Saturday, 14 April 2007

Pillai Petraal Veedu Free

You can get a free house if you marry within the community and produce a child. But, the catch is that you should be a Parsi.

Industrialists like Tata and Godrej belong to Parsi community. About 85 per cent of Parsi population lives in Mumbai. The community's population in India is decreasing at 10 per cent per decade. It is a highly urbanized and modern community besotted with urban medical problems like cancer and neurological disorders. The other issues related to its dwindling population are late marriages, infertility and a large ageing population. Besides, the community has an inverted triangle of fewer births at 12 per thousand as compared to deaths which is 22.6 per thousand. Out of an estimated population of 76,000 Parsis in India, 65,000 reside in Mumbai, 6,000 in Navsari, 1,400 in Surat, 2,000 in Ahmedabad and 600 in Delhi.

Recently, Parsis in Surat have initiated a scheme to motivate young Parsi couples to marry within the community and have children. About 24 flats in Bai Bamasipore Memorial Zarthosthi building in Saiyedpura in Surat have been given free of cost to young Parsis, who pledged to marry within the community and have children. In the last couple of years, seven kids have been born here. For complete report click here.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Swami Sukhabodhananda

Last week there was a discourse on Shiva Sutras by Swami Sukhabodhanandaji in Mumbai. Here are some of his words of wisdom:

Fear exists in comparison.

Ego is filled with expectations.

Problems are inevitable, but sufferings optional.

Our problems are due to our greed for becoming somebody and fear of becoming nobody.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Imsai Vaathiyaargal

Of late newspaper columnists frequently lament about the insidious teachers playing havoc with the future of the students in our government schools. During the sixties when I was in high school (private school) the situation was no different either. With the saying ‘maatha, pitha, guru dheivam’ we tend to treat all teachers (including those who get that job by bribing somebody) as God and exclude them from accountability. Reforms in the education sector need to focus more on the accountability of teachers. Anyway, since I do not expect serious thinkers to look at my blog, I refrain from social activism and let me narrate my experiences with some such insidious teachers during my school days.

During the three years when I was passing from 6th to 8th class, an innocent-looking soul was assigned to teach us drawing. He was the only Drawing Teacher of our school. Every year his first session will pass with the customary introduction of all the students. During the second session in the next week he would draw a sketch of either a banana or a mango or a lotus and ask us to repeat. During the subsequent weeks he would never touch the subject of drawing and pass the time by telling Tenali Raman stories. Since tests were not mandatory for the subject of drawing in those days, he merrily continued his misdemeanor.

In the 9th class there was a teacher whose sole (but effective) technique to control unruly students was by squeezing their testicles. Thank God, there was no girl student in our school.

In the 10th class there was a Tamil teacher who used to call one of us to his room after conducting any test. There he would take out the bunch of our answer sheets and give it for evaluation. Don’t get astonished. This is nothing if you know what I came across later on a day during my first year bachelor’s degree course. That day my friend showed me in his home a bunch of answer sheets given to him by his professor uncle for evaluation. The bunch contained the answer sheets of final year university exam. May St. Peter give some grace marks to those final year students, whose answer sheets were evaluated (devaluated?) by the first year student, when they arrive at the gates of Heaven.

During my 11th class there was a teacher who was assigned to teach us Algebra. The only problem with him was that he scarcely talked in the classroom. As soon as he entered the classroom, he used to take out some sheets containing a few mathematical questions and their solutions and copy them on the blackboard and we were expected to silently copy them in our notebooks. On one such occasion while he was writing on the blackboard, I could not resist raising my hand.
“Sir, third step puriyale.”
“Third step puriyalenna, atha vittutu fourth stepa eluthiko.”

Then there was our P.T Master who was assigned to teach us sports. The main playground for our school was about 500 metres away located near the river Cauvery. During the sports hour all our class students used to walk in a row followed by the P.T Master on his bicycle on the busy road leading to Cauvery Bridge. On the way many of our students used to gradually drift away towards their homes. Guess who among us reached home first! Usually it was the P.T. Master.

You may ask me “indha vaathiyaargal ivvalavu kottamadikumpodhu, head masterum, assistant head masterum enna panni kondirunthargal?” Oh! That is another story. The Head Master was an Iyengar and the Asst Head Master was an Iyer. This minor (major?) difference was enough to sustain a simmering pugaichal during my six years’ study in that school and each of them was always busy planning the next defensive strategy against the other. Ooru rendu pattal koothadikku kondattam! So our teachers periodically added adequate sambrani to that pugaichal and continued their own koothu merrily.

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Vadanaatu Payanam

GT Express was ready to start at Chennai Central. That was my first vadanaatu payanam. I was going alone. My friend who came to send me off was pouring on me lot of tips.
“ Nee porathu UPSC interviewku. Ethavathu palaana hoteluku poi villangathula maatikatha.”
"Cannaught Placela Madras Hotel iruku. Ange poi stay pannu.”
“Bye! Bye!”
“Best of Luck!”

After more than 36 hours of rail payanam, I got down and came out of New Delhi Railway station. A rickshaw approached me.
“Enge poganum?”
“Cannaught Place Madras Hoteluku.”
I was delighted to meet a Tamilan first in vadanaatu soil.
I got into the rickshaw.
“Entha vooru?”
“Naanum Tiruchikaaranthan.”
Wonderful feeling to meet namma voorkaran in vadanaadu.
The rickshaw stopped near a hotel.
“Indha hotel nalla irukum saar. Paakalaama?”
“Venaam. Madras Hoteluku ponga.”
The rickshaw moved.
“Tiruchila entha area?”
Ecstatic to know that his pettai was adjacent to my pettai in Tiruchy.
The rickshaw stopped near another hotel.
“Intha hotel romba suthamaana hotel saar. Paakalaama?”
“Madras Hoteluku ponga, vera engayum vendaam.”
The rickshaw moved.
“Delhiku ethuku vantheengo?”
“Velaiku interview attend pannanum.”
“UPSC buildingla.”
The rickshaw was back at New Delhi Railway Station.
“Erangiko saar. Vera rickshaw paathuko.”
I engaged another rickshaw driven by a hindikarar. He took me straight to Madras Hotel without a murmur.