Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2023

India Today’s own Narendra Modi

India Today to Narendra Modi : What about creation of jobs? Narendra Modi : As for creation of jobs, it has been the topmost priority of my government. All our efforts have been geared to this task. The above question-answer is from India Today ’s latest edition, which is an out and out eulogy to Narendra Modi who is given the Newsmaker of the Year Award by the weekly. Now let’s look at a news item from India Today ’s website: A Romanian flight carrying 276 Indian passengers landed in Mumbai early on Tuesday after being grounded in France four days ago over suspected human trafficking . It was not human trafficking. It was a whole airplane of people leaving India illegally but voluntarily to find jobs in the USA or Canada or any country better than Modi’s India. Ironically, most of these ‘illegal’ jobseekers are from Modi’s own Gujarat which he claims in the India Today interview as the state made ideal by him. “When I became chief minister of Gujarat in 2001, the size of i

Marine Expo

 There is a Marine Expo going on in my hometown, Thodupuzha in Kerala, India. Since the Christmas break is still on (it will end on Sunday), Maggie and I decided to spend some time watching some exotic fish. When we reached there, we found that the Marine Expo has a lot more than fishes. There are some simulated animals, a few of which are given minimal animation too. Children will find this section of the Expo very amusing.  The second half of the Expo is purely commercial, selling furniture, food items, clothes, and so on. There are a few stalls selling north Indian food which I would have loved to taste. But we visited the Expo at an odd time when our appetite was at its nadir: 6 pm. Perhaps, the real truth is that the crowd put me off. But the crowd is an indication of the success of the Expo.  Here are some pics and videos. 

Truth and Justice

Maggie and I decided to watch a movie during this weeklong Christmas break from school. Our natural choice was Neru , Malayalam movie directed by the illustrious Jeethu Joseph of Drishyam (dubbed or remade successfully into many Indian languages including Hindi) fame. Neru means truth. The movie is about both truth and justice both of which are inextricably intertwined and neither of which is quite available nowadays, especially in a country where the values of the Mahabharat war are upheld as just. And what is that value: everything is fair in war, and life is a perpetual war . Sara, a young blind girl, is raped in her house in Thiruvananthapuram by Michael Joseph, son of an affluent Malayali businessman in Mumbai. Sara, being an exceptionally gifted sculptor, makes a lifelike bust of the rapist which helps in the prompt arrest of the culprit. The police officer who arrests Michael is soon relieved of his charge. This is India, after all. Everything is fair in life’s war here pr

Christmas at Bethlehem

From the Washington Post Bethlehem, the place of Jesus’ birth, is not celebrating Christmas this time, says the Washington Post . The only scene related to Christmas is Jesus entering the world amid a pile of Gazan rubble. Christmas is a festival of joy, peace, magnanimity – goodness, in general. It is a terrible irony that the very place of Jesus’ birth is marked by the opposite of all what Christmas stands for. What meaning will a Christmas carol like Joy to the World have in Bethlehem today? What would Jesus say about the kind of religions that we have today? Isn’t religion the cause of all the strife in Bethlehem and many other places in the world? The Hamas who attacked Israel were motivated by religion. Israel is a nation founded on the bricks of a particular religion. It is another irony that Jesus was born in that religion. Did Jesus found a new religion? I would hesitate to say ‘Yes’ to that question. His intention was to reform Judaism, his religion, not establish a

Killers of the Flower Moon

Book Review   Title: Killers of the Flower Moon: Oil, Murder and the Birth of the FBI Author: David Grann Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2017 Pages: 339 Human greed has no limits. Worse, greed can make people inhuman. David Grann’s book which is classified as ‘history’ reads more like a crime thriller. It tells us the bloodcurdling history of how almost an entire tribe of people, the Osage Indians of Oklahoma, were killed with meticulous planning by a few individuals whose greed overwhelmed their humanity. A few hundred people were killed and many of those deaths were passed off as natural. The author of this book quotes the Osage historian Louis F Burns, “I don’t know of a single Osage family which didn’t lose at least one family member because of the head rights.” The head rights refer to the legal grants given to the Osage people for selling the oil in their lands. The whites in North America perpetrated many atrocities on the original inhabitants of those lands. E

The heart of nature (and poltics)

Gardening is gaining a renewed interest in my heart. A few weeks back, I bought some new flower pots, potting mixture, and some saplings. Five of the saplings were of Pinwheel Flower or what we call here in Kerala Nandiarvattom . Here is a picture of one of the Nandiarvattoms I planted.  It’s growing pretty well. I would look at their small little green leaves and the pinwheel white flowers every morning and evening with a lot of fondness. Good going, I would tell them patting their gentle leaves. Some plants are sweeter than flowers. Nandiarvattoms belong to that category. The other day, when I returned from school, I found one of my beloved Nandiarvattoms in this shape.  It nearly broke my heart. What a transformation in a single day! I looked at the others. They were all safe. I did a detailed investigation and discovered the villain. A caterpillar. A green crawling worm with big eyes and obese body. Ah, you grew fat on the leaves of my Nandiarvattom without leaving a single


One of my cats, Brownie How many times have you wished to be somebody else? To be the emperor of Akhand Bharat Or be in the Forbes list of karotpat. Serpents may long for wings, Tea vendors can long to be kings. Like I want to be a poet Or at least a muse’s cigarette.   Cats The only creatures That don’t want to be Anything else. They are contended To be what they are.   When they are hungry They know how to get the food From you And if you don’t know What they want It’s your loss They will go And bring serpents And play with them In your bedroom.   Cats They love you So much That they will sleep Between your legs When you are asleep And go away without a word of thanks Or regret Or any sentiment silly When you wake up Loving their warmth Between your legs.   They don’t need you. You need them. Try loving a cat If you don’t believe me.   The cat’s love will make you straightforward. Brownie&

Dangers of Proximity

Outside Aster Paraphrasing Shelley, I may say that ‘Hell is a city much like Kochi.’ Kochi was my favourite city when I was young. I studied in a college there for five years. I walked kilometres and kilometres in that city. I cycled even more. I was in love with Kochi. Now I detest going there. I avoid Kochi as far as possible. Too much development has undone that city. Huge buildings and flyovers and the metro rail all together have made it an enormous mess. I am not a Luddite opposed to new technology and progress. Not at all. It’s just that Kochi never had the space for the kind of development that has been imposed on it. Its roads were not even wide enough for its traffic and then came the pillars of the metro rail right in their middle. The traffic crawls now on the arterial roads like the Banerjee Road and the MG Road. The gap between your vehicle and the next one is just a few inches. If you steer an inch wrongly there comes a scratch on your vehicle, if not a dent. But t

Prisoners of the Past

Psychologically healthy people live in the present. Many of the others live in the past. They carry history on their backs like those molluscs that carry their shells on their backs. When obstacles present themselves, these people will withdraw into history’s shells saying things like: Remember our ancient glorious history when we were nation of whatever . The plain truth is that if we look back at our real history, there is more to be ashamed of than to be proud of. Most nations have traversed inglorious paths to become what they are today. A lot of blood was spilt, women were raped, the poor were exploited and oppressed inhumanly… Even the scriptures were written to uphold the interests of certain groups only. Even our gods were subhuman! But history is often what we fabricate. For example, the entire three centuries of the Mughal reign in India can be just erased as the new history textbooks in schools are doing. Certain people whom India regarded as villains are now heroes in

History and Fiction

Book Review Title: Conversations with Aurangzeb Author: Charu Nivedita Translated from Tamil by Nandini Krishnan Publisher: HarperCollins India, 2023 Pages: 335 History claims to give us truths and fiction really gives us glimpses into truths. Tamil novelist Charu Nivedita’s Conversations with Aurangzeb is in fact history masquerading as a novel. It is fiction inasmuch as Aurangzeb makes an apparition through a medium to the narrator who is a writer doing some research for his next novel. But it is not a novel because there is nothing that can be called a plot. It’s all conversation between the narrator and the spirit of the Mughal emperor. Occasionally a few other characters make their appearances, but they don’t add anything to the plot. How much can we trust history? This is the question that the writer explores in this novel. It is a cliché that history is written by the winners. It gets rewritten when new winners emerge. For example, India’s history is being rewritt

Santa’s Gift

Christmas was the most joyful season of my childhood though Santa Claus did not play any significant role in it. My childhood was lived out in a village which did not even have electricity until I reached high school. Many people were very poor too. Only a few children completed school education. Parents found it economically wiser to send their children to work in the farms or elsewhere. The parish church’s carol team was large and lively in those days in spite of the misery of human existence. Santa was an inevitable part of the carol team. That was the only Santa in my childhood. That Santa did not ever bring any gifts for anyone. Rather, that Santa took something from every home – Christmas donation for the parish. To this day, every year Santa comes with the church’s carol team. But drastic changes have occurred to the team. Last year there were just three men and the Santa. One man carried the infant Jesus, another carried the account book for entering the donation amounts,

Yet another Christmas

  “Please, I beg you not to turn us away,” Joseph says to the innkeeper once more. He has been pleading with the innkeeper for some kind of a place where his wife Mary could give birth. Joseph, Mary, innkeeper - they were all kids from the primary school of the parish. Jenny was sitting in the audience watching the Christmas skit presented by the little children. She knew what would come: the innkeeper would shut the door saying rudely that he didn’t have any more rooms left. Especially for a couple that didn’t have anything much to give in return for all the troubles they were going to create with a delivery and what not. Then Joseph and Mary would go to a cowshed and the cows will be far more benign than humans. Cows are great creatures, Jenny learnt recently from her country’s dominant political party. If they give birth to a female calf, they are greater still. That bastard in your belly ! Her mother shouts at her a million times a day referring to the baby she is carrying.

Writing with honesty

The above was the title of an opinion piece published in The Guardian on 20 Oct 2023. After Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, India’s rank in the press freedom index sank consistently and is now about to drown altogether at 161 out of 180 countries. The case filed against Ms Roy is based on some comments she made in 2010, thirteen years ago. When anyone becomes inconvenient for Modi because they dare to speak the truth on some platform or the other, Modi’s men from such agencies as the Enforcement Directorate or Income Tax or Central Bureau of Investigation will come with the handcuff. Quite many journalists have been arrested after 2014 in India. For telling the truth. Many intellectuals have stopped writing for newspapers and other periodicals just because they don’t want to spend the rest of their life in the prison. No wonder you won’t find even bloggers giving you the truth. Bloggers in India seem to have become influencers . They are doing business instead of writing