Saturday, May 30, 2015

What Is Happening?

I called my maid just now.  She had not taken the rice I had kept for her, today. She said that she had taken the rice in a vessel which was kept on the kitchen counter.  I told her that that was yesterday's rice and she had left today's rice here itself.  Since she feeds the rice she takes from our house to her children in the evening at about 7 pm, I felt bad and asked her if the rice was OK.  In our Chennai hot weather, the rice which is cooked in the morning becomes watery by night, if not, the next morning.  We mix water with the remaining cooked rice at night and make curd rice out of it the next morning, sometimes.  It is supposed to be good for health.   The rice which was cooked yesterday morning is still good, she says.  I am scared now! What are we eating nowadays? Just poison, I think.  The situation is worsening day by day. 

Last month the paalak bunches I had bought had chemical stench.  It was so bad that nobody could eat.  We threw away all the paalak paneer subji.  Then the bhendi had the same stench.  I complained to the vendor and he said that it happens sometimes! The vegetables come from the surrounding villages and sometimes the people who grow them, who are illiterate (!), spray more chemicals and it is not easy to check! He laughingly gave me another information.  His father is a farmer.  They have grown rice, this time, it seems.  The agent who bought their rice asked the farmer to add one chemical to the fresh rice grains which will turn the look of the rice from new to old rice! He got Rs.250 per bag extra!  'Chemical illaama yeduvum illamma ippa', he says.  'Nothing is there now without chemicals'!  I just don't go to that shop now.  I don't know which shop is better now. 

One security man who works in a famous vegetable vendor shop, to whom I tip every time I go there (he has got problem with his one foot, so I tip him) asked me not to buy watermelon which is bright red! 'Veluththa pazhama vaangunga' he said (buy a bit colourless melon!).  They inject colour into the fruit, it seems.

I am scared to eat mango.  Got once from an organic shop, that is all.  Scared to eat mangoes now from normal vegetable and fruit shops.  Most of them are ripened with calcium carbide. I get ulcers in my mouth if I eat them.

A few organic shops have opened in our area now and they keep limited vegetables, twice a week.  Everybody seem to run there and buy them.  It is over by 11.30 - 12 pm! I think people are becoming scared slowly.

How much can the govt. prevent this? People who do not have conscience are just after money.  This is going to affect the coming generations too.  The ground itself has become poisonous.  I have started roof top gardening.  But we get very limited vegetables.  All of us should join together, I feel, to do something.
Milk also doesn't get spoiled even by 11 am even if it is not kept in the fridge.

Hmmm...what can we do?

P.S.: I have started buying organic pulses now.  I keep the unopened packets in the fridge.  After opening, I store the remaining pulses in Tupperware boxes.  Still, I see worms and insects within a week (this shows they are really organic!).  What to do? I remember keeping dried neem leaves in the rice boxes, before Tupperware came home.  Should I start using that method now, for these pulses?


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Glimpses Of Our U.S.Trip! The University Of Berkeley, California!

I had already started writing about this trip and am continuing now! This post is about the University of California, Berkeley! There are so many things to write about this place...maybe later! First, the Clock tower!

Sather Tower (Bell & Clock Tower), sort of a symbol for UC Berkeley! The booming sound of the bells are lovely!

One more picture of the Clock tower.
The Carillon, an instrument, which the students play at 12pm and 6 pm everyday. Evening sunlight is reflecting here...The room is closed and I took this picture through the glass.

I saw these huge bells on the 7th floor, I think and it is not easy to stand nearby when it starts ringing I was told. (Link) By the time I reached this place, the music and the ringing of the bells were over:(
Hear the music now.  I heard it from outside and it was over when I reached the lift to reach the tower! Pleasing music! I got a clip from 'you tube'. Thank you, children! It is awesome!

 One more link of the Carillon music!

We visited this campus 2-3 times when we were there at Berkeley.  Every time we visited, I used to notice this tall tower.  I went inside once and saw the famous musical instrument.  The students play the organ twice a day, once at 12 pm and then at 6 pm.  No, once more in the early morning, it seems! I missed it by a few minutes but still went up and viewed the surrounding areas through the top floor (7th floor) of this tower.  We have to climb a few steps to reach the top after going by the lift upto the 7th floor, if I remember correctly. Some interesting details of the tower:

It was completed in 1914 and first opened to the public in 1917. The tower stands 307 feet (93.6 m) tall, making it the third tallest bell and clock-tower in the world. It was designed by John Galen Howard, founder of the College of Environmental Design and it marks a secondary axis in his original Beaux-Arts   campus plan. Since then, it has been a major point of orientation in almost every campus master plan. The tower has seven floors, with an observation deck on the eighth floor. Some floors are used to store fossils.
For more details, read the wiki link here.

Very old type of machine for the clock which is still going strong!

I was fascinated by this clock tower and so more details for you!
View from the tower!
I think I will write about the very old sculpture of the Football players which attracted our attention, as soon as we entered the University.  This post is about the view of the parent.  Everything was new for us! Children who are studying here are very lucky! My son and now my grand niece are among them!

More than 100 year old sculpture which is called 'Football players'
The Wiki says: "The Football Players" was created in the mid-1890s by Douglas Tilden, a prominent artist with many connections to Berkeley. Tilden was deaf and, as a child, came to live at the California School for the Deaf, which used to be located on the grounds where the Clark Kerr Campus stands today.

One more attraction here was the famous Berkeley University squirrels! We went inside the campus and were waiting for my grand niece.  Suddenly I heard some sound from behind us...we were sitting on a tree trunk.  We turned around and saw one man making sounds with his lips and talking to someone in a false voice or say, like we talk to our children! We saw that nobody was there.  Then he asked us to turn around...we did so reluctantly and then we saw them...the squirrels! They were climbing up his body and were perching on his shoulders and taking something from his fingers! As you know we are hard core animal lovers.  When I saw him for the first time, I told my husband that he is talking like Robin Williams  who is a very good mimic (my favourite).  He gave us some almond bars and asked us to feed them.  The bars were organic, he said.  I decided then and there that I would bring the bars next time and feed them and did so later.  He loved his squirrel babies, I could see! He must be doing this everyday, I felt.  

Now, to the squirrels:

Husband is feeding the famous Berkeley squirrel! This one was sitting on his lap and eating, later! They are used to humans, I am sure!

The height of enjoyment on that day was, my grand niece's thayir saadam (curd rice) which we had missed during our trip!

She had prepared the curd rice not only with curd but with lots of love, we could feel/taste it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Shorthand, A Boon In Typewriting Days But Now, Both Are Nearly 'No More'!

ON THE WANE:N. Ramachandran, who set up a short-hand and typewriting institute in 1963, says that the demand for professionals has come down drastically, especially in Chennai.
I read this article in 'The Hindu' just now, about the usage of 'shorthand' which is slowly dying now. The article took me down my memory lane, to the early 70's, when I was a student of Shorthand and Typewriting!

Learning typewriting and shorthand was the 'in-thing' in those days.  I had finished my school just then and in the summer holidays, my mother joined me to a typewriting class where shorthand also was taught.  It was the norm in those days.  Most of my classmates had joined.  Every area had these typewriting institutes where shorthand also was taught.  You won't believe, the fee was Rs.10 per month for typewriting and another Rs.10 for shorthand, which were 1hour classes each! The class looked like the one in the above picture! The owner cum typewriting teacher of the class lived upstairs.  He was in his 40's I think.  He was monitoring from 5 am to 9 am (god, I still remember!) and then from 6 to 10 pm.  Students or working people came to the early morning or late evening/night classes.  It was strictly only 1 hour class at these periods.  In day time we can sit there and practice as much as we wanted if the typewriters were free. We had to take the plain papers with us and type on both sides.  We had to show him whatever we had typed while leaving the class.  Typewriter ribbon cost was not charged was covered in the Rs.10 fee! God, our fingers and shoulders used to ache in the early days hitting the keys...

asdf fdsa on left hand fingers
jkl; ;lkj  on right hand fingers

We were asked to type this sentence many times.  'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog'  which uses every letter in the English language.

Got this 'fingering' picture from this link 

I remembered the name of the typewriter also, which I used, Remington! Thanks to google
I got 'Higher' exam certificate for typewriting.  The typewriting classes and the examination centres (Govt. Schools) used to be very crowded.  The Hindu article says how it is now, very deserted. 40 words per minute for 'Lower' exam and 100 words per minute (wpm) for 'Higher' exam, I think. My sons and husband use the computer keyboard in their own type/style of fingering now! I got the Pitman book and fingering book for my elder son...I must ask him if he is using the old fingering method for typing in his computer! He didn't learn shorthand though!

An old gentleman was taking shorthand classes (Pitman method) in the intstitute.  I still remember him...he used to chew paan! But his English Accent and booming voice were superb.  Words were very clear...he used to read texts (books were there especially for this purpose with marks/lines after every 40 words (40 wpm) for lower speed and 100 for higher exam speed).  The tone should change when the next sentence starts. Concentration is very very important while dictating or while taking notes. We took notes in shorthand in a ruled note book, which looked like it is shown below.  Lines have more gaps in between for writing 'on top of the line, on line and across the line' strokes with PENCILS!
Shorthand note books (link)
Students/people who went to colleges and offices, used to take shorthand notes in the morning, transcribe it in daytime, come back in the evening or the next morning and get corrected.  After I wrote Lower shorthand exam, I started assisting our teacher in the evenings with dictations.  Clarity in words is important for shorthand.  The strokes are written according to the phonetic sound.  Our grammar should be good because when we write strokes we skip the strokes for some words/grammar etc.  My language improved because of my shorthand learning, at least to some extent!  Now, to some strokes:

The two pictures show the shorthand strokes clearly (link)

You can notice that the strokes are written above the line, on the line and some reach below the line.  The strokes will be thick or thin and the meaning changes accordingly.  After a lot of practice, we can start using our own shortest strokes.  I used to dream about new strokes in my dreams in those days! I was really obsessed with shorthand!

I wrote the higher exam also in shorthand and I was the only person who passed from the exam centre, I remember (the centre was some Govt. school in Kodambakkam, Chennai).  I don't remember the marks or class! The certificate is somewhere with my old papers now!

Our Institute teacher gave me a thick ink pen as a prize! I had it for many years!


P.S.: Thank you google for the above link!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Foto Friday!


Sunrise at Elliots beach (Chennai)! Click on the picture for a better view pl.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Agra ( 3 ) ants ( 1 ) Arya Samaj wedding ( 1 ) Aurangabad ( 1 ) awards ( 3 ) Badami cave temples ( 4 ) balika vadhu ( 4 ) Bhimsen Joshi ( 1 ) birds and butterflies ( 28 ) Book Review ( 2 ) Books ( 5 ) Chennairain ( 1 ) children ( 2 ) Churches ( 1 ) Chutney ( 1 ) Cinderella Man ( 1 ) cinema ( 15 ) common wealth games ( 1 ) concerts ( 7 ) Corporation Schools ( 1 ) cricket ( 3 ) Dharamshala ( 3 ) dogs ( 5 ) Doordarshan ( 9 ) down memory lane ( 5 ) Education ( 15 ) English Movie Review ( 16 ) Environment ( 52 ) Europe tour ( 1 ) Festivals ( 20 ) Firaaq (2008) ( 1 ) Fitness ( 1 ) Forts ( 3 ) Foto Friday ( 18 ) Gafla ( 1 ) General ( 42 ) Health ( 7 ) Hindi film songs ( 3 ) Hindi Movie Review ( 25 ) Humour ( 6 ) Jagjit Singh ( 4 ) Kalakshetra ( 1 ) Kamal Haasan ( 2 ) kanjira ( 1 ) Karsh Kale ( 1 ) kaun banega superstar ( 3 ) kbc ( 2 ) Kew Gardens ( 2 ) Kittens ( 10 ) Kurnool ( 4 ) kya aap paanchvi paas se tez hain? ( 1 ) language ( 1 ) London ( 5 ) Mahabaleshwar tour ( 5 ) movie review ( 8 ) Mumbai Meri Jaan ( 1 ) music ( 58 ) my garden ( 17 ) Nature ( 19 ) New year ( 3 ) Notre Dame ( 1 ) onion ( 1 ) patriotism ( 19 ) pattadha kallu ( 1 ) People whom I admire ( 62 ) Personal experience ( 2 ) pets ( 19 ) politics ( 20 ) Portugese anchor ( 1 ) Pt.Chaurasia ( 1 ) radio ( 4 ) rantings ( 3 ) reality shows ( 2 ) recognition ( 2 ) religion ( 3 ) s ( 1 ) Sangeeth Saritha ( 5 ) saregama 1998 mega final ( 3 ) saregama 1999 finals ( 1 ) saregamapa 2010 ( 1 ) showcaves ( 1 ) Sonu Nigam ( 5 ) sound of music ( 3 ) sparrows ( 4 ) Sports ( 7 ) Srilanka tour ( 4 ) sunrise ( 6 ) superstitions ( 2 ) Tagged ( 11 ) Tamil movie Review ( 8 ) Temples ( 22 ) Tendulkar ( 3 ) The King's Speech ( 1 ) The Taj ( 1 ) thief ( 1 ) Tirupati ( 3 ) tour ( 59 ) tours ( 1 ) Travel ( 26 ) TV serial review ( 8 ) Ulagath Tamizh Semmozhi Maanaadu ( 1 ) unbelievable news ( 2 ) US tour ( 5 ) Ustaad Zakir Hussain ( 1 ) Vaalpaarai ( 3 ) vedanthangal ( 3 ) voh kaagaz ki kashti ( 75 ) wordless wednesday ( 38 ) yoga ( 2 )