Saturday 8 September 2012

My Mother's Prayer

Rajaram, you have to improve so much!!!!

This is the advice I hear everyday, from almost everyone I encounter, whether it is family members or relatives or friends or even my little nephews.

Mama, you look good, but your tummy, and your shape..........YUK!!!. You have to reduce your tummy to improve your shape, my elder nephew used to say.

Did you call your Driving Instructor............ Asked my Brother In Law.


You have to get rid of procrastination to have any improvement in life!!!!! My BIL advices

You have to hold your pen little tightly, and give little more pressure towards the paper to improve your handwriting. Your pen will not get hurt if you hold it tightly!!!! My teachers and Big Brother used to say.

Yes I know I can’t even read later, whatever I wrote previously.

Improvement!!                           Improvement!!                              Improvement

Why I am not improving?

There is a reason!

 It is due to Mother's Prayer!!!!!!!

All of you may wonder, whether any mother would pray to god to abstain her Son from "Improvement"

Yes, my Mom did this!!!

Are you interested to know the reason?

I will tell you the incident......The flashback will take you to the year 1992-1994

That was the time when I had written my 10th Standard Exam and awaiting results and my past time hobbies were Cricket and Only Cricket and occasionally visit relatives in the same village.

I was not a studious Student and I was always scoring  poor marks in Science and Mathematics.

When I hear, Trigonometry, or Newton's Law or H2SO4, I feel less appetite and migraine.

I am having a cousin named Babu, in my neighborhood, who was perusing his Electrical Engineering Studies then.

He used to repair old radios for the villagers and assemble new ones up on demand

He used to make other electronic articles like Digital Clocks, walkmans etc and I used to be with him watching, how he plugged in his Soldering iron? How he solder Resistors, Diodes, Capacitors to the Printed Circuit Board. (The Circuit Boards were also made by him by mixing some chemicals)

I even like the smell when he touches the hot Soldering iron to the soldering Flux which is meant to clean the Surface before soldering.

I used to watch him carefully, how he used his Multi meter and one day he allowed me to touch it to my joy knows no bounds.

I also wished and wanted to make a Radio and to make my parents and brothers wonder about my ability.

I hesitantly told this to my cousin. He advised there are "Radio Kits" available in the city with instructions on it and if I simply follow the instructions, I can also be a proud owner of self made Radio.

He also suggested that, the most user-friendly and famous brand is "Jetking".

I requested my dad to buy me a radio kit. But the city is 60 Kilometers away from our village.

There was a person called Ravi Warrier in our village who goes everyday to the city as he employed there in an Ayurvedic Hospital.

Fed up with my constant requests, my dad asked him to buy a Jetking Radio kit and handed over the cash.

When the petrol price was only Rs. 17, the Sugar costs only Rs 7 per Kg and Lifebuoy Soap costs only Rs. 3, my dad spend Rs. 300 to my childhood fancy.

I was daydreaming that, immediately after getting the Kit, I would Start the work and complete my radio with in a day. So I kept my Soldering Iron, lead and flux ready on a table which was near the plug point.

Even though I know, Mr Ravi would come at 8:30 PM, in the last bus, whenever I hear the noise of a bus, I ran towards our gate to see whether he is coming with my kit.

At last he came with my kit at 8:30 PM and to my horror, Electricity had gone as it was our scheduled time of power cut.

I thought, by the time the electricity comes, which is usually half an hour later, I would read the manual, so that I can start my work immediately.

At 9.00 O Clock all expected that the electricity would be back but it didn’t.

Up on enquiry we understood that, electricity can not be expected that night as some tree had fallen to the 11 KV line near by and the repairing was going on.

In the candle light, I completed reading the Manual once and re read it 2 times after that.

The next day, when the electricity was restored, I started my work.

I plugged in my soldering iron and kept all the components of the kit in order along with the instruction Manual.

I took the Printed Circuit Board and started soldering the components one by one. There were many components; the Resistors, Capacitors, Transistors, and Diodes and so on.

By this I was slowly learning the basics of electronics.

Now I know a transistor has 3 lead named Emitter, Base, and Collector and a diode has 2 leads named Cathode and anode.

 I felt very happy as I was progressing in my work..

All at home and some of my friend looked at me surprisingly and my dad even told me that I look professional.

That night, once the last resistors and Volume control are fitted on the board, the Battery compartments connection had been given and I was very eager to test it.

I made it sure that, no one is around as I was afraid that, if something goes wrong and if nothing is heard from the radio.

I prayed to god and slowly switched on the Radio!!!!!!!!!

Instead of hearing a song I heard a sound  TUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With Smoke!!!!!!!!

Without telling anything to anyone at home I took my radio to my cousin and showed and he found out that, I had interchanged the leads of a Diode while soldering.

Fortunately, he was having the component and he replaced it and did some checking with his multi-meter and at last he switched on.

As he tunes the radio on, to my surprise, my radio captured signal from Akashavani Trichur Station.

I thanked him and took my radio to my home and I called everyone to my "Experiment Area" and shown to them that the radio is working.

My parents were very happy and they sincerely thought that an Engineer is born!!!!!

My fate / Destiny were written on that day!

We should get him First Group to his Pre-degree; I heard my Mom telling my dad; See his taste in Engineering!!!!! See how he repairs things!!!!!

 At last the results were out for my 10th Standard and some how my parents managed to get First group for my pre degree and the subjects comprises of Science / Mathematics and English.

The First day itself... I understood that and I do not understand anything taught in the class that too in a different medium, English, which was not at all familiar to me.

At that time I was not aware any English sentence other than " What is your name?",and I found it very difficult to concentrate in the class and obviously all my concentration was on the Cricket ground outside.

My College was situated on the top of a Small hill. The main office and buildings were on the top of the hill, the Entrance and the Physical Education department on the valley. The cricket Ground was on the mid of the hill.

Everyday I reach my college by 8 o Clock and stand in front of the Physical Education department waiting for others, mostly senior cricketers to come. Since there was not a proper cricket pitch in the ground, we have to take the Coir Carpet from the dept to the ground which was too heavy.

The seniors made us to do that. We juniors form a group of 6 people and keep the Carpet on the top of three stumps and lift the stumps side by side and  walk to the ground which is around 100 Meters away from the Ground level.

Even then we juniors did all the sacrifices we hardy get an over to bowl and batting was not allowed at all.

Despite of that,  I was on good spirit as I see a future Kris Srikkanth on me who was also an Engineer.

My first year in college just went like that and the college was closed for Study leave for a month.

The first 15 days went just like that.

The 16th day I opened my Physics Text which looked like Brand New as I was opening it for the first time.

I realised that  I don’t know anything in Physics.

I thought, Lets start with Chemistry.. Physics I will do later......

There also the same!!! I don’t know anything!

At last the exam dates came near........ And I wrote the exams............

I was afraid and Sure that I am not going to pass!!!

On the eve of my first year exam results my mother read out the Sadness on of my face.......

Why are you so sad and why you are not eating properly? She asked

I told her the truth!! Mom I am afraid of my result!!! I am not sure that I will pass!!!!

Calmly my mother asked........ What will happen if you fail?

Do you have to sit in the same class again?

No...... I said........ I can sit in the second year class. And there is scheme by the University called "Improvement", So that I can re write my first year exams.

“Improvement" What does that means, my mother asked.

A candidate who fails in the first year exams my re appear for his failed subjects along with second year Exams or even if a candidate passes the exams with low marks may reappear the exams to have improved marks and the highest mark out of both the exams will be taken in the mark list. I answered.

For you not to get any "Improvement", you have to pass the exams in the first chance, right? My mother reconfirmed.

Yes....... I Answered.

That evening my mother went to our village temple and prayed

 ദൈവമേ, എന്റെ മകന് ഒരിക്കലും Improvement കൊടുക്കല്ലേ !!!!!!!!

கடவுளே, என் புல்லையக்கு ஒரு நாளும் Improvement  குடுக்கதும்கோ

 Oh God, Never Ever give my son any “Improvement"

When the results were out next day, to my wonder I had passed for all papers with stagnant (Opposite of Flying colours) colours.

But whether god took my Mothers prayer wrongly as if the prayer of Kumbhakarna was answered by Goddess Saraswathi

I was escaped from my "Improvement Exams", but in life, am I improved?????

Even if you say NO........ I won’t agree.

Except my Hand writing and Tummy........Everything has improved!!!!

If I have not Improved, I wouldn’t have written this story.

Friday 10 August 2012

How a Silk Sari Made me Fool- My Dad's Story

An incident by Sri S Vasudevan, My Dad

To zoom, Right Click on the Image , Open in a new window and Zoom

Saturday 14 July 2012

പാറചാത്തന്‍ തുളച്ച തേങ്ങക്കുള്ളിലെ മൂര്‍ഖന്‍ പാമ്പിന്‍ കുഞ്ഞുങ്ങള്‍

Yet another interesting story from my dad.!!!!

പാറചാത്തന്‍ തുളച്ച തേങ്ങക്കുള്ളിലെ മൂര്‍ഖന്‍ പാമ്പിന്‍ കുഞ്ഞുങ്ങള്‍ 

By S. വാസുദേവന്‍‌

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Monday 30 April 2012

Homer & Swan

By S. Vasudevan

ou may think that, it is some Sherlock Holmes characters when you first read this title. However this is the story of two Pens and the story of a Pen theft.

“Thottuva” is that beautiful village, where I born and brought up. In the past, our family had   lots of ancestral property, acres of land filled with Jack Fruit trees, Mango Trees, Cashew Trees and Tamarind Trees. The sole buyer of Jack Fruits from our land was a person named “Sulaiman”. His Son “Kochu Pillai” was the one who loaded the Jack Fruits on to the Bullock Cart and then unloaded the same in the nearby market. He was also responsible for writing the account of the number of Jack fruits loaded and its price.

Right Click> Open in a New Window> Zoom
Mr Kochu Pillai was the proud owner of a pen which was light violet in color. Many times I had taken the pen from him and looked at it with utmost respect and sheer admiration. In its clip the pen’s name “Homer” was inscribed. I had an intense desire to make this pen my own. My innumerable shameless begging for that pen to be given to me had no effect on him.

Finally in a cunning stroke I stole that pen from him. Mr Kochu Pillai desperately searched for his pen everywhere. He started looking at me like a criminal and I felt very guilty. Somehow my mother got the news. Under her tough interrogation I had to admit the crime. She took the pen from me and handed it over to Kochu Pillai with a plea , not to disclose the whole incident to my Father.
After this incident, many a times I begged and pleaded my Mom and Dad to buy a pen for me. But there was no response from them.  I used to blabber pen. At last to trick them, I blabbered;      Pen!!…..Pen!!!……Homer!…..Pen!!……………..Homer!! ……….Homer!!! ; in my sleep like a sleep walker.  Those times the most popular pen was the one named “Swan” and  bowing down to   my mother’s compulsion, my dad took            me to the nearest town,          “Perumbavoor”
There was a bus named “Pankajam” from our village which traveled to the town. That was also  my maiden journey in a bus, and I felt that  all the trees on the roadside were  running  backwards very fast.

 At last we reached the town and purchased the pen from a shop which belonged to my dad’s friend Sri Achthan Nair. The pen was dark blue in color with the name “Swan” inscribed on the clip. After that we went to  “Sankara Iyer’s”  textile  shop. From there dad bought 4-5 towels for him as well as two “Dhotis” one or me and the other for my brother Viswam. The brand of the dhoti was “Suri Branded Dhothi”. We reached back home with the pen and dhoti. Viswam was so delighted seeing dhoti and with the overwhelming happiness he started chanting  like a rhyming Slogan “Soori MunDU1 RanDU2, Soori MunDU RanDU”

1 Mundu        = Dhoti
2 Randu         = Two

Next day I went to school wearing the brand new “Soori Dhoti” and the “Swan” Pen on my pocket. My friends stared at me as if they were seeing an alien         
            for the first time.

Our first hour was by our class teacher “Paramu Sir” He took the attendance register and started calling the name of each student. When the teacher calls our name we have to stand up and say “Haajar Sir” to mark our attendance. He called my name too and marked my attendance. After taking the attendance of the whole class the teacher came near me and took the pen from my pocket and kept on the table and reassured me that he will return the pen after the last hour of class was over.

In the evening, after the last class was over, instead of giving me back the pen he gave me a letter and instructed me to hand it over to my dad. The letter stated:

Respected “Manian Swami”, The pen is very good, but your son is too young to write with such an expensive pen. So I am keeping the pen in my safe custody. I shall return the pen to him once the year end exams are over. Yours Sincerely, …Paramu.

My dad was very happy upon reading this but I felt soooooo sad.

After all, the stolen “Homer” and the much longed “Swan” had 
become a sad dream for me.

Tail Piece

Even though the above story is my childhood experience but today I have many pens which are  more than sufficient  for me. These pens were given to me by my Son in law Ganapathy Narayanan whom I affectionately call “Ganesan” who is based in Bahrain. My son Rajaram, who motivates me to write these memory notes and my daughter Jayasree, who suggests minor corrections also live there in Bahrain.

I express my sincere and deepest gratitude to all the friends of my son Rajaram for reading the stories and providing me your valuable feedback and motivation. I am looking forward to  your continued support for  my future writings as well and with that I am signing off for now.


Sunday 11 March 2012

The Teacher and his Timing Device

A story written by my dad

The Teacher and his Timing Device
The central character of this memory note is my teacher “Periappadan  Devassy Ashan” who taught me the first alphabets. People used to call the person who is teaching first alphabets as “Ashan”. Those were the times were no Play Schools or Anganvadis exist. It’s a story of around 69 years Ago…..!!!

We were around 15 students including me in the “Ashan’s School”. There were a house near the banks of river “Periyar” and the inhabitants were an old couple named, Mr  Venkitaraman and Mrs  Ammalu. The school was on the verandah of their home of which the flooring was done by the paste made of cow dung.

There were no slates or pencils. The “Ashan” will lay filtered sand; from the river “Periyar”; in front of each student. On this sand only the “Ashan” make the pupil to write. At first the “Ashan” will hold the finger of the pupil and show how to write each alphabet. Like this, first he teaches the alphabets from “Aa”, “AA”, “E”, “EEE” to “Ru”. If any mistakes happen, first he will make corrections, and if anyone repeats the same mistake, then he will use his “Cane”. Every morning class starts at 7:30 and the stops for lunch at 10:30.

Before closing the morning session, the teacher used to go out and look at the sky and then down many times.

Me and my friend Anbu” thought what could be the secret behind this and at last, one day we got the secret.
Outside in the fields some sort of big grasses were grown. The teacher used to water these Grasses so that it should not dry up in the scorching sun.

The secret we found was that; the teacher would stop the classes for lunch when the sun rays reaches the grasses. An Idea stuck on our mind. We uprooted the plant and replanted it on a place where the sun ray comes early.

That forenoon, as usual the “Ashan” looked on the sky and then down and he found that his “Timer Grass” is missing. He searched everywhere and found the same little away from the usual place and the grass was already dried as it was uprooted.

The “Ashan” got furious.

Question- Who uprooted the “Timer Grass”?

No one was answering the query!!. He questioned each one individually with the cane on his hands. At last Anbu the one who helped me in uprooting the grass betrayed me.

“Ashan” started beating me with the cane and I started running. “Ashan” also started running with me and beaten me until we reach my home.

To my good fortune, dad was out of home at that time.

Before starting the Afternoon Session; “Ashan” came to my home and started calling me and due to shivering fear, I hide inside my home.

In the meantime dad also reached home from outside and he greeted “Ashan”, and asked  regarding my studies.

“Ashan” told my dad in a soft way, what had happened in the morning session.

I was sure that dad will also beat me like anything.

However, Dad kept me in front the teacher and went inside and brought some Betel Leaves, Arica Nuts, One Coconut and a One rupee coin and handed over to me and told me to give it to the teacher and ordered a punishment.

The punishment was that, I should hold my left ear with right hand and vice versa and bow down fifty one times in front of the teacher.

As I handed over the things to the teacher, he put me on his lap and said

Dear Child, I don’t have a watch or the sort of things. That’s the reason I depend on the sun and the grasses.

When you study and become grown up; can you buy a watch for me to see the time?

But before I could fulfill my First teacher’s desire, He left this world and joined the majority.

Even now, when I go besides my First School, I cherish the memory of my “Ashan” and the “Timer Grass”.

Monday 27 February 2012

The Art Director

Is there anyone without a nickname? There won’t be, I swear. My dad’s Pet Name is Vasu Swami and he has many more nicknames. Each name was bestowed upon him based on some incidents that happened to him or where he was a party to it.
For quite some time the people in our village used to refer to  my dad as “Art Director Vasu”.
Isn’t it a wonder how a person living in a village, never interested in films got the title “Art Director”?
My Dad’s uncle was a renowned Malayalam novelist. He called my dad one morning and announced that one of his Novels is being filmed as a TV Serial. He also told my dad that the main cast and location were already decided and to our amazement, the location was our own village. He requested my dad to provide all the help that he can to the Serial  Film crew.
The novel was based on the incidents from the life of the novelist, in a joint Tamil Brahmin family. As the shooting progressed at various parts of our village, the villagers were in a festive mood and were ready to do anything for the success of the serial. Many of the villagers including my dad got an  opportunity to show their faces in the serial.
During the course of the shooting, one day the art director came running to our home to see my Dad. The art director was in a dilemma. To find a solution he requested my dad’s help. The problem was that they were supposed to shoot a death scene that evening, but the art director did not know the   rituals practiced and clothes worn by Tamil Brahmins after a death had occurred.
My dad agreed to help him out and both of them went to the director. The director also requested my dad’s help and asked him if there was anything to be bought for setting up  the scene. My dad agreed to prepare a list and indeed as you imagine it was a big list!
Sandalwood Powder, Sacred Ashes, Flowers, Garlands, Oil lamp wicks, coconuts, betel leaves, areca nut and many more things that usually are required for such an occasion. He arranged that one of his friends would bring it from the town. My dad was very happy that he was going to be an art director and  the perfectionist in him wanted to do it  perfectly. So he rechecked the list to avoid any omission.
Thank God….! it’s good that I rechecked the list, my dad exclaimed. We need a white silk cloth too, my dad said to his friend.
Dad’s friend started to the town which is around ten Kilometers away from our village. It takes at least two hours for him to  go and comeback.
My dad thought of remaining in the location itself so that he can observe what was happening there. He saw the art director pouring something into the glasses.
What is that? ……. Dad asked the Art Director
Its Butter milk Sir……the Art director replied.
Can I have one glass? I am too thirsty!!! My dad requested.
Extremely Sorry, Sir. It’s the property for a lunch scene , that will be shot today. The art Director replied.
PROPERTY……….What is that?  Dad asked.
 Property means any items or objects used on the set of a play or movie to create an effect to the viewers. For example, if the background of the story is olden times, then we select dresses and articles of that time which will create the  feel of that era to the viewers. The Art Director explained to my Dad.
My dad was very happy that he has learned a new terminology “property”. And at the same time he got confused.
If it is to create more effect, why the butter milk is on the steel glass? My Dad Questioned.
That should have been Copper Glass as the time line is 1950s, my dad added.
I shall provide you the PROPERTY. I have many copper glasses at my home. My dad decided to bring some.
My dad felt very happy  that he was able to correct an experienced Art director and  was full of self admiration for this  brilliant observation.
He bought the old Copper Glasses from home and he himself poured the Butter Milk in to it and kept the PROPERTY ready for the next scene.
The Director saw that, and he appreciated my dad for his sincerity, which further boosted my Dad’s confidence.
Two hours passed and my Dad’s friend returned with the “properties”.
Vasu, you can start now…….the director told my dad to arrange for the Death scene.
Ok Sir I will start right now……..replied my dad.
My dad called the actor and asked him sit on the easy chair and started “decorating” him with the “properties”.
He mixed the  Sacred  ashes with water and made a paste and he dipped his three fingers in to it and drew lines on the actor’s arms in three places, upper arm, elbow and the just above the wrist.
With the balance paste he drew three lines into the actor’s forehead and chest.
Dad then made a paste out of sandalwood powder and the same too applied in the same manner.
He took red KumKUM and placed it on the middle of the three lines on both the hands, on forehead and on the chest.
After that he placed a chain made of “rudraksha” through the actor’s neck which followed by a garland made of Jasmine.
All these decorations by my dad took around 2 hours to complete  and in the mean time the director was busy  shooting the lunch scene.
There were three people in the lunch scene. The hero, his sister and his brother in law. The hero and his BIL were sitting on a mat and in front of them the plantain leaves were kept. The scene was like, the sister has to serve rice and other stuffs and the two guys sitting should eat the “properties”  as if they are having a delicious feast. Towards the end the hero should drink the buttermilk and appreciate his sister for her cooking skills.
The scene was ok on its third take and now the hero has around three glasses of buttermilk in his tummy.
Once the lunch scene was over, the director asked his associate whether the makeup was over for the corpse. my dad was on its final touch up and he told the associate that, he would bring the actor in another 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes my dad and actor went near the Director. Seeing the actor and his makeup, the director was very happy which  can’t  be expressed in words. He appreciated my dad for his valuable contribution for the success of the scene.
The camera was set, the director asked the actor to lie down in the “frame” and to close his eyes.
All set!!!
Start Cameraaaa.....the director shouted
Rolling………, the Cameraman shouted,
Scene No 21…Shot no 1…...the Clap boys Clapped.
One second, director sir. My dad interrupted and he gave the white silk cloth to the associate director; which if you remember was the last item in the list of properties and said.
Now you have to cover the body with the silk.
The director appreciated my dad’s timely advice and ordered his associate to cover the body and the associate covered the body of the actor.
Again All set
Start Cameraaaa.....the director shouted
Rolling………, the Camera man shouted,
Scene No 21…Shot no 1…...the Clap boys Clapped.
Before the director could complete the word “Action”, an innocent boy from the gathering asked….his doubt little louder.
Why did you cover the body? If you wanted cover it, then why  did you decorate his chest and arms with garlands, holy ashes and Kumkum?
The Director, my Dad and the others gathered were stunned and embarrassed for a moment and when they realized their mistake, all of them burst out laughing. Even though, they had incurred unnecessary expenses to buy the properties as per my dad’s list they still saw the humor in the situation..
Ultimately, it was decided by the director not to cover the body as, considerable time, effort and money  had been spent on the  actor.
When all the people were laughing, the hero, who acted in the lunch scene was missing and a vomiting noise attracted the attention of the gathering.
Yes that was the hero, who had gulped down  three glasses of buttermilk form the copper glass,  who was vomiting excessively.
An elderly man, who was an expert in remedial medicines, explained the reason of  the excessive vomiting. When the  green patina clinging to old  copper vessels (Copper Oxide)  mixes with acids ( the chemical name for buttermilk is Lactic acid)    the lactic acid becomes very  poisonous.
My dad looked in to the eyes of the art director helplessly. The art director also looked into my dad’s face and the unsaid  message could be this;
Thanks Vasu……….thanks for ruining my day………..
That day onwards, the nickname “The Art director” was bestowed up on my dad for a long  time to come.