Sunday, May 19, 2019

Election related stories.

1. The Exit Polls.

    Every exit poll seems to be predicting a win for Narendra Modi. The wins go like this:-

         (a) Hindi heartland  - a clean sweep, almost.
         (b) West                   - a majority.
         (c) East                    - more seats in West Bengal.
         (d) South                 - a mixed bag. Nothing for BJP in Kerala?

     But are we, Indians honest while taking part in any survey, for that matter?

2.  The Election Commission's Travails.

     Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa has been recusing himself from the sittings of the
     Commission ever since he had expressed his dissent over the clean chit given to the NITI Ayog
     and the PMO over alleged violations of the model code of conduct during the elections. The
     Commission is set to revisit the issue on 21 May.

      Are political affiliations in play?

3. Kamalahaasan's Complaint.

    Kamalahaasan was barred from electioneering at Sulur recently, fearing law and order issues.
    The party has lodged a complaint because its president was refused permission.

    The Election Commission has its hands full, with the opposition charging that it has been partial
    towards PM Modi and his party. 
   
     

Tailpiece.

We'd got up at 5, gone through the chores and after a short interaction with Jojy and Saly over the morning cuppa, we were ready and had kicked off for Palakkad by about a half past 7. Breakfast was at Angamaly and was reminded of mom's visit to the wash room, here, on her last visit!

We were at Rema's place, in Palakkad, by a quarter to 11. Got a suitable slot to park courtesy Chandran, the building's new watchman. Sanil, Mini, Midhun, his mom and Ammu, along with Achu, fetched up half an hour later. Achu, Midhun and Ammu had, then, made a short trip to pick up the cake, from the nearby bakers, they had ordered earlier.

It was a great occasion. We sort of celebrated four wedding anniversaries in the order of their happenings viz. 21 May '89(Rema and Padmakumar's), 16 May '91(Mine and Lekha's), 27 May '92(Mini and Sanil's) and 21 May '17(Ammu and Midhun's) and our gifts for each one of them were handed over. Sanil and Mini had insisted on taking all of us for lunch to the Indraprastha. After the heavy(?) intake it was siesta time and around 1700 hrs, Sanil and family left for Coimbatore.

Rema and Padmakumar have gone a long way in preparing themselves for their shifting of berth by the end of the month. Will miss their hospitality at their house in BPL koottupatha and this was the overwhelming thought that crowded my mind as I drove from Kochi to Palakkad through Kuthiraan. The work on the highway - especially, the tunnels - has become still and has been son for more than six months. Does it have Kuthiraan Swami Ayyappan's curse as many seem to suggest?    

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Election stories.

1. An MP Before The Results!

    In the Theni constituency of Tamilnadu, the three main contenders are O Ravindranatha Kumar
    (AIADMK), EVKS Elangovan(Congress) and Thangathamizhselvan(AMMK) and it's a fierce
    three way contest making any kind of prediction utterly impossible. However, a renovated
    temple's inauguration plaque proclaims O Ravindranatha Kumar the MP.

    Well, results can be announced without the counting of votes! It happens only in India!!

2. In Pursuit of Allies.

    This is Sonia Gandhi's technique of wooing new allies against the BJP-led NDA. Madhya Pradesh
    CM, Kamal Nath and Orissa CM, Biju Patnaik are schoolmates - both are from the Doon School,
    Dehradun. She has dispatched her party man to woo the reluctant ally.

    Well, it's an alliance at all costs to keep Modi away from being the Prime Minister!

3. Why Is Rahul Gandhi Made to Articulate?

    In all the press briefings, Rahul Gandhi is made to take on the PM by his party and a few parties
    in the opposition. Why? And the answer now comes clear.

    The Congress and its allies are projecting him as prime ministerial material. Wonder what the
    reactions of the PMs-in-waiting are?

4. Priyanka Gandhi's Role.

    What exactly is Priyanka's role? To my mind, the following factors are at play:-

         (a) The Congress party has more faith in her than in her brother.
         (b) She feels that she can do a lot to stop the BJP from getting back to power.
         (c) Robert Vadra, her husband, is in dire straits for his corrupt practices, if Narendra Modi
               becomes the PM!

     She doesn't make much sense though but thinks that through her antics, she can turn around the
     Indian electorate!


Tailpiece.

We'd got up at 4, gone through our chores and were ready well before 6. The caretaker came by a quarter past 6 and we were on our way to Kochi by a half past 6. Breakfast was at the Kalpakavadi Inn and we were at the INCS by about a half past 10. Quickly bought the groceries and we went on to pick up certain important things. Met Bindu Madhav and he spent a fair amount of time with us, sharing his experiences.

We reached Jojy's place by a half past 4 and were in time for the get together of our Potluck group. It was damn sweet of them to celebrate our wedding anniversary with the cutting of the cake and made us reveal our first meeting and our impressions of each other!

Lekha's left leg has been giving her problems. Hope it subsides quickly.   
 
  

Friday, May 17, 2019

The election cacophonics.

1. PM Narendra Modi's Reaction.

    In his last interview during elections '19, given to the Republic Bharath media group, he has said
    that he'd never be able to forgive Sadhvi Pragya for her statement on Nathuram Godse. A good
    political statement without bothering about the repercussions by taking on the hardliner and also
    against the party line.

    It will go a long way for the future political leaders to articulate their positions during tough
    situations!

2. Electioneering Finally Ends.

    The election campaign for 59 Lok Sabha seats, spread across Bihar, Chandigarh, Himachal
    Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal ended today. Polling will
    take place on Sunday.

    It brings an end to the bitterly contested election that lasted over 45 days! 23 May will bring out
    the election results!!

3. The TRS and the YSRC Have Second Thoughts!

    After all the bluster and brouhaha over the last few days over the support that they would offer
    it to a non-BJP, non-Congress front, K Chandrasekhar Rao and Jagan Reddy that they would
    not be attending the post poll alliance meet called for by the Congress on 23 May and would,
    instead, wait for a clear picture to emerge.

    All the talk about a combined opposition unity has begun to fizzle out?


Tailpiece.

Had got up a trifle early, gone through the chores and were ready well in time. Vipin and his team had come in by a quarter to 11 and commenced their work of repairing the false ceiling, which they finished by a half past 1. Thus, by lunch time today, all work that were taken on have been completed. Phew!

Omanakkuttan, the hard working farmhand that dad and mom were fond of, had fetched up as I was looking forward to my siesta. He'd brought in his 18 year old son, Nikhil who has just completed his vocational higher secondary education in automobile engineering. Spoke to the youngster and have assured him that I'd help him in his preparations for the entry exams.

The evening rain gave us an idea as to how rains would be in the days to come, thanks to the truss work in place. Briefed Vijayan, the caretaker, about a few things to be done before our next visit.

Raj Nivas was slowly wound up as we would be kicking off for Kochi by early morning tomorrow.      

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Ugh! The worst has surfaced!!

1. The Modi Obsession.

    I tend to agree with Arnab Goswami this evening. The Modi obsession has surfaced, without
    dilution, among the opposition. Every party leader seems to heap insult over him. Mamata
    Banerjee seems to have lost it and it's pitiable to see her raving and ranting at the election
    meetings.

       (a) Has she realised that the BJP is going to be a force to reckon with in West Bengal after
             23 May?
       (b) Since there are sure signs of a Modi comeback, is she fearing that her corrupt practices
             would be taken note of and consequently, trigger her march into political wilderness?
       (c) The entire opposition ganging up and voicing its support for the Bengal chief minister
             looks comical.

    Today's statement of her's, asking the electorate to banish Modi out of the country is a clear
    indication that she seems to be a thoroughly confused personality.

2. Another Motormouth. 

    Sadhvi Pragya's latest statement in support of Nathuram Godse can put her into trouble with the
    Election Commission. I seriously wonder as to whether the BJP is regretting its decision of giving
    a ticket to her because she comes out with outrageous statements almost everyday. The party has
    already washed its hands off her latest statement.

    Wonder whether there are Indians who seriously think on those lines? Have read a few of their
    explanations which sound interesting but are totally out of sync with the official position.

3.  Repoll In Kerala.

     The Election Commission has ordered repoll in four booths of Kannur and Kasaragode Lok
     Sabha constituencies owing to bogus voting and impersonation.

     Well some action, at least, after a fault has been reported!

4. And Now Rigged Election Predictions!

    Two news portals based in Lutyen's Delhi have come out with election predictions where it's
    gonna be a hung Parliament and Chandrababu Naidu is poised to be the next PM and the life of
    the next Parliament is just one year!

    The hatred towards one man is making people do a lot of nonsense. A rigged election prediction
    is the ultimate in dirty games!

Tailpiece.

We'd got up a trifle earlier than usual, by a half past 5 as Bunty and Babli - our help while we were in New Delhi had rung up to wish us many happy returns - and went then, went about our chores. We made a visit to the Kusappilly Sree Krishna temple - the family temple earlier - around a half past 8 after which Lekha had gone to the Kottarakkara Maha Ganapathy kshetram for the 'darshan'.

It's our 28th wedding anniversary. Spoke with mom and dad and reminded them of this date!

Lekha's sister, Letha, had fetched up along with her with lunch especially prepared for us. We cut the ceremonial cake and distributed it among the ten workers on the site. By the end of the day, the truss work team and Vijayan, the painter, had finished their work. Vipin hadn't come - he wouldn't pick up his phone either - and consequently, a part of that work remains pending.

But the tingling event of the day was when two, over-70-year-old gentlemen, had fetched up to clean the attic, between the false ceiling and the actual, tiled one. The entire lot of muck was, thus, removed. Had asked them as to what wages they were expecting and paid them accordingly. It was their perseverance and the will to do work that endeared them to me. Sasidharan Pillai and Samuel had been part of the workforce that had erected this house of ours, taking directions from my paternal grandfather, almost 42 years ago! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Election stories contd.....

1. The Election Commission Shows The Riot Act.

    The Election Commission has shown the riot act in West Bengal and reduced a day of campaigning
    owing to the unprecedented violence that has taken place recently. In fact, it has been so in all the
    phases thus far. The electioneering will, thus, end in the state by tomorrow evening.

    Probably, this has taken place after violence was leashed out at the BJP rally yesterday. Mamata
    Banerjee had in a press conference at 2100 hrs, this evening, said that the EC's action is unethical,
    unprecedented and unconstitutional. She continues with her charge that the BJP had got their
    goons from the neighbouring states of UP and Bihar and that her party has nothing to do with it.

2. Postal Ballots Without the Individual's Knowledge.

    The case of hushing up of the misuse of postal ballots' of the personnel of the district medical
    office, Pathanamthitta has come to light. It was, again, that of the staff that was deployed for
    election duties. Of the 500 personnel deployed, only 150 were eligible to cast their ballots through
    post but the department had applied for postal ballots for the entire lot of 500!

    Corruption has seeped to these levels. Disgusting! And on top of that, moves are afoot to hush it
    up!!

3. The Parties Clear the Air.

    K Chandrasekhar Rao's TRS will have no truck with the BJP, post polls but is willing to have it
    with the Congress. The DMK has always been with the Congress but it insists on Rahul Gandhi
    being the PM!

    Well, permutations and combinations are being worked out to whose advantage, time alone will
    tell on 23 May.

4. The KPCC's Announcements.

    The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee has made its thoughts - illogical to many and to quite
    a few among them too. Note their announcements:-

       (a) The UDF will make a clean sweep of all the 20 seats!
       (b) Rahul Gandhi will win in Wayanad by a margin of over 3,50,000 votes.
       (c) Palakkad will be won very easily.

    Why do these guys make such idiotic statements? They should be quiet till 23 May and speak out
    their minds subsequently!


Tailpiece.

Had got up with the alarm at 6, gone through the chores and were ready well in time. The truss work team was missing as the next installment of the roofing sheets didn't fetch up. Vipin and his team had commenced work on the repairs to the false ceiling.

Vijayan, from Ayur, had come on the dot. Without much ado, I'd driven off to Kottarakkara with him to buy the requisite paints and accessories and also to encash the cheque that Mini had given me a few days back. The sad fact was that liquid cash wasn't available at the bank and I'd to wait for almost a three quarters of an hour.

Thankfully, both the teams could progress with their work because the truss work team was absent and their accessories like ladders, movement space and the use of plug points was not a nightmare.
Sanil and Mini had dropped by for lunch and left by the evening, back to Ponni's. Vipinan's team cleared up the muck before secure. Phew! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Election cacophonics.

1. A Fizzled Meeting!

    When K Chandrasekhar Rao, the CM of Telangana, met Stalin, the DMK chief, at Madras nothing
    much was expected as outcome. KCR was canvasing for a third front minus the BJP and the
    Congress while Stalin bats for a front that's inclusive of the Congress!

    It was pretty clear that their approaches would never meet. Moreover, KCR has maintained a
    comfortable equation with Narendra Modi.

2. Modi vs. Mayawati.

    These are Mayawati's latest charges against Narendra Modi:-

        (a) BJP's women leaders are weary of sending their husbands to him because they fear that
             taking a leaf out of his book, he'd encourage them to follow suit and dump their wives.
        (b) He's a fraud OBC and therefore, knows nothing about the plight of the community.
        (c) When Dalits were being hounded out in the BJP-ruled states he'd not taken moral
              responsibility and resigned.

     Modi has given tit-for-tat replies for each of her charge. But the heat of their battle is on the rise.

3. Modi vs. Mamata Banerjee.

    Yesterday, Mamata Banerjee had refused permission for Amit Shah's chopper to land in
    Jadhavpur. Today, his mammoth rally in Calcutta was targeted by the TMC goons where the
    party's flags were torched, bricks were thrown at the rally and a stampede-like situation was being
    whipped up.

    Why is Mamata Banerjee playing spoilsport? Has she realised that her certain defeat is writ large
    on the wall, triggering the bad part of her personality? Sad!


Tailpiece.

We'd got up earlier than normal as Mini and Sanil were leaving for Ponni's house at Kollam. Sanil's smartness was once again on display, when the ever-in-demand coconut plucking boy was intercepted, before he set off for his work and had the coconuts plucked from the trees in our compound. It was a long trudge for the two of us to retrieve the nuts that lay all over.

Vipin didn't start his work as the requisite raw materials didn't fetch up from Ernakulam. Similarly, the truss work guys are waiting for the next installment of roofing sheets. Both are expected by 10 AM tomorrow morning!

 
              

Monday, May 13, 2019

The action has picked up in Tamilnadu.

1. Kamalahaasan Says So.

    Kamalahaasan has, in an election rally, said that the first terrorist of this country is Nathuram
    Godse and he's a Hindu. Why do these guys act tough with the Hindus and cave in for the other
    religions? Is this what secularism all about? But I'm sure that the minorities, too, understand the
    game plan of the politicians, since independence that of using them as vote banks, through
    appeasement. And no, even on the opposite side, they have a poor knowledge about 'Hindutva'
    and the Hindu way of life! Just to give you an example, I hate anyone dictating as to what I should
    eat.

    Had expected Kamalahaasan to take on a different tack - with governance as the main plank -
    to expose the entire range of political parties having done too little, too late thus far. It would have
    been a refreshing change and he would have become the darling of the masses!

2. Frantic Consultations On.

    The national political parties are on a scramble to tie up with regional parties for post-poll tie ups
    as all sorts of calculations are being worked out in likely post-poll scenarios. Mayawati, KC Rao,
    Stalin and Navin Patnaik are a few of the regional leaders who are being actively wooed.

    After predicting a clear BJP-sweep at the start, what makes the big stake-holders to make a mad
    scramble for potential partners? Or is it yet another political stunt?

3. PM Narendra Modi's Gaffe?

    Twitter, as well as the What'sApp, were abuzz about the PM having claimed to be the first one to
    use a handy cam to capture Mr. Advani's photograph and also use the internet - again - for the first
    time in '88 whereas everyone is aware that these facilities came into India later, in the early '90s.
    The PM, from what we've seen of him thus far, does his homework meticulously and has his facts
    right. Another statement, made yesterday, that he'd given suitable directions in case of inclement
    weather during the Balakot air strike is attributed to him. These statements were made, presumably,
    in the course of an interview given to a portal.

    A bit difficult to digest, the veracity needs to be ascertained!


Tailpiece.

Got up at our usual time, went through our chores and were ready well in time. The final work on the
lattice work was undertaken during the day. The first batch of the fibre paint-coated Aluminium roofing sheets had fetched up, many more have to follow. Vipin had fetched up, finally, during late afternoon and has been given the go ahead to do the inner woodwork where the sodden wood will be removed and fibre-based wooden sheets will be affixed.

Meanwhile, Sanil and Mini will leave us tomorrow to spend the remaining part of their leave with Sanil's relatives at Kollam and Ayoor. Will miss their company.     

   
    

Sunday, May 12, 2019

It's Mother's day yet again.

It's Mother's day today and I feel empty because my mom has already become a star in the sky. Missed her quite a bit but I'll never forget her retort, a long while back when I'd wished her 'Happy Mother's Day'. "You mean to say you require a 'Mother's Day' to remember me?" I was left without an answer and understanding my predicament, she quickly thanked me for the wishes and said that she would rather have me remember her everyday!

Yes mom, I remember you every waking minute and miss you a lot!

.......And now I get on to my election coverage.

The Election Cacophonics.

1. Will the BJP Get the Upper Hand?

     From the ground, it looks like that the TMC of Mamata Banerjee is set to take a beating by the
     BJP in West Bengal. Is the rising poll violence indicative of the party's discomfiture?

     23 May should give us that answer!

2. Delhi Witnesses Triangular Fights.

    Delhi sees triangular fights in all its parliamentary constituencies. The AAP and the Congress
    seem to be fighting for the same vote bank while BJP seems to be happily placed.

    23 May should give us that answer!

3. A Comparatively Low Percentage.

    In the penultimate phase of voting today, while West Bengal saw a high percentage of voter
    turnout(80%) the other places saw a comparatively low percentage(59%) of voter turnout.

    Is it the election fatigue that has set in?


Tailpiece.

Lekha and I had got up at 0500 hrs, gone through the chores and were off for the Mannarassaala
Nagaraja temple as part of of our annual visit. It was very, very crowded as today was the Malayalam star of Aayilyam. The Subramaniam temple was equally crowded! The parking of the vehicle was a tough job! We could present our offerings at the Nagaraja's main entrance and say our prayers. We returned by about a half past 11. I'd wanted my sister, Mini, to accompany us but she had gone to the nearby Kushappally temple to participate in the Aayilyam puja. She conducts this every month!

The afternoon saw us gorging on unripe mangoes coupled with salt and red chilly powder. O, they were really lovely.

Finally, it did drizzle before we hit the sack and there was a consequent dip in temperature!

PS.

This evening I'd called up RBS Gill, my course mate and Squadron mate to wish him and his wife many happy returns on the occasion of their wedding anniversary. Firstly, he couldn't recognise my voice as it has changed, he said. Wasn't he thrilled to get a call from this side? And after the long wound conversation that he has a class photograph from the good 'ole Naval Primary School, Colaba, Bombay where he's standing next to my mom, his class teacher!

That was the best gift for me, on behalf of my mom, on this Mother's day for she was a teacher for almost two years at the school before she gave birth to Mini, my younger sister!

He'll be putting it on our What'sApp group!!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

More election stories.

1. The Time Magazine.

    The Time Magazine has featured on the cover of its international edition of 20 May '19 - the
    Europe, West Asia and Africa, Asia and the South Pacific - a portrait of India's Prime Minister
    Narendra Modi while the US edition has a cover story on Democrat Elizabeth Warren who is
    running for the White House in 2020. The main headline reads "India's Divider in Chief" while a
    secondary one reads "Modi the Reformer".

    The article is written by Aatish Taseer, son of India's journalist, Tavleen Singh and late Pakistani
    politician and businessman, Salman Taseer. It also says that the opposition Congress party has little
    to offer other than the dynastic principle. The article blames Modi for spreading 'religious
    nationalism' but mind you, its author is a Pakistani. And "Modi the Reformer" is authored by Ian        Bremmer, President and founder Eurasia Group, a global risk research and consulting firm.

    Modi has his followers and critics in equal measure!

2. Pitroda Says Sorry.

    Under pressure from the Congress leadership, Sam Pitroda has apologised for his statement on
    the '84 Sikh massacre egged on by a few of his party leaders.

    What pressure tactics, what a change of tack by the grand old party!

3. Desperate Efforts!

    Chandrababu Naidu has become desperate these days. He's looking for support for a post poll
    alliance from the other members of the opposition to keep Modi and the BJP out. He has met
    Mamata Banerjee in this regard but K Chandrasekhar Rao, strongly opposes this move because
    of his pathological hatred of Naidu! Has Naidu realised that he and his party has no chance in the
    Andhra Pradesh Assembly and come behind Jagan Mohan Reddy at the hustings?

    Good to see the scurrying of the rats!

4. The Penultimate Phase.

    The sixth and the penultimate phase of voting in the General Elections will take place tomorrow.
    59 constituencies, spread across Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, UP and
    West Bengal, will vote.

    The juggernaut of the general elections is rolling towards its destination, slowly but surely!

5. Gautam Gambhir vs. Atishi Marlena.

    While Atishi and her party have sought the court's intervention over her opponent's nasty and
    personal degrading moves against her, Gambhir has said that he'll publicly commit suicide if
    any of the charges framed against him proved true.

    Well, the East Delhi constituency will see a lot of drama before the dust settles down!


Tailpiece.

Had got up at our usual time, gone through the chores and were ready well in time. It was unbearably hot throughout the day. The entire lattice work had been put in place by the end of the day. Now, it's a question of getting the JSW roofing sheets in situ before they are laid and screwed on to the lattice work! Tomorrow, they've a break being a Sunday. 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Election stories galore!

1. Sudden Change of Mind?

    Just a few days back, the Ministry of Surface Transport passed an order and consequent to it,
    the state's land acquisition for the widening of the highways had come to a grinding halt. The
    order had lowered the priority of the state's requirement to two, from one! Immediately, the chief
    minister had spoken to Nitin Gadkari to rescind the order. Similar request was made by the leader
    of the opposition too!
 
    Why this sudden change in the order, say, at the behest of the state's CM? Does Gadkari hope to
    throw his hat into the ring of prime ministerial aspirants to replace Modi if the party and the NDA
    do not garner the requisite majority, post polls? There is a sizeable number of CPM politburo
    members who prefers the saffron party to the Congress!

2. The Electoral Fight Turns Bitter.

    In the East Delhi parliamentary constituency, the fight is between BJP's Gautam Gambhir and
    AAP's Atishi Marlena and it's getting bitter and bitter by each passing day. Atishi complains that
    Gambhir is getting downright personal in his attacks by passing leaflets containing derogatory
    remarks about the lady.

    Wonder why electoral battles become personal when actually, it should be fought on issues?
    Shows the low quality of candidates!

3. Another Case of a Flying Footwear!

    Sidhu has been a trenchant critic of Narendra Modi and has been highly critical about the PM in
    his election rallies, always punctuating them with 'Chowkidar chor hai'. Well, at Amritsar, a lady
    had hurled her footwear at him because she was angered by his utterances!

    Well, has the sardar met his match?

4. EVMs In A Hotel Room!

    At Muzaffarpur in Bihar, electoral officer, Awadhesh had kept six EVMs in his hotel room, to
    substitute them for faulty ones. He has, since, been suspended!

   The elections in India have been termed a circus.......doesn't this incident give credence to it?


Tailpiece.

Had got up on the dot at 6, gone through the chores, parked both the cars at the marketplace and was ready a trifle after 8. Meanwhile, Benoy had fetched up with the vehicle. We left soon after and was at the Director's house at Kalluvathukkal an hour later. We set off for Thiruvananthapuram after a cup of tea and reached the Foundation by a quarter to 11.

Maman and Lekha joined us for the meeting and we'd quickly gone through the agenda and arrived at decisions. It was over by a half past 1, lunch at Bakery junction and we hit the MC Road by a quarter past 2. Sasi left me at Raj Nivas by about a half past 4.

Sanil was away at Ayoor and Mini, Lekha and I had tea. He came about an hour later.


PS.

Missed Sachin-Anu's big day at Guruvayur today. Sachin is Satish's (My friend from the University College days) second son. Satish and Santhi had invited us fairly well in time and we'd decided to attend the wedding. But then came the truss work, Sanil-Mini's availability for supervising the work along with us and the urgency of finalising the new Board of Management for the JSS(Kollam).

Here's wishing Sachin and Anu a long and happy married life and wishing that they get all that they wish for in their journey together. And sorry Satish-Santhi for missing the function. Severe constraints were prevalent on their elder son, Sanjay's wedding too......an uncanny coincidence! But I'd attended it at Thiruvananthapuram and then attended Ajay Mathew George's wedding reception at Kochi, the same evening!!  

Thursday, May 9, 2019

More election stories.

1. A PM's  Journey On Board INS Viraat.

    Narendra Modi, while addressing, an election rally had touched upon the then PM Rajiv Gandhi
    and his family's visit to the Bingaram island of the Lakshadweep Islands in the '80s. The purport
    of raking up the issue was to show as to how the then first family had misused the IN's assets.
    Former CNS, Adm L Ramdas was the first to set off the blocks to term the trip as an official visit
    and I'm sure the MoD must have long regularised the visit as an entitled one. If my memory serves
    me right, this has come up for the first time, into the public domain.

    Isn't it a little too late to be dissecting it now? Or through the incident is it to point at the Gandhi-
    Vadra family's 'entitlement affinity' by virtue of being the first family for a long period of time?

2. Sam Pitroda's Motor Mouth.

    To one of the questions posed by the media to Sam Pitroda about the 1984 riots in Delhi where
    thousands of Sikhs were massacred, his characterless answer was, "It happened, so what?" Will it
    cost votes for the Congress when Delhi goes to polls on Monday, is something only time will tell.

    This guy has been making too many gaffes to the detriment of the Congress. Who has put him as
    the person to interact with the media, I wonder?

3. Indira Jaising, Anand Grover's NGO Under the Scanner.

    The Lawyers' Collective - an NGO of advocates' Indira Jaising and Anand Grover - which had
    protested within the precincts of the Supreme Court has now come under the scanner. Jaising has
    been asked to give details of receipt of foreign funds during her tenure as the Assistant Solicitor
    General.

    She has retaliated by saying that the timing is suspect. Is she guilty of any wrongdoing?     



Tailpiece.

Had got up at our usual time, gone through our chores and were ready well in time. Sasidharan Pillai, had come by to apply manure to the rubber trees and to clear the wild grass in our courtyard. He didn't complete it though. Came to know that he was my kid sister, Mini's classmate! I patted him for the good work that he'd done.

Lekha and Mini had gone to the bank on work and to purchase sundries and returned by lunchtime. By 1600 hrs, Sanil, Mini and Lekha went to Kottarakkara to watch the procession of elephants and the floats that were on display in connection with the Mahaganapathy kshethram's annual festival.

Meanwhile, the truss work boys had put up the third and the central scaffolding atop the house. The work has now breached the half way mark.

Sanil, Mini and Lekha had returned by 2100 hrs and we had a boisterous supper with the three of them giving me a running commentary of what they had seen.

 

    

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

O, what a slug fest!

1. The Name Calling!

    As the elections enter the penultimate and the final laps, the name calling has become shriller
    and nastier. Narendra Modi has acquired almost 34 names from various political leaders, many
    of them need to look into the mirrors to ascertain as to whether they are even eligible to use
    such sick ones. My opinion is that anyone who stoops low has problems of the mind and are sick
    deep within. When will decency descend on Indian politics or is it a Utopian thought?

    The fact that the entire range of opposition has, now, come together in chorus to target Modi
    makes an outsider like me to come to the conclusion that he has done something that's not
    palatable to the rest. And as per a great thinker of yore, it's such a person who needs to be
    supported at all costs! Has it become more relevant, as of now?

2. The Scramble Has Begun.

    The way Chandrababu Naidu and Chandrasekhar Rao - both Telugus, who detest the sight of
    each other and are looking for a post poll alliance of the maximum number of parties from the
    opposition, minus the other - are going around, one begins to think that they are aware of the poll
    outcome which need to be respected as the both of them are 'political animals' and have their ears
    to the ground.

    Or are these moves a shot in the dark and to add confusion in the remaining voters' minds to vote
    otherwise?

3. The Bogus Voting, The Policemen's Postal Ballots.

    While it has, now been established beyond doubt, that bogus voting and the mishandling of the
    postal ballots of the police personnel on duty have taken place, all eyes are on the Election
    Commission's measures that would roll out. I, somehow feel, that such wrong trends are not
    restricted to a few booths but is a larger trend that needs to be investigated thoroughly.

    Sadly, the menace has to be identified, the causes listed down and a permanent remedy has to be
    put in place so that such massive and blatant use of money and muscle power do not recur.
    Otherwise the political parties will continue to manipulate electoral outcomes and we must not
    allow it to happen. Or do we fall meekly to such a situation, saying, "Sab chalta hai"? 



Tailpiece.

Had got up a bit reluctantly, gone through our chores and were ready at our usual time. It was a great breakfast with everyone that has been taking place after our conglomeration out here. Meanwhile, the truss work has been progressing, much to my satisfaction. Hope we are able to beat the next bout of showers.

The telephone exchange supervisor, Soman, was quick to deploy his man to get the land line restored that was accidentally snapped when a truss work guy was digging one of the holes for the four corner poles for the roofing.

Lekha and Mini had gone around 1700 hrs to the Kottarakkara Mahaganapathy kshethram as it's the penultimate day of its annual festivities. Fixed up with Maman for a meeting on the JSS(Kollam), the day after tomorrow; my director will also accompany me.

A lot of time was wasted in updating my personal data in the school's new directory which will be published on the golden jubilee celebrations of the Old Boys' Association on the 12th and 13th of Jul. I presume that it was my cell phone that's to be blamed!   

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Cacophonics galore!

1. Now, the Differences.

    In the election commission, differences have cropped up between the commissioners - Ashok
    Lavasa has dissented over giving a clean chit to Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Former Chief
    Election Commissioners - three of them - have opined that the grounds for rejecting the
    complaints with the relevant provisions of the model code should have been communicated to
    the complainant while a fourth has said that it's not always practical to do so when no prima
    facie violation is made out! The EC, however, maintains that in all model code cases where no
    prima facie violation is found - even if one of the commissioners disagrees on it - only the
    decision is communicated!

    A slug fest within the commission on the basis of individual political loyalties? The matter is, now,
    being examined by the Supreme Court.

2. Remaining Contest on the former PM's Name?

    Narendra Modi has now dared the Congress to fight the elections at Delhi on the late Rajiv
    Gandhi's name. His argument goes like this - You have called me corrupt on the Rafael deal
    without any basis and when I quote Rajiv's proven corruption, you get sad and jittery - why the
    double standards?

    Will this election be remembered for its amazing numbers of charges and counter charges made by
    the political parties? To my mind, most of them are frivolous without discussing the actuals!

3. Has KCR Got It Right?

    Telengana Chief Minister, K Chandrasekhara Rao's surprise call on the Kerala Chief Minister
    conveys that he seems to be pretty sure of the outcome of these polls, the numerous exit polls
    notwithstanding! He seems to be sure of a repeat of '96 when the Congress supported the United
    Front to keep the BJP out of power. In other words, he's sure that his idea of a federal front
    without either the BJP or the Congress is gonna be a reality in case the outcome is a hung
    parliament!

    He has prime ministerial ambitions but how's he gonna overcome similar aspirations of Mamata
    Banerjee, Mayawati or even Mulayam Singh Yadav, not to miss, even a Lalu Prasad Yadav in
    jail?


Tailpiece.

Had got up at 4, gone through our chores and were ready by 6 but Vineesh, the chauffeur fetched up
at a half past 6. We were, however, at Shenoy Care, by 10. Packed Vineesh back, met the doctor around a quarter past 1. Was he concerned about my loss of weight because he did make a mention of it after examining Lekha. There has been a bit of tweaking in her dosage!

Met a young doctor, Aparna, who had carried out Lekha's preliminary examination and addressed us as mom and dad. Achu did not fetch up in my thoughts because if it had happened, I would have taken her consent to match her with Achu on the marital front. She's a nice bubbly girl!

Reached Raj Nivas by 1800 hrs, there was a lot of yakkitiyak but interspersed with frequent power failures! Reviewed the work carried out thus far and the money expended. The four corner pillars have been erected, their bottoms sealed to the ground with stone chips, sand and concrete!

      

Monday, May 6, 2019

The election stories.

1. End of the 5th Phase.

    The 5th phase of the general elections for the 17th Lok Sabha ended with a 62.56% voter turn
    out. Violence was reported from Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal, as per details below:-

         (a) Two grenade attacks in Pulwama and Shopian districts in Jammu and Kashmir.
         (b) Clashes between the TMC and the BJP in Bangaon(SC), Barrackpore, Hooghly and
               Howrah constituencies.

     The long wound elections has begun to take its toll and the combined opposition has taken on
     Modi. They seem to be sad(?) that Rajiv Gandhi's dalliance has been brought up yet again in the
     Bofors scandal.

2. The Churlish Chief Minister.

    The Prime Minister had called for a review meeting on the effects of Cyclone Fani in Orissa
    and West Bengal. Earlier, Mamata had complained that the PM had spoken to the Governor and
    not to her, when the PMO was quick to respond that she had not taken two of his calls and didn't
    ring back either which necessitated in his speaking to the Governor!

    He'd a review meeting with the CM of Orissa, lauded Mr. Naveen Patnaik and his government's
    efforts in tackling the emergency and offered Rs.1,300 crores for relief operations. On the other
    hand, the West Bengal government refused to have the review meeting saying that her government
    staff were busy in carrying out election duty and that they weren't slaves to Modi!

    Absolute churlishness on the part of Mamata Banerjee who's forgotten the niceties of the federal
    system of governance that exists between the centre and the states!

3. The CEO Refuses Kerala CM.

    Teeka Ram Meena, the Chief Electoral Officer had denied permission to Pinarayi Vijayan from
    the inaugural function of the Student Market of the Consumerfed, the apex body of all the
    consumer co-operatives in Kerala. The denial was owing to the Model Code of Conduct in force,
    because of the elections. He'd stated that an exception could only be made if permission was
    sought through proper channels!

    The feud between the CEO and the CPM over the bogus voting issue has further intensified
    because of this development!


Tailpiece.

Had got up at our usual time, gone through the chores and were ready well in time. Seena, Lekha's beautician, couldn't fetch up in the morning as promised earlier because there was none to attend her mom, admitted in the hospital because of an inflammation of one of her eyes. And Lekha badly needed a pedicure for her hurting soles!

Mujib, of the Whirlpool, had dropped by to look at the air conditioners.

Annie had finished her work at the usual time. Our plan to go to Kochi this afternoon had to be abandoned because it just didn't seem to work! The Quarterdeck was slowly shut down in stages to facilitate our trip to Kochi for Lekha's medical review and our onward trip to my parents' place!

Leela chittamma, Sajeev, Salini, Vivek and Lakshmi fetched up around tea time and it was a great interaction with them after a long time.      

Sunday, May 5, 2019

The election cacophonics continues!

1. Rajiv Gandhi Remembered.

    At a rally in UP last Saturday, Narendra Modi had targeted the former prime minister while taking
    on Rahul Gandhi by saying, "Your father was termed Mr. Clean by his courtiers but his life ended
    by him being Corrupt No.1". The entire band of opposition leaders were quick to rally around the
    Congress to flay Modi for his remark and his party, of course, came in his support.

   But did Modi have to touch upon the late leader especially when the latter's indiscretions have been
   understood by the nation by now? He, as the PM, should stay at a higher level. Period!

2. Manmohan Singh Opens Up.

    Former PM Manmohan Singh, in an interview to PTI, has said that Modi's five-year-rule was the
    most traumatic of the lot and therefore, he needs to be shown the door. He dismissed the notion
    about a Modi wave. He put the following factors against the current PM:-

         (a) Does not believe in inclusive growth and is only interested about his political existence at
              the altar of disharmony.
         (b) The last five years saw corruption peak to unimaginable proportions and cited
               demonetisation as the biggest of them all.
         (c) The Pakistan policy was slipshod, marred by a series of flip flops.

     Why was he silent all this while? Was it because of a prod from his party bosses that he'd hardly
     done anything thus far?

3. Arvind Kejriwal Blames the BJP.

    The man from the crowd - Suresh - who'd slapped the CM has been identified as a disgruntled
    AAP worker, by the Delhi Police, during the investigations. But Kejriwal insists that it was
    orchestrated by the BJP who wants to eliminate him and his party! What advantage it would gain
    is something that he doesn't want to elaborate upon.

    O, the games the politicians play. He has become a seasoned politician - following the ruthless
    ways that he had abhorred - when forming his party.

4. Where Shibu Soren Still Reins.

    At Dumka in Jharkhand, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha(JMM) has not put too many hoardings
    and barely any posters. It doesn't need to because in the rural pockets of east Jharkhand, all
    election talk revolves around, 'Guruji'. Eight time MP, three time CM, he never asked a question,
    participate in any debate or introduce any bill in his latest stint as an MP in the 16th Lok Sabha. 

    Well, this is what politics is all about in India!


Tailpiece.

We'd got up at our usual time despite it being a Sunday. Went through our chores and were ready well in time. Lekha had gone to the Guruvayur temple for her weekly tryst. It was a quiet day and in the evening, Lekha had watered the plants while I cleaned up the Chevy's wheel hubs.

Raju and Bindu had come come down to hand over their daughter's wedding card around that time. 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

The election cacophonics.

1. Kejriwal Gets a Slap.

    Delhi's Chief Minister Kejriwal was slapped during a roadshow in support of the AAP candidate,
    Brijesh Goyal in the Moti Nagar constituency. The offender was immediately apprehended and
    taken away by the police. The party has alleged that it was the BJP's doing and indicted the PM
    and the party president for the incident.

    Why wasn't the Congress included in the charge because the party had tasted bitterness after the
    seat sharing formula between the two had not worked out. Probably, it's to keep the door narrowly
    open to facilitate tie up-post poll for government formation?

2. Rahul's Links with Defence Deals?

    Quoting media reports, the BJP has questioned Rahul Gandhi's role in handing over the offset
    contract in the Scorpene Submarine deal to the US national Ulrik Mcknight. The Backops Service
    Pvt Ltd, with Rahul and Priyanka as its directors, was the liaisoning company which allegedly used
    influence for cash in 2002. In '09, Rahul exits from the company and the Indian company folds its
    business in '10. Meanwhile, Ulrik continues to work in the name of other companies. During this
    period, the French Company DCNS gets the contract to manufacture six Scorpene submarines in
    India and an unknown Indian company, Flashforge, is selected for DCNS' offset entity.

    The Congress party and its president have a lot of questions to answer in this regard. Was this
    knowledge of his that came handy while explaining the handing over of the Rafael offset entity to
    Anil Ambani?

3. Campaigning Ends.

    Campaigning has ended for the fifth phase of the elections for 51 seats, spread over Rajasthan,
    West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir. The polling will take
    place on 06 May.

    The election juggernaut continues to roll and the virulent cacophonics continue to take place!


Tailpiece.

Lekha had got up half an hour earlier than our usual wake up time of 6. Went through our chores and we were ready well before the Rajah Medical team came to draw the blood, urine samples. I'd a post prandial draw too.

Annie had come to work after a lapse of over ten days.

The results came in by about 1500 hrs. Lekha's parameters are within limits and my liver function test results give me reasons to cheer!

Lekha had gone to the Mammiyoor Siva kshethram for her weekly tryst in the evening.
        

Friday, May 3, 2019

The election rhetoric.

1. The New Claims.

    After refusing to accept the surgical strikes carried out by the Army and then, the Air Force,
    the Congress had announced that it had carried out three during its tenure in the government.
    Today, it has raised those incursions to six without any crying need to do so and therefore,
    making it yet another claim that cannot be believed. The party had asked for proof while the
    Modi government and the armed forces had informed about the events to the country.

    On that line, will it be giving the proof of its surgical strikes too?

2. Penalty for Bogus Voting.

    The Election Commission has recommended legal action against three Indian Union Muslim
    League workers for alleged bogus voting at two vulnerable booths in Madayi, Kasaragod.
    Mohammed Fias, Abdul Samad and KM Mohammed are the ones who'd entered the booths more
    than once. The complaint against Hashique, the fourth, is yet to be proved.

    Just like the LDF, the UDF seems to have skeletons in their cupboard too! I'm eagerly waiting to
    see as to how the EC tackles this issue comprehensively.


3. CPM Trains Guns on Jamaat-e-Islami.

    Irked by the unconditional support extended by the Jamaat-e-Islami to the UDF, in the just
    concluded Lok Sabha elections, the CPM has heightened the its attack on the organisation,
    describing it as the 'fountainhead of religious extremism' in the country.

    The ease with which the perceptions have been changed, for not batting along is interesting!


Tailpiece.

Got up with the alarm, went through the chores and were ready well in time. Annie fetched up finally - phew! - and the house was back to its gleaming self after she'd finished her work by late evening. By evening, Lekha had developed a swelling on her left leg that reminded me of a similar occurrence, in Sep '10, when Dr. Ramachandran had diagnosed it as the perking up of the dormant SLE. She had to be put on additional medicines for bringing it under control.

Hopefully, the tests of tomorrow would give us the answers and thankfully, we are meeting up with her doctor on the 7th.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Election cacophonics (Contd....)

1. Dirty Politics!

    It's big news that China has quietly bowed down to the wishes of the majority in the UN Security
    Council - after repeated blockages of the resolution - to brand Masood Azhar as an international
    terrorist. While the entire world seems to agree that the Indians had achieved a diplomatic coup,
    the entire opposition especially, the Congress, has said the following in connection with it:-

        (a) It was the Congress that had initiated the process (That it didn't have a sense of urgency
             and hence, no meaningful headway could be achieved and they turned out to be a failure.

        (b) The Indian government couldn't take credit by itself because it was the Chinese government
              that needed to felicitated!

        (c) And what about getting Dawood Ibrahim and the likes?

   What a sorry plight? Are these guys hostile to the Indian nation? Any country's foreign policy must
   have the endorsement of the entire political spectrum because it's a continuation of the past - the         posture, the initiatives and the consequent dealings with the foreign countries. But it was the same       opposition that needed proof of the surgical strikes and the results of the Balakot strikes!

   Have your personal differences with Modi but do not belittle his government's achievements! It's
   like congratulating the IAF for the Balakot strikes though rightfully, it should have been for the
   Prime Minister who'd taken the decision to go ahead. If it had failed, the very same opposition
   would have dumped the entire responsibility on him, which should be, anyways! Double
   standards!!


   Real sad!

2. The Bogus Voting Saga.

    The bogus voting has a large spread, going by the accusations and their counters. Of the three
    major fronts, it's only the NDA that doesn't seem to have nothing against it! It would be
    interesting to note the antidote prescribed by the Election Commission.

    The doubt about how a political party, always, has the upper hand in certain constituencies now
    takes a different dimension altogether!

3. A New Dimension.

    Almost three decades after he migrated from Kashmir after being shot at and injured in his
    wholesale provision store at Gada Kocha in downtown Srinagar, 74-year-old Kashmiri Pandit,
    Roshan Lal Mawa, restarted his business amid a tumultous welcome from Muslim traders.

    Will we see the return of the Pandits?     



Tailpiece.

We'd got up at 4, gone through the chores and were ready to hit the road by 6 but before setting off, we had celebrated Mini's birthday. The cake was cut and the merry making was initiated. We'd set off soon after. The journey was fine and we'd our first breather for breakfast, 8 km short of the town of Alappuzha.

Heard on the FM about the mammoth roadblock at the Palarivattom flyover and hence, took a detour via Edakochi, which was a disaster because the already narrow road was dug up for laying the underground cable and reduced to a miserable stretch of ups and downs!

Short of the Paliyekkara toll plaza, we'd stopped for lunch at the Saravana Bhavan which was good. Immediately after reaching the town of Thrissur, we'd dropped Rema at the Road Transport Corporation bus stand. She was able to board a Coimbatore-bound super fast bus for her onward travel to Palakkad.

We'd continued with our journey, picked up grocery, vegetables and fruits from the National Supermarket and were at 'The Quarterdeck' by about a half past 3. The opening of the house followed by the unpacking took its time. Meanwhile, Rema had called up to say that she had reached her house by teatime.

The boy from the Medicare had dropped a few medicines and the evening was comparatively free. We saw our usual programmes on the television and hit the sack at our usual time of 2300 hrs! It was only while lying down on the bed that one realised as to how tired one was over the course of the day!!

PS.

It's a step in the right direction that the Muslim Education Society has issued regarding the ban of 'burqas'. It's not right to impose a dress code, in fact, the people must have the right to chose their clothes! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Election cacophonics.

1. Malpractice in Postal Ballots.

    Allegations of malpractice arose after a voice message in a police association What'sApp group
    asked all officials to hand over the ballot papers to the association leaders for voting. The
    opposition has called for stringent action against those who have allegedly manipulated the postal
    votes of the police officials deployed on election duty.

    Another case of officials trying to sabotage the rules and guidelines of the Representation of the
    People Act!

2. Supreme Court Forces Rahul Gandhi to Apologise.

    Facing pointed questions from the Supreme Court with the contempt of court sword hanging
    overhead, Rahul Gandhi realised the gravity of the situation and quickly offered to tender apology
    for his mistake in linking the court's order on the Rafael review petition to his 'chowkidar chor hai'
    political jibe against the PM.

    The court's observations were:-

        (a) Rahul Gandhi had deliberately used its ruling for his jibe against the PM knowing fully well
             that the public will believe it as they have immense faith in the court.
        (b) He needed a 22 page affidavit to express regret.

    Kudos to Meenakshi Lekhi for embarking upon this legal course of action! But does it really
    prevent the Congress workers from using it?

3.  The Question About Rahul Gandhi's Citizenship.

     The Union Home Ministry sought an explanation from Rahul Gandhi on a representation filed
     by Dr. Subramanian Swamy questioning his citizenship claiming that he was director and
     secretary of Backops Limited, a company registered in UK in 2003 and based at Winchester,
     Hampshire. The annual returns of the company filed on 10 Oct '06 and 31 Oct '06 had declared
     Rahul's nationality as British.

     Another legal hassle that the Congress president has got into!

4. Maoists Kill Security Personnel.

    At least 15 jawans were killed in an IED explosion, this afternoon, at Gadchiroli in Maharashtra.
    The perpetrators of the ghastly attack were the Maoists, though the place was peaceful for a long,
    long time.

    Sad! The lives of jawans have been snuffed by unscrupulous men!! RIP, honourable men. My
    salute, tears and prayers. May your families have the strength to tide over these trying times. Their
    loss can never be compensated!


Tailpiece.

Had got up at our usual time, gone through the chores and were ready well in time. Rema left for Pidavoor soon after breakfast to spend the day with Padmakumar's mom and had returned by evening. Meanwhile, Kunjumon had dropped the first set of materials at our courtyard. Was amazed that he got people to load and unload the material on a May Day when the entire lot of workers were participating in May Day rallies all over the state!

In Kerala, the plethora of happenings never cease to surprise me!!   

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

More stories from the election round ups!

1. Lalu Yadav's Sons.

    The RJD is fighting the elections in Bihar with two handicaps viz.:-
       (a) the absence of Lalu Yadav who is in jail.
       (b) the love-hate relationship between his two sons - Tej Pratap and Tejaswi.

    Tej has often been perceived as being rebellious leaving the party red-faced quite often. Rabri
    Devi has compared the sibling rivalry to the Mahabharat, "Mahabharat can never end. Differences
    are there in all families, be it big or small."

    The RJD party is a family business!

2. The Jat Quota Leader Opposes the BJP.

    Yashpal Malik, the president of the 'Akhil Bharatiya Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti' that led the
    Jat reservation stir in Haryana will oppose the BJP in this election. Despite spearheading the
    movement, he faces resistance from within the community and he terms it as attempts to divide
    the Jats.

    Holding the major political parties to ransom for narrow political gains!

3. 100 Year Old Lady Votes.

    The 100-year-old-woman and former lieutenant with the Rani Jhansi Regiment of Netaji's Azad
    Hind Fauj, Manwati Arya, braved the heat to cast her vote in Kanpur. Despite ill health, she
    reached the polling station on a wheel chair.

    Her fervour to vote is indeed an inspiration for everyone!


Tailpiece.

Had got up at our usual time, gone through the chores and were ready in time for breakfast. Rema, Mini, Lekha and Sanil left for Kottarakkara for sundry purchases and work in the panchayat office as well as the Village office.

Today happens to be the late Laila Samson's birthday. Remembered her and said a special prayer for her; sent a message to her daughter, Leela. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Another phase of elections is over.

Had got up at our usual time, gone through our chores and were ready well in time. Meanwhile, three workers had come to work on the rubber plantation around the house. The work involves removal of the wild grass and weeds, bolstering of the platforms on which the plants have taken roots and application of manure at the end of it all.

I and my sisters, then, left for Kottarakkara to finish the bank work. It did take more time than I'd anticipated but dad and mom's connections with the bank were terminated, once for all. When Jacob Mathew, the manager of the bank, crumpled mom's ATM card there was a tinge of sadness - an account that was opened in the early '70s had changed hands from dad to mom in '12 on his passing away, technically, though they were two different accounts!

Our association with the bank had come to an end! We'd, then, gone across to Mini's account to complete the formalities.

On return and after a quick lunch, we were off to Thiruvananthapuram to look up Indira kunjamma, Maman and Sindhu - had not been able to make it there during Vichani kujamma's passing away but the visit to that house was a no-show as there was nobody in the house! Hadn't informed them because we wanted to give them a surprise but got surprised, instead!! Enroute there was a brush with a two wheeler which gave yet another gash on my Chevy!

We reached back by a quarter to 9. The KSEB made our lives miserable because of frequent power interruptions and when we were going to sleep, there was no power. It was resumed quite late into the night but thankfully, the heat was manageable because of the late evening showers.

1. The Fourth Phase.

    The fourth phase of elections - covering 71 seats across the states of Maharashtra, Orissa, Bihar,
    Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, UP and Jammu and Kashmir - got over by
    the end of this evening. Violence marred the peaceful atmosphere in a few booths in West Bengal!

    The '19 elections are, now, poised beyond the half way mark!

2. Manishankar Aiyar at it Again.

    After the rumours that Manishankar was killed in Balakot by the IAF bombings as said by a
    lot of false messages, he'd surfaced showing that he was alive and kicking and got into his
    favourite pastime - Modi bashing! He still doesn't seem to have got over the hangover of a
    'chaiwala' making it big! Sad!!

    It's these narrow minded guys that rule us subsequently!

3. And Now, the Claim.

    The Congress has now said that Priyanka Gandhi's no-show at Varanasi was a 'collective decision'
    without realising that it was never an issue, in the real sense. How many more stories will be
    in circulation?

    A perfect example of flogging a dead horse!

4. Complaints of Bogus Voting.

    Bogus voting has been reported from Mavelikkara and Alappuzha too. Well, and they talk
    about their adversaries manipulating the EVMs to their advantage!

    The election commission's actions are anxiously awaited!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Election related stories.

1. Bogus Voting!

    There has been extensive cases of bogus voting in the Kasaragod parliamentary constituency. The
    Mathrubhoomi News channel has brought out video grabs from the polling booth in AUP School
    at the Pilathara segment. Six people have been captured by the camera's eye and one of them
    happens to be a panchayat member belonging to the CPM.

    The election commission had installed close circuit television in all the booths which have brought
    out the sordid story. A video grab, even, shows a lady being administered the indelible ink on her
    forefinger which she immediately rubs on her hair and on the consequence disappearance of the
    mark, she returns for voting yet again!

    The election commission has to take immediate remedial action.

    And the CPM has all along been crying wolf in that the electronic voting machines are erratic and
    helps the BJP, in particular. Well, Sitaram Yechury needs to do a lot of answering!

2. Rahul Talks About Farmer's Budget.

    Rahul Gandhi, at an election rally, has told that his government will bring out an 'Agricultural
    Budget' before the General Budget. He has also promised that Anil Ambani and Nirav Modi will
    be put behind bars if his party came to power!

    Interesting!

3. Shatrughan Sinha's Gaffe!

    At an election rally in Chindwara of Madhya Pradesh, Shatrughan Sinha while canvasing for
    Kamal Nath's son said that Mohammed Jinnah was a Congressman. He later said that it was a
    slip of the tongue.

    His BJP background cannot be wished away, I suppose!

4. Gautam Gambhir Pulled Up.

    He's the BJP's candidate from the East Delhi constituency. On 26 Apr, he'd campaigned for the
    Jhangpura's BJP candidate without obtaining the Election Commission's permission and has
    initiated a case in this regard.

    Well, such mistakes are unacceptable!


Tailpiece.

Getting up around a half past 3, early in the morning and then, sleep refusing to return has become a regular feature these days. Consequently, I recite my prayers and on completion, sleep would have beckoned me.

Had got up at our usual time, opened up the house and put on the devotional music. We were ready well in time and left for the Akhil-Aswathy wedding at a half past 10. Wished the couple many happy returns and returned. Enroute, we'd picked up gifts from the mall, for Mini in view of her birthday on the 2nd of May and another for Chippy's new born child. We headed straight for my cousin, Soman's house and draped the ceremonial shawl around his wife, Prasanna who's retiring this month-end.

There were power interruptions galore in anticipation of the heavy rains, forecast for the evening!

     

Saturday, April 27, 2019

More snippets....

1. The PM's Observation.

    The Prime Minister, while interacting with the BJP workers at Varanasi, has said that the BJP
    workers in Kerala and West Bengal do not know as to whether they would return to their mothers
    at the end of the day, because of the violence unleashed by the CPM cadres. He was giving his
    assessment after hearing about the political murders that take place in the two states. Touched to
    the quick, the Kerala chief minister has disowned the observation saying that the number of
    incidences in the state is quite low!

    Finally, there's some discussion about political murders!

2. Countering Dad!

    After the snub that the BJP had undergone when Mukesh Ambani had openly endorsed his support
    to the Congress candidate, Milind Deora, from South Bombay, his son, Anand Ambani had joined
    up to hear Narendra Modi at one of his election rallies. He has said that he supports the PM and
    his governance!

    These businessmen have their balancing acts too!

3. Daler Mehendi Joins the BJP.

    After joining the Congress in '13, just prior to the Delhi State Assembly elections, Daler Mehendi
    had scripted parodies and sung them during the election rallies. He was the party's answer to
    Navjot Singh Sidhu of the BJP, then. He has now joined the BJP.

    An example of changing loyalties and events having taken a full circle!


Tailpiece.

Had got up at our usual time, gone through the chores and were ready well in time. Mini and Lekha had gone to the Kottarakkara Mahaganapathy kshethram by a half past 9. Repair work - both plumbing and electrical and not major ones - were undertaken with Manu, who was called for the purpose. Finally, the deal for the truss work over the entire house was struck. Kunjumon will do it at the beginning of next week after respite from the heavy rains, consequent to the cyclonic disturbance on the eastern coast.

     

Friday, April 26, 2019

Snippets...

1. Anti-Sadhvi Pragya Singh Electioneering. 

    About 200 odd people are scheduled to travel from Pune to Bhopal to campaign against Sadhvi
    Pragya Singh Thakur. These are the close relatives of those victims of the Malegaon blasts! It's
    being led by retired Bombay High Court judge BG Kolse Patil. He adds that there's concrete
    evidence against her which will end up in her punishment!!

    Strong sentiments can play wonders if rightfully applied.

2. Justice NV Ramana Recuses Himself.

    Justice NV Ramana has recused himself from the three member panel that's probing the sexual
    harassment case against the Chief Justice of India. The accused lady had put across her doubts
    about the impartiality of the judge. Justice Indu Malhotra will replace him!

    In a related development to the charge against the CJI, the probe into a possible conspiracy by
    some 'lobby' shall be probed by Justice AK Patnaik.
 
    The case is taking unexpected twists and turns.

3. The Congress - Muslim League Rift.

    Soon after the elections, a rift has surfaced between the Congress and its election ally, the Muslim
    League on the perception that the latter had not put in adequate efforts towards electioneering. The
    belief  has been bolstered by the lack of participation by the Muslim League smaller rung leaders.
    This rift is in Ernakulam district.

    Just goes to show the brittleness in the electoral tie ups between the political parties! But they
    remain together after winning at the hustings to have their share of the spoils while in power.


Tailpiece.

Had got up late compared with our usual standards; Mini was up as usual though. Went about our chores and were ready well in time. Mini and Lekha went to the Thrikkonnamarkodu Devi kshetram
by about 1000 hrs. Had the locks of dad's rosewood cupboard and mom's teak meal safe opened up
by the locksmith - I chided him for his shoddy work too - much to my angst. Remembered how mom and I had gone across to the shop in Punalur to pick up the wooden furniture during my hols, while at school.

Unni chettan, Soman and Letha with Anand and Aarcha dropped by in the course of the evening.



  

Thursday, April 25, 2019

At Raj Nivas!

Lekha'd got up at 4 and I followed her half an hour later. Earlier, had got up around a half past 3 to reduce water levels when I could feel my mom's presence. Was it all my imagination? I don't think so because mom used to be very excited when we went on a journey and if it was towards Raj Nivas, her joy knew no bounds!

I went through my prayers as sleep took its own time to come back! We were ready by a quarter past 6 and left soon after. I'd a last minute change of heart and took the Thrissur route. Picked up the day's newspapers from the vendor, Shankar, soon after the railway level cross and his reaction on sighting me was, "So sir, you're off again on a long trip? When will you be back?" When I told him that I was returning on 02 May, did he feel sad? Or was it all my imagination? Because why should he feel so when we meet up only once in a blue moon?

Our first stop was at the Ananda Bhavan, at Chalakudy for breakfast. Today, I'd made a departure from my eating habits and did taste the chutney given along with the dosa; Lekha, too, had the same menu but, of course, sans the filter coffee! The journey was blemishless and we'd lunch at the Bayleaf Restaurant at Kayankulam.

We reached Kottarakkara by 1500 hrs and my kid sister, Mini and Sanil were also there, doing shopping to stock up the Raj Nivas for our gastronomic needs for the entire week. We were at Raj Nivas by 1530 hrs and electricity was yet to be available after last evening's bad weather of heavy rain coupled with high velocity winds! The resumption of the dish TV, consequently, took its own time!!

I spent time at my parents' cremation sites and had briefed them about our programme. It was a nice feeling. We'd a fairly manageable footfall of friends and relatives this evening and it was a great occasion to bond once again. Sanil's culinary efforts were the hallmark for the lovely supper which was boisterous. The caretaker's remarks, "Sir, it's great to have you all back and to have the house thrumming as during the days of old!" And Mini reminded us that yesterday - 24 Apr - was the 51st anniversary of the housewarming of 'Raj Nivas'!


Tailpiece.

Election Cacophonics.

1. The Civic Bodies' Woes.

    Most of the civic bodies have a tough task ahead to get the political parties to remove poll
    materials - includes bill boards, banners and hoardings - from the constituencies. This is despite
    the fact that the political parties had announced a clean and green poll!

    We've to watch as to whether the political parties will do what they'd promised.

2. Opposition Moves Supreme Court.

    21 opposition parties, led by N Chandrababu Naidu moved the Supreme Court saying that the
    2% increase in random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs would not achieve the purpose
    of raising public confidence in the integrity of the election process. At this juncture, one cannot
    forget the hesitation on the part of those who called it foul on the EVMs, during voting, because
    of the fear of landing up in jail if their allegations were proved to be false!

    Is it the fear of failure that's worrying Naidu and gang? 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A sad incident!

We'd got up with the alarm, gone through our chores and were ready on time. Earlier, had got up around a half past 3 to go to the rest room and consequent to it, was not able to resume my sleep and therefore, said my prayers as I usually do during such breaks. Sleep was instant after I'd finished!

Ramakrishnan, the newspaper boy was told about our programme. I didn't want the newspapers lying all over the courtyard during our absence and give ideas to people who are up to tricks! There is a house being constructed in the neighbourhood and consequently, many guys are at work. Of course, the car's absence and the locked gate are sure give aways.....can't really help that, the only saving grace being our neighbours' assurance that they'd be keeping an eye for any untoward movement!!

Had gone to fill up fuel in our Chevy around 1600 hrs and in the process, managed to get a couple of gashes on the vehicle's starboard side much to my anguish. The fault was all mine and sadly, the Chevy is ready for its next visit to the service station! I've said it a number of times and I say it again, I'm a bad driver. Period!

The angst shall be within till the repairs are done....and it's gonna take time. There's an urgent work to take on at my parents' place so that it finishes before the onset of the monsoons! The truss work would take about a week for completion but it might get delayed because of the pre-monsoon showers that have picked up over the last week.

'The Quarterdeck' has been progressively shut down for making an early morning departure tomorrow.


Tailpiece.

Election Related Cacophonics.

1. The Parties Are In A Tizzy.

    After a high voter turnout during the polls in Kerala, the political parties are in a tizzy. Will it be
    the LDF or the UDF that will win the maximum number of seats? Or will the BJP, finally, come
    into the reckoning?

    The chief minister's reaction to the pressmen's questions was surprising. Not only was he angry,
    somewhere, when he was asked about the BJP making its presence felt, he said that the fight was
    between the LDF and the UDF.

    But the worry seems to be palpable!

2. Akshay Kumar's Interview of the PM.

    The PM had accentuated his friendship with a few of the opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee
    and Ghulam Nabi Azad . He touched upon the gifts that he continues to receive from a few of
    them, even now.

    There has been a backlash from the Congress on the issue.   

         

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

To the polling booth.

Lekha had kept the alarm for 0500 hrs and she'd got up accordingly. I gave myself another half an hour to linger on the bed after which I'd gone about the chores. We were ready well in time and by a five minutes to 7, reached our neighbour's place. After about 15', we were off to the RCUP School, which was the polling booth where we'd to cast our votes.

By the time we reached there, we found that there were quite a few people who had already fetched up - I was, incidentally, the 36th to cast the vote in our ward! By the time we were back home, it was a half past 8. The VVPAT(Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) electronic voting machine definitely consumed more time and hence, the delay!

There was this guy who wanted to jump the queue saying that he was not well and he was a senior citizen. Many ignored him but we permitted him to get ahead and as we were leaving he was criss- crossing the area, making conversation with all and sundry. And his discomfort didn't show up either!

Breakfast was, consequently, delayed but there was a satisfaction that we'd cast our votes and didn't face any machine glitch or other delay.

             *                        *                         *

The Election Cacophonics.

1. Kerala Saw a High Voter Percentage.

    In a closely contested election - triangular in many constituencies - an estimated 76.82% of the
    2.63 crore voters exercised their franchise bearing the harsh weather in many places. There was a
    total of 24, 970 polling stations across the state. Kannur was the district that polled the maximum
    at 82.08%. A total of 116 constituencies were covered in this phase spread across Kerala, Assam,
    Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal.

    The results will have to wait for a month, till 23 May!

2. EVM Glitches Galore.

    The electronic voting machines had glitches in many polling booths that affected the voting
    process in many places but they were removed with the technical back up that was available.

    This was one thing that I dreaded because it would have made us wait till things got right. At
    a few places they had to wait for almost two to three hours on account of such delays!


Tailpiece.

(a) A panel of three Supreme Court judges - Justices SA Bobde, NV Ramana and Indira Banerjee -
     will inquire into a sexual harassment plaint against the Chief Justice of India.

(b) The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the serial blasts at several places in Sri Lanka
      on Easter Sunday. 



  

Monday, April 22, 2019

A poignant moment!

Got up with the alarm, went through our chores and were ready well in time. Sajeesh of the Amigos had called me over to give me a haircut and I'd proceeded straight away, to return after an hour or so. Had come across Nanda Kumar, enroute, to whom I'd reported the non-receipt of our voting slips which would enable us to cast our vote tomorrow though I'd the 'sakhaavu-provided-slips' given to me a couple of days back!

The day was uncomfortably hot and there were no sign of rains. Lekha's friend, Seena, had come by to help her with her ear rings and nose studs. It was then that it was found that the inner screw of Lekha's nose stud was missing. She and Seena had mentally prepared go across to the jewellers at the 'east nada'(The eastern entrance to the Guruvayur temple) to get a new one. Meanwhile, I did a systematic search of the master bedroom recounting the activities of the day, from getting up in the morning.

I was sure that it would have fallen off sometime this morning itself. After checking the pillows and the bed, I'd searched the underside of the bed and sure enough, found the gold screw lying there. My timely announcement prevented the ladies from having to go out!.......Years back, Lekha'd lost one of her gold anklets at the Gopinath bazaar in Delhi Cantonment and we could never retrieve it! 

Within an hour, we received the photo voter slips and the poignant moment was that the lady had given us mom's voting slip too. So, on the voters' list of this constituency, my mom continues to live! Was reminded of the last 'local self government' elections when mom, Lekha and I had driven to the nearby Little Flower College to cast our vote! It was so much fun and I still remember mom's humorous snatches of conversation on the occasion. I vividly remember her excitement all through.

Lekha had gone to the Mammiyoor Siva kshetram and the Guruvayur temple in the evening while I watered the plants, as well as, the grass patch.

It was a quiet evening thereafter but not before tying up with our neighbour to go for voting together tomorrow and to fetch up at the polling booth by 0700 hrs.


Tailpiece.

Election Related Stories.

1. Rahul Gandhi Concedes that He Had Lied.

    In reply to advocate Meenakshi Lekhi's appeal in the Supreme Court that the Congress president
    was deliberately misinterpreting the Supreme Court's judgement regarding the Rafael Aircraft
    deal and campaigning with the slogan 'Chowkidar chor hai'(The sentry is a thief), he'd finally,
    provided an affidavit to admit that he'd gone with what he saw in the media and had lied.

    It was a slap on his face and to that of the Congress party but shamelessly, made his cadre repeat
    what he had said. The juvenile doesn't understand the niceties and proves that he's vindictive!

2. A Quiet Door-to-door Campaign.

    It was a quiet door-to-door canvassing that was adopted by the principal candidates viz. Suresh
    Gopi of the BJP, TN Prathapan of the UDF and Rajaji Mathew Thomas of the LDF on the
    penultimate day. The streets and the environment around, therefore, had a serene outlook after
    weeks of hectic campaigning!

    Annie, the maid, couldn't come by as her husband was once again in the ICU at the Rajah
    hospital for extreme low levels of Oxygen in his lungs! God, do take care of him!!


Sunday, April 21, 2019

A dastardly act!

1. A Bloody Easter!

    Eight devastating blasts, including suicide attacks, struck churches and luxury hotels frequented
    by foreigners in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing over 200 people and injuring many. No one
    has accepted responsibility for the blast. It had shattered a decade of peace after the brutal civil
    war with the LTTE.

    Pity the innocents who lost their lives in the senseless attacks. RIP, my tears and prayers.

2. Sexual Allegations Against the CJI.

    A former worker in the residential office of Ranjan Gogoi, the Chief Justice of India, has alleged
    that she'd to undergo molestation while working with him. She was thrown out of her job and her
    relatives were eased out of their work environments because she resisted the advances!

    An allegation that's damaging and can have far reaching ramifications! Is there any mischief
    behind the allegations? There are a few cases coming before the Supreme Court for judgement in
    the coming week. Are the vested interests behind them the protagonists of this sordid drama? Were
    the CJI's reactions and counters hasty?

    The judiciary has to remain firm and impartial though it's gonna be tough. Period!

Stories during the run up to the polls

3. Electioneering Comes to an End in Kerala Amid Violence.

    The last day of electioneering was marred by violence in a few parts of Kerala viz. Vadakara,
    Palakkad, Ambalappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram. The worst phenomenon was the way in which
    the LDF workers blocked the rallies of their opponents - it was in bad taste!

    The long electioneering - despite the headstart the LDF got, it seemed to have handed over the
    fight to their opponents - through the heat and grime has finally come to the end.

    The results on 23rd May will be much awaited.

4. Priyanka Gandhi's Antics in Wayanad.

    In a very apparent utterance of lies, she claimed that her brother knew very many things about
    Hinduism that many others don't know. And we know as to how he gets flustered in all the
    interviews when his opinion is asked for on any subject.





Tailpiece.

Got up with the alarm, went through our chores and were ready well in time. It was a quiet day. Have come to know of our serial number and polling booth thanks to my friend, the sakhaavu! The forenoon was taken up in my ringing up my Christian friends to wish them a happy Easter.



 
    

Saturday, April 20, 2019

More election related stories.

1. AAP Supports LDF.

    The state convener of the AAP, Mr. CR Neelakandan, had earlier announced that his party would
    support the UDF candidates in the state because its central leadership was hoping for an electoral
    tie up with the Congress in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. The tie up had not worked out and hence,
    the change of mind to support the LDF! To make it look like it was a slip on the part of the state
    leadership for deciding to support the UDF, Mr. Neelakandan has been given the boot.

    Kejriwal's antics continue unabated!

2. The Attingal UDF Candidate's Allegation.

    Adoor Prakash, the UDF candidate at the Attingal constituency, has levelled serious allegation
    of widespread rigging of the voter's list because 1,12, 322 voters in the constituency received more
    than one voter ID. He has asked for an immediate probe and the Election Commission is looking
    into it.

    Yet another instance of alleged rigging! Is it possible? Is it true? If affirmative, who's its author?

3. Yet Another Tharoor Gimmick!

    Tharoor has released his 'manifesto' for Thiruvananthapuram in which he promises to:-

        (a) Support legislation in Parliament that safeguards the faith, tradition and belief of the
             Sabarimala devotees if the review petition failed in the Supreme Court.
        (b) Continue active engagement and active support to the various infrastructure projects.
        (c) Work towards getting world class companies and organisations in Technopark.
        (d) Increase job opportunities and
        (e) Promote the #Move2Trivandrum Movement.

    Is the fear of failure showing?

4. Rahul Gandhi's Documents' Scrutiny Delayed.

    Based on an Independent candidate's objections, Rahul Gandhi's election affidavit submitted to
    Amethi's Returning Officer has not been scrutinised because of alleged discrepancies over his
    citizenship and educational qualification. The candidate has been given time till Monday to
    produce supporting documents.

    Caught in a vicious circle?



Tailpiece.

Got up with the alarm, went through our chores and were ready well in time. Annie had come in for work after a lapse of seven days. Phew! It was an unbearably hot day. Went across to the nearby bakery for getting money of smaller denominations.