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    Chennai  :

    A rich repository of the fascinating accounts of five generations of women, ‘A Grandmother’s Legacy’ by English author Jenny Mallin, is not only a recipe book but also a memoir of the life of Anglo-Indians during the British era.

    While the origin of the book dates to 18th century Yorkshire in England, the Anglo-Indian aspect of the family history took root in erstwhile Madras where Benjamin Hardy, a foot soldier in the British army , landed in 1778. Now, more than two centuries later, Jenny Mallin, the great-great-great-great-grand-daughter of Benjamin and Frances, and the proud custodian of an 1844 recipe book, has shared her family secrets to the world.

    Jenny worked as a producer on BBC News for seven years and then as a corporate travel buyer. “Losing my father in 2010 was the catalyst (to become an author). I realised I could lose my mother soon; time was ticking. Sometimes a doubt would creep in -‘Am I betraying these ladies?’ But I did not want the legacy to end with me,” says the 57-year-old who launched her book at the British Council Library on Friday. “I would read a recipe to my mother every day from the book, cook a dish, ask her opinion and make sure it tasted authentic. In three years, I re searched more than 500 recipes,” she says.

    The desire to preserve the culinary heirloom for posterity began with 15-year-old Wilhelmina Sausman, a Vellore resident who married Joseph son of Benjamin and Frances in 1844. Since then, the book, which Jenny has now stored in a safety deposit box in a bank, had been passed on. “My mother Cynthia, who was born in Kolkata, had great imagination. In a small London kitchen, she would produce wonderful dishes, while listening to the radio.”

    It wasn’t easy for Jenny to decipher some words and ingredients written down by her grandmothers. “I am a born researcher and I felt like Sherlock Holmes trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle,” says Jenny .

    Each chapter in Jenny’s book celebrates the life of the five women who have inspired her in innumerable ways. Interspersed with their recipes are the interesting customs of that era. For instance, in Rawalpindi, her grandmother Irene was a governess to 16year-old Benazir Bhutto, who would grow up to be the prime minister of Pakistan.

    source: / The Times of India / News Home> City> Chennai / by Diana Ningthoujam, TNN / November 28th, 2015

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    November 29th, 2015adminEducation, Records, All, World Opinion


    Three students from Tamil Nadu schools have made it to the list of world toppers in this year’s Pearson Edexcel global examinations, considered a gateway to some of the world’s leading universities.

    Aishwarya Edward of Horizon International Academy in Chennai got the top rank in mathematics, while Nivedan Koirala and Vashti Parks of Hebron School, Ooty topped in mathematics, and Religious Studies respectively.

    Edward who secured the top rank in Grade 5 said her teachers played a huge role in her success and also credited her habit of doing worksheets.

    Nivedan Koirala, who secured 598 out of 600 in maths at the GCSE level (equivalent to Class 10 board), said the most important part of effective studying is to thoroughly understand the subject. “The interest in the topic is what finally gives you the motivation to practice questions or the problems sufficiently,” he said. He was particularly interested in physics, mathematics, and chemistry. “I wish to be able to study these subjects in depth. Being particularly passionate in pure physics, I dream of joining research to further increase my knowledge of the universe,” he said.

    Sanjay Shivnani, vice-president and Business Head, Vocational, Pearson India, said India had the world’s largest population of youth. “If this zestful pool of youngsters is educated and channelised well, the Indian economy can stride a never-before path of growth. The stepping stone to this vision is world-class primary and secondary education,” he added.

    source: / The Times of India / News Home> City> Chennai / TNN / November 28th, 2015

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    Professor Noboru Karashima was instrumental in setting up the International Association of Tamil Research.

    Professor Noboru Karashima was instrumental in setting up the International Association of Tamil Research.

    Noboru Karashima, the distinguished scholar and historian of South Asia, whose body of research has rewritten the economic and social history of medieval South India, died in Tokyo on Thursday. He was 82. At the time of his death, Professor Karashima was Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo and Taisho University.

    Professor Karashima was the recipient of the Padma Shri in 2013 for his contributions in building India-Japan ties. As he could not travel to New Delhi to receive the award, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a gesture of recognition and respect, personally presented the award to him in Japan.

    From his first study — a small but ground-breaking essay that he published almost 55 years ago on land control in the two Cauvery delta villages of Allur and Isanamangalam, based on the study of Chola inscriptions — Professor Karashima had to delve deeper into understanding land relations and social relationships in medieval Tamil Nadu. His seminal contribution to South Indian history was his use of statistical techniques to distil information from a mass of inscriptions, thereby lending his interpretations and conclusions a more sound and reliable base. His last major book is A Concise History of South India, published last year.

    Professor Karashima was instrumental in setting up the International Association of Tamil Research, and had been its president from 1989 to 2010. He was the principal organiser of the 8th World Tamil Conference in Thanjavur in 1995, although he dissociated himself from its 9th edition on the ground that the conference had been hijacked by the political establishment. He had been the president of the Japan Association for South Asian Studies from 1996 to 2000, helping to build it into a vibrant and scholarly organisation it currently is.

    In Japan, Professor Karashima was a popular figure on television where he commented on South Asian culture, including Indian cuisine.

    A steadfast friend and admirer of India in general, and Tamil Nadu in particular, Professor Karashima has exercised a strong intellectual influence on a generation of Tamil scholars, both in Japan and India.

    He is survived by his wife, Takako Karashima, who is the author of a popular book on India that has run into several editions, three sons and three grandchildren.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> National / by Parvthi Menon / November 27th, 2015

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    November 27th, 2015adminRecords, All, Sports

    Winter is just around the corner and what better way to kick-start the season with some run-bike-run combination. Yes, Coimbatore is all set to host the city’s first duathlon- an event that consists of a running leg, followed by a cycling leg and culminating with a running leg. Coimbatore Duathlon will be a combination of a 5 km run, 40 km ride and 5 km run. The event is organized by the Coimbatore Cycling and Coimbatore Runners and will be held on November 29. The event will kick-start at 6 am on Avinashi Road near Codissia with a five-km run around the locality, followed by a 40-km cycle ride till Kaniyur & back and ending with a five-km run around Codissia.

    Chakravarthy Birur, one of the organisers of the event, tells CT, “The Coimbatore Cycling and Coimbatore Runners have always wanted to get together and do an activity. Some of our members have represented duathlons and triathlons at international level and some have been preparing for the same. In fact, we wanted to kick off with a triathlon, but since some of our members are not great swimmers, we decided to go with duathlon. This is just a start and we are planning to make it an annual event in the city. We are also mulling over conducting a triathlon sometime in March next year. (Triathlon is a multi-stage competition that involves the participants to complete three activities- running, cycling and swimming -in quick succession) We are exploring different water bodies in the city for the swimming session.”

    Birur adds, “Coimbatore duathlon will begin at 5.45 am on November 29 and is expected to conclude around 10 am. The event is open to all above 16 years of age since endurance activities are not recommended for those below 16. The average age group competing in the event falls under the age bracket 35- 38. The registrations are fast filling up and we have 5 women competing at the event as well. Some of the registrations are from people who have been running and cycling regularly.” The duathlon is a non-competitive event and around 50 participants are expected to take part in the first edition.

    source: / The Times of India / News Home> City> Coimbatore / by P. Sangeetha, TNN / November 26th, 2015

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    November 20th, 2015adminArts, Culture & Entertainment, Records, All
    Rathi Punithavathiyar

    Rathi Punithavathiyar

    Coimbatore :

    Ostracized by her family at the age of 14 for being a transgender, Rathi Punithavathiyar has come a long way since then. She recently launched her book and became the first transgender author from the city.

    The book, written in Tamil, was launched in the city at the cultural fest organized by the members of Coimbatore district transgender welfare association.

    “When I turned 14, I realized the changes in my body and I yearned to become a lady. But my family members did not understand me and I had leave home,” said Rathi. With no one to support her at that young age, she faced several hardships.

    “I was not aware of many things as my parents had taken really good care of me. I was forced to do things that I was uncomfortable with including begging,” she said.

    But influenced by the several achievers in her community, including Padmini who became the first transgender news reader, Kalki, an author and several becoming doctors, she decided to do what she liked the most – write.

    Though she studied only till Class 10, she said she was confident that she would author a book. “Finding a publisher was the most difficult task,” said Rathi.

    After several months of hardship, she finally got the book published. It would be available for public from January. “This book is the first part and I am working on the second part as well which would be published by March. Telling the stories of transgenders gives me extreme happiness. I hope that one day the society would treat us equally,” she said.

    The event saw was also a platform for many transgenders from the city to showcase their talent. Many performed dances, took part in the fashion show and recited poetry.

    “This event was mainly held to launch our website that will cater to various needs of the trangenders. Also, to help people understand our community,” said Sangeetha, state president of the transgender welfare association.

    source: / The Times of India / News Home> City> Komal Gautham, TNN / November 18th, 2015

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    Chennai :

    Prithika Yashini has come a long way to become the first transgender to hold the post of Sub Inspector of Police in Tamil Nadu.

    “I’ll now have to undergo training like other police officers and later will get my posting. I am very excited right now,” said Prithika. A few months ago Prithika was sitting outside the Jawahar Lal Indoor stadium and crying after she was disqualified at the final 100 metre lap, with a few seconds mark. “That was the worst time ever. I had to fight to get everything right from an application to enter the fitness test. I was finally exhausted and the pressure was huge. I had no time to practice well. But thanks to my family, friends and the High Court I am finally going to live my dream of becoming an SI. I wish more services open doors to transgenders, as we too are normal people,” she said. 

    Adding to this, Rose a popular transgender television personality spoke about the need to involve them in mainstream life. “I remember being thrown out wherever I used to go to attend interviews in the beginning. I had literally stopped dreaming about leading a life of my choice. But due to my perserverence and contact with the right people I managed to be where I am today, and trust me it still takes time for people to accept me the way I am,” she said.

    Prithika’s struggle to open doors for the third gender to be recruited by the the Tamil Nadu Uniformed Recruitment Board has made her the epitome of hardwork and perseverance amongst all, “She is now the shining light of our community,” said Dhanam, member of Snehiti organisation, an NGO for transgender welfare. “Her move has made us all believe that we too can be more than what we dream of or are made to dream of,” said Dhanam.  S Noorie, member of the South Indian Positive Network said that the exclusion of transgenders from the mainstream world has put their survival in question.

    “Many go into depression and for what? For being born this way. How is that out fault. Most don’t even dream of getting into government or any socially recognised jobs, as they know that their everyday survival will be full of tension personally,” She added that all services including defence and government jobs must include third gender quota while recruitment. “All we want is to be treated normally as others are. The more looked down the more they become excluded and enter flesh trade and begging, which has sadly become the symbol of our existence.

    Given responsibility we too will do good for the society and the people.  I hope we see this change sometime in future, and I think it will come soon,” said an enthusiastic Noorie.  On the other hand, Prithika is busy planning out what all she wants to change in her capacity. “There are several things I want to put in place like women’s security, safety and many social issues. I’m still thinking. And I hope I am able to execute all my points one by one and help the public,” said Prithika.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by Aditi R, ENS / November 06th, 2015

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    M Parameshwari | P Ravikumar

    M Parameshwari | P Ravikumar

    Chennai :

    In 1989, the then principal of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) training centre in Tiruchirapalli was not too pleased to see a woman trainee among hundreds of men for the first time at the institute.

    “It was very evident from his body language and his face. But when he saw me matching steps and firing the .303 rifle as proficiently as the men, the apprehension was gone. In fact, when I graduated, he personally came up and said that I had exceeded expectations,” says 60-year-old M Parameshwari, the lone woman RPF inspector in the Indian Railways, also in-charge at the Egmore Railway Station.

    Parameshwari is all set to retire after a 38-year-long career with the Indian Railways — a service which she fondly says is her second husband. Looking back at her career and life, the mother of three tells City Express about her her father’s encouragement.

    “He pushed me into sports right when I was a teenager. This made me physically and mentally tough. It worked in my favour when I joined the RPF in March 1977,” she explains, crediting the Indian Railways for helping her stand on her feet today.


    Times were tough those days, she reminisces. “The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had just given a push to include women in security forces. But special facilities like a toilet or changing room were non-existent for men, much less women. I’ve seen the gradual changes over the years and today, we have a separate toilet and a relaxing room for RPF staff,” she says.

    Being tough-as-nails in a male dominated work-force always has its pitfalls, rues Parameshwari. Refusing to elaborate, she indicates that there have been times when professionally jealous subordinates or colleagues would pass unnecessary comments based on her gender. “But since I was very straight-forward and demanding, they never dared to say it on my face,” she says.

    Despite her diligence, Parameshwari says that she was given only office work for the first few years after she became Assistant Sub-Inspector after the training in Tiruchirapalli. In 1998, the then Chief Security Commissioners Ganesan and Damodaran, recognised her toughness and sent her to safeguard passengers, remove hawkers from the stations and apprehend criminals.

    “After that, there was no looking back. I travelled to places like Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Delhi. Very few women get an opportunity to see the world and I consider myself lucky,” she says.

    But being a woman in the security forces was a tough job, especially if one wished to have a satisfactory domestic life as well, Inspector  Parameshwari says.

    “I was not only a government servant, but also a servant in my home, a wife, a mother and a daughter-in-law. Unlike other 9 to 5 jobs, I have to attend the call of duty at any time of the day or night,” she says, adding that a woman must develop a sportive spirit to succeed in a demanding career like this.

    Parameshwari is looking forward to spending her life’s savings on building a home for her children in Avadi. She plans to spend her post-retirement time with her two grandchildren. Duty, as she puts it, is a task that she is always ready for.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Chennai / by Siddharth Prabhakar / October 29th, 2015

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    October 30th, 2015adminRecords, All, Sports

    Chennai :

    Seven years ago, B K Amala was walking with her grandmother when she noticed a poster for taekwondo training. Sensing the eight-year-old’s desire to learn martial arts, the older woman took the initiative. Amala is now the national champion in Thai boxing (in her age category) after having mastered taekwondo and conventional boxing.

    The 15-year-old, who has won state-level taekwondo and boxing championships as well, credits her grandmother for her success. “She is a great source of inspiration.”

    Hailing from a lower middle class family – her father is a clerk at a private hospital – Amala says she couldn’t have made it but for the sacrifices made by her family. “My parents never complained and made sure I got the best possible training. My uncle accompanies me to all tournaments,” she says.

    Managing the training expenses of both his children (Amala’s brother is following in her footsteps) is quite a struggle for their father B K Kannan. “We always wanted the best for our children. To pay for Amala’s coaching, we stopped going to movies and eating out. I borrowed money to make sure she got good training. We could not afford the healthy food that her coach advised but my daughter was satisfied with whatever we gave and worked hard,” he says.

    The corporation school student has also excelled in academics. “She is hard working. Though she trains hard for boxing she never lets it impact on her academics. She always passed her exams with distinction,” says her headmistress, Selvakumari.

    The corporation, realizing her potential, sponsored her participation in the national level championship. Amala now wants to represent her country in Olympics ands her coach Karan is sure she will make India proud one day. “She is a very disciplined and focused student.”

    source: / The Times of India / News Home> City> Chennai / TNN /October 30th, 2015

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    October 27th, 2015adminEducation, Records, All, Science & Technologies

    A Civil Engineering student of VIT University bagged a gold medal in the All India Design Competition for engineering students.

    Aditi Palaspure, a third year student of B. Tech Civil Engineering had won the prestigious medal for her project on predicting compression index of clay for designing shallow foundations.


    She had started working on the project last year for the university’s Project Based Learning programme and went on to participate in the competition.

    The competition is organised annually by the National Design and Research Forum of the Institution of Engineers (India).

    It invites entries from students studying in various engineering disciplines including aerospace, agricultural, chemical, civil, electrical, environmental, marine and textile, a press release said.

    “Marine clay has a property to shrink in dry weather and it tends to swell during wet weather. Hence, buildings that come up on such clay can undergo damage. This can be predicted if the compression index of the soil is known,” she explained.

    When force is applied to the soil, the changes that occur are measured with the help of compression index.

    “However, the present methods to determine the compression index are carried out in laboratories and are expensive and time-consuming, she added.

    Aim of project

    “My project aims to explore how we can predict the compression index of soil using easily determinable properties of soil, in lesser time,” she said.

    She received a gold medal and a certificate for the project at a ceremony held in Karnataka.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> National> Tamil Nadu / by Staff Reporter / Vellore – October 27th, 2015

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    A file picture of the old Pollachi Railway Station and the meter gauge track.

    A file picture of the old Pollachi Railway Station and the meter gauge track.

    The station was inaugurated on October 15, 1915, when the nearly 40-km-long Podanur to Pollachi meter gauge line was inaugurated.

    The Palakkad Division of Southern Railway on Thursday celebrated the centenary year of the Pollachi Railway Station. The station was inaugurated on October 15, 1915, when the nearly 40-km-long Podanur to Pollachi meter gauge line was inaugurated.

    The line was extended to Dindigul on November 19, 1928. The Pollachi to Palakkad became operational from April 1, 1932. The importance of the station increased with the extended routes. This route was extensively used by pilgrims to Palani and Rameswaram and for trade (goods transport).

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Coimbatore / by M.K.Ananth / Coimbatore – October 16th, 2015

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