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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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


Keep your cell phone away; go back to your landline!


  Keep your cell phone away; go back to your landline!

 The cordless phone connected to my landline went out of order. I couldn’t get anyone to get it set right. All of them advised me to throw it in the dustbin. I went to the showrooms. ‘There is hardly any choice these days’, the salesman grinned and directed me to the Diwali display of high end cell phones!

They said no one uses a landline cordless phone in this age of cell phone. Many people have surrendered their landline connections. Senior citizens complain that as the service provider is not prompt in repairing the landline faults, they are also forced to buy cell phones.

In every home, we can hear cell phones ringing from every nook of the house. From the Grandma to the maid, everyone has a mobile, and some have more than one. People can’t live without it even for a minute.


By the end of 2011, there were 85.7 mobile phone subscriptions for every 100 persons in the world. It was 77 out of 100, India. China already has 1 billion subscriptions and India is expected to reach 1 billion within a few months. The large prepaid customer base in developing countries like India indicates its popularity as it is affordable for the low income group of the population. While prepaid customers are 70% of the total telephone subscribers in the world, it is more than 87% in the developing countries.

Are cell phones safe?

Some precautionary guidelines have been given recently. Many health organizations also discourage excessive use of mobile phones.

     If you have a choice, use a landline/ land phone, instead of a mobile phone.

·         Limit the length of mobile calls to the minimum. Use it mainly for Text Messages.

·         Hold  the cell phone away from body to the extent possible.

·     Do not press the phone handset on your head. It is said that the Radio Frequency energy is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source.

·     Use the cell phone when the signal is good. If the signal is weak, a mobile phone will increase its transmission power.

·      Avoid movement while calling over mobile. (I used to make my calls while going for walks. This is dangerous if you are walking through a space where there is signal fluctuation. Especially in between buildings, basements, lifts etc.)

·       Where to store your mobile phone while you are out? Better to ask your tailor to stitch a side pocket near your belly. Do not carry it in the pocket near your chest. They say, don’t keep it in your pants pocket also. (Men, beware!)

·      Though there is no scientific study that mobile phone use cause headaches, excessive use will not be healthy.

·      Reduce mobile phone use by children as they would tend to use it for longer hours. (Also lovers and young married couples!)

·         People with medical implants should keep the cell phone at least 15 cm away from the implant.

·       Connect to the call and then bring it near your ear. There will be more radiation at the time of reception. It is said that a mobile phone first makes the communication at higher power and then reduces power to an adequate level.

·        It is a myth that it is safer to use a mobile phone while in a car. There is no scientific evidence to show that car shields you from radiation.

Moral of the story

Go back to your good old landline. Get a cordless phone. But, there are some studies that say cordless phone also to be avoided if possible. Then, best is to have as many parallel instruments or additional landline connections at home or in the offices.

There is one more reason for this. That is the data security. See my article ' Leave me alone: Right to privacy in a snooping world


I know this is a bad news. But……restrict till we are sure of its safety!

(Source for Information: International Telecommunication Union and DoT, Govt of India)

(You can e-mail to others or tag the article to FB by clicking the icons at the end. Click COMMENTS below to give your views)

See my related articles: A true telephonic story
                                   Leave me alone: Right to privacy in a snooping world


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.  A 19 year old young man made indecent advances to the 50 year old wife of a newly sworn in Union Minister when the jubilant couple were surrounded by hundreds of followers and onlookers. Thankfully, and to the molester’s utter misfortune, the elegant non-Keralite lady managed to make her right hand freed from commotion, to hit at him in rage.

In an interview later to a national TV Channel she said:

  ‘Men feel that in such mob situations they can take advantage of the body of the women and they will grope in unwanted places. In such circumstances, men feel they have a right to abuse or hurt women. Some people told me I shouldn’t have hit him. The ‘politically correct’ thing would have been to smile and grin and bear it. And that’s what our women have been put through for centuries. I forgave him after he profusely apologized for the offence.’

What a shame for  Keralites and  malayali men particularly. Also, what a great lesson she has given to all women who live in and visit Kerala. How many women who travel in public transports have not received such indecent advances from co-passengers or the staff? How many women have not experienced eve teasing on public roads? How many women have the guts to react like Sunanda Pushkar on such deliberate attempts by men? 

High rank in Molestation

Please update your General Knowledge.

 Kerala is on top not just for its highest literacy rate, life expectancy or lowest infant mortality rate, but for many other shameful achievements. 
  • Kerala ranked 8 among 35 States and Union Territories in India in the contribution to total crime against women in the country in the year 2011. 
  • Kerala is in the 3rd position in total number of molestation incidents in the country. 
  • It has also the ‘credit’ for getting the 3rd rank for total number of sexual harassment under section 509 of Indian Penal code.
  • Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram has all India 5th position among 88 major cities in the country for total number of molestations reported in 2011.  

(Number of molestation incidents for 2011, Kerala lost third position to Maharashtra for just 38 incidents)
Some more interesting data from the statistics of National Crime Records Bureau.

  •  Kerala got 3rd rank in incest (rape) and first rank in total number of rapes (incest) where victim is below 14 years. 
  • There is good performance in the area of molestation year after year. In 2010 it was 2939, and in 2011 there were 3756 molestation cases. Remember, thousands of cases go unreported every year. 
  • As per the statistics of Kerala Police, in the year 2012, upto September, there are 715 incidents of rape, 2798 cases of molestation (with capital city topping with 545 cases), 343 cases of eve teasing, out of 9758  total offences against women in Kerala. 
Yes, there is steady growth!

Kerala is one of the few places in the world where women outnumber men. For every 100 men, there are 109 women in Kerala.  Even globally, the sex ratio has been negative for a long time. In 2000, there were only 986 females for every 1,000 males in the world. More number of educated women means more incidents of harassment and molestation? What a paradox!

The incorrigible Mallu

The word ‘Mallu’ (a widely known nickname for a malayali) is a popular internet key word for any sort of sexually explicit literature, images, videos and movies. It is true that Pornography, a world-wide multibillion dollar industry caters to a large number of population since several centuries to fulfil non-intrusively their sexual urges. But what is intriguing is the predominant ‘mallu’ presence in the cyber space (See my article on ‘Mallu Web Culture’). Even movies and videos with erotic overtones are being named as ‘mallu stuff’ irrespective of any other  Indian language in which they are made. This is because of the unique historical background  of Malayalam movies. The directors of many Malayalam movies released in the 1980s and 1990s disseminated new definitions and conceptions for sexuality, eroticism and women. They created a new wave among youth based on misconceived notions about female sexual expectations, misplaced physical attributes of sensuality, and mistaken perception about marital relationships.  This resulted in creating sexual perversions among the youth of those times and impacted their attitude and approaches towards women. This attitudes and behavioural pattern got ingrained in Kerala Society.

The problem got aggravated in due course. In an outwardly conservative society, the double standards and pseudo morality resulted not in reduction of sexual crimes and perversions, but in radical increase in the incidents of molestation, sex scandals, organized sex rackets, sexual harassment etc. Women in Kerala cannot travel alone in public transports or walk alone on the roads after evening hours. Even when they are accompanied by men, they are not spared of the lecherous eyes of men of all ages.

Will giving a vent is a solution?

Noted Malayalam writer Paul Zacharia told once in an interview to my friend  T.S. Sreenivasa Raghavan that ‘a place where one can have healthy sex without fear or anxiety would be welcome’.  It is an absolutely ‘out of the box’ proposition for the conservative Kerala. And morally unacceptable too. But would this be like a ‘placebo’ as believed by Zacharia? Will this save the men suffering from sexual suppression and repression and will curtail the sociopathic behaviour of sex maniacs?   Supporters of the above point towards the licensed service providers in many countries where men go and relieve their urges rather than peeping, leching  and pouncing on hapless ladies. Shall we think of adopting this as a therapeutic approach, without infringing on the moral principles?

Sunanda Pushkar could face it head on. But what about ordinary mortals? We need policy intervention more than the police intervention on this sociological malady. The reason is that, Kerala is more than a State; it is a state of mind!
(views are personal)                                                                                       Sibichen K Mathew

(You can e-mail to others or tag the article to FB by clicking the icons at the end. Click COMMENTS below to see all the comments from readers)

Click here to see related articles in CYBER DIARY:

Aleph, Paulo Coelho and my Friend   (About child sex abuse)


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