Chennai First a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Chennai, Tamilians and all the People of TamilNadu – here at Home and Overseas
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    From a high-paying job to a home-made curry business and rearing indigenous cattle at home, G. Rajesh is living his dream

    “What’s with you now? Don’t be scared, they won’t hurt you!” G. Rajesh chides his cow Singari. Summer is setting in with a vengeance and the grazing ground in Tambaram where Rajesh is cajoling his cattle to drink water, is blazing hot. Cut to five years ago, and the 34-year-old would’ve been seated in an air-conditioned office discussing mutual funds across the table, with a customer. Some decisions can tilt one’s world on its head and Rajesh’s did just that. A year ago, he decided to give up a high-paying corporate job and live life on his own terms.

    The big leap

    “I’ve always been angry with consumerism,” says Rajesh. “To have someone dictate terms, telling us what to buy, what to eat, and how to live our lives.” His 12 years of corporate life only furthered his dislike for all things “superficial”. “I was being judged based on the car I drove and the brand of pen I used,” he shakes his head. There was good money, but then Rajesh says that he’s the same person — whether he earned ₹ 8,000 or ₹ 80,000. “The more money I made, the more my needs increased.” He put an end to this constant struggle with his way of thinking and how society functioned, and started his own business.

    Headquartered at his Tambaram home, Rajesh’s ‘Thamizhan Home-made Curries’ has five outlets around the area. His small team that consists of S. Madhusudanan (his business partner), M. Govardanan, R. Sridevi, G. Mithra, S. Deepa, T. Jayanthi, and M. Vaidegi, makes various curries that range from sambar and urundai kuzhambu, to prawn and fish curry, at their central kitchen, to be sold in the evenings.

    “I’ve always wanted to run a business of my own,” says Rajesh. The idea of selling curries has been with him for a long time. “After an evening of shopping with my family, my father would say ‘let’s buy pakodas and manage dinner at home’. Or mother would say, ‘There’s sambar, let’s have dosas’.” A lot of people prefer a simple home-cooked meal after a workday or a day out, he feels. These are the customers he taps into.

    Home-style food

    Rajesh hopes his takeaway curries give customers the satisfaction of having eaten at home, and at the same time, reduce the time and energy spent in cooking. He says that the curries are made home-style, and that they are free from food colours and taste-enhancers. Rajesh plans to expand his business in the future if things go well. “But to ensure quality, the kitchens should be within a 10-km radius of the outlets,” he says.

    Enter Rajesh’s Tambaram home, and you are greeted by an interesting mix of smells — of the curries bubbling on the terrace kitchen, and that of cow dung. For in his backyard, is a cow-shed, where a noisy brood of chickens peck at the bushes by a well. The cows, Thangam, Singari, and Selvi, all from the Kankrej breed, have gone out to graze. “They’ll be back by 3.30 pm,” explains Rajesh.

    Cattle love

    He takes us to see them at the grazing grounds — with glorious horns and tinkling bells around their necks, the cows are beautiful. “I sell their milk to friends and family,” says Rajesh. The cows take up a lot of his time during the day, and his curry business keeps him occupied in the evenings.

    But Rajesh functions at his own pace — he picks up his kids from school, has long conversations with like-minded people who drop in at his home over a delicious meal cooked by his mother…

    In short, Rajesh’s day is in his hands and he can choose to do what makes him happy.

    “This is why I gave up my job,” he says. “I might not save as much as I would’ve had otherwise,” he says. “But that’s all right. I’m able to practise sustainable living in my own way. I want to show that it is possible to live close to Nature as well as make a viable business out of it to take care of one’s needs.”

    Rajesh has no regrets about leaving the corporate way of life. “Earlier, I would keep running; running to catch the train, running to meet my clients, just running through the day,” he says. “Now, I’m able to slow down. I read a lot, I’m able to grow a beard,” he laughs.

    Here’s a shortfilm on Rajesh by Big Short Films

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Society / by Akila Kannadasan / February 27th, 2017

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    Avudaiyar Kovil in Pudukottai holds magnificent sculptures

    There is no happiness for him who does not travel, Rohita!… The feet of the wanderer are like the flower, his soul is growing and reaping fruit; and all his sins are destroyed by his fatigues in wandering. Therefore, wander!/The fortune of him who is sitting, sits; it rises when he rises; it sleeps when he sleeps; it moves when he moves. Therefore, wander!’

    Indra in Aitareya Brahmana

    PudukottaiCF28feb2017

    About ten years ago, I made a trip to Avudaiyar Kovil, also known as Tirupperunthurai (near Aranthangi in the Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu), simply because I had booked for the whole family on the only convenient train to Karaikkudi from Chennai, but everyone else dropped out for one reason or other. So I decided to go on my own, a first for a trip that wasn’t related to work. Mainly, I did not want to pass up the chance to see the never-before-or-since stone cornices at the Athmanathaswamy Temple.

    I spent most of my day on the road, checking into a modest hotel in Karaikkudi for just long enough to freshen up, bussing my way to the hamlet that takes its name from the temple. Avudaiyar Kovil turned out to be little besides its legendary temple, set in the middle of pretty agrarian vistas, the priests given to calm diffidence.

    A chattering guide introduced me to the wonders of the shrine to Siva in which there is no lingam, only the avudaiyar (the base to it), with the deity imagined in the steam that rises from offerings of freshly cooked rice, greens and bitter gourd.

    I hung around till well after the mid-day ritual (Uchchi Kaala Seva), the quietude of the temple seeping into me as I walked around undisturbed. The adjacent Tyagaraja and Oonjal mandapams in the third prakaram, to the east, hold the most magnificent sculptural riches. Cavalrymen set off to battle, their horses so life-like that flared nostrils and taut sinews rear to gallop beneath enormous stone chains hanging from the ceiling. The famous cornices, their beams, rods and bolts crafted entirely and unfathomably in stone, are here.

    Elsewhere in the temple, the immaculately preserved detail in stone is breathtaking — whether in the musical pillars or the royals and nobility bearing swords, bows and spears, each of them rendered uniquely in their facial features, build and attire, . Motes of dust float surreally in the rays of light that enter the cool darkness from holes in the roof, falling upon a fabulously embellished pillar or the regal figure fronting it. I would reach for my camera but never get a picture that came close to what I was seeing. I have returned to Avudaiyar Kovil twice and its preternatural aesthetic never failed to hold me in thrall.

    I took the night train back, rather quieter than I was when I had arrived, stilled not so much by lassitude as the wonders of what I had seen and the cordiality of the people I had met.

    A montly column on places of religious interest

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Society> History & Culture / by Lalitha Sridhar / February 23rd, 2017

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    At the cattle shed in P. Chellandipalayam, Karur district. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

    At the cattle shed in P. Chellandipalayam, Karur district. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

    Meet the man who has devoted his life to saving some of those now-famous native cattle breeds in his farm in the heart of Tamil Nadu.

    A dappled calf saunters up. I offer it my hand. It nuzzles and then proceeds to lick it. Another joins it, and yet another. I am enjoying the attention — until a sudden tug distracts me. A tiny mouth has just begun nibbling the tassels of my cotton dupatta. I beat a hasty retreat, almost landing ankle-deep in a mound of steaming dung.

    Ganesan laughs and pats the head of the calf that has just tried to eat up my dupatta. “This calf belongs to the Gir breed,” he says, drawing my attention to the convex forehead and pendulous ears distinctive to the breed whose origins lie, as the name suggests, in the Gir forest region of Gujarat.

    C. Ganesan is a slender, bespectacled man, wearing a dhoti, blue shirt and ready smile. He runs what he calls an “experimental farm” in P. Chellandipalayam in Karur district of Tamil Nadu, the state that exploded with the jallikattu protests some weeks ago. Among the arguments extended by the fans of this rather cruel bull race was that native breeds of cattle could be protected through the sport. Experts spoke of how Indian cattle had vanished and of the higher nutrient content in the milk of these cows.

    Despite the argument, the truth is that most cattle raised for dairy farming in India is imported from abroad. Since these breeds are reported to yield much higher quantities of milk, they are found more suitable for commercial use.

    A Sahiwal and a Rathi calf. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

    A Sahiwal and a Rathi calf. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

    There is merit in wanting to protect the hardier native breeds from extinction, but clearly the solution lies in efforts that are far more effective, committed and enduring than jallikattu. The 69-year-old Ganesan is among a handful of cattle breeders in India making that effort.

    The road that leads to Ganesan’s farm is a kaccha, vertigo-inducing path flanked by arid, patchy coconut groves, rust-coloured rocks, and acres of barren paddy fields. Thorny scrub give way to worn fences but they offer scant protection from the marauding peacocks, complains Ganesan, “I really need to fence these fields properly,” he says with a shrug.

    Ganesan set up his farm some 13 years ago to prove that Indian breeds can give high yields of milk, more than 15 litres a day: “My cows produce copious quantities of milk and like all other local breeds have excellent immunity.” His farm has only indigenous breeds. Besides Gir, there is Sahiwal and Tharparkar (named after the Pakistani towns of their origin), a few buffaloes, the local Kangayam breed, and a few head of Thalacherry goat.

    Ganesan’s family also owns a textile business but farming is in their blood. “Agriculture is our ancestral occupation and we have been keeping cattle for a long time,” he says. Earlier, the genial farmer’s animals were Jersey cross-breeds. “The government recommends a mix of 65% Jersey with 35% native breed of cattle, but this is hard for farmers to maintain,” he explains. “Proper breeding management doesn’t happen in India.”

    Then, in 2003, he lost five Jersey cross-bred cows very suddenly, “They have poor immunity and one had to keep replacing them,” he says. That’s when he began to convert exotic cross-breeds into desi. “I purchased a few desi animals — around 10 Tharparkar cows. Also, I began inseminating my Jersey cross-bred cows with semen samples taken from pure Indian breeds.”

    At the cattle shed in P. Chellandipalayam, Karur district. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

    At the cattle shed in P. Chellandipalayam, Karur district. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

    There are over 50 heads of pure Indian cattle on his farm now — of various colours, shapes and sizes. A newly born calf totters up as we approach while its mother fixes us with a steely gaze and lowers her horns. Pitch-black buffaloes swill down water and bellow; red and white cows stick their heads into feeding troughs; gambolling calves behind wire-netting peer curiously at us.

    “The easiest way to identify a desi breed is by the hump,” says Ganesan. And yes, all humped cattle produce milk rich in the much-touted A2 milk protein. A2 milk is excellent for children, he says, adding that it helps brain function and promotes growth. The fodder, culled from the fields around him, does not have pesticide and unlike commercial establishments he does not inject his cows with oxytocin injections to induce lactation, “My grandchildren refuse to drink any other milk or curd,” he laughs, as he leads me into his sparse office where a hot cup of tea made with freshly-drawn milk awaits.

    Milk, however, is only a by-product of Ganesan’s experiment, “This is not a commercial farm — it is only a model one,” he says, explaining that he sells his milk at the ridiculously low rate of ₹30 per litre, “It must be the lowest rate in Tamil Nadu,” he grins. But the milk reaches his customers within two hours of milking.

    What Ganesan really wants to prove is that native Indian breeds are more than capable of producing milk on a commercial scale. “The government doesn’t work at improving their milk capacity. Even breeds like Kangayam, which are not traditionally bred for milk, can produce up to six litres a day if the breeding is done properly.”

    According to him, the best sort of cattle comes from artificial insemination done right. Getting high quality semen samples can be challenging. Ganesan currently gets his frozen samples from the National Dairy Development Board. “Once we get good animals, the milk is automatically better.”

    And what role can jallikattu play in preserving desi breeds, I ask. “Those bulls are not really used for breeding — they are trained to be ferocious,” he says, and adds, “Anyway, jallikattu is not about preserving local breeds, it is about men proving themselves.”

    preeti.z@thehindu.co.in

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Society> History & Culture> Cattle Class / by Preeti Zachariah / February 04th, 2017

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    Believe it or not, there are a few who want to change the name of Yale University! It was initially named Yale College after Elihu Yale, Governor of Madras (1687-1692), who had, in 1715 and 1721, gifted about £800 worth of textiles and books to what was the Collegiate School of Connecticut. Their reason: The donor had not only kept slaves in Madras but had also encouraged slave exports.

    These liberals of the anti-Trump brigade cite precedent. Yale in February re-named its Calhoun College, Hopper College because John Calhoun, a Vice President of America, had been “a white supremacist and a national leader who passionately supported slavery”, according to Yale’s President who amplified, “He was fundamentally in conflict with Yale’s mission and values.” So was Yale, say the liberals pointing to Yale’s Madras record of dubiously enriching himself and supporting slavery.

    Writing about the last year of Yale’s Governorship, historian HD Love says, “The use of slaves for domestic purposes in Madras had always been recognised and sales and purchases were invariably registered at the Choultry (a Government office). The iniquitous practice of stealing children for export was, of course, illegal… (In 1683 there was) absolute prohibition against the exportation of slaves of any age. In 1687 (Yale’s first year as Governor), however, the trade was sanctioned under regulation, a duty of one pagoda being exacted for each slave sent from Madras by sea.” In September that year, 665 slaves were exported, giving an idea of the trade. The next year, the export of slaves was prohibited. The Council’s policy kept chopping and changing till, in 1790, the Council “resolved that any Traffic in the sale or purchase of Slaves be prohibited by public Proclamation”.

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    Yale, whether involved in the trade or not, was, as Governor, permissive about it, it would appear. The records state he permitted 10 slaves to be sent on every ship to England. Citing Yale’s own involvement, the pro-changers refer to three paintings of Yale in the Yale Library collection showing a dark-skinned boy in them. But, the picture seen in all sources and which I found in the first authoritative biography of Yale (by Hiram Bingham) says the boy is the “page boy of the Duke of Devonshire” whose brother Yale’s daughter Anne was to marry.

    As for slavery in the Madras Presidency, a 19th Century report says it was commonplace, affecting about 20 per cent of the population (the figure in 1930 was still 12 per cent!). But this slavery was what continues to this day as ‘bonded labour’. The poor borrowed from the landowners and when they could not pay back they entered into a bond to work for the lender for so many years. Laws against such practices were enacted in 1811, 1812, 1823 and 1843, when total abolition was decreed. Selling of slaves became a criminal offence under the Indian Penal Code of 1862.

    But to get back to the Yale issue; it’s been said that virtually every old private college in the US was endowed by men from slave-owning families.

    Last ‘great white hunter’?

    Joshua Mathew from Bengaluru, an IT professional and history buff, tells me that he has the rights for all the books by Kenneth Anderson, the Jim Corbett of the South, who tracked and killed man-eating leopards and tigers and then wrote about them and the southern terrain they flourished in. Anderson, of five-generation British lineage, and his wife Blossom, of Australian and Ceylon Burgher parentage, called Bangalore home. Their son Donald, whom Mathew calls “the last great white hunter-author”, is the subject of a book by Mathew awaiting publication.

    Many Andersons married in St Andrew’s Kirk in Madras, says Mathew, but Kenneth Anderson’s greater connection with Madras was his friendship with Wiele the photographer. They hunted and, later, photographed in the wild together, leading Anderson to spend his post-hunting years ‘shooting’ with the camera. His pictures of the Nilgiris in the early 20th Century brought Mathew to my door after reading of Albert Penn, the photographer of the Nilgiris, in this paper.

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    Wiele, of German origin but who may have been British — I’ve found no mention of his being interned during the First World War — opened a photographic studio in Madras in the 1880s. Around 1890, Theodor Klein, also German, joined him. Their Wiele and Klein photographic studio was at 11, Mount Road, facing Round Tana (later the G Venkatapathi Naidu building). Branches in Ooty and Coonoor were added. Wiele later sold his share to Klein, moved to Bangalore and successfully ran a studio there in the early 1900s (Mathew tells me Wiele’s daughter visits Bangalore every year). In Madras, Klein hired young Michael Peyerl, another German, as assistant, then took him as partner.

    Klein died during the Second World War internment. His widow Valeska inherited his share and ran the business with Peyerl till after Independence when they sold it to Indian interests and moved together to Europe. Klein and Peyerl remained a well-known name in Madras till 1987 when a fire wrote finis to it.

    The chronicler of Madras that is Chennai tells stories of people, places and events from the years gone by and, sometimes, from today

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Society> History & Culture> Madras Miscellany / by S. Muthiah / February 27th, 2017

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    Laura Eastman Malcolm

    Laura Eastman Malcolm

    Chennai :

    When Laura Eastman Malcolm first saw native Indian-American beadwork, she was fascinated. Today, the self-taught designer who is known for her beadwork, uses her skills to help empower women across the world, be it Afghanistan or India. The New Yorker is now in Chennai to help widows and `women at risk’ learn skills for a livelihood.

    “I prefer to work with translucent and faceted beads.They reflect light, and with so much darkness and negativity around, so many people around the world are in need of light,” says Laura, who is now trying to shine a ray of hope into the lives of women who are being supported by Sangita Charitable Trust as part of the White Rainbow Project (WRP), a US-based non-profit organisation launched by Linda Mandrayar in 2010.

    On Friday, Laura will talk about her experience of working with women in various countries and also showcase the products made by Chennai women at `One Handed Clap’, an event to be hosted at Maal Gaadi, a store in Besant Nagar.

    WRP collects saris donated by women all over India, which are then turned by widows in Vrindavan into scarves, kimonos, and tunic tops, are then sold across the US.

    “They also make jewellery out of paper and beads,” says Mandrayar, whose tryst with India began when she married the nephew of late actor Sivaji Ganesan. Mandrayar who along with her husband made the movie `White Rainbow’ on the lives of the women in the holy city, in 2005. “After the movie, people wanted to help, so I thought of starting a centre in Vrindavan,” she says.

    Five years ago, WRP partnered with Sangita Charitable Trust, which has a widow outreach programme. “Once a month, they give rice, vitamins and sugar to around 450 women,” Mandrayar says. The NGO also works with young women from neighbouring villages. “They are women `at risk’ of becoming widows as their husbands are alcoholics or drug addicts,” says Mandrayar, who decided to tie-up with Laura. “Our motto is `Helping Women Live Better Lives’,” says Laura. In 2005, she was invited to work with women in Kabul by an NGO but five years later the project was shut down after the Taliban put an end to it. The same thing happened in Mazar-i-Sharif, where she could work with the women for only six months.

    ‘One Handed Clap’ will be held at Maal Gaadi from 6.30pm on February 24. People are also encouraged to donate saris.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / by Priya Menon / TNN / February 24th, 2017

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    The building is now being used as a telephone exchange. | Photo Credit: M. Sathyamoorthy

    The building is now being used as a telephone exchange. | Photo Credit: M. Sathyamoorthy

    The inspection bungalow built by the British more than a century ago in Kendala, near Selas, from where engineers oversaw the construction of one of India’s first hydroelectric systems, still stands today. Though the main inspection bungalow is in a dilapidated condition, it continues to function as a telephone exchange, where most visitors fail to appreciate its role in the history of the Nilgiris.

    The building still possesses a great amount of charm, with the teak roofs and wooden floors of the building still standing strong. Apart from the main inspection bungalows, the smaller buildings, believed to be staff quarters and also stables for horses still remain, although they have fallen into a state of extreme disrepair.

    The building has been functioning as a telephone exchange for the last decade, with a sign at the top of the entrance of the building, stating its year of construction as 1902, being the only reminder of its historical significance. Venugopal Dharmalingam, the honorary director of the Nilgiris Documentation Center, said that the bungalow overlooking the Kattery waterfalls and the hydroelectric system was known popularly as the “Kattery bungalow.”

    “When the dam was being built in the early 1900’s, it would have been used by the British to oversee the construction” he said. The entire project was designed to power the cordite factory in Aravankadu.

    “Kattery itself was a popular picnicking spot for the British, and there are old pictures attesting to its natural beauty. Now, the landscape itself is under threat due to the construction of too many resorts and private buildings,” said Mr. Venugopal.

    Apart from the main inspection bungalow, there are also a couple of other bungalows nearby built around the year 1906. Though these buildings are in a relatively good condition, they too require maintenance. These buildings are being used as quarters for Cordite factory workers.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / News> Cities> Coimbatore / by Rohan Premkumar / Udhagamandalam – February 24th, 2017

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    The 65-year-old former STF chief does push-ups on the Marina in Chennai.   | Photo Credit: Dinesh Krishnan

    The 65-year-old former STF chief does push-ups on the Marina in Chennai. | Photo Credit: Dinesh Krishnan

    But the country’s most famous bandit-catcher still can’t get his wife to read his book

    This is not in his book but Veerappan, India’s most notorious bandit, had K. Vijay Kumar, India’s most famous bandit-catcher, who had been on his trail for most of his uniformed life, in his sights on three occasions. Not more than 500 yards away. All Veerappan had to do was squeeze the trigger, and with even a standard issue .303, which can take a target down at 500 metres, Vijay Kumar may not have got to write a book about how he killed the bandit.

    Veerappan was a good marksman, Vijay Kumar says at the Police Club in Egmore, Chennai, where he is hours away from launching his book, Veerappan, Chasing the Brigand. At the back of the Police Club, where he stays in Room 108 every time he visits the city, stretches a lawn that now has shamianas erected to serve, as he puts it, “high tea” to the 300 people he expects in the evening. Many of them will be gun-toting buddies from his Veerappan days. The dais is green like the backdrop, which has hills painted over it; in the foreground are male mannequins wearing camouflage combat fatigues and pith hats with leaves sticking out of them.

    As he walks me through the programme for the evening, I can’t help mentally picturing one heavily moustachioed policeman chasing another excessively moustachioed brigand—is this quaintly archaic term the right word for someone who killed 124 people?—through 1,200 square kilometres of forests in three States over several years, each taking turns to scope the other through the business end of a gun. The forensic specialist told Vijay Kumar that Veerappan at 52 had the body of a 25-year-old. At 65, the cop looks just as fit.

    Vijay Kumar was lucky he lived to tell the tale, unlike some other policemen. He is not superstitious, just lucky. His lucky charm is about as big as an old 25 paisa coin, maybe a little bigger, with the image of the Hindu god, Ayyappa, whose temple he has been visiting from the time he was in college studying Shakespeare, Milton and Thomas Hardy. He pulls it out of his black wallet and shows it to me. He has carried this charm around for as long as he can remember. He got this particular one after he lost a similar one 10 years ago. There have been times when the wallet had no money, but the charm would always be comfortingly there.

    Roughly how many times has he visited Sabarimala, I ask. “More than 35 times,” he says unhesitatingly, “maybe 40”. Sometimes he goes twice a year. And does he follow all the procedures? Ayyappa demands a stringent pre-visit regimen. “Yes,” says Kumar. “So you didn’t have a drink to celebrate the night you finally killed Veerappan?” “No,” he says, “I am fairly abstemious. I had a drink much later, maybe two months later. At that time, I was going to Sabarimala.” I consider his response and say, “That certainly qualifies you for sainthood.” He laughs uproariously and shoots it down, “No, hardly!”

    Ultimately, when Vijay Kumar closed the file on Veerappan on Monday, October 18, 2004, at 11.10 pm, he did so without exchanging a single word with the bandit who died under the impression that the policeman who kept chasing him was related to MGR’s nephew, a rumour then floating around.

    The mission

    By the count of ballistics experts, in the encounter that began at 10.50 pm and lasted some 20 minutes, 24 policemen fired 338 bullets on the vehicle that carried Veerappan and three members of his gang after they had been lured into the kill area, out of the forest and on to the road at Padi, 12 km from Dharmapuri. Only three bullets found the bandit. Of the three, one went clean through the left eye. Veerappan’s moustache, which spread like a tarantula sitting on his face, remained untouched.

    I ask Vijay Kumar why so few bullets found the mark. He says that Veerappan might have been hit early on in the ambush and fallen down even as the other bullets slammed all around him. He should have been killed instantly but he wasn’t. Veerappan was still dying when the policemen yanked open the vehicle door. It was the only face-to-face moment between the two foes. No words were exchanged. No words could be. Veerappan was on the verge of death, his remaining eye already losing focus.

    Was there anything he would have told Veerappan had he had the opportunity? It is not exactly superstition, but as long as Veerappan was his target Vijay Kumar had always kept a picture of the bandit at hand to remind him of his mission. He now tells me that he would have told Veerappan that it would be a relief to finally throw away the picture; over the years, it had weighed heavier and heavier, like an albatross.

    Being a cop

    What was easier, I ask. Killing Veerappan? Or writing a book about it? “Both were equally formidable missions,” Vijay Kumar says, laughing. In fact, the joke in his “immediate circle” of friends is that he took almost as long writing about Veerappan as he took to hunt him down. Vijay Kumar had a version of the book ready two years after the mission, but it then became a protracted struggle. Maybe, he told himself, he was too busy for the book. He says, “You know that Wordsworthian quote? The one about the parent hen? I guess in my case the egg took too long.”

    My Wordsworth is rusty, but the picture is vivid. As vivid as the frustration that comes through in the book when the reward on Veerappan’s head touches Rs. 5 crore and yet no one comes forward with information. Picture this:

    Police officer: You will get five crore if you can help us catch Veerappan.

    Villager: Five crore? How much is that in goats?

    Police officer: If one goat costs Rs. 2,500, that would be 20,000 goats.

    Villager: What would I do with so many goats? They will be unmanageable. It’s better to hold on to my life.

    I ask Vijay Kumar if there is anything he put into the book but took out later because he thought better of it. He thinks, then tells me how one night after eating poha, his stomach started rumbling at one in the morning. When he could bear it no longer, he rushed over and shook his buddy awake and both set out. In the jungle, they always followed the buddy system: each had to look out for the other. The buddy kept watch while Vijay Kumar went to answer the call of nature. After he’d squatted, he realised that the spot he’d picked had elephant dung everywhere. It was too late to go elsewhere and he hoped it would be okay. But almost immediately he heard his buddy hissing insistently, “Aiyaaa! Aiyaa! Yaanai! Yaanai!” (Sir, elephant!) He knew if it was a single elephant, he would be done for, but then, barely a few feet ahead, out of the inky black night, several elephant forms began to emerge like dark mountains on the move.

    I probe no further, but I realise the episode had a happy ending because it isn’t in the book.

    I ask instead: what does your wife Meena think about your book? He begins to smile. “She hasn’t read it,” he says. He intends to try other means to get her to read it but he isn’t sure he will succeed. She usually can’t get beyond five pages, he says. “If she does finally read your book,” I ask, “will you go to to Sabarimala?” He laughs uproariously again. “Of course, I’ll be happy to go again to Sabarimala but I doubt whether even Lord Ayyappa can make Meena read my book.”

    sudarshan.v@thehindu.co.in

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Society / by V. Sudarshan / February 25th, 2017

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    February 26th, 2017adminEducation, Records, All

    The PSBB Group of schools celebrated their diamond jubilee on Wednesday in an event where the the history of the school and its journey so far was brought to the fore.

    R. Ravichander, Group President (Business & Development) South, YES Bank, who presided over the event, recalled the growth of the school from a thatched roof at the home of the founder Mrs. Y.G. Parthasarathy, with just 15 students, to the institution that it is today with 7,600 students.

    “Mrs. YGP will always be the lady of many firsts as she was the first entrepreneur in education,” he said. Mr. Ravichander was a part of the first batch of students at PSBB.

    S. Vaidhyasubramaniam, Dean of Sastra University, and another alumnus of the school, donated ₹9 lakh towards a corpus fund for Sastra PSBB Action For Refreshing Knowledge (SPARK).

    Speaking at the event, Mrs. Y.G. Parthasarathy, credited the teachers of the institutions for the school’s journey.

    A diamond jubilee planner was unveiled by Deputy Dean and Director of the institutions Sheela Rajendraa. Along with it, a logo to commemorate the milestone. A video screening presented some of the notable alumni who passed from the school, a press release said.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Staff Reporter / Chennai – February 23rd, 2017

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    February 25th, 2017adminRecords, All, Sports, World Opinion
    Prashanth Kota in action at Helios Academy of Marshal Arts in Adyar | Photo Credit: special arrangement

    Prashanth Kota in action at Helios Academy of Marshal Arts in Adyar | Photo Credit: special arrangement

    Prashanth Kota promotes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which is based on the philosophy that strength does not guarantee success

    People often find their life mission in the school of hard knocks. For Prashanth Kota, there is a literality to this statement.

    “There was a point in my life when it was all about wanting to be the biggest and strongest guy in the gym,” recalls Prashanth. This goal ceased to be appealing to Prashanth when he began to train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ).

    “On the first day, Cary Edwards, my BJJ trainer at First Impact MMA, tossed me around like my size didn’t matter at all,” he says.

    Following that ‘walloping’ from his trainer, Prashanth knew in his bones that BJJ would make up a big part of his life. And it has. For, today, Prashanth holds a blue belt in BJJ and has competed in international BJJ tournaments. He has won a silver medal at the national level and a bronze medal at the Central Asian level. BJJ has done much for Prashanth and the most significant lesson it has taught him is that the “conventional big body” is not necessary to succeed in martial arts/ sports. BJJ is not about being the strongest and biggest. It’s about having the right technique, timing and leverage, explains Prashanth.

    Driven by the desire to share with others what he has learnt from BJJ, Prashanth started Helios in Adyar.

    Affiliated to the Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu Association, Helios trains people for tournaments and also helps them develop strength irrespective of their build. For his students, Prashanth demystifies the complex sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, breaking it into simple steps that could be easily learnt and practised.

    For Prashanth, BJJ is a way of life, not just a sport. He calls it the ‘BJJ lifestyle’. The ‘sensei’ says, “Taking up BJJ as my full time job is the best decision I have ever made in my life.” Prashanth can be contacted at 8939115522.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Varsha Saraogi / February 24th, 2017

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    February 25th, 2017adminEducation, Records, All, Sports
    Srikrishna recieving the Young Achiever award

    Srikrishna recieving the Young Achiever award

    Did you know that the current World Amateur Snooker Champion is a school student  from Chennai?. CE chats with Shrikrishna S on beginning out with tennis and ending up with cue sports

    Chennai :

    From slamming forehands on the tennis court to potting cue balls at the snooker table, young Shrikrishna S has straddled two different games successfully. The Class 11 student of National Public School is the current World Amateur Snooker Champion, the latest addition to his achievements in a short cue sports career. He was recently awarded the Young Achiever Award by Rotary Club of Madras East, where CE caught up with him for a quick chat.

    His foray into cue sports happened by chance. As a child, he was more of a tennis player, but didn’t want to run a lot! He chuckles, and adds. “I chanced upon billiards when I was at the Mylapore Club where I saw my father play. I wanted to give it a try but I was told that children under 12 weren’t allowed in the room.” After some sweet talking, the member-in-charge allowed him to attempt a few balls, which he fortunately potted into the pockets. “After that, they changed the rules and height requirement for me,” he grins.

    Shrikrishna’s father coached him for the first 10 months. When he started showing more promise, Nadeem Ahmed, a professional coach, took over. “He kept pushing me to improve my game and I owe a lot to him. Often, he would discuss techniques with my father and let him teach me rather than do it himself. This helped since my father had his own ideas and techniques,” says Shrikrishna.
    The cueist’s record is testament to his talent. He has won a hat-trick of titles at the National U18 Billiards Championships (2015, 2016, and 2017), the National U18 Snooker Championships (2016, 2017) and also won all 6 titles in State Championships for the second consecutive year. He recently won gold at the IBSF World U21 Billiards Championship in Adelaide, Australia. “Representing the country at an international championship was a novel experience,” he shares. “I always make it a point to set targets for myself. I always try to outperform myself. Even if I lose a match, I will be satisfied if I play to my targets.”

    Shrikrishna also has a regular fitness regimen, swimming daily for two hours. He attributes his weight loss and improvement in game to this and his swimming coach Shanmugham. He acknowledges the sacrifices his parents have made and says they are his personal role models. “Without them, I wouldn’t be a champion — they are my biggest supporters. I’ve also received lots of support from my teachers and faculty at school, where they’ve been very accommodative about studies and exams,” smiles the young champion. For the same reason, his first priority is on finishing his schooling, though he plans to go professional.
    He is also inspired by two great contemporary sportspersons. “My role model is Christiano Ronaldo because he is a good human being. He refuses to have a tattoo because he donates blood, and he’s a lover of all sports! And even though I’ve stopped tennis, I am a big fan of Roger Federer. I often get excited watching his matches!” he grins. “Maybe once I finish with billiards, I can take it up again…” he adds thoughtfully.

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Chennai / by Gokul M Nair / Express News Service / February 24th, 2017

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