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Devil’s Own Country

>> Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thomas Bracken, sometime in the 1880's wrote a poem about New Zealand where that country was referred to as God's own country.  This title God's own country which has been used by New Zealanders to describe their own country for more than 120 years, has been stolen by us to describe our own State.  Most of us do not know this. And all the while, we were thinking that the term was coined by some  intelligent Malayali, out of his love and respect to the state. With all its natural wealth, and beautiful surroundings, probably one would assume this could be true. Keralites with Indian voting rights and living abroad are out numbering the citizens living within Kerala. When the very owners don’t claim the nativity ,it is the ultimate responsibility of God to take care. That could be the only reason to call this place by that name. There is no one else  to take care of this place.

"Culture is the cry of men in face of their destiny". Commented Albert Camus,years before the  Clean kerala and Go Clean missions started in Gods own Country. Tourism promotions here are on the up and up.But come here,see and experience 'the culture'  as one which is roughly 'anything  we do and monkeys do not'.

If St.Thomas, the apostle arrived at this place,  it doesn’t mean that this was the best place. As someone preached, Christ sent his precious  apostles to the places that were worst on earth, so that mercy comes before judgment. Ours is a society that can learn what is professionalism, courtesy, tone down our sarcasm, harassment, controlling and manipulative mindset, in favor of development, in favor of enterprise and in favor of freedom.

The most befitting name would be ‘ Devil’s Own Country. We have a Chief Minister who often looks constipated and take ages to  articulate some thing because he cannot remember what he says himself. His tongue doesn’t need the help of his brain and blabbers itself.Himself and his fellow intellectuals who have made it a fashion to wear beards, think they have invented Communism themselves. Their communism is quite different from that of Karl Marx. They haven’t yet realized that communism is becoming extinct elsewhere, and there is no longer any other country in the world who could be called communist. Beard has  been made a sign of wisdom of communists, and is used as a cover up for their ignorance. Veliyom Bhargavan makes more observations on information technology than Bill Gates himself. Thomas Issac acts as if he is the economist of the world. I don’t know where all these geniuses were hiding till the party got in to power. When devils rule a state, what better name is there to call it? When these small devils leave the chairs, the next band of bigger devils are all  getting ready, shining their shoes and ironing their Khadi shirts. This white Khadi shirts they wear is an insult to the principle  behind it. Many of these leaders change the stiff shirts even three or four times a day. It is the most difficult to clean and iron. These leaders must be spending quite a lot of money for laundry. But it comfortably hides their dark minds and dirty intentions. Mani is suffering from chronic itching of ass, and his clan is busy helping him at it, because he developed keloids, sitting at the assembly for years together, without leaving the chair to any one else.
Now, what have we made this place in to?

Malayalis are notorious for their critical  mind on any thing and every thing. We despise the rest of India for lack of cleanliness and education. Keralites claim to keep their  own houses and surroundings clean. But their  'surroundings' end at the entrance to the road. We used to call Tamilians as Pandis and used to make fun of them. They have overtaken us in every field decades back. Their cities look much cleaner, they cultivate their own food, they host most of the industries, where Malayalis go around begging for jobs. They don’t have epidemics like we have  in Kerala. Is there any other state in India which can boast of so many epidemics round the year? Along with the rains, come all the unheard of illnesses, and the Health Minister finds it the best time to study health planning in America!

Yesterday’s newspaper was full of news about the epidemics. There is Dengue fever, Chikung Guinea, Swine flu, Rat fever ,Malaria and other un named illnesses. The pathetic part is that all these illnesses are related to unhygienic living conditions. Malayalis claim to be cleanest of the lot. The cleanliness is just superficial. We don’t  hesitate to get out of home and then lift the dhoti and piss on to the next wall. All our lakes and rivers are full of scum. Drinking water is a scarcity. A state which gets flooded every year, Isn’t this a joke?
We are blessed with naturally lovely backwaters and rivers. An intricate network of innumerable lagoons, lakes , canals, estuaries  and deltas of forty four rivers that drain in to the Arabian sea. Greenery everywhere, but all full of dirt and scum

If reading alphabets is called education, we could say Malayalis are  literate. But is it true education?. Education brings culture and civilization. Decency and manners. Etiquettes and formalities. It teaches to respect others and to learn from others.
Swami Vivekananda was not insane when he called Kerala an Asylum of lunatics  almost hundred years back. And that is exactly what we have become. We have probably the highest  suicide rate in India, highest number of  mentally ill people, the largest number of drunkards and addicts, a satisfactory number or rapists and molesters, the largest number of bandhs and hartals, and consumes the  highest amount of medications among other states, and sell the highest amount of fake medicines, have the most violent political crowd and highest number of political murders….not enough reasons?

Hooligans  gain admissions to colleges  under the patronage of political parties. Their only mission is to disrupt classes and organize crimes. The recent attack on the CMS college at Kottayam is a good example.
Politicians have looted and encroached every inch of governmental land and wealth. Themselves or their  bynames  own all the illegal businesses in the state, and they ensure that no legitimate businesses or industries come to this place. Unemployment is a necessity for existence of communism, and so industrialization is an obstacle for their creed.

Do I need to say that we have the most perverted mentality in the world? We talk of morality a lot. We act as the Moral Police of the world. Everything is prohibited. Sex is a crime here, except for politicians. But we have the most perverted attitude in dealing with any problems related to sex. Prostitutes are arrested, but raped by policemen themselves. They sponsor brothels,  in return for services. Even consenting adults, or legitimate couples cannot go to a hotel or resort, it could  become a headline story the next day. Like everything else, for the majority, the only option is the roadside or the bushes at night time.
For any one who is coming to Kerala for the first time, the ordeal starts from the airport itself. I haven’t seen such mean immigration officers any where else in the world. Totally antagonistic. They make it a point to shoot silly, irritating questions at the passengers. Once outside, the picking and pulling of beggars, and the suffocating crowd, followed by the harassment of taxi drivers. And then, do we have any thing worth calling a road to go on ?

My friend Mr C V is a well known figure here, and   is very proud of Kerala and wastes no opportunities to brag about the wonderful place called Kerala, to his colleagues. And he landed in to lot of problems once. His co workers, two Egyptians and  a British man ,were so impressed by his descriptions that they decided to visit Kerala with CV during one of his vacations. After escaping the picking and pulling of beggars outside the air port, they were headed towards Kumarakom. It was rainy, and at many places, the roads looked like rivers. At the junction where they turn from  Kottayam to Kumarakom, is the big sign board “ Kerala,Gods own Country”. Impressive board. It was when the visitors were reading the board when the car fell, with an exploding sound, in to a big gutter filled with muddy water  at the middle of the road .They had the fright of their lives. And one of them yelled
” Is this God’s own country for sure?”
It took many hours to pull the car out of that gutter. Some thing had broken under the car, and they had to engage another car to continue their journey.

There are no good roads. It is pathetic that with all the kind of problems in that place, our people and politicians have not yet realized the value of good roads and high ways. Our state has the worst roads in the world. Some times we cant even differentiate, where the road starts or ends. The state which depends on tourism doesn’t have even the basics of facilities for tourists.

My friend Mr CV was once sitting in his shop at Adoor while he was on vacation. One of his staff came and said, “Sir, there is someone who asks something in English”. They were a British tourist couple who had just got down at the Adoor bus station and were desperately looking for a toilet. The toilets at our bus stations are notoriously unclean. Our literate community have learned to urinate on to every wall outside the toilets, and never in to. For one reason, they cant reach the toilets, because they stink. My friend then guided them to a nearby tourist hotel, because he said, the looks of that woman was really pathetic, and she was in tears of agony.
I realized how backward we were in these kind of facilities, all the while we brag about the beauty of the place. Places which survive on tourism, like Maldives and Egypt are not rich. But they give excellent facilities for the tourists. We don’t know even the basics that there should be comfort stations along roads or highways. Or do we expect the tourists to learn to urinate and defaecate at the roadsides, like us?
We are always slow to learn lessons. Sometimes we never learn. We are after Chandrayan and Rasool Pookutty, as if these are world’s biggest wonders. We make big stories of big nothings like this and find reasons to celebrate. We don’t have roads, but we are planning to send man to the moon, decades after many other have done it, and dedicate the valuable public funds for that purpose. We have mockers of actors, who we think, are the best in the world, because we don’t see good movies. Life here, is like an Indiana Jones movie. Ancient and frightening.
We still live our lives , like frogs in the well .  Isn’t it time to come out?


The man with the broken gun

>> Monday, June 14, 2010

I had gone to the ward to  attend a call. The ward was busy and I noticed the  crowd of police men in front of a room. Out of curiosity, I asked the sister  on duty what was happening. A young Indonesian girl had been admitted to the ward. She looked so young and innocent. She was lying on the bed with  her feet  chained to the bed. I wondered if she had committed a murder. I got the story from the nurse on duty. The girl was working as a house maid and was almost new to the place. She was young and cute looking. Her employer ,who was a man in his sixties has been constantly harassing her from the day she landed. He used to wait for the lights to go off, his elderly wife to go to bed and his own  grown up sons to retire, to sneak in to this girls room. She was new and afraid. And he used to use her every single day.

The girl had a difficult time. New place. A strange world. No one to talk to. And one day, she made a decision. She waited with a brand new razor blade in her hand. He took out his weapon for action, and she simply slashed at  what  all she could get at. My later assessment  revealed that she had managed to chop off at least part of the  organ which was troubling her all along. The man stated shouting and yelling for help. I could imagine the scenario when he was holding on to his bleeding organ and crying for help. This  story is unusual. The moment his family realized what has happened ,there was a curious turn of events. When the Police arrived at the scene, the family fabricated a story that the girl was stealing money from them , and when caught, she had tried to cut off  his organ!!. What a story !    The police filed a case against the girl , for theft and chained her.

I admire the girl. With the help of some compatriots, she  managed to inform her embassy of what had happened. They arranged legal assistance for her, and after all the funny procedures, she managed to leave the country. At least ,she managed to escape the long term prison life, which otherwise would have fallen on her, like many others. There are many of these maids who spend terms in jail  ,for crimes they haven’t committed.
And from what I have gathered, the man still continues his activities, with what  is left of his organ. He recruits new maids, and his family lives happily ever after!

I have many stories like this. Few months back, a girl was brought to my clinic. She had no medical file and so, had been brought with the recommendation of a local man working in our hospital. The girl was good looking, in her thirtees  and looked a typical middle class house wife. She was a Malayali  girl who had come to the place to make money for  the family back at home. She was brought to me with a history of having cough and spitting out blood. I examined her. She was in good health and had no stigmata of any serious diseases. I ordered the routine blood tests and an Xray of her chest. I saw  her on few occasions  on the following weeks and couldn’t make any thing out of her. At the end, she realized I was going to declare her clean. During  her last visit, she came up with the story. She was married, with two young children, and an ailing husband back at home. She had come with the hopes of raising some money to take care of the family. Her employer was a a very influential man . His wife was working in a bank. He would take his wife to work, and then come back  home, to rape this girl, and then go back to his work. And then, he would come back every now and then, and repeat the same procedure, till his wife would return from work. She was afraid, and no one to talk to, and suffered the torture to the levels of her tolerance. And then she told me. “ Doctor, how will I go back to my family? How will I face my husband? “ Please tell them I have Tuberculosis, so that they will deport me “

There are  only few instances in my career where I have willfully lied in professional matters. And this was one of them. I told the man who brought her to me. “ This woman has tuberculosis and  is infectious”. The rest was easy. The man pissed in his pants and made all the arrangements to send her back home. And he used to come to me to check if he had  tuberculosis himself, for many months.  He must be cursing me, for depriving him of such an exquisite property.

Life is unkind. It gives all the pleasures to some people. And some people are destined to suffer all their lives.
People often have no choices in life.

But ,we can choose to fight.


A Father's Story..Mother's too.

>> Friday, June 11, 2010

I was young and ignorant. My father had diabetes from the days I could remember. My mother used to make wheat uppuma for him specially. He had no time to take care of himself, having a big family to  care for. Always at  the farm or at the shop. As a doctor, I painfully realize that his diabetes was not cared for. On top of this, he also had Blood Pressure and heart disease. It was when I was at the eighth standard, that he  sustained an injury to his foot. He climbed the ladder with the workers who were doing some roofing works and  a nail pierced his foot. He took it light. Within few days the pain and swelling started, and he was admitted to the Governmental Hospital. He stayed there for almost two months. I thankfully remember a Dr. James at the Govt Hospital who kindly took care of him. At  the end of the ordeal, the foot healed, but he lost his heel. From  then on, he had to limp. He couldn’t wear a proper sandal, and had to bandage his foot to protect it most of the time.
I used to feel shy when I had to accompany him to the shop. He used to limp behind me and I always tried to keep the distance farther. I have cried many a times over what I had done at that time. When I grew up, I had thought over these childhood days. He didn’t give me much time to take care of him after I became a doctor. I wish I had another  chance to compensate.

I have learned my lessons. One can also learn from other’s mistakes. That is what intelligent people should do. Never to leave a chance to express the love and feelings to someone. And never  waste the opportunities, to take care of parents. These are one time chances. The Biblical solution for longevity is taking care of parents.
I happened to read a story during the Mothers day. It is over, still I thought I should share it with you.

Sometimes, we get frustrated and upset with elderly people. Even think they are nuisance. And forget to realize our days are not much farther. Some day we would need some help to cross the roads, and have to pause after short walks to stop panting, and would need our grandchildren to find the eye glasses when you grope for them.

This story brought tears to my eyes. I wish it does the same for you.

My mom only had one eye. I hated her… She was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students and teachers to support the family.
There was this one day during elementary school where my mom came to say hello to me. I was so embarrassed.
How could she do this to me? I ignored her, threw her a hateful look and ran out. The next day at school one of my classmates said, ‘EEEE, your mom only has one eye!’
I wanted to bury myself. I also wanted my mom to just disappear. I confronted her that day and said, ‘ If you’re only gonna make me a laughing stock, why don’t you just die?’
My mom did not respond… I didn’t even stop to think for a second about what I had said, because I was full of anger. I was oblivious to her feelings.
I wanted out of that house, and have nothing to do with her. So I studied real hard, got a chance to go abroad to study.
Then, I got married. I bought a house of my own. I had kids of my own. I was happy with my life, my kids and the comforts. Then one day, my Mother came to visit me. She hadn’t seen me in years and she didn’t even meet her grandchildren.
When she stood by the door, my children laughed at her, and I yelled at her for coming over uninvited. I screamed at her, ‘How dare you come to my house and scare my children!’ GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!!!’
And to this, my mother quietly answered, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry. I may have gotten the wrong address,’ and she disappeared out of sight.
One day, a letter regarding a school reunion came to my house. So I lied to my wife that I was going on a business trip. After the reunion, I went to the old shack just out of curiosity.
My neighbors said that she died. I did not shed a single tear. They handed me a letter that she had wanted me to have.

‘Mydearest son,

I think of you all the time. I’m sorry that I came to your house and scared your children.

I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I may not be able to even get out of bed to see you. I’m sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up.

You see……..when you were very little, you got into an accident, and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn’t stand watching you having to grow up with one eye. So I gave you mine.

I was so proud of my son who was seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye.

With all my love to you,

Your mother.’


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