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Showing posts from October, 2007

The bare footed eleven

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My younger son is always talking about shoes, like he is crazy about Lakers star ‘Kobe Bryant’. He is forever looking for new basketball shoes, and has no qualms even about wearing yellow and purple Lakers shoes that we have so far managed to forbid purchase of…There was a time when I had just one pair - a North star shoe from Bata which was fantastic (rumour has it was an prize winning design by N Singh in 1960, but got introduced in India after a lot was rejected by a ‘phoren’ buyer in the 70’s eventually becoming a rage in India) till its PVC heel detached itself and flew off in the desert heat of Riyadh’s roads (that story was covered in an Earlier blog), but then, today foot accessories are big business.

During college days, I used to see soccer matches, especially the Sait Nagjee and Santosh trophy matches. Calicut was a football crazy place and my room mate Soman was a big time fan. So we used to go watch the clubs like Mohan Bagan, Mohamedan’s, Titanium, state teams like Goa &a…

Socal Fires

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Socal is how they call South California and we have been in the news lately as many of you may know. Having watched the Malibu fire story on TV during the week end, I was a bit apprehensive about the coming days with the dry weather and the howling Santa Ana winds. There was also an official trip coming up mid week.

Sunday – we went out for dinner, and on the left of highway 15 saw a smallish fire & lots of smoke at the Fallbrook area about 15 miles from home. Monday morning – went to the office as usual, the smoke by I15 had increased. By afternoon we heard that there were huge fires in the San Diego County & mass evacuations were underway. That was when things started to get a little worrisome. I decided it best to leave & quickly drive the 40 mile distance back to Temecula, where we live. It took me six hours to get home and took me close to the raging fires in Fallbrook, we could see stuff falling from the air – soot, cinder…and people fleeing with their cars & truc…

RK Narayan – The simple man

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They are the only people who have realized their place in life, said RK Narayan about Malayalis, the people of Kerala!! Surprised? It was not related to any great person or event, but to the Malayali fondness for an Umbrella!! With his unopened umbrella in hand, Narayan was a familiar figure walking in Mysore. For him an umbrella was “a status symbol and an elegant adjunct to walking”. He had collected umbrellas from all over the world, and the strange thing was that he retained most of them. He hated lending his umbrella to anyone. He liked Kerala and its people because of their ‘devotion to umbrellas’ – This recollection comes from TS Nagarajan the photo journalist.

RKN is a much loved writer and a personal favorite. There is so much of him beyond his books and autobiography that some would be interested in, so I ventured to find some of that stuff. This collection will I hope, help those uninitiated into the world of the creator of Malgudi - Mr Rasipuram Krishnaswami Ayyar Naranayan…

Khalid Hosseini’s Kite runner

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I had heard about the book and so I purchased a copy, but that was about when my son kept telling me that I should actually listen to the audio book. He had finished the audio book and insisted that the audio book in this case gave a better feel to the words, place and persona…With great trepidation, I started on this audio book for the first time, complaining all the time that I could listen to the book only when I was in the car, that I could not go back & check things now & then, that I could not feel the pages and all that (or drift away into my own world between words). My son would not let go, he pushed and pushed. It took me two chapters to get into the groove and then I was hooked - to Khaled’s own voice narrating his touching novel ‘Kite Runner’.

Thus it was during the many miles back & forth between home & Carlsbad that I got acquainted with Kabul, Freemont, Amir, Hassan & Sohrab. The miles flew by and the story grew in my mind. Gone were the half sleepy &…

Sahib & Collector

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Sayippum Collectrum

In colloquial Malayalam, Sayip is loosely associated with a Western (white) foreigner. However I discovered that it is mostly a usage conveying respect. Did it originate from the word Sahib? Perhaps! Anyway I have heard the usage ‘Sayip’ associated with one of these two gentlemen who I will venture to introduce to you.

Tellichery – a place once called the Paris of Kerala, the city of cricket, circuses, tennis and cakes. So many great luminaries came from this birthplace of Malayalam literature. There was a time and period in Malabar (The original Malabar in Kerala not Malabar-Florida) when two great persons lived in the same town, in a country and locale totally alien & mysterious to both. They ended up loving the town, the very region itself and easily merged with the local populace. The city gratefully honored them, one with a road and the other with a statue. One of them is Gundert Sayip, the other William Logan. Both have become part and parcel of Kerala and …

The Pathan

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Recently I read Frederick Forsyth’s new book titled ‘Afghan’. Reading it makes me feel that this once great author has lost his touch. It is a thriller alright, but nowhere in the league of his other books, books like Odessa File, Day of the Jackal etc where the author had carried out meticulous research and understood the place, people, time & the game. He is lost when it comes to places like South Asia & the Middle East, not really understanding the people or their psyche. The book has no real soul actually, and the author for good measure, has even included four Malayali’s as obscure, no name ‘extra’ side villains. Really, is it not obvious, if you have seen burly fierce looking Pathan’s, you know that no Brit or American can pass off as an Indian, let alone a Pathan, ever? The last quarter of the book meanders along, somewhat lost, like a cow in a British pasture, when it should be galloping like an Arab stead (The hero Martin, incidentally was the main character in Forsyt…