Tuesday, April 30, 2019

More stories from the election round ups!

1. Lalu Yadav's Sons.

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

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

    The RJD party is a family business!

2. The Jat Quota Leader Opposes the BJP.

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

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

3. 100 Year Old Lady Votes.

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

    Her fervour to vote is indeed an inspiration for everyone!


Tailpiece.

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

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

Monday, April 29, 2019

Another phase of elections is over.

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

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

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

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

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

1. The Fourth Phase.

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

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

2. Manishankar Aiyar at it Again.

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

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

3. And Now, the Claim.

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

    A perfect example of flogging a dead horse!

4. Complaints of Bogus Voting.

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

    The election commission's actions are anxiously awaited!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Election related stories.

1. Bogus Voting!

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

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

    The election commission has to take immediate remedial action.

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

2. Rahul Talks About Farmer's Budget.

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

    Interesting!

3. Shatrughan Sinha's Gaffe!

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

    His BJP background cannot be wished away, I suppose!

4. Gautam Gambhir Pulled Up.

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

    Well, such mistakes are unacceptable!


Tailpiece.

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

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

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

     

Saturday, April 27, 2019

More snippets....

1. The PM's Observation.

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

    Finally, there's some discussion about political murders!

2. Countering Dad!

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

    These businessmen have their balancing acts too!

3. Daler Mehendi Joins the BJP.

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

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


Tailpiece.

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

     

Friday, April 26, 2019

Snippets...

1. Anti-Sadhvi Pragya Singh Electioneering. 

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

    Strong sentiments can play wonders if rightfully applied.

2. Justice NV Ramana Recuses Himself.

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

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

3. The Congress - Muslim League Rift.

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

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


Tailpiece.

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

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



  

Thursday, April 25, 2019

At Raj Nivas!

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

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

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

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

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


Tailpiece.

Election Cacophonics.

1. The Civic Bodies' Woes.

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

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

2. Opposition Moves Supreme Court.

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

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

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A sad incident!

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

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

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

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

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


Tailpiece.

Election Related Cacophonics.

1. The Parties Are In A Tizzy.

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

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

    But the worry seems to be palpable!

2. Akshay Kumar's Interview of the PM.

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

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

         

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

To the polling booth.

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

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

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

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

             *                        *                         *

The Election Cacophonics.

1. Kerala Saw a High Voter Percentage.

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

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

2. EVM Glitches Galore.

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

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


Tailpiece.

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

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



  

Monday, April 22, 2019

A poignant moment!

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tailpiece.

Election Related Stories.

1. Rahul Gandhi Concedes that He Had Lied.

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

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

2. A Quiet Door-to-door Campaign.

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

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


Sunday, April 21, 2019

A dastardly act!

1. A Bloody Easter!

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

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

2. Sexual Allegations Against the CJI.

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

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

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

Stories during the run up to the polls

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

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

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

    The results on 23rd May will be much awaited.

4. Priyanka Gandhi's Antics in Wayanad.

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





Tailpiece.

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



 
    

Saturday, April 20, 2019

More election related stories.

1. AAP Supports LDF.

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

    Kejriwal's antics continue unabated!

2. The Attingal UDF Candidate's Allegation.

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

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

3. Yet Another Tharoor Gimmick!

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

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

    Is the fear of failure showing?

4. Rahul Gandhi's Documents' Scrutiny Delayed.

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

    Caught in a vicious circle?



Tailpiece.

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

Friday, April 19, 2019

Two more days to go!

Two more days are left for the electioneering to finish in Kerala. The state goes to polls on the 23rd. The candidates are in a frenzy to finish the last lap of canvassing for votes. We're yet to get our voting slips which, eventually, will allow us to vote!


1. Mulayam Singh and Mayawati on the Same Stage.

    After 24 years, Mulayam Singh and Mayawati came together at the same election rally at
    Mainpuri in UP. Mayawati called him a true OBC leader while he directed his ranks of partymen
    to respect her, always! There was a slight mishap, however. Ajit Singh of the RLD was
    conspicuous by his absence!! It also shows the consolidation of the Samajwadi party by his
    son, Akhilesh Yadav.

    If Mulayam was the 'ultimate' OBC leader, why did Mayawati desert him in the first place?

2. Sadhvi Pragya Thakur Creates a Flutter.

    The BJP's candidate in Bhopal, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur created a flutter when she said that the
    end of the martyr of the 26/11, Hemant Karkare, had come about because of her curse as he'd
    tortured and abused her while in custody for the Malegaon blast case. The party distanced itself
    from her utterance by saying that it was her own opinion, based on personal experience!

    If she has a plausible story, there could be many-a-hiccup in the days to come!

3. Priyanka Chaturvedi Joins Shiv Sena.

    Former Congress spokesperson, Priyanka Chaturvedi joined the Shiv Sena in pique over the
    Congress for:-

         (a) Reinstating party workers who had misbehaved with her during her press conference
               in Mathura, UP.
         (b) Being denied a party ticket!?

    Her whimsical decision has taken even some of her close followers by surprise!

4. Anguish Over a Mistake.

    Pawan Kumar, a Dalit of Bulandshahr, was confused by too many party symbols on the electronic
    voting machine and cast his vote for the BJP. It happened in the Shikarpur area and he was quick to
    chop off his index finger on account of that mistake. He had actually wanted to vote for the BSP!

    Strange! People can go really crazy during the elections.



Tailpiece.

Got up with the alarm, went through our chores and were ready well in time. Being Good Friday, it was a quiet holiday. Last evenings rains have been extensive and damaging in the neighbourhood.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Happenings at the election run up.

1. High Voter Turnout.

    High voter turnout was the hallmark of the second phase of elections conducted today. It covered
    95 Lok Sabha seats covering 11 states and the union territory of Pondicherry.  The Srinagar seat
    recorded a percentage of only 14.8%. Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from West
    Bengal and Manipur. Isolated incidents of violence, road blockades, bombings and police firing
    in three constituencies of West Bengal viz. Darjeeling, Raiganj and Jalpaiguri.

2. 'Chowkidar Chor hai' Media Campaign Banned.

    The Chief Electoral Officer of Madhya Pradesh has banned the broadcast/telecast of 'Chowkidar
    Chor hai' media campaign of the Congress party in Madhya Pradesh. This was highlighted by
    Rahul Gandhi in a media interaction of his, while talking about the Rafael defence deal.

3. Sidhu's Crazy Comparisons.

    Navjot Singh Sidhu, while campaigning for the Congress party in Kozhikode has likened Modi
    to a bamboo and Rahul Gandhi to sugar cane. His campaign tour covered Kozhikode, Vadakara,
    and parts of Wayanad today. To quote, "Modi's promises are like bamboos, they look very tall but
    are hollow inside. But Rahul's promises are like sugarcane, sweet from inside and sweet from
    outside".

4. The Chief Electoral Officer's Reminder!

    Any lapse on the part of the candidates in putting out advertisements regarding their criminal
    records will lead to a breach of court order and the election of such candidates could be challenged
    the CEO, Teeka Ram Meena has said. The advertisements being telecast in television channels
    should last at least seven seconds and should be aired between 0800 hrs and 2200 hrs. The content
    could be either in English or Malayalam. The criminal records should published in the newspapers
    before 21 Apr. In the television channels, they should be telecast before 1800 hrs on 21 Apr.


Tailpiece.

Got up with the alarm, went through the chores and we were ready well in time. Lekha had gone for her Thursday's tryst with Guruvayoorappan by about 1000 hrs. Vishnu, from the JSS, Kollam had come with the cheques and other documents for my signature. Jithin of Geeyem Motors, Nettoor drove in with our Chevy just before lunchtime. Our car was, thus, back in the porch after a lapse of four days after its problems had been licked.

The watering of the plants was carried out in the evening. Thundershowers came by around 2200 hrs making our television viewing impossible. It was an early evening, comparatively.



  

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

More election-related stories.

1. The Rajasthan Chief Minister's Finding!

    Ashok Gehlot says that the NDA had picked Ram Nath Kovind as its Presidential candidate
    because of his caste. Moreover, it was with a view of the impending Assembly elections in
    Gujarat. As the flurry of protests grew, he backtracked on his statement and said that he was
    misquoted and that he has the greatest respect for the President!

    Why make foolish comments and regret later, at leisure? Idiotic!

2. The Malegaon Accused is BJP's Candidate.

    Bringing its Hindutva plank to the fore, the BJP has fielded Sadhvi Pragya Singh in the Lok Sabha
    elections, against Congress' Digvijaya Singh, in Bhopal. Out on bail, Sadhvi Pragya Singh has
    been discharged by a court under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act
    (MCOCA) in the 2008 Malegaon case. The BJP believes that it was Digvijaya Singh who'd created
    the 'saffron terror/Hindu terror' phrase.

    Did the BJP have to field such an individual and that too, just after hours of her joining the party?

3. The State of Working India(SWI) '19.

    Bangalore-based Azim Premji University has said that 5 million men/women lost their jobs
    between '16 and '18. The beginning of the decline in jobs coincides with demonetisation in Nov
    '16 although no direct casual relationship can be established based only on these trends. The report
    on India's labour market is based on the Consumer Pyramid Survey of the Centre for Monitoring
    Indian Economy(CMIE - CPDX).

    The timing of the release of the report on the eve of the second phase of elections is interesting?
    Is it to influence voting trend?

4. The Unfortunate Killing of a Polling Officer.

    Maoists gunned down a woman poll official - Sanjukta Digal, Sector Officer - when she'd got
    down from her vehicle to check a suspicious object lying on the road, while passing through a
    jungle near Balandapada village. In another incident, the Maoists set ablaze two vehicles and a
    mobike carrying election officials and poll material. In this case, the all the personnel were safe
    but the material need to replenished.

    The Maoists keep playing their game at vulnerable moments!

5. PN Panicker Foundation Chips In.

    The PN Panicker Foundation chipped in with a 'voter-awareness-programme' on wheels. The
    Chief Electoral Officer, Mr. Teeka Ram Meena led the yatra along with Balagopalji.

    A novel idea in throwing light on the responsibility of individuals during elections.


Tailpiece.

Got up with the alarm, went through our chores and were ready well in time. Lekha had gone to the Mammiyoor Siva kshetram for her weekly tryst. It was a quiet day as I monitored the work on our Chevy at Kochi. Transferred the remaining Rs.75 grand by evening with the help of Subha, who was on leave.

Watered the plants in the evening as it has become an ongoing event in these desperate times of scarcity of water!   
     

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Election related stories.

1. Election Cancelled in Vellore.

    Following recovery of huge amount of cash, allegedly, from the DMK's candidate, Kathir Anand
    the election has been cancelled, based on a report from the Income tax department. Two other party
    functionaries have also been implicated in this case. The President rescinded the notification to
    hold the election based on the poll panel's recommendation. The election, here, was supposed to
    take place on the 18th, the second phase of elections.

    There seems to be an unending array of misdeeds in this election. Shows the levels of desperation!

2. The Depths People Can Go Down To.

    Saw a photo grab of a worker of the opposition, blackening Modi's photo on an election poster in        Rajasthan. It was a cheap thing to do and the initial story was that it was Sachin Pilot who was the
    protagonist but it has since been verified and found to be untrue.

    Repeating this for the umpteenth time, "Elections are fought between candidates on issues and the
    fight must never get personal!"

3. An Oblique Stand After Dithering.

    The Congress has now obliquely said through Rahul Gandhi, today that they support the believers'
    stand on the Sabarimala issue after weeks and months of dithering on the same. It has been forced
    to do so by the BJP's open support to the believers!

    Is the Congress party's secular stand being changed seeing the ground requirements.

4. Appeal to the 64% Percent Votes.

    Probably, this number could be the Muslims who will be casting their votes during the second
    phase of voting. Anyways, Sidhu, Rahul Gandhi etc were urging them to vote so that they could
    throw 'Modi into the sea'.

    Open canvassing for votes in the name of religion. Isn't it punishable under the election rules?

5. The Congress Party's Discomfort In Kerala.

    With Rahul Gandhi refusing to say anything against the CPM and its policies, the party's state
    unit is in utter confusion. It has a wide range of issues against the state government and the CPM,
    in particular, that it left fuming.

    They, of course, belt out their points after their president's departure!



Tailpiece.

Got up with the alarm, went about our chores and were ready well in time. Annie's - Lekha's new help - husband is in the ICU of the Rajah Hospital for low Oxygen levels in his system and therefore, she's absent. Lekha had managed the show well.

We could water the plants and the grass patch with the Municipality supplied water. Felt satisfied at the achievement because it was after a two day-gap.

In the morning, through a series of telephone calls, I'd my Chevy towed from Mayithra to Nettoor and the defectation was begun just before the lunch recess. It entails a change of the fuel pump @ Rs. Sevety grand! It would be delivered by Thursday, the latest.     
 

   

Monday, April 15, 2019

Vishu '19.

1. Azam Khan's Bluster.

    This guy uses guttural and offensive language during his election speeches to browbeat his
    opponents. The funniest fact is that he always gets off without any action being taken against him.
    Today his jibe at his opponent, Jayaprada of the BJP was that the colour of her panties was kakhi.
    His party chief, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati or even Priyanka or her brother have reacted to it; in
    fact they don't find anything wrong with it!

    What a fall in standards! Anything goes and finally, will come with a weak kneed apology after
    the damage has been done. Sad!

2. Another Unwanted Religious Remark.

    Kerala's BJP chief, PS Sreedharan Pillai, has said that he can identify Muslims by having their
    clothes removed. Now, whatever he had meant by that, it's an obnoxious statement. Wonder why
    people make it a point to run into controversies?

    Hope the Election Commission takes note and pulls him up.

3. Electioneering Is On In Full Swing.

    The political parties and their candidates were actively canvassing for votes and many arterial
    roads were blocked and the traffic was interrupted despite the watchful eyes of the police in trying
    to make people obey the rules and restrictions.

    Thankfully, Kerala has entered the last week of electioneering as elections are due on 23 Apr.

4. Shashi Tharoor Sustains Injuries.

    The venue : Gandhari Amman Temple in Thiruvananthapuram.
 
    'Thulabhaaram' is a Hindu ritual in which a person is weighed against gold or grain or fruits
    and the equivalent weight of that object is offered as donation.

     While undergoing the ritual, he fell when the balance scale broke and the hook support came
     loose and sustained injuries on his head and leg, necessitating six stitches on his head.

      He has been quite critical about the Hindu religion's customs and traditions when he toed his
      party's line on secularism. Come election time, he is trying to be more Hindu than an actual one!
      Was this God's way of teaching him a lesson?


Tailpiece.

We saw the Vishukkani at 0205 hrs, a little early by our usual standards! Went off to sleep yet again and was up with the alarm at 6. Lekha, in the process of getting up twisted her left toe and problems in moving around, initially. She made her tryst with the Kottarakkara Mahaganapati; she'd gone and returned by an autorickshaw that the caretaker had organised.

A quick change, off to Pidavoor to meet Padmakumar's amma and hand over the Vishu kaineettam to the youngsters. We were at the venue of the wedding in time and met quite a lot of friends and relatives. Wished Arun and Chippy a long and happy married life.

Reached the Maruti Service Station by about 3, eased ourselves and started from there immediately thereafter with Nandu and Praveen at the helm and was back at 'The Quarterdeck' by 7. Thus ended our slightly adventurous journey with not much of a difficulty!

   

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Snippets.

1. Adieu D Babu Paul sir.

    Orator, columnist and former Additional Chief Secretary, D Babu Paul had passed away on Friday.
    He was 77. The media has covered his work extensively and hence, I don't intend to carry coal to
    Newcastle. I've interacted with him many times during the functions related to the Foundation and
    I always felt that I imbibed something new from him and I used to look forward to those
    interactions. We'd spent sentimental time when I'd gone across to offer condolences on the passing
    away of his wife, nineteen years back.

    RIP sir. My tears and prayers. We, in the Foundation will miss your presence and I have lost a
    learned Guru.

2. Digvijaya Singh's Latest Stunt.

    Digvijaya Singh, of the Congress has offered land owned by his party in Bhopal city for the
    construction of the Ram temple. This is his latest act remove the 'anti-Hindu' image for all his
    utterances thus far!



Tailpiece.

Started off from 'The Quarterdeck' by a quarter past 6. The Chevy was smooth and I didn't expect
any problems. But at Mayithara, near Cherthala, the accelerator had failed to respond. Being Palm Sunday and the run up to Vishu, none of the repair facilities were available. Finally, I'd entered a Maruti Servicing Station and its Assistant Manager, Krishna Kumar and his young team went of their way to help. After parking the Chevy, they got me a Swift Desire, on a rent-a-car basis. Reached Kottarakkara by a half past 3.

We were at the Raj Nivas by 4 and I was at my parents' grave sites for my usual conversation. Rema, Padmakumar and Achu along with the caretaker, Ria and her mother fetched up together and it was a tight schedule in the evening.

After dinner, Lekha and I had prepared the 'kani' and hit the sack comparatively early.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

During electioneering...

1. Congress Party's Latest Allegation.

    The French national newspaper Le Monde has reported that the French authorities had waived off
    taxes worth 143.7 million Euros in favour of Anil Ambani's France based telecom company called
    Reliance Atlantic Flag France. It was cleared a few months after the Rafael deal was announced. It
    has been reported by Kapil Sibal with Sam Pitroda, in the wings!

    Reliance Communications has since issued a clarification and said that the tax dispute pertains to
    2008!

    Note the timing of the allegation, the second phase of elections is on 16 Apr, Tuesday.

2. Yasin Malik Finally Under the Scanner!

    He is one of the most dreaded persons in the Valley and his crimes range from the killing of IAF
    officials, the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits, the killing of Rubaiya Saeed, sister of Mehbooba
    Mufti.

    Mehbooba's angst at his custody by the NIA for trial, seems strange.

3. The Bhejipadar Village Boycotts Lok Sabha Polls.

    Bhejipadar in Kalahandi, Orissa has boycotted the Lok Sabha elections. Totalling 666 voters, they
    sat outside the booth but did not cast their votes. They are protesting for the construction of an
    easier road connectivity to the town.

    People have realised the tremendous power that they wield against the politicians!


Tailpiece.

Had got up with the alarm, gone through our chores and were ready well in time. Wished Ammu many happy returns as it was her birthday as per the Malayalam calendar. Lekha had gone to both, the Guruvayur and Mammiyur temples by about 1000 hrs. Had gone to the Rajah Petrol pump to top up fuel in our Chevy. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Election stories.

1. Smriti Irani's Educational Qualification.

    This time, Smriti Irani has shown that she has not completed her graduation (Completed only the
    first year of her graduation) in the affidavit that she has submitted while filing her candidature in
    Amethi. Last time she'd got into a lot of trouble for having declared herself as a graduate! Wonder
    why such slip ups happen? The Congress has gone to town over it and have even come out with a
    parody on her educational qualification. Well, that's another extreme!

    These politicians fight like dogs over silly things!!

2. Maneka Gandhi's Call.

    During electioneering in her constituency, Sultanpur, Maneka Gandhi asked the Muslims to vote
    for her for the following reasons:-

        (a) We're not Mahatma Gandhi's children that we keep giving and not get anything in return.
        (b) She's all set to win and the Muslims would require her tomorrow.
        (c) I've sanctioned crores of rupees for the sake of the Muslims.

     This interaction of her's was in the Muslim-dominated Turabkhani area.

     Can someone be so blatant?

3. All About the Veterans' Letter.

    There was sudden news that over 150 military veterans had signed a letter, complaining against the
    politicisation of the armed forces, and forwarded it to the President of India. They cited political
    leaders - read, the Prime Minister - taking credit for the cross-border strikes. Well, the decision
    was his, wasn't it? It was amusing to see the entire range of opposition leaders congratulating the
    IAF for the Balakot strikes, fully well knowing that the PM was the one who had to give the go
    ahead! And the very same guys have asked for proof because they're convinced that the IAF had
    missed the target because Pakistan says so.

    Pakistan's stand does not stand scrutiny. If I were its PM, then I'd have taken the entire
    diplomatic corps, stationed within the country along with the international press to Balakot
    on 27 Feb itself, to show how the IAF had missed it completely and thereby made a laughing
    stock of India and Modi. A potent weapon in an election year!

    Coming back to the letter, ex-Army Chief SF Rodrigues and ex-Air Chief NC Suri have declared
    that they aren't party to it which has made it amply clear that it's the handiwork of the ex-Naval
    Chief Ramdas who's craving for attention. He's a compulsive liar and has proved it yet again. The
    joke is that the Rashtrapathi Bhavan has confirmed that it's yet to receive such a letter!


Tailpiece.

Got up with the alarm, went through the chores and we were ready well within time. It was a quiet day with not much of activity.  

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Viewing of events/factors during the elections.

1. The Administration of the Temples.

    The Kerala state government has suggested the setting up of an eight-member panel, to administer
    the Padmanabhaswamy temple at Thiruvananthapuram, to the Supreme Court. The proposal gives
    the ruling government the right to nominate five members into the Temple Administrative Board,
    apart from the temple executive officer who is also appointed by the government. The Supreme
    Court had, recently, questioned the role of governments in the administration of temples in the
    country.

    It needs to be understood that the ruling governments have never, ever shown a corresponding
    inclination to take over the administration of the religious places of other religions. Why this
    set of double standards is the doubt that gets into the mind of an impartial observer!

2. The Factors that Differ in UP from the '14 Elections.

    (a) The elections, then, were held in a communally charged atmosphere just six months after the
         Muzaffarnagar riots of Sep '13. Ajit Singh and his son have tried to reduce the consequent
         differences between the Jats and the Muslims through extensive 'sadbhavana yatras'.
    (b) There was anti-incumbency against the Akhilesh Yadav government. Nor has Yogi Adityanath's
          government covered itself with glory with its governance, thus far.
    (c) A united opposition, though the Congress is not part of it, is another change this time.
    (d) Most of the BJP candidates, then, were fresh faces and they could, now, face anti-incumbency.
    (e) Though the polarisation pitch has been raised, the Muslims and the Dalits have maintained a
         strategic silence.

     The BJP, therefore, faces challenges!

3. 'Green Light' Pointed at Rahul Gandhi.

     A 'green light' pointed at the Congress president during his roadshow in Amethi created a scare.
     The party had alleged a security breach but it was later found out to be the light from a camera -
     that of a mobile phone used by one of his own AICC photographers! Realising its faux pas, the
     Congress party quietly retracted their allegations sooner than they were raised.

4. Clashes During Polling in Andhra Pradesh.

    An impressive turnout of 73% voters was recorded in the single phase Assembly and Lok Sabha
    elections in Andhra Pradesh. Stray violence between the ruling TDP and the YSRC were
    reported in which three were killed. This was the first election after the bifurcation of the state.


Tailpiece.

Got up with the alarm, went through our chores and we were ready well in time. I'd made a trip to the Geeyem Motors for the free airbag replacement in my Cruze as per the Chevrolet company's latest directives. Was back much before lunch time and it was a quiet day, thereafter.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Viewing events dispassionately.

1. Lekha's Father's Third Remembrance Day.

    Today is Lekha's father's third remembrance day as per the Malayalam calendar. A thila homam
    was carried out in his memory at the Perunthatta Siva kshetram.

2. Fake News on the Eve of Elections.

    There was a news item in the ToI that Modi had said that he was willing to tie up with the fiercest
    of his political opponents, post polls, to form a government at the centre. Seeing the screaming
    headlines, its hollowness hit me because he has neither toed such a line during electioneering nor
    has he said so in his interviews. Realised that it could be yet another prank from the opposition,
    rattled by the surveys that give him and his party an edge.

3. Rafael Deal Kept Afloat.

    A government-to-government agreement has been brought under the scanner to have some handle
    against Modi during the elections. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, the disgruntled Yashwant Sinha and
    Arun Shourie had filed the review petition against the clean chit given, earlier, by the Supreme
    Court. And the Hindu had yet another article published about the subject today - a subtle
    influencing of the Court or to bring it alive on the eve of the first phase of elections?

4. The Election Commission's Right Decisions.

    By stalling the biopic on Narendra Modi and the order against the broadcasting of the NaMo
    television channel, the Election Commission has taken the right decision to ensure the conduct of
    the elections on a level playing field. The biopic will be released post-elections and the airing of
    the NaMo channel will also resume then. To attribute this decision of the EC as a triple blow to
    Modi - along with the Rafael deal judgement - as the media was going ga ga over today only
    as to how Modi is being bashed from all around.

    And if a philosopher were to be believed, "If people gang up against one individual in a political
    process, then that individual should be the one that should be supported to the hilt".


Tailpiece.

Got up with the alarm, went through our chores and we were ready well in time. Went about our work systematically and watered the plants in the evening, that has become mandatory in this heat.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Existing trends and other stories.

1. Existing Trends.

    I've never been a habitual viewer of soaps on television and especially, the Malayalam ones, during
    prime time. It was not because of any bias but was due to my involvement in the evening fitness
    regime that I'd chosen to follow and consequently, never found the time. I used to be amused with
    a few of my family members who were avid watchers. Snatches of their conversations, invariably,
    touched upon the protagonists of their favourite soaps.

    But thanks to the bout of jaundice and since vigorous physical exercises are taboo to me, for the
    present, I've ample time to be part of these prime time serials. Many of them are on the same
    thread but what amazes me are the following trends:-

           (a) There's an array of scheming, wicked men and women who are willing to even kill for
                 money.
           (b) Extra marital affairs seem to be common without any feeling of compunction and it seems
                 to happen in a cyclic!

     No, I ain't trying to be a prude. Cupid strikes in certain situations and it can never be forecast.
     But are we not bothered about the younger generation who might carry wrong lessons after
     watching these television 'extravaganzas'?

2. KM Mani Passes Away.

    KM Mani, who has many firsts in his political life, passed into the mist of time at 1657 hrs this
    evening. The media is covering his life and times minutely and hence, I shan't say anything on
    that score. But I would like to highlight his liking and tremendous respect for the late PN Panicker
    and never missed a function in the great man's memory and was very keen to know about the
    activities undertaken by the Foundation.

    RIP Mani sir. Our tears and prayers!

3. The Elections Are On.

    Electioneering came to an end in 91 Lok Sabha seats, spread across 20 states and Union
    Territories and four Legislative Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and
    Orissa(28 out of 147 seats). The first phase of elections takes place in these areas on 11 Apr.


Tailpiece.

Got up with the alarm, went through our chores and were ready on time. I'd gone to the Perunthatta Siva kshetram to tie up the 'Thil Homam' tomorrow being Lekha's father's third remembrance day. Thereafter, did some sundry purchases from the National Supermarket during my return. 
    

Monday, April 8, 2019

A nice story.

In September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a History teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock, did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all the desks in her classroom. When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks.

"Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?"

She replied, "You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk".
They thought, "Well, maybe it's our grades". "No". she said.
"Maybe it's our behaviour". She told them, "No, it's not even your behaviour".

And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period.
Still no desks in the classroom.
Kids called their parents to tell them what was happening and by early afternoon television crews had started gathering at the school to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.

The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the desk-less classroom, Martha Cothren said, "Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you".

At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it. Twenty-seven (27) US Veterans, all in uniform, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Veterans began placing the school desks in rows and then would walk over and stand alongside the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

Martha said, "You didn't earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. They went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have. Now it's up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don't ever forget it".

By the way, this is a true story. And this teacher was awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year for the State of Arkansas in 2006. She is the daughter of a World War II Prisoner of War.


Tailpiece.

Got up with the alarm, went through our chores and were ready well in time. The day was unbearably hot. We'd wished Indira kunjamma many happy returns in the morning itself and wasn't she thrilled? In the evening, both Lekha and I watered the plants with the municipality water. 

Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Balakot strike - its aftermath.

Background.

1. On 14 Feb '19, a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu - Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber at Lethpora in Pulwama district killing 46 CRPF personnel. The PM had made a vow that Pakistan - the cradle of the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group that had claimed responsibility for the dastardly attack - will be avenged for this misadventure and gave the armed forces a free hand to decide on the retaliation.

The Balakot Strike.

2. Exactly 12 days later, in the wee hours of 26 Feb, the airstrike was carried out by the IAF's Mirage 2000s armed with Spice 2000 and Popeye precision guided munitions dropped the bombs in the vicinity of the town of Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan, several miles inside the province's boundary with PoK.

  (a) The Mirage 2000s were supported by 4 Su-30 MKIs, Netra and Phalcon Airborne early Warning
        and Control System aircraft(AWACS), an IAI Heron UAV and 2 IL-78 aerial refuelling aircraft.

  (b) 4 Su-30 MKIs, tasked as decoys, 'presumably' headed for Bahawalpur, successfully drew the PAF
        fighters south of the main attack force.

  (c) Pakistan military, the first to confirm the airstrike in the morning of 26 Feb described the Indian
        aircraft as dropping their payload in an uninhabited, wooded hilltop area near Balakot.

  (d) India, confirming the airstrike, later the same day, characterised it to be a pre-emptive strike
        directed against the Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist training camp causing the deaths of a large
        number of terrorists (Close to 300!)

The Cacophonics Begin.

3. The entire opposition had been taunting the PM that his 56" chest could not put an end to
    Pakistan and its shenanigans - a taunt, pulled out from one of his election speeches of 2014 - and
    certain sections of the Indian media wanted proof of the attacks, bolstering their arguments from
    articles that were quoted from certain dubious foreign agencies.

4. Fake news were quick to follow and even to this day, the opponents and critics of Modi and his
    government have refused to accept that the Balakot airstrikes were, indeed, successful.

My take.

To all the doubting Thomases, my question is this. "If the airstrikes were totally off the mark and that no casualties had been inflicted, wouldn't Pakistan have taken the entire lot of the foreign diplomats and the international press, stationed within it, the very next day to Balakot to show the 'botched up' attempt by India and had a mighty laugh at our expense?"

And to the same doubters, my advice would be, "Do not doubt your armed forces and the government just because you hate Narendra Modi. Such negative attitude can have far reaching repercussions". 


Tailpiece.

Got up at our usual time, despite it being a Sunday. Went through our chores and were ready well in time. It was a quiet day.     

  

Saturday, April 6, 2019

News from here and there.

Going through a few of the news articles that caught my attention. There's nothing much to amplify on any of them but it's important to understand as to which direction the wind is blowing. So, here I go:-

 (a) They've Made This Appeal.

       Naseeruddin Shah, Mahesh Dattani, Amol Palekar, Lillette Dubey, MK Raina, Makarand
       Deshpande, Konkona Sen Sharma along with other theatre and film artistes numbering about
       600 have urged people not to vote for the BJP and its allies. Whether the general public heeds
       their advice needs to be seen.

 (b) IITians to Fight in Bihar.

       Ten of the forty parliamentary seats of Bihar will see the alumni of the IIT take on seasoned
       politicians in the Lok Sabha elections this time. Their party is called the Bahujan Azad Party
       (BAP).

 (c) Russia Stakes Claim on the Arctic.

       Missile launchers ply icy roads and air defence systems point at the sky at a Russian military
       outpost - a key vantage point - to project its power over the resource rich polar region. The base
       named 'Severny Klever'(Northern Clover) is painted in the white, blue and red colours of the
       Russian national flag. It has been designed so that soldiers can reach all of its sprawling
       facilities without venturing outdoors - a useful precaution where temperatures often plunge to
       -50 degrees Celsius during winters and the nights of the short Arctic summers. About 250
       personnel man the post to monitor the airspace and the northern sea route. Russia is not alone
       in exploring options of resource location and new shipping lanes but the US, Canada, Denmark,
       Norway and China are in the fray. The region is believed to hold up to a quarter of the Earth's
       undiscovered oil and gas.



Tailpiece.

Got up with the alarm, went through the chores and were ready well in time. There were calls from unexpected places but pleasant news-carrying ones, though! Raj Nivas has a water problem because one of the feeder canals has been closed and consequently, stopped the water flow into the stream that is our northern boundary. The result is that the water in the well at our backyard has reduced!! 

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Middle Path.

Budha's teachings are also called 'Madhyamika' or Middle Path.

Middle of what?

At the time of Budha there were many
philosophies. On one side were the
six schools of thought owing their
allegiance to Vedas and talking about
the soul and life after death.

On the other extremity were the
Charvakas who believed that the
purpose of life was only to eat, drink
and dance.

Budha propounded the middle path.
He steered clear of all metaphysical
questions. He taught that Nirvana
should be the highest goal. But never
answered what it is like.

He accepted the theory of karma
and transmigration and taught that
virtuous living is good enough to
attain Nirvana.

He allowed even the Kshatriyas
to take to sanyasa (Which was
prohibited by Sri Krishna in Gita). But
for that he is criticised for having
destroyed the kshatriya valour and an
open invitation to invaders.

In fact, Budha has value added Vedic
religion for export. And it has all been
exported out.

In Gulliver's Lilliput island there
were the big enders and the little enders.

Today, we have the capitalists and the
communists.

The APL and the BPL.

But then we have found a middle path.   


Tailpiece.

Got up with the alarm, went through our chores and were ready on time. The day was warm. Bibin, from the Pest Control of India (PCI) came in for providing the quarterly cover - he's, incidentally, sincere and hardworking. After a quick lunch, we were off to the Jayasree Cinema to see Mohanlal's 'Lucifer', directed by Prithviraj. An okay movie...nothing spectacular about it! 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Love gone sour?

22 year old, Neethu Krishna Kumar, an engineering student was stabbed and set on fire by her ex-boyfriend, Nidhish Kallukadan, in the morning, at Chiyyaram in Thrissur.

Salient points of the case.

 (a) Neethu's mother had passed away when she was just two years old. Her father left her soon after.
       She was brought up by her maternal grandmother and uncle.

 (b) The two had befriended each other on Facebook three years ago.

 (c) Nidhish works in a private firm at the IT park in Kochi.

 (d) Both the families were aware of the couple's friendship.

 (e) The boy had approached her family last year, to talk of marriage. It, however, did not turn out 
       to be successful and the relationship had gone sour.

 (f)  When there was no communication from the young lady, the man thought that she was into a
       fresh relationship.

 (g) This morning, around 6, after parking his mobike in front of the house, he'd entered the girls'
       house through the rear door. There was a verbal altercation between the two of them which
       ended in her being stabbed twice - on her throat and her stomach. He'd, then, emptied two
       bottles of petrol that he was carrying, on to her body and lit her.

 (h) The young lady was declared "brought-in-dead" by the hospital nearby.

RIP Neethu. My tears and prayers to a young lady who lost a promising life, too early. May your family have the strength to tide over these stressful times.

My take.
        
  1. While starting a relationship through the social media like Facebook, What'sApp etc, one needs
      to be extremely careful. Intimacy of any sort must be avoided because the personal profiles are
      hidden to a large extent and it's very difficult to understand the background and the attitude of
      the partner or even as to whether he/she is queer.
  2. In such relationships, the endeavour from both sides would be to put their best foot forward
      which might be markedly different from their actual personalities.
  3. If love/relationship goes sour, it's better to accept it in a sporting spirit and let go off the episode
      without wasting any time.
  4. On the other hand, carrying hatred and waiting for a chance to retaliate can have harmful
      consequences - in this case, the unfortunate girl had a violent end and the boy has spoiled his
      life forever. 

And why do people not accept a failure in their love life? Is it because they've got everything they'd wanted, from their homes, thanks to their over indulgent parents? Is there any meaning in enforcing a relationship that can never be smooth?


Tailpiece.

Got up with the alarm, went through our chores and we were ready well in time. Had gone to town to do a bank transfer to the caretaker in connection with the family temple's annual festivities, collect clothes/deposit soiled clothes from/at the drycleaners and to drop the credit card cheque for the month.

Both Bineesh and Sajeev played truant in taking care of the plumbing requirements!


       

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

What is right speech?

Do you maintain a decorum when you speak? Doesn't anger provoke you to say something, at the spur of the moment using forbidden language and matter, over which you repent at leisure? Isn't there a difference in the manner in which you speak with your elders and the youngsters. One is of deference while the other is of setting an example. 

So, what is right speech?

"Anudvegakaram vakyam satyam priya hitam".

One's speech should have four qualities.
Anudvegakaram - soothing (Non agitative).
Satyam               -  truth, which is verifiable and 
                              fit to be uttered. A truth which
                              is not fit to be spoken does 
                              qualify to be satyam.
Priyam               -  agreeable.
Hitam                 -  useful.

A 'Muni'(Sage) is one whose speech
contains all the 4 qualities. And not
the one who simply avoids talking).
Ramakrishna and Ramana Maharshi
are 'munis'.

One's own speech should contain at
least two qualities if not all four.
Most of our talk contains just one
quality ie. 'priyam'. And that is simply
gossip.

If it is just 'useful', nobody wants to
listen.

Most of the time we don't even know
what we say is worth speaking at all.

When we become abusive, we only
create agitation.

Corelate this with what we are daily 
fed by way of all news and views.

       *                        *                           *

Something that I had come across, the gist of the 18 chapters of the Bhagavad Gita given in a single line 'amplifying the contents' of each.

Chapter 1.

Wrong thinking is the only problem in life.

Chapter 2.

Right knowledge is the ultimate solution to all our problems.

Chapter 3. 

Selflessness is the only way to progress and prosperity.

Chapter 4.

Every act can be an act of prayer.

Chapter 5. 

Renounce the ego of individuality and rejoice in the bliss of infinity.

Chapter 6.

Connect to the Higher consciousness daily.

Chapter 7.

Live what you learn.

Chapter 8.

Never give up on yourself.

Chapter 9.

Value your blessings.

Chapter 10.

See divinity all round.

Chapter 11.

Have enough surrender to see the Truth as it is.

Chapter 12.

Absorb your mind in the Higher.

Chapter 13.

Detach from Maya and attach to Divine.

Chapter 14.

Live a lifestyle that matches your vision.

Chapter 15.

Give priority to divinity.

Chapter 16.

Being good is a reward in itself.

Chapter 17.

Choosing the right over the pleasant is a sign of power.

Chapter 18.

Let go, let's move to the union with God.


Tailpiece.

Had got up with the alarm, gone through the chores and were ready well in time. It was a quiet day altogether.





Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Be happy!

At Harvard, a prestigious university, the most popular and successful course teaches you how to learn to be popular. The Positive Psychology class by Ben Shahar attracts 1400 students per semester and 20% Harvard graduates take this elective course. According to Ben Shahar, the class - which focuses on happiness, self esteem and motivation - gives students the tools to succeed and face life with more joy. This 45-year-old teacher, considered by some to be the "happiness guru", highlights in his class 15 key tips for improving the quality of our personal status and contributing to a positive life.

 (a) Tip 1. Thank God for everything you have.

       Write down 10 things you have in your life that give you happiness. Focus on the good things.

 (b) Tip 2. Practise physical activity.

       Exercising helps improve mood. 30 minutes of exercise is the best antidote against sadness and
       stress.

 (c) Tip 3. Breakfast.

       Some people miss breakfast for lack of time or not to get fat. Studies show that breakfast gives
       you energy, helps you think and perform your activities successfully.

 (d) Tip 4. Assertive.

       Ask what you want and say what you think. Being assertive helps you improve your self esteem.
       Being left and remaining silent creates sadness and hopelessness.

 (e) Tip 5. Spend your money on experiences.

       A study found that 75% of people felt happier when they invested their money in travel, courses
       and classes. While only the rest said they felt happier when buying things.

 (f)  Tip 6. Face your challenges.

       Studies show that the more you postpone something, the more anxiety and tension you generate.
       Write short weekly lists of tasks and complete them.

 (g) Tip 7. Put everywhere nice memories, phrases and photos of your loved ones.

       Fill your fridge, your computer. your desk, your room, YOUR LIFE with beautiful memories.

 (h) Tip 8. Always greet and be nice to other people.

       More than 100 inquiries state that just smiling changes the mood.

 (j)  Tip 9. Wear comfortable shoes.

       If your feet hurt you, you become moody, says Dr. Keinth Wapner, President of the American
       Orthopaedics Association.

 (k) Tip 10. Take care of your posture.

       Walk straight with your shoulders slightly backwards and the front view helps to maintain a good
       mood.

 (l)  Tip 11. Listen to music.

       It is proven that listening to music awakens you to sing, this will make your life happy.

 (m) Tip 12. What you eat has an impact on your mood.

        Do not skip meals, eat lightly every 3 to 4 hours and keep glucose levels stable. Avoid excess
        white flour and sugar. Eat everything! Healthy - vary your food.

 (n)  Tip 13. Take care of yourself and feel attractive.

        70% of people say they feel happier when they think they look good.

 (p)  Tip 14. Fervently believe in God.

        With him nothing is impossible!

 (q)  Tip 15. Develop a good sense of humour.

        Learn to laugh off matters, especially when things don't go right for you.

Happiness is like a remote control, we lose it every time, we go crazy looking for it and many times without knowing it, we are sitting on top of it.........

                      Have an unconditionally happy life!


Tailpiece.

Got up later than usual. The journey and the late night did have their effects, I suppose. Went about our chores and were ready a trifle after our usual time.



Monday, April 1, 2019

Interesting information that everyone ought to know!

1. How a nation can knowingly and deliberately destroy its own moral fabric?

    Government welfare programmes and freebies doled out to buy votes. Japan does not have any
    welfare programmes like free LPG etc. Their motto : Work for it or do without.

    These are possibly the five best sentences you'll ever read and all applicable to our Indian
    experiment:-

       (a) You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
       (b) What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without
             receiving.
       (c) The government cannot give to anybody that the government does not first take from
            somebody else.
       (d) You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
       (e) When half the of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half
             is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea it does no good to work
             because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of
             any nation.

     God and sane citizens should stop this mania.

2. Dangerous heat to intensify this week.

    The equinox phenomenon will affect us in the next five days. Please stay indoors and keep animals
    indoor or protected especially from 1200 hrs to 1500 hrs. The temperature will fluctuate and may
    reach 40 degrees Celsius. This can easily cause dehydration and sun stroke. This phenomenon is
    due to the sun directly positioned above the equator. Please keep everyone including yourself
    hydrated. Everyone should be consuming about three litres of fluid everyday. Monitor everyone's
    blood pressure as frequent as possible. Many may get heat stroke.

    Take cold showers as frequent as possible. Reduce meat, increase fruits and vegetables.

    Heat wave is no joke! Place a new unused candle outside home area or exposed area. If candle can
    melt, it's at a dangerous level.

    Always place a pail of water half filled in the living room and one each in every room to keep the
    temperature down.

    Heat stroke has no indicative symptoms. Once you faint, it's serious and dangerous as organ failure
    kicks in.

    Always check lips, eyeballs for moisture. Please inform the others.

3. Day, date and time.

    In the ancient Indian calendar, time was never identified by weeks and days. There was no
    mention of Sunday, Monday etc. These were later inclusions after contact with the Greeks and
    the Romans.

    For ancient Indians, time always had an astronomical significance. Time was defined as a mental
    frame in which they co-related events.

    So our forefathers identified time by co-relating positions of the sun, moon, the five principle
    planets (The ones which were easy to see with unaided eye like Venus and Mercury, the two inner
    most planets closer to the sun than the earth and can be seen in the early evening or in the
    morning. Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn further away from the sun than the earth and can be seen at
    anytime of the night. The Earth, of course, is also a planet but the ancient astronomers did not
    perceive it so and therefore, did not count it in their list of planets!) and two nodes against the
    fixed starry background.

    That is why you will find all Hindu festivals are based on planetary positions.

    The present day measurement of time in days and weeks has no such astronomical standing. It is
    based on a linear scale and has to be supported by date, month and year, of which the year alone
    has astronomical significance.


Tailpiece.

Got up earlier than usual as I'd to accompany Lekha to attend her Valiachhan's funeral at Maannaar, despite my weakness. Rema, my sister was unable to make the trip and Lekha had carried idlis and two bottles of water to stand in for my lunch and supper. We reached there in time to see the ceremonies leading to the funeral and made a hasty departure around 1700 hrs after the pyre was lit and reached 'The Quarterdeck' by 2300 hrs. Sajid made good company.

Met Lekha's folks after a very long time.