Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Interesting Facts of Chennai :-)

Being part of Chennai Bloggers Club gives you interesting aspects of blogging.  Thanks to Mahesh Lakshmanan who blogs at https://teerthadanam.wordpress.com/ 
to whose blog I wanted to write about Chennai. 
I can write prose, poetry and articles on anything around Chennai, however thought that I need to collate interesting facts of Chennai-  many of which may be already known, well described else where and already in the internet.  But to me this personal collection of interesting facts is one way of celebrating the city I live and love.  To me Chennai is not just a home, but where my heart is.....Happy Blogging and Reading this post.  Thanks to CBC for this blog tag opportunity


The Birth of  Madras /Chennai

  • On 22 August 1639, the British East India Company under Francis Day bought a small land stretching 3 miles on the Coromandel Coast. They got a license to build a fort and a castle in the contracted region.   
  • The ruler Damarla Chennappa Nayakudu, the Nayaka of Vandavasi, granted the British permission to build a factory and warehouse for their trading enterprises. The region was then primarily a fishing village known as "Madraspatnam".
  • A year later, the British built Fort St. George, the first major British settlement in India, which became the nucleus of the growing colonial city.
  • Fort St. George housed the Tamil Nadu Assembly until the new Secretariat building was opened in 2010. The Tamil Nadu Assembly was again moved back to Fort St. George.
  • Military mapmakers believed Madras was originally Mundir-raj, or abbreviatedly, Mundiraj
  • Some suggest, Portuguese, who arrived in the area in the 16th century, named the village Madre de Deus, meaning Mother of God.
  • Another possibility sees the village's name coming from the prominent Madeiros family of Portuguese origin, which consecrated the Madre de Deus Church in the Santhome locality of Chennai in 1575.
  • Other parties express the opinion that Madras might have taken its name from a fisherman by the name of Madrasan from religious Muslim schools, referred to as Madrasahs
  • From the word Madhu-ras, which means "honey" in Sanskrit
  • Origin of the name Chennai/Chennapattanam : First theory explains the name that it was from the Telugu ruler Damarla Chennappa Nayakudu, Nayaka of Chandragiri and Vandavasi, father of Damarla Venkatadri Nayakudu, from whom the English acquired the town in 1639.
  • The second theory states it was named after the Chenna Kesava Perumal Temple; the word Chennai in Tamil means face, with the temple regarded as the face of the city
  • Historian J B Prashant More has stated that the origin of the name "Chennai" is Telugu and not Tamil.

Interesting Facts of Namma Chennai
  • Chennai is the first British settlement in India
  • First tricolor hoisted by the Independent India is in the Chennai Fort Museum inside Fort St. George maintained by Archeological Survey of India
  • First city to have implemented the Conditional Access System for cable television.
  • First Indian city to have the Wi-Fi facility in a widespread manner.
  • Only City in India to have a light house within the city limits
  • 'Madras Bank'  established on 21 June 1683 is the first European style bank in India
  • The Spectator, founded in 1836, was the first English newspaper in Chennai to be owned by an Indian and became the city's first daily newspaper in 1853
  • Chennai's Marina Beach runs for 6 km, spanning along the shoreline of the city between the deltas of Cooum and Adyar. It is the second longest urban beach in the world.
  • Madrasapattinam named after fisherman Madrasan   popularly known as Madras was renamed as Chennai only in 1996.
  • Chennai is now known as the Detroit of India. Most major manufacturers such as Ford, Hyundai, BMW, Renault Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Daimler have transformed the city into an automobile hub, producing more than 40 percent of auto parts and motor vehicles in India.
  • Soundarapandia Bazaar” named after Justice Party politician W.P.A. Soundarapandian Nadar  is currently cherishing as shopping hub ‘Pondy Bazzar’
  • Lifco Books shop which functions even today was set up years ago when there were just three shops in the area.
  • The World Bank office is in Raheja Towers in Chennai Mount Road
  • Chennai is the only city in South Asia and India to figure in the "52 places to go around the world" by The New York Times
  • It is also the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the country and 31st largest urban area in the world.
  • The city is host to the third largest expatriate population in India after Mumbai and Delhi
  • Connemara Public Library at Egmore is not just an oldest library but a National Depository (one of the only 4 in India) that receives a copy of all the books, periodicals and newspapers being published in India. It is also a depository library for the United Nations
  • The delicious Chicken 65 and the famous chain of Buhari Hotels has been in Chennai since 1951. One of the favourite dishes of Chennai, the Chicken 65, is believed to be introduced at Bhuhari by its founder A.M. Buhari. Interestingly they also offered Chicken 78, Chicken 82 and Chicken 90. A.M.
  • Buhari was also made the Sheriff of Madras in 1973-1974.
  • One of the oldest banyan trees in the world, around 450 years, is located inside the Adyar Theosophical Society
  • The Madras Boat Club in Chennai is almost 140 years old. It was founded by a few Englishmen in the year 1867.
  • Cricket is the most famous sport in Chennai and it is the game which led to the establishment of Madras Cricket Club in 1846 as well as construction of M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk back in 1916.
  • A very lesser known place on the outskirts of Chennai is the Alamparai Fort. It is in an almost destroyed state now. The sandy beach and the scenic backwaters is a must-see attraction of this place
  • Legendary Alsa mall (first of few malls in Chennai) sandwich kadai (shop) is a famous destination for best of sandwiches in Chennai city.  Well known stop shop for all youngsters
  • Chennai, the first city of Modern India in Tamil Nadu completed 375 years on August 22nd, 2014. The occasion is celebrated annually as Madras Day every year
  • Chennai is the base for the Tamil film industry, known as Kollywood.
  • Chennai hosts the AVM studios, the oldest surviving studio in India.
  • Chennai is second to Bangalore in terms of information technology exports and business process outsourcing services in India
  • The city is home to some of the biggest foreign banks including; Bank of America, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Citibank, and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd., Ryan Services and Standard Chartered Bank
  • Chennai has more than 40 natural lakes and close 70 temple ponds which Government and NGOs are in the process of restoring the water beds
  • Shivaji prayed to Kali in Chennai and then won wars and visited in the Kalibari temple in 1677
  • Chennai has the oldest existing station in India - presenting the Royapuram station. It was the third station to be built in India – after Victoria Terminus, Bombay and Howrah, Calcutta. This station is THE OLDEST EXISTING station in India

 I now pass on the baton to my fellow-blogger and friend,  Destination Infinity. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunshine and Temple - Serenity and Devotion!

Pic Courtesy : Sri Venugopal and Surya Praba
Radiance of the bright red clouds
Freedom of the children playing around
Serenity of the silent temple pillars
Green grass shining black like whiskers

Four pillars representing each direction
The space between the two temples
showing the breathing space between the lovers
Lawn before the sanctum shows place to design lives

Every step on the temple tower
shows that we need to climb the steps
towards the growth of human life
to reach the ultimate goals and wishes

The roof shining bright with ups and downs
indicates that paths of life is its clones
Without which the beauty of life is blank
The twists and turns create the rhythm tank

Who ever thought that clouds
would be always blue and white
this picture shows that it is not right
it can be red, black and bright

Nature is the best canvas in God's hands
Best of pictures painted with his wands
The small twigs around the temple walls
show the signs of fire and zeal of life

Peace and calmness that this picture brings
The fire and equal radiance it does rings
Small standing sticks show us
that we do need them once in a while

Children running in the fields around
bounded by the happiness that surrounds
The fresh air, the open space, the temple bells
Rejoicing their sounds of music it dwells

Superficial sky and clouds filled with brightness
tell us that things may look different
On the surface life may look all fine or super bad
But as long as the rhythm of life goes on, just be glad!

Thanks to my childhood friend who Surya Praba who shared this picture and challenged us to write a poem.  Inspiration.  Thanks for this opportunity dear Praba.  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Be Positive - A lesson from South India Positive Network - Respect to Noori Saleem- SIP Memorial Home, Chennai

I always wait in the new year to begin with a very positive post...especially last couple of years started with spiritual posts.  This time, my visit to a temple of positiveness, made me accept this change in the post and really insist my heart in writing on being positive....biggest lesson learn from 'Positive'  children and their leading lights ....
These 'Positive' children teach us how to be really positive in life.   Yes, you got it.  The children I am talking about are the HIV Positive children who live in SIP Memorial Home, in Kolathur in Chennai.    When you visit them, you will find smiling faces welcoming you and greeting you the best wishes for the day.  Every day is a challenge but they teach you that challenges are just there to overcome.   Every day is bitter with anitretroviral medicines taken twice to survive...but they show what sweetness in being alive every dawn is.  

I asked them very casually, how they are studying...They smiled and said - super.   Then came my next question inadvertently..What you want to be when you become big?   Most of the children gave a big smile.   One said that she wants to be teacher, other said- a collector, and one boy said that he wants to join Army where as other innocent little kid said he wants to become a police.   

Within a second, I realized what the biggest hope of all of them as they grow-   to be alive.   To be healthy.  To be away from the tentacles of death as long as they can.   

Shame to those who think of suicide as a solution to issues in life. To those who run away from simple problems   Shame to those who blame others for their problems in life.  Shame to those who who fail to take care of their own responsibilities.   It is unfortunate to those who destroy their own lives by getting addicted to smoking, drinking, drugs, laziness, frauds, anger, frustration and ego.   These children though are filled with millions of viruses within eating the hours of their lives and keeping alive with the ART treatment and care and love showed by their light 'Noori'  - who herself is a transgender HIV positive,  have everything positive in them that make us think.

More than books and clothes, their rooms are filled with rows of medicines that keep them away from the physical suffering due to the illness.  Same time, their hearts are filled with gratitude to every single day and every single friend who visits.  All they want is your touch, your smile and your hug to those little one's.  They don't want your sympathy or stigma to be shared.  

Being in the social work for several years, and also having known about them from Thilak, my friend who runs Sevai Karangal, we felt the visit is most wanted as we started the year.  For what the place gave us was a big wide strong message -  BE POSITIVE!

It is destiny that 5000 children in Tamilnadu alone are tested HIV positive, either infected or effected.  However, with the big hearts like Noori and her friends most of these children live in a positive environment trying to lead normal lives.  SIP Homes and the service is a god's way of showing the existence of humanity in the society.  The need for acceptance, the need for love and the need for care are all just the simple wants of these real POSITIVE children!  God bless them.

SIP Home, Chennai

To read more about them, please check the below given references:

1.  http://www.asiantribune.com/node/21679
2.  http://www.amaidhi.nl/en/sip-memorial-home
3. http://www.apachanet.org/inner.php?do=interview_detail&id=149

Happiness is getting to celebrate our son Ajay's birthday with these wonderful children:-)



Thursday, December 25, 2014

Ten Years After Tsunami 2004

The sea raged in angst force
pushing itself to the human shore
People who loved the sea
watched in tears and fled
Lives crumbled under the roofs
of the fishing hamlets around
children playing in the sands
of the beaches return dead
morning walkers trembled in fear
as the slush, fish and death
emerged along with the morning sun
into the roars of cries all around
cars floated like paper boats
boats broke into silent logs
the one big roar of the ocean
made by the tsunami gain waves
washed away the happiness and peace
unfortunate that memories don't wash away
the goddess of sea, their only living
made its signs of wrath and despair
human science cannot discover
when the fury of nature will take over
Ultimately it the nature which wins
against the man and his intellect
10 long years gone by
yet, the fears of the fate full Dec 26th
remains fresh and frozen in our minds
wish we don't see another such day
and waiting for the sun to shine again!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Children of Peshawar! My heart bleeds for You!

What you sow, is what your reap
Tears rolling seeing the parents weep
Some one’s thoughts, some one’s deeds
Ended up in some one’ else greed
What did the innocent children do?
70 years ago, their grandparents were Indians too!
What did the terror outfits think?
Making their cheapest tricks on the weakest lot!
As Peshawar turned into the capital of terror
Children who survived will live in constant fear
Beautiful little angels of god, let to shiver
Where is the humanity, where is the science
What is the civilization, what is the universal feeling?
If Nations do not unite NOW to curb the terrorism
What is the use of reaching Moon or Mars?
If we cannot reach out the caves of arms and crimes!
What is the use of research and satellites?
When we fail to locate the grooming grounds of terror
What is the purpose of modern technology and innovation?
If we cannot protect our children from the sadists dreams
Schools are the temples of learning
And children are ambassadors of God
Be it Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian
What fall to the ground is the same blood of human race!
The fall of the years of growth as civilized society!
As we go back to the carnivorous way of life’s
Destroying each other mercilessly without a thought!
There is no good thing of going to pray or call in the name
Of which ever God or Truth waging a useless war!!!