Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sangeet Sarita, an AIR Programme - 'Raag Pahaadi' in film music, by Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma

I am an addict to the radio programme, 'Sangeet Sarita' in AIR (Vividh Bharati).  I have already written 2 posts on 'Sangeet Sarita' and this is going to be the third one!
This time, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma (Hindustani Santoor vaadak) discusses about raag 'Pahaadi' and how various Hindi Film music directors handled this raag in different ways (in their own ways), in their songs.  He talks about the orchestration - which instruments were used - by these music directors for the same raag.  I cannot or not capable of writing in detail but I had jotted down the songs and will list them down here.  In 'Sangeet Saritha' programme itself, he had narrated his life history in 'Meri Sangeet Yatra' and in the current series, it is 'Paarshwa gaayan ke rangeen taane baane'.
Pt. Sharma himself is a music director and has created many gems along with Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasiya in the name of 'Shiv-Hari'.  They have directed music for some gazhals and bhajans too.
I heard these two songs today.  Both the songs are my favourites and while hearing them, I thought I will write a post about this programme.  Now, hear and enjoy the songs, like I did!
I love this film, 'Silsila' and Amitabh and Rekha are my all-time favourites!  Music is by Shiv-Hari.  He says that this raag suites well for the songs picturized in scenic places like Switzerland , Kashmir etc.  Beautiful song:

This song is very melodious but without much orchestration!  Normally, the orchestra gives flavour to the songs... this is so beautiful and peaceful to the ears that you will never notice the minimum instruments used in the background:

This beautiful song is from film 'Chandni', music is by Shiv-Hari.  The singers are Latha and Babla.  The song starts with the peaceful tune of Pt. Chaurasia's flute.  This too, is one of my favourites:

This song is from the film, 'Kashmir ki kali',  and the music is composed by O.P. Nayyaar.  The same raag 'Pahaadi' is handled in a different way:

Latha's golden voice!  Film is, ' Aakhri khat'.  Pahaadi raag again by Khayyaam:

Again, this song is composed by Khayyaam.  Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur...hmm, such a beautiful song:

This song of Latha, is composed by the most versatile music director,  Madan Mohan.  Sadhana is without 'sadhana cut'?!

Slow and melodious song, composed by Naushad, who has got hundreds of classics, to his credit. This one is sung by our inimitable Rafi saab:

'Chanda ki chaav mein, thandi thandi hawaavom mein', 
The above mentioned song, by Latha, composed by Sri Ramchandra, is also based on raag 'Pahaadi'.  I couldn't get the video.
The next two songs are based on Rajasthani Folk music.  These are also based on raag  'Maand'.  
Music is by Shiv-Hari, sung by Latha and the famous Rajasthani folk singer, Ila Arun. Picturized on our beautiful, talented Sridevi! The film is 'Lamhe':

He quoted the song, 'Kesariyaa...baalam',  which was composed by Hridayanath Mangeshkar, sung by Latha for the film, 'Lekin'.  I could not get the video for this song.  But came across this video in which a young girl Aishwarya, sang  this song beautifully, in a reality show, 'Chote Ustaad'.  She is going to be a star singer in the future...beautiful voice.

This programme, Sangeeth Saritha,  is being aired now (tomorrow is the 13th episode and must be the last one) and you can hear more songs on raag 'Pahaadi', from 7.30 am to 7.45 am in Vividh Bharati! After this series is over,  some other prominent person will be interviewed about some subject connected to classical music or film music...our own good music!
Friends, this is my last post for this year, 2009!  This is the 132nd post!  Your encouragement has prompted me to write so many posts, this year!  I thank you all wholeheartedly!

Now, let us all welcome the New Year, 2010!  All of us in our family wish you a
Happy, Prosperous and Peaceful New Year!
God Bless you!  Be Happy Always!

Edited: Corrected the title - Raag Pahadi in film music - 11th Jan.'10

Edited to add on 21st Nov.'16: The two Maestros are playing their instruments here! Click this link pl. Heavenly music! 

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I wonder in which language do people pray to God or 'think' - in mother tongue or English

My memory...I forget words in mid-sentence and they come back like a flash at mid night! So I keep thinking about something or other, all the time ...!

My son asked me a few days back, "In which language do you think, Ma?"!  One of my relatives asked me "In which language do you pray to God, Maami?"

I started thinking...day and night...suddenly I would remember these questions and try to concentrate on what I was thinking and in which language!

These questions were put to me because my mother tongue is Tulu.  I am from Udupi (Karnataka)  where most of the people speak Tulu at home and study in Kannada at school. Tulu language had a script, till a few decades back but it is dead now.  

I studied here, in Chennai (Tamilnadu) - from V std., so I am very fluent in Tamil.  Then got married to a Tamilian!  We speak Tamil at home...for the past 35 years now!

Now, I noticed these things:

When I pray to God, after the usual shlokas, I do namaskaara...and I pray in Tulu! I noticed one more thing...I don't ask for a particular favour, just say, 'please keep everyone happy', 'everything should happen peacefully' (mantherenla santhoshontu ijile, manthala porludu nadapodu, devere), I recite these lines also, like a shloka! Now, only Aishwarya Rai and Shilpa Shetty will understand this language! 

If I had a fight (misunderstanding!) with my husband and if I forgot to give back in proper words immediately, later on, when I am alone, I start doing it in my mind first - in Tamil! And maybe I mug it up also, till I get a proper time to use it!

Now, let me think about the language in which I speak with my children...normal usage is Tamil.  When I want to pamper them (laad karna hai to),  I call them 'bete' (Hindi!) and use some Hindi sentences also! If I am angry, English is the 'most used' language along with Tamil! English words don't sound too harsh, I feel!  My elder son is abroad and he speaks only in English nowadays.  The language in which I speak to him in my mind is English!

My mother is no more...she passed away two years back.  I used to speak to her, my brothers and sisters and cousins, in Tulu, in my mind, i.e. if I think about telling them something, it will be in Tulu.  My sister's husband speaks only Kannada, not Tulu, so I speak to him in Kannada, in my mind!

Our business partner is a Maharashtrian.  He is fluent in Tamil and so we speak to him in Tamil and to his wife, in Hindi.  Again, if I think of telling her something, the words that form in my mind, are in Hindi! Funny, I don't think about it in Tamil, first!

Our family friend once told us about an incident which happened,  when he was on his way to Delhi, by flight.  He is a jovial person.  He started chatting with a man, who was sitting next to him.  Though that person was also a Tamilian, he was particular about conversing only in English!  On the way, the weather worsened and the plane had to go through the clouds. The plane was shaking so much that the passengers got scared and started praying.   Next minute, the Tamilian started praying in Tamil, 'ennathu yithu, yippadi aadarade...kadavule, yenne badramaa oorle kondu serthudu, wife, chinna kozhanthe yirukku' means, 'why is this plane shaking this much, God, please  take me to my place safely...have got a wife and kid'!

My research about myself is over now!  It is your turn now...in which language do you pray to God or think, normally? 

Image Courtesy: Google

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Paa, Literally AMITABH's Movie!


When we planned to go to this movie, 'Paa' I wanted my husband to join us but he refused saying that "looking at Amitabh, it looks like a sad (glycerine!) movie"!  So five of us, ladies and girls, went to the movie and we had a big surprise - it was nearly a comedy movie!

Before going to the movie we just knew that Amitabh Bachchan was acting as Abhishek's son and the story was about this rare disease called 'progeria', which accelerates the aging process.    Only the first part was correct.  It does not show Auro (Amitabh), being treated differently because of his medical condition (he acts like a 12 year old boy who looks like a 60 year old man), bringing in emotional melodrama. But Progeria is just taken as a backdrop for a drama revolving around human emotions, with Auro's great sense of humour, intelligence and sensitivity. Amitabh is the correct person for this role, with his natural sense of humour, which we have seen in many movies and 'Kaun Banega Crorepati', TV show!

The movie started with Jaya Bachchan just repeating the sub-titles (ABCL productions) and I was wondering if she was going to be the narrator of the story.  But her part was over with the sub-title recitation! Thank god!

Abhishek Bachchan as  Amol Arte (Abhisekh Bachchan), is a young, idealistic politician and mother (Vidya Balan), a gynecologist. The entire movie deals with the emotional turmoil that Auro’s parents go through.  Abhishek's role reminds us of Rahul Gandhi in many ways!  Rahul Rawail, as his father, as usual entertains us with his witty comedy lines.  Arundhati Nag (Kannada actor Shankar Nag's wife,  a film and stage actress and we have seen her in 'Dil Se' and 'Sapnay') fitted the role of Vidya's mother very well.  Auro's and her (he calls her 'Bum'!) tantrums make the whole theatre laugh loudly!

Auro, as a student is shown as a normal 12 year old intelligent boy with lots of friends who adore and love him. The audience were laughing at the scenes where he runs at the glimpse of his classmate (the girl who is in the photo shown on top)! 

Abhishek is becoming a matured actor with each and every film of his, from 'Guru', 'Sarkaar' and now 'Paa'.  Vidya Balan fits in very well in the role of a single mother of a child with rare disease.

PC Sriram's camera work is very good.  Some scenes show Auro as small made but Amitabh's tall frame is not that easy to conceal, I feel.  Progeria is a disease which accelerates aging process, so the child's frame should be the same, logically - wrinkles and other aging features should be shown, but the director, Balakrishnan (his earlier film, 'Cheeni Kum' also featured Amitabh in a different role),  a BIG fan of our 'BIG B', blindly ignored these things!  Let us also ignore and enjoy this movie with very minimal draw backs! 

Very rarely we come across movies with such good clean humour.  This movie is for the whole family to watch together and enjoy!  We get so involved with Auro that we cry when he dies, which is expected, with his desease, in the end.

I loved this song of Ilayaraja, though the tune is from his Malayalam film song:

Here, this clip shows photos of the process of Amitabh getting converted to Auro!

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Dream Of Riding A Two Wheeler...

My family (mother's side) never had any vehicle at home, in those days.  We used to travel by bus, mostly or walk!  We never felt it as a drawback because having a two wheeler was a luxury in middle class families in those days...the result was, everybody looked thin!  We used to calculate distance as '2 bus stop distance or 3 bus stop distance'! My school was at 3 bus stop distance! Even now, I use this calculation!  Bus fare was 15p for 4 bus stop distance! 

After I got married, my husband said that his dream was to ride a motorcycle!  So he bought a second hand Rajdoot motorcycle.  For the first time in my life, I rode on a motorcycle with my husband!  Later on, he bought a Bullet motorcycle, which was my favourite!  We used to go to Bangalore from Hosur (40 Km.) with my two kids comfortably by that bike, often.
Then we shifted to Chennai and then built a house in the outskirts.  Everyone said that if I had my own two wheeler, it would be easier to come to the city.  My sons had bicycles and husband had a car at that time.  So I and my sis-in-law, who is a working lady and didn't know to use any vehicle, decided to learn to ride a two wheeler!  We did not know even cycling! 
Then we came across the advertisement which said that they taught two wheeler riding to women of any age (both of us were in our mid 40's!) and no need to know cycling! The training period was 2 weeks and we could have a 'learner's licence' too, in the end!  We paid Rs.500 per person.  The training started!
First, the lady taught us how to use the front brake, accelerator etc.  Then I sat on the seat of a two wheeler (moped 'luna') for the first time!  She taught us to ride inside the campus of a polytechnic college where very minimum people could be seen (you know why!!).  
The first step was 'duck walk' - we had to walk using our two feet, sitting on the bike.  The vehicle was of low height and weightless, so it was not difficult for us.  After a day of 'duck walk', she taught us to slowly start the vehicle and do 'flying' - two legs would be flying outside the vehicle, when it was on the move!  Next day, she asked us to keep one leg inside.  If we became nervous, we could put our other foot down immediately. Using the brake was fun.  We used to jerk and nearly fell down, a couple of times!  Then after 2 days, the teacher was bold enough to let us ride normally, around the campus!  One of her assistants was coming at the back, most of the time.  
When the second week started, I started to ride a bit faster. I was so happy and with the breeze hitting my face,  I just deviated and went into the main road. The road had some potholes on the sides and so I started riding on the centre of the road! Some van was coming from my behind and I just didn't give a hoot to that vehicle...I was in my own world!  The driver of the van rode on to the platform and driving by my side, said 'Yennamma, Sozhavaram racele vandi oattareengala...neenga innum kaththukutti, nenavule vachchukkonga!' (Are you going to participate in the Cholavaram race...remember, you are still a baby learner).  I was scared to lift my eyes from the road but went on at my speed!  On the last day, our teacher took us into the heavy traffic road.  She was going in the front and all of us were going after her like small ducks behind the mother duck, in small vehicles! I think our group had 18 students!  It was early morning and all the passengers were watching us from the bus...all women riding two wheelers!  When our line turned into the side road, there was a pothole and I forgot to go straight first and then turn...but just turned and fell down from the bike!  But within seconds got up and joined the line...I just don't know even now, how I did it!  My family will read about it only now!
That was my two wheeler training tale!  But my dream stopped with that!  My husband and my sons didn't allow me to buy a vehicle for myself, saying that our road was too busy with traffic and they would worry all the time, leaving me on the road by myself!  I tried to ride my niece's Kinetic Honda sometimes, but lost interest in the end!
Whenever I see women happily riding on their two wheelers, I just watch them with envy, while going by our car.
This post was inspired by Dhiren's post, thank you!

Photo courtesy:  Google

Sunday, November 29, 2009

50 Glorious Years of Doordarshan - IV

 Bharat Ek Khoj/Discovery of India

The Masterpiece Serial of Doordarshan and Benegal

Let me start this post about one of the best DD serial, with its title song, which impressed everyone, when it was telecast in 1980:

This is a better audio track of the above song:

Bhrat ek khoj - The title is so apt for this serial which was telecast in Door Darshan in the eightees. The story was based on the book written by our first Prime Minister, Pt.Jawaharlal Nehru and the 53 episodes' series was directed by our veteran director, Shyam Benegal.

Like we watched 'Hum Log' and 'Buniyaad', we watched this serial also, with full attention. I think it was telecast on Sunday mornings. Later on, we have seen repeat telecast also. The title song was very impressive and is a simple version of verses of Rigveda. The verse begins like this and Wikipedia has given the English meaning, which is very simple to follow:

'Srushtee se pehle sat nahin thaa,

asat bhi nahin, Antariksh bhi nahin,

aakaash bhi nahin thaa

chhipaa thaa kyaa kahaan,

kisne dekhaa thaa, us pal to agam,

atal jal bhi kahaan thaa


The serial covered 5000 years of history of India, from the Indus Valley Civilization to our Independence in 1947, which included Vedic period and the writings of the Vedas, beginning of the caste system, the period of Chanakya and the invasion of Alexander, Ashoka, Kalidasa, the formation and survival of the Delhi Sultanate (the Slave dynasty and ahead), Mughals, Marathas, British East India Company, the first war of Independence of 1857, Quit India Movement and many others.

The deep throated voices of Roshan Seth (the story teller, who acted as Nehru in Richard Attenborough's Gandhi ) and Om Puri (the narrator in the background) gave class to the serial. Though describing 5000 years of rich and varied history of such a large sub-continent in 53 episodes seems impossible, Shyam Benegal had done an excellent job at giving an insight into the history of ancient and modern India through fabulous storytelling and direction. This is one of his masterpiece work, I am sure.

I remember criticizing Salim Ghouse acting in this serial as Rama and Krishna (we are used to Arun Govil and Nitish Bhardwaj in those roles!), but his voice gave the characters life and Benegal was right in selecting them for these roles. Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Om Puri, Neena Gupta, Anjan Srivastava and many other familiar actors, played different roles in different episodes. I read in the credits that a Salim Arif was the costume designer...the costumes of the artistes were very simple, but good - this serial was done with a low budget. Much importance was not given to the war scenes etc. but given to the happenings of the period.

When we watched this serial, we never felt like watching a documentary. Benegal did not dramatize the stories much, still, it was engrossing. All of us were watching the serial and my sons were able to follow our history better in this way than through books, I felt, at that time. Now, let me give you some scenes of the serial, which I think, is interesting. You can notice Benegal using the local folklore and folk singers/artists in most of the episodes, with their version of the story, which was applicable to that episodes.

Sample of Roshan Seth and Om Puri's voice:

Bharath Mata ki Jai: Nehru talks about Bharat mata, to the villagers...very interesting:

Ramayan episode starts with folk song:

Mahabharat scene starts with the famous Maharashtrian folk story-teller. Mahabharata's Geethopadesha scene:

This is the ending track of Bharat Ek Khoj

I can keep on writing at least one more post about this serial! This one is quite a long post! All of us enjoyed watching this beautiful serial and I would be happy if you watch it, when it is re-telecast again in some channel and know more about our own Indian history!  I assure you, you will not be a bit bored!

I came across this video, while looking for the title track of this serial. If you are interested, have a look:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Feeding Crows - Superstitious?!

Now, when did I start feeding the crows (Kaakkaa)?  I think when we were in Bangalore, I started feeding them chapaathis to just entertain my small kids!
My grandma and mother used to feed the crows with rice and dhal as soon as the morning pooja was over at home.  My grandma used to serve us only after feeding the crows and if we were hungry, we used join her to call them 'kaa kaa kaa' in chorus.  I wonder if they came to eat after hearing our shouts!  Most of us, Indians believe that our ancestors come to us in the form of crows!  So, on the day of the death anniversary - Shraadhdha - of our ancestors, we are particular to offer rice with vada and the myth is - if the crow takes rice facing east or west or north (Kuber's corner-more money!) it is good for us!

In Chennai, in our first house, I used to throw pieces of chapaathis to the crows through the kitchen window!  They used to wait on the post of the chain fence, dive and catch the pieces in the air!  It was fun!  Otherwise, they were taking piece by piece from my hand, peeping their heads inside the window!  They never liked rice!
Later on, we shifted to our new house and the next door neighbour used to tell me that the crows would follow me to the new house too! Here, the crows like rice with lot of curd!  From 8.30 to 8.45 am, they start giving me sounds, to remind me that they are waiting! As soon as they see my head at the backyard, some 10 to 15 crows surround the place, on the fence or on the trees and wait for me to place the rice on the washing stone (we have kept a stone for washing clothes at the backyard).  One fearless crow sits on the edge of the stone itself, waiting for me to leave!  Then, all of them start pecking the rice in twos and threes...sometimes fights will be there.  Some carry lot of rice in their beaks and fly away to feed their babies! You can see them coming down to eat in the above photograph! The food is nearly over here!  I have seen one crow with just one leg, many times... I don't see it now.  I liked the next photo too...one contented look in their pose! And they love to eat/drink the curd which stays at the bottom of the rice.  They turn their necks on the side, put their beaks beneath the rice and suck!  Most of the crows have gray necks and some have black necks, which are a bit bigger in size.  The black necks terrorize the gray necks and eat all the rice sometimes!  After they leave, I mix some more rice and offer to the gray necks!

Some of the crows are waiting for their turn here:

Then the squirrel who waits till the crows fly off, comes down, to finish off the remaining rice! We have got lots of squirrels - small and big - playing at our backyard!  Till some 2-3 years back, they were nesting in our bathroom ventilator, in between the small glasses and netlon.   They used to bite and tear the netlon and the babies often fell inside our rooms.  I had to put them back into their nests!  Now, we have put steel mesh!  They have got lots of options for nesting in our area!

I have noticed that more than the crows, the squirrels love bread slices!  Sometimes they hold one whole slice in their mouths and run away!  Here, this squirrel is relishing a piece of bread! It is sitting on the cover slab of our well!

Sometimes, I have seen a bit big sized sparrows coming and eating the rice and the crows just wait for them to leave!

Then this bird, Asian Koel, female, comes and eats the remains of the rice.  She is always scared of any movements in the surroundings.  It was very difficult to take photograph of her. Took the pictures on two days:

This bird is her boyfriend! I didn't know the name of the bird.  My friend Radha wrote here that this is called Aisan Koel.  He also is a member of the curd eating gang in our house! I added this here today since this picture should also be here in this post (16.4.83)!

Just want to add that I am not superstitious but love and enjoy pampering animals and birds!

More posts on this subject:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Anjali Tendulkar - The Woman Behind The Man (Legend), Sachin Tendulkar

'I don't eat. I don't answer phones. I don't even move when Sachin is batting.'

Wife Anjali Tendulkar is Sachin's lifeline; he depends on her for almost everything.

These were the headlines for the interview with Anjali Tendulkar in the Times Of India today morning. We watch Tendulkar in the TV playing (cricket) matches after matches, travelling throughout the world, in advertisements, in interviews....I was just wondering when he will adjust time to spend with his wife and two beautiful kids. When I read the interview, I was able to feel how much Anjali had supported Sachin through the years.

She is the best wife who loves him and stays in the background to take care of the family, so that Sachin can concentrate in his passion, cricket.

Now, some excerpts of the interview from TOI:

How easy or difficult is it to be Mrs Sachin Tendulkar? How do you cope with the pressures?

ANJALI: For me, it's very easy because I've known Sachin for 19 years now. I understand him so well. So whether I am his girlfriend or his wife, it's the same thing, just an extension of that bond. I don't find it very difficult and I'm used to it. Maybe, it's also because I've not known any other person in my life except Sachin. Of course, there are many challenges and difficulties to being his wife but the whole family, including my children, has learnt to deal with it.

Any regrets at all on the home front?

ANJALI: The only regret, even though we've learnt to cope with it, is that he's not at home most of the time. I think even Sachin has realised this, now that the kids are growing up fast. Sara is 12 and Arjun is 10. We sometimes wonder where all the years have gone. Since he used to be away most of the time when they were growing up, now he tries to come home as much as possible. If a match gets over early, he'll come home, stay overnight and then leave again in the morning. Though he's trying his best to spend more time with the family, sometimes he's not at home for birthdays, special occasions or even for the kids' annual day at school. It matters a lot to the kids.

Have you ever grown tired of waiting for Sachin to return from a tour?

ANJALI: It's always been like that. These days, whenever he goes on a long tour, we usually try and plan a short holiday with the kids. Maybe during the school vacation or something. There's no other option for us.

Don't you regret the fact that Sachin's fame prevents him from being a normal father?

ANJALI: It's been like this from the beginning, so you accept it. It's part of life even for our children. They know their father cannot do certain things. So we take the trouble once every year and go somewhere where he can be a normal father. Like in London, he takes Arjun to the park to play. Even there people recognise him, but they don't mob him and give him his space.

Please go back in time to when you met Sachin for the first time...

ANJALI: (Laughs) We've not really told many people this. I first met him at the Mumbai airport when he returned from his first tour of England in 1990, after scoring his maiden Test ton. In fact, when I first saw him at the airport, I didn't even know who he was. It was purely by accident! I was there to pick up my mother and Sachin was arriving with the Indian team. That's where we saw each other for the first time... we had a courtship of five years and got married in 1995. We had got engaged a year before that in 1994 and that was in New Zealand.

Do you believe in destiny?

ANJALI: Yes, it is destiny and I believe in that.

You could have been a very successful doctor...

ANJALI: I loved medicine and a lot of people often ask me if I'm wasting my education. I don't think so. Though I loved every moment of my studying days and my days at the government hospital, it then came to a stage when I realised that I could not be married to Sachin and also have a full-time career. It wasn't possible because he depends on me for almost everything. It was my decision. I thought I should be at home with him and make everything perfect for him.

In his childhood, brother Ajit did everything for Sachin, sacrificing his own interests. I thought I should do the same. Besides, mine would not have been a 9 to 5 job. I'm a paediatrician, so if there's a patient calling me or someone admitted at odd hours, I have to make myself available. With Sachin not around and me with two kids at home, it wouldn't have been possible. I took a decision and I have never, ever regretted it.

Have you ever driven the Ferrari?

ANJALI: When Sachin got his Ferrari home I asked him to show me how to change its gears because they are near the steering and move with the fingers. To my surprise, he said, 'You don't need to drive my Ferrari.' In fact, I needed to know because at times we need to move it when he's not around. It actually happened once and we couldn't move it. I've been longing to drive his Ferrari.

Have you and Sachin ever thought about what life is going to be like after cricket, or how long he intends to play?

ANJALI: People often tell us that we ought to start thinking about what he's going to do after cricket. But I feel that when you are playing, you need to focus 100%. You cannot even think of what you'll do after cricket. So I always tell Sachin not to think about it. I tell him, 'It doesn't matter, surely you'll find something to do, you have lots of interests.'

Also, maybe we can just take some time off and travel the world and then look ahead. I always insist that he should not worry about the future. At the same time, he will be at a total loss because his whole life has been cricket.

Hats off to Anjali Tendulkar! Really, Sachin is lucky to have her in his life!

Sachin's family at Madame Tussauds:

Family photo courtesy: daylight.com

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A BIG SQUAT To Take A Stand On Sanitation


Jack Sim, Founder, WTO, plans to get people to squat together in public places to raise awareness about sanitation.

The 52 year old former businessman says, "WTO is an advocacy group. We don't actually build toilets. We partner with organizations across the world and share knowledge and experience".

He says many people have TVs and mobile phones but no toilets. "It's about prioritising sanitation; 40% of the world has no access to proper toilets. Sanitation is about making people aware of the relationship between hygiene and health," he says.

WTO which has over 200 partners worldwide, 42 of which are in India is one of the few organisations that focuses only on sanitation and toilets instead of water. "Everyone clubs water and sanitation, and 95% of the funds go towards water projects. But good sanitation is the first step towards clean water," he says.

Toilets weren't really top of the pot for Sim, who ran a number of businesses from the age of 25. "When I turned 40, I realised that I had 13,000 more days to live the average Singaporean lives to 80 and wanted to do something useful," he says. Sim started reading and "realised that the toilet is really neglected". So he started "the other WTO" in 2001 to disseminate serious facts with a sense of humour. The logo is a toilet seat shaped like a heart.

"I thought the best way to break the toilet taboo was to use lots of puns." But the name, which everyone thinks is "really bad at first" sticks in people's minds. "That's because every mother has told her child not to talk about the toilet. It's not polite'. And here we are talking about the loo quite freely," says Sim, who is often called Toilet Man.
And it's not just about getting toilets installed. "You have to keep them clean too. So Sim has started the World Toilet College in Singapore that provides training in toilet maintenance and design. "I'm hoping we can open one in India too to train toilet cleaners like technicians."

This year, for World Toilet Day, WTO is planning a Big Squat. "We're getting people all over the world to squat together in public places and take a picture. It's a fun way to get the message across and make people laugh," he says. World Toilet Day, according to him, provides the legitimacy for people to talk about toilets openly. "Toilets are like sex, everyone wants to discuss it, but is waiting for someone else to break the taboo."
TIMES has an article about Jack Sim and Rose George, who are involved in this project.
In a city like Chennai, where the climate is hot nearly 10 months of the year, I see men urinating on the roadside all the time. When women can control and go home and relieve themselves, why can't men do so, I don't know. So, first of all people should be fined heavily for doing this crime (yes, it is crime) on the spot. I have seen them doing this on the wall of the public toilets! In Srirangam, I saw them urinating on the compound wall of the temple even though every street surrounding the temple had toilets, which were clean, but pay toilets! The whole area was stinking. Like Sim, we need somebody to teach people to use toilets to relieve themselves instead of doing it in public without shame (even after the mothers teach them not to talk about toilets/not to show their private parts in public!). Will education help to change this attitude about polluting the environment, but I see even educated people do this...So, our city will have very minimum people who will participate in this 'BIG SQUAT' sincerely!

Edited to add (12.11.09): Useful link - Sanitation updates 

Monday, November 9, 2009

Firaaq - Nandita Das's, Well Directed, Debut Movie

Firaaq - The Separation

Firaaq is actor Nandita Das's debut movie (she has done it like a pro, though) and will be remembered as a well-made movie, on the aftermath of Gujarat riots.

This movie was with me for the past one month at least.  I was just postponing to watch the serious movie.  Whenever I think about Govind Nihalani's 'Tamas' and Kamal's Tamil movie, 'Mahanadhi', I get upset and had decided never to watch very serious movies again.  But like I reluctantly watched 'Parzania' I watched this also.  And cursed myself when I saw the opening scene of the movie...but because of the impact of the scene, I wanted to watch the whole movie.

The story/stories,  is about the lives of people, who were affected badly,  immediately after the Gujarat riots in 2002.   Nandita does not show any direct violence in the film, but the emotional side of some people who try to come to terms with what had happened and go on with their lives.

After the first disturbing scene in which our Tamil veteran actor Naasser had acted, the movie continues...Naseeruddin Shah, is an old classical singer, who still believes that everything is at peace out there and nothing has changed.  Raghuvir Yadav is a person serving him for years but he hasn't  got the guts to tell Naseer about the brutal killings. My favourite ghazal singer, Jagjit Singh has given voice for Naseer's humming song, which is very melodious and is the only song in the movie.  He rarely goes out of the house and wonders why no one is attending the 'bhaitaks' nowadays.  We know about Naseer, but Raghuvir yadav, who is a superb actor,  is not lucky enough to get good roles.

Then comes the story of a Muslim family who returns to their home only to find it burnt by rioters. The woman, Muneer (Shahana Goswami) and her Hindu friend and neighbour,  used to earn money, by going to the local weddings and applying mehandi in the bride's and other women guests' hands and legs.  Now, Muneer goes to a wedding with her friend and the friend places her own bindi on Muneer's forehead to avoid any mis-happenings.

Sameer (Sanjay Suri) and Anu (Tisca Chopra) act as   a mixed marriage couple who has to deal with their fears and decision to leave Gujarat for Delhi after their shop was attacked by the rioters.  The scene where Sameer, who is an educated person, changes his Muslim surname to his wife's Hindu surname out of sheer fear/weakness, depicts the reality of the situation at that time, in Gujarat.

A child gets lost in the big town, roaming around helplessly after all his family members are killed. The story of this child also gets connected with Deepti Naval who is guilty of being a coward and watching her own family (Paresh Rawal is the husband), which gloats and uses the situation to their advantage. She brings the Muslim child home and tells him not to tell his original name 'Mohsin', but Mohan,  if the family asks for it.  The conversation scenes between Deepti and the child are the most emotional ones in the movie which prove the immense talent Nandita Das has got.

Nandita has very correctly understood how women have a more humane streak towards people,  regardless of whatever faith/creed they are from. 

Then the story of a group of Muslim men,  all flustered and planning for revenge, which fizzles out in the end with the death of one, in a weird way.  The murderous nature, which is hidden behind ordinary people is visible in this scene.

Just one or two scenes show how the people of both faiths were living together happily, before the riots and how slowly some changes and doubts erupted in the friendship between them.

This is not a normal bollywood film with twists and turns and a positive or negative ending. Though I felt at times like watching a documentary movie because of the incompleteness of some incidents, this movie makes us think about our own nature, when faced with this type of situation.

This boy as Mohsin, has acted very well, in the movie.  The sadness in his eyes hurts us.  I just wonder what will happen to children like him, who are orphaned because of the unnecessary riots in the name of religion in our country or elsewhere in the world.   Will they ever be able to lead a normal life like us, or will they become the future terrorists to harm the whole world and themselves, like it is happening now, in Pakistan?

Edited to add(10.11.09):  The characters speak (Paresh Rawal's family) a lot of Gujarathi.  It was difficult for me to follow!

Photo courtesy 

Boy Photo courtesy

Thursday, November 5, 2009

50 Glorious Years of Doordarshan - III


Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi

Golden days of Doordarshan

Yeh Jo hai Zindagi!  I can still remember the days this serial was telecast...every Friday at 8.30 pm.  We were living in a colony and the roads of the colony were deserted on these days. Hosur (Tamilnadu) where we lived, was an industrial area and people from all parts of our country were living in our colony...I had very good Maharashtrian, Bengali, Gujarathi friends over there.  These people felt as if they were in their own hometown while watching this Hindi serial.   Chennai Kendra had not yet reached there and so Tamilians also became addicts of this serial.  The theatres were empty on these days!  If we were out of our home and came back running, we could hear the title song of the serial, blaring from each and every house in the colony! And then the laughter sounds will start...every member of the family, young or old, were laughing heartily!  My neighbour was a doctor, but his clinic was empty, mostly, during this time and he too was happily watching this serial!  

This serial was the first of its kind - comedy serial - by Doordarshan, which was aired in 1984. Shafi Inamdar(Ranjit) and Swaroop Sampath, former Miss India, 1979(Renu and she was really beautiful!) played as a couple and Rakesh Bedi (Raja) was Renu's brother.  Most of the episodes were single episodes and some stories stretched to two episodes, I think.   Satish Shah (the famous comedian in the later years) became very famous in this serial, who played different roles (speaking different languages of different regions of our country) in every episode.   Vijay Kashyap and Shulbha Arya played as their Bengali neighbours.  Some of the dialogues became very famous like:

"Yeh kya ho raha hai"  Tikku Talsanya uses this line, dragging each and every word. 

"Aa ha ha, what a relief"  "30 Years Ka Experience hai"  Satish Shaw made these lines famous!

Wikipedia says,  "Its popularity can be gauged from the fact that video stores in London would await periodically for the copy of the serial’s tape. Even the box-office openings in cinemas were affected due to the airing of the show. After a couple of successful seasons, the show took a hiatus (due to the departure of Shafi [2], one of the primary characters, from the show) and returned for a second innings with some additional cast."

All viewers of this serial felt very sad when the news of Shafi Inamdar's demise came in the papers.    The serial was written by comedy writer Sharad Joshi and directed by S. S. Oberoi and Raman Kumar.  The title song sung by our Kishore Kumar...was our favourite song!

Now, let me show you one episode of the serial from our treasure trove 'you tube'!  If you like it, you can watch more over there.  Now we are exposed to hundreds of comedy serials and may not enjoy like we enjoyed in those days, but we watched it with the whole family, which is very important and which we don't seem to do, now.

Edited to add (6.11.09): I came across this anecdote about Swaroop Sampath!  She is actor Paresh Rawal's wife and has got two grown up sons now and acts in plays with her husband! She also teaches acting to disabled children. Swaroop has obtained a Ph.D. in Education[4] from University of Worcester in England. She is also a teacher’s trainer now traveling across India to conduct workshops for teachers who engage themselves in imparting this knowledge for the benefit of children.[5] She was selected by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to head an educational program for children. [6]


Saturday, October 31, 2009

My BIG Day


This is my BIG day!  I got my first recognition from blogadda for my post on Venkateshwara Darshan.


Thank you blogadda!  

My special sincere thanks goes to all the readers of my blog, who had been reading and commenting and encouraging me, all these days.  If you had not done so, I would have gone into oblivion!  

Thank you all!  God bless you, friends! 

Oh, I forgot to thank my son, who introduced me into blogging! Thanks bete!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Tirupati Venkateshwara Darshan - A Very Rare Happy Darshan

I had been to Tirupati Venkateshwara temple in  Andhra Pradesh, many times in the past years and used to come back frustrated after standing in the queue of unruly crowd for hours together, then having the darshan of Venkateshwara just for a fraction of a second or at the most, one second!  Still, we were going there again and again, because this god is our family deity  (Trichy Gunaseelam temple also) and we are supposed to visit these temples every year, which we don't follow (!) regularly, but do it at least once in 2-3 years (my son is rolling his eyes!). I prefer Gunaseelam temple, which does not attract much crowd and  a more peaceful place than Tirupati.

This time, my sister-in-law had booked for 'Tiruppavaadai Seva' (she had booked for this seva 5 years back, for Rs.5000/-) for which, apart from the couple, who book the ticket, 5 others can accompany them.  Thanks to her, we had a lifetime experience!

This seva was conducted in the mantap, which is in front of the main deity.   A huge mound of puliyodarai rice (tamarind rice) was spread in the shape of a rectangle (around 6-7 'long  x 4' broad x 2' high, approx.) with rounded corners, on a wooden plank, at the center of the mantap. The edges were carved like steps and the flat top had 7 mounds, depicting seven hills - four small mounds on four corners, two, next to the front two mounds and one huge mound at the center.  

The ticket holders were asked to sit on both sides of the rice hill and sankalpa was taken, i.e. the couple were asked for their and their family members' names, nakshatra, gothra (family lineage)  and the priest repeated with a plate of flowers which were touched by the couple. These flowers were used in the pooja later on.  We sat behind them.  Then, the mantras were recited for about 20-25 mts.   After aarthi, the couple were allowed for darshan first.  Then, we went inside. Normally, we are allowed to stand and have darshan near the dwaara paalakaas. Only during some sevas, the devotees are allowed inside.  

The inner area (Garbha Gruha) was dark and just the diyas were lit and the deity stood there, a medium sized idol,  without much ornaments - a dark stone statue with just shankha, chakra and the other two palms/hands,  in gold. The usual kireeta (crown) was not there on the head!   The feet were not covered with gold. The torso had just a yajnopaveetha (sacred thread), a folded angavastra and a blue dhoti in the waist.  The naamam also did not have any diamonds, just plain naamam (two white straight stripes on the sides and a red one in the middle)on the forehead.  The glittering jewellery and the kireeta, made the idol look huge and tall, on normal days, I think.  We had the normal darshan also, the previous evening - the usual flash of a darshan!

As the whole world knows, Lord Venkateshwara is the richest god in the world and the idol is always covered with huge emeralds and diamonds.  This time we had the darshan of the original idol, for the first time.   Normally, when we come  out, we just feel relieved and breathe easy.  This time all of us never expected this type of darshan.  We were sort of dazed and we will never ever forget this incident in our lives.  

I got this video of the pooja of Lord Sri Venkateshwara, which was shot in the year 1966.  

During the abhishekha, you can see the original vigraha (idol).  We saw this, which we had not seen on our previous visits.  Vishnu Sahasra Naama is heard in the beginning and later on, the famous Carnatic singer Balamurali Krishna and Ghantasaala are singing in the background.  

This also is an old video clip, which is very very interesting:

We can see the deity clearly.  Each and every part of the idol can be seen clearly.  I noticed, one more thing...they sang a stanza of Tamil 'Thiruppaavai' !  Thiruppaavai was written by Aandaal, for Kannan (Lord Krishna), like Meera wrote songs on Kaanha .  This is news to me! Famous Telugu playback singer Ghantasaala is singing in the background.   Laddoos are carried in cane baskets!   The devotees were able to see aarti and then the priest places 'jhataari' on the devotees' heads, which is not done now...too much crowd!

I thought of booking tickets for this seva, but was told that it is not available for another 7 years!  This seva is done only on Thursdays and is in high demand, naturally!  Anyway, I am happy I had this chance of a good darshan this time.

Temple Gopuram Photo courtesy: Amit Vasisht.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

50 Glorious Years of Doordarshan - II

Hum Log:

I liked the title, the  Outlook magazine gave for an article on 'Hum log':

'That epic moment when we spotted ourselves on TV'

When the serial started on  7th July, 1984, we, Indians,  never had a cue of  how it was going to affect our day to day lives, thereafter!  The most inspired thing about Hum Log was its name. These two words captured the essence of the show and what it meant for millions of viewers.  Hum Log was an account of both who we were and wished to be as well as of the times in which ‘we people’ lived. 

Though the serial was in Hindi and was more famous in the Hindi speaking belt, I noticed that even Tamil speaking people, who did not understand a word in Hindi, started watching it.  I was in Hosur(Tamilnadu) at that time and all my Tamil friends were watching it and if they did not follow some dialogues, they used to come home and ask me to translate!  My husband's very old aunts, who were in a small village in Trichy (Tamilnadu), became addicted to this Hindi serial!  Basesar Ram and Bhagwanti, Lallu, Badki, Chutki, Nanhe, Majhli, Dada, Dadi...became household names!  Whenever Basesar Ram started singing old Hindi film songs, all of us used to join in with him!  Majhli was an aspiring gazhal singer and she sang really well!

The best part was, at the end of every episode, actor Ashok Kumar would discuss the ongoing story and situations with the audience in a unique style, using Hindi couplets and limericks. In later episodes, after the show had reached the heights of popularity, he'd introduce the actors who played various characters in the serial and end his monologue with the various Indian language versions of the words "Hum Log." I can still hear his sort of tired voice talking to us.

With 'Hum Log', the addiction of watching 9 pm serial started.  I used to make the children finish their homework and have dinner by 8.30 pm!  Till that time, I was particular not to switch on the TV, thought the children will get addicted!  But after 9, all of us got addicted, till about 10 pm!  Our thanks goes to Vasanth Sathe,  the I&B Minister at that time, who got the idea to start serials in our television and Manohar Shyam Joshi, the writer and P. Kumar Vasudev (an unfamiliar director till then!).

The serials of those days did not have advertisement break at all, if I remember correctly. After the huge success of 'Hum Log' the producers vied with each other to produce serials, which needed money...the start of catchy advertisements began!


I saw the re-run of  Buniyaad a few years back and so remember the story better than Hum Log story, which was also  written by Manohar Shyam Joshi and directed by the renowned director ('Sholay' fame) Ramesh Sippy.   This serial was first aired in 1986.

The story is based on the Partition time, or rather the after effects of the Partition.  The main character,  Master Haveliram  was a patriotic and a very principled man and chose teaching as his way of constructing an ideal society of dreams. 

The story begins with a very youthful and exuberant Haveli Ram (Alok Nath) falling in love with his student Lajwanti (Anita Kanwar).  Alok Nath is in no way handsome, neither is Anita Kanwar any epitome of beauty, but I can still feel the chemistry between them.  Lajwanti will just lift her eyes up with all the love she felt for him and look at Haveli Ram ...I have got goose bumps now, I can feel their love by just remembering the scenes, after so many years!  He used to speak pure Hindi and was a very shy and straight forward character!  Throughout the serial he was addressing her with respect...Lajoji!

They marry and have three children. Each one was played by an iconic actor of the television at that time.  The story shows the children grow up and marry and have children and live in true old pre-independence style. 

In the serial, Haveli Ram goes missing. While all others think that he is dead, his wife Lajoji refuses to believe so. The whole country was hysterical. And when he returned, it was the talk of the town - we realized the power of television for the first time. 

Of course, there is Veerawali (Kiron Joneja), Haveli Ram’s sister and her own story.  And try as you might, you cannot forget Lochan (Soni Razdan) who plays the bitchy wife of the timid older son,  played by Dalip Tahil.  I liked Mazhar Khan (second son) who played a rogue character. Kanwaljeet (third son) was tall and so handsome!  Asha Sachdev, who played in a negative role, as Haveli Ram's sister-in-law, acted very well, with her huge eyes rolling all the time!  Vijayendra Ghatge (Veerawali's friend) became famous for his voice (everyone admired him more,  because he was a blue blooded prince in real life!).

These lines became popular in those days, don't remember more details, though:

"Lajoji (Anita Kanwar) ne khaya badaam,
usme se nikla Haveliram (Alok Nath),
Haveliram ne kholi almaari,
usme se nikli Veerawaali (Kiran Juneja),
Veerawaali ne khaya paan,
usme se nikla Vrushbhaan (Vijayendra Ghatge)."

I tried my best to get the original title song of Buniyaad, but could not.   Anup Jalota sang this one in a concert:

Palchhin Palchhin Tere Mere Jivan Ki Yahi Buniyaad

Later on, DD Metro came and film based serials like Superhit Muqabla, Show Theme etc. became famous. But people who have seen these serials will never enjoy television, like they did, in those days. Whenever people got together, the main topic of discussion was these serials. People came home early to watch them, sitting with the family. I remember planning to go to movies on non-serial days!

Will write more about other DD serials, which affected me most, in the next part! 

The first part of this post is here!

Monday, October 19, 2009

50 Glorious Years of Doordarshan

It seems like ages since we  last woke up to the music of shehnai playing softly and swirls of orange turning into a Doordarshan logo .  And then, our favourite 'Vandemaataram' song!

Now...let me think...when did I 'see'  Television, for the first time?  In 1975, in Chennai, my neighbour had bought it and invited us to come to her house to watch it.  We did, maybe two or three times.   

We shifted to Bangalore, in 1977.  In 1981,  we bought our first black & white TV - ECTV.  The telecast had started on the Karnataka Rajyothsava Day (Nov.1st, 1981), for the first time,  in Bangalore.   The first movie in Doordarshan was 'Shankar Guru' - Kannada Superstar Rajkumar's movie.  We just did not put the board 'houseful'...our quite a big hall, veranda, everywhere, our neighbours were sitting and waiting to watch this movie!  

This post is a happy tribute to our favourite DD.

Our Doordarshan has turned 50, this year!  Doordarshan had a modest beginning with the experimental telecast starting in Delhi on 15th September, 1959, with a small transmitter and a makeshift studio. The regular daily transmission started in 1965 as a part of All India Radio. The television service was extended to Bombay and Amritsar in 1972. Till 1975, seven Indian cities had television service and Doordarshan remained the only television channel in India. Television services were separated from radio in 1976. Each office of All India Radio and Doordarshan were placed under the management of two separate Director Generals in New Delhi. Finally Doordarshan as a National Broadcaster came into existence.

We have got so many channels to watch now.  High Definition TV also has come.  The quality of telecast and programmes are amazing... now, it is very tough, probably impossible to keep track of the programmes aired on a dozen different television channels.  We were happier with our Doordarshan with all the '‘Rukavat ke liye khed hai’ (with coloured stripes on the screen!)too!  We used to wait for our Sat. Sun. evening movies.  Sunday afternoon's Regional movies.  We had watched some very good Bengali and Marathi movies with sub-titles.   Now, feel sick of overdose of movies!  I remember watching deaf and dumb news and translating it with the 'sound' switched off, with my children!  

Whether it was watching 9 pm serial or news, the whole family used to sit and watch.  'The World this Week's Pronoy Roy (English) and S.N. Dua (Hindi version) were familiar to everyone.  News readers, Salma Sultan with a single rose in her hair, near her ear, Usha Albequereque with her flawless English, Geethanjali Aiyer, Mrinal Pande...I can list some more...

I remember the then I & B Minister Vasanth Sathe, who introduced colour television in 1982, participating in a New Year's Eve party with some peculiar costume and mask etc.  It was very entertaining than our current filmy based New Year Eve's programmes.  

Apart from the family serials (I will write about them later, because it is going to be too long a story!),  general knowledge serials like the Quiz programme by Sidhdharth Basu, 'Contact' by Ronnie Screwaala,  'Turning Point' by Girish Karnad and Naseeruddin Shaw (my son got a prize for writing the correct answer for a weekly question at the end of every episode!), 'Bournvita Quiz Contest' by Derek O'brien, Surabhi, by Renuka Shahane and Sidhdharth Kak, Rajini (Priya Tendulkar had acted as a social activist)...all non-filmy serials, but the whole family got involved in watching these serials.  We used to keep 10-20 post cards at home, for replying the quiz questions of Surabhi, Turning Point etc.  Special mention should be made for 'Bharath Ek Khoj'. My small school going children were seriously watching this serial, like they watched 'Friends' in the later years!  

I cannot forget 'Mile Sur Mera Tumhaara'...people from every part of India, were happy hearing their language and seeing VIPs of their area, in this song...

Now, we switch on our television at 9 a.m. to watch 'News'...not DD theme music!
Let me write about the Doordarshan serials which touched our heart,  next.

Read this news today, 5th Oct.'17 about the great news readers:


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bird Loving People Of Kollukudipatti Village Celebrate Soundless And Smokeless Deepavali


WINGED VISITORS: Migratory birds nest at Vedankudi Bird Sanctuary.

Just a couple of days back, my friend, Indianhomemaker had posted an article, expressing how the smoke and sounds of Deepavali fireworks, affect the basic instincts of the birds and animals. She writes:

'Have we traumatized and confused them by exposing them to harmfully loud noises? Every Diwali humans instinctively cover their ears to protect them from their own celebrations. Animals and birds have sharper hearing, but no way to cover their ears.'

I read this article yesterday in Times of India and felt happy to know that some good humans are still there to give importance to the birds and animals' feelings.

Saturday night across the country will be lit up by firecrackers shipped mostly from Sivakasi. But barely 90km away, a tiny area along Sivaganga, in Tamilnadu,  will ensure that the skies remain dark and quiet on Diwali. For three decades, Singampunari hasn’t set off a single firecracker for fear that it will scare away exotic birds that nest in the Vedankudi bird sanctuary. Migratory birds wing in here from Siberia, Russia and Europe.

Kollukudipatti and Vedankudipatti villages are both close to the 40-acre Vettankudi Bird Sanctuary off Madurai-Tirupathur road in small drainage basins.

V Selvaraj of Kollukudipatti says 500 families in the two villages abide by the unwritten rule that bans firecrackers. An ardent bird lover, he regularly visits the sanctuary and says it’s a treat to watch the birds and create awareness about the need to protect them.

P Swarnavalli, another villager, says even children do not pester parents for firecrackers. ‘‘We tell them about the shivering chicks in the nests and how they can die due to shock. They do not ask for fireworks" she says.

A couple of Red Bulbuls nested in our garden recently and I have seen the chick birds growing up, day by day.  The parents took so much care to bring them up.  It is not easy when they nest on a tiny plant, which is near the road with heavy traffic.  Thank god, they grew up and flew away, without any harm.  Every villager in the Kollukudipatti village,  must be feeling like the parent birds, to protect them from any harm.  

Hats off to them!

Edited one hour later to add:

Happy Deepavali to you all...I have already wished in my previous post, but this post  also seemed important for posting today!

Happy Deepavali To All My Friends Here


I wish all my blog friends and their families, a very very

Happy  Deepavali!

May this festival bring happiness and prosperity to all of you!

God Bless you all!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Medical Advancements...Feel Happy As Well As Scary


'Spider pill' used for scans'

I was suffering from allergic dry cough for a long time and it was very difficult for me to talk continuously,  even for 2 minutes.  I was taking some treatment, but nothing worked.  One doctor asked me to undergo 'endoscopy' to know how far the allergic ulcers had spread in my throat (later on, some other doctor said that endoscopy for allergic ulcers,  was unnecessary!).  

So, I went through the painful process of endoscopy.  One thick tube (more than 1/2" dia) with a bulb, was inserted through my throat.  I felt like vomiting but the doctor asked me to suppress the feeling and co-operate!    He had applied some lubricant on the outer side of the tube and still,  it was painful.  Somehow, it was over and I was given a clean chit which said that I had minor ulcers in my throat!  I got cured with 2 years of consuming ayurvedic medicine later on and now, my throat is quite alright.

When my son sent this link, which describes the latest advancement in endoscopy,  I felt very happy.  People need not undergo this painful process hereafter and you have to swallow just a small pill.   Everything will be taken care of by the doctors who watch the pill going through every  nook and corner of our stomach and decide to repair the part, which is damaged!

Now, read this article and watch the video:

Scientists in Italy think they may have come up with a new way to scan for cancer of the stomach or colon.

The 'spider pill', which is fitted with a camera, is swallowed by the patient and once within the colon or intestine the legs are opened. Duncan Kennedy reports.

The video is interesting to watch.  The pill after finishing its job, comes out naturally...amazing, really!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bengal Tiger, Our Cats And Dogs, Are The Same!


My son sent this article yesterday. The two year old Bengal tiger, spent 24 hours at the top of a 15 ft. tower. Read further:

A Bengal tiger has become stuck at the top of a new 15ft (5m) activity tower at a North Somerset zoo after climbing it for the first time.

Two-year-old Tanvir has spent 24 hours on the "enrichment" tower at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall.

He took a few seconds to scale the tower, which has branch-like platforms designed to test his ingenuity.

But the zoo said after shinning up the exercise structure on Monday, he has become too frightened to come down.

Our cats and dogs, too were behaving like this. 

The black cat is our house cat, Zorro, when he was young.  The other one's name is Gundanna! My cousin's daughter (2 year old!) changed his name from 'Gunda' to 'Gundanna'.  We were happy with one cat, our Zorro and did not want too many cats inside our house.  So this fellow used to sit on the service veranda, eat and go.  Sometimes he used to sit and tolerate Zorro, playing with his tail!  He was always scared about even a small sound.  Used to get gashes in his face from other cats.  If some other cat chased him, he used to run up the Teak tree and wail. We used to stand on the parapet wall of our terrace, hold a stick for him, touching the tree and cajole  him to come down.  He used to be so scared that he was peeing and shitting with fear!

This kitten, Nero is Zorro's son!  He was very very playful.   This one also playfully went up the teak tree one night and it was raining heavily.  The mother was calling him from our veranda for sometime and then came inside and was telling us something.  We went behind her and saw Nero on the teak tree.  My husband went up a ladder and took him out.  Next second, this fellow came down running into the veranda and sitting near his mother, was watching Appa (my husband), climbing down the ladder slowly in the pouring rain!

Two days later, he was calling us for help from the next door neighbour's house,  at 10 in the night. He had gone up the roof top of their shed and did not know to come down!  Appa, again took the ladder, woke up the neighbour and brought him down!

Andy was our first pet!  A long post is getting ready about him!  He too was getting scared for small small things.  In our previous house, we had an iron ladder to go to the terrace.  He used to come (run) with me to the terrace easily.  But he never came down on his own, even once...he was so scared that he was asking me in so many sounds to carry him down and I was obeying him, always!

So, now we know that cats, dogs and TIGERS are the same! 

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Salute The Brave Woman


This incident happened to a family, known to me very closely.

The family consisted of husband, wife, a son and a daughter.  The husband ran a printing press, which was quite famous in their area if the city.  His wife started helping him in the press,  after the children grew up and went to higher classes.  The whole family was admired by everyone.  

Their family was a sort of joint middle class family...the husband was the eldest in the family and had many (five or six!) brothers and his father allotted separate flats to all the sons in his building.  He had lost his mother when he was very young and his father was living with him. He was the trustee in a nearby famous temple, was the correspondent in a  school.  Quite a well known person in their area and a respected one too.  His son was waiting for his Plus II results and the daughter had completed 8th std., when this incident happened, some 10 years back.

1st May was their Wedding Anniversary.  The whole family, alongwith his brother's son, his wife's brother and his wife, had visited Mookaambika temple on that day. They had lunch at the temple and came to Shringeri Sharada temple(Karnataka).  It was around 2 pm.  The temple is situated on the banks of the Tungabadhra river.  Normally, the gate from the temple to the river bank, is kept open for the visitors to take bath, till around 11 - 12 am. Then the gate is closed.   The husband insisted on taking bath in the river at that time itself. Everyone went to the other side of the river bank, crossing a bridge.  The husband entered the water and started wading through the water, for some distance.  All the other members of the family were watching.  Suddenly, he was caught in a 'whirlpool' and started rolling into the centre of the whirlpool.  The son noticed this and suddenly ran into the water calling his father, to catch hold of him.  His brother's son also ran behind him.   Within minutes, all the three of them were not visible at all...and the whole area was deserted at that time.   Some help came later on and after searching for 4-5 hours, the three bodies were found.  The family's life was changed within such a short span of time.

We had visited that temple and if we go through the gate via the temple, we can see a board near the whirlpool area, saying that the 'area is dangerous'.    People are asked to take bath just near the steps.  We had done that, just 2 years earlier.   He was a very religious man who was loved and respected by one and all.   His wife lost her husband and her only son, in front of her. His brother also lost one son.  The brother did the kriyas for all the three of them.  

The wife was just around 40 years old at the time of the accident.  She took some time, naturally, to come out of the shock.  But, then slowly, she started taking care of the press. Because of the goodwill they had, the orders poured in and now she is one of the leading person in that field. Her daughter is doing her MBA now.   She has changed from a timid girl to a tough business woman.   She knows to carry herself and without much help from others, she is doing very well. Whenever I meet her, my admiration for her goes up.  Her son's classmates meet her often and help her in their own way.

I wonder why this should happen to her.  Both husband and wife were religious.  The son was going to Veda classes and played mridangam.   The day his body came home, his Plus II results came and he had got reasonably good marks.  He had so many dreams and the parents were adoring him.   

Thank god, the girl is studying well now and her mother is very happy about it.  I feel that women are not that timid as our age old myth says, but when time comes, they become hard as rocks.   Hats off to this lady!

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