Friday, 1 March 2019


Image result for N C C CAMP SITES photosImage result for N C C tents in CAMPING photos




                  IN the  50's   India   was beginning  to industrialise  ; 

 unfortunately   there was a huge shortage of   engineers.  to add to 

the problem,  there were very few engineering colleges ,just two in 

Maharashtra but the parents  wanted their wards,  to study 

Engineering.   but getting into these colleges  was not easy  as there

were few seats available in them.  for eg,   one college had just  30 

seats for the Mechanical Engineering  main stream while the 

demand was huge.But  there was  an option  before the students  

interested in   following a career in  Engineering.The then 

government  wanted the  students also to  undergo  military training  and thus set up the National Cadet  Corps for this purpose

and ruled that students enrolling  and successfully completing the 

training  will get an additional  two  percent  to their academic 

 marks and the total percent would be considered  for the 

Engineering  entrance  courses. Since I had  wanted to become an

 engineer  I enrolled for the NCC(  NATIONAL CADET CORPS )

and managed to get myself selected.

THE army personnel  were surprised to see me , as I was short  and

 of puny build. I was thus the subject of ridicule  by the personnel 

as well as the fellow cadets  who were tall and well built.   

The NC C was a minimum two year course with parades held on

 week ends.Attendance  was compulsory and the absentees  were 

removed  unless it was justified.WE were taught basic  arms 

training  [ uses and practice with   rifle  ,machine & sten guns  ]

THE army  soldiers clothes & other apparel such as boots, socks 

belts etc were given  to each cadet and he has to take care of it and 

return the same in tact after service.

The camp was usually in the outskirts  of the metropolis , out in the 

open  far away from any nearby village or town.At the camp,

  apart from living  a soldier's life, the cadets were required to do 

social service, which invariably involved building roads, houses, 

and other civic facilities.  the cadets worked like unskilled 

labourers, transporting manually materials to and from the 

construction site.  it was a thankless job, with a deadline target, so 

one can imagine the inhuman way, the cadets ' lives were used at 

the camp.Prior to the departure for the camp, the cadets had to 

weigh in,  and we had to weigh in again at the camp conclusion,

  and a doctor , would recommend medicines for those who had 

drastically lost weight.  Usually a pilot team would leave, about a 

week earlier to set up the camp before the main contingent's arrival.

When we arrived at the camp site,  most of us newcomers were in 

for a rude shock. We had to sleep  at night on almost bare ground 

in tents;.  Each  tarpaulin tent housed  eight cadets;  the bare  

uneven rough ground was just covered with a tarpaulin sheet;.

for pillows unless the smarties  had brought air pillows,  we had to 

use our clothes as pillows Dont smirk,  barked the army havaldar,

  in charge, but get used to being a soldier here , he said.

By the way during the cadet training, and particularly at the camp, 

there was a frequent use of swear and vulgar words.  words such as 

bast**d,  f**k, As***le, c**t, C**k and in the vernacular B***n 

ch**t and ma***r c***t among all supervisors and cadets. 

 Anybody not doing his duty properly  were subjected to these 


AT the outset we were taken around the camp to get ourselves 

acquainted with the service centres   At one area     
there were around 15 pits,  at regular intervals fenced on the 

 outside by tarpaulin but open at the top. I was wondering what 

service is this about, when the havaldar told me  in vernacular and I

understood  it later as to answer nature's  call .  Horror of horrors  

we were expected to answer nature's call here early in the 

mornings  out in the open  with 14 of our  mates ! while others 

waited for their turn.

I was never in such a situation in my life before, and I decided not 

to use it in the mornings !But how long can one resist nature's call;

 so one night when the entire camp was at sleep,I sneaked out of

 my tent .  Hey where are you going shouted my tent leader, to 

answer nature's call I replied and luckily he  agreed

 Another [  pain in the neck] in camp life was night  patrol duty

 here,  some cadets are chosen to patrol[ do sentry work at night] 

 when the camp is asleep at night .  usually it was a shift duty of 3

hrs from 9 to 12 am,  12 to 3 am and 3 to 6 am. and yes, I was one 

of the unlucky ones to do this duty.of course your sleep gets 

compensated, for 3 hours, in the mornings and you get to report for

 duty3 hours later than the official timings .Imagine  patrolling in

 the nights,  in a desolate area,without any sign of habitation in 

sight;  what would happen if God forbid  some wild animals

would stray in that area, or there was a sudden downpour;  where 

would you run for cover ?Luckily my patrolling duties passed off 

without such incidents !

Then  we used to  have rifle, machine and stengun practices at the

 camp followed by competitions.At one such practice, an  

unfriendly army major , was teaching us the use of  stenguns. Each

 of us were provided  with guns  BY, oversight  my gun was 

pointing at the Major. He immediatelybarked,Hey you Bas***d,

 put your gun down and later, he made me crawl with the gun the 

entire length and back of the firing range. as a punishment. 

Needless to say my camp life did not win me any honours from all 

my superiors . with my horny spectacles , and overall poor

  performance at the camp, I could guess from their looks, that I 

was not  rated favourably.,  but the worst was yet to come; At the 

end of the camp, prior to returning home,there was the compulsive 

weighing in of all cadets.  My college professor and also an N C C 

officer  was present at our weighing in. It was his wish to see that 

all of his college wards weighed less so that  he could boast to all 

around that his wards, had worked hard at the camp.  Oh Mehta, he,

 shouted you have worked hard and so lost 2 kgs, but dont worry 

take the prescribed vitamins and you will be OK;Likewise Singh,  

Sharad, and the names of my other colleagues.  Then came my

turn to weigh in and the scale showed that I had gained  2 Kgs! .

 What Venkatesh , he hollered, you, good for nothing fellow,you 

have ruined the reputation of our college and because of you, we 

have  lost the trophy for the most hard working college.All my 

pleadings that I worked equally hard at home, fell on deaf years; 

  his anger did not end there, while on our return march home, he 

rained blows on me with his baton, on the wrong pretext, that I was

 not marching  properly .

My   days  in the N C C  seemed to end there. but I was not 

finished with it yet  as I had to get  the 2 %  additional marks to be 

added to my college marks for which I had joined the N C C .

so I had to swallow all the insults hurled at me by the professor. 

  Well, the exams  did come finally

after all of the N C C  trials and turbulences. There were  both 

theory  and practical exams.  While in  the practicals, I just scraped 

through, in theory  I did very well and so overall I passed  and got

 the 2%  additional marks.  That helped me to qualify and get a  

seat  in a Mumbai College.

All is  well  that  ends well


Saturday, 12 January 2019


                    EGO,  EGO,   WHY HAVE A BIG  EGO  ? ?


    IT   was 12 o"  clock  in the afternoon.   on hearing the clock  chime, SHALINITAI

moved to the balcony  of her chawl  apartment at DADER  MUMBAI  . Her eyes

were turned towards the entrance of the street of her apartment.  She was waiting

for the money order  postman ; instead of bringing in letters he brought in money

from friends and relatives to the  needy. He was always on time and everyday at 12 o' clock

barring  Sundays, he was eagerly waited upon  by the residents  It was the 7th of the month

and Shalinitai was certain , that Suresh , her son would send the much needed  cash to her !

Sheela,  the money order man has entered our building ,and very soon we will get our money

  she told her daughter  happily

She exchanged pleasantries with Mhatre, the money order clerk whom she knew well.

Please sign here Shalinitai , the order is for Rs  2500/-  said Mhatre; but there is a small

error in the order as it is addressed to Sheela, but I will overlook it  said Mhatre.

For a moment,  Shalinitai  was stunned; After a while, she regained her composure and

 then had a look at  the money order to confirm the sender and receiver's names;

Her Ego got the better of the need for money, Sorry she told Mhatre, since it is not addressed to me,

I cannot accept the money. Please take it back and return it to the sender.

What are you saying Shalinitai, asked Mhatre?  The money is from your son , probably the

boy was a little absent minded and wrote his sister's name by mistake;

Please take the money, Shalinitai , I can assure you nothing will happen .

Yes Mamma, Dada has written my name by mistake;  we need the money badly , my teacher

has reminded  me again about the payment of my school fees.

You keep quiet  shouted Shalinitai angrily, to her daughter,  Mhatre , please take back the money

Ok if that is what you wish said Mhatre, but remember your son has to pay a fine when he gets back

his money .

Suresh  Shalini's son was working as an Instrument Engineer in a Company at Poona  located about

150 miles  from Bombay;  he was having a quiet dinner at his residence when there was a knock

at the door and he was greeted by a postman and he said . Sir, your money has been returned by the

 addressee  and  we have deducted  RS 50/ from the amount for services rendered.   THAT

surprised him and since long distance tele communication, was unheard of those days,

 his only choice was to  undertake a train journey to Bombay.   Suresh loved his mother

deeply , a lad of very good habits; his only blemish was he was short tempered and could be

provoked easily. He took the earliest available train to  Mumbai. 

During  the journey, he understood, why his mother  had returned the money;  he had written the

name wrongly; but frankly,he was not sure of what his mother's name was , as he had not used

it nor heard someone using it.   he had always known her as Ayee [ Marathi for mother]

AS soon as he reached home, he asked his mother, as to why she did not accept the money. 

You didn't send it to me so where is the question of accepting it ?   Suresh dont question me,

I am your mother, and if you dont know my name, you are not fit  to be called my son.

If you dont know my name,  did you care to find out ?  no,  you just wrote your  sister's name

and thought every thing  was fine.  What will the post man think of this,  he will have a good

laugh  and tell the neighbourhood  ; 

The way , the conversation unfolded,  angered Suresh ; He asked his mother bluntly,

Do you want the money or not  mother?   What are you saying BHaiya   interjected, Sheela; 

Oh I see  replied  Shalini,  So this is the way my son speaks to me , is it ?  TAKE  your money

and leave the house now and I dont want to see your face again ! shouted the mother. 

SURESH walked over to the exit door,  when  he was stopped by ATHAVALE , his neighbour;

HE coerced  Suresh to return;  and told Shalini,   Akka,  Forgive your son,  Suesh is a very good

boy, and he has a point  as he has never heard your name being spoken in your house. 

This is a small matter , and please dont blow it up .

Suresh , you also should know how to speak to your mother ,  Say Sorry and close the matter. 

 Suresh wasin tears, as wellas Sheela  He prostrated  before his mother  who lifted and hugged him.

All is well that ends well.

Sunday, 1 April 2018


                                            SANDPAPER   SCRAP

Image result for picture of a cricket match in progress in a cricket stadium

Image result for picture of a cricket match in a stadiumImage result for picture of a cricket match in a stadium
  AN  hour's   play was left for draw of stumps.  From an ordinary

  250 for  5 , the batsmen had

  held   on   for about 30 overs without losing their  wickets..   Tom Klick   , the skipper  was at  first

 slip  scratching his head lost in thought  or so it seemed.   The  next ball was left by the batsman

without  attempting a shot ; the skipper got hold of the ball  and passed it to Tim Bannerman at short 

cover for onward to the bowler;  meanwhile Patrick  Lambert, the bowler had engaged the umpire,

" Say  Dick  is my delivery stride OK  or I am overstepping ?  At the other end   simultaineously

 Paul Crasto  fielding at short leg  approached the other umpire,   Steve  the weather is awful  today

we have to drink gallons of water  ; Yeah nodded the umpire, looking at him;  At the same time, Dick

Told Patrick,  You are OK but stay away from the danger zone;  This was all the time needed for

dexterous  Tim to give the ball a good scrub  with his hand  before passing it on to the bowler.

At the end of the over, the umpires were alerted  by the match referee,  to check the  condition of the

ball  ,report and then speak to Tim.   They stopped play and called Tim for a chat. ;

  SAY,  Tim  you scratched   the ball  didn't  you ?   Ofcourse, I did it Dick,  I am not in a church or

at a party,  WHATS  wrong in it ?  Steve, interceded, we mean the cricket ball  Tim;   No, not at all

rebutted  Tim,  You know its a hot day,  my hands were sweaty,  so I took out my hanky to dry

my  hands before,handling the cricket ball;  Oh,  I see said  Steve,   can we see whats in your  pant

pocket, ?    Oh sure said Tim,   " this is a pocket  knife,  "   WHY do you want that now asked

Dick, the other umpire;   Oh said Tim  its a talisman,  I always carry it  with me , ; you see I was

robbed and attacked said  Tim when young  so I always carry it with me . I am good at using it

too , so if anybody tries something funny with me, I will shove it up his a--  too said Tim .

 OHh  said the umpires, and what else  do you have asked Steve ?   Oh nothing except  my hanky

said Tim as he took out his hanky, and then out came a bit of sandpaper with it .

Whats that asked Steve ?  OH  Clara put this as a reminder to buy some handicrafts from this city ?

Now, now who is Clara  asked Steve?  My better half, said Tim   , you want to talk to her  and

confirm, what I said  then I will call her, she is in the pavillion . NO,  No,  replied Steve &

Dick;    But  Chief  would  definitely talk to you and your skipper  after play is over.

Now lets  get on with it ;  I mean the match   said Dick. 

There was a dramatic change in the fortunes of the match  and before play ended   the batting side

collapsed from a healthy 325 for 5 to 368 all out 

After  play the match referee  called Tom and Tim for a chat along with their manager Mike

Newman..    John  Boston, the match referee said "  Now Tom and Tim  the cameras

showed  clearly what you were upto ;  Tim  handled the ball with his hanky and we do not

know what else, and then the game changes dramatically.  Yeah,  I know you will tell me

that the umpires saw nothing wrong with the ball but the results speak otherwise.  so before

I give my decision do you have any comments to offer?

Tim said it was a sweaty afternoon, so I used the hanky otherwise you would have said

I polished the ball with my hands;

Sorry that doesn't hold water said the ref.  What about the paper scrap and knife?  I heard the crap

about Clara and the talisman .

Tom butted in to say  that nowhere do the match regulations say about carrying a knife in person

To which the ref  replied that the regulations do not have to say every thing and some are implied.

I fine both of you 100% of your match fees and warn you to be careful to not repeat these mistakes

 in future

Well,well,  we were lucky  and got away this time, said Tom to his team  after the cricket series 

was over.  That last  pitch was dead and flat and lifeless . I dont know who was the groundsman 

who prepared that pitch  I felt like using my pocket knife and removing his intex.  the  fu-----   bas----

said Tim.    Say Tom,  did you talk to Mike(  manager)  and tell him about the pitch ? 

Sure, I did , and he told me Sorry, nothing can be done about it .   Why , Why  chorussed  the team? 

Because of the huge money  we are paid for the match.  If we protest  and leave,  we lose the money 

G. Venkatesh 



Saturday, 3 February 2018


Image result for Picture of an Aadhar centre in India

      KAASINATH   was born  as the youngest son  of  MUKUL PANDEY  in a middle class family

in BOMBAY.   He got the name because his parents made a pilgrimage  to Ganga river   and

BENARES ,for  wanting a son  after three daughters;.   Infant Kaasinath  initially studied  in

a Corporation  school . He was  a  meek and tender child; and accepted all the pranks played on him

by the children in his class.  There was a naughty bully in the class named Kedarnath and he would

swap his name   with Kaasinath  when the teacher called the roll call every morning, so much so that

Kaasinath  was known as Kedarnath in the school!  Kaasinath did not give much importance to the

 exchange, as he thought what's there in a name !

Years later, his parents  had a torrid time in getting his real name back, in the school leaving

certificate as the school head was adamant that the boy was known as Kedaarnath!

Later,  Kaasinath  joined a  convent school;  The head master  a  Parish  father, asked

his father the boy's  complete  name at the time of admission. beginning  with his caste name;

;thus his name got changed to   PANDEY  MUKUL   KAASINATH!

During his education, it was smooth sailing for the boy and his parents, as far as his name was


It was after his education,  that  troubles began for Kaasinath  as far as his name was concerned.

While looking out for a job,  he had troubles when mentioning his name.  Prospective

employers gave importance to his caste name, while others to his name or his father's name.

Finally in the job he landed, .he managed to get his name first, so that in the organisation, he was

called  Kaasinath.  Kaasinath was a sincere  worker, his work was appreciated, and he grew up  in the


With promotions and money,  came the bees,  ;  there were insurance  , bank  and other  broker

agents , who wanted  Kaasinath to invest  his money in their attractive schemes.  .

Kaasinath  willingly obliged,  and he was the owner of  several accounts.   however

he was careless in seeing how  his name  was spelt out in the accounts.  there were some with Pandey, ,

others with Kaasinathand a few too with Mukul as the main  name. Kaasinaath did not spend

sleepless nights  as he again  thought , whats there in a name! .

Then the Govt.  stepped in on the names .  The first shot was a Ruling  that  all income owners

must have  a " PAN CARD "  .  Here  came the first jolt,  to Kaasinath;  All applicants  if available

must produce a true copy of   their  school leaving  certificates  and the name mentioned there in

 will be taken as  a proof of their  names .  ; and so his name was taken as  Pandey  Mukul  Kaasinath

Then came the " Country  wide General ELECTIONS "  It  was ruled that " to vote one should  avail

of  an identity card " ;  Kaasinaath rushed to his nearest enrolling centre. .  The latter was manned

by  amatureish  freshers  . Kaasinath was  armed with his backup personal documents;

All the attendants  had time for  was to ask his name and his father's name.   After taking his

snap he was asked to collect his card on an appointed date . Kaasinath did so, and was shocked to see

his name  spelt out as " Kaasinath son of Mukul "

But, the biggest jolt to Kaasinath was when the Aadhar  scheme was announced.   At  first

Kaasinaath did not pay much heed as he thought it was only for those  who  availed of subsidies;

and in any case he did not avail of any.  But then came the bolt from the blue,  The Govt.

annouced that Aadhar must be availed of for all  dealings with State, be it a bank, payment  of tax

voting , what have you.  and a  closing  date  was fixed for  enrolment.

With a heavy heart,  Kaasinath  trudged to the enrolment  centre, only to be greeted by freshers.

once again  they asked him his name  and that of his father . After recording his fingerprints and

retina pictures,  Kaasinath received  an Aadhar Card,  and once again his name was given as

" Kaasinath son of Mukul "  The problems started for Kaasinath when he submitted his  Aaadhar

copy to all the institutions which held his finances.   Promptly  Kaasinath was told there was a

mismatch in his names with that on his Aadhar document.  and his only option was to accept

either his Aadhar    name or the  name in the financial document .   Kaasinath opted for the Aadhar

name, that  being the easier option; From that day, he was known as  " Kaasinath son of Mukul ! "

Much as Kaasinath  tried to dismiss the name mix up, he had to put up with his new name !

HE became the butt of jokes, within his friends among the business and social sections !

It had an effect on his work ethics,. He became moody sullen , and preferred to be left alone.

The change was noticed by his top superiors in  business.His top boss once called him to his cabin.

" SIT down, Kaasinath, told Mr. Das, to him ; of late you have become moody and aloof, is there any

pesonal  problem, bothering you .   Kaasinath broke down and sobbed like a child and told him about

his name problem .  Mr Das  consoled him and told him he would help out .  Very soon, Kaasinath

received a letter from the Govt. authorities . Kaasinath got back his original name and was smiling

once again !


Tuesday, 27 June 2017



        Image result for picture of a sad man at cemetery                



         PREY GOD GIVE   BACK   MY   LOVE  TO  ME !















Monday, 6 February 2017


The   characters in this blog  do not represent any person living or dead.

                                           A DATE  WITH  DONALD . T .

Image result for photo of idlis

I was   working  as an executive   Assistant  to  a Managing  Director  of an  American  owned

subsidIary company  in India  . Poona  to be exact;.   Donald . T. was the owner cum CEO  of the company.

A man of many moods, Donald visited the company often .; some were planned, others were surprise

trips; when he found himself in Taiwan or Singapore;

It was one such lateral visits where my story starts.   He was in a very bad mood that day  when he stormed 

into our office   WE had hardly started the day ; many were reading the morning papers, while drinking their 

cups of tea; The managerial staff was not present ;He recognised me and said "  So this is how you work in 

my office"   Wheres everybody?[ meaning  Mr. Desai the M D and Mike Charlton, his American  rep. in

 India ]   Well, they will be in soon SIR, I  replied  Sheepishly;They better be,he responded  , if they value 

 their  pay cheques.I hastily dialled Desai's  cell number ; He pulled the cell phone from  my hand .  Hey 

Desh, I want you here in 15 minutes and bring Mike with you , he barked on the phone;  I heard some 

sound " resembling " WHO " but he closed the phone and gave it to me.  Soon another cell  went on air of  

my colleague who replied  " Donald Sir, Donald Sir "

To my surprise, Both Desai  & Mike , beat the 15 minute time period;  and rushed to the Managing

Director's  cabin.  All hell seemed to have broken loose there.  From the closed cabin, we could hear

Donald's baritone voice only; like the rattle of a machine gun;  with no response from the other side ;

The sum & substance of the talk was Donald was not satisfied  with the progress on the construction

of a building for his new offices.

But by Office Quitting time  Donald's mood had changed  drastically;  He now seemed to listen & smile

at all what Desai and Mike were telling him;  maybe the lunch treat at a five star hotel had done the trick;

and then he sprang a big surprise ; He came to my table along with Desai & Mike and asked me

" Whats your name & where do you stay ? '   I gave him the details; Well he said, I want to be your guest

tonight, he said , No problems ?  That caught me completely off guard; Mr Desai  interjected;  Its nice of  

you Donald,  but you can be my guest;  instead.   No, NO Donad was very firm, I have to keep my word & 

date with him,  He replied. AT Quitting time , Donald said, I will be there at 8  PM  "TAke it easy; 

will be fine.

I was in a fix on how to play host to him; For dinner, I had only Idli  flour ;if I attempted to buy

outside food , Donald would not  like it;  I hastily made about 20  idlis;  and some onion chutney

to go with it;  more critical was the cot, since I had only one in my bachelor apartment ; I am sure my 

neighbour  Smita Aunty, would have given me the additional cot, if I told her the reason, but Donald

would not like it either.

He promptly dropped in at 8 Pm;  along with 2 escorts, Sam & Joe;  He told his body guards to

stay out; the preliminaries were spent in talking about Poona, the weather, my family background etc;

THEN it got to Dinner time  I laid out the idlis & chutney, pickles  I had made for him;  He brought

out 4 veg. sandwiches from his bag and laid it on the table."I am used to eating with my hands & fingers , he 

said. Is this made from eggs, he said pointing to the idlis" . No, no  I said.; its rice flour;  It tastes nice , as he

 scooped some chutney along with the idlis. At one point he shouted, help, when he bit into the chillies by 

mistake.  Luckily, I had some honey to put an end to his problem.

After the usual pow wow, it got to sleeping time.  I offered him the cot & said I would lie down; he refused 

and said he is used to sleeping on the ground;  He promptly brought out his air  pillows & mattress,  and  

 a cotton woolen bed sheet he had brought for cover up;  I wished him Good night and  heaved a sigh of  

relief , that everything went  off  without a hitch;  

I was woken up  in the midst of a sweet dream  by the light from his cell phone.  There is no current, he

 said; Well I had expected this in Poona, luckily it was cool at this time of the year at night;  Then he asked a 

shocker, " WHERES the POT ?  At first I did not understand; I thought , he meant Drugs,  but he said " 

Urgent  , Where is It ?  Still finding me dumb, He said "  To SHIT "  Then I understood, he meant the toilet;

Oh I said , puzzled & scratching my head;  Sir, Here we have a common toilet per floor at the end

Ok, OK he said Where is it again urgently;   Luckily I had my torchlight near me ; Come Lets go Sir,  I said; 

Sir its an  Indian  toilet, and you have to squat and use water for clean up;  Ok ok he said lead me lead 

me !    HIS security joined him  and we marched to the toilet;  Luckily, the door was open and there was 

water available;  Here Joe Help me out will you,  he said as he unbuttoned & squatted on top of the toilet  

Needless to say , the surroundings & smell were  unpleasant,; but he had answered nature's call and he was

happy about it The current was restored soon after;  and we enjoyed a peaceful, undisturbed sleep.

Next morning , ho got up and was happy with the tea I served him;  Say I like this tea, Whats the stuff you 

put in  to make it so delicious ? I said we call it " Pudina " [Mint leaves ,]

As he took leave of me , he said, I must tell " Jane about the Idlis & Chutney &  the Pudina ;

and of course, I must have an Indian toilet, built in my house at Chicago;

Bye,  All my best wishes to you " 

Donald   had taken everything in his stride during that short stay I am sure he must have  

 been inconvenienced  as per his high standards, but never did he squeal or complain. 

Toilet in Iran My hats off to him ! 

G Venkatesh


Sunday, 25 December 2016


                                    SWAAMIYE  OH  SWAAMIYE


Image result for picture of people  pulling temple car

   During the 1930/40s  World War II had broken out . 

The British our then masters had declared an emergency and ordered evacuation in  like Bombay, Calcutta. 

Thus my father sent my mother and children to our ancestral home in our native place  Chokkanathapuram, a sleepy  village in the Kalpati district of  Kerala.

The village  consisted of about 60 assorted houses, along with a school, provision stores and two temples.  

The people by and large were very friendly, deeply religious  and superstitious; 

all of them seem to know each other very well; unlike in the big cities, where one does not sometimes know his immediate neighbour,.

By and large the people were agriculturists although there were some who were priests, and traders.

As everyone knows , at that time there was no electricity in the villages; thus soon after sunset, and the evening prayers at the temple, the village would be deserted, as everybody would be in their respective homes. 

Although it is more than 70 years, now, I still remember a few incidents very vividly as though it happened yesterday.  One was the oil bath  which I detest even today; 

but, my mother insisted on my undergoing this ordeal every Saturday;  

Well, if getting your body completely oiled was not enough, my mother believed that for the oil to soak inside the body fully,  my oil soaked body had to be in the sunshine for about one hour! 

To add insult to injury, I would be asked to go to the nearby river with only a loin cloth for cover up  along with others and take a bath.

Another ordeal I had to endure was to take a purgative at the beginning of every month.

My mother believed the  purgative kept me healthy free of any sicknesses. 

It was castor oil; and somehow my mother forced it into my mouth; 

Those days that was the only purgative available;

those who have tasted castor oil will understand my plight.

It was always a wrestling match between me and my mother; 

The winner of course was my mother; 

she would wrestle me down, pinning my arms and legs to cut off all escape route, close my nostrils forcibly  with her fingers to open my mouth and shove the castor oil down my throat..

To add to the agony during the day I had to pay frequent visits to the toilet, which was a dugout in the courtyard  behind the house.

Ofcourse, it was also a fasting day for me  and only in the night, I was given some rice along with boiled water!

Sometimes I felt the elders, beginning with the grandparents, enjoyed my plight and whenever I got into any mischief , would threaten me with this punishment !

An interesting  personality in the village was  Keshavan.  
A 50 year old bachelor,  he was the go to man, [Man Friday ] for the village;  

When any house needed some help they would turn to Keshavan.

There was a barter payment system; so for services rendered, Keshavan's charges were  free day and night meals at the house, he helped.  

Further Keshavan would also buy  from outside, , whatever items not available in the village.  He used to take me along [ofcourse with my mother's permission)  in his bullock cart.   

Keshavan also served as the communicator, from the outside world to the village;

God knows from where he got the information; 

but the village eagerly awaited his news, at the temple  every morning;   

Of course there were no newspapers at that time, in the village.

I learnt about the German's bombing Madras port in the war from  Keshavan;

One of the days, the village looked forward to was the annual temple day festival.       

Generally it was a two day affair where in  Rath   (temple  Chariot)  borrowed from the main village Kalpati would move from our village to nearby villages and return  before night to the village. 

There was a belief among the people that if  young children when hoisted and made to sit all alone,  at the very top seat in the Rath, for one entire trip of the rath, would imbibe the courageous qualities of the Lord  Krishna.

My mother, much against my wishes, took me to the rath  and arranged for this ordeal for me !

To be seated all alone, right near the very top of the rath, was really very scary  for me ! for the entire  trip;  

Luckily for me I did not make the mistake of looking down from where I was seated.   

While it  was lonely  at the top, I somehow managed to pass the time and returned to the village safely !

At the culmination of the festival, the households, prepared  prasaadams [offerings] for the temple of God Krishna;  

There used to be friendly contests from the village housewives on the offerings.

Now since our family deity was Lord Ganesha, my mother had made 108  Kozakattais [ modaks] considered the Lord's favourite; 

My mother was an expert in preparing modaks.  

In deciding the quantity of each constituent[  rice flour, jaggery, cocoanut,  etc]  to forming the modaks so that each of the108  pieces looked identical as if made from a die, there was nobody to beat her.  

My eyes, looked at the modaks greedily wondering when I will get my fingers to snap 1 or 2 and put it in my mouth. My mother had warned me with severe consequences, if I ever touched the modaks, before offerings to the Lord.

After a long wait, my mother took some of the prasadaams to the temple at an auspicious time.  

Sure enough, it was the envy of all in the temple.

Now there was a custom in the village among the elders, to recite the holy scriptures while the offerings were made at the temple. among them was Keshavan.   

Many of them would swoon  during the end of the recital, and the village believed that those who  had  swooned had  attained [become] God;  

the villagers would then prostrate before them shouting   "Swaamiye, Swaamiye" [meaning, 'God, God',];

Sure enough Keshavan, swooned and started  walking   towards my house.

I understood Keshavan's motive; he had set his mind on eating our house  modaks;

My mother followed and  invited him into the house towards, our  house deity and all in the house shouted "Swaamiye  Swaamiye"[ meaning God has come to our house];

My mother placed the modaks, before Keshavan  during the recital;  

Keshavan, started eating the modaks, one by one;  

my mouth was watery and I envied  Keshavan;  

Finally, after partaking of about 30 modaks,  Keshavan left.  

Finally  I managed to get my hand on two of the modaks.

The taste was heavenly and vanished down the throat  within seconds !