Saturday, May 18, 2013

Amour




Amour, as the word “love” in English has connotations with subtle difference and feel. Some words even defy transliteration and are unique in its meaning, spirit, tone and the evocative passion they convey. Though I’m not capable of critiquing a film except as a lay person, I felt empathy and warmth while also failing to find the “le mot juste” for the affection, concern, the impassioned silence the film reflected in the relationship between the aged couple.

The film flew back to my mind when a casual conversation with another threw open the genuine fear and apprehension that can stalk in old age or in midstream if one is incapacitated. I wonder if someone can be fearless and an optimist in  face of  the perils that are hand in glove with old age.

He had a blissful marital life for many years. The tempests that oft startle couples from the slumber and casual moorings that threaten to corrode marriage and to fade out as storms in a tea cup was not strange to him. But he says there was no love lost.

He was a future trader of petroleum and churned dollars with every snap of his fingers. He lost some and often heavily too. He reveled in this gamble and while success serenaded and tangoed with him, he delighted himself. Though, it mattered the least to him he was beheld by many with envy and also as the cynosure. A happy man with an envious family and wealthy too! However the crash a few years ago saw him sucked into the whirlpool and when he surfaced with desperation he saw that the castles he built were washed away in the deluge. It was devastation.

“Yes it was fearsome, but was not as devastating as perhaps the possibility of losing one’s …….” he paused and continued,” A lonely winter of life is frightening.  What would one cherish most, the loving presence of your wife, the affection of your kids or the glitz and relationships that wealth brings? Relationships are, I’m afraid, my friend like swallows in high summer. They fly to distant safe lands when the frost set in and gloomy days loom.” He did not wait for my opinion; he walked out of the room and was gone.

I was spontaneously overwhelmed by the humaneness of the film I saw the day before, “Amour”. I did not need more insight into his story to unravel what he alluded.

The central characters, the old octogenarian couple are retired music teachers living a life of intense bond and affection. When the wife is crippled by repeated strokes and is sinking into miserable physical existence the love and bond among them is tested considerably. It is finally his sheer humanness, courage and unflinching love for her, his wife that leads him to smother her with a pillow and end her agony.

My thoughts went after the stranger who spoke to me a little while ago and agonized to guess his destiny when he sails into the winter of his life, solitary, cold and shivering. But, did I see in his eyes a shimmering flame that may keep him going?
"Begging for love can only add on to beggary", his parting words resonated.
                                                                                                                                

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Match Making



“Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Make me a match,
Find me a find,
catch me a catch.
Matchmaker, Matchmaker
Look through your book,
And make me a perfect match…
…….Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Plan me no plans
I'm in no rush
Maybe I've learned
Playing with matches
A girl can get burned
So,
Bring me no ring
Groom me no groom
Find me no find
Catch me no catch
Unless he's a matchless match.”

“Tradition”, the word describes what has stood the flow of time and the test of generations. I guess one would understand what I refer to. Indeed the institution called marriage and in Indianised Anglican phrase-“arranged marriage”. Call it match making too!

Though I may be seen as a votary of anti-match making because I was recalcitrant and did not heed to the traditional way of match making when it mattered to me personally. I do endorse the values and the meticulous processes that lead up to an eventual betrothal. For, one cannot deny the fact that wedlock is not merely an affair between the groom and the bride, man and woman but it is essentially a liaison between families. This is where family values, integrity, and respectability come to play and lack of it is fraught with unpleasantness that is sure to visit at a much later date well after marriage. I emphasise this to my kids and I do not know if someone can convince me to the contrary.

I was instrumental in the initial discussions that preluded a couple of wedlock and, now, an impending one.
I was shockingly fascinated when I realised recently a gaffe, some twenty and eight years ago when I discussed briefly with my then brother-in –law to be, the proposal for my sister’s hand in marriage. His parents took over the formal matters after my meeting with him. But I realize now, and after all these many years that I (we) may not have asked my sister whether she approved of the match making. Wasn’t it quite impertinent to presume? It is too late to ask her now! Perhaps I must remind him now the gaffe. Sure it is humorous to think about.

A match making that later proved to be a toss-up between spite and or the facilitation of relationship between two mutually malefic couple, took place some twenty two years ago. I was by virtue of marriage related to the man. His parents assigned me as the only male member worthy of initiating discussion with the prospective bride and family. I took up the matter and had to persuade him to accept her proposal as he was quite nervy about his parent’s opinion about the bride and her family. I had to usher a quality that was nonexistent in me-“persuasion” and it worked. I now may be persona non grata in their social list and, as for me, I do appreciate to be distanced from them is an ironical matter.

It will be amusing if I mention now to my brother-in-law, my forgetfulness in not asking his wife (my sister) if she agreed for the match making. Because now, I just concluded the ground work or call it research about the groom for their daughter (my niece).I flew to Abu Dhabhi to meet and chat with the boy before endorsing him from my side to be-“the suitable boy”.
Now, did I remember to ask the girl if she approves of this match making.

                                "....  Find me no find
                                Catch me no catch
                                Unless he's a matchless match.”


Sunday, April 21, 2013

An Afternoon One Monsoon


                                                                                                                                                      Monsoon! The nymph that envelopes the land and the heavens with her irresistible enchantment!                                                                                                                                                      
If an ordinary mortal such as I is bewitched by the beauty she brings forth and enhances on all that is in Nature- the air, water, sky, the mountains, the thick green flora and even the often uninviting water buffaloes that stand in the rain fed fields indifferent and caring the least, what wondrous creation can she tempt and provoke in a bard!

The monsoon in Kerala is singular. It is awe and inspiring splendour how she transforms the famished and unquenchable land with her spell. In one whiff of freshness she carries in her bosom she eclipses the dreariness and forlorn. Driving through the land after the spell of monsoon rains, with water dripping from trees that straddle the path, pools of water on the road and gushing by sides of the road in effusive state, eager to join the larger schemes elsewhere down, I and C were on a drive some hundred and thirty kilometers from the dry town in Tamilnad where we then lived.

We had befriended a family whom we have met often before at the school in Coonoor, but neither they nor we went farther than exchanging acknowledging nods. However a carnival at the school that lasted a couple of days brought us together and before we parted they invited us to their home in Kerala by the foothills of the Western Ghats.

The rains that visit Kerala, particularly the south west monsoon that tee off in June scatter much relief in the border towns of Tamilnad-Coimbatore, Pollachi and Tiruppur. The stifling dryness of the summer slowly recedes unable to confront the wet, bewitching spell of the monsoon rains and the cold air it throws across the mountains. By the time one crosses the bye- pass highway off Coimbatore into Kerala, the resplendent rain clouds that hover over the mountains are a soulful sight. And, as if Nature herself has taken the cue from the man-made divisions of the State borders, the rains that confined to drizzle until there begin to lash as soon as one crosses the State border from Tamilnad into Kerala. It poured and poured in thick drops of shimmering, shiny silver.

It is amazing as to how vegetation changes colour and radiates a splendiferous hue after a few days of amorous onslaught of the monsoon. The dark greyish blue clouds impregnated with rain hover low over the mountains.

On that late afternoon we drove in the sleek Hyundai Accent we bought a couple of months before. We drove through the rain and the car tested wonderful endurance on the slippery roads in the rain and the sharp bends on the road that can be a motorist’s misery. But I loved the drive water splashing in jet from beneath the car. The stretch towards their house off Palghat, by the foot hills brought forth the trancing beauty of nature. It was magnificent display of colours from the heavens - the clouds that engulfed the mountains and then to the expanse on the foothills. Parrot green, lemon green and dark and dark green hue of vegetation. Every leaf and bark of plants and trees were touched by the spell of monsoon and they stood bowed but afresh, washed anew by the rains. The rivers and rivulets were gushing and torrential.

The rains had ceased lashing, but the land and its creatures were in eagerness and bated breath waiting for the next spell. Dark grey blue rain clouds where swirling on the mountains conveying the torrent that would soon come down from the heavens. Street dogs wet to the bones were running about and seemed to enjoy the transformed air. A flock of ducks was frolicking in the muddy waters of the paddy fields and the brook near. Crows wet and drenched in the rain perched on trees and roof tops pecking their feathers clean.

We had slid down the window panes when the rains stopped and switched off the air-conditioner in the car. It imparted a continuous soothing  blast of monsoon air, neither cold nor warm.

The house was cocooned in the middle of a vast rubber plantation and the drive to the house was through the serpentine drive-way with strewn bed of fallen leaves and the rubber trees holding aloft dark canopy .The croaking of the toads lend the silence of the place an oxymoron effect.We seemed to be cut away and mercifully cast away from the civilisation , the monsoon magic was hypnotising then, there!



Thursday, April 11, 2013

Elasticity of Demand



The stereotyping of people and profession has been an exasperating malady and a clichéd one, more often noticed in societies in India. I wonder if the same is endemic in societies elsewhere, for instance in the West.
The psychiatrist in a film or play must sport a beard, perhaps taking the cue from Sigmund Freud; a school teacher must necessarily have an over sized pair of glasses; a lawyer must invariably don the ubiquitous black robe or his court uniform even while at private functions; a doctor must have the stethoscope on him 24x7 and so on! The contention may be that the profession or the nature of the person can be conveyed only if they have these special adornments. Hindi flicks in the seventies were dominated by villains who always sported a cloak and had a smoking pipe perched to their lips.

We refuse to unlearn these misrepresentations. What I notice these days often discussed and alleged by mothers of prospective brides and grooms is another facet of stereotyping-stereotyping taken to ridiculous extents! They assume and are convinced that what they presume is what the fact is.
I wonder if during my youth the clichéd statements and inhibitions, that I would call sociological superstitions existed in the same intensity as they do now to derail betrothals and match making. It crosses even bizarre limits when educated parents of prospective brides air such views that are stupid, silly, and illogical and defying sound judgment.

When men of a particular profession is allegedly goddamned to be having affinity and indulgence in lecherous behavior, it defies sound judgment. It is absolutely irresponsible and blasphemous. In Kerala there is an element of antipathy towards women in the medical profession of nursing. Women in the profession are seen as grossly flirtatious and promiscuous. Ironically Kerala has the maximum number of women in nursing. It is alleged that a sailor has a woman in every port of call. And the tag stays, only because of the biased proclivity of some. I have noticed doctors with libertine ways. What about that?

But what is bright as summer’s day is that one need not be a sailor, a nurse or a doctor let alone a techie to be dissolute and promiscuous. Fornication and loose morals are not the prerogative of these selected professions. It can be indulged in by any. And one can still display the countenance of an apostle. And that goes with any one you pick irrespective of what he is, a doc, a janitor, a banker or a bureaucrat.
As some parents describe the scenario as “market value”! It reminds me of the classes in Economics that I sat through drearily years ago; then the in-elasticity of demand (apologies to Alfred Marshall). It is flippant and rather crude way of analyzing and judging in a match making situation, to relate the prospective bride (more often), or the groom as we do commodities and their demand, supply and price line in economics. Then the parents fret when the demand is elastic and the ideal profession from which they look to acquire a groom is in short supply.

But then why do parents stick to their guns and damn some profession?

Doesn't these idiosyncrasies of the society boil down as the over emphasis on conventions and skewed mindset? I wonder if economic independence or empowerment is of lesser significance and wisdom than wedlock. If one sees it so then it is a betise inviting trouble in later life. Even if the groom is acquired or fished out from a profession the parents claim or see to be noble and sequestered away from riotous moorings and forays, does that give a carte blanche guarantee that he may not stumble or go astray. Is there a threshold? In such a god- forbidden possibility is it not wise to be economically independent than be pushed into a matchmaking and relationship where woman is overly dependent on the man for sustenance?

I’m concerned about the education and the right academic qualification for my child and am not harried by the thought of her betrothal. Whether the fellow is a sailor, a doctor, an environmentalist or a bureaucrat, it may not drive me into insomnia. Well certainly not a professional politician, but yes a person who engages in political activities outside his profession and not for livelihood is not an anathema. But eventually it is her choice and I guess education will impart her sound judgment needed to choose a partner.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Gods Own Country



Sitting far away from the State I was born, Kerala, I feel nausea watching the Malayalam Television Channels and glancing through the vernacular newspapers on line. The land of what is officially mooted as “Gods own country”, is, as Vivekananda said more than a century ago is indeed a mad house. A mad house, a mental asylum and incorrigible inmates! The genetic spawning and evolution over the past one hundred years since Vivekananda glossed has not affected any discernible change in the Malayalee mindset- “irredeemable”!

The only far reaching thought that entrenched in Kerala and that aided immeasurably in transformation of social and economic livelihood of the dwellers of the State was the philosophy of Communism and socialist ideology. These revolutionary ideals did trigger social emancipation in the mid and later part of the twentieth century. But now the same philosophies and their excess are a challenge and a liability. The communist ideology is now defunct and irrelevant socially, economically and environmentally, but spoils the Mallu mind as much as the far right views.  The Malyalee acts aggressively and negatively to any situation and he has no sense of priorities that assists in betterment and quality of life.

No election in Kerala , though a cent percent literate (sic) State has  had social , economic and environmental issues as vital subjects in the agenda and upon which a political party or a candidate was judged or chosen into the legislature. The pathetic state of affairs in a State that boasts of all-round health care and forward thinking populace is blatantly obvious if one cares to gently remove the exotic muslin veil of the cliché ,”Gods own Country”.

Mallus love sleaze, vitiated pleasure as much as they love alcohol. A State minister and a talented one at that as well as an achiever in the portfolios he handled so far, is proclaimed first by a debased political henchman of having been at the receiving end of physical assault by the husband of his alleged paramour. The eternally misdirected press and the predatory visual media laps it up in glee and sautéed with further innovations and ingenious masala takes it to the salivating masses. After much hullabaloo and opportunist acrimony orchestrated by the infertile and impotent opposition, the story takes a twist with a new plot and it turns out that the minister was indeed assaulted but by his own wife, an accredited doctor of medicine and not by any stranger. The minister is accused by his wife of incessant physical and mental torture (she nevertheless bore him two boys during their seventeen years of marital cohabitation). The bottom line is that the whole episode that was scripted and dramatised, had the tacit approval of the minister’s maverick father who wanted his son out of the government so that the foot soldiers that stood by him all many years can access trappings of power that was denied to them by the young minister, his son.


The bottom line is the print press and the visual media in the State are gaga over the la affaire and anchors are vying to show off their skills at insinuation and innuendo. The State Assembly had to be dispersed for as many days now as the opposition created melee demanding the resignation of the minister and the Chief Minister who they accuse of tacit complicity in the minister’s conduct.

The pressing problems of the State – the utter chaotic state of sanitation and garbage disposal, the abysmal state of motor ways, perennial transport bottle necks, the apathetic government health care and dispensation, the lost case of water resources and potable water, the rising cost of living, the degradation & rape of environment, the lawlessness, free for all acts of muscle men with political clout, corruption, so on and so forth, are as always in the back burner, usurped now by the marital discord in the life of a State minister.

It was buffoonery and pathetic to see on televisions Sate opposition leaders boycotting Assembly proceedings and congregating on at the Assembly gates braying for the resignation of the minister and the Chief Minister over the issue. They hardly ever thought of demanding that the total breakdown of garbage disposal in the State be attended to, or ask why the tiny State with three International Airports will want another one in Aranmulla on pristine farm lands, while motorable roads are in dire straits of disrepair. Or the precarious perch of a ubiquitous white elephant draining tax money- the KSRTC .

The state of affairs in Kerala may not be an exception, but a random sample of the country at large.
Long, long ago Winston Churchill the arrogant English man remarked why he saw Indians unfit for Independence. “Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues and freebooters; all Indian leaders will be low caliber and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles. A day would come when even air & water would be taxed in India”

The man may have harboured racist mindset, but jingoism apart we must admit he prophesied and did that fairly well. Perhaps Indians are vying to prove him right and Kerala is leading the charge of the light brigade.

The visionary English commoner!














Tuesday, March 19, 2013

(a+b)2 =?


Good times are short-lived; good times fly by ;( reminds me of the Kingfisher Airlines advert here, ha!!).Talking about times that are good and cherished, the week’s journey to back home and amongst familiar faces, while refraining from the less desirable only enhanced the time spent with the rest( a few, importantly C & A may comment on my being brusque and candid for comfort).

Well there was plenty of spirit, the cherished and the enchanting Glen Livet Single Malt and the lesser cousins of the desi variety; plenty of food especially the daily lunch- the bewitching  dishes of the Mallu kind that was cooked by one of the most favorite- mom!(  chembavari choru,ayala curry, erusheri, avail, chura vattichathu, netholi curry, pullinkari……”).

Tucked in at the corner of the sprawling lawn of the TVM club and in the much cooler air of the night fiercely protected even from rains by the thick overhead canopy of the huge mahogany trees twice my age if not more, I sat and reflected back at the years and stared helplessly at the fact that, a decade and few years more from now, I will be a septuagenarian. Insipid or is it helplessly hastening fact? The less comforting matter of commencing a life midstream or when towards into the rapids- changing course midstream and more perilously because it is closer to the falls!

“(a + b)2 = a2 + 2ab + b2.” He said aloud and I was startled from the stark dream- thought I briefly had slid into. He did refer to his late mother even the previous day when he dropped by at home after knowing of my being in town. I could sense some controlled emotion in him when the topic of discussion was about her and the mess the super-specialty hospital in Thpuram ravaged upon her and in the bargain certainly hastening her passing.

“The difficulty is that I miss her much more amongst the seven of us, perhaps more because of the fact that since I was little I was living with her. The void is quite sore even though she died at a good ripe age.” he said. “The amazing fact was her knowledge of math and her adroitness in algebra even while she was bedridden. You see she was from the old school education and thorough in what she learned that she often used to correct my son in his homework. She used to answer in a trice to our question in jest, what is (a+b) 2.She would say with a wry smile a2 + 2ab + b2.”

“Well she was quite fortunate, she lived a good life, she bore seven children, reared them well and also traveled a fair bit outside India – to Rome in particular where my sister took her once.” He was pensive.
“I guess she lived fairly long after you father’s demise?” I asked.

“Yes, yes she did thirty five years!” he replied.

And he continued, “She sometimes reminisced with satisfaction what father told her when she expressed to him once her fear of her old age, that since the Christian succession laws disqualified married Christian women from inheritance- assets of their paternal or maternal family, she may find it tough in old age from the lack or deficit of financial independence. It was a tough task for them as you can imagine, bringing up seven children and of which there were three girls who had to be married away.He told her this that proved reassuring and a fact, 'I have given you seven children and if not all seven at least one of them will take care of you till your last day', She was indeed  taken care by all!”

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Inglorious Basterd



I was mulling over the poem on Balan’s blog, ”The Funerals”. Leaving aside the stark facts the poem dwelled upon, what came into my mind was the opening scene in Terantino’s film, “Inglorious Basterds”. Those of you who have seen that movie would, I’m certain recall the cold scenes with which the film opened.
The stony soliloquies of the SS officer Colonel. Landa laced with feral innuendos, metaphors and sautéed with sadistic overtones still haunts. The lives of a rodent- a rat and his evolutionary cousin the squirrel! It is dramatically incomparable like the lives of twins or siblings from the same womb that diverges far apart in the real world. I downloaded the words of COL Landa from the script of the film.
The allegory can be noticed in many walks in this world. The strangeness of repulsion and fondness that are inexplicable -be it rats and squirrels, dogs and cats or human beings from the same stock or diverse. The injustice of perception! Food for thought nevertheless!
COL LANDA
          Monsieur La’Padite, are you aware of the nickname the people of France have given
          me?
PERRIER
          I have no interest in such things.

 COL LANDA
          But you are aware of what they call me?

 PERRIER
          I'm aware.

 COL LANDA
          What are you aware of?

PERRIER
          That they call you, "The Jew Hunter".

COL LANDA
          Precisely! Now I understand your trepidation in repeating it.  Before he was assassinated,     Heydric apparently hated the moniker the good people of Prague bestowed on him. Actually why he   would hate the name, "The Hangman", is baffling to me. It would appear he did everything in his power to earn it. But I, on the other hand, love my unofficial title, precisely because I've earned it. As "The Jew Hunter”.         

COL LANDA
          The feature that makes me such an effective hunter of the Jews, is, as opposed to most
  German soldiers, I can think like a Jew. Where they can only think like a German, or more precisely, a German soldier. Now if one were to determine what attribute the German people share with a beast,   would be the cunning and predatory instinct of a hawk.

        
 COL LANDA
   Negro's - gorilla's - brain - lips smell - physical strength - penis size.
   But, if one were to determine what attributes the Jews share with a beast, it would be
   that of the rat. Now the Fuhrer and Gobbles propaganda have said pretty much the same thing.
   Where our conclusions differ is, I don't consider the comparison an insult. Consider for a moment, the
   world a rat lives in. It's a hostile world indeed.  If a rat were to   scamper    through your front door
   right now, would you greet it with hostility?

   PERRIER
          I suppose I would.

   COL LANDA
          Has a rat ever done anything to you to create this animosity you feel toward them?

   PERRIER
          Rat's spread disease, they bite people -

    COL LANDA
          - Unless some fool is stupid enough to try and handle a live one, rats don't make it a practice of
       biting human beings. Rats were the cause of the bubonic plague, but that was some time ago. In all your born days, has a rat ever caused you to be sick a day in your life? I purpose to you, any disease a rat could spread, a squirrel could equally carry. Yet I assume you don't share the same animosity with squirrels that you do with rats, do you?

    PERRIER
          No.

    COL LANDA
          Yet, they are both rodents, are they not? And except for the fact that one has a big bushy tail, while the other has a long repugnant tail of rodent skin, they even rather look alike, don't they?

         
    PERRIER
          It is an interesting thought, Colonel.

    COL LANDA
          However, interesting as the thought may be, it makes not one bit of difference to how you feel. If a rat     were to scamper through your door, this very minute, would you offer it a saucer of your delicious milk?

     PERRIER
            Probably not.

       COL LANDA
          I didn't think so. You don't like them. You don't really know why you don't like them. All you know    
          is, you find them “repulsive”.What a tremendously hostile world a rat must endure. Yet, not only does 
          he survive, he thrives. And the reason for this, is because our little foe has a instinct for survival and 
          preservation second to none. And that Monsieur, is what a Jew shares with a rat.  Consequently, a 
          German soldier conducts a search of a house suspected of hiding Jews. Where does the hawk look? 
          He looks  in the barn, he looks in the attic, he looks in the cellar - he looks everywhere, he would 
          hide. But there are many places it would never occur to a  hawk to hide. However the reason the
          Fuhrer brought me off my Alps in Austria, and placed me in French cow country today,is because it 
          it does occur to me. Because I'm aware what tremendous feats human  beings are capable of once 
          they abandon dignity…….!

         
.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

LIEBSTER Award



I was nominated for the Liebster award by Mrs. Usha Menon (http://eccentricgrandmum.blogspot.com/), who is a retired educationist. Thank you, Mrs. Menon for the encouragement.

The Award, I understand is to promote amateur writers in the Blogdom. And is a kind of chain that links bloggers with modest following.

I found the process a bit confusing and tiresome that I delayed accepting and following the process prescribed in the nomination-
1- Answer your nominator’s eleven questions
2-. List 11 things about yourself
3-Choose up to eleven bloggers with less than 200 followers and ask them your questions
And sign off by mailing them on the nomination.

Now, on Mrs. Menon’s prodding here I go.

1-      ANSWER TO THE NOMINATORS QUESTIONS
a)      If you become Prime Minister of India what will be your priority?
      Ensure the Police Force need not be pliable to the executive
b)       Which Book are you reading these days?
None
c)       Why did you start writing a blog?
      Just chanced upon the idea
d)      Do you like to see the Sun rise or the Sunset?
      Both
e)      Do you think cooking is a female’s prerogative?
      No
h)   What do you like to see on TV?
      BBC, Sports & Wild life documentaries
i)        Which games do you like to play?
Cricket & Badminton
j)        Do you believe in Destiny?
No
     What do you prefer arranged marriage or love marriage?
   Neither
kl      Do you believe in God?
No
l))       What is your favourite pastime
Movies/Reading/Blogging

2-      List THINGS ABOUT MYSELF
a)      “Retired” from business
b)      Sometimes temperamental
c)       Not religious or believer and must confessto being not quite holy.
d)      Not fascinated by any political ideology
e)      Tries to be dispassionate but cannot help becoming emotional at times.
f)       Choosey about befriending people.
g)      Content with a few good friends.
h)      Do not feel happy if I impose my opinion on others and the family, though I get annoyed when they disagree.
i)        Anxious about what is in store for posterity, the way the World is moving.
j)        Despises fanatics and charlatans

3-Choose up to 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers to answer my questions
http://rama-ananth.blogspot.com/
http://blog.chowla.in/


4- My Questions
      a)      Are you proud of your country, if so why and if not why?
      b)      What have you given back to the world you live and or what do you intend to give in your life time?
      c)       Are you afraid of death?
      d)      If you were to meet God in real life what would you do?
      e)      Would you want to make the future not mysterious?
      f)       Will you stand up for banning capital punishment, if not why?
      g)      What would you like to be if given a choice- King, an elected ruler or a fascist?
      h)      Would you like to be like somebody? If so why and if not why?
      i)        Do you think emotions are for weaklings? If not why?
      j)        What is in your opinion the reason for the misery in the world?
      k)      If there is another life what would you want to be a, Male or a Female?

So folks come forward and accept the nomination please.





Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pazhan Kanj,Uppu Manga & Kandhari



I remember from long time ago, having read a short story that narrated the tale of a young man who shelved his plan to end his life at the very last moment. He was tempted by the aroma of his favourite cuisine (puttu) his mother used to serve him. The smell of the fresh steamed meal whiffed through the air from a nearby restaurant adjacent to the railway track where he was contemplating to end his life. There was little time left for the early morning train to steam by and the sun was just about peeping over the distant hills. Suddenly he was pulled by utter craving - lust to live. The urge to live pounded him incessantly with the aroma that the gust of air brought- the smell of the food that  reminded him of his mother,whiffed away  the despondency that ploughed him under till a moment ago. He ran back home along the track and along the river’s edge that wound by, to his home-where he saw his  mother  was indeed cooking his favourite meal that morning. He inhaled the flavoured steamy air in the kitchen and felt a voice tell him that what a fool he would be if he had done the mad act when he nearly deserted the things that were dear in life. That morning he devoured the food his mother made and like never before. He relished it much, which words would toil to account.

The aroma of favourite viands that linger and whiff by unexpectedly and the titillation it provide for taste buds are sure to make all those who have known of it desire the pleasure more and forever. We all have, often in our life. So it was with amusement that I recollected the scene at the dining table quite a few mornings at a friend’s house. He has of late joined the club of hyper tensed people and is on medication for elevated blood pressure. I was speaking on the phone to him and his wife and could not resist the tongue in cheek comment to her that all those morning breakfast he indulged and went overboard because of those wonderful pickled dishes his mother was wondrously adept at making. Those mornings breakfast which he persistently used to relish- the previous days cooked rice soaked in water and then his pompous and arrogant discretion of mixing it with pickled brined mango and those special tiny heavenly chilies’ fresh from the garden (pazhan kanji and uppu mango with kandhari mullaku)! This he devoured before speeding off to college for work, while we lazed by eating like respectable people iddlis or dosa and even bread toast with omelet. At the end of it all I would prefer an existence laced with hypertension. The contentment is after all one had had the fortune to eat every day to the heart’s content what one loves most in life- a special preparation of excellent cuisine by ones mother. A high blood pressure is only incidental to the happiness of the soul day after day for a long time in life.

Thinking of it, I must confess that I drooled and drooled figuratively speaking I would have drowned. For, I have been often privileged to have food at his home and the simple mundane native delights his mother used to cook, though she was handicapped by paralysis from a severe stroke.

It is not an exaggeration and wee bit dishonest if I say that the aroma of those fabulous dishes do linger in that house even now though it is a few years since she passed.  Perhaps something exist or stay behind even after we are gone?


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

RIP


There is an irony about eulogies; there is an element of hypocrisy too in some expression of commiseration, let it be about death or other forms of misfortune. Don’t you think so?

Honestly, I have desisted from thinking twice about certain people’s demise or their plight. And I do not see it even an iota truthful when expression of condolences are made, empty rhetoric of concern is  soliloquized when somebody had passed, while it was true all the while during the life time of the deceased that he was widely and severely detested or he was unjustly hounded, abused and trampled.

I remember writing in this space about a person whose passing did not evoke a tiny bit of sympathy because while he lived he was among the most devious of mankind and displayed utterly loathsome character. He trampled upon many without remorse and guilt. Well, this thought will be directly antagonistic to the philosophy of Christianity.

It is a fact that there are detested and abominations walking around. And while they live they disperse only misery and agony. There is another kind, the unfortunate lot who are hunted when they live and when they are gone, canonized.

Coming to the incident, I want to discuss- yesterday one of the bigwigs in the organization saw a personal loss, his father passed away. The deceased I guess was in his early seventies. Mentioning about the son, one cannot refrain from saying that he is perhaps among the most devious and specious person. Arrogant and reprobate he is silently and overtly detested by both people higher up in the hierarchy and commoners. Except for the big boss for reasons known to him alone, no one, virtually no one but for his couple of cronies would stand for him. But since he has some stranglehold over the ‘Big Man’ and has him in a garrote, he could continue with his charlatanism and chicanery with almost uninhibited impunity.

I have had a running feud with him and he is very uncomfortable with me around. He wanted to see me exit from the day one. My character being such and devoid of diplomacy and salesmanship when it comes to such people, I would not care a hoot about what becomes of him. So the news of his father’s demise yesterday morning and his taking the flight to his country immediately was of least bearing to me and I seldom thought of it further than when I heard the story. However some who has had open confrontation with him and had outspokenly branded him all that he really is, took no time to place telephone calls to him and express condolences, concern and etiquette of what we call civilised hypocrisy.

One can argue as some did that when death visits one must forget all hostility and disapproval. I was unsure for a while and then this morning, I placed through a call to his mobile phone. It rang its full length of ring but he did not attend the call. Perhaps he was busy with some subsequent event or perhaps he cared a damn to attend my telephone call.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Another Chance


                                      

        “Give me some sunshine, give me some rain;
          Give me another chance I wanna grow up once again.”

But then, if wishes were horses and if horses could fly….!                                                                                    
Well,because there is no restraint on what one could dream. And every one does, I do. Dreams that are no holds barred, dreams about cunning, avarice, love, fear, death, pain, happiness, Jubilation, profanity, lust, titillating dreams, dreams that will wrench away the mask and expose hypocrisy naked..…  .The list is endless. Since my divorce with organized religion and God many years ago in my teens, the gentleman has not come into my dreams. Good for him and me, as you will agree it all boils down to self-respect, I shan’t blame him for that!

“Give me some sunshine….” resonates with desire that has no seam. A longing that is not lustful and covetous, but of yearning for a chance to relive, fully aware that there is beauty in sunshine and even much in the rain! I wonder if life without pain and loss, sadness and parting can relish or attain the beatitude of life. It was Van Gogh who said,” A man who has not suffered has nothing to tell with his paintings”.
That said, I do not think that if life was not a roller coaster as it was until now, I would think of a second innings as a wish that is endearing like the endless horizon caressing the ocean. Metaphors apart, equating rain with the dreariest moments in life that went by is quite rude and ungracious.

There are essentially many things that would be put on the block for correction and paths that will be trodden that never have been before. The fear of the unknown, I certainly want relegated. A mystery stays mysterious until you know and perceive it. It is ephemeral, isn't it?

Well talking about something that is foremost is the woman in one’s life. It was rather a fascinating and jovial coincidence that I and C have two more lives where we cannot be separated-so said the revered astrologer to my mother. I wonder if I would see him around in the next life! His predictions or rather call it statement is comforting as I doubt, if my disposition would ever change in a reincarnated life and in that event no woman other than the poor C can be apposite. Tough days for her in that eventuality, because if I seek to change from what I’m, the raison d'être of a second chance will be consigned to triviality. However I wish her unrequited affection and love is garnished with more of logic and sensibility, lest ….!

It will be uneventful and ennui if I should not meet the people who I may want to be distanced now, for it is such creatures that give us the lessons of unconventional wisdom that no erudition and university can impart.
I might want to be a different adolescent, and understanding teenage son so that poor ones at home who rear me may not feel the pangs from my delinquencies.
If good old blokes who are friends are not around the nimbus is lost and one is halved as human being.

“Give me some sunshine, give me some rain;
Give me another chance I wanna grow up once again.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Sham



                       “Oh hang your head in shame
                        Oh, doesn’t your conscience ever bother you
                        Every time you hear my name
                       Well, try and think all that I’ve gone through
                       And then you hang your head in shame
                               And cry…” RC

Conflicting views and opinions that are at logger heads have been aired by many from different quarters after the execution of Mohamed Afzal in the terror attack  on the Indian Parliament.. Much of the observations, statements, outrage, sadness and all other forms of humanly possible expressions have been based with the eye on political brownie points, besides they were mostly bigoted, impetuous and moored in the perverted philosophy of retribution that we camouflage as justice meted out in a civilized and morally conscientious society.

Foremost, every Indian must ask unto them, why a man accused of (indirect) complicity in an act of war on the country itself, was condemned to die by the Indian Judicial system even when it was apparent that the case against him was only circumstantial, when many pegs did not match the holes and when the accusations against him were not impervious nor fool proof. To put it in simple words how conscientious and prudent was it to send a man to the gallows based on circumstantial evidences? When it is often seen these days by the unnerving dissection of judicial pronouncements by the media and the thinking intelligentsia, that the learned college of Justices do err , it was Afzal Guru’s misfortune that he met the fate he eventually got. I ‘m not in any erudite position to dissect the judgment of the highest court but it is apparent after scouring through analysis and comments on the charges framed on Afzal Guru that vital links are amiss. If death penalty is warranted for the rarest of rare cases surely circumstantial evidences and lack of proper legal recourse for the accused, besides the glaring flaws in the case filed by the investigating agencies will in them question the sentencing to the gallows.

Secondly it was immoral, and cowardice of our society and the government that the man was killed in secrecy and without following humane principles, ethics and decency that other abominable felons were provided. It was an Orwellian morning last week for the biggest sham –called Indian democracy!
When the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination were given reprieve because of being confined in the death row for an agonizing length of time, why was not that largess or equitable consideration provided to Afzal Guru? He was certainly not a terrorist, though he did have a shadowy past as an aspiring jihadist and later disillusioned by the jihadist philosophy came back into the social stream of the Kashmiri society. Are we trying to believe that there is no place or chance for reformation in a civilized society and in the human mind? If so there is indeed a glaring fault in the very idea of Christian philosophy for instance! And the action of the Indian State sends disconcerting signals to the discontentment boiling among the youth of Kashmir and also a lesson for those disillusioned with fanaticism and jihadist life,- those who want to integrate back into the main stream..

Thirdly, the hoarse braying for Afzal Guru’s blood and for retribution that was heard on and off and the endorsement of his hanging reeks of a vermin psyche. Does it do justice to what we claim to be a civilized, democratic and just society? If his life was to be extinct to save India, the fact is there are plenty who are at large in different walks of life and even cocooned in the immunity of our legislatures who bear direct and indirect threat to the very fabric of civilized society and democracy.

Finally, Afzal’s execution and the swift course of the law towards that once the Presidential pardon was denied, deter separatist tendencies, militancy and negate all reasons for Kashmiri youth to take up arms against the Indian State? Why has the Indian State failed miserably in transforming the outlook of Kashmiris? Why do they foresee or believe that a bleak future and serfdom awaits them and their posterity if Kashmir remains in the Indian Union?Why do they want to opt out of the Indian Union even when they know the misery of the twin nation theory and the abysmal state of Pakistan next door? Why have the Kashmiris not emotionally integrated with the concept of India? And this, even after sixty six years of independence and signing of the instrument of ascension by the ruler of Kashmir, speaks disparagingly of various governments in New Delhi, opportunistic politics and insensitivity of the Indian State. It speaks of total failure of Indian polity. And such judicial outcome and the execution that rivals the secrecy practiced by the former USSR after confining a person eight years on the death row smacks of political expediency and are not helping the cause of sealing militancy and terrorism in the valley.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cornucopia




It happened some years ago and this man with whom I had a brief acquaintance whiffed into my thoughts this morning. It is the easiest thing in life to be critical about another, while we may often ignore or overlook into ourselves and be critical of self. Nevertheless, as I try to be not judgmental about this person, I cannot refrain from observing how silly and stupid his actions and thoughts were. It was naiveté!

An unassuming quite man, he was known to me for a while through a friend. He and his spouse were Bank employees by profession and was enjoying a middle class life .It was without forewarning that abruptly something triggered in him the urge and longing to be rich- rich as rich can be. Having being transferred on his job to the industrial town where I lived and worked, he was dazed by the speed and maddening pace of commercial life in the town and the rapidity in which people became neo rich. The industrial city was equally famous and infamous for all the good and the bad reasons of commercial entrepreneurship. Certainly money that could be made in that booming town was amazing. But what he did not recognize was the stupefying speed at which the money, made and the richness got could also be nullified in even time. I mention the word money specifically as he, like most of the town folk related money to wealth and material wealth alone.

I, one day came across him at the local railway station and he was boisterous and in greatly enlivened spirit. To me it appeared quite strange, for he was reticent and soft spoken by nature. He took out a book from his bag and thrust towards me. ”Read it”, he said. “This will change your life overnight”.

With the least presumption and prejudice I took the book and flipped through, for I did not believe that a book could change one overnight. I do not remember the title of the piece- it was something like, “How to make money or How to become a millionaire”. Instinct told me that the book was the kind of ‘Dale Carnegie’ stuff and that was something I was never fascinated about, all those quick remedies and quick firing in matters of life. I remember thanking the man for the advice and persuading him to take back his book and that I would borrow it later. But he was insistent that I have it then and read it. For, he swore that he saw his life brighter than ever before and he will not have to turn back. He was very persuasive of the value of the book and its contents. I do not have the book with me now and remember casting it somewhere soon after.

I must indeed have to mention that the poor fellow was later heard to have been chastened and disillusioned. But only after losing as substantial part of his savings and provident fund benefits which he literally squandered by following his “Bible” to the letter. Apparently he invested with some local charlatan in the latter’s business there and was squarely cheated.

A doc friend once told me that money is in fact necessary and is a vital life line. I cannot disagree for it will be pompous and silly. He also added that those who swear having no need or value for money would rue when they are penniless and their turgid statements in the twilight of their lives. For not all are lucky to have a smooth sailing into the sun set.

The important point is what is the limit of sanity in terms of wealth? And what is wealth per se?

I ‘m aroused by a comment of Warren Buffet. He said, “I know people who have lot of money and they get testimonial dinners and hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. When you get to my age, you will measure your success in life by how many people you want to have loved you, actually do love you. That is the ultimate test of how you lived your life.”






Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Warmth of Hearts



I had a dream.
It is strange that sometimes events and people from long ago visit us in dreams. Whatever may the Freudian analysis about such episodes and of which I must confess I have no knowledge of, it is certain three things in life would stay in our subconscious- people, places and events. Perhaps flavour of good gastronomic delights too!

It is often irksome and wakes you from the deep slumber when a quiescent and pleasant dream is cut short without an end and in haze. One such happened the other night.
The genesis of the story was long ago when I was in my twenties and the three of us who were from Thpuram used to with unfailing routine meet over weekends and, breaks from work in between on other holidays. I used to travel back from Cochin where I was then placed. The meetings were generally at S’s house and we used to spend much time of the day and evenings in his room tucked away downstairs. We used to spend hours talking nothingness, women, and all nonsense under the sun. In gradual time we acquired the audacity to have a few glasses of booze as well, secluded there. All this, while two noble souls used to be sitting up above, watching television and chatting – S’s wonderful parents!

The extreme difficulty was we had to go out through the living room upstairs where his father and mother spend most of their time. So sneaking out after the few drinks was ruled out and invariably one of them caught us on the way out and we had to sit with them and politely spend sometime chatting. It was awkward to be around with them after our episodes with alcohol.But,I'm certain his father was aware of our audacity but he did never mention even in passing.

The uniqueness I have not seen in other parents was the unbridled affection and love they had for us. The difference between their son and we, his friends was something they were alien to them. It was one particular incident when B, reached the house and found his parents with a few old guests seated in the living room. When the strangers saw him behave like an  inmate and straight  into conversation and unrestrained chatter with the father and mother, one impertinent old fellow in the group eyeing him suspiciously asked the father who the fellow was. His immediate response was, “This is S’s friend and he is  like my son, rather he is my son too!”
It is beyond the capability of words to describe the pure love and feeling they maintained for us. They were not from the economically  upper-class of the society. In fact his father retired as a policeman in the common rank. His parents reared six children and we now sometimes reminisce that all the six are in very good realms of life, it is because perhaps of the nobility of hearts of the old couple.

It was on the occasion of the sixtieth birthday of B’s mother that we had a small luncheon at his house. It was during the peak of the simmering upheaval in the aftermath of my decision to marry  “C”, a catholic girl. I was there with my mother and S with his mother too. Besides us there was B and his mother. I had not met S’s mother since the news of my audacious and unconventional decision was out. She looked me straight in the face and said in an admonishing note, “You little scoundrel .Do not grin, after all that you were up to, do not keep smiling at me. You boys take pleasure in hurting us, parents and our feelings.”S and B were taken aback by the suddenness of the rebuke and its tone. My mom was affected severely and she later confided to my sister. B's mother was elegantly callous in appearance as if she did not hear the reprimand.  I was taken aback for a brief while (though it seemed like eons) by the severity of the rebuke. But after, I was feeling sublime and serene within- for her angry short expressive outburst and censure was something different from the more passive disapproval I faced from my mother who was then nonconforming in a different way to my decision. It was then and where I understood the intense power and rage of affection. I still remember the happiness in her face and how she took C by the hand and held her when I took her to S’s house after our wedding. The bond sometimes exists even when one is not tied by the superficiality of relationship.

I saw them vividly in the same living room and like I may have seen them many a time while they were alive. It was hazy as dreams often are. But then is it not the haziness and the abrupt ending of dreams such as this that makes one live with fond memories?