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Thursday, November 16, 2006

cmch palliative care

posting this from vellore as i attend my contact class
been a great time ,excellent teachers wonderful human beings ,great place to stay and novel experience
will write more

Sunday, November 12, 2006

the mirror by sruthi menon

The Mirror

I meditate on my throne the speckled wall
None of you can resist my tempting call
To gaze upon me for hours together
And admire your new coat made of leather
I do not show anything but the truth
On my surface, clear and smooth My judgment might often seem very rude
But unto changing my mind I can never be lured
I bet you wish you could mould me

To look at yourself, the way you want to be Keep such thoughts out of your mind
As a more stable and fixed one than me, you'd never find
I have always remained a big necessity for you Over the itsy-bitsy mark on your nose you love to mew ",

I do not show anything but the truth
On my surface, clear and smooth
My judgment might often seem very rude
But unto changing my mind I can never be lured

I watch you struggle to keep up with the latest fashion
To become the world's greatest supermodel is your secret passion I really want to tell you ,
if I could speakn Into your true self to take a tiny peek
I wish you would stop worrying over a small mole
To become a better person should be your ultimate goal

By Sruthi Menon

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

my kerala


Born and brought up in Madras (todays Chennai ) in the sixties ,Kerala in my young days was the place one visited for holidays , every summer found our family trooping into the cavernous central station to board the Mangalore mail to visit my native village of Parappanangadi .
The steam engine ride were magic to .
The sleeper compartments were neater and more roomy , my face would dry up in the whipping wind and eyes smartfrom the coal dust carried from the engine .
Still I used to crane my neck to watch the curving train specially as it reached Kuttipuram where I could see its full length .
The IRR served delicious dinner at Katpadi in plantain leaves and we would go to sleep .
Morning would see us chugging into Olavakkode junction and we knew it was our beloved Kerala by the greenery that replaced the dull brown of Tamilnadu .
After alighting at Parappanagadi and walking along the train and its engine which had a huge star in its front I used to smile fondly at those men of magic sweating over the coals .
Crossing the rock strewn track snaking its way into the village we passed cool green fields with dew sprinkled on the paddy balancing ourselves in the varambu .
locals greeted us with the inevitable Eppa vannu ,Eppala ponnu ?
Piping hot tea with banana chips from a loving grandma and my cousins would welcome us in Thekkepat kovilakkam .
what a great way to start a joy filled holiday of two months when we played from dawn to dusk ,splashed about in the green pond till our eyes were red ,ate green mangoes till our teeth tingled , ogling pretty girls in skirts glowing in the lit lamps of the local temple ,watching cinema at the local talkies in which a staid Prem Nazir ran in circles around an obese Sheela all this made our day .
Going with my granddad and the kariyasthan to those distant plantations for coconut felling where I was treated as a kuttithampuran and bestowed with cool elanner made me forget my mundane hot Madhras days .
The preparations started early before we planned to leave , cashew nuts scalded in the coal embers were cracked open ,plump jackfruits split by equally plumper cooks to stew with sarkarra for an aroma filled chakkavarrattiyadu ,green bananas fried to perfection for our Tamilian friends , sacks of coconuts and ripe mangoes packed .
The day finally would came when we hugged our grandparents and walked to the station and then to Calicut where we lunched in our uncles house and later bought sticky aluvas in Mithai street
.Reaching the station we would clamber abroad a parked compartment which would get attached to the Mangalore mail as it steamed into the station and thus ended our annual romance with Kerala ,
Those days were better than staying here for past twenty years always .

Saturday, October 21, 2006

My Kerala is fifty years young

Fifty year old baby on nov 1st my kerala

Kerala the land that rose from the flung axe of Parasuram from the deep sea is a meld of history ,legend ,and folklore , a green canopy with backwaters ,rivers and lakes ,bordered by hills forests .
Nature has bestowed favours in abundance and its langurous beauty is unsurpassable .
The formidable geographic barriers western Ghats and the Arabian sea insulated it from rest of the country making it unique and different
it reached to foreign nations across the seas for trade and thus the impressions from interaction were left deep in its psyche .
Christianity came in the time of Christ ,so did Islam from its early days ,Jews came for refuge and melted into its conscience .
the acceptance and assimilation of thoughts from all parts of the world made it an original melting pan .
The land of Adisankara and his Adwaita degenerated over time to fissures of caste consciousness as to be mocked by Swami Vivekananda as a lunatic asylum .
Great rulers sat over its destiny patronizing arts ,architecture and music .
The likes of Swathi thirunal ,Raja Ravi Varma ,contributed their talents to its fine arts .
Kathakali ,Mohiniattam ,Chakkiar Koothu and Ottam thulal flourished in its temples rich in aesthetics
Ayurveda the ancient medical science of vedic times flourished here and has now become world reknowned,
Modern medicine has given health demographies to the state envied by developed countries
Martial arts like Kalari spread to the far east and metamorphosed as Karate and kungfu
Sanskrit and the influence of Aryan culture through the Namboothiri clans and thier vedic mantras and tantras gave that singularity to Kerala temples
Its language Malayalam was a mix of Tamil and Sanskrit .
Women held a place of esteem in Kerala always ,
Marumakkathayam the practice giving importance to female offsprings was something unique, they touched heights of education.
New Political thoughts flourished flowering into novel experiments .Marx and Engels and social equality found a fertile bed in a feudal land with discriminations
ushering the worlds first democratically elected communist Government which degenerated gradually into equality by poverty by its militant labour .
The NRI s of Kerala contrary to this proved a hardworking force and excelled in the ability to absorb and merge in newer atmospheres..
Their remittances proved a boost to the economy shattered by political beliefs ,its rich plantations and tourist potentials filled its coffers .
Today Kerala though handicapped over the years with monotonous and lackluster political leadership has reached its potentials by the dint of its private enterprise and its hardy adventurers who have surmounted obstacles to achieve their goals
The peoples movement for literacy ,kudumbashree ,etc for reached to roots with public participaton in progress .
Smart cities and IT era if successful would herald a new beginning to this great state unlike older revolutions
This fifty year old baby is a part of my soul
Iam confident of its youth to take it where it belongs

Sliiping through the fingers My Mother

Pain knaws your heart strings when loved ones slip through your fingers
past unfolds its contents to the minds eye and only memories linger
Old or young to a mother a child and to a child a mother
is there a greater love for either ?

Five days of stiff and still existence in a coma
Where tears well down from sad and vacant eyes in trauma
filling our chest with sorrow
and wrath and dread for the marrow

Sacrifices ,sufferings ,selflessness and dedications,
Stark facts stare at with consternation
and when the time came and she slipped through my helpless fingers now
I let go as it was all I could do to repay for her unstinted love ....

Hari ( written immediately after my mother passed away after five days in coma )

Friday, October 13, 2006



It was zero gravity time ,the jeep was literally vertical and our backs pressed to the seats like astronauts jettisoning into the orbit .
We clenched our fists hard as the driver swerved in the muddy road ,the tyres failed to get a hold and we slowly slithered down ,his face frowning with concentration doing a quick symbol of prayer with his hands he brought it down slow and steady as we watched with terror ,the edges were steep and we could gaze down the cliff .in minutes what seemed like hours we halted and the driver took a deep breath ,while we white faced were too famished even for that .
The morning when we left Mookambika and the flowing Sowparnika to go up Gudajhadri we never expected anything of this sort !
The place was known as spot where Adi Sankaracharya saw the Goddess Saraswathi and requested her to come to his native place and be enshrined in a temple .legend goes that the goddess agreed on one condition that he should never turn back and look and if he did she would stop there ,he did exactly that once he came down the hills at Mookambika and the devi stayed out there and so the origin of the temple .
We had decide to go see the place where it happened and the trip had just started ,the driver revved up the engine and this time he was sure and confident ,he skirted the mudbank expertly and sassyed up in style .
After more than an hour of jostling and jangling when our bones rattled with our teeth over rock strewn obstacle courses called “the road “ we reached all in one piece onto a small temple with a flowing waterfall
.the fresh and cool water refreshed us and we sauntered up the bridle path on our hardy climb .
It was tough and made us breathless with exertion ,the children ran up with vigor and enthusiasm while the obese among ours like yours truly reached the half way exhausted and with the feel of a Tenzing norgay on the summit .
The bushes hid fat leeches which promptly bled you ,but the view was breathtaking
The Ganpathy guha was a quaint little cave tucked into an alcove in the mountain and with dribbling water from its canopy .
A priest sat on his haunches mumbling prayers ,after our customary obstinacies we moved up a narrow steep path full of rocks and bushes ,it was a hard climb and sweat was pouring out of me and I wondered when I would ever reach the top .
I kept asking people coming down wheezingly how much more I would have to go and the replies weren’t very encouraging as it was quite a way up .
Suddenly when I had almost decided to turn back I burst into a wonderful grass carpeted plateau and a small temple the very place where the great saint who introduced Adwaitha to the world sat in meditation .
It was exuberance coupled with bliss to be in such a holy place and the cool wind that caressed our face made up for all the troubles we had gone to reach there
.down below very steep was another important place which we did not dare venture as it was slippery from the rain and very risky .
We turned back and climbed down .
This was more difficult than climbing up as we needed to watch every step or we would reach below in a hurry in many pieces .
Down and down we came and after quite along time was back near the jeep and sipped a refreshing tea.Gudajadhri was a treat indeed .

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Even in Gods own country very few would have heard of parappanangadi
, a tiny hamlet tucked away on the malabar coast around 30 km from Kozhikode the capital of the Zamorin king who ruled those parts long back when Vasco Da Gama made his famed landing .
the one platform railway station had always been the centre of activity in this dusty village but returns from Dubai the Eldorado of these lands have transformed them as if by a magic wand
.The hard stones on the railway track was a path which rose up and came down seductively , winding like a long snake lying in slumber , a great spot for interaction and introspection. Elegant nair tharavadus or family homes lined the track on both sides
Chudala paraambu gave the jitters specially when twilight struck for that was where the locals were buried or burnt and had its own myths and mystique sticking to it ,while the stark sunlight made fear melt as lungi clad boys played soccer.
gentle breeze would waft in from the west where the arabian sea crashed on the rockface while fishermen returned after their exertions ,
The Ayappankavu temple would be lighted and shining bright resplendent for the evening deeparadhana and aristocratic ladies in white mundus circumbulate in dignity ,.the huge banyan tree letting peeping stars shine through its foliage with chirping birds giving an encore.,come december and the place would reverbrate with saranam ayappos
Parappanangadi has very litle history to speak of but for its fiery Mopiilla rebellion in 1921 when Gurka soldiers of the British packed hundreds of rioters in railway carriages like sardines and sent them on a one way trip.many of the older
Avukarkutty naha a minister in an earlier cabinet of kerala was one of the rememberd local celebrity who saw to it that many express trains which had earlier winked at the village stopped and paid obsequainse.
It would be a long time before the famous astrologer paniker make parapp famous globally
Thee Anjapurra market which once had only anjupurras or five houses is the happening place of Parappanangadi, the other being the railway station but with Gulf sojourns of the natives changing the face of the village Anjaapura transformed itself beyond recognition .
Hotel Malaya just behind the railway station greeted you as you entered into town stood the ravages of time and served the gourmets and gluttons with no favouritism ,the days when we used to frequent the place for hot biriyani Malappuram istyle and the heady concotion of a red coloured chai with our hard earned cashewnut collected booty is fresh in our memories.
Jayakerala talkies was the excuse for a nightlife in parappanangadi where one could watch Premnazir swinging around trees with scarcely clad damsels or sing moony songs on riverbanks.every ten minutes as the reels were changed catcalls would hit the roof making the sweating projector man do it in a jiffy.
The vayanasala or library was the haunt of youngsters and its shady corners were a good hideway for a game of rummy
Chemmadu a little away enroute to Calicut was the duty free market of the area where foreign goods were available at throwaway prices
Green fields lined by swaying coconut trees and cherooty river winding its way into the distant hills were crossed to reach the famous bhagavathy temple Amanjerikavu where once in a year wooden horses were carried on mens heads beating to the rhythm of drums in a ritual called kuthirakettukali.
Our own family diety Sarikkil Bhagavthy had her quite little temple with huge umbrella like banyan trees giving shade and breeze ,the evening drums drifted in the dusk like a clarion call to the faithful.The temple tank where the clear water invited us for frolicking with abandon was cleaned once in a year by the locals ,it was a great event going well into the night with hot kattankappis( coffee without milk) and steaming kappas( tapioca) fortified the mud covered diggers while cries of joy rose when big braals( fish ) were caught by their fins ,the booty taken promptly to the nearby fields to be barbecued.
On Navaratri nights when the annual festival took place sleepy eyes watched ottanthulal,chakiarkuthu and kathakali perfomances by great artistes from Kalamandalam
The rest of the days Night fell early and people went to bed fast to wake up at dawn and to another day in this quaint little place.

Friday, September 22, 2006

grandad of all generals

Grandad of all generals :
The great general of pakistan musharraf
Is going to treat terrorists rough and tough.
And as osama hides in his cave and jinnah in his grave
Militant Mullahs gather their Guns to save

But has the general taken us for a ride ?
we have to wait for time and tide .
Has he carried off another coup?
none of us have a tiny clue

Take his words with a ton of salt
For he is known to lie without a fault
He is a great showman
And America will always be his greatest fan

Remember the architect of kargil
will never have his fill
till the day he gets kashmir
with all its lake, pine and fir

China gives him missiles
and the saudis money in piles
And as long there is Uncle Sam
Our general is never in a jam

He hosts Dawoods and Memons
And several other such demons
His hobby is to play with terrorism
which today seems has replaced all isms

India might be the land of his birth
but he dismisses it as all a myth
His hennaed hair blew like that of a mare
As he strode the Taj like he was the Raj

Taliban was his darling
But he stabbed them on Americas calling
The general is a practical man
For he doesn’t want to be an also ran

Bharart he loves to hate
Have no doubt on this mate
He caresses his nuclear toys
And to blast india would be his greatest joy

So beware of that cunning smile
For he is known to be utterly vile
Be on your tip of your toes
for nowhere are there greater foes

A head for a cheek and a Jaw for a tooth
Is his only gospel truth
Oh my Bharat dear Red riding hood
The wicked fox is never good Dr.Harimohan

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

nine nites

Navarathri days in Chennai ( Madhras in those days ) takes me a trip down the nostalgia lane .
The smell of jasmine wafts in the evening air as the cool breeze from the Marina beach caresses the rustling silk sarees of the women scurrying down the narrow streets of Mylapore in Chennai .
The nine nights are dedicated to the Godess of creativity in our country .
In Gujurat nubile teens dance to garba tunes the dandiya carrying the traditon of rasa leela and the antics of the blue God and his Gopis ,
In Bengal doe eyed idols of Durga gaze in resplendent splendour comfortable in their celebrity perches
while in conservative Chennai kollu or dolls hold the forte .
Every household dusts its collection of dolls for the annual event and buy the newest one in the market for the year ,it could be one from the epics or even one on Bush and his war on terrorism !
none was spared neither a bearded Osama nor a hansome Sanjay dutt ,they all stood in the same step as Rama or Ravana or Dasavathar set .
One never knew what would catch the fancy of the cognisentti that year !
The needed dab of paint or a langrous swipe with an old cloth would bring life to those toys woken from their year long hibernation on dusty shelves .
Rotund chettiars with bulbous shiny bellies ,delicate dolls with pixie faces animals of different hues ,an array of gods and goddesses on their respective perches ,wax fruits and vegetables ,buxom matrons carrying heavy pots in their heads in fine balance ,the varieties were plentiful ,
life was present on those shelves neatly arrayed in steps and one could feast on them for long hours .the dolls were mere reflecion of their surroundings .
To boys of my age those days it wasn’t those toys or the fine music espoused in the gatherings that were the star attraction luring us to the houses it was the delicacies on offer as prasads which were the
Chundal or steamed legumes with just the bit of spice ,a wisp of raw mangoe and bit of coconut was the ambrosia navaratri nights were known for ,wrapped in inelegant old newspaper their humid collectiveness often sat on the tongue spouting myriad tastes of multiple flavours and as one nipped into their soft flesh they broke into their nectar of pleasure .
Hot chundal could be consumed in tons .We proved it day after day or was it night after night ?
While kanchipuram silk clad matrons welcomed their fair guests with thamboola thattus younger women broke into mellifilous classical carnatic and devotional songs offering a feast fit for a king for the listeners .
The air was full of goodness the smells were divine and the sounds were soothing
Even to think of the kollu festival is pleasant today .

Dr Harimohan

Friday, July 28, 2006

return of the good samaritan ( superman returns !! )

wrong title of course but the one that came first into my mind when i saw my precious blog after a few weeks .
government of India seems to have its first try on cyber censoring when it blocked blogs of many sites ! and mine was a victim to it .
Whether people read it or not a blog is ones own baby and one doesnt like to be away from the baby even for a few days more so it it is done at the beck of someone else .The net is a barrrier less boundary breaking intellectual pursuit which appeals to minds that wish to soar and rhyme without restraints and like all free endeavours would be misused by some .
the government has a right to have a hold on it specially for the security of the nation and we have to face such irregularities once in a while but thanks to them it wasnt for long .
Even as they scrutinise the cyberspace the government should also start checking on its main actors the politicians .
No terrorist from abroad can fucntion without a support base ,there are many instances of our power mongering and vote catching politicians moving levers for the sake of these groups for communal or casteist favours ,this is the reason why they flourish even though we have a valiant defence in our borders and an intelligent internal security .
One should look at Israel and thier no nonsense attidue to terrorism though our leftist comrades cry hoarsely against them.
The security of the nation cannot be compromised on any count and it is the duty of every indian specially every politician to safegaurd it .and his selfish intrest should not come into it .
we hope blogs are never blocked again

Monday, July 03, 2006

Fr . mathew Shawls our memories

Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh was an unforgettable travel for us ( see article in this blog ) but what will linger for ever is our meeting father Mathew and finally remembering him forever as a memory !
On the long journey in our train to Guwahati we met a pleasant and amiable person in his late sixties ,he wasnt wearing the priests garb and he wasnt sitting near us at all but life springs some surprises and brings people closer to us with no plans or strategies .
Father gravitated to us and sat near me and enquired about us .He was pleased to hear we were travelling to distant Arunachal pradesh from his Kerala ,he told us all about him ,Hailing fromPala Father had been in Assam for more than forty years and he was like a local there loved by one and all .
He invited us to his convent at Mangaldeo on the way to tawang from Guwahati and we promised him we would do that .
As we reached Guwahati Father made us confirm that we would be having breakfast in his convent the next day morning and meticulously gave us directions .It was like we knew each other for years .
Guwahti and its Brahamaputra ,its rumbustious markets and its vibrant citizens made tha day flit pastand soon we were speeding in our Bolero on way to Tawang a trip which would last more than 36 hours on the raod with a stay over at a hill station .
Three hours after leaving Guwahati through roads that resembled Kerala and its houses we reached Mangaldeo way behind schedule ,poor father had decided we had forgotten him and the sister staying in the convent too thought those doctors did the vanishing trick on father who had lot to say to them about us .
Father was so happy to see us and we apologised for the delay ,he introduced us all around and we were welcomed by the sisters all from Kerala ,a sumptous mallu breakfast of kappa and pittu etc ,
after taking us around father told us he was to become the vicar general shortly of Tezpur and told us to come to Tezpur from tawang and promised us he would take us to Bhutan .
before we left we stood for snaps with dear father and then he covered both of us lovingly with two manipuri shawls colourful and bright ,its warmth was all along with us in the trip and it still does when we remember him .
Tawang and back to tezpur father kept his word he met us for dinner in the hotel where we stayed and we gifted him a huge chinese umbrella .
Next day we went with father and an Assamemse friend of his to a bordre town of BhutanSangrup Jorhan .
father was nice and detailed us all about the place .The whole day we spent with him .
we left father to Shillong and we made him promise that he would stay with us at cochin when he comes next .
Father had told us to llok up his niece working as a nurse in my hospital and i coveyed all news to her
We called father a couple of times after that .
One day the punch came out of the blue ,fathers niece called me and said father was murderd by a disgruntled assamese priest who sliced his neck in his bed because he would not give him the money he asked ofr .Father became a victim of his honesty
A person who was a s gentle as alamb was struck down by a monster after money .it was a great blow to us .
This piece is memory of Father Mahtew who came from somehere and met us and left behind lingering memories and two shawls .

Monday, June 26, 2006


Ernakulam Railway station : The evolution ( taming ) of the porter

The redshirted porter of Ernakulam is a species apart from others of their race
They carried themselves loftily with a tinge of supercilious pomposity in their demeanor.
They were men of confidence who surveyed the world with disdain.
The passengers who frequented the station had a hard time to locate a red shirted wonder called the porter, and many a time had to drag their horrendously heavy bags by themselves, this was easier said than done taking into account the obstacle course the railway station was, the architect who planned it should surely have had a streak of sadism running in his blood for he had successfully devised all ways to put men and women with bags in trouble,
An over bridge that connected the distant platforms rose steeply like jacks beanstalk.
One needed a certain skill of the mountaineering kind to climb that monstrosity, and its steepness was legendary. Surely somebody who fantasized all Cochinites as Olympians designed this.
And thus for many years the poor passenger was at the mercy of the arrogant porter and the wonder architect. It was a common sight to see weary passengers carrying their bags in sweating silence while loitering porters eyed them with disinterest
The porters never required the passengers for their daily living and thought of them more as an intrusion to their selves. They had all the work they wanted in the parcel office and all they could earn came from the parcel owners. Their daily bread was more than assured .
And so time rolled by until
One fine day things changed, the good Lord opened his eyes in favor of the meek and the weak (passengers buddy).
Porters were all around lounging with a lost look in their eyes, they looked at passengers appealingly and at their bags hungrily their trolleys were oiled and ready and all one had to do was to whisper porter before a bevy of the red warriors appeared from nowhere.
The price was decided in silence, whatever the passenger quoted he got,
Was this a fairytale? Which wand had brushed the passenger that he got the luck of Cinderella ?Why was THE porter behaving like he was ?
How long would this last?
A mystery as great as say the loch ness monster or the Bermuda triangle ones .
Passengers never wasted their time to crack such secrets but continued to pile their luggage’s on the hapless porters, long distances were covered without a murmur, great heights were conquered with a winning smile, huge sacks and boxes were lugged effortlessly, no sound escaped the porter but his wheezy breathing due to his hardy ministrations
Why and how did such a thing happen was the question on every mans lips? time and again every passenger asked the same question to the porter once he had safely deposited their tons of belongings at their perch
The porter himself smiled sadly when asked that question and lifted his mournful face from the ground with vacant eyes slowly lifting his hands to point out at something in the distance, there far away in the first platform was intense activity, focusing on that crowd one could make out a lot of blue shirts lugging heavy parcels into trolleys and weighing machines like honey bees, what was that? Why blue instead of red now?
yas saar ,new appointments ,only for parcels, we back to passenger s and their luggage’s
sic .a silent tear almost rolled down the porters face while the delighted passenger gleamed with pleasure at this unexpected karmic reward
dear friends this is the saga of the taming of the porter as great an epic piece of history as Shakespeare’s celebrated one .


nirvana in babudom


The Government office is an odd place to attain peace ,salvation and eternal contentment but I experienced this one afternoon ,this was how it happened
The clank of the rusted fan welcomed me as I pushed the half door open into the joint Directors room, my eyes adapted to the darkness when I searched for the occupant, who was to be found nowhere, the dank smell of old files filled the air and the room had an antique feel to it
A long neck with an angry face popped up from among the files like an ostrich disturbed from its pecking, glared at me, and gesturing me to sit and promptly sunk to its place among the files ,a good quarter of an hour later the head resurfaced from its subterranean depths .
I gathered my communication skills to explain my presence in the hallowed precincts of his office, I, had come for a certificate of recognition which the law of the land determined I had to produce, he gazed at the sheaf of papers I carried and gestured me to deposit it among the file hill in front of him, and asked me to come a week or better a month later for the needed document !
I gasped ,gulped, and grimaced and pleaded that I needed it immediately , so that I could depart with it in the evening train ,as all was at stake ,he permitted himself to guffaw at my silly request and told me that that kind of thing never happened in these kind of places I agreed with him but like Alfred the great or was it his spider persisted in my efforts to achieve my ends by all means
Using flattery as a guise I suggested that if something like this could be done by anybody it could be only him and this did the trick, he couldn’t but fall for this and he did grunting that he would make a try but wouldn’t promise anything, maybe I could take a walk and come back when the sun sets!!
Thiruvananthapuram is a city of the Government ,its presence was unavoidable ,it was palpable ,babus milled around in abundance like ants scurrying on mounds ,everyone was busy carrying files,small crowds stood in corners huddling together in conspiracy, the road in front of the secretariat was a veritable crowd of activists ,small thatched shelters protected their demonstrating heads from the fierce sun,while they howled and hooted their rising passions fuelled by their voluble leaders who barked into their microphones a continuous litany of cacophony.
Commerce continued in this confusion as groundnuts were sold in tons and tea in gallons, many were fasting in true Gandhian spirit to express their annoyance at government decisions ,but a sleight of hand hooded the onlookers from the gluttony of the fasting .
Everyone was in some way related to the sarcar, either demonstrating for their rights or working for the government ,or men like me who have come to the presence of power to get things done ,I had time to savor the city now till evening and there was a lot to choose from indeed, for an observer of the human species this was paradise
I loitered into a small tea shop under a shady tree,it was cool and nice and the hot tea was boiling in the kettle ,so was a dhoti clad red shirt who was delivering a sermon to his mesmerized audience,
“Strike we shall “ he boomed “till time stops ,nothing shall move or breathe or sway till we command ,the united power of the people will crush the imperialists and their attitude and squelch their capitalist life out of them”he then gulped his kattan chayya and lit his bidi puffing it with venom, “comrade when would this be ?” questioned one meekly “ today ,from this minute, this land will stop working ,even hearts will stop beating !the word of a comrade cannot be dismissed lightly,” and so saying he grandly declared the strike open to the applause of his audience ,the crowd quickly melted away realizing that the drama was finished ,the comrade grinned at the tea shop owner and bit into a vada grabbing another cuppa tea and walked away with a flourish ,after all comrades too required their nourishments for their exertions for the great revolutionary cause .Does he ask you to close shop I asked the owner who shook his head vigorously and said never
I walked in to British Council planning to browse through encyclopedias in air-conditioned comfort and if conditions favour get a quick nap but my plans were doomed from the start by the new rule of allowing only members inside and not timekillers like me ,a movie could be the answer but the huge crowds in front of the theatre exhibiting a plump mohanlal gyrating with his heroine spoiled my strategy.
I had nowhere to go ,so I rang up a distant cousin who had insisted that I should never go anywhere near Trivandrum without visitng him and savoring his hospitality, this was said after a sumptuous meal he had in my house at Cochin ,the cousin answered in monotones that he was a bit busy and held up and why not some other time ,he was an excellent communicator indeed
I plodded in the blazing sun and reached the secretariat, feigning an air of belonging to the if I knew the place all my life and was bored with everything ,this probably made me appear like any other employee because none of the uniformed policemen asking for entry passes or bothered to stop me ,either I looked important or I was too innocuous to be noticed like an invisible man ,whatever be the reason it helped me move without entry passes .
I got lost in the maze of corridors and even reached the coir laden verandah of the chief minister and his entourage, the place was a blur of white khadi as pompous politicians lined up to get things done for their followers ,there was a lot of backpatting and guffawing and I felt like a lost soul in the crowd so I quickly retraced my steps and managed to find a way to my mentor babu
He was more harried now wearing a perpetual scowl like an uniform ,he gave me a sad look and informed me I could sit in a chair and wait for some more time .
This was the mother of all understatements ,the sun set itself into the blue Arabian sea and I read the government gazette No 33 from front to back approximately eight times as there was no other reading material in front of me, I was hypnotized by the files and their tags ,the world was melting away and I was lost in a twilight of sleep and wakefulness ,peace and quietness descended on me as I relaxed in a cocoon of nothingness, all worries disappeared and I felt light and airy I literally flew out of the windows and I could see myself sitting in the chair ,was this place my Bothi tree what an unimaginative place to attain nirvana ,
I was jolted awake from my slumber by the raucous cackle of a crow in the window near me ,I again looked around but the only view available other than the files was the babu officer and his compatriots ,this included a matron ,his superior who had all the time in the world with nothing to do but cracking jokes ,I understood that she was about to retire and that evening s there was a send off party planned for her in a nearby hotel and our lady was totally exited about it, no other earthshaking news could nudge her ,
she prodded my babu to leave his things and come to the party as the car was waiting and he would miss it, but my man was a man who stood by his promises ,he sent her off with the others telling her he would join them later and finally got into the act of writing the vital certificate referring to different files ,he then rushed into the officers cabin and got his signature from a departing boss hurrying to the party ,all that needed now was the all important seal and he had it with him ,but it was dry like a bone and there was no stamp pad to be found ,
A mere stamp pad could become my Achilles heel ,after all this waiting it could be the obstacle for my success ,sad ,so I made an offer that I would rush out and buy one in a jiffy ,
He shook his head and ingeniously poured some ink on to the seal and stamped my papers ,he handed it to me with a flourish and almost a bow Never have I been so grateful to a babu and a clever one at that and to babudom where I almost attained nirvana !!OM SHANTHI

Dr N.Harimohan

Saturday, June 17, 2006

stepping stone

with the laying of the foundation stone in the newly aqquired 63 cent land the shlpa society has climbed its first step in its vison for the future .
it marches with committment in its mission "the welfare of the mentally handicapped."
Nine years since it began with 5 students and one teacher it has now 140 students and 30 staff with its own disabled friendly building .
with many new tasks ahead it opens its vista looking ahead !!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

manali pictures Posted by Picasa

artic explorers Posted by Picasa

rohtang pass


We stepped into a furnace at midnight and the heat hit us like a bulldozer
Delhi Airport was just that in mid May ,when we planned our journey to the hills of Himachal Pradesh and to the Rohtang pass .
When we told our friends we wanted to see “the pile of corpses “ up in the mountains this summer they grimaced at our sense of a holiday ,but then they wouldn’t have known that “Rohtang “ in Tibetian language meant a pile of corpses would they ?
It got this macabre term because climbing the pass in those days resulted in many deaths .
Opened only for two months in the summer , this 13500 feet pass and gateway to Ladakh was reached after 59 km of winding narrow dizzy roads from Manali with icy borders and threatening boulders .
The Border Road organization maintains the road with their usual efficiency.
But that comes later
As we sped in our cool Tavera trying to overtake the lumbering trucks the Delhi night was slowly giving way to dawn .
sleep and exhaustion overcame us as the highway rolled towards Ambala .
It was early morning when we woke up in the Haveli a wonderful Punjabi style dhaba with an Ac toilet and a look alike Punjabi village with even a well for drawing water ..
At those early hours we sipped our morning cuppa to bhangra tunes in the restaurant which was decorated with the front of a lorry with all fittings including a burly sardar driver .
Our own driver was a robust Punjabi Sardar whom we started calling endearingly as Darjee. He was at home at haveli
We then sped past Panipat where we could almost hear the din of the battle ,clank of the swords and cries of pain , the barren plains in our drowsy state .The battles of panipat crowded into our minds from long forgotten history books .
Chandigarh was a pleasure with its planned roads and prosperous malls The morning crowds milled around with Schoolchildren smart in their uniforms ,huge matrons in churidars scurrying to the market ,robust sardars and comely lasses all of them looking like part of an ant colony moving with gusto.
we left them in peace and scampered along
Soon we approached the hilly areas of Himachal pradesh
.It was still hot when our Darjee switched off the music and Ac at the same time ,
“ No AC or music in hill road ,police catch “he declared without any emotion and .all my arguments was wasted on him ,I had to sit all boiled up glaring at him stupidly
Lunch at a way side dhabba and nothing much to write about , but Punjabi fare was at least edible , unlike the others we had encountered. in our earlier travels in the north
Roopnagar ,Bilaspur and Mandi came and went and so did so many other similarly sounding places .the topography and the people changed .
The houses were built of wood and stones most of them standing on stilt like supports with wooden beams ,though painted gaily they had seen better days as many of them were periliously close to collapse ,it was a wonder that people still lived in them .
Men had their himachal caps jauntingly tilted at an angle , women were pretty and perky in their churidars .
Apple trees were in plenty but alas only budding as it was summer .
We even passed a couple of marriage processions with the bedecked couple wreathed in smiles marching to the tune of curving pipes and cymbals looking delighted .
By evening Kullu valley spread its feast to our eyes ,it was nature preening at its best ,the fertile valley was rich in nature and culture ,more than 300 temples are located here and its people have a literacy rate of more than 70 %

the river Beas flows through the valley bubbly in its enthusiasm ,its path strewn with rocks and boulders dancing flirtingly and foaming in its turbulence .
The valley is the place for trekking river rafting ,skeing ,helirafting ,mountain climbing and gliding and many such adventure sports .
The undulating hill roads gave glorious views of snowcapped mountains pristine in their elegance .

10 km from Kullu was the Bijli mahadev temple with its towering shaft which is said to attract lightening and electrify the shivling inside .
We reached Naggar the ertstwhile capital of Kullu with its wooden castle Built during Raja sidha singh’s reign 500 years back part of it now is a deluxe hotel .

There is a small wooden temple in the premises called Jagatpati temple .

Another sight to be seen in Naggar was the Roerich art gallery .
This is the house of Nicholas Roerich the famous Russian artist, lawyer, humanist ,spiritualist, philosopher, poet, theosophist, archeologist , scholar ,writer , and explorer , who after a full life all around the world took solace in 1928 with his illustrious wife Helena in this cosy wooden cottage .
It had a stunning view of the snowy peaks .

The museum opens a page into this great soul and his passions .his living conditions are dutifully preserved and one could get a glimpse of his antique car in its shed .
Svetoslav Roerich his equally talented son had stayed here with his celebrity wife Devika rani .
The museum was meant for lingering without the constraints of time for one could drift back into the past .
The gallery presented many of the artists paintings on the Himalayas .sculpture pieces and even traditional kullu dresses
As dusk closed in on us and cold creeped in we wound our way into Manali and the sterling resorts .
Slipping under the blankets in our cosy room we fell into a much needed slumber .
Morning woke us with the sun streaming its welcome through the patio windows and the rolling hills with its white caps lost in the cotton wool clouds was a sight to gaze for eternity .
A hearty buffet breakfast where we tucked in the best of south ,north Indian and continental delights to the satisfaction of the observant chef ,
we had to fortify ourselves for the exertions the day promised .
in sterling lobby

Our Sardar was all ready brimming with energy which probably his morning lassi had filled him with and raring to get behind those wheels .
we clambered to Hadimba temple through steep roads and culverts
.The Godess of Kullu rests in a four storey wooden temple built in the fifteenth century , located in the midst of a forest called Dhungiri van vihar
It is said that the pandavas in Mahabarath after escaping from the wax palace came to this place which was ruled by a Rakshak called Hadimbh after killing him Bhima the strong man among the pandavas promptly fell in love and married his sister Hadimba and they had a child ,later when the son grew big and started ruling the fiefdom , Hadimba retired to the forest for penance and became Hadimba devi
The temple is of the pagoda style and is set in a serene wooded area ,tourism had brought vendors and yak rides in its wake .

We descended down into Manali town .
Legend says that Manu + Ali from which manali came into being was the place where India’s own Noah , “ Manu “ drove his ark or boat during
The great deluge and took refuge
The colourful Tibetian market around the serene monastery sold knickknacks by the dozen.
We strayed into the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Department and strangely for a government office was met by a courteous and helpful officer who piled us with brochures and information .
After a sweet and hot cuppa tea we were back in Sterling in time for the campfire .
We left it and the roaring crowd to walk down the road to a Tibetian dhaba and its mommos served lovingly by Auntyjee a comely plump matron who took delight in feeding gluttons like us who descend in hordes every summer .
Early to bed we went as the next day would be a strenuous one as we planned to leave for Rohtang pass 59 km high above manali and 13500 feet into the air .
The gateway to leh and ladakh this pass opens only two months in a year .
The road wound up giddyingly with yawning crevasses for borders ,icy rocks threatened catostrophy but our able sardar maneouvored his way up with ease .
All along the road were woolen rentals with numbers painted gaily ,the owners calling out to us to stop ,
Darjee had other ideas as he knew shop no 104 and glided into its precints .a sweet smiling lady welcomed us with an assortment of coats ,boots ,gloves and caps and in a short time we metamorphosed into Artic explorers . Suitably suited and booted we climbed up clumsily with other grinning hooded characters gazing at the spectacle from their vehicles .suddenly every tourist looked exotic in his costume and all around were salman and sharukh khans
We climbed up .
Slowly and steadily the thin air got to me and a splitting headache with nausea made me lose all interest in the pass which was another 8 km ahead .
By then the feared traffic block had happened and fuming vehicles were clogging the narrow road .We climbed down into the slippery ice and snow and climbed up a small hillock to do some sking and skating in sledges throwing the mandatory snowballs at each other . The fine snow flew into our faces and a slow and steady snowfall blew wispy secrets .
Climbing down to our vehicle proved a daunting task and getting into it in the bone chilling cold gave no respite till the heater stated warming us .huddled inside for more than three hours we waited for the traffic to clear as an army officer bulldozed with all sirens into the confusion creating cacophony .
All I remember on the pass this time is the headache which is unfair because everybody else seemed to have had a whale of a time taking their snaps sitting in ice hovels conveniently dug for them with shovels and love messages as dressings all for a fee of course .
I was a bad sport and remained grumpy as we shed our coats in the shop and then sped down to the warm springs of Vasisth .
I coiled up in the backseat of our tavera as the others left for the springs ,after a restful slumber I doused the embers of my headache with a pure grape juice
Rohtang the pile of corpses made me feel like one .

Exhausted we slept like children back in Sterling .
Morning saw us leaving Manali to Simla .
We went for river rafting in the Beas .
I was apprehensive remembering my Rohtang day but it turned out to be the best part of the holiday .
Wearing life jackets and helmets we hung for dear life to the rubber dinghy as we careened down the swiftly flowing Beas .
Our pilot a grinning Bruce lee look alike took pleasure in driving us almost into huge boulders and made us as wet as“umbrellas in kerala monsoon
The rapids were of grade four he told us during one of those peaceful lucid intervals when the dinghy sailed placatingly along only to suddenly crash into those boiling rapids .
At one moment we were wet and the other we were dried by the bright sun and felt cool and collected ,darjee who had droven along the parallel road stopped at vantage points to become a gymnast occupying dangerous perches to photgraph us for posterity .
The photos when they were developed were nice but all that could be seen was a choppy boat and some wet heads so much for his skill in photography .
14 km of exhilaration and we landed in dry land and toweled ourselves .
The boat was loaded on a Maruti van and Bruce lee left for a repeat perfomance ,.all in a days work for him.
Ravenously hungry after the aquatic antics we chose a quite dhaba and found a not very enthusiastic cook asking us for the menu , it was late in the day for lunch and the man was probably bugged seeing us invading his fiefdom .
A nearby shop had a sleeping owner whom we woke up for some toffees,this proved to be our lucky day for this was the real chef and the moment he woke up things started happening .he invigorated a battery of helpers who went into a frenzy of chopping vegetables and boiling water The great man himself took charge of the frying pan and with great finesse added the ingredients with panache ,he sautered garnished roasted and fried for us like a mother would , this man loved his job and had taken an oath to feed us in style .
As the ambrosia of his creations tickled our palates we sat down in a table facing a mountain stream . Chappatis rolled on to our table from the fire hot and puffy with pride, we dipped them into the red tomato filled paneer masala and crunched and crackled our fried cauliflowers looking at him with endearing eyes like grateful dogs .this was food for the Gods indeed and we praised him volubly
The silent cook watched us eating with gusto ,pride and happiness.
An artist enjoying his creativity ,
profusely thanking him we left with a volley of belches as our parting gift

A wayside kulfi treat was a fitting finale to this exotica .
We sped towards Simla, it was warm and the roads were dusty
Simla proved a concrete monstrosity with preying brokers who like a pack of monkeys strung on our van for their commission .
we landed in a hotel late at night and in a small room made big with mirrors everywhere ,seeing many images of ourselves wasn’t very attractive and so we left the place in the morning to a nearby homestay managed by two women a mother and daughter .The Fontainebleu .
The mother told us that fontainbleu became their house when they migrated from Lahore during partition ,as their own house back in Lahore would have been usurped by someone else .
we were also informed that the present Afghan president kharzai had stayed in the very room we occupied during his young days .
Great people same places .
The best part of the house was it was close to the historic Mall and had a homely feel .
We even had a friendly kashmiri vendor who good naturedly impressed us
to buy his wares
The mall in Simla is its best kept secret .
Desmond morris would have been delighted at this place as it is ideal for people watching
Evening brought men and women in hordes not only tourists but also the locals who gracefully went around wishing their friends with traditional namastes and elders by touching their feet even though many of them were dressed in designer outfits .I sat admiringly at this habit .
Four to five kilometers of unhindered walkways as no vehicles are allowed in the mall and with shops by the dozen selling everything from pizzas to pins the place was ideal if one had nothing to do and a lot of time .
Wicker iron benches facing scenic mountains could make one sit for hours with the cool air nipping serenely .
Globs of icecrams came handy for the occasion .
I silently blew a thanks to the British for making the mall ‘
A far away hoot from Simla railway station and a glimpse of a mist covered engine huffing down the mountain broke us from our reverie and made us realizethat it was night and time to leave
And thus ended another great holiday in the hills .

Dr .Harimohan MBBS DMRT

Monday, June 05, 2006

budda beti

My dear daughter sruthi
intelligent ,introspective ,intutive ,creative ,cheerful,coy,a bit slow and lazy sruthi and children like her are the most affected by the whims of characters like arjun singh and vp singh as merit is murdered with rservations
read below for my view on it hari
budda beti Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Repugnating Reservations

"The boiling issue of Mandal two has seized the nation today .
Once again the deft manoeuvere of another cunning politician has driven deep fissures into our polity ,
it has removed the scab of a festering ulcer created by another Singh some years back .
The people who benifit from reservations will understandably support it with all its paradoxes .
Logic has no place in such situations ,
cruelly the wheels of history has turned full circle ,
we now have to ask who are the exploiters and who are the victims ?
If the idea of reservations is as a punishment for the forwards for thier discrimination against the backwards in the past then how is it different from the babrimasjid demolishment ,
how is it different from the aninhilation of Jews by hitler for ? biblical evil

Our country is a pseudo secular country where religious beliefs are conviniences for politicians to garner votes ,
so are castes ,
the more the merrier ,
the fragmented the better ,
what better way to split the people than to issue quotos ?
ghettoise the people into cul de sacs so that they never think as one ,
split them at all levels so that the vote baiter can continue to breath !
Hitler and his Gestapo couldnt have done better ,
our politicians could teach them a few elementary lessons .
All that one among them driven by power had to do was to sow the seeds of separation and the fire rages .
How many of these leaders are sincerely interested in the uplift of the backwards ?,
The untouchables of UP,
the bonded labourers of Bihar ,
the child workers of Sivakasi,
the starving farmers of Orissa ,
the female infants with squelched necks of tamilnadu ?
do our leaders ever think of them but in thier speeches in front of the media
how many instances are there of Bhudiyas being sold for Rs 800 by thier mothers ?
how many tiny children are tied to camels for the pleausre of Arabs ?
and how many nymphets are married of to those lechers ?
Dont we all read of caste wars raging in Bihar and UP ?
upper castes kill backwards and the backwards kill scheduled castes !
how has reservation changed the lives of these hapless souls ?
All it had done is It had created a creamy layer among them who continue to reap the benifits selfishly for generations on and on
Where are the yadavs ,paswans and Mayawatis ?
why are they not speaking out for the voiceless ?
are they not ashamed to say that they came up in the name of these poor sods,
where would they be if not for thier votes ?
Why is not one among all our honourable voluble politicians some of them educated in premier institutes like the JNU ,Harvard ,etc
some among them actors ,thinkers ,painters ,writers ,
some rustic leaders of the masses uttering a word about the uselessness of the reservations which has continued so far in this country ?
Why dont they accept that it had been a failure and only helped the poltician to feed on ?
Why does not one among them honestly spell out that India really needs compulsory education at primary level for all castes religions and gender with facilties for the economically poor .
It would all cost lesser than the amount we have spent on these unworthies over the years
A level playing field is a right of every citizen and it is the duty of the people who govern us to see that it is given .
Why do we not have a single honest politiican who spells out that a truly secular country has no religion ,no caste and no capitiation ?
A secular nation supports its weak and encourages all to exel,and it never fools with merit which after all is its investment for its future

Friday, April 28, 2006






As the Bolero inched ahead gingerly on the narrow road the huge boulders loomed above, threatening to reduce us to a puff of dust if dislodged.
The view was surreal and breathtaking, it was nature in its raw without any frills, the mountains were huge and intimidating closing in on the road, black granite melded into white at their peaks, icy winds and powdery snow made patterns in our windshield, our Assamese driver wrinkled his forehead in concentration as he used his skills to perfection . We silently blew a thanks to the Border Road Organization who maintained the road excellently and kept it cleared in the event of the frequent landslides, they were indeed the country's pride and neighbors envy, their proud proclamation read " Builders will die but Road will survive " .
We wheezed up behind a convoy of army trucks carrying men and horses,there were four horses and two or three men in each truck, the horses were tethered inside and their heads peeped out on the left side, contently chewing their cud unmindful of the cold or the scenery .
Chatting up the jawans during one of the several stops due to road blocks we learnt that they were the supply convoy going to Tawang and then till the road ended and further by horse back till it was possible to and finally the men themselves had to carry the loads to reach the farthest heights and the border of our country with China . Humans and animals would then begin their arduous journey down to the plains .
The rigors of our army can only be understood if we visit such places. When we decided to holiday in far flung Arunachal Pradesh this summer all we got were strange looks, but it turned out to be one of the most exiting and exhilarating trips ever.
The land of the rising sun so called because it receives the first ray of sunshine before any other part of the country is virgin land not yet touched by the podgy fingers of tourism, earlier called as NEFA or north east frontier agency this was where the incursion from the Chinese took place in 1962, precisely to put it in eastern Arunachal Pradesh, and it wasn't an easy place to reach.
We began our journey from Guwahati the boisterous capital city of Assam and the gateway to the northeast ,Gawa means arecanut and Hati is market ,the name thus derived from its activity ,the mighty river Bramhaputra caresses Guwahati and is vast and flowing. At places the river is huge .One of the bridges leaving Guwahati towards Kaziranga spans to a length of some 4 km ! In a small hill overlooking the city is the ancient Kamyakya temple said to have originated in the spot where a piece of goddess Sati fell after she was dismembered by an angry husband! The temple was ancient and gave a great view of the city and the river.
At 4 am the sun was up and Paltan bazaar where we stayed was all bustle and din with buses raring to be on their way to the hills. We too left the confusion and speeded on the NH 52 , Assam has to be praised for its straight well kept roads, it was green and neat and the small towns were an eyeful, in many ways it resembled Kerala, even the women were petite in their white national dress. we passed places like Mangaldeo, the Nameri wildlife sanctuary , and finally reached the border town of Balukpong where the inner permit required by every Indian citizen to visit Arunachal Pradesh is checked . This can be obtained from Guwahati.
Balukpong by itself is a quaint little picnic spot with a flowing river and stone strewn rocky bank; our driver cleaned his vehicle as we sauntered in the cool stream before we began our journey. The moment we entered the Himalayan state the topography turned dramatically, the plains just disappeared and we started climbing up and slowly, it became cooler and more pleasant, after some time we reached a haven of flowers the famed orchid sanctuary of Tipti, the bewildering array of colors flooded our senses with wonder for the fruits of nature, Soon we were climbing again and rapidly reaching heights, the valley below was lost in a haze and the shimmering plains were slowly moving away. Huge pine trees bordered the roads, waterfalls were of different kinds, tiny brooks that playfully entered the road so that vehicles splashed their way through, massive falls cascading with a thunderous spray of mist, gushing rivers foaming at their surface, in winter many of them would be frozen some even in action as icicle droplets, which would be a photographers dream . The temptation to stop and gaze at these natures delights was difficult to restrain but the need to reach our far destination made us avoid that .We had to reach Bomdila at 8500 ft our halt for the night by dusk as fog would get us in trouble .
At Sessa the army command was named "Ball of fire ." We passed the 238 Transit camp of the army at Dahung ,one of the posters in the roadside read " it is better to bleed now than die later "We stopped for chai at Munna ,the friendly shopkeepers and their red cheeked children were as hearty as their tea and piping mommos ( steamed dumplings with several fillings vegetable or nonvegetarian as you like it .one had to be wary of the fillings as once yak mommo surfaced in front of us ,the other possibilities too were immense ).
We filled up gas at Dhirrang one of the high altitude petrol bunks ,one could play a game of carom there as a convenient board was kept near the office shed ,carom in the cold was something unique indeed . The National Yak research center was also in Dhirrang By 3 pm we were in our room at Shipiyang pong the only decent hotel in>Bomdila, just opposite was a huge stadium with an arch as in a monastery,it was windswept and a drizzle had left the place wet and cold, descendingdown> we explored the bustling little market full of woolens and other sundry articles, the tiny shops were lit with glittering lamps which shimmered in the cold evening, walking back proved to be a Herculean task to our obese selves and by the time we reached shipyang lobby we were panting like werewolves . The next day dawned pretty early and it was bright when we started, the whole place was freshly washed by the drizzle of the previous night and was picture postcard like, we went to the local monastery and turned the prayer wheels for a safe journey to the pass. The second highest motor able pass at 13750 ft was no easy task to reach, after interminable turns and twists which reminding us of our driving test eights, and churning our early breakfasts in our tummies, flitting past shimmering peaks and deep culverts which were dizzyingly steep our roller coaster ride touched several landslides on the way, snow had slowly taken over the landscape and white was the predominant background with a sprinkling of brown or black, it had become quite cold and we were feeling a bit breathless because of the rarefied air at that height ,the Bolero took a sudden turn and whoosh there was the elusive Sela pass labeled so by an oriental arch with a BSNL board just below ,strangely our mobile with BSNL had full range even at that remote corner ,their pride justified indeed !
We plodded down to the snow and dutifully threw snowballs at each other,our actions recorded by the camera for posterity, there was one small chaishop> we went in after closing the door and snow behind us, the room was warm and huddling in it were several army jawans crouched over their cup of warmth's .we joined them for sometime and then went on our way down to Tawang. We touched the Jaswant Garh Margh in memory of Jaswant singh of the 16 Garhwal Rifles who bravely fought back the invading Chinese with nothing but his bare hands and kept them in bay till reinforcements came from below in the famed battle of Nuranang , he was instrumental in changing the battle, all soldiers stop at this point to pray at his memorial. TheTawang valley is at 11500 feet, was made famous by Mere lama a Buddhist monk who lived 500 years back. In those days even monks had to fight for their clans, probably they were experts in martial arts, Mere lama fed up of constantly being on the chase took to remote Tawang to build his fort and a formidable one at that now known as the Tawang monastery. The misty silhouette of this artistic building against the backdrop of Blue Mountains can be seen from all parts of Tawang when the fog clears, in many ways it resembled the famed Potola of Lhasa. The monastery had an old building which was said to have been destroyed in a fire and reconstructed, this was ancient, smaller and shaky with the newer and bigger version inaugurated by none other than his holiness the Dalai Lama. The dominant colour was red, festoons hang from the high roof of the hushed hall, prayer seats and wheels were everywhere, a huge Buddha presided over it all gazing benignly at the handiwork of his devotees. Tanga paintings depicting Buddhist way of life and after life adorned the walls, the soft carpets shushed our footsteps to a serene silence, and the ambience was spiritual and satisfying. We came out into the light, the feeble sun could barely beat the chill of the morning and we huddled around an adolescent monk who was directed to show us the museum and the library, books made of clothes painstakingly bound together were neatly lined and the museum had so many artifacts including some weapons used by the ancient monks for the protection of their clan, we asked the youngster how long they studied and he replied all through life. With that comforting reply that all was well when such monks lived in our world we bid farewell to Tawang monastery.
Tawang town was just a frontier shanty with a small market, we wisely avoided the hotel which had looked promising in the net and listened to the advice of a locals and headed for the Tawang Tourist lodge run by the Arunachal Pradesh tourist Dept and bagged the prized suite where celebrity star Sharukh Khan had stayed for the shooting of the movie Koyla ,(a nice opportunity for name dropping). The lodge was well maintained and tariff was reasonable, a resident cook came over and asked us our menu for dinner,our hunger pangs made him rush to the market for buying essentials likechicken to feed the southern gluttons who had descended on his turf, it looked so promising,and we wetted our lips in anticipation though the actual dinner was a tepid affair because the cooking skills of our cook didn't meet his shopping skills. Next morning saw us climbing the road to Madhuri lake as this was where the shoot of the movie had said to have taken place, 40 km above the town near the Chinese border ,this required special permission from the Army which we obtained, we soon encountered army camouflage sheds by the dozen theirsnow covered roofs rising above the ground, many lakes some half frozen lay on the sides of the snow bordered road, there were also small concretebunkers which were nothing but cubbyholes, these were the places our ill equipped jawans fought the Chinese . We almost reached 20km; by then we were clearly uncomfortable with the cold, height and the stark whiteness. The vehicle turned around to return, we got out to savor the cold and crunch in the knee-deep snow, this being the summer month of May we couldn't fathom what it would be in December! We rode into the War Memorial in Tawang a fitting tribute to our brave soldiers, the names of all those who gave up their lives are inscribed in black granite, each and every name carried so much of pride for this nation they are our real heroes, A burly sardar jawan briefed us on the details,he was there for a short march past to welcome a senior officer who would arrive in a helicopter in the evening, we were lucky to see a rehearsal of the event, it was mesmerizing indeed. The night was uncomfortably cold and the heater hardly helped our slumber but fatigue took over and in no time the sun was streaming into our rooms with our unskilled cook waking us by bellowing chai saab. The next day we descended 12 hours to Tezpur in Assam and thus back to the plains after our trip to heaven, well almost !
Dr N.Harimohan. MBBS DMRT.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

fine thoughts

Working as I do in an oncology department makes me introspect the finer details of existence at times . !You may wonder how that happens ?
The intricacies of cell dynamics ,their unfettered growth ,uncontrolled masses which are the star attractions of oncology , and their treatment by modalities like chemotheraphy can hardly be expected to lead one to philosophical rhapsodies, they aren’t at all the fertile ground one would wish for such spiritual ramblings.
A hospital ward is in no way similar to an Ashram or in no way resemble the cool and icy Himalayan caves which generally attracts such noble ruminations .
So these thoughts had no reason to come from where they did ,
Misplaced indeed but one couldn’t wish them away as persistence was their hallmark !
So I thought on
Illnesses reduces people to their bare shells , their pre illness status becomes a distant memory .
looking into their occupations written in their case sheets I know that there are professors ,doctors ,politicians ,conductors welders and housewives and so on and so forth among them but they all attain the uniformity of being a patient in the hospital
nothing less and nothing more
Many with advanced disease are reduced to pitiful states by horrifying pain ,emaciation,and tiredness .
They probably remember their old selves as their previous birth if they do believe in that concept .
Their past is clouded in a fog of their present .
Their futility and helplessness triggers questions as to why such things happen to people who have not harmed others much and have led fairly good lives to suffer such ignominy ?
what or who is this power that doles out such punishments and on what basis does he go about doing this unpleasant job .?
Atheists argue that there is no such person and it all happens by chance but strangely I have noticed this chance on which they speak of heavily favours the good among men !
The villains usually get away with out much ado ,
All of us can add to this list
The queen of destiny isn’t impartial for sure
Many would agree with me in this observation .

One day as these thoughts continued to confound me and anger welled on this hypothetical power or vacuum or whatever and about its supposed injustice I happened to chance upon Swami Vivekandas writings in a small booklet on precisely this topic .
He goes on to say that miseries of men and women are brought forth by their own actions and not by any supreme power, the doings of every human being creates waves in their soul which moulds soft imprints in thier consciousness .
Deep in the hearth of their inner self their actions leave indelible marks
These are carried on into thier next births and consequent happenings are reactions to these actions .
Every single desire and thought leave their programmes in our hard discs which are carried forwards into our future .
The machinations of Karma offers justice though delayed by a few births like nothing else.
Fair and lovely indeed.
This reasoning does to a certain extent answer the question why good people suffer and bad ones escape ?
No other philosophy explains this catch 22 situation so fully .
So the soul goes on , birth after birth in human, animal or plant forms till it negates all its bad sticking to it to emerge as a pure entity and finally merges into the godhead,
Fine , great,
Immediately the next question comes and no we don’t have three choices and computerjee has no answers for it .
what is the big idea of suffering for something one doesn’t know about ?
the whole fun is lost isn’t it both for the sufferer and the observer
just imagine we find a mafia king with several contract killings and extortions s in his kitty or a bihari goonda with a record number of kidnappings or a friendly neighbourhood politician who has cheated many with his cunning smile intact suffering from excruciating pains and mind wracking sickness what would be our reaction?
Yas guy you asked for it !
We would be gratified by true justice done at the right time while the sufferer would also know what he is suffering for ,
nice and fitting indeed .
fair game
But this doesn’t happen in this karma business.
Maybe God in all his wisdom made some miscalculation.
He made us forget all about our past births and unholy deeds and just gave the punishments without fail .
But where are we and this power we call as God
How can we relate to each other ?
For an answer let us go in another direction ,
Let us take an U turn

Science and its wonderful telescopes have brought us visions of supernovas so far away into space.
Peering into infinity and catching their electromagnetic radiations the timelessness of space and its confounding size has made us speechless.
Years back we were told that we live in an expanding universe which contains millions of solar systems which in turn has its own planets and probably life in many forms,
all these are mind boggling indeed,
This magnificence also reminds us of our infallibility and place in the sun,
no pun intended,
what I meant was where are we earthlings in the scheme of things ?
are we not akin to a grain of sand in all the beaches and the deserts of the world ?.
We are literally negligible ,
Insignificant would be an ideal description
Science continues to surprise us by telling that the universes are no more the end we now know of the Simverses which each has millions of expanding universes in its folds
well that takes some digesting indeed !
This God gives amazing knockout punches all the time ,
Plenty of tricks up his divine sleeve
When we just think we have learnt something he wipes the slate clean and gives us some more homework to do
Hard taskmaster indeed
I for one wouldn’t like to be in his class
From the macro to the microcosm of things we are stupefied again into benumbed silence ,
Star struck we learn that mini solar systems exist in each atom with orbiting electrons happily playing merry go round .
The electron microscope has been an eye we could never have had and has revealed a new miniature world down there .
God should be a great guy indeed to have willed all this and made it work without fail
What made him create all this ? why did he do all this
Stop press
Such questions cannot be asked just like that
there is a lakshman rekha to stop ….dear man
philosophy doesn’t allow such thinking too as it says all this never exist and they are all only projections of the mind !
like holograms they are a trick
like movies on screens they are make believe
God is upto his games
playing a trick on poor us
It seems is all only an illusion played upon by an unfettered soul.
So these souls which are spoken of as sparks of the power or whatever play with themselves by projecting this world,
the macro and microcosm as they exist unconcernedly and finally merge into themselves after exhausting their karma and this goes on and on forever and ever !
A bit boring indeed
So then what happens to the original thought of good, bad, karma, and suffering,
negated by these magnificent theories of non-existence.
They disappear into thin air like the mist in sunshine
Back to square A as Maya reigns supreme even in a hospital .


Friday, April 14, 2006

shilpa special school annual day 2006

From the time of its inception nine years back Shilpa special school had remarkable annual days .
The talents of the children was surprising knowing thier disadvantages .hats off to the staff for honing thier skills and making them no lesser than normal children
the annual days are also famous for its celebrity guests .
this yr we had the Dt Collector of Ernakulam ,Sri Md Haneesh ( the society is deeply indebted to him for his help ),Asst Collector a vertinary doctor IAS from Haryana who even greeted the crowd in malayalam !
Jayasurya an upcoming actor distributed the prices ,he was a natural with the children hugging them making them sing sitting with them and making them laugh with a piece of mimicry .
It was a great day indeed .

Thursday, April 13, 2006



Jammu railway station,platform no 1,wore a festive look that cold and dreary December night .
None can beat Indians for adapting to any situation and making themselves at home anywhere ,so the platform was a second home to the many who waited for the two hour late Pooja Express to steam in .
Colour and cacophony ruled the place .
Whole families were strewn across on spread out carpets and bedsheets in several stages of relaxation .
They talked ,shrieked ,spat ,smoked ,shouted ,ate,drank,cried,guffawed,whimpered,cursed,slept moaned ,and did anything that could be done in a public place within the limits of decency well almost ..
It was an anthropologists delight and a claustrophobics nightmare .Desmond morris could have written a volume or two if he was there.
Even food was being cooked in a gas stove by a kashmiri women with stretched legs who stirred the pot langorusly .
An air of resignation and oriental patience reigned .
We were probably the only beings to be annoyed at the delay and kept looking at our watches officiously exhibiting our southern roots .
We were going back after an exhilarating but exhausting holiday in Kashmir and were raring to get into the train.
The delay was due to security reasons as the coaches had to be checked for bombs and other assorted gifts from terrorists .
Trigger happy military police and CRPF men scanned the multitude for suspicious moves .The cold was biting and the crowd was enveloped in a cocoon of its own warmth .
Announcement were repeated like Goebellian utterances lulling ones senses to stupefaction .

The train finally trundled into the platform creating a flurry of events like a lit dynamite fuse .confusion now metamorphed to chaos as the flotsam lying horizontally changed to vertical mode and flung towards the train .
The ensuing melee saw thrown suitcases and caught children .
Seats were grabbed on muscle power and the law of the jungle prevailed even in reserved coaches .We came to know that this wasnt unusual in north India.
We were lucky when we got our berths intact though the aisles filled up quickly with huge trunks and huger sardars.
The train reluctantly leftJammu like a parting lover and we stretched our tired bones on the berth and was fast asleep in no time lullabied by the movement of the train .
Around midnight reality bit me as a bushy hand of a burly sardar railway police rudely shook me awake ,he had a menacing rifle and a lathi that meant business .
I was ordered down for a search and I readily obeyed .
He patted me all over ,asked me to unbutton my jerkin,he then dug into its pockets searching for some evidence to nail poor me ,ha he said as he felt something deep in a pocket ,I had no idea of what it could be till it came out ,it was a black woolen gloves which I had thought was lost and a slow grin surfaced on my face full of relief which didn’t go well with the sardar .He was annoyed that nothing more incriminatory could be detectd from his search .He the took out the contents of my wallet and studied the ATM and CREDIT cards in detail .Finally he stumbled on my IMA life membership card which substantiated my statement that I was a doctor from down south .
He apologized sheepishly “sorry saaab ,aap sogay good nite”
I climbed into my berth in my jerkin and lost myself to sleep in cold oblivion .
Fate revisited shortly as I could hear voices and on peeping under the hood I could see the sardar now with an officer in tow who kept pointing at me and said search him.
I wondered what made me resemble terrorists ? because whenever I stared in the mirror all I saw was a spectacled timid scholar with no qualification for a man of violence but these policemen didn’t agree with me obviously .
Luckily for me the sardar policeman told his officer” nai saab oh madrasi ductur hoon searh hogaya “
“Well” muttered the officer “seeing his jerkin and hood I was about to shoot him”,and left the place .
My heart did a somersault ,one never knew that the jerkin I bought in Janpath Delhi for a bargain would land me almost in the obituary columns .
Thank god for small mercies !
After this the rest of the journey was a pleasure .

Sunday, April 09, 2006

yelagiri the exotic hill station

When we decided Yelagiri as our Christmas holiday ( 2005 ) we had to explain to many where that was ,making us a trifle apprehensive of its suitability as a hill station ,but all our doubts vanished as we quickly climbed up the fourteen hairpin bends from dusty jolarpettai which had to its fame the famous railway junction and nothing more .
The short uphill journey was smooth and exhilarating with the heat of the plains metamorphosing into the cool of the hills .
In no time we were in the top and the small town was unlike kodai or Ooty though titled the poor mans Ooty ,it had some shops ,a lot of trees and plain roads ,soon we reached the Sterling resorts and to creature comforts .
The small town had surprisingly great eating choice and is a treat for gastronomics ,food was hot ,spicy and yummy ,with great globs of cool ice creams for the finale s.
Nothing much to see but curl up with a good novel in a hammock and drift away to a half eyed nap ,evenings spent in the camp fire with anthaksharis ,housies and tummy builders for company .the lake an artifical one was surprisingly neat with pedal boats for the asking as the crowd was practically not there .
Morning saw us starting on a trek from Mangalam village three kilometers away, up Swamimalai led by an aging local, it was a good tonic for our lazy muscles as we crossed fields full of ragi ,mustard ,corns and reached the foothill with stone steps .The climb slowly turned tougher but we persisted with well deserved rests at perky stones .the view was fabulous ,birds twittering gave us encouragement and the cool breeze invigorated us .we could see the telephone pole way up which was our destination and it required some rigorous climb through bushes and steep rocks .finally we did reach up in one piece to get into the cave temple ,our guide morphed into the priest lighting lamps and prodding us to drop huge offerings for the lord ,we disappointed him by doing nothing of the kind .
After some time in the top savouring the view and far away Jolarpeta and its toy houses we climbed down with trepidation as we knew it would be a difficult task not to topple down the steep stretches .Reaching down in one piece we brought a smile into our guide by tipping him well for a beautiful day spent in nature .The walk had made us ravenous and we devoured Hotel Hills offerings to our aching stomachs .A good nights sleep and we were speeding down and back home .
Poor mens holidays seems to be better than the real ones indeed .

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