30 December, 2007

Hectic Christmas Holidays

Never had a more hectic Christmas holidays. Believe it or not, it was like this, 25th 1st Holy Communion at Thodupuzha, 26th Baptism at Ernakulam, 27th Wedding at Ernakulam and house warming Dinner at Mundakayam, 28th Kudumbayogam (family get together) at Palai and Bachelors party Dinner at Mundakayam, 29th wedding at Kanjirappally, 30th Betrothal at Palai, not yet over.

Still to go, 31st wedding at Kanjirappally, 1st Wedding of a 22 year old male MBBS student (obviously with his batch mate) at Palai, 2nd School reopening and fees payment, 3rd Wedding at Palai, 4th the only rest day, 5th betrothal at Palai, 6th wedding lunch at Ekm, Tea another wedding at Aleppey followed with a grand finale dinner of the same wedding at Aleppey.

Can you beat that, probably can be done only by planters for who else has the time.

18 December, 2007

“Gegeneophis Mahadeiensis”

More than a couple of times “Gegeneophis Mahadeiensis” the newly named legless amphibian was sighted moving through our front lawn, mainly during the rainy season. We ignored thinking it to be a retarded snake or an overgrown earthworm. Looks like I lost a golden opportunity to name it after our locality or even me.

02 December, 2007


God is depicted resembling us for humans to easily relate to the otherwise unfathomable. That does not mean in any sense that the Supreme Being has any likeness to us. If God was to think and behave like us and was waiting to take vengeance on us, God ceases to be God. So by all means criticise God, for the omnipresent may not even realise it.

09 November, 2007


Marriage is an inevitable event in a woman’s / man's life, the one which they say happens in heaven, so does thunder and lightning. It is a licensed live-in agreement, which is like a magic circle, those who are outside it wants to get in and those who are inside it wants to get out. It is a complete license to do what boys always wanted to do without anyone asking what the hell you are doing. Sex is the price woman has to pay for marriage and marriage is the price men have to pay for sex. Marriage is the only war where you get to sleep with the enemy.

01 November, 2007

Mullaperiyar a Disaster waiting to happen?

1st November 2007, having crossed 136 feet, water has started flowing through the spillways of the Mullaperiyar dam; Idukki dam which is downstream though almost full should be able to hold this overflow under normal circumstances. The massive Idukki dam might even be able to contain all of the waters of the Mullaperiyar reservoir in case of a mishap during summer when the storage in both the dams will be low but it is out of the question if any disaster happens during the monsoons at a point when both the dams are near their full storage capacity.
God forbid, if unfortunately the more than a century old Mullaperiyar dam where to give way at this juncture when the Idukki dam is brimming, it is unlikely that the rushing waters can be contained even if all the shutters of the Cheruthoni dam were to be opened to the maximum; the deluge is likely to knock down the shutters and in a worst case scenario tear down the dam itself leading to a catastrophe of gigantic proportions all the way downstream.
The Mullaperiyar dam structure seen above the water level does appear to be able to withstand for another century, but it is not the case with what is visible of the foundation when the water recedes. If all is well with the foundation of the dam the Tamilnadu Government would not have objected to the naval team sent by Kerala to inspect it last year. The foundation at the reservoir face of the Mullaperiyar dam should be inspected immediately and do whatever is best for its safety.
When the life of any construction let alone a dam cannot be more than a couple of centuries at the most, the Mullaperiyar agreement between the erstwhile states of Travancore and Madras for a period of 999 years evokes suspicion.

29 October, 2007

Dinner @ Jothynivas

Long before IT, BT and BPO became household names and Bangalore city towards Madiwala ended at the diary circle, I was doing my final year BSc at the then males only Christ College and was the treasurer of the students union. Every year during the 2nd week of February the college conducted a three day carnival called Spring Festival in which colleges from and around Bangalore as well as some from Madras participated.
We came to know that the hostelites of our sister college Jothinivas were not being given permission to attend the evening session citing lack of transportation facilities and security concerns. The transportation problem was solved by arranging with the KSRTC to run a few busses from the college after the programme ended, agreeing to their condition that the last bus would leave the college at 8.00.This was conveyed to the hostel warden of Jothynivas and permission for the hostelites obtained. Mother Mary of Jothynivas was particular that I would be personally responsible for the safe return of all her inmates which was readily agreed and off went the Spring Festival to a colourful start.
Every thing went according to plans for the first two days but on the last day by the time the western music competition ended and the prize distribution was over it was well past 11.00 and the pre arranged KSRTC busses had already left. The Jothynivas girls were left stranded (in 1980 the stretch from Christ College to Jothynivas was a deserted patch with hardly any building). As Mother Mary had entrusted the safe return of her wards to me, chivalrously I volunteered to escort them to the hostel and we started walking the one km. stretch with no dearth for guys accompanying the group. On reaching the hostel the girls went straight to the dinning hall for they hadn’t had their dinner I went in to personally apologise to Mother Mary for the late arrival. I was about to return to the guys who were waiting at the gate when one of the girls told Mother Mary that I too hadn’t had dinner. The ever courteous Mother invited me to join the girls and the unbelievable happened- dinner at Jothynivas hostel at midnight 12 O’clock, probably the one and only guy in the annals of a girl’s hostel to have had such an opportunity!!

Fast Forward to 2003:-

When my son was in the tenth standard, one day we were summoned by the school principal to counsel us about him bullying his juniors, making them do errands and punishing them for refusing to comply with his orders. We agreed with the principal to take any punitive action that she considered fit. As he was bullying the boys in the junior boy’s dorm he was made to stay in the girl’s dorm for a week!!!.

If the father had midnight dinner at a womens hostel the son improved on it by staying in the girls dorm.

21 September, 2007

An unforgettable incident.

This incident happened in the year 1972. I was studying in the eighth standard at Rajagiri High school Kalamasserry. During the summer vacation my father was summoned by Fr. Rector and was conveyed that I should find some other school to continue my studies and was being compulsorily sent off from the school. I believe that some petty allegations were levelled against me for the unceremonious packing off. (It was particularly humiliating because in those days changing schools in the ninth standard was very uncommon and peers in the new school will conclusively know that a new admission in the ninth standard is a chucked out student as well as it was embarrassing for parents to go begging for admission in the ninth standard. As the Rev. Fathers were the lord and masters of all that they surveyed their word was absolute and I got my compulsory T.C.
Luckily my Maternal G.Father could use his influence to get me admitted in a school belonging to the same congregation of priests at Palai. To this day I wonder what could a boy all of thirteen years have done so grave has to warrant such severe punishment.
After about 20 years I met my old vice Rector at an old boys gathering, when I introduced myself he said that he remembers me very well because he was the one who complained about me and got me packed off. His answer to my enquiry about the reason was as simple as – “you were naughty”, as if no thirteen year old isn’t
One day the principal of the school summoned us to complain about my elder son jumping out of the hostel at night to buy chicken and porotta from “Thattu kada”. Thinking about the punishment he is likely to get we reached the school a bit apprehensively. At the school my younger son casually asked me, in which class I was when I got the compulsory T.C, the import of his query was apparent. However the punishment my son got was in tune with the changed times.

23 August, 2007

The planter revealed

Planters are supposed to be sitting on considerable wealth in terms of land, but those having liquidity is an exception rather than the rule. The income from sale of rubber sheets is used for his day to day expenses. Once in a while much cash comes into his hands in a very short span of time from the sale of rubber trees which he uses to buy more land now a days mostly in urban area or to build or renovate his bungalow or marry off his daughter or to square up existing loans.

A comparison of the value of plantation land with that of in urban areas will be interesting. If you take the value of one acre (100 cents) of plantation as 20 lakhs (maximum) it will be equivalent of 5 cents in Kottayam, 4 cents in Ernakulam, 3 cents in Chennai, 2 cents in Bangalore and probably 1 cent in Mumbai!

With this post I have come to the end of the "Planter" series.

22 August, 2007

The present day scenario

In the good old days the children used to be sent to far off boarding schools but now with only one and two per family and to get the boys into professional colleges to make them all the more eligible, as the girls as well as their parents prefer the employed urban settled, these days it has become a common practice for the planters to move out of the plantations and reside in the nearby towns, children’s education being the sole reason..

15 August, 2007

Social Life.

The down side of plantation life is the nonexistent social life. The estate bunglows are far from each other and the wife of a planter has hardly anything to do except keep the fire in the kitchen burning and the bed warm (pun intended).

13 August, 2007

Crisis looming large.

The planting community is facing two major crisis one of their own making and the other more imminent, shortage of labour.
None from the present generation of the existing workers, for that matter even the planter’s, follow their parents and the educated youth are not inclined to take up jobs which include manual labour.
The one of their own making is that for various reasons the fraternity does not encourage its own next generation to become a planter. It has reached a stage where a planter is reluctant to give his daughter in marriage to another planter.

11 August, 2007

Myths & Realities regarding Planters.

Planters lead a relaxed and leisurely life. The one thing they have in plenty is time and not money as others tend to think.

10 August, 2007

Who is a planter.

Who is a planter? To the uninitiated a planter may be a gardener but reality is far from it. A planter is a person who owns vast areas of land in which any or all of the plantation crops such as Tea, Coffee, Rubber, Cardamom and Cocoa are cultivated. In essence he is a landlord but after feudalism became abhorrent the more civilised word Planter is commonly used.