Sunday, March 31, 2019

Another interesting story!

The Ant and the Contact Lens : a true story.

Brenda was almost halfway to the top of the tremendous granite cliff. She was standing on a ledge where she was taking a breather during this, her first rock climb. As she rested there, the safety rope snapped against her eye and knocked out her contact lens. 'Great' she thought. Here I am on a rock ledge, hundreds of feet from the bottom and hundreds of feet to the top of this cliff and now my sight is blurry.

She looked and looked, hoping that somehow it had landed on the ledge. But it just wasn't there.

She felt the panic rising in her, so she began praying. She prayed for calm and she prayed that she may find her contact lens.

When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but it was not to be found. Although she was calm now that she was at the top, she was saddened because she could not clearly see across the range of mountains.

She prayed to God.....Oh God You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me.

A little later, another set of hikers reached the top. One of them shouted out, "Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?"

Well, that would be startling enough but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across a twig on the face of the rock, carrying it!

The story doesn't end there. Brenda's father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer and the contact lens, he drew a cartoon of an ant lugging that contact lens with the caption, 'God I don't know why You want me to carry this thing. I can't eat it and it's awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me to do, I'll carry it for You'.

I think it would do all of us some good to say, "God, I don't know why You want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it's awfully heavy. But if You want me to carry it, I will".

God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies those He calls.......


Got up half an hour later that usual and it being a Sunday, it was okay. We were, however, ready a trifle after our usual time. Wished my niece, Ammu, many happy returns. Finished the task for the Foundation and passed on my efforts to Maman. Lekha did the watering of the plants as I was completing my assessment!

Our maid, Preetha, is yet to recover from her illness and it's over a month she has been down. Hope there are no more complications as she's undergoing an ayurveda method of treatment. Her return is much awaited as it will make things easy for Lekha! 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Why do the Britishers make it difficult?

It's a big secret. People outside the UK aren't generally informed of this but in the interests of education, truth and beauty, here we go.

The English language is not, technically, a language. It is difficult to define what it is but the best description is that it is the absolute pinnacle of psychological warfare. I know that sounds crazy, but bear with me.

You see, England kept being invaded and the English couldn't do a damned thing about it. First the Romans, then the Angles and the Saxons and the Jutes, then the Vikings. Terrible business! The last straw was the Normans; although they were Vikings they lived in France. That was just too close for comfort, I mean, being invaded by the French.....Unthinkable!

But how could the British people fight back? That's when they had a wonderful idea. They decided to make a language so confusing, so utterly, incomprehensibly, unimaginably, painfully stupid that it would melt the brain of literally everyone in the world who was a native speaker of a sensible language. And so, they got cracking.

That is why knight is spelt with a K. Do pronounce the K? No - don't be silly! Why is gnome spelt with a G? That's the beauty of it, don't you see?

But try not to be too much of a wreck, not just yet anyway. Silent letters were just the start of it and I'm not even counting the magic E we stuck on half the words, just to confuse things. We haven't got thetim to get into that - sorry, haven't got the time.

Why do we spell "doughnut" the way we do, only to actually pronounce 3/8ths of the letters? Well, just to see foreigners go cross-eyed, basically.

The plural of tooth is teeth and the plural of foot is feet and the plural of goose is geese. So why is "sheep" singular? Why not "one shoop, two sheep?" And what's the plural of moose? Also moose. Are you weeping yet? Well, we're not done.

Why are "wind" and "wind" spelt the same, when they sound different? And why does "wind" rhyme with "binned"? Why do the letters "ough" sound the same in "enough" and "tough" but different in "though" and "thought" and "bough"?

We even carried this over to our place names. Why is "London" spelt that way when we actually say "Lun-dun"? Makes it harder for invaders to find, you see.

Here's an experiment. Try to pronounce the following - don't worry, I put the pronunciations in the next paragraph to help you. But try them out yourself first.

Here we go:Worcestershire, Leicester, Middles-borough, Hunstanton, Magdalen College, Leominster, Godmanchester and Loughborough.

Now here's how you should say them:

Woos-tuh-shur, Lest-uh, Mid-ulls-bru, Hun-ston, Mord-lin College, Lem-ster, Gum-ster and Luff-bru.

So, how did you do? Most non-British people I've met - unless they're Anglophiles - do quite badly. I mean, try going up to someone on a railway platform and asking to go to "Lowg-buh-ruh". People will look at you like you'd broken into their house on Christmas morning and defecated on the parlour rug. But don't be ashamed - that's sort of the point.

In World War Two, when we thought the Germans might invade, we took down all the road signs. The Germans found out, knew they'd have to rely on asking people for directions and abandoned their plans to invade that same day. Having to actually talk to English people.....Nein danke!

Even the "helpful rules" we came up with to explain English don't actually work. "I before E, except after C", they say. Is that actually right? Not really, see "receipt" or "neighbour" or "sleigh". Actually, more words ignore that rule than follow it. So, why have the rule? To screw with people's minds, of course.

The thing is, the whole experiment worked. Within a few centuries, the French either gave up and went home or they succumbed to such levels of unrelenting insanity that they were incapable of being anything other than Civil Servants. No-one has dared invade the country since for fear we'd try to speak to them.

And all of that is before I get on to mentioning the fact that we have several hundred local dialects and accents in the country too. Britons can identify each other's point of ethnic origin within two doors from their place of birth by their accent. Social stereotyping based on how one speaks English is the norm. It's probably overkill but as the basis for endemic discrimination and racial bias it seemed like a good idea originally.

And don't get me started on the Welsh language. That is the nuclear deterrent of incomprehensible spelling, I;m telling you. The Scots are not much better with "Kircudbright" and "Ecclefechan".

The point is, not only did we get people to stop invading Britain but the British were able to build an entire vast empire on the back of this pig's breakfast of a language.

Most of the time, they would just send a long, rambling letter to the political elites of any particular country delivered in warships, gunboats and columns of heavily armed troops. A few days later, they would stagger out of their offices/palaces/long houses or mud huts, dazed and confused holding their complimentary copy of the Christian Bible, only half understanding that the letter was a courtesy, politely informing them that Britain would be running the country from now on - taxation and tariffs to follow. By the time their ears stopped ringing, the British had already built a dozen railways and it would be pretty damned rude to kick a chap out of a country once he had built a railway, don't you think?

Whole thing worked for centuries. They would ask us to leave, we would agree to be out by February and by the time the locals had worked out how to spell it, another fifty years had gone by - the revenue taxi-meter ticking all the while.

America rather screwed the pooch by trying to get the language to make sense, you see. They started simplifying the language and as such, they have had dreadful trouble keeping people in line. People can actually deal with the American simplified spellings and such, and so they aren't trying to drag themselves out of a fog of confusion during every diplomatic meeting. And even then,they're only dealing with the random extra letters. Imagine if you were a non-English speaker entering the Anglophone world cold and had to learn the entire salmagundi of English spelling from scratch?

Like I said in the beginning, it's not simply a language, it's Psychological Warfare. I'm surprised that Britain hasn't been indicted in the International Court of Justice in The Hague yet.

Gregory Till. 


The article explains as to why the British like using excess letters (for example, 'colour' instead of 'color', 'cheque' instead of 'check', 'analogue' instead of 'analog', etc! 


Got up with the alarm and went through the chores. Were ready well in time. It was a quiet day.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Adieu Lekha's valiyachha!

Vazhuvelil Narayana Das, all of 86 years, passed into the mist of time, this evening, around 2245 hrs. He was in the hospital for old-age related illness but the reason for his admission in the hospital was because certain complications had developed in his liver. One of the reasons attributed for his liver problems was his indulgence on junk food, of late!

What I was impressed of Lekha's Valiachhan (Her dad's elder brother) was that he regarded age as a number and did not give any further importance. Till last year, he used to drive his Bullet until he met with a minor accident and had sustained a knee injury. When he was irritated about the bone taking a long time to heal, the doctor reminded him about his age and he just laughed it away. His pursuance of youthful activities endeared him to many - irrespective of age and he provided help to the needy.

The eldest of the Vazhuvelil siblings - incidentally, Lekha's dad was the third of the seven - he was good at outdoors and a footballer-par-excellence. He had settled down at Mannar with his wife and two sons. The lawyer sons are working abroad with their families - one in New York and the other, in London. The body has been placed in the morgue and will be cremated on the arrival of the sons, Hari and Sree - Harikumar and Sreekumar.

Shall always remember him for the love and affection that he'd showered upon me and he used to say that he always looked forward to our interactions.

RIP Valiyachha, will miss you! My prayers and tears. Here's wishing that the family has the strength to tide over these stressful times.

              *                           *                             *

Au revoir Lissy teacher!  

Tomorrow is Lissy teacher's last day in school. She's been the Head Mistress of the Upper Primary School, Thalavoor for the last three years. She's retiring after having given the best years of her life to the noble profession of teaching over the last 35 years. She's also my kid sister, Renjini K Nair's classmate.

Every year, she used to invite me - and of course, the family - for the Reading Month (Vaayana maasam) celebrations. It was on this occasion that books used to be presented to the school's library as part of a lifelong endowment on my father's name. Her liveliness, pleasant countenance and outgoing nature had endeared herself to me. During the function, last year, she'd told me that I should participate in the valedictory function organised in her honour. Unfortunately, my post-jaundice recuperation precludes me from attending it. Tomorrow morning, I shall tell her that she should take an active interest in activities related to people's welfare.

Will miss her this time when I attend the 'Vaayana Maasam' activities.


Got up with the alarm, went through our chores and were ready well in time. The day was unbearably hot but since we stayed indoors, it didn't really bother us. Lekha had watered the plants in the evening while I looked on - the water from the Municipality, however, played truant and refused to show up! 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

A brilliant idea!

The Swiss Time Bank.

A student studying in Switzerland observes:-

While studying in Switzerland, I rented a house near the school. The landlady Kristina is a 67 year old single old lady who had worked as a teacher in a secondary school before she retired.

Switzerland's pension is very good enough to not worry her about food and shelter in her later years. However, she actually found "work" - to take care of an 87 year old single old man.

I asked if she was working for money.

Her answer surprised me, "I do not work for money, but I put my time in the 'time bank' and when I cannot move in my old age, I could withdraw it".

The first time I heard about this concept of 'time bank', I was very curious and asked the landlady more. 

The original "Time Bank" was an old-age pension programme developed by the Swiss Federal Ministry of Social Security. People saved the 'time' taking care of the elderly when they were younger and when they were old, ill or needed care could withdraw it.

Applicants must be healthy, good at communicating and full of love. Everyday they have to look after the elderly who need help.

There service hours will be deposited into the personal 'time' accounts of the social security system.

She went to work twice a week, spending two hours each time helping the elderly, shopping, cleaning their room, taking them out to sunbathe, chatting with them.

According to the agreement, after one year of her service, "Time Bank" will calculate her working hours and issue her a "time bank card".

When she needs someone to take care of her, she can use the "time bank card" to withdraw "time and time interest". After the information verification, "Time Bank" will assign other volunteers to take care of her at the hospital or her home.

One day, I was in school and the landlady called and said she fell off the stool when she was wiping the window.

I quickly took leave and sent her to the hospital for treatment. She broke her ankle and needed to stay in bed for a while. 

While I was preparing to apply for a home to take care of her, the landlady told me that I need not worry about her. She had already submitted a withdrawal request to the "Time Bank". Sure enough, in less than two hours "Time Bank" sent a nursing worker to come and care for the landlady.

In the following month, the care worker took care of the landlady everyday, chatted with her and made delicious meals for her. Under the meticulous care of the carer, the landlady soon recovered her health.

After recovering, the landlady went back to "work". She said that she intends to save more time in the "time bank" while she's still healthy.

Today, in Switzerland, the use of "time banks" to support old age has become a common practice. This not only saves the country pension expenses but also solves other social problems. Many Swiss citizens are very supportive of this kind of old-age pensions.

The survey conducted by the Swiss pension organisation shows that more than half of the Swiss people also want to participate in this type of old-age care service.

The Swiss government has also passed legislation to support the "Time Bank" pension scheme.

At present the number of "empty-nest old people" in Asian countries is increasing and it has gradually become a social problem.

Switzerland style "time bank" pension may be a good option for us too.


Got up with the alarm, went through our chores and we were ready well in time. The days are getting to be unbearably hot. Watered the plants in the evening after a half-past-5 while Lekha had gone for a 'darshan' at Guruvayur.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Was damn angry with myself!

After having a shower in the evening, had come down to the ground floor to watch the 9 PM news on prime time television followed by the Comedy Nights on the Asianet channel. We also make it a point to watch the musical reality show by the child prodigies. By the time we get to our bedroom to turn in for the night, it would be around 2300 hrs.

This evening, to my horror, I found that I'd left the tap of the wash basin open and water was running waste for a good two hours. I hate such lapses on my part and felt the tremendous loss of precious water. The reduction of the water level in the overhead tank coupled with the need to conserve water at any cost, make the lapse unacceptable.

It was, thus, with a guilty feeling that I had hit the sack. More than that, I was damn angry with myself!

     *                      *                         *

Spoke with Savio and Annie, this morning, before they turned in for the night. He was keen to know about my health, the latest test readings and curious about the prevalent political environment. I'd given him a true account of the present situation, ensuring that my biases didn't come into play. Of course, subsequently I'd told him about the last set of predictions and ended up giving my own assessment. They'd be off on holiday to Mexico, next week.

The four of us had a fairly long chat and Lekha and I've made up our minds to go over and spend time with them at Chicago, later this year.

      *                       *                         *

Indira kunjamma was undergoing a surgery and my mind was there, at Thiruvananthapuram. She was wheeled into the operation theatre around 1200 hrs and was brought into the post operative ward two hours later. Thoughts about her had kept me anxious all through the day and the positive feedback from both her daughters helped me to calm down my nerves.


Got up with the alarm, went through the chores and was ready well in time. Had gone to the town to hand over the clothes to the dry cleaners, pay the bill at the Kerala Water Authority office and to buy a few knick knacks from the supermarket. Sajid drove me all through; he seemed to be apprehensive about my reaction regarding his non availability for chauffeuring us during our recent trip to Palakkad.

Lekha went to the Mammiyoor Siva kshetram in the evening and I had, meanwhile, watered the plants.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Dirty Blackboard.


There was this day,
From school I recall.
The blackboard was dirty,
In our classroom small.

The monitor wouldn't clean it,
His list of duties did not have it.

The front benchers were at a loss.
"I'll do it, but only if I lose the toss".

The back benchers said
And rightly so too.
What's written there,
It's not for us, but for you.

The teacher came in,
And looked at us.
His face had,
An expression of disgust.

He looked at the monitor,
And students who stood first.
Each of them waiting,
For the other to respond first.

One boy who sat near the window,
Whom we rarely saw or heard.
Got up, picked up a rag,
Wet it with his water from his bottle,
And started to clean the board.

Where he could not reach,
He tried to jump and clean.
And in no time,
The board was shining and had a sheen.

The teacher smiled,
It was a new high.
The monitor was relieved,
And heaved a sigh.

The front benchers,
Re-sharpened pencils for the test.
The back benchers expectedly,
Went back to what they did best.

The moment had passed,
The class went on.
The boy who sat next to the window,
Went again into oblivion.


In one of the school groups,
After the boisterousness settled to a low.....
I posted a question.
What happened to the boy,
Who sat next to the window.

I don't know, most said
He doesn't keep in touch.
He probably joined the Armed Forces
We have not heard from him so much.

'He' called me the other day,
Wished me and said he was where.
I reminded him about the dirty blackboard,
And he told me some stories there.

So, what do you do every day, I asked,
"It's a job," he said, "I do it each day".
"When I'm not fighting a war,
I'm, in some way, preparing for war".

What is it likr, I persisted,
Did he ever get bored.
Was he rich or poor,
Was he happy or sad.

He said, "It was a choice I made,
Life has been much like the fountainhead.
I still clean the 'The Dirty Blackboard',
Of my own accord".


Got up at our usual time, went through the chores and were ready by a quarter past 8. After a sumptuous breakfast of Rema's idlis and sambar, we'd kicked off for home by about a quarter to 9. We were back at 'The Quarterdeck' much before 11 and set about opening up the house, unpacking.

Enjoyed the drive of about a 190 km - up and down and the first after the layoff caused by the jaundice - thoroughly.   

Monday, March 25, 2019

The election juggernaut has begun to roll....

It's extremely warm in Kerala, temperature is rising everyday. The election fever is getting into high gear. Except for the LDF, the UDF and the BJP are yet to get their final list of candidates announced. Some in the ranks of the Congress are ecstatic about the news that Rahul Gandhi would contest in Wayanad, in addition to Amethi. There are many others who ask as to why the BJP was taking so much of time to finalise its list when its candidates were sure to lose either to the LDF or the UDF.

A host of questions are awaiting answers! But sample these queries.

Is the LDF in an unassailable position simply because it got its list out first? The chief minister's face betrayed a sense of uncertainty on the day the news of Rahul Gandhi's candidature from Wayanad was announced - the sense of anger and betrayal was palpable. He almost mumbled that the Congress was after the communists while they should have gone for the BJP's and thereby, Modi's jugular. The CPM and the CPI will also feel the pinch of many of their LDF constituents' pique at not having been given constituencies to fight the elections. Could it, ultimately, turn out to be the Waterloo for the Communists in the state? Their governance, thus far, does not give any cause for cheer, either!

The Congress feels that it has the Prime Ministerial(?) candidate among its candidates and that has electrified the rank and file of late. But isn't it a bit too early for the celebrations? The party president's take on the Sabarimala issue was against the state party unit's stand. He'll have a lot to answer for the different take. The infighting and the rampant groupism are other factors that has the Congress and a few of its allies worried. Be it the Congress or the Muslim League or the Kerala Congress, this is a major setback that can affect its final position. Otherwise, in an overall sense, the UDF seems to be sitting pretty!

What does one say about the BJP? It needs to open its account. Thiruvananthapuram would have, easily, been within its grasp had Mohanlal agreed to be its candidate, what with his gushing remarks about his meeting with the Prime Minister - like a lovesick school girl - and finally refusing to be its candidate in the state's capital because 'he wanted everyone', that too, only after bagging the Padma Bhushan! Will the voters of Pathanamthitta hand over its first MP for its stand - or should I say, Surendran's theatrics - in the recent Sabarimala issue? Will Alphons Kannanthanam be able to make an impact in Ernakulam and will the entire lot of Christians back him while dumping Hibi Eden?

And of what use is the NSS? What is it trying to achieve by being 'equidistant' from all groups? A NOTA - None of the above?

It's interesting and one can't help watching the thick skinned politician and his political ideology that keeps changing every minute. How does the corrupt Anwar (Ponnani) and Joyce George (Idukki) ask for votes in their constituencies despite their dubious track record? What about Shashi Tharoor who's facing serious allegations regarding his wife's untimely death.

The coming days will be worth the wait to see how the turncoats, the ruthless, the fixers and the pliable play their roles to the hilt! The average Indian voter - you and me - are being taken for another ride!!


Finally, both Vineesh and Sajid were not available to chauffeur us to Palakkad. Lekha had got up at 4 AM and we were able to kick off from 'The Quarterdeck' by a quarter past 7. Vishy allayed the fears of the rise in my Bilirubin to 1.1 from 0.8 in the last set of test results. I was driving on a long trip for the first time after my illness!

Reached Rema's place by 9, had the 'semiya upma' brought along by Lekha. Our attending Rahul's wedding at the Sree Parvathy Kalyanamandapam helped us to meet many of our relations from Neelamperoor. I'd insisted on attending this wedding because Rahul's grandfather, Divakaran chittappan, used to be very fond of me; it's my small tribute to the wonderful and kind gentleman that he was!

Lekha, Rema and I were there till the very end. Here's wishing Rahul and Sukanya a long and happy married life. May you get whatever you wish for! In the evening we cut Rema's birthday cake - her date of birth as per the English calendar was on the 21st while it's on the 29th as per the Malayalam calendar - which Lekha had baked last evening. Babita, the vet next door, was the guest.       

Sunday, March 24, 2019

On growing old.

A friend of mine has sent this post on What'sApp to me, highlighting the essentials of growing old. 

We all get old in the end.....

I changed my car horn to gunshot
sounds. People get out of the way
much faster now.

Gone are the days when girls used
to cook like their mothers. Now they
drink like their fathers....

I didn't make it to the gym today. That
makes five years in a row.

I decided to stop calling the bathroom
the 'John' and renamed it 'Jim'. I
feel so much better saying "I went to
the Jim this morning".

Old age is coming at a really bad
time. When I was a child I thought
"Nap Time" was a punishment. Now,
as a grown up, it feels like a small

The biggest lie I tell myself...."I don't
need to write that down, I'll remember

I don't have gray hair, I have "wisdom
highlights" I'm just very wise.

Don't ever ask me to bend down and
touch my toes. If God wanted me to
touch my toes, He would have put
them on my knees.

Last year I joined a support group for
procrastinators. We haven't met yet.

Of course I talk to myself; sometimes
I need expert advice.

At my age "Getting lucky" means
walking into a room and remembering
what I came in there for.

Actually I'm not complaining because
I am a Seenager (Senior teenager).

I have everything that I wanted as a teenager, only 41 years later.
 * I don't have to go to school or work.
 * I have a driver's licence and my own car.
 * I get an allowance every month.
 * I have my own ipad (although I can't recall where I kept it).
 * I don't have a curfew.

Life is great.

I have more friends I should send this to but right now I can't remember their names.

Now, I'm wondering....did I send this to you or did you send it to me?


Got up with the alarm and had gone about the morning routine of lighting the lamp, putting on the devotional songs, opening up the windows and the gate. I'd purposely not woken up Lekha so that she could have some more sleep. But she was up and awake as usual. We were ready well in time.
We'd driven down to the two supermarkets to buy the monthly provisions.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The heat is getting to be more uncomfortable!

Six months back, Kerala had seen the worst flood after almost a century. The deluge had rendered thousands homeless, many of the rivers had changed their courses uprooting houses, trees and agricultural activities from which a shocked state is slowly endeavouring to recover. The haphazard opening of the dam shutters raised the intensity of the catastrophe.

The government and non-governmental agencies are going about the difficult task of rebuilding the state's infrastructure and providing shelter for the people who have been rendered homeless. Another heartening sight is the continuous flow of individual contributions to the task of rebuilding the state.

We've been witnessing great climactic changes, post floods in Kerala. The heat has been on a steady increase with no sight of the convectional rains that are supposed to be abundant during the summer days. The water table has been steadily receding and in many places, wells have gone dry with people running hither and thither for collecting good, potable water for use.

Is the state headed for a severe drought? If yes, it would be harsh on the people of Kerala in the manner that nature seems to be handing out. Two types of catastrophe within a short time frame! Are we being punished for the manner in which we've misused the nature's resources, over a period of time?

Venturing out during working hours, between 1100 to 1500 hrs, is a big no-no. The number of people succumbing to heat strokes has been steadily increasing.

The water in the well, in our courtyard, has receded to the seventh ring and mind you, there's a total of nine rings. The well washers would be called in within the next two weeks to have the annual cleaning of the well done. The well at my parents' house has been recently washed and the situation is better, reports the caretaker.


Got up with the alarm, went through the chores and were ready well in time. Annie had come down for work, Preetha tells us that she has had a relapse of her jaundice. It will, obviously, delay her return for work. Seena, Lekha's beautician, had come by in the evening at Lekha's behest.

Mujib, of the Medicare medical shop had come by to deliver the medicines. He has picked up a job in Qatar and will be going away by the end of this month. I shall miss his pleasant countenance and his readiness to help at any cost. May good things happen to you in the years to come, Mujib. Take care!


Friday, March 22, 2019

Transformation through Football!

Alakhpura is the epicentre of women's football in Haryana. In the senior nationals last year, almost half the team came from this sprawling, Jat-majority village in Bhiwani district.

Sometimes, the girls arrive at the ground after collecting water for home, just like the older women at the hand pump. But unlike them, they have goals of their own. They can dribble, tackle, feint and foul. And they dream of playing in bigger grounds before bigger crowds. Some of them already have.

Like striker Sanju Yadav, who scored 15 goals in the inaugural 2016 India Women's League and became AIFF's Emerging Player of the Year. Like Samiksha Jakhar, who delivered the telling cross that led to India's lone goal against South Africa in the BRICS U-17 tournament in 2017. Like Nisha Bagaria, who fired 18 goals in the 2015 Subroto Cup (U-17) and was declared Player of the Tournament.

There are many others, literally dozens, who have turned out for Haryana in different age-group tournaments. It's almost an assembly line of footballers. The village even hosted a "baby league" of U-8, U-10 and U-12 girls last year.

A former midfielder, Sonika Bijaria, runs the show. A trained coach from NIS, Patiala, her daily schedule is tougher than her wards'. Morning practice starts at 0530 hrs and ends at 0830 hrs. The afternoon session begins at 1500 hrs and extends beyond 1730 hrs. Wards are divided into age groups : U-14, U-17, U-19, seniors. "We work on everything - fitness, strength, skill", she says.

You Tube , home to hundreds of videos on football skills, is a handy aid. Video clips are downloaded on mobile phones and played back during training. "Sometimes she also shows us videos of Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo", says defender Ravina Yadav, member of the Subroto Cup-winning team in 2015.

It isn't just football. Sonika also deals with pushy parents, keeps clippings of every triumph and maintains a register of contributions. For instance, the Haryana government supplied footballs and the education department presented dumbbells.

Mangali(Hissar district), Bhambheva(Jind) and Manas(Kaithal) are three other villages which have made a mark in football. But Alakhpura is a cut above. Its Government Senior Secondary School lifted the Subroto Cup (U-17) two years in a row - 2015 and 2016 - though Hissar's Government Girls' Senior Secondary School was the first Haryana school to claim the coveted national trophy among girls.

FC Alakhpura even played in the inaugural Indian Women's Football League in 2017, losing in the semis, In a preliminary-round game, they humiliated Royal Wahingdoh 18-0; Sanju Yadav scoring 7 of them.

Football has become a gateway to jobs here. Eight girls have found employment in the paramilitary and railways through sports quota. "Haryana is known for boxing, wrestling, athletics, but the state had no history in women's football. But these young girls from Haryana, especially from Alakhpura, have put the state on the map of women's football." 

Rather ironical, considering that the village's child sex ratio is an unhealthy 813, lower by even the state's abysmal average of 834, the 2011 census shows. And the gap between male and female literacy is a yawning 27% - 85% (males) and 58% females.

Alakhpura's incredible story started in 2006 when some schoolgirls told their physical instructor, Gordhan Das, that they wanted to play a sport. Das gave them a football. Impressed by what he saw, the former kabaddi player decided to coach them even though he knew little about the game's finer aspects. What he lacked in skill, Das made up in commitment and enthusiasm. :When it rained and the field felt like slush, he would take us out running cross-country", recalls Tanuja Jakhar, a marginal farmer's daughter who enjoys playing full-back.

In an area where patriarchy reigns, it wasn't easy to let girls take up a sport. Das would go to a girl's home if she didn't turn up on the field and find out why. He even sought the help of a local footballer, Vikas, paying him Rs.10,000/- from his own salary.

When Sonika came to the village as an appointee of the Haryana sports department in2014, the two became a team. Since Das' transfer in 2017, she has the task of training over 150 girls every day, with a little help from physical education instructor Bhupinder Singh, who's in charge of the U-6 and U-8 teams.

"Now every parent wants his daughter to play for Haryana. Tell me, when there are 30-40 girls in each age group from our own village, how's that possible?" Sonia asks. In Alakhpura, football has demolished stereotypes and swept past gender barriers.

India will host the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup next year. This will be the second FIFA tournament India will be hosting, after the U-17 Men's World Cup in 2017. The venues to host the mega football event will be decided soon. As host country, India automatically qualifies for the 16-team event.

* Adapted from the ToI. 


Got up with the alarm, went through our chores. Went to Amigos and young, Sajish gave me a good haircut and massage. Had a lovely breakfast of appams and stew on return. 

The heat is really becoming unbearable! 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Have you heard of the 'Cobra Effect'?

If not, it's time you learn about it.

The Cobra Effect is a term in economics. It refers to a situation when an attempted solution to a problem makes the problem worse.

The name was coined based on an incident in colonial India.

For some reason, there were too many venomous cobra snakes in Delhi. People were dying due to snake bites and it became scary for almost everyone to step out of their houses.

The government of the day had to get into action to stop this menace and it offered a silver coin for every dead cobra. The results were great, a large number of snakes were killed for the reward.

Eventually, however, it led to some serious unwanted consequences. After a short-term dip in cobra population, it started going up.

This was because a few people began to breed cobras for the income. When the news reached the government, the reward programme was scrapped, causing the cobra breeders to set the now-worthless snakes free. As a result, the cobra population further increased. The solution for the problem made the situation even worse.

The unintended consequence for a well-intention-ed ideacled to making the problem worse.

Trying a new solution?


Planning to tackle an existing problem with a new idea?

Well, it's time to pause and think about how people would respond to the new idea that may sound great on paper!

Specially, the solutions that try to affect people who have a tendency to game the system - intentionally or otherwise.

They have a tendency to take short-term advantage of any situation though that may lead to harm to them and society-at-large only in the long run.

Every solution has consequences and those consequences may lead to certain situations where rather than solving a current problem, you may end up with more complex problems.

A few more examples.

* A similsr type of incident like increasing cobra-population occurred in Vietnam. The rulers
   realised that there were too many rats in Hanoi and the spread of plague was imminent. They
   created a reward programme that paid a prize for each rat killed. To obtain the bounty, people
   would provide the severed rat tail. After initial success, the officials, however, started noticing
   rats with no tails. The rat catchers would capture rats, cut off their tails and then release them back
   into the sewers so that they could breed and produce more rats, thereby increasing their profits.

As they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, similar mistakes are happening around us everyday when the decision-makers fail to take a 360 degree view of all the outcomes of an action, before implementation.

* Some time ago, Philadelphia in the US passed a "soda" tax - a US $1 tax on a typical 2-litre bottle of soft-drink - as a "sin tax - in the national war on obesity. But the natives didn't cut calories as a result of the tax on sweetened drinks, nor was there a shift towards any healthier option. Instead, most of them just drove outside the city to buy the same colas, from stores where they didn't have to pay the tax. But the poor paid more as they could not find it affordable to drive out of the city to buy their drinks. In the end, the city suffered loss of revenue due to lower sales whereas the lower section of society paid more.

* The Nano Car - a small car that could never make it big!

A car considered as a brilliant product, launched in a segment having a billion dollar opportunity. Hopes ran high, the company expected expected all present and potential two-wheeler owners would shift to Nano.

But they forgot to dwell deeper - a car marketed as the "cheapest car", created huge initial interest. But it never took off.

Ratan Tata admitted, later, that the reason for the failure of the idea was the term which became synonymous with Nano - "The cheapest car."

Buying a car in India is associated with social status and prestige; if a person owns a car, he is assumed to be successful and settled. But the word 'cheap' in its marketing campaigns spoiled everything.

The company also failed to dwell upon the competition from used cars. Used cars (2nd hand cars) from other companies, which were much better in quality, space and mileage were available to the same customer-segment at the same or lesser price than Nano.


Got up the alarm, went through our chores and were ready well within time. Washing machinex of the bed linen. By a half past 10, the AM and I made a repeat visit to the Pookkodu panchayat, dumped our House tax-exemption applications with Rs.5-court fee stamp-attached duplicate request and collected the receipts.

On return, after putting the clothes on the line for drying, was off to pull out money from the ATM, a visit to the dentist for remedy, buying of bananas and medicines only to be prevented by the toothy because of my medical status post jaundice - I'd missed out on that, it was my mistake.

Bineesh had come by the evening and the action plan for the extra cistern and a new cover was put down. Returned the medicines by evening.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A short foray into the Upanishads!

What is the difference between a well
and an ocean?

Essentially both are the same. Remove
the walls. A well is as good as an ocean.

So long as the wall exists, Maya
takes over and creates the duality,
inside the well - outside the well.

Extend the walls of the well to
infinity, the well becomes the ocean
and all duality vanishes.

So long as the soul is limited by the
ego, Maya is active and creates all
duality of I versus the other which
gives rise to the phenomenal world of
name and form.

I know that I exist. That which exists
is truth. My knowledge about myself
is fundamental. It is pure and does
not depend on any other knowledge. I
don't have to read any book to know
about myself.

When I extend the limits of my ego
to infinity, all the duality vanish. I
recognise no other than myself.

"Aham Brahmasmi."
I am Brahman.
Truth, Knowledge and Infinite.

Satyam jnanamanantam Brahma.
(Taittiriya Upanishad).

     *                      *                        *

Sarva parityaja bhogo tyagaha kasya
sukham na karotimi Raghava (Bhajagovindam).
once someone realises this, he will never
suffer from pain.


Had got up with the alarm - that has been the trend of late. Went through our chores and were ready well in time. My neighbour and I had gone to the Pookkodu panchayat to get the exemption of House tax for the next year. From a simple task of handing over the application and obtaining a receipt, the guy at the desk directed us to submit an application on a plain sheet of paper affixed with a Rs.5/- court fee stamp.

We tried to get the court fee stamp from the nearest point but the lady at the counter said that it was out of stock and the new stock would come in only by Thursday - did not specify which! Realised that it was the end result of the infamous 'Telgi Scam' that was unearthed quite a few years ago!!

What I've also released is that all the guys sitting in such official positions feel that we, the defence guys, have a lot of privileges that they are not happy about. To that extent, a few among them go out of their way to put impediments before seeing the thing through. Why I say this is that another ex-serviceman, residing within another panchayat nearby, said that there is no change in the procedure from last year!

So, is Pookkodu panchayat following a different procedure? Why is it so? Who has initiated this? Would like to know the answers!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Ramo vigrahavan dharma...

Gandhi has set a standard in political life - the standard for political Mahatma. Those standards were needed at an extraordinary time. They are not useful for real politic. So we have the Mahatma which does not carry any glamour.....does not give any extra material benefits. A title which everybody swears by but do not aspire to be.

So is dharma. It is not mere moral living. If that be so, Arjuna's reasoning in Chapter 1 of the Gita appears to be absolutely right. Yudhishthir would not have been called 'Dharmarajan' even when he was knowingly losing everything in the game of dice.

The more powerful Bhim and Arjun would not have been towing their elder brother, Yudhishthir, if they hadn't seen him as Dharmarajan.

So, dharma is not an easy word to understand. There is no equivalent word in any other language. So being, all other Indian languages adopted the same.

So, how do we define dharma? We can't.

Hence the Indian psyche created a character. Called it Sri Ram.

Real test of dharma comes only in times of crisis.......many such crises were included in Ram's story.......called it Ramayan....which finally, gave us the definition of dharma.

Ramo vigrahavan dharma


Lekha had got up at 4 and was ready well before 6. She had accompanied Letha and Anand to do the puja at the Thirumaandhaamkunnu Devi kshethram. Aarcha stayed back as she was not ready to travel and to give me company. Before their departure, Lekha and I wished Maman many happy returns and wasn't he thrilled?

They returned by 1300 hrs and after a quick lunch, the three of them left for Kottarakkara. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

The spectre of West Nile fever.

The Kerala state health authorities have stepped up vigil against West Nile fever, after a six year old boy, from AR Nagar panchayat in the Malappuram district succumbed to the disease around 0300 hrs yesterday.

So, what's West Nile fever?

It's a disease spread by West Nile Virus(WNV) that can cause neurological disease and death in people.


* Human infection is, most often, the result of bites from infested mosquitoes.
* Culex mosquitoes are the principal vectors of WNV.
* Mosquitoes transmit this virus by biting an infected bird and later biting a person.
* A very small proportion of human infections have occurred through organ transplant, blood
   transfusions and breast milk.
* There is one reported case of transplacental (mother-to-child) WNV transmission.


* Almost 80% of people who are infected will not show any symptoms.
* Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness and body aches, nausea and vomiting.
* The incubation period is usually 3 to 14 days.

Who are at risk?

* Severe illness can occur in people of any age; people aged over 60 are at greater risk.
* People with certain medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and
   people who have undergone organ transplants are also at greater risk.


* No vaccine or specific antiviral treatment are available.
* In severe cases, patients often need to be hospitalised to receive supportive treatment such as
   intravenous fluids, pain medication and nursing care.


* The virus was first isolated in a woman in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937. It was
   identified in birds in the Nile delta region in 1953. Largest outbreaks occurred in Greece, Israel,
   Romania, Russia and the USA. It is commonly found in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North
   America and West Asia.
* In Kerala, the prevalence of the virus was noted during the Chikungunya outbreak in Alappuzha
   and Kottayam in 2006. Last year, the virus was confirmed in a 24 year-old-woman in Kozhikode.
   She recovered following treatment.


* Effective mosquito surveillance and control programmes.


We'd got up with the alarm, gone through our chores and were ready well in time. Lekha's elder sister, Letha, her son, Anand and his wife, Aarcha had dropped by around lunch time. They all went to the Guruvayur and the Mammiyoor temples in the evening.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

"Just drop."

Once a crow, holding on to a piece of
meat was flying to a place to sit and eat.

However, a flock of eagles were
chasing it. The crow was anxious
and was flying higher and higher, yet
eagles were after the poor crow.

Just then "Garuda" saw the plight and
pain in the eyes of the crow. Coming
closer to the crow, he asked,

"What's wrong? You seem to be very
"disturbed" and in "stress?"

The crow cried, "Look at these eagles!
They are after after me to kill me."

Garuda being the word of wisdom
spoke, "Oh my friend! They are not
after you to kill you. They are after
that piece of meat that you are
holding in your beak. Just drop it and
see what will happen."

The crow followed the instructions
of Garuda and dropped the piece of
meat and there you go, all the eagles
flew towards the falling meat.

Garuda smiled and said, "The pain is
only till you hold on to it." "Just drop" it.

The crow just bowed and said, "I
dropped this piece of meat, now, I can
fly even higher...."

There is a message for us from this
story too:-

(a) People carry the huge burden
called "Ego", which creates a false
identity about us, that we create for
ourselves saying, "I need love, I need
to be invited, I am so and so..etc..."
Just Drop.....

(b) People get irritated fast by "others'
actions", it can be my friend, My
parent, My children, My colleague, My
life partner....and I get the fumes of 
"anger"........Just Drop.....

(c) People compare themselves with beauty, wealth, life style,
marks, talent and appraisals and 
feel disturbed....We must be grateful
with what we have....comparisons,
negative emotions... Just Drop...

Just drop the burden

It is this logic
From dust to dust.

That's why in Hindu temples ash
vibhuthi is given to constantly remind
we are nothing but dust.


We'd got up at our usual time, gone through the chores and were ready well in time. Had gone for the programme, "Vision 2019", organised by Dr. Rani Menon, the ophthalmologist, at the Town hall at 0930 hrs. Came back at the close of the meeting.

Lekha and I had watered the plants around a half past 5 when the Municipality water was in full flow.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

It's been 16 years!

Sixteen years without Bruno, our Doberman! Lekha and I've still not been able to get over his loss. His delightful capers and naughty outbursts with abundant love for the both of us is very much fresh in our minds. RIP Bruno! We'll wish Renu - the youngest daughter of Bunty and Babli, our helps stay at New Delhi - many happy returns tomorrow as I'm sure that it's our pet in his new avatar!

                  Body Parts As Verbs.

Many parts of the body can be used as
verbs in either a physical or a
metaphorical sense.

A good leader backs his employees,
but if you don't toe the line you might
get skinned.

Did you muscle your way into that

You might eye someone suspiciously
or wait for the police to finger a 

But if you need to get out of town, try
thumbing a ride.

You can ride with me if you can
stomach the thought.

I don't always sing along with the
radio, but you might see me mouthing
the words.

Amazing English!


We'd got up with the alarm, gone through our chores and were ready well in time. Annie came in at her usual time and went away after four in the afternoon. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Lekha's father's third remembrance day.

Today was Lekha's father's third remembrance day. Prayed for his soul and the related ceremony will be carried out on 05 Apr which would be his remembrance day as per the Malayalam calendar. RIP dad!

The end of the Islamic State?

Hundreds of Islamic state militants along with women and children surrendered to the US backed forces in eastern Syria on Thursday as the jihadists lost ground in their last bastion. Many of the men were limping as they crossed out of the Baghouz enclave along a dirt path over a rocky hill, with weeping children and fully veiled women, dragging suitcases and backpacks behind them.

Some men trudged along on crutches with bandages wrapped around their legs. Women hoisted children on to their shoulders to get them up the hill, leaving strollers and blankets behind in the dust. Adnan Afrin, a commander in the Syrian Democratic Forces(SDF), said hundreds of people were emerging, adding to the many thousands who have streamed out of Baghouz in recent weeks. "They are coming out this way in case there are snipers or someone wants to attack."

SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said about 1,300 jihadists and their families came out on Thursday. SDF fighters said they included foreigners. The militants surrendered during a pause in the US-backed assault to seize the final patch of of populated Islamic State territory - a self-declared "Caliphate" that once spanned a third of Iraq and Syria.

Explosions rang out at the front line as artillery fire pounded Baghouz and warplanes buzzed overhead. The SDF, which the Kurdish YPG militia spearheads, said the jihadists had deployed more than 20 suicide bombers in counterattacks in the last two days. It said at least 112 militants have been killed since it resumed the offensive at the weekend. No Islamic State commanders are believed to be in Baghouz village, a US defence official has said. US government experts strongly believe its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is alive and possibly hiding in Iraq.

The jihadists are still assessed to be a potent security threat with a foothold in remote areas and widely expected to escalate a wave of guerrilla attacks.

Twisted metal, Fallen Palm Trees

Islamic State redrew the map of West Asia in 2014 when it declared its ultra-radical Sunni Islamist "Caliphate" and established a rule that encompassed mass killings, sexual enslavement and meting out punishments such as crucifixion.

The militants suffered their major military defeats in 2017, when they lost the cities of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. They were then forced down the River Euphrates to their last bastion at Baghouz, a cluster of hamlets on the eastern bank. In part of the Islamic State encampment which the SDF seized a few days ago, collapsed tents and fallen palm trees lay among a scattering of rubble and twisted metal. Dirty, ripped blankets, carpets, mattresses and abandoned motorcycles littered the ground.

The SDF assault had been postponed repeatedly over the last few weeks to evacuate people from the enclave, many of them wives and children of fighters. Overall, tens of thousands have fled Islamic State's shrinking territory in recent months. The SDF has mostly transferred them to a camp at al-Hol in the northeast.

The UN says the camp now holds around 67,000 people, 90% of them women and children - well beyond its capacity. Camp workers say they do not have enough tents, food or medicine. They have warned about the spread of diseases.

Aid agencies say scores of people - mostly children - have died en route to the camp or shortly after arrival.

*Adapted from the Top News, Reuters.


Got up along with the alarm, went through our chores and were ready well within our usual time. Lekha had gone for her weekly 'darshan' of Guruvayoorappan and bought grocery on return. Ramesh and Ramesh had come by to trim and deweed the grass patch in the courtyard, trim the coconut palm and remove the grass at the backyard. And they worked under the hot sun, before lunch!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Terrorism - what is it?

Terrorism is a form of warfare and is one of the steps in irregular warfare. It is also a warfare that is used by the weaker side and consequently, the perpetrators do not follow any set methods.

Warfare is warfare - brutal, violent, stomach-churning mish-mash of flesh, bones and blood. Ther is nothing called a "regular war". No nation sets out to wage a war that's "regular" or "irregular". It's a war.

Recall the words of General VP Malik during the Kargil Operations - "We will fight with what we have. Similarly, weaker nations and non-state actors fight with what they have. Powerful nations, however, want their battles and wars to be tidy and faught in a manner that suits them. Thus, when the weaker side adopts unconventional methods, which we are unable to combat, we call it "terrorism."

What was the "resistance" in World War II? The partisans, guerillas, the assassination of Germans by Britain's LDGR/predecessor of the SAS and the US' OSS(The predecessor of the CIA). Was it "regular" warfare? Or was it irregular warfare and terrorist activity?

Muslim terrorism is the outcome of US meddling in other countries commencing with the beginning of the Cold War. Iran - legitimately elected democratic government was toppled to bring in the Shah. Saudi Arabia - Pakistan - Afghanistan : mujahideen. US sponsoring of an extremely repressive, midieval-minded, Wahabi-espousing regime. The toppling of the stable government in Iraq led by Saddam Hussein. Syria - the US intervened to try and topple Assad - because it felt that he wasn't democratic by their standards.

And then we ask why there is so much violence.

Perhaps, we expect people there to be like us - in the face of violence and injustice, do the Labrador act - lie down, roll over, while uttering the words, "Inko Bhagwan marega!"

My take.

Our security forces have come a long way, learnt their lessons and the way, they go after the terrorists now is a step in the right direction!

And a word about our attitude.

The current flavour is "Defence experts" who castigate everything about Pakistan and abuse everything Pakistan without bothering to discern and understand even the most basic reason as to why that nation does things it does.

Sometime in 2016, a senior retired General of the British Army talked about the troubles in Ireland. He, like a cerebral soldier said that although the Irish were fighting the British and he had vehemently opposed them, they were capable fighters fighting for a cause they believed in. Now, compare this opinion to what our defence experts say - and one can discern the level of of mental competence - a lack of ability to see beyond blind nationalism and jingoism.


Were up with the alarm, went through our chores and were ready well in time. Was off to the dentist to get the permanent filling done on my tooth - an extension of the temporary filling of last week! Returned and after about half an hour, Vishnu from Kollam had fetched up to collect my signatures on certain documents. He was late because the train that he came by was late!  

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Recent happenings.

I'm gonna touch upon certain recent happenings that have a lot of relevance to our lives. And so here I go.

 (a) The World Wide Web @ 30.

       Tim Berners-Lee and his colleagues at CERN(The European Organisation for Nuclear Research)
       began a project, thirty years ago, to create an information retrieval service on the internet. The
       result, World Wide Web, was a phenomenon and today, more than half the world is online. A key
       reason for the web's growth is the idealism behind its creation. Berners-Lee says the idea was
       the web should be participatory, not discriminatory. Consequently, not only can a  child
       access all online public information from a remote home, citizens now directly engage heads of

       The web's scale and growth have been accompanied by challenges - both offline and online. The
       latter amplifies the negative aspects - the most dangerous threat, for example, come from state-
       sponsored groups which spread fake news to destabilise other countries. A separate set of 
       challenges are added by the internet companies which build business models that depend on
       dubious exploitation of data, triggering new problems centering on privacy. 

       State-led response to the challenges posed by a seamless online world has been to erect barriers
       or impose authoritarian regulations resulting in the 'balkanisation' of the web. It needs to be
       rejuvenated on its forward path on account of 'digital adoloscence' and its touchstone should be
       the idea of openness and net neutrality has to be the bedrock. 

       The evolution of the web makes the creation of a regulatory framework inevitable that's of a
       light touch variety.

  (b) Belt and Road Initiative Comes for Criticism.

        The Chinese President's Belt and Road Initiative has come under a rare dissent at the annual
        political session of the country. The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
        (CPPCC) consisting of over 2,000 delegates is a national advisory body with nominated
        representatives from various walks of life.

       Xi's BRI carries over trillion US $ investment budget. The criticism stems from the following:-

            (i) China doling out huge loans spanning to billions of US $ for infrastructure development.
           (ii) The recipients are small countries which don't have the capacity to pay back.
          (iii) The US, India and several other countries have criticised that the initiative is driving
                 smaller countries into debt traps.

       Apprehensions over the huge loans grew after China acquired Sri Lanka's Hambantota port
       on a 99-year lease as a debt swap. The ongoing trade war with the US and the continuing
       slowdown of the Chinese economy also contribute to the apprehensions!


Had got up with the alarm. Went through our chores and were ready well in time. made a trip to
the nearby supermarket to buy grocery/vegetables, pay up for the stuff delivered at home last evening and to buy a rugged stool to be used for washing in the bathroom.

Aniyan and Usha ammayi from Kidangoor, Rajish, his mom, Malu and their daughter, Prarthana arrived a trifle after 11 and went for the 'darshan' at the temple soon after. They were here till 1730 hrs and left for another 'darshan' of the good Lord and return to Kozhikode, after cutting the birthday cake made by Lekha.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Energy Flows Where Attention Goes.

A research in California conducted by psychotherapists!

Everything in our Universe is Energy.

When you say, "I don't want war", you are giving your attention to war and where you give your attention, your energy will flow there.

Law of Attraction will match your energy with that and bring it in your three dimensional reality. So instead of saying, "I don't want war", you should say, "I want peace". Then your attention is on peace, so you are giving your energy to peace and Law of Attraction will match your energy with peace and your life will be peaceful.

This Universe works on vibrations. So, similarly change your statements.

Instead of saying, "I don't want to fail", say, "I want to win!"

Instead of saying, "I don't want to be sick, say, "I want to be healthy".

Instead of saying, "I don't want to have a struggling job", say, "I want to have a happy and exciting job".

Instead of saying, "I don't want to fight with my husband, say, "I want to have a happy relationship with my husband" and so on....

Our thoughts are very powerful because energy is transmitted through thoughts.

If you think and speak about what you don't want, you will attract what you don't want!

But if you speak about what you want you start attracting only what you want!

Also remove words from your dictionary like Depression, Hatred, Failure, Illness, Disease, Jealousy, Misunderstanding, Problem.

Instead of telling problem, you should say challenge.

Words are very powerful. Use words properly. That's called "power of spoken words", as you keep on repeating the same words again and again, as if you apply energy/force to the word and it starts multiplying and the effects manifest in your life.

Also, do chant following positive affirmations everyday:-

I am happy.
I am healthy.
I am wealthy.
I am worthy.
I am hopeful.
I am helpful.
I am humble.
I am blessed.
I am thankful.
I am grateful.
I am unique.
I am a genius.
I am kind.
I am courteous.
I am confident.
I am courageous.
I am loving.
I am caring.
I am honest.
I am hardworking.
I am going to make the best out of this life.

Be Happy. Keep Smiling.


Had got up with the alarm. Went through our chores and were ready well in time. The maid, Annie, had come after a lapse of four days and Lekha was pleased as Punch to see 'The Quarterdeck' shining all over again.

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Return of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.

There's an all round feeling that Pakistan yielded pretty early regarding the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, much to our happiness. But, how did it happen?

As per the report of a Swedish newspaper, Abhinandan just didn't return like that.

The Pakistanis spent the entire night of 27 Feb in blackout and in horror.

After the F-16 was shot down, the US was angry but it had to defend Pakistan from India's anger and the Indian pilot who was in their custody.

India had kept the Brahmos in launch position for a much bigger and devastating action. The plan was to destroy the entire Pakistan Air Force, which the US came to know.

The US immediately informed Pakistan not to harm the pilot in their custody, else it will be difficult to control India and India being their friend, in case of war theywould lock the engines of all the F-16 Pakistan was having.

Afraid of this likely action, the Pak Army chief, Bajwa, himself ran to the UAE for help. Meanwhile, the US had conversations with Saudi Arabia, China and Russia.

The UAE requested India to wait for a night and chided Pakistan over their act. It advised them to refrain.

Russia and the US told Pakistan to release the detained pilot unharmed and that, too, without any condition.

But can Pakistan understand the seriousness of the message? Despite these they went to China asking for direct link to their (China's) satellite, navigating over Indian territory in the skies which China refused. Here the diplomacy of the Modi government came into play. A day earlier, the External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, had a meeting with the Chinese authorities in China and secondly, China had lost faith in Pakistan because if they could misuse the F-16s to strike Indian installations, then they could also misuse these satellite links if they provided them.

Even then Bajwa ran to Turkey for assistance, which Turkey turned down immediately. Instead, it advised them to release the pilot.

Here, satellites of all the big countries were watching as to what step India would now take.

From 24 to 28 Feb, during nights, all senior Pakistani army officers were staying in the bunkers installed in their respective houses.

Pakistan had no other alternative but to release the pilot without any condition.

Pakistan was helpless and was made untenable by the Indian PM, Narendra Modi.


Had got up along with the alarm, gone through the chores and were ready well in time. Lekha had gone to the Mammiyoor Siva kshethram for her weekly 'darshan'.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Social media - the new battlefield!

1. After the 2016 US presidential election, social media came under scrutiny like never before and what's since come to light hasn't been pretty : widespread consensus that foreign government-backed groups used platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to spread discord and division among the American public. In their new book, PW Singer and Emerson T Brooking make the argument that what we witnessed was a new form of global conflict in which there are no bystanders.

2. The weaponisation of Social Media is a look at the role social media  plays in modern conflict. Singer has written extensively about the future of warfare, looking at robotics, cyber security, private military companies and even speculative fiction. Now he turns his attention to what warfare looks like when information can spread around the world instantly. Singer and Brooking look at how groups like ISIS have used platforms like YouTube and Twitter to spread their message around the world, taunting their opponents and enticing new recruits, while bad actors like Russian-backed groups found ways to game Facebook's design to spread misinformation and lies.

3. The telegraph and then the telephone allowed us to connect personally from a distance at a speed not previously possible. Radio and TV allowed one to broadcast out to many. What social media has done is combine the two, allowing simultaneous personal connection as never before but also the ability to reach out to the entire world. The challenge is that this connection has been both liberating and disruptive. It has freed communication but it has also been co-opted to aid the vile parts of it as well. The speed and scale have allowed these vile parts to escape many of the firebreaks that society had built up to protect itself. Indeed, I often think about a quote in the book of a retired US Army officer, who described how every village once had an idiot. And now, the internet has brought all together and made them more powerful than ever before.

4. In the historic blink of an eye, the founders of Facebook and Twitter have become some of the most powerful players in war and politics when they never set out for this role. Mark Zuckerberg writes software in his Harvard dorm room to allow fellow students to rate who is hot or not. Twitter is literally named after the term for short bursts of "inconsequential" information. And suddenly, they are setting the rules of everything from whether Russian disinformation campaigns should be allowed to whether Myanmar generals have the right to free speech so that they can spur mass killings.

5. Social media rewards not morality or veracity but virality. But part of the problem is not just their understandable unpreparedness for such a role and less understandable early turning of a blind eye to the abuses on their networks but also the very design of them. The networks are for profit businesses that create an attention economy. Their design is a perfect engine for the fast and wide spread of information, which makes them so wonderful. But there is a catch : unlike the truth, lies can be engineered to take advantage of that design and move faster and wider.

6. Much like any other viral outbreak, we will have to draw up on everything from the equivalent of hygiene education, in this space digital literacy, to the targeting of super spreaders, the smaller subset of people who are at the core of viral outbreak.

7. Just as in public health, these education programs  must not be only at our schools, but be joined by a broader, whole-of-society effort to inoculate vulnerable citizens against harmful misinformation. A number of nations have created everything from public awareness  campaigns to an emergency alert system, akin to warnings of dangerous storms or disease outbreaks, that intended to slow the spread of such falsehoods before they can do too much damage. We also need the companies to pitch in more, aiding in creating firebreaks to misinformation spreads and deplatforming those who deliberately and knowingly spread lies that are intended to harm society. You have a right to free speech. You do not have a right to spread falsehood after falsehood that harms society on a private company's network.

8. Artificial Intelligence will aid in a lot of areas, such as by supplementing the role of people in content moderation, which will never be enough to match the scale of the problem. Indeed in the book, we cover how the early efforts at AOL couldn't keep up with the size of the internet policing problem then, so it's folly to think Facebook or Twitter could hire their way around this problem with how much it has grown since.

9. But AI will still not be the silver bullet that too many believe. The first reason is that this is a conflict. The sides are each shifting tactics. So much of the misinformation problem is about people gaming the system, which machines particularly fall prey to. But the problem is also political. A machine won't solve for you all the challenges of politics and law or issues of bias. It just introduces new wrinkles to them.

10. So, what should we do? 

   * Stepped up investment in content moderation.
   * De-platforming proven super spreaders of harassment and foreign influence operations.
   * War gaming their products before they are deployed into the world, not just for cyber security
      vulnerabilities, but LikeWar misuse by attackers.
   * Labeling bots to allow humans to know they are interacting with a machine(aka "The Blade
      Runner" rule).
   * Implementing measures to foil the next generation of AI used as sophisticated chatbots and faked

   But we have to recognise that none of this will end. That's the very nature of politics and war.
   There will always be action and reaction.
   Bad actors always work to gain legitimacy with press coverage. More than half the people don't
   read anything more than the headlines.

11. Conclusion.

Things have gone awry because of a mix of our own arrogance and ignorance. Hopefully, we can temper the arrogance by experience and tackle the ignorance by learning the new rules of the game.

* Adapted from The Verge.


Got up a trifle after the alarm had gone off. We'd hit the sack comparatively late last night and since it was a Sunday, we did have the liberty to sleep for a while but the force of habit prevented us from doing so! I, still, lazed on the bed as Lekha was having her shower but joined up soon after.

We were ready on time.

In the evening, while we were at our courtyard watering the plants with the Municipality water - it was muddy, all through - the gentleman, Suresh who's building his house in our immediate neighbourhood befriended us and this was what we gleaned from his conversation:-

   (a) He'd retired last year as the GM, Urban bank near here.
   (b) His mother's house is a few meters ahead on the main road. His own house is at the Mammiyoor
   (c) He has a son and a daughter. The son works in the Urban bank while his daughter, is married
         has two children and her family is at Qatar where her husband works.
   (d) He's building this house for his daughter, for use, whenever she returns!
   (e) The construction will be over within six months.

Had asked him to undertake repairs to our road when wear and tear happens.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The essence of the Bhagavad Gita.

What is Moksha?

Moksha is a compound word.
Moha + Kshaya = Moksha.
Destruction or exhaustion of Moha
is Moksha.

Then what is Moha?

Moha is ignorance.
Ignorance of what? Is it the
ignorance of some worldly thing?
No, it is the ignorance of the soul
about its own true nature.

Now, let us imagine a movie. To play
out a movie we need a screen, a
projector and a film. Now let us see
the analogy.

Ishvara is the screen (Soul is a part
of it). Maya is is the projector and one's
own karma is the film.

So long as the film is being played
out, the screen forgets its own true
nature and falsely thinks itself to be
all the characters and events being 
played out on it by the projector.

If so, when and how does the screen 
realise its own true nature?

When the film, the karma, is 

When does the karma get exhausted?

The Lord answers this question.

"Mat karmat kuru, Mat paramo, Mat
bhaktah sanga varjitah
Nirvairah sarva bhuteshu yah sa
Mameti Pandava".             
                               BG 11.55

"Do the work for me (Karma yoga),
accept me as the highest (Jnana yoga),
be devoted to me (Bhakti yoga)
leave all other affiliations. Have no
enmity with any and all beings.
Such a person alone will attain Me,
O' Pandava (Arjuna).

This one shloka contains the essence
of the Bhagavad Gita. 


Got up a trifle after the alarm as I'd got up to go round the corner about three quarters of an hour earlier. Went through our chores and were ready well in time.

After a lapse of 5 years, I'd the well at the backyard of Raj Nivas - my parents' house - cleaned, put requisite quantities of charcoal and rock salt at the bottom, the linked overhead tank cleaned and the interior of the house cleaned by three workers through the caretaker @ Rs.3,200/-. Felt nice!

Friday, March 8, 2019

From today's news.

1. Crazy Logic!

    The Left Democratic Front(LDF) has given its constituents who are miffed with it for not being
    allotted any Lok Sabha constituency to contest a strange alibi and I quote, "All parties want to
    contest, that's natural. But we took a decision that is most suitable in the prevailing political
    situation. All parties accept that. Our only aim is to draw maximum strength to defeat the

    The constituent parties, who have been left in the lurch, cannot take a harsh stand because all of
    them had migrated to the LDF, from the UDF, because of perceived 'ill treatment' and that, too,
    only recently! Secondly, what happens if the dispensation were to fare badly in the coming
    general elections?

    Will Modi and his party have the last laugh?

2. The Ayodhya Dispute on Mediation, Yet Again.

    There have been four failed attempts at mediation before, which were:-

    (a) The 1994 Judgement recorded negotiations between the VHP and All India Babri Masjid
          Action Committee, which broke down at a crucial phase.
    (b) In 2003, a significant effort for a negotiated settlement was made by the Kanchi Shankara-
          acharya. It broke down after his letter of 01 Jul '03 to the All India Muslim Personal Law 
          Board which said, "Kanchi, Mathura and Ayodhya, all three belong to the Hindus and keeping
          in mind the larger interest of the country and communal harmony, if not today, but at some
          time or other, these places have to be given to the Hindus. The Muslims will have to mentally
          prepare themselves for this". 
    (c) On 21 Oct '17 the then CJI, JS Khehar had entertained BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's
          plea for early hearing of title suits and surprised many by offering his services for mediation.
          "All must adopt 'and give a bit and take a bit' approach to find a solution to this issue," he had
    (d) Later in 2017, attempts by spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Shia Wakf Board
          chairman, Waseem Rizvi, too, failed to yield any tangible result.  

    Bars Media and referred the 70 year old dispute to a three-member panel which will submit its
    report in eight weeks. The panel consists of former SC Judge, FMI Kalifulla, spiritual guru, Sri
    Sri Ravi Shankar and well known mediator, Sriram Panchu.

    My take.

    Following are pertinent:-

    (a) The Ayodhya temple issue has been tossed out of the poll arena.
    (b) Is it to facilitate rumblings among the Hindu organisations and create a rift in the front, during
          the forthcoming polls?
    (c) The resolution of the problem has been postponed further.

3. A Disturbing Trend.

    The Madras High Court has said that extra-marital relationships have become a dangerous social
    evil. In its opinion heinous crimes like murders and kidnappings are increasing day by day due to
    clandestine relationships.It has asked the central and state governments to find out as to who the
    primary culprit is - Mega TV serials or the economic independence of both the spouses or the
    I think the fact that adultery has been decriminalised is another contributing factor!


Had got up with the alarm though very reluctantly. Went about our chores and were ready well on time. Washing machinex of the bed linen was carried out before going across to the bank to get Lekha's PAN card linked with her account. Subha has rejoined from the adjacent bank and now, it's gonna be easy to get things done because she always looks after Lekha and me when we fetch up there.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The National War Memorial.

1. The proposal for a National War Memorial was under the consideration of the government since the early '70s. A Group of Ministers(GoM) had recommended the 'C' Hexagon of the India Gate as the appropriate location for the Memorial in Aug '12. Though a note for the Cabinet was initiated by the then Ministry of Urban Development in '12 and was circulated to the Ministry of Defence(MoD, Department of Expenditure(Ministry of Finance), the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Note could not be finalised for Cabinet approval.

2. Therefore, there was no memorial to commemorate the martyrs after independence. The essential need for setting up a National War Memorial was therefore initiated by the government in '14 so as to inculcate a high sense of moral values, sacrifice, national spirit and sense of belonging in each and every citizen of India for paying befitting tribute to our soldiers who laid down their lives, defending the nation during the Sino-Indian conflict in 1962, Indo-Pak wars of 1947, 1965 and 1971, Indian Peacekeeping Operations in Sri Lanka in 1987 and the Kargil Operations in 1999. The National War Memorial also commemorates the soldiers who participated and made supreme sacrifice in UN Peace Keeping Missions, during HADR Operations, Counter Insurgency Operations and Low Intensity Capital Operations(LICO).

3. In Aug '14, the then RM inspected the recommended site. Subsequently, a Cabinet Note on the proposal was moved by the MoD. The construction of a National War Memorial in the memory of all Indian soldiers who have made the supreme sacrifice for the country post independence received in- principle-approval of the Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister 07 Oct '15. In pursuance of the recommendation by the Union Cabinet to construct the National War Memorial at a prominent site in New Delhi, government sanction for construction of NWM at the 'C' Hexagon of India Gate was issued on 18 Dec '15. The construction of the Memorial was to be completed in 5 years i.e 2020.

4. The Prime Minister spelt out his vision for the Memorial as a state-of-the-art world class monument which would become a must visit site for every visitor to the country.

5. An Empowered Apex Steering Committee under the chairmanship of the Defence Secretary was constituted with members from MHA, MoHUA, HQ IDS among others for making all key decisions relating to the execution of the project including sanction of funds in Dec '15. HQ Integrated Defence Services was entrusted with the task of planning and execution of the National War Memorial as per Defence Works Procedure.

6. A two stage international design competition was conducted in 2016. A jury consisting of eminent architects and personalities from the field of art and literature, headed by Master Architect Prof. Christopher Benninger, was assigned the task of identification of the best design for the NWM. Based on the recommendations of the jury, the results were announced on 03 Mar '17 as under:- 

    (a) First prize                       Mr. Yogesh Chandrahasan,
                                                 M/s WeBe Design Ltd.
    (b) Second prize                  Mr. Ajay Sethi.
    (c) Third prize                     Mr. Kartikeyan Perumal.

7. The terms of the international competition had envisaged the Memorial at a central location in the national capital as a structure and space depicting the solemnity of the purpose which was to pay a tribute to the brave by combining architectural aesthetics and public sentiment in order to serve as a place for people to show their respect for the soldiers who sacrifice their lives to keep us safe. Accordingly, formal permission from MoHUA was obtained in Dec '16 to construct the NWM at the 'C' Hexagon, east of India Gate. The first prize winner was also appointed as consultant of the project to ensure architectural supervision in the objectives and visions spelt out in the international design competition. Upon completion of the tendering process, the contract was awarded to M/s NCC Ltd, Hyderabad being the lowest bidder, at the total cost of approximately Rs.161 crores. Construction work of the project commenced in Feb '18 and was expected to be completed without any cost overrun.

8. The project was being monitored in the Cabinet Secretariat on e-Samiksha portal for which weekly progress is submitted. The PMO was also regularly monitoring the progress through weekly reports. Further, based upon the directions of the RM, physical monitoring of the project was also done on a daily basis since Oct '18.

9. The design of the Memorial has a layout comprising four concentric circles, namely, 'Amar Chakra' or Circle of Immortality, the 'Veerta Chakra' or Circle of Bravery, the 'Tyag Chakra' or Circle of Sacrifice and the 'Rakshak Chakra' or Circle of Protection. The Memorial complex includes a central obelisk, an eternal flame, six bronze murals depicting famous battles by the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy in a covered gallery(Veerta Chakra). Likewise 16 walls have been constructed in the Tyag Chakra for paying homage to the 25,942 casualties. The names of soldiers who have made the supreme sacrifice have been inscribed in golden letters on granite tablets arranged in a circular pattern which symbolises the ancient Indian war formation, 'Chakravyuh'. The outermost circle, the Rakshak Chakra comprises of rows of more than 600 dense trees with each tree representing many soldiers who guard the territorial integrity of the nation round the clock. Above all, busts of the 21 awardees of Param Vir Chakra have been installed at the 'Param Yodha Sthal' which includes the three living awardees i.e. Subedar Major (Hony Captain) Bana Singh, Subedar Major Yogendra Singh Yadav and Subedar Sanjay Kumar.

10. Located in the heart of the nation's capital, next to the iconic India Gate in the central vista of New Delhi, the National War Memorial is spread over an area of approximately 40 acres which will enrich the green cover. It's the culmination of the collective aspiration of a grateful nation to pay a befitting tribute to the martyrs of the country.

11. Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the Memorial in a solemn ceremonial function, on 25 Feb '19, in accordance with the military traditions.


Had got up along with the alarm and we went about our chores and were ready on time. Lekha had gone to the Guruvayur temple as part of her weekly tryst with Guruvayoorappan. After her return, I'd gone to my favourite dentist, Dr. Chary, to have a filling done. Realised later that I should have gone to him much earlier.

The Whirlpool guys - Mahesh and Akhil - came close to sunset to service the air conditioners. 



Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Murphy's military laws.

● Try to look unimportant; the enemy may be low on ammunition and not want to waste a bullet on you. 
● Never share a bunker with anyone braver than yourself. 
● Never forget that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder. 
● Five second fuses always burn three seconds. 
● The easy way is always mined. 
● Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people to shoot at. 
● If you are short of everything but the enemy, you are in the combat zone. 
● Incoming fire has the right of way.  
● No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection. 
● No inspection ready unit has ever passed combat. 
● If the enemy is within range, so are you. 
● The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire. 
● Tracers work both ways. 
● Professional soldiers are predictable; the world is full of dangerous amateurs. 
● Military Intelligence is a contradiction.  
● Mines are equal opportunity weapons..  
● When in doubt, empty your magazine.  
● The side with the simplest uniforms wins. 
● Combat will occur on the ground between two adjoining maps. 
● The most dangerous thing in the world is a Lieutenant with a map and a compass.  
● The more a weapon costs, the farther you will have to send it away to be repaired. 
● The complexity of a weapon is inversely proportional to the IQ of the weapon's operator.  
● If enough data is collected, a board of inquiry can prove anything.  
● To steal information from a person is called plagiarism. To steal information from the enemy is called gathering intelligence.  
● The weapon that usually jams when you need it the most is the one you are trained with. 
● The bursting radius of a hand grenade is always one foot greater than your jumping range. 
● The crucial round is a dud.  
● There is no such place as a convenient foxhole. 
● Density of fire increases proportionally to the curiousness of the target.  
● Success occurs when no one is looking, Failure occurs when the General is watching. 
● Things that must be together to work can never be shipped together. 
● The Quartermaster has only two sizes, too large and too small. 
● If you have a personality conflict with your superior, he has the personality, you have the conflict.  
● If you enter the CO's office with an idea, most likely, you will leave his office with the CO's idea.


1. The Rafael aircraft acquisition is once again in the Supreme Court. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie are the prime movers of this case. The advocate seems to have a pathological hatred towards Modi and the other two have not forgiven him for not inducting them into his ministry. The rest of the opposition is awaiting with bated breath, flinging muck on Modi hoping like mad that something sticks so that they can shout, "Look he is also corrupt like us". They are simply worried about his clean image! We'll have to wait to see as to how this drama plays out ultimately!

2. We'd got up literally with the alarm. Went through our chores and were ready well in time. Seena, the beautician, came by late afternoon and she has fixed a new maid to work in the house. The Whirlpool servicing team ditched us royally as they failed to fetch up as promised!