Saturday, 31 July 2010


The spherical sathukudi which rhymes well with toothukudi and tookikudi can be so nice when fresh and colourful.

A bowl of fresh ones can be so well arranged that even the most fruit avoiders can be tempted with one.

It was a gift from my- in laws to my lady who packed away some for me, I sat on the wooden bench at the garden, quietly peeling away the skin and the creamish layer of the fruit.

It was full of juice and I releashed each clove of the fruit, only spitting away the seeds.

Many enjoy it squashed, and with added sweetners, for me it is neat and hand work that brings on the full glory of natural fruity finish.

I shared it with my dad who already had one earlier, a shared fruit is more tastier, wonder where that added flavour gets in!

Obama wins Arizona looses

Judge Susan Bolton, halted with a ruling that police could not stop and check those who are suspected looking illegal immigrants, in the state of Arizona.

Cops are clowns then with this ruling, they might as well sit and have a cup of coffee with the illegal ones, and help pay tax for their benefits too.

If there was an election and the Mexicans were allowed to canvas for the American president, Obama will win again hands down, with support of illegal Mexicans.

The American president is a kind hearted benevolent human who cares not only for his country, but also of the neighbors, and their welfare.

God save the border states and their revenues.

A breakfast treat under a tree

It was one of those lazy week ends, and the kid was willing to come with us on a picnic.

We got our dirty clothes ready for a wash, and clean garments for a change, packed and moved the 3 kms journey on a two wheeler.

The morning breeze was welcoming and we reached our spring well, there were just a few having a bath.

We got a bucket to draw the water which is at a depth of 6 feet, cool spring water can be so refreshing.

It is at such times when kids behave as adults and adults behave kiddish, it was fun splashing the water and trading our soiled dirty garments with trashes on the stone floor with soap.

We then had our bath drawing umpteen number of buckets of water, and no amount seem to satisfy the heart and the body.

We dried ourselves and moved to the shade of a large tree, here were two ladies preparing breakfast for the hungry bathers, it was a, ‘hold your plate while u relish” style of an eating joint.

The menu was paniyarams and chutney and sambar, we enjoyed the simple dish made with firewood and stone hollow pan.

We did have an occasional monkey as a company,but which were kept at bay by the strong stick of the lady vendor.

The cool breeze and the lazy morning, and the filling breakfast was a great combination for these words to flow.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Sister Kenny (1946) [* * * * * *]

This is a true-to-life story of a nurse called Elizabeth Kenny. Because she was working alone in the Australian bush without doctor support, she discovered a cure (no less!) for polio or infantile paralysis.

But the 'specialists' in the field were busy putting the 30% survivor-children in what she called "medieval torture instruments" or crutches, clamps and collars which deformed them altogether.

For 30 years the medical professon persecuted and banned her right to help children because she was a nurse, not a doctor!! Homeopathy has suffered a similar fate for its undeniable success.

If her 'Kenny Concept' of physiotherapy and treatment survived today for all kinds of paralysis, its only because the public rose up to support her though she was never allowed to treat an acute case, only those rejects of medicine (as with ayurveda and homeopathy today). You'd think that a profession that's supposed to dedicate itself to healing would reach out with open arms to purge its worst abuses, but it never has.

A fantastic story and a fantastic woman! Must watch.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

tonsured handsomes

Yul Brynner and Telly Savalas, have made the shining head a charm with handsomeness, on screen, from Ten Commandments and the Dirty Dozen.

Locally we have Thuglak editor and actor advocate Cho Ramaswamy, a sharp courageous mind with the same style.

Tonsuring the head is a tradition in Tamil Nadu now as an offering to a ritual to bargain for gifts from the unknown with self sacrifice of the hair do.

I have always felt that it is not a local phenomenon, but an acquired carry on from the oriental Chinese through the Himalayas into Palani from the Taoist pilgrims.

Our south Indian Siddars have always been known to grow (jadamudi) long hair let downs,tonsuring the head was never in the paintings or sculptures.

Now most Hindu temples seem to have a place for the barber who tonsures the screaming children and the religious elders for a sum of careful nicking with new sterile blades.

It is one link between the spiritualistic minded and the materialistic religious ones.

The meditative ones find similarities of the mind and hair, and feel they can be with out this and so that too, wonderful comparison.

Behind all this is a thriving business of hair trade and wigs.

May all be blessed with what they seek, with equal returns.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Palani chami

He came into our life as a thin active innocent village bachelor, and still stays the same.

He is the utility man. Palani Chami

He takes up odd jobs like nailing the loose cupboard, patches up the leaking roof of the tiled home, tends the garden , trimming the branches to below electric line level of a tree and adds an occasional flowering plant he noticed on the road side to the garden he waters with my dad.

He was a tree climber and we used to get coconuts,mangoes and sapotas, from a few trees we had till we had them chopped due to ill maintenance, and water scarcity.

He is a mason and also a small time plumber, trades which he learnt from a local man, he helps to get the dishes from home and cares for my dad, he occasionally gets to take lunch for my kid at school, and cleans the vehicle, he says that the rear view mirror was loose and had it tightened, or the wheel tyre needs a change, which I notice later to have it done.

He is a part time painter and I have seen his work, at my gate, home, and work station.

All that matters is he is left to do what he wants and things get to be done, with that freedom, and attention.

There are folks who steal hearts, steal money and steal vehicles, but have u ever heard of folks stealing workers, that happened many times with this Palani Chami, that I had to get him back by restealing him from others with words of helplessness, as I am lost with out his expertise and professional care of the rural kind.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Karate kid –Jackie,Jayden

For once Jackie Chan has been honored with a role worthy of him other than his monk eying tactics and comical fighter stereo style in previous movies.

This is a movie to encourage young masters in the art of oriental meditative kung fu, other than the violent stunts that are being taught these days of criminal thuggering and martial arts.

It is a mix of two cultures, and adjustments, it brings back the way the master encourages hard work, by surfacing the anger inside the disciple into discipline.

Every frame has been done with utmost thought, and the most important is Jackie acts as the humble but firm Master. It takes time for the mind to accept that, and write hard on the previous recordings.

The child artist Jayden Smith, has all the makings of his papa Will Smith, whose role I have adored in” I am legend”, I never knew it was his child , but I could guess his relationship in thought, by his eyes and physical similarities.

Jackie shows the role of the master/papa in hesitation wonderfully in gestures. we see a different role of him in act than in action , though it is also there in a few wonderful moves, which he brings out in the kid, and the way he snuffles the air out of the bullying kids.

The duels in the Dojo with the Sensais in the side were natural, with emotions, and am sure it will bring back scenes in ones life if he/she was a karateka.

There is so much to say, about the trainings, like the jacket off, jacket on, pole moves, bell kick, and all the simple looking difficult movements of kung fu.

The air of china could literally be sniffed within the theatre, during the climb to the Yin Yan temple and runs on the china wall.

If only we had a way of seeing the moves within the mind of the child artist, I am sure there will be much to express, of the inner training that happens which bring on the outer strength.

A movie to be seen with the kids, we did with ours.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Pray the Devil Back to Hell (2008) [* * * * * *]

Fantastic documentary about how a bunch of Liberian women brought their country to peace.

After 14 years of brutal dictatorship by Charles Taylor opposed by equally brutal warlords, both pillaging, raping and brutalizing the people of their country into starvation, Liberia (created by freed slaves of America in 1820) was on the verge of self-destructing by 2003.

One woman, Leymah, had a dream that the women could come together and pray for peace. So the women started gathering in the fish market to pray. Over the weeks they were about 2500 of them, they marched to his presidential palace and got Charles Taylor to attend the UN peace talks. They sent women to invite all the rebel forces to do the same. When the peace talks went on like a vacation while the fighting continued, they barracaded the doors by interlocking arms and forced the peace talks to come to an agreement - "No food or water so that you know how our people have been living for 14 years."

When one rebel leader tried to kick his way out, the UN chief negotiator dared him to try and said, "You aren't real men, because real men wouldn't kill and rape their own people, that's why they treat you like boys."

After the UN Peacekeeping Forces moved in, fighting broke out again, so the women took over the disarmament (!). But still they felt they hadn't finished until there was a democratic election, so they campaigned night and day and got Liberia the first woman president in Africa, Ellen-Johnson Sirleaf.

Wow, talk about empowerment!

Friendly Garlic awaits your crush

The fair curvaceous garlic is a kitchen medic, its anti bacterial,anti fungal and anti malignant qualities are being realized now.

The usage is many from the tamarind rasam to the compulsory masala paste for the many spicy dishes of the south Indian cuisine.

Our ancestors knew the qualities of this medicinal clove, and the best way to bring out its hidden properties that they passed on the secrets through dishes and recipes, which the modern world is now becoming aware of.

I had a chance to read about this garlic in a Readers Digest volume, and how the crushing of garlic helps to form allicin by bringing alliin with allinase enzyme together, which is best when fresh and has tremendous potentials for the welfare of the human body.

I was struck how our women folk always crushed the garlic when adding it to our dish preparations, a tradition that has been passed on for generations, the ubiquitous crushing stone is part of the kitchen, and it would be a scare to a guest of another part of the world, unaware of our methods.

Like with many things, it is a crush that brings out the best.

Wish u all health with Garlic, and may the crush on You and Garlic continue.

Knight and Day (2010) [* * * *]

A light-hearted action film very much like a Bond, but better - just one woman. What was also unusual was the chemistry between the two! I didn't expect that.

Tom Cruise, 48, was never a favorite of mine, but growing old seems to suit him - his high energy edginess is now laced with a tenderness that's wonderful to see on screen. Cameron Diaz at 38 played a very dizzy blonde to perfection (reminded me of Goldie Hawn). Worth watching if you're looking for uncomplicated distraction.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Deliver Us from Evil (2006) [* * * * * *]

Religion is in crisis - finally! For the first time in centuries, religious clergy have been outted for their habit of abusing children.

This movie follows the serial abuser, Oliver O'Grady, a priest of the catholic church who has raped and sodomized children as young as 9 months old for over 30 yrs, protected by the church even today. It shows the rage of the parents who trusted him, and the horror of the children (who're 40+ now) who were forcibly held down and told that their parents wanted it to happen.

In a study done, they've found 10% of the clergy are sexual abusers of children! 1 out of every 10 representatives of God on earth, imagine the foul nature of that!

100,000 victims of clergy abuse have come forward in the US alone; 556 priests have been abusive in LA county alone. Long ago I read that 1 in every 5 boys and 1 in every 3 girls goes through sexual abuse during the first 12 yrs. Be wary, parents, tell your children that they should talk about inappropriate behaviour by adults so you can take action!

From avasthais (difficulties) to liberation

It was a no moon day, and the Master was welcomed with a pot of water to wash his soft feet, and flowers and Namasthe from the heart.

It was a simple gathering of 20 people ranging from 25 years to 65 years

It was a work shop like the master said on Yoga and Meditation.

It was arranged at a wedding hall close to a temple, with simple facilities, and a carpet of cotton material to squat.

It started with a simple question as to what the following who had gathered wanted, most of the replies were they wanted to know and learn about yoga and meditation.

I liked the way the master handled it, that he was willing to teach and explain, but will the folks who had questioned practice it?I was caught in my tummy with this request.

The theory and meditations were interlaced with enough freedom for questions and interactions, that it did not seem as if there was any feeling of restrictions on any one.

We found ourselves suddenly swinging arms and rotating hips and later sitting cross-legged, other times moving through the evolutionary game and swaying like the tree in a breeze, buzzing like a bee or yelling out like a doggy to find our selves as humans with compassion.

The other techniques were like an inner bath with no soaps, but a shower from the divine cloud.

All in all it was a temptation to move with the light that has lit the way, to the lessons we need to learn in this mystic university which offers no degrees, but garlands one with fragrance of maturity of understanding the mysteriousness of Mother Nature.

Friday, 9 July 2010

The first and last ride to the grave

It is a journey we all need to make but with no plans to prepare.

In our place the graveyard is a small plot of land in the north east, with an enclosure recently made of a compound wall and gate, all the previous permanent monuments have been demolished.

When there is a death in the family, word is sent through and the grave diggers come to the grieved family to get some money to booze and then start work, either to dig a grave or get firewood to cremate.

The family gets the rituals started, with the conch blowers, and the preparations to make the deceased body seem a divinity with the exit of the divine life.

The relatives arrive with garlands and share a hug or a warm shoulder expressing concern and sadness.

Relatives and friends take on the preparations for the final journey. For some it is just a quick disposal, for most it is a send off for a life well lived, some even make it a celebration with music and crackers.

Rituals are followed to show the closeness of the family and expressions of togetherness at such times of a loss.

The vehicle for the last journey arrives, the deceased body is bedecked with all the flowers and personal belongings and the last ride begins.

It is a fast paced walk with the push cart that is the vehicle in our place, pulled by the crematorium folks.

The flowers are sprinkled all along the path and most of the villagers stand out and may be, have a few kind thoughts of the person who has passed away.

The graveyard is reached and more rituals follow, till the deceased is lowered and the earth covered .

The money matters are all settled at the yard for all those who took part in the duties.

All return home, and all that remains is a memory.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Velveteen Rabbit (2009) [* * * * *]

I was impressed by two things: the emotional appeal of this tale of a loving child, and that the child was ... male! Most traditional writers believe that emotions are gender-driven, and colour-coding kids into blue and pink at birth helps them know their place.:p

But I've always believed the male child is just as capable of loving and getting desperately attached to a soft toy, like a velveteen rabbit, just as the adult male can. If he wanted to.

In this movie, the child is held at a distance by his father in a very 'proper' society and deposited in the home of his very proper grandmother. Alone and adrift, the child searches an attic and discovers a stuffed rabbit. And when he hugs the rabbit, it comes alive, as does his imagination. He builds a magic world of adventure around the toys until he gets scarlet fever. The same imaginary world now becomes an escape from reality, and he falls into a coma.

Its the story of 3 generations bonding - him, his grandmother and his father - and how love makes everything real. [Spoiler: A happy ending. The rabbit becomes real in the end in an unforgettable metaphor .:]

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Sound of silence

In this age of noisy entertainments, the natural sounds of birds and the breeze are becoming deaf to our human ears.

Our ears and mind are more tuned to other musical sounds, that a day may soon come when a mother will not be able to tune to her child’s moan and gurgling sweetness.

Every day is a schedule for doing things for others, that we are not able to fund and find a few minutes for ourselves,with out a way of escaping from reality, that to say “I lived a few minutes today for myself “ is a rarity.

Silence is too deep and cleansing, and one moment it sounds to have a music of its own, that is too captivating and magnetic and seems there is a maestro with a baton who waves the tunes if we have the ears to listen.

May we be blessed to listen to the sound of silence.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Back breaking speed breakers

Our village roads have recently been paved with cement and the speed of the two wheelers have tripled.

The crashing accidents and the injuries to the kids and elders have got on the speed breakers at many a junction and main streets.

Now the injuries are to the riders and the vehicles with the bumpy speed breakers.

There can probably be no two wheel riders who have not had a back ache these days with the high curving breakers that have come on, and the crushing sound of the low chassis hitting the breakers.

Many of the street folks are now in a dilemma to have the breakers or to remove them.

The back ache can be terrible and so too about the kids injuries.

I would prefer to have them in with a gradual curve and less hurting to the riders.

Star Wars [* * * * * *]

"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ..." nearly 35 yrs ago the story of a young Jedi trainee rocked the world. It was a story of heroism, a David vs the Goliath Empire. One of the best movies ever made, without doubt.

The following generations had the other 5 episodes of Star Wars - the Clone Wars and the Revenge of the Sith, but we had the original with the tai chi philosophy of flowing with the Life Force around one's self.

Our first Star Wars: A New Hope was based on two of the famous Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's post-war movies called The Hidden Fortress and Seven Samurai (also made as the Dirty Dozen). Japan had lost all its identity during americanized reconstruction and these movies did a lot to remind them of their 1000 yr old civilization. The first few scripts were an exact reproduction of The Hidden Fortress, except that it was in a galaxy far, far away, but later revisions changed it considerably to the polished adventure that it became.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Expired vaccines

It is better if the vaccines get expired than the expiry of those who receive them.

I hope the expired vaccines do not get sent off to third world countries as a gestures of kindess and a present, with different labels to be used .

70 million of the swine flu vaccine doses in the United States health department goes to incineration, and the money from the sales of them goes around to those who promoted them.

It will happen again, but with different tactics.

For those in the health care profession, there are lots to recall, as to which side we are in this charade.

Promote the vaccines in the next game, or get to dig deep to find the way of truth to know if it is for the health of the people of the world, or the wealth of the few shy unknown folks.

There are just too many paths down this rabbit hole.Who is willing to go on a hunt, certainly not the executives from W H O, it can be scary and enlightening, coming?