Monday, January 31, 2005

Is CNN website closed?

People follow strange ways to put a title for their writings, books, poems, posts, etc. Some choose a simple name that says something about the content. Some choose a complex name that no one understands. Some will have a title that implies something relevant to the subject. Some titles will mislead us inadvertently. Some choose titles to misguide the readers. Relevant title. Funny ones. Stupid ones. Boring ones. Poetic headings. Some titles will painfully be longer than the content. Provoking ones. Oh! So many possibilities exist!! Of course, these are all very subjective. One could criticize my previous post title too.
Okay, Let's play. Choose a title for this news item:
"The Jang group, Karachi's largest newsgroup, -- which includes more than 20 publications, including the largest Urdu and English circulation newspapers and the local Urdu TV channel GEO -- believes the attack on its office yesterday was a reaction to the publication of a TV interview with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres in the Daily Jang and The News. The official said the attackers ransacked the reception area and smashed the glass doors of the main entrance and broke open the locked doors of the cash counter and took cash and valuables. Turning to the parking lot of the Daily Jang building, the attackers damaged vehicles as well as personal cars. The attackers also uprooted a relief camp set up along the building by the Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman Foundation to collect relief goods for the tsunami victims, throwing the collected relief goods across the road. Police arrived while the incident was ongoing, and the attackers fled in the presence of police"
Take some moments to think. Have you chosen your title?
Let's see what CNN had chosen: Karachi tsunami relief camp attack (The link given on Let's see... will take you to the news item.)
Do you still wonder about the title of this post?
When I typed I got the message "The domain name does not exist". I thought for a second if the site was closed and wondered why. Then I noted that I had typed www.cnncom leaving the dot in a hurry. So much for the title..

Sunday, January 30, 2005

We fight. We, the humans, then die.

Thailand said,"We want the centre to be near Thailand."
India and Indonesia opposed.
India suggested,"We want to coordinate the system."
Indonesia and Thailand did not agree.
Indonesia,"We want it."
India and Thailand shook heads vigorously.
There has been a clash among nations over Tsunami warning system. Read about it here.
Why don't they consider what is best for all in the region? In case, if it turns out that the exact location of the co-ordination centre does not affect the performance of the warning system as a whole, why do they fight then?
Collective death seems to be an easier option than a united effort. Fear, of death - of getting wiped off in seconds, is not sunk deep inside. It is still overcome by other national considerations. By the way, what is the nationality of Death?

Friday, January 28, 2005

Are these really true?

Justice U.C.Bannerjee Report considered Godhra's train fire incident as "accidental". Justice G.T.Nanavati remarked that it could have been an "act of terror".
Now Justice G.T.Nanavati commission says only few local congress leaders initiated 1984 riots against Sikhs and absolves the Congress party and the Government headed then by Rajiv Gandhi. The report seems to have asked, "How could a Prime Minister be held responsible for each and every action in a police station or a particular district in Delhi? ". In the same breath, it also finds fault with the then Home minister P.V.Narasimha Rao that he did not act decisively.
Is this really justice made to work? Or we were naïve enough to believe the media then?
Hope the media will now find time to write a few critical articles on these issues amidst their tight schedule of running around clicking and flashing gory pictures of wave and fire victims.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

M.S. Subbulakshmi - 007

Her voice is exceedingly sweet; She loses herself in bhajan. During prayer one must lose oneself in God. To sing a bhajan is one thing; to sing it by losing oneself in God is quite different.
- Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, January 23, 2005

More on Feed Readers...

You will find the list of feed readers here.
A non-technical article on RSS feeds is available here.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Abilon - A Freeware Feeds Aggregator

There are so many news websites and blogs we are interested in. We visit some sites occasionally and find nothing of our interest. Now major news websites offer RSS feeds so that a reader-software can receive these feeds which contain titles and a brief description of the content. Some websites that give newsfeeds - CNN, BBC, Indian Express, Rediff - (Does The Hindu offer?) - Yahoo groups and Blogger. Many feed readers are available for online reading, for instance you can access these feeds through My Yahoo. There are also few Feed Aggregators that are available for download so that we can install in our computer and customize it. Abilon is one such freeware RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) Feeds Aggregator. I installed it two days back in my computer.
1. Download, Install, Start the application
2. Right click on All feeds
3. Give the details of the feeds and click OK
4. That's it!
You can add the RSS Feed of my blog by giving the URL of the feed in Step.3 as
You can also move some news item from the feed for your later viewing. Abilon calls it memories.
1.Select the news item
2.Right Click and send to memories
It has a built-in blogger tool using which we can directly post to our blogs. If you have more than one blog with a same username, you have to be careful while posting, and do check if it is getting posted to the right blog!
Many other features are also available but disabled in freeware edition, I guess.
Finally, I am not associated with Abilon developers in any way, and am obviously not responsible for any problems you may encounter while using it. This software has not given me problems so far. I have found it quite useful. Few user opinions are available here.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

World Year of Physics 2005

The International Union of Pure and Applied Physics declared the year 2005 as the World Year of Physics.
In 1905, Albert Einstein submitted five papers for publication in Annalen der Physik, covering three topics: the photoelectric effect, brownian motion, and the special theory of relativity. Although diverse in subject matter, these contributions are landmarks in their field - and testament to Einstein's genius. To honour their centenary, 2005 has been designated 'World Year of Physics'.
The World Year of Physics 2005 is a United Nations endorsed, international celebration of physics.
Read more about this here

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A statement on Sankararaman case

(from Jayalalithaa's statement on Sankararaman case. Underlines are mine - Shencottah)
"...The primary duty and responsibility of the investigation of a crime is cast solely on the Investigating Officer of the Police Department. As Chief Minister of the State and as the Minister in-charge of the Home Portfolio including the Police Department, the facts of such cases are brought to my notice only to a minimum extent and that too only in the context and for the purpose of maintenance of law and order and public order. Beyond this there is nothing more. The details of the investigation were not revealed to me, nor was I interested in knowing about these. It was therefore only in the context of taking precautionary steps for the maintenance of law and order and public order that the names of certain persons were brought to my notice..."
Could this be used later as a kind of 'damage-control' if prosecution fails in the court?

Monday, January 17, 2005


We have different reasons for our likes and dislikes. Who cares whether those reasons are right or wrong? The fact 'we feel so' is the beginning of so many 'reasons' with which we act. A friend of mine once told me,"The corner grocery shop is the best one."
I said,"Things are expensive there."
"But things are of good quality."
"The same quality stuff costs much lesser in the other shop."
"No.No. Whatever it is, the corner shop is the best."
My friend added,"We have been buying there for decades. I still remember those days - The days when I go with my father with a small bag in my hand and carry things back with joy. Holding a bag, full of groceries, itself is a joy. A joy of growing older! Going with my father has continued for a long time. The corner grocery shop brings those memories often.."
His father is no more. I know he is not just talking about the grocery shop and its quality. He has now a daughter. I have seen them going to that corner shop together. And I have also seen the cute little girl carrying a small bag with few brinjals and carrots. With a pride on her face, she has a smile for me whenever we meet near the corner shop.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Is it the same story again?

After the assassination and [his] arrest, judgement was pronounced swiftly; [he] was the assassin...
Every piece of evidence which tended to incriminate [him] was announced to the press [by the authorities]. In such a way millions of people were prejudiced against [him] before there was any opportunity for him to be brought to trial...
How is it millions of people have been misled by complete forgeries in the press?
Blatant fabrications have received very widespread coverage by the mass media, but denials of these same lies have gone unpublished.
Excuse me, I am not talking about Indian media and the Kanchi issue! It's about American press.
That was written by Bertrand Russell (words within braces are mine) in his essay "Sixteen questions on the assassination" in which he argued that some of the most important aspects of the case against Lee Harvey Oswald have been completely blacked out and the official version of the assassination of President Kennedy was full of contradictions that it had been rewritten no less than three times.
(You can read the above essay in the book The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, The Final Years:1944-1969)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

M. Chandrasekharan

(I got a mail this morning enquiring if the violinist in my previous post is a real person or I used that name just like that. He is real. So, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce Shri. M.Chandrasekharan.)

Born on December 11, 1937 at Calcutta.

Father: Mohan

Mother: Charubala. For M.Chandrasekharan, she has been not only a mere mother, but was his Guru and God. And the mention of her name brings tears of remembrance and loving gratitude in his eyes. Chandrasekharan lost his eye-sight following an attack of jaundice by the age of two.

Learnt violin from his mother. Learnt vocal from Mannargudi Sambasiva Bhagavatar, Kumbakonam S. Viswanathan, Vidyala Narasimha Naidu and T. Jayammal.

Accompanied G. N. Balasubramaniam, Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer, Musiri Subramania Iyer, T. R. Mahalingam (Mali), Madurai Mani Iyer, Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, Madurai Somasundaram, T. K. Rangachari, Ramnad Krishnan, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Balamuralikrishna, and many others.

The following is from an article written by Vasumathi Badrinathan. Click here to read the article.)

"Had she not encouraged me then, the picture probably would have been very different", says M. Chandrasekaran Carnatic violin virtuoso thinking back on his mother in whose form the Muse manifested herself, transforming his visual handicap into virtual non-existence. Nothing deterred his violinist mother, the late Charubala Mohan, from goading on her young son and feeding into him the intricacies of music. "She would literally hold my hand and help me use the bow. Whatever hurdles there were, she overcame them. Today, I enjoy the fruit of her labour" reminisces the maestro with unconcealed nostalgia of an unstinting sacrifice that sculpted his career.

"Whatever I would have achieved with vision, I think I have been able to without it. Vision is but an exterior element. What I need to see, I still see it through my heart."

(Photo courtesy: The Hindu)

Monday, January 10, 2005

Let me introduce...

When a music concert is inaugurated, someone from the organizers normally say many good things about the artist as a part of introduction. If they say few things about the artists' unique style of singing or playing, from whom they have learnt, and also a few brief anecdotes, then it would really be an useful information to those who are going to listen for the first time. What if the artist is famous and popular? Still few lively anecdotes will create a nice ambience. Of course, this introduction should only be for few minutes and it should not be exploited to display the speaker's oratory skills. What if the speaker does not know any interesting events about the artist? Use superlatives - great musician, well-known, got awards like, musician par excellence, internationally acclaimed, etc. One person also started like this in a concert - looking at a piece of paper,"He is a great violinist; Internationally known; Accompanied many stalwarts;.." Nothing wrong with this. Who can find a fault in praising good artists? Are words sufficient? In fact, we ought to speak about the greatness of nobler souls as often as humanly possible. Anyway our friend continued," that's his greatness. And let's welcome Shri.T.Chandrasekharan." People started their thunderous applause. One person raised his hand and tried to say something. That was the artist. He told the speaker that his name was not T. Chandrasekharan but M.Chandrasekharan. The speaker looked at the paper and was perplexed! Someone must have received severe chiding after that!!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

M.S. Subbulakshmi - 006

எம்.எஸ். சுப்புலக்ஷ்மி:
ஸங்கீத தீபத்தை மங்காமல் ரக்ஷித்துத் தருகிற புனிதமான பொறுப்பைத் தாய்மார்கள் தொடர்ந்து ஏற்று, தமது மக்கட் செல்வத்துக்குப் பாலப் பருவத்திலிருந்தே ஸங்கீதத்தில் ஈடுபாட்டை ஏற்படுத்த வேண்டும் என்று கேட்டுக் கொள்கிறேன். தாய்மார்கள் அடுத்த தலைமுறையினருக்கு நல்ல ரஸிக உணர்வை ஊட்டினால் நாட்டில் ஸங்கீதம் பெருகும்; அதாவது பக்தி பெருகும்; அதாவது மக்களின் நல்வாழ்வு பெருகும்.
em.eS. subbulakshmi:
SangkItha thIpaththai mangkaamal rakshiththuth tharukiRa punithamaana poRuppaith thaaymaargaL thodarn-thu ERRu, thamathu makkatselvaththukkup baalap paruvaththilirun-thE SangkIthaththil Idupaattai ERpaduththa vENdum enRu kEttuk koLkiREn. thaaymaargaL aduththa thalaimuRaiyinarukku nalla raSika uNarvai Uttinaal n-aattil SangkItham perugum; athaavathu bakthi perugum; athaavathu makkaLin nalvaazhvu perugum.
M.S. Subbulakshmi:
I wish to make a special appeal to mothers to take up the sacred responsibility of keeping the lamp of sangita burning bright in their homes and to instill a love for good music in their children from a tender age. If mothers create this taste for music in the next generation it will spread throughout the country; consequently Bhakti will also spread, and ultimately our people will lead good lives.
(From Kunjamma - Ode to a Nightingale by Lakshmi Vishwanathan)

Friday, January 07, 2005

Did you find them?

Why most of the service organisations working in Tsunami-affected areas of Tamilnadu are non-government and religious organisations? What happened to the fans associations of our actors and actresses? Leave this aside, what about our major political parties?
In the photos I have seen, there are volunteers in full white attire, in white and khaki, and with white caps. What happened to the members of political parties who would normally be 'asked ' to attend their leaders' meeting without fail by their leaders? Did those leaders not even 'request ' their followers to do service in the affected region?
Next time, when you see photographs of political meeting with people in black, red, white, green, and combination of all possible gaudy colors, do have a silent smile. Lest your loud laughter might disturb their activites - rational, fight-against-oppression, struggle-against-America's-materialism, our-lives-are-only-for-our-language, your-lives-for-our-idealogy, etc.

Bloggers: People of the Year

ABC News writes about the blog as " internet phenomenon that provides unique insights into people's thoughts ".
Dec. 30, 2004 — A blog — short for "web log" — is an online personal journal that covers topics ranging from daily life to technology to culture to the arts. Blogs have made such an impact this year that Merriam-Webster named it the word of the year.
You can read the article here.
You can also read here the BBC article "Blogs take on the mainstream".


அடையாததை அடைய
அடையமுடியாததை அடைய

இருப்பதை வைத்து
அதுவும் இல்லை.

இருப்பதே தேவையா
என்றுதான் கேள்வி.

இதய இருட்டறைகளில்
ஓர் ஒளிக்கீற்று.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

M.S. Subbulakshmi - 005

Madurai Shanmugavadivu Subbulakshmi (MS) has acted in four films - Seva Sadan (1938), Sakuntalai (1940), Savitri (1941), and Meera (1945). Ellis R. Dungan, the director of Meera, writes in his book "A Guide to Adventure - An Autobiography" (2001):
"Of all the Tamil theatrical motion picture films that I directed in India, the film Meera was considered by my peers and local film critics to be my best – and I am inclined to agree.
An innovation I brought to Indian films was the 'shooting script', where the script would be broken down into scenes and shots, with action on the left half of the page and dialogue on the right half.
At the end of a month I was back in Madras with the completed shooting script preparing to cast the film, conduct dialogue and music rehearsals, and construct sets at Newtone Studio.
There is one scene of which I was particularly proud in this film. M.S. had beautiful large eyes, and I wanted to highlight them during one of her songs. I used a special lighting with equipment that I’d brought with me from the U.S. and isolated the area of her eyes with two ‘gobos’ – one at the top of her eyes and one underneath – and feathered the edges of the gobos by putting a diffusion screen on the top and bottom edges to soften them. The final cut showed only the close-up of her eyes, which filled the screen. It was a beautiful effect.
Notwithstanding her worldwide name and fame as a musical genius, M.S.’s personal life has always been a very simple one. She is unaffected by her celebrity status and international renown and is of almost childlike innocence and naivete.
Since she was always surrounded by musicians in her home rehearsing songs for a recital somewhere, I had to literally wait my turn to conduct film rehearsals. She was quite a busy lady and a lovable one...
The vcd of Meera (Tamil, approximately 111 minutes only) has recently been released by Movie Land - MLVCD-0093. The Internet Movie Database reports 136 minutes runtime!!
M/s Movie Land,
59/60, Singanna Chetty Street,
Chintadripet, Chennai-600002, India.
Phone: 044 - 52027294

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

An Ignominious Question

The village of Mullaithivu is in north-east Sri Lanka and is controlled by Tamil Tigers. The Indian Ocean Tsunami struck this small village killing around 3000 people - more than fifty percent of the local population. Since this is not a government-controlled region, it is not easy to gain access to it. Now let us assume you, the readers, have somehow reached this place. Imagine all the news you have read about Tsunami's destruction. Bring to your mind's eye the images of all those moving and gory photographs you have seen so far in various websites and in magazines.
What are you seeing in Mullaithivu around you? Flattened buildings on the beach. The destroyed church - 95% of the people in this area are Catholics. But isn't your nose telling something? The bodies are rotting. Rotting badly.
The local administration have arranged young rebels to pick up the bodies and burn them fearing public health problems. You are seeing few people collecting bodies around you. The village is filled with the smoke of funeral pyres. And you are now meeting a survivor - the local Roman Catholic priest.
What do you discuss? What do you talk? I do not know what you will ask. But one needs courage even to say few words. Let us now listen to what Mr. Jeremy Bowen of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) asked.
"Isn't it a shame they are not getting Christian burials?"
How terrible this is!
The question looks more abominable when we come to know the answer given by the priest.
"I don't think the Lord is very fussy about this."

Sunday, January 02, 2005

A Deceptive Blue

May this year bring .....

Photo courtesy: Lin Pei

.....Some hope to people in despair
.....Some happiness to people who suffer
.....Some insights to many who still live on this Earth
(In memory of the victims of Indian Ocean Tsunami on December 26, 2004)

Saturday, January 01, 2005

kaiviLakku - கைவிளக்கு

கைவிளக்கின் பின்னேபோய்க் காண்பார்போல்
மெய்ஞ்ஞான மெய்விளக்கின் பின்னேபோய்
மெய் காண்பது எந்நாளோ?
- தாயுமானவர்

kaiviLakkin pinnEpOyk kANbArpOl
meynjnjAna meyviLakkin pinnEpOy
mey kANbathu ennALO?

- thAyumAnavar

It was completely dark. It was a night in some forest. I did not know whether my eyes were open or not. How does it matter when all you see is pitch-black? Suddenly I saw a spark somewhere very far. It was very far indeed. I believed someone was walking with a hand-lamp. I thought he must be knowing how to traverse this forest. With a lamp in hand, he did not seem to have any problem. He vanished after few minutes.

Who would show me the light? I was moving here and there in that darkness. Hitting the trees. Stamping on thorns. Getting hurt. Feeling the 'getting lost forever' emotion. Who would show me the way?

Did I hear someone saying "I will show" ? I was then scared. I immediately started singing my favourite song loudly to cast off any fear from showing up too much.

Did I hear "Why are you singing out of fear? I have now come." ?

This was getting too much. I stopped walking and looked around. Someone seemed to be standing behind me at a distance. Was it my illusion? How could I see in this dense night? I then noticed she was holding something behind her shoulder. A small cone of light was seen behind her.

She said with lots of grace and care, "Hold this hand (kai) lamp (viLakku). I know the way out. We will move out of this forest".

I walked holding the lamp. She also had one. In a way, we followed the lamp. How could it be useful if we walk in front of it? To see (kAnbathu) the way, we have to walk behind (pinnepOy) the lamp. After few hours of walking, we came out of the forest. Safely reached...

I am now sitting in my home; my place - a familiar place. But Is this familiar? This city is also like a forest. Why city? This life is also like a forest. We are quite confused at times. We are very assured at other times. We do not know what to do. Or we think we know what to do. There are moments of joy, happiness, and peace. There are problems too. Problems at home. Problems at office. Problems with colleagues. Problems with family.

Who will show me the light? Who will show me the way? I yearn for the wisdom (meynjnjAnam). The real truth (mey) behind this Life. I long for that feeling of "always acting rightly and wisely with a good heart".

Who will show me the light of wisdom (meyviLakku)?
Who will show me the path?
Is there anyone whom I could follow?
(meyviLakku can also mean Guru, an Enlightened Soul. pinnepOy also means 'to follow'.)

When will I see "It" ? Wisdom. Truth. Reality.
When will that day come? (ennALO)
kANbAr means one who sees.
pOl means similar, like, etc.
People go only behind the hand-lamp to be watchful of their way. Like that, when will I realize the Truth by going behind the light of Wisdom?
(Song by Thayumanavar, Transliteration and English Notes by Shencottah)