Sab Theek Ho Jayega !

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Kochi / Ernakulam, Kerala, India
A Doctor who loves to Live, Love and Laugh with the World! Absolutely crazy about Cricket ! Other Qualifications: A Tired Bathroom Singer, Retired Gully Cricketer and Satire Writer !

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Footpath, My Foot !

Sachin Tendulkar scored 50 Test Centuries. But for him, 50 is just another number. For me, 100 too is just another number. No fire crackers, no sweets, not even raising my mouse and no celebrations.

People haven't thrown many stones at me, so I can't convert them into milestones ! But my hundredth post deals with stones, millstones, slabs, beams and more.

I have written so much about our roads in Kochi. But something had escaped my attention all these days. I apologize to all those who have walked the footpaths of Kochi all these days. I salute everyone in advance for continuing to do so.

I chose to walk to the post office today because I wasn't sure I would get a parking place. That 200 meters walk has left me wiser a zillion times. Most importantly I know why pedestrians walk on the roads in Kochi. Henceforth, I shall never curse anyone walking in the middle of the road. That is the only place where they can walk. Safety is another thing.

You step on the roads, the Red-Killers of Kochi might leave you dead. But if you walk on the footpaths, your kin won't even get the Ex Gratia. Death due to suicide is not compensated in our country.

This perhaps is a situation prevailing in most of the cities in India. But living in Kochi, I write for my town. I Cry for you my beloved Kochi. So sad I can only do that and then write this piece !

Here are some snaps of our 'Footpaths' ! These snaps were shot between Kacherippady junction and Madhava Pharmacy junction; by far the busiest junctions in the Kerala State.

The Beam of Death ... This is where I tripped and survived to write the Story

Imagine Kids and Senior Citizens walking here at night !

How safe is it to walk here ?

Rough and Tumble !

Two Wheeler Parking !

Wade through paths full of stones ...

Training in Long Jump required !

Slab Slab pe likha hai Girnewaale ka Naam !

Work in progress ... Forever so !

Hip Hop suggested...

Side view of a lopsided footpath


Take Care... Step out at your own risk !

More Cracks and more Stones !

Talk when you Walk - And end up in a Hospital !

Free Trips... Over our Slabs ... No Law, No Order, No Nothing !

Way to Maveli-Land ... The Paataalam !

Different sizes of Indifference !

Gaping holes !

Stepping Stones ... Orthopedician's Delight !

If the slabs don't get you, the filed "Beams" will !

Search for the Footpath and win free tours to Maveli-Land !

Whole place is full of these broken slabs !

More prizes for detecting the footpath !

God's Own Country; Devil's Own Gutters !

After an enlightening walk of just 200 meters, I was left to exclaim, "Footpath, My Foot" !

Dr. Pun-dit

Monday, December 13, 2010

Three Tiny Robbers and the Goddess of Hiriyangadi Temple !

To make sure my father doesn't miss his beloved hometown Karkala, I gave him a subscription to 'Udayavani' the Kannada daily. Though it reaches him 2 or 3 days later, he is happy with it. At 76, even 3 days old news is news if you want to keep in touch with your roots.

One day he sounded unusually excited and and asked, "Do you remember the Devi temple at Hiriyangadi ?". I said, "Oh, of course yes. How can I forget it ?". Father said in a sad tone, "Well, the Idol from the temple has been stolen. And this time, even your Grandpa isn't alive to retrieve it". He heaved deep sigh and so did I !

Going back in time. 1997 May, Karkala. I was in town on a holiday to participate in the annual 'Rathotsava' in our main Venkataramana Temple in Karkala. My cousins, Upendra and Rajesh were already there with Upendra's brother in law Prakash.

After recovering from the overnight train journey, I met the threesome that evening. They were eagerly waiting for me. One to test us and the other two, to prove a point. So before any exchange could take place; Prakash asked me, "Hey Govind, tell me honestly what did you guys do at the Hiriyangadi temple when you were kids ?". I calmly replied, "Well, we brought the idol to our Grandfather's home". I could see both Rajesh and Upendra jump for joy and Prakash silenced with an exclamation, "Oh my God !".

It seems he did not believe one word of the story when Upendra and Rajesh narrated him as it happened when all 3 of us were 9 years old. That was during the summer vacation of 1980. Let me introduce Rajesh and Upendra. Rajesh is the eldest of the troika, my mother's eldest sister's son. Upendra is the second in order and my Mom's immediate elder sister's eldest son. We all know I am my Mom's son, no prizes for guessing here ! I happen to be youngest by 8 months.

Rajesh used to come to Karkala during summer vacations and we used to have a gala time. There were no summer camps, no summer courses, no summer classes and Abacus was not born. Life definitely was so much more fun. I sometimes feel sad for our kids. As much as they enjoy their life and the modern day comforts and Internet, they probably will never have a story like this to narrate.

This is the story of 3 boys all of 9 years. What they did that night was an innocent act of the boyhood. Yet it was a hugely scandalous act by any stretch imagination.

Three Tiny Robbers and the Goddess of Hiriyangadi Temple !

Rajesh, Upendra and Govind were at once famous and notorious for the mischief  they were capable of. Upendra was the local guide because of his familiarity with the place. Rajesh was an annual visitor from Kochi during vacations and Govind came during holidays too. There wasn't a corner they didn't visit in and around the place and there wasn't a person they didn't keep a vigil on.

That evening they were coming back after a long and aimless wander. Upendra whispered, "Hey look at Bemmu, he is now going to pick his toddy liquor from the Devi temple compound". The boys were naturally keen to see the 'bottle'. The little fellows were quite impressed by the drunken act of Amitabh Bachchan in Amar Akbar Anthony and were fond of recognizing themselves with that movie.

They slithered through the main gate and watched the old man dig his stuff from a corner of the temple. They were hiding behind a huge mound covered by shrubs at another corner of the compound. Thanks to the constant movements of the restless youngest tyro, the old man was alarmed and looked around to see what was going on.

Realizing the danger of being caught by a drunkard, the boys ran for life towards the inner gate of the temple. In no time, they entered the temple thanks to the careless priest who had neither fastened the latch nor locked the door.

There they were, in side the temple with the beautiful 'Panchaloha' idol of the Goddess smiling at them. Rajesh and Govind were always fond of Gods, Poojas, rituals and Utsavs [Processions]. They had their own Deities, Chariots, Palanquins and every toy necessary for conducting Utsavs and celebrations.

Oh God, but this was different. This was a 'Real Goddess' not a toy. In all her splendor in spite of not being cleaned and shined, she looked gorgeous. Rajesh and Govind instantaneously decided to carry her home. Rajesh gave the justification, "See these priests are useless. They are not feeding the Goddess properly. Let us take her home and give her milk, honey and everything. We will keep her for ourselves".

Govind seconded the motion instantly, "Yes, Grandpa's house is the best place for the Goddess. We will wash her, shine her and keep her at the center of the Pooja room. And we will also conduct Utsav for her !".

But Upendra was alarmed now. He pleaded with the other two not to carry the idol. But his plea was dismissed by a 2 : 1 voice vote and carry her home they did. Hiding her inside the shirt, Rajesh and Govind stealthily marched home as the Moon god was on his way up through the emerging darkness.

Now, Upendra ran for his life to reach home ahead of the other two and blurted out to Grandpa, "Rajesh and Govind are bringing the Goddess home". Since he was panting and what he told was so much out of the ordinary; Grandpa didn't realize what was happening. As was his wont, he gave a royal hiding to the little fellow. Just as Upendra was recovering his breath, the twosome entered the house with the deity.

Seeing the temple deity in the hands of two 9 year old mischief-mongers, Grandpa was flabbergasted. He immediately snatched it from Rajesh and ordered to Upendra, "Go and keep it back where it was, and NOW !". Even as Upendra ran towards the temple, the other two started to wail. They had the temerity and courage to argue with the ferocious Grandpa; a liberty which was never given to Upendra.

Around that time, the wonderful uncle came to the rescue. He came in and soothed the boys and protected them from the Grandpa's wrath. He also assured them of taking care of the poor Goddess. That was a night etched indelibly in the minds of the three and remains fresh thirty years since.

None of them slept that night. Two because they felt betrayed and the third because of all the bashing he received from Grandpa for no fault of his.

It was the same idol that was stolen by some unknown robbers recently. That is why my father remembered his late father-in-law who recovered the idol from the tiny robbers and got her reinstated at her rightful place.

The Enfant Terribles Trio: Rajesh, Upendra and Govind

Rajesh is a hugely successful businessman in Kochi today with a burgeoning enterprise that manufactures and exports essential oils and perfumes. Upendra is well entrenched in Moscow and deals in decorative lighting business. The third part of the triumvirate went onto become a Doctor and doesn't believe in Gods today !

He also blogs at Live, Love and Laugh !

Dr. Pun-dit

Monday, December 6, 2010

Left, Right and Wrong: A Story of a Fight !

Committing a Crime is bad, but tolerating or ignoring a Crime as it is being committed is worse !
Krishna in Geeta !

After the events that lead to my previous post, I have tried my best to remain cool in most of the provocative situations. I have succeeded in many and failed partly in some. But this incident deserves a narration as a follow up to my story of my own evolution.

Thanks to unexpected illnesses and unforeseen circumstances, there is a sudden shortage of Doctors in our small Hospital. In a small institution, this means only one thing; those around will have to work overtime. So here I am, forced to slog and then write about my travails on my blog !

After a hectic nearly 36 hours schedule, I was going home on my little Santro last Thursday. The roads are so bad, some parts have only half the road. Can't really blame drivers if they behave rudely. Anyone can run out of sanity on these crater filled apologies of roads.

I was about half way to home. Through a particularly bad stretch, I was sticking to extreme left of the road because there was some semblance of tar over there. Then I saw an Auto Rickshaw appearing from the opposite side crisscrossing the potholes. And then it was there right in front of my car, both face to face.

I stopped and waited for the Auto Rickshaw driver to take his vehicle off. But he was not budging. Instead, he was honking and insinuating towards me to get going. I was surprised. I was on the extreme left, that is the right side to be, on our roads. Now, some vehicles had gathered behind me and some behind him too. There was a huge crater to my right and I was in no mood to jump into it as it was not my side.

I saw the Driver, a thirty-something chap come out and scream at me. I slid down my glass and asked him what was all the drama about. And this conversation ensued. He was talking in Malayalam and I had to respond in the same tongue. Here is a loose translation of what transpired.

He: Don't you have eyes ? Did you not see my light flashing ?

Me: Really ? But what lights ? Am I not on the correct side ? It is you who is on the wrong side.

He: There is no side. I can't take my vehicle through the gutter.

Me: Well, do you expect me to do that ? Neither am I going to do that.

He: You go whichever way you want. Right, left or up, but get lost from here.

Wow, this was a situation to explode with expletives. But my mastery over Malayalam isn't something to crow about. So I decided to act pigeon.

Me: But Brother, here I am to the extreme left of the road. Can't go any further left. There is the compound over there. Neither can I go to right because you can see a crater there. Going up is out of question, because I am not Rajnikant !

He: #@*%#&;$#@. Are you joking ? I can bash you up and throw you into the gutter.

Me: Well, that is violence. You probably are capable of that. But we live in Kochi, not Afghanistan. So you can't go Scott-free. There is Police and Law.

He: %#*&+;@~#*&+;% Police can't touch me. Will you get lost or should I smash you ?

Me: Brother, can't you be a little decent ? Have I used any bad language ? Why don't you talk with some respect ?

He: Respect, you son of a #$%&=;*, creating a block here and talking smart ?

By this time some people from either side had tried to overtake and there was a holy mess. Some people came out of their vehicles to find out what was going on.

Our man was explaining to them in loud voice how atrociously I had blocked him. So I just told a couple of people who peeped into my car, "Just look at who is on the wrong side and then you people can decide who is on the right side".

People were murmuring. Some of them asked him to move. He was not ready to budge. Some of them wanted me to sacrifice because he was too crass. "Don't you have some shame, fighting a guy like him ?" asked one of them. So finally I had to make the move.

And so I said, "See, this man is wrong from the beginning. But if my moving could help to diffuse the situation and solve this logjam, I could definitely do it. But as you people can see, I am stuck here. His language and rudeness has been beyond tolerance. I don't have any more work today. I have AC in my Car and will switch on the AC and rest right here. I can't fight him at his level. But neither am going to move from here. Let the Police come and decide how to solve this problem. I have enough access to fight a case if such a scenario occurs. I know enough Advocates who will fight my case even till the Supreme Court. But I am not going to move from here".

With this, I raised my glass, increased my AC to full blast and leaned back in my seat to listen to Jagjeet Singh. I could see the people move towards him and could see a lot of argument. He had expected to win by being foul. I had from the beginning decided not to lose my balance at any cost.

It really pays to stay cool. The crowd had become irate. I was enjoying a heavy duty verbal attack on him. One of the guys even called up Police from his mobile. This perhaps worked. Because our man immediately jumped inside his vehicle, pulled back a little and waded through the pothole on his side. He glared at me as he was going past and blurted, "I will see you #$%&@^. I will smash you one day when I get the chance".

I smiled at him and declared firmly but with a very low volume audible only to him, "You better watch out. You have declared this openly with so many people around. Now even if someone else even as much as scratches my car, YOU will be held responsible. I can assure you there will be enough people to vouch for me against you. And I will have any number of Advocates to fight my case to the logical conclusion. And I don't forget faces or number plates. Thanks for giving way and take Care !"

We both knew who won. I realized the importance of retaining the composure during situations of extreme provocation. If I were to pick up a fight with him on his own terms, he would have dictated terms. Fighting a swine is really tough. He will enjoy all the time as he keeps pulling you down and before you know you are in deep shit. I had decided not to end up in a pool of fecal matter. So I stayed out and actually enjoyed.

Managing to remain calm and not getting into a free for all brawl made me feel good. But what made me feel better is the fact that I did not allow the scumbag to escape with such deplorable behavior. I don't really know how I could have reacted in a similar situation if I had to rush for an emergency. I managed to come out better because I was not in a hurry. Hope I'll be able to retain my equanimity even when I am running against a deadline.

The best thing about the whole episode was that I had real fun through all this simply because I was determined to win without shouting or ranting. Victories taste sweetest, when the fights are won without violence !

Dr. Pun-dit

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hunger Management: A Self Realization !

Confessions of a Perpetually Hungry Doctor !

When I wrote 'Eat, Play and Love', I never imagined I will be forced to delve deeper into it so soon. Something happened a fortnight later and that has changed me beyond words.

If I eat and love food, it obviously is because I am hungry. My friend Satish Bhat used to joke about it. Whenever I said, "Hey I am hungry", he used to retort, "Tell us something we don't know. You are perpetually hungry".

'Hunger' has been a problem. Very often it lead to 'Anger'. Or so I believed. I used to get angry and snap at people when I was hungry. Very often I was downright rude to some of my co-workers. Later I attributed all that to my hunger and associated anger and apologize. Must say I am quite shameless in this regard. 'Sorry' comes easy to me than to most of the people.

It was a pretty busy day in our small ICCU. Sasikala, A Senior Staff Nurse was celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary. She had ordered Biriyani for all the ICCU staff and me. I live on tea and two bananas on normal work days. But I have to eat my banana before 12:00 noon to keep myself calm.

That day the Biriyani arrived a little late and I was famished. I straightaway decided to attack without waiting for the others. This is something I have done all life and nobody ever complained; at least never in front of me.

I sat down on a chair in front of the television with my Biriyani. I ordered to Jijin, a male-nurse to pull the curtains to keep me behind the curtains and away from the patients and other probable visitors. A known sleep-walker, he was wandering around obviously oblivious to my order. I asked him to pull the curtains another four times.

After the fifth time, I lost my top and shouted at him, "Pull the curtains you deaf idiot". That boy was stunned and the whole ICCU fell silent. He pulled the curtains and left the ICCU without a word. I finished my lunch and continued with my work. As I cooled down I realized it was plain dumb on my part. So I sent text messages with "Sorry, forgive me" words.

Next day, Vijayalakshmi, our ECG Technician told me the boy was seriously hurt by my rudeness. He had told her this: "Just because I am a Nurse, I have to hear and suffer all these kind of things. I should not have come into this profession". I felt further pain inside me. I went to him and personally said it was not about a Doctor and Nurse, but was just a momentary lapse in reason. I again apologized to him. He silently nodded and said, "It's Okey".

Two days later, I was in a jovial mood. I always am jovial when not hungry. I jokingly asked our staff, "So whose wedding anniversary are we going to celebrate today?". Betty, one of our most efficient staff nurse said, "Why ? Is it to humiliate another person ?". This hit me real hard. I tried to defend, "But he was acting like a sloth and I did apologize. How many people have you seen apologize ?".

Betty said, "Does apologizing after hitting or scolding someone really undo the harm ? In that case anyone can do that. What if he had retaliated ? If he were to scold you or even hit you, what would have happened ? I don't believe saying sorry after being so rude is a solution".

I was feeling hot under the collar. I left the scene lest I talk any more. Inside my own cabin, I shut the door and sat trying to regroup myself. What I have analyzed after this incident is what has guided my behavior since then.

Why do I get angry and shout at others ?

Is it Hunger ? Is my being superior justify this ? Is it right, even if they were wrong ?

The answer I found to my horror was it was none of these. It was plain 'Arrogance'. Yes, ARROGANCE ! How on earth can anyone be so rude to colleagues ? I myself have suffered rudeness from other people. But none of them were even remotely connected to me. I have always complained about rudeness on our roads, traffic and the society in general. So how different was I ?

The answer to this question was even more depressing. If people are rude in the traffic or elsewhere, they are being rude to 'Nobody'. Yes, most of the times the snarls happen between absolute strangers. And here I was, being rude to my own colleagues who have been with me for years. I realized I was worse !

The next realization came along with this truth. What makes me arrogant ? Well, I ask our staff to order my tea. I ask them to get me the papers and charts and everything. They often go out to the Coffee House to bring my food or tea. They wash my tea cups and clean my room. Why do they do all these things ? Because they respect my position. But who am I ? Is my position as a Doctor, my identity ? I felt miserable.

The ward staff are scared of me because I am short-tempered. 'Doorvasan' is the name given to me by those girls petrified by my anger.Some of them hide behind the Senior ICCU staff even to convey some routine results. It never hurt me before. I used to joke about it. But today, it hurts me.

I never divulge that I am a Doctor to anyone unknown. The reason is simple. I want to be left alone outside my work place. During travel and holidays, the prefix Dr. can become a problem. So I never affix it anywhere other than on official forms and prescriptions.

I now knew it was my 'Arrogance' not my 'Hunger' that fostered the 'Anger'. I had taken these people for granted. I had ordered around and got my way all these years, never bothering to check how they could have felt about it. So if they obeyed my orders in spite of myself, it was simply because I was a Doctor. And this was not a nice thought.

I wouldn't like people to do things out of fear for my designation. Making tall claims about 'Live, Love and Laugh' all along, I was hardly Loving people around me. I decided and changed many things from that moment.

Here are some of the things I changed about myself.

I stopped asking others to order my tea or coffee. I order them myself.
I don't ask them to switch on the fans and AC. I do it myself.
No ordering others to open or shut the doors. I do that.
Bringing papers or any thing from one place to another is done by me for myself.
Generally I don't allow anyone to do things for me other than what is concerned with their job.

Some of my colleagues think I was hurt and angry and was being spiteful. Far from true. They don't know how happy and grateful I am today. They haven't asked me yet about this changed behavior. I haven't told them too. I shall tell them if and when they ask me. Or perhaps they will know if and when some of them read this post.

But I must thank Betty for the favor she has bestowed upon me. If not for that straight talk, my arrogance would have continued to grow making more and more people resent me behind me. I wouldn't like to die as someone who was respected out of fear. All Dictators were respected during their time. I would love to be respected out of love. Forget respect, I just love to be loved !

I apologize to all those whom I have hurt before. I also apologize to another person I have always taken for granted, that is my wife. Very sincerely so ! I shall try my best not to lose my temper.

And I thank my Friend Murali who had seen it 21 years ago that my problem with 'Temper' will humble me some day. I thank you my Buddy !

Murali had gifted me this in 1989

Life is of no worth if we have to live in a mansion all alone.

Life is all about Love and Celebrating Life with Love and Laughter !

Dr. Pun-dit

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Mission, My Passion, My Life !

Love is a beautiful, wonderful and enchanting feeling... 
Until it happens to your Daughter !

My Little Angel !
This is a smart quotable quote attributed to Shakespeare by some modern day smart Alec. But it is true, as true as true comes. Only problem is we don't realize this till it perhaps happens and comes to face us face to face.

Why should I think, talk and worry about it now ? Very simple, my little daughter is growing up. As much as I detest this fact, it is true. She will complete 12 years and will graduate into the teen group now.

We know this teenage is the most notorious age. I myself had fallen headlong in love with my English teacher as a 16 year old boy. People call this 'Infatuation'. But try explaining this to the smitten and you will know.

This excessive information era has left this generation of parents in a serious disadvantage. When we were kids, we thought our parents knew a lot. But our kids think their parents know nothing. Seriously they know a lot more than us. Try some of those indecipherable games on your mobile and you know what I mean.

Going back in time to 19 November 1998, I vividly remember the stress I went though when my wife was posted for an elective Cesarean Delivery the next morning. Ignorance for sure is bliss in these kind of situations. Knowing all those horrendous possibilities associated with child birth can make a Doctor waiting to be parent a 'Nut'; which I was on that day !

When finally the moment arrived and we received my own little bundle of energy at around 11:10 AM on 20 November 1998, my life had changed forever. I had become a Father, Dad, Appa or Appe as she prefers to call me. I keep telling all my clients and junior friends, how wonderful a feeling that was and will always be.

Samskruthy is the Name !
All those moments of her growing up are etched in memory. The first gurgle. The kicking. The smile. The crawl. First step. Her walks. Her banter. Cuddling up when she wanted to sleep longer. Every moment is precious. Since I didn't have a video camera, I could only capture her on my still camera. Those are but my most favorite snaps and will always remain so.

At the Qutub Minar - My Most Beautiful Shot to date

Some exceedingly endearing moments are worth living the whole life cherishing them all along. I am particularly fond of the tour to Kullu - Manali in 1999 November. Soon after her first birthday, we three went to Delhi, Kullu and Manali along with my sister, brother in law and my seven month old niece Prajna.

We were traveling by a Sumo Jeep from New Delhi to Manali. We had covered both the little girls with ample warn clothes. The big girls too were well protected. My brother in law, the master of the party was sitting in the front seat. Me, my wife and sister were sitting in the middle seat with the kids.

Till that day, I was only a play thing for my Baby. She came to me when she was awake and wanted to play, and be carried all over the place. But when she wanted to sleep, she went back to her mother and cuddle up to sleep on her laps. Of course with her favorite dish in mouth. Never once did she sleep on my lap.

With Her Mother
But on that memorable day, as she was playing with me through our journey; she started yawning. And even as I expected her to jump to her mother, she actually cuddled up to me, held me tighter and slept on my chest, warm and cozy.

On Her Favorite Seat
This was the most beautiful moment of my life since her birth. As I resisted my wife's attempts to take her away, I also realized an extraordinary truth. Mothering a child is one real achievement. After just about one hour, she woke up and jumped towards her Mom for her feed.

As I tried to free my hands, arms and shoulders I realized my thighs, hands and shoulders were sore and numb. If one hour of carrying a 12kg child can leave you sore, just imagine how all those mothers should be feeling !

This was a moment of accomplishment for me as well as a moment of truth; the irrefutable truth. There isn't an entity greater than Mother on earth. I salute all mothers of this planet; those who ever lived, those who still live and those who will be mothers some day.

Any woman if she feels she is treated any lesser than a man, she should know better. A Man can be a lot of things and more, but he can never be a Mother. And for me that pretty much sums up the gender equation. The only regret I have in life about my relationship with my daughter is I can never be her Mother. Hence I try my best to be as good a Father as possible.

There are but only two occasions I have had to be angry with her. One ended up me deciding never to hurt her again. The second time was on a day when I had to act tough because the situation demanded it. At least I believe so.

My Mom asked her to light the lamp in our Pooja Room on the day we arrived from our native place after an overnight journey. All of us were tired. When she said, she can't light a match stick, I told her it was time she learned to light one. She still didn't like to do it. I cajoled her and even showed her how to light a match stick and then to light an oil wick.

But she wasn't budging. This made me really angry. I told her, "You will light the lamp today come what may". She lit the match stick and promptly burnt her fingers by holding it in wrong position. She started yelling loudly and waited for her doting father to hug her and relieve her of the misery.

But I told sternly, "Look Child, some girls your age light lamps and kitchen hearths and even cook their own food. It will be an insult to all of us if an almost 12 year old girl refuses to learn simple things in life. So, go and wash your fingers in clod water, apply Silverex, come back and light the lamp. You and YOU alone will light it today. And I will have nothing less".

She was sobbing uncontrollably. Though it tugged at my heart, I had to tell her very firmly to stop sobbing and finish the job. She realized she had no escape. So she went ahead and finally lit the matches and the light. Once the work was accomplished, I took my child in my arms, hugged her and broke down because I was forced to be rude to her. I could have spoiled her that day by being lenient. But I love my child too much to spoil her thus.

This post is as much about mothers as it is about a daughter. I would like my child to grow up to be responsible and worthy citizen of this country and the world. The next morning, she came and gave me a hug and a peck and said, "Appe, I lit the lamp today with just one match-stick. I have learned now".

So I told her, "Life is all about learning. We have to keep trying to improve ourselves. Your marks in school don't make you, your effort is what makes you. We don't love those prizes you win, we love YOU. I am not bothered if you don't win a prize or end up getting lesser marks in exams. These things don't make you any lesser for us. I am never bothered by prizes and awards, but it will hurt me if my child doesn't 'TRY'. You keep learning, working and improving. Give your best to everything you do; be it at school, on stage or in music or even a simple thing like lighting a lamp. Nothing will scare you if you know you are doing your best".

She Learned to Swim in 2 days, because she wanted to !

My child will be a mother some day and hopefully she will remember this lesson we both learned that day. I repented being rude to her and kept telling my wife, "I hope I will never have to be angry with her again". I really hope so. I still am not reconciled to the fact that she will be a big girl sooner than later and then will find a man for herself and will have to move on in life.

Watching 'Bidai' scenes in Bollywood movies makes me edgy. Tamil movie 'Abhiyum Naanum' made me emotional. Any mention of her growing up and her marriage makes me jittery. Not because I see that as a responsibility or a burden. But because I don't know how I will cope up with that. People advise me not to be so attached and possessive.

For what is a Daughter born if not to love and be loved ? So I tell people, "All those things you people tell may be inevitable. But as of now, she is my little Darling Angel and let me enjoy her being my child. We will deal with her marriage when we reach there. Now leave us alone to enjoy being Father and Daughter"

As my little Angel takes her first steps into teenage, let me wish her many more wonderful birthdays and all the love, affection, health, success and happiness in life. My life was pretty good before you came, but you have made it complete and meaningful for your Mom and me and all of us.

We love you and cherish you !

My Life, My Mission, My Passion !

20 November 2010
12 Years since the Beautiful Journey began !

Dr. Pun-dit

Friday, October 29, 2010

Indira Gandhi, Hairstylist and Philosophy

Even as a 13 years old, I had a strong sense of loyalty. I always stuck to my people; be it my friends, family or the Barber. Well, hairstylist is a better word to describe him. He was a man in his late 40s. He had worked in the middle east and Bombay when it still was Bombay. And he was my savior !

When he opened his "Beauty Hair Dressers" close to my ancestral home, I was overjoyed. I was fed up of our family barber who knew only one style; that was to cut the hair right down to roots. Every male member of our family had the same style. It used to remind me the thatched arch on those bullock carts in our small town.

Sanjeevanna changed all that and he taught the people of our town to flaunt hair. I had rebelled against the uniform hair cut even before he came. But once he arrived, I stuck to him, till I moved to Bellary in 1988. He also had a huge attraction for youngsters because he talked Cricket and used to blare the commentary of every match.

Sanjeevanna was a nice human being too. He wasn't the typical gossip-monger. If he talked, it was only Cricket, Cinema and fashion talk. So he was almost a Philosopher for me. I  knew little about Philosophy except that my Mom's cousin was a Philosopher who had done PhD !

On an exaggeratedly hot summer day in 1984, I went for my usual hair-styling. I was sweating profusely and cursed the heat while chatting up to Sanjeevanna. In a serene mood that day, he gave a mini lecture that I have translated in the following paragraph.

"See Govindu, you are just sitting here under the fan doing nothing. Imagine a Farmer tilling his fields in this hot Sun. Imagine a Coolie carrying large crates on the Mangalore dockyard. What about them ? Have you ever thought how hot they must be feeling ? You are quite fortunate to live a protected and comfortable life. There are so many people in this world who toil irrespective of climates. They have to toil to survive. So this heat is just relative. Even a great Cricketer like Sunil Gavaskar has to play in the sweltering heat to make a name and fame. Nothing comes easy and anything that comes easy is nothing".

Boy, was I wiser ? This was my first taste of Philosophy. Philosophy with personal touch of a genial hair-stylist. What I learned that day was precious. You don't need to take a PhD to be a Philosopher and Philosophy is not what is taught inside four walls, but what is learned beyond the walls !

That day I realized every day and every moment of life is a learning experience. It never ends till life itself comes to an end. It is this realization that has made me an avid reader, watcher, listener and a hobby blogger. But down the lane, I started hating anything that was 'heavy duty Philosophy'. What I mean is discourses, books on meditation, Gods and sundries and religions. The older I have grown, bolder has become my dislike for religions, Gods and shams.

I once declared to one of my closest friends, " I hate all Philosophy except my own !". This was a passing period when I was impetuous and lot more immature than I am today. Even though I don't claim to hate all Philosophies today, I still am not fond of dogmatic books, discourses and religions.

Reading and listening has helped me to remember, assimilate and analyze knowledge. I developed a special love for quotable quotes. It also gave me some ability to remember and often trace inspirations. A friend of mine quoted an interesting line credited to Indira Gandhi, "Forgiveness is the virtue of the Brave". 

I had to tell my friend that Indira had quoted Krishna from Geeta. Indira never was the one to forgive. Her estranged daughter in law Maneka will vouch for that. And all those political opponents jailed and harmed during emergency will endorse that. Indira didn't have the moral authority to quote this beautiful line.

Leaving aside Indira, let us talk about India, the idea that drives me and millions like me. We are known as a land of Wisdom, land of Peace and land of Philosophy. Unfortunately we have remained cocooned in these titles without bothering to move out and grow up for too long. That is why we are lagging behind in every human indices that matter. But fortunately we are learning and are catching up with the rest of the world, albeit a little late. But as a quotable quote goes, 'Better Late than Never' !

As a policy, I believe nothing in life is so serious to be taken seriously. So I have to move on from a serious subject like Philosophy. So here is something for a chuckle or a mini smile !

My colleague Dr. Bilkees had two ladies to help her at home and a driver.
The cook was Philomena, fondly called Philo.
The domestic help was called Sophy.
And her driver brought 'Joy' into the picture !
I found this Philosophy of Joy really amusing !

Dr. Pun-dit

Monday, October 18, 2010

Eat, Play and Love !!!

'GREAT' the word inspires me to a 'Great' extent. GR stands for my initials. The rest of that word is what enthuses me. It sounds as if I am told GR-Eat, GR-Eat !

Moral of the story: Dieting has a lot to do with your name; or the initials in my case ! 

I have no dearth of admiration for Mahatma Gandhi. But I could not agree with one of his Philosophy, "Eat to Live, Don't Live to Eat". That is blasphemy ! Ever since I remember, I have lived to eat and I have done pretty well at that. With Mothers who love to pamper the kids with best of the delicacies, how can one just eat to live ? Mission Impossible ! 

Must be a hangover from my childhood or perhaps my ambition to fulfill my beloved Mother's fond wish. It all started after my cousin Srikanth was born ten months after me. In a joint family with over two dozen people, my Mom was endowed with a puny little son who ate so little, the sparrows in our neighborhood fared better in comparison. And there was my junior cousin, who used to out-eat, out-grow, out-smart and out-everything me. 

Naturally my poor Mom had just one wish, "My son should eat well and grow up into a big handsome boy". Her God perhaps had foreseen a non-conformist growing up. Hence he granted only the first half of her wish soon. The second half of her wish is better not discussed; self-pity is not my nature. 

India won the Cricket World Cup in 1983. This solved one problem for my family and created a new one. The little fellow wanted to play Cricket and become the Greatest All-rounder of all times. So began the eating spell, really well because he wanted to grow up big. But the new problem was that there was hardly anything else he managed to do after that.

Idli - Do and Idli - Done ! 

Eating became a sort of nature or instinct. Nobody complained because this was a novelty. Well, that was until one fine evening. I came home from school. Mother had prepared Idli, my most favorite dish ever. I swallowed down 16 of them and ran off to join my team for Cricket. It was quite natural for me. More often than not, I ate more Idlis than the runs I scored. 

I came back after Cricket and shower at around 7 PM. Boy, was I hungry ? I went to kitchen. There it was waiting for me, a cooker full of Idlis. Reading a novel of my favorite Shivarama Karanth, I polished off whatever was there. When my Mom came back to kitchen, she was shell-shocked. Her still puny teenager son had cleaned up 24 of them excluding the 16 in the evening ! 

She came rushing to my room and shouted at me, "Have you forgotten what I had told you ? You have eaten all those idlis. You have to attend the dinner at a relative's house this night. What will you do now ? If you don't go, your Father will be furious". I calmed her down and said, "But the dinner is at 9:00 PM. It is only 7:30 now. Why are you getting worked up ? Whatever needs to be done, will be done".

 It indeed was done and the 'Legend' was born that day ! The 'Legend' of GR-EAT Bottomless Wonder aka Bermuda Triangle !

Bermuda Triangle ! 

Other than eating and playing Cricket, I just got plain lucky and ended up in Medical College Bellary in 1988. A New chapter began from here. Weighing 46 kilos at 167 cm, I was written off as 'Good for Nothing' by most of the seniors. But it soon turned out to be 'Food for Nothing'.

 Ten chapathis before lunch or dinner and four or five eggs to balance the protein content was a normal day in the kitchen. After the initial struggling days, I chose the nearest room to the mess for the easy accessibility. The people running the Prefect-Mess were kept in good humor. I even volunteered to run the mess ! But the amount of over-activity I used to indulge in, meant the size remained constant. Whoever said 'Size Does Matter' had not been to Bellary. 

The Mess staff had an off day on a midsummer day. Ramdas, a pious junior from a nearby room came to my room and said, "Shenoy, don't go out for lunch. I shall prepare noodles for both of us". This is why I loved Bellary. The boys were so nice. At around 12:00 Noon, Ramdas came to my room and said, "Shenoy I have a special class. Please help yourself for lunch and don't wait for me".

 I helped myself and cleaned the utensils and went back to my room to continue my reading. At around 2:00 PM, Ramdas barged into my room and he was almost weeping, "Shenoy, what happened ?" I replied, "Nothing, the noodles were simply great. I have washed the utensils to save you the trouble". Crestfallen Ramdas blabbered incoherently, "Do you know I had prepared 3 packets of Maggi noodles and that too with a lot of vegetables ? I haven't eaten anything". 

Now that was a tragedy. I told him, "Hey I'm sorry I didn't know you'd not eaten. Come we'll go out to Disney and I will buy you a lunch". So we went to a restaurant about a kilometer from our hostel. He ordered for a Chicken Biriyani. The friendly me didn't want him to feel lonely. Hence I joined him and ordered a Biriyani for myself and we added a Ginger Chicken too.

Later I heard some people bitching that Ramdas was absolutely flabbergasted by my 'GReat exploits'. He allegedly likened me to 'Bermuda Triangle'. I never heard him say that and so never ventured to verify the veracity of these rumors.

Bottomless Wonder !

Our Surgery Professor was a generous man. He hosted his juniors to nice lunch or dinner on his Surgery days. On one such night, I helped myself to one full plate of Chicken Fried-rice, One Plate of Butter-Chicken, 3 butter-nans, One Fish Fry, One whole bird Tandoori Chicken, 3 bottles of Coca Cola and an ice cream at the end. To digest the food, I also ordered a large Lassy. That was all I could eat.

I thought a senior was quite mean when he said this, "Hey Shenoy, your bill alone was more than the bill of all of us put together. Boss was overwhelmed. He asked me 'Where does all that he eats go ? This is a real Bottomless Wonder'. He also suggested to schedule our next dinner when you are out of town".

That was slander. I never believed one word of this. The Boss was a generous soul and I couldn't believe what I ate was really that big. But somehow by the quirk of fate, I never got to attend another dinner hosted by him. But soon after, I celebrated big time when I managed to touch the 50 kilos on the scale for the first time in my life.

Pathiri-fied Night !

Moving to Kochi after I finished off Bellary, my tryst with food continued. Ramesh Menon a senior colleague once ordered 3 Pathiris [Rice-cakes] with some Chicken when we were on night-shift at the hospital. So I too ordered for 5 of them.

Ramesh very indulgently said, "Govind, 5 will not even line your oral epithelium. You order for 15 or even better 20". I felt belittled and said I will manage with 10. I had to send one of our staffers to a 24-Hour coffee shop at 2 AM that night.

My Cousin Rajesh, myself and another relative used to go out for dinner on weekends. Whenever Rajesh made huge orders, the other guy used to get alarmed. But Rajesh would smile and say, "Don't worry Govind is there". He would always remind me of those '3 Packets of Maggi noodles' !

My love for food has continued unabated and at forty, I still am in love with food. I still love to play, though a little different kind of games. So the story continues, "Eat, Play and Love" !

Dr. Pun-dit

Friday, October 8, 2010

Incorrigible Originals - Part 2

This post should not be considered a work of fiction. It is not. All the stories are true incidents that happened on Bellary Medical College Campus between 1988 and 1994. The persons mentioned are real flesh and blood people. 

The abbreviations used here are just to save my beloved friends from their respective spouses. Sorry guys, if any of you end up in the soup in spite of my honest efforts to the contrary, don't kill me ! 

I don't claim any Intellectual Property Rights over the dialogues or one-liners, but the people in the post might. I should in no way be held responsible if the "Incorrigible Originals" sue the Copycats !

Incorrigible Originals - Part 2 

It is never easy to be a Medical Student and stay in a hostel and still remain free of vices. Anyone who didn't pick up at least one during those apparently interminable years must be a big bore. Well, this species actually doesn't exist. If they do, please call the Paleontologists !

What I mean by vices are quite innocent things like booze, fag, rummy and of course bird-watching ! These were the words we used in those days. Don't know what the kids lingo sounds like today.

Let me turn back and see how we dealt with the vices in our days. See No Evil, Hear No Evil was one of our favorite movies those days, though we had no qualms about not following the 'Do No Evil' Part.

In one famous scene, Richard Pryor talking at a meeting goes something like this, "Exercise is good for health. Some people like walking, some prefer jogging and some love swimming. But I personally prefer f--king!". This became a landmark word for us. So many 'King's were born thanks to this King !

Kings; They All Were !

BooKing !

Rummy was a favorite time-pass when you had no exams and a favorite stress-busters when you had exams. It was played with all sincerity and our campus even institutionalized it and recognized it as the 'Official Sport' of the Campus.

We all played Rummy and almost all loved it. Some were good, some plain lucky and some were damned crooks. There was a fourth dimension too, the plain dumb ones. One such chap was Praveen Kumar Varma. Though he was pretty witty with words, he was plain ordinary with cards. He usually gave points in 'book's.

A Book in a game of Rummy is when you refuse to play due to poor alignment of cards or poor ability to judge or both. When his habit of providing a 'book' became a routine, he was Christened "BooKing" by one of our most prolific players 'C' ! BooKing he remained forever !

DrinKing !

Rum doesn't need an introduction from Wikipedia. There were many DrinKings who were also known as 'Barrel' or 'Drum' or 'Kuduka' and many more words. Though this was not as famous a word as BooKing, the greatest DrinKing was one who believed "Alcohol needs to be promoted because it actually stood for truth". He quoted our Forensic Medicine book which said "In Vino Veritas" !

SmoKing !

Smoking was more of a style statement when we were kids. But it was already in the black-list when we reached college. My friend DR asked me for the smallest loan ever asked. He wanted one rupee at 7 AM on a Sunday morning. When I wanted to know why he needed one rupee, just one rupee; he replied with all sincerity, "I need a fag to go to the toilet. If I don't get a cigarette, I'll be constipated till I get one. Please help me Yaar".

Such dependence at such a young age. He had to be the SmoKing !

PungKing !

Bluffing, fibbing or just yapping was known as Punging those days. Suresh Bhatta for reasons not very well known to me was anointed PungKing. He was good at 'brain eating' though. One incident involving the naivety of Babu turned me into a sensation to supersede Bhatta. But since he was already the PungKing, he graciously consented to elevate me to the higher pedestal of 'Pung-Emperor' !

ShocKing !

One senior created some kind of a precedent while writing a short note on 'Shock' during Pathology Internal Exams. He defined Shock as as a "Condition experienced by a person on touching a live electric wire or when hearing a 'Shocking' news". Unanimously he was appointed the ShocKing !

DucKing !

One aspiring Tendulkar wanted to bat like the Teen sensation of those days and always wanted to attack. But somehow he ended up getting out for nothing most of the times. So his nickname had to be DucKing !

CooKing !

There were days when our mess didn't function. Going out in the burning Sun for lunch was such a task. Many boys used to prepare their own food, though I was never one of them. But I helped myself to those delicacies prepared by these generous souls. Ramdas Naik was one such pious chap who saved me during those days of famine. He was so adept and meticulous with his culinary skills, he had to be the CooKing !

Other Kings !

Then there were those boys always neatly dressed even at 2 AM. We called one such boy 'TucKing'. The boy who savored his food and then enjoyed munching on his own fingers had to be 'LicKing'. The boy who trusted in luck for everything had to be 'LucKing'. My friends who know Tulu, would interpret this word in a different manner.

It isn't necessary that every boy on campus knew these revelations. Some were known in small circles. Most were used by a small coterie of people to good effect. Today all this can be told. Why did I end up as Pung Emperor ? This story requires some detailing and is reserved for another day.

Incorrigible Originals will be back...

Dr. Pun-dit

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kaalaaya Tasmai Namaha !

Kaalaaya Tasmai Namaha !

'I Salute You Time'

Am I losing my touch ?

Ever since my boyhood, I have taken pride about my ability to predict what will happen in two fields; Cricket and Movies. No Movie I declared as a 'Hit' ever failed and I never failed to predict a flop.

I also predicted how matches will turn while following them live. Most of the times pretty close and often absolutely point blank. All that was till yesterday. I have lost it ! I think I am getting old.

Yes, I saw 'Maine Pyaar Kiya' on first day at my native place on video. I returned to Bellary and told my friends, "Here is a New Star and a big hit". Then I declared at the first glimpse of this man that here is the Next Super Star of India. Was I right ?

Watching movies on the first day has been a passion. My profession and age have made it tough these days. Yet I do make it a point to catch up with the big movies. Though I loved Mani Ratnam's 'Dil Se' I knew this was going to bomb at the box-office, thanks to the blast at the end.

I don't remember a movie that flopped once I declared it a hit on day one. This should not be considered arrogance. It was happening. My colleague Dr. Preetha didn't like the movie 'Hulchul' one bit. Neither did I like it because it wasn't a patch on the Malayalam original 'Godfather'. But watching the reaction of the predominantly North Indian crowd, I knew Priyan had hit the jackpot !

Watching the larger than life and arrogant character of Mohanlal in Malayalam movie 'Narasimham', I felt this was the beginning of the end of an Actor-Star. I told my Mohanlal fan colleagues, "If he continues to act in such movies, he will churn out flops after flops in near future". Mohanlal's career graph took a nosedive after just one more of those 'Inhuman' characters. The magic has gone missing ever since !

I took my family to watch Raju Hirani's '3 Idiots' on day one thanks to his Munna Bhai movies. Half an hour into the movie, I told my wife this was going to be one of the all-time big hits of Indian Cinema.

In Cricket too, I have predicted many things correctly; including Rahul Dravid becoming the most successful Indian Batsman after Sachin, though it was Dada who made larger waves initially. Except for my failure to foresee Vinod Kambli's self-destruction, I have done fairly well with Cricket too.

But all that seems like a distant dream today. My friend Mohan taunted me this evening, "Sir, you have lost your predicting power" after India won the Mohali test by a whisker. I had declared last night that India will be gone before lunch on this fifth day wicket. I didn't count Laxman to bat at all.

But more hurting was my failure to read 'Enthiran the Robot'. Except for the coinage "Robo Sapiens" I found the movie tedious and mostly intolerable. I told Mohan last Friday night, "I haven't watched such a mega-disappointment as this. Why have they wasted so much money on this nonsense ?" After the first weekend, even Rajni Can't save this one !"

But Reviewer after Reviewer had gone gaga over Rajni. I thought these must be paid reviews. And then comes this news ! So Mohan must be seriously right that I have seriously lost touch with reality. What I didn't like has become a 'Robotic' Hit of gigantic proportions !

All I can say is, every predictor has his day. All good things have to come to an end. All things and beings in this world come with an expiry date !

'Kaalaaya Tasmai Namaha'

Dr. Pun-dit

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Old is Gold; How Old ?

How Old is 'Old is Gold' ?

My love for Old Hindi film music is well advertised in my circle and even in the immediate periphery. Many Medical Sales Representatives come to me with soft copies of old music. And many of them make copies from my collection.

One hitherto unknown boy in early twenties came to my room this afternoon. He looked a bit hesitant and introduced himself and the products of his company. Since he was lingering around even after that, I asked him if there was anything else.

"Yes Sir" he told, "I heard you have a good collection of Old Hindi Songs. Can you give me some old songs Sit ?". I replied, "Fine, bring a disc or a pen drive. Choose your song from my collection and let us make a copy". He wanted to see the sample of my collection.

I played out some old songs for him from my PC, which I thought were old. He clearly wasn't impressed. He said, "What songs are these Sir ? I want 'Old' songs". Hence I asked, "Tell me which are your old songs ?". He said, "Mujhe neend na aaye, mujhe neend na aaye... This Aamir Khan song from 'Dil' movie Sir. Do you have it ? Have you heard it ?"

My head was spinning as I tried to control myself from falling off my chair. I replied, "Oh I am sorry, I don't have 'That' old songs. This is all I have". The boy was quite gracious and granted, "That's alright Sir, it is such an old song. Very difficult to get. It is a 'Classic' Sir. If I get a copy, I will definitely give you one". I thanked him profusely and saw him off because I had to laugh and it would have been rude to do so in front of him.

After recovering from the bout of solo laughter, I started to think. I am forty and he is just out of college. So what is old and precious for me need not be so for him. He perhaps doesn't even know of the 'Golden  Generation' of Rafi, Kishore, Mukesh, Manna Dey, Talat Mahamood and Hemant Kumar etc.

This also brought back memories of two of my uncles denouncing Kishore Kumar as a gimmicks singer. For them Rafi was the epitome of melody and Mukesh was the most soulful singer of all times. But my maternal grandfather believed all singers evolved copying Kundan Lal Saigal. He also held a strong belief that Lata Mangeshkar started out copying Noor Jehan.

Anil Kapoor was blamed of aping Bachchan and Bachchan himself was accused of copying Dilip Kumar. Shah Rukh Khan once declared on live television that Shahid Kapoor was copying SRK. Shahid retaliated saying SRK was aping Bachchan. Both of them were engaged in a light hearted banter. But there is truth in what both of them said that night.

When we look at the body of work of all these people from K. L. Saigal to Shahid Kapoor, we do realize that there is some kind of inspiration drawn somewhere at some point of time. It is extremely difficult to be completely original.

Banting and McLeod won the Nobel Prize for discovery of Insulin. But it was Banting and Best team that worked on it. Very few people know Best became a part of the work on Insulin thanks to a flip of a coin that favored him over Clarke Noble. Noble somehow was not made for Nobel whereas Best was the Best Man in the right place at the right time.

Another fact that has eluded people is that Collip worked day and night for twelve days to get the purified Pancreatic extract after the first experiment lead to severe allergy. But Collip never really received the credit that was due to him. But all these people were inspired by someone called Oskar Minowski.

Today we have highly purified Human Insulins and Insulin Mimetics and Pumps and a host of new inventions. But can we say the present lot is better than the old lot ? Or do we imply 'Old is Gold' indeed ?

No idea is so revolutionary that it wouldn't become old some day. And many of those outdated styles, ideas or people were actually 'The Happening' once upon a time. Time and tide wait for none and the best of the people are washed away by the flow of time.

I have learned one more lesson. 'Old is Gold' indeed. But how 'old is Old' perhaps depends upon how old is the subject and how old the object is !

So anyone who thinks 'Old is Gold' and 'Old alone is Gold' should listen to This, This and This and many more ! And those who consider only present day as current and all past is dead should realize all of today will be yesterday when tomorrow comes !

So let me conclude with something that I consider 'Old is Gold' and will always remain so !

Dr. Pun-dit

Friday, September 24, 2010

An Emotional Journey !

I updated my Facebook Status last night to...

A lot of work on hand. My better-half is doing a lot of running around. I sincerely felt I had to do something. So I told her, "Please tell me if there is any work, where I can help. I shall do my best and delegate someone to do it".

Can a husband be any more helpful ?

I got into my 'Santro' this morning to drive to hospital. As I was around the bend from my home, my little friend Asha gestured to me "You can't go, it is totally water-logged". I ignored her and went ahead. But coming in front of what looked like a huge ocean, I had to stop and turn back.

For the first time since I bought my little Santro in 2006, I had turned my back on a water-logged road. Why ? Here is one of the reasons and the Second reason. And finally because my car isn't young anymore.

As I was turning my car back, I suddenly heard, "Hey why are you going back ? You are so confident and rash. All of a sudden what happened to you ?". I was startled. Looking around and back I saw no one; not a soul nearby. I was mildly perspiring in the air-conditioned car with the rains pouring outside.

I asked, "Who is this ? I Can't see anyone. Where is the voice coming from ?". I heard again, "You shameless soul, after abusing me for over 4 years, you can't even recognize me. I deserve this because I suffered your rudeness without complaining. After all I am a 'Thing' for you".

My patience was running out and I snapped, "Without any more of this drama and dialogues, can you bloody now, tell me who you are ? I have to go to hospital and have a job on hand". Suddenly there was a huge jerk and the car came to a screeching halt and it screamed, "You jerk, it is me, your Santro. You are such a pest. I am the one talking to you"

I was chuckling, "A talking car, Wow ! All I need now is a Hindi Movie Style Girlfriend. I wonder what my Mom added to my morning cup of tea and breakfast". I must be hallucinating. As I turned the ignition on again, the Car was talking again, "Don't you underestimate me. When extremely hurt, even stones can talk. I am a Car and have served you so faithfully all these days".

Now I was confident something spooky was on. I didn't want a revenge seeking soul to assassinate me and asked with a mellowed voice, "Okey, I understand 'You' are my car. But who is talking from inside you ?". Pat came the reply, "Don't think I am some ghost or something like that. That happens only in movies. I am your Car, whole Car and nothing but Car".

I had no other choice but to continue, "Well, can we make a move ? Can we drive along and 'Walk the talk' ? I am getting late". Wroom ! the car was moving now. I heard, "You think you are funny and write nonsense about your wife on Facebook and blog. You disguise all your meanness in so called humor. But somehow people are nice to you and have tolerated you. But I think I have reached the dead-end of my patience".

I asked with mock politeness, "Can you enlighten me the reason for your bitterness ?".

Santro: See even now you are acting smart. First answer me, when was the last time you gave a wash to me ?

Me: Mmmmm, I got Amar to give you a thorough wash only 2 weeks ago.

Santro: No, when was the last time 'YOU' gave me a wash ?

Me: What the heck ? What difference does it make ? Someone is giving you a wash. I have paid him. I have got all your service record updated. I even got two paid services done.

Santro: But my question is, when did you ? You can't even remember when you gave me a wash. My number plate got crushed long ago and you have not repaired it. You can't bother about anything other than 'Petrol' and 'Money'. Your friend Murli is right.

Me: See Mr. Car, I just can't take this nonsense. Do you expect me to wash you, cuddle you and love you ? You are not my wife, neither are you my girlfriend.

Santro: You take a shower twice and even thrice a day. You insist upon your wife and daughter doing the same. And you get someone to wash me once in a blue moon. It hurts to be your loyalist. And by the way, I am not a Mister. I am a Lady. No 'Man' will ever allow anyone to drive him.

Me: I will buy your argument. So you are a Lady. So why can't you go and take a bath yourself. I don't bathe my wife or daughter. If you are so intelligent, can talk so much and want to be clean, you should wash yourself.

Santro: My movements are controlled by that damned remote key in your hand. Only my thoughts and words are in my control. That is why I am servile to you and expect a better treatment. And you must remember you don't ask Amar to give bath to your wife or daughter.

Me: Hey, hey... That is being mean. I might have been a bit rash in driving, but never abused you. You can't be talking like this about my wife and daughter. No !

Santro: Look how it hurts. I have thought of you as my master and my love ever since you drove me with all the care on August 28 in 2006. As days passed, your attitude went from bad to worse. The way you have ignored my needs has made me so depressed. I even contemplated suicide many a times. But with that damned thing in your control, I can't even die.

Me: What on earth are you thinking ? I don't have the kind of time and energy to give enough attention to you. But I have never let you down. Do you know my wife doesn't like you ? She feels you are stupid and a fuel guzzling monster.

Santro: No wife will ever love the Car. She will consider me her rival. I have been nice to her, but she just uses me for her needs. I never expect anything from her. It is you who brought me here with all the pomp and it is you who has let me down. But I love your Mom, Dad and Daughter. Mom loves me, Dad always decorates me with a flower and Babe is fond of me.

Me: You see, there is an old quote, "There are two kind of men in the world. First who love the Wife more than the car and the second who love the Car more than the wife. I belong to the First category. You should have no grouse. Wife is a Wife is a WIFE !"

Santro: I have no issues with your wife. But now you want to dump me and that is why I am sad. You openly call me 'fuel guzzling monster'. It never mattered to you when all you could afford was poor little me. I know what are your new 'Dzires'.

Me: Wow... Now there you go. So this is jealousy. What if I desire and Dzire ? It isn't as if I am going to sell you. You will be with me even if Dzire comes. And I don't even know when that is going to happen. If this is the reason for your grouse, calm down. You will be with me because I can't drive a bigger car in Kochi town.

Santro: Look at it. For the bad roads and rude traffic you need me. You have practically flown me over those gutters of Kochi. I have waded through thigh high water without even wetting your socks. Have I even left you stranded ?

Me: No Yaar, you are like my wife. You will remain with me for all my day to day drives. It is only for longer drives and picnics that I might need Dzire. Why do you act like a jealous wife ?

Santro: Try telling your wife, "You are my Wife Yaar. You will remain with me for all day to day life. It is only for long drives and picnics that I might need Her". Your Orthopedician will need 3 months to repair you !

Me: Ha Ha, you sure have a sense of humor. I love that !

Santro: After being with you lousy fellow, it has rubbed on me. But humor apart, we are talking serious business here. What is your decision, Me or your Dzire ?

Me: I told you, YOU are my first choice. Just like I admire Aishwariya, Katrina and Shilpa; I admire Dzire. Nothing more, nothing less.

Santro: Your wife probably knows you adore these women but can live happily with the knowledge that you can never afford them. You can only salivate imagining them, but can't even touch them. But you can like hell afford a Dzire. There lies the tragedy of my life !

We had reached the basement of my hospital where I park her. As I adjusted her in the parking slot,  she quipped, "I know I have no choice if you choose to enjoy your Dzire. But never ignore me and never ill-treat me. I don't mind Amar washing me. I wouldn't complain about your rash driving. Neither will I envy your long drives. But please keep me with you"

I felt a lump in the throat and said with all the love at my command, "Oh, never even think like that. I will keep you as long as you are alive and kicking. You will remain in family if you outlive me. I will get you a face lift and even a Botox if necessary. As soon as the monsoon is over, I will get you a complete service. I never knew you loved me so much"

Relieved that I have solved a grievous issue I stepped out of the Car. As I pulled out my bag from the aisle, the Santro gave the parting shot, "Don't you live under any illusion. I used to adore you before, not anymore. Your infidelity is hurting enough, but your sympathy is worse. I don't deserve this after all the donkey's service I have rendered you. I don't want you to sell me because I don't know what kind of a sloth is going to buy me. I am used to all your abuse. I will manage to live with that. My thinking is guided by the adage, Known Devil is better than Unknown Gods !"

Dr. Pun-dit