Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The gentle giants of a bygone era

This post has been sitting in draft mode from the day I read Maddy's tribute and realized that the world of blogging has changed for me yet again. To me, Abraham Tharakan belonged to a bygone era so much different from the one that my children is facing. I may have tasted a bit of it but time allows none to tarry.

Abraham Tharakan did not tarry but gracefully bridged the generation gap and wrote ever so splendidly until he bid good bye. He wrote on diverse subjects and made each post informative and interesting. While reading about Deepika Pallikal, I remembered him yet again and now realize that his post on her was prophetic. She is the first female Indian to make it to the semifinals of the squash event. 

Not sure what prompted him to post this obituary. But here was a man who had seen this world and specially India, change before his very eyes. And today when the nation celebrates ISRO's success, I am sure he would have celebrated it in his own unique way on his blog.

My only regret is that I was irregular in keeping up with his posts since I myself became irregular on this space. I cherish and value the reminder he left on my blog but will always regret for not having taken up his gentle reminder.

We will miss you dear soul.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Greatest Commandment

Majority of the tribe and scribes in the Middle East can identify with the passages from one book or collection of passages; a Christian like me calls it the Old Testament while the rest differently. It is from this book the greatest commandment of all emerges:

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.

And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these”

Religion is once again giving me goose bumps and it sure looks crazy to quote from it at this point. But then as everyone knows, religion can also be a tool to manipulate and to basically make people cooperate by making them feel different from the rest. And over the years men has perfected this art and especially in this age that provides them with sophisticated technology to aid them in this task. Religion gives many the powers to control what they cannot otherwise.

Now how are humans from each religion different?

1. The blood which runs in each is red in color.

2. The anatomy of a human is: a pair of legs, hands, eyes, ears that helps them touch, feel, hear, and basically know the world and its wonders.

3. One laughs when one is happy and cries when sad.

4. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted for what he/she is.

5. Nothing but food suffices when one is hungry and nothing but water when one is thirsty.

6. The minute one ceases to breathe, he/she dies.

I pointed out the similarities since it is a futile to attempt to do otherwise and I am very sure it is a challenge which no expert in this world has successfully undertaken.

And how do differences emerge? This takes us to the commandments that I first quoted and mainly the second one: love your neighbor as yourself. How easy it is to read but how difficult to implement! Hence let me once again quote the following text that I chanced to read from a religious site. Let me refrain from giving the link and also hope that the author forgives me for plagiarizing.

The one common denominator to all of your experiences with difficult people is you. In my case, it is me. People we call “difficult” are really people who we consciously or subconsciously identify as being “different”. Different from who? Different from us, of course!

We implicitly assume we are the standard of reference by which all other persons must be judged. To the extent that someone differs from us in any way, they could become a candidate for our scrupulous examination. They may or may not pass our “test”, based on our standards, and of course, we are the sole judge. Just remember that the other person has reserved a similar right to judge you by their standards, and may have concluded that you are a difficult person to live with.

When we understand that “difficult” means “different”, and we accept that God made us individually with different fingerprints and different DNA peculiarities, we are ready to focus less on the differences between us and more on the similarities that unite us.

Times are difficult but it can be made easy only if we focus on the similarities that human beings share in this world and focus less on the differences that humans have thrust upon themselves under the guise of religion.

Peace is what majority wants but it is this same peace that a few wants to take away for their own selfish wants. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Another Vacation

Am back after another vacation, hectic as usual. This time it was to admit our daughter for higher studies, a task which can be like climbing Mount Everest! Every parent who has admitted a ward anywhere, be it even a nursery, knows the feeling. Leaving her behind was even more heartbreaking and much tears were silently shed on the way to the Airport, but I thank technology for connecting us at least when it is possible. My watch continues to be on Indian time so that I don't miss the window of opportunity to call her.

Due to the uncertainty of opening dates, we could only travel to places close by. Saw a few places that I have never seen earlier in Kerala, this time too. Travelled through roads that are holding well (the monsoon was late) and left Kerala just when the rains started to play havoc. But it was enough to rock the Airplane and scare the passengers.

Alapuzha beach is the closest for us, yet it is strange that I have never been there! It was always a passing point to Kochi or other destinations and was always dismissed. Hence when we planned a day trip with cousins this was the perfect choice. It started with Azheekal beach, made even more closer to Tiruvalla due to the roads that are now better maintained. The one via Haripad has been recently repaired and ply through paddy fields. It was sheer pleasure travelling through the same. At Arattupuzha one was able to see the much talked about black sand (karimanal) and memorials for the the December 2004 Tsunami. It is still a sleepy village with a road running parallel to the beach and ending at Azheekkal, a common name for a place where the sea meets the end of the land or a lake? The locals told us that the sea is very deep around here and anyone unfortunate enough to be swept away will surely be eaten away by sharks, since it is near impossible to retrieve the body. The beach is not clean and hence we did not stay long. (the photographs are in another device and need to be uploaded later).

We proceeded towards Alapuzha and visited another secluded but a very beautiful beach: the Mararikulam beach. We were 4 adults and the rest were a big bunch of teens who immediately took to the waters. There were enough coconut trees to provide a good shade from where my camera could get some good shots. There were only a few foreigners who might have wandered away from the more frequented Alapuzha beach.

The best part of the visit was the fresh fish that we bought directly from the fishermen who were transferring it from their nets. My greed for it was so much that upon returning home quite late at night, me who very rarely handles fish (due to lack of experience) proceeded to cut, clean, fry and eat before I did anything else. No way was I going to miss this opportunity to eat fish so fresh, without ammonia or whatever they add and after having sat in the freezer/ice for God only knows how many days. The trouble was worth it. Fresh fish can taste so lovely! Nothing beats the taste and now I can understand those who patiently fish by the river that passes by in front of our home.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Time well spent..

I went on a short trip to Kerala to leave our daughter, who is planning to pursue her higher studies in India. Time is indeed flying and it was with a pang that I saw girls in school uniform this morning.

While at Kerala, I could spend some time with my parents too, and let me express it in pictures.
Who said cooking cannot be mastered after the age of 80??
The Vada is store bought: here my Father is soaking it in boiling water to make curd vada..

Chopped ginger, green chilly and enough curd. Never mind the presentation!

This one loves eating the long bean (vanpayare)! a rare sight? 

Another beauty, though a little snooty in this picture: elder brother to the white one and now the mother is pregnant with the next lot!

Summer bloom

Early morning drive to Trivandrum and where else but at the Indian Coffee House

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Aham Bhumika

Thought I shall dedicate this post to . Have been seeing their tweets and the least I could do was an RT. Today I saw a request from them to re-post the following on blogs. 

‘Aham Bhumika’ is an NGO, a group of like minded people based in Bhopal, a city in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. The diverse group consists of artists, housewives, engineers, tourist guides, teachers and government employees. 
        Gift a book to our library of rural  children 
Ahambhumika, working with the rural children in village Borda, Bhopal intends to set up a small library for the rural children. For these children, having a story book is a luxury.
At Ahambhumika we have a support centre for our rural children namely Mehak (Fragrance) wherein there are 120 children in the age group of 4 to 14 years.

We need people willing to support us in this initiative.The books and magazines  discarded by your children will be of immense use to our children.
What we need :  1. We need books in Hindi and English. 2. The books need to be on the topic of interest of children who are in the age group of 4 to 14 years.3. The books need to be of use for the children like  story books, Art and craft books, Biographies, Autobiographies, Cartoon, Colouring  books and Magazines.
How to send old books / magazinesThe best way of sending  books  and magazines discarded by your children is through Speed Post service of Government of India. The charges of Speed Post are very economical and you can track the books shipped through them.
( At the bottom is the address to send the books )

From where  to gift new books If you wish to donate new books, then books published by Pratham books are the best option. The Pratham books are very economical and cover all topics of interests in Hindi and English as well.You can connect with them on Twitter    You can choose books from following  link of Pratham books You may order them directly to deliver the books to us on the following address.Ahambhumika Swayam Sevi Sanstha65, Elegant Estate, ( Sai Ganesh Mandir ) Near Mother Tereasa School, Bairagarh Chichli, Kolar Road, Bhopal -4620042 .For any query mail us at  Lastly : If you wish you may contribute financially too. The financial contribution made by you will be utilized to buy shelves, almirah and activity books.

Online bank transfer Aham Bhumika Swayam Sevi SansthaSavings Account Number 2073 1010 15874ISFC CODE :CNRB 000 2073Canara Bank Branch : Maharana Pratap Nagar , Bhopal. 

Aham Bhumika I believe was started by Subrat Goswami  who works with the Archaeological Survey of India. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

AAP and me

Addiction to twitter has kept me away from this space that I so loved. This was where I used to pen my thoughts which would seldom fit within 140 words. Twitter is different; there is more cacophony. It is easy to lose yourself in it if one is not careful. Anyway, here I am once more with no guarantee that I shall return soon!

The success of AAP has many implications/conclusions in our so called democratic nation. Thought I would pen down few that came to my mind after the not so bad victory of the Aam Aadmy party.

1- It proves beyond doubt that democracy is still alive and can function well within the existing frameworks. Compare this to nations where people have given up voting due to various reasons.

2- For poll victory, the nation need not have a party claiming years of experience or certain ideologies.

3- That the nation is thirsting for a drastic change which the current political parties may not suffice or they fail to give such a hope to the voter.

4- That each citizen craves for clean governance and nothing more.

Arvind Kejrival's speech echoes the thoughts that goes through the mind of every well meaning citizen. Do listen to it without prejudice. His Delhi Assembly speech has been compiled here: Know 42 Facts from Arvind Kejriwal Speech in Delhi Assembly.

It is a fact that the victory of AAP has disturbed the Congress, BJP and the Communist party. It was amusing to see the Communist party trying to claim AAP as one of their own while the media did the same for Congress and mainly Rahul! BJP at least showed the sense not to do so knowing well that it will not be bought.

The commentary said that the virtues that AAP claims for itself - a clean image, incorruptibility, denial of perks and privileges of power and funding based on people's contributions - “are all part of the style and practice of the communists from the outset”.Read more at: is talking about "transformation" of "traditional" politics, "embedding" people's voice in the party and pushing "aggressively" for change of the kind we "cannot imagine" whereas Sonia is happy to "rectify" the party's "mistakes" and "way of functioning". If that is not political maturity let's have some more of Rahul's political naivete because soon all political parties will be forced to respond to the challenge called Arvind Kejriwal. The Congress is lucky. It will not have to work too hard because Rahul is their Kejriwal, the outlier within.

But a skeptic I am, let me wait and watch how AAP will govern now that power is in their hands. They may not sound realistic at times and may even falter under pressure since the old dogs in the system will be up to their usual tricks. But if the intentions of AAP is right, then I see no reason why it should not succeed. The voters may not be hoping for utopia but they will sense very quickly if there is even a hint of  insincerity.

And if it does not succeed, let me at least hope that it will change the current political parties in the way they function. Maybe even a kill a few in the process!

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