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 !

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spiritual Wisdom in God's Own Country !

2 April 2011. Me, my wife and our daughter; we were driving back from Kovalam to reach in time for the World Cup Final. Well, those two were not bothered. But it mattered to me.

On the way, my wife noticed several long and orderly queues in front of the IMFL shops. She chuckled in disgust, "I have never seen a single man at the ration shop. Look at this, these people are good for nothing". I sympathized with her; even I have never been in a ration shop queue.

The only place where they respect the Queue !
It is another matter that I have never been in a queue at the liquor shop too. Alcohol never interested me. It may be the strict lower middle class values inculcated by my Mom. It could be financial difficulties. Or it just could be the Genes. In spite of a lot of perseverance and concerted efforts by some of my friends and some cousins, I have remained a teetotaler. A hopeless one at that !

Why should we have Friends ?

A very dear friend declared during one of our many reunions, "Hey Man, it is such a shame you still haven't tasted life. You have wasted, mind you... absolutely wasted 40 years of your life. I pity you, you good for nothing fellow". He even helped me to initiate then and there. To please him, I halfheartedly tried to take a dip. But couldn't take even a sip of that atrocious cocktail he conjured up and thus failed again. Miserable me !

A matter of Life and Death !

A cousin went on to prophesize, "Govind, what life are you living ? You don't smoke. Don't drink. Gave up non-veg. Such a silly waste of life ! You know what ? Long after all of us, your contemporaries are dead; you will still be alive. And your great grand-kids will curse that the old man isn't kicking the bucket. At least enjoy drinking so that you live well with us now and die along with us !"

My Experiments with Spirit !

All this wisdom has somehow failed to dawn on me. The grape wine presented by Christian friends during Christmas is all the taste of Alcohol I have had so far. I can't discount some of those Ayurvedic medicines given to us during childhood. The Arishtams have good Alcohol content.

Well, I also must confess I faintly remember the taste or the pungency of the Goan Cashew Fenny given to us when we had cold and fever during childhood. It was a strictly monitored affair and was restricted to half an ounce.

That is just about everything when it comes to my tryst with Alcohol. Some appetizers used as prescription medicines do contain 2 - 4% Alcohol. But being the voracious eater that I was, my parents never had to worry about my appetite. If at all, they perhaps secretly wished for someone to invent some kind of appetite suppressants !

A Spirited 'Love' Story !

Coming back to Alcohol, one wise gentleman told me, "Doctor, I have gone through your Blog. You talk about 'Live, Love and Laugh'. But you haven't lived at all. If you don't love your Liquor, you have not lived. So where does the question laughing come ?".

I shot back a sharp question, "Do you mean I am dead man walking ?". He apologized and said, "No, no, sorry, very sorry, not like that. It is just that those who don't drink will never experience the true emotions of love and laughter." I wanted him to elaborate on it and he had a story.

See Doctor Sir, I was in love with a girl when I was about 25. She also liked me. But you see, she was a Christian, and I am a Hindu, Nair. It was very difficult. But after a lot of effort, she agreed to come with me and marry me. She finally said those words, I Love You. That was the most beautiful day of my life.

But what happened ? Ask me what happened. Her father and uncles came to know. They came to our house and threatened us. My parents and sisters were threatened. And before I could react, she was married off to a boy from Saudi. She went off without a bother. Never tried to find out if this animal was alive or dead. Sounds like Cinema, right ?

Well, I am not exactly Devadas to drink and destroy my life. But I started drinking only after that. Then I also got married. But could never love my wife, because I still loved that girl. So I started drinking and that helped me. I could imagine my wife was her and that changed our life.

We have a great life now. Though my wife initially disliked my drinking, she slowly started liking that. I loved her more when I took drinks. I drink, I love and I laugh. Without drinking, our life would have been zero. That is why I say, you can't love or laugh if you don't drink. That again was some more wisdom !

A Spiritual Discourse !

Another much younger chap has a different outlook towards Alcohol. It is possible he is an inspired spirit or has borrowed his spiritual wisdom from somewhere. Whatever it be, his opinions make interesting copy.

All those who say Liquor is bad for health are just idiots. What is Liquor ? Alcohol. What is Alcohol ? An Antiseptic and Anti-Bacterial. You Medical people use it for disinfection. That thing you rub on wounds to clean it and keep it healthy is the same stuff we drink, much more diluted. So it can't be good in one place and bad in another.

Liquor prevents infections. It also protects us from developing food poisoning. Even 'Heart Specialists' advice moderate amount of liquor. It is an appetizer, coolant and also causes a lot of urination. Thus it prevents kidney stones. Some people say drinking 3 -4 liters of water a day prevents kidney stones. I say rubbish, you just need a bottle of beer for that.

I asked him, "So what is your opinion about drinking and driving ? Is that good too ?". He replied with no hesitation, "No, not good, not good at all". Excited, I asked again, "So you agree drinking is bad ?". He was emphatic now, "Nonsense. I said, Drink, don't Drive !"

I just swallowed all this wisdom because this chap was in high spirits and I couldn't have won arguing !

Bar Boys !

We held a small get together of our friends from Bellary Medical College during last Christmas vacation. It was a crowd of mostly those living in and around Mangalore. The whole affair was in really 'High Spirits'. And we called the event "Bellary Alumni Reunion". As it turned out, the abbreviation was a deliciously coined, "BAR" !

The 'BAR' Boys !

The Joke is on !

There are millions of jokes about the Liquor and the watering holes. Some very innovative ones need a mention here. Those that have impressed me and entertained me.

What is common between a Bar and a Bra ? Both drive men mad when open !

The latest theory is that drinking beer turns men into women. To test the finding, 100 men were fed 6 pints of beer each. It was then observed that all the men gained weight, talked excessively without making sense, became overly emotional, couldn't drive, failed to think rationally, argued over nothing, and refused to apologize when wrong !

I should not be considered a Male Chauvinist. These are old jokes. But there is something about Alcohol and men. I really have seen them become emotional, lovable and even magnanimous. But the best case was a very close friend who was a very careless chap in day to day life. Very unorganized and loose talking guy, he became too gentlemanly once the 'Spirit' took him over. He was one of the best behaved guys I have seen when drunk !

The Magnanimous Classmate !

Long ago, perhaps in 1990, a classmate in Bellary made an unbelievable offer to me. Sitting in a popular joint that also had an attached bar; this chap pleaded with me, "Hey Shenoy, please man, please. Just take one glass of beer. Just one for me and our friendship. I will buy you whatever food you want. I will also sponsor a cinema tonight. And I will give you hundred bucks. Just one glass...".

I politely but firmly refused his magnanimity. Cursing me to eternal agony in hell, he left me to join his group of friends at the other corner of the restaurant. Later I was told by a common friend that this chap had a bet for a thousand bucks. He had challenged another friend that he'd get Shenoy drunk. A nonspiritual Imbecile Shenoy !

Well, after dwelling at length on 'Jevan' in my last post, I had to leave to catch up with my grub. No such luck here. I am not going to a watering hole or Bar for my fill. Especially at 1:30 AM. I get drunk on other things. Things like Cricket, Cinema, Comedy and of course boring people with my blogs. Can't help, Like Alcoholism, Old Habits die hard !

Dr. Pundit

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jevan and Konkanis: A Community that Worships Food !

I was quite impressed by a recent Facebook note by a Malayalee who claimed "I am not a Mallu". I am a naturalized citizen of God's own Country and have learned my Malayalam the hard way. There isn't an easy way to do so. So I wanted to vent my views on this issue. Time and proper words eluded me at that time.

Like all communities, ethnicities and linguistic groups, Malayalees too have their positives and negative traits. I have had the good fortune of interacting with a fairly good number of people and hence I have formed my own views of how people from different linguistic groups behave.

There can be some generalization in all opinions. But I have tried to be impartial in my views if not completely politically correct. As a gesture of playing neutral, I am starting with my own language, Konkani. My friend Jagan Mohan Rao once said, "Govind Raj speaks many languages in his mother tongue Konkani". That is true. Not only me, but almost all Konkani people do that.

In fact almost all the people of the world talk all other languages in their own mother tongue. That is a rule, not exception. People have a tendency to believe what they do is the right thing and all others is weird !

Now let me move to Konkanis without any more elaboration. Please check the links to know about the language and the people. I am not going to reproduce anything here. This is my blog and only my views are expressed here.

Konkanis are spread all over the world. They have a significant presence in Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala. They are also scattered all over. A stretch of geographical area along the west coast is called 'Konkan'.

The language didn't get the name from the place. The place got it because of language. Brahmans, Christians of different denominations, fisher folk, Muslims and many more different communities talk this language. And everyone believes theirs alone is the correct Konkani !

Maharashtra Konkani is influenced by Marathi. So much so, the people from other regions think it is Marathi. Goan Konkani too has become quite Marathified. In Karnataka, they have different ways with the same language in Mangalore, Karkala, Udupi, Kundapur and Karvar.

Invariably people believe theirs is the correct version. Overall, Konkani language has borrowed from Kannada, Tulu, Marathi, Hindi and many more languages in Karnataka. The level of adulteration could be anything between 15 - 20%.

In Kerala, it is a unique situation. Over the years, people have adopted Malayalam words with gay abandon and abandoned original and simpler Konkani words to adulterate the language to that extent, it sounds like Malayalam to people from other places. In fact it is now called "Mankani" !

From here onwards, when I use the word Konkanis, it means people who speak Konkani and belong to my own community, that is Gouda Saraswat Brahman abbreviated as GSB. Covering all communities is a tough job. In fact I don't know many of them.

Konkanis are born traders. Anything else they do, they do it with a trader's mentality. They prefer to build a temple, preferably Venkatachalapathy Temple and stay around the place. It has to be near an enduring water body.

Only in Goa and some small places elsewhere can we see temples dedicated to deities other than the Tirupathy God. As a rule, the temples are administered by community elders and are mostly ultra-conservative in approach to modernization. Again, the temples of Goa and some parts of Karnataka are exceptions. 

A look at the history shows that Konkanis are a peace-loving community. So peace loving, that the are remarkably incapable of fighting. Fighting others I mean. They are quite adept at in-fighting.

They left the Saraswati river basin because they couldn't fight the famine. They ran away from Northern parts of India because they couldn't fight the Islamic invaders. They ran away from prime-land Goa because they couldn't fight the Portuguese. They avoided the Malabar and preferred Kochi because they were scared of settling down in Muslim dominated regions.

You will see thousands of Konkani businessmen, Doctors and Engineers. There are Bankers, Lawyers, Intellectuals, Writers, Journalists, Poets and all kind of service sector people. There are Politicians and even a Chief Minister. But you do a combing operation and you'll find approximately about 4 Konkani soldiers. Their dislike for fight has also kept them away from Police force and security agency jobs to a large extent.

In fact, Konkanis made Banking their greatest trait. Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank and Corporation Bank are some of those nationalized banks founded by Konkanis. They were the early birds in the private sector education field too. Manipal empire was built by Konkanis. Today, it has gained popularity as Money-Pal !

There might be exceptions, but Konkanis are generally cowards by nature. Recent trends have shown they too can fight. But that unfortunately is among themselves and they do it damn too well. Issues that should have united them have actually divided them almost vertically and lead to a lot of ill-will and fights.

Leaving aside the fights, let me compile a random list of characters unique to Konkanis. In fact, some of these unique characters are possibly shared by other communities too. But mostly these are 'Konkani traits'.

Konkanis are good at learning languages. Perhaps the best in this business. They win over customers thanks to this ability. Even with clumsy attempts and broken language, they still manage to win over people in business.

If anyone doubts the above statement, kindly go to Mangalore and watch a Konkani trader doing business. He will speak Konkani, Kannada, Tulu, Hindi, Malayalam, some Tamil, some Telugu [picked up from those numerous visits to Tirupathi] and pretty decent English.

But they speak all these languages strictly in their own language, including the accent. When the appropriate word eludes them, they will use a Konkani word and expect the customer to understand !

I really don't know if it is a positive quality or a negative one. But a Konkani will be the first one to learn another language if he were to live in an alien place. Even on home ground, they prefer to deal with other peoples' language. One reason might be they want to keep the language exclusive and use it to guard business and trade secrets !

In spite of best efforts, learning Konkani is tough for Non-Konkanis; especially in adulthood. The accent is the major hurdle. Even people who know the sister language Marathi can't manage the accent part.

Most of the Non-Konkanis believe Konkanis are stingy by nature. Something like West Coast's answer to Marwadis. But Konkanis believe they are just careful and conservative.

In Karnataka, Konkanis are called '7' because they are believed to be like a hook that wants to catch everything.

An old story goes thus. A Konkani was being washed away by flash floods. He caught hold of a bear in that desperate situation. Once he realized it was a bear, he started yelling at people for help. But people on the shores thought he had jumped into water to retrieve a 'Kambal' [A blanket made from coarse wool]. They dismissed him saying, "A Konkani will never jump into water unless he sees some profit in it". 

But Konkanis believe they have been subjugated by others to become 'bent' like '7'.

Konkanis of all regions speak in different accents and styles. And everyone thinks others speak 'crap'.

You will never see a Konkani begging for alms on the roads. They have temples which feed jobless people and lazy bumpkins.

One most remarkable character of a Konkani is the ability to be extremely neutral when two people are fighting. He will never take sides for fear of fighting.

Konkanis of Kerala were reluctant to give girls in marriage to Konkani boys from Mangalore in the past. That was because Konkanis of Mangalore and Goa used to eat fish. Over the past 20 years, the Kerala Konkanis have progressed rapidly and left their Mangalore counterparts way behind. Today they are carnivorous and relish beef  like their Malayalee brethren.

Another trend noted from Kerala is the reluctance of a lot of Konkanis to speak their mother tongue. Many adults, a large number of youth and even larger number of kids prefer not to speak Konkani. This betrays a feeling of inferiority complex. They fear ridicule from Malayalees. Little do they realize that they are ridiculed even when they speak Malayalam because they are pretty awful with that.

Unfortunately we might see complete extinction of Konkani language from Kerala over a period of 50 - 100 years. Many other communities who had Konkani as their language have already forsaken the language. This is really sad because the trend appears to be irreversible.

Those Konkanis of Kerala who still use the language have adulterated the language with up to 80%  Malayalam words. And the present generation doesn't even know this. Those who know, don't care.

Konkanis of South Karnataka have adapted well with the local culture and have adopted almost 20% words from local languages. But they have declared those words to be of Konkani origin adopted by other languages. Issue closed !

One thing common to Konkanis of all regions is their love for 'Dal Chawal', 'Pathra Vada' and  and 'Jevan'. Haven't seen another community that loves food as much as Konkanis do. Well, they in fact 'Worship' food. Nothing else matters to a Konkani when there is food in site ! THIS is first hand information.

Jevan - The Konkani Meal
'Daali Toy' or a Dal preparation is considered the de-facto 'Kula Devu' or the 'Deity of the Family".

Konkanis must be the species that eats maximum amount of leaves and grass after the cows. This could explain why they appear to be so cowardly in nature. An eternal favorite dish is the 'Pathra Vada' or 'Pathrodo' or 'Leaf Cutlet' prepared from Colacacia leaves. Anyone else trying this recipe must be ready to scratch their throats with a comb ! Not an iota of exaggeration here.

Pathrodo !
When a child is born, that has to be celebrated with 'Jevan'. 'Jevan' has to be there if it is a birthday or festival. Even a festival like 'Shiv Ratri' that calls for fasting will have to end with an elaborate 'Jevan'. Even in death, the thirteenth day has to be celebrated with a 'Jevan' to bid farewell to the departed.

One might find a Marwadi who doesn't put business before everything else. But it is almost impossible to find a Konkani who doesn't put 'Jevan' before everything. This could be the reason why not many Konkanis were too impressed with Gandhi. The concept of fasting and eating for the sake of living are beyond the realms of imagination for most of us. I am a living embodiment of this principle. We Live to Eat !

Well, I think I have written quite a lot about Konkanis. Anything more might get me banned from our functions if not excommunication. I can't afford that. I am not religious. But I believe food is good and good is food !

So let me conclude this piece on Konkanis, their language and their love for Jevan. I have to catch up with my 'Jevan' at a function now !

Dr. Pundit

Friday, April 8, 2011

An Open Letter to Whom it may Concern or Not !


The Corporation / Local Government / State Government / Central Government / Political Parties / Non-Political Groups / Clubs / NGOs / The Judiciary / Anyone to whom it may concern or not
Kochi, the so called Financial Capital of God's Own Country also known as Smart City.
Kerala, India, Asia, Planet Earth.


State of our Roads or the Roads of our State !


1] An Emotional Journey !
2] Left, Right and Wrong; A Story of a Fight !
3] Footpath, My Foot !
4] The Blogger who traveled the Untrodden Narrow Path !
5] All Roads Lead to Hell Part-I
6] The Queen of Arabian See in God's Own Country !

Sir / Madam / Your Honor / Worshipful Mayor / Your Highness / Anything that pleases you,

Hereby let me introduce myself  before I begin the letter. I am  a Santro Xing Car with Reg. number KL-7 BD 6826 registered under Kochi Corporation in August 2008. I have produced a latest passport size photograph of myself for identification purpose. Please don't be surprised about a Car that is writing a letter. I can even talk. Kindly refer to reference number 1. An emotional Journey.

My Master, who claims to be a Doctor and a Blogger has written something about me and quite a lot about the roads of my hometown Kochi. Kindly refer to those stories too. It is important to understand the whole picture. Though Dr. Pun-dit is not very kind to me, I still am a loyal servant and continue to work for him without complaining. This isn't about my loyalty or his cruelty. I shall in due time write to SPCC [Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Cars] about that. So you needn't worry on those issues.

Defaced and Defiled
Now let me enlighten you about that ugly scar on my face under the nose. I mean the dent on the number plate. This dent was caused by a two wheeler who collided with me tail on [Opposite of Head on]. No, it wasn't his mistake. It wasn't my mistake either. Both of us were traversing through the quagmire people have now come to accept as an eternal truth that is 'Thammanam - Pulleppady Road' in the heart of Kochi town. The poor chap bounced and bobbed out of one of those potholes and I couldn't escape from the collision because I too was coming out of another bigger pothole. I am now providing some photographs of 'the Road' for your reference.
Road in the Heart of Kochi !
The Cursed Thammanam - Pullepady Road
 Potholes that can kill !
No Sir, this letter is not about the collision or the dent either. I can and will live with this. People manage to live with much worse. Let me move to the more serious matter. It is about something far more important. It is about our existence itself. The existence of Carkind / Autokind / Bikekind or Vehiclekind in general.

Humans are concerned about Mankind. So we have to be concerned about ourselves too. Humans can eat Pizzas if bread isn't available. But we will not be able to live and move without our life blood that is Petroleum fuel. So kindly watch the video attached.

The little boy is more concerned about future and is far more intelligent than the father. You might have watched this video about conserving fuel and energy. But I politely request you to watch it again. I will continue with the matter after the video. Thanks for the patience you have shown with me. But my intent and concern is genuine and I hope I will be able to convince you about it when we come to the concluding part.

Now, we all know our Governments, leaders, Babus, NGOs and everyone with an opinion has something to preach for the common man. That common man, one of whom is my Master. He too is a concerned citizen and I have seen him preach about conserving nature, electricity, trees, fuel, paper, food, water and just about anything. This anything includes everything except my dignity. Well, let me not elaborate on that. I will deal with those issues at an appropriate time on an appropriate podium.

Let me suffice to say this. My Master calls me "Fuel Guzzling White Little Monster". That is such an insult and I have communicated to him my displeasure about it. But he has persisted with his diatribe. When I asked him why he calls me so, he said I have a very poor fuel efficiency. Yes, I give 9 KmPL in the city. In Kochi city. I am not aware what other members of the Carthren [Car Brethren] manage. But this is the best I can achieve. But I have always maintained this wasn't my fault but the poor roads were responsible.

My Master is not fond of main roads. He is The Blogger who travels the Untrodden Narrow Path ! So I really can't blame his driving or the traffic for the low fuel efficiency. But I still was confident I will be able to prove myself when the opportunity arises.

Thus I got my first chance in 4 years to prove my worth, efficiency and power. I took my Master and his little family to Kovalam last week. Oh what roads ! I felt like a bird out of the cage and actually went flying. I managed to overtake Cars twice as bigger, SUVs and practically everything on my way. I took 4 hours 50 minutes from Kochi to Kovalam and 4 hours 10 minutes for the return journey.

This isn't vainglorious boasting. This is just a true piece of information to bolster my case. The most important factor was I covered 490km with less than 29 liters of Petrol. That is a fuel efficiency of 17 KmPL. But I needed a chance to prove myself. In Kochi, I would be burning almost 55 liters for the same distance. Now, this is a phenomenal achievement. I knew I was capable of this.

Sir, just imagine this. Travel through decent roads improved my fuel efficiency by 88.88%. Which means the traffic congestion alone isn't responsible for the abysmal fuel efficiency in cities. The poor infrastructure is more so. I have informed above, the fact that my Master almost never gets stuck in traffic because he never takes the main roads. But all the side roads, interior roads and roads in residential areas are in total shambles.

If we manage to improve the overall infrastructure in the suburbs, interiors and the small roads, we might succeed in decongesting the traffic in major arteries. All vehicles conveying through better and lesser trodden roads can save hell of a lot of fuel. Even 50% saving is a huge saving. Switching off the engine in traffic lights can't save you so much of petrol.

Now if I alone could save so much of fuel in one journey, imagine how much of fuel all those millions of vehicles on our roads can manage to save !

Sir, I don't know who you are. I don't even know if you are a Sir or a Madam. That is why I have used so many references and salutations at the beginning. Let me stress again here that I am genuinely concerned. Concerned about nature, fossil fuels, mother earth and all.

Sir, please let us 'Go green'. Let us improve our roads and infrastructure and save fuel and save Earth and save ourselves. Let us save Ourselves from Ourselves !

Thanks for the patient reading.


Santro Xing [Reg. No: KL-7 BD 6826]