Monday, August 08, 2016

Student Heros' - Dangerous stunts on trains

I had to travel from Thiruvanmiyur to Mylapore by train this morning around 8.00am. In all subsequent platform from Thiruvanmiyur till Mylapore, I noticed a small group of boys aged between 12 years to 17 years, run along the train to get on it, about 4 children per opening. It was quite frightening to see a competition among them as to who would last longer as the running train gathered more and more speed. In my compartment, one boy’s hand was in a sling and he was doing this dangerous stunt.

I requested the boys not to do that as the risked their live every time. I told them, if they were grievously hurt, losing their limbs forever, it was much more a negative impact on their very lives as they had to live many more years to come without them. I told them death was the easiest of all, but have they thought about their parents who struggled so hard for them to study. Some older boys in same school, who were snickering, I had asked them to advice younger ones.  They replied to me that those kids do not listen to them, but I told them to make a strong point and impression on their younger school mates. I asked them the school and understood, they belonged to a famous school on R.K.Mutt Road.

On getting down at Mylapore station, I went to the station master to request him for a solution, but all I received were complaints and they were trying their best. The station master mentioned that the children had been caught, and the school had been made aware, but it has not helped. They had also handed over some repeated offenders to police but as they were juvenile, no cases were registered and they were let go. They asked me to approach the school.

 I went to the school on R.K.Mutt Road. As the prayers were being done, I was asked to wait. I met the social sciences teacher Mr.R, to whom I mentioned what I had seen. Many students’ railway passes were cancelled when they had been caught, but the students had got themselves regular railway passes to student passes and still indulged in dangerous stunts. Once, when Mr.R had once informed a group of students not to do the stunt, he was asked by a fellow passenger as to what bothered him. When Mr.R mentioned he was a school teacher for that boy, that fellow passenger informed Mr.R to not bother the boy and keep it to the school only. What sort of society are we in, where a teacher who wishes well for his students is asked to shut up?

Mr.R then accompanied me to the principal’s office, where I updated him of this morning incidents. The Principal mentioned he had caught 2 such students belonging to his school a couple of days back. The parents of such students to meet were asked to meet the principal and provide letters of apologies that it would not happen again. Sometimes, where the parents are called, the parents deny flatly that their wards were even capable of what the Principal mentioned and out rightly denied. Any warning does not have a permanent affect and may only affect a small part of the population. The other students still continue their dangerous stunts.

I understand that a long drawn plan which can hit at the root cause of the problem will be one of the best ways to resolve them. I have noticed that none of the girls do any such stunts.
Movies teach stunts. By performing a stunt, the young boy student feels the following:
(i)                  I am a hero. I can face danger and do danger. I am the best.
(ii)                I can impress other students (boys) that I am willing to take risk with my life. You all should look at me as a hero.
(iii)               I can impress other girl students and be a hero.
The hero culture of risk taking need a root cause analysis and a handling at the very root of the problem. My suggestion to the Principal was the following.
  1. Please have an inter-school competition for this age group of boys & girls.
  2. Topic: Dangers of stunts on trains and buses.
  3. Select about 20 students, who have done an outstanding essay. Idea is one boy and 1 girl per month for entire school duration of 10 months.
  4. 1 boy and 1 girl speak every 15 days at a school prayer for 5 minutes.
  5. Coach these students with the final presentation to the entire schools. (I volunteer myself, and other who desire to help)
  6. The students present to their peers on the dangers.
  7. Set up anonymous help line to students to report any dangers seen.

I have suggested some long term plans to the Principal, which he mentioned he would discuss and get back. I have also informed that I will help in whatever little ways that I can, to create a positive impression on the students’ minds. We need to tackle all the student community against this dangerous practice and not just this school.
Idea is for the students to understand danger and opt out of it voluntarily in a peaceful manner. I feel students should not be threatened into submission. A threat of a TC, punishment or dismissal from school, or any punishment by a policeman or any other is not a good direction, as not all will be threatened by such an act.
A TC from the school, I feel serves no purpose. It is a means of the school establishment saying that is not my problem and the problem will still continue in another school. Worse, the student may lapse into bad habits or bad company.
Any physical punishment is also temporary, how will it really make the student understand the act of stunts is not correct?

Please spread the word, and if you see any student doing stunts, please ask them to stop. Collectively, we can make an impact. I please welcome your comments, where we can seek a permanent solution in a constructive manner to the next generation.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sholingar, Vellore - Yoga Narasimhar and Yoga Anjaneyar temple

We decided to go for this temple to begin our 10th Anniversary of married lives. We woke up at 3.30am, started out from Chennai at 4.30am towards Sholingar after blessings of Vinayakar. It was a pleasant day for us. It had rained the previous night and ws drizzling in a mist format when we were travelling by car. The weather throughout was fantastic, compared to the previous hot days. The perfect weather for a good climb.

From Chennai, it is around 2.5 hours by car via NH4. The return journey, I decided to choose from MapmyIndia which showed the Trichy-Chennai highway. This took us more than 4 hours to return. The first hour of Trichy highway was fantastic, but after that my speed was between 20 kms per hr to 40 kms per hr. This road has only 2 lanes and you have to follow the person in front. The road was full of potholes and the traffic high and crawling.(Do not recommend the 2nd route at all)

We had used google maps to reach, but this temple is shown incorrectly in google maps. The temple shown for Sholingar temple was instead Dhanvantari temple. I had to ask people nearby to go to the Sholingar temple which was around 14 kms from this location. Sholingur temple is just on the left after government hospital Sholingur around 2 kms away. Better to set your route on this hospital.

We reached the location in 2 hrs 10 minutes, but to search to arrive took another 20 minutes. Filled petrol on the bunk on the way. By the way, this Dhanvantari temple also has 2 hills and looks too similar to the Narasimhar temple.

Any pooja items it is better to buy down and take up, you may not find anything sold up. Also hide it inside any non transparent bag, as the monkeys will grab anything - tulsi mala, ordinary flowers, water or eatables.

They also sell a stick for Rs.5, do buy at least one. I did not have any problem with the monkeys, but some monkeys did act rough with other people. I saw one man who did not do anything to the monkeys getting beaten by the monkeys for around 50 steps. He did not carry anything on his hand, neither did he bother the monkeys, but 2 monkeys took a dislike to this man, beat him on his legs, pulled his dhoti and scratched him. They also snarled at him, as a group of 5 monkeys. Some passers by came to his help.

Yoga Narasimhar temple comes first. Yoga Narasimhar has about 1300 steps to climb (barefoot). There is sunshade on the top of the steps. You can buy only Pooja items on the ground. However lots of monkeys around and they will snatch anything from you – water bottle, flower or tulsi mala. So, we need to keep it hidden in a bag when we climb up. They are very bold too. In the temple, one of them, called me on my knee and then pulled my pocket. (twice after a gap). I just told him, I do not have any eatables to give you. He went away. However, I noticed other people had a tougher time.
Lakshmi is in a separate santoram.  After Lakshmi, we could visit Yoga Narasimhar.

Special queue costs Rs.20 per head. For each sannidhi, the archanai ticket cost Rs.10 (Rs.5 per person name)

Outside the temple, there is a small kulam, with green water and many monkeys playing there. I did see tiny fishes in the temple pond.

You can get special threads outside the sanctum sanctoram if you ask a priest. They will not try to sell or mention, you need to request them. Each cost Rs.20. They will also inform you a special procedure to use it.

It took us only 30 minutes to climb the steps. We were on top around 8.00am. But I believe the temple opens at 8.00am only and after Pooja for 30 minutes it will open at 8.30am. As any Narayana temple, the temple serves delicious Prasad. I found the tamarind rice and vada excellent. The curd rice had ginger, and it was ok.

We came down so quickly them our feet started trembling. So far, all climbs previously have been made with shoes and this was the longer one without shoes.

The Yoga Anjaneyar temple was around 250 meters away, we took the car near the temple steps. This had around 400 steps to climb. This also took us 30 minutes. (J We were tired after climbing up and down). Again they also had a special Pooja and asked us to wait 30 minutes. But we had to start back as my mom asked us to return and our child was asking for us. We reached the bottom in 20 minutes, the reason being, a shop midway served Paneer soda (Goli Soda) with Lemon. I had to try it out, and it was delicious after the climb.

There is a Doli service there which caters to bringing up elders and children. (I did not know of it earlier, or I would have taken my 3 year old child). I spoke to one of these doli men and these were the rates they mentioned for taking a person up the temple and back down for Yoga Narasimhar temple. The person will wait until your darshan is complete and then carry down the person.
Child less than 10 years which can be carried up by 1 person – Rs.500
Normal person – who can be carried up by 2 people – Rs.800 to Rs.1200
Heavy person – if carried by more than 2 people (up to 4 people) – Rs.1800 – Rs.2200

Sunday, January 27, 2013

An Old Re-union

On 24th Jan 2013, Friday, there was an old gentleman who came to my house. He was neatly dressed, tucked in shirt, spectacled. He asked for Srinivasan (my dad). I had invited him to our house. He told me that he was a friend of my dad’s from the college days. They had studied B.Sc Mathematics at Vivekananda college in the 1960’s. He wanted to invite my dad to a reunion of all the batch mates that he had traced.

I had offered him coffee and boost but he preferred boost. Over a cup of boost, I spoke with him in length of his “reunion journey”.

That led me to ask him a question on how he traced my dad.

He said, that one of his friends had told him, my dad last worked in "Bank ..****". He went to that Bank and enquired of my father. They had mentioned that he was drawing pension from **** Branch. Then he went to that branch and secured my father's phone numbers.

He said, that initially, he tried a land line phone – 24****** but it was mentioned it was not in use and then he had tried the cell phone but that also came as not in use.

His friend “Seshadri” (Auditor) had mentioned that my dad was living in a Ramaniyam building between Imcops and Adyar terminus. This gentlemen, had walked all over the place trying to trace the elusive Ramaniyam building but the only multi storied apartment he saw was Appaswamy builders. He had then enquired in a petty shop of a Ramaniyam and the shopkeeper had mentioned that he would be able to see one near Jayanthi theatre.
So on another day (today), he had again walked to Jayanthi theatre but the building near the theatre was not Ramaniyam. He again approached another petty shop owner and enquired. This shopkeeper had mentioned that the building was behind the hotel Vegnation. He had turned up at the gate and enquired of the security whether there was a Srinivasan in our building. (Mind it that there are totally 125 families living in my apartment) The security has mentioned my name – and there was someone as Srinivasan staying with me. So, he had come to my apartment and rang the bell.

I wanted to hear more. So I had asked him on the reunion and how many people were coming there. He told me that he had managed to trace 25 people. He told me that he had been individually tracing people for the reunion for the past 6 months. He had taken 2 weeks to trace my dad. (Old fashion detective style).  Of the 25, so far 15 people had committed to meet.

I had asked him whether other friends of his have done the kind of footwork that he had done? He mentioned that one more friend had helped him but the footwork was mainly done by him. When he had approached his friends, they had told him, that if he is able to trace others, they will try to make it to the reunion. He mentioned that Feb 15th as “the” date. He would try to trace as many as possible. When I had asked why he had used that particular date, he mentioned that “Ellarum kizam kattaigal…inniko..nalayo..ellarum oru thadavai parthu pesanum..” meaning Everyone was old…Today or Tomorrow…Have to see everyone and speak with all.

He told a little about himself. He mentioned initially he had worked in TTK for around 10 years after which he had gone back to take care of his lands. He had stayed in Adyar in 1992, but again sold his house. Now, he was living in Indira nagar with his son and daughter in law. His son was working in a IT company.

I was elated by the enthusiasm of this gentlemen. He has shown incredible stamina and energy and glowing with enthusiasm at having traced his long seen friend.

I had explained that my dad was currently in US with my sister. He may not be available for the reunion. But I requested him to wait, as I said I would call him at US.

I dialed and my sister had taken the phone. I just told her that Appa’s college friend was at home. Don’t tell Appa. Just give him the phone. She played along with me and she gave the phone to Appa.

Mr.Dhanapalan introduced himself on the phone to my dad. There was a bit of silence and after recognition, laughter on both sides. They exchanged news.

My dad was sad that he had not known about the reunion or he would have postponed his US trip. He did miss his friend and all his batch mates, which he also affectionately called as his “gang”.

After speaking with my dad, he got up ready to go. We exchanged addresses and phone numbers so that  he could reach my dad and vice versa.

As he left our door, and walked slowly to the lift, in a slow measured pace, a man in his 70's, age had affected his physical appearance… I could see that he was wearing a hearing aid.  But not his mental strength, Mr.Dhanapal who has shown that age does not matter and single mindedness wins. He is a winner all the way - to see his “gang” of friends for a happy reunion. 

I am very happy of having met my father’s friend. I am sharing this joy of the old reunion to all others. My sister called me later…and I told her the incredible story. Both of us were very happy and elated.

To all my good Friends, I do not know who you are now, but I only know that some time before you were a good friend of mine and you still remain so.

Many of us are in the peak of our career. We have a family, leading highly pressurized lives.But for old time sake … let us “just meet” and be “happy” for at least 1 day a year.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Ashram school - Truly loved by the children

This incident happened somewhere around a year back. My niece who was studying at Ashram school at that time. One day when the class was going on, my niece stepped out of class without asking the teacher any permission. She returned to class 10 minutes later. The teacher has asked her where she had been. My niece had sweetly replied to the teacher - Since she was hungry, she went to the kitchen to find out if the food was ready. So the teacher asked her if the food was ready for which my niece replied in affirmative. On that, the teacher, trouped her entire class to the kitchen for lunch.

I was so pleasantly surprised at this entire encounter. I have not heard of any school in the past which allows students to leave the class without any permission from the teacher.

I have not heard of the teacher who so pleasantly takes care of the students in her care that the child is treated a child with love.

I was very surprised that the child was not mistreated in any manner or made to feel sorry for her behavior.

The Ashram school is run by Mrs.Latha Rajanikanth. (Our Superstar Rajanikanth's wife).

What good values have been infused that even an elementary teacher showers such love on a child!

My best wishes for such a good school and may many other schools adopt such healthy practices.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I am jubilant!!! Finally got the LED TV which I had got from US to work. The LG LED TV LE5400 Supports only NTSC.

With advent of Digital Channels, I was under the impression that any TV will work, but was I surprised. My Tata Sky did not work. It showed only Black and white. I checked out with one of my wife's friends and he had informed that Airtel TV works, but only in HD mode for those 8 channels. (Not at all helpful). Checked out some broadband forums and many people suggested using Dish TV as it was supported also in the computer and I also found Sun TV is hosted in US through the Dish network.

(Did lots of research on the net and asked lots of people also). Some people had also mentioned that Sun Dish has a NTSC option. It was put in a broadband forum. All this left me confused. Was down to 2 choices: Sun Dish or Dish Network.

My dad at that time consulted a LG technician. He affirmed that LG works in SCV as it has a NTSC option. (Thanks a lot for that LG Technician who helped me make that choice) We earlier had a SCV, which my dad renewed. I gave all the connections. It was still black & white. I went into System Options and changed both for UHF and Audio Video Settings to NTSC_M.

Now, I have a beautiful TV which works in India. Some screenshots showing the settings. Hats
off to SCV who are forward in their thinking of providing all options in a set top box, I was able
to see PAL (India), NTSC (US), Secam (Europe). I have temporarily set this up to check its working. Will set up the entire set on the wall by end of day.
Added: Also confirmed that
Dish Tru HD set top box using HDMI cable works for NTSC TV.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Om Nama Sivaya - Sidhar Padalgal at Maruntheashwarar temple

I was in Marundeashwarar temple at Tiruvanmiyur around 4 weeks back, on a Thursday. I was a bit late from office and could make it to the temple at only 8:30pm. That turned out to be my luck also. In the closing of the temple doors and the last abhishekam, I was made part of a heartrending composition by a siddhar, which all the persons outside the Sivan sannidhi were chanting. The love with which it was sung really brought tears to my eyes. I was mesmerized during the entire chanting.

Now, I make it a point to go there at exactly the closing time just before the abishekam. This chanting is done on all days during closure of the temple at night about 8:30pm.

I have attached the recording in mp3 and also provided a scanned version in tamil. Also the link here will take you to the actual song (Lyrics). I have provided below a sample in english.

Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya
Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya
Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya
Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya

odiodi odiodi utkalantha jothiye
naadi naadi naadi naadi natkalam kazhinthu poi
vaadi vaadi vaadi vaadi vaazNDhu pona manthargal
Kodi Kodi Kodi Kodi enniRunthe Kodiye

Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya
Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya
Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya
Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya

ennele iruntha unRai yaan ARindhaThilaye
ennele iruntha unRai yaanARinthu konddin
ennele iruntha unRai yaavar kaana villaro
ennele irunthu irunthu yaanum kandukonDene

Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya
Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya
Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya
Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya

naanathethu niiyathethu naduvil ninrathethadaa
konathethu kuruvathethu kooRidum kulaamare
avethethu azhivathethu appuRaththil appuRam
eenathethu raama raama raamaa enra naamame

Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya
Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya
Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya
Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya

anjezhuththile piRanthu anjezhuththile vaLarnthu
anjezhuththai othukinRa panchapuutha paavikaaL
anjezhuththil or ezhuththu aRinthu kuuRa villiirel
anjal anjal enRu naathan ambalaththil aadume

Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya
Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya
Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya
Om Nama sivaya om om Nama sivaya

The Lyrics in Tamil:

And the mp3 version of Om Nama Sivaya Om - 5.55MB - 64kbps - 12:07 minutes. - Rapidshare

Added: MP3 Version - as above - Mediafire (Many people experienced difficulty for Rapidshare.)

I have not found this lyrics with all the combinations on a google search. Let all benefit.