Wednesday, 23 October 2019

A Presiding Officer's 'Diary'

As we were waiting patiently for the other polling parties from the school to board the bus, I was searching for my previous experience as the presiding officer jotted down online.

Every polling party ahead of us in the queue at the collection center was taking their time to return the articles due to incomplete forms and erroneous records, forcing us to plead with the collection officials to clear us first, only to be met with blank contemptuous stares. Finally, when our turn came, all it took was two minutes, everything arranged perfectly as per the instructions, the skepticism giving way to a studied silence.

Every struggle of the previous night was forgotten, yet another election process successfully completed, thanks to the fellow polling officials, friendly polling agents, polite policemen, and the humble machine gun-wielding commandos, all under one’s command for close to two days! And it suddenly dawned upon me, as I was struggling to step out of the collection center, that the dreaded demon has, after a gap of ten years, bitten me on my left leg!

To ease the pain, I thought of jotting down my previous election experience. My, short.....errrr....long story.....God, Providence, the Almighty, schemed everything perfectly for our team during that election. In the morning itself, our ever-reliable colleague Aparna gave us the good news that we had to deal with only 672 voters in our booth. Having collected polling equipment and materials early, we reached our bus first and waited for a long time for others. We had 272 men and 400 women as voters as per the document. Four poll teams were in our minibus; two to Anathalavattom and two to Arayathuruthu, near coastal Trivandrum, apparent left strongholds. Our bus stopped for us near a shop on way to the polling booth. A couple of rough men tried to pick up a quarrel with the driver. I took them on, just to get a feel of the local behavior. Sensing that I am a poll official, they backed off avoiding me and limiting their arguments with the driver, who immediately apologized and quenched the fire.

On reaching the booth, by walking some 100m carrying the materials, I checked with the policeman on duty about the political situation and behavior of local people. He told me that the place used to be a left bastion, but now BJP has gained significant ground. My worst fears about the polling day were coming true. But, behind my back or above my head, the conspiracy has already been hatched by someone somewhere, I realized that by late evening. We settled down on our booth and began checking the facilities around. A teacher working in the school was waiting for us and she gave us the key to the motor room for pumping water to the bathroom with the special request for safekeeping since the room was doubling up as the computer room of the school! Now that was the massive relief no. 1, for that ensured that we will be having water throughout. 

We completed our initial responsibilities, pasting posters given by the authorities around the booth. I briefed the officials about the mock poll and cleared their doubts. The sun was setting and there was no trace of any polling agent. I was beginning to get worried since the presence of agents on time was essential for the smooth conduct of the mock poll and the start of the real poll on time. I asked the policeman if he knew the local politicians and he replied that he shall try to contact some.

Sun had set and the lights were switched on around the premises. I was going through the handbook when I heard people approaching the booth. I looked out and saw some rough and tough men talking to the policeman. He came and told me that the BJP agents have come. I turned back and took out the signature reference sheet. The leader of the group entered the room and handed over the appointment letters. The letters only had the signature of the election agent of the candidate and nothing else was filled. After checking whether the signature was matching, I asked him if he is the agent. He replied in the negative and called out to his group. To my surprise, two shy young girls hesitantly entered the room. I helped them fill up the letters and told them to report back by 5.30am on the poll day morning. Massive relief 2: Polling agents of a major party are girls!!

Once they left I sat down to arrange the covers and fill up some forms. A lady came with her husband and introduced herself as the Kudumbasree head for the locality. She was given the charge of our food and snacks and she patiently took down our orders for dinner and breakfast. Massive relief 3: clean and hygienic food will be available on the table adjacent to our booth.

It was getting late and the two ladies in the team left for some nearby places for sleeping. They were asked to be back by 5am in the morning. Agents of the two major fronts were still missing. I had a shower and changed over to nightdress. Dinner arrived, chappathi and veg curry. Having finished dinner, I was checking my mail when the next group arrived. The bearded leader was calmness personified and he handed over the letters completely filled and signed by the election agent, Sri. V Sivan Kutty. Without reading the letters I asked him if the agents have come. He said yes and the agents moved from out of the darkness, astonishingly again two women!! Huge relief 4: Polling agents of the two bitter political rivals are all..... Women!!!

Congress agents came last, two college going young boys; and the most difficult task of any presiding officer, dealing with the rival polling agents within the booth, transformed into a cakewalk for me. From that moment onwards, it was just doing one's duty diligently :)

As a bonus, the BJP girl came with a male-female counter sheet of her own: which was quite handy for cross-checking with our worksheet at every one-hour interval :)

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

The First Book

Starting from Gandhi Jayanthi and ending with the Vijaya Dashami, submitted the manuscript for the first book, albeit as the Editor in Chief, to Springer Nature. No mean thing for one who dreamt of seeing one's name printed on a book cover.

And also submitted the application, again for the first time, as the Editor of a Special Issue for a prestigious journal.

Eternally Grateful.......

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Monday's Questions, Jan. 1, 2007 - Mar. 4, 2007

The continuation after a year without posts, not for anyone anywhere, just to keep oneself afloat, post-wise

Abhilash Suryan Jan 1, 2007
1/1/2007, Happy New Year to all of You.
And do we need any New Year resolution? If so what it can be?
Let me try this one since we quizzers are supposed to be the more enlightened citizens of this world.
What is referred to as 'Trash Vortex'?

Abhilash Suryan Jan 3, 2007
Can u be more specific?
What forms the major portion of such trash?

Abhilash Suryan Jan 8, 2007
Yes, Plastics
The very thing that makes plastics useful to us, their durability & stability, also makes them a problem in marine environments. Its life span can be 100s of years. When plastic reaches our oceans, it eventually breaks down due to the action of the sun, wind, & currents into small, bite-sized pieces that wildlife confuse with food.
Trash Vortex is one of the most studied areas of plastic accumulation in our oceans. At its maximum its area can reach the size of Maharashtra, Gujarath & M.P. put together!!
The issue of plastic debris is one that needs to be urgently addressed. The Greenpeace ship Esperanza is currently cruising into one of the world's largest trash vortices, in the middle of the Pacific. Referred to as the North Pacific garbage patch, it's the epicenter of a system of currents & winds covering most of the North Pacific. The North Pacific subtropical gyre covers a large area of the Pacific in which the water circulates clockwise in a slow spiral. Winds are light, currents tend to force any floating material into the low energy central area of the gyre. There are few islands on which the floating material can beach. So it stays in the gyre, in huge quantities estimated at 6 kilos of plastics per kg of naturally occurring plankton. The equivalent of an area, the size of Texas, swirling slowly around like a clock.

As trash swirls through the world’s oceans to such vortices, it leaves a trail of death and destruction along its path. Plastic is often mistaken for food & has been found inside marine life of all sizes, from whales to zooplankton. It has been directly blamed for the death of a wide range of animals including albatrosses & sea turtles. While massive trash like ghost nets can ensnare and trap 1000s of creatures, even the smallest pieces of plastic may pose a problem. As it accumulates in the digestive tract, many animals essentially choke on plastic intake. Others like the Laysan Albatross chicks
starve to death from a lack of nutrition despite a full stomach.

Abhilash Suryan Jan 8, 2007
What we Can Do:
We’re all responsible for this mess, & it will take all of us to stop it from getting worse. It’s time to
completely rethink how we as a society use (or abuse) plastic. Here are some things that you can do right
• Every time you see litter, pick it up & dispose of it properly.
• Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – you’ve heard it before, but now you know what happens when you don’t. Be conscious of all that you buy, & be sure to avoid products with excessive packaging, especially in disposable products.
• Demand more & better recycling facilities in your area.
• Take part in a local stream, river and beach clean-ups or organize one yourself. Though these don't solve
the problem, they are very effective at drawing attention to the greater problem offshore.
• If you live near the ocean, or a river that drains into it, your storm drains are probably washing
garbage right out to sea. Be conscious of this & any other potential sources of marine litter in your area.
Demand that these are eliminated. Be very conscious of your ecological footprint. Encourage change though your decisions and do not accept the current paradigm of use and waste What we need to do is start demanding more responsibility from each other in our use of plastic, and stop living as if everything is disposable and that the future will not be impacted.

So much of our trash ends up in the oceans, so think twice the next time you toss away something after you use it, and think about what the life cycle of that ridiculous plastic packaging wrapped around nearly
everything that we buy. It's going to be a big change, but it's a change we have to make, for the sake of our oceans and for the ability of future generations to enjoy them.
Now, does that qualify for a new year resolution in a community like ours'?

Abhilash Suryan Jan 8, 2007
For today (8/1/2007), let’s discuss a pledge..
What was the pledge or a resolution for 2006, half-jokingly named The Compact after the Mayflower Pilgrims, took by ten environmentally conscious friends from San Francisco and which spread through the Internet to other cities, about?

JOBIN Daniel Jan 10, 2007
y no participation?
Well, I had to search on google to get the answer..
Its that "Non-Consumerism campaign" in the U.S.A.. I read 2 - 3 articles abt it.. Its interesting.. But I think its better if the Quiz Master himself explains it .. :)

Abhilash Suryan Jan 14, 2007
True Jobin.
Others might be busy with the exams!!
One fall out of consumerism in the globalized world is that people began to shop for recreation. And we know by now, from our previous discussion, where a large chunk of it all will end up. So the group from San Francisco decided to take a shopping sabbatical for a year & the experience was said to be so liberating that they decided to extend it for another year.
Most of us are thankful to have the money to spare but remember that we are often drawing down our resources and making people miserable around the world.
Several cities already have communities of people, ‘freegans’, whose contempt for consumerism is so complete that they eat food foraged from dumpsters & sleep in abandoned buildings!
‘The Compact’ however exempted items coming under health and safety such as food, toothpaste, inner garments, etc.
That’s one thing we can try to emulate.
Prepare a list of items, especially those harmful to the environment, which we can avoid buying for a year. And try sticking to the pledge; you are immensely contributing to saving the planet.
To make it simple, just keep in mind that when you are throwing away a used-up ballpoint pen, you are hitting another nail in the coffin of ‘Mother Earth’.

just happy...
I'm really feeling good to have heard bout the new info related to consumerism...thnx a lot...

Abhilash Suryan Jan 15, 2007
For today 15/1/2007
The trip to San Francisco proved useful in more ways than one. Now we have a remarkable woman from that beautiful city in our community. And speaking of women, we may have women as Presidents for France & U.S. in the not too distant future. They are storming every remaining male bastion. Female cosmonauts, fighter pilots, loco pilots, and even a female Beefeater!! Errrrr… female what?! Beefeater?!!
Now can anyone tell me who is a Beefeater?

Abhilash Suryan Jan 15, 2007
Good guess...
but off the mark, the question passes to the next member 

Vishnu .. Jan 16, 2007
well I don't know about others but I feel all Abhijith cares about is eating
anyway...after going through wikipedia I found out that Beefeater has very little to do with food...

beefeaters is the colloquial name of the Yeomen Warders, who are the ceremonial guards of the London tower...
and the first female beefeater is a lady by the name Moira Cameron...

Abhilash Suryan Jan 21, 2007
Bull’s Eye.
Since 1485, the Yeoman Warders a.k.a. the Beefeaters- all men - have patrolled the parapets and passages of the Tower of London on the banks of the Thames. From the summer of 2007, they will be joined by the first-ever female Beefeater.
William the Conqueror and his army landed in England from France in the year 1066. In 1078 he started to build the Tower of London. Its primary functions were as a fortress, royal palace, and a prison, but it has served as a place of execution, an armory, a treasury, a zoo, a mint and -- since 1303 -- the home of the Crown Jewels.
The guards at the Tower are called Yeoman Warders or Beefeaters. The name Beefeaters is thought to come from the French word - buffetier. Buffetiers were guards in the palace of French kings. They protected the king's food. Another version is that the name originated from the rations of meat they were being given during medieval times.
Beefeaters were originally established in 1485 as King Henry VII's bodyguard, immediately after his victory at Bosworth. Today, they work mostly as guides for the two million visitors from around the world who come to the Tower of London every year.
They are also responsible for the Tower's ravens -- six coal-black birds which, according to legend, must always reside in the fortress on the banks of the Thames to ensure the future of the Kingdom of England.

Abhilash Suryan Jan 22, 2007
Question for 22/1/2007
The wanderings inside the London Tower remind me of the relevance of Architecture in the history and cultural heritage of civilization. It’s “Poetry in Motion”. Each stone carving can tell you several stories spread over centuries. Although poor by the other indicators, the South East Asian nations are immensely rich with their Architectural heritage.
So, one from South East Asia for today; what is ‘dok-sofa’?

Sir, I don't know if this is correct.dok-sofa is`a frond-like ornament which surmounts temple roofs in Laos'. it is described as `a bucket of flowers'. Ten or more flowers indicate a king built the temple.

Abhilash Suryan Jan 28, 2007
Well done, Mathew
Laos is one of the least known nations in the World. I just wanted you to take a look at it next time you see a map.
Lao art is well known for its wealth of ornamentation. As in other neighboring Buddhist countries, the focus has been primarily religious in nature. However, most Wats (Temples) in Laos are constructed piecemeal with donations from the local communities. Royal Wats can be identified by the number of dok sofa, (flowers), displayed in the building design. If more than ten dok sofa are used, it signifies that the Wat was built by a king, as Mathew mentioned.
Temple murals and bas-reliefs usually tell the story of the Buddha's lives, the Jataka tales. There is not as wide a range of art in Laos as in Thailand, as the country has been constantly dominated by foreign powers that tended to suppress indigenous culture. Much of Lao history and culture has been destroyed over the centuries by the plundering neighbours, Siamese/ Thais, Chinese and Vietnamese. The Ramayana, the famous Indian epic, has become a part of the Lao cultural heritage, and is known as the Phra Lak Pralam. Doors and windows of some temples are engraved with scenes from Ramayana. Prime examples are the huge teak shutters at Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang.

Abhilash Suryan Jan 29, 2007
29/1/2007; Muharram
Let's learn a bit of Islamic History. Who is revered as the "Prince of the Martyrs"?

Hazrat Imam Hussain, the youngest grandson of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

Abhilash Suryan Feb 5, 2007

Abhilash Suryan Feb 5, 2007
For Today, 5/2/2007
Something from Economics!
In 2004, John Perkins, a former employee of Chas T. Main, an International consulting firm based in the U. S., published a book titled 'Confessions of an Economic Hit-Man'. Any idea what he meant by 'Economic Hit-Man'?

Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign "aid" organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet's natural resources. Their tools included fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization.

Abhilash Suryan Feb 11, 2007
Perfect Dhiraj
The book gives a first-person account of how seemingly happy societies are lured into debt traps and economic disaster by the 'vultures' lurking around in search of 'chicks'. And it happens everywhere, even in our neighbourhoods. Please find out the information by yourselves and be alert to the threat to our coming generations. "Aattin tholitta chennaykkal nammude idayilum undaavam!"

Abhilash Suryan Feb 12, 2007
Today 12/02/2007,
let's pay attention to the plight of the Palestinians.
Any idea to which country, other than those in the middle east, did the maximum number of Palestinians migrate?

Balu John Feb 16, 2007
The USA?

Abhilash Suryan Feb 16, 2007
Sorry Sir
I too would have given the same answer, had I not seen an article on the same, which in fact surprised me!
Let's see if anyone can come up with the 'right answer' before Monday.

JOBIN Daniel Feb 16, 2007
I am not sure.... if I have to go by my childhood Sunday school classes, it shd be Israel and Jordan 

Abhilash Suryan Feb 16, 2007
Sorry Again
It's far away, at the other end of the earth!

Abhilash Suryan Feb 19, 2007
Sorry Nisha
It’s Chile! More Palestinians migrated to Chile than to any other country outside the middle east. ‘The Last Moon’ by the legendary Chilean photographer & filmmaker Miguel Littin, whose paternal Grandfather migrated from Palestine in 1915, is an attempt to find out why.

Abhilash Suryan Feb 19, 2007
The previous one was the first question that went unanswered since the beginning of this weekly forum. The source is an interview with Littin himself, published in a leading daily. Hope the info was useful.
So for this week, let me pick up the thread from the last week’s question, a sitter for regular quizzers.
Miguel Littin is a living legend whose real-life adventures are chronicled in a famous work by a Nobel Laureate. Can you identify the work?

Abhilash Suryan Feb 26, 2007
Littin went into exile after the bloody military coup which resulted in the ouster and the assassination of Chile's democratically elected Marxist President Salvatore Allende. He returned to Chile disguised as a foreign businessman to report the excesses of the oppressive regime of Auguste Pinochet. It's said that when he went to meet his Mother even she failed to recognize him! To learn more about the adventures of Miguel Littin, lay your hands on a copy of 'Clandestine in Chile'.

Abhilash Suryan Feb 26, 2007
26/02/2007; Now for this week.
The invention of the incandescent bulb by Thomas Alva Edison is considered a major landmark in the history of science and technology. Which is the first country to ban the use of Incandescent Bulbs?!

Abhilash Suryan Mar 4, 2007
Abhijith Scores Again....
Australia has announced plans to ban incandescent light bulbs, and replace them with efficient Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs, a move that will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by four million tons by 2012, according to Greenpeace. This will make Australia the first country to ban the incandescent bulb.

Incandescent bulbs lose 90% of the energy that goes into them as heat while a compact fluorescent lamp uses about 20% of the electricity to produce the same amount of light. A 20-watt CFL gives as much light as a 100-watt conventional bulb, lasts up to 12 times longer, and can save consumers around Rs.750/- a year in electricity costs.

Greenpeace India has called on the Indian government to enforce a ban on incandescent bulbs. By only banning the bulb, India could save up to 12000 MW of electricity, which is equivalent to almost 4% of India’s CO2 emissions. Every watt of electricity produced involves CO2 emissions because a major source of electricity in India is still coal-fueled power plants.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

The Game

It's one of those games that one can play, offline and on, with a striking resemblance to that board game on black and white, but without all the pieces, save the King, Queen, and the pawn.

The Queen and the pawn are in white, with the King donning black, possibly out of compulsions on political correctness!

The pawn plots to tackle the King, who, being stubbornly defended by the Queen, has no role in the game other than mocking the pawn.

Crushed by the might of the white, 

the pawn bleeds red 

and disappears without a trace 
in the infinite charms of the King in black.

Every pawn that plotted to be the King has to fail and fall in a Heep

Monday, 2 October 2017

Monday's Questions, Oct. 2, 2006 - Dec. 31, 2006

Eleven years ago on this day I had started an interactive forum on Orkut with my students. It ran for about five years. Personal records say that the last question was posted on 18th of April, 2011. Starting today, I am trying to post some of those interactions on my blog. Hope this will be useful for someone somewhere.

The post contains the names of the respondents. If anyone wants their name removed, please do let me know.

Abhilash Suryan Oct 2, 2006
Monday's Question
Dear Members,
On the doubly auspicious occasion of Vijaya Dashami and Gandhi Jayanthi, I'm starting a weekly quiz forum titled 'Monday's Question'. Hope u all will respond positively to it.

Abhilash Suryan Oct 2, 2006
Inaugural Question
Let the first question be one connected with the Mahatma. The greatness of this man was his simplicity. He also inspired thousands of young men and women to work for the rural poor. Which great Gandhian founded the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences at Sevagram?

Dhiraj - I too have a Dream!!! Oct 2, 2006
I did not know the answer sir.. so i googled.. The Mission

In the spirit of its founder, Dr Sushila Nayar, The Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram, is committed to the pursuit of professional excellence in order to provide accessible and affordable health care to underprivileged rural communities.

Abhilash Suryan Oct 2, 2006
Correct, Full marks to u
Googling is allowed Dhiraj, 
My aim is only knowledge sharing and googling is now the easiest way. But now you know something about Dr. Sushila Nayar, the former Health Minister of India. Hope that information will be useful to you somewhere else. Then this venture will be fruitful.

Abhilash Suryan Oct 9, 2006
Question for 9/19/2006
This monday I'm moving from the Mahatma to a philosopher closely associated with the Communist International. He graduated in Mechanical Engg. & did his higher studies in Aeronautical Engg in Berlin and Manchester. These prompted an interest in Mathematics and logic that led him to Cambridge where Bertrand Russell recognized him as a genius. In fact, according to some scholars, it was the admission of his superior genius which arrested the philosophical development of Russell himself. During the first world war he served with reckless bravery in the Austrian Army. By inheritance he was one of the richest men, not only in post war Austria, but the whole of Europe. But giving away much of his money he became a village school teacher. Whom am I referring to?

Abhay Mohan Oct 9, 2006
Ludwig Wittgenstein..... took u r advice and googled sir...

Abhilash Suryan Oct 10, 2006
Abhay u r right.
Correct Abhay.. Wittgenstein's dauntingly complex 'Tractacus Logico Philosophicus' is considered as a major milestone in western philosophy. But the most interesting piece of information on him that I had come across is an article which stated that he once had a school boy rival who hated him with such an all consuming rage that he set out to exterminate Wittgenstein's original race, the Jews from the face of the planet. and you know who killed 6 million Jews.

Abhilash Suryan Oct 16, 2006
A long one for today, 16/10/2006
From the Mahatma and philosophy let's move to soccer, arguably world's largest 'religion'. It teaches us how to plan, organize and play us a team to achieve a common 'goal' in real time situations. Just like the warrior heros of yore, we may have something to learn from the life of soccer stars both on and off the field. This story is about one such hero, whose one immature and foolish action once almost destroyed his life and career. He was a promising young mid fielder in the Yugoslav national team. At the peak of the civil war in Yugoslavia, during a national league game between the Serb supported Red Star Belgrade and the Croat supported Dinamo, Zagreb he ran up and brutally kicked a Yugoslav Police officer who was beating up a Croatian fan by the sidelines. Dismissesd from the national team, he received a suspension from the Serb dominated the Yugoslav soccer federation, causing him miss Italia90. But the eagle eyes of the then A.C. Milan top brass spotted him and picked him to replace the aging Dutch trio of Gullit, Van Basten and Riijkaad. Croatian federation appointed him the Captain for their first ever campaign in the world cup finals at France, 1998, where they reached the semis and lost to eventual champions France after giving them quite a scare. In the losers final, he allowed his more deserving deputy, Davor Suker, who was at the threshold of a personal milestone, to lead the team. In the second half with Suker struggling to find the all important goal, he himself came on and soon with a marvellous run from the mid field set up a remarkable opportunity to score his first ever world cup goal. But with only the goal keeper to beat, astonishingly, he passed the ball to his predatory partner whose stunning shot made him the sole winner of the Golden Boot on that edition. Can you identify this remarkable personality, a national hero?

Vishnu .. Oct 16, 2006
Zvonimir search says so

Abhilash Suryan Oct 18, 2006
Google has it right Vishnu.  .

Abhilash Suryan Oct 23, 2006
Continuing with heroes for 23/10/2006
But all heroes need not get the recognition they deserve. Although their contribution to the society is almost insignificant, the movie stars often get unconditional love and adulation. 'Actor' heroes of the reel life hog all the limelight while genuine heroes of real life are often ignored. So let me use this week's question to pay tributes to one of the greatest ever contributors to mankind who died rather young, nearly unrecognized and almost unknown in his motherland despite spending his time and energy in the service of all mankind.
The question is; about whom did Doron K. Antrim wrote in Argosy in April 1950, "You've probably never heard of him, Yet because he lived you may live longer"?

Sangeeth-Escapin d tide..... Oct 24, 2006
Dr.yellapragada subbarow!!!.......(had 2 google it,sir!!!.....xcellent qtn!!)................

Abhilash Suryan Oct 24, 2006
Correct Sangeeth.
"You've probably never heard of Dr. Yellapragada Subbarao, Yet because he lived you may live longer", wrote Antrim.

Every word of Antrim is true even today as millions live a longer and more satisfying life because of Folic acid vitamins, Tetracycline antibiotics, and anti-filarial (the drug Hetrazan which was used by WHO against filariasis) and anti-cancer drugs (Methotrexate is still in widespread clinical use today), developed under the research and direction of this India born biochemist turned wizard of wonder drugs. If Fleming's Pencillin was effective only against gm +ve bacteria and Vaksmann's Streptomycin was effective only against gm -ve bacteria, it was Subba Rao's Aureomycin which was the first to counter both. Besides the conquest of many illnesses that have plagued mankind for ages, Subba Rao contributed to the understanding of such life processes as muscular contraction which gets the living world's work done. He was in the Harvard tradition "the brain" and could perhaps have claimed that the boys he had guided and inspired were just so many "hands". But that would have been unfair to them as it would have been so unworthy of himself. "The victories of science are rarely won single handed," he insisted. "No one man should get the credit." His last expressed wish to colleagues was: "If God will spare me another couple of years, may be we can cure another disease." SubbaRow is not famous, but his gifts to biochemistry and medicine keep performing a million good turns for mankind each day around the world.
And for the information of all those who failed in a couple or more papers in the University Exams and are hanging their heads in disappointment, this man, arguably the greatest Medical Scientist to emerge from India, cleared his matriculation examination in his third attempt!

Abhilash Suryan Oct 30, 2006
One from Indian History for today, 30/10/2006
The 'Iron Man' of India, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and his team carried out the arduous task of uniting all the princely states into the Indian Union, often acting authoritatively, 'with an iron hand'. ".....We are indebted to Sardar..." said Nehru on this. "Jawahar Lal is a thinker, while Sardar is a doer" said Gandhiji. And had Gandhiji allowed democratic means, probably he would have been India's first Prime Minister! The question is, Why did Sardar Patel resign from the Nehru cabinet in 1948?

Abhay Mohan Oct 31, 2006
Sir with my limited knowledge i dont think Sardar Patel actually resigned..Well if its due to the death of Gandhiji... i dont think he was allowed to resign...Well i think there were accusations that Home Ministry (the one which Sardarji was heading) didnt provide enough security for Gandhiji..And that lead to his assasination... Sardarji wanted to resign..But then Prime Minister Nehru didnt accept his resignation and asked him to continue..Sardarji was reminded that he had given his word to Gandhiji that he will continue in the government irrespective of the problems that he might face.. So Sardarji continued to hold portfolio of Home Ministry till the time of his death in 1950...

Abhilash Suryan Nov 3, 2006
True Abhay...
... thanks for correcting me. I'd seen an article stating that Sardar Patel had sent in his resignation owning the moral responsibility of Gandhiji's assassination, but it was never accepted.

Abhilash Suryan Nov 6, 2006
A normal,straight forward one for today, 6/11/2006
Which business group's communications research centre is 'Fabrica'?

Vishnu .. Nov 7, 2006
Benetton...(googled again )

anyway...if anyone wants to know more about Fabrica, go here

Abhilash Suryan Nov 11, 2006
Vishnu and Google scores again. [:)]
The"United Colors of Benetton" success story began in 1955 when Luciano Benetton, the eldest of four children, was only 20 years old and working as a salesman in Treviso. He realized that people wanted colors in their lives and especially in their clothes. He sold a younger brother's bicycle in order to buy the first second-hand knitting machine, and began to market a small collection of sweaters to local stores. The positive reaction to his designs was only the beginning of a solid start. Soon after, he asked his sister, Giuliana and his two younger brothers, Gilberto and Carlo, to join him.
In 1965, the Benettons opened their first store in Belluno and the year after in Paris, with Luciano as chairman, his brother Gilberto in charge of administration, their younger brother Carlo running production, and Giuliana as a chief designer.
But the Benetton is more famous (or infamous) for their series of controversial, sometimes offensive, advertisements that have caused a number of media critics to accuse the company of deliberately creating controversy in order to sell its products. This publicity campaign was launched by the photographer Oliviero Toscani. The advertisements, entitled "United Colors of Benetton", have included images that are apparently unrelated to the clothes sold by the company, including scenes of a man dying of AIDS, panicking crowds jumping off of a sinking ship, a bloody, unwashed newborn baby, a collage consisting of the genitals of many people of various races, and a death row inmate. The only caption included in these pictures is the Benetton logo.

Abhilash Suryan Nov 13, 2006
For today 13/11/2006
I've a fascination for the Italian names, there is music in their names. So this week let me ask you which popular entertainers go by the names Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello?

Abhay Mohan Nov 13, 2006
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles....

Abhilash Suryan Nov 16, 2006
Correct Abhay....
...but my fascination ends with the names, I don't endorse such mindless, non stop violence in movies for children, at least. Societies which feed their young with such uncensured violence should also be prepared to reap their rewards. Who else can be blamed for the kind of incidents happening in their schools?!

Abhilash Suryan Nov 20, 2006
For 20/11/2006, we have one from......
Let us devote this week for paying tributes to one of the front line fighters for the protection of our environment. Which famous environmentalist's autobiography is titled 'Unbowed'?

Abhay Mohan Nov 21, 2006
Wangari Maathai..winner of 2004 Nobel prize and this year's Indra Gandhi Peace prize..

Abhilash Suryan Nov 26, 2006
In awarding the Peace Prize to Prof. Waangari Maathai in 2004, the Nobel Committee recognized that peace is not possible without environmental sustainability.

Known as Kenya's "Green Militant", she founded the Green Belt movement - a grassroots women's group which since the late 1970s has planted more than 30 million trees in Kenya and a dozen other African countries, often daring the machete wielding, gun slinging mudheads, before it's too late and all of Africa may have to be renamed Sahara.The movement also provided hope for many women by providing jobs, economic opportunity and independence to nearly 10,000 women who plant and sell seedlings for a living. Her proactive policy may help regain the lost glory of the continent and the people who once lived in perfect harmony with nature. Her struggles also underline the role of women, especially mothers in creating environmental awareness in the future generations.

"The generation that destroys the environment is usually not the generation that suffers," Prof. Maathai said in her acceptance speech. We have to remember that we are merely care takers who should hand over the planet to the future generations without much damage, else history will not forgive us.
And for the suffering women of Africa, her prize sent an inspirational message. "The culture pulls us down so often," said Beatrice Elachi of the National Council of Kenya. "We are told to give way to men. But now, thanks to Waangari, every woman will know she can make it."

Prof. Maathai is also a woman of many firsts: the first woman in eastern and central Africa to earn a doctorate, the first female Professor at the University of Nairobi and of course the first African woman to win the Peace Prize.

Do we have some ladies in this community, who are listening?

Abhilash Suryan Nov 27, 2006
One from Photography for today 27/11/2006.
Photography, I think, is an art form where the synchronisation of man, machine & the moment is paramount, of course in addition to being in the right place at the right time.
Which legendary photographer propounded the concept of 'the Decisive Moment'?

Sangeeth-Escapin d tide..... Nov 27, 2006
Alberto korda???....not sure.........

Abhilash Suryan Nov 27, 2006
The answer is wrong, question passes to someone else......\

Abhilash Suryan Dec 2, 2006
Well done boys
Although Abhijith gave the correct answer I'm equally happy with Sangeeth's wrong ones because my single question made our members familiar with some great photographers and their works. So well done Sangeeth for overcoming the temptation to 'google' and giving those names.

Now something on Henri Cartier -Bresson;

Inspired by a photograph by Hungarian photographer, Martin Munkacsi, who later became a fashion photographer for Harpers Bazaar, which captured the freedom, grace and spontaneity of movement of three naked boys running along a Liberian beach and their joy at being alive, the young French art student, Henri Cartier-Bresson, who was also in Africa, on the Ivory Coast, decided to put down his paint-brush on his return to France and devote himself to photography. This was indeed a decisive moment for photography, as he was to become the most famous photographer of the twentieth century.

He can very rightly be called the pioneer of photojournalism, and his genius lay in his uncanny ability to freeze-frame the decisive moment, that fleeting instant which offers the opportunity for a great photograph as opposed to a mere jumble of images.

Cartier-Bresson's darkly evocative picture of Pt. Nehru announcing Mahatma Gandhi's death at the gates of Birla House is a perfect lesson for any student of photography and now very much a part of Indian History itself.

Abhilash Suryan Dec 4, 2006
4/12/06; A Trip to Pakistan, this week.....
This week let me take you to Chenab Nagar, a small town in the Punjab province of Pakistan, one of the world's most modern states. The town was once known as Rabhwa. In this town you can find the tomb of Dr. Abdus Salam, one of the greatest ever Physicists to emerge from the sub-continent, the winner of Nobel Prize for Physics in 1979. On the tomb stone you can find an inscription reading 'Abdus Salam, The First!...... Nobel Laureate'!!
My question for the week is; what went wrong with the inscription?

Abhilash Suryan Dec 5, 2006
The answer is not 100% correct, can some one else give a more perfect answer.

Prabodh S Dec 7, 2006
It was first written as Abdus Salam the first muslim nobel leaurate ,but because he belonged to Ahemedyya sect,which in Pakistan is not considered as muslims coz they dont believe that Mohammed is the last prophet.........So the term muslim was rubbed off,,, now it reads ,Abdus Salam the first nobel leaurate
I am not sure whether the sect i had given is correct,,this was there in a newspaper recently

Abhilash Suryan Dec 9, 2006
Now that's correct Prabodh
Dr. Abdus Salam was known to be a devout Muslim, whose religion was inseparable from his work and family life. He once wrote: "The Holy Quran enjoins us to reflect on the verities of Allah's created laws of nature; however, that our generation has been privileged to glimpse a part of His design is a bounty and a grace for which I render thanks with a humble heart."
But the law enforcing authorities in Pakistan had other ideas. Ahmediyyas or Qadianis, followers of 19th century religious leader Mirza Ghulam Ahmed, are a non-Muslim minority as per Pakistani law. They can't call themselves Muslims and their beliefs are considered blasphemous by the fundamentalists. So a magistrate had the word 'Muslim' erased from the tomb stone! What a way to respect a great personality!!
Dr. Salam's was an inspiring life, hailing from a small town, in the hostile environs of the pre-partition days, he went to Cambridge, secured a double first in Mathematics and Physics in 1949 and later a Ph.D. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contribution to the theory of unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, including inter alia the prediction of the weak neutral current. He helped form the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commision and later served as Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of Pakistan. He retained his Pakistani identity to the very end. But in the face of a violent anti-Ahmediyya movement in Pakistan, he had to set up the International Centre for Theoretical Physics at Trieste in Italy, which is now named after him.
Dr. Salam considered it his life's mission to fight the prejudice against Science in the Islamic World. He visited every Muslim capital in the world, after his Nobel, asking them to set aside 1% of their GNP for scientific education. He had virtually no takers and was often received with prejudice and scepticism. But he received a warm welcome in the country where, at the time, the world's largest Muslim population lived, when he crossed the border to call on his Primary School Teacher.

Abhilash Suryan Dec 9, 2006
Happy to find a new respondent in my forum....
.....but I have also noticed that Members have a tendency to delete the wrong answers. Kindly avoid the temptation to press 'delete' for even the wrong answers carry useful information as far as quizzers are concerned.
Thank you, 
with regards,

JOBIN Daniel Dec 9, 2006
An outsider here..

First result from google search abt Dr. Salam, if any one is interested.

And to all of u, I am an old student of Abhilash sir. Thanks to him for letting me in. And happy to b in a forum along with great quizzers like u. Ther wont b many msgs from me.. But I wont be missing any mesages. Thanks to all of u.. keep the spirits high! Keep going!

Abhilash Suryan Dec 11, 2006
For 11/12/2006, One from Modern India.
I don't know whether it's proper to put such a question in this forum. In that case I'm giving propriety the go by this week. Kindly excuse, let me prefer think with my heart to my head this Monday.
The question is from current affairs, Why was a place called Kherlanji in the news recently?

Abhay Mohan Dec 11, 2006
Kherlanji is a village near Nagpur where four members of a Dalit Family was burned alive in September by the upper class people.

rohith sreekumar Dec 12, 2006
The feudel lords of kherlanji destroyed d morality of dere village by brutally raping an lynchin a dalit was a real sad sight indeed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Abhilash Suryan Dec 13, 2006
I used to be a proud Indian,
...till certain experiences on the personal front forced a vision correction. Now I've a much clearer picture of this great civilization.... several deeply disturbing incidents forcing me to take a fresh look at it. In certain parts of our nation a riot'll be triggered by the news of a cow slaughter, but what if human beings are mercilessly slaughtered? We respect animals, birds, snakes, trees, plants and even marine species by associating them with the Divine, people may let their pets lick them, but tell them to share a well with under privileged human beings, you'll get a taste of their tongue. The case is no different even in Tamil Nadu, ruled for the past so many years by the parties born out of the Dravidian movement!! How could we point a finger at a racist regime for throwing a certain M. K. Gandhi out of the train at Pietermaritzburg just because he was 'coloured', when in our own neighbourhoods apartheid was being practised for generations, oh..... let me remind you that the remaining four fingers were pointing in our direction....
At Kherlanji four members of 'Dalit' family were brutally killed, one of them Priyanka, was a teen aged NCC cadet who dreamt of joining the Indian Armed Forces one day. The enlightened inheritors of this great civilized society is reported to have continued to violate her even after she was dead out of it. When violent protests erupted after days of inaction on the part of the authorities, the response of our neo-Gandhian rulers was that the rioting was triggered by the Naxellites.
Close on the heels of Kherlanji came the acquittal of all the persons accused of massacring 7 'Dalits' at Kolar in March 2000.
I'm hanging my head in shame now. 
If you ask me what we can do, I've no answers...... but at least, you and me, we can change our attitude towards the under privileged.
Lord Shri Krishna once told "Dharmasamsthapanardhaya Sambhavaami yuge yuge", I think it's time for him to come again, in the guise of some Maoist Guerilla, and deliver justice.

Abhilash Suryan Dec 18, 2006
Today, 18/12/06
From the merely modern to the most modern, this week let's go across the Atlantic to U.S. of A, Pennsylvania to be precise. How did Charles Carl Roberts IV, an obscure Penn state milk-truck driver hit the international headlines in October, 2006?

JOBIN Daniel Dec 18, 2006
1st try..
"He was a lean man with a retreating line of sandy hair, his wire-rimmed glasses presenting an almost owlish countenance.", The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 7, 2006.

JOBIN Daniel Dec 18, 2006
"Killer “angry at life and God”", Herald Sun, October 3, 2006

Abhilash Suryan Dec 25, 2006
Last week I was seeking revenge...........
Today I want to share with you the information that there is another way; a refusal to meet violence with violence, instead to greet it with forgiveness. It's easy to preach like the 'devoutly Christian' U. S. President whose actions claim thousands of innocent victims. I thought it's impossible to practise the way of Jesus, till I came across the Amish.
The Amish or Anabaptists are a Christian denomination who lead an 18th century life style by renouncing all modern amenities such as electricity, plumbing, automobiles, TV, radio, music, video games and mobile phones and what not.They don't serve in the military nor receive any government assistance and live mostly by crop and dairy farming and their life is exemplified by piety and simplicity.
In a country where one of the founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, was shot dead by the then Vice President, what Charles Roberts did may not have made it to the front pages, but for the victims. Their faith allow the Amish to see even such tragic events as the will of God and they don't argue with Him. So the parents of the pre-teen girls murdered, sent words of forgiveness to the family of the killer who shot himself when cornered by the police. Retaliation and revenge are not part of their vocabulary, and they leave the vengeance to the Lord. So at the burial of Charles Carl Roberts, 50% of people who turned up to pray for his soul were Amish! And they invited his widow and their 3 small children to join the Amish community!!
In these highly materialistic times, it's difficult to imagine that such a community of people live on this planet, leading a life of happiness and bliss without getting corrupted by the lure of so called modernity. I may not be able to copy their life style, but the knowledge that such people exist will definitely affect my world view and attitude in life.
My heart goes out to the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. This Christmas, kindly join me in praying for the souls of the little girls murdered at Nickel Mines.

Abhilash Suryan Dec 25, 2006
25/12/2006, X'Mas Monday
On this Christmas Day let's remember a great soul, who inspired by Christ, lived a life in the service of the needy which would have made his Master proud.
The question is 'Who was affectionately referred to as "Kamiano", the great soul?'

JOBIN Daniel Dec 27, 2006
lemme try without search..
The great father Damien

Abhilash Suryan Dec 31, 2006
I’m not a practising Christian but to me Jesus is one of the greatest ever influences on mankind’s history. What places him a notch above the other great souls, in my opinion, is his willingness to die on the cross to wash away the sins of all mankind and his superhuman ability to seek forgiveness for his tormentors. He had inspired thousands of great souls in the generations that followed in mankind’s history and to me if someone stand as tall as him in supreme sacrifice, it’s Father Joseph Damien and I think I need not explain why.
But it took more than 100 years for the Catholic Church to grasp the greatness of this man. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995 but not yet a Saint! And he himself mentioned that the greatest setback in his life was the denial of permission to enter the head quarters of his Sacred Hearts Congregation to meet his ‘superiors’ on his visit to Honolulu, he was confined to the Leprosy Hospital there throughout his stay. On his death Father Damien was derided as a "false shepherd" who was driven by personal ambition and ego. Questions were raised on his morality & soon after his death his associate Father Louis Lambert Conrardy was thrown out of Moloka’i because he didn’t belong to the Sacred Heart Church!

Let me quote Robert Louis Stevenson who wrote in defense of him
On October 26, 1889, Stevenson wrote:
When we have failed, and another has succeeded; when we have stood by, and another has stepped in; when we sit and grow bulky in our charming mansions, and a plain, uncouth peasant steps into the battle, under the eyes of God, and succours the afflicted, and consoles the dying, and is himself afflicted in his turn, and dies upon the field of honour - the battle cannot be retrieved as your unhappy irritation has suggested. It is a lost battle, and lost for ever.

And our own Mahatma Gandhi wrote,
"The political and journalistic world can boast of very few heroes who compare with Father Damien of Moloka'i. It is worthwhile to look for the sources of such heroism."