Al-Avalathi's Life (Al-Avalathi is the last Mallu to go to the Gelf)
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And what did Malayala Manorama do?

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There was a tweetup with Dr. Shashi Tharoor a few days back. Manuscrypts wrote about the event. Chupchap followed. That leaved me with nothing much to talk about. :|

No, you got that wrong. Part of my question to Dr. Tharoor (How difficult is it to work with the Left govt. in bringing development to Trivandrum and is this why Chandran Tharoor Foundation does work that could have been done under the MPLADS?) found a mention in Malayala Manorama, Bangalore ed. dated 7th Nov ’09. Yes, the report did mention my name, though partially. :) So, if you can read Malayalam, here it is for you.

Believe me, the Nikhil mentioned is me. :D

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November 10, 2009   12 Comments

A dozen kb of fame

Now, The Hindu said something interesting :-)


One of the Q/A from the my email reply to Nita Sathyendran

2. looking through nikhil’s musings it appears u have a lot of info on Kerala why is that ie. why unlike most blogs by most mallus u stuck to Kerala, specifically Tvm issues ( local content) in a very postive way…and not cribbing as is generally done.

Ans:Blogs that sling mud at Kerala,its people,the skewed development indices are dime a dozen. Most of these people are arm chair critics staying far away from the state(in literary and figurative sense); they find it fashionable to criticize the state and the people. Hartal,unionism,communism,eve teasing,lack of development, bad roads etc being their cliched weapons against the state. They are not interested in doing something for Kerala or investing in Kerala. Incapable cynics there are, to say the least. How many of them have thought of ways to tackle hartals? How many of them would invest in the state? Is eve teasing only Kerala’s problem? How many of them who flashed their blogs with pot holed roads,wrote about the JNURM Volvo buses?

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October 22, 2009   11 Comments

Shashi Tharoor’s win in Trivandrum:Analysis

The dust has settled down.Now over to some number crunching.My 2 cents. :-)

Shashi Tharoor got 44.3% of the total votes in the Thiruvananthapuram parliamentary constituency.More than half of Vattiyoorkavu and Thiruvananthapuram Assembly Constituency voters voted for him(Fig-2).

Neelan and the much discussed Nadar factor(they form 18% of the PC) did not work much against Tharoor.Was it because of Neelan’s image?Or did the Nadars not believe that Neelan would get a cabinet berth in the Mayawati lead govt.Bah! Remember, Mayawati started her election campaign in Thiruvananthapuram, whatay colossal loss.

Trivandrum LS Polls 2009-Assembly Constituency wise

Fig-1:Thiruvananthapuram LS Polls 2009-Assembly Constituency wise-1

Just around 5% of Vattiyoorkavu and Kazhakootam voted for Neelan. Nemom’s 7% voted for him.On expected lines Neyyatinkara,Kovalam and Parasala had a lot of Neelan votes,but he still was behind CPI’s Ramachandran Nair in these assembly constituencies.Ramachandran Nair got about 31% of the total votes.

The order of the top two candidates was consistent across ACs.
PK Krishnadas (BJP) was at #3 in Nemom,Thiruvananthapuram,Vattiyoorkavu and Kazhakoottam assembly Constituencies;Neelan at #3 in Neyyatinkara,Kovalam and Parasala.Majority of Muslim votes across ACs should have gone to INC,while the major chunk of Muslim votes left in these ACs went to Neelan.(Eg.Kovalam)

So what worked for Tharoor?The neutral voters,the CPI-CPI(M) rift and the whole anti Left sentiment be it due to lack of development in the city, anti incumbency.The Christian votes would have predictably gone in favour of Shashi Tharoor.He has successfully tapped the Nair+Ezhava vote bank,I would conclude.All these together ended up in favor of Dr.Tharoor.Guess what I heard from someone before the elections,”orithiri vivaram ulla ellarum Tharoorine kodukku” turned out to be true.

Trivandrum LS Polls 2009-Assembly Constituency wise

Fig-2: Thiruvananthapuram LS Polls 2009-Assembly Constituency wise-2

Tharoor’s and Ramachandran Nair’s votes were more or less equally distributed across ACs.A slightly higher contribution to Tharoor’s kitty came from Thiruvananthapuram and Vattiyoorkavu ACs.With Parassala,Nemom and Kazhakkutam contributing over 15% to Ramachandran Nair’s votes,even here you could see a uniformity in the vote distribution across ACs.We should be proud of the voters of Vattiyoorkavu,Thiruvananthapuram AC,Kazhakoottam and Nemom for spoiling Neelan’s party.The Nadar+Dalit factor did play a part in getting most of Neelan’s votes;79% of his votes came from Neyyatinkara,Kovalam and Parassala.

Trivandrum LS Polls 2009-Candidate

Fig-3:Trivandrum LS Polls 2009-Candidate wise

Now, a look at how Thiruvanthapuram has been voting through the years(BSP not included as its only share worth mentioning was in 2009)

Vote Share Trend-Trivandrum(CPI,INC,BJP)

Fig:4-Vote Share Trend-Thiruvananthapuram(CPI,INC,BJP)

LokSabha Poll 2009-Votes

Fig:5- LokSabha Poll 2009-Votes

Here is a link to the spreadsheet I made just to get a hang of the numbers.

Download the whole data sheet which includes a pivot table(3 of 4 sheets password protected,mail me if you need the password).Happy analyzing.

Right click,Save as to Download

Right click,"Save as" to download

PS: On a lighter note, the candidate who is an MP even after losing,ya no points for guessing that, fared miserably.MP Gangadharan(NCP) whose clock was all over the place,got 2972 votes.Talk about pipe dreams ;-) or bad times.

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May 18, 2009   17 Comments

Shashi Tharoor wins

Shashi Tharoor wins the parliamentary elections from Trivandrum,Kerala.Great news for Trivandrum,well deserved victory for Dr.Tharoor.

Shashi Tharoor campaigning in Trivandrum(SAJABlogs)

What next for Tharoor? External Affairs portfolio?

We will revisit his vision for the city,a year after.

(Photo: [Shashi Tharoor campaigning in Trivandrum](SAJABlogs))

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May 16, 2009   7 Comments

My Space

(A long pending post triggered by the recent Chandrayaan launch)

Like any boy of his age, the vast night sky with stars and planets fascinated him. He learnt to spot half a dozen constellations and a few planets like Jupiter and Venus. In spite of his tryst with Asimov, he never wanted to be an astronaut. He had been hearing stories of the strenuous training involved in preparing oneself to become an astronaut. The story had a tragic end, else he could have said he knew India’s second astronaut.

Much before ISRO became an acronym and was still an abbreviation, he could list out the chronology of all missions; he took pride in knowing the expansions of SLV-3,ASLV, SROSS and APPLE,IRS,INSAT etc without having a clue of what any of those words meant. Any opportunity in school to flaunt what a Polar Sun Synchronous Orbit or a Geo Stationary orbit was cleverly utilized. His dad keenly explained him the meanings, good for him as he could impress teachers in school.


GSLV-F04 Lift Off

Like any ISRO home, his house bore a sepulchral silence on mission failures, which were many(be it ASLVs or the PSLV) during those times; the number of failures enough for imbeciles to come up with jokes like I.S.R.O rockets make the life of Indian fishermen vulnerable(as they may fall on them). He took jokes on I.S.R.O personally, why would he not for something that fed him. The sweets that his dad brought home after every successful launch reflected the euphoria that everybody shared.

He would look at stickers and posters of satellites and launch vehicles, feel good about them and keep them safe. For him the display of Launch Vehicle models at home were signs of opulence.

He felt elated and delighted at the sight of such stickers on scooters and cars; something like a mixed feeling of association, happiness and superiority passed through him.

The young boy looked expectedly at the grey colored VSSC buses to see if there were people he knew inside. He felt big, arranging passes for the whole class for ISRO visits, not to forget the brownies he got from teachers. Every time when someone asked where his dad worked, his answer took himself a notch above.

He sweated and bit his nails in anticipation watching live telecasts of launches. He accumulated sleep debt watching many Baikonour and Kourou launches. He still reminisces the countdowns that he counted along like a duet and the smoke filled uncertainty he shared just after any lift off.

His passion has not changed a bit. He still gets a high talking about I.S.R.O

For the population that thinks a toss is bigger than a countdown and KANK is an easier acronym than SHAR, hope someone tells them space matters. A media that is over the moon with stars, may you look at what is happening on the moon in reality.

I take a bow before this force to reckon with, that has out done itself in every step.

Update: Post featured in Reuters India

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November 16, 2008   50 Comments

Close shave with insurance

I always knew insurance was a subject matter of solicitation, but never knew it meant an invitation to a rigmarole.Sanity prevailed till I signed up for this.I am sure, it was part of a bigger conspiracy that brought Tata AIG to me.
The herculean task was not filling a small form, but the medical tests.It had almost everything from the tests that one goes through before joining the army(give me some points for exaggeration)

When the whole of the nation was celebrating Independence day, I was at one of the best labs in Trivandrum.I was there for a 5 minute long blood test mandatory for anyone signing up for Tata AIG;fair enough, five minutes and some drops for blood.

I was told that, I just need to show the request letter from Tata AIG and I would be treated like a king, no waiting, 5 minutes of tests and I am out.What an idea Sirjee, I thought.They indeed treated me like a king.Asked me to sit in one of the imported sofa sets and the wait had just begun then.The letter that I gave them had almost all tests that can be done on a human being, on all possible organs;seemed like a straight lift from wikipedia.

Why was I made to wait? The list of tests had 56 tests, 43 of them three letter acronyms,the people at the lab knew only 26 of them!After calling up all doctors connected to the lab, they figured 5 more and commented that the rest of the tests are not at all important.Lucky me!

So the five minute test started with a 2 hour wait.Remember, I was asked to appear for the tests, fasting.So,starved till 10am,they showed the green flag to my blood test.I was made to sit and this blood sucker lady came,discovered a vein on my left hand and filled in a huge syringe with my blood. sob sob!

Like a convict(minus hand cuffs ) I was escorted to the second floor.Misery had just begun.I was taken to the X Ray room.Why? Chest Xray to check if my lungs were in place.

I entered the dimly lit room.Two women were inside.I could barely see their faces.I was asked to take my T Shirt off!! Hey! X Ray passes through the skin/body,then why not the T Shirt! If my T shirts could block X Rays, I better show my muscular body to the women.The unwillingness evident on my face,I succumbed to the women and took my shirt off.One of them then directed me to a pedestal that reminded me of something used to take mug shots.With my bare chest facing a plate, she adjusted a U shaped object to fit in my neck in.
Lights off, lights on!X Ray done.A gush of relief flowed through me.One more task completed.

Next stop,Ultra Sonograph test.From my Pune experience,I knew that one had to drink water before the test.And the test is conducted only when you are bladder full.After drinking almost a litre of water, I reached the counter.
An elderly man, sitting next to me asks,”Oh! you have stones?”.
Me:Stone… no…Insurance…

The attender came out to check if there were newer patients and gave me a form to fill which had Patient instead of Name.Anyone who waits this long for an insurance needs tons of it,patience.
He asked me if I drank enough water and that they would let me in only when I feel like taking a leak.In 5 minutes,I called him out to let me in or I will have to clear by bladder.
Entered the posh room.Well lit unlike the earlier X Ray room, this too had two women.The almost-peed-me made an entry.”Take your T Shirt off!” There you go again!This time I held the T close to me but one of the ladies politely asked me to keep it aside.I was asked to lie down.The doc came in and asked to take my belt off!Now what?
“Take your button off”.The almost molested me,was left with no other option but to do an act of unbuttoning.A yucky jelly was applied on my tummy and a green cloth used to cover the only clothed portions of me.Something like a bar code scanner was moved all around my tummy. Voila! There I go! Kidney1, Kidney2, Liver…oh! I have all of them inside.(touchwood).

Like a mice who escaped a cat,I ran out…buttoning myself back in order. With almost all possible organs discovered, the heart was yet to be found.I was asked to go to a nearby private hospital with which the lab had some connection, to get a Tread Mill Test done.
After relieving myself,I filled in a form that called me a patient,again!
Me:Doctor,this is for Tata AIG insurance
Doc:You don’t have a problem withyour heart,right?
Me:Some have called me,heartless, would that count.
Doc:(murmur)..Bad joke
Doc:TMT, you have to keep running at an increasing pace, for about 12 minutes
Me:I haven’t had anything since morning.I will fall down half way through the test.
Doc:Go have breakfast and come.

To free myself from having breakfast in the hospital canteen, I got back to him after having 2 glasses of water.

Doc:We have to prepare your chest
Doc:Ya,shave off!!
Oh god!!No!!I do not want to get rid of any trace of masculinity in me.
Me:Doc,I will have some more water and be right back.

Scoot! No, I don’t want this insurance and I was home soon.
Last heard.Inspite of my cheap stunt, Tata AIG has approved my insurance.They surely, have very few customers.

Update: This post was picked up by Reuters India and was featured on their homepage on 17th September 2008

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September 10, 2008   41 Comments