Chennapatnam to Madras to Chennai

Usually there is this 2nd Part Jinx theory. But that sure does not apply to the CBC Tablog-2. Running successfully in blogs near you.

I was born in Madras and now live in Chennai. As time goes on who knows what else it would change into. But what’s in a name? The city has changed with the times but Madras is unbreakable. Madras has been ruled by so many countries but it was during the British rule that the Madras Presidency covered part of present day Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. No wonder the North Indians still call people from the south as Madarasis. While I was in Delhi I tried to educate the northerners that all South Indians are not Madarasis and that the language that we speak is not Madarasi. Futile efforts.

There is hardly anything I want to change about the city, well expect maybe the drainage and the garbage collection and disposal system. But what I would really like to change is the attitude that people have about Chennai. Madras is what you think it is and it is much more and as a friend used to say you can expect to see a person praying at the temple in the morning and he could be seen later in the evening at Shastri Nagar Sharks Bar with a mug of beer chilling out with friends listening to Heavy Metal Music. So anyone who wants to experience Chennai all that they need to do is be Open Minded. Madras is a relatively young city compared to the other metros. But there is so much happening here that people need to change their opinions about the city. The city has always been about change. Well any great city is about change.

And as Rocky says “If I can change and You can change, then everybody can change.” Embrace Chennai!

Dedicated to the city of Madras

Next Up is Dr. Jennifer Divia Clement who blogs at Princess of God and also at Dr. JC’s Classroom The zoology blog has some interesting stuff and I hope to read more blogposts from her especially on the Zoology blog..

Independance Day 2014 speech by Shri Narendra Modi

Modi is a great speaker and for the first time I listened to him speak and such a great speech. Stuff like this must be listened to every time one doubts the self and the nation.

1. Say no to violence
2. Teach responsibility and accountability to sons
3. Build toilets in every school for boys and girls.
4. Clean India
5. Bank accounts to every person in the country.
6. Create model villages. Model villages will make a model country.

And for the manufacturing sector

1. India is not isolated from the world so let’s think the world.
2. Zero Defects – in the goods and Zero effects – no negative effect to the environment
3. Manufacture Goods which we can proudly say “Made in India”

The strength of the saviour is greater than the strength of the destructor.

And all these points and more were made not by the Pradhan Mantri but by the Pradhan Sevak Shri Narendra Modi.At one point during the speech he mentioned how standing on the lofty ramparts of Red Fort he can say a lot of things and then he added that if the people work for 14 hours he will work for 15 hours.

A motivating speech and if the crores of people can take one step forward then the entire nation would have taken a step forward.

First time I heard a Prime Minister call out Bharat Mata ki Jai and Vande Matram in addition to Jai Hind.

Vande Matram!
Bharat Mata ki Jai

Jai Hind!

Food Tales – From The Past

Food tales is a chronicle of my experiences with food. I love what I eat but do I write about food with equal passion. These tales are an attempt to explore that and of course share my love for food.

I am a proud product of Don Bosco, Egmore. I spent 14 years of my life studying there and recently at DB Converge our alumni meet I had a chance to interact with a few of my teachers. I realized that the only people other than your parents who still get to hit you hard (even if you are old and have a huge belly to prove that you are old) are your teachers. Teachers definitely hold a much higher position than the Gods. So Mrs. Sarojini Govindan who was my Hindi teacher in primary school saw me and recognized me in a split second (even though I have lost all my hair and grown a huge paunch) and whacks me on my shoulder and says “You don’t have what you should have and have something you definitely should not have, lose your paunch Aravind.” That was indeed an eye opener for me.

I still remember amma asking me to study but I simply hated school work though I loved reading everything other than my school books. At one point my mother even locked me up in my grandfathers office room asking me to study a few chapters and when she opened the door a few hours later I was found reading the telephone directory. So amma figured that the best way to get me to study was not to use the stick but to use the carrot. I was not a bunny to go eat carrots so what did I love the most?

We simply called it “Urundai” at home. It was besan (Chickpea flour) mixed with powdered sugar and ghee and formed into the shape of a ladoo. Sometimes cashewnuts roasted in ghee would also be added.

So the deal amma made with me was, I had to finish a chapter then she would ask me questions and if I answered it to her satisfaction I got one Urundai. I would finish chapters which I didn’t have to so I could get lots of bonus urundais. So things were fine at home because of the urundais. Back in school it did not look too good. My teachers would keep complaining to my mom that I was a brilliant student but my lack of effort made my brilliance very dull. My teachers would not give me urundais when I did well in class.

So life went on with me studying well at home in the company of Urundais but only scrapping through in exams. My maternal grandfather would keep telling me that I should not have exam fear. Little did he know about my love for Urundais.

And then in 1991 Narasimha Rao became the prime Minister of India. He along with Finance Minister Manmohan Singh opened up the Indian Economy and in came food pouring in. Food that earlier could only be brought in select stores in Madras or you had to ask people who went abroad on trips.

Recipe for Urundai

1200 gms – Chickpea flour
200 gms – Powdered Sugar
200 gms – Hot Ghee
Cashewnuts

Mix the chickpea flour and powdered sugar with the hot ghee and mix well.
Make them into the shape of ladoos. I am sure you will get a lot of urundais with so much kadalai maavu.

Simple recipe, right.

We now do a healthy version of the Urundai. No Ghee, No Sugar and no Kadalai Maavu (Chickpea flour). But I will keep that for another post.

The Leh Trip – 5 years From The Past

It has been 5 years since a group of friends decided to go on a trip to Leh, Ladakh. It was a high that has been pretty much un-beatable since literally we travelled the highest roads in India. This trip happened much before the bollywood movie 3 Idiots. So not too many Indians. Actually it felt like I was in some foreign country. Leh was flooded with foreigners. We had a chance to taste food from different countries. Of course we were there for a different purpose. Capture the beauty of the region.

Like my friend Joel aptly said “Even a blind man can take beautiful photos of Leh.” Beauty is all around you. If you get a good home-stay then you get the additional experience of living the Leh life and also drink endless butter teas. We stayed at the Sia La family at their guesthouse. Lovely family. Great place to stay and walking distance to the Bazzar.

I wish I could do this trip again sometime soon. Only regret I had was we could not spend enough time in Pangong Tso and Nubra Valley. But we visited so many monasteries and the plates of momo’s and bowls of thukpa that I consumed were innumerable.

This trip was one that I cannot forget. Cheers to my friends Adele, Erina and Joel. It has been 5 years guys. Let’s go on our next adventure soon. :)

Kakoos, Latrine, Lavatory, Toilet

Each of those words mean the same thing to me the place to SHIT.

A healthy body needs to excrete and excrete it does. But at times it tends to get clogged and create problems for the body and the mind too. Similarly when people shit in the open it clogs the smooth functioning of the society. If people in the cities think that open defecation is common only in villages please think again. It happens in every place where there is a huge density in population. People in the Indian metros will agree that open defecation happens not just in slums. Parents let their children defecate in public. Women have to attend natures call in the dark because of lack of toilet facilities. Men claim that there is great pleasure when they get to crap in the open with the breeze caressing their arse.

Several schools in the country don’t have any toilet facilities for girls. Of course the boys can do it in the open. Bus Stands, Railway Stations, Parks there is so much shit everywhere. Dog Shit, Cow Shit, Human Shit, Shit in railway stations. By the way our Railways leaves the shit in the open. You Shit in their stinking Lavatory and it drops right to the track. There is so much shit in railway stations. Someone’s got to clean them. Say hello to the scavengers. People who make a living cleaning shit. See how I put the Shudras in their right place.

If we need to progress as a nation we need to get our shit cleaned.

UNICEF is running the Poo2Loo Campaign. You might wanna check it out.

Also there was this interesting video about a group in Kolkata which hoses people urinating in public. BEWARE!

 

Why vote? Indian elections 2014.

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Went to cast my vote at Bain School, Kilpauk at about 10:30am found my booth and was waiting in a queue to exercise my right in this democracy. An old man and his wife tried to move past my place in the queue and I informed them that they need to stand in a queue and they excused themselves and went and took their place in line.

I had an Amit family standing in front of me waiting to exercise their right. Apparently one of their family members a guy named AMIT joined them much later and a guy from their family who was standing in front of me asked him to come join them in front.

Annoyed me: Should we not follow a queue especially since we are voting in a democracy.

amit: This is not a Democracy man.

AMIT: This is not a democracy. You are a joker.

Annoyed Me: Shut up man. You guys don’t even know what you are talking about.

amit and AMIT: you must be an illiterate joker.

Annoyed me: Mr. Booth officer please ask the police to come and regulate this queue.

AMIT : you must be a joker

Annoyed me: Dude, I am not even talking to you.

amit: AMIT was standing in the queue and he had gone out on some important work.

Angry me: Mr. Booth officer policekaranga enga sir? (Where are the policemen?)

two police men turn up asking in Kovai Sarala’s voice ” Enna inga prechanai Enna inga prechanai??? (What’s the problem here? What’s the problem here?)

So the booth officer tells them that AMIT has jumped the queue and that I had questioned them and there was some argument and I had requested for the policemen

Police to me: Saar Konjam adjust pannikonga.

Angry me: Naan en Saar adjust pannanum. Queue system simple vishayam ingayavidhu follow panalamla. ( why should I adjust sir? Queue is a simple system we should atleast follow it here.

AMIT: you must be illiterate. Are you trying to show of?

Angry me: dude, I am not even talking to you so please shut up.

Police officer to me: Saar prechanai pannama vote podunga Saar. (Sir, please vote without causing any trouble)

Angry me: Saar prechanai naan panala. Kelvi ketta prechanai Dhan pola Namma naatula. (Sir, I am not the one causing the problem. Looks like questioning causes problems in this country. )

Booth officer: Saar adjust pannunga saar.

Some lessons I learnt after today’s incident

1.) If you question anything or anybody in the Indian democracy you will end up being called an illiterate joker.

2.) We Indians are assholes.

3.) The truth in the old Tamil saying “dushtanai kandal dhoora vilagu” Keep away from the bad guy.

4.) amit and AMIT think that India is not a Democracy.

5.) We need someone to overlook our actions. We cannot function in an disciplined manner by ourselves.

6.) We Indians have a solution for all the problems in this world ADJUST.

Hope you folks have cast your votes. But remember whoever comes to power never,NEVER ever question them. Because just as amit and AMIT pointed out this is not a democracy.

Sadly this incident happened with an Amit. But some Indians on a whole don’t like following the queue system. We love to beat the man in front of us.

If a government can regulate a simple queue, I think we as a country will be the best. This is precisely the reason why you need to go and vote. Vote for change. Vote for a better India.

JAI HIND!!!

P.S.: Someone needs to do a cartoon series on amit and AMIT. It will be very popular. Especially in the south. :)

Medhu Vadai or Masala Vadai?

There you go. Do you prefer medhu vadai or the masala vadai? But how does one decide on what one wants. Will you go with the choices that have been given or will you give a whole new spin to the vadai.

Some people like to choose from a given set of options. A Menu.

While some people prefer to BE FREE of A Menu.

But why just go with choices that are offered by someone. why not give it your own spin. The simple vadai was thus made into several new tastes. Rasam Vadai, Sambar Vadai, Curd Vadai, Vada Kari, Mor Vadai, Keerai Vadai. But why and when did we stop thinking beyond. Why has not one tried Vadai Kurma, Chocolate Vadai, Nutty Vadai, Mint Vadai, Chutney vadai. Why have we not gone beyond the obvious.

Why stop with the choices that someone offers us?

Vadai is a popular South Indian snack. It becomes a complete meal by itself.

This post is dedicated to my friend Adele who simply loves Vadais.

 

The Real New Year

January 1st has been celebrated as the start of a New Year for quite sometime now. All the celebrations, all the parties and all the money that is spent to celebrate 11:59pm turning to 12 midnight. Time goes on yet we choose to celebrate this one day. Have spent a few of these to celebrating it with friends and some all alone. Heck I have even celebrated new years on a train from Delhi to Chennai. But ever since the Tsunami of 2004 I have stopped celebrating New Years. I don’t have a reason to do so anymore. I have much on my mind and I prefer to sleep it off these days.

New year sees people taking resolutions, making note of their lives in a diary and most of them eventually go back to their old more familiar ways. But a New Year is actually a New Day, a new hour, a new minute, a new second. These need to celebrated. So remember to celebrate every moment of your life make a difference in someone’s life add some value to the world. In the end you may be forgotten but it is your actions which need to live on.

From The Past: Deenabandhu Ashram, Walajapet

ang_deenabandhu_ashram_walajapet

No one in my family seems to know when this photo was taken. But it has been lying in a file at our office for almost 3 decades now. It must be from the early 80′s. This was shot at one of the functions of the Deenabandhu Ashram in Walajapet.

My Grandfather Mr. A.N. Govindasamy Nadar is seen standing  in the centre and we have the former president of India Mr. R. Venkatraman to his right and he seems to be checking the time.  The gentleman behind the mike was the one who was managing Deenabandhu Ashram at that time. I think his name is A. Narasimha Iyer.

If anyone has more information about the people in this photo, please feel free to leave a comment below.

From The Past: Azhagar Koil

 

Azhagar Kovil

Azhagar Koil at Sunset

Alagar Koil was the place where I had my hair tonsured for the first time in my life. I don’t remember going back to the temple since then. So recently I decided to go visit Kallalagar last week.

Alagar Koil is aptly named. It is located at the base of the Alagar Hills. The Alagar Hills is truly a paradise on earth. A pristine environment with an awesome green cover. The place is very beautiful. There is a road almost to the top of the hill. The road ends on the top at a spring called the Nubura Ganga about 4kms from the base. At about 3.5kms from the base is a beautiful Murugan Temple called Pazhamudhircholai. This is one of the Aarupadai veedu (6 abodes) of Lord Murugan.

The place sure did bring back some lovely memories from the past.