ANIMALS TOO HAVE PSYCHIC PROBLEMS

One can easily walk along a strip on the road, barely a foot wide. If it is a bridge,of the same width, over a deep river, few people will dare to attempt it. The fear of losing our balance, will keep us back from the attempt. This is psychic problem.

We are not aware of it. But we are always weighing the consequences, even while answering a casual question or when we come across an unfamiliar animal or a poisonous snake or just when surrounded by darkness.

Instinctive fear of the unknown, is common among all of us except some brave men.

What about animals?

Most animals are afraid of fire. Elephants are cautious, even when they see a shallow ditch. Normally they are fearless.

Some cows become nervous when they see us, while others come threatening to charge us. I have seen cows tied to a narrow V-shaped bamboo contraption, for being served by a bull. Otherwise, they will run away, on seeing the bull, being shy like a girl.

A butcher had tied two buffaloes, each facing the other. He first killed one of them. Realizing that next is its turn, the other animal broke the strong rope and ran away as fast as it could!

Of course, the butcher ran after it and caught it.

I feel that the animals somehow feel uneasy, when they are brought to the butchery.

In the open grass land in Rajasthan, once I saw a number of cows gathered round a dead cow, as we do, when one of us is dead.

Such instances are too common to be retold. It shows that there is no difference between man and animal.

All living things have sufficient intelligence and feelings, as is required for its survival!

Nowadays in Keralam, artificial insemination of cows is the practice. A cow never sees its mate. Will it not cause psychological problems for them?

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GREECE SHOWS THE WAY, BY CUTTING DEFENCE SPENDING

Greece has borrowed huge sums of money for getting out of the financial mess, caused by global recession.

India is not affected by recession, to the same  extent as Greece. But we have problems of poverty and lack of education. So we too should curtail defence procurement, especially in Navy and Air Force.

There are reports that Pakistan has shifted army units from Kashmir border to Afghan border. Manmohan Singh-Gilani talks are a success.

Why should we delay announcement of Defence cut?

SOIL EROSION CAUSED BY RODENTS

It is well known that rodents destroy food grains. Millions of tons of wheat are lost every year this way.

The other day, during my visit to Malabar, I noticed a heap of soil by the side of a path. To satisfy my curiosity, I stood and watched.

At the top of the heap was an opening, some three millimeters in width. Mud was being thrown out, at regular intervals, from this pore. I could see some creature spitting mud from its mouth. Apparently, it went back, down into the tunnel, collected some quantity of soil, came up and threw it out. I called some boys in the house near by and they too could not guess what creature it was. Then their mother came to see what is happening. Seeing all this commotion, the animal stopped its activity and plugged the opening with something like small pebbles. The woman explained that it must be the big rat.

Man causes soil erosion by agricultural activity. Once the top soil is upturned, it is carried away by the rains and ultimately thrown into the sea. The Yellow river in China is a notorious villain. The muddy discharge can be seen, a few miles into the sea.

Rodents too contribute to this harmful activity.

MALABAR STILL RETAINS TRADITIONS OF RURAL KERALAM

When I returned from a short visit to northern areas of Malabar, I am very much excited about the unspoilt rural charm   and the vibrant enthusiasm of the people.

After seeing “theyyam”, a semi tribal ritual, in which the Goddess enters the dancer’s form and speaks to the devotees, who believe evry word spoken and gain the same feeling, as if they have actually seen the Goddess, I am overwhelmed by the simplicity of the village folk. They kept awake throughout the night!

The open space and the landscape full of hills and valleys, where rice is grown is an invitation for even lazy folks, to come out and walk in the wilderness. A woman who could not believe that a person will walk, without any aim, asked me where I am going; and showed me the proper direction to the house where I was staying!

I shall write in detail about my experience.

ROBINSON CRUSOE (NAME OF A NOVEL)ISLAND NEAR OUR HOME

Some hundred years ago, many of my uncles have actually seen the construction of the Shoranur- Cochin railway line as a deposit work by the company owning the South Indian Railways.

The company never did anything in a Princely State like Cochin, unless the money for building it, is given to the company. Malabar was under British rule; so they built the line from Madras to Calicut, by 1862 and further extended it up to Mangalore.

The Raja of Cochin State must be a farsighted person, to realize the important link to the Queen of the Arabian sea, as Kochi was called. Rice for the state came from Burma by ship and it could be transported by rail to the northern districts. He had no hesitation in selling gold ornaments of Goddess Mahalaksmi (Ammathiruvadi) of Oorakam The line connecting Ernakulam to Quilon (Kollam), came up much later, in the fifties, first as MG and was  converted into Broad Guage afterwards.

At Eravakad, on the south bank of the R. Manalipuzha, is a small patch of fertile land owned by Akarakatil family. It was completely cut off from the land by the railway line, the embankment being very high and surrounded by rice fields on all sides and the river in the north. Up to Pudukad railway station, some two miles away, one has to walk. Now too it is in the same state. The railway bridge had only sleepers, and one has to stretch his legs , with only a trolley refuge to escape from running trains.

How a family called Akarakatil lived there, surrounded by water during the monsoon from June to August, and again during October-November (retreating monsoon), without electricity and any conveyance, with the sound of creatures like the frog and grasshopper, for company, is a frightening mystery.  In floods which were common before the construction of Peechi dam, water flowed across the family orchard!

When I was a young boy, a namboodiri of Kuroor mana was crossing the bridge. He saw Cochin Express, the fastest train at that time, and moved to the cage for trolleys. Seeing him move away from the track, the driver, who had seen him, went ahead in full speed. At that point, somehow, the namboodiri came out on to the track, to walk quickly over a few sleepers still left. He missed it by a second and was hit by the engine. He died on the spot.

At that time I was young and there were only a few trains. Now, the number of trains has gone up very high. Though the steel sheets over the sleepers have made it easy to cross the bridge, I feel nervous when I think of going over it.

Now there is a barrage at Muttikal which falls on the way from our village. So I crossed it and walked along a good pathway along the side of the river for some ten minutes. I could see the rail very near and took a narrow path which took me to the railway embankment. A flight of steps and then the house could be seen some hundred metres away.

The inmates must have been surprised to see a stranger in pants and shirt, approaching them. So I told them my name and address and the fact that I just wanted to meet them, without any purpose.

I was well received and we talked about Madhavan, a close friend of my uncle Vasudevapphan, both ardent communists and contemporary of E.M.S. Namboodiripad, the first communist in the world, to be elected democratically.

They eagerly bought my book and I was glad of the opportunity to wax eloquent about my pet topics!

We departed as close friends. Dr. A. Ramachandran who accompanied me up to the rail line , offered to take me across the bridge; but I preferred to walk back the way I came.

On my way back, I was surprised by a bright green, thin snake which crossed my path within a few inchess !

HOW CAN WE HELP TEACHERS?

A lady teacher gets up at five in the morning because she has to travel, first by train and then by bus, to reach the far away school in time. When she returns home, it will be past six in the evening.

With too many people seeking employment, a majority as teachers, there is no other way. Those working far away from home include those employed in  government schools, aided schools where they get salary and pension at par with government teachers, and also, those working in private English medium schools.

If some sort of Governing Body (which should have representatives of various managers) can help, I think it is possible to solve the problem to a great extent.

Let all the three categories of staff work together, irrespective of the management which pays them.

A suitable web site may be used by the schools, the teachers and the managers (Principal, HM etc). By shuffling and reshuffling, all teachers may be accommodated, nearest to their home town or village.

MY INFERIORITY COMPLEX

My height is slightly less than 5 feet 3 inch.

My legs are too short to ride a bicycle.   Children’s cycle is comfortable.

My friends assured me that I cannot impress girls.

To cap it all, my poverty. For a middle class man poverty is a matter of great shame.

I was extremely shy to speak, even if all are well known. The sound will not come out. I cannot even sign because of a nasty tremor wich agonised me, because, in those days there were no ball point pens and I have to sign in the salary bill,with ink pen, in the presence of people. I feared the first day of the month, when salary is disbursed !

Inferiority complex can have a damaging effect on one’s career. I could never make an impression during an interview. I was happy that I did not have to face the girl whom I was to marry.

Two things lightened my days. Books were always my friends. In the school, I was always a hero, because teachers and students always like a bright pupil.