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Sangham at Mercy
Jose, Shibu, Biju, TV, Babu, Bobby & Diji.
We keep jamming at Mercy, but meeting Shibu after 25 years made this jam very special.
Below are our Maharaja’s College Ooty trip pics.

TV, Jose, Aby, Biju, Babu & Mookkan

TV, Jose, Babu & Shibu

A few months ago, at Spencer junction, I witnessed an amazing sight – an accidental collage created by a tree, spotlit by sunshine, its rain-cleansed leaves glowing green, and the image of a man on the Jet Airways hoarding in the background, the guy staring up, ecstatic, as if enthralled by the beauty of the tree. I tried to capture the scene on my N72, but then the signal turned green and I had to get going.

Few minutes later…ping, the irony-meter redlined, this was so Ogden Nash…

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
I’ll never see a tree at all.


Gotta get that pic for the blog, Gotta…Day 2. I managed to stop the car at just the right place, grabbed my phone, but before I could get the shot, I noticed the girl in the car ahead leaning across to the boy driving the car. Wow! Valentine’s Day…the tree can wait. The girl pulled out her dupatta from underneath her, returned to vertical position and got busy patting out the wrinkles, and the signal turned green.


Day 3. I finally managed a shot, but the camera position, shot composition and lighting were all wrong. I guess you can’t recreate a kaleidoscope pattern… 


Day 4. Jet Airways had a new hoarding at the site.


Then last week, the billboards fell. The trees emerged from the shadows, and reclaimed their territory. Kind of like the end of The Mansion of Gods…

By nightfall, the forest has taken over once again. Only a few Roman remains show that the Mansion of Gods
ever stood there…


…which reminds me of the first business venture I was a part of: The Four Star Lending Library, started by Biju, Keeshan, Sridharan and I, when we were in high school. The business plan was Biju’s – enter the market with Keeshan’s Kottayam Pushpanath novels and Sridharan’s Indrajal Comics, buy Tintin/Asterix comics using the revenue, plough back profits to buy more comics…The Mansion of Gods was the first book we bought. We had a great run and build a huge collection of Tintin/Asterix comics till John Sir busted us. Those were the days…


Vaal Kashnam: Too bad our underground library experience didn’t inspire a multi-million dollar enterprise. Snigger, snigger.

Photo from Google Earth.

Check out the website. (The faculty page has some familiar names – Mr. Xavier Panackal, Mr. M. J. Zacharia, and Paulosechettan)



Jose’s visit to Cochin is always an excuse for Celebration…and RC and MCB.

And what a celebration we had last weekend…Pattar had suggested that we meet at Mercy for old time’s sake, and for many of us it was a homecoming of sorts – returning to the rooftop after so many years…

Ani, Biju, Jose, Joydeep, Low Cost, Pattar, Rojo, Suni and Varkey were there. Everybody sort of rediscovered the fun of jamming together and when we split at midnight, everybody agreed that we need to do it again, pretty soon.

Go to Cochin…


Welcome back Osa!
Chennai, Jose and I go back a long way…gotta do a post on our Chennai days…

(It still bugs me that i got the ‘jaws’ wrong in Jose’s Rajagiri autograph book…)

Around 1993-94. TV had a dinner meeting with a customer in Chennai. His plan was to pack the customer off quickly, and start jamming with Koomar and I. We reached the restaurant, the customer didn’t leave, and so we started jamming together. After a few rounds, the customer was decidedly uncomfortable, and struggling to make small talk…


He asked Koomar, “Are you married?”.
Pat came the reply, “Ya, Gandhi Square”.


The customer disappeared.


Of course, what Koomar heard was “Are you from Maradu?”.

All these are very nice jokes in Malayalam.

I fell for ICH’s famous MD during my pre-degree days…and I can still remember the first time…on the long table next to the wash.

But ICH was never about food – more than a restaurant, it was a hang out, a haunt, a meeting point and when you couldn’t afford a coffee, a waiting room. During the ’80s, ICH was Sangham HQ.

ICH was…

  • Never-ending bull sessions
  • Top performing Mass with masala dosai and coffee
  • Pattar’s mutton omelette and rose milk (Those were the days, ICS to ICH for breakfast)
  • Post-engineering coffee marathons – 5 tables, 4 hours, 20 guys, 20 coffees
  • The coir carpet, the tiny square tables
  • The photographs – Gandhi, Nehru, AKG
  • The poster – ‘A fine type, A fine coffee – Both are Indian’
  • Bird watching outside Vettukattil, Coffee at ICH, Bird watching outside Vettukattil, Coffee at ICH…
  • Ciggies from Ali-kada (Customer: Oru Week thanne. Ali: Dishum!, BHH)


Sunil Hyderabad-il aanu…(Available 24×7 at +91 9849902063)

(Thanks to Sunil M for the no.)




Rare pics of Sangham at Rojo’s place.

Does anybody know what happened to Lineman?

Last month we celebrated the Return of Dijiraj. Jam session at Biju’s. TV was there. Jose phoned in. Bobby was away (or as the famous song goes, kappalil aanu ku**a).

The jam almost didn’t happen. Unable to locate Biju’s house, Diji was actually rushing back home when I saw him in Panampilly Nagar. And then I knew, though I had not met him in a decade, he has not changed a bit. Good old Japan, the man in a big hurry – pouva, pouva, pouva.

Before he became Japan, he was Idi Rajappan, the nemesis of Onakka and other school bus kids. He was also the Commando fan, the ‘fastest man’ and a pioneer of hard tackle football. Actually football’s gain was boxing’s loss. The windows of MSc Chemistry lab in Maharaja’s (and many of us) can vouch for the power of his punches.

During the pre-degree days, I was a permanent fixture on his BSA SLR. We discovered Eloor together, filled in our engineering applications together – then I went to Calicut, he went to Kothamangalam…and the rest…is history.

Welcome back, Diji.

Dijimobile: +91 99472 76214. Photos courtesy TV


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September 2020