Friday, June 25, 2010

Mallu notes

The recent ruling of the Kerala High court banning (the so called) public meetings on public roads and motorways evoked as expected outrage amongst the political clan of the state.
Some of the clan members are so distressed by the courts observation and strictures that they might  even claim that the court is a protégé of the United States of America.

I heard one political creature on the television ask if the court wants public meetings to be held in “poora parmabu’, away from the glare and publicity of a public through way. Little did the ignorant fellow realize that in the age of visual and mass media explosion, even if a political meeting is held in Timbukootu it will be viewed and seen by the masses.

The political class of the state claims that all the jamborees and meetings on road sides are organized for the welfare and good of the public. They swear that the hardships and agony people encounter during such meetings are meant to tell the whole world that people of Kerala are enlightened and conscious of their rights and will resist injustices meted out to them.
I really wonder if in the whole world it is only Keralites who are conscious of their rights (obviously not of their duties). If one travel to other states in India one will not see the sit in agitations at the State Secretariat gates. But in Thiruvanathapuram that is now part of the daily life. Only Keralites are starved off their constitutional rights! Seems people in other States are either nit wits or are content. Keralites might say that other state dwellers are nit wits. Daily rallies and demonstration are never ending in Kerala. Even the co- habituating West Bengal is different. Keralites have now become a class apart who relishes opposing any thing and every thing. And if people cannot discern with reason then what behoves of a claim of one hundred percent literacy?
Over the past two decades of my life in Tamilnad I can remember of hardly a handful of hartals or general strikes ( bandhs). Whilst I understand that in Kerala such horrible events are four times over the annual privilege leave credited to a worker. I have not encountered any obstruction or hooliganism in Tamilnad while I have been out in my car or two -wheeler on such a day. But, I can still remember with quite a  trepidation the menacing faces of some VHP activists who threatened to smash my car while I was driving down to Thiruvananathapuram on a hartal day enforced by that out fit.

In Tamilnad farmers rotate their crops. They do inter cropping that fetches income during the non yielding times of the main crop.And that, being a scientifically and financially sane policy, the land also stays fertile and is not starved off its natural and regenerating nutrients. Farmers cultivate, maize, millet, ground nuts, sugar cane, banana and rice depending on the seasonal cycle. And the communist cadres in Tamilnad have not ever thought of decimating the cultivation. While in Kerala we hear and see of hooliganism wrecked on crops in the name of outlandish policies which the communist brethren of Tamilnad or even West Bengal let alone their inspirational mother land, China seldom enact. In the highly intellectual land of 'mallus' will the officialdom and their cronies allow a farmer to choose his crop, to vary his farming , to supplement with inter crops?No well not!. That will tantamount to ideological blasphemy.And the result is Tamilnad and Andhra have surpassed the land of 'mallus' with regard to food grain production and even cash crop cultivation. If it comes to a situation where in the Tamil folks decide to not sell farm products to Kerala, the vast intelligent and conscientious lot of that state will have no other recourse but to starve or learn the nuances of making “rubber sap” edible.A improvised version of alchemy perhaps!

And worst of all the vast of the lot in Kerala are sexually perverted and sick. This inference is not isolated or personal. But expressed to me by the very many who live their. I had a near terrifying time personally when I took my children and my friend’s adolescent daughter to a one day cricket match in Cochin. The eyes of the young and old where lecherous and menacingly eying and stripping that skinny little girl. I had to forget cricket and keep a watchful cocoon around her. And as recently as a few weeks ago the daughter of  another friend who just finished her Engineering tell  C that in Kerala men rape you everyday  mercilessly with their eyes.

Living in Tamiland over the past two decades has made me distance from any idea of going back to Kerala if given a choice. Not because it is heavenly here, but because even God has vanished from 'Gods own country' long before. And ,"all the kings men and all the kings horses can never put Humpty Dumpty together again”.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Little lady with the lamp

This happened a few years ago. And R was in the middle school class.
C spoke to me about her father’s death anniversary. And that she would prefer to visit his grave in the Kilpauk cemetery in Chennai where he was laid to rest. She confided that she needed some peace of mind on that day and so did not want to spend the day with her clan who as usual where all slated to make the anniversary day a day for feasting and superficial prayers. She also disliked the retinue of prelates who would descend on her clan’s bungalow. She traveled to Chennai by the overnight train on January the 11. I booked her return tickets on the 12 th evening flight from Chennai to Coiambatore . And assured her that I will pick her from the airport.
On the 12 th evening I and R (she had holidays) drove to Coiambatore. to pick C when she was back .
The drive back to our place was almost an hour and it was a bit late around 9 in the night. R took the rear seat of the car and we thought she slept off. C began to tell about her brief time in Chennai; her visit to the cemetery and how she got the care- taker to clean the tomb stone and arranged for some flowers to be laid on, and the time she stayed by the grave in quiet.
She also dropped over at her brother in law’s flat to enquire after him. He was living alone and after a by pass surgery of the heart. His wife  suddenly developed anathema to him. Perhaps he was past his prime, perhaps he was a handicap with a heart condition! Who can tell the wiles of woman without being charmed by her deceit? It was apparent from what C was telling me that he was finding it difficult to meet ends. And with no one for company, help or comfort. The discussion on this gentleman and the wickedness of people concerned went on for most of our drive back home. We in fact could only sigh for him.
C told me later next day that R was awake all through the drive back from Coiambatore . And she went to C first thing in the morning and said, “amma I was awake while you were discussing about ‘daddy’( she calls her uncle daddy).And I listened to all that you and atcha discussed. I have about one thousand rupees with me from my last birthday and other times. You can send that money to daddy. He is in need.”.
She was then twelve and I wish and hope that she carries such a heart through her life.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


There has always been the one and only irritant which has created small tremors in our midst (me and C). It has been her helpless difficulty in accepting fait accompli when it comes to who are her siblings. There were quite a few heated arguments and yelling from my side. There were times when we chose to ignore the existence of the other for days. And I realised, I guess her as well, that we were being unhelpful to our life by being at logger heads on a subject which is about the malevolence of others.

But painfully I realised the burning ember within her that she has always tried to put away from me. Perhaps it was her way of not accepting and hoping that the reality is not what it is but what she long and yearn it is. Perhaps she thinks that if she breaks down in an unassuming and unguarded moment from the agonising puncture her inner self carries from the spitefulness of her siblings, that would be morally depressing after all the aura and fortification she created around the love they have for her.

I have wondered loudly during many of our discussions and arguments on the matter that she is being foolish showing her left cheek, while they have already mauled the other. I ask her often "why do you have to invite them to spite your whole face when you know that they have done that to your cheek”?

She confesses that she knows they are such, but she cannot be vengeful and dislike them. She laments she cannot hate them for what they do to her. She says that should they be in trouble and need she would be unhesitant to lend them succour. She cannot be what they are. That seems to be the perennial difficulty she would encounter and perhaps she being different is what I, Ara and R are lucky about.

Modern day Pharohs

This is a brief note on the Modern day Pharaohs who crave to reach the nether world with all their trappings from this world intact.

They are  amongst us. And they lost their soul long ago when the life they chose was one of lust for riches. Now they are all in their near twilight times. But the feeling of invincibility rules the roost and has metamorphosed them into impudent lot. The audacity comes from the power of the riches that flooded to them like manna from heaven. The weird sisters of Macbeth (the three witches) where a lot that was unfairly ridiculed as the dark characters. But the witches I speak about are the wayward ones, hand in hand, and assume to be the masters of the sea, sky and land”.
They are witches of dark and contradictory nature, with filthy trappings and activities.

They know that the days of the mortals are few. But the craving to walk the earth forever and ever lingers like the undying tempest.
They have now struck upon the idea of an after life. They yearn and will to carry the booty they amassed through their very many means into the crypt they will finally be interned. Like the Pharaohs they have decided to take into their sepulcher the gold, trinkets, money and all other material garnering they possess. They fear, they fear having to leave all that they possess behind.

They fear being dispossessed in this world. The fear of being dispossessed in the nether world! And like the Pharaohs they fear death and dispossession. And they look forward to the Day of Judgment when they they believe they can carry all that they have with them. Fear has begun to give them sleepless nights.
And yes they are building the Pyramids of the present times so that they can intern in with all that they possess.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The unimportance of being us

 Why do people cling on to the belief in the force they call God, even when it is so apparent at times that the inevitable has happened and if there is, or not such a force , it is helpless and status quo cannot be retrieved, or changed to our desire? Why do people pray for well being and fervently plead to their God for salvation in the after life but blatantly cross the rubicon of the commandments?

Some pray longingly to God for wealth, some for physical well being, some to stave of death, some for nemesis to others and so on and so forth. The other day I got a routed email from an acquaintance – it was titled “The fairy of wealth”.

The message was attached to a picture with a large room stacked with currency and a fairy standing by with a wand. The message exhorted and implicitly warned me that if the pictorial message was not circulated to seven people in the next twenty four hours dire consequences will befall me. I would not decline money if it comes as lottery but was in no mood to acquiesce the fairy.

During a discourse by a reasonably well known and financially galloping mystic, a gentleman I knew, who is worth assets of at least a few hundred million and more ask him in all seriousness if he could teach him alchemy. I for once was fortunate to see the today’s version of ‘Midas’ in flesh and blood.

A few months ago I happened to go to a famous and commercially rich temple. In fact I had to tag on with a friend and his accomplices. We were ushered in through a narrow path way (through VIP enclosure) past the serpentine queue of devotees and into the sanctum of sanctorum. I respectfully but with lot of amusement watched them pay obeisance and pray to the deity. At times their expressions were nothing but comical (no pun meant). In fact it was so. The prayer and rituals consumed around thirty minutes. Which also meant that since we were ‘Very Valued’ devotees of the deity we could hang around their much longer while the commoner was whisked away after a glimpse of the deity inside! Once out of the temple the topic of discussion my friend initiated was quite on the matters of promiscuous indulgence. And that he being a media person and consequently a familiar face cannot with comfort indulge in exploits outside marital relationship. So much so for the fervent prayers, respect and fear of God a short while before!

This is the state and statements of a mother, from whom fate had wrenched away her son. The boy in his mid twenties was drowned and body not recovered from a lake in Atlanta US. The parents are practicing Syrian Catholic Christians. The intensity of agony and trauma can be well imagined. The mother has now become a freak and recluse of sorts. She carries the Bible and a photograph of her son all the while. Christian help groups and friends gather in her house often for consoling prayer meetings. She is quiet at times, and then she weeps for long inconsolably. It is two months now since the tragedy. Now she and her husband go to the church every day without fail, perhaps a kind of deluding! They were Sunday church goers and practicing Christians in that sense. She makes statements that “I will not leave that fellow Christ until he brings back my son. He must tell me why he did this to me”. Reminds me of the story ‘Monkeys Paw’, wherein the grieving mother seeks the  powers of the talisman and wishes that their son who was maimed and killed crushed in an industrial accident be brought back to life. And behold he came back to life but it was the crushed and contorted creature that came to them alive. And the father had to usurp the grieving mother and wish the last wish to the talisman to take away the creature –‘their dead son’.

A few months ago on business tour outside India I lost almost a hundred thousand Rupees in an apparent ATM fraud. Coming back to India I have been in constant complaining mode with my Bank. When I realized that I was cheated the feeling was of despondency. Felt like a fool and stupid at that. It could be my careless operation of the dispensing machine. I felt terribly guilty. And goodness forgive me that sum was what was required for the college annual fees for Ara.

However the other day I was informed by the Bank that the matter was sorted out and they have received instructions to credit my account with the sum. Their anti- fraud team had gone through the CCTV footage at the ATM and found what and how the fraud actually happened. It will be insufficient to say how relived I was. When this issue was elatedly told to a family friend she said, “That was the hand of God”. I wondered loudly where this hand of graciousness was when the fraudsters took the money from the ATM.  She said, “well the devil had his way then”.

That tells after all, the matters of life are just another T-20 cricket. You cannot tell which way and how it heads until it is over. A game of chess as the old timers said. And most of the while we play we stay intoxicated by the belief and wish that we are something special to be taken care of and handled with kid gloves. But the God we put up there may think otherwise more than often. He may not need us for the sun to rise and set and the planets to move around the stars. We are not important enough.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Plague

He avoids them like plague”. The statement was from a person who was refering to me the attitude of her friend towards some of his kin. She continued, “While in Coiambatore he prefers to call up on his few friends rather than go to the abhorred lot”.

Made me think a bit, but at the same time also struck a cord with the statement. Yes most of us have encountered people in flesh and blood  whom we later chose to avoid like plague. The civilized thing we could do most is not to burn them at the stake, like they did to plague afflicted lot in medieval times, but keep away.

But what this person referred to was not biological plague but plague of the soul, mind and the heart. Sounds quirk? “And there are many amidst us who are incurably afflicted by the disease of the persona. They walk and live in our midst as carriers of the abhorred bacteria .The melancholia of the matter is they can be more often the people who have been nearest to you”...

I did not bother to continue the discussion. And let the matter rest there. More because it was indisputably so!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Tenderness of Darkness

The first streak of light that sneaks in through the thick fabric curtain on the French window hits him with the mammoth force of reality. His body clock strikes every morning at the precise and conformed time of early dawn. And he never would be able to slide back into sleep any long. Now the early light of the new day throws ominous amber on the future ahead. He becomes forlorn and listless. He wishes if he could sleep longer. And longer! He recalls that it was total serenity in sleep!

It throbs in his head. He could feel the discomfort the brain is wretched with. The chemical reaction that ensues within his brain traverse all over the nerves- head to toe.

Then suddenly putting him into awe his brain settles into a plateau that runs through with the exuberance and free will of the mountain rapids. There cannot be a hiccup and it can never be forlorn in the days ahead.. He feels the blood pound within him with the air of hope and confidence.

The momentum is lost soon somewhere. It is a free fall into despondency  and despair yet again. He tries to claw back slowly from the abyss that he stares down. But he feels the quick sand is pulling him in.

And it is soon night and dark. He slides into deep sleep and darkness falls upon with the blanket of comfort and reprieve until the early streak of light the next dawn.