Where is Elon Musk”s car going ….

http://bit.ly/2CdZENc

Source….http://earthsky.org

Natarajan

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Meet Muruganantham, the real Pad Man…

His low-cost machines that make sanitary pads have earned him international recognition. A Muruganantham’s story is now being told on the big screen as Pad Man

A Muruganantham’s life is a haze of interviews to newspapers, TV channels and radio stations. His phone doesn’t stop ringing and his wife sees him only during meal times. To the world, he is a social entrepreneur; ‘Pad man’, ‘Menstrual man’; ‘The man who wore a sanitary napkin’: the low-cost sanitary napkin machine that he created is changing the lives of thousands of women across the world.

But at his home in Coimbatore, he’s a busy father whose bonding time with his daughter is during his work tours —he takes her along since he’s rarely home; an elusive husband with whom his wife seeks an appointment —she says this jokingly to us, but there’s truth in it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just the same

There’s a Bollywood movie about him that’s releasing this week and he has gained international recognition. But the man is matter-of-fact about his celebrity status. “My work remains the same,” he says, seated in the living room of his rented house. “Tomorrow, I will walk into a remote village with my machine and no one will recognise me,” he says. “Nothing has changed or will change.” But the cause that he upholds —to take sanitary pads to every nook and corner of India —is gradually gaining momentum. In another 30 years, Muruganantham is sure that he will ensure 100% penetration.

It’s like breaking a massive mountain with a sledgehammer singlehandedly—the stigma surrounding the subject is as such. Which is what makes his story interesting. Muruganantham recalls how his obsession to research on sanitary napkins earned him nothing but ridicule from those around him. “My fellow villagers thought I was a vampire,” he laughs. “I came close to being tied up to a tree.” Muruganantham wanted to create low-cost sanitary towels.

His work took bizarre turns —he strapped onto himself a machine fashioned using a football bladder that pumped out blood into a sanitary pad that he wore. He was that mad scientist the world just didn’t understand. In 2006, when his innovation won an award from the then President Pratibha Patil, his life changed forever.

“My machines now run in 4,800 points in India and in 29 other countries,” he says. His story has appeared in several foreign language publications—Hebrew being one of them. It’s only natural that it be made into a feature film.

Now a feature film

Pad Man, directed by R Balki, featuring Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte, and Sonam Kapoor, presents Muruganantham’s journey from a school drop-out to a social entrepreneur. “It does have ‘masala’ elements, being a Bollywood film,” says Muruganantham. He worked with the crew for over three years, helping them set up his machines on the sets and demonstrating his work.

The story is set in Madhya Pradesh and not Tamil Nadu. Muruganantham feels that only then will the cause have a pan-India reach. “I did have Tamil filmmakers approach me,” he says. “But I didn’t want the film to be confined to one part of the country.” Elusive that he is, it took a while for actor and writer Twinkle Khanna, who has produced the film, to pin him down for a conversation. “She contacted me in 2015,” says Muruganantham. Khanna featured Muruganantham in her 2016 book The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad.

Pad Man is the first feature film that talks about women’s monthly period,” he says. With barely any knowledge of Hindi, Muruganantham managed to effectively convey his thoughts to the team. “It helped that director Balki and the cinematographer PC Sreeram knew Tamil,” he says.

Despite his wide network of employees and volunteers, Muguganantham personally travels with his machines to train women to make sanitary napkins in regions affected by extremism. He rolls off names of villages that many may not have heard of — Dhamtari, Lakshmipuramu, Gajroli, Tehri… Many girls in such villagers don’t attend school due to lack of awareness and access to sanitary pads. Murugnanantham is changing that. This is the best thing about his innovation—that a village girl who shut herself at home simply because she menstruated, can finally go to school.

In all these years of working on menstrual hygiene, what Muruganatham finds most difficult to deal with, is the superstition surrounding it. “Women in rural India have the strangest beliefs surrounding the monthly period,” he says. He is trying to break these by educating them. In a tribal village in the Nilgiris, women believed that if they used a sanitary towel, their eyes will be taken away. Muruganantham says, “A girl used it for two months and told her friends ‘Look, my eyes are still intact’.”

Source…Akila Kannadasan in http://www.the hindu.com

Natarajan

 

தலையாட்டி பொம்மையும், தஞ்சை பெரிய கோவிலும்!

தஞ்சாவூரில் தயாரிக்கப்படும் தலையாட்டி பொம்மைக்கும், தஞ்சை பெரிய கோவிலுக்கும் என்ன சம்பந்தம் இருக்க முடியும் என்று தானே நினைக்கிறீர்கள்…
இந்த சாதாரண தலையாட்டி பொம்மைக்குள் தான், மிகப் பெரிய தத்துவத்தையே ஒளித்து வைத்துள்ளனர், நம் முன்னோர்.
கொட்டாங்கச்சி எனப்படும் தேங்காய் சிரட்டையில் பாதியை எடுத்து, அதில், களி மண்ணை அடைத்து, தலையாட்டி பொம்மைகள் செய்யப்படுகிறது. அந்தப் பொம்மையை தரையில் வைத்து, எந்த பக்கம் சாய்த்தாலும், அது, ஆடி ஆடி கடைசியாக நேராக நின்று விடும்.
சமீபத்தில், தஞ்சை பெரிய கோவில் வளாகத்தில், தண்ணீர் பற்றாக்குறை காரணமாக, ‘போர்’ போடுவதற்காக, ஆழ்துளை கிணறு தோண்டியுள்ளனர். அப்போது, களிமண்ணோ, செம்மண்ணோ வரவில்லை; வேறு ஒரு வகை மணல் வெளிப்பட்டிருக்கிறது.
அது, காட்டாறுகளில் காணப்படக் கூடிய மணல். சாதாரண ஆற்று மணலுக்கும், காட்டாறு மணலுக்கும் வித்தியாசம் உண்டு. சாதாரண ஆற்று மணலை விட, காட்டாறுகளில் காணப்படும் மணலில், பாறைத் துகள்கள் அதிகம் காணப்படும். மேலும், சாதாரண மணலை காட்டிலும் கடினமானது. கோவிலை கட்டுவதற்கு முன், அந்த மணலை அடியில் நிரப்பியுள்ளனர்.
இத்தகவலை அறிந்த, தஞ்சை பெரிய கோவில் மீட்புக் குழுவினரின் முயற்சியால், போர் போடும் வேலை உடனடியாக தடுத்து நிறுத்தப்பட்டது.
ஏனென்றால், ஆயிரம் ஆண்டுகளாக இந்த பூமியில் ஏற்படும் அழுத்தங்களையும், நிலநடுக்கங்களையும் தாங்கி, நான்குபுறமும் அகழிகளால் சூழப்பட்டு, கம்பீரமாக காட்சியளிக்கும் இந்த உலக அதிசயத்தின் அஸ்திவாரமே அந்த மணல் தான்!
இவ்ளோ பெரிய கோவிலுக்கு, மணலை கொண்டு அஸ்திவாரம் அமைக்க, சோழ தேச பொறியாளர்கள் என்ன முட்டாள்களா!
கோவிலின் அதி அற்புத தத்துவமும், சோழர்களின் அறிவின் உச்சமும் அங்குதான் வெளிப்படுகிறது.
அகழிகளால் சூழப்பட்டுள்ள தீவு போன்ற அமைப்பில், காட்டாற்று மணலால் கோவிலுக்கு அஸ்திவாரம் அமைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. தலையாட்டி பொம்மையை சாய்த்தால், எப்படி கீழே உள்ள கனமான அடிப்பரப்பில் ஆடி ஆடி நேராக நின்று விடுகிறதோ, அதேபோல், பெரிய கோவிலும் எத்தகைய பூகம்பம் வந்து அசைய நேரிட்டாலும், அசைந்து, தானாகவே சம நிலைக்கு வந்து விடும்.
சோழ தேச பொறியாளர்களின் அறிவிற்கு, உலகில் வேறு எவரும் ஈடாகார் என்பதற்கு இது ஒன்றே சான்று!

 

 

Source….Pushpa in http://www.dinamalar.com dated 7th Jan 2018

Natarajan

 

Toronto’s Camouflaged Electric Substations….

More often than not, industrial infrastructures are an eyesore, especially when they are smack in the middle of a beautiful city like Toronto. So for the past hundred years, Canada’s second-largest municipal electricity distribution company, Toronto Hydro, has been disguising substations into quiet little houses that blend right in with the neighbourhood. Some appear like grand Georgian mansions or late-Victorian buildings, while others look like humble suburban homes. Even the most sharp-eyed resident couldn’t tell these faux homes apart. Some are not even aware they are living next door to a transformer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is not a house. Photo credit: City of Toronto Archives

Toronto was first electrified in the late 1880s. At that time a number of small private companies were supplying electrical demands. Then in 1908, Torontonians voted overwhelmingly for the formation of a municipal electricity company, and Toronto Hydro came into being in 1911.

From the very beginning, Toronto Hydro was keen not to have ugly conglomerations of metals, switches and wires robbing the city’s urban and suburban neighbourhood of its beauty. So each substation they built was wrapped around by a shell of masonry and woodwork carefully designed to resemble residential homes. A driveway and some low-maintenance shrubs in the garden helped complete the deception.

The earliest known substation, dating from 1910 and located at 29 Nelson St. in the John and Richmond area, looks like a four-storey Victorian-era warehouse or perhaps an office building with a grand entrance and raised horizontal brick banding. One of the grandest of these structures is the Glengrove Substation, built in 1931. This Gothic building with its large oak doors, leaded glass windows and long narrow windows reminiscent of Medieval times, it’s no wonder that Toronto Hydro employees call it the “Flagship” or the “Castle”.

As architectural styles evolved, so did the camouflage. From grandiose buildings of the pre-depression era to ranch style houses that became popular with the booming post-war middle class of the 1940s to 1970s, to progressively more modernist structures with flat roof and smooth white exterior. These substation homes were so authentic that they were sometimes broken into by burglars.

There used to be over 270 substation homes scattered across Toronto. According to Spacing Toronto, as of 2015, 79 of these substations are still active.

Source….Kaushik  in http://www.amusingplanet.com

Natarajan

 

Chandrakant Bhide: Here is Why RK Laxman Was a Fan of this Diligent Typist…

A typist is required to be fast and accurate, and while he proved to be precisely that, Bhide was much more too. Throw in artistic to those set of skills, and you have Chandrakant Bhide.

“Sachin Tendulkar’s curls gave me the most trouble!”

Chandrakant Bhide is a typist by profession. In 1967 he joined the Union Bank of India and worked there for 3 decades.

A rather implausible scenario for Tendulkar’s curls to give him grief, right?

A typist is required to be fast and accurate, and Bhinde proved he was precisely that but more too.

Throw in artistic to those set of skills, and you have Chandrakant Bhide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chandrakant Bhide and a typed out sketch of RK Laxman’s the Common Man

“Art helped me meet important people. How else does a modest typist like me get to meet and be appreciated by people like R. K. Laxman and Mario Miranda,” questions Mr Chandrakant Bhide?

Mr Bhide is anything but ‘just a typist’. His art is indicative of his sheer talent and why the likes of the above-mentioned greats were his fans.

Growing up, he always wanted to join an art school – specifically the Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai.

But financial constraints forced him to take a more secure job.

“One day I was asked to type out a list of phone numbers, instead of typing a regular list, I made one in the shape of a telephone instrument,” he remembers. That was the beginning of many more artistic endeavours to come.

 

“I typed out Lord Ganesha using the ‘x’ key and it was published in the Maharashtra Times newspaper in 1975. I slowly started improvising and started using other keys like ‘_’, ‘=’, ‘@’, ‘-’, ‘,’ in my sketches,” recalls Bhide.

His father’s words inspired him to be better and do better. Each sketch takes him about 5-6 hours to complete.

 

 

 

 

 

Bhide’s sketches of Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Sardar Patel done on the typewriter

“I hold the paper with my left hand and use the fingers on my right hand to type out the symbols. The different shades in a sketch are added by using a light or a hard touch on the keys. My hands start aching after 10-15 minutes, and so I need constant breaks,” he adds.

One day, Mr Bhide sketched RK Laxman’s, Common Man. It was a time when Xerox machines had just made their appearance. His friend helped him get copies and requested to keep the original.

 

 

 

 

 

A huge fan of RK Laxman’s work, Bhide has made several sketches of Laxman’s iconic “Common Man”, winning him the famous illustrator’s admiration

“I wanted to show the sketch to R.K. Laxman sir. I went to his office without an appointment and showed it to the cartoonist. Laxman sir was so thrilled with it that he said the result could not have been better with a pen and brush. We spent 1.30 hours talking, and I even mentioned my lost dream of studying in Sir J.J. School of Art, and he said, you can be an artist anyway!” he recalls.

Bhide continued to keep in touch with the famed cartoonist and takes great pride in having several original ‘Common Man’ sketches.

Over the years, Mr Bhide has created almost 150 sketches including several of people he admires including Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Sunil Gavaskar, Dr Ambedkar, Lata Mangeshkar and more.

But it was Sachin Tendulkar’s curls that frustrated the master typer! “I finally used the ‘@’ symbol to get it right,” he recalls.

One of his fondest memories was meeting up with renowned cartoonist and illustrator Mario De Miranda via a common friend, the famous Behram Contractor also known as the Busy Bee. “I was nervous when I rang the bell to Mario’s home, but he soon put me to ease. Once he saw some of my sketches based on his famous characters (Ms Fonseca, Godbole and Boss), he autographed one of my sketches with the words – ‘I wish I could draw like you type.’ That was my biggest compliment,” says Mr Bhide.

Mario De Miranda encouraged and inaugurated Mr Bhide’s first exhibition. He went on to hold several more, including ones in festivals like IIT Mumbai’s Mood Indigo and IIT-Kanpur’s Antaragini.

Mr Chandrakant Bhide retired from the Union Bank of India in 1996. He approached the administration department with a request to buy his beloved companion, his typewriter but was denied it as it was against policy. But on the day of his farewell, the chairman of the Bank allowed him to buy it for just Rs. 1.

Today, the typewriter still holds a place of pride in his household. “It has been with me for fifty years now, I understand it, it understands me,” he chuckles.

Source….Uma Iyer in http://www.the betterindia.com

Natarajan