Search This Blog

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Oriental Ex-colleague K Sabapathi is no more !

 Saddened and shocked to hear the passing away of Krishnan Sabapathi, today around 4.00pm. 

Remember him to be a very soft person, very knowledgeable and good hearted.  Worked with him in Oriental DO 2 at Thambu Chetty Street, Chennai in 1988 when I was a stenographer and he was in Fire Department. His wife Mrs TR Geetha, too worked in Oriental and later joined RSIL.  He continued in Oriental, became an Officer, was briefly in Hyderabad and understand retired as Manager in 2019. 

Understand that obsequies are to be held at Vannanthurai, Shastri Nagar, Adyar, Chennai 20.  Feeling sad on losing a good friend.


The first photo was taken on our way to Hogenakal in a van in 1989 and the second in a recent meeting when we all attended a wedding last year. (Saba is circled for identification) 

With grief – S. Sampathkumar


Pigeons ! - ek, do theen, char, paanch, che !!

Upon googling read that in 1955 a filmby name ‘Vachan’ -   directed by Raj Rishi and produced by Devendra Goel, starring  Geeta Bali and Rajendra Kumar hit the screens.  It was the debut film for    composer Ravi – unlikely you would have heard or seen this film.
The domestic pigeon (Columba livia domestica)  is a pigeon subspecies that was derived from the rock dove (also called the rock pigeon). The rock pigeon is the world's oldest domesticated bird. Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets mention the domestication of pigeons more than 5,000 years ago, as do Egyptian hieroglyphics
Ek do teen chaar paanch .. .. ..
Ding dong ding ding dong; Ding dong ding dong
Ding dong dong ding dong
Ek do tin chaar panch; Chhe saath aath nau
Dus gyarah barah tera

This song reverberated everywhere with Madhuri Dixit dancing ! – that was from film - Tezaab (transl.Acid)   starring Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit released in 1988.    The film was produced and directed by N. Chandra. The music was composed by Laxmikant–Pyarelal.  The film's soundtrack album sold more than 8 million units,  becoming the second best-selling Bollywood music album of 1988, behind only Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak.
In cities too, we get to see lots of Pigeons – at street corners, balconies, house tops and more.   There is news that exposure to their poop and feathers can trigger hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) and even chronic HP (CHP) in some people, according to doctors.

Read that the  song Ek Do Teen was inspired by the opening bars of an old popular song "Chanda Mama Door Ke" composed by the famous yesteryears music composer Ravi for the film Vachan (1955)]
Regards – S. Sampathkumar


Saturday, April 29, 2023

Beau Calf !! - அழகி நீ, பேரழகி அழகான கண்ணழகி !!

அழகி நீ, பேரழகி அழகான கண்ணழகி  !!


என நடுரோட்டில்  நின்று உரக்க  பாட உங்களுக்கு தோன்றியது உண்டா ! - காதல் வயப்பட்டோர் பற்றிய பதிவல்ல இது - ஒரு விதத்தில் இதுவும் காதலே !!, சாதாரண மனித காதல் அல்ல !! 

Following English county cricket, have read about Derbyshire, Essex, Glamorgan, Somerset, Kent, Lancashire,  Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Surrey, Sussex, Warwickshire,  Worcestershire, Yorkshire.  A not so well known (to me) shire is – Shropshire,  a landlocked historic county in the West Midlands region of England bordering Wales.   

Cows are herbivorous animals, they  feed on plant-based food sources. They typically graze on grasses and other vegetation types like clover, alfalfa, and forbs. In addition to these primary plants, cows will also eat hay, silage (fermented feed stored in a silo or bunker), grains such as corn or wheat bran, and even tree leaves.   

Farmers go to great lengths to make sure that their cows and calves are healthy and well cared for. Calves are the future of the herd, so dairy farmers are committed to making sure that every calf is healthy and safe from harm. This means providing nutritious feed, safe housing and individual care to their animals throughout their lives. 

Great calf care begins even before the calf is born! Cows typically give birth to a calf every 12-14 months. About two months before a cow is due to give birth, she stops being milked and is transitioned to a special diet to prepare her for calving.  Cows typically only drink water after they are weaned. They can also get some of their liquids from grass and hay. For example, cows that graze on pasture will naturally be able to obtain moisture from the plants they eat.   Fresh water is essential for a cow’s proper digestion and high-quality milk production. 

அழகி நீ, பேரழகி அழகான கண்ணழகி  !! 

வம்சா வழி அத்தனையும் வழியை மறந்தது இல்ல

வளர்ப்புகளும் பொறுப்புகளும் சொல்ல - ஒரு வார்த்தை இல்ல 

கங்கை அமரன் மிக திறமையாக ஒரு நீல ட்ராயர் அணிந்த ராமராஜன் மாடுகளை கவனித்துக்கொண்டு பாடும் பாட்டை அழகாக வடிவமைத்து இருந்தார்.  இந்த கன்று குட்டியை பார்த்தவுடன் - தெருவிலே உரக்க பாடத் தோன்றியது.

                             This beautiful kannukutti pictured at Triplicane is less than a week old but looked so small and very very cute !!

Baby cows, also known as calves, will typically drink their mother’s milk for the first several months of life. The timing of natural weaning is typically ten months. Some mothers nurse their calves for log providing them with essential nutrients and antibodies to help protect them from illness and infection. Newborn calves require a critical amount of colostrum from their mother in the first few hours after birth. Colostrum maximizes absorption and immunity. It is ideal for the calf to quickly stand and feed from the mother. This first meal is one of the most important for the calf. During this first meal, s sequence of changes to the calf’s digestive system will occur. The intestine walls of the newborn allow for nutrients to reach the bloodstream, including colostral antibodies, as well as pathogens. 

Cows have a unique digestive system that is specifically adapted to eat and process grass. Their four-chambered stomach helps them break down the tough cellulose found in plant material more efficiently than other animals. 

Miles away, a north Shropshire calf dealer has been prosecuted by Shropshire Council for breaches of animal welfare and identification charges. The calf dealer was  fined over £11,000 and banned from owning cattle for five years after he admitted to charges relating to the failure to prevent unnecessary suffering to animals.  The man admitted to two charges of being the responsible person for animals when he failed to take steps to prevent an employee from causing unnecessary suffering to calves and one count of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal that he kicked himself. 

Shropshire Council had alleged that one of Whittall’s employees repeatedly kicked, pushed and threw calves down a ramp when they were being unloaded.  Whittall also admitted to three charges of removing or replacing cattle ear tags without the permission of the competent authority, in breach of the Cattle Identification Regulations.  He was sentenced to an 18-month community order with requirements to attend 10 rehabilitation days and undertake 200 hours of unpaid work. He was ordered to pay costs totalling £11,855.34 within 12 months and was charged a victim surcharge of £95. He was also disqualified from owing, keeping or being party to and arrangement etc. of bovines for five years at Telford Magistrates’ Court
With regards – S.Sampathkumar

Friday, April 28, 2023

Gurnoor Brar faces stark reality - LSG amasses 257 !!

Decades ago, in 1970s came the transformation from long 5 day Tests to One day Internationals – in 1980s remember that in 50 over matches, scores of 250+ were considered winning totals.

Life has changed totally as we witnessed 257 runs amassed in 20 overs in IPL – 38th match of the Season at Mohali between Punjab Kings and Lucknow Super Giants.  Shikhar Dhawan would rue his decision to win the toss and field first !!
The injury list at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 is growing.  Yesterday Washington Sundar cried off and today Raj Angad Bawa became the latest victim. The 20-year-old, suffered a shoulder injury, which has ruled him out of the tournament.  It paved way for a  22-year-old Gurnoor Brar to make an impact.  As we watch, Marcus Stoinis is coming off the field after getting initial treatment from the physio , attending to his left index finger. Ayush Badoni  who was successful with the bat came on to bowl that solitary ball to complete the over bowling  the last remaining legal ball
The match started differently – Capt KL Rahul was dropped off the very first ball of the match by Taide at Point, debutant Gurnoor was left crying.   In what was a defining moment  Muktsar-born fast bowler Gurnoor Brar made his  debut for the Punjab Kings (PBKS) in their 8th game against the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG).  Only recently in Dec 2022, he made his Ranji debut in an Elite Group match against Railways, excelled with figures of 12.3-5-16-4.
Today, he realized that life could be hard – first ball catch dropped, only one run scored in the first but the next two went everywhere – 42 runs conceded in 3 overs. H is third one - the eighth of the LSG innings – was hit all around  for 24.  Today he conceded four fours and three sixes, with one of the maximums coming off a free hit.  
By 8 overs, LSG were over 100 and then 200 in 16 overs as they raced to the  second-highest total in IPL history. LSG's highest in the IPL. Jitesh Sharma saved a few runs in the last over by diving to his right, and thus kept LSG under 260.
Capt KL Rahul who was blamed in the last chase for batting like snail, was out today for 12 in 19 balls to Rabada. Kyle Meyers sparkled with 54 in 24 balls with 4 sixers; Ayush Badoni made 43 off 24 (3 sixers); Stoinis 72 off 40 delveries with 6 4s and five sixers; Nicholas Pooran rubbed more with 45 off 19 – as LSG amassed 257.
Those who continuously blame CSK as a weak bowling unit, need to take notice of the 200s scored freely against other teams – today it was a strong bowling attack of Punjab that leaked 250+
Gurnoor Bran 42 in 3 overs; Arshdeep Singh 54/4; Kagiso Rabada 52/4; Sikandar Raza 17/1; Rahul Chahar 29/4; Sam Curran 38/3 and Liam Livingstone 19/1. 
Most unlikely that Punjab would end up somewhere closer to LSG today
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Bandicoots - Peruchali !! - கன்னா பின்னா கவி கதை !!

கன்னா பின்னா கவி கதை தெரியுமா !  ஊழலில் திளைப்பவர்களை ஏன் 'பெருச்சாளிகள்' என அழைக்கிறோம் ?
ஊழல் என்பது இவ்வுலகில் பல நாட்களில்  நன்கு வேர் ஊன்றிய புற்றுநோய். ஊழல் செய்பவர்கள் பெரிய மனிதர்கள் போல பெரிய சொகுசு வண்டிகளில் உலா வருகிறார்கள்.  அவர்களை தேர்ந்து எடுத்தோர் சரியான சாப்பாடு கூட இல்லாமல் கஷ்டப்படுகின்றனர்.   சிலருக்கு தங்கள் வருமானம்  பற்றாமல் இருந்தாலும்  அதீத செலவுகள் செய்ய பேராசை.  சிலர் தலைமுறைகள் தாண்டி சொத்து ஊழலில் ஈடுபட்டு சேர்த்து வெளிநாட்டு வங்கிகளில் வைக்கின்றனர்.  

பெருச்சாளி  என்பது எலிக்குடும்பத்தைச் சேர்ந்தது.  சாக்கடையில் வசிப்பது, மனிதர்களை முகம் சுளிக்க வைக்கிறது.  இவை வங்காளதேசம், சீனா, இந்தியா, இந்தோனேஷியா, லாவோஸ், மலேசியா, மியான்மர், நேபாளம், இலங்கை, தைவான், தாய்லாந்து மற்றும் வியட்நாம் ஆகிய நாடுகளில் காணப்படுகின்றன.  இவை அடர் சாம்பல்-பழுப்பு நிற உடலைக் கொண்டிருக்கும், உடலில் நீண்ட, கருப்பு முடிகள் நிறைந்திருக்கும்.  பெருச்சாளிக் குட்டிகள் மிகவும் வெளிர் நிறத்தில் இருக்கும்.
பழம் பெருச்சாளி என்ற  பெயர்ச்சொல் - (பெரும்பாலும் மதிப்புத் தராத முறையில் குறிப்பிடும்போது) ஒரு பதவியில் பல காலமாக இருந்துவருவதால் ஆதாயங்கள் அனைத்தையும் அடைய வழி தெரிந்து வைத்திருப்பவரை குறிக்கிறது.
முன்னொரு காலத்தில் படிப்பறிவு இல்லாத ஒருவன், அரசவையில் பாடி பொருள் பெற இவ்வாறு பாடினானாம் : 

மண்ணுண்ணி மாப்பிள்ளையே, காவிறையே கூவிறையே
உங்கப்பன் கோவில் பெருச்சாளி
கன்னா பின்னா மன்னா தென்னா, சோழங்கப் பெருமாளே !!
இதற்கு அர்த்தமும் இல்லை, அனர்த்தம் தொனிக்கிறது, மன்னன் கோவம் கொண்டான்.  ஆனால்  அங்கிருந்த கவி சக்கரவர்த்தி கம்பர், இதற்கு விளக்கம் அளித்தாராம். 
“மண்ணுண்ணி மாப்பிள்ளையே என்பது, மண்ணை உண்ட திருமாலுக்கு (கண்ணனுக்கு) ஒப்பானவனே என்றும், மாப்பிள்ளையே என்பதில், மா-திருமகளின், பிள்ளையே என்பது திருமகளின் பிள்ளையான மன்மதனையும் குறிக்கும். கா-இறையே என்பது, கற்பகச் சோலைக்கு அரசனான இந்திரனைக் குறிக்கும். கூ-இறையே என்பது, நில உலகிற்கு அரசனே என்பதைக்குறிக்கும். உங்கப்பன் என்பது, உங்கள் தந்தை என்றும், கோவில்  பெருச்சாளி என்பது, அரசன் விற்போரில் சிறந்தவன்  என்றும் பொருள்படும். கன்னா என்பது கர்ணனையும், பின்னா என்பது, கர்ணனுக்குப் பின் பிறந்த தர்மரையும், மன்னா என்பது, என்றும் நீண்ட ஆயுளை உடையவனே என்றும், தென்னா என்பது, தமிழ் வளர்ச்சியில் பாண்டியனுக்கு நிகரானவனே என்றும், சோழங்கப் பெருமாளே என்பது, சோழ நாடாகிய அரங்கத்தை உடைய பெருமை கொண்டவனே என்றும் பொருள்படும், என்றெல்லாம் கூறி அரசன் நகைத்து பரிசளித்தானாம்.

The greater bandicoot rat or Indian bandicoot rat (Bandicota indica) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae found  in many Asian countries including India.    They live in manholes and scavenge things.  They are feared as they carry and spread some diseases.
There is interesting news that the  choked manholes of the Sangam City is being  cleaned by using smart robots. The State government has made available three Bandicoot robotic scavengers to Prayagraj Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Jalkal department-the two main bodies entrusted with the task of upkeep of drains and sewers for the task.   Bandikoot is a robotic machine that is engineered for cleaning any type of sewer manholes. The robot consists of two major units the stand unit and a robotic drone unit.
The Bandicoot Robot is the world’s first robotic scavenger, developed as a Make in India and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan initiative by National Award-winning startup Genrobotics. In 2022, IOCL joined hands with Genrobotics for developing robotic tools for internal tank cleaning and inspection at refineries. Genrobotics’ primary offering is the Bandicoot Robot which helps clean confined spaces such as sewers, manholes, sewer wells, stormwater manholes, Oily Water Sewers (OWS), and Storm-Water Sewers (SWS) in refineries.

This is really a welcome measure as robotic bandicoots would  eliminate manual entry into manholes and bring more safety to sanitation workers.
Marina beach offers strange things – there are lot of food-joints while some feed birds, dogs and more.  One man chose to feed rice morsels to big rats !!  Here are some Peruchalis taking food in Marina beach.
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

art of living-together

For a metropolis dweller, ‘living-together’ can mean different things.  Nay, this is not about what Court had to say – this is minimalistic co-existence.  A  minimal off-lattice model of living organisms where just a very few dynamical rules of growth are assumed !!
 The Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and modern humans have been around for around a mere 200,000 years, says studies. Yet in that time we have fundamentally altered the physical, chemical and biological systems of the planet on which we and all other organisms depend.  From tiny viruses and bacteria, unrecognized for millennia, to blue whales weighing 200 tons, and fungi that spread for hundreds of hectares underground, the diversity and extent of life on Earth is dazzling. In its life and reproduction, every organism is shaped by, and in turn shapes, its environment. In the past century in particular, these human impacts have unfolded at an unprecedented rate and scale. This period is sometimes known as the Great Acceleration.
          We are living in the Anthropocene, the modern era characterized by human-dominated landscapes, reduced wildlife populations, and chaotic climates. Humans have become the single most influential species on the planet, causing significant global warming and other changes to land, environment, water, organisms and the atmosphere. The word Anthropocene comes from the Greek terms for human ('anthropo') and new ('cene'), but its definition is controversial. It was coined in the 1980s, then popularised in 2000 by atmospheric chemist Paul J Crutzen and diatom researcher Eugene F Stoermer. The duo suggested that we are living in a new geological epoch.
Not a Science or research post … but simply about the life in Triplicane – Thiruvallikkeni mada veethigal where Cows, Bulls, variety of birds, Cats, dogs, cycles, two-wheelers, autos, cars, junk vehicles, carts, and .. .. people co-exist.  Coexistence means for different living beings existing  at the same time,  in the same place. Coexisting means people and animals living together in the same communities at the same time.
People’s relationship with native wildlife is often that of conflict. Animals such as dogs, cattle, pigeons and more are considered “nuisances” when they threaten humans.  While some Blue Cross cries about animals, there have been threat to humans in the form of dog-bite, cow pushing, trampling and mauling people of Triplicane – but no concrete effort taken by Govt, or Corporation or anyone else.  People walk in fear on the streets  
There is no denial of place for Cats, dogs, Cattle but when they harm people, they certainly need to be reined !!   - old aged people and children literally fear the sight of some of these.

A casual photo of otherwise friendly cows, in early night with people everywhere.
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Karungkuruvi - "smooth-billed Ani"

 For a novice like me – there are birds, the ones that fly ! – Crows, Pigeons, Parrots, Mynah, sparrows and lil more !!  

When you spend time in open nearer trees, you get to see more ! – often wonder what they are  - looking different ! – I end up with google image search and name it – today what looked like a black drango, Google said “smooth-billed ani” 

The drongos are a family, Dicruridae, of passerine bird,  mostly black or dark grey, short-legged birds, with an upright stance when perched. They have forked tails and some have elaborate tail decorations. They feed on insects and small birds, which they catch in flight or on the ground. Some species are accomplished mimics and have a variety of alarm calls, to which other birds and animals often respond. They are known to utter fake alarm calls that scare other animals off food, which the drongo then claims. 

The smooth-billed ani (Crotophaga ani) is a bird in the cuckoo family.  Native of  southern Florida, the Caribbean, parts of Central America, south to western Ecuador, Brazil, northern Argentina and southern Chile, it  was introduced to Galápagos around the 1960s and is potentially impacting native and endemic species across the archipelago. 

The smooth-billed ani was described and illustrated in 1648 by the German naturalist Georg Marcgrave in his Historia Naturalis Brasiliae. He used the name "Ani" but did not explain the origin of the word. It probably comes from the word Anim in the Tupi language which means "social bird".  In 1756 the Irish physician Patrick Browne used the name Crotophaga for the species in his The Civil and Natural History of Jamaica. Browne's name combines the Ancient Greek krotōn meaning "tick" with -phagos meaning "-eating". 

Not sure whether it is normal spotting in India, that too in  Hyderabad -  Allabout birds describes it to be an  ungainly bird that seems only loosely stitched together as it moves, the Smooth-billed Ani is a glossy black cuckoo with an oversized bill.   They eat insects and lizards as well as fruit, especially during the dry season. Groups do almost everything together, with females laying all their eggs in a single communal nest tended by all group members  !!!


To me, it was not ungainly but looked quite attractive in the background of leaves that had raindrops on that morning at Hyderabad a few months ago ! for all that it may not be “smooth-billed Ani” but some poor local cousin !! 

With regards – S.Sampathkumar

Monday, April 24, 2023

Pelican's wing span !

Pelicans (genus Pelecanus) are a genus of large water birds that make up the family Pelecanidae. They are characterized by a long beak and a large throat pouch used for catching prey and draining water from the scooped-up contents before swallowing. They have predominantly pale plumage, except for the brown and Peruvian pelicans. The eight living pelican species have a patchy global distribution, ranging latitudinally from the tropics to the temperate zone, though they are absent from interior South America and from polar regions and the open ocean. 

கூழைக்கடா (Pelican) என்பது (பெலிக்கனிடே) கூழைக்கடாக் குடும்பத்தைச் சேர்ந்த ஒரு பறவை. இப்பறவையை   மத்தாளிக் கொக்கு என்றும் அழைக்கின்றனர்.   பறவைகள்   திக்கு எட்டும் சுதந்திரமாக பறந்து திரிகின்றன.  கூழைக்கடாக்கள் பறக்கும் பறவைகளில்  பெரிய நீர்ப் பறவை.  இதன் தசை கெட்டியாக இல்லாமல், மென்மையாகக் கூழ் போன்று இருப்பதாலும், கிடா போன்று பெரிதாக இருப்பதாலும் இதைக் கூழைக்கடா என அழைக்கிறார்களளாம்.  இவற்றின் சிறகுகளின் நீளம் 2.7 மீ. வரை இருக்கக்கூடும்.

With their distinctive stocky build and unique bills, pelicans are birds that have been a symbol of popular culture since medieval times, appearing in art and on coats of arms. The American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) can have a wingspan of up 9.5 feet. That’s about two feet wider than the more commonly seen brown pelican’s wingspan.    

Here is a Pelican at Coovum river spanning its wings !
With regards – S.Sampathkumar

Parliament of Crows !!

Murder !!  Parliament !!  - don’t take me wrong !


A group of Crows !!  -  photo (no flash picture)  taken at Marina ground around 6.30 pm .. .. they were not very close and the iron girders had a shadow effect too. 

Should Crows be in B & W !!  What do we call them – a school !? -  While murder is the most common collective noun for crows, a group of crows is also called a horde, hover, mob, muster, parcel, or parliament. 

The word "murder" is a collective noun. A collective noun is a word used to represent a group of people, animals, or things.
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Surat Fire - this day 186 years ago !

We know heat – we know fire too – there are other words like combustion, ignition, flashpoint and more.  Something heats the wood to a very high temperature. The heat can come from lots of different things -- a match, focused light, friction, lightning, something else that is already burning...  and when the wood reaches about 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius), the heat decomposes some of the cellulose material that makes up the wood ~ and there would be ‘fire’.

Fire can be destructive ! .. when the  fire strikes, lives are suddenly turned around.   Fire has been used by humans for cooking, heating,  in rituals, in agriculture for clearing land,  generating heat and light, for signaling, propulsion purposes, smelting, forging, incineration of waste, cremation, and as a weapon or mode of destruction. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. Fire is hot because the conversion of the weak double bond in molecular oxygen, O2, to the stronger bonds in the combustion products carbon dioxide and water releases energy.   The flame is the visible portion of the fire. 

Surat is a beautiful  city in the western India, in the state of Gujarat. The word Surat literally means face in Gujarati and Hindi. Located on the banks of the river Tapti near its confluence with the Arabian Sea, it used to be a large seaport. It is now the commercial and economic centre in South Gujarat. It is famous for  diamond and textile industry, and is a major supply centre for apparels and accessories.  

The recorded version of Thomas Vincent reads : 

“ And if Monday night was dreadful, Tuesday night was more dreadful, when far the greatest part of the city was consumed: many thousands who on Saturday had houses convenient in the city, both for themselves, and to entertain others, now have not where to lay their head; and the fields are the only receptacle which they can find for themselves and their goods”   -

-----------   Those were  the words about the Great Fire of London which occurred way back on 2nd Sept 1666.  Disaster struck at a time when Plague was already devastating population.  The fire was  reported to have originated in the baker, Thomas Faynor’s shop.  Though it was claimed to have been put off, three hours later at 1 am, the house was an inferno.  The bakery was located in Pudding Lane.  The fire spread quickly down the lane, carried on down Fish Hill and went towards Thames hitting badly warehouses and London Bridge on its trail.  The strong winds from the East helped it spreading tentacles rapidly.  A long dry summer had brought drought to the city, water was scarce and the wooden houses had dired out making them easy to burn.  

Those years, there was no organised Fire Brigade and fire fighting was at its primitive stage.  People used leather buckets, axes, water squirts and whatever they had.  Houses were ordered to be pulled down to stop the spread.  The Navy used gun powder to blow up houses and create space to stop the fire spread.  The fire could be contained only by the next morning by which time it had destroyed great part of London and could not spread to the south of the river.  

Back home in our country, in Apr 1837,  a fire broke out in Surat, then under British East India Company rule. It resulted in more than 500 deaths and the destruction of 9,737 houses in a 93⁄4 mile radius.

                         At 5 pm on 24 April, a jar of boiling pitch was spilt and some of the woodwork caught on fire at a house of one of the leading Parsis in Machhalipith neighbourhood.  The fire quickly spread to the densely packed neighbouring houses, which had timber frames and wooden eaves overhanging the narrow streets. Within a few hours, the fire spread to an area of three miles due to heavy wind from the north. At night, the large masses of smoke lit by the fire were visible from a distance of twenty to thirty miles. At daybreak on 25 April, the fire's spread shifted due to wind from the southwest. At about 2 pm, the fire was at its height. The fire declined thereafter and ended in the morning on 26 April. The fire had destroyed houses in a 93⁄4 mile radius, about three-fourths of the city

In that ravaging fire more than 500 people were feared dead, as right estimates are not available.  A total of 9,373 houses were destroyed. Of those, 6,250 were in the city proper and 3,123 in the suburbs.   Another instance, where the rulers were found wanting in managing relief and recovery. 

After the fire, Surat was affected by a heavy flood in August 1837. Due to these disasters, many  traders moved to Bombay and contributed in developing Bombay becoming a major port and commercial hub.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Vendaikkai – Ladies finger

Vendaikkai – Ladies finger 

வெண்டைக்காய் : - செடியில் பார்த்து இருப்பீங்க !  கறி / பொரியல் பார்த்து இருப்பீங்க ! வெண்டை வற்றல் பார்த்து இருக்கலாம் ! ஏன் சாம்பாரில் மிதக்க பார்த்து இருப்பீங்க ! ! 

கிலோ கிலோவாக மூட்டையில் இருந்து முழிச்சு பார்க்கறதை பார்த்து இருக்கீங்களா !!  dedicated to our  Kanchi thalaivar !!


 வெண்டையின் தாயகம் எத்தியோப்பிய உயர்நிலப்பகுதியாம் !!!   இந்தியா, இலங்கை உட்பட உலகின் பல பகுதிகளிலும் வெண்டைக்காய் சமையலில் பயன்படுத்தப்படுகிறது. வெண்டைக்காய் உணவு நார்ச்சத்து மற்றும் பைட்டோ கெமிக்கல்களில் நிறைந்துள்ளது. ஃபைபர் கெமிக்கல்கள் சர்க்கரை அளவை நிர்வகிக்கவும், கணையத்தின் பீட்டா செல்களின் செயல்பாட்டை மேம்படுத்தவும் உதவுகிறது மற்றும் அதிக கலோரிகளை உட்கொள்வதைத் தடுக்கிறது. 

கொக்கு பற பற ! கோழி பற பற - Asian OpenBill

A couple of decades ago, when one spotted a Crane (Kokku) – kids (especially girl children) would rub their fingernails – கொக்கே! கொக்கே!  பூ போடு !! -  asking heavenly for white patch on nail, considering it to be a beauty !!   

. ரஜினி நடித்த சந்திரமுகி படத்தில் பிரபல பாடல்

கொக்கு பற பற !  கோழி பற பற ! மைனா பற பற ! மயிலே பற

என் பட்டமே பற பற பற !!

நம் போன்ற சாதாரணர்களுக்கு - வெள்ளை பெரிய பறவைகள் எல்லாமே கொக்கு .. .. கொக்கு, நாரை ! அல்லது வேறு ஏதாவது !  .. .. கொக்கு நீண்ட கழுத்தையும் கால்களையும் கொண்ட ஒரு பறவை.  இவை பொதுவாக வெண்ணிறத்தில் காணப்படுகின்றன.  கொக்கு என்பது நம் அனைவருக்கும் மிக பரிச்சயமான பறவை. சிறுவர்கள் முதல் பெரியவர்கள் வரை ரசிக்கும் பறவையாகவும் கொக்கு இருக்கிறது.

இந்த படத்தில் உள்ளது நாரை !  நத்தை குத்தி நாரை அல்லது அகலவாயன் என அழைக்கப்படும் இது நீர்நிலைகளைச் சார்ந்திருக்கும்  ஒரு பெரிய பறவையினமாகும். இவை சற்றே சாம்பல்கலந்த வெள்ளை நிறமும் பளபளக்கும் கருநிறச்சிறகும் வாலும் கொண்டிருக்க, கருத்த உடல் பகுதிகள் ஒருவகை பச்சை வண்ணம் அல்லது ஊதா போன்ற நிறத்தில் பளபளப்பாக மின்னுகின்றன.  நாரை வம்சத்தில் கொக்கு, நாரை, செங்கால் நாரை மற்றும் அரிவாள் மூக்கன் என நான்கு குடும்பங்கள் உள்ளன.  

The one pictured here is ‘Asian Open Bill”’  -  -   a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae.  This distinctive stork is greyish or white with glossy black wings and tail and the adults have a gap between the arched upper mandible and recurved lower mandible. 

The Asian openbill was described by the French polymath Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon in 1780 in his Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux from a specimen collected in Pondichery.  The Asian openbill is now placed in the genus Anastomus.  The genus name Anastomus means "to furnish with a mouth" or "with mouth wide-opened". The specific epithet oscitans is the Latin word for "yawning". 

The tail consists of twelve feathers and the preen gland has a tuft. The mantle is black and the bill is horn-grey. At a distance, they can appear somewhat like a white stork or Oriental stork. The short legs are pinkish to grey, reddish prior to breeding.   Like all storks, it flies with its neck outstretched.  The usual foraging habitats are inland wetlands and are only rarely seen along river banks and tidal flats.   Individuals ringed at Bharatpur in India have been recovered 800 km east and a bird ringed in Thailand has been recovered 1500 km west in Bangladesh. 

The Asian openbill feeds mainly on large molluscs, especially Pila species, and they separate the shell from the body of the snail using the tip of the beak. 

Interesting ! – you may have observed that the 2nd photo is inverse
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Thursday, April 20, 2023

the election Donald Trump lost .. .. .. and Fox news paying out-of-court for slander !!

This is no post on lakhs Crore asset value or 500 crore defamation suit ! – not a political post either !!

The elections on Nov 3, 2020 was followed globally – that election held in USA   was the 59th quadrennial presidential election. The Democratic ticket of former vice president Joe Biden and the junior U.S. senator from California Kamala Harris defeated the incumbent Republican president Donald Trump and incumbent vice president Mike Pence. The election took place against the backdrop of the global COVID-19 pandemic and related recession. It was the first election since 1992 in which the incumbent president failed to win a second term. The election saw the highest voter turnout by percentage since 1952, with each of the two main tickets receiving more than 74 million votes, surpassing Barack Obama's record of 69.5 million votes from 2008. Biden received more than 81 million votes, the most votes ever cast for a candidate in a U.S. presidential election.

1.    The Fox News Channel, abbreviated FNC, is an American multinational conservative news entertainment and political commentary television channel and website based in New York City. It is owned by Fox News Media, which itself is owned by the Fox Corporation. It is the most-watched cable network in the U.S.  The channel broadcasts primarily from studios at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in Midtown Manhattan.  The channel was created by Australian-American media mogul Rupert Murdoch in 1996 to appeal to a conservative audience, hiring former Republican media consultant and CNBC executive Roger Ailes as its founding CEO

2.   Dominion Voting Systems Corporation is a company that produces and sells electronic voting hardware and software, including voting machines and tabulators, in Canada and the United States.The company's headquarters are in Toronto, Ontario, where it was founded, and Denver, Colorado. It develops software in offices in the United States, Canada, and Serbia. Dominion produces electronic voting machines, which allow voters to cast their votes electronically as well as optical scanning devices used to tabulate paper ballots.

Defamation is the act of making  false statements about a person, place, or thing that results in damage to its reputation. It can be spoken (slander) or written (libel). It constitutes a tort or a crime. Calumny, Slander, libel, vilification, traducement – better known as ‘defamation’ – is the communication that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual but may give an individual or a Company – a negative image.  This is a serious offence in Western World.  This would include disparaging remarks of some one published or stated.   

Understand that in US, the person must first prove that the statement was false and then that the statement caused harm.  The person proving libel would also be required to prove that the statement was made without adequate truthfulness.  In some Nations, there are even criminal penalties for defamation on certain grounds.  Sometimes newspapers, magazines, newschannels go overboard; sometimes – a small slip-up could make them repent for life !


After Trump's defeat in the 2020 presidential election, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro promoted allegations on her program that Dominion and its competitor Smartmatic had conspired to rig the election against Trump. Hosts Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo also promoted the allegations on their programs on sister network Fox Business. That backfired !  In December 2020, Smartmatic sent a letter to Fox News demanding retractions and threatening legal action, specifying that retractions "must be published on multiple occasions" so as to "match the attention and audience targeted with the original defamatory publications." Days later, each of the three programs aired the same three-minute video segment consisting of an interview with an election technology expert who refuted the allegations promoted by the hosts, responding to questions from an unseen and unidentified man. None of the three hosts personally issued retractions. Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion defamation suit against the network, the three hosts, Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell and Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in February 2021. In an April 2021 court brief seeking dismissal of the suit, Fox attorney Paul Clement argued that the network was simply "reporting allegations made by a sitting President and his lawyers”.

In December 2020, Dominion sent a similar letter demanding retractions to Trump attorney Sidney Powell,  who had promoted the allegations on Fox programs. On March 26, 2021, Dominion filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, alleging that Fox and some of its pundits spread conspiracy theories about Dominion, and allowed guests to make false statements about the company.  Months later, Fox filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, asserting a First Amendment right "to inform the public about newsworthy allegations of paramount public concern." The motion to dismiss was denied.

Specifically, Dominion focused on allegations made between November 2020 and January 2021 by Maria Bartiromo on her show Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo and Fox & Friends; and some other news items.  Guests who often appeared during these segments included Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.  Then came a ruling that Dominion suit would not be dismissed and that   Fox Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch and CEO Lachlan Murdoch may have acted with actual malice because there was a reasonable inference they "either knew Dominion had not manipulated the election or at least recklessly disregarded the truth when they allegedly caused Fox News to propagate its claims about Dominion."  

Dominion Voting Systems v. Fox News Network (colloquially Dominion v. Fox) was a defamation lawsuit filed in March 2021 by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News Channel and its corporate parent Fox Corporation. Dominion's complaint sought $1.6 billion in damages, against  Fox News which  argued that it was reporting "pure opinion" regarding what others were saying which, if true, would be protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution and New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964).

In a March 31, 2023 summary judgment, Delaware Superior Court judge Eric M. Davis ruled that none of the statements Fox News made about Dominion were true and ordered a trial to determine if the network had acted with actual malice. Several prominent Fox News personalities and senior executives were expected to testify at trial.

Now comes the news that just  as opening statements were about to begin, the parties reached a settlement with Fox News agreeing to pay Dominion $787.5 million.[Rs 6400 crores approx. !!]

A few days ago, the night before the trial was scheduled to begin, Judge Davis announced a one-day delay, without any further details,  reportedly having asked the parties to try to settle.  CNN later reported the delay was to allow veteran mediator Jerry Roscoe time to attempt to reach a deal. On April 18, the trial was set to begin with opening statements, but was delayed again for the final time.  With the jury seated and attorneys about to make their opening statements, Davis announced Dominion and Fox News had reached a settlement. Fox agreed to pay Dominion $787.5 million, one of the largest ever publicly known settlements in a US defamation case.  

Fox released a statement saying, in part, "We acknowledge the Court's rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false. This settlement reflects Fox's continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards."  The settlement did not require Fox News to apologize for any wrongdoing in its programming. Strange are the ways of people ! – and understanding the case would require lot  of reading as libel cases and settlements out-of-court are sort of common in Western Countries.

Sukanya of Chinna Gounder, Indian and so many movies may not require any introduction.  She is a  singer, music composer, Bharatanatyam danseuse and voice actor too.  Few years ago,    Sukanya,  filed a defamation case  against ‘Nakkeeran’ – and after 15 odd years, Court acquitted its editor  Gopal,   directed Sun TV to pay Rs.10,00,500 to Sukanya as damages.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar