neelwrites/wintersareawinwin/nonfiction/myfavouriteseason/09/09/2017

WINTERS ARE ALWAYS A WIN-WIN

Image result for cold winter days

By Neel Anil Panicker

We all have our favourite  season of the year, don’t we?

Winter is my favourite season. I have always loved the winters.

For me the joy of winters begins much before the actual four month long winter season sets in.

 There is that slight chill in the air, especially in the early mornings, when while walking past long blades of grass over to the park, you feel the slight moistness in the air; the soil, if you care to touch leaves you with a sweet tangy wetty feeling.

 And soon enough the air above changes as the sky changes hues, quickly going from bright red to mauve, to mahagony and a hybrid orangish, magenta,  pink mix.

 

The air all around becomes dense and hangs like bat’s overhanging wings casting long dark shadows all around.

All through the wintry chill you feel as  if enveloped in a dank embrace as the sun, hitherto bright and sparkling, begins to play second fiddle, only occasionally peeping out through dark nimbus clouds, showering small little petals of  heat, just enough to warm the cockles of puckered hearts.

Winter is also the time when I get to cover myself in glory, adorning my already stocky frame in layers and layers of my favoured clothing materials__be it plain jet black and smoky maroon silk scarves, pure leather multi-pocketed jackets, knee high boots et al.

Winter again is when my sartorial senses come to the fore allowing me to raid the cupboard to extricate the best of woollen wear, dusting and drying them weeks ahead, even sending them to the dryers if need be, and then gloriously waltzing down the chilly snow laden streets, gently rubbing mummified fingers wrapped in gloved hands and exhaling deep pearly breaths into the rarefied air.

And how can I forget the gastronomic pleasures that await a foodie such as me during this cold season!

Leisurely mornings are best savoured lying tucked in bed under the comfort of heavy silk blankets while biting into hot samosas and pakoras dipped in green chutneys, sipping hot Darjeeling tea in crystal glasses while locking horns with crosswords and sudokus.

I mean I can go on and on as there is no end to the delights that await me come the winters for this is one season that I never whine about but instead always pine for.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #nonfiction #winter  #myfavourite season

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neelwrites/nonfiction/essay/350words/14/01/2017

WHO GIVES A CRAP?  WE DO.

 By Neel Anil Panicker

The other day I heard our PM Narendra Modi rolling up his sleeves and then after the customary ‘Mitron’ salutation, going forth to ridicule his bête noire and heir apparent to the Congress throne, Rahul Gandhi, even going to the extent of mimicking his speaking style and then ending with the downright demeaning “the kid seems to be learning to speak now”.

Agreed, detractors of Rahul may have a long list of grievances against him including his apparent “non-speaking skills”, his utter lack of political acumen,   his ability to keep putting his foot in his mouth every single time he opens his mouth.

But does that in any way allow one, and especially so, the PM to deride and denigrate and demean the poor soul from every single forum that he graces?

And if you are one of those who doesn’t care a crap about the Congress Party and/or what ails its most prominent poster boy, then all I can say to that is: I am sorry, but I do care a crap.

And that’s  because it is not just about competence or the lack of it; it is not merely about a particular party enjoying brute majority or another tottering in the doldrums, it’s also not just about one being a leader with spell bound oratorical skills or another one who looks as if he suffers from lifelong stage fright.

It is about certain abstracts that help a society remain social if not sociable; attributes that one can’t put a monetary value to such as dignity of the individual and respect for all including and especially towards those who may not match upto our expectations.

I hope Mr Modi and his ilk who day in and day out throw around their awesome weights to pull down ‘outdated’ symbols and institutions and people not to their likings and temperaments realize this.

And I hope this realization dawns sooner on them than later for even if they don’t give a crap, the right thinking, peace loving citizens of this country and elsewhere do give a crap.

©neelanilpanicker2017#essay#igiveacrap#350words

neelwrites/nonmfiction/essay/17/12/2016

ESSAY-NONFICTION
Of kites, winds, and flying high
By Neel Anil Panicker
A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against the wind, not with the wind. John Neal, the great American writer and critic was not off the mark when he said this. History is peppered with more such rich tales of struggles and successes thereafter right from Christ and Mohammed and Buddha to Abraham Lincoln and Malcolm X and Winston Churchill___the last, the man who battled the wrath of Hitler and saw England through the tumultuous World War Two years. I am of the firm conviction that a person should welcome all manner of adversities in his life as they not only help build character and discipline but spur one to greater glories.
Take the case of the ongoing cricket series. What a match has it been. If India trumping the formidable Englishmen is a sweet enough pill, the icing on the cake, though some would add a nice little cherry to that as well, has been the sheer brilliance of our very own Virat Kohli, who incidentally notched up his third double century of the year.
Predictably, thereafter naysayers came in and the rather inconsequential English bowler James Anderson butted in with a particularly nasty comment that just about questioned Kohli’s achievement and alluded to “favourable pitches behind his success with the bat”.
While cricket aficionados would dismiss this unbecoming comment with the contempt it deserves and tell Anderson and his ilk to simply “go, fly a kite”, knowing Kohli as we do, it would be a safe bet to say that he would take this opposition in the right spirit and harness it to his advantage.
Moreover, now that the subject of kites has cropped up, it reminds me that in less than a month’s time the Equinox occurs in this part of the hemisphere and we will be celebrating Makar Sankranti, the festival that celebrates the Sun’s entry into the Equator, kicking off the long Indian summer season.
Though I have been a kite watcher and a player of some calibre almost all my life, it is only now in the past few years that I have looked at this joyous activity with fresh eyes, as something more than a cherished childhood pastime; as a great dispenser of some every elemental life lessons.
Harnessed to the Earth, the kite is symbolic of humility even as it soars up in the skies waiting patiently, expectantly rather, for the wind to cross its path and to ruffle its frail self. Unfazed by strident opposition, the kite holds on, steady as the Rock of Gibralter, unruffled by the twists and turns of its fellow beings (read enemies), to take off into the stratosphere, inviting awe and a fair amount of envious looks and odd barbs.
So, come 2018, in Lords, England when captain Kohli continues to send the red cherry racing to the boundary as he most certainly will, then he would need to thank a certain Anderson for stoking the fires of passion in him with his outlandishly offensive remarks. Yet another affirmation of the age old maxim that criticism and opposition are the best insurance against failure. So, if one wants to scale the heights of glory then the war cry should be ‘keep them coming, man’.
(c)neelanilpanicker2016#nonfiction#essay#kite