Tuesday, June 22, 2021

the once hyped Pak PM - Imran Khan struggling in governance

The opposition strongly slammed the government's economic policies  saying that  the head has 'no knowledge of the basics of economics' and makes decisions in line with advice from his 'courtiers'.  [nothing local so don’t jump to hasty conclusion – it is Current affairs of International politics!]

I remember that Pongal Test in 1980 at Chepauk when Pak toured India.  The star Batsman Zaheer Abbas failed miserably, getting out to Roger Binny;  some Pakis claimed that to be result of black magic ! .. .. Sandip Patil debuted and we so eagerly looked forward to his making runs – glaring at him in the net practice before the commencement of the Test.  Sunil Gavaskar was to make 166 and Kapil bowled so well – a 7 wicket haul in the 2nd  essay ensured a comfortable 10 wicket victory for India.  Imran Khan ran in long and hard and bowled fast – took 5 wickets too – those days there were rest days the 4th  day -  18th  Jan was a rest day.  Years later, in Feb 1987, Imran captained Pakis and scored a ton, which was overshadowed by a brilliant 123 laced with 18 fours and 2 sixers by local lad Krishnamachari Srikkanth.


Imran Khan  was a great Cricketer before entering politics.   One recalls that on that tour of 1983 – Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz, Sikhandar Bakht, Jallaluddin – repeatedly overstepped as Indian batsmen found the pace and swing too uncomfortable and lost the series badly. After 2 decades of international cricket, Khan   became a fulltime politician.  In its  long political history, Pakistan  peppered with military coups and martial law, elections 2018 were to be  the second successive transition of power through a constitutional process from one elected government to another. However, political opponents, the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and international observers such as the European Union alleged that irregularities and election rigging occurred in many parts of the country, particularly in rural and urban Sindh and Punjab provinces.   Imran Khan defeated their own system and became the PM of Pakistan .. and immediately spit venom .. .. on twitter taking  a potshot at our Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji,  over the cancellation of meeting between India and Pakistan. “Disappointed at the arrogant & negative response by India to my call for resumption of the peace dialogue,” he tweeted”.

Not so surprisingly some media in India started saying that India needs to learn from Imran .. .. the reality as always is far different !  .. .. Pakistan’s Supreme Court expressed its displeasure with the Imran Khan government, saying it was incapable of running the country or taking decisions. Hearing the local bodies case, a two-judge bench, headed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Sardar Tariq, expressing annoyance over the issuance of an ordinance on delimitation of constituencies by the Punjab government, referred the matter to the Chief Justice, the Express Tribune, Pakistan, reported. During the hearing, the apex court was informed that the decision regarding the census had not been taken by the Council of Common Interests (CCI). “Why hasn’t the Council of Common Interests met in two months,” Justice Isa asked, expressing his anger, the report said. According to the judge, the government and its allies rule in three provinces, and yet not a single decision had been taken by the CCI. “The government is incapable either of running the country or taking decisions,” he added.

Economic governance is never easy – and one need not have a panel of foreign experts ! to run .. .. the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) recently slammed the federal government's economic policies for the last three years, saying that Prime Minister Imran Khan has 'no knowledge of the basics of economics' and makes decisions in line with advice from his 'courtiers'. Addressing the opposition's pre-budget seminar, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi claimed that under the Pakistan Tehreeke-e-Insaf (PTI) government, over five million people have become unemployed, reported Geo News. He also claimed that the PTI-led government has pushed 20 million people into poverty and has heavily burdened people by increasing the price of electricity by more than 62 per cent. Meanwhile, financial losses due to line cuts and electricity theft have increased to 4.5 per cent, while Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited were "bankrupt" today, he said. "Pakistan's economy has shrunk by USD 19 billion in the last three years... People have received the gift of inflation through a stolen election," he said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has ruled out hosting American bases in Pakistan for military action inside war-torn Afghanistan, fearing it might lead to his country being "targeted in revenge attacks" by terrorists. In an opinion piece in The Washington Post ahead of US President Joe Biden's meeting with top Afghan leaders at the White House later this week, Mr Khan also questioned the efficacy of such US bases in Pakistan. "We simply cannot afford this. We have already paid too heavy a price," Mr Khan said, amid reports that the US continues to focus on Pakistan for a military base in the region. Elaborating the reasons for not giving nod the US to have bases in Pakistan, which were earlier allowed after 9/11 to coordinate operations in Afghanistan, the Pakistan Prime Minister said, "If Pakistan were to agree to host US bases, from which to bomb Afghanistan, and an Afghan civil war ensued, Pakistan would be targeted for revenge by terrorists again." According to media reports, the US had used the Shamsi air base in Balochistan to carry out hundreds of drone strikes since 2008. The drone strikes focused primarily on suspected Al Qaeda operatives in mountainous tribal areas, but also crossed the border into Afghanistan.

In a different news, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan sparked fury by blaming 'temptation' for sexual violence against women. It comes just two months after comments he made on sexual violence drew severe backlash. In April, Khan caused fury when he suggested during a Q&A session that 'vulgarity' was to blame for rising sexual violence, singling out Bollywood, Hollywood, divorce, and the 'sex, drugs and rock and roll' culture of England in the 70s as examples of moral decline. Defending his earlier remarks, Mr Khan siad in an interview with Axios HBO that aired on Monday: '...I said the concept of ''purdah''. The concept of "purdah" is avoid temptation in society. We don't have discos here, we don't have nightclubs. 'It is a completely different society way of life here. So if you raise temptation in society to the point - all these young guys have nowhere to go - it has a consequences in the society.'

When asked by Australian journalist Jonathan Swan if women's clothing can provoke sexual violence, Mr Khan said: 'If a woman is wearing very few clothes, it will have an impact on the men, unless they are robots. And it's common sense.'Swan replied: 'Yes but is it really going to provoke acts of sexual violence?' Mr Khan replied: 'It depends what society you live in. If in a society people haven't seen that sort of thing, it will have an impact on them. Referring to Western culture, he said: 'This is cultural imperialism. His comments were criticized by Pakistan Muslim League (PML) spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, who wrote on Twitter: 'The world got an insight into a mindset of a sick, misogynistic, degenerate & derelict IK. 'It is not women''s choices that lead to sexual assault rather the choices of men who choose to engage in this dispicable and vile crime.'

Twice-divorced Khan, was no stranger to scantily-clad women as he partied in VIP nightclubs during his bachelor life in London in the 1980s and 90s. The Oxford-educated public schoolboy famously dated fashion guru Susannah Constantine before marrying glamorous socialite Jemima Goldsmith in 1995. In January 2015 it was confirmed that he had married Reham Khan, a former BBC weathergirl and presenter, in a small private ceremony in Pakistan. That time  Pakistani media criticised Reham for her westernised style of dress, her outspoken political views, and status as a divorcee. Eventually the pressure became too much and the pair split in October the same year, with Imran later describing the marriage as 'the worst decision of my life'. Speaking to MailOnline in April, Reham branded her former husband a 'rape apologist', said he is 'clueless' about women's issues, and is 'failing miserably' in his duty to set an example

Now where are those media persons, who advised that India should learn from Imran – have they changed their views since ?!?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd June 2021. 

Monday, June 21, 2021

A test hat-trick at Gros Islet

There have been 46 of them and nine of them after 2010 – Peter Siddle, Stuart Broad, Sohag Gazi, Stuart Broad again,  HMRKB Herath, MM ali,  Jasprit Bumrah, Naseem Shah and now Keshav Maharaj !! – it started with Fred Spofforth way back in 1879 !  ~  a Test Hat-trick !!

This afternoon, we eagerly wanted India to perform better in the World Test Championship (WTC) at Southampton.  India had a good start with a good opening partnership between Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill but nothing much better after that.  Today day 4 has been washed out as rain continues to play spoil sport.  The persistent rain leave India and New Zealand a maximum of 196 overs - including the reserve day - to identify an outright winner. In case of a draw, the inaugural WTC will have joint winners who will share the award money and the trophy.

I was not following the other test happening at Gros Islet ! – where ?  Gros Islet is located near the northern tip of the island country of Saint Lucia. Originally a quiet fishing village, it has gone on to become one of the more popular tourist destinations in the country.  In 1778, as a retaliation for the declaration of war on the British by the French, the British navy captured the island of Saint Lucia from the French, and built a naval base at Gros Islet Bay – now South Africa is  playing West Indies in a Test match there.

At Lunch on day 4 West Indies needs 215 runs more  for victory is in dire straits losing 6 for 109.  The summary of the 2nd test  reads :   South Africa: 298 & 174- West Indies (target 324)  149 & 109/6

He did play in India too – remember that Vishapatham test in 2019  .. ..  Keshav Athmanand Maharaj  has graduated.  His   father, Athmanand, was also a wicketkeeper.  Two decades later, Keshav has made a career as a left-arm spinner to fulfill his father's dream.  A left-arm spinner from Northwood Boys High, the alma mater of Shaun Pollock, Keshav Maharaj emerged at a time when South Africa began to take spin seriously.  In his youth, Maharaj was a pace bowler, whose father played for Natal B during segregation years. He turned to spin later.   

Today at Gros Isles – 36.3 -  Kieran Powell tried sweeping Maharaj and the man at legside fence Nortje took the catch.  Powell was out for 51.  Next ball experienced Jason Holder inner edged to short leg – caught Petersen bowled Maharaj for a duck.   Joshua Da Silva wicketkeeper batsman from Trinidad was the next, to face hat-trick ball, with a slip, silly point, leg slip, short leg and backward short leg.  Mulder dived to his right and took  one-handed catch  falling down. Maharaj becomes only the second from his country to take three in three balls !

Of the 46 hat-tricks in Test Cricket – England has taken 14 (13 taken against them); Australia 11; Pakistan 5; West Indies 4; India 3 (Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan & Jasprit Bumrah); Bangladesh 2; Srilanka 2; New Zealand 2; South Africa 2 and Zimbabwe 1

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st June 2021 @ 22:00hrs.



a strike that occurred in Madras - exactly 100 years ago !!

1983 changed the face of Indian Cricket – at Berbice with a thundering knock by Kapil Dev, India beat WI in an One dayer.  The won 6 of their matches winning the 1983 Prudential Cup.  Do you remember that match  ODI no. 219 - 23rd Match of WC played at  Chelmsford, Jun 20 1983,  when India comfortably beat Australia !!

.. .. அடி பில்லா ரங்கா பாஷாதான் –இவன்   பிஸ்டல் பேசும் பேஷாதான் !

 பாஞ்சா சாஞ்சா... காஞ்சா மேஞ்சா... தோஞ்சா மாஞ்சா..! (immortal Tamil song)


In my school days – when we went to buy school uniform at the ‘Popular Stores’ in Pycrofts Road – we had the option of buying cheap unnamed cloth (which most of us bought) or the premier Binny Mills textiles !!  - that was in 1970s

In late 1980s – had visited Binny Office at Armenian Street – they were our valued client of Oriental Insurance – remember buying Deepavali dress of Binny Mills !

Around 2005, during Chennai floods – recall visiting Binny Mills compound – it was ‘transporter’s godown’ as also some individual godown.  Our claimant was a dealer in paper / paper boards which were inundated – a Competitor insurer was dealing with a very lodge claim arising out flood water entering the godown and damaging the goods there. By that time, the Textile mill had declined – done in by industrial strikes and losses – the vast premises was no longer a manufacturing unit but was more of a godown and .. .. .. a place for Cinema shooting.

Did you see – ‘Sivaji, the Boss’ – Rajnikant starrer – a key portion of the movie including the   song "Athiradi" were filmed at Binny Mills. The sets for the song were made bearing resemblance to the city of Venice.  Vikram Vedha climax too was  shot here .. .. it ends here, for this is no cinema post  !! 

Exactly a century ago – there was a strike by   the workers of Buckingham and Carnatic Mills in the city of Madras, against the managing company, Binny and Co. The strike, which lasted from June to October 1921, caused severe losses to the Madras economy. It also created a rift in the ruling Justice Party forcing many Dalit leaders to leave.

Buckingham and Carnatic Mills, popularly known as B & C Mills, were textile mills run by Binny and Co. in the city of Chennai, India. The mills were closed down in 1996 and the site is now used as a container freight station and is a popular venue for film shootings.  In the  expansive area  mill produced textiles that reached stores across the country has been closed since 1996, but the news that Binny Ltd is being split into three entities is reason enough to look back at the history of a company that sparked industrialisation in Madras as well as organised trade unionism in the country.

                   John ‘Deaf’ Binny, who arrived in India in 1797 to work for the Nawab of Carnatic, established Binny & Dennison (with Robert Dennison) in 1799. The firm, with its headquarters on Armenian Street, was an agency house representing British interests in south India, says historian S Muthiah. Binny & Dennison became Binny & Co in 1812, and by 1870 the Buckingham and Carnatic Mills was set up in Perambur, the first major industrial centre in the south. Agricultural labourers, weavers and artisans from the area joined the factory, according to ‘Madras - The Land, The People and Their Governance’. They found that the working day stretched to 18 hours, there were differences in wages and they had no facilities for food and rest. The workers went on strike in June 1873. By April 1918, they had organised themselves as the Madras Workers’ Union, the first organised trade union in the country.

“There had been workers’ struggles in the country from 1914, but this was the first trade union with bylaws, rules and regulations. It was perhaps the beginning of trade unionism in India.”   Binny’s eventually grew into one of the biggest business houses in India, expanding into cotton, spinning, weaving and other activities,  but it was not modernized enough as it failed to compete and eternally closed down with heavy accumulated losses, strikes, lay-offs and more. 

In 1980s the Communist unions were in the forefront in the strikes, as labour dogged the Company, it was sold off.  In the 1990s, the Udayar group bought it, primarily for real estate. The mills were finally shut down in 1996, after more labour unrest. Part of the mill property in Perambur is now set to become an integrated township. The  original founder, John Binny, is still remembered by a short stretch of road, Binny Road, in front of Taj Connemara, the property he owned in the 1800s.

Sad ending for  ‘Binny & Co’ one of the biggest Private enterprises that was set up in Perambur / Basin Bridge in 1876 and later merged with Carnatic Mills set up in 1881.   It is stated that India's first labour union, the Madras Labour Union (MLU) was formed at Buckingham and Carnatic Mills by B. P. Wadia and V. Kalyanasundaram Mudaliar on 27 April 1918.  Early union activity took place in the Buckingham and Carnatic Mills during October–December 1920 when workers struck in protest against working conditions. The government responded by ordering the police to shoot down striking workers on 9 December 1920 to bring the strike to a forceful end.  There was widespread unrest among the workers over the low wages and poor working conditions. Their demands were supported by Indian nationalists   Indian National Congress as well as the pro-British Justice Party.

On 20 May 1921, the workers in the Spinning Department of the Buckingham and Carnatic Mills refused to work until the management agreed to discuss their wage rise demands.  The protest reached serious proportions when an official strike was declared on 20 June.  The striking workers were led by Congressman V. Kalyanasundaram Mudaliar.  The Indian National Congress convened a meeting in Madras on 10 July 1921; in this meeting, C. Rajagopalachari moved for a resolution sympathizing with the workers of the Buckingham and Carnatic Mills and supporting their cause. The strike lasted for a total of six months. The authorities adopted a ruthless policy to suppress the agitation. On 29 August 1921, the police opened fire, killing six workers.    

In the aftermath of the strike, the major political factions in the Madras Presidency began leveling charges against one another. The Indian National Congress blamed the government for the ruthless suppression of labour activities, while the Justice Party blamed the Non-Cooperation Movement for causing the unrest and criticized the government for showing partiality. The Madras government appointed a three-member enquiry committee headed by Sir William Ayling to investigate the causes of the strike.

At  Chelmsford – it was the last of the group matches – India had won 3, Australia had won only 2 – but a loss to Australia could have spoilt India’s chances.  India batting first made 247 in 55 overs.  Yashpal Sharma was the topscorer with 40; next was Extras with 37 .  David Hookes led Aussies, Dennis Lillee was dropped !  .. .. Kapil Dev brough Roger Binny early – and Binny had magical figures of  8-2-29-4; Madanlal had it even better 8.2-3-20-4.  Roger Binny was the Man of the match [Roger Binny nor Stuart Binny have nothing to do with Binny Mills !]

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st June 2021.  

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sri Desikan Balaji snatched cruelly by death !!

It is cruel, painful and shocking to hear the passing away of this genius, genial ever-smiling person, snatched at such an young age.   Sri Desikan Balaji is no more ! 

He wished himself to be known as Advocate, Tutor, Author, Speaker, Drama artiste, book writer,  Chess enthusiast  and more .. .. highly qualified, kind at heart.  In recent times, a College Professor spoke to me in high regard and awe about his teaching capabilities in Corporate Law .. .. he passionately trained students on Commerce, Law and Management related subjects.  Authored many books too.  

He was Managing Partner of DB Law chambers. Triplicanites know him for his humour and passion for Cricket – he studied in Hindu Sr Secondary school; did his B.Com, became Company Secretary; did Cost & Management accounting; PG in Intellectual Property Law and became Associate member  in Chartered Institute of Arbitration.

Today WE mourn his passing away, after brief illness. .. .. feeling very pained and extremely sad on his untimely death at the age of 31.

Death is cruel. .. .. Triplicane has lost a jewel and we mourn.  Pray Emperuman for giving strength to his mother to bear this colossal loss.

20th June 2021

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Targetted Dream Incubation ... .. even your dreams could have commercials !!

Nearly 40 dream researchers published an op-ed letter warning the public of companies taking over their dreams with commercials !  .. .. can you make out or understand what this is about ! ~ I am clueless !!! 

Every night as I hit the bed, my eyes close and I fall asleep – and they start ! – almost unending .. .. when I get up whether in between in the dead of night or early morning, I can almost recall the story that was running !  … .. ‘dreams’ ! .. .. Dreams can be entertaining, disturbing, or downright bizarre. We all dream, even if we don't remember it the next day.  

Dreams are the stories the brain tells during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. People typically have multiple dreams each night that grow longer as sleep draws to a close. Over a lifetime, a person may dream for five or six full years. How best to examine all that content remains a source of debate.  Almost by definition, a dream is something you are aware of at some level. It may be fragmentary, disconnected, and illogical, but if you aren’t aware of it during sleep then it isn’t a dream. Many people will protest, “I never remember my dreams!,” but that is a different matter entirely. Failing to remember a dream later on when you’re awake doesn’t mean you weren’t aware of it when it occurred. It just means the experience was never really carved into your memory, has decayed in storage, or isn’t accessible for easy call back.

A few years back – in the dead of night, an ambulance arrived at Devaki hospital – a man with cuts and bleeding injuries all over the body was admitted – was informed that he was injured badly while performing a stunt sequence.  Those around him were discussing of whether or not to inform his young wife of the accident and .. .. how to arrange money for the immediate treatment ! – sad tale of a junior artiste, part of the ‘dream industry’ where heroes utter punch dialogue and rake in crores (yet do not pay taxes !) – that even after earning so many crores, they too turn pauper is not the subject matter of this post.

Tamil Nadu has high no. of literates – yet ‘dream factory’  has dominated them in every sphere.  A small time hero having acted in couple of films starts nurturing hopes and vision of becoming a political leader and in felicitations, his fans might shout ‘future CM’. Actors by and large have enjoyed larger than life image and cult status.  While a popular actor can travel by a train or walk on the streets in Kerala, such a thing cannot happen for a small hero too – that is the fan following. 

It is but natural that people flock to cities – a city life, however miserable could be is the dream choice as millions of village youths [both men and women] chase their pipedream – once it was believed that  daily - at least 50 girls land up at Egmore Railway station  from small villages down south, aspiring to get a role in the silver screen, thinking it to be the gateway to prosperity.  This is no post on ‘dream factory’ also.

Molson Coors recently announced a new kind of advertising campaign. Timed for the days before Super Bowl Sunday, it was designed to infiltrate our dreams. They planned to use "targeted dream incubation" (TDI) to alter the dreams of the nearly 100 million Super Bowl viewers the night before the game—specifically, to have them dream about Coors beer in a clean, refreshing, mountain environment—and presumably then drink their beer while watching the Super Bowl. Participants in what Coors called ‘the world’s largest dream study’ would get half off on a 12 pack of Coors; if they sent the link to a friend who also incubated their dreams, the 12 pack was free. With this campaign, Coors is proudly pioneering a new form of intrusive marketing. “Targeted Dream Incubation (TDI) is a never-before-seen form of advertising,” says Marcelo Pascoa, Vice President of Marketing at Molson Coors.

With brain imaging techniques beginning to capture the core contents of people’s dreams and sleep studies establishing real-time communication between researchers and sleeping dreamers, the kind of dream incubation until recently assumed to be the pure science fiction of movies like Inception is now becoming reality. Coors is not the only company expressing interest in using these novel dream incubation technologies: Xbox's Made From Dreams uses TDI to give professional gamers dreams of their favorite video games, while Playstation advertises a new Tetris game based on a sleep study demonstrating that gameplay incubates Tetris dreams. In 2018, Burger King created a "nightmare" burger for Halloween, claiming that a sleep laboratory study had ‘clinically proven’ it would induce nightmares!!

Traditions of dream incubation—techniques employed during wakefulness to help a person dream about a specific topic—go back thousands of years and span indigenous practices across the globe. Over the last few years, brain scientists have begun to develop scientific tools that facilitate this incubation of specific dream content, making dream incubation more targeted and measurable, and allowing scientific experimentation on the nature and function of dreaming. They use sensors to determine when an individual’s sleeping brain is receptive to external stimuli and, at these times, introduce smells, sounds, flashing lights or even speech to influence the content of our dreams.  

For now, TDI-based advertising requires our active participation, for example choosing to play an 8-hour Coors soundtrack while we sleep. But it is easy to envision a world in which smart speakers—40 million Americans currently have them in their bedrooms — become instruments of passive, unconscious overnight advertising, with or without our permission. These tailored soundtracks would become background scenery for our sleep, as the unending billboards that litter American highways have become for our waking life.

The concerns of the researchers are largely regarding Coors Light's experiment in January that aimed to show sports fans commercials while they slept after February's Super Bowl.   They have written that 'Such interventions clearly influence the choices our sleeping and dreaming brain make in how to interpret the events from our day, and how to use memories of these events in planning our future, biasing the brain's decisions toward whatever information was presented during sleep,' reads the letter.

Our dreams cannot become just another playground for corporate advertisers. Regardless of Coors’ intent, their actions set the stage for a corporate assault of our very sense of who we are. And it is not difficult to imagine Coors' ad campaign negatively impacting abstinent alcoholics. Indeed, research has shown that abstinent drug users who report dreaming about their drug-use show higher levels of craving. TDI-advertising is not some fun gimmick, but a slippery slope with real consequences. Planting dreams in people’s minds for the purpose of selling products, not to mention addictive substances, raises important ethical questions. The moral line dividing companies selling relaxing rain soundtracks to help people sleep from those embedding targeted dreams to influence consumer behavior is admittedly unclear at the moment. While the Federal Trade Commission has indicated that subliminal ads during wake violate its statute requiring truth in advertising, there is no similar indication regarding exposure to advertisements during sleep.

As sleep and dream researchers, we are deeply concerned about marketing plans aimed at generating profits at the cost of interfering with our natural nocturnal memory processing. Brain science helped design several addictive technologies, from cell phones to social media, that now shape much of our waking lives; we do not want to see the same happen to our sleep. We believe that proactive action and new protective policies are urgently needed to keep advertisers from manipulating one of the last refuges of our already beleaguered conscious and unconscious minds: Our dreams.  

This technology, called targeted dream incubation (TDI), uses specific audio and visual stimuli, such as a movie, to induce specific imagery and sounds into the brain that people then see in their dreams. 'Our dreams cannot become just another playground for corporate advertisers,' the letter reads, urging the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to revisit its policies banning subliminal advertising to include ads that creep up in your sleep, too.   

'The potential for misuse of these technologies is as ominous as it is obvious,' they shared in the letter. 'TDI-advertising is not some fun gimmick, but a slippery slope with real consequences. Planting dreams in people's minds for the purpose of selling products, not to mention addictive substances, raises important ethical questions.'

.. .. .. so in future, even your dreams could be guided and manipulated by some others with commercial interests ! does not sound music to ears.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th June 2021. 

mangoes are yellow in colour and could cost Rs.100 per kg !! ~ not this one !!

**  பெரிய மாக்கனி, பலாக்கனி, பிறங்கிய வாழை; அரிய மாக் களி, கடுவன்கள்  அன்பு  கொண்டு அளிப்பன** : கம்பனுடைய  இராம காதை - அயோத்தியா  காண்டம்.  இனிப்பான மாம்பழங்கள் பற்றி இந்த பாடலை சிறுவயதில் படித்து இருப்பீர்கள்.

மாம்பழமாம் மாம்பழம்;  மல்கோவா மாம்பழம்; தித்திக்கும் மாம்பழம்

அழகான மாம்பழம்;  அல்வா போன்ற மாம்பழம்; தங்க நிற மாம்பழம்;

உங்களுக்கு வேண்டுமா;  இங்கே ஓடி வாருங்கள்; பங்கு போட்டு தின்னலாம்.


As the mercury shoots up and as people start predicting that ‘this year summer is going to be more hot’ …. People start thinking of delicious mango season.  Every place have their own variety of mangoes – some to be eaten ripe, some green and raw and some pickled and devoured.  Mangoes have enriched the literature ~ So many stories, real as well as apocryphal, are associated with this sublime fruit. Like cricket among all sports, mango among all fruits has lent itself to the folklore of Indian and subcontinental literature.  Every place in India,  have their own variety of mangoes – some to be eaten ripe, some green and raw and some pickled and devoured.  Sure you can add more to this list ……..Alphonso, Totapuri, Aambaat, Banganapalli,  Neelam, Sindhoori, Malda, Pairi, Chandrakaran, Alphonso, Langra, Gulaab khaas, peddarasalu, Kesar, dashehari, movandhan, mallika …..     mangoes are delicious fruits in bright yellow colour – could cost around Rs.100 per kg.

Almost every state boasts of their great stock and variety. There are approximately 500-1000 cultivars of different mangoes in the country. This huge variety not only differs in its shape, size, and color but also in its rich taste.   

Was surprised to read a Health tip that one should never keep mangoes and muskmelons in the fridge without first cutting them.  It advised that once mangoes are bought, soak it in the cold water for sometime and then leave them in the room temperature for a while. If you want to store them, you can cut them and keep them in the fridge for sometime to make it cooler. Don’t forget to keep the cut fruits closed. Never leave them open !

Centuries ago,  Hyuga Province was renamed to Miyazaki Prefecture with Miyazaki being its capital.  In Japan, Miyazaki Prefecture was first created in 1873 when Mimitsu Prefecture was merged with parts of Miyakonojō Prefecture. The first Miyazaki existed only until 1876 when it was merged (back) into Kagoshima Prefecture. Under public pressure and demands in the prefectural assembly of Kagoshima, Miyazaki became finally independent from Kagoshima in 1883. Miyazaki is the capital city of Miyazaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan. The city was founded on April 1, 1924 – it has an Airport and sea port … relevance here ??

Mangoes are liked by everyone !  .. .. sad, that Diabetics are advised not to eat this delicious fruit nor bananas, dates, jack fruit !  .. .. generally, have heard that Malkova, Imampasand varieties are costly .. .. while you generally get Neelam, Banganapalli in the market.  .. .. today almost every media has covered this – the purple-red mangoes called ‘miyazaki mangoes’ .. .. !! – mangoes native to Japan but cultivated in Bangladesh,  Thailand and the Philippines too.  On average, one mango weighs about 350 grams. Rich in antioxidants, beta-carotene and folic acid, the mangoes are grown during the peak harvest season between April and August.

A couple in Madhya Pradesh has hired four security guards and six watchdogs to protect what is perhaps their most prized possession - two Miyazaki mango trees.  The orchardist couple Rani and Sankalp Parihar planted two mango saplings years ago. However, little they had any idea the two mango saplings would develop and bore into unusual ruby-coloured mangoes, the Japanese Miyazaki, according to a report in Hindustan Times. Sankalp's wife Rani said many people have shown interest to buy Mirazaki mangoes. She said a Mumbai-based jeweller is ready to pay Rs.21,000 for a mango. However, the couple has decided not to sell the mangoes to anyone yet, and instead they would grow them.  In the international market last year, the price of the not-so-"aam" (not-so-common) fruit went up to  Rs.2.70 lakh per kilogram.

When the two saplings were planted years ago, the couple had no idea the tree would bear ruby-coloured Japanese mangoes. Said to be one of the most expensive mangoes in the world, Miyazaki mangoes are often referred to as "Eggs of Sunshine" due to their shape and flaming red colour. Local thieves had broken into their orchard and tried to steal the saplings after word spread about the exotic fruit, triggering the security enhancement for the rare fruit.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th June 2021. 

the legend flying Sikh leaves ever-lasting imprint !

Legends never die !  .. they leave ever-lasting imprints !!


Day 1 of World Test Championship at Southampton was washed out – many of us are following .. .. other than Cricketers, not many sportpersons have garnered Nation’s awe and attention.

One great man, an  Army man, a track legend, and a trailblazer who demanded excellence from all those who represented India, is no more ! — Milkha Singh passed away from COVID-19 complications yesterday.   Missing what could have been India’s greatest track and field medal — a bronze at the Rome Olympics in 1960 by 0.1 seconds — independent India’s first sporting superstar taught a nation entering its teens what a heartbreak felt like.

Captain Milkha Singh (20 November 1929 – 18 June 2021), is the only athlete to win gold in 400 metres race at the Asian Games as well the Commonwealth Games. He also won gold medals in the 1958 and 1962 Asian Games. He represented India in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He was awarded the Padma Shri, in recognition of his sporting achievements.

The race   best remembered is his fourth-place finish in the 400 metres final at the 1960 Olympic Games, which he had entered as one of the favourites. Various records were broken in the race, which required a photo-finish and saw American Otis Davis being declared the winner by one-hundredth of a second over German Carl Kaufmann. Singh's fourth-place time of 45.73 seconds was the Indian national record for almost 40 years.

The title ‘Flying Sikh’ was accorded from a totally different quarter. The then Pakistan President, Ayub Khan, had invited Indian athletes for an Indo-Pak sports meet in Lahore.

It was the Asian Games, where Milkha announced his arrival at the international stage. Milkha first ran in 1958 Tokyo games, where he won gold in 200 meters. He ran the race in 21.6 seconds to win the title. Winning the medal was also sweeter as Milkha defeated Pakistan’s Abdul Khaliq in the final. In 1958, when Milkha Singh first participated in the games, Abdul Khaliq was Asia’s fastest runner in the 100-meter event. This was the first time when Milkha and Khaliq met each other and from there on the rivalry between both the athletes started to gain momentum.  Milkha went onto win gold in 400m too.   When the race started,   Milkha and Khaliq were running neck to neck in the first 100m, but it was Milkha who overtook Khaliq in the final stretch to win the gold, but the final decision came after a long delay by the judges. Milkha Singh who spoke about the incident in his book ‘The Race of my life’ said that both of them had eyes on each other and the race was so close that anyone could have won it. Just before the finish line, there was a muscle pull in Milkha’s right leg, but he still ran and fell on the finishing line in pain and at that very moment Khaliq also crossed the finish line. The judges watch the picture from a various angle before declaring Milkha the winner. By doing this Milkha became the second athlete to win gold in 200m. Milkha registered a timing of 21.6 seconds, while Khaliq took 21.7sec to finish the race.

After the thriller at Asian Games, Milkha and Khaliq rivalry got more intense as people from India and Pakistan both enjoyed the clash between both athletes. In 1960 Milkha went onto beat Khaliq in Lahore after which Pakistan’s interim Prime Minister field marshal Ayub Khan gave him the name Flying Sikh’.

Milkha Singh was born on 20 November 1929 at Govindpura, a village 10 km (6.25 mi) from Muzaffargarh city in Punjab Province, British India (now Muzaffargarh District, Pakistan). He was one of 15 siblings, eight of whom died before the Partition of india. He was orphaned during the Partition when his parents, a brother and two sisters were killed by Muslim mobs in the violence that ensued. He witnessed these killings !  Escaping the troubles in Punjab, where killings of Hindus and Sikhs were continuing,  by moving to Delhi.  He joined Indian army and  while stationed at the Electrical Mechanical Engineering Centre in Secunderabad he was introduced to athletics.  

Before Vikas Gowda won the gold in 2014, Milkha was the only Indian male to have won an individual athletics gold medal at those Games. At the 1962 Asian Games, held in Jakarta, Singh won gold in the 400m  and in the 4 x 400m relay.  

All of Singh's medals were donated to the nation. They were displayed at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi and later moved to a sports museum in Patiala,  where a pair of running shoes that he wore in Rome are also displayed.  Milkha Singh was admitted to the intensive care unit at Fortis Hospital in Mohali on 24 May 2021 with pneumonia caused by COVID-19. His condition was, for a while, described as stable, but he died on 18 June 2021 at 11:30 PM IST. Sad that his wife, Nirmal Kaur, had died a few days earlier on 13 June 2021, also due to COVID-19.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th June 2021. 

Friday, June 18, 2021

Is Wedlock a bondage ! ... .. how long can people be bound together ??

Is wedlock a bondage !  ~ how long can people be bound together ?  .. .. .. . Viktoria 'Vika' Pustovitova, 29, and Alexander 'Sasha' Kudlay, 33, from Kharkiv in Ukraine, were bound together for 123 days !  ~  then what happened ? ! ?


நிலத்தினும் பெரிதே; வானினும் உயர்ந்தன்று;

நீரினும் ஆர் அளவின்றே- சாரல்

கருங் கோல் குறிஞ்சிப்பூக் கொண்டு,

பெருந்தேன் இழைக்கும் நாடனொடு நட்பே.


இது குறுந்தொகையில் இருந்து ஒரு பாடல்.    எட்டுத்தொகையில் உள்ள நூல்களுள் ஒன்று குறுந்தொகை.   தலைவனின் அன்பின் ஆழத்தையும் தலைவியின் நம்பிக்கையையும் எடுத்துரைக்கிறது இப்பாடல்.  இதன் அர்த்தம்  " மலைச்சாரலில் வளரக் கூடிய, கரிய கிளைகளையுடைய குறிஞ்சி மரத்தின் பூவிலிருந்து பெருமளவு தேன் உருவாகும் நாட்டைச் சேர்ந்தவனாகிய தலைவனிடம் நான் கொண்ட நட்பானது, இந்தப் புவியைக் காட்டிலும் பெரியது; வானை விடவும் உயர்ந்தது; கடலின் ஆழத்தை விடவும் அளத்தற்கரிய ஆழம் உடையது."  

Indian marriages are grand affairs  ~ in Tamil Nadu, it used to be for 3 or even a week’s affair – all relatives assembling on the grand occasion and being happy ! The Indian society of yore was different – lot was placed on family ties – there were ONLY  arranged marriages – people getting married at young age – mostly to unknown people, not having seen them even a day before the day of marriage, yet got married, led family life, had children and lived happily thereafter……………. Or at least lived together, till they were separated by death ! ~ there were not much of complaints !  

Still, queerly some would ask – how would one marry and immediately have family relations with a total stranger ! – the concept of meeting [not to think of living together] was sort of unheard of (say, 6 decades + ago !!)  

Graeme Craig Smith captained the Proteas efficiently and scored runs at will.   He succeeded Shaun Pollock after the 2003 Cricket World Cup and handed over the captaincy to AB de Villiers after the 2011 Cricket World Cup.  Smith married Irish singer Morgan Deane,  at Cape Town in Aug 2011 and had daughter and a boy.  News reports stated that Smith's wife 'found out he wanted a divorce when he accidentally sent her a text message meant for his lawyer'.  Smith allegedly told his wife that he was keen to make their marriage work; but  he accidentally ! sent her a text saying that he wanted a divorce.  It is thought that the text had been meant for his lawyer and sent in mistake  Couple announced their separation days later  shocking South Africa.  

Nobody wants broken marriages – at the same time once cannot deny the fact that they are on increase due to varied reasons.  You find and hear of them more frequently than ever before.  Understand that divorce in India is not an easy procedure. The entire process of divorce that starts from coping up with emotional ups and downs to contesting for the long awaited divorce decree for several months,  a tough affair to get through. Due to existence of diverse religious faiths in India, the Indian Judiciary has implemented laws separately for couples belonging to different religious beliefs.  Some state that mutual divorce can be filed only when they have lived apart for at least a year.  

Comparatively, people of modern age have choices, can explore, think, talk, discuss before marriage – check of various aspects of compatibility and yet we get to hear too many instances of people not happy, couples separating, unhappy family life and more.  A  generation earlier,  women were less likely to file for divorce even  in an unhappy or abusive marriage. Most were financially dependent on their spouse and feared the social stigma of divorce.  Today women are more likely to have careers of their own, are less financially dependent on their spouse and no longer fear the social stigma of divorce.  The % of couples seeking divorce has been going up – in a Society where still entering Court is looked upon as not so good and where there could be a sizable number living alone, having separated but not formalized in a Court of law.    

Viktoria 'Vika' Pustovitova, 29, and Alexander 'Sasha' Kudlay, 33, from Kharkiv in Ukraine, were bound together for 123 days. But as the chain was severed by giant cutters in Kiev, they couldn't wait to go their separate ways. 'I want to live my own independent life, and grow as an independent person,' announced Vika. She shouted 'Hurray' as they were freed from each other. 'I am finally free,' she said. 

The couple parted when their heavy-duty chain was cut at the same Unity monument in Kiev where they had been locked together.  The couple had planned to marry and were united in bonding but admitted that being so close with no space or privacy in the end cost them their relationship and their wedding plans.  Her now ex Alexander commented after the chain was cut: 'Thank you all for supporting us. 'Look, we are now at a distance from each other. 'We were happy, and we are now happy to have had this experience in our lives.' They were 'proud' of setting a record in Ukraine, they said. In their joint social media, he posted as they came to the end of their up-close-and-personal experiment: 'Difficulties are snowballing. 'As soon as we find one plus in a situation, immediately there are two minuses. 

'Vika wants to get back to the rhythm of her earlier life, she misses what she used to love to do. 'She doesn't respond well to my suggestions to keep doing what she likes to do alongside me.' He admitted he was fed up with being alongside her as she did her makeup. 'We are trying really hard not to escalate conflicts,' he said.  Perhaps the idea of locking together with chains was not great – there were practical difficulties and there had been the pain of togetherness caused by burns from the chain on their wrist  and another problem has been using public toilets when she takes him into the 'Ladies' which has not always gone down well. 

The record that the  couple spent 126 days shackled together may not serve any great purpose and may not be a great reminder to both of them is tragic. A month ago, Vika saw the writing on the wall, saying: 'We are a bit fed up with each other. It is complicated for me… I was nervous, am nervous and, probably, will continue to be nervous.  They had planned to wed but now this is cancelled.

Akexander was even able to get behind the wheel of a car despite his girlfriend being chained to his right hand, though he appeared driving  an automatic which would have helped make this easier.  Alexander has managed to work selling cars and car parts, with Viktoria accompanying him. They also hoped to make a fortune from their stunt but it is not yet clear how much money they have made. In the end, what big benefit is derived by this experiment that went horribly wrong – the  unchaining was supervised by Ukrainian records chief Vitaly Zorin.  Alexander was to say : 'Since this is Vika's first free evening, I'm going to introduce myself to her.' 

To many – these appear purposeless challenges – living life with purpose is the challenge.


With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th June 2021 

Thursday, June 17, 2021

technical glitch causes chaos at Wimbedon 2021


This is a post on Wimbledon chaos !!

For Tennis lovers, it is the top-most event – the 2021 Wimbledon Championships   is scheduled to take place at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London, United Kingdom. Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep are the defending singles champions from when the tournament was last held in 2019.

Following the cancellation of the 2020 tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the main tournament is due to begin on Monday 28 June 2021 and finish on Sunday 11 July 2021. Wimbledon 2021  will be the 134th edition, the 127th staging of the Ladies' Singles Championship event, the 53rd in the Open Era and the third Grand Slam tournament of the year.   The tournament is organised by the All England Lawn Tennis Club and International Tennis Federation.

                          It consists of men's (singles and doubles), women's (singles and doubles), mixed doubles, boys (under 18 – singles and doubles) and girls (under 18 – singles and doubles), which will be also a part of the Grade A category of tournaments for under 18, and singles & doubles events for men's and women's wheelchair tennis players as part of the Uniqlo Tour under the Grand Slam category, also hosting singles and doubles events for wheelchair quad tennis for the first time.

The tournament will be played only on grass courts; main draw matches will be played at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Qualifying matches will be played, from Monday 21 June to Thursday 24 June 2021, at the Bank of England Sports Ground, Roehampton.  

Former champions Venus Williams and Andy Murray were named in Wimbledon's initial list of wildcards for the  Grand Slam. American Williams, who will turn 41 on Thursday, has won five out of her seven Grand Slam singles titles at Wimbledon but has slipped to 103rd in the women's world rankings. She has not made it past the opening round at any tournament since reaching the second round of the Australian Open in February. Britain’s Murray won Wimbledon titles in 2013 and 2016 but is currently ranked 124th having endured a spate of injuries in the past few years. Murray underwent hip resurfacing surgery in January 2019 and his comeback has also been complicated by niggling injuries which have limited his participation in tournaments.

Prize money for this year's Wimbledon will be a little over 35 million pounds ($49.4 million), a 5.2% reduction from 2019 when the grasscourt Grand Slam was last held, organisers said. 

Tennis great and 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal said today  that he will be pulling out of Tokyo Games and Wimbledon 2021 in a bid to focus on taking care of his body and prolonging his career. Nadal has won Wimbledon twice in 2008 and 2010 and won the Olympic gold in men's singles tennis in 2008. Rafael Nadal, who was beaten by eventual champion Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros recently at  Roland Garros  was worried that the short time between French and Wimbledon,  doesn't allow him enough time to recover. Nadal maintained that Olympic Games will always be special to him and that he had the honour of representing Spain in 3 Olympics.  It’s never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision," Nadal said. "The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at the maximum level of competition," he added.

Tennis fans have been left frustrated by enormous queues to purchase tickets for this year's Wimbledon after over 170,000 were put on sale at the same time.  There was chaos just after 1pm on Thursday when hundreds of thousands of people logged on to try and secure tickets in the first online sale. It led to virtual queues for the show courts so big most people had absolutely no chance of securing any tickets, which sold out in about 40 minutes.

Many were complaining that they hadn't been emailed their access code after pre-registering for the sale on the 'myWimbledon' website. Others didn't get theirs until well after the 1pm opening of the sale. Everyone hoping to secure tickets for the reduced capacity Grand Slam, which runs from June 28 until July 11, had to pre-register before midnight last night. Tennis fans were left fuming after technical issues on the Wimbledon ticketing website saw them miss out  - many took to Twitter to complain about having little to no chance of securing tickets in the sale .. .. one person  posted: 'I literally clicked on Ticket Sale button the SECOND it became active… and yet there's 10,000 people ahead of me in the virtual queue. Others demanded an explanation from Ticketmaster and Wimbledon organisers as to why their code hadn't arrived in time.

The historic sporting event, which was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, usually distributes tickets via a ballot several months in advance. But uncertainty over coronavirus restrictions at this year's Wimbledon led to an online sale being held through the Ticketmaster platform. There will be a second opportunity to buy tickets next week.  A statement issued to MailOnline by Wimbledon read: 'As expected, we received enormous demand for this initial sale of tickets for The Championships 2021.   'We appreciate the disappointment of those who were not able to get tickets on this occasion, but there will be additional opportunities to purchase tickets for this year's Championships.  

The tournament will initially be played in front of 50 per cent of capacity crowds and this will rise as the fortnight progresses. The men's and women's singles finals on the 15,000-capacity Centre Court will be played before full capacity crowds with the events treated as a pilot event. This makes them exempt from the strict capacity limits that have been placed on sporting events by the Government to make them Covid-19 safe and will occur despite 'Freedom Day' being pushed back to July 19.  

Everyone attending Wimbledon will need to provide certification of a recent negative Covid test to gain entry or proof of being double vaccinated. Once inside, however, they will be free to roam the grounds as is usually the case. The Wimbledon Queue, another way to gain access to the grounds, will be absent this year.  

It is simply a technical glitch that created chaos and prevented fans from buying ticket .. simple !  .. .. but imagine, what the British media especially BBC would have written if the same technical glitch had occurred in India say for a Cricket test at Chepauk.  Double standards, thy name !! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th June 2021.