31 August, 2006

Sense of Humour

We all know that humour is essential for daily healthy life. But honestly speaking many of us do not live with sense of humour. Couple of weeks before came a rude shock that my current assignment was over. I was told that my last day was the Friday before on a Wednesday. Though it was not liked by me, I took it lightly. When I came back home and informed, that I had to look out for a different job, my family did not believe it. They thought I was joking. Being a Jovial person, sometimes is difficult to communicate serious stuff. I am happy in one way that I could get a good break and spend few days with children. So decided to give a break for blogging too and hence could not post any.

Our daily routine is to go for a 5K walk in the morning and a 3K walk in the evening and enjoy life to the best. My son noticed that hardly people laugh in the parks and during walking. We try to share jokes and laugh. I have read that laughing out loudly helps in production of good hormones and reduces stress. We all know that laughing itself is a good therapy for many diseases.

In UK, I do not see many happy faces while travelling in train, bus and public places. In India the scene is opposite. Our life pattern changes and in the process we forget to laugh or live with sense of humour. Many of us try to mistake others for their sense of humour. As long as we are young our jokes are not mistaken. Even during some serious lessons in school, I have joked and my class teacher as well as my class mates has laughed. One of my class teachers had regards for my humour. When I look back, I remember all my old friends who were humorous and also few elders who had a very good sense of humour.

It is a different story when our jokes are not understood. I have experienced it. At the same time, we feel really lucky when we meet some humorous people while travelling long distance by train especially during long journeys. Our journeys become memorable.

Recently while my son and myself were jogging we saw two English ladies conversing with huge size dogs. I signed my son to stop running, and we started walking when we were near those ladies with their pets. On seeing us, one of the ladies was trying to check whether her pet was there and looked around.

I said “We were scared whether the dogs would chase and hence started walking”.

The lady immediately replied “No too… old for that…” and

I shot back “Did you mean me”

She replied “No.. I meant my dog…” All of us burst into laughter.

If you are a humorous person you can start conversation anywhere. Sense of humour helps a lot. Though years have rolled, we still remember our teachers who were very humorous.

I still remember a friend of mine who shared this with us. He was admitted into a hospital for a surgery. The nurse came and asked him to be ready for ‘Inima’. He immediately opened his mouth and said “I am keeping my mouth opened. Bring Inima soon.” He never knew that inima was not a oral medicine. We could not control our laughter on hearing this.

Another friend of mine was a talkative cricketer. When somebody asked him how much he had scored on that day’s match, he replied “17 ma…. 4 x 4’s and one single…”

On hearing this everyone laughed, because normally it is understood if there were 4 x 4’s, the remaining will be a single run. But still when another friend asked humorously “Why no sixes…”

The other guy replied “There were lots of grasses in the pitch ma...” We all burst into laughter because a sixer in cricket means a ball hit by the batsman without touching the ground should fall after the boundary line.

I cannot control my laughter even today when I think about another friend of mine who was a good music listener. He had so many varieties of cassettes in those days early 80’s and had a good music system. We asked him whether he had any solo songs sung by Kishore kumar. He replied “Yes… I have got one sung by Kishore Kumar along with Lata Mangeshkar ”

One of my relative who had a slight hearing problem went for an expensive imported hearing aid. After sometime he was not using it. I asked him “Why are you not using the imported one…”.
He said humorously “ It is too sensitive. I could even hear all the conversations happening in the street corner which is a nuisance for me.”

But we also have people around us who mistake us for our sense of humour. We could only pity them. Especially relatives will be finding fault with our humour always. They never understand our light heartedness. Friends are the best for any exchange of humour.

It will be nice if you could share any recent experience in the comments section.

15 August, 2006

Superstition and technology

We come across stupid superstitions in every day’s life. People do not realize how much it affects the other person. Everyone needs to put themselves in other’s shoes and see things. In South India, there is a general superstition about widows that they should not come opposite when a person leaves home for good deeds. Many times in my life, I have seen my Mom being a widow humiliated because of these. Our street was quite long and there had been many occasions of people getting back into their house when they saw my mom walking on the road. This has irritated me a lot. Why cannot people think in the right sense? Most of such things were carried again by women folks. Also, widows are not supposed to be present when good things are happening. I was too young when my elder sisters got married. But during my marriage, I made it a point to have my mother on the dais at the time when I tied thali (mangalsutra). Poor woman, she has raised us with all the hopes of giving us a good future. She has sacrificed so much in her life, to bring up the children. Why should the society deprive her from such moments? Is it their fault of becoming widow? What sparked me this post was last night TV program.

There is a very good program in Jaya TV called ‘Achamillai Achamillai’ hosted by cine actress Lakshmi. She conducts it in such a nice way. It is something unique. They bring into light many women who have struggled in their life with difficulties. Few weeks before, I saw a fire victim in this program who had her face totally burnt. She was interviewed and she contributed her success to the surgeon who operated on her. The surprising factor was the surgeon too had met a fire accident at the age of 9 and had major surgeries during her school days. She had to forego her studies for 2 years. Her mother decided to bring her up in Medicine, and she took a vow to study well and get into medicine to become a Doctor. She explained the amount of difficulties she had to overcome and today she is the head of the plastic surgery department in CMC vellore and has dedicated her life to help fire accident victims. She has not married and remains single to sacrifice her life towards the field. I bow my head to her courage, determination and service to the society.

There was another interview of mothers of test tube babies and the program helped those mothers to explain their decision for undergoing this treatment.

Case 1: The parents had a wonderful and naughty boy who was studious too. Everything was going well and he was doing his Engineering. The boy met with an accident while going for a picnic and the parents were devastated. They felt their life has darkened suddenly. Since they were too old to have a child, they decided to adapt a child. But according to the funny rules for adoption, they were denied. It seems that the parents should be lesser to particular age, since it may be difficult for them to help the child due to old age. The couple were even denied houses for rent because they were considered to be unlucky. They wanted to rent their own house, since the thoughts of their son was haunting them. But none came forward to occupy the house, since they felt it was unlucky. Later the couple heard about the test tube technology and went for it and they were beaming with joy, with their kid next to them in the show. They feel that their son is reborn to them. Hell with other’s superstition.

Case 2: A lady who was disliked by her husband, wanted to live on her own after undergoing lots of difficulties. She suddenly felt that she should have a child to shower her affection. She thought she may not be affectionate with a adopted child. So she asked her old mom’s opinion about having a test tube baby. Her old mom agreed to her thought. The lady decided to bear a child with the help of a donor. I could not believe this. This is no where than in Chennai. She even told her ex-husband about it, but he did not respond. She was legally divorced. Inspite of this, she proudly said that she had kept her ex-husband’s name as initial for the child since she feels that he was her only husband. I just thought whether it was right! Who are we to decide this? What a revolutionary thought? I am speechless.

Case 3: A young couple who married against their parents wishes. But after 2 years, the boys parents agree and they live together. The new daughter-in-law could not bear the insults in her new house since she was not able to conceive. She was abused a lot by her own sisters-in-law. She decided to have a test tube baby.

Most of these innovative techniques were carried out by Dr.Kamala Selvaraj a renowned Gynaecologist in Chennai, India.

I am proud of these people and the technology.

14 August, 2006


As usual this morning, I left home to work, with Monday blues. Since there was already a backlog of newspapers at home I decided not to buy a newspaper today. I do not know whether anyone of you has observed this. When you wait for a particular bus in a bus stand, it may not come immediately. When you start walking off you will find rows of buses going on the road. The same way, when I buy Newspaper everyday at the station the train comes immediately not allowing me to browse the paper at the station. Today having not bought the paper, I noticed that the next train was only after 20 minutes. Cursing for my decision of not buying the paper, I was looking around for something interesting. On such occasions I miss Madras. You cannot expect anything interesting to happen in London stations when compared to Madras. Listening to two Vegetable vendors or a group of workers talking something interesting about their workplace or young boys talking about their future and etc will be interesting in Madras stations. Somehow I managed to spend my waiting time, by observing the fashions of dresses. Within minutes of getting into train I found a daily ‘Metro’ lying uncared. I picked it up to read and finished reading and passed it to another passenger. While stepping down from the Tube (underground trains are so called here) I noticed a daily newspaper lying on the platform. Cursing the irresponsible citizen about his littering habits, I started walking. Suddenly I felt that it was not right on my part, and walked towards the paper to pick it up. I knew few eyes will be on me when I do it. I was just bothered that someone old should not fall on placing their foot on the paper. When I enquired the station staff, about a closest bin he looked at me strangely. I had to inform him about the way the paper was found on the platform. He laughed and said that I should have been an hour before and showed a heap of papers lying in the corner.

I used to wonder at these people who throw litter. What do they think? Even in place like London, do such people live? I have also heard that Newyork is also dirty in few places. If someone says that you cannot see such things in Singapore again it is because you will be fined. When will people get self discipline in such things?

I do not wonder about my relatives in Nanganallur who asked me throw the litter in front of the house, because there was no bin in their street when people in London are behaving like this inspite of the bins around everywhere.

I do have some wonderful friends who mind about pollution and always carry a bag when we go for hill walks, to throw the litter. They do not allow their kids to throw away even their choclate wraps around in the forests.

Should not people think that it is one of their responsibilities to keep their surroundings neat and clean?

There had been a debate always with the way men’s toilets are maintained at work. In my previous workplace internal mails were sent to all employees (male) to keep the toilets clean.
Yesterday I went to watch a cricket match in the local ground, and found a lot of plastic bottles and crisp wrappers lying around. The guard came in her vehicle and asked the gentlemen around to mind the litter flying around, for which the gentlemen replied that it was her duty to keep the place clean.

I could only wonder at these people’s attitude.

11 August, 2006

Dads are wonderful

August 8th 1974.

A ten year old boy was so happy that his Dad was there to play Cricket with him. His Dad started bowling, and the boy wanted to hit every ball. Dad advised him to keep an eye on the ball and play carefully. The boy was very happy and content on the evening. The next day he wanted to continue the same game. His Dad did spent some time. On the third day since few relatives had visited, the Dad could not spend much of his time and the boy was a bit sad about it. He never knew that he was heading towards the worst night of his life. Around 8:45 p.m. the Dad started sweating a lot and could feel a bit difference in his health. Kind neighbours rushed to his help. The whole family was worried. Somebody rushed to call the family doctor. Doctor arrived and diagnosed heart attack and advised to get admitted to a hospital. The village did not have the facilities of a big hospital and the family had to depend on a car to rush to a big hospital. Again the kind neighbours arranged a car, and the Dad was rushed to the hospital. The boy was totally shocked along with his sisters. He could not swallow the food provided by his elder sister. Within minutes of their departure, he saw his mom crying and coming back to the room of worship. He and his sisters could understand that something was going out of control. The neighbours lifted the Dad and the boy innocently spread a mat on the floor to help his Dad lie. Neighbours removed it, saying it was not required anymore. The Boy could not understand why his Dad had to sleep on the floor? Within few minutes, the family Doctor arrived and announced that the Dad his dead.

The young boy is nobody else than me. Yes… I realised last night that it is 32 years since my Dad died. Years have rolled by and the deep scar left is still remaining in my mind. In general Dads are the role models for boys. I started developing few qualities from my Dad. He was my role model. Alas… I lost him at a tender age. The next day was horrible. It was totally a different experience. I cannot still forget those good neighbours who were remaining with us until our relatives arrived. There were few ladies who were constantly pacifying my mom. Dad was just 47 years old at his death. It was a great shock for everyone.

He was a social person. He is still remembered for the way he used to hold the trains until everyone arrived to get into the train. He was very friendly with the drivers and used to give pep talk to them to hold the train for extra minutes. Many of the office goers used to rush. He used to get into the Train only after seeing everyone getting in. Since it was a village, the next train was scheduled only at 9:30 a.m. It was called as ‘Sambar’ Passenger. I still do not know the reason for the name. So missing 8:45 A.M. train was a costly miss for the office goers. My Dad was fondly called as ‘Girudha Rajan’ for his famous side locks though his name was K.R.Soundararajan. He taught me and my sisters the basic discipline and morals of life. We always had guests for Sunday morning breakfast. The guests were from Cobblers to Vegetable Vendors. He was so kind to everyone and loved everyone. Probably that was the reason for a huge attendance of people from different walks of life in his funeral.

My feelings were unexplainable. After lighting the pyre, I was asked not to turn back for which I do not understand the reason till today. The next day was horrible. I had to go with my relatives to collect the ashes. This had a great impact in my life totally. Only on that morning, I understood what life all about was. It is not a kind of thing every boy of that age should experience. But I understood the philosophy. Until then I was thinking life is eternal. Too many thoughts occupied the mind. It is difficult to narrate or put in writing. But I started missing my Dad.

I see many young bloggers having different opinions about their dad. I know many of the young boys do not get along with their dad. But try to understand your Dad. Probably the reason of being fatherless, made me to be closer to my friends fathers. Even today when I visit my native place, I go around to see my Dad’s friends. I see my Dad in them. Some of them are still alive. During last year, I saw one of my Dad’s friend walking on the road. I knew that he may not be able to recognize me. So, I went and introduced myself and took his blessings. He was moved so much that tears started rolling on his cheeks. His happiness was boundless and he started talking about those old good days. I saw great happiness on his face.

Many times in my life, during many occasions I have missed my Dad. I still remember all the good days I had with him. I wish I never forget them in my life. Dear Appa, you are still living in my heart.

The intention of this post is if any of you have any misunderstanding with your Dad please ignore it. Try to understand your Dad and express your love. Dads are wonderful. The drawback with them is they never express their feelings, just like you boys. Life is too short, let us live happily.

10 August, 2006

God please answer me

I am very disturbed on reading the following news in the internet today.

Salem, Aug 10 - In a gruesome incident, a mentally deranged person stabbed to death his five-year-old daughter before attempting suicide last night, police said.

Saraswathy was asleep when her father Madhu (28) attacked her with a sharp-edged weapon. Her mother Rajammal told police that she was sleeping outside the room when the incident took place.

Later, the man slit his throat. He was admitted to the government hospital here where his condition was stated to be critical.

He had undergone treatment for psychological disorders before, police added.

My questions:-

How could the mother allow such a person to get closer to the child?

The child is of my daughter’s age. What she would have thought before going to bed? I bet that the child would have definitely hugged her father and kissed him during the day or at least played with him, giggled and smiled at him. How could he do this?

Why did the man slit his throat. Did he feel guilty? Did he realize later?

The child must have been there with so many dreams. Shameless father don’t you realize that life is wonderful and she was your own child. How could you get the thought of killing that wonderful flower which was blossoming? People like you should not be pardoned. Men like you are a curse for the society.

O! God what are you going to do with him?

09 August, 2006

Keep it up guys!!!

“We celebrate the diversity in our Country, get strength from the cultures and races that go to make up Britain today ” – Prime Minister Tony blair said on 2nd October 2001.

For the past few days, there has been good news about the multi-ethnic and multi-races in Britain. The government is demanding most of its contractors for the Olympic 2012 works, to have equal resources from African and Asian communities.

The same has been showing up on the sports arena too. People from all culture and races are making it up in sports. If Amir Khan could bring the gold medal in boxing for UK, it is Monty Panesar, a sikh in the cricket headlines recently. Monty born to parents of Indian origin, has been making headlines with his bowling.

Yesterday in Headingley, the two 24-year-old English-born sons of Asian parents, Mahmood from Bolton and Panesar from Luton, took seven of the ten wickets . Apart from bowling at about 90mph, Mahmood showed good cricket basics says a sports magazine. Inspite of few Pakistani supporters abusing him as ‘traitor’ he did not worry but gestured to them back when he took wicket.

Be a Roman when you are in Rome. Spectators should realise this and encourage the sport and hail the performers. In fact everyone should feel proud of them. Monty Panesar is the first sikh to play for England in Cricket.

One of the book-makers have predicted a high chance for Monty Panesar to become BBC
Sports Personality of the year.

Let me wish good luck to them, and more such things to happen in future.

08 August, 2006

Leaders gift and gifted leaders

Last week there was an article in The Times. It carried a list of gifts received by top political leaders of UK. It was amazing to see that leaders like Tony Blair have received only gifts to the value of 1000 pounds (roughly INR 80000) and most of them are not retained by him. It goes the same for other leaders.

Also few months before there was a report published about the expenditure incurred by the local MP's from which we could make out the least spending MP. Our MP used to travel by public train to attend parliament sessions. I have seen him once self driving on road. He was so simple, that I could chat with him and he posed for a photo.

After reading that article, I thought about situation back home, and folded the paper with a big sigh. When are our leaders going to become so transparent, and serve honestly to the society without any selfish thoughts?

We did have great leaders in the past like Gandhiji, Rajaji, Kamaraj. I remember having read an article about a former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, who was straight forward to such an extent that he demanded a signature from a doctor who had come to attend when he had an heart attack to sign a agreement first stating that he will not come back for any obligation in return for the emergency help. It is a shame that I do not remember such a great Chief Minister. It will be great if someone could remember his name and let me know.

Will we ever get leaders like those in the past, atleast for the future generation? Let us only hope.

04 August, 2006

No more half trousers

Everyone has different passion. During my early 20’s riding motorcycle was a passion for me. I have tried to maintain my bike well. I hated repairs and punctures with my motor cycles. It was not because of my purse going thin, but for the pathetic condition that prevails at the Mechanic’s shed. Any mechanic in Chennai would have engaged at least one boy of less than 10 year old in his shop. I have felt very pity for those boys. Just because they were born poor, lack of facilities at home and economic situations, they were forced to forget their studies, and take up jobs at a very young age. When children of their age, were carrying Cricket bats and School bags, these kids used to carry Screw drivers and spanners. I used to feel helpless.

Many times, I have seen some of the boys abused at their workplaces. I have even seen some of the bosses physically assaulting those helpless child labourers. I have avoided going to such workshops because they were handling the child labourers. If at all I went again to those workshops, it was only to help those boys by giving few advices and tips for their good work. Some of the owners have not liked me giving them money. I could not do anything more than that during that stage. The boys were not able to hide their smile, when they saw me stopping in front of their sheds. The same way, whenever we had been to hotels, the first person to attract our eyes will be the boys who will come and clean our tables. Just after cleaning they used to go to a corner and look at our table, and our plate. I have seen hunger in their face. Again, we have left those places helplessly. The best we could do was to avoid having food again at such a place.

In railway stations, these kids sell peanuts. Road side they sit with their shoe polishing talents. They also work in most of the provision stores. If that is so with the boys, the girls go for house hold works.

Majority of them work in Beedi, and fireworks factories. Once when a child was born to me and started raising him, these sights of children working started haunting me and my family more than before. My son came with a great idea of sacrificing the joy of bursting crackers. We did not buy crackers for few years unless there was a declaration from some of the popular brands, that they were not engaging child labour.

These children were prone to many hazards, abuse, bullying, mental illness, and at times even sexual abuse. I have seen these kids working 12 hours a day and working for 6 days a week too.

We were hoping for an end to all these, and my joy was boundless when I read the news last evening in the newspaper while going home by train. I was overjoyed and looked around to share the news.

The new legislation bans children under the age of 14 from working as domestic servants
or at hotels, teashops, restaurants and resorts. I also understand that this may not be good news for those families who depend solely on these children earnings. I could only feel for those mothers, who have ailing husband, or drunkards and had to depend on those children additional earnings.

There may be critics talking about the effectiveness of the ban. There may be big wigs who may try to find loop holes, and engage them illegally. If the new law has to do any good then the government should look into the proper enforcement of the ban. Also they should concentrate on bringing compulsory education and a little allowance for those economically backward families to uplift them.

I read somewhere that Kerala has virtually no child labour. This was possible because the Governments improved the quality of education and parents were more willing to send their children to school.

The great consolation for us should be that the fact India is also undergoing sweeping economic change. According to some experts, the GDP of India is expected to rise from 6 per cent to 11 per cent by 2025, outranking the U.S. — making India the third pole in the global economy after the U.S. and China. As India prepares to become an economic superpower, it must expedite socio-economic reforms and take steps for overcoming institutional bottlenecks inherent in the system, say analysts at Economy Watch.

The great hope is these laws will at least give moral support to those organisations who are fighting against child slavery.

03 August, 2006

Today's Tamil Cinema

There are many fields in which we are ignorant, but we learn to be masters as we deal with them. One of such is parenting. I was impressed by two kids in a function. The elder was quite big to lift the second one and was handling the younger one for more than half an hour, while the parents were involved seriously in the baptising function of their relative child. At that time I was a parent of only one child. The thought of having a gap between two children gained strength. Though there are so many advantages of this, there are few disadvantages too. The elder is in his early teens, and the second one is just nearing five. One of the disadvantages is watching Tamil movies. We have to be very choosy before we could think of seeing a recent Tamil movie.

It is not a big deal to choose English movies. They have a good rating system. If we decide to buy a new movie (DVD) we go according to the rating about the movie. Even minute details about nude scenes and vulgarity of words are clearly mentioned on the DVD. So, it is easy to choose English movies.

Our regional films do not have good rating system. It is still a mystery to know about the way they rate our movies. What is the standard adapted to rate the movies as ‘U’ and ‘A’?.

Recent Tamil movies are so violent, you need a strong heart and mind to see those ones. In the name of reality, head rolling, knife piercing the body and blood oozing out has become a common scene in our movies. I really doubt whether anyone gives thought to such things.

Will they not consider the range of audience?

Is it a bad taste to expect a movie without any such scenes?

Why are they constantly showing such scenes?

Do they not have any children at home? If it is that violent, why can’t it be mentioned on the movies?

I understand that some could ask me “Why all this moaning? If you do not like, do not watch”. But how do we know about the movies in advance? For example, when we go to the shop, we had to depend on the salesman to know about the minute details of the movie. Once a friend of mine lent me a Tamil movie and I was shocked with the first few minutes viewing of the movie. The first few minutes were so shocking. From then, I have made it a point not to see a Tamil movie without asking anyone in advance about it.

The sad part is again we have multi channels in our language. Even the trailers show a bit of violence which is heart breaking. Leaving alone the violence, let us think about the sensational dances. Even the adult rated English movies do not have so much of sexual sensations than our Tamil movies. I happened to see couple of recent Hindi movies and they seem to be pretty decent.

The style of screen play is also slowly changing. Again in the name of reality certain words which were taboo once are being used fluently. Nowadays they are showing funerals to the minute details. Nobody understands how much it could affect a young child. In those days, even if they wanted to show that the girl was raped, it was shown by a flower falling down, or a candle light being blown off and etc. Just compare the same with today’s scenes.

I remember my younger days when we used to go as a family to watch Tamil movies. By the time we return home we remembered the good moral we learnt from the movies. There were no scenes that could stir any violence or bad thoughts in our mind. Any film was viewable by a family in those days. I have stopped watching Tamil movies in Theatres since ages. We watched an old Rajini movie couple of days before. It was pretty decent. I was able to freely sit with my family and watch it. It was a real entertainer. I remember many olden goldies. We used to return home with wet eyes after seeing them. The films like ‘Thangaikaga’, ‘Pasamalar’, ‘Deivamagan’, ‘Vietnam Veedu’, ‘Gouravam’,’Thangapathakam’, ‘Yenga Mama’, ‘Nalla neram’ and many more. I remember more of Sivaji’s film, because my Dad preferred us watching them. Those were the days when Devar films, came with movies involving animals. He had a greater vision towards entertaining the viewers especially the children. Our Tamil cinema industry has produced great directors and producers. There had been very good movies with different stories.

But what is happening today? Why has the standard deteriorated? No doubt, the music has reached great heights. It is not so in the quality of films. Are our directors lacking in thoughts and subjects? Why everyone is revolving again and again on love stories, a wicked brother, a politician father, and a widow sister. Why there are no movies to show self motivation, confidence for youth, and entertainment for children, with a good moral? Though the usual formula is broken in films like ‘Kannathil Muthamittal’ ‘Anjali’, ‘Chippikul Muthu’ ‘Salangai Oli’ ‘Thavamai Thavamirunthu’ ‘Autograph’ why there are not many films of different subjects?

We cannot blame the Tamil Cinema Industry for this. Cinema is a Industry and every Industry is there to make money. They produce according to the taste of the public. I would blame the audience for the sad plight of Tamil Cinema. If we shun watching movies of bad quality, then the Tamil Cine world will change. Let us improve our taste of watching movies.

There are wonderful directors in our language too. Let us encourage them and try to bring in more good talents and taste.

Guess what

Could anybody guess what this place could be?

01 August, 2006

Madam... Sir... Please

Sometimes we have parties, with our team and colleagues, after our busy day of work. Mostly such parties happen on a Friday evening or when a colleague leaves, or sometime just to celebrate the birthdays. Normally, we have a social chat. Many times, my colleagues (British) discuss about our country and places interest to visit in India, with me. The topics used to be about the hot sunny climate, population, Taj Mahal, Goa, Temples of South India, other places of interest to visit and etc. Once a colleague of mine, asked me the translation for a swear word in English. I expressed my ignorance, and wanted to know why he wanted to know the exact hindi translation for such a phrase in English. He said that he is irritated by the beggars in India when he is on Holiday, and wanted to tell them the next time when he goes on tour. I felt very bad, thinking of the situation that prevails in our place.

We do have growing millionaires and as well as the beggars in our country. During my visit to Chennai last month, I saw that begging has increased a lot in our place. There are more beggars than last year. It has slowly started as an Industry. I have heard that there are thugs, who force young children to beg in big cities. The most common sight in Chennai was young mothers with toddlers in their hand and begging in traffic signals. It is really pathetic to see them. They are quite healthy, but harm the infant and expose the child to the pollution and risk their life too. They are a hazard for the traffic and I do not find any government taking action on this.

There are beggars in Chennai, who are in finance business. A lady beggar who crawls in Saidapet Railway Station is famous for her finance lendings.

During my visit to Tiruchanur temple, I was shocked to see the priest giving the ‘Perumal theertham’ (holy water) in one hand and stretching another hand with money inside. The priest with ‘Chadari’ (the deity’s crown) also did the same. Then a group of temple staff approached me and said politely to go and accept prasadams. When I started going towards the prasadam queue, they openly admitted that they are temple staff and asked whether I could help them with money. If that was inside the temple, I came across a dozen of beggars outside the temple who were constantly following me wherever I walked in the street without allowing me to have a tender coconut. I was irritated by their cries, and got back into my bus. I realised why my British colleague wanted to swear at them.

India is not that poor. We have wonderful resources, huge wealth. The only problem is it is not equally distributed. Many beggars are healthy. They are physically sound. If they are not encouraged they may stop begging. Some educated people, keep it a routine to drop alms to beggars who are healthy. I have seen this in public. Irrespective of their abilities are we not supposed to discourage them? In my life time in India, I would have spoken to atleast hundreds of beggars and discouraged them. Whenever there was a lady with a child in front of my house, I have talked to her and said that we are against helping beggars, and she should go forward to take up work. I have seen few ladies stopping begging at least in our street. Some of them, nod their head and start after few houses. Where does the problem lie? It is a big network.

There are beggars quoting some religious functions to happen and beg. Just because they show faith in certain gods, they beg with a receipt book, saying that they want to celebrate a festival. They come in groups to make us believe. For example, for a festival that is likely to happen in some corner place(mostly unknown) they will be begging in another district.

On one evening thinking about this while travelling in the local suburban train, I got down at Egmore railway station. I was surprised at a scene. A blind lady was settling down on the stair cases. She was spreading lots of small items, and children toys. It was so beautiful to see her spreading the sheet, and displaying the articles. By the way she was working, nobody will believe that she was blind. While spreading the articles, another blind man who had already settled with his small sell outs, was enquiring about the welfare of this lady. I stood there to watch her doing the business. Within minutes she was ready for her sale and started selling out. She was neatly dressed and so all the other blind people. Whenever they were free, they were involved in talking about their other blind friends and their groups and their future meetings. It was a pleasure to watch them selling, handling cash and returning back the exact balance to the customers.

These people who are really disabled, still want to live with principles. If they want they can switch over to begging. But I could not leave that place, without appreciating their thoughts and their will to survive in a prestigious way.

I will be glad if anybody would let me know of any organisations, who talk with beggars and rehabilitate them to live on their own. I am looking forward to help such organisations.