Thursday, January 31, 2019

Vishnu comes by.

We'd got up quite late around 7. The reason was the visit to the restroom in the wee hours of the morning and consequently, missing the alarm. We went about our chores, the weekly 'washing machinex' of the bed linen was resorted to and finally ready by a 20' past 9.

Lekha and Preetha had gone to the Guruvayur temple to have a 'darshan' of the good Lord. Vishnu had come by with the papers for signature by about a half past 10. Finally, the funds have been made available and the teaching faculty can concentrate on their work without worrying about their emoluments - all of them were working, till now, for the love of their work and the loyalty towards their organisation.

It was the day when Thomas Isaac had presented the state's annual budget in the Legislative Assembly. The highlights are as follows:-

     * 10 lakh electric vehicles, on the road, by 2022.
     * Major boost for the farm sector.
     * Energy Mission to ensure the entire power requirement of the state from roof top solar plants.
     * 6,000 km of designer roads over the next two years.
     * North-south parallel railway track on which trains will run at 180 km/hr reducing the running
        time from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod to four hours.
     * Twenty four rivers, with a length of 1,071 km, will be rejuvenated.
     * Another installment of Rs.1,000/- crores for Kuttanad.
     * Rehabilitation and restoration of the coast.
     * Rice parks - of international standards at Palakkad, Thrissur and Alappuzha.
     * Startups as the future of the state on the Chile, Estonia model plan.
     * 'Malabar Coffee' and 'Carbon Neutral Wayanad' initiatives proposed for global branding.
     * Major thrust to increase coconut production and for getting 20% higher price for coconut.

An interesting budget. What's to be seen is as to how each of the proposals take off.


Tailpiece.

1. Why's the central government still insisting on the implementation of the citizenship bill for the north eastern states despite the widespread dissent?

2. Will the three member committee comprising the PM, CJI and the LoP be able to zero in on the next CBI Director tomorrow?   

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Can you show a modicum of decency, please?

Rahul Gandhi, before he'd reached Kerala earlier this week, had called on the ailing Manohar Parikkar, the Chief Minister of Goa and made a stunning statement that the latter had said that he'd nothing and was unaware of the Rafael aircraft agreement.

It was in the amplifying statement in which Mr. Parikkar had opened up saying that Rahul Gandhi was with him with for just five minutes and there was nothing discussed between the two of them. That he'd to say this in the Goan Assembly with the tubes, in tact on his body, shows to the extent to which the Congress leader had distorted the truth.

Please show a modicum of decency for a man who's sick!


Tailpiece.


Had got up with the alarm going off at 6, gone through our chores and we were ready on time. The prayers and the walk went off as usual.

Lekha, along with Preetha, had gone for their weekly visit to the Mammiyoor Siva kshethram. They'd returned by about a half past 11. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Liaison Officer to the Raksha Mantri.

It was sometime in '98 or was it '99? My memory says it was in '98. I was the LO to the then Raksha Mantri, George Fernandez who visited Kochi for two days. We were going towards the Naval base after picking him up from the airport. As we were passing by the Medical Trust Hospital, he recalled his hero, the socialist Manohar Lohia's words, "Religion is long term politics".

Suddenly, it had become very clear to me as to why 'religious hot spots' were always a smoking cauldron kept alive by the political parties to suit their personal interests and many-a-time for achieving narrow political ends. This has been a bane of Indian politics!

We'd reached the VIP suite, overlooking the Ernakulam channel where he was to stay during that sojourn. He was enamoured by the sights and inquired about my personal particulars, over a cup of tea. As I was leaving, I'd informed him that the dhobhi was available to press his clothes that he would wear for the subsequent serials.

It was then that he had taken me into the bedroom, opened up his rather small overnighter, retrieved a pair of his trademark, kurta and pyjamas and placed them under the pillow and said with a wink, that it was the only manner in which he ensured that his clothes looked neat and tidy.

One of his engagements, while at Kochi, was to interact with the dockyard workers at the NSRY(Naval Ship Repair Yard) over a cup of tea. He looked very much at ease there and had played up to the gallery in his extempore speech to them.

When he was with us men, in uniform, I'd noticed him to be reserved and a man of few words.

I'd observed him to be equally at ease with the Christian clergy whom we'd gone to meet at their seminary on the Marine Drive!

Having said that I must say that I was impressed by his open admiration for the late Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh!

RIP Mr. George Fernandez.


Tailpiece.  

Had got up at 6, gone about our chores and were ready well in time. On perusing the What’sApp messages, saw Subbu – my course mate in the IN – making a frantic appeal to all of us to have his wife, Gowree in our prayers. Her heart had failed – it wasn’t pumping due to constricted arteries - Oxygen had to be pumped into her as complications had risen where her internal organs like the lungs and the kidneys had begun to function erratically. Had sent a terse reply and then, spoken to him and got the details. She was better.

Rema, meanwhile, had called up around a half past 8 to say that she her bus was traversing through the Thrissur bus stand. She’d started from Palakkad around 7 and would reach Pidavoor by a half past 3. Achu had gone off to his office at Perundurai and had reached there by a half past 8 while Padmakumar had left for his office.

Otherwise, a quiet day!

Monday, January 28, 2019

A Few Things That Amuse Me/Make Me Reflect These Days

A few happenings, of late, through falsehoods, innuendos and negative propaganda have taken place/is taking place which do not augur well for the country in the long run. I would like to share my misgivings about them with my readers. And so, here I go.

1. Irupathonnaam Noottandu. It makes me wonder as to how people can go to great lengths to              distort facts to give an extra advantage to the person that they are positively inclined to.                        'Irupathonnaam Noottaandu' starring Pranav Mohanlal(Mohanlal's son) and Gokul Suresh(Suresh        Gopi's son) was released last Friday. The publicity promos highlight only the former while the            latter is disregarded! It's damn sad!!

    I'm reminded of a movie that was released not very long ago, 'Kayankulam Kochunni' in which          Nivin Pauly played the lead role while Mohanlal played 'Ithikkara Pakki' - in the promos and in          almost all the publicity hoardings, it was the former who was lionised but the powerful acting of          the latter had neutralised the unfair publicity. Why are we, Malayalees, so selective in our                    admiration of the newcomers while being disgustingly patronising towards Mohanlal? 

    The movie is a take off on 'Irupathaam Noottandu'(Mohanlal and Suresh Gopi were the lead actors)
    and the people who've seen the new movie agree that Gokul Suresh has acted well in it. So, why is
    his performance being ignored and not being lauded?

2. Dileep in a higher dosage. Of late, Dileep's movies are aired on most of the television channels
    sometimes, simultaneously or at least one or two, almost every day. Are his supporters - of course,
    orchestrated by him - trying to whip up sympathy for him in the wake of the news that his case
    is coming up for hearing next month with a lady judge, in charge of the proceedings? "If he's really
    innocent, then, why's he worried", asks Mohanlal and I fully agree with him on that score!

3. The plight of DCP Chaithra Teresa John. The chief minister has said, pompously, that the
    police were expected to ensure conditions for the functioning of the political party offices which
    he went on to term as an integral part of democracy. The doubt that immediately conjures up in a
    layman is as to whether the law enforcers are supposed to uphold these places as holy cows! The        incident that triggered the controversy took place at 2345 hrs last Thursday, the 24th. A police
    team led by the DCP had searched the Thiruvananthapuram district committee office of the
    CPM in connection with a case on an attack on a police station.

     On the previous day, a group had tried to trespass the Medical College police station to 
     meet a few accused in a sexual harassment. Later, the same people had assembled near the
     police station, shouted slogans and pelted stones at the station building. Following the incident,       a case under relevant sections of the IPC and the Prevention of  Destruction to Public
     Properties Act was registered. Footage from CCTV near the station helped identify the
     attackers - four DYFI activists. The police had received information that the first accused,
     Nithin, was hiding in the party's district committee office and hence, the raid was conducted.

     How can the police carry out their job of enforcing the law if the government does not give
     them the autonomy to work fearlessly and independently? 

     A sad case of the powers-that-be coming down heavily on a no-nonsense-professional who'd
     gone about her work without fear or favour! DCP Chaithra Teresa John, cheers to your bold
     stand and do not worry, the truth will ultimately win!! You'll be vindicated!!!   


Tailpiece.
 
We'd got up a trifle after 6 this morning, gone through our chores and were ready on time. Preetha was a trifle late in coming by as she'd missed her usual bus! The rag picker had come by - not once but twice - but we couldn't use his services. Probably, it will bear fruition the next time.


Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Prime Minister in Thrissur.

We'd got up half an hour late but went through our chores with gusto and were ready on time. The morning routine of walk, prayers and Rangoli was gone through without a hitch and breakfast was colonial, in that, we had porridge, eggs and bananas.

Preetha wasn't coming and therefore, it was Lekha's own show in the kitchen. Ismail had come by in the morning and a fresh stock of fish, cut by him and cleaned by Lekha, was stacked up in the fridge. The prawn fried rice, for lunch, was yummy.

Had the Sunday morning telephonic chat with Achu who had reached his mom at Palakkad last night, from Perundurai. Meanwhile, his dad, Padmakumar has gone visiting his mom at Pidavoor and will return tonight. Mini will start from Bangalore, for Kollam, on the 29th to be on time for Vichani kunjamma's 13th day ceremony on the 1st of Feb.

After having tended his mom - who's down with a fracture of the clavicle and her hand - for about three months, my friend, Commander MJ Paul sir is bracing himself to go to sea. His mother has progressed well and she'll be looked after by his wife, Jaya, during his absence.

The Prime Minister, after landing at INS Garuda, Kochi at around a quarter past 2, had taken off for the BPCL complex at Ambalamukal, for the following:-

  (a) Inauguration of the Integrated Refinery Expansion Complex.
  (b) Lay the foundation stone for a petrochemical complex at the refinery.
  (c) Lay the foundation stone for a Skill Development Institute at Ettumanoor, backed by the
       Ministry of Petrochemicals and Natural Gas.
  (d) Inauguration of a mounded storage vessel at the LPG bottling plant of the IOC Ltd which
       has a total storage capacity of 4,350 metric tonnes.

After that he was in Thrissur at the Thekkinkaadu Maidan for his meeting with the BJP's youth wing. Incidentally, saw my schoolmate, PC Thomas receiving the PM on the tarmac and felt glad.

Saw two movies, back-to-back, Mohanlal's 'Drama' and Dulquar Salman's 'Mahanadi' in the evening. The former was okay - it's all about relationships where an old mother expresses her desire to be buried beside her husband at Kattappana in Idukki before passing away at London and the reluctance her children have to 'spend money on such a wasteful(?) expenditure'! Mahanadi is a biopic on yesteryears' heroine of the tamil movies, the beautiful and talented Savithri Ganesan.

'Drama', starring Mohanlal, was dragging while the 'Mahanadi' was nice, with good performances from Dulquar and Keerthi Suresh. It was a quiet evening, thereafter!


Tailpiece.

Was reminded of my mom's desire to have her laid to rest next to dad's cremation spot at the backyard of Raj Nivas. Though I used to pull her leg saying that dad had told me many-a-time to keep mom as far away from him, as possible, when the time finally arrived I'd no hesitation in taking her back to Raj Nivas.......that was the least I could do for her! Their cremation spots have become a pilgrimage point for all of us!

It's my firm belief that mom and dad's eternal presence at the Raj Nivas is a cosmic truth!

      

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Indian Republic @ 70.

Had got up groggily thanks to the late night last night, yet again, due to an interesting episode of the 'Crime Patrol' on the Sony channel. We went through our chores but I was a trifle late.

Preetha will not be coming in tomorrow as her son is here and he will be leaving for Thalasserry sometime tomorrow. So, Lekha had taken her along to do some sundry shopping at Mammiyoor to tide over the Sunday requirements. They had returned over an hour later and in the meanwhile, I was watching the Republic Day celebrations at the Raj Path, New Delhi which was a very colourful event, as usual!

The colourful pageantry associated with the Republic Day and the march past through the Rajpath have never failed to evoke a patriotic fervour in me, always and everytime.

A group of three gentlemen - Mr. Padmanabhan, Mr. Sunil Kumar and Mr. Anoop, at the behest of my friend, KR Narayanan - had dropped by and we'd a long chat over the recent happenings, connected with the entry of women in the Sabarimala shrine. In the process, I've also told them about my overall opinion of the RSS and its activities.

Had also touched upon the details of the Library and the Literacy movements of Kerala. They seemed to be adequately educated about Mr. PN Panicker's contributions towards the betterment of Kerala by the end of my monologue.

It was a quiet evening, thereafter.


Tailpiece.

TP Senkumar, the ex-DGP's outburst on ISRO scientist, Nambi Narayanan, getting the coveted Padmabhushan award was unnecessary and out of place......at least, I thought it to be so. Or is he privy to something that we are not aware of?

I was looking forward to a posthumous Bharath Ratna for the late Field Marshal SHFJ Maneckshaw. Our own, metroman, E Sreedharan is another strong contender for the highest civilian award!  

Friday, January 25, 2019

A short outing.

It was groggy when we'd got up in the morning as it was a late night last night and aggravated by an early morning trip to the rest room to ease the bladder. Anyways, we went around our chores and were ready on time.

The caretaker had to be sent the money for the cleaning of the Raj Nivas and to pay up our contribution towards the annual festivities of the Thrikkonnamarkodu Devi temple. However much I tried to transfer the sum of Rs. 2 grand, the end result was the same - the amount could not be transferred!

So, I'd to go to my bank. Vishnu was on a day's leave and hence couldn't meet him, though I was keen, especially after the input from Unnikrishnan that I'd received last evening. His assistant, Padmakumar had helped me out, though, by resorting to paper transaction because my cellphone was of an older vintage. Anyways, was able to complete both the transactions to Paulson and the caretaker!

Did Babu, the auto rickshaw driver, charge me more than he should have? Had charged me a hundred bucks!


Tailpiece.

The Supreme Court has reconstituted the 5-judge bench to look into the Ayodhya Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute from the 29th of this month and the new team is:-

    (a) The CJI Ranjan Gogoi.
    (b) Justice SA Bobde
    (c) Justice DY Chandrachud
    (d) Justice Ashok Bhushan and
    (e) Justice SA Nazeer.

Justices Bhushan and SA Nazeer are the new members, Justice NV Ramana is not in the new bench.
  

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The nearby temple's annual festivities.

We'd got up a bit groggy as our sleep was delayed last night by about half an hour because of the television programme. Quickly got around our chores and was ready on time. The walk was nice and I still wonder as to why people have told me not do strenuous exercises because sweating was a big 'no-no'. Recited my prayers along with it.

Lekha, along with Preetha, had then gone for their usual Thursday 'darshan' of Guruvayurappan. The monthly water bill was paid and the medicines, that I wasn't using anymore and still in date, were returned. And no, the Medicare guys did not offer anything instead which was strange!

Had a long chat with Aniyan who, along with Usha Ammayi, is going to Thiruvananthapuram to attend Vichani kunjamma's 'sanchayanam' on Friday. They will be returning immediately after to go to the Mookaambika temple for li'l Prarthana's first tryst with the three 'R's viz. Reading, (w)Riting and (a)'rithmetic! It's indeed a long journey for ammayi after her recent hospitalisation!

The Thamarayoor Devi temple celebrates its annual festivities today; the long procession, associated with the celebrations, had passed through the highway near our house in the evening, before sunset. The programme continued till the wee hours of the morning.


Tailpiece.

1. The press - both print and visual - had gone ga-ga over Priyanka gandhi's induction into active politics which surprises a layman like me because I was always under the impression that she was never away from it anytime! She seems more capable than her brother, her obnoxious husband notwithstanding!

2. The ABP-Republic-C Voter surveys predict a hung parliament if elections were to be held now. There's still more time left for the elections and plenty of happenings to take place! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

As usual, a quiet Wednesday.

We'd got up at 6 with the alarm, gone around our chores and Lekha was ready well in time, though I took a bit more of time. Earlier, we'd done the usual Wednesday 'aarathi' of the house. The walk and the prayers were over by about 8.

The breakfast of appams and stew was nice and had washed it down with a cup of Bournvita. I'd lost the taste towards the drink when the jaundice was at its zenith thanks to its proviso as a drink, on a daily basis at the hospital and for some unknown reason, I used to detest its smell too!

Lekha. along with Preetha, had gone over to the Mammiyoor Siva kshethram as is their wont on Wednesdays. They'd returned with groceries, fruits and of course, tender coconuts. The water was sweet but the quantity was comparatively less.

This afternoon's sessions of 'Crime Patrol' on the Sony television channel were interesting and therefore, our siesta was delayed to a half past 3. After teatime, Lekha's beautician, Seena, had come by and she has got her hair chopped short that she'd wanted to get done, desperately. She'd also gone through the pedicuring bit which helps her feet to relax.

My sister, Rema, is off to Pidavoor over this weekend. She has to sort out certain issues regarding our ration card, the gas connection at Raj Nivas and in the process, would be able to have a review of the recent clearing up of the weeds around the house. She'll send me the appropriate screenshots, on What'sApp, regarding the work that has been carried out.

It was a quiet evening thereafter.


Tailpiece.

The Congress party is firing anything and everything from its arsenal to prevent Narendra Modi from coming back to power after general elections '19. Consider these:-

     (a) 'Gathbandhan' to 'gathbandhan' and sadly for it, now a 'mahagathbandhan' sans its presence!
          Or will it make a last minute entry?
     (b) The shifting goalposts of allegations - once each of its observations is effectively countered -
           regarding the Rafael aircraft purchase.
     (c) The unsavoury observations regarding the Supreme Court and some of the judges.
     (d) The long standing grouse about the EVMs and the London based drama, presenting an
           American hacker with unsubstantiated charges, the day before.
     (e) And now, bringing in Priyanka Gandhi as its general secretary!

The desperation of the party is palpable.

     

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Another day!

Had got up at our usual time, gone through our chores and Lekha was well in time, though I was a trifle late.

Preetha's medical review went off okay. The scan revealed inflammation of her damaged kidney and she was given an injection along with antibiotics with the advice that she should visit him a fortnight later. When asked as to whether she had the doctor's clearance to work, her answer was typical of her personality and  positive outlook towards life viz.:-

   (a) "The work, here, is simple and never, ever heavy".
   (b) "I enjoy every bit of my stay here".

Both Lekha and I took a mental note to ensure that the work never gets to be taxing. I can never forget her magnanimity of coming on Sundays, too, till I was up and about - in the complete sense - from the jaundice!

The lunch was scrumptious and I ate myself silly!

The proprietor of the hardware shop from where I'd picked up stuff for the renovation work of our kitchen, had sent Ajo and his auto rickshaw fitted with a carrier, to pick up the two spare polyvinyl coated plywood sheets after paying me its costs. The courtyard has, thus, been spared of the additional adjuncts that were cluttering the area all these days! There are a few more usable, smaller pieces that I've told the head carpenter to collect and cart them away.

The sight of the spare sheets were beginning to get on my nerves as I hate things to linger. Once a work was accomplished, there's no reason as to why everything connected with it is squared up without trace! Only then does the entire work is deemed to have been completed and gives me satisfaction!!

Mini has, finally, got her bookings by train on 29 Jan to attend Vichani kunjamma's '13th day ceremony on 01 Feb. Will have to see as to how I can send Lekha for it.


Tailpiece.

A humorous poem.

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never
be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest 
full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Then shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?
Then one may be that, and three would be those
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England.
We find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing 
rings are square,
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing,
Grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can 
make amends but not one amend.
If you have a bunch of odds and ends
and get rid of all but one of them,
what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn't 
preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what
does a humanitarian eat?
In what other language do people 
recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship.
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat 
chance be the same,
While a wise man and wise guy are opposites?
You have to marvel at the unique 
lunacy of a language
In which your house can burn up as it 
burns down,
In which you fill in a form by filling it
out,
And in which an alarm goes off by
going on.
And in closing, if Father is Pop, how
come Mother's not Mop?
And if people from Poland are called Poles
Then people from Holland should be Holes
And the Germans, Germs.
And let's not forget the Americans,
who changed s to z, but that's
another story which will be told by
the joker in the pack, the Trump card.
   

Monday, January 21, 2019

A slow moving Monday.

Had got up about half an hour late, gone about our chores and were ready on time. Today, Preetha was not coming for work as she had to go for her medical review. She has been having pain around her damaged kidney and was to meet her doctor along with a scan of the kidney. Hope the doctor doesn't recommend immediate surgery - it's something that both she and we, equally, dread!

Today the police verification on account of the reissue of our passports was done by Sreeraj, CPO, from the Guruvayur Police Station. A nice youngster who seemed to be an ardent admirer of my Muthachhan! Our address was cross checked in the process and we got an intimation on our cellphone to this effect, from the passport seva kendra, soon after!

'Washing machinex' was resorted to because of the absence of the maid and thankfully, there were no power disruptions during the period because these have become regular during working days over the previous weeks! Shyla was supposed to come by with my medical results but she, finally, didn't make it. Wonder why? So did Seena, Lekha's beautician, who called up later to ascertain that she had got caught up with some work.


Tailpiece.

It's disgusting! The games that the Congress and the rest of the opposition parties keep playing leave a bad taste in the mouth. The latest is a 'drama' hosted by the wily, loud and motormouth, Kapil Sibal at London by bringing about an American hacker, who claims that he has tampered with the Indian electronic voting machines earlier and consequently, manipulated the final election results! And that, too, without a shred of concrete evidence! He has gone on to conveniently name two deceased individuals - Gopinath Munde and Gauri Lankesh - who were supposedly killed as they were 'getting to the truth'.

Two days back, it was the atrocious article, on the Rafael Aircraft purchase, by Hindu's Narasimham Ram, which has been subsequently debunked point by point!

You might have your political differences with Narendra Modi and would love to come to power in Delhi but do so by fair means and air your differences, hurl charges within the country. Don't let the country and its institutions down on foreign soil....by doing so, you're demeaning yourself! And mind you with so many wild, unsubstantiated claims combined with the lies will actually cost you the votes, in the final outcome, as the general public and the undecided voters are getting an idea of your shenanigans.     


  

Sunday, January 20, 2019

A cosmic conspiracy?

Had got up by about a quarter past 6 - yes, it was a late night last night, yet again - and my heart sank when Lekha told me that she was having a queasy feeling and wanted to throw up. I tried to quickly work in my mind as to what could have gone wrong - was it the late night or was it a case of indigestion, though I must admit that I'd quickly ruled out the latter as we'd eaten the same food?

The tension prevailed for a while but she got all right after throwing up a few gulp full of bile. Phew! We went about our chores subsequently and were ready on time. My walk and the prayers went off without a hitch. A quick bath, the 'Rangoli' had just wound up and we were on the breakfast table.

Meanwhile, my sister, Rema and Padmakumar had reached the house where Vichani kunjamma was lying in state......except for Nonu, Mini and me, the rest of the family was there in full numbers. I cursed my plight about the 'post-jaundice-embargo' on my movements and the intake of food and water, which are gonna continue for another three months!

Vichani kunjamma's mortal remains were consigned to the flames after 12, at the Santhi Kavaadam at Thycaud in Thiruvananthapuram. Rema and Padmakumar had left from there, soon after, to the KSRTC stand to board the 'Minnal Express' departing for Palakkad at 1345 hrs.

It was, then, that my sister had gently reminded me about Vichani kunjamma's frequent requests - when I was young - to make sure that I'd be there as one of her pall bearers. Was my absence at her cremation - owing to my present medical condition - a cosmic conspiracy? 

Ramesh, the gardener and his assistant, Muniyappa had dropped by. Our waste management plant was working bingo as the former showed us the flow of the 'slurry' - my, it smells tough but - wonder why the maid had reported otherwise? Muniyappa was left to clear the weeds and I let Lekha get things done, as she'd planned earlier, both around the courtyard and in the kitchen garden.

Lunch was timely and scrumptious. There was no siesta time as Lekha continued to be engaged with her directions for Muniyappa, by the end of which, the entire place looked neat and trim!

Sathi chechi - the late Radhan chettan's wife - had dropped by as promised. She's tending a 96 year old lady in her capacity as a home nurse at Kottakkal. She was teary eyed when she said that 19 Mar - Radhan chettan's first remembrance day - was round the corner.......realised for the umpteenth time as to how time was flying. Her sugar readings seem to be quite high, the main reason being that she wasn't taking care of herself! She, simply, doesn't seem to have lost the will to do it!!

Rema and Padmakumar had reached their home by 2330 hrs!


Tailpiece.

Vichani kunjamma, in her heydays, while winding up her bath used to call out gods' names - and coincidentally, they were all chief ministers of Tamilnadu viz. Karunanidhi, Bhaktavalasalam. Subsequently, when ever we met, I used to call out, "Ninthiruvadi" and she used to complete it by calling out, "Karunanidhe, Bhaktavalsala".

About six months back, when I'd gone to meet her, I'd called out, "Ninthiruvadi" and she'd responded with a smile and turned over to the other side, on her bed

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Adieu Vichani kunjamma!

Vichani - Vilasini - kunjamma, the third daughter of PN Panicker and G Chempakakutty Amma and my mom's second sister, passed into the mist of time this evening, around 1800 hrs. She was 78 and was poised to celebrate her 79th birthday on 07 Feb! She'd been ailing and was fully bed ridden for a while with loss of memory, as she was inflicted with the dreaded Alzheimer's disease and had been reduced to a far cry from her exuberant, effervescent and sunny personality. Her legs had begun to atrophy as she never moved around. Couldn't believe that a hyper active person like her could get tied down in that manner. As I concentrate my thoughts on her, many nice occasions come gushing into my mind.

  (a) Her wedding with Santhan kochachhan took place at the Guruvayur temple, on 27 Apr '64
        which, as a young lad of 9, I'd the privilege to attend. Both of them looked smart, made for
        each other and hopelessly in love. They stayed with Muthachhan and Ammachi and therefore,
        were part of the vibrant joint family at 'Kalpar', on the Easwara Vilasom Road. His culinary
        ability helped the ladies in the kitchen and the evenings when poories were made, it was a sort
        of celebration for us kids! 

        I still remember the trousseau shopping associated with her wedding at Thiruvananthapuram
        along with her and Muthachhan, Ammachi and at certain times, my mom when she would come
        down from dad's place, where she was working! 

  (b) I was studying in class III at the Holy Angels' Convent in Thiruvananthapuram and was not
        very 'favourably inclined' to attend classes and consequently, bunked them, trudge my way to
        Vichani kunjamma's office - the Khadi Board - behind the Government Secretariat! Her friends
        used to remember the 'school-avoiding-kid-of-yesteryears' in their subsequent interactions -
        Her good friends, the late Prabha chechi and Subahan, come to mind almost instantly. 

  (c) By 28 Jan '67, I'd joined the Sainik School at Kazhakootam. Though all my uncles and aunts 
        visited me at school it was the Santhan kochachhan-Vichani kunjamma couple who'd visited me
        the maximum be it for the Annual Sports day or the Annual Speech day! I used to look forward 
        to their dignified presence and the delicacies they brought me, to eat.

  (d) After passing out of Sainik School, while awaiting the NDA results, I had a brief stint at the
       University College when I used to yearn for a white khadi shirt and had mentioned it to Vichani
       kunjamma. Without questions asked, she'd gifted me with one the very next day! Such was her
       eagerness to give to the others!

  (e) She was beautiful, with a smiling and pleasant countenance and full of life. I can say, without
        hesitation, that she was the most elegantly dressed in her khadi silk sarees, among her
        colleagues!

  (f) Subsequently, during my Naval career, she and kochachhan used to come and spend time with
       us, be it at Kochi or at New Delhi. She used to tell Lekha and me that she looked forward to such
       visits!

I, still, can't believe that the chirpy and happy-go-lucky Vichani kunjamma is no more amid us. And
I'm angry at my plight of not being able to see her mortal remains because of the jaundice-created- embargo on my travel.

RIP Vichani kunjamma. You've given me so much to remember. My salute, tears and prayers! 

       *                      *                         * 
  
We'd got up at our usual time and gone about the morning chores. The devotional songs about Lord Ayyappa rent the air from 6 'o clock. Was ready well within time and the walk and prayers were completed before 8 AM.

Shyla had sent me the results of my blood analysis on the What'sApp. The jaundice factor has become a thing of the past by virtue of the current status of the Bilirubin reading. The detailed information is as follows:-

      * Bilirubin                                 0.85 mg/dl.
      * SGOT                                   77 u/l 
      * SGPT                                    69 u/l
      * Alkaline Phosphatase          107 u/l
      * GGT                                    216 u/l
      * Protein - total                          7.77 gm/dl
      * Albumin - serum                     3.75 gm/dl
      * Serum Globulin                       4.02 gm/dl
      * Serum Albumin/Globulin
         ratio                                         0.93

Note. The highlighted readings are on the higher side!

Lekha, along with Preetha, had gone to the supermarket to buy grocery and vegetables. It was Sajid who'd taken them up and down on the errand.

Had a long chat with my classmate, Josekutty Thomas. Earlier, I'd filled up a survey to help his daughter in her PhD at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland as desired by him.

Nandan's people didn't come by to collect the left over sheets and Ramesh, didn't fetch up for having a look see at our waste processing plant.


Tailpiece.

Spoke with Surg LCdr AB Mishra and apprised him about the medical results. He seemed to be satisfied with the progress and has exempted me from visiting him this time because a month has passed after my last review!

PS.
It's my firm belief that a part of Vichani kunjamma had died on 07 Nov '11, when Santhan kochachhan had passed into the mist of time. He was like a shadow to her, helping her in everything possible right from sweeping up and cleaning the house in the morning. He played a stellar role in the kitchen, in fact, she didn't have to worry over anything! I remember as to how shocked she was seeing him lie in state, muttering, "Look he's sleeping!" And not a drop of tear she'd shed!!

Friday, January 18, 2019

A quiet Friday.

It was a late night, last night and so, getting up along with the alarm was a bit tough. We'd gone about our chores and I was on my morning walk and prayers, earlier than usual to keep up with Shyla's appointment.

She'd fetched up by a quarter to 9 and drew my blood sample for yet another round of the 'liver function test'. And today, she'd drawn the sample without giving me any pain.

Our maid, Preetha will be absent on Sunday and Monday as she needs to take a scan of her troublesome kidney and report to her doctor. She's worried that he might ask her to undergo the surgery for the removal of the kidney as it has been giving her pain of late!

Our new passports reached us by the morning post. I was reminded of the initial issue in 2009, while we were at New Delhi, when I'd to finally fetch mine from the Delhi Cantt post office - 110010, during working hours. Have still not been able to get hold of Jayachandran's cell number as yet. Sad!

The rest of the day was quiet.


Tailpiece.

The fake news departments of the political parties have become very active of late. The following gives a fair idea about the intentions:-

    (a) Create confusion among the people by fudging statistics and twisting analytical reasoning to
          suit the interests of the concerned political party, in the run up to the general elections. For eg.
          the latest article by N Ram of the Hindu - everyone is aware of his political affiliation - in the              Frontline Magazine about the Rafael Aircraft agreement.
          My take. Aim anything and everything at Narendra Modi with the fond hope that something
          sticks. And 'gathbandhan' after 'gathbandhan' are being formed in various states to beat the
          electoral arithmetic with the sole intention of not allowing Narendra Modi from coming back
          to power. Shows their insecurity and tells us, the citizens in clear terms that, "they are
          threatened and fear their exposure for all the wrong reasons".
    
    (b) The list of 51 women, brought out by the government of Kerala, as those who've visited the
          Sabarimala shrine is a big joke. It consists of a few women above the age of 50 and also a
          man. Why do they've to do it? To show that the state government has fulfilled the Supreme
          Court judgement on the issue?.......and achieved surreptitiously? Is it an achievement in the
          real sense? 


         
  

Thursday, January 17, 2019

A missed opportunity.

We'd got up at our usual time of 6, gone through the chores and Lekha was ready well in time while I was about 15' late. After breakfast, Lekha had gone to the Guruvayur temple for her weekly 'darshan', taking Preetha along. Earlier, I'd launched the 'washing machinex', removed the used bed linen from the three bedrooms, put them in the machine and replaced them with the next set - a weekly routine.

Subin had come by, after my prodding, and cleaned up the overhead water tank. He reported that the dirt was very less but the bit that was there already had caked up due to the heat and the dryness.

We did get calls on each of our cellphones from the police station that the police would drop by today for verifying our particulars in connection with our passports. Shyla was also expected with my blood results by this evening.

The day had meandered along with me doing a bit of reading and also working on my laptop. The afternoon was quiet but I was sad that I couldn't go across to view my Classmate, Babu Sahadev's daughters' - Neeta and Kavita - dance programme at the Melpathoor Auditorium, at the Guruvayur temple. The two young ladies have come all the way from California/Canada for it.

Due to my illness - which is slowly wearing off - I do not venture out, except for urgent official work and those that doesn't require me to wait for long because the restlessness and the weakness set in.

Shyla had called up in the evening saying that she'd be coming by to collect my blood sample, yet again tomorrow morning, to do a repeat 'liver function test'. Hope everything is okay! The evening, thereafter, was quiet and uneventful.


Tailpiece.

RIP Sawardekar sir! He was one of our instructors in Physics at the NDA. It was the presence of people like him that gave NDA's academics, of those days, the sheen and the grace. His moves on the games fields - especially the hockey field where he used to wield his stick so effortlessly with swift, powerful pushes that broke through the most impregnable opposition defences - were legendary and made him an all rounder! With a salute, tears and prayers!! 

PS.
Got an intimation from the passport office - on both our cellphones - saying that our passports have been dispatched. Hats off to a pretty fast work and an efficient system!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The two faces of the Passport Service Kendra, Thrissur!

We'd got up at 6 and gone about our chores. The geyser of our bathroom had suddenly got erratic and therefore, Lekha had to be provided with a bucket of hot water from the adjacent bathroom. The fixing of the geyser becomes a priority work because I hate things being in a limbo in our house!

Shyla, who collects samples on behalf of the 'Thyrocare' came in by at a half past 7 and took my blood samples and will deliver the results tomorrow evening.

Wonder whether the overhead filter and the attendant water tank have problems because the water seems to be getting over at a greater frequency. Anyways, the cleaning of the filter is due next month and I've called Subin, who has said that he'd do the cleaning tomorrow morning!

After a bit of rest following lunch, we were ready to go to the passport office at Thrissur or the 'passport service kendra', as it is known these days. Sajid, our chauffeur had given us a few anxious moments before fetching up at a half past 2. The one hour that we kept in hand was to cater for the traffic snarls that could pop up, anytime, on the Guruvayur-Thrissur stretch. (Thankfully, there was none during our onward trip and consequently, we reached there by a quarter past 3, but on the return leg, we did lose about half an hour at the Kechery stretch thanks to a bad snarl!).  

The procedure at the passport office has been streamlined and we were inside the massive hall and issued with tokens - mine was S194 while Lekha's was N549. The huge complex is divided into three spaces viz. Enclosure A - where one's particulars filled at the Akshaya kendra are verified/streamlined as required, Enclosure B - where a final check is carried out by the senior officials and Enclosure C - where the last scrutiny is done by the personnel, deputed from the Ministry of External Affairs, as I understand.

The two faces of the PSK, Thrissur that I came across, this afternoon.

I was called in first for the verification and had gone through the entire process after which I'd decided to stay on within the enclosure till Lekha, too, finished the exercise oblivious of the fact that it was taking too much time. It was then that Mr. Jayachandran from enclosure B had come searching for me as he was worried that the third and final opening of the window, regarding my particulars,on the computer was gonna lapse! He had, then, quickly, cleared my particulars and sent me back to help Lekha at her counter and said some very nice things about me and the defence services. This was the positive and customer friendly face of the PSK! 

Finally, I'd gone to the enclosure C where I'd the misfortune of having to go through Mrs. Sobhana, a woman - I'm deliberately calling her so, because a 'lady' is supposed to be gracious, humble and  customer friendly. She's being paid handsomely by the government to do the job and she'd better realise it soon - with a lot of pre-conceived notions. She just wouldn't accept the fact that we'd undergone the police verification at New Delhi, during the initial issue. I let it go, without reacting, because I realised that there was no point! She said that she was from Ernakulam and was missing from her seat much before the session had ended when I'd subsequently, accompanied Lekha for her turn at the counter. She, definitely, must have buzzed off for her home in contravention to the rules!! This was the negative and ugly face of the PSK!

Jayachandran had given me his cellphone number on a piece of paper but much to my anguish, I realised later that I'd lost it. Have been trying to trace that piece of paper but to no avail.

Sajid dropped us back by 6 and it was a quiet evening, thereafter.


Tailpiece.

1. The four nuns, who had supported the nun who was raped by the Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, have been asked by the Missionaries of the Congregation of Jesus to leave the Kuravilangad Convent and rejoin their communities in various parts of the country. The beast seems to have won this round and what amazes me is that the entire organisation seems to be supporting him in his misdemeanours! Sad!

2. There seems to be a lot of dissent among the judges of the Supreme Court regarding the 'recalling and reviewing' of the Collegium's 12 Jan decision of elevating Rajasthan High Court's CJ Pradeep Nandrajog and Delhi HC CJ Rajendra Menon and elevating Karnataka High Court Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Delhi HC Justice Sanjiv Khanna, instead. Sad, yet again!

PS.
To my estimate, I wouldn't be exaggerating if I were to say that more than 95% of the people who'd come in connection with their passports were Muslims, this afternoon. The crowd had people of all ages, including babes-in-arms!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

When the house was agog with excitement.

Had got up at our usual time and gone about our chores. Mini had gone to the Guruvayur temple for a morning 'darshan' initially planning to join the serpentine queue to enter the sanctum sanctorum. Being the 1st of the Malayalam month of Makaram, the temple had quite a crowd of pilgrims and hence, she'd returned after praying at the main entrance.

Lekha's 'arathi' was performed as is usually done on the 1st and together, we broke bread. We got an intimation from the passport office at Thrissur that our appointment for the verification of our data would be at 1530 hrs tomorrow. I'd made a quick dash to the Akshaya Kendra at Thampuranpadi to collect the printouts that need to be carried along with us for verification!

Padmakumar, Rema and Achu dropped by at 1600 hrs after the eye check up at Palakkad. It was fun and we enjoyed every bit of our never-ending conversation. They left by 2100 hrs, after supper. Sajid, the chauffeur had, meanwhile, given us a bombshell that he couldn't come by for the night errand to drop Mini at the bus stand, as promised earlier because of a sudden requirement to ferry a group to the airport - such a trip offers more money, for sure.....but thankfully, it got cancelled.

The three of us had gone to the bus stand at 2300 hrs; the long distance bus was late by about half an hour and so, Mini and I sat on the chairs awaiting its arrival. It was only after seeing her safely within the confines of the Bangalore super deluxe bus that I got myself dropped back at home.

It was a packed day and all the serials had gone off without glitches.


Tailpiece.

Today's Army Day; wished many of my army course mates and friends a happy Army Day.....the replies were spontaneous. 

     

Monday, January 14, 2019

A quiet day at home.

Got up at 5 AM as Lekha had kept the alarm for herself. She had got cracking with her chores, to be ready by 7, as Sajid was to chauffeur them to Ettumanoor. She and Mini were to look up Kuttu-Vani's newborn son, Sidharth. I, too, had gone through my chores and therefore, by the time they'd kicked off their journey by a half past 7, I'd commenced my walk at our courtyard!

It was, therefore, a quiet breakfast before Preetha, our maid had fetched up. She went about her work as usual and lunch was served at my usual time of 1 and it was yummy!

After filling up diesel and checking the tyre pressure at the nearby Rajah Petrol pump, they'd set off for Ettumanoor and reached there by a quarter to 12. Kuttu was called up and he had driven to Ettumanoor to guide them through the last few kilometers, to Vani's house, at Peroor. After interaction and lunch, they had set off on their return by about a quarter to 2.

G Ajith Kumar(Roll No.422), my classmate from school, and I had a long chat over the phone. It was nice catching up with him after what has been, almost a month. He stays at a place that's between Roorkee and Hardwar and leads a spiritual life. A thorough gentleman and a lovable guy, that's how I'd like to sum him up as!

Lekha and Mini reached home by 6, fully satisfied with the trip that they'd made to Ettumanoor. Barring the heavy traffic at Kalady and Perumbavur, their journey on the whole was smooth and uneventful. They'd picked up a few kgs of pineapples, that were available at comparatively cheaper rates, from the wayside shops soon after Koothattukulam.

The rest of the evening was a quiet affair with us recounting the happenings of the day.


Tailpiece.

This evening, 'Makaravilakku' (The 'jyothi') was viewed by thousands of Sabarimala devotees from the temple premises and by many others through their television sets, in the sitting rooms of their homes. Curtains have come down on yet another Sabarimala season - the most acrimonious thus far - because the government, with the connivance of the police, smuggled in two ladies from the forbidden age and claimed to have fulfilled the requirement of the Supreme Court judgement!

It was an act of cowardice according to me. I would have supported the entry of the ladies through the normal pilgrims' path, pursued openly with adequate police protection. Period! 



Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sajid ferries the ladies to a wedding reception.

Though being a Sunday, we'd got up on the dot at 6 AM and gone about our chores. Riya Babu was the first caller of the day before she moved in for her examination. I'd wished her luck and asked her to have confidence in her ability and the preparation that she'd put in for the examination.

I'd just finished my walk, combined with prayers and finished my morning cuppa, thereafter when Ashok Balikai - a course mate of mine at the NDA - had called me around 8 o'clock to say that he'd finished with the 'darshan' of the Guruvayurappan. I'd homed his chauffeur, Arjun, on to 'The Quarterdeck' and they arrived soon after, in time for a breakfast of steaming idiyappams and stew and didn't they relish it?

Ashok and Hema had arrived at Thrissur for a wedding yesterday and had included the temple visit to look us up and we'd dovetailed the breakfast accordingly. They were with us for almost two hours where we caught up with each other's activities! While leaving, they'd promised to return to spend more time at a later date.

Sajid was about 20' late and Lekha and Mini had left for David's son, Justin's wedding reception at Chovvannoor on the way to Vadakkancherry. Mini could meet many of her friends who were with her at the Kerala School, Vikaspuri at Delhi eons ago.

I'd a quiet lunch by myself and the ladies had returned just before the maid was leaving after her day's work.

It was a quiet evening thereafter.


Tailpiece.

The bandicoots are around - because of the vast expanse of greenery and open space around - creating nuisance time and again. Laying a trap for one or two and exterminating them is a sane way of dealing with the menace as killing them enmasse is not recommended.   


Saturday, January 12, 2019

Mini comes by.

Had gone to bed by 2300 hrs, after reminding Mini to wake me up when her bus passed Kunnamkulam. By about 0200 hrs, she'd called and I dressed up and trudged along to the nearby bus stop to receive her. The bus had fetched up soon after and what I felt nice was when the conductor checked with her as to whether I was indeed her brother! Well he and the driver seemed very protective about her and silently, I'd said my cheers to the KSRTC and its work force for their emphasis on customer safety!!

On reaching home and after confirming that she was at ease in the lower bedroom, I'd gone off to hit the sack. Lekha was sleeping peacefully after seeing me off, earlier.

We'd got up at our usual time and gone about the morning chores. I was a trifle late in getting ready but we did have breakfast together. Lekha and Mini have made a plan to go across to Ettumanoor on Monday to look up Kuttu's child; consequently, Mini would cancel her return reservation and proceed for Bangalore by Tuesday. I, too, thought it to be a fine idea!

The lunch was a boisterous affair, with the electricity playing truant a bit too often. The water supply was interrupted as the motor could not be activated and there was a bit of apprehension as to whether Lekha's assistant would be able to complete her work for the day. Luckily, the interruption wasn't for long and the water could be pumped into the overhead tank! Preetha had her tryst with the doctor around 1700 hrs today and it was important that she met him.

Benoy, substituting for his dad - who's working for the electricity board - had come with a new electronic meter to install in place of the existing one, as the linesmen monitoring the readings have doubts as to whether it was under reading! The job didn't take much time and thankfully, there were no power interruptions during the swap.

Seena, Lekha's friend, had come by and we were appalled by the fact that she'd acute breathing difficulty. The young lady has been having a few medical difficulties but we didn't realise that it was so acute; we've advised her to visit her doctor at the earliest.

The evening was spent in conversation and it was a relaxing time.


Tailpiece.

Earlier, Lekha and Mini had gone to the nearby market to buy certain gifts to hand over to the little children during their forthcoming visit.

  

Friday, January 11, 2019

The kitchen work is complete.

We'd got up on the dot, gone through our chores and were ready well in time. Lekha and her assistant went to the Mammiyoor Siva kshethram for the weekly 'darshan' - Preetha had returned earlier with the grocery/vegetables bought from the market while Lekha came back only after her tryst with the good Lord.

The weed clearing work around the 'Raj Nivas' has entered the fifth day and the caretaker says that it would finish by this Sunday. The afternoon heat is taking away a lot of man hours and I've made it clear that the well being of the workers was of paramount importance notwithstanding the mounting expenses! Already, eighteen man days have been consumed with four remaining and as is being cited, the team had under quoted this time!! The caretaker, meanwhile, is leaving for a pilgrimage to the Palani temple and will be back in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

The grandmother clock's glitches have narrowed down to it gaining 6' every 24 hrs and I've made a correction to this effect by increasing the length of the pendulum! The stoppages have become a thing of the past!!

Rajesh, the carpenter, had called up by lunch time to say that he'd drop by about tea time to fix up up the granite piece in the kitchen. Accordingly, he'd come and finished up the job but I thought that his charges for the work were high but didn't contest it.

Had gone up to the nearby ATM to pull out some money and was monitoring Mini's bus throughout the evening; it's delayed by half an hour which means she'll eventually reach here by 0200 hrs.


Tailpiece.

The SP and the BSP have decided to go it together during the forthcoming general elections. By doing so, they have made up a formidable team and give the others a run for the money. Is its chief minister becoming a problem guy for the BJP? On a personal observation, he seems to be having wrong priorities! 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

When things were quiet..

It was yet another late night, last night as we hit the sack only after seeing the evening's episode of the 'Crime Patrol' on Sony television. However, we'd got up on the dot at 6 AM thanks to Lekha's cellphone alarm. We went through our chores and were ready well in time.

Preetha came in, at her usual time, after a lapse of two days. After watering the plants and the grassy patch in the courtyard, Lekha and her assistant had gone for their usual Thursday 'darshan' of Guruvayurappan and to buy sundries from the supermarket.

Selvam had come by to press the clothes that had slowly begun to pile up. He was also very keen that I fix up his son, Raja, on a job soon. The afternoon episode of the 'Crime Patrol' was interesting and therefore, we'd reduced our siesta time.

Meanwhile, young Riya Babu - the daughter of a casual labourer from a poor family of my village - left for Visakhapatnam, this evening by the Shalimar Express, to go through the MNS entrance examination scheduled on 13 Jan. Gave her a mock interview over the telephone and said that she'd make it on her own efforts.

Mini is leaving Bangalore tomorrow afternoon by a KSRTC bus and will be arriving here, during the wee hours of Saturday morning. Will have to pick her up from the bus stand at that unearthly time!

It was a quiet evening thereafter.


Tailpiece.

Alok Verma has been removed from the CBI and appointed as the new DG of Fire Services. He was removed from the post of Director, CBI by the high powered selection committee comprising of the PM, Justice AK Sikri, nominated by the CJI and Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress on a 2-1 decision. Kharge, as expected, voted against but a look at his demands brings out the perfidy in his party's thinking:-

   (a) Alok Verma should be given the complete authority of the CBI. The Supreme Court had, in its
         judgement two days back, had clipped his policy making decisions because of the corruption
        charges pointed out against him.
   (b) He 'lost' 77 days because of his ouster on the basis of the CVC recommendations and the
         Personnel Department. He should, therefore, be allowed to continue for 77 more days beyond
         31 Jan '19, on which date he's slated to retire. Would his party and government allow the 
         continuation of a lame duck director?
   (c) The reasons for removing him from office on 23 Oct '18 should be investigated. This is based
         on his party's contention that the CVC's orders are against the law.
   (d) Any action against Verma without hearing his version goes against the law. Verma had begun
         spring cleaning the CBI by getting his loyalists back on to certain key positions. The party was
         expecting him to register an FIR on the Raphael aircraft acquisition within the short span of
         time that it expected him to be on the chair. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, former BJP leaders
         Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie were all behind in this game to show the Prime Minister in
         bad light and reek vengeance.

These guys have shown that they can go to any extent! 
           
   


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

All India strike by the trade unions - day 2.

It was a late night, last night as we were watching the day's episode of 'Crime patrol' on the Sony channel but had got up with the alarm that went off at 6 AM on Lekha's cellphone. We'd rung up Padmakumar to wish him many happy returns, as today was his birthday as per the English calendar. I'd wanted to turn off to sleep for some more time but desisted from it. By doing so we'd avenged(?) our slip of forgetting his birthday on 05 Jan, as per the Malayalam calendar!

I'd quickly gone for the first edition of the 'washing machinex' planned for the day and in the bargain, changed the bed linen of all the bedrooms. Went through my chores and had my morning cuppa before the 20' walking exercise, that I undertook, within our courtyard. A quick bath and the second round of 'washing machinex' to clear up the other set of clothes that we'd used over the last couple of days.

The day was quiet, as it was yesterday, but the franchisee of our newspaper distribution had knocked at the door to collect his dues for Dec '18. Had a long chat with Ammayi to know about Chambu's medical condition; the fever was gone, his bronchial pneumonia was under control and they were going through the discharge formalities from the KIMS hospital.

Lekha's lunch was light and nice, consisting of dosas and chutney. We, then, watched the television for a while before knocking off for the siesta.

The rest of the day went off uneventfully.


Tailpiece.

 Alok Verma, the reinstated CBI Director, has got back his man AK Sharma as the Joint Director(Policy). He seems to be hell bent on taking on the government though he's not entitled to take policy decisions.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

All India strike by the trade unions - day 1.

Yesterday, that damn guy, Elamaram Karim - he belongs to the  CPI(M) and is one of the office bearers of the national trade union leadership, facing charges of corruption for his acts during his tenure as the industries minister in the previous LDF ministry - had said that, "Unlike the other guys who call for hartals, ours will be a decent one. We shall permit shops to be kept opened. private vehicles to ply on the roads etc, etc", and let off a smile which said it all - the man was lying!

We'd got up at 7 AM, purposely late by an hour, as the day was gonna be lifeless and quiet with nothing much happening. We went through our chores and were ready on time. The devotional music from the system seemed to be louder than usual because the background noise of the numerous vehicles passing through the highway was totally absent.

In Kerala, the guys who'd called for the strike stopped personal vehicles from plying, sometime in the morning itself, the shops that were open were forced to put their shutters down and minor skirmishes between the 'strikers' and the general public were reported from various parts of the state on the interpretation of the former's ground rules regarding the strike.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has asked the central government to reinstate Aaloke Verma, the CBI Director who was removed from the post on corruption charges. For a layman like me, the judgement is not very clear....I believe it's to the effect that, "The government will take immediate steps to reinstate the individual, as the Director, but he'll not be able to take important decisions!" My doubt stems from the fact is as to why is he being reinstated if he's gonna be a lame duck chief? Aaloke Verma's tenure ends by the month end and one can expect fireworks between him and the government during the coming 22 days.

The day passed off on a rather dull note but Lekha and I got plenty of time to interact and exchange ideas! But the thought of tomorrow being a day on similar lines - the quietude and the dullness, that is - is an outright dampener!!  


Tailpiece.

Saw the episode of Crime Patrol on the Sony channel before hitting the sack.    

Monday, January 7, 2019

A few pending jobs done.

We'd got up at 6 AM sharp, thanks to Lekha's cellphone's alarms. Went about our chores and we were ready well in time. For the first time after I'd fallen ill, I'd recited the 'Vishnu sahasranaama sthothram' and felt very nice about it. We were ready soon after breakfast when the maid was in.

Earlier, Sajid, our chauffeur for the day, had called up our maid to say that he would be delayed as he was stuck in the traffic at the Mammiyoor junction. He, however, came in before 10 and we'd taken off soon after.

We were at the ECHS, Kunnamkulam where I finished the formalities linking our cards with our Aadhaar cards. We, then, went off to the Pookkodu panchayat. Enroute, we'd picked up Guavas, one and a half kg for Rs.100/-, from a roadside vendor. These are bought in from the neighbouring Tamilnadu and are generally sweet and tasty!

The visit to the Panchayat was necessitated because of a notice received from the Guruvayur Municipality that I'd to pay house tax, to the tune of over Rs.4,600/-, with retrospective effect. This was clearly unwarranted because of the following reasons:-

    (a) Ex-servicemen are exempted from paying house tax if they own just one house.
    (b) A house with a plinth area of less than 2,000 sq ft is exempt from the tax.<2 are="" exempt="" from="" ft="" p="" sq="" tax.="" the="">    
<2 are="" exempt="" from="" ft="" p="" sq="" tax.="" the="">    (c) Since I and my neighbour had been going, annually, to the panchayat to endorse the above, I
          was armed with the receipt slips of the previous years from '14 which stood me in good stead!

Sunil and Arun helped me get through the impasse and endorsed so on the notice that was sent!

We'd, then, gone to the Akshaya Kendra at Thampuranpadi to send the online request for the renewal of our passports and the whole procedure took about 20'. The outfit will inform us as to when we've to present ourselves at the passport office, at Thrissur, for the final procedure which, hopefully, should be within a couple of days from now.

We were back at 'The Quarterdeck' by about a trifle past 12.

Preetha, the maid, is not gonna come for the next two days because of the strike called for by the trade unions.

The rest of the day was quiet with nothing happening! We went about our normal chores!! 
<2 are="" exempt="" from="" ft="" p="" sq="" tax.="" the="">
<2 are="" exempt="" from="" ft="" p="" sq="" tax.="" the="">
<2 are="" exempt="" from="" ft="" p="" sq="" tax.="" the="">Tailpiece.
<2 are="" exempt="" from="" ft="" p="" sq="" tax.="" the="">
<2 are="" exempt="" from="" ft="" p="" sq="" tax.="" the="">The central government's decision to push forth a Constitution Amendment within this Parliament session to facilitate bringing about 10% reservations for the upper castes on economic basis has taken the entire opposition by surprise! It's simply a game changer!!    

Sunday, January 6, 2019

An active Sunday.

We'd got up half an hour late compared to our usual time because of the late night. We, then, went about our chores and were ready well in time but not before apologising to Padmakumar for missing his birthday - by the Malayalam calendar - yesterday. It was a bad miss!

After a week's routine, the workers were not there today! Rema's neighbours, Babita, Pravin and Babita's mom had fetched up on their way to the Guruvayur temple. They spent close to an hour with us. The rest of the work had carried on as usual, with Preetha cleaning up the carpentry waste of the week and consigning it to the flames.

I'd driven my Chevy to the petrol bunk, nearby, to check the tyre pressure because the air in the left, aft was really less.

At about 1430 hrs, Reji had come by to refix the grandmother clock. One of the ratchet teeth had bent during the transportation and he had rectified it and stayed on with me for about half an hour to ensure that the clock was running without glitches. In the meanwhile, Sanoj, the plumber had come by to take on his work along with a few that I'd identified over the last few days.

By the time he'd finished his work, it was tea time and therefore, there was no question of having a siesta!

It was a quiet evening thereafter!


Tailpiece.

The more I see Rahul Gandhi spewing venom and using falsehoods and innuendos to intimidate his opponents I wonder what the quality of today's youngsters is, who've joined politics. Of course, at 50, he's no more young and can only be considered so in a comparative sense but has a mental capability of not more than a 10 year old child - the children might get offended by my statement because many of them have far greater capabilities.  

Saturday, January 5, 2019

When the kitchen renovation came to its logical end.

Had got up groggily but sharp, at 6 AM. We went through our chores and were ready well in time. Today was the last day of work in the kitchen - Anil and Ashokan had come in at their usual time.

Maman was given the consignment number of the parcel so that he could monitor its transit. Reji, the grandmother clock mechanic from Thrissur fetched up by about 12. He has taken its heart to his workshop and hopefully, would rectify its shortcomings and refit it by tomorrow. Otherwise, he takes it to Ernakulam and refits it not latest than the coming Sunday. I'd only given him my requirement - "Do let me know about your movements so that I know as to what the exact situation is at any given time!"

There was a minor emergency of sorts in the afternoon. Our caretaker at Thalavoor had gone to the bank only to realise that the money that I was supposed to have sent yesterday, had not reached his account. The funniest thing was that I'd got an 'sms' saying that the amount was deducted from my account and therefore, was of the feeling that the transaction was complete. But it turned out to be a false alarm!

Well, when he'd gone to pull out the money from his account this afternoon, he was told that the money had not fetched up. On his call, I tried sending it but the transaction would just not take place. Out of my wits' ends, I tried calling up my brother-in-law, Padmakumar, to ask him to transfer the amount and I could refund it at leisure, on Monday. But two things killed my initiative viz:-

     (a) I'd called him up at a half past 1 - asking the caretaker to be at his bank for another half hour
           till I sorted out the matter - and he wasn't on his seat as he'd gone to their canteen for lunch.     
     (b) These days he doesn't carry his cell phone as there's an embargo in carrying the instrument
           to the office - especially, the smartphones. It's the phone that has the particular application.

Achu was not contactable. I'd then, as a last ditch attempt, switched off my phone, flicked it on and presto, the transaction was carried out much to mine and the caretaker's relief. Phew!

Anil and Ashokan were sentimental as they bid us farewell in the evening. Six days at our place have made them our loyalists.

It was a quiet evening thereafter!


Tailpiece.

Incidents of violence continued to happen even today in various parts of the state. The police has arrested almost 3,000 people whom they feel could foment trouble. Why can't the government call everyone on to the negotiating table?

Friday, January 4, 2019

A day when I'd stepped out of the house, twice.

We'd got up on the dot at 6, gone through our chores but I was late in getting ready for breakfast. Since the maid wasn't slated to come in today, because of her medical review, clothes that required washing was put into the washing machine and and hung on the clothing line for drying. She, however, had fetched up as her doctor had postponed his check up due to a bereavement in his family.

The plumber, Sanoj, was the first to arrive to assess the quantum of work and he had left soon after.
Meanwhile, Ashokan and Anil had fetched up and they continued with their work in the kitchen.

Reji, sent by the grandmother clock man, Tomy, reached by about a half past 9 to work on the clock and on completion, left soon after. He was given Rs.500/- as onward fare to Thriprayar - 18 km south, from here for his next schedule of work. Lekha and the maid went for their weekly 'darshan' of Guruvayurappan soon after.

Lijoy had come by about a quarter past 12 with the brass trappings of the 'puja room' buffed, as we'd asked him to do. Between him and Ashokan, they'd fitted up the accessories.

I'd gone on my first errand to send Lekha's LIC papers to Ajay Mathew, the manager of the Punalur branch for further action. He was informed of the same over the telephone, too. The Puthenpally post office now has a new BPM - Riya, in place of Usha - as helpful as her predecessor! Meanwhile, had given our passports for scanning at the internet cafe which had scanned them and sent their efforts to my mail ID as I'd directed. The final piece of work was at the ATM close by.

In the evening, there was a sudden requirement of going across to the ABT parcel service to give an impetus to the consignment of the diaries for the Foundation. It was required as Maman was expected to go to New Delhi shortly! The job was done and I'd returned home much before sunset!

It was a quiet evening thereafter!


Tailpiece.

News comes of yet another woman - a Sri Lankan, this time - who has entered the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala shrine today. She'd also covered herself from head to toe in a black cloth and escorted by the Kannur lobby of policemen who are known to be loyal to the chief minister and his party! What a shame? The clandestine ways of the government, claiming to have facilitated women's entry into the shrine.  

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The first 'hartal' of the year.

Taking off from yesterday's widespread cases of arson, looting and violence, the 'Sabarimala Karma Samithi' had called for today's hartal. Though the association of shop owners and business houses have vowed to keep the shops and hotels open and the private bus owners stressing that their buses would ply on the roads, nothing seems to have gone as per their calculations. The protesters seem to have had their way!

Our maid has not been able to make it and Lekha was managing the kitchen front. The kitchen renovators consisting of Anil and Ashokan had come around at their usual time and resumed their work....that was the only consolation.

Maman's son, Chambu, was shifted from SK hospital, Edapazhanji to the KIMS hospital at Thiruvananthapuram - late in the night - with high fever. Samples of his blood and urine, coupled with other tests, are being undertaken to arrive at the right prognosis of his ailment, by a process of elimination! The lad is in the ICU!!

The kitchen renovation work is gonna extend till Saturday afternoon. Spoke to the head carpenter, Rajesh, to confirm the initial inputs and was seething with anger at the extension of the number of days and it was then that I realised that he was fulfilling his initial estimate of 10 man days! Anyways, to expect any sort of leeway from them is a tough proposition!!

In the evening comes the maid's phone call saying that she would not be coming in tomorrow because her medical review was gonna take place tomorrow.  So, the chores associated with the house will have to be handled by Lekha and me.

The rest of the evening was a quiet affair.


Tailpiece.

There has been widespread destruction of property - the KSRTC buses and the shops, that dared to remain open - and injuries to people and policemen in the wake of the clashes between various groups all through the day. The consensus between various organisations to resist bandhs and hartals, stitched up just a fortnight ago, seems to have fallen apart. Damn sad!      

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Midweek!

Had got up on the dot, gone through our chores and Lekha was ready well in advance! Since I'd increased the duration of my walk to 15 minutes followed by initiating the washing machinex of the bed linen, I was late, for breakfast, by my usual standards.

Lekha and her assistant were off to the Mammiyoor Siva kshetram as per their weekly agenda and Lekha had work at the LIC office, followed by collection of the statement of her account from the bank. Meanwhile, the kitchen renovation work was going on in full swing with carpenters, Anil and Asokan toiling away the whole day.

Their leader, Rajesh, had come by with the granite guy, Stephen, who was briefed by yours truly regarding the type/size/shape of the additional piece to cover the gap that had come about after the fitment of the new gas stove.

Lekha got delayed because the bank manager, Vishnu, was out on an errand. Sad, I'd given him adequate notice about her visit and he, still, seems to have given it the go by. Will have to speak to him about it because such things are not acceptable. Anyways, she could get a statement of her account which has to be sent, along with certain other documents, to the Punalur branch of the LIC.


Tailpiece.

By afternoon came the news that early this morning, around a trifle past 3, two women activists without the mandatory offering-contained-cloth bag(Irumudikkettu) on their heads, - Bindu and Kanakadurga - completely covered with black sheets just having their eyes left uncovered and escorted by policemen rigged up in civil clothes prayed at the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala shrine. They'd entered through a side entrance meant for the staff!

The chief minister was quick to hail the move and credited his government for having facilitated "women's" entry into the shrine. What he forgot in the bargain was that he'd cheated his people who had faith in him by constantly shifting his stand on the issue. It looked conspiratorial in that the clandestine entry by the women, took place soon after the 'women's wall' of last evening. If this drama had taken place before that, the number of women, forming the wall, would have been much low.

If the CM and his party are happy that they could pull off such a feat by their 'smartness'(?), they are sadly mistaken and could be in for a big shock. The repercussions of their actions were on display on the streets at many places with miscreants - taking advantage of the situation - damaging public property. I'm sure, though, violence is never a remedy. Actually, this government had got a reprieve after causing the devastating floods by their greed and a seemingly-not-so-keen-opposition to throw it off from power. They've cocked a snook for the second time and this time seem to have gloated over the fact that the ban on the entry of menstruating women into the Sabarimala shrine was a matter of deep rooted traditions and beliefs.....the upstart commies have always pooh-poohed the general beliefs of the people and trampled upon them. You got to see as to how vicious they are if one were to question their beliefs. The countdown to their electoral Waterloo has begun and they will realise that by simply getting irrelevant people like R Balakrisna Pillai, MP Virendra Kumar, Francis Antony and the breakaway Muslim League faction cannot get them votes!

PS.
Ever since I'd heard the news, there was a sense of deep despair in me. Had the police, through proper 'bandobast' taken the ladies through the trek, up the flight of the 18 sacred steps and then to the sanctum sanctorum, I'd have felt nice that the government was able to fulfill the Supreme Court verdict with elan and dignity........but to do it clandestinely, with the help of a couple of activists who are ignorant of the Sabarimala traditions and a few self seeking policemen, smacks of high handedness, chicanery, self doubt and fear.

      

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

01 Jan 2019.

We were watching the television and saw Salman Khan ringing in the new year at the stroke of midnight on the Sony Entertainment Television. After wishing each of us a happy new year and good tidings, Lekha and I had hit the sack by about a half past 12 but not before sending an sms to Commander Banjo, at London wishing him many happy returns. He'd called me around 2000 hrs to have a fairly long chat and Mrs Banerjee had also chipped in.

Savio, my doctor friend from Chicago had also called up to give solutions to my latest medical readings. His tips shall be followed in letter and spirit to get my SGOT/SGPT readings down to normal at the earliest. It was a fairly long chat and a very detailed analysis. Thanks dear friend, I couldn't have asked for anything more.

Lekha had prepared masala dosas for breakfast. Earlier, I'd recommenced my morning walk - duration was for about 15 minutes!

Lekha and her assistant had prepared lunch before the workers had entered the kitchen to commence their work on day 2. Their work has progressed as planned with the earlier innards of the foot lockers removed and the outer shell of the new arrangement put in place, by the end of the day. The water resistant resin coated plywood sheets should combat wetness and seepage - on account of the usage of the sink - for the years to come.

The lunch was nice but the afternoon siesta was in spurts with telephone calls and the loud clang-clanging of the carpenters' hammer and associated tools.

It was a quiet evening and there were calls from friends and relatives with goodwill messages and get well soon wishes. Saw our favourite programmes on television.


Tailpiece.

The 'vanitha mathil'(Women's wall) activity was on for half an hour and it was a show of strength of essentially, the CPI(M), though it was pronounced as government sponsored! As an independent observer, I'd the following queries and misgivings as explained below:-

    (a) The wall was necessitated - as orchestrated by its organisers viz. the Pinarayi Vijayan
          government - as its statement against the Sabarimala imbroglio. However, throughout the
          evening's programme, nothing was uttered about the Sabarimala impasse.
    (b) Is it bringing about a rift among the Hindus? A sort of divide between the upper caste and
          lower caste Hindus, because such a situation becomes advantageous for the commies. They
          do not care about the former, while projecting themselves as the champions of the latter despite
          their appeasement of the minorities, sadly, at the lower caste Hindus' expense!
    (c) What's more beguiling is that the SNDP head, Vellappilli Natesan, is hobnobbing with the
          LDF fully aware of this fact. (His wife, indeed, made a statement that it rattles people like her
          when people call them by their caste name. Some idiot had made a statement to that effect
          about the chief minister, the other day!). He is kept in check by the Damocles' sword of his
          'Micro finance corrupt activities' by Pinarayi and gang !
    (d) It's the ugly face of the vote bank politics that the Hindu vote remains divided.