Saturday, January 28, 2006


The pages of the book had turned yellow with time.
I turned a leaf against the wind blowing through the window, careful not to disengage it from the bind.
Heat rays of the late morning sun lashed at me from all sides. Its blinding light enfeebled the already weak contrast of the print.
The skin on my cheek stretched and pricked itself awake as I closed my half open mouth - dry tongue on parched lips! Itch, scratch and micro flakes of dead skin on the forearm - a lone hair on the sleeve dispensed off into the wind.
Frantic winds howled in through the window in an attempt to run away from the smoke and dust, pushing through my hair and deafening my ears, that when my friend asked me what I was reading, I prayed he’d have partaken in the charade.
Camus' characters too were plodding along in his Algerian desert. A tale of shriveled dreams and enervated lives - not so impressive!
Then, the microphone of our Taxi crackled to life, blurting out incomprehensible phrases in a background of static. Cracker-candy pop in my head - as if a mosquito had made its way to my brain through my ear, and suddenly realizing it was lost had started pricking all around.
The driver spoke something into the handheld and the next instant the machine went dead, on command and respectful of its master’s voice.
I tried to find the spot in the book where I had left off.
As I grabbed the Arab in mid-sentence, the machine crackled back to life. The static once again contaminated the air, like a burst of itchy pollen. The prick went about its work all over again in my head - live, contained, its unique presence quite unlike the everyday pervasive head split. I would reach in and rip it out.
I grimaced and banged shut my book.
The shrill of a female voice floated over the noise of my thoughts - a rather animated critique of the guy on the wheels followed. Soon other drivers chipped in – little soprano, more tenor. A rally, and then, the microphone went dead again. I wished he had been a bit more assertive – “SHUT UP YOU FILTHY ANIMAL!!” or something like that.
I frowned and complained to my friend, he blamed his manager, and the machine came back to life, yet again.
Both of us jumped on the lad at the wheels as the cab raced through the clear and endless stretch of my ennui.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

ഞാ൯ കഥ എഴുതുകയാണ്....

(Translation: I'm writing a story....)

In case the above letters appear in Pali change your Browser setting
View -> Encoding to 'Unicode UTF-8'

Finally some headway in 'Unicode' !

Some helpful links,

1. For Malayalam fonts
2. Installation instructions
3. Change Browser settings
4. Character picker

I copy-paste from the 'Character Picker'.

Keen to know more efficient ways of doing this!

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Miles Raymond: Well, the world doesn't give a shit what I have to say. I'm not necessary. I'm so insignificant I can't even kill myself.
Jack: Miles, what the hell is that supposed to mean?
Miles Raymond: Come on, man. You know. Hemingway, Sexton, Plath, Woolf. You can't kill yourself before you're even published.
Jack: What about the guy who wrote Confederacy of Dunces? He killed himself before he was published. Look how famous he is.
Miles Raymond: Thanks.
Jack: Just don't give up, alright? You're gonna make it.
Miles Raymond: Half my life is over and I have nothing to show for it. Nothing. I'am thumbprint on the window of a skyscraper. I'm a smudge of excrement on a tissue surging out to sea with a million tons of raw sewage.
Jack: See? Right there. Just what you just said. That is beautiful. 'A smudge of excrement... surging out to sea.'
Miles Raymond: Yeah.
Jack: I could never write that.
Miles Raymond: Neither could I, actually. I think it's Bukowsky.

I was LOL and rolling in my bed at 2:00 in the night when this sequence played out.

Paul Giamatti, I wonder if the role is slightly autobiographical - such talent! Even the support cast does a fantastic job. Watch it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Man, The Machine,

It was New Year's eve and I was at the Dentist's to sort out some of my teething troubles.
I was in the waiting room expecting to be called anytime then. A lady and a small girl sat on my right, the bigger woman murmuring something to the other, and a guy and girl probably in their late teens sat to my left. The girl was talking to the guy who was toying with his mobile. The place was rather empty inspite of it being a saturday.
This was not my first time there and I looked at the now familiar walls, walls covered with colourful charts describing preventive measures for tooth decay, cavities and other such ailments. There was one particular information board that always caught my fancy. This one displayed a new technique developed by my Dr. for artificial tooth implantation. The technique, to put it simply, was to 'screw' in place the artificial tooth where the old or broken one previously stood. The information board carried end-to-end illustrations of the transformation - toothless gums, gums with the screw in place sans the tooth - boy, that was gory, the final effect after implantation and even the cross section of a jaw showing that strange apparition of 'screw-tooth' - the last one being a model ofcourse.
Pictures of doctors turning screws into the cartilage (or so, I think, is what they call the bony part of the jaw where the screw is locked) flashed through my mind, the images quickly changed to those of humans subjected to experiments during the development of the technique and finally to thousands of blue collar workers going for work feeling the steel under their gums everytime they felt around their mouth - the utility of the experiment outweighed all these I reasoned. My imagination was perhaps emaciated due to lack of knowledge on the subject.
Every now and then the door to the clinic's operating room opened giving me a glimpse of reclining patients and the equipments around them. Inside the drill was on, in more ways than one, and the low sound reminded me of times when in school our teacher wrote with new chalk on black-board creating that creaky sound that ever so often made me bite my teeth hard and grimace with repulsion. A kid suddenly screamed from somewhere inside. I thought of a poem that we studied in school by Ogden Nash about a trip to the Dentist's.
The TV at the center of the room was switched on, serving as a distraction from all that described so far, and was set to a prominent Malayam Channel. The channel was doing a 30 min recap of all it's episodes in the year 2005 - a Mega Serial, one of those emotional drivels that run at primetime, Mon to Fri, year after year. They were probably trying to show users the evident connection between the story at the beginning and end of the year.
Then, something happened.
Prof. P.C.Thomas walked in.
There is a saying in malayalam that goes 'idi vettiyavante kaalil paambu kadichu ennapole' (like someone bitten by a snake soon after he is struck by lightning). Now I don't intend to potray myself in such a light and capture the pity of the knowledgeble reader - he who knows about Prof. P.C. Thomas. For the unitiated, let me introduce you to the Teacher, Preacher and shrewd Businessman that is Prof. P.C. Thomas.
Prof. P.C. Thomas single-handedly runs and has been running for years the largest coaching center for the Engineering & Medical entrance exams in Kerala. Spanning 2-3 decades (Once he told us that one of his first students had approached him with a request to enrol his son under his able tutelage), the Prof's institute continues to churn out the largest number of Engineering and Doctorial candidates - all the top ranks in the state come under his name, always. A strict disciplinarian - a terror actually; stories abound of him abusing, both mentally and physically, pampering parents and their truant children - Thomas 'mashu', expanded his organization from a single room outfit to an enterprise with branches in Dubai and other Middle East countries. PC (that's what his students call him out of fear and respect) also now expanded his classes to cover IIT-JEE & Civil Services Exams with commendable success (the Prof. eventually told me that 2 of his students cleared the Civil exams that year). One can see the employment generation due to his work in my home-town by just looking at the no of PG apartments that have sprouted in and around his coaching center (I noticed around 5-6 notices right outside his gate - from Eve's Garde to Angel Valley). I always consider myself fortunate to have been tutored by him and the rest of the illustrious teachers at his Tution center.

Coming back to where I left off Thomas mashu walked in and briskly made for the Doctor's room. The years had hardly affected his appearance.
I jumped from my seat, more out of respect this time, and called out - "Sir". He turned, saw me, stopped in his tracks and smiled. He put his hand over my shoulder and enquired 'How are you faring?'. I replied 'Good'. Brief inquiries were made about career and well being. Soon he started to move on. I bid adieu.
He seemed to be in a hurry.
As I turned away, the lady sitting next to me slowly stood up and said - 'Mashukku enne manassilayo?' (Sir, did you recognise me?). PC gave a questioning look, but when prompted by the woman recollected her identity and started exchanging pleasantries.
The Lady soon bid farewell and took her seat.
As PC turned to open the door leading to the Dentist's, the guy on my left stood up and blurted, "Eh..Sir".

Friday, January 06, 2006

Recommended reading

Recommend Dilip D'Souza's blog. Writes, without pretence, about social issues.

The following article was written by him explaining his real life act of child adoption - very interesting.

This following link gives a glimpse into his Mid-day columns