Today we are celebrating the 68th Independence Day…and what I wrote then and what is there today has not changed much, has it? There is a different party in the hot seat the old party has been foaming in the mouth and getting hot under their collar screaming much ado about nothing! Read on please……….


India has celebrated its sixtieth Independence Day. What freedom meant to a generation that many years ago, what it implied for generations between then and now and what it will mean to the now-gen years down the line are many different things.

Then: There was a strong ‘Purna Swaraj’ movement for freedom led by Gandhiji and his non-violent movement. It was a cry against being exploited by a colonial oppressor that had no right to rule this country. Their mission was Rule Britannia and make money out of ‘the natives’. People from all walks of life- educationists, lawyers, doctors and people in business, art, literature, cinema, music and above all the common man took up the cry for independence and freedom.

The decades in-between: After freedom the land and its people came to grips with democracy. Kumbakarna the huge giant, was woken up to face a war against poverty, disease and exploitation. People were free to elect their representatives to carry their local problems to a central authority. This difficult task included bristling neighbours and faction-ridden communities each fighting for superiority and control. As problems and issues got resolved, others raised their ugly head like Ravana who could not be destroyed by merely chopping off his head. Many Ramas’ came into the fray searching for total solutions, but there was no respite.

Freedom began to mean many things to many people—to exploit, to maim and murder, to climb on the corpses of less able, less empowered or less accomplished people. It was freedom to amass wealth and privilege and license to transgress laws that went unpunished. The common man watched in disbelief as his previous condition at the hands of the foreigner had not improved much in the hands of his own countrymen. The elected rulers were equally indifferent to the country and its people.

The new century: Six years down the line there is an overt evidence of a better nation. This is a copycat image of the western world with its symbols of affluence that has been built up on the work and toil of millions of worker bees in agriculture, manufacturing, services industries and white-collar drones that have benefited marginally from their toil or not at all. Yet they have their own freedom to dream—of a better future for their children, a higher education and standard of living, a house over their head and food in their bellies. This freedom to dream and to work towards a better tomorrow is the framework for the country’s potential prosperity.

The now gen: Their idea of freedom is to be free of authority, of parental control, of social norms and expectations. Their image of freedom is to ride in the wind on the wings of detachment, with no commitments and many want to enjoy life with no thoughts of the future or concern for others.

Ironically, this living for today has been created by the loss of an important freedom. Militants and terrorists who hold innocent lives in their ideological hands have snatched this freedom of life expectancy. The freedom to live without fear, to travel as you please, to use public transport that facilitates the daily grind of life, to go in search of entertainment is now ransom in the hands of a few.

The freedom to breathe pure air, to drink pure water, to live a healthy life is now hostage to a greedy and environment degrading community that chases the big bucks, come what may.

Will future generations have the freedom to search for an alternative life in another planet? Time will tell……..

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A student was one day taking a walk with a professor. The Professor was commonly called the students’ friend because of his kindness and patience in dealing with them.

As the two walkers meandered, they saw a pair of old shoes lying on the path. They supposed that it belonged to a poor man who was working in a field nearby.OLD SHOE

It was nearing the end of day. The student turned to the professor, saying: “Let us play a trick on the man who must be nearly finishing his day’s work. We will hide his shoes, and conceal ourselves behind those bushes, and wait to see his perplexity when he cannot find them.”

“My young friend,” answered the professor, “we should never amuse ourselves at the expense of someone. But you are rich, and may give yourself a much greater pleasure which means a lot to the poor man. Put a coin into each shoe, and then we will hide ourselves and watch how the discovery affects him.”

The student did so and they both hid themselves behind the bushes close by.

The poor man soon finished his work, and came across the field to the path where he had left his coat and shoes.

While putting on his coat he slipped his foot into one of his shoes; but feeling something hard, he stooped down to feel what it was, and found the coin. His face glowed with astonishment and wonder. He gazed upon the coin, turned it round, and looked at it again and again. He then looked around him on all sides, but no person was to be seen. He put the money into his pocket and then began to slip his other foot into the remaining shoe. Imagine how his surprise was doubled on finding the other coin.

His feelings overcame him. He fell upon his knees, looked up to heaven and uttered aloud a fervent thanksgiving. man-praying-on-one-knee2He spoke of his sick and helpless wife, his children without bread and gratitude to the generous person who had gifted him the timely bounty. His family was saved from perishing by an unknown hand.

The student stood there deeply affected, his eyes filled with tears. “Now,” said the professor, “are you not much better pleased than if you had played your intended trick?”

The youth replied, “You have taught me a lesson which I will never forget. I feel now the truth of those words, which I never understood before:
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

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Keeping Dementia at Bay

This was an article that I wrote in October 2010 for my regular column Last Word for Eves Touch.

Dementia is characterized by loss in memory, attention, language, comprehension and judgement due to disease of the brain. The problem is due to not diagnosing dementia in time as symptoms can be treated to a certain extent. The non-recognition of the condition can cause great trauma to the sufferer.

In India, one in nearly 50 households has a dementia patient. Dementia affects more women than men in India. This is counter to global studies that say males are more prone to suffering from this brain destroying condition. According to the India Dementia Report 2010, of the 36 lakhs Indians who suffer from dementia, 21 lakhs are women. A plausible reason could be longevity of Indian women. The Union Health ministry says that life expectancy at birth (LEB) of an Indian male is 65.8 as compared to 68.1 in women. Dementia mainly affects older people and sets in 2% of cases before the age of 65. After this, it doubles every five years.

Lack of professional caregivers is one of the biggest problems in treating dementia patients. The care giving is at home and nearly 75% of the primary caregivers are women. The stress resulting from the sustained effort of taking care 24×7 has a major negative impact –physical, psychological and economic—on caregivers. Stress has been defined as a sense of irritation, tension, nervousness, anxiety, fear or sleeping problems due to work, health, family or other problems. depression, old age, Negatively, stress in turn can lead to dementia as well.

Doctors say that Dementia can be avoided or lessened by managing diabetes and depression, prolonging education and eating more fruit and vegetables. Learning used to be a continuous process in many women’s lives. At different stages of life using memory skills was a part of education and life. It began with chanting little prayers, learning songs, reciting the alphabet and the mathematical tables. This was a process that was entirely auditory. You listened to the sounds and memorised them and books with the matter printed were rare to come by or discouraged. Stories from Puranas, Itihasas like Ramayana and Mahabaratha were heard through storytellers and committed to memory and retold to children. Thus a combination of shruti (listening) and smruti (remembering) helped to keep dementia at bay.

Learning continued to happen in a woman’s life…in the kitchen, in domestic accounting and petty cash management, in her children’s education, in craft—knitting, crochet, embroidery, drawing the kolam; in learning music, religious poems and as she grew older, chanting long pieces like Soundarya Lahiri, Thirukural, Narayaneeyam etc. As their responsibilities reduced they were able to engage in listening and studying philosophical works like the Gita, Bhagavatham, Sundara kandam and other material. Much of it was memorised.

In the past decades books have proliferated with all this material printed and at hand to read and chant. We hardly learn by heart any material and depend on books to read this matter. Today, we denigrate children learning educational material by heart as rote. We are under no compulsion to remember telephone numbers, addresses, names of spouses and kids in extended families as all this is recorded as reference in the cell phone, cordless, computer, address books etc.

Children were encouraged to remember general knowledge gleaned from reference books. Today information is available at the touch of the button from the internet. People used to play bridge that required you to keep track of the cards. Crosswords, Scrabble, word games challenged you to sharpen your word skills. Today people have no time to develop interests like these. They play mindless automated games where the movement is controlled by a computer or chip with minimum inputs from the user.

Dementia can be avoided or mitigated by mainly engaging your brain on a day to day basis. You can learn a new language, memorize songs, poetry and prayers, do Sudoku, crosswords and word games, play Bridge or chess, exercise and increase oxygen supply to the brain. Interacting with people, writing blogs, involving yourself in social networking, teaching less privileged people skills and useful things can help you hold dementia at bay. At the same time age related memory loss will happen…do not despair or get depressed. Learn to accept limitations and use tricks like mnemonics, associating ideas and making little notes to remember stuff.

A positive approach to dementia combined with timely medical advice and medication can help us cope with memory loss.

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BARK CODE! James Thurber’s Dogs!!

Seven years ago I wrote this piece! Thought I would recycle!!

This topic was suggested by Lin, for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium. Do drop in and look at what other writers in our group have to say on the same topic every Friday. AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi,, Pravin,  Shackman and The Old Fossil.

Bark Code

Padmum / 7 yrs ago /

Every dog has its day and night.


I can’t sleep at night, neither can I nap in the day! So the internet gave me a terrific option. BOW_WOW NOISE CODE…

There is a new noise code in the US that will fine owners of dogs if their dog barks for more than 5 minutes in the night. NYTimes had reported that pet owners can be held responsible if their dog’s barking is “unreasonable and plainly audible” from nearby homes for a continuous period of at least 10minutes (from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.) or 5 minutes (from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.).

Newsday quoted a dog owner, Marlene Hussey “How are you going to tell a dog you only have five minutes?”

What will happen if such a law is brought in by eager babu’s in India?

Let’s say, the dog has been trained to bark for 10 minutes, three times a day by his vet/trainer/owner to get rid of his angst—what will be the parameters of fining for exceeding 5 mins in the day. Can the owner charge the authorities for retraining bills?

The flip side is that the next great invention could possibly be something to measure the bark— A barking metre.

What about the neighbours complaints? Again an interesting question? The important aspect of this law is the validity and veracity of the neighbour’s complaint, his/her timing of the event. How true could the bow report be?

Next, what about the role of the Police in all this—who takes precedence for action—the shop breaker, the wife beater or the dog barking owner. Maybe nature’s call will take precedence.

Barking dogs don’t bite—so if a dog has a successful record of biting, will that be a good defense against allegations of barking. crazy

The warning boards on gates of bungalows in Chennai already reads, “Beware of Biting Dogs”–so is this in preparation of a new bark-code? Will visitors have to bark (not exceeding 5 minutes) to gain entry?

Some canines may have a dogged defense that it was the owner who barked, then in the event who will gain the benefit of doubt.

Owners may also claim that it was the TV, another neighbour’s dog or a venomous spouse. How do you verify this? Who will get punished?

And what about Vets and dog-creches who have kennels full of home/sick dogs? Will they be bowwow-deep in trouble?

Finally, if the owner is ready to pay the penalty n number of times, will that be okay? Will a limit be set for the penalty? Will the dog have to be jailed for trying the patience of sympathetic judges–also canine owners? Will the dog be allowed on parole for bark-behaviour?

In all this what about Noise Pollution and the dog catchers. The neighbourhood dogs have great sessions every night barking news and abuse to each other and chasing two wheelers on the rampage. They also have how(l)-ooing serenades to dogs on heat. So in this case who gets penalised?

The last words–what about animal activists–what will they say?

Sleepless in Chennai Padmum

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I’d Rather Be

No human being is ever satisfied with who they are, what they are, where they are, how they are and why they are at all!!

We want to be somebody else, we want to have what others have, we want to be somewhere else than where we are at present. Finally, after all that we achieve, we wonder whether it is worth it at all.

So what is it that I am really seeking as I travel through life?

What do I seek when I chase money, pleasures, fame, name, power or heaven?

Do I seek all these for the sake of these different goals? Then when I achieve one goal, I would be happy, content. When I have fulfilled any given desire, then I would be glad to ‘be’ there. However, this being is only a momentarily satisfying status for another desire or series of desires will take over and push me towards striving to achieve them.

Desires change in nature and in time but one thing remains constant. Despite all the accomplishments I may have, the unsatisfied and inadequate person remains.

I cannot accept myself as I am and throughout my life I try to be acceptable to myself by searching for that ‘Holy Grail’!!

Will I one day become totally acceptable to myself and find a lasting fulfilment that does not depend upon any situation, any given place or time?

My brother, Arvind Rajgopaul’s boss, had a philosophy of life that sums up this desire to be something and somebody in life. He used to say that every human being needs a list of ten desires or wishes. This list should be divided into five major and five minnow desires or goals. Once, a major wish is fulfilled, promote a minor one to the major list and create a new minor goal. If a minor one gets fulfilled, get a new one and add it to the list. So I’d rather be fulfilling one of these ten desires and creating new ones. This pursuit will keep me busy and on the go all my life.

My friend Aparna Krishnan is a scholar and somebody who is living amongst the villagers of a small hamlet beset with common rural problems. Her experiences are worth exploring but would I be her? No, I don’t think I have the physical stamina, grit and passion to retire to a village with no mod cons, poverty, lacking health services. I am an urban animal who cannot find her way in a jungle. However, I have a feeling deep within my soul that I wish I could be her. She quotes:

मूर्खो न हि ददाति अर्थ नरो दरिद्रयशङ्कया ।
प्राज्ञः तु वितरति अर्थ नरो दरिद्रयशङ्कया ॥

The fear of becoming poor in future prevents a fool from giving [away wealth in charity]; haunted by the same fear the wise donates [generously now].

This nature of my longings leads me to think that there is no connection between what I want and what I do: I want to be free from being a wanting, limited, satisfied, insignificant person I want to be a contented person. Spiritual pursuits help me to learn from the experiences of great saints, philosophers and teachers who have been there, seen that, done that and have come out of this chakra of want.

The first step is to just be an ethical person and try to excel in what I do. I should try and contribute to my society as much as I can without expecting anything more than being able to do this.

Since we have the faculty of free-will, we have the faculty to choose our goals in life, work for their fulfilment and for that we have the support of the scriptures. We have to choose the end we wish to pursue and the means to gain that end. All the things we desire fall under four main headings: dharma ethics, artha security, kama pleasures, moksha liberation. These are called purusharthas.

Artha and kama are common with animals. Dharma and moksha are peculiar to human beings alone.

That is why I am gradually being with Vedanta: ‘Veda’ means “knowledge” and ‘anta’ means “end”. The light for this path has been lit by my eldest brother Ramana Rajgopaul. He led me to Swami Dayananda Saraswathi.swamiji

In a nutshell, Vedanta says that I am already what I am looking for. I am the limitless, the whole, and free from this sense of limitation, insecurity and lack. This is the ultimate knowledge of my true nature.

Vedanta teaches me to be or live in harmony with the world by recognizing my place within the scheme of things. It helps me to be sensitive to myself, to others and to the environment. A person who is sensitive and mature does not take anything in Creation for granted. It aims to teach me the importance of the appropriate use of free will and helps me to make a deliberate choice to do what is to be done. It helps me not to give in to raga dwesa—likes and dislikes. It has helped me to be grateful to the Lord—Iswara and to express appreciation for all that I have been given (received) in life.

My Guru Swami Paramarthananda sums it up beautifully:Swami Paramarthananda

‘O Lord,

Let me be cheerfully and enthusiastically active. Let me enjoy whatever I do.Iswara

Let me contribute to the future; let me not try to control the future.

Let me influence positively through my life and language; let me not try to change others.

Let me have the wisdom to discover satisfaction and security within myself, whatever be the setup ‘.

This topic was suggested by Shackman, for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium.   The seven other bloggers who write regularly are AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi,, Pravin,  Shackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their ‘being’ is all about!




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A Road Hog!!

Road hogYes!! This is the tag given to a driver who takes too much space on the road. In India we have road hogs that are actually not pigs but many other creatures and road conditions.

The most famous road hog in India is the politician. Every politician whether in power or not elected in the last election travels on the road surrounded by a convoy of sidekicks, black belts and security persons. This convoy can include anything from three to four cars, motorcycles, auto rickshaws, cycles, SUV’s, ambulances, police jeeps etc. depending on the politician’s importance individually and in the party that he/she represents.convoy

I live in an area that is the hub for the two leading politician leaders of the two most important political parties of Tamil Nadu. If either of these leaders are moving around, the traffic comes to a stop. Many of us spend this waiting time counting the number of vehicles in the convoy and I can assure you that once I counted 23 motor vehicles….it can go upto forty!! So…the tag road hog surely fits this convoy mentality!!

The other road hog is an inanimate entity…you may question why I call this as a road hog. Well!!

BJ87D9 A car approaches potholes in Priory Road, Hull, East Yorkshire, UK.

BJ87D9 A car approaches potholes in Priory Road, Hull, East Yorkshire, UK.

Potholes in India are not found just here and there. They are an important deterrent to traffic in urban India. You can see vehicles dipping in and out in waves as they traverse the potholes in the road!!

We are a nation who loves processions. It can be religious, it can be demos, it can be weddings and even funerals. The other day there was a news item where a rich businessman relinquished all his worldly trappings and took to a life of austerity. He had this huge procession in a silver chariot and literally threw away his money, car and home keys and so many other possessions. A donor road hog, you could say, right?

Local ganglords are an important part of our city slums. In a slum there is a funeral every week or so. The custom is to arrange a highly decorated lorry or cart elaborately…with flowers, gold trimmings, buntings, mirrors and other embellishments. funeralThis is called a chariot and the procession is taken very seriously. Ducks walk ahead, followed by hens and pigs. Then kids join the procession dancing to the drums of the local boys. Country liquor is passed around and the chariot with the dead person is taken on a road strewn with flowers. At the back sometimes the women join too for some distance. The custom is that women do not go to the cremation grounds!! Naturally, traffic comes to a stop.

So, a road hog need not necessarily be a driver of a single vehicle. Our bus drivers and two wheelers have road rules crafted by their own ilk. Buses rarely stop at the kerb of a bus stop…they prefer the middle of the road to disgorge the alighting passengers. busYou have to be really agile to climb on to these buses pushing and pulling with arms akimbo to give you leverage to get onto the bus after crossing a few yards of macadam where you may have arguments with two wheelers who are weaving to destinations any which way!!

How we navigate our roads and live to tell a tale is entirely due to our Divine destiny!! We even have an avatar of Lord Vishnu, our caretaker, preserver, CEO of our lives with a boar face called Varaha Avataram!!


Varaha is the third incarnation in the Dashavatara, the ten principal avatars of Vishnu. When the demon Hiranyaksha stole the earth (personified as the goddess Bhudevi) and hid her in the primordial waters, Vishnu appeared as Varaha to rescue her. Varaha slew the demon and retrieved the Earth from the ocean, lifting it on his tusks, and restored Bhudevi to her place in the universe. Varaha is depicted with a boar’s head and human body. His consort, Bhudevi, the earth, is often depicted as a young woman, lifted by Varaha.

This topic was suggested by me for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently nine of us write on the same topic every Friday.  I hope that you enjoyed my take on it.  The seven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi, Pravin,  Shackman, and The Old Fossil.

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Internationally Famous Landmarks in my Hometown CHENNAI

chennai-collageWelcome to Chennai, bustling metropolis, IT and automobile industry’s destination, historic city with its interesting amalgam of conservative old world charm, art and culture and intelligence, education, world savviness and  political awareness and debate.

Tamil Nadu is a state where heritage, history and culture are a living tradition. Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations.

Chennai, with historically rich records dating from the British era, houses 2,467 heritage buildings within its metropolitan area (CMA), the highest within any Metropolitan Area limit in India. Chennai is home to the second largest collection of heritage buildings in the country, after Kolkata.

Most of these buildings are around 200 years old and older. The Chennai Central Station building, Chennai Egmore Station, Ripon Building, Bharat Insurance Building are still standing strong.

The Marina Beach marina-beach-chennai

The daylight chases the dark skirts of the night and over the horizon slowly, slowly, the sun sends its rays shooting through the sky. The ripples on the sea come crashing into the beach as hundreds watch the daily pageant put on by nature. Many health and fitness enthusiasts every morning enjoy the salubrious air and ambience to walk, exercise and meet up with regular visitors of family and friends for whom the word ‘beach’ means the Marina in Chennai. Marina beach, one of the top five best natural beaches in the world welcomes its visitors with clean sands, pavements and roads thanks to the regular regime of the Municipality that has special equipment to free the beach of its daily debris. Many purveyors of alternative medicines, health food and natural remedies set out their wares.

Indo-Saracenic buildings

Indo-SaracenicOn the other side of Marina Beach are a whole series of Indo-Saracenic buildings that house colleges and the university. The restoration and renovation of the Senate House in the University campus at Chepauk has unearthed old, forgotten techniques and methods of decoration like the use of Chettinad plaster and Sgraffito.

Fort St.George

Further on is the Fort St.George, the first English (later British) fortress in India,Fort_St_George_Chennai founded in 1644 at the coastal city of Madras that is today’s modern city of Chennai. The construction of the fort provided the impetus for further settlements and trading activity, in what was originally an uninhabited land. The city evolved around the fortress. The fort currently houses the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly and other official buildings. The fort is one of the 163 notified areas (megalithic sites) in the state of Tamil Nadu.

St. Mary’s Church St Mary

The church inside the Fort is the oldest Anglican church in India. It was built between 1678 and 1680. The tombstones in its graveyard are the oldest English or British tombstones in India. This ancient prayer house solemnized the marriages of Robert Clive and Governor Elihu Yale, who later became the first benefactor of Yale University in the United States. St Mary inside


Mylapore that translates to the place of the peacock is older than the city of Madras. The area takes its name from the Kapaleeswarar Temple where Goddess Parvathi took the incarnation of a peacock and worshipped Lord Shiva. K Temple

The spirit of the city centres around the Kapaleeswarar Temple. The sthalavriksha or the ‘punnai’ tree (Calophyllum sp ) one of the oldest in the city and the temple chariot are revered by all. The spaces around the temple are filled with commerce, religion, food and tradition. Brassware, bronze and books, silks and gems, gold and silver, music and literature flourish in this area. Take a tour on a cycle rickshaw or walk the bylanes where you can see orthodox homes. The streets resound to strains of classical music and rhythms of dance steps, Vedic chanting and traditional lore wafting from the doorways.

Basilica of St.Thomas

San ThomeAt the southern end of the Marina beach, you can walk into the Basilica of St.Thomas with a beautiful stained glass window depicting the story of ‘Doubting Thomas’, the Apostle of Christ.

The word Santhome or San Thome is derived from Saint Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. The apostle landed in Muziris (in Kerala) in A.D. 52, was martyred in A.D.72 at St.Thomas Mount in the city, and was interred in Mylapore. A church was built over his tomb and today is known as the San Thome Basilica. The Basilica is one of the four churches that claim to have been built over the tomb of an apostle. (Others include St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy; the Church of Saint James the Great in Santiago de Compostela, Spain; and the Ghareh Keliseh Monastery of St. Thaddeus in Ghara-Kilise, Iran.) santhome-church-innerview

Commonly known as Santhome Church, the International Shrine of St. Thomas Basilica has an underground tomb chapel where pilgrims can pray in front of the sepulchre of St. Thomas. Superstitious people believe that sand taken from the tomb has miraculous healing powers. Marco Polo the great Venetian traveller visited the tomb in 1292 and made a record of his visit in his travel diaries.

St Thomas Mount

St Thomas Mount is a Holy place of international prominence, historical eminence, religious glory and tourist attraction. As planes land at Chennai airport a glimpse of this rocky hilltop especially illuminated in the night is a wonderful sight to see. This old, relic filled church was built in 1523 by the Portuguese. St Thomas Mount Chapel

This was the place where St Thomas was killed. The ancient Church can be reached after climbing 160 steps to the top of St. Thomas Mount. It has served as the light house for the Portuguese and Armenian ships and vessels in the Bay of Bengal in the 16th and 17th centuries. Interestingly, it is said, when sailors sighted the Church they offered prayers for a safe Voyage and then discharged salutations from their artillery. Preserving its antiquity, this five century old Shrine Chapel has been renovated and restored in recent times.

According to tradition, the Cross was chiselled on a stone of this hill by St Thomas himself and used by him for his personal prayer gave strength to him when he was pierced from behind with a lance as he was praying before it. It is believed that the Cross should have been stained with the blood of the Martyr. This Cross was accidentally discovered later by the Portuguese when they dug the foundations for the new Church in 1547.

Ancient records say that this Cross sweated blood during the Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Gasper Coelho on the 18th December 1558. In the early years, this Cross used to sweat blood every year, then every two or three years and, later, at longer intervals. The last occasion on which it was found sweating blood was in 1704.


Originally called Thiru-alli-keni, it was for many years a Brahminical stronghold and provided much of the clerical work-force required by the East India Company. It houses Chennai’s oldest surviving temple, the Parthasarathi temple. parthasarathy01A letter written by Swami Vivekananda to the Lord of this temple (Vishnu) describing his success in Chicago is preserved here with great pride.chennai-parthasarathy-swamy-temple-photos-2

The four streets around the temple still have century old houses surrounded by modern symbols of technology. The lifestyle here still resembles cultural and ethnic heritage of 200 years ago. Roadside eateries, or kai-endhi (self-service) bhavans as they are known locally, to family-run ‘mess’es serve authentic Tamizh and Muslim food.

North of the temple is Amir Mahal, the home to the Nawab of Arcot, who still lives there. The Wallajah mosque,or Badi Masjid is very important to the city’s Muslims. Walk into the Mansions to experience the environment of single men of the city.

The Museum or Pantheon Complex

MuseumMuseum or Pantheon Complex on Pantheon Road is the haunt of history buffs. Fabulous bronzes, wood carvings, coins and 2nd Century relics are housed in 46 galleries in a red brick building. The circular Museum theatre with its quaint Victorian ambience is a favourite place that stages English plays.

Kanjeevaram Silk 

A Kanchipuram Sari, usually in silk, is traditionally made by weavers from Kanchipuram, an hour’s drive from Chennai. These are woven naturally and distinguished by their wide contrast borders. Temple borders, checks, stripes and floral (buttas) are traditional designs found on a Kanchipuram sarees. silk

According to Hindu legends in, Kanchi silk weavers are the descendants of Sage Markanda, the master weaver of Gods who is supposed to have woven tissue from lotus fibre. Cotton is considered to be the favourite fabric of Lord Shiva, while silk is preferred by Lord Vishnu. k silk

Even today the people living around Kanchipuram take weaving as their main profession. A single Kanchipuram sari can cost anywhere between ₹2500 (US$40) to ₹100000 (US$1,600) or more depending upon the intricacy of work, colours, pattern, material used like zari, gold thread etc. sari

Since 2005, Kanchipuram saris are protected by a Geographical Indication label, certifying their origin.

This topic was suggested by Ramana Rajgopaul for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium. The bloggers who write regularly on one topic giving their own perspectives are AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi,, Pravin,  Shackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs.

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