After leaving the mother-daughter combine at the Siva temple, Santha kunjamma and I returned home.

We'd a long chat about the events that had happened in her life and she seemed to be surprised about the fact that I knew the minute details of her life even though I was in class I those days.

    * On the death of her father(P Kesava Panicker) at 60 yrs in '57, Muthachhan had brought her and
       her younger sister, Sarala kunjamma to Thiruvananthapuram, to live with the family. After a few 
       years, she was married off to Mr. Pande, a Brahmin whose home town was in Matunga, 
       Bombay. He was tall, suave and handsome with hair, applied with cream and combed backwards.
    * She's extremely beautiful and he was possessive, to the extent that he viewed anyone and 
       anybody that she interacted with, with suspicion. He used to beat her up and I remember those 
       evenings when my grandmother and mom used to intervene and chide him
    * We'd gone off with dad to Bombay as he was posted on board a ship that was based there, in
       mid '60. I remember Pande chettan of being very fond of me and he'd given me a 200 page note
       book covered with a poster of the then popular radio - Murphy, with the magic eye - to list down
       the names of all the railway stations between Thiruvananthapuram and Bombay, with the
       promise that he'd peruse it on coming to his home town, on leave!   
    * I remember his visits, to our house a couple of times, but later on I'd heard dad telling that he
       died a wretched death thanks to his addiction to liquor.
    * Santha kunjamma and Pande chettan have a son, Unni who has been singularly unlucky in
       not having received his dad's love and it's due to this reason that I've a soft corner for him. He
       has not been keeping well because of the attendant problems caused by chain smoking. His
       wife, Valsala, works as the librarian of the 'Sananathan Dharma' Library, started by my 
       Muthachhan and their daughter, Sreelekshmi, is doing her studies at chartered accountancy,
       after graduation.
     *Muthachhan always rued the fact that the marriage that he'd arranged for her was a failure.
       He'd given her a piece of land next to his ancestral house, the Puthuvayil House, to build her 
       house in which she lives to this day. That possession was not backed up with title deed and 
       connected documents because PN Panicker's words were Gospel! No one dared question it!! The 
       deed and connected documents have now been made to formalise that transaction. He'd also
       financed the construction of the house.

It was during our recent visit to Neelamperoor on account of the temple's annual festival(Pooram) that Lekha and I'd invited them over to Guruvayur. This visit was consequent to that interaction and the young lady wanted to visit the temple to seek the Lord's blessings to do well in her forthcoming examination, commencing 02 Nov.


A nice day that was well spent and I'd kept all my personal work pending to make sure that I did not miss out on doing things for them! 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Hrithik Roshan's angst and other stories.

1. Hrithik Roshan Bares his Soul.

Have been watching the Hrithik Roshan interview with Arnab Goswami on the Republic television channel. He sounded earnest, looked lost like a kid and have restored a sense of semblance of sanity after the torture that he seemed to have gone through. It must have been a tough decision for him to open up before the media because he could get hauled over the coals. What I liked about the conversation was that:-

     (a) He was careful not to drag Kangana's name through infamy.
     (b) He doesn't have the superstar airs and reiterates that it's his fans, the cinema going public that
           has placed him on a high pedestal and he's just a commoner.
     (c) He looked extremely vulnerable.

So, was Kangana a stalker? She seems to be like a lady possessed by Hrithik Roshan from what I've seen from the gist of e-mails, messages supposedly sent by her as shown by the media and the statements made by her.

Or is it that there's someone else who's doing this mischief on her name? Her part of the story will reveal the whole truth, perhaps! It's become a necessity, now that we're privy to one side of the story.

2. Why Is This Negativity Being Bandied About? 

There has, generally, been a negative outlook about the country's economic state all over the media though as a commoner, I don't perceive it or is it that the small time traders/businessman that are going through the crunch ever since demonetisation and the introduction of GST as they make the bulk of the trading community?

Is it an opposition-led gimmick to show Modi in poor light? Or are the relevant indices showing an alarming outlook? Why I ask this is that I, as a commoner, have not felt the 'effect' except for the increase in prices of certain commodities which is something that everyone is used to, from time to time, as past trends show. My queries to the guys who're economic experts have given me a confusing opinion - a may or may not be kind of an explanation - depending upon their political affiliations. Hence, I reckon it to be a hoax!

To my mind, the answer seems to be simple. Every political party wants to win the general elections of 2019. Prime Minister Modi seems to have an edge over everybody as the nation realises that he's doing things for the betterment of the country. He has made many enemies as his governance has put a brake on many of the corrupt practices that have been going on till now with the general public's 'sab chaltha hai' attitude.

The winner of that election will benefit from the long term favourable effects of demonetisation and the introduction of the GST.


My new cellphone is slowly getting into stream the many hiccups, notwithstanding which I would, to some extent, attribute it to my clumsiness/inability to assimilate technology. It's a long haul but shall be overcome.  

Saturday, October 7, 2017

An afternoon outing.

Lekha's dental appointment was at 1400 hrs at the Vasan Dental Care, near Ayyanthole. A root canal treatment was to be performed on a lower premolar that was giving her a bit of a discomfort. Dental treatment is contemplated after taking all factors into consideration because of her SLE background. It cannot be trifled with as no mistake is permissible because it can result in the flaring up of the illness, one's told.

The concerned tooth stands precariously with the gums having receded considerably. It's, however, being retained as it supports the dental furniture that is in place. There was a discussion between her doctor at Kochi and the one here before putting down the plan of action. George, our chauffeur, had come around a half past 12 - on my calling - to enable us to be in time for the appointment.

George, incidentally, wasn't keeping well of late. On 21 Sep, his face had taken a contortion all of a sudden and he insists that he wasn't under any tension, any pain or was he undergoing any form of discomfort towards the run up to the incident. He was quickly taken to the hospital and with timely administration of medicines, a paralytic attack that could have been the culmination, was pulverized. The veins on either side of his forehead had bulged and luckily for him, there were no blood clots! He's just 62 years of age and I think the episode has shaken him. But he continues to pursue his driving assignments.

I dunno whether it was a rogue observation but I found him to be driving faster than usual. Was there an unconscious effort, on his part, to cram in as many events as possible due to a paucity of time? He did tell us that he'd be proceeding to Thiruvananthapuram by the Intercity Express, leaving Guruvayur at 0300 hrs, in the wee hours of tomorrow morning, to look up his grandson who'd undergone an accident, requiring three stitches on the bridge of his nose. And no, he's going all by himself and will return tomorrow. As he left, he waved me a good bye, quite unlike his usual self of smilingly driving away! Or was it all my imagination?

God, please take care of him and ensure that he's blessed with abundant good health.


Enroute, we'd visited the Airtel store and they, too, were surprised that my cellphone wasn't activated as yet. Another new sim was issued and a request for upgrade was given though the end result, by evening, was that the set would only receive and send emergency calls! Consequently, I was without a cellphone for over 24 hrs and only hope that there were no calls that require my urgent indulgence. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Coping with technology and atrocious attendant services.

Lekha and my nephew, Achu had bought me a brand new cellphone in June as mine was hopelessly erratic. It goes off and has to be restarted periodically. The call drops are an added irritation. I was simply lethargic as I wasn't even aware as to whether the company had a store at Guruvayur or if they had one, as to where it was. And all my queries on their electronic address turned out to be futile!

Both of us have Airtel's post paid connections. Finally, I'd got the location of the store from a friend of mine and we'd headed for the place this morning. I intended to clear the following pending work:-

    (a) Link up our connections with the Aadhaar as per the latest government directives.
    (b) Convert both our existing 2G connections to 4G, hoping that it would enhance the efficiency
          and coverage and perhaps, reduce call drops.

In the process, I'd hoped to activate my new set too. Viswanathan, at the store that we'd headed first was helpful, though he was unable to help us because he only dealt with 'pre-paid' connections. He, however, told us about the two stores at Chavakad and Kunnamkulam and recommended the latter as the former was incapable and would not be able to execute my requirement.

I wonder as to why the telecom companies do not provide professionals - at least they should  provide the people, manning the booths, with the right training to enable them to do their work correctly - who're efficient enough to help the customers with their requirements/queries and thereby achieve their employer's objectives. The fact is that the service providers charge for their services and are yet to give satisfactory answers to our queries about the continuing call drops, the TRAI directives, notwithstanding! The general experience is that the companies are harsh in their retribution if, god forbid, the customer is in the wrong. It should be so to sort out errant customers but don't the service providers, then, have the responsibility to be strict, unwavering and uncompromising about the quality of their services?

We, finally, headed for the store at Kunnamkulam where the helpful young lady and the lad went about our requirements to the best of their ability. There were customers who're trickling in and hence, we took leave of them without wasting their time on our doubts, which were aplenty. In the hasty exit, I'd forgotten to take down their contact number about which I was gonna rue later.

A full 12 hours later, though the 4G services have been initiated on Lekha's cellphone, albeit with glitches, mine continues to be working on the 2G. 


I wonder as to when the service providers and businessmen realise that the customer is king. I'm sure they understand that they can only survive with the patronage of each of their customers! 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

An unbridled enthusiasm!

1. Football, the Favourite.

The first match between India and the US of the under 17 FIFA World Cup will get going, this evening, at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in New Delhi. Over the past weeks, the enthusiasm towards the game has reached great levels and the popularity has no age bar. Just goes to show that in this country every game is popular, it just requires the right approach to attract popular support.

There was a general feeling that the Indians responded favourably only to cricket. Hockey, the once favoured game, does not figure anywhere on the adulation scale which is a sad story and I must say, unwittingly scripted by us because we didn't foresee the changes that were coming in and we didn't insist on our format, which was beautifully artistic!

I'd seen the sad transformation while at the NDA. The game that I was witness to in my first term, during Spring '73 was artistic where players flicked, tackled and played wrist shots sending the ball to their intended positions in a seemingly easy manner and the ball remained within the field for almost the entire duration of the game. The sticks never went up beyond the knees and yet the shots had sufficient force that could hurt anyone that came its way. By Autumn '75, during my final term, the texture of the game had changed with the sticks straying up beyond the knees quite often with the ball going out of the field every now and then. It seemed to be a modified form of cricket with hockey sticks!

May the game of Football prosper, attract more youngsters so that we have an international team that can compete with the best in the business within a span of a couple of years!

2. Simultaneous Polls.

The announcement by the Election Commission that it would be ready to conduct the general elections along with with the Assembly elections come Sep '18, if delivered, would become the biggest electoral reform in years. However, the entire spectrum of political parties needs to come to a unanimous decision for it to be implemented. The system of simultaneous polls was upset in '67 when a few state governments fell out of power due to a variety of reasons and elections had to be held to install their alternatives.

It would definitely bring about two things:-

    (a) The country's propensity to be on election mode, all through, will become a thing of the past.
    (b) Governance, consequently, will attain focus!

3. Getting to Know the Right Information.

I've been grappling with my erratic cellphone for quite a while. Actually, between Lekha and Achu, my nephew, a new instrument was bought in June but has not been commissioned till date thanks to procrastination on my part. All it requires is a micro sim card against the existing one(I want it to be converted to 4G from the 2G that I have at the present). This will enhance the speed and efficiency.
I need to identify the company's store in the near vicinity where I could get the needful done. It has been lethargy, instead! Must get it done before my trip, abroad, next week.


Today was the first remembrance day of the 91 year old Haridasa Menon, of our neighbourhood, as per the Malayalam calendar. He'd passed into the mist of time 13 days after my mom, last year!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The politics of 'yatras'.

The BJP is currently conducting the 'Janaraksha Yatra' from the northern part of Kerala and communist stronghold voicing its opinion against 'red terror' and 'love jihad'. That Amit Shah, the party's president took half an hour to articulate his views on the subject and 21/2 hours to 'walk the talk' showed his determination to take the fight to the enemy camp.

Beginning with a floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi's statue at the Gandhi Park on 03 Oct, Shah and the other leaders of the party undertook the 'padayatra' from Payyannur to Pilathara, a distance of eight kilometers to show that they mean business. The 'yatra' will be joined by the party's chief ministers from other states and other leaders in the coming days and will end a fortnight later, at Thiruvananthapuram.

The CPM has been quick to dismiss the charges but what remains to be seen is as to what the repercussions would be, now that 'red terror' has been brought to the center stage at the national level. The CPM has already announced its intentions to hold rallies all over the country highlighting the fascist tendencies of the BJP. That there was consensus among all, that political murders had to stop, what could not be decided was as to how to put an end to them.

Yatras come and yatras go but the one that leaves a lasting impression in the minds of the people would have achieved its aim! 

These are good exercises that are required frequently, but without affecting normal life. They will help the younger generation to pick up the political party of their choice, without coercion from any quarter and together they should strive towards a political atmosphere of healthy competition sans hatred and divisive tendencies where the nation's good is of paramount importance.

That should be the political outlook where everyone's affiliations is viewed with respect and gracefully agree to disagree on points/issues, if any.


The problem outside the kitchen, where the dish water falls, has been licked with a simple yet novel idea! Preetha seemed to be thrilled at the way it has been sorted out. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Back at 'The Quarterdeck'.

The train was on time as it slowly chugged into Guruvayur by 5’ to midnight. Made a quick get away and drove off from the railway station premises and was at home soon after.  Lekha was apprised of the day’s proceedings as I’d my supper – the only fault with this train is that it doesn’t cater for dinner as most of the passengers disembark at Ernakulam by a quarter to 10, to be in time for the meal at home! The railways had tried many stunts like delaying its departure from Thiruvananthapuram, so that it arrived later at Ernakulam, but there were no takers for the supper on board. This time, it was just three of us in the chair car to get off at Guruvayur.

We were off to bed by a quarter to 1, bringing an end to a hectic but enjoyable day. Meanwhile, Pushpaakaran had done the half yearly spring cleaning of the house and the fans, the window sills, the glass panes etc are looking nice and clean. The other pending job is to download a lorry of mud in our backyard to make it more even and strong. Just waiting for the long spell of rain to end.

                      *                           *                             *

Dileep has been granted bail by the High Court after he’d spent 85 days in jail. There are a lot of queries that I have and am reserving them for a later date. My only hope is that here is a chance to cleanse the Malayalam film industry and the opportunity must not be allowed to pass!

                *                              *                                *

I'm extremely happy to note a change, for the better, regarding the supply of LPG or the cooking gas. The waiting period for refill was almost 50 days from the date of booking not very long ago and these days, it's delivered the very next day. May the system prevail!


I'd like to share with you a good saying that was sent to me on What'sApp,

    "Anyone who is not on your same evolutionary and spiritual frequency will distance
      himself from you, while all those who are on the same evolutionary and spiritual
      frequency as you will come closer to you. You will see how amazing it is to discover that everyone who needs to be by your side will ultimately appear in your life in the most spontaneous and divine manner. That's how powerful the mind is!" 

Monday, October 2, 2017

A dash to Raj Nivas.

It was a decision taken on a whim but the reasons were as follows:-

     (a) The caretaker has been urging me to have a look at the quality of work done. Continuous rains
           had resulted in an overgrowth of weeds and consequently, a thick undergrowth. It was sad to
           see the wild creepers that were twisting and weighing down the rubber saplings.
     (b) I wanted to have a tete-e-tete with my parents who were resting there.
     (c) The uniform application of the natural fertiliser, cow dung along with other appropriate man
           made ones had to be finalised and the plan, put into effect.
     (d) Since the 2nd was a holiday, I expected less crowd in the public transportation.
     (e) The return reservation was confirmed.

Since it was the continuation of a string of holidays, getting people and services turned out to be difficult. My regular auto rick guy, Anto, was returning from a pleasure trip in Palakkad and therefore, wasn't available. The other two, whose numbers we had, refused to respond......perhaps, they're busy! And I decided to drive to the railway station in my Chevy, park it there and return in it on completion of the trip. I was not fully happy about parking it there because of the chances of damages being inflicted by other vehicles and it would also have to stand the harsh weather, for the whole day, as the parking area wasn't a covered shelter.

Had got up at a quarter past 4, went through the chores and was ready by a half past 5. Armed with a folding umbrella because it was raining all through the night but had, thankfully, taken a break as I was casting off, breakfast rustled up by Lekha along with six bananas(Catering for breakfast, tea break and lunch, you see), a bottle of drinking water, a change consisting of a shirt and vest and reading material, I'd driven past the second gate when I realised that I'd forgotten my cellphone and charger. I'd gone running back to fetch them and continued the drive and reached the railway station about seven minutes later. After parking the vehicle and collecting the parking ticket, I'd joined up the long queue, left with just another seven minutes to go for the train's departure. People jumping the queue were irritants but I could get my ticket without much delay and cut through the railway tracks to get onto the third platform, to board the train. As I found a window side single seat and plonked myself into it, the train had begun to move out of the station.....it was, thus, a touch and go sort of a situation!

Completely upsetting my assumption, the train was full of people but it was not packed as it would have been, on a working day. The journey was uneventful and I reached the destination at 1400 hrs where the caretaker was waiting with the auto rickshaw - my phone was on its last leg of charge as the train's carriage was of vintage and consequently, did not have charging points! Earlier, breakfast was had at Ernakulam Town around a quarter past 8 and lunch, at Kollam by a half past 1. On fetching up at Raj Nivas, without much ado, I had gone into the rubber plantation and could not but marvel at the beautiful work done by the 23 men @ Rs.700/- per day. Two labourers, Unni and Philip, were still on the grind, sorting out the last patch of unkempt growth.

I did spend time at my parents' resting place and updated them about the purpose of my visit and the duration of stay. The caretaker, the lead worker and I, then, discussed and finalised the subsequent activities that were to be carried out within the coming week. After a quick wash and a change of clothes, I was off for Kollam by bus but not before having a piping hot mug of tea, from the caretaker's house! The Intercity Express to Guruvayur was on time and by 1840 hrs, I was on my return journey, satisfied with the day's proceedings. I'd sufficient reading material from the book stall on the platform. Met Suresh, an ex-cashier at the Guruvayur SBI and also, befriended his wife and as they're getting off at Aluva waved a hearty goodbye.


There was no rain anywhere, enroute and Lekha had confirmed that Guruvayur had also not had rain throughout the day, except for the early morning downpour. Pushpaakaran, had fetched up for the half yearly spring cleaning! 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A case for the Bullet Trains.

There has been a few echoes, from certain quarters, that the country needs no 'Bullet Trains'. It's easy to establish as to who the proponents are and I shan't waste my time doing so because it's immaterial and inconsequential as they're simply trying to score brownie points. What I have not been able to understand is the argument behind the suggestion or in other words, is there any substance at all, in the first place?

The sad tragedy of the loss of 27 lives at Bombay's Elphinstone Road Metro Station's foot over bridge, in a stampede, has been the latest triggering point for the naysayers. Raj Thackeray has gone one step further saying that it's the outsiders who've come into the state in search of work that have caused the accident. A bizarre reason, indeed! And what's the Congress party finding fault with?

Having been in power, at the center and in the states for over 60 years, it should have ensured its successive governments to institutionalise systematic maintenance of the railways' infrastructure as a matter of course. Instead, new trains were announced year after year during each railway budget with scant attention to the safety factor! Every railway minister made sure that the railways serviced his constituency to satisfy his vote banks.

So, I would like to sum up the reasons for the abhorrence of the Bullet Trains which are:-

    (a) It's a Modi initiative and therefore, it has to be opposed tooth and nail.
    (b) The existing infrastructure of the railways need renewal/overhauling. What the naysayers forget
          is that the lines used by the Bullet Trains will have to be be upgraded to facilitate higher speeds
          and increase efficiency
    (c) The running costs of the Bullet Trains are high which will translate into the fares being high
          and the facility cannot be afforded by the poor.
    (d) It will serve only a few corridors leaving the remainder of the existing rail network out of
          its purview.

The argument against will, necessarily, have to take into consideration certain opposing points that would not have a direct connection with the railways and here I go:-

     (a) In the '80s and the '90s, the then government was at a loss as to how to go about modernising
          the telecommunication system of the country. Was it by the repair by replacement system or by
          marrying the latest technology with the existing one, replacing the defective ones in a phased
          manner? That the second option was accepted is now history and it has worked well.
     (b)Why was air travel permitted to come in when everyone was aware of the fact that it could
          never be afforded by the poor? By the arguments that are being bandied about today against
          the Bullet Trains, the airline industry would have never taken off in India - the bitter fact is
          that a guy like P Chidambaram  is saying 'nay' to score brownie points!
     (c) Japan is assisting us in its implementation against a soft loan thanks to the personal rapport
          between the two Prime Ministers.
     (d) It's gonna generate job opportunities which is a significant factor.

So, let's have the Bullet trains please.


Am off to my parents' place early morning tomorrow. The caretaker had wanted me to survey the removal of the overgrowth of weeds, around the rubber saplings, over the last one week by 23 farm labourers. Will go from here by the early morning Fast Passenger train to Punalur and return by the Thiruvananthapuram-Guruvayur Intercity Express by midnight tomorrow. A long day indeed! Meanwhile, Lekha is gonna get work done here as Pushpaakaran, the farmhand has told me that he's coming in tomorrow for work.