It’s the Time to Disco!

I believe in all the good things of life. No! Don’t get me wrong! I’m not talking about a pint or quarter or anything. That’s not my idea of fun. And I don’t smoke either. “Then what do you do?” a bewildered Minister in the LDF Government asked me, when I mentioned this during chit-chat time in the Assembly. His question was accompanied by an unmistakable innuendo. I shook my head in disagreement. And told him I believe in love. He was flabbergasted. I’m pretty sure he didn’t believe me.

Friends, Life has so many beautiful things to offer. Kerala is a dream location with beaches, mountains, forests, trees, flora and fauna, warm climate, rivers, backwaters, fertile land, domesticated elephants, festivals, and places of worship. We have languages, music, poetry, dance, cinema, art and culture and multiple avenues for entertainment. Why should Malayalis hit the bottle? I don’t understand.

I’m not saying “don’t touch alcohol. I’m not that narrow minded. Pakshe, amithamayaal amrithavum visham alle? When you learn to drive, the first lesson is how to apply the brakes. Why do the people of Kerala experience ‘brake failure’ when they start drinking? My father and brothers in law are teetotalers. Perhaps their influence was stronger than the influence of my film industry friends and so I ended up a teetotaler. God bless them!

It is virtually impossible for an actor (whether male or female) to escape the public perception of promiscuity. It is an inhibition-free industry where people work round the clock in close proximity. People think there are more opportunities here and fewer barriers, so everyone leads a Bohemian life. But I think what does not happen in the rest of the society, cannot happen in the film industry alone. Before I entered the political arena I was a prime target for the rumour mills, precisely because my father was a successful politician. All I can say now is that I am not the person I was made out to be.

I did make my share of mistakes. And I did face the consequences – alone. Today, I wish to share my thoughts with the youth of Kerala because they are at the crossroads and may be wondering which way to turn. All I can say is don’t follow the crowd, follow your heart. Don’t be discouraged by failure, because your day is sure to come. Sometimes you have to wait really long for success, love and happiness to come your way. Forget about the mansions and the BMWs and the beauties and the hangers on. They won’t make you happy.

Just go out and enjoy the best that life has to offer. No! Don’t reach for the bottle. Find another way. Plant a tree. Sing and dance. Play with a child. Visit the sick and ailing. Watch a movie. Play indoor and outdoor games. Read books. Reach out to people, not just in the virtual world of the internet, but in the real world. Spend time with friends. Love someone. Connect with your environment. Re-establish your bond with nature. Travel as far as your purse permits. Go swimming. Climb mountains. When you are older and the burdens of life catch up with you, it may not be possible do any of these things.

You are YOUNG and that is what counts. YES, it’s the time to DISCO!


Keep cricket and Kerala clean!

The quantity of biomedical waste generated by hospitals in Trivandrum district is 5224 Kgs per day. Every day 2800 to 3000 tonnes of solid waste are generated by the urban towns and only 50% of this is collected for disposal. (Source: Economic Review 2010) This means around 1500 tons of solid waste are left to decompose by the roadside, in vacant plots of land, in canals, drains and water bodies. This way we end up polluting and contaminating the land, water and air, and creating a suitable environment for the spread of disease. Add to this our inability to tackle the mosquito menace, and what do we get? Chickungunya, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, H1N1…….an endless list of maladies.

Yes, we need to keep not only cricket, but also Kerala clean! I wish I could watch the India-Pak match on TV, “but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep..”


Random Thoughts About Child Rights

If I were a little boy what would I be dreaming of? Toy cars and aeroplanes to play with. A couple of cellphones. And a laptop. Permission to browse the internet whenever it pleased me, and to play video games at will. A king-sized TV in my room with all possible channels. Siblings and friends to play with. Freedom to eat chocolates, pizza, and burgers whenever I want to.

No one should stop me from playing loud music. No! I don’t want to stick that funny thing in my ears – you see I like to dance! No one should laugh at me when I ask silly questions. If they don’t know the answers they should be frank enough to say so.

No need to go to school everyday. No need to carry heavy school bags. (Now that is what I call a ‘donkey’s life’!) No homework. No scolding by father, mother, or teacher. No questions about marks or grades or what I am going to be when I grow up. (Who wants to grow up anyway?)

I wish my parents would stop quarrelling. I wish they would come home early from work. I wish they would take me to the beach or the zoo. I wish we could go together to see a movie and eat popcorn and ice-cream in the interval. I wish they wouldn’t shout at me when I break a precious piece of crystal. I don’t do such things deliberately. Sometimes I just practice bowling like Sreesanth, and I miss my target.

When I run a fever I wish they wouldn’t give me those horrible medicines. And I hate going to the doctor because she always gives me an injection. If they ask me I would tell them the fever will subside in a few days even without treatment. But no one listens to me. They think they know everything.

When my parents ask me to run errands or do odd jobs around the house, I don’t call it child labour, or ask for wages. I don’t even know what Child Rights are. When they spank me in a moment of anger, I don’t call it child abuse or call the police. And I don’t even hit back.


Mafia’s Own Country

V S describes every interest group as a ‘mafia’ – land mafia, sand mafia, sandalwood mafia, liquor mafia, lottery mafia, forest mafia, and so on. There is a single distinguished exception, though. And that is the Media ‘Syndicate’. The CPM does not dare to call the media a ‘mafia’ for fear of instant retribution.


Janangal Vidhi Ezhuthum

“Man proposes, God disposes.”

I am seeking re-election from the Pathanapuram constituency in Kollam district. If you are a voter of Pathanapuram, please vote for me. If you are too young to vote, or if your place of stay is elsewhere, please pray for me – and ask your elders to vote for me. During the last decade I have tried my best to do justice to my role as the people’s representative. The people of Pathanapuram will decide whether I should represent them once again.

From the neighbouring Kottarakara constituency, Dr. N N Murali is the Kerala Congress (B) candidate. I call upon the voters of Kottarakara to cast their valuable votes in his favour.

The Kerala Congress (B) is a part of the Congress led UDF. We believe in inclusive economic growth and we are pro-development in every sense of the term. We want God’s Own Country to move forward. We believe NRIs are crucial to our development plans. We place our trust in the ultimate wisdom of the people.

God bless you all.


Violence is Not the Answer

We live under the spell of pleasure and pain: we desire pleasure and fear pain. We imagine that we control our destinies; yet we wander aimlessly from birth to birth, driven by desire and fear. (Svetasvatara Upanishad)

Kerala was one of the States that once had militant Naxalite groups, but the Government of the day was successful in weeding out militancy. The result is that we have a stable society today, while some of the North Indian States as well as southern States like Andhra are still grappling with militants and terrorists. To whom do we Keralites owe this success? To the LEFT Parties? Certainly not! It was the Congress that kept the peace in Kerala.

Who pursues the politics of violence in Kannur and elsewhere? The CPM and the BJP, not the Congress and its allies. The people of Kerala know this. Will they remember these things when they go to the pooling booths to cast their precious votes?

Maoism (old wine in a new bottle?) is rearing its ugly hood in various parts of the country. I have no idea what the Maoists stand for. Only their terrorist activities stand out. They also happen to have strong advocates like Arundati Roy. We in Kerala should watch out. To presume that we are immune would be very foolish.

Recently we were shocked to learn that Muslim youth from Kerala are being recruited and trained to take part in terrorist activities all over India. What attracts our young men to these destructive movements? Is it the personality power of a few leaders, or monetary inducements, or the desperate nature of their personal circumstances that impels them to take this suicidal step?

Militancy is like a cancer. If even one cell of the body is affected, the entire system is weakened, and the defenses slowly breakdown. Violence breeds violence – it does not solve any problems. We Indians belong to a nation that proved to the world that great battles can be won by non-violent methods. Under Mahatma Gandhi we attained freedom without resorting to violence, and the world salutes us for this achievement.

I call upon the people of Kerala, especially the young, to beware of people who incite you to violence and hatred. Don’t be carried away by speeches and high-sounding words. Think for yourself. Imagine the consequences of having blood on your hands. Remember your family, your parents whose sacrifices you can never repay, your siblings whose pain you cannot imagine, your partners who will be scarred for life and your innocent children who will never be able to live a normal life because society will point accusing fingers at them. For a little bit of gratification, don’t take on the sorrows of a lifetime or the tragedy of oblivion.

We are all fortunate to be the proud inheritors of a democratic society. We don’t have a perfect political system or a perfect society, but it is up to us to preserve what we have and improve upon it by our tireless efforts. Let us find positive ways of expressing dissent or raising demands or making our opinions count. Let us join hands to promote peace.


The Good and the Evil that Men do…

The three best things: To be humble amidst the vicissitudes of fortune; To pardon when powerful; And to be generous with no strings attached. (Prophet Muhammad)

Congress leader, Oomen Chandy, moved Heaven and earth to bring four Malayali Muslims out of a Saudian Arabian jail. They were facing the death penalty, and their families had lost all hope. But Oomen Chandy did not give up. With the firm backing of a human rights activist (Shihab Kottukad) and a good Samaritan (Padmashri CK Menon) he secured their release after paying 80 lakhs as blood money. This is the mark of a true leader.

Consider the case of the LDF leader, VS Achuthanandan, who gleefully announces that he will send all the Opposition leaders to jail. He goes around filing court cases against everybody. He spends much of his time pursuing these cases. No wonder he didn’t find any time for doing development work.

There are many things you can do with money. Like going to Macau, where you can blow up millions in mere seconds. Or filing cases in the Supreme Court against political rivals. You can also do constructive and socially purposeful things. Like what CK Menon has done.

There are many ways of spending your time. See how Shihab Kottukad utilized his time to deliver his countrymen from the jaws of death.

Let this be a lesson to every one of us. What a person does with his money and his time – that is what makes him what he is. What he does for other people – that is what makes him a success in life.