Happy birthday my girl!

The hand pulling rickshaw puller

Struggled his feet through the

Hot and burning stone street

The lady sat fat with lot of extra shopping weight

Her right hand never stopped feeding her mouth

She ate as if there would be no tomorrow

And the puller pulled like there would be no tomorrow

His feet all bare and rough

The soles tough, distracting the stones

The sun was merciless

He eyed a bunch of young people

Gorging on the colored drinks

Two children playing with ice cubes

The lady still munching the snacks

The puller rode like a horse now

He can’t waste any time

He has to meet his little girl

Who’s been waiting since forever

He needs 20 rupees more

To buy her a birthday gift

The gift she’s been wanting since last year

The puller got the fat lady down safely to her house

Took  the money, sidelined the rickshaw

He went to an ever old, shabby shoe shop

Shopped for a couple of chappals

Bought his choice and came home

Wearing the sandals in blue straps

His girl gave him a big hug and a tearful kiss

He finally made her day.



‘Laughing’ is no laughing matter !

You must have seen a caption such as “Laughter the best medicine”, in a few magazines.  Most of the  Monthlies and Weeklies  do run a column for  jokes, humour and so on. It is  very  unlikely that you would  have flipped over that page as unwanted stuff.

So, a joke of any kind is a compelling piece of mini  literature which cannot be ignored by any reader.  But,  does it serve as a medicine of any kind as the wordings go?  I never considered it to be any  type of therapy at all.  No doctor has ever prescribed it to any  one..  But a recent article made me wise on the subject.      

One Dr. Madan Katara hailing from the city of Mumbai,India, felt that laughing was good for healthy  living and it does cure some chronic complaints. He came to this conclusion  after some research. and tried it on himself initially.  Presto, he did feel relieved from some of his chronic problems such as asthma, perpetual coughing etc.

So, he started a club which met at the nearby park every morning.  Soon there were some 50 persons  – all laughing their guts out for about 15 minutes and then they dispersed. Every participant gave a positive feedback.

This happened in the year  1995 and the concept  has spread to a number of countries.  As of now, there are 6000 laughter clubs in 60 countries. What are the  overall benefits?

One feels  better emotionally, physically and would be  cheerful throughout the day without any kind of stress. The blood pressure will remain  normal  and  kept under control too.

Depression and sadness will get banished in you  if you keep yourself happy.   Depression is the root cause for 70-80 per cent of all health problems in every human  being around the world. It is a kind of a killer disease too  and would eat into you without your own  knowledge. Laughing suppresses this ailment.

You would appear a jolly  good fellow the whole day. Your face will show a pleasant glow and sport a delectable smile  as well  in your office or work place. People around you will notice it too.

Did it occur to you that a laughing club needs no building nor any kind of premises;  any out door space would do.  There is no membership fee and no dress regulation either.  You can walk in in any dress including a swimming costume or a nightie.

Even if you are not a member of any  group, you can start your laughing drill wherever you are.  Begin with a 15 minute session every morning. It would be good if you could recharge yourself sometime during the rest of the day. It would be rather embarrassing to break into a paroxysm  of laughter in your work  area nor would you feel quite comfortable to shut yourself inside a  bathroom for a brief laughing session. But once  the laughing prescription  is accepted universally, there could be a five minute  break  now and then known as the ‘laughing break’. The more frequently you laugh the more perfect a health you would maintain.

Shall we  hope that over the next few years the laughing   technology would catch on   and become so common that no one would call you  a nut when you indulge in it !




The long, strong hair of Rapunzel and poor me

My favourite fairy tale has been the beautiful story of Rapunzel. I loved every thing about Rapunzel. I was enthralled by the enchantress who wanted the unborn child to be surrendered to her at birth because the man had scaled down the wall to her garden to collect the rapunzel plant for his wife. I loved how Rapunzel grows up to be the most beautiful child in the world with long golden hair. When Rapunzel reaches her her teens the enchantress shuts her away in a tower in the middle of the woods, with neither stairs nor door. When the witch visits Rapunzel, she stands beneath the tower and calls out: Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair, so that I may climb the golden stair.

What could be more exciting than this! I was mesmerized by the beautiful braided hair – long and strong and everything that perfect hair should be.

Then the prince charming appears. He too climbs up the tall tower with the long hair, where Rapunzel was captivated. The together plan means of escape.  However, the poor sweet girl asks the witch in a moment of forgetfulness why it is easier for her to pull up the prince than her and in anger,the witch cuts short Rapunzel’s braided hair and casts her out into the wilderness to herself. This was horrifying for me. I used to get so upset every time I came to this part of the tale. It was hard for a child who has dreamed of braided hair like that since forever. The next part of the story was more saddening, and I used to weep a lot. When the prince calls that night, the enchantress lets the cut braids down to pull him up. To his horror, he finds himself staring at the witch instead of Rapunzel. The prince was blinded by thorns, how I can’t remember, but that was disheartening to the core.

Who can forget the long beautiful hair tied in beautiful knots. To have long, beautiful, strong hair like Rapunzel. I have dreamed of the same since forever. More than anything else, the prince charming was more fascinating by the way he climbs up the tower with the help of Rapunzel’s strong and lovely hair. Not to forget he was chivalrous and all that it takes to sweep you off your feet.

So did I work onto to have a hair like that? Well, I tried every means on earth. I tried home remedies, I went for extravagant professional helps, I went for five star salon treatment but the secret formula that the enchantress used to caress Rapunzel’s mane seemed utopia. Lastly, I cut my hair short. Wearing it short seemed to be a much better option, and I am smarter than my friends think.

Badka Babooji – My Uncle

Badka Babooji –  My UncleBadka Babooji was a regal figure in our family There was and there has been only one Badka Babooji in our family. Many tried yet they can never measure up to him. My Badka Babooji was someone who all of us aspired to be like someday. Mr RS Pandey or depty saaheb was a dynamic young man the eldest son of a high school headmaster in the  district of Chapra, Bihar. I am so proud of him he took the onus of improving the lot of the entire family irrespective of their status rich or poor. We all looked up to him for inspiration.Badka Babooji was the eldest son of Mahatma Pandey, a high school headmaster in Gopalganj, Bihar. Educated in VMHE high school of Gopalganj Babooji was extremely proud of his primary education and rightly so. He used to speak flawless English. Although Babooji was only 5’4’’, he had a captivating personality. The moment he entered any room heads would turn and there was his electric presence held an audience in awe. Often we would be envious of my cousins because they were Baboojis sons.
I was a child and had just learnt the art of writing letters on a postcard. My letters would addressed to Mr. RS Pandey , MD TISCO ,JSR sure that it would reach him. Of course it always did and he would reply beginning My Dear Baby (my nickname). We were all special to him but my sister was his favourite. In fact he chose an IAS officer as a husband for her. Jokingly he would tell her ‘Jab SDO banogi main Salute karoonga’.

The special trait that he had was his affection for his mother daadi passed away while he was on tour. It was like she waited for him to come and he did. Babooji was very affectionate towards us kids. Whenever he visited Patna on any official assignment he made sure he had tea and dinner with us. We used to love his visits because he would bring chocolates and take us to The Bankipur club or some other dos . I distinctly remember we went over to Jamshedpur in the company’s BEECH CRAFT Bonanza 7 seater aircraft. We went there and he made sure we had a fun stay with visit to theatres clubs etc. Poor Ma would be left behind. To make it up Dad would come and pick after the holidays ended and he would bring Ma along.

Babooji was always there for anyone in need. My father specially attached to him when my brother wanted to study medicine. It was he who financed his education. As it happened he turned to be the only MD in the family. Babooji taught me how to be an achiever the spirit of giving has to be there. In part I have tried to follow him in his footsteps by helping others but we can never reach his stature or make such an impact to bring in social change.

My uncle ended up leading Tata Steel and making it a name to reckon with internationally and in India as well. It became a monolithic corporate giant and beacon of hope to many from the backward districts of Bihar and UP.

Although he enjoyed immense power money and influence he was always there for his family. For his brothers he was everything. Not much has been highlighted about his role in Tata Steel yet he made some bold changes in labor and management relations. He brought an end to trade unionism and restored investor confidence after the infamous lockout in 1958. Since then it may be recalled Tata Steel never witnessed a lockout or unrest again.

RS Pandey during his service was awarded the title of Rai Bahadur of pre independent India for exemplary service. He belonged to the first batch of IAS of Independent India. He represented India a number of times in ILO at Geneva. His labor management skills were put to test during the infamous 1958 Lockout at TISCO. He was successful in establishing trust and bonhomie between the management and the labor. Gita Piramal wrote a book on legends of India but skipped his contribution to the corporate world completely. RS Pande set the highest standards in corporate governance in his time. Not only that the Tatas also encouraged him to work on so many projects in the social sector in and around Jamshedpur  and other parts of Bihar.

My Badka Babooji was foresighted enough to see the setting up of XLRI a premiere management institute of India. ‘ The Xavier Labor Relations Institute (XLRI), one of the oldest business schools in the country and among the best in Asia, close relationship with the Tatas ever since it was established in 1949. A number of people from the top brass of the Tatas have served as chairmen of XLRI’s board of governors. The list includes: Jehangir Gandhy, chairman and managing director (CMD) of Telco (Tata Motors); R.S. Pandey, managing director, Tisco (Tata Steel); Sarosh  Gandhy, MD, Telco; and J.J. Irani, MD, Tisco.’ Hindu. My father was briefly the Head of Department of Community Forestry and Rural Development in XLRI.

He did serve the Tatas without any bias. He was and will be always the pride of our family. He suffered tremendously post retirement yet was strong and a guiding light for all of us.

In remembrance Badka Babooji aka R.S.Pande 1910 – 1990.


The farce elements of Indian elections

 The election dynamics in India works in a very strange way.  Do you know a one percent swing of the electorate towards a particular political party could earn  them up to  ten  seats? Here is another down to earth example:  in the recent Assembly election in Tamil Nadu, India, the AIADMK party polled 39 % of the total votes and the DMK just 26%.  A difference of 13 % vote resulted in a stock  of 127 seats between the two giants?      

 So, every vote counts. The  election commission says that only 75% of the electorate cast their votes. Wouldn’t that absentee  25% mean a swing of over a hundred seats?

The Commission prepares a list called “Voters list” for every constituency.  This is considered a very sacred document  like it is equivalent to  the Holy Bible ! If your name is not in the list, you are a  nobody.  To be more blunt, you are not an Indian at all ! So sacrosanct the darned list is.

How accurate the voters list is? Very inaccurate. Dead persons’ names,  names of people who have  changed their residence, of people who have gone on transfer to another constituency,  appear there.  When you leave your rented house, you think in terms of changing your gas connection electricity connection, ration card, telephone connection and so many other things but no one  ever thinks of informing the election commission about the change of address. So, where is the accuracy of this so called sacred list? And changes take place routinely almost daily.

Less than 50% of the Indian population have  permanent houses/addresses  in the land. The remaining are floating population who may change residence every year or  after a couple  of years. If you are   not physically present in a particular house, the election commission  will ruthlessly remove your name from the list for the next election as if you are dead.  You are expected to get yourself enrolled, as it were, in your new location. You need all the time in the world to do this, which may include submitting an application form along with your photograph, proof of  residence and so on. You get so fed up running after the various steps that you feel it would be better to remain a vote less character in your own country.

With so many  imperfections in our electoral list, we boast to the world that we are the greatest democracy in the world and we had carried out a monumental  election so successfully.

On a casual exchange of notes with an Election official, he stressed that the Commission needs to know how many voters are available in a constituency, hence a list is a must.  Great. “Including dead persons and transferred persons?” I remarked  for which the gentleman  had no rejoinder.

It is sad that one thinks and talks in ancient ways in a modern computer world.

I would personally recommend that we go in for an all  purpose electronic  smart card which may  contain all your personal information other than your residential address and which records details of your participation in various elections and you should be permitted to vote from any place in India and in any constituency. [As of now, if you happen to be on outstation duty on the election day, you lose your right of franchise.  Why?]

The central government said in 2010  that they are preparing an unique identity card for every individual.  Where is it?  Will it take twenty years to complete and provide it to every individual?

In a democracy, it is vital that every adult votes in every election.  Abstaining   from voting,  should be considered a democratic sin.  100% voting is ideal but we need to have some slip  margin, which should not be more than 2 %. Accordingly,  98% participation should be the minimum.  We should work towards this figure. Only then we could claim that the elected candidates have the  popular support.

What will you do with your nuclear technology?

Probably you would do the same and the third person over there would also do the same.  But I won’t..

The question is directed on the countries who have developed the nuclear technology, reactors and so on. They have sunk in so much money on its development and they have a wonderful infrastructure to go ahead with setting up nuclear power plants in any part of the world. Can they afford to keep these  information unused? If they can’t use these in their own country, they would like to pass them on to other nations. It’s natural, I agree but is it moral?

One needs to remember that  nuclear  power plants have become death traps.  You never know when it may collapse and  pollute the atmosphere there and displace the  people. If you want to learn more on this topic, please consult Japan and they would tell you what happened  in Fukushima when an earthquake shook the area a few months back..

Would the Japanese people welcome setting up more plants in their land?Japan has already 16 nuclear power stations  of their own . They would cry out a big NO for increasing the present   number.  On the contrary they may demand shutting off of a few existing ones to save the country from a possible  holocaust . They would not want to see another Fukushima in these places.

The Japanese engineers and nuclear scientists understand this dilemma.   Could they let this investment lie idle and let the workers be paid for doing no work !

So, Japan is trying  to woo  some smaller nations into going in for nuclear power.  “It’s so cheap, you know?” The real purpose of this export magnanimity is to rehabilitate its own nuclear based persons and not to benefit the receiving countries.

Through this article I wish to warn such nations who consider nuclear power a modern  novelty, not to fall for such sales talk. Keep away.  Go in for hydel or thermal power plants but never  the nuclear variety.

Talking about our own land,India has 19 nuclear stations already  and four more   are on the pipe line including the one at Kudankulam in Southern India.  These are live volcanoes.  You never know when a volcano will erupt.  No amount of assurances will keep a volcano from erupting some time  and  at the time of its own choosing.

Personally I would suggest   replacing the nuclear power plants  with  Thermal power plants. We have a large quantum of coal deposit which can feed dozens of power stations   for decades.

Next, we have fifteen major  and perennial rivers in India.  Which country in the world can boast of so many rivers?  Why aren’t we making use of these rivers?

There is so much hesitation  even  for linking up all the rivers. Why?  Link them at the earliest. Once done, start an  internal water way system from Kanyakumari  to Kashmir.  Build  hydel power plants wherever technically possible along these rivers.

Shall we have a safer India?  And please don’t buy any more nuclear reactors nor set up any more nuclear power plants.

Crossroads… !

Jiya felt out of the world; finally, everything was moving in the way she always wanted. She forever liked Krish – loved him to be precise, but perhaps the power that is known as almighty had some other plans. They became voyagers of two different streams, diverging from each other. Her destined path kept her at bay, until one day when he was back in her life.

7 years elapsed before he was back – however, things were different as he was married by then. One fine day Jiya surprisingly received a friend request from Krish on a social network site, which she accepted gleefully. He remained like any other friend in Jiya’s friend-list mostly benign, until one day he made his first move when both of them were online at the same time, and from then it all started to roll back. Both lived in two different cities, so they decided to meet when Krish was supposed to visit Delhi for the next time, which was the hometown for both of them and where Jiya was settled.

The time came soon and they met. After the meeting however, Jiya realised that he was a changed man. He was not the same crazy guy whom she loved even though they spent ample intimate moments. She found him to be more matured yet somewhere deep in her heart Jiya still felt that the crazy guy she loved was still alive, buried somewhere beneath the debris of his mellowness.

Two years elapsed like that, by then chatting was notably replaced by calls that they made to each other. They again came closer to each other by each passing day. Jiya however still missed the passion that made her fall for Krish, 7 years back. Soon however everything changed.

One day when Jiya was online and he suddenly pinged her, they resumed their chatting and it almost became a routine to be online at a particular time. Jiya felt happy this time, everything was falling into place, everything was happening in the way she always wanted. Krish started showing his feelings; all his craziness and passion was back. They got very much involved when one day he asked her to send him some of the videos that she recorded on self, where she spoke intimately about him. The file size was huge and she was not being able to send through mail despite persistent effort. That was when all of a sudden Krish called her. She took the call and said, “Sweetie tell me how to minimize these clips?” Krish however to her surprise replied, “What videos?” Jiya replied, “I am asking you about the video you asked me to send. The size of the clip is big and I am not being able to compress it”. Krish replied, “I have no clue about what you are talking! I am calling you almost after a month!” Jiya was surprised on hearing that. She said, “Hey, stop joking na! We have been chatting regularly over a month now for hours everyday and you asked some of my video that I had recorded for you!” Krish however almost gave an impression that he knew nothing about what she was talking. He then asked about the chat id of the person whom Jiya was talking to. Jiya replied, “It is kriish4u and spelt it K – R – double I, S, H”. To her astonishment Krish promptly said, “No, that’s not my id. My id is krish4u. I don’t have that extra I in my id; you must have been chatting to someone else”. Jiya became numb; she disconnected the call and was dumbstruck unable to move or react.

After couple of days when she cooled down, she started to think over the whole episode. Something bothered her from within; she kept on asking herself that how come some other guy with a similar id knew so much about their relation. Suddenly in a flash, she recalled that the guy on chat said her a few things which happened when she met Krish in Delhi and those were such incidents which were impossible for a third person even to guess! Her head started to spin and within seconds the world around her became dark as she fainted.

She regained her consciousness almost after 10 min.  She then knew what was wrong; she stood up on her trembling legs, walked slowly to her bedroom, booted her laptop, and started mailing Krish.

Krish, I am shattered after all that has happened. I guess now it is tougher for me to start from scratch yet again, as you will always remind me of my mistakes. I am sure that I know who that other guy is. Who could know about all those secrets and intimate hours we shared last time when we met in Delhi? It cannot be such a big coincident that you both share such similar ids. I frankly do not know why you came back into my life and why you did all this to me! I am just ruined. This relationship is over now; perhaps that will not even bother you but it is for sure that never in my life I can trust anyone as deeply as I had trusted you. Because you have taught me the biggest lesson of my life – trust is meant to be broken!

The art of parrot prediction is dying down

A man  carrying a small portable  cage with a parrot inside, is a common sight at all temples, parks and such places where there is a daily gathering of thousands of people, in India. He is a fortuneteller of sorts and tells your future  prompted by the parrot.  “Parrot astrologer,” is his popular title.

Those who  visit a temple for paying obeisance to  their favourite god or goddess would not be  satisfied with the worship alone.  They would like to know what other fortunes their god has for them for that day and  for the days till their next visit. Consulting a  Palmist or a parrot astrologer is their normal preference.

A palmist doesn’t tell you what will happen to you on the following day;  he would have already apprised you of your whole future such as,   when you will get married or when your first child will be born, how long you would live on this Earth and so on. And you may not like to hear the same old story again and again.  You want something different.  After all, each day has its own destiny.       

        If you want to know your luck for that day or the  whole week, the parrot astrologer is the right fellow to be  approached.  He would have a set of cards which carry some message and the parrot will pick one of the cards and the astrologer would read out the contents for your benefit.

Some  customers may feel happy at the prediction especially the village folk or slum dwellers. Whereas, the   city types won’t be impressed with the  forecast at all. They know that what the  parrot has brought out is nothing but a lucky dip.  Many college students phoo, phoo the very idea. In fact, people in general have started losing faith in parrot astrology. They would rather go  in for computer based horoscope though very expensive.  The parrot astrologers have become somewhat jittery at this trend.

“What am I going to do?” wails one soothsayer  in  Chennai city. That has been his livelihood  for some 20 years and he has been earning between Rs 100 and 120  per day.  He knows no other profession.

“Why don’t you modernize the art?” I told him.  He scratched his head at the word.

“Can’t you train your parrot to hop on the shoulder of your customer, give a kiss on his/her cheek, then come down and collect a card? Customers would love it, you know, especially young maidens?”    The man thought over the suggestion.  “It’s a good idea ,Sir.  My parrot knows   a few   tricks.  I’ll try it from  tomorrow and hope that more customers will come to me….”

To another “Kili josier”  I suggested, “Make your parrot do a kind of  dance to some music before you direct it to choose a card.  OK? People of the current generation  want some thing novel and entertaining. If they do not believe in your prediction, at least let them enjoy the  stunts performed by  your  parrot.”

The suggestions  were  made off the cuff.    I hope  the parrot astrologers treat my recommendation  for what they are worth  and enhance their chances of earning some money instead of giving up their age old profession.


Are we a good listener?

We continue to hear one complaint either it is our home, school, college or office that no one listens to anyone. We grudge that we say something and the other fellow does not listen properly and understands something else.  Why does there occur a big gap between speaking and listening?  This may be due to the fact that each one of us is taught how to speak, however, we are not guided how to be good listeners in our life. Listening is more important than speaking and if we do not listen properly, everything which is spoken targeting us becomes worthless.

We speak so that there could be a dialogue, there could be a conversation and communication. When our heart listens, it evaluates whether what we are listening is right or wrong. If we start applying our mind, we come out with counter argument to the statement heard by us. It means only heart is ready to listen. When there is something in the heart, our heart opens its doors and accepts others. The energy enters through these open doors in us. If we remain calm and listen to others with intent, flowers will bloom and it will be like spring. If you want to experience it, first we should see what others are up to and how they are speaking and narrating and how one is listening. We may feel that those we call sound relations are actually not so. We keep expecting from each other and we sub-consciously all are using each other. Therefore, we see many well wishers around us but they are not actually connected with us, it is like searching for a glass of drinking water, when there is sea around us.

After examining others, we shall do self examination and introspect, how we ourselves listen to others.  The introspection will enlighten us. We may start listening with more alertness and calmness and with deep concentration. When you prove to be a good listener, others will surely appreciate it. If people feel that we are listening to them with due concentration, they will feel happy inside and our presence will work as a medicine for them. We need to share our ‘self’ with others to make them feel that we are there well wishers.

I love you by heart – a poem

I have loved you since I met you,
I love you by my heart,
I love you unconditionally,
I love you madly,
When I see you,
I forget my pain,
And some people call me insane,
When you are away,
It becomes difficult to stay,
I miss that touch of you at night,
When you sleep by my side,
I miss that morning kiss,
And that bliss,
I am surviving just for you,
I have always loved you,
I need you.

It can’t be bye bye to iddli, vadai and sambhar !

This morning’s newspaper carried a horrible new item – Iddli and Sambhar  are the worst enemies for the heart  and also the major cause for diabetes.  The medicos claim that  Tamil Nadu  has the second  largest  number of diabetics in the country.


Iddli, vadai  and  sambhar are the most  favourite breakfast items for any South Indian, not Tamilians alone. You can get iddlis right from Kanya kumari to Nagpur.  This covers all the four Southern states.


An NRI shouts from across the seas that iddlis are available in New York streets as well.  Also in England, conveys another Indian from London.


So, if the medicos and diabetes foundations want the South Indians to give up iddlis, they are asking for the Sun to shed its sheen ! The Sangam literature has a reference  to  iddlis.  The southerners started consuming iddlis  from  around the year 920 CE.  How can a food item of some 1100 years’ standing could suddenly vanish from the breakfast table? As of now, it is the main dish for breakfast and dinner in most of the homes.  Some wouldn’t mind it for lunch also.  In fact, majority  of the office and factory workers eat iddlis for lunch as well.  Wives would find it easier to pack up four or six iddlis with sambhar in a tiffin box than stuffing  it with rice, samhar and  a few vegetable side dishes for lunch of their men folk. Iddli is a popular  item for the evening snack too.  Thus it is a staple food for the entire day. A Southerner could live on iddlis alone!


That being so, is it correct on the part of the medical scientists and Diet researchers asking us to give it up because it has the potential to  give you heart attack and diabetes?? This revelation was made  at a conference on  “Nutrition in Metabolic  Disorders” at Women’s Christian college, Chennai a couple of days back.  I am sure when these gentlemen went home after the seminar, they would have been served a liberal plate of iddlis and steaming sambhar by their wives.  Do you think they would have rejected the snack as being dangerous material?  No, brother, they would have walloped the  iddlis with great relish


We have devoted much time for iddli and sambhar.  Vadai is an essential partner to iddlis.  Iddli and vadai constitute a pair and could  never be separated.


The NRIs in America and England could have got accustomed to eggs and toast for breakfast.  But did they  kick out iddli and vadai and sambhar from their menu.?  Never. A South Indian may give up smoking and hard liquor but never iddli, vadi and sambhar.


Iddli is always served in pairs and never singly. The  presentation part is very important.  Each piece should be well shaped without any frills dangling here and there along its perimeter or its contour  dented in any way.  Your appetite will shoot up when you see a well shaped and  fat looking iddli in front of your eyes..


And yet I find some eateries  manufacturing them in odd shapes and sizes  and serving them with tasteless chutneys  or sambhar which is most watery without the flavour of sambhar  in it.  Wrong.  Don’t ruin the sanctity  of the fragrance  and aroma of sambhar.


A tribute to my sister.

“At night,
Alone in my room, I sit,

And miss my sweet little sis,
Who has gone for further studies,
We have always been good buddies.

Whenever, I used to feel low,
She was the one to give me hope.

She is bubbly,
She is charming,
And she is so cute,
Without her, I felt the solitude.

She has always remained straight forward,
With her, I never felt bored.

In our home, she has been the boss,
But yes, was really afraid of dogs.

She used to imitate everyone,
Living with her, was so much fun.

She has always been conscious of her looks,
On her facial methods, I can write a book.

We both look alike,
People often asked me,
“Is that your twin sister standing by your side”?

We both share a same sun sign,
And have shared our bad and good times.

Our choices have always been opposite,
If I loved “black”, she was fond of “white”.

Yet we have a strong bond,
That, I am sure of, is going to last long.

I miss my little sister,
Of beauty and brains,
She is a mixture.”


This swinging, this restlessness every now and then

The days go by and life is leaving me behind again

Moments subtract as I slowly enter the tunnel of chaos

Wrangling my being and drowning me in the darkness of pathos

Leaving me with a mind devoid of inspiration and drive

The cosmic forces against me seemingly connive

Reasons, or are they pretexts, pull me in every direction

Which way do I need to go; priorities are all up for auction

Here I am free and yet bound in my heart

Can I ever, the maps in my mind rechart

Is this world, for me specially paved ?

Or am I here, for this world to be reframed?

Is it a cause or is there a reason that I am here

Am I to just let go, or every moment should I endear

Just for now, this moment, I know is swinging me about

Tomorrow will be another day I know without a doubt

I will live my life as there is to live

Myself and my insecurities I shall soon forgive







REVIEW OF BOOK Read and grow with Pepper

The book is about a bear called Pepper. Pepper is a picture book it includes 6 stories. It is Peppers orange book. The 6 stories names are:

1 Pepper learns to take turns

2 Pepper throws a tantrum

3 Pepper at the table

4 Pepper and the new baby

5 Pepper learns to take the blame

Children 2 to 6 years will enjoy reading the book. Children who read can’t read the book their parents or elder brothers or sisters can read the book to them. This book teaches children about good behavior.

The best part liked about this book is Pepper and the baby  because at first Pepper did not like the baby then he did. I disliked ‘Pepper learns to take the blame’ because Pepper lies to his mother then he tells the truth.

Washing dirty linen in public

I like the Election time, you know?  And we get plenty of it in a democracy.  Currently the elections  for  various types  of local bodies in different cities, towns  and villages of my State Tamil Nadu  are in progress.


Wherever I go I hear speeches and the loudspeakers blaring away varieties  of information., palatable and non palatable. Walls are plastered with slogans.  Right in front of my house, I see auto rickshaws  plying and a man reading  his election speech through a loud speaker fitted on the hood of the auto. The funny part is no body could make out  what the man  is trying to say; one can’t even grasp  the name of the candidate  because the auto  whizzes past your house   within 15 seconds.


But you get much more and  exhaustive information about the candidates and parties from the newspapers. It is only then we  come to know that  how bad   some leaders  or political parties have been  conducting themselves. They grab land belonging to  innocent people and even that of  the Government’s. The  leaders cheat the people   by false promises of jobs, transfers and promotions etc. The impeachers are blunt to the point and mince no words  in exposing the other’s  misdeeds. I wish one was a little diplomatic about these revelations. But no. They insist on calling a spade a spade !   Is this correct, you tell me? But then  this is legally allowed in a democracy.


Next, there is a saying that “All is fair in love and war and Elections”.  I am not sure if the third option I have quoted  is correct but someone did say, “It is all right…”


“But don’t such accusations tarnish the image of  the concerned candidate(s)?”  The answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ because the affected candidate will deny all the aberrations and turn the  gun on the accuser with more charges.   Two bullets facing each other, eh?  So, I should think it is a kind of tit for tat !


“In which case, who do they vote for?  Aren’t the voters influenced by a candidate’s bad history?


“Did I hear a  ‘NO’?”

“Yes friend, indeed. The  accuser has as many skeletons in his cupboard as the accused ! Both are awful and unfit to be in the ruling clan. So, how do the voters decide who to vote for?  We will come to this point a little later.


Now about the election speeches.  Being local elections, you don’t see huge public meetings  but only roadside shows. The great advantage of these small sized meetings is that you can cross examine the candidate and  he has to answer your questions.  If he doesn’t, he loses marks.


In one case, a listener  asked, “Your  party has  not kept so many promises made in the past.  Why?  Some of them are over ten years old. The speaker candidate scratched his head.  This was a Waterloo test for him.  Then clicking his fingers he answered  like this:  You see the  election promise  you are referring to is only ten  years old;  we are still working on the three year and  four years brands.  So you have to wait your turn.  Be reasonable.  Things take time to implement, you know?  The crowd appreciated the answer and greeted him with applause.  And he won the elections too.

In another case, [this happened to be a General elections case], a questioner pointed out ,”You party has not nominated your  Prime ministerial candidate (because there was really no consensus and there were infighting for the post) and they got away  saying, “We will select a PM through a democratic process after the elections  and not force one on the people now.”  The  public lauded this response. ”That’s true democracy, isn’t it?” the voters hailed and the great  party won the General elections as well.

Lately, the parties have started announcing  a  number of freebies. [Even the Supreme court has permitted this !] There is  a competition in this regard. If one party offers one grinder mixer per family, another would offer one for each voter. Accordingly in some homes you may  find anything up to five mixers.

So, all this is good fun,  good rhetoric and empty words too. Nobody means what they say but say they have to. Having listened to many speeches  the voters indeed  would get confused about who to cast their vote.  One wag advises:  Toss a coin, brother.




On snoring

 It is agreed that snoring is an awful habit.  One doesn’t acquire  it like a disease of a kind.  It comes naturally due to obstructions in your breathing system. Well, the habit could be rectified by surgeons , the ENT surgeons, to be more precise.  We are not going to discuss the medical aspect of snoring in this article  but about its side effects on the co-sleepers.

Snoring  on your neighbour’s  part would bother you if you are in a dormitory and all the occupants sleep almost neck to neck like it happens in a hostel.

When I was a  boarder  some 75 years back, we had to sleep on the floor. We were ten boys in our house.  If any one of them happens to be a snorer, your hostel life, I mean the night life could be miserable.  The trouble is, the snorer would never admit that he is a snorer. “Never.  How can I snore ever?  You are blaming  me for nothing,” he would say in his defence. If two or three of his house mates tell him that he indeed snores and snores loudly disturbing everyone’s sleep in the hostel house, he may accept his crime.  “All right, what do you want me to do about it?” he would ask reversing the  gun back in your direction.  And the accusers wouldn’t know how to answer him.

I happened to be  one of the  accusers.  We scratched our head. One intelligent student said, “We shall report the matter to the Warden..”   “What will the warden do?” a more intelligent accuser asked. “Would he send him to the hospital for an operation of his neck or what?”  Then a sudden solution dawned on me.  ”I shall pinch you and wake you up and your snoring would indeed stop. OK?”  And indeed it did  too.

So two of us took turn to pinch Robert every night.  The snoring stopped all right but poor Robert couldn’t sleep for a long time after that.

Since there was no noise from his nose, we all slept nicely. We were not bothered to know how Robert managed his day in the class room with only half sleep.

In your later adult life, the only time you would admit to your snoring is when the   complainant is your own wife. “Listen, sweet, I had been certified as a non snorer during my school days.  How could I have acquired that addiction as an adult?”.

She told me that I was not snoring but made thundering noise as if I was fighting with someone in my sleep.  She had done some  research  on it as well.  I made the war like noise whenever I lay supine on the bed.  All she did was to turn me over to the side and the  aggressive sound stopped. She didn’t lose any sleep  herself by this curative action.

Incidentally no  young mother ever loses sleep.  Often I have seen my wife changing the nappy of  our little child, tossing the nappy accurately into the bucket kept closely and resume her sleep within two and a half minutes. This she used to do twice or thrice during the night. And she never complained of lack of sleep due to baby monitoring,  on the following day.

How I wish  hostel boys could do this feat.  Robert made us spend sleepless nights on many nights.

new girl in the city

Chennai had been a mere touch & go place for me all these years. Random visits seldom prolonged. A place etched in memory in vague imprints of dust, soot and heat. So then when I shifted to Chennai after marriage, I had no qualms about this city. May 2011 welcomed me to Chennai with the harshest of heat waves I could imagine. Sun simmered throughout the next two months and I cursed this city. By August I began my getting acquainted with the city tours. I would walk out with my wallet and my cell phone, purely depending on the people around to get me anywhere. Autos proved to be a rather expensive indulgence in my routine meanderings; hence I resorted to the domestic train service & buses. After sometime, when the dust and soot and heat seemed to settle down, I began to see this city and its people for what they really are. What astonished me was come rain or sunshine ( I mean intense sun stroking ones) one would never find an umbrella on the rise. Often I had stood out as the odd person out with an umbrella. Anywhere, everywhere garbage strewed and I would walk well into the middle of the road to avoid the stench and the dirt. But I also found plump stray dogs and cattle who fed on this left over. That might sound repulsing, but my point is the city takes care of every being.
I also had a fair share of tiny encounters with kind-heartedness. The people here are so down to earth and helpful .Often a lost me had been re-directed and helped by kind hearted souls. I also found the attitude towards women here to be impressive compared to where I come from. Kerala has always been notorious for how women are treated. Hence Chennai is a breath of fresh air. Simple acts of kindness that one seldom notices like a blind man feeding a stray puppy, a shopkeeper sitting and feeding a beggar, incentives that you get on purchases from the flower women or the small shops around your house….all these makes Chennai a place devoid of every negative adjective attached to a metro. There is always a festive mood with crowds rushing for purchases and people blaring music at some nook & corner of the road. Love for music and bright colors and flowers again make this city more endearing.
Or perhaps, Chennai is endearing because here is my home that I share with my husband. After all love makes everything beautiful ?

Finding the right words at the right time for the cancer sufferers

Reality bites and having to face your loved one who has just been diagnosed with cancer is pathetically hard. We are at loss for words, tongue tied and do not know what to and what not to speak. However, each word coming out of our mouth have intense implication. We must be careful while choosing the right kind of words and when in dilemma it’s better not to speak at all than to hurt his/her sentiments.

According to LA Times, several peer counselors at ‘National Breast Cancer Organization’ offered the statements they found most and least helpful to hear during their own breast cancer battles.

Right words:

“I’m here for you, and we’ll see this through together.”

“I’ll organize your friends to make dinners, drive car pools, shop, etc. — whatever would be helpful.”

“I know this is difficult for you, but please know I will do all I can to support you.”

“I’m so sorry you have to go through this, but I’m here to help in any way.”

“Would you like to tell me more about it?”

Wrong words:

“You’ll be fine.”

“You poor thing.”

“I know how you feel.”

“I know someone who died from that.”

“Call me if you need anything.”

“Will you be OK financially since you won’t be able to work?”

“I think you should ______ .”


Among many, one change that  all cancer patients undergo is having to fight the ongoing battle emotionally and physically. They become way too sensitive even to normal words or the words that haven’t had hurt him/her before. Even the people who  had the ability to laugh at themselves before start to count on words people around them speak once diagnosed with cancer. ‘ I can’t take the call. I have cancer.’ ‘ I can’t pass the remote. I have got cancer.’ – silly stuffs like that goes to show the terrible agony that he/she is going through.

The psyche of cancer sufferers are hard to understand. You never know what turns their emotional switch on. We must not say things like, “You look healthy,” when they are not, or give instances about those who had cancer and how pathetically they suffered. We should not tell them that we’ve never known anyone who was cured of cancer by using chemo, radiation, etc. Nothing would be more helpful than to be in their shoes and be empathetic.  Render the right kind of words at the right time.

Caregivers can make a difference.

Festive newness

The cumulonimbus sky beckons

The concrete nature turning lucid

There is something in the air hard to define

The fun frolic newness

New clothes, new plans, new hopes

New sky, new color, new love

The old Durga – in this new world

Live the festive newness




The boy whom I loved

“Why don’t you get married” asked she suddenly. I was not prepared for this question from a total stranger yet I fumbled through an answer to put down the lid on the old lady who was grilling me on the subject which I thought people have forgotten. She seemed a jolly old lady who dared ask me about my single status and seemed satisfied with whatever answer I offered and so I asked her the story of her love and marriage. She gave me a tricky answer which I could not comprehend. She said “Though I never married the person I loved but I lived with him all my life.” She laughed mischievously as I gazed at her in my stupor. Old lady is entertaining me with stories I thought. Before she rolled out another bouncer “and you know his wife too approved of our love and never complained my living with him.” “Have you seen Titanic” I asked. She winked in affirmation and said “Do I remind you of Rose in her old age”?
I smiled as that was what I was thinking!
“My story is similar only the setting is different,” she said getting up to leave as she saw my friend coming.
“Your granny is simply great,” I said to my friend when she showed up. “She is not my granny she is my grandfather’s girlfriend whom he did not marry,” came another bombshell. The old lady was indeed in love with my friend’s grandfather when the country was going through the cruel period of the partition. They were drifted apart by cruel tide of time which spared no one in those difficult times. They ultimately met again when the dirty dust of bloodshed and violence had settled. But by that time her grandfather was married and settled with two kids. Her grandmother also a victim of the pitiless rioting preferred to have her home than live with the guilt of thrusting a hapless lover of her husband in the ruthless world. Such was the time and so deep was the love that though my friend’s grandparents have passed away she lived with the family loved and revered as any granny in a family.
“And you know why she is here?” my friend asked. I shook my head to indicate ignorance. “You know my brother and his wife were heading for a divorce.” “But theirs is a love marriage, isn’t it?” I intervened “As if love marriage is some guarantee for happy marriage,” she protested. “ But now this old lady has settled the issue by citing example of her love for my grandfather and importantly my grandmother’s tolerance”. She continued “For years I did not know her exact relation to our family but never was she despised by my grandmother and they lived like best friends always.”
“It is sad that we the present generation which has every comfort and security keep forgetting the good things and harp on bad things to draw daggers on the boy or the girl whom we love while this old lady in her late eighties still relates stories of her love and charms us with her love life.” my friend said moodily as the old lady came with cups of hot tea to relate another story.