Thursday, August 29, 2013

What would you choose - B or A or is it A or B?

If A=B and B=A, then if you really want B, but does not want to avoid A, while A being an excellent choice, but B being a great choice, what would you choose? B or A?
Confused are you? So are we, the fellows who love Malayalam but living in Kanyakumari district.

It pains to see the slow but sure disintegration of culture, language and symbols of a once powerful empire. All malayalis of Kanyakumari distict respresent the quotient, which gets divided by zero. Was there are division – yes, Is the result clear – no. Sangamesh’s Varma’s documentary on Kanyakumari district brought tears to my eyes (Part 1, Part 2).

I have been asked many a times that if I were a malayali, by malayalis ofcourse. I ask them back to define a malayali. Would a person born in the geography of Kerala state be a malayali or the one whose mother tounge is Malayalam, learnt Malayalam during school and still have the love for Vallathol, Basheer, MT, Pottekatt, Sugathakumari, Subhash Chandran … is a malayali. If it’s the former, then no, but the latter, then a big fat yes! But then I am a Tamilian as well – as long as I can read and appreciate Kalki, Jeyamohan, Vairamuthu, Jeyakanthan, Ashoka Mithran and so. That’s the best part of being a person from Kanyakumari district – can enjoy the treasures in both these languages. So some things are fuzzy and not 1 or 0.

Then obviously it will be a problem if the authorities choose to go with one, while some of the natives decide to stick with what they love. This is what is happening in KK district. Infact most of the natives love both – especially during pre 1956. Jeyamohan absolutely portrays (in his book Uravidangal and Remitha speaks bout the ozhimuri effect) the actual mental picture of a KK native, by referring the influence of both the languages to their culture and probably developing a new one, with roots on both the languages. Isn’t that how new cultures develop? Then why wouldn’t the authorities let the development of a new culture, if the natives are happy with it? With all the demand for new states gathering attention, sometimes I feel that we should redraw the maps and get ourselves declared as a Union Territory.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Writing is an indispensable activity during research. I like to write; just that I am lazy. So I try to club sentences and present the idea in a minimum number of words as possible.  But apparently my writing is like whiskey without soda. I am advised to break down the sentence, and write in a diluted, lucid form. While writing I have to be clear about noun, verb, adjective and so. Feels like I am again going through the pages of Wren & Martin, just like a fifth grader. So now I have to write for the mass – which comprise of a handful of people who might read my research. In an earlier post I had mentioned about the sheer non-readability of research report; I feel I am being dragged to follow the same path. Now, that is some serious unlearning I have to do.  So no more hyphens, semicolons, parenthesis and any such add-ons, which in itself have the potential of growing into an independent sentence.

It’s all part of the game.

Or, am I running backwards?

Sometimes the opportunity cost is killing me. It is a cliché:  that people doing their PhD envy their friends about the kind of lavish life they are having. Many a times, I wonder as well – was that a wrong decision? Then I console myself – when I took such a decision, it did not seem wrong, and now that I am into it, let me play along. (Wow! That rhymed, let me rewrite it)

When I took that decision, it did not seem wrong
Now that I am in it, let me play along

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Glory Ahoy!

I have a poor impression, among my relatives that I can’t even negotiate with an autowallah. It is not completely false; I actually dread them. I don’t mind paying something extra, but it has to be uniform (like a fixed price) for all the passengers. But these fellows are trained by experience in reading human behaviour. They charge by the appearance and body language.

Whenever I alight from bus at Kalasipalayaa (Bangalore) from my native, I am left with no choice but to depend on those hounds as it’s not safe for me with my wife and son during the wee morning hours. There are no buses and I was unaware of the geography. They used to ooze money out of me. They charge me about 400 Rs (after bargaining to my limit) for a 10km travel. I had to comply, even when I am fully aware that I am paying them more than double charge. They take advantage that I don’t speak their language. There was once a driver, who even caught hold of my hand and wouldn’t leave until I paid him an additional 20 Rs.  

I have now discovered other means of travel, although it takes more time. Now I feel a (sadistic) pleasure when I reject the offers from auto rickshaw drivers at the Silk Board junction. I ignore their pleas of charge-by-meter, with a loud laugh in my mind.  I now avoid auto rickshaws whenever possible, not limited to Bangalore. My wife has now learned to live with my eccentricities. Glory!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Of bean counting and bridge building

Engineering graduates in this part of the world, are increasingly finding bean counting as an interesting job! What else can explain the number of engineering graduates enrolling for a class which prepares aspirants for a clerical job in public sector banks. I haven’t conducted any survey on this, but I can easily count to a minimum of 8 fellows known to me who have either got into some banks as clerks or who are preparing for bank exams. Here are two different stories about engineering admissions.

Story One: My cousin and her husband, both civil engineers in Central Government Dept. are hell bent in making their daughter a civil engineer. With less that 50% marks in Math, and with her heart inclined toward English Literature, the daughter is now enrolled for a course in civil engineering. Wonder how she builds bridges!

Story Two: A studious girl, with more than 95% marks in her +2 exams has no idea other than follow what her parents choose for her. Her parents enrolled her for a course in an engineering college, which could possibly rank within 1 to 10 from bottom. When asked why this college when she could easily get admitted to some really good ones, the reply was, “We  just want her to earn an engineering degree so that she can appear for bank exams and become a clerk”. When further asked, then why engineering rather than a degree in commerce or so, the reply was, “these days every one who gets into a bank has a engineering degree, and so she too”.

Good luck to both of you, and whoever uses the bridge the fellow in story one is forced to build.