Moments of Truth

That every day we face. And being honest about it!

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Location: Monroe Twp, New Jersey, United States

TeeBee for many, Manthru for some, Sunny for a few, Myna for selected, Suresh for record. Hailing from Thrissur of Kerala and now lives (read survives) in Monroe Twp, NJ with wife and daughter.

Friday, January 21, 2011


It was after one of my annual exams in high school that I came to know about a 4 volume novel that was lying in one of the almaras of my grand father's house. The books belonged to my aunt, my father's younger sister, and were bought by her husband who was working in Sharjah at that time. I was told that the book spreads into four huge volumes and must be about 4000 pages. Author's name Vilasini was new to me and initially thought it to be the work of a woman. This was immediately cleared and corrected to my surprise that the actual name of the author was Moorkanat Krishnankutti Menon (M.K.Menon) and that he was hailing from Thrissur, my birth place and home. I was interested and took the first volume home after getting permission from my aunt.

The first volume took a lot of time to complete. In fact, it took 15 days for me to finish as reading was going very slow with a lot of gap between chapters. The plot was good and it got interesting as each and every character was unfolded. I took the second volume and finished in 7 days. The third did not take even 3 days and the fourth one was read in one stretch without me moving and was completed in just one and half days. In fact the novel was such an influence that till date I had read it three times.

Avakasikal is a huge novel. In fact it is the longest novel in an Indian language. I have read that the author took 10 years to complete the novel and it must be true. If it takes a month to read it, it must have taken a substantial amount of the life of the author. Avakasikal- meaning The Claimants - is briefly the modern day Mahabharata and has got a number of characters in it. The well woven plot that unfolds mainly in Malaysia does not take away the charm of the Indian feel of story and it sometimes take a ride in India for some crucial part. The novel depicts in depth analysis and mental state of each character and hence does not leave any tables unturned. The effort of the author was rewarded with rave reviews and prizes including state and central awards.

There are some reasons for me to like the book "Avakasikal". One of it is the beauty of story telling through the perpective of different characters. The same incident sometimes gets different interpretations through the eyes of different people and the author has done this job with ease. Another reason is the presence of the protagonist, Krishnanunni, and his mesmerizing approach to resolve issues. I won't say that this is the best novel in Malayalam but I would say that this is one of the best. One reason is that it has got not one story.
Instead it has got many stories that got interwoven well and narrated nicely and carefully. It would be difficult to spend a lot of time on such novels these days, but I would recommend it simply because this novel had played a good part in shaping my character.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Man of Integrity!

I met him on Broadway and I remember it was raining at that time. I was walking to the Port Authority bus station and, like any New Yorker, was busy with myself
trying to reach on time to catch the bus. Broadway, by the way, recently has been partially closed for traffic to make way for pavements with chairs, plants, bicycle lanes etc. So it was easy to avoid the sidewalks and walk straight through the middle of the road. Suddenly, I was stopped by this gentleman with an Asian face and I had to slow down to listen.

He asked. "Aap ko Urdu jhantha hai?" (Do you know Urdu?)
I replied. "Ha..I can understand it."

I had already stopped. This was a brother (bhai!), after all.

He started his story saying that he was on a short visit to New York from Boston and his valet was lost. Now he had no money to go back and whether I would be able to help him financially to get back. I was not sure. There were a lot of questions that if answered correctly would be enough to convince me that this was a false story. Still I felt guilty as if for some reason he was right, I will be committing a mistake by not helping him. I said "Sorry" and left him there. I noted that he was not desperate. During my trip back home I had a debate with myself on the incident.

Few weeks later, I was again on Broadway, walking towards the bus station. This time, winter was early and I had a cap and a muffler around my neck. I was wearing a fleece. On the corner of a street, somebody touched me on my shoulder. It was him again and it was a pleasant surprise for me. Before I could respond, he started again.

"Aap ko Urdu jhantha hai?" "Mem Boston se aaya hai"....

With a sense of deja vu, I interrupted. "Bhai. At least try to change your story this time!".

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Religion of Global Positioning Systems

The first time I rented a car in NY I lost my way a couple of times even when I had access to the best maps. The complexity and number of the smaller streets and my interest in exploring new places influenced my decision to buy a vehicle with a navigation system. I have never regretted that decision as the truck has allowed me to jump on with confidence for any trip. Some of my friends told me that it will disable my ability to understand the city better. In the next few years I found out that they too had bought navigation systems but I am sure that the justification would not have applied to me in the first place. It is always the case. This could have come from a false assumption on how I was going to use my
navigation system or the lack of understanding on the factors that influenced my decision. I never wanted to argue because I did not fully understand the reasons for their conclusions.

The navigation system, as it was integrated into the car, always showed accurate information on when and where to turn. May be the speed at which the car was
traveling would always be taken into account to calculate the time and distance. During many of my long road trips, I had the luxury of taking detours without
even knowing the terrain. Its also true that a couple of occasions, I was directed with wrong way traffic and false destinations but one should be dumb enough
to follow the directions as it is, without considering the conditions.

There could be millions of devices, of different brands, that follow different satellites but the purpose was same. To give directions to move. Those directions
would come in different languages, different voices, possibly through different routes. But an address, a destination, would always be the same. The truth remain
the same. It would be a shame for me, or anybody for that matter, to claim that our navigation system is the better one or the only one. Truly speaking, you will still be good without one.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Bunny

The township library was closed on the day of Easter and I had decided to make my trip to return the books very late in the evening. Although the library was closed,
I could return the books and DVDs through the drop boxes. To make matters simple, there was a drive-in drop box and my daughter was very happy to offer that she will
drop the books and DVDs from the rear seat of the car.

It was really dark and almost 8pm when we reached the library. There were very few lights and not a single person around. From the main road, I took a right turn to the library and proceeded to the drive-in drop box on my left. Suddenly I noticed a small object, around the size of a tennis ball, on the drive way. The impulse was natural and I braked. The alert driver in myself, not the self sitting behind the wheel, somehow knew that this was not something I would expect on that road.

In the seconds that followed, we could figure out that it was a baby rabbit. It was alive but alone. Its eyes did not show any fear and I assumed that it still thought of this world as a safe place. It did not move even in the head lights. I decided to scare it away by moving a little bit closer and ended up with the hood of my vehicle obstructing a clear view of the bunny. My wife was screaming to me to stop and get out.

Myself and Minnu (my 6 year old daughter) got out from the car and closed in on the bunny. My kid was showing signs of joy having the opportunity to spot a baby rabbit in the middle of unexpected circumstances. I am sure that she will have a story to tell her friends after the spring break. I looked around to check whether I could see any signs of its habitat or its mom; with failure.

A question popped up as to whether we should leave the bunny there or take it home. Both had its own dangers and advantages. It was possible that the rabbit was lost or its mom had died/not returned. It was not safe out there in all respects. But at the same time, if the mother rabbit had in fact returned after we took the bunny home, it would be a disastrous situation. We finally decided to leave it to fate. After allowing the bunny to move away from the driveway, we returned home. It is sad that I do not know the end of this story. Probably this incident will help my daughter realize that not all stories end with "happily ever after".

Before bed time, while helping her to brush her teeth, I took it as an example to teach her the consequences of getting lost and the importance of staying together. She held me tight and it occurred to me that the Easter bunny had brought her a present. A beautiful lesson.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


On 31st of Dec 2008, while having a late breakfast at office, one of my colleagues asked me this question: "What is your new year resolution?". I thought for a moment and realized that I did not have one. The lack of an answer probed my brain for few days and it occured to me that I had not given enough attention to reflect on my life in the past year or was not in a position to give a serious thought to my future plans. I felt a bit disappointed at that conclusion and was willing to spend some time for a better result. Thus the exercise began.

The positives were easy to spot and project. They had been well publicized, either verbally or via pictures such as those in picasa or orkut. It is a bit misleading. Like those flashy life in the screen, be it cinema or television. Real life had its own bumps and troughs. It was not easy to focus on the negatives but this was my life and nobody else cared much than self, and rightfully so, to treat it fair and square.

Investigating deeper, I found that my search of perfection has actually strained and sometimes broken relationships. Perfectionism, I feel, could be a disease. It is not very easy to come out of a habit that is not in blood but mind. My efforts are failing and bringing me to the brink of breaking up. Still I want to give it a try. One last attempt!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

God files for Bankruptcy

These are difficult times!

Look at India. The biggest democracy is reeling under terrorist strikes almost every week. The sacred places of worship are being attacked, people getting killed. Its possible that political parties are making hay while the sun is shining. At the same time, it is not easy to forget the confessions of the suspected, whether it is through narco analysis or on their own. Or is it the creation of media only? Fortunately Kerala is not much affected. They prove it with many more hartals and, of course, inauguration of more TV channels (apparently the only way of entertainment for the poor Keralites) almost every day. Very few days are left till the year is over and those are going to be auctioned.

Situation is not different in United States of America, though in a different way. Every morning, there is good news and bad news. Financial institutions are failing like a house of cards and the government is seriously considering to help some. "Whom" is a question currently under FBI
investigation. Certainly this will affect more than those after the 9/11 attacks. This was seen coming though. A nation, under God, indivisible.

Believe me. In this turmoil, there is one place where a lot of recruitment is happening. People who desperately want jobs don't have to be disappointed. The recruitment is done for the protection of religion. Because God himself is in trouble and going through a difficult period. He does not have the power to protect his religion and his stocks are falling. Did he invest in one of the failed banks in America? I am sure that he did not invest in the hearts of the good and wise.

So friends, brothers and sisters, join the recruitment drive. A future awaits you :-)

Thursday, December 06, 2007


I am confused because some times I do not know what is right and what is wrong. Don't assume that it is a simple issue. In fact, I believe that is much more complicated than it actually is.

I am not very sure whether it is right or wrong to download and watch a recently released movie from the internet. I haven't paid for it but then it is available for free. I do not know whether the site has actually paid for it to show this free or the producer or distributor is getting a share of it. The same is true for the CDs/DVDs that becomes available on the street just after the release. Okay. You might say that they are illegal. I take it.

Look at this. I have rented a tamil movie (on tape) for $1. The shop, to my knowledge, is legal and in in the business for quite some time. Is it legal to watch this movie at home? There is a good chance that the DVD was available (not necessarily for this region/country) and the shop owner has made copies on tape. Or it is possible that source of the movie is from an illegal download/sale (which again is debatable). Lets move on.

I take the rented movie and take it home and my friend and family joins to watch the movie. I rented it, they did not. Is it legal for them to watch it as they did not pay for it? Leave it.

I bought a DVD, watched it and then my colleague borrows it. Is that legal if he watches it? Is it legal if he watches it with his friends/family? Is it legal for him to lend it to one of his colleague or friend?

Using pirated stuff is against my ethics :-) But I download music and listen to it on my iPod. Ilisten to songs online. I distribute songs that I have downloaded. I have no clue how many of that songs are legal and how many of them are illegal. I have no clue on whether the producers or distributors are going to get a share of the advertisement income. Move on.

I think I can't even borrow a book to read whether it is fiction or educational as I am not paying for it. I can't ask for that pen to write. I have no idea whether that was stolen.

I am still confused on whether to publish this. It is just possible that somebody had already wiritten the same. Or at least thought about it. And I will be making a mistake. Let me reiterate. I am confused.