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, December 24, 2011

Archeologist's Day and other Prescription Stories !

Inviting Trouble ?

My Mom had serious aversion to having photographs printed on invitation cards. To know the reason, we have to travel back in time to our childhood. Those were the days of little kids attending to all their calls of nature inside the house. Potty training and toilets for kids were not even heard of. That is where these old stiff and crispy invitation cards came handy; to clean the mess left behind by the toddlers in the house. Her point was other people will use our photographs to clear off the dirt. So how will you like your departed grand-father's photograph smeared with potty ?

When my much respected father-in-law passed away in September 2010, I ordered for invitation cards with his photograph for the function to be held on the 13th day of his demise. But somehow my Mom's thought process came to influence me and I chose the card without photograph.

These cards may not be used for same purpose today. But what do I do with invitations cards today ? I keep them till the day of function and then throw them into waste bin. The thought of having my dear father-in-law's photograph in a waste bin was not so pleasant and I chose the card without the photograph.

It may sound as if I am going to dwell upon invitation cards and photographs here. Well, I am not. Actually I mentioned it here only to stress my view that people never use things for what they are actually meant for. People will use things only according to their whims, fancies and convenience. Just take the case of prescriptions we Doctors generously dole out everyday.

The Archeologist's Day

I was amazed beyond words when a septuagenarian gentleman came to me with a document laminated piece of paper he had treasured. He was handling it like it was a piece of art that he had inherited from his ancestors with at least 500 years of history behind it.

When I examined it closely, it turned out to be a prescription written down by Padmashri Dr. K. N. Pai on 17 July 1970. That meant the antique was older than me ! This gentleman turned out to be an archive later. He had every detail of his and his wife's medical history since 1970. What a pity, he worked for an oil company and retired as Manager. Had he been in the ASI; all disputes regarding Ayodhya, Kashi, Mathura and other places would perhaps have been solved by now.

The Mutilators

This, but was an exception. Most of the people we meet everyday are from the other end of the spectrum. They would misplace, displace, deface or simply forget the prescription given to them on the previous evening. Every second patient I see in my clinic forgets the prescription at home, at the medical shop, at the sub-registrar's office or anywhere it is possible to forget it.
The Mutilated Prescription
The picture above illustrates how most of the people preserve their medical records. Even if they are provided with a file or a cover or an envelope to keep these records neatly, people love to fold them and folding means at least 8  to 16 folds.

The Fold-All Mentality
The 8 Fold Prescription getting ready for sweat 16

Couple of years ago, I handed out a typed out and detailed medical report cum prescription to a lady traveling abroad and said, "See we are giving this in a plastic cover. Don't fold this or soil this. This is a precious record and we have included your most updated lab results along with your current clinical status". The lady nodded and got up to leave. As soon as she was on her feet, she began folding the cover and before I could utter another word, she folded it into 8 folds and shoved it into her handbag. Old habits die hard !

Depths of Resourcefulness

The plastic cover brings me to another 'delicious' story. We issue nicely detailed discharge summaries to all hospitalized patients. They are again inserted into A4 size plastic envelope with the instruction printed out, "This is a precious medical document. Please don't fold or soil this and bring it to the hospital during follow up".

That day when I went for my afternoon rounds, I just popped into say bye to a gentleman who was already discharged. What did I see there ? The Discharge Summary was drinking sambar and rasam on the table where they all had lunch. And what about the plastic envelope ? A little fellow was munching on onion pakodas kept in the cover. I was furious and asked them, "What is this ? Look at the Discharge Summary we issued only this morning. And you are using the cover to eat snacks. Do you people have an idea how important this record is ?"

The rude and brash reply by the daughter-in-law can be translated like this, "Oh, what is there in a piece of paper Doctor ? That child was crying for onion pakodas and we didn't get anything else to keep them in. If the paper is spoiled, you people can give another copy. We are paying all the bills. Are we not ?".

The Telephone Directory cum Grocery List

The Telephone Directory
Prescription paper used as telephone directory is very common. Often we see more than a dozen numbers. In one of the worst cases ever, I was humiliated to see a long list of vegetables and grocery right under the list of medicines in a prescription I had issued to a gentleman just a couple of days ago. When I asked him, how could he do that, he replied politely, "Oh so sorry Doctor, I didn't get anything to write when my wife dictated this list. Anyway, you can write down a new one and transfer all details into it".

Well, most of my colleagues can pitch in with many such stories. But there is a serious risk of readers getting bored and folding this blog into 16 or even 32 folds. So let me fold this up here !

Dr. Punned-it

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Love Story and Two Dead Bodies !

This must be one of my most heartfelt posts ever. Here I am telling a story. A story of a daughter and her parents. A story of love and a story of profound loss. Without any more elaboration, let me move on to the story.

The time and place of this story has no importance. The names too have little relevance. From the days of 'Othello' this story perhaps has been told and retold a million times over. Not very long ago, there lived a man called Shiva. He used to work for a financial firm. He was married to Sanjana, a home-maker. They had a beautiful and intelligent daughter who was called Renuka. She was fondly called 'Azhagaana Raakshasi' by the near and dear ones.

She was a very caring and helping kid and grew up with all the affection and attention of her parents and relatives. In between, Sanjana became pregnant the second time. They did not want to continue the pregnancy and wanted to abort because they wanted to give all that they had to their daughter. But their family Doctor advised against that. Thus the Doctor chose to name the boy 8 years younger to his sister after his best friend, Sripathi.

They were not a very well to do family. But the parents always gave more importance to the daughter and the son went to free school while she studied at private school. Within their capabilities, they gave the kids a very good life. All of their life was spent in keeping the kids, especially the daughter happy.

Renuka completed her graduation and joined Post-graduate course and also began working for Chartered Accountancy. In between, marriage alliances were pouring in. But the family Doctor, who was more than just a Doctor to the family vetoed marriage and advised the parents to get the girl educated and make her self-reliant. The girl was happy and everyone was happy.

Love is the most Beautiful feeling in the world until it happens to your daughter !

And then came the earth-shattering day. A middle aged man and a woman came calling asking for the girl's hand in marriage for their son. There were several issues here. The boy was from another community. He was almost a decade older to her. He had bouts of Alcohol addiction and delinquent behavior in the past. He was not good looking by conventional standards. The final part of the complaint list was that he was working in the middle east for not very flattering remuneration. But in spite of all this, the boy was confident of looking after the girl well.

It was always believed that Renuka was a sensible girl. But she confirmed her affair and wanted to marry that boy. Now the parents came knocking at the family Doctor's door. It was after all infatuation of a teenaged girl everyone thought. The affair had been going on for over 4 years which meant she was not even 16 when it all began. 

Weighing all pros and cons, the Doctor took the girl to his home and held series of heart to heart talk with her. Explaining all the risks of the affair, he managed to convince the girl out of the mess. She appeared to have understood what was told and agreed to retrace without much of a resistance. She conveyed to the boy over the phone, her decision to part ways. 

The negatives of this marriage were kept threadbare before her. The social and cultural difference. The difference in educational qualification. The colossal mismatch when it came to looks and age. All these issues could work against a happy life according to Renuka's parents and relatives. 

Their worries were not unfounded. They were also worried about her ending up in a Gulf country with no chance to work. Even if she got a chance to work, she perhaps would have to live in a Burqa. But the worst fears were about the boy with previous history of Alcohol problem developing inferiority complex due to a much younger, extremely beautiful and better qualified wife and thus the life going into a tailspin.

Good proposals were always chasing the girl and it was almost decided that she would be marrying a handsome Software Engineer working at Bangalore and even she consented. She looked  happy and didn't show any signs of remorse or betrayal.

On that fateful Saturday morning, the boy came with his sister, brother in law and friends and literally dragged the girl away with him. The girl actually had never given up on him but was just biding her time. She pushed her parents and went away with her lover and was married him the same day with the photographs adorning Facebook wall before dusk.

In a Mills and Boon story or in a Cinema, this would have been 'The End' with 'They lived happily ever after' ingrained on a picture postcard. But life works in a different way. There are no intervals, no retakes and no song and dance sequences in the Alps. In life, the story only begins with marriage. It doesn't end. So what did this moment of madness leave behind ?

Twenty years of protection, love, affection and care weighed for absolutely nothing when she pushed her mother away, snapped her hands from her father's grip and eloped. Fearing retaliation and attempts to take her back, the boy took her to another city 5 hours away and married her there. What did the girl's parents do ?

The mother cried for help. The father ran behind her till the car even as they pushed him away from the speeding car. The mother fainted and then people gathered. Advises came in galore. Lodging a Police complaint and going and trying to capture her from Registration office were some of the suggestions. But the Doctor said, "She is almost 21. She has not been kidnapped but gone on her own wish. So there she goes. We can do nothing and we should do nothing. Let her go. It is her life, she will decide from here onwards".

After fours days, what is the situation at ground zero today ? The mother is still sobbing, little realizing the fact that the little girl she brought up had grown up and fled. She still is not able to eat anything without puking. She can't sleep even with sleeping pills. Her father has developed high blood pressure and his sugar shot up. He refuses to go for a check up. The little brother is so shattered, he doesn't even want to talk about her.

Their world has come down crashing. The parents are today, practically two dead bodies living like refugees in a relative's house because they are scared to go home. That home which brought back the fond memories of their little girl and that house which reminded them of the trauma of their daughter pushing them away like strangers.

Without really going into the merits or demerits of love marriage vs arranged marriage; the moot point here is, "Should she have been so cruel, so drastic and so heartless ?". Love stories look beautiful on celluloid and digitally mastered disks. But in real life, they leave many an individuals shattered. 

The role of love and the progressive disdain for religions, hierarchy and caste system are fine indeed for a maturing society. But when a 20 year old and still immature girl elopes with an overtly mismatched boy, how can the parents be happy ? How can anyone related to the girl be comfortable ? 

Everyone wishes all good things for the wedded couple. Nobody wants to curse them. This Blogger who also happens to be the family Doctor in the story has watched and seen many love stories and even played supporting role in some of those happy endings. But this is one story where he was with the parents and not with the love-lorn couple. The reasons have already been discussed.

Seeing a completely shattered pair of parents who don't even know how they are going to live their life is really painful. They have lost their urge to live. The little boy is the only reason they haven't committed suicide. The mother finally opened up last night when she said, "12 years ago, if you had not stopped us from aborting the boy, we would have been dead by now. But for the fear of leaving him a complete orphan, we wouldn't have made it past that Saturday night !"

The pain is infectious, insufferable and looks insurmountable !

Why and how could she become so ungrateful and selfish ?

This Blogger waits for the time to heal their wounds !

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Look-ing Back: Pandi-monium, CBI Diary and other stories !

During one of my interactions on a Facebook group, someone asked me about the lack of law and order with my hair and if it had anything to do with my being too busy to comb. I escaped saying my hair was too straight and sparse and hence wavered along the wind making it tough to keep under control.

My hairstyle being the root cause of public nuisance and intense ridicule isn't a new phenomenon. It has always been so ! But even my appearance has come under the scanner very often. So let me recount some of the instances that have made me feel like an alien.

Seth Dosa

In early days in Kochi as a bachelor, I used to visit a famed Dosa joint practically every day for my midnight snacks while I prepared for the All India PG Medical Entrance Exam. This joint was run by a Konkani family. They didn't know me and I used to converse in my uncomfortable Malayalam with them.

After one and a half year in Kochi, I moved to a small hospital in Ponkunnam. While back in Kochi on a weekend, I again decided to visit this joint. Once there, the owner recognized me and told his brother in Konkani, "This Setu [used for North Indians] boy had probably gone north for some time. Now he is back".

I savored my favorite onion dosa without uttering a word. While leaving, I told them in Konkani, "Your dosas are really nice and the red chutney you serve is unique. It is typically Konkani in taste". I didn't wait for their reaction. The next time I was there, they had done their homework and knew my complete antecedents.

Long Sharp Mustache and the CBI Diary

I worked in Ponkunnam for almost 2 years. While there, I used to travel by bus to Kottayam frequently to watch latest Malayalam and Hindi movies. On one such journey, I was trying to catch some sleep. But the middle aged person next to me was in no mood to let the sleeping Doc sleep.

He poked me on my shoulder and asked, "Where are you going ?". I was annoyed, yet replied politely, "Kottayam" and closed my eyes again. He poked me again and asked, "Where in Kottayam ?". I was in no mood to divulge and hence sai, "Just like that". Then came the next question, "Where do you live ?". I said, "Ponkunnam". He wasn't happy with that and went ahead with, "No, which your native place ?". I too was determined now and replied, "Kochi".

There was a creepy smile on his face and he said, "You are not a Malayalee. You can't be from Kochi. Are you North Indian ?". I was having great difficulty keeping my eyes open and here was a pest not allowing me the pleasure of a short nap on a speeding bus. I said, "No, South Indian".

He must have been a leach in previous life; just not ready to quit sucking. His next question was, "What do you do ?". I said, "Nothing special". "But you should do something for a living. So what is your job ?" was his riposte. Then he asked, "Are you a businessman ?" I replied, "Mmmm, something like that". Pat came the next query, "What business ?".

Now I was at a loss. If I say something and he starts probing the answer, I'd be in further trouble. So I just smiled and said, "Just some small business here and there". He almost concluded, "That means you have a blade company, right ?". Too sick of this nuisance, I just nodded and tried to turn to the other side to catch some sleep.

After what seemed like a short break, the poke was back. He shook me up and said even as I was trying to catch my breath, "You were bluffing all the while. Now I have completely deciphered you. You are very shrewd. Now I know what you do. You are from CBI or Crime Branch and you are here to investigate a case in the high range".

I was still in a daze and asked him, "How did you make out ?". He triumphantly declared, "You may be CBI but we Malayalees are highly educated and intelligent you see. Your secretive behavior, your language, your looks, your color and above all that sharp mustache is very typical of CBI or Crime branch. You have that Police look". Must have been watching too many Police and CBI movies !

I have never been happier when a journey ended. First thing I did after going back home was to trim my extra long mustache !

North Indian Connections

Almost 17 years in Kochi and I still am not accepted as a local even though I have developed a decent client base in my profession. I also have a sizable Punjabi clientele thanks to my love for Hindi. I was at my daughter's school recently attending the district level arts festival. I am fairly well known there thanks to the popularity enjoyed by my daughter.

After her first performance and during lunch break, a gentleman came and told me, "Your daughter's performance was really nice. She should have won. But the CD spoiled everything and unfortunately she might lose because of that". I just nodded and smiled. He was right, she came second in the Folk Dance event due mainly to the substandard CD.

While I was still busy eating, I had a call from one of my Punjabi clients. As I was conversing in pretty decent Hindi, this gentleman kept staring at me. Once I finished, he came to me and said, "So I guessed right. You are North Indian. So are there Shenoys in North India too ? Your daughter and wife speak pretty decent Malayalam. How is that ?". I said "I am from the North is right, but just north of Kerala. My wife is from Kerala and daughter was born here too. That is why they speak decent Malayalam". This was a nice man. He took my reply and left me alone to mind my own business of eating.

Hot blooded Young Man and Pandi-monium 

It was on a night duty during my early days in Sudheendra Medical Mission. A young lady was brought to casualty with fever and vomiting. It was already past midnight. Her husband and father were accompanying her. I talked to her in whatever Malayalam I could muster and examined her.

As I sat down to write down the prescription, her husband asked me, "Doctor Pandiyaano ?" meaning, "Doctor are you a Pandi ?". By this time, I had come to understand that 'Pandi' was an insult the Malayalees used to refer to the daily wages workers from rural Tamilnadu. 24 is a very very tough age to control your temper even for a Doctor. I retorted, "Ningalkku Vattundo ?" meaning "Are you mad ?".

Stunned, that man asked, "Why do you talk like that ? What is this ? You are insulting me". By now, I had realized I might have crossed the line. Yet, I had to defend myself. I said, "See my Malayalam might not be good enough. But I have enough knowledge about this state to understand 'Pandi' is an insult. I am here at this goddamned hour examining your wife and trying to help you people and you are out to insult me. That put the doubt in my mind".

His father in law intervened and said, "Come on Doctor, he is a young man with hot blood. You should be generous". I politely reacted to the older man, "Sir, I am at least 4 - 5 years younger to your young man and hence my blood must be hotter. Why should I suffer an insult like that ?".

The 'young man' had cooled down now and said, "I did not mean to insult you Doctor. I just asked if you were a Tamilian". I too replied with utmost cool now, "Oh, now that is much better. If you had used the same word earlier, everything would have been fine. Anyway, let us move on. And no, I am NOT a Tamilian".

There have been many a Pandemonium of different magnitudes before and since. Perhaps I can keep them for another day and another post !

Dr. Punned-it

Monday, November 7, 2011

All are equal, yet some people are less equal !

Just take a look at the news item and some of the badly Photoshopped photos here and then we will proceed with the post.

They hate him, but why ?
So too Sreesanth ?
Launch Pad !
One of my colleagues told me, "I will not watch 'Indian Rupee' because Prithviraj is there". I asked, "But why ? It is a Ranjith movie and Prithvi has done a good job.". She told, "But he is too arrogant". I persisted with, "How do you know ? Has he ever been so with you ? Did he ever offend you ? What was it that he did or said that came across as arrogant ?". She replied, "Haven't you seen the videos of Prithviraj and his wife talking about English ?"

Well, I must say I have an issue. I am posting here what I thought about 'La affaire Prithviraj'.

In 2003, the handsome bearded younger son of Late Sukumaran and Mallika made his debut in Malayalam Cinema. Soon he was lapped up by people and was touted by the media as the next Superstar to replace the 'arrogant' Mammootty and Mohan Lal.

Today, we see a whole load of slander on the www and in the print media about the same prospective Superstar. He was fine even till a year ago. Many people used to say he has a little bit of head weight. But there was no witch hunt ! How did the things change so drastically ? Did he turn arrogant overnight ? Has success gone into his head ?

Let me digress a little bit here. I drive on Kochi roads every day. Every single day, I am witness to enormous amount of aggression and plain bullying by drivers on the road. The Auto rickshaw drivers overtake from the wrong side, brush your side and break your rear-view mirror and then shout you down with choicest of abuses in Malayalam. What do you call this ?

The big brother is even worse. The bus drivers will subjugate you with sheer overwhelming terrorism. By chance if you question their rashness, you will have to face a barrage of abuses and be prepared to get banged. Even if you maintain equanimity, you still might have to suffer 'Theri Vili' or calling names.

Go to a Cinema hall. You see a guy smoking inside the air-conditioned hall and politely request him not to smoke. What next ? "This Theater is not your father's property. Shut up and sit there. If you can't tolerate, get out !".

Visit any office where they have some powers to make you wait. The Clerk will make you wait even if you are there for a simple one minute job. If you request for quick results, be ready to hear things like, "This is not any charitable institution. You have to wait. If you can't wait, come tomorrow". Just to submit a fully updated application, you will have to "Come tomorrow" if the person in power is in a foul mood. And tomorrow will always have another tomorrow !

Just browse through Facebook and Orkut pages of young people. For every modest youth, you will see two bragging about their own prowess, looks, caliber, magnanimity and intelligence. Guys who can't differentiate an out swing from an off break will judge Sreesanth and girls who refuse to recognize their childhood friend due to difference in social status will complain about 'arrogance' of Prithviraj.

Prithviraj and Sreesanth have slogged on their way to achieve what they have today. It is perfectly possible that they would have been better off with a milder attitude. It is also possible Sreesanth would have played more tests if he were to behave like an obedient boy.

But as a race, we Indians in general and Malayalees in particular have an attitude problem. If players like Andre Nel and Steven Finn show aggression, we envy that and even admire that secretly. But when an Indian shows aggression on field, we castigate him, subjugate him and then would do our best to consign him to recycle bin.

It is so immensely funny that these people, the Auto Rickshaw driver, his big brother, the smoker bully, the clerk and the unknown Facebooker are the ones who will sit on judgement on how Prithviraj and Sreesanth should conduct themselves ! It is true that there are so many good mannered people out there who too are complaining about Prithviraj and Sreesanth. But these are the same people who suffer the bullies in everyday life without even a whimper.

Ours is a democracy where all are supposed to be equal. We all know some are more equal. But there are some who are less equal ! I don't know the reason, but there definitely seems to be pattern to this witch hunt against those who show a mind of their own. Prithviraj especially has been targeted by the press after he married secretly keeping the nosy media out of his wedding function.

When it comes to judging celebrities, the middle-class follows a new path. "All are equal, yet some are less equal" !


Coming to the final part of my post, there is another 'pet hate' of the middle class Malayalee; Ranjini Haridas. This bubbly girl who has worked her way into celebrity status has been ridiculed for her dresses, her accent, her Malayalam [Manglish] and for just being Ranjini Haridas. Men don't have pangs about staring at her and young women burn with envy looking at this 30 year old.
Idea Stare Singer !
And who are complaining ? It is those people who are ashamed to say, "Ende Bharthaavu" and would always say, "Ende Husband" or even worse, "Ende Hus" that suspiciously sounds like "Ende Husk". The middle-class Malayalees just don't bother when words like 'Mol' and 'Marumagan' get displaced by 'Daughter' and 'Son in law'. For quite long now, I have not heard any man or woman telling, "Ende Ammayi-achchan", it is always "Ende Father in law".

Buses plying through Kadavanthara don't go "Kadavanthara vazhi" but "Via Kadavanthara" or "Kadavanthara touch cheythu pokum". Haven't seen a 'Paatta' in a long time. There are only cockroaches or roaches in Kerala. Nobody gets "Thala vedana"now. "Oru bhayankara headache" is common. This list is endless.

And Ranjini Haridas is bad because she mutilates Malayalam. Right?

Post Script: This post isn't about defending Sreesanth, Prithviraj and Ranjini. They are quite successful and can fend and defend for themselves. This is my view on the double standards practiced by the opinion makers and religiously followed by the middle class.

Dr. Punned-it

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Modern day Gandhi-G and 3 Monkeys in 2011 !

We all know Gandhi had his three monkeys. They were supposed to "Speak no evil", "See no evil" and "Hear no evil". That was a different era. But these monkeys are relevant even today !

India of 2011 knows Gandhi too, but different Gandhi. The Congress Party that revered Gandhi then. They do the same today but an imported Gandhi. In the land that is ruled by Sonia Gandhi's Congress, what do these monkeys signify ?

Answer is simple, WE the people are the monkeys. Congress under Sonia knows the theories of Darwin very well. They know we evolved from monkeys and treat us like monkeys. So we have strict guidelines to follow. And here are some of the guidelines.

Speak No Evil

Poor Sonia Gandhi-ji has just come back after treatment for Cancer in USA. Don't question the integrity of the Congress Party or any of Sonia's boys. That is evil.

Don't open your mouth when separatist leaders hold rallies in India against India and our intellectuals like Arundhati Roy join them.

Listen with total surrender to Digvijay Singh's gospel about right-wing Hindu extremists. He has done thorough research on history and come to a binding conclusion that RSS was responsible for Mohammed of Ghajni and Mohammed of Ghouri attacking India. Don't ever ridicule him on Facebook and Twitter.

Believe in Kapil Sibal when he says law will take its own course for Afzal Guru and Kasab. Our judiciary is still busy finding 'enough evidences' against them. Don't ever say, "Hang them". We need to treat our guests with all respect and five-star facilities in jail.

Even the Prime Minister isn't opening his mouth. 'Aam Aadmi' is just 'Aam Aadmi'. 

Just don't open your mouth !

See No Evil

There are humongous scams, billions of swindled money in Swiss banks and the Government is looting the nation. All this is evil falsehood spread by the enemies of Congress and hence the enemies of India.

Ram Dev is RSS agent, hence vote for Scam Dev. An overweight and under-clad Rakhi Sawant in G-strings on prime-time television is what the poorest of the poor require. Not the half-naked and malnourished fasting Baba. He will remind people of themselves. That was fine in M. K. Gandhi-ji's era, not in Sonia Gandhi-ji's. So the Congress ensured the rally was dissolved and the naked Baba was made to wear some kind of robes. Noble act !

According to Rahul Gandhi-ji, there are two Indias. One that prostrates before his Mom and the other that doesn't. Anna Hazare and his cronies belong to the other India. They are against his Mom; the daughter-in-law of the nation and hence are Anti-National. They need to be subjugated to keep the country united.

Aam Aadmi has the duty to abide by the law of the land; Scam Aadmi makes the laws. Follow the laws and just don't bother about anything else. Madam knows best.

Secularism, minority rights and Haj Subsidy are more important than an equal and just nation that progresses together. Narendra Modi is Madam certified evil Merchant of Death. Hence all the progress Gujarat has achieved under his regime is evil. 

Just shut your eyes on these !

Hear No Evil

Anyone who follows Madam Gandhi has to be efficient. All talk about Prime Minister being incompetent is evil in itself. Hear nothing of it.

People trying to discredit the educational qualification and credibility of Madam Gandhi and Rahul Baba are being slanderous. They have studied in foreign. Isn't that enough ? Digvijay Singh believes Rahul Gandhi-ji alone has the birth-right to be Prime Minister of India. All else is evil, ignore it.

When discredited people like A. Raja try to entangle the Home Minister in 2G scam, they just forget both the Gs [Sonia G and Rahul G] are with Chidambaram. Add Priyanka Vadra G and you have the power of 3G. So enjoy 3G and bring down the population of India. What an idea 3G !

Great Grandpa Nehru had declared 'Aaram Haraam Hai'. Bombs will continue to explode and terror attacks are commonplace according to Rahul G. They can't be prevented and talking about them is a waste of time. Wasting time is evil. So just don't waste time listening to opposition propaganda on blasts.

Congress and it's allies are the only saviors of the nation. All news of by-poll debacles and progressive erosion of the UPA [Untied Prostrating Alliance] are false and evil.

Just keep your ears sealed !

QED: Gandhi's monkeys are relevant even today !

Dr. Punned-it

Friday, September 30, 2011

How I became Godless !

My Granny never lost an opportunity to remind me that I was born thanks to her prayers at Tirupathi. Since my parents' first born was a daughter, my granny made a passionate prayer to the Tirupathy God and even my name was chosen there. Thus, Govind Raj I became in a family littered with Vaishnavite names. I grew up a very proud child because of this glorification.

My first brush with amoral behavior at religious places came when I was barely 9. It was a custom in our joint family to offer coconuts, bananas and flowers to the reigning deity in our local temple on every Saturday evening. One such evening it was little  boy me who went to do this ritual. I gave all the offerings to the priest and went to do circum-ambulation [Pradakshin] of the sanctum sanctorum.

When I came back, the priest told me, "See this coconut you brought is spoiled. This is not good for your family. So you buy a new coconut and pay rupees ten as penalty also". I only had rupees 12 on me. I gave him all the money I had and he assured me that everything will be fine. He gave me a 'replacement' coconut and returned the spoiled coconut too. As is the custom, he took half piece of the good coconut, 2 out of 5 bananas and returned my bag with 'prasad'.

When I reached home, my Mom was surprised to know this. She was quite sure the coconut she gave me was not spoiled. When she checked, it turned out to be a revelation. The 'spoiled coconut' was in fact two separate pieces of two different coconuts. But much worse was the fact that the 'replacement' coconut the priest gave me was indeed the coconut I went with. My Mom recognized the huge coconut as one grown in our own backyard. It left a very bitter taste in the mouth. It shattered me to know there was such cheap act going on right under the nose of the 'God' !

There are hundreds of incidents that gradually took me away from Religion and Gods. I would stick with a few that had a defining role. There was a famous Astrologer who was close to our family. He would blame all the ills on the 'Naga' or the Serpent. I have lost count of the number of rituals my family has conducted to placate the Snake Gods ! With every such function, my indignation for the Astrologer and his predictions went on increasing. I was wondering how could a poor reptile affect so many people in so many ways.

One of those concepts that repelled me during young age was the "God will punish you if you don't do this and that" kind of talk. I used to think, "Why does this God create people who do wrong things and then want to punish them ?". I never had a satisfactory answer. Most of what the believers have done is semantic juggling.

The next issue was 'My God is the Real God and other Gods are false' preaching. Once a Christian preacher bored me to death with his unsolicited advice on the 'Real Creator' and the myths of Hindu religion and the harms of Idol worship. Respecting his age and with my inborn inability to be rude to elders, I tolerated him for almost three quarters of an hour.

Finally I was forced to ask him, "I have just one question, is Bible the final truth ?" He said, "Yes, it indeed is the ultimate truth and the only truth. Once you start following Bible, salvation is guaranteed". I replied, "But most of Biblical stories are cock and bull stories just like the Hindu mythology you were deriding so far. Bible goes against Science and evolution. Why don't you go and take some rest ?" He was offended and cursed me, "You will never know the real truth and will be condemned to eternal hell if you question the God". I was really angry and shot back, "Well, if heaven is the place where I have to tolerate people like you, I prefer to be in hell. Thank you and good night !"

The Temple - Mosque issue that divided a nation left a deep impact on me too. I have no hesitation today to admit I was in favor of 6 December 1992 demolition at that time. It was like justifying the act as retaliation against decades of Islamic atrocities. That was a mistake like many of those I have committed in my life. But as I evolved, I realized the whole issue was a non-issue. People sharing the same A, B or O Antigens were fighting for the sake of two of the most despicable characters from history. I moved further away from Gods.

The rituals, Mantras and all things religion became progressively intolerable for me. An incident at the now famous Padmanabha Temple at Thiruvananthapuram further escalated my disenchantment. I had a strong dislike for the custom of taking off shirts during temple entry. This custom has its origins in the filthy practice of Brahminical era when only those with the thread were allowed inside the temple. The more things change, the more we tend to resist change. Kerala temples haven't come out of the past; the dirty untouchable past.

In 2006, on our way to Kanyakumari; we visited the Thiruvananthapuram Temple. In spite of my dislike to go the Salman Khan way in public [no secret there, I don't have his physical attributes] I agreed to go inside the temple. I folded my jeans, took off the shirt and covered myself with a 'mundu and shawl'.

A youth standing near the gate asked me, "Are you wearing a pant inside ?" I asked him, "Yes, but how does that make a difference ?". He replied, "You can't wear a pant inside the temple". I said, "But, I have folded it till knees. Do you have a problem with knee length shorts or inner wear ?". He was rude now, "Inner wear is different. But PANT is not allowed. You can't question the customs of the temple".

I politely told him, "But I did wear a pant folded under a mundu the last time I came here. There was no problem. Why this new rule ?". He was hostile now, "This is a new rule since yesterday. You obey rules or face God's curse". I am not really good at arguing. I told my people, "I have already compromised on a lot of things I believe in just for you people. But this is beyond me. This temple will not suffer if I don't visit it and neither am I going to be any poorer if I don't enter. I am NOT going inside !".

This did hurt my parents and other relatives. But exactly at that point of time, I had learned to draw a line. I was not going to take any more religious crap. I have stayed firm to this. Not that I don't go to temples now. I do visit temples and enjoy the great food they provide in some of those temples. I also take part in some rituals just to keep my aging parents happy. If my occasional visits to the places of worship can keep them happy; it is worth doing so.

Looking at the havoc wrecked on the humanity by the people like Osama bin Laden and his followers and so many of these right-wing  religious outfits, anybody would like to think, "Do we need Gods and religions ?"

This planet is but a small part of an infinite universe. We the human beings have advanced enormously thanks to the evolution that gave us a mind. The mind tells me to trust Science. Science can go wrong. But we can always correct ourselves by accepting the folly.

But Gods, Religions and dogmas will not change. The beliefs in beliefs will not change. Knowing fully well the tonnes of rubbish associated with the religions, people still follow religions and God. At this point in time, I believe we don't need God, Gurus, Religions and salvation. They just don't exist for me. We just need oxygen, food, water, shelter and a little bit of love !

Dr. Punned-it

Thursday, September 15, 2011

National Anthem in Malluland

Extremely Important: I am no Xenophobic or linguophobic. I love God's Own Country which today is my own Country. I love Malayalees, especially the long haired species without the 'Y' chromosome. All my rantings are but about the language and nothing more, nothing less !
This is my first ever attempt to actually record some of those 'Manglish' jokes from real life. Since I don't have the facility to podcast on my Blog, I am uploading it as a video. I would like everybody to believe that the 'Frog' seen in the video is just happenstance and not intentionally indicative of the state of mind of the native Malayalee !

Inadequate quality of the video is regretted. Hence I am providing the text of the podcast.

A young lady Medical Representative recently came with her senior Manager. As he started talking, I could make out he was not a Malayalee thanks to his English. Since his English sounded somewhat like the Bangalore type, I asked him, “You aren’t from Kerala, right? From where do you come from?”

He replied, “You are right Sir, I am from Chennai. But Sir is there any problem?” I said, “Not a problem at all, it’s just that your English didn’t sound like the Kerala English to me. That is all”. 

The young lady interrupted with, “Why Sir, is it because only we in Kerala speak proper English?” I smiled and said, “No, contrary to that you people are the ones who have a problem with English. Why English, you speak all languages in Malayalam.” She looked a little bit offended and asked, “How can you say that Sir? We are the most educated state in India”

I had to tell her, “See, English language doesn’t have ‘heavy Ls’ and ‘heavy Ns’. But you people insert them everywhere. For example, just pronounce Collage, School, Colony, Bun, Sunny and then you will understand what I mean. You will make them sound CoaLLage, SchooL, CoLony, BuN, SuNNy. Right” 

I pressed ahead, “See, you make Shah Rukh Khan into Sharoo Ghan, Salman Khan in Salman Ghan. It is Khan… KHAN from the epiglottis. You bring them from the umbilicus” She retorted, Sir, but everyone will have this kind of different accents. Why pick only Malayalees?”

I politely replied, “I didn’t pick on Malayalees. You were the one who boasted about only Malayalees speaking correct English. All of us have our peculiarities. It is no big deal. I just had to tell you and correct your misconception. That’s it”

I have blogged about this before and I have cried hoarse about people in Kerala turning the ‘horse’ into ‘hoarse’ and ‘Nurse’ into ‘Nezhse’. And then there are so many things like AapiLL, PupiLL, PuLLing power, FLower MiLL and the list is endless. 

Once a Perumbavoor born nurse said, “Phatt Saarum Phaaryayum Phayangaramaayi vishkkunnathukondu Pharat Tourist home-il chennu Phakshanam kazhichu” And an Insurance agent once said, “Innu Phoori Phaagam aalukal ee policy thanneya edukkunnathu”

And now they pronounce SatiDa, SaviDa and SangeeDa. This is also really funny. You write something and pronounce something. That is why I still find it tough to speak Malayalam” 

Since I don’t want this podcast to appear as a tirade against Malayalees, I will finish this with the National Anthem or Naashanal Aantham as they sing in some of the schools in Kerala; especially the Central Travancore side.

Everybody please stand up.

Jena Gena Mana Adhinaayaga Jaya Hay Phaarada Phagya Vidhada
Penchaab Sinth Gujaraada Maraadha Dravida Utkala Venga
Vinthya Himaajala Yemunaa Genga Uchchala Jaladhidarenga
Tava Shupha Naame Jaahay 
Tava Shupha Ashisha Maahey
Gaahey Dava Jaya Gaadha
Jena Gena Mangala Daayaga 
Jaya Hay Pharada Phagyavidhada
Jeya Hay Jeya Hey Jeya Hey
Jeya Jeya Jeya Jeya Hay…

Dr. Punned-it

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chair Up and other tales of a Chair that refused to budge !

My Clinic

Apart from blogging, pretending to be singing on the Youtube and whiling away my time on the Facebook, I also work as a Doctor in my spare time. I work with a modest private hospital during day time and run an even more modest Clinic close to my home in the evenings. Since I am allergic to hard-work, I limit my working hours to 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM at hospital and 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM in my Clinic.

I refuse to entertain people after 8:00 PM simply because I believe in spending some time with my family when I am alive. This has earned me the wrath of some people and some of them have branded me arrogant and rude. I think I have to live with that. I can't risk being a guilt laden 75 year-old with pots of money, a lot of illnesses and repentance about not having spent enough time with my loved ones.

This story isn't about me, it is about that black chair in the corner in my Clinic. This place is very small and a little over-crowded with unavoidable furniture. There is the examination table that also doubles up as a cup-board to keep my books. The black chair to seat the patient [henceforth referred to as client]. The blue chair is obviously mine and the table. Apart from these, there is a large Almira in the opposite corner and another plastic chair to seat the bystander.

It is necessary to give this long description because the place where the black chair sits becomes the crux of the matter. I make the clients sit on the black chair, so that I can check the vitals like Blood Pressure and do a clinical examination of the upper part of the body. If a complete examination is required, I use the examination table right next to the chair.

The place where I keep the chair is exactly the place from where the client can extend the arm and rest it on the table to record the BP. I can move to and fro to do the examination. This is the most ideal place in the given scenario. But somehow, people have different ideas and this is where the real story begins.

In the early days, the clients coming in would first pull the black chair almost into the gap between the writing table and the examination table and make the proceedings really difficult. This was becoming a real nuisance for me. It put added burden on my back and even made them uncomfortable. But somehow people have their own point of view and they have to change things according to that.

Most of the times, I used to politely request the client to get up, keep the chair back in the corner and proceed with my job. But the same exercise can get on your nerves, especially when repeated several  times on a given day or when the same person repeats the same act every time.

Gradually my patience began to wear thin. I started asking people not to move the chair, but to sit where the chair was placed. Often they would sit through the examination and as soon as I began writing the notes and prescription, they would immediately move the chair to their favored destination. This became exasperating and I had to force people to go back to the corner.

Sometimes, I would jokingly ask people, "From where do you come ?". The answer could be any place. My next quip would be this, "You come from almost 6 km distance. Coming this far and then walking from the gate, can't you cover this small distance between this table and the chair ? Why do you want to move it ? Why can't you come and sit where it is ?".

With younger people I have a slightly different way. I tell them, "Don't you dare to pull the chair. It has a mind of its own and it will get extremely angry if you pull it around. It can even bite you if you provoke it. So let it be where it is. You just sit there".

At some point, I came to understand why the people moved the chair around. The truth is, nobody likes to be cornered. People perhaps felt as if they were being pinned down to a chair at gun point. But unfortunately, I couldn't help in any way. I just don't have the space to make people feel they were centered. That is when I discovered a better way to keep the chair from moving. I kept the front right leg of the chair pressed firmly with my left leg to prevent people from dragging it. This is how the next level of fun began.

A middle aged lady came in one day and as usual, pulled the chair. Since I  had firmly pinned it to the corner, it didn't budge. But this was a stubborn lady and she pulled it with all the power and it still didn't move. She looked furious and asked, "Why isn't this chair moving ? Where am I going to sit ?"  I calmly told her, "Why don't you sit where the chair is ? I haven't asked for any help to move my furniture here". She was sheepish but still had not understood how it became immobile and asked, "But why isn't it moving ?". Some diehard that was !

Another man tried the same thing. Since the chair was not moving, he asked me, "Doctor, get up and move from there. This chair isn't moving. Let me fix it !". My goodness, how I kept myself from falling off the chair is still a mystery to me. I told him, "Let it remain that way. What is the need to move it ? It is convenient for me to examine you if you could make yourself comfortable here". He nodded and said, "Oh, yes. That is true" and promptly pulled the chair to the gap between two tables because I had for a moment left it unguarded !

A young but hefty lady is the next in this saga. She went on pulling the chair even as I asked her to sit down right there. A momentary lapse in my concentration and the chair had escaped from the trap. What I saw next was the lady was flat on the the examination table with the chair in her hand with one of its legs precariously close to my right eye. And her own left leg was on my writing table. To make matters worse, my nurse was absconding that day. I leave it to the imagination of people to decide what a task it must have been to untangle a young lady weighing above 70 kilos from that situation.

One of the funniest characters ever sat on the chair without any complaint. But when I asked him to turn around to examine his back, he promptly did so. But he did so not before turning the chair along with him. This left me with the really daunting task of examining the back-rest of the chair.

Still crazier was another young lady. When I asked her to turn around, she actually turned to her right. Now take a look at the picture and imagine how she could have turned to her right and what she would have done to me. She was wearing saree but had no inhibition in lifting her right leg over my left thigh and in seconds, she was sitting with my left knee between her legs. Sindhu, my nurse couldn't forget that spectacle and kept winking off and on for quite a few days.

One of the problems of narrating real life incidents on blog is the fun is often diluted in scripting and most of the dialogues get lost in translation. Before it becomes totally impossible for the reader to sit through this, let me call it a day for this 'Saga' !

Dr. Punned-it

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Welcome to Kochi: The New Sodom !

In these times of Anna Hazare pulling a 'fast' one on the Union Government, I believe a lot of local and perhaps quite important issues are getting marginalized or trivialized. Well, if Anna has managed to obscure Team India's abject surrender in England, anything can happen. After all this happens only in India.

Again almost ad nauseum; I am talking about the roads or rather the lack of them in God's own Country that is Kerala. My own poor little Kochi is struggling to cope with multiple problems. The influx of Bangladeshis masquerading as people from West Bengal is the worst threat to this coastal town. We never know who is an Indian today. The migrant labor might be cheap today, but it might cost us dear in future. I shouldn't considered xenophobic or a Bal Thakre clone; that I am not. I have reasons to believe in what I have stated here. I just hope I am proved wrong.

The other problems is the burgeoning middle class on a rat race that can be called 'Car Wars'. Anyone owning a small car or just one car is a small fry here. Most middle class families own two or even three cars today. Everyone is on a car these days, I repeat everyone. So where do we park all these cars ? I believe we might have to push the backwaters backwards to form a reclaimed parking lot for the Kochi middle class.

Two-wheelers are the new 'Plague'. They are here, there and everywhere. I am scared to stand with my legs apart for a short period anywhere in Kochi. There are fat chances that some smart Alec might park his bike between my legs and leave before I realize. All those who are not on cars are on two-wheelers. The worst thing about these bikes is they cover 200km with one tea-spoon-full of petrol. They come in easy installments and every youth must have them.

These bikes take away young lives thanks to accidents. But they also kill insidiously. Most of our youth hardly walks except to go to the toilet. They step out of house, hop onto the bike and go to office or any place they want to. They park their mean-machines at the nearest possible spot and finish work and are back on bike and then back home. They practically live on bikes. Thus a big section of the youth hardly has any exercise and develop obesity, Hypertension, Diabetes and Heart Diseases at very young age. We might soon become the nation with largest number of bikes and even larger number of young heart patients.

All these and many other problems we face are not unique to Kochi. They are common for every developing place. Bad roads, infrastructural malformations, drinking water, electricity and so on. But what is unique to Kochi is there never was an honest attempt on part of the rulers to even make a cursory attempt to solve the eternal problems with the roads.

The rulers change. But the rules, the policies, the contractors, the workers and the roads never change. I don't remember a single road constructed by the Kochi Corporation lasting one monsoon. No soon the monsoon announces the arrival, the roads begin to break. By August, we have a few roads in a town filled with potholes. A sham of filling these potholes with gravel is conducted every three months till April. Then the potholes are filled with a lot of crushed stones, gravel and exactly 2mm layer of tar in the month of May. The Monsoon is a lot more sincere and arrives mostly in time by end May !

Today, Saturday 27 August 2011 we are in a piquant situation. The roads are completely ragged. The much talked about Thammanam - Pullepady road widening and total revamp of Kochi roads was never taken up. But the Metro Rail is being taken up in a big way. Demolition of the North Railway Over-bridge is taken with utmost zeal by the local government.

So what do we have ? For a 'Castle in the Air' that is Metro Rail, we have a town being devastated. The already congested traffic is going to be redirected through the doomed Thammanam - Pullepady road and many other such under-privileged roads. These roads are already in bad shape and bursting at the seams. The added traffic is going to totally demolish Kochi.

The Traffic Police don't help at all. In fact they make things worse. There are no right turns or 'U' turns in most places in the city. No 'U' turns for long stretches on the highway. At the most strategically placed Kathrikkadavu junction, you can't even go straight. We are sent into a quagmire through the under-bridge and then almost half a kilometer distant 'U' turn that is unmanned and becomes a flash point for outraged drivers to vent their fury on one another. What do these 'patently stupid' measures do ? More and more vehicles are on the roads for longer periods to cover same distance and that means the traffic turns further congested.

So what are we witnessing ? This might sound a tad crude simile, but this is unfortunately true. This is quite like sodomizing an anus already ravaged by piles, fistula and fissures. Our rulers are perpetrating sodomy on my beloved Kochi.

Henceforth the catch phrase for Kerala tourism can go thus, "Welcome to Kochi, the New Sodom"

Dr. Punned-it

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hiroshima, US and Us !

Yesterday was real hectic and I missed a lot of action and news. I just got to take a look at this piece. Managed to go into it in detail today and here are my thoughts. How the Japanese have managed to rebuild from such devastation is a marvel to keep marveling all life.

The Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima

What will happen if Pakistan were to Nuke "Mumbai" and "Bengaluru" tomorrow ? Well, it is not quite there on the cards yet. But you can never be sure with Pakistan. So what will be the overall reaction ?

The Headlines

Pakistan BOMBards Mumbai and BANGalore
Millions Dead and a Nation Stunned !

And the Reactions

USA: This is a devastating. A total breach of international treaties. All our sympathies and help are with the people of India. We know India is a great democracy and they will rebuild. But a word of caution, "India must exercise extreme restraint and distance itself from retaliatory measures to avoid escalating the situation"

Next day: USA sanctions another 3.5 million dollars military grant to Pakistan

China: We condemn strongly, the act by Pakistan. This was completely avoidable and unfortunate. China will stand by Indian efforts towards rehabilitation. We have already rushed aide to India. But India should show the sagacity to desist from revenge. The world peace is at stake and hence India should solve all outstanding issues with Pakistan across the table and not on the war field.

Next day: Pakistan to receive 100 super submarines and more advanced radar technology.

United Nations: A dastardly and cowardly act by Pakistan. UN strongly condemns this and warns Pakistan of grave consequences. At the same time, we mourn deeply for all the innocent lives lost in India. India have time and again shown great Statesmanship in the face of serious adversity. The world community expects same from India once again. War is not the solution for bilateral problems.

Next day: UN Secretary General goes on a 3 week holiday to unknown destination.

Pakistan: We had strong intelligence reports of India's plans to attack Pakistan and we had no choice but to strike before they could harm Pakistan. We can't wait for India to undermine  the people and the sovereignty of Pakistan. We are capable of further strikes and will not hesitate if the need arises. But we believe India will learn from this and behave in future. The world community has a responsibility to restrain India from any misadventure. If they fail to do so, World War might erupt leading to large scale destruction.


The Government Spokesperson: This is a horrendous, dastardly, cowardly and unfortunate act by Pakistan. We are still assessing the extent of damage. All lines have been crossed and war looms large. We will show what we are capable of.

BJP: UPA Government's soft policy is responsible for the attack. We need a Government that is capable of hitting back. We have to cut all ties with Pakistan and an all out war is the only solution.

Bal Thakre: Sonia Gandhi is responsible for this. It is because she is Italian, Pakistan was emboldened to attack India. We will teach them a lesson. We will find out each and every Pakistani and Bangladeshi from Mumbai and throw them out.

RSS: This vindicates our stand that talking to Pakistan is futile. Incompetent and unpatriotic Congress has always pandered to minority appeasement. Forming a strong and dedicated Hindu Rashtra is the only solution for all our problems. We also demand immediate execution of Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab.

Mayavati: It is an unfortunate day. We could have prevented such an attack if a strong leader like me were to be the Prime Minister of India. We will build a grand memorial for all the Dalits and minority people killed in the Nuclear attacks.

Digvijay Singh: It is deplorable that there were large scale Bomb attacks in Mumbai and South India. We are still gathering information. But we can't rule out the role of 'Right wing Hindu Extremist Outfits like RSS and assoiates". We will soon catch the culprits and exemplary punishment will be meted out.

Rahul Gandhi: Real threat for India is not in these bombs. The right wing Hindu terror is the real danger for the country. We have to curb them and there will be no terror attacks.

Sonia Gandhi: This happened while I was away in USA with my mysterious illness and surgery. This is an act of cowardice and an act of terror. A fitting reply will be given by India. India's spirit can't be broken. India will raise from the ashes and will show the world what we are. The India of the dreams of Indiraji and Rajivji will shine again.

Mulayam Singh Yadav: Pakistan has attacked India because they are deprived. India is bigger and richer. We have to forgive them like a big brother and give them 5000 Crores to rebuild Pakistan.

Manmohan Singh: I have no words to describe and hence I will not talk !

After the dust settles

Mumbai and Bangalore rehabilitation to begin in right earnest. India will not compromise on the lives of people.


Large scale scam in Mumbai and Bangalore rehabilitation process. An estimated Rs. 1,38,43,365 Crore swindled. The Government not keen to share the details.

Kapil Sibal: All this is bogus. The media has no job but to create a scam where none exists. There is no scam at all. We can prove the loss to the ex-checker to be 'Zero' !

Headlines: India - Pakistan to hold fresh round of talks on all outstanding issues including Kashmir. The sensitive issue of Mumbai - Bangalore Bombing to be kept out of the talks.

Right Wing Hindu Outfits: This is a sign of weakness. We are talking to an enemy who has bombed our motherland. Stop talks and immediately hang Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab.

Jai Ho !

Dr. Punned-it

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Boy Farmer and the Malgoa Tree !

I am returning to my Blog after a hiatus of 3 weeks, thanks to some personal problems and some more at home. All things are taking their own time to settle down. But life still is beautiful to keep me away from "Live, Love and Laugh" any longer. 

Ajay Pai, a Facebook friend and a real life friend updated his status "Only a few people can feel the rain, others just get wet! :D". I replied with, "I feel, I live and I breathe rain ! I am Rain !"

My relationship with rain is an affair for a life time. A Blog-post can never aspire to do justice to this topic. Hence I wouldn't attempt it here. Some day I might try writing a novel if I get that far. Today, let me narrate a story. Well, two in fact.

The Boy-Farmer 

Once upon a time, there was a little boy in a small town. Let us name him Raju because he was very fond of Raj Kapoor. And let us name the town Karkala. Like all boys, he was full of mischief, fun and zeal for life. Raju did two years of his primary school staying at his maternal grandfather's house with his elder sister and cousins. That was because his Mom had difficulty managing a precocious little boy and his baby sister.

Raju subsequently moved to his father's house along with his elder sister when he was 7. Though these places were just 2 km apart, culturally they were totally different.

Raju father's house was a busy, bustling and big place with over 20 people and a lot of workers. This place was always brimming with activity. They had three shops right in front of the house and there never was dearth of action. Though the paternal grandfather was a disciplinarian, the general atmosphere still was jovial. There were movies, music and masti. The boys and girls grew up on Mukesh, Manna Dey, Mohammed Rafi, Lata, Raj Kapoor and Bachchan.

But the maternal home was different. Grandfather was an award winning farmer. Uncle had a small hotel that was famous for the onion uthappa. Grand-mom was an angelic lady who took care of everyone around till she fell ill. There were paddy fields, coconut and areca farms and a lot of vegetable was grown all over. It was brown and green all over. On the negative side, but for the fantastic Mama, there was little to cheer at home.

Living in such a place inculcated in Raju an early love for plants and gardening. He loved to look after the farms, water the crops and helping with odd jobs. But the grandpa being the tough guy he was, never allowed the boys to meddle with his flora. Into Class 3, Raju moved to his father's house and settled down with a new school and new set of friends.

They had an acre of land adjacent to their house with a lot of coconut trees, mango tress, cashew trees and a small flower garden. Once the boy saw this, he started attending the garden. Gradually it became a routine for the 8 year old. Every evening, he spent at least an hour with his 'friends'. The little boy started talking to his friends and they did listen to him.

Within next three years, Raju planted and 'brought up' butter beans, brinjal, several different types of Dahlias and many more vegetables in a small patch of land close to the well. He and his cousin made use of the farm and even had their own cozy little tree-house on the branches of a tall mango tree. Apart from this, Raju did a lot of gardening at school too.

And then tragedy struck on a fateful winter day. Coming back from school in the evening, he rushed to his garden to see the whole place decimated. Parbu, the man hired by his grandpa to clean the garden had completely weeded out his garden of flowers, vegetables and cotton plant.

Raju was shattered. He cursed and scolded the dirty old man and complained to elders about carnage. Parbu had left the weed in other parts of the farm to stand and demolished his garden of Eden brought up with 3 years of hard work in just one afternoon. But the elders were totally insensitive. The Grandpa even admonished him for being rude to the destroyer.

The little farmer was devastated. He couldn't swallow the tragedy of seeing his friends lying there mowed down to earth. Adding insult to injury, the old man got away Scott free. It was murder, in fact mass genocide. But he had no sympathizers. Those people who had gorged on his vegetables conveniently preferred to forget all that and looked away.

His Mom did commiserate with him. But she couldn't have done anything more. With a broken heart and a sulking mind, Raju decided never to plant another sapling in his life; he never did ! May be, a passionate farmer or a gardener or an agriculturist was assassinated that day along with his beloved plants.

A depressing tale is not all I have to tell. There is a beautiful sequel to this story. That is the story of... 

The Malgoa Tree !  

The boy grew up with his love for the greenery intact. Though he never owned a plant, he never allowed any harm being heaped on trees or plants. As we already know, they had many mango trees in their farm. One of them was a Malgoa tree. It was a unique tree because the mangoes it yielded were huge. They were as big as coconuts. Though the number of mangoes were 125 - 150 every year, it was a sensation for the size and the taste. Every year, relatives and friends used to wait for their share of the wonder-fruit.

Malgoa: What we had were much bigger than these !

Raju moved to a barren place in 1988 for his studies, aiming for a greener future. Perhaps as a coincidence, the Malgoa tree started to dwindle in yield. The numbers had fallen to single digit and by 1990, it was completely barren. It yielded not a single mango for next 6 years.

In 1997, the family decided to cut it off and clear the area because it was a huge tree and was now becoming nuisance. Raju was now working and living away from home. With time, he was now known as Raj. He had to voice his opinion now because it concerned his love for the tree. He pleaded with everyone at home to spare the tree for one more year, just one more !

The summer of 1998 was a windfall. The tree yielded over 180 huge and lovely mangoes. Everyone was surprised but not Raj. He knew that would happen. Knowing the nature of humans, the Malgoa tree decided to end it all the next summer and succumbed to ravages of time. But it did so after a last hurrah.

The little boy turned Doctor was convinced of one thing. Jagadishchandra Bose was right.

The plants do have life. Why, they even listen to, understand and love those who love them !

Dr. Punnedit

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Head is Hanging in Shame !

In a gut-wrenching incident, our poor, under-paid, over-worked and malnourished law-makers have asked for a pay hike to combat the spiraling prices. They have compared their meager package to the hefty pay cheques the Western Law-makers are drawing. Fair enough !

What a shame ! The world's largest Democracy is not looking after their Law-breakers oops, Law-makers properly. We the people should hang our heads and shoulders and even chests in shame. Look at these people. They sacrifice their lives for the sake of the nation and the people. And what are they earning ? Pittance. I feel ashamed of myself.

I thought for long and hard and finally I have managed to come out with a few ideas to be fair to our Law-makers. Here are some suggestions and schemes we can implement to earn more revenue so that we can pay our law-makers better.

1] 100 Rupees Scheme: Every Indian born should contribute 100 rupees per month towards a fund to be created for the welfare of our law-makers. All the MPs, MLAs, MLCs, Ministers will benefit from this scheme. We can generate a fund of Rs. 120000000000 every month thus.

If this is not enough, the State Governments can initiate a similar scheme at the State level and take care of the MLAs and MLCs and Local Body Representatives. What if Rs. 100 turns out to be two days income of a huge majority of people ? They can join Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev in their fasting. Fasting is good for health.

2] Scam Allowance: All Politicians from Local Bodies to Parliament should be allowed at least 3 Scams during a 5 year term. There should be no cases, PIL and convictions. In case of Ministers, the limit should be increased to 5 scams per term. If a Government fails to last a full term, that isn't the fault of the Law -makers. Hence the Scam allowance should be allowed to be carried over to next term. If someone fails to get elected, such a person should be given Scamsion [Scam-Pension] for a life time.

3] Social Networking Tax: Internet already comes with tax and other charges. One of the ways to generate income is to impose tax on Social Networking. Facebook, Orkut and Twitter users can be taxed according to their usage. 

4] Pedestrian Tax: Innovative Taxation Policy is the need of the times. People are taking to streets to walk, to talk and to hold protests. Introduce a 'Pedestrian Tax' just like 'Road Tax' on vehicles. Everyone walking on roads has to pay a fixed tax. That can be collected at different toll booths all over the country. The Law makers can be exempted from this, because they hardly ever walk our roads except during the Elections. 

5] Oxygen Tax: We only have Entertainment Tax, Wealth Tax, Property Tax, Sales Tax, Income Tax, VAT, Local Taxes, Central Excise and almost all things covered. Water, Electricity, LPG and all consumer items are covered by tax. But we still have to widen the Tax net. How about an Oxygen Tax ? Everyone living is breathing and exhausting precious Oxygen. The Government being the guardian holds the rights over Oxygen. Hence those who want to breathe should pay tax. Those not willing can stop breathing. 

6] Expiration Tax or CO2 Tax: Once people pay Oxygen Tax and earn to right to breathe in, a tax to breathe out can be imposed. Those who want to expire or breathe out have to pay this tax. Those not willing can hold their breath and save this earth from pollution caused by Carbon Dioxide accumulation.

7] Survival Tax: Anyone who survives after paying all these taxes and surcharges, should be really strong. Hence such persons should also pay Survival Tax. It should begin from age 40 and can escalate with each passing year.

What if we don't have roads like the Western Countries ? We also don't have water, electricity and all other services anywhere near the standards seen elsewhere. May be the comparison itself is stupid. But so what ? It becomes the bounden duty of every Indian Citizen to make sure our representatives are taken care of well. Remember we have chosen them to represent us, rule us, make laws for us and tax us.

The least we can do is to make sure they get paid as well as the Western Law-makers if not more. After all it is a matter of pride of a Nation. We might be poor but we still are proud of our nation and we should, would and must do everything to save our pride !

All of you fellow Indians, wake up. Suggest more ways to help and save our Law-makers. Forget the tiger. We can save them later. Let us save our Politicians first. Without Politicians, how can we save anyone or anything else ?

Jaago India Jaago, Desh ki izzat ka sawaal hai !
Wake up India wake up, it's a question of pride of our nation !

Dr. Punned-it

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hussain and Who's sane not ?

A text message from a friend alerted me last week, "Mother F---er Hussain finally and completely dead". This was not from any RSS right wing Hindu extremist, but just a simple Hindu with many Muslim and Christian friends.

The obituaries that followed his death were 'banal' to put it mildly. All these years, somehow everyone from the Vir Sanghvis to all and sundries were out to defend Hussain's right for freedom of expression and the right to offend. It was almost becoming a secular ritual. Someone said, "Hussian's last wish was to come back to India". Another gentleman wrote, "A Humanist rooted in Indian-ness". Wow !

I am a human being in continued evolution. My strongest belief is, "This world will be a better place without religions". I have over the years, dissociated myself from the ritualistic and superstitious aspects of life. But I have done this gradually so as not to hurt and demoralize my parents and family. It isn't quite easy changing sensibilities ingrained over generations however senseless they might appear to us.

But what is easier is to cultivate better and more updated sensibilities in the coming generations. I have consciously helped my daughter to develop a scientific temper without becoming a prisoner of false beliefs and prejudices that had shackled her father.

Going against the wishes of others at home, I told her, "I wouldn't mind if you don't go to temple and pray because I am sure that doesn't really matter. But I would like you to grow up as a person who respects fellow humans and strives to be a good human being and nothing more".

My friend Ganesh Veluswami keeps quoting, "Blasphemy is a victimless crime". There is a catch in this statement. A Crime without a victim ? Then how does it become a crime ? Either Blasphemy is not a crime or there has to be a victim. Let me deal with that later.

Let us come back to Maqbool Fida Hussain. He is being lamented in the artistic circles and even in political circles. This isn't the first time someone is writing about Hussain. Neither is this the last post on him. Let us just look at some of his controversial pictures.
Nude Sita clinging to Hanuman's tail !
Nude Saraswathi with Veena
A Nude Bharat Mata

Now this has to be immensely insensitive for anyone to ignore. Every Hindu icon painted nude and totally out of concept. Being a Muslim, Hussain was not supposed to revere any God other than Allah. According to Islamic tenets, Bharat Mata doesn't exist. So if he conceived her, why she had to be nude ? It especially is enraging because he had painted his mother, his own daughter, mother Theresa and Prophet Mohammed's daughter; all fully clothed. This nude paintings 'business' was reserved exclusively for Hindu icons.

Why did he do so ? Hussain was a very shrewd manipulator. He knew anything remotely blasphemous about Islam would get him bumped off or his hands chopped off at the least. He also knew anything derogatory about Christianity would set all our bleeding heart secularists after him.

Hence he only had to do what he did all his life. Denude and keep denuding Hindu icons. But why ? Very simple, it will polarize the society between the conservatives, who would naturally be hurt and the bleeding heart secularists who would do anything to defend the fundamental rights of an artist.

Being a person of Minority religion was a huge advantage, though he and his supporters portrayed it as a disadvantage. He went on doing the same thing again and again, earning the wrath of the RSS and the other Hindu organizations [The extremist Hindu outfits, according to our secular brigade].

At worst these groups are capable of attacking his exhibitions and filing cases against him in different courts. By nature, these people weren't capable of any major harm unless it was something like Godhra. This exactly was his strength. He exhibited and sold more and more paintings thanks to all the din created by the right wing outfits and the free publicity he gained. When the number of cases filed against him became tough to handle, he escaped to Qatar and made it appear he was hounded out by the Hindus.

A man who pulled his movie 'Meenaxi' out of Cinema halls because the Ulema council didn't like certain lines from the movie, never once repented hurting the sentiments of millions of Hindu middle class. That middle class of which my mother too is a part of.

My mother dislikes politics, fights and action movies. She still loves Rajendra Kumar and Joy Mukherjee movies. She is religious with firm belief in Gods and Krishna is the ultimate God for her. She wouldn't let us kill cockroaches and frogs if they stray into our home. She would make us remove them from our premises without hurting them.

When I told her that M. F. Hussain is no more, that mother of mine said, "Well, at last he is dead. Let him go to hell and paint all the devils in the nude and let them roast him in olive oil".

The Argument: Art is not for common man, some intellectual had told. Then why do you hold exhibitions at all ? If what you do hurts someone, that is not right. And if you think that you have the right to offend others, you immediately become victim of the same right. Others too will have their right to offend you. Whole of my argument rests on this issue.

It makes no difference if you believe in Gods or not. It isn't important if you are religious or irreverent. But when your actions actively or passively hurt the sensibilities of others, you have committed a sin. Those who defend the right to offend will have to be ready to be offended.

If Bajrang Dal, VHP and RSS were violent in their protests and offended Hussain and his supporters, it was just a reaction. Even after taking Politics and religious fundamentalism into account, I still believe it just was tit for tat and nothing more than that.

Well, why do I believe so ? Let me give an example. Just imagine this situation. Someone paints Hussain's mother in the nude; or even worse, creates a morphed sex tape of his daughter. What would happen ? That would hurt Hussain and his family. He would have sued for defamation and even got those banned.

At least he would have gone to press and visual media condemning these offensive acts. All his supporters would have brought the www to a standstill. Candle light marches would have been held in support of Hussain and against the outrage to the modesty of women.

Let me refer to another incident. Some time back, an email showing some photographs of a palatial bungalow was circulated on the internet. It stated the mansion belonged to CPI-M Politburo member Comrade Pinarayi Vijayan. So what was the reaction ? The Cyber cell tracked down some hapless guy and booked him under so many sections, he will spend rest of his life fighting those cases.

Pinarayi comes from a party that has espoused the cause of freedom of expression and the right of minorities and all that. So how did this benign act become such a hugely punishable crime ? The same bleeding heart secularists condemn RSS of hounding out Hussain. Pinarayi could just have given a statement that the building shown in the email didn't belong to him and provide authentic proof. The matter would have been closed.

Then why did this high-handed atrocity take place ? If an innocuous forwarded email could get a semi-literate netizen in neck-deep trouble, what would a series of nude and hurting paintings do to an artist ? Well, to offend and to paint and to express is his right. Why this dichotomy ?

The inference: Sentiment is a right of Minorities, Secularists and Communists. Anyone claiming to be a Hindu automatically denounces this right in this secular country. If you claim to be a Hindu and still want to own the rights to protect your sentiments, then you are 'Right Wing Extremist' !

Argument continued: But there is a problem. My mother is a middle class Hindu lady as I have said before. She doesn't have great concepts about secularism or any ism for that matter. She still is very fond of her childhood friend Shana and still keeps talking about those wonderful years they spent together. She is an Aamir Khan fan. She is crazy about Cricket and loves Zaheer Khan as much as she loves Sehwag. She would pray to Guruvayoorappan to help Yusuf Pathan to succeed. With all these qualities, she can't be 'Right wing Hindu Extremist', right ?

There are millions of middle class women and men in this country and abroad who felt outraged by Hussain's paintings. People still defend him saying Hindu mythology has so many paintings and carvings and sculptures depicting nudity. But none of them were so out of context as a 'Nude Sita clinging onto Hanuman's tail'. If that shouldn't offend a religious Hindu, then nothing should offend Comrade Vijayan.

Blasphemy is a crime and my mother is a victim. So many more mothers are victims too. Any act of offense against the emotions or sentiments of a person or a group of persons amounts to violence. Violence can be physical or psychological, but it is violence nevertheless.

Those who perpetrate violence of any kind against the unsuspecting others, will have to be prepared to face the consequential retaliatory violence. Because, you are being beaten using your own stick.

The Sticks: The right to offend or Freedom of expression !
Old world wisdom: "Violence begets Violence" !
Maqbool Fida Hussain finally rest in peace, hopefully !

I rest my case !

Dr. Pundit