Kramer In Kozhikode (Calicut)

I can’t believe I never posted about this before. Well, this post is courtesy of my current tv series watching schedule. I am currently watching or I should say rewatching, the entire Seinfeld series starting from season 1. I have watched Seinfeld on cable tv before but it was a few episodes here and a few episodes there so I haven’t seen more than….let’s say 50% of the episodes. Now in the beginning I didn’t think much of Seinfeld as a show but it was being shown, 5 nights a week, on Indian cable tv just before FRIENDS and I loved FRIENDS. I have learned to have a much better appreciation of Seinfeld since then and hence the watching of the series.

So now to the actual post, back in 2002-03 I live in Calicut (the city has officially changed it’s name to Kozhikode but I still prefer & use the old name of Calicut) for a total of 8 months while I was under the employment of a now defunct company based in that city. While there I stayed in a single room in a lodge and I had two of my colleagues also living in the same lodge. Most mornings we’d meet outside the gate and go to a small mess right opposite our lodge for breakfast and then take a bus or share an auto to the office. In the evening we’d either go to the mess or one of 3 small restaurants within walking distance from the lodge. At one of these restaurants, which we preferred because the food, though more expensive, was the best we’d meet Kramer.

Not the actual Kramer ofcourse but the waiter who usually served us bore a striking resemblance in looks, height but mainly in hairstyle to Cosmo Kramer (played by the actor Michael Richards). And this waiter was weird, looked like he had slept in the clothes he was dressed in, hadn’t combed his hair since the mid 90s and was a bit rude and obnoxious not just to us but to other customers as well. When I first saw the guy, I did a commendable job of not shouting “Hey, look it’s Kramer” and later explained to my two companions as to who Kramer was (they hadn’t seen the show) and hence we always referred to the waiter as Kramer. Towards the end of my stay in Calicut and me and another colleague had gone to the restaurant and at the end of our meal, I explained to the waiter about who Kramer was and that he bore a striking resemblance to the funny character.

He seemed to like that a lot and he actually smiled for us – first time we had ever seen him smiling!

The “Kiss Of Love” Movement

It all started in the city of Calicut (Kozhikode in the local language). The “kiss of love” protest was planned after Hindu activists vandalised a cafe in Calicut city last week saying students were using the place to date. A disgusting report on a local News channel (who should be ashamed of themselves for creating a sensational type report) deploring the newer coffeeshops that have opened up near the beach area, a popular hangout for the youth of that city, secretly recorded young lovers (I assume that these are college age and perhaps just out of college kids) meeting in the private area behind the cafe “Down Town” and engaged in kissing and hugging. After the report was aired on tv, goondas from the Yuva Morcha group assaulted the cafe and it’s owners, causing damage to property as well.

Just days after that activists formed a small group and gathered massive support online via Twitter and their Facebook page. Their plan was to gather at the Marine Drive in Kochi (formerly Cochin) city on Sunday and kiss in protest. Dating and public displays of affection are still largely taboo in India. People of all ages, income brackets and ideologies soon joined in and supported the cause and made plans to meet up at Marine Drive. However, organizers failed to reach the proposed protest site after being taken into police custody as a preventive measure to ensure violence didn’t break out between them and hardline Hindus and Muslims. They were bundled into police vans about a kilometer away from Marine Drive, the proposed protest site. K.G. James, Kochi’s police commissioner, said 32 protesters were taken into police custody as a preventative measure and released a couple of hours later. They were not charged with any offence. Protests inspired by the event in Kerala were also held in other parts of India including Mumbai and Hyderabad on Sunday.

Meanwhile, organizers said their personal Facebook accounts were temporarily suspended and a page created to garner support was removed for several hours on Monday. The page has amassed over 74,000 likes since it was created last week. By late afternoon on Monday, it was accessible again. Soon after the original page disappeared, a replacement page was created and included a post containing a line by Chile’s Nobel-Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda that read, “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.” Facebook said the page received a large number of reports for spam and that’s why it was taken down. Users can report any page created on Facebook and can select options including “It’s harassing me or someone I know”, “I just don’t like it” or “Something else” when lodging a complaint. The page was restored back in a few hours.

This event may have had met with a “failure” in reaching it’s meeting point and having the organizers taken in by the cops (while the violent activists were roaming freely) but it succeeded in lighting a fire in the belly of most free thinking people in the state and elsewhere. Similar protests and actions are being organized in solidarity and we will see a sea change in the nation. No one has the right to beat up people who express their affection by kissing or hugging and no groups have the right to enforce their so called “morals” on the rest of us. Disgusting comments by backward thinking people – “If it was my sister seen kissing in the cafe then we would kill her” – screamed on comment on Youtube! The rights of the girls/women in her own life be damned! What do these people expect – that their sisters are only to be kept at home, learn cooking and then marry & have sex & later babies with the guy that their parents choose? She is to have no say in the matter at all? Thinking like this should be left in the 16th century where it belongs. I can’t believe this nation came up with the Kamasutra!

The Merry-Go-Round Of Kerala Politics

In Kerala we have this wonderful situation : When one party is in power, the opposition accuses them of illegal activities, crimes and corruption and will files cases, demand investigations and hold dharnas & harthals against it. In a few years the roles are reversed and the same two political goondas are at it again – the opposition is now in power and has to deflect the alleagations of illegalities, criminal & corrupt activities. And more cases filed, investigations, harthals and strikes.

All this causes unnecessary tension, strife and a whole lot of money and time wasted. And in the end WE the public are the big losers.Again and again and again!

Isn’t it high time Kerala did something about this? We know they are corrupt and greedy and liars – why do we keep electing them?

Two & Three Star Bars Get 1 Month Reprive

In a major relief to two-star and three-star bar owners, a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday held that status quo order obtained by them from Supreme Court against the closure of bars would be valid for a period of one more month. With the High Court order, the bars will remain open for a month from Friday evening. The Bench, which observed that the appeals merit a deeper examination, held that the order issued by Supreme Court directing the state to maintain status quo in the implementation of the abkari policy needs to be preserved for the time being, pending consideration of the appeal. On the observation by the Single Bench that the hotels with classification of four-star and above are not frequented by youth, students or the less affluent sections of the society, the Division Bench said that “it does not agree with this proposition. The rich man alone behaves properly and the poor will not, is against the mandate of the Constitution of India and the will of our country”.

The relief was given by Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Babu Mathew P Joseph while considering the appeals filed by the bar owners seeking to quash the Single Bench order which granted permission to function hotels having four and five star and heritage categories. The state will file an appeal on Tuesday against the Single Bench order directing to grant licence to four-star hotels. The bars cannot function for the next two days. Hence, there was no need for an interim order and the court can consider it on Tuesday, the counsel for the state argued.

Kerala Bars To Be Restricted To Heritage, 4 & 5 Star Hotels

In a much awaited decision, the Kerala High Court on Thursday granted partial clearance to the new abkari policy of the Kerala government, paving the way for the closure of all 2 star & 3 star bars in the state. It however allowed bars attached to four-star and heritage category hotels in the state to function. Justice K Surendra Mohan held that “the abkari policy, to the extent, it excludes hotels having four-star and heritage category hotels from the eligibility to be granted FL-3 licences under the Foreign Liquor Rules (FLR), is set aside, being arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. The consequential amendments to the FLR as well as the proceedings of the Excise Commissioner cancelling the licences of such hotels are also set aside.” The Bench also dismissed a petition filed by the bar owners an hour after the judgment seeking permission to allow them to function for two weeks. The court observed that the apex court had already permitted the bar owners to function till the High Court passes an order so there is no need to further extend the order.

Since the fate of both two and three-star hotels has been concluded by the Supreme Court in the Surendra Das case, the challenge against the exclusion can no longer survive. However, in the case of hotels with four star and heritage classification, there was absolutely no material to justify a conclusion that there were any complaints with respect to their functioning. The state submitted that it was decided that no new licences for three-star hotels would be permitted from March 31, 2012 onwards. It was its avowed policy to reduce liquor consumption in the state stage by stage and to achieve the goal of total prohibition within a 10-year span, the state submitted. As many as 250 bars will be shut down today as per the order in this regard.

Faced with the prospect of the immediate shutdown of their bar operations, three-star hotels in the state are likely to apply for four-star or five-star licences to stay in business. Following the Kerala High Court verdict on Thursday, only four-star, five-star and heritage restaurants could continue with their bar operations in the state. “There are about 262 three-star restaurants. Most, if not all, would apply for a four-star licence as there are only small differences between the two categories,” said Biju Ramesh, working president of the Kerala Bar Hotel Association. According to industry officials, the room size, bath room size prescribed by the Hotel & Restaurant Approval and Classification Committee India for both three-star and four-star restaurants are the same. The only major difference is in the air-conditoning facilities offered. While the rules prescribe air-conditioning facilities for common areas and passage ways for four-stars, these are not required for three-star restaurants.

“Air-conditioning facilities for common areas are not a big problem. To save their investments, bar owners would apply for four-star category licences,” said Ramesh. Jose Dominic, CEO of CGH Earth Group, said the group’s two resorts – the Brunton Boatyard and Marari Beach – are currently in the three-star category though the facilities are of the five-star level. “We would go for a five-star licence due to the new liquor policy,” Dominic said. They need to begin the process from the scratch. There could be new educational institutions or religious establishments that have come up within the prescribed limit from the time they first got the licence. The three-star hotels may first apply for a beer-and-wine parlour licence, which is allowed now under the rules.

“Where Are My Grandbabies?”

I find it strange that a couple who raised their daughter under close watch & scrutinized her every move and never let her be friends with guys, let alone allow her to have a boyfriend, and ensuring that she went from home to school/college and straight back home and have almost a nil social life, is now upset that almost a year has passed since the daughter got married but she hasn’t become pregnant yet!

Maybe if you just let her have some practice she might know what to do

Some Indian parents treat their daughters mostly like “garba pathrams” (wombs) for their grand children to be conceived in! LIke her only purpose in life is to get married to the guy that they find for her, a perfect stranger, then get into bed with said perfect stranger and start making babies for her parents to play with.

“Hey, I just met you and call me crazy / but here’s my daughter / fuck her and start making babies” – ditty of those Indian parents!

Welcome, Stranger

Think about the town where you currently live: its local customs, traditions, and hangouts, its slang. What would be the strangest thing about this place for a first-time visitor?

For a first time visitor, and for the purpose of this post I shall assume that he/she is a foriegner, there will be quite a few things that will seem strange or odd about Cochin.

  • The humidity. Yeah people, on a hot & sweaty day (mid February till late April or even June) you’re not gonna like it. Plenty of water is advisable.
  • The monsoon. And when it rains, it pours. And we complain that it’s raining a lot during the monsoon, which cools things down quite a bit but we still complain. And when it’s not raining we complain that it’s too hot and we need some rain!
  • Harthals! Most people outside India and even outside the state are puzzled with the phenomenon of the harthals – which is a general strike (no shops, no public transport and no business are allowed to operate). These years it lasts for 12  hours when it used to be 24 hrs earlier. Usually started by an opposing political party as a protest against a new rule or change in rule or some controversy.
  • On really hot afternoons, most of the people drink boiling hot tea! At 3pm! Even I am stumped at this!
  • The traffic and the roads. And how much filth we dump onto the sides of the roads.

There’s quite a lot of things we do that will seem strange but these are the ones I could think up right now.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

Frogs In A Well

It’s 2014 – and yet there are people here who still judging others on different hair styles that they think look weird and ‘against the culture’ because they choose to not look like everybody else and actually have their own personality. I’m talking about afros and dreadlocks. Are these backward thinking idiots frogs in a well? It’s disheartening to know that our people haven’t grown up at all that they criticize and poke fun of someone who is remotely different.

My parents watch this Malayalam talk show that has, in the past, had some really good topics. However they also have episodes that drive me bat shit crazy. Like this one they were watching this morning – the host had several people brought in who have “alternative hairstyles”; alternative to the regular norm that is seen in Kerala & India. There were guys into rock/metal, reggae etc and they had long hair, afros and dreadlocks. The host was teasing and making fun of these hair styles and their outfits and comparing them to mythical creatures! Really? The audience was mostly filled with old, narrow minded people who looked upon these men and a couple of young boys, as if they feared that they would catch some disease from them.

And the old ladies would say stuff like “in my time we wouldn’t have allowed them to walk on the streets like this blah blah blah” and all. “This is not our culture and/or against our culture” Well I guess that’s what people said when they introduced shirts, trousers and proper hygienic toilets to us as well! They think they are still in the 16th century. Well throw away your tvs and computers, throw away your clothes and houses and go and live in huts with holes in the ground for toilets and wear single white sheets around your waists for clothes. Get sold to a guy your father chooses for you in exchange for 2 cows or goats, or get married at the age of 8 to your spouse who is 9! Whatever! Fuck off!

Social Clubs In Kerala Face A Harsh Future

So as you might know by now, we have this rather idiotic & unnecessary decision of the Kerala government to ban all liquor in the state buy closing down all the bars and then reducing the number of BevCo each year until total shutdown in 10 years to make the state a dry state! Other than bars in Kerala the other main victim will be the 30 or so social clubs in the state that have bar licenses. There are about a dozen blue-blooded clubs in Kerala that comprise the cream of about 30 clubs with bar licences where the snob-value of membership comes at a cost of around Rs 5 lakh (or $8,333 plus change). About 40,000 members of these exclusive clubs are waiting with bated breath to see what the state government proposes to do with the FL 4 A licence clause under which these clubs also double up as watering holes, arguably the single-largest draw for members.

Gaming facility _ two each in indoor and  outdoor _ rooms, food and parking are some of the mandatory items in the list for affiliation to the the Association of Registered Social Clubs of Kerala (ARSCK). Gaming facility _ two each in indoor and  outdoor _ rooms, food and parking are some of the mandatory items in the list for affiliation. According to the office-bearers, each club used to cough up Rs 15 lakh per year for the FL 4 A licence . There are nearly 30 clubs in the state with bar licence and 25 of them are members in ARSCK. The total number of members would come to around 40,000. The clubs fear that their earnings will suffer drastically with the alcohol ban as members will not come as frequently as they used to.

My personal memories are mostly with the Cochin Suburban club, Lotus Club and just a little bit for the Rama Varma club. Suburban club in Thrikkakara was the one that was a firm family favourite as it was just minutes away from my former home. My dad took a lifelong membership with them in the 80s when they had just started and it was so much cheaper than what they charge now. As a result my folks, sister and I plus my cousins, uncles & aunts all had many dinners there, a few functions and for my sister’s wedding we even had to book a couple of rooms for relatives to stay in back in 1995. The club has a play area for smaller kids, a library, table tennis area and later added a swimming pool, badminton courts. For special evening like Onam, Christmas, New Year’s and a club annual day function, they would have games as well as live bands performing. The food was mostly really good and we all enjoyed going there. Heck when I was 14-15 I even volunteered to work at the token counter for drinks (I didn’t handle any alcohol, I just told the members how much and collected the money and gave out drink tokens) for one function. I’ve hosted a couple of my birthdays there and invited friends.

Since our move to the city and that of most of my relatives in Cochin also to the city area the Lotus club became to de facto gathering place. Since 2006 this is the closest place to a lot of us and hence has seen family gathering, a couple of parties for pre weddings and reunion style functions for us. They have tennis courts, badminton courts, a large library, tv area for sports events, outdoor, balcony and indoor dining as well as a couple of halls that you can hire for special event if you want to. I’m not so crazy about their food but hey it’s fun when you have a lot of your cousins around for an evening. I prefer their alcohol selection and their snacks which are really good. By my reckoning we’ve had around 20 or so functions there in the last 3 years.

The Rama Varma club is one I’ve only been to a few times because only 2 of my cousins have membership there or affiliated membership which got cancelled and haven’t been there since 2007. But it is a nice place and I’ve enjoyed the few times I’ve been there drinking with my cousins. The drinking is ofcourse the main attraction for members in these clubs and now it could well be all gone in the next few days. Screw the government’s backward thinking. You paid good money for club memberships so you and your relatives/friends could meet and relax in a happy, homely atmosphere with a lot of space and the kids could play around and the men & ladies who don’t drink can still enjoy. You can’t meet your friends and drink at the BevCo lineup!

Kerala Moves Towards Total Alcohol Ban

It’s official. Kerala just became a shitty state to live in! In a big “fuck you” to nearly half the male population, this happened:

From newspapers: In a swift action, a day after Congress-led ruling UDF recommended shutting down over 700 liquor bars attached to hotels below the five-star categories, the Kerala Government on Friday approved the new liquor policy and also imposed a five per cent cess on liquor. Announcing the decision at a press conference on Friday, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the Cabinet would formally ratify the decision in its next meeting. On another UDF proposal to declare all Sundays as dry days apart from the existing dry days, which include the first day of every month, he said.The Sunday Dry day would commence from October 2 next year. The five per cent cess on liquor sold through Beverages Corporation outlets would be used to set up a Fund for rehabilitation of employees who lose jobs due to closing down of the bars and for creating awareness against liquor among the people, Chandy said.

A total of 418 bars already remained closed, and the other 312 bars also would be closed this financial year, he said. Stating that the new liquor policy was a final phase to achieve UDF’s goal of taking the state to total prohibition in ten years, he said government had received legal advise that the now functioning 312 bars also could be closed during the financial year itself after completing certain financial formalities on licence fees. The new liquor policy makes it clear that only five-star hotels will have bars to sell Indian Made Foreign Liquor. The decision, taken by the UDF leadership meeting Presided by Chandy, ended a long-drawn feud in the state unit of the Congress and the coalition as a whole over the question of renewing licences of 418 bars which were found to be lacking in quality.

On UDF recommendation of phasing out Beverages Corporation outlets, Chandy said ten per cent outlets would be closed down every year to wipe out them in 10 years and this would come to around 39 shops per year. Chandy also said new liquor policy was a unanimous decision of the UDF and has the support of all sections in the society. Meanwhile, KPCC President V M Sudheeran, who had stood firmly against renewing licences to 418 bars, gave full support to the government in its new policy. After the ban on arrack by the then A K Antony Ministry two decades ago, this move has been seen as of a major initiative to make Kerala ‘a total liquor free state.

Meanwhile, State Finance Minister K M Mani put the total revenue loss on various counts due to the new liquor restrictions at Rs.1,813 crores. In coming years, the revenue loss would be much more than this, he added. The government was expected to earn Rs.250 crore on the five per cent cess on liquor for setting up the Fund for rehabilitation of workers in bars and anti-liquor campaign. To close down the now functioning 312 bars, an amount of Rs.39 crore was required to repay their licence fees, he said.

If I could get outta this place, I would and never come back!

The Outstretched Hand

Should you help homeless people? Why or why not?

I know all the arguments against giving money to the beggars and homeless people here.

  • They are playing on your sentiments
  • They are part of a network of beggars and homeless people and the money that they collect goes to a group leader / boss
  • The women beg and collect money and their worthless husbands beat it outta them and then go and drink it at a toddy shop/bar. And then they come back home drunk as a skunk and beat their wives some more!
  • Giving money to the women and or men will only encourage them to not get a job and better their lives but continue on living on the kindness of people.
  • Do not give money to beggars who are children – their parents, especially their no good fathers are using them to make money and the cash that they get from begging goes to fuel the dad’s drinking habits.
  • Women beggars usually have 2 to 3 “husbands” and they make babies only to prey on your kindness and to make even more pitiful images of themselves thus making you shell out more money that you want to
  • It’s a business and they are tricking you by playing on your emotions

etc etc…. but if you have seen the look on their faces it is hard to ignore. Especially when you are walking into or out of a fast food joint / restaurant / cafe and they point to their belly and then their mouth and show their palm in a begging motion, meaning that they haven’t had food for a while. Add a small kid to the mix and I can’t help it. Lately I’ve been giving more money than usual because I’ve been struggling financially myself and yet I have plenty to eat so I feel bad for them. I cannot say no to them.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

A Blessing For The Tipplers In Kerala

I wonder why it took me soooooo long to write about this as the event took place with effect on the 1st of April, 2014 (the beginning of the financial year). I only wrote a post in May about the temporary (hopefully) closure of one of them. Anyways, as per the ruling at took place earlier in the year, and that has been bubbling for a long time, and the new liquor policy in the state all bars that did not have a 3 star rating in the state of Kerala were not allowed to renew their license to serve alcohol and some which were found to be lacking were denied their licenses and hence around 418 bars in the state closed their doors – some forever and some hoping to reopen once they could improve on facilities and get their licenses renewed. 418! Which meant almost all of my favourite & affordable bars (Oberois on MG Road, Velocity near High Court, Malabar House in Convent Junction and Karthika Regency’s Kairali Bar in Edapally) have been closed since April 1st!

Since last October I’ve had alcohol exactly 3 times – on New Year’s eve and 2 beers each with a cousin and a friend and so I haven’t actually been to one of those bars (the beers I had on both occasions were at a family style restaurant that also serves alcohol) since October – this hasn’t really affected me as of yet! Due to financial situations I had chosen to avoid drinking as a personal decision until I get a full time proper & well paying job. But yes this decision did anger me a lot as this is purely pandering to the section of society that wants to get rid of alcohol drinking because one section of society drinks too much and abuses their wives/families and use most of their money for drinking. Those idiots ruin it for the majority of us who just want a few drinks with some good food in the company of friends once or twice a week. So now because of this, I or others like me have to shell out a lot more money if we want to drink in a more expensive bar or hotel. Or ofcourse go stand in the large queues at the BevCo outlets and buy the bottles and come home and drink them. However a good news has happened yesterday.

The State Human Rights Commission has ordered the closure of all open bars that do not have two-star facilities. Additionally, the Commission has ordered that 2-star level bars among the 418 closed bars should be allowed to operate. Commission chairman Justice J B Koshy further asked the government to roll out its liquor policy at the earliest. The Commission noted that there was discrimination in the allocation of licences to the bars and said this should be avoided. Which  means all the good ones will be allowed to reopen their doors. Which means probably Velocity, Malabar House & Oberois will be allowed to open. I am not sure about Kairali – it seems good enough! Oh well, 3 outta 4 is not so bad. Let it happen!

I Am South Indian, Not East Indian

An online chat with someone, an American, I recently met through a Facebook group.

He : Are you East Indian?

Me : No I am South Indian.

He : Where’s that?

Me : South part of India

He : Yeah but you are East Indian, right? From India?

Me : No, I am South Indian from India. My home state is Kerala which is in the south. If I were from West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and also the union territory Andaman and Nicobar Islands, then I would be an East Indian!

He : No! Indians from India are called East Indians.

Me : I am Indian. And I am South Indian. Because I am from the south part of India.

He : This confusing! I’ll talk to you later!

Power Cuts – Scheduled & Unscheduled

For those of you who don’t know for us over here we have Scheduled Power Cuts – every years just before the monsoon starts the Kerala State Electricity Board runs short of power due to (a) overuse (b) mismanagement (c) unpredicted consumption (d) water levels lower than expected and usually (e) rains not filling the reservoirs enough. Take your pick it’s usually a combination of 2 or 3 of the five. So this year as well we started running short of power and hence they announced that we’d have power cuts again. I think we started in May and we had a scheduled power cut of 30 minutes in the evening every alternate day to conserve power. That seemed fine and they announced that they would stop it after 2 weeks. Ok, but then it was brought back again but instead of 30 minutes every alternate day KSEB says it has to be every day for all over Kerala. Ok and then a week or so later they increased it to 45 minutes every evening. They would changed the timings for you so that you don’t lose power at the same time every week.

And then the rains came and although initially it was plentiful it started trickling off in a few days and it was just a few hours during the week. But June 12 the World Cup started and ofcourse the government listened to the cries of the people and ensured that KSEB wouldn’t schedule the power cuts post 9:30 pm (usually it’s between 6pm to 11pm) and they complied. So that’s about scheduled power cuts, this week we have the scheduled time of 6:30 pm to 7:15 pm while last week it was 8pm to 8;45 pm. But KSEB in all these crooked bumbling fucking idiotness fucks things up for us. Rather than stick to the scheduled power cuts they have random unscheduled power cuts. And that can happen at any time of the day! Last week we had power failures for an hour at 2:30 am on two consecutive days. For no reason! And then it goes out in the day. Today we lost power at 3;30 pm and it came back only by 4:45 pm – and you’d think that they could skip our area for the 45 minutes scheduled power outage right? Oh no, KSEB with their collective fucking cocks in their hands have to stick to their schedule but guess what ? Instead of 45 minutes it was one whole FUCKING HOUR again!Motherfuckers!

Fuck you KSEB, you lying sonsofbitches! Stick your cocks into a live socket and die!

Two Different Hospital Experiences

The last two Tuesdays I’ve been with my mother as she had to go to two different hospitals for her medical issues. Both times it was very different experiences.

Last week it was to Amritha Medical Institute in Cheranellur for a scan on her right knee as she has been plagued with rhematism for a while. She was seeing an ayurvedic doctor but as she wasn’t finding much relief they suggested to go and see a well reputed doctor of western medicine in Amritha hospital. To see this doctor is very difficult as he has an excellent reputation and he gets patients coming to see him from all over South India and hence getting an appointment fixed to see him is difficult. Anyway we had to get the scan done first and had to leave at 7 am from home via a taxi to reach the hospital at 8 am. When we reached there we found out that the booking for the scan was mixed up and we had to register again. It would take us till evening just to finish the scan and then get the report. So we were forced to make a day of it, having breakfast (just a bite and a drink of bottled mango juice) from the hospital canteen and waited till 1pm for them to call my mom and have the scanning of her knee done.

As it would take 2.5 hours to get the report we left for my uncle’s house in Thrikkakara and bought some biriyani along the way and had lunch at his house with him and my aunt. We spent some time visiting and then came back to the hospital by 4pm and by 5pm we were outta there with the report in hand. The follow up with the doctor will take place on the 30th of June.  Compare that to this week when she had to go to her oncologist for a regular visit & check up which is done every couple of months. That was at Krishna Nursing home which is a much smaller hospital about 20 minutes away from where we live. We went there and the waiting room was empty except for a handful of people. She was #16 but we didn’t have to wait long. As two other doctors were on leave there were no patients to see them as well and hence that section of the hospital had a deserted look. I went to get a coke and a bite to eat as I hadn’t had any lunch and that took about 20 minutes. 10 more minutes and her check up was done and we were on the way back home. No hassle, hardly any waiting time and hardly any crowd making a lot of noise.

Compare that to Amritha – 2 hours in a large waiting room just to pay for the scanning and another 3 hours till the scanning was done. Then another hour in the waiting room for the report to get to us. Lots of people, kids running about, sick people being taken in beds or wheelchairs, people on the phone speaking loudly, doctors, nurses & orderlies rushing between wards & floors! Totally different experiences.

This Used To Be My Town

Thrikkakara was my hometown. I’ve lived there for 19 years from the time my family moved back to India in the summer of 1987 till 2006 when we sold the large house which we called home and moved to the city area. I hadn’t been back there since then – well, except for a couple of late night rides in a company cab coming back home from work and one time passing by late in the evening heading to an office party. I didn’t want to go back there at all especially because we had had to sell our family house to pay off debts that my dad’s business had incurred. Not wanting to sell your house but having to sell it as it would get you a lot of money with which you can pay off your debt and still have enough left over to buy a small apartment and have some money left, was a relief to us and hence we did it. But it made me not want to see the house again after we handed over the keys and I avoided the small suburban town like the plague.

That changed two days ago. I was my mother as she had to go to the AIMS hospital and after having her knee scanned we had a long wait to get the report. And as it was lunch time we took a taxi to my mother’s brother’s house – which is two doors away from my old house – and bought some food along the way. I got to see Thrikkakara properly in the day light and was surprised by the rogress that I saw. From a dull deary town that had almost no shops (we had to go 3 kms to do most of our shopping, even basic stuff) and very few buildings, Thrikkakara is now a bustling little town. Lots of buildings have popped up, even a few apartment complexes. Lots of shops and stores so now the residents can basically walk to get to stores that have all their needs met. Some offices, supermarkets and hotels have popped up too. This little town is all grown up. I stopped at a small hotel to buy some biriyani for lunch.

We spent almost 2 hours at my uncle’s house and I stepped out to the backyard and took a peek at the back of my old house. Not really wanting to see the former home, I just looked at the terrace at the back where the new owner has setup a kind of sitout with an asbestos or aluminum sheet so that people can have some shade and protection from the hot sun or the rains and still enjoy the outdoors. And I saw part of a bedroom – that’s it. Mom & I purposely avoided looking at our old house just so we won’t get pangs of nostalgia and some pain that will go with it. Still I was happy that I visited Thrikkakara and left with a smile on my face. I will come again soon.