Comrade Bose

Ranadeb stood with stoic patience at the ghat. The ferry was due any moment now. The consignment was supposed to be special, the gora sahib Mr. Robert had paid 100 rupees to Ranadeb and told him that the captive had to be killed and his body to be dumped in the Hooghly river. Ranadeb prayed to Maa Kali and awaited the ferry. The shadows deepened and the stillness of the night was broken once in a while by the barking of dogs in the distance. Ranadeb wondered why a gora sahib would have chosen him and felt a bit suspicious initially, but the lure of money was too much to resist.

At precisely 11:45 PM the ferry came in slowly, as instructed, Ranadeb flashed his torch. The pattern was repeated by the occupants of the ferry. The ferry docked at the ghat. Two men who had covered their faces in layers of cloth, held a well built man who was in handcuffs, and whose face was covered by a crudely tied sack cloth. Additional care had been taken to gag his mouth as well. Ranadeb wondered about the identity of the poor soul who would meet his death.  Maa Kali would be have been pleased with his previous offering that could be the only reason why he had received such a big bounty for killing this man.

Ranadeb instructed the two men guarding the prisoner to help guide the prisoner to his small boat. They complied, it was then that Ranadeb noted the shoes, they were standard police-issue black boots that the Calcutta Police favoured. Ranadeb tightened the grip around his dagger. “Could this be a trap?” he wondered.

His doubts were put to rest as the policemen left after the prisoner was made to sit in Ranadeb’s boat. The ferry left in the darkness of the night. Ranadeb stared at the prisoner as he started the old kerosene-powered outboard motor and the boat gently chugged across the river. Ranadeb wondered at the stoic calm of his prisoner. The man sat erect with a commanding poise. This was no ordinary thief or murderer. Ranadeb’s curiosity was piqued. He removed the crude sack and flashed the torch on the prisoner’s face!

The sight stunned him as he fell back onto the boat and muttered “Dada, dada” and rushed to remove the cloth that gagged the man’s mouth. He faced the man himself – Commander Subhash Chandra Bose, the nation lovingly called him Nethaji. He had been reported dead/missing for quite some time now, as the war continued across Europe, and India’s struggle towards independence was gaining momentum.

Ranadeb took out the pitcher that stored water and offered it to Nethaji. He smiled at Ranadeb and drank some water. As the boat continued into the darkness, far away from the city, Ranadeb listened in rapt admiration as Nethhaji narrated the treachery of the people in power and the British overlords. Nethaji asked gently – “Bondhu onek kichu koraar aachey, bolo tumi ki korbey! Desh air joney ki korbey tumi?”“Friend, a lot has to be done. Tell me what will you do for the country?”

Ranadeb was in a trance as Nethaji formulated a plan. Nethaji asked Ranadeb to steer the boat across to the coastal village of Kashipur. From there he would proceed to safety. Ranadeb did as instructed. Nethaji cut his little finger, a tuft of his hair, and gave it to Ranadeb. This would serve as evidence of his killing.

The plan was simple, effective and it worked! The rest as they say is a history of convoluted lies, betrayal and treachery! Comrade Bose lives forever in our hearts!


Keep Her Happy….As Long As You Can….

She will not survive any surgery,

You will lose her on the table,

She will end up on the ventilator,

Don’t go for any invasive procedure,

Whatever happens she has to bear and endure,

You do not have any option either,

Bear, endure, fight on…

Accept that medical science can only do so much,

Believe that faith, love, and prayers,

Can help you believe,

The organs are shutting down,

One by one.

Keep her happy,

As long as you can,

Whatever it takes,

Keep her happy,

As long as you can.

The clock ticks,

Second by second,

Towards the end.

Let’s pray for a safe and painless passage.

Till then.. till that moment of reckoning,

Keep her happy as long as you can.

Life goes on….

2018 – A Gratitude Post

Survived one more year.

Amma was hospitalized three times for various complications.

We weathered the storms.

Akka helped each time by spending some time and helping Amma recover.

Conducted Language & Communication Workshop in a legendary college in Chennai

Despite having my own house, moved to a rented accommodation to facilitate easy access to the hospital.

Multiple weddings in the friends circle. KP’s wedding in Pondy. Gokoulane’s wedding in Thiruvotriyur.

Dr. Sai got engaged and it was a great feast 🙂 He is getting married in 45 days 🙂

Visited Thirunelveli and Thiruchendur and participated in the Holy Pushkaram of the Thamaraibharani river. Thanks to Bragadeesh.

Watched “96” in an old-world theatre in Thirunelveli 🙂

Tracked down a family in a village between Thirunelveli and Papanasam that makes and sells “theratti-pal” (a condensed milk sweet) and bought the sweet.

Saw “Joseph” – for me the best movie of 2019 – an investigative thriller with an unlikely hero.

My trust in large hospitals was lost and kind of regained. Still scared of most specialists… who have vastly divergent opinions.

Made it to a book-group meet and gifted books to some friends and also received books from them.

Year ended at the hospital again like the previous few years. No sign of deliverance. The battle continues.

Work is good – lots to do.

Let us hope for a better year.

These Savage Shores by Ram V.

Ram V. is a popular name in the Indian comic book scene. Regular comic-book readers would remember him from the early days when ‘Aghori’ won several awards. Then “Black Mumba” happened as a QuickStarter project and cemented his position as a storyteller of repute. He has gone on to create award-winning comics / graphic novels for several leading publishers.

these savage shores

I would like to plug in this interview published on Factordaily that will give readers an idea of the skills of the supremely talented Ram V.

Recently, there was a tweet from Ram offering review copies online for honest reviews and shamelessly I requested for a review copy, do remember I am not a book-reviewer of repute whose reviews are published in newspapers and comic-book review websites. I was pleasantly surprised when Ram with all his humbleness and magnanimity shared a review copy.

I received Issue Two of “These Savage Shores”. The cover is magical and the story starts in Calicut in 1766. The challenge for a reviewer is to not reveal too much and yet influence the potential reader to buy a copy of the book. The art-work is magical, the story-arc well developed. If you love reading about warriors and beasts with a tinge of the supernatural and fantasy, then I am sure you will love this series. This issue builds up expectations nicely and I am sure this is going to be another gem in Ram’s fast-growing collection of brilliant work.

The comic is published by Vault Comics and this issue is priced under $4.

This gets a full five stars and my wish remains that Black Mumba gets re-published by whichever firm that holds the rights to the tale.

The Value of Friendship


How do I define,
The bond that I share with you?
Admiration, friendship, a protective,
Shield that I use to shelter you?
When others mocked,
I stood for you.
In your darkest hours,
I was there for you.
Just as a passive listener,
Who would absorb all your insecurities,
And still hold your hands,
And wish you the best.

Would you know,
The number of times,
That I have prayed for you?
The candles that I lit for you,
The sacred offerings that I made for you,
Praying that the mental and physical demons,
That plagued you would go away.

You will never know,
All these things,
As new friends and BFFs, and besties,
And God knows what other term is being bandied,
Surround you with fake smiles and gifts,
And praise you to the sky, moon, and stars.
You will never know, what is it that runs in their minds.

You know – what hurts the most?
This blatant arrogance and veil,
That you choose to cover yourself,
In judging me to be a no-good loser,
Based on what someone told you,
The no-good parasites that just cause havoc,
The calculating, conniving, cunning, minds,
That wear a smile with ease,
And get their priorities sorted out,
And use you to their convenience.

You will learn in hindsight,
When they stab you,
And then you will realize,
What the value of friendship truly is?
If you are reading this,
And somewhere in your conscience,
If there’s a gentle prick,
Then fear not,
It is meant for you only.

I really hope,
Only good things,
Come your way.
May each successful peak,
That you surmount,
Be another gem in your crown.
So long and farewell,
The door remains open,
When self-realization happens,
You will be back.


Image Courtesy – Pexels

Varathan – The Revenge of the Outsider

Movie Title – Varathan

Language – Malayalam

Year of Release – 2018

Principal Star Cast – Fahadh Faasil, Aishwarya Lekshmy, Dileesh Pothan, Sharaf U Dheen.

Genre – Thriller

Director – Amal Neerad

Script – Sarfu and Suhas

Music – Sushin Shyam

Cinematography – Littil Swayamp

Revenge tales have been a staple of Malayalam cinema. From gems like Thazhvaram and Season, somewhere Malayalam cinema began to ape Tamizh and Telugu cinema and at a point the differences were negligible. Stars and fans associations made merry as directors and script-writers added bombastic dialogues, with ample moustache twirling, loud music scores, and unbelievable stunts to draw loud applause from the masses.

Fahadh has been the poster boy of a new wave of Malayalam cinema that commenced with ‘Chappa Kurishu’ that was pretty much a copy of a Korean hit. Movie after movie he has carefully chosen scripts that play to his strengths. With each movie Fahadh has proven himself as a true chameleon who can play any role with ease. Aishwarya Lekshmi is just a few movies old, but boy oh boy, she seems to fill the screen with her magnetic presence and I really hope she gets roles of value.

Amal Neerad has crafted movies that are heavy on style, cinematography, synchronized stunts, and engrossing musical scores. In ‘Varathan’ translates to ‘The Outsider’ – he sets up an engrossing closed house thriller akin to Sam Peckinpah’s ‘Straw Dogs’, which was violent, brutal, and left audiences disturbed when it came out in the 70s.

Aby and Priya are a young couple in Dubai and the recession leads to Aby and Priya returning to India after Priya’s pregnancy is terminated as the gynaec says there’s no heartbeat in the foetus. Aby decides to focus on setting up a design startup in India while Priya utilizes the work from home option.

They move to an idylic cottage at the 18th mile stop – a hilly terrain in Kerala. It’s essentially an old-village that’s pre-dominantly Christian with its church and a close-knit community of rich plantation owners and commoners.

The ‘peeping tom’ nature of the frustrated, sexed-up Indian male is brought out in the characters that torment Priya, essentially a group of folks who were her classmates at school. There’s a creepy chap who runs away with Priya’s inner-wear and there’s a truly disturbing moment wherein he caresses the brassiere and pantyhose that for some pathetic reason generated whistles in the jam-packed theatre where I saw the movie. Goes to show where we are headed as a larger collective 😦

There’s another sequence where another man and woman are heckled and booed away by the villagers as they were not husband and wife. It sets up the tone for the movie along with a cockroach that Priya stomps away to death earlier in the movie.

A sub-plot of a budding friendship between a young boy from a poor family and the local contractor’s daughter has a significant impact in the third act of the movie. Before that the trio of Johnny, Jithin, and Josey continue to torture Priya. They peep at her in the bathroom, they look at her in her bedroom when she is asleep, they set up a mobile phone to shoot videos of her in the bathroom.

A flash point arises when Aby heads to Kottayam for a day and Priay decides to work from the library at the convent. The evil trio run her over by striking her Kinetic Honda. She tumbles over and is hurt and dazed. The three take her in the jeep and leave her in the hospital. We later learn the three have molested her in the moving jeep when she speaks in anguish with Aby later. She says she no longer feels safe and this infuriates Aby, who is possessed by castrated rage as he keeps saying – “we will report this to the police”.

The young boy and his mother seek shelter at Aby and Priya’s abode as they are chased by the contractor’s family. Then starts the final fireworks as a group of about seven to eight men seek to flush out the occupants of the house. How Aby fights the villains is to be seen to be believed and is truly intelligent film-making, though one wonders why he does not take out the barreled rifle and uses it.

The only blemish that one may cite is Priya’s pain and torture at the hands of the villains seems to have lost its focus and Aby seems to be too convincingly transition into a commando cum special-ops warrior in one extended sequence of explosions, knife stabs, blows to all parts of the body delivered with saucepans and shootouts.

A key advantage for the movie is its brief running time and intelligent structuring of the incidents that culminate in the violent showdown akin to a shootout in the Westerns of an era gone by. Two songs that play in the movie are good to hear and view – but honestly once you are out of the hall they do not actually stick in the mind.

The true revelation for the audience is undoubtedly Sharaf. This is the chap who plays the wealthy flirt in ‘Premam’. His turn as the villain is sue to fetch him some ‘Negative Actor/Villain Awards’.

A full paisa-vasool entertainer that’s been made intelligently. Go for it, you won’t be disappointed.

A Letter to Our Unborn Child

I love reading poetry and have had the good fortune to attend ‘spoken word poetry sessions’ as well. A common trait that I have noticed among some remarkable women who recite brilliant verse is the topic of ‘Abortion’. It is always the man who is painted the villain, it could be a lover, an abusive husband, or the off-shoot of a dalliance that was ‘un-protected’ and now abortion is the only choice. It set me thinking. Can there not be a poem from the man’s perspective? Not as a rapist, an abusive husband, or an irresponsible lover, but as a genuinely caring husband or lover or partner.


Dearest child,

The seed of our love,

You will never read this,

You will never see us,

You will never know us.

We had so many plans,

Your mother and I,

If you were a baby boy,

We would have named you Moksh.

If you were a baby girl,

We would have named you Neha.

But it was not meant to be.

The gynaecologist was clear,

The reports were not conducive,

There was no assurance of a safe delivery,

And I was not prepared to lose,

Both you and your mother.


We spoke to each other,

Consoling each other,

The gynaec said,

It was not safe,

To attempt another delivery again.

We wondered why??

Why we had been chosen to undergo this trauma?

Neither of us had harmed anyone?

We had been true to each other.

Placed our faith in the Gods we chose to worship.

But it was not meant to be.

That fateful day when decided to set you free,

Both your mother and I,

Were in tears, but we had to set you free.

Somewhere in another dimension,

We are a happy family.

Our dear little unborn child,

I want you to know,

That both your Amma and Appa,

We love you!