Posted in Environment

Lounging Space

As we take our daily walk in the parks of Doha, I am sorely reminded of how I am missing even this small privilege in my hometown Chennai.

Even today if we are to scrutinize the old blueprints/location maps of vintage landholdings/real estate properties of our metropolis, we can find that, there were many, many identified lung spaces situated right in the heart of our good old Madras that could have been converted to parks. We could have had these beautiful landscapes and walking and cycling tracks had not the public places earmarked for community utility landed in private hands during successive corrupt Dravidian regimes. Not even the reserve forest areas have been spared, violating laid down norms. Illegal encroachments get legal sanction with periodic regularization: that is Tamil Nadu.

Today if we see the skyrocketing of real estate prices in Chennai, it is not without a reason. Those middle-class families born and brought up in the city for generations cannot afford to live in the heart of the city thanks to our corrupt politicians. A 3 bhk apartment with car park in city limits costs in crores that most of us cannot afford. Only those old families who owned houses prior to the 1970s in Madras are now proud houseowners in the heart of the city. Of course there is the new rich always who have been able to afford expensive homes. A small percentage of the upwardly mobile can realize their dreams. But by and large, the middle class sections of our society have been pushed to the peripheral suburbs, that Chennai has seen multiple revisions of the Outer Ring Road in last 20 years. The next revision may peg the road at Kanchipuram. Not a joke.

City is sprawling in all three directions no doubt but there is also this sense of hopelessness in the old time Madrasis that they may not ever afford a modest home within the city limits. I have known so many many Mylaporeans who had to settle for properties 40 or 60 km afar as the city became unaffordable to them.

Only the IT guys and the NRIs and business community apart from settu (!) and bhai (!) and (both of whom are notorious for unaccountable money, the second especially for hawala) can ever buy homes now in Chennai. Believe me, had those of us few lucky not inherited anything from our parents, we would be holed up against our will somewhere in Perambakkam or Medavakkam today who knows! Seriously!

Agreed the OMR and ECR and the new business districts of the city. City center is shifting and it is no more our Anna Salai. But if you check the working population in the IT industry, you may find that a vast majority of them are floating population who do not know old Madras like you and me.

Violations in ECR and OMR are rampant, with handing down of ‘wet areas’ to IT parks in silver platter.

What about the landed estates doled out to engineering colleges and medical colleges that mushroomed during MGR and KK period.

Parks have been specifically lost to the denizens denying us a breathing space to unwind, except for our crowded beaches. Even the beaches seem to have lost their charm. How beautiful were once the Santhome beach and the Marina (Gandhi) beach. Santhome was our regular.

With very few parks left from the pre-independence era, we have had one or two even from this minimum taken over for development activities. Glaring examples are the Thiru Vi Ka Park of Shenoy Nagar and Nehru Park in Egmore that have turned out to be Metro Rail stations. Initially there was a promise of restoration of green cover although it remained a mystery how a underground metro rail station can be fitted out with a park anywhere. Now there is not a single word to this benefit and covid times have made things worse.

Googled on this and was pleasantly surprised to discover hundreds of parks listed in Chennai Metropolitan city limits! Few do survive against all odds. Wouldn’t want to talk here about the optimally utilized Nageshwara Park in Myalpore or the Panagal Park in T. Nagar. Or the Anna Nagar Tower park. These are the much needed respite to the locals. Memories of going to Nageshwara park with my father and feeding the deer and rabbits there still stays fresh in my memory. Adyar with its concentration of parks can be called the garden of Chennai.

There is one small park even in Harrington road. Most of the surviving parks in Chennai are as small as this one. There are quite a few like this even in Anna Nagar every kilometer. These are hardly parks, still even this small space is smartly utilized for walking and other health purposes by our citizens.

Thiru vi ka park and the corporation ground opposite it used to be hotcakes. Next to them is a swimming pool. They are of immense utility for the residents of the area. With the Thiru vi ka park closed, the corporation ground is seeing excess crowds that it is not able to handle.

The Eco Park in Chetpet and the Semmozhi Poonga in Cathedral road are like small solaces compared to what has been stolen from the general public.

Good that our temples have tanks in front of them. Congested Mylapore has some breathable air thanks to the three temple tanks situated in the thickly populated area. For this reason, even our temples have saved some precious space for our public. This is how now I view our temples now. When I see 100 acre temples like Thiruvannamalai, Tanjore etc., my first thought is, ‘Appa, they can’t plot out this area for real estate!’

To what pitiable condition have the Dravidian governments reduced us public.

There is a lean patch called park even in Haddows road. I realize that even a few mercifully saved square meters of public land is now touted as park by our city corporation.

I wish there are more parks opening up.

How about parks on reclaimed land from sea.

Mumbai is mostly on reclaimed land from sea.

Here in Doha, the Museum park where we go for regular walk is on reclaimed land.

But I understand that what we have is a bay here that has backwaters whereas Chennai has roughest seas. We are a port city.

Project technically may not be feasible.

Besides, this may be one very expensive investment that the government may not prioritize.

How about hanging parks with a walk way.

I am aware, the damage done by successive govts with making a piecemeal of our public places and doling them out to corrupt politicians, cannot be reversed now for practical reasons.

But Chennai can still have some breathing space. If we lack it, we can create one why not.

I am for hanging gardens on over-bridges with lookout platforms, and also for parks on reclaimed lands two hundred percent. If land reclamation is not ideal, we can still go for overhead parks. This is truly my dream and vision for Chennai.

There can be a park all the way from Besant Nagar to Chepauk zigzagging our skyline why not.

There can be a park overhead from Mogappair to Thiruvanmiyur.

When we could do elevated and subterranean metro rail sections at the same time, why cannot overhead parks be feasible in five to ten years. Just a thought. What revenue is our metro rail generating presently. How many years to break even. How many years did it take the MRTS to break even if at all it has managed that! So why not an elevated park crisscrossing our city skies?

Ambitious. Expensive. But NOT frivolous! Instead of promise of freebies for elections, how about our political parties promising something like this for the general public.

Chennai badly needs some decent breathing space. Lung space.

When I cross over a red tarmac road in a park here in Doha during my evening walk, on climbing a manmade incline (imagine a greeny green acre plus park with an artificial mound on flat desert surface, now that’s what I would call patriotism and love for nature), to the other side of the road, I station myself at the summit for a while. My heart longs for this kind of scenic view of my hometown Chennai from such an elegant elevated nature park.

Make such a park pay for itself like toll. Charge robustly or introduce membership. This way initially atleast we can keep off miscreants. Gradually the general public can have access to such parks. Vandalism not be tolerated at any cost. Post security and maintain the park shipshape. After all there is no shortage of manpower in India. Disallow most importantly, liquor in the skywalk park which already exists in my dream!

This is truly my dream project for Chennai.

India sadly lacks visionaries who can think ahead by a hundred or two hundred years. Chennai with the Dravidian muck are a hopeless lot. It may be too much on our part to expect them to come up from something grand and utilitarian like this.

An elevated green park can change the way we live in our city. This can change our lifestyle. This can change our thinking process. Chennai will become even more endearing!

And I realize i am daydreaming. Such a beautiful thought would not even cross a dirty stupid Tamil politician’s mind. My heart sinks.

Posted in Environment

the perfect pH balance.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on the acid-alkaline or pH balance in the food we eat and water we drink to simply everything we may consume. Ever since installing a water purifier at home some 15 years ago, I became even more acutely aware of the pH factor that can have a potential effect on human metabolism. Should monsoons fail, we are in for trouble. pH in the ground water we are forced to use gets skewed as the borewell depth falls and bottoms out. There is a limit to which even the RO machines can work.

In an effort to maintain a healthy pH balance, i add a slice of lemon to my jug of water to sip through the day. Of course, from long before pH balance started hogging the headlines, we have been taking antacids to counter acidity. Recently I was reading about home cleansing and facials. It’s said that using lemon too much for exfoliation can have a drastic drying effect because of the heavy alkalinity of the lime which has bleaching properties. The first anti-alkaline advice I have ever come across.

Rainwater has a pH balance of 5.5 and normal water 7 which is neutral. With natural water resources and abundant rainfall, India therefore could be an ideal pH balanced country. This can have a cascading effect on our entire environment including mineral resources and soil. India is an extensively agricultural country perhaps for this reason.

Where the pH balance is highly unfavourable, we may find excessive Sulphate and Chloride deposits making the earth unfit for farming. Typically these are arid desert lands we see with sparse vegetation. Oxygen levels in the air may be below normal.

India hardly sports extremes except for in our Thar desert. Our pH balance may be optimal otherwise. This is why such a diverse eco system is sustainable in our country with a stunning range of native phflora and fauna compared to other parts of the world. India’s wildlife thrives thanks to a healthy pH level.

Back home, I hardly feel my skin go dry although we have the longest summers and no winter. I don’t have to keep slathering moisturizers on my skin every single hour! I remain mostly chemical free except for some Ayurvedic external application for toning apart from regular soak in coldpressed coconut oil before shower. Covid has eliminated even the yearly once or twice salon visits for most of us, for even a basic clean-up. Yet by and large we in India can get along with minimal maintenance and almost nil grooming.

We perspire a lot in India and I feel as if our sweat glands are working overtime! Chennai as we know has the worst humidity. Sultriest. . There is no fluid accumulation or bloating as we sweat it out (not necessarily through physical exertion). Whatever the temperature, we are in the natural setting except for peak summer months when we switch on the aircons. I have come to appreciate a lot these small gifts from nature that I took for granted for years.

In Middle east, how many many tubes of moisturizers do I need to have to procure and stock! Summer means 24 hour nonstop air-conditioners and winter means dryness that comes with the chill. Least exposure to natural light and air as we step out into the open rarely. Skin ages fastest which can be slowed down only with the application of effective moisturizers.

Soil in the deserts is limestone (highly alkaline) which cannot absorb surface water. Sometimes when there is that rare rainfall and the water drains off surface without seepage, I really feel sad for these parched lands. How much ever oil there may be in Middle east, and even if India is a third world country, in my view India is still a blessed nation. In India, it takes a month of monsoons just for the earth to retain water on top. The first few spells are well soaked and you have no idea where the initial downpour disappeared. Understanding now the significance of the water absorbing capacity of our fertile soil, my gratitude for nature is even more pronounced these days.

Not a qualified expert to speak on the subject, I stop forthwith. But I do understand also why every shampoo, every conditioner, every moisturizer, every this, every that you may shop for today has this pH balance marked in constituents. Personally I go for the sulphate free shampoos. Our diets have the pH balance score, our veggies have theirs, our meat portions do… so much so that maintaining the perfect pH balance in our system is the rage!

Alkaline foods are preferred for their anti-cancer benefits. Alkaline rich food is also good for the heart (typically the anti-oxidants such as Omega-3 and green leafy vegetables). The recommended acid-alkaline ratio is 20: 80.

Posted in Food For Soul

Attention Seeking: A Serious Character Flaw

In a world where there is so much of talk-down on negativity and gloom, there is one trait in some of us that may go unnoticed. It is ‘attention seeking’ sneaking in as a domineering streak in those closest to us that most of us grin and bear. Others may disregard such a highhandedness as a personality flaw and move on. Wanting to have the last word in everything, the compelling need to remain under the spotlight, hijacking and steering conversations are a few tell-tale signs that can give away that an attention seeker in our midst.

A very fragile ego, unwillingness to sidestep for others and the strange longing to get into everyone’s good books all at the same time could be the reasons behind a dominant character. A pampered and privileged background cannot be ruled out for the nurture of an attention seeking personality. Characteristically, a noticeable absence in attention seekers is the sense of empathy. Passive aggression is seldom considered a threat and most of us quietly put up with it offering no resistance, not realizing that this is nothing short of bullying.

Some of us don’t give two hoots to attention grabbers. Attention seeking can cause damage to best of relationships in the long run. To those who have had lessons from life, letting others have their small successes comes naturally. Yet when boundaries are breached, there may be grounds for discord. Attention seekers can have their way, because of the complacent company (or cronies) they usually surround themselves with. A sense of amusement may also be reason for some of us to tolerate insolent behaviour.

Maturity is the natural output of a satisfied life. Shying away from attention is a mark of such maturity. It is the string pullers who run the show from behind the scenes in most cases. Being one in the crowd, faceless, nameless is a defence like none other. It is not without a reason it is said that there is safety in numbers. To opt to go unnoticed is an understated elegance, class. To underplay one’s self-importance purposefully is an art very few can master. Lack of urge to prove anything to anyone is a virtue. We retain our identity or perhaps our privacy. The sense of peace lies in coming to terms with reality. We are in contest with no one in life and life is not a race to be won where we have to outwit each other and prove to the rest of the world that we are the best among the pack. It is alright even to be a loser. It is embracing your destiny with grace that is the greatest human virtue.

Class is keeping a low profile. Why should we want audience for everything. It is not our business to steal the thunder from others.

Classism comes not from our clothes and shoes and bags and our automobile, but from the elegant standards we maintain in our life, the way we etch our character. Classism is dignity when we do not lower our standards, when we prescribe the standards.

Waves of fellow humans following our footsteps fast outpace us taking our spot every single minute. Before we may bat our eyelid, we may be gone just like that. We are but a miniscule atom in this universe.

The best of ours will stay with us, come what may. The ones who are with us never leave us. The ones who leave us were never ours.

It is a blessing if some of us need not have to work hard at relationships. It is a gift that some of us need not have to go for it, seek or snatch attention. With a shrug we let go off, conceding defeat to attention seekers, otherwise there may be one hell of a price to pay: the relationship. It can be a sore disappointment discovering the personality flaw of attention seeking in our closest circle.

Posted in Food For Soul

The difference between Lakshmi Teacher and Susheela teacher…

I am blogging this after a conversation with a friend. I am afraid at the cost of repeating myself for an umpteenth time, i will have to dig from my mother’s school now.

My grandma told me the reason my mother decided to teach the hearing and speech impaired middle school girls. Like any teachers’ training aspirant, she had enrolled in a staff training college in Santhome. But one day when her classes were on, in walked Mother Superior. Out of the entire class, she picked my mother and told her, ‘child, anyone can teach normal kids. but it takes a special someone to teach special kids. go to the class teaching special skills and start teaching deaf and dumb (as they would be referred then) girls.’ This changed my mother’s life as she thought she had gotten her calling. She became a teacher on course completion and served over 16 years teaching teen girls who could not speak or hear – until the very last day of her life.

I and my sister grew up literally in this school campus. It is in Gemini. For term holidays and for their school days, sports days etc., we would be there with our mother until the day she passed away. This school also contains a section for the blind. I grew up thinking disability was normal. I never viewed the loss of speech or hearing or eye sight as handicap at all for years. Watching the blind children in sports day competing in Lemon and spoon race etc, and playing with deaf and mute girls in my mother’s class as equals, probably had had an effect on me that sustains me until today. Back then I had no idea, these were my learning days.

Pious Hindu, my mother still took us to chapel in their catholic convent. Like typical hindu girls we touched the feet of Mother superior and other sisters in her school every time we went there. We lit candles in the chapel and we also visited the Santhome cathedral and Besant Nagar church a little before Christmas to avoid crowds. But we never got mixed up still. Our Hindu roots stayed unwavering through all this.

My mother also had been the first Hindu teacher among the school staff. Before her, only catholic nuns were teaching in their missionary school. After my mother, a few more Hindu teachers joined the school. The initial influence of the christian fraternity was there in my mother who was refusing marriage to serve the disabled kids, but my grandparents prevailed and had her married. So naturally I became the first staff kid in their entire school history, and i remained the most celebrated one until my mother’s last.

In the years when my mother was around, for every Diwali she would hire cooks to make hundreds of sweets like laddoo, jelebi etc., at home along with tins of murukku to distribute to her entire school as most of their kids were hostel girls from poorest families who had abandoned them. Some kids had parents in foreign countries or other places in India who would never pay a visit. My mother and one more teacher regularly brought home 4 to 5 girls for Diwali to celebrate the festival with us. She would get for these girls bangles from Mylapore Mada veedhi and also new clothes. The highlight was, taking them for shopping along with her. It is only after my mother left I understood her sensitivity in these matters. She could not bear the idea of young girls holed up in hostel during Diwali so she would seek special permission from Mother Superior to get home those stranded in their dorms with nowhere to go.

The devotion of teachers in my mother’s school was such that, in order to explain a crow to a blind student, one of the staff caged cleverly a crow in their terrace and brought it to school with the beak tied! The blind children had a chance to touch and feel the crow to know what a bird it really could be. I still remember to this day how animated my mother was telling us about this real life class story. It is in this section of the school that Kamal Hasan filmed his ‘Raja Paarvai’ and my mother did get to watch a lot of shooting then. Every evening I would wait for my mom to tell me what happened at the film set.

The blind section as well as the deaf and dumb sections of the school enrolled boys upto class 5 in those days. From middle school, only girls were allowed to continue. My mother was in charge of class 6 to 8. It meant she went with the girls upto class 8 from class 6 teaching all subjects. She remained with these girls for a 3 continuous years before returning to take on a fresh batch at standard 6 again. Each class had a maximum of 10 to 12 girls, with every girl fitted with a mike and a hearing aid. My mother spoke the sign language of the deaf and dumb to them and had yearly staff training for improving teaching methods. Because she remained with the girls for 3 years, she shared an intimate familial bond with her class girls always. For the girls, their teacher who was with them 8 to 3 for all week days became an obsession. After her they refused to learn from another teacher for next 6 months, Special kids are known for their adamancy. It took the school more than half an year to coax my mother’s girls to accept an other teacher in her place.

I cannot forget the mass in memory of my mother in their school chapel when there were over a thousand blind, deaf and dumb children crying their heart out. For the first time I cried for my mother in happiness because I saw how much she was loved by her children. Indeed the entire school had turned up for her last journey including the catholic church, filling streets. They took over her final ritual after the Hindu ceremonies and read from Bible etc. My mother was also a daughter of the church at the same time.

This brings to my memory the girl Rosy who was my mother’s pupil who finished her SSLC. She was an orphan who had lived in the hostel lifelong. School rules required that once a candidate finished school, she must not remain a single day extra in the campus. Church found a boy for Rosy to marry. Only, she needed a place to stay on for a month or more until her wedding date. My mother got Rosy home. I and my sister called her ‘Rosy akka.’ She was with us for over a month and one day her groom came to see her. He sounded pompous and my mother put him right in his place. She was assertive that Rosy was not in any way less than him. There was tension in the air. But then he finally came around. They had a happy marriage and after the wedding the couple did visit us once. What stays in my memory is how my mother was protective about Rosy like a mother hen, defending her and indignant that her girl must be thought inferior to anyone because of her handicap.

I have to mention Lakshmi Periyamma here (that is how we called mother’s colleagues. either periyamma or chithi) who also worked in my mother’s school, who had joined long after her. She lived in our street too. She was widowed immediately after her marriage and she came from an Iyer family. Only daughter to her rich parents, her father had retired from govt service drawing handsome pension by those days standards. They were comfortably off even if Lakshmi Periamma cut a sorry figure. My mother had utmost sympathy for her situation. The family lived in a far spacious house than ours. Financially they were equal or probably better off than us. Never did once this periyamma mix with the kids the way my mother did when she was around. Not a single girl came home. Nor were sweets shared with the kids. Rosy akka could have comfortably stayed with their family instead of ours. We were 6 of us sharing our house and with Rosy we became 7. What prevented Lakshmi periamma from taking Rosi to her home. Caste. I don’t have much respect for my own Mudaliar community, but I can say this one thing about my folks. So long as you don’t go after their sons and daughters they are fine. Generally a bit they are inclined towards charity. Many do put humanity first over religion. This is what I told my friend today. What prevented Lakshmi periamma from putting humanity first over religion was the shastra sampradaya. In spite of being a devout Hindu, what my mother refused to come in between her and humanity was the Dharma which she believed in and practised in real life.

Raised by this woman until my 14th year almost, how could I ever think otherwise.

The difference between Lakshmi teacher and Susheela teacher perhaps is the difference between Shankaracharya and EVR Periyar in my opinion. I don’t believe in a faith that relegates humanity to a secondary position over customs and rituals. It so happens that it is those in the service of God who seem to miss the of essence of Dharma sadly. Dharma is unfortunately in the hands of some narrow-minded sections who interpret Dharma totally wrong. மனித நேயம் இல்லாத ஆச்சாரத்தில் எனக்கு உடன்பாடும் கிடையாது மரியாதையும் கிடையாது.This strong conviction of mine will not make me any less Hindu.

Thanks a zillion my dear mom, wherever you are shining from as a bright star in this universe… It will be 39 years this July since you left me, but there is not a day I don’t think of you or weep for you. You just made your daughter cry. Why did not I hug you more when you were there, why did not I talk to you more. What a fine woman you were. Do you know mother, I don’t see many like you even 4 decades after you left. Which is why I remember you more with each passing day. You taught me empathy, you taught me compassion, you taught me that nothing is more important or sacred over humanity. From your staunch independence as a working woman from 1966 when you married, i gained my own bold and independent streak. In your absence you manifested yourself a lot in me that I am becoming more and more like you every day. Only I am living longer than you.

I remember you giving your new favourite sari to our housemaid Kanniamma a teenager who took an instant liking to it. You did not think twice before wrapping the sari around her the very next moment. You got her married with seer senathai as if she was your own daughter that when you passed away 3 months after her marriage, she and her husband gave their first born your name ‘Susheela.’ They even printed your name in their auto, Ma. I am so proud of you, even so long after you have gone…

Thank you so much for making me the way I am. Your grandson is even a step forward. You are the first person I want to embrace when it will be my time. God took you back soon because you were a Goddess too. You are my guiding spirit, guardian angel. With lots of love, your daughter. How I wish I could cook you a meal for you, get you a sari… My mother who refused to wear silk that came from killing thousands of mulberry worms, except for her wedding day and grihaprevesham…

I am a chip of that old block. Don’t expect me to be any different…


என் தாய் போகாத கோவிலா பண்ணாத பூஜையா. அவளுக்கு தெரியாத தர்மமா கர்மா வினையா.

The Sai Baba shrine in Mylapore… My mother was probably their first devotee. As a little girl she and my aunt used to go there when it was a thatched hut and had no visitor. Literally nothing. The founder sadhu would bless my mother every single day. She had become his favourite child. My grandma used to say, my mother was a very special atma with a lot of blessings. That is why she left early.

Beloved to her alma mater, that’s my school, my HM Ms. Satyabhama sent my class teacher and my sister’s, to lay wreath on my mom on behalf of my school. An honour like none received.

Someone with refined aesthetic senses, my mother sewed rarely and nurtured a beautiful terrace garden that bloomed with myriad flowers all the year around. In my parents house at a different place, my mother planted dozens of trees some of which live until today (while some were felled). Unique were the ceylon red coconut trees that she planted with her own hands. After her time, we gifted her sewing machine to a poor tailor. A voracious reader of Tamil novels, her precious and possessive collection of sepia tinted bound volumes from the torn pages of Kalki., Kumudham, Anandha vikatan were taken away by friends never to be returned. A hindi film buff, her last muse were Nazia Hassan and Zoheb Hassan and Runa Leila of Bollywood music.

Fondly remembered by our former neighbourhood Mamis who recall my mother getting the first mixer grinder and tv in our street. Saturdays were devoted to grinding kitchen powders and chutneys for all mamis of the street.

There was not a life my mother did not touch in the short span she lived. “There will be none like Susheela’ say the Mamis, the Susheela I never got to know wholly.

Posted in Economic

The Immeasurable Knowledge & Acumen Loss In Covid Times…

As thousands of lives get lost in this horrifying second wave of Corona pandemic, it may probably sound improper if we mention loss of knowledge and knowhow accumulation herewith. .

I am thinking of the higher secondary school students who have never been in the Physics lab, Chemistry lab, Botany lab or Zoology lab. I am talking about Engineering students who have not touched a lathe/machinery or nut-bolt in the Mechanical lab, not held a test tube or conical flask in their hands in the Chemical lab, not been on industrial tours or construction sites, not bisected a frog or reptile. I am concerned of the medical/ dental/ veterinary students who may be missing their autonomy classes vital to mastering physiology, their OP ward hands-on experience that can hone their diagnosis skills, semester examinations and of course the crucial internships that may initiate them as serving physicians in their chosen medical profession… What a tremendous loss to humanity! Can we even quantify this knowledge and expertise loss across India! Very unlucky batches, those that are caught in-between.

Many wonder aloud about school kids studying at home. I have no problem with that as my son had homeschooled under me in Malaysia upto standard two. The only issue may be fitting into classrooms when it is time for the children to go back to schools. The younger ones can adapt very fast to changing scenarios unlike us adults. The one problem I do foresee is the toilet training. This requires disciplining from early years controlling bladder from kinder garten. A second one could be relating to the morning routines and time-keeping/punctuality apart from eating habits, keeping hygiene and grooming neat. But none of this is unmanageable.

There are mentions of severe neck pain and even rare cases of vertigo in young children and teenagers who are learning from home online without attending schools in last 1.5 years. These are the ones glued to their mobile phone and computers for hours with incorrect posture that can injure their spine. This is an area that we must focus on apart from the mental health of the children who are denied their outdoor playing time and extra-curricular activities that may require physical attendance. Vitamin D from direct sunlight which is essential for bone growth is denied to growing kids. Last but not the least is the human touch to holistic education which is absent with the teachers staying home and schools closed. Online classes may hardly replace the classroom teacher parked in front of the blackboard.

Vocational courses have born the brunt of the covid 19 lockdowns that shut practical classes to their students. These include semi-skilled professions like plumbing, electricals, electronics, carpentry, air conditioning etc.

Fortunate are the school and university students in commerce stream who are least affected by the covid 19 effect on their education.

The computer students seem to be faring okay given the conditions after the accounting ones and arts & literature graduates.

Campus interviews have not been happening, and if they do happen fail to materialize into concrete appointments for fresh graduates. Those who wish to pursue higher education are left in the quandary unable to decide as job prospects grow dim. Even if this can be a temporary phase in our lives, covid impact will stay with us for a long time to come.

Medical and engineering aspirants in present times can seriously contemplate taking a break after finishing school until situation gets normal in an year or two. In my personal opinion this will be a better and thoughtful choice over missing valuable classes.

How to make best of the circumstances is what the academic institutions must focus on. Will it be possible to open up science and tech labs to staggered batches of students.

The years 2020 and 2021 need to be written off from the Biodata and CV of all those pursuing higher secondary school education, undergrad and postgrad courses in universities. Employers need to relax their prerequisites such as job experience when it comes to recruitments.

The restless teenagers need to be handled with care. They are at the threshold of their adulthood and they must not be allowed to lose their hope. It is important to engage them fruitfully in alternate activities and keep up their spirits.

Let us cheer our younger generation and not allow them to wither before they bloom. Looking forward to a bright and cheeful future!

Posted in Food For Soul

Silver lining in the cloud…

தங்கத்தை புடம் போட்டால் தான் தங்கம்னு ஊர்ஜிதமாய் சொல்ல முடியும். புடத்தில் இடப்படாமலே நான் தங்கம் நான் தங்கம்னா எப்படி.

There is no way you can define happiness or positivity without seeing extreme tragedy or negativity in life. Anyone who may speak otherwise is like a character in the ‘blind men and the elephant’ story we all grew up listening to. One blind man feels the ear of the elephant and says its like a fan. The one who holds its trunk says its like a snake. The third who touches the elephant’s side says its like a wall. The next one who holds the tail says it is like a rope. The final one who moves his hand over the tusk says the elephant is like a spear. This encapsulates human tendency to measure anything and everything with our own yardstick. The elephant is nothing like the blind men perceive. Happiness and positivity to some are like the blind men’s perceptions.

Perceptions as we see differ from individual to individual. Happiness and Positivity are not subjective by nature. They are more objective in the sense, you can relate to them by context. Confining them to narrow dimensions is neither right nor fair. Like how the elephant is unlike the blind men’s perceptions, happiness and positivity cannot be confined to any individual’s definition.

How can you bring happiness to a kid orphaned in present covid circumstances for instance. You can only hope for him/her to find relative happiness in future. How can you talk positivity to this godforsaken child. He/she may grow up into cautiously optimistic individual at the best.

Negativity to me is lacking love and respect, denying someone their dignity, dashing hopes, being inhospitable, insensitive, lacking empathy and compassion.

I wouldn’t want to go into this subject again. I have done it once. Enabling link here:

Someone who has seen the darkness can appreciate the light at the end of the tunnel better. Unqualified happiness is like a mirage. Unreal and shallow without a depth. Blessed are those who have not been subject to the task of whisking happiness out of vacuum by destiny.

Life experiences may mold some of us into different individuals. There is happiness in doing things by ourselves. For ourselves. For others. There is this sense of gratification in taking home the first paycheck however small it could be if it is our own sweat and blood… This is the moment we reckon our self-worthiness… Someone wanting to share their life with us for what we are – as an atma, as an entity that’s the next peak we can scale. Basking in that special gift that life bestows is unlike any other euphoria we may experience other than mothering our child There is pride in doing things on our own not taking orders from anyone. There is happiness in picking our own groceries and provisions. Cooking our own food, dusting our house with our own hands, even rinsing and pressing clothes can be self-satisfying however menial the chores could be. We are doing something productive and that is by itself a positive feeling . There is this unbeatable sense of euphoria acknowledging that we are self-made. … There is happiness in making a meaningful life, building our beautiful blissful home when the very earth under our foot has been shifting, shaking and spinning. There is this unparalleled sense of gratitude realizing that we have made it in life proving our critics wrong. And then finally comes over this sense of peace like the jewel in the crown, when we don’t have the urge to prove anything to anyone any longer. That we are complete on our own. We don’t wait for anyone’s appraisal or approval. We can live without that applause. We do not want to have that last word in everything. We let others have their small successes…

Positivity is the sheer will to squeeze a lemonade when life hands us down lemons . That is how I arrived here. The easiest way out is to quit. Nobody handed down anything to some of us in silver platter. We have had to beg, borrow, scrounge and swallow self-respect on the way. At the end of the day if we refuse to vent our frustration on third parties and put up a big smile for everyone, then that is what qualifies for true happiness and positivity.

I am therefore I am. I cannot be a hundred percent happy and perfect individual always but I strive to be happy despite what life has done to me. Embers of painful memories remain in the backburner. Not knowing the moment when they will make it to the surface, those of us who have been at the lowest ebb of our lives can never think of happiness without recalling our sadness that seasoned us. We are hopefuls despite the odds.

That rare gift of empathy in some of us is from life experiences. To me this exceptional sense of perception is the one positivity that counts. Happiness is an attitude when we wear it with pride when the scars earned shine like the striped stars…

Posted in Political

ONGC oil rig crash in recent Mumbai rains.

Extremely pained by the recent offshore oil rig crash in Bombay High.

The Ambanis in India seem to be landing the easiest rigs while the govt servants like ONGC get to work the toughest rigs (politics the reason). The ones that crashed in recent Mumbai rains were temporary barges erected with stringent orders to demobilize manpower/labour in case of any emergency at a short notice. Safety is part and parcel of Oil & Gas and also Civil (Industrial/Heavy) Engineering. I am hearing of its importance for last 25 years plus. Everyday is a new day and the safety is of highest order never to be accorded secondary place. There is a full fledged Safety department in all these areas of works and manpower training in safety is also accorded topmost priority. Safety meetings are part of everyday work. Never have I heard of compromise in safety standards in foreign countries. Safety protocol is strictly adhered to to the letter ‘t’. However in India, human life is of inconsequence – with zero value. Sab chaltha hai. Nobody cares. Flouting of safety procedures is routine.

Evacuation/Demobilization of manpower from the crashed oil rigs at Mumbai high was not allegedly carried out in emergency situation (cyclonic storm Touktae). A reported 60 valuable engineers have gone missing from the rigs that collapsed, that breaks our hearts here. Over a hundred more stationed in the oil platforms were rescued in heavy downpour by the Navy. Figure for casualty reported in media is far from accurate. Those who lost their lives must have had a very torturous death. Is this what engineers/government servants deserve in my country. Battered and weakened by corona, such a preventable accident is the last thing that we must have let to have happened.

Dear India and Indian govt when will you guys learn. I am sick of this lethargic/complacent attitude in our masses. Will we ever change!

Posted in Food For Soul

Decoding Dharma 4: – Jeev Samadhi when fully awake

Hindu by default. Vegetarian by default.

But why do I always be wanna be reborn a Hindu. This is merely my simple ingestion of the essence of Dharma. I may or may not be right. (I think I have a long long way to go through many multiple janams before hoping for an elimination from the birth cycle). Practising Hindus must be aware how we seek liberation (Mukthi) from this vicious circle of birth and death (which is the illusion or Maya) in our Prarthana before blending with the One Collective Consciousness.


I have tried not to attach the You tube link in this post considering the sensitivity of the topic. Please copy and paste or search You tube for ‘buddhist monk or thai monk attaining jeev samadhi or leaving body.’

Just watched a video of a Buddhist monk in Thailand attain Jeev Samadhi when fully awake. I have blogged on this earlier. This kind of taking leave is possible only for Hindu/Buddhist/Jain monks of the Dharmic nature.

Where others fail and why is Hindu Dharma scientific. Because, only we speak of a higher consciousness that we regard as the nether. If we do not evolve as humans to this state of consciousness, we may get propelled into the birth cycle again and again. We may take a thousand janams and still be not rid of the birth and rebirth cycles. For Hindus, this emancipation is entirely a mind factor. This is the ultimate state of Nirvana or Moksha whatever name you may call it by. What we see in temples is for those at the base of the pyramid who have limited thought process to imagine anything beyond. As we may reach the upper echelons of our consciousness, we may start leaving rituals entirely behind. Some of my friends do follow parallel paths in search of this elusive truth or wisdom.

(You may ask about those folds where rituals are non-existent or minimal. Absence of rituals is no guarantee to enlightenment. Contrary to the belief of many, ritual processes enable us and prepare us for the next stages of consciousness. Yoga and Meditation may be effective tools for attaining the discipline for both mind and body control. Which is why the Christian Yoga that dispenses with Om Mantra may not serve purpose. Synchronization of the body and the mind can be achieved with focus with Om chanting)

I have spoken of the ‘ant and the boot’ story pretty often. To the minute ant at the edge of the boot, the imposing man can never be comprehensible. It is beyond the tiny brain of the little ant to break out of its intelligence level to understand the looming man in his entirety. This is all Hindu Dharma is about. That overwhelming knowledge is our God-Goddess. We simpletons may relate to this supreme consciousness as Shiva or Raam or Shakthi as per our comfort level.

I am sharing links to my earlier blog posts on this fascinating subject of mine. I have always regarded myself as kind of spiritual(!) over religious!!! That inspite of me having limited spiritual knowledge. Still this is the one single realization that the Abrahamic folds completely missed out on. This may be because, Hinduism has no founder. That we are not an organized religion like others, helps. Dharma is not an ‘ism’ at all. The Sanathana Dharma is way of life that if you follow with conscience can open doors to achieve supreme levels of higher conscience when you can belong in the other world without your physical/mortal body even as an earthling. Otherwise this is possible only when we shed our physicality (on death). This is where transcendental meditation comes in. Hindus are eternal seekers. We seek, don’t pray. We seek the supreme knowledge to attain the level of higher consciousness in our own time which is possible only for Mahans like Swami Vivekanand.

I am writing this up after watching the video of a Thai Buddhist monk take leave of his physical/mortal body when fully awake. I am not the owner of the video. This is a very recent recording. Generally this kind of Jeev Samadhi is not possible to witness at all. Rarest to happen. What a highest level of super consciousness the Buddhist monk must have attained. Technology has gifted us this wonderful opportunity to understand or decode the one true path which is Dharmic (Buddhism and Jainism and even Sikkism are offshoots of Hindu Dharma).

Pranaams to the noble Atma. Blessed. What a way to take leave. In a world wracked by violence and bombs and bloodshed, what a dharmic way some live by. Om Shanthi!

(On my friends’ suggestion I am adding this on India. Bharatha is Yoga Bhoomi while the Abrahamic nations in Middle East and the West are bhogis. In short, materialistic. Our paths can only be divergent).

Posted in Environment

Desert Rose.

We have media and environment/climate scientists screeching how the desertification of India and/or other parts of the world is extensive, spreading at a lightening speed as we lose the green cover steadily to rapid industrialization and urbanization and/or even global warming. That the ozone depletion is happening at an alarming rate… This sounds ominous and one presupposes arid regions of the world to be unfit for human inhabitation. Far from truth, even the Sahara in Africa which is the world’s largest desert sustains not only human life but also an exhaustive range of flora and fauna native to the terrain. Desert vegetation is an ecosystem as well and as good as any other. For a balanced ecology of Planet Earth, we need not only the rainforests and the tropics and tundra and savannas, but also the equally important and flourishing desert lands that within their bounds host quite an impressive array of wild species from foxes and hares to snakes and scorpions and lizards, apart from specific vegetation unique to this geographic region such as the cacti and other succulents and thorny bushes that thrive with almost no moisture content. Not to leave out the ship of the desert: the camels that can go on for months without water.

(No wonder in Tamil Sanga ilakkiyam, there is mention of Palai (desert) along with other classifications of landform such as Kurinji (hills), Mullai (forestry), Marudham (cropland) and Neidhal(coastal) even if by Palai, Thamizh Nad had only parched drylands to show).

Fifteen years I have been flying in and out of Middle East, residing here on and off. Finally got a taste of the wild today, with a drive to the deserts. There is this adjoining stretch parallel to sea in the south that serves as a bio-reserve which is left untouched (bio preserves are identified for protection by UNESCO the same way they certify World Heritage sites/structures in India such as our ancient temples for instance). This means, any human interference is not welcome in this protected sphere. No development as there is not a hint of civilization. This piece of land is preserved in its true element, the way it has been out of human reach for eons.

Recall such a reserve in Azerbaijan where even scrawling/etching in stone walls in caves by ancient humans (probably Neanderthal) is preserved to this day. A walk through the rocky surface that has withstood the wear and tear of time and climate is in recent memory. Not to be compared with temple architecture please!

An oil country, equally interesting was the crisscrossing of oil pipelines that were terrestrial therein. I expected underground laying. But obviously the scarcely populated breakaway nation from the former USSR could afford it. (More on this later). As someone who has been a resident of oil & gas rich country for over a decade, I have a natural curiosity in these matters. May be I cannot lend a scientific explanation to everything to the dot. But a mixed mumbo-jumbo is possible 😀

Back in our desert drive, we came upon tall shelfs that have stood mute witnesses to the sea erosion that ate away the territorial soil leaving this land parcel in its current state as we may find them today. The shelfs were abutting with their bottoms neatly (or sometimes raggedly) shaved. Like they were some tall sandy mushrooms with heads jutting like the buttons. This earthly projection was visible from afar as we drove in some kilometers. I thought of the vague outline of the Nilgiris or the Tirupathi segment of the Eastern ghats that you could follow from a distance like a shadow, once you would be in certain range. Like moth-eaten piece of cloth, the tell-tale signs were everywhere of this beautiful work of nature. Awe-inspiring. With minimal human imprint, we find something so profound in such a natural setting. It’s as if time stood still.

Not that I have not been to any other desert. The Sonoran deserts of the west coast of the US were a different vegetation over the Asian, stretching all the way from Arizona to California. Interspersed with the impressive and towering Sequoia standing tall like wise old men, the interesting landscape is a beauty that is unique and specific to this part of the world sporting probably the tallest cacti in the universe!

I’ve missed setting foot on the Thar desert of Rajasthan in India. A desert in our backyard with an interesting folk culture and rural life that we love to freeze in celluloid but something most of us have not experienced firsthand…

The deserts of Middle east have a vast expanse. From what little I glean from the men who have been here from building roads in the middle of nowhere to working the oil rigs, I reckon that the waves of dunes differ every few hundreds of miles. These are the toughest men of engineering. Physically and mentally. They have stories to tell me always… of the earliest oil men who lost their track in the deserts and succumbed to heat… of warring tribes… and so on… Oman and Saudi have the silkiest unblemished flow of desert being largest nations. Soil variation (deserts have limestone terrain that explain the non-seepage of surface rain water) lends a degree of difference in the desert pattern and even in vegetation. Oman is well known for the ‘wadi’ or the desert rivers (or perhaps streams) that can erupt in an instance (being seasonal) washing away anything in vicinity including landcruisers and camels in a blink of an eye. A wadi is also essentially like a watering hole or place. In colloquial we may term it an Oasis. A replenishing or watering spot for camels and goatherds. There is some vegetation usually in and around a wadi.

In Azer, the sight of oil pipelines running on the surface amazed me. I came to know, as it is mostly a barren country, this is possible. I learnt a few things about oil production onshore as well as offshore from men working them. Over years I have been hearing a lot in fact. Fortunate enough to see a few oil wells from a distance. A single well means, the pressure is good. This may be just a small shed like we have for motor shed in India (in our homes). A small roofed square piece of land, out there in the desert. Just like that. Boxed in with a single spout. Connected to the pipeline. In such an easy well, oil needed no thrust or external force to bring it to the surface. It was bubbly flowing out free with no pumping. Blessed are such oil wells or nations with such a cheap source of crude oil. Sometimes the oil may be in depth and would have to travel a distance to be brought to surface. Carbon-di-oxide and other gases may be used to bring up the oil in such cases. More points or a couple of oil wells may be clubbed in such an event under one roof to facilitate the mechanical procedure. This may look like an extended hut with tiled roof. Power is solar mostly. A very complex process this is. Even working the oilrig that will bore into the earth for probable source of oil is not without risk, executed with utmost safety precautions in place. If the oil explored needed CO2 to be brought out crossing various other levels of gases under terra (such as the highly volatile and combustible methane), then the CO2 itself has to be managed well, brought in via pipelines. A friend was detailing how like the hot steam condenses into water droplets, the CO2 too condenses into liquid that has to be checked and prevented at every stage to maintain the gaseous state. An oil well had a life of ten years on average after which its yield would start dropping eventually forcing a closedown. Most oil wells in Oman I learnt worked this way. I believe, (lpg) gas is mined pretty much the same way as oil. It is even more risky business because as we know, hot steam is of highest temperature over boiling water. What a technology and how this oil and gas make our lives so simple, far away from where they are mined. In India, Bombay High is the offshore oil exploration we know of.

For this one reason, the deserts are kind of divine to me. Pristine and mostly untouched, yet yield such a black liquid gold so that the humanity can have a better quality of life… We float so many, many political theories… Yet here I find something so profound… that makes the world go on… Despite me I am humbled and lost for words… Mother Earth yields us so… much… with no questions asked…

Interesting that close to the oil wells, camels graze as families! My husband has seen quite a few wild camel families in Oman unlike the domesticated ones of UAE or elsewhere. That is because, the desert there is endless almost. Oman is in my bucket list, let’s see…

Apparently there is one huge untapped oil and gas source in Russia beneath the ice sheet that is the largest in the world, but the cost of mining is discouraging. Even if there are many sources of oil and gas around the world, one goes for cost-effective means always.

My husband was also involved with oil and gas projects in Malaysia where oil was mined offshore. His project was to build massive oil storage tanks (big round ones on elevated platforms). It always used to beat me how the south east Asian nation that was equatorial and so greenish, could be an oil country at the same time. The oil produced there was of aviation quality.

As the world slowly moves over to other energy sources from the fossil fuels, may be the oil wells will become a thing of the past in a decade or more.

Moving over to the north coast, we came upon shallow beaches unspoilt and clean. On the way, we spotted some mangroves as well where one can go kayaking but considering the corona pandemic and the local visitors there already, we gave it a miss. There were historic sites with rock carvings by ancient man who walked this part of earth thousands of years ago. Not as extensive as in Azer but I found the scrawls in the rocky surface equally impressive. The geometric patterns are fit for case study. So does that mean the iron axes were already in vogue. Or was this in Stone age when the etching was done with stone weapons. The beaches in this coast are secluded and so very serene. Beautiful laidback setting for a winter picnic. Will return soon.

I would want to add a few pictures here, not much.

Everything is in my memory, and that is great!

My eyes were on the scraggy bushes and date palms numbering against all odds. Putting up with the heat and sand storms. Bravo to any wildlife that exists here, sustaining this wonderful delicate ecosystem and surviving the tough rigorous life…

I have been on desert safaris yet I think nothing can prepare us for the real desert scene.

A few bedouin make-shift shanty homes here and there spoke of the love of the nomadic tribes for the world’s most earnest way of life. It aches my heart to think that even these folks are forced to civilize and conform with the rest of the humanity

Posted in Extras

Social Media Etiquette …

Social media manners and ethics we need to adhere to, To my feeble knowledge :

  • First of all whether it is Instagram or Facebook, please DO NOT photobomb!!! One or two pictures will do. Once a while a batch of pictures when you go on tour will be fine. Even a series of tour albums must be fine if and when you hop from place to place. But no recollection and reposting of memories please unless they’re very special!
  • Do not talk too much about your kids’ success. Some over there aren’t even parents and may not become parents. And many of those parents out there may not have brightest kids like yours! One of the most sensitive issues is the kids stories parents post in social media. You can share the graduation picture, an instrumental recital or a competition prize or sports award for instance. Anything more than that like detailed academic achievements, contest/match wins etc., are irrelevant. I am surprised at kids who allow their parents to post their scuba diving and mountain trek pictures.
  • We all love our spouses, kids, who says no. Too many family pictures not welcome. How many broken families we have in our midst. Once a while cute family pics will look great!
  • Party pics once a while fine. Shopping pictures rarely. Outing with friends is something most can identify with. Must be okay in moderation.
  • Restaurant/eating out pics in moderation (preferably with friends)
  • Black & white or old family albums fine. Childhood/old wedding pics/school day pics win hearts.
  • Family weddings/birthday celebrations/anniversaries are fine without having to splash/photobomb. Moderation is the word.
  • Fitness routines must be double okay! We all love to hear the extra push you give.
  • Foodies most welcome to share mouthwatering recipes and pics!
  • Cute animal/babies stuff super duper okay!
  • Flowers/wildlife/anything beautiful and creative are like a breather.
  • Music and dance are appealing.
  • Let others tell their stories too. We can always host a private blog where we can detail our personal experiences. Let not social media become vehicles for our personal victory display. Or we can load everything to Google photos or similar platform and share link.
  • Politics can be minimal without inciting hatred. The purpose for being in social media is to connect with people, not disconnect. Again, all of us post sensitive political matters but let us make sure we do not infringe on anyone’s self-respect or dignity when we post anything online. This unwritten rule applies to me as well. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. World goes around on this principle.
  • Religion is fine but inciting hatred with religious stuff is not tolerable. Once a while even I enjoy reading verses from the Bible or the Koran so I hope even our Bhagwad Gita and other quotes and temple views will be tolerated in the same vein. Social media that way can be a great place to soak up on others’ culture. While we have every right to wear the badge of our faith on our social media sleeve, we do not have a right to express opinion on others. We have to stick to our guns, that’s all. We have no business with others. As simple as that.
  • Do not share cruelty pictures/rape stories/death and destruction/bloodbath videos or anything that has to do with violence or despair in social media. I find this extremely disturbing. I may write a thousand stories on this in my personal blog but even hearing a word such as rape from a male even in social media can be very upsetting to me. I do think my friends have a similar mindset. I don’t understand this psychology either.
  • Stay off super sensitive issues concerning safety and security of people or nations.
  • Stay off taboo subjects. Not all have appetite for this kind of info.
  • Do not provoke any individual/community via social media and contribute to escalating tension in a peaceful society. Harmony in an inter-dependent society more important than your stupid nonsense and arrogance.
  • Do not discuss controversial issues social/political/economic. A light sarcastic post must do. In-depth analysis is for mass media, not social media
  • Social media educated are the dumbest asses. Let us keep that in mind.
  • Do not post personal details for your own security.
  • Do not discuss your health in social media.
  • Do not vent in social media your anger, frustration, jealousy etc. This is not where we seek justice.
  • Do not share your sob stories with your social media friends. First of all they may have no clue. Secondly this is not a burden that they must share. Thirdly they do not know the other side. Finally who cares. So stop making a fool of yourself.
  • Do not preach too much by way of messages/quotes. One or two wisecracks are fine.
  • Small celebrations like a promotion in professional life can be shared in social media safely without inviting envy.
  • Little perks such a new automobile or an Apple phone can call for a social media celeb, no problem.
  • Daily civic issues of your corporation, village road, metro rail, water supply, power cable issue – all these can be dealt at Whatsapp group level. No need to discuss these trivial non-issue matters in social media as most of your buddies will have be having nothing to do with your local problems. There is no need to forcefully educate them on what is happening in your front.
  • Most importantly, when you read a book, please do not publish the story in Facebook the next day when you finish! When you watch a picture in TV/Netflix/Prime/Cinemas, please do not write a review in the Facebook. Reserve that to your blogpost where not every social media buddy of yours makes it a point to stop. This one single ethic that we may have/practice can go on to tell a lot on our character.
  • Unless yours is a business account, try not to sell Amway or LIC policies!
  • Sharing social causes is fine.
  • Share inspiring stories.
  • Share fun stories and games and puzzles.
  • Share positive stories and avoid negative vibes.
  • Do not tag someone without their permission.
  • Do not include pictures of others’ family or home without their permission.
  • It takes nothing not to hurt someone in social media, not to dent others’ pride. Let proud people stay proud.
  • Do not get into arguments with friends in social media. It is not worth it. I have done that mistake but I am wary of repeating it in future.
  • Most of us use social media for diversion mainly. We come here to relax, not to get worked up. Please let us all remember that.
  • Complement others generously. Be a giver not always a taker. It costs nothing to put a smile on someone’s face.

I am not sure if I adhere to these unwritten social media rules myself but I try to follow as much as I can.