Rangarajan to Sujatha

Rangarajan  is  a  simple  man  from  srirangam, a  place  in  Tamil Nadu. He  is  the  man  of  intelligence, wit  and  humour. This  brought  him  to  the  world  , in  the   name  of  sujatha .Actually,  he  had  written  articles  in  the  name  of  “srirangam Rangarajan”,which  he  later  changed  it  as  sujatha , after  the  name  of  his  wife. His  childhood  days  was  spent  in  srirangam  along  with  his  grand mother  . He  did  his  engineering  in  a  renowned  institution  “M.I.T-Madras  Instiitute   of  Technology”.

His  articles  ,pin   a  message  like  an  “anchor’  for  a  ship. He  had  written  around  100  novels , 250  short  stories  and  ten  books  on  science.His  is  a  regular  contributor  to  tamil periodicals like  “anandha vikatan”, ‘kumudham” and  “kalki”.His  famous  works  are  endless  and  one  among  them  is  “en?etherkku? eppadi?”(why? for  what?  how?).He  also  immortalised  “Ganesh-vasanth”,  an  advocate  pair  in  his  detective  stories.Later, he  restricted  his  writings  to  the  essays  like  “katradhum petradhum”. He  is  one  among   best  dialogue  writers    and  has  also  written  for  many  movies. His  dialogues  always  have  a  humour  along  with  a  message.

He  had  received  many  awards  from  central  and  state.”VASWIK  Award   for  Electronic  Voting  Machine.  Kalaimamani  Award  from  the  Tamil Nadu Government. MYLAPORE  Academy  award  for  doordharshan  best  serial  “Mahan Ramanujar”.Moreover , he  had  captured  millions  of  hearts  from  tamilnadu, starting  from  film  stars  ,directors  to   teen  agers.He  is  an  inspiration  for  many  students  and  also  writers.

He  is  a  man  of  sincerity  and  hard worker. Even  at  his  death  bed  , he  had  written  articles  for  tamil  magazines  and  dialogues  for  movies. As  his  student ,”Desikan”  started  of  chanting  mantras  from  “thirupaavai”  and  from  vedas  , his  soul  attained  peacefulness  on  27 ,february,  2008.

 

Share this post
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

A Mirror

Hanging long and sleek on a plain wall, the mirror has no hidden secrets. It is something with which one greets oneself in the morning searching far behind what is seen to a wondrous day ahead. Its unmarred speck less surface, unable to give self-sustained definitions shows everything in front of it. This character is so desperate that it never lets go even when shattered. It has eyes unshaken by love or hate. Its unmarred screen has no tendencies to hide. This silvered piece of glass reflects both bad and good oblivious to the feelings of the heart before it. Its sharp edge sometimes does end up cutting across hearts. The childlike innocence reflected in its reflections. This piece of glass serves without expectations.

The mirror’s words ” Believe in what you are.. never try and change for you will end up disappointing yourself.. ” is never heard. Ironically people coat themselves looking through mirrors. The mirror seems to be sticking on to its all-time mount jarring at us to see things as they are.

Sylvia Plath in her poem “The mirror ” describes mirror as the eye of a little god who swallows what it sees, unmisted by like or dislike. She then calls the candle and the moon as liars who hide imperfections.

This ‘ripple less water’ like piece of glass is the ultimate source of surety for the mirror’s images are never blurred. One should learn to clear away the surface of mist from our minds for us to see and accept the actual. It is a wake-up call for day dreamers. Mirror is that piece of glass that ties us with the present pile of truth.

Mirror mirror on the wall,

save us from downfall,

you give us truth as a present,

and help us stay present  in the present..

Share this post
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Carnatic Music

There  is  a  saying  in  vedas,

“sisurvetthi   pasurvetthi  vetthi

gaanam  rasam  phanihi”.

This  means ,  music  is  all  around  and  enjoyed  by  cattles ,  new born babies  and  other  peoples. Babies  starts  listening  and  enjoy  music, even  before  it  talks  and  walk. It  is  one  among  the  best  arts.

The  power  of  music  was  researched  in  Holland,  with  cows  and  crops. The  cows  which  listened  to  music, gave  more  milk  and  grains  grown  faster  and  were  also  healthy. It  is  true, that  power  of  music , is  not  easy  to  be  counted

Entering to the types  of  music ,the two types are “carnatic music” and “hindustani music”. Carnatic music have  seven swaras -S,R,G,M,P,D,N.

They are S-satjamam; R-rishabam; G-gaandharam; M-madhyamam; P-panchamam; D-deivadham; N-nishaadham. Again the seven swaras according to the different pitches ,forms ” sixteen swaras “. “S R1 R2 R3 G1 G2 G3 M1 M2 P D1 D2 D3 N1 N2 N3″.Various  combinations  of  these  sixteen  swaras  forms  “arohanam”, “avarohanam”  of  72  raagam  which  are  the  main  basic  scales  on  the  octave.These  are  called  “mela raagam”, which  are  mother  for  several  other  raagas ,”janya  raagam”.

Main  elements  of  carnatic  music  are  raagam,taalam ,sruthi. In  concerts  ,most  singers  start  with  a  varnam  and  then  to  songs  from  different  composers .At  the  mid  of  concert  , there  will  be  a  “alapanai”(exposition  of  a  particular  raaga) ,followed  by  a  song  and  “kalpana swaram”. The  another  center  of   attraction, “Raagam, Taanam, Pallavi”  which  is  based  on  exposition  of  a  raaga  and  doesn’t  worry  about  words.   “Hindustani  music”,   is  different  from  carnatic  music. But   one  thing  can  be  said  among  hindustani  and  carnatic, “one  is  an  escapade  into  wonder land ,while  the  other  is  a  visit  to  garden  with  variety  of  flowers.

There  are  three  gems  in  carnatic  music, “Thyagarajar, Muthuswamidheekshidhar, Shyamasastrigal” . Thyagarajar , composed  a  song  “naa jeevadhara ”  in  Bhilahari  raagam, and  brought  back  the  life  of  a  man. Muthuswamidheekshidhar  made  to  rain  in  a  drought  area  ,with  his  song  “anandhamruthakarshini”  in  the  raagam  “amruthavarshini”. These  confirms  that, music  is  all  about  emotions and  it  is  a  language  of  emotions. Music  has  no  end  and  it  will  never  end . Through  music, we  can  experience  emotions  and  add  expression  to  our  experience.

Share this post
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Music: Changing The World, One Chord At A Time

A tune can be the most powerful cohesive force. Songs are not only a form of expression for individuals and groups but influence their audience to great extents (for better or worse). Songs have come and gone, but those that shaped society have resonated for a long time. Here I’m not referring to your cheap Internet memes and gimmicks that have become a hit in the 21st century, but societal anthems of the yesteryears.

A classic example of this case is the British Invasion. There was no time better for a cultural revolution than the 1960’s. World War II had just completed and telecommunication was expanding rapidly. You could say that fortune favoured The Beatles in this regard as they took the World by storm. The Fab Four left no part of the world untouched, carrying their bandwagon to the USA, USSR and even landing on the shores of India.

The Beatles

Back In The USSR

Some historians believe that rather than missiles and diplomacy, The Beatles eased the Cold War. Beatlemania, though frowned upon by the Soviet authorities found its way into the USSR.  They changed the way people looked, dressed and talked. Quoting Artemy Troitsky, a Russian Cultural Commentator: “The Beatles turned tens of millions of Soviet youngsters to another religion. They alienated a whole generation from their Communist motherland”

Another example worth mentioning is John Lennon’s own ‘Imagine’. Lennon’s ideas for a utopia were expressed in tune for the first time, inciting varied reactions from the world. It soon grew to be a unified call for peace and love in a world facing troubled times.

One of the most popular protest songs was however, Bob Dylans ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’. The lyrical content and rhetoric of the song struck a chord with the youth and oppressed of the generation. Although the song was written way back in 1963, the refrain of ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ was found to be used by protesters even in the Iraqi War.

As aptly put by Victor Hugo- ‘Music expressed that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent’

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Share this post
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Know thy Neighbour

Of late, I see so many people struggling to volunteer information about their neighbours. Information about people they have lived in close proximity with for several months, or even years. Where is the world heading to? Where have we gone wrong in the past couple of years? Let’s compare and contrast.  A decade ago, we would have considered our neighbours to be our second family. They were people you would readily seek help from during times of need.  People who took part in the family joys and sorrows. Not as an observer, but as one among the family. In short, they were there for you, through and through.

 And now? Now I see people who don’t even stop for a cursory hello. People who SEEM to derive a quiet pleasure when the lift doors close just as you are about to enter in. People who are prompt when it comes to complaining about your dog. When you feel happy that your neighbour’s out of town, surely there must be something wrong? It doesn’t even seem right to say “Where did the good old days go?” Because we chased those days away.  One at a time. And it seems highly unlikely that those days would ever come back. We have become too wrapped up in our own lives that we don’t have any time to spare for the neighbour. The concept of the community has been lost and along with it, we have forgotten how to share, respect and be respected.  It’s high time we retrospect on this and take tiny little steps towards learning to care for our neighbour. Because trust me, I have a feeling we are missing out on a lot.

Share this post
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Hercules Of The East

Many of us are aware of Megasthenes, the Greek envoy to India who travelled to the court of Chandragupta Maurya, the ruler of the Mauryan Empire. He wrote accounts of the glories of the empire which gave rise to greats like Bindusara and Asoka the Great and gave the rest of the world the outsider’s perspective of the beauty of India. However, very few people are aware that Megasthenes wrote about a certain ‘Heracles’ or Hercules as we know him which add an interesting tale about the history of India.

When Megasthenes visited Madurai, he happened to be upon the Pandyan territory. He noticed that a certain tribe called the Shourasenas worshipped a deity of great stature who he could only describe as Heracles. The Shourasenas descended from a very ancient clan called the Yadu clan, which interestingly, is the Yadava clan in which Krishna was raised. Hence we can see that Krishna is neither a mere myth nor a god, but a man in the flesh.

The interesting part about the name Hercules was how it came about. Krishna was often referred to by the tribe as Hari and was the lord – ‘es’ of his creed – ‘kula’. Hence Hari-kula-es went on to become Hercules. It is said that when Alexander the Great invaded the territory of Porus, he found that many of Porus’ soldiers carried an image of Krishna in their vanguard.

This raises one question – if Krishna was truly a man, what part of his life is fact and what is fiction? While the Megasthenes account is a spectacular account of how Krishna could possibly be a real person, he was still yet a deity at that time. Could the myths of Krishna being an avatar of Vishnu be unfounded? Does it implicate that all gods we worship are merely just mortals? The answer is blowing in the wind.

Share this post
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Tesla: Of Current Affairs and Pauperdom

Nikola Tesla is the little-known pioneer of the modern world. The Serbian-American single-handedly revolutionised the energy needs of the planet. However he is most remembered for his feud and subsequent fallout with Thomas Edison. Charting his life and his achievements, you would conclude that unsung is indeed this Serbs middle name.

Early days: the apprentice

In his school days, Tesla was often accused of cheating simply because he could produce answers in the blink of an eye. Amongst other things, he was known to perform complex integral calculus in his head. After going through engineering school, Tesla set forth to pursue what he loved: working with machines. His first major assignment was under the Continental Edison Company in France. Soon enough, he was relocated to New York and worked directly under Edison. Showing signs of outshining his boss from the start, he was asked to redesign Edison’s motor and generators. Story has it that Edison said- “There’s fifty thousand dollars in it for you—if you can do it”. And as you may have guessed, Tesla delivered. Edison however snubbed him of any such pay by remarking- “Tesla, you don’t understand our American Humour”.  Tesla, pride shattered, quit his $10/week job and was eventually forced to work as a ditch digger to make ends meet. Thus the seeds were planted for a Tesla-Edison feud of epic proportions.

Current wars: AC/DC

You see, Alternating Current and Direct Current had a very unsettling relationship.  Tesla, a die-hard proponent of AC believed that it was the solution to the energy requirements of large populations. AC changes direction of transmission in each cycle and is more practical to transmit large amounts of energy. Edison however, thought otherwise. He thought Tesla was ‘impractical’ and ridiculed the AC project. He often lied through his teeth about fatalities involving AC and publicly electrocuted stray animals to make his point. (You see, Edison could be considered an entrepreneur over a scientist due to his utter lack of scientific temper)

AC/DC

This is as close as it gets to harmony between them.

Edison went to such extremes that he even created the recipe for destruction: The electric chair.  Intended to be a showcase of ‘AC brutality’, the electric chair went on to take countless lives, courtesy of a man who staunchly opposed capital punishment.

Meanwhile, Tesla (Much more of a scientist than a businessman) sold his patents to a certain George Westinghouse. Westinghouse went on an all out, financially bloated, war with Edison. This left both parties almost penniless. A clear-cut triumph of AC could be established only after the Niagara Falls Generation Project, which ended up powering a large part of Eastern USA.

After years: A man in decline

Nikola TeslaTesla went on to do significant research on the X-ray and Radio, which shaped the further works of Roentgen and Marconi. However, Tesla died in debt, impoverished and alone in a New York City Hotel at the age of 86. He was known to have descended into insanity over the years and pigeons were his only company. It is indeed a shame that a man of such ingenuity and dedication had to live such a life. Recognition evaded him for most of his time; thereby finances failed him as well. But his legacy flows through the wires that light up our homes. He was the scientist that we needed but not the scientist that we deserved.

For more on Tesla: The inventions of Tesla    Tesla: Man Out Of Time

Share this post
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The Confessions of a Chocoholic

“Strength is the capacity to break a Hershey bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces.”

Chocolate is a food product that has the tendency to melt the hardest of hearts, lighten the saddest of moods and sweeten the bitterest person alive. Made from the essence of cacao beans in varying proportions, the several types of chocolate satisfy the sweet tooth of children and adults alike. Chocolate is thus, an unbelievably versatile food product, certainly one of the most coveted ones globally.

Chocolate is available in various types, from the dark chocolate, bitter and composed primarily of the cocoa solids, to the sweet milk chocolate, comprising cocoa solids, butter as well as sugar. Chocolate business has been an exploding market for quite a few decades now, and chocolate makers are competing at very high standards to creatively out-perform their fellow contestants, by producing a large array of delicious as well as attractive variations. Give a child cashew nuts; he will make a disgusted face. Give the same child “Nutties”, essentially chocolate coated cashew nuts, and he will greedily extend his hands for another helping. This elucidates how the mere presence of chocolate is a boon.

A few of the reigning powers in chocolate manufacture would be Cadbury, Mars Inc., Hersheys,  Nestle and Lindt. Cadbury had its first factory set up in Birmingham by John Cadbury. The legendary factory invites visitors to have a tour of its insides and mildly divulges its secrets to the inquisitive eyes, ears and noses. The biggest treat would be the handful of assorted chocolate bars each visiting member is provided with at the beginning of the tour. The factory has its own outlet with Cadbury products sold in wholesale at discounted rates. It doesn’t require a chocolate fanatic to feast the purples and the oranges in the shop, and relish the inexplicable aroma of that chocolate. The best gift a chocolate fanatic could ever get is a visit to this astounding place and walk through the doors where history is made every day. With Cadbury not only competing with Mars Inc. and their Mars bars, Maltesers and Twix, with Hersheys’ Kisses, and the legendary Ferrero Rocher, it also competes with itself, coming up with more and more innovative creations, right from Dairy Milk bars to Crème eggs! Thus, chocolate is being made available in all shapes and sizes to please anyone who wishes for an injection of immediate happiness. It helps keep the dementors at bay, and also the doctor away. The ability of chocolates to lower blood pressure and cholesterol has paved the way for scientific research.

 

World Chocolate Day is celebrated on the 13th of September every year; a day no one would fail to take joy in the sweetest creation of man, and experience those amazing flavors as they indulge in a bar of chocolate.  My modified version of the legendary quote, by the man with half-moon spectacles who loved Acid Pops, seems an apt conclusion. Happiness can be found even in the bitterest of times, if one only remembers to eat chocolate!

Share this post
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Hyperloop-the-loop into the future

Imagine yourself walking into a capsule – a floating capsule which you share with a group akin to how you travel in a bus. A capsule which looks like this:

As the clock ticks to departure time, your capsule begins to drift into a room which seals itself after entry. Suddenly the room begins to decompress while your capsule pressurizes itself for the imminent trip. As the countdown nears zero, you brace yourself. Suddenly, you get shot into a tube at 350 miles per hour. Welcome to the trip into the future, and the future is the Hyperloop.

As you shoot across the country, you marvel at the miracle of high speed travel which was only a dream for your parents ages ago. The brainchild of Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, this invention truly reflects the genius of the man after whom the company is named after. A giant railgun shoots you into the tube like a bullet from a pistol at an extremely high speed. While the capsule itself doesn’t give you any idea of how fast you’re going, what you know about the technology is the air which used to block your dad’s car is virtually non-existent in the tubes that now criss-cross the terrain you travel on. The electromagnetic pylons that surround the tubes keep you suspended. The tubes are so long that they now stretch across continents.

An hour has passed and a young girl sitting behind you with her mother begins to ask “Are we there yet?”. The capsule gives her a reply by slowing into a halt. The capsule enters a room similar to the one which it had left an hour ago. You hear the sound of decompression and the vacuum being filled with fresh air. After a minute, the capsule opens up and you step out and enter your destination. You have reached the future and the Hyperloop trip to it was magnificent.

 

Share this post
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The Unsung Hero

The Holocaust; the name is enough to paralyze several with fear, as the haunted memories and torturous events unravel before them as though it happened only yesterday. It was the most vindictive and heartless procedure followed by the Nazis to exterminate the Jews, or at least maim them to a point beyond recovery where death would be a boon. Thus it was natural for every Jewish citizen to fear it and abhor it.

The most famous family known to have been victims of the Holocaust would be the Franks, whose youngest member; Anne Frank was an intense teenager who aspired to be a journalist. Her detailed account of all events that conspired during the two years she spent in hiding has brought to light the intense struggle they underwent as potential victims of the war. However, how many of us recognize the divine help they received from the Frank family’s confidante, Miep Gies?

That’s right. Miep Gies had a role tougher than anyone else’s, the role of maintaining the family secret as well as providing them with all that they needed during the two years they spent in hiding. Her complete dedication and sincerity is one that has not received even half the recognition it deserves, it is one that is greatly under-appreciated. Hence, here I am, narrating the story, not of Anne Frank, but of the woman who saved Anne Frank’s diary so that the world at least knows about her today.

Miep Gies was born in Vienna but moved in with her foster parents who were from Netherlands. She was the general administrator at Otto Frank’s office when he confided in her, his plan to go into hiding. Miep’s selflessness was depicted through the fact that she immediately offered to turn into the family confidante, and help them in every way she could. She would visit several different supply stores a day to meet the demand for food, so as to avoid suspicion. She never carried more than one shopping bag, hid food under her coat, and used many ration cards her husband had obtained illegally. She did all this with the complete knowledge that if her role would be discovered, she could even face a death penalty. However, Miep did not care about these issues, and even formed strong bonds of friendship and love with Anne Frank, as Anne mentions in her diary.

The black day of her life was on 4th August 1944, when a betrayal resulted in the arrest of the Frank family. Miep went to the extent of pleading the officials and even bribing them to release the Franks, but all in vain. They captured the Franks, but could not take the memories of Anne Frank with them, as Miep preserved it.

Every year, Miep would spend the fourth day of August in solitude, to pay tribute to the bravest family that did not give up even in the most trying circumstances. That woman, Miep Gies, is a true hero. She is the unsung hero, in whose praise we must sing, and must educate the world about how much of a difference care, bravery, and love can make in the world.

Share this post
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather