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Spasm for santhosham

Superstition can even go to the extent of killing,  though it is really difficult to decide  what superstition is . My firm belief , may be superstitious for you. Even atheism  is condemned as madness by some.

Superstition has killed people before and it is a pity it continues to kill even now when science and technology has much advanced. The recent report on the unbelievably cruel Killing of two grown up girls by their own parents , is heart- breaking  . They were not uneducated people from a backward area. They were highly qualified. Even illiterate poor won’t commit such a  heinous crime . But the parents thought they were performing their duty !!. You and me condemn their action as unpardonable but they feel they have done a noble task- yes, killing their dear daughters! That was what even those who encouraged widows to jump into the last pyre of their diseased husbands,  too thought . That was those who killed animals before some deities too thought .

There were and still are prevalent what I call superstition but was a belief for my ancestors . One such is the spasm of eye lids or other body parts . My mother believed that twitching of her left eye was harbinger of some bad events. She used to worry that ‘something bad was happening ‘ to me in the far away Hyderabad and pestered my father to send a post card to find out that I was Ok . If she were alive now she would have still believed so, but her anxiety wouldn’t have lasted long as cell phones and FaceTime facilities are available now. ( the point to be noted is that as a mother she thought and worried about her son and not about herself or even about my father!!)

This belief (which I don’t have ) was there in our country from time immemorial.  May have some reasons for that which I’m not aware of .

When Anjaneya entered Lanka, says a Malayalam poet :

ജനകനരപതിമകൾക്കും  ദശാസ്യനുംn



Janaka narapathi makal- King Janaka’s daughter. Sita

Dasaasyan.  One with ten heads -Ravana

Vama bAgham – Left side

( Remember- VAmae bhoomisudhapuracha HanumAn —)

Thudichu.- fluttered

Meaning :

When Hanuman entered the gates of Lanka, for Sita Devi and Ravana, their left  body parts had spasm( indicating good thing was going to happen to Sita and bad for Ravana)

During my young days ( not now 😐) while walking behind young ladies( unintentionally 😐) I used to wish and pray that my right eye(or any right part of my body 😐) should flutter but the spasm was always on the left !

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Short poems

I long for the sun when it rains ; I long for the rains when it shines.

Whether  it shines or rains, I long for you, my moon light !


Why did you touch me, if you don’t want to hug me ?

Not to you, not to you, Death.


‘Oh, what a relief my most loving hubby! You are miles and miles away.’

‘What a pity, my most adored honey!

No ‘freight -to-pay’ courier service from here to send my heart, packed in a marble paper, to you’

‘That is OK, my Charm!. Let that non-vibrant product be safe where it is.’

‘The problem my precious gem, is that, it has become vibrant, the moment I left you’


The opposite forces, churned the ocean inside me,

Excellent output-

Divine damsels, diamonds, pearls ,

fresh fruits, fragrant flowers,

Many more. 

Everyone jumped into to share and went away with the loots!  

Then comes the venom, the ferocious dragon 

Of death and disaster, 

None present to stop the spread of the avalalanche

Of death and disaster

To explain its ferocity, have I no word.

Like a lightning from the dark, black clouds,

Neelakanta, you dropped in 

And in  a gulp, swallowed the poison,

I’m still looking for the reason! 

The Devas didn’t worry, nor the Yakshas,

Kinnaras, Gandharvas .

One woman, from the hills

Flashed in , pressed your neck

And stopped the movement down

Of the deadly poison! 

I worship that Shibhani

Who gave us back our Shiba 


A single flower can make a festival, 

A single word a poem, 

A single glance can create hope

A single woman many lives! 





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Tips for a happy mariage draft


I know that it is the husband and the wife, who have to chart out their programs and procedure for a happy marriage. Even in the earlier days, when the formal education was not wide spread, our womenfolk had the wisdom and common sense to set right things in a family, when the situations demanded. Moreover, mostly they lived in a combined family and even otherwise, suggestions and advises were forthcoming from the experienced elders, and those were welcomed and often accepted. External help was hardly sought. It is now, when the couple themselves  are better informed that they seek the help from an external agency, a paradox but a hard truth due to the complexity we managed to dump upon our lifestyle.
A tip now and then from friends and relatives might be of use to some, though I am not very sure on this aspect. Anyway, here are a few tips, collected and developed:
1. Always consult one another when making big decisions.
Both of you are equally interested in the welfare of the family and therefore, a supportive idea is bound to emerge from mutual consultation. And apart from that,  the feeling and satisfaction that ‘my opinion is sought’, strengthens the bond.
Are we not consulting our friends and colleagues? Then, why not life partners ?
‘What does she know?’ is a wrong approach. She or he might know something new or something you have forgotten.
2. Don’t compare your marriage with others’ – you don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors.
One person is never like another; one pair is never like another. We are human beings, not materials made by machines. So comparison has no meaning. You take into consideration your need, your capabilities, your resources, your demerits and then act.
Many parents have the habit of comparing their children’s performance in studies with their classmates.
“Did your son clear the IIT entrance?”. Many parents wanted to know when the results were out. When I told them, ‘no’, they were satisfied.
How can my son be like another in shape, intelligence, performance or in any respect?
‘Neighbor’s envy and owner’s pride” was a popular advertisement a few years ago.
3.Compromises are part of life. While traveling in a public transport, while driving your own car,  even while working in your own office or worshiping in a temple – at every place you have to be prepared for compromises.
In a family life, it is all the more required. Compromise is adjusting and not surrendering. You can compromise with your boss, with the man, animal or vehicle on the road but not with your spouse?
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When my kin remember me ?

‘Thinking of you, Appa’, said Aparna, my daughter, forwarding pictures of two of her preparations I like, , ‘ your favorites…Want to come back to Fl(Florida)?’,

While I was in Florida, my daughter in law , Meghana from Baltimore used to say often, ‘I remembered you today, Appa, while preparing Palpayasam etc. 

My mother too used to say, ‘Konthai, Elai adai undakkarathu, unnathan ninachukkiden’

(You came to my memory while preparing Elai adai’. 

My sisters in Hyderabad too used to remember me while preparing one dish or other.

If you think that I’m remember by my kin while preparing food items you’re wrong.

My wife used to say, ‘it was you whom I remembered when Seshu mama in the opposite house was yelling at his wife for nothing’,  though I never yelled  at my wife and always used to talk to her in honey-soaked padyams of Swathi Tirunal padams- ‘Panimathi mukhi baalae…”

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Corona virus

Though there is absolutely no reason for me  to worry about anything in life, as I’m well looked after by my children, my mouth is wide enough and in working conditions to yell at my children or eat what I want to, my ears are big enough to hear all unwanted sundry news, my eyes are wide enough to see good, bad, not so good and not so bad scenes,  I had a habit of worrying about many things before , such as : 

 my brother’s comforts, safety of my bank deposits, the havoc stray dogs and cattle would be committing in my house premises when my tenants leave the gates open when they go out, the weeds growing in my ‘thodi’ or vacant  land, whether my Habsiguda neighbor’s daughter in law gave birth to a boy or girl baby, when will Megh will take me to Hyderabad so that one button missing from one of my warm jackets can be fixed, etc, etc.  

Now with Covac19 Yekshi’s dark shadow spread everywhere, I worry about nothing else. I worry only about me, about my life. I realized suddenly that my life has a purpose ! 

I may not be required by others, but I need me !  And man, I’m not joking! May be a nobody to others but for me, I’m the most precious one in the world ! 

If me, a worthless old man of no consequence, who has lived his full life, who has nothing more to gain in life, who has nothing to contribute to his family or society, is so anxious to live, imagine how serious is the loss of valuable lives sucked in by the deadly virus and the suffering their families undergo! 

Life is precious, yours and others too.

Live it. Don’t spoil others chance to live their life

Only when money is lost one will realize the value of money

Only when the wife is gone, one will realize the value of wife

When life is gone?

Who is there to realize it?

There are people- your family, close relatives and friends

Live your life in dignity, with love and compassion . 

Don’t let an invisible, innocuous, insignificant virus take away your life. 

Stay safe inside! 

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Worries on worries

My children, compared to me, talk less but say more. 

Yesterday, on FaceTime, Srikanth, talked more and said more about me.

‘You look worried Appa. What is troubling you?’

‘Nothing. I’m in high spirits, as usual’ 

‘You can hide nothing from your children and you know that’

‘Yes, I do’ 

‘Then come out’

‘Worried about —-‘s health’

‘He is in India. You, sitting in Florida, in what way can you contribute , to redress his grievances ?’

‘I know ‘

‘Good. If I take you by tomorrow’s flight to India, will you be able to render any service to him medically? 

No, as you’re not a physician. 

Will you be able to get food from home or stay in the hospital for one night? 

Difficult. You will be of little support to his family, by your physical presence there too. It makes no difference for them whether you’re there or here. 

Why do you worry then,  unnecessarily ? And what happened to your frequent posts in the Facebook, preaching ‘if things are beyond your control, worrying is meaningless’ ? What happened to your frequent quotation, ‘whatever has to happen will happen?’

He could not quote  the colloquial translation of the last sentence which my brother in law, Pallavur-  born late Ambi Anna told me, at Vancouver: 

‘What, what, when, when happeno, athu happanae happen! ‘

I know that. We all know that. But, knowing that, we, old people worry, worry! The present generation too know that either from us or from other sources, but they practice what they know, to the extend possible.

Practicing what we know or what we advice others, is not easy.


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The banana tree

What a wonderful plant is banana! Not tall and tough  like coconut or  hard and broad like mangoes or jackfruit trees, but soft and smooth with the look of a woman of marriageable age even after presenting  a whole bunch of raw banana, which turns its color from bright green to pleasant yellow! I can’t climb on it as I used to do with a mango or jackfruit tree during my young days, but I can hug its silky body even at my old age and be happy! 

We cook and eat raw banana, make chips.  Kerala chips are available even in NJ Malayali stores! Add a bowlful of payasam and a handful of banana chips to an ordinary meal, you’re ready to serve an Onam feast. 

Even the peel of nenthran, the long variety, is cut into small pieces , cooked and consumed.

It’s stem has medicinal value, they say. It is an art cut it into small rounds, removing the thread with your finger. During my young days, I have watched with joy, young women doing it. 

Stem fibers are used as craft material and plant fibers to make garments.

Eating in Vazhai Elai or banana leaves, has been our habit from childhood.  Even star hotels are now using plantain leaves for serving food. When plantain leaves are unavailable, they use plastic imitations! So high is its attraction among the upper class outside eaters. In many  South Indian restaurants even tiffin is served on plantain leaves. For me personally, food served on plantain leaves gives more satisfaction than that served on plates, may be made of silver. No one has offered me golden plates and I shall convey my reaction when it happens! 

And my favorite elai adai!  imagine elai adai sans the flavor of its folded wrapper- steamed plantain leaf! 

And elaprasadam! When the Namboodiri gives prasAdam in a piece of ! It takes me to the doors of Swargam instantly.  

Perinkulam Kailasa Vadhyar stayed in my Habsiguda house when he visited Hyderabad for an Athirudram in 

Shankar Mutt. I received him from the railway station but forgot to buy banana leaves from the market though my wife had specified to buy on my way back.  We were yet to plant trees in our new house then .  No nearby shops too selling the leaves. 

I told Vadhyar I would get the leaves from the market before he was ready for food, after his bath and worship. 

‘Don’t worry, I will find a way’, he said.  He left with his angavstram on his shoulder and returned with a bundle of leaves within half an hour! 

‘Enganae pattichu? How did you manage ?’, I enquired. 

‘Ennada periya kashtam? I went around your colony. Saw a few plants in one garden, went in and asked the owner, by hand – signal for one leaf. With much respect, he gave me a bundle of leaves and then offered coffee etc, which I politely refused, ‘ he replied. 

Banana is rich in Potassium. It’s powder is used in baby food, I was told. 

Plant one banana tree in your yard. It will grow into thousands! The other trees need seeds for expanding their families. Plantains do not ; cute little ones come out from the mother plant’s base! 

The last but not the least-  the joy of seeing a pair of banana trees with bunches of fuuly grown raw fruits installed on the sides of the entrance of a wedding hall, welcoming you is unique .

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Let the snow go on

The year 2019 is on its way out. It has to go. Anything that came,  has to go.  Anything which began has to end. And that is the best part of life. Yes, the charm of life is in its extinction! 

How will 2020 come in unless 2019 quits? 

Quitting is clearing the way for the entry of something new. 

This millennium, for my family, started with a tsunami. It carried away a part of my life. I thought, with that loss, I too was lost.

No, I was wrong. I have lived 20 more long years. The Destiny wanted me to live for a purpose. That purpose is over. 

He will decide what to do next. He will. It is not my worry.

Most of the time we worry about men and matters when men and matters will take the course on their own. Good or bad may be the result. In what way our worrying is going to help them or us, when the decision making is not in our hand? 

We act. Someone else decides. And again, that is the best part of it. 

Let the show go on! 


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Separating the grain from straw

Muram, where’re you ?

I’m yet to see a wind winnower in any of the houses, I visit in USA . Chool, broomstick Yes, though rarely used, as the houses are carpeted and machine removes the dust, if any. 

Recall my early days when murams were in regular use  for separating grain from straw.  Not only straw, even pests were removed from stored grain, using murams. 

I used to watch with amazement the lighter chaff flying in the air blown away by wind and the heavier grains falling back down, when my mother and servant maids, enjoyed doing the separation job, sitting in our veranda humming some tunes.  How relaxed they were then leisurely but quickly and happily engaged in their separation activity! 

Separation is unavoidable in many of our life activities too, to remove unwanted from the wanted, when they come together. 

Nowadays married pairs get separated for the reason above and a few more! Separation of bad thoughts from the good ones too are unavoidable as well as articles from our house and office. Even our body mechanism engages in non stop separation of wanted from the unwarranted. Nature has its own way to separate. 

My childhood habit of watching with amazement the lighter stuff flying in the air blown out by the wind, comes to my mind often when Fate removes people from my life, though they were not chaff or light weights! Of course, Fate is the Master and His action is unquestionable!

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I’m not a preacher, not a teacher

I am not a spiritualist. Not even a ritualist doing nithyakramas regularly or visitng  Temples often.  Just an ordinary story writer I am, , living a normal family life with my chidlren, grand children, roaming the world if they finace me and if my health permits or sit below a tree or walk through the woods and rice fields of my native land,  that rich Kerala, again if my  legs coperate, humming  a Thyagaraja or a  Swathy Thirunaal  or Deedkshithar, for mine  and mine alone –  satisfaction  and not for others’ certificate.. In fact,  my own people have said ,that I am more tolerable when I don’t song and keep my mouth shut.

But I can’t keep my mouth and eyes shut  I look at the trees, the hills and meadows, the squirrels and monkeys roaming over there, the deer looking at me from its bush, wondering who this fellow is, when I go for a walk in the evening through the highways of Baltimore or Florida or at the innocent cows wanderimg in  the lanes of Kasi or Kalpathy. I run along with the river in Ottappalam or stare at the Ganges with awe at Utharakasi or Gangotri . I talk to the guys sitting near or far to me in a sleeper class, force him to talk to me, may be a panda from Benares or a chettiar from Madurai, or an young girl bubbling with enthusiasm or a depressed soul sitting alone in a corner worrying how to feed her children, the next day.This  has helped me to live so long .   This  has helped me to live happily. And I have lived long enough and damn care if I am showed the gate tomorrow.

And, and I read our Upanishads, that invaluable record of our ancestores, who roamed in the forest , alone, wearing practically nothing, in the hot , in the cold, among the animals, enjoying the raising and falling sun, enjoying the waxing and waning moon, enjoying the twinkling stars and silent or roaring clouds. 

If all the books are lost tomorrow, pray that doesn’t happen and if we are left with a single upanishad , we are safe, our culture is safe.

I am not a preacher or a  councellor but suggest,  read our Upanishads and understand their meaning. You won’t regret.