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Thursday, July 18, 2019

the rise and faltering of dosa king .. .. .. ! ~ Hotel Saravana Bhavan

The judgment dated 19.03.2009 passed in Criminal AppealNo. 637 and 748 of 2004 passed by the High Court of Judicature atMadras whereby the High Court convicted the accused appellants.. .. ..  not many would have followed the judgment – yet many felt that the time-lapse had changed the lives of everyone involved.  ~ before you proceed any further, this is no post on (de)merits of the case, nor any support to that ghastly crime .. .. !

By web searches followed an article in NY Times that read :  its dining room at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 26th Street is clean and bright and often attracts a line out front. It doesn’t advertise because it doesn’t need to; the fact that it’s one of the world’s largest chains of vegetarian restaurants  — is considered too obvious to its core clientele of Indian expatriates and tourists to be worth trumpeting. In a city overwhelmed with underwhelming north Indian food, it  is the standard-bearer of the delicacies of the south, but it makes no effort to educate the uninitiated. If you don’t know what a dosa is or how to eat it, you’re on your own.

Even in the age of beautifully created menu cards, many are comfortable or are used to server reeling out food items available : Idly, sambar idly, mini idly, 14 idly, dosa, masala dosa, ravadosa, roast, ghee roast, uthappam, idiappam, set dosai, chappathi, parotta, poori, adai, pesarattu, medu vada, masal vada, bonda,  Pongal, kichdi  .. .. .. – then you decide ! [honestly how many could resist the temptation of looking around to see what others have ordered ? – a very respected friend of mine once told me – that in getting confused with the options available, he would order the same item twice !] – this hotel impressed one and all with its tidiness. 

The owner revolutionised the concept that people would not mind paying more if ‘only eateries’ are provided in good hygiene.  It is all about Hotel Saravana Bhavan.  Even a couple of decades ago, one was overwhelmed by the plate, neatly cut banana leaf covering the plate, the hot and delicious dishes, with attractive coloured chutnies, served by well-clad servers.  The ambience was neat and food was delicious .. .. .. then there was ‘devotion’ – one could find big portraits of Lord Muruga and Thirumuruga Kirupananda Varriar adorning the walls. The food halls too were named after ‘arupadaiveedugal’ of Lord Muruga. Frequent visitors were bowled by the aroma and taste of Coffee – and standardisation.  Sambar would flow from overhead pipes steaming hot and one could see the master chef making jangri or fried rice in style ! – an informed person stated that when one orders a fruit juice, it was so standardised that – ice cubes made of mineral water would be ready and depending on the size of the cup, the no. of cubes too were as per manual. 

I have seen in 1984 – on the road opposite to Broadway bus stand, a very busy centre those days – everything centered around that Parrys / GT area.  Godown street for clothes, Govindappa Naicken street for spices, bi-cycles and parts, Kothawalchavadi market for vegetables, the flower market, High Court and more – people from all parts of TN would descend on their capital, finish their work, eat at the hotel – take bus back home. that busy corner of Umpherson street, opp to Kuralagam & Law College was a hotel – that changed hands so fast that names like Woodlands Surya and .. .. – then came Hotel Saravana Bhavan, that blossomed becoming a name in the area.  Work of the visitors to the area would be complete only with tiffin / meals at HSB.  It was to expand more – in to two more buildings – and people would wait impatiently for meals with tokens in their hands. – what was the recipe for such a success ?

It was one man’s vision and hard work – the man Mr Rajagopal’s (fondly Annachi) story began in 1947 in a small village called Punnaiadi,  nearer Thiruchendur / Tuticorin, nearer Nava Thirupathi divyadesams (now housing Sri Srinivasaperumal temple, Vana Tirupathi, Punnai – developed by him); the village was so inconsequential that it didn’t merit a bus stop; perhaps all the houses were not even tiled and had  mud-and-cow-dung floors.  He was not well educated but went into business and a meteoric rise.  He was to start HSB at KK Nagar and expanded so fast.  The quality, taste, the way eateries were served all raised him up and above.  His business model was  so seemingly foolproof that the company  acquired an air of invincibility – yet all that came thundering down as its founder became sullied with murder case.  Junior Vikadan and every other leading magazine had him on its cover praising his attributes, especially the way he took care of those who worked for him and there were stories of his workers going any length to do anything for him. At a time when Saravana Bhavan went global, Rajagopal was to be  charged with murder, found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

It is another fact that he did not serve even a full year, was at large, went on appeal, the final conviction by the Apex Court came this year, he surrendered recently, his sons filed a petition seeking him to be allowed treatment in a private hospital .. .. and today comes the news of his death !  Rajagopal (73) was the first accused in the kidnap and murder of  Prince Santhakumar, who was a hotel staff, in 2001, connected to lust for a woman who was his wife.In 2009, the Madras High Court sentenced him and five others to life imprisonment.In March, the Supreme Court confirmed the order and gave time till July 7 for surrendering to serve his prison term. Rajagopal was brought in an ambulance to the city civil court complex last week to surrender.Immediately after the surrender, he was admitted at the Government Stanley Hospital as his health condition worsened.Moving a petition before the Madras High Court, his son had said that since the apex court had refused to extend the grace time, his bedridden father had no choice but to surrender. He said that Rajagopal was suffering from multiple ailments and required insulin injections.

It took 18 long years after the incident – and Apex Court were to state that ‘having regard to the entire material on record and the totality of the facts and circumstances, we find that the evidence on recordfully proves the case of the prosecution and that the Trial Court aswell as the High Court evaluated the material on record in itsproper prospective while coming to their conclusion. Thus, the judgment of the Trial Court as modified by the High Court need not be interfered with. Hence these appeals fail and stand dismissed.’

The timeline, conviction, surrender, and death have all explained the ways of the judicial system and how justice is delayed.  As stated at the start, without going into the case – today’s death marks a  saga of a person who rose from lowly levels making name and fame as ‘dosa king’ – as founder of Hotel chain – ‘Hotel Saravana Bhavan’ and faltering down.  From introducing many many varieties of traditional dishes, to serving them neatly, having spoons washed in hot water, caring for customer hygiene, employee welfare including PF, uniform, education and more – the man who prospered touched nadir due to a false icha (the desire / lust) ~ a sad revelation indeed. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th July 2019.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

sales strategy of a shop !

Now a days, we hear so many management fundas – the art of sales better described in PPTs and sales figures better shown in XL .. !!  - have been hearing so much on decision making, sales pitch, surrogate ads, feeling the market and more ..

Beats Sales Gurus ~ this smallshop selling 'idly/ dosa batter' ...and many other food items [@ Triplicane]

A master strategy ~ and great clarity in the offer (sort of FAQ providing answers to all possible Qs)

• Bundled offer 1 pot of water free for 1 kg of Idly or Dosa batter
• It is ground water
• One has to bring their pot for taking water
• Health Tip : sieve and boil the water before use.

The shop already does roaring sales and would not even require a promo .. yet a genius stroke !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
12th July 2019.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Black Caps did not lose ~ but robbed of World Cup by rules 2019

The match went past midnight – there was the temptation of the grand final set between Novak Djokovic playing Roger Federer – but the fascinating game provided so many twists and turns – enjoyable as India was not playing and we had nothing to lose !!  -  The great game of Cricket is all about ‘runs and wickets !’ .. .. fundamental Q – ever read the definition of a ‘run in Cricket’ ? According to ICC rules – the  score shall be reckoned by runs. A run is scored
18.1.1 so often as the batsmen, at any time while the ball is in play, have crossed and made good their ground from end to end.
18.1.2 when a boundary is scored.).
18.1.3 when Penalty runs are awarded.

I have been watching the game and have seen many different strokes – the straight drive, square cut, pull, hook, cover drive, sweep, reverse sweep, switch-hit, chinest-cut and more .. .. but have not seen a run scoredt by a batsman sliding face down along the pitch, but that's what Ben Stokes did to deny the Black Caps glory at Lord's. 

The entertaining Cricket World Cup 2019 ended with ‘a virtual no result’ – yes – ‘a tie’ – a super over ending in another tie but England winning the tournament after 48 games, for the first time and, and New Zealand not losing the match !   "Ridiculous", "absurd", "random", "arbitrary", "unsatisfactory", "galling", "unfortunate", "a shame" ~ is what Kiwis are screaming about.  Seemingly fair, as   Black Caps fate  on a World Cup final being decided by a countback of boundaries hit.   Till that moment Cricket was exciting, beautiful, so wonderful and yes, so savagely cruel. New Zealand did not lose this Cricket World Cup. They were not beaten on the day.  Luck is perhaps the most underrated factor in the whole of sport. As humans we like to think that we are in charge of our own destiny.  The fates are laughing behind their hands at that one.

            England are world champions after tying with New Zealand on 241 each after their respective 50 overs. They both scored 15 in the super-over shootout – but England won thanks to hitting more boundaries in their 50 overs.          It is England’s first ever Cricket World Cup and follows final defeats in 1979, 1987 and 1992.  As the dust settles and the analysis pours in on the "greatest ODI match of all time", Kiwi cricket fans have been left wondering just how robbed they were of their first World Cup title.

Black Caps were denied the Cup by their own slow start, poor Umpiring, vague rules – and more - lost in the thrilling late-match madness is another  question; were England awarded one run too many during the chaotic scenes of Trent Boult's final over to Ben Stokes?  It was a contest that could not be separated by runs scored, in regulation play nor during the Super Over, but were England inadvertently awarded one run too many during the chaotic scenes of Trent Boult's final over to Ben Stokes? First of all, was it correct to award runs when the throw from deep hit the bat of a diving Stokes (though inadvertently !) and if the rules are undeniably so, should it have been a Six ! – was that not 1 + 4 = 5 for the run had not been completed.

There is so much more to ponder over for Kiwis - using their one batting review poorly in the Cricket World Cup final against England at Lord's on Sunday, cost the Black Caps super bat Ross Taylor. Reviews played an important part early in the game to decide the new world champions, but a Black Caps got one right, then one badly wrong. Early in the New Zealand innings, Henry Nicholls was saved by a review after being given out lbw to Chris Woakes. In the seventh over Martin Guptill - who earlier had a caught behind appeal overturned when review showed he hadn't hit it - was struck on the pads by Woakes, and again an umpire's finger was raised. Guptill chatted with Nicholls and with two seconds left on the clock called for a review.

Getting back to that run off overthrow (!) – that was coming like an arrow directed at the stumps – Stokes intervened and inadvertently sent that  throw from deep midwicket skimming to the third man boundary, after diving for his crease in a bid to complete his second run. After consultation with his colleagues, umpire Kumar Dharmasena signalled six runs for the incident, meaning that England - seemingly drifting out of contention needing nine runs from three balls, now only needed three more from two.

The law states: "If the boundary results from an overthrow or from the wilful act of a fielder, the runs scored shall be any runs for penalties awarded to either side, and the allowance for the boundary, and the runs completed by the batsmen, together with the run in progress if they had already crossed at the instant of the throw or act." A review of the footage of the incident shows clearly that, at the moment the ball was released by the New Zealand fielder, Martin Guptill, Stokes and his partner, Adil Rashid, had not yet crossed for their second run.

Whatever, New Zealand would forever rue the loss or rather awarding of the Cup when they did nothing wrong.  As NZ Press writes – the  centimetres between Trent Boult's heel and the boundary rope, as his catch turned into a six. The centimetres of Ben Stokes' diving bat that cruelly deflected four final-over overthrows. And ultimately, the centimetres between Martin Guptill's bat and the crease, as he dove in desperation for the winning run. Jos Buttler whipped off the bails, sending England into ecstasy. They had just won a Super Over – yes, a truly absurd Super Over – by the narrowest of margins.

So when Buttler smashed the stumps, England went berzerk, the Lord's crowd erupted, and Guptill sat slumped in despair. And it broke New Zealand's hearts. They didn't deserve to lose. Not like this. Especially not with how the final moments unfolded. Having set England 242 to win after a solid batting performance led by Henry Nicholls (55), Tom Latham (47), and Kane Williamson (30), the Black Caps looked poised for glory, with the hosts needing 22 runs from the last nine balls. Then, utterly incredible scenes - never before witnessed in cricket history – unfolded.

First, Boult looked to have taken the game-defining catch, snagging Stokes on the mid-wicket boundary. But as he stood back to complete the catch, he stood on the boundary rope – turning a match-winning moment into a potentially game-changing six. The Black Caps fought back though, making the equation tough once more - 15 needed off four, before Stokes sent Boult over mid-wicket. This one wasn't catchable. Nine from three. A full toss came in, and Stokes smeared it to mid-wicket. Guptill was on it quickly, and went to attempt a runout at the striker's end. Diving for his ground, Stokes inadvertently managed to deflect the throw for four overthrows. Six runs. Instead of a runout, or merely two runs, England were left needing just three from two balls. Somehow, the drama was nowhere near finished. Stokes could only manage a single from the penultimate ball - Adil Rashid run out trying for a second run - and needing two for victory, the final ball of the innings was a repeat – with Neesham's throw from the running out Mark Wood's attempt for a second run, and sending the game to a Super Over.

Stokes and Buttler – who had earlier rescued England from 86-4 with a 110-run partnership that gave the hosts the chance to win the Cup – came out for the Super Over, and hit Boult for 15. Needing 16 for victory – and aware of the tiebreaker - the Black Caps sent out Neesham and Guptill. England's bowler – Jofra Archer – started with a wide, before the Black Caps scampered a quick two. Neesham then produced a massive six over mid-wicket, putting the Black Caps in the box seat. Seven off four became five off three, then three off two, as the Black Caps scampered three consecutive twos. The tension is unbearable. The nerves unimaginable. The scenes unthinkable. The penultimate ball comes off Neesham's inside edge, and they run a single, putting Guptill on strike, with a chance to be a hero, and claim the ultimate redemption.  Guptill clipped the ball to midwicket ran one turn for the 2nd dived and .. ..   New Zealand's 44 years of waiting just got extended by a few more centimeters to some more years.

Here is the rule for super Over :-
·         The team batting second in the match will bat first in the Super Over.
·         The fielding captain or his nominee shall select the ball with which he wishes to bowl his over in the Super Over from the box of spare balls provided by the umpires. Such box to include the balls used in the main match, but no new balls. The team fielding first in the Super Over shall have first choice of ball. The team fielding second may choose to use the same ball as chosen by the team bowling first. If the ball needs to be changed, then playing conditions as stated for the main match shall apply.
·         The loss of two wickets in the over ends the team’s one over innings.
·         In the  event of the teams having the same score after the Super Over has been completed, if the original match was a tie under the DLS method, clause 15 immediately applies. Otherwise, the team whose batsmen hit the most number of boundaries combined from its two innings in both the main match and the Super Over shall be the winner. ~ and there is more
·         If the number of boundaries hit by both teams is equal, the team whose batsmen scored more boundaries during its innings in the main match (ignoring the Super Over) shall be the winner.
·         If still equal, a count-back from the final ball of the Super Over shall be conducted. The team with the higher scoring delivery shall be the winner. If a team loses two wickets during its over, then any unbowled deliveries will be counted as dot balls. Note that for this purpose, the runs scored from a delivery is defined as the total team runs scored since the completion of the previous legitimate ball, i.e including any runs resulting from wides, no ball or penalty runs.

Some of the rules may have to be redefined but the moment of truth is England won the World Cup 2019 and NZ are the runner-up.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
15th July 2019.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

SYMA in service to Society ~ Education Aid Function 2019

Dear Friends & well-wishers of SYMA 

Greetings to you from our SYMA – for those who are not familiar ‘Srinivas Youngmen’s Association’ ~  We are a social service organization rendering service to the downtrodden, working for the betterment of society since 1977.  This post is  focussed on SYMA ~ the Organisation that I have been writing about for many years now, being the Secretary.   
This post is specific on  SYMA’s Educational Aid function held on 6th July 2019   and seeks your financial support for the same.  Please do read this – together we will change the way some students attend school.

NKT Kala mantapam has seen many grand events.  It was the seat promoting ‘Natakam form of Tamil’.  The great RS Manohar inaugurated many of his historic dramas here.  July is a very important month for SYMA - our Educational Aid function, was held on 6th July 2019 at NKT National Girls High School at Sudarshan hall.  Honble Justice K Chandru (Retd. Judge) was the Chief Guest.  Mr AS Ravi, Advisor, Lucas TVS was the other guest.  TA Sampathkumar, President SYMA presided over the programme.  S. Sampathkumar, Secretary welcomed the audience, introduced the guests and compered the function.  R Sanjeevi, VP, gave vote of thanks. 

Mr AS Ravi, spoke on the need for servicing the society, appreciating the concept, implementation of various service activities of SYMA.  Justice K Chandru (Retd) spoke on the challenges of running an educational institution, need for discipline among the students, the need for commitment and will to succeed. 

Srinivas Youngmen's Association popularly (SYMA) has been rendering social service from 1977. We are registered with the Registrar of Societies. With care and concern for the society, we have been actively involved in social service doing multifarious activities which include – coordination with civic authorities in keeping the environ clean, conducting health campaigns – promoting health care and hygiene; organizing Eye Camps, Blood Camps and other camps. In our earnest effort to improve the competitive spirit and to instill confidence in school children, We have been conducting Child Fest every year in which more than 3000 students from around 100 city schools participate.

With a focus on sustainable service, we have two bigger continuing projects :

1) Medical Centre and Laboratory run for the poor wherein free consultation and medicines are provided – popularly known as ரெண்டு ரூவா மருத்துவமனை [Rs. 2 hospital !] This functions between 5 – 7 pm on all days except Sundays and National holidays. Consultation is free and medicines too – provided through regular medical shops with whom we have working arrangement. Around 40 – 50 people utilize this daily. We also have a Medical lab wherein blood and other tests are done at very nominal costs. The running of Medical Centre and Lab costs around Rs.45000/- per month.

This year  SYMA is posed for a quantum leap as we are moving into a bigger premises at Car Street and sooner would have besides Consultation, Lab – Physiotherapy, dental care and more ..

2) SYMA Growth – a purposeful special tuition centre for coaching poor students of 10th and 12th standards.  Into its 12th year now, this was inaugurated in  2008 and producing good results year after year, changing the lives of poor children.   This year we have X Std English medium; X Tamil medium; + 2 Science Group and +2 Commerce Group.  Every year, we educate around 130 students selected from weaker sections of the society and that way perhaps we have touched the lives of more than 1000 poor students. 

Through this project we aim to provide quality educational support to students who would otherwise will have no opportunity to such quality education. Education is imparted through qualified senior teaching professionals who are paid nominal fees by us. Classes are conducted on all days of the week. We have created an excellent infrastructure and have dedicated staff for this. The classes are conducted at the premises of National Boys High School, Triplicane for which we pay a nominal rent and some amount towards electricity and other expenses. The project expenditure of our Tuition centre is around Rs. 7 lakhs lakhs per year.

Both this projects are  fully  sponsored by Manpower Group this year (2019-20), to whom, we express our deep gratitude.  M/s Karix Mobiles have sponsored the Educational Aid programme and there are many philanthropists and corporate behind our success.

Education is the only thing that can change the lives of children coming from lower echelons of society.  We firmly believe that only quality education can improve them and ensure their moving to a higher echelon.  For making students attend schools with dignity, we have been providing uniforms for more than 2 decades now.  In the Educational Aid Function conducted now, we provided more than 1000 sets of unstitched uniforms to poor students. In the Educational Aid function, We also provided financial assistance to select college students,   honoured School toppers of various Schools in Triplicane and the toppers of our own tuition centre, SYMA Growth.  Every year we recognize some silent achievers of the Society and this year too we presented SYMA Seva Award to a Mr K Sriram  who has been doing great service for the old aged destitutes.

Generally, we collect funds in the months of  July & ahead coinciding with our Educational Aid Programme, though donations are welcome throughout the year. You have patronized us in a big way in the past, and we look forward to receiving your donations this year too. Cheques are to be drawn in the name of  ‘SRINIVAS YOUNGMENS ASSOCIATION’ – payable at Chennai. In case any donor wishes to make a Bank transfer, we will provide details of our Bank A/c on request. Contributions to SYMA are eligible for deduction under Sec 80G (5) (vi) of Income Tax Act, as applicable.

Here are the details of our Current Account with Punjab National Bank.

Punjab National Bank  :   Current A/c No. 0346002100024570,
Triplicane Branch, Singarachari St. Triplicane, Chennai - 600 005.
RTGS/NEFT IFS Code : PUNB0034600 MICR Code : 600024015

You have all along supported us in a big way and we look forward to your continued support in small or big measure – donations can be Rs.1000/- or multiples.  Together we will ensure transformation towards a better Society.

A Big Thank you to you all .. .. .. ……. ……..

With regards
S. Sampathkumar.
Secretary – SYMA
13th July 2019.

For complete details of SYMA – please log on to :  ; or email us at :
o   To those of you, who have already contributed to SYMA this year, this mail is not to seek additional donation but only to say thanks again.
o   To those who effect bank transfer  - please do email me ( or do send SMS
o   Only select schools were invited for this function ~ the actual distribution was made at NKT Boys High School today morning
o    Some photos of the Educational function are posted.