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 !

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Once Upon a Time in Bellary...

It is 22 years since I won a second prize in a solo singing competition on my debut on the Sixteenth Block day. Lokesh, my beloved senior and Godfather in Fifteenth block pushed me to sing. He also wanted me to sing Mukesh's "Jaane Kahaan Gaye Woh Din".

But having some sense of history, I chose a Mohammad Rafi song because it was Rafi Sahib's death anniversary. I didn't have to regret my last minute decision to change the song. I came second only to our Campus Singer and Local Legend Prashanth Raj !

Looking back fondly at the moment that was actually my initiation into stage singing, I am in a mood for some 'Retrospection' and relive the past. The Friendship day is on Sunday, 1 August 2010. I dedicate this post to all my friends !

Here is a 'look back' at SOME of those people who have made a difference in my life; the life "Once Upon a Time"...

Once Upon a Time in Bellary...

... Time was never a problem except when the exams were around the corner. Planning was not necessary for friends to meet. Friends met and planned things.

... There often was a shortage of money, but never a shortage of enthusiasm. Innovative Film City was not even born. Hence any place was a good place to get together and do the things we loved !

... We didn't have mobile phones, but somehow we still were very well connected and always had company. Views, News, Gossip and Nisar Fathima's admiration for Pakistan Team spread like wildfire even without Wire-free Technology !

... Movie tickets cost Rs. 4.70/- and the cinema halls were glorified go-downs. Yet we enjoyed watching movies. The postmortems often went like this. Guy-1: "The first half is boring". Guy-2: "Oh, so how is the second half?". Guy-1: "Well, it only gets worse from there". But again, we went back to watch more movies !

... Parijatha was a generous hotel that served us "Two by Four Coffee nalli, one part Tea, One Part Milk, One Part Lime Juice and One Part Horlicks". This was an amazing innovation suggested by the soft spoken but sharp-witted Umesh Adyanthaya. I proceed with my retro with this lovable chap because he was always 'Anna' or Big Brother to many of us !

... There was D. N. Manjunath, my first room-mate who taught me what endurance is all about. For someone brought up in a cocooned joint family, the hostel life, food and menacing seniors were a shock. Thank you Manju for teaching me to survive !

... We had G. T. Sreenivas the Mr. Determination. He punched above his height and managed to come out victor. He, perhaps was the most dedicated chap on our batch.

... Govardhan, Gururaj MR, Gururaj Puranik and Chethan from the fifteenth block gang were a riot. Shankreppa was that silent guy who never got tired of being silent.

... Sreenivas Reddy showed how not to take oneself seriously. If I am able to 'Live, Love and Laugh' at myself today, Seena inspired it !

... There was Murli, my first friend outside the fifteenth block. Never thought it important to ask him how he felt. But he is one friend who has made the deepest impact on me during those golden years. I owe you a life for helping me to grow out of my insecurities Mate. You were a Darling and will be one forever !

... We had just come to know about the World Bank and the IMF. Then there was Vishwanath Nayak, who was the World Bank for me. I have yet to see someone as organized about everything as he was at 18 years !

... There was Jaganmohan who never allowed a humongous personal tragedy to get the better of him. Such resilience in life at such a young age; I feel proud to be one of his friends today!

... If so little was known to the Bellary Campus about Jagan's travails, credit is due to guys like Tharanath and Suresh Naik. They knew about the tragedy, but kept it locked and let Jagan carry on with his life. I salute you guys !

... A congenial boy named Vineeth was one of us. He was called 'Amul' Baby or 'Dabba' for his babyish charms. He perhaps was the most popular boy in the class. He still remains so in 2010.

... Sathyajith Karanth to me was one of the most intelligent guys. With his beanpole figure, short temper and intense nature; he was a dynamite of a character. I am a Fan !

... There were those ABC or 'Admired Boys of Class'. Rajiv Swamy, Rajaram, Ravi Shankar, Rudraiah, Suresh Chandra, Badrinath, Prasanna Kamath, Prasad , KR Venkatesh and Narendra Babu. Pardon me if I have missed out on some names here.

... There were boys, girls, infatuations, love stories, Rakhis and heartaches and then Bhuvaneshwar. The only man who won his 'Flower' from our class in the legend of "1994 A Love Story".

... We had seen unfolding of the Bhuvan-Suma story. But another story that happened sometime later is mostly unknown, and that was the story of Chandru and Sunitha. I leave it to one of them to do a memoirs and enlighten us about the how, where and when of this story !

... Arshad Miyan known today as Ashad Lateef too was a winner. He was good at studies and was always a brave fellow. He won over his girl perhaps around the same time Dilwaale Dulhaniyan Le Jaayenge happened !

... The most handsome man on earth was called Habib Rahaman. The unassuming but extremely handsome chap had a very mature head on his shoulders. Haven't heard much of him in a long time. But Tanveer thankfully is on the Social Networking sites !

... The most talented guy of the class was without doubt K. N. Ramesh. He was good with his subject. He danced like dream. He cracked jokes like only he could. Had a razor sharp tongue and an unbelievable knowledge of Hindi music. And let me not forget to mention his very good credentials as a Cricketer.

... Alagesan wanted to open a clinic on the suburbs of Bangalore with a board "Emergencies Not Entertained". I'd love to know if he still plans to keep a board like that in UK.

... KaRaMoKu or Mohan Kumar and I fought and made up all the time. Our association went beyond Bellary and still remains close to heart. We had some bad and many good times in Ponkunnam and Kochi.

... Chandrashekar or simply 'C' was a solid support through the tough days of Second Phase. We all know C was a Class Caroms player, but very few know that he was an expert with Electrical equipments. He also fed me for one whole month when I was bankrupt because my bank had delayed sending my cheque.

... Rajesh Kumar Singh was another close pal who still keeps in touch with regular calls. We must be the first ever 'Boys Only' duo to win a prize in a Duet Competition. "Imli ka boota beri ka ped" was a really rocking experience for both of us. We did it for ourselves; the prize didn't matter !

... Praveen Kumar or PK remained silent mostly. But made really acerbic comments when he wanted to. He scripted a movie "Kaatnewaale Bhonknewaale" inspired by the habit of some of our guys who loved to use the words "Huchchu Naayi". Amazing talent I must say !

... Awadesh Kumar liked to be a popular guy. He managed to be pally with many girls and thus became a bit unpopular with the North Indian boys. But he was a hard-working guy and had his moment when he won the Duet Competition, singing "Rimjhim Rimjhim" with a girl whose name eludes me.

... Anil Kumar was the Children's Park Tiger of the batch and KG Ravi the popular Pachyderm. KS Venkatesh was 'Kulla' for his height or rather the lack of it. Subhas and Tharanath were called 'Twins" for obvious reasons.

... Devendra Reddy was a real Genius and his mastery over Kannada was incredible. "Naanu lorrynalli hoguvaga, olage kaartha itthu. Male jasthi aagi lorry gunthenalli biththu" was a famous quotable quote. Sensational stuff !

... Madhusudana C. was called Sexy. I can't recollect the reason why he was addressed so. But he sure was an extremely brilliant chap. He remains an important impression on my growing up.

... Mahendra and Shivraj Patil were the happy guys who had their gang and enjoyed life like they always do.

... Sridhar, fondly called Siri explained the Hemodynamics of MS and MR and AS and AR beautifully. He also pampered some of us with the exotic mutton delicacies at his home during the 'Habba'. Siri, I would like to come back for the Habba even though I am a complete veggie today.

... Umesh Hiremath was the Charlie Chaplin of the batch. He once famously declared, "Yenrappa, hutdaaginda Samudraana kande illa. Goa andre Goage hogbeku. Alli beach aithi, seashore aithi. Udupi, Manglurnaage yenaithi mannu?" !

... Balu, Jagadeesan, Mandya Madhu, Suryaprakash, Donamalai Suresh, Yellappa [Yogesh] R B, Arun Kumar, Senthil, Chandramouli and K K Venkatesh were the low key guys, yet immensely popular within their circles.

... Shadrack and Vishwanth were the localites who mingled well with the hostelites. We never knew the Thesaurus didn't recognize these words. Even if we were to be told about it, we would have cared two hoots !

... Prasanna, Dinesh Chandra, Hrishikesh and Unus were amongst us. They have been claimed by the premature strike of fate and let us not forget them. RIP !

... There were the 'Girls' too. Forgive me for being too short on this wonderful topic. Due to my shyness and the male bonding developed during initial hostile hostel days, girls were not on my radar and probably most of the girls didn't even know I existed !

... Gulnaz, Indira, Sharmila, Leelavathy, Padma and later Sunitha were the only girls whom I knew and perhaps the only girls who knew I lived on the Campus. I must add here that I have admired some of them from a distance for different reasons. They were all beautiful, wonderful girls and I regret missing out on being friends with them.

... There was but one guy from our class way ahead of times and he could easily have made a career of being a Poet. I don't know if he still remembers his poem "Usheyinda Nishege" that he carved out with names of all the girls of our class. Chandra Reddy was a Class act !

I could have completed this post adding all the names of our Classmates by referring to the Alumni Book. But that would have robbed this of the spontaneity. I know I have missed some of the guys in our class in this post. That doesn't diminish the credentials of those people. It just means that I am prone to Alzheimer's now that I am into my forties. Forgive me friends !

I admire, love and miss all of you in this post and out of this. All of you have contributed in the making of what I am today. Our life in Bellary was a stuff made for a wonderful script for a movie like '3 Idiots'. Hope to make it possible some day sooner than later.

And if and when it is possible, I shall title it...

Once Upon a Time in Bellary !!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Experiments with T9ism !!!

I completed forty years on this planet on my latest birthday last weekend. Short messages [SMS] were pouring in ranging from congratulatory to condolences. Yes, condolences for reaching middle-age !

Some said, "Don't turn Naughty at Forty". I said, "I shall try". Others said, "Take care of health, age is catching up". I thanked them. One was flattering, "You still look like a twenty five year old". I replied, "Yes, in my old photos from 1995!"

As I was replying to one of the messages, something funny happened. I am addicted to T9 Dictionary and just can't text without it. I can even type Indian names using T9 English.

As I went typing "I am Forty", it became "I am Empty"! Now that is ironical. When cute little twenty something girls start calling you 'Uncle'; how else can you describe life?

This made me work more on the T9 and here are some interesting T9isms !

As you type 'Woman', you get 'Womb' with the first four letters !

Try typing 'Boob' and what we get isn't far off the mark, it is 'Bomb' ! Try switching words and you get Anna / Comb / Coma !

While typing the word 'Beast', first four letters give 'Bear' !

Most of the mobiles come with T9 that is ultra-decent. T9 doesn't know swear words and abuses. T9 knows no 'Pussy' only 'Puppy'. There is only 'Aunt' and no switch word starting with C.

My Samsung Corby is a prude. She stops at 'Basta' and never progresses!

'Cabba', 'Feed', 'High' and 'Mono' are some of the meaningful words you get by pressing a single key on your mobile. And finally you also get 'Zzzz'. Now please don't sleep off, I am not finished!

My own name 'Govind Raj' becomes 'Intime Pal' on T9. That is really flattering for someone in awe of T9. And my surname 'Shenoy' too has a switch name on T9. 'Phenow'. Not bad at all.

One of the most beautiful T9ism of course will please us Indians. First 3 letters of our country will give us 'God'. Perhaps T9 God is an Indian !

Some interesting 'Switch' words !

We have a Waiver for the Waiter !

Art is Apt !

Go In !

Here Come Anne and Bond with a Bone and a Cone !

You can sometimes see the Moon in the Noon !

They Fast and Fart like Dart in the East !

He was Amazed to be Coaxed !

He remained Foe till the End !

Sucker raises the Stakes against Rubles !

Cow Boy can Bow Any Box !

The Aged Chef had to Bide his time to hire an Aide !

He caught Hold of the last Hole to win the Gold in Golf !

Kurt had Just Lust and nothing else for girls !

And finally...

Robin Hood has Gone Home for Good !

T9 comes with innumerable possibilities. So we can never really restrict this topic to a blog-post.
But as of now, I believe "This is It" !

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I will miss you guys this weekend !

Hi Guys,

Will miss you all as you Idiots enjoy it to the hilt !

Please try to remember me when you guys are sober !

Well, if that ever happens when you people are at it !

If that is tough, just see these snaps and then, perhaps you will !

The Famous Five on Houseboat at Kumarakom !

The Super Six at Heritage, Madikeri !

You guys enjoy for sure. Hope to join you fellows during the next edition!

So I am waiting for the next Monsoon !

Waiting for something like this again!

I don't envy you, but feel sad I am not there, right now !

Miss you all, Love you all and will see you all again!

Till then, someone Please, Please and Please...

Miss ME; The Missing Link !!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

An Ordinary Mortal and Anbe Sivam !

Those who have nobody have God with them. I am not telling this, it is written in the books!

I am not a staunch believer in God. I believe the Earth will be a better place without Religions, Hatred, Smokers and Communists! As I have evolved, I have refused to be cowed down by most of what has been preached. And I tell my 12 years old daughter not to believe anything just because someone says it is holy!

But this Kishore Kumar song immortalized by Amitabh Bachchan in Laawaris has something in it. What I am writing here is purely from a Nonconformist's point of view. It is about me, the people around me and about goodness in life! Being obsessed with 'Good Life' we have become oblivious to 'Goodness in Life'.

I was 5 years old when my kid sister was born. This little creature was an absolute Darling. I wanted to take  her on my laps and play with her. Darn the elders, I wasn't even allowed to touch her because I was too young. Ever since, I wanted a Baby Girl of my own. Only problem was I didn't know how I could acquire one!

My passion for a Baby Girl was rekindled when I was 22. It was thanks to an adorable kid of my friend's elder brother. I was determined to have a Girl child and name her, "Samskruthy". She came 6 years later and has made the life a lot more meaningful and beautiful!

Luckily my wife too believed in one child norm. We agreed to stick to one child if our first born turned out to be a girl. We would have perhaps liked to have a second child if the first one were to be a boy. Since our daughter came 12 winters ago, we have been a contented lot. But this wasn't the case of a lot of relatives, friends and well-wishers.

Within one year of my daughter's arrival, people were asking questions about the boy. Well, you should have a boy after a girl, they said; two children are a must to complete a family. I used to ask them, "What if the second one too is a girl?". They would reply, "Well, that is fate!". Thanks Folks, but no thanks! I know some people who have gone on and on till they had a son, after four daughters! And this wasn't in 200 BC.

Not that I was averse to a second girl child. Girl, boy or a hermaphrodite; I just couldn't afford a second child. Or so I thought. People who had the first child around the same time as we, went ahead with a second child within a few years. And we went on dodging the queries.

I sometimes told people, "We are trying really hard. Don't you see I am taking holidays frequently and going to hill-stations and making an all-out effort? It is just not happening". Pat came the advice, "Both of you get check up. Your sperm count could be low". Wow, a Doctor was getting advice here! Small mercies!

As time passed, our Socioeconomic condition improved. We had our own home. We could afford a new Car. We were going on frequent short holidays. But the only thing lacking was a boy! If and when I took little boys on my laps, I heard people murmur, "They are yearning for a boy. Hard luck they just aren't getting one".

Well, it is twelfth year of hard luck. I still don't have the courage for a second child. Most of my colleagues and friends have two kids. Some have a girl and a boy, some have both boys and many others both girls. Somehow Doctors tend to have more girl children.

My friend K. N. Ramesh has a nice explanation why Doctors mostly have girl children. He said, "God knows these Doctor fellows will take wonderful care of Girls and hence he gives mostly Girls to them. I too am an HMT". HMT stands for "Hennu Makkala Thande" in Kannada, that is Father of Girl children!

Our adorable little one will be twelve this November. But the thrill of seeing her for the first time is still fresh with me. The invaluable feeling of "Wow, this is my own little Doll. No one will ever prevent me from cuddling her" is still lingering like the aroma of the earth after the first rains!

Only a few weeks short of forty, I still am badgered by people with, "It still isn't late, you can try for a second child". But why? Why should we have two children? "If you lose one child, touch wood, there will be another!". That is some logic!

Losing a child is a pain beyond words and I know parents who have lost two children and live a life of total despair. "You can't guarantee anything here. If you want guarantee, buy a washing machine" was a well quoted quotable quote. We don't live worrying about what we might lose, we live to relish and cherish what we have!

So I believed it was a correct decision to stick to one child. I know some of my colleagues who earn much lesser and still have two children and are still happy. Some of them have told me, 'Children will come and add to the family. The expenditure will not count much. We have managed with a fraction of what you earn!". They are right in their place.

I somehow tend to think the other way. It is true that love multiplies. You can never run out of love for your child. But just because you have a second child, your employers will not give you a hike. The facilities my daughter is enjoying now will have to be shared by two. Pregnancy, delivery and the associated costs and responsibilities have to be borne by us. With two sets of aged parents, this will not be a cakewalk.

Being a single child herself, my wife has done fabulously well to take care of both her parents and mine. We live very close to my in laws' place. We are doing our best to be of assistance to my Father in law suffering from Alzheimer's and a bewildered mother in law. With my parents, we have a pretty decent life with our daughter being the fulcrum of life for all of us.

A new life coming into this crowded set up looks extremely unlikely to us. Most importantly, the nice kid that she is; my daughter is not ready to share her father or mother. So we have outlived and outgrown all advises and sermons. When I look at some middle class people struggling to cope up with the cost of living, I pat myself on the back for being smart! I know some people who have had two kids in no time and find it tough to make ends meet.

Amar is a Nepali boy working as night watchman for my cousin. He does all and sundry chores for my cousin's family. He must be just about 25 years old. His wife is a frail and pale looking girl all of 18 years. She doesn't even understand Hindi. They have two kids, elder boy is two and a half and younger is already one. Due to difficulty in finding a house in Kochi he went to Nepal and left his wife and kids there.

Last month, he found out to his horror that 2 year old daughter of his friend succumbed to fever at his native place. He rushed back to his place and brought his wife and kids back to Kochi. When they landed to live at a place near our home, he came with just a bag, wife and two kids.

His wife was running fever. They had no bed to sleep, no vessels to cook and no bread to eat. Both the kids were sick. His elder child, once a bonny bundle of energy had become a mass of bones and very little else. Lesser said the better about his younger child. Practically, they had nothing to live in a place like Kochi; except those two rooms in a shared house given to him by my cousin.

This place is a dingy old house with many small rooms. Sindhu, my Father in law's Nurse lives in the other part of this house. Her husband, mother in law, grand mother and two boys complete her family. The day Amar landed with his family, Sindhu was overwhelmed by their plight.

She was  lamenting about the pathetic situation of this Nepali family. I just joked, "No worries, they will manage to survive even in one room without a roof and no food to eat and with everyone running fever. They will still manage to beget two more children in next two years". Sindhu laughed but wasn't happy. That is the difference between me and her. I was really callous and am honestly ashamed of myself.

Sindhu went home, prepared food for the new family, fed the kids and their mother and gave some medicines for the fever. She helped them to clean the place, set up house and start life. This she did without understanding a single word uttered by the kids or the girl. Even those kids and the little Nepali girl didn't understand most of what was spoken by their savior.

But they understood that here was a genuine human being to help them tide over the crisis. The girl has recovered from the fever. She has started to look after the house. The kids are gradually becoming friends with Sindhu's kids.

They are kids and will learn quickly. Even Sindhu's dog has become friendly with these strange looking small eyed visitors. This dog has never liked me or my daughter and always tried to scare us off. I had warned Sindhu to keep the dog under control, lest it bite any of Amar's family. Perhaps the dog knows better!

I write this with utmost humility. It is ridiculously easy to help people when you are securely placed. You can donate huge amounts of money. You can build temples, schools or orphanages. If you are educated, you can scornfully look down upon lesser privileged people as ignorant, superstitious and silly. You can preach them to educate, to work hard and to be progressive.

It takes a heart of utmost goodness to help others when you have a million problems of your own. Sindhu and her family have shown exactly that. They are an extremely ritualistic lot with a million superstitions. But at the end of the day, they have helped a needy family to relocate, reorganize and start a home and a life!

The song mentioned in the beginning of this post perhaps means little to me and people like me. It is dedicated to people like Sindhu, who believe in God and believe in being good to others. It makes no difference if we believe in God or not, but it makes a big difference if we believe in Good! If there has to be a God, let Goodness be it!

This unforgettable movie with Kamal Hassan and Madhavan has left a deep impression on me. And I believe in this philosophy: Anbe Sivam!