Friday, February 25, 2011

The Origin

Sweating out in the sweltering sun
the mud pot taking the toll.
With porridge boiled and overflowing
Libations and offerings to the powers above!
Prompting of their munificence unlimited
And pleading for the elixir of longevity.

Jostling in the church to partake the sacrament
offering gifts galore.
Reminding the powers above
of the quid pro quo in deals of us mortals.

 I pray to thee oh Lord
Give me the abundance of life,
for I shared my prise with you..
Though, thence the origins of ‘bribe’,
but forsake me not.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I feel the recent events in North African countries are only the result of and a reflection of what  dysfunction and morbid human psyche that remained so for four odd decades,could do to society.It is so ,be it in India, in Egypt,in Libya, in the West, in a little village or even in our homes. The absence of the will to stand up and face insolence .Even the intelligentsia was putrefying in intelligence while countries were being thieved, plundered and people asphyxiated. In the late 1920’s when Adolf Hitler came into power in Germany, he was given a rousing reception. Later when the evil in him manifested the German populace infamous for its abiding the law to the letter stayed dumb and silent. The result was there to see very soon !

There is a very strange anecdote on German blind penchant for adherence to the rule. In a remote intersection in the German Black Forest an automated traffic signal was placed. The motorists who went through the intersection were photographed by a remote camera. Ten out of ten motorists who passed by at various time stayed put when the light was red, even for as long as fifteen minutes, though it was apparent to them that vehicular movement in that part of the forest area was scanty. Opinions may vary. But the literal adherence to the rule has been in the German psyche.

Signs of ghoulish human mind have ample examples. The society we live in is in itself a perfect example. Even our homes, and people related or friends, and includes us as well. The fact is, besides the blind adherence, there is also a great element of disinclination or numbness and apathy.

But then I love armchair exploration, armchair philanthropy and armchair discourses. That serves me well! And I see my reflections in  all that around. Or am I the alter ego of the society? Certainly I have company!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


When  love is seldom found
Considered petty, possibly,to the one that is faked.
And feel bruised, like the mongrel with its tail tuck 'tween.
"Look , fool you are"!

But life must move on….!
To be denied over again.
What fool you are, to be trodden over and again!

Monday, February 14, 2011

"It has to be another"

The question was cast
Whom do you want to kill?
If given a chance to kill.
I didn’t pause, and cried out, it’s me, and it’s me!
Coz and only because, a life half and more done
can be relived and anew, so I reckoned.

So I could, “do not the
things that went wrong and the things that I did wrong
knowing, and in ignorance blissful,
love and love more the ones who loved,
thank more the ones who lend hand,
and smile a fiddling- smile at the ones who kicked,
go places that I always wanted to go
and be away from the chaos”.

But alas!
Came the reply, “thou shall not kill thyself”.
And it has to be another.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ice cream parlours, Airplanes and Mallus

A female tourist or female visitor to Kerala must be given a travel dossier of dos and don’t before she is permitted to venture adventurously into Gods own country. This outdoor manual must also be provided to young girls and women who live in Mallu land.The dos may be relegated to the later part of the dossier. The don't must be prominently displayed so that its importance is seldom unseen by the visitor.
The foremost of the don’ts is to watchfully ensure to keep away from “ice cream parlours”. The Mallus predilection for ice cream has been quite perverted. More so because of the politically official blessings assigned to ice cream parlours and ice creams. Certainly multinational ice cream franchisees are exceptions. The communist minded Mallu , be it the khadhi clad apostates or the genetically disposed  red brigands, consider the multinational ice creams an anathema.

Ice cream parlours are to Kerala what Glass houses are to Amsterdam, what district of Soho is to London, what Kamathipura is   to Mumbai, or GB road to Delhi. The major difference is that they are places where the politically mighty and people who really matter in Mallu land sneak for carnal pleasures. Those are also the places where the unwitting teenager is usually initiated, and often forced into commercial sex.
The second of the don’ts is to avoid if possible, travel by air, if in the passenger manifest there happens to be a Mallu cabinet minister. And it should also be forewarned that certain ministers are like bulls when they see red. But unlike the bull, they are irresistibly aroused sexually and might in all probability want to fornicate with the co passenger if she happens to be a charming lady. Which means the traveller must avoid airlines that have prominence of red inside the air craft, be it the tight fit, clinging red skirts and blouses of the stewardess or the face towels. Mallu politicians in particular are adept at groping. That is a lesser danger but may lead to more serious violations.

Travel by buses on the roads of Mallu land is generally perilous for women travellers. The ubiquitous dhoti clad mallu cannot resist travel in crowded busses that have a sizable women contingent .And enjoys groping and prodding. So the woman traveller must consider this as a risk of journeying.

That leaves us travel into mallu land by the rail road. And unfortunately the tragedy that happened the previous week does not any more advice rail travel as a means of mobility in the travel advisory. It is astonishing how a handicapped man without a palm could brutally violate a young woman and consign her to a painful and tortuous death. The only difference here is that the man arrested for the alleged crime is not Mallu by birth. Thankfully after reading the medical reports of the autopsy of the unfortunate woman one can sigh a bit, that, sexual perversion bordering necrophilia have not yet engulfed the Mallu psyche. The man who allegedly committed the crime even beasts will not, is from a neighbouring State.

There are now clamour form Woman rights groups to post police men in the “only woman” compartments of trains that ply in Kerala after 6 in the evening. Knowing the wonderful history of the Mallu police,( and Mallu male police are Mallu men after all), in matters relating to treatment of women, that is a very insane demand, a reckless one!

On the whole Mallu land is now considered unsafe for women who venture alone. If the alleged perpetrators of crime against women are a vagabond like the one who did the unthinkable on that hapless, helpless girl in Shornur, he is sure to be booked by law. But when the crime is committed by the ones in greasy high positions and in places like ice cream parlours and aircrafts, in Government guest houses or in any other public places, well then they vanish like putrefied whiff. The law is sterile in matters they do!

A few years ago in Mallu country a former minister was booked by law for offending the modesty of a woman secretary, an IAS officer. The public outcry and the uncompromising attitude of the lady officer forced him to resign his ministerial berth. But fortunately for him, he was from a scheduled caste community and he could rally mass support from the community. Though he was a known offender with the moral weakness and history of misbehaviour, shamefully for women in general, female brigades from his community turned the tables on his rivals and opponents who took up the issue of his moral turpitude and he was re-elected to the assembly.

Are Mallu men, a race apart and sexually famished? The male- female ratio is in fact adverse to men, but that has no deterrent effect. Molestation and rape happen every moment on Mallu roads, transport systems and other public places, but in virtual reality. (In fact Mallus are fascinated these days with virtual reality shows on television).

Honestly this craving and ravenous appetite for carnal pleasures are not alien to male folks from other lands. Certainly in these matters Mallus have slews of “brothers in arms”. Though debatably they may excel the rest in real acts of promiscuity and certainly virtually.

Criminal laws have already been framed to deter crime against women. The courts have not hesitated handing down death sentences to rapists. But when capital punishment ipso facto does not deter crime in general, how will it dampen the will of a conniving rapist with a mindset that is irreversible? What assistance will a mere law on the statute provide to women against such criminals with perverted and lost mind? And particularly when the alleged perpetrator has god fathers up in the parlours of power, or when he is the man behind the parlours of power?

The answer is “none”.

One may also wish away such ghastly acts as aberrations, exceptions and superficial, because the victim is not 
his/her kin and for the very reason doesn't affect one personally.In face of this reality and man's (male gender) insatiable urge for sex, it is time that commercial sex is made legal and lawful. There are countries that have applied this, and have risked the sky caving in on top. But not yet, nothing untoward happened. And their morality and culture was not trampled. It is sheer hypocrisy that commercial sex is considered immoral, unlawful and bad. If sex outside wedlock is to be avoided then we will have to get back someone like a Sanjay Gandhi who perhaps would order the forced castration of men over a certain age. That is the lone way man's urge can be controlled , if other means of channelling and controlling sex in a disciplined and cultured way does not or cannot happen. Religion also has failed to dampen the over enthusiasm of men. The sordid stories and escapades of prelates and swamis are pertinent examples.

Like in Israel ,where  there is  mandatory military service , here in this land young girls must be given basic training in martial arts, judo and self defence. This is not a tongue in cheek suggestion or in jest.  Women have to be their own vigilantes, because the male dominated psyche will only invite more of such heinous crimes as the one that happened on that train to Shoranur. 

Monday, February 7, 2011


I was mulling over the topic of cultural intergration and coexistence when, bingo David Cameroon the British Prime minister strode in on the subject. The BBC in its morning news today gave out the speech Mr Cameroon gave in Munich. He criticised the “State multiculturalism” as he termed it. This was directed at radical elements and the causes of terror. 

"Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism," the prime minister said.
 Ministers should refuse to share platforms or engage with such groups, which should be denied access to public funds and barred from spreading their message in universities and prisons, he argued."Let's properly judge these organisations: Do they believe in universal human rights - including for women and people of other faiths? Do they believe in equality of all before the law? Do they believe in democracy and the right of people to elect their own government? Do they encourage integration or separatism? In the speech, Mr Cameron drew a clear distinction between Islam the religion and what he described as "Islamist extremism" - a political ideology he said attracted people who feel "rootless" within their own countries."We need to be clear: Islamist extremism and Islam are not the same thing," he said.

 Mr Cameroon said, it's important to stress that terrorism is not linked exclusively to any one religion or ethnic group." To its defenders, it is the principle that people of different faiths and traditions should be able to live side by side, without surrendering their identities. To its detractors, it is the notion that the state should sponsor cultural division, exempting minority groups from certain obligations of citizenship. Viewed this way, multiculturalism is seen as excusing behaviour that should never be tolerated in a civilised democracy.( Quote- David Cameroon The Guardian ).

Mr Cameroon has a point there and also he was treading into territory that is deftly avoided by politicians. The subject he dwelled is equally important to us, here in India. Look, what messy conventions and government sponsored nonsense the widely publicised Indian joke of cultural integration and coexistence – secularism in Indian parlance, has done to the fabric of the nation. It is the religious minorities holding the nation to ransom that has come about and at the same time providing fuel for the bigotry of the majority.

Where the government must not tread – in the realm of religion, successive governments have peppered. Public money is being provided for religious pilgrimages; Religious schools have been given a free run and everybody knows radicalisation is taught there; Literary works are banned on purported blasphemy and perceived offence (Salman Rushdie’s “SATANIC VERSES “and Nicholas Kanzanstika’s “LAST TEMPTATION”). Even civil laws are amended to suit religious and communal elements,( Shah Banao vs. Union of India, where the alimony, and maintenance,  rightfully eligible to the divorced wife was denied by invoking the anachronistic religious codes).And for turning back the clock in both the instances, we had a young Prime minister ( Rajeev Gandhi) in the fore front. What else are these if it is not the muscle flexing of the minority, aided by the government? The consequence, radical elements on the other side- the majority community engages in levelling the odds  Now in the final matter of things what has become of the multiculturalism?

What is ignored or forgotten is that vested interests among the minority do not want any improvement in the economic or social condition of the community, as development of the community will be detrimental to their interests. If penury and illiteracy got to be the necessary evil for subjugating and maintaining the level of deprivation economically and socially, let it be, so says the community leaders.

The recent High Court ruling dismissing a private petition seeking quashing of the Kerala State Finance Corporation (a government undertaking) engaging in the operation of an Islamic Bank is unfortunately a judgement in reversal. Let a private ownerships decide on engaging in opening Islamic Banking and seek the Reserve Bank's approval. What has a democratically elected 'government got to do with Islamic Banking? In any case in an open democracy why must we accept a religious practise in the public domain? This is not promoting multiculturalism but shamelessly wooing the minority vote bank and simultaneously succumbing to extreme pressures from religious outfits.

It is display of audacity that flexes the kind of violent demonstrations agisnst a caricature or invites fanatic diktats like fatwa for airing voice against gender discrimination , human rights,  criticism of literally interpreting and following religious texts, and the worst – the blasphemy laws. What certain minorities ensure not to see is that in a country like India, the UK, the USA or any other Western democracies religious and cultural minorities have a decent and respectable means of living. This is in contrast to the many other states in the Middle East and nearer home, where they, even though in the majority do not enjoy the decent, respectable life that any human being will cherish. It is indeed a sad irony!

When one lives in a country, hold citizenship of the country and enjoys the largesse of public funds, there are certain obligations that are to be met, and honoured. It is the duty of any right thinking system of government to ensure that the kid glove policy does not generate radical elements. It is a kind of state subsidised extremism that is growing  and we saw, glaringly for instance in the criminal act of chopping the limbs of the college professor.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Journey back to Nether world

“ What ever desires are difficult to attain among mortals , ask them according to thy wish,-these fair maidens with their chariots and musical instruments- such are indeed not to be obtained by men. Choose sons and grandsons who shall live a hundred years, herds of cattle, elephants, gold, and horses. Choose the wide abode of the earth, and live thyself as many harvests as thou desirest. If you can think of any boon equal to that, choose wealth, and long life. Be (king), Nachiketas, on the wide earth'. I make thee the enjoyer of all desires. But ask not the mystery of death”.

“O Yama, God of Death! All those things that you have offered to grant me are subject to decay, if not today, by tomorrow at least. And all these things are directed at depriving and depreciating man of all his virility and strength of his limbs. Even if you grant me a longer life, that again is of no use (since I am going to die someday). At the end, all the vehicles, music, dance (all those offered by you to me) will again become yours (after death)”. Even the whole life is short. Keep thou thy horses, keep dance and song for thyself”.

There are times that are oft repeated in life, when one feels that life has been very unfair, cruel and inexplicable in churning out the good and the bad. Some are blessed with well being and for others it is litany of woes. And still for some life is a mixed bag. That is fair enough though, certainly!

J, was my class mate during the college years I spent in MarIvanios College Thrpuram, way back in 1977-80. Those were the times when jeans and trousers were not very common with girls. But J seldom wore different attire than a pair of trousers and shirt, or t-shirts. She was the macho among girls. More like a street fighter boy. She kept her hair pruned- I felt that was like Mrs Indira Gandhi. She was laid back in style and had a casual swagger in walk. She cared a damn for conventions and the cocoon girls were supposed to be during those pre MTV times. She was intelligent, full of banter and bold. I still remember her getting pissed off at me and decided not to talk to me. We were at logger heads, but I do not exactly recall the incident that upset her.

I met her yesterday at her house in the suburb of Thrpuram. It was a visit for a poignant occasion. I n fact it was a visit to offer condolences. She had lost her son, a boy of eighteen, to the malevolent fate, just four days ago. I remember seeing him with his family, a year ago in Chennai. I, C and Ara were in Chennai to attend the wedding of the daughter of a class mate of ours. I recall vividly her son eagerly clicking off photographs and he was also keen to take a photo with Ara.

J was devastated, deflated and in disarray. But she did not completely jettison her poise and strong countenance, though inwardly shattered. I sometimes during the course of my sitting by her side yesterday, feared and wondered if there were signs of her losing her balance, her mind, her poise. She did not shed tears, at least not while we were there. She only kept asking to herself, and to me generally, why the boy had to take his life? And, that too in a predetermined way that was immaculately envisioned ,made as violent as possible and as effective, as any plan can be implemented.

J told me that she could never recollect one instance when the boy was upset or angry. And she remembered painfully he was very helpful, caring and friendly, than any child of his age. I got the feeling from her reminiscing him, the uncommon and unusual affection and concern for the family was apparent in the boy. Which was not generally a child’s volition as we can recall from our childhood and also from those of the many children we know.

J’s ill-luck began a few years ago when she had a major stroke. And was in critical state for quite a while. It was out of, I guess sheer will and luck she came back to her professional job of the Bank Manger. Though she must be having a distant handicap after the major physical upheaval. Her convalescence and limp back to normalcy was shattered by a life threatening and almost crippling accident soon after, to her husband. And she had to tender him amidst her own physical distress. That, I guess took a year. Not long after the gentleman was back on his feet, fate put him down yet again. This time it was tipper truck that lost control and fell on his car, almost crushing him. And he was hospitalised with serious multiple fractures and in hopeless condition. However the family survived the ordeal and he is on his feet.

The moment some of us , J’s class mates  heard the tragedy of her son, we wondered why this strain of ill luck was shadowing her!

We parents seem to believe and claim that we know our children inside out. We boast that they are fair and straight with us. No secret gardens and no behind door acts. And we, like J did, do not see anything untoward in the unusual love and care they shower on us. And like J, we will wonder why that little fellow did the unthinkable. To a lay person it is a mystery that defies logic or an explanation.

After sitting with her, the puzzle was slowly unravelling, to me though I kept to myself. The boy seemed to have carried a split personality, and the parents did not notice. Privately, he was in a kind of psychiatric turmoil. And his noting and computer also give ample instances to substantiate the theory. His death note that was found tells that he had to go. He tells that some distant force had sent him to this material world, to be here briefly to love and care for his parents and family. He had asked the “father”(the spirit)  if he could stay till he gave his CA foundation examinations  but his request was declined  by the powers that sent him into the world. So the time was up now and the force that commands him asked him to be back amongst the friendly souls in the nether world. He just cannot stay here any longer and the material trappings are not for him. Kindred souls and friends wait him in the yonder world. The casual manner and the blithe with which the boy took his life were frightening, haunting and painful. He decided that he could not be here beyond Jan 30. And he ensured that his end was brutal and effective, (why brutal, only he could tell). So he could cast off the fetters of death. The modus operandi is graphic to recount.

The bottom line is parents have to be watchful of the young. We do not know the innermost thoughts, and can easily be hoodwinked. If only a tiny opening was noticed somewhere, the boy could have been saved from the abysmal depths he was plummeting into. The internet sites that purvey nonsense of necromancy, black magic, and conjuring the dead were directly influencing his fickle mind.

And the parents will wonder forever, why, why did he do so? What that will not register is that he was carrying a dual personality one for the consumption of his immediate family and the other dark and secret deep in him , and that only he knew.  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

With no Malice

The following lines may be an exercise of no use, a waste of time. It is  not fretting or anger that gave me the idea to write a bit on the subject.

Jealousy and it’s off shoot- malicious gossip, are they the forte of the fairer sex? Or is it a heterogeneous trait that overlaps gender?
I have wondered often! 
Though identifying these qualities to be the exclusivity of women would be inviting libel and also that I do not want to be called a MCP. And certainly I bode no ill to them and some of the best personalities I have known at close quarter has been women. But yet, with no malice to women in particular, I must say that a few instances of severe gossip and innuendo that I have felt have been from women and women only.
The latest one was quite disgusting and that too coming from the lady of the house that we have been close to and frequenting as well. More so, C considered the two children there, like the two of her own. Be it in matters of little gifts of affection, appreciation and encouragement, she was to them like she is to her own children. Well that is the way she is with kids of the few close friends we have.

The woman in question is a church goer and an active parishioner. Follows lent and other religious vows zealously. At least that was what I could notice! Outwardly she is a gem of a hostess, and person. Helpful, and goes the extra yard to make you comfortable. She, even certain times admonished C for not being a practising Christian like she was- god fearing, praying, observing lent and other catholic vows.

Though I and C have not been among riches by the business standards that are around in the industry we were in, we have had a very satisfying life. No vacationing in Las Vegas and Monaco, nor jaunts in the Bahamas or cruises on the QE-2. But we were lucky to have been to quite a few places in different 
continents in the course of my business travels. I even was lucky to possess a wonderful SUV that was indeed  a marvel and the lone indulgence and fantasy I can be accused of. We owned a lovely Spartan place that was in a way was paradise,a dream as well. And most of all we were immensely fortunate to have had the resources to provide respectable and character designing, formative schooling to both our children. That certainly would not have been possible if we were fixed income salaried people. Though it was indeed painful to have missed the kids at home during most part of the years, while they were boarders! The nature of our profession in fact demanded that children were taken care and were not inflicted by the stress and the odd time and nature our work entailed.

It has thankfully reflected in their personalities and character.And I do not foresee any deviation either. Aravind  is twenty and Radhika , almost eighteen. We considered the spending on good education of the children (not the flamboyant vanity filled schooling), a necessary indulgence if one choose to term it as indulgence.

The lady , the subject of this post suddenly woke up to the comfortable way we had our children educated the decent life we lived and began her litany of gossips and comments.And in fact she was in the sidelines talking nonsense and spreading innuendo about another family that was close - their children too. It was a surprise to us to know so, because, she exhibited the countenance of virtue and pleasant feeling to us and all. And she could not certainly with her piety, air ill for another. In fact she was insinuating while she was smiling heartily and 
virtually hugging us.

Was her reaction and shameless comments a feeling of guilt or sadness that she could not part similar schooling to her children? Was she discontent and wanted to be like the Jones next door? She did not have the courage and the will to live without “crutches’? Was it plain jealousy and dislike for the well being of the other, (though she is comparatively very well and  perhaps stress free financially and socially) for her to comment deprecatingly?

Can one be angry, anguished and covetous seeing the well being of the other? Can one resent and spite
another’s success and revel ,when another has hard times?
No ill to women. And I wish to think that this person is an aberration in her sex. Certainly no malice meant to her.