Wednesday, March 19, 2014



You’ve had a good life –
You’ve left a maverick mark
On the modern sands of education;
A lot of people respect you
A lot of your students adore you; you’ve made a little of a lot of students,
You’ve had French Café atmosphere times with the
                                                               aroma of intellectual stuff
you’ve enjoyed the world with your camera
you’ve lived and loved and laughed till you cried.

So be happy …. You ought to be
It’s only a few people who could have enjoyed life like you did.

I suppose you could have run other things too
May be better than others.
But when, if you could have done it then
You can do it now too.

At least
In a different way, through a different role,
With or without official badges.
It’s the things done which matters, yes?

Do it Sam. Make a difference
Start an organization like Cry – perhaps.
Make it work.
Make me more proud of you.
Come to think of it, for whatever little, it may mean to you
I never interacted like this, with anyone else
In the whole of the universe,
The soul of Sam means the most to me.

Since you came into my life,
Life has become heady like champagne ( J I’ve never tasted it but…)

I wish I could tell you
How much I like you
Or may be, just may be
You feel the same way
And so you know.

If at the end of life
If all souls are free and asked
To choose their own heaven
If God were to say to me
‘you’ve been good,
What do you want?’

I would say – ‘Sam”!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013



Ochappan is the pseudonym of Henk, from Belgium. An ace photographer - not interested in taking snapshots of our temples or our celebrations. Instead he likes to capture the dynamic lives of people on the roads and at their homes. He is an avid visitor of Madurai for the past two decades. Comes during our winter months, roams around the rural Madurai photo-capturing lively and lovely colour-filled scenes of our lives. Scanning his photographs will tell more than  a book could tell on our culture. He likes Madurai and its people so much that he chose the Dravidian name, Ochappan, whom he befriended in his first visit.  All his photos are known in this name rather than  in his own name! The name Ochappan has been immortalised by him on a very high artistic pedestal through his photographs in the internet.

Last week we had a chit chat. Talked about our countries and he projected the major difference between our two cultures. He detailed how they were more linguistic than us and protected their personal lingual entity and showed their love for their mother tongue. On the contrast we have been keeping Tamil in a high ivory pedestal with lovely adulations … as கன்னித் தமிழ்  .. தெய்வத் தமிழ் ... தமிழன்னை .. etc .. etc.  But  he questions whether we do the right thing to our mother tongue.

Following are the questions raised by Henk / Ochappan to everyTamilian:

Dear Sam,

The Sint-Lievens College was founded in 1930 for the insight and the deployment of Lieven Gevaert (Afga-Gevaert), an industrialist with an eye for social and Flemish needs for Dutch school education. The pride of your own mother-tongue, Dutch was the key for the revival of the Flemish culture, dominated for years by French invasions and domination, which chased away very famous Dutch writers from Antwerp (Belgium) to the Netherlands. Nowadays Flanders grew out to a strong region at the top of world technology, proud leaving behind the French hegemony.

Remarkable reverse evolution happens in Tamil Nadu, people are dominated by the foreign language, English. It is considered English-speaking ones are  the elite of Tamil society. Many such are not able anymore to read or write their own mother-tongue Tamil,  making  them foreigners in their own land, alienated from their own culture, looking down on their origin and the common Tamilians as lower caste, copying the English, and exploiting other non-English-speaking Tamils in a worse way. They can't be called proud Tamilians anymore as they chose to reject all Tamil values and its tradition and culture, not aware that they lost their personal-identity. They may praise themselves lucky for the tolerance of the majority Tamils.

Only the Tamil government can preserve their culture by making Tamil a compulsory medium of education. Tamil is one of the oldest languages and still remains as a spoken classical language, with its great Tamil culture, traditions and great jewels of Tamil literature. The more languages you know the more cultures you understand. But  you have an identity only when you master your own mother-tongue. A proud Tamil should know his language and his culture.


Thursday, February 10, 2011


Every morning a few points of my BP shoot up a little and then after one or two hours it comes down to its original state. My doctor suggested that I try to avoid this unnecessary hip hop of my pressure. The only way out is to stop reading the newspaper. What could an old retired guy like me do other than this everyday morning? Does it not become a routine part of our lives? Imagining the numbers of zeroes you have to add to the assumed amounts of corruptions makes anybody jitterybut it is a nice pastime! It is even more interesting than playing the sudoku! So I could not help but reading the news and playing a ‘deadly’ game with my blood pressure.

But two days back a centre page news item made me feel so happy. I did not feel any usual head swinging after reading the paper. It was a different story. One centre page news item told that Italy is more corrupt than India – at least one step ahead. The country does not stop with that. The sexual exploits of the PM, which can be competed ball-for-ball by one of our own old governors, are really awesome. How can we, the normal human beings, try to feel envy of those ‘big people’ and their games? Italy’s PM not only enjoys his ball game with ‘under-age nymphets’ but also earns the support of half of the country’s poplulation. But I don’t know whether the sexual exploits and the support have any correlation. The story was long and very interesting, and challenging too for the Indian bahus.

With this joyous mood I closed the paper for the day. But suddenly another thought came to my mind. It was a sort of scientific query. It was about HYBRIDS. Dictionary says a hybrid is an offspring produced by two different varieties of parents. A question propped up in my mind. What would happen if there is some one as an ‘offspring’ of an Indian – Italian pair taking the prime post in India?
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Disclaimer: This post without any picture is very dull. So just to add some ‘colour’ I am adding a few photos of known people. Don’t connect the content of the post with the photos.

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Friday, July 25, 2008


An Old Story:

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away.
Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

The following Indian version of the Old Story has been made by some sick mind and so it has to be corrected (உண்மைகள் அப்டின்னு ஒண்ணு இருக்குல்ல ) and retold:
(The “original’ is in blue colour and the corrections are in red)

Indian Version retold:

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter.(Long long ago .. so long ago .. the ants proclaimed from the tops of temples that they had come straight from gods’ some vital anatomical parts and hence they were more than normal humans; and prescribed that the destiny of all grasshoppers is only to serve the ants. They sapped all the fruits of grasshoppers’ labour and enriched themselves for millennia. The grasshoppers were forbidden from any type of learning for long by the ants… a real great strategy – to keep their work force in absolute ignorance. At the end of this story you will find the ants continuing this strategy still to this day!)

The Grasshopper thinks the Ant's a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. (No, instead, for long the poor, illiterate and enslaved grasshoppers toil and suffer, never even knowing their rightful place as ‘human beings’ in this society. Such was the way the ‘mantra of ants’ worked on the lives of the grasshoppers.)

Come winter, (Some great souls like Ambedkar, Mahatma Jotirao Phule, Periyar ... appear on the scene and infuse some sense of decency and rebellious mood into the grasshoppers.) the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.(The voice of grasshoppers is slowly getting noticed.)

NDTV, BBC, CNN show up (It should have been so different if these agencies do such a balanced act. But these agencies invariably run for and run by the ants project grasshoppers with least esteem. Who would forget the way these channels show cased the AIIMS issue? ) To provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. (அடப் பாவிகளா! ) The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the Ant's house.

Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter.
( They don’t spare even this lady! Anybody who cares for the downtrodden grasshoppers would become a laughing stock for these ants. Their only concern is their supremacy is never questioned and they always remain at the top of helm.)

Mayawati states this as `injustice' done on Minorities.

Amnesty International and Koffi Annan criticize the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the Grasshopper.

The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the
Grasshopper (many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace for prompt support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance.)
(On the other hand grasshoppers have been always tutored that they can get ‘moksha’ only if they serve ants.)

Opposition MPs stage a walkout. Left parties call for 'Bengal Bandh' in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry.
CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and Grasshoppers.

Lalu Prasad allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the 'Grasshopper Rath'.

Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the ' Prevention of Terrorism
Against Grasshoppers Act' [POTAGA], with effect from the beginning of the winter.
(If such things really happened the fate of grasshoppers would have improved a lot by now. முழுப்பூசணிக்காயை இப்படி மறைப்பதற்கும் ஒரு திறமை வேண்டும். இந்தத் திறமை antsகளிடம்தான் கொட்டிக் கிடக்குதே..)

Arjun Singh makes 'Special Reservation ' for Grasshoppers in Educational Institutions & in Government Services. (அப்படி வாங்கப்பா antsகளா வாங்க .. இதுக்குத்தான் வருவீங்கன்னு தெரியுமே! This is what was said in the beginning – the ancient and very original strategy of ants to forbid the grasshoppers from any type of learning – is continuing to this day. When this scheme is threatened the ants feel that their ‘supremacy’ is at stake and rise as one against such proactive measures. நல்லா இருங்க’டே!)

The Ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, it’s home is confiscated by the Government and handed over to the Grasshopper in a ceremony covered by NDTV.(ஒரு புரட்சி வந்து இப்படி நடந்திருந்தா, வேணுகோபால் & Co.வை வீட்டுக்கு அனுப்பியிருக்கலாம். Ants strongly feel that the higher institutions are meant only for them, the chosen and ‘meritorious’ ones. )

Arundhati Roy calls it ' A Triumph of Justice'.

Lalu calls it 'Socialistic Justice '.

CPM calls it the ' Revolutionary Resurgence of the Downtrodden '

Koffi Annan invites the Grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly.
(Ha! Didn’t the erstwhile B.J.P. government obstruct the issue of dalits to be taken to U.N.?)
Many years later... ( இப்படியெல்லாம் நடந்தா நல்லாத்தான் இருந்திருக்கும்; நடக்கலையே)
The Ant has since migrated to the US (you mean, deserter, preferring greener pastures? could be .. it is always said that they were afterall a nomadic group.)and set up a multi-billion dollar company in Silicon Valley,

100s of Grasshoppers still die of starvation despite reservation somewhere in India,
(ha..ha… Hi dear ant! Have you not looked around you of late? It was true many ants migrated and became rich in the land of plenty. But of late the ants are outsmarted, outclassed and outnumbered by a variety of grasshoppers in that land proving that ants are in no way better than grasshoppers!! Why go for onshore examples? Even in our motherland it is being proved time and again. Any doubt? Better see this It is just the tip of the iceberg…It is not the end; not even the beginning of the end; but just the end of the beginning for things to come.)
As a result of loosing lot of hard working Ants and feeding the
(Is it not the other way round all these times?)
India is still a developing country…!!!(Sadly it is true .. majority are the grasshoppers… and still a great number of them are to be lifted up from the murky depths into which they were thrown; they are to be shown a new humane way of life as equal to any other human being .. a lot to be done. But the major stumbling block is the ant and its விஷமத்தனம், மேட்டிமைத்தனம், ஆங்காரம் etc..etc..)
But the days are not far off ……

you need to see this post of Dr. Bruno also: a reality .. A POOR GRASSHOPPER .. help her

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


This open letter is meant to one Mr Eric in response to his article in Wall Street Journal.


Mr. Eric,
Happened to come to your article in WSJ - - from the columns of P.Sainath, the winner of the 2007 Ramon Magsaysay award for Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts in The Hindu dated 18.01.’08 -

It made an interesting read!

Just wanted to make few comments:

- From your title I understand that you say that the Brahmins WERE at least once the fortunate lot and that has reversed now.

- From the data in the table given by you and from the corrigendum to your article those ‘misfortunate’ lot are the RICHEST lot (65% and 50% respectively)

- I understand that for your case study you have taken a poor teacher from the RICHEST group.

- I request that you may consider to compare this poor teacher with another poor from the POOREST group, some one from the 91%. I am sure it would give some very interesting points for your future columns.

- Since your name sounds different I take it that you are from a different culture. If so, I would like to request you to first understand the ground realities before you make your valuable comments in a journal of any kind.

- There is a saying in my mother tongue, Tamil: “Some cry for sugar for their daily milk; while there are many who cry for salt for their sporadic gruel”. Your article was about an unfortunate from the former. Why not try to know somebody from the latter. Try. No harm.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


In our days we did not have as much worldly knowledge as the modern day kids have. I think every present day kid of eight years is exposed to much ‘sex’ than what an adolescent was exposed in our days, thanks to the media. In a way it is good to know proper things in a proper way.

I still remember how not only I but all guys of my age in those days never had any chance to know about ‘the secrets of sex’. There was no chance to see or to read or to hear anything about sex. It was all hush-hush thing among close friends. So it was mostly like the characters in the story of an elephant and four blind men. One blind leading another blind led only to more confusion. Especially puberty of girls was a great enigma for us. Talking about that brought goose pimples and we were thrilled to share our information with others. I got most of the gossip about sex from my rural friends, especially during my summer visits to my native village. Each one had his own theory about sex, puberty, menstruation, masturbation etc. We were totally a confused lot. This confusion made sex more and more a mystery and we had no chance to know about it. This made sex more enigmatic and mysterious and we always talked about these matters only with our very close friends. So naturally since we had our references from fellows of our own age, it was mostly like one blind leading another blind from one dark spot to another dark spot! We were very stupid. Hot discussion on the nature of genitals of the opposite sex happened often. There were times when we were not sure how a baby would come into this world. To make matters worse comparing a cow and a woman especially in the matter of their anatomy and mode of delivery was common. This state of affairs even continued to very late period of our adolescence. Such was our ignorance in those days!

I had a cousin. His father and my father were first cousins, and they had the very same name and worked in the same school. To avoid confusion people used to call my periyappa as senior so-and-so (periya ..) and my appa was known as junior so-and-so (chinna ..). Like our fathers we also had the same first name. He was just two years senior to me. But he played the role my ‘friend-philosopher-guide’. He was the one who was unraveling the mysteries of sex to me. His house was on my way to school and church, the two places around which my early life was revolving. So I used to go to his house on my way to school or church and then we would go together. He came out with so many newer things about anything and everything. I very submissively accepted all his ‘doctrines’. Never questioned them. Except the one time when he was explaining the ‘dirtiest thing’.

Whenever he came out with anything he used to always show an air of superiority which was quite right since I was too wet behind my ears for my age and what all he said were ‘scriptures’ to me. I never dared to question his statements. But one day on our way back from school he started giving me extraordinary information on sex. He told me with the same and usual air of superiority what a married man and wife would do in private to get a child. My God! It sounded so obscene and dirty that I thought there could not be an iota of truth in what he said. I said I did not believe what he said just then. He majestically told me that was the truth and nothing but truth. I kept silent for some time mulling over on what he said. I was simply flabbergasted by this unbelievable and dirty thing. For a few moments we were walking in silence.

Then I asked my cousin: “Then … er.. how about my father and mother?”

“Well, it has to be so”, he shot the answer without a moment of hesitation. He was very cool answering my question.

Few more moments of silence. I was still trying to digest what he had said. But I could not. A flash came and I asked him: “In that case, how about your father and mother?”

This time he took some moments. Hesitated a bit. But came out with an affirmative answer. But this time it was not as authoritative as it was for the previous question.

Still I could not believe it. Our own parents. This much dirty. Oh! No, I thought. I did not believe it and wanted to prove him utterly wrong.

My next question was very much pointed and poignant too. I asked him: “If it is so, is it the same way between Mother Mary and St. Joseph?”

He was thrown off balance by this question. Clean bowled. He was dumbfounded now. I was happy that I could at last nail him down to his utter lies. How could such a dirty act be true? Could any decent human being, leave alone the divine persons, do such nasty things?

I was waiting with batted breath for his answer. This time he did not have the guts to say yes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007



In our school the 'A' section of all the classes was meant for the 'creamy' layer, or for the so-called brighter students. I don’t know whether other schools also followed this. I was admitted in I Standard in A section. That would have been of course by virtue of my appa's influence. I think that streak continued till I finished my VI form in the high school. For those of this generation, in our days the schooling years were only 11 years - five in elementary and 6 in high school. In the former each level was called ‘Standard’ and the high school levels were called 'Forms'. So the school finishing class would be VI Form.

My V Standard teacher was Mr. Lucas, a very tall, lanky man with a smiling face. But his knuckles were very strong and every one of us dreaded his knuckles. He either used his knuckles or a thin striking – rod, a bamboo cane. His theory was thinner the cane pain it creates is greater. I got reprimanded only once with two strikes of that cane for a peculiar / funny situation. (I don’t think that incident can be narrated in a foreign language, since it is related to my mother tongue, Tamil. I have elaborated this incident in my Tamil blog. Now is the 'dual' I had with one of my classmates. It was more like the two eternal cowboys with their guns drawn taking steps before they try to outshoot the other in their mortal combat!

Whenever Mr. Lucas wanted some lessons to be read to the whole class he always asked me to read the lessons. That was a sort of privilege I enjoyed for long. I don’t know whether I read it properly or was due to my appa's influence. None had any grudge for this, at least that was what we all thought till it was challenged one day. Raja was one of my classmates, considerably a bigger boy in our class. One day when our teacher asked me to read a lesson and when I was about to start Raja stood up and to all our shock and astonishment asked face to face our teacher why always it should be me. I think Mr.Lucas was taken aback and he was speechless for some time. Then he said that he did so since he thought I was good in that. But Raja did not lose his rebellious mood. He challenged that he could read better than me given a chance.

Mr. Lucas was speechless for some time. Then he said that he would set a 'dual' between me and him and gave the details of the modus operandi of how it should go. He suggested that both of us would stand on both the sides of his chair. Simultaneously he would pat our backs. For the first pat I would start reading from a lesson. Then after few sentences - another pat. Now I would stop and Raja would start from where I left. And it should go on like that. To make it more democratic my teacher said that there would be four 'judges'. They will be seated in the front bench with a score sheet. They would count mistakes, stammering etc. during our reading for each of us. Whoever had lesser score would be considered victorious.

Raja came out with another challenge. He wanted a bet for this dual. It was fixed that the bet money would be one anna . (That is 1/16 of a rupee then.) That was real "big" money in those days for a guy in elementary school. I who was so far listening as a silent observer more as an outsider came to the world of reality only then. I said I did not have the required money for the bet. There were immediate sponsors for me. I remember the names of them: Kathiresan and Vetrivel. They paid the money to our teacher. Raja paid his bet.

I remember how the whole class was in an expectant mood. I could clearly visualise even now what had happened more than a half century back. Our class alone had the luxury of being in a separate room, next to our Headmaster's Office while all other sections of V Class were in a common hall. Benches with back rest for all was a specialty for our class. The excuse given to other classes for this special treatment was that if and when school inspectors from the education department gave surprise visits, they could easily watch our V Class - A Section and so this special privilege for our class.

The dual started.

After certain time Mr. Lucas stopped the dual. The judges were asked to make a total of the minus points they had given us for our shortcomings during the 'dual'. I won the dual - that too, with a very 'handsome' margin. Raja immediately came to my side of our teacher's table and shook my hands. I did not know all those etiquettes. Our teacher gave one anna to me, the prize money and my sponsors got their money back.

In retrospect, what look great to me now are the rebellious spirit of Raja and the very fair mind of my teacher. I used to always wonder how could a boy aged just ten or eleven doing his fifth standard could be that much rebellious and dare to question the authority of the teacher. The second thing was the way our teacher settled the issue and also his conscience. How could he take a question on his authority with such magnanimity? He was so fair that he made some of our own class mates as judges. Both Raja and Mr. Lucas should have been great souls and I realized and experienced that at least with regard to Raja since he and I had maintained a life-long relationship. Till his death two years back, we occasionally met. If there were other friends during our meetings, Raja with all gusto would start narrating the whole episode. He never became tired of this since it looked as if he was waiting for a chance to narrate our old story to new friends. It was only he who remembered the names of my sponsors and told me after many years.