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Friday, March 23, 2007






Pranav was lost in the world of colours.
It never mattered to him that the light that shone through the windows landed on his bed in a hospital.
He wasn’t at home or in school where he should have been but for Pranav life was just a journey, and he made the best out of it.
With his soulful smile bright face and gummy teeth he made people fall for him. Literally
He was the darling of the ward and everyone loved him
They had to when they looked at his paintings
His deft brush brought alive his creations,
The brilliant kathakali face which gazed at one benevolently with intricate details in the crown and a sagely beard.
The idol of Vadakkunnathan temple of Thrissur deified in fine detail,
The joyous Santa Claus,
The mischievous Mickey mouse,
The languid scenery,
Or our national flag in all its glory.
Pranav was like Midas and whatever he touched was like Gold
His art was full of life
Every creation of his was as full of cheer as he was.
He kept churning them as fast as he could
He had been doing this as a toddler at two years when the first picture he coloured a potatoes was picture perfect with not a bit of colour outside the border,
He could write all alphabets and numbers unto twenty by then with ease .
He was great in studies too, a bright student of Paramekkavu Vidya Mandir in Thrissur .his paintings have been regularly exhibited in school
He was the darling of his friends and family as he was a pleasing and likeable boy smiling all the time.
His ideas come from everything he observed with his bright eyes.
His dreams were full of creativity
His passion of painting made him forget the pain of long treatments and hospital beds
His talent delighted all.
The doctors and nurses crowded around him everyday to see his latest production.
He would chat and laugh and smile with them
Pranav is not only a bright boy, and a prodigious painter but he is also a wonderful teacher
With the way he lives his life and faces the odds he teaches us all a lot.
Good luck to you dear Pranav.

Monday, March 19, 2007

holy cow ...book review


Holy Cow by Sarah Macdonald :

This is the latest book I read .
This also my first book review ,
As I read books of all kinds I felt reviews would be the next genre to attempt ,so bear with me and read on .
Sarah an Australian vows that she would never return to India after her first backpacker visit to the land of beggars and heat .
Exasperated with her Indian adventure the last words of a beggar cum astrologer in front of the airport in Mumbai who tells her that she would return to know the country truly rankles .
Strangely it becomes true as she does so with her partner and later husband who works for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation .
This time she goes through the rollercoster ride of the country and emerges enlightened .
This description forms the novella .
Racy and raunchy the book is addictive and exposes the underbelly of our beloved nation while slowly India casts its spell by its diversity ,dichotomies ,and daredevildry .
As journalist husband abandons her for long period of loneliness during his mad rush to gather news from remote corners of Afganghistan and Nepal Sarah saunters to taste the spiritual supermarket of India .
From Sikhism to Judaism ,Parsis and their tower of death ,Sufi saints , Amirthananda mayi ,Satya Sai baba and vellangani beckon her attention .
Imbibing this soup of spirituality she skips and skims their surfaces never delving into their depths ,just being a chronicler deeply interested in all .
The rancid waters of body bloated Ganga in Varanasi ,the icy tumble down Risikesh ,the nude naga sadhus of the Kumbh Mela ,the sweating father of hot and crowded velangani ,cotton wisp bearded sufi saints and mullahs of old mosques, and the benign smiling Dalai Lama in Dharamsala she leaves nothing behind .
Bollywood brings her to the big B ,Aamir khans bedroom eyes stare at her while she converses with a cigarette smoking Priety zienta .
She signs off with a sad departure back to her empty and neat Australia with the blue skies and pure air but the whiff of India makes her comment
“ India is the land of the profane and the profound ,the land where spirituality and sanctimoniousness sit miles apart .”
A baby conceived during her last week in India she says would remind her always of the land she lived in and what it gave and what it took .
A worthy read indeed .

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Song of Emilys soul



It was a cold December evening in the year 1984 .
It was the night Emily died .
In the General hospital in Shimla lay a eleven year old Emily .
She knew she was going to die .
She was happy about it ,finally she could see her father again .
She could finally leave this cruel earth brimming with selfish greedy people .
But when she saw her mother ,sitting on the hospital bed beside her ,eyes closed ,praying ,her little heart squirmed .
What would her mother do without her ?
Emily was all she had ….the only ray of hope in her life .
That cold December evening as Emily lay waiting for death to wrap its cold arms around her she remembered the past eleven years of her life .
When Emily was born ,her huge bungalow was filled with dozens of aunts and uncles who squeezed her cheeks and showered gifts upon the gooing gurgling baby ,but five years later when Emily’s fathers business broke and they were plunged into bitter poverty not one of them were anywhere to be found .
One by one they began to lose everything they had ,and were left to beg in the streets .
Emily,s father not able to bear the disgrace ,committed suicide ,never thinking of the two lonely people he was leaving behind ,his wife Daisy and daughter Emily .
They survived as Daisy began to work as a housemaid and with money earned sent Emily to school .
Emily with her bright eyes and innocent smile became everyones angel .
She taught her mother how to live through their hardship with a smile .
She used to find something to be glad about everything that happened .

But in her tenth year when doctors diagnosed her with blood cancer poor Emily couldn’t find anything to be glad about .
What followed were days filled with tears ,excruciating pain,and dying hope .
Day by day she grew weaker and weaker .
Her mother borrowed huge sums of money to pay for her treatment ,not thinking of how she was going to repay them ever.
All she cared about was her daughter .
If Emily died Daisy knew she did not want to live for a moment more .
Emily knew that too .
So on that cold December evening Emily called her mother to her and gasping for air said “ mama …promise me that if I die you wont commit suicide like dada did ,don’t worry …you wont be alone I will be
there ..there..” and using all her energy she slowly raised her hand and pointed to her mothers heart .
“I promise I wont dear “ said Daisy and watched as Emily took a long breath ,sighed and then breathed no more .
Daisy did not cry ,she slowly placed her hand over her chest and listened carefully .

In the rhythm of her hearts beat Daisy could hear
the song of her daughters soul …

Sruthi menon
Class 10

vellore



Vasur at 6 Am was desolate but for the cool November morning breeze there was not a soul and all that the golden quadrilateral between Bangalore and Chennai had were speeding vehicles and one risked getting maimed or killed if one dared to ask for directions.
Sneha Deepam was where my accommodation was arranged in Vellore and it was at Vasur just 7Km from the town.
There was a small temple and out of it came an old lady hobbling her way slowly, vocal ministrations on my part were successful in getting an answer from her.
I trudged the few yards along the service road dragging my suitcase like a morning walker with his dog on tow.
Sneha Deepam was a quaint wooded place with a just constructed building and an older one ahead.
I spotted a bearded Tagore look alike in priests garb that greeted me with a warm handshake and arranged for my room in a jiffy.
Vellore CMC hospital was to be my focus for one week as I had come here for a course and Sneha deepam was to be my home for this time.
My room was spartan ad neat and faced a courtyard full of raucous turkeys and cocks .At night they made a ruckus with one particular cock waking me up every day at midnight, in deep sleep I would curse the bird of a future where it becomes my deep fried dinner.
Next day morning Iam off to The Christian Medical College hospital.
This should be one of the most crowded places on this side of the earth.
I jostled my way through the milling crowds.
The atmosphere was filled with Hindi and Bengali talk and I felt I landed somewhere between Bihar and West Bengal. (Most of the patients in the hospital hail from these two states)
. A search for the department where I was meant to be made me circumbulate the complex like a satellite in its orbit before I zeroed in on it.
I was immersed into my work happy to meet new people and learn new things.
The day ended quickly and I disgorged myself into the streets around the hospital.
Coming out in the evening Bangla food, pure halwas, meeti paans, and such other signs greeted me so did hundreds in pajama kurtas and tucked dhotis, I felt I was inside a hindi film and looked around for the compulsory villain, I shook myself from the revelry by taking a hot chai and the tamil magazines on the stand of a small shop oriented me back to dear old Vellore.
A dry hinterland just 140 km from its famous neighbouring Chennai this overgrown village of a town has most of its fame thanks to the CMCH.
It is said its two main buses make a pradhaksina of it .
Of course history rumbled beneath the city and all one had to do was to look for it which was what I did when I stepped into the Vellore Fort .
Crossing the wide moat twenty feet deep, which was said to have had ten thousand gluttonous vile crocodiles sloshing in the sludge waiting for their dinner.
I imagined hooves of helmeted soldiers and clangs of their black murderous swords as they galloped into the fort for orgies of bloodshed.
Names of Tipu Sultan ,Hyder Ali ,the Vijayanagar kings ,booted British and flamboyant French crowded my vision
It was the seat of Pallava, chola, Nayak, Maratha, Arcot nawabs, Bijapur sultans.
Built probably during the reign of Chinna bommi Nayak in 1526 Ad to 1596 AD the Fort is a fine example of military architecture.
I imagined the poor sodden tourists who crowded the fort like sheep as these worthies.
I stepped into a deserted Tourist information centre for my quota of information and met a sorry looking clerk who was about to lock the place and saunter home for a much needed bath when bad luck in the form of an eager tourist yours truly landed on his poor self .He quickly did the vanishing trick filling my hands with copies of two brochures.
The neighboring archeology office was faithful to its specialty in almost being a heritage site with rusted bicycles parked inside and yellowed files fluttering from an overhead fan ,a surprised attender discouraged me from enquiries by pointing me to the direction of the temple .
I had to find solace in God after this indeed and so I walked barefoot by the cool flagstones into a magnificent courtyard.
The sculptures of the jalakandeshwarar temple built by the Vijayanagar rajas were scintillating and an example of the artist’s brilliance. Huge motifs described scriptures vividly.the temple was spacious and breezy; I sat on the he stone slabs, which were warm after the day’s sun.
The temple had an inner and outer prakara and a kalyanamandapam
I got up slovenly and trudged back home munching on some hot peanuts ruminating on those days
As dusk gathered I returned back to vasur and its turkeys.

Friday, March 09, 2007

DOCTOR IN THE TRAIN:

Travelling by train always leads to talking ,the indian railways being conducive to the national ethos of idle conversations, what else do you do with all the time and with nothing in particular to pass the time
suddenly your neighbour whom you wouldn’t have cared to look at elsewhere looks positively intresting and you ache to know all about him .He becomes a celebrity in those closed quarters .
Being a doctor passenger often has its good and bad ,the moment you say you are a doctor faces around lights up as their minds work overtime how to badger a free consultation
“ohh a doctor is it a homeopath or an allopath ? which specialisation ? which hospital ? my nephew is a doctor you know in the states a cardiologist ,Americans have given their heart to him !! ha ha
After this innocent introduction the knives are sharpened for the kill
“You know .”pipes one bald corner seat walla “actually my back is the problem lumbago , it all happened when I slipped a disc or two years back and it is been hurting me ever since,I used to touch the ground with my forehead all the time before that
( no wonder the hair bade him farewell ) all those medicines I have swallowed have only made my doctors buy new cars and left my pain with myself .”
This would give rise to faint chuckles by the crowd always delighted to expose clay feet it is good pastime that a doctor is being tickled ,after all they live on our sicknesses and make one pay fat bills to live in style .
Every man there becomes an instant remix of Lenin and stalin as they berate the doctor as a symbol of bouergaiese exess
The lower berth pot belly would then start describing the noxious emanations vaporizing from his posterior and confess how he always needed a toilet around .He goes on to lengthy explanations punctuated by grunts and groans to elaborate his bowel movements in remarkable details as to him they were earth shaking events .
“ My aunt has cancer you know , why cant you doctors find a cure for that ?and yes AIDS what about AIDS ,forget all that ,the common cold is there a cure for it ?
accuses the bright young thing peeking from her Readers Digest .
To her Doctors should have answers for everything or else they were not worth their salt .
A somber looking middle aged man who has hypochondriac written on his forehead dictates the whole pharmacopia as the drugs he is on and finally with a forlorn look asks me what do you suggest doctor ?for which I almost say all you need my dear man is the right kick in the right arse but turn down the temptation for the next time .
There are dangerous maniacs who hate modern medicine with a venom lurking in all crowds specially trains who seek their victims in unaccompanied doctors .
They always berate doctors of charging exorbitantly and letting loose tons of dangerous drugs on the unsuspecting innocent sick of the country ,this variety is always aided by timid companions with their own versions of torture by doctors ,spreading the word that all doctors are born murderers and pirates so much so that the whole train hates you by the next junction .
The internet has made it more difficult with net savvy smartalecs fresh from their browsing quizzing on the latest to foggy old doctors like me whose knowledge starts and ends with the kind pamphlet the medical reps delivers with panache
one yearns to get away from all this probably with a friendly puff near the door, but nuisance follows like Marys lamb “ what doctors smoking ,what a bad example ? “
So now this time I traveled in train I was wise and when the inevitable question came I called myself a sanitary inspector with a sneer thinking that will put you morons in your place but then the man next to me said oh a sanitary plumber is it tell me which is the best potty for a man with third degree piles !!!
Karma lands me in haemorroids again !!.

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