Friday, November 24, 2023

Melukote re visited

Mysore has always been a favourite holiday destination. I love the city

where I have spent most of my childhood holidays. We were there

recently for a day to visit a relative. It was just an overnight halt and

we intended to return to Bengaluru the next morning. 

We started around ten from Mysore. There was no  hurry to return to

Bengaluru.  So, we decided to take a detour and visit Melukote in

Mandya district. Melukote is famous for the thousand years old

Cheluvanarayana Swamy temple.  The idol is said to have been

installed by Sri Ramanujacharya in 1099.  It is probably the head

quarters of Shrivaishnava community (Iyengars) in Karnataka.  

A kilometer away is the temple of Sri YogaNarasimha swamy,

on a hill. The idol here is believed to be  much older.  Installed

by Prahlada, son of Hiranyakashipu ! 


Melukote happens to be the birthplace of Late J Jayalalitha,

ex CM of Tamilnadu and Late Sri Pu Ti Na, - Pu Ti Narasimhachar,

well known kannada poet. 

It was an enjoyable detour. I love the interior roads. The traffic is

thin, and the road  passes through an appealing landscape. It is a hilly

terrain. You find hillocks, green fields, small ponds and bigger lakes.

You have the freedom to stop anywhere you fancy, look around, walk

up to a lake or to the top of a hillock and enjoy the scenery. The trouble

with these roads is that they are usually not well maintained and sometimes

they can be a pain to drive. But this route was a pleasant change. The

landscape was beautiful and the road was good! 

CheluvaNarayanaswamy lives up to his name ! ‘Cheluva’ in kannada

means handsome and the idol is really handsome. I liked the small

temple town, especially the old streets around the temple and the

‘Subbanna mess’ from where we could buy ‘Puliyogare’ and

‘Sweet Pongal’ - our packed lunch. We ate our lunch  in a

beautifully shaded patch on our return journey and returned to

Bengaluru in time for tea !

I have posted some pictures above to entice my friends to visit the place. 

It is not Kashmir but it is a pleasant landscape within reach ! I think the

pictures need no caption. It is easy to recognise the rooftops of the new

Melukote town and the surrounding landscape - as seen from the Yoga

Narasimha temple hill.  The recently painted and neat looking house is

the house of Sri Pu Ti Na, which is now a memorial and the other one is

just a random old house on the temple street. The white and red pillared

structure is another old structure from the same street which has seen

better days and you see yours truly, standing in the outer corridor of the


Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Toothache and my washing machine

Recently our washing machine broke down. The events which followed had some similarity with the events that I experience sometimes in my clinic. I wrote it down and posted it here. It turned out to be a bit long. See if you have the patience ! 

Toothache and my washing machine

Just look at the list of gadgets that most of us have at home. And this list is not exhaustive. Starting with this laptop on which I am typing, and generally going by the size of the equipment - refrigerator, air conditioner, dishwasher, washing machine, inverter, microwave oven / OTG, air fryer, vacuum cleaner,  television, water purifier, water heater, food processor / mixer grinder, coffee maker, hair drier, internet reuter, I pad, mobile phone, and assorted voltage stabilizers, chargers, etc etc etc. Incidentally, none of the gadgets mentioned above were present in our house in my childhood ! 

Now, going by Murphy’s law, it is no wonder that we always have some or the other equipment conked at any given time. In my case, it was the turn of our washing machine. That was about six months back. As is my daily practice, I dumped all the used clothes into the machine, poured a spoonful of soap powder, shut the lid and pressed the button. Usually some lights flicker on the control panel and the machine would give a musical sound and start running. But that day, it remained silent. 

I did all the usual stuff to put it back to life. Repeatedly pressed the start button half a dozen times, switched the power button on and off thrice, removed the plug from the mains socket, stared at it and plugged it back, randomly pressed all the buttons on the panel multiple times, slapped the body of the washing machine and kicked it for good measure. But nothing happened. There was only a stoic silence. Then I called the service center. 

I told the lady at the other end about the malady. And she told me my name, address, the model of my machine, date of purchase and the earlier repairs done. I confirmed that I was indeed the person she was referring to and it was my machine which had gone into a coma. She said that a mechanic would get in touch with me. In due course, the technician contacted me and arrived at my door.  

I told him my complaint. He opened the panel on the machine and looked at the interiors. Then he took out his voltmeter or some meter, plugged the ends here and there, checked the reading, removed and put back some minor parts and pressed the start button. Total silence. He pronounced “Sir, your PCB is gone”. He said that he will have to order a spare and that he would come back once he gets the part. It would take two or three days. I accepted his verdict and hoped that he would be back fast. There was a load of soiled clothes in the machine. 

My wife was standing near the machine that evening and contemplating if she should take the clothes out and wash them by hand. And she just pressed the start button once again because she had nothing better to do. The machine sprang to life, sang the usual tune and got into action ! It completed the cycle and rested. We put another load of clothes and it washed them sincerely. Then one more the next day. 

I called the technician and told him that his diagnosis was wrong. There was nothing wrong with the PCB. Told him that it just washed three loads of clothes. It was difficult for him to explain the behaviour of the machine but he stuck to his line. He said that the PCB may exhibit odd behavior sometimes and that it may go into a coma again. He asked me to keep using the machine and call him when the machine shuts down again. 

It did. Two days back. I repeated all the above treatments once again and called the technician. He repeated all his steps once again and pronounced, “Sir your PCB is now really gone”. He said that he would order the part and get back when it is ready. I wasn’t convinced but had no other option. I nodded my head. 

This morning I pressed the start button yet again, just like that, and yes, you guessed it right. The machine is working!  The technician who arrived with the PCB looked foolish when he said “Yes sir, it happens sometimes. It is because of some blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Call me if the machine stops again”. As of now, the machine is running and I am waiting. I am not convinced that the PCB has conked.

Now, let us leave the washing machine standing there and visit my clinic. There was this patient who came with severe toothache. I asked him to open his mouth and immediately spotted the cause of his pain. I just touched the tooth with my instrument and he jumped six inches even while seated on our chair. I told him that his tooth has conked and I will either have to remove the tooth or that he will have to undergo a procedure called the RCT (root canal treatment). He refused both. He said that the tooth was fine till he poked it with a pin to remove some food stuff which was stuck there. The pin was to be blamed. Not the tooth. 

But the pain was severe and he had already done everything he could. He had gargled with salt water, filled the cavity with toothpaste, applied Amrutanjan, bitten on a clove, and had swallowed half a dozen tablets and three pegs of whiskey. All to no effect. And now I was expected to do something sure and fast. I injected a local anesthetic in his jaw and the pain vanished. I told him repeatedly that I have only made his tooth numb and the relief would be temporary. He better get the tooth treated at the earliest. He nodded his head and left. 

And he never returned. 

He was again at my door after a year. Greatly in pain, rubbing his jaw and shivering at the thought of biting anything. I told him everything that I had told him before. He again expressed his doubts about my verdict, insisted that I give him the miracle injection, got himself injected and was relieved. I once again stressed that he either get the tooth treated or removed. Unconvinced with my verdict, he nodded his head and left. And he hasn’t come back. Obviously he has no pain and no faith in my judgment. 

Now, that is typical of a toothache. It can be very unpredictable sometimes. It usually keeps bothering till the tooth is treated properly and the situation usually gets worse if not treated. But there are instances where there has been no trouble whatsoever for months or even years once the intense pain is relieved. In such cases I, the dentist, who insists upon  “immediate treatment - either removal or RCT” have no explanation and have to look foolish - Like the technician who came to repair my washing machine !!  

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Temples of knowledge ! - The “City Central Library

The name ‘City Central Library’ - ‘ನಗರ ಕೇಂದ್ರ ಗ್ರಂಥಾಲಯ’ in Kannada - always strikes a chord in me. The day before yesterday I saw the board at the BDA commercial complex at Banashankari and went inside. There were about a dozen people reading something or the other. The shelves contained lots of government publications, many literary works stocked out of compulsion, plenty of dog eared old books but also quite a few books which I wanted to read ! I made enquiries regarding obtaining a membership and was asked to get a copy of the ADHAR card and few copies of my Photographs. 

I went there yesterday morning carrying the required stuff and was asked to write my name, address and phone number on a form. I did that, paid a refundable deposit of Rs 200, and came out carrying four books which I had spotted the previous evening ! The official who was in charge was extremely cordial and the entire process took about 15 minutes. I was very pleasantly surprised at the ease with which I could obtain a membership and my liking of CCLs went up by a notch ! 


The department of libraries introduced ‘City Central library’ to Bengaluru around 1970. The first library was at KH road (Double Road), near my house and my mother was one of the first few members. All my family members have been very enthusiastic users of the library. My father was a permanent fixture there on Sundays and we have seen him spend the entire day there, forgetting food and drink! Before the City Central Library came into existence, he was a weekly visitor to the Public Library in Cubbon park, Bengaluru. 

During one of my browsing sessions through the shelves of the library, I found a copy of the kannada translation of “The Farmer boy” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. That was a time when I was a daily visitor to the library. A period of six months after my 12th standard and before the start of our course in Dental College. I stood in the narrow passage between the shelves engrossed in the book and later shifted to a more comfortable position in the reference section. I remember taking the book in my hand around 10am in the morning and I came out around half past one, after finishing the book !  I became an immediate fan of the author and I might have read all her books at least half a dozen times. 

During the next week, I borrowed one book each day - Little house in the big woods, Little house on the Prairie, On the shores of Silver lake - to name a few,  and finished the series in a week. Subsequently my brother and sister also turned out to be Laura fans and between us we have all her books - both the original english editions and kannada translations - in our possession. It is through her books that I first heard the names Wisconsin, Minnesota, Tennessee, Prairies, Great lakes etc etc. These books are in circulation between us even today !

Laura Ingalls wrote the very popular ‘little house series’ (A popular TV serial too) based on her family’s travel westwards during the 1800s in the US. Laura’s family was one of the pioneer agriculturists who moved continuously looking for better pastures during the eighteenth century. With some curiosity, I looked for her books in the Public Library at Canton, MI, USA and was disappointed when I did not find even one of them! I enquired with the librarian and was told to look in the children’s section. 

So, one senior citizen went to the children’s section at the Canton City Library, was very glad to find all the books of one of his favourite authors and happier to find one which he had not read before !  I later visited city libraries in Dearborn, Plymouth, Novi, Northville, Wayne and so on and loved the libraries in the US. I was extremely impressed by the unhindered access to all facilities available in the libraries and the comfortable seating. I loved the  large print editions of the popular books for senior citizens. These library visits have been a high point in my trip to the US. 

Now, armed with my membership card of the CCL Bengaluru I plan to check all libraries around (there are three CCl branches in a radius of 2 kms from my house - they now have about 30 central libraries and 550 branches in the state) and hope to be able to access the digital library too. To start with, the three books shown above - DVG’s ‘Smriti ChitragaLu’, and a book on Pu Ti Na, will keep me busy for the next two weeks or more !  

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

A short dream and a cherished friendship

This morning my brother called me and asked “have you heard from GR recently ?”  I said “no, it has been nearly a year since I received his mail. Why did you ask ?”. He said that he was trying to contact GR. E-mails sent to his known mail Ids had not received any response and there was no phone number to call. Since my brother was expected to be in the US in November, He was trying to get in touch with GR, who lives in Colorado, in the hope of meeting him. 

Now, a little bit about this GR. He is my childhood friend. Three years older than me. When I first met him I was in second standard and he was in fifth. We walked to school together everyday. A distance of about three kilometers. And I am sure this is what put a firm foundation for our friendship. He completed his Phd in Artificial Intelligence and left for the US for a postdoctoral. I completed my BDS and left for Goa around the same time. And I can confidently say that there has not been a single day in the intervening twenty years, but for the time he was in IIT Madras, that we have not met !  And whenever we met, ‘time stood still’ as the saying goes. We never met for a few minutes, at least an hour always !

He was ‘my friend’ but equally friendly with my brother and sister. He is known to everyone who knew me in my childhood. I do not intend to bore all my friends by writing about our friendship which I cherish. I am sure all of us have one or two such relations in life which transcend all known relations !

As my usual practice is these days, I lied down for a short nap after lunch. And I dreamt. I had parked my scooter by the side of the road and was checking something around its wheel. I felt someone come and stand next to me and on lifting my head saw GR standing there. We did not speak. I got up, took the scooter off the stand and started. He sat on the pillion. After a very short while, he said “there are police ahead”. Indeed there were police ahead and checking. I replied “don't bother. We have everything”. Then he said “No helmet!” I stopped abruptly turned the scooter around, parked it by the road side and turned towards GR to say “We will have to go and get helmets”, and I woke up. 

I last met GR during his short visit to India six years back. The earlier meeting was in 2010 when I had visited the US. He received me in Denver and I stayed with him for two days. He had recently built his house and when I stepped in he said “ ನೀನು ನನ್ನ ಮನೇಗೆ ಬಂದ್ಯಲ್ಲೋ ! ನಾನು ಮನೆ ಕಟ್ಟಿದ್ದಕ್ಕೂ ಸಾರ್ಥಕವಾಯ್ತು ಬಿಡು !” ( Oh, you did come to my house ! It is certainly worth building it ) I was so touched with that exclamation, that I have tears in my eyes even as I type this !

How I wish that I meet him out of the blue sometime again, just like the way I met him in my dream this afternoon. 

Sunday, October 8, 2023

National High School - Revisited

 National High School - Revisited 

I happened to be in the vicinity of National High School this morning and went into the building on an impulse. I have moved around the building hundreds of times even after I left Bengaluru but never went in even once. Today’s was a revisit after nearly half a century. It was a nostalgic visit. As I stood in the quadrangle of the NHS, I could almost hear HSM (our head master) clearing his throat prior to his customary post prayer sermon from the stage ! 

It is unfortunate that the beautiful edifice with the clock tower is blocked by a very run of the mill new building but most of the interiors are as they were. The space at the back of the quadrangle where we used to eat our afternoon lunch is covered and utilised for some purpose, the library has come to the ground floor, the audio visual room is converted into a class room, and new toilet blocks are built. One of the class rooms overlooking the college auditorium is in a dilapidated condition and shut down. The cycle park has become an additional building and the school is now Co-ed making me wish I was born decades later !! 

The college section has not changed much except for an entrance opening onto the Pampa MahaKavi road at the place where the Principal’s office used to be and there are additional floors built. An attempt has been made to make the auditorium walls soundproof and they now look as if cardboard has been pasted onto the walls.

I was walking around the school premises aimlessly, lost in memories when a lady who was sweeping the corridor addressed me “ಓಲ್ಡ್ ಸ್ಟೂಡೆಂಟಾ ಸಾರ್?”.(are you an old student?) I nodded my head. “ಚನ್ನಾಗಿ ನೋಡ್ಕೊಂಡ್ ಹೋಗಿ ನಿಮ್ ಸ್ಕೂಲ್ನ”, ( Take a good look at your old school) she continued with her work and I came out of my school. I am sure that she has seen many visitors like me !

I took some pictures and they are here. The ones with a dash of colour are the college open air stage, auditorium and new opening. The bright classroom at the end of the corridor (seen in one of the pictures) was our 8th E section. I will end with an anecdote connected with the room.  

It was 1969 in the era of running commentaries of test matches. India was playing against Australia at Kanpur and it was the test debut of G R Vishwanath, a boy from Basavanagudi where our school was located. He was from a very humble background and a student of Fort high school which is about a kilometer from NHS. There might have been a few from our school who knew him personally. Even though most of the minds that morning were in Kanpur, we had no access to commentary and only had to listen to the description of the coast of South America from our geography teacher SN. Half the class was half dozing. 

Suddenly and unusually, the intercom speaker which had been fitted in every classroom sprang to life and crackled. Our attention was drawn to the speaker and our headmaster was speaking. He informed us that GRV was batting and has reached the nineties and said that it was a wonderful performance. He requested the teachers to suspend the teaching activity and said that the running commentary would be brought to all classrooms through the intercom till GRV completed his century ! 

And that, GRV did with a flourishing square cut to the boundary, which later came to be known as his trademark stroke. The school premises erupted in a joyous applause and the moment remained etched in my mind forever. 

Monday, August 14, 2023

Helping Hands

A friend of mine came to see me yesterday. He tried to park his car over the covered drain in front of our house but failed to notice that some concrete slabs on the drain were missing. As a result one of his front wheels went into the drain. I am sure that he had got up from the wrong side of his bed in the morning. There is no other reason for him missing the missing slabs! Anyway, when I opened the door, he was standing there looking very anxious and stupid. 

I went out to see the situation. The car was jutting out onto the road at an awkward angle blocking a considerable part of it. One front wheel was hanging helplessly in the open drain and the opposite back wheel was half a foot up in the air. It was an awkward and difficult situation. I know it for sure because I had once put my car in a similar position.  

Now, we had to get the car out. My friend was a stranger to the neighbourhood. And he had come to see me. So, morally it was my duty to help him out. I thought that if I could find half a dozen able bodied men, we may just be able to lift the car up from one end and put the wheel back on the road. Luckily for me there was some construction work going on closeby and there were men working on the site. I went to the supervisor, explained the situation and requested him to lend me his men for a few minutes. He nodded his head, called out to his men and asked them to help me out. 

They came in a group. Two of them got down into the drain, others positioned themselves on the edge, and tried to lift the car. They could lift it a few inches but the collective effort was not enough to lift it up completely and put the wheel back on the road. 

We were wondering what to do next when a food delivery man came there on his two wheeler. He stopped, took a look at the scene, parked his bike on the road and said that he would get the car out. Taking the key from my friend, he got into the driver’s seat, and instructed the men to lift the car up and push it towards the edge of the drain on his signal. He started the car, put it in reverse and signalled. The engine roared, the car was lifted, the wheel turned but nothing more happened. In fact, after the exercise, the wheel had gone a bit deeper in the drain. 

The driver got down, looked around, and without a word walked to the construction site. He came back with a thick wooden plank. He placed it on the edge of the drain, one end of it projecting onto the road and the other end hanging next to the dangling front wheel of the car at an angle. He made two men stand on the part of the plank that was on the road. He got in again and started the engine. The workers lifted the car so that the wheel just came on top of the plank and like magic the wheel moved on the wooden plank and then onto the road. 

The food delivery man got down, returned the key to my friend, kicked his bike to a start and rode away. The workers got out of the drain, straightened their backs, dusted their hands and went back to work. I went to the construction site, thanked the supervisor for his help and came back. My friend had relief written on his face and it had regained some colour. We sat down for a chat and a cup of coffee. 

I wrote all this because I was impressed and intrigued by what I had witnessed. My friend had put the car in the drain and was standing there helplessly. Half a dozen strangers who were not at all connected with or affected by the situation had come forward willingly to help and had spent considerable time and energy without expecting anything in return ! 

The food delivery fellow had no reason to stop and take the initiative to get the car out. He would have probably honked impatiently and cursed my friend if the car was blocking his way even for a few seconds on any other occasion. Now he had calmly and willingly spent twenty minutes trying to take the car - again, with which he was in no way connected -  out of the drain. 

My friend, who would have thought ten times before allowing the fellow to even dust or wash his expensive car, had just handed over the key without bothering to consider whether the fellow was capable of taking the car out of the drain or capable of just driving it in the first place !  

After completing the job the fellow just went away on his errand without even waiting for a word of thanks from us. And so did the group of labourers who offered their muscle power which is their only resource !  All these people worked just to get a stranger out of the difficult situation he was in and they gained nothing in return ! 

I feel that is why we call ourselves social creatures. It is probably natural for us to help another creature when you find it in distress. At other times we may be impatient with each other, intolerant or even antagonistic but at times like this, everything else is forgotten and the inner goodness of individuals surface.  

One of the rare occasions when we get a chance to feel nice about the society we are living in and our co - inhabitants ! 

Have a nice holiday and a happy Independence day everyone !

Friday, August 4, 2023

Aborted landing / Balked landing - a recent experience

We were scheduled to fly from Bengaluru to Goa and were to depart

from terminal 2 of KIA Bengaluru. We were there well in advance,

spent some time looking around the splendor of the new terminal,

experienced whatever the lounge had to offer and boarded the flight.

The pre-departure experience was fine. 

The flight took off from Bengaluru on time. I read for some time and dozed

for about half an hour. After some time, I experienced some turbulence

and realised that we were in the clouds and were on our way down.

Looking out of the window, I saw the mining pits of Sanvordem, the

roof of MRF and Nestle, the Verna industrial estate, the new six lane

highway crossing the river Zuari and then the BITS Goa campus located

close to the airport. 

The captain made an announcement and the flight started the steep descent.

It crossed the Zuari industries and the highway, past the Airport fence and

touched down with a strong bump. It seemed to raise a bit, appeared to

have made a second touch and instead of slowing down, gained speed

again! Even before I could realise what was happening, we were airborne

once more.

I knew there was something wrong and that it was serious. There were

butterflies in my stomach. But when I found that the aircraft was stable

and steadily gaining height, I calmed down and after noticing that it was

banking and had started making a U turn, I felt that things should be OK.

But there is no escaping the fact that all of us had been very close to our

last few seconds on this planet.  I don’t think many of my co-passengers

realised that a disaster had just been averted.  

In retrospect, I feel that the plane touched down with more speed than

usual. Maybe the pilots noticed that they would be short of the runway

and decided to take off, instead of trying to stop and overshooting the

runway. It is also possible that they experienced a sudden gush of cross

wind and decided to take off instead of veering away from the runway.

These are my guesses. I enquired with the cabin crew after landing but

they had just as much information as I did. 

I dont know whether I should thank the Pilots or my fate. But I am glad

that I am back in my home and typing this. I am curious to know what

exactly happened. If I get to know, I will come back with details. Meanwhile,

I felt like sharing this unusual experience and hence, you are reading this.


I sent the above write up to a friend, who is an experienced pilot and

got the following 


Response : As for my view on the experience,

It is a little difficult to be sure about what might have happened without

actually being in the cockpit or speaking to someone who was in the cockpit

at the time. My best guess would be same as your father's first assumption. 

1. They may have come in too high on the final approach and as a result

touched down out of the ideal touchdown zone (roughly the first 25%) on the

the runway. When that happens there may not be enough runway to stop the

aircraft and the aircraft can go off the runway which can be disastrous. In this

situation, it seems like the cockpit crew realised this and aborted the landing

and carried out a Go Around maneuver (a maneuver where the landing is

aborted on final approach or after touchdown and the aircraft climbs to a certain

height and attempts another landing or diverts to another field)

2. They may have come in at the correct height but may have been too fast

and resulted in the same outcome of touchdown towards the mid or second

half of the runway and eventually carried out a go around.

3. Could be a combination of 1. and 2. Resulting in a go around.

I think the crosswind explanation is possible but less likely because Goa is

not one of the airfields where crosswind is a major concern.

What happened here is technically called a balked landing. Where a landing

is rejected very close to the ground or sometimes even after touchdown.

The engines are producing very little power when coming for landing and

close to the ground. From this state for the engines to start producing

maximum power in order to start climbing again it takes a few seconds.

This lag for the engines to go from low power state to max power is due

to design. And it is this lag in the power delivery of the engines is what c

aused the second touchdown. Momentum would have carried the aircraft

in the air after the first touchdown and lag in power delivery caused the

aircraft to sink and cause the second touchdown and as the engines reach

max power the aircraft will have started climbing again.

Ideally this landing should have been aborted at a much earlier stage.

It is extremely unlikely if the aircraft is on the correct height profile and speed

on final approach to end up in this situation. However, they did have the

good sense to do the right thing albeit at the very last stage.

I know my reply is very long and detailed 😂. But I wanted to explain

certain concepts so that he will understand the explanation better.

I hope this helps.