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Dam it but forget me not!

    Cheruthoni dam with all five gates open It is generally said that everything has a time and things happen only at its stipulated time. Quite a few weeks back my sister Chandrika sent me the writeup for continuing our blog. I knew I had to do it and I had plenty of time to sit down and work on it but it seemed somehow incomplete. It is only now that the time has come but I should not be saying that the time has come – for such a disaster to strike a population so literate, so aware and so much forward in thinking but the tragedy that has struck is unbelievable and it has happened a second time in the last few years. A cloud-burst has washed off a major part of mid-Kerala once again. The last time when the flooding happened due to rains it was at the fag end of a monsoon season and skies should have cleared for Onam festivities, the best time to be in Kerala. We were there, right at the point where it all happened and we escaped the floods by the skin of our teeth. This was the secon
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Maid in a trance…First Trans – Atlantic flight of the team

From day one of their travel plans Achan’s dream and destination was Montreal. The purpose of their trip - discussions, training and decision makings of the design for the first arch dam in Asia – the Idukki dam However, come to think of it, was the destination really Montreal or was their destination “Home”! If so why did Achan have to see the other dams?   Like Brunelleschi, the Florentine architect, who found a solution in Rome for the transept of the Cathedral of Florence or more recently as Le Corbusier, the architect of Chandigarh, whose journeys to Italy inspired the architecture of the workers’ houses in France and other places, my father’s and his team’s journey could possibly have inspired many a small detail later in their lives.      So for Achan the journey itself was a dream which enlarged into the reality of a journey of finding himself. Amma’s presence throughout was a flavourful energizer for him - seeing the world through her eyes, her heartbeats and impulsive comment

Towering over London

  Here Amma is photographed with the Beefeaters, having a Legacy of over 900 years –  the ceremonial guards of the Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, the Tower of London Later in Trivandrum Amma appointed Unni, a deaf and dumb   young man   to help her in some odd jobs. The weird excuse for appointing him was that he had my brother’s pet name and my brother used to know him in the University college. The Dumb Unni, as he was addressed, used to maintain the tennis court in the University College grounds, dragging a heavy stone roller up and down - A heavy price for being deaf and dumb, yet always light on the feet and in mind, smiling all the time.  Chandrika’s anecdotes continue in her own words…..  In the final year of my under-graduation program studying English literature I had to read a bit of British history. While I was sitting in the verandah and reading Henry the VIII – a book with a splashy   cover of Henry the VIII, this guy came in front of me and

A portrait of Mrs & Mr. KR

  Chirichenne mayakkiya midukki penne…..Honeymoon kondadum jnan Amerikkayil……, Kottayathonnirangum jnan varunna vazhi…….. .( Hey smart girl who seduced me with your laugh……{We} will spend my honeymoon in America, land in Kottayam and buy a tiny dress for…)   A popular malayalam song of the sixties which the characters described here seemed to have enacted word by word!!!! Achan, who used to read newspapers and novels well into the wee hours of the night without skipping a single line, that included even the ubiquitous obituaries that appeared in the Malayalam dailies, knew London well enough, needless to say, because of his reading habits - Sherlock Holmes and P G Wodehouse being some of his favourites. Added to this Achan, having lived through the vestiges of colonial rule, witnessed the genesis of the Republic of India. So the hybrid education of Malayalam and English mediums also with a spatter of Sanskrit had gifted him with a deeper understanding of the cultural differences and si

Adieu Paris!!!

  L – O – N – D – O – N, London!!!! Oh Yes! I spy you!!!    You moved!!!!     The game changes !!!   et là voici…the game changers… From Paris to London, yes, we made it across half the world!! – appears to say both  Achan and Amma as they bid Adieu to Paris in front of Hotel La Comète on the 10 th of December 1968. They seemed to be brushing away the dust of the Indian subcontinent, breaking the last link from the vast expanse of the Eurasian continent!   For Amma, the small-time village girl from Kerala, still draped in a traditional saree,     - visiting the hazy Taj Mahal,   - holding a naughty dialogue with the equally naughty Egyptian camel, as though to her favourite cow and calf at home, in front of the Pyramids of Giza, - awestruck at the feelings and questions bubbling up in her mind as she stood before Michael Angelo’s Pieta, the epitome of motherhood, or Da Vinci’s paintings of Gods and Men, be it Mona Lisa, Last Supper or many other, - becoming aware of the sentiments of