Thursday, May 24, 2012

Time for Introspection

While growing up, I used to read in the newspapers about the extremist / terrorist activities in Punjab that left many people dead on a daily basis. As a child, I was relieved that nothing of that sort has happened in my state. I held the firm belief that the people of my state were far more educated and tolerant with each other. Now, as I look back, I understand how naive I was. Further more, I am saddened that my children will never feel even that (false) security...

For a state that boasts of high literacy and full of sensible, knowledgeable people, the incidents of the past few years, especially in the political arena, should put us all to shame, to say the least. Years ago, Swami Vivekananda is said to have called Kerala a 'lunatic asylum'. I wonder what he would have called the state now. From a state that believed in brotherhood and freedom of speech, we have turned into lunatics who are ready to kill each other mercilessly for nothing and everything. 

It is often said that the people of Kerala are politically more aware and educated. But, if the past incidents are any indication, it shows that we lack a lot, when it comes to politics. The need for power and control has so blinded us that we go to any extent to eliminate anyone who stands in our way. 

Who is to blame? Our politicians, who are no longer interested in the welfare of the society, but their own personal agendas? Our judicial system, which offers enough loop holes that even the repeated offenders are let free? Or the media, who is the rat race of TRPs resort to sensationalism and blow everything out of proportion? Or ourselves, who, in a mad rush to attain everything in life forgot to keep up the simple values that matter much in life??? 

Perhaps it is my upbringing, but I have never understood why would anyone want to harm another person in any manner??? Having imbibed the spirit of 'Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu' (may the whole world live in peace), I am at loss as to why people are being so cruel to each other...

I feel that we are growing more and more intolerant towards each others feelings and views. If someone differs with us, he/she should be our enemy. That is a highly terrifying thought... Equally terrifying is the silence from people who matters - the think tanks and other iconic figures. It shows that we are growing indifferent and insensitive to each others feelings. 

As a lay man, I feel that it is mainly lack of will from the part of the administrators and law enforcers that has resulted in such atrocities being repeated. If exemplary actions are taken against offenders, at least a few of the potential offenders would be discouraged from following the path of violence. In the mean time, as responsible citizen, we should all introspect and do our bit to ensure that at least the future generation are shown the right path. For that, may be it is a good idea to turn back to our values, principles and ethics. And the best way to teach the children is by example. 

My heart goes out to all the families who have been devastated by these violent activities undertaken in the name of politics or ideological differences. All I hope is that from the bitter experiences that they had to undergo, we would learn our lessons and would deter from resorting to violence as a solution for everything. 

PS: Normally, I don't speak or write about politics (for  obvious reasons), even though I have a political view of my own . But the incidents that shook the soul of Kerala over the past few weeks (if not years) involving the murder of a political leader have forced me to write this.
PPS: Image Courtesy- Google Images

Sunday, May 13, 2012


ഇരുട്ടില്‍  മിന്നിത്തിളങ്ങുന്ന താരകമേ 
നീ കാണുന്നുവോ എന്‍ പ്രിയ ജനനിയെ ?
 നിന്നെ നോക്കി ഞാന്‍  പുഞ്ചിരിച്ചീടില്‍
ആ പുഞ്ചിരി അമ്മയ്ക്ക് സമ്മാനിച്ചീടുമോ?

നിന്‍ ചെവിയിലോതി തരാം ഞാന്‍ പലതും 
എന്നില്ലത്തു ചെന്നമ്മയെ ചൊല്ലി കേള്‍പ്പിക്കുമോ?
ഒത്തിരി നാളുകളായി എന്നേയ്ക്കു, എന്നമ്മയെ 
ഞാന്‍ കണ്ടത് ദിനങ്ങള്‍ക്കും മുന്‍പ്!

സൌഖ്യമോടെയിരിക്കുന്നുവോ എന്‍ മാതാ,
നീ കണ്ടിരിപ്പൂ ആ നിര്‍മ്മല സ്നേഹമയിയെ
എന്നുടെ സ്നേഹമതേകൂ നീയമ്മയ്ക്ക്...

അമ്മയാണെന്നുടെ ആദ്യ ഗുരു; അമ്മ-
യാണെന്നുമെന്നുടെ ജീവന്നു തണല്‍ !
അമ്മ ചൂണ്ടിക്കാണിച്ച വഴികളെന്‍ ശരി, 
അമ്മയോതി തന്ന നേരുകള്‍ വിലപ്പെട്ടവ...

അറിവില്ലായ്മ തന്‍ പടുകുഴിയില്‍ വീണിടാതെ 
കൈ പിടിച്ചു കേറ്റാന്‍ അമ്മ തന്‍ കരങ്ങള്‍ 
എന്നുമേ എന്നോടൊപ്പം ഇല്ലായിരുന്നെങ്കില്‍ 
ചെളിക്കുഴിയിലാണ്ട് പോയേനെ എന്നോ ഞാന്‍...

എന്നുമെന്നെ നയിച്ചിടുന്നതമ്മ തന്‍ സ്നേഹം 
അമ്മയാം വിശ്വാസവും ആത്മ ധൈര്യവുമാം  
തണല്‍ മരമില്ലായിരുന്നെങ്കില്‍ ഞാന്‍
 ആണ്ടു പോയേനെ അന്ധകാര ചുഴിയില്‍ ...

താരമേ ഓതീടുകയെന്നമ്മയോട് ; നിന്‍ 
സ്നേഹമെന്നെ നയിച്ചീടുന്നിവിടെ സദാ 
എന്‍ പ്രിയ മാതാവിനെ ഞാന്‍ നിങ്ങളെ 
എല്പിച്ചീടുന്നിതാ; എന്നമ്മയെ കാക്കുക നിങ്ങള്‍ !

ഒരു പോറലേല്ക്കാതെ കാക്കുക,യെന്നമ്മയെ 
സ്നേഹമത് വാരിക്കോരി തരുമമ്മ നിനക്കും !
എന്നുടെ പോലവേ നിങ്ങളമ്മയെ നോക്കൂ 
എന്നമ്മ നിങ്ങള്‍ക്കുമമ്മയായീടട്ടെ...  

 This was written by me way back in 1994. I was in the hostel and was missing my mom very badly...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Two Weddings and a Funeral

Sometimes life is so perplexing that it takes only a moment to alter its entire course... I found out that again the other day as it unfolded dramatic scenes...

Scene 1: The first wedding - a traditional Namboothiri Wedding: There I was yesterday morning all decked up to attend a wedding of a relative. All were in a festive mood... The atmosphere was full of happiness and all around me people were exchanging pleasantries and were catching up with each other lives. I also got to meet a lot of long lost / forgotten acquaintances and made new friends as well. There is nothing more entertaining than chit chatting with near and dear ones on anything under the sun... Most of the time, the wedding ceremonies go on in their own pace, while all the invited guests are seen talking with each other. Numerous groups and sub-groups are formed (unintentionally, of course) and people enjoy the gossip session... Everywhere they are seen exchanging news with each other - some sitting in a circle, some in different rows of chairs, some standing by the door / windows, corridor, entrance and all the imaginable places...Nevertheless, we had a lot of fun and the only tension was to get into the dining hall among the first few... Mission accomplished and a well prepared lunch enjoyed, the time was to move on to the next itinerary in our agenda.

Scene 2: The Second Wedding - A Christian Wedding: This was a courtesy call on a colleague as we knew we could not attend his wedding scheduled for the next day. Though he was disappointed that we won’t be there for the 'D-Day', he was too happy that we went there (at least) on the day before. The hospitality accorded was beyond words and here too we were not spared from tasting some traditional (albeit, tasty) dishes...few pleasantries were exchanged and soon it was time to bid bye and come back to our humble nest... One of the kids who came to attended the function was so amused with us that she couldn't help asking me if 'we were temple people' - meaning 'are you Hindus?' Everyone was puzzled at the question, but I found that the girl had good observation skills. I presumed that it was from the fact that I sported the traditional sandalwood paste on my forehead (usually worn by Hindus) that she concluded that we were 'temple people'. Anyhow, we soon started the journey (of almost 200kms) back home  after wishing the Groom a blissful married life.

Scene 3: The house of a relative - We were on our way back home, having covered almost half the way, when the news of the demise of a relative shocked us... Though it was late in the evening, we decided that we couldn't just go off without paying our last respects to the departed soul... Hence the night saw us reaching the house (wherein we had spent many a happy moments in the company of the man who is no more) with a sense of disbelief. And it was as if he was just sleeping - I felt that he would get up and say hi to us any moment... It was hard to believe he has really passed on... But, as soon as I met the bereaved family, reality struck like a thunderbolt! After having lost a few close family members a year or two ago, I could very well empathize with them and their loss... One feels so helpless in face of death!

As I was coming back from there, I couldn't help reflecting on the day... It had dawned with great promise and joy, and ended on the bleakest possible note! One moment, we were rejoicing the union of two people in holy matrimony, and the next moment, the grief of the sudden demise of a dear one left us all really shaken... I realized once again that it takes only a split second to change one's life upside down, while the rest of the world goes on with its business unaffected!!!

Of Little Trips and Great Learnings

The other day, we (some staff, volunteers and service users of Mary Seacole House, Liverpool) went on a day trip to Llangollen. This wasn&#...