Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Republic Day.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Kindness is like a boomerang

It was drizzling and dark .Sekhar had driven his auto (three wheeler) all day long.He normally worked up to 9pm but it was already 10pm and wanted to return home near Tambaram.He could not refuse a young man who wanted his wife in labor to be rushed to a maternity clinic.Having done that, he was driving the vehicle empty back home.It was a busy highway with heavy traffic. He was very tired and driving slowly.
It was then he saw a crowd of people gathered in clusters on the left side of the road a little yonder despite the slight drizzle.Cars, buses and lorries were whizzing past.Some slowed down near the spot only to speed away once they knew it was an accident.Sekhar stopped his three wheeler at the edge of the road and went in.It was a gory sight he saw.A two wheeler was lying askew damaged and bent with the wheel turning in the gust of wind.. One man was dead with his head smashed to pulp. Another was lying in a pool of blood. There were no policemen around.The culprit lorry and its driver had sped away.The people in clusters were talking amongst themselves and did nothing to save the young man who was battling for his life.
Sekhar pushed in and looked around with derison at the onlookers.He went near the dying man and felt with his finger at the nostrils..He could discern a faint warm breath. The guy was not yet dead.but he needed immediate medical help.He called one sturdy man to help him lift the man to his auto.
Someone said” We have sent a message to police.They must be on their way.”
Another made a gratutious remark”There is a death in this hit and run case.It is a police case.We should not disturb the evidence. Let the police come.
“Don’t you see the young man is dying? When the police come, he would have gone for ever” someone bewailed
Sekhar.said”Fie upon the evidence and rules.A life is at stake.Come on, someone help me in taking him to my auto.Soon the auto with the young man sped its way to the nearest hospital.Some worthy noted down the number of auto in his note book.
The nurse at the reception said “This is a police case.Have you informed them?”Sekhar got annoyed”I will answer all questions later.Arrange for immediate medical attention.The man is dying and the bleeding hasn’t stopped..Please be quick”’
A doctor came rushing and the man was wheeled to emergency immediately.Sekhar was waiting for two hours.He did not leave the place It was nearing 1 am.He knew his wife and mother would be greatly worried.It was then the doctor came out and patted on Sekhar’s shoulder.”Don’t worry.The man will live.There are some major fractures but life is not in danger.You brought him in the nick of the time.Had there been a delay of even ten miniutes he would have been a lost case.You saved this man’s life.Are you a friend of his or related?”
“Thank you doctor.You are a god in living form.I don’t know him.I saw him lying on the road with none in the crowd doing anything.I decided to bring him here whatever be the rules, I could not let this man die on the road.”
Doctor said “Do not worry.I will speak for you”
It was a month later Sekhar was arraigned in a court for disturbing the evidence in a hit and run case of death.The rules were like that in those days when people were scared to help the injured.They would be made witnesses and dragged to courts frequently.
The kindly judge who heard the case ruled” Here is a good Samaritan who is brought before me for having broken the rules when in fact he had saved a precious life of a young man...Going strictly by the rule book, I am compelled as a judge to levy a penalty of Rs 500 but as a fellow human being I record my genuine appreciation for Sekhar in showing a rare courage and admirable compassion to a man battling for life and offer to pay the fine on his behalf.He is discharged from the case.”,
The entire people in the court were speechless including the prosecuting officials.It was a week thereafter on a Sunday morning, Sekhar saw a car stop opposite his house.When he came out to see who it was he found the judge smiling at him .After the pleasantries, the judge said”Sekhar I am indebted to you for my life.You had saved that day none else than my son..Here is a small token of affection and gratitude for you which you must not refuse to accept.” He thrust in the hands of a bewidered and surprised Sekhar.a cover containing Rs 50,000.
Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Who had the last laugh?

Lekha was lying in the bed after a hectic morning.Getting up early in the morning, preparing hurriedly breakfast and lunch,sending her six year old son to the school by 8am was a bugbear.It was a big ordeal to wake him up, give a bath,force feed the breakfast with milk and send him with his books for the day without forgetting the lunch box.But she enjoyed doing it though it irritated her sometimes making her raise her voice.Her hubby would have no time for her in the mornings but he never troubled her for his things.It was only after 10 am she would be some what relaxed when she would switch on the TV resting on the bed with the day’s paper and mobile by her side and the laptop on the other.

It was an independent house with a tiny garden. She loved gardening. As she was in the bed one afternoon, she heard the buzzer.She saw through the window a tall young man in early twenties dressed well in pant and shirt with a matching tie standing with a brief case in his hand.He had a curly hair and looked quite handsome. When he saw her, he bowed his head and said “Madam, sorry to disturb you at this hour.I have come to introduce to you some burglar alarms that would ensure total security.I wonder whether you would like to have a look.It wouldn’t take 15 minutes, madam”

“I don’t think we would be interested in burglar alarms.Thanks anyway for checking” Lekha replied.

“Madam, you must be aware of the spate of thefts and robberies in the vicinty of late.Amost daily some house is burgled.Much worse is the fact inmates are attacked and even killed.There is a great demand for our products particulay from independent houses.You needn’t have to buy..It is enogh if you make yourself aware of the foolproof security systems available with us” he pleaded .

She hesitated for a while He looked decent and harmless.His shoes were glisenting with polish.She said before going in “Please wait. I will ask my husband if he is interested.”

Lekhaa was cautioned to be careful by her husband though he had no objection to her seeing the stuff and collect details of price etc.

She opened the door and let him in. He was perspiring a lot..She switched on the fan and told him to wait as she went to kitchen to fetche a glass of water he desired.

When she retunred she found to her shock the door which she had left ajar was closed and locked.. As he drank the water with a smirk in his face, she knew she had erred in her judgment.As he advanced towards her making her recede backwards to a chair, he laughed and said” madam, please remember no burglar alarm would be of any avail if you let in unknown strangers into your house.Sit on the chair and don’t make any noise.Hand over the keys to the almirah.If you comply with my request without demur you would not get hurt bodily. There are wicked men who rape before killing the victims. You seem intelligent. Please give the keys” he said in a soft and leering tone.

“Young man, you seem to be new to this profession.Do you think I would ever open the door without ensuring adequate precaution?.I did not go to telephone my husband as you surmised. .I opened the back door and alerted the three gardeneres who were clearing the weeds and cleaning the garden to come inside with their implements.They are behind the unlocked closed doors on either side of this drawing hall” she said

“What do you mean?” blurted the young chap

“Nothing but what I told you. .I could see that you are educated and speak English fluently.I have a suspicion you have strayed into this wrong path by mistake.You must be having parents, sisters and brothers.I can spoil your life. I have two options. I can give signal to the gardeners behind the doors to pounce upon you.They are armed with sickle, crowbars and what not.I can call the police and hand you over.The other option is to let you go scotfree if you promise that you would never indulge in such crimes.I do not want a young life and the dependent family to come to grief.Tell me quickly before I change my mind what you wish to do”

The young man promptly fell at her feet and clasping her legs said “ Sorry madam.This is my first foolish attempt.I am not getting any job.My family is starving.I hired these clothes for a day.I promise to turn a new leaf and never ever dream of such misdoings. Please forgive me and let me go.”

She then let him pick up his brief case and opened the door for him to go out..Once he left and the door was secured she sat on the sofa and broke into peels of laughter.She narrated to her husband about ignoring his caution and the clever trick she employed with great presence of mind about the imaginary gardeners behind the doors to scare the young fellow away.

.It was then she heard the school bus approaching from the loud horn.She turned to look at the expensive crystal clock on the side table for seeing time.But it was not there to her great shock.Then she remembered her iPod she had left there when she answered the door bell of the young man.It was also missing.Her spirit of joy gave way to gloom at her foolishness.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I close my eyes to dwell on you
Far away you are from my view
I try and try to capture you in my eyes
Only to find you vanish in a trice

Softly when I go off to sleep
I hear your silent steps upon the deep
The music of your bells keep the rhyme
Tinkle, tinkle do the bells with anklets chime.

Thy soft steps drive away the crowding thoughts
Emptying the mind of earthly pleasures.
Melody of thy music on lute seeps into me
The dulcet melodies gush merrily through me

The proximity of Thy pervading spirit
Suffuses my heart with indescribable joy
Enveloping my whole self in perceptions anew
Penetrating the pores of my deep, deep soul

O Krishna, when You leave me dreaming
I am once again covered with a blanket so dark
Reveling in all mundane hopes and smart scheming
Moving away once again from Thee in my pettiness
(My first attempt. I wrote this at the gentle persuasion of a good friend of mine.)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Comedy of an error

It was in late Seventies that I was returning to Chennai from Trichur after a visit to Guruvayur.I remember the train departing in the evening around 5pm.I was in a first class compartment with three other passengers.Some one came to collect order for dinner at the next station and I paid a small amount to get a coupon for one vegetarian meal.The others didn’t order as they were possibly travelling short distance.I was feeling hungry and wondered when the dinner would be served.It was past 7pm and the train chugged along slowly unmindful of my plight.When it stopped at a station around 7.45pm I knew the dinner was not far off.

Soon a bearer entered my cabin and looked questioningly.When the others signalled towards me, he placed before me a large round stainless steel plate, larger than the usual aluminium plates that I was accustomed to in the railways.He didn’t ask for the coupon. It was covered by a spotlessly clean towel.It struck me odd and asked him whether it was a vegetarian meal.He responded with an affirmative nod and left after a deferential bow.The other passengers were looking at the covered plate with curiosity.Wondering at the unusually large size of the plate, I opened it gingerly.To my great amazement, there were 24 items of dishes in fairly big katories that looked rich even on a cursory look.They included inter alia two sweets,two packets of chips made out of banana (Nendran) and jack fruit(Chakka) and some fruits too.It was a dinner that kings of yore would have taken.

I surmised there had been a mistake as the food I was expecting was a limited variety of rice,sambhar,rasam and two sabzis in small quantity in a small aluminium plate.I immediately covered the plate with the towel and looked out for the bearer to get the matter clarifed.Meanwhile the train had left the station and there was no bearer visible.The pangs of hunger were unbearable.One of the passengers who was sitting opposite to me asked “What are you waiting for ?It is past 8pm.Have your dinner before it gets cold”

“I think there has been a mistake somewhere.I ordered just an ordinary meal and this royal fare, I think, is not intended for me.I am unable to find the bearer.True I am very hungry.” I replied

“It is not your fault.Please have the food.If he asks for extra payment I am sure you would be willing to pay.It is getting late.The train is not vestibuled and the next halt will take more than an hour.Please proceed with eating” he said kindly.The others too nodded their heads in agreement.

I decided to eat.I gave the chips packets and the fruits to them telling the food is too much for me and they could enjoy the snack.They gladly accepted.the offer. It was perhaps the tastiest dinner that I had ever taken in a train. It was just impossible for the railways or the contractor to give such sumptuous food for the paltry amount I had paid for.As I was musing at my good fortune there was a tap on the door.

A young boy of 7 years presumably from the adjacent cabin peeped in and asked “Uncle, have you got your dinner?”

“Yes, young boy.What happened? Haven’t you got yours?” I asked

“No, we got ours.But it was a small plate” he replied innocently looking at the big plate lying before me.Before I could say something the boy ran away.

It was when one of the passengers in my cabin went out to toilet and returned, we found him laughing profusely.When prodded by his railway friends, he replied that he became wiser to the mystery of the large plate served to me.With a large smile he said “The wife of CCS(Chief Commercial Superintendent) is travelling in the adjacent cabin.The bearer committed a mistake in leaving the large plate intended for her to our friend here and his small and spartan meal to her.She is furious.I am sure the contractor would be paying a heavy price for this gaffe.”

It was then I remembered the bearer’s deferential bow.The comedy of error made me get atleast once a taste of good things that the men in power and their families are accustomed to while travelling.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

All that glitters is not gold

The girl was to be seen by the chosen boy and his parents that afternoon. She was not a very pretty girl, short and skinny. They took her to a beautician for a bridal make up and had her hair style done attractively. Her mother adorned her with all shining jewelry and in costly silks. They had made a variety of sweets and snacks. The boy’s parents looked at the ornaments, the rich brocade and the lavish spread of eatables and were impressed. The boy too was taken in by the rich ambience all around. They conveyed their approval then and there. There was no discussion on girl’s attainments or abilities though luckily in this case she was talented.

Likewise we are often influenced in our decisions by the outward frills. A bad coffee given in an ornate silver mug is preferred to a good one in an ordinary steel cup. When given the choice to choose one from the tray, we are tempted to pick the glittering one though we know nothing of the content in both the cups. The little child always prefers in a sweet shop items that are covered in bright silver foils unconcerned about the contents inside. Cars are bought for the outward sleek appearance and flashy gadgets much like the jewels on the girl without going into its technical parameters. I have seen people preferring posh restaurants that serve the dishes in finest cutlery on well covered tables by waiters in uniforms even though the food served is of indifferent quality than the delicious stuff served in modest looking places. People are guided by appearances and do not mind paying more.

Similarly unprofessional employers are taken in by the gift of the gab, resourceful replies and the appearance of the candidates instead of assessing their true worth of in terms of intelligence, accomplishments and other personality traits. Even reputed companies have often to turn out within a year the unfit employees that passed muster initially. The more the wrapper is colourful, the chances of the product appealing to the buyer are more. The wrapper need not be a paper; it can be a certificate for a candidate from some reputed institutions. The advertising companies exploit this weakness in human nature to fall for the external attributes.

Not all the ochre robed men can be a worthy guru. But we see gullible men rushing to fall at the feet of fake god men who fasten themselves with all paraphernalia and hired disciples. With the herd mentality predominant in ourselves, we are apt to get fooled by the multitude waiting for the darshan.Truly great men avoid crowd and choose secluded places. It is only by rare chance and by divine grace that one comes across such saints with true spiritual knowledge and authentic personal experience. The pomp and worth of the individual are frequently in inverse proportion.

We frequently misjudge a person, place or thing by its appearance often failing to realize that trusting mere appearances is wrong. A glib talker or a handsome politician or one who makes liberal promises is more likely to be chosen in elections because of common perception that he would make a good leader, when in reality he might be very incapable and corrupt. When we choose people to rule the country we are guided by the outward show like the crowd turn out, his lineage and the trappings and not by the real worth and true character of the candidates for office. Smooth talk expressing concern for the people should not mislead us. Instead their past record of service, their simple living and a disdain for wealth should be the guiding factors. Too many promises and small concessions often camouflage the real intention.

We always see medical representatives dressed formally and well, as doctors have illogically more confidence in such people than on those dressed poorly. Apparel oft maketh the man is true in all human dealings though it is unsound logic. While there is nothing wrong for someone to look his best, we should remember that appearance alone should not be the primary basis on which one makes decision to buy or believe something or someone. Things are seldom what they seem, Skim milk masquerades as cream. Let us not confuse appearances with reality.