Tag Archives: City News

The latest news of events and interesting destinations to hang out in the city. And stories of lifestyle hacks to live in a city.

Remembering J Jayalalithaa

I got an opportunity to stay in Coimbatore when Jayalalithaa was Chief Minister of Tamil Nandu, and I got the chance to experience some of the benefits of her projects. Her administration and welfare reached the deserving.  You could feel the Amma touch, if she was behind the project.

During our first year in Coimbatore, we were staying in a rented house.  Some relatives, who were settled in Coimbatorefor decades, came to our home.  It was for the first time in their life that they venture to that part of Coimbatre. The old Coimbatorians,  could not believe that this part of Coimbatore, which was known for its notoriety and anti-social activity, has transformed into a well planned society with professionally and economically well off people settling there in beautiful mansions. Then they recollected that during her previous reign, J. Jayalalithaa had initiated a plan to ridden the area of the anti-social elements. And this beautiful well-planned settlement was the result of her efforts.

The other instance was when a friend bought a house in Coimbatore. Since her husband was busy with his job, she decided to carry on with some of the registration work. She called me for help. But we both were unsure as to how to go to the Government Offices and deal with the red tapism. Then someone said that all we have to do was to submit the papers at the Housing Board Office, go home, and watch the proceedings on the internet. It was a pleasure to monitor, on the computer, the movement of the papers from one department to the next. A colour bar showed the movement of the documents – the colours moving from red, to yellow, to blue and so one. After a week finally the green light glowed which indicated that the registration process was finally done. What a pleasure it was, in those initial days of internet, to comfortably get the registration done without frequenting the government office, and without paying any bribe. Government officials were scared of Amma to ask openly for bribe, that is what the residents of Coimbatore used to say.

And then J. Jayalalithaa made it mandatory that every building should install Rain Water Harvesting System. Building societies called meetings to collect funds for the Construction of Rainwater Harvesting Units. People protested and criticised the Chief Minister. Some said that the she was helping her relative sell pipes and water tanks. But the end result of rainwater harvesting is there for everyone to experience. According to experts the ground water level of the places were Rain Water Harvesting took place has gone up.

I stayed in Coimbatore only for few years, but many a times I use the above examples whenever I talk about development or administration. Inadvertently she left an indelible mark in the hearts and minds whoever went to her area of jurisdiction.

jayalalitha

Visit to an old age home

The population of the elderly is increasing, and so is the number of Old Age Homes. Recently I met Stanley Johnson who runs Johns Daycare and Boarding for Senior Citizens, where elders stay, who suffer from various Geriatric ailments. On a holiday I decided to visit Johns Home, in Aya Nagar, Delhi, to know more about how an old age home works and to meet the elderly. I visited the home with my family, assuming that the kids will have a new experience rather than visiting some tourist destinations.

In the lush green lawns, of the quiet haven, of Johns Senior Citizens Home, the elderly Aunts and Uncles were sitting on the benches and enjoying the cool breeze and evening sunlight. Inside the home, there was pin drop silence, and a handsome Uncle was sitting in the reception, busily scribbling something in a note book.

Mr Stanley said that the Uncle, got mentally disturbed after he suffered huge loss in business. After coming to Johns Old Age Home he was put on medication, and now he has recovered. He does not speak much, but reads voraciously, and he is also the library in-charge.

Apart from the neatly and hygienically kept rooms, which are provided to the elders, there are also common recreation and dining areas. The clean and odourless surrounding of the Old Age Home is different from the rooms of elderly at our homes, which will usually smell of medicines and human waste. “The ultimate goal of our institution”, says Mr Stanley, “is to ensure that the elders who are with us are happy and live with dignity in a safe clean environment.”

Mr Stanley says that the care required by the elderly are of three different types: Some are fully depended so they require complete assistance in all their activities (Dependent Ageing), some are partially depended (Assisted Ageing) and other can manage their daily routines on their own (Active Ageing). “Some normal problems of the elders are loneliness due to loss of spouse, weak eye sight, disability in walking and other movement, self-denial, loss of Memory, paralysis, Dementia, Alzheimer, Parkinson, Blood Pressure, Diabetic, Cardiac problems and Bed sores.”

We met some of the elders; and the aunties talked more and socialised. Some of them were wealthy, some abandoned and others suffered cruelty and treachery from their relatives. Because of their willingness to talk and share their feelings, I made a video which is shared below.

The elders are given round the clock individual attention by care givers, Nursing Staff, Supervisors etc. every seniors is served in a different manner as per the need of the inmate, For eg: Arthritics patient is dealt in the most softest manner of lifting and placing for food /toilet habits.   Many of the elders here are affected by dementia, Alzheimer’s,  partially paralysed, physically handicapped,  completely bedridden or suffering from loss of memory, sight and with a negative attitude to the life.

Dementia or Alzheimer’s require full time nursing as the patients lose their memory and they are to be treated like new born babies. The care takers require lot of patience and training to attend to a Alzheimer patients needs. Johns Home is known for the care they give for such patients.  A 78 year old Aunty, a Keralite, who is there for the past eight years, thinks that she has come there only a few days ago. She claims she is from a Royal family in Kerala.  Mr Stanley says “There was a mentally imbalanced upset aunty who now gets an audience to hear to her sad stories and  sings beautifully for the school children who visit her often”.

The Nonagenarian, Aunty, stole our heart. She is 99 and will be celebrating her 100th Birthday very soon. She is a vivacious and elegant lady who was a teacher in Nainital and Dehradun in her hey days. She in never satisfied with the care she receives/received any where, and she demands more care. Care for here means – someone to listen to her endlessly. She is been at Johns home for the past many months and surely enjoys her stay there. At the ripe old age, she was punctually out in the lawn after tea for her evening walk, accompanied by her attender.

Mr Stanley says “Once there was a unhappy Grand Father who doubted and complained about everyone in his own home.  He was made the Supervisor of the floor and he had no complaints as he saw himself as a captain and is very happy and felt that this home was better place than his previous home”.

The vision of Johns home is to ensure that the solace provided by them helps every elder staying at the home forget their past sorrows and live joyfully with a smiling face. Their future goal is to have their own home along with a Geriatric division giving Age care facilities to accommodate at least hundred Senior citizens.

“At Johns we have been constantly working as a team on spreading awareness about the need to uplift senior citizens and help them thru their disabilities as age catches by and thus working on human cause of uplifting social awareness. Taking our endeavours forward, this year we have crossed boundaries, serving the society is great Pleasure. Our life is incomplete till we add meaning to it.”

Johns Old Age Home provides social services to the community, especially the underprivileged by organizing medical camps in coordination with different hospitals at our centre on timely intervals.

When asked why and how your team decided for serving the Seniors he explained that amongst our members there was a feeling that we could have done much more for our parents who have left this universe and that prompted us to do  something and dedicate our remaining time, energy and money for caring of  elders. The similar kind of feeling is shared by every child with ageing parents – even after taking care of them at home, or give them complete medical attention, after their death, children ask the same question ‘Did I do as much as I should have done’. Whatever may be reason for being sent to such homes, Old age homes like Johns Home provide complete care, attention and love, which gives happiness to the elders in their old age.

Mission of Johns Old Age Home

  • Encourage each and every one to share and gain!
  • Generating awareness for a disease free society is our moral and ethical responsibility.
  • We always tend to impart education on preventive aspects of healthcare along with suggestive measures to build a healthy environment leading to a healthy society.
  • Our work is a way of telling the people among whom we operate that we care. Responsibility towards our community remains an integral part of most of our endeavors.

How can We help in the care of the Elderly?

  • As a Coherent community let us bring about the cultural leap of helping people. Helping someone is equivalent to praying to God.
  • Let us all come together to help and support people for their better and healthy life.
  • Everybody should be as encouraged to volunteer their time and skills and enjoy the experience of giving back to the community in which they work.

Delhi Malayalee Association Celebrates Onam

Like every year, this year too the Malayalees in Delhi, gathered in Delhi on September 10th, at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, to celebrate Onam Festival. There was a cultural feast, with traditional dance and song forms from Kerala  being performed by the 25 units of Delhi Malayalee Association (DMA) functioning at different parts of Delhi.

This year the Chief Guest was D V Sadananda Gowda, Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation. And the Guest of Honours were Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi and Richard Hay,Member of Parliament.

The cultural extravaganza included the various dance and music from Kerala, which rose a nostalgic feeling of the colours and ambience of the 10 day festival. In the morning there was the floral decoration (Attapu) competition. And in the evening the cultural programme began by distributing prizes to the winners. Also prizes were given to the toppers in Academics 2015-2016.

The colourful programme included the Soopana Sangeetha, which showcased the rich folk tradition of Kerala. Followed by Thiruvathira, the most important Onam dance performed by Women. Another all women dance performance was the Oppana, the muslim wedding dance.

A unique performance was a tribute to the great poet Kavalam Narayana Panicker. A dance programme was performed based on his famous movie, light music and folk songs.

The story-telling ancient musical art form Villadichampattu was one of the highlights of the evening, with the simple instruments and the symbolic colourful villu, the bow used by ancient warriors.

Most of the people came is traditional kasavy munddu and set sarees and took selfie with the mahabali and the colourful attapus decorated by the 15 groups that participated in the Attapu Competition.

onam-delhi-malayallee-association-dma-1onam-delhi-malayallee-association-dma-4onam-delhi-malayallee-association-dma-6onam-delhi-malayallee-association-dma-7

The Greek and Cypriot connection of a Bollywood hit song

If we search for the origin of any product, we will find that from potatoes and onions to coconut and tapioca, everything has a foreign origin. Civilization has kept evolving, and kept moving from one place to the another, so we have relics of Mesopotamia in Mohenjo daro and vice versa.

Do we need to criticise someone, and brand them copycat, if their Indian work looks like a copy of an Arabic work or a Western work. During a discussion of his book ‘The Country of First Boys’, Amartya Sen says that there was constant borrowing, quoting and referring to each others works in the ancient cultures by the Indians, Greeks and Arabs. Hence no culture can be said to be bred is a vacuum, on the other they have been nurtured by borrowing and adopting the good things from other cultures.

Today our lifestyle is a subtle mix of the oriental and occidental, very difficult to decipher where the influence of one culture ends and the other begins.

The art of borrowing from other cultures and making it suitable and enjoyable for the Indian Soil comes quite naturally for us. Some of our great artistes were so effective at translation and adaptation that the copy sounds better than the original. Now with the advance in technology public is getting copies of the original works, which makes them doubt the authenticity of the Wonderful Bollywood Hit Song they enjoyed for decades.

A great music composer was criticised for copying foreign music; an allegation which was hard to digest for the fans. In this age of social media, proving the allegation right, the original song by Demis Roussos which inspired Mehabooba Mehbooa in Sholay, is viral especially on whatsapp.

After listening to the original song ‘Say you love me’, by Demis Roussos, I was left in a confusion which was the original and how to decide which was better. Both musicians have left a mark of originality and essence of their culture in the songs. To be more precise, Demis Roussos, ‘Say you love me’ was not his top work, on their other hand Mehbooba Mehbooba is an all time hit of Bollywood.

Interesting, Demis Roussos composed the music based on a Cypriot folk Song.

Listen to all the three songs shared below, and may be you can find a connection this song has with another culture, proving that the world is round, and we have always been borrowing and sharing our cultural values with others.

Mehbooba Mehbooba

Mehbooba Mehbooa, in the Sholay, picture in 1974, was composed by Bappi Lahiri, and sung by RD Burman. Bappi Lahiri, according to some articles, has said he has sometimes borrowed music.

Cypriot Song

This is a video of an artiste, singing, Ta Rialia, which is said to be the original folk song, which was used by Demsi roussos for ‘Say you love me’. Cypriots are Greeks, who settled in Cyprus.

Demis Roussos

Demis Roussos was a Greek Musician,  influenced by the Cyrpriot music. Though  ‘Say you love me’ which is believed to be released in 1972, may not be his best works, Bollywood lovers cannot ignore the similarity with the Bollywood hit song Mehbooba, Mehbooba.

Bharat parv festival at Rajpath to celebrate Independence day

When Delhites have to plan for a quick outing, they will say Chalo India Gate Chale (Let us go to the India Gate). India Gate and the Rajpath in famous for the Republic Day parade, oflate a number of events are being conducted at the Rajpath Lawns which are both entertaining and informative. The events like the Bharat Parv are the best outing for all age groups where apart from delicacies from various parts of India, you can have feast for ears and eyes.

Sometime back Shauyanjali was organized to commemorate the 1965. Now to celebrate the 70th year of India’s Independence, Bharat Parv has been organised at the Rajapath Lawn. With over 50 pavilions there are food courts, exhibition from states, cultural programs, and a photo exhibition by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

The entire stretch for the event is decorated with various artefacts like puppets, masks and ribbon that replicate various cultures of India. Apart from the cultural programs from different parts of India at the stage, various groups perform randomly on the lawns and lanes of Rajpath. At any time at the even you can enjoy colourful entertainment programs at every corner of the Rajpath.

You have ample opportunity for Instagram pictures, videos and selfies of the melodious and colourful dance, martial arts and other programs at the Bharat Parv.

Bharat parv which began on Aug 12th, Friday, is a six days program to commemorate the Independence day.

Bharat Parv 8

Bharat Parv 2

Bharat parv 6

Bharat Parv 5

Bharat Parv 7

The whole new level of credit card fraud calls

Yesterday a friend, busily working in office, got a call from his credit card Bank inquiring if he was receiving Bank Statements on time. The call was from Chennai, as usual, so the caller, a female voice, had a south Indian accent. She told him that they received many complaints about frauds and non-receiving of statements. She was very convincing; she told him his Credit Card Number, official and residential address, and said that his card was getting upgraded.

She then asked for his CVV no., Date of birth and expiry date, which he readily gave. He gave the details because:

  • Fraudsters usually know  only the last four digit of the card number.
  • They do not know the address.
  • They do not know full name.

Genuine Calls Vs Fraud Calls

Everyday we read and watch a number of messages and videos warning us from being mislead by fraud calls. Yet we get caught off guard because the fraud callers use a new technique, every time, to win the victims confidence. However there are a number of differences between a fraud call and a genuine call from the bank:

  • Genuine calls do not ask for you verification. They call you for upgrading a card because you are pre-verified, and fulfill the eligibility for a upgraded card.
  • Your verification detail is asked when you call the banks customer care, and not when they call you.
  • If someone says he is calling from the insurance department, then it is a fraud call. Insurance department never makes such calls.
  • If the callers asks you if you are an account holder of a particular bank, that means he is not calling from the bank. Had he been calling from the bank he would have known that you are an account holder.
  • No bank will ask for you CVV no. or OTP (One Time Password). These are  your ‘exclusive keys’ to access your account.

Precautions to be taken

  • For those who do lot of online transactions, keep your personal and social media accounts separate.
  • Possibly use your name differently in the social media accounts.
  • Possibly use different emails and sim cards for social media and personal/professional accounts
  • Install Truecaller App on your mobile phone. Most fraud calls will appear as ‘fraud/scam calls through truecaller. Even if you get fraud call from an unidentified number, save that number as ‘fraud/scam’ calls.
  • Inform the elderly about the fraud calls and tell them not to divulge any information on phone.
  • Tell the caller that you will call back the bank and give the information they are asking.

 

HE WAS RESCUED AND IDENTIFIED; 3 YEARS AFTER LYING UNKNOWN ON STREETS

Had it not been for the timely intervention of Fr. Biju P Thomas, Suresh would have been lying unknown on streets and cremated as an unidentified person. 

Suresh was lying under a fly over in Punjabi Bagh, for the last three years, and last week, on 7th July, Thursday, a malayali boy came to know that Suresh hails from Kerala and so gave a call to Fr Biju, the Vicar of St. Gregorios Church, Janakpuri.  Father took swift action and he took Suresh to a shelter home, Santhibhavan at Jasola, where he was cleaned and given good food.

Suresh said three years back he was hit by a vehicle, and he lay on the roadside unable to move, he ate biscuits and water provided by good samaritans. A rickshaw puller had left him in the present place.

Suresh lost his memory, so could not remember much about himself. He recollected that he has a brother called Sunil and that he came to Delhi at a very young age, accompanying his uncle, in search of a job.

After being cleaned and fed at the shelter home, Suresh slowly regained his memory and then he got nostalgic wanting to return to his village and meet his family. When his care takers asked him why he hadn’t shared his feelings with anyone in these three year, he said he had told some people.

Soon the news was shared by the media which led to more help coming from DMA (Delhi Malayalee Association). Minister Kodikunnil Suresh, visited him at the Shelter Home. Suresh’s mother recognised him from a picture in the Newspaper. She said that her son after leaving for Delhi, with his paternal uncle, 22 years back, at the age of 14,  never returned.

Suresh’s brother and a ward member, of his native village, left for Delhi and were to reach on Monday morning. Fate had something else in store for Suresh. He vomited blood on Sunday and his health took for the worse. Most of his internal organs were dysfunctional. He was admitted to the Holy Family Hospital and put on the ventilator and he died at 4:00 A.M. on Monday.

His body which was handed over to the DMS, was embalmed and kept at AIIMS. Many organisations and individuals came forward to help Suresh. His Body has been flown today to his home and finally will be buried beside in father, in his ancestral home in Kollam.

22 years is a very long time, fortunately for Suresh he did not forget his mother tongue that helped in his rescue. Suresh has been identified as Suresh Pillai from Thevalakara, son of Saraswathi Amma and Surendran Pillai. He got a brother Sunil and a sister Sujatha.

There are hundreds and thousands of such Suresh’s  on the street whom we presume to be drunkards or homeless. A small enquiry may change the life of the person forever.

Thanks to the effort of the Good Samaritans, Suresh could spend his last few days in a peaceful abode and establish communication with his family.

Indian Standard time or Singapore Standard Time

The only time I went on a group trip was on a Singapore-Indonesia tour ten years ago.  It was arranged by a travel agent and there were atleast 20 families in the group. A friend took all responsibility of the trip, so we hardly had any worries except to do all the shopping about the trip and brag with friends and relatives. In those day very few people went on international tours, so we felt proud.

At a destined time we reached an assigned spot to take the Tourist bus to Kochi Airport. After Picking up friends at various points we bagan the 2 hour road trip. We enjoyed a enjoyable ‘picnic’ trip to the airport, singing and joking. At the airport also we enjoyed 3 hours of masti, as we had an agent to take care of the paper works, we only had to enjoy the trip.

Most of our friends were first time travellers so when the flight took off there were  humorous experiences; one 25 year old guy cried for his Mom.

Everything was fine until we reached the Singapore Airport. Then we were ‘handed over’ to a Singaporean Guide, I thing her name was Mary. Then we understood why Singapore is much ahead of ‘time’.

Mary was particular about time unlike we Indians. In India we reach a place atleast an hour after the designated time. The only person I know to be punctual is Big ‘B’ – Amitabh Bachchan.  Mary took us around on a tourist bus to tourist destinations like the Mirlions and Botanical Garden. While we de-board the bus she gives us strict instruction to come back at a sharp timing ; say for instance 4:00 PM.

Most of the time we all messed up with the timing. We used to get even half an hour late and then Mary got even more strict. She said next time she will not wait for anyone and just move on.

We had to obey because non of us had a local SIM, so she was our boss for the trip.

The next day we were all on time and Mary praised us for mending our manners. From then on she used to say “come back at Singapore Standard Time and not Indian Standard Time”

Next day we went to Sentosa Island, Singapore Zoo, Chinatown and various other places.  We saw the four different ethnic groups – Chines, Malaya, Indian and other staying together and working in unison for the betterment of their own self and of the country. All religious groups Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam stay together in harmony.

Singapore is like a well kept home, not a single piece of paper or a bit of dust could be found anywhere. All the cars were less than 15 years old so they shined like new cars. And above all the same water was used in the wash room and for drinking. You can take water from the wash room and prepare tea.

By the end of the tour Mary became friendly and she learned a few malayalam words and promised to visit Kerala very soon. We bought some tokens to remember the Trip.

Finally we were handed over to the Indian Guide at the Airport, we were much relieved because we could now follow the Indian Standard time. Just like at the beginning of the trip we were dropped home from Kochi Airport by Bus.

We came back with lots of memories and learning . If we follow Singapore Standard Time (Punctuality) we can have success in life and we can contribute a lot to our society.

 

Free Wi-Fi in East Central Railway

Of all all the public places, trains are the most essential place that require Free Wi-Fi Connection. While travelling by train we have lot of leisure time. Anix, a global company has come up with an initiative to prove Free Wi-Fi to passengers in East Central Railways.

Free Wi-Fi will be provided for passenger of East Central Railways in a few months time. Anix is a leading multi interest global management, outsource, service and product distribution company. Anix in collaboration with ECR has been awarded a contract to provide free Wi-Fi service to commuters.

“The company will invest Rs 80 crore to set up the infrastructure,” said  Animesh Chaudhary, CMD of Anix, a company founded in Bristol, United Kingdom in 2010. Private ISP Network WebPass is partnering with Anix as the main licensee for providing content.

The free-to-consumer service will be launched in the second half of this year, it added. A spokesperson confirmed that an MoU was signed on April 15th this year for the same. He said the service will be free for customers and it will generate revenue through advertising.

The company said Wi-Fi service will ensure a 50 Mbps (3 times 4G) minimum speed to passengers devices while the maximum speed could potentially go up to 1.6 Gbps. Anix, said it already runs Wi-Fi on some PSU of India and will use a solution deployed on superfast rail networks to deliver high speed broadband internet experience.

ISP Provider Web Pass will be building the front-end customer interface as well as the content pipe. Users across ECR will be able to experience high speed broadband by logging onto the internet via a dedicated app. This app will also display the location, approach and destination hub on a real-time basis and help navigate between different lines.

Anix said it already has significant learning’s from the pilot project on many PSU.  Anix together represents six continents globally in co-operation with its partners. In 2010 Anix Group reached down to India and incorporated its first venture in the national capital of India under its flagship brand.

Remembering Indelible Strokes of Cartoonist Toms

Cartoonist Toms

I do not know Cartoonist Toms well though I like his old cartoons. Thought provoking humour at its best and which would stand the test of time. There are some who makes you think and some who makes you laugh, but very few who could do both…I remember my Professor once pointing my views to the dog in the cartoons; to check the actions and reactions of the tiny dog in each situation.  The finesse in even the smallest of details……. Every frame filled with thoughts but yet with a few strokes. The pen has stopped but the ink will remain indelible and will continue to spread for generations………..

About the Author: ManuManu Varghese Stephen is the CEO of Trade Integre Ltd, UK. He loves to work with people to help them achieve their full potential, be it a graduate student get a dream job in the Big 4 OR a Company with absolutely no history or experience with their new service launch to become the leader among their competitors in less than 6 months. In his motivation talks he often uses Boban and Molly stories by Cartoonist Toms, to inspire the listeners