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.