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Until I opened the news paper on the morning of the 15th of February I was not aware that another of those ‘DAYS” had come and gone the day before , smacking me right on the occiput…
The so-called Valentine’s Day!
There was a time when this event was not well-known around these parts where I live. During those times I even used to think that ‘Valentine’ was some sort of fearsome animal like ‘Wolverine” or a blood-sucking vampire!

However today’s ‘youth’ , straining at their leash to get themselves into a bind , have started “celebrating” the event in such a way that my grand mother , had she been alive today, would have fainted , watching it! And recently the “celebrations” have reached such a pass that my grand mother ( the same one as before, mind you! ), had she been alive today, would have sat up from her faint and committed suicide!

In the early days,  love was considered to be a very private affair . If ‘A’ loved ‘B’ , or for that matter vice versa, it was their own private business not to be ‘tom-tomed’ about from the roof top! No one poked his nose into it unless he/she was a parent of the ‘erring couple’ . Also such love was conveyed by them through coy glances and through rolled-up pieces of paper . These were exchanged by the duo when they met in lonely places clandestinely , when no one was looking!
Now, even if one doesn’t want to poke his nose into these affairs , he gets drawn in willy-nilly and it is thrust up his nose by the hype-mongering marketing guys and entertainment establishments . These folks smell a ready-made means in it to make a fast buck and fill their coffers! And love be damned!

During the last Valentine’s Day, some Malls hereabouts hosted these events with much gusto and noisy celebrations ! So much so,  Mister  Cupid who happened to be strolling past these Malls with hands in the pant pockets , deep in thought and minding his own business ,   got himself sucked into it to join the fun and add to the ‘celebrations’!

Students thronged the Mall Halls where the boisterous merry-making was in full swing , at a time when they should all have been home and poring over their text books under shaded lamps! On the contrary, they danced and hollered as though some banshee’s spirit had got into them ! They milled around like ants on a dead cockroach !

While all these celebrations were going on, another set of “moral policing” enthusiasts who wanted to save the country from untold cultural degradation mounted ‘counter attacks’ using various missiles such as rotten tomatoes etc. on some of the revelers who then paused and started thinking whether after all, was it all worth it?

Celebrating such “Days” at the drop of a hat is now the in-thing. And there are plenty of those ‘Days” to pick from. I made a recent search with the Google and was flabbergasted at what Mr. Google came up with!

For instance, did you know that there is something called the “International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation” ? It falls on Feb 6th!
It is reported that more than 125 million girls and women alive today have been at the receiving end of this horrible practice which is observed in some 29 countries spanning Africa and Middle East !
And that “Day” comes just 8 days before the ‘Valentine’s Day’ ! But no “Mall” ever thought of ‘celebrating’ it or even remembering it !
Probably because there is no money in it 🙂

Then there is the ‘Hug Day” on February 13th, though I don’t know what exactly one is supposed to do on that day except perhaps the most obvious thing:) !
Maybe a warm up towards the following ‘Valentine Day’?

Another “Day” that sent me into uncontrollable chuckles is the ‘Thinking Day” , falling on the 22nd of February!
Maybe we are supposed to ‘think’ only on that day and ‘act like mad ’ on all other 364 days!

I also came across a ‘World Sparrow Day” ( March 20th )! The sparrows would have been as perplexed about it as me, I am sure!
The “World Water Day” was another ‘head-knocker’ and it falls on March 22nd !
And wait , there is more…
There is a mind boggling candidate called the “Purple Day” which is scheduled for March 26th! In case you don’t know , if you add a dash of potassium permanganate to water on 22nd, ( the size of the ‘dash’ depending on the quantity of water you start with:-) ), it will turn purple by 26th or for that matter, even earlier! So there may be a ‘sibiling-like ’ connection between these two ‘Days”!

Every one knows the significance of April 1st… but do you know that April 15th is pegged as the “Day of Silence” ?
Wow! Which crank could have conceived this idea? Would he like to sell that to the warring folks in Syria ? You simply can’t walk into the gun fire , raise a hand and shout: ‘Hey, Stop all that noise for the day!” There will be some technical hitches in doing that… such as getting shot and killed 😉
Also our poor women folk would be hard put to observe that day:) It can become a big strain on their vocal chords !

Pregnant ladies please note! May 5th is the “Midwives Day” ( read: midwives’ non-working
day !)
If you happen to choose that day to deliver your load you will have to pull out the junior on your own! And you alone will be responsible for the consequences !
For example, a boy may emerge as a eunuch because you pulled it out by the wrong part of it’s body !
Moving on, 25th of May is set aside as the “Towel Day” ! To celebrate it in my own modest manner I think (not on Think Day ) that I should go out and get me a Turkish towel!

What really takes the cake is the ‘World Mosquitoes Day” which falls on August 20th!
As if bugging us right through most of the days (and nights) is not enough, now they have assigned this special Day to these ‘blood-thirsty terrorists’ to play hell with our sleep!
However there is a silver lining!
If we were to go by the habits of the practitioners the “May Day” who down all their tools on the 1st of May , we can hope that perhaps no mosquito in its right frame of mind will ever pick up its syringe and go to work on that day!

Not to be out done in this business , there are a few other ‘memorable’ days . For example there is the “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” on Sept. 19th ! ( Must have got the idea from Johnny Depp of the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean” )
There is also a “Global Hand washing Day” on Oct.15th! Imagine the gallons of water which will be wasted on that day by some 7.146 billions earthlings with unwashed hands! )

And don’t forget the “World Toilet Day” on November 19th! I think I don’t have to be explicit on what you all should be doing on that day!

world toilet day

All told, we have very few days left out of the 365 days of the year to be by ourselves and live our own “ Personal and Private Days”!

No, folks, I am not “Day” dreaming, !

 

 

 

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By drinking what I mean hereunder is the consumption of alcohol…Pure and simple!‭ ‬And some of my friends‭ ‬ are past masters at this game,‭ ‬honing it into a fine art‭!

In the olden days I had seen people in my home town thronging in the evenings to the thatched sheds with the sign board‭ “‬Toddy‭” ‬prominently displayed at the entrance,‭ and dotting ‬along the length and breath of this country of mine.‭ ‬At one end of the spectrum,‭ ‬there were old timers‭ ‬in the‭ ‬assemblage who are seasoned drinkers and‭ ‬thought‭ ‬nothing of being‭ ‬spotted in a toddy shop line-up.‭ ( ‬Those days the so-called‭ “‬decent guys‭” ‬didn’t go to a toddy shop for a sip of the elixir‭ ‬because it was considered to be‭ ‬infra-dig‭! ). ‬Then there were‭ ‘‬greenhorns‭’ ‬both young and old,‭ ‬who got goaded into making a visit by their friends for a bit of fun.‭ ‬These guys ‭ ‬tried to erase themselves from the face of the earth by covering their heads in a‭ ‬native towel but with poor results.

These toddy shops used to dish out both toddy‭ ‬and‭ ‘‬arrack‭’ ‬,‭ ‬the latter being a clear liquid‭ ‬,‭ ‬smelling like the bottom of a unwashed baby‭ ! ‬But it‭ ‬sported a kick like that of a‭ ‬mule in a foul mood!‭ ‬Usually the congregation ended up in a brawl‭ – ‬some got bounced‭ ‬out and some got bashed up.‭ ‬By midnight peace would return and the guests would walk out with their wallets still not dented too much.‭ ‬In today’s financial terms‭ ‬their night’s expenses would be less than the droppings of a constipated ant!

Those were the days…But it is a different story here now a days….

Today Toddy shops still exist‭ ‬but our youth have developed their own preferences.‭ ‬Bars are a favourite haunt‭ ‬,‭ ‬especially for those with well stuffed purses.‭ ‬But the real heros are the‭ “ ‬Oh‭! ‬For the open spaces ‭!” ‬guys who have elevated the act of drinking to mind blowing levels of perfection‭ ! They have even discovered ways to avoid overworking their kidneys when on a heavy drinking bout!

kidney bypass syndrom

 

Close to where I live there is a band of‭ “‬booze art lovers‭’ ‬who are the da Vinci’s of group tipping.‭ ‬Going on tour is a passion with them because they get an opportunity for‭ ‬downing the ale,‭ ‬without the cussed‭ ‬neighbours breathing down their necks , making life unbearable‭ and robbing ‬ them of a chance for a peaceful pow-wow with the bottle‭ !

This group‭ ‬ look upon‭ “‬Drink‭” ‬as their own sibling.‭ ‬One of them whom I know carries it in his car always‭ ‬,‭ ‬often relegating his‭ ‬10‭ ‬year old son and   wifie to the back seat‭ ‬so that he can install the bottle and other related paraphernalia on the front seat‭ ‬and hug it while driving‭!

Recently one group here went on a tour of the Western ghats for a spot of drinking extravaganza.‭ ‬The‭ ‬20‭ ‬seater van arrived in the‭ ‬colony right on Indian time‭ ‬,‭ ‬that is‭ ‬60‭ ‬minutes late‭ ‬:‭) ‬,‭ ‬because the driver too was an ardent fan of the inebriating brew‭! After a flurry of activity near the van door, i‬n went first the casks of beer,‭ ‬bottles of whisky,‭ ‬Rum,‭ ‬and Brandy,‭ ‬ all with extreme care, and then the wives and the kids in that order , the latter gettin not so much care..‭ ‬All the bottles were‭ ‬carried inside delicately by loving hands and stached away in the inner folds of the‭ ‬20‭ ‬seater,‭ ‬after some‭ ‬5‭ ‬seats were‭ ‘‬unseated‭ ‘ ‬and thrown out‭ ( ‬space crunch y’know‭!)‬.

It was around‭ ‬7‭ ‬o’clock in the morning and the morning sun was ascending‭ ‘‬unsteadly‭’ ‬-‭ ‬or so it seemed to the team leader who was still trying to figure out what went wrong during last night’s binge‭! The ground apperared to have acquired a mind of its own and still showed an annoying tendency to gyrate ! Balancing under the circumstances was difficult unless one downed yet another peg. ..and he did just that!
The driver,‭ ‬back from‭ ‬a soujourn at the lamp post to download the contents of his bladder crawled into his seat and honked twice,‭ ‬and then some‭ ‬,‭ ‬perhaps to assure himself that he had got into the right van ! He was quite familiar with the honks of his van which he could single out from a kilometer away, like the mother penquin who could recognise it’s baby’s cry from the cackle of a thousand others’ ‭!

‭The revellers trooped in one by one, kids and baggage in tow, looking left and right to ensure that they are not too conspicuous … By 9 am all were in and relaxing…

‭“Shall we start?”

‭Asked an impatient reveller.

‭“ Shall we start what? The van or on the bottle?”
‭Quipped anoter impatient one.

‭“ Why not both ?”
‭ Suggested a more practical impatient guy and this was welcomed with much enthusiasm.
‭It was followed by two ‘pops’ , one made by the driver gunning his engine and the other by the decapping of the beer bottle…

‭The procession was on its way…

‭Half way to the destination during the ensuing revelry someone suddenly noticed the absence of the team leader! Frantic consultaions about his possible whereabouts were underway . Under the seats, on the the seats and over the seats in the luggage racks , no stone was unturned but all searches came up with nautch! In the end a non-plussed group decided to push on , and leader be damned!

‭Back home in the colony a desolate half-drunk was seen ambling around without aim , mourning under his liquir-smelling breath

“The B******s ditched me !”

‭Adios!
‭Until next time…!

 

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Hi Folks, it is a long time since I have posted last time. But then better late than never:)

So here goes…….

4G Names

In the earlier days names were given to the kids at a naming ceremony, especially by the Hindus in Kerala. And each of those names had a meaning… some were the names of Gods and goddesses, some were the names of seasons ( girls) some from scriptures and some were those of their elders . The telephone directory also came quite handy while hunting for names! 

Whatever, they all had a meaning. Hindus had names like Narayanan, Krishnan, Shivan , Gopalakrishnan etc. Christians chose names like John , Philip ,Thomas , Joseph .. etc…Muslims also chose meaningful names for their kids… 

However , things have changed now! The modern names chosen are a jumble of alphabets, such as Biju, Saiju, cinchu ,bonju, shiju, shinu, tintu,buntu, to name a few …The list is endless as one can make all kinds of sounds and translate them into words! …I was pondering over this and was at a loss to understand how these guys could have pitched upon such atrocious names for their kids! Finally I concluded my research and decided that a possible modus operandi of theirs could be as follows! 

On the day of the naming ceremony I would imagine the entire household and friends ( and maybe some enemies if invited ) gathering in the yet-to -be- named- kid’s home on a fine morning… They would all sit down to wolf down a sumptuous breakfast ( at the expense of the hapless parents ) so that the chosen methodology for selection of names would produce the best results! A name that no one else would have thought of till then is the aim of the exercise…in other words a unique tag ! They then would pray to whatever god(s) they believe in, invoking His blessings and cluster around a round table with grave faces that would normally be sported by husbands whose prayer for a dead wife hadn’t quite struck pay dirt:)…

Next to the table would be kept a basket with pieces of paper carrying the letters of the alphabet of whatever language the name has to be in.. The fans are switched off so that the breeze from above does not produce any embarrassing results!

The eldest or oldest relative , usually an uncle on the mother’s side ,would now dig his right hand into the basket with half-closed eyes chanting some incomprehensible mumbo-jumbo . Surfacing with a bunch of paper slips in hand he would look upwards as though seeking God’s permission and also to ensure that the fans have stopped rotating…He would then throw the slips into the air above the round table with a flourish… As the pieces of paper come tumbling down some will land on the table-top. The balance would decend to decorate the floor below!

When the dust has settled down the slips that are on the table-top are read out, either from left to right or from right to left depending upon the language of the family and…. lo and behold! You have a brand new name for your new born, a unique name!
And to hell with what it means ….or what it doesn’t!

(click to enlarge)

names for enfente terribles

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The south west monsoon, the much-awaited ‘manna’ from the heavens is expected to hit the Indian peninsula some time in the first week of June this year.

Or so the weather man says!

Now weatherman in this part of the world is usually very good at “predicting” what the weather was yesterday, and that too with clock-like accuracy! However when it comes to tomorrow’s fare, he is embarrased and looks the other way because he usually fails miserably in his prections . In fact he has generally very little faith in his own prediction… so much so , the guy starts off for his office in the morning with out even a toy umbrella!

Time was when, as a small boy, I used wait eagerly for the arrival of the monsoon rains plumb on the 1st of June, year after year! The schools used to re-open after the summer vacation on June 1st in those days and the down pour would come calling on the dot, full of deresion and just to hound us kids.

I like rains, per se , especially the sound of rain drops drumming on the roofs and the water caressing the leaves in the trees around our house! I also love the ball-shattering noise of the thunder that would break out unexpectedly as though some joker had stuck a red hot iron up its ass without notice ! The bull frogs are overjoyed at the opportunity of getting their annual quota of sex! They make merry and sing long and drawn out lullabies through out the night which would make even an elephant go into “sleep mode”……..

I love to hear all that , as long as I remained indoors. Now schools being schools, there is no getting away with absenteeism especially on the first day because that was when your fate will made known! That is to say, whether you go up to your next higher class or dig in where you are sitting to ensure that the new comers from the lower class don’t usurp your seat! ( making the best of a bad bargain!) So, out I must go to attend the classes, into the lashing rains, juggling a bundle of text books, a half-broken umbrella with some of its ribs askew – which my dad should have replaced years ago-, and a tiffin box … all without a carry bag because in those days the school bags were unknown!

By the time I reach my school and find my way to my new class ( I always got the promotion without fail every year which surprised me as much as it surprised my daddy’o! ), I would be drenched to the skin … and late! So I have to stand outside the class room for the rest of that period in those wet and sticky clothes as a punishment for reporting late.

The rains would stop around noon time to allow the kids to return home for lunch ! But that is just an eye wash because the monsoon god and the weatherman are both out to get us for sure! So as soon as we step out of the school’s compound into the road the rains will start an encore with renewed vigour . And they invariably will last till I reach home.

After lunch I would spend a few minutes horsing around with the siblings in the drizzle , including running through puddles of water and splashing it all over mother’s freshly washed linen ( and in the process getting clubbed on the head ) And it is time now to walk back to the school but the rains would be lurking patiently around the corner with a club hidden behind its back ! It clobbers me once again all over my fresh shirt, taking some sort of sadistic pleasure while doing it!! It will then accompany me to the school like Mary’s lamb and by the time I reach my class I am once again bone-drenched.

It is 4pm.. the school peon rings the bell which is fashioned out of a piece of steel rail someone had pinched from the nearby railway yard aeons ago and the schooling time is over. We all burst out of our classes like shrieking banshees ,  carrying a close resemblance to a cluster of  of bats going out for their nightly forage! We head for the gates, only to be engulfed once again by some more heavy showers which turn up as on cue from god knows where and exactly on time.

By the time I reach home, I am …er…well, you guessed it right, drenched to the skin!

But what with global warming , deforestation , pollution, ozone holes, and a number of other climatic ills, my monsoon no longer ambles in around june 1st every year. Having said that reports trickle in regularly about sighting it wandering rather listlessly in the distant land of timbuktoo, with belly bereft of any rain water… But I wait patiently for my truant friend, the south west monsoon to show up , because without it this time my grand kids can’t go to their school in June !

mon-son

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Crime against women and children is on the increase in Indian Cities. Statistics of “diminishing” crime is no consolation for the person who had a taste of it first hand. For her, an exemplary and quick punishment to the perpetrators is the need of the hour! Not long-winded speeches and promises!
‘Maybe something like this:(

Exemplary Punishment

Exemplary Punishment

And ensuring fool-proof systems in place to prevent this happening again in future …

Recently in New Delhi a girl was brutally attacked and taken advantage of in a moving bus. The uproar that this incident created in Delhi and elsewhere in the country is proof enough of the disgust that public feels towards the feet-dragging Establishment. When driven to the corner with no way to wriggle out of commitment the Government has relented and agreed to set things right but promises are not enough, action is, and quick one at that!

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12-12-12 Biennale

Today the 12th of December 2012 is the D-Day for the new Kochi Muziris Biennale in Fort Kochi…The papers are full of it…There is an impressive line up of global and Indian artists who are scheduled to take part in this event which starts today in Fort Kochi.

According to one paper,

“…The Kochi Muziris Biennale will showcase the works of world-famous artists and is expected to give a fillip to the economy and tourism in the state..”

So far so good…

But on a parallel track there is also a strong criticism raging ( as with any event happening or about to happen in this land ). It is alleged that in the name of this event a drastic money swindling had been going on! A thorough investigation into this scam is being demanded by those who deride the Biennale. So much for “fillip” !

Be that as it may, the event will take off this evening! But what took my fancy were a couple of “installation exhibits” among the many items to be “showcased”.

One whose picture was prominantly displayed in today’s papers looked like a giant ostrich’s giant egg, albeit in a skeleton form. Made of bamboo and some such material this is supposed to be hung from the top of a coconut tree for all to see ! The artist is an Indian celebrity. At first sight it looked somewhat huge but a bit frivolous to me , maybe because I am no great artist, with special skills to appreciate this kind of “artwork” in depth:(
Apparently the less you understand any art work, the more is its worth!( The first law of art evaluation and appreciation;) ! Only we should not forget to utter at regular intervals, “Oooooh!” and “aaaah!” while cruising through these art waters in order to be accepted as “art savvy”

The second one is even more bizzare. It is a dilapidated auto apparently cornered from the umpteen ones plying on the roads in Fort Kochi , with an equally dilapidated old-world gramaphone with twin speakers of the horn type mounted on it and belting out old Indian numbers…the whole set up looked like an eye-sore to me . That it has any art value is hard to believe , maybe because I lack the requisite skills as mentioned earlier! But it comes with awesome credits, e.g the perpetrator of this monstrosity is a world-famous Italian Artist 😦
Imagine foreign and native art lovers spending their hard earned money and trekking to the venue to witness this kind of art…it beats me!

These two incidentally are termed “Installation Art’ according to the organisers and the participants…This is a special beast and such exhibits appear in many art exhibitions that are worth their salt, or so it is believed . Whatever it may be, these leave me cold…at least the ones above did!

So much so, in order to shake off the disgust rumbling inside me , I drew this kar2n…

12-12-12 Bienalle

12-12-12 Bienalle

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Some ‘Super’-stitions…

Many people, both young and old, still believe strongly in superstitions, though they may feel a little sheepish to admit it openly…

I read somewhere about a superstitious belief which is quite funny! It says that the rear end of a cow is a sacred part of its anatomy worth worshiping because it is believed that some goddess lives around there! Be that as it may, while paying your respect to the above said goddess, you have got to be mighty careful because chances are that you may get the full force of the animal’s fart right in your face which will make you wonder whether after all , cyclone Sandra was a tad more people- friendly:)

Here is another…

Do not embark on a journey , if a cat decides to cross your path when you start out. Don’t ask me why, but cats sometimes do exhibit such a stupid tendency!- And such an encounter is considered to be a bad omen and is believed to bring you guaranteed bad luck! That may well be true because if you walk along the road looking at the cat all the while , a passing car or truck can hit you and dispatch you for good! Also you may trip over the damn animal before getting under the truck and break your neck…So there, so much for that superstition!

Giving or taking anything with your left hand is also considered to be in the same league as the cat-crossing…real bad ! Apparently this superstition-maker has not heard of the fact that there are both right-handed and left-handed folks in this world. According to some reported studies 5 to 30 % of the world’s population ( leaving aside the animals , of course 🙂 are left handed. So if you practice this superstition, then you are going to be a party to rendering 2- 30 % of the world’s guys and girls literally ‘handicapped’, at one go !

A yet another superstition says that twitching of the right eye is a good sign for men ! However, on the flip side , if that involuntary action were to set in while you are strolling past, say, a ladies hostel that ‘sign’ may not turn out to be all that good since the dividing line between ‘twitching’ and ‘winking’ is damnably thin!

Then there is a whole bunch of superstitions linked with lizards. Depending on what part of your body they choose to descend on, it is feared that you can get a variety of bad luck , stretching from simple rashes to pure and simple ‘bucket-kicking’! …I for one know that if a monitor lizard or a commodo dragon ( perhaps distant relatives of the above said lizard) were to fall on you , irrespective of which part of your body it lands on , you won’t be around for long to read this ‘literary piece’ of mine!

One more before I wind up…
Walking under a ladder is a very very bad thing to do ! Not because the ladder ( and the guy who is standing on it, if any) can fall on you and break your bones in an unspecified number of pieces, but because the price you pay in ‘superstious terms’ can take a heavy toll on your fortunes… or so the ‘Superstious ‘ believe !

The moral: you must avoid like plague any tendency to walk under a ladder , even if it means inviting other hazards…

Superstition galore

See you next week sometime!

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