Friday, October 26, 2018

A rightful tribute to PN Panicker...

Finally, the statue of PN Panicker is gonna adorn the traffic round at Poojappura at Thiruvananthapuram. It's a great tribute to the founder of the Kerala Library and Literacy Movements. My Muthachhan bestest!


The chores were carried out as usual but the ensuing weakness coupled with nausea sapped one's energy totally. Apologies for the bleak outlook and shall desist from doing so. .

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Tackling the problem.

Tackling of this illness is to overcome the nausea and that's a bothersome thing. There's an anti-nausea tablet that's to be had, before food, thrice a day along, of course, with an antibiotic to contain the infection. Today, was spent in doing just that and Rema, my sister, was of a great help as she took it upon herself to take care of the administration of medicines..

The weakness persists and a general feeling of restlessness prevails. Padmakumar, poor guy, came by bus after his return from office as Achu was stuck at a meeting. On completion, he, too, had come in bringing in their car. By evening, the house was full and after dinner, Padmakumar, Rema and Achu had set off for Palakkad.

Nothing untoward and I seem to be coasting to a normal course to recovery.


Had taken a laxative, as prescribed by the doctor, at bedtime. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A changed decision.

George was on time as usual. We delayed him by 10 mts. Reached the hospital at the time given and went through the procedural formalities.

Met Dr. Vishwanathan, the liver specialist, who checked me and put me through an ultrasonic scan of the liver and related organs, along with blood tests. I was supposed to see him after the results were available. The waiting period at the scan centre was a bit too much and I'd to tell the sister on watch that I was suffering. The effect was immediate. A sofa was evacuated for me to lie down; that mitigated the circumstances as, I thought, my pressure was low! Ammu was monitoring me and she told me later that I was shivering and that's why she'd held me!

I was put off with the overall services of the hospital and when the doctor told me that there was no reason for me to stay in the hospital as my strain of Jaundice was a mild one - the results were shown to him by then - I felt nice.

Ammu and Mithun began their journey towards Coimbatore. We all returned home.

It was a quiet evening, thereafter, with my sisters and Lekha fussing over me.


A hospitalisation that was avoided rightfully.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

On meeting the doctor.

George was here by a half past 7 and I met the doctor at around a quarter past 8. Have been diagnosed with Jaundice. Will get admitted tomorrow.

A quiet restful day. Ammu and Midhun were the first to arrive. Rema and Mini fetched up in the evening.

Monday, October 22, 2018

It's your liver, stupid!

Had got up in the wee hours of the morning, felt terribly thirsty and drank a bit of the water kept for such purposes. And it was then, that I realised that I was fasting for the blood and urine samples.

The Rajah team had come on the dot, at 7, drawn the samples and returned soon after.

The results were brought to me by about a half past 3. The readings of my liver had gone haywire. I'd contracted Jaundice. Now, till I get into a hospital, get hooked on to intravenous saline solutions over a couple of days, at least, it will not be the same.

Rested throughout the day.


The Sabarimala shrine has been closed after the proceedings for the month . The government could not execute the Supreme Court order as the negative sentiments had gathered considered momentum.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The return.

Had got up at 6, gone through our chores and after breakfast, the breakup had begun. Today's task was to drop John V Jacob and Manisha at the ayurveda treatment centre at Akalad. The journey was uneventful as we'd a tea break Chelembra and lunch was closer to Akalad.

We were at the Rajah Ayurveda Beach hospital by a half past 2. After satisfying myself with all the arrangements and after taking my lab investigation forms for tomorrow, we were dropped in the hospital's car, free of charge. That was sweet of Dr. Deepa!

We were back at 'The Quarterdeck' and I was sort of pooped.

Had a very light dinner. Lekha did the unpacking.


Tomorrow must bring about some relief! 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

A superb rapsody.

The day had begun on a wet note. We'd a crowd which made the breakfast session boisterous and noisy with the interactions continuing. The day's main event was sight seeing and I, Balan and Deric had got into Anandakrishnan's car for the tour.

Visits to the Spice farm and the Pookode Lake were in our itinerary. I felt uneasy after the Spice farm visit and stayed put in our tempo traveller. By the time we returned to our resort, it had started to pour. Got wet as we'd to trek up the steep slope because our 'sa'arthi' wasn't very keen to take his car further up!

Lekha was one of the stars in the 'anthakshari'. An afternoon siesta and the evening session went off as excitingly as ever. Thanks to Jojy, I could explain the evolution of the Kerala Library and Literacy Movements and Muthachhan's achievements. The proceedings went on like a superb rapsody!

I was just about okay, throughout the day.


Meanwhile, the stalemate continues at Sabarimala.


Friday, October 19, 2018

To Kozhikode and beyond to Vythiri.

Had got up at a half past 5 and then wondered as to whether I’d taken a wrong decision – this thought persisted till we reached Yedu’s immaculate Edathil Gardens – to get up half an hour late! Went through the chores and we were on the highway by a half past 7. The early morning traffic was comparatively easy as George stepped on the gas, with a gay abandon, as the 10 o’clock deadline was given to him.

Parrat, a close friend, had given a surprise call and the chat had gone on. A snatch of breakfast from a wayside hotel – it was a tasteless one, to say the least but this is what happens when one has vegetarian stuff! We reached Edathil Gardens at the appropriate time and could sent back George almost, immediately.

Meeting both the mothers – Yedu’s and Raji’s – was like a soothing balm. The tempo traveller, finally arrived and we’re off to Vythiri by about 11 AM. We reached the Adithya Nature Resort by a half past 1, got a traditional welcome while it was pouring. After registration and the allocation of rooms – ours was 210, along with Suresh and Sindhu. Each bungalow had staying places for two couples amid the greens – it was time to have fun with one’s classmates. An extended lunch with catching up time and we went into our suites for a short siesta.

The evening saw more of interaction, further exchange of ideas but was comparatively early. I’d initiated the proceedings with a prayer for our departed friends.


276-Joma, 278-Asha, 293-Sindhu, 301-Manisha, 399-Meera, 406, 418-Sreelatha, 430-Saly, 432-Leena, 513-Asha, 514-Sandhya, 519-Lekha, 522-Raji, 526-Anitha and 642-Daisy were in attendance.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A day gone waste.

Today's 'hartal' was called by the Hindus protesting against the women's - without restricting the age factor - entry into the shrine of Sabarimala. Today was the first of Thulam and the second day of the proceedings. While activities went by at the usual pace, no woman could make it to the shrine.

Suhasini Raj, the New York Times reporter and her friend, with the encouragement from the police had reached midway - 'Marakkoottam', it's dense forest and the ceremony of chucking rice balls as an offering is done here by the pilgrims - but returned from there as they couldn't withstand the continuous verbal onslaught from the activists, who'd encircled their police cordon!

The day saw a lot of destruction to vehicles, yet again. An entire day had gone waste. And why's the devaswom minister at the shrine, giving periodic press meetings?

Meanwhile, we did our packing for tomorrow's trip to the Wayanad region. George was arranged for our transportation because there was no point in taking our Chevy, to be parked at Kozhikode!


It'll be a continuous roll from tomorrow as we return from Vythiri on Sunday and would be off to my dad's place by the 23rd.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Inept handling.

The day had begun at a half past 2, when Valsala from Neelamperoor, had called up to say that she and her daughter had reached Thrissur. There were another 20' to go as I quickly washed, changed and took the Chevy out.....and it was pouring. Reached the railway station 10 minutes later and they could walk into the car without having to wait. They're scheduled to go to the Guruvayur temple in the morning, which was the sole reason for their quick visit.

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Inept Handling.

It was a sad day, all through, at the shrine of Sabarimala. Pilgrims had started conglomerating to have a 'darshan' of the Lord. Amidst them was Madhavi, a 45 year old lady from Andhra Pradesh and CS Liby, from Cherthalla who'd made an attempt to visit the shrine. The latter returned from the Pathanamthitta bus stand despite police assurance about her safety. Madhavi was able to clear Nilackal, Pamba and she was on the final stretch uphill, when she gave up because the constant abuses and shouts of the agitators played on her little children. There were quite a few women from the media who'd also come under the agitators' wrath. Vehicles were damaged in the bargain.

It was an inept handling of the situation by the government. To implement the court order, it should have deployed its forces effectively and in the right strength, all along the route, from Nilackal to the summit. The serious lapse brought about the disorder and the chaos that ensued throughout the day.

No arguments like 'didn't anticipate that the agitators could muster such huge strength', 'we were thoroughly understaffed' etc are acceptable.

Why the government was so thoroughly unprepared, beats me? Or is there a script beyond, that's waiting to happen?

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Valsala's call around a few minutes after 2200 hrs, on reaching her house, put me at ease. Their bus was caught in a traffic snarl off Muvattupuzha, because of road repair work.


Our earlier plan to go to Kozhikode tomorrow and spend the evening at Yedu's place has taken a hit because tomorrow's gonna be a hartal. Our move has been delayed by 24 hrs.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

It's another month to the Sabarimala season.

Two days from now is the first of the Malayalam month of Thulam. Armed with the Supreme Court order, many young ladies have announced that they would make the hike, have a 'darshan' and return. It's gonna be a momentous day because it takes place against the backdrop of a long brought up value system where a woman is considered 'not pure' during her menstruation cycle!

This evening, there were women activists, at Nilackal - the so-called-base-camp to the shrine - who had sent back women pilgrims coming to the shrine. More police women were being deployed, the press communique said. Even lady journalists were not permitted to enter. The area at Pamba - the foot hill of the shrine - has not seen any great restoration work, post floods just going to show as to how much the devaswom board really cares about the welfare of the pilgrims. Okay one can take it for granted the arrangements would be in place over the next one month.

The stalls and buildings at the Pamba were smashed to smithereens during the deluge. Apart from removing the debris, nothing else has been done and the pilgrimage period is knocking at our doors. Sad!

Meanwhile, the discussions between various stakeholders turned to naught as talk after talk failed. The government had cobbled up an 'explanation' yatra to define their side of the story! The theme was, "Look, it's the government's responsibility to implement the Court order and we've always been saying that we're for the right to equality for everyone to pray". The chief minister was made to deliver the explanation and he's gonna do so, through a series of such yatra-cum-lectures. It's the CPM's way of retrieving lost ground on the issue from the BJP and the Congress - the massive exercise that they can go through to play vote bank politics!

And to highlight the dichotomy of the case, Arnab Goswami, this evening on the Republic News announces that, "this is our chance or never". One almost wondered as to whether it was a clarion call for a war? The coming days are gonna witness a lot of events and scenes, connected with the issue. A matter that could have been sorted out through discussions between the various stakeholders.


Saw a headline in the newspaper saying that the advisory committee of the Vadakkunnatha Sivakshetram at Thrissur has been taken over by the CPM. It was being tomtommed as a major can only laugh at the churlishness and pettiness!

Monday, October 15, 2018

All in a day's work.....

Saw Rahul Gandhi with a lamp in front of a deity of a Hindu temple. He was clearly ill at ease with the job that he had been asked to perform for his party, in view of the forthcoming general elections. A few weeks back his brother-in-law was on a similar beat. Come on guys, have a heart! Do you think that the public is gullible enough to accept the fact that you've become a devout Hindu? Who's giving these guys such hare-brained ideas?

The younger generation, I thought, would refrain from the use of symbolisms and religious activities and put across their arguments through a coherent thinking process. But, sadly, it doesn't seem to be.

And then, comes an unnecessary row over a good Hindu and a bad Hindu, all to foment trouble when the stakeholders of the Ayadhya Ram temple are quietly trying to work out a satisfactory settlement. Shashi Tharoor was the proponent of this amazing(?) theory. Why doesn't he clear the doubt about his complicity in Sunanda Pushkar's tragic end?

       *                           *                              *

The Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes(AMMA) has aired their differences publicly with the secretary, Siddique and the treasurer, Jagadish voicing different opinions. While the former supports Dileep, the latter wants to get back the female artistes who've resigned from the organisation on account of Dileep! What made it look sad and disgusting was the manner in which the senior actress, KPAC Lalitha had pitched in for Dileep. It was only a few days back that she'd blamed the late Adoor Bhasi for making advances on her, which was sexual in nature.

The Malayalam film industry requires a face lift and introduction of ethical working procedures with a zero tolerance on sexual harassment. A fear-free workplace is all that it needs but looks difficult to achieve at this point of time. Sad!

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The minister-of-state for External Affairs, MJ Akbar had returned from his trip abroad to slap a defamation suit against the journalist, Priya Ramani. There, are 14 other cases Mr. Minister, and do you plan to file similar cases in each? Whom are you trying to kid?

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The person who seems to have reaped the benefit of all the controversies - the Sabarimala protests, the #Me too revelations, etc - is none other than the dubious Franco Mulackal, the discredited bishop for all his sexual shenanigans, by managing a bail. The havoc that he's gonna create is difficult to be estimated but he'll ride roughshod over the poor nuns who had shown guts by raising their voices. Only hope that my fears are unfounded....


Still reeling under an overpowering weakness, wonder why?  

Sunday, October 14, 2018

At Champakulam and back to 'The Quarterdeck'.

Had got up by about a half past 5 after Sajikuttan had gone through his chores. Babu Panicker's hotel was peaceful and it was a restful night. After breakfast, we'd left for Champakulam by about 9 AM. There was a lapse that had to be sorted out. One of the doctors, earmarked for the camp, Amrutha Krishnan was incommunicado since last evening. No amount of calls could retrieve the doctor and the District Medical Officer put in her efforts to get us a doctor, in lieu.

We reached the parish hall of the Basilica of St Mary, Champakulam an hour later - the venue of the camp - well in time, for the proceedings to begin. The meeting was conducted, followed by the medical inspection and there were two doctors. Phew! The number of patients was, however, not as good as we'd expected - it was about 104 but the heartening thing was that there were a lot children, who were in queue, for getting medical advice. The fundamental problem was the psychological trauma, post floods, which will have to be tackled with counseling sessions and we made a note of that requirement. There has been a spate of medical camps in the area!

Met two adorable kids, Marys (Class IV) and Thomas (Class II). The latter came and sat next to us for lunch and talked a lot. Marys was going through an emergency as she'd lost the keys of her new bicycle and her tears took a long time to control. The children could be given health enhancing tonics and vitamin tablets.

We wound up the camp by a half past 1, had a scrumptious lunch and split soon after. While maman and gang set off southward, 'Nattuvelicham' Prathapan - the Foundation's co-ordinator at Alappuzha - dropped me at the bus stand, from where I got a bus to Kochi via Thoppumpady; I was taking this route after a long, long time. From Kochi, I could clamber on to a low floor a/c bus to Kozhikode and reached Kunnankulam around a half past 7 - it took three and a half hours, thanks to the tight traffic. There was pitter patter rain while disembarking and I caught an auto rickshaw - driven by Sudhakaran - a widely read guy and quite knowledgeable about Muthachhan, who has promised to keep in touch.

A quick wash, followed by a sumptuous dinner of noodles and it was time to turn into bed. Felt very tired, wonder why? Lekha was explained the details of the trip and the important aspects of the two places.

A nice, short trip.


Ammachi had about 5 acres of land with a sprawling house at 'Chempothu' which was entrusted with an advocate by the name of Xavier, whom Muthachhan believed in, explicitly. But the sad fact was that he took advantage of the leniency and couldn't prevent the encroachment of the land by the other farmers, nearby. This was a sore point between Muthachhan and Ammachi, those days. Wonder why Muthachhan wasn't as meticulous as he was in all his other work? The entire family had visited this place about ten years back and I remember my mom being all excited when we stood in that compound!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Down memory lane...

Got up at 4, thanks to the alarm and quickly woke up Kochunni and family as they wanted to visit the temple. Was groggy with sleep as it was a late night but the chores had to be gone through as Anto and his vehicle fetched up at a quarter past 5. Kochunni, his wife and daughter were dropped by Anto at their destination, then we made a quick dash back home to pick up my wallet that I'd forgotten. The queue at the railway station wasn't long, bought my ticket, the day's newspapers and took a seat in the 6th compartment. As is my usual custom, I recited the prayers much before the train reached Poonkunnam.

The train had the same boorish driver who'd parked the train in such a manner that it stood on the final concrete path where I saw many people fumbling as they had to cross the rugged terrain of the centre of the track that they were forced to detour through. I told him that it was not right and he just gave a I wished I was a top railway official, I'd have suspended him then and there! Guys like him should not be given any leniency. Period!

The train had departed, on the dot, at 5' to 6 and reached Ernakulam Town station promptly at a half past 8. I'd quickly polished off the breakfast of idiappam and stew, but for some reason the stew did not have the standard Preetha excellence. And as I was cleaning up the last morsel, the train began to lurch forward - and I disembarked quickly to do the cleaning. Probably, I'd overestimated the duration of the stop! I, then, had caught an auto rickshaw for the state road transport corporation, headed for the wash room on arrival and was well in time for a waiting low floor a/c bus to Thiruvananthapuram. The absent minded conductor returned me excess cash and I'd to remind him about keeping his wits around....he gave me a sheepish smile.

Manu had picked me up from the Ambalapuzha bus stand on arrival and I was at the KK Kunju Pillai school at Thakazhi, on the dot at 11. The medical camp was poised to begin on the culmination of the public programme and I went about each point to see that everything was in hand. The student police force, consisting of energetic, young and enthusiastic young girls streamlined and regulated the participants which was 160, in toto. The psychological trauma that they'd gone through, thanks to the deluge was on display and we're surprised to know that ours was the first camp in the area and mind you, this was the place that had seen a lot of flooding and prolonged water logging during the period...the place was beside the arterial Alappuzha-Changanasserry road and very much part of my grandmother's Kuttanad!

The organisers gave us a tasty and homely food on banana leaves! Met three youngsters - Kashyap(Guwahati) aged 35, Irfan Khan(Mirzapur) aged 40 and Deepak(Balliya) aged 30 who'd chosen this place towards flood relief at the behest of 'Arth', a Delhi-based NGO. Was impressed with their commitment and dedication to the cause. They've promised to be in touch and have taken down my contact number and e-mail ID.

We took up a room at the lodge of the Panicker's Travels within the temple premises and had a 'darshan' of Ambalappuzha Krishnan by about 7, in the evening. The vast expanse of the temple premises, the deities, the temple tank and the spot where Lord Krishna used to, presumably, sit and watch his devotees, going through their paces gave me a tremendous sense of happiness as this was the area where the PN Panickers and their children - my mom, topping the list - had spent their times, both in the mornings and in the evenings every day!

We'd, then, gone to the Sahitya Panchanan PK Narayana Pillai Library at the western wall of the temple which my grandfather had established to spearhead the Travancore Grandhasala Sanghom in 1945. I walked through each of the rows of book cabinets and tried to recall my grandfather's days as the energetic librarian. Was thrilled to see a photograph of his at a comparatively young age. The new block was shown to us by Naja, the grand daughter of the late KK Kunju Pillai and the driving force behind the library's new aura, along with a few dedicated youngsters to assist her!

We returned to our hotel, had a light dinner of dosas and coffee before calling it a day. It was a thoroughly satisfying day!


Kochunni and family had returned by a half past 11, from Guruvayur according to Lekha.           

Friday, October 12, 2018

Misogyny on show.

There has been an overwhelming support to the #Me too movement in India. Positive action in the form of cases being registered, people at high places and those who matter in the corridors of power have made their stand clear. By Sunday, the minister in the Narendra Modi government, MJ Akbar will face the music on his return from a foreign tour.

While it's great to see the overwhelming support to the women in angst there are many who shrug it away as another joke, which is unfortunate. I reproduce a gist of such a misogynistic stand to show as to how impractical and heartless these people are, these are supposed to be the esteemed thoughts from a Geetanjali Arora on "me too", "You do me favours, I do you favours 30 years later lets call it me too....A strong woman does not wait 30, 20, 10 years to speak up, she slaps him on the first 'bad touch' and knocks him out....You were scared to say 'No' then because it was hard to stand up for what was right and you were scared to lose your status and position in the work place, so you chose to accept the molestation and went back for more....Strong women don't have 'me too sob stories', they only have - I slapped him back short essays".

My counter to it is this, "Geetanjali Arora has her own story. I laud her for that. But not everyone can have that luck. Circumstances related to family, professional constraints, individual difficulties come into play which make the fact that such allegations do not have an expiry date; probably the present situation has given her the necessary courage. One must understand that a woman shows extreme bravery when she comes out on such an issue:-

   (a) Usually, the guys that are pointed at do have a personality flaw and hold high positions.
   (b) The resultant limelight will destroy anyone because the questions asked are not diplomatic.
   (c) Such a person is considered 'available' now that she has been there, done that.

The least one can do is to stop the mud slinging. The 'me too' group have been brave to have shed off their inhibitions and come out with their sordid stories.


1. Kochunni - Appukkuttan Kochachhan's eldest son - and family made a rather late announcement around a quarter to 10, in the evening, that they were arriving half an hour later to invite us for their son's wedding on 16 Dec. So, the evening got extended by another couple of hours. We put them at ease as all of them were coming to 'The Quarterdeck' for the first time!

2. Tomorrow's gonna be a long day. I'm off to Thakazhi and Champakulam by the early morning train for conducting medical camps, on behalf of the PN Panicker Foundation, over the next two days.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A story behind the making of the KRS.

The king of Mysore, Krishna Raja Wodeyar IV and Sir M Vishweshwariah were in a pensive mood. They had reached a dead end.

The proposed Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) dam was six months away from completion and they had run out of money. Just eight months ago, the king had mortgaged his family jewels to the king of Benares (Now called Varanasi - the oldest inhabited city in the world). The queen had given her favourite necklace and family heirlooms for the project. But eventually, that too ran out in mounting labour and construction costs.

According to the human psyche, they say, when we are cornered and have nowhere to go, a sudden and unexpected courage takes over our very being. A man, thus, subjected will pull off all odds in a sortie mainly because he has nothing to lose. Sir MV had an impractical idea, but he wanted to attempt.

That morning, he sent out messages to all village headmen that he wanted to meet them in a village near Mandya the next day at 4 PM. The royal messengers rushed out to village after village delivering the important missive. The agenda was not mentioned. Sir MV expected at the most 5 to 10 village headmen would come to the meeting due to the short notice.

Next day, they reached the meeting site at 3:50 PM. There were more than 500 people, village elders and younger crowd. All wanted to hear the great engineer who was building this huge lifeline. There was another man walking with Sir MV. The crowd gasped. For most of them had never seen the king up so close.

The king was a genteel, but education had taught him humility. He walked amongst the crowd, spoke to them as a commoner, mingled and finally, took up the stage.

He spoke. From the heart. In their language. He did not hide anything. He said that he needed help. And asked the villagers if they would work for free for four weeks until he found out a solution. He told them that he was thinking of mortgaging the one of the palaces. Here was a king who was like them, without money and was about to mortgage his house. "Just like us" they thought. But what touched them most were his vulnerability and simplicity. The king was connected. The effect was electrifying.

However, no one responded. A month of free work meant depleted savings for some and for others, starvation.

Next morning at 6:30 AM Sir MV met the king and they commenced discussing mortgaging the palace when the king's secretary suddenly rushed inside. "You got to see this". Everyone hurriedly went to the palace balcony. The sight was one to behold.

First they saw a few, then hundreds and then thousands. Wave after wave of people were streaming into the palace courtyard. Farmers, teachers, cart-drivers, old men, women - many with toddlers - people of all sort and sizes came to do their tiny bit to complete the dream that was KRS. The king, queen, courtiers and Sir MV watched the spectacle with unbelievable eyes. With moistened eyes, the king held out his hand and placed it on his heart - a gesture of deepest gratitude. Even the non emotional Sir MV was moved. The people of Mysore would not care if they were not paid, but they would complete the dam braving whatever odds that came their way.

KRS stands proudly as a testament to a humble king, brilliant engineer and the toil of thousands of men and women who made it an architectural wonder that it is. But above all, it is a symbolic representation of a miracle that can be achieved if your heart is pure and intentions are well.

The sophisticated canal system from KRS to Shivana Samudra has enabled mother earth to deck herself in the lushest of green. This area is called the green gold of Karnataka.


Felt under the weather and had even walked to Dr. Sodhi's clinic in the hot sun. Her OP for the day had been cancelled due to some reason.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Swami Vivekananda on idol worship.

Once Swami Vivekananda visited King of Alwar in present day Rajasthan. The king in an attempt to mock idol worship told Swamiji, "I've no faith in idol worship. How can one worship stone, wood and metal? I believe people are in illusion and just wasting time!"

Swamiji smiled. He asked the king's assistant to take down the picture of the king that was hanging on the wall. Although confused, the assistant did so. Then Swamiji ordered him, "Spit on the picture!" The assistant was shocked and looked at both of them. Swamiji repeated again and again, becoming more stern each time. The king was growing angry and the assistant started trembling. Finally, he cried out, "How can I spit on this? This picture is of our beloved and respected king".

Swamiji then told him, "The king is sitting in front of you in person. This picture is merely a paper - it does not speak, hear, think or move. But still you did not spit because you see a shadow of your king in it; spitting on it was like spitting on the king itself".

The king looked at Swamiji and bowed down, clearly understanding what he was referring to. This is the essence of idol worship. God is everywhere but people want to pray to Him, ask favours, offer food, tell stories, bathe Him, play with Him and do what they do in their lives. Creating a human-like idol creates an image of God as a companion, a guide, a friend, a protector, a giver, a fellow being and so on. An idol is a concrete representation where they find Him. When I look into the eyes of an idol, I do not see stone or metal, but another pair of eyes looking affectionately at me, smiling.

Wonderful Questions to Read and Answer.

  1. How many Malayalees have become President of India?
  2. How many states share border with Kerala?
  3. How many teaspoons make a Table spoon?
  4. How many Vedas are there in Hindu mythology?
  5. How many times did Mahatma Gandhi visit Kerala?
  6. How many countries have larger area than India?
  7. What is the Ph value of water?
  8. How many planets are there in the Solar System?
  9. How many districts in Kerala have coastline?
10. How many millimetres make a centimetre?
11. How many players are there in a Football team?
12. How many inches make a foot?
13. How many Legislative Assemblies have been elected so far in Kerala?
14. How many District Panchayats are there in Kerala?
15. One-time vehicle tax is valid for how many years?
16. How many feathers are there in a shuttle cock?
17. How many languages are printed in an Indian currency?
18. How many Chapters are there in the Mahabharatha?
19. Which Commonwealth Game was hosted in India in 2010?
20. How many overs are there in T-20 cricket?
21. How many years did Mahatma Gandhi spend in South Africa?
22. What is the position of Kerala in terms of area?
23. How many chromosomes are there in the human body?
24. How many spokes are there in the Ashok Chakra?
25. What is the qualifying age for becoming an MLA?

Note. The question numbers are the answers!


Sasi, my director, had called up to say as to how his son - studying in Bangalore - has gone missing. He attributes his shenanigans to the bad company that he keeps. He'd got into a band group which is known to indulge in drugs. Hope the youngster comes back safe. He, also, gave me a rundown of the latest meeting of the JSS Directors at Thiruvananthapuram.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

# Me too in India!

Sexual predators, beware. The movement "#Me too" has come to India and has already claimed a few scalps. Emboldened by the favourable public reactions, more and more women are willing to come out with the sordid details of the tormenting times that they have been through, naming the ones who'd caused them the angst despite the fact that quite a few of them adorn 'haloed' positions! Consequently, many carefully built reputations lay destroyed and the ruinous heap is only gonna swell over the days.

The Indian woman had taken it over a long time and has now found the courage to stand up to public scrutiny with the sole aim of bringing the guilty to book.

There are umpteen stories of unsuspecting women who've suffered sexual exploitation at the hands of their own close relatives - why talk of only sexual exploitation at the workplace? I go back in time when a couple, residing at Bombay and who were good friends of mine, wanted me to find time to speak to their elder daughter - she was fond of this uncle - during one of my many trips to the city, on duty. The young lady was refusing to get married as matrimonial alliances came from far and wide; she found fault with every 'suitable boy' that came her way! I'd descended upon their house on such an outing only to be emotionally drained over those few hours because the story of the young lady was sad, though explosive.

From her story, her mom's brother - a successful man, working for a blue chip company and who'd a family of his own - had been taking advantage of her, right from her teens and had threatened her if she ever were to spill the beans. The result - she dreaded the days that he visited them, abhorred men who tried to be friendly with her and detested any form of physical relationship! Her words at the end of her bitter narrative still rings in my mind when I said that I'd broach the topic with her parents to bring about an end to the state of affairs and I quote, "Uncle they, and especially my mom, wouldn't believe you and will say that I'm cooking up stories to mislead you". Sure enough, her mom was scathing in her reaction saying that I, too, was swallowing her daughter's words, hook, line and sinker with a final statement, "My brother is the most thorough gentleman that I've come across and don't you say anything about him!"

The family, subsequently, had confronted the issue with the sexual predator and the young lady was able to come out of her trauma, though it was a long drawn out process. Why I had lingered on the story was to just show that sexual predators could be anywhere and everywhere, coming from the most unexpected quarters. Period!

Thankfully, the media has begun to give attention to this vexed problem. I came across a guy - in one of the channel discussions - asking as to why the charges were surfacing now - almost 20 years after its happening! To me, it appeared as though he was either he was play acting or he was a plain dumbo because there could be very many reasons for the victim to clam up. There's no expiry date in such experiences and I shall just cite a few that come to my mind, which are:-

      (a) The victim is too stunned to react and at a loss of a sane thought process in the immediate
      (b) The consequent investigations can upset the mental balance of any individual.
      (c) Dreads society's reactions and the repercussions it could bring to the family.
      (d) The agony of being in the limelight for no rhyme or reason.
      (e) The influx of people who'd try to take advantage because she's, now, 'available' and can be


Had a few anxious moments when my sister, from Bangalore, rang up to say that Vichani kunjamma was not well and had been giving anxious moments. Thankfully, got a call that all was well, shortly after. Phew!  

Monday, October 8, 2018

This is what politics should be.

There has been a history of scams, in Kerala, in connection with liquor - includes bars, breweries and distilleries. It need not be reiterated that the impetus provided by the bar bribery case against the previous UDF regime was instrumental, to an extent, to bring back the LDF to power.

The Pinarayi Vijayan government had sanctioned three breweries and a distillery. It was the haste with which the licences were granted that had triggered off a range of allegations by the opposition regarding outright irregularities in their allocation and the government had no effective counter.

The scam came to light as The new Indian Express' probe found that the lone distillery licence was granted to a defunct company as the Registrar of Companies(RoC) had, earlier, struck it off for not complying with company rules! And surely, it could not be by chance that the Excise Department had overlooked the total lack of credentials of the 'Sree Chakra' - the company that was in the eye of the storm -  while granting it the licence in double quick time!

It's good that the Pinarayi Vijayan government has cancelled the controversial approval. Now the question is as to whether the Excise Minister - who was instrumental in granting the licence - would be asked to step down for his complicity in the murky rigmarole. That should be the logical aftermath of the present action.

But I would look at it as a great victory for democracy. The opposition did not dither in bringing the scam to the people, providing the minutest details that saw the government fumbling for answers and it was their continuous onslaught - through peaceful means, by organising rallies and streetside/channel discussions - that had forced the government to eat the humble pie. The fissures within the LDF, over the issue, further hastened the process. Consequently, the government, weighing the pros and the cons, cancelled the controversial licence. In that one swoop it has shown that it cares for public opinion and was ready to right its wrong!

It's a win-win situation for all the stakeholders.

I must also congratulate the New Indian Express - on behalf of the people of Kerala - for its taut and swift investigative journalism. This is what, ultimately, strengthens democracy when its supporting four pillars, complement each other, by being an effective check on the another.


Lekha's sister and gang will be here for another day to complete their work. Today, their timings had gone awry because of the inordinate delay at the Guruvayur temple, in getting a 'darshan'!    

Sunday, October 7, 2018


It's evident from the protests, staged over the last week, in various parts of Kerala and even in other states that the Supreme Court judgement clearing women's entry into the shrine has met with extreme sentiments. What makes it all the more intriguing is that the women are in the forefront of all these agitations.

When the proceedings in the court had got underway, the Malayalee woman was clear that come what may, she was not interested in entering the shrine going against the spirit of the restrictions regarding their entry that has been in force for centuries. In the wake of the judgement, I've had the opportunity to interact with a number of women and a sizeable majority among them are of the opinion that the period of menstruation is considered by them as being 'impure'!

It's probably because of the fact that this thought has been handed over across generations and they have held this aspect close in their value system. In the joint families that people of my generation were fortunate to have been nurtured in, we'd grown up to the practice of seeing menstruating women take an early bath, keep away from the kitchen and of course, went nowhere near the puja room and generally stayed secluded in the huge 'tharavadu', within the imposing 'naalukettu'.

It's this belief that has been knocked off its bottom with the judgement refusing to accept the fact that a woman is impure during menstruation. Come to think of it, she's only going through a physiological activity that's dictated by nature and hence, why should she be impure? The only dissenting judge, ironically, a lady - Indu Malhotra - had sought to let religious sentiments be what they are and had said that they should be kept away from a Constitutional outlook/analysis!

The communists, being atheists, were quick to get of the starter block and Kerala's chief minister made an all too pompous statement that his government would go about implementing the court order at the earliest. The resultant spate of protests - notwithstanding the politics in them - must have surprised him and his government that the CPM had to perforce make a statement that the implementation would only be carried after discussions with all the stakeholders. The party must have suddenly realised that their opponents - the Congress and the BJP - were gaining political mileage and that it could affect their vote bank in the run up to the forthcoming general elections!

Are the sentiments against the Supreme Court judgement snowballing?


A related comedy show. One feels rather amused to see Rahul Gandhi, Robert Vadra (Of all the guys) etc visiting temples at an alarming spree. Do they feel that by doing so they would be able make an impression among the common man that they are diehard Hindus? Come on, take a walk and do tell him what your aspirations are for the country that's totally different from that of Narendra Modi. By trying to be a 'new-born-Hindu' how do you justify your minority appeasement? Your vote bank mentality is coming home to roost, at last!

Lekha's sister and family had come by about 5, in the evening. After a quick, late lunch they'd gone off to Palakkad to invite my sister and family for the wedding and returned by about 11. It was a boisterous and late evening!       

Saturday, October 6, 2018

From here and there.....

1. President Trump Succeeds in Getting His Nominee Through.

    Judge Brett Kavanaugh, whose Supreme Court hearings had made rumblings in the Senate and
    paved way for heated arguments all across the US, is headed for final confirmation. While errant
    sexual behaviour, on the part of an individual, can never be accepted at any cost I've an important
    question related to the issue. What should be the vintage of the waywardness that needs to be
    considered? Let me make it clearer.

    Kavanaugh is accused of sexual indiscretion during his teen years. Four ladies have, so far, come
    up with allegations. The senate confirmation hearings, therefore, waited a week for the FBI to
    come up with a quick investigation of the charges. Consequently, he has been cleared and is poised
    for confirmation.

    My doubts are the following:-

        (a) Would it be possible to lay down an acceptable vintage of charges? I mean, a person could
              have made mistakes in his younger age due to the prevailing circumstances and has turned a
              new leaf and has no further indiscretion against his name as he matured gracefully.
        (b) And if it's ascertained beyond doubt that there has been no quirk of character in him, should
              he be penalised.
        (c) Of course, a flaw in character does not have limits in vintage!

     It needs to be seen as to how the Republican Party fares in the midterm elections rolling out in
     November. It's very clear that the white Americans are solidly behind their President and will
     ensure his party's win!

2. The Voices Against the Order Regarding Women's Entry in Sabarimala Rise.

    The recent Supreme Court judgement clearing women's entry into Sabarimala has found stiff
    opposition in Kerala and in most cases, it's the women who've been spearheading the movement.
    The chief minister had, earlier, taken a stand that his government would implement the court
    order but he has been forced to eat the humble pie as the agitations have increased in intensity. It
    was his party that had quickly climbed down from the earlier stand and has said that it will ask the
    government to talk with all the stakeholders! The government will talk to the royals and priests to
    defuse the situation.

    Only hope that politics is not played!


The poll bugle has been sounded. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram are headed for polls in November and the results will be announced on 11 Dec. Falsehoods, half truths, innuendos are gonna be the mainstay in the coming days.




Friday, October 5, 2018

News views.

A lot of things are happening around us and we are passing through interesting times. Let me go through a few of them:-

 (a) The S-400 Missile Shield.

       The Russian President and the Indian Prime Minister have inked a deal which will facilitate
       India to acquire the potent and the state-of-the-art long range surface-to-air-missile system that
       is said to cover a distance of 4,000 km. This is notwithstanding the fact that Washington's
       CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) is very much in vogue.
       By inking eight pacts with Russia during the occasion, India has once again shown adroitness in
       its foreign policy by maintaining equal distance from the USA and Russia!

       A strong joint statement condemning all sorts of terrorism and cross-border terrorism, in
       particular, assumes significance in the wake of Russia warming up to Pakistan in recent times!

       5 squadrons of S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft missiles will be bought under this deal over a lead time
       of four-and-a-half years.

 (b) The Nobel Peace Prize Winners.

       Denis Mukwege, a doctor who helps victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of
       Congo and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery by the IS are the
       joint winners of the 2018 Nobel Peace prize. They have been awarded the prize for their efforts,
       "to end the sexual violence as a weapon of war".

       The two of them, in their own ways, have helped to give greater visibility to war-time sexual
       violence so that the perpetrators can be held accountable! Heartiest congratulations!!

 (c) The Interpol Chief Goes Missing!

       One was always under the impression that the Interpol was a mighty organisation that was
       capable of bringing perpetrators of crime - from any part of the world with its superior resources
       in terms of personnel and accessories - to book. But what happens when its own chief goes
       missing? Interpol's President, Meng Hongwei has been reported missing after travelling to his
       native China last week. According to a media report from Hong Kong, he was under
       investigation in China and had been taken away for questioning as soon as he landed there.

       His wife had contacted the French police in Lyon, the French city where the Interpol has its
       headquarters after not hearing from him since his departure on 29 Sep.

       O, these Chinese!


We are bracing for the heavy rains and strong winds, forecast for the weekend. The state machinery has been brought to standby and it gives one the impression that the authorities have learnt their lessons right from the recent floods! Good!!


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Politicising healthcare!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched his government's ambitious healthcare programme with much fanfare during the final days of last month. The programme has been named Ayushman Bharat - National Health Protection Scheme (AB-NHPS). The union government is planning to merge all the centrally sponsored health insurance schemes with AB-NHPS from 01 Apr '19.

Insuring the masses is a step in the right direction and let me run through the salient features of this programme:-

 * Launched on 23 Sep '18, the AB-NHPS aims to provide healthcare coverage to over 10 crore
 * It offers an insurance cap of Rs.5 lakhs and is considered the biggest government sponsored
    healthcare scheme in the world.
 * Ten days into its launch, it has catered to more than 30,000 patients with claims of Rs.38.1 crores
    approved by the government in both public and private hospitals.
 * As of date, 32,814 hospitals have applied for empanellment of which 13,865 have been empanelled
    or are in the process of being empanelled.
 * While 31 states and union territories are on board, five states viz. Delhi, Orissa, Punjab, Kerala and
    Telangana are resisting participation.
 * Kerala has adopted a wait and watch policy and will join the scheme only after it gets more clarity.
    The state has appointed a five-member committee to negotiate with the central government on
    areas of concern.
 * Kerala's main worry is the possible reduction in the number of beneficiaries from 41 lakhs in
    Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana(RSBY) to 21.5 lakhs if it opts for AB-NHPS.
 * Also, Kerala claims that while it provides packages for the treatment of 1,785 ailments, the
    AB-NHPS has only 1,354 packages.
 * Also, with the limit being Rs.5 lakhs instead of Rs.30,000/- in RSBY, the state government fears
    it will result in a tremendous financial burden.

Eligibilty Criteria.

 (a) No enrollment but it is an entitlement-based scheme.
 (b) Families are identified by the government based on deprivation and occupational criteria as per
       the 2011 census data.
 (c) A list of eligible families will be shared with the state governments. A dedicated AB-NHPS
      family identification number will be allotted to eligible families.
 (d) Additionally, families with active RSBY cards as on 28 Feb '18 will be covered. No new families
      can be added under AB-NHPS.

Eligible Hospitals.

 * Services under the scheme can be availed at all public hospitals and empanelled private health
    care facilities. Also, the basic empanellment  criteria allow empanellment of a hospital with a
    minimum of 10 beds with the flexibility provided to states to further relax this, if required.
 * To control costs, the payments for treatment will be done on package rates. However, hospitals
    with NABH/NQAS accreditation can be incentivised for higher package rates subject to procedure
    and costing guidelines.

And What is the Hospitalisation Process?

  (a) No need to pay any charges and premium for the hospitalisation.
  (b) Empanelled hospitals will have 'Ayushman Mitras' to assist patients.

AB-NHPS Benefits.

  * A benefit cover of Rs.5 lakhs per family (On a family floater pass) per year for secondary and
     tertiary care hospitalisation.
  * No cap on family size and age.
  * cashless and paperless scheme at public hospitals and empanelled private hospitals.
  * Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country.
  * Beneficiaries can avail cashless benefits from any public/private empanelled hospitals across the
  * It includes pre and post-hospitalisation expenses.

What is included?

It will cover medical and hospitalisation expenses for almost all secondary care and most of the tertiary care procedures. The health ministry has included 1,354 packages in the scheme under which treatment for coronary bypass, knee replacements and stenting among others would be provided at 15-20% cheaper rates than the Central Government Health Schemes(CGHS).

My take.

A great initiative and hope it's nurtured well, the needy will benefit and hopefully, the politicisation will soon be a thing of the past and the entire nation will come under this one healthcare programme!


Am quite surprised that more and more people - predominantly women - are coming out onto the streets voicing their dissent on the recent Supreme Court order regarding the clearing of entry of women in the Sabarimala shrine. From my interactions with many ladies, most of them if not all, find it difficult to accept that they should be entering a temple when they're menstruating. Yes, they consider themselves 'impure' during that period. Period!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Just think......

When you've time just think about a few things that don't make sense, like:-

 1. If poison expires, is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?
 2. Which letter is silent in the word, "Scent", the 's' or the 'c'?
 3. Do twins ever realise that one of them is unplanned?
 4. Why is the letter 'w', in English, called 'double u'? Shouldn't it be called 'double v'?
 5. Maybe Oxygen is slowly killing you and it takes 75 - 100 years to fully work.
 6. Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.
 7. The word 'swims' upside - down is also 'swims'.
 8. 100 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has cars and
     only the rich own horses.
 9. If you replace 'w' with 't' in 'what', 'where' and 'when', you get the answer to each of them.

The confusions still unresolved. 

 1. At a movie theatre, which arm rest is yours?
 2. If people evolved from monkeys, why are monkeys still around?
 3. Why is there a 'D' in fridge, but not in refrigerator?
 4. Who knew what time it was when the first clock was made?

Vagaries of English language!

 * Wonder why the word 'funeral' starts with 'fun'?
 * Why isn't a 'fireman' called a 'waterman'?
 * How come lipstick doesn't do what it says?
 * If money doesn't grow on trees, how come banks have branches?
 * If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
 * How do you get off a non stop flight?
 * Why are goods sent by ship called cargo and those sent by truck, shipment?
 * Why do we put cups in the dishwasher and the dishes in the cupboard?
 * Why do doctors 'practise' medicine? Are they having practice at the cost of the patients?
 * Why is it called 'Rush Hour' when traffic moves at its slowest then?
 * How come noses run and feet smell?
 * Why do they call it a TV 'set' when there is only one?
 * What are you vacating when you go on a vacation?

We can never find the answers, can we?
So just enjoy the pun and fun of the English language!

English is a funny language.


The violinist, Balabhaskar(40), was laid to rest at a solemn ceremony accompanied by state honours, in the Santhikavadom, Thycaud, Thiruvananthapuram. He had met with an accident in the wee hours of 25 Sep, when his car had rammed into a roadside tree near Pallipuram (He was driving and his wife, along with their daughter on her lap was on the pillion seat), about 18 kms from Thiruvananthapuram. RIP Bala, we shall miss you and your music. My tears and prayers.

His daughter, one and a half year old Tejaswini Bala had died on the spot of the accident and his wife, Laxmi is seriously ill - without knowing as to what is happening - in a hospital.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

These do not contribute to civility.

1. Loses Battle in Love.

    A Saudi woman - a 38 year old bank manager - has lost a judicial battle to marry the man of her
    choice because the court deemed him "religiously unfit" because he plays a musical instrument.
    In the ultra conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia, women are required to seek permission from
    male guardians viz. their fathers, husbands or other male relatives to travel, get married and to do
    other tasks. In some parts of the kingdom, a man who plays a musical instrument is considered of
    inferior status and having a bad reputation!

    Two years ago, the suitor - a teacher - asked for the hand of the woman. Her family had rejected
    his proposal outright because he played the 'oud', the oriental lute. The woman had, then, taken the
    matter to court which had delivered the sentence.

    Can only term it weird. A couple's right to live, on their terms, is not permitted! Sad!!

2. Jail for Kissing.
    A 16 year old boy, in Turkey, has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail for kissing his
    13-year old girl friend after teachers found his schoolmates sharing a video of the event. A court
    of the Antalya Province, found the boy guilty of sexual abuse under a law that forbids sexual
    conduct with children under the age of 15. The video was used as evidence.

    Was the boy's conduct honourable? Probably, it was an immature act on the part of the boy to
    become a hero among his friends or did it have a malicious intent?

    The case was referred to the School Police by a teacher, who brought it in front of prosecutors.
    The school police is a new introduction in Turkey, instituted for child protection especially, to
    tackle drug dealing.

3. Nun Isolated while the Bishop has a Stream of Guests.

    Even as the nun who was allegedly raped by Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulackal remained
    isolated in her room at the Kuravilangadu convent, the arrested bishop had a stream of VIP
    visitors at his cell in the Pala sub jail. It is to be noted that neither the church authorities nor the
    political leaders have bothered to visit the victim at her convent, thus far.

    Is the stage being prepared to let go off the accused scot free, I wonder?


1. Pushpakaran had come by to do the six monthly spring cleaning of the house. Selvam had, also, come along to press the clothes. The Quarterdeck was suddenly agog with a lot of activity, all through the day!
2. Binita Jain, from Assam, was on the hot seat of the KBC, before Amitabh Bachchan, this evening. Her first question today was for Rs.50 lakhs as she was a roll over contestant from yesterday. She consequently, won Rs.1 crore and a Marrazo car. Felt bad that she couldn't pocket the Rs.7 crores though she'd guessed the right answer. A right example of beauty with brain and she has suffered a lot in life with no trace of her husband, kidnapped 15 years ago!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Remembering Gandhiji on the eve of his 150th birth anniversary.

20 facts about Bapu.....

  1. When Gandhiji was boarding a train, one of his shoes slipped and fell on the track. Bapu,
     immediately removed the other one, too and threw it near the first. His intention was clear, the
     person who found the shoes could use them.

  2. In 1931, Bapu made his first radio broadcasting for the USA. Do you know what his first words
     were? "Do I have to speak into this thing?"

  3. We all know how prestigious is the Time Magazine's "Man of the Year" or "Person of the Year".
     But do you know that Mahatma Gandhi is the only Indian, till today, to become the 'Person of the
     Year' for his actions during the Salt Satyagraha or Dandi March in 1930?

  4. Gandhiji commanded 21 Indian volunteers, as stretcher bearers, to treat wounded British soldiers
     in Bambatha Uprising (Zulu revolt or war against British rule in South Africa) in 1906.

  5. Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography, "My Autobiography of My Experiments with Truth"
     in 1927 was declared as one of '100 most spiritual books of the 20th century' in 1999 by Harper
     Collins Publications LLC.

  6. In 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Due to his assassination,
     the Nobel Committee decided not to award the peace prize for that year, stating that "there was no
     suitable living candidate".

  7. Mahatma Gandhi was chosen as the second runner up for the Time Magazine's 'Person of the
     Century' in 1999. However, Albert Einstein was chosen for the title as 20th century was dominated
     by science and technology; besides he served as a symbol of all scientists.

  8. Gandhiji spoke English with an Irish accent because one of his first teachers was an Irishman.

  9. In South Africa, Gandhiji's income was $15,000 at that time which is a dream to most of us

10. Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, was one of Gandhiji's followers in the USA.
      He used to spin the 'charkha' which was sent by Gandhiji through a journalist emissary.

11. Gandhiji wrote his autobiography in Gujarati. Shri Mahadev Desai, who was a personal assistant
      to Gandhiji, translated it.

12. Do you know Friday is mostly associated with Gandhiji's life? India got independence on Friday.
      Bapu was born and assassinated on Friday.

13. When Gandhiji went to Santhiniketan he greeted Rabindranath Tagore as 'Namaste Gurudev'.
      Tagore replied spontaneously, 'If I'm Gurudev, you're Mahatma' which later became the prefix
      to his name.

14. We all know that Gandhiji had given up dressing in full due to the poor plight of the Indians.
      Do you know when and where he decided that? While touring Madurai in 1921, he noticed
      many people wearing single dhoti which later became his attire.

15. While the country was celebrating independence on 15 Aug 1947, Gandhiji was on fast to
      condemn the partition of India and Pakistan besides communal riots.

16. Gandhiji used to worry about two things. His bad hand writing and body massaging.

17. Subhas Chandra Bose called Gandhiji as 'Desapitha' (Father of the Nation) on Singapore radio
      in 1944. Thereafter, Sarojini Naidu, too, referred to the same title in the 1947 Congress
      conference. The name was very popular across the country, though the Indian government never          conferred any such title, officially, to Gandhiji.

18. Gandhiji hated taking photographs. Interestingly, he was the most photographed person during
      that period.

19. Did you know that the Caisson used for Gandhiji's funeral in 1948 was again used in 1997 for
      Mother Teresa's funeral?

20. We think you're all familiar with the smiling Gandhiji's image on the currency. Most of us
      assume the image was drawn/painted. But the fact is that it was an original photo taken by an
      anonymous photographer, in 1946, at the former Viceroy's house which is now home to the
      President of India, the Rashtrapathi Bhavan. The image was developed into the mirror image and
      printed on all currency notes.


A quiet day. The heat is getting to be unbearable. Lekha has begun to cough. Has my quarantining myself all this while, been in vain?