Tuesday, July 31, 2018

It's goddamn crazy!

1. Jumping out of a moving vehicle and dancing on the road doesn't sound like a great idea. But for the thousands of people around the world dancing to American rapper, Drake's "In My Feelings" song, it's just another craze to be part of.

2. The rise of the "In My Feelings" challenge has been hard to ignore. Also referred to as the "Keke" or "Kiki" challenge, the viral stunt has had people around the world getting out of moving cars and getting down low on the street to the lyrics, "Kiki, do you love me? Are you riding? Say you'll never ever leave beside......."

How did it all start?

3. Inspired by Drake's song, American comedian Shiggy posted a video in June doing the dance. It triggered a global movement but as the craze spread, Shiggy's original moves were replaced with far more dangerous ones.

4. In recent weeks, some unlucky participants have been run over, fined or badly injured. An American teen fractured her skull after accepting the challenge at a roundabout. A woman was robbed as she concentrated on her moves while other oblivious dancers have tripped over potholes.

5. And it's not just humans. Cows, camels, goats and dogs have become the unlikely stars of the hugely popular video. The police in Spain have declared that the challenge is getting out of hand and shared a compilation video showing people falling out of vehicles and dancing directly into lamp posts.

6. In India, it's the Bangalore police that has issued a warning to people against taking up the challenge and have said that disturbance to traffic shall not be tolerated!

        *                          *                            *

The Crossover of Mamata Banerjee.

7. Mamata Banerjee has been accused of inciting hate and tension among communities in a police complaint filed by three workers of the BJP's youth wing in Dibrugarh, hours after she warned of a "Civil war and bloodbath" over the NRC list promulgated in Assam that pin pointed 40 lakh people as foreign migrants.

8. What gives her away regarding the changing stance is a television grab of her speech in Parliament, as an MP in 2005, lambasting the Bangladeshi refugees in her state asking the then government to take immediate action to send them back to their country. At that point of time, it was the CPM that was ruling West Bengal and it needed the vote bank. Thirteen years later, it's her Trinamool Congress that's in power there and it's desperately clinging on to that very same vote bank!


The visual media has been monitoring the water level in the Idukki dam site down to every millimetre. Wonder why it's trying to whip up a fear psychosis among the people?

Monday, July 30, 2018

The final draft of the NRC in Assam.


1. Assam is not new to influx of refugees. From 1826 to 1947, there was a continuous influx of migrant workers to Assam fueled by the British who preferred cheap labour to work in tea plantations. During '71, many from the then East Pakistan, had migrated to escape atrocities. The migration continued even after the formation of Bangladesh, abetted by local politicians towards creating a vote bank.

2. The Muslims and Hindus of Bengali origin make nearly 45% of Assam's population more than ethnic Assamese which triggered tension about losing their cultural and linguistic identity to a migrant population. The other issue is that most of the tribal population register themselves with their tribal identity and not as Assamese.

3. The anti illegal foreigners' movement of the '80s, propelled by the All Assam Students Union(AASU) and the Assam Gana Parishad(AGP) finally underlined the need to prepare the complete list of genuine Assamese citizens.

The Relevance Now.

4. After a series of litigations, the Supreme Court in a judgement of 17 Dec '14 fixed a timeline to update and publish the NRC and said that it will monitor the process. It had fixed 30 Jun '18 as the date to publish the final draft of the NRC.

What's Happened Now. 

5. Assam has released the final draft of the National Register of Citizens(NRC), seven months after it released the first draft on 01 Jan '18. Out of a total applicant pool of 3.29 crores, 2.89 crores were found eligible, leaving out 40.07 lakh people as those without proper documents!

6. The NRC is the list of Indian citizens of Assam. It was first prepared in 1951 following the census conducted that year. The present list has been prepared on the submission of documentary evidence of being an Assamese resident on or before 21 Mar '71. Consequently, all those who aren't included in the list are illegal migrants and they will have to go about the normal process of attaining Indian citizenship as per the existing process in practice!

My take.

7. It would be impossible to repatriate these illegal migrants back to their countries that they came from. The practical solution would be to grant them Indian citizenship over a reasonable time frame as is prudent in such cases. During the interim period, they should be bestowed the rights applicable to foreign immigrants, safeguarding their dignity. 

8. It has been a smart move on the part of PM Narendra Modi for having achieved this seemingly impossible task. It all began with the historic understanding with Bangladesh about securing the common border after deciding upon the ownership of the villages that were isolated in each other's territory. Having secured the border, it was only prudent to understand that the next step would be to ascertain the immigrants! 

9. A word of caution here. From quite a few of the complaints received from the people who've been declared immigrants, it's possible that corrupt officials have played their 'dirty' part to tamper with individual's personal records - a possibility that's usual in many government sponsored activities. These errors will have to be monitored closely, the errors corrected during review and the errant officials brought to book.


21 year old Nimisha, an engineering student of Perumbavoor, while trying to prevent the snatching of a gold chain from her grandmother's neck by an immigrant worker, had her throat slit by him. The sad part was that he'd used the same knife that was in her hand as she came running out of the kitchen, where she was chopping vegetables! RIP, young lady. My salute, tears and prayers for a gallant lady. Here's wishing that your family has the strength to tide over their irreplaceable loss.

Sunday, July 29, 2018


UP based trader, Manoj Kumar Gupta had ordered a consignment of compost worth Rs.10 lakhs on 10 Nov '14. The goods train consisted of 21 wagons and it had to traverse a distance of about 1,300 kms from Visakhapatnam to Basti. While 20 wagons reached him on time, the 21st wagon was lost in transit and consequently, the trader put up a recovery claim on the Indian railways.

The missing wagon, ultimately, reached its destination on 25 Jul '18. based on inquiry, this is what the railway source had to say:-

      (a) The consignee never bothered to keep track of the goods.
      (b) The wagon was lying unattended in the yard, itself, at Vizag.
      (c) The wagon was possibly detached from the train as it was declared sick(Unfit to ferry).
      (d) Due to the apathy of the officials, the wagon was left unreported.

Now, what does one say about an organisation's apathy?

     *                       *                         *

I'd got a call, last night from the caretaker, inquiring as to whether he, along with his wife and son could visit us today and I'd given him the nod. The maid, who wasn't supposed to come today, was told about the sudden requirement and she'd agreed to come in, early in the morning and finish up the work within an hour. Accordingly, she'd fetched up and helped Lekha in the kitchen.

The three of them had left my dad's place by 4, in the morning. I'd called up around 8 o'clock to ascertain as to where they were. They were passing through Edakochi, they said. I knew that the youngster was driving on the GPS and accordingly, turned off westward from Aroor, which I wouldn't do. I didn't want to confuse him any further as he seemed to be comfortable driving on the instructions.

Earlier, I'd told him to take the Alwaye route on the NH544 as the highway was comparatively free of damages. It would have ensured an easy drive but that was not to be. They'd got on to the NH66 that had many deviations because of the huge potholes on the road, that confused them all through the transit.

They'd, consequently, fetched up around a half past 12. I'd homed them on to 'The Quarterdeck' which ensured that further time wasn't lost after reaching the outskirts of Guruvayur. Visanth, had retired from the IN and has now got a job at the Bangalore International Airport Limited, commensurate with his professional experience. He's reporting on 06 Aug and had wanted to seek my blessings(?) before leaving for Bangalore on the 4th.

After lunch and by a half past 2, they were limbering up to do the return stretch. We'd asked them to take rest after the meal, visit the temple and then proceed homeward. They would hear nothing of it and the caretaker had quipped, "Sir, for us meeting up with you is like seeing Guruvayurappan".

I was left fumbling for words! Had rerouted them via Thrissur. They were thrilled with the hassle free drive and wished they'd used it on their onward trip, too. They were, eventually, back at their place by a half past 10.

It was nice of them to drop by.


Shared by Advait Verma, Army Public School, Ambala Cantt.

We both left home at 18.
You cleared JEE,
I got recommended.
You got IIT,
I got NDA.
You pursued your degree,
I had the toughest training.
Your day started at 7 and ended at 5,
Mine started at 4 till 9 and some nights included.
You had your convocation ceremony.
I had my POP.
Best company took you and best package was awarded,
I was ordered to join my paltan with two stars pipped on my shoulders.
You got a job
I got a way of life.
Every eve you got to see your family,
I just wished I got to see my parents soon.
You celebrated festivals with lights and music,
I celebrated with my comrades in bunkers.
We both married,
Your wife got to see you everyday,
My wife just wished I was alive.
You were sent on business trips,
I was sent on line of control.
We both returned,
Both wives couldn't control their tears, but
You wiped her but,
I couldn't.
Because I was lying in the coffin,
With medals on my chest and
Coffin wrapped with tricolour.
My way of life ended.
Yours continued.
We both left home at 18.


Saturday, July 28, 2018

Excerpts from Shelly's 'Ode to the West Wind'.

Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote his celebrated 'Ode to the West Wind' in 1819 in the woods near the Arno river in Florence, Italy. In the day he watched a tempestuous autumnal west wind gathering up the clouds for a storm and as he expected, in the night there was a magnificent thunderstorm. Shelley had left England for Italy in 1818 and until his tragic and untimely death in 1822, at age 30, in a boating accident off the coast of Livorno, in Tuscany, north western Italy, he had been living there in self-imposed exile, moving between various cities.

Here are the last two stanzas of the poem. Let the power of Shelley's thought and lyrical genius lift you up like the west wind lifts up a leaf, a cloud or a wave. Truly, there are few things as uplifting as great poetry.


     "If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
      If I were a  swift cloud to fly with thee;
      A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

      The impulse of my strength, only less free
      Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
      I were as in my boyhood and, could be 

      The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
      As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
      Scarce seem'd vision; I would ne'er have striven

      As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
      Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
      I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

     A heavy weight of hours has chain'd and bow'd
     One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud. 


     Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
     What if my leaves are falling its own!
     The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

     Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
     Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
     My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

     Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
     Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
     And by the incantation of this verse,

     Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth
     Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
     Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth

     The trumpet of prophecy! O Wind,
     If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?


Reading poetry has become a passion. I must confess that I'd never delved deep into it during my school days but am now, making up for lost time!     

Friday, July 27, 2018


Heard the appeal by Ms. Rekha Sharma, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women, for the ban of 'Confessions' in the churches in the light of the recent case of five priests taking advantage of a lady's 'opening of her heart'(confessions) at the confessional. While understanding her angst about the blatant exploitation of women, the call for the ban was made without understanding the meaning of the ritual and the religious sentiments attached to it. Hence, the widespread and strong reactions from the Christian community.

That Mr. Alphons Kannanthanam, Minister of State for Tourism, was quick to state that the Modi government would never interfere into religious matters and that the particular opinion was that of Rekha Sharma, the NCW chief, helped control the negative reactions to the call, from getting out of control!

I just can't understand as to why people, especially those that occupy responsible positions don't control their motor mouths. And no, I don't mean that they should not react because react, they must to the perceived wrongs! However, they must do a detailed study on every matter, go through the background thoroughly and only then, give an opinion.

I'm a Hindu but I can easily understand the evolution of this practice of 'Confession'. I've friends who, after going through a confession had felt greatly relieved, calm and happy. The practice must have come about the accepted fact that one feels much relieved after unburdening one's angst/troubling thoughts to another. And who else but the priest, respected and loved across the board, by each and everyone within the parish, was the most qualified person to guard your secret till his last breath!

A few uncouth, rogue priests must never be the cause for the call for banning such a noble tradition. They, of course, need to be punished for their sins and that, too, forthwith.

More Facts about Confessions.

(a) What religions go for confession? 

      In modern times, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that penance is a sacrament, instituted
      by Christ, in which a confession, of all serious sins committed after Baptism is necessary. The 
      doctrine of the Eastern Orthodox Churches agrees with that of the Roman Catholic Church.

 (b) Who listens to confessions?

       A bishop, priest or deacon will confess at the Holy Table(Altar) where the Gospel Book and the
       blessing cross are normally kept. He confesses in the same manner as a layman except that when
       a priest hears a bishop's confession, the priest kneels.

 (c) Sins.

       Sins are termed mortal and venial.
       Mortal Sins. Three conditions are necessary for a mortal sin to exist which are:-

           (i) Grave Matter. The act itself is intrinsically evil and immoral like murder, rape, incest,
                                        perjury, adultery and so on.
          (ii) Full knowledge. The person must know what he's doing.
         (iii) Planning. To do an evil or an immoral act.
       Venial Sins. Can be forgiven by going straight to God. There are seven venial sins viz. gluttony,
                            lust, greed, hubris, despondency, wrath, vainglory and sloth.

 (d) How many times can one be forgiven?

       "Seventy times seven times", a number that symbolizes boundlessness!   

 (e) Can a priest tell the police a confession?

       NoIf someone confesses murder to a priest, he doesn't tell the police. The utmost the priest can
       do is to ask the 'penitent' to surrender to the authorities and may withhold absolution if the
       penitent refuses to do so. The 'Sacramental Seal' is inviolable! 

       The Seal of Confession(Or Seal of the Confessional) is the absolute duty of priests not to
       disclose anything that they learn from penitents during the course of the Sacrament of 


In the meanwhile, it's interesting to go through the arguments put forth by the lawyers of the Kerala government, the devaswom, the tantri, the Pandalam royal family and a related organisation as the Supreme Court goes through the case regarding the entry of female devotees, between the ages of 10 and 55, into the shrine of Sabarimala. Close on its heels, a Muslim Women's organisation has asked as to why women are not allowed to pray in mosques. I suppose old precepts are being questioned and why not?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Pakistan - post elections '18.

The general elections' results in Pakistan is still coming out in a trickle. As per present trends, the following are the standings of the different political parties:-

   (a)  PPP(Bilawal Bhutto)                            39
   (b)  Tehreek-e-Insaf(Imran Khan)            109
   (c)  PML-N(Shehbaz Sharif)                       57
   (d)  Others                                                   37

The funniest thing is that Imran Khan has already declared himself the Prime Minister, confirming the complaint by international observers, his political opponents and certain local news agencies that the polls have been rigged. India doesn't even have an iota of doubt that the entire tamasha has been scripted by the ISI and the Pak Army. The related questions are simple:-

   (a) How can a party claim the top post without having formed a grouping with the other likeminded
         parties and acquired a majority?
   (b) Doesn't it require the elected representatives of his party to elect him as the leader or is it that it
         is his fiefdom to be the automatic leader? Doesn't it smack of inner party dictatorship?
   (c) What are the other political parties gonna do who've alleged mass rigging in the polls? Will
         they boycott the entire process like Imran, himself had done, post elections '13?

Some more statistics about the Pakistan General Elections '18:-

   * Polls were held in 272 seats.
   * They were for the national and provincial assemblies.
   * 60 seats reserved for women and 10 for minorities.
   * 106 million registered voters.
   * This will be only the second civilian transfer of power in Pakistan's 70 year history.
   * Up to 800,000 security forces deployed for polling duties across 85,000 polling stations.
   * 3,765 candidates were in the fray, 110 registered political parties, 30 active political parties,
      18 is the voting age.

Imran Khan, as the Prime Minister.

Is, basically, a cricketer with no political knowledge. The twenty years of trying to gain a foothold in politics is being tom tommed as his experience in the field when he never showed an inclination to respect the views of the other political parties! His personality has been that of a vain guy, utterly shallow, a show offer with strong opinions on those issues that he's aware of and his public utterances have always been insensitive to others' feelings and he gives off a pretentious outlook. His numerous marriages - probably with religious approval - and the siring of many children as rumoured in the book by an ex-wife of his - shows recklessness as well as frivolity. Will such a person be able to give a credible leadership to a country like Pakistan, which has been craving for one since the time it has come into being?

He's gonna be the army's puppet and will, therefore, never be taken seriously in the international fora. For India, he's gonna be of a nuisance value parroting his army's policies. His initial press conference, unfortunately, points to this aspect. His ideas about Kashmir is conservative and simply not acceptable to India.

However, if he were to deliver, unshackling himself from the Army's control and come off with good governance, he might carve a niche for himself and become acceptable to one and all. But will the Army let him? And does he have the guts to stand up to them? That, indeed, is the big question.

But the biggest winner in this elections is the common Pakistani voter who has shown the guts and the temerity to reject all the candidates, belonging to the terrorist outfits outright, unlike their political leadership!


Today's Ammachi's remembrance day as per the Malayalam calendar. She crowded my thoughts! 


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Remembering Ammachi on her 27th remembrance day.

27 years back in '91, on this day, my Ammachi - G Chempakakutty Amma(Mrs.PN Panicker) - had passed into the mist of time, around 2130 hrs. The day had begun in a normal fashion, she'd washed her clothes and taken a bath after Muthachhan had left for office. She wasn't keeping well as she had a nagging cough but went about her normal chores as usual. It was around a half past 7 in the evening and she was watching her favourite soap on the television, reclining on the sofa, but her deep cough was a grim reminder that all wasn't well with her.

It was Muthachhan who'd coaxed maman to take her to the hospital and Mini, Sindhu and Vichani kunjamma accompanied them. The car made its first halt at the NC Hospital nearby, about which Ammachi had a very poor opinion. It was while waiting for the doctor that she went through a very violent bout of pain and consequently, tried to tear off her blouse during the discomfort. The duty doctor after examining her, advised that she'd to be taken to a bigger hospital with better facilities as her condition wasn't good.

They drove off from there and as the car passed through its gate, Ammachi had feebly asked as to which hospital it was. When she was told that it was the 'Sri Uthradom Thirunal Hospital', she sounded satisfied. As soon as they'd reached the main foyer, Ammachi was transferred on a stretcher into the ICU. By that time death had engulfed her and all that the doctors could do was to try to revive her but to no avail. She'd passed into the mist of time at 74 years of age. For the family, it was a great loss from which it's yet to recover! Muthachhan was hit the most, because he'd seen her off to the hospital with the words, "Do not worry, nothing will happen to you. You'll go only after me". Two hours later, he was shocked to see her lifeless body being brought into the house!

      *                               *                                 *

I was away at the Staff College in Wellington, Ooty doing the staff course and my parents had insisted that I shouldn't be informed about her passing away as it would disrupt my participation in the course. So, Lekha and I came to know of it only a month later when we'd fetched up during the tutorial break! I remember crying for her, for days on end, because she'd given me her unadulterated love all along. I was reminded of her words during my wedding, "Now that your wedding has taken place, I can go in peace". They were uttered on 16 May, just 40 days earlier! Was it a premonition? And I can never forget her response as I told her that Lekha and I'd love to have her and Muthachhan at our house in Ooty which was, "You tell Muthachhan and I shall ensure that we come and spend time with you to your heart's content", but that was not to be. That has remained a painful, unfulfilled dream! We weren't lucky to host the two of them in our house!!

      *                               *                                 *

I remember her carrying me that evening, in end Nov '63, when we'd returned from Bombay. I remember I was worried that she was frail but was carrying me - a kid, studying in class III! And you must understand that she'd a son, six months younger to me - my younger maman! We'd struck a deep chord and she'd prepare food taking into consideration, my likes and dislikes. I used to run errands for her, along with my young maman like, getting her favourite tobacco from one particular shop a bit far away from home, buying the monthly grocery as per the long list that she used to painstakingly prepare, getting the wheat ground from the nearby flour mill and so on. She was extremely sad that I was sent away to the Sainik School, in Jan '67, while I was in class VI. I remember her telling me that she was not gonna make the hand made 'murukku', anymore, as I was going away! She never made that again and that was that!!

She used to eagerly await my holidays and we used to do a lot of things together which she used to plan meticulously and to cite a few:-

   (a) To watch movies - during the matinee shows - and the best part was that we both enjoyed
        watching the movies of Sathyan, Madhu and a few others. We used to be very, very selective.
        All the others of the house would be away in their offices/schools at that time!
   (b) To visit the doctors - Dr. KN Pai or the Aryavaidyan of the Kottakkal Arya Vaidyasalaa - to
         show her medical problems. She'd tell Muthachhan in the morning and he'd fix up the
         appointment. He used to ask me later as to what the doctor had said, I wonder whether I was
         able to satisfy him with my answers? On all those occasions, she used to proudly introduce me
         as "My grandson studying in Sainik School, who is very good at studies".
   (c) We used to go to Raj Nivas at Thalavoor, where my mom and sisters were, many times by the
         road transport corporation's bus when Muthachhan couldn't make it. She had even walked                   along with me from Kunnicode to our house - about 3 kms through short cuts, criss-crossing               the paddy fields - a couple of times. She never complained about it, though my mom and my
         aunts chided me but her answer to them used to be, "He, too, is a kid and if he can do it, why 
         can't I? Moreover, we walk slowly and I enjoy the sights". She was in her early 50s then and
         we did the stretch because there were no taxis or auto rickshaws and my parents didn't own a
         car either!
   (d) Visits to Paravaoor, where Leela kunjamma and her family was and to certain family friends
         were also part of the itinerary.

She used to regale me with the stories from the epics and prepared snacks, that I like, for the evening tea. The best part was that none of the others minded my Ammachi's love and her preferential treatment towards me. What I used to feel sad was when she went through her bouts of arthritic fever and I used to sit by her bed after tying the crepe bandage around her right leg that would have a slight swelling. She used to sleep it out till the fever wore off.

I can go on and on about her. Ours was a unique 'grandmother-grandson' relationship and I miss her even to this day and feel sad that I was not able to give her back even an iota of the kindness that she had showered on me.

Ammachi, will we meet again, ever? Or is it wishful thinking?


We were hardly into our precious afternoon nap, when Anju, from the local private bank had called on us as part of its customer acquaintance measures. The young lady, from Mavelikkara, had joined her branch just a month back. The grumpiness of having broken my siesta was erased by her chirpy conversation and winsome manners.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The anatomy of a long drawn out case.

This is the story of the custodial death of Udayakumar(28) at the Fort police station, Thiruvananthapuram on 27 Sep 2005 around 2230 hrs. 

The police had taken Udayakumar into custody from Sreekanteswaram park on suspicion of theft and tortured him to get a confession regarding the Rs.4,020 found in his pocket. His hands were tied using a towel and a galvanised iron pipe was used to knead his thighs, causing severe internal injuries that eventually led to his death. The clincher was the post mortem report which said that the victim had died due to the rupture of the veins of his thighs!

The Long Tortuous Path of the Case.

27 Sep '05                 Udayakumar arrested and taken to the Fort police station. By about 2230 hrs
                                  seeing exhaustion coupled with weakness of the victim, he's taken to the
                                  hospital but dies enroute.
29 Sep '05                 Vakkom Prabha, AC, Narcotics commences investigation. Constable Jithakumar
                                   and Sreekumar of the AR Camp suspended.
30 Sep '05                  Post Mortem report confirms death due to the kneading of thighs. 22 injury
                                   marks sighted on his thighs. The GI pipes used for the purpose recovered from
                                   the premises of the police station.
01 Oct '05                  EK Sabu, CI of the Fort police station suspended.
03 Oct '05                  Sreekumar and Jithakumar surrender.
04 Oct '05                  Chief Minister Oommen Chandy assures a house and land for the victim's
                                    mother. When the accused were arraigned in court, the police use dummies
                                    so that the pressmen are unable to capture them on camera.
05 Oct '05                   Constable Soman of the Fort police station and the third accused arrested.
                                    The investigation is taken over by the Crime Branch.
10 Oct '05                   The Pettah CI and three other policemen, who'd enacted the 'dummy drama'
11 Nov '05                  Udayakumar's death by the kneading of his thighs confirmed by the Crime
                                    Branch. Cause of death due to the rupture of the veins in his thighs.
12 Feb '06                  The Crime Branch files case against the three accused policemen. Action
                                    recommended against 1 CI, 2 SIs and 6 policemen.
02 Jul '07                   The main witness, Suresh Kumar, arrested.
04 Jul '07                   Witnesses, Head Constable D Vijayakumar, Constable Anil Kumar turn
23 Sep '07                   Jithakumar, Sreekumar and Soman get bail.
13 Sep '07                   The High Court asks the CBI to take over the investigation.
26 Aug '08                  The CBI takes over the investigations.
20 Oct '08                   CBI arrests Head Constable D Vijayakumar, Constable Anil Kumar.
18 May '09                 CBI arrests SI Ravindran Nair and Head Constable Hiralal for correcting
                                    the FIR and falsifying records.
27 Sep '10                   CBI files murder charge against three policemen.
14 Dec '10                   The government clears the CBI to file charges of murder against CI T Ajith
                                    Kumar, AC EK Sabu and Head Constable VP Mohanan and proceed with
                                    the investigation.
29 Jul '12                    The CBI's request for retrial based on the new, connected case rejected by the
                                    High Court.
17 Nov '12                  Udayakumar's mother's petition asking for Rs.25 lakhs as compensation from
                                    the government and the investigation to be carried out with the Court's
                                    supervision, rejected by the High Court.
08 Apr '13                  Suspension of all the accused policemen revoked.
12 May '14                 CBI files a single case after listing TK Haridas, SP as the seventh accused.
                                    The cases regarding murder and conspiracy were combined as one.
27 Jun '14                   The High Court stays the proceedings.
09 Jan '15                   TK Haridas, SP need not be tried says, Court.
20 Oct '15                   Appeal by Udayakumar's mother that the accused were trying to sabotage the
                                    case in the High Court.
31 Mar '16                  The High Court directs the government to pay Rs. 10 lakhs as compensation
                                    to Udayakumar's mother.
10 Mar '18                  Third accused, Soman, dies.
20 Jul '18                    The arguments/counterarguments regarding the case completed.


Must applaud the grit and determination of Ms. Prabhavathi Amma, the late Udayakumar's mother, in being able to provide justice to her wronged son.                                 

Monday, July 23, 2018

The news views.

Following the news, yet again, as I've been doing from time to time. It gives a fair idea as to where we are headed, at any given point of time. And so, here I go.

 (a) Crude Oil Prices Affect Indian Migration.

       According to statistics, in '17, 3.9 lakh Indian workers migrated for work legally after completing
       emigration clearance required(ECR) procedures - down 25% from 5.2 lakh in '16. The Ministry
       of External Affairs' 2016-'17 report attributes this drop to the decline in crude oil prices and the
       consequent economic slowdown in GCC countries.

 (b) The American Strictures May Hurt.

       Taking advantage of steeper discounts offered by Tehran, the state oil companies had shipped in
       5.7 million tons(4,57,000 barrels per day) of oil from the country in the first three months of this
       fiscal year. By doing so, Iran had overtaken Saudi Arabia! Iraq continues to be the top supplier!!
       Almost free shipping and extended credit period on oil sales were the primary attractions. India is
       now under pressure to cut imports from Iran as the US, in May, had withdrawn from the nuclear
       deal of '05 with Tehran and decided to reimpose sanctions on the OPEC member.

 (c) Signs of Change in Pakistan?

       PM Narendra Modi had said, not very long ago, that India and Pakistan must fight to see as to
       who can eradicate poverty first. Is it on this line that Shehbaz Sharif(the brother of Nawaz Sharif)
       has floated an interesting thought in Wednesday's general elections in Pakistan, that if elected, his
       party would take Pakistan ahead of India?

       Is it wishful thinking on his part? Shehbaz Sharif has a good record in administering Punjab. If
       he were to become the PM of his country and adopt the right economic reforms, he could turn
       around the country's economy which, right now, is in utter shambles.

       But will the Army, whose poster boy in this elections is Imran Khan and the extremist elements
       allow him to win? Is there a sympathy wave on account of the incarceration of Nawaz Sharif in
       jail? And where does Bilawal Bhutto and his PPP stand?


Saw the thick clouds hovering all along India's west coast, sparing the areas of southern Kerala on the CNN and the BBC weather reports of this evening. Thankfully, the badly battered districts of Kottayam and Alappuzha have been spared of another wet spell but northern Kerala is gonna have rains till Sunday, this week. We need to be on standby for the impending deluge.



Sunday, July 22, 2018

It's ridiculous and therefore, unacceptable!

Am aghast at some of the news bytes in circulation. Why do such things not only happen but keep getting repeated? Aren't people wary of the law? The events cited are deplorable, unacceptable and the culprits need to be booked forthwith and handed out stringent punishments without loss of time. 

Without much ado, here I go.

(a) A Saga of Rapes.

      (i) A 16 year old girl from Pondicherry, was abducted and raped by a guy who filmed the sordid
           act on his cellphone. The girl had come to visit her grandparents. Using the video, the girl was
           threatened and subjected to rape by seven other guys. The sad part is that the one who had
           initiated the act was known to the girl!

     (ii) A 22 year old married woman from Chandigarh was raped by 40 men in Panchkula. What
           followed was even worse. When she reported to the police station, it refused to prepare the
           FIR citing jurisdictional mismatch! This case is now known as the Morni Hills rape case.

           I would advocate the remedy against rape that those who are guilty of it must be brought                     under the Sharia law, so that their genitals can be chopped off and them left to bleed to death. 
           I know it to be impossible but what can be done within our existing judicial system, is that the
           rape cases should be brought under a 'fast track' court under the aegis of the Supreme Court.

 (b) Accused Freed from Police by Gang.

       A 30-member gang had waylaid a police team from Kerala and freed a 41 year old moneylender
       from their custody, near Kaniyur toll plaza on the Salem-Coimbatore national highway. The four
       member police team was taking P Maharajan from Madras to Kochi in connection with an
       extortion case, filed by a businessman at Kochi.

       The Kerala Police team did not file a case in the police station near the toll plaza, in the 
       immediate aftermath, as per the standard operating procedure and instead, reported the matter
       to their seniors over the phone. 'Prestige issue', you see and see what the final outcome is!
       While the act is condemnable, I've a few queries viz.:-

             (i) Why wasn't the Tamilnadu police kept in the picture so that its support was available
                  throughout the transit, in case of an emergency like this?
            (ii) Why didn't the Kerala Police team have a properly armed team with adequate number of
           (iii) The Kerala Police not having registered the incident at the nearest police station is a
                  serious lapse, the consequent loss of face, notwithstanding!

 (c) Caste Row in Relief Camp.

       23 dalit families have lodged a complaint with the chief minister and the district collector
       alleging that members of the Christian community - their fellow members at the relief camp -
       did not want to share the space and consume the food prepared by them. They, then, shifted
       to another relief camp. The incident took place at the relief camp in Anjilimoodu LP School,
       Alappuzha district!

       False pride even while undergoing hardship? What will happen if the dalit community stayed
       along with you to tide over the difficulty? One, just, can't fathom this stupid mentality!


It was, again, an overcast sky though we saw the sun in snatches.               

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Everything is pre-ordained!

This morning I got an unexpected call from Visanth, the caretaker's elder son who'd left the IN a few months back on completion of his initial years of engagement of 15 yrs. I'd overseen his entry into the service and had given him a piece of advice then, that he should give up his career only if the 'second innings' was worthier. It was this point that he'd recalled when he informed me about his selection as one of the ground crew - commensurate with what he was doing while in the IN - at the Bangalore International Airport Ltd.

He sought a convenient date to call on us before he took up his new responsibility in the first week of next month. Lekha and I were happy for him and for the good tidings. His dad, too, had called up to express his gratitude.

   *                       *                         *

Preetha, the maid, reported on arrival that during yesterday's medical review of her's, every test - and there was a battery of them - could be done without having to shell out money from her wallet because there was a drive on to provide it free of cost. Her parameters were within limits but she had to spend almost the entire day at the hospital, as the specialist looking after her, was carrying out surgery, being Friday. Phew!

    *                       *                        *

Lekshmi, my niece and Manikutty, her daughter had arrived by lunch time and it was nice catching up with the little one as I was all along waiting to hear about her studies, every day activities and the extra curricular activities that she pursued during her training for medicine at the JIPMER, in Pondicherry. She's in the second year and definitely seems to be enjoying her education!

Sabu, her dad and Madhav, the son - he's just been enrolled in the NIT at Trichy last week - arrived by tea time. They had driven all the way from Karaickal at 6, in the morning. The family is gonna be here at Guruvayur and will be at prayers within the premises of the temple till Tuesday - a ritual that the four of them perform every year, without fail. It's remarkable, both Lekha and I are impressed at their commitment and devotion. Make sure that good things happen to them, Gurvayurappa!

I, also, took the opportunity to hand over a task to Sabu to find a suitable employment for young Raja, an engineer and the son of Selvam, the dhobi who visits us once a fortnight with his press-on-pushcart. Actually, the father had given his son's curriculum vitae to me about three months back hoping that I'd be able to find the youngster a suitable employment, commensurate to his education. I like the lad because he substitutes for his dad despite having a BTech under his belt and does not find it infradig to press clothes for his dad's customers.

Incidentally, I'd slotted him for being assimilated into the Foundation during the next enrollment cycle. The only requirement would have been to put him through a crash course in Malayalam so that he could interact with the people while putting them through the paces of digital literacy. Selvam, incidentally, has a daughter who's doing post graduation in humanities. The family subsists on his meagre savings of pressing clothes on his push cart - and as he says, the rains have reduced his earnings!

Sabu has agreed to slot him into a good job and the thing that gladdens me is that he would be gainfully employed near his hometown of Pondicherry while Sabu, himself, worked at the ONGC in Karaickal! My worries about Raja's employment have been put to rest, finally!!

Yes, everything is pre-ordained!


There has been a let up on the rains though the sky was overcast most of the day.       

Friday, July 20, 2018

The no confidence motion in Parliament.

It was nice to see the Parliament function all through with the least amount of disruptions. There were a few uncouth guys shouting slogans which made the Prime Minister's speech a bit difficult to assimilate. But all in all, a commendable performance by our lawmakers, especially after the total washout of the previous session.

All the points that were agitating the opposition were brought out. The huge accumulation of the bank NPAs(Non Performing Assets), mob lynchings, the Rafale aircraft deal with France and the Doklam issue, among many others, were discussed and we, the general public, got to know the reasons behind the government's actions.

Rahul Gandhi's theatrics were uncalled for because it's not the done thing. Remember, he'd been wanting just '15 minutes' to air his charges in Parliament when he'd promised us that he'd pin the Prime Minister for ever. Nothing earth shaking happened because Narendra Modi had answers to each of the issues raised by the opposition, punctuated with statistics! And his hug of the PM, after his speech, what was it meant to convey?

Asking forgiveness for saying all that he had? He'd said that it was the 'Congress culture'! Is it really so?

From PM Narendra Modi's reply, the following became clear, at least for me:-

 (a) He'd not opposed the GST while he was the chief minister of Gujarat. He'd advocated the states'
      aspirations to be given importance which, incidentally, is the case now. He also brought out the
      fact that it was the Congress that had insisted on keeping the petroleum products out of its

 (b) He'd said that the bifurcation of the then state of Andhra Pradesh into Telengana and AP should
       not be at the cost of trampling the Telugu pride. His views fell on deaf ears, it was carried out in
       haste to reap immediate political benefits that was the reason for the simmering discontent
       and said that granting it special status was out of question. To highlight the importance of doing
       it correctly, he cited the carving of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand states by the
       Vajpayee government in a fair manner. He reiterated the fact that the bifurcation was unscientific
       and hastily done.

 (c) He chided the opposition for denigrating the Indian Armed Forces when it asked for proof for
      the surgical strikes, Rahul Gandhi's meeting with the Chinese diplomat to find as to whether
      India had really won a 'diplomatic war' on the Doklam issue and for insisting that there was no
      clause of secrecy in the Rafale deal despite the French government saying so!

 (d) He'd, also, reeled off statistics to highlight as to how jobs have been generated during his tenure
       thus far.

The no confidence motion, tabled by the Telugu Desam Party was, consequently, defeated overwhelmingly. A few observations from me on it:-

  (a) A combined opposition for the '19 General Elections looks highly improbable.
  (b) Will the BJD align with the BJP in the forthcoming elections?
  (c) The Shiv Sena needs to be discarded from the NDA because it has been treacherous this time
       by first saying that it would vote against the motion and then, abstained from the debate. Its
       perfidy of being part of the government and working against it needs to be sorted out during the
       forthcoming elections.


It was a quiet day, with our maid away for her medical review. It was Lekha's solo efforts in the kitchen and she had prepared an excellent 'paav bhaaji' for supper.....and I ate myself silly!  

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The monsoon blues.

It has become a daily sight on the visual media and also to read connected stories in the print media that focus on the woes of the people in the continuing fury of the monsoon. Water logging and landslides, resulting in traffic chaos have become the order of the day.

This evening, saw the sad plight of a mother-daughter duo in Kainakiri, in the Kuttanad region whose house had collapsed due to the onrush of flood waters thanks to a breach in one of the numerous embankments that control the ingress/egress of water into the paddy fields. They were poised to visit the elderly lady's daughter working abroad, who's the sole breadwinner of the family, sometime later in the month.

Their passports and other vital documents have been washed away! One can imagine the tremendous pressure that they would be going through. I hope that some good Samaritan in the area helps the old lady and her daughter to get a new set of travel documents from the concerned authorities within the available time frame with no financial loss. Otherwise, the old lady must get in touch with Sushma Swaraj, the Minister of External Affairs, at the earliest and everything will fall in place.

Coming back to the general plight of those whose houses get submerged in the rainwater. It's miserable when dirty water along with the muck that floats around 24x7, keeping the inmates continuously wet and in perpetual difficulty in easing themselves in the normal course. The accompanying stench coupled with the steady deterioration of the personal effects along with the furniture and other costly items that have been acquired over the years, become extremely heart wrenching and painful!

Once the rains stop, the flood water takes time to recede. Cleaning up the entire house would take days, perhaps even requiring a fresh coat of paint of the entire house and the disposal of the items that have been rendered useless to be substituted with new ones take up a lot of time, involving heavy expenses. The stench continues to prevail despite the best of efforts at cleaning. And I'm not even talking about the houses that need extensive repairs due to the damages caused by the deluge!

I'm not quite aware about the dynamics of the compensation that the government provides during such occasions to the distraught families but suffice to understand that the procedures to go about it can be extremely cumbersome with the corrupt officials taking their pound of flesh, while registering the complaint or when it comes to assessing the compensation. It's a vicious circle and my earnest request, to the Collector and the revenue authorities, is that they must ensure that the affected people's agony is not prolonged and their nightmare, eliminated at the earliest.


1. Kainakiri is my late grandmother's - G Chempakakutty Amma(Mrs. PN Panicker) - ancestral village and hence, my affinity to the place and concern to the people who dwell there..

2. I have always wondered as to how the people living in the low lying areas tide over these trying times because such a grim situation visits them twice a year - in Kerala, that is - during the monsoons?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Lest we forget.

Loved this story from Mahabharata,

While the battle of Kurukshetra was at its peak, Arjuna and Karna were fighting each other. It was a battle to witness, a flurry of arrows were being exchanged and even Gods were witnessing this epic battle between the two warriors.

Arjuna would shoot his arrows and the impact of these arrows would be so much that Karna's chariot would go back by 25-30 feet. People who witnessed this were amazed by the skills of Arjuna. Karna was no less. When he shot arrows, Arjuna's chariot would also shake and go back by 3-4 feet.

More than everyone, Krishna would applaud Karna every time his arrow hit Arjuna's chariot. But not once did He applaud Arjuna's skills. At the end of the day, Arjuna asked Krishna, "Oh Lord, I have shot so many arrows at Karna's chariot, it was being displaced like a feather in wind, but not once did you appreciate me. Rather, you would appreciate his skill despite his arrows displacing my chariot a little".

Krishna smiled and replied, "Oh, Arjuna, remember your chariot is protected by Hanuman at the top on your flag, Me as your charioteer in the front and Sheshnag at its wheels, yet the whole chariot would still sway and displace whenever the valiant Karna hit us with his arrows".

"But Karna's chariot is not protected by any such force, he is on his own, yet he fights valiantly".

It is said that after the battle of Kurukshetra was over, Krishna refused to get off the chariot till Arjuna got down. Once Krishna alighted from the chariot, it caught fire and turned to dust. Krishna said, "Oh Arjuna, your chariot was destroyed by Karna a long time ago, it is I who was still protecting it".

"Never in your life have the arrogance to say that you have achieved big heights. If you have achieved something, it is the divine will, it is the divine intervention that has always protected you, cleared your path and given you the right opportunities at the right time".

*Note. An excerpt from Mahabharata and conveys message to mankind. Though simple, its a strong reminder to mankind.


1. Another rain soaked day.

2. A message received from Ajit, another friend of mine, who hails from Kochi and currently, at              Bangalore had this to say about the late Commander John Jacob Puthur's final moments and I              quote, "Met Puthur's wife today at their house at 0945 hrs. It was difficult to see such a dynamic        personality at rest. On 17th he went to drop his wife to Canara Bank, had haircut, came back home and went to the 1st floor to do some work. He collapsed. His daughter at home          was not aware of this. His neighbour saw this and tried to revive him, the end was sudden".                Unquote. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Yet another Karkkidakam Onnu is here!

Today is the first of the Malayalam month of Karkkidakam and the start of the 'Ramayana Maasam'. Had looked into history to find out as to why the epic, Ramayana was read during this month and the finding is interesting.

It's usually around the first of Karkkidakam when the Edavappathy(The South West Monsoon) is at its height and consequently, people are restricted to being indoors of their homes. To keep themselves creatively involved, the patriarch of the joint family would insist upon everyone listening to the life and travails of Lord Sree Rama - the ideal man(Maryada Purushotham) - which would be read out to the family, usually, by the lady of the house and the practice has continued to this day!). 

Moreover, the 'naalambala darshanam'(The circumambulation of four temples) that have the
four brothers of the Ramayana as the deities. In Thrissur district, the temples are:-

         (a) Thriprayar                               Sree Rama.
         (b) Moozhikkulam                         Laxman.
         (c) Koodalmanikyam                    Bharathan. 
         (d) Paayammal                             Shathrughnan.

People do the circumambulation within a day and the total distance to be traversed is 90 km. It's supposed to be completed between 'nirmaalyam'(3 AM) and 'uchapuja'(12 PM), but people these days, complete the 'parikrama' within a day. It goes on for the whole month.
* (Note. What intrigues me is that in the days of old when vehicles were non existent, people completed the circumambulation within the stipulated period. How did they do it? Are there short cuts, I wonder?)

Lekha has begun the reading of the Ramayana since last evening, as per traditions and she'll finish the recital of the epic by the end of Karkkidakam through two sessions daily - in the morning and in the evening....... And vegetarian food has been enforced, in the house, for the whole month!

           *                            *                             *

Adieu Commander John Jacob Puthur!

I received the sad news that Commander John Jacob Puthur had passed into the mist of time, at his house in Bangalore, this afternoon around 1240 hrs.

John Jacob Puthur was a good friend and he was in the neighbouring Echo Squadron while I was in Hunter Squadron during our NDA times. Widely read and with a gift of the gab, there was never a dull moment with him around. He was a hydrographer in the IN, a thorough professional and a great guy. He'd authored the book, "The Untold Story of a Coast", that challenged some of the well established rules and principles. An original thinker, he was outspoken and never hesitated to speak out, what he thought was correct.

He was called 'Santosh' at home, was a fitness freak who used to go for long walks daily, earning the sobriquet 'Gandhiji'! Though his sugar level was 400+, he never took any medicine. He wanted to run a half marathon and was preparing for it. Off late he enjoyed driving alone, cross country, on his bike.

Puthur's house 'Jacob's Ladder' was a 'no garbage' house. The house never had any garbage, except for the sanitary waste disposed because he used to make manure out of the waste or use it to heat water. He used to deliver motivational lectures in various institutions and regularly donated a part of his income to orphanages and the church.!

RIP, Puthur! My tears and prayers. And a salute to a thorough gentleman and a nice guy who could harm no one. You'll be missed though I must confess that I wasn't in touch with you for quite a while. And here's hoping that God gives the strength to Shobha, Sharon and Sharil to tide over their irreparable loss.


It was another wet day today. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Another wet day.

It was pouring as the day began. The weatherman has now said that the deluge will continue till the 19th because of a cyclonic depression over the Bay of Bengal. And one thought that the heavy rains were from the monsoon clouds hovering over the west coast! Not that it - the origin, that is - makes any difference when it pours.

Kerala has taken a battering from this year's monsoon. The movement of trains have come to a grinding halt, the Ernakulam Junction railway station - to cite an example - has become a huge puddle with the tracks totally submerged. People living in shanties have been hit hard and there seems to be no let up on their miseries. The roads have, again, got submerged and the potholes remain unseen, making the motorist's life unsafe!

I'd gone to town as there was work to be done in the bank. A sum of two and a half grand had to be transferred into the caretaker's account as our contribution to the recital of the Ramayana at our family temple - though it has long since been handed over to the devaswom board, the proprietorial attitude of mine has not even suffered a dent - on the 18th, the second day of the Malayalam month, Karkkidakam. I was also trying to activate my new platinum ATM card and I must say that these cards, invariably, know how to puncture your ego.

To generate the PIN, one's supposed to insert the card into the ATM and follow certain procedures of punching in one's account number followed by the cellphone number. The PIN was supposed to have been transmitted into my cellphone. When I'd done it for the first time, the day before yesterday - actually Sai, an employee of the bank had punched in the necessary details - my cellphone didn't react at all and today, when it was attempted the second time, I wasn't carrying the instrument on person! It, indeed, was a 'Comedy of Errors!'

On return, I found that my cellphone had got the PIN which I'd changed and given my own PIN, when I'd gone out in the evening to the nearby bakery to buy a packet of rusks! Meanwhile it continued to pour!!

Today's the 32nd day of the month of Midhunam on the Malayalam calendar. Our copy of the Ramayana was taken out and Lekha has begun reciting the epic from this evening, as per traditions. She'll now, go through the entire epic in the course of this month by reading it twice daily.


There's a Pappaya tree in the neighbouring Ikka's compound and the bunch of fruits hang - tantalisingly, within the reach of anyone standing on our balcony. In fact, Subin, who'd come by in the morning to plug the leak in the overhead filter had mentioned about it and I told him that it was for them to pluck it and have it or hand it over to their neighbour if they didn't require it. On scrutiny, it was found that it was already delayed because the beautiful fruit had a hole made by the hungry birds; but there's another one, adjacent to it, that's ripe and fit for eating. But, then!  

Sunday, July 15, 2018

A wonderful explanation!

Had got this article, on the What'sApp, from a course mate of mine. 

The Boss was retiring.

Everyone had tears in their eyes on the day of his farewell. One of the employees said, "Sir, there is one thing we want to learn from you. You worked for so many years. Leave aside scolding your subordinates, we have never seen you even shouting at them. We have scolded our subordinates on pressure of work or for other reasons. We want to know about the seed of your patience".

The Boss said, "This comes from the incident of my childhood. My father was working as a lower level employee in an office.He was a very nice person. He was respected very much in our family. It happened one day. I was studying in the 4th standard. I had gone to the office of my father for some reason. I saw that my father was not on his seat. I waited for sometime. After sometime, the door of the Boss' office opened, my father came out of the door. I saw the fair face of my father had turned red.

He went straight to a corner and stood there looking outside through a window. He had not seen me. I went to him and called him slowly. He was taken by surprise and turned back to look at me. I saw stream of tears flowing down his eyes. He was slightly disturbed seeing me. He did not find time to wipe away his tears. Can my father cry anytime? He was the strongest man in the world for me. It was out of my wildest imagination that someone could hurt him.

I ran straight to the room of the Boss. Father was calling me from behind. But, listening to nothing, I went inside and asked the Boss, "Why did you make my father cry?" The Boss was also surprised. Thereafter, my father tried to make me understand. But, that day I had decided to take revenge on the Boss. From that day I decided that I will study well and become a Boss one day, but I will not make my subordinates cry anytime.

Because, they are not only the employees of my office, they are also respected and are the dear father or brother or somebody to their families and belong to someone important. People say it is not possible to control others without scolding them. I say, what is love, then, for?

People who come to work are the ones who devote their best and quality time of the day to work, leaving not much time for their families. They do deserve a better treatment from their surroundings. Ships don't sink because of the water around them, ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don't let what's happening around you and your circumstances get inside you, in your mind and weigh you down. Make your life, such, where peace becomes your priority and no negativity can exist in your life".

Attendant pearls of wisdom.

    * Just because you are angry doesn't give you any right to be cruel
    * Anger on the other hand doesn't solve anything, it builds nothing but it can destroy everything.
    * Neurologists claim that every time you resist acting on your anger, you're actually rewiring your
       brain to be calmer and more loving.
    * The less you respond to rude, critical, argumentative people......the more peaceful your life
    * Explain your anger instead of expressing it and you'll find solutions instead of arguments....


A quiet Sunday but a thoroughly wet day. The deluge continues and the weatherman says that it will go on till the 19th. The havoc it's causing my parents' house continues to worry me.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Unashamedly nostalgic...

One has to be through the National Defence Academy to understand this nostalgia. I know that the feel will never get out of my system till my end.

This is an ode penned by an ex-NDA of the 38th course!

And to put it in his own words, "AN ODE TO B2B Ex NDAs, many of our times, will surely relate to. But so would the others to a certain extent......."

The Beatles were rocking, the Rolling Stones a scream,
Elvis was passe and Woodstock was still a dream.

That was the time a bunch of daring young men,
Challenged the world and chose the sword against the pen.

'67 was the year when we all met first,
Each one with a vision to quench his thirst.

The friendships were real, the bonds became strong,
As side-by-side we front rolled along.

So diverse were we, it was difficult to believe,
That we could merge as a group, a target to achieve.

There was no caste nor creed which could be a barrier
Because we were all so focused to become a true warrior.

The initial awe and inspiration at the sight of NDA,
Was very soon dispelled by a guy called the ACA.

A surdee with a goatee, can you believe it?
"My name is Panag and you piddlers better watch it!"

Lifting your own boxes wasn't so much fun,
As we arrived at the Cadets' Mess in the bright morning sun.

With aching backs we were ensconced in the Squadrons by eleven,
And by noon most of us were hanging from "Seventh Heaven".

Notwithstanding the jokes, it may be worthwhile to be a surd,
Because after a haircut all of us felt like an absurd turd.

The dining hall was expansive and gave a great feel,
But it all faded as pangs of hunger followed a "Square Meal".

"Look at the centre of my forehead and I'll give you three eggs",
But Capt Bhatia sir, we will love you more if we could only stand on our legs.

Having fed ourselves well we thought we'd got some aaraam,
Little realising we had a tryst with destiny called Kanshi Ram.

"Cadet".....he really didn't have to say more.
His sheer personality and bearing would level any score.

Kanshi Ram was an institution within the Academy,
But so was another stalwart, Mr Keswani, but in alchemy.

Listening to Mr. Kuldip Singh and Mr. Bhandari was really a feast,
But the cake goes to Mr Prem Singh for his immortal "Beauty and the Beast".

A sight to hold was Capt Bongirwar on his scooty, and none too soon,
He was captured brilliantly by GD Bakshi in the ultimate cartoon.

Lest we forget Daku Darshan Singh, God rest his soul,
The rope, the beam, the mat, the pool, he only spared the flagpole.

There were officers we loved and those we loved to hate,
But none more than the Dep Com who chased you down to Budhwar Peth.

Extra Drills and Restrictions became religion, as did the Singarh Hike,
And Mr Keswani kept screaming, "You can take my wife but not my mobike".

Some of the instructors charming daughters were really a God-send,
But (Brig) Basu(HOD Geography) slowly and surely went round the bend.

When the curriculum was hectic and some came up trumps,
You came down to earth when Nargis took you through the Lane Jumps.

While some struggled in academics, pass marks to strive,
With our Drill Boots we wore out ten feet of 2475.

As the terms flew by, some stumbled a bit,
But Brigadiers or Generals we all yearned to climb "Madhubala's Tit".

Kapoor & Co looted Officers/Cadets irrespective of grades,
Only to forfeit the Mangola & Besan Barfi in the systematically planned Cafe Raids.

Camps Greenhorn/Rover/Torna took the juice out of you.
But the Gole Market Halwai's daughter lifted(?) the blues(s)

Bivouacs, Tent Pitching, Ganna Raids galore(sigh)
Helping your buddy during "Josh" was the ultimate high.

Strong bonds were built, good friends created,
We knew for a fact that in future we will never feel cheated.

But finally it came to pass and we parted ways,
Fondly remembering our glory days.

The Academy changed and so did the uniform,
As we went to our respective service, as was the norm.

The Pongos were Green, the Air Force was kakhi,
The whites of the Navy could be seen from miles by every Paki.

While the training in each service took on its respective hue,
Somehow the bullshit and punishments continued on cue.

Oh what have we done to retain this curse?
Will it last us a life-time or will it somehow disperse?

But as the training continued and we felt its weight,
As professional soldiers we were proud of our state.

The first fatality pierces all faith like a knife,
An aeroplane crash took away Mandke's young life.

While we felt the fear, life must go on,
The Chief Instructor bellowed, "Strap up and get airborne".

As the training reached a crescendo, our confidence was brimming,
We were all looking forward to a brand new beginning.

There were stories to tell and anecdotes to recount,
Some stories were so tall that you needed stirrups to dismount.

From Pith Hats atop Sudan Block to Besan Barfis in the tank,
The list was never-ending and needed a bank.

While the Academies threw up extensive modules of training,
Panga taking and procrastinating became an Art of Living.

There's no doubt that life is all about survival of the fittest,
The bonhomie and camaraderie meant you helped the weak pass the test.

You carried his FSMO and his rifle too,
Provided he passed you the cog-sheets as you went to the loo.

"Thrust and Parry", normally a fencer's delight,
Was a matter of routine(For us) before we said Good Night.

The final training for the Army & Navy took just a year
The Air Force was slow and needed another six months to bear.

Thus Nineteen Seventy One was the Year of the Lord,
When the course took the oath to bloody the sword.

It didn't take long because war clouds were gathering,
The Pakis were belligerent but seemed to have lost their bearing.

The war had begun amidst swords that did rattle.
As this fine bunch from '67 were BORN TO BATTLE!!

It was a cry from the motherland to defend its borders,
The military engaged the enemy amidst instructions and orders.

A valiant young officer put his life at the stake,
Proudly commandeering his tank towards the enemy, make no mistake.

The heroics of Arun Khetarpal can be seen on every portal,
As we remember his last fight which made him immortal.

The great warship Khukri took a torpedo and sank,
Sunil Nandan Singh survived because of Daku's slam-dunk.

There were many who bled and many shed a tear,
But the rigours of training had erased all forms of fear.

Battle hardened and inoculated in the infancy of life,
Only sharpened the senses and the urge to find a wife!

As we grew in the service in our various hues,
The big transformation came when the Air Force adopted the blues.

Some did well and grew in stature and rank,
Making us proud as a group because we all came from the same bank.

But the sad part of life is something we must endure,
As course-mates fell by the wayside and missed the future.

It was the Hut of Remembrance which had made us circumspect,
A memorial to the valiant and dead, we grew to respect.

The Academies were vast, we never realised
Till we met course mates we hardly recognised.

The ravages of time and success and failure
Saw the ever expanding gap widen even further.

Time has never been kind, it was hooribly evident
As decades later we met each other, balding and rather bent.

The travails of the service saw many course corrections
Good friends and buddies wandered into different directions

It was business for some, DGR for another
Just trying to keep afloat suddenly seemed quite a bother

The kids grew up, life's burden they did release,
Thank God for small mercies, they were all CTCs!!

The better halves lived up to their name
A delightful bunch, always batting for the game.

In times of trouble and through the crests and troughs,
They provided the rudder to evade the roughs

What would we do without them, we say
We salute them all, hip hip hurray!

Life was good for the course and what made it bright
Was the array of "Stars" that justified the might

There were some who were unfortunate, their life prematurely cut short
May their souls rest in peace and the families get support

Now the boots are hung and the anchor dropped,
Sixty years and life seems suddenly cropped

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak
We plod from 'creak' to 'creak'

But the bonhomie and brotherhood remain sound and strong
As "BORN TO BATTLE" remains our theme song!

Air Marshal S Mukherjee
38th NDA, Golf.


When I was in the Academy(49th Course NDA, Hunter), as a first termer, in Spring '73, the following were our mentors among the many others:-

    (a) Academy Cadet Adjutant(ACA)       Sird Pal Singh Khullar, 44th NDA, Alpha.
    (b) Our Kanshi Ram was                        Subedar Major Padamdev Singh
    (c) Our Daku Darshan Singh was           Major Devine Jones, the PTO.
    (d) 'Madhubala's tit' had long since been rechristened as 'Babita's tit' and
    (e) Our DepCom was the immortal leader of all time, the then, Commodore RL Pereira!

I'd revisited the Academy as a Directing Staff, in '82, being one of the 5 'Divos' of Mike Squadron. The others with me, then, were:-

    (a) Major Krishna Kumar Nanda, the Squadron Commander.
    (b) Captain Pradeep Kapoor                 
    (c) Captain Mukesh Sethi
    (d) Captain AG Koijam
    (e) Flt Lt JS Grewal


Friday, July 13, 2018

The news views.

It would be worthwhile to go through the news that are grabbing the headlines these days. What keeps telling me is that there seem to be no major hiccups in our country, as of now and the controversies that are being raked up by the political parties are basically to position themselves for the next general elections. Seeing the worst political enemies joining hands - just to keep Modi from being re-elected in '19 - is grotesque and a continuing source of humour. There was good news, too, about young Hima Das winning the gold medal in the 400 m run at the IAAF championship in Tampere, Finland against the bleak outlook, which was the saving grace! So, without much ado, let me go ahead:-

 (a) 'Hindu Pakistan'. 

       One of the most absurd usages of recent times. Congress MP, Shashi Tharoor's statement about 
       India becoming one if Narendra Modi were to be re-elected in '19. His party has distanced itself
       from it but has not reprimanded him. What's getting clear is that controversial statements will be
       put forth during the run up to the elections to ruffle the thinking of the general public and there 
       by create a confusion in their minds, since the Prime Minister has high ratings pan India. 

       But what they seem to forget in the bargain is the poison that is slowly being injected to create
       an enmity between religions which could have dangerous repercussions and do not augur well 
       for the country. Aren't the existing laws adequate enough to curb such tendencies and nip them
       in the bud, before they get out of control? 

 (b) India's Golden Girl, Hima Das.

       18 year old Hima Das, claimed the gold medal in the 400 m race at the IAAF World Under 20
       meet in Finland. This is India's first ever gold in a world international track event. Not only is 
       she a world class athlete but also a socially conscious teenager who took the lead in 
       demolishing country liquor vends in her village Dhing, amid Assam's rice filelds.

       From driving a tractor around her dad's paddy fields in Assam's Nagaon district to ruling the
       athletic track in Tampere, Finland, Hima Das has now become a trail blazer in Indian athletics. 
       She's the youngest of five siblings in the agrarian family.

 (c) Hindu Taliban.

       Senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the central Shia Waqf Board told a bench of the
       Supreme Court that, "the Bamiyan Buddhist statues were destroyed by Muslim Taliban in 
       Afghanistan and in '92, Hindu Taliban destroyed the Babri Masjid". Such senseless use of
       words and phrases have a way of lingering for a long time as they are taken up by narrow 
       minded people, subsequently, to further their individual interests.

       That the phrase was used in the course of his arguments in the case, notwithstanding, it could've
       been avoided!! It's like the 'saffron terror' that Chidambaram had coined to score a point over
       his political rivals, when everyone knows that terror has no hues. Any harmful and dastardly act
       affecting people's safety is terror, nothing else and the perpetrators must be brought to book!!!  


Bipin, the representative of the PCI had come by to carry out the pest management within 'The Quarterdeck'. Also signed the AMC on completion!


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Strange but true.

1. In the 1400s a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have 'the rule of thumb/thumb rule'.

2. Many years ago in Scotland, a new game was invented. It was ruled 'Gentlemen only.....Ladies Forbidden'.....and thus the word Golf entered into the English language. That the game is now very popular with the women, a welcome change, notwithstanding!

3. In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase.......'Good Night, sleep tight'.

4. It was the accepted practice in Babylon, 4000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the 'honeymoon'.

5. In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts.....So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them, 'Mind your pints and quarts' and settle down. It's where we get the phrase 'Mind your Ps and Qs".

6. Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim or handle of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. 'Wet your whistle' is the phrase inspired by the practice.

7. In 1696, William III of England introduced a property tax that required those living in houses with more than six windows to pay a levy. In order to avoid the tax, house owners would brick up all windows except six(The Window Tax lasted until 1851 and older houses with bricked up windows are still a common sight in the UK). As the bricked up windows prevented some rooms from receiving any sunlight, the tax was referred to as 'daylight robbery'.

        *                   *                   *

One interesting word in English.


It is defined as a phrase in which two words of opposite meanings are brought together........Here are some funny oxymorons:-

     (a) Clearly Misunderstood.
     (b) Exact Estimate.
     (c) Small Crowd.
     (d) Act Naturally.
     (e) Found Missing.
     (f) Fully Empty.
     (g) Pretty Ugly.
     (h) Seriously Funny.
     (j)  Only Choice.
     (k) Original Copies.

And some people say the Mother of all Oxymorons is:-

     (l) "Happily Married".


There's a break in the continuous rains this morning. Had almost forgotten what a sunny morning looked like!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Interesting tidbits!

I found these labelled as 'Very Good Abnormal Knowledge' and couldn't guess as to why the information is named so.

Do you know?

  1. Hot water will turn into ice faster than cold water.
  2. Mona Lisa has no eyebrows.
  3. The sentence, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter in the English
  4. The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.
  5. Ants never sleep.
  6. "I am" is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
  7. Coca Cola was originally green.
  8. The most common name in the world is Mohammed.
  9. When the moon is directly overhead, you will weigh slightly less.
10. Camels have three eyelids to protect themselves from the blowing desert sand.
11. There are only two words in the English that have all five vowels in order: "abstemious" and
12. The name of all the continents end with the same letter that they start with.
13. There are two credit cards for every person in the US.
14. "Typewriter" is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the
15. Minus 40 degrees Celsius is exactly the same as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
16. Chocolate can kill dogs, as it contains theobromine, which affects their heart and nervous
17. Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
18. You can't kill yourself by holding your breath.
19. The Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from
      Public Libraries.
20. People say "Bless you" because when you sneeze your heart stops for a millisecond.
21. It's physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.
22. The "sixth sick sheikh's sheep's sick" is said to be the toughest tongue twister in the English
23. "Rhythm" is the longest English word without a vowel.
24. If you sneeze too hard, you can fracture a rib. If you try to suppress a sneeze, you can rupture a
      blood vessel in your head or neck and die.
25. Each king in a deck of playing cards represents great kings from history:-
      Spades      - King David
      Clubs        - Alexander the Great.
      Hearts       - Charlemagne.
      Diamond  - Julius Caeser.
26. It is impossible to lick your elbow.
27. 111, 111, 111 x 111, 111, 111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321.
28. If a statue of a person in the park on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in
      battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in
      battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
29. What do bullet proof vests, windshield wipers and laser printers all have in common? All
      invented by women.
30. This is the only food that doesn't spoil. What is this? Honey.
31. A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
32. A snail can sleep for three years.
33. All polar bears are left handed.
34. American Airlines saved $40,000 in '87 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in
      first class.
35. Butterflies taste with their feet.
36. Elephants are the only animals that can't jump.
37. In the last 4000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.
38. On average, people fear spiders more than they do death.
39. Stewardesses is the longest word typed with only the left hand.
40. The ant always falls over its right side when intoxicated.
41. The electric chair was invented by a dentist.
42. The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 ft.
43. Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over million descendants.
44. Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times.
45. The cigarette lighter was invented before the match.
46. Like fingerprints, everyone's tongue print is different.


In 1881, a professor asked his student whether it was God who created everything that exists in the universe?
Student replied: Yes.
He again asked: What about evil? Has God created evil also?

The student got silent......
Then the student requested that may he ask a question?

Professor allowed him to do so.

Student asked: Does cold exist?
Professor said: Yes! Don't you feel the cold dear?
Student said: I'm sorry but you are wrong sir. Cold is a complete absence of heat....There is no cold, it is only an absence of heat.

Student asked again: Does darkness exist?
Professor said: Yes!
Student replied: You are again wrong sir. There is no such thing like darkness. It's actually the absence of light. Sir, we always study light and heat, but not cold and darkness.

Similarly, the evil does not exist. Actually, it is the absence of Love, Faith and True belief in God.

The name of the student was Vivekananda!