Saturday, August 31, 2019

The playing cards and the calendar.

Did you know that the traditional deck of the playing cards are a strikingly coherent form of a calendar? 

* There are 52 weeks in the year and so are there 52 playing cards in a deck.
* There are 13 weeks in each season and there are 13 cards in each suit.
* There are 4 seasons in a year and 4 suits in the deck.
* There are 12 months in a year and there are 12 court cards (Those with faces namely Jack, King,
   Queen in each suit).
* The red cards represent the day while the black cards represent the night.
* If you have Jacks = 11, Queens = 12 and the Kings = 13, then add up all the sums of 1+2+3+.....
   ....to 13 = 91. Multiply this by 4 - for the 4 suits, therefore 91 multiplied by 4 equals 364. Add 1,
   to that and you will arrive at the number 365 being the days in a year!

Is that a mere coincidence or a greater intelligence?

* Of interest is the sum of the letters in all the names of the cards, eg : add up the letters in 'one, two,
   three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, Jack, King, Queen' = 52!
* The Spades indicates ploughing/working.
* The Heart indicates 'love thy crops'.
* The Clubs indicates flourishing and growth.
* The Diamond indicates reaping the wealth.
* Also, in some card games, 2 Jokers are used, indicating the Leap Year.

There is a deeper philosophy than just merely a game of playing cards. The Mathematical perfection is mind blowing.

      *                        *                         *

Fire in the Amazon Forests

Fire in Amazon Forests brings to my mind a story in the Mahabharatham. Puloma, the attractive wife of Bhrigu Maharshi, was alone in the aasram when Puloman, the raakshasa, passed by. Sexually attracted, Puloman asked the bonfire blazing near the yaagashaala, who the gorgeous girl is. Agni, unaccustomed to being untruthful, told him that she was the wife of Bhrigu, the son of Brahma.

Puloman, who was even earlier attracted to her, immediately took the shape of a pig, grabbed Puloma and stormed away at wind speed. In the quiver of this soaring swiftness, the baby in the womb of Puloma emerged and in the sunny glow of the baby, the raakshasa was turned into ash and the baby and mom reached the aasramam safely. But Bhrigumuni was not quite happy with the whole affair. He was furious with Agni for exposing his wife to the raakshasa. So he cursed Agni. "Hey Agni, may you be Sarvabhakshaka!"

Ages have gone by since this curse but Agni hasn't, so far, attained 'saapamoksha'. It ravages forests year after year.

This year, it's the turn of the Amazon forests!


Tailpiece.

It was a quiet day today but it poured almost the entire day beginning from last night.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Important calls.

It rained through the night but the morning was bright and sunny, to begin with. Lekha and Mini had gone to the Thrikkonnamarkodu kshetram by a half past 8. Sreekumar, the ever smiling auto rickshaw driver was their sa'arthi. As I was getting ready, Rema had come down from Pidavoor and by about a half past 10, we'd kicked off for our social calls an itinerary that I'd worked out during this trip.

The first stop was Gopiyettan's house at Ivarkaala East, beyond the famous Mannadi kshetram. He's my dad's nephew. Gopiyettan had passed into the mist of time on the day before yesterday, thanks to a cardiac arrest, consequent to complications in his lungs. All of 76 years, he was going through some medical difficulty throughout the preceding month. His son-in-law, who's a doctor, was at hand during his final moments and had used all the efforts, at his command, to revive him but to no avail. He was fond of me and my sisters and always made it a point to drop in at our house to interact with my parents and us.

RIP Gopiyetta. My tears and prayers. Here's wishing that your near and dear ones are strong enough to pass through these troubled times.

We left the place by about 1300 hrs and the next stop was at Varadamma appachi's - my dad's youngest sister - place at Kavanad, Kollam. Had a fair share and more of my errors in finding the right route to Kollam from there. After lunch enroute, we reached appachi's house by 1500 hrs. What floored me was the genuine thrill that I saw on her face on seeing us and the next one hour with her was a laugh riot! Her sharp mind, terrific wit and the eagerness with which she fed us with snacks kept us engaged totally, all through the one hour that we were with her. It was time well spent! She's 84.

Soon after li'l Aparna - her chirpy granddaughter returned from her school and after having a few snaps with them, we set off for Paravoor to meet up with Kurup kochachhan. I was feeling guilty that I'd not looked him up for more than a year. We'd bought a bunch of red bananas, enroute, that he's a weakness for. But, this evening, he was weak and in deep slumber thanks to a viral fever. I'd called out his name but didn't have the heart to insist on his waking up. Vijayan Kurup, the attendant, is doing a smart job in taking care of him. Hearing about his discomfort, his sons, Gopu and Kannan were on their way to Paravoor.

Get well soon, Kurup kochachha. We'll be back to interact with you soon! Kochachhan is 92.

On our return, I'd topped up our Chevy and checked tyre pressure from the petrol pump that I usually take in fuel, before shaping course to Pidavoor to drop Rema. Met Pidavoor amma and Ajith, Padmakumar's younger brother. After a short interaction and on picking up a pair of leather sandals, we were off to Raj Nivas, through rain, and reached home by 2000 hrs.

The calls were made over a span of nine hours and I'd driven through 199.5 kms and I enjoyed every minute of it!

The house suddenly seemed to be quiet thanks to Mini's absence. It was a quiet evening, thereafter!


Tailpiece.

The pro-Pakistan lobby, within our country, continue to spread fake news and spew venom about Kashmir. Why aren't these people being tried for treason? They cannot be let off lightly this time, because they've been having a charmed existence till now!    

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Are these genuine concerns?

A total of 14 PILs over various aspects of the current situation in Kashmir came up for hearing before a bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice SA Bobde and Justice Abdul Nazeer.

The Court allowed restrictions on communication and travel in Jammu and Kashmir to continue for now. It was the 24th day of the communication lock down since the formation of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The pleas can be divided into three types of petitions:-

 (a) The Habeas Corpus cases. CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and Syed, a 22 year old
       law graduate, had approached the Court in Habeas Corpus writ petitions.

       * All attempts to contact former CPI(M) MLA, MY Tarigami had failed since 05 Aug and the
          party was not even aware of where its politburo member was being kept under detention. He
          also claimed that Tarigami was suffering from illness and may need to be brought to Delhi for
          treatment.

       * Syed has claimed that he has not got information about his family in Anantnag, since 04 Aug.
          He claimed that the entire valley seemed to be under detention.

        Syed and Sitaram Yechury went to Srinagar today, in pursuit of their requests, as
        permitted by the Court.

  (b) Article 370 cases.

        10 petitions before the bench have raised legal challenges to the annulment of the Constitution
        and change to the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The pleas have been filed by a variety
        of persons, including lawyers, bureaucrats, artists and politicians. The petitioners have alleged
        that Art 370 amendment could not have been done without the concurrence of a duly elected
        Constituent Assembly in Jammu and Kashmir.

        * The Court, as of now, has not passed any orders on the petition but has issued a notice
         to the government to respond to the pleas by Oct.

        * A five judge Constitution Bench is now expected to hear the Article 370 issues from the
         first week of October.

   (c) Pleas Against Communication Lockdown.

         Two petitions also addressed the communication lockdown in Kashmir.

         * Anuradha Bhasin of the Kashmir Times has flagged the issue of freedom of press being
            violated.
         * Social activist Tehseen Poonawala pointed out that essential services including ambulance,
            police and fire service are not accessible due to the curfew like situation and communication
            blockade.

         * The bench has adjourned the issue for a week, asking the government to respond on the
         issues raised in the petition.


Tailpiece.

Lekha had gone to the Maha Ganapathy kshetram at a half past 8 in the morning and returned about an hour and a half later. Mini had fetched up around a quarter past 3 and will be here with us till tomorrow afternoon. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

At Raj Nivas.

Sabu's grandmother's name is Saradamma.........more about her later.

We'd got up on the dot at 6, gone through the chores and were ready by 8. Had a nice breakfast of Semiya upma made by Gouri, said our farewells to my cousin and her husband and were ready to kick off the day's journey. And, then, disaster struck! My latest possession, a single malt whisky that I'd picked up from the canteen yesterday, slipped through my hands and the bottle broke into many pieces, with the contents wastefully sucked in by the interlocking tiles!

Was very sad at the colossal waste and wished that I was a twad careful while shifting it from the rear seat to the boot. And I sincerely wondered as to whether the day had many more ominous events lined up as we were on a long drive, meeting schedules that have been carefully drawn up. From Gandhi Nagar to Thrippunithura, I had to reckon with heavy traffic - despite the fact that it was a holiday - to pick up Rema and Padmakumar who were headed for my brother-in-law's house at Pidavoor, where a lot of renovation work is currently on.

The drive to Onamthuruthu was uneventful and we'd our lunch enroute at Ettumanoor. We reached Sabu's grandmother's house by about 1 and saw the old lady lying in state in all her glory. What puzzled me was that her body had swollen up at various points, wonder why? Usually such eruptions vanish as death embraces the individual. Was reminded of the occasion when I'd the privilege of meeting her for the first time beside Lekha's bed at the Lisie hospital, Kochi. She was so full of love and compassion and had maintained that affinity towards us till her very end.

Said my small prayer as I took in her earthly form for one last time as I stood with folded hands along with Lekha, Rema and Padmakumar. Met many of my relatives, headed by Indira kunjamma.

We'd left by about a quarter past 3, on our onward journey. Enroute, had tea and a variety of snacks at a wayside eatery run by a friendly Tamilian, by the name of Mani. Passing through Thiruvalla, Chengannur and Pandalam was tough as the traffic was mad. We'd picked up a few paranthas from a shop at Adoor for our supper and Lekha had supplemented it with instant curries.

After getting our dish TV energised, at Kottarakkara, through the franchisee, dropped Rema and Padmakumar at Pidavoor and reached Raj Nivas by a trifle past 2000 hrs. The caretaker was there to give us a brief round up about the activities undertaken and I'd sent him off, without ado, as it was getting late.

By the time we'd settled down for the night, it was almost around midnight.


Tailpiece.

Finally, Twitter has served notice to Pakistani President Arif Alvi regarding his post on Kashmir showing a protest rally whereas the shot was that of a protest rally at Muzaffarabad in PoK, sometime back. What a cheapo?



  

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Adieu Sabu's grandmother!

The day had started at 4 AM when Lekha's telephonic alarm had gone off. We went through our chores and had set off from 'The Quarterdeck' by about 10' to 7. As we were moving, I'd passed our gate keys to our neighbour which she'd returned just a couple of days back, through her messenger! The drive to Thrissur was, as usual not very tricky, as the traffic was sparse and we were soon at the Saravana Bhavan at Paliyekkara, where we'd stopped to have our breakfast.

It did rain enroute but it was not to the intensity that we saw the whole of last night. At Kalamasserry, I'd turned off into the Container Road to make our move to the Naval base, easier and we were at the canteen by about a half past 11. The purchases took about an hour and consequently, we sped off to my cousin's house to be in time for lunch.

I would be failing in my duty if I didn't mention the tremendous help that Varghese, on the security detail was, in transferring the grocery and other assorted things into the boot of our Chevy. It was only but natural to tip him accordingly, he wished us a very happy Onam in advance and gave me a smart salute as I wheeled the Chevy out of the premises.

Lunch with Ramakrishnan, my brother-in-law, was laced with a lot of stories about the happenings in and around their place, which were nice to hear. After a short snooze, the both of us set off for meeting up with Dr. Satish Bhat and the two hours that we were there with him, were not only interesting but also educative! I did tell him as to how terribly disappointed I was that he didn't come on the line, when I'd called him a few days ago, for advice.

The upshot of it was that he has given us his personal telephone number and e-mail ID.

Sabu's grandmother, all of 88 years, had passed into the mist of time last evening due to a massive heart attack. What I remember of her was that way back in Aug '93, she'd come along with Sabu and my cousin, Lekshmi to be at Lekha's bedside in the Lisie Hospital. That was a great gesture when Lekha was seriously ill and from then on, the two of them had a very special relationship. And she was also fond of me.

RIP, Sabu's grandma! Our tears and prayers. You'll always have a special place in our hearts for the love and affection that you gave us.


Tailpiece.

Fixed up with my sister, Rema and brother-in-law, Padmakumar regarding our trip tomorrow to attend Sabu's grandmother's funeral after which we shall head for my parents' place.           

Monday, August 26, 2019

The Life of the Mind.

The questions raised by our thirst for knowledge arise from our curiosity about the world, our desire to investigate whatever is given to our sensory apparatus.......the questions raised by the desire to know are in principle all answerable by common-sense experience and common-sense reasoning; they are exposed to corrigible error and illusion in the same way as sense perceptions and experiences. Even the relentlessness of modern science's progress, which constantly corrects itself by discarding the answers and reformulating the questions, does not contradict science's basic goal - to see and to know the world as it is given to the senses - and its concept of truth is derived from the common-sense experience of irrefutable evidence, which dispels error and illusion. But the questions raised by thinking and which it is in reason's very nature to raise - questions of meaning - are all unanswerable by common sense and the refinement of it we call science. The quest for meaning is "meaningless" to common sense and common-sense reasoning because it is the sixth sense's function to fit us into the world of appearances and make us at home in the world given by our five senses; there we are and no questions asked.

                                                                                  - Hannah Arendt.


The Parts of Speech Poem.

Every name is called a noun,
As field and fountain, street and town.
In place of noun the pronoun stands,
As he and she can clap their hands.
The adjective describes a thing,
As magic wand or bridal ring,
The verb means action, something done,
As read and write and jump and run.
How things are done the adverbs tell,
As quickly, slowly, badly, well.
The preposition shows relation,
As in the street or at the station.
Conjunctions join, in many ways,
Sentences, words or phrase and phrase.
The interjection cries out, "Hark!
I need an exclamation mark!"


Tailpiece.

We'd got up on the dot at 6, went about our chores and as Lekha was quick to have the breakfast made, I made my first dash to the Rajah Hospital to record my 'Fasting Blood Sugar'. The sister who drew the sample did it well - I didn't even know as to when the needle was plunged into my body - and she asked me as to whether I wasn't taking anymore tests to which I replied in the negative. I realised that she was keen to pick up a conversation; she told me that she'd visited our home, earlier, as part of a team, to collect samples. She was Gifty and I kicked my shin for not remembering her name! Did I disappoint her? Must have!

On return and after a quick breakfast, was back again in the lab for the 'Post Prandial Blood Sugar' recording. It was Hamid who was my sa'arthi for both the outings and after that, I'd work at the bank. The caretaker had to be sent the money for cleaning up Raj Nivas and I'd to kill an old issue of unwanted credit cards that were forced upon me.

The lab results were got on my return trip and the readings have come down, much to my gladness.

Armed with the results, I meet Dr. Satish Bhat, at Kochi, tomorrow vide an earlier appointment.




Sunday, August 25, 2019

Those halcyon days....

This is about a generation of kids who eventually grew up tough and learned to make it on their own with no government subsidies, no unemployment benefits, no medical plans, very few job openings to apply for, even if you had an education, no savings and for the most part, no inheritance from the parents. Most families lived from day to day and had no savings.

How true and so well articulated! To the wonderful kids who were born in the country and survived the '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s........

First we survived being born to mothers, some of whose husbands smoked and/or drank while they carried us. They took Aspirin, ate whatever food was put on the table and didn't get tested for diabetes or any other disease! They were mothers who did not check their blood pressure every few weeks.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking or going out on our own. As children, if we would ride in cars that had no seat belts or airbags. We sat on each others laps for God's sake. Riding in the back of a Station Wagon on a warm day was always a special treat.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this! We would share a naan or samosa, dip a chapatti into someone else's plate of curry without batting an eyelid. We ate jam sandwiches or pickle on bread and butter, raw mangoes with salt and chillies that set our teeth on edge and drank orange squash with sugar and water in it.

We ate at roadside stalls, drank water from tender coconuts, ate everything that was bad for us from bhajias (Battered and fried vegetables) and samosas but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING. We would leave home in the morning and play all day during the holidays, we were never bored and we were allowed our freedom all day as long as we were back when the streetlights came on or when our parents told us to do so.

No one was able to reach us all day by phone or mobile phone.......BUT we were OKAY!

We would spend hours making paper kites, building things out of scraps with old pram wheels or cycle rims, inventing our own games, having pound parties, playing traditional games called hide and seek, kick the can, 'guli danda', seven tiles and rounders, ride old cycles and then ride down the hill only to find out we forgot the brakes.

After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

Our parents earned less, never travelled abroad. Religion was never an issue, everyone trusted and loved each other and came to each other's aid when needed.

We never heard of or claimed our inheritance, whilst our parents were alive. We did not look for inheritance after they died too. They made sure we were alright. Never heard of pocket money! GROWING UP IN INDIA.....MAY SEEM FUNNY TO TODAY'S KIDS.

We did not have parents who said things like 'what would you like for breakfast, lunch or dinner'. We ate what was put in front of us and best of all, there was never any leftovers. We polished the lot!

We had friends, great friends, whose parents we called Uncle and Aunty and we went outside and found them! They took care of us, when our parents were away and without any charge!

We fell out of trees numerous times, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there was no compensation claims from these accidents. We never visited the Dentist! We ate fruits lying on the ground that we shook down from the tree above. And we never washed the fruit.

We had a bath using a bucket and mug and used Lifebuoy soap. We did not know what Shampoos, Conditioners meant.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls. We rode cycles everywhere and someone sat on the carrier or across the bar to school or the pictures or cinema or you walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell or just walked in and talked to them, and their parents never let us go without a meal or something......

Not everyone made it into teams we wanted to......Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of...They actually sided with the law! This generation of ours has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever......!

The past 50 years, never heard of an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

Those were the golden days my friends of our yester years.....!!

Note. Courtesy What'sApp.


Tailpiece.

It was a rainy day, most of the time, thanks to a low pressure trough in the bay of Bengal Region. Had taken out my Chevy to top it up with fuel and to check tyre pressure.

PS.

Adieu Mr. Arun Jaitley!

The former Finance Minister had passed into the mist of time yesterday afternoon at 1207 hrs due to multiple medical ailments. He was 66. The media has been giving us the details of his life and times. What impressed me about him was the clarity in his thinking and the superb articulation of his thoughts. He had no special love for the defence forces but was fair and forthright and was a capable minister, bringing in reforms that were badly needed.

RIP, Mr. Jaitley! My prayers!! May your near and dear ones have the fortitude to tide over these stressful times!!!

PPS.
To score political points, people can go to any extreme. Today the Congress' current motor mouth, Adhir Ranjan Choudhary asks, "Is Kashmir not a part of India?' and a similar kind of noise was made by Rahul Gandhi, himself. And mind you, this is the Pakistani line too because of the tight security measures in place being eased progressively! How can people be so selfish that they don't even mind being anti-national to show their government in bad light and to score brownie points? Do they want Jammu and Kashmir to be in turmoil, always? 

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Strange but true.....!

1. In spite of so many colours - Black and White is considered class.

2. In spite of so many voices, words and sounds - Silence is considered ultimate.

3. In spite of so much to eat - Fasting is considered healthy.

4. In spite of so much to travel and explore - Meditating under trees and mountains is considered
    superior.

5. In spite of so much to see - Closing your eyes and looking within is Apex.

6. In spite of listening to all the outside world - Voice from inside You is eternal.

7. In spite of a sweet, charming life - A peaceful soul of Solace and Divine is the ultimate.

Trust your senses. Live a great life.

    *                        *                         *

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but no one - including time - owes anything to you. 

Your life is a series of habits that are formed from choices you make - and then continue to make - every single day. If you want healing, then you have got to figure out a way to face what hurt you. If you want growth, you need to put in the work. If you want a healthier relationship, you better start learning how to communicate what you need. We all think we are products of what happens to us. That we are - handed - the lives we have and expected to keep them. We are not. What happens to us is simply a starting point. So your choice - the one you remake every single day - is to let what happened to you hold you back. Or to use what happened for you to propel you forward.

                                                                               - Emma Grace.


Tailpiece.

A quiet Saturday. It was a day of the usual chores!

PS.
A week, or so, back when Rahul Gandhi asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration as to when he could visit the state, the Governor had said that he could visit anytime. Today, he decides to go along with a few other 'selected' opposition leaders and the press loyal to them, fetches up at the Srinagar airport only to be told by the administration and the local security detail - under orders from the state government - not to get out of the airport and consequently, they'd to return to New Delhi..

I've a few questions to ask in this regard:-

      (a) Rahul Gandhi, you were given the invite. Why didn't you go all by yourself instead of taking
            along the others, since you very well know that the situation is being brought to normalcy
            after the initial heightened security measures taken, post abrogation of Article 370?
      (b) Mind you, every citizen of the country knows about certain opposition parties' contribution
            towards the mess that was Jammu and Kashmir, backing a variety of groups for short and
            narrow political gains.
      (c) Are you worried that the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the state of Jammu
           and Kashmir will result in lasting peace in the troubled state, rendering the entire opposition
           persona non grata among the people of the state? 
                

Friday, August 23, 2019

On the occasion of Janamashtami...

Today's Janamashtami, the birthday of Lord Sri Krishna. Appropriate celebrations and prayers have been going on all through the day. Our day had begun at a half past 5, as Lekha after preparing our breakfast had gone to the temple for a 'darshan' of the good Lord, to mark the occasion. 

On this occasion, I'd like to remind all of us that no one remembers the baby girl born on the same day who was interchanged with Krishna, to save his life. The boy's life was precious but the girl was born to sacrifice her life. Today is not only the birthday of Krishna but also the birthday of Yogamaya (Also known as Yogmaya/Jogmaya).

It is said that Yogamaya flew off to the heavens, freeing herself from the clutches of Kamsa while announcing to him, "Your killer has taken birth". Scriptures do not clearly mention that she, too, got killed like the other siblings of Krishna. .

Yogamaya was also an incarnation of Sakthi, who came to be born along with the incarnation of Lord Vishnu to keep an old promise. When Kamsa caught her by her feet and hurled her on to the ground, she flew towards the heaven, saying, "Kamsa, your killer has already taken birth. I could have also killed you but since you caught me by my feet, I take it as your expression of humility and am pardoning you".

Krishna was born in the darkness of the night within the locked confines of a jail.

However, at the moment of his birth, all the guards fell asleep, the chains were broken and the barred doors gently opened.

Similarly, as soon as Krishna (Chetna, Awareness) takes birth in our hearts, all darkness (Negativity) fades.

All chains (Ego, I, Me, Myself) are broken.

And all prison doors we keep ourselves in (Caste, Religion, Profession, Relations etc) are opened.

And that is the real message and essence of Janamashtami.



Tailpiece.

There was a massive crowd at the temple but when Lekha had reached there, the Lord was taking his three chukkers around the path outside the sanctum sanctorum and therefore, she had a very nice darshan. On her return, I saw her going through acute pain, consequent to her movements within the temple and asked her as to why she had to go through it knowing, fully well, that this would be the outcome. Her reply was cryptic and quick, "This will be only for a short while and I never felt any pain when I was going around the temple!" I've always been impressed with this spirit of her's!!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

A personal dilemma.

A couple of months back, I'd talked of our old farmhand and dad's right hand man - a long while back who used to carry out agricultural work on our property - had requested me to get a job for his son, Nikhil. After Vocational Higher Secondary School examination, the lad had completed the automobile engineering course in the Industrial Training Institute(ITI), in our neighbourhood.

The father wanted me to help him get enrolled in the armed forces but the boy had clearly told me that he prefers a job, connected with the automobile industry.

My classmate's son is the HR executive in a leading automobile company. I'd put across this boy's case and he was more than willing to help out. Accordingly, he'd asked me to tell the youngster to send him his curriculum vitae. I'd told of this requirement to the son and his mom about four days back; but I got a very scanty and sketchy CV a day later and I'd called him up to say as to what all information was expected in the document, so as to project his persona, correctly! Incidentally, the mom had asked me as to whether I wanted a factual CV (Is prepared by someone he knows, for Rs.30/- or a much hyped CV (Obtainable at Rs.100/- from the same guy. Never knew about the existence of such a racket!). Though my patience was running out and my anger rising, I managed to tell them that I never encouraged falsehood but wondered, within, as to how they thought of getting away with such an idea, with me!

After a lapse of two days, Nikhil's mom had called me up this afternoon to tell the following:-

     (a) Her son was doing a 1 year attachment with the very same ITI, from where he'd passed out,
           to collect an 'experience certificate' and he has just completed two months (Perhaps, the
           course fee is steep for the family and dropping from it means a loss of investment and I
           appreciate that).

     (b) The father had simply cut himself away from this proposal of mine as he continues to be
           adamant that his son should join the armed forces! (I can understand his sentiments on this
           issue but he wants me to ignore his son's aspirations, which I don't support. The mom, in this
           case, like all mothers supports the son!)

     (c) Since the company that would provide him with a job deals exclusively with two wheelers,
           she's convinced that it would pay him less than what a 'four wheeler' company would give
           him as emoluments (How do I tackle this misinformation?)

     (d) She, finally, conceded that his friends - doing the course with him now - are dissuading him
           from taking up this offer saying that he must complete the course by all means (A case of 
           grapes being sour as they haven't got any such offer?).

     (e) He wants to learn driving and get a licence before taking up a job (I still can't fathom as to
           why that can't be done after getting the job).

I was quite shaken up by such sort of a reaction and have mentally pulled, myself, out of this idea of helping him out. I'll be at Raj Nivas, next week, to attend a wedding and to carry out the ceremonies connected with my mom's remembrance day, as per the Malayalam calendar. I shall explain to them if I get an occasion to meet anyone of them but there would be no compulsion.

I'm sure the youngster will get a better deal on his own efforts and perhaps, that's what beckons him! And I wish him well.


Tailpiece.

It was another quiet day with nothing much happening. It was raining cats and dogs by evening! Lekha had gone to the nearby supermarket to buy grocery.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The drama continued all through the day.

After being away from sight for about 24 hrs, the former Finance and Home Minister, P Chidambaram surfaced at the Congress party headquarters in New Delhi for a press conference. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has listed his bail plea for being heard on Friday. A lookout notice was already issued, in the meanwhile, since his whereabouts were not known!

And this is the gist of what he'd said at the press conference:-

   * "Our Constitution grants us life and liberty. If asked to choose between the two, I'd choose
      liberty.
   * Lies, about me, are being spread by pathological liars.
   * I've received interim protection, from being arrested, for about 13 to 15 months.
   * Yesterday, after the High Court had rejected my plea for anticipatory bail and immunity from
      arrest, my lawyers had approached the Supreme Court to list my plea for bail and immunity from
      arrest for an urgent hearing. It has been listed for Friday.
   * There has been a canard, that was spread, that I was running away from the law but since last
      night I and my lawyers were working on the related papers.
   * Today, too, I was engaged with my lawyers in pursuit of my liberty.
   * Between now and Friday, I shall respect the law and await the decision of the Supreme Court".

And he didn't take any questions.

He returned to his residence at Jor Bagh, New Delhi and had created unwanted scenes which were avoidable. Two teams of the CBI and a team of the ED, had reached his gates which were locked. After the teams had scaled the boundary wall, the Investigating Officer had entered the house for conversation with the former minister and a decision was taken.

And after about over an hour's drama, P Chidambaram was whisked away by the team to the CBI's Headquarters. The time was around 2200 hrs!

My take.

* Why didn't the likes of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul or Priyanka present themselves at the press
   conference and give him moral support since the latter two were very actively supporting him
   through their tweets?
* Or are they aware of his involvement in the scam and by their standing by him will put them in
   a difficult situation, as the case proceeds?
* Why did he have to go through that one hour-drama before courting arrest?
* After wielding enormous powers in government, it is essential that one's wrongs have to be
   explained and punishment, commensurate to the error, accepted with grace!
* Or did he feel that he was invincible, with the backing of his political party?


Tailpiece.

A quiet day and it was just the two of us as we went through the chores. The maid was attending an engagement ceremony in her family.      

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

What a shame?

For the last about two years or so, one used to keep hearing the news that P Chidambaram would not be arrested because some court or the other had said so. I'd always asked my query on this forum as to why he was getting away without an arrest and consequent jail term, during the course of the investigation. The funniest thing was that even his son, Karti was being protected from arrest.

And today, the inevitable seems to be happening. The Delhi High Court had refused to grant him anticipatory bail in the:-

      * Corruption and money laundering case related to the INX Media scandal.
      * It also denied him interim protection from his arrest.

He, immediately, moved the Supreme Court to seek protection against arrest from the probe agencies, but the plea will be heard tomorrow.   

The High Court judge, Justice Sunil Gaur had declared the following while passing his judgement:-

       * Both the applications are dismissed.
       * Prima facie proof shows Chidambaram to be the 'kingpin' of the fraud.
       * The magnitude and the enormity of the crime disentitles him from any pre-arrest bail.
       * It is a massive economic offence and needs to be dealt with an iron hand.
       * He has been evasive in his replies and has not co-operated with the investigation.
       * His role had come under the scanner of various investigative agencies in the Rs.3,500 crore
          Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case involving Rs.305 crores.
       * It was during his tenure, as the Finance Minister in the UPA-I government, that clearances from
          the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) were given to the two ventures.

Mrs. Indrani Mukherjea has expressed her willingness to be an approver in this case!

My Take.

 * Why do guys like him evade the law?
 * Being an ex-Finance Minister and an ex-Home Minister, how dare he circumvent these
    investigative agencies whom he'd once ruled over?
 * The very fact that he has dodged investigations gives me ample proof that he is guilty of the
    charges.
 * He is bound to come up with the usual story that he's being hounded by the Modi government out
    of vendetta and that, he's very clean.
 * He's, right now, gone into hiding like a fugitive, since 5' past 1700 hrs today!
 * Does his impending arrest give sleepless nights to his 'leaders' in the Congress?

Tomorrow should witness as to what he does and what happens to him.


Tailpiece.

It was a happening day and a lot of pending work has been done viz.:-
 
   * The IFB rep had come and replaced the PCB of the washing machine and a set  of bed linen was
      washed.
   * Ramesh, our gardener, had come by and with the help of the aerosol W-40 burnt up the rust on
      the runners of our gate, freeing the stuck runner.
   * Sent the photograph and the citation of the investiture ceremony of Jun '88 when I was awarded
      my NM (Gallantry) to WingCo Padmaraj, of our school.   

Monday, August 19, 2019

A rewind.

Actually, it had begun from last evening when Mohan and his wife, Asha had spent the evening with us. Incidentally, about 10 days back, they were with Savio at Chicago. It was nice to catch up with them and they did update us with all the things that mattered. Despite the earlier roll call, it was just the two of us from our class, along with our wives, to attend Vasu's son's wedding.

Vasu had passed into the mist of time two years back leaving Sujatha, their children, Raghunath and Parvathi behind. They are settled at Bangalore but Raghu is working for a logistic firm based at Madras. His wife, Vandana, too, works in a multinational IT firm there; incidentally, Vandana has her roots in Guruvayur.

      *                       *                        *

We'd decided to fetch up at the Poonthanam Auditorium, at the eastern entrance of the temple, by 1000 hrs. On such occasions, I don't take the Chevy because the traffic is mad, there are two many one-ways and parking space is at a premium! So, it was Hamid who was our chauffeur; he'd come by about a quarter past 10 after I'd permitted him to have his cup of tea because he seemed to need it, probably, because of the flash rain that was on then.

There were three bad traffic snarls enroute and we were sitting on the edge of our seat because the invitation said that the 'muhurat' was between 1030 and 1100 hrs. We could not make it in our first approach because the entrance that we were looking for had a sentry, who was permitting no vehicle to enter the premises. The upshot of the whole thing was that we ended up making a full chukker of the temple and got dropped a bit far away from the auditorium.

Fearing the worst that we'd missed the wedding, a dejected Lekha and I approached the building when we saw Sujatha, Raghunath and Parvathi and the immediate members of the family, collecting up at the entrance to be received ceremonially by the girl's family into the innards of the venue. I can never forget the look on Sujatha's face on sighting us - as of having come across the people that she was really looking forward to and mind you, it's a great feeling. Mohan had reserved two seats for us in the auditorium and had given me a hint earlier: so, settling down was done in a jiffy.

Bindu, wife of late Col Ramesh, again a classmate of mine, was also sitting in the same row as us. We could witness the entire sequence of the wedding from our seats - what I meant was that there was no wooding of the view by the battery of photographers, intently copying every frame diligently.

When we finally got the opportunity to wish the newlyweds a long and happy married life and was photographed with them, it was well past noon. The next, in sequence, was the ceremonial lunch and it was there that we met our immediate neighbours - they were representing the girl's side!

Heartiest congratulations Raghunath and Vandana. May you get whatever you wish for on the long road of your life together! And may God be with you in all your endeavour!!


Tailpiece.

I'm sure (Vasu) Wing Commander Vinod Kumar Vasudev was around, watching every aspect of the wedding! Parvathi is gonna get married in Guruvayur, at the Hotel Devaragam, on 18 Oct '19.              

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Whither Hong Kong?

Pro-democracy demonstrators marched on one side of Hong Kong's famous harbour yesterday to demand the government heed to their requirements. Across the water, a pro-government rally called for an end to the often violent protests. The movement's demands are three viz.:-

    (a) Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam's resignation.
    (b) Democratic elections and
    (c) An independent investigation into police use of force.

The demonstrations have been on for 10 weeks and shows no sign of relenting. The airport has been affected and the resultant chaos has been witnessed by the entire world.

To quote a demonstrator, "The government right now doesn't listen to the people and the police are too violent. It never used to be like this. We didn't have to protest every week but, now, even though we have protests every week, the government still gives no response".

Meanwhile, members of China's para-military People's Armed Police force have been training across the border in Shenzen, fuelling speculation that they could be sent in to suppress the protests. Hong Kong police, however, have said that they are capable of handling it.

It's just a matter of time when China clamps in its authority and perhaps, take into custody the leaders of the protest. The wait is creating a great deal of fear and unease!

2. A Nuclear Mishap?

    From the promenade at the water's edge in the city of Arkhangelsk, a view opens of the broad,
    swift flowing Northern Dvina River and a smudge of greenery on the far bank. About 40 miles in
    that direction, a still mysterious nuclear accident last week, released radiation, killed at least
    seven people and tripped radiation meters in two cities, including Archangelsk.

   "That if there was something to worry about, people would know. They cannot hide anything", is
   a general viewpoint about the government, despite the official silence on details of the incident on
   08 Aug that apparently involved the explosion of a nuclear propelled missile. Without knowing the
   radioactive substances used in the missile, the nature of the fallout also remains unclear.

   Meanwhile, at the Archangelsk Regional Clinical Hospital, where three injured were first treated,
   doctors and nurses were not warned of radiation risks. Later, the doctors found that their scrubs
   were causing radiation meters to click. Those who treated the injured were subsequently shifted to
   Moscow  for treatment. And the locals continue to be in the dark!

   Why aren't the doubts of the people cleared?


Tailpiece.

Suresh and Vijayakumar and their wives are not coming to Guruvayur. John V had a medical difficulty - he's all right and I'd spoken  to him late evening - and therefore, did not leave Bangalore as planned. Mohan and Asha had dropped by and it was a wonderful evening as the four of us exchanged notes. 
 
   

    

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Interesting happenings!

1. Air India Flies Over the North Pole.

    Air India became the first Indian carrier to fly over the North Pole. New Delhi - San Francisco
    flight AI-173 took off at 0400 hrs yesterday, with about 243 passengers on board, overflew
    Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Russia and crossed the North Pole by 1227 hrs to cross over
    to the other side of the planet earth. The following points are discernible:

       (a) Had Pakistan shut down its airspace, the polar route would have been taken after the
             aircraft flew over the Strait of Hormuz.
       (b) This would be the last days of Air India as the national carrier before it goes through the
             disinvestment process.
       (c) According to the pilot, after crossing Russia there was no air traffic for 9 hours. There was
             an endless expanse of snow and ice.
       (d) As the aircraft crossed over the North Pole and went over to the other side, the navigation
             display swung 180 degrees to go from north to point south.
       (e) The Delhi - San Francisco flight is the only flight in the world to have three routing options:-
              (i) over the Atlantic.
             (ii) over the Pacific or
            (iii) over the north pole.
       (f)  The flying time through the polar route was 14 hrs 59 mts while if it had been over either the
             Atlantic or the Pacific, it would have taken 16 hrs 40 mts.
       (g) The New Delhi - San Francisco flight was launched in Dec '15.

2. Plumbing the Ocean Depths for Minerals.

    India will test deep-sea mining machine at 6,000 mts by year end. Polymetallic nodules are a
    source of metals such as Nickel, Cobalt, Copper, Manganese and Iron.

        (a) How will it be done?

              * Survey identifies areas where polymetallic nodules are present.
              * Ship carrying Integrated Mining System(IMS) will be anchored at site.
              * Soil tester will be sent down to evaluate seabed soil properties for load bearing and
                 shear strength.
              * A 12-ton crawler will be sent to the seabed.
              * Cameras on crawler send images to the ship.
              * Pump sucks the nodule, transfers it to a crusher in the crawler.
              * Crushed nodules pumped to ship through a buffer.
              * Minerals segregated in ship and transported to land.
              * India to explore polymetallic nodules in the central Indian Ocean basin for 15 years.
              * Estimated polymetallic nodule resource potential is 300 million tons containing
                 - 4.7   million tons of Nickel.
                 - 4.29 million tons of Copper.
                 - 0.55 million tons of Cobalt and
                 - 92.5 million tons of Manganese.

       (b) Mining equipment tested at 500 mts depth so far.
       (c) First stage will be conducted by end '19 with crawler for locomotion trials and pumping
             system at 6,000 mts depth.
       (d) Prototype will be ready in '22 and go through final tests.

 Deep Ocean Mission to help leverage the Blue Economy, the sustainable use of ocean resources
 for economic growth.


Tailpiece.

The OEM reps had, finally, fetched up by late afternoon. The washing machine needs to have its electronic board changed and it will happen by next Wednesday. The geyser(The green LED was dangling within) and the ceiling fan's capacitor was connected up wrongly. I have renewed my opinion about the professional acumen of Babeesh after today's inputs!    

Friday, August 16, 2019

A resurgent India.

The Security Council of the United Nations had sat down to discuss the Kashmir issue in the wake of the scrapping of Articles 370 and 35 A by India. While China - in favour of its ally, Pakistan - made some noises, our all weather ally, Russia checkmated it by saying that Jammu and Kashmir was a bilateral issue between the two countries! Pakistan has been humiliated, yet again, while trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue. Hope the Pakistani GHQ along with its puppet, Imran Khan, realise that they really do not have any true friends in the world.

Moreover, an economic pariah like Pakistan, cannot aspire to have friendly relations with any other country! Their state craft of using terrorism to achieve their ends only puts the others off from offering their hands of friendship!!

Rajnath Singh, the Raksha Mantri, made it clear today that India's nuclear policy of 'No first use' can change depending upon the circumstances. This comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent statement that India's nuclear arsenal was not for being burst as crackers for Diwali when Pakistan was sabre-rattling its nukes to threaten us from taking retaliatory measures after the terror strikes sponsored by it in Pulwama.

Imran Khan has also confessed that the Balakot strikes by the IAF is giving him recurring nightmares. Why doesn't that country seriously get about sorting out its economic mess and turn a new leaf and for a change, stop comparing itself with India because it's beyond its realm?

I am of the opinion that the world has realised that the surgical strikes of '16 followed by the daring Balakot strike of last year, along with the series of actions taken by the present government, with regard to Jammu and Kashmir, shows India's new found resilience to take on adversities head on and retaliate swiftly to devastating effect.

It's a great feeling!


Tailpiece.

The continuous rain of the past days seemed to have subsided because it was a sunny day today with a couple of drizzles. The electricity board guys had come by and confirmed that our electrical complaints were not at their end. After that input, I'd called up the original equipment manufacturers and registered the defects of the washing machine, geyser and the small ceiling fan in the kitchen; they've promised to attend to the defects tomorrow.

Some satisfaction, this!

PS.

Adieu Vidya Sinha!

It was with great sadness that I heard the news of Vidya Sinha passing into the mist of time. I was taken back immediately to my times at the National Defence Academy, during the early '70s. She had hit the silver screen with that beautiful movie 'Rajnigandha' and her vivaciousness, million-volt-smile and beauty had impacted my heart. I don't think I've missed any movie of her's. Sometime in '82 - I don't remember the exact date or even month - we travelled together in the 'Deccan Queen' to Poona from Bombay, in adjacent seats.......by chance, of course!

I was a DivO at the NDA then and was returning after a short leave. I told her that I was her ardent fan and had fallen in love with her after seeing her first movie. I was privy to that dazzling smile and a longish conversation with her during that journey - one of the memories that I treasure!

RIP Vidya Sinha. With tears and prayers! You shall always remain in my heart!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

India @ 73.

Today's India's 73rd Independence Day. Great many things have happened over the last month and a new India looks forward to the changes that seem to be beckoning it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a 92-minute speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort and here are the excerpts that tells us as to what his government's thrust would be in the coming days:-

  (a) Articles 370 and 35 have been revoked as a step towards realising the dream of Sardar Patel.
        * Finally, it's 'One Nation, One Constitution'.

  (b) Floods and Water conservation.
        * A ministry of Jal Shakti has been formed.
        * Medical sector to be more people friendly.
        * Jal Jeevan Mission to pick up speed in operations.

  (c) Triple Talaq.
        * If steps can be taken against 'Sati', female foeticide and dowry, then why not against Triple
           Talaq?
        * Will help Muslim women to lead a better life.

  (d) CDS (Chief of Defence Staff).
        * The armed forces are India's pride.
        * To further co-ordinate between the three services, a CDS will come into being.

  (e)  Free India from the use of plastic.
        * A co-ordinated effort by many agencies and a fool-proof plan will be put in place by 02 Oct.

  (f)  Congratulates Afghanistan for having completed 100 years of freedom.

  (g)  Rs.100 million will be invested towards infrastructure during the next 5 years.

  (h)  Aim to reach among the first 50 nations in 'ease of doing business'.

  (j)   Relentless fight against terrorism.
         * Without naming Pakistan even once, he said that some of the neighbouring countries like
            Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were suffering from terrorist activities.

  (k)  We have to tackle population explosion to do justice to the aspirations of our children.

  (l)   Five years back people thought, "Can the country change?" Now the people say, "Yes, my
         country can change".

  (m) Just like we enjoy sight seeing abroad, over the next five years try visiting places of interest
         in our country. Many of them might not have the infrastructure to take care of the influx of
         tourists but taking into account the footfalls of the tourists, the necessary infrastructure will
         come up.

         * It will also give the younger generation a great amount of information regarding our
            history, heritage and culture.

         * A prime minister exhorting his people to tour their country! Great!!

   (n) Strengthening of UAPA.
         * The concerned agencies will also be strengthened.



Tailpiece.

Hoisted the tricolour at our balcony at 8 AM.

Babeesh had come by around 12 o'clock and went about repairs by replacement of the defective fixtures. Two things stood out in the process and I, too, was enlightened which were:-

          (a) The new ceiling fan was fitted in the kitchen in place of the wall mounted one but after
               fitment, saw that no air was being thrown because it was rotating in the opposite direction.
               Of the three fuses - for each of the phase - one was defective and it was redone. At times,
               such an action makes moving machines go in the opposite directions and hence, the KSEB
               guys would be required to correct it. Immediately, launched a complaint.

          (b) The online geyser was fitted in the bathroom of the master bedroom. There are two lights -
                a red and a green - that come on and when the water has acquired the requisite warmth,
                the green light cuts off. The green light in this case just doesn't come on. The defect will,
                now, have to be rectified the OEM, shall get them to do it tomorrow.
             
The rain seems to have halted because the day was sunny almost throughout the day.

And the tricolour was hauled down at sunset.
     

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Ticklers.

  1. If you take an Oriental person and spin him around several times, does he become disoriented?

  2. If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from Holland called Holes?

  3. Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?

  4. If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?

  5. If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

  6. Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

  7. When cheese gets its picture taken, what does it say?

  8. Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist but a person who drives a racing car not
      called a racist?             

  9. Why are a wise man and a wise guy opposites?

10. Why do overlook and oversee mean opposite things?

11.  Why isn't the number 11 pronounced onety one?

12. "I am" is reportedly the shortest sentence in English language. Could it be that "I do" is the
      longest sentence?

13. If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that electricians can be
      delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, dog trainers debarked and
      dry cleaners depressed?

14. What hair colour do they put on the driver's licenses of bald men?

15. Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office? What are we supposed to do, write
      to them? Why don't they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so that the postmen can
      look for them while they deliver the mail?

16. You never learn to swear until you learn to drive.

17. No one ever says, "It's only a game", when their team is winning.

18. Isn't making a smoking section in a restaurant like making a peeing section in a swimming pool?

19. If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhoea, does that mean that one enjoys it?


Tailpiece.

The day had dawned with the rain of the night continuing with all its might but by afternoon, there was a lull. The plumber-cum-electrician, Babeesh was at our door by 1500 hrs and we'd gone in my Chevy from the western entrance(Padinjaare nada) of the temple, all the way to an electrical shop at Kunnamkulam on the Wadakkancherry road, which had the POS machine and used credit cards for transactions! With the spares in place, he has promised to come for fitment/replacement tomorrow despite it being a holiday!!     

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

God's timing.

Everything happens for a reason!

After 11th September attack on the World Centre, New York, one company invited the remaining members of other companies who had been decimated by the attack on the Twin Towers to share their available office space. At a morning meeting, the head of security told stories of why these people were alive......and all stories were just the 'LITTLE' things.

As you might know, the head of the company survived that day because his son started kindergarten.

Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts.

One woman was late because her alarm clock didn't go off on time.

One of them missed his bus.

One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change.

One's car wouldn't start.

One went back to answer the telephone.

One had a child that dawdled and didn't get ready as soon as he should have.

One couldn't get a taxi.

The one that struck me was the man who put on a new pair of shoes that morning, took the various means to get to work but before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot. He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.

That is why he is alive today..

Now when I am stuck in traffic, miss an elevator, turn back to answer a ringing telephone.....
All the little things that annoy me. I think to myself, this is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment....

Next time
Your morning seems to be going wrong,
The children are slow getting dressed,
You can't seem to find the car keys,
You hit every traffic light.....

Don't get mad or frustrated God is at work watching over you.

May God continue to bless you with all those annoying little things and may you remember their possible purpose.

Rhonda Byrne says, "Look for the gifts in everything, especially when you are facing what appears to be a negative situation. Everything that we attract causes us to grow, which means that ultimately everything is for our own good". 

Live life always being thankful......

With attitude of gratitude.

Note. Courtesy What'sApp.


Tailpiece.

Another quiet day with a weak sun during the forenoon followed by continuous rain post afternoon.

PS.

Am amazed at the way some of the opposition members speak out, making one wonder about their loyalty. A few samples are given below:-

 (a) "Article 370 was nixed because Jammu and Kashmir is a Muslim dominated state".  P
       Chidambaram, an ex-Home Minister just because of his blind hatred towards Narendra Modi
       and for the fact that the law is slowly catching up on him. Should an ex-Home Minister be
       saying this being fully aware of its ramifications?

 (b) "The act of scrapping of 370 is unconstitutional". Priyanka Gandhi Vadra at Sonbhadra. So,
       the Congress is okay with the going away off the Article but is unhappy with the procedures
       adopted to strike it off!

 (c) Sad!


Monday, August 12, 2019

Ten of Albert Einstein's best quotes.

Father of modern physics. Nobel Prize winner. The German-born theoretical physicist is, probably, the world's most recognised  scientist. His formula expressing the relationship between mass and energy is well known, if not widely understood.

Now, over a century on from the publication of his iconic theory of general relativity, it's back in the news. Although his explanation still holds for now, the researchers believe it doesn't fully explain gravity inside a black hole. The most glaring example at the centre of the Milky Way doesn't appear to follow the same laws of physics as elsewhere in the universe and Einstein's theory may need to be revisited to take account of this.

However, his boundless curiosity, creativity and imagination went beyond the realm of science to include the world and humanity more generally. Here are 10 of his quotes that have stood the test of time.

 1. Human intelligence.....

     "We have been endowed with just enough intelligence to be able to see clearly just how utterly
     inadequate that intelligence is when confronted with what exists. If this humility could be
     imparted to everybody, the world of human endeavours would become more appealing".

 2. ......and stupidity.

     "Fear or stupidity has always been the basis of most human actions".

 3. Intuition.

     "I believe in intuitions and inspirations.....I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I
     am".

 4. Persistence.

    "I still struggle with the same problems as ten years ago. I succeed in small matters but the real
     goal remains unattainable, even though it sometimes seems palpably close. It is hard, yet
     rewarding: hard because the goal is beyond my abilities, but rewarding because it makes one
     oblivious to the distractions of everyday life".

 5. Success.

    "Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value".

 6. Love.

     "Love brings much happiness, much more so that pining for someone brings pain".

 7. Society and the individual.

     "Valuable achievement can sprout from human society only when it is sufficiently loosened to
     make possible the free development of an individual's abilities".

 8. Curiosity.

     "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One
     cannot help but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the
     marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries to comprehend only a little of this mystery
     every day".

 9. Science.

     "All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking".

10. Imagination.

      "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination circles the
      world".


Tailpiece.

A quiet day with comparatively less rain. The washing machine was put to use for washing the
bed linen but it proved to be a non starter - continuously showed 'under voltage' while all the instruments on the same line were working without problems! Finally, the washing had to be resorted to manually......meaning more job for Annie, the maid!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Kerala's monsoon is no longer the same!

Has Kerala's climate undergone a drastic change? The present deluge compared with the floods of last year, coupled with a drought-like situation in between, surely confirms it. Here's the scientific lowdown on climatic factors, far beyond our shores, that are causative!

Kerala's monsoon has completely lost its usual rain pattern. Changes in the South West monsoon dynamics are being reflected in the meteorological unpredictability that the state has been witnessing in recent years. The changes range from severe drought to cloudbursts and whose prime cause is global warming.

Topographical changes thanks to unscientific land use has also made Kerala a sitting duck for the water bombs coming from the 'monsoon gateway' in the north west equatorial Indian Ocean. In fact, the meteorologists have been predicting this process for a long time. There is a clear process - the Indian specialists, at the Centre for Earth Research and Environment Management, had started noticing the changes in the '60s and the international agencies acknowledged this in the '70s.

We, now, know it as the Indian Ocean dipole. The dipole is a seesaw effect in temperature between west and east Indian Ocean, causing a vertical separation of the 'monsoon jet'. While one stream crossed over to central India through the west of Kerala, the other section moved east along Sri Lanka coast denying Kerala its temporal spread of SW monsoon.

Till then, the monsoon gateway would receive Somali jets around mid-May and their eventual convergence would spark off the SW monsoon. Significant changes in Indian Ocean temperature changed the thermodynamics over this monsoon trough caused by a "very cunning" biological activity in the Pacific Ocean.

The surface temperature over the Pacific Ocean began dropping considerably with a proportionate increase in the Indian Ocean temperature. "It was detected that the Pacific was couriering its heat content into the Indian Ocean via the 'Indonesian through flow' (Ocean current along the Indonesian coast)" resulting in the stretching of a heat wall from the normal 200 mts to even two kms. With Indian Ocean becoming a dumping yard of Pacific heat, it results in a poorer spread of Nimbostratus clouds (Water vapour laden) in the peninsular region, especially, at the onset phase itself. Similarly, this weakening of the Findlater jet over the region allows convection to grow, resulting in unusual thundershowers during the monsoon regime. This sort of interaction and associated downpour makes the situation more complex.

Another phenomenon from the South China Sea had struck Kerala last week. Two monster cyclones (Separated only by 500 km) are approaching the South China  Sea. This combo effect is sucking away all winds and water content from the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean and its impact is felt over Kerala and central India. Consequently, heavy rains are battering almost all states along the west coast and will subside only when those monster cyclones make landfall!

Note. Adapted from the ToI.


Tailpiece.

The rain was less compared to what it has been over the past week. It was a quiet Sunday! The day had started off with the bleak message that there would be no newspapers today because of breakdown in communication due to the deluge!

Monitored Mithun and Ammu who were travelling from Coimbatore to Bangalore on their scooty. They'd kicked off at 1000 hrs and reached their destination by 1900 hrs! Mini had left earlier by bus and reached around lunchtime; Sanil is already there. The four of them will be together, at Gottigere, for a while.   

Saturday, August 10, 2019

A prognosis from the other side of the LoC.

Kashmir Banega Pakistan.

A dream sold to brainwash us since childhood lies in tatters 30 years on. Pakistan's Kashmir policy has borne no fruits for regular Pakistanis, other than polarising society and instilling hate against India.

When the Narendra Modi government scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and announced its decision to turn the state into a Union Territory on Monday, it caught the 'thekedars' of Kashmir in Pakistan off guard. The reactions from the Imran Khan government were anything but serious, that too for a piece of land they once called their own.

Honestly, losing cricket matches to India have had better reactions in Pakistan. But the bigger question is, can Imran Khan's government run without a Kashmir cause, as the saying goes, "Hukoomat petrol se nahin, Kashmir cause se chalti hai".

Everyone in the ruling elite sold the 'Kashmir banega Pakistan' chooran to the best of their benefit - those in the Pakistani military to keep themselves viable, the politicians to use it during elections, the religious cartel to fan anti-Hindu sentiments and the ordinary Pakistan to just watch all of them make hay.

Brainwashing since childhood 'Kashmir banega Pakistan' is what we were told as kids. 'But how will it become a part of Pakistan when it is in India?' we would ask. 'Kashmir hamari shahrag hai (Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan)'. So how are we managing to survive without this vein? The questions, we were told, had no answers, so they better not be asked either.

Growing up in the '90s, our daily dose of brainwashing involved a 20' programme on Kashmir after the 9 PM news on Pakistan Television. With Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's 'Iss duniya ke gham jane kab ho gaye kam' playing in the background, we saw agonising images of Kashmir. It would eulogise Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and other Kashmiri leaders - we were told that these men were the real heroes.

'Our hearts should bleed for Kashmir', was the loud and clear message. But how can the heart bleed for something that was only a state-imposed reality? We would think.

The rulers of Pakistan came and went but what remained unchanged was Palistan's Kashmir cause. A cause for which daring to be indifferent amounted to blasphemy of sorts.

Once a year, Pakistanis would get a day to free Kashmir. Every 05 Feb, they show solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren. School tableaux depict innocent Kashmiri girls singing folk songs and out of nowhere come the Indian soldiers firing gunshots to arouse pathos in the audience.

The happenings of Kashmir day always remained unclear - a national holiday which seemed just like any other off day. Kashmir Day would involve everything other than liberating Kashmir. Waking up late, watching Indian films and hanging out with friends was our contribution to the cause of Kashmir.

And then there were the poster boys of Kashmir freedom movement. Hafiz Saeed, Syed Salahuddin  or Ahmed Ludhianvi from the banned militant outfits taking out processions apprising the Pakistanis of the Kashmir issue. But why would you preach to the converted already?

What Pakistan's Kashmir Policy Achieved.

Now, nearly three decades later, Pakistan's Kashmir policy has borne no fruits for regular Pakistanis, other than polarising the society on the basis of jihad and instilling hate against India. The government of Pakistan expects the inflation-battling awaam to reunite for the Kashmir cause. But why?

Whether or not your heart bleeds for your own ethnic (Shias, Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus) and religious minorities (Pashtuns, Baloch, Hazaras, Mohajir), your heart must bleed for the Kashmiris. It doesn't matter whether the Kashmiris want it or not.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who recently concluded what we are told was a successful visit to the United States, now finds himself answer less in front of the roaring opposition in Parliament. While he had pleaded US President Donald Trump of mediating on the Kashmir issue, he now doesn't know what actually happened with him. Clueless as ever, in his street fighter style, the premier told what Narendra Modi's BJP has done wasn't cool and like an astrologer, he also told what would happen. But what was missing, as usual, as what his plan was. Being unable to do anything about India's Constitutional amendment is one thing; giving sermons about the past quite another.

Pushing the international community to raise the issue of Kashmir is a lost cause, as is evident from the last 70 years of UN General Assembly outings. Also, Pakistan's recent foreign policy debacles don't help the cause either. Imran Khan, who had called on Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad for help, forgot how Mahathir had categorically said when he visited Pakistan that he won't take sides in the Kashmir conflict. Mahathir had also said that the reason for Malaysia's success was that it isn't in conflict with any of its neighbours.

During the Indian parliamentary election, Imran Khan had reiterated that Narendra Modi could solve the Kashmir issue. Like an astrologer, Khan got it right. The new measures from New Delhi signal towards etching the Line of Control into a permanent international boundary and like the Punjab and Bengal, Kashmir now too is partitioned.

Note. The author is a freelance journalist from Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @nailainayat.


Tailpiece.

It was another day of deluge. Selvam, the pressman, had come by in the morning to press the clothes but thanks to the continuous rain, the clothes are yet to dry. He's going to his home town of Pondicherry, for a week, as there is no work for him. Lekha had given him breakfast. Annie, the maid, had come for work though she'd said that she wouldn't - earlier in the morning - because of the water that has collected around her house making movement, out of it, quite difficult. Lekha's expression of happiness, on sighting her, was priceless!

     

Friday, August 9, 2019

A few goings on that need to be deliberated upon.

The government had successfully seen the passage of bills, in Parliament, that had rendered Articles 370 and 35 A which gave special status to the former state of Jammu and Kashmir, redundant. The interesting fact was that many Parliamentarians, cutting across party lines, voted with the treasury benches in favour of striking off the said articles.

In the aftermath of the historic event, there have been quite a few among us who speak as though they are the enemies of the state. Just witness the vituperative statements made by this section of people viz.:-

    (a) The government had not taken the permission of the Kashmiris before abrogating the special
          status that had been bestowed upon the state, way back in time.
    (b) Ominous warnings are being dished out, everyday, about violence once the current security
          restrictions are removed.
    (c) Many a time, hearing the utterances of these people, one begins to wonder as to which side of
          the border their loyalty lies.
    (d) Their statements coincide with what the Pakistanis are saying who, incidentally, have realised 
          that they've lost the plot in the Kashmir narrative.
    (e) The Pakistani PM - the military's stooge - has even said that his country shouldn't be blamed
         if 'Pulwama-type' attacks take place. The best example of an 'anticipatory bail' that exposes the
         complicity of his country in such activities!

Can anyone, who enjoys the benefits of being an Indian citizen, become a turncoat and work towards undermining India through his/her deeds and words?" What they are up to is tantamount to treason. Period!

Of late, the social media - Twitter, to be precise - is being used excessively to propagate false news and incite trouble in Jammu and Kashmir. The sad fact is that by doing so, it seems to endorse Pakistan's narrative, scripted by the ISI which it ultimately will feel ashamed of! It doesn't seem to have taken cognizance of the Indian government's appeal to stay away from the mischief!! Is it only bothered about making money for its services, with scant respect to the affected country's sensibilities?

I would like to advise the 'naysayers' and the 'doomsday forecasters' to hold their horses, observe things in an impartial manner, speak the truth as you see it and start thinking about the good of the nation.



Tailpiece.

Kerala is being battered by heavy monsoons. The continuous rain has disrupted communications and brought immense grief to many people and in fact, many scenes reminds one of the floods that had devastated the state this time, last year! Kavalappara, in Malappuram district and Puthumala, in Wayanad district have ceased to exist on the face of this earth, because landslides have buried them!! The forecast is that the rain is gonna fall, unabated, till the coming Monday.

Hamid had taken me to the department store, nearby, so that I could fetch sundries.

PS.

Felt immensely sad that Mammootty's name didn't figure in the national film award winners' list that had come out today for his performance in the Tamil movie, "Perambu". And no, I ain't implying that Ayushman Khurrana and Vicky Kaushal aren't deserving their awards!  


    

Thursday, August 8, 2019

An overview of 'Meditation'.

Do not think that meditation is a continuance and an expansion of experience.

In experience, there is always the witness and he is ever tied to the past.

Meditation, on the contrary, is that complete inaction which is the ending of all experience.

The action of experience has its roots in the past and so, it is time-binding; it leads to action which is inaction, and brings disorder.

Meditation is the total inaction which comes out of a mind that sees what is, without the entanglement of the past.

This action is not a response to any challenge but is the action of the challenge itself in which there is no duality.

Meditation is the emptying of experience and is going on all the time, consciously or unconsciously, so it is not an action limited to a certain period during the day.

It is a continuous action from morning till night - the watching without the watcher.

Therefore, there's no division between the daily life and meditation, the religious life and the secular life.

The division comes only when the watcher is tied to time.

In this division there is disarray, misery and confusion, which is the state of society.

So meditation is not individualistic, nor is it social, it transcends both and so includes both

This is love, the flowering of love is meditation.....


Adieu Sushma Swaraj ji!

Had purposely delayed my response on Sushma ji's passing into the mist of time. Much has been said by so many, who knew her very well and there seems to be a general consensus that she had friends across the spectrum, devoid of political considerations. So, anything that I might say would be like carrying coal to Newcastle and hence, I desist!

I noticed her for the first time when she said that she'd have her head shaved off if Sonia Gandhi were to be made the country's PM! I wondered as to why she could take such a strange position and dumped her to be a political maverick, in search of instant recognition and importance. But it was during her spell as the country's Minister of External Affairs through her sheer hard work, cutting through red tapism by the use of the Twitter extensively, that endeared her to me. She seemed to understand the pulse of the people and was at every troubled spot, anywhere in the world, to provide succor to the needy, underplaying her role, always!

RIP Sushma ji! My tears and prayers!! They don't make 'em leaders like you anymore. Here's wishing that your family has the strength to tide over these difficult times!!!


Tailpiece.

Had got up at 5 as Lekha had set the alarm to prepare an early breakfast for Padmakumar and Rema, who were off to Palakkad by 0800 hrs. The rain was on a continuous spree, creating havoc in the state, as gleaned from the television. The Malayalees were better prepared to shift to shelters and relief camps this time - probably, on the basis of the lessons learnt during the last floods! 


   


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Can't help but laugh!

Can't help but laugh at the blunders being committed by the people who think they're acting smart. Their actions easily conclude that they aren't comprehending, not taking into account the big picture and have taken decisions that show them in poor light! And without much ado, here I go:-

 1. China's Grandstanding!

     Soon after India had struck down the provisions of Article 370 and consequently, rendered Article
     35 A redundant, the Chinese foreign ministry had put out a statement that the Union Territory
     status for Ladakh was unacceptable. Note its audacity, first while being deliberately quiet over its
     misdeeds viz.:-

           (a) Muzzling its way through the citizens of Hong Kong.....it says it's integrating the small
                 nation with the mainland by trying to enforce draconian laws!
           (b) Conveniently, forgetting the fact that it had forcibly occupied Tibet many years ago and
                 continue to suppress the political aspirations of the people there and
           (c) And the audacity to continue its 'One Belt One Road' project through the Aksai Chin area
                 which is rightfully ours!

       Take a walk, China you make me laugh by your double standards!

  2. Pakistan's Colossal Stupidity.

      Consequent to the doing away with the special status, Pakistan has been stunned and not been
      able to get over the smart manner in which it has been checkmated by India over the Kashmir
      issue. It has been desperately trying to drum up negative reactions among the nations of the
      world but has not got many takers. So it expels the Indian envoy, downgrades diplomatic
      ties - after Imran Khan's meeting with the top civilian and military leadership, which is a farce
      because it's basically the army chief, Bajwa calling the shots - suspends bilateral trade and
      review bilateral arrangements! Further, it will observe 14 Aug, its Independence Day in
      solidarity with the Kashmiris and observe 15 Aug as Black Day.

      What the Pakistanis have conveniently forgotten is that it needs India and not the other way,
      around. This is Imran Khan's way of taking positive(?) action.

      Don't these guys have any originality? Take a walk, Pakistan you make me laugh by your clumsy
      actions!

  3. An Unwittingly Made Error!

      This brings me back to Kerala. Sreeram Venkitaraman has been able to bring about an impression
      in the court that he wasn't under the influence of liquor because of a lack of solid evidence. His
      smart(?) act of not offering his blood sample for over 9 hours, after the accident with the collusion
      of the police, has brought about this situation!

      It means that Sreeram Venkitaraman had mowed down KM Basheer with his car in his full senses,
      which means he had murdered the journalist knowingly. Shouldn't he, then, be tried for murder?
   
      You continue to make me laugh, Sreeram Venkitaraman with your hare brained ideas!


Tailpiece.

Had got up leisurely in the morning, went through the chores and the four of us - my sister and brother-in-law - set off for Guruvayur by about a half past 10. The rain was holding and we'd a dry spell till we were on the last stretch to Guruvayur, from Thrissur. Reached 'The Quarterdeck' by about a half past 3. The house was opened up systematically, helped ourselves to a short siesta after which Lekha, Rema and Padmakumar had gone across to the temple for a 'darshan' of the good Lord. Since the crowd was less they could enter the sanctum sanctorum without having to wait much and come back satisfied!

Consequently, it was a fairly late evening!      

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

"Contact" and "Connection".

A Monk of the Ramakrishna Mission was being interviewed by a journalist from New York. The journalist started interviewing the Monk as planned earlier.

Journalist. "Sir, in your last lecture, you told us about "Contact" and "Connection". It's really confusing. Can you explain?"

The Monk smiled and apparently deviating from the question, asked the journalist. "Are you from New York?" Journalist. "Yeah....." Monk. "Who are there at home?"

The journalist felt that the Monk was trying to avoid answering his question since this was a very personal and unwarranted question. Yet the journalist said, "Mother had expired. Father is there. Three brothers and one sister. All married...."

The Monk, with a smile on his face, asked again, "Do you talk to your father?" The journalist looked visibly annoyed.....The Monk. "When did you talk to him last?" The journalist, suppressing his annoyance said, "Maybe a month ago".

The Monk, "Do you brothers and sisters meet often? When did you meet last as a family gathering?" At this point, sweat appeared on the forehead of the journalist.

It seemed that the Monk was interviewing the journalist.

With a sigh, the journalist said, "We met last at Christmas two years ago". The Monk. "How many days did you all stay together?" The journalist (Wiping the sweat on his brow) said, "Three days...."
The Monk. "How much time did you spend with your father, sitting right beside him?" The journalist looking perplexed and embarrassed, started scribbling something a paper.....

The Monk. "Did you have breakfast, lunch or dinner together? Did you ask how he was? Did you ask how his days are passing after your mother's death?" Drops of tears started to flow from the eyes of the journalist.

The Monk held the hand of the journalist and said, "Don't be embarrassed, upset or sad. I'm sorry if I have hurt you unknowingly....But this is basically the answer to your question about "Contact" and "Connection". You have 'Contact' with your father but you don't have "Connection" with him. You are not connected to him. Connection is between heart and heart....

Sitting together, sharing meals and caring for each other, touching, shaking hands, having eye contact, spending some time together...All your brothers and sisters have 'Contact' but no 'Connection' with each other......"

The journalist wiped his eyes and said, "Thanks for teaching me a fine and unforgettable lesson".

This is the reality today. Whether at home or in the society, everybody has lots of contacts but there is no connection. Everybody is busy in his or her own world.....

Let us not maintain just "Contacts" but let us remain "Connected". Caring, Sharing and Spending time with all our dear ones.

The Monk was none other than Swami Vivekananda.

Note. From What'sApp.


Tailpiece.

My day had begun at 5, this morning and I'd woken up Ramakrishnan and we could reach the path lab, nearby, to give my blood samples. The same was repeated after breakfast. Prabha's chauffeur driven car had got us at Shenoy Care by a half past 10. The registration formalities, the junior doctor, Vandana's preparation of the case, based on the lab reports, to give her senior the complete picture. Incidentally, both of them did see the selfie taken by Lekha when her left Parotid gland was swollen.
The doctor was pretty satisfied with Lekha's medical condition and after taking the next appointment and collecting the medicines, we'd set off for home by a half past 2. Shaan, the chauffeur - a good fellow - was sent back with the car. Had a very quick lunch.

Ramakrishnan and I, after collecting my blood report had rushed to the Dibatologist. I've put myself under his care and many connected tests were taken. The next review would be on 27 Aug.

We took leave of Ramakrishnan and Gouri, to head for Rema-Padmakumar's new abode at Thrippunithura. We were slated to spend this evening there! A nice, quiet evening!! But Rema had a severe head ache and it did dampen our spirits!!!