Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My dearest, one and only Valliyacchan passes away

"Oh Death, how much you make me feel like turning back the clock just to my previous Kerala vacation where I could have seen him just one more time." I deeply regret I didn't do that. Now that he is gone can I hear his powerful voice one more? His advice, his jokes, his words of courage and the way he used to imitate other people. But his biggest strength was the way I saw him facing death, particularly when his son-in-law passed away. What I saw in him was a mountain of strength. Being an ex-army man he would tell me of the deaths and suffering he had seen in the three wars he had been in. One of those wars was in Congo when the Indian army was sent as part of the UN Peace Keeping mission way back in the early 60's. I still recall those pictures of him in Congo. He would tell me he hadn't shot or killed anyone but he had seen enough death and suffering. He would also take part in the Goan war and later in one of the wars with Pakistan. He was a very brave man. Among many of the tips and tricks from his life in the army he would tell me that if you were to lie on the ground, with your ears to the ground you could always hear anyone or any animal coming towards you even if you are asleep.

Valliyachan was a brilliant actor too. No wonder he used to sneak out after dark from his home (as Valliyamma was totally against it) to act in plays. I also recall Mini (his daughter, my cousin) preserving a black and white poster from one of those plays where Valliyachan played the role of a Police Inspector.

Valliyachan always kept himself active be that in the fields attending to the plants or at home. No wonder he was in such good health. He was an exceptional cook. Non-vegetarian was his speciality. All you had to do was to give him the live chicken and he would take care of the rest. Oh yes, he had his own way of killing the bird. He would tell me it was a painless method but the truth is we would never hear a sound or struggle. I still recall him cooking chicken in the open pot for the entire family while we cousins would spend our time playing.

I will never forget his great love for children too. Even Chaithu, remembers him so well. In fact he had left the army so that he could spend more time with his son.

Every man has his share of good and the bad but to me Valliyachan's immense potential was completly wasted. Death brings so much forgiveness in the minds of people. I pray I remember the many wonderful things I learnt from him. For me there will never be another Valliyachan like him. May his soul rest in peace.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The TATA bus in Singapore

The first Tata Nano or the US$2000 car (I am told fully loaded ones could cost upto $4000) was given to the first customer yesterday. Coinciding with the release of the Nano I have an interesting story.

In early 1996 while working in Singapore I used to stay in an apartment at the Spottiswoode Park area located across the street in front of Singapore General Hospital. I stayed there for almost a year. My workplace was at Suntec City Tower and I used to take a bus to work. While waiting at the bus stop everyday a TATA Bus would come there to pick up employees to a company. It was way different from the automatic-geared Volvo's. It was half the size of the Volvo's and it wasn't air-conditioned either but it used to feel so good to see a TATA bus picking up Singaporeans to work. Wonder if it still in service. Maybe it still is. Wish I had taken a pic of the bus.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Help me identify this bird

I got it a couple of months ago and it looks rare. My animal and avian enthusiasts next door, Shaukath Ali and Madhu (more on Shaukath later) couldn't identify it too. It has been given to Blue Cross.

I even tried to set it free on the terrace but it wouldn't fly away.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The last of the fusions on Swaralayam on ISS

Last Friday saw the last of the fusion performances as the judges have switched to talking about popular music directors a new turn on Swaralayam. The best of Swaralayam could easiy compile into a good album.

One contestant who seems to be singing P. Susheela's songs with total ease is Neethu. Here is her first performance on ISS, Season 4.

I know of late my posts have been about ISS only. Time for other posts. Coming soon.

Friday, July 03, 2009

More nice Swaralayam pieces at ISS

This one was on the first of July.

and this one yesterday, another fine piece with lovely bass arrangements.

and if I am right there's a nice one coming today too.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The top 20 best places to live in the World does not have a single U.S city

The only cities from North America are the three cities from Canada, namely Ottawa, Toronto (one of my favorite North American cities) and Vancouver (consistently within the top 5). Even last years list did not have it though I remember L.A listed.

The 20 countdown by Forbes, click this link.