Days With Fleas In My Ears

We had a peculiar neighbour. When I say peculiar it goes to such an extent where I used to run away from his peculiarity of sustained high-pitched tone of whining. He has something or the other always to clutch at. Either it is about the other neighbour’s black cat every morning he looks at first when he opens his main door or about the darned nuisance created by the songbirds or the cock crows waking him up early morning. He even complains about the owls blasting in and fracturing his silent nights with their unholy hoots invariably followed by a proverbial death news the following day.

The other day he happened along again. This time it was a deluge about the irresponsibility of the other neighbour lady on her black tomcat’s behaviour. He saw the ‘darned thing’ goes by his window with a dead robin in his mouth. As usual, he complained to the owner of the cat. She just laughed it off saying, ”the cat’s just acting naturally. He’s doing what God created it to do!” Needless to mention that he didn’t like her in-one-ear and out-the-other attitude towards the carnage that the beast was wreaking. Not only it ended over there but gave him a flea in his ear reminding a complaint he once made over the cacophonic chirping that begins at the wee hours and never relents until eventide. And she had sealed it up and walked off saying: Good for your sleep!

That event irritated him and he kept it with all intensity and vented the whole hot air out on me, thanks to the patient hearing I keep wearing.

talkI remember once he complained about the bloody birds returning in April from down south to make the month the ‘cruelest’ as T S Eliot opined. For him, the season of November to March provides him unbridled peace – no noisy birds, snowy and sleepy neighbourhoods, less traffic and what not….! Normally, people in Canada are eagerly waiting to get rid of the winter and welcome the advent of spring. All living creatures show up their heads more on the streets after a long hibernation by the beginning of April. Children are waiting for the Victoria Day to blow up the whole stock of their firecrackers, without any prior permission. Imagine the plight of a neighbour who is vigilant in his sleep also as to who flies over his house. He opens his door and comes out on the night of Victoria Day shouting, ”who the hell on earth are bombing the night?” No sooner he finds our children out than he creeps in shutting the door.

When all are heading for outing and camping there is my neighbour complaining about the songbirds who ate up his blueberries and then poop prodigiously on his white car forcing him to swab stoutly to get that stuff off. And I’m thinking of making an underground passage starting right down from my living room to the next junction to escape an insidious trap of listening to my neighbour’s complaints that delays my office trips.

(New Indian Express – Jun 24, 2017)


Come thy day!

Every procrastinator has a day to become a Procrastination Nanny, as they grow old!


If only an actor does a scene-stealing performance I go after his zodiac signs and lineage. That’s how John Lithgow fell into me as a much heard and talked about Winston Churchill through the series, The Crown (a Netflix hit of 2016) Up in his hat, Churchill was heavy-handed, harsh and oppressive. He loved good language but ended up in controversies many a time in some of its usages. His comments or the epigrams used could tickle any funny bones but I’m skeptic about the responses hit back. Having seen only a few episodes of The crown I became a hardcore fan of John Lithgow.

It never ends there. The two-time prime minister is being portrayed again by two more people this year. Gary Oldman’s version of Churchill will appear in the Darkest Hour in November this year. While you see a headstrong PM in the series, The Crown, mentoring the young queen, Gary Oldman is going to have a brainstorm in his film to decide whether England should negotiate a peace treaty or stand up to Hitler and his evil thoughts. The 3rd one is Brian Cox, the Scottish actor who is performing in and as Churchill of 1944 at the time of the invasion of Northern France by Allied Forces. This film is going to hit the theatres on Jun 09, 2017.

John Lithgow as Churchill in The Crown, a Netflix Series



There’s nothing to be laughed at, when a PM like Modi addresses an official foreign gathering, with the help of a tele-prompter. In a way it’s like the reading of a written speech which by and large everybody does. The matter is about bilateral relationships or issues. An impromptu speech might miss certain points. In order to avoid it, a speaker uses either a written message or a tele-prompter. And the latter is better than the former just to ensure good eye-contact with the audience. A reading speech has only an intention of conveying the message. But a speech with adequate eye-contacts has an intention to measure back the response it resonates. That way this practice stands good. But if someone wants to view the matter through a political tube vision it’s a different scenario. If it’s a testing venue of oratory skills this practice is to be avoided.



യു.എസ്. കോണ്‍ഗ്രസ്സില്‍ നടത്തിയ അതിഗംഭീര പ്രസംഗത്തിന്റെ പേരില്‍ എല്ലാവരും പ്രധാനമന്ത്രി നരേന്ദ്ര മോദിയെ വാഴ്ത്തുന്നു. പ്രസംഗം എനിക്കും വളരെ ഇഷ്ടമായി. അതിനെക്കുറിച്ച് ഞാന്‍ എഴുതുകയും ചെയ്തു. ആ കുറിപ്പിനോടുണ്ടായ ചില പ്രതികരണങ്ങള്‍ മോദിയുടെ പ്രസംഗശൈലി വിശദമായി അവലോകനം ചെയ്യേണ്ട ആവശ്യകതയിലേക്കു വിരല്‍ ചൂണ്ടുന്നു.

ശരിക്കും മോദിക്ക് ഇംഗ്ലീഷില്‍ ഇത്ര മനോഹരമായി സംസാരിക്കാന്‍ കഴിയുമോ? ഇന്ത്യയിലെ റാലികളില്‍ അദ്ദേഹം ഇത്തരത്തില്‍ തന്നെയാണ് പ്രസംഗിക്കുന്നത്. പക്ഷേ, അത് ഹിന്ദിയിലാണ്. മോദി പ്രകടിപ്പിച്ച ഇംഗ്ലീഷ് പ്രാവീണ്യമാണ് ചിലരിലൊക്കെ സംശയം ഉണര്‍ത്തിയത്. സംശയം ന്യായമായിരുന്നു താനും. കോണ്‍ഗ്രസ്സിലെ പ്രസംഗപീഠത്തില്‍ മോദിയുടെ രണ്ടു വശങ്ങളിലുമായി രണ്ടു ടെലിപ്രോംപ്റ്ററുകള്‍ ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നു എന്ന കാര്യം ശ്രദ്ധയില്‍പ്പെട്ടു. ഇതു സംബന്ധിച്ച സത്യാവസ്ഥ അറിയാന്‍ യു.എസ്. കോണ്‍ഗ്രസ്സില്‍ കടന്നുചെന്ന് പരിശോധിക്കാന്‍ ഏതായാലും നിര്‍വ്വാഹമില്ല തന്നെ. അതിനാല്‍ ഇന്റര്‍നെറ്റില്‍ പരതി. രസകരങ്ങളായ പുതിയ അറിവുകളാണ് -കുറഞ്ഞപക്ഷം എന്നെ സംബന്ധിച്ചിടത്തോളമെങ്കിലും -മുന്നില്‍ തെളിഞ്ഞത്.

എന്താണ് ടെലിപ്രോംപ്റ്റര്‍? പ്രാസംഗികരുടെ ഏറ്റവും പ്രിയപ്പെട്ട സങ്കേതമാണിത്. കണ്ണാടി പോലുള്ള പ്രതലത്തില്‍ പ്രസംഗത്തിലെ വാക്കുകള്‍ സാവധാനം ഒഴുകി നീങ്ങും. ടെലിവിഷന്‍ വാര്‍ത്ത അവതരണത്തിന് ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്ന പ്രോംപ്റ്ററില്‍ നിന്ന് കുറച്ചുകൂടി ഉയര്‍ന്ന തലത്തിലുള്ള സാങ്കേതികവിദ്യ. ടെലിപ്രോംപ്റ്ററില്‍ ഒഴുകി നീങ്ങുന്ന വാക്കുകള്‍ പ്രാസംഗികന് കാണാനാവുമെങ്കിലും മറുവശത്തിരിക്കുന്നയാള്‍ക്ക് അത് ഒന്നുമില്ലാത്ത കണ്ണാടി പ്രതലം മാത്രമായിരിക്കും. പ്രാസംഗികന്റെ വേഗം കൃത്യമായി മനസ്സിലാക്കുന്ന ടെലിപ്രോംപ്റ്റര്‍ ഓപ്പറേറ്റര്‍ കൂടിയുണ്ടെങ്കില്‍ സംഗതി ജോര്‍. രണ്ടു വശങ്ങളിലുമുള്ള ടെലിപ്രോംപ്റ്ററില്‍ ഒരേ വാക്കുകള്‍ തന്നെയായിരുന്നു ദൃശ്യമാകുക. വശങ്ങളിലുള്ള കണ്ണാടി സ്‌ക്രീനിലെ വാക്കുകളിലേക്കു പ്രാസംഗികന്‍ മാറി മാറി നോക്കുമ്പോള്‍…

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Adieu, Maya!

“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”                                – Maya Angelou
Goodbye lady! You had been celebrating womanhood when many of your friends were held up in a quandary. You encountered many defeats, but not got defeated. When you wrote your life and shared with us, you were blinking back your tears. The war you started never ends. You would certainly be able to watch from somewhere, someone carries your torch. Now, rest in peace!

Rain in June

Rain, like cold tears
Evanesced from a hot face,
Stopped for a while.

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