Saturday, October 29, 2011

Quid Pro Quo

Old woman, Mary John promised to the Virgin of Vellankanni, fifty candles if her daughter was returned safe from her trip to the Kailas Mansarovar. She, as penitence for her litter’s sin in seeking an alien and false God in lieu of the only true God she was sworn to, offered a special mass at the local parish church. And when her daughter came back from her highly trumpeted journey safe and healthy as when she left, Mary John was pleased that her God heeded her supplications.  Still ,when she was told that her daughter’s Land Cruiser almost went off the mountain road in Tibet , but was saved by a whisker she   thanked her God for sparing her daughter  from a life threatening danger . It dawned on her then the sleight of her God, taking away the life of the little white lamb in their house instead. It fell dead one day with no apparent reason (Life of beast are in any case insignificant comparison to human beings).As a bonus to her God she said a twenty one “Hail Mary’s” and twenty one “Our Father who Art in heaven”.

Rameshan Nair was an ardent devotee of the bachelor god Ayyappan who abodes in the hills of Sabarimala. Rameshan Nair is a private contractor and has his fingers in all lucrative civil works in town. He has this uncanny acumen and knack to tackle bureaucracy and the powers that be. He had insider information on the tender just called for the construction of the new Airport terminal that would run into multi million. He manipulated and with insider help defrauded the various quotes and had his bid as the sole tender and at a highly inflated price. He in turn had offered his God Ayyappan a gold crown studded with gems. And he promised to bring it to the abode of the God by himself, only that the contract must go to him. God relented, after all who would not in face of gratification? And Rameshan Nair bagged the contract.

Haji Ahmed had business of rectified spirit. Besides the few thousand litres of authorised licenses the bulk of the merchandise traded by the Haji was smuggled in from distant States. The standing contract with his God and his plenipotentiary was that no untoward must happen to the smuggling of rectified spirit that happens incessantly. His God has been faithfully abiding by the verbal understanding and Haji Ahmed used to uninterruptedly without fail dispatch a sizeable amount in currency to the Masjid treasury.

What is wrong in these three cases of commissions and gratification? They are approved by the heavens. Aren't they?

We have thousands of men and women in India from various religion and faith, scamper to many places of worship- temples, mosques, churches, etc and offer money and in kind for various favours they ask, in advance and post- happening. You help me achieve this, help me get this, save me from conviction, and I give thee in cash or kind. Perfect the quid pro quo begins with the holy Gods.

Thence what is misplaced and wrong about a minister making the extra few hundred millions for favours done to some selected industrialists, and what is wrong, sinful, unethical and unlawful in paying bribe and receiving gratification. The matter begins with God.

In matters of commerce, they say, the fault with Dutch is offering too little and asking just too much. But Indian culture has the opposite we are even handed in giving and taking. The art of graft begins in places of worship. Else how could one explain the throng of men and women flocking the temple at Tirupathi, with the alibi of the story that the Lord should not default in his contract with the Lord of wealth, Kubera? Why do we offer quid pro quo to God? This is not spiritualism if someone argues in that fashion. It is pure, plain and unbridled graft, like the ones that happen daily in Indian social, economic and political life. Why is it that only when it is offered or given to Providence it is offering and to A. Raja it is bribe?

Indians cannot live without giving and accepting gratification. It is engrained in our physiological system and body chemistry. Our culture and civilisation does not jettison that, it embraces. The difference in the same exercise, when offered or given to Gods is termed offerings and sacrifice and when it is handed out to a bureaucrat, a poor peon or an elected representative then becomes bribe.Is there something amiss in our interpretation of the act, the language?

Ours is a rich spiritual culture and heritage. It is claimed in all history books in our curriculum. We have hundreds of years of spiritual existence in India. And consequently, ideally the penury and sufferings in the country should be a misnomer. A spiritually rich country that can claim five thousand years of civilisation , that can offer thousands of years and ancient spiritual solace to the entire world - festering  itself in poverty, disease, hunger and infamy of various hues! A strange contradiction!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


          “There is no love sincere than the love of food”.

Dreams in which you lie in bed and literally drool! It must have happened to most. It often happens to me.

I’m at a sumptuous dinner or party with food that is the envy of even the Romans and all their Gods. Sometimes it will be the typical wedding food in a Keralite Hindu wedding, sometimes the aromatic Byriani and pulsating mutton curry of the Muslim folks amply proportioned with ghee and at times it will also be the grandeur of the food at a Christian wedding. I would be in anxious hurry and impatience to grab the food and stuff it down, sometimes I will be trying to stretch to grab it even, but alas I cannot move my hand or it superficially perceives the food then I wake up with a forlorn jolt, drooling, literally. The realization dawns that it was not only a dream but a nightmarish end to feel now that I missed the whole tempting array of cuisine.
Then I slip back into the abyss of slumber, with stupor of the dog that was shown the fascinating piece of bone and taken away with cruel audacity.

Food, the one that tickles, and pleasures the taste buds and the mind, that gives the heart its ever eluding content has been my fascination.

I sit back to recollect  the  times  I have had food that stays in the heart and long each day that I be consigned to a remote island paradise where I and just me alone will enjoy all that every day , is not  ephemeral and it never ends,  . A life in Shangri-La!

The best of the country side food of Kerala devoured in the thatched  tenement straddling the green paddy fields that tango in the breeze that is incessant, was like paradise brought down to me. I had that many times, but one, a particular time and place was heavenly simple and plain. Spirit that even Gods will not resist (the Kerala toddy) complimented by well cooked tapioca in coconut and tagged with the wonderfully dangerous looking Valla (a kind of fish found in Kerala back waters and rivulets) curry. Supplemented with roasted duck, frog legs, roasted pork garnished with coconut slices and the Entreat the appam with chicken curry in fried coconut gray. Beef ollathiathu (roasted) being an added indulgence. I wished after, and knew I would not mind, if my heart ceased to throb  it would be with content.

Once I went to a wedding reception in Chennai. It was a Muslim wedding. The food served was of only a few dishes unlike the Christian and Hindu weddings in Kerala that never ends and stays on course after course. The Byriani with chunks of juicy mutton garnished with ghee, roasted chicken sprinkled with sliced onions and tomatoes sautéed with amazing composition of masala, a tremendously subjugating curry of brinjal, and then came the dessert carrot halwa in ghee. I still can at times smell that food though ten and plus years have elapsed since.

Once I and C went for a nonsense called Yoga class, which was a discourse with gimmicks by a widely known man in ocher robes. It was a three day event in Chennai, and what kept us glued there was the lunch they served which was pure vegetarian. I do not recall the dishes but exquisite were they, I’m yet to taste any that will match let alone rival that.

Steak! Versions of that are many. Often we are forced to agree that the chunk of meat grilled and peppered can also be termed “steak”. But the best and the unrivalled buffalo steak was served to me and C while we were in Jackson. There can never be any steak that can be juicy and enhancing as that. It was the feeling, the fear that the hotel staff that waited on us would see us gluttonous Indians that we desisted from asking for a repeat of the dish.

Shewarma, the misleading regional versions were attractive, until I ate the beef shewarma at a Turkish joint  in Johannesburg. It was rolled in bread as big as a huge Nan. Rolled and stuffed without a wee bit space with meat, mayonnaise, grated cabbage, and mustard sauce with other condiments.  I kept licking my fingers and sucking my thump till the end of the day.

There is a very mundane, but nostalgic variety among the cuisine I long for each day. The India Coffee Houses are quite famous for their coffee, maslaa dosa and brisk service, besides other dishes. The masala dosa from the ICH as the outlets are called have the same taste and aroma from Srinagar to KanyaKumari.  A plate of MD as the masala dosa’s are called, complimented with Mutton -Omelet and signing off with aromatic coffee will eclipse any depression and augment rejuvenation. No exaggeration. Each morning I wish for the MD and MO.

But finally I reach to the food that most of us in the family, I’m sure, miss now. The local Kerala cuisine that my mother’s sister used to cook. It is true that no food can rival the ones mothers’ cook. But when traded with her sister’s gifted hands, the dishes my mother cooks come second only.  The fish fry, the mackerel curry in grounded coconut and coriander powder with the tangy –sour fruit , kodam pulli( (seen only in Kerala), the simple beans thoran , the avial , the olan(  sliced potato in  coconut milk with peas and green chilly), the theeyal ( drum stick and yam slices cooked in fried coconut and coriander gravy),the sambar , the prawn theeyal and prawn fry roasted with liberal dose of onion slices, and what else! I have not come across yet another array of food ,prepared ,which aids with amazing content - the taste buds and leaves the soul in peace.
 It was akin to ambrosia if not one!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Inherit the Wind

I saw the movie a third time around a few days back. “Inherit the Wind” was the 1960 movie version  directed by  Stanley Kramer, of a real time incident in the USA down south in 1925 that shook the conventional notion and conformity of religious diktat on creation. The incident that triggered the prosecution of a public school teacher for teaching “Darwin’s theory of evolution”. Those were the days when government funded schools in America were proscribed from teaching the scientific theory of genesis of man and evolution of life. The religious right vehemently renounced the evolutionary theory, stigmatised Darwin, and declared him an anathema and a persona non grata. It was sin, blasphemous and a crime to teach or believe that man was descended from the monkeys and the apes. Children were taught the Biblical fairy tale of creation and that was considered indisputable and inviolable.

The movie captures the core of the subject, ‘the right to think’, and not just the ephemeral matter of Darwin’s theory of natural selection and evolution, or the sleight of God in creation. The right of the thinking man! It was an individual’s right to think independently, which was endangered in the prosecution of the teacher against whom the whole town of Hilsburgh and the establishment panoplies.

                     Spencer Tracy & Frederic March in the film

I heard about this fascinating story and the movie itself from Aravind, my son. He was then in his twelfth class at the boarding school in Ketty, Nillgirs. The dramatised adaptation of the movie was enacted by the senior boys for the school anniversary. He donned the role of Mathew Harrison Brady the fundamentalist politician who appears in court to pillories the teacher, and his close friend Mani, the role of Henry Drummond who defends the accused. In the movie the role of Brady was brought to admirable life by Frederic March and Spencer Tracy the role of Henry Drummond.

The movie had amazing court room drama, histrionics and crisp dialogues with repartees, all which made one pulsate to think. And feel the ethereal pleasure when the mind is free and thought boundless. The movie itself begins with the old song,”the old time religion”, played in the back ground. It ends with the death of the fundamentalist prosecutor who goes hysteric in the court room and dies there of a massive cardiac arrest. The last shot has Henry Drummond, the defence attorney walking away with the copy of “The Evolution of Species” and the “Bible”.

The dramatised version was a highly awaited one, and the boys and the girls did enormous back stage work with dedication to excel the play. I was eagerly anticipating the day as I and C had never missed a school cultural function or sports for the twelve years our children studied in their alma mater. And that being Aravind’s final year in school, I and C would want to move heavens, keep aside other engagements and tide over all difficulties to be in the front row. Aravind, as the Head boy was awaiting and looking eagerly to sign off in style from the school that blessed him with invaluable life in his formative age.

                     Mani Prasad & Aravind ( Henry Drummond &  Harisson Brady) from school days

Then nemesis in flesh and blood (I cannot help phrasing my feelings strongly), struck and I was left behind with whimper and helpless. C had to travel alone to Ootty to the function. I had to prioritise a meeting that was so vital that I stayed back but was a damp squib in the end. Thanks to the people who timed the meeting and made it a successful not starter, I felt in such way that I even believed that they had a design in my misery and missing Aravind’s dramatics.

I waited in anticipation, C’s arrival back with the children late that night as the Pooja Holidays were following the next day. The play was given a standing ovation by the whole audience (parents, children and staff). The best actor was decided in an extremely narrow margin and won by the sweet looking Mani. C mentioned that Aravind sent Mani on stage to collect the award for the best play as it seemed he was anticipating him to be called to collect the prize for the best actor. However though he must have felt a wee bit sad, he said he was happy that Mani was chosen as he admirably portrayed Henry Drummond. It was good to see a healthy competition that ended well. When I met the Principal after a few days he expressed regret that the judges had to deliberate much and decide narrowly the winner for the best act. The play was a great success and when others told me that I was quite unlucky to miss not being there, I felt miserable and terribly sad.

It was only after I watched the film, and without an iota of hesitation eulogise the thespians Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly and Frederic March that I began to wonder how well the children have enacted the play for it to be so raved about.

Hence I tried to catch up with the lost essence  by watching over and over, the film itself. I would recommend that the film be watched, any which way you can, buy it or down load .The monkey trial as the incident was called in real time had a parting theme as well.

“He that troubleth his own house shall ‘Inherit the wind; and the fool shall be the servant to the wise of heart.” (King James Version of the Bible – the book of proverbs).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


                    "Mediterannean". Musee D' Orsay 

There is seldom any doubt that French women are one of the most effortlessly sexy and beautiful .

I was going through some old pictures stored in my lap top, and revisited the pictures of the gorgeous looking lass from France. The picture must be about ten years old and I last saw her before she left the company I was then doing business with. The last I met her was in Strasbourg in their office. And that day she and her boss took me out for lunch. I did correspond with her on business matters and some advice about textile fairs in Paris and Lille which she frequented. Well in fact she was a Textile school product and worked in that Company as a designer and Stylist for men’s wear. Hence her twice yearly visits to India.

She must have been twenty four or there about.

Once on her visit to India, she happened to be in the town over the week end and came to our house for dinner. The next day, a Sunday, we all drove down to Malampuzha in Kerala. As she and her boss wanted to see a bit of “God’s own country”, of which they heard much. (The subsequent year we sent them by car to Kumarakom to erase the unpleasant memories of this forgetful trip). It was an awful experience for the heat and the very ravenous men folks of that place. Being a Sunday there was a sizeable crowd of men and women who ventured out to nauseatingly pry and strip another- beautiful women. The kind of people who are intrusive and agape upon seeing a white (pale) skinned alien woman.

Now she was a very beautiful and debonair. Tall slightly tanned and had exquisite assets that makes women glamorous and attractive to men folks and envy of the same sex. Being her second or third visit to India she was not quite aware of the prejudice and hypocrisies of the land. Wearing jeans and a round neck t shirt that clings to a beautiful  body was indeed quite provocative to the gentry there in Kerala. I and C could feel and she too, the prying and lecherous eyes roving all over her. In fact we had to be more conscious and ensure that none of them got berserk and laid hands on her. There was no dearth for comments that were derisive, mocking and vulgar. It was a wonderful relief when we were back in the car to drive back to our town. The only quite side of the day adventure being the boat ride on the lake, which was away from offensive eyes.

After she left the company the contact just faded out, though it must be the pleasure of every man who appreciates feminine physical beauty and charm, to be in contact with her. 

The next I heard about her, (let me call her M, after the first alphabet of her name), was just a few years ago from the woman who was her boss. Well, M was going steady with a young man who lived in her town of Strasbourg. And they were quite intimate for a while, before she was befriended by another fellow.  She was I presume dating two men at the same time. It was immediately after that, that she found her pregnant. And she decided to marry her new boy friend. Marry they did. Because she had this good news for him that she conceived and will bore him a child. However a few months into marriage she went in for a paternity test and found that the child was from her earlier boyfriend. The man whom she married was not prepared to continue the relationship if she did not medically terminate the pregnancy. This she refused outright. His persuasive skills running out of steam and on a limbo, he (her husband) walked out of the marriage. She was left to fend for herself. 

She eventually gave birth to a child, a boy. She was living by herself, a single young mother, in dire need of a job. In an unenviable state of bringing up the infant and meeting ends meets.
Quite an unfortunate turn of events for a woman who was captivatingly beautiful.

One can laugh away the confusion of parentage and the comedy of errors if one sees it that way. However the same life style is quite in our garden too! Isn’t it?

Saturday, October 15, 2011


There was this old joke doing the rounds in college- Question, “What is the height of innocence”?  Answer, “Pregnant woman rubbing Iodex.”
Well that was a trifle naughty joke. And can be exercised in circle of friends during banter. There are then statements that may be intended as jokes but when pronounced at the wrong place, at the wrong time can create an awful lot of embarrassment. And when it originates from an adult it may be frowned upon, and may create a piquant situation. Which tells that jokes apart, one must as an adult have common sense in good proportion and good judgment, lest an occasion of banter will be transformed a spoiled stage?

But the liberty and license to thrill and kill are with the toddlers and the little ones. The little children who walk with unsteady steps and utter matters that sometimes thrills to kill you. Embarrass you to no end, evoke erupting laughter, and hush silence in agape and sheer comical situations too. It is height of innocence and witty at that!

“It is not a bad thing that children should occasionally and politely put their parents in their place.”

It was quite a few years ago and my niece was growing out of toddle. She was taken one day to the zoo in Thpuram by her parents. I guess she was two years old at that time. Moving around the enclosures she was carried by her father, my sister’s husband. As usual, when little children are taken to zoo- the arena where primates are enclosed, that would be a fascinating halting point. So my sister and brother in law hung around with the little girl around the enclosure where they had the baboons and chimps. That day had quite a good commune of people at the zoo. The little girl was so thrilled and elated with the primates inside. That she refused to leave the area. My brother in law was carrying her prodded her that they have more great animals to gaze elsewhere. She suddenly blurted out in high pitched voice pointing her finger at the monkeys and  tapping her father’s face, “look the monkey looks like Atcham(dad).” The guy was certainly miffed and embarrassed and apparently people around heard the child’s statement. He gently pinched her and asked her to be quite. She then blurted louder still, “why do you pinch me for that”.” I understand that since that day the poor fellow have not taken fancy with zoos.

She now has grown up into a woman and finished her masters in zoology. She does not rattle or pass trivial talk, but if she tells something, it will as meaningful and sharp that it is difficult to refute the statement.

C’s parents were living in a small hamlet in the Nilgiris. Aravind, my son was quite fond of the old man, her father. We were once out there with the old folks on a short week end ors o. The boy was about four years of age. We were all watching some programme on the television. I guess it was some sports channel and the boy was fascinated with some body building competition that was being telecast. The boy was asking questions to the old fella and he was trying to give the child an explanation or a satisfactory answer. Not quite convincing for the boy! We heard the grandfather tell him something about the muscular physique of the men and how they built it over. The little fella, caught the old man unawares when he asked him,” appuppa why are all their muscles inside their underwear?” The old man a benign and timid fellow was stuttering to answer that question.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An Ode to Mother Dearest

I have seen him, his brothers and sisters do that. I have seen that when I was little and was trifle amused by what I then thought was a kind of acrobatics. Bending and touching at her feet or falling prostrate at her feet whenever they ventured out on a long journey or before engaging in any labour of importance. He, (my father) had asked me and my sister too, to touch her feet (in reverence) before we returned from the summer and mid- term vacations at her place. Which was then a serene, sprawling country side by the sea  with copious  paddy fields  that go beyond the horizon straddling back water canals  and  meandering rivulets on one   side of the  hamlet  , lush green all over with coconut  and areca- nut palms , majestic mango  and jack fruit trees  standing on the fringes of beautiful fresh water ponds - bearing fruits seldom found even in paradise.

I did not literally imbibe the gesture of obeisance I saw him bear with humility towards his mother. But I have not let a day by , since I have  begun using my faculties of thought  as an adolescent  where I have not  gotten off the bed in the morning and began  another day without remembering her, my mother, where ever  she was- in the same house or elsewhere. Day begins with thought of respect, gratitude and remorse for my many delinquencies as a teenager that have pained her much.

Sometimes I trust that the karmic philosophy is just not a theory but a fact of life. Because perhaps what ails one’s life may be the just requital of what one does to one’s parent – mother in particular. Metaphorical though, makes sound sense to pursue as a matter of good living.

She has been the most cultivated and Spartan of women. Her pictures from the old tell much about her pretty countenance and demeanour, the gracefulness of beauty. This, my sister has not been fortunate to genetically acquire. She was called “mayil peeli chechi” (sister with peacock plumes). Such was the amazing lush, long black hair she had. I remember my elder cousins (father’s nieces) reminisce that they were in awe of her the day she came home to my paternal mother’s as the bride just married. They have told me that they wanted to befriend her as quickly as they could, to touch her. My father’s sisters never had a word of remote resent for her, only admiration and respect ,so were all her relatives in law.

No one had ever spoke ill of her and never have she spoken ill of any. Even the difficulties she encountered in marital life, did not make her succumb to speak ill about my father or reveal even a wee bit about her melancholy.  It was not that he was unkind to her .This happened while I was little, may be eight or nine years old. The conversation took place between my maternal grandfather and my mother. Or was it a monologue from him? He was a domineering person as men were more autocratic those days. He did not meet eye to eye with my father and they had mutual dislike. It was some matter that troubled my mother and I saw her weep. She was being admonished by her father (my grandfather) for putting up with my father. He wanted her to separate from him and proclaimed that he had the obligation and the resources to take care of her and her two children. She was not angry with her father for what he wanted her to dare. He in fact understood that of all his six children, it was she who would be with him and not for his wealth. And she was a portrait of decorum even in the most distressful times of her life. We in jest say she is the eponym for tolerance. But she has never forsaken self respect.

She was quite a terror to me sometimes. I now guess that it was more out of her frustrations that she was annoyed with me than my provoking her anger.

The respect that came forth for her from all because of her demenour was conspicuously apparent to me when elder members of the acquaintances, friends and relatives we have one after the other  reminded me of not to hurt her by word or deed. This was when they were told that I was to marry a girl from a catholic Christian background. There was this friend and school mate of her who did not mince words in reprimanding me and reminding me about my decision and that in no way must hurt her.  And it has not , I’m fortunate!

Genteel as genteel can be,!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


A friend feels that perhaps what he sees as my intemperate reactions these days is because of my state of mind. Coming from a good friend the comment cannot be dismissed as insensible or not true and I indulged in self analysis and introspection. Though he was the only fellow to make this fantastic judgment! But I had to be discreet; tread with care, not to be biased about myself if I might suddenly notice my not so exemplary quality as he sniffed. I must be cautious that I do not go forward with the sole aim of rubbishing his/her observation. I must be sure to be diacritical.

It is a funny game this social living. I’m certain primates too may be having all the advantages and difficulties of gregarious living. It is funny when we sit back and rewind, sensitive indeed is this art of “communicating”. Unlike what Bindu mentioned in her comment in her Blog post, it is just not in business matters alone that communication can be important. Even in mundane affairs, among spouses, parent and children, between friends, with acquaintances, the stranger on the road-with everybody it matters.  A pause or a comma, a colon or silence, all might be construed as meaning something different than intended and diametrically opposite too.

Once a person opined that if someone calls you ‘monkey’, wisely there should not be any recrimination or reaction even. He said such name calling would not make one so. It certainly will should one react angrily at such an act.

 Yes indeed, the mental plight plays a great deal in affairs of a person and the way he conducts himself. Am I petulant? Do I throw my peevishness, my stress, my disturbed mental or physical state upon an unassuming person?

Yes I have done so. I have picked up quarrel and raised voices with frustration than anger, well that was mostly with C. In the office I have sometimes got quickly provoked at the slightest pitfall in a person. I have thrown files back at the person. These were, call it temperamental reactions to certain event or person over whom I could not exercise control .I guess this most of us do. We pick up some one manoeuvrable to vent our pent up helplessness.  And often that will be our spouse.

It was long ago may be in the early years of our married life, I picked up few din with C. Reason I really do not remember. But I suppose that the villain of the piece must have been me. One was a verbal confrontation of sorts and I guess I was quite pissed out with C’s callous attitude at my excitement that out of annoyance I picked up the decoction of coffee and poured on her head. She looked the victim of a prankster on holi. Yet another time we were arguing on something and again I was annoyed at her retorts or indifference that I threw the plate of omelets to the far corner of the room. It rang through immediately all over my nerves that I did something horrendous with food. I remember aplogising to her, picked up the platter and ate in remorse over my action. Sulk, I did!

Have I abused someone because of my failures or mental state?  Certainly no. In fact throwing the anguish of one’s meekness at home, error of judgments and repercussions in professional or personal matters on someone has not been my conspicuous attribute. There are many who do that and are an incorrigible lot.
What transpires in my mind of my travails in life has been my sole companion as my shadow itself. And I do not think that even C or the children have thought of leaning over to see what  goes through in my mind. More often it has been a lonely haul in abasement, except that, there were a few close ones who spied out in anguish that devastation shows out. This has been the matter in affairs thick and thin.

Then how the hell is this fascinating discovery that my words and deeds reflect my travails and perils? It is easy to be in judgment, I suppose. And it will be wise to not react when one is called a primate or an ass for example, because if one is sure, it is silly to retort on something that is silly and untrue .Let the Troubadour sing in praise of what I’m not.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Weaker Sex

I say this as an observer and as a member of the male species. I’m not even a distant “Man watcher” in the Desmond Morris mould. What is noted is only from my observations, reading and experiences of self and of people around I know.

There are certain biological qualities that predominate male and female. The female, be it in the animal kingdom or among human beings prefer the strongest and the indisputable of the male lot. Among beasts procreation being the sole motive that drives towards courtship, the female choose the best among male to continue her lineage. Among human beings things are not confined to just ensuring that the seed is fertilised by the best of men, because human wants are different and not merely natural as procreation alone.  Wealth is associated with power and that may be often preferred over raw physical prowess; education and physical charm; character and moral up righteousness, all play significant part or some may be the sole criteria as well. 

There are not many women who would opt for a man who is incapable of providing her the security she wants. An infatuation in the genre of Romeo & Juliet or Laila & Majnu is only madness and exceptions to the rule. Often seen in fictional works than in real life! The word “security” is relative. To some it can be money, sex, affection, faithfulness etc.

The fact is women are adept in choosing the best that they deem is appropriate for them. While men are by far obsessed with the physical curvature that attracts. Fortunately further enactment is restricted by social laws and etiquettes. A time without restraints that are enforced from outside is rather frightening and can be a dangerous situation that may throw open the real nature of the male species. To some this natural fascination or disposition can be a mad obsession. Like in the animal kingdom the male among the Homo sapiens seem to be   genetically driven by the primordial urge and the refining has been only because of social controls.

Once during a discussion a person stated that male of the human species are obsessed with sex and women .They hardly let a woman pass by, by not undressing her in his mind. He attributed this disposition even in Gandhi which perhaps made him rebel against, in his conscience. There is also an opinion which states that he straddling two women on either shoulder was his way of negating the ubiquitous urge of male. Hence his many trysts with Sataygraha!

That consigns male to a genetically charged group disposed to copulation. And to many, sexual relationships end with copulation and one night stand as some call it, be it in marriage or outside. Other feelings of emotion and love are certainly there and are more often the result of social conditioning.

However women are choosy, and survey the male before she concludes his suitability as the partner. She prefers to choose the Man among men. She can plan with tremendous far sight. She can sense when he is weak, financially and physically. And can find ingenious ways to shun him when not required.  She has the charm to mesmerize and enchant. She is stronger emotionally too. What else and how else can I explain the passing away of at least five men I knew who bade good bye soon after their spouse died? They were hearty and healthy until the wives were around. On the contrary widows enjoy longevity. Men break down emotionally inside and fall ill physically as soon as they lose the partner. The zest to survive is lost in them.

And I have not come across a man who has used a woman when need be and shun her later. Financially encumbered women are exceptions and are like prey to the civilized predators of the society.  On the contrary I have known women who have with uncanny acumen and cunningness use men physically and monetarily literally as serfs. Discard them like pariahs and disposable napkins once they are weak. Man’s weakness is adeptly exploited by the “weaker sex”. If this is not the genetically feeble mind of men in realtion to the strong mindset of women, what else is it?

A woman can wear a man down emotionally. She can make him beg, plead,make him beseech and weep. .But still she may not have him have his way. I can relate this to courtship times among beasts. The casual impassivity and indifference exhibited by the lioness or the doe when male after male lions and stags lurk pleadingly around her. Makes me wonder are we not just another bipedal ones in the animal kingdom?

Lady Macbeth is a stark example. We have had similar examples in the Indian mythical works as well.  Was it Rasputin or the Russian empress who maneuvered the other? It is indeed an easy guess.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011



The Confucian exhortation, “if you cannot avoid rape lie back and enjoy it”, seems relevant to many circumstances that have nothing to do with the profane act he meant. A matter of not seeing the essence of a suggestion, literally! And hence, I assume that the lump in the throat that I seem to carry these days is best left to wither away on its own. Any attempt at confronting it to excise will be futile and, so I decided to see how long I can sleep  with assault ipso facto.

Consequently, I decided to witter.

There is no dearth of educated men and women in India. In fact the number of graduates and post graduates our Universities and educational syndicates hatch and consign to the outer world would even pale the alma mater of repute in the west. Quality indeed is dispensed with in Indian education. Hence there is no great astonishment when it was reported in the media that there were about four hundred applications to the post of “executioner’ when the position was advertised by the Jailor of the central prison in Thpuram. And many were post graduates! A highly literate state indeed, Kerala!

Montek Singh Aluwalia is a feline that has nine lives. And an acrobatic bureaucrat that he is, he has the uncanny knack of falling on his four from where ever you flung him down. He has survived this long as the deputy chief of the planning commission. And true to his acrobatic prowess he did a Don Quixote when he opined for the government that a daily income of above Rs 32 in urban areas and Rs 29 in rural areas shall be considered as above poverty line. Quixotic, but rude,cruel, outrageous and stupid. Or perhaps anyone out there who can do the sorcery of living on Rs 32 a day, with (roti, kapada and makkhan), food clothing and shelter?

The apartment where I lead a single life these days is shared by  two young men. Not so often I get together with them for a few sundowners over weekend. Once I walked in to their room while they were enjoying alcohol with my glass of whisky in my hand  and with flip flops on my feet. I always wear flip flops while in the house. One of the fellows jumped up aghast and requested me in serious tone that I should leave the footwear outside the room. He said there was “god “inside and pointed at the picture of the genial “Ganapathi” hung on the wall. I wondered to myself if Sri Vinayakan is pleased when it comes to whisky but frowns upon foot wear.

A few days ago I bought some good veal to cook. I ‘m not well set with kitchen wares and since I'm not sure of the duration of my stay in Bahrain, I did not invest in things like pressure cooker etc. And the two companions graciously offered me the utility of their wares should I need. While I was cleaning up the irresistible meat, one of the guys sneaked behind and intoned that I do not cook the beef in the pressure cooker as they are chaste Hindus. They would do all bad things but not touch beef even with a barge pole. I wondered to myself, why other beasts and avian lowly creatures compared to cows and bulls of the bovine world. And also what would they do to ensure that the restaurants where they  devour meat , cook beef in sterile environs.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Void

It has been some days since I could collect myself to write and post on the Blog. And today is no different, though I have been almost daily, visiting blogs, reading posts and commenting on them. Some of the regulars have not fallen by the wayside like I have. Doc Antony has given an excuse of being over worked and Balan an alibi of nesting in Alleppy. Oshu who used to bring sharp topics with good language, vanished for a while resurfaced with something honest and candid, but that can still be abhorring to many. There are the earnest faithfuls like, Melange with her never ending repository of cuisine , Bindu with her usual self, NRIgirl as always, KParthasarathi  with his fictional chronicles, SG with her perennial challenges, Petty Witter with her tittle-tattle that has no dearth and Deeps with his discourses mantras.

We have Arun Meethalle still insisting to be an irregular frequent, Sandy still a blue moon, and the others as infrequent as they can get.

Should I infer that many others are also going through the intermittent phases when mind is blank and staunchly refuse to gather thoughts?  Do I go wrong if I deduce that the regular ones are unaffected by the numbness life craftily enforce? Some hold forth a reason of busy schedule and shortage of time for even a square meal. Should I understand that Bindu is having a relentlessly energetic time that she is faithfully and incessantly blogging? Or is it that she has the resource to overcome the malady of mental stress and ennui?And, Melange to churn plethora of gourmets delight? 
I cannot tell! But here I feel absolutely steamrolled over and cannot escape from the throbbing that happens. The mirror refuses to project the image of that stands in front -It is blank. Is it blank from soot? Or is it that it refuses to oblige? 
The Void!

A weekend in Dubai with a friend on an escapade plus a bit of prospecting has not helped. His generosity in cleansing me with good whisky and good food has not alleviated my plight. And makes me wonder if the medication that I faithfully intake has done little to assuage hypertension that afflicts, and Scotch has only been momentarily helpful- a transient tool and aid.

It is a damn thing, this mind is, that it worsens the situation that surrounds you! Seems to play up as it is a cul de sac.