Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Knowledge must travel....

This is the translation of a verse sung by pastoralists belonging to the Kutch region of Gujarat, India.

Thursday, December 01, 2016


What i thought was lost in cyberspace, i found today.
To say that i am a wee bit satisfied.... would be an understatement!
Thanks, unknown cyber librarians and cataloguers!
But not many can make out the priceless from the valueless!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Moderation in Everything, Necessities in Moderation.

The origin of fireworks / crackers (and their use during deepAvali) has become the next contentious issue. While the debate continues, those who wish to pause and think can ponder on these -
1. CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) site lists "Noise Standards for Fire Crackers". Unable to find regulations or emission standards.
2. There are regulations in other countries - see Consumer Fireworks and Hazards and Regulations
In recent years, newer toxic pyrotechnic compounds have been unleashed in the consumer fireworks market, without any checks whatsoever.

All religious, social and cultural practices were once environmentally sustainable.
Now each of these practices, fasts and festivals have become convenient targets for 'sustainable' businesses, trapping citizens to vulgar outward displays and transient glee. 
The climate change crisis is a valuable opportunity for the right wing government to lead the nation in reverting to sustainable and sensible practices.
Inputs welcome.

If an outright ban is not practicable, then it is time for stringent regulations in the fireworks industry. Once again, it is likely to be the defense services which can come to the rescue of clueless civilian authorities who focus more on revenues than on repercussions.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Monsoon Predictions

(Predictions of) A good monsoon ought to cheer up a farmer, far more and far earlier than lesser citizens of a nation. After all, the monsoons are a sort of DBT from Nature to the farmer's soul. And the rest of the nation benefits indirectly.
But what do we notice?
Prediction of good rains cheers up stock markets, energises the brokers, adds to the disposable incomes of the elite, keeps up the GDP illusion... all this before the farmer can say ஏலேலோ ஐலசா 'Elelo ailasa'

Friday, June 03, 2016

The GDP cliche

If i hear just one more time the words: "India is growing at 7.6%, and it is the only bright spot in a year of global economic turmoil", i'll.... i'll... i'll know that the FM is somewhere in the vicinity parroting into a mike.
Here's a secret, Mr AJ - If you focus on the agricultural growth rate, your favourite 7.6% will touch the skies.
Here's another secret, Mr AJ - IMF has called the bluff on neoliberalism! So rethink the kind of reforms you are drafting.

At 7.6%, India is the fastest-growing economy or the best data fudger

‘Discrepancies’ drive GDP growth

"Badai Banglavu"

A recent episode of this long-running TV series on Asianet featured Manju Warrier, a favourite screen persona.

To a query about acting with Big B, she mentioned a small piece of info - To accommodate his long legs, Bib B sits on 4 stacked plastic chairs during breaks in shooting.
i have been an ardent supporter of chair designs that feature higher seat-levels than the standard 18".

In the same episode, Mukesh rightly used the words 'Gender determination' to convey an appeal against female foeticide.

#Mukesh #ManjuWarrier #BigB #ChairDesign #GenderDetermination #BadaiBanglavu 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Between Articles 44 and 51A, can we bridge the gap? Need for a Uniform Civic Code, the other UCC

Ahead of Deepavali, our group housing society had completed a round of whitewashing of the stilt-parking area, and the internal faces of the peripheral walls. This had hidden all the randomly-designed paan-spit marks, accumulated over a few years. Residents must have hoped that the walls stay white for a good while, before a paan-chewer decides that enough is enough, and inaugurates a new round of auspicious-coloured designs on invitingly white walls.
Aren’t you heartily sick of seeing your ‘brothers and sisters’ spit here, piss there, jump queues and signals, throw garbage, pluck flowers, jaywalk on the road, drive on footpaths, tease small creatures, shout news on TV?

Are you entitled to speed up just because your car is more powerful?
Is your time more important than the person awaiting medical care in an ambulance?
Is it mere colour-coded artwork that the police have painted on roads and at traffic junctions?

Article 44 of the Directive Principles in India sets the implementation of the ‘Uniform Civil Code’ as duty of the State. The Wiki page on the Uniform Civil Code reads – “Uniform civil code in India is the debate to replace the personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in the country with a common set governing every citizen. These laws are distinguished from public law and cover marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance.”
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam has been the only decent and recent proponent of the Uniform Civil Code. In 65 years, we have had hardly a few statesmen at the helm. Instead we have been having plenty of people who are “smugly sure that their own religion is the finest in existence”, and therefore this UCC has remained elusive.

I admit that I am an ardent citizen hoping for this UCC to fructify, or for at least an informed, intelligent, sober debate on the issue. However I also feel that India needs a far more urgent look at implementing another UCC: a Uniform Civic Code, an as yet unwritten set of civic rules applicable to every citizen of India, irrespective of caste, creed, colour, gender, religion, community, educational qualifications, bank balance, VIP status, number of horns, marital status, security status, geographic location, historical ignorance levels, IQ, EQ, parentage, idiosyncrasies, political affiliations... even past misdemeanours.

In fact they are written down clearly; Article 51A of the Constitution lists eleven duties, reproduced here for the purpose of triggering forgotten high school lessons -
(a)      to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
(b)      to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
(c)      to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
(d)      to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
(e)      to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
(f)       to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
(g)      to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures;
(h)      to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
(i)       to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
(j)       to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement;
(k)      (who is parent or guardian) to provide opportunities for education to his child, or as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.

These duties are truly high ideals for citizens to follow, similar to the Directive Principles of State Policy that imply some high ideals to be followed by the state. Unfortunately, these duties are ‘Non-enforceable and Non-justiciable’, that is, no citizen can be punished by a court for violation of these fundamental duties.
Are these fundamental duties merely a list of churchy clichés? Unfortunately, they are just that - unless constitutional amendments give the duties higher status. Thereafter we can expect citizens’ adherence because they can be enforced, and courts will be able to take cognizance of violations and award penalties and punishments. Till then, citizen self-regulation, like media self-regulation, will remain a myth. 

When will these amendments become an enforceable part of the Constitution of India?

DIY... Let’s DIO!

The friendly neighbourhood cobbler, tailor, knife-sharpener, plumber, electrician and all other valuable roadside service providers are an endangered lot. We the conspicuous consumers are least concerned. When a household item needs to be fixed, we ought to give more than a fair chance to all these sustainable livelihoods – and ourselves – and avoid creating additional trash, a practice in which we have become amazing pros.

The mixer-grinder jar’s lid comes with a smaller removable top, which is used to add water while grinding. When we went looking for the small part to replace a broken one, we found that we had to buy the whole lid. I’m glad we decided against buying the entire lid, because back home, we found two things that could do the job. One was the lid of an empty bottle of Eno, and the other a similar lid of a small asafoetida box. So now i have an endless supply of these lids, enough to start a small-parts business, and can compete with the original parts supplier.

Our son’s watch has a well-loved and well-worn Velcro strap. Fair wear and tear took the zing off the Velcro, and out we went, looking for a spare strap. None of the showy, brightly lit welcoming, air-conditioned showrooms had one to spare. Back home, my husband gave the strap a good wash, removed the old Velcro, and went down to the tailor at the gate. That hard-working gentleman securely stitched on to the strap a new piece of black Velcro, and the watch is as good as new. It cost us a whopping Rs 20 for the spare part and the labour.

The bathroom mirror disintegrated and fell off the wall mounting in parts. The flat piece of mirror first came undone from the wooden base, and gently settled on top of the wash basin. The glass strips on three sides then detached one after another, and rested directly below. Instead of having to stare at the wooden base where my reflection ought to have been, off came this wooden base, awaiting disposal. We put off the errand of buying a new mirror to the weekend. For a week my husband managed to shave either from memory, or from habit, or both. Then I decided that the bottle of synthetic resin adhesive must help, and all the parts of the mirror submitted meekly to my commands as they allowed themselves to be fixed on to the base again and then be pressurised to stay on, overnight. Since the next morning, the mirror was back on the wall, ready and waiting to take on the worst of Snow White’s rivals. And yes, I might launch a mirror-fixing service too.

The tubelight fixture looked old. The tube too. Bracing ourselves for additional expenditure in buying a new set and getting it fixed by the electrician, we found out that end fittings costing Rs 20 a pair would suffice. We bought the end fittings, and then it was an endless wait for the electrician to turn up. Several days later, an investigation revealed that fixing those end fittings amounted to child’s play, and so we DIO – did it ourselves. Then we dutifully thanked the electrician silently – it was because he didn’t turn up that we had the chance to learn and DIO. 

Next time you are tempted to throw away and buy new, pause. Tell yourself that there has to be a better way than the use and throw path. Yes, you can let the friendly (sometimes pricey) neighbourhood service providers earn an honest job’s wage, but certainly try to DIY; it’s not rocket science.

Remember the popular tagline of a fast-acting glue? Well, when we DIO, we can even fix broken hearts.

The Elusive Chair (TEC) - A Form Vs Function Debate

Have you sat in a chair and felt - "Wow, this is comfortable!"? 

Of late, we are spoiled for choice. We can sink into luxurious sofas, and lose ourselves in blissful sleep. You can plonk yourself down in luxury, and be counted among the couch potatoes. You can relax and sit back, looking around pleasantly as you await your turn in all sorts of foyers and lounges. 

But if your knees have aged before you have, they put up all kinds of protests when it comes to getting off the chair. All those waiting-room chairs 'receive' you whole-heartedly, but seem to turn the other way when the time comes to 'return' you on your feet. You just can't get up from them gracefully; they are awful for older / weaker-kneed people.

We invariably do not think twice about the chairs we see and use everyday, do we.

For several months now, I've been looking for suitable seating that responds to a few simple specifications.
- Sturdy enough for a senior citizen with limited mobility
- The height of the seat is 22-23 inches, a good 4+ inches above the 'standard' 18 inches
- the backrest is comfortable
- The cushion is not too soft; it should NOT sink inward.
- Must be available in both versions: with / without armrest.
- Must be reasonably priced
- No fancy attachments or silly frills

So we went up and down Delhi's markets searching for TEC. Happy furniture-wallahs welcomed us and showed us umpteen varieties of dining chairs, writing chairs, luxuriously inviting sofas, ottomans, executive chairs, bar-chairs, revolving chairs, lounge chairs, rocking chairs, elegant bamboo dreams, antique-looking regal thrones, but never TEC.

We located a carpenter and a sturdy-looking set of four second-hand dining chairs. When confronted with the need, he though about it, and eventually we decided on a plausible modification that could very well solve the issue. After that it was an eager wait for the "all-done-and-ready" call.
It remained a dream. The carpenter had bitten off more than he could chew, and our address read "Square One".

Determined to hunt down TEC, we set off to the famed Jail Road, known for furniture shops. After trudging from shop to shop, and checking out their dusty godowns, armed with a measuring tape, there it was, TEC, in foam and steel. It looked dirty and dated, but in a jiffy the shop-owner had it dusted and re-wrapped in new cellophane wrap. Did he have another, please? Oh yes, madam, er... no madam, just the one.

Thankfully I found a sturdy enough design that included armrests, with a not-too-soft cushion to be used as per need.

And that's why I now feel confident enough to launch TEC (Seating Consultants).

So how low (high) is too low (high) when it comes to furniture? You want a thumb  rule? 
1. Be kind to your knees. 
2. If you are happy with 'low', nothing can beat the Good Earth, the floor under your feet. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Between the land and the sea - Notes from #ChennaiRains 10

1. Piyush Manush added 2 new photos. 

This 96 sq feet bamboo structure could easily house a family of four till they reconstruct thier homes and lives. A lot of improvisation would be done to the same and it would also be fitted with solar lights ..All this for only 4800/-
Make a difference to the lives of the people who have been rendered homeless .. Come join us at Gandhi Stadium. We at Salem Citizens Forum have announced Salem's effort to focus on Shelter building for the homeless and we are sure all will contribute ...
For contributions from abroad pls do use this account no -
Piyush Sethia,
Bank of Maharashtra,
S.B. Acc- 20111114356
IFSC Code- MAHB0000375..
banks are finding it difficult to handle funds for trust accounts. For local contributions please do send to -
Ac name & No - Mari Sthalam- Salem,: 915020020105876
Branch - Axis Bank -Ramakrishna Road
Ifsc code- UTIB 0000170

Bamboo Shelter update - We are modifying & tinkering with the earlier design.
1. Making sure that the shelter lasts for a decade by treating the whole bamboo.. the treatment is done by heating the bamboo with CSNL solution.
2. Implanting a iron pole so that the bamboo does not touch get immersed in soil.. pic 2 ..
3. Champaka suggests that a glass bottle lining around the shelter will ensure no scorpions, lizards or snakes enter the premises.
maximum in a weeks time we hope to despatch atleast 30 shelters a day depending on th e availability of labor. Pls suggest if any changes are to be made ..

Volunteer Sharan
Help was posted for an aged couple (76,82 respectively) highly diabetic with a son affected by cancer and his child , who hadn't had anything for 2 full days. No water , No food , nothing. Their house had water until the first floor and they couldn't step out. The house went unnoticed during rescue operations and also the family had lost all connectivity since the phones were dead. Information was received through a fb post and somehow no one seemed to have been able to do much about it because of the lack of connectivity to the place. Water was 12 ft or more.
After a few hours ,a young man aged 24-25 , completely drenched was seen very efficiently trying to reach the place through ropes. He looked exhausted , but didn't give up. He managed to reach the house and the old couple was delighted to see someone come and give them food, after 2 entire days. He was shocked as to how the boy reached them, wherein even the boats or any trained sources couldn't reach. He thanked him and blessed him. On his way back from that house he noticed a lady with a small kid and enquired what happened . The lady was stranded all alone and was pleading to be shifted as the boats hadn't reached the place. The next moment the kid was on the boy's shoulders , carefully clinging on to this boy and the lady held the shoulders of the boy firmly , and they were on the other side of the scene in some time. After having done this , when the boy was getting some rest , the naval officer there got into conversation with him and got to know he was just a common man and this was the first time ever he did a rescue. Much to the astonishment of the officer. He was told that he has all capabilities to join the Air Force , army or naval force. When asked further , as to how he reached the place , this was known. He had travelled all the way from ECR, to Ashok Nagar. On the way , due to diversions he had to come through Vadapalani . While he was taking a turn , a brash car guy knocked him down. All the supplies he had bought for the family to be rescued was down the water. The supplies he bought were with the little money he had left as his salary hadn't been credited for the month. Nothing could be done , he had a family to be saved. He went ahead and reached a supplies place where he took in some bread and milk along with glucose for the family which was sinking because of their ailments. On reaching Ashok pillar , the water keel had come up to 8 ft and vehicles couldn't go. He parked his bike in a neighbouring road and started into the water . Wherein another rescuer Mr.Vincent introduced himself and they both were going in together. Finally they reached a place which was 5 -10 minutes from the destination . Vincent had to go and this boy was all alone not having a clue as to what had to be done. Courage , selflessness made him surpass the obstacles and he reached the family . The old man was the only person who was stable. The rest of them were sinking in hunger and low blood sugar levels. And once the supplies were given they regained consciousness. There was no media to cover this humongous effort but we salute that boy. Enquiring about him we got to know his name is Sharan. He has taken his life at stake to help the family . God bless him

Relief contributions - utilisation status (no hard numbers, just to give you a sense of what we have been doing - hard number update to be posted by Srinivas Krishnaswamy later this week.
Hello family and friends - you have contributed and have been contributing very generously, so here's a little update on some of the micro relief projects we have undertaken with the funds given.
1. Relief materials towards 100 displaced anglo indian families - the contribution for this will be done on saturday by Uday Shankar - we have bought / collected the following material for the women coming - nighties, blankets, plastic pais, some toiletries
2. Adolescent girls home (320 girls - 20 more children are expected tomorrow via childline which is why the count has increased from 300) - we have bought / collected the following - innerwear for the children, nighties, leggings and tees, soaps, shampoos, and other toiletries. Still collecting / buying plastic mats, mosquito nets, buckets and mugs and napkins. The contribution for this will be delivered by me or Srini directly.
3. TREE foundation - collecting on behalf of TREE foundation . They are supporting close to 1500 families, so we have a large collection list including clothing for the whole family, blankets, napkins, etc.We deliver relief ourselves to Tree foundation and coordinate with Neelu Dhungana .
4. Basin Bridge displaced colony - collecting for 150 children (from 15 day old infants to 3 year old children) - supplies needed include milk powder, diapers and warm clothing. Again relief contribution is being coordinated with on ground volunteer, and will be delivered by one of our friends. (so beware everyone on my friend list!)
5. ECR Kuppam - request for 150 families - need is for saris, inskirts, nighties, mens shirts, lungis, pais, anti fungal cream, mosquito coils and basic rations. Still don't know how we will be sending these.
Apart from the above, we are also getting relief requests from an NGO based in adyar, and one working in Chemenchery. Both require cooking utensils, so I plan to start a separate drive for this.
We are kind of ready with micro projects 1 and 2. We have barely started with 3. Still rattling the tins for 4 and 5.
And this is just us. We are doing a very tiny amount of relief work, and not even full time. Imagine the vast ocean that still needs to be covered.
So this post strated as an update, and by the end, I am back to my appeal.
Please open your hearts and wallets and contribute. Bhoomika trust is one option - I don't have details but you can do a Facebook search and my friend Koushik Udayashanker has also posted about them.. Bhargavii Mani is doing fantatsic relief work.And also seeks contributions.
So do we. So here is where you can send in funds.
Name : Preethi Sukumaran
Bank : State Bank of India, Besant Nagar Branch ( Chennai)
IFSC : SBIN0003274
Account # : 20175773856
Please do note that this is our personal bank account number & not that of an NGO - so you will not be getting a tax deductible receipt.
What you will get is accountability for your valuable contribution, details and updates of how the monies are spent, thank you notes on FB, a Jaadu Ki Jhappi when you visit Chennai ( if you don't find it creepy) and of course , free samples of awesome krya products.
Thanks a ton! smile emoticon

Between the land and the sea - Notes from #ChennaiRains 9

Time to Recover Chennai's Lakes/Ponds/Streams.
EFI is initiating a document with photographs and proofs of encroachment into waterways, which will be submitted to the Govt of TamilNadu. We want all of you to participate, kindly help us by clicking photographs of encroaching Structure/Establishment or any form of obstruction and email it to info@indiaenvironment.org.
1. If you know of a lake/pond/stream in Chennai where there is an obstruction, kindly click photographs of the same.
2. Email it to us at info@indiaenvironment.org with name of location.
3. The Encroachment Could range from: Building, Parking of heavy vehicles, Bill Boards, Garbage, Construction Debris etc...
What will EFI Do?
1. Garbage, construction debris etc can be removed through voluntary efforts with govt permission. Vehicular obstruction can also be eliminated through appropriate dialogue with concerned drivers.
2. If they are larger structures and are a definite encroachment a report shall be presented to the Govt for action.
Let's work together positively in rebuilding Chennai, let's start with recovering our waterways.
-Jai Hind-

2. For all Chennai friends. Please do take part, or be in touch with this activity.
Let us realise that we need not wait for Assembly elections every time to hope for the better. Nearer to us than state assemblies are the civic institutions, who may give the impression of working, but are really capable of achieving far better social and civic objectives if citizens of each ward become more proactive and watchful. 
Let us break the corporator-contractor nexus, and claim the civic agencies, please!
Nityanand Jayaraman
SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY: Beyond Relief & Rehabilitation to Reclaiming Chennai, Our Lives and Democracy
WHEN: 13 December, 2015. 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
WHERE: SPACES, No. 1 Elliots Beach Road, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090
KEY SPEAKERS: No VIPs, No Eminent Speakers. Nobody over 35.
(Participants of ALL AGES welcome -- ENTRY FREE)
"The Chennai rains were sort of a 'truth ink' that wiped clean (and exposed) all the farces of the urban establishment," wrote a youngster Samudra Gupta on his facebook. That is true. The urban establishment stands exposed. But so does the fact that we, the people, are not in control of the Government. Our democracy has been captured by vested interests. From aesthetics to functionality, our cities are planned to please corporate investors, real estate sharks, and vile contractors, not residents or the vast majority of urban poor who make this city a home for themselves and others. What also stands exposed is that in the tension between environment and development, the environment will do no balancing.
As people, our anger at the failure of the "system" is justified. The youth who have been dismissed as "useless" and without a sense of social responsibility or purpose are the ones that pulled (are pulling) the city out of filth and floodwaters. Surely, as people who ably faced the daunting task of rescue, relief and rehabilitation in the face of a useless and anti-social establishment, these countless volunteers, back-office geeks, valiant rescuers and coordinators of youth-run portals -- like TheNewsMinute & Thelogicalindian -- can take on the far more formidable task of handling the disaster that our democracy has become.
How can we reclaim our government? How can we re-fashion our economy to ensure that we function within the limits set by nature? How do we redesign our society so that regardless of whether or not there is prosperity, we can ensure that there is no poverty?
These questions are too important to leave in the hands of those who have brought us to this pass.
Please spread the word, and join this brainstorm session to ensure that the opportunity presented by the disaster is not wasted.
For more information, contact: Archanaa Seker -- 9840523235  
3. My Chennai added 10 new photos.
True that!
Creatives credit: IN1947

Peter Van Geit· 
‪#‎ChennaiRains‬ ‪#‎FloodRelief‬ Chennai Trekking Club Launches TN Flood Relief Map: relief.chennaitrekkers.org
Our volunteers made tremendous progress mapping the relief status in the city - 45% of target areas have been surveyed! So far we identified 40 areas identified where no relief has reached yet. Our CTC Relief Center has dispatched materials to 7 areas. Many others are in progress. Please direct any relief materials to our center (contacts: Prasanna: 9994816896, Manoj 9597119618). We ensure it reaches the most needy. We need volunteers to help us scout 72 remaining areas mostly in the city outskirts.
Any volunteer doing survey / NGO doing relief can update the map directly:
Blue marker: area needs survey => require volunteers to scout => update survey results on map.
Red marker: survey done / needs relief => Relief NGO contact volunteer => dispatch relief materials => email info@chennaitrekkers.org to clear this area
Green marker: survey done / relief complete => no further action required
Any other area that requires relief can be added directly to map.
Please share with your friends/NGOs.
Chennai clean up - an important event
There is a very much important event happening on Sunday hosted by @restore and Organic farmer's market at Tre farms, Chetpet. Rekha RamuParthasarathy VMGopi DevarajanRadhika Rammohan,Sangeetha Sriram are the organisers behind the event.
This is a workshop to let everyone know why handing over bleaching powder and stuff like dettol(which I too have been guilty of collecting in the Chennai relief work) is not the greatest way to clean.
They are going to be talking about using AEM or activated effective micro organisms is a super, natural alternative to the above.
Srinivas Krishnaswamy and I plan to trek it from Siruseri on Sunday to join in and learn more.
We also plan to carry some more stuff you can clean your homes with which are natural, do not pollute and do a great job too.
So if you are around these parts on Sunday or even if you aren't, do land up. I hear several thousand litres of diluted AEM would be available gratis courtesy the manufacturers.
So come with empty bottles, fresh notebooks and pens and an open mind.
Human civilization and its need to clean has been around for a zillion years. Synthetic soap and other cleaning supplies for barely 160 years.
You do the math. (Of course we were all cleaning. Only with better stuff).

6.  Aarti Madhusudan.

Angels, all of them. In our area they are from Madurai. Grateful to these wonderful people who are cleaning our city for us.
Aarti Madhusudan added 2 new photos.
12 hrs
The city has been ravaged - there is muck and garbage everywhere - conservancy workers alone can't manage - the corporation has gotten people from other cities to come in to help - here is a bunch of folks from trichy - I saw teams from Cbe and Madurai too - if you bump into them do acknowledge and just say "thanks Anna" ad see them beam 

smile emoticon

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Between the land and the sea - Notes from #ChennaiRains 8

1. Ravi Udupa ‪#‎postsforshare‬ People, every ration card is eligible for Rs 5000 for flood relief. Even if you don't need it, pls claim it and donate it for a good cause. 

2. Shyami Sathiaseelan
When the first bout of rain started, I got messages from friends about looking for online help! As someone who didn't live in Chennai all I could do was any kind of virtual job and I did a couple of things for Chennai Rain Relief 2015. I am a homeschooling mother of two and I have no help in anything that I do, so it was business as usual for me, with just dropping everything that was not important to find time to volunteer. I thought things were getting better when the second bout of rains came along and real help was needed this time. I posted out saying I was ready to volunteer and when I got no response, I guessed they didn't want anyone that was not out in the field! I was a bit upset, only for a few hours as I started getting a list of people to call and confirm if they need any kind of help and if they were safe! For someone with Skype and high-speed internet, it was easy peasy job! The only problem was that network was down in Chennai and nine out of ten times my call would not reach the person! In the past two days I would have made at least 350 calls or more. I had my friend Raj helping me from US, and a forum friend who I haven't even met, Viggi (Vigneshwaran Shanmugam) helping me from India.
I was getting help from everywhere... my cousin Michael who works for Railways and who was constantly forwarding us Special train information which I was posting to the groups. Then there was Prabha, whose husband was stuck in rains, and she was out there in Coimbatore constantly helping people organise things and passing on the right information. There were other volunteers that I contacted like Pandian from TCS - he personally offered to check on a friend in Madipakkam and made sure that I had spoken to him, I actually called him in the middle of the night and he answered patiently. He runs an NGO called PadikattugaL! Shree Vidhya Sampath who wanted to make sure that my friend was rescued and safe before she closed the case! Arun from the control room who gave me his personal number to follow up on the case! None of them lost their cool. Most of them were probably overworked, hadn't slept or eaten for hours in the past few days and yet they were there saying it was their duty to do whatever they were doing. My friendManjubashini, who took efforts to be out on the field helping others. My cousinVicky who was out there taking care that all family members were safe, who took all their phones to office and charged it so that they could contact others in case of emergency, he also went out personally to check on others in the heavy rain and floods. My brother Dinu who was constantly sending me messages with information, cross verifying rumours before he posted them out and was calling people constantly to help! My cousin Mathavan was posting out information regarding help required/help offered.which I was constantly forwarding to other forums. My sister Rama, was also forwarding important messages, even though she hardly had internet connection or power!My nephew Saravana (Chintu) who was ready to offer his help as soon as he got back on the network! My classmate Thirumoorthy who went out and organised food. napkins. medicines when I asked him to and took it out personally to distribute them. My cousin Vinitha Satish and her husband Sathish, who are both doctors have contributed in terms of time, money and effort too!
I should also mention about my brother in law Surendiran who hasn't gone home in four days, helping people with power problems! And my sister Asha Ashok and Asokan Chandran mama for sending out stuff from Vizag!
I can see Vj Suriya and Charuprabha Thiruchelvan getting into this today as well! Join the group guys and do as much as you can!
Oh yes, Vidhya Rajan R who was out there helping as well needs to be mentioned! Chetana Ajit: thanks for collecting stuff and sending from Bangalore. Thanks to the entire CSV family that gave their support by collecting things and sending truckloads of stuff to Chennai. Charu, it was so nice of you to spend your time in helping others even though you were very busy with your own things!
I should mention that I made some lovely friends while I was calling to make sure people were fine. There was Rama from Chetput who offered help! So did Karuna Miriam! I should say I called people late at night and early in the morning and not one of them spoke with an angry tone! They were all glad to hear someone asking about them and while some were safe, they didn't stop at that, they were asking that their neighbours and friends to be rescued! There were people who said their neighbours needed attention because there was a small baby or an old sick person! And when I posted out the information in the Tamilnadu Flood - Support group, many times someone would respond immediately!
All these people should be proud of themselves! Big hugs from me to all the wonderful people who went out that extra mile to take care that everyone was safe! To all those people who thought it was their duty to go out and help their fellow human beings! A big Thank you from me! I hope I have not left out anyone in this post! If I did, please let me know and I will add them! smile emoticon
Thanks to Vaishnavi Jayakumar and team for giving me the opportunity to help!
Last but not least, a big thank you to my family, especially my two children for understanding and adjusting the last few days! smile emoticon The house is a mess, but my heart is happy!

Chennai goodness meter like our auto meters is on fire (soodu pudikithu)
A bunch of us are collecting for the adolescent girls home. And some dynamic ladies went to T Nagar to buy much needed innerwear for the children at the home who have lost all their clothing.
When told where his clothing was going, the store owner opened cartons of newly arrived clothing, handed over materials and REFUSED TO ACCEPT PAYMENT.
When told we were not an NGO and therefore could not give him a receipt or offer any it exemption certificate s, he offered to transport the material in his truck upto adyar again for free.
I am speechless. Chennai you rock!

Friends here is a song that is our prayer for Chennai. Do contribute by subscribing this as caller tune. The money will go to the fund as aid. Please share this on your timeline. Pray for Chennai. Let us arrange drinking water for the people in distress.
Let’s move, Come & extend your hand to quench their thirst.

Shade - and shades!

Shade - and shades!

Lest we forget

Lest we forget

Think about it -