Saturday, March 31, 2018

The little things that made the day.

I'm gonna touch up on small things - trivia - that constituted my day that gave me tremendous satisfaction.

# Had got up precisely at a 10' past 5, went through my chores and was out of the house at 6. I'd headed for the Rajah Hospital to go through another round of blood tests - fasting and post prandial. The sister on duty had drawn the sample without giving me even a bit of pain while driving in the needle. She'd pasted the small circular patch over the spot and I'd set off for home.

# It was while I was walking that I happened to notice a big blotch of blood beneath the patch. Was it because I was walking, immediately, after the drawal of the sample? Should I return to the hospital and have it checked by the sister to see if everything was okay but I pushed the thought away and decided to react if the blotch got bigger. Thankfully, it didn't!

# Lekha's assistant, Preetha, was on leave for the day. Though Lekha did not require any help from me, assistance was provided by putting the soiled linen into the washing machine, hanging the washed clothes on the clothes line, carrying the meals to the table from the kitchen, removing the used plates from the table to the sink at the work area etc, etc.

# Watching 'Crime Patrol' on the Sony channel after lunch. It was a chilling story about the gruesome murder of a brother and sister. Around 3, I'd taken off for the Rajah Hospital and as a prelude, to the auto rickshaw stand - too lazy to drive but there weren't any vehicles available. So, had returned and drove to the hospital in my Chevy.

# The sister did a botch up and hit the vein in her third attempt, causing me great discomfort. The worst was when she plunged the needle the first time and probed the vein with the needle. This was despite the warning that I'd  given her about the difficulty in picking my vein! While driving out, I'd inquired about the gatekeeper's personal details and Padmanabhan seemed to be thrilled that I remembered his name and gave me a smart salute!!

# No sooner had I returned home than I'd turned off to bed to catch my forty winks. About an hour later, the hospital's messenger had come in with the results. He was keen to know about Radhan chettan whom he'd taken to the hospital a fortnight back in the ambulance and looked sad when I told him the story.

# The results were encouraging because the earlier readings had come down after a week's intake of the doctor's medication. In the light of the present revelations, however, my sugar readings are perfectly within normal limits! Do I require medication at all, I wonder? Must ask the doctor during my forthcoming visit.

It was a quiet day and it's now confirmed that I've to go to Thiruvananthapuram tomorrow itself for the official function on Tuesday because it's gonna be a 'hartal' on Monday.  Lekha has decided to stay put at 'The Quarterdeck' during my absence; earlier, she'd planned to go to my sister's at Palakkad.


Must put Selvam's son, Raja, in the Foundation against a stipend, for a while, as he searches for a suitable job. The boy is smart and has pleasant manners.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Deplorable! Unpardonable! Unacceptable!

The Act.

"Homage to the Principal who has died in the hearts of the students.....a tragedy is over and the campus is getting free", said a poster in Malayalam that appeared on the walls of the Nehru Arts and Science College, Kanhangad. On 29 Mar, the students also burst crackers inside the campus to celebrate the retirement of their principal, PV Pushpaja.

This bizarre send off ceremony was happening even as an official farewell function was going on in the college, ahead of her retirement on 31 Mar.

It's a deplorable, unpardonable and unacceptable act and the culprits need to be punished without loss of time and without fear or favour.


The incident reminded many of the highhandedness displayed by students against two other women principals in the recent past, which were:-

     (a) The 'symbolic funeral' SFI students had organised at the Government Victoria College,
           Palakkad, in Apr '16, to mock their principal, TN Sarasu.
     (b) The burning of the chair of NL Beena, the principal of the Maharaja's College, Ernakulam
           in Jan '17.

Pushpaja, a former student of the college, had worked as a teacher for 33 years before being elevated to the post of principal. She has paid the price for being strict in enforcing discipline within the college. She reiterates that the SFI was against her right from the start of her tenure as principal. She cites the following incidents to back her arguments:-

      (a) As per directives from the government, she'd recommended the installation of cctv cameras
            at vantage points in the college to the management. The SFI had gone on strike over the
      (b) The students who had taken part in the strike broke open the locked conference hall of the
            college, to have a meeting. She'd reported this matter to the police and in the process,
            incurred their anger.
      (c) Attendance was disallowed to the students who'd produced bogus medical certificates to
            cover their non attendance despite the fact that they're within the premises!

A sad state of affairs!


I wonder what sort of students disrespect their teachers. Of course there are bound to be good and not-so-good teachers with respect to their teaching abilities. While taking the latter in one's stride with tuitions and extra coaching, it doesn't give liberty to the students to misbehave. One thing is for sure, a student who does not respect his teacher does not respect his parents either! And that's a negative factor in the march to achieve success in life!!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Kim Jong-un in China.

The supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, had made a state visit to China last week. It's rumoured that he fears flying and had undertaken his first visit outside the state, after coming to power in '11, by travelling in and out of Beijing by train. He met and held a series of talks with the Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Supreme leader was accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol-ju. Initially, it was believed that Kim would be accompanied by his sister, Kim Yo-jong. She'd earlier represented the North at the recently concluded Winter Olympics in South Korea. But it was not to be.

I'm gonna be a bit gossipy from here.

Ri Sol-ju seems to have taken the Chinese by storm by her looks, dressing and demeanour. Ri and Peng Liyuan, China's first lady, were photographed together a number of times during the two day visit. Given below are a few comments on China's popular social media site, 'Sina Weibo':-

    # Ri has a "powerful presence" in addition to being prettier and better dressed than Peng.

    # Ri was compared with popular South Korean and Chinese actresses.

    # Ri is indeed beautiful and amiable. She'd be good at 'first lady diplomacy' better than Kim's

    # Ri's fashion is subtle but not conservative.

    # Ri's looks were "outdated"(?), they were nevertheless impressive considering she comes from
       a totalitarian country.

Ri is believed to have been married to the supreme leader since '09.

Other Tidbits.

    1. Kim Jong-un has pledged to denuclearise the Korean peninsula. This was splashed across in
        the Chinese media but muted in the North Korean media.
    2. A senior Chinese official visited Seoul to brief the leadership regarding the high points of
        the visit.


Mentions of North Korea's first lady have since been removed from China's social media.


It was a quiet day of reading and catching up on sleep. Around 10 AM, I'd gone to the nearby bus stop to see off Rema to Palakkad. Lekha and her assistant, meanwhile, had gone for the customary Thursday morning visit to the Guruvayur temple.


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A day on wheels.

Mini and Sanil had started from Bangalore by a half past 2 in the morning. They reached Coimbatore and picked up Ammu and Mithun by about a half past 8. Rema was picked up an hour later and I'd asked them to come via Guruvayur so that I, too, could join the bandwagon.

It sounded selfish but I'd done a quick study to establish that this was indeed a route worth considering as it didn't exceed the Kuthiran one by distance. They reached the Little Flower College bus stop by a quarter past 12 as we didn't want to waste time by them entering 'The Quarterdeck'. Sanil and everyone else wanted me to drive and I took over the wheel and drove like a madcap because:-

     (a) I wanted Sanil, Ammu and Mini to be able to see Jayan's mortal remains. It was their right,
          after all. Rema and I also wanted to see him, of course.
     (b) Wanted to prove that their decision, based on my suggestion was right, indeed.
     (c) Both Rema and I'd wanted to board the Thiruvananthapuram-Guruvayur Intercity at 1840 hrs
           from Kollam - after paying our tributes - so that we could be back home by midnight.

Lekha and her assistant had packed a delicious snack of paranthas with spicy lemon pickle and three bottles of cooled, boiled water. This was devoured by everyone with a relish that was satisfying to me, as an observer. It also precluded the requirement of stopping the vehicle at a wayside eatery to have lunch, by which we would have wasted valuable time.

Time, indeed, was at a premium and to my conservative estimate we'd reach Jayan's house only by about 1730 hrs, though, well ahead of the sunset time which was mandatory. Meanwhile, there were irritating calls from all and sundry to know as to where we were and Sanil, Mini, Mithun and Ammu reported positions that were a trifle ahead of our actual DR(Dead Reckoning position as used in navigation be it maritime, air or on terra firma!) to throw them off our backs!!

Over and above all these, I must admit that the journey was a difficult one because:-

        (a) The weather was too hot for comfort.
        (b) The car's air conditioning system was switched off as Ammu was allergic to it.
        (c) The traffic was dense and horribly indisciplined!

The only thing that made it enjoyable was the continuous conversational entertainment that was in flow.

We reached Jayan's house at Valathungal in Kollam by a 5' to 6. The final 5 kms to his house was through a maze of narrow roads, teeming with vehicles, animals and with a railway level cross to boot - which had brought down its booms just as we neared it, delaying us further when every minute, nay second, counted! The traffic rules followed by the people, in that stretch of the road was foreign to me and downright crazy!

Finally, on reaching the funeral pyre, we found that everything was ready for the cremation on completion of the last rites and that everyone was waiting for us. Jayan's mortal remains were in view as we paid our marks of respect. His face was bloated and had taken on a dark hue with flecks of blood and we're told that his 'Potassium level' had shot up, towards his final moments, hastening his end! Ironically his friend, who was willing to donate a patch of his liver, had cleared his medical examination the day when he'd decided to bid adieu!


We met Ponni, her daughter, Janaki, Sanil's mom and many other elders - a gentle hug, a pat on the cheek were all that we could pass on to tell them that we, too, joined them in their hour of grief. Rema and I made a quick exit to the railway station only to find that we'd missed two trains to Guruvayur by a whisker and the next was past midnight! We, then, made a dash for the KSRTC bus stand, had a quick supper at a wayside eatery and boarded the 8 'o clock Fast Passenger to Thrissur. Though both of us had to stand for the first twenty kilometres because the bus was full, we got our seats and mine was the front seat, diametrically across the driver's and therefore, I'd a good view of the road and the traffic.

There was a Kodak moment on board when a young college girl slapped a young, bearded guy behind her who was up to mischief. The other passengers gave her support and he was disembarked forthwith. Her father had come to escort her home at Aroor. How I wish I'd carried a 'zaried' shawl to honour her for the strong stand that she'd taken!

Vishnu and Sheeja were in attendance for the funeral and also to meet me to get the papers/pay cheques signed.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Adieu Jayan.

We'd just turned off to sleep when Mini, my sister at Bangalore, rang up to tell us that Sanil's youngest brother, Jayan - they're three brothers - had passed into the mist of time a few minutes before. The time was a half past 11. He was in the Amritha Hospital at Kochi for the last week, alternating between the ventilator and the ICU, on account of the cirrhosis of his liver.

He used to drink heavily and at times - seemingly to my mind - drank as though there was no tomorrow. All of 51 years, he leaves behind his wife and two children - a boy and a girl - who're still going through the final years of their education. Sanil has been upset ever since he has heard the news and they're poised to leave for Kollam early morning tomorrow to be in time for the funeral scheduled at 1500 hrs tomorrow.

RIP Jayan. My tears and prayers. May Ponni and the children have the fortitude to tide over these stressful times.

       *                            *                               *

And here's a news byte that I found interesting.

      Justice at last.

       In Sep '14, when Sanchayita Yadav was going to a shop in Dum Dum, Calcutta, a biker stopped
       in front of them and threw acid on to her face. The liquid had eaten into her skin and she was left,
       writhing in pain. The next few months were a nightmare as her widowed mother took loans for
       her treatment but she lost her right eye. A case was lodged with the police but it did not progress.
       An NGO that helps acid attack victims introduced her to a human rights NGO that helped her
       lodge a case with the Calcutta High Court and the probe, finally, began in '17 when her
       statement was recorded in front of a Judicial Magistrate's Court.

       The culprit has, since, been nabbed from Sonarpur. Justice has finally reached the hapless young
       lady. Incidentally, he was her former lover!

       I really feel nice!


A telecom company has dug up the entrance of our lane, from the main road, to lay new super conductor cables. How these guys manage to do such things beats me.......this shows their couldn't-care-less-attitude towards the common man.


Monday, March 26, 2018

Looking after the aged.

The Kerala state government has plans to set up hospice facilities in all district hospitals. It's a step in the right direction as the state is gonna witness a demographic transition - rise in the aged population and a decline in the growth rate of population - that necessitates care for more people. Against the backdrop of increasing ageing population and nuclear families, the aged face a tough battle on the health front.

So, what's a hospice?

Hospice focuses on palliative care of chronically/terminally ill patients' pain and symptoms and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs. The treatment is either given at home or in an institution called hospice that specialises in such care. In 1967, Cicely Saunders set up the first hospice in London based on her observation of a dying patient that, "As the body becomes weaker, so the spirit becomes stronger".

Certain facts.

   (a) Palliative care was established to look after dying cancer patients.
   (b) Regional Cancer Centre(RCC), Thiruvananthapuram  was the first hospital in the country
         to start a pain clinic, offering palliative care in 1986.
   (c) Around the same time, a formal palliative care service was initiated in Bombay and designated
   (d) Palliative care improves the quality of life of a patient and his/her family who're facing
         difficulties associated with life-threatening illness.
   (e) It curbs suffering through early identification, correct assessment and treatment of pain and
        other problems (Physical, psycho social or spiritual).
   (f)  In '12, the Central government developed a national palliative care strategy.
   (g) In '14, it amended the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances(NDPS) Act that helped
         overcome regulatory barriers to ensure opioid access for pain relief.
   (h) In '17, it came out with a National Health Policy laying emphasis on community or home-based
         palliative care.
   (j)  Kerala in '08, Maharashtra in '12 and Karnataka in '16 have put in place a state palliative care

Quality Palliative Care Still Miles Away.

    (a) In '14, WHO passed a resolution that palliative care must be integrated with healthcare at
          primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
    (b) A '16 review showed that India failed to move forward in this direction.
    (c) Palliative care should go hand in hand with curative treatment and start at the time of
    (d) Though the amended NDPS Act has been implemented in Kerala, the drugs control department
          recently issued a circular restricting the amount of morphine per patient to 50-100 tablets at
          a time.
    (e) The result is that many patients find it difficult to get their actual quota!

The Steps Being taken.

      1. The end-of-life patients will be given care in the hospices proposed to be set up.
      2. Geriatric wards within hospitals will follow hospice concept.
      3. The staff that man these wards will be trained on responding to pain crises.
      4. A day care home for the elders is being planned per district.
      5. The Kerala University of Health Sciences will introduce a palliative care module in the
          MBBS course.

(Adapted from an earlier article on the subject)  


After having said the above, it doesn't give any excuse for children to put away their elders in palliative care or geriatric wards as a matter of convenience.


Sunday, March 25, 2018

It's the Holy Week.

It's the commencement of the Holy Week from today and the Christians, the world over, follow each day in the letter and spirit surrounding them. Mind you, they've been on fast - the 45 day period that's called 'Lent' - which will be broken only on Easter Sunday. So, what does each day signify?

  (a) Palm Sunday.                        Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
  (b) Holy Monday.                        Mary anoints Jesus with perfume. Judas is scandalized and leaves.
  (c) Holy Tuesday.                        Jesus predicts Judas' betrayal and Peter's triple denial.
  (d) Holy Wednesday.                   Judas betrays Jesus and hands him over to the chief priests.
  (e) Maundy Thursday.                Jesus gives the New Commandment of love and institutes the 
                                                       Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and of Orders during the Last
  (f) Good Friday.                          The passion and death of Jesus Christ.
                                                       Day of fasting (1 whole meal and 2 very light meals).
  (g) Black Saturday.                     Contemplation of Jesus in the tomb in silence and adoration.
  (h) Easter Sunday.                      Jesus triumphs over death, sin and evil with His Resurrection,
                                                       proving He is God.

            *                           *                               *

The Rahul Gandhi Dilemma.

The Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad at a press conference last week, alleged that the Congress party had engaged controversial data mining firm Cambridge Analytica - the firm, based in UK, is currently at the centre of a storm for illegally harvesting Facebook data. Setting another round of political sparring, Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "Hi! My name is Narendra Modi. I'm India's PM. When you sign up for my official app, I give all your data to my American friends in American companies".

What a churlish thing to do? Either he's being outright stupid or he's being advised by outrightly stupid people. Since he's offering himself as an alternative to Narendra Modi, he should rise above narrow bickerings. And where-o-where is his vision for the country? He and his coterie seem to believe that anything and everything that come their way must be hurled at the PM.....something will stick. The down slide is that he's losing his credibility!

             *                            *                                *

An Unacceptable Situation.

The ICC banned Australian cricket captain Steve Smith for one match for his role in a ball tampering plot on the third day of the ongoing third test match at Cape Town between South Africa and Australia. It avoided suspension for Cameron Bancroft, the player who did the tampering. David Warner, the vice captain, has also resigned.

The ugly incident came to light when Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera attempting to alter the condition of the ball using a piece of yellow adhesive tape and some dirt in order to get the ball to swing.

My take.

These guys have shown serious flaws in their personalities by resorting to unfair means to win a game and can never be pardoned. They ought to be kicked out of the team forever to set an example for succeeding generations about playing it right, always! Will they be able to look directly into the eyes of the people from now on? Never!


It was another of those quiet days.  


Saturday, March 24, 2018

Honour killing comes to haunt Kerala.

The incident of a father killing his daughter on the eve of her wedding, happened on 17 Mar. It took place near Areakode in Malappuram district. The fact that I was at that place exactly a month before - in the course of the yatra - evokes an intense sadness deep within me!

Here are the salient points of the case:-

    (a) Athira, all of 21 years, was working as a lab assistant at the Manjeri Medical College and
          Hospital. She's from the Ezhava community.
    (b) She fell in love with Brijesh, a young army man, belonging to the Dalit community(SC/ST).
    (c) Their love had blossomed when his mother was taken for treatment at the hospital.
    (d) Both the families opposed the relationship but had finally agreed to the wedding thanks to
          an initiative brokered by the police!
    (e) Accordingly, the preparations for the wedding were on and the girl's mom and her two
         brothers were away at Kozhikode town to buy clothes for the wedding.
    (f) Her inebriated father got into an argument and attacked her with the kitchen knife. She ran
         into her neighbour's house crying for help but he chased her and inflicted the fatal wound.
    (g) She suffered a deep wound on her chest to which she succumbed soon after.

An honour killing in a highly literate state? Can't believe it. Had Muthachhan been alive, it would have pained him immensely or would such an incident have taken place?

I'm reminded of something that I'd come to know during a journey that I'd undertaken, through the interiors of Kerala, last December. Almost a century back, Sahodaran Ayyappan, an outspoken follower of Sree Narayana Guru and a great social reformer had organised the famous combined feast for the Ezhavas and the lower castes on the basis of his argument, "You complain about being demeaned by the upper castes but you behave in a similar fashion with the people of the castes lower to you, which should be shunned". 

By this singular incident, we've put the clock back and thumbed our noses at the efforts of Sahodaran Ayyappan and other well meaning people. It's my fond hope that this is not repeated.


Adorable reads.
Letters children actually wrote to God.

"Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don't You keep the ones You have already made........''


Friday, March 23, 2018

Lekha's dad's second remembrance day.

It was Lekha's dad's second remembrance day, as per the Malayalam calendar. The morning prayers and Lekha's visit to the temple for the 'Thil homam' were the main activities. How time flies as I still remember that day when Lekha was picked up by her younger sister - around 11 AM - on their way from Tirur to Kottarakkara. Mom and I had attended the funeral the next day and returned........ 

By a half past 7, Anto was at the gate to take me to the doctor(Our ophthalmologist's brother, a medical specialist with an interest in diabetes) as per the appointment, fixed last evening. We reached there by about a quarter past 8 and it turned out to be that I was the first to call. We went through my past medical history and he ordered a battery of tests as he'd asked me to meet him on an empty stomach.

The tests were carried out in the nearby Mother Hospital where the doctor works. Wondered as to whether all of them were needed(An x-ray of chest PA because of a spike in sugar reading?) but went along with it as once-a-year-tests are worthwhile to know as to whether one's system was working fine. Thankfully, I didn't have to wait for long as I went through the formalities of registration, giving samples and collecting the x-ray and ECG results almost immediately after(Anto was a great help as he handled the papers and the file as I went about the various tests).

The doctor has given me three new medicines with the instruction that I meet him with a fasting/post prandial review, after a week, along with the results of the tests conducted today. The funniest thing was that the ophthalmologist had pressed the panic button because of the sugar readings. I was convinced that there was nothing to worry about and to highlight my point of view is this singular aspect. I was on an empty stomach from the morning till 10' to 11, when I'd breakfast on returning home and there was no urge/impatience to have anything, normally associated with those who've sugar problems!!............... But anyways, life goes on.

There were many messages on What'sApp over the past few days, to light a candle in front of the house to reminisce the sacrifice of the brave defence personnel who've given up their lives while defending the country. I, too, had lit one in my courtyard at 2000 hrs, before settling down in front of the television set to watch another episode of 'Sree Ganesh'......... I must confess that I felt nice lighting the candle.  


The Labernum in our courtyard is in full bloom but the flowers have started withering thanks to the evening thundershowers. Will they last till Vishu - the 14th of next month?

Thursday, March 22, 2018

News views.

Back, once again, on the news in circulation. Some of the fundamentals never change and they're in evidence as one goes through each, minutely. So, here I go.

  (a) The Commonwealth Games.

        The Commonwealth Games '18 will take place at Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia from
        04 to 15 Apr. There always seems to be some problem or the other with respect to this games
        extravaganza. As of now, the fight between the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and
        the Prasar Bharati may result in the cancellation of the radio coverage of the games by the All
        India Radio. Why don't the concerned people think only about the best interest of the nation?
        Resolve differences between departments to bring about a spectacular show by the team at the
        games. The whip should be cracked on the minions who are organising the show and are getting
        carried away over trivia.

        But what worries me the most is that the scams which were responsible for the many hate
        reviews over CWG '10, continue to be unresolved and the fraudsters strut around as though
        nothing wrong had ever happened.

  (b) The Aadhaar's Continuing Fight.

        The legitimacy of the Aadhaar is being discussed in the apex court. This situation has been
        brought about because of the growing apprehensions that when introduced, it will result in
        the government's virtual surveillance of citizens. The Unique Identification Authority of India
        (UIDAI), through a power point presentation, to the Supreme Court has highlighted the
        following about the Aadhaar:-

                 (i) It's a tool to establish identity and not an aggregator of data, that could be misused
                      by the government to track citizens.
                (ii) It's safe from hacking as the storage facility was not connected to the internet.
               (iii) It provides the bare minimum information through leased lines connected to the
                      database for authentication purposes and is completely ignorant about the transactions
                      for which a person uses that authentication.

         Have all the controversies on the Aadhaar sprung up because it was begun by one political
         dispensation while its fine tuning is being done by another? That is the crux! Sad!!


A comparatively quiet day. Lekha, along with her assistant, Preetha had gone to the temple and did some sundry shopping from the Thursday market, where the commodities are cheap, fresh and
cover a wide range.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Thirteen days of inaction and other stories.

Analysis of the news that have grabbed headlines over the past few days.

 (a) Thirteen days of inaction.

        Citing her inability to identify the supporters of the 'no confidence motion' against the Modi
        government, the Speaker had adjourned the Lok Sabha for the 13th day. The parties that have
        been 'active' in their protests in the well of the house were:-

              (i) AIADMK        Demanding the immediate setting up of the Cauvery Water Management
                   and DMK        Board.
             (ii) TRS                 Demanding special status for Telengana.

          The opposition believes that the agitating parties are covertly helping the government to stall
          the discussions on the no confidence motion against it. There's a general feeling that all would
          have fallen in place had the Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi, tabled the motion.

          Rajya Sabha was adjourned barely four minutes after it had assembled. As a layman, I can't
          understand the inaction for the following reasons:-

                 (i) A lot of burning issues have to be discussed.
                (ii) Bills of financial content have been passed without discussions.
               (iii) The tremendous waste of money involved when the house doesn't function during a
               (iv) Many bills pending to get the clearance of the Parliament.

           Sad. This can happen only in India!

  (b) A very interesting survey.

        60,000 women were surveyed by Kudumbashree as part of the Neetham '18 campaign. The
        survey had focussed on combating violence against women and children and creating an
        awareness among the public. The findings will be used by the government to formulate
        projects for the safety of women and children and it will be implemented through the local
        bodies. Sample a few of the answers:-

                  (i) Raising children should be a shared responsibility by both parents. 
                 (ii) Wife should live with husband despite marital disputes.
                (iii) Men should head the family.
                (iv) Men shouldn't discipline wives.
                 (v) Men and women are socially equal.
                (vi) Provocative dressing increases risk of rape.
               (vii) Women can do better than men in service sector.
              (viii) Wife shouldn't succumb to the husband's demand for forced sex.

          The survey illustrates the deep patriarchal mindset of the Keralites.

   (c) Jackfruit is the state fruit.

         Jackfruit has been declared the state fruit by the Assembly and the reasons are not quite hard to
                   (i) It's 100% organic with a huge potential for highly profitable value-added products.
                  (ii) Plans afoot to promote Kerala jackfruit brand.
                 (iii) It's high in protein, a source of Vitamin A, boosts immunity, prevents anemia and
                        is a good energy source.
                 (iv) It stands 6th in the country in terms of production at 10% annually. Tripura and
                        Orissa come first and second!


1. Wished Rema many happy returns as it's her birthday by the English calendar.
2. Talked to Nonu, my cousin at Madras, who has been blessed with a baby boy. Ankita did have complications, underwent a Caesarean section and the premature baby(It's the 33rd week) weighing 1.7 kg is right now being managed in the neo-natal ICU.
3. Wished Indira kunjamma many happy returns as it's her birthday by the Malayalam calendar.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

To Ivar Madhom and back.

Had got up around a half past 5, gone through the chores and had gone to Chattukulam to wait for the vehicle going to Ivar Madhom, one of the preferred cremation spots on the banks of the River Bharathapuzha at Thiruviluamala. It had been decided that Radhan chettan's body would be cremated there against his wish to rest beside his younger brother, Sasi chettan, in the backyard of their house at Puthuppally, to avoid unpleasantness (The presence of Sathi chechi would have irked his first wife and the eldest son).

We'd set off by a quarter past 8 and the 75 odd km, northward, were covered within two hours. Alappurathe Babu chettan and Puthuvayil Babu chettan sat near and gave me a running commentary on the life and times of Radhan chettan, who seemed to be a renegade in the family. His pastime during his high school days was to play cards, funded by the money surreptitiously acquired from selling paddy from the house or stolen coconuts from the farm, nearby! It was to stop these antics of his that Muthachhan took him, under his wing, to Thiruvananthapuram, for schooling, in classes IX and X.

After joining the state's road transport corporation, as a conductor posted on the Kottayam-Neelamperoor route, he proved to be a ladies' man and broke the hearts of many a girl(A judge's daughter and a college lecturer were at the receiving end!) In the former case, his dad had to tell him to keep off, after her dad's complaints........ I realised that his younger siblings revered him for being the rebel-without-a-pause, all through his life, despite the fact that he had not been of any help to the family.

'DR', as he was known at his work place, is remembered for his integrity, earnestness at work and a no-nonsense man among his contemporaries and juniors!

We reached Ivar Madhom by about a half past 9 and by about 10' to 10, his earthly form was blanked off from sight - once for all - as the shroud was put over the body, before the lighting of the pyre. What must have gladdened his soul was that all his three sons were present to carry out the last rites - he was sure that his eldest son wouldn't join and had asked his second son, the policeman, to lead the proceedings! (And he did just that despite the presence of his elder brother). I believe he'd also asked his two younger daughters-in-law to look after Sathi chechi after he passed into eternity because he'd not done anything for her!!

We returned soon after and I was back at 'The Quarterdeck' by lunchtime.


The ophthalmologist was mortified when I'd said that I wasn't bothered about my high sugar readings because it was notwithstanding the fact that I go for regular walks, both in the morning and in the evening, do a bit of yoga, have controlled my sugar, as well as, food intake. She has advised me to take care and asked her brother, a diabetic specialist, to take care of me. I meet him this Friday!              

Monday, March 19, 2018

Adieu Radhan chetta.

Our landline rang around a few minutes past 5, this morning and it had the ominous tone of bringing in bad news and for sure, it was. It was Sathi chechi who'd called up to say that Radhan chettan had passed into the mist of time around 5 AM.

His medical problems that had become acute soon after my mom's passing away in Sep '16, saw him on a perpetual visit to the hospitals, nearby, on a continuous cycle. His was a case of 'Chronic Kidney Disease'. I remember my conversation with him at the Amala Hospital's Casualty ward soon after he was revived with an infusion of Oxygen, on arrival on 10 Mar. He was back to his normal self and had told me that I shouldn't have brought him to the hospital.....probably he knew that his days were numbered and he didn't want money to be spent on him 'unnecessarily'. He was, thereafter, wheeled into the ICU after which I saw his lifeless body only this morning, lying in a mobile mortuary.

Sathi chechi recalled as to how he'd got the frontage of the house painted a few months back, saying that it should look presentable when people came to see him, within the next six months! While we're returning after the last Neelamperoor pooram, I recall his answer to Sarala Kunjamma - his aunt - when she told him that they should meet during the next pooram, and I quote, "No, I don't expect to be there beyond six months. I'm ill and tired". Had he begun to see his end, I wonder?

* * *

The dashing, D Radhakrishnan was at Kottakkal as a TTE in the state's road transport corporation or KSRTC as we know it. He'd gone to the famous Arya Vaidyasala for treatment where Sathi, a hardworking nurse, happened to take care of him - that both were married and had children from their marriages was another matter altogether (His wife, Ammini, had sired three sons and she'd sired a daughter). Cupid had struck and they decided to live together as man and wife in '86! He retired as the District Transport Commissioner in '98, while he was all of 55 yrs and they had decided to settle down at Guruvayur, at a place, without knowing that Lekha and I were going to set up our nest 'The Quarterdeck', much later in Nov '13, which is just a stone's throw away from their house!

During our many interactions, he used to tell me as to how he used to carry me around when I was a child while staying with my grandparents, at their house, TC 804(The old number) at Thycaud in Thiruvananthapuram, when he did his classes IX and X. Lekha and I were witness to his tremendous love for my mom which was reciprocated in equal measure and fact, I can never forget the way he'd cried aloud seeing my mom's lifeless body in the ambulance, within the premises of the Rajah Hospital.

* * *

I can never forget an energetic Radhan chettan - fully tanked up - swaying to the prevalent music during one of the earlier Neelamperoor poorams when the entire PN Panicker family had attended sometime during the late '70s. Compared with that, during the last pooram, he was subdued and was lying in bed after an early dinner - and mind you, a vegetarian dinner when all the others were tucking in non vegetarian dishes, as is the custom! When Divakaran chittappan's sons took me away to dance at the bonfire, he'd words of advice as to how not to end up with cramps at the end of it - and I followed them without any deviation!

* * *

RIP, Radhan chetta. My tears and prayers. Here's wishing that the family recovers from the pain caused by your passing away. On a personal note, I'm relieved that you're through with your aches and your pains.


1.  Lekha and I'd made two trips to Radhan chettan's house - one, in the forenoon and the other, in the evening - to pay our homage to him and to be with Sathi chechi and the others. Tomorrow morning, around a half past 7, we're scheduled to go to 'Ivar Madhom' at Thiruviluamala - about 70 km north from here, on the banks of the River Bharathapuzha - for the cremation and the final rites.

2. Look at the plight of Maheshwari peramma, all of 94 yrs. Both her sons have passed into the mist of time. She has carried herself with great composure and strength. She would return from Kottayam, after visiting her sisters, late tonight or perhaps, in the wee hours of tomorrow morning.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

An interesting initiative.

It's heartening to note that the 'Responsible Tourism Mission' is set to launch village life experience(VLE) tourism in Kozhikode. The project will be first executed in Olavanna-Kadalundi region. An interesting aspect is that the participants get an opportunity to interact with the locals and get an idea about their lives.

Accordingly, foreign and domestic tourists reaching Kozhikode will be able to visit village destinations to experience the tradition and culture of that area which encompass the works of traditional artisans, farmers and the lives of the other villagers. To encourage wholehearted participation, every artist and worker, who demonstrate their work to the visitors, will get an income.

Fishermen, coconut tree climbers, paddy farmers and all those who constitute the village life will become part of the VLE. A tourist interested to know the nuances of climbing a coconut tree will be assisted by the traditional climbers with the help of coconut climbing machines. Similarly, one who is interested in making clay pots will get a chance to experience the art of pottery.

The other aspects related to this initiative are:-

     (a) Skill development training will be provided to the artisans.
     (b) The tourists will be provided accommodation in home stays and farm stays in the region.
     (c) More spots that have a tourism potential will be added to the network in due course.


An exhibition of photographs and details of plant species is currently on at Poyilkavu. This is to raise awareness about the rarest groves in the state, again at Kozhikode. Environment protection has become an important subject! 


Saturday, March 17, 2018

This can happen only in Kerala.

News from various parts of Kerala showing the Malayalees' true colours. It's amazing that we can go to such abysmal depths! And then we have the audacity to lament that outsiders do not invest in our state!! Let's take just two incidents....

 (a) From Pala.

       The head load workers' union demanded a whopping Rs.15,000/- from the Union Bank of India.
       This was to unload a safe from a vehicle into the premises of the bank.
       Yes, it's the famous 'nokku kooli' which the government has derided and despised and has said
       that it will be a thing of the past from 01 Apr.

       The safe is 5' in length, 2.5' in width and weighs 1,250 kg. The private company that had sent
       the safe for the bank, in a vehicle, by 1000 hrs were mortified to see the vehicle return to its
       premises at 1500 hrs without accomplishing the task because the KTUC and the CITU unions
       had insisted on the huge amount! The union leaders, Josekutty Pooveli(KTUC) and Lalichan
       George(CITU) were contacted by the affected people for resolution of the problem but to no
       avail. The usual rate is Rs.4,500/-!

       Consequently, the aggrieved party had contacted the Labour Officer who has promised to
       resolve the issue on Monday without having to pay the 'nokku kooli'!

       * Nokku kooli is an euphemism for extortion by the organised labour unions, in Kerala,
          under which wages are paid to the trade union activists for allowing common householders,
          investors, builders to unload belongings/materials using machines or their own labour.
          This, sadly, has the tacit support of the political parties!

  (b) The Kuthiran Imbroglio.

         The Kuthiran gradient is a major traffic bottleneck on the busy Thrissur-Palakkad stretch of
         NH 544(The old NH 47). This was to be overcome by drilling and positioning twin tube
         tunnels through which the refurbished six lane highway would pass.

         The work had begun in '09 and was to be completed in '12 but got delayed by hurdles posed
         by land acquisition problems/objections from people.

         After many missed milestones, the tunnels were to have been commissioned by the end of
         this month but this deadline is also set to pass because of a delay in payments to the workers.
         The work has been disrupted for over three weeks!

         Once commissioned,  it would be the longest twin tube road tunnel in the country and it's
         understood that they're planning to have the Prime Minister to inaugurate the six-lane


We, Malayalees, seem to be so self centered that we worry only about our own personal and narrow needs without being bothered about what's good for the country! Truly a case of God's own country with devil's own people.  

Friday, March 16, 2018

Bruno's 15th Remembrance Day.

Can still not forget the images of the 15th and the 16th of Mar '03. Bruno, our pet Doberman after having spent 9 years with us, was battling for life and had passed into the mist of time in the morning of this day, 15 years back. 

We're at 9/97, Arjan Vihar in Delhi Cantt, then and Maman was visiting. He seemed to be amused and bewildered that the atmosphere in our flat was melancholic, tinged with great sadness, just as it would be if a near relative had passed away. He never had a pet at that time but later did and a couple of years back, had gone through the pain of losing his pet in an accident!

Bruno's grave site is behind that block and we'd tended it with flower bearing trees all around. I wanted flowers to fall on that spot during the season. My understudy, Bunty and his wife who continue to be in Arjan Vihar take care of that site even today and gave us a call this morning. They, too, had developed a closeness towards him and as I'd said before, Bruno developed an intimacy with a pregnant Babli, like never before, during his final days. She was to give birth to her fourth and final child, Renu - I'd suggested the name, for, I was sure that she was Bruno's new incarnation - the very next day on 17 Mar '03. Renu rhymed with Bruno.

His photo hangs in our bedroom, the only hanging that we've permitted! He has left us with enough memories and more!

The Present.

As if on cue, we'd a pup around 'The Quarterdeck' a few days back. Though he was lovable, we didn't want to take him in as another pet. The reason was simple.........the pain of Bruno's passing away has still not worn off and it's tedious to go through the rigmarole of bringing up a pet. Frankly, we don't want to restrict our movements and remain at home anymore.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the same pup following me during my evening walk. He walked with me for a while, at my heels, but was distracted in between and had disappeared soon after. He must have found a new home, perhaps. Good for him!


Today was a negative day to begin with. I'd gone to the Rajah Hospital to give my blood samples as ordered by the ophthalmologist. To my utter disappointment and subsequent anger, the sister on duty was unable to decipher the doctor's hand and had therefore, wanted me to have it checked out. On my return, I realised that I should have asked the sister to refer it to one of the doctors on duty to decode it and in anger, I kicked my shins for being the tube light. Finally the words were just, "Prominent profiles" as gleaned from the doctor.

Meanwhile, my cellphone was duff since yesterday afternoon. I'd called Tobin of the Airtel, at Kochi, to do the trouble shooting and he'd directed me to visit a store of their's. Accordingly, I'd gone to Kunnamkulam, this morning and it was again to no avail. I'd to give them a hard shake up, saying the following:-

    (a) I've just come back from a tour of the state urging the poorest of the poor to get literate digitally
         and they've not been told about the bad experiences courtesy you service providers.
    (b) It was futile knowing the folks in the hierarchy for instant problem resolution.
    (c) Inefficiency and sloth characterised the workforce as results weren't forthcoming for the
         common man.

The guy, Vinod at the store, had initially asked me to go to Thrissur for the resolution. Once I gave it to him, revealed my identity and with Tobin coming on the line, he was cut to size. Finally, he'd offered me a new 'sim' to avoid another visit to his store and promised to visit me instead. I wondered aloud at the callousness meted to a common man.

The phone came on stream by about 2000 hrs and Tobin had personally called up to tell me. Nice of him!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ominous signs for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party?

Do the trends in the country's political landscape point to ominous signs? While I'm not supportive of any particular party, the one that provides good governance and takes the country forward, in terms of growth, would be my party. I'd cast my vote in favour of that party, without doubt.

Narendra Modi, as the Prime Minister, has enhanced the country's prestige abroad and has proven to be an effective leader within the constraints that he has to live with. The economy has improved by some of his bold initiatives and he has been able to put in a number of far reaching reforms which will be good for the well being of the country in the long run.

However, having come to power in the three north eastern states of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura, Modi and his party have suddenly begun to feel the heat of the opposition moves towards forming a broad alliance to fight the general elections of '19. The electoral wins of Laloo Prasad Yadav's RJD in Bihar's Araria and of the totally mismatched duo, Akhilesh Yadav-Mayawathi's in UP's Gorakhpur and Phulpur throw an important lesson for the party in power.

The final shape of the much touted opposition alliance of 26+ parties will only become clear, closer to the elections considering their inherent contradictions. There are many people who nurture prime ministerial ambitions among them like Sharad Pawar, Mulayam Singh Yadav, the jail borne Laloo Prasad Yadav, Mamatha Banerjee and K Chandrasekhar Rao. Besides all of them, Rahul Gandhi, would like to consider himself as the 'safest' bet thanks to his background but the Congress' battered stature will not permit his easy acceptance by the others!

What are the ominous signs that I'm talking about? Consider these:-

   (a) Already, there are murmurs as to why none among the opposition leaders have gone into jail
         for their involvement in the CWG scam, the 2G spectrum scam, the Hindustan Times scam and
         many others and ask as to whether those scams really happened or were they all cooked up?
         What they conveniently forget is the manner in which the cases are purposely
         made to drag on in for time, seems to be the watchword.

   (b) As the noose tightens around Karti Chidambaram and his father, the fightback is getting
         stronger and bitter, along with the unnecessary obfuscations in the courts.

   (c) The recent revolt of the four judges in the Supreme Court.

   (d) The long marches of the farmers in Bombay, Maharashtra and now, in Lucknow, UP
         with a hue of red, complete with CPM flags! Is the entire lot of the Indian kisans pro-CPM?
         What about the other parties? Don't they have any stake in the agrarian vote bank? And is it
         that the marches have a JNU touch? What I'm trying to say is that the farmers have been taken
         care of by, both, the central and the state governments, so what grievances do they have now?
         Another pitfall while organising such massive rallies is that anti-social elements have a way of
         getting into it and changing its peaceful texture; the organisers, I'm sure, are guarding against
         any such possibility of it going out of hand. The march to New Delhi has been soft pedalled
         because of Kejriwal.

    (e) Rahul Gandhi's interaction with the Indian diaspora abroad which invariably gets into
          Modi-bashing. How I wish it was a brief mention, followed, by his vision for the country!

    (f) Sonia Gandhi's vehement assertion, "We will not let Modi come back in '19", in the recently
         concluded India Today conclave.

    (g) The media, literally, celebrating BJP's electoral reverses in Araria, Gorakhpur and Phulpur!

    (h) The YSR Congress' no confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government
          in parliament. Or is it Chandrababu Naidu's after threatening to quit the NDA?

    (j) Pakistan calling back its envoy. That country knows that it's election year for India. And
         one can't forget an appeal made earlier to it by Mani Shankar Aiyar to remove Modi. Is it
         that country's way to influence our elections?

My take.

All political parties must play the general elections in a fair manner, thrashing out at each other on issues. The Indian voter is intelligent and sane, he'll exercise his franchise for the good of the country and may the best man win!


My cellphone has gone duff. I believe I'll have to go to an Airtel outlet and change the sim. It's disgusting!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Keezhattur 'tamasha'.


The residents of Keezhattur - in Kannur district - had formed a collective called 'Vayalkilikal' and  have been agitating against the proposed acquisition of their paddy fields for the NH bypass, for
 months. The truth is that even though the CPM opposed the agitation, its local party workers were
 part of it.

 It had created an impression that the agitation was hijacked by communal forces. The BJP had
 tried to seize the opportunity in order to make inroads into the locality and extended its support to the
 agitation. The protesters weren't very keen about it! The CPI has openly supported the agitation and
 the Congress has distanced itself away from it.

The CM's Mind

The chief minister has made it clear that his government will not tolerate any agitation thwarting
development. (What cannot be forgotten is that it was his party that had agitated against new projects
while it was in the opposition and gave his predecessor, Oommen Chandy, a lot of problems!)

The 'Why' of the Agitation

The agitating 'Vayalkilikal' are quite emphatic that they're not anti-development. They are sure that
the reclamation of the paddy fields will block water resources and make life miserable for the people
of Keezhattur.

The Anatomy of the 'Operation'

The following factors are worth noting:-

     (a) It has been two days after the CPM celebrated the farmers' victory in Maharashtra.
     (b) The officials commenced the survey in the morning.
     (c) The agitators doused their bodies with kerosene oil and threatened to immolate.
     (d) Additional policemen were brought in who arrested about 49 agitating villagers that included
           18 women.
     (e) The shed erected by the agitators, for protection from the harsh weather, was set afire
           around 1400 hrs by the CPM party men, who were against the agitation.
     (f) The party, later, paraded 50 people in a press conference claiming that they were residents of
           Keezhattur supporting the construction of the bypass but the Vayalkilikal has dubbed them
           as fake.
     (g) The party, meanwhile, has expelled 11 of its members who are in support of the agitation. 

My take.

The government and the Vayalkilikal must sit across a table - set aside the egos - and discuss, to bring around an acceptable decision.....the earlier it's done, the better.


A runaway pup had come into our courtyard early in the morning, crying aloud reminding us about our own Doberman, Bruno. Lekha gave him a bowl of milk and bread which he finished within no time and went on to sleep under our Chevy. By evening, he was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps, he has been picked up by somebody to be kept as a pet!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

An unnecessary muddle.

News that are happening have a significance because it showcases the ethical and moral levels the society has reached. For that reason, it's worthwhile to review one of those that has hit the headlines and continues to remain so. So, here I go:-

When Leadership is Pointed a Finger At.

I'm talking about the scam that has rocked the Syro-Malabar church and therefore, would like to go a bit behind in time. Bishop Mar George Alencherry was elevated to being Cardinal on 18 Feb '12 by the then pope, Benedict XVI. His visit to Rome, for being anointed Cardinal, coincided with the arrest of two Italian marine officers on board the Enrica Lexie who shot and killed two Keralite fishermen. While in Italy, during his interaction with the Italian paparazzi, he appealed to the Indian government not to take any hasty decision on the two marines.

The irate Indian press had even questioned the Cardinal's loyalty to his country at that juncture! Consequent to the controversy, he'd to issue clarifying press statements.

He is the Cardinal-Priest of the Catholic St Thomas Christians. In other words, he's the head of the Syro Malabar Synod and the archdiocese of Ernakulam and Angamaly.

He has been accused of selling prime lands of the church at undervalued prices causing losses to the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese. Following the orders of the Kerala High Court, he, along with three other priests, have been charged by the police under these sections of the IPC and investigations have commenced:-

       (a) Sec 120(B)    Criminal conspiracy.
       (b) Sec 416         Criminal breach of trust.
       (c) Sec 415         Cheating.

The Cardinal is the first accused.

There are moves to help him out of it by his supporters, through a counter petition in the High Court's division bench, saying that the cardinal is above all these because of his position in the church's hierarchy! What poses as a great challenge to this move is that there is a sizeable section among the priests of his diocese who wants him to resign and undergo the process of law!

The court had to intervene because the government is playing it safe to save its electoral interests among the church's followers.

My take.

The Cardinal has unnecessarily got into a muddle and the onus is upon him to clear his name by going through the normal process of law. What I can't understand is as to why he was carrying out petty issues of land dealings, which should have been handled by the appropriate people under him, while he concentrated purely on episcopal duties!


It was a Comedy of Errors. I'd gone, along with the AM, to our panchayat to hand over the application for exemption from house tax. On return, while I was paying the auto rickshaw driver the fare, I'd placed my cellphone on the seat and forgot about it while getting off. I'd walked straight into the eye clinic to show my left eye that had a problem and to ascertain the doctor's mind about contributing to the proposed hard surfacing of the private road in front of our buildings. Three things took place simultaneously:-

    (a) A rickshaw driver, who'd had dropped a patient, told me the number of the auto rickshaw that
          we'd come by. He further confirmed that my instrument was in the vehicle.
    (b) The registration formalities had begun but an attendant sister took down my number saying that
          she'd contact the auto rickshaw driver by calling on it.
    (c) The AM also got into the process of calling up on my number.

Anyway, with the collective help that I got from all quarters, I could retrieve the instrument easily but hats off to the auto rickshaw driver for observing the registration number of the vehicle that I was dropped by. I looked for him but couldn't express my gratitude.....he was long gone.

Monday, March 12, 2018

This is what life is all about.

It has become a materialistic world. Relationships have lost their value. Each one to his/her self where self preservation and narrow interests guide every action. Guess we've reached this state thanks to the break up of the joint family system and the metamorphosis to a highly materialistic world. What people don't realise is that the younger generations are watching and when their turn comes, they wouldn't have any compunction to dump their elders to their fate, without caring, because precious wealth will be 'wasted' and they'd take it as natural because they'd seen their parents do it! 

What I write is with malice towards none. Perhaps, I'm being too sentimental and insensitive to the facts on ground!

I'd spoken about Saturday's happenings when Radhan chettan was admitted into the ICU of the Amala Hospital. His condition was precarious with his Creatinine level being much higher than what it should have been. Earlier, when I'd reached his house with the ambulance, there were two reactions:-

     (a) His mom, "Son, you've overdone it".
     (b) The daughter, "Chetta, there's no point in shifting him to the hospital. We're down in funds and
           therefore, wait till Monday. We're trying to get in touch with an organisation, here, where the
           expenses for treatment will be minimal".

I realised that fingers were being pointed at me for unnecessarily(?) shifting him to the hospital and forcing them to incur an expenditure that was 'avoidable'. I'd to remind everybody about our conversation, earlier in the evening, when they wanted me to get a doctor who could make a house call to have a look at Radhan chettan. Probably, they're under the impression that after the check up, the doctor would prescribe a few medicines to tide over the situation. I'd clearly told the three ladies present there that if the doctor advised removal of the patient to a hospital for care, they had to be ready for the eventuality.

Jimmy, the doctor, had precisely given me that advice. Without second thoughts - there was no point in insisting on the house call - on my suggestion, the  doctor had fixed up an ambulance for the purpose and the rest of the story has already been narrated in my post of Saturday. Last evening, I'd got a call from the daughter that it was decided by them to shift Radhan chettan to a palliative care at Thrissur and could I help in getting a discharge certificate notwithstanding the patient's condition?

Early, this morning, Sathi Chechi had seen Radhan chettan at the ICU whose condition had stabilised thanks to a dip in his Creatinine level. She spoke to the doctor about their plans who, without any hesitation, handed over to her the certificate (Was that an indication that there was nothing more to do from the medical point of view, I wonder?). By afternoon, his second son had fetched up from Kottayam and together, they'd shifted him to the palliative care.


Perhaps, the harsh realities of today's life preclude clinging on to attachments, sentiments and relationships. But to me, shorn of all the niceties, in this case, everyone will now wait for his inevitable end as his condition worsens without being provided the sessions of dialysis that he badly needs! Well this attitude towards life baffles me, confuses me. Am I being old fashioned and behind the times?

I've got into trouble earlier, with some of my relations, over a similar issue. Have not learnt from mistakes as Lekha aptly puts it.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

A regressive step.

China's National People'Congress has voted to do away with the Presidential term limits. It was a political order set in place in the '80s and '90s by the late Deng Xiaoping, who led China on a path of economic opening and liberalisation. It included the system of collective leadership and regular, orderly transitions of power that became the norm after he died in '97.

Nearly 3,000 delegates of the NPC, the party controlled legislature, lifted the existing presidential term limit almost unanimously by approving an amendment to the Constitution. Xi Jinping, thus holds all the three powerful posts viz. Communist party secretary, Military chairman and of course, is the President.

Did Xi require to do this? In fact, he has got himself labelled as the leader-for-life, a euphemism for a modern day dictator. He was firmly placed as the President, his writ ran large across the country and has handed over initiatives like the OBOR, the revival of the ancient Silk Route, the longest freight movement from Shanghai to London and the South China Sea activities - though, the last one is illegal and infringing upon the neighbouring countries' territorial waters, questioning the very tenets of the UN's Laws of the Seas.

With unbridled power in hand and with no meaningful opposition to his decisions, a person can go to unimaginable lengths to run his writ and stifle dissent in any form. There must be a few of his contemporaries and people, immediately junior to him in the power hierarchy, who having nurtured attaining the top post, one day, are suddenly faced with a situation that their growth has been stunted permanently. Their dashed futures can become a focal point for dissent in the days to come.

How would it affect the Sino-Indian relations? Whenever a political dispensation has trouble at home it creates a volatile situation on its borders to divert public attention. Xi Jinping could take the same route and what is available on a platter to him is the long standing disagreement between the two countries on the Line of Actual Control and the Mc Mahon line. India needs to be on its guard and engage the Chinese on meaningful talks to ensure that no flare up takes place, while reinforcing its border infrastructure to meet the military requirements.

Xi Jinping was a normal person till yesterday. Today, he has been made extraordinary as an individual who can do nothing wrong. Such godlike powers can only make a person heady with power and make him tend to be a monster which will bring about his end. So, is it the beginning of the end?

What needs to be seen is as to whether Xi Jinping turns out to be a benevolent dictator and a statesman or a dictator who instills fear and hatred to the world at large and is despised by one and all. Only time will tell. It's my fond hope that the first alternative comes true!


The kisan march of about 30,000 farmers - of the CPM - from the interiors of Maharashtra to the capital city of Bombay is poised to sit in agitation at the Legislative Assembly from tomorrow. There's no doubt that it will cause a huge administrative disaster in the city that's bulging at its seams, thanks to the population. It's hoped that the people concerned will see reason and not swoop to low levels to score political brownie points. Already, the Shiv Sena backing the farmers' demands, while sitting in government shows lack of principles as it's been a party to all the decisions taken by the government till now. Secondly, it was only just a few months ago when the Maharashtra government had written off a huge amount of money as loan waivers to the farmers. So, the farmers' needs now are not understood.

Or is it the aftermath of the CPM's poll debacle in Tripura to teach its political opponents a lesson?


Saturday, March 10, 2018

An unexpected evening in the hospital!

Maheshwari peramma, all of 93 yrs and my aunt had arrived from Bangalore yesterday. She was putting up at her son, Radhan chettan's place. She and her second daughter-in-law, Valsala chechi were to go by the early morning train to Kottayam today to meet up with her youngest sister, Sarala Kunjamma who was not keeping well and had been hospitalised recently.

However, the plan had to be abandoned because Radhan chettan didn't want them to go. He said a few things which had ominous tones that scared his wife as well as the two ladies:-

     (a) This time it would be him who would decide on their departure.
     (b) He'd called up his second son, the policeman, to come to Guruvayur as he'd certain work with
           him for which his presence was a must.
     (c) He kept telling that 'somebody' was waiting nearby to get him.

Our visit to look up peramma was due but I couldn't get out of the house in the morning as Vishnu, from my Kollam office, was coming in with a few papers that required my urgent attention. He, finally, fetched up at 12 and by the time I'd finished with the stuff, it was past lunch time.

I was at Radhan chettan's house by a half past 5 and found that he was in bad shape. He'd not had anything since morning because anything that was given orally was refused by an irritant throat followed by persistent cough and he wasn't responding when we called out to him.

I, then, contacted Jimmy, my medical specialist friend who'd looked after mom towards her final days. Though he was ready to make a house call and look up Radhan chettan, after hearing about his condition from me, he'd no doubt that the patient had to be shifted to a hospital without delay as he was under acute trauma because of the condition of his kidneys. He arranged for an ambulance from the nearby Rajah Hospital and Arif had come charging with the vehicle. The staff at the Rajah Hospital had reacted swiftly because their 'Colonel saar' needed assistance (On a lighter vein, I don't think I would have got a change of service, so fast, during my training time at the NDA).

We rushed Radhan chettan to the hospital without ado and after going through the initial admission procedures and formalities, he was wheeled into the ICU. Immediately on arrival, it was found that he was pretty low on Oxygen and therefore, buttoned on to an Oxygen tank. He'd got better and was very annoyed that he'd been brought into the hospital and told me, "You're responsible for getting me here. I don't require any treatment and I was fine at home!" I just shushed him and said, "Get well soon so that we can make it for the Neelamperoor temple's annual festivities this year".

He had nothing to say to that and I saw a smile on his face as they wheeled him into the ICU from the chaotic Casualty station........ by then, it was indeed quite late into the evening!


A nice message was passed on by a good friend on the What'sApp circuit. I found it so apt, at least, in my case and so, here I shall reproduce it.

                                    How can you recognise a Military Veteran?

     * He is smartly dressed with shining shoes.
     * He will try to walk like a young fellow, though old by numbers.
     * He is young at heart and always romantic.
     * He will have a lot of stories to tell.
     * He has lot of knowledge to impart.
     * He has deep knowledge about liqueur, whiskey and beer.
     * He is a very poor listener.
     * He tries to lead by example and cares for his nation.
     * He comes to rapt attention when you play the national anthem.
     * He dislikes people who don't drink.
     * He is trustworthy hence has only a few girlfriends.
     * He gives a firm handshake.
     * He is conspicuous by being respectful to ladies.
     * He dislikes to be late.
     * He speaks time in four digits.

And those who are jealous of him say, "He's scared of his wife".


Friday, March 9, 2018

Passive euthanasia has been allowed.

The Supreme Court, in a landmark judgement, expanded the right to life to incorporate the right to die with dignity, thereby legalising passive euthanasia. It, further, approved 'living will' to provide terminally ill patients or those in persistent and incurable vegetative state a dignified exit by refusing medical treatment or life support system.

The verdict was handed down by a constitution bench consisting of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.

It means that the judgement :-

    (a) allows a terminally ill patient or a person in persistent vegetative state to execute an 'advance
          medical directive' or a 'living will' to refuse medical treatment. The person concerned can
          also authorise, through the will, any relative or friend to decide in consultation with the
          medical experts as to when to pull the plug.
    (b) has attached strict conditions for executing the 'will' made by a person in his normal state
          of health and mind.

    (c) has said that the life support system can only be removed after the statutory medical board
         declares the patient to be incurable.

    (d) has reiterated that the best interest of the patient shall override the interest of the state.

By bringing out the judgement, the Supreme Court has linked the 'right to die' with the 'right to privacy'. It's also taken the first step to decriminalise suicide. It also ponders over giving judicial support to the idea that it's inhuman to punish a distressed person who failed to end his life through suicide!

My comments.

     (a) Definitely a step in the right direction.
     (b) The society will need to keep a strict vigil over its misuse.


1. Took Lekha to the pulmonologist next door and got the medicines for the persistent cough.
2. Mohanachandran's medical bulletin. 

    Mohan's progress has been slow. Two days back his Sodium levels had dropped again and he is, 
    now, down with fever. The weakness caused doesn't permit further physiotherapy. Everybody is 
    anxious and helpless in this situation. His tracheotomy perforation has been closed for now but
    the peg remains. I was hoping that he starts making some sounds but that has not happened yet.
    Let's continue to pray for his recovery. From BR Vijayakumar.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The spate of statue destructions/defacement.

Ever since the bringing down of a couple of Lenin's statues in Tripura - post announcement of the election results - there has been news about the vandalisation of the statues of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee(Calcutta), Dr.Ambedkar(Meerut), EV Ramaswamy Naicker(Madras) and Mahatma Gandhi(Taliparamba, Kerala). These acts seem to have been carried out by miscreants/anti-social elements - it has to be surmised - with the blessings of certain political parties. The culprits are easy to find by ascertaining as to which party gets the maximum mileage out of all these shenanigans.

Having been bested by Narendra Modi in all departments of the political game, there seems to be a concerted effort to show him in bad light by whipping up a state of anarchy within the country. Or am I unnecessarily reading things that are non existent? Consider these factors:-

     (a) Telengana's K Chandrashekhar Rao's moves to make a national alternative to both the BJP and
           the Congress. How he has assumed that he'd turn out to be a national leader, acceptable to
           everyone, beats me. His dictatorial tendencies within his state is no secret.
     (b) Mamata Banerjee's endorsement to such a move and her efforts to rope in Naveen Patnaik of
           Orissa and the Shiv Sena have been going on for a while. Is she perceiving herself to be a
           national leader acceptable to one and all?
     (c) The fiercest political enemies, Samajwadi party and the Bahujan Samaj party coming together
           in the upcoming Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha bypolls in UP.
     (d) K Chandrashekhar Rao embracing Owaisi and announcing that Rahul Gandhi, as an
           opposition candidate against Narendra Modi, was not acceptable to them for the general
           elections of '19.
     (e) Desperate calls for the communist parties to forge a grand opposition alliance for the purpose.

Certain other connected happenings are:-

     (a) More and more murky details surfacing in the INX Media and the Aircel-Maxis cases,
           tightening the noose around Karti Chidambaram.
     (b) P Chidambaram's role in promoting his son's interests getting unearthed every day.
     (c) Raghuram Rajan's statement that he'd issued warnings to P Chidambaram and Rahul Gandhi
           about diamond merchant, Nirav Modi's shenanigans.

My take.

- Vandalising/destroying statues of anyone is bad, be it that of Lenin, EVR, Mahatma Gandhi, Ambedkar or Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. They're monuments and are to be treated with respect. Those who indulge in such churlish actions are only betraying their narrow mindset! 

- The opposition, if it wants to have a combined front against Narendra Modi, do so and fight him
politically with the alternatives that they propose for the good of the country.

And how's Sonia Gandhi so sure of not letting BJP to come back to power in '19?


1. The heat has gone up to miserable levels. The water in our well has receded to the 6th rung - there are three more remaining - and it's only the beginning of March. There are predictions about water scarcity in the state, a situation that was unthinkable about 20 years back! Global warming has, indeed, reached our backyard!!

2. Today was the last day of the annual festivities of the Guruvayur temple. Went for a 'parikrama' of the Guruvayur temple on the outer ring road, after 2000 hrs for about an hour in Anto's auto rickshaw, to have a feel of the festivities. The entire area was decorated with festoons, arches and multi-coloured lights; the premises thronged with people! Earlier, in the morning, Lekha had gone for a 'darshan' along with her assistant, Preetha.

3. Anto also showed us the photograph of his would-be-son-in-law......the wedding is gonna be solemnised this December.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The nagging worries....

This morning Lekha and I had gone across to look up Radhan chettan who has been brought back from the hospital. His Creatinine count has come down to a trifle above 7 after two dialysis sessions and he seemed to be okay, fully alert during conversations. His speech, however, is slurred probably because of the medicines that are being administered.

He's bedridden, as of now, owing to a general weakness caused by less food intake. He'll be taken to the hospital, after a week, to undergo another session of dialysis to bring down the Creatinine levels further. His request to me to kill him to save him from the miserable existence of being bedridden spurred my counter as to who'd help me from landing up in jail for the offence, silenced him from further thoughts on that line. And no, neither has he given up his zest for life nor has he banished positive thoughts - the essentials required for speedy improvement.

To my suggestion that I'd like to have him, as company, for the Neelamperoor pooram in September, he said that he'd love to do the trip. What I liked was his observation that I talked and behaved like Muthachhan - genetic inheritance, I suppose though I wasn't aware of it personally till now! His mom, Maheshwari peramma, is starting from Bangalore tomorrow evening and he's looking forward to her visit. I'm sure her presence, albeit for a short while, will be a much badly needed tonic for his recovery.

Sathi chechi had recounted his request to his sons and daughters-in-law about looking after her as he'd not catered anything for her, as of now. Two of his sons, along with their wives, had come down from Neelamperoor to look him up at the hospital while he was in hospital. His eldest son has neither been in touch with him nor has he forgiven him for marrying a second time, leaving his mom in a lurch. The mom, incidentally, stays with him.

             *                                       *                                             *

Am the proud owner of Admiral Ronnie Pereira's biography, 'With Pride & Honour' - my complimentary copy - that was sent during my absence on the yatra. The Admiral was the Deputy Commandant of the NDA during my first term out there. I'd written an anecdote on him about how he'd caught me during a morning fall-in - within the first week of my joining - for fumbling while reciting the Academy prayer. He'd ensured that I learnt it by heart that very same day and always used to acknowledge me at every event that we came across subsequently. He really had an elephantine memory! He shall always remain as one of the architects of what I am today.


Lekha's persistent cough is another source of worry. The medicine prescribed by Padmanabha Shenoy has not had much effect and it's damn sad to hear her cough all through the night. We've decided that she switches over to a course of the ENT specialist, Harindra Babu's medicines from tomorrow onward. If that doesn't work, she'll have to be taken to the pulmonologist.    

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Mixed reactions...

Was up early, went through the chores and was ready well in time. Ranjan, the boy-next-door was cute, in that, he had washed down the car on seeing me try to remove the bird droppings of the previous night! After a heavy breakfast of paranthas and potato curry, we were off to Shenoy Care, once again, to get the medicine(Or at least, its name) from the hospital.

Lekha had met Nina, the junior doctor who'd checked her yesterday, who told her that the medicine was Dacit.M! She was damn cross with the young lady for addressing her as 'ammachi'! We'd, then, made it through Thevara, to the INCS to buy grocery for the month. We took about an hour out there before shaping course back to Guruvayur.

The traffic was sparse and driving was comfortable except for the fact that the car's air conditioning system was erratic and therefore, the cooling wasn't very effective. The heat was stifling. Had lunch at the revamped Food Mall on the Thrissur-Guruvayur road. Was back at 'The Quarterdeck' by about 1500 hrs. A quick unpacking followed by an hour's snooze was enough to get us back to normal.

The evening walk was nice with me trying to highlight the nuances of the 'Garuda Puranam' to Majid and Unni, at their shop, from where I'd purchased a few bananas. Preman was at his usual smiling best while handing over a packet of hot, roasted monkey nuts!

        *                                      *                                         *

Heard about the violence and communal riots in Kandy and felt very sad about it. It was just a couple of months back that we'd been there and enjoyed the sights around, during our course get together. The story has it that the violence was triggered off when a Sinhalese man had died at the hands of a mob in the Theldeniya area of the central hill district, popular with the tourists. The Sri Lankan government has declared a state of emergency, for 10 days, to rein in the spread of violence between the majority Sinhala Buddhists and the minority Muslims. Sad!

        *                                       *                                         *

The happenings in Tripura are unnecessary and unwanted. I've a few questions connected with the violence and related activities, post-election results:-

        (a) Was anger simmering against the communists all these years? Or is it the act of a few
              unruly mobs?
        (b) Burning of party offices - presumably by the opposing parties, in this case the BJP - are
              negative activities and it's the duty of the winning dispensation to be magnanimous over
              the vanquished.
        (c) Will bringing down Lenin's statues obliterate communist leanings among the common
              people? It's a political belief and one needs to respect that.
        (d) Electoral victories are fleeting because today's victors could be the vanquished, tomorrow
              and hence, people must show restraint in their emotions, over the results.


Must visit Radhan chettan tomorrow. He has been brought back from the hospital as the doctors have said that there's nothing much to do, further. His mom, 93 year old Maheshwari peramma is coming in from Bangalore on the 8th to be with him for a few days.