Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pause and proceed on information highway

Mobile phones, laptops and internet: they are gadgets of convenience alright; but we have also been willy-nilly transported on to an information superhighway where we are zipping at breakneck speed. Life has become too fast. The over-speeding on the infobahn has imperiled our lives. (More)

Sainik School alumni meet tomorrow

Bangalore-based former students of Sainik School, Kazhakootam, Kerala, will have a get-together at the Officers' Mess of 147 AD Regiment (Jet Busters) located near Ayyappa Temple, Banaswadi, Bangalore, from 11 am tomorrow, that is Sunday, July 11.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Man on a Wheelchair

A hospital is a place where lives are saved and smiles are brought back. But it’s also a place where one finds people in all forms of discomfort.

It’s a place where sometimes nothing is in anyone’s control. I say this with due respect to doctors, nurses and other support staff, who do a thankless job.

There’s a limit to which even specialist doctors can push. Often they themselves say, ”We have done all we can, now let’s hope for the best.”

How much ever great we are, how much ever renowned we are, how much ever rich we are, ultimately it’s not we who take the final call on matters of human life. It’s a humbling thought.
I am at a speciality hospital in Bangalore, where my 70-year-old uncle has been admitted for a health check-up after he complained of breathing problem. There are many like me, relatives and friends of patients, who are sitting out hoping everything will get fine, and we can be back home and resume our normal chores before long.

It’s around 11.30 am. A man in late 50s is being wheeled in on a chair. Two women accompanying him are worried and talk alternatively on the mobile and to hospital staff. A couple of relatives or friends too have joined them.

I gather later that the man suffered a serious heart attack and the doctors said they couldn’t give any assurance about his recovery.

In the next few hours specialist cardiologists are on the job in the operation theatre. Outside, a couple of men too join the small anxious group.

It is quite apparent that the man isn’t out of danger. Kith and kin are being updated on the progress, or rather the lack of it.

Around 4.45 pm, obviously upon a cue, one woman breaks into tears. Immediately the next, and the next. A heartrending sight. One of them, later I realise, the wife, collapses sobbing inconsolably. A few relatives/friends totally dumbstruck by shock are in no better position to lend a shoulder.

One man finds the wall just as good to lean on and shed tears. Two children, may be aged under 5, have puzzled, curious looks on their faces, unable to fathom what has befallen the women.

Around 7 pm, a woman with a kid in her arms, and man, walk in. Emotions breach all barriers once again. A few others, who are in no way related to the bereaved family, too can’t help being overwhelmed.

The man has bid goodbye to the world. Why this goodbye is so tragic is because the world does not get even half a chance to wave back. It’s the suddenness, here-now-gone-now situation that’s benumbing. He is gone, never to return.

We simply don’t know what all have come crashing down with his departure – a prop emotional as well as material, a  security that nothing will ever go wrong: and on top of it all dreams, and more dreams.

Nothing can bring back a life; nothing can resurrect all that have collapsed. If ever there’s something that can heal the suffering, it’s time.

May his soul rest in peace. May the bereaved have the fortitude to tide over the tragedy.

(Crossposted from Kaleidoscope)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bandhs don't achieve anything

Yesterday's Bharat Bandh was quite a success, depending upon what one means by the word success. It was called by Left and BJP (a unique collaboration) to protest against the recent fuel price hike.

By success, do we assume that fuel prices will be brought down? Today's hardship to many people was definitely much more than what people endure with higher fuel prices.

Less than a fortnight back, we were stuck at Aluva railway station because of an LDF-sponsored bandh again the same issue. Kerala shut down today for a second time over the same issue. Less said about the damage done to Kerala's well-being due to hartals and bandhs the better.

Yesterday, we had to take my ailing 70-year-old uncle to hospital as his condition worsened. We were worried if our vehicle will be attacked. Since public transport was off, commuting became difficult.

My argument is not that the government should endlessly increase the fuel prices. The ripple effect has definitely derailed home budgets, and of course, we all want cheaper petrol, diesel and cooking gas.

A more constructive approach would have been an attempt to walk the talk by opposition-ruled states. Karnataka is ruled by BJP and Bangalore is among places where fuel is the most expensive. And a good chunk of the fuel price a Bangalorean pays is state-levied taxes and surcharges. And public infrastructure definitely doesn't match up to the hype about the city.

The pricing structure of fuel is not as easy as opening and closing the shutter of a shop. If political parties are genuinely concerned about, not just fuel prices but, our overall standard of living, they need to be less destructive in their policies. Development and progress can't just be lipservice, as it's just now.

Hope we won't see these bandhs and hartals again.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Germany dominated Argentina

Yesterday's world cup matches were simply among the best so far. The Germany-Argentina one was billed the final before the final. If it was disappointing it was only because it didn't turn out to be as nail-biting a cliffhanger as many thought it would be. 

The popular wisdom was Argentina will win. But I have been swimming against the current and as of now I am floating! 

The German goal in the opening minutes was a shocker to many, but set my heart aglow. And quite surprisingly for even German supporters there was a goal rush after that. Not that Argentinians didn't play well, but simply it was not their day. Poor Maradona. And, I didn't like the hype around Argentina. 

I thought Germany played to a plan. Their tackling and passes stood out and they seemed to be more in control of the wayward Jabulani. Perhaps the only moments of concern for the Germans were in the early part of the second half. May be goal difference might have been narrower, but Germany was the clear winner over Argentina.

Spain just managed to end match decisively against Paraguay, who must have been left cursing that brief moment when the ball found the post. And what a goal that was! That match was more evenly poised than the previous one.

More fun to follow.