RIP Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Indian politician who thrice served as the Prime Minister of India, first for a term of 13 days in 1996, for a period of eleven months from 1998 to 1999, and then for a full term from 1999 to 2004, passed away today. He was 93 years old. Apart from politician with great oratory skills, Vajpayee was also an acclaimed writer who wrote several poems.

He was a member of the Indian Parliament for over four decades, being elected to the Lok Sabha, the lower house, ten times, and twice to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house. He served as the Member of Parliament for Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh until 2009 when he retired from active politics due to health concerns. Vajpayee was among the founding members of the erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh which he also headed from 1968 to 1972. He was the Minister of External Affairs in the cabinet of Prime Minister Morarji Desai.

When the¬†Janata government¬†collapsed, Vajpayee restructured the Jana Sangh into the¬†Bharatiya Janata Party¬†in 1980. He was the first Indian prime minister who was not a member of the¬†Indian National Congress¬†party to have served a full five-year term in office. He was conferred India’s highest civilian honour, the¬†Bharat Ratna, by the¬†President of India¬†in 2015. Vajpayee remained unmarried. He adopted Namita Bhattacharya, the daughter of BN Kaul and Rajkumari Kaul.

A Kerala Flood Update

The death toll from the fresh onslaught of rain in Kerala since August 9 has climbed to 75 as the state is reeling under one of the worst floods in history. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had once again called PM Modi on Thursday to seek more aid considering the situation. or the first time in history, the state has opened 35 of its 39 dams. Meanwhile, operations at the Cochin International Airport have been suspended till August 26 due to flooding in and around the airport. A red alert has been issued in all the 14 districts of the state.

Train services have been disrupted and road transport services are in disarray with stretches of roads coming under water. Officials said a holiday has been declared for educational institutions in all districts barring Kasaragod for day while colleges and universities have postponed exams. Rise in flood waters in Periyar River due to the rains and opening of all shutters of all major dams including Mullaperiyar, Cheruthoni, part of Idukki reservoir, and Idamalayar, have severely affected lives of people in downstream areas.

My uncle and aunt in Chenganuur have their rented house flooded and they moved to the second floor. The second floor is quite higher than the ground level so they are ok for now. The Navy is patrolling on boats and checked on them but they are good for now. Tomorrow they might have to move. They have biscuits, bread and some snacks with water. My cousins in Aluva have had to move from their home to their mother’s family home yesterday but the water levels in Aluva and neighbouring suburb of Kalamaserry was rising way too high. So they evacuated based on the advice of authorities and moved to a flat that one of my cousin’s own in another area of Cochin.

No cabs are running today and even autos seem to be rare. I stayed home from work after thinking about it for a while. A lot of people did.

Food Review #244

The Derelict Burger @ The Grill Lab (Edapally) – Not for the faint of heart! Two big beef patties, a fried egg, cheese, peppercorn sauce and Bolognese sauce and the weird choice of coleslaw. It’s a 10 tissue burger and it’s really messy. It’s way too much stuff between two buns. I rated it a 10 outta 10 but after a while, the sauces started overwhelming the patties and extra large jalenos started becoming a bit too much. I found out that there is such a thing as too much meat in a burger. I recommend every meat lover to try it once. My cholesterol went through the roof.