Posted in Economic

Amazon to Reliance will be like frying pan to fire.

If India gets rid of Amazon, I will be the first happiest. Only I don’t want it to be replaced by the Reliance of Ambanis. In which case I would rather Amazon stays put. The foreign players are far better in service. With them we have fair dealings. Staff quality is exceptional or best across the board. If Amazon must close in India, then Reliance and Tata also must exit the retailing business. I as a principle NEVER SHOP FROM RELIANCE RETAIL. I have bought from the Westside of Tata, and harbour some guilt feelings about it. Tell me one area that these two huge business houses have not disturbed or have spared. Titan sent home all small time watch repairers and downed the shutters of dozens of watch-clock shops. What happened to HMT? Is Titan all one hundred percent Indian. What about Timex and foreign brands on display. Titan Eye Plus has taken over all the businesses of practising opthalmologists in my city Chennai and across entire India, that even I prefer changing my glasses here rather than our family optics we used to go to for decades. They employ a round-the-clock opthalmologist that you don’t even have to seek anyone for consultation. Its all under their one roof. Now we Indians wear Ray-ban and Essilor even for Varilux lenses., i mean the progressive lenses. See, even varilux is imported brand. Never stepped into Reliance Trends once that sent so many, many, retailers and small boutique owners packing. NEVER GOT A RELIANCE 4G PHONE. As much as possible avoid Uber or Ola. I prefer to use the services of a loyal automan who used to ply my son to school. Unlike the foreign app cabs and cabbies, the auto wallah used to get my son veg puff if he ever would pick him up late from school in the evenings. That is the humanitarian touch we all enjoyed in businesses and trade dealings in India until the thoughtless industrialists collaborated with foreign investors to bring it all down. Traditional market is long since gone in India. First of all how many can talk about Futures trading in our markets. Have you ever seen a tweet on what damage is being done to small farmers. Who are these bigshots doing the talking? What has F1 got to do with India. This is obscene that one must even think on these lines. India is not merely Delhi and Mumbai. India is also Chennai and Madurai and Kochi and Mangalore and Viayawada. Whether you like it or not, you have to accept the fact that I HAVE NEVER BEEN TO DELHI ALTHOUGH I HAVE TOURED A DOZEN WORLD COUNTRIES. I don’t even have the urge to see my capital city. YET I AM INDIAN AND NO LESS. And I admire Arvind Kejriwal even if I cannot belong with his political party. People down south, at least vast majority Tamils, cannot speak Hindi and are not even aware that an SRK or Amitabh Bachchan exists. The bestest Indian restaurants to my knowledge across the world may be Saravana Bhavan and Annapurna and Udipi, definitely not five star. These are from south. Bombay Chowpathy, Tandoor and the Kailash Parbath and of course now Zaffron are leading north Indian restaurants to my practical knowledge. We are NRIs for over 25 years now. The Saravana Bhavan chain caters to middle class NRIs or PIOs not the diamond trading Gujjus (who have reputation for fleeing the country bankrupt). India must become self-reliant totally, but improving human resources quality and potential is a must in this case. Our infamous ‘chaltha hai’ attitude must be dealt with first. Extremely proud of Indigo flight landing on India made gear (navigational system Gagan). Now that is truly desi and patriotic. I hope these bureaucrats stop suggesting to masses what is right and what is wrong and what we must do. We all have our eyes open and we can see what’s going on. I would any day prefer to get back to pre-Amazon times but then I am asking this one question: why should the Flipkart guys sell out. What happened to Jabong. Our selfish Indian bros exit making quick bucks the moment an opportunity presents itself. At least the Amazon are doing a wonderful job. Amazonless days are welcome, but don’t fill that with Reliance, is what I would like to tell Modi government. So whatever happened to Reliance oil in Krishna Godavari basin. Why should we ever trust an Indian business/industrialist.

PS: Amazon earned its rightful place in India during the emergency imposed upon us by back-to-back lockdowns when the pandemic reached us, even as nations including ours were grappling with the sudden influx of Covid. Everyone else failed our masses but Amazon did not. What were Big Basket etc., doing. Theirs and even the Dunzo app were down and ill equipped. Those who managed to get through and place orders were still left in lurch without delivery. The capacity of Amazon – is something I realized in this crisis situation. Lived upto its name literally. If not for Amazon, I am not sure what would have happened to us. The supplies were prompt, the website did not crash and no mix-ups either. And no inflated price over the markup.

Posted in These Are A Few Of My....

reading e-book from the desktop kindle.

I have a dozen fine print books waiting to be read, both fiction and nonfiction. I have Kindle that I read from during my travels. Kindle also serves as my bedtime read on and off. Yet the strain to my eyes from reading is giving me headache that I was looking for an alternative mode of reading all the time. I developed dark undereye circles that won’t go away thanks to my poor reading habits. My neck pain was also proving to be troublesome. That is when I switched to Amazon kindle on my desktop with the e-books downloaded, delivered right to my laptop when i ordered my reads from Amazon India. Not that I am a voracious reader. I do very light reading that would not hurt my peace of mind. Now with the Kindle app, I am able to enlarge the font size, choose a grey background that will be soothing to my eyes saving me from the harsh monitor glare, and more than all my neck is comfortable as my posture is erect with me reading seated in my swivel chair. I take a number of days to finish any book, which means whatever I read stays with me afresh for an extended period of time, compared to those readings that I would complete in a day or two. I don’t need a book mark. Like in regular kindle, its easy to catch up from where I left everytime I open the desktop kindle app. My other books are also there stacked conveniently in the library just like in my handy kindle. And I know I can carry my library to my new laptop anytime: all I have to do is to log on in to my Amazon account. Right now I am exploring if I can link my regular kindle with my desktop kindle. I shall update on the feasibility shortly. Now I am way too relaxed, read at my ease and there is so much pleasure in reading. I don’t deny that nothing can bring about the charm of the old time reading from sepia tinted library books – but as I age, I am looking for ideas to improve and keep up my reading habit that’s all. I am forever looking for book recommendations from geniuses. There is a galaxy of books to choose from, online but I am lost here. I go by the generic bestseller lists. Anyways, happy reading! Some of us may already be into this reading mode. However, I am not for audio books although I have tried them with Tamil books some time back. More than the end, the means matter to some of us. It is not always the destination that is important, it is all about the journey isn’t it. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED FOR SERIOUS READERS. Other benefits include going green, paperless and the ease of carrying the whole lot of your library with you wherever you go…

Posted in Environment

Review: Tipu, Sultan of the Siwaliks – Amritaraj Christy Williams

As someone passionate about wildlife and especially about the (indian wild) elephants, I searched for such a book to read in Amazon and was happy to discover that it is a very recent publication. Delighted to note that the author is from Kerala although not surprised. I do share his affinity for the elephants so I can deeply feel his emotions for the gentle giants. However, the wild elephants of India, i have had opportunities to watch from a distance only. I have spotted wild elephants in the shoulder areas adjoining the Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. Second time was in Munnar. Lastly two years back spotted a group grazing the Vazhachchal forests high in the blue mountains (western ghats) in the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. We were on our way to Valparai where we doublebacked to head to Thrissur wherefrom we had started the road trip. It was one super elephant corridor I must say, popular for elephant spotting. I did feel guilty for having stopped to take a good look at them an hour from Athirappalli, although the jumbos looked nonchalant and hardly took an interest in the human presence. A lot of passing sedans had parked roadside to take a peek into the tropical forests that flanked the highways, where the pachyderm families were partly hidden by overgrown grass and dense foliage. Plenty of fresh green fodder here for the elephants to feast on. My most cherished memories.

So the lucky job of being a wildlife biologist at Rajaji national park – how much ever offbeat that could have been and even if the research wouldn’t have paid well – still is an enviable position to me. I wish I was there.

This book comes close on heel to (reading) ‘the Elephant whisperer’ authored by Lawrence Anthony, the South African game reserve runner who is no more. He developed that unique bond to communicate with the tuskers that were under his custody and care within the park limits. But I feel more connected to Tipu’s real life story because it is based in India. The empirical evidence recorded by the wildlife biologist firsthand lends credibility, authenticity and scientific validation to any research or observation on elephant lifecycles and habitats (wrt the said period) in my opinion, in fast changing climes and environs.

I will have to agree with Christy that the Asian elephant population is massively hit and dwindling at an alarming rate. Their African cousins at least bask in global attention and could be doing better in spite of relentless poaching threats to wildlife in the Dark continent. The Asian elephants’ case is complicated by the dimension of domestication. In Thailand for instance, a vast majority of the jumbos could be domesticated with a very slim percentage of the elephants left to roam in the wild. The tragic saga of Indian temple elephants has not elicited the kind of attention or response that it merited.

The author is stationed in Dholkhand forest office station and carries on research on the Indian wild elephants in the foot of the Siwaliks in the late 1990s. Here he takes to personally radio collaring the elephants for the first time in Indian history for research purposes. Now that’s a stupendous job, hitherto unheard of, generating valuable data for processing and records that could go a long way in preserving the elephant territories and ancient corridors that are routinely taken over for urbanization by our government. The statistics probably later paved the way for resettling the Gujjar tribe from within the limits of the sanctuary to remote areas leaving the forests clear and free for the elephant population. The gujjars with their animal husbandry were competing with the pachyderms for the forest resources that were getting scarcer by the day.

The author’s familiarity with the elephants he collared with his team including Tipu, Shahrukh, Diana, Kiruba, Aishwarya, Topcut, Madhuri, Mallika, Malavika, Div T etc., is heartwarming. The wildlife expert records at least 23 elephants of one to two families in the Gangetic plains up to the foothills of the Siwalik, home range to certain lineages of India’s wild elephants. The immobilization of the mammoth elephants darting them with tranquilizers is one nerve wracking drama. Reviving the jumbos seems to be even more challenging and critical where and when things can seriously go wrong and defeat the purpose. This is so when an elephant goes down on its chest or stomach. The saving of the wild elephant’s life is an enormous responsibility and the researcher with the veterinarian team and assistants and forest officials seems to have executed his part to satisfaction. It is unnerving to learn that sometimes darting is done by teams on foot with the vet leading from forefront. Kudos to forest officers and wildlife biologists who are into this, foregoing material aspirations. Elephant Maximus is a matchless species and India, as per the author, is home to at least 50% of wild Asian elephant population.

Good one on Makhna, the male tuskless elephants although this piece of info is not news to me.

Kudos to wildlife biologist and senior to Christy, (Dr?) AJT Johnsingh who felt the need to move human-tribal settlements away from elephant corridors. This was apparently later implemented to good degree of success. AJT, the author avers, is India’s first mammal biologist. What a brilliant brainchild of AJT is this delinking of humanity from the wild elephant society! The man-elephant conflict can be resolved in a day if this works to perfection.

I virtually camped in Rajaji for a week turning page after page of the book where I was enchanted by a variety of flora and fauna, native to this particular park. Special mention: Sal tree. Others include Rohini trees, Khair (favourite of the elephants), Acacia, Ehretia, Mallotus, sharing space with the pied hornbill, chital deer, langurs, barking deer, rhesus macaques, gorals, leopard, tigers. The shrubs and bushes are the rau, the lantana and the colebrookia (biological term). How rich is my India!

One interesting fact about the Asian elephants viz-a-viz other domesticated species such as the canines (from wolves) is that, despite captivity of a record 4000 years (longest in human memory), (and unlike the African elephants that have miraculously escaped this cruel fate), the Asian elephants have not mutated into any sub species which is remarkable. The domesticated Asian elephants retain the exact DNA of their wild brethren.

Some cheer learning that in the elephant world, the males follow the lead of the females. Not news to me again, having grown up on a staple of Wilbur Smith. The elephant matriarchs always sounded to me like my own patti (grandma) hahaha. The author at the outset avers how it is entirely wrong lumping all elephants into one grey. Every single elephant is a different character, with a distinct personality. Christy seems to have a special something for Tipu, the sultan of the Siwaliks who is very mature and intelligent.

The musth season of the wild elephants is well detailed and covered in phases. Learning that the tuskers came to musth every year from one to two months or even five to six months in the case of mature bulls, I couldn’t help thinking about our temple elephants chained and tortured for life. No wonder they go on rampage through our towns and villages, confined to squatting space in musth season without company.

The man-elephant conflict is also dealt with neatly on first hand experience. Yet the author does not lose sight of the fact that IT IS THE ELEPHANTS THAT ARE FIGHTING THE LOSING BATTLE. The railway accidents and power lines are taking a heavy toll on the wild Indian population. Christy hopes the situation is improving with afforestation afoot, but I don’t share his optimism at all.

The author does a remarkable job of not merely doing math of the headcount of the wild Indian elephants in Rajaji in late ’90s, but also tracks and tags and studies the elephant families acquiring valuable research material and info. Particularly impressive is learning of the way the mother elephants guard the newborns, how the elephants trumpet, rumble, mock-charge for various emotions or communications and how even the erring among them get chastised by the senior matrons. The bull elephants almost always are on their own, parting from the group when they reach puberty from which time they are in the company of wise old bulls who show them the ways of the elephantine life.

I particularly loved reading about how the group of wild elephants fell asleep on their backs on top of the gorge and then woke up on clockwork precision only to turn on their sides and go back to sleep! So cute and so far unobserved fact I guess that even Lawrence Anthony did not get to discover about African elephants! Oh what a sight that must have been! I do guess this Tipu book is full of vital info specific to the wild Indian elephant. I like the geography with native trees and other wild species that find a mention. It is interesting to note how the ecology is maintained with the arrival of monsoons.

Christy who joins the newly established Wildlife Institute of India as a greenhorn biologist is also working on ‘Project elephant’ mooted by govt of India. He goes on to submit his research paper at Arizona state univ., in the US after which he joins WWF that takes him to Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia etc., to study the wild Asian elephants.

Shattered reading about the train accident that killed three female wild elephants. Moved to tears learning how the elephant mother sacrificed her own life throwing herself at the speeding engine to save her baby – so much humanlike.

Christy meets his future wife Kashmira in Rajaji National Park and shows ‘Tipu’ to her when she says she would like to marry Tipu! Well, Christy I would have loved to, as well! The author getting connected to ‘Tipu’ is too very understandable. As I said, I share his emotion.

The book ended with a first person (imagined) account of Tipu who seems to have lost hope for his progenies on Planet Earth. The future seems bleak from his point of view and I feel a sadness realizing the truth in his fears and doubts. I hope the book is read by leading industrialists and especially the self-certified gurus of India as well as our government and bureaucracy and planners and decision makers. Is India only for human Indian citizens? What about our wildlife. Can you imagine India without the elephant. Next time, do when you screech ‘Ganpati bappa moriya.’ The chants sound shrill to my ears when you dislodge the Elephant maxima from their natural environs, take over the elephant corridors for ashrams and factories, destroy forests and build in their places ugly cities. May be what is stated in the ‘Sapiens’ (Yuval Noah Harari) is perfect. The species that go extinct are the most fortunate as they do not profusely regenerate and populate to live a miserable life. Whoever went before us the homesapiens, went with grace having lived life well when it lasted.

Posted in Women & Family

Why aren’t there separate rest rooms for ladies and gents in flights and trains.

This has been on my mind for years or perhaps decades now. My friend voiced the same and asked me to blog it. She was asking how the 14-15 hour nonstop to the US would go down with me. Pretty bad, I admitted. I have a mental block when it comes to the loo used by men. I don’t trust men with hygiene! I mean, we ladies are a bit fussy about these things. First time we flew to the US, we switched flights twice. So there was no need for me to use the inflight loo shared both by female and male passengers. The transit airport restrooms saved the day for me. It was the second time I took the flight that dealt me a blow below the belt literally! Over 15 hour nonstop that was supposed to be a song, and yes indeed it was, except for the loo for me! As such I have knee issues associated with rheumatoid arthritis from my teens. This complicated matters for me. I kept crossing my legs every now and then making myself as comfy as possible. My spouse kept reminding me, what I did was not enough. I needed to empty my bladder that I refused to do. On intense pressure from him, I rose from my seat and walked the aisle to the restroom. Some three or four caucasian men stood in queue before me and each weighed a ton, towering minimum 6’2. I wondered how they would even fit into the tiny cubicle. Then I almost threw up imagining the loo after it was used by them. Right turn. I decided to hold my bladder until we landed. And even before we had the chance to approach immigration, I looked for the nearest restroom once we touched down. Return was same story. But I am more than comfortable in home turf that is Doha. I did experience slight discomfiture when I held my bladder back and my friends warned me that I must not. I am repeatedly advised by everyone not to do that. Same issue I have with trains. But in India, matter is different. We leave home after emptying our bladders and board mostly the night train. We sleep it off in our second a/c or third a/c berth. And before we know we may be arriving at our destination. Our address would be just an auto ride or uber afar. Trains too with their non segregated rest rooms have been a problem for me in the past. One way of solving it is, not setting your foot into it! But women when we are in our fertile years sometimes, cannot totally avoid visits to restrooms. That way I have. Now with the fertile years almost behind my back, I don’t have the compelling urge to visit the restroom in flight or train. Thankfully that era is coming to a close almost. But been there, done that. It is extremely inconvenient not having a demarcated loo for women in our trains and flights. Some of us women tend to have unpredictable cycles especially as we come close to menopause. We would benefit enormously by segregation of restrooms for men and women in our public transport systems. Compared to how it used to be, IRCTC have definitely improved our train restrooms with complete stainless steel fittings, still they leave a lot more to be desired.

When it comes to restroom facilities, I am most comfortable in foreign soil. Now that I am a grandma, I can appreciate the baby diaper changing rooms, feeding rooms etc., better. It is in India that we suffer most especially when we travel. We have to go look for hotels with decent restrooms. Nobody seems to bother really. I really loved the A1 petrol stations of Reliance with excellent rest room amenities. Unfortunately they had to be shut down when the gas became unviable. For a brief time I did feel safe when we drove through the highway because every 50 km to 100 km there would be a Reliance A1 petrol station with attached restaurant and good clean rest room facilities. India is manufacturing and exporting sedans, but these guys out there, do they even think about the package this must come with. 1997-2001 when our residence was in Malaysia, we could go on long drives and road trips with our little son because, for every 50 km there was even then excellent rest rooms and restaurants. What is the point in toll collection and even having the Ferrari in our roads when the basics cannot be met. I agree, the citizens lack precious civic sense. Make it payable I say! Staff it. Educate people. But do bring good restrooms to our highways.

Indians just do not understand the concept of having a dry restroom and that is a problem! They have to water down the entire compartment or airport lounge to feel clean! I wonder when we will grow up!

Anyways, I have said enough. Would be relieved if any airline gets a cue and starts setting a precedent with at least one restroom in flights earmarked exclusively for women. This will benefit a lot, especially women having their periods. Experience! Same goes for our trains.

In nonstop long haul flights, there are at least four restrooms for economy class passengers apart from those reserved for business class. Why can’t at least one of the restrooms be reserved exclusively for women. The other three can be common loos. Just a thought.

I have to thank my friend who asked me not to hold back both my bladder and my peeve against the flight restrooms that is a nagging issue with me always! One of these days I would like to see one restroom at least in flights marked for women. I guess, this is subject for conversation and consideration only with Asian women. There is widespread equality among sexes in the Europe and America. However, in my limited time and exposure in these two continents I still found restrooms segregated for sexes and no common restrooms (at least so far). So why can’t we have restrooms for women in flights? I agree inflight space is precious. We are not asking for extra space creation here. Seeking only allotment of one of the four economy class restrooms in long haul flights exclusively to women.

Posted in Pictures Desi

Review: 83

Wow what an emotional picture that was. Had me in tears in many places. 80s kid!

Ranveer Singh lived the skipper’s role. But I was blown over by the appearance of the real hero in the stands in the match with Zimbabwe when the captain’s knock of 175 not out won India the berth into the finals. Impossible match, world record that never got recorded to posterity. Grateful to have it reconstructed or whatever in silver screen. Felt as if we were watching the match.

KAPIL DEV NIKHANJ: Let me tell you here, you were and are always our No.1 cricketer, not only because you won us our first ever world cup and you were a fine all rounder, but more because you played passionate cricket, and you played for India and not for personal glory. That sets you apart from selfish Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar who I could never come to like. After seeing you today, I feel like reviving my cricket interest. I saw the same streak of selfless passion and fire in M S Dhoni only, after you.

Excellent cast. Tamil actor Jeeva played Krishnamachari Srikkanth. Cheeka of course will always be our local hero. Very balanced picture where the power of captaincy is subtly portrayed without egos getting hurt. Interspersed with humour frame to frame, the picture makes an engrossing watch. While we Indians are today global CEOs, Brits I believe are now increasingly on welfare! But that doesn’t make me happy. Respect everyone that’s all.

I think we truly played gentleman cricket then. I have always loved Sandeep Patil, Roger Binny, Jimmy Amarnath, Kirmani, Vengsarkar, Srikkanth, Kapil and not to leave out Maninder Singh. They lent a grace and charm to the game, correct me if I am wrong. Never cared for technicality of Gavaskar or Tendulkar for that matter. The spirit of the game mattered more.

Lords and Melbourne are not only the cricket players’ dreams, but also the dreams of a billion Indians. No, not yet set my foot in both stadia but I have in our Chidambaram Stadium at Chepauk, Chennai 😀 We are members of the T N C A club but believe me the club is good only for eating bajji and bonda with lousy chutney. They never give us any tickets. We aren’t asking for free stuff.

Underestimation of India and Indians in UK is not unusual. Don’t worry fellow Indians, we left them behind way back. We are far ahead of them even if they would like to show our slums in the BBC and not our Mars mission. As Kapil says, we have to give them reply in action. David Firth chewing on his words was good direction.

Recalled so many names that’re almost forgotten, like rival cricket teams. Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Geoff Dujon, Ian Botham, Malcom Marshall omg, Holding and others.

The finance crunch in the Indian cricket in the 80s I have read about. Raj Singh Dungapur reportedly bailed the team out. From here, started the ruthless, mindless commercialization of Indian cricket and the sport has since not been the same. Somehow I wish we could recreate the 80s magic. Cash strapped but oozing with passion and potential.

All cricket players in the team are well represented and the picture is not most importantly Kapil-centric which is great.

One noticeable omission however was the match with Pakistan. A handshake of Kapil and Imran is all we have. Why? If the picture is lengthy, then a practice match could have been edited. There were two matches with West Indies apart from the final, one with England, and two with Australia, one with Zimbabwe. When the director could accommodate so much, why not the one with Pakistan with Imran Khan. We are talking about a key cricket playing nation. What is the world cup or cricket without them whether we like them or not. Imran was still a cricket player and captain of his team, not a politician. Or did he raise any objection. In that case it is understandable.

I literally relived the 1983 match. My mother used to be a huge, huge fan of Kapil Dev. Kapil is one of the connecting dots for me with my mother.

Not many houses in our street had tv back then. So every single house with b & w EC tv or Solidaire tv was bursting at seams with friends and family. I remember vaguely the fire crackers going up in my street. Yah, enjoyed the match along with my Mylaporean childhood friends who are still my best buddies. We always watched cricket matches together mostly in my house. 1986 Sharjah cup omg!

We are the 80s kids – i mean the 80s teens – the matchless. What we shared in the 80s, how we lived is something nobody else can fathom. We held a precious innocence and we were happy for no reason. This is what keeps us going today.

With IPL commercialization of Indian cricket, I slowly started losing interest in the game. I do watch the T20 world cup matches though. Otherwise have stopped totally. But 83 has stirred the dying embers of interest in cricket in me. May be I should start watching cricket again. I am not even sure of the whole team now. First time in last couple of years, I can’t recall the whole team.

Cricket may have been religion in India but other sports are also catching up in recent times. India has been doing well in Badminton, Tennis, Chess, Hockey etc., but it is true cricket continues to rake in the moolah, so naturally bags the best sponsors.

Must watch!

Posted in Environment, Political History, Science Engineering Technology

The Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022

Until the Antarctic Bill was passed in our parliament very recently, I wasn’t aware that India hadn’t even bothered to table it all these decades. India’s interests in the south polar region were until now circumscribed by international laws, not desi. Kudos to Modi government for keeping matters official, documenting and filing for reference, record and history. After all, this is some legacy we may be leaving for our future generations. The bill renders legal validity to India’s claims in the Antarctic. This streamlining discipline is something India has lacked culturally in my opinion.

Dakshin Gangotri and Maitri are India’s permanent stations in the Antarctic. Established in the Indira Gandhi era, the last troubling news from the Indian base in the Antarctic was that, the ice shelves had begun melting-disappearing with global warming at an alarming pace. Antarctica is nothing but glaciers galore.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/dakshin-gangotri-in-antarctica-is-disappearing/story-HvwlpfeGyoifHozTNMACCI.html

Various Indian expeditions have made it successful to the south Pole over years keeping the tricolour flying high on the continent of penguins.

We have an impressive read here: This is very informative.

With the Bharti Research Station in the Antarctic, India belongs in the elite club of nations with research facilities in the south pole. The lab houses Indian scientists, botanists, geologists and others who carry on essential studies on environment, climate etc., for India making the nation proud.

https://www.businessapac.com/indian-antarctica-bill/

With the introduction of the Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022, India legitimizes her jurisdiction over part of the Antarctic. The Bill validates forty years of Indian interest in the south pole.

Posted in Women & Family

Menopause: A Different Perspective.

I was googling on something and chanced upon this accidentally. Not in exact words, but i try to reproduce here whatever little I could glean.

Surprised to learn that only homo sapiens reach the menopausal stage. Menopause is not the biological phenomenon with any other species in the animal kingdom than humans. This bit of info is news to me. This singular fact puts the human race in a league of its own, far and away from other living organisms with five senses. Human beings alone are endowed with the sixth sense of reasoning. Menopause or waning of fertility before one’s life time has enabled the human mothers who progress to become grandmothers tend better to their families and steer them forward with strength and purpose. All other living creatures retain their fertility until the fag end of their lives so that their preoccupation with procreation and food procurement keeps them busy leaving no scope for energy or efforts to think out of box. Their brain faculties therefore never got to develop like that of the humans. The chimpanzees and gorillas may not survive their full life span, dying well before their times. Human mothers’ fertility comes to an end with age, long before their lifetime can get over. The ‘free years’ when the females need not have to concern themselves with reproduction and nesting of a young family, spare them the absolute and essential time to devote and care for the youngest members of the family like the grandchildren for instance. Grooming of the youngest is mostly the responsibility of the seniors. Grandparents play a proactive role in the life of the grandchildren. Skills get honed and talents identified and developed thanks to them. The age old wisdom and logic of the seasoned matriarchs can have beneficial effects on the new off springs. The women pass on traditions and values that will be carried on further for generations. The elephant matrons may come a closest second to the human mothers when it comes to herding their families.

The article shed new light on impending menopause for women that occurs anywhere from their forties to mid fifties. The fertility gene is also a DNA inheritance from the maternal family tree for women.

This really has helped me look at menopause at a totally different angle. At 52, I became a grandma and that’s the best gift that has come my way in life so far. Most of my friends have reached the milestone of menopause, some of us are almost there… with a bit of trepidation. We have been having mood swings and hot flushes for years now. We feel bloated and cry for nothing… our nestlings have grown wings and taken flight.,… and we are enduring the ’empty nest’ syndrome… my working friends are also going for premature retirement… all of these affect us women emotionally, psychologically, physically… as we try to come to terms with the drop in estrogen levels, the single hormone that has played a vital role in our lives since our twelfth or thirteenth year on menarche… Women’s health is incumbent upon oestrogen to a large extent that I have known ladies taking to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to extend their fertile years for the benefits it promises: such as preventing breast-ovarian cancer and heart disease. However HRT is a double edge sword to be handled with extreme care and caution. As much as possible, in my personal opinion, it is better to let nature runs its course without medical intervention.

The simple and beautiful explanation on menopause was educative to say the least. At 53, I have had my full course and have no reasons for regret. I guess there must be more articles like these in the media, tipping women on not only fertility and menopause but also on adaptability and work/business options. Some of us do pop pills already for ‘lifestyle conditions.’ We are well aware, with the estrogen stripped, we will have no armor for protection for even our knees that carried our tired bodies all these years – and osteoporosis might be lurking around the corner.

As someone who lost my parents before I tied my knot, I am grateful for every extra year that I get blessed with. Appreciate it far more when I think, I have lost two of my classmates (from school) to cancer before they hit the half century. A couple of more took out their wombs in their thirties or forties. I am here, I am doing good, why complain.

Blessed with abundance of kindness, love, affection, gentleness, decency, everything. There is nothing more we women may want out of our lives.

Enlightening article on menopause. I have to search for it again. Proudly a grandma!

May be I have blogged on Sabarimala, but now we couple of girls are waiting for the inevitable biological cycle to complete its course so that we women can go have a darshan of Lord Aiyappa ONE HUNDRED PERCENT CLEAN.

Uplifting and sensitive write-up. Logical. No wonder, the menopause or cessation of fertility in human mothers at a stage long before their time is up, helped the humans evolve into the numero uno species on Planet Earth as their focus shifted from tending to families to opening up of bold new horizons.

Posted in Political

What’s happening in our neighbourhood.

at this moment my thoughts and prayers are with Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s Karma: Imagine rendering homeless millions of Tamils, destroying their livelihood, killing entire family trees, dividing families, disabling/maiming the population, striking down their homes, systematically ethnic cleansing … how many thousands had to flee this tiny island country for safer havens. Here is an open secret: only Tamils will work, the lazy Sinhalese never can! You remove the Tamils, Sri Lankan economy collapse cannot be prevented. What an enterprising community is the Tamil population. Knowledge factory. Cultural ambassadors. Disciplined and hardworking. Balancing factor. Backbone of the Sri Lankan economy. An intelligent nation will capitalize the Tamil potential to full advantage. They are such a support system. A state of emergency has been declared in Sri Lanka. Humanity is suffering. My heart goes out to the aam aadmi in the elephant country. Prayers for the Tamil Sinhalese communities to stay united and come out of this crisis in better shape. With love from India.

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Horrendous stories coming out of Sri Lanka. So near, yet so far. No I haven’t yet set foot in the island nation – i mean barring a dozen times I switched flights there whenever I flew Sri Lankan Airlines. So my foray into the country is limited to mere Colombo airport. No power, food prices soaring thousands of times higher, essential provisions and groceries no more affordable, school final examinations postponed for lack of stationary among other reasons, no oil and gas, no transport, no medical service, public utilities shut down, etc., etc. What about the Sri Lankan currency. Rajapakse – the one man to blame, sold Sri Lanka to China and even we in India are surprised, this doomsday has arrived a bit too early than expected. Common man is suffering. The issue is, when as a Thamizh I write on Sri Lanka, I could be suspected of not being neutral. I have no prejudice in the matter really. We in Tamil Nadu resented the thoughtless Rajiv Gandhi assassination, but except for handful of plotters, rest of the island Tamils had no connection with it all. The massive ethnic cleansing of Tamils that took place has shaken us totally because, we are right here separated by a strip of sea watching helplessly what is going on there. The remaining few Tamils are not happy. They are hit the hardest. To thwart India, Rajapakse played right into the hands of China. India is the big brother. May be bossy, but will NEVER HARM the SAARC countries, as simple as that. For this majority Hindu nation, Akaand Bharat comprised of the Saarc countries even if they have fallen apart from us over time. We still hold a moral responsibility toward these nations. Sri Lankan nightmare started with Hambantota port that is now entirely Chinese owned. Too late for the country to make amends. I have never and will never support extremist organizations. Still the way the slain Tamil leader’s young son was shot at point blank by the Sri Lankan army has a lot to say on human rights violation in the country. The boy was mere 7 years of age. To offset India, Sri Lanka joined hands with Pakistan and China. It is China that is most nefarious. The debt trap for Sri Lanka was so very carefully laid. It will be mammoth task to undo it. Can India step in: Where Chinese presence is there, India will move with caution and patience. Guess, India is already helping. Now in times of crises like these, the Sinhalese will realize how blood is thicker than water. With India, the Sri Lankans whether Sinhalese or the Tamils, have the historic umbilical cord connection that cannot be severed for eternity. We are culturally bonded, racially the same. What is Hindu Dharma without Ravana’s Sri Lanka. Where is China in all this.

Sri Lanka must be a warning to other SAARC countries such as Pakistan, Nepal, Maldives, Bangladesh and Bhutan on perils of getting entangled with China. Pakistan can forget Gwadar and the tract leading to the port city. Their own citizens must be personas-no-grata already in the region! Pakistan will see debt rising very soon and currency becoming worthless.

https://www.livemint.com/industry/energy/in-a-first-coal-india-sends-fuel-to-bangladesh-power-plant-11625477768944.html

Nepal is the other jealous neighbour we have. The Himalayan kingdom landlocked with access only from India and China will learn a lesson like Sri Lanka in near future. Nepal still has the time to climb out of the debt trap. Bangladesh too. Bangladesh is not yet however that much committed to China, because Bangladesh trusts India basically and that could be a life saver for the Bengalis. Maldives is also courting China and will be facing consequences far sooner than we may expect. Bhutan is generally India-friendly. We will have to wait and watch.

The current Sri Lankan scenario must be ringing the alarm bells already in Saarc capitals.

As for Pakistan, Imran Khan is still a man I respect even if he has made a complete fool of himself over time. He is clearly unfit, incompetent, and is not cut out for politics. He did handle things bad perhaps. From India vantage point it suits us!!! But he has been verbal against India (in UN etc.,) (except for in very recent times). All that cannot negate what he did for his country as a gentleman cricketer: from founding their first ever cancer hospital. I understand it is a super. I was a great fan of his and my husband is still his huge fan. He recalls the day he watched Imran bowl in Chepauk cricket ground in good old Madras as a spectator in the crowd. The masses erupted and applauded for the wickets he took not for the India batting he says. Of course politics is a different ball game altogether. But the love we feel for Imran is still there. Politics is a sewer. It must be left to dogs. Imran must have realized this by now. Hopefully he comes to no damage once he leaves office. We in India fear for his life (i mean we middle class Indians!). The alternatives to Imran Khan do not appear attractive.

Around us is this chaos. India is still sailing smooth. You open social media: you see how the communists and leftists and liberals are commenting on our PM Modi ji. However even they know, we are okay so far because the captain who is steering this big vessel called India in rough waters is Shri Narendra Modi ji. He does what is best for the country. The quantum of loans he has paid back to the international lenders like IMF! The debts he has cleared for India. How he has overhauled as much as possible the Indian economy bringing everyone under tax net. You just cannot hide – or hide with success for long – in India now. He has streamlined processes, regularized everything and has made everyone accountable. GST! This is what I love about him most. There will always be a collateral, who is denying. I know Modi ji is a tough bargainer and he gets us Indians the best deal in every front. His life is devoted to India. Enormous respects for this selfless man who lives and breathes only for Bharat Matha. Even his critics have to give him that. As a citizen of India, I feel safest and securest when India is under the tutelage of Modi ji. As an NRI I realize how better we are treated and the added respect and recognition that have come our way. Diplomacy, thy other name is Modi. How he handled the gulf crises with UAE, Saudi and my second home – only we know. Never antagonized any arab country but got them do everything for us. In this moment, I have to think about Smt Sushma Swaraj, the lion lady who personally engaged in diplomacy with the oil states.

But India’s stability to a large extent relies on the equilibrium we have in our neighbouring/SAARC countries. Their economies have to flourish for them not to disturb us! India is a very strong and reliable ally. Unfortunately we are denied an engaging role to play in each of the SAARC countries for fear of our hegemony. India can play a constructive role as we did in Afghanistan. Our work speaks for us. After the US forces left, we are still remembered. Nothing goes to waste. I can never imagine India behave like the Merchant of Venice (aka China). Sri Lanka is now waking up to this hometruth. India is willing and waiting to invest in all SAARC countries. Let us grow and prosper together!

Posted in Food Porn

Wrap Up!

Subway vs Wrapit

Are you the Subway guy. I have never been to Subway or Pizzahut in my own hometown . Or perhaps I did some 15 years back when the concept was new (at least in India). I prefer ‘Wrapit’ in Doha to subway. So much i luv wrapit that I wanted to blog on it! Subway is way too boring but I am told, in India you get the indianized version with panneer tikka masala options! Desified to suit the local taste. I did have the best subway footlong in the US and that was phenomenal. I let the kids choose given my vegetarian preferences. I guess they went for veggie Mexican and that was awesome! Wrapit – i am crazy about totally! Here in middle east it comes with 3 options: fried eggplant, baked falafel or fried cauliflower. Of course the first two are local flavours. I am not sure about the meat options but except for me, everyone seems to go for sliced barbequed chicken or lamb. As i don’t have a huge appetite to satiate with falafel filling, I go for eggplant always. I love the bases and breads as well and the toppings too. The bread is mostly Kubboos again the local kneed. In the gulf, there are olives and beans and jalapenos to go for. Plus the proximity to Europe gets us the best Mediterranean cheeses and labnehs (whey). Not a junkie but the Cheese cake factory has always been in my radar. Not been to the Qatar chain but tried the one in Virginia omg out of the world! I left it to my son to choose for me once again and I guess i added upto 800 calories in one hour that day that I however never regretted! Sometimes you just have to live up life! Another irresistible sin is Coldstone. I think in India we have watered down versions, sorry to say this. As I hold the advantage of a comparative study, I know the differences. Coffee shops I give a miss because my first choice is always our own brewed-at-home Madras filter coffee that Starbucks cannot even dream about. This coffee chain is a big disappointment to me really even if I kinda loved their pumpkin spice a bit in the US. Nandos here used to be my son’s favourite when he would visit for vacations. There is one in Chennai now that I haven’t been to. Somehow I get the feeling that the Indian franchises are not the same as their international counterparts. In our country, everything is altered to make it all palatable to locals. However I do wish Wrapit makes it to India. On one condition but: no altering of original formula like switching ingredients. There is really no recipe here as in subway. Just a combination of mixed veggies or meat slices on sauces with bread of your picking. I go for wheat or brown. Garlic bread is what I go for in pizza hut. Potato wedges from KFC. Mashed Potatoes from anywhere. A vegetarian’s options are very limited. But these foodie chains, even if they serve fast food, save my day whenever and wherever I travel. India is heaven to vegetarians. Can’t help squealing squeaking whenever I spot a Tandoor or Udipi or Saravana Bhavan or Bombay chowpathy whenever I am outside India! The latest addition to Indian cuisine in international scene is the Zaffron chain run by the Sanjeev Kapur.

For closing, I guess Wrapit is fairly priced and sumptuous over Subway. Even the choices are great compared the subway. Yummy.

Posted in Women & Family

Kick Like A Girl.

This (my altered version of the story) is inspired by a whatsapp share. A young boy goes to play football for the first time. His teammate, an older boy, teases him not to kick the ball feebly like a girl but with gusto like a boy. The boy’s dad assures him that he must kick (the ball with force) like a girl. What a way to parent our children. We women are always on the defensive, at the receiving end, rarely mustering courage to rise up to the occasion to kick an offending man right in his groin. It is time we girls go offensive to score a point! It felt good to read up the post that was a forward. Ironically, it is the men who preach equality of sexes who seem to hold least respect for women’s honour. My logic is simple: treat women the way you may want your mother/sister/wife/daughter to be treated. Or else let me PUNCH, KICK, KNOCK YOU OUT for the girl I am!