Monthly Archives: June 2016

zero hour

Zero-Hour

In the light of some of the incidents in this beautiful city, we are forced to confront and question some of the basic moral values which have governed us humans.

A dark day

It was a beautiful morning and the day looked promising enough to be called a fitting run-up to a well-earned weekend. It is not always one gets the luxury of a day off. It was something that I was looking forward for a long time.

What began as a normal day, turned out to one of the worst days ever. A girl of 24 was hacked to death, in broad daylight, at one of the busiest suburban stations of the city. Reportedly she bled to death with several onlookers apparently stunned to act.

Her dad had just dropped her off the station. Did he know that he was seeing her for the last time? Did she know that she was getting off that bike once and for all? Did her mom know that she would never get to pack her daughter’s lunch ever again? I hope her sibling knew that he played his best pranks with her the night before, for she would be gone to dust the next day.

What really killed her?

What really made me feel miserable was the public apathy that apparently killed the girl. It was neither an ungodly hour nor was it a deserted place for it to happen. (I am not justifying the relevance of deserted places, people). She was lying in a pool of her own blood while all those people were reportedly shocked to react. She was probably rewinding her own life in those last moments, trying to find one instance where she had hurt someone, knowingly or unknowingly. She was probably begging God to spare her life, to live with her family, that she had loved all her life.

Would the onlookers have been handicapped and stunted in a similar way if that woman in a pool of blood was their own sister? Mother? A friend at least?? What caused this lack of humanity? Was their job and deadline more important than that life which was on the brink of death?

People talk a lot, but when it comes to the zero-hour effect, they seem surprisingly hypocritical. This is a city which had shown immense courage and grit at the face of a natural calamity. When faced with a man made atrocity, we failed big time. I am quite sure as to we will still fail in future, because we are such hypocrites. We take pride in clapping for those bravery award winners, yet we don’t care about the soul that is possibly begging for the boon of life in front of our eyes.

The reaction

Enough posts have been made, shocked expressions and proud exclamations made and written, criticizing, condemning, demeaning the witnesses for shaming us with their mere existence. And some of them go to the extent of making grand statements of how they were not present in the scene to make their classic hero move.

Now this drives us to the fundamentals – In the face of a crime scene, how does the person react?

To run would be the first thing any of us can think of. While some may just decide to be a passive spectator to the incidents going on.

But the irony of this incident is, even while help was available, nobody was prepared to lend that to the girl. Brutal, yes! We are just gearing up for a long debate, both the sides of the party arguing for the cause they believe in.

That apart, what actually brought this? Have we humans shrunk to such a low level, that we would rather see a fellow human die in front of our own eyes, than get our hands stained in the process?

Calls for some sensible action rather than debates and arguments.

A look into the human psyche

Meera Shivashanker, a psychologist cum writer in Chennai, throws some light on the incident.

“I think for one it happened too fast, and the gore and shock of it all was too much to take. Nobody expected this. People in India are scared of being stuck in the long processes in the name of judicial processes in our country. People who want to do the right thing are harassed, and they probably get threats from police and the other side. Their lives become a never ending circle of courtrooms, police station and what not.”

So judicial procedures and regulations are one thing whereas, what does an average human being in his senses go through when he faces a situation of this kind?

“From the human psyche perspective I think its self-preservation. Protection of the self. And, fear. The sight of blood always stops people in their tracks and their immediate instinct is to back off”.

On a positive note, she concludes saying there needs to be a significant shift in the mind-set. With specific reference to certain countries abroad, people have witness protection programmes and others which give us the assurance we mostly need.

Shift in the mind-set is easier said than done. And in a country driven by customs, we find it hard to break out of routine.

“Also media plays a key role here” says Selvam, an MBA grad residing in Chennai. “Our minds have become suppressed and we have been made to believe to expect an external person to jump in and raise a voice against wrong doings. Movies often portray a single person as a hero, by dimming the limelight on the surrounding ones. So subconsciously, we have learnt to accept what is happening to us and expecting an external person to take the lead and raise a voice against it. By that, we have truly become impotent.”

Making a first move requires a lot of courage, not just to face the complications, but also other questions thrown upon by spectators.

“Our Duty has become your duty” where we have gone to the level of questioning the ones who get down on the field to lend a helping hand.

The law is on your side

Above said, conditions have improved considerably with respect to judicial and legal procedures in India. Persons directly involved in offering help to the victims are protected from all legal complications. They don’t face any charges either directly or indirectly unless there are reasons to believe otherwise. This comes in the wake of a recent Supreme Court directive issued in order to protect those Good Samaritans who come forward to help those in distress. Although this directive is focused majorly on road accidents and the like, we have a reason to rejoice that the judiciary has its heart in the right place when it comes to issues like this.

Introspection

How one should react in this a situation can’t be mandated, but when one is faced with a crime situation or sees somebody getting victimized, don’t hesitate to step in. You have the law to protect you. Anyway this is not the kind of atmosphere or mind-set that we must be proud to live in. Stepping up at the right time, goes a long way in setting up an example to the society. If change doesn’t come from within, where else would it come from?

I think it is time to take a few minutes off from our seemingly busy lives and introspect. There is nothing wrong in seeking materialistic wealth, but is it worth at all at the cost of lives? This is just not the legacy that we are supposed to leave behind fellas!

Like charity, let compassion also begin from home.

An article by Megha Sreeram and Pavithraa Swaminathan. Edited and curated by Kishor Lakshminarayanan.

Safest Metros

CHENNAI RANKS SECOND, IN THE LIST OF THE SAFEST METROS IN INDIA

Chennai ranks as the 113th safest place in the world, in a global survey, which was conducted recently, among other international cities in the world. And currently, it is considered to have one the safest metros rails in India ranking as number 2 as against Mumbai which ranks first in this order. This in turn brings to light the various facets of the metro rail which makes it safe compared to the others in the country.

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From a generic view, Chennai is emerging to be one of the cities of choice because of its relatively lower crime rate, less pollution and better education standards. Now with the Metro Rail in tow, the city has climbed one step further in providing quality life to its people.

The first phase of the multi-crore Metro Rail was flagged off by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and was opened to the public on Monday, 29th June 2015. And the eye catcher here is that, it was steered by a young woman, a 28-year-old diploma holder in engineering from Government Dharmambal Polytechnic College in Chennai. Now this became instant news since she was one of the first women to man a metro rail in Chennai. This speaks with great regards to the open mindset of the people of Chennai.

“Chennai has the right mix of conservative and modern mindset, making it one of the safest metros. Also they are more civic minded when compared with other metro cities in the country” says Kishor, a citizen of Chennai who has resided in other metros in the country.

Looking at it on a deeper level, one can easily note that none of the metros in Chennai are crowded. This stands as a glaring difference when compared to the flooded suburbs of Kolkata and Mumbai. Many cite the cost of the travel as a significant factor for this, since on a comparative level, the fares are at the higher end. And compared with other means of public transport, Metro Rail fares are mighty costlier. This makes it safe for traveling especially when one is looking for the comfort of ride etc.

Also when one chances a look into the control room panels of the metro rails, you shall note that they work day and night in shifts without missing a beat. And the trains stand out with strict adherence to timings making sure that the passengers are not made to wait unduly hours in order to board their trains.

And just like an airport terminal, the entire place is covered in cctv surveillance cameras which are manned by security personnel 24*7 throughout the weeks.

So far, the metro rail project has materialized in certain parts of the city alone but the response is really good. Barring higher costs, this accounts for a safe travel to the destination without any constraints.

As Meera, a regular commuter in the Chennai metro says “A hassle free secure ride, a girl could possibly ask for! We could board easily and the compartments were spacey and comfortable due to lesser crowds.  And with additional security, this deserves to be given the tag of a safe metro”.

Photo Courtesy – Focal Frames Photography

Medical

Why Chennai is called the “Medical Hub Of India” ?

Adyar la enga thambi?”, “Cancer institute pakathula na”.

“Madras medical college la kadaicha my life will be awesome”.

“Inga illana kandipa Sugam pharmacy la irrukum”.

“Kannuku mai mattum azhagu illa Shankar nethralaya um azhagu dhaan”

All these are few things every Chennai person could easily hear on a regular basis. All of us know Madras is the cultural cub of South India but how many of us know that Chennai is the medical hub of India?

 

Medicine has always been an important part of Chennai. Starting right from the British times, Chennai has been a magnet for medical tourism. This progress didn’t happen overnight. It dates back to the days Chennai was called Madras.

Let’s get into some facts:

  • First Indian artificial insemination was done in Chennai by Dr.Kamala Selvaraj.
  • First laser surgery, open heart surgery in India was carried in Chennai.
  • Chennai has been termed India’s health capital bringing in about 150 international patients every day.
  • The medical lineage of the city began with the first hospital of India set up at Fort St.George on 16thNovember 1664 by Sir Edward Winter to treat sick soldiers of The East Indian company. The hospital grew in all fields and now stands before us as Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital.

Apart from this, Chennai has a strong base of health care non-profit organizations and NGO’s. One such example is the Indian Heart Association, focused on cardiovascular health prevention.

Institutes like have been Adyar Cancer institute,Apollo groups,CMC Vellore,Sankara Nethralaya have pioneered in their respective fields and have paved way for new medical treatments.

In March 2012, the Government General hospital performed its 1,000th kidney transplant, the highest in any government hospitals in the country.

With low treatment costs to hygiene facilities and hassle free waiting period, the city has been taking care of every single soul with utmost warmth.

Chennai, the hub of life saving.

Written by,

A proud Madrasi.

Flower market

A Day in the Flower Market, Koyambedu and George Town, Chennai

Flower market is one of the most fascinating parts of city since all kind of scenes are encountered. One of our MPB members Hasan M has given a visit to apprehend the daily life style and documented activities like selling flowers, busy scenes in narrow lanes, lighter moments. We believe most of the whole sale flowers will be directly transporting from different parts of Tamilnadu and few are being exported to foreign countries to make revenues.

Koyambedu is considered as a hub of flower wholesalers though George town is the main place since its located in the heart of city. Small venders from different parts of city gather and buy in kilos of flower for daily deals. Whenever you are there, Cacophony is the music to your ears since its crowded most of the time. A lot of mess, experience are well seen that to lead comprehend the stressful situation to be handled . A set of images is uploaded here and please scroll down for further visual treat.

All the pictures in this post are copyrighted to Hasan VS . Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval.

yoga champion

15 Minutes with Avanthika, The Young International Yoga Champion 2016

Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline which originated in India. Among the most well-known types of yoga are Hatha yoga and Raja yoga

An art for the mind, soul and body. A very peaceful art which requires constant dedication and extraordinary skills to master in it .

With the chill morning summer breeze, in Neelankarai beach, Madras Photo Bloggers,MPB interviewed the eight year old Avanthika, a Gold Medal winner in the International Yoga Championship.

She is naughty, witty and hyper but just wait until she is instructed to do an Aasana. ( a yoga posture)

Her way of greeting the waves and her friendly battle with the sand showcases her age but one can rapidly see her personality change when she is told to perform yoga. She sits in padmasana with sheer elegance, maturity and curved happy lips.

She tries to fit herself into her large “Indian Jersey” as she sits with us for a small chat.

1) Yoga is a very seemingly boring task for even a 30 year old. Being a 8 year old, an age of full energy., how did u fall in love with a calm and peaceful art? 

“I started Yoga only because I was highly energetic and flexible”,she says as she bursts out laughing.

“I started learning yoga since my 1st grade and I never find it boring, Indeed I’m very naughty during my class hours. My class is packed with elder people and they deal with me very patiently and never scold me”, she adds on with a blush. “I like yoga because I win in it”, she says with a naughty grin.

2) Competing with students of my class still awakens the butterflies in my stomach. How is that you being an 8 year old took it sportive and face people from around the world with such courage?

“As I entered the auditorium I never felt nervous , Instead, I felt happy that I’m going to challenge unknown people. I was never scared looking at unfamiliar faces challenging me as they can possible do nothing that can scare me”, she says as she starts playing with her hair.

” Avanthika participated along with 150 other participants who belonged to 6 different countries and won Gold medal followed by Singapore”, adds her mom beaming with pride.

3) Who is your guruji and how supportive was he/she in this competition? Who supported u a lot from your family?

“My teacher is Dhanalalshmi ma’am. Maariappan sir took me to the competition. My parents and teachers were super supportive and encouraging”,she says.

4) Wearing the Indian jersey and holding a golden medal in the hand is everyone’s dream and aim. How great does it feel to be achieving at such a young age?

” Romba happy aa irruku”, she says and ends the question. This shows us clearly how much she doesn’t understand her own achievements.

” She won in the state level competition in Coimbatore and won Gold medal followed by Nationals in Kovilpatti where she won Gold medal again and then she attended the international championship in Indonesia where she once more won Gold medal” adds her mother.

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5) Did u feel bad when you didn’t get enough recognition from the press?

“Nobody approached us and we felt very sad. But, who in the present society is paying any attention to vedic art?” Ankita’s sister questions us with frustration.

6)what would you like to grow up and do? Will you take up yoga as passion or as career?

“Yoga will be my forever mate but not my profession” she says as she hops and runs away chasing crabs.
Team MPB is very happy to interview such a young talent.

Interview by Jaya Roshini 

Photos by Kirbaakaran

idli

Idli and Madras Sambar

அண்ணா சாம்பார் !!

I bet, no one would have missed this call when you are in a south Indian restaurant.

Sambhar being a south Indian curry has wide variances across all the states. But the traditional Madras Tiffin Sambhar or the idli sambhar is a trademark of Chennai’s food scenes.

Golden yellow split pigeon peas boiled with fresh ripe tomatoes and shallots, spiced up with ground chillies and coriander, fenugreek, mustard , asafoetida and finally seasoned with cumin seeds and curry leaves.

The heavenly pleasure when you check in at a Mylapore breakfast joint, cleaning the banana leaf with a handful of water , the Madras sambhar poured where you control its flow on the leaf using the jasmine soft idlis. Breaking down and devouring to relish the morning joy after a peaceful sleep the previous night, this Idli Sambhar combo has been the classic breakfast material for centuries.

Medhu vada, the dough nut shaped deep-fried ground lentil savoury, tags along this combo to finish up the meal on the crunchy note.

madras

Namma Madras

Let’s begin with

” Hey macha ! Chennai is a name, But Madras is an emotion”

This place holds a mega emotional aspect for many people. Well one can argue with the flaws, but which and what creation of God doesn’t have a flaw. So why don’t we just stick to the part ” Why we love-u Madras”.
Let’s begin with our language, Tamil, one of THE oldest. Such knowledge *lifts collar*.
Coming to our Madras slang, we could be a little intimidating with our slang and words but we are just the best at heart.
Once you set foot in Madras, have you seen anymore friendly people? Maybe. Everyone is ready to help. Trust me, some people make you feel home with their gestures and smiles, some things that people do for you here will flood your heart with such warmth that your soul will fell at ease. Even though we don’t understand your language we madras-late it and will help you way better than Google maps.
Not all the cities you visit in your life will get marked “Special” in your memory, but Madras will definitely top it.
Yes, we are gloating, but wait, have you not seen?

Madras is one of those cities in India whose lifestyle is very passive. One of the best reason to take pride being Madrasi’s are that we are simple and civic. Many of our businessmen, our people in distinguished designations are humble and some of them can be seen using public transport unlike many other places.
Madras has given birth to many explicable talents, and we welcome people from all over the world to be a part of us. Not just tradition, culture and heritage, Madras has also been a place which has given rise to powerful leaders and world class achievers like Vishwanath Anand, Ilaiyaraja, Rajinikanth, AR Rahman, Sundar Pichai and many more.
We house many significant places in the history and also famous educational institutions, zoos, bridges and many more.
Our food. Imagine waking up to the smell of freshly made filter coffee, for breakfast you are made to indulge in ghee soaked crispy dosai with piping hot sambar, fragrant coconut chutney with curry leaves & mustard, with a touch of tangy tomato chutney.
Then moving onto a wide spread “Elai Saapadu” ( banana leaf) where rice is served with a range of sides and applam (papad). Then to finish it off with beeda pan.
Wait it’s not over, for the dinner, 14 pieces of small idly soaked in sambar and brushed with ghee on top with a crispy hot vadai.
Well then what are you waiting for, Madras awaits you. Visit us and go back with fantastic, unforgettable experiences.