My Strength

what do you like about this blog?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

TESTING TIMES.....


From an invigilator's diary
Examination, if I were asked to define, is the interim between preparation and evaluation.


Though between the pen and the paper, it has more to that inking process. How thoughts and ideas take graphic shape flowing from the brain through the veins to the finger tips and then on to the paper!!

Each one displays characteristic behavior and posture in those 2 to 3 hours.

Some erect and silent. No expression. Only the pen moves. “nature takes the pen from me and writes” kind of Wordsworths.

Some buried in the paper hardly raising their head, hardly aware of what happens around. They may be conversing with the paper they write on.

Some reclining, putting their weight on their elbows and giving a side profile as if watching what the hand writes.

Some specky ones, raising their eyebrows or at times peeping through the specks on the tip of their nose.

Some, the eccentric but intelligent, given to sudden shifts of head or shoulder, biting the pen tip or smiling to themselves. At times dropping the pen and resting on the paper as if in total surrender. Before they appear to you to have lost interest in writing, they burst or surge up and continue as if a fountain is turned on.

Some with their heads on the palms as if cursing the paper or regretting a lack of preparation or hardwork.

Some looking or staring blankly at you, the invigilator. Remember, their thoughts are somewhere. They are groping in the dark for a clue. Fumbling for a word that would unloose a bundle of points for the answer.

But the ones who stare at you at regular intervals are into some malpractice….. remember.

Some staring out through the window as if awaiting a far off inspiration for the pen to continue.

Some, the well equipped, well prepared studious ones happily treading through unaffected. The face says it all. The water bottle, scale, eraser all ready on the desk, following instructions promptly from bell to bell.

Some always asking it for the washroom to come back refreshed. If their shoes don’t carry water drops, you can find it in the washroom later, the paper shreds, littered confetti.

Some exchanging glances, and smiles.

A few pacing up as and when someone demands an extra sheet. Some demanding extra sheets making others count the plenty of pages left and wonder. A few may have a question in their mind, “hope you are writing on both sides of the paper!!!!” it is like a reminder for them of their own slow pace or waning stuff.

Some getting up at regular intervals to clarify a doubt on the question paper, quite often silly ones or asked to the wrong subject teacher as invigilator.

Some with previous paper’s hangover whereas some worried about the next paper.

Some suppressing the enthusiasm for a few more minutes to burst for having finished all the papers. Some cursing the hours to run like seconds without having much to do. They, from the beginning bell, develop no attachment with the paper.

Some affected by the invigilator watching over them.  Then pen that moves in a flow comes to sudden halt. Once the invigilator moves, it gets back the lost flow.  

Some pointing out silly errors(spelling) in the question paper which others have already noticed and understood but felt like giving no time for small things. The error pointer gets a laugh and a sarcastic scorn from others.

Some sighing relief when the strict invigilator is relieved by a liberal one.

Some creative invigilator bored by this most monotonous job imagines many funny caricatures and gets amused, like the instructions akin to “passengers your attention please, final call for…..” or “extra sheets, extra sheets…” like a street vendor!!!!. A Shakespearean comic relief!!

Some moving the desks in their frequent twists and turns. I feel many behave like when asleep…scratching their head, turning and twisting.

Some digging their nostrils and when noticed drops the one that they so meticulously rolled out.

Some waiting for the invigilator to indulge in a brief chat with someone at the door or a circular to sign on and they burst into discussion. The distant ones using sign language to their best.

Weather and season also play on their behaviour. A hot summer with no power, you find them sweating it out literally and metaphorically. Some sneezing, some with a running nose with an inhaling sound heard at intervals, some blowing it all on the kerchief. Some coughing frequently and others frowning at. Some leaving a stink silently, spreading giggles all over. Some making it audible too and the giggles burst out into peals of laughter. The gloomy winters-all wrapped up, only the bright eyes seen peeping out.

And then the last minute request for an extra minute. Some suddenly flooding with ideas begging for a few more minutes. Then the usual chats outside about the paper.

An exam is made of all these.

This is how our new generation carves out their future. Don’t miss them at work. Be vigilant, they are at work.

Friday, March 2, 2012

ONLY YESTERDAY AND YESTERDAY ONCE MORE……

No.Nth, Nigambodh Ghat
FORMING CRICKET TEAM AT MES COLLEGE, MAMPAD, DAYS AT DELHI AND THE NORTH MALABAR VILLAGE IN KERALA

F
rom the local School and the nearest College, I went to far away place for the then rare BCom. Degree at MES Mampad College, in the Malappuram District. It was a beautiful English county like location.  The very beautiful college play ground was the most nourishing scene for my craving mind. 



The football ground and the volley ball ground was the play field which produced renowned players..   For one who had played in the paddy fields, of course after harvests in the summer time, - the ground from which great football players emerged  was a feast for me .  I wanted to play cricket.  With whatever things, the left overs of the former cricket lovers, I took with me to the carpenters work-shed in the college premises. They were making windows and doors for the UGC funded library building. With the carpenters’ help I got fixed the broken bat and started playing in the court yard of our class room. Slowly Pareekuttymash (the Biology lecturer) started playing with us. In our class there were very many students from the Nilambur Kovilakam., the royal family.  True from the very start there  was one Ajithan  a Thalasseryan, who lived  in the lodge nearby (Who later became a lawyer  in the Kalpetta Bar  and left  this world three years back, leaving an adolescent daughter and young wife). We had gone to Ottappalam NSS college for a friendly match. 
Some Arkizhaaya club came to our college and we won the match. Ajith and I with few of our classmates formed the Mampad College Cricket Club and collected money with 2 rupees coupons.  As a result of small argument in front of the printing press at Nilambur town Ajith disassociated from the club affairs. With the money we went to Calicut one day in a foreign  car belonging to a close relative of my classmate Rajiv Varma, who belonged to Nilambur Kovilakam. After buying 2 bats, wicketkeeper gloves, stumps and a ball, from Lohi Sports they asked me to sit in the Ansari park nearby the present Mananchira ( now there is no such park) and went somewhere.  Later they collected me and together we returned to the College hostel where they dropped me along with the cricket goods.  From the next day onwards, inspired by the words of  Great Nevil Cardus, I went in search of Linseed oil and some how collected it fom Nilambur town and then with an office pin made holes on the bat (the Bat’s name was Tony Greig) and daily applied oil on the bat from my hostel room.   Then we had our team that went to Inter collegiate tournament at Palakkad Victoria College ground.   We first won against Manjeri NSS college and lost pathetically against the Victoria college (All out for 18 runs!). I found my name in the Indian Express amidst the eulogy of the record score of the Palakkad College.  One of the reason was the pitch, second was the strong wind of the very large ground. (at present the ground has been diminished)  We had never played before on the coir mat wickets as we could not afford it.

                        On the sports day of the final year, the very bat was auctioned for finding money for the Cricket team photo.  I still feel that that was the first ever official college cricket team of the MES Mampad College.  The only edifice remaining with me is this photo.


Mr.Sasidharan Kana: first right from the centre(seated) bearded
                        After college days was the days of learning typing going to Payyaur through Olavara ferry and when I found all my attempts to get a job failing and as per  father’s advice and brother’s  call from Delhi I went to Delhi availing the rail fare concession for dependent of Jawan. There I pursued the Shorthand learning at Naresh Gupta at Greater Kailash and an old Iyer’s rented home at Kalkaji. Here also attended very many competitive examinations and faced many interviews. I did get a stenograph’s job at somewhere in old Delhi, in a Transport operator’s office.  After two or three weeks I left the job for my own.  The Staff Selection Commission exam at the UPSC Hall at Shahjahan Road was important among the Examination that I have attended, which assured me a permanent job in the Govt. of India. Everywhere by brother, Janardhanan Kana, who was Air Force personnel at Tuglakkabad Air Force Station, accompanied me, giving advises, filling in me the needed General Knowledge.


                   At hometown, the Taravad was to be built newly as the old one became too hazardous to live in.  Brother asked me to return home immediately as the other Brother in the hometown got a Govt. job some miles away.  In the meanwhile I had attempted the IAS preliminary, where I failed. When I reached there the old Taravad was razed and we had to live-in the temporary shed. A Herculean effort was necessary to build the house as building materials have to be brought either through the river or across the Railway line at Elambachi We did not have a road to Talichalam in those days.  And when finally the house structure was completed almost 10 months had passed.  The SSC call for appointment was not seen.  I was desperate and disappointed.  With my father’s advice I went to Delhi again in the winter  of 1978.  Without having anything to protect myself from cold, I got fever and straightway went to Aravind Paleri’s (elder brother of film script- writer Raghunath Paleri, and Man Friday in my initial days at Delhi) room  where I lay sick for one or two days. 
             Soon after recovery  I contacted my brother at Tuglakkabad Air Force Station ( the ruins of the  Fort of Emperor Tuglaq)  Two or three days after, along  with the late shri  Vinod Menon,  a distant  relative  who was a Section Officer at DGAMS adjacent to  Presidents House, I went straight  in to the Administration room of Home Ministry  at North Block, were they  gave me the appointment order  and posted me in the Foreigner’s Division.  Just nine days after the coveted job assuming, I caught measles.  I was taken to Kingsway Camp in an Isolation ward. Soon after resuming the job, I found to my surprise a letter from my brother in Kerala along with Kerala PSC appointment letter.  It was clerk’s job at Kannur Police Supdt. Office (It was the days when there was no Kasaragod District) I consulted my brother at the Military barrack.  Brother left the matter to me.  I wanted to pursue my studies and try for better prospects.  My Section Officer Shri Gurmukh Singh Thukral, asked me to remain at the Ministry. I sent a letter to the Police Superintendent’s                                                                                            office saying that I did not wish to join.  

            I remained there in the Home Ministry and in its various sections.  Important among them was States Section where the appointment of governors was done. Here I had nothing more to do except sit through 10 to 5.  I used this time reading in the  well furnished and well maintained Home Ministry library. Besides, The Central Secretariat Library near Shastri Bhavan, the largest in India, helped me a lot in soothing my intellectual curiosity.

I reached home in 1983 on the news of my father’s tragic death.  Father, a harmonist, and vocalist and a tailor by profession, was an inspiration for me for his simple and humble way of life and the respect for work. It dawned to me that there was no need to remain in Delhi without doing any good to my family.

            Here in Trikkaripur, home town, gardening, cultivating vegetables, tapicoca, plantains etc.  in the near by vacant paddy field., watering,(with the newly installed irrigation pump)  teaching at the Parallel college, continuing   shorthand and typewriting  studies at Payyanur  reading  at Payyanur LLA public library became my daily routine.

            A few months after, I became teacher for B.Com. Students at St. Joesph’s College near Naranga Thodu close to Payyanur Town. The college within days shifted to much better place near Perumba Payyanur, my job was to run the office.  Disillusioned with the unremunerative  and strenuous job,  from the day of the assassination of Shrimati Indiarji I stopped going to the St. Josephus’s Parallel College. Together with my cricketing friends,   started a tutorial college at an old a Bhargavi Nilaym, close to the Govt. High school ground at South Trikaripur calling Navabharat Tutorial College.  It was days of our  one and only young Prime Minister of India, Shri Rajeev Gandi and that is why we  gave the name.  At night, in the Petro Max light we conducted classes for Pre degree failed students. Students were from working class. Soon a branch was opened near Kaikkotu Kadavu school, jut 2 kilometers away on the western side. At that time was the sad and tragic death of nehphew Satheesan, the fifth  standard student.  This death created great pain in my mind and I took a vow never ever to beat or scold children.   

            On Septembers 5th 1986, I got an appointment letter from the Zonal Employment officer, Ernakulam inviting me to work temporarily at Pothanicad (EKM), as an Instructor at Govt.Commercial Institute, a name I never heard before.  I joined there after the Onam and just three months after I got a permanent PSC appointment at NES Block, Kanhangad, Hosdurg. 


            It was 1986 December when I joined.  1988, the marriage. When I got appointment as Assistant I moved towards University of Calicut to work in the Institute of Correspondence Courses.  When in 1990 I got a permanent Instructor’s job in the Government Commercial Institute, Wynad, (Technical Education Department) I went to Meenangadi along with my wife, six months old daughter.  The way my neighbor kith and kin hoisted themselves in better posts with the help of their influential relatives made me desperate and heavy at heart and that urged me to be more hardworking, more god-fearing and more austere. The rest is history.   
B
ooks that inspired me:
 Love Story by Eric Sehgal, The Train to Pakistan by Kushwant Singh,   Book written by Nevil Cardus on Cricket the great South Africann Player, The Glory that was India by some historian, The Discovery of India,  Hinduism by Radahkrishan, Books written by Osho, Inspiring words by Swami Vivekananda came to us through small pocket books called Thoughts  Of Power,  How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Norman Vincent Peale,  Freedom at Midnight and Bhagavad Gita and the Bible.

S
ongs.
  KPAC Drama Songs, came to us through horns (Kolambi or Mike) that tied to Coconut trees on Marriages and House Warming days. Among film songs:  Alliyambal from Rosi,  Adyate Kanmani from Doctor, Gangayaroszukunna  Nattil, Arabi  Kadaloru  Manavalan(Yesudas P Susheela), Kakakuyile Chollu (Yesudas and LR Easwari) Swapnangal (from Kavaymela) In the days of Radio Songs : Mukesh, especially Tal Mile Nadi ke jalme, Sunu mere Bandhu  Re  sung my SD Burman,  Rahe Na Rahe, Lag Ja Gale Me Both by Lata), Mahduban Me Radhika, Man Re, Koyi Sagar, Mere Mehboob Tuje ( All by Great Rafi Sahib ) Jalte He Jiske Liye (Talat Mahmood) Thamara Kumbilallo, Soorya Kanthi, Anjana Kannezuthi, Manjani Poonilavu (S,Janaki),Tum Pukarlo (Hemanth Kumar) Ik Bangala Bane Nyara and  Babul Mora (KL Saigal) Seene Me Jalan, Dil Doontha Hai, Yadukula Rathi Devanevide Radhe (Jayachandran,  Vasantha) Akasha Gangayude Karayil (AM Raja)
Kahi Door jab Din Dhal Jaye (Mukesh)film Anand, Chingari (Kishore Kumar film Kati Patang) Musafir Ho Yaro (from Parichay Kishore Kumar) Mere Naina Sawan Bhadon ( Hishore Kumar (from Mehabooba)  Sarike En Sarike (Salil Chowdhury song from Swapnam by Vani Jyaram), Nanda Sudha vara Tava Jananam (Vani Jayaram) Ik Din Mit Jayega Maati Ka Mor (Mukesh) Chinna Chinna Asai,  Ennavale (AR Rehman Song ) Oh Ik ladki ( 1942  A Love Story by RD Barman),  Samaja Sanjarini ( Parinanayam by Bombay Ravi)

Among Gazals  Chupke Chupke by Gulam Ali, Dero Bharam mein, Sait ji  ( by Jagajit Sing), Rafta Rafta, Ranjishe ( Mehdi Hasan) Prana Sakhi Jnan verumoru, Thamasamende Varuvan,  Innale Mayangumbol (all film Gazals sung by Yesudas, composed by  Baburaj)  Ye Kagaz ki kashti ( both by Jagajit Singh and Pankaj Udhas)

English Songs came to me in different times such as at Taravad  : I am on top of the World looking  (Carpenters), Morning has broken (Cat Stevens )  For the good times ( Perry Como) Country Roads take me home,  Song Sung Blue ( Elton John) Only Yesterday and Yesterday Once more (Carpenters) Dancing Queen and Honey Honey(ABBA), By the rivers of Babylon ( Boney M)   Imagine if there’s no heaven (Beatles)
 At  Delhi : Title song of  the film Love Story (English ) Joline Joline don’t take my man( Orignal version sung by ….), If children had wings (Original version sung by ….) You say the best when you say nothing at all (Ronon Keating)

J
okes: At Delhi when I could not spell  in Hindi number 490. Some body asked me the number of bus going to Bade Dafter from DDA Flats, Kalkaji. I knew the number. But could not spell it.  Every zero ends in Hindi, such as das, bees, thees, challis etc.  Then I said, “Char sow nabbees.”  I reaslied my folly much later that it should have been Char sow nabbe

I
n those days there was no Konkan Railway.  Trains to Kerala had two kinds of compartments  such as Mangalore Compartments and Trivandrum Compartments.  As soon train treaches Shornur Junction these two parts are separated and fitted with engines, one part went to Traivandrum and the other to Mangalore.  One traveler came in to the Mangalore compartment close to his and used the loo, without knowing that the train was reaching Shornur Jn. When he came out and moved towards his seat he found to his dismay that there was no train beyond the loo.  Somebody came to his help and told him to run towards southwards to find his train ready to move towards Trivandrum. 
  
D
elhi Incidents:
  • The shooting of last scene of Gandhi by Attenborough in progress at Janpath. Body of  Gandhi is being carried  along .  Local people brought  from UP to become part of the procession, came running in frenzy  towards the North Block and South Block after the shooting,  wonder-struck by the buildings and the scenes.

  • At the Maharashtra Ranga Sala there used to be Malayalam film shows by Delhi Malayali Samajam   In an interval time of one such a film show, I saw Great EMS standing in the lounge alone. Now I regret for not using the opportunity to talk to him     ( just because of political difference)

  • I got the Delhi Malayalee Samajam membership card from a footpath.  After using it for watching films and others functions organized by the Samajam for few months,    I decided to surrender it to the authority. With great difficulty I reached their office, and handed over the card .Instead of thanking me they scolded me for the delay. 

  • Walking through the famous Khan Market near Lok Nayak Bhavan, my work place,  saw actor Girish Karnad (An icon of our times as exponent of art films like Samskara) stepping in to a book shop. Immediately I went towards him and shook hand. (Later he acted with Dev Anand in Man Pasand and with Mohanlal in ‘Prince’)

  • When at Lok Nayak Bhavan, everyday at Tea interval it has become our practice to walk together with a colleague hailing from Himachal Pradesh in the very beautiful  Lodhi park. The area had a tremendous development during the Asiad in 1982 and afterwards.  This walk still lingers in mind.  So also is the Priya Cinema Park at Vasant Vihar.  The trees especially the Kanikonna and the lawn may speak volumes of the tumult and turmoil that I underwent in those initial lean days in New Delhi.

  •  Close to my residence at RK Puram, there is Tamil Sangam ( Associaiton of Tamil people) building.  In a function there I could see one day the Great MGR, Kamal Hassan and K. Balachandar.

  • Across the Tamil Sangam lay some buildings belonging to civilian offices of Defence Department. One of these evenings, sitting in a Dhaba in the nearby market place, somebody told me that AB Vajpayee was addressing a mammoth crowd in the Defence grounds. I now regret for the arrogance of ignoring that meeting and to see the Prime Minister of later India.

  • Coveted memories of seeing great personalities at New Delhi still linger on. Once Ray’s films were shown in a festival at Vigyan Bhavan.  His drawings of each and every film character of him were also exhibited there.  True, these pictures spoke eloquently of his greatness.

  • To become part of the Central Secretariat cricket team I practised at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan lawns a few days.  But I could not make a mark more than that.

  • Daily I walked towards the North Block through the Parliament House.  But alas, I never, even once, got into it and watched the proceedings.   

O
f Films:
 That haunted me : Tulabharam,  Ray’s Pather Panchali, Ritwik Ghatak’s Meghe Dhakka Thara, Mira Nair’s Salam Bombay, Charli Chaplin’s Lime Light (only serious film of him) Nihalini’s Ardh Satya, James Cameroon’s Titanic, MT’s Nirmalyam , Ramu Karyat’s Chemmeen and Rishikesh Mukerjee’s Anand.

That impressed me: Papillion, Kramer Vs Kramer, Sholay, Ben Hur, Mackenne’s Gold, The Great Escape, Kala Pani, Kati Patang

 That entertained me: Kilukkam, Then Mavin Kombath, Amar Akbar Antony, Parichay, Panchavadipalam, Udayananu Tharam, Satyan Anthkad’s film where Mukesh becomes a Hindi teacher.


O
f   New Delhi
It is a marvellous city.  Capital of Pandavas, it has been the capitals of 7 or more dynasties.The fertile land, innocent people all make you lovable. The parks, beautiful roads lined with blooming Kanikonna and Mayflower, simple looking but beautiful courageous girls the cosmopolitan atmosphere, all these make us attracted towards it. That is why  great Malayam writers like OV Vijayan, M Mukundan, Sakaria, Sachidanandan, Kakkanadan, Anand, NS Madhavan all fouind it their haven.    Even on the pinnacle of fashion the way the Delhites stuck to their religion and its rites is a stunning thing to notice. We have to salute the Lutyens for making the great buildings. 

O
f Delhi
Congested, dingy, ugly and stinky.  Once at the time of Emergency Sanjay Gandhi tried to clear the labyrinth. He had to face a lot of animosity. God alone can save it. Except for the giant and great monuments, people won’t enter these places. But Darya Ganj, Meena Bazar, Netaji Museum, Gurudwara of  Guru Tej Bahadur of course the Jama Masjid and the Red Fort still remains the much and sought after tourist destination.  Any how, the tongas, bullock carts (not the country one) narrow roads and gullies make the place almost formidable.
                           -Sasidharan Kana

@@@@@@@@@

Thursday, March 1, 2012

READ INDIAN

I would call a well-read Indian a "Read Indian"!!!!!