My wife & I were in for a pleasant surprise yesterday when the dentist we went to consult with at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital greeted us with a big ‘Vanakkam’ in sweet, plain Tamil. He is a Malaysian national and his only connection with India was his visit to a remote hamlet in Tirunelveli District of Tamilnadu about 15 years back for 4 weeks as part of a Student Exchange programme. Though he was very sorry about the infrastructure (rather, the lack of it), he has got vivid memories about South India. Also, he has managed to learn quite a few phrases like “enga poreenga”, “inga vaanga” etc and use it with ease too and it did surprise me that he remembers those after all these years.

It always gladdens one’s heart when you hear your mother tongue from a totally unexpected quarter.

Goli Soda

The road through which I walk to my office everyday has an array of antique shops. I have seen many common items like tea cups, china mugs etc in these shops and I have always doubted their age to be categorised and sold as antique. Yesterday, I saw quite a few people looking at awe at something inside the shop, which prompted me to look as well. By the look of it, I could see that one is relatively new and it was very, very expensive at a price tag of £12.50. Guess what.. its our good, old SODA bottle that has a marble as a stopper – the one popularly known as ‘goli soda‘ in Tamil.

Surprise on the price tag apart, I am wondering whether I could take advantage of the ignorance of the people over here and bring a suitcase load of clay dolls (those navarathiri golu dolls) that are lying idle at our home in Chennai. Think there is a way to make money. Seriously thinking about trying that out.

Appeal for Help

Udhavum Ullangal (translates to ‘Helping Minds‘), a free home for orphans and helpless aged citizens at Chennai is functioning at a rented premises in one of the city suburbs. Recently, they have been asked to vacate, as the landlord wants to repossess the property. One kind-hearted person has donated a piece of land near Chennai, but the orphanage is short of cash to raise a building there. Apart from the need to raise a building, they need to find a place to move in immediately.

They appeal for help for the above cause. Their coordinates are, as below if you would like to reach them.

Udhavum Ullangal

No.9, West Karikalan II Street

Adambakkam ( Near St. Thomas Mount Rly. Stn )

Chennai – 600 088


Phone: 91-44-22321236 / 22348338.


Cheques: Cheques to be drawn in favour of UDHAVUM ULLANGAL

Generation Next

Another dynasty scion is making his electoral debut in the forthcoming Indian polls. Rahul Gandhi is to transmogrify into Rajiv Gandhi in real life and contest the coming Lok Sabha elections from Amethi, a seat his father won four times and his mother, once. I thought that it would be Priyanka Vadhra who would be launching her political career this time.

Given the history of Congress in the post-independence era, this is hardly a surprise as it had to happen someday or other. But now, the Congress has been pushed to a situation that it has to drag an unwilling youngster (ahem.. 34 years is very young in Indian politics) in to the big, bad world of politics. Of course, some lot might think that such consolidation of power within a family can be regarded as profoundly anti-democratic, but ironically, the appeal of such families continue to stand up to democracy’s ultimate test – the election. You are not going to bet on Rahul losing Amethi, would you?

Problem with Internet Explorer

For the last few days, IE in my home machine (XP/IE6) is misbehaving. For some reason, it is not opening any popup window – the comment window of this blog for instance. Even the normal links (non-Javascript) are not opening in the new window. However, if I try to open them in the same window, it is fine.

I tried to set different levels of security, tried reinstalling IE6, but nothing works. I reckon that it is some minor problem that is causing dismay, but couldn’t figure out what. Could anyone reading this, help? Many thanks in advance.

Two mutually exclusive matters of non-significance

1. I (nay, the winds) broke my umpteenth umbrella today. I have lost count of how many I have lost/broken in the last four years of my stay in UK.

2. I have cleared all the four papers of my MBA that I wrote in December. After the bad pre-exam experience I had, I was really scared about the result. The grades aren’t good enough to trumpet, so I better not. 4 more papers and a dissertation to go.

Mail on Pakistan

Thought I could propagate something, which is on the positive side. This might be as a result of the initial excitement, but still feels nice.

This is an e-mail from one Sai Nagesh, who is the Director- Mktg & Corporate Affairs at Group M Media, Mumbai, India. He visited Karachi, Pakistan for the 1st ODI match between the neighbours last Saturday and the below e-mail is about that.

Let me hope that the current euphoria doesn’t go down the Lahore & Agra way. Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.


I just wanted to share certain very overwhelming experiences. Had been to Karachi for the 1st one dayer on Saturday.

1. Imagine 39,990 Pakistanis & 50 of us Indians cheering lustily ‘for’ each other, throwing chocolates at us !! Quite a few were carrying the flags of both countries imaginatively stitched together. Then they all stood to give a standing ovation to the Indian cricket team !

2. Guy on the street selling ‘bhuttas’ refused to accept money saying that we were ‘mehmaan’ in their country !!

3. people rushing to shake our hands on the streets & asking us to come to their home for dinner

4. Restaurant owners refusing to accept the bill payment after coming to know that we were from India.

5. Everybody we met & we met quite a few, had some relative staying in India.

6. Star plus is the most favourite channel in Karachi.

7. There was a TV star called Heena ?? who was sitting in the stadium, one Pakistani put up a impromptu banner saying “heena, will u marry me ?”!!

8. Shops gave us 40 to 50% discount ………..India again

9. Taxis, autos, army guys……the list is endless…….everywhere loads of courtesy, respect – more than we would get in our own country !!!!!

It is really sad that we have an impression of that country that is so negative. This experience teaches one that……”Perception is not reality”.

Thank u for sparing your time.

Have a lovely day.

Warm Regards

Sai Nagesh.

Bombay @ Trichy

A mention about Bharathidasan University in my previous post reminded me of an incident during my college days.. This post got a bit too long.

It was one of those boring English hours one hot afternoon at National College, Trichy. The weather was so hot that day, there was a power cut as well and as a result everyone in the class were sweating like a pig. S, who was sitting next to me probably had a heavy lunch went into slumber as soon as the class started. S was fast asleep that every 2-3 minutes, he would droop down to rest his head on my shoulders, before I pushed him back.

Like many other colleges, it is quite normal for students in our college to fall asleep during the class and it is also normal for professors to spot the same, make them stand up and ask some question on what they were teaching moments before. Though nothing worse would happen if the guy fails to answer (which would normally be the case), it gives the professors a sadistic pleasure of having caught someone ‘red-handed’ or rather ‘red-eyed’. In those situations, normally the desk neighbours of the victim, if they were awake would help the guy with the answer to the question, the professor has asked. We used to derive the same kind of pleasure and would sport a “Trying to catch” look at his eyes, which would definitely make the professor think several times before waking up another guy. Our guys used to enjoy this luxury very well – so much so that many a times, guys would be fast asleep that their friends would have to wake them up quickly – immediately after which he would stand up and answer (& embarass) the professor – you can bet he would have no idea about the question for which he is answering.

Back to that eventful day, the professor, probably he had a fight with his wife earlier that day was more boring than usual. It was then we guys planned to play a game on S and as you might have guessed it, I woke him up and said in a hushed tone, ‘dei.. Bombay da’. To our luck and to S’s dismay, the timing was so perfect that the professor had just paused for something. S woke up from sleep and quite naturally, thought that he had been asked some question, the answer for which is ‘Bombay’. Within seconds he stood up and without any hesitation screamed at the top of his voice, “Sir, B O M B A Y, sir“. With his red-eyes and tired look, S left no doubt to anyone that he has just woken up after a long sleep. Our professor was no exception either. Yet, he was a bit taken aback by his loudness and asked in a mellowed tone, “ennapa?” (What??). S was so proud about his ability to answer that he completely ignored the other student’s laughter and once again declared “B O M B A Y, sir”, a bit more louder than the earlier one.

As expected the professor went into his usual mode “Trichy la ukkarndhuttu ennaya Bombay? ennaya kanava kaanra?” (roughly translates to ‘Sitting at Trichy, are you dreaming about Bombay?‘). As one could imagine the entire class was rolling on the floor laughing which infuriated the professor further and he continued with his blessings. S was put on a spot, but that didn’t deter him from using his choicest few words at us, though he took it in a sportive way. From that day on ‘Bombay’ became the prefix of his name. Also, there was another noticeable change in the attitude of our guys – people preferred to get caught sleeping rather than face the situation by shouting ‘Delhi’ or ‘Calcutta’. 🙂

PS: Last year, S got married – on the same day as mine. Our college mates who attended the wedding were laughing out aloud in the marriage hall remembering the above.

Vice Chancellor’s musings

I don’t understand how my website gives an impression that I am an Education Counsellor or someone to do with Bharathidasan University. Every week, I get number of mails, supposedly from students (mostly from Hyderabad & Chennai) describing their current education, dilemmas and requesting me to recommend appropriate course and also send the relevant application forms and brochures. Apart from the mails, people even seem to search for words like “courses”, “art related courses”, “post graduation”, “exam results” etc. from the text box available at the top left corner of the site.

The only thing that could probably lead them to think that way is the micro-site for our MCA classmates, I have hosted alongside this website. Poor guys, they are little aware of the fact that I maintain a reasonable distance between education & myself by pursuing my postgraduation in Distance Education mode. Perhaps, I should put a disclaimer saying that I have got nothing to do with the univeristy.

Coming to the point that prompted me to write this post, today I got an usual e-mail asking me about some stupid course in the university. The sender had typed the “From” & “To” addresses like it used to be typed in hard copy snail mails. That gentleman has dutifully addressed me as “Mr. Chakkarapani Sampath, Vice Chancellor, Bharathidasan University“. I am curious to know what Mr. Muthiah Mariappan would think of if he ever gets to read this. 🙂

PS: Dr. Muthiah Mariappan is the “real” vice chancellor of the said university.