Wednesday, 25 November 2009

My Hero

“He died, under circumstances when he could have easily saved himself. He died, mainly because he wanted to do something heroic for the country. He died, because he had no fear of death. He died, because he wanted to make his parents proud.He died, because he thought thats the most splendid fate of a soldier” These are the words of Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s maternal Aunt ( Mother’s sister), who is also my paternal aunt( My father’s elder brother’s wife). If you don’t remember Sandeep, he was one of the NSG Commandos killed during the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai: Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Ashok chakra(posthumously).

He was the only son to Unni uncle and Dhanalakshmi Aunty. Contrary to her strong willed son, I remember Dhanalakshmi aunty as an epitome of tender motherhood. It’s impossible to measure her loss and makes me wonder how she would be coping with the void left over by her son. Probably he was her sole reason to live, and what’s life when one has no reason to live. Perhaps that’s why they would have refused the financial assistance, including the allotment of a fuel station in Bangalore, assured by the Govt. And when the whole world remembers her son on the first anniversary, its lot more sorrowful for the family.Its like scabs of old wounds are torn open, all over again, and for many-many years to come.

He was a Hero even before his death. He was one of the idols in our family. He was the benchmark and whenever annoyed, my father would tell us to learn from this lad. I was a tad bit envious of him, for all the attention he received. He was a Lieutenant when I was barely in college and struggling with my uncertain future in the world, full of jobless engineers, architects and MBAs. He was a commissioned officer in the Indian army, earning what I could only dream of. When I passed out of college, that was my biggest motivation: I wanted to be richer and more successful than him. I was naïve to quantum success in terms of mere currency notes earned. He has become the hero of a nation, defending a permanent place in the history of modern India.

Last I had been to their apartment was in 2004, when I worked in India and had gone on a meeting to Bangalore. I was treated with some fine home cooked chicken and kerala food and she made Gulab Jamuns, specially for me. I had gone in the afternoon and since I had had my Lunch, she made me stay until the diner. She was alone at the apartment and she made me see all the photo albums of Sandeep, including his passing out parade at the NDA Pune, saluting in front of his proud parents (Coming to more than a thousand photographs). I remember when Sandeep came on vacations to his taravadu (Ancestral home), it was nothing short of a festivity. I remember his mother mention his fondness for seafood and kerala delicacies like Puttu/kadala and appam and how the entire family would join in the food preparations for his arrival. Kalumukaya ( Mussels) fry was his favorite.

He is a true hero and his death is a great loss for the country. But I wish a lot more that he was alive and Dhanalakshmi Aunty was her old, cheerful self. I have not been to their place since the tragedy happened, being away from the country and visiting once a year, but I would like to go to her on my next visit and assure her that she can look up to me as her son. I pray that almighty provide her enough strength to accept the fact and move forward with her life. Hope almighty provides her another reason to live.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Sigh of relief

Arun kissed on her forehead. He could see her eyes roll upward. She was sweating. Tiny drops of sweat lined above her thin lips. She wiped it with her kerchief. He kissed her lips. She pushed him away.

‘w-h-a-t?’ he asked, frowning.
‘ No, you gone mad?’ She said, smiling.
‘W-H-Y?’ he asked, visibly upset.
‘No, Not today Arun. I am not prepared.’ She said.
‘Please, w-h-y?’ .
‘ Its dangerous today.Not today Arun.’ She said, smiling, trying to sound persuasive.

He caught her hair and pulled towards him. He kissed again on her lips. His hands circled her. There was no stopping him, passion had masked him. He was already aroused. She tried to push him away, but he was much stronger. She had to give in. He was kissing her neck. She felt his hands on her back, massaging her gently. She too felt passion sweep inside her. Her grasp on his shirt got weaker by the minute.

He was unbuttoning her shirt. She resisted, but there was no way he could be stopped. He slid his hands and caressed her breasts. He pulled her shirt. He kissed on her navel.

The rotating fan looked down at the two naked bodies; it could see passion disgorge into the air like steam from a cooker. It continued to look down at the two naked bodies with yearn. Skin rubbed against skin, curves took the place of starkness, and hands felt and stroked the curves.

He stopped abruptly. He lifted himself and walked towards the chair on which hung his blue Jeans. He pulled his wallet and searched. A blue sachet of Condom emerged. The neck of the sachet was slit, which revealed a pink, rubbery, moist and lubricated condom. It took a silhouette.

The fan continued to look down at the bed below with longing. The couple looked like one conjugated corpse, bunged in between by sudden jerks. Arun stopped in between, as if exhausted. After a while he continued. A sudden roar followed, muscles tightened, hand-clasps stiffened.

The bodies separated, the oneness stopped, separateness creaked. Two naked mortals lied close to each other; devoid of passion; ceased with lust.

Two weeks passed since the Fan last saw Shalini in his room. It disapproved the ways of the humanity; the adulterated relationships, the lust for flesh, the shortness of human remembrance. It remembered how Arun had vowed his fiancé few days back, and how Shalini had spoken about her boyfriend who lived in Bangalore. The fan had seen many couples, some in love, some were just couples, and some were married. Yet it was confused about Arun and Shalini. “What were they? None of it that I knew, Just that they worked in an office together. They were just colleagues. And yet they behaved for a short time, as if they were married, as if they were in love” It said to itself.

It remembered the short conversation in between the lovemaking.

“I love you Shalini.” Arun had whispered.
“What? What did you just say?” She had asked.
“ No, I just meant that in case you get pregnant, don’t worry, I will marry you. Only if your boyfriend rejects, that is.” He had said.
“Stop-It . In your dream will I marry you. Have you looked into a mirror?” She had screamed.

It was a Sunday morning and he was awakened by the ringing of his mobile phone. He sluggishly picked his phone. It was as if a bombshell had exploded that Arun mounted from his bed and shouted.

‘”I think I am Pregnant. I missed my....”, She repeated, sounding more distressed and dramatic.
“No, I mean, It can’t be possible. I used condoms.” He was rubbing his eyes as an obscurity had enveloped his vision.
“ What do you mean? “ She sounded annoyed.
“ No. amm, I mean, check once again. It may be a delayed thing.” He said.

All hell froze when she told him that she had confirmed using a pregnancy detector. The two lines were very obvious and clear.

There was no mistake. She was pregnant. He couldn’t think of an answer. He remembered how he had pulled the condom out in between. It was his mistake.
“I am an Idiot, I am a bloody fool”, He cursed.
“What do we do now? Abortion?” he asked in his most composed voice. She was furious to hear about abortion. She sounded greatly upset. She cut the line.

He couldn’t think; his head was spinning. His eyes turned red and he could feel his heart palpitate.
He thought of several options. “What do I do now?” he asked himself, loud enough for the fan to hear.
He imagined breaking the news to his parents. He wasn’t sure how his father would react. He was engaged, he was to marry in few months time. It would be utter chaos.
He had no other way. He had no escape. He knew Shalini would never agree for an abortion.

He would have to marry her. He would have to break his engagement. Otherwise the news would spread like wild fire. He would never be able to walk into his office. He could never face his relatives. He could never face his colleagues. He felt blood rush into his head. He could feel his head spin. He felt tired and restless.
He looked upwards, towards the fan and fell onto the bed. He will have to speak to Shalini and solve the matter.
He tried calling her. Her phone was switched off. He was restless.
He walked aimlessly.
He sat on the bed. He dialed her number again. It was switched off. He messaged her. The message went undelivered. He resent the message and again it failed.
He walked restlessly in his room, the soft breeze from the fan gently brushing his hair.
He sat on the chair and switched-on the laptop. He tied his hands around his head and looked contemplatively at the fan.
He opened his Gmail account and started composing a mail.

My Dear Shalini, 

I am very sorry for what has happened, more so for the reason that I am responsible for it. I know I have done a mistake and I take the responsibility. I would certainly be with you every minute, every moment, and would like to accept you. I would like to marry you, if you agree for it. Please call me as soon as you read this mail. We shouldn't delay it any further and risk the consequences of it, on our relationship, on our future child.

Thanks dear, I love you. 


He was about to click on the send option when he noticed the date. It was first of the month. There was something strange about the date. It was fourth month of the year. It took another few seconds for him to realize that he may have been terribly fooled.

He noticed his phone ring and jumped to collect it. He could hear her faint groans of laughter and he knew he could take a deep sigh of relief.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

My Fundaas....

There is one thing that I admire about Amitabh Bahchan: his diplomatic style of speech. I wish I could have his patience, cunningness, composure in handling difficult situations. I guess he has mastered it over years and he would have been like me: short tempered and straight-forward. Actually over years I have made one observation: It takes a lot to be diplomatic and tactful and its much-much easier to be -so called “brutally honest”. I feel people-handling is key to a man’s success, more than anything else, more than even his educational qualification.

I feel its also important in life to adopt a middle path, as Buddhism teaches.  Its important to have ambitions or goal in life, but its also important to be content. I read a comment somewhere where the person says “the truth is that we can never be content with what we have. It is human nature and there is nothing wrong in desiring for more.” I feel its possible to be content. Contentment provides such bliss which is unexplainable. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have desires or ambitions. We can be content with what we have, yet have ambitions and desire. 

I feel another thing that most humans lack is Empathy. When I was in 7th std, I could never figure-out algebra or equations. I used to curse and hate them. My father used to shout at me and sometimes pinch me to get things right and I used to feel hurt. Then, I passed-out of school and was waiting for my entrance exam results soon after the 12th exams, and I was asked to tutor my neighbor’s daughter who was in 7th std. I used to shout at her and never understood why she couldn’t do such simple equations by herself. It appeared I had altogether forgotten my 7th std experience and now was doing the same thing my Father did to me( minus the pinching).

I guess we swap positions in life. We were once the eve teasers, roadside Romeos, or the man who eloped with someone’s daughter. But now I am a father and fear about my daughter(though she is only 8 months old). I would like all eve teasers, Romeos to be miles away from her. I would kill, dare someone make a pass at her.

I feel it’s very important quality in humans to be empathetic. World would be a much better place to live if we are taught to be empathetic. By definition empathy is: “The ability to put oneself into the mental shoes of another person to understand her emotions and feelings.” Or “the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.”

Actually from my experience, whenever I am overly angry or hate a person, I have benefited by being empathetic to him/her. When I put myself in the person’s shoes, I have felt that what the person did at that moment was right and probably I would have done the same if I were in his position. Basically, every human is good; it’s how people define good or bad. And our anger, most often manifests from our own frustrations and disappointments. It ceases the moment we take our mind out of it and focus on something else around us. Or as Bhagwat Geetha says: “Its all Maya”.Its all a mind game...or a game our mind plays.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

I have got some amazing blog dosts

I have got some amazing blog dosts, who, though virtual, I am very proud to have. There are some who are lawyers, some are retired and contented, some are struggling to make a mark for themselves, some are students and yet some are mysterious and I have no clue what they do for a living. I haven’t been blogging for long, just 6 months to be precise, but still have managed to make some amount of followers and friends.I know some who are quite young and remind me when I was their age. When I was in college or in early 20s, I was this arrogant brat who thought he knew most of the things there is to know about life. I used to argue with my dad, I used to call myself an atheist without knowing the real psychology or meaning behind the word GOD, simply because I thought I was well educated from a premier professional college in India. Then life taught me some lessons and the fact that there is more to GOD than just religion, idol or pilgrimage; it has more to do with human psyche or the evolution of human psyche, since thousands of years. I have realized that humans who have strong belief in god are much happier and thus healthier than non believers.  I guess life teaches us lessons and only when confronted with such lessons that most of us learn.  It takes some difficult moments like waiting for a biopsy result to confirm ones worst fears or some catastrophic calamity like earthquakes or cyclones, as in the case of our ancestors, to realize that your life is indeed not in your hands.  Perhaps that’s when one realize that life is profoundly unpredictable and anything is possible in the very next hour, which can make most humans extremely anxious , and such anxieties can make lives extremely agonizing. Perhaps that’s when our ancestors would have invented GOD and belief in GOD would have lead to ways to please him and thus religious rituals would have formed.
Now, when I turn back and look at my days when I called myself an atheist and argued with my father, I feel I was rather immature. I now feel religion and worship has contributed to human development much more than anything else in the world. I believe that to call religious practices and beliefs unscientific and dissolute is to spread the message to be anxious and fearful of the profoundly erratic world and in the process take away the pillar of support of the mankind. I feel every human needs a support factor, at least on a sub-conscious level and a healthy subconscious mind is mostly responsible for a healthy and happy human being. Recent surveys have found that as many as 18% of Americans may be affected by one or more forms of Anxiety disorders.
Ops, I started off thinking that I would write about some of my blog-dosts from my perspective but ended up being preachy.
Neha: The most enthusiastic blogger in my list, a genuinely down-to-earth and caring person; a nice human being.  An avid blogger and reader of other blogs, in spite being a busy lawyer. One thing that I envy about her is that she works for herself and is self employed. I have this awe and respect for anyone who is self employed. I want to be my own boss and have to wait for few more years to cover all aspects of the risk factor involved. Once sufficiently funded and convinced that even if my business fails I could support my family, I would venture my own. Meanwhile I am sharpening my tools  and training to be a chef. Watch-out you hungry people.
Aparna: Her posts are naturally witty and humour comes as naturally to her as laziness to me. It’s always a pleasure reading her and her anecdotes have caused many a laugh-riots.  I wonder how she manages to write such lengthy posts in spite of being a mother to couple of naughty kids, Buts that’s where the right spirit and energy and multi tasking skills come to play its part. Keep writing.
The unsure ascetic: The most underrated blogger; A fine writer as well as painter; A very astute observer of life;  a poetic and free spirited person at heart.  It’s always a pleasure reading his blog.
Kaddu: She is mysterious as her name suggests, but I get a peep of her world through her blog. Though she writes on everyday topics, her sense of humour and writing style makes even a disclaimer attention-grabbing read. She is a quintessential blogger and represents the new age woman.
Global Madrasi: This is one blog I wait for everyday as much as my dad waits for his morning cuppa tea and the Malayala-manorama newspaper.  From current affairs to anecdotes, one is almost always sure that it would end up making the reader LOL.
To be continued…..

Sunday, 8 November 2009

myself, before i could render any cuss word...

Thats me in the photo, with my hairy younger (but naughtier) brother, all of 4 and 2 respectively. My brother emailed me this photo yesterday, and i didn't even know such a photo existed. Obviously i don't remember it taken being too Chota.


A comment on my post ‘India’ had me rather disturbed. How will we progress if such people think it’s “mean to Indians” when you say something that’s blatant truth. The comment went like this:
“My are being so mean to all Indians here. Its a system that needs improvement, I totally agree. But who is going to take the first step. Do donation(or influence to enter)to good colleges and schools come under corruption? If you sit and say I will not do it, its not right,its your child's future you are playing with. We make tough choices everyday as it is. If everyone in India is striving to sustain themselves so be it. I think everyone everywhere does that. Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, I am going to do something for my country today.Just make sure that you don't do anything to harm it. And things will change and there is hope.

I also would like to know why u haven't given suggestions for these rats to improve!!!! The post is incomplete without them...”

I would like to tell her that it’s not the system that needs change. India has perfect SYSTEM. We are a population of over 1 billion and that’s huge population. India is also the 7 th largest country in the world. Such a big, diverse country needs time to change. But isn’t, “India needs time” a BIG EXCUSE?
We are huge, no doubt about it, but we are a federal state. That means we are divided into 28 states and 7 union territories based on linguistics and culture. And these states are further divided into districts which are further divided into taluks, tehsils, panchayats..etc, for the sole purpose of administration. A domain Panchayat is no more than few kilometers across and has a president who has representative powers. Isn’t that the greatest SYSTEM we have in place? Then what system  are we cribbing about?

Then what’s wrong with India? I strongly believe it’s the People and the people alone. We complain about the leaders, corrupt politicians, bureaucrats etc…but who elects them?
And we are a population of over 1 billion, which is over a 1000 million in exponential terms, and we just have few like Arundhati roy , Medha patkar, Mahasweta Devi, Dr. Binayak Sen who cry about the state of affairs of India. Imagine if out of 1000 million, just 1 million were to blog about the negative state of affairs in India and bring awareness. I feel it would be revolutionary.
I believe India needs strong social (writer) critics like Charles Dickens, Judith Butler or more of writers like Aravind adiga.The first time I read “The white Tiger”, I was angry at the portrayal of poverty in India. Or even the movie SlumDog millionaire did the same thing to me. But over time I have realized that these are the facts and we should stop living in a utopian state of wellbeing.

Who will take the first step in changing India? I think we all should. Perhaps, this is my first step. The first step can be writing a blog about what you see negative in India: Or bringing a corrupt practice in our society into public light. I think that’s the first step. We don’t have to join politics or jump into some Bolshevik-like revolution. In fact, such revolution has even more degraded the society as the case with USSR was. I believe we just need to change ourselves. If out of 1000 million population, just 1 million change themselves and become more aware or communicative about the problems of the society, the society would change.

Do donation(or influence to enter)to good colleges and schools come under corruption? If you sit and say I will not do it, its not right,its your child's future you are playing with.- I think that’s the greatest mistake we do. We think that that’s the way things work. We think we don’t have options and we have to go on with what’s happening. Yes, such donations are corruptions and I will not be part of it. I will not let my daughter join such college, but I will not come in her way of her future. I will look for alternatives. If no such college exists in India I will send her Abroad, Even if I have to mortgage my house for it.

And people say things are changing. Definitely things are changing, India has more international standard stadiums, Shopping malls, Business schools or 5 star hospitals, but poor have become poorer and rich have become richer. There are more cars on the road and we can see many more airports, but still half of the population is under poverty.

I also would like to know why u haven't given suggestions for these rats to improve!!!! The post is incomplete without them...” First of all the person hasn’t read the post or understood it. I had mentioned India as a ‘metaphor’ of a timeless fortress. Rats and rodents are part of a fortress, like people are to a nation.

Suggestions to Improve: No one has to jump into active social activism, and we can’t afford to do that. We have families to look after and responsibilities. We as citizens has to lead by example.
But we can still do to improve the country. We can be responsible citizens and keep our premise clean. We can take part in elections and vote for the deserving candidate. We can help by educating our children and not show prejudice to sons over daughters. We can help by investing in our country and provide employment. We can help by being entrepreneurs. We can help by being broad minded and not be part of caste-ism or classism. We can help by being religiously tolerant. We can help by investing in Govt. agencies like LIC or SBI. We can help by helping our neighbors in time of need. We can help by not crowding hospitals or public places. We can help by being clean and health conscious. We can help by knowing our culture and help preserve it(like Japanese). We can help by welcoming foreign tourists and make India more tourist friendly. We can help by not carving “I LOVE PRIYANKA CHOPRA” on public places and historical monuments. We can help by conserving energy and resources. We can help by not supporting political parties who support BANDH and HARTALS. We can help by not encouraging beggars. We can help by questioning public authorities and wrong practices.
We make tough choices everyday as it is. If everyone in India is striving to sustain themselves so be it. : Who are “WE”, not definitely the person who commented this. OK, half of India is under poverty and have to make tough choices every day, but not the rest. I think we all fall under the rest. We aren’t fighting to sustain ourselves, are we? Come-on, we are much better offs. We can make better choices.

And most importantly, do not pay bribes or DONATIONS. I remember how my uncle was forcing me to pay Rs.500 to the corporation clerk to get my marriage certificate in time for my wife’s visa. I refused and I was looked as STUPID and unrealistic. I feel 90% of Indians are like my uncle. If we bring that 90 % to less that 20%, imagine the change in India. Imagine out of 1000 million, 10 million decide to be entrepreneurs; we will have industries to match the best in the world.

The last thing we need is a Revolution. I think we just need smart, intelligent people, which we basically are.

P.S: Please read this post of kaddu for further reading. She has summed up pretty correctly. Thanks kaddu.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

hello friends, how are you doing? Hope alls fine at ur end.

I just noticed that I haven’t written much on this blog for long….so thought of posting something real quick…..
My updates:
Pretty mundane life, like it was since I started having memory. Life seems like a long chase for wealth accumulation. And the only goal in life is to be rich before 45. I plan to buy my second apartment soon and again this time too without any kind of Loan. I am allergic to loans, or rather it’s a kindof phobia which I feel is good to have. But before that I need a car for me in India, and I am confused which one to buy? Or will have to listen to my wife: Why do we need to buy a Chai-Shop to have a glass-tumbler of Tea? Makes sense though, considering we come home for 30 days in a year for vacation.
And I think I am missing a vacation in this tussle of materialism. I have joined a mutual fund scheme for the sole purpose of vacation, that is, in 2012 when it matures.  I would go to New-Zealand when I get the money without burrowing a hole in my as-such worn leather wallet.
My daughter is 8 months old but easily the naughtiest in a radius of several hundred kilometers. Her fav pass time is to see her mom sweat in the cold Kerala rainy weather. And of course chewing on the  un-chewables like telephone cable when her mom is speaking to her dad.  She has started on solid food and is on a special royal diet of mashed rice, drops of homemade ghee, papadams, boiled potatoes and carrots. She eats only if the entertainment- quotient is in the right proportions, like the crow her mama shows is dark enough or the white cat meows in support.
She has two shiny and pearly teeth on top and bottom gums , and plans to make good use of them on her mom and granny. The other day she bit her mother’s fingers and her mom almost cried.
Job-wise it’s the most dreaded season of appraisals and KRA’s. I hate Novembers for this reason. Next years emoluments  depends on one signature of my boss, and how I hate to be reliant of him. I am waiting for that one day in my life when I would decide the fate of few men who work for me. Yes I want to be self employed and that’s what I meant by retirement at 45 and not the retirement my father took from government service at the age of 60.
Ciao, that’s all for now. Have more to write but laziness doesn’t consent me to go on. So maybe next time.