Meet the Daredevil biker on Republic Day….2019

Captain Shikha Surabhi is the first woman to lead a formation of 36 men and 9 Royal Enfields of the Indian Army’s motorcycle display team on Republic Day.
She tells‘s Archana Masih how she made space for herself in a team that has never had a woman before. 

                                                                                                        IMAGE: Captain Shikha Surabhi is an officer in the Corps of Signals. She has also participated in three National Games. All Photographs kind courtesy Captain Shikha Surabhi                                                                                                                                 

It is after a long time that Captain Shikha Surabhi is getting two consecutive free days, and she is on her way to the railway station in New Delhi to pick up her father, an LIC agent in Bihar.

Her family is arriving to see her on Rajpath on the nation’s grand day when she will lead a formation of 36 men and 9 Royal Enfields of the Indian Army’s motorcycle display team on Republic Day.

She will stand on top of the bike for a distance of 2.4 kilometers to salute the President of India, the supreme comander of India’s armed forces. The bike will only be maouevered by her legs and will move at 22 to 23 km per hour.

The team called ‘Daredevils’ consists of 136 jawans, two male officers and 34 motorcycles.

She is the first lady officer to be part of the team.

Born in Arrah, Bihar and raised in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, Captain Shikha learnt to ride a bike around her home as a girl and picked up serious biking after her first posting in Arunachal Pradesh.

She did a bike trip from Shimla to Ladakh over 8 days last year. “It brought strength to my arms and taught me how to handle rain, mud and difficult situations,” says the officer from the Corps of Signals who was encouraged by her commanding officer to be part of the Daredevils team.

Posted in Bathinda, Punjab, she volunteered to be part of the Daredevils team three months ago.

Selected after a month’s training in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, the team has been undergoing rigorous practice for three months.

IMAGE: Leading a human pyramid formation that will be at the parade on Republic Day. Two male officers are leading other formations.







“My team members were initially worried about how they would teach me. They weren’t sure if I would be strong enough, but they now tell me I have learnt fast, perhaps faster than them,” says the officer who will soon complete four years of service in the army.

“It is tough to prove yourself. You have to put your mind and body to it, but they have accepted me as a Daredevil officer.”

“I have had some injuries, but thankfully nothing major,” she says over the phone from New Delhi.

The team arrived in Delhi on December 18 and has been practicing every day, rising at 3.30 am.

Not really nervous about the big day, her only concern is the chance of rain. Heavy rain can make the bike unsteady.

“Rain or no rain, we have to perform 100%.”

Captain Shikha’s main motivation to pursue sport and a career in the army was her mother, who is a sports teacher at a school in Ranchi.

“I am from a Hindi medium school and because of sports, I participated in three National Games,” she says.

Hand wrestling and kick boxing were her events. She was even part of the army’s mountaineering team that trekked to the Gangotri glacier in Uttarakhand.

“I wanted a job with some physical activity,” says Captain Shikha who earlier wanted to be an IPS officer but seriously considered the army as a profession while studying computer science in college.

“The armed forces are a very good profession for girls. You have respect within the army as well as outside.”

“It also gives you many opportunities like a life of adventure. I wanted to do something for the nation and nothing is better than the army.”

Her younger sister, who is in Class 12, wants to follow her in the armed forces while her brother is in Mumbai trying to pursue an acting career.

Such was the officer’s commitment to the Daredevils display on Republic Day that she and her fiancé, also a captain in the army, postponed their wedding from December to May.

Fiancé Captain Ankit Kumar will be there to watch the parade with his parents and has been her biggest pillar of support as far as biking is concerned.

He is immensely proud that she has worked hard and made space for herself in a team that up till now only comprised men.

As Captain Shikha Surabhi’s big day dawns, she is overwhelmed with the opportunity and the privilege given to her.

“I am too happy, nothing could beat this feeling but in life you should crave for the next thing — and there are more things to do ahead — for the country and myself.”

Source….. Archana Masih in





தேநீர் கடையில் மனித நேயம் ….

செங்கல்பட்டு  அரசு தலைமை  மருத்துவமனைக்கு  எதிராக இருக்கும் ஸ்ரீ கிருஷ்ணன் தேநீர் கடையில் எப்போதும் “ஜே ஜே’  என்று  கூட்டம். இந்தக் கடையின் தேநீர், பலகாரங்கள் சுவையாக இருப்பது மட்டுமல்ல இந்தக் கூட்டத்திற்குக்  காரணம். பினீஷும், அவரது அண்ணன் ஷிபுவும் சேர்ந்து இலவசமாக  வழங்கி வரும் சுத்திகரிக்கப்பட்ட  தண்ணீர்தான்   கடையில் நிற்கும் கூட்டத்திற்கும், பலரது பாராட்டுகளுக்கும் காரணமாக அமைந்திருக்கிறது. வருஷத்தில் 365  நாட்களும் இந்த சுத்திகரித்த   தண்ணீர் இலவசமாக இங்கு கிடைக்கும்.

தண்ணீர் எடுத்துக் கொள்ள வருபவர்கள்  “தண்ணீர் வேண்டும்’  என்று யாரிடமும் கேட்கத் தேவையில்லை.  கேனில் இருக்கும்  தண்ணீரை எடுத்துக் கொள்ள வேண்டியதுதான். கேனில் தண்ணீர் தீர்ந்து விட்டால், தண்ணீர் இருக்கும் கேனைத்  திறந்து தண்ணீர் எடுத்துக் கொள்ளலாம்.  தண்ணீர் பிடிக்க வருபவர்களுக்கு அத்தனை சுதந்திரம் வழங்கப்படுகிறது.  இதற்காக,  தண்ணீர் எடுப்பவர்கள் வடை, பஜ்ஜி அல்லது டீயை வாங்க வேண்டும் என்றோ நிர்பந்தமும் இல்லை. அதிசயம், ஆச்சரியமாக இருக்கும் இந்த தண்ணீர் பந்தலின் பின்னணியின் ரகசியம்தான் என்ன என்று  தெரிந்து கொள்ள பினீஷை  சமீபித்தோம்:

“”உண்மைதான்…. இங்கே யார் வேண்டுமானாலும் வந்து  சுத்திகரிக்கப்பட்ட தண்ணீரை எவ்வளவு வேண்டுமானாலும்  இலவசமாக  எடுத்துக் கொள்ளலாம். கட்டுப்பாடுகள் இல்லை. ஒரு நாளைக்கு  இருபது லிட்டர்  தண்ணீர்  கேன்   நூறு முதல் நூற்றிப்பத்து வரை செலவாகிறது. இந்தத்  தண்ணீர் கேன்களை இரண்டு ஏஜென்சிகளிடமிருந்து வாங்குகிறோம். ஒரு கேன் பத்தொன்பது ரூபாய். இப்ப குடிக்கிற தண்ணீர்   மூலமாகத்தான்   வியாதிகள் அதிகம் பரவுது. தவிர, குடி தண்ணீர் இலவசமா  எங்கேயும் கிடைப்பதும் இல்லை.  கொடுப்பதும் இல்லை. இங்கு வர்றவங்க எதிரே இருக்கிற மருத்துவமனைக்கு வரும் ஏழைபாழைகள்தான்.  அவங்களால   விலை கொடுத்து தண்ணீர் வாங்க முடியாது. அவங்களுக்குப்   பயன்படுகிற மாதிரி  நாங்க எங்களை மாற்றிக்  கொண்டோம்.  ஒரு வருஷமா  இலவச  தண்ணீர்  வழங்கி வருகிறோம்.

எங்களுக்கு  கேரளாதான் பூர்வீகம்.  இங்கே பிழைக்க வந்து  இருபத்தேழு வருசமாச்சு.  அப்பா ஆவடி டேங்க்  பேக்டரியில்  ஃபோர்மேனாக   ஓய்வு பெற்றவர்.   நாங்க நான்கு சகோதரர்கள்.  ஒரு சகோதரர்  செங்கல்பட்டு பேருந்து நிலையத்திற்குப் பக்கத்தில் கடை போட்டிருக்கிறார். ஒருவர் கேரளத்தில் வியாபாரம் செய்கிறார். நானும்  அண்ணன் ஷிபுவும்  இந்தக் கடையை நடத்தி வருகிறோம்.  பதினைந்து நாள்  நான் கடையைப் பார்த்துக் கொள்வேன்.  அப்போது அண்ணன்  ஷிபு  குடும்பத்தைப் பார்க்க கேரளா போய்விடுவார்.  பதினைந்து நாட்கள் கழிந்து அவர் திரும்ப செங்கல்பட்டு வரும்போது  நான் கேரளா புறப்பட்டுவிடுவேன்.

நான் எலெக்ட்ரானிக்சில்  டிப்ளோமா படித்தவன்.  டீ  கடை  நடத்துவது குறித்து எந்த  வருத்தமும் இல்லை.  “என்ன வேலை செய்தாலும்  உழைத்து  வாழணும்.. தில்லுமுல்லு கூடாது என்று அப்பா  எங்களை வளர்த்திருக்கிறார்.  அப்பா தேவையான சொத்தையும் சேர்த்து வைத்திருக்கிறார்.  காலை நான்கு மணிக்கு கடையைத் திறப்பேன்.  இரவு பத்து மணிக்கு வியாபாரத்தை நிறுத்திவிடுவேன்.  கடையில் நான்கு பேர்  சம்பளத்திற்கு வேலை செய்கிறார்கள்.   எல்லாரும் உள்ளூர்க் காரர்கள்.

இந்தத்  தண்ணீர்  சேவைக்கு முக்கிய காரணம், எனது  கடையிருக்கும் கட்டடத்தின் உரிமையாளர் சேகர்தான். தங்கமான மனதுக்காரர்.  எங்களை காலி செய்யுமாறு பலரும் அவரிடம் பேசினார்கள்.  அழுத்தம் கொடுத்தார்கள். ஆனால் அவர் எங்களைக் காலி   செய்யச் சொல்லவில்லை.  அதுமட்டுமல்ல, பல ஆண்டுகளாக  வாடகையையும் அவர்  உயர்த்தவில்லை.  அவர் எங்களுக்கு இப்படி உதவும் போது, நாமும்  பிறருக்கு உதவலாமே  என்ற எண்ணத்தில் எங்களுக்கு தோன்றியதுதான்  இந்த இலவச  தண்ணீர் வசதி.

வீட்டுக்கு  வரும் விருந்தாளிகளுக்கு வந்தவுடன்  பிரியாணியோ..  சாப்பாடோ தருவதில்லை.  குடிக்க  கொஞ்சம்  தண்ணீர் கொடுப்போம்.  தாகம் வரும் போதுதான் குடி தண்ணீரின் அருமை தெரியும்  என்பதில்லை.  காசு கொடுத்து தண்ணீர் வாங்கும் போதும் தண்ணீரின்  அருமை  புரியும்.  அதுவும் கையில் காசு இல்லாதவர்கள்  தண்ணீர் வாங்க  படும் அவதியிருக்கிறதே..  அதை விவரிக்க முடியாது.  ஒரு நாளைக்கு இரண்டாயிரம்  ரூபாய்   தண்ணீருக்காகச் செலவாகிறது உண்மைதான். மருத்துவமனைக்கு வரும் பெரும்பாலானவர்கள் எங்கள் கடைக்குத்தான் வருவார்கள். அவர்களால்தான் நாங்கள் பிழைக்கிறோம்.  அதற்கு கைமாறாக  இந்த  சிறிய  பங்களிப்பை நானும் அண்ணனும்  செய்யத் தொடங்கியிருக்கிறோம்.  எங்களது நோக்கத்தைத் தெரிந்து கொண்டதினால், அரசியல் கட்சிக்காரர்கள் கடை  அடைப்பு நடத்தினாலும்  எங்கள் கடையைத் திறந்து கொள்ள  அனுமதிப்பார்கள்.

மருத்துவமனைக்கு வரும் சாதாரணமானவர்களுக்கு   “குடிக்க  தண்ணீர் கிடைக்க வேண்டும் ..தண்ணீர் கிடைக்கா விட்டால்  அவர்கள் அவதிப்படுவார்கள் என்ற ஒரே காரணத்திற்காக  எங்களுக்கு அனுமதி தரப்படுகிறது’ என்கிறார்   பினீஷ்.







Source….. பிஸ்மி பரிணாமன்   in dated 13/10/2018




This 12-Yr-Old Boy Has Invented A Device Which Can Help Rid Our Water Bodies Of Plastic Pollution…!

Shocked at the news of the death of a pilot whale in Thailand due to consumption of plastic bags, Varun Saikia, a 12-year-old boy from Vadodara, wanted to design a machine which could help in cleaning polluted water bodies. Curious about the causes of plastic pollution prevalent in water bodies, he started researching more about the topic. Soon, he realised that it was a major global environmental problem and many countries have been grappling with the issue.

h “I thought of making a machine that would clean and collect all the floating plastic waste in rivers, ponds and lakes. Plastic floats on water bodies which makes it harder to scoop up and collect”, shares Varun Saikia, an eighth class student from Navrachana School, Vadodara. He came up with this idea in an attempt to combat the increasing pollution problems. His innovative device is named Makara which is designed to sweep the polluted ponds of our cities. What sets this device apart is that it is completely battery-operated which would reduce the manual work involved in cleaning.

Concerned about the increasing environmental pollution, he kept reading about adverse changes that have taken place all over the world as a result of pollution. He also came to know about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and how it impacted ocean bodies on a major scale. He was distressed to learn about water pollution and he finally decided to come up with a solution which could be implemented in nearby localities and polluted water bodies.

What is Makara?

Makara is a concept that uses the fluid mechanics of water to direct the plastic towards the receptacle without using any extra force other than the same mechanism which drives the machine forward. It is a simple machine yet sturdy in its structure. Propelled by a basic motor and remote, it can be customised to increase its capacity by using a heavy-duty motor and making adjustments to pulley.

Based on its current capacity, it can collect up to three kg of floating garbage in one go.  The machine is ideal for catching floating Styrofoam cups, plastic bottles and bags and dead floating insects. What makes it unique from other pond and ocean cleaning devices is its mobility in water bodies. Another added advantage of this machine is that unlike other models, it doesn’t need to be installed around the polluted water bodies. It could be effortlessly used to clean swimming pools as well.

Varun narrates, ”This model is made up of a paddle wheel operated by a motor and a pulley. It can be controlled using a remote. The paddle wheel pushes the vessel ahead and navigates the floating garbage to the net tail bin. The tail bin is attached to a basket which could be removed to unload the floating garbage collected inside it.”

He opines that using such simple models could extensively contribute in clearing garbage from polluted lakes and ponds. Apart from this, it would also be beneficial for the manual labourers working nearby dirty ponds or municipal workers cleaning these polluted water bodies as it is hazardous to their health and well-being. Scaled up, this model can work on larger bodies of water and even oceans. It could help to save our marine life and balance aquatic ecosystem largely. Talking of his future plans, he shares, “With heavy duty motor and bigger scale model, this vessel has the potential to clean up the coastal areas and it could be even workable on oceans. With proper funding, I wish to use this model to sweep oceans too. I even plan to make it energy efficient by generating hydroelectricity in future.”

He aims to develop this model so that he could view it working on a larger scale. What sparked his curiosity about increasing pollution has led him to design a model which would help to eliminate this problem. Such young ignited minds are taking the winds of change ahead.

Source….Ankita Singh in


APJ Abdul Kalam birth anniversary: 7 lesser-known things about the people’s president…

Former president (late) APJ Abdul Kalam’s birth anniversary is being marked on Monday. Kalam, who was also known as the Missile Man of India, had served as the 11th President of India. He was born on 15 October 1931 in Rameswaram and breathed his last on 27 July 2015. While being a world-renowned scientist, Kalam had also interests in literature, writing poems, playing musical instruments and even spirituality. He had written some very well-known books like ‘India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium’, ‘Wings of Fire: An Autobiography’, and ‘Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power within India’.

Here are some lesser-known things about the people’s president to whose heart children were very dear:

  1. Kalam was not born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. Coming from a family of average resources, he grew up watching father renting his boat to fishermen to run his house. In fact, Kalam used to deliver newspapers every morning to earn money.
  2. Kalam was a very simple man. When he died, he left behind nothing but 2,500 books, one watch, six shirts, four pants, three suits and one pair of shoes.
  3. After retiring, Kalam lived on his pension money and royalty from the sales of his books.
  4. When his term ended as president, Kalam did not take any gifts home and deposited them into the government treasury.
  5. According to one his former media advisors, there was a time when Kalam used to live in a government quarter where he did not have television and used to access news on radio / newspaper.
  6. Kalam had once visited IIT-Mumbai. The students were so much interested in meeting the scientist that a huge queue formed outside the auditorium. In fact, some of the students had queued up at night itself to see the Missile Man. After the event, Kalam did not disappoint any student and met them all.
  7. Kalam had once revealed that he wanted to become a fighter pilot but could not clear the exam. Later in 2006, as president, Kalam had flown in a Sukhoi jet.



World’s longest non-stop flight takes off…..

The Singapore Airlines flight between Singapore and New York covers a distance of more than 15,000 kms.                                                                                                             







Alm ost five years after stopping the service, Singapore Airlines (SIA) has retaken the crown as the operator of the world’s longest commercial flight.

The Airbus A350-900ULR service between Singapore and New York Newark (EWR) covers a distance of approximately 15,336 km with a block time of 18 hours 45 minutes.

It will initially be served three times a week, departing Singapore on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Daily operations will commence from 18 October after an additional A350-900ULR aircraft enters service.

The previous longest flight in the world was Qatar Airways’ service between Auckland and Doha, which covers a distance of approximately 14,526 km and takes about 17 hours 30 minutes.

SIA is the world’s first customer for the new A350-900ULR, with seven on firm order with Airbus. The aircraft will be configured in a two-class layout, with 67 Business Class seats and 94 Premium Economy Class seats.

With a maximum take-off weight of 280 tonnes, the A350-900ULR is capable of flying more than 20 hours non-stop.

SIA served the Singapore-Newark until November 2013, when services were suspended after the aircraft used at the time, A340-500s, were returned to Airbus. By the time it was discontinued, the route was a 100-seat all-Business Class flight.

According to figures from Sabre Market Intelligence, the O&D market size between Singapore and New York is about 120,000 passengers annually. In the 12 months to the end of June 2018, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Tokyo Narita were the top three connecting hubs for passengers travelling between the two cities.

Source….David Casey  in



My Story: “I Played Role Of Involuntary Clown,” An Inspiring Story Of Blind IAS Officer…

“A conservative estimate of disabled in India is over 2% of the population. Most of them are fighting silent battles every moment and achieving small wins every day.

Belonging to this community, I feel happy and privileged to be recognised and appreciated to such an extent in the past few months. And at the same time with the existence of the likes of Louis Braille, Helen Keller and many more, I feel humbled.

I have always believed the word “handicap” is a union of two positive words handy and cap, both denote a sense of support. As being handy for someone and as a cap, playing the role of shade in the bright sunlight or taking the hits of crashing raindrops.

I was born in a nondescript village called Choudanakuppe in Tumkuru District of Karnataka and attended my village school till Class 4.

Very early, I began facing certain difficulties in reading the blackboard but as a child, I couldn’t comprehend it (the problem). Both my parents were illiterate, busy making ends meet and struggling with my brother who was losing mobility in his legs.

So call it fate and neglect, I lost my vision completely by the time I was 9.

This was a shock to my family and they tried getting me treatment but to no avail. Luckily my uncle made me join a school for the blind in Mysore and I restarted school.

For a freshly blind child, I needed to adapt to develop the orientation before the society relegated me to a position of losers. I had my share of embarrassments from not being able to find a path to the restroom and unable to bear severity of nature’s call I sometimes attended to it in corridors and classes, much to the disgust of people around me. I played the role of an involuntary clown who couldn’t understand the coordinates of normal clothing – wearing it inside out and upside down. But soon I went on to top the class, I got the badge of honour. I completed my education until class 10 in the same school in Mysore; I still choke with emotion when I think of all the years spent there.

I completed graduation where I met my future wife Achintha, my steadfast support through everything. I subsequently went on to find a job. But despite having a job an unsatisfaction brewed in me and I decided to take the UPSC plunge. My wife dedicated close to 10 hours a day just for my preparation, she would read out to me, make audio notes.

I have been told I have come far in life, but one never should forget where one came from. In my mind, the showreel of my frail mother making numerous trips to get a disability certificate and spending Rs 50 on it makes me jolt up even today.

But I tell this story not to jolt you – I tell it because I want to tell each one of you to never stop aspiring and never give up.”

Story By – Kempahonnaiah | IAS 2017 Batch | West Bengal Cadre


From our friends at

Humans of Lbsnaa  in


Sikkim’s Pakyong Airport Starts Operations: 5 Reasons Why It’s an Engineering Feat!

The Pakyong airport, finally puts Sikkim on India’s aviation map and is an example of stellar engineering.

If you’re flying to Sikkim, the nearest airport is at Bagdogra, in West Bengal, nearly 124 kms from the state capital, Gangtok.

The Pakyong airport now puts Sikkim on India’s aviation map. It is one of the five highest airports in the country and was built over several years, costing an estimated Rs 350 crore.

“The Pakyong (Gangtok) Airport at Sikkim got a license today for scheduled operations. It’s an engineering marvel at a height of more than 4,500 ft in a tough terrain. Will pave way for direct air connectivity to our lovely state of Sikkim, giving a boost to tourism & economic growth,” tweeted Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu.

Tourists, migrant workers and locals will soon fly on the low-cost airline SpiceJet, after it was granted permission to fly to Pakyong from Kolkata under the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme.







The picturesque runway of the Pakyong Airport in Sikkim. Image Credit: Soumen Mukherjee

1. The Pakyong airport in Sikkim is spread over 990 acres and is the first greenfield airport to be constructed in the north-east region of the country.
2. Over the years, several landslides near the runway resulted in work being suspended twice, but it was finally constructed and earlier this year, a fixed-wing 19-seater Dornier 228 IAF aircraft landed on the runway.
3. The airport is considered an engineering marvel because of its terrain. It is stationed at more than 4,500 feet and lies snugly between the Himalayas.
4. It is around 30 km from Sikkim’s state capital, Gangtok, and is located around 60 km away from the Indo-China border, giving it strategic importance. It is believed that the Indian Air Force (IAF) will be able to land various types of aircraft on the airport’s runway.
5. Until now, Sikkim was the only state in the country which did not have an airport. The Pakyong airport is the 100th functional airport in India.

According to MoneyControl, as per a previous proposal by the Ministry of Home Affairs, due to its “strategically important” location, the security of the Pakyong airport should be handled by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). The CISF is a professional aviation security force that handles 59 airports across the country.

The new airport will be an excellent opportunity for those of you who haven’t yet experienced this beautiful mountainous abode.

Source………Rayomand Engineer  in http://www.the