Saturday, October 30, 2010

Intellectual Lunacy

This Arundhati Roy is really making me crazy! Last time I wrote about her arrogant ways to dare the incumbent Government to arrest her saying she supports the cause of the hard core Marxist group when they wrecked havoc on CRPF forces, killing scores of them at will, in full public view, caring little or no concern for life of innocent people along with the Security forces. Now her latest invention is that Kashmir is not an integral part of India! This time the Central Government seems to have woken up from its slumber to announce that it is examining legal and political aspects to consider putting Roy behind the bars. And really, this time the woman also seems to be a bit scared since she tried to give a softer meaning to her statement on Kashmir other than what she actually meant. The Government also seems to be scared of Maoist backlash if Roy is arrested!

Any organization with whatever ideological name it calls itself, is a terrorist outfit, nothing else, so far as they kill innocent people en-masse with impunity. They should be eliminated from among civil society very urgently. There cannot be any backlash so far as the elimination is total, without fear or favour. But I don't think any Government of any type can do or has the guts to do, anywhere in the world, now or in the next one thousand years!

Well, I read with awe the other day on newspapers of an interview with a 77 years old lady who had just won the battle with her elder brother in Supreme Court. This woman is the protagonist of a well famed legal battle - "The Mary Roy Case". Briefly the story goes like this. After her divorce in 1963 in Assam where she was living with her husband, one Ranjit Roy, Mary Roy came to live in an ancestral cottage in Ooty given to her by her mother. But her elder brother, George Isaac took possession of their father's property practically throwing her out of the house with her children in 1965. It was then Mary fought for equal rights for women children in a Christian family property and won the case in Supreme court in 1977 after a 12 year battle. This historic verdict of the Supreme Court virtually forced the Syrian Christian Succession Law to be amended. But Mary had to wait another 38 long years to get the court decree executed to get possession of her share of ancestral property, last week, whereas the whole of her Syrian Christian sisters and daughters, enjoyed the benefits of the Supreme Court judgement right from 1977! Syrian Christian is a major Christian sect in Kerala.

Mary Roy is Arundhati Roy's mother and Prannoy Roy of NDTV is Ranjit Roy's nephew.

Mary Roy relentlessly fought for equal rights at par with their brothers for women in sharing ancestral property and won, whereas her daughter, a writer, who does not seem to have written anything after winning her Booker Prize in 1992, seem to be publicity crazy. Otherwise, what is the necessity for a person of Booker winning calibre in writing to neglect her natural field of strength, - writing - and make irresponsible statements if not stupid, so that the news media, simply because she earned a celebrity status after winning Booker, give a big publicity and brand her a woman activist? In my opinion she is a publicity maniac or a megalomaniac fit to be in a mental asylum if not in jail. Her latest statements on Kashmir are viewed by sane and high calibre journalists and newspaper editors in line with those of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, as hatred and contempt of Indian Union Government.

Kashmir had become an integral part of India by accession by the then ruling king of the state after independence in 1947, just as so many other big and small states ruled by kings prior to the arrival of British in India. Mysore was one such state. Whereas, even Hyderabad and Goa were taken over by force by independent India, are now integral to India, where arises the question of an independent Kashmir when it was not even taken over by force? Arundhati being a good writer should hone her skills to see the truth before uttering nonsensical words; better write fiction my dear! Or, stage a real battle to free women from male chauvinistic laws of a religion or sect just as your illustrious mother did and won, instead of inciting hate between man and man. Even in so called ideological outfits like the marxists or Naxalites, women members are raped by men and threatened of killing if they opened their mouth; how mwny know this fact? Come out of your intellectual lunacy Arundhati!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

'Keep' - Concubine

I read with amusement in today's paper about a woman lawyer getting infuriated in the Supreme Court over the use of the word 'keep' by one of the two judges on the bench in a case of 'maintenance' for a separated woman from a live - in relationship. The woman lawyer argued that the word 'keep' is equivalent to 'Rakhail' in Indian language and so demeaning of a woman. The other judge on the bench was quick to ask the woman lawyer,  who wanted  to expunge the word from records, what other word could be used, .. would concubine fit in?

I wonder if a relationship between a woman and a man involving sex without accepted norms of cultural, social and religious sanction in the form of a ritual, be it a marriage, nikah, wedding or any other form of a life-time binding contract through oath to protect the interest of one another, and is purely on personal considerations is not a form of promiscuity, a form of whoring in accepted social norms, to put it bluntly? The norms of any society this kind of human relationship, a live - in relationship they say, stands basically on personal greed. If not, how can a separated woman in such kind of a relationship put claim on alimony or maintenance costs? Was there such a legal, if not socially accepted norm before she entered into such a relationship? On what grounds a woman claims alimony, compensation or maintenance  from a person with whom she lived without following any social, cultural or religious sanction?

I am not against live-in relationships; in fact, I encourage it in support of personal freedom, needing no permission of any kind except one's own conscience to walk out of the relationship at any point of time. A live-in relationship is for more mature, rational thinking freer thinking people; not the ones who has much more dependent trait than normal in their psychological make up. In the name of love, which is purely immature illusion of young adults, at the same time having larger than life self assessment, make them enter into such kind of relationships, a sure shot recipe for miserable failure later. Both the parties in a live-in relationship require to have better understanding of each other than common people. And it is not of any sacrifice, give and take or an ego promoting act. A woman or a man of any age entering into a live-in relationship without these credentials is into pure whoring for personal satisfaction. I cannot agree with any other term for this kind of immature, illusory and blissfully stupid relationship other than whoring.

In my opinion, so, in the case quoted in the beginning, the second judge rightly asked the woman lawyer if not to use the word 'keep' and expunge it from the record, if the word 'concubine' would fit in. To go a step further as a simple common man, I would ask the lawyer if it is right to replace the word 'keep' with prostitute!

I am not a woman hater. Every person has a place in my life and I have due respect to every woman in her place.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Power Of Motivation - From The Memory Lane.

I consider myself as very lucky to be a guest of an elderly woman, who used to prepare excellent sea food in perfect ethnic cuisine, despite being a strict vegetarian all her life. That was when I was studying in St. Aloysius College, Mangalore, way back in the earlier part of 1960's and I used to visit the house quite often whenever I wanted to relish fish, as I was living in a vegetarian boys' hostel and this loving, affectionate lady happened to be a close relative though marriage of my elder sister.

There is an interesting story behind this old woman, who passed away back in the latter part of 60's.

Being the wife of of a highly motivated Freedom Struggle, this woman was imprisoned some 3 or 4 times during India's fight for freedom, along with her girl child of just 3 years while her husband was imprisoned many times.

Late Dr. Ganesh Pai was a personal physician of Mahatma Gandhi, and naturally became freedom fighter himself. After the split between the Mahatma and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose with Jaya Prakash Narayan, on the principles to be followed in freedom struggle, Dr. Pai along with many leaders moved over to JP-Bose faction. Dr. Pai being a highly principled man, his influence on general public and the then British police was immense.

On one dark night the head of the local police knocked the doors of Dr. Pai. Since he was in JP-Bose camp, he was involved in a number of disruptive activities such as cutting telephone lines and railway tracks and hence was under constant vigil by the British Government. That night, to Dr. Pai's utter surprise, the police officer informed the doctor that there was an arrest warrant against him and if he did not go underground, he was going to arrest him the first thing in the morning! The officer had come along with two trucks to transport the Doctor's household goods and to shift him along with his family in the night itself to Hubli, where the doctor's cousin lived. The doctor was a resident of Siddapur. Can you see the calibre and depth of goodwill and clout the freedom fighter had created in the locality? A police officer wantonly helping him to jump arrest risking his own job and perhaps arrest too? The motivation to fight for freedom was such and the influence of leaders like Jaya Prakash Narayan and Subhash Chandra Bose was so great.

The unfortunate doctor did not live to enjoy freedom. His motivation to fight for freedom was so powerful that he totally neglected threats to his life both by the British and nature. As a result of street demonstration, picketing and underground movements in relentless monsoon rains despite knowing it too well as a practicing doctor, of the consequences of continuously getting drenched, his motivation to fight the British, made him fall victim to Pneumonia, a dreaded disease for which medicine (Penicillin, the first antibiotic) was not yet discovered then. Pneumonia was practically a death sentence in those days. The woman I mentioned earlier, was the widow of this freedom fighter, left to mend herself in free India with young children, eldest daughter just married, son ten years of age and another daughter seven years.

This woman started life afresh in free India after the death of her husband followed by Independence to the country. Unskilled and uneducated, but well principled like her late husband, this woman fought life valiantly in a very dignified way without stretching her palms for help. But the late doctor's goodwill was so great, now with the veneer of martyrdom, added with her own nature of selfless love and affection, members of family and friends thronged to help her. Except her son in law and a nephew, she smoothly rejected help from all others with a smiling face. All she wanted and craved for was educating her son and daughter. Dr. T. M.A. Pai, an elite social man and a Gandhian came forward to bear all educational expenses of the son offering a medical seat in the institute he was heading. But no!, this gritty woman flatly rejected free monetary help. The son did graduation, joined job and did a couple of Indian and German Metallurgical Engineering courses, part time, along with his job. He, now retired, went on to become an authority on Iron Furnace.

One fine day the woman received a Govt. order granting her 10 acres of land for free in recognition of the martyrdom of her husband in freedom struggle. The land located on riverside, was virgin and fertile, not far away from Puttur town. A close relative of the woman approached her and told her that the timber alone in the lands would fetch a few lakhs. Just imagine the value of that kind of money in those early days of 1950's! But this great woman simply told everybody who advised and urged her to accept the Government grant, that her husband did not fight for freedom in anticipation of a reward! Nobody could convince the lady to take the land and live happily. She said it, to accept the reward was to blatantly insult the ideals of her husband. Each and every relative and well wisher tried vainly to convince the lady to accept the Govt. offer. Can you imagine the ethical standards of this lady? The high emotional levels of our freedom fighters?

Now, contrast this great soul with the incumbent president of the ruling party today - a party of Mahatma Gandhi, enjoying all the credit of bringing independence to India . She is sitting in the chair of a party which once occupied by great motivators of freedom struggle like Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Moulana Abul Kalam 'Azad' and Dr. Annie Besant. A woman of Italian origin, after marrying the Indian political heir prince and staying with him here in this country not even caring to become a citizen of this country for long fourteen years, becoming the president by default after the assassination of her husband, through sheer sycophancy and the sycophants likening her to that great lady Annie Besant, who despite being a British woman motivated Indians to fight for freedom. This woman became the President of the Congress Party for a third tenure continuously against all conventions and the sycophants in reply to public criticism are shouting hoarse that she will be elected president of the party a thousand times!

There is an abject need for a powerful motivation like the ones our freedom fighters had, to re-establish the values and root out sycophancy and corruption in this country and bring back the illustrious glory of the past. Perhaps we need a second Mahatma Gandhi or a lady of the stature of Annie Besant, or a steel man like Subhash Chandra Bose or Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, he who knows how hard it is to invoke and motivate the sleeping Indian conscience. Will this stupid dream of mine come true in my lifetime?

"Being my mother, she never told me to do this or not to do that. That is the greatest tribute I can give to the lady..." - Jiddu Krishnamurti on Dr. Annie Besant, who picked him from wilderness and groomed him to become world (spiritual) leader. See her sense of freedom.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Home Wine

It was in the year 1993, in September, a month before my 50th birthday I finally gave up drinking. I managed to keep myself in total sobriety for over two years, when, on a fine Sunday I came across a critical article about a book on Goan Home wines in Sunday Herald. I wrote to the publisher immediately and promptly got my copy of the recipe book by post.

The recipes in the book made a fascinating reading. My very first trial was a grand success. Buoyed by the success, I continued to make wines. There were more than 50 recipes, practically for every fruit and berry on earth! ...and a few vegetables too. There is even a recipe to make milk wine and honey wine(Mead). I successfully tried a few common fruits and beet root from vegetables. Apples and pineapples make excellent wines. Banana gives a little problem to get clarify properly for which I emply beaten albumen (Egg whites) method. Pineapples are natural ferments. Smooth and excellent bouquet. Bangalore or Bijapur black grapes get blood red body with lively taste making your fried prawns the best one in the universe!

Being a home wine maker, I don't give much to the intricacies. For example, they say varieties of grape streins such as Chardonnay, Souvignon, Zinfandel etc. make difference. Also basically white wines are made from red or black grape pulps. If you do not add the colored skin of the grape, it becomes white wine. And if you crush the whole grapes with skin, preferably without pips, that makes red or rose wine depending on the color of the skin. These two varieties - red and white from the same fruit gives different taste and effect to the wine. But I make my red wines from black grapes and whites from white grapes.

Wine making is not an easy job. One should have sort of divotional interest in making home wines, requiring to maintain top higenic environment thoough out the process of a minimum of four months - a month for making and minimum of three months for maturing during which time there is at least a couple of racking (decantation) to make the wine crystal clear. But once the interest develops, the hobby gives tremendous pleasure, especially when people - relatives and friends - heartily appreciate it.

For about one whole year I did not have enough confidence to offer my wine to guests. Then during the marriage of my eldest daughter, that evening after sending the bride with the groom, I took out a well matured bottle of blood red wine having only traces of sweetness and sourness. Very few close relatives and my other daughters' friends remained with us that day. Lo!, it was an instant hit!! Next morning, I made gift bottles and cans of two and five litres and gave to my young nephews and nieces when they returned to their respective homes, most from Mangalore and Bangalore.

I have quite some friends on internet. And I tell them about my wine. Some of them requested for the recipe. By the by I have evolved my own recipe for red and pineapple wines by trial and error over the years. I sent them my recipe and there was no mention about their making it. And when I ask them if they really tried my recipe, .... well you know what could be the answer.  Recently a friend, a new one asked me to send the recipe. By now, I knew it was only curiosity they all ask for the recipe and once they see the laborious process their wine making abruptly stops there. So for this new querry I said,  "Now look my good friend, it is not a simple thing. Wine contains divine spirit. Do you know from where this spirit comes and make a comfortable living in my wines? I invoke them by chanting a mantra from the Atharva Veda, after taking a cold bath and sitting hands folded and eyes closed in front of the grapes. The divine spirit may kick you hard if you go wrong by a hair while invoking! Are you ready to get my recipe? ..."  The lady is wise, she simply asked me to send a bottle to her!!

Wines are not taken by courier, no liquid items for that matter. So I have invited this grand old lady to visit Shimoga to taste my wine, nay, hospitality. And I dare to extend my invitation to all of you who read this! Ready?