An effort to recapitulate and share my ideas,views and thoughts in words...

After all the toil and hard work we put in bringing out the medical exhibition, we were delighted in opening it for the public. It was a totally new challenge for many of us, as we have been just getting acquainted with the art of effective communication with the society; a quality we ought to master having to spend our entire lives treating the common mans ailments. I was posted in the Paediatrics stall and was fully relishing it. As it dealt with children, Paediatrics had always attracted me but I had least idea about this department as I had not been posted in the Paediatrics clinics. Nevertheless, I was ready to face the challenge and the fun filled atmosphere around our stall never made me break a sweat worrying about my absolute lack of knowledge in this branch of medicine.

Some half a dozen people came and went by during the initial hour. I was pretty happy explaining about the functioning of some neonatal care devices such as the warmer and the photo therapy unit; something that I had been prepared for, with the help of my seniors.

A middle aged man came in with a pleasant smile, I returned the smile. I prepared myself mentally as I sensed this gentleman was itching to pepper me with some questions. As I fancied that explaining something to him might relieve the slight tension building between us, I started briefing about the importance of a warmer. I could see it in his face that he was least interested in hearing my theory and soon he shot a question which caught me off guard. He asked about the causes of spina bifida and about the role of Folic acid in a pregnant woman. Well I knew this disease, It was basically a congenital anomaly, having defects in the neural tube. Confidently, I started explaining that the disease might be due to teratogenic substances. I also wondered why he asked about folic acid as I told some of the general functions of folic acid that I had learnt in my 1st MBBS. Just then, a final year student entered our stall, so I quickly asked him if I was right. To my horror, I learned that I had mixed it up with the causes of another disease, phocomelia and the correct cause was deficiency of Folic acid. 

I was embarrassed. I dared not to look into his face. He turned away from me, murmuring the following words to me under his breath

" My kid died of spina bifida". 

I stood there ashamed, my mind scampering for words in return, but in vain.

May, 2000

It was on a warm Sunday morning that I set out on my brand new 'Hercules MTB'. Don't think I'm boasting but I had the most attractive bicycle in the town; a sleek silver and blue metallic beauty. Naturally, being a youngster, I got carried away by the irresistible urge to show off ( Holy Cow! Now I wonder whom I was so intent on impressing, Even a stray dog wouldn't pass by in the deserted neighborhood of my ancestral house). Yes, so in the midst of the spectacular exhibition of my biking skills, I took a nasty turn with one hand on my bike and the other in thin air. To my dismay, the adrenaline rush was short lived as my forearm was cut by the sharp projecting edge of the fence and I went down with my bicycle to the barren ground. I had bruises all over my body but the cut on my forearm was worst of the lot. Grandmother came shrieking, grabbed me up and pulled me to her bosom.  I was crying and grandmother tried her best to comfort me.

Grandfather was quick to react, he set out on foot to our small town Pulappatta, came back with an auto-rickshaw and rushed me to the hospital. En route to hospital, I was regretting my daredevil stunts. Grandmothers presence itself was a great relief.

The doctor was quite adamant on getting my cut stitched. I had overheard this when the doctor was speaking to my Grandpa. I was determined to resist the doctors decision. I would not let him stitch my skin! I cried out again. Grandma came to the rescue. She protested to the doctor, she would not let the doctor hurt me(much to my relief) and finally the doctor gave up. He ordered the nurse to dress my wound and let it heal by itself. The wound handicapped me for almost a couple of weeks. Grandmother did all she could to make me feel comfortable, in fact, I never felt my left hand was weak. The care I got then was overwhelming and is something I will cherish in my whole life.

November, 2010.

I returned to my village from Calicut, hoping to spend a joyous week with my beloved Grandparents. As usual, I found my grandmother waiting for me in the front porch. She greeted me with a rather weak smile and hugged me feebly. As she spoke to me, her voice was quivering. I sensed she was in some agony. She told me she was sick and wanted to go to the hospital. I consoled her with affectionate words and told her to get ready. 

It was hard watching my grand mother pack up things, wincing in pain all the time. From the symptoms she told me, I guessed she was suffering from urinary tract infections and cystitis. I could tell the physiology behind the disease but I didn't know the medicines to cure it. I never wished more to be a doctor so that I could treat my Grandma at this very moment. 

We reached the hospital in a few hours time and the doctor prescribed medicines and some diagnostic tests. Nevertheless, Grandma continued to be in pain. Neither could I console her the way she did to me ten years ago nor could I intervene in the doctors way to alleviate her pain. I felt helpless and laid all my trust on the doctor and of course, the Almighty. "What is medical science if it fails to relieve a persons mental or physical agony?" I reflected while standing in the veranda of the hospital, my eyes set on Grandma; in obvious distress.

As I glanced at the scar in my left arm, I ruminated upon the care and love she bestowed on me, when I was hurt. Now, that she is sick, there is not much that I can do but to pray and hope for her well being. The scar on my left forearm stays a mark of affection and care she gave me and I'm happy It will live with me till I breathe my last. 

                                                                                  Grandmother - by Albert Anker                                  


The Blue Mosque, Attribution: Source-Wikimedia,Image author:Jeremy Avnet

It was as if I was seeing myself for the first time! As I stood in front of the mirror, admiring myself, I caressed my magnificent black beard and glanced at the beauty of my golden colored skin. I had bought a Turkish cap last week from Osman; the clothier and I was going to wear it for the first time. Just then, Gulben, my beautiful wife entered. She had a glass of red cherry sherbet in her hands which I had ordered her to fetch. She looked even more beautiful in the slight ray of sunlight that hit the room. Her red veil though, hid her perfect face.

"The Sultan wants me at the palazzo, I'll have to leave, dear" I said and made my way out of my mansion after kissing my beloved's cheek. 

I worked as a minister in our Sultan's palazzo and  people called me Hikmet; meaning wisdom. Ten years ago, I would have never even dreamt of living in Istanbul and serving the Sultan. My actual name was Ishak and I came from Persia, ten years ago. I had been a good scholar then and soon was deputed as one of the Sultan's ministers.

As I peregrinated towards the palazzo, I was occupied by the bustling activity in the streets. I observed children running and playing with the toy swords, the beautiful maidens gossiping and few street dogs languishing in the front of food stalls. I could hear the sound of musical instruments as i walked past dervish houses. Osman was busy persuading customers to buy the new arrivals at his garments store. What a clever tradesman! I thought. During my melancholy walk, I wondered why the Sultan had commissioned an order for me to arrive at the palazzo, as I knew I had completed all my work and was looking forward to spending a day with my wife.

The city was as beautiful as ever. I saw that the stunning minarets, tombs and mosques acquired a golden tinge in the morning sun. The cherry and Pomegranate trees had icicles on them. Nature was recovering from yesterday nights heavy snowfall. I couldn't help praising Allah and the beauty he has endowed in earth. The air was cool, fresh and had a sweet smell of lavender dispersed in it. The gorgeous maidens smiled at me as I glanced at them, their coquettish instincts showing off, probably being intimidated by the handsomeness I possessed. 

Having walked for few minutes now, I could now see that I was approaching "Sultanahmet Camii" or the Blue mosque. With its 6 magnificent minarets, it was one of its kind. I stood gazing at this architectural marvel for some time. "The Ottomans were really gifted by Allah" I thought. I was awakened from my state of awe when the thought of Sultan's letter crossed my mind and continued walking to my destination, the palazzo. 

Sultan's men were waiting for me at the gate. They informed that a masterpiece of the great miniaturist Ismail Effendi that Sultan recently received had been stolen and I was one among the many suspects. I had seen the painting. It was a true wonder and to be honest, I had wished if I possessed it. Its exquisite work and embellishments would have had any person longing to possess it. But I had not stolen it. I wondered why the Sultan would suspect me. It was so harsh, being a loyal servant of the Sultan for years, how could he distrust me!?

The only way to find out the culprit was by torturing methods. The torturers took me and others branded as suspects into a dark room. We were stripped naked, Now, awaiting the torture, I cried to Allah. "How can they punish me? I am Innocent..Allah ! give me strength!! " A man closed in me with a dagger, or was it a dagger? I was not sure. I didn't dare to look.Soon I felt sharp pain, wincing, I jumped, and screamed at the top of my voice.

The pain subsided, I opened my eyes, to my amazement, I was sitting in my bed, sweating. I didn't have the long magnificent beard nor the fair, golden skin nor the ostentatious Turkish clothes. Grandfather was lighting the lamp. I saw the beautiful picture of lord Krishna, Ganesha and other deities in the room. Grandfather had just started praying. 

I shoved the blanket and discovered the book I had left half-read last night- "My name is Red" by Orhan Pamuk. I took the book in my hands and buried my face in its pages. I reflected again my time in Istanbul and its mystic beauty, the people I met there, Gulben, the smell of lavender that hung in the air, the blue mosque and the handsome Hikmet or..Ishak. 

Grandfather was getting irritated of the fact that I had not bothered to get up and offer my prayers. I quickly got up, prayed to lord and hurried downstairs. I stared aesthetically at the gorgeous morning sky, still, very different to the amethyst sky I saw in my dreams, where Eagles hovered over the myriad tombs and minarets of Istanbul. A strange hollow feeling haunted me, I wish I was still there, to prove my innocence to Sultan and continue my life as Hikmet, in the city where east meets west and which happens to be the most intelligent city of the world, Istanbul.

It was a warm Sunday afternoon. Rahul sat in his bed, hunching over the bulky Anatomy book, trying to learn the relations of axillary artery. The 1st average examinations were just around the corner and he was determined to live up to the expectations of his family. He was the first ever medico his family produced, so the pressure of expectations on him was huge. Though his eyes were fixed on the large text book, his mind transgressed to various thoughts, from the good looking girls in his class to the beautiful places he wished to visit. As he sat musing in his thoughts and occasionally in the anatomy of upper limb, a sudden, sharp pain bolted across his lower abdomen. He winced in pain and hurriedly examined his abdomen. The bulge which he had discovered in the inguinal region few days before was now more prominent. He had also been experiencing pain in his genitals and attacks of constipation but refrained from revealing it to his parents due to his shy nature.

The agonizing incident brought a great deal of anxiety in him and he decided to consult Dr.Ramachandran; who was the Associate professor of surgery in the medical school that Rahul attended. Rahul succumbed to the embarrassment of exposing his private parts as Dr.Ramachandran carefully examined the lump in the scrotal region with his index finger. As the doctor found the boy experiencing a "catching" pain during straining efforts, he confirmed his diagnosis as "Inguinal hernia". Rahul's parents were soon called upon and Dr.Ramachandran conveyed the news for operating it at the earliest. The surgery, by no means was a jeopardizing one, but it meant that Rahul would miss his examinations and a few classes. Meanwhile, Rahul enjoyed the care and attention he got from his fellow mates while he was admitted in the hospital.

The surgery went on as scheduled. Dr.Ramachandran had no hiccups as he performed herniorraphy meticulously, reverting the herniated coils of intestine back to the abdominal cavity and closing off the Hassalbach's triangle through which the hernia had occurred. Rahul wondered what the doctor did as he lay anxiously under the influence of the local anesthesia. The surgery concluded in few hours and Dr.Ramachandran was all smiles.

" Did I scare you son? I just put a wayward coil back on track!Dr.Ramachandran said with a gentle grin.

Rahul recovered soon and within a fortnight, he was back in medical school. He had a lot of pride sharing his experience and was totally relishing being the center of attention among his mates. Nevertheless, at the back of his mind, he was terribly sad not to have given a shot at the exams for which he had prepared well. 

The first two hours were lecture classes on Nerve and Muscle physiology by Dr.Rita; something he never enjoyed. Rahul was extremely passionate about Anatomy and was waiting impatiently to get into the dissection hall. Just as Dr.Rita finished delivering the Physiology lecture, Rahul got up with exuberance, put on his white coat and joined the mass exodus of bodies covered in white coats to the dissection hall. As he climbed hastily the fleet of stairs, he sensed the familiar stench from the cadavers, up in the dissection hall begining to permeate his olfactory mucosa. He looked at the notice board and was surprised to find that the dissection of thorax had finished and that of the inguinal region had started.
The notice board read

"Today's dissection-INGUINAL REGION"

This was the region that caused him miss almost a week of dissection and a series of exams and the very reason made him eager to learn about his anatomical shortcoming. As soon as he entered the dissection hall, he occupied his seat near the cadaver and began reading Cunningham's manual of anatomy. He avidly waited for the Professor to arrive at the table. Soon Dr.Asha arrived, greeted all the students, inquired about Rahuls recovery and gave directions to carry out the dissection. It was Rahuls turn today to dissect as he had missed several dissections off late.

Rahul grew nervous, his hands shook as he carefully marked the points of incision. Then with the scalpel, incised the dark, cold, wrinkled and hardened skin of the cadaver. The whitish layer of superficial fascia began to show as he reflected the skin. He exposed the superficial inguinal ring and soon Dr.Asha came in for a closer look. She examined the structures coming out of the ring. There was obviously, the spermatic cord and the Ilioinguinal nerve but there was something else, large and uncanny. Dr. Asha was excited, "Yes! It is a hernia!!" She exclaimed. Rahul was awe-struck. He was witnessing the case, which taunted him for days, right in front of his eyes! He couldn't fathom his state of mind, was he happy? Excited? or Scared? His mouth became dry, Dr.Asha looked at him in amazement. Soon, Rahul became busy showing off what he just discovered to his mates and a very eventful dissection concluded. As Rahul packed the dissected region with glycerin and cotton, he stared at the face of the cadaver. 

"Strong man, died with the agonizing hernia, untreated.." he thought. It was for the first time that Rahul actually thought about the human which once lived in the cadaver, a human being, with ambitions, feelings, emotions and senses as his very own. But now, it lay cold and naked, waiting for its body to be eviscerated. He finished packing the inguinal region with utmost respect to the cadaver. As he left the dissection hall, chattering with friends,  he glanced at the quote embossed in the wall, that he always cherished.
"Let the laughter flee and the talking cease, this is the place where death delights to help the living"

Dredging up the caliginous memories of those times, I find the day my father introduced me to the world of philately. I was a small kid then, just over 6 years old. As I had the habit of collecting any ken-speckle object which was small enough to keep in my shelf, I welcomed this offer whole-heartedly. Much to my delight, father presented me with a plastic box full of stamps. The beautiful colors, the various dimensions in which they came and their characteristic serrated contours made me fall in love with stamps.

As years passed by, I became more inclined towards collecting stamps. My father helped my collection robust. Initially, by presenting me with an inoculum of stamps and gradually he added more to the collection by bringing home stamps from the letters he encountered at his workplace. He also taught me the procedure to carefully peel off the stamps from their envelopes by dipping in water for sometime and finally drying them over a towel.

Stamps introduced the world to me. I would keenly study the names of countries and places which were imprinted on the sealed stamps. The European stamps attracted me the most. Their intricate designs and the portraits of good looking, pink colored people easily made them my favorites. Growing up in a very modest town, I had little opportunities to learn about the world. We had a television set with channels which were mostly indigenous and at those times, internet was totally alien for most people including me. However, each of the stamps i collected added a drop of knowledge in me. Stamps provided me with multifarious information. I learned about the countries, cultures, the flora and fauna endemic to a region and on occasions the capitals and even the famous personalities and events of a particular country. The stamps were actually a kaleidoscope through which I viewed the world.

One day, as I lay in my bed appreciating my stamps, a particular set of 'ugly' looking stamps in my collection caught my attention. They did not have the date on them but certainly appeared very old. Most of them had British Kings on them which suggested they might be those at the times of the British Empire. I was shocked to find that in one of them, the script was in Malayalam. I had never come across a stamp scripted in Malayalam. I inquired about these particular set of stamps to my father and learned that these were passed on to my father from my great grandfather. It was then I realized our family had a legacy of philately and what I possessed in my shelf was a treasure inherited from one generation to another. 

But I had found only a few of these uncanny, old stamps! "My great grandpa's collection could not be so meager" I reflected. The next time I visited my ancestral house, I was determined to explore my great grandpa's trunk. As I had severe dust allergy, I had a lot of trouble persuading my grandfather to allow me to access the old trunks. Owing to my persevering efforts, he finally gave in. Enthusiastically, I climbed up the narrow, rickety old stairs, and headed straight to Grandfathers room. As I explored the trunk, I was dumbfounded to find more of these small old, soiled stamps. So my mission was accomplished. But that was not all, to my surprise, I found a handful of brownish copper coins. In various coins I appreciated the embossed images of King George, Queen Victoria, Elizabeth and the bald figure of King Edward who interestingly didn't have a crown. I didn't know how to thank my late great grandpa. I was in sheer jubilation, in a state of mind that a pirate would have been in after unearthing a treasure. This event also helped me take an active interest in numismatics.

For few more years, the stamps came in nice and handsome into my big "stamp stock book".
I managed to establish trade with some of my friends and was able to build an impressive collection. As I entered my teens, for some strange reason, my collection ceased to grow. It would be the beginning of a crisis, father no longer brought stamps, I too started losing interest as I seldom got any stamps. "It's the couriers" father would reply to me whenever I asked him why the letters don't come. "Couriers!!" I cursed,  whatever that meant, I hated them. I wondered why the couriers didn't bear stamps. Later I found that the couriers were a faster means of sending information. By this time other means of written communication like e-mails, sms, faxes, etc had also become well established. I winced in these developments for they ruined my kingdom of philately. I felt like a powerless King in a democracy.

Today, as I browse through my priceless collections, I virtually find myself sailing through the chronicle of my life. Each stamp has a memory to go with it, a story to tell. I wonder what the present day kids will have to imbibe and preserve from the couriers and the e-mails other than the mere information that they carry. Still, it is a pleasure to see philately communities and actively trading enthusiasts in the internet. It would be the only ray of hope, for the perishing philatelist in me.

The conclusion of 1st M.B.B.S examinations were more of a relief to me than anything else. With the burden put out of my head, I was desperate to get to my hometown. This time, to visit my lone grandmother who lives in a very remote area of Palakkad called Karimkulam. My journey would be in two parts, initially to my beloved village, Pulappatta, and after spending a day there, straight to Karimkulam ["straight" would be a misnomer as i would have to take at least 3 buses to get to my destination.]. This was the first time I was to visit my grandmother all alone. My relatives in and around Karimkulam and my grandma herself had a notion I was not bothered of their well being and hence this visit was a conscious attempt on my part to prove them wrong. 

I started my journey to Karimkulam early morning in an inept looking bus. Courtesy of the side seat I occupied, I was able to appreciate the breathtaking milieu that my hometown always offered. As the bus sped through the dilapidated road, I could see the rubber plantations gradually give way to the vernacular trees and shrubs. The plantations were a part of modernization. Though initially implemented by the Christians, nowadays, every resident of my village seems to have a rubber farm in his share of land. My ostentatious carry bag seemed to catch the attention of many people as they tried to figure out what I must be doing in this very austere town.

Much to my delight, I reached Palakkad [my first stop] sooner than I expected. The first part of my journey had not been pleasing. I found it extremely gruesome to sit in the bus hunching over my bag. It was an ordeal to walk in the scorching town of Palakkad. The sun, as it is in Palakkad was unforgiving. I made my way to the next bus station on foot, luckily I got the next bus anon, it was standing in ignition, so had to leave soon. I observed the people closely, unlike those in Calicut, most of them were old fashioned, the youngsters wore hilarious clothes that made them look like outdated Tamil movie stars and there was an air of confidence in all of those faces. 

As I bellied up to Karimkulam, i could see the contrast between it and Pulappatta. Though both places were in the same district, there were myriad differences between them. Both were beautiful in their own ways. Pulappatta was cooler, always in the canopy of rain clouds while Karimkulam, though jam-packed with rice fields, was much like a Savannah region. I was thoroughly relishing the surroundings my eyes feasted upon. The rice fields seemed like a green carpet laid out in an endless landscape, with the Western ghats towering above the horizon. The black palms, which i fancy to be endemic to this region [at least in Kerala] stood tall in between the rice fields. Occasionally, the brooks appeared, the adolescents hung out there, fishing and chatting. I fancied being one of them, totally free and enjoying life in their peer group.

After hours of waiting, I finally reached my destination. As I peregrinated through the dusty road, many natives eyed me with surprise. I returned all the smiles from the innocent faces I saw on my way to Granny's house. She was ecstatic on my arrival, gave me a hug and welcomed home. I ate all the dishes she had made specially for me. Our neighbor also showed her love by regaling me with a piece of fried fish. I was over-whelmed by the love and care i got from my grandmother and the relatives in the vicinity. I spend the rest of the day musing in a book I had brought from Calicut. 

I settled myself in the balcony, gazing at the Western Ghats, gleaming in the twilight. As I scanned through the massive black mountains, I lost track of time. The sun had disappeared and the sky became atomized with stars. It has been a long time since i saw such a magnificent sky, I tried to figure out the constellations, the big dipper, the Orion [but without luck, I had forgotten them] and i was lost in the aura of the mysterious universe. The silhouettes of the black palms now disappeared totally. Only sound that evaded into the air were the holy hymns from the lips of my grandmother. It was a magical evening.

I had made this visit to prove a point or two that I am old enough to travel alone. But I found that I really did enjoy my visit and I was overjoyed that I was able to give my solitary grandma a day to cherish with me. I made my journey back to Pulappatta, with each and every part of me wanting to come back sooner or later to this wonderful village.

It was a heavenly morning in my village; Pulappatta. As I brushed my teeth, I saw the sun rays scatter, hitting the methodically arranged rubber trees; perfectly demonstrating the Tyndall effect. I always feel myself more content in my village; free from the irritatingly boisterous city life and of course, the hectic studies. I crossed into oblivion as I mused in the nature around me. Soon, I saw grandfather gathering flowers for the morning rituals. By the time he finished plucking them, I had managed to finish bathing in the pond. Days without my mom, dad and sis have always been monotonous but nevertheless being alone with grandparents always helped me to reflect upon myself.

As I sat occupied with thoughts in the verandah, my eyes set at the gate, I saw a conspicuous red figure emerging through the lush green surroundings. I wondered if it was an oracle, but there was no jingling of bells. As the figure approached our house, his looks made me realize it was a mendicant. He didn’t seem to take notice of me as he ignored our front door and walked towards our accessory door. I moved hastily towards the mendicant, he looked straight into my eyes and exclaimed “Ah, you must be Vaisakh, son of Sasi!” I was shocked; I asked in disbelief “How do you know me?” He didn’t reply, but continued staring at me in amazement and finally offered a wide grin. He quietly settled himself in the door step. I could see him reciting holy verses under his breath. Owing to his untidy beard and mustache, the contours of his face was extremely tough to make out. I tried to recollect this person, but in vain.  Finally he asked me to fetch grandfather. I ran to the pooja room, grandfather had not finished praying.
“Some beggar is at our doors, he called out my name!”  I said frantically

It must be Appu” Grandfather replied. 

Even though I’m seeing him for the first time, I had heard about Appu, the mendicant. He had been associated with our family for generations but it has been years since he had last visited us, probably the reason why I don’t recall him. I remembered granny saying that this mendicant was particularly fond of my dad.  But I still couldn’t fathom how he recognized me, ‘may be because I resembled my father in looks’ I reflected. We soon approached the mendicant; with much effort, he stood up as a token of respect and greeted my grandfather. It’s now that I realized he was terribly old.

I’m not the same any more, I just turned 80!”
The mendicant spoke with a slight humor, embarrassed with his paroxysmal efforts to rise up. I felt sorry for him. He pulled me closer, made me sit beside him and asked me when we returned from Varanasi and as I expected, enquired about the well being of my dad. Like a baby, I replied politely to his questions. His body had a mystic odor. Though he looked as if he hadn’t bathed for months, his body smelled fresh herbs, a smell so captivating that no other deodorant could match. I enjoyed his company. As we talked; he explained to me how much he longed to go on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Varanasi, which is considered to be the final destination of most yogis and mendicants. I wondered how blessed I was to spend 3 years at this city.

My grandmother soon came with a banana leaf and started serving the specially made items for the mendicant. As he ate, he shared a lot of experiences, from the various temples he had been lucky enough to visit to his own family matters. The innocence with which he spoke, the compassion and benevolence in his eyes made me wonder how men like him with divine virtues could thrive in this devilish world.

The mendicants are devotees of Lord Subramanian. On the 1st Monday of a new Malayalam month, they beg, moving from house to house collecting food grains, money and even clothes. Families having a good liaison with the mendicants, like ours would offer free meals to him. A custom known as “aandi-oottu” involves presenting the mendicants of this clan with food and valuables, prior to their pilgrimage.

I had wished to come to Varanasi when your family was there, now since you have come back, my chances of making it is very feeble” he said, I could feel a regret in his tone, which made my heart weep. Again, wrestling with his own body, he got up, placed his hand on my head and blessed me. Then he gave a handful of the holy “bhasma” to each of us and finally completed the thankful gesture by blowing the white magnificent conch.

I desperately wanted to spend more time talking to this genuine and lovable old man. But then, it was a long walk back for him and I didn’t expect him to have the luxury of being driven in a vehicle. He wished me good luck and again pressed me to convey his regards to my dad, I promised him I would and sincerely wished in my mind he would make it to Varanasi. The ailing mendicant now walked back to the lush green from where he emerged, dragging him along the way.

Today, the mendicant is just a memory, his dream of making it to the holy city, unfulfilled …

I had my first encounter with a dog at the tender age of 9, we had just arrived home after spending a weekend at our ancestral house. The desperation to join my cricketing friends made me run ablaze towards the ground, only to be chased by my neighbor’s unchained Pomeranian. It would have been a very comical scene for a spectator but only I knew the horror I was going through with the fuzzy critter going mad behind me. Lady-luck was not by my side as I tumbled after stamping on a clumsily placed stone and fell chest first. The dog dug his teeth into my knee, rest was all tears. I was also embarrassed. The thought that I would face those needle pricks made me make a meal of the situation. My friends rushed to me, drove the dog away, examined the wound and carried me home for I didn’t have the mental strength to rise up. Soon my dad and uncle took me to the district hospital and I faced the inevitable anti-rabies injections.

This Incident evoked in me an extreme sense of canine phobia, I was sick at the site of dogs, even a dog’s bark would get my heart pounding in my throat and I never dared to go to any of my friend’s houses guarded by dogs.

Years passed by and during one of our routine visits to our ancestral home, I learnt through our house-maid that my neighborhood friend, Pravi had adopted a new dog! That’s the last thing I wanted, a dog in the neighborhood would definitely restrict my freedom. I had my first look at this dog when Pravi came to showcase his pet to our family. Light tan colored common Indian puppy, I examined him closely and was not amused as he was a mediocre type, nothing special and he was a bit shy too. My dad, a big dog-lover immediately became fond of him, thanks to the dog’s looks and mannerisms. The dog was named “Tinu”.

Owing to the very sparse population in and around our area, Tinu had the luxury of being set free. Much to my horror, he even managed to find stray friends. Once Tinu started developing qualities such as loyalty, I found it very hard to co-exist with him patrolling the area just in front of our house, where I and my cousins played cricket. He was soon becoming an obnoxious little animal (at least for me). As my grand mother used to feed him, Tinu extended his loyalty and territory towards our house.

My extreme fear and anxiety to interact with Tinu made my Grand mother make an effort to get Tinu acquainted with me, and so she made the dog come close and sniff me, I was terrorized as he moved his muzzle towards my shin but after his gesture, I felt better,” maybe all dogs aren’t too bad after all” I thought. The very next day, I made a very courageous effort to visit Pravi’s house, hiding my sub-conscious phobia. I opened the gate, there was no sign of Tinu, maybe he was sleeping, I was not aware if he had a kennel, so I tip-toed on to the front door and rung the calling bell. The door opened and to my horror, Tinu leaped towards me, I didn’t have a second thought, my sympathetic system made me run as fast as I could and luckily, I succeeded in reaching home before the dog caught me.

I was shell-shocked. How on earth can a dog who behaved so nicely to me yesterday react in such a manner! Pravi came running behind the dog and asked me if I was all-right. I turned away without a reply. “Hell with the dog” I thought, my dad tried to convince me Tinu had mistaken me for someone else and unsurprisingly, defended the dog. I cursed the dog and I wanted him to be chained.

My wish was not to be granted, Tinu continued to come to our house to take his daily share of eatables, which made me sick. In fact, after the incident, he started becoming more ubiquitous. Soon with every visit, Tinu started becoming a part and parcel of our family. Even though I tried my best to keep away from him, he would cross our cricket pitch when we play or interrupt our games or chase our ball. His favorite hang-out though, was the cemented floor we had outside our kitchen as some one would be happy enough to feed him if he sat there gazing towards the kitchen. Sometime we kids used to feed him with home made crunchies or the traditional “idli” and on rare occasions, leftovers of the meat and bones.

It’s during one of my recent visits that I found Tinu walking with a she-dog. I immediately sensed love in the air; his girl-friend though, was disliked by my family as it had a very bad habit of urinating in our backyard. Soon, she gave birth to Tinu’s 3 cute little puppies.

Recently, I sensed the aging in Tinu as he was not as active as he used to be. Lethargy had crept in him and he spent most of the time lying down. Nevertheless, he was not a mellow; there was not a question about his loyalty. He protected both his master’s house and our house. He barked ferociously and scared almost any stranger who would pass by, be it a post man or the common vagabonds.

Few months back, I went to my village alone to meet my grand parents, I spend a couple of days and had good time out but some thing was missing, some strange feeling of evanescence, I ignored it as I thought maybe it was because my parents were not there. Just prior to my departure, when I was tying my shoe laces I asked grand mother, “Where is Tinu? I didn’t see him this time around” almost instantaneously she replied with a long face “I actually hid from you as you may get sad, Tinu is no more, the dog catchers took him away” I felt so hollow, "so, that was the strange missing in the air" i thought. His face flashed across my mind, It was then I realized I had an attachment towards him, in fact we were all attached, I thought about Pravi and how distort he would be. As my Grandparents were alone most of the time, Tinu was a source of happiness for them and I knew his absence brought a great deal of sorrow in them.

I did not dare to ask more about him or to think where he might be, where ever he is, he will miss our beautiful village and his puppies. I wanted to curse the dog catchers but it’s of no use, Tinu will never return. I fastened my backpack’s clip, bid good bye to my grandparents and started walking, this time, without the fear of Tinu shadowing me, but with a handful of memories of our beloved dog, who will live in our hearts for a long time.


So,what is meanness? I'd like to correlate it with the act of snatching a candy out of the tiny sausage shaped fingers of a  child.Now,I know the readers of this post would be frowning now,but friends,i discovered recently that being 'mean' is an extremely efficient way of grabbing attention and honor.Embarrass someone in front of public and you become a star!

I just hate to pull in names in my posts but I'v been forced to write about one such personality who has been gaining popularity for his extremely mean,arrogant and cocky nature.He is named Piers Morgan and you would be very familiar with this name if you are a viewer of reality talent hunt show 'America's Got Talent'.Mr.Morgan happens to be a celebrity Judge on this show for reasons unknown.May be his earlier position as the editor of some British tabloid has to do something with it.

Mr.Morgan is just an example among thousands who are gaining popularity for their arrogant and unforgiving nature, a vast majority of them being British.Maybe being nice,soft and sweet is old fashioned and I find that reality show Judges are taking full advantage of it.I actually think that people with attention deficit tend to be mean.Anyway Mr.Morgan wont complain,he seems to be enjoying his time in television and filling his already fat pockets.To be honest ,I'm a big fan of this handsome Englishman and its his meanness and straightforwardness that impressed me the most.

Unlike a typical Indian state which eats,drinks and sleeps Cricket, Kerala has a unique Sport mantra. Here, football is a sport which enjoys tremendous popularity, which is at its Zenith in the Malabar region. FIFA world cup 2010, South Africa, was just the right placebo for those desperate football fanatics. An opportunity to show zeal and support that they relished to the maximum extent.

I realized the degree of football enthusiasm amongst my fellow mates when I was stopped on my tracks to donate a humble amount of rupees 10 for the so called ‘Spanish football association of Calicut Medical college’. Immediately the thought crossed my mind as to why I should donate valuable money to show support to a country miles away! Moreover, being an admirer of the British, I was actually supporting England. Anyway I made my humble donation in order to oblige my mates.

The spread of the pandemic football fever was etched in the streets; I saw posters and flags of different football Giants namely Argentina and Brazil grow in number, boasting about the strengths of their respective teams. The posters are all well designed and made pompous to satisfy the much deemed chairmen of the fans association.

An average poster costs about 600 to 700 rupees and of course the ones with bigger dimensions and graphics set up by the over-zealous fans would cost more; If my eyesight is within normal limits, I could observe at least ten posters in a distance of 1 kilometer while traveling in bus and hence it can be inferred that there would be thousands of such posters just in Malabar.

If we could channel this huge amount of money wasted in showing support to other nations into football academies, we could breed world class players in a decade’s time. I still believe its our attitude and ideology that makes us nincompoops.

The thousands of Brazilian and Argentinean fans had their mouths shut when their teams crashed out without even reaching the semi-finals. A very loyal Brazilian fan proved his point by suiciding in the grief of his teams glorious defeat! The posters and flags still stand in streets though, not even good to be used as scarecrows.

End result-Waste of time, money and energy. It’s a shame our mighty nation with a billion people cannot showcase a team good enough to compete at the world stage. Let’s start acting better and of course it’s never late to realize our foolishness. Nevertheless, I can be satisfied my 10 rupee went to the champions…

I was tagged by Netha .

Here is the tag...

1.What is your current obsession?
Well...My mobile definitely..

2. What are you wearing today?
Right now t-shirt and 3/4ths.

3. What’s for dinner?
Rice,curry and eggs:)

4. What’s the last thing you bought?
A milk shake.

5. What are you listening to right now?
Cheryl Cole-3 words.

6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?
A very good pal of mine,always lifts my spirits....Netha.

7. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
Scotland,in the country side,preferably with a farm.

8. What are your must-have pieces for summer?
Lemonade,White shirt, deodorant.

9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?

10. Which language do you want to learn?

11. What’s your favourite quote?
"Miracle is not to fly in air or walk on water but to walk on earth"

12. Who do you want to meet right now?
My schoolmates definitely.

13. What is your favourite color?

14. How long do you spend reading books?
Very less,these days

15. What is your dream job?

Doctor without a doubt

16. What’s your favourite magazine?
Well... not a magazine fan but yeah 'Overdrive' is good..

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?
Will I guitar for that cash??

18. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?
Fashion faux what???? No idea..

19. Who according to you is the most over-rated style icon?
Kareena Kapoor.

20. What kind of haircut do you prefer?

21. What are you going to do after this?
Study human physiology.

22. What are your favorite movies?

23.How many tabs are turned on in your browser right now?
Google account,Bee mp3,Newcastle united...that makes 3

24. What inspires you?
The white coat.
25. Give us three styling tips that always work for you:
Don't comb your hair,Always have something around your wrist,avoid gold.

26. What do you do when you “have nothing to wear” (even though your closet’s packed)?
Good Question.

27. Coffee or tea?

28. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?
Listen to Coldplay songs,it just pumps energy into my blood!!

30. Which other blogs do you love visiting?
My dad's ,My pal Netha's

31. Favorite Dessert/Sweet?

32. Favorite Season?

33. If I come to your house now, what would u cook for me?
Noodles,I ain't know anything else

34. What is the right way to avoid people who purposefully hurt you?

Ignore them.

35. What are you afraid of the most?

I'm ONLY afraid of my lord.

36:What brings a smile on your face instantly?
A friends call.

37: What is the first thing you do once you have booted your system?
Check my music library.

38:What do you love to do when it is drizzling?
Stare at the coconut trees and enjoy nature.

39:My Question:Animal you wish to feed?

Rules for those who are tagged:
Respond and rework – answer these questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own, and add one more question to the list. Then tag eight or ten other new set of people.

I would love to pass on the tag and award to :

1.Sasidharan-My dear dad
2.Sree Vidya-Mt cute sissy

From the fast cars to the glamorous supermodels and finally to the popping of the champagne bottle cork, you guessed it, it’s the world of F1[Formula 1].
‘Motto: speed up that damn machine until your head starts spinning.’
I feel pity for the followers of F1 whom according to me waste their precious time watching a strange looking car going nuts around a circuit making an offensive noise that almost blows their eardrums.

F1 is big business; the franchisees invest millions into it. Thanks to Mr. Vijay Mallya and his Force India team, our nation has also stamped its claim in the F1 arena. The sponsorship is also nothing short of immaculate. But I just cannot fathom how such a heresy can prevail in a world that is running short of petroleum fuels.

The modern F1 car is a truly credible machine. It can easily touch speeds up to 350 Km/hr or more and the acceleration is mind-blowing. An average F1 car drinks about 80 liters of fuel in a single pit stop [please bear with me if the statistics are not accurate]. Usually the race length is around 300 odd kilometers and there are about 2-3 pit stops in a full fledged race. And of course we do need fuel for the practice and qualifying sessions. So it’s crystal clear that there is some serious fuel consumption in this business. [My views also extend to other professional races such as moto gp, WRC, NASCAR, etc.]

Lewis Hamilton, the F1 superstar got charged some months back in France and now recently in Australia for exceeding speed limits in the national highways. Poor chap, must be finding it hard to take his foot off the accelerator pedal!!
So much of havoc is being created just for an adrenaline rush! Waste of fuel, energy and time that’s what I think this business is. I do request readers of this blog to think about the concept of professional racing.
A day will come when the machine will remain thirsty in its pit stop, the dooms day of F1 world!

It’s the festive season in my village; the temple is all set for welcoming the oracle. Dressed in bright red and holding the holy sword, the oracle starts his day with energy and vigour, likely to get more intense as the day progresses. Few local villagers accompany the oracle to collect rice grains and money from the houses that lie in the vicinity of the temple. It is intended to benefit the temple workers and the poor.

The festival means a lot to the villagers. It is meant to bring prosperity and good luck to the village and so, the oracle is considered to be a person through which the mighty goddess conveys her blessings to the people [Oracles are usually associated with temples that worship goddesses].
Anxious people await the oracle to arrive in their houses and bless them. Tension is always in the air when the oracle arrives at the house. He runs around the house maneuvering him through the narrow corridors throwing rice grains. This ritual is believed to purify every corner of the house. Children hide desperately, too afraid of the oracles enthusiasm with the sword in his hand. The long hair, dark skin and bright red clothing with an enterprising sword in his hand make a fearful prospect for the kids. The blessing ceremony is traditionally done by placing the blunt end of the sword on the devotees head, often turns out to be a nightmare for the younger members of the family. This marks the end of the oracles duties, now the family head shows his gratitude by offering the oracle rice grains and money. The oracle is now all set to move on to next house and repeat the rituals.

The oracle finishes blessing the houses by dusk and starts his venture towards the temple along with the local villagers who accompanied him to the houses.
The jingle of bells as he walks on vigorously cuts through the tranquility prevailing in the village. His energy levels now begin to increase in an exponential fashion as he approaches the temple. It reaches its maximum on arrival at the temple. The people greet him with prayers. The deafening sound of instruments and the mystic smell of holy smoke create an atmosphere that sets fire to the dynamite waiting to explode in the oracle and he bursts into dancing and jumping vigorously. A strange energy runs through his blood, he cuts his head time and again and blood pours out like lava overflowing from a volcano. The temple now would have definitely evoked a sense of chaos in a young individual. The oracle continues to dance in the bedlam. Villagers pray with desperation and after several minutes of self-mutilation, the oracle calms down. The people cover his wounds with turmeric powder to check the overwhelming bleeding. The oracle sits exhausted.

The villagers believe God himself incarnated into the oracles body as for he knew no pain when he cut through his head. The oracle was in another world for several minutes, where he had no family, no belongings, no emotions, not even a body of his own. The power of faith in the goddess, the rigid feeling that the goddess will bless the village through him made his soul imbibe an energy that is alien to the world of science.
It has been a long day for the oracle, his deeds done, mission accomplished. Now he walks back carrying his humble share of rice grains and money through the murky night to his home, where his family awaits for his selfless soul.  

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