Things to Think About

By K S Venkataraman


It is not washed away in floods. Fire does not incinerate it.   
Even kings can not grab it, and thieves can not steal it.
Nor is it reduced by giving it away.
When these assets of education are obvious,
Why do people travel all over the world seeking wealth?
A bright, conch-like white lotus in a pond.  
Water is her mother; and sun, her father. 
Once it is pulled from its roots, the very water will make it rot; 
Toss it on the ground, the very sun will scorch it in no time. 
When condition changes adversely, 
Even your benefactors are your enemies.

–  Translated from Viveka Chintamani, a 16th Century (?) Tamil literary anthology


How to call the news item below — Grotesque, incongruous, outrageous, irresponsible, bizarre, morbid?

In international flights where we change planes in two or three places, our bags not reaching our destination is not unusual. We get our bags in a few days delivered. When the courier delivers bags that do not belong to us, we become irritated and curse the airlines for their ineptness.

What should people do when an airline delivers a wrong dead body?  You may say it can never happen these days with bar codes and traceability. But that is precisely what happened for a family in India. The air carrier is Air India, India’s flagship carrier.

Air India recently delivered the dead body of an Indian worker who died in Dubai. The deceased persons’ relatives somberly took possession of the body at Lucknow airport and were driving back to their hometown. A few kilometers later, one of the relatives noticed that the name tag on the casket had a name different from their departed relative.

When they opened the casket, much to their horror, they realized they had taken possession not of their relative’s dead body, but that of a wrong person. They returned to the airport and angrily protested to the airlines on how they could do such a senseless and totally insensitive goof up.

Here are the details of the story:

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