Monday, November 21, 2005

O V VIJAYAN again; then comes BASHEER


Saturday, November 19, 2005


My friend Mr. K. N. PRADEEP KUMAR, Chief Manager, IndusInd Bank, Kottayam, sent me a nice story by e-mail. A Zen-kind of story. You may please read it here. It says, seeing things from a new point of view can be very enlightening. Think outside the box. Don't settle for the status quo. Be open to suggestions. Things may not be what they seem.

>>CHANGE Your Point of View
Joe Gracia
Imagine you're in London's Heathrow Airport. While you're waiting for your flight, you notice a kiosk selling shortbread cookies. You buy a box, put them in your traveling bag and then you patiently search for an available seat so you can sit down and enjoy your cookies.Finally you find a seat next to a gentleman. You reach down into your traveling bag and pull out your box of shortbread cookies.

As you do so, you notice that the gentleman starts watching you intensely. He stares as you open the box and his eyes follow your hand as you pick up the cookie and bring it to your mouth. Just then he reaches over and takes one of your cookies from the box, and eats it! You're more than a little surprised at this. Actually, you're at a loss for words. Not only does he take one cookie, but he alternates with you. For every one cookie you take, he takes one.

Now, what's your immediate impression of this guy? Crazy? Greedy? He's got some nerve?! Can you imagine the words you might use to describe this man to your associates back at the office? Meanwhile, you both continue eating the cookies until there's just one left. To your surprise, the man reaches over and takes it. But then he does something unexpected. He breaks it in half, and gives half to you. After he's finished with his half he gets up, and without a word, he leaves.

You think to yourself, "Did this really happen?" You're left sitting there dumbfounded and still hungry. So you go back to the kiosk and buy another box of cookies. You then return to your seat and begin opening your new box of cookies when you glance down into your traveling bag. Sitting there in your bag is your original box of ookies -- still unopened.

Only then do you realize that when you reached down earlier, you had reached into the other man's bag, and grabbed his box of cookies by mistake. Now what do you think of the man? Generous? Tolerant? You've just experienced a profound paradigm shift. You're seeing things from a newpoint of view.

Is it time to change your point of view?
Now, think of this story as it relates to your life.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Let us dive into a special kind of rain this time. Enjoy some rain poems from my collection of Haiku, one of the most important modes of Japanese poetry. The painting seen above is a Haiga, means Haiku painting, by Zolo. Zolo is very famous for his Haiga as well as Haiku. You can find some of his beautiful Haiga at . Well, let the rain comes. Have a nice time.

>>Matsuo Basho

>Spring rain

leaking through the roof

dripping from the wasps' nest

>From now on
a nameless traveller;
winter's first rain.

>>Shiki Masaoka
Night; and once again,

the while I wait for you,
cold wind
turns into rain.

>>Soen Nakagawa
>Sound of mountain
sound of ocean
everywhere spring rain.

>Soft spring rain-
since when
have I been called a monk?

>>Vic Johnson
The clouds bring sadness
Sadness because the sun's gone

Rain filled with sorrow

Richard Lawrence Cohen
>Rain on my windshield.

What a small thing a life is:

pages, photos, tears.

>Picking up the kids
early on a rainy day

is all we can do.

>Halloween downpour:
Costumes under umbrellas.

“I’m scared of thunder.”

>>Daniel Trent
>up to my wrists

in the washing up bowl -

watching the rain

>a sliver of moon
rain on the dormer window -

summer evening

>rain speckles
the dusty window -


>>Morten Paulsen
An island song

Like a floating river

Rain Rain Fall Fall

>>Jack Kerouac
>After the shower

among the drenched roses

the bird thrashing in the bath.

>Snap your finger

stop the world -

rain falls harder.

>>Ed Brown

A gentle rain settles the dust.
A cool refreshing breeze cleans the air.
Breath absorbed breath.
The ancient sand castles are nowhere to be found.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


You are going to read a joke; just joke. But in no time, i do believe, it will become a real life situation. Whether we like it or not, we are heading ourselves to that point. Read and laugh for the time being. And later, get shocked to know what is in store for us in the age of information explosion and world wide web. 'Happy' IT revolution! I got this joke from a friend by e-mail.

Operator : "Thank you for calling Pizza Hut . May I have your........."

Customer: "Heloo, can I order......"

Operator : "Can I have your multi purpose card number first, Sir?"

Customer: "It's eh..., hold..........on......889861356102049998-45-54610"

Operator : "OK... you're... Mr Singh and you're calling from 17 Jalan Kayu. Your home number is 4094! 2366, your office 76452302 and your mobile is 0142662566. Which number are you calling from now Sir?"

Customer: "Home! How did you get all my phone numbers?

Operator : "We are connected to the system Sir"

Customer: "May I order your Seafood Pizza..."

Operator : "That's not a good idea Sir"

Customer: "How come?"

Operator : "According to your medical records, you have high blood pressure and even higher cholesterol level Sir"

Customer: "What?... What do you recommend then?"

Operator : "Try our Low Fat Hokkien Mee Pizza. You'll like it"

Customer: "How do you know for sure?"

Operator : "You borrowed a book entitled "Popular Hokkien Dishes" from the National Library last week Sir"

Customer: "OK I give up... Give me three family size ones then, how much will that cost?"

Operator : "That should be enough for your family of 10, Sir. The total is $49.99"

Customer: "Can I pay by! credit card?"

Operator : "I'm afraid you have to pay us cash, Sir. Your credit card is over the limit and you owe your bank $3, 720.55 since October last year. That's not including the late payment charges on your housing loan, Sir."

Customer: "I guess I have to run to the neighbourhood ATM and withdraw some cash before your guy arrives"

Operator : "You can't Sir. Based on the records,you've reached your daily limit on machine withdrawal today"

Customer: "Never mind just send the pizzas, I'll have the cash ready. How long is it gonna take anyway?"

Operator : "About 45 minutes Sir, but if you can't wait you can always come and collect it on your motorcycle..."

Customer: " What!"

Operator : "According to the details in system ,you own a Scooter,...registration number 1123..."

Customer: " ????"

Operator : "Is there anything else Sir?"

Customer: "Nothing... by the way... aren't you giving me that 3 free bottles of cola as advertised?"

Operator : "We normally would Sir, but based on your records you're also diabetic....... "

Customer: #$$^%&$@$%

Operator "Better watch your language Sir. Remember on 15th July 1987 you were convicted of using abusive language on a policeman...?"

Customer: [Faints]

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


It is a book lover's book. A book for the book lovers and by two book lovers! As its publisher claims, A PASSION FOR BOOKS is a 'treasury of stories, essays, humour, lore and lists on collecting, reading, borrowing, lending, caring for and appreciating books.' This is the book that thrilled me for the last two months. From celebrities like Umberto Eco, Susan Sontag to many unknown (i.e., unknown to me, that's all!) writers have made precious contributions to it. You will be astonished to read Gustave Flaubert's first published work, Bibliomania, a story written in 1836, in this collection edited by HAROLD RABINOWITZ and ROB KAPLAN. It is published by THREE RIVERS PRESS, New York. Here is a small, but funny piece from it. The book is worth buying. I bought it from DC HERITAGE BOOK SHOP, Kottayam.


>>On the return of A BOOK LENT TO A FRIEND
I give hearty and humble thanks for the safe return of this book, which having endured the perils of my friend's bookcase and the bookcases of my friend's friends, now returns to me in reasonably good condition. I give hearty and humble thanks that my friend did not see fit to give this book to his infant for a plaything, nor use it as an ashtray for his burning cigar, nor as a teething-ring for his mastiff.

When I loaned this book, I deemed it as lost; I was resigned to the business of the long parting; I never thought to look upon its pages again. But now that my book has come back to me, I rejoice and am exceedingly glad! Bring hither the fatted morocco and let us rebind the volume and set it on the shelf of honour, for this my book was lent and is returned again.

Presently, therefore, I may return some of the books I myself have borrowed.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


This year a Malayali is being honoured by the prestigious FRANKFURT BOOK FAIR. It is my friend Mr. V C THOMAS who is Senior Manager with D C BOOKS, Kottayam. He is the only Indian literary agent to get the Frankfurt Bookfair Fellowship this year. Mr. Thomas, who is now in HAMBURG, takes us to the land of Hitler, present and past.

Here at the port city of Hamburg, one of richest and fast growing
cities in Germany, we are having a pleasant autumn even at the beginning of November, which is quite unusual. "Hamburg-my birth place -is one of the most beautiful places in Germany", brags Ms. Ulrike Ostermeyer, Editorial Director Fiction at Ullstein Buch Verlage one of the noted book publishing houses in Berlin. She is interested in Basheer's works.

Ya Illahi !!!

I am staying at the heart of Hamburg at Halestrasse near Hansastrasse, underground station. It is one of the posh quarters of the city with elegant late 19th century buildings. Ms. Heppel, editor for popular fiction at Rowohlt Verlage the most renowned book publishing brands in Germany who drove me to her office the other day told me that the British army left the area undestroyed so that they could live in those houses after the world war II. On our way to Reinbeck a small town 30 km east of Hamburg where Rowohlt is situated , she showed me parts of the city which were thoroughly destructed by fire storms which killed more than eighty thousand people in 1943. "I am not saying that Germans don't deserve that. But the children who died... What they have done?", she asks.

I am on a fellowship at Germany and I am staying with Dr. Ludwig Moos, senior editor non fiction at Rowohlt. The house has published Imre Kertez and Elfride Jelinek. I am meeting people at various departments at the publishing house and attempts at learning things which may help me back at Kerala.

One day Dr. Moos showed me the little engraved copper squires which
are laid in front of the apartments adjacent to sidewalk at Hansastrasse. Each squire stands for a particular flat in the facing apartment building and what is written is about the Jewish family who lived there till late or early forties before they were send to the concentration camps. He told me that this is part of a private initiative to document the massacre administered by the Nazi regime under Adolf Hitler. The squire that denotes Dr. Moos' house reads as follows:

BORN 1895


DIED ????

Mr. Moos, a widower in his late 50's is away on his holidays to the
German -Polish boarder towns for a week. A much respected editor who works closely with luminaries like Stephen Hawking has given me his keys to his apartment which is spacious but spartan in design.

And I am wide awake at wee hours and attempts at figuring out how Max
and his family spent forlorn hours anticipating the worst, in this very flat and in this very room over sixty years ago.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


I have got many a complaint that tom online is lacking humour. Everybody wants to laugh. Everybody loves to laugh. I am agreeing with you my dear friends. Here are three MULLAH NASREDDIN stories. All are taken from WIKIPEDIA.
A few words on Mullah. He was a lower Muslim cleric who lived among the Middle-eastern people in the Middle Ages. Nasreddin was a populist philosopher and wise man, remembered for his funny stories and anecdotes. He often appears as a whimsical character of a large Persian, Arab and Turkish folk tradition of vignettes, not entirely different from zen koans.

>>WHO do you trust?
A neighbour comes to the gate of Nasreddin Hoja's yard. The Hoja goes out to meet him outside. "Would you mind, Hoja," the neighbour asks, "to lend me your donkey today? I have some goods to transport to the next town." The Hoja doesn't feel inclined to lend out the animal to that particular man, however; so, not to seem rude, he answers: "I'm sorry, but I've already lent him to somebody else." Suddenly the donkey can be heard braying loudly behind the wall of the yard. "You lied to me, Hoja!" the neighbour exclaims. "There it is behind that wall!" "What do you mean?" the Hoja replies indignantly. "Whom would you rather believe, a donkey or your Hoja??"

>>Camel RIDE
One day, the venerable Mullah Nasrudin came galloping on camel-back through a small village. His camel carried him at a rush into and out of the village without stop, while the villagers all stared in curiosity at his passing. The very next day, the Mullah and his camel came rushing back through the village, all the time his eyes furiously searching on all sides of him. Again, the villagers watched open mouthed wondering just what Nasrudin was up to. On the third day, the Mullah Nasrudin and his camel once again came galloping through the village, but this time a small boy ran out in front, causing him to screech to a halt.:
The small boy asked, "Great Mullah, what are you looking for?!"
The Mullah Nasrudin responded, "For my camel. Have you seen him?"

>>The LOST Key
One night, a neighbor strolling by Nasrudin's house found him outside under the street lamp brushing through the dust. "Have you lost something, my friend?" he asked. Nasrudin explained that he had lost his key and asked the neighbor to help him find it. After some minutes of searching and turning up nothing, the neighbor asked him, "Are you sure you lost the key here?" "No, I did not lose it here. I lost it inside the house," Nasrudin answered. "If you lost the key in the house, Nasrudin, why are you looking for it out here?" "Well, there's more light out here, of course," Nasrudin replied.

Friday, November 04, 2005


Jelaluddin Rumi is famous for his beautiful rendering of mystic poems about everything from bewilderment, emptiness and silence to flirtation, elegance and majesty. He rendered them with love, humour, warmth and tenderness.

Rumi was born in the year 1207 and died in 1273. He is regarded as the greatest Sufi mystic and poet in the Persian language.

On this happy occasion of Eid Al Fitr, let us take in some words of Jelaluddin Rumi and feel ourselves transported to the magical, mystical place of a whirling, ecstatic poet. This is taken from THE ESSENTIAL RUMI published by Castle Books. My dear friends, EID MUBARAK, especially to Sunitha Abubaker, Abdulla and Gudiya.


It’s a habit of yours to walk slowly.

You hold a grudge for years.

With such heaviness, how can you be modest?

With such attachments, do you expect to arrive anywhere?

Be wide as the air to learn a secret.

Right now you’re equal portions clay

and water, thick mud.

Abraham learned how the sun and moon and the stars all set.

He said, No longer will I try to assign partners for God.

You are so weak. Give up to grace.

The ocean takes care of each wave

till it gets to shore.

You need more help than you know.

You’re trying to live your life in open scaffolding.

Say Bismillah, In the name God,

As the priest does with knife when he offers an animal.

your old self

to find your real name.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Mr. E. Santhosh kumar is not a 'sradheyanaya yuva sahityakaran'! So, I believe, he may never be able to get the 'importance' of some 'yuva' breed, who used to get more awards than the number of works published. But, I believe, he writes stories which are honoured in the minds of real readers. Now his latest collection of stories is out: CHAVUKALI. It is released at Thrissur by noted critic Mr. V.C. Sreejan.
I liked almost all the stories in his collections 'Moonnu Andhanmar Aanye Vivarikkunnu' and 'Chavukali'. (I am yet to read his first book 'Galapagos'. ) His stories are painted in black, but in a very colourful way. They are really light as well as very heavy. I like this double edged craftsmanship. Double cheers Santhosh!
Here is a note on 'Chavukali' by the painter-writer Ms. KAVITHA BALAKRISHNAN.

‘Chavukali’ is the third short story collection of the new generation Malayalam story writer, E.Santhosh Kumar. This collection has eleven stories, all projecting a hitherto untapped black human life with a tinge of ironic humor in all. Most of the stories present a cross section of people in our contemporary life that can claim no great hallowed entries in their bio data and personal history.

These people have jail life, parole, gunda –ism as entries characterizing their life but all these identifiers are used for yet another crime that is justifiable in a smart twist of effective story writing (‘Chavukali’).
But there are some ‘other worlds’ -superficially peaceful skyscraper life where even a death doesn’t leave any mark other than the chalk circles drawn by the police( ‘oru maranam, niravadhi maranangal’) –
The deadly tranquility with which generations pass their hobbies possessions and knowledge (‘Thadakam’) –
The polar male-female opposites that experience body-centered lacks that are always expressed in much convoluted manner through contradictory symbols and dialogues ( ‘Chekka’)-
The ambiguities created in natural orders of life of those who mingle with ‘nature’ by those who make use of ‘nature’ for new systems of capital and production (‘Kattadimarangal’)
The dark world of a father and son who deal with dead bodies in railway tracks (‘Kankettukatha’),
different class relationships that men establish with snakes for a living (‘Sarppasathram’)
A systematic and symbolic recuperation of feudal personal history that politically shows revolutionary ideals and modern attitudes as only some ‘decade long’ interludes in an untamable history of unseen symbolic power traditionally exerted over human vulnerability. (‘Chitrapurushan’)

E.Santhoshkumar approaches his subjects directly through a dialogic language that terribly actualizes many hidden realities and impure logics of life.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Osho may be the most misunderstood philosopher from India. Many could not find his thoughts acceptabe. Anyway, let us read an excerpt from his book LIFE'S MYSTERIES published by PENGUIN INDIA. Here he shares his thoughts on celebration. Worth reading in these days of celebrations. Have a nice time.

>>Celebrate EVERYTHING
I am in trmendous love with life, hence I teach celebration. Everything has to be celebrated, everything has to be lived, loved. To me nothing is mundane and nothing is sacred. To me all is sacred, from the lowest rung of the ladder to the highest rung. It is the same ladder: from the body to the soul, from the physical to the spiritual, from sex to samadhi- everything is divine!
Celebration is the foundation of my sanyas- not renunciation but rejoicing; rejoicing in all the beauties, all the joys, all that life offers, because this whole life is a gift of God.