Despair

It’s like restoring the trust in an abandoned dog who put the all the trust in the master.

The terrible thing about despair is the danger of getting used to it and how it will change the attitude towards life. The lower income class of Filipinos are a classic example. They never take promises seriously. If it comes it comes. Its all right if it doesn’t.  Noticed it even in young children. They crave for something like a pair of shoes or a volleyball. But they live on with that longing happily even if they don’t get it. Kind of dream that did not come true.

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Writers

Good writers use the terrible tragedies of their lives as a shady tree to sit under and write.  Time and again drawing inspiration into their story telling. They piece together incredible stories from personal tragedies. It is visible in most of the award winning books like Arundhati Roy’s ‘Gods of Small Things’ and Frank McCourt’s ‘Angela’s Ashes’. Like Diana Evans, who wrote ‘Ordinary People’, says in an interview, “I write from inside blackness, from inside black experience”.

Jesmyn Ward on Grief on the loss of someone close to you: “You will never stop waiting for that person to walk through the door, but you learn how to live with it”

Char Dham

Char Dham (literally: ‘the four abodes/seats’) are the names of four pilgrimage sites in India that are widely revered by Hindus. It comprises Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameswaram. It is considered highly sacred by Hindus to visit Char Dham during one’s lifetime. The Char Dham defined by Adi Shankaracharya consists of four Vaishnavite pilgrimages

The Four Shankaracharya Peeth (Seats) at the Chaar Dham school of Hinduism, created at least four Hindu monastic institutions. He organised the Hindu monks under four Maṭhas (Sanskrit: मठ) (monasteries), with the headquarters at Dvārakā in the West, Jagannatha Puri in the East, Sringeri Sharada Peetham in the South and Badrikashrama in the North.

Dad

Dad had a small fall and broke his hip bone. Yesterday was his hip replacement surgery. Kind of runs in the family, Mom, aunt all had hips replaced before they passed away. St.Peter would have had some problem screening and letting them into heaven. Back to Dad. Before the operation Dad was telling my brother about funeral arrangements. Must have been a precaution taken in his usual meticulous way.

5th March

He’s holding up quite well. Mummy was just screaming non stop when she had the same accident. Just imagine, the agony she was the one who could put up with anything

Daddy is cool only hurts when they move him. It wasn’t such a severe fall either
Dad is all prepped and ready after a battery if tests. The conclusion is that it’s a high risk attempt but given his age he is in relatively good condition

What a thing to happen at this age. It’s is indeed a high risk affair. Only consoling thing is that he has no sugar, hypertension or heart ailments.
Is he in pain? Are they giving him pain killer shot?

Afternoon he said he couldn’t bear it and they have him a drip painkiller
Now he seems to be resting. They put a catheter as well to measure urine.
Helen is also here she will go and sit in the hospital tomorrow because Vava has to go to work. I will also be there. Celine too.

Yes. Did the aesthetician check dad out?

Yes he was the one talking about the level of risk but they all agree it’s worth a shot.

That hospital/doc is experienced in such surgery? Have they fixed a time?

Tomorrow afternoon. The doctors look like young kids haha but they seem to have some enthusiasm.

Hope they have the experience. Surely not with patient this old.

Surgery seems to be some routine thing. Three people in our family have already had it. Mummy,Irene aunty and now him. I think even I can do it by watching YouTube.

Ah ok. They have to lots of preparations in the morning.

Already administered TT and everything

Ah ok. How’s he taking it?

Didn’t look like he was having any difficulty. In between  he did speak to me about his funeral arrangements though haha.  The doctors said emphatically that if you leave him like this it would be a certain downward spiral.

Yes the risk is surely worth taking. He should come out with flying colours.
Perhaps newsworthy for the hospital too. Strange which all direction life spirals into.

6th March

Everything went well. At least the doctor was smiling when he came out of the theater haha.
Ah good to hear that. Hope the recovery is fast. I am sure they will make him walk soon
They let us have a look at him before they put him in post op. He was smiling and looked little high haha.
Yes that’s good spirits.
Then they showed us the piece of bone which they removed which they’ll send for biopsy.
This could be a positive turning point.
I think they might have improved him a little bit haha. Money well spent
That’s normal procedure to do biopsy. Bit of commercial angle too. It’s actually not needed. Because the damage was due to the fall.. Hope he can walk once he recovers. It will be terrible to use a walker. Let’s take the docs advice.
Doctors must have thought anyway we’re in here so might as well take a close look around haha.
It surely must be a record for the hospital. They will take full mileage out of it. Won’t be surprised if if there is a press release.
7th
I forgot to mention some details about Daddy. Day before the operation they catheterised him and later he pulled out the tube and bled a bit. So he had a fever by the time of the operation. Doctors didn’t think it was anything to worry about and put him on antibiotics. That’s one of the reasons he’ll have to stay couple of days in the hospital
Hope it does not turn out to be catheter infection. Any way antibiotics should cure it and the incision wound. How is he passing urine now?
Catheter was just so that could measure the exact amount of urine before the op. They must have removed it by now.
Strange, they could have made him pee and measured.
Not once but over a period of time haha.
They know what they are doing I suppose. Anyway good he stays in the hospital for couple of days under their care. Wonder how he can manage at home. Think we have to arrange a capable home nurse. Vava should know one.
They’re all taking good care of him. He wouldn’t want to live much longer once he feels he losing his Independence
Yes that’s the worrying psychological part.
It’s natural at his age
May need some cheering on
Patient resting after the operation. Kind of Lazarus moment haha. They made him walk.

Successful surgery done by able young doctors. Not even blood needed. Must have been top precision operation. Dad was more surprised than anyone else to have come out of it so smoothly. Only a day ago he was asking for painkiller.  Under similar circumstances Mom was screaming with pain. She was one who could put up with anything.
Will be sent home Friday
Ah ok. Are they training him on walker? Or can he walk with a stick?
He seems to be on top of the world just to be alive. Today, just one day after the surgery they made him walk, The doc said its a morale booster dose to make them walk soon as possible.

They improved him little bit. Today he was chatting away like mad about all the tiny details of his childhood

He was born in a shack like hospital which was behind present day eye hospital within General Hospital complex. It was the only maternity hospital  103 years ago. For a moment I was envious of my brother. I wanted to be the listener.

He was pointing out the irony that the distance between his birth and death would have been very short, the cemetery being just opposite the road. Just 103 years squeezed in between.

He said his childhood was worse than that of sub-Saharan African and yet here he is still around at 103.

He must have been 2 or 3 when first world war broke out. Famine like situation followed.

Yes. I have heard the tough times they had gone through. Bits and pieces from Grandma.

Aunt Irene nearly died of Typhoid. It was so bad they nearly gave her up for dead. It was some miracle that saved her. He even remembered the first thing she said after she recovered. Her condition was so bad that he went and begged the parish priest to come and give her last rites and the priest, whose name he still remembers, ignored him.

Reminded me of my friend whose dog was sick. There was no vet anywhere close by in the provinces. She has no money to take it far nor for any medicine. Poverty was such that birthdays were happy with a coke and a cupcake with a candle. She just hugged the dog and prayed for death to come fast.

Never knew this story
The whole thing is like some medieval tale haha
There were no cure those days. You either survive by luck or die. Very gloomy time.
Trivandrum was like that. But far advanced because of hospitals and educational institutions. The maharaja saw to it.

When time came for his first communion everybody was as usual to be dressed in white. But he didn’t have a white dress. Somebody promised him one but did not turn up at the last moment. There was a black jacket at home and he was forced to wear that. So he is asking to imagine the humiliation of this sole guy in black among the sea of white clad children.

Grandpa used to work in the govt press. Yes he went through hell. Later lucky enough to be friends with Sadasivan sir and gang. Those were really bad times. Having food on the table was almost impossible. But they survived. Another era. 1st and 2nd world war.

Are you at the hospital?

There was no food during first world war. So you had to go and wait in a queue to collect the pith of palm trees. This his dad used to do. One had to bring it home and get it ground to flour and make something out of it to eat.

Yes unimaginable. To be sane  after all that these and keeping one’s sanity must have been tough.
Read Angela’s Ashes. Gives you a better understanding of the sense of despair and how human beings cope. In many ways Ireland was comparable to those times. Probably because of the presence of Irish nuns who spread the news of despair.
I was reading somewhere that all Indians have genetic modifications caused by famine during olden days so their pattern of diseases is completely different from those if other peoples. Even eating a good diet now cannot change that
What I have noticed is that unattractive people here are really showing the ravages of famine on their faces even now haha
Probably true to certain extent. Depending upon where one was located. This never affected people in the forest areas and farmland. Hunter-gatherers never even knew about the famine or war.

And there’s lots more like the flu that swept the globe and killed MILLIONS at one go.
He lived through that too.
Those days it was the plague.
Unattractive people turned up when the harijans got liberated and got integrated. Jose classic example. When I was in St. Joseph’s and when Merly and Kochu were in Women’s college, the roads were full of pretty girls. As time went by they were replaced by terrible looking females. Even the dress code changed from half sari/sari to churidar.
All the prominent families left TVM.

Who is with dad?

I don’t know haha
Vinny was there in the evening after I came back. He might know
He was surviving the whole day on bottled tender coconut water and Tropicana fruit juice haha. Wonder if he had any solid food at all. May not have any appetite
Most probably vava will be there. I’m quite friendly with them but solid boundaries have to be respected haha. There was opportunity to make solid trouble haha. But I graciously avoided all that and they’re grateful. Dad never even expected that I would go to the hospital with him.

Yes that was hugely diplomat

May be he is scared of going to toilet
Are they giving him any IV fluids?
He’s eager to experiment with going to the toilet hahaha. It’s top priority for him. But he’s still wearing that urine bag so he had to wait till tomorrow. He didn’t make any caca since Sunday. Various ivs are being administered
Catheter still on?
Yes. The urologist also also checking his prostate. Tomorrow he had to get a ultra sound to check the condition of the prostate. Then they’ll give him some medication for that as well
Yes that’s a good idea. He had prostrate trouble before.
Then there’s also cardiologist
Seems to be a good hospital
That’s why they’re keeping him tomorrow also
Very systematic. His blood test would have indicated everything.
The main doctor went off to amrita hospital with his mother. He’ll be back tomorrow night and day after he’ll come and discharge
Let them keep him long as needed. You can tell the docs not to rush.
He’s very happy with the hospital. Till now he had only contempt for them haha

Difficult to take him back for further checks. Good he is happy with them.

8th
Nothing much happened today. Took him for an ultrasound scan. He was sleeping rest of the time. Today he was just exhausted and sleeping most of the time. So no new stories
Has he started eating solid food?
Not much. Coconut water and fruit juice
IV still on?
Yes and catheter
Little fever as well so may not have any appetite
Ah ok. Sure they know what they are doing. They are not giving solid food or he is not eating?
He didn’t want
Ah ok. May be the total discomfort. When will they remove the catheter? Don’t think they will discharge him tomorrow
Linda was saying they won’t
Talk to the doc tomorrow. Bit worried why the fever. Hope it is not a catheter infection.
You better talk to the docs and get a clear picture. Be there when the docs come on the rounds
Only little fever last night. Daytime he was ok. I noticed a paracetamol drip.
That’s for fever and pain. They must be giving him antibiotics too
Yes
Will they remove the catheter tomorrow?
No idea
Do check tomorrow. They would have noticed something in his blood or urine.
That’s why the prostate check. It would be good to talk to the senior doc
No, prostate is part of all round treatment. Same with cardiologist
Ah ok. Hope he will start eating soon. Did they make him walk today? Is he ok with the walker?
Urologist if trying to confirm if there’s any chance of his getting a block
Need to get some one for day care. Hope a male nurse.
No walking today at all he didn’t even want to sit up
Yes that’s worrying
It’s all these medicines making him generally unstable. He’ll be okay once all those are over. Yesterday he was actually a little high.
Yes need to get over the intense medication stage.
Doctor was saying they decided to go ahead with the operation despite the fever because to wait for the fever to break would mean that he would have to go through the whole prepping process all over again and it would take too long
Yes I noticed that. What is worrying is the cause of the fever.

9th

When they had almost given up on Irene aunty after she got typhoid it was Koshys mother or wife or someone who persuaded then to get her to general hospital. Koshy who had optical shop. He’s very close to their family even now
Never knew Koshy family was there at that time.
R you going to hospital?
As I told you, the fever was from catheter infection. I knew it from the beginning. Try to keep him in the hospital for couple of days more. Let him get used to the walker too. How much the room costs per day?
Need to find someone to be with him all day. You can spend more time with him too.
They have everything under control is what the doctor said. No more injections or drips or anything only some pills which he will prescribe. Absolutely no point in hanging around there and wasting everyone’s time and money
I’m not going to make myself look like an idiot and inside on staying there haha
Yes if the doctors are confident it’s ok
The irony is that doctor himself is saying hospital is a dangerous place haha
I was the only one enjoying that joke
If you want to survive, please leave immediately is what he was basically saying
He was saying if it was hos father he would have fled that place long ago and what kind of fools are you?
Get up and bloody walk is the fundamental advice he’s giving
Hehe ok. I can understand the standard from the catheter infection. They must have pulled it out from someone and inserted in him. It’s the basic test. Followed by theater infection.
He was saying there are only few nurses and God knows what all germs they’re carrying from room to room
Hehe
10th
Beds there look like general hospital beds.
Dad’s home? Can he walk to the toilet etc.?
He may have problem passing urine for a day or so.
Everything went smoothly, discharged in the morning and back home by 3.30. He’s telling everyone don’t worry I’ll take care of him haha. I said the hell I will. So they’re getting some male nurse.
Yes he needs a male nurse. Who could be there during the day.
Anyway, no problems for the moment. Have to go back and get the staples removed after 3 weeks. There are lots of people there but they’re all scared he’ll fire them!
Of course you must spend more time with him. Whenever you are going out or coming back. Can he walk now? With the walker. His biggest worry will be toileting.
He has to make the effort and sit up and eat and practice walking around
That’s most important thing, not lie around.
Yes. Will need some prompting. He’s a fighter.
11th
They got one guy to come and stay nights. Looks like decent fellow. He might probably pass before the patient haha.
I thought he needed help during the day when no one is around. Night he will be sleeping.
Talk to him about it. He will probably chase the guy away soon.
Daytime all the women are there
Ah ok. How is he faring? Do try to spend some time with him
Tony Tri: He’s saying he wants to die immediately
Why the change of heart? When is the best time to call him?
He’ll pull himself together after a couple of days
Yes the discomfort and the shock of past few days are telling on him
It must be relief that he got out of the hospital haha. His only worry may be that he’ll lose his Independence
He must have surprised himself by surviving the ordeal. Will try and call him later today.
Good we have given him for adoption. Just tried calling Vava. She is at the church.
12th
Looking very bright and cheerful today. Introduced his attendant and made us exchange phone numbers haha
Spoke to him yesterday. But sounded like half sedated. May be the medicines he is taking.
Speech is still a little slurry but spirits are high
That is probably because of his general tiredness. He will come out if it.
Big rain coming?
Cloudy and drizzled little bit. Looks like it will rain within couple of days
High winds and rain south of kanyakumari.

13th

Mathrubhumi newspaper had an article about Dad. He was part of the 3 member team who started Travancore Radio Station. They must have interviewed him before the accident.

Wish there was an English version. Send to me if u can find.
Did they come to interview daddy for this?
They must have talked to him before the accident.

14th
Dad is very sad when I told him Stephen Hawking passed away. He was big fan. He’s saying once his memory starts fading the entire medical establishment will never guess what a fantastic asset they’re losing haha.
Not walking yet but goes to the toilet in the portable potty. I asked him if he felt like walking but didn’t seem in the mood
Dad has got some shivering. Vava spoke to the doctor and he said to give the fever medicine. If it gets worse we’ll have to take him back. They gave him tetanus shot right at the beginning so I don’t think there will be any serious infection.
Did vava check his temperature? Is he passing urine?
Can’t say. Could be theatre infection too. Its like winning a lottery to come unscathed out of these hospitals
He went to toilet twice today so that doesn’t seem to be problem. Have to wait and see
It’s pretty cool here suddenly. Might have caught a chill. Temperature dropped 4 degrees and he’s lying there without any clothes
Yes he must have got a chill. See if you can get him a blanket
He’s still on antibiotics so nothing to be done except fever medicine. It might be urinary infection also
They covered him up well
And some warm clothes. They probably Don’t realise the temperature drop
Yes he was not putting anything on
Anyway they’re in consultation with the doctor, if it gets worse will take him back
Hope they are not trying to kill him
Can’t take anything for granted. There might be a”cascade effect”where if one bodily system fails everything else might go one by one in a rapid chain
He’s too healthy for that to happen. He has no heart or diabetics. Only issue I know about is his prostate. He once told me it is under control and gave me the medication he was taking
Unless of course he mentally gives up. Using the walker etc must be telling on him.
You need to sit and talk to him every day for a little while. It’s not an easy thing to accept a hip replacement at his age. Kind of added handicap against freedom of movement.
Lot of care and affection has to go in. Both are limited at the moment.
I can see the struggle going on inside him. His memory is his greatest treasure. What if he’s forced to live without it is his great terror
Nobody can do anything about that. It’s a solitary fight. Even if I or someone goes and sits there he’ll get upset that he might be boring us and ask us to leave
The key thing is adaptability and resilience. Everything depends on how much of that he has
Just talk to him for few mins. He is generally a loner. Give him extra attention and he  probably won’t accept. I have noticed it long time ago

15th
16 years today after we lost Nicky
Heard Don is there. Dad will be happy to meet him
Yes he spent lot of time here. Left just now
Ah nice. Wanted to call.
He would have been 39 this year I think. Nicky
Dad was very sad when he heard about Stephen Hawking. He was very big fan.
Yes 39 in July. Born 1979

19th

Took him to hospital and got sutures removed. Everything is ship shape and x-ray also showed good results. Only thing he has to do is get up and walk. He’s giving lame excuses and saying that he already walked for 103 years so he doesn’t have to walk anymore. Serious muscle wattage is going on. When I lifted him to put on the stretcher he felt considerably lighter. So basically he’s finished if he can’t summon the will to get up and walk.

Have to somehow get him to walk. The fear of falling down must be stopping him from walking. Someone has to help him to walk for a while. So he will be confident that he will not fall. If the muscle degeneration start it will become more difficult. Have to somehow encourage him. The environment there is not encouraging.
Doctor was very disappointed. He’s saying all our work will turn out to have been for nothing.
Little discomfort can encourage him to give up. Hope the doctor gave him some encouraging advice.
Now they’re trying to get a physiotherapist to come and see him
That will be good. In the end he should make the therapist a psycho
How you move him in the hospital? Wheel chair?
Got him there in ambulance. Then they put him in wheelchair.
Ah ok. You went alone?
There was a big gang haha. Helen, sunno, Thomas, his home nurse. That guy seems decent sort of fellow. 15k per month salary. It’s some kind of organization they got him from.
That’s good to have a person like that. Must tell him to encourage dad to walk.

20th

https://mobile.nytimes.com/1997/08/05/world/jeanne-calment-world-s-elder-dies-at-122.html?referer=android-app://com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox

The best example to follow. Instead of sitting around grouching and grumbling about everybody and everything for 103 years!
Must make him read this. May cheer him up little bit.
Physiotherapist is coming this afternoon. Already he’s got a bedsore.
That was my next worry. Bedsore. Especially skinny People can get bedsore fast.
Psychotherapist came?
They were supposed to call me when he came but they didn’t. Will find out tomorrow. Vava was complaining that guy is useless haha. Doesn’t listen to anything they say. They’re trying to get rid of him and get someone else
Who, the caretaker or psycho?
The nurse, he’s some kind of Pentecost guy threatening them with hellfire haha
He’ll behave one way with me and quite different with them haha.
Hehe what a situation. May be he is seeing devils around the house. Like the priest who saw in Tanya’s house and did some exorcism. Which actually backfired on Pamy.
Haha all kinda of ingredients in the general mix
WTF is going on only God knows

21st
What’s new. Dad is at least sitting up?
No news today. He does sit up to brush teeth and eat and go to toilet.
Hope he sit down on the chair to read paper.

22nd
How’s dad today?

24th
Dad was asking to see me, I was out, said I’ll come tomorrow
Ah update me after you meet him.

25th

It will take small miracle to make him want to get up and walk again. I have never seen anybody so eager to die. The psychotherapist came and did his thing but next day he had swelling in the legs so they put off any further sessions. Even now he’s got slight swelling in his feet. He gets completely irritated when they behave like they want him to get better haha. In the end there’s so much tension in the household I have to go and calm things down haha. Somehow I am getting the reputation as a cool guy to have around when you die haha! Have to study further why I am having that effect.It’s  some kind of classic syndrome.

My friend’s grandmother has the same accident and surgery and after that she was behaving in exactly the same way. She died after three or four months.

The point is that he is very happy and cheerful. Just don’t mention getting well and continuing to live haha!

He’s saying that now everything is between him and his maker and its futile for anybody else to intervene.

At some point it makes more sense and easier on yourself and others to just let everything go. I am agreeing with him completely on that one haha!

Very true. As long as he is in peace with himself it’s ok. Have to just ask him to sit up as much as possible to avoid bedsore. On a personal note I wish I can spend some time with him. Have resolved most of legal issues with the factory. Was planning to travel this month🤞

He asked about you and whether you’re being kept informed about developments.

Tell him I am trying my best to come soon. Ask him to hang in there.

But it’s not somebody simply wanting to die. My theory is that these are all some kind of exalted spiritual state that we don’t have the right language to express. You have to go back to the way that ancient tribes like the Indians or Mayans or someone saw things in order to make sense of it. That’s why they will feel insulted if you say you’re going to bring them back and make them well again. Hence the anger and irritation. Maybe it’s a wonderful thing. To be in that state. And it’s the rest of us that are ruining it. 

Yes strange situation. See if you can make him listen to ohmmm chant. Plenty in YouTube

Evening he was kind of positive haha. Made me fetch his specs which is surely a sign of life. Then he made me bring him his money box back in case he needed to give alms to the needy.

Hehe ok. Palm Sunday. 

Still couldn’t resist bragging that he can read the smallest type without glasses haha.

Yes that’s really a big thing at his age

He must have been doubting that everybody wanted him dead and then changed his mind haha!

Yes that’s the feeling he need. Feeling wanted.

26th

I went to see him today morning. They had given him a bath and he was sleeping like a baby.

I saw “Fifty Shades of Grey’ in his library. That means he will be fine! Than means he is well versed in the language of desire.

Dad got 66/100 marks for Maths for ESLC. Didn’t get top grade marks but passed in the first attempt. The mark book was written by someone in beautiful handwriting.

If it was up to me I would have grounded him for one year for bringing home such disgraceful marks. No wonder he was secretly happy to see his children fail!

St.Joseph’s school headmaster was an Irishman by the name Patrick. He was physically very imposing and caned Dad for coming late to school. A few years after he taught this raggedy little boy he was sitting across from him in the university senate meeting.

Have you read a book “fried green tomatoes at the whistle stop cafe” by Fanny Flagg?

I heard about it. It was a bestseller some time back

Read it. You will find similarities. The person can remember the past with Chrystal clarity. But can’t remember where she kept her glasses that day. Hilarious book
 I always remember the book when u relate daddy’s episodes.
Made into a movie also if I remember correctly
Yes, But book is great
Father Patrick was famous. Some of my teachers in St. Joseph’s knew him
He was physically very imposing too. Dad got caned for coming late too haha
Hehe YES. He was a terrorist
ESLC is elementary school leaving certificate?

28th
He told me where all his documents are kept, will check everything when I’m in the mood. He’s saying, more than any certificate his greatest achievement is making it to 104!
Yes it really is. Always cheer him up
Send me all those incidents and old stuff he tells you. Show some enthusiasm so he will tell you more.
Grandpa’s name was Salvadore. Curious to know where he is originally from. Some branches of the family are in Mangalore. Some in alleppey, nagercoil & thangassery. Could not connect it. One Mary aunty used to come from Mangalore to visit. She looked like a nomad

29th
Now he’s saying that he knows so many inner secrets about the Travancore Royal Family that not even the severest waterboarding will make him give up!
Tell him it’s not worth keeping it a secret any more. Just to spill it you.
We are writing a book about him. This could be a juicy part
There used to be a workshop in our junction owned by a Philip Netto. There was one mesthri there who was a crack shot and used to bag a bunch of bats in the evenings and give everybody.

Yes I know. It was a thick bush there in the corner opp Koshys. Overgrown bush with grotto in it. One had to crawl in to find the place.

One there was a huge increase in the bay population best Padmanabha swamy Temple and Daniel supt was put in charge of culling by the Palace. He brought for five bats and gave us haha. He’s saying it’s very tasty meat

And there also used to be grotto dedicated to the Virgin Mary as well

Yes I remember that. Netto was a loner. I have a vague memory.

Later on the bat culling went to my friend Anantaram. Then they reduced it to crow culling. Anantaram used to shoot a few bars too and put in the sack with the crows. His wife cooks the best bat biriyani in the world. We used to do bat culling  inside the zoo compound too. Shoot a few kuyil too for good measure. You had to show the empty cartridges to get paid for culling.

Now they will put you in jail if you shoot a bat.

Was just watching a report on Mookkunnimala in Asianet special report. Showing how the granite mafia has been destroying the whole area by illegal quarrying

A truly Dickensian tale :
There was aunty in Quilon who had five children. The eldest was Ralph’s grandmother, then there was Lily aunty who was a nurse in the British army, then there was one called Nora who later married some guy working in the railway. During his childhood Daddy was being passed around among relatives and one of his stints away from home was with Quilon aunty
Every evening the family used to say rosary and he, being only around five sort of nodded off upon noticing which Aunt Nora went to the kitchen and got a bunch of onions tied into a kizhi, laid him down on the floor and squeezed the juice into his eyes. According to him they considered it an act of piety
Many years later he went to visit the same Nora in Bombay at a time when serious religious riots were going on. They were living in a heavily Muslim area and getting killed wouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. Nobody mentioned the childhood torture haha!
https://www.jckonline.com/magazine-article/krementz-co-an-american-story/

The special quality of these buttons is that they’ll never tarnish.

The situation at home was terrible when he was young that he preferred to wander around town with really no interest in going home.
One day mama gave him money to go and get fish from palayam and he got a huge tuna for 8 kaasu. He got the fish and went roaming and by the time he got home it was quite late. Mama was waiting for him by the well and she took the fish and hit him with it!

When Irene Aunt was lying on her seeming deathbed he had to go to school and he kissed her goodbye thinking that she wouldn’t be alive when he came back. He actually broke down and cried remembering that one.

When he first got a job he didn’t have any decent clothes to wear, so he wrote to Laurie Uncle in Malaysia and he sent him 20rs. That’s the first time he bought himself something to wear on his feet!

He was saying his feet are better now than those of people who have worn shoes since the time they were born. He’s covered the whole of Trivandrum on his bare feet. Something I have been wishing to do for quite some time haha!

It’s like having a parent who survived Auschwitz or Buchenwald during the Holocaust. The only thing missing is the number tattooed on the arm!

Throughout his life, he says, it was always the poorest if the poor who always loved and supported him.

Keep at it and extract as much as possible. This is pure gold for us.

That aunty must have been the mother of Lily aunty whom I have met several times. Along with one Matilda aunty from Alleppey who was married to a total drunkard Alen. Ask dad about Matilda aunty. They were all very close to Alashy aunty.

Once in a while the whole bunch used to come down to spend few days in our house. Mostly sleeping on the cow dung spread verandah of our old kitchen. Lily aunty used to smoke John Players. Matilda aunty beedi.

Don’t blame mama for hitting him with the tuna. Here is a family hungry and waiting for the next meal and he is roaming the city with tuna.

Yes he had some low end staff at the university like Gardner’s and peons who used to like him. One was Gardner Chellappan from kovalam. He used to bring good roses and plant around the house. Once he brought lobsters tied up in a coconut palm frond basket

And there was one head peon always in uniform (called daphedar or something. Ask dad) who used to come home for a meal every Xmas

And in his group of friends including Sadasivan sir and brother Balan who used to be a dredger operator, there was one guy also their relative (think his name was Ramakrishnan) who took off to Bombay to make a living. He settled down in Kalyan which used to be a slum. One day I was at home with aunty and a guy with long beard and sanyasi outfit knocked on the door. Aunty could not identify him. Ask dad about him.

Cruelty was the order of the day. Sure he suffered a lot in the hands of relatives. He lived a while in Nagercoil.

30th

Tony: Do you remember the name of the guy who used to send us cake for Christmas? Dad got him his job and as a sign of thanks he used to send cake every Christmas for so many years until he was ordered not to. He’s from kunnukuzhy. I used to know but now neither of us can remember. His father was dad’s math teacher in St. Joseph’s

Alan Uncle was the youngest of Quilon aunt’s children. A complete good for nothing according to Dad haha

Yes I know the cake guy. Vaguely remember him. Know his house very well. Was it Kurisappan sirs son?

So that Alan uncle married Matilda aunty🤔

Can’t remember many names. Perhaps it will all come back when we turn 100

Dad’s another teacher was Tina’s grandfather. Later turned to homeo practice and treated Merly for asthma.

From what I gather Aloysia aunty was some kind of revolutionary. He hasn’t got one single story to tell about her except that she was the one that brought the smallpox that killed his father into the house. She must told to go to hell with his inflated sense of himself!

During the great influenza epidemic of 1918 they send him to live in the house just next to Mathai sirs house where Rajam chechi used to live. At that time the house was occupied by an Anglo Indian family and he’s says they probably let him sleep in the kitchen

In some instances I think the facts are being liberally embroidered!!!

Hehe but basic facts are true.

So, 1 rupee could be made into 458 kaasu cons in change and a person could survive on a daily basis in 8 out 10 of those.

1″panam”was 1/7 of a rupee and was a small silver coin. On special occasions the Maharajah would fling handfuls of these come from the windows of kowdiar palace. Such a gift was called “sarvani”

That guy who brought us cake was called Hermitage Fernando haha. His father was head of the Tamil Dept in St Joseph’s. They used to call him Tamil munshi

Bhaskar sirs father was called Naanan muthalali. He was the owner of Town Hotel. Nearby was the Connemara Hotel which was owned by Kesavan whose daughter married Velayudhan doctor

Ayyappan aasari was Janardhanan mistry’s father. When Dad was in 10th standard he didn’t have a place to sit and study. They were sitting around and chatting and Ayyappan aasari agreed to make him a chair. For one panam he made him an easy chair.

Yes Town hotel was our haunt at one time. But shifted to Taj when it opened with better food and fresh mutton. The Taj owner used to cut his own goats every morning. The cooking smell used to waft over to the church.

Janardanan mestiri used to work for me for a while

Once Kesavan so upset by people saying that he was serving beef and calling it mutton that he took Dad into the kitchen and showed him the mutton carcasses hanging there.

C.V. Chandrasekharan M.A. Oxon was Dad’s true mentor. He was the man behind AIR and wanted Dad to work there. Dad actually read the English news few times at first when AIR started haha

Hehe. Town hotel food was good too. And they had small private cubicles. Connemara had bar licence even then. Down the road towards VJT was Regal hotel.Owned by same family Regal tiles. Famous for clay roof tiles

Key personalities of that era was a tailor near KMS and gramophone repair guy (both parava community like Lionel and other famous motor mechanics of that time). The tailor stands out because he used to wear a shirt coat and mundu to church. It was rumoured that the shirt sleeve showing was only a piece  of sleeve with cuff button. Not a full shirt.

The gramophone repair guys daughter was merly’s classmate. Her name was Helina

Haha, George Lean’s grandfather’s name is Rayappan Lean (compounder). Dispensary was somewhere near Karamana

Bhakthi Vilas, somewhere near Jagathy. Residence of the Dewan of Travancore, Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer. When Sir C.P. was Acting Vice Chancellor Dad had to send all the matters that needed his approval there. He would never come to the university.

Sir CP was really a character. I think dad was there when they tried to kill him with a vadiwal
He was right next to him and too scared to run!!!

Yes he told me long time ago that CP had something todo with the royal family. Probably that’s Dad’s exclusive secret. 

Wish Dad Happy Easter for us.

1/4/’18

Had Biryani for lunch. Spent evening with Dad. Alankutty acha and Victor acha came to visit him in the afternoon. They are getting him a better nurse and sending off tge current Pentecostal fellow.

If alankutty acha is endorsing the nurse they’re getting he must be very good.

Yes surely. Hope the guy is switched on and good company for dad.

But according to Dad’s experience nobody except me can be trusted to be around just when he needs them haha.
The house will be full of people but the only result is complete chaos and confusion. All of them need one nurse each haha

Alankutty Acha and Victor Acha were always loving to dad. But he never reciprocated in olden days.

Finally here consoled himself saying that it’s good thing we’re all thin otherwise nurses would have had such a hard time.

2nd April

New nurse will start tomorrow I think. Now the routine is to stay awake all night and keep bothering the guy and sleep most of the day. When I went there around eleven both nurse and patient were fast asleep!

3rd April

Hope the ne nurse is switched on person who can adjust with Dad.

In those early days all kids dreamt of becoming an altar boy just like kids dream of becoming rock stars now. And the most admired of altar boys was Teddy Gomez who used to live near where the road goes down to Nanthancode. He was of course a snob and wouldn’t even bother to look down at your grandfather. So altar boy dreams were never realized because of general poverty stricken demeanor. But later on when he got job in the University he became so smart that all the women were whispering behind his back “Omigod, who’s that dashing, handsome guy?”

Yes he was good looking. Have seen some old photos of him wearing mundu, shirt and a coat. Haha. What a great story it’s turning out to be. I remember he lost grandpa when he was 7.

96 years ago, this Saturday, April 7th, our grandfather Salvatore Pereira, was carried away by the smallpox. It was completely avoidable death because there was already a vaccine. But older people never took it seriously.
The year was 1922
He was buried just inside the old cemetery gate, under a jackfruit tree which used to be there.
You have to remember that out father was born in 1915, one year into the First World War. That’s why at that time they had to survive on flour made from the pith of palm trees etc.
There’s another very interesting tidbit haha. When he was in third standard their classroom in Nagercoil had a floor which was cow dung. He used to make a regular snack of the bits which were flaking off. Somebody went and told his guardians and he got a right good spanking!
Maybe that’s the secret of his longevity!

Haha! What a great story this is turning out to be. I remember he lost Grandpa when he was 7.

4th

Josephine aunty had three sisters. Younger to her was Tommy’s mother after that was Catherine, who eloped with a Muslim guy and then there was Mary a few years younger to Daddy. When he was staying with them Mary was so attached to him she used to scream for him whenever she needed to make caca and he had to go and sit with her in the toilet while she took a dump. After he came back to Trivandrum there wasn’t much contact. She died of typhoid when she was just around fifteen and they never bothered to let him or our family know.

Holy crap!
Never knew the existence of Mary. Have heard them talking hush-hush about the one who eloped with a Muslim
3 incidents involving muslims stand out from my younger days. One was the Catherine elopement, second guy converted from Muslim to Catholic and married one of Koshys cousins, third, the mother of all, was Sunno Moreiras only aunty (father’s sister) one of the prettiest at that period in TVM, fell in love with a Muslim and her brothers took her to Veli kayal, tied a big stone to her neck and threw her overboard. Earliest honour killing I have heard of. Any way madness started in the family from then onwards.

New guy is a sort of healthier version of our Rajan.

Hehe ok. Hope he will adjust to dad’s demands.

The guy minding Daddy. The household people like him better than the old guy who was sort of too intellectual for their taste
He wants to buy wheelchair immediately and take him around.

Ah good idea. But that may make him wheel chair bound. He may not attempt to walk again.

I told him we want to make him get up and walk instead of being a general pest and wasting people’s time
They gave him bath today and he was sleeping nicely just now.

Wheelchair will give him the biggest excuse not to walk. Plus we may need 3 people to push up to the road. Also coming back if you lose control dad will end up in KMS compound.

The guy was just trying to show his enthusiasm for the job.

Tell him overentusiasm will make him a vegetable. Even short walk in the compound is needed.

Just inside the house would be great for starters. Taking a shit by himself is the only thing everybody wants haha.

5th

Due to strained circumstances Isabel aunty and Maggie aunty lived for some time in Pangode. Just after the church there’s a road going down. Dad went and lived with them and since he was small a neighbour guy used to take him to St. Joseph’s. That guy was always spending money on idiappam and irachi curry which he used to buy for Dad also. Finally he spent dad’s school fees also haha. So he lost two years of school and passed finals only at 17.

6th

There’s one more guy in the picture. Isabel and Maggie aunties brother or somebody. He was working in the European Club and went to Malaysia later using his contacts there. He married from Anchu Thengu and is the father of the priest who married off Sonia. The whole family came here with an orchestra to see him off to Malaysia haha.

Nice updates. More skeletons are falling out.

You know, Bhaskaran sirs property once belonged to us. Some shady things happened and we lost it. I know Isabel/Maggie aunties were involved. Ask him about it.
Our original front was today’s back side. There used to be two bunches of palm trees on both sides of the entrance to then front yard. Somewhere in line with the Jathi tree and staircase to your room. Front yard had many crotons and greens planted in symmetry. And nice steps with an roof and half decorated walls on both sides.  steps going down to Kevin’s room is left over from original steps.
Our compound entrance was where Bhaskaran sirs gate is. Pathway led to the palm trees

I remember the old place. I think we should reorient the house back eastwards. Now it’s like we are family without an address!
They sold Bhaskaran sirs place for 2k. Celine was saying it was too support Charlie uncle’s boozing.

Who is Charlie uncle. Kind of lost there
Yes our troubles started after we tried to turn the house around. House front should face east.

Charlie Uncle was Isabel auntie’s husband.
In the end I think he also had Alzheimer’s and used to wander off.

I found papers about the original court case which Mama had to fight for debt and also the papers for sale if bhaskaran sirs property haha
Alan kitty acha was saying Daddy started to hate Mama after that court case.

Yes I knew there was a turning point some where
Who was Mama fighting against?

I think some relative whose name we dare not speak haha, came and conned mama into giving the property as surety for some blade loan. When he defaulted the court attached our house.
I have to find out the guys name

Can u imagine Mama fighting in the court!
Yes it will be interesting to know. Some names were never mentioned. I think even Mummy did not know

The Diwan of Travancore deputised Dr.K.L.Moudgill, a dardarji to conduct a study on how to set up Kerala University in 1938. He chose Mr. Mathew Pereira as his amanuensis to accompany him on the trip. That was kind of Mr. Pereira’s Grand Tour. Starting from Trivandrum they went through Chennai to Calcutta and then worked their way West through Bihar, kanpur, Delhi etc. up to the Punjab, and then on to Lahore. He didn’t know a word of Hindi and on the way here managed to drop his typewriter on the ground as well. I’m Calcutta he was put up with a Tamil family and one evening he decided to go for a movie. When he came back the household has securely locked up for the night so he went and slept in a nearby park bench. In the morning when he came back nobody mentioned anything at all haha. He also had a local malayali neighbour who took him everywhere including Karayar Street where all the prostitutes were centered. All of them Europeans. That was strictly for sightseeing haha. Then after all that on the way back he brought home Kadappa melons for everyone.

The trip must have taken months considering the speed of trains and general slow life.
TVM – Madras was his regular train route until Hindu newspaper Dakota plane started taking limited passengers.
Once he took me in the train to Madras and showed me the press where the question papers were printed
It was somewhere near Egmore. The press owner had a heart attack once when the question paper leaked. It was one of Dad’s trusted peons who did it.
I think in the span of time he was the Confidential Assistant, the QP leaked only once. Ask him about it.

The great difficulty in those pre email days was that once the type was set you had to take it to the guy who set the questions for proofreading. He might be living somewhere on the other side of the world haha.

Yes. Can you imagine the difficulty in putting it together. He used to handle it almost single handedly from collection to getting printed to distribution. I believe it is done by a department with 35 staff

He’s saying the main problem when you’re 103 is who are you going to consult haha. Whether it’s physical health or emotional states.
Only now Western literature is hardly beginning to address that problem. What it is to be old. Somehow he got there though some other route.

7th

So our grandfather Salvador Pereira’s story is making me go weak at the knees! He was married THREE times officially, I don’t know how many were off the books.
The first one was to a girl from a prominent family in Alleppey and she died without bearing any children.
He seems to have been there adventurous buccaneering type haha. During a stint as a boat driver plying the Chavara route he managed to find the Fonseca family there and married one of the girls who became the mother of Isabel and Maggie aunty.
When she died he married or grandmother Geralda Pereira.
He had a job in the Government Press from which he got fired after an argument with the management.
The original dispute over our house started with a loan that he got from a tailor named Kolappan whose house was somewhere opposite the Nair Union Hostel.
There was a time just before he died when there was great financial hardship and he went and borrowed 1000 rupees from this tailor who might have been the same one who stitched his coats haha. He always made it a point to dress like James Bond haha.

Before he could repay the loan he died and the promissory note became invalid. The tailor very cunningly came around and made poor Mama sign and second promissory note and took it straight to the magistrate.
If anyone wants to see, the original court documents, final judgement etc. are here haha

Then there’s the story of a family that lived in a big house opposite the old Crown Bakery called “Benjamin’s Lodge”. There were four sons, Johnny Moses, Joseph Moses, Edward Moses and Joseph Moses. Edward Moses somehow managed to get an education and he finally became a judge. The other three became drivers haha. Although dad says they were there emperors of driving in Kerala at the time.
Charlie Moses married Isabel aunty. Both Isabel aunty and Maggie aunty were given 10 cents each of land from our property. Maggie aunty got married and said she doesn’t want her share so the whole thing went to Isabel aunty.
After that Charlie Uncle who was something of a model citizen at the time engaged another Charlie who lived in Barton Hill to build a house there. That house is Bhasakaran Sirs original house
What happened is that Charlie Uncle at one point became a wastrel haha. He started going to Town Hotel and started drinking and eating and running up a huge tab. The shrewd Bhaskaran Sir immediately took advantage and said this has to stop and that he would have to provide collateral if he was to continue to eat and drink himself and everybody else into the ground.
So one day he went to Isabel aunty and said that he needed to renew their property documents haha and took and handed them over to Bhaskaran sir.
For Bhaskaran sir this then became a way of life. He would wait there for hungry people in front of town hotel and lure then in and let them eat all they wanted. Guys would then get tempted to step in every time they passed by because he made it so easy for them haha. This he also managed to swindle some poor guy out of a large property somewhere near Srikaryam

Wow amazing material. Keep at it and extract as much as possible before tap closes.
Praying I can be there soon.

Nagercoil Josephine Aunty’s parents were Juana and Francis Gomez. Josephine aunty did her teaching certificate in the Thycaud teacher training college. Elsie auntie husband Maurice Uncle was employed as a driver in Trivandrum until he retired and they went and settled in Madras. So the whole Nagercoil branch spent many years in our house.

Was Maurice uncle train driver?

Haha no, that’s what I also thought. He was bus driver, so he definitely has to be demoted in the family hierarchy. He had nothing to do with railway. Maybe in in between they agreed within the family to invent that lie to impress people.

Hehe yes. He would have been better off working in their bakery
He made a lot of children. In Madras they settled down in Tambaram I think. That being a railway colony, I assumed he had something to do with the railways.
We have a branch up in Mangalore. One Mary aunty used to visit us once in a while.

I’ll find out

I know Pereira’s have a strong presence there.
Most of the visitors were not very welcome from Dad. Mummy used to somehow make them comfortable. A Aunty too.
Mary aunty was thin, tall & graceful. Was may be around 50 as I can remember. She was like a nomad visiting old relatives.
Nice to know that Mr.Salvadore Pereira was a Casanova
He would have married again but for the untimely death. Thanks to Aloysia aunty.

Hahaha

No wonder I have some affinity with boats and waterways. After all our Grandpa was a boat driver. Dad never mentioned it on our annual boat trip from Quilon to Changanassery. TVM – Quilon by bus.
No wonder I have some affinity with boats and waterways. After all our Grandpa was a boat driver. 

He’s looking much better, he was sitting up smartly in the chair whole morning and talking. They got some anti depressant medicine from somewhere and giving him haha. Courtesy of vava. Might be little high but speech is improving.

Ah ok. Vava is almost a doctor now. Probably learning from the death of patients in Aanadiyil
Yes jokes apart it’s a blessing.

Turning to our paternal grandmother’s side of the family, her parents were from somewhere in North Travancore. They were right children, for boys and for girls of whom the youngest was out Mama. The eldest was quilon aunty. They were quite poor. When quilon aunty got married her husband took in all the for brothers and taught them carpentry. After a while three of them got a chance to go to Malaysia and they emigrated.
There was some trouble in their family and the whole thing fell apart and their mother ended up, blind, in a convent in mulamoodu in Nagercoil along with one of her daughters.
Meanwhile Josephine Aunty’s grandparents had no children so they went to the orphanage and adopted Mama’s sister. And they also adopted one of the coolies who worked in the bakery who was from Trivandrum. They married off both the adopted children haha and that’s how Josephine aunty came into being.
Later on, the married couple swindled their adoptive parents and too all the property and basically locked the old lady into a corner
When Dad went to live there he was the one the old lady got to run secret errands for her haha. Her favorite treat were our green bananas and he had to go to the shop and secretly smuggle them to her. Once somebody saw him with the bananas and when the old lady found out he had been spotted she gave him one on the head with a mug!

When he was there at a very young age he wasn’t allowed to use the toilet. He had to climb the wall and get into the school compound behind and avoid the watcher and find a safe place to shit.

When Josephine auntie’s father died there was a major logistical problem. He was a huge guy and they couldn’t get his body out of the house haha. So they knocked down the front door and a bit of the wall to get him out.
When he was there dad was the one who had to go and get arrack for him. In fact that was his biggest task, going with the bottle and eight Anna’s and getting it filled.

As to how Geralda met Salvador, that’s a tale for another day.

Hehe. Getting more juicy

9/4
Waiting for next episode.
How’s dad?
Haha no new stories yesterday
Life experiences are quite few in number I suppose
Have to join the dotted lines to complete
It would have been more interesting if he had been left out in the streets like when he was young
Hehe unfortunately he did not gain any grace from all those bitter experiences. Like Frank McCourt. Wish he had written own biography. Now we have to piece it together.
He was always fighting some inner demons from the past.
His basic character is like one of those prisoners who are always afraid that someone will steal his food
Wish he had gained a broad wisdom from all those experiences. Or turned into a serial killer
All these stories are his way of working out who he really is so that he can die in peace.
So I never prompt him or ask any questions
Probably yes. Just be around him more so that he can pour out his thoughts.
https://m.economictimes.com/news/international/world-news/japanese-confirmed-as-worlds-oldest-living-man-aged-112/all-smiles/slideshow/63695575

11th

Think dad can easily beat him. Show it to him so that he will take it as a challenge.
When you’re going down to Thekkumoodu there’s a couple of small shops, one is a barbershop and the other a laundry. That was his kindergarten haha. Where they teach you to write on palm leaves with a stylus!

That was our barber for years. He used to come home to cut hair.
Those two shops are still there! The barbers son was running it. The laundry guy had been running that place from before I was born I think, he’s still there!
Hehe yes. Not sure whose property that is. Probably Dr.Velayudhan

Those days ordinary people used to buy cheaper Japanese beer
Imported? How much?
Japanese was only few annas. The other one you would have to share to be able to afford haha

Olden days Xavier’s was the place for a drink. They had a branch near Quilon bus stand. I had my first beer there when all of us had a stopover enroute to Changanassery. From there we used to go to boat jetty to catch the boat. Mom used to cook amazing prawn curry and bring along to eat in the boat which was an overnight journey. Once I remember Dad getting off the boat at a place called Pulinkunnu looking for something. Boat cast off without him and he jumped onboard from the jetty and nearly ended up in the lake.
Xavier’s owner Appu was very close to dad. Probably due to some favour dad done in the past. Don’t know what it was. Just bring out the topic of Xavier’s. He will come out with the whole story.
Merly’s wedding Appu gave me a carton of assorted booze free for the party.

 

 

 

 

My Dreiko

12 years of companionship gone in two hours. He is in every corner of this house. I look back to say bye to him when I open the door to leave. Look for him behind the glass window where he peeps when I open the gate. How can he be not there? House is full of him. But he is nowhere. Not on his corner of the sofas. Not there to wake me up with his yawns. Not there to come to me for a bit of massage. His bowl of water is no more in the corner.

Every corner of this house he was present. Can’t walk past the supermarket shelves where I used to pick up his stuff. Mutton kababs, fresh beef, brown kubus, wheat/oats flour.

Sometimes I feel he left me intentionally. To give me my freedom. No need to rush back home. No need to come back home at all. No one is waiting. Wonder what was going on in his mind while he was staring at me for long stretches while I am working.

There is no one to give sponge bathe to. No one to rub almond oil on, no one to feed medicine hidden in a kabab.

How long this void would last. Hope it never ends. I need that pain to remember him every minute.

Missing his hair on the floor, missing his poo & pee outside, missing even his sometimes bad smell!

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New idea budding!

Travel By bike the holy triangle of India. Rameshwaram to Puri (1848 km). Puri to Badrinath (1921 km). Badrinath to Dwarka (1958 km). The distances and locations are intriguing . Almost same. There must be something to it. Something holi. Need some planning and a good bike. God give me the health to do it!