About Me

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Cochin, Kerala, India
For all i am either the sweetest lady or the nastiest creature,depending on how i have been to them.But to the one or two who read me best, i am a weirdo.For Shalu i definitely am one,for my mother too.Nobu loves his sister dearly,yet finds her unbearable.Siddharth "thought i was intelligent",but he dons the chameleon gown now.And there is someone who simply refuses to understand me. I think i am normal, as all insanes plead...Quite a private person,I never pry ,as a rule and expect the same in return. I believe that the world would be a better place if humans had the habit of reading sane ideas, spoke less - did more, lied less - smiled more, nagged less - thought more.. It wud be still better if people respected nature, saw her power and unyielding fury,and realised that her sweetness is terrifying. Well, thats not about me, but thats what i feel!!! Back to few more points on me: i love animals.And have 3 fourlegged kids. On an unofficial basis, there are a few felines and crows too. I am passionate about my country and her culture and whole heartedly hate every maurauding element. I believe that truth will ultimately triumph, no matter how difficult and bleak the path is!


Dictatorship that Lurks Beneath Democracy: Vinasha Kaale Vipareetha Buddhi

Before I set my pen rolling, spoonfuls of gratitude, in neat porcelain containers for a few blessed souls, who jolted me out of my slumber and inspired me to take the pen again: Sreedhar, for constant, genuine reminders that "Ente Sakhi" was in a state of unwarranted, prolonged hibernation; Vikasji, for introducing me to powerful, concrete, worthwhile writing platforms; Satyaji, for all the wonderful acknowledgement at Pyrumas; Harshaji, for Indiawires.com and Srinand Kaushik for spontaneously striking topics.     

Exactly a day after the nation celebrated her 65th Independence Day, the rulers perched on top of the democratic regime showed their true colours in totality. They decided to reveal their dictatorial cloak completely to the citizens. In what can be termed as the biggest blot on democracy, the Delhi Police swooped down to arrest Anna Hazare even before he launched his hunger strike. His crime: he refused to go back on his peaceful hunger strike. 

Kiran Bedi, the Jhasi Rani in Team Anna made it clear to the entire nation that the detention drama had a crafty pair of “controlling hands behind”. To some smart alec, she retorted that “detetion” and “arrest” were probably different only in lexicons and that legally, it was all the same. 

The entire country has made its response clear, in the form of marches, fasts and peaceful protests that things are not going to be taken lightly. And in the midst of it all, the Home Minister proudly declares his feats: the detention of 1,300 odd people at Delhi and taken to Chatrasal stadium (I would like to know the means used). So much for the rulers’ post-independence gift for a nation that is said to be the world’s largest democracy!!

Just wanted to confirm, if I have my facts right- “democracy”, I suppose is a form of governance, where citizens in a country have all rights to voice themselves. It calls for people’s participation in every stream in society, where elected representatives are supposed to serve people. And I remember from Madhukar Rao sir’s innumerable etymological instances that taking its origin from the Greek language, the word has close proximity with what is known as “rule of the people”. 

Over years I gathered that this form of government is a breather for people, standing sharply in contrast to its notoriously suppressive cousins known as autocracy, despotism, dictatorship and a host of other forms that stifle citizens. Along with the uncountable mass of Indian population, I believe that pre-independence era had a colonial, dictatorial rule. And in modern times, the fuming countries of the world are in a Herculean and near successful effort in dethroning their dictatorial masters.

So back to India: Bharat, as I would prefer to refer to my nation: The constitution states that it is democracy, but that has been under question for quite some time. No. Not because of Narendra Modi, who is a favourite, yet unyielding and unsuccessful bait of the ruling class of democratic dictators. My doubt, like millions of other citizens began, when we all realized that India still reels under foreign rule- under a sly dictator, who is skilled at puppetry. Issues snowballed and finally, when last week, the government declared that it wanted to check the citizen’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, it was all clear.

Looking into social networking accounts- oh! Well, that’s not ‘looking’, is it? That’s what the lexicon would inform you as ‘prying’. Prying into people’s free realms of speech is the biggest symptom and indication that the death knell of democracy has been sounded. Freedom of press is the “lifeblood of democracy”. Ages ago, John Milton said that in his “Areopagetica” as well. The mainstream media has been “purchased” and made to dance according to the tunes of the dictators. 

But then, there emerged another form that could just not be suppressed- the internet. This media is constantly updating people that the Honourable Home Minister (who is now reveling in his newfound position in the dictatorial seat) has informed that Anna Hazare has been held for “breach of peace”. He warbled further, “Protests are welcome but they should be peaceful. I think this is unacceptable. The government is not against democratic, peaceful protest.”

Along with me, millions will pounce on this seemingly insane character, first with a series of “wh-questions”- “How”, “When”, “Where”. And following the idiotic silence, there would be mass verbal onslaughts, which the once intelligent gentleman will fail to answer. Did Anna Hazare and his team and the entire band of supporters raise their decibels? Did they chant slogans? Did they pelt stones? Did they swarm inside offices and slash window panes? Were there road blockades? No mention of vehicles getting burnt?? Did they possess arms and ammunition? Then how on earth is it “un-peaceful” and “un-democratic” Mr. Chidambaram? Or are we following a new version of democracy, known as dictatorial democracy, one framed by a wily puppet master, who is now in convalescing stages?

The relatively new media, known as internet media has a deluge of messages for the captain at the helm and her mates  of the sinking ship known as UPA. Here go a few selected tweets (will the prying government have the strength to actually read its own dirt?):
There is Bharatiya, who could obviously not hide his “glee” regarding the country’s “independence”: Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi & Arvind Kejriwal arrested on 65th Independence Day for fighting against Corruption!! Happy Independence Day folks!!

Let us assume that the Delhi Police and UPA are indeed “duty bound”. If so, Praful Nikam wonders in his tweets: Police & Cong Govt arrest Anna even before law broken; Appreciate prompt response but then why Sheila Dixit is out after so many case proved. He would also like to know: Indira arrested JP; Sonia/Rahul Arrested Anna. Does Gandhi Family have genetic disorder of killing democracy? I join my friend Prafulji: The same efficiency of Delhi Police will steer clear the city of crime. (Delhi Police will now be diagnosed for a rare medical condition known as selective deafness).

Says Bhaskarchat: If Anna's movement continues for next two days in rest of India specially in major cities, Congress is in for serious trouble.  And Rajeev Chandrasekhar: Maybe Manmohan Singh shd speak to Mubarak in Egypt and be reminded of the blowback of using force! (That will give Chidambaram a taste of what is known as “un-peaceful” demos).
As Rajeev Mantri tweets: Manmohan Singh and Congress-UPA have completely lost legitimacy. The only way out seems to be to call a general election right away. Rajeev, throw a casual glance behind and you will find a battalion behind you in support.

If only the PM could be made to read twitter, chimed Bhavna, most precisely.  I could not agree less, Bhavana!!

(Article written for indiawires.comhttp://indiawires.com/1350/opinion/dictatorship-that-lurks-beneath-democracy-vinasha-kaale-vipareetha-buddhi/ 


When NaMo did wave his magic wand

Life is made up of moments.......and then.........a moment becomes life.......

21 January,2011.I am in Ahemdabad, for a three day visit to Gujarat- NaMo Bhumi, Modiland, NaMosthan....as many call it....Its my first ever visit to the state and I am with Jagadambika Aunty and Urmila. Along with Rajasthan, the place I believe, is connected to my soul in previous births as well. This makes the visit special in the first place. Gujarat is most impressive. Don’t ask me if there are posh malls like the ones Bangalore has. There are, more than what is necessary. But posh malls certainly do not speak for a city. I see something here never seen before in the few states I have lived in- clean, smooth gutter-free roads with absolutely no dust or dig-ups in between. What is not seen in my home state is being relished every minute, because good roads are a sign of good governance. It leads to a smooth flow of traffic and pleasant journeys. Said Paresh, our taxi driver, what I hoped to hear,"Humara CM baddhiya insaan hai." I can write more if I stay for a few more days. But there is an entirely different dimension that makes the trip even more unique, special and unforgettable. I met NaMo again, twice today. He spotted me in a group at the conference he had come to inaugurate and called out my name, while we were at the tea break. Which means he has not forgotten! As Shri. Gopinath told us, "CM never forgets". And in the evening, we were invited to his residence for a brief 25 minutes- a dynamic man in a simple office. The article on the November meeting was long ready, but somehow it failed to enter Ente Sakhi. Maybe the first copy was destined to be given to NaMo himself and then published. As I handed it to the great leader, he perused through it briefly and promised me that he would read through the same. For NaMo, a promise is a promise. As he blessed me again, I again saw a deeply affectionate patriarch.We proceeded to Akshardham Temple, an unforgettable visit, all arranged by NaMo. We were given special attention and care, saw the breathtakingly spectacular water show with the story of Nachiketa brilliantly portrayed. But I think I should start from where it all began.     

In 2001, when Mother Earth shook violently in Bhuj, the sights splashed by media were heart wrenching. Bodies lay scattered and homes, shattered. Losing one’s roofing and dear ones is unimaginable. Sitting in Kerala, I followed every move (if at all there was anything commendable) and wished repeatedly that there was a magic staff to wave and re-create what those in power failed to do. 10 months of tracking the Bhuj earthquake left me an extremely disappointed Indian. A curse on every possible politician- I decided. How could they be so blind and callous? In October 2001, a new ministry was sworn in, in Gujarat, amidst distress and rubble. Like every bigwig the brand new Chief Minister promised home and hope. Here in Kerala I squirmed. But then, that was the last wince ever. 

For unlike others, much to my surprise, this person lived up to his words. In a year’s time an unrestricted number of houses were gifted to the victims and Gujarat saw a phase of development which wiped out any trace of a natural disaster. The act was no political stunt, with no mega ceremonies to boost political ego. The houses were handed over with every legal document intact. In the larger picture, Gujarat never ever looked struck by a disaster. From then on, there was no looking back. The state prospered under the Chief Minister’s watchful, able administration. Bloomed should be the word used. And back in Kerala, I kept track all the while. With the passage of time, the world saw that Gujarat was neither under any spell nor was their leader a  David Blaine who waved a wand. 

I am speaking of the Honourable Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri. Narendra Modi. Over time, to those he endeared himself, it has been NaMo. On my part, I was deeply thrilled and never made an effort to mask my excitement when I met a soul from Gujarat and convey to them how much I held their leader in esteem. Whether it made a difference to them or not, I did feel good. There was an absolute desire to be part of a crowd, listen to the orator inspire his countrymen and catch a glimpse of this distinguished administrator. I also did wish that my dear state of Kerala went into his hands to be revived and spruced up. And along with that, there was one thing done unfailingly: NaMo was regular in our family prayers, quite in the forefront, that too. And one of the persons discussed almost daily, with unfailing regularity. He became part of the family- a patriarch we never met.

Early in 2010 I had a dream. Shri Narendra Modi, on a visit to Kerala graces my home, spends some time and leaves. What I treasured was the part where he places his hands on my head and blesses me. I did consider myself granted with an early morning vision of this kind. The responses of dear ones were prompt: Ethra sundaramaya nadakkatha swapnam. (What a beautiful dream that will never happen). Well, I knew that too. But the ‘beautiful dream that would never happen’ was too real for me and the euphoria lasted for long.

Time flew by and thanks to my spondilitis; a job hunt trip to Bangalore on November 08, 2010 was postponed. Many lost opportunities made me dejected. “Everything is for a cause”, my spiritual advisor Hari sang. But it had little impact and offered minimal solace. Sleep was elusive at night and on one such occasion I sailed into the virtual world. My Gmail Inbox displayed a dull face with no glad tidings. In extreme dejection I ventured into the long forsaken Spam Box. My eyes fell on the third mail from a certain Hiren Joshi which had the subject: 

                          Your meeting with Hon'ble CM Shri Narendra Modi

I read the line a multiple number of times before proceeding to the mail. A flurry of thoughts crossed my mind. An invitation to a section of people who respect him, from NaMo personally? What an honour! But how do I go to Gujarat alone? Na! A golden opportunity lost! How do I ever get such a chance again?? Thoughts flew in all directions and I opened the mail. 

What awaited made me dizzy. It took quite some time to come to terms that it was a personal invitation to meet the Honourable Chief Minister of Gujarat who was to reach Kerala on 13 November, 2010. If it was fine with me, I could get in touch with CMO for further guidance, the mail stated. Deep into midnight, I woke my mother up who explained and convinced me, bleary eyed, that it was a solid prank and that I should sleep. Someone was playing a prank. Someone who knew my devotion. And the same someone had hacked the government website. But why me? What malignant motive? …….I drifted off with these plaguing thoughts wondering if Hamlet’s ghost had travelled from Denmark and possessed me all of a sudden.

The next morning I hounded a techie friend. The mail is no hoax, he confirmed. Even if it’s a hoax, let’s play along, he said. Offering every possible prayer to all deities, the reply was sent. I promptly received a call from Shri.Hiren Joshi who said Shri.Gopinath would guide me further. My fears were immediately washed off and it was all so genuinely true. Over the days, the final date, time and venue was fixed- 
             14 November, 2010/ 09.00AM/ Taj Vivanta, Wellington Island.
Abhi, my astro-guide, clueless about the event, cast my chart in advance- A predestined meeting, of some previous birth, with someone you revere to the core, someone whom you consider extremely dear, a deeply spiritual person, who heads something. In your confused state, you might never convey what you intend to. But the meeting will leave its impact on you for life. Those numerous posts sent to NaMo’s blog with a prayer that at least my name catches his eye, was seen after all, in-spite of a bustling schedule. From then, till the D-day, I walked in a trance. No sleep and no food for five solid days. My dear mother Usha and Dr. Jagadambika, our close family friend shared my excitement whole-heartedly but silently, for they too were to come with me.

November 14, 2010 unfolded and everything around me looked enchanted. Precious minutes and hours gave way to the great moment. And when Shri Tanmay Mehta opened the door of the room where the great leader was, for a minute I thought I might faint- there stood the greatest statesman our country has seen in modern times and to stand in front of him was solely a poorvajanma punyam. He accorded us the warmest welcome and made us feel most comfortable. To come down to the level of ordinary citizens is what makes a person great.

As Abhi said, I was awe struck the entire length of time. Not just me, but my mother and my aunt. But we all did speak, without any hesitation and conveyed to him rather bluntly how badly our country needs him. The person in whose presence we sat was by no means an egoist who boasted about his unending achievement. There was no pedantic air of the leader of a state, which is the synonym of prosperity. Instead we felt the vibes of an honest, sincere, down-to-earth person, who has a fixed goal in life, from which there is no looking back. The bold march ahead was quite clear on the countenance. We spoke of Dwaraka, Gujarat and her developments, Kerala and her waning grounds, education and many interesting general issues.  40 blessed minutes of my life.  

So the meeting prompted me to write this? 

No. NaMo is writing material galore- an extremely rare specimen, who has been blessed with power- not to fill his pockets, but to heal the varied wounds of Bharat Mata. Just that the meeting hastened my work with ink and pen and gave it a personal touch as well. We do not understand certain basic lessons Prakrithi demonstrates. She unleashes her fury, after warning us a million times of our misdeeds. But like any mother, her language is simple too. When she punishes she has obvious answers, which we tend to ignore and remain blind to. Bhuj was the epicenter of a horrendous disaster, but she had kept solutions ready from another spot, Vadnagar, which the citizens were blessed enough to see for themselves. Bharat has suffered for decades. Foreign onslaughts still remain numerous and direct. The invasions have slowed down, but not the foreign rule.

One nameless, faceless gentleman of leisure attacked me on Orkut- “What’s so venerable about someone who has been denied a US visa?”My answer, “The US of A is a geographical area on the same earth we live in. What they demonstrated is their high-handed imperialistic culture. It makes no difference to a person’s glory if a ticket has been denied in another part of the earth. Nor does it hamper NaMo’s duty”.  Continued Mr. Faceless, “You follow the American way of living, use their goods, dress according to their styles, the country banks on the US of A for her economy and you don’t find any difference?” He rounded off shouting slogans in favor of the members of a so called dynasty.  “No Mr. Faceless Nameless. As a person yours sincerely is off any Western prescription. As for the names you have yelled, they are members of a clan who have seen to it that Bharat’s identity is suppressed. They are part of a system that has unfailingly been trying to make Indians feel inferior of their own culture and identity and prompt them to adopt a pseudo one instead, making each one of us hoaxes in our own land. They have been part of that unending scheme to drive the country poor, make her an eternal slave of a so called imperial master and bring dishonor to all her brave sons. Their scheme is too obvious. And amidst all this when some one has marched ahead undaunted and proved that we can easily have our own economy, the response of every citizen who loves the country is obvious. Lessons from our Ithihasa remains priceless: a land progresses only if the Karma of their ruler is clear. Those on the path of Dharma stand in limited number and crooks stand in legions.” Mr. Faceless Nameless was seen no more.   

So is this the eulogy of a ‘fan’ who was blessed to meet NaMo?

Brand me not as a ‘fan’. In literary parlance it means a fanatic supporter and fanaticism makes one blind, as can be seen around. It makes one limited and feeble too. Instead let me be known as one among those millions, who sees the worth of a selfless son of Bharat Mata, whose dedication to the land cannot be measured, on whom the hopes of countless others rest. Let’s open our eyes to the progress made in the state he heads and judge for ourselves who is worthy of leadership.  My eyes are and so are those of a numerous others, irrespective of religion, caste, colour, creed, age, shape, size, sex, status and what not. Why does it take time for those who have kept their windows to the world shut to have them open?

My country is blessed with a unique richness- a spiritual and material plenitude which no other nation possesses. But she is being drained, and worse still, the acquired poverty is projected worldwide as her only face. Kolkatha or Kalighat was the seat of culture, but thanks to a foreign element, the only face of Kolkatha or Kalighat the world has seen is pathetic. That’s what they are made to believe, thanks to media, the puppet of the grossly criminal ruling class. Why are we still blind to the fact that Gujarat’s prosperity can be India’s prosperity, if we the citizens have, what is known as dedication to a cause?   I crib and cringe inwardly and publically when those mesmerized by the ‘ruling fair skin’ that conceals their ‘crafty agenda’, wax eloquence about the so called leaders. Rosy cheeks and dimple chin and fair skin are no solution for a nation reeling under soaring prices, rising poverty, terrorism and glaring corruption. 

Following the majority, I am clueless about dirty politics and the filthy bag of tricks that accompanies it. But like the majority, I know that life is getting difficult each day for the common man with the central bandwagon turning a blind eye to everything, getting bolder day by day, and committing the worst of day light robberies. Wearing the outward mask of democracy, what we have is everything but that. It is autocracy, plutocracy, monarchy of commonplace foreigners and above all, western imperialism. Whither exists democracy when there is ongoing talk of a ‘prince’ who will be ‘crowned’? Why are we a damp, squidgy lot allowing ourselves to be hoodwinked for years at a stretch? There is evident swindling of the country’s precious resources, making every tax paying individual look like a fool.  All my countrymen who have pledged allegiance to this new trend of foreign invasion for their personal gains forgetting the mother land should realize what lies in store for them.  My unaware countrymen will be used and thrown when their role is over. 

So what about yours sincerely?
I felt like Kuchela and Grace Bedel rolled into one.

My friends shared my excitement. Those who stood with me in my inner most rings listened over phone silently. I could see them smiling away, gauging how exactly I felt. A few of them in earnest genuineness wanted to splash it over the local media- the same vehicle that camouflages NaMo’s true worth in grotesque shades. It could be spicy news for them, an ideal diet for a week. But that was not what the meeting was about. For me it is sacred and not meant to be dispersed as fodder for the farcical lot to desecrate the holy soul on a later date. Also I was to respect the genuineness of NaMo who did something unusual. I have read and seen pictures of self proclaimed princes mingle with the common lot, not out of sheer genuineness, but to enhance their image. For NaMo it was a quiet matter- we were sure he thought only of the joy we were to have on a dream coming true. 

Some chided me for addressing NaMo as “Modiji”. “Sir” should have been used, they opinioned. Sir?? Why?? This is not England and the person I met was no fictional knight. Neither was yours sincerely in front of a military corporal who wielded a disciplinary baton. The person is someone whom many consider the patriarch of Vasudeiva Kutumbakam. Do we need to be slaves of the West in such true moments?  Also, with a single little word “Beta” he gave me the place of a daughter.

And then there was a minuscule section who couldn’t resist, “Isn’t he the same person who was .........?”I had to cut them short and give them my sermon. Any human with average intelligence will understand “who was responsible” for “that”. Any human with a sane mind will see that a leader whose sole aim is to build will never fan violence in anyway. Peace is what he will maintain at any cost. Those days, when NaMo was media’s kernel, I remember seeing a leader with a reassuring face reaching out to his countrymen. But behind that, wasn’t there a human who was deeply hurt at the gross injustice done to him? Wasn’t there a man who stepped down, wondering if his duty to Bharat Mata was clipped short? And when he came back with an overwhelming majority, there was no smirk of a politician who had an “I am victorious look”. Instead there was a humble, down-to-earth person who faced the masses, with what I am sure, was a constant prayer in his heart. “A person must be judged in totality and not by any stray unfortunate incident alone. On this account, to me, NARENDRA MODI has passed the litmus political test,” observed a dedicated Orkutian.

For me there has been an awakening regarding life, a re-thinking. Life has given me multiple surprises, (which I prefer casting away) with unfailing, prompt regularity, all in the same dejected vein. And I was surfeited with them. On 14 November 2010, there was the realization that the most unexpected surprise comes in beautiful packages. But then, the crowning glory of the moment was realized because of those preceding nightmares. Sheer, unalloyed happiness visited me after eons and I realized its value. 

But why yours sincerely when there are numerous intellectuals out there to meet NaMo? All I had offered were prayers and support and a constant reminder that the champion was not alone in his cause. I never had lofty political ideologies to convey. Dr Jagadambika explained- “It is always the Guru’s decision to meet the shishyah.”But again- was yours sincerely worthy of it? My spiritual advisor Hari sorted it out. “Chechi, this is predestined. Our Poorva Janma Karma leads us to many aspects in successive births. This special meeting is the continuation of your soul’s role in this world. Somewhere in a previous birth NaMo’s soul must have promised you a blessed darshan in another birth. And when Prakrithi’s design was right, it happened,” said Hari. “What about the dream, Hari?” “In the wheel of time, the incident is past and was recorded in the soul’s memory. The soul recollected the same in one of its states of existence.” Hmm. Convincing for now, but I could need more answers sometime later.   

From the time he proved his worth, NaMo has been in my prayers unfailingly, along with every dear soul close to me because, on him lies the hope of a million Indians and such a person ought to have everyone’s prayers. Prayers are positive energy and shield away negative onslaughts. My favourite deity has been the philosophical sage ParamaShivan who has patiently borne the brunt of my tiresome queries. He led me to his beautiful wife Devi, the mother, Prakrithi. Dwarakanath made his entry into my mind in orison just a few years back.

I had once conveyed a wishful thinking to Padmakumarji about receiving a reply from NaMo himself as we unfailingly conveyed our support through his blog. He did assure me that someday, my wish would be realized. What I received on November 14 was more than a reply. When NaMo placed his hands on my head as I knelt before him, this time in real life, the energy flow was immense. It was only because Somnath, Ambaji and Dwarakanath had asked their most beloved son to gift me that special package of collective blessings, which he did place on my head. They were not blessings for a single day, a month or a year. It is for eternity. And I continue to pray that NaMo in turn remains their most beloved son for ever.

Shri. Narendra Modiji is not an isolated case of dedication in our land. There are legions of others, struggling against odds, who are more than willing to contribute in ways they can, to the cause of the nation. Many have laid their souls for a single cause. Many names go unsung while the causes of others are acknowledged. I bow before them all. 

And NaMo did wave a magic wand after all.


Honourable Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri. Narendra Modi on the occasion of Khel Mahakumbh.

Blessed with the honour of translating a speech by Honourable Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri. Narendra Modiji.

A link to the same. 


Nostalgic Ruminations - Part I- Shalini Ente Koottukari

Dedicated to a devil who changed my life forever, with the wave of an invisible wand. Its nice to have an alter ego for 25 long years…as Shalu says, 25 years of unending suffering !!

The phone rang this morning. I grinned at the number as i had been doing for 25 years. The voice on the other side began with the customary gimmicks and i giggled in the usual silly fashion. Not once, all these years has the drama changed it script. Not once have we changed the title to " Familiarity breeds contempt".

1986, one of the many Tuesdays in June, I think.
My first step in Ambalamedu.

Existence was morose during days prior, a routine trip from home to school and back. At 11, I did not have many friends. I was to join the new school at Ambalamedu, happy to escape from the previous one. I suffered a serious complex those days, being heavily taunted for my dusky complexion and hoped there would be no discrimination here.

At the new school, my parents entrusted me to the care of a very shy girl in class who had one of the most extensive set of teeth and a subsequent toothy grin . She was extremely plump with flawless complexion, dense, long, lustrous hair soaked in the most aromatic oil, securely braided in thick plaits that fell beyond her waist. In all earnestness I conjured up visions of her being my best friend and hovered around like a fly, almost a virtual pest , when there appeared on the arena a self appointed guardian of the oil plated lass – another classmate, one of the most villainous looking creatures I had ever set my eyes on (the likes of which comes in your worst nightmares). She was pretty though -- tall, with a ballooned tummy, very fair complexion, and with the same length of hair her saintly ward had, though devoid of oil. Her cold gaze sent shivers down my spine. I wished I never existed.

Before Miss Oily Hair could take charge, Miss Sinewy Face, with a ruthless expression barked that I could follow them wherever they trod. I gathered that they were the best of buddies—Miss Oily Hair, AnuRadha Venketachalam and Miss Sinewy Face, Shalini Unnikrishnan .They were also inmates of the new place , the township where my family had come to live. I decided that the new school was a carbon copy of the previous one. I felt my fate sealed and knew was doomed.

And so it began - my brief interlude with a fresh set of nightmares. The girls were tall and seemed like pompous princesses, lashing about their luxuriant hair like cows swishing their tails. 
And poor me! --I could do nothing less than linger pitifully. My tiny stature, short dumpy hair and dusky complexion made me feel pedestrian. Subsequently I maintained a distance in the seating arrangement in class, crouched in a corner, far away from this colossal monster.

During school hours and after wards, I would faithfully follow the two friends like a menial, laughing even at the most putrid jokes ( part of an unsuccessful appeasement policy). My doubts, both specific and general, on every occasion, were carefully directed to Anu, who would answer them with a pedantic air. Her responses were gospel for me. During these moments the monstrous sentinel would throw annoyed glances at me, revealing in the most powerful , unspoken language ever invented on earth that I was nothing less than an unending irritant.

Sanskrit was my second language at school and the classes heightened my emotional trauma.  A separate room, the space spoke of the architect’s vengeance against the school authorities – dull, dingy, cheerless, humming of despair .It appeared to have been designed for a small closet that was suddenly canceled to create a room of learning.

There were a total of five set of desks and benches intended to seat a pair of students but our population outran the expected ten to a shocking eighteen – the boys themselves exceeding ten by a unit while the girls remained a moderate seven . Four lean girls managed to squeeze themselves into the first row. I had no option but share something less than quarter of an inch in the second row with Shalu and Anu. I hardly dared breathe – because a small heave would send her into a fury.

How i suffered !! After days of torment, I decided that I never wanted a friend. Freedom was precious and the need for a friend stood no where. After all, relationships were best when born eternally, not created artificially . Unfortunately I was not granted liberty either. Shalu’s stuck-up, snooty gawk made me return and  hang around meekly like a fly caught in a vile net. She would occasionally lavish me with the iciest stares and size me up and down.
It probably boosted her ego, I decided.

It so chanced that once, Anu happened to be stuck for an answer to one of my silly queries, and instructed me to jot down her phone number, which I did without demure. Instinctively the custodian snapped her number as well and commanded that I give her a call, instead of bothering her poor protégé.
I knew I was done for.

8 pm - with a racing heart I lifted the receiver of the vile instrument that would put into my ears, words of that frightful creature. And so I dialed 411 and held my breath. A shrill voice sang from the other side. It was Shalu, who answered with pride that she did not have answers to my questions, but had wanted me to call her for no special reason. Further instructions flowed: I was to call her every day from then.
In extreme dread, I stuttered affirmatively.

That was God’s answer to my incessant yearning to have a true friend. I am sure my fingers have tapped those blessed digits more than any breathing body on earth, after that day. On that glorious day was born, an unsurpassed rapport of my life which I cherish as priceless, inestimable and limitless till this living moment.

She continues to adorn the cold, poker faced look, but beneath it I discovered unalloyed genuineness. Ambalamedu, the lovely spot gifted me with Shalu, who, as the saying goes, one good deed leads to another, steered me through various episodes in life.


Basically On A Few Brands Of Happiness

26th January 2010, Bharath’s 60th Republic Day. The mark of a significant event in the political history of our country.  

I received a sizeable  number of messages that read “Happy Republic Day”-concerned friends wishing me happiness on  Republic Day, quite akin to the “happiness” wished unfailingly  on the eve of every New Year and New Year day (and a few days there after which, in all probability spans over an entire month). We also have “happiness” wished blindly on Holi, Deepavali, Makarasankranthi, Onam & Navarathri (both festivals offering 10 days of perennial happiness), Vishu, Ramzan …… the list is endless. 
Merriness pervaded Christmas season, but of late the same dreaded “happiness” has seized it by force and dethroned it! The package that originally warbled “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” now drones “Happy Christmas & Happy New Year”. Never to be left out, the New Year eve and day have channels proclaiming wildly, promises of “happiness” with latest movies, whole lot of artificial reality shows, boring comedies and what not!!  Is that what “happiness” is all about? Isn’t every fresh day a new year in some way or the other? 

Not to be left behind, we have days for fathers, mothers, brothers,sisters, uncles, aunts,nephews, nieces,lovers ,neighbours, shopkeepers, customers and many more classes freshly given the "happiness" tag. Since most days of the calendar are free, why don't we bring in festivals and days from Japan and China and Russia and other nations and allot them as well? That would bless us with 365 days of euphoria.

Privileges of being part of a bandwagon – the disarray of being surfeited and satiated with happiness!

Our own Independence Day is not spared. There are the nauseous “Happy Independence Day” messages dispersed over mobile phone in-boxes. But have we, as responsible citizens, ever stopped  for a moment to think about any single factor that makes us “happy” on the day? Of course, freedom from the Western imperialists is definitely something  providential. I could be branded as a boring nanny, but do we actually need to sing and dance like giddy headed goats to depict the joy of independence? 

Shouldn’t we - each of us, from a new born infant to an elderly soul, as responsible citizens, put an end to the celebratory outlook that has seized the Independence Day of late and replace it with a mind-set of solemn observance alone, in all seriousness with due respect to the million lives laid down, both in deference and innocence? Priceless lives that remain the only reason why we,  citizens of the present generation misuse, what is known as freedom. Have we paused to think if we, as a society, are independent in the very spirit of expression?

Pages of history will inform us that Bharath won her right to self rule from British domination on 15th August 1947. Many countries have won their civil rights from other dictating nations, but that never constitutes real freedom. Political autonomy is only a fragment of liberty. Man must, wherever he is on this beautiful earth, learn to free himself from fear and its manifested forms that lead to self floating bubbles of greed, lust, avarice which in turn steers one to a very evident form – terror.  

Looking at our own selves- are the civilians of Bharat free from the shackles of superstitious beliefs? As an entire society are we free from the pangs of hunger? Does sleep pervade over every single living being as a soothing balm, without being accompanied by a sense of insecurity – insecurity brought about by a dread of being robbed, raped or murdered? Don’t we have a repulsive feeling of still being helplessly dominated by a bunch of political hypocrites who have proclaimed themselves as rulers? I could go on and on, but that will never change the system. 

Wishing that some time in the near moments or the remote future every son and daughter of the soil would consider the days that commemorate our  Independence and declaration of the country as a Republic as periods to be “observed”, that too the right way, with amplitude measure of reverence and respect to the mother land. I wish we use, at the least, these days to evaluate ourselves as children of a nation divine, now bereft of her grandeur and ethos. Let us pledge to honour these days to assess our contribution, elfin or immense, in rebuilding the lost glory. I wish that the children of Bharat Mata would not “celebrate” the Independence and Republic Days with incessant burst of crackers that would remind one of war zone areas or with drunken revelry in the fashion of Greek Maenads.  

I shall never forget one of those nights that ushered in a brand new year spent with my sister’s family. Little Arjun was with us for his holidays. All of us – my chechi, sleepy eyed chettan, the three monkeys who happen to be my nephews(Akash & Anu included) and I sat by the river side right behind my uncle’s home braving potent attacks from mosquitoes. All because the monkeys wanted to see how the sky and earth would appear when the so called fresh point of time made its entry. Of course they never witnessed the year making its appearance draped in silk, but it was an occasion spent peacefully , in harmony with nature, without the blaring idiot box causing a vascular headache.  

Nature explained that one could indeed be happy in still darkness with all the dear ghosts, both invisible and apparent for company, with crickets chirping around you, a couple of folk songs wafting in from somewhere in spite of the warring mosquitoes who could also be composers of divine music . 

Points to ponder over!!


Bharatiyas or Indians ?

Are we still slaves of Western culture?
I think so!
We see medical shops galore with sign boards crying out: English Medicines. I have always wondered what they are in reality! Everyone follows the bandwagon chanting  “ingaleesh” medicine.
Wondering if  we have ' French Medicines' and 'Russian Medicines' and 'German Medicines' in that case? Why are they not prescribed??
Why don’t we ever,at the least once, realize that even as the British gets credit for introducing allopathic system of treatment in India ,we certainly don’t have to tag them with the British for an appellation.
And then we refer to our own Ayurvedic system as Indian Methods!! Why just Indian?? Why dont we, at the least , one single soul , say Universal Method of treatment???
I can discern the pride we have when we refer to Ayurveda as our possession, but isn’t the treatment universal?? Just as Sanatana Dharma is universal Dharma,isn't everything that comes with it universal too???

Shankaran next door is looked down on if he owns a toddy shop, but becomes “Sir” if he enters the corporate world.There is a metamorphosis to Shankar and worse still, to a ridiculous 'Shanky'.(I personally know of a Raghunath who changed to pure 'Rags').I myself was,for sometime 'Vinzy' and 'Winey', before it degenerated into something totally preposterous.

How? Why?? Is a seat in a glass cabin chilled artificially by the air conditioner the parameter for Knighthood?? Since when did Knighthood become an esteemed sign of recognition for Indians, who should take greater pride in being known as Bharatiyas, rather than identify themselves with an expression designated to us ungracefully by the European imperialists.I would love to be refered to as Kumari.The term 'Madam' seems a misfit.

Why do we lap up with eternal pride the insensibly crafted educational syllabus that sings of Mahakavi Kalidasa as ' Indian Shakespeare' and Mahasamrat Samudra Gupta as 'Indian Napolean'.
In my personal opinion, we need not, forever, eternally chant Max Muller's terms. We can, for sure, since we have the freedom to do so, with all mighty right refer to Shakespeare as 'Britain's Kalidasa' and Napolean,'France's SamudraGupta'.

I will, I thought. But am I doing justice to my own culture, in that case?  
No!! I decided against it.

Do we need comparisons for a prop to sing out the glory and grandeur of our divine  culture? We certainly do not need Pythagorus and Hippocrates to affirm what Aryabhatta and Charaka blessed  us with. And we certainly do not bother, not even in the minutest possible measurement , if Narendra Modi is  denied entry into American soil.
It takes time to recognize greatness - true greatness without being scared by the Western endorsement stamp.


My Soul and The Rain.

Everyone seems to blog these days. Its become a fancy , as common as a mobile phone. Almost everyone is a literary genius, probably holding the satisfaction of being a Kalidasa, Keats or Toru Dutt. I wanted to write, but never "Blog" in my life. But kids change your very being. Siddharth, the first of my nephews responsible for my Orkut addiction gave a suggestion, bordering on the throes of an order. And so it began. Humans and animals who have inspired me, of whom i should express my feelings , shall figure amply in this little world of mine. But above all, a basketful of gratitude for a good friend PadmaKumar for christening my realm "Ente Sakhi"

This morning ,taking a break from official duties, i stood on the balcony watching a possible thunder storm gather potency. The steaming coffee and the chill of the wind stirred up what has been modestly penned.

The white canvas loomed,
tinged grey-here and there: I wondered 
what the supreme artist had mixed,
To get the hue.
What was it that she splashed
to change it oft- now n then.
The blend, perfect and splendour 
all in tact, 
In spite of a drab shade
that stared out aimlessly,
speaking out its silence.

I guzzled the charm, waiting
for a change, a surprise
she might spring.
The darkening canvass said it all- 
and there it came !
A gentle spray of unsullied beads,
The cool elixir- fresh and divine
dribbled down
Keeping me alive forever
n ever........

Who strummed then, at the moment
The notes of Malhar: the raaga
that quenches thirst?
Thirst that grips immortals, yearning
for the unreachable, 
When Tansen blessed it with life
How did i hear Tansen 
the richness of his melody?

The soul's journey 
seems long for the body.
Matter that crumbles and decays!
But for the spirit,
blessed with timelessness
the melody of yore remains fresh,
blending with it 
every right moment.

The little drops that fell
Spoke to my soul, briefly beckoned
to a realm unknown...........
Her gentle hands unseen
forever outstretched-
But i stood alone, missing..... !!
I spotted him somewhere
Fiery and ruddy,
living for others.
Near, yet so far- away from my touch......

As i watched, the torrents lashed
soaking me-essence and body
Is this a cleansing?
Did all look bright?
For, the artist had dotted the picture
with crimson spots.

(mazhayude thanthrikal meetti ninnakasham / madhuramayaardramayi padi.....Dr. Yusuf Ali Kecheri, Meghamalhar)

" Mazhayude Thantrikal Meettiyinnakasham Madhuramayi Aardramayi Paadi " - Dr.Yusuf Ali Kecheri , Megh Malhar (Malayalam Movie)