Give Your Idlis a Healthy twist ….

Give your idlis a healthy twist.

Dietitian Jasleen Kaur shares her recipes. You can share yours too! Scroll down to find out how. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photograph: Kind courtesy Upendra Kanda/Creative Commons

Hot and sour idli

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup arhar dal/ toovar dal
  • Red chillies
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • A pinch of hing
  • 1 tsp grated jaggery

Method:

  • Soak the rice and dal separately in three cups of water for four hours.
  • Grind red chillies and tamarind to fine paste. Grind dal and rice separately.
  • Add grated jaggery and red chillies, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well. Set aside for four to five hours to ferment.
  • Lightly grease idli moulds and put the batter. Once steamed, serve the idlis with chutney.

Idli Upma

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 idlis
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp urad dal
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 1/2 ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 dry red chilli
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped

Method:

  • Crumble 5 to 6 idlis and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.
  • When they start crackling, add urad dal and cumin seeds.
  • Saute till the urad dal turns golden. Add 5 to 6 curry leaves (chopped or kept whole), ginger, red chili and green chili.
  • Stir and then add the chopped onion. Mix well and saute for a minute or two.

SOURCE:::::: http://www.rediff.com

Natarajan

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Meet Gururaja…CWG 2018 Medallist…

‘His victory is our victory,” said his family as they watched him bag the silver medal in weightlifting, in Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 7.30 am on Thursday morning all eyes in the Poojary household in Vanse, a tiny village near Kundapur in Karnataka, were glued to the television.

One of their own, Gururaja Poojary, was taking part in the men’s 56-kg weightlifting competition in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. After failing to lift the weight of 138 kg in his first two attempts, it appeared as if Gururaja’s medal prospects were slipping away

The 25-year old weightlifter, however, was the very picture of strength in his final attempt to take his final tally to 249 kg and clinch the silver medal.

This medal in the Gold Coast is not only Gururaja’s first taste of success on the international stage right on his debut, but is also the product of a journey where he overcame poverty and personal setbacks to reach where he is.

But for his family members, it came as no surprise.

He comes from a sporting family – all five of his brothers dabbled in Kabaddi and were athletes. “But it was Gururaj who was always going to achieve his dream,” says Manohar Poojary, Gururaja’s elder brother.

Gururaja’s father, Mahabala Poojary, is a goods-truck driver, who struggled to make ends meet to take care of his six sons. “Poverty is something we have lived in all our life. If we were a little bit well-off financially or received the necessary support and encouragement, maybe all of my sons could have made our country proud,” says Mahabala, speaking after his son’s success in Australia.

But due to poverty and unforeseen circumstances at home, Gururaja’s older brothers – Mohan, Manohar, Udaya and Rajendra – had to drop out of school and, with that, from sports. Only Gururaja and his youngest brother, Rajesh, completed their studies amongst the six sons.

His mother, Padhu Poojarthi, is a homemaker.

But his family was not willing to let Gururaja tread the same path. “Our father worked extra hard to ensure that Gururaja strove to achieve his dream. Seeing my father’s and brother’s struggles, even we chipped-in, taking on extra work to help in whatever way we could. Today, his victory is as much our victory,” says Manohar.

While studying at Sri Dharmastala Manjunatheshwara (SDM) College in Ujire, in Dakshina Kannada, Gururaja was looking for a wrestling coach rather than a weightlifting one. This was around the time Sushil Kumar had won his first Olympic medal in wrestling in 2008. While his search for a wrestling coach proved to be fruitless, he met powerlifters at the local gym and was soon representing his college in powerlifting.

It was here he met his coach Rajendra Prasad, who gave him his first lessons in weightlifting.”I still remember, in 2011, Gururaja was a young boy who had just joined a graduation course. He was a Kabaddi player and a wrestler, and did not have any idea about powerlifting. We selected him for the club and, seeing his talent, guided him in powerlifting,” says Rajendra Prasad, who works as a coach at the SDM Sports Club.

He added that Gururaja was proficient at the University level and even broke a record set by him in 1999 by lifting 193 kg (total in snatch and knee jerk) in 2012. He improved to 243 kg in 2015, a record which still stands to this day.

It was only in 2013 that he became a national-level athlete and in 2014, after a gold medal at the national-level, he started becoming a serious contender for a Commonwealth Games berth.

With his superlative rise in the sport, Gururaja also enrolled in the Indian Air Force three years ago, after which the Air Force took care of all the training expenses. “Until then, it was the family, college-mates and generous philanthropists who gave wings to his dream, hoping he would bring glory to the region,” says Manohar.

By the time the financial strain on his family was eased, 25-year-old Gururaja was ready to take on the world stage.

With the win in Australia, he has now vaulted straight into the national limelight and Pramod Madhwaraj, Karnataka Minister for Youth, Fisheries and Sport, who also hails from Udupi, said that Gururaja is likely to get a government job as a group-B officer and also a cash prize for his achievements.

When TNM caught up with Gururaja, he was, understandably, elated. “I am very happy that I have represented India in the Commonwealth Games and won the first silver medal for India (this year). This is my first Commonwealth Games and I want to thank my parents, family, my weightlifting coach Rajendra Prasad, SDM institution and everyone from my village who supported me,” he says.

His family members, who were nervously watching from home, was over the moon. Although his mother says she doesn’t quite understand the world of sport, she adds she is overwhelmed by the media visits.

But Gururaja’s family was quick to add that the journey is still not over. “We want him to make our country proud. Our biggest dream is that he participates and wins in the Olympics,” says Mahabala.

There is still some way to go before Gururaja can qualify for the Olympics. His final tally of 249 kgs will have to improve closer to 300 kgs. But throughout his journey, he has broken barriers and after his latest success in Australia, Gururaja will no doubt be willing to go the mile to chase his Olympic dream.

Source…….Harsha Raja Gatty and Prajwal Bhat in https://www.thenewsminute.com

Natarajan

ஒழுக்கத்திற்கு வழிகாட்டும் தாத்தா…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

தாத்தா ஒருவரால் தான் குடும்பத்தில் எல்லோரையும் மன்னிக்க, கண்டிக்க ஏன்… தண்டிக்கவும் முடியும். வானளாவிய குடும்ப அதிகாரம் படைத்திருந்த தாத்தா இப்போது எங்கே?

தாத்தா, பாட்டி உறவு தாமரை இலை மேல் தண்ணீர் போல ஒட்டாமல் போனதால் தான் இன்றைய பல குடும்பங்கள் சுக்கு நுாறாய் உடைந்து, சிதறிப் போயிருக்கின்றன. வீட்டில் சாப்பிடாமல், நாக்கில் ருசியின்றி கிடக்கும் குழந்தைகளை, மருமகளிடம் திட்டு வாங்கினாலும் பரவாயில்லை என்று ஓட்டலுக்கு கூட்டிச்சென்று புரோட்டா, ஸ்பெஷல் தோசை, ஐஸ்கிரீம் என வாங்கி கொடுத்து வீட்டிற்கு அழைத்து வந்த நாட்கள் என்ன… காய்ச்சலோ, வயிற்று போக்கோ வண்டி கட்டிக்கொண்டு முதல் ஆளாய் டவுன் ஆஸ்பத்திரிக்கு, பெரிய டாக்டரை பார்க்க அழைத்து போகும் உத்வேகம் என்ன… அந்த தாத்தாக்கள் எங்கே?

கயிற்று கட்டிலில் நிலாவை காட்டிக்கொண்டே காற்றோட்டத்துடன் கதை சொல்லும் பக்குவம் என்ன… அவை எல்லாம் இந்த காலத்து குழந்தைகளுக்கு கிடைக்காத பாசபிணைப்பு காலங்கள்.

தாத்தாவின் அதிகாரம்:
தாத்தா கையில் தான் வீட்டின் சாவிக் கொத்து இருக்கும். கல்யாண நாளில் திடீரென ஒரு பெரும் தொகையை மருமகளிடம் கொடுத்து, பிடித்த நகை வாங்கிக்கொள்ளம்மா என்று குடும்ப சக்கரத்தை பக்குவமாக நகர்த்தி செல்லும் தாத்தாக்கள் இல்லாததால் பல குடும்பங்கள் தடம் புரண்டு கிடக்கின்றன. வீட்டிற்கு யாராவது புதிய ஆள் வந்தாலோ, ஆண் குரல் கேட்டாலோ யாரு என சத்தமாக கர்ஜிக்கும் குரலில் எதிராளி சற்று ஆடிப்போய் விடுவார்.

குழந்தைகளை முதல் நாள் பள்ளியில் கொண்டுபோய் விடுவதிலிருந்து, மருமகளை அடுத்த பிரசவத்துக்கு ஆஸ்பத்திரியில் சேர்க்கும் வரை தாத்தா தானாகவே இழுத்து போட்டுக்கொண்டு செய்யும் வேலைகளை இப்பொழுது செய்ய யாரும் இல்லை. ஆட்டோக்காரர், கால் டாக்சிகாரர்கள் அந்த பணியை செய்ய வேண்டிய நிலை. இதுவேதனையானது மட்டுமல்ல மூத்த உறவுகளை உதறிய பாவத்தின் தண்டனை தான்.

ஒழுக்கத்தின் அடையாளம்:
தாத்தா வீட்டில் இருந்ததால் பெரும்பாலான குடும்பங்களில் ஆண்கள் மது அருந்துவதையும், புகை பிடித்தலையும் தவிர்த்தார்கள். லேட்டாக வீட்டிற்கு வந்தால், கதவை தட்டியவுடன் முதல் ஆளாய் கதவை திறந்து ‘ஏன்டா லேட்’ என மகனையும், பேரனையும் அதிகாரத்துடன் கேட்கும் உரிமை தாத்தாவிற்கு மட்டும் தான் இருந்தது. அந்த உரிமையை பறித்ததால் இன்று வீட்டிற்கு ஒன்றிரண்டு ‘குடிமகன்கள்’முளைத்துவிட்டனர்.

பாடம் சொல்லி கொடுப்பதாகட்டும், வாத்தியாரிடம் சென்று ‘படிக்கலைனா நல்லா அடிங்க’ என்று சொல்லிவிட்டு, பேரன் போன பின்பு ‘அடிச்சு கிடிச்சுப்புடாதீங்க; ஒரு பேச்சுக்கு சொன்னேன்,” என்று மறுநிமிடமே வாத்தியாரிடம் மல்லுகட்டும் அந்த தாத்தாவின் அன்புக்கு ஈடு இணையே இல்லை. குழந்தை பருவத்தில் உண்டியல் தான் தாத்தா கொடுக்கும் முதல் பரிசு. சேமிப்பு பழக்கத்தை முதல் காசு போட்டு தொடங்கி வைக்கும் தாத்தாக்கள் உண்டு. ‘தாத்தா நீ செத்துப்போனா எனக்கு யாரு பொம்மை வாங்கித்தருவா? யாரு காசு கொடுப்பா?’ என விளையாட்டாய் கேட்கும் போதெல்லாம் சிரித்துக் கொண்டே ‘உன் கல்யாணத்தை பார்த்துட்டுதான்டா நான் சாவேன்’ என முத்தமிட்டவாறே சொல்லும் அந்த முதிய குழந்தை தாத்தா இப்போது இருப்பதெல்லாம் முதியோர் இல்லங்களில்.

முதுமையை போற்றுவோம்:
குடும்ப உறுப்பினர்களின் மூக்கணாங்கயிற்றை அதிகாரமாக கையில் வைத்திருந்த பல முதியவர்கள் இன்று முதியோர் இல்லங்களில் கட்டிப்போடப்பட்டிருக்கின்றனர். சமீபத்தில் ஒரு ஆதரவற்றோர் இல்லத்தில் எழுதிப்போட்டிருந்த வாசகம் நெஞ்சை உருக்கியது. ‘இது மனிதர்களை பார்க்க விலங்குகள் வந்து போகும் மனித காட்சி சாலை’. பல ஆயிரம் அர்த்தங்களை உள்ளடக்கிய வாசகம் இது. தங்கள் வீட்டின் முதியவர்களை முதியோர் இல்லங்களில் கொண்டுபோய்விடும் மகன்கள் அங்கு சொல்வதெல்லாம், ‘இங்கேயே ஏதும்ஆனா கூட பரவாயில்லை! நாங்க உங்களை ஏதும் சொல்லமாட்டோம். திரும்ப எங்க வீட்டுக்கு மட்டும் அனுப்பிவிடாதீங்க!’ குடும்ப உறவுகள் அந்நியமாகிப்போனதின் முதல் அபாயமே, வீட்டின் முதியோர் புறக்கணிப்பு தான்.

கேள்விக்குறி உறவுகள்:
தாத்தா பாட்டி உறவுகள் தற்போதைய குழந்தைகளுக்கு கிடைக்கிறதா என்றால் கேள்விக்குறிதான். தாத்தாக்கள் கிராமங்களில் தனியாக ரேடியோவோ, தொலைக்காட்சியோபார்த்து அன்றாட பொழுதை ஓட்டிக்கொண்டிருக்க, நகரத்து குழந்தைகள் பள்ளி, டியூஷன், டான்ஸ் என பிசியாக காலம் கழிக்க, என்றாவது வரும் தாத்தாவும் நகரத்து வீட்டில் தனியாகவே இருக்க, தாத்தா- குழந்தை உறவுப்பாலம் நுாலிழையில் தொங்கிக்கொண்டு இருக்கிறது. டிரங்கால் போட்டு கூடுதல் பணம் செலவு செய்து போனில் தாத்தாவிடம் நலம் விசாரித்த காலம் போய், இப்போது பணம், அலைபேசி, நேரம் இருந்தும் மனம் இல்லாமல் தாத்தாவுடன் போனில் பேசுவதையே தவிர்த்துவிட்டோம்.

தாயின் அன்பை போன்றே தாத்தாவின் அன்பும் ஈடு இணையற்றது. ‘தாத்தா நீ செத்துப்போயிட்டேன்னு சொல்லி இன்னிக்கு நான் லீவு போடப்போறேன்’ என்று பேரன் தாத்தாவை கிண்டல் செய்து ஓடுவதும், ‘இரு உன்னை உங்க வாத்தியார் கிட்ட சொல்லித்தரேன்’ என்று சொல்லி தாத்தா செல்லமாய் துரத்துவதும் இனி கிடைக்காத நாட்கள். எந்த ஒரு செயலையும் பக்குவமாய் அணுகி தீர்வு சொல்வது தாத்தாவின் கைவண்ணம். வயதும், அனுபவமும் தாத்தாவை பக்குவப்படுத்துகிறது. ஆனால், அந்த நிதானமும் பொறுமையும் இல்லாததால், இன்று இளைய தலைமுறை இயந்திர கதியாக இயங்குகிறது.

கோடையில் தாத்தா வீடு:
கோடை விடுமுறையில் தாத்தா வீட்டிற்கு கிராமத்திற்கு செல்வதை குழந்தை பருவத்தில் ரசிப்போம். தாத்தாவும், பாட்டியும் சேர்ந்து தலைக்கு நல்லெண்ணெய் தேய்த்து குளிப்பாட்டிவிடுவார்கள். மாலையில் வடை, இரவு சுடச்சுட தோசை சுட்டு கொடுப்பார்கள். திடீரென எல்லா குழந்தைகளுக்கும் விளக்கெண்ணெய் கொடுத்து பேதியாக்கி, வயிற்றை சுத்தம் செய்வார்கள். பள்ளி திறக்கும் முன்பாக சென்ட்ரப்பர், பென்சில், நான்கு வண்ண ரீபில் பேனா, புது ஜாமின்ட்ரி பாக்ஸ் என தாத்தா குழந்தைகளை கவனிக்கும் விதமே தனி தான். பெரியப்பா, பெரியம்மா, சித்தி, சித்தப்பா, மாமா, அத்தை என சம உறவுகளோடு கிராமத்து வீட்டில் குழந்தைகளாக ஆட்டம் போட்ட நாட்கள், குளத்திலும், கண்மாயிலும் நீச்சல் கற்றுக் கொண்டு நாட்கள், பம்புசெட்டில் குளித்தநாட்கள், கோடை மழையில் நனைந்தவாறே கிராமத்து வீட்டு முற்றத்தில் குதித்த நாட்கள் இன்றும் ரம்யமானவை. அந்த நாட்களின் பாசப்பிணைப்பு தான் இன்றும் நம்மை நமது சொந்தங்களோடு இணைத்து வைத்திருக்கிறது.

குடும்ப உறவுகள் அறுந்து போகாமல், நேசங்களும், பாசங்களும் விரிசல் விடாமல் ஆண்டுதோறும் புதுப்பித்து கொண்டிருந்த ஒரே உறவு தாத்தா தான். டேய் என்ற தாத்தாவின் கம்பீரக்குரலுக்கு அப்பா, பெரியப்பா, சித்தப்பா, மாமா, அண்ணன், தம்பி என அத்தனை பேரும் சர்வநாடியெல்லாம் அடங்கி பதுங்கி இருந்த காலம் மறக்க முடியாதவை. தாத்தாவின் குரலுக்கு ஆதரவாய் புதிதாய் வந்த மருமகள்களும் இணைந்து போய், கூட்டுக்குடும்ப உறவுகளும், வரவுகளும் சங்கமிக்கும் கோடை விடுமுறை இப்போது டியூசன், இசை, நடன பயிற்சி என்று தடம் புரண்டு போய்விட்டது. 40 ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன் குழந்தைகளுக்கு மே மாதத்தில் கிராமத்துவீட்டில் கிடைத்தது எல்லாமே தாத்தாவின் அன்பு அரவணைப்பு தான்.

இழந்துவிட்ட நமது கலாசார உறவு மேம்பாட்டுக்கு குழந்தைகளை கோடை விடுமுறைக்கு தாத்தா வீட்டிற்கு அழைத்து போவோம். ஒதுக்கப்பட்ட முதிய உறவுகளிடம் அன்பு கேட்டு தஞ்சம் புகுவோம். உங்கள் குழந்தைகளுக்கு தாத்தாக்களை நீங்கள் அடையாளம் காட்டுங்கள். பேரக்குழந்தைகள் தாத்தா உறவை கற்றுக்கொள்ளும் மே மாதம், கோடை விடுமுறையில் தாத்தாவிடம் சங்கமிப்போம். கொடுப்பதற்கு ஒன்றுமில்லை என்றாலும் தன் நடுங்கும் கரங்களால் தங்கள் பேரக்குழந்தைகளை வாஞ்சையுடன் தாத்தாக்கள் தடவி, வருடும் போது இருக்கும் அன்பு எதற்கும் ஈடாகாது. உறவின் ஆழத்தையும், அன்பின் விளிம்பையும் குழந்தைகள் உணரும் தருணம் அது.

-ஜெ.ஜெயவெங்கடேஷ்சித்த மருத்துவர், மதுரை

98421 67567

Source….www.dinamalar.com

Death of Padma Scientist at Airport Spurs Son To Demand Medical Aid at All Airports…

In December last year, Prof Lalji Singh, known as the Father of DNA Fingerprinting in India, died after he suffered a major heart attack while at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Babatpur in Varanasi.

Death is inevitable. But nothing shocks us more than when a death, which could have been prevented or avoided, occurs due to sheer negligence. Human apathy makes death painful and stark, making us question everything – medical advances, the quality of healthcare, laws, regulations, and the value of life in our country.

In December last year, Prof Lalji Singh, known as the Father of DNA Fingerprinting in India, died after he suffered a major heart attack while at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Babatpur in Varanasi.

The airport was not equipped to handle this medical emergency, and by the time he was taken to the hospital – a good few hours later – he had breathed his last. The doctors who examined him say that had he been provided with oxygen supply during the “Golden Hour”, he could have been saved.

What makes it even harsher is that precious time was lost in getting formalities like an “Exit Pass” organised for him due to security reasons. What good are processes that are supposedly put in place to keep people safe when they end up killing them?

Up until I started my research for this piece I had assumed that all airports across the country would be equipped to handle emergency medical situations and would also have an ambulance on call.

My assumption was wrong.

If they did then perhaps Prof Lalji could have been saved.

Airports have become a place to shop and eat. They are all well equipped with restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, every brand that you can think of has a presence here, and liquor outlets thrive – and yet one of the most basic requirements of having a medical room with functional facilities is missing.

We, at the Better India, spoke to Late Prof Lalji’s son, Abhisekh Singh, who is asking some pertinent questions.

Abhishek is asking the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airport Authority of India to mandate the availability of a doctor, ambulance, minimum medical support, trained medical personnel and standard operating procedures at all civilian airports in India.

You can support his cause by signing the petition here.


On December 10, 2017, Prof Lalji was travelling from Varanasi to Hyderabad on an Indigo flight. Hailing from a village in Varanasi, Prof Lalji started Genome Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to diagnose and treat genetic disorders affecting the underprivileged, especially from rural India.

Having reached the airport well in time, Prof Lalji enquired about the wheelchair he had asked for while making his booking. He had nagging knee pain and hence wanted the wheelchair.

Unfortunately, the staff at the airport told him that there was no request and they couldn’t provide him with one. Since he was travelling alone, he went in to the airport and checked in.

Abhisekh says, “Since I was not present there at that time, I have requested the airport to provide me with the CCTV footage from that day. However, so far I have not received it. I can only, therefore, corroborate what I am saying with what people present there have said to me.”

After he checked in, a wheelchair was provided. Abhisekh also mentions that around this time he called his father to check on him.

A little after that Prof Lalji faced some difficulty in breathing and went to the counter to ask for help. He was taken to the medical inspection room where the compounder after checking him insisted on having him taken to a hospital for immediate medical intervention.

“While the airport had a medical intervention room there was no doctor or medical supplies there. Looking back they did not even have an oxygen cylinder in the airport,” says Abhisekh.

An ambulance was asked for but since did not arrive Prof Lalji had to be taken in a private car to the nearest hospital which was also quite a distance away. Given the strict security, once a passenger enters the airport, they are not allowed to leave until an exit pass is shown.

Despite being in great distress, Prof Lalji had to wait to have that pass made and only then was allowed to leave the airport.

The doctor who checked Prof Lalji mentioned how he could have been saved if he had been administered with oxygen during the ‘Golden Hour’. Prof Lalji was alive even after the heart attack, but the delay in getting him medical treatment cost him his life.

Here are some of the questions raised by Abhisekh:

1. While there is a medical intervention room, it is virtually of no use.

What is the point of having a designated room in the airport and calling it medical intervention room if there are no trained medical professionals there? In places like Varanasi where even the nearest hospital is quite a distance away, what happens in cases of medical emergencies?

Are these airports waiting for such incidents to occur to act?

2. Should airports not be equipped with basic medical infrastructure?

Unfortunately for us in India, heart disease is still the leading cause of death.

Knowing this should we not be working towards equipping the airports and railway stations, places that see thousands of people day in and day out, with basic medical infrastructure?

An oxygen cylinder, a defibrillator, an ambulance on call?

3. Is there a standard operating procedure in cases of medical emergencies?

Are our airports equipped to handle medical emergencies? Manuals like the Airports Authority of India, Terminal Management clearly states the need to have a well-equipped first aid box ready. This includes a small oxygen cylinder with delivery accessories and a facemask.

The manual also states that it is desirable that an updated list of Telephone numbers and addresses of the hospitals and nursing homes ( indicating the specialised Treatment rendered) in the vicinity of the Airport should always be available with the Terminal Manager.

If these are guidelines then why were none of them implemented on December 10, 2017? Are these guidelines just printed because they look good on paper? Does the DGCA ever audit the airports to ensure that all the norms are being followed?

So important questions for us all.

Abhishek is asking the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airport Authority of India to mandate the availability of a doctor, ambulance, minimum medical support, trained medical personnel and standard operating procedures at all civilian airports in India.

You can support his cause by signing the petition here.

(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)

Source……. Vidya Raja  in http://www.the better india .com

Natarajan

The Hindi-Speaking Aussie who loves India …

Charles ‘Biharilal’ Thomson, is an Australian who speaks fluent Hindi learnt on the streets, trains and buses of India’s hinterland.
Biharilal tells Rediff.com‘s Archana Masih how India has bewitched him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photograph: Kind courtesy Charles Thomson/Facebook

Biharilal Thomson is a white Australian who speaks Hindi better than many Indians.

The first time he saw a non-white person was as a 10 year old. His mother had invited an Indian yogi from Bihar into their home in Australia and asked her son to share his room with the sadhu for a few weeks.

“I had only seen white Australians till then, not even native Aboriginals — and here was an Indian in a langoti in my room!” he exclaims in good humour, sitting in a film producer’s home in suburban Mumbai, wearing a kurta-pajama and a yellow stole.

In the two hour conversation, he only speaks Hindi, a language he learnt in the streets, trains and buses of Bihar where he had arrived at age 13 in December 1974.

He loved his new home on the banks of the Ganga so much that he did not return to Australia for the next 11 years. Accounts of his experiences in India’s rural underbelly in the 1970s-1980s, include encounters with dacoits on horseback on at least two railway journeys.

“I saw real sadhus, I saw real dacoits — and I thought I had reached an amazing place,” says Biharilal with a grin. His life experiences, he says are so unbelievable that he sometimes thinks it is like a film.

It also reveals an India of another time — one that was simpler, wilder, unfamiliar and distant from what it is today.

“India was friendly with the Soviet Union, and I came across Indians who were desperate to emigrate to the USA, Canada or UK — not to the USSR.”

“The other thing that was common was cycles. Only the DM (district magistrate) and SP (superintendent of police) had cars — and in the trains people sometimes travelled with their own cooks!”

After going back to Australia in 1985, he returned to formally work in India in 2011.

India has seen a giant leap ahead since, and he has spent nearly 16 years here, but one question posed to him that hasn’t changed over the years is — “Why did you come to India?”

“This is what I am routinely asked, especially by the youth. They ask ‘Why have you come here when we want to settle abroad?’,” says Biharilal, who applied for Indian citizenship in 2014 and hopes to hold an Indian passport soon.

“The other thing I am amazed with is this craze for English. Even if I speak to those who know Hindi in Hindi, they reply in English!”

“Why?”

His fluency in Hindi has fetched him invites to Hindi events by the Indian high commission in Australia, to symposia at Savitribai Phule Pune university and Delhi’s Hansraj College. He has anchored a few film festivals and done some acting roles.

It has also brought him an FM radio show that he hopes to receive a confirmation for by April.

“In independent India it will be the first time that an angrez will do a radio show in Hindi,” he says enthusiastically.

Not wanting to be boxed into roles of the typical gora speaking tooti-phooti Hindi, he refers to the accomplished actor Tom Alter.

“He is an asli Hindustani, I’m nakli, but because earlier directors made him speak broken Hindi like an angrez, people thought he was English.”

“People didn’t know he was Indian, a Padma Shri, who spoke fluent Hindi and Urdu.”

Biharilal works at Josh Talks, a media company that invites guests to share inspirational stories. His focus is on all regional languages and tier-2 cities.

He has also done a few acting roles in Hindi and Marathi television serials, and recently appeared in an airline commercial for Scoot, a budget airline owned by Singapore Airlines.

There are quirky benefits to a white man speaking Hindi too — like the number of wedding invitations he receives. Many wedding organisers in the Delhi area send him invitations only to have a foreigner on display!

“I get so many invitations for chief guest. In the marriage season, I’ll be booked,” he laughs.

“People want a gora who speaks Hindi to show at their weddings.”

The move from Australia to India may have been a continental shift, but for Charles ‘Biharilal’ Thompson, it was like coming home.

It was a life introduced to him by his mother, a ballerina and an early convert to yoga, who came to learn at the Bihar School of Yoga in Munger in 1972.

“At that time only 1% of the world travelled by aeroplane,” says Biharilal, who is often recognised as ‘Biharilal Autowale Babu’ after a show on Zee TV where he covered the 2017 Delhi municipal election in a colourful autorickshaw.

He also covered the UP assembly election last year for WION, Zee’s English news channel.

“We used to fly to the Gold Coast to visit my grandparents every year. I made my father promise that he would send me to India instead, if I stood 1st or 2nd in school.”

He stood 2nd and travelled to Calcutta, he says, taking a train to Jamalpur and then a bus to Munger.

“I was shocked to see the poverty in Calcutta, but hearing ‘garam chai‘ by tea vendors in the train was like music,” he remembers.

Eight weeks later, his father returned to take him home.

“I told him I wanted to stay for one more year,” he says over a cup of tea.

“But I stayed for 11.”

blob:https://ishare.rediff.com/d8239350-f845-46f6-86e1-762bd67d53b5

He has now spent 16 years in India — first at the Bihar School of Yoga in Munger, then working in a financial tech start up Eko India, and currently in the entertainment industry.

At the famed yoga school in Munger, he says he learnt yoga and managed the library. He helped in the institute’s office work which would take him to Patna and Delhi.

It was on one these travels that he found himself in the middle of a dacoity.

He had bought a third class ticket and boarded a train from Jamalpur to Patna in Bihar. The TT saw his ticket and upgraded him to first class. Along the way, dacoits came riding alongside the train, detached the first class compartment and started looting passengers.

When they reached his coupe, he held out his hands, and said, “Ruko, ruko! (stop, stop!)”

The dacoits stopped.

“I was a young boy and did not know very good Hindi at that time, so I just managed to ask a dacoit if he had any videshifriend?”

The dacoit said ‘No’ and Biharilal told him that he would be his friend.

“He smiled and did not take anything from me.”

Caught in another dacoity on a railway platform — this time on a dark railway platform surrounded by crop fields — his saffron clothes came to his rescue.

“When they came to me, I just sprang up and started chanting Bum, Bum Bole-Bum, Bum Bole and they said, ‘Yeh toh Ganga jal wala aadmi hai‘ and let me go,” he chuckles.

India was very different then, he says. Yoga institutes were very austere and drew only the most committed.

He remembers the first function he organised which had a generator as backup for electricity failure. When the lights went off and the generator was switched on — the crowd left the sammelan and rushed to get a first glimpse of a generator at the back.

At fifty-seven, Biharilal has seen the arc of India’s history from Indira Gandhi’s Emergency to her assassination to the post liberalisation. He has travelled widely, even taken his mother to the Kumbh Mela.

In between, he returned to Australia and ran a Thai vegetarian restaurant but kept coming back to India.

“I started coming back in the late 80s, but visas were very difficult. Till the Modi Sarkar came, getting a visa to India was not easy. Sushma Swaraj is doing a good job,” he says.

In 2009, a startup started by Biharis, Eko India, offered him a job and he moved to India.

But it was a chance encounter with an Indian student at a Sydney swimming pool that opened the door to acting.

Shashank Ketkar, now a popular television actor, had got talking to him by the pool hearing his Hindi and came to eat at his Thai restaurant.

Few years later, Biharilal would visit him on the sets of his show whenever he was in Mumbai. His kurta-pajama style of dressing and fluency in Hindi caught the eyes of the director and led to small roles. He also got to play an angrez in a Marathi film Shashank Ketkar was acting in.

“I went to Kohlapur and shot a scene where I was seated on a horse in 40 degrees heat. I loved it. I thought I had become Shah Rukh Khan!”

He has also acted in a Hindi suspense thriller that will release this year.

Every day, he receives a large number of messages on Facebook and makes it a point to at least say ‘Ram, Ram’ or ‘Namaste’ to them.

“I feel the whole of Hindustan is made for me. Yeh kamal ka desh hai, yaha aapko sab kuch mil jayega (this is a great country, there is nothing you can’t find here),” he says, adjusting the famous Australian Akubra hat he is wearing and steps into the hot Mumbai sun.

Archana Masih / Rediff.com

Source…..www.rediff.com

Natarajan

Her Small Act Of Kindness Went Viral. Now, She Has A College Scholarship…!

Her Small Act Of Kindness Went Viral. Now, She Has A College Scholarship

A young restaurant worker in Texas who spent the past year saving up for college is now one step closer to her dream – all thanks to a small act of kindness she performed. Evoni Williams, 18, went viral earlier this month for helping an elderly customer at the Waffle House Texas eat his food. A picture of Evoni, an employee of the Waffle House, cutting up food for a customer who was unable to do so himself, was clicked by another customer and shared on Facebook. The picture went viral with thousands of shares and even earned Evoni a scholarship to the Texas Southern University.

The incident took place on March 3 at La Marque in Texas, USA, when Adrian Charpentier came into the restaurant. He had recently undergone surgery, which made it difficult for him to cut his food, reports the Daily Mail. Evoni cut up his food for him, and her small act of kindness was captured on camera:

I don’t know her name but I heard this elderly man tell her his hands don’t work too good. He was also on oxygen and struggling to breathe. 😔 Without hesitation, she took his plate and began cutting up his ham. This may seem small but to him, I’m sure it was huge. I’m thankful to have seen this act of kindness and caring at the start of my day while everything in this world seems so negative. If we could all be like this waitress & take time to offer a helping hand….🤝 #wafflehouse#kindness #givingback #offerlove #bekind #goodnews 

As the post gained attention, praise started pouring in for the teenager. “She’s an angel,” wrote one person. “That was very kind and sweet,” said another.

It eventually caught the eye of Texas Southern University, and they decided to present Evoni with a $16,000 scholarship. “Her act of kindness went viral on social media, and today Texas Southern University returned that act of kindness by surprising Evoni Williams with a scholarship,” they said.

Not only this, she was also honoured by the mayor of La Marque, Bobby Hocking.

It just came from the heart,” Evoni said to ABC 7 about her now-famous act.

Source….www.ndtv.com

Natarajan

After Coimbatore’s Water Table Collapsed, This Simple Initiative Revived It…Thanks to ” Siruthuli “

As cities across India are facing a severe shortage of water, Coimbatore has been trying to preserve and recharge its groundwater levels. At the forefront of this change is Siruthuli, an NGO that is dedicated to cleaning Coimbatore, and infusing green methods throughout the city!

Coimbatore, which was once a place of abundant rainfall, was shaken to reality following a drought in 2003.

As part of its initiative to recharge groundwater levels in the city, Siruthuli has implemented rainwater harvesting structures (RWH).                                               

“In 2003, Coimbatore received 65% less rainfall than in previous years. This made us release the need to save water, and harvest it when there was adequate rainfall,” says Shruthi Suresh, a representative of the organisation.

The organisation conducted a series of geo-hydrological studies in 2005, to better analyse how to approach the conservation of groundwater in the region. In association with the Corporation of Coimbatore, Siruthuli began conducting rainwater harvesting structures in various locations across the city.

However, one of the significant challenges of the construction was the fact that Coimbatore was primarily a hard rock structure, and thus percolation of water was difficult. The organisation persevered and came up with the idea of drilling bore wells for groundwater.

“We came up with this technique to recharge the groundwater. We recommended two types of structures using this technique. The first simply recharges the aquifers, while the other not only recharges but also pumps the harvested waters so that it can be used,” she explains.

According to Shruthi, the structures are installed in both open spaces, as well as on roadsides.

Today, thanks to the efforts of this organisation, Coimbatore has more than 600 rainwater harvesting structures in different locations across the city.

However, on average it has been observed that the open spaces have seen a much higher level of maintenance than the ones on the roadside ones. There have been instances where some of the roadside RWH structures have been shut down for new roads and construction.

However, the organisation is optimistic and has seen significant growth in groundwater tables, from the time the wells have been implemented. This can be seen in the table below:

The water that is harvested from the ground is what is used extensively for not only daily use but as drinking water. It, therefore, becomes imperative for the citizens of the city, to maintain and use the water judiciously.

Today, even with a shortage of water, Coimbatore maintains stable and sustainable groundwater tables.

This initiative goes along with one of the organisation’s chief objectives, titled, “Water Watch,” under which, they aim to not only recharge groundwater, but also rejuvenate water bodies, and restore the River Noyyal. The river, which once had 34 streams, is now reduced to just four.

In the future, Siruthuli plans to conduct a comprehensive study of the entire region. This will be done to better understand natural drains, vegetation, groundwater levels, land use, and livelihoods. The study will form the basis for developing watershed concepts, RWH structures, and more. These will be applied across Coimbatore, after a series of awareness campaigns.

Siruthuli has also been involved in spreading the message of going green and educating the next generation for the same.

You can read about their initiatives here!

Source…..Anakha Arikara  in http://www.the better india .com

Natarajan