Monthly Archives: June 2008

Still trying to figure out a title for this!

Another directionless post ahead. Do I even need to mention that?

These days everyone seems to be worried about my future. “What next?”, every random person in my neighbourhood torment me with the same question. Sometimes I feel even my neighbour’s dog ‘Kaiser’ gives me that questioning look…What next? I wonder why is it that most of the people have only 2 names for their pet dogs in this part of the world… it’s either Kaiser or my pet name. By the way Mom’s low bp is back to normal and dad has got this eternal question-mark look on his face both attributed to their nalayaak daughter.

”What next’ wouldn’t have been a problem if yours truly hadn’t contracted jaundice and missed her 5th sem exams. So, I have a year off and to make up for it, the world decided that I have to be put into this institution which claims to coach the future administrators of our country. With high hopes I landed in this place. The first week was meant for orientation. Distinguished personnel, retired and still in service turned up, never on time and gave us long lectures. It was disheartening to see these eminent personalities crib, complain and whine about the ‘pay’. By the end of it I was totally disoriented and disgruntled.
The disorientation session went on for 2and half days. One of them correctly pointed out, “You tend to remember what you bother to remember”. Almost 3 weeks have passes since then and there is something I remember from each session
Disorientation 1 : get a punch bag for a life-partner if you wanna survive in your profession
Disorientation 2: Not really, I just got to know about the BSNL EVDO and actually recommended it to a friend. I’m waiting till her utility levels decrease and our amicable terms will soon depreciate.
Orientation 3 and 4: Well, that explains it. I really liked that session. It was an eye-opener for directionless people like me.
Mr.Kudumabsree made me realize 12 years of schooling and basic concepts =nil.
Disorientation 5 : 4 people were engaged in a propaganda to get the whole crowd into their respective fields viz, pol sci, geo, history and socio. By the end of it I was almost determined to call it quits.
Disorientation 5: The renowned diplomat confirmed my belief that all that glitters is not gold.

I had to face a mock interview. The panel consisted of a sad man, the good man and the mad-English man. The Sad man reinforced my belief that Sociology is not my cup of tea. The Mad English man who claims to be a Doctorate in English and one of the most reputed academicians in the Famous rather Notorious Mallu Uni ( Where did the OMR sheets go dude?) had me at my wits’ end.

This is how it went

Mad-man : Give me a self-introduction
Me: I’m JJ, completed my grad from….. the intro trailed off with the mad-man pouncing on me
Mad-man: Why do you say you completed your grad, say you did your degree, or finished college or… blah blah

For the almost 24 hours I had been interrogating, dissecting, researching and analyzing the usage of the term “completed my graduation” in all possible ways. Henceforth, I shall think twice before using the term “completed my ..aah, forget it

Mad-man: Tell me about your parents
Me: My dad is ….. and my mom is Blah blah
Mad-man: You have any siblings?
Me: No
Mad-man: Oh! So lucky, moreover, the guy who is going to marry you is luckier because he is going to inherit all the property
Me: *Gave a weak smile suppressing the urge to smash his head, wring his neck and make a mincemeat out of the baldhead*

The blah-blahing continued and I made up my mind that I’m not going to step into that place again.

Such a cheap mentality in this 21st century. What the hell did that mad-man mean by this statement? In their 25 plus years of service to the Government my parents were minting money and that tomorrow some bloody loser is going to marry me only for that? Ok.. maybe I’m over-reacting but such a foolish and non-sensical statement from one of the most respected academicians freaked me out. Doctoral or Post-doctoral, educated or qualified.. the third-rate mindset will not change is it? Hypocrites big time!!! Just an hour ago he was going on and on about how the civil services is a noble profession and all that jazz. Though my parents are mere government employees I have seen them toil hard and go through many hardships to make both ends meet. I think our current situation, this explains it all.

During the course of a week’s disorientation I got to meet several typical ‘namoonas‘. This was the first time I was in a all Mallu-classroom ever since I left school. Uncles and Aunties, chechis and chettans and some people of my age made up the interesting crowd. Few people who made things too obvious deserve a mention here.
The first one on my hit-list was this Engineer from that neighbourhood college of mine called CET. This engineer saab came forward to propose a vote of thanks. It is quite natural that after a session which tests your patience and tolerance limits, with your stomach making noises and decibel levels increasing by the minute, when hunger can shut your eyes, ears and all senses ,the least you expect is an hour-long vote of thanks. Since, it was a spontaneous one I hoped it wouldn’t take more than 3 minutes. But, all hopes came crashing down with this “Mike-vizhungi’s” performance. Such specimen need to be taught a lesson or two on public speaking. Dude there is huge difference between ‘vote of thanks’ and ‘feedback’. Nobody in that forum was interested to listen to the sort of enlightenment you got during the session.
Next ‘namoona‘ was the complete opposite of the Fraud-fraud mallus I encountered in Bangalore. This namoona tried to put on a fake accent, almost chewing up and swallowing words and consonants. He sounded like he was speaking with a potato stuffed in his mouth. Why are we so insecure about our imperfections and make a bigger fool of ourselves while trying to hide them? Mother Tongue Influence is inevitable when you speak another language.

The very same day, dad and I had to go to the famous pioneering super-speciality hospital in Trivandrum. Our tryst with this hospital has never been a pleasing one since its inception. That day too we were not saved. You have to beg, request and plead to the red-lipstick smeared- plastic- smile- plastered receptionists so that your file-chart reaches the doctor before he goes for the’rounds‘. Eeks! After about 10 rounds, to and fro the doctor’s room and the receptionist’s desk and occasional diversions to the empty PR officer’s room business was done in 3 hours time. All we needed to do was show some reports to the doc and get his signature for a medical certificate. Organized chaos!

My next encounter was at a Milma booth. Its’ only when we are in dire straits that we buy Milma Curd. I asked the woman at the shop for a packet of curd. She gave me one. I checked packet for the date of packaging. It was almost 5 days old.

Me: Don’t you have a new packet?
She : No… and gives me a dirty look
Me: I don’t want his one
She: This came to the shop today. It’s a fresh one
Me: Yeah right! After five days? Where was it all this while? Anyways forget it, I’m not buying this one
She: OK… blah blah.For inexperienced mallus the shower of blessings could be preferably avoided.

What next! I’m depressed!
Only if I hadn’t eaten out, only if I hadn’t been careless about my food-habits, only if I had eaten my vegetables during childhoood, only if I had taken care of my health while staying away from home…… (Amma’s sermons and only if conditions on me are at a peak now)
This is what happens when you have a post in draft for almost a month and then decide to write about it. Writer’s break is worse than writer’s block!


When guzzle becomes a hassle

We were visiting this famous 20 kg grand aunt of mine. She stays in some isolated place in a remote area in Trichur. It is literally a pattikaadu surrounded by rubber plantations. Electricity connection hasn’t reached this part of the world in spite of those numerous rural electrification projects and all that jazz you get to see on newspapers. ( read the government’s propaganda with those passport size pics of Ministers). The only surviving male member of the house, ammayi’s grandson came late in the evening when darkness crept in and brought a tinge of fear in me. Exchange of greetings and pleasantries were diluted in the ‘charayam’ he had consumed. My dad and uncle started advising this dude only to learn a valuable lesson themsleves. Never try talking sense into a drunk man’s head.
I was amused at the dignity with which this man justified himself for being a sot. “Njan angane padichu poyi”. His grandfather was a mega-drinker, his dad was a super drinker and he was treading the path to be superstar drinker. This was the only family inheritance he possessed. He has 3 daughters aged 6,5 and 3 respectively. The older 2 are sent to the convent. Sending to a convent here does not mean the sophisticated-Anglican- polished- accented education. These kids are at the mercy of the nuns for free food, accommodation and education. It’s better not to speculate on how these kids are treated. These kids are in a situation more or less like being orphaned ( I really hate to describe it like that). It’s strange when the truth is right in front of you yet you do not want to accept that, it is the truth. All I saw was, the mother trying to hide her tears while telling us about her daughters.
Tapping rubber is the only source of income for this family. All the money is drowned in booze by this good for nothing of a son. The family spent quite a lot of money for de-addiction and rehabilitation and retreats etc, but to no avail. Once, he got into a scuffle with the local goons, who in turn attacked the women of the house at night. The hero’s wife was hospitalized after being kicked in the abdomen during her pregnancy. I thought such things happened only in movies!
Ammayi was telling us, ” We spend every moment in fear of what this boy will do next. He goes mad once he is drunk. He tried to attack his kids with a ‘Vettikathi’. We had no choice but to send the kids to ‘madam'( convent) due to the financial constraints and the atmosphere of terror at home”.
This was a family in dire straits coz of a son who had gone astray. Who is to blame here? The forefathers who initiated him into drinking? The parents who didn’t control the son when necessary? The family who couldn’t provide him with a good education? The guy himself? A 101 questions sprung up when I saw this sad state of affairs.
Similar stories of extreme poverty, domestic violence, abuse, suppressed tears of womenfolk, parents who lament over their insolent sons who are a bane to the family, kids who suffer the trauma of broken families are rampant in the villages of our state. With a figure of 8.3 litres per capita consumption and youngsters getting a hang of booze at ages as young as 12, the state portrays a picture of how an entire generation will be drowned in alcohol. With the hypocrite politicians kissing the asses of liquor barons behind the scenes and voicing against the social evil to keep their image, the highest revenue generating project in Kerala turns a blind eye on the consequences. People are ready to go to any extent to get some money so that they can afford a drink. Just a few days ago, newspapers carried the reports on how a man killed his 12 year old nephew to get hold of the boy’s gold chain, so that he could drink. Come any special occasion, just a look at the long queues in front of the State beverages corporation stores would exemplify the situation. The downsliding moral standards, increasing suicidal alcoholics, widespread cases of violence and abuse truly presents a scary picture to me.
A lot of hue and cry has been raised over the prevalence of this social evil. But do we have a solution to offer yet?

The birthday of the self-obsessed

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

(this was my b’day cake last year! Dunno why those co-intern googlers missed the M)
hope this does the part of showing off on your b’day

Thank you God, for everything !!!

Thank you for giving me all those wonderful people around me, who touched my life in some or the other way. People who made me realize the person I am, for making me feel special, who have seen me grow, who have always been there for me and who taught me valuable lessons for the past 20 years. I’m actually running short of words on this day!

(I have my exams going on, which is diverting my creative juices into other channels.. hope to be back soon)