Once again, on a Wednesday!

Once again, India is attacked by terrorists.. but what is so new in this? We Indians are in the process of learning to live with it - in fear, disgust and shame!

Over the past few months, bomb attacks have hit India with a kind of grinding regularity. Hundreds of innocent people have lost their lives and many suffer from injuries even today. Once the news becomes stale, media goes in search of something hotter, poor victims are conveniently forgotten by everyone!

On this dreadful Wednesday, more than hundred people died, when Mumbai became the target of terrorists once again! Perhaps this time, the target was Mumbai’s iconic structure, The Taj, where apart from Indians, even foreigners became victims! At this time of worldwide economic crisis and defenselessness, Mumbai's charisma as a global destination could possibly be the motive of the attacks.

The militants have camped in Oberoi and Taj Hotels where faceless gunmen have held several hostages. Though the city had witnessed terror attacks in the past, this is the first time the militants have opened fire indiscriminately in crowded places like hotel and CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus).

The remorseless horror in Mumbai continues to the third day. Even now news channels show live visuals from Mumbai - visuals of fright, violence and unkindness; ..also courage, heroism, sacrifice and patience. I can continue to watch on only in mixed shock, horror, anger, anguish and hope.

So.. the obvious question - Who is behind the screen?

The “Indian Mujahideen” have made convincing claims of responsibility for most of the major attacks on civilians over the past two years. Now in Mumbai too, they are the suspects. According to initial intelligence reports, the terrorists who attacked Mumbai came by sea routes from Karachi (in Pakistan).

Indian police say the Indian Mujahideen is a derivative of the banned Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). But these local Muslims appear to have been given training and backing from militant groups in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

In September this year, after a series of bomb explotion in a crowded market in New Delhi, Indian Mujahideen sent out e-mails to respective authorities, saying explosions was to prove its capability to smack the most protected city in the country.

City after city, month after month, it repeats – like a terrible nightmare! How are our politicians reacting to the terror drama? Like always, amongst them, the blame game continues! From the past, have they ever learnt a lesson?! Definitely.. "NO..!!"

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi blamed the UPA government and the PM for the cause of the attack. Meanwhile, the Congress reacted this way to Modi’s accuse, “The boats which were used to attack Mumbai came from Porbandar. So the Gujarat government is answerable and we have nothing to do about it”.

Is your blood not boiling?!!!! Grrr… Mine is..!!

Here is the list of major bomb blasts that occurred this year in the country.

November 26: Terrorist attack in Mumbai. Number of people killed – still unknown, it continues!
September 27: Blast in Delhi's Mehrauli flower market; 1 killed and 23 injured.
September 13: Serial blasts in Delhi killed at least 24 people and injured more than 100.
July 26: Serial blasts in Ahmedabad killing at least 30 people and injuring more than 100.
July 25: Nine explosions in Bangalore created terror, killing two people and injuring 12.
May: Eight serial blasts rock Jaipur in a span of 12 minutes leaving 65 dead and over 150 injured.
January 2008: Terrorist attack on CRPF camp in Rampur kills 8.

Tomorrow, it could be in your city.. the victim could be your dear ones or youself..!!


Determination, the ONLY Word!

Today, I am going to write about this girl, whom I would term as “Icon of Determination”. Yes.. none other than my dearest pal – Chimmu Susan Augustine! (I have already written about her in one of the earlier posts)

A brief history about “us”: We crossed our paths years ago, when we met each other in the hostel corridor in Mysore. From batchmates to opposite roomies to friends to best friends, our relationship grew.. to an expression beyond words!

Inspired by the spider, the Scottish king told his men, 'If you don't succeed the first time, try, try and try again'. I have come across this phrase while I was in school. But to me, it was just another sentence which, of course made little sense. But my friend has taken it to heart. In fact this single idiom is the whole of Bible for her.

The Indian civil service exam is a dream for thousands of youth across the country. For a handful, this dream becomes a reality, for very few it is partially fulfilled; but for the rest it remains an unfulfilled dream forever.

The path to becoming an IAS officer is never a bed of roses; it is full of ups and downs - totally a topsy turvy tunnel to pass through. Stretched over 18 months, this indisputably is a strong contestant to be the longest test in the world. The candidates are expected to master absolutely unrelated topics which ranges from geography to sociology to engineering to politics to history to what not??!!! If you bump into somebody who is learning these weird combinations, be sure he is a Civil Services aspirant!!

Chimmu was one of the most sensible students in college, quite matured above age. Yet.. at times she becomes the most pranky girl in hostel. While working with a reputed news channel in Kerala, she decided to chase her dreams. Then, she boldly she quit her job, packed her bags and started for Delhi for IAS coaching. Unaware of sun rise, sun set, winter and summer, she committed all her days towards preparing for the exam. She knows it is a very difficult nut to crack! So the results never could drain out the self confidence and determination in her.

In India.. at least in Kerala, how much ever we argue that girls are at par with boys, it is still a topic to debate! Here, when a girl at the age of 26 says she desires to try her luck with civil service examination (once again), people thinks she has gone crazy. Parents, relatives and friends do nothing to boost her spirits. She is compelled to compromise on her ambitions! They conclude, being a wife and in the process, having kids is the ultimate thing for a girl to achieve in life!

However, Chimmu is lucky to have a supportive family who stands by her all through her expedition. She dedicated one more year for studying.. and this time came out with flying colors! However, not just one; there are several mile stones to cross. Result for the 2nd round of exam is awaited.

Chimmu.. hats off to you! Become an IAS officer or don’t – that is not very important! You will move in life, like always.. as a TOUGH FIGHTER..!!


Pink, Yellow, Blue and White!

Only a Chinmayan knows what these colors represent. It opens the door to the pavement of memories, to those days of fun, excitement and laughter. November is the month for music, dance, drama, poetry, art, and what not??!!!! It is the month to keep calculus and organic chemistry aside and bring out every little talent hidden inside you!

Like any other school, we were also divided into four; we call it “house”! Yeah.. definitely it does justice cos hopes and aspirations were erected here, the floor of triumph and failure is school, our second home. The four houses were named “Hamsa Rag”, “Hamsa Geeth”, “Hamsa Dwani” and “Hamsa Nad” (names can be coupled to Indian classical music!).

The academic year begins with sticking chart papers in 4 colors (pink, yellow, blue and white) on the classroom wall, with names of respective members on them. The creators use all their creativity in laying down the names, to make it the most attractive! Even the badges we pinned on to our pocket or duppatta were in the “house” color!

When it comes to competition between houses, every Chinmayan swells to high spirit! Themes for tableau, fancy dress and mime are discussed, songs for western and Indian music are selected, costumes are designed, dialogues are mugged up and skit is rehearsed, bhajans are practiced again, National Anthem is repeated to perfection, contestants for quiz and JAM are chosen, group dance is choreographed; every homework is done with utmost concern! Walk around the corridor during practice sessions, one will only hear the sound of music - piano, drums, violin, guitar, tabala,… and Chinmayans!!

Those days are gone…
Of arguments.. but not deception,
Of competitions.. but never resentment.

I have crossed one more Children’s Week and Children’s Day in the calendar of my life! After school days, November is just another month; there is no amusement and delight, ...there is no reason to smile!

I learnt, I enjoyed,
I won, I lost,
I laughed, I cried,
I fought, I thought.
Those days are gone…

However, the fun I shared with my friends still echo in my ears, and memories like candle in the night!


Far away from this smudged boisterous city; there is a land where I have spent my childhood. There are no multiplex theatres and you will not find vehicles stuck at traffic signals for hours together. Nobody fakes their accent and sit upright over night to work for people in other continents. It is a very small place, over looking the Arabian Sea!

To one corner of this little town, there is a three storied bungalow built years ago, much before I was born. This house, (which is now locked and covered by weeds) is the only existing thing that connects my memory to my great-grand mother, who once up on a time, lived there all alone! Extremely charming and beautiful; she is one of the most courageous women I ever knew - a wonder being to me, even today! Born to a rich father and married to a rich man, her life however was confined to the house and few acres of land surrounding it.

I still remember how it feels to touch the deep dimple on her right cheek as she chewed the betel leaves. She survived on them - betel leaves, hazel nut and a tiny iron crusher. Carefully she takes out a leaf, tear the edge, place it on one side of her forehead, applies the white paste (calcium carbonate!), insert crushed nuts, fold and then chews soothingly! Looking at her, I feel the red juice in her mouth contains all the joy on earth!

She seats herself by the side of a pillar in the long varanda, taking count of the people who pass by. During monsoon, trust me... there is no better place! It takes you to a completely different world. You could hear the pitter-patter on the slanting roof above. Sipping a cup of hot tea, lazily leaning against the pillar, gazing at the rain falling on the shrubs used to be my favorite evening activity (once upon a time!). The silence of the nature is broken only when people talk to each other. Other wise, you will hear only birds & water in the stream that flows crossing the courtyard of the house.

My grand mother passed away more than a decade ago. Today, why did I think of her and that house? Thoughts are now at a distance, yet crisp in recollection. Nostalgia is a momentary composition of disjointed memories; I seem to get reflective about lot of things I wasn’t so passionate about before. To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye to restore and render memories!

P.S: This small town however is no more “small”. It has struck newspapers and news channels big time! The recent discovery of links between national and international terrorist groups and their functioning in Kannur drives the point. I still cannot believe that people involved hail from this “small” town!
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