26 December 2016

Yesterday I had the pleasure of viewing a nice travel show on Maldives on Travel XP Channel channel. Whenever I see or hear about this beautiful country I can't help remembering my good friend Jose (Jose Kottuthundiyil Cherian) who served there as HOD English and Principal in schools. (He and I were colleagues in a school in Bhutan in the late '70s. We lost contact for many years until a few years back, thanks to the Internet). I'll post his photo when he sends me one.

24 December 2016

Sink sanity

Most people do works just like how others do. But some people do the same works differently (so that the work can be completed more efficiently). I belong to the second category though at first seen as a sort of `eccentric'. 

We all know that kitchen sinks are sources of mosquitoes, cockroaches and other living organisms that can harm our health. We also know that these organisms feed on kitchen trash. In order to minimise the inflow of these organisms, I always make it a point to close any sink-bound utensil with a lid before placing it in the sink (as shown in the photo below):



(The photo is upside down. I tried to insert it in the proper orientation, but couldn't. I regret the tech problem which I'll try to sort out when I find time. Sorry for inconvenience).

It is always better to place any utensil away from the centre so that when we open the sink tap, the water doesn't spill out from the utensil.

These are all simple (probably uncommon) ways of functioning with significant benefits.




18 December 2016

Yesterday, after several weeks, I bumped into a very meaningful malayalam movie "Aathma Kathaa" meaning "Soul's Story", on Bharat Channel. This morning as I write this post, I hear a nice rendering by Placebo, a German rock band, on DW TV. Any entertainment medium isn't bad as long as it is meaningful. 

04 December 2016

A few days back, Goswami Gaurav Krishnaji was narrating a small incident in one of his discourses on Srimad Bhaagavatham: An inspecting officer was visiting a school to assess the quality of education imparted to children. During his visit to a class, he asked the students, "Who broke Shiv Dhanush?" Students said that they didn't know. This happened in all classrooms. He presented this question to teachers. They also said that they didn't know. Eventually he called the headmaster and asked the same question. The headmaster replied, "Sir, I really don't know. By the way I didn't break it. As whatever has happened cannot be undone, please don't worry about it any more."   

Any one who read the Indian Epic Raamaayanaa would know that it was Lord Shri Raam who broke the Shiv Dhanush during Goddess Sita Devi's Swayamvaram and married her.

This incident gives a somewhat correct picture of what is happening in our K-12 schools. Our schools seem to teach our children as to how to make a living (in any manner)  but not how to live.  

30 November 2016

Cash inconvenience to Columbia University

Mr Narendra Modi's government seems to be very firm in implementing programs to root out evils such as black money. I hope that our Government takes equally firm steps in eradicating corruption in all departments in general and judiciary and police in particular.

I lodged police complaint about one Kuber Sharma, a rogue individual owning an elearning company that cheated me (without paying salary). This guy's Facebook profile says that he had his education from Columbia University. (I don't know whether this is also a lie or whether the University admits anyone irrespective of his/her character). His company was based in Delhi at that time. Despite many reminders,  no action has so far been taken by Delhi or Chennai Police.

I hope that our Government views law and order as priority issue.

Jagdish Chandra Bose

Today is the 150th birthday of Dr Jagdish Chandra Bose, Indian physicist. Thanks to Google for their signature gesture in their 'Search' page today.

14 November 2016

Children's Day

Today is celebrated as children's day in our country (India).

Soft rock and The Smarton Trio

As I am writing this post I am watching a very nice musical rendezvous presented by The Smarton Trio from Budapest on NDTV Prime channel. There's is a nice rendering of songs and instrumentals. It's a pleasure listening to low decibel non hifi hippie-rock after a long time. The program took me back to my college days when I used to complete my post lunch physics lab early and rush back home to listen to softrock. I remember rock concerts of the late '60s in general and events like Woodstock fest in particular, with nostalgia.

I am sure that many people of my age group would remember the negative aspects of Hippie movement. The movement gave some opportunity to people like me to share our viewpoints with fellow youth and caution them on the negative consequences of the `hippie cult' through youth magazines.  One such magazine was `Friends', published by Salesian Institute of Graphic Arts in Chennai. Its November 1969 (or November 1970) contained my short write up `Hippies, hypocrisy and happiness'.

29 October 2016

Festival of lights

Best wishes for a happy Diwali.

14 October 2016

Bob Dylan

This year's Nobel Prize for Literature to legendary rock songwriter musician Bob Dylan is interesting. It also seems to have set a new trend. Though I have used good popsongs in teaching English language, Physics and other subjects I never expected that pop music would be placed on the same pedestal as novels, poems and plays.

(I remember my students enjoying a Robert Frost poem that I always used whenever I explained Millikan's oil drop experiment to determine the specific charge of an electron).

Getting back to Bob Dylan,  who wouldn't like his "Blowing in the wind", "Like a rolling stone" or "Mr Tambourine  man"? His simple music will keep ringing in the ears of folk and rock music fans for many years to come.

I remember having read many years back that Bob Dylan's writing was influenced by the works of Dylan Thomas, an American poet.

11 October 2016

Vijaya Dashami

Today is the grand finale of Dusserah Fest. This day is also celebrated as Buddha Jayanti and Madhwa Navami.

03 October 2016

Gandhi Jayanti

Yesterday was an important day for all Indians. We Indians celebrate this day every year as Gandhi Jayanti.  It is the birthday of Mahaatma Gandhi and Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri.

01 October 2016

Dussarah Fest

Today marks the beginning of 10 days long Dussarah festivities.

27 September 2016

Happy birthday, Google

Best wishes for a Happy birthday to Google! 

14 September 2016

Vaamana Jayanthi

Today is celebrated as Vaamana Jayanthi by Hindus. Shree Mahaa Vishnu incarnated as Vaamana and blessed King Mahaabali, grandson of Bhakta Prahalaadaa, the greatest devotee of Lord Narasimha (an incarnation of Lord Mahaa Vishnu). People in Kerala celebrate this day as Onam.

05 September 2016

Vinaayak Fest and Teachers' Day

Today is a very auspicious day for Hindus. This day is celebrated as Vinaayaka Chathurthi. This day is also celebrated as Teachers' Day (Birthday of Dr S Radhakrishnan) in India.(My father passed away on this day in 1997).


03 September 2016

Dhanvanthri Jayanthi and Balaraama Jayanthi

Today is a very auspicious day for Hindus. This day is celebrated as Dhanvanthri Jayanthi and Balaraamaa Jayanthi. Shree Mahaa Vishnu incarnated as Lord Dhanvanthri. He is the God of Health and Medicine. Balaraamaa was the elder brother of Sree Krishnaa. He was born a few minutes before Shree Krishna in Dwaapara Yuga. 

25 August 2016

Krishnaa Fest

Today is one of the most auspicious days to Hindu people. This is the day on which Shree Mahaa Vishnu took avatar as Krishnaa. According to scriptures, He was born with full ornaments befitting The Almighty, a little after moon-rise on this day nearly 5000 years back in Dwaapara Yugam.

24 August 2016

Engineering marvels of ancient Indians

This morning there was a very informative programme about contributions of Indian kings in Cambodia on `NATGEO People' TV channel.

Oddly, such amazing facts of history are not even mentioned in our school history textbooks.

Instead of inculcating values including taking pride in our heritage and contribution of our ancestors, parents and teachers of today seem to place aggressively strong pressure on children only to score marks, succeed in the job market and live comfortably. In other words we seem to be keen on transforming our youngsters into money making machines.

Every right minded school academic in our country knows as to how value education is arrogantly pushed aside in favour of other curricular subjects for no right reason such that our youngsters are stressed and arrogant without knowing their roots.  

22 August 2016

Bringing up children now and then (years back)

This morning in his discourse, an ISKCON Mumbai aacharya mentioned as to how important it is for mothers to train children to respect their fathers. Yes indeed, it used to be like this when we were young.

It was around 2 PM on a hot day in March 1971. When I returned home from college after writing my 1st day's exam related to my B Sc Degree, I realised that I had dropped my hall-ticket unknowingly either in the bus or at the bus stops.  My father got very angry because I was careless and asked me to search for the hall-ticket and said that I could have my lunch only after I brought back my hall-ticket though my mother requested for a less stringent punishment. I couldn't disobey my father's order. I searched at the bus-stops, but in vain. Due to exhaustion I couldn't prepare for my next day's exam as well as I had expected.  But still it was important that my father's order had to be obeyed.

My parents, like many parents in my generation, were strict when it came to children's behaviour. Like many good mothers of those days, my mother too  had always tried to convince us that our father was right and that we needed to respect our father and obey him.

20 August 2016

Raghavendra Swami's punya dina

Today is an auspicious day for Hindu people in general and people like me who follow Maadhwaa traditions in particular. This day is celebrated as Raaghavendra Swaami's 'punya dina'.

18 August 2016

Hayagreeva Jayanthi

Today is an auspicious day in the Hindu calender. This day is celebrated as Hayagreeva Jayanti.  Lord Hayagreeva, an avataar of Shri Mahaa Vishnu is worshipped today.

15 August 2016

Independence day

As we celebrate our 70th independence day, our country seems to forge forward. But still, we have a long way to go.

When we were of school going age, independence day used to be celebrated meaningfully with a lot of good fun. But today, our children and youngsters have no time for obvious reasons rightly or wrongly.

I and my mother reside in one of the 150 or so apartments situated on one of the main roads in the city. We reside in 3rd block and my brother and his family reside in the next block. Though I am not a very pushy guy like my brother or my dad, I do try to keep cordial relations with people around me. Though I have always tried to keep a low profile in public functions, I could not succeed in refusing our Apartment Owners Association office bearers' request to hoist the national flag and deliver a speech this morning . 

As I mentioned in my brief 5 minutes speech after hoisting our national flag, our youngsters have important roles to play in eradicating evils and contributing to multidimensional development at different  levels.


I think that  problems of corruption, environmental pollution and  poverty should be solved effectively.

A few years  back I was employed as Curriculum  Specialist by  a Delhi based k-12 Assessment Company with offices in the US. I worked for nearly 4 months but was paid only a month's salary. I had lodged complaint to Delhi police as well as Tamilnadu Government Police  Department's Cyber Cell. Still there is no response from them. While the situation is so inert at the Government level, profile of the rogue founder of the fraudulent Company is still active displaying that he is a product of Colombia University, New York.

I think that we need drastic changes in how Government Agencies handle law and order at least from now on, 70 years since independence.



12 August 2016

Shree Mahaa Lakshmi Vratham and Krishnaa Mahaa Pushkarani Fest

Today is auspicious to Hindu people for two reasons. This day is observed as Shree Mahaa Lakshmi Vratham. Today is also the beginning of Krishnaa river Mahaa Pushkarani festival lasting up to 21 August.

28 July 2016

Sreejith's birthday

Today is the birthday of my friend Sreejith about whom I have mentioned in my earlier posts. He is a nice young gentleman.

My best wishes for a very happy birthday to him.   

23 July 2016

Birthday wishes to Dr L Subramaniam

Best wishes for a happy birthday to violin maestro Dr L Subramaniam


19 July 2016

Guru Pournimaa: Teachers' Day in the Hindu Calender

Today is observed as Guru Pournimaa by Hindu people all over the world. Sage Veda Vyaasaa, an incarnation of Lord Naaraayanaa Himself presented the Divine Epic Mahaa Bhaarathaa that contains the Divine Words of Wisdom from Lord Krishna. Not content with what he wrote in Mahaa Bhaarathaa, the sage wrote Shreemadh Bhaagavatham at the request of Deva Rishi Naaradaa.   

Events on this day take Hindu people one step closer to spiritual goal from the `teacher - student' perspective. 

18 July 2016

Prime Minister's tour to Africa

While there is no doubt that our Prime Minister's 4 nation tour of Africa recently would strengthen ties in areas such as trade and  investments further, it would be nice if it paves the way for closer cooperation in school education systems in general and teaching of Indian languages in African schools and African languages in Indian schools.

08 July 2016

Jagannaath Fest

Today is a very auspicious day to Vaishnavites. Idols of  Lord Jagannaath, Bala Raam and their sister Shubadra are seated in chariots and pulled along by devotees as part of 15 days of festivities organized by Puri based Shree Jagannaath Temple. The fest, like other such fests, is humbly revered as spiritually enlightening. 

21 June 2016

World Yoga Day

Today is World Yoga Day. Thanks to efforts by people like Baba Swami Ramdev and our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (However it is a pity that even today our school curricula do not contain Yoga as an important component). 

05 June 2016

Sincerity and service to senior citizens

This morning I had a phone call from one of my former neighbours. Due to medical problems, he has an attendant to look after him round the clock. (Interestingly he and I are of nearly the same age). As he was speaking, he mentioned about how difficult it has been to hire a good attendant and how he needed to change 6 attendants in the past few months. I can very well understand his situation as someone who faces problem with lazy, insincere and incorrigible attendants. I have hired a female servant from 8 am to 8 pm to do daily household works and to take care of my ageing mother with a few medical problems. My experience with attendants is that they work sincerely for the first few days. I keep changing them for this reason. I myself administer medicines and serve food to my mother (like my cousin Shreedhar who took care of my maternal aunt after his wife passed away a few years back). Very often it is frustrating when the servant does not do even normal chores like washing utensils, mopping the floor, drying clothes on the clothes line etc. (If I were blessed with a good wife, I would have expected her to take care of our household so that the attendant and I can serve my mother from 8 am to 8 pm and the remaining time respectively). I wish that attendants do their work at least 75% sincerely.


21 May 2016

Shree Hari's Avataars

Today is an auspicious day for Hindus. It is celebrated as Koorma Jayanti. Yesterday was no less auspicious as it was Narasimha Jayanti. `Jayanti' means `Anniversary' Shree Hari incarnated as a tortoise and Narasimha on these two days respectively. These are two out of ten main avataars of Shree Hari.

24 April 2016

Cultural ties with Cambodia

Mekong is one of the longest rivers in our planet and it flows through many countries including Cambodia. (I nostalgically remember my frequent visits to the riverside in Phnom Penh and my morning coffee at Mekong river bank in Cambodian countryside during my official visits. But it never struck to me that 'Mekong' comes from 'Maa Gangaa' and that the Pallavaa kings who ruled ancient Cambodia considered the river to be as sacred as Maa Gangaa flowing in India, until I heard Dr. Krishnaswamy mentioning about it in his fabulous TV production 'Indian Imprints' on National Channel. (What we know is nothing compared to what we don't know).

23 April 2016

British Bard 400 years on

Thanks to Sundar Pitchai and his wonderful team, we don't need to remember some important dates in history. Today is the 400th death anniversary of William Shakespeare whose works were core components of our English language curriculum during my student days. (I remember how I used to analyse commentaries by critics such as Granville Barker and Varity as part of my exam preparation). 

22 April 2016

Hanumad Jayanti and World Earth Day

Today is considered to be a very auspicious day for Hindus all over our planet. This day is the birth anniversary of Hanumaanjee,  the greatest devotee of Lord Shree Raam and his wife Seethaa Devi. Devotees offer special prayers to Hanumaanjee and these prayers are communicated to Shree Raama and Seethaa Devi with utmost precision  (without technical bottlenecks that we experience in our humpty number of digitally driven social media) if our prayers stem from sincere devotion.

Today is ear marked as World Earth Day. I think that we should learn from obvious incidents such as the aftermath of floods in Chennai a few months back as we are damaging the environment by disrespecting God given flora and fauna.

Vedic scriptures are very clear in cautioning against human caused damage to the environment. Same is said by scientific communities as well. Let us try to be just.

15 April 2016

Shree Raama Navami Fest

Today is a very auspicious day for Hindus. It is celebrated as Shree Raama Navami. According to scriptures, this is the day on which Lord Shree Raam married Seethaa Devi in Tretha yugam. They were avatars of Shree Mahaa Vishnu and Shree Mahaa Lakshmi respectively.

14 April 2016

New Year's Day

Today is an auspicious day. It is celebrated as traditional new year's day by people in Kerala, Tamilnadu and some other regions in the subcontinent. This day also marks 3 days festivities to mark the beginning of new year in Cambodia and many other countries in South East Asia where Tamil kings established their empires and developed cultural and trade links. 

Best wishes to all those who celebrate this day. My greetings go especially to my friends in Kerala, Tamilnadu and Cambodia.

08 April 2016

Traditional New Year

Today is an auspicious day for Hindus in some communities such as the one to which I belong. Today is our new year's day known as Ugadhi. I'll write more about its significance when I find time.  Best wishes for a happy Ugaadhi to all those who celebrate this day.

08 March 2016

Mahaa Shiva Raarhri

Yesterday was an auspicious day for Hindus. It was Mahaa Shiva Raathri.

17 February 2016

Spending money on satellite based systems

Technological development is welcome but sometimes it lands ordinary people like me in difficult circumstances. As I thought that 3G Internet connection is less economical than 2G one, I went in for the latter a few days back. Since then I consistently experienced connection problems until my ISP restored my 3G on my request. I am well aware that I will have to spend more.  

Our Government's budget on Space Research should be aimed at developing systems and mechanisms such as those on weather forecasts and cost effective communication systems instead of on Mars Mission etc.

It is high time that our Space Research is geared toward satellite based Internet that will help common folk.  I think that we need to learn a lot from experience in other countries including the US and develop our policies considering local needs.

Madhwa Navami

Yesterday was an important day for Maadhwaa people who observed the day as Madhwa Navami.

13 February 2016

What we know and what we do not know

"What we know is palm full; what we don't know is world full". So goes a Tamil saying. 
This morning when I was watching "Dharma Sandehaalu" on Bhakti TV, I came to know of a very interesting info: King Yaso Varman who was ruling Khaambhoj province (present Cambodia) of ancient India (known as Bharatha Kanda at that time) had a son inflicted with some disease; this was because in his previous birth he did not do any good deeds though born in a Brahmin parentage with Dhaarmic value systems. In his attempts to get his son's disease cured, Yaso Varman let the prince observe Ratha Sapthami Vratha. This cleared the prince's disease and he became a monarch later.
Oddly enough, our school textbooks never mention any thing about contributions by Indians of ancient India.

08 February 2016

Outburst and confusion

It was a great pleasure to view Poojyashree Bhupendrabhai Pandya jee on Ashta TV channel this morning.

He was explaining the concept of 'outburst' while delivering a vaishnavite discourse on the opening scene at Kurukshetraa. Arjuna was filled with confusion and outburst of attachment for his cousins for all the evils they stood for. Many years passed by as Paandavaas suffered.  Lord Krishnaa had to enter the field to wipe away Arjun's problem. Rest of the epic is obvious.







06 February 2016

Mamane's message

It was nice to hear from Boubakar Mamane (whom I mentored at Teachers Without Borders) about the secondary school he founded and his career mission. He is an ambitious educationist from Niger. Best wishes once again, Mamane.

We need several like minded educationists with passion at a global level. We also need to revamp our k-12 systems such that moral values are not sidelined.

By the way, as TWB seems to reorganize itself to meet growing demands, the concept of individual mentoring has been replaced by more appropriate mechanisms (which still does mean however that those who used to be mentored by me and other mentors would be remembered by educationists such as Mamane and we would continue working for TWB in different capacities to share its lofty objectives).


04 February 2016

Racial discrimination

This morning's news on our TV channels about the racial attack on an African student in Bengaluru reveals how nastily some of our fellow country folk behave. Hope that such incidents don'the happen again. I join numerous fellow country folks in hoping that our police department is corruption free, just and punish the culprits at least from now on, after several years of independence from the British rule. I am one of numerous Indians who worked in Africa and had no experience of any racial discrimination; in fact we Indians were respected a lot and I understand that it continues to this day.

18 January 2016

Paryaayaa Fest

There is a town known as Udupi in Karnataka state in southern India. Though not very widely known, this town is of great spiritual significance to Madhwaas. It is privileged to have a legendary Krishnaa temple. This temple deity is served by Heads of Madhwaa Mutts on rotational basis. When the responsibility is handed over from one Head to the other, a splendidly divine festival known as Paryaayaa is held. 

17 January 2016

Sun Fest

Day before yesterday was an auspicious day for Hindus in some regions of India. It was a day when Soorya Naaraayanaa was worshipped. I'll provide links that can explain the significance of the 3 days fest when I find time.

11 January 2016

Hanumad Jayanthi

Yesterday was celebrated as Hanumad Jayanthi in Tamilnadu. Hanumad Jayanthi is the birth anniversary of Hanumaanjee, greatest devotee and servant of Lord Shree Raam.

05 January 2016

2016

Best wishes for a happy 2016.

About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a K-12 Education Management Professional turned freelance Education writer. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.