Musings for a responsible society

Amidst the dark and grey shades increasingly engulfing, invading and piercing deeper and deeper, let me try to enjoy the little smiles, genuine greens, and the gentle breeze. Oh! Creator! If you don't exist, my vain!
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About my top blog posts in 2012

From the blogger's desk

Wishing all my readers a very happy 2013

Had the world ended on Dec 21, we wouldn't have been alive today to enjoy this divine gift of life. Let us create value for ourselves so that we are in demand. Our value can be measured by the number people who consider us worthy to love, associate and depend. Let us broaden our heart and mind and equip ourselves by using every moment of this precious life to add value. Wishing you very valuable and blessed moments in 2013 that you will cherish for ever!

I would like to give following alternative titles to my blog 'CYBER DIARY'.

ONE:  'Red light musings' (because most of the ideas have generated when I spent considerable time stuck in traffic signals or in traffic jams in a highly populated and fast growing city with inadequate infrastructure)

TWO: 'Beyond Iron Cage'. (This Weberian term is apt because it is surprising that I get creative ideas though trapped in an iron cage decorated with red tape)

THREE: 'Stress buster'. (Even when I am subjected to inevitable stress, I get solace when I write on the Cyber Diary) 

Or instead of changing the title, I should say that "Cyber Diary is a stress buster that gives red light musings beyond an iron cage'. 

2012 was a good year for Cyber Diary. It found more regular readers from various countries. That has put a pressure on me. Many started asking: 'When is the next post coming?'. I started a Serial Fiction in 2012. Was fascinated by the excellent response from many readers. But I have temporarily suspended the continuation of the story. May be, the balance 'episodes' would find a place in the blog soon.

Thanks to all readers for the comments given offline and online. Thankful to Paulo Coelho for taking my blog to his millions of readers thanks to the story of a little girl. 

Here are the top 10 posts in 2012 in terms of maximum viewing. You can click on the title to read, if you have missed any. Don't forget to share the articles with your friends. Your comments and suggestions are welcome.


Of Sunanda Pushkar, Mallus and the Sexual escapades

(The paradoxical malayali mindset and related behavioural aberrations were demonstrated in full media glare recently in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram.......)


This is a real life story about a person who achieved success in spite of various adversities early in his life. Lessons for all!


Facebook is very popular among all of us. What are the hidden dangers and precautions? 


Dancing with Maharaja: An Inspirational Novel for the Civil Services Aspirants

Review of a book depicting a young man's journey to get into the IAS


 An article in the context of Honduras prison tragedy and VVIP prisoners in India. 
We should not make the prisoners worse than they were when they entered the cells. In fact, each prisoner should be a reformed man when he is released out of the jail.


Motivation comes from all around. We may not know sometimes who influenced us. But we should realize that bulk of the credit for the virtues we have, goes to some ordinary individuals with extra ordinary lives. They are not 'below' us. I feel, they are much above us!


People crave for data and information about others for various reasons. And there are individuals and groups who use the information for criminal activities.  In such a scenario, one needs to be guarded about his personal data and preferences.


You are now confused! Whom you should listen: the freewill or conscience?


If many politicians are corrupt, we have as many corrupt bureaucrats, sports persons, activists and religious leaders. There is no sector of the population which is untouched by the evil of dishonesty, nepotism and corruption. We need to rank which profession is corrupt based on the opportunity to be corrupt.



In search of a Christmas Card

Dear Friend,

You know that I have never failed to send a Christmas card to you all these years. It was always fun and excitement every December to go to the nearby store and buy over a hundred Christmas cards to send to all friends and relatives. I remember that, during my school days, I used to spend the entire pocket money for buying Christmas Cards. As I moved to college, and with increased number of friends, I found the ‘card buying project’ too expensive. I started getting them printed with my own wordings and Christmas picture from the printer’s collections in black and white. Later internet made it easy to send e-cards. I got bored with 123greetings and started sending customized email greetings. Telecom revolution has made short messages through phones cheaper and thus I started sending Christmas messages through SMS.

This time, initially I planned to send greetings through the India Post snail mail. Usually during Christmas, the India Post circulates Christmas stamps and special Inlands. But, the officials at the General Post Office said that they haven’t got such stuff this time. So I went looking for Christmas Cards to Archies store and a few other shops. And I was disappointed!

What is the reason for my disappointment? For that, let us go through the transitions in Christmas Cards over a period of time.

During my Childhood

Symbolism: Beautiful Christmas cards with a colourful picture of Jesus, Mary, Shepherds,    Three Wise Men, sheep, cows, and trees in the background.
         Social Pathology: No visible indication

Animals and Greens missing, by the time I was in my teens

   Symbolism: Accompanying flora and fauna missing in the card 

   Social Pathology:   Represents a depleted ecosystem

Mary and Joseph missing as I became a young man

Symbolism: Slowly, Mary and Joseph found missing in Christmas cards. Mother Mary, who was the woman clothed with the sun (Rev 12:1-6), and the one who ‘found favour with God’ (Luke 1:26-38) for being the mother of God’s son (Luke 1:43) was intelligently pushed aside as unimportant. She not only received the Holy Spirit but also carried the Holy Spirit with her (Luke 1:41) and was the chosen intercessor ( John 2:1-12) and all generations call her blessed (Luke 1:48).

Social Pathology: Emergence of individualism and the declining value and relevance of family. Neglect and disregard of the elders. 

Santa joins Jesus in my prime youth

Symbolism: Santa joined the Christmas celebrations. As waves of consumerism engulfed people of all strata, Santa symbolized everything that does not belong to Christ and the way and life He suggested. While Jesus wanted everyone to be a giver and not a taker, Santa created a lifestyle that centre around maximization of returns to oneself ensuring minimum cost in the giveaways.

Social Pathology: Productivism, Conspicuous consumption, Commodity fetishism, and materialism

Santa displaces Jesus

Symbolism: The symbolic image of Christ was removed from the Christmas card, considering such a card conventional and orthodox. Jesus Christ lost mass appeal. How can one keep the image of a God who argued against material comforts, greediness, amassing of wealth, and indulgences (Luke 12:13-21) and who advocated loving one’s enemy (Mathew 5:43), embracing the weak, meek and the sick? (Mathew 5: 3-10) Jesus Christ and his impractical and idealistic principles were found to be obstacles in the journey to prosperity, merry making and freedom in a competitive economy and in the cooperative exploitation of all sources that give instant pleasure.

Social pathology: Globalization and consequent transnational movement of ideas, cultural ethos, goods and services facilitated by communication revolution have transformed the lifestyles of individuals across the globe. Santa emerged as the icon of extravagance, opulence, and pride, all opposed to the contentment, simplicity, and humility Jesus represented and advocated.

Christ got an apt replacement that symbolized the modern materialistic world. Christmas and Christmas cards glorified Santa and red nosed reindeer.

Many believed that Christmas is Santa’s birthday.

And now Christmas is out and the party is in!

Add caption

Symbolism: Christmas means pleasure and partying

Social Pathology:  Opposition to anything that advocates restraint, equity, welfare, peace, and solidarity.

Santa is losing its glamour. Now, it is the time of blondes and brunettes on Christmas Cards!

Symbolism: From normative society to an audacious and open society where relationships are blurred

Social Pathology: Instant gratification, rat race, and window dressing

What would be next?

(Google images used in the post have been customized by me)

Moral of the story

Jesus Christ, who born in a manger in a carpenter's family chose his friends from the poorest of the poor, sick people and sinners. He said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life. I give you everlasting peace'.   He said: (Mathew 5: 3-10), 
  • Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
  • Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. 
  • Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.
  • Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. 
  • Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
  • Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God
  • Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God
  • Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Commentaries on underlined words can be seen here)

Wishing you dear friend, joy, peace and happiness on this Christmas, New Year and years to come!

And here is my Christmas Card for you designed by someone decades ago!

You may like to read my past Christmas posts

For posting comments, click 'COMMENTS' below

Link to recent articles, in case you missed.


10 unpleasant facts about Facebook



        Don’t think that your status updates and posts are reaching everyone in your friends list. It reaches only about 12% of people in your friends list. So don’t worry, if you don’t get ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ from many friends.


     Nothing you update, contribute, comment or like in FB is erased permanently. Even after you deactivate your account, the data remains.

(yahoo news)

       Many educational institutions check the facebook history of the students. Most of the employers check the FB before selecting an employee. FB data of yours can tell about how much time you have spent in FB, what are the posts you have put, who are your friends, what ideas you supported, etc. Some diplomatic missions and international agencies also check the FB profile and timeline.

       Many countries have very stringent punishments for offences related to social networking. In India, criminal action can be initiated against you  if your comment or what you post or share in FB, is directly or indirectly
  • -          Offensive
  • -          Menacing
  • -          False
  • -          Causing annoyance
  • -          Causing inconvenience
  • -          Causing danger
  • -          Causing obstruction
  • -          Causing insult
  • -          Causing injury
  • -          Causing criminal intimidation
  • -          Enmity
  • -          Hatred
  • -          ill will
  • -          sending message to cheat or deceive people 
   Therefore, be careful while liking, commenting, or sharing posts in FB. Also, one should know that FB is the Number 1 platform in the world where lies are spread instantly across the world. If you are not sure of the authenticity avoid sharing, liking or commenting. Think again before pressing the Enter key.


        Be very careful about accepting friend requests. A few of them enter with fake gender identity and profile photo. If the request is suspicious, look at their friends lists. You will get a clue about that person. Many dubious businesses thrive (including the oldest one) through FB platform! There are also several cyber criminals and representatives of terror outfits with fake names sending friends requests. Don't just go by list of mutual friends. 


(unidentified google image)

  Facebook has absolute ownership of the entire data, photos and everything shared through FB. It is not prevented from using that for any other purpose.


        Every facebook user should customize the privacy settings including your option to approve the photos posted to your timeline by others before they are visible to others. Exercise your option not to share your ad-likes to third parties. Your FB activity can be accessed by persons other than your friends who can monitor the activity in the ‘happening now’ feeds.



       Keep your private information private, if possible. (What is private, you have to judge yourself). Don’t geo-tag your location in real time.


     Many apps shared in FB have malware embedded. Some would have spyware also. Therefore, don’t click on every app requests/utility/game/page popped up in the side bar or shared by others.

     You can be creative and re-creative in FB. But Facebook kills the creativity in the real world. Limit the time you spend in FB.


Success germinates outside the walls of facebook.
So get set and jump the Facebook wall and return 
with a glory to post!  

Sibichen K Mathew

For comments, click  COMMENTS  below. You may share this with others by clicking on the FB/Twitter/Mail ikons below

Click below to read my articles on related topic
       Leave me alone: Privacy in a snooping world

       No Privacy anymore: A critical look at Google's privacy policy

       Truth shall set us free


My Maruti 800 Story

This December, my Maruti 800 completes 15 long years with me. It travelled along with me all these years to all the places I stayed. But my wife and children are not very amused by my special attachment towards the cute small green car. They tried all these years to cajole, coerce and intimidate me to buy a better car. All the three of them used to show me every new car on the road and narrate the advantages of buying one of them. And I hated any such narration and retorted them with the merits of my Maruti 800. I keep telling them,  ‘as long as this car takes us to our destination without any trouble, I don’t think there is any necessity for a change’. Though its use has come down these days because of the leased vehicle from the organization where I am working, I used to travel hundreds of kilometres in my Maruti on my trips to my native place earlier.

On one of the trips to the hills in 1998 (scanned photo)

My Maruti 800 has never left me stranded on the road all these years. I have never spent any large sum for repairs.  This is in contrast with my first car, a second hand ‘fiat’, bought from my maternal uncle, just before my marriage. That car almost ruined me both emotionally and financially. Imagine, you learn driving in a car that gives you all sorts of mechanical and electrical complaints every now and then.

Unfortunately, all my prime energetic young age was spent in classrooms and university libraries. I never thought of learning even to ride a two wheeler at that time. Main blame for this should go to my mother.  She said ‘Two wheelers are very dangerous. Don’t ever think of riding even a bicycle’. She also used to say: ‘Don’t play, you will get spoiled; Don’t pray, you will become a priest’.  So, my childhood was without any toys or many friends, but a lot of ‘General Knowledge’ books!

(Photo of a fiat car. I used the same model. My blood boils even now)

First few months of valuable family life were spent learning the art of driving and repairing the car. My friends, staff, and many strangers extended their ‘push’ at unexpected times when the battery, wiring or the engine failed. Finally I managed to get a buyer for the car. (And even now, if I see a fiat car on the road my blood boils and my mood spoils. And my wife laughs and tells our children, ‘there goes Appa’s favourite car!’) I decided to buy a car on my own without any help from my doctor wife, rich in-laws or my mother. I approached a relative of mine who is the manager of a scheduled bank. He said, ‘loan can be sanctioned at 16% interest, but bank requires original document of land holdings in your mother’s name’. Ridiculous! Apart from the hypothecation of car to the bank, I have to pledge the agricultural land to the bank! I went to a nationalized bank and they sanctioned the loan in two days for much less rate of interest and without any other collateral security. And thus I possessed my Maruti 800.

Thanks Sajjive for this wonderful creation on this occasion 

I get really furious whenever there is a demand from my children to throw this car. I ask them, 'in our city, whether it is a Maybach Exelero or a Ferrari or a Rolls Royce Phantom or a BMW, all can go only at the same speed as the Maruti 800. Then why do we need a better car?' But I know, I may have to abandon my favourite car one day. My children say, 'send it to the vintage collection of classic cars museum'. I said to my son, 'we will do that only after you get a licence learning driving in this car'. But my daughter is the most scared person since I told her, ‘this Maruti 800 will be our gift to you when you get married, may be after another fifteen years!’

( With my car on  its 16th year)

Thanking God for His protection all along! 


Some public perceptions about honest people

Public perceptions of certain fundamental principles

Honesty is the most likeable quality. 
But honest people are not always likeable. Honest people are fundamentalist, unsophisticated, and rude. They always give unpleasant replies. They are rule bound, bookish and very matter of fact in response. They don’t condone mistakes. They don’t regularize deviations. Even when they are polite, they tend to give sweet injections instead of ‘helping’ the erred ones.

Honesty is said to be the best policy.
But policy of honest men is a real irritant. He is arrogant when he makes it clear in no uncertain terms that certain things are not possible. He is stupid when he denies an offer. He is taught a lesson when he out rightly denies a favour. When he considers a genuine claim, he is grossly unfair.
Honesty is a virtue.
But honest fellows are boring. They fuss when they are given a drink. They are tight lipped. They behave as if others would steal their ideas. They listen to all conversations and chose not to contribute anything. They refuse party invitations. Even if they agree, they put conditions about other invitees.
Honesty comes out of wisdom.
But honest persons are fools. They are impractical. Their life is worthless. What is the use of giving them power?  They fail to make use of the opportunities.
Honesty comes out of brave heart.
But honest persons are cowards.  They are scared to act.
Honesty should be rewarded.
But honest persons should be witch hunted. They should be made answerable for even a small error of judgment. Throw the first stone at the honest man.  Many would love to see him falling.
Honesty is to be taught.
But no one wants to listen to the sermons of an honest man. It is no fun hearing him.
Honesty is respected.
What is there to respect an honest man? He refuses to budge when he is requested to. What nonsense?
Honesty is a rarity.
But it is disgusting to see the honest people who try to swim across the wave. If entire system is dishonest, what is the use of a few raising a red flag?
Honesty leads to enduring success.
But the projects and initiatives of honest people are deserved to be shot down.
Honesty brings good reputation.
But honest men do honest things for gaining good name for them. Dig his cupboard and plant skeletons. Defame him at any cost.
William Shakespeare said: ‘No legacy is as rich as honesty’.
But the honest people will indeed die poor. But smile in his grave and beyond?

People love honesty; but hate honest people
Still I feel it is worth to be honest!  


"If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!"

(Views are personal. You may forward the article by e-mail, FB, or Twitter by clicking the ikons below. Comments are welcome)
Sibichen K Mathew


About the recent trip to Kerala

Many readers ask me to write more articles stemming from personal experiences. Of course, a blog  titled ‘Cyber Diary’ should necessarily contain more personal stuff. I do like to write a lot on my experiences rather than on my views, observations and attitudes that I post more often. But my wish, not to publicise my multiple roles in real life prevented me from narrating personal experiences. May be, once I am out of the Weberian iron cage, I would be able to share with you the real life musings. However, I started realising one thing. As one grows old, one tends to have the propensity to share more of his experiences and less of his views.  Here is a short note on my recent Kerala trip.
I scribble this sitting in the Thiruvananthapuram airport terminal-2 waiting for the much delayed flight to Bangalore. The only flight by the government carrier to Bangalore was an International one, going to Male.  As I was about to write about why they did not inform the passengers about this delay earlier over phone, I get a call from the Bombay call centre that the flight is delayed by more than two hours. I told him that I have already reached the airport and had it been informed an hour before, I could have spent some more productive time in my home state. Though I got annoyed a bit, I continue to have my faith in Air India. (click here to see my article). I hear people say that ‘the business of government is not to do business’. But I always felt that the presence of state is desirable in some sectors for strategic reasons.

But, should State be in the hospitality sector? After my experience in staying in a government luxury hotel for about three days in this city, I feel it is not worth to have mismanaged hotels in the public sector. Though I had an option to stay in posh hotels in the capital city of Kerala, I chose to stay in one of the well-known government-run hotels. But my experience was very bad and I found that the service offered by them was pitiable as compared to the tariff they charged. I had to carry the luggage myself to the room and the room-boy waited just outside my room to pick up the luggage so that he can drop it inside the room and scratch his head.  Complimentary buffet breakfast menu was almost the same every day. The staff is untrained to run the hotel owned by public sector tourism corporation. Flies feasted on the confectioneries, fruits and all those food items which were not covered. Food was insipid and devoid of manifestation of any particular culinary skills for the huge price charged. The flooring of the dining area was designed by someone years back and I found a number of persons tripping as they couldn't make out that some part of the floor is at a slightly higher level.

When many hotels give free wifi access, this hotel charged Rs 100/- per hour without ensuring network in the room. Huge resources and facilities in this hotel in the heart of the city are wasted because of very poor bookings. The dining hall was almost empty, but for the groups of people clad in white attire. The worst thing during my stay was spotting a centipede in the night in my room. While leaving the hotel to the airport, the taxi driver gave me much more information about the hotel as narrated by many guests and I felt why government should waste its resources in the hospitality sector if it can’t ensure quality and efficiency. I am writing this as a concerned citizen and hoping that things will improve so that everyone who is surviving on this establishment get benefited. (You can see some reviews about this hotel here)

During my stay in the city, I was delighted by the dynamism, enthusiasm and sincerity of the staff of two broadcasting companies in the public sector. One was the television channel where I had to give a live telecast and the other was the All India Radio where I had to give an interview. I found some friendly and creative souls who sincerely worked in both places amidst several resource constraints. I am not sure how many persons watch the channels aired by Government corporations and how many advertisers are interested in sponsoring their programs. But these corporations are doing wonderful work by airing valuable programs for the welfare of citizens, when other channels focus on programs that give them big sponsorship.  (I saw a news report that the state government wants to start its own television channel to add to a large number of Malayalam channels vying for advertisements for survival)

During my trip, I had a quick visit to a post graduate college specialized in teaching social sciences and interacted with senior faculty members who had misplaced worries about the future of social sciences as a discipline offering satisfying careers. My suggestion to those who have such fear is to read the article ‘The end of Sociology?’ and also a position paper on the role of social sciences in governance. I gave a talk to a bunch of post graduate students who have been the products of an educational environment that never trained them to think, react and respond.  It is high time they take serious steps to equip themselves to be on the demand list of many employers rather than pinning hopes on the next PSC test.

My indefinite wait for the flight continued. Meanwhile my friend called me and asked how the new Thiruvananthapuram international airport terminal is? I said:  ‘Nothing much to say. Passengers are looking at the air conditioner vent wondering whether the A/C is really switched on.  People are hunting for a proper plug point to charge their laptops. Passengers find it difficult to hear the announcements because of the very loud noise from the televisions sets. Toilet stinks. There is a long queue to collect cold samosa and tea offered by the airline as an excuse for the delayed flight’. (see my related article on Bangalore International Airport).

In spite of all the above experiences, I enjoyed being in the God’s own country!

(Views are personal. You can give your comments by clicking below. You may also forward this by e-mail, FB or Twitter by clicking the ikons below)

Read below my related articles on Kerala and Mallus:

Of Sunanda Pushkar, Mallus and the Sexual Escapades

The Sensual Mallu and the Web Culture

The Festival of Bandh


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