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Showing posts from January, 2008


First, for those who are not very familiar with Tamil writers, or those who have lost touch recently, let me say that there is a Tamil writer, S. RAMAKRISHNAN, who writes on many topics. Did I say "write"? I can't find suitable words to adequately describe his writing.. You have to read him to personally understand and feel it.

An hour ago I finished reading his book "DESANDHRI". Ramakrishnan has expressed his feelings about the various places that he has visited. Not just about the place, but the People, the Nature, Historical importance, Our Heritage, Parampariyam and Culture, and on many other aspects. Total 41 experiences, each a gem. What a writing! What a description!

Starts with Suriyan (Sun, Veyil) in his home village house. From there to Saranath Sthupi and about Bihar and its People. Then to Arjunapuram where the Nalla Thangal story happened. Nalla thangal, a poor woman unable to bear the hunger of her 7 children commits suicide throwing herself and the…

Modi Visit to Chennai and I

Shri Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, visited Chennai yesterday (14th Jan) for a day. He had a lot of engagements in the city, from morning to evening.

I was affected by his visit. I will explain how. Shri Modi was staying in a star hotel on Nungambakkam High Road. He had to visit a RSS meeting in Chetput, which is on the west of this hotel. After this, he went to Jayalalithaa's Veda Nilayam house for a 45-items Lunch. Poes garden (JJ's house) is on the east side of the hotel. And he went for the Anniversary of Thuglak at Kamarajar Arangam in the evening. All these venues are on the same route (or nearby) of the bus route 29 C (Perambur to Besant Nagar)

Vijaya and I were waiting at Besant Nagar for this 29 C and we couldn't even see a single bus for nearly an hour. At that time I couldn't think it was due to Shri Modi's visit and the traffic regulations. Then the buses started coming from Adyar side in a procession !! The distance between the hotel at Nu…

Chennai Buses

About 30-35 years ago Chennai Metro buses were painted red. Dull red, to be precise. Then the color was changed to Green, azhukkup pachchai. This green color continued till recently.

To digress a bit, the busfares in Chennai are atrociously, ridiculously LOW compared to all other Metro cities. Even today, with a minimum fare of just 2-00, one can travel for upto 3 km !! From Ambattur to Mandaveli, a distance of about 25 km, the fare is just 6.50. Ridiculous, I would say.

Successive Governments could not raise the fares for fear of losing votes. And so the fare
structure remainde unaltered for decades. However, recently within a year or so, some bright chap in the Govt has thought of an ingenious way - purchase new buses, paint these in different colours, call them "deluxe" (சொகுசுப் பேருந்துகள்) or "low level flooring buses" (the footboard in these buses are low) (தாழ்தள சொகுசு), and charge four times the previous fare.

Thus, today, I see buses painted in all the colou…

Book Fair

A Book Fair is held in Chennai every year in the month of January, and this is growing in size year after year. From last year, the venue for this Fair is a school opposite to Pachayappan college in Poonamalee High road.
This year, the Fair started on 4th Jan; it was to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister, but he could not make it since it was POURING in Chennai that day. The Fair will be there till 17th Jan.
We (Arun, Gayathri, Vijaya, and I) planned to go to the Fair yesterday (10th Jan). We started in Arun's car by 5-30PM. Sowmi was talking non-stop during the travel.
There are 569 stalls, brightly lit and arranged orderly. 95% of the books displayed are Tamil.

Some stalls were crowded and in some stalls not a single person entered. Yesterday being a working day, the crowd was sparse - on weekends this should swell.

Gayathri purchased a few books and I purchased Kalki's PONNIYIN SELVAN, SIVAKAMIYIN SABATHAM, Rajaji's RAMAYANAM (earlier titled as Chakravarty Thirumagan),…

New two-rupee coin

A new two-rupee coin was introduced by RBI during Dec 2006. Look at the photo of the coin.

It shows a cross-like thing on one side; the figure "2", the Asoka lions, and "INDIA" in English and Hindi are displayed on the other side. In the earlier 2-rupee coin, a map of India was displayed.
Where is the map gone in the new coin? And why the Christian symbol of Cross? Are we a Catholic nation? Was it designed to please the Italian Madam?

These and other questions were loudly raised by BJP / RSS inside and outside of the Parliament. Mr Narendra Modi almost made it an Election issue.

Sensing trouble, the GOI retreated and RBI issued, in August 2007, a fresh two-rupee coin. The Cross has been removed and a Muthra (dance pose) is shown !!

Hail our Secularism.

14-30 on 11 Jan 2008

New Year Cards

Just seven or eight years back, in late 1990's, I used to send a lot of New Year Greeting Cards to all our relatives every year. It was a ritual Vijaya and I never missed.

We were in Hyderabad then, and as the month of December dawns, we would go to Abids to our regular shop - AA Husain & Co, the Stationers. The shop was at least 75 years old and its original owner had passed away making his sons / grandsons to look after the shop. As we enter, the shop owner, a royal Musalman, would get up from his seat, welcome us so heartily that you would feel as though you have come to his daughter's marriage. So civil, so courteous. True Nawabi culture.

We would then browse all the NY Greeting cards displayd there, admire and appreciate them, and finally choose either CRY cards or HELPAGE cards or both. Nearly twenty-five or thirty Cards we would buy every year. The gentleman would so carefully pack these cards and hand them over.

Back in the house, I would address each card, then affix…

Sri Velukkudi Krishnan

Sri Velukkudi Krishnan Swamigal is a well-known upansayaka in Tamil. His father was also a very knowledgeable upansayaka and Sri Krishnan learnt the art from his father. He was a Chartered accountant in a MNC in Chennai. After his father passed away suddenly, he took up the Upanyasam as a full-time job, leaving the highly remunerative CA job.

He started discoursing on Bhagavad Gita on Doordarshan (Pothikai) channel daily from 0630 AM to 0645 AM and it became an instant hit with the public. Vijaya and I listen to his discouse daily since Jan 18th, 2007.

Yesterday (1st Jan 2008) he gave a discourse on SRINIVASA KALYANAM at Mylapore. It was to start at 1000 AM and we two reached the venue by 0930. I was thinking that we would get seating by 10th row at least since we were 30 minutes earlier. But when we entered the actual spot I was stunned with shock and disbelief to see a sea of humanity.

The hall was already jampacked and by the grace of Lord Srinivasa we could sit somehow. Within second…