Friday, October 29, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

                     “SENTENCE  first – VERDICT afterwards” , said the Queen
                 “Nonsense!” said Alice loudly
                 “Off with her head” the Queen shouted at the top of her voice.
(Alice In Wonderland)


Ernesto "Che" Guevara was murdered by the Bolivian army aided overtly by the CIA. That was in the sixties, when the Americans smelt a commie under every bed. Che was shot point blank like the many murders he supervised at the heights of his undiminished longing for revolution and change to the world order.

Neither the Bolivian army nor the CIA in any remote way feigned ignorance and non complicity of direct or indirect involvement in the capture and murder of Che. A strange streak of lack of duplicity from an incessantly wanton organisation of a democratic country!

Here is an extract from the moments of the assassination.
“Moments before Guevara was executed he was asked by a Bolivian soldier if he was thinking about his own immortality. "No", he replied, "I'm thinking about the immortality of the revolution”. When Sergeant Terán entered the hut, Che Guevara then told his executioner, "I know you've come to kill me. Shoot, coward! You are only going to kill a man!"Terán hesitated, and then opened fire with his semiautomatic rifle, hitting Guevara in the arms and legs. Guevara writhed on the ground, apparently biting one of his wrists to avoid crying out. Terán then fired several times again, wounding him fatally in the chest at 1:10 pm. In all, Guevara was shot nine times. This included five times in the legs, once in the right shoulder and arm, once in the chest, and finally in the throat”.

That was in 1967, in the Jungles of South America.

The clock moves and it is 1976, the jungles of Wayand, north Kerala.

Another revolutionary and votary of the leftist ideology Naxalite Varghese is captured by the state police and a constable is directed to shoot the captive. The constable complies with the order after a virtual threat from his superior a DySP . The canard is spread that Naxalite Varghese was shot and killed in an encounter.

It took further twenty two years of perhaps agonising self introspection, traumatic and haunting nightmares and depressing insomnia, for the constable Ramachandran Nair to finally succumb at the break point and confess.

The quirk of the fact is that seemingly the CIA displayed apparent transparency in a murder it orchestrated while in another democratic state, Kerala the state police simply lied like cowards and covered it brazen act of injustice and crime.

How many such encounter killings, a euphemism for extra judicial murders, orchestrated by the State happens in India and goes un- reported? The easy route to the elimination and dispatch of inconvenient men and women in a system that proclaims equality before law, diligence and due process in all matters that touch the masses and the society as a whole!

"If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine". Che Guvera

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Naked Body

The news was reported yesterday  in the Indian press,and also  mentioned in the media in the USA. The incident provoked outrage and anguish among the devout Hindus spread all over, so said the report. The Hindus are offended! And beware the hurt Hindu- he sure will unleash his wrath, he will like Siva be irrepressible when angered.
The news that is thought to have the potential of becoming a holy war is a video that has been released by the Playboy magazine in the US. The video featuring Sarah Jean Underwood performing various yoga postures while naked has hurt the sentiments of the Hindus.They felt hurt at the misuse of a revered system by Playboy for mercantile aims. ‘The racy video used the age old technique as erotica has irked the devout Hindu’.
Well, well sure a meaty meal and fodder for the Bajarangdals and Siva Sainiks!
Curiosity got me to surf the Playboy web site to see the video. There it was a sample clip for free, with Sarha Jean Underwood a young and beautiful model with an unblemished body performing a bit of surya namsakar and few other yoga postures. It was nothing more than a dance number by a beautiful danseuse.. It is provocative, offensive and hurting only if one sees erotica each time a nude body is exhibited. To me the beautiful physique and the video as such was not smut ,but a thing of awe. And I can only see more people taking to yoga.
I do not know of any dress code or otherwise that has to be followed while engaging in practise of yoga, besides practical ones and dresses that can be comfortable. However it is also matter of fact that the Playboy video is a gimmick, a merchandising gimmick like many other matters used in commercialisation and marketing.But then what is unholy in practising yoga in the nude? 


Now, the devout Hindus who were offended by what they term, 'the misuse of an ancient and revered system’, must answer a few questions before they further their rage.

How many of these folks practise yoga and are yogic?
How do they substantiate the explicit sculptures of Khajuraho,( a world heritage site)? And the many sculptures that one can see in many temples of south India that show profusely endowed women bearing their bosoms? Has anybody felt aroused when they circumambulate these temples?
What do they say about the naga sanyasis that one can see in many numbers when one venture to north Indian towns of Allahabad, Rishikesh etc? I found them amusing.But to the zealous Hindus who are now offended ought to be offended looking at these pictures in this post.

If the Taj is a thing of beauty, nudity in sublime form is beauty personified. The longing and the urge to feel peeved and offended is a birth right too. I guess so!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"I Hate to say Goodbye"

Margret Thatcher often described as the strong willed iron lady in the west of the Iron curtain retired long ago. And she, it is reported is suffering from dementia. She is over eighty.Thanks to the US system George Bush Senior was retired by the ballots. Ronald Regan though he died a few years ago after struggling afflicted by Alzheimer’s, was reportedly behaving senile even while in office.When one cover the European continent and reach Asia it is only in India one will find a Prime minister almost into his eightieth year. Though the average employee of the Government here in India is compulsorily retired by sixty, the political ilk and Mr Singh hang on (wonder if till Kingdom come). Understandably Mr Manmohan Singh is a regent and caretaker of the PMO until the young prince can take over the reins.

There is no intent to deprecate and foul Mr Singh's integrity or his academic credentials. It is also acknowledged that he was responsible for jettisoning India out of the limbo of Nehruvian socialism and license Raj where productivity was licensed and also penalised.
But when many of his recent statements and attention to vital issues of national interests are disconcerting and seemingly emanating from a tired mind well then he must go. Mister Prime minister it is time to retire Sat Sri Akal!

Some of Mr Manmohan Singh’s outlandish comments are inconsiderate, myopic and either without gauging the facts behind or caring a damn.
I quote the news in the Hindu in August 2010, the Supreme Court ordered the Union Government to distribute food grains to the needy millions than let it rot in rain in overflowing government warehouses. It was a Suo -moto decision. And a very piquant observation on the Food ministry and the government! The Government  had meanwhile informed the court that 67000 tonnes of food grains have been wasted rotten and not distributed. Angered at this shameful paradox of millions starving and food grains left to rot and waste the Supreme Court ordered the government to distribute the food grains free of cost to the BPL families .To this Mr Manmohan Singh responded exasperatedly that the government cannot distribute food grains free and the Supreme Court should not interfere in policy matters.
Mr Singh’s statement reflected shameful perception and was immoral, it also had no legal substance as letting food grains rot was against the right to life guaranteed by the Fundamental rights of the constitution. Art 21 of the constitution directs the Governments to protect the right to life of every citizen, and no policy can renegade the basic and fundamental rights. A highly irresponsible statement from a Prime minister!

The Hindu dated September 8, 2010 reported that the Prime minister emphasising the economic progress of the country as of paramount concern said, “We cannot solve problems perpetuating poverty in the name of environment. And if mineral wealth of the country cannot be exploited, growth of the economy will be affected. When it comes to poverty eradication, environmental concerns must take the back seat”.
And yet again a bizarre and myopic statement! Was the PM lobbying for the Vedanta, POSCO and other multinational and national conglomerates? Can he provide one example where poverty has been eradicated by virtue of environmental destruction, and dispossession of tribal’s and other locals? The irony is men like Mr Singh who takes decisions on matters that have long term negative implications on environment and society will not be around a few years on to feel and see the demons they have let loose. His statement is unjust to the impoverished millions and to posterity.

 The Hindu dated October 24, 2010 reported another statement of the Prime minister. He said that Naxalites are the biggest threat to the nation. What he forgets is that Naxals are not biological phenomenon. They are social creations of a lopsided, insensitive ,selfish, avaricious economic agenda that was peddled by successive governments ,and that Mr Singh seems to advocate.

Propriety must also include hanging your boots when you cannot discern why you wear them.It is time to bid goodbye.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Legendary "Lungi"

Just as the national bird of Kerala is Mosquito, her national dress is 'Lungi'. Pronounced as 'Lu' as in loo and 'ngi ' as in 'mongey', a lungi can be identified by its floral or window-curtain pattern.  'Mundu' is the white variation of lungi and is worn on special occasions like hartal or bandh days, weddings and Onam. 

 Lungi is simple and 'down to earth' like the mallu wearing it. Lungi is the beginning and the end of evolution in its category. Wearing something on the top half of your body is optional when you are  wearing a lungi. Lungi is a strategic dress. It's like one-size-fits-all bottoms for Keralites.
 The technique of wearing a lungi/mundu is passed on from generation to generation through word of mouth like the British Constitution. If you think it is an easy task wearing it, just try it once! It requires techniques like breath control and yoga that is a notch higher than sudarshan kriya of AOL. A lungi/mundu when perfectly worn won't come off even in a quake of 8 on the Richter scale. A lungi is not attached to the waist using duct tape, staple, rope or Velcro. It's a bit of mallu magic whose formula is a closely guarded secret like the Coca Cola concoction.
 A lungi can be worn 'Full Mast' or 'Half Mast' like a national flag. A ’Full Mast' lungi is when you are showing respect to an elderly or the dead. Wearing it at full mast has lots of disadvantages. A major disadvantage is when a dog runs after you. When you are wearing a lungi/mundu at full mast, the advantage is mainly for the female onlookers who are spared the ordeal of swooning at the sight of hairy and also skinny legs.

 Wearing a lungi 'Half Mast' is when you wear it exposing yourself like those C grade movie starlets. A mallu can play cricket, football or simply run when the lungi is worn at half mast. A mallu can even climb a coconut tree wearing lungi in half mast. "It's not good manners, especially for ladies from decent families, to look up at a mallu climbing a coconut tree"- Confucius (or is it Abdul Kalam?)
 Most mallus do the traditional dance,Kudiyattam. Kudi means drinking alcohol and yattam, spelled as aattam, means random movement of the male body. Note that 'y' is silent. When you are drinking, you drink, there is no 'y'. Any alcohol related "festival" can be enjoyed to the maximum when you are topless with lungi and a towel tied around the head. "Half mast lungi makes it easy to dance and shake legs" says  Candelaria Amaranto, a Salsa teacher from Spain after watching  'kudiyaattam' .
 The 'Lungi Wearing Mallu Union' [LUWMU, pronounced LOVE MU], an NGO which works towards the 'upliftment' of the lungi, strongly disapprove of the Gen -Next tendency of wearing bermudas under the lungi. Bermudas under the lungi are a conspiracy by the CIA. It's a disgrace to see a person wearing bermuda with corporate logos under his lungi. What they don’t know is how much these Corporations are limiting their freedom of movement and expression.

  A mallu wears lungi round the year, all weather, all season. A mallu celebrates winter by wearing a colourful lungi with a floral pattern.
 Lungi provides good ventilation and brings down the heat between legs.  A mallu is genuinely worried of global warming more than anyone else in the world.

  A lungi can be worn any time of the day/night. It doubles as  blanket at night. It also doubles up as a swing, swimwear, sleeping bag, parachute, facemask while entering/exiting toddy shops, shopping basket and water filter while fishing in ponds and rivers. It also has recreational uses like in 'Lungi/mundu pulling',very much like tugging the rope events, a pastime in households having more than one male member. Lungi pulling competitions are held outside toddy shops all over Kerala during Onam and Vishu. When these lungis are decommissioned from service, they become table cloths. Thus the humble lungi is a cradle to grave appendage.

Courtesy Abdul Wahab

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Surreal Experience

It seemed like the inside of a catacomb. Or was it an Egyptian tomb? It was feebly lit; darker perhaps inside- a solitary oil torch seemed to be eternally shimmering.
The air was archaic, the smell was stifling. I wondered how I came about inside there. I moved down the bend the granite walls menacingly pointed at places. They were colder than the mummified cadaver I stumble upon in the semi darkness. Beyond the bend in the tunnel it was darker, as the light thrown from the oil lit lamp was too feeble to reach farther.
I saw ancient trinkets strewn leisurely on the floor, partially covered by the dust and sand. Dust inside a catacomb? I wondered. Looked very much like the inner self of “genteel" world outside from where I wandered in, covered intermittently in dusty sand and corroded too.
I do not know how long I moved around. Deep in there, time seemed to have stood still, comprehension of time was nonexistent. Time ceased to exist. I slowly realised that I was not claustrophobic, I did not feel stifled, though it indeed must be repressing, I failed to feel though!, I did not miss the air outside, or the light of the day.. I felt more at ease in there amongst the mummified kings and queens.

There were many, some were laid on their back. And I felt some seemed to squat as if they held the posture for eons. And some were quite dismissive at my appearance inside there. Yet some seemed to frown the intrusion. Their convoluted faces and limbs seemed to tell that they were unforgiving, for being interned for those many past centuries.
Rattle snakes sans rattle slithered in silence- were they fearful of the mummies?Mummies who have now been constricted and interned for centuries and in temperamental existence. 

I moved into another chamber, then another, and still many other. Each chamber had a paraffin wax torch claiming to be burning to eternity; they were haughty in their statement even with the pale light they threw around.

And the Kings and Queens, perhaps, consorts too resting in perpetual anger. I did not feel fear, did not see the need to flee the way I took to flight from the world outside. But I saw that it was a one way ticket to in there- you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave.
I remembered the song I loved much, because it reverberated from far away gently and then vehemently into my nerves and I felt the mummified Kings, Queens and their cohorts were coming alive, “On a dark deserted high way, cool wind in my hair……” 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Why, why offer her right
When cruelly smitten on her left?
Perhaps gather some self respect
turn her cheek and move away
if retaliation is not her will.
I fail to fathom her psyche
I fail to understand, and in anguish I rest.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Do we need the Albatross?

Do we need Kashmir?
Why do we carry an albatross now for sixty years and more and with the prospect of carrying it perennially, and to our detriment?
Letting go Kashmir – will it have a domino effect on India? Perhaps yes in some parts of North East with covert and overt interference by China. Will it affect the unity of other states in the Union? Absolutely not! But if the integration of the minds of the people has not happened in almost seven decades since the end of colonial rule and dawn of independence, when will it ever integrate to the idea of one country, INDIA?

So then why hold on to a stretch of land and people who are alienated than ever before and also in the bargain invite terror attacks anywhere in the country, fuel enmity and conflagration risk with Pakistan? The consequences of these factors are dearth of money for development and growth as well as uncertain security.
Kashmir is no more a paradise on earth! In the first instance the paradise was messed by Nehru’s wrong foreign policy of dragging the issue to the UN. And then back tracking on the UN resolutions on plebiscite. The dispute festered all along.The paradise has been messed up by successive governments both in the state and the centre, that now beyond Srinagar it is foreign land for the people living in Kashmir. They call it India like it is China and Pakistan across the borders.

The British were vile and smart to run away with a messy lot of some five hundred plus Princely states. They never expected , nor wanted any kind of unification to happen.Though when compared with the military action in Goa the accession of Jammu and Kashmir was quite legal. It was the prerogative of the ruler of the Principality to accede or be independent.And  he chose to be with the Indian Union.

Can Kashmir be independent or can it guard its independence should it cede from the Union? The Kashmirites have no fascination of being in Pakistan, now with all the Al Qaeda mess in that country, and besides it is now almost a failed State. Though the better bet would be to continue in the Indian Union, the hearts and minds of the people are wounded and alienated. And now they would prefer independence from both India and Pakistan.
How can India handle the situation?
I feel that a plebiscite under UN supervision may be held in Kashmir with the condition that should the plebiscite result favour an independent nation the foreign policy and defence of Kashmir will be controlled by India, like it is with Bhutan and Nepal. This would be a safe guard to Kashmir and will deter China from nosing around. Because when Kashmir is an Independent country,China then can no longer allege that India is illegally occupying the territory. On the western front the only factor that vitiated Indo- Pak relationship will be done with. And Al Qaeda will be partly jobless. The subject of India’s illegal occupation and subjugation of Muslims in Kashmir will no longer be a fodder for the various terror groups. This will help Pakistan to have internal stability and India to save precious money and energy in military campaign against Pakistan.
Once the only bone of contention is cleared, on what will Pakistan see adversity from us? In fact most part of Pakistan except the tribal belt of NWFP, has cultural commonness with Hindi speaking belt of India.

As it was told by the Chief of Indian Army, once the terror threat from Pakistan is negated and the reason neutralized India can be on guard in an efficient way against the unreliable and unfriendly China that has long term eyes on the North East. India- China bhai bhai is Nehruvian folly and a myth. China is mighty economically and militarily and we do not stand a chance should China express aggressive intent.

I wonder if my Brigadier friend sitting and surveying now in Raniket bordering China would comment on this in his capacity as a civilian if protocol permits.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

How Many More to Go?

Honestly it has been a welcome avenue of release, relief and empathy with distant others, many I have not even seen in person or even in photographs. It has been an avenue to put the load down and sit by the way in some comfort .I once wrote in a post titled “Why”, on the help blogging gives me. And why-because I feel so good about opening out to a great extent as it is like talking to someone who may listen. Not even one’s spouse or child would care to. It can also be talking to your alter ego.  If in the bargain someone manages to excavate an offence, presume hurt, or feels peeved, well, can I help? The medium itself is an excellent avenue to retort. So a riposte is always welcome. It is not a war or battle we are in!

I greatly appreciate Voltaire’s dictum, “I may detest what you say, but I m prepared to die for your right to say that”.

It is not “One hundred years of solitude”, metaphorically, but a few lines I could post as the one hundredth posts, and like the other ninety and nine, borne out of varied moods and disposition.

How many more to go.............? I know not!!!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Sad Reflection

The first incident happened a few years ago.
There are occasional inspections conducted on business units by the Inspector of factories in the town I live and work. But usually the trumpeted inspections happen a few weeks before the festive season of Deepavali, to remind business units to shell out the yearly quota of consideration to the Government officials. Unashamedly officers and their cahoots venture from departments like Income Tax, Provident Fund Directorate, Employees State Insurance Corporation, Inspector of Factories, Customs Dept, etc. And the exercise is clamantly conducted, both by the Business units and the officials!

At that point in time my business unit was not registered with the Provident Fund and ESI offices, though it in fact was statutory to be registered. More because of the unique situation in this business town where employees refuse to part with their contributions towards Provident fund and ESI. So the employers too did not pursue the matter much.

The via media was to grease the inspectors from the offices of Provident Fund and ESI.

Such an inspector began hounding me. And though I told him that I was willing to register with the department soon, he threatened that he will impose penal fine on me with retrospective effect. And that could run into a few lakhs in the least. The alternate was compromise formula where I part with twenty five thousand Rupees as my contribution to his kitty.I thought and declined. He used his official experience and clout to scare the hell out of me, laying down the other consequences even if I pay the fine or go for litigation.
I agreed to the via media. And he agreed to come early the next morning to collect the money. He did come and in tow a teen age boy with an attaché brief case. The money was received by the boy and he nonchalantly put it into his bag and ticked off in his diary against my name. The Inspector parted with a vigorous hand shake, and assuring me of his services all the while. I saw him to the door and then I enquired who the boy was. “Well this is my eldest son. He is second year in college”. said the Inspector. I stood staring at the father and son duo as they departed in their Maruti car.

Looking back at the very incident it is disturbing still. Because the parent initiates the child into a conduct and life that would be formatively very damaging .for the child! And when a handful or a dozen of such children grow into men and women the society will fall apart.I felt unkind to myself .

The second incident was of a similar kind, but had a different twist, more because of my recalcitrant attitude. An official from the fire Service called up and demanded contribution. I gave him a hundred Rupees. He refused to accept and demanded five thousand Rupees. I declined sternly. He made a quick inspection of the factory premises and declared that the fire extinguishers installed were far few than the requirement. And that was an infringement of the rules. Hence I could be penalized. An argument ensued. He did not reply to my question, as to what right he had to demand from me. But he threw the one hundred Rupee note on the table and jumped up  gesticulating. He warned that I will know his prowess when my premises faces a fire break out. And then he will ensure that not one fire tender is at our doors.

I remembered the pictures and stories about the NYFD on the day Sept 11 2002.
But well this is us!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fourteen Commandments

I stumbled across elsewhere these fascinating mantras for a successful marriage. It was also mentioned that break up of wedlock is on the increase. The article I read also stated that these mantras, dictums, call it whatever are a nostrum. I got a jitter and looked back the past twenty and three years with C. Goodness me if we ( I and C ) do not ensure that we remember to zealously abide these mantras in daily life we might soon end up in the opposite sides of the world. It is a miraculous wonder how we in spite of not holding on to all  these fourteen commandments  managed without bruises so long.
Now let me share these panaceas with all devout husbands and wives. Lest you fail to abide and fall apart. So  folks all of you wedded guys and ladies out there better print these mantras, and affix them at all strategic places in your home. So that even if you folks unfortunately forget them they stare at you to remind you of their importance.

1. Communicate-not just about your feelings,but about your day. Discuss regular day today occurrences. Share stories with one another about what is going on at work or in a friend's life. It keeps you in tune with your spouse on a daily basis  - Umm we are not too far here to begin with. Not too bad !
2. Take showers together - Honestly it has been a long time. Wonder if I must remind C of this flip flop! How stupid we were to not do things that might reinforce our marriage, and not send it the Hollywood way!
3. Go to the park and swing, slide or just play - Wonder what Ara and Radhu would say about us sliding on the board in the park. And most of all we have to find a park then a sliding board and a swing. I will be busy this week end!
4. Take walks ,morning walks are a great way to start your day.Allows Quality time together - Haven’t tried it yet. Impertinent couple we are!
5. Date nights - We are dating through the day. Wonder if that will be an overdose if we add on at night !
6. Play video games or wrestle - We shout at Radhu and Ara for their periodic obsession with video games. Now how can we explain to them us indulging ? And wrestling goodness me! Not with C in her present frame!
7. Have sex even if you don't want to - non-consensual sex, even if between spouses can be punished under the law. Well this is getting a bit too far!
8. Hold hands - We did that around the mandapam on the wedding day . And then I remember doing it in the car that night driving down from Ootty ,and I sent the car off road and into a trench some ten feet deep.. What a way to ensure a lasting wedlock!!

9. Give praiseWe are matter of fact- very unfortunately!

10.Be thankful - That is fine. At last something not too bad isn’t it?

11. Have time apart- Familiarity and proximity breeds’ contempt? Well not yet mercifully ha ha!

12. Don't always nag - Well I do not agree because C cannot live without. Now what shall we do ?

13. Share advice-you never know when great, unexpected advice can come about – Good ,I guess ,because we do.

 14. Pick and choose your battles,Learn that life is short and arguments are lame - Well what is life without arguments?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Morning Musings

Nothing is more unjust, however common, than to charge with hypocrisy him that expresses zeal for those virtues which he neglects to practice; since he may be sincerely convinced of the advantages of conquering his passions, without having yet obtained the victory, as a man may be confident of the advantages of a voyage, or a journey, without having courage or industry to undertake it, and may honestly recommend to others, those attempts which he neglects himself.”(Samuel Johnson)

In many discussions in person or in Blogs, the subject of practising virtue, conscientious conduct has been sworn upon. We have deprecated the contrary virtues. Decried hypocrisy, sworn on morality and ethics .Lamented at the state of affairs of the society and the country at large. It s indeed a bad bad world out there we have cried!

We have severely admonished the fanatism coexisting with faiths. Wondered how man can be cruel as they are to other living things. Promiscuity and immoral conduct has been castigated. Corruption by the Suresh Kalmadi’s has been ridiculed and deplored with severity. Honesty has been voted as the urge that drive us. Avarice and lust for ostentatious life has been frowned upon and seen as qualities that can be done away with. Patriotic fervour bordering jingoism brings together people on every 15 th of August.

We have expressed outrage and sounded indignant of all that is bad out there. Why are people hypocrites? Why can’t we be honest, virtuous, ethical and practise those qualities rather than preach- we have asked in anguish. These have been the general summation and ask.

The inner question is how many of us will show mental prudence and strength of character in a situation where the demand for the antonym of hypocrisy is fervently asked and needed?

Is it not that decadence set deep in each of us in varied ways? And it is only that we trumpet to the contrary?

Monday, October 11, 2010

To Dogs and their Human Companions

Sitting brooding yesterday, I happened to read some poetry.Not a regular habit though! And this pick posted here is one which I feel has no peer,amongst the many lyrics and poetry written on Dogs.This wonderful piece by   Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto is special .
I guess opinions may not differ much.

A Dog has died

My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.

Some day I'll join him right there,
but now he's gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I'll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.

Ai, I'll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
he never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of his hair or his mange,
he never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex.

No, my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he'd keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.

Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea's movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean's spray.

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.

There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
and we don't now and never did lie to each other.

So now he's gone and I buried him,
 that's all there is to it.
                                     Pablo Neruda

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Self Portrait Sunday 10 th Oct 2010

I have been seated by my Lap top since sometime. I had the TV on with the cricket test match, but soon I switched it off. And now after quite a few minutes, is fiddling with the key board. Nothing seems to be coming forward in mind in a coherent manner so that I could put down.

Getting late this morning and after a dash to the fish mongers from whom I bought a kilo of mackerels, I m now seated by the computer. The morning dosas were good. Food has always been, except during the dreary period of viral fever a few weeks ago.

 C has gone out and here I m alone!

I went through the Blogs, and shot off a few comments. But still I cannot stumble into something to put down in words. The mind is either void, or in suspended animation. It is sine die! Know not!
Perhaps it may be incorrect to say that nothing comes into the mind. In fact is it not that mind is too full, weighed with matters?

Mood swings? I was discussing the topic with C and a few other friends.”Well that state of mind happens to women at the threshold of menopause”, was the   vox populii, and laughter ensued. I forced myself to join the jest.

I m now looking out through the window, I cannot see the path way to the gate as there is a bend in the path way down, and now the trees are grown with luxurious foliage, eclipsing the way farther. It struck a chord, seemed to be frighteningly similar, the way forward seems to be incomprehensible.

Now it is almost mid day and nigh impossible to gaze at the stars and dream of the way forward through the undergrowth, the thick dark foliage, through the unknown, the strange and incomprehensible, and into the lands beyond. The later part that life now is,cannot be inhibiting.It should not be a factor to weigh down. And dream one must,the stars would soon be out to lead the way...!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


When the mind is morbid, thoughts that are pleasant seldom occur
The wonder that things around are,are seldom seen.
In fact the wonder that things around are,
were placed for us –
to untangle from the embrace of  morbidity of the mind!
Isn't it so?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


The irony and contradictions of life  as noted many times over in  his powerful verses,
The late Tamil lyricist and poet Kannadasan
 Here is one which is quite thought provoking,

( I note this in the traditional Roman letters as this computer dose not help in typing it in Tamil)

"Buddhi ulla manitharellam vetri kanpethille,
Vettri petta manitharellam budhishali allai".

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Unique India

So eventually it turned out to be a damp squib, the security beefing and the judgement of the Allahabad High court itself. The anticipated, violence, acrimony, and all the fun and anarchy only India can provide and enact to perfection did not take off. The Gods were unkind it just did not materialise.

But we have few other fascinating facets over the week that can be relished. The Allahabad High court has pronounced a judgement that takes back society to the medieval times, when it was believed that the earth was flat and the sun and stars went round our planet.Our learned legal minds have ensured that a matter of pure legal dispute over the title to a piece of land can been decided by the predominance of faith, theology , belief and myth. Not reason or historical evidence. Archaic in every sense! History has been given a burial. Historical evidence has been superseded by matter of faith. The dispute has been settled like a family court award.

Now our children can rewrite their history lessons. A Hindu mythical god Ram (Raman or Rama) now has been provided a stature and historical sanctity like that has been rightfully given to historical figures like Christ, The Prophet Muhammad, Buddha, or Confuscious.The court has decreed that Ram was born under the dome of the demolished mosque in Ayodhya. They have not specified the year, whether it is in the pre-Christian era or later. The Christian church at least endorses the view that the World was created in BC 4657, they only have to specify which month, week and date.

Such kind of travesty can happen only in India. Where pure belief, faith and obsession with myth can write or rewrite history. Only time can tell, if many of us will have to go back to school and re learn and read the contemporary version of history. Where a Napoleon or a Karl Marx may be myth and the pantheon of Gods would be historical reality.We Indians will have a unique distinction, and it is that, after the Zionists it is we who have deftly used  myth and legend to create legal title and right over a piece of land.

Now that the fascinating judgement has been given out, we can only hope and wish that the archaic Common wealth games will provide further thmasha and fun and can be the icing on the Indian cake.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I had a dream and, I saw it was a mirage!

I woke up and saw the sunlight and wondered if that was a mirage too.
I walked out and saw the mirage and wondered if that was real.
So I came back in and slid into slumber,
And thence I saw, all that I saw was mirage,
 but yet I refused to accept they were so.
Oh what a fool am I ?

Literary Friends

The late Professor M. Krishnan Nair was perhaps one of those few people whose erudition had no bounds. And of the living, Justice Krishna Iyer is one such.
The profound knowledge and dexterity over language that was/is special to these two cannot be confined into some words.

Professor Krishnan Nair was familiar to all those who would zealously devour his literary reviews and critiques that used to come out every week. I was amazed by the intensity with which he used to read and dissect literary creations, no holds barred. Can a man read with such profligacy? I wondered. So did many. And Professor Krishnan Nair did! A very familiar demure figure on MG Road Thiruvannathapuram, and at the D.C and Current Books , until he became confined to bed and faded away.

There were rude, unkind, tongue in cheek, vulgar comments and opinion that the professor based his reviews on synopsis of the books he critiqued. He did not read as he claimed. And he was a false,haughty literary reviewer and so on. Professor Krishnan Nair ignored these comments,sometimes rubbish has to be dealt as such and left in the confines of the bin.

It is furore and false pride that make these people claim to be scholars in reading a J. Krishnamurthy, a James Joyce, an Osho,  an Albert Camus, a Khalil Gibran and so on.The first name basis with which they refer to these literary giants seems to be funny,impolite and shocking. “Well have you read JK”, will be the intone. And honestly with the very cursory reading I have had of Krishnamurthy it would be embarrassing and unease to comment. As I move on, the glance of derision will follow me. Also I found Krishnamurthy’s video and audio lectures discernible than his books.So, though I have a few books in collection haven't read much.

The pretensions and nature of people who claim to the legacy of thinkers like J. Krishnamurthy was glaringly revealed when I went to a school run by the Krishnamurthy foundation. Just to put forth my point- spirituality if exists in us need not be ostentatiously exhibited or reminded to the world, If true spiritual nature exists in us it tells in the glow of the mind. A well read person has an aura, a halo that can be seen when you are near him. It tells in his gaze, his words. And that is vivid to all. What happened in that school, be it teachers or parents was kind of contrived dazed speech and elevated walking around. They seemed to have the air of zombies. Was Krishnamurthy one such? I felt rubbished.

Then there are people who quote extensively from the classical writers.They may not have read the work, but they capture the catchy parts to flaunt their erudition . It is amazing how they manage to retain awesome memory. And quotes are brought forth during appropriate and inappropriate occasions. They are desperate to convey the message that they are scholars who alone can comment on the literary giants, and great thinkers, men of philosophy and political sciences from whom they think they have bequeathed their philosophy.

 I met this guy who was from Kerala, who also claimed to be an MBA graduate. His English had a deliberate accent - but was pure mallu- english and he seemed to be in desperate mood to convey that he was erudite and a walking encyclopaedia. He claimed to have read poetry. I forced myself and  listened to his monologue. The only poetry he seemed to recite verbatim was “Kunnjunni kavithakal”. What he did not realise was that camouflage is an art that has also to be supplemented by an act as well. To act you need substance, dressing up and attire alone may not help. He began talking about the books he read. He said he was a voracious reader. And he has devoured most of the English writers .I enquired if he liked the books of Graham Green and P.G.Woodehouse. He brushed my question aside and said that he has read world classics; I asked him if he would suggest a few. He said he has read “Hunchback of Notterdam”. I felt like someone slap me in the face. I hurriedly bade him and moved on.

The shallowness of their self can be easily discerned if we care to be in conversation with them for a while. James Joyce, JK ,and the lot would run away in embarrassment.It is apparent that a person has not read a sentence of Hemingway if he is a person who dislikes the wild, and is an armchair explorer.

But why do people fake? What gratuitous pleasure will one achieve if one falsely claim to have read a book of repute? The lie will be seen as soon as the person begins the conversation. Because even if it is rubbish that we have read the dust that catches our persona is there to stay through the life. That is, what I see as the power of literary creation -the power of words, the power of the pen.It is the same with a Enid Blyton,a James Hadley Chase, a Kant, a Neruda,a T. Padmanabhan , a SKP or a Marquez.
Any dispute?