Fun-filled, traumatic, joyous, troublesome, boring, cruel, pleasing, satisfying, challenging, tempting, misleading - yes Life is full of 'em - that is why life is so very SPECIAL - and yet the thrill is in "living" life! And all the accompanying ordeals are the frills attached with the thrills.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Madras is celebrating its "Madras week" and its so nice to showcase the reminiscence of this old city. Its amazing to learn that its close to 400 years since this city was 'incepted'. I somehow prefer the old name - Madras. Can't seem to come to terms with the reasons for changing this name to "Chennai". There is nothing 'foreign' about the name 'Madras'. As far as my knowledge goes, heard that the actual city of Madras was constituted from two villages (or towns) namely Madrasapatnam and Chennapatnam. There is a reference in today's Hindu about the origin of the city's name :

"There is some confusion about who named the city Madras but
in a map of south India dated 1596 and sketched by the Portuguese,
there is no mention of Madras though Miliapur existed. The Naiks, who
sold the land to British, wanted the city named after their father,

There may be many things which I detest about Madras but to me Madras would remain one my most loved cities ever! On the personal front, I was born here and spent major part of my life here and even now my 'base' continues to be Madras - its my 'home'. These apart I like Madras for its liveliness, briskness and simplicity! The city is up and active from the wee hours of the day till about close to midnight! The best part of Madras is that it has equal mix of tradition and westernization! I have often heard people comment about Chennai's conservative nature but I guess that is what makes Chennai "special". And as its usual self, Chennai is the "non-bragging" kind - never boasts about itself!

The December kutcheries, Adi maasam temple celebrations (sparing the cone speakers!!), shopping in Mambalam (who can miss the ever buzzing Ranganathan street), road side tea stalls, the 'euphoria' during any festive season, the Pallavan buses, Margazhi bajanais, Madisars, the Malls, theme parks, multiplex theatres, night clubs, pubs, wide range of eateries, beach - see... you have them all!

You needn't be an extravagant spender to enjoy life in Madras and that is its strength - giving its best to all kinds of people.

I just hope Madras remains the same - not too crowded, not too westernized, not too many self-centered people, not too costly but yet improving on these lines :
  • Cleanliness
  • Less processions/ bandhs
  • Less posters
  • Less multi storeyed apartments
  • More Trees/parks/playgrounds
  • Clean rivers - Adyar, Cooum and Buckingham canal
  • Still better transport
  • More Rains
  • Better water conservation/management
  • Law enforcement
  • More humane

Happy Birthday again Madras!!

(Read some nice stuff from fellow bloggers' blogs. You can find them here and here.)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Schools can be fun if only...

How often have we seen children imitate their teachers? Such is the fascination kids have for their teachers. But why when there is a holiday at sight, children's joys know no bounds? And why are daily trips to school such a painful ordeal for children? Education - considered to be the backbone of an individual - doesn't seem to go well with kids? Doesn't it seem like an irony - childrendreading something which is supposedly so important in their lives?

I have personally seen this trend among many kids - they exhibit such briskness and grasping power in their infanthood but seem so drained and dull during school days. I am sure many of you would have seen this amongst children within your own circles. I am not sure if I should blame the education system but I definitely think teachers play a big role.

How often teachers rebuke students based on their physical appearance. "You look as big as my uncle but cannot do this simple sum". Such remarks create a deep impact in the minds of little kids and though some come over it in due course, for many, unfortunately, the wound tends to stick on and they never overcome it.

Corporal punishment is another case. Good that now people are slowly realising the ill effects of corporal punishment and many schools have advised teachers to refrain from punishing the child physically. I still have the images of such brutal punishment in my mind - beating with scale on knuckles, kneeling down for hours, smashing the hand on the edge of desk, caning, slaps, pinching by the ear - oof.. if reading this might make you sick, imagine the plight ofstudents.

Segregation of dull/bright students is another common feature in schools. Though the attitude seems to be genuine, the methodology is definitely bound to create mental agony. Infact many schools these day use the term "slow learners" in place of "dull students".

There are again teachers, whom the students look upon for advice, inspiration, as a role model, idol. Infact if one was asked to name 10 of their inspirational personalities in life, a teacher would definitely be one among them.

So it is a no 'name-sake' statement when people say that teachers shape an individual's character. A teacher can be a student's best friend or worst enemy.

This is a humble request to all teachers - do not think your job as menial. The pay may be but definitely not your job. Remember - all that it takes to mould those little ones is your love and care!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Why blame it on rice?

I could never understand the fuss being made over rice in favour of wheat by those diet conscious people. How often I have come across these statements - "I have stopped taking rice completely", "Consuming rice makes you put on weight", "The carb content in rice accumulates as fat". I have only one statement to make on these comments - WHAT CRAP!

Being a rice lover I am (a typical south-Indian huh?), I am never able to accept these baseless facts. I can never imagine a day without a rice meal (ooof, thank God!!) - I even wouldn't mind having rice for breakfast, rice for lunch and rice for dinner. I feel rice is one the simplest foods (you don't have to have exemplary culinary skills to make a bowl of rice) and yet very wholesome. Rice goes well with almost anything from a rich curry to simple curds or ghee! Would I give up on rice? N E V E R...!!

Now coming to the facts... Fat content wise, rice has zero percent of fat and even in carbohydrate content, wheat and rice weigh the same. So I can't help wondering where did this favouritsm for wheat arise from?

If you notice, those hard-toiling labourers in the south consume rice for all courses and for the kind of sternous work they do - their consumption is also huge but you would'nt find an extra inch of flab on them! Most South Indians have rice atleast for two course meals a day and not all of them are fat and not all wheat-consuming people are 'normal' either.

I strongly believe its necessary for people to exercise for any quantity of intake. It becomes all the more necessary when you have a sedentery lifestyle and/or your choice of food have high fat content. I have seen this on myself - I've never restricted anything but made it point to exercise - *at any cost* and you need to believe that I am able to stay fit without having to tie my tongue!! Ofcourse the amount of exercise would depend on the type of your intake! So next time you think about calling it quits for rice, think again - instead enjoy good, healthy food and exercise!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

English - setting standards?

English seems to be the "international" language no doubt - thanks to British imperialism and their love for their language. But surprisingly English is not the widely spoken language in the world inspite of it being the language that is widely "used". Though I love the language and appreciate the role that it plays, I can't stop wondering why - especially in India - English is often used as a yardstick to measure one's intelligence and standard!

This scene might be familiar to many - You step into a posch, hep-looking store in Madras - (okay so you want some examples? Say, a Pizza hut, Subway, Landmark, MusicWorld, LifeStyle and the likes...) and if you were to query an attender, you tend to start off in English or more than you do, the attender starts off in English. I am not able to find a reason for this 'strange' behaviour of us (unless we always speak in English)?

Is it that we see ourselves in a higher pedestal when speaking in English?
or is it that we feel low in speaking in our native languages?
or we feel its only appropriate that we speak in English at such places?

I generally make it a point to start my conversation in Tamil to the attenders unless he does not understand the language - especially in such 'hep' places.

The point I am trying to make here is - I am not the one to raise placards against English. Infact good knowledge of English might take you places but at the same time why should I feel low of my native tongue? I am not very sure about other states, but I find the magnitude of this feeling to be quite high in Tamilnadu where people feel low to talk in Tamil. They would even go at length to show their prowess in other languages but not in Tamil. Why? Can't seem find an answer yet...

Yet another...

... Blog! What else? First, thanks to all those bloggers in the cyber space for making this happen. I was thrilled to find the blog world with a whole lot of interesting, amusing, thought-provoking, touching, informative stuff. Its more pleasing to see people bundled with enormous talent - apart from their usual academics. It has also opened to me a door leading to a new world of friends - people whom I haven't met but yet felt so close, people with whom I could share anything without a fear, to express my 'crap', what not! Hope I can find a small place amongst all you bloggers. When am I getting my 'Welcome party'?