Friday, May 30, 2014

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A New Government; a New Dispensation

So the democratic process electing a new parliament has ground to a halt. The process of determining the next government will soon begin. But have you thought of how distanced we, the people, are from the governing process? True, right to information has unearthed a lot of things. On the whole, looking at it from an academic distance, what do we see? The politicians need us only for electing them. After that, it's pretty much their own turf, they can decide what they want to do. 

A government run by proxy is the worst form of government. I hear the congress was run by it's president than the prime minister. Also, there is talk of the cabinet of the potential future prime minister being decided by the RSS. Do we need such governments run by proxies? Such governments have their risks: decisions are not made at appropriate time, often wrong decisions are meted out. There is also the monster of some favourite influencing the decision. 

Ah, ahem, now comes the question of diplomacy and projecting our leader to the world. How will Modi - a small-time businessman - appear in the company of Obama and Cameroon? Can he speak English with sophistication? Whatever I have heard him speak appears shallow, uninspiring. What will be his sartorial preferences? How will be conduct himself in world fora? 

You need all that to be a leader of a nation, and much more. Empty rhetoric will not compensate for realpolitik. 

Hm, all we can do is wait and watch.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Jackfruit Tree I Planted... and Why Jackfruits Are So Important to Mallus!

Sometime in my childhood, I wanted to be a farmer and would go around our property in Kerala with a hoe and plant trees and look after a cow that was gifted to me by my mother. And then I had planted this jackfruit (it's also called breadfruit in some cultures) tree in our property. Actually, I took a plant that had germinated from under a jackfruit tree and re-planted it, and then watered it. The tree did very well and grew. Today that tree has sprouted many branches and my brother Joseph John sent me this photo, which shows, well, a lot of fruits. 

Erm, what I am waffling, eh, proceeding to announce here is the joy of seeing something bear fruit. This does warm the cockles because other endeavours of mine are forever languishing: a novel, a collection of short stories, a book on Kerala. Well, they are taking their time, while the jackfruit tree has spread its wings in many directions. Secretly, in my heart, what I am wishing is: why hasn't my other projects taken off? Where am I going wrong? Of course, health issues and medical system have taken a toll, but do I give up so soon, without closure? I don't know. 

I need to... need to.... Okay I will leave it at that.

In Kerala a jackfruit is put to different uses (as every Malayali knows), as I said to Facebook friend and guitarist Lindsay Legane:

We eat it as a fruit
We make a sauted delicacy of its seeds
We fry it in coconut oil
We steam it 
We make a curry out of it
We eat it raw
So on and so forth....

Well, so many We's in the above for my liking. I will let it stand. That's because we Mallus are an egotistic people when it comes to our fruits and our eats. He... he...!

So, people, never ask a Mallu if he misses jackfruit. He may well double up his lungi into an improvised short pant and prepare to climb a jackfruit tree. And sure as hell he won't come down for hours until he finishes his "chakka" on the "plavu."

Here's the Wikipedia article on Jackfruit, if it interests you.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

About Employers and Suchlike...

Absence can make the heart grow fonder. So, dear reader, I am assuming my absence would have made you fonder about this space. Or, am I dreaming, or something? Well, be that as it may
I have kept aside (rather, swept aside
other concerns to pen a few words here today.

Sonny's leaving for the U.S.A. was a shock for both me and wifey. Didn't expect it to happen so soon. We miss him. We thought the company would give him some more time for the rona dhona (crying and wringing) and packing. No. Corporations are very demanding these days, which says something about the job market. Don't ask me what. So the actual rona dhona is happening now: on a little application called Whatsapp. Our first question to him is Have you eaten? If yes, what? It seems he has met some good people in the U.S. and are staying at their house, a beautiful bungalow with two garages and a drive. These are only things we can imagine here, but there it is common, or, so I guess.

And, then there are health issues. I think the whole concept of western medicine - as it exists in India - is a sham.
Yesterday I went to get some tests done and the girl there couldn't spell my name.
She kept writing my name wrongly and I had to correct her.
Now, suppose, she mixes my name for someone else's? Such things do happen in laboratories, don't they? That makes me a believer more and more of Indian medicine. Oh, why couldn't I do Yoga, meditation, and walking a few years ago - as I do now - and stayed clear of my health issues. But then I was too much in awe of life and wanted to live as if each day counted. I was a sucker for the promises of my employers, wanting to do great things in the corporate world. Did I succeed?

Well, how can you succeed when you have to meet the following foolish demands:

The MD wants a new website of the company in just four days
The in-house magazine should read like a combination of Penthouse and Playboy
Each advertisement should have five, yes five, different concept for the MD to choose from
Everything should be approved by the chairman or the MD
You have to sit beside the office copier and do your best thinking
All they - the VP and above -
is drink tea, hold meetings and go home, you have to sit and do the poop scooping
An office of a 100 people has two toilets and 4 urinals. Sometimes even these facilities have to be shared with the neighbour's office staff.
(The MD and Chairman have their own.)​ 
If you want to crap the best option is the nearby star hotel, into which you walk with all the dignity you can muster, given the situation.
et cetera, et cetera.

Enough bitching about employers. The liberties they take
​ ​
in India
are undocumented.
More of this to come.