Sunday, 28 December 2014

spring cleaning

clearing my table of the articles accumulated over the past decades, i come across a letter i had written a very old friend on december 13, 1982.

we used to write conventional postal letters those days between friends, a practice that had gone out of vogue with the coming of communication on the run possible over the internet.

my friend had kept with him some of my letters among many he had received from a small circle of very close friends. like i did today, he came across my letter while doing some spring cleaning at his home way back in 2006. just for the fun of it, he took a photostat copy and posted the same to me. it was among the miscellaneous articles in one of the drawers of my table at workplace.

my friendship with kunjumon started in 1977 during the time we were working together in a spinning mill near our home town alappuzha. in 1978 i left the spinning mill to join the newspaper from which i am retiring this wednesday. he left the spinning mill in 1982 to join the panchayat department in the state government.

my letter was about my happiness over his landing the panchayat job. he retired from that job a few years ago and is leading a quiet life outside kochi with his wife, who too is retired from government service. their only son is employed and is in bangalore.

the accumulated warmth of many decades exists between a small circle of us friends. we had been in constant touch with one another wherever life had taken us. i phoned him up today and said i had found during spring cleaning the same letter he had found during his spring cleaning eight years ago.

certain things keep popping up at every cleaning exercise we undertake in life because we never throw them away.


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Mooji on relationships, pain

take a look at this short discussion:



i am shedding my identity as a journalist. i had two more years of service left, since our retirement age is 60. but i am becoming lighter and lighter...i am voluntarily retiring with effect from January 1, 2015.

elsewhere in this blog i had mentioned about a weightless condition where i know it will start happening. i have a feeling i am floating towards that condition, navigating towards it very delicately...


Thursday, 27 November 2014


and then i was stuck in the middle of a lonely escalator moving down after everyone had left the building.

i kept running up, wanting to take back something i cannot remember i had left behind. i was remaining at the same place running as the escalator went on sliding down on silent belts.

it was extremely tiring in the beginning, having to exert so much to stay at the same place...

very soon the tiredness vanished and i found myself on light feet running up without panting. the steps of the escalator came folding down and went sliding down under my feet and i was alone and feeling so very happy running.


Sunday, 9 November 2014


this heart attack happening the other day in its wake brings a kind of lull when the wind falls silent and one holds the breath and listens, looking back as on reaching the top of a hill turning the head to see the path traversed winding its way down far below.

the 16th of this month is a milestone in our life. it is our 35th wedding anniversary.

this is how we used to look like 35 years ago when we became man and wife, both of us barely 23 years old:

and now we look like this:

our grandson Aiden, whom we call kunhikuttan, or kunhoottan, is also seen in the picture.

all the very best to all of you!!!


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

i survived a heart attack on October 15 reaching Ananthapuri Hospital within half an hour of the start of an unusual burning chest pain and Dr. Bahuleyan and his team doing angioplasty on me to open a block in a major artery.

in fact, i had seen it coming a long a way off--had known for quite some time something was really the matter with me. now i am back home. have to take complete rest for one month, after which there will be a review. lots of restrictions on food, talking etc. have stopped smoking... will not smoke again.


Saturday, 4 October 2014

geostationary orbit

is there then a condition
when one is in a kind of geostationary orbit?

floating with no gravity,
moving stationary
in relation to the rotation of the earth,
seeing everything,


Friday, 3 October 2014


my four-and-a-half-year old granddaughter neha initiated me into the world of letters for the year today, the vijayadasami day.
she has learned the malayalam alphebet sufficiently well to take my finger over the shape of the letters hari sree and so on without mistake.
it should have been the other way around. i was supposed to do the initiation on the auspicious day on her. but she likes turning everything into a game and reversed the role between us.

what she likes most about grandpa is he is game for anything.


Thursday, 2 October 2014

spaces in one's home

there are spaces in one's home one has never been aware of totally.

i mean i built my house my mind brick over brick caressing each corner of each room watching the track of the sun over the roof listening to the wind from season to season blowing in and out of the windows the rain and the spray the sun at sunrise and the sun at sunset the birds their timings the moonlit nights the neighbours their private worlds and overall, a house one thought one knew from all sides and angles, in a quiet part of the city.

i mean yet i find all of a sudden there are spaces in my home my mind is only beginning to touch.

i am on way to becoming the master chef at home and i now know which tin contains tea leaves and in which tin or tray pepper, onion, potato, green chilly, red chilly, masala powder and where we keep the pot to boil rice and how to rotate the dishes for lunch from day to day according to the vegetables available.

i mean spaces i had taken for granted and had left untouched i am beginning to touch. it had taken quite a bit from ambi all along for the house we built to be the home it is. washing, cleaning, taking clothes from the clothesline, putting away yesterday's newspapers and countless other things are involved.

her foot will be out of plaster-cast next tuesday.


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

friends my age

friends my age are popping off one by one. last week he was udayan, a former national volleyball captain, and a week still before, thomas, a college mate and former colleague at workplace. udayan was four years younger to me and still an athlete at 54, when suddenly his heart stopped beating.

shamsuddeen, joy, jaiji, sashi, akkusootto... when i look at the list, i see it had actually begun when i was still a little kid. mohanraj was my classmate in upper primary school way back in 1960's when he died after being away from school for two days.

it had been happening all along--only, the frequency of it happening has gone up nowadays.

i am 58. i did a story for my paper the other day about a new ageing survey done by the CDS here. according to the survey and census projections, Kerala will have as many people above the age of 60 as children below the age of 14 by the year 2024. Kerala's life expectancy is high and birthrate low and so the elderly are catching up with the children.

yet, some of them who are yet to fall under the 'elderly' category are popping off, even those with very clean habits. bad habits are not that much of a factor unless one is too reckless. i had a relative who lived on to be 96 with nearly seven decades of hard drinking and smoking to his credit. he was healthy to the last day. he would have gone on to complete a century, had it not been for alzheimer's,


Tuesday, 23 September 2014


breaking legs can sometimes run in the family.
i had broken my right leg last year playing cricket with young boys forgetting my age and had to keep my foot in plaster-cast for three months (file picture by c. ratheeshkumar, senior news photographer).
and three weeks back ambi had a fall and broke her leg--the same right leg. her injury is less serious and she will be out of plaster-cast in another fortnight. for the first time in my life, i am attending to a bit of kitchen work and beginning to understand my hidden talents... they were all praise for the payasam i made on thiruvonam day. and my everyday sambar, aviyal and thoran, not to mention uppuma and idly, are getting better with each passing day. of course, i get minute-by-minute instructions from ambi, who will come and sit in the kitchen to supervise the cooking. but even she admits i have real talent. she says i have the potential to become a Nalan in the art of cooking.


Monday, 22 September 2014


on my palms the kitten

upon beating pulse,
we purred.


Sunday, 21 September 2014

the very base

and our old friend said:

it is like a white canvass...
the whiteness of night lily
under the full moon, clear skies,
soft and white.
we paint our dreams and nightmares on that white canvass.

and then when we look deeper
we see there is no difference
between paintings we do in sleep
and those in seeming wakefulness.

both are splashes of emotional colours--
violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red...
we are so mesmerized by the colours
the dreams and nightmares seem so real
we forget the white canvass, the very base.


Thursday, 18 September 2014

who am i?

we are all psychologically the same.
we all have the same emotions,
the same fears,
the same searing fire leaping seeking pleasures
and we have the same insecurities...
what is it going to be tomorrow, what what what?
in which direction should i rush?
do i see when i meet you on the street
the same confused person i am?

(i was watching on the youtube Ramana Maharshi walking:
we see perhaps there is in each one of us something untouched by all kinds of confusions).


Friday, 5 September 2014

carry an umbrella, this onam

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white
this poem by william carlos williams (1883 - 1963) had hit me like an explosion when i read it first many years ago. i had come back to it again and again mesmerised by the simple scene he paints,  sparkling in significance...
this poem was singing in my mind when i finished my study of the meteorological conditions today for writing a story for my paper.
the following is the story:
So much depends upon an upper air cyclonic circulation, hovering over the head bay, off the Odisha coast, on Thursday.
In Kerala, far away, they are all in the excitement of Onam, their annual festival. The Thiruvonam Day, the main day of the festival, falls on Sunday, September 7. From all parts of the world Keralites are on their way home. It is the day of their coming together.
Will it rain on Sunday, as it had rained these past few days; or will it be the fine Onam weather one remembers of yore?...

So much depends on the cyclonic circulation over the bay, glazed with the threat of rain for Kerala, which might come in the heavy rainfall belt of a low pressure system it may develop into.

With more confidence than the previous day, India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday said the cyclonic circulation over the bay ‘would’ develop into a low pressure system within a day’s time.
Such a weather system would speed up the flow of rain-heavy south-westerly winds over Kerala,  setting the monsoon into another bout of activity over the State.

The meteorology centre on Thursday said rain or thundershowers would occur at a few places in the State till September 6 (which is the Onam eve, the Uthradam Day). The term ‘few’, in the IMD’s language, stands for ‘up to 50 per cent of the geographical area, or rain-gauge stations’.

The developments over the Bay of Bengal by Friday might hold the key for what it would be like in Kerala on Sunday, the Thiruonam Day.

Remember: carry an umbrella.


Saturday, 31 May 2014

Aiden (little fire)

Meet my grandson Aiden born on May 1. His parents were in Scotland for some time working as architects and they picked up the name from there. The name came to them when the hour to name him came.

The word means 'little fire'... It's a very polpular name in Ireland, Scotland, England, US and so on (Wikipedia tells me), although we know no one bearing the name in Kerala, India, where we live.

Going through the list, I find fine footballers, cricketers, rugby players, journalists, comedians, musicians, writers, artists, politicians, businessmen, dancers, television presenters, pilots, preachers, bishops, cardinals and anti-war activists sharing the name Aiden.

Looking at his face, one gets closer to the meaning of a quote one had given in a recent post in this blog:

She follows to the goal of those that are passing on beyond, she is the first in the eternal succession of the dawns that are coming, - Usha widens bringing out that which lives, awakening someone who was dead.... What is her scope when she harmonises with the dawns that shone out before and those that now must shine? She desires the ancient mornings and fulfils their light; projecting forwards her illumination she enters into communion with the rest that are to come.
Kutsa Angirasa - Rig Veda, I. 113. 8, 10.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

slap slap slap

my friend was in very general terms telling me his life-derailing issues hinting them as the cause for his sinking into the whirlpool of alcohol. he paused, because he knew i knew.

there are two approaches to the issue. which is the bullock pulling the cart? is it because one is facing "life-derailing issues" one is plunging into drinks, or, are the "life-derailing issues" an invention of one's urge to sink into the whirlpool?

i had an experience when i thought i was dying. it was a very pleasurable experience, sinking, sinking, as in a dream. a friend kept slapping me on the cheek to revive me. i was irritated he was doing it. all one wanted was to sink into the sweetness of the sinking.

it is like that with drinking too. sometimes one needs a friend to slap you hard on the cheek to come out of the nonsense.


Saturday, 10 May 2014

the ache of the toothache

when you have a toothache
all your thoughts and actions
are infused with the ache of the toothache.

you may have saved a young boy from drowning,
or done some such heroic act,
or maybe you have dropped
a five rupee coin
into the bowl of a destitute old man,
yet each thought and act of the moment
is tinged with the ache of the toothache.

being free of the toothache is when you feel clean.

(P.S. I was reading once again a piece i had posted in this blog in August 2008. In fact, it was a mail i had sent a team leader friend sharing my thoughts on how teamwork can happen. There has to be some qualities in the team leader for teamwork to happen. The first of these is the ability to build trust...
The link to the old piece is this: Rainbow


Friday, 9 May 2014

the month of flowers

so many flowers blooming all at once
month of May, of flowers in some part of the world
i am newly grandpa for the second time
a boy
on the first of May, the start of the month of flowers
and of chirping birds
in some part of the world


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

history and future of mankind

an inspiring thought one came across in a JK talk this morning:

each one of you is the history of mankind.
you are also the future of mankind, what it is going to be.
you are the now--that which alone is the real.

Sri Aurobindo begins his book 'Life Divine' with these quotes from Rig Veda:

She follows to the goal of those that are passing on beyond, she is the first in the eternal succession of the dawns that are coming, - Usha widens bringing out that which lives, awakening someone who was dead.... What is her scope when she harmonises with the dawns that shone out before and those that now must shine? She desires the ancient mornings and fulfils their light; projecting forwards her illumination she enters into communion with the rest that are to come.
Kutsa Angirasa - Rig Veda, I. 113. 8, 10.
Threefold are those supreme births of this divine force that is in the world, they are true, they are desirable; he moves there wide-overt within the Infinite and shines pure, luminous and fulfilling.... That which is immortal in mortals and possessed of the truth, is a god and established inwardly as an energy working out in our divine powers.... Become high-uplifted, O Strength, pierce all veils, manifest in us the things of the Godhead.
Vamadeva - Rig Veda, IV. 1. 7; IV. 2. 1; IV. 4. 5.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

a cat

fluffy white clouds have their searing will
a galloping horse a few moments back
now a winged elephant
on its back
a cat


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Sarada Bai Teacher

ambi tells me after supper: "your Sarada Bai Teacher is no more." she passed away yesterday, aged 83. ambi got the news only today from a relative in our home town.

a wave of pleasant memories overwhelmed me. she was my teacher in upper primary school...more than 45 years back. she was such a great teacher that one never forgot anything she taught in the class--just being in the class was enough; there was no need to open the textbook afterwards. she was always smiling. she had a way of shaking her head from side to side very slowly when she spoke. the 'jimikki' on her ears would be shivering excitedly all the time...

she was always pleasant. we had in our class some of the naughtiest boys in town--my friend Heeran Sudheendran for one... yet, Sarada Bai Teacher had never been heard raising her voice in the class--we had such love and affection for her that we will not do anything to cause her a worry.

i saw her five years ago, after having had no opportunity to see her since leaving school--she having shifted home to another town. she recognised me instantaneously through my thick-bearded camouflage. ambi, who was with me, was pleasantly surprised by teacher's joy at seeing a favourite old student...and her memory--she was speaking of pleasant incidents of those days in school...even many little things i had forgotten...i am sure she lived life the way it should be lived--spreading light and being there in very many beating hearts.


Friday, 4 April 2014

the frogs and the cricket

it is the dead of the night in a less crowded valley in the city here.
only the streetlight
to my right
in the lane winding past my home is alight.
i sit on the wooden bench in the porch,
hot and fuming the air.

a cricket keeps ticking in half-hearted chirp from the darkness to my left, like a top ticking tired, whirring and stopping, whirring and stopping, and then into that ticking a family of frogs from the darkness ahead goes croaking with sudden gusto and then the croaking--
it stops...
to listen...
to the tired ticking of the lonely cricket...
and then the frogs they burst into another bout of vehement croaking swamping the hesitant chirping of the cricket and they are saying,
sure as the secret of this night,
the rains are coming!!!

it's going to rain!!!
cool showers over the sweltering city from tomorrow!
for three-four days probably, but we shall talk about all that later.

ambi bakes dosa for me in the kitchen.
i can hear it sizzling on the hot flat stone over the stove
and also smell its aroma,
here in the porch.


Monday, 31 March 2014

being fine

is like a delicate string
strung taut
across a canyon
over which you walk
arms spread
horizontal to the deep chasm below
unaware of the eruption of colours
on the western horizon
where sets the sun
nor distracted by the jeers
of those wanting you to trip
nor by the cheers
of those wanting you seen across
nor by the prayers
of them on their knees
hands clapsed
eyes tightly shut
beseeching the almighty
oh god, oh god, oh god!


Monday, 10 March 2014

driving a car in rush hour traffic

driving a car in rush hour traffic can be turned into a kind of meditation.

i see the three-wheeler in the front ten feet away and also the bikes on either side--so close that their crash-guards are just inches away from the two sides of my car. and on the rear-view mirror, there is a bus breathing down my neck...

the three-wheeler, the bikes and the bus define the boundaries of the space in which i exist. i become the car that moves in this space that flows in the traffic, without touching anyone, delicately conscious and alert. i am in no hurry. the bus behind is impatient. the bikes on either side are also impatient and are constantly on the lookout for gaps to forge ahead. the three-wheeler in the front moves jerkily out of its impatience.

i see the impatience of everyone. i feel surrounded by the benign urge of throbbing life.


Sunday, 23 February 2014


Taking my cue from something in my previous post, it seems to me 'belonging' is a word of deep and intimate meanings.

We are all individual souls at the very core. When we diffuse ourselves within the family, there is belonging happening. The circle grows larger when that diffusing process pours us into a team, a community etc...

In all these successive steps the individual becomes thinner and thinner. Within the family, your interest is the interest of the family. Within the team, your interest is the interest of the team and so on and so forth...

When you stand separate in the family, the belonging does not happen. When you stand separate in the team, the belonging and the teamwork expected of the team does not happen. And you become an anti-social being when you stand separate, in some lofty tower, from society at large, concerned only about your comfort, your glory, immersed totally in the special entity you believe you are...

Quite interesting when we start looking at the process like this, isn't it?


Thursday, 20 February 2014


Fear, when one looks at it closely, comes from not being free.

You have done something wrong in the past. The thought of being found out some day is fear. Then the facade you have built around you with all your contrivance will come crumbling down. You don't want the real you to be seen by the world in full nakedness.

Fear is also in the thought of what is going to happen tomorrow. How do you forge ahead, become rich, powerful, famous, admired by those around you, envied for your never-ending success. Thought of never-ending success carries in it the never-ending fear of failure.

Can one be free of all these? Are you not curious to know how it will be when that happens?