Thursday, November 18, 2010


Unni was walking back to take guard for the final delivery of the match. As I rubbed the tennis ball on my dirt stained shorts, I realised it’s just 4 runs that he needs to raise the Five-Star Cricket Cup – the prestigious gully cricket cup we both played for every Saturday, the loser buying the winner a Rs.10/- Five Star chocolate. As I was about the take the run-up, the match got interrupted. Not rain, not bad light; a Royal Enfield Bullet came speeding up the lane. Unni hadn’t expected his father to return so early that day. The Bullet went past me into the porch of Unni’s house. I was slowly walking back to my home when I heard Unni screaming. ‘Regular’. When I turned back, I could see his shadow twitching.

Unni was (and still is) 4 years younger to me. There were times when we fought over the ‘not-out’ or ‘out’ decisions dished out by the ‘biased’ umpire during our gully-cricket days. There were times when I advised him on his studies, taking advantage of being his ‘senior’ at school and ‘confidant’ of the Principal (so he believed). I despised him on occasions. But most times, I had my sympathies with him.

Unni’s father reminded me of the quintessential villains in Tamil and Malayalam movies. He was tall and built; had a penchant for thick moustache. He trimmed and tidied it religiously. He was respected in the neighbourhood for being fearsome. Like any other parent, he wanted his son to study well. He made sure that Unni stayed in his room almost always – except on Saturdays. On Saturdays we played Five-Star Cricket Cup.

A day never passed without Unni being beaten up – literally, by his father. Sometimes we smelled burning skin. To those people who advised Uncle (that’s how I referred to him) against such punishments, he would say, ‘I love my son a lot. I want him to be successful’. May be it was burning love he had for his son, after all.

Our Five-Star Cricket Tournament got cancelled very soon.

Uncle was diagnosed with cancer.

Tertiary stage.

29/11/2004 - Saturday

The news came in the morning. Uncle passed away.

As people waited his body to be brought home from the hospital, Unni was preparing for the Five-Star Cricket Cup. With death came freedom. ‘Chetta! Kalikkaan vaa’! I declined his request to play the match. That didn’t stop Unni from playing – he got hold of his cousins. They played hide ‘n seek since the road was crowded.

“Deepu, call them inside” told my mom.

I took them to my room and played Tom and Jerry on my computer.

Why is Unni behaving like this? May be he doesn’t understand the meaning of what’s happening around him, he is just 10 years old after all.

“Unni” I called him.

“Do you know what’s happening here?”

“Yes – they are going to burn my father into ashes.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Lonely Angel

This girl caught my attention. She was different. I was in Cochin, attending a 2 day Seminar on ‘Indian Law and Women’. She seemed to be just the person for whom laws were made – frail and pink, silent and lonely. When the other participants were keenly poised to take their points across to the ‘Distinguished Panel’ she sat at one corner, indifferent to the proceedings unravelling in front of her.

 I believe that the Women’s Reservation Bill will not empower, but subjugate the lower class women of our country. It is in the interest of our nation that we scrap............
She became my ‘subject of interest’ for her silent demeanour. She was different from the stereotypical I-will-not-let-others-speak-females at Seminars. During the breaks, she walked alone with a longing look on her face. She was mostly lost in thought, fidgeting with her iPod.

Why is she silent?
Why is she indifferent?

May be she is in love with someone, unable to adjust with his absence. Or did she have a break-up recently? Possibly. The sudden vacuum might have made her vulnerable. Her silence spoke volumes; feelings of despair and dejection. I couldn’t empathize with her; never been a girl myself (bad joke).

The first day of seminar ended rather late. Interested participants made it a point to be repetitive when conveying their ideas. Their over enthusiasm stretched the proceedings to 8pm. Everyone got out of the building exhausted, in need of some fresh and cool air. I walked slowly, noting every movement of hers. In the moonlight outside, she looked divine. I couldn’t just keep my eyes off her. What began as a literary fascination was fast turning out to be.... No! No! I wouldn’t let that happen, I told myself. With that self-assurance, I walked to my hotel room.

No buts! Just sleep!!
But I can’t!
Just sleep Raghu! You can sleep! – Self instruction.

Shakira’s voice woke me up the next day (Hips don’t lie – to be specific). November 1 it was; Kerala State formation day. The organisers had provided the participants with the traditional attire of the state to be worn on the last day of the seminar. Having been born and brought up in Delhi, I barely knew how to wear a ‘Mundu’ despite being a ‘Mallu’. With several ‘extra fittings’ and more than 45 minutes of efforts, I was finally ready for the day ahead. I got out of the room into the hotel lobby and there she was in her ‘set saree’ looking absolutely stunning! Indian women look infinitely better in sarees, I thought while unsuccessfully trying to divert my attention into random thoughts to avoid falling for her. I followed her to the auditorium rather inconspicuously, making and attending fake calls in my mobile phone. Inconspicuous I thought, theatrical I was. My loud ‘phone conversations’ attracted curious glances from people around. But I managed to reach the auditorium without further damage to my reputation.

Arun Jaitely came and went.
Soli Sorabjee came and went.
Ram Jethmelani came and went.

I didn’t care. I just cared about her. Vaaranam Aayiram, my inspiration.

During the evening tea break, I approached her.

Hi... eh... I am Raghu. Raghu Padmanabhan, I told her extending my hand.
Namaste. I am Anjali Menon.
I retracted my extended hand. False start.
Eh... so... wassup? I asked her, trying to be ‘cool’.
I am doing my MA in psychology. Delhi University. Eh?, her voice seemed to be unusually bold.
Oh... nice. Even I am going to finish my Masters this coming July. Masters in Political Science.
Thanks Raghu.
Thanks. I am really thrilled.
I don’t understand Anjali. Why are you thanking me?
I was working on my MA project thesis. And I just completed my last case study.
Why should you thank me for that?
She answered with a naughty smile, “Because you were my specimen for the case study on The psychology of an Indian Stalker”

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Namesake Update - On beauty and sports

Aju has been quite busy updating his blog almost everyday… Sajad and Sushmita are not far behind… even Chetana managed to update her blog during this vacation… This one is just namesake… ;-)

Venus Williams crashed out of Wimbledon Women’s Singles. She lost to… eh… damn! I can’t even remember her name! But, she is not bad… I mean, she is quite good looking... :-)

Why is that??? I mean, ramp or reel suits them better than the dusty world of sports! Quite a few names come to my mind when I think about good looking sportswomen… Sania, Saina and Sharapova… Kournikova and Kirilenko… (racket sports ~ beauty??)…

But my vote goes to World #11 chess player Alexandra from Russia

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tales of two birthdays

Why am I writing on birthdays? Well, because I recently 'celebrated' my 19th birthday. I am going to share with you stories - personal stories of two of my past birthday celebrations.
18th birthday
One of the most memorable days in my entire life. My 18th birthday was special. Past midnight, i get calls from my friends and hilarious messages. That evening Pratap sir and Vishnu comes home to gift me a t-shirt. The next day morning, I get a surprise visitor in the form of Sajad, who gifted me the book "Not a penny more, not a penny less". These little surprises made that day very special.
8th birthday
Not so happy one. See, I had this problem. Sometimes I feel things are happening very fast though they are not. The visual feedback I'm getting seems to be fast. I perceive things to be happening very fast. And I slowly lose control over my voluntary actions. On my 8th birthday, it so happened that this problem recurred. I was walking aimlessly, everything moving very fast around me. I soon tripped and fell. My mother had a tough time controlling me.
To ever lose the control over your 'voluntary' actions is the biggest 'calamity' that can happen to us. To not know what you are doing is a sad situation. Because of God's grace and others' blessings, that has not happened to me since. Let's keep voluntary actions voluntary itself.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Namaste! - 2 : Handshake

Did I tell you that I was afraid of girls? I did tell you that in my post 'Namaste!'. This is the second part of the Namaste! series. This is called 'Handshake".

March 21, 2010 : Sunday

I was walking towards the NSS office for the monthly DOS collection. (Those who know what DOS collection is, skip the next para).

DalOilSugar is a monthly collection drive in the IIT campus conducted by the National Service Scheme volunteers. The volunteers go to the residential zone in the campus to get food, clothes, books, toys etc which will be then handed over to an NGO which will redistribute them to needy people.

As I was walking towards the NSS office, a guy stops me and asks the way to Himalaya. Here is the conversation that I had with that guy.

Guy : How can I got to Himalaya building?
Me : You go straight, take a left, again go straight, the building to your left is Himalaya.
Guy : Neenge tamil pesuveegla? (Do you speak Tamil?)
Me : Kocham kochama pesuven. (Little bit)
Guy : Ohk. I am P******t from A**a University. I came here to meet my friend K*****n in Saraswati Hostel. He is in Elec department. Do you know him?
Me : I don't think so. I am in Humanities Department.
Guy : Ohk.. You guys have a big campus.
Me : Yeah. It's 632 acres.
Guy : What's you name btw?
Me : I'm Arun.
Guy : You are from Tamil Nadu?
Me : No. I am from Trivandrum, Kerala.
Guy : Can  you just give me your number?..or just give me a miss call.
Me : Ok.
I give him miss call. We both save the number. I save the number as P******t A**a.
We shake hands and part.
I proceded to the NSS office, satisfied that I helped that guy find Himalayala.

March 22, 2010 : Monday
I was sleeping. Suddenly my phone rings.
P******t A**a calling.
Only half conscious, I took the call.
Guy : Hey Arun. Do you remember me? I am P******t from A**a university.
Me : Eh...Yeah.. I remember you.
Guy : How are you, Arun?
Me : Yeah I am fine.
Guy : I am coming to IIT today to see my friend. Can I meet you?
Guy : Will you be free sometime today evening?
I was becoming very uneasy. Suddenly found a way out.
Me : Oh..sorry. I have a project work to do.
Guy : Oh! I would luvvv to see you project!
Me :'s a group project. There is a group meeting.
Guy : Will you be free at night? After the meeting?
Me : Sorry, I can't say when the meeting will be over.
Gay : In which hostel are you in?
Me : Tap...ti
Gay : Is it near Saraswati?
Me : See, I have to go for the meeting.
Gay : Ohk. Call when you want to see me.
Call disconnected.
OMG! What does this guy/gay want?
Vignesh, my classmate and friends have contacts in A**a university. With two phone calls, he discovers who this guy is and has assured me that if this gay/guy calls me again, it would be taken care of.
I changed the name from P******t A**a to P******t A**a DANGER.
I got two calls from him after that. Both the times, I didnt take the call.

Did I tell you that I was afraid of girls? I did tell you that in my post 'Namaste!'.
In this post Handshake, I am telling you - I am afraid of guys too!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cabinet Reshuffle

After the first 'performance analysis', I have made minor changes in my Cabinet.

Apologies to anyone if I have offended anyone by giving them (or not giving them) a particular ministry.

Prime Minister
Arun Sudarsan
I will also take care of the Finance Ministry and Defence Ministry.

Prime Minister's Office
Jerin Jacob Mathew (who will also be the Home Minister)
Chandni Chandran (who will also be the Finance Minister)
Sajad S Santhosh (who will be a MoS in the PMO)
My office will be run by my trusted aides

Speaker, Loksabha
Manjari Shankar
With the view of making the Parliament sessions more interesting, we have Manjari as the speaker and Baasma as the deputy speaker.

Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha
Baasma Parvi

Ministry of External Affairs
Siddharth Srikanth
An exceptionally talented writer, thinker and debater, he is given the task of redefining India’s image at the world stage.

Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs
Angel Jeana
Gautam Ramesh 

His love for Parliamentary behaviour makes him the best choice to see to it that decorum is maintained during the sessions.

Ministry of Human Resources Development
T P Kurian
Binny Alexander
His wide ranging experiences in the education sector will help in my government’s effort to restructure India’s educational setup (to be aided by Binny Alexander)

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
Former Paparazzi, he will infuse the kind of energy that is required to run this ministry.

Ministry of Food and Agriculture
Suraj Nair
Preshant Sekar
The Grub God as he is affectionately called, Suraj is the most suited person to run this ministry aided by Preshant Sekar.

Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs
Aju Basil James
Amrutha Gayathri
Oviya Govindan
Being excellent players of football, swimming and basketball respectively - the three games that need revival in the country, I hope that Indian Sports will improve under the amble guidance of these minds.

Ministry of Happiness and Grievances Redress
Deepak Johnson
Angel Jeana
Pratyusha Govindaraju
Blessed with special powers to make anyone happy and forget their miseries, Deepak Johnson will head the ministry.

Ministry of Law and Justice
Sneha A

Ministry of Forestry
Sriram Chenji

Ministry of Labour and Employment
Akhil Bharathan O  Ministry comes under the PMO
ABO (as he is affectionately called by his followers) will be the in charge of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, considering his untiring efforts for the Indian working class.

Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (brought under the Ministry of External Affairs)
Sabnam Gafoor

Ministry of Union Capital Territory Affairs
Manish Kumar

Ministry of Water Resources
Polash Mukherjee

Ministry of Women and Child Welfare
Anu Joshy
Amala Devi

Ministry of Information Technology, Gaming and Spying.
Kanishka Bandyopadhyaya

Ministry of Textiles (to be integrated with Ministry of Cultural Affairs)
Chetna Sabnis
Sushmita V G

Ministry of Cabinet Affairs
Sushmita V G
Amala Devi

Ministry of Cultural Affairs
Swathy Kumar
Lakshmi Parvathy

Ministry of Peace (Ministry Abolished)
Sajad S Santhosh
Preshant Sekar
Binny Alexander
Extremely talented in putting peace, these three will rejuvenate the ministry.

Ministry of Absentees (Ministry abolished)
Vikas Gunasekhar

Ministry of Communication
Raisa Sherif

Ministry of Horoscope
Gayathri Mahedran

Ministry of Tourism (newly formed Ministry)
Chetna Sabnis

Ministry of Social Empowerment and Justice
Mohan K

Ministry of Family Planning and Welfare
Gauthaman M

Ministry of Language Studies
Rakhi Kumar

Akhil Bharathan, Gautam Ramesh and Vikas Gunasekhar currently removed from the cabinet. Hopefully they will be re-inducted in the next Cabinet Re-shuffle.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Blogger's Honesty

Dear Readers,

This post is an attempt to discuss an issue which has manifold manifestations in the public and private lives of bloggers and people in general. During the past few weeks, I have been bombarded with criticism with respect to my posts in this blog. It has been argued that my posts are attempts at self-glorification and achieving 'social gain'. Be what you are - 'don't pretend' is the advice that I am getting from various quarters. In this context, I wish to analyze to what extent I can say truths about myself.

By virtue of being the school leader, I also became the General Coordinator of LAFest 2008, an inter-school Cultural Fest organized by my school.
- from 'Namaste!', my March 18, 2010 post
Prime Minister
Arun Sudarsan
This is my blog and I deserve to be the boss. I will also take care of the Finance Ministry and Defence Ministry.
- from 'My Cabinet', my March 5, 2010 post
When I reached 9th standard, I became the assistant class leader and became known for my 'truthfulness' and was named Gandhi by friend Abraham George.
- from 'Nicks!', my February 13, 2010 post

Seen as my attempts to glorify myself, I will have to humbly reject the argument because these sentences put those posts in its right contexts and did nothing to enhance my 'image'. 

But the pseudo-morality in me prevented me from using these fantastic sites during the first three months of my stay here in Chennai.Soon I realized that there is no use hugging on to my pretentious principles.
- from 'Facebook and me', my February 4, 2010 post.
  • How much of truth about oneself can be posted in a public space like 
  • Since my life is linked with so many other lives, is it appropriate on my part to tell the 'darker' truths about myself involving other people? 
  • Will that be an infringement into their privacy? 
  • Is it necessary that I tell all about myself to the outside world? 

To each of these question, I have an answer.
  • So much that it won't affect your public life. (Isn't this hypocrisy?)
  • It's not appropriate.
  • Yes.
  • No.
Hypocrisy is a feigning to be what one is not. Am I being what I am not by not telling some truths about me? Only I can answer that question since only I know whether the truths I am hiding are in fact contradictory to my actions. And I feel that I am mostly not a hypocrite, but sometimes I am. 

I need your opinion on this. How honest can we be about ourselves in the public? How honest should we be in the public? What information about oneself comes under the realm of privacy? What to be shared, what not to be?