Friday, April 16, 2021

newly discovered fresh water snail named after Serbian ace Novak Djokovic

We hear this idiom ‘at a snail's pace’ often meaning or referring to something moving or happening very slowly !  

A snail is, in loose terms, a shelled gastropod. The name is most often applied to land snails, terrestrial pulmonate gastropod molluscs. However, the common name snail is also used for most of the members of the molluscan class Gastropoda that have a coiled shell that is large enough for the animal to retract completely into.  Gastropods that naturally lack a shell, or have only an internal shell, are mostly called slugs.  Since the advent of email,   the postal system has come to be referred to in Internet slang by the retronym "snail mail".

Novak is in the first place on the all-time list of players who have spent most weeks at No.1. Having spent his 316th week at the summit of men’s professional tennis, he is in front of the aces like Federer, Sampras, Lendl, Connors, Nadal, McEnroe, Borg, Agassi… Novak Djokovic is the only player in history to have at least 9 semifinals in all four Grand Slams: US Open – 11, Roland Garros – 10, Wimbledon – 9, Australian Open – 9. With a 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 13-12 (3) victory over Roger Federer in the 2019 Championships final, Novak joined Bjorn Borg and Laurence Doherty as a five-time Wimbledon titlist.  Novak Djokovic from Serbia, is currently ranked as world No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).  Djokovic has won 18 Grand Slam men's singles titles and 82 ATP singles titles overall, including a record nine Australian Open titles and a record 36 Masters 1000 events.  

Dan Evans pulled off the best victory of his career so far under the unlikeliest of circumstances as he produced a nerveless performance to upset Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5 on clay and advance to the quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters. Evans had arrived in Monaco widely considered to be one of the weakest clay court players in the top 100, with a 0-7 overall record against top-five opponents. The Briton had lost 10 consecutive main-draw matches on clay dating back to 2017, and he has been so candid about his distaste for clay that when Tim Henman later asked him whether it was his best surface he shot back with a sarcastic question of his own: “Is golf your best sport?”  Yet this week has been a different world from the beginning. In the opening round Evans beat Dusan Lajovic, runner-up of the Monte Carlo tournament in 2019, before defeating the Miami Open champion, Hubert Hurkacz, in straight sets to line up his match against Djokovic.   Evans was often the more durable player, working Djokovic with his wicked slice, abrupt injections of pace with his forehand and countless excellent drop shots that either remained low and moved Djokovic off the baseline or died in the dirt for an outright winner.

One loss does not make a summer !  .. ..  Djokovic is in news as always – a  newly discovered species of freshwater snail has been named after Serbian tennis ace Novak Djokovic 'to acknowledge his inspiring enthusiasm and energy'. 

Researchers from Montenegro found Travunijana djokovici in a karstic spring in the Dinaric Alps near the capital city of Podgorica during a field expedition back in 2019. Karst is the name given to the landscape created by the dissolution of soluble rocks like limestone, complete with sinkholes, caves and underground steams. Snails are notoriously slow and the naming is intended to reflect not T. djokovici's pep but that of the team — who traversed challenging landscapes to discover it.

MailOnline reports that Researchers from Montenegro found 'Travunijana djokovici' (the shell of which is pictured) in a spring near the capital city of near Podgorica during a field expedition back in 2019.  'Some of the world's rarest animals inhabit the unique underground habitats of the Dinaric karst,' the duo explained. 'To reach inaccessible cave and spring habitats and for the restless work during processing of the collected material, you need Novak's energy and enthusiasm.'

Adapted to living in underground streams, T. djokovici has a 1.8 millimetre-tall milky-white spiral shell shaped into an elongated cone. It belongs to the family of small freshwater and brackish water snails known as the Hydrobiidae, or 'mud snails'. T. djokovici is the first species of the genus Travunijana to date to have been found in the Skadar Lake basin — all other have been found in the Trebisnjica river basin in Herzegovina.  As T. djokovici is found in such a small area, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed the newly-discovered species as being vulnerable and it will be added to their Red List of Threatened Species. The full findings of the study were published in the journal Subterranean Biology.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Evergiven refloated but arrested ! by SCA

Ever Given is a Golden-class container ship, one of the largest in the world. The ship is owned by Shoei Kisen Kaisha (a shipowning and leasing subsidiary of the large Japanese shipbuilding company Imabari Shipbuilding), and is time chartered and operated by container transportation and shipping company Evergreen Marine, headquartered in Luzhu District, Taoyuan City, Taiwan.  Ever Given is registered in Panama and its technical management is the responsibility of the German ship management company Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM). Truly international !!

On 23 March 2021, while on a voyage  from Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia to Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the ship ran aground in the Suez Canal, blocking it. The ship remained in place for six days before salvage crews freed it on 29 March 2021.  .. .. that garnered global attention and concern.

After its successful salvage and refloating – generally, the vessel should have continued its journey delivering its consignments to consignees at designated ports – that would have been a happy ending .. .. but it appears that the ship is mired neck-deep in legal hassles too, arising out of the unfortunate agrounding !


Media reports suggested that on  7th  April, the owners of the container vessel “Ever Given” received a claim from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) for the sum of US $916 million. Further reports stated that SCA had not provided a detailed justification for the extraordinary magnitude claim lodged.  It was also stated that  the owners and their insurers have been negotiating in good faith with the SCA. On 12 April, a carefully considered and generous offer was made to the SCA to settle their claim. Now comes the news that the ship stands arrested and that she  will be held in Egypt until compensation is paid, and that her crew will be unable to leave the vessel during this time.

                 The grounding at the   Suez passage, resulted in no pollution and no reported injuries. The vessel was re-floated after six days and the Suez Canal promptly resumed their commercial operations.  The claim presented by the SCA also does not include the professional salvor’s claim for their salvage services which owners and their hull underwriters expect to receive separately. The P&I aspects of the claim are relatively modest, with the exception of a claim for loss of reputation, out of the nearly one billion dollars demanded by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) as compensation for the ‘Ever Given’ mishap, 300 million dollars has been claimed for ‘loss of reputation’.

Factually, an Egyptian judge granted permission for the SCA to seize the vessel after it lodged a $916m compensation claim against its Japanese vessel owner, Shoe Kisen.  According to some reports Egypt ratified the Brussels Convention 1952 and has not ratified the International Convention on the Arrest of Ships 1999. An arrest could be applied for security owing to a claim, which would come within the ‘maritime claims’ as defined in the 1952 Arrest Convention, a concept that the Egyptian Maritime Law has adopted.  Generally, the concept of arrest is to determine a security on the creditor over the ship that is related to his or her debt. Therefore, there are no restrictions on a third party applying an arrest for security on the ship subject to his or her debt. Meanwhile, the shipowners could raise the defence on his or her liability under bareboat charter party or time charter party before the court if an arrest has been successfully applied.

Ship arrest is a process by in which a ship is prevented from trading or moving until the matter in question is decided. It is an exclusive jurisdiction that is granted to an admiralty court to detain a vessel to secure a maritime claim. Article 2 of the International Convention Relating to the Arrest of Sea-Going Ships, 1952 defines the term arrest as the following:

"(2) "Arrest" means the detention of a ship by judicial process to secure a maritime claim, but does not include the seizure of a ship in execution or satisfaction of a judgment." A ship arrest may be exercised under the authority of a court having admiralty jurisdiction, for the following reasons: loss of life; loss of property; salvage; collision; execution of a decree; violation of customs, usages, regulations or norms. 

A statement on the website of the vessel reads that :   Evergreen was informed by the Japanese shipowners of M.V. Ever Given today (14th April) that the Vessel had already been officially arrested by the Court in Egypt on April 13, 2021. In accordance with the information from U.K. P&I Club, the protection and indemnity insurer for the Vessel, the shipowners received a claim from Suez Canal Authority (“SCA”) for the sum of US$ 916 million on April 7, 2021, to cover losses during Ever Given’s grounding in the Suez Canal. The amount includes a US$ 300 million claim for salvage bonus and a US$ 300 million claim for loss of reputation and so on. During the meeting between the shipowners and SCA on April 12, 2021, no consensus was reached as SCA’s claims are largely unsupported and lack any detailed justification. The following day (13th April), SCA immediately filed an application to arrest the Vessel and this has been granted by the Court. In order to lift the arrest order as soon as possible, Evergreen is urging all concerned parties to facilitate a settlement agreement to be reached. Meanwhile, Evergreen is investigating the scope of such a court order and studying the possibility of the Vessel and the cargo on board being treated separately. Evergreen assures to do its utmost to complete the mission entrusted by its customers with all due dispatch and to keep all adverse impacts to minimal level.

The SCA says it intends to maintain the vessel’s arrest until the claim is paid, a position that has caused fury among the ship’s insurers and ship managers, and led charterer Evergreen to investigate whether it could use a court order to treat vessel and cargo separately. The SCA claim includes $300m for salvage and $300m for “loss of reputation”, which appears set to be rejected by the vessel’s insurer, the UK P&I Club, which revealed it had already made a compensation offer to the SCA this week. 

Ian Beveridge, CEO of the vessel’s manager, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), also voiced his concern over the arrest. “The SCA’s decision to arrest the vessel is extremely disappointing. From the outset, BSM and the crew on board have cooperated fully with all authorities, including the SCA and their respective investigations into the grounding. “This included granting access to the voyage data recorder and other materials and data requested by the SCA,” Mr Beveridge added.

Evergreen said it had begun to look at other ways to free cargo trapped on board, adding: “In order to lift the arrest order as soon as possible, Evergreen is urging all concerned parties to facilitate a settlement agreement to be reached. BMS said the Ever Given’s classification society, the American Bureau of Shipping, had completed its inspection following the incident and it had “been declared suitable for onward passage to Port Said, to be assessed again before departing for Rotterdam”.

Arresting the “Ever Given” and not releasing the vessel until the money is paid sounds like a hostage situation. The maritime industry has a long tradition that when a vessel is arrested, the vessel’s insurer will issue a letter of undertaking, which promises to pay up to its policy limit the court’s judgment or the agreed settlement. I understand that there is USD 2.2 billion in total P&I insurance. After the acceptance of the LOU, the vessel is released to continue its voyage.   LoUs are, in effect, a form of guarantee issued by the Club – an undertaking to pay to the claimant the sum adjudged by a court to be due to them, or the sum agreed under settlement terms.  

Admiralty law is that body of law governing maritime offences and activities. It would encompass marine commerce, navigation, shipping, sailors and transportation of passengers and goods by sea.  Marine or for that matter Law is all about terminology. In rem is Latin for “in a thing” – an action ‘in rem’ is towards some specific property rather than being a claim for monetary compensation against a person, which would be ‘in personam’. An action of a suit on a ship would action in rem.  In rem action, the jurisdiction of Court would be where the property actually is.  The ship owner  is obliged to provide medical care to seaman and provide basic living expenses during the period of convalescence. They owe a duty of reasonable care to passengers as also to goods. 

So more to be read and understood as the ill-fated vessel is mired in legal hurdles though it has been successfully refloated.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

B a t s [yes bats] come flying to Triplicane


Decades ago, we  saw famous batsmen  using and endorsing  bats like Slazenger, G&M, Grey Nicholls, SG, SS, BDM  and the like….. now you see bats without brand name explicit but advertiser’s logo prominent !! (in between those days there were ‘oiled /non-oiled bats’) ~ for a change this is no post on Cricket but on bats !!

We have seen them on some old temples, I have seen them at Thavana uthsava bungalow gori !!  - the  Egmore Museum does not just house priceless artefacts from the past. It also houses colonies of fruit bats in the trees outside, as a plaque informed the  visitors those days.  This season I am seeing them come with a buzz around 615 – 630 pm – close to hundred – they fly with unerring precision from nowhere and hang on the Arasa maram [peepal tree] at Vasavi Parthas, Venkatrangam Street, Triplicane, Chennai 600005.

When we think of bats, an unfavorable image often comes to mind. Whether it's the scary portrayal of them in vampire films and literature or a general fear of how their real-life counterparts might transmit viruses, bats have gotten a bad rap that's actually more fiction than fact.  Understand that there are more than 1,400 bat species in the world ! Bats can be as large as a small dog or as small as a bee. The ones that come nearer home resemble crows !! The largest bats are the flying foxes with wingspans of up to 2 metres and a body weights of up to 1.5 kilograms.

Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera. With their forelimbs adapted as wings, they are the only mammals capable of true and sustained flight. Bats are more manoeuvrable than birds, flying with their very long spread-out digits covered with a thin membrane or patagium.  The second largest order of mammals after rodents, bats comprise about 20% of all classified mammal species worldwide.   A few species feed on animals other than insects; for example, the vampire bats feed on blood. Most bats are nocturnal, and many roost in caves or other refuges; Bats are present throughout the world, with the exception of extremely cold regions. They are important in their ecosystems for pollinating flowers and dispersing seeds; many tropical plants depend entirely on bats for these services. Megabats constitute the family Pteropodidae of the order Chiroptera (bats). They are also called fruit bats —flying foxes.  

For centuries, bats have been called sinister and spooky, likely because of their beady eyes and razor-sharp fangs. But there’s more to these nocturnal creatures than meets the eyes.  The scientific name for bats Chiroptera,  is Greek for “hand wing.” That’s because bats have four long fingers and a thumb, each connected to the next by a thin layer of skin.  To navigate dark caves and hunt after dark, microbats rely on echolocation, a system that allows them to locate objects using sound waves. They echolocate by making a high-pitched sound that travels until it hits an object and bounces back to them. This echo tells them an object’s size and how far away it is.

The age-old question of upside down bats. Yes, it is awfully weird that there is an animal—a mammal even—that hangs upside down. Sure, some monkeys do it when they're just monkeying around. Bats are the only animals that actually spend most of their time hanging upside down: feeding this way, raising their young this way, and, yes, sleeping or roosting this way. Bats are not birds, nor are they insects.   The difference between bat flight and bird or insect flight is weight—specifically, the ratio of weight to lift-capacity of the wings.  Birds have hollow bones; bats don’t.  To compensate for the extra weight that mammals must have, to compensate for the problem of getting off the ground, evolution found another way for bats to transition from being motionless to immediately being able to fly when necessary.  

Back home in Chennai -   the grove behind the Egmore  museum's Bronze Gallery has been home to more than 2,000 Indian flying foxes (a species of fruit bat), and  in 2012 a board was put up stating the significance of the area. The plaque stated there are 49 species of fauna on the premises that support the fruit bat. This information was based on a World Wildlife Fund survey , which also studied the trees (in this case tamarind, copper pod and sapota) where they make their home.

Though they are reportedly harmless, they are scary and in the twilight – crows do appear agitated, when these bats start homing in to the peepal tree.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Guillermo .... ... , the new President-elect of Ecuador

The name Guillermo means ‘with Gilded Helmet’ and is of Spanish origin. Remember there was a famous Tennis player - Guillermo Vilas – from Argentina   who won four Grand Slam tournaments, one year-end Masters, nine Grand Prix Super Series titles and 62 total ATP titles.  In the ATP computer rankings, he peaked at No. 2 in April 1975, a position that he held for a total of 83 weeks. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1991.   In 2016, The Daily Telegraph ranked him as the 3rd best male clay-court player of all time, behind Rafael Nadal and Björn Borg.  Historical and statistical studies presented in 2015 by Argentinian journalist Eduardo Puppo and Romanian mathematician Marian Ciulpan concluded that Vilas should have been No. 1 in the old ATP ranking system for seven weeks between 1975 and 1976. The ATP Tour and its chief executive at that time, Chris Kermode, although not refuting the data, decided not to officially recognize Vilas.   In Oct 2020, Netflix released a documentary film about the Vilas case titled "Guillermo Vilas: Settling the Score".


This is no post on the Tennis legend but on a man with the same surname - during the 1990s, this man  was named the head of operations in Ecuador for Coca-Cola, following the local bankruptcy of the company in that region. In this role, he was tasked with restructuring the company and bringing it back to financial health. He has since sat on the boards of directors for both Coca-Cola, and Mavesa, and also served as Chairman of the board of directors of the Guayas Transit Commission as well as being a member of the Board of Directors of the Andean Development Corporation.  Now he is in news ! becoming the President-elect.

Those who visit the Middle of the World, a government-owned park that pays tribute to the Equator, are not drawn by the trinket shops or cafes offering roasted guinea pig. They want to stand on a yellow line painted on the ground here that is said to be precisely at Earth’s midpoint — 0 degrees latitude, 0 minutes, 0 seconds.  Except that it is not. The Equator is hundreds of feet to the north. For tourists reveling in the notion of being, for once, at the very center of things, the truth can be a bit of a letdown.

Ecuador is a country in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombi, Peru, & Pacific Ocean.   Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (621 mi) west of the mainland. The capital is Quito. The territories of modern-day Ecuador were once home to a variety of Amerindian groups that were gradually incorporated into the Inca Empire during the 15th century. The territory was colonized by Spain during the 16th century, achieving independence in 1820 as part of Gran Colombia, from which it emerged as its own sovereign state in 1830.   Spanish is the official language and is spoken by a majority of the population, though 13 Native languages are also recognized, including Quechua and Shuar.  The sovereign state of Ecuador is a middle-income representative democratic republic and a developing country that is highly dependent on commodities, namely petroleum and agricultural products. It is governed as a democratic presidential republic.   

The man mentioned at the start (of cocacola &) - Guillermo Alberto Santiago Lasso Mendoza  is an Ecuadorian businessman and politician who is the president-elect of Ecuador.  He was a candidate in the 2021 general election, defeating Andrés Arauz in an upset victory. He previously ran for president in the 2013 and 2017 elections. In 2013, Lasso came in a distant second place behind President Rafael Correa by a landslide margin.  In the 2017 election, he advanced to the run-off running against Vice President Lenin Moreno but narrowly lost the election. Lasso served as Superminister of Economy during the Jamil Mahuad presidency briefly in 1999. He previously served as Governor of Guayas from 1998 until 1999. Aside from his political career, Lasso is also a banker and previously served as CEO of Banco Guayaquil.   


In the first round of 2021 elections, Lasso was slightly behind indigenous rights activist Yaku Pérez Guartambel, but eventually garnered enough votes to secure a narrow second place finish.  Lasso's victory was also seen as a win for free-market advocates in the country.  In 2011, Lasso published the book Cartas a Mis Hijos, which translates to Letters to my Children, which contains lessons he developed from his time working in business and highlights recommendations for the economic development of Ecuador.  Among his ideas, Lasso discusses the need for greater sovereignty over parts of the national economy.  The book advocates for the Ecuadorian government to develop policies that create more economic opportunities for its citizens. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Sanju Samson scored 119 ! and refused a single !!

438 runs in 40 overs .. ..  what a belter it turned out to be .. in the end – was the hero right in doing it ? – ‘it is opinion’ – could be pretty prejudiced one at that. .. .. and one cannot think how the arm-chair critics would have reacted had it been the mercurial MSD.  To some – he takes the match till the proverbial last match and thrives on that – he has done it more than a couple of times and when he could not fructify – people have torn into his flesh !!!

Right of first refusal  is a contractual right that gives its holder the option to enter a business transaction with the owner of something, according to specified terms, before the owner is entitled to enter into that transaction with a third party. A first refusal right must have at least three parties: the owner, the third party or buyer, and the option holder. In general, the owner must make the same offer to the option holder before making the offer to the buyer. The right of first refusal is similar in concept to a call option.

Maharashtra on Monday reported a slight dip in the number of fresh cases, with 51,751 more people testing positive. The state also reported 258 more deaths. On Sunday, more than 63,000 people had tested positive for Covid in the state.  . .. . and right there in the middle at Wankhede, there was a pot-boiler.  Five required off two balls, an International allrounder in Chris Morris at the other end, Sanju Samson has been in dream touch, having hit seven sixes in his 119 off 61. Then he gets a ball right in the slot, and he hits it straight to a cleverly placed wide long-off. He refuses to run, drawing almost indignant bemusement from Morris and disbelieving looks from the dugout.  Was that a right decision ?

To his supporters and those who saw him the way he played, perhaps  Samson did the right thing and the end result should not change that at all.  5 off 2 – had he run a single – there would only be two possibilities (4 or 6 securing a win – otherwise loss – of course a 3 would have tied !) Wankhede is a small ground, the ball was hit hard and straight to the fielder. So the second was probably not on. Had Samson taken the single, he would have watched the last ball from the other end.

For Samson people may argue that had taken that single,  leaving  Morris, who was not middling the ball (wait he had played only 4 balls for 2) – yes he had missed a ball pitched in the slot but all that happens  Samson predicted that he is likelier to hit a six than Morris is to hit a four.  Chasing a formidable 222, Samson brought it down to 21 off 12 and then 13 off six. They managed only two off the first three balls of the last over and needed 11 from three when Samson crunched Arshdeep Singh over the covers for a six. He then drilled the next delivery along the ground to wide long-off but sent a sprinting Chris Morris back without a single, which took the equation to five from the final ball. Samson connected well with Singh's cutter but only found deep cover, where Deepak Hooda fittingly took the catch – it was all over and here are we debating !

Arshdeep  bowled the toughest over of the night, in which he kept aiming for the wide yorkers. The first three worked, the fourth didn't and eventually he trumped Samson to seal victory. Rajasthan Royals team director Kumar Sangakkara backed his captain Sanju Samson's decision to retain the strike for the last ball of the chase denying that single.

In that chase where Ben Stokes scored a duck and Jos Butler 25 – Riyan Parag was a revelation – hitting 3 sixers in his cameo of 25 off 11. He was so nonchalant in lofting deliveries beyond the rope.  Before concluding the other man, Chris Morris has scored International  50s in all 3 formats – and is one of the  IPL's biggest South African beneficiary having been bought for  US$625,000 at the 2013 auction and US$1 million three years later. Morris is a bowling allrounder, who often sends the speedgun beyond 140kph and bats fearlessly in the lower-order.  This year he had been picked for an astronomical price of  INR 16.25 crore – the highest-ever fee paid for a player.

Well played Sanju Samson, a great innings – but not a win for Rajasthan Royals which was within the reach of a single shot.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


Monday, April 12, 2021

IPL entertainment - Chetan Sakariya .. Deepak Hooda and more !!

It is only 4th match of the 2021 IPL season – we have already seen so many sixers and so many local talents getting unearthed ! – in between how would you describe that side-armer delivered by Ryan Parag squarely defeating Kedar Jadhav ?  Royals employed 8 bowlers !! ~ and not many would have identified this left arm medium fast bowler who ended with figures of 4-0-31-3 !!

In today’s match RR’s Ben Stokes, has had a forgettable match. He dropped a catch – gave 12 runs in his only over and was out for a duck. In another belter, (IPL is grave for bowlers !) – Punjab made 221 as 13 sixers were hit.  Chris Gayle’s hit 2 (taking his overall IPL sixers to 350 !!)- KL Rahul who made 91 off mere 50 balls 5 sixers and Deepak Hooda 6 in his 28 ball 64.

Deepak Hooda made a royal statement with his 28-ball 64 in his return to cricket in the IPL match between Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals.  Hooda, who had been suspended by the Baroda cricket board after the vice-captain had walked out of the domestic team alleging “misbehaviour” on the part of captain Krunal Pandya, had been forced to missed the Indian domestic season. Hooda smashed his fifty in 20 balls, the fastest 50 in the IPL by an uncapped Indian.

Besides big names of International players – we are seeing so many young Indians emerge.  In the first match, it was unusual bowling performance of Harshal Patel with figures of 4-0-27-5.   In the 2nd match, Ruturaj Gaikwad flattered to deceive but Prithvi Shaw was too good.  In the third, it was all about Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi. Today, Rahul Tewatia brought off a remarkable catch but a stunner had been taken by Sakariya off Morris.  

Chetan Sakariya is a 23-year-old fast bowler, who made his debut for Saurashtra in 2018-19. He was picked up for INR 1.2 crore in the IPL 2021 auction by the Rajasthan Royals, and made his IPL debut at the first opportunity, named in the XI for the Royals' opening game of IPL 2021, against the Punjab Kings.  A left-arm swing bowler who hails from Vartej, a hamlet 180 kilometres west of Rajkot. Sakariya grew up wanting to be a batsman, but turned towards fast bowling when he was in class XI because that helped students get a lot of 'bhaav' (attention) in school. The 2021 auction was bittersweet, because Sakariya lost his younger brother, who died by suicide just three weeks prior to that. The story in ESPN says that he could not afford proper shoes even and Saurashtra's Sheldon Jackson, the senior batsman who also hails from Bhavnagar,  gave him his first pair of boots after Sakariya had dismissed him in the nets, just before he left to train at the MRF Pace Foundation. The two have developed a strong bond since and train together in Bhavnagar.

Sakariya has been the lone breadwinner for his family for the last few years, after his father has largely been forced to shut his tempo business due to ill-health. He couldn't afford his son's cricket expenses, and it wasn't until Sakariya's maternal uncle stepped in that he was able to focus fully on the game.

IPL no doubt dishes out great entertainment ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


the grand wise oldman bids adieu at 104 !! Triplicane is sad !!!

104 is a primitive semiperfect number and a composite number.  Be that it may – 104 and 12th Apr 2021 have given sadness too ! – for the grand oldman of Thiruvallikkeni is no more ! – renowned scholar and centenarian Mandayam Sri S Parthasarathi Iyengar is no more  He was born in 1917 – passed away peacefully at Hyderabad today at ripe age of 104! Triplicanites would for sure remember that brisk, measured walk of a grand progressive thinking oldman – who was adept in all modern gizmos including laptops.  .. yes, till recently, when we could meet him on the mada veethigal of Thiruvallikkeni divyadesam, he would walk briskly and more importantly walk his way to venues and travel by transport corporation buses and in trains (after hitting century of age !) – young and cheerful in mind !!!

Tracing back, he was a descendant of Pradhan Tirumal Row   (Row is anglicisation of a title similar to ‘Rao Bahadur.’) who was  given the post of Collector of Coimbatore. When the Wodeyar dynasty came back to power many years later, the British, according to a signed agreement, were to restore the post of Pradhan to Tirumal Row, but they reneged on their promise.

We all know and rever the famous Barathiyar illam where the greatest Mahakavi  Subrahmanya Bharathiyar   lived in Triplicane.   Bharati’s life was short; he pioneered modern poetry, was a great journalist, eternal optimist, fought British with flame, incensed people of the Nation.  We have read about a Tamil weekly ‘India’ launched in 1906 of which Bharati was the Editor.  This provided the correct platform for the flaming words of Bharathi  ~ this was owned by patriotic Mandyam Brothers—Tirumalachar and Srinivasachar—who were ready to spend their large inherited fortune in the cause of Indian Independence.   Sri S Parthasarathi is the son of Mandayam Srinivasachariyar of the magazine ‘India’. During that exile of Mahakavi in Pondy, their family had Aurobindo connection as well as  Mandayam Srinivasacharyar, Bharatiyar, and V.V.S. Iyer had philosophical discussions with Aurobindo.  

One of the relatives of this now late grand oldman  Sri Parthasarathi, Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar, a great scholar with great vision and forethought, established Sri Saraswathi Bhandaram though which he supported many scholars and ensured publication of many sampradaya granthas for the first time.  Sri Yogi Parthasarathi Iyengar was invited to present a paper in the World Parliament of Religions at Chicago in 1893; did not go and yes, it  was attended by Swami Vivekananda whose 150th birth centenary is presently being celebrated.  Yet another relative Mr Alasinga Perumal helped and arranged the visit of Swami Vivekananda.

Sri S. Parthasarathi has contributed much and was the  guiding the Educational institutions of Hindu Sr Secondary School and century old Hindu Higher Secondary School, being a member in the Educational board of various Educational institutions including MOP college.   

in 2017

Throughout his life of 104 years,  Mr Parthasarathy Iyengar remained an exceptionally organized person, having been  a student of library science, having worked as librarian, keenly organising the things the way he has done his life.  He was the first director of the Indian National Scientific Documentation Centre. Apart from being a guiding  member of the Hindu Educational Organisation, he was an  active mentor of the Ranganathan Centre for Information Studies.

Sadly he breathed his last today, at ripe old age of 104 – having lived a life full of purpose, knowledge, affection, erudition and inspiration for all of us. 

On 28.11.2020 after completion of 9th decad of Thiruvaimozhi in the  uthsavam at Sri Nampillai sannathi, Thiruvallikkeni – Dr U.Ve. Mandayam Ananthanpillai Venkata Krishnan swami briefed the history of the place and its creators.  Way back in 1874, Saraswathi Bhandaram Committee had been constituted  with Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar as secretary.  With great efforts they collated  manuscripts of works on Visishtadvaita and published them in the Saraswathi Bhandaram Press,  located in what is Komutti bungalow now.  Yogi Parthasarathi Swami who was born in Karthigai Avittam in 1840 (it was his 180th birth celebrations  – 3rd sashtiabda poorthi) brought in knowledgeable resources of grantham and also those who learnt printing technology for publication of rare granthas in book form.   

Mandayam Parthasarathi Iyengar walked his way to the place  as a special guest and part of family.  I had clicked a few photos on that grand occasion. Recall those happy moments when he was SYMA’s Chief Guest in 2013 on Republic Day Flag hoisting and on many more occasions at Gangaikondan mantap and elsewhere.

In his parting, Triplicane has lost a ‘rare jewel’ – who was young and cheerful throughout his life, adapted himself to modern changing times, briskly walked his way everywhere and would be remembered by thousands of us.

Triplicane bows in tribute to this grand old man.

With profound grief and regards – S. Sampathkumar


(first  and last  photos credit : Mrs Revathi; rest mine) - above me with the grand old man at SYMA medical centre in 2013

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Horse racing : reluctant heroine Rachael Blackmore and bay Minella Times

A few years ago, every traveller in Beach Tambaram EMU would be intrigued by those green topped books on sale near Guindy Railway station –  a book full of  statistics, the sire-dam details that guide the punter at Madras Race Club which traces its origin to 1837 and more decades beyond.  To some Horse racing is an equestrian sport; to many it is gambling. 

Horse racing, like all sport and entertainment, relies on social approval - what is often referred to as social licence - to thrive and prosper. The casual sports fan, the once-a-year punter, and the regular whose life merged with horses and their history  will turn up on the big race days.  At Guindy there would whiff in the air, crowds – so many, trying to hit a jackpot.  Remember seeing a Muthuraman film, where he would embezzle [take out Rs.10000/-] office cash on a Saturday thinking that he would play horse race, and put back money on Monday – but losing the money and losing life !  ~ know a case of an employee, receiving PF loan for daughter marriage, withdrawing cash, fly to Bangalore, book a star hotel, punt it,  lose the total money – much to bewilderment of his family !!  ~ there have been many sob stories of punters.   This is no post on race-goer and the plight of their family ! but on a woman achiever.  

She has been described as the “reluctant heroine” of horse racing and was recently hailed as the “Queen of Cheltenham”, but Blackmore’s journey to the top of the sport has been unexpected. The daughter of a dairy farmer and a school teacher, Blackmore hails from County Tipperary in the south of Ireland. Her father, Charles, bred horses and she grew up riding horses on a farm in Mortlestown Castle. She got her first horse, Bubbles, at the age of seven. This time, however,   Minella Times was 10-1 ahead of the Grand National and was among the favourites ahead of the big race.

In the world of horse racing (more specifically in UK) the Grand National is a National Hunt horse race held annually at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool. In horse racing in the United Kingdom, France and the Republic of Ireland, National Hunt racing requires horses to jump fences and ditches. National Hunt racing in the UK is informally known as "jumps" and is divided into two major distinct branches: hurdles and steeplechases.   In a hurdles race, the horses jump over obstacles called hurdles; in a steeplechase the horses jump over a variety of obstacles that can include plain fences, water jump or an open ditch.

The Grand National has been broadcast live on free-to-air terrestrial television in the United Kingdom since 1960. From then until 2012 it was broadcast by the BBC. Channel 4 broadcast the event between 2013 and 2016: UK broadcasting rights were transferred to ITV from 2017. An estimated 500 to 600 million people watch the Grand National in over 140 countries.   

The 2021 Grand National (officially known as the Randox 2021 Grand National) was run at 5:15 pm BST on 10 April 2021. It was the 173rd annual running of the Grand National horse race, taking place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England. The event was once again sponsored by Randox Health, although the sponsorship name on the race from this year onwards was shortened to just Randox.

The race was won by Minella Times, trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore, who became the first female jockey to win the Grand National De Bromhead, who won the race as a trainer for the first time, also trained the second placed finisher Balko des Flos. The winner was owned by J. P. McManus, who had previously won the race as an owner in 2010 with Don't Push It.  Another horse named - The Long Mile was euthanised after fracturing a hind leg. Jockey Bryony Frost was treated for injuries after falling from Yala Enki.

It is all about Rachael Blackmore who created history by becoming the first woman to win the Grand National with Minella Times. The 31-year-old took her sensational form in 2021 into Aintree with six wins at the Cheltenham Festival last month, which ensured she became the first woman to land the leading jockey prize. She also became the first female jockey to win the Champion Hurdle and finished second in the Gold Cup. Rachael Blackmore (born 11 July 1989 is an Irish jockey who competes in National Hunt racing.  She gained a degree in equine science at the University of Limerick, while riding out and competing as an amateur jockey.

Blackmore rode her first winner as an amateur jockey on 10 February 2011. She turned professional in March 2015 and rode her first professional winner in September 2015. Her first Cheltenham Festival winner came in 2019 and she gained her first Grade 1 race victory in Ireland in April of that year, finishing the season with 90 winners and taking the runner-up spot in the Irish jump racing Champion Jockey competition behind Paul Townend for the 2018–19 season.  In 2021, she has achieved two notable "firsts" at the Cheltenham Festival, becoming the first female jockey to partner a winner of the Champion Hurdle and, by finishing with six winners across the four days, she also became the first female jockey to win the Ruby Walsh Trophy for leading Cheltenham jockey. On 10 April she became the first female jockey to ride a Grand National winner, when she rode Minella Times to victory at Aintree. 

Minella Times (foaled 4 March 2013) is an Irish-bred Thoroughbred racehorse who competes in National Hunt racing. In 2021 he became the first horse ridden by a female jockey, Rachael Blackmore, to win the Grand National. Minella Times is a bay horse with no white markings bred in Ireland by Cathal Ennis at Quill Farm near Kilbeggan. in County Westmeath.  As a foal in November 2013 he was consigned to the Tattersalls Ireland November National Hunt Sale and was bought for €31,000 by John Nallen of Minella Racing. The horse was gelded before the start of his racing career.  He was sired by Oscar, a horse who finished second to Peintre Celebre in the Prix du Jockey Club before becoming a leading sire of National Hunt horses.  Minella Times's dam Triptoshan was an unraced mare from a family which had produced several good steeplechasers.

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


Beauty Pageants ! - fairness products and .. .. .. பேர் என்ன லல்லி?

முன்னொரு காலத்திலே இந்த சோசியல் மீடியா (முகநூல்,  ட்விட்டர், வாட்ஸ் ஆப்) கிடையாது; தொலைக்காட்சி (முக்கியமாக) இவ்வளவு சேனல்கள் கிடையாது.  [உண்மை, உண்மை தவிர வேறொன்றுமில்லை].  வீட்டில் DC ரேடியோ வைத்திருக்க லைசன்ஸ் வேண்டும் !!  வானொலியில்  விவித் பாரதியின் வர்த்தக ஒலிபரப்பு என்று ஒன்று உண்டு.   தினமும் இரவு 9 - 15 மணி முதல் 9 - 30 மணி வரை 'வண்ணச்சுடர்' என்ற நிகழ்ச்சியில் நான்கு பகுதிகள் தொடர் நாடகம் ஒலிபரப்பாகும். ஆர். எஸ். மனோகர், ஹெரான் ராமசாமி, டெல்லி கணேஷ், ஒய். ஜி. பார்த்தசாரதி போன்றவர்களின் மேடை நாடங்கள் ஒலிபரப்பாகும். ஞாயிற்றுக் கிழமைகளில் மதியம் 12 -௦௦ மணிக்கு ஹார்லிக்ஸ் வழங்கிய'சுசித்ராவின் குடும்பம்'  - சுசித்ரா, சங்கர், ராஜுரவி சுஜாதா, நல்ல நல்ல குடும்பம், இதுதான் ஹார்லிக்ஸ் குடும்பம்.  தவிர அற்புதமான குவிஸ் நிகழ்ச்சி !  .. .. அப்போது விவித் பாரதியில் வரும் ஒரு விளம்பரம்: 

"ஹேய் லல்லி, ஆளே கலர் மாறிட்டியே, எப்படி?"

"ஓ அதுவா,  பேர் அண்ட் லவ்லி உபயோகப்படுத்தறேனே !"

"அப்படியா? பேர் என்ன லல்லி?"

"fair and lovely !" 

A few months ago, Hindustan Unilever announced  that they will remove the words “fairness”, “whitening” and “lightening” from their line of products, and even remove the word Fair from their  popular Fair & Lovely brand.  It was renamed -  ‘Glow & Lovely’, days after it decided to remove nomenclature that propagated racial stereotypes.  That rattled their competitor Emami who  threatened legal action against HUL as it has already changed the name of its men’s fairness cream to ‘Emami Glow & Handsome’ !  .. brand wars in multi crore market.

Beauty Pageants ! – some hold the view that they are held to promote so called  beauty products and promote their merchandise in thirdworld countries – fairness creams now sell well in remote villages too – is one view .. .. .. another often criticized one is the Q & A of the top contestants.

The contestants have 30 seconds to answer. The countries from Colombia, France, Thailand, and Haiti requested interpreters.  Question for Miss Philippines, Maxine Medina: What is the most significant change you've seen in the world in the last 10 years?  A:   The last 10 years of being here in the world is that I saw all the people being in one event like this in Miss Universe, and it's something big to us that we are one, as one nation, we are all together.  .. ..     

On May 21, 1994, Sushmita Sen made history when she became the first Indian woman to win the Miss Universe title. After impressing the judges during the preliminary interview round, Sen made it to Top 10 and then to the Top 6. In the Top 6 Interview Round, Grammy Award-winning singer-actress, Florence LaRue asked her, “If you had the time and money to embark upon a great adventure, what would it be?” To which the actress replied, “Well I think adventure for me is what I enjoy from within me and children are little things that could bring a lot of adventure in your life. If I had the time and the money, I could do something, I wouldn’t say I would do something for the children who are downtrodden, any child is worth its while. I would do something for the children, go out with them and have a great time.”  In the final interview round, she was asked, “What for you is the essence of being a woman?” The actress's reply secured her the Miss Universe title and a place in the hearts of a generation. She answered, "Just being a woman is a gift of God that all of us must appreciate. The origin of a child is a mother, who is a woman. She shows a man what caring, sharing and loving is all about. That’s the essence of being a woman."

After winning the Miss Universe title in 1994, Sushmita Sen made her Bollywood debut with 1996 film Dastak, in which she played a victim of stalking. She then went on to do the Tamil action film Ratchagan .. .. this is no story of Sushmita but a very long intro about a post on ‘Mrs Lanka’ !!  .. .. more so, on – the  winner of a Sri Lankan beauty pageant being taken off  from her during the prize ceremony, when one of her predecessors claimed - erroneously - she had broken the rules.  Wonder what that was all about ??

Hundreds of beauty pageants are conducted yearly, but the Big Four are considered the most prestigious, widely covered and broadcast by media. The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, and other major press including Reuters Xinhua News Agency,[6] and global news agencies such as Reuters -  refer to the four major pageants as "Big Four" namely: Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss International, and Miss Earth. There are so many other events too ! 

Controversy erupted at the Mrs. Sri Lanka beauty pageant, when a former title holder took the crown off the winner's head and falsely claimed she was a divorcee and therefore ineligible to take part.

Pushpika De Silva was named the competition winner to applause and cheers from spectators in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. Video footage from the event showed organizers placing the winners' sash around De Silva and the crown on her head.  Shortly afterward, the pageant's 2019 winner and Mrs. World 2020, Caroline Jurie, took to the stage and picked up the microphone. "I have a small request," she said. "As for the Mrs. World Inc., there's a rule that you'll have to be married, and not divorced. So, I'm taking my first step saying that the crown goes to the first runner-up." Jurie then turned to a stunned De Silva, forcefully took the crown off her head and placed it on the first runner-up, who broke into tears and thanked the judges as De Silva walked away.

The Mrs. World series is an international beauty pageant for married women, founded in 1984. The winners of each country's title advance to the Mrs. World competition to face off against each other. Under the rules of the pageant, contestants must be "married as of the date of entry."  After the incident, organizers declared De Silva the official winner of the pageant, and said in a statement that contestants who were "legally married" were allowed to compete. De Silva said in a statement posted on Facebook  that she was currently separated from her husband "for personal reasons," but they were not divorced. If she had been ineligible, she would have been removed from the competition at the start, she said. In her statement, De Silva described the incident as an insult and decried Jurie's actions, saying true queens do not snatch other women's crowns. In a second statement posted on Facebook on Tuesday, De Silva added she had forgiven those involved.

Mrs. World Inc. organizers said in a news release that they are reviewing the incident. "We are deeply disturbed and sincerely regret the behavior of our current title holder, Mrs. Caroline Jurie, Mrs. World 2020, at the crowning," the statement said, adding the director of the Mrs. Sri Lanka pageant will be asking Jurie to apologize. "Let it be known, Mrs. World Inc. does not sit in moral judgment," the organizers' statement said. "If the delegate sent by Mrs. Sri Lanka-World to compete in the international competition is legally married she will be accepted."

In 2018, Veronika Didusenko was crowned Miss Ukraine before being stripped of her title days later when it emerged she was a divorced mother.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar