How I Met Our MP!

All of this started on the day of the inauguration of Kollam Bypass. Prime Minister Mr Modi inaugurated the bypass and people were joking how he came flying to inaugurate a 13 km bypass. I wondered to myself if Modi knows about the bypass in my hometown, which was proposed a long time back and was hitting roadblocks in every turn, the town outgrew original plan for it. This was the tweet which started it all, which loosely translates to “If Modi is good enough, build the Thiruvalla bypass and show us”.

We were making fun of politicians there and then came a guy who is a supporter of Congress. He made fun of the Prime Minister and Chief Minister and tagged the MP of our constituency, Mr Anto Antony and Mr Oommen Chandy to the tweet. I didn’t identify the political thing he did here, otherwise, I’d have ignored him.

Seeing this tweet, I said the first thing which came to my mind, that I don’t think this MP knows if Thiruvalla is there.

We need a back story here. Mr Anto Antony MP is the Member of Parliament for the last two terms from our constituency, Pathanamthitta. The last time I saw him was at the time of last elections, 2014. I have seen no news or presence of him in Thiruvalla except for some inaugurations of shops, functions, etc. Nothing constructive.

Most of the Thiruvallites will agree with me in this. They actually did.

Boom!

Then came MP, showing off. Mr Anto Antony tweeted that he comes to Thiruvalla often and he is attending some function in Thiruvalla that day and he can call me if I want. Way off the whole point if you ask me. Obviously, I got agitated and asked him if he can list out a few things he did for Thiruvalla as the MP of the constituency.

Mr MP gave me this answer as his accomplishment of the last 10 years.

He said two escalators are in ‘progress’ in Thiruvalla railway station, which is the only railway station in the district and his constituency. And this railway station is in a terrible state with uncovered platforms and lack of basic amenities.

I never got an answer from him of what he did for the last 10 years. I think we’ll have to cope with the progressing escalators here. But everything went downhill from there. Someone called me an ‘Antham Sanghi fake’, I do not understand why. Because I asked Mr Anto Antony something, and he didn’t answer!!???

This guy, who is the KSU Kottayam Distric Committee Secretary, even accused the people who were backing me here of encouraging communalism. Whaaaaaat!!!


Mr Albin Joseph came late into the conversation and was busy accusing everyone in Twitter to be fake and gave that as an excuse for not answering the question asked. He deleted all the moronic tweets he typed out, but screenshots speak volumes. Mr Albin here is insulting people at a very personal level. He was coached well!!???

Here he says, we are insulting the MP using the fake accounts. Asking questions are considered insult in this country? Sorry, I had no idea.

Let’s leave him there, considering he is a young guy trying to impress his leaders. But there are a few who are spitting venom at me for the last few days. I have huge concern about the future leaders of Congress party from Kerala.

They even had the audacity to call this discussion an organized online campaign against Mr MP. Look at the handle which tweeted that. I didn’t know film actor Bhavana joined Congress and changed her name! And we have sponsors? Sorry to say but I got not even a paise for this which became a pain in my ass.

And then comes this thread, which harasses me to that extend, I couldn’t just sit and watch.

And this is the escalator Mr MP told about. I thought it was almost completed and I’ll get a chance to meet him in person soon enough.

These Congress affiliated people are harassing me because I asked a question to the elected representative of my constituency. Really? This is how your politics works? If you don’t have answers for something, harass the other person and imply that they are from the opposite party?

I never asked these guys anything. I asked my MP what he did for my place and they take this as a threat. They ask me to question the MLA of the place and criticise his mistakes first. Hello! I asked Mr Anto Antony directly. MLA Mr Mathew T. Thomas is not even a point of discussion here.

I asked him a simple question, what he did for the constituency and I don’t understand what these people’s thought process is! They should have given me an answer and that should have been it. Simple. Instead, they chose to bully the people who question them. There are many more screenshots and tweets I can show, how these people work hard to picture me as someone from the enemy forces. This is only the top layer of all of it.

These people forgot one thing, I am also a voter, and I have every right to question my elected representative, whatever my political inclination is. Even if they come organized and attack me, I have decided to question Mr MP until I get an answer. Unlike them, I don’t have a group of people around me to support me in this. But I will do whatever I can.

And dear Mr Rahul Gandhi, I appreciate how much you work for INC. But if you cannot control these cyber bullies of the party, and teach them how to interact with common people when they ask something well in their rights, you have a fat chance here in Kerala. I am going to make sure these exchanges reach the people of Thiruvalla. Threaten me all you can. I don’t care.

And I am yet to get an answer from Mr MP.

Thanks.

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The Story of a Chase

You’ll probably agree if I say every person has some kind of fears, bizarre or common fears, something which you hold deep inside your head. I have my fair share; thunder & lightning, big animals, heights, being alone, mutilated bodies, etc. But I can deal with most of these if I try or if I have someone with me. There is only one thing I regard as a serious fear, something which I cannot get over with, the only fear I count as a phobia.

Painted Faces!

Yes. I am terrified of painted faces. From a scary-looking Kathakali face to a face with excessive makeup, they all give me chills.

Growing up near a temple where traditional art forms are conducted, I had to chance to watch them before the age I could understand them. My uncle’s home used to be an art school where they taught kids classical dances. A Kathakali teacher used to come there to teach the kids. He was my favourite, and I learned to walk in his class.

Being me, I was too scared to go near after they did all the faces for performance. I avoided them or watched them from a safe distance, outside the temple walls or on the terrace of the office building in the temple.

When I was around 21, I got a chance to see Theyyam for the first time in my life. I was excited to see what it is and to see all the tricks they do. Poor me, I did not understand they come near the people after the performance. It was a terrifying experience for me. My dad had to come and take me away from there after hardly 10 minutes of me trying to be brave.

If that was a terrifying experience, there are a few funny ones too.

Vishu is a grand celebration at our place. It is the festival time, the family comes together, and it is fun. There will be programs every day like dances or Carnatic concerts or arts like Kathakali, Mudiyettu, etc. A few years back, Dakshayagam Kathakali was being performed. Me, my brother, our parents and our 10-year-old cousin went to see the performance. There were only a few people, and we got front seats. To understand the scenario, you must understand the story of Dakshayagam.

Daksha, Sati’s father is conducting a yagam, and he didn’t invite Shiva. Sati went for the yagam and throw herself into the fire. Shiva becomes angry and Veerabhadra and Kali go to kill Daksha. They chase Daksha down and kill him.

Back to our story now. Veerabhadra and Kali have terrifying faces. They were waiting to get on to the stage and they came and stood behind us. Veerabhadra was in a playful mood and he tried to scare our cousin Meenu. He poked her and when she looked back, the creepy face was smiling at her. From our responses, he understood he terrified us. He and Kali went to the stage, scared off Daksha’s brahmins and started fighting Daksha. They fought for some time on the stage and Daksha decided he’ll have more space to run around if he got off the stage.
All of a sudden, he came running towards us, with Veerabhadra and Kali on his tail. All I saw was a huge creepy face running towards me with a sword in one hand and a chair in the other. It was instinct; I got up and ran. My brother didn’t really understand what happened, and he ran behind me. Seeing us run, Veerabhadra decided it’ll be more fun to chase us than to chase Daksha and he ran behind us. Daksha was so confused, he was not able to comprehend what happened, and our confused mother was blocking his way. Veerabhadra chased us for a good 5 minutes, which felt like even more, went back to his original task of killing Daksha. Meenu, who started all this, went and sought refuge with our dad. They were watching the funny chase from a safe distance laughing their head off.

I don’t recall anything other than getting up and running, dad told me. I’m pretty sure it was the most enjoyable performance for the person who played Veerabhadra. Imagine, me, my brother and a Kathakali character running in circles trying to get away. It is pretty funny when I think of it now. 

Different casts have scared me at different times, but this is the best till now.

2018 in Books

I hardly did anything else in 2018 other than reading, the number of books I read hit a new record. And since I was jobless, I had the time to keep a tab on books I read.

Here is a list of books I read this year.

  1. Crazy Times with Uncle Ken – Ruskin Bond
  2. കഥാബീജം (Kadhabeejam) – Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
  3. പാണ്ഡവപുരം (Pandavapuram) – Sethu
  4. The ABC Murders – Agatha Christie
  5. പ്രേമലേഖനം (Premalekhanam) – Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
  6. ബാല്യകാലസഖി (Balyakalasakhi) – Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
  7. ജന്മദിനം (Janmadinam) – Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
  8. ഓർമ്മക്കുറിപ്പ് (Ormakkurippu) – Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
  9. അനർഘനിമിഷം (Anarghanimisham) – Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
  10. ശബ്ദങ്ങൾ (Shabdangal) – Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
  11. The Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri
  12. The Great Indian Novel – Shashi Tharoor
  13. ആലാഹയുടെ പെണ്മക്കള്‍ (Aalahayude Penmakkal) – Sarah Joseph
  14. Room – Emma Donoghue
  15. പാത്തുമ്മായുടെ ആട് (Pathummayude Aadu) – Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
  16. ന്റുപ്പൂപ്പാക്കൊരാനേണ്ടാർന്ന് (Ntuppuppaakkoraanaendaarnnu) – Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
  17. വിഡ്ഢികളുടെ സ്വർഗം (Viddikalude Swargam) – Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
  18. A Long Way Home – Saroo Brierley
  19. വിശ്വവിഖ്യാതമായ മൂക്ക് (Viswavikhyathamaya Mookku) – Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
  20. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  21. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  22. Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana – Devdutt Pattanaik
  23. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
  24. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling
  25. Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
  26. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling
  27. എന്റെ പ്രിയപ്പെട്ട കഥകൾ (Ente Priyappetta Kathakal) – Madhavikutty
  28. എന്റെ ലോകം (Ente Lokam) – Madhavikutty
  29. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Newt Scamander
  30. A Dog’s Purpose – W. Bruce Cameron
  31. Quidditch Through the Ages – Kennilworthy Whisp
  32. The Getaway (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #12) – Jeff Kinney
  33. Winnie-the-Pooh – A.A. Milne
  34. Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base – Annie Jacobsen
  35. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling
  36. The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  37. An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India – Shashi Tharoor
  38. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling
  39. കാപ്പിരികളുടെ നാട്ടില്‍ (Kappirikaludea Nattil) – S.K. Pottekkatt
  40. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling
  41. The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State – Nadia Murad
  42. Yes, My Accent Is Real: and Some Other Things I Haven’t Told You – Kunal Nayyar
  43. Grandma’s Bag Of Stories – Sudha Murty
  44. Atal Bihari Vajpayee: A Man for All Seasons – Kingshuk Nag
  45. Seriously… I’m Kidding – Ellen DeGeneres
  46. മുകേഷ് കഥകള്‍ (Mukesh Kathakal) – Mukesh
  47. How I Taught My Grandmother to Read and Other Stories – Sudha Murty
  48. The Tales of Beedle the Bard – J.K. Rowling
  49. The Mysterious Affair at Styles – Agatha Christie
  50. The Naked Ape: A Zoologist’s Study of the Human Animal – Desmond Morris
  51. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling
  52. The Murder on the Links – Agatha Christie
  53. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling
  54. ലോല (Lola) – P. Padmarajan
  55. Poirot Investigates – Agatha Christie
  56. Dollar Bahu – Sudha Murty
  57. ഹിഗ്വിറ്റ (Higuita) – ‌‌N.S. Madhavan
  58. നാടൻ പ്രേമം (Nadan Premam) – S.K. Pottekkatt
  59. Daughters of Shame – Jasvinder Sanghera
  60. Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore – Manu S. Pillai
  61. The Secret Of The Nagas – Amish Tripathi
  62. Elephants Can Remember – Agatha Christie
  63. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
  64. The Oath of the Vayuputras – Amish Tripathi
  65. Sh*t My Dad Says – Justin Halpern
  66. മഞ്ഞ് (Manju) – M.T. Vasudevan Nair
  67. Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  68. 4:50 from Paddington – Agatha Christie
  69. Karen’s Prize – Ann M. Martin
  70. Untouchable – Mulk Raj Anand
  71. The Siege: Trapped Inside the Taj Hotel. Run or Hide? – Adrian Levy
  72. Beyond NJ 9842: The SIACHEN Saga – Nitin A. Gokhale
  73. The Lost River: On The Trail of the Sarasvati – Michel Danino
  74. The BFG – Roald Dahl
  75. Vodka Sambar – Mary Zareah
  76. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  77. Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  78. മതിലുകള്‍ (Mathilukal) – Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
  79. സ്ഥലത്തെ പ്രധാന ദിവ്യൻ (Sthalathe Pradhana Divyan) – Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
  80. ആനപ്പൂട (Aanappooda) – Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
  81. Bookless in Baghdad and Other Writings on Reading – Shashi Tharoor
  82. Big Mushy Happy Lump – Sarah Andersen
  83. We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  84. A Girl’s Guide to Joining the Resistance: A Feminist Handbook on Fighting for Good – Emma Rose Gray
  85. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
  86. Godman to Tycoon : The Untold Story of Baba Ramdev – Priyanka Pathak-Narain
  87. Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl
  88. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator – Roald Dahl
  89. The Land of Stories: A Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales – Chris Colfer
  90. Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson
  91. Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood – Trevor Noah
  92. The Simpsons Handbook: Secret Tips from the Pros – Matt Groening
  93. 2014: The Election That Changed India – Rajdeep Sardesai
  94. Becoming – Michelle Obama
  95. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie
  96. The Twits – Roald Dahl
  97. വിലാപയാത്ര (Vilaapayathra) – M.T. Vasudevan Nair
  98. Amritsar: Mrs. Gandhi’s Last Battle – Mark Tully
  99. The Girl from Aleppo: Nujeen’s Escape from War to Freedom – Nujeen Mustafa
  100. One Part Woman – Perumal Murugan
  101. The Big Four – Agatha Christie
  102. The Witches – Roald Dahl
  103. Educated: A Memoir – Tara Westover
  104. The Last Straw (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #3) – Jeff Kinney
  105. American Monsters: A History of Monster Lore, Legends, and Sightings in America – Linda S. Godfrey
  106. Karen’s New Holiday – Ann M. Martin
  107. Karen’s School Bus – Ann M. Martin
  108. Hickory Dickory Dock – Agatha Christie
  109. Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay
  110. ഇനി ഞാൻ ഉറങ്ങട്ടെ (Ini Njan Urangatte) – P.K. Balakrishnan
  111. Uncles, Aunts and Elephants: A Ruskin Bond Treasury – Ruskin Bond
  112. The Mystery of the Blue Train – Agatha Christie
  113. One, Two, Buckle My Shoe – Agatha Christie
  114. All The Named They Used for God – Anjali Sachdeva
  115. Dead Man’s Folly – Agatha Christie

The Story of A Mystery Thief

This story happened a few years back. We were in college and hostel was fun. If I remember right, it was the exam season and there was hardly anyone left in the hostel. Me, my roomies and our friend were the only people left in our wing.

There are four people in the room. Let’s call them A, B, C and myself D. It was almost 3 O’clock in the morning. Me and A are sleeping on the bed near the window. B and C are sleeping on a bed on the floor.

A noise startled me. I was wide awake and alert in no time. Bad luck or not, the first thing I notice after waking up is our window. All I could see was a black figure outside the window. I mustered courage and tried to wake up A. I whispered, “Wake up! There is someone near the window!”. She turned the other way and continued her sleep. Stupid if you ask me. My only hope was sound asleep. There was only one more idea in my arsenal. Scream. Scream out loud. But I was so scared, no sound came out of my throat. It shocked me to realise this screaming will not happen. :O

Silence. Silence was all I could hear. And the sound of the mystery figure trying to open the table drawer. I decided. It should not be delayed. I then did the only thing I could do. I took the blanket and put it over my head pretending I haven’t heard anything, I don’t know anything.

At last, he was gone. He couldn’t find anything in the drawer other than some old notebooks. Stupid guy!

I got up and woke everyone up. I told everyone that there was a thief and he was trying to open the table. The responses I got was:

B: “Don’t be scared! That was only a dream.”

A: “I’ve told you not to watch those creepy movies of yours at night. Go and sleep.”

D: “I’m telling the truth. Believe me! This was not a dream!”

B: “Don’t worry. I’m here. There there” * Started singing *

A: “You stop crying. And go to sleep.”

D: “Look there.”    * Points to the table. *

They saw it and they startled seeing the open table. I was happy in a way. And they felicitated me for the courage I showed in fighting off a dangerous thief. 😀

It is still a mystery who that guy was and what he wanted from our room. What can someone expect from the cupboard of a college student!

The Friends!

As it is the fever season, I was also unfortunate enough to catch a bad one. It devastated me, being away from home and getting sick is not the best combination. But this scenario made my friends realise how much we miss each other and we all connected over a Skype call which was long due.

Being in 4 different cities and one not even in the same country, it is hard for us to catch up. Because of probably this, all of us will be pretty excited and emotional whenever we do this. Being there for each other in every difficult time, even in the darkest of times, we try hard to never lose this connection. The people who will care for you even when you are not in your best, will always be there for you.

As usual, I am drifting off from what I wanted to talk about. As I was saying, me and my friends were talking and we were talking about our college days. And as for most of you, we have several funny incidents, from hiding from a teacher in the toilet with 2 each in a stall to booing the girls from another college who insulted our friends in front of our teachers. The four of us are very much different, not a similarity, except for the fact that each of us have a crazy twist to us. Rebellious and not ready to mug up, we were not exactly the favourites of so-called teachers.

I actually never thought we will hold on to the friendship. I hated the college and everything about it. I used to count down the days so I can get out of the college. If I got a chance, I would’ve even nuked the wretched place. As for our group, we became friends after the initial few years of college. One was a genius, one the girliest girl you’ll ever meet, one enthusiast about doing everything which is forbidden and the last one protecting the other three from the messes they end up with.

The last time we met was back in 2014, on the wedding day of one of us. When another’s wedding came, everyone except me missed it. They gave me the huge responsibility of broadcasting everything live to the two. It was like giving commentary for Nehru Trophy Boat Race, funny and everybody there was looking at me like I’ve gone mad, talking into front cam of a phone, in front of Guruvayur temple.

This year, I surprised the genius on her birthday. Her husband is as crazy as us, teamed up with me and I ended up hiding in their car for three long hours to make a grand entry with a birthday cake and her favourite sparkling wine. 😀 You should’ve seen her face. It was very satisfying, and we turned the happy place into a pool of happy tears. And when it was time for me to leave, we hugged and cried and became the centre of attraction of people in the bus station. Even her baby daughter was laughing at us.

The point is, even though we fight, we yell, we hit and we bite, we’ll always stay best of friends. We will always stay close knit as we are now. And after we die, we’ll become ghost friends and scare the shit out of people. 😉

My Weird Dreams

I am known for my weird dreams in my friend circle. From school days to college, to today, the weirdest dreams come to me. I only have vague memories of those from my childhood, but mostly they included me and my friends interacting with the characters who are figments of my imagination, or with my favourite cartoon characters.

When we were kids, me, my brother Appu and our cousin Ammu used to watch Pogo channel too much. We were fans of Tiny TV which came as an assortment of different shows like Make Way for Noddy, Oswald, Kipper, Pingu, Bob the Builder, etc. I distinctly remember one dream from those days maybe because of the panic it caused for my family. One day, the three of were watching TV, and we got sucked into Oswald’s world where everything is very interesting, with talking dinosaurs and snowman and all. We searched for Oswald and found him and his dog. We were taking a walk in the park and I had a big umbrella open in my hands. A wind caught me and I flew. It took me higher and higher, got me out of the atmosphere and I choked. I woke up struggling for breath and everyone got terrified. 😀 Oops!

Being a Potterhead, it is impossible to not have a dream including them considering all my weird dreams. We had a 5-day camp at college and me and my friends stacked up in the same room and I was in the spotlight the next day in our class. In this dream, I, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley went looking for Lord Voldemort, more like a hunting party with all weapons and all ;). We were planning to capture Voldemort using a net as if Voldemort was a fish :D. The highlight was, all these people were talking fluent Malayalam. And the location was near the toll in Kochi. I don’t even know why that place came up since I was not familiar with Kochi then. I had to wake up and tell my friends about it, they sealed my fate!

I think these dreams come when I’m scared, lonely or when I’m sad. Nowadays, my dreams scare me which gives me panic attacks. I’ll be scared to death. And I have nobody to reach out.

I have the anxiety disorder, which makes me an aquaphobic. I’m scared to go underwater. Even though born to someone from a place surrounded with water, this is peculiar. Every day, I’m having this dream of me going underwater and drowning. I wake up thinking I’m dead. If death is that easy, I may not hesitate.

After a long time..!!

Writing is something which gave me peace of mind when I was going through the darkest times in my life. This sentence itself shows how rusty my ability to write has become. I had been trying to restart writing, share my weird, crazy experiences.

These days, I’m literally on my own, away from family and friends, away from home and the place I consider my home, lost for my own good. Fortunately or unfortunately, I got a chance to think about myself, my life. That made me realize how far I’m from people who I considered my own. Schoolmates, college-mates, classmates, I had a limited number of people whom I always held close. It’s almost 5 years and literally we are all 10 years apart.

Maybe I’ll share some of our stories here. Maybe being a Potterhead, I’ll talk about how obsessed I am with Harry Potter books. Or maybe I’ll talk about the books I’ve read recently.

Anyways, you are welcome to my small, sometimes crazy, sometimes stupid world!

Thank you for sticking with me through all this mindless blabbers! 😀