How come you write often ?

This is the set of standard questions from colleagues and friends. How come you write often ? When do you get time to write ? Why do you write ? What makes you write ? How do you choose topics to write ? and the like.

These questions have been asked for some considerable number of times and I thought it would be useful ( ?? ) for readers to know my views on these. Let me try and answer these one by one. If you think this to be self promotion, that is the last thought on my mind. However a word of caution : It would be better for readers to have the Indian political scene in mind while going through some of the answers.

So I have decided to clear the doubts and show the path of eternal writing to upcoming writers ( what modesty, you see !)

How come you write often ?

Well, frankly, I don’t have nothing much to do after office. Either I read or I write. My children have found out that it is not of any use for them to get help from me for their home work assignments. So, they rather undergo the pain of doing their home works all by themselves rather than explain me what they need done for their home work assignments. And the spouse has resorted to ‘silence’ having seen her throat go dry after trying to cajole me take up some household chores. I think she has decided to leave me in peace like my children – euphemism for ‘there-is-no-use-talking-to-you-so-I-rather-do-the-work-myself’.

Don’t you watch TV ?

Yes, I am an avid TV watcher – when it is switched off. The TV looks great when switched off. Even it sounds great too when switched off

How do you know the News then ?

Internet is the great provider of information. Anyways TV news analyses have become the ‘four-boxes-that-shout-at-each-other’ episodes. So you avoid these analyses and thus become wise.

.Don’t you go to movies ?

No, the movies decide to move out of the theatre once I decide to go for a movie. I usually take around an year to decide to watch a movie.

When do you get time to write ?

I start writing the moment  I wake up ( I want to say that. But that is not true). I write during my MRT rides ( Train rides to and from office). I am usually the odd man out in the train when the whole of the compartment scratches its phones playing ‘Temple Run’ and ‘Angry Birds’, I use he phone to write my piece. If in case of Tamil ( www.amaruvi.com ) I write in a note book.

Don’t people look down upon you in MRT because you write in a train ?

It is an offence to write on the walls of the train and not in one’s smartphone. Anyways nobody notices anybody in Singapore trains as they have the daily scores to attain in ‘Temple Run’.

How do you get the topics ?

For this you need to overhear conversations in Kopitiams or Taxis. And while in a Taxi, you should allow the driver uncle to speak. And you get a wealth of information ranging from NASA Space Launch to India’s Mangalyaan Mars Probe to HDB prices.

For topics on India, you just need to read the ‘Tamil Murasu’ in Singapore. It would contain, from cover to cover, news from India – especially Tamil Nadu. If you thought that the paper was from Singapore, think twice. It is from Singapore for people in Singapore about Tamil Nadu and India, containing detailed information on the latest gossips about Tamil film heroines.

How do you write humor ?

Very good question. It is actually simple. Do a random search on Rahul Gandhi and Karunanidhi. Go through some of their speeches. And you get material for two years. Rahul’s speeches would remind you of Thomson and Thomson of Tintin series.

Why do you write in Tamil ?

Because I don’t know Mandrin. Writing in Tamil makes me read Tamil books – especially scholarly material usually not known to general Tamil speaking populace. National Library Singapore is the culprit here. They have all kinds of scholarly material that are not available even in Tamil Nadu.

What makes you write ?

The abundance of comedy around me.

What differs between your Tamil and English posts ?

Language. Other than that, there are serious topics in Tamil while in English it is not so serious. That is because Tamil language writing has seen its nadir due to the influence of parochial and regional biases and that needs to be straightened up. See the burden of responsibility on my shoulders 🙂

Who are your readers ?

English posts have a wider audience especially  from India and the USA. Tamil posts get more visits from Sri Lanka, Singapore and USA. Slightly titillating topics in Tamil draw readers from Tamil Nadu.

What do your readers do after reading your posts ?

Probably would be banging their heads on the nearest walls. Generally readers who read my Tamil posts unfriend me in Facebook.

How are you sure you have got readers ?

Misfortune happens to every one. And getting to read my blog is one such. Suddenly you stumble upon a post of mine, read it and then look for the nearest lamp post to bang your head against. Happens in life.

Do you read Tamil stories ?

No. I want to remain sane. I avoid novels.

Could you tell a recent humour that you have had ?

There is this dental surgeon who has had his Masters in Dental Surgery from India. He is in Singapore for his Ph.D. It seems he cannot practise as a dentist but is qualified to teach undergraduate dental students. Humour such as this is available everywhere. One just needs to listen to people speaking.

What would you do if , one day, all humour ideas dry out ?

I always keep a copy of Congress Party’s election manifesto handy. That is better than a P.G.Wodehouse novel. Just in case that doesn’t tickle my humour muscles, there is this manifesto of the Communist Party of India. Words such as ‘proletariat’, ‘ masses’, ‘bourgeoisie’ tickle me to no end.

Why do you think you are capable of advising others on writing ?

When Rahul Gandhi can aspire to become the PM, why can’t I advise on writing ?

Raghuram Rajan’s varied avatars

If you thought that Raghuram Rajan was the Guv of Reserve Bank of India, then you are not the only one who would have been mistaken. I am one who thought so too until today when it dawned on me that he is not one person.

When reading about his speech delivered that he had delivered at  the Harvard Business School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, I began to have different visions of him. See for yourself what all I had.

He said: “This year the monsoon is going to be good” – so he became the astrologer.

He said:” So, animal husbandry , poultry will pick up and thus drive up sentiment..” – so he became my sooth-sayer.

He said: ” $115 Bn worth projects have been cleared so economy will pick up” – so he became a politician.

He said :”If you are an outsider looking at India, learn to filter out both the irrational exuberance and the excessive pessimism. We’re subject to both. You will become manic-depressive if you follow our moods.” – he became the perfect economist. Nothing was clear. But sentences were grammatically correct. Also seemed to be doctor like.

To address inflation he said : “In the US you know there is a large interest rate-sensitive sector that is going to be affected when you raise interest rates … But what if you have a large part of the country that is not connected directly to the financial system?” – here he meant the parallel economy that runs in the black that is not altered by any interest rate hikes that the RBI imposes. Here he became the pragmatic Indian.

So who is the real Raghu Ram Rajan ? Make a guess ?

Raghuram Rajan's varied avatars

If you thought that Raghuram Rajan was the Guv of Reserve Bank of India, then you are not the only one who would have been mistaken. I am one who thought so too until today when it dawned on me that he is not one person.

When reading about his speech delivered that he had delivered at  the Harvard Business School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, I began to have different visions of him. See for yourself what all I had.

He said: “This year the monsoon is going to be good” – so he became the astrologer.

He said:” So, animal husbandry , poultry will pick up and thus drive up sentiment..” – so he became my sooth-sayer.

He said: ” $115 Bn worth projects have been cleared so economy will pick up” – so he became a politician.

He said :”If you are an outsider looking at India, learn to filter out both the irrational exuberance and the excessive pessimism. We’re subject to both. You will become manic-depressive if you follow our moods.” – he became the perfect economist. Nothing was clear. But sentences were grammatically correct. Also seemed to be doctor like.

To address inflation he said : “In the US you know there is a large interest rate-sensitive sector that is going to be affected when you raise interest rates … But what if you have a large part of the country that is not connected directly to the financial system?” – here he meant the parallel economy that runs in the black that is not altered by any interest rate hikes that the RBI imposes. Here he became the pragmatic Indian.

So who is the real Raghu Ram Rajan ? Make a guess ?

So you want to be a PR ?

So you decided to become a Permanent Resident err.. decided to apply for Permanent Residency. Mind it, one cannot decide to become a PR. One , with the limited powers at ones’ disposal, can only choose to apply. And the powers that be would choose to either grant or reject the application. So, as a mere mortal , one should gather enough strength and start the process of applying for a PR not being aware of the travails that were in store ahead.

One should stop thinking for a while when one contemplates to file an application for PR. Reasoning and logic would need to be suspended for some time and one should know that every one is assured of ones’ rights to suspend ones’ own reasoning. And that is one of the most essential attributes for one who wishes to apply for a PR.

Say you want to apply for PR. Then the only thing that you need to do is to go ahead and apply for one. Never, ever, stop to think on what basis applications are approved or rejected. They are beyond human comprehension and of course definitely beyond the comprehension of the mere mortals that apply for one.

So an auspicious day would need to be chosen and the PR application would need to be  downloaded from the website. A week’s vacation would need to be  applied for as the documentation would be  so vast and detailed that one would need to have all the powers of the language to (1) understand what they wanted and (2) provide the details in the minimum of space that would have been  provided. Sometimes one had to burn one’s midnight oil to fill in the forms. Well, oil burning is not a necessity as power supply is stable.

And then a couple of suit-cases would need to be purchased. One is needed to file all available documents in duplicate ranging from ones’ kindergarten notes to secondary school mark sheets and love letters ( if applicable ). And then one had to hire a trailer lorry to carry the documents to the office that processed the application.

And voila, I forgot the most important stuff. You needed to book an appointment on the internet that always gave you dates three months from any day you tried to book.

On the day of appointment, one needs to get in to the designated office and pick up a token. Remember that a token is the most important document in the whole system. One could afford to be without ones’ mark sheets but never without the token.

Then one comes face to face with the officer. The conversation, if you can call one that, goes thus :

“What is the purpose of your PR application?” – this is the most important and most difficult to answer. If one thought that the purpose of ones’ application was to get oneself a PR status, then there is a 99 in 100 chance that one is wrong.

So one would need to  mumble some reason and wait for the next missile.

“Mark sheets are okay. Show me the original birth certificates” , upon which you produce the original.

At this point one needs to ponder and think along the lines what Mary Antonite would have thought when asked for bread.

“Show me the English version of the original”. With this, one is done for ever.

“Madam, my birth certificate is in Tamil”.

“I said show me the original or its English version in English”.

“……”

“Don’t have already ? So proceed to the high commission and ask them to produce an English version. We need to know your father and mother”.

“But Madam, the passport contains my parent’s names”.

“Is your passport your birth cert?”

“No but, the passport contains the names”.

“Per our procedure, we need two documents. You may come back within the next week”.

So the sojourn to the high commission starts Several dollars later, the commission produces this:

“This is to certify that, as per the passport issued by the Chennai RPO bearing number XVXVXVXVXV, the person Right Off Center was born to so and so on this unfortunate date in such and such god-forsaken place”.

So the moral of this piece of interaction with the high commission is that one needs to go to them to get ones’ birth certificate in English which they would certify based on the passport that they had issued. And how did they issue the passport ? No questions here.

Bureaucracy is like weather – unpredictable, unreliable and unexpected. And the other aspect of bureaucracy is that they are eminently adept in making one believe that they are working and that ones’ work is getting done. This is the knowledge that dawn on oneself as soon as one interacts with the bureaucracy in any country.

Okay. The high commission issued the birth cert right ? So one would give that to the PR officer.

And the PR officer would gladly  receive the document and produce an acknowledgement which would ensure that one would have to wait for an year to know the result that the application has been rejected. And as usual with no reasons assigned.

And mind it. They are well within their rights to not assign any reason. Not because they don’t know the reason.

” I will not write the answer in the exam. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know the answer” – Anonymous.

Foolishly yours .. contd

It is too much to ask me to give more examples of my foolishness.

Oh wait a minute. I have been more foolish than what I have stated in my earlier post.

Yes, you guessed it right. I have always believed that Ambedkar, EVR, Anna and the whole series of intellectuals had eradicated casteism from my country until I found out otherwise very soon in life.  Let me elaborate.

Yes, I went to school, was taught by poorly paid yet hardworking teachers and they taught me that, to be casteist was a sin and that caste-ism had been eradicated from the country. Then I wanted to go to college. And they said I could not go to a particularly important college. I asked them the reason. They said that I belonged to a caste whose practitioners had treated many others cruelly two hundred years ago. And they were taking revenge on my forefathers by punishing me. Kapil Sibal would sound like Einstein if this logic could be accepted. And yes George Bush Jr  would be Aristotle.

I never gave up. “But”, I said, ” the constitution says all are equal”. They said, ” Yes, but we have changed it many times to ensure that though it sounds equal to all, it doesn’t act equal”. Weird logic, right ? “No”, they said “social justice”. And I believed in social justice from then on. So don’t you think I am foolish yet ?

You see, my memory keeps failing me. Now I remember this. I have been given to understand that the Sri Lankan Government is a killer government as it killed the ethnic Tamils. I agreed. “But”, I asked, ” the guerrillas killed as many people as the government. Are they not killers?” “No”, they replied, “the rebels are not killers even though they killed the same Tamil populace. They are heroes”. I believed that as well. So, am I not the worst fool yet ?

Not convinced still ? Okay. Let me tell you this. They gave Obama the peace prize as he sounded like speaking for peace. Then what happened ? He kept on speaking. Economic issues ? Speak. Immigration issues ? Speak. Climate Change ? Speak.  Another election ? Speak. Not getting enough sleep ? Speak. And I believed every word of his speech. And continue to do so.

You know what ? Obama in his 2004 DNC speech spoke against snooping. Again repeated his civil liberty tone and lines during the 2008 elections. And once elected to power, started snooping around and listening to my phone. And Snowden broke the story. So the sole human rights custodian , the US, went after him and wanted to arrest him. Freedom of speech? Liberty ? Yes, that is what Obama said and continues to say and I believe him. So, am I not The Fool like a John Grisham title yet ?

Not convinced right ? Here you go. The US stands for democracy, right ? Or that is what Obama wants us to believe like what his predecessors wanted us to believe. And in their noble quest to establish democracy around the world, they have helped establish a sovereign, secular, democratic republic of Saudi Arabia. Didn’t you know that already? When did they establish that ? After establishing “democracy” in Iraq and in Libya and of-course Afghanistan. I believe this and still you don’t want to consider me foolish ?

Excellent. I have this in my defense of foolishness. You know what ? The Reserve Bank of India has recently “allowed” the foreign banks in India to open zero balance accounts as they want these banks to “serve” the rural population. Remember the credit card thugs that used to knock on people’s doors? Now these thugs are going to knock on the hutment doors in rural India. ( They will fail in their mission to knock on the doors of the huts as the huts don’t have doors yet ). And I believe that these foreign banks are going to swarm the rural countryside to help the millions of below poverty line citizens open zero balance accounts and get serviced by English speaking Tellers, not to forget the swanky ATMs. No,no  don’t ask me what good an ATM is when the account has zero balance ? Probably you need to ask Kapil Sibal as he is more acquainted with “zero” than I do.

So, despite all these evidences, if you don’t want to believe that I am the most foolish person available on earth, I would have to declare that you have usurped my position pushing me to the second place in foolishness.

So coming back to the degrees of comparison, I would have to say thus :

I am the second most foolish person available on earth.

There is at least one person that is more foolish than I am.

Write in short, did you say ?

Some recent mails from a long standing reader.

“Why do you write such long winded sentences ”

“Why is it that your articles and posts are at least two pages long even in this age of FB?”

“Why do you write such complex sentences? Can’t you write in simple five word sentences ?”

“Blasphemy, why are you writing nowadays in Tamil ?”

“Don’t you know about Twitter? It is just 140 characters long and we are able to talk a lot. Come on grow up”.

“Can’t your posts be like Facebook Status updates?”

“What ever you might say, if your posts are longer than four sentences, I can’t read them”.

My response :

I exercise my right to make good use of what my English teachers have taught me – simple, compound, complex sentences, positive, comparative and superlative degrees of comparison, active and passive voice forms and the different tenses to express satire and the different figures of speech.

And Tamil is not a dead language like Latin. For more visit http://ammanji.wordpress.com

Four word sentences are usually called epitaphs. And I don’t intend to be an epitaph engraver. I write for live humans and not for used-to-be-alive folks.

When the mind goes blank..

There are days that happen during which existential matters take precedence and cause so much stress that the mind goes blank. The very fact that the mind has passed out is demonstrated when you keep looking at your watch five times in five minutes without the time getting registered in your mind.

These days occur to me at alarming frequency. A careless analysis of those days reveal a recurring pattern. Those are days when meetings would have happened with a single point agenda and everything else other than the agenda would have been discussed.

These days, meetings of this kind seem to occur more often than they used to in earlier times. Call it the sign of times or what ever one might want to call. The point is that these meetings have become pointless and this, everyone including the one that calls for these meetings have come to understand. Yet these continue probably to satisfy some unstated purpose.

And the perfect way to unwind oneself after these meetings is to open ones’s Kindle or the dog eared copy of Right Ho Jeeves, by P.G.Wodehouse. He brings the much needed chemical reactions in the brain that ensures that the grey matter called brain, that would have otherwise been turned into cauliflowers, remains as grey matter.

Though long dead and gone, Wodehouse keeps me sane nowadays. And I open the Kindle more often than I used to in earlier times.

And I pity the one in these meetings that doesn’t have his own copy of Wodehouse.

Telling lies, yes papa..

Patience is indeed a virtue. Otherwise the people of Tamil Nadu could not have been so quiet despite facing such enormous power cuts that last more than 12 hours per day. Various reasons are cited on a daily basis- one day it is the hydel power shortage , on day two it is the lack of wind to increase the power generation from wind mills and on day three it is the coal-inadequacy and on day four it is the Uranium inadequacy in Australia.

It certainly is an art to keep telling lies and getting away with it every time and the union ministers and the state governments have become adepts in that.

So, in our eternal quest to help the politicians and administrators overcome this power deficit situation or rather help them in inventing lies, here is a compilation of future reasons that they could use to fool the people. I am hoping for a seat in the Rajya Sabha ( Upper House ) next time for this great service that I am rendering them :

  1. The recent meteor shower in Russia, as per our preliminary findings, is the cause for this reduction in power generation in Tamil Nadu that is 8000 KM away from the meteor site.
  2. There is a sudden slowdown in the rotation of the moon on its own axis. This causes increase in tidal waves and hence reduces the wind power thus hindering the wind power generation.
  3. We observe that there is a black hole in the Andromeda galaxy that is about 100 light years away from our Milky Way Galaxy. Therefore there is a general pull towards this Black Hole that results in a general degradation of water flow in the rivers in India which cause a reduction in the hydro electric power generation.
  4. There is an increased fishing activity in the Bay of Bengal that results in the disturbance to ocean currents that cause the delay in monsoons which result in reduction in rainfalls. And that results in the decreased water flow to Mettur Dam and therefore there is a reduction in hydro-electric power generation.
  5. People get agitated now-a-days for silly things that results in verbal duels which cause an increase in temperature of the surroundings that result in the melting of ice-caps and also changes the wind direction. This causes a reduction in wind power generation.
  6. The television debates in NDTV, CNN-IBN etc cause a lot of heat. Please refer the previous reason for the effect of heat.
  7. People have started eating lots of spicy foods and hence exhale lot of hot air. Please refer to the previous point for further explanation.
  8. People have started believing in Gods , especially Hindu Gods and hence have started visiting temples. There they break lots of coconuts as offerings to Gods and that results in noise pollution which in turn changes the wind direction which results in wind power reduction.
  9. Now-a-days Uranium atoms have become smaller in size and hence their capacity to yield energy. Hence Koodankulam project is getting delayed. Had it not been for this atomic size, the power plant would have become operational by now.
  10. There is an increase in air traffic across the oceans and the aeroplanes cause a change in direction of the winds. These delay the monsoon and hence hydro electric generation is affected.
  11. The local Ayyanaar deities have not been pacified this summer as there has not been enough goats available for them to be sacrificed. Hence this has delayed the onset of rains to fill in the dams.

If you come across any more of such reasons as above, please mail them to the public relations department of the government.

Why I am not a genius

“Therefore Justice Sivasamy Iyer became such a great judge of his times by studying under the street light” – thus concluded the English Teacher at school.

This has not been the first time that I had been sermonized thus. The same teacher had taught about Einstein, Edison, Jefferson, Washington, Lincoln and the hordes of other leaders that occupied my limited repository of world leaders who had been magnificent in their times. And there was this common thread in their tales – they all had attained greatness by studying under the street lights in their respective places.

Having been educated on the virtues of studying under the street light, it dawned upon me that the street light is an easy way to stardom in ones’ own field of choice. Then the obvious questions cropped up thus :

Why doesn’t every body start studying under the street light if that was a surefire way to superlative significance ?

Why don’t the schools of the world just push their imbecile idiots that masquerade as students under the street lights after having known that all great stalwarts were created under such lights during the different periods in history ? A back of the envelope calculation of 20 streets multiplies by 10 street lights multiplied by 2 students per streetlight led me to this astounding figure of 400 super intellectuals that could solve all the world’s problems in a jiffy – I prided myself on my discovery of a sure fire solution to world’s problems. This thought I kept contemplating on for a very long time that many a time I was about to shout this ‘Eureka’-ish discovery in front of the whole class. But somehow I though the better of it and kept the great idea to myself.

On an occasion I even wrote this piece of native intelligence on a piece of paper and was about to mail it to the Prime Minister but had to beat a hasty retreat when the post man said I would would have to affix an One Rupee Stamp on the envelope as the letter had to travel all the way to Delhi from Neyveli. One Rupee was a luxury that could fetch me two number of hard bound 220 page maths class work note book ( un-ruled ). For a long time I thought about the economics of mathematics and kept quiet.

But there were occasions when I let the cycle bell of the postman disturb my solitude on quiet saturday afternoons when the he brought me the invitation from the Prime Minister to attend the Republic Day Parade at New Delhi in appreciation of my rather brilliant discovery of a solution to this great intellectual deficit in the country. But my bliss would only be disheveled by the postman carrying the annual report of some defunct company that was already in the red for the last many years. Oh, my. What a wastage of national resources – a 200 page report on why the company didn’t do well. If only they stopped writing such annual reports and printing and despatching them through post they could save the company many thousands of rupees. Again a brilliant thought and some day I had to write this to the company. But there was this economic burden of affixing a stamp of 15 paise on the envelope. Where do i go for that princely sum ?

While solving the intellectual deficit of the country was of primary importance to me, there was another aspect that troubled me very much – that of becoming a stalwart myself. And the quick and easy way was to get myself educated under the street light. Sounded like a brilliant idea as I thought it would be good to test the hypotheses on myself while I strove hard to earn my One Rupee for purchasing the stamp.

The thought that I was going to become a student of great erudition and intellect, overnight, without much efforts, just by being under the street light sifting away the pages of the book seemed to evoke a sense of great satisfaction in me. I was going to compensate all my lost marks in the different tests in just one go. That very thought brought me great peace and a sense of having arrived.

So, I embarked on this journey towards the culvert on the opposite side of the road in front of our house upon which shone the street light. The night was dark and the street light was bright and the setting was perfect. And I surreptitiously sat on the culvert and opened the Biology book whereupon came over Babu looking suspiciously at me.

He was probably surprised at my nocturnal activity that was actually his domain. But being my friend he accepted my presence his his area of influence. Just to make sure and ascertain his approval, I just called him by his name –  Babu. He came rushing at me and started licking my toe while wagging vigorously his curved tail. He used to do that whenever he was happy.

Thus started this nocturnal education. Things seemed to go on well for about a week or so when the whole effort was called into question by R-mami, the wife of V-mama, who stayed in the house adjoining the culvert.

“Why do you want to spend your time in the nights sitting on the culvert?”, asked R-mami. She was obviously perturbed by the fact that there was some human presence on the culvert when it was time for the world to sleep.

“No mami, I am studying”, I tried my best to answer.

Not convinced she probed further,” But why on the culvert ?”

“No mami,I am studying under the light”, I try to manage.

“But why here? Does your house not have lights ?”, she asks, her inquisitiveness knew no bounds.

“Yes mami, there is light but there is no street inside the house”, I said wondering why doesn’t mami understand the reason for the street light study.

She didn’t seem to understand, I thought. So I explained further by talking about Justice Sivasami Iyer, Washington etc.

“I appreciate your sentiments. But why in the middle of the night ?”, she asked again.

“Because street lights don’t glow during the day”, I tried to justify.

“But what about the snakes that usually crawl underneath at this time of the hour? It is already 10:00 PM”, she retorted.

A piece of quick thinking and I regained my composure and said , ” Mami, I am reading biology and hence a snake would be useful”, I replied triumphantly.

“So if you read about Paris, would you go to France?”, asked Mami.

Not a bad idea, I thought. But then felt a shiver down my spine as I suddenly remembered the geography class on the same day where we studied about the Amazon forests.

“But mami, I am just trying out a new idea in education , a rather old idea but has been forgotten now”, I tried to reason.

R-mami has never been one to give up. “If you keep pestering, i will have to inform your Appa”, she said.

Well that was s real problem. I was not sure how Appa would take to myself taking to the street to get enlightened. Not that he would be averse to my being enlightened but to the place and time that I had chosen for that purpose.

Not wishing to continue the dialog with R-mami that was clearly going against me, I was contemplating an honorable exit when a savior arrived in the form of Deng, my bro. Not that he was particularly interested in this nocturnal enlightenment of the academic kind but he was more outside of our house than the inside, having been a person whose friends circle was open to many species of the four legged kind as well encompassing the canine and bovine assortments.

His arrival helped divert attention from me and R-mami began her inquisition of Deng. Never one to disappoint, Deng continued his retorts with catchy phrases and well thought-out one liners that helped keep R-mami at bay.

R-mami ended this bilateral negotiation with a deadline “I should not see you on the culvert tomorrow”.

I began to worry about my ambition of becoming a Washington or Lincoln being discarded to the dustbins of history and the conspiracy that was being hatched by R-Mami. Deng whispered thr V-mama, her husband, had the habit of smoking on the culvert in the dead of night and that was the reason for her belligerence. Those were the days when elders felt embarrassed to smoke in the public.

Again Deng came to my rescue and said that we could call our friends Kuppu, Satish and Jeyakumar to join us in our nightly education. “Having company would ward off venomous reptiles”, he said in general. R-mami was visibly upset and rushed in uttering something that sounded like “Appa”.

After a week of cajoling, Kuppu and Satish agreed to come over while Jeyakumar didn’t need any. The idea of beccming ‘enlightened’ seemed to have fascinated them and they arrived with hordes of books. A table and four chairs were arranged to be placed under the light and we began our ‘study’.

Time seemed to pass but enlightenment didn’t seem to dawn for when I started with Biology, Kuppu began to read out aloud his Englsh lessons and Satish History resulting in a situation that seemed to resemble the parliament where everybody spoke at the same time.

We came to an agreement that we would need to refrain from reading aloud and thus help the cause. This seemed to work a little but resulted in Kuppu and myself dozing off in the middle.

And there was trouble from an un-expected quarter as well. During his nightly rounds on patrol, the local policeman Ramu was attracted by this grouping and came to visit us. Having learned about our enlightened vision on getting erudite, he began to relate a story of his brother who had similar ambitions and spent time under the street light and lost his speech in the process. The rumour was that a female ghost ( mohini as she was known ) had enamoured him and that resulted in his having lost his speech. That rendered us speechless.

Babu seemed to have understood this and began to bark at nothing in particular and the nocturnal cabinet was dissolved with no notice.

And now you know why I am not a genius, don’t you ?

Some tips to 'Justice' Katju

Dear Mr.Katju,

I know that I would not be committing any contempt of court by writing to you. Though I know that you have retired. But the fun is you don’t know that you are retired and so continue to write judgments in cases that are not in your jurisdiction.

From your press utterances and television interviews and your rather frequent articles in The Hindu, I have come to understand that you are a great human being and that your forgiving heart is so vast that you have the ability to forgive  even the aliens that are likely to invade earth some years from now.

Having known your large heart and your boundless and limitless love of humanity, I would like to draw your attention to some cases that would have escaped your attention.( yes, your recent letter to the Chief Justice asking for pardon for Sanjay Dutt for holding weapons of mass termination prompted me to write this letter. )

I know I would have been mauled by now if you were still in service. Now that you are working full time for the Congress after your retirement and having observed your utterances on many issues, here are some tips for you to keep yourself engaged:

2G – Kanimozhi. As you might know, Ms.Kanimozhi ( Kani for short ) is the epitome of tamil womanhood. She has been unfortunate enough to have been born to the leader of world Tamils ( which world, you should not ask ). And she is the only woman poet that the Tamil world has. And her stance on Tamils of Sri Lanka, one cannot ask. She has an opinion on anything and only she knows what she would say on something. And she is the only female politician in Tamil Nadu that speaks English other than Jayalalithaa. With such venerable talent storehouse, we were a bit laid back and hence she did those things that had happened in 2G that she was not aware of. So there has been this conspiracy to defame a woman just because she has been the daughter of my Tamil leader. Additionally, she is also the mother of a son and the wife of a husband. Hence she is more than equipped to be pardoned and released.

The Rajiv Killers – What did they do ? They helped the actual killers. So what, they did not kill right ? So why hang them ? Already a couple of decades have passed. So why not pardon them and establish the supreme motherly love of Bharatha Maatha ?

The Dharmapuri Bus burning case – there are three death sentence convicts. You see they did not set fire to the students who were killed. They set fire to the bus ( mostly dilapidated in my state ) and the students were inside the bus. Why were the students inside the bus ? If so how could anyone complete his historic duty of burning a bus ? I know this would sound logical to you. Please write for their pardon too.

Please ask for Pardon for the 5 year old’s rapist. After all what has he done? He has just violated a child. When you had sought pardon for Sanjay Dutt who has two AK 47s, why not for this ‘Bihari’ gentleman ? 

I know your ‘dharmic’ thoughts on mercy. Hence please start fighting against mosquito extinguishers like Tortoise and the other brands. How could one extinguish mosquitoes? Mosquitoes have as much rights to live in the country as we have. Hence please let your judicial acumen play savior to the mosquitoes of the world.

And please don’t forget the cockroach repellent companies. Seek a ban on the cockroach killers and the other pesticide manufacturers.

Please seek a ban on all the following festivals – Deepavali, Sankaranthi, Ram navami, Janmaashtami. Are we not a secular nation ? We need to celebrate just the Independence Day and Republic Day. And of course Christmas and Id. That is the way to strengthen secularism. I am surprised how this has escaped your attention.

Then there is this horrible Modi. He keeps talking of governance, transparency, good administration, growth, GDP, education etc. All these are anathema to our democracy. Please ensure that he is ostracized completely. I know the English Press is on the job. But your legal acumen would help.

Please ensure that the ‘Friday Features’ section of The Hindu is not published. They talk about Indian culture ( read hinduism ), classical dance( read hindu hegemony ),  religious discourses ( read brahmin hegemony) and the like. You know what – they have even started publishing pictures of hindu temples and are writing articles on temple restoration and those obnoxious ideas. Make sure that the editorial team takes over the Friday Features as well. That will make the paper a truly Chinese paper published from Chennai. Easy way out is for you to take over the Editorial position in the paper. That would complete the full circle.

You see, I have not spoken about eradicating corruption, nepotism, family rule, dynastic politics  etc thus proving that I belong to the same political party as you do.Being compatriots, I earnestly believe that your good offices would be put to better use in the coming times.

With great expectations

A co-worker of the Grand Old Party( like you )