Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A very Happy New Year

Let me wish everyone a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2010.

...and for those who have taken 2012 seriously, please remember that you have 2 more years to fulfill your ambitions, be happy and give other's happiness..

and for the rest of you who believe that this world is never going to end (during your lifetime), better work towards making it good so that it remains good while you :) last.. or at least good enough for your children so that they can take it up from where you left.

Let me leave a few links of blogs/newspapers that are reporting happy news from around the world…Yes we sure need them...

The one below is from a report on the co-author of "Three Cups of Tea”.. his work is mainly in Afganisthan..

that in 2000, there were 800,000 kids in school in Afghanistan, and this was during the height of the Taliban. The kids were nearly all boys. Today, there are 8.4 million children in school in Afghanistan, including 2.5 million females. So it’s the greatest increase in school enrollment in any country in modern history and the goal is 13 million.

I think that’s why I feel that educating girls is so important. If you educate a boy, you educate an individual but if you educate a girl, you educate a whole community.

The next is from goodnewsindia website which stopped spreading good news in the Year 2006 and for which the author has given a lengthy explanation. Please take time to read it through. He is now engaged in another fruitful venture.

“Given India’s history of throwing up influential people, waiting for a Gandhi is not an unrealistic act. But we can do something while we wait and do a bit of what he counseled: You cannot change others; but you can change yourself. If bad news depresses you, you can do something that radiates good news; so, become the good news and you begin to change the world. Indeed Gandhi deemed the greatest change we can ever seek is the change in ourselves. Feel the power of his insight: “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves.” [How I love this man! He knew the modern age was a myth; it believes all the water we need can be delivered in bottles.]

Reflecting further, I understood consuming less and consuming with sensitivity is also to contribute to conservation and/or production; without any measurable productive act, a sensitive consumer can contribute to production and begin to bridge the divide inside her.

Let me also post the reason why the author chose the name "point to return"..

“…the point is to return” says the tagline. And that can be read in many ways.
Return to your roots
Return to nature and to learning from it
Return something to the earth for gifts received and resources enjoyed.

The author has inspired many.. and if one reads the comments one gets to know how many were inspired enough to start their own ventures; yes.. how Solar Energy, Green Houses, Rainwater Harvesting etc. can make a positive change to our environment...

Volunteers at work...

Point to return has its presence in twitter too.

Let me sign off with a quote from him...

Just as one must believe in God despite the priest, one must hope farming can be made attractive despite the intruding professional agricultural scientists.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunitha needs your attention....

Finally I found time to watch Sunitha Krishnan’s presentation on TED.

I did read about her much earlier in a magazine and other bloggers GVK and IHM have already mentioned about her TED presentation in their own blogs in a compelling manner. Yet, I felt that the least I could do was mention her in my own blog though she and the cause that she has taken up deserves much more attention.

Sunitha herself is a victim and she says that she could never remember the incident clearly but the anger she felt was very intense and it is always the anger part that she remembers. It is this anger that led her to act. In her blog she writes thus.. There was a time in my life when I used to think if I meet God on the road, I may just kill him/her with my bare hands.

It took time for the healing and she again writes thus: In that journey I also realized that God is not somebody I might meet on the road…he/she is everywhere, in me, around me and with me. And then I started feeling the God experience in this journey which not only touched the fragile soul of the child but also my angry soul.

She starts the presentation with the story of three children who were rescued after being raped brutally.

In her presentation she neither moralises nor offers a solution. I think in her struggle she has realized that the task is very difficult and would remain so since the world where we live is a very complex one.

We as a society have justified prostitution in our own way. Let me jot down some of them.

- It is age old and it has been there and will always be there. (Men hunted animals for food, rubbed stones to get fire but does not do it anymore .. they evolved out of it.) For many this is the only business they want to do since the return is high. An article in the New York Times in February 2008 stated that officials estimate that sexual transactions in Amsterdam (where prostitution is legalized) account for about 100 million US dollars per year. The demand is high and hence the supply will be maintained. I am not sure if the demand earlier was for children as young as 3 years and if not, then either the demand has increased out of control or the supply has dwindled.... or our society has become much perverse. (Sunitha has rescued both boys and girls)

- If prostitutes are not there in a society then the rest of the women will be affected. It means to say that me or you are able to walk free in this society since the needs of a section of the society are being taken care of by these unfortunates and that we should just forget the fact it includes children too. One should also ignore the fact that these children and some others were never given a choice.

-Men and women are built differently and men just cannot control themselves as much as the women. Since I am from the female category maybe it is not like the urge to eat a chocolate or to purchase the beautiful set of jewelry on display. But then it discredits men (still in majority?) who has a control over these urges.

I am not sure if there is a real solution to this malady although some say that legalizing this trade could make it safer. But then statistics especially in Netherlands which legalized in 2000 tells otherwise.

In the Netherlands, women in prostitution point out that legalization or decriminalization of the sex industry cannot erase the stigma of prostitution but, instead, makes women more vulnerable to abuse because they must register and lose anonymity.

Thus, the majority of women in prostitution still choose to operate illegally and underground.

Legalizing this trade may help only those who seek the service but not the ones who are required to do this service. It may give those seeking it, protection and dignity in the society but not to the ones who are offering the service. Those seeking the service may still have a heart attack if he finds out that his sister, daughter or wife is also offering this service.

Legalizing prostitution or adultery may also help in cases such as the current "hot news" haunting the Congress party in Kerala. They know not what action to take since they fear they themselves may not come clean.

As for child trafficking/prostitutes the story in Netherlands is also not different.

Another argument for legalizing prostitution in the Netherlands was that it would help end child prostitution. In reality, however, child prostitution in the Netherlands has increased dramatically during the 1990s. The Amsterdam-based ChildRight organization estimates that the number has gone from 4,000 children in 1996 to 15,000 in 2001. The group estimates that at least 5,000 of the children in prostitution are from other countries, with a large segment being Nigerian girls (Tiggeloven: 2001).

We may not be able to do much but our apathy and our attitude to the victims have to change. We cannot also close our eyes to what is happening around. Sunitha herself was ostracized from the society for two years when she was just a victim. At a time when she deserved all help from the society, it turned against her. Later when she tried helping other victims she was yet again targeted and bullied. (She lost the sense of hearing in one ear and one of her staff was killed during a rescue operation0

A few more links...

Monday, December 14, 2009

I am angry

For so many reasons…

Today’s headline read thus:

Pak officers working with jihadis, Headley confirms to FBI

The FBI interrogation of David Coleman Headley has revealed a Lashkar training project involving jihadi fugitives from India. The youth, after they are trained by Pakistani army officials, are sent back to India as part of the game plan to conceal the Pakistani involvement and pass off the terror in India as a home-grown phenomenon.

Is it not frustrating to read this now when the same was being conveyed by the Indian side over and over since many years?

Was it not for the same reason India has been demanding that Dawood and the rest of the scums be turned over? It was frustrating when US did nothing to persuade Pakistan to hand over him then and one wondered why.

And now that US have discovered Headley to be behind the Mumbai attacks will he be turned over or should we just watch the same old drama being enacted? For India, will Headley also rest on the Fact Sheet pages just like Dawood? (The only difference being that Headley has been captured while Dawood still reigns)

Anyway let me leave US out since one cannot compel them to discard their own interests for the sake of another country.

But what is happening in God’s own country?

Why did it turn out to be terrorists own abode?

One was hoping against hope that at least at this juncture when things have taken a serious turn our politicians would act in a mature manner. Alas.. all they want to do is throw mud at each other while the public are left wondering if they all had indeed joined the Dawood network.

Both the Congress and the Communists parties have governed, dutifully taking turns, while the terrorist networks flourished. They have obliged enough and more for votes. And now every terrorists attack in the country is being linked to someone from Kerala. Nazir used to be a name loved and cherished by Keralites since it was the name of the beloved cine actor who ruled the Malayalam Cinema for years and more so since he deserved the adulation in every way; on or off the screen. The new Nasir has thrown it all away for reasons which we are now tired of listening. He has left many families in despair and a whole state in utter confusion.

Will Kerala be left unscathed after the dust has settled?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And we were O.K.

Received this via email I am not sure who the author is.. it may not even have originated from an Indian but yet I am sure most of us can relate to it.. so with due respect to the creator and with additions of my own in italics…

To all the wonderful kids who were born in India , grew up in the 60's,70's and 80's and survived :

First, we survived being born to mothers, some, whose husbands smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate whatever food was put on the table, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

They were mothers who did not check their blood pressure every few minutes. (mine didn’t)

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking or going out on our own. (nd all those longs walks up the mountains and along the streams with none to guide but just the dogs)

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or airbags. [Our car would have been the most rickety since it had to go through the terrible tea estate roads. Needless to mention that only an Ambassador was built for it. Thinking about it now, I still cannot believe that my Father, instead of repairing the door which would not close [the mechanics had already closed shops after our late night movie] asked me to faithfully hold onto it while driving up a 20 km long treacherous mountainous road (Mundakayam to Kuttikanam)… I dont remember my Father looking back even once to see if I was still there! And recently when I mentioned this to him he feigned ignorance:) ]

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. (ahh the water was the purest!)

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. (dint we all? and most still do…)

We would share a dosa, dip a chapatti into someone else's plate of curry without batting an eyelid. (I hope the current generation still enjoys this)

We ate jam sandwiches or pickle on bread and butter, raw mangoes with salt (& chilly powder) and drank orange squash with sugar and water in it.

We ate at roadside stalls, drank water from tender coconuts, ate everything - Bhel Puri to bhajias and samosas, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING! (there was no dearth of games.. we made games out of nothing…but now the kids can have all the PS$.. and still be bored)

We would leave home in the morning and play all day during the holidays, we were never ever bored, and we were allowed freedom all day as long as we were back when the streetlights came on, or when our parents told us to do so. No one was able to reach us all day by mobile phone or phone. (those were the days!)

And we were O.K.

We swam with an inflated tube which we got from somebody who was replacing their car tyres.

We ran barefoot without thinking about it, if we got cut we used iodine on it which made us jump. We did not wash our hands ten times a day. (Wash hands?)
And we were OK.

We did not have parents who said things like "what would you like for breakfast, lunch or dinner".

We ate what was put in front of us and best of all, there was never any leftovers. (but now we have to push and prod them to eat..)

We fell out of trees numerous times, got cut, broke bones and teeth. (We jumped from one tree to another and my younger sister was the leader!)

We ate fruit lying on the ground that we shook down from the tree above. (and how tasty those were!)And we never washed the fruit.

We had a bath using a bucket and mug. We did not know what shampoo and conditioners meant.

Yet this generation of ours has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

Please pass this on to others who have had the luck and good fortune to grow up as kids in India in the 60's 70's and 80's.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eid Mubarak

Belated Eid wishes to all...

Some of us here in Kuwait were off duty for 5 days and this post took time to complete. On the first day of Eid we thought of driving with a cousin and family to Abdali which is close to Iraq border but dropped the idea since it was raining. The rains which had abandoned Kuwait since a few years are now back. It was still drizzling and the weather moody, so we selected the 360 mall to spend the day. Being the first day of Eid and early in the day the place was almost empty. Malls in Kuwait are normally crowded since this is where everyone hangs out.

I had always wanted to take a few snaps and finally got the chance.

Was always facinated by these decorations.

This one goes all the way to the ground floor....

Beautifully Symmetrical

The big children (Hubby and his cousin) along with the children had the Game Zone in their minds specially the bowling area and hence we started from there. It was empty and everyone had a good time toppling the pins.

For hunger, we tried the newly opened Asian express but all their items were too sweet to my taste. The kids had selected the much tried Charley’s Sandwiches and I wished I had joined them instead. We got out of the mall in time for coffee and hot samosas at home.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The ultimate source for many!

The latest campaign in the name of terror is from Idea and one may have seen Junior Bachan urging the nation to talk for India.

I guess the entire nation has been talking much on terror and even major police officers are busy doing their talks.

As for Idea, are they out for publicity?

Will the fund thus collected go for the purchase of safety gears or will the public be left in the lurch as usual?

If their main site shows the following:

*The campaign is an initiative of mobile operator, IDEA Cellular, which has a subscriber base of over 53 million across the country. The campaign will be supported across print, television, digital and outdoor media space. The funds accumulated from calls initiated from the network during the 'Talk for India Hour' will be donated to the Government.

Their terms and conditions shows thus..

Talk for India

Terms to be displayed on
1. Idea will contribute an amount equal to Net Income from all voice calls originating from Idea numbers and made within India between 8:36pm and 9:36pm on 26/11/09 towards procuring safety gear for the police force.
2. Idea reserves the right to disburse the amount to a body / entity/ organization / person or to divide it amongst a number of bodies / entities / organizations / persons suitably identified by Idea for the purpose.
3. The process and time of disbursing the amount shall be solely at the discretion of Idea.
4. The time and manner of contribution will be decided solely by Idea.
5. Subject to Mumbai jurisdiction only.

Why did Idea Cellular chose to put the second condition if the money is going to the government of India?

Should one care?

Just keep talking....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The five pillars that MM Singh will uphold

While searching the net to know the significance of MM Singh’s visit to US, I landed on this particular page and the five pillars.

Supposedly, these are the five pillars that our Prime Minister will uphold while in the US soil.

1. Strategic cooperation that includes arms sales, joint military exercises and joint military cooperation in combating maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden. (There are significant new sales on the horizon, up to $18 billion worth of contracts, for which American companies are competing)

2. The second pillar of the U.S.-India relationship is that of energy and climate change (India currently emits about 4 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases)

3. A third pillar is in economics, trade and agriculture. (Two-way trade with India was about $5 billion in 1990, rose to $14 billion in 2000 and reached nearly $50 billion in 2008, according to U.S. trade statistics.)

4. Cooperation in education ( India will open up the higher education sector to greater foreign investment)

5. Cooperation in science and technology ( $30 million science and technology endowment to be used for joint research and development, innovation, and commercialization.)

Hopefully we shall also hear MM Singh say that Pakistan needs to stop exporting terror etc etc etc etc...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pazassi Raja

Now that I have grumbled and rumbled enough on terror let me write a few words on a movie that the whole family enjoyed over the weekend. The theatre was packed even on the 3rd day of its show here in Kuwait.

It was none other than “Pazhassi Raja”. Had been reading about it before the release of the movie from fellow bloggers who in turn led me to others.

Pazhassi Raja (Theatrical release name in Kerala: Keralavarma Pazhassiraja) is a Indian multilingual biopic magnum opus film directed by T. Hariharan, and written by M.T. Vasudevan Nair. It stars megastar Mammootty in the title role, and R. Sarathkumar, Thilakan, Kanika Subramaniam, Padmapriya, Manoj K. Jayan, Peter Handley Evans, Harry Key, Linda Arsenio and Jagathi Sreekumar in other major roles. The film's music score and soundtrack are done by Illayaraja. A part of the score was produced at the Hungarian National Philharmonic (Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra), Budapest.[6] The sound designing is done by Academy Award winner Resul Pookutty. Originally filmed in the Malayalam language, the film is dubbed in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. The film released on 16 October 2009 across Kerala with a record 130 prints.[7]
Crtsy: Wiki

Think this is the first time that I have sat through such a long movie (3 hr 20 minutes) without being aware of the time. The sound (Oscar fame Resul Pookutty) and the cinematography were brilliant.

Mamooty’s acting was good and had his usual style and maturity. (His performance in “Loudspeaker” was also very good and the actor still has much to give the audience if only the directors and producers would let him and I also believe he is at a stage where he can be choosy if needed)

But in my opinion the actor who stole the show was Saratkumar. His portrayal of the character Edachena Kunkan, Pazhassi Raja's army chief was superb.

(Searched low and wide for a photo of Sarath Kumar and this was the only one I could find)


Manoj Kumar and Padmapriya (one of my favourite heroine) also acted well.

Every movie will have its flaw and one was in the portrayal of those playing the Brits.

I also believe that this movie will evoke an interest in history. At least it did in my household! As soon as we returned home, hubby and the children were more interested in satisfying their curiosity than their hunger. They googled and yahooed and passed bit and pieces of interesting information. Son also wanted to know why he is not studying the great Raja and the other heroes in his history classes and I heard him muttering the same in his sleep too.

Hats off to all those who worked for this movie!

Hail to those great warriors who laid down their lives for the soil. May the memories of their valor and sacrifice echo forever.

For more reading: ( by blogger Nick Balmer - My interest in these events started about a decade ago when I first read the tale of Thomas Baber tracking down and killing of the Rajah on the 30th of November 1805. Thomas Baber was my great great great great uncle)

Monday, November 16, 2009

The road to terror .......

Soon it will be one year since we viewed the shocking scenes from Mumbai and there still remains many questions unanswered. The following news caught my eyes this morning.

According to top officials, the bigger concern for the government is to crack the sleeper cells that both Headley and Rana were in touch with to conduct attacks here. While the arrests may have delivered a blow to those plans, the fact remains that trained terror cells were here for this purpose and they have not yet been busted.

What a reassuring report! Even after a year we still haven’t discovered those Indians who helped the terrorists and now because of Headley we have this exercise just to satisfy the nation’s curiosity.


There is no record of Rana’s departure from Kochi but a few days later, there is evidence of him surfacing in Mumbai.

Does this happen only in India?

Recently when we went to UAE, our passports were kept at the hotel reception and we could have it only when we vacated the hotel. I am sure this is the law in many countries and while applying for a Visa it is mandatory to supply the address of the hotel / place of residence.

I am aware that even in India we have similar laws but do we really have the luxury of not following it even after so many incidents?

Please take a look at a travel advice given to US citizens..

At the Hotel

Foreign security services have well-established contacts with hotels that commonly host conferences and meetings with international participation. Some even have their own office within the largest hotels. If the local intelligence service considers you a significant intelligence target, you are likely to be assigned a room that is equipped to monitor your in-room conversations and phone calls. To avoid this, it may help to make your own room reservation in a smaller hotel less frequented by foreigners.

In many countries, you will be asked to surrender your passport when registering at a hotel. This is a routine procedure, as hotels must submit a daily report to police on all registered guests. Although a routine police procedure, be aware that this information may also be reviewed by a local intelligence service looking for targets of opportunity. Don't forget to get your passport back at the earliest possible time.

But then if one thinks that our government has been sitting idle in all matters then no. We have now signed the world largest defense deal with US worth $ 10 billion which may bring in 126 fighter aircraft to our Air Force.

The Indian Air Force Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) Competition, commonly known as the MRCA Tender, is an ongoing competition to supply the Indian Air Force with 126 Multi-Role Combat Aircraft. The Defence Ministry has allocated Rs. 42,000 crore for the purchase of these aircraft (Approx. US$10.5 billion).[1]

While I do agree that our fighter pilots deserve the best aircrafts and that our Air Force needs to be strengthened, I wish the same enthusiasm is shown in every other aspects of our security.

Can we leave our internal monitoring / governing in shambles and expect our armed forces to secure our country?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The road to terror..

David Coleman Headley (until 2006 he was Daood Gilani) caught my eyes yet again this morning and while reading about him, I landed on the Chicago Tribune’s page which gives the Federal Complaint against David and his accomplice Rana. One can check this too which is on David alone.

I could not finish the material since it is very long and I understand how much training one would need to decipher so much from normal conversations and emails. If deciphering is difficult can one imagine how harder it is to mask these activities?

If only one would engage their brains and time in more useful pursuits.

But yet again I wonder how the Indian intelligence agencies missed David. Are their antennae’s up only for certain names?

I hope our agencies are being trained at least now to tackle future such ventures.

But then haven’t we already forgotten 26/11?

Haven’t our governments and babus managed to turn the attention away from it so that they can continue with their own personal pursuits.

If not, why is Kasab still not punished?

Why does Kavitha the wife of Hemant Takare need to file an application for the right to information for her husband’s missing vest? Has the nation forgotten this hero already?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Can we have our revered Judges back?

If there was a news over the last week (heard on TV too) that warmed my heart it was this:

Justice Dinakaran’s name withdrawn from list for SC appointment
November 1st, 2009
NEW DELHI - Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on Sunday said that the Supreme Court Collegium has withdrawn the name of Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran from the list of judges who were to be evaluated for appointment to the apex court.

Not sure if I have rights to point to the following post for further reading: click.. but it gives an extensive account of the case.

I think it is time our judiciary is taken to task.

It was from the movies of yesteryears that I came across “Court martial” and deduced that it was the worst punishment any person serving in the armed forces is given.

Courts martial have the authority to try a wide range of military offences, many of which closely resemble civilian crimes like fraud, theft or perjury.

Indian Army has four kinds of Court Martial - General Court Martial (GCM), District Court Martial (DCM), Summary General Court Martial (SGCM) and Summary Court Martial (SCM). According to the Army act, army courts can try personnel for all kinds of offences except for murder and rape of a civilian, which are primarily tried by a civilian court of law.


While reading about Court Martial I do read that it has its own problems too. I also stumbled upon a blog detailing those who are facing court martial and other trials for various reasons.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Indian Army Courtmartial and Dishonourable discharge: Current List of Officers under a cloud

Anyway, since I am talking about our judiciary I think it is time something similar (or is there one?) is implemented before the entire system collapses. Those in the judiciary themselves are calling for action and hence it is imperative that something is done.

As for declaring assets which I had mentioned in an older post, we do have good news:

Madras HC Judge declares assets


Chennai, Nov 9 (PTI) Amid a debate over declaration of assets by judges, Justice K Chandru of the Madras High Court declared his assets at the time of being sworn in as a permanent judge today.

Justice Chandru, who was among 14 additional judges to be sworn in as permanent judges, said he was "starting a new convention" of declaring assets at the time of swearing in.

He handed over an envelope, containing details of his assets along with that of his wife and minor daughter, immediately after being sworn in by Chief Justice H L Gokhale.

The court has a strength of 54 judges, including the 14 sworn in today against the sanctioned strength of 60 which includes the Madurai bench.

SC judges declare assets on website
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN 3 November 2009, 03:20am IST

NEW DELHI: Two months after the Supreme Court, faced with demands and growing pressure from within, resolved to make public the assets and liabilities of its judges, the details were put up on its official website.

The significant step towards transparency was marked by some surprise revelations — one of the judges doesn’t own even a two-wheeler, while another has a Yamaha motorcycle as his sole vehicle. There are details of land, houses, investments in shares and flats as well. ( See Ninan’s cartoon )

Monday, November 2, 2009


SMS and win or SMS and make another win.....

For the mobile providers and their partners in business the above was a very brilliant idea which continues to reap harvest after harvest.

I am yet to waste my SMS but yesterday Hubby’s interest was caught by the cricket match (the one that was lost to Aussies) and I got to see yet another such call on TV. I believe it was the Bindaas Khel by the Indiatimes (Times Group) whereby one could win the following prizes by answering a few questions and these answers are to be SMS’d at premium rates.

Daily Prizes: Daily 5- Gold worth Rs. 1,000 each

Bumper Prize: Bumper- Gold worth Rs. 125,000

The site does give enough warnings and disclaimers which take out every kind of responsibility and those who indulge in messaging can do so even if they have closed the contest before a winner is even announced.

TIL expressly disclaims all warranties of any kind, whether express or implied. Neither does TIL make any warranty that the items / products made available under the contest will meet your requirements, or the delivery of the item / product will be timely, secure, nor is TIL responsible for any damages done in transit.

TIL reserves the rights to terminate / suspend the Contest at any time and/or withdraw, or extend the Contest without any prior notice and no correspondence in this regard shall be entertained.

If the above is in hope of winning a prize for oneself there is yet another by the Reality TV shows where your SMS will decide the winner (so they claim).

The one from Kerala called Idea Star Singer (Asianet Channel along with Idea Cellular Limited) has been very successful and continues to keep millions glued onto their televisions sets and many among them faithfully send their SMS too. This year’s grand prize will be a Rs 1 crore villa.

Is it the love for art or a personal desire to make the contestant win that makes a person part with an SMS?

I am sure there are individuals and groups sending their requests to friends and co-workers (I myself have received emails) for a particular contestant and this may eventually influence the decisions of many.

Whether it is out of selfish interest or selfless interest, it has been proved beyond doubt that enough and more money can be amassed for a cause through SMS.

The below is an excerpt from

At the end of Aug-2008, the top 5 GSM Mobile Service Providers in India based on no. of subscribers are,

• Bharti Airtel -74.8 mn
• Vodafone - 52.8 mn
• BSNL - 38.5 mn
• Idea Cellular - 29.3 mn
• Aircell - 13.1 mn

If the following news is to be believed,

By 2010 the Number of Mobile Subscribers is Expected to Increase to 348 Million in India!

This set me thinking as to why our NGO’s or even the mobile providers themselves are not teaming up for special projects.

Or have they already?

If one is ready to part with their SMS without much ado won’t a lot more do if a specific cause or a project is featured.

Right now I can think of Projectwhy which could use a lot of help in this manner. Let those who are conducting the business along with the mobile providers take their share, still there should be enough for any project in our country. (Of course one can have the normal checks and balances too.)

But this excericise would also have involved millions in the process of giving for a good cause.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Can Husain return?

I am no artist and if I see a modern painting I would muster all my intelligence and try to match the name of the painting with the artist’s illustration. Most of the time I fail the test. Guess one needs imagination too. Hence personally my adulation would always be for a picture that is straightforward and which can be seen by my own eyes.

I believe an artist sees the world in many different ways and his/her illustrations may or may not strike a chord with the viewers. One may also see something entirely different from what the artist set out to illustrate.

Anyway this is not about paintings. But because of my ignorance about artists and paintings I never knew that 94 year old M F Husain has been living in exile (in Dubai) for the past few years.

Did India really sent an artist away from his country of birth for his paintings?

Wikipedia gave the following:

One of the most highly rated artists in the world today, his work sells at astonishing prices and are grabbed almost instantly by international art collectors.

According to Forbes magazine, he has been called the "Picasso of India".[1]

At the age of 92 Husain was to be given the prestigious Raja Ravi Varma award by the government of Kerala.[10]

In early 2008, Husain’s Battle of Ganga and Jamuna: Mahabharata 12, a large diptych, from the Hindu epic, fetched $1.6 million, setting a world record at Christie's South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art sale.[3]

Unfortunately the higher in stature he grew, the bigger the controversies too. Every religious / patriotic sensibility seems to have been battered by this frail old man.

In the 1990s some of Husain's works became controversial because of their portrayal of Hindu deities in the nude or in an allegedly sexual manner.[12]. The paintings in question were created in 1970, but did not become an issue until 1996, when they were printed inVichar Mimansa, a Hindi monthly magazine, which published them in an article headlined "M.F. Husain: A Painter or Butcher".

Husain's film Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities[26] was pulled out of movie theatres a day after some Muslim organisations raised objections to one of the songs in it.[27] The All-India Ulema Council complained that the Qawwali song ‘Noor-un-Ala-Noor’ was blasphemous.

And now he wants to return to India as per this report.

Centre plans to pave way for M F Husain's early return

Is the stage set for the next political drama?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

2 Americans, Israeli win Nobel chemistry prize

2 Americans, Israeli win Nobel chemistry prize

Trio’s work is ‘directly assisting the saving of lives,’ academy says

STOCKHOLM - Americans Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas Steitz and Israeli Ada Yonath won the 2009 Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for mapping ribosomes, the protein-producing factories within cells, at the atomic level.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said their work has been fundamental to the scientific understanding of life and has helped researchers develop antibiotic cures for various diseases.

Crtsy: MSNBC


As the name suggests...Venkatraman Ramakrishnan is an Indian but it needed America to make him shine....and also to claim his success...

Venki Ramakrishnan

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan wins Nobel for Chemistry

London, Oct 7 (PTI) Tamil Nadu-born Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, a senior scientist at the MRC Laborartory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge, has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2009 along with two others, the Nobel Committee announced today.

Born in 1952 in Chidambaram, Ramakrishnan shares the Nobel prize with Thomas E Steitz (US) and Ada E Yonath (Israel) for their "studies of the structure and function of the ribosome".

Ramakrishnan earned his B.Sc. in Physics (1971) from Baroda University and his Ph.D. in Physics (1976) from Ohio University.

He moved into biology at the University of California, San Diego, where he took a year of classes, then conducted research with Dr Mauricio Montal, a membrane biochemist.

Indians have the brains, the will and determination but yet the factor for success in India seems to have left its shores..

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thekkady too...

It is just not right... a place frequented by so many tourists cannot be such.

Who lets them be so careless?

After every tragedy, we have shocks & tears and then we have commissions, reports and experts. Yet nothing changes. Precious lives are lost for no reason.

They say that boat capsized since the tourists moved to one side of the boat to watch the wild animals. And experts say that even if every person moves to one side, a boat meant for such trips should not capsize. I heard one survivor say on TV that it was not because the people went on one side, but that the boat turned over while the driver was taking a turn to let the tourists from both sides watch the animals. Whatever be the reason, those who came to a tourist spot to enjoy their holidays, honeymoon, school trips have been let down very badly and Kerala is mourning yet again. Having been on those boat trips many times and twice in Year 2008, I have seldom seen the boats being packed tightly. Only after the lower decks were full would they allow us to enter the upper decks and I read that for every two person in the lower deck, one person is allowed in the upper deck to keep the balance of the boat. Since I grew up in a place not far away and since as children we used to make these trips many times, never in my life time have I heard about an accident at Thekkady. The drivers have always been careful and they know the place well.

I think over the years the number of tourists has grown but sadly the authorities have not grown up in time. There were not enough life jackets and I think this particular boat was not tested right. We heard the current Chairman of KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation) say that this new boat was built in Chennai and that it had the necessary license but was it right for Thekkady?

As usual, we now read that the Safety Inspectors have not been inspecting right. And now we will have commissions and enquiries and reports. Enough and more money will be spent on these exercises while no concrete steps will be taken to prevent more such accidents.

Sadly Thekkady has now lost its innocence and many like me and my family will not dare make a boat trip in Thekkady.. but does the authorities care?

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Did not post anything since I was busy enjoying the 9 days holidays that we had in Kuwait.

Today I want to write about a blog which energize me each time I visit it. The blog, Projectwhy drowns my cynicism and taunts me too. I often lament about things but don’t do much about it, other than blog. But at projectwhy, one sees the other side of life and the way it is dealt with, in such a sincere manner. The author touches so many lives and continues to shine ever so brightly for them. I also love the way she deals with many of our current issues..

Here are my sincere wishes and prayers to Projectwhy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Families paid to claim YSR shock deaths

Couldn't resist posting this... it answers some questions... while it makes me hate the Congress party even more.... God help us...

but what about all those newspapers that reported the deaths in the first place...can someone sue them? it is sad to see the media acting so irresponsibly.. do we have any trustworthy media left in the country?

Families paid to claim YSR shock deaths

Families of the "victims" admitted that they were paid Rs 5,000 each by Congress leaders for funeral and other expenses. In return, they were told not to disclose how these people actually died. The Congress leaders also reportedly promised to secure the release of ex-gratia to the families once Jaganmohan became CM. Take, for instance, the death of 70-year-old Uppalaiah, a potter from the remote Lakshmipuram village of Parakala mandal. His poverty-stricken family stays in a small hut. On September 3 afternoon, a few hours after Reddy's death was confirmed, Uppalaiah died.

His son Mallaiah claimed the old man had "suddenly died" of a heart attack on the day Reddy's body was found. But, his wife Lakshamma said that Uppalaiah had been ailing for over a month and was suffering from breathlessness.

Inquiries revealed how local Congress leaders had got into the act to show the old man had died of shock following the news of Reddy's accident. A local Congressman had called up a reporter of Sakshi television channel, owned by Jaganmohan, to say that Uppalaiah had died of a heart attack after watching the news of Reddy's death on television.

Within minutes, this appeared on the scrolling on Sakshi TV. Then, other media organisations too picked up the news. The YSR shock deaths myth was slowly being built. But, it was founded on a cruel lie because Uppalaiah's desperately poor family does not own a television set.

Similar stories emerged from other areas as well. Congress leaders reportedly had little trouble in learning of these deaths because they had mostly occurred in party strongholds.

On September 4, 40-year-old B. Srihari, a registered medical practitioner, died of a heart attack in neighbouring Nagaram village. His brother Ramesh said that Srihari had participated in a rally organised by the local Congress workers in Reddy's memory. He had returned to his clinic and treated a few patients, before collapsing. "Srihari died before we could take him to hospital. We informed the local Sakshi reporter, who carried the news on the channel," Ramesh said.

He also said, "Minister for Women and Child Welfare Konda Surekha called on us and paid us Rs 5,000. She also promised all help to us once Jaganmohan took over as chief minister," Ramesh said.

At Kowkonda village, Chukka Sayamma, an 80-year-old woman died in her sleep on September 4. But her death was linked to Reddy's helicopter crash.

In another instance, 45-year-old Rajamouli of Kamareddypalle village died after allegedly consuming poison in his fields on September 5. His daughter Padma did not say how the death had occurred.

However, his neighbours said that Rajamouli had been drinking heavily the night before after participating in a Congress rally. He had quarrelled with his wife at night and was found dead the next morning. His name was reportedly put on the list of those who "gave up their lives" for Reddy because he had taken part in the Congress rally.

The death of 25-year-old Teegala Chiranjeevi at Peddammagadda in Hanamkonda is interesting. Local residents said he was a vagabond and mentally deranged. On September 5, he committed suicide by setting himself on fire.

Since there was no one to take care of him, local NSUI workers informed the media that the man had immolated himself demanding that Jaganmohan be made chief minister. The police, however, registered the case of suicide.

"We know that 90 per cent of these deaths are natural. But nobody would speak the truth either out of respect towards YSR or fear of reprisal from Congress leaders. The family members of these victims too do not reveal the facts because they have been promised ex gratia by the leaders," a mandal parishad member said.

Courtesy: Mail Today

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Recovering India's money

This is the first time I have deleted a post and it was something that landed in my inbox about recovering the money in the Swiss bank.. when I checked on the people behind the initiative, I did not like what I read about most of them...

Monday, September 7, 2009

And why did they die?

When I read the news that 67 people died upon hearing the death of YSR, I wondered if such an incident can ever happen in Kerala. It did pain me to note that precious lives were lost due to some reasons.

In Kerala we do have ardent supporters who will kill another for the party’s sake (and get away!) but never have I heard anyone committing suicide or of anyone who has even died of a heart attack upon hearing about the death of a political leader. (They may commit suicide if the State announced that liquor is completely banned!)

1- Is it because the state is 100% literate?

2- Is it because the caste system is thinning out and also many social norms have been thrown out? (women are more empowered)

3- Is it because the state is more developed?

4- Is it because the state does not have good political leaders worth dying for?

While the 4th is true at the moment for Kerala, the first 2 counts even more. Kerala is also a smaller state and hence the poverty level could be lower when compared to AP. And while I think that the needs of the state of Kerala are not as severe as that of AP, the state does have suicides among the farmers.

I assume that in some states when the desperate needs of its people are met even in the barest level, they tend to elevate their leader to the status of God. So much that when one saw the live telecast of the funeral on TV channels and the news that so many even died for him, one wonders how a leader who has been accused of corruption and accusation in the highest level got into the hearts of the common people.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

All is not lost...

Judiciary seems to be paving the way for a corruption less society.

The following could be the start and it felt good to note that the Kerala High court along with the Delhi High Court is setting the standard.

New Delhi/Kochi, Aug 28 (PTI) Judges at the High Courts of Delhi and Kerala today decided to make public details about their assets--the first in the state judiciary, two days after a landmark decision by the Supreme Court judges to reveal information about their wealth.

The assets details that is at the core of intense public debate about the importance of judicial accountability in the country is expected to be put up on the websites of the respective courts in a couple of months since the modalities and manner of declaration are being finalised.

The move by the two high courts came even as Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan suggested that the judges of High Courts cannot be compelled by the apex judiciary to follow suit. Balakrishnan however hoped that some of the high courts would follow the apex court.

Yet another welcome news was the resolution passed against Senior Supreme Court judge, Mr. Cyriac Thomas. When I listened to his passionate speech exposing his overly gratitude to the Church I did wonder if his love for Church was more than his love for Christ and his teachings. For some, the passionate love for the church alone can adulterate their faith and the actions that follow. In my opinion he should step down if his love for his Church is a hindrance to his job.

Resolution against SC judgeAugust 29th, 2009
By Our Correspondent

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug. 28: The Kozhikode Bar Association has passed a resolution against the senior Supreme Court judge, Mr Cyriac Joseph, criticising his visit to the Bengaluru Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory to view the narco analysis CDs of the Sister Abhaya murder case suspects.

It was after a two-hour long discussion that the bar association passed the resolution. In all, 180 advocates supported the resolution and six opposed it.
The resolution said that Mr Joseph’s conduct was unbecoming of a judge and sought an inquiry by a SC judge into the allegations against him. The resolution also said that he should step down from his post while facing the probe. However, those who opposed the resolution said that allegations against SC judges should be discussed in Parliament and not in bar associations.

On Wednesday, 62 members of the Kerala High Court Advocates Association had moved a resolution against Mr Joseph in a meeting of the association. However, the meeting rejected the motion saying that it was not legally maintainable.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A dangerous trend…

While traveling through Alapuzha road, Hubby has never stopped reminding about the Kanichukulangara murder case and to show the Lorry which continues to lie there as witness. Bits and pieces of the case would float through my mind and I would feel sad at the state of affairs in Kerala. And now we have one more land mark, the place where the gruesome murder of Paul Muthoot occurred. Let me forget that this case got much interest since it involved a family of high influence and let me also forget the fact that wanted goondas were travelling with the victim. The way the case is moving makes me believe that the police will be forced to twist the facts and in the end we will never know the entire truth.

It is indeed sad to see the political and other murders committed so often in our state. We have never been satisfied by the court verdicts and many murderers still run scott free. Another murder that still stands fresh in my mind is that of the teacher K.T. Jayakrishnan in front of his 6th standard students in year 1999. The accused were given death sentence by the lower courts but were left free by the Supreme Court. I remember writing a very emotional letter to the Chief Minister and I am sure that letter reached nowhere but I could do nothing else.

Yesterday I watched a retired police commissioner say how the police are not allowed to do their work freely, although the Kerala Police is one of the best in the country. He said that unless the society cooperates this scenario is not going to change.

Is it only the judiciary and the police to be blamed?

Is it only the political parties to be blamed?

Below is an excerpt from The Hindu dated Nov 30, 2004

The story of derailed probes High Court strictures

The credibility of the crime investigation and prosecution machineries in the State has been deteriorating rapidly. The developments in the last few days have eroded it further. Legal experts attribute the failure of the investigative machinery to lack of experience, incompetence and corruption. Poor prosecution mechanism, they say, is owing to the incapability of Government lawyers. They feel that political interference is compounding the problem

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Even the Readers Digest?

It was sad to read the following news today:

Reader’s Digest to file for bankruptcy protection

The publisher of Reader's Digest, the country’s most popular general interest magazine, said Monday it will file for Chapter 11 protection with a plan to swap a portion of its debt for ownership of the company.

Practically grew up with this book since my parents have subscribed to it from the time it landed in India. It even made my mother start a similar magazine at home to keep the 5 of us siblings engaged during the holidays. We used to write our own versions of articles and stories which was edited by my mother. She compiled them and either typed it or re-wrote by hand and named it the "Philip's journal". Since we used to write anything and everything and drop it into a box that was kept specially for this, we used to wait eagerly to see if it passed our mother's editing. It was a proud moment if it ever reached the final print.

Indian edition

The Indian edition was first published in 1954. Its circulation then was 40,000 copies. Today, the magazine is published in India by Living Media India Ltd., and sold over 600,000 copies monthly in 2008 — a fifteen-fold increase. It not only includes local Indian articles but international articles as well.

The real life drama section was always a thrill to read and the “quotable quotes” was the first page that I enjoyed reading. During the growing up years the collection of articles was always a source of comfort and inspiration.

I do read that the magazine may continue but not as before. Seems they do not have much audience amongst the young and also since similar articles are in abundance on the internet it was slowly losing its readers.

The Indian edition was not upto the mark but I always opened this little book with much eagerness and have read every single page of it. Here in Kuwait I did arrange for the magazine to be delivered at home but the delivery has always been erratic.

....edited to add the following from NDTV

"The Chapter 11 filing will apply only to the company's US businesses...its operations in Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia-New Zealand will not be affected. RDA's international operations are expected to have adequate funding based on continuing operations and access to proceeds from the DIP (debtor in possession) financing," the company said.

Earlier in March 2009, Indian Software exporter HCL Technologies had announced a seven-year IT operations and management engagement with RDA.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

It is sad to see them leave the stage...

It is really sad to see them go so early. After Rajan P. Dev, it is now Murali.

Murali will remain one of my favourite actors and sadly these great actors have not acted enough in the Malayalam cinema. He acted raw and should be called the real superstar. I guess he was not confined within any Superstar status and was free to just act. He never needed any “props” unlike the current superstars, to remain on the screen and at times as a pain to the viewers. We have superstars whom the fans want to remain eternally young, virile and what not but we loved watching Murali for his personality and acting alone. Even the media was stingy in using the Bharat before his name and I wish Murali could have seen the real support that he had from the viewers. He was an avid reader and a writer too, although I wonder if his political leaning did reduce his chance to act in more movies.

And talking about the recent deaths in the Malayalam film industry, is this industry getting to be injurious to the health of those involved in it? Are they being over taxed? Are some of our actors getting too involved with the character and hence getting affected psychologically? It is understood that unlike Bollywood actors, the Malayalam actors are required to act in a controlled manner and hence act real.

Watched “Billu (Barber)” during the weekend and yet again wondered how SRK continues to rule. Was it not very obvious that Irfan Khan did a much splendid job effortlessly?

Let me continue to wonder how some superstars are made and sustained.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Enchanting Mysore beckoned us with it’s beautiful palaces, temples and gardens.

We had been talking about Mysore since some years and the children were looking forward to see their school textbooks come alive and the much talked about Mysore Zoo. We had meant to halt at Mysore for a day and then proceed to Bangalore. It was more than 15 years since my last visit to Mysore and for Hubby even more.

Mysore has changed. We could see construction going on everywhere and even the stately roads have not been spared. For Hubby who was driving, it was utter confusion as to where to turn so as to reach the hotel which we had booked online. There was instruction on the website but with the heavy traffic and impatient drivers there was no way we could find it. And it is for such tourists that the guides keep a look out for. We were relieved to find this guy on a motorbike who guided us to our hotel. We had decided on Ginger, Tata’s chain of smart hotels as they are called.

“The Ginger hotels are built around a unique concept that provides facilities to meet the key needs of today's traveller, at surprisingly affordable rates”

Yes, the hotel is good, though the rooms are small and it is located at a very convenient place too. Initially there was a confusion since out of the 2 rooms that we had booked, one was not free. It was sorted out after a while.

We did not want to lose much time in the hotel and hence we freshened up and joined the guide who was waiting for us. We took him in our car and proceeded to Brindavan gardens. It was a long drive and we reached quite late. The parking lot was a new sight for me and it was getting filled in time for the musical fountain. With disappointment I realized that the royal garden had lost some of its charm.

Many heroes and heroines have danced in this garden and every State has at least one movie showing the beautiful Brindavan garden. I did see some renovations going on since some of the paths were closed to the visitors. I hope these renovations will restore the beauty of this garden. I remembered the last time that I had been there with my parents and siblings and how we had enjoyed sitting on the turf. It is not the lack of funds since the parking lot was almost full and so was the garden. It is the same neglect that we found the next day when we visited the famous fort of Tipu Sultan. Why are our historical sites maintained in such a shoddy manner? We were told by the guide that people have encroached upon these sites and that the government is not doing much. And it was while waiting for the Musical fountain to start that we heard a commotion and saw an almost nude person making his entry. While the tourists were clamoring for seats and even sitting on the ground, this fellow was royally escorted and allowed to be seated on a chair very near the fountain. There was much snickering from the crowd. The fellow looked young and did not spot the usual long hair and beard of a religious person. Maybe he made a vow to come thus in front of an unsuspecting crowd?

We returned to the hotel and stopped by St. Philomena’s church which was not far from Ginger. We opted to try Ginger’s buffet that night and it was good.

The next day with much enthusiasm we looked forward to see the zoo and only then did our guide tell us that it was closed on Tuesdays. He took us instead to Srirangapattana. I guess we did not do our homework well and did not know that on Tuesday’s some of the sights are closed. Not seeing the zoo was too much of a disappointment for us. We did see, Ranganathaswamy temple,

Tipu’s fort and his summer palace - Daria Daulat.

Since the summer palace housed much paintings, writings and articles depicting Tipu’s life it did get the interest of all of us. We also visited Tipu’s mausoleum.

We had to curtail our trip and forgo Bangalore since FIL and MIL who chose not accompany us but stay at their elder son’s place at Calicut was getting fidgety and wanted to return to Tiruvella. Moreover our trips are always a concern for the seniors and they are happy only when we have reached home safely! Bangalore would have needed more than a day and yet again we postponed the trip even when it was only a few hours’ drive.

On our way back we stopped once more at Café Day at Gundalpet and had a bite.

I am told that in Bangalore these Café’s serve only coffee and pastries while in Gundalpet they had a choice of sandwiches, Biriyani and even Paratta and chicken chilly. They also had a good choice of ground coffee.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

An Interview

The following landed in my inbox and I am sure many have read it already… it is a good one and my blogger friend suggested that I blog it..

An Interview With God

The author dreamed that he had an INTERVIEW WITH GOD.

"So, you would like to interview me?" GOD asked.

"If you have time," I said.

GOD smile. "My time is eternity... what questions do you have in mind for me?"

"What surprises you the most about humankind?"

GOD answered...

"That they get bored with childhood, that they rush to grow up, and then long to be children again."

"That they lose their health to make money... and then lose their money to restore their health."

"That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live in neither the present nor the future."

"That they live as if they would never die, and die as though they had never lived."

GOD's hand took mine... and we were silent for a while.

And then I asked, "As a parent, what are some of life's lessons you want your children to learn?"

GOD replied, "To learn they cannot make anyone love them. All they can do is let themselves be loved."

"To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others."

"To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness. "

"To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in those they love, and it can take many years to heal them."

"To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least."

"To learn that there are people who love them dearly, but simply do not yet know how to express or show their feelings."

"To learn that two people can look at the same thing, and see it differently. "

"To learn that it is not enough that they forgive one another, but they must also forgive themselves."

"Thank you for your time," I said humbly.

"Is there anything else you would like your children to know?"

GOD smiled, and said... "Just know that I am here." "Always."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Soojipara Omelettes

I think one of the best memory that I have of Soojipara waterfalls near Wayanad are the Omelette’s that we had from a makeshift shack (thattukada) run by a Father and her daughter. After the almost 4 km trek ( to and fro) and the bath that we had in the falls we were hungry enough to eat anything on sight and we had already forgotten the heavy Kerala style lunch that we had at Wayanad a few hours earlier. The men stopped to have a hot cup of black coffee (kattankappee) and that is when the youngsters discovered that even omelettes were available. There was no stopping afterwards. The omelettes kept disappearing as soon as it appeared and all eyes were on the next one as it got cooked on the thava! We literally finished their stock of eggs and even made the girl cook us magi noodles.

She had the onions and green chillies cut the usual way and whisked 2 eggs per omelette. After spreading this on the “thava” she placed 2 slices of bread on them. This was later flipped so that the bread was toasted on one side. She finished it with a liberal shower of pepper powder which enhanced the taste and thus was born the Soojipara Omelettes. I am sure these omelettes are available in other such places but let me call them Soojipara Omelettes since that is where I first had them. They did pack up and leave after we finished and we did finish all that they had stocked! I hope their day’s business was profitable.

The omelette was indeed tasty and I could not replicate the same taste this morning. I guess the ambience was missing! Talking of ambience, the scene from the place is breath taking! One can see miles and miles of mountains and tea gardens too.

This place is yet to be developed by the Tourism Board and hence even the ticket is collected from a crude shack. (They can build nice hedges and quaint ways to sit around and enjoy nature.)

But we were told that a big plot has already been bought nearby by some private players to construct a hotel and if this continues then gone will be the aura of this place.

When we started the trip it was raining but none of us wanted to turn back and that is when we discovered that a family run small shop had a stock of everything needed for such moments.

We ended up buying plastic wraps, slippers, a few towels and the lady even wrapped some salt for us to ward of the leeches. Talking of the leeches. .it is a long time since I had a visit from them. This tiny but smart pest is common in the high ranges and one may never know one is lodging it until the fellow finishes sucking blood, bloats up and falls off, fully fed. This is when it starts itching and you find that you are bleeding. For the first timers a leech can be a horrific experience but not for me who will not let a tiny leech spoil a walk much dreamt of. Besides leeches are made to suck blood for some treatments.

We donned on the plastic wraps, looking good enough to join the tea pluckers and off we went on the long trek.

With the rain beating on us, we still managed the steep walk down to the falls. It was one step at a time since the path was slippery. Because of the rain we did not take our cameras and thus we missed capturing the lovely moments. We did see a black monkey which I think was the Lion Tailed Macaque. (simhavalan korange) It was not very happy to see us but did pose enough for us to see it.

The water fall is beautiful and the government has posted a few guards to caution the adventurous ones. A few guards are also posted at the start of the descent. The place was open only until 5 PM and the guards leave the place after this time. We were also lucky to have the whole place to ourselves except for the guards who were stationed up on the rocks. We did wonder where the couple who were behind us when we started the walk disappear. Guess the walk in the rain was too much for them. The rain did reduce halfway through. We had a wonderful time in the water and in the rain( the plastic wraps were discarded much earlier to enjoy the rain). It was with much reluctance that we climbed out of the water, with the kids pleading for more time.

We saw Wayand on our way to Mysore and later when we made the trip to Soojipara waterfalls. The place is beautiful and still untouched but time was not sufficient to explore Wayanad fully. Watched on TV how the recent rains washed away a part of the ghat road or the Wayand Churam.

On our way back from Mysore we took a different route through Gudalur and saw even more lovely places. Gudalur – Vazhikadavu-Edakkara-Palunda-Chungathara-Nilambur –Vadapunna -Edavanna-Pannipara-Vadaseri-Vakalur-Pathanapuram-Karusseri-Mukkam-Manasseri-Pazhour are the places that we drove through to reach Calicut. The roads are well kept and Hubby had a lovely time driving through them. This ghat road is called the “nadukani churum” (an important road connecting Kerala and Tamilnadu states) and even this road suffered from mud slides during the recent rains.
Nilambur is yet another beautiful place enroute to Calicut. There are many places to see around Nilambut too. The teak museum being one of them. But we were already late and wanted to get back to Calicut before nightfall.

We also passed Bandipur and Mudumalai wild life sanctuaries on our way back from Mysore and had half a mind to visit Ooty too. A part of the road is terrible while the rest is too good. We couldn’t see any elephants this time and was told that there were enough on the roads earlier in the morning.

I recalled another trip that I had many years back with my parents when we were lucky enough to see many elephants. And it was during this trip that my Father stopped the jeep to take a shot of a herd of elephants who were feeding just off the road. Mother, myself and my elder sister’s daughter who was barely 2 years old were scared and were urging Father to continue driving. Suddenly this male tusker charged onto us and for a minute even my Father was dumbstruck. It needed a not- a-very-gentle tap from my screaming mother to get my Father back into action. Luckily the elephant had to stop by the side of the jeep since there was an embankment separating the road. And by then Father had already started moving the jeep too. But we did have the fright of our lives. When there is a baby elephant among the herd, it is usual for the tusker to be over protective. I guess we were silly to have stopped! I do relate this story to my children and they continue to disbelieve me!

This time we almost travelled the length and breadth of Kerala - i.e Trivandrum to Calicut and Hubby has recorded 4,000 Kilometers of driving. He likes to drive while I like to sit next to him and enjoy the roads and the various scenes that unfold on the way.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

V.S. Achudanandan Zindabad

Don’t ask me why and when I started to respect this man but the events that unfolded the recent week has made me sad. He seems to have been ditched by all and only the welcome slogans at the Airport when VS returned from Delhi gave a bit of solace.

If one looks at Kerala’s political scene, out of those politicians who have emerged as leaders, there are only two living politicians whom one can confidently say are honest and clean. One is A. K. Anthony and the other V.S. Achudanandan. Forget the rest of their character flaws that the press and most of us love to joke about but let us admit that being honest in politics and for that matter in any field has become a rarity these days. And yes one will say that politics is not the place to be honest. But then honesty and integrity has become outdated and the last place one expects to find it is in the political arena.

V.S. fought life the hard way. He lost his parents at a young age and had to discontinue his studies to earn his bread. He climbed the party rungs with his hard work and dedication. He was also tortured by the police and almost left to die. He was punished even earlier by his party since he thought beyond the party and for the common man. Yet he doggedly stood for his beliefs and continues to be a wonder at his age – 87 years! But this party seems to have lost it all. V.S. was voted to power by those who trusted him and the party that he stood for, but alas the party’s agenda had already taken a different route.

In a democratic set up does one really care for a political party if it cannot meet the expectation of those who voted it to power? If the party feels that V.S. is the cause for the party’s downfall then what fear makes them keep him in the CM’s chair? Does the party think that the Lavlin and the PDP ghosts will stop haunting the party? I am sure the camps of other political parties in Kerala are heaving a sigh of relief since their job has now become easier.

But then I am also made to believe that communism has done its job and Kerala no longer requires it. The party’s fight for the poor and against the caste system did help a section of the society while inviting irk from others. But now Kerala no longer seems to have those sections and this may be called progress if one can also forget the lost opportunities. Earlier, it was easy to find help around the house and for whatever land is now left for cultivation. But such helping hands have become a rarity in many places these days, even if one is ready to pay the exorbitant wages. Yes, the labour class is having it good. Not that one can attribute this entirely to the Communists since the exodus to the Gulf and other countries is also another reason. Communism also made us take a harder look at our religious idiosyncrasies when at times our religious fervor went beyond normalcy.

Yes, Communism in Kerala could have stood for what its leaders envisaged but alas the party doesn’t care to have lost it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Value and money

(Taken from
Stories for Parents, Children and Grandchildren by Paulo Coelho)

Ciccone German tells the story of a man who, thanks to his enormous wealth and infinite ambition, decided to buy everything he possibly could. Once he had filled his many houses with clothes, furniture, cars and jewels, the man decided to buy still more things.

He bought ethics and morality, and thus was born corruption.

He bought solidarity and generosity, and indifference came into being.

He bought justice and its laws, bringing impunity into the world.

He bought love and feelings, and the result was pain and remorse.

The most powerful man in the world bought all the material goods he wanted to possess and all the values he wanted to master. Then one day, drunk on so much power, he decided to buy himself.

Despite all his money, he could not do it.

At that precise moment, there was born in the consciousness of the Earth the only thing on which no one can put a price - self-worth.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Days fly too fast..

It has been blissful days without the urge to check on the emails or blogs... The days are flying too fast and we have been on the road mostly. The rains also seems to have gathered strength finally.

The one thing I miss are the online newspapers. Only when you are at the mercy of one or two printed editions do you realize how much one is addicted to the online news.

Spent 2 days in Cochin and had good fun at Veega land. Yes.. Cochin is a shopper's paradise if you can forget the cramped roads.

Went uptill Mysore too and the place has changed a lot. Could not decide if the city is moving uphill or downhill. Hopefully uphill but Brindavan garden has lost all its charm though it is still filled with tourists.

Had a wonderful time at Wayanad and the place is heaven. Hopefully we will leave it thus!

Will be on the road again before we board the plane.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another Monsoon

Another monsoon awaits us and I hear that the final “venal mazha” or the Summer rains are now pouring down. This time they have predicted the monsoon to arrive earlier. The monsoon seems to have turned out to be a like a choosy lady these days! Anyway, as long as she continues her much awaited visits, it is fine.

Finished shopping and we only need to cram the bags as usual.

The other day we visited “Platform”, a shop for hardware. Somehow I liked the concept, else who would want to spend shopping time in a hardware shop!

I am not sure if they have this kind of a showroom in India. (The Platform concept was launched by Saint Gobain (SG), Europe’s leading manufacturer and distributor of building materials, in 1998. It has since then become the fastest growing business within SG’s €20 Billion-Distribution Division with a network of more than 70 stores in 10 European and South American markets.)

At “Platform” those who are building a house will get to see every item that will go into it. There are also all kinds of tools; to buy and also for hire. The foldable ladder looked very handy. We went there since the almost 20 year old Union door lock back home is showing signs of ageing and Hubby wanted to shift it from the front door (demoted I guess!). The penchant for Union Lock is still there but we found that the price has moved up too high. We settled for another lock and found that there are many good locks from India too. Since we may find no time to go lock searching in India, we settled for UK locks. No point in buying an Indian product for India from Kuwait.

We also ended up buying a few knick knacks for the bathrooms and also some handy tools. The bathroom fittings are good and those who want to spend more money can wander into a separate show room of “Aquamondo” where they have displayed a few beautifully fitted bathrooms. I clicked a few photographs outside the shop.

We wound up that day’s shopping with a sumptuous Arabic meal from a local restaurant.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

For another 5 years...

This election did in the end turn out to be exciting! At least it beat every analyst’s prediction and the voters have yet again proved that they have a mind of their own. Woo them, bribe them, threaten them and even shame them but in the end they will patiently wait to let the ink be stamped upon their fingers.

I am happy how it turned out in my own state Kerala. The arrogant leaders may now please listen to their CM or else the voters will never ever give you victory. Sure the money is there but without power how sweet can it be?

Yes, the voters have selected the “lesser evil”. This election has yet again proved that Indians have their heart in the right place and that hope is not all lost. I only pray that arrogance will not set in but the Congress will take this as an opportunity to amend their ways. Let this result give MM Singh the confidence to lead the country.

But it is sad to note that Rahul is taking all the credit. He gets to have the cake and eat it too!

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