Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kuttanad - ravaged by rain gods and diabolic unions

A terrible tragedy has struck kuttanad. The summer showers played havoc with the crop- which was excellent this year.
being an urban bred creature, i allowed myself to enjoy the welcome summer showers which cooled the scorching earth - till i saw my friends with kuttanaad connections start panicking. there was this person whose father- in- law had 20 acres of paddy, and it was a bumper crop this year. and there was this very close friend who looked at me with despair and something else in her eyes, when , without knowing the implications of the unexpectedly torrential nature of the summer showers, i expressed my bliss about a cool night to look forward to. With deadly calm she told me she got information that kuttanad paddy fields(hers included) , with a bumper produce this year , have been submerged. Harvesting would have been over long time back if they were allowed to use the harvesting machines. The quiet in her voice and that strange look in her eyes were scary.

the local newspapaers told the rest of the story next day( i couldnt see TV news that day)- with pictures of men and women with something like death in their eyes.

man cannot gnash his teeth against the weather gods. But against those crude, brutal, ideology crazed, vulgar , mindless, vicious muscle flexing of the organised labour unions which refused permission to use the harvest machines? How are we to deal with these no good labour forces which have been calling the shots in kerala for , oh, God, how long?

And the Agriculture minister has rushed to the rescue of the labour unions with the dog in the manger policy, which this time has led to an unprecedented disaster. Are we, the people of kerala, going allow those irresponsible poisonous rowdies to get away with this scot free?

I know all these frustrated rantings will end up in a whimper while these power crazed, heartless forces continue with their mission of destroying hope and demoralising the the farmers in kerala.

What can we humans do when forces of both evil and good gang up against us?

Sunday, March 02, 2008


I found a book of quotation lying around and was thrilled. I think I was in the third standard, and I needed a sentence everyday to fill two pages of transcription writing (my handwriting was worse than Gandhiji’s - so I was asked to do two pages while one was the normal burden). Strange- the only thing I knew then about that great man , other than his role in our independence struggle was that he had a very bad handwriting. And in all my childhood innocence, I thought that was truly the surest road to greatness. Till sister kevin’s ruler came down sharply on my knuckles.

And so there I was, falling over my transcription book every evening after school, repeating loudly, word after word, as I carefully formed them between the four lines. Ok. to come back to the subject in hand – that quotation book revealed a great truth to me: the most prolific ‘quotation writer’ was Mr. Anonymous. I remember Sr. kevin’s laughing face with tears streaming down her face, when I asked her who this poet was!

True, anonymity is a blissful state. I have found that every time I have had to relocate from my native place for brief stints. If you are traditionally sari-wearing types, you can get out of that cumbersome attire into more comfortable ones, under the cover of anonymity. I knew a cheduthy, who used to live very close to us. I had seen her only in thuniyum chattayum. One day, her grand daughter brought a photo of that cheduthi taken in Florida; she was in a –hold your breath (‘cos it knocked the breath out of me)- in jeans and T-shirt!!! Another acquaintance of mine showed me a picture of herself in a two-piece swimsuit taken on some beach in the US. She was young with a well-toned body but something was wrong. It took me some time to realize what it was. Either she looked uncomfortable in that unfamiliar outfit or the outfit felt uncomfortable on her. You know, that confidence to carry it off was not there. Then, why on earth did she get into it-and why on earth did she take a picture in it? still worse, why on heaven and earth did she show it to me, carefully keeping her eyes on my face to see how I reacted? God. It was really difficult- keeping a dead pan expression and and then looking up with a stupid grin and tell her that she looked great, with my smile confining itself to my lips. In spite of all my efforts, it refused to travel to my eyes. And why on earth did she have to tell me with a pout: “you know what? You are jealous!”
I have capitalized on anonymity myself on many occasions. I always wanted to look chic and I thought the easiest way to achieve that was to chop off my lifeless hair and style it. Back home every attempt to do that was sabotaged by my near and dear ones who threated to do terrible things (kick me out, disown me, disinherit me---) if I did that. as luck would have it we had to relocate to Mumbai. I should have chopped off my hair the day after I landed there. Instead, I waited for a couple of months – by then I had lost my anonymity and couldn’t muster up enough courage to do it!

But this anonymous business can be quite annoying sometimes. You know when that sometimes is? When you see a response to a blog written by that prolific writer “anonymous”

Why does a comment to a blog need that fig leaf called anonymity?