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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Lido Show ......Paris

The Lido show
To me any tour through viator has never been regret, especially Lido.
I thank my stars that i booked into this wonderful show which made my evening remarkable,
Paris is a city of romance and love, to go to a world renowned night club with the love of one’s life my wife of 34 years was a treat
i would always preserve the moments when i was at this club and the experience Viator offered me and i would strongly recommend the same for any couple like us .
To start with it was a breezy cold evening and we were told by our hotel in Montparnasse called Novotel that Lido in champs de Elysee was just walking distance away,
i would say the receptionist has a great walking routine which accounts for great distances for Lido was nowhere near where he said ,as we trudged in the chilly evening the only thing that kept us doing it infinitely was the beauty of the city and its twinkling lights of its major roads ,but when a time came that we may miss out on the very purpose of the evening we once again asked a friendly French gentleman who told us to either take a cab ot jump into the metro and get there fast as waking would take hours ,
so we did just that in minutes we took a metro ,and after two stations changed lines and traveled for around nine stations before reaching George v metro station
Paris metro bought us to Champs Elysee road the ultimate in fashion glamour and glitter ,on one end we could view the famous Triumph DE arch and on both sides were the most elegant showrooms restaurants and studios in the world ,
Lido was right across and we quickly went in to give our Viator confirmation voucher,
we were a bit early for the show and so had some time for some pictures for posterity and finally we went in
The show would begin at 9 pm
They opened at 8 pm sharp
Once we went in we were shown our table and a glass of the sparkling champagne was poured
The glowing wine was really mature and sweet
Lido started in 1946 ,it was a post war liberated and gay France which was out to become the pleasure and fashion capital of the world and moved to the current location in 1977
It was started by joseph and Louis Clerico brothers and in 2006 Sodexo the international food chain bought it and invested more than 24 million euro to make the present show.
It was closed between December 2014 to April 2015 to produce the new show choreographed by by Franco Dragone
There are two shows every day and each lasts for one and a half hours Dinner version and Drink version are both available
The famous Blue bell girls are part of the troupe,to be a blue bell girl is a honor and they are selected form all over the world for their height most are six foot tall ,Margaret Kelly organised the blue bell girls and was called as Miss blue bell herself their the dresses and costumes the feathers the rhinestones are all costly and made with taste
There are special effects lighting moving stage and audience areas rain lightening rainbows and its a mix of exotica and a visual delight and a medley of songs and trained dancers to do their bit

There was a Finnish sword swallower
An acrobatic couple did their bit
And a lead opera singer who sang so well in her high pitched sopranos
There were lovely sets with water, fountains etc which changed so quickly and magically
The dancers were all trained ballet artistes
There were hip hop dancers pantomiming artistes etc
The dresses were glamorous colorful many tall fashionable ladies were bare chested but never appeared vulgar
It was highly artistic entertaining and the service was exemplary

I would recommend anyone visiting Paris to visit Lido show .

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Roman colloseum

Roman Holiday 
Rome the city of gladiators of popes of senators of dictator like Mussolini of Julius caesar of Cleopatra and Mark Antony needs no introduction.
Rome with the vatican city as its neighbour the smallest country in the world with 900 citizens and a most important religious leader of the world the pontificate of Roman catholics the holy pope himself .
Isnt these two enough to make this city intresting ?
We all have our impressions on this great city of a great country Italy 
I too had 
I knew it was the twins who were flown in a basket in the river Tiber who would later build Rome on its banks 
I knew it was the powerful Romans whose Governor would crucify Jesus christ for his breaking their rules but later adopt the religion of their own crucified victim and a part of their city would become the high office of christianity .
But nothing prepared me for the day 
It was a day I discovered this piece of history
A day i stumbled into a time machine that zipped me back to men of iron muscles and corded veins fight lions with brave hands of opulent emperors luxuriating in the orgies of food and excesses .of battles fought in the country and abroad of riches plundered beautiful women achieved and land conquered 
The times when people let out yells of joy on seeing their gladiators drawing blood or lions crunching on their slaves skulls .
We reached Colloseo station from Bologna station by Metro .
We had bought a 15 Euro 48 hr unlimited Metro ticket each which was the best way to travel 
Rome has two metro lines blue and red .
On reaching Colloseo station .we moved up to road bordering the towering ancient well known ruin itself .
Strangely the half destructed building by an earthquake ,numerous battles ,and later by stone thiefs had recently undergone massive reconstruction and restoration and achieved a very remarkable result .
The real name of the building was Flavium Amphitheatre as built by Flavic kings .
Just before its construction Rome was ruled by the narcissist megalomanic dictator famously known for playing fiddle when his country burned by name emperor Nero .
Nero had constructed a very huge opulent extravagant palace with a mammoth statue of himself alieniating to people .
This collasal self aggrandisement later came to be used for the amphiteatre in the place of his palace as an atonement to his arrogance 
Hence it was collosal it became popularly called colloseum .
The colloseum for a long time was a state of art entertainment sports exhibition centre .
Its innermost and closest to performers was for the emperor and family ,royals ,and middle rows 
For midlle class and top most rows were for the poor .
What did they come to see and how .
The bottom of the colloseum had a wooden floor but under it was a labyrinth of caves tunnels and gate for bringing in animals .
The said animals would at times be lifted in to a make shift elevator and appear on the wooden stage to fighting bouts of gryesome battles .there would be gladiator contests and the crowd would yell blood curdling whoops of murderous cries prisoners and slaves for public execution would be bought at lunch times for a public display
And scenes would rise from below using hydraulic pulleys to produce a perfect show .
The vestal virgins were the only women allowed close to gladiators as most Romans had no reason to encourage their women from setting eyes on handsome gladiators
Its said one kings wife confessed to her husband that she had amorous thoughts on a said gladiator 
The king promptly ordered the gladiator killed and made the queen bath in his blood as adviced by a magic man but the queen was pregnant and later brought out a baby stunningly looking like the gladiator who had the final laugh .
The thumbs up and down sign also camr after peoples reaction to gladiators battles 
Such were the games played in the colloseum .
After an exhaustive walking tour led by a Phd in Archeology as our groups guide we walked on to the famous Roman forum in palatine hill 
Bordering on it was the arch of triumphmany Romsn ruins temples palaces royal houses in a huge area of hilly land 
In the christian era the colloseum became a religious center with violent games put an end to 
Even to this day his highness the Pope starts his way of cross duting easter from here .
Roman colloseum was like a massive stadium built during
72 AD completed in 80 AD under three kings callled Flavian kings and hence also called Flavian theatre .
It was meant for gladiator fights prisoners fighting raging lions duels to death and such gory spectacles
It could hold upto 50000 to 60000 spectators

By the end of it we were back to metro on colloseo station to catch a metro to ottavia which was reached after switching to a red line at Termini station .
This was for our afternoon tour of the Vatican but thats another long story which I shall tell

Monday, May 22, 2017

Murano vase

The Tale of the Murano Vase

Murano island off venice
1.5 km by speed boat
The world famous venetian glass making is centered in Murano island .
Venice has always been known for its excusite creativity in crystals and glass making.
It had families involved in this since mediaveal times
From glasses in churches palaces houses chandeliers that were huge and beautiful which adorned European chateus to fine pieces of art small and big .
It was 1291 that the glass makers of venice were requested to move into an island for them as the furnaces in thier factories always spelt danger in a thickly populated venice .
The families involved were highly respected in society and were eagerly sought for marriage from the most elite rich families of Venetians .
They practiced their art became rich and lived a happy life .
Though discouraged from moving to other parts of the world thus carrying thier art away many still did and today are the most respected glassmakers around the world .
When we were in Venice premila was very particular to visit Murano .
Luckily our hotel had a free transit by boat to the island to its customers as a marketing technique
All we wanted was to see the place and glassmaking process and buy some small souvenuirs .
We reached the island and stepped into the factory that brought us here .
We saw the glass blowing itself a fine art and the creative making of small horses etc .
Like magic figurines came alive from the delicate nuances blowing bending of the hot glass
Flowers small vases dancers animals were all made in a jiffy .
We then were led into a showroom with huge rooms full of Aladfin treasures of very costly excuisite pieces .
And then we both fell in love with one vase coloured bright like a peacock standing proud on a shelf .
The salesperson was quick to spot our intrest and explained to us its make and about its maker who was a legend who also was one of the demonstrators that day
The price in Euros was way above our budget as we never thought we would buy aby big piece .
The owner came around took us to another room showed the piece in detail the play of light on it its colours and its creativity.
We told him we liked it but had two issues
We were still in the second city in Europe and had four more so how could we carry this breakable costly piece around secondly it was quite costly .
He told us i can ship it for you home but it would be costlier too .
We did some Indian bargaining and used our combined charms in making him bring the price down a bit though he expressed the words oh you Indians in a good way .
Finally we did buy it safely securely packed by them stuffed it into a hand luggage and managed to bring it safely to Cochin through Brunei !
The best part we took a foto with its creator
Thats the tale of the Murano vase .

Doctors in india

How society treats a Doctor in India today ?

I have often heard mentioned that medicine is a noble profession
It may be though I think it’s just another profession which involves dedication, hard work, common sense and ethical behavior as it involves human suffering and lives.
Another common attitude of society is doctors need to be noble!
Now what does that word mean, it means to be fair and have high thinking.

Fine, some among doctors are that but many arent which is but natural considering today's society, doctors who are part of it arent born or bred differently!
Shades of greed, corruption, or arrogance are to be expected amongst them too.
One cannot castigate the whole profession as not being noble, whatever that means.
If we consider medicine as another profession we need to accept the dark and the bright side of it but if we expect an ethereal divinity in doctors we would be sadly disappointed

Now let’s look at how doctors are being treated by the society which expects them to be noble!
Society cannot accept a doctor making money or living a good life or having his own time .
 That doesn't fit with the nobility of their thinking
 How do they pay back the noble souls?
They hit them when anything untoward happens
 They destroy their property, they accuse them and when the doctors get exonerated they just forget whatever they did and continue to expect him or her to deliver in full!
This is from all walks from the powerful and the powerless, the media the law the politician the common man are all mostly united in this.
Why should any doctor who has given a lot of time or and money to become what he is have any loyalty to such a society?
Why should he not have his own time to spend just because a society most selfish in the times thinks he shouldn’t have?
Why can’t he make money out of his skills?
Why can’t he spend it?
He can, and he should ,as long as the doctor has not exploited his patients or cheated them .

Another myth being spread even by the Prime minister of the country is that doctors are prescribing costly branded drugs in collusion with multinational pharmaceuticals and making money and hence the Government has forced it to prescribe only generic drugs ,
Let me just explain how easily the people are fooled even the educated,
Generic means the original chemical molecule
for example if one wants to write paracetamol if generic one can write paracetamol and not any brand preferred by the doctor like Panadol calpol etc which are brands of paracetamol
Now the doctor who is aware of the good companies producing the drug has lost his chance of selecting the same for the hapless patient but the local chemist is now the person who chooses it!!

As India is still not a country where the Government decides on only good quality few generic molecules but has thousands of choices from fly by night operators who make starch tablets with no ingredients to the most pricey high quality ones
And dear patient today that is decided by your friendly neighbourhood mostly untrained pharmacist for you, giving you the good news
Since you all believe in them more than doctors who you feel arent noble and are cheats please enjoy!

Now the pharmacist is going to sell off the drug which gives him the maximum percentage or gifts which may include spurious ones as the drug controllers who monitor him are mostly corrupt too
do you know dear people that anyone can start a drug company with a capsule machine and minimum licences and fill it with starch or chalk powder in this country and call it any name or if i don’t want to start a company there are small one shed pharmaceutical which will manufacture any drug in your name for example you want paracetamol in your name go ahead it can be done like if chandran wants paracetamol he can call it chandramol and it may have paracetamol or sand no worries
this has been going one ,one TV channel showed this recently .
Only filter society had to see through all this was the doctor who is considered as the biggest thief around and so the new rules has given the choice to pharmacists.
But if the drugs produce an untoward reaction or does not act well act then the doctor can be hit or his hospital or clinic can be destroyed hes there waiting to be hit

Without knowing anything of this every small time street corner orator rants and raves of doctors making money on branded drugs
What a foolish country India is

It’s also high times Indians become aware that India is the cheapest country for sophisticated medical care and good skills
Those abroad would know this and understand its value
Most doctors working in such hospitals arent paid that highly and are paid according to their qualifications

The pay of Indian doctors compared to their equal counterpart professionals like Chartered accountants lawyers marketing or IT professionals is much low
Its only highly skilled super specialists who make decent money and they deserve to too
The worst are the junior doctors,the interns , the Government college student  doctors who are treated like scum with unfair working hours unheard in any civilized country of more than at times 36 hours with inadequate rest or food and made to work with high stressed departments with the fear of being physically attacked by mad public at any time or being ranted and raved by illiterate imbecile politicians ministers or their thugs
I saw today in TV the health minister of a state putting on a show in a hospital shouting at the staff for not being in the seat like they were juveniles, these kinds of publicity stunts covers up the gross mismanagement in government hospitals poor infrastructure corruption and siphoning of money by these unworthies

Did the doctors study for so many years and so hard that they should suffer at the hand of such worms?

Most corporate hospitals today are thronged by people
Many of them charge exorbitantly to a certain extent
They do it for profit
Again they are hardnosed business men with investments needed for state of the art care which doesn't come cheap

One cannot compare the private hospitals with Government set ups which are run shoddily not by doctors but by the very politicians the society elects, die for and vouch for and vote for again and again
Why is it their anger is not directed against those politicians and parties who promised them the sky and later made them run to private hospitals,
Do they know that these politicians dont even have their or their family medical needs met by the sophisticated hospitals in the country but go abroad for the same to pay ten times the same amount while leaving the poorly paid overworked badly managed government hospitals for those who had voted them to power?
, why is it that the common man who expects noble doctors shy from  asking them questions
Because they will get back from them in kind,
So they fear power
They can act only against the unprotected poor doctor to vent their frustration
In the process they put off the doctors in a more protective mode and the costs rise further and doctors refuse to take risks and it costs the patient dearly
In a country full of quacks untrained pharmacists corrupt drug controllers health officers and ministers and MLAs thieving policemen and politicians even with a few doctors who are sincere are put off by this stupid attitude of the society
Why should the doctor bear all this?
Why does he need to toil day and night for an ungrateful society which is jealous of his having a good life and expects him to be noble sacrifice for no returns?
Violence against doctors has risen hundredfold with the law looking the other side
Doctors have been murdered blinded maimed hit kicked dragged along the ground stoned by arrogant bystanders and their thugs
Probably the only profession which can be taken up as sitting ducks and that which does not react today is the medical field and doctors in particular due their lack of unity and if this goes on for long they have no other way out but to unite and shirk work
Its then that the society will realize it had killed its golden goose chasing for those elusive eggs

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ancestral neighbours

Raja Ravi Varma
Historical fiction has always fascinated me though I am yet to delve into hard core research into any story so far unlike one of my fellow blogger Maddy an engineer in USA hailing from Calicut .
Iam at present reading a book on the famous Travancore Ranis by Manu Pillai  I came across the word Parappanad !
I hail on my maternal side from Parappanangadi and have nostalgic memories of the village ,
I also knew about the Parappanad thampuran though I had never met him or any one from that family ,
their palace was just north of our ancestral house which was called Thekkepat Kovilakkam
 thekku in Malayalam is south ie south of the parappanad kovilakam !

We used to pass the vast grounds of the kovilakam itself while walking to the railway station from our house as those days there was no motor able road like now .

Parappanad royal family i learnt had  mainly two branches the northern Parappanad in Beypore near Calicut and the southern Parappanad in Neduwa Parappanangadi which incidentally is the heart and soul of my maternal native place .
Kerala Varma
The Travancore royal family like most Kerala royal clans were strictly based on matrilineal system of succession and girl children was not only favored but were a necessity to carry on the lineage ,
so when there were lack of suitable girl children in family there used to be a system of adoption of the same form other royal families and Parappanad family who hailed from the kolathiri Rajahs were a favorite
from the fifth century on when two princesses were adopted by the Travancore royal family
in the 9th century AD cheirya koil thampuran landed in Travancore

The main exodus of parappanad thampurans came in 964 Ad during Tipus invasion of Malabar and forcible conversions ,
it is at this time an exodus of parappanad kings went to their familiar kingdom with which they had an alliance of long fleeing from a  cruel enemy
The many rajahs married in kilimanoor palace and some of the offspring's like the Great Marthanda Varma and his nephew Rama Varma were all products of such alliances
kerala Varma or velliya koil thampuran famously known as kalidas of keralam for his translation of shakumtalam and the famous artist Raj Ravi Varma were all proud of their connection with the parappanad royal family

Amusingly there are snippets that would suggest the real lineage of parappanad thampurans is up from north the Rajputs themselves but I am yet to gleen facts

But its good to know more on ancestral neighbors

Kerala Monsoons

Kerala is known for its monsoons
The season I love to be in it .
After the blistering humid heat that pervades the state from late march malayalees start looking at the sky for those elusive clouds by middle and end of may .
Unlike Tamilnadu .Andhra .Karnataka (excluding dakshin kannada ) kerala has this unique rains which used to start in mid may in the past but getting later and later of late .
This comes from the south west monsoons which enter through the southern tip of India moving into Trivandrum the capital of the state and amusingly tracing a path up the western coast till it leaves kerala drenched and happy in Kasargod continues through Mangalore Goa western maharashtra Mumbai and then central india later exiting through West Bengal .

In Kerala this season lasts at least till August till Onam the harvest festival .
A brilliant travelogue by Alexander Frazer an Australian travel writer chasing the monsoon is one of my most liked books for here the author like the rest of Kerala waits in Kovalam Trivandrum gazing up at the sky to watch for the bursting of the monsoon in end of may .
His plan is to move along the path of the monsoon with it and he does it a scurry of travel in trains buses taxis cycles autorikshaws at times walking drenched too .
what a brilliant way to explore a place !

And I think best time to visit Kerala should be its monsoon for one ,its off season and prices are down ,for another the mallu is always more amiable once the rain cools him down !

Iam sure even the political murders in the killing fields of Kannur or the potshots in the assembly take a downturn with the rains .

To the malayalee varsham or mazhakaalam is the harbringer of fertlity for the earth needed for his harvests
By edavapaadhi or may middle he starts waiting like a pregnant mother for the fat drops of water from the heavens but as it moves to karkadakam month around mid june july its also the season of wants as the heavy rains for days take their toll .

The poor have no work or food and exist miserably in their leaking thatched houses .

Its the season of starvation where big tharavaaads or families accomodate their workers in their abodes when threatened with floods give them food and clothes .

I remember during my childhood holidays in Parappanangadi the huge verandah and backyard covered area on our massive house would accomodate many wet children and dark glistening parents for days on end being served with hot kanji and other food .

That was the equation those days between workers and landowners not the feudal slavery as depicted by the communists who effectively spoilt this relationship and replaced it with arrogance of labour and today there are no more harvests .
the landlords get their rice from nearby states while most workers toil for some distant Arab in hostlie conditions the rest exist by  labour terrorism in kerala .

The monsoons transform the state into more greener shade than its usual and more etheral
Brown just leaves
The dripping rain its puddles flowing rivers the chill in the air the peeping sun the gushing waters the sound of the incessant rains are the visual and auditory nostalgia every Keralite carries in his heart .

Theres no malayalee who fails to love his varshakaaalam .
Generally june 1st is when schools open in Kerala after summer holidays
Its almost sanctostat that the children in thier new uniforms and umbrellas go drenched to school on day one
Rains also is season of piety for many Hindus where the reading of epic Ramayana is carried on in many houses and temples as in earlier days people stayed home during the rainy season.
Theres a pilgrimage to naalambalam  or four temples on same day those for Raama.lakshmana shatrukna Thrissur dt which is carried on in monsoons .
Ramayana discourses happen in many temples
Its also an excellent time to go for a boat cruise in backwaters with prizes rock bottom one can glide along the rumbling waters while dark clouds bring forth buckets of rain on the bobbing boat tucking into hot fresh fish caught then and its ambrosia of a different kind

So go to kerala during the rainy season next time  .

Monday, May 15, 2017

Ambalapuzha payasam

Ambalapuzha is a town near Alapuzha in kerala its well known for a krishna temple .

 Ambalapuzha temple

Its more known for its main offering or nivedhiyam its paal payasam otherwise known as milk kheer

The payasam which one gets as prasadham here for which there is great demand is the most tastiest
Many of its namboodhiri brahmin priest cooks have been taken up by other temples and they know the technique well but the taste was never as good as in Ambalapuzha

I had tasted it too
In fact once i travelled from Cochin to Ambalapuzha a distance of 100 km in a KSRTC transport bus just to collect the prasadam we booked in the morning .

Its making is meticulous from collection of pure milk in morning in accurate measurements , using temple well water to dilute it and allowing it to concentrate for four hours to thicken
Then the sugar is added
The priests call out vasudeva before the sugar is brought as a tradition .

The brown rice is put 3/4 an hour before and a big bowl is taken to the lord as offering

At that time an eagle is seen on the sky every day

Once offering is made and puja over the prasadam is ditributed as per booking

How did this offering come into vogue ?

Lord krishna once appeared as a sage to the king ruling Ambalapuzha and asked him to play a game of chess
The king agreed and asked the sage what should be the prize for the winner
The sage told him it should be one grain of rice in first sqaure of chessboard and its double in next and so on

The king was amused as he was willing to give costly prizes

The sage won naturally
The rice grains were attempted to be kept but to the kings surprise he knew the whole granary of his kingdom could not give the trillions of grains needed by end of last sqaure
Lord Krishna revealed himself and told him to seve paal payasam in the temple every day to pilgrims till the day he gives all grains promised and that he would come every day to take same .

The temple was built by champakassery pooradam thirunal Devanarayanan thampuran in 15 to 17 century and lord vishnu is in form of parthasarathi with a conch in one hand and a whip in other hand .

During Tipu sultans raids and mayhem in north malabar Guruvayoor temple idol was brought here for safekeeping for twelve years.

Once on way back from sabarimala one of my friends knew the veliya thirumeni or chief priest and we went to thier mana or huge mansion of a joint family and were served one of the most tastiest vegetarian lunch i had ever tasted and in the end we had the famous  Ambalapuzha payasam from the house of the chief priest himself as a portion of the prasadham comes to his house every day .

My Mother

What do i say about my mother this day
She loved to study and did for some time in Bombay
She loved english classics tess of d abervilles
Mayor of casterbridge Grimms tales
She loved fun and frolic and cheer
But never knew what all she had to bear

Married at sixteen to my dad
She said then she was very sad
That she could study no more
Those days it was so no use being sore

But she didnt know then the greatest learning would be her life
As she used to say from a man who she was fortunate to be a wife
My dad was intelligent honest patient calm gentle hard working
My mother was young ambitious colourful charming but never lurking

Her impatience was tided by his gentleness
Her anger was softened by his calmness
He taught her to accept and be happy
He taught her to stop being snappy

He taught her humility never grieving
He made her realise simple living
He encouraged her to study more on the side
And she passed matric by his side

She couldnt do more as dad fell sick
And in her thirties he left us all like a trick
An young widow with little children to care
Me ten my sister fourteen is an ordeal to bear

She stood steadfast all alone in a city
For she wanted to give us the best for eternity
She managed our needs
Never giving wrong advices a heed

Today what we are shes the cause
Her life she gave for us a loss
She looked after my children too
Her stories of tess aberville to woo

She travelled wrote wanted to learn computer
She was full of life with no tutor
She gave us the best before she left us forever
With loads of memories and tears which dry never

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The king of vocabulary ...shashi tharoor

Shashi tharoor the MP from Thiruvananthapuram is the quintissential mallu a prodigal who returned to Kerala after a childhood and upto his late middle age living in most places around the world .
His early life in the world of books with an uncle   a senior in the Readers Digest inc and a dad in advertising and journalism would have contributed to his vast instant vocabulary of course augmented by the excellent educational institutions he studied like st Stephens and in the US  .
With a natural talent in writing and  espousing in faultless and intresting oratory coupled with handsome looks a senior UN career there wasnt a looking back in what he did .

So when he came back and plunged into the murky dark slush of Indian politics specially in Kerala which had the major population in it  who prided themselves in being handicapped in the queens language or were those who spoke it with an accent meant to expose thier origins.

So Sasi tharoor with his non cattle class flipping hair life style, impeccable accent and coiuffuered presence made the locals look at him with awe and they  promptly voted for him and his party to power the congress being one of the two possibilities their limited poitical awareness allowed them to do so

And Shasi with all his worldly talents never made a New York out of Thiruvanathapuram but frolicked around like a playboy with glamorous people in a jet paced life .

And now when the skeletons in his cupboards kept knocking he camouflagued facts by verbiosity .

Suddenly all those who looked at him with suspicion stood stunned on that ferrago word from him and rushed to get a dictionary

This is the second time the man is using this method of collective verbal mesmerism
the first was of course his coining the word cattle class for the aaam aadmis economy travels in flights .
And as mallus debate on whether ferrago suits Achumamman or pinarayi Shasi might just be writing another book or pushing the skeletons deeper into the cupboards .
With the kind of judiciary in our country and investigative agencies with most of the sensational cases getting buried along with the victims we all know that none of Arnobs histrionics nor Shasi tharoors verbal magic will make any closures to Sunandas enigmatic departure .
Its just one more thamasha for the nation that wants to know but never will
The sad people in it are of course Sunanda and her poor son
Ferragos will come and go in cattle class

Thanks to  cartoon from online

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Thripunithura clock tower

The Thripunithura clock tower or Manimalika is a landmark in Thripunithura near the entrance of Sree Poornathrayeesa temple .
Being the  capital of Cochin state and home town of Cochin Maharajah during the past it had its own time
It was built between 1864 to 88 by Sree Rama varma
Dutch clock makers participated
It has a puppet soldier who salutes every hoir of the day
It is saod Arjuna oprned his poorni or sacred thread hence called poorni thara later after toysl family took up abode here it become yhri poornithura
Arjuna had come here to look for a suitable place to consecrate the Krishna idol he carried and thus came Sree poornathrayeesa temple
This temple toen drips of history and culture
Drums emanate from houses kathakali mohiniyattom carnatic classical music ftom classes halls music college etc
Palaces are so many more like cottages most have only numbers like palace no 13 ..14 etc
Surrounded by backwaters its narrow streets bustle with traffic traditionaly clad beautiful women chirpy children
And with the metro to shortly reach its end here we made a great descision to become a  Thripunithurite

Monday, May 08, 2017

Coffee tea and me

To me tea or coffee has to be just the way I want them to be
Iam a dictator here
No compromises.
Just the right temperature the right time it should be served
like I love to sip them with my food
 breakfast or whatever neither before nor after

This sort of fad is a big irk for many .

For one my wife keeps calling me till I come immediately once  the coffee or tea hits the table .
 In a hotel its always too early as in Brunei where the drink comes first or ,too late as in Chennai where people drink tea or coffee as a dessert mostly to wash thier dosas down .

This quirk is shared by some in my matrileneal family ,we mallus being more possesive of this branch of our progeny .

But to others this seems almost a perversion !

Having said about timing let me talk of the tea I like
I like tea coloured a tinted yellow red which proclaims its strength ,having tasted the pure strong tea from the cardomom hills of wayanad or the stepping Tata tea estates of verdant Munnar which is transported to the torrid planes and auctioned in Cochin where I lived half my life .

Either its because I rubbed shoulders with the tea tasters who have a stiff upper lip when it comes to quality  or because tame tepid sweet tea puts me off as much as an Adoor Gopalakrishnan movie does  !

The Kannan devan hills with its thatched tea shops smoke emanating and merging with the mist of an early morning would be my mother of all teas !!

The version tea thariq served in Brunei or UAE with its syrupy milkmaid treacled sweetness makes me a bit sick !

As far as coffee is concerned having grown up in mylapore in Chennai nay Madras in my days where mother of filter coffees are concoted by conservative madi sari maamis with a vengeance unsurpassed , and having imbibed this ambrosia in my childhood , my taste buds sneer at tame imitations of this ,
 leave alone imitations ,the bitter concotions of modern coffee houses including the famed  starbucks which is the fad of the yuppy crowd ,makes me pity their sorry destiny in calling the said beverage as class !!

Similarly the mallu makes horrible coffee with powder not filter even the  instant  variety is murdered by him with no mercy and the milk is as watery as the periyar during monsoon which makes me  run a mile !

So from a mallu go for a tea and from a maami go for a coffee .!



Got it

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Horny mallu

India is a horny country
No pun intended
today was no Horn day in Kerala
The Indian Medical association Cochin celebrated this by spreading awareness on noise pollution 
let me talk of the addiction of the mallu to his horn !
hes born with a finger on this button and all his emotions are expressed singularly by horning
his horny moments are plenty
The angry horn : this usually comes when he is overtaken ,or a pedestrian or cow or auto or cycle blocks his way ,this comes in starts and is sudden and loud
The frustrated horn : when there is a traffic block and Mallu is in a hurry which is usually all the time ,he just horns in fits and starts
the emotional horn : can happen with no cause as it arises from within and not from outside ,ususally when he fights with wifey in car or by his mobile phone he expresses his displeasure by horning
The joyful horn happen when mallu is cheerful this usually is long and low and one can feel the cheer
The lazy horn happens with no reason but mallu laziness in having to drive to work on a Monday after the weekend slosh
the hartal horn is risky one as it makes his vehicle a prime target for stones expect in two wheeler which the proleterait knows isn't feudal
The VIP horn is only for strutting politicians with real horns to announce their presence to the commoners
The holy horn is generally from church or temple goers who are late for the mass or pujas
The school horn happens from harried fathers and mothers going to drop their children in school
The Goondah horn is one of fury its usually followed by stopping vehicle and creating mayhem
The surprise horn is by funsters who love creating a start on the humble jay walker its done with stealth and smiles
so with all this addictions the mallu cannot live with his horns of course he will whenever he goes to Gulp
there he is never horny for they will circumcise his horns for good

Angel with a smile

Angel with a smile
It was January 1st .2000 a new century had dawned so had my return to oncology
After 14 years after my Radiotherapy specialization when I was into family medicine running our own clinic along with Premila and pretty well at that I was a bit apprehensive to go to work in a newly opened super speciality hospital all glass and chrome and shiny in the oncology hematology department for a legend among medical oncologists Dr .V.P.Gangadharan
Today 17 years later when I look back I would consider meeting him in Regional cancer center Trivandrum where I went for an observer stint was the turning point in my profession .
To work in Dr VPG s team is a dream cum true for not only was he the busiest oncologist this side of the Vindhyas he was a rare celebrity among doctors .
He was well known to many and his human nature was mentioned by all but he was a highly educated trained and intelligent expert in his field that his humility rarely could hide .
Among st his excellent team one person stood out like a beacon lamp
Yes a lady of the lamp
The smiling lady of the lamp
She was senior nurse in charge of Dr VPG s department and handled the most complicated and serious cases in the famous fifth floor of the hospital
 The patients there were a sprinkling of leukemia lymphomas solid tumors of all kinds most of them with multiple complications on complex treatment regimes with emergencies happening all the time .
The ward was extended into double its strength and it required an astute mind highly trained alert to emergencies amiable to stresses emotional crisises sudden tragedies coupled with moments of joy happiness
You name it we had it .
A microcosm of the world at large with its smiles and frowns , its happiness , its tragedies and a degree of skill and professionalism that produced wonders.
To be a general to an army of this nature ,to be a bridge between the patients ,and the doctors to serve them with love care concern and same time with knowledge was no easy task .
It required fortitude , perseverance ,hard work , honesty , and sincerity .
Phiomina sister had all this and more .
In the early days when a nervous me would embark on bone marrow punctures ,or try to get a lumbar puncture correct at first shot ,or even insert a hickman central line ,or puncture the pleura for pleural tap there was one smiling philomina sister goading me all along ,telling me Dr.Hari you can do it and I did too .
It was this cheer that comes by working with people whom you respect admire and become friends,
sister was my friend as we were almost same age i think .
Philomina sister had health issues even those days she had kidney dysfunction diabetes etc but there would be no trace of any of this on her face bequeathed with an eternal smile .
She was quick too whenever needed in emergencies and knew every single happening in the ward
There was a silent understanding and mutual respect between Dr Gangadharan and philomina sister beyond their friendly banter .
When it came to patients , sister knew with uncanny clarity what VPG Sir wanted .
I used to watch this silent communication between them akin to a pilot and a co pilot or a surgeon and assistant .
Dr VPG relied on philomina sister to manage his wards most efficiently .
I used to try to meet her in lake shore whenever i visited Cochin
I did a year back when sister told me her health wasnt very good but her smile was still there and her work continued .
Today I heard she was no more !!
This was a shock to me and i felt very sad at the loss of this dedicated woman ,a professional highly skilled charge nurse ,
a humanitarian of the best kind a mother and a wife to her family and an angel to thousands of Dr VPG s patients .
Fifth floor in Lakeshore would always remind me of philomina sister , her smile will always adorn its rooms , her angelic aura will cast a benign shadow on its children , her cheer would ever be with her team .
I can imagine how much
Dr VPG would miss his right hand
May her soul rest in peace
May all the goodness in her life be spread to her family and her patients
May we remember this angel forever .

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dear deer

 Deer meat can be slotted as exotic meat i think
Yesterday went with some friends to this legendary heritage chinese restaurant in Brunei .
It was tender and nice but to my selectively Indian taste buds would have been better as a spicy kerala style fry
Somehow the original authentic chinese food doesnt appeal to me with its bland sourness mild hint of sickly sweetness and no spice this side of timbuctoo
I prefer our indo chinese any day with its scollops of tomatoes onions and chilly powder or peppper
I need india in some form to make things perfect .
Once i had moose meat (theres a clan named moose in kerala not mentioning them !! )
This is like mux oxen a cross between bison and deer
I had this in Norway which incidentally has moose overbridges on highways so that they cross from one forest to other without becoming meat .
My wifes cousins husband an young Norwegian doctor cooked an suthentic kerala style moose curry for us whic was awesome with soft succulent bread to beat the freezing cold then .
Once wandering in downtown Sydney I saw a burger shop with pictures of kangaroo burgers
Had one promptly .it didnt hop one me but was as good as any self respecting chicken burger was .
Ages back in the thatched hut of a kumily eatout amongst the increading fogs i tucked into exotic jungle birds with some fiery liqour along with my college mates
In a dinner in cochin once in a friends house was asked to name a succulent meat it was the poor rabbit of course
I love animals becos they are so tasty
But i really dont like those slimy creepy creatures which the far east like to indulge in like those insects worms frogs snakes etc nauseating indeed .

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

More Indian than you think Lufthansa

It was 2012 and I was booked to travel in a Lufthansa all Business class flight to Munich from Dubai on my way to Stockholm capital of Sweden to attend the European society of medical oncology annual conference .
Though I had traveled in business class flights several times this was the first time I was going to be in an exclusively Business only class provided by Lufthansa and I was looking forwards to the trip .

My wife was also coming to the meet with me but had booked an Emirates Airlines flight to London and was coming from London to Stockholm,
So we parted at the airport gates in Dubai and I was near gate of Lufthansa departure ,

Suddenly I got a phone call from my wife who told me she had been asked for an UK Visa as she had to transit in London ,she  did not apply for one as it was only transit but it seems there was a new rule even for a transit Indians needed a visa if in London which we both felt was absurd and unfair as we were not informed of this earlier ,by this time I was repeatedly asked by the  Lufthansa ground staff to kindly board the flight immediately as most passengers had got in !

My wife told me to  carry on and that she would try to get another flight via Europe if not she would cancel her trip !!

We had already planned to go on a days trip to Norway as my wifes cousin was there and now it looked all our plans had gone awry ,I was very upset at the turn of events and getting into the much awaited plush aircraft and settling down to a comfortable seat never registered on me ,I was sour and glum .
Soon the hostess turned up and gave us hot towels refreshing soft drinks and had come around asking for our choice of drinks ,though I did sip a wine my mood was definitely not in it .
There was a very Teutonic looking young steward and since I just had to open up I asked him which other flights were possible to reach Stockholm if one couldn't go through London and trying to tell my grievance but he was so gruff in answering that he did not know and just walked off ,

I was shocked and angry at his behavior which I felt was positively rude and as I was already sad this literally brought me to tears ,I was furious and wanted to have a show down immediately with what I thought a most arrogant uncouth staff who  was racist  in his behavior .

But somehow Indians have always been to taught to step back when in anger and never take decisions and i knew from past experience that this was always a wise move so I just kept quiet though very angry and very hurt .
I managed to just nibble the delicious  food and when the hostess asked me if I wasnt well i just nodded as I was fed up with all of them .
After a tired nap I woke up
it was already late night and I had to use the toilet and when I reached near the toilet I found the steward and other hostesses talking in the pantry ,I felt I should tell what I had in my mind and  find out why he behaved in that manner   ,
I felt I deserved an answer so in a very calm tone I asked him why he behaved so when I had just asked him a legitimate question ,he looked confused and said oh sorry sir didn't mean so and I just left it and cam back to my seat .
I thought and finally he just ended it with a sorry mouthed !

After some time I was again drifting off to sleep  when I felt the steward sliding into the empty seat next to mine

sir I am extremely sorry to have behaved so I really was terribly busy which isnt an excuse to have behaved so please tell me your problem  let me see in what way I could help you which is the least I can do for you !
so I told him all that happened he again apologized and said I understand sir let me see what I can find out for you ,after some time he came back and told me that my wife could get a flight via Amsterdam if she could speak with Emirates and once again sat with me for a long time listening all I had to say .

of course things did work out as my wife could get alternate flights without much loss and we did make our trip to Norway as planned and my Lufthansa steward did give me the  peace of mind by his concern and all ended well .

It was my Indian nature that helped me to  not react when angry immediately and it also made me realize that ones perception of another could be colored by misconceptions and the steward turned to be a very concerned and sympathetic young man instead of being a racist I thought him to be .
when I heard of Lufthansa now going the Indian way i was reminded of this incident and I only feel more happy as Lufthansa staff would only do better as they are always concerned and caring .

Friday, April 07, 2017

The MP in the baloon

The one way ticket

The man beats only with slippers
Rarely does he use his flippers
He loves travel and to fly
The next best thing he does is to lie

He never imagined Air India would dare
To bar him from flying like a mare
He is after all a member of parliament
 Arent MPS angers meant to be vent

He now has to go in trains
Even first class is full of pains
He needs to fly with no care
Since he never pays any fare

So gaikwad bought a baloon
He is neither a fool nor a bufoon
All he needs is some hot air
A politician without that is rare

So our man got into a ballon and crouched
His soft paunch got stuck and he ouched
There was no soft hands to pat him now
No hostesses to look at him and wow

He then passed some hot gas as usual
But that made the baloon swell
And up above the skies he flew
He needed no air india or crew

The baloon went up and up with no stop
Gaikwad wondered if he was in a trap
He got worried and he had no one to beat
His face became red like a roasted meat

He pulled some strings
Baloon shot up like with wings
And after long time he reached the moon
And there the MP lived ever after like a loon

Doctors and lawyers

3.42 crores ie 34000000 for you
No itsnt any annual budget of a panchayat or district its legal fees of a top ranking octogenarian lawyer who charges
2200000 INR for an appearance like Shah Rukh Khan or Aiswarya Rai may do ,but lawyers have better fun they hardly need to sweat it out or dance away like those stars !
They appear in courts  where most of the time the cases are adjourned and judges go off for summer holidays till the next time .
I still have a pending case of a road accident when driving a scooter two decades back was unfairly hit by another bike man by now my compensation should run in crores sic i really do not know if my lawyer who promised me stars is still alive
Of course iam not grudging lawyers at all
 this example of huge fee is for a top notched lawyer and the fee is being paid by the chief minister of Delhi the man with an unbridled tongue an addled brain and most conniving by nature  in this side of the Ganges who is  involved in a case where he had shot of his scarf covered badmouth as usual .
Of course the Kejariwalas of this nation will pass on the fee to the foolish voter of Delhi who made him what he is and all are happy except the state which would lose this amount which could have been used for a crowded filthy overfilled Government hospital in Delhi where sleepless doctors work their asses off for an ungrateful society and are beaten up for their pains and grudged for the paltry salary they get and expected to serve the society with noble intentions and gratitude to the Government for having been given the honour of studying under the auspieces of its treasury at a pittance in a Government medical college but the  same  cannot be applied to  a lawyer who studied in a Govt law college as hes accepted by the great Indian public as not being in a noble profession and can afford to make his crores or take his summer holidays or drag cases for decades .

Lawyers can strike to fight for demands the judges feel but doctors no way

Doctors should  nobly bear getting hit for their troubles
They need to go to villages to serve where they may be carried off by a tiger while on their morning excretions in friendly neighbourhood forest or their children can study in local patashaala
 being noble they better do so
Doctors dare not strike
Imagine then who will treat the brain lumbagos of people who pass such judgements
The quacks

Cloud Sketcher book review

The Cloud Sketcher by Richard Rayner is the book i read last .
It was Ayn Rand the legendary novelist in her fountainhead who immortalized Roark as an architect with a difference .
Roark is one character etched with so much finesse he stands out as strong and unique as his buildings for posterity .
Here too Eric Vannaven a Finnish Architect gets the same superhuman treatment by the author.
It al starts in Finland during those dark days of spreading Bolshevism from Russia in 1917 Erics father a hard core communist whose attachment to his son was a mixed one of dominance and love ,having lost his mother in a fire the small boy maimed in the same fire with a big scar on his face and lost an eye too is a dreamy lad living in those harsh times with a strange father
A picture of a new invention an escalator fires the imagination of the boy for tis machine and his mind is full of tall buildings and escalators to go up on them .
He becomes an young man and takes part in the civil war fighting with the whites for the utter disappointment of his father in hiding ,his passion for his child hood girlfriend never vanishes even though she marries his friend who dies in the war and she then migrates to the USA to become a popular photographer,Eric too becomes an architect and goes on to build one of the finest churches in Finland a structure which brings hope to the post war scenario of a developing Finland far from Russians yoke ,he gets married to Anna a fellow architect and they have a son but he realizes his heart is till on his katrina in the US,Anna knowing this allows him to travel to US knowing he would never be back ,
Eric starts from the scratch working in a high rise with a crew and none knew him as  a renowned architect till the day he wins a price for a new high rise and then he rises up gets in touch with katrina who is now married to a rich and old business man ,a nexus with the mafia and finally the shooting of katrinas husband the covering up of the foul deed with the help of the don and in the end the by now very famous architect who has created Manhattans biggest skyscraper falls to the bullet of one of his bete noirs .
the plot may sound like  a bad masala movie from Bollywood but its the treatment hat counted the descriptions of the buildings the aspirations of an architect and how he reaches the pinnacles both in reality and figuratively
good book indeed

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