The Restless Gemini

Έν οίδα ότι ουδέν οίδα --- Hen oida hoti ouden oida

October 30, 2005

Same festival...different reasons!

Its festive season in India. 'Diwali' or 'Deepavali' - The festival of lights is being celebrated all over the Country on Nov.1.

While in Southern India, this festival symbolises the triumph of good over evil when, Lord Krishna defeated the evil King Narakasura, the same festival in Northern India is celebrated to mark the victorious homecoming of Lord Rama to Ayodhya from Sri Lanka after defeating Ravana.

Incidentally both Rama and Krishna are considered to be incarnations of Lord Vishnu. According to Hindu mythology, the incarnation of Lord Rama had happened before that of Lord Krishna. So in South India, while Deepavali would never have been celebrated in Lord Rama's period, in North India its because of him that the festival is being celebrated.

I came to know about the other reason only when my studies took me to Northern India. Wishing you all a happy, safe and fun-filled Deepavali.

October 29, 2005

Terror in Delhi

Iam at a loss for words. Although Iam in Chennai now, I can imagine the magnitude of damage and the casualties that would have occurred at the site of bomb blasts in Paharganj, Sarojini Nagar and Govindpuri,Delhi. While Paharganj which has tourist accommodation for foreign tourists is in Central Delhi, close to the New Delhi Railway Station, Sarojini Nagar and Govindpuri are places in South Delhi. Particularly, I know Sarojini Nagar Market quite well. Its a good bargain shopping place frequented by Middle Class people. It would have been swarming with hordes of people before Diwali. Its the regular market which I visit for my shopping needs. I may well have been at that place, if I would have been in Delhi. Such a heinous crime, even if it stands for the highest principle on Earth, needs to be condemned. Killing of innocent people for one's motive can be termed nothing but cowardice.

Word Wise - 2

Origin of some phrases in English

1. Thumb Rule/Rule of Thumb - From an Old English Rule that stated a 'Man cannot beat his wife with anything thicker than his thumb'. How Chauvinistic?

2. Chauvinism - From Nicolas Chauvin, an ardent follower and soldier in Napoleon Bonaparte's army known for his fanatical patriotism.

3. Not upto the mark - Has its origin in the boxing ring. The phrase comes from a practice followed in boxing, that a boxer cannot land a punch on the other person until he comes up to a mark which would be marked on the ring.

A Friend

A Friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.

Isn't it true? I am reminded of a poster we used to have at our home, with the above caption showing two kittens cuddling to each other.

It's your Back

Do you like a cushy lifestyle -- a job where you sit in a nice air-conditioned office and go home to slumber sweetly on a soft foam mattress?
And exercise... er, what's that?

This pretty much mirrors the sedentary life many corporate employees lead today. And it's causing them a pain in the rear, literally.
Backaches have become as common as a cold or a headache, and are responsible for 24 percent the absenteeism cases at work.

Why do I have a backache?
i. The common causes for backaches include disorders like spondylosis (a chronic degenerative disease of the intervertebral discs), disc prolapse and congenital abnormalities.
ii. There are, however, at least 20 varieties of diseases which can manifest as backaches.
iii. Apart from these, other factors like injury, trauma, overwork, emotional and mental stress, menstrual tension and prostate conditions can lead to backaches.
iv. Problems with posture or weight can also cause backaches.

Chin up, back straight
Whatever the cause, there are measures you can take to ease the pain. There are some general precautions, which those suffering from backache must follow.
i. The best way to prevent common back problems is to stay fit and active.
Staying active will also help control your weight, which is one of the primary causes of back pain.
ii. The easiest way to ease your back pain is by applying heat locally by means of a hot water bottle. Warmth always helps.
iii. While lifting heavy objects, keep your back straight. Poor lifting techniques are a major cause of back strain and injury.

Injuries are less likely if you are fit and have strong back, stomach and leg muscles. Here is the correct lifting technique:
· Make a firm base with your feet, keeping them about shoulder width apart.
· Lift with your legs, bending your knees instead of your back.
· Do not kneel or bend your knees too much.
· Keep your chin held in and raised, as this helps keep your back straight.
· Ensure the load is as close to your body as possible.
· Keep your arms and elbows tucked close to your body.
· Do not twist your back; change direction by moving your feet.
iv. Avoid wearing high heels.
v. Refrain from sleeping in your chair.
vi. Use a cushion to support the small of your back when seated.
vii. To rest and sleep, lie on a firm, flat surface, if possible.
viii. Swimming in a pool also helps.
ix. Relaxing at regular intervals helps.
x. It is important to manage your weight; check your weight regularly and lose the excess kilos.

Nothing is as incapacitating as a severe backache, yet most people take their backs for granted -- until it starts playing up, that is. So begin taking care of your back today.

October 28, 2005


It rained and rained and rained...and it rained. Morning till night, in Chennai. I got a day off and thought I would update my blog...Alas! The Electricity Board had different things in mind. Power supply was cut off by around 11 am yesterday to prevent any casualties due to electrocution. It was finally restored today after a full 24 hours. I will try to post some real interesting ones(!) this weekend, which incidentally starts on a Saturday evening.

In the meanwhile, its "Week Google" at Thiru's blog. All you wanted to know about Google is there. Check it out.

October 26, 2005

The Seven Rupee Bill

This is an article I wrote, which was published in in December 2004. Although written four years back, it brings fond memories to my mind.

Read it here....

It was New Year's Day. The rain god had come to Delhi to offer his blessings quite early in the year. It had been raining incessantly from the previous night -- quite an unusual happening for the Capital's winters. This sudden and unwelcome rain had spoilt the mood of many a New Year reveler, who had grand plans to usher in the New Year, as I later learnt.
It was my second winter in Delhi and I was surprised to see the dawn of the New Year without the dense fog that had accompanied it the previous year. I also realized that the New Year air was not so cold and inimical as last year. I faced a lot of hardships during my first winter in Delhi, since I hailed from a coastal city in Southern India where the warm ocean currents of the Bay of Bengal would shield the city against the vagaries of the cold weather. But my stay in Delhi had given me an opportunity to experience four distinct seasons; something which I had read only in my Geography textbooks.

Most people begin their New Year with a worship of the Almighty. Though not a very religious person, I believed that there existed a supreme power, over the control and imagination of all human beings, which held the world, its humanity and all its diversities together.

“Let us go and worship Lord Subrahmanya tomorrow,” suggested two of my South Indian friends on New Year's Eve. I readily agreed, since I had to get a number of wishes granted by Him.

By the time we reached the temple, the rain had stopped. We bought a basket of offerings and entered the temple.

We then made our offerings to Lord Ganesh, the elephant-faced God and the elder brother of Lord Subrahmanya. Legend has it that, on a tiff with his elder brother over a fruit, Lord Subrahmanya unmindful of his parents' requests went and stood on a hill with only his loincloth. Since then it was a custom to build His temples in hilly areas. Even this temple was built over a small hillock overlooking an arterial road in South Delhi.

We made our way up the hillock to the main temple, which housed the sanctum sanctorum. When we reached this place, the abhishekham or holy bath was being performed to the deity and it was covered from public view with curtains. It was at such places of worship that people stood united, shedding all their differences of caste, creed and status. There were cell phone-toting business executives, daily wage labourers, college students, senior citizens and children -- all waiting to get a glimpse of the Almighty.

It takes anywhere between thirty to forty minutes for the curtains to be opened for public view after the holy bath and decoration of the deity.

“Amma,” screamed a child repeatedly, who was with his father and wanted to go to his mother who was standing on the other side of the queue.

“Why doesn't the child's father give him a tight slap and make his mouth shut?” I thought, the intolerant devil in me having been awakened.

The next moment I realized how hypocritical I was. As a child I had never enjoyed worshipping God and would look for the first opportunity to make my parents leave the temple. I understood that my metamorphosis was complete, from an innocent child unaware of the world's vices to an adult whose mind was full of hatred, deceit and disbelief.

By then the abhishekham was over and the curtain was lifted. “Haro Hara!” roared the crowd in unison in His praise. The devotees jostled against each other to get a glimpse of the God. The priest came and distributed the sacred ash after which the crowd started dispersing slowly.

When we came out of the temple, we realized that we had missed our breakfast. But then, there was still time left for lunch.

“Let us go to the nearby South Indian restaurant for lunch,” I suggested. My friend nodded in agreement.

It was one of those restaurants in South Delhi run by a South Indian association. It served rice and delicacies made of rice. The restaurant was frequented by South Indians all over Delhi and also by North Indians who liked to have their favourite 'masala dosa'.

“It will take another half-an-hour to serve the South Indian thali,” said the bearer after checking our order with the kitchen.

“We are prepared to wait,” we said almost in chorus.

This restaurant and many other South Indian restaurants charged a premium for their dishes, but still managed to have a thriving business.

While we were waiting for our meal, we were loudly discussing our courses, professors and classmates – a habit we had developed over our one-and-a-half-year stay in Delhi, which was also encouraged by the fact that very few people around us would understand what we were saying. We then started looking at the menu card to order soup, when a voice asked us from near our table, “Where do you all come from?” in our mother tongue.

I looked up and found an old man standing near our table and looking us in a quizzical manner. The old man was decently dressed although he had two days' stubble left on his unshaven face.

“We are all from Chennai,” I said.

“Even I am from South India,” said the old man. “But I have been living in Delhi for the past thirty-five years,” he added.

From the old man's diction it was evident that he had learnt Tamil by experience and that it was not his mother tongue.

“Can you guess my age?” asked the old man wanting to continue the conversation.

From his question and from his looks I realized that he was quite an old man. “Eighty,” I said.

The old man nodded his head in a disapproving manner.

“Seventy-five,” said my friend.

“No,” said the old man.

“Seventy,” was the next guess.

“No! None of you guessed my age right,” said the man.

“I am over eighty. Eighty-six to be precise,” he said breaking the suspense.

I was surprised to see that the man was quite healthy for his age.

“How far is Chennai from here?” asked the old man changing the topic.

Though I was not really keen to answer him, I did not want to spoil the New Year mood by annoying an elderly person.

“Two thousand one hundred kilometres away,” I said.

“How much is that in miles?” he asked us again.

We started doing a quick calculation. Even though we were all engineering graduates, we were never comfortable with this system of measurement.

“Approximately one thousand five hundred miles,” replied my friend breaking the silence.

“Oh! That's quite far,” he said. We were happy that we had given him a satisfactory answer.

“How much does a train ticket to Chennai cost?” he asked. I couldn't figure out why he wanted to know all this.

“Four hundred and fifty rupees,” was the prompt reply from the friend who had till now preferred to stay away from the conversation.

“Is it the cost of a first class ticket?” he asked.

“No! It is the second class fare,” replied my friend.

“Oh my! Expenses have skyrocketed,” remarked the old man.

We started talking among ourselves ignoring the old man in our vicinity.

“Do you know, I can speak six languages?” interrupted the old man.

“Six languages!” I exclaimed. “How did you manage to learn six languages?” I asked, taken by surprise.

“Oh! That was when I was a mariner in the Royal Navy in the 40s,” said the old man casually.

Suddenly the old man had caught my attention. I was thrilled to be speaking to an octogenarian soldier.

“I have taken part in the 1941 war,” said the man referring to World War II.

Just then our meal arrived and we felt distinctly uncomfortable having a stranger watching us as we ate.

“Why don't you join us for lunch?” my friends invited the old man.

“Yes! Please join us.” I repeated

“No! Thanks,” said the old man. “I have just had coffee and am expecting my son any moment to come and pick me up.”

So saying the man turned to the restaurant cashier whose counter was just next to our table. We started attacking our meal, as all of us were quite hungry. Just then the old man returned.

“I have served in the Andaman Islands for three and a half years,” he said.

“I have also travelled to Singapore, Java, Malaya and Penang,” he completed in a single breath without waiting for a reply.

We were quite embarrassed to have a stranger, that too an old man standing and watching while we were eating, but none of us had the impudence to ask the old man to go away, lest a soldier's self-respect be hurt.

I decided that if talking to us made the old man happy, then I should not deny his happiness, at least on New Year's Day. I made up my mind to carry the conversation forward even though it was at the cost of my meal.

“You must have seen quite a few historical figures during your service as a soldier,” I observed.

“Yes! Of course,” said the old man, happy that someone was talking to him properly. “Do you know Subhash Chandra Bose?” he asked me.

“Who doesn't know Netaji?” I asked him back.

“I have spoken to him on many occasions and he was a good friend of mine,” the man said , his face beaming with pride.

“How much does the meal cost?” asked the old man pointing to the meal that we were having.

“Rupees thirty five,” I said, wondering whether the old man wanted us to buy him a meal.

“Expenses have gone up like anything,” he observed again. “How are the expenses like in your place?” he asked us.

“Oh! Chennai is quite cheap when compared to Delhi,” said my friend between mouthfuls.

“Can I take this cup of curd?” asked the old man.

This sudden question shook all of us. We would have been happy to buy him a full meal. But hiding his shock, one of my friends said, “Yes! Please take it,” with a made-up smiling face.

The man had the cup of curd and asked us to pass on the appalam. My friend obeyed him silently. While munching the fried snack, the old man commented, “In my time, appalams used to be quite big, nowadays they appear quite small.”

“I have also met Indira in South Block,” said the man, exhibiting his knack for changing the topic of conversation to a totally unrelated subject.

I realized that he was referring to Mrs. Indira Gandhi. But none of us asked him why he went to the South Block to meet Mrs. Gandhi.

“She was a proud and arrogant lady. I didn't like her attitude towards people,” he recollected.

“What happened?” I asked him unable to hide my curiosity.

“I once went to the South Block to meet Indira. She refused to meet me and asked her guards to take me away,” said the old man, happy that he was having an


“I felt piqued,” he continued. “How dare she play with the respect of a soldier?”

“I growled at Indira,” said the old man. “'Madam! Who do you think you are?'”

“Indira told me that she was the daughter of the Chief of India,” said the old man.

“'Damn it! You might be the daughter of Pandit Nehru, but you have no right to play with my self-respect. I am a World War soldier and I have fought for the country putting my life at stake,'” narrated the old man.

I admired the old man for his bravery but at the next instant fell into a dilemma whether to believe him or not. I thought that I should try and conclude the conversation with him. Before I could say anything or react, the old man changed the topic again abruptly. “My service in the Royal Navy has taken me to West Asian countries. I have been to Jordan, Iraq and Turkey,” he said.

“During World War II, I went to Turkey which was then ruled by King Hassan Hussein,” he started off with his new experience.

'Were there kings by the names Hassan and Hussein during the Second World War period?' I thought, my suspicion about his stories beginning to deepen.

“Hmm…” I listened patiently, waiting for him to run out of steam.

“Our ship, which could go inside water was anchored in Istanbul,” continued the old man with renewed vigour.

“A submarine?” I asked, not able to understand why the man was not referring to the ship as a submarine.

“Yes! A submarine,” he agreed with me. “Our ship HMS Caputcha was commanded by an Englishman. We arrived at the port at 6.00 p.m. and our Captain gave us two hours to visit the city, with a warning that we mustn't drink water anywhere in the city as it would smell of kerosene.”

I was listening to him with the expectation that he would stop soon and that I could continue with my meal, which had already become cold. I just looked towards my friends who had been silent spectators for quite some now. They had almost finished their meal.

“I set out on foot along with a fellow sailor who was also from South India. Both of us then had an intoxicating drink made of kajoor,” continued the old man.

“You know what kajoor is?” the old man asked me.

“Yes!” I said. “Cashewnuts.”

“You are right! Cashewnuts” said the old man. I later learnt that kajoor meant dates.

“We were then stopped by a Kabuli who seemed to be one of the guards of the City,” the old man apparently still had a lot to tell. “I was wearing a long cloak as the Arabs wear while my friend was in shorts,” he said.

I had already lost interest in the old man's story, but did not know how to avoid him. “On seeing the Kabuli, who was a well-built man, I bowed my head and wished him 'salam-a-laikum'. My friend who was in shorts did not consider it necessary to wish the Kabuli,” narrated the old man with an air of suspense.

“The Kabuli let me go and detained my friend for further questioning,” said the old man slowing down his pace. He leaned forward, picked a glass of water from our table and drank it. He must have felt thirsty as he had been talking for quite a long time.

“The water here is not good either,” he commented. “In Turkey, people don't drink groundwater. There would be a pile of rocks in each household. They would drink the blood oozing out of these rocks,” he said.

I realized that the old man's tale was getting incoherent and that I should not believe him anymore. I was in no mood to ask him what befell his friend in shorts. Luckily for me, the old man seemed to have forgotten about his friend and turned to the cashier again.

I turned towards my friends. Both of them were sporting sheepish smiles on their faces. I wanted to ask them how to get rid of the old man, when suddenly he returned to our table.

“What do you people do?” asked the old man.

“We are all students,” said a friend.

“Students of…B.A. or M.A.?” asked the old man without a pause.

“MBA,” I said.

“What is MBA?” asked the old man.

“We are students of Business Administration,” replied my friends, not knowing how to explain.

As expected, the old man did not understand what business administration was. “Normally, in offices there would be an LDC, above him there would be a UDC, and above the UDC there would be a Superintendent. Where does MBA come here?” asked the old man.

“We would be managers after our MBA and we would be above the Superintendent in an office,” I said.

“Oh!” exclaimed the old man seemingly having understood what an MBA was.

“Would you join me for a cigarette after your meal?” asked the old man, taking out a half-empty pack of cigarettes from his pocket.

“No! We don't smoke,” said my friend.

“It is good that you don't smoke. And while in Delhi don't go to movies, the tickets are quite expensive…”

“…and don't eat rice in winter as you are doing now. Take rotis…it will keep you warm,” said the old man.

“Never take to gambling,” said he, gesturing as if shuffling a deck of cards.

“It would ruin your life,” he continued with his advice after a short pause.

I thought that the man might be quoting all this from his own experience. He might have been a big gambler himself in his youth.

The old man turned to the cashier again. This time, I watched what he was doing. He took his bill from the cashier and rummaged his trouser pockets for money.

He held up whatever money he had on his palm and turned to us. “Just check whether you have a fifty-paise coin,” he asked us. “My bill is seven rupees and I have six rupees and fifty paise.”

We all searched our pockets to find the coin for the man. We had lots of money, but none of us had a fifty-paise coin. He looked at our faces in anticipation. We gestured that we didn't have change.

“Or you could pay this bill before you leave,” the old man having been emboldened to ask for the favour through the short acquaintance he had with us. It finally dawned upon me, why the old man was narrating all those stories.

“Yes! We would pay the bill,” said my friend taking the bill from the man's hand.

“Ok!” said the old man. He turned to the cashier and said, “My friends would pay the bill.” The cashier looked at us. We nodded in agreement.

“It's time for me to take leave,” declared the old man.

“See you!” I said, still unable to come to terms with what had just happened.

As the old man was leaving the restaurant, it started raining. His eyes fell on our wet umbrellas that were kept near the door.

A bearer came to me and said, “Sir! The man is asking whether he can take one of your umbrellas.”

“Tell him that the umbrellas are not ours,” I said hurriedly. I obviously wasn't that altruistic to donate my umbrella on a rainy day.

The bearer did as he was told and the old man left the place without further ado. As soon as the old man left the restaurant, all of us burst into laughter.

I called the bearer and asked him, “Is this old man a regular customer to your restaurant?” wanting to know more about the man.

“No Sir! This is the first time I am seeing him here,” he said. “He looks like a mad man,” he added after a brief pause.

My mind was sequentially analyzing all the stories told by the old man. I could not come to a conclusion about the old man. In fact I could not digest the fact that I had been talking to a mentally unsound person.

I asked the cashier why he didn't tell us that the man did not have money to pay. To this the cashier replied, “How can I, Sir? From the way you were talking to him I thought you knew him.”

I realized that the cashier was right. We paid our bill and the old man's seven-rupee bill and came out of the restaurant. The man became our subject of discussion for the rest of the day. And whenever one of us would change the topic, someone would start talking about the old man again.

It has been three days since this incident and I cannot help thinking about the old man. More than that, I have not been able to figure out what makes me think about the old man time and again. Was it just the seven-rupee bill that we paid? Was it the price we paid for listening to the made-up stories of a mad man? Was it the cost of upholding the dignity of an octogenarian soldier who had fallen into bad times? Or was it the small price we paid for a big experience that would remain etched in our memories for the rest of our lives?

Perhaps it is all of these and something more, which I know not and probably, would never know.

October 25, 2005

Word Wise - 1

I have always been fascinated with knowing the origin of words in the few languages that I know(or understand). Of particular interest is the origin of words in English. The study of origin of words is known as Etymology. I will keep recording the origin of words that I have come across in my subsequent blogs. To start of let me record a few English words which have its origin in Indian languages.

1. Mulligatawny = 'Milagu' + 'Thanneer' meaning 'Pepper Water'in Tamil. So the next time you go to a Star Hotel in India or abroad and sip your favourite Mulligatawny soup out of a Silver spoon, remember that the origin of the word is rather humble.

2. Shampoo has its origin in the Hindi word 'Chumpy' meaning Head Massage.

3. Bandicoot = 'Pandi' + 'Kokku' literally meaning 'Pig Rat'in Telugu.

4. Juggernaut - The literal English meaning of the word is something which destroys ruthlessly anything on its path. The origin of this word is rather interesting.

Juggernaut = 'Jagan' + 'Natha' meaning 'Lord of the World' in Sanskrit.

In Puri, Orissa, a state of India an idol of the Hindu god Vishnu is dragged in a procession on a huge car. Fanatic devotees are said to have thrown themselves under the wheels of the car.

Thus, in English, the meaning takes on a figurative association, referring to a belief or institution to which one is ruthlessly sacrificed or by which one is ruthlessly destroyed.

October 24, 2005

On a Honda

When Honda entered the US, it primarily aimed at capturing the motorcycle market. At that time people who rode motorcycles were associated with a rugged outcast image. To break the myth that all motorcycle riding people are rogues, Honda launched an advertisement campaign with the famous tagline - "You meet the nicest people on a Honda". This campaign is considered to be one of the most successful ones in the history of motorcycle advertising and endeared Honda to the hearts of millions of people.

Check this link out for further details

October 23, 2005

Of Turkey Biriyani and Sunday Working

Yummy...slurp...slurp...slurp! No prizes for guessing what I had for lunch. I have so fallen for the taste of the 'sexiest' bird in this entire Universe, that if I have a country in my name, then Turkey would undoubtedly be its national bird. It is however said that Turkeys, which are also Game birds is one of the most stupid I have a great inference to make...’A turkey is a blonde’ don't be surprised if you see Turkey jokes floating on the Internet in the near future!

And now to you Citizens of my would-be informed that I had to work on a Sunday to get a meal of Turkey Biriyani. Even though personally I don't like working on a becomes an unwritten rule, when work spills over from a Saturday. This may well be considered an occupational hazard of working with a manufacturing company, where all Saturdays are working days. I sometimes envy my friends who work in IT/Software Companies, since their weekend starts on a Friday evening.

All said and done, one has to accept that working on Sundays has its own charms (!!!???). One, you can leisurely walk into the Office at 11 am in your floaters after a late brunch. Two, since the Canteen is off, you are authorised to lunch outside the Office and it is expected that you don't pay out of your own pocket (!). It is this second charm of working on a Sunday, that led me and my colleague from our manufacturing facility at Ajax, Thiruvotriyur to Hotel Pandian in Royapuram aboard a 'Share Auto' in search of that elusive 'Turkey Biriyani' which is available at Pandians' only on Sundays. Although the distance to be travelled intimidated us, our hearts melted for the birds which had been 'Halal'-ed for us, and we decided to go ahead.

An elderly lady and a middle-aged lady with a baby girl joined us mid way. The elderly lady was in a chatty mood and even made me forget about the Turkey Biriyani which was waiting for us. She gave her daughter-in-law (or may be her daughter – mother-in-laws don’t teach their secrets to daughter in laws), the recipe for ‘Paruppu Kadaisal’ which is be prepared using Gram, Tomatoes, Asafoetida, Onions and Green Chillies. I have got the recipe, if anybody needs it, Iam willing to share this Haute Cuisine for a few thousand USDs. After taking an impromptu decision to make Murukku, Adhirasam and Rava Laddu for Deepavali, the elderly lady reminded the other lady to get the Murukku Achu for making Murukku from her Sister-in-Law without fail. In between all these, the elderly lady woke up the little girl and said- ‘Paapa! See the Beach, See the Ships’. Paapa was in no mood for beach and ship and she dozed off again.

It was my ill-luck which made me miss a winning formula for a natural moisturizer concoction from the lady, consisting of Sothu Kathazhai (Aloe vera) and Seemai Ponnanganni (Alternanthera sessilis), which could have given the likes of HLL, P&G and Cavinkare a run for their money. Perhaps if the Auto ride had continued for some more time, history would have been different. Now I have to be content with having Turkey Biriyani on an odd working Sunday, and blogging about the same.

October 22, 2005


I have wondered many times during my childhood, what I N R I which is found written on the Cross on which Jesus Christ is crucified, means. I read somewhere that INRI is Latin for Iesus Nazarenus Rexum Iudaeorum which when translated means 'Jesus of Nazareth, King of Jews'.

The Advanced Dictionary by Thorndike and Barnhart has been my long standing companion. Its an American dictionary and has good illustrations along with the word usage and Etymology (where available). I came to know that there are various kinds of Crosses too. The Cross that one normally come across in Churches is the 'Latin'Cross.

History of the Cross is available at

My 2 Cents after reading that story at

A Good One at

I read this Tamil story at Maraththadi. Highly imaginative and keeps you engrossed till the end.

Gandhiji's Record

I have been actually dying to post this. Took a day off and visited the Philatelic Exhibition at Anna Road Head Post Office in Chennai today. Got to know how Philately is actually done. I have been collecting stamps right from Class IV, but that was in an unorganised fashion. And after Class X due to 'Public Exams' I discontinued this hobby. I used to gather whatever I could lay my hands upon. For me Philately was getting stamps of 'rare' foreign countries and putting it in my album. God knows how many valuable Indian stamps I have let go. Anyway, Philately it seems is not just collecting stamps and putting it in a scrap book or stamp album just for the heck of it. And it is not just collecting stamps alone - it includes collecting Postal Stationery like Post Cards, Air Mail etc., First Day Covers, Miniature Sheets and Special Cancellations. One has to develop a keen interest in a particular subject and start collecting stamps/postal stationery associated with it. The most important thing is the presentation of your stamps(that is of course you have a good collection and of course when you want to take part in a competition). You have to have a plan for displaying your stamps and the theme that you have taken should be vibrant throughout your presentation.

There were few displays at the exhibition today. The most striking of them was the presentation of stamps on Gandhiji. I was surprised to know that Gandhiji holds the record till date for being featured in stamps of...more than 90 different countries. Even lesser known countries like Mali, Central African Republic, Senegal, Chad etc., have released stamps on Gandhiji. Another interesting thing which I got to know is that in many countries, people think that Indira Gandhi is the daughter of Mahatma Gandhi. Also Gandhiji is considered to be a Hero among the African nations for his role and service during the Anglo-Boer war between the British and the Dutch Settlers. It seems Gandhiji served as a stretcher attendant to carry wounded patients and soldiers during this war. The exhibitor who had put up this presentation was also a proud owner of an envelope written by Gandhiji to his Grandfather.

Some philatelic terms which I picked up during the exhibition.
1. Mints - Fresh, unused stamps
2. Cancellation - The seal which the Post Office puts on top of a stamp to make it used.
3. Special Cancellations - These are special seals which are available at a post office on the day of release of a new stamp. For example a special cancellation available at a Post Office in Tanjore may have the Brihadeeswara Temple mark.
4. Miniature Sheets - These are special sheets which are released by the Postal department for the benefit of the Philatelists. A miniature sheet may have a small number of stamps on a particular subject, instead of the usual 100 that we get to see in the Post Offices. For example a Miniature sheet on Flora and Fauna of North East India may have four different stamps on a single sheet.

5. First Day Covers - These are special covers brought out by the Postal Department to commemorate a special ocassion. For example a First Day Cover was brought out during the release of the stamp on World Environment Day. Please note the Special Cancellation on the image below, its shaped like a leaf.

All said and done, it was now my turn to select on my themes. Topical philately is widely acclaimed and it helps you in knowing deep about a particular topic. I wanted to try something new and Googling led me to CartoPhilately(Maps on Stamps). Sounds great...but too difficult to get stamps featuring Maps. If any of you have such stamps(any country - Mint or Used), Iam willing to exchange from my own collection or change it for some cash. Here is what Iam looking for.

I have taken up Cartophilately as my main theme and since there is a dearth of stamps on this topic Iam also planning to collect on Indian Railways and Indian Flora. Let me see how long my ever wavering mind keeps this passion alive!

October 20, 2005

Jokes in Tamil

Husband: En manaivi romba TV parkira doctor.
Doctor: Entha alavukku??
Husband: Current cut aanalum TV-i Torch adichu
paarkira doctor!!

What is the difference between Love marriage &
Arranged marriage?
First one is Tharkolai..and the next one is
Thittamitta kolai

Patient: Doctor vaithu vali, porukka mudiyala doctor.
Doctor: Vaithu valikirappa yaen neenga porukka

Vijayakanth: Andha TV mela case podanum..
Thondan: Ean thalaiva??
Vijayakanth: Nama katchi arambichadha Vilayattu
seidhigal-la potrukkan..

Sardar Son: O God! Please make Newyork the capital of
Sardar: Why are you praying for that?
Sardar Son: That is what I have written in my exam...

Why are Egyptian's children always confused?? Because
after death,
their daddy becomes the Mummy!!

Sardar1: Train kandupidichadu nallatha pochu..
Sardar2: Yaen??
Sardar1: Illaina thandavalam yellam veena

Teacher: Can you tell me something about Raja Ram
Mohan Roy?
Saradji: They were 4 best friends..!

Man: Doctor en wifekku peyi pudichirukku..
Doctor: Eppadi sollureenga???
Man: Munnadi kalakalannu sirichava ippo lakalakalakanu

"Smile is the only CURVE that makes everything

The Raja Reigns Supreme

'The Hindu' celebrates the King of Music.

A tribute to Thiruvasagam in Oratorio

Please find my heartfelt thoughts in Tamil, which I penned after listening to Thiruvasagam in Oratorio by Maestro Ilaiyaraaja.

First Things First...

Ha...finally here it is. I have been wanting since long to get a blog of my own. Neither am I a great writer nor do I have lots to write...but blogging seems to be the "In" thing as on date. So without further ado, Iam jumping on to the bandwagon. Many thanks to buddy Thirumurugan (, who took time out to explain me the basics of blogging. I had an obsession with static homepages viz., Geocities, Tripod etc., before the dotcom bubble burst - but never really got beyond the Index page even then. Let me see how long I can carry on blogging. Thanks are due to Sidin(whom I know well, through his posts), for kindling in me the fire to blog. His' was the first blog I ever got to see - Domain Maximus ( Let this man take 'one small step' on behalf of the entire mankind by publishing this blog and get going.