Monthly Archives: April 2008

MLA’s day out

Some basic knowledge of the political scenario in Kerala is a must for reading this post. This is one of my first attempts in the rare ventures I make in a world outside “I-me-myself”.
The Characters have slight resemblance with anyone living or dead. This is a creative pursuit with minor elements of truth in the incidents.

Concerned about the lack of physical exercise and degenerating sportsman spirit among the legislators in God’s own country, the Assembly Sports Meet was held for the legislators to showcase their talents. Apart from staging walk-outs, burning their calories in verbal assaults during assembly proceedings and gaining more calories after feasting on the parota and chicken sneaked in from the fancy restaurants near the Legislative assembly during hunger strikes, this was an opportunity for the members to prove their mettle in the field of sports. Heart, sugar, pressure and cholesterol the four words which haunt anyone who has crossed 45 years of age seemed to have no effect on our beloved legislators.
Officially it is stated that the Sports meet was a part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Kerala Legislative Assembly.

The entire assembly was divided into teams led by the CM, Speaker and Deputy Speaker and other important namesake figures. It was amusing to note that people who couldn’t stand each other in the assembly premises were teamed up together and exhibited true sportsmanship with stray incidents of kaalumaaral, paara vekkal (backtracking, sabotaging etc) and the like.

The two days of physical exercise and fun culminated in a grand fashion with almost 1/4th of the Legislative assembly suffering from major and minor health hazards, stress,strains and sprains, twists and turns. Currently they are enjoying their stay in the VIP suites of multi-speciality hospitals.

Our own teacher kicked off the injury/casualty series by twisting her right arm. Sources say that when teacher visited the hospital to set her arm right, the hospital authorities mistook it for a surprise visit and was accorded a ceremonial welcome. Teacher was groaning and writhing in pain and it took a while for the hospital authorities to figure out the problem. How I wish all this suffering would haunt her with memories of the plight of the parents of the Kilirur girl, those new-Born’s at SAT who died coz of carelessness and her,” I don’t care attitude”, the hundreds in the state who still suffer from the consequences of chikungunya which spread all over the state while people are wondering whatever happened to the funds received from the centre to curb the epidemic.

The man who is responsible for all the money, those land scams and everything to do with the money flowing in and out of the state (read party offices) suffered from a muscle strain. It is alleged that CM himself was venting his frustration on the money-man coz of the hot-soup he landed all of them into, with respect to HMTHDIL land scam.

The famous MLA from Kazhakootam also strained a muscle. This must have been done deliberately by someone who suspected he would change sides again and become an (obstacle) opponent to his own team. Preventive measure you see. You never know when this man will change sides.

The man who has managed to keep a decent image so far, managing the water resources of the state deserves kudos for playing till the end without any consideration for his injury.

It was no surprise when the CM’s team which is known for scoring numerous goals ( goal adi is a term used in Malayalam to point out blunders) over the years, won the football match.

The disobedient spoilt brat of the lot, the proclaimed atheist, the manipulator in-charge of education in a 100% literate state landed in the ICU with his sugar levels going down at the end of the two-day long sports meet.

Sunday saw the 50 years (of making public a fool) celebrations with cultural events being organized and the legislators exhibiting their talents in just one field they are adept at, acting.
We can very well imagine the DRAMA that must have been staged with improvising dialogues and making use of this opportunity to express their aggression against one-another.

Yours truly was wondering how to conclude this post when today’s newspaper came in as a blessing.

The cherry on the cake was…

More than 100 out of about 140 MLA’s refrained from attending a seminar on “Qualitative changes in Assembly Proceedings” as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. The turn-out was less than 20 with many of them citing reasons like injuries suffered during the sports events and the rest stating obviously unreasonable reasons.

When the number of sittings of the assembly has reduced drastically, including the days lost in boycotts, walkouts and dharnas , while the common man is left in the lurch why would they attend a seminar on qualitative changes? The only qualitative change maybe observed in rising standards of quibbles and carps, physical assaults and in our own terms kayyettam, vaakkutharkkam, koolithallu, vettumkuthum etc. The tactics employed are cost-effective and yield instantaneous results. Ini enthonnu quality? (What more qualitative changes do we need?)

Fools like me read all this in newspaper, laugh our guts out on the mockery and step-back from reacting. Why?


Another Journey in Life

Long directionless post ahead!

Alarmed by the fact that my dad’s pot-belly is shrinking and that I am growing side-ways during the vacation, mom packed me off to good old Trivandrum. Post jinxed era, dad is here all alone, cooking by himself and reliving his good old bachelor days.
Another reason cited was, mom wants me to cook for dad and avoid certain consequences in the future like,
Face the wrath of my future Mother-in-law coz Mummy didn’t teach her daughter cooking…
Worried that daughter may not be able to find her way to a man’s heart through his stomach…
Fearing that her daughter’s face will be disfigured if, daughter tests her culinary skills on her husband…
And post-retirement, she doesn’t want me sticking around after a divorce and 4-5 kids to look after.
With a dozen Five-year plans lined up, happily I embarked upon the journey to Trivandrum.
Carelessness and I are inseparable. Even after Dr.AJ’s continuous, everlasting and persistent efforts, she hasn’t been successful in detaching us. This time around I forgot to take my toothbrush. So also, I created confusion with the coach numbers. I accept it’s my mistake, but you know, mothers of 20 something’s can’t stand carelessness for the obvious reasons. She was furious and gave me those stares, which sent a chill down my spine. I always get these chills; from that very day she screamed at me and spanked me for trying to climb the iron railings in our balcony on the 3rd floor of the quarters. Numerous incidents of spanking to scolding to stare-and-scare (you just can’t ignore those meaningful looks moms give, can you?) followed till date, many of which I conveniently chose to forget (a reason for them continuing).
Just like the ticket in waiting list got confirmed, God decided to hear my prayers this time, which was to have some sane and interesting co-passengers. It’s always been nuns or sabarimala pilgrims or some sidey guys or Fraud ‘Fraud Mallus’ who wouldn’t open their mouths but exhibit in full-swing what is known as attitude or jaada in simple terms.
There was this old-couple who shed all inhibitions and smiled at me and we gelled along really well. The Old lady, was a teacher who had resigned, to take care of her grandchildren in Bangalore. Her techie kids had no other option. I adore those kids for the grand-parental attention they get. But, further into the conversation, perceptions changed and she was telling me about how, the kids are going to be admitted to school this year and how lonely she is gonna be, in a strange city and all those worries which affect a grandmother alas babysitter role.
As we were deeply immersed in the tete-a-tete, a young couple entered. Obviously techies, newly married on a journey to Kerala. This answered the prayers for interesting co-passengers, coz sane people ain’t that interesting!. In a desperate attempt to conceal their evidently mallu looks ( the epidemic which is rampant), the funny glasses and straightened hair beyond expiry date, which resembled coconut husk were an interesting sight. After the initial PDA’s which embarrassed the elderly couples and interested singles out singles like me, the girl settled down with a book, cuddling up to her spouse.
The guy was bored and was looking around the lush greenery in adjacent seats that wouldn’t escape his wandering eyes. The girl would look up every 5 minutes and ask,” hey, what are you doing”.
Either the book was boring, or the girl understood her naughty man’s antics, soon both were whispering and giggling like the silly college girls. The only statement that was loud enough for all of us to hear was, ” Ho AC was much better” . I guess every train traveller does that, to glorify AC compartment when they travel in a Sleeper.
Soon, I got bored of them and my eyes fell on it. I’d missed it for 4 months straight and this was one of the initial indicators to enlighten me, that I’m actually going home. Malayala Manorama contains good gossip and useless yet interesting news. I had this habit of reading only the obituary page, ever since I learnt to read Malayalam, though gradually the other pages apart from the one with passport size photographs interested me. Some of the interesting news I found were
* Mohanlal pinmaaranam. ( Mohanlal has to withdraw from the fire-escape magic act or whatever)
* Pashu maala vizhungi, shastrakriyayiloode puratheduthu. ( A cow which had swallowed a gold chain was operated upon and the chain was removed from the cow’s stomach along with a plastic rope and another chain)…
* Don’t remember the headline for this one… A 17 year old committed suicide because his favorite hero didn’t win Idea Star Singer 2007. (it’s obvious that either the boy was nuts or the actual reasons are being hidden)
I was reading through several other interesting stuff and fell asleep.
Soaring temperatures are making me insomniac. This sleep was a welcome relief. Suddenly, I woke up when I felt something was wrong with the fans. The couple who, occupied the upper-berths had conveniently tilted the fans, each one to their sides, leaving the rest of us sweating and sleepless. ( Now you understand why I’m cribbing so much about the couple). A little bit of consideration for fellow-human beings, that’s what we all ask for, yet refuse to give others

By morning I reached home and the road, thanks to the welfare efforts of our Government, almost broke my back. I’m not talking about the main-roads, this one leads to our residence, maintained by our Residents’ association, more or less miniature versions of the bigger crooks who dominate the Government. Retired jobless uncles and the even more jobless youth form this association which has just one accomplishment in the annals of its history, Tarring the road which winds down a hill, ages ago.
As a part of the Japan-aided drinking water scheme, the road was dug for laying the pipes. To fit in these pipes the other main water-supply pipes, telephone lines, sewage lines etc were broken. Presently the work has come to a halt, coz of some rivalry and arguments that crept in. The road is a disaster and majority of the residents dread driving through that road.
For that matter, laying of pipes and widening of roads, PWD in Kerala is never jobless though their fruitless (oops fruitful) efforts are visible only in the half-dug roadsides and the pools during rainy season. Walking through the roads equals to practising for long-jump or in extreme cases learning to swim and you can only drive a JCB on these roads.
I reached home, lamenting over the sad-state of affairs, freshened up and took over the kitchen. Mummy I miss you!!!!!! Anyways, Dad was my guinea pig for the day and I was busy showing off my culinary skills. I asked him, ” Dad how is it?”
He said that it was nice.
Remembering the reasons cited for sending me home now, I asked him,” Dad, did mummy know to cook, when you got married”?
I shall never forget the look on his face when he said,” I just got used to it. I never complained and judged her cooking”. What conclusions do I draw from that statement? Men, please learn *wink*
I had a phone conversation with mom, describing the journey and putting another reason in her list of things-I-should recollect-next-time-I-have-an-argument-with-him, and she started off another lecture on how careless I am blah blah.. making me feel all the guiltier.
I thought this much was enough to blog about, in this deserted land, when someone knocked on the door. I knew this one belonged to the pests in Tvm species, the salespeople. This boy started flirting with me and displayed this book of world facts. With few rude responses (which I felt very bad doing so), I drove him away.
Once again, I logged into our PC and my glance fell on a post-it stuck on the mother-board, with some vital info on it. What was written on it seemed vaguely familiar and realization struck like a lightning. That was my id and password, which I’d given my mom to check on an important mail, when the wi-fi in our college went on strike. Pheww!!!!!!! Being careful can also be dangerous isn’t it?
Well, I’ll stop the directionless rant here and need to ask mom about her extremely careful action.
Consequences if any, will not be retold here!!!
Forgot to mention: Heard a lot about the FM boom in Trivandrum. I switched on the FM and listened for a couple of minutes. The RJ’s are doing a good-job of murdering our Mother-tongue.


Vettukathi tales

Now people don’t run away seeing the title. I have no intention of a verbal assault or cracking PJs here. This is our sad story, in search of a vettukathi.
The other day, mom and I were shopping in Mathikere market. Along with the usual vegetables, fruits, leaves, and all that stuff which my mom wants to feed me and make up for the 3 years, we were also searching for a vettukathi.
There was this man, who was selling knives and other such dangerous but essential tools for a household. My mom coolly went and asked,” Vettukathi ondo”?
Freeze
Many heads turned back. Well, in a predominantly mallu area, where everyone tries to hide the fact that they are mallus, even though they claim you can recognize a mallu by his or her looks, such questions can surely be a head-turner or crowd-puller.
The shopkeeper said, ” Vettukathi illemma”. He was not a Malayali for sure.

Another day, we went to this supermarket, owned by Malayalis. The salespersons were all Mallus. With the looks-and-logic phenomenon, I could identify the presence of quite a few Mallu shoppers. By the way, even if a Mallu adjusts to the metro, or metamorphoses into a Fraud Mallu, when his taste buds develop a craving for some puzhukkalari choru or other exclusively Kerala stuff, he or his family will inevitably enter a Malayali owned supermarket. Amidst oldies, middle-aged couples, newly-weds and to be coupled ones, who were definitely making an effort to unrecognize the recognizable mallus, we mother and daughter were shopping too.
My mom who is just getting used to the sophisticated ways of a metro asked the sales-boy..”Table cloth ondo?”
Yes, yes… and after a fifteen-minute long rummaging through the stuff kept there, he produced a packet of table mats.
“Ithalla ‘meshaviri’ (table-cloth) ondo? “ mom clarified.
“Oh.. athilla”.

By then a few mallu couples had come to the adjoining counter.

“Kodil ondo”? Mom shoots the next attention-grabber-head-turner question.
The salesman looks at the other salesman who in turn looks at the other one and the chain reaction of blank looks continued. An elderly person who was also a salesman came to us.
My mom repeated,” paathram pidikkana kodil ondo”?
Now he understood what was that big thing my mom wanted and he produced the desired kodil.
Mom was happy, except for the fact that she was a bit embarrassed by the looks she got.

Then came the final question,” Vettukathi ondo”?
Ultimate shocker FREEEEZEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.
Now even I was a bit embarrassed as to, what made her think there would be a Vettukathi in a supermarket.
I was whispering to her, “Ma how can you expect there will be a vettukathi in a …….”
My words were swallowed by one of the boys who said, ” Ngaa chechi ond”.
My mom gave me a triumphant look that conveyed the message See, I told you.
After rummaging for another 15 minutes he produced a normal knife.
” Ayyo, ithu pattila”, and reminded of her success in being descriptive about the kodil, she continued,”Thenga vettan pattana vettukathi”.
Now another man produced a larger knife within the same time as my mom finished her sentence.
Saddened by the fact that he couldn’t be of any service to us he said,” Ayyo chechi ithu vechu thenga vettan pattum ennu thonanilla”.
Now it was my turn to beam and give the I-Told-you-so look combined with the embarrassment.
My mom finally gave up. We paid our bills and returned.

I was left thinking, when a non-mallu understood what a vettukathi was, why not the mallus in the shop?


Saints on Small Screen

Tired, exhausted, drained of all energy and badly in need of a break I did it. One of the gravest mistakes you shouldn’t be doing between 7.30 p.m and 10.00 p.m. As I was flipping through the channels, I heard a man saying.” JOSCO Jewelers Vailankanni Mathavu“. Branding Mother Mary with jewelers is an oxymoron. Is there a greater insult for Mother Mary? I had watched a few episodes before and in my personal opinion , the channel and producers ought to be sued for blasphemy. What is the basis for the storyline? What is the credibility of the narration. If it is just a frenzy to increase TRP’s there are other areas to concentrate, but not matters like this.

I was just wondering about this during the commercial break when someone was scaring the hell out of St.Antony, singing something that sounded similar to those songs they sang during political marches.. Here, the lyrics were modified to fit in St. Antony. Then I see a whitewashed Saint Antony, walking down a lane, who looked like he was slapped badly on both cheeks. The make-up artists could have done justice to him. The amount of blush on his cheeks, made him look like a blushing love struck teen. Haven’t watched any episode of it, so I’d rather not comment on the story line and the like.

By the way I was complaining how the coming generations would never get to see ammachis clad in chatta and mundu here. However, if these programmes continue, there is hope.

Is it right to portray saints like this? I do believe, divine intervention and miracles do happen, but depicting them in such a fashion is demeaning. A common man with a little bit if common sense would get irritated seeing, the camera freezing on the face of Mother Mary like those Ekta Kapoor trademark shots. What exactly is the idea behind popularizing religion and religious figures on the small screens? Why are they making a mockery out of it?
While, management education and minority rights seem to be the big issues, which have been going on for ages like the mega-serials, why are our authorities turning a blind eye to such matters?

The reality show hype is out of fashion now. Flipping through the channels, everywhere you see wanna be superstars and idols. This phenomenon has been getting onto every one’s nerves, but poor me… I was victimized a bit late. (read deprived of opportunities to watch TV in home away from away home). There has been a lot of outcry about the reality shows in the blogosphere like this and this . I have no intentions to continue their never-ending saga here. I happened to see one of the elimination rounds. Worse than tearjerker movies or sad mega serials. I wonder how much they spent on glycerin to bring tears to every face the camera focused on. By the way, you get to see many ‘fraud FRAUD MALLUS’ especially the anchors.

Dhaivame nee ithonnum kaanunille?


A fridge and other stories

We just bought our brand new fridge. It’s not that our old one has been dumped into some junkyard. It’s still functioning, alive and kicking. However, as we the jinxed Josephs have been marred by dislocations and relocations, we have divided and departed. In our family circles and the not-so liked(personally) church circles, the only circles we are subject to discussion, they say, ”Avar ellam panku vechu pirinju”.
Our old one was oops is an Allwyn model. Considering the fact that it has survived for 21 years, yep the fridge is older than me, we were not ready to risk it’s longevity for one more time. The last time it journeyed from Bangalore to Trivandrum. It arrived safe but was rendered handle less. The only defect or trouble it has given or faced in its 21 years of existence so far. It was white in colour and as years passed by, it was the exact opposite of my parents’ greying hairs. The colour was changing from white to off-white, to grey to literally black. When our house was being painted, my super mom, whose quirks and ideas are irrepressible and out-of-the world, got this idea of giving our fridge a new look.
The Painter uncle must have created history by doing that. With spray painting and advanced techniques, painting a fridge with the leftover Nerolac paint that was used to paint the railings of our staircase is not something you would ignore. I don’t know what possessed my mom or what actually made the painter to oblige, but the end-result is a treat for the eyes. Dark magenta, well people in their normal senses do not appreciate our choice of colours, but we are a creative lot you see.
Therefore, our good old Allwyn is now offering its unobstructed faithful services to MJ back in Tvm. Except for a broken handle and an eye-catching colour there is nothing wrong with it. I’m finding it difficult to accept the arrival of a new fridge and get used to it. Sometimes, we develop an inscrutable attachment with certain inanimate objects that you just can’t let go of them.
Another antique in this regard has been our Keltron Television. That one was not as faithful as the fridge and it gave us a lot of trouble. When we the Josephs were restored back to our senses, realized that the amount of money spent on repairing the TV would sum up to that of the price of a new TV. We had to cheat upon the Keltron after 18 years of unbreakable bonding. Now it lies, perched on a shelf in the storeroom as if it was a relic from the past. The TV had an orange coloured tuner which I have safely preserved along with other precious stuff, dunno for what reason. Those days remotes were not invented and tuning the TV while appa shifted the antenna in all possible directions, like some meteorological device was fun. We the Josephs belonged to a different age altogether, at least that’s what people think when I confess, we got a cable-tv connection only in Oct 2007.
The ‘Bajaj super’ scooter, the one on which I had my first ride, retired after 13 years of service. The Sumeet mixer is a standing witness to my parent’s happy married life spanning (and still continuing) 27 years. The iron-box, which will qualify for the heavyweight-ironing category, in case there is a championship will also be the oldest among the participants, 25 years of candid theppu or flattening. Few lightweight freshers have entered the circuit but AJ and MJ are satisfied only if the creases are straightened by the archaic curio. There was this clock, which changed its tones from a beep, to a ring to that of the sound of scraping a coconut. We had an aunt visiting us, who woke up 12 midnight, walked into the kitchen, sleepy-headed and enquired who was scraping kitchen at this hour!
The fact that, the starting point for the service of many of these articles and my arrival into this world revolve around the same time-period, maybe there is a difference of few months or maximum a year! I wonder how they (AJ and MJ)survived those years and I hope they won’t blame me for turning them into materialistic beings.
It makes me think, a home is built step-by-step, a family is built step-by-step and that is why they still survive and exist.
Talk about the present situation where you wouldn’t marry a person without looking into the facilities and material assets available ( check out the latest BSNL landline ad), where you have instant homes and homemakers and those, which come tumbling down at a small instance!