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Monday, November 13, 2017

To my Son

Hey bud,

Ever since you were born, I have been wanting to pen down a letter to you. I procrastinate a lot, and may be you should try and change that for you. But it is ok even if you do not, like my father tells me “after all you are my blood”. I initially wanted you to read this when you are eighteen, but then the pace at which your generation would grow would be much more than mine. So please try and read this when you turn thirteen. I was lucky enough to make it back to India for your delivery, or else I would have missed out on witnessing one of the best blessings bestowed upon me. Your birth.

Birth and death cannot be decided by one self, and so you had no choice other than to be born to us. Just like I have been blessed with amazing parents, you have been blessed with a very beautiful mother, who have undergone all the possible pain and hormonal changes on her body, to have given birth to you. I have been a witness to this and it bought out tears in me seeing her in pain. You would realise this at a later stage when you become a father, but son, do not keep waiting till then to keep your mother happy. She is your best teacher and friend and no school can give you what she would. So take all that she gives, without thinking twice about it, cause she would never want ray of darkness coming your way, you are a piece of her body after all.

Understanding people and what they expect from a person, have been an issue with me all my life. I have been unpredictable throughout my life. Now this sounds good in movies, when a hot tanned model with millions of followers express the attire of her desired man. But when it comes to real life, this may not be as good as they show it in reel life. Having said that, some surprises for sure win many hearts. So raise to the occasion when needed, be considerate about the best people in life. Ultimately they are the ones who are with you in life and in death. I have had my share of pie in this and this has hurt both your mother and mine. So bud, never hurt them.

You are now stepping into teen, the time of your life when most of your body and mind goes under transformation. The tiny little 3.05kg kid that I cut off from your mother’s umbilical chord around 11.50 am would have now grown into a handsome teen. You are yet to learn how to crawl when I write this. I really hope and pray I am with you when you read this letter, but even if am not, its ok lad, you are stronger than you think, having been brought up by the best woman in the world, your mother. So enjoy this time of your life to the fullest, make a lot of friends, have fun, explore places, learn a new thing every day. You keep learning till your last breath.

Its already five minutes past three in the morning, the week begins tomorrow and I have back-to-back meeting at work whole day. I still cant get sleep as your cuteness has overtaken all my thoughts. May you be blessed baby.

With Love.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Appoopan Thaadi (Pappus/Indian Milk Weed)

The summer of early 90's made us fall in love with cricket, a curly haired, shorty had stepped on to the cricketing world and had his name engraved in people's heart and mind. The impact was so much that, even kids belonging to a small village in a football frenzy state had evolved as his fans. It was couple of years to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, television in the neighbor’s home had only the national channel and on field cricket consumed most of our days. Back then, the real estate business had not imbibed our villages. We had vast open spaces between our homes, our homes had big compounds. Compounds with fruits and vegetable cultivation. Back then, most of the vegetables needed for basic consumption were cultivated at home. In between those large compounds, we found our cricket ground. The four sides of it surrounded by forest weed and random flora. We made our pitch in the center of it, where dry soil was available.

Teams were split based on our area, matches began as soon as the elders at home left for work. Most of us where at the age group of 5 to 7 and we were either in the process of going to grade one in school, or already had first-hand experience of wearing a school uniform. Cricket balls made of rubber were bought at five rupees and we had to put our share to make it five. Those were actually my first lessons at team building and coordinating a purchase from the real market. If we were lucky, some body's distant uncle working in Dubai would have gifted him a cricket bat and he would have turned up to play, else it was the bat made of coconut branch with the bicycle air tube cut out, as its grip that gave us the professional feel.

We lost quite few of the rubber balls hit into the dense forest weed regions of the ground. If we had someone field there, we got the balls back, else that was the day. It was one of those days, when we lost the ball as soon as the match began, and all of us walked back home. I was under irritable depression, I was the one batting and had hardly faced any balls. Those were the days, when fifty paisa coins meant a world to us and donations were scarce. We had our inhibitions, to step out to the dense areas of forest weeds and search for the ball alone. We had spotted snakes once in a while and people at home never let us get there alone. With all the guts I had gained of watching Mowgli in Jungle Book, I decided to step out there, in search for the lost ball.

 Few minutes into the search and I had already grown restless, the sun was piercing through the branches of various trees and light breeze had the branches sway in its rhythm, I looked up to the heavens in desperation and like a revelation, a milky white bunch of light silky hairs came down from the sky, making its way in between the branches rocking to the rhythm of breeze. It was floating in the air, and never wanted to land. At first I was scared, and the more time it took to come down, my fear turned into curiosity and curiosity turned into delight. It had a tiny brownish seed from which the silky hairs had grown, I tried to reach out for it and the breeze took it far from me, the more I tried to chase it, the more it went far, it continued to float and I followed it with excitement. I was almost to have it land in my palm, the breeze took it away and hit the tamarind tree on its way.

 I felt dejected and heart broken, it wasn't flying anymore, it had lost its life and laid there resting itself on the thick grass. I rushed towards the tree and placed it in my palm with utmost care. I wanted to give it first aid and looked around, that is when reality struck me. I had already come long across to the dense forest weed area, where snakes were found. A shiver went down my spine, and I wanted to rush back. I couldn't find the way out, I couldn't find the way I came in, I was lost, scared and wanted to cry. I placed the silky hairs in my pocket and tried to rush back, while doing so, I stumbled upon the brown color five rupee ball that we lost that morning. For once I felt like a warrior who went to war and came back conquering the enemy territory. I had the war booty and the princes of the kingdom I conquered.

 I rushed back to grandma who was busy with her house chores, and narrated the events that unfolded sometime back. I showed her the silky haired creature and fret about its health. She looked at me with kind smile, and narrated the story of Appoopan Thaadi, the silky hair seed that I had confused to be a creature.

 They don't have life of their own, yet they imbibe life from the breeze that its surroundings provide. They don't have their destiny, yet they lead others. They come down from the sky in groups or alone, sway itself with the breeze and act restless, yet they calm our restless nerves. "Appoopan Thaadi" (grandfather’s beard) as they are called, are just like our wise old men at home, who have lived their destiny, yet show us the way to ours.

 Years have passed, and I sit glued to my chair at work on the 9th floor of a tower, sipping my fifth mug of coffee, having worked for the past 12 hours and slept 3 hours last night. The Middle Eastern summer has kicked off and I find myself away from the cricket grounds and the dense forest weeds, this time in the middle of concreate jungle, inhibited, waiting for an Appoopan Thaadi to help me find what am looking for.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Indian Muslim

If Wikipedia is to be believed Islam is the fastest growing religion in India. India is already home to around 180-200 million Muslims approximately, which is around 16-18 percent of the total population of India. Off the world Muslim population, Indian Muslims would rank in the first three. Does this Muslim community follow Islam as it was taught by the holly prophet is another point of debate. But what we can be assured is that, the above mentioned quanta of human beings carry Muslim names and tick Islam in the check box for religion in their passports, identity card or ration cards.
So what is the real problem Indian Muslims are facing today? Is it the forced conversions those have been making headlines off late, Is it the various political groups taking unwanted advantage of the plight of certain sections of the Muslim community, Is it the names those pop up on news channels after a series of blasts have happened, Is it the love jihad that the media had invented few years back after few men with Muslim names married women of other religions, Is it the uneducated “Maulana’s” making random fatwa for political gains Or is it the stereo typed Muslim images that have been portrayed by the Indian film Industry at large. The questions are many, and finding a solution to it is difficult considering the range of problems and the size of the population.
We are living in times where the world Muslims at large has been facing some serious issues. Every war on terror as put by the western media mostly controlled by the Zionists has been targeted on people with Muslim names. The question as to whether their claims are true or false is subjected to various permutation and combination of credibility issues. But this does have an effect on the Indian Muslims and it cannot be neglected.
Nobody wants to believe what the Muslim community says or does while Islam in itself means peace. Information is distorted, news has been fabricated, and truth is in the hiding. Nobody living on earth today can keep his hand on his heart and say what news channels show is pure truth and fabrication of news hasn't happened. The same news is shown with different perspectives that two persons would read the same piece of news and conclude on two different levels of assertions.
We are indeed living in troubled waters, air turbulence's and social unrest. The way a Muslim in Kerala would react to an issue is not the same way a Muslim in U.P, Bihar or Delhi would react. The difference being the level of education attained. Kerala has always been the Indian representative in the Middle east; the birth place of Islam. The Malabar region of Kerala has always been connected to Middle East through trade from very ancient times. Probably that is the reason why you would find the Malabar Muslims more inclined to Pan Arabic/ Islamic Culture.
The Muslims in the rest of India predominantly have come through the Mughals or other emperors who invaded the northern part of India. Probably that is the reason you find the Islamic beliefs in northern India distorted and hence a common Muslim is less educated in Islamic beliefs and teachings. This indeed is a problem as people do not know to read and understand the Quran as it is and depends largely on random Clergies who themselves are half educated about what they preach.
It’s impossible to discuss the problems faced by Indian Muslims in today’s changing communal environment in an article. But one of the best ways to improve the situation would be to educate the Indian Muslims about what Islam is in actuality. If every Islamic organization in the country takes up the task of educating Muslims in an area alone, it would be much simpler to live as a Muslim in India. It is easier said than done, but one step towards it would mean one step towards goodness. Who knows in future India can control the world Muslim matters at large. Middle east is anyway turning its head off true Islam.


Friday, April 11, 2014

The Jack Strap - Story of My Last Under Wear

Caution: The following write up contains below the belt terms like "underwear" "boxer" "straps". Hence considering the complexities involved with public morality these days, you might want to quit reading this now and turn on to twinkle. Others who wish to continue reading may do so at their own risk, please do not disclose it with parents, should you do so, the awkward moments to follow is urs. Oops! I meant yours.

Between 2008 and 2010, when my teenage had abruptly left me and youth was yet to pick me up from the lanes of kennet lane, Egmore, Chennai. I had let few fancies grow in me. One of them was the possession of branded under wears. I still do not have any clue to the growth of this particular fantasy in me, Jithin and I had a photo shoot to woo few on the list, by showing of the strap of "jockey" above the belt and that probably took few years to leave me.

In a year from then I had bought almost all the costly brands available in the Chennai market, original of course. Brands from Jockey to Van Husen made my basket. Branded underwear was some kind of a pride, with me Azad too shifted his under wear preferences, while Rameez still stuck to his Saudi road side brand Al-Aisha, later only to find it from Munavvar that the same brand was found in the bus stands of Kerala. The only two brands I missed out were Calvin Klein and Dolce & Gabbana. D&G was the one SRK wore, that he showed off while cheering for KKR in the IPL matches. I couldn't find both in Chennai when i shopped.

One another reason for the huge possession of under wears were the length between two cloth washing episodes. Normally it was once a fortnight, but with the kind of innovations I had around me, a week more never gave me any glitch. Siraj had once even introduced me to an economic method of wearing under wear using the "A side" and "B side", just in case i ran out of under wears. But thanks to all those under wears that i had bought over a period of time, i never had to resort to the A side and B side technique.

By the mid 2010, my stipend pay cheques had started soaring, the recession was almost outdone in the capital markets and i had decided to use my money wisely. Zaheer send me an invitation to Mangalore for his sister's engagement which I found difficult to turn down. In the month of July when the Individual IT returns were nearing the dead line I couldn't afford to take a two day leave. To rejoin work on Monday, i had to fly back to Chennai on Sunday eve from Mangalore. The official arrival at Chennai was scheduled at 9.30 pm. But the King Fisher flight schedule had different plans that night, so they dropped us at Bangalore and would later fly us to Chennai late in the night by 1am. They did provide for a compromise dinner and cab home from the airport in Chennai.

By the time things were settled i found my self in the company of  a Chennai based business man, who was talking to me about smoking grass while we ate our not so good Veg dinner at the Bangalore airport. Later we decided to take a walk around the duty free as the time moved very slow that night. To my surprise and more to my amusement, I found the Calvin Klein under wears on sale there! Oh boy, it was very tempting, I had wanted to buy one of those for quite sometime, but then I had also decided to use money wisely, specifically on standing instructions from Sadia.

There I was, stuck in two minds, on one side was CK, on the other side was the economist in me. With a bit of guilt and greed i put forward my hand and took out a box of CK that had flat 50% off. Till that date, I had herd about various types of under wears, but that was the first time I read Jack Strap on an under wear box. That made me feel triumphant as none of my friends had bought a Jack Strap underwear before/ That was it, i forgot about the economy and savings, i pulled out one box of my size and walked for billing.

The business man gave a weird smile seeing me with the box, what no body buys an under wear from duty free I thought to myself. At the counter, the two ladies looked at each and giggled, I was furious at their orthodox shyness on seeing underwear for men. That night, i reached late to hostel and as a result I had to miss my 9.30 break fast. I was trying to dress up in a hurry and then decided to wear the new CK to work. Its always good to be fresh beginning of the week.

I hurriedly took out the box of CK, unpacked it, put my left leg in, and then the right leg only to find my back exposed without a piece of cloth! I took the box and turned to its back side to find the back part of d underwear model smiling at me. All those lady giggles, the weird smile told me a lot of stories about the impression I made in their minds. That was the last time i bought an underwear, ever since then i started putting my trust on boxers alone.

PS: Under wears can cause you irritation, Switch to boxers, the benefits are plenty. ( If you know what I mean :P )


Friday, March 22, 2013


The idea of forming gangs is something I have found it hard to understand. Gangs just gets formed. Oops groups is what I meant. Now I haven't studied psychology, but my master of all trades father says he had studied psychology as a subject. Probably that had some impact on me, I keep thinking about the possible permutations and combinations that ever led to the formation of a group.

It was the month of June, and for the first time in my life I wore the white n blue uniform that the school kids at PALLIKKUTH L.P SCHOOL, CHANDAPARAMB wore when I used to be a mute spectator at the "anganvadi" (play school cum kindergarten). I was pretty reluctant to go the play school, but the big ground, the long building, and loads of children including the ones from my family and neighbourhood always made me eager to be part of this wonderful world called schooling.
I was ready with my uniform, and I hated it that only my shirt was tucked inside my shorts, while the others had it out. When I got my first school kit, that had slate with my name written on it and pencil, mother informed me that I would be going to school with andu, muthu, immalu. Now immalu was in 4th grade so she was the most senior and andu was in 2nd.

I and muthu were going for the first time to school. We both were to join school together, we both had the same nickname and we both are family. My parents had to prepend my date of birth to 26th of may from July cause I had to be five to join grade one.
The bonding between us were always amazing, we played outside every now and then we got a chance to. During recess I walked to the extreme corner on the right of the big ground and looked at the kids at the anganvaadi and felt I have achieved glory. There were kids from all sides of the village, the west, east, south, north and the centre.

Year passed by, immalu got promoted to 5th grade and left for the U.P school. We were only 3 guys since then and we started mingling more with kids from other sides. We were from the centre, and we had other kids who joined us, but we made all the decisions as to what to play and where to play. Unknowingly we formed a group, and thanks to the mainstream Indian cinema, we enacted the gangs.

We walked together, made a cricket team of our own, and some times had fights with the kids from the other side. But we always won, none of the kids actually dared much against us cause my uncle was the senior Arabic teacher at the school.

That was the time when a guy from the railway gate side came to me and challenged me to stick chewing gum on the hair of a guy from the east side. That was a simple job, I didn't think twice, I had a big babool in my mouth that I took in my hand stuck on his head between his hair. I walked back to the guy who challenged with a punk rock bgm I never heard before in my life. But that was more of a self realization for me of the fact that chewing gum if stuck on hair hardly came of it without pain.

The boy was crying and for the first time in life I felt betrayed by the guy who knowingly challenged me. The recess was almost over and the bell was about to ring when the half bald Gopalakrishnan, the senior teacher at the school called me to the varanda outside the staff room. And kids had gathered around in huge amount as if there was a magic show happening, I was in the center with him and the kid with chewing gum on his head was crying. He pulled my hands out, took a step back and waked me with a stick. My hand was red, swollen, and I cried bad.

Andu probably ran out of the school compound and called NANA PA (grandpa) who was just outside at the tea shop. When he came to see me, I cried further, he was always over protective about me.

He took me out to the tea shop and got me "pazhampori" and tea. Later he dropped me back to school and shouted at the teacher for having beaten me so bad, and hell yeah me and my gang did hi fi. We some times sang songs about the baldness of the teacher who bate me. We rejoiced our victory, random kids praised us, others stayed away.

That formed my first group that turned into a gang even before we realized that we were a group of kids with similar liking and love for each other.