A click from the Hotel Terrace at Coimbatore …. on the evening of 19th June 2019….Thanks to my Mobile camera
21st June 2019
A click from the Hotel Terrace at Coimbatore …. on the evening of 19th June 2019….Thanks to my Mobile camera
21st June 2019
The second day at the 23rd Asian Athletics Championships ended on a high note for India. Months of hard work, grit, determination and practice finally paid off for unheralded half miler Gomathi Marimuthu and shot putter Tejinderpal Singh Toor. Both of them clinched a gold medal each. By the end of Monday, India’s medal tally stood at 2 gold, 3 silver and 5 bronze.
For the 30-year-old athlete, this was her first major win at an international stage. She ran her way, all the way from the back of the pack, just to stun the crowd by winning the 800m race. Gomathi clocked a personal best time of 2 minutes 02.70 seconds in the half-mile event to win a gold for India. Recently, her previous best (2:03.21) was the golden run at the Federation Cup at Patiala.
For Gomathi, it has been ten long years of intense struggle. As a farmer’s daughter, she had only started professionally running when she was 20. “I did not realise until I crossed the finish line that I won a gold medal. The last 150m was a very tight race,” she said. This was only the third international event for Gomathi. While she has always been interested in sports, it was her friend Shruthi from Holy Cross College in Trichy, who inspired her to take it up seriously.
“When I was growing up, there was no one to tell me that I can make a living out of sports. I never understood the significance until I joined college. I just wanted to get a job and support my family,” she told The New Indian Express.
The only one to go to college among two other siblings, Gomathi landed a job with the Income Tax department in Bengaluru and started training regularly. Her intense hard work got recognised as she got selected for the Asian Championships in Pune in 2013. That year, she had finished seventh in the 800m final and two years later, at the same event in China, she finished fourth.
While Gomathi dreamed of clinching the gold next time around, tragedy struck her family. In September of 2016, her father passed away due to colon cancer and in December, Gomathi suffered groin injury. With a few months time, her coach, Gandhi died of a heart attack. “I had no one to train me. I had to provide for the family as well,” she lamented. An injury is the worst that can happen to an athlete who started as late as Gomathi. She had to wait for almost two years before she could train again, however, she was unstoppable.
Since the beginning of 2019, Gomathi started participating in various state and national level championships, At the Federation Cup in March, an event that served as a selection trial for Doha, she finished first. While her timing was good enough to fetch a gold at the 2017 Asian Championship in Bhubaneswar, due to her long absence from the field, Athletics Federation of India asked her to appear in another round of trials in Patiala a few days ago, where she was given a green signal to represent India at the Championship in Doha.
Gomathi’s story is truly inspirational, just like her performance at the 800m run. While she has scripted history, it is her never-say-die attitude which helped Gomathi through tougher times. The Logical Indianapplauds her determination and her achievement at such a prestigious world forum.
This Republic Day, we take a look at the iconic objects that collectively defined the Indian experience over the past 68 years. From things that brought the world to our living rooms to tasty treats, take a nostalgic journey down memory lane!
Members of the Joshi family would gather around their prized possession at 7 every evening. The main door of the house was open–it wouldn’t be long before the neighbouring kids, their parents and maybe even grandparents joined the regular party.
A beautifully knit blue-green cover protects the wooden radio box which is only taken off when the radio is switched on and tuned in. One member of the family reaches the top shelf to pull out the long antenna of the radio and turns the two knobs till the radio frequency sets perfectly.
In the 1960s and 70s, when the television was still a rich man’s luxury, it was Murphy Radio that brought people together.
The Murphy Radio was founded by Frank Murphy and E J Power in 1929. The radio company had manufactured sets for the British Armed Forces to use during the Second World War, but they aimed to make radio sets “a homely gadget”, one that did not need military expertise to operate.
In a 1931 advertisement, Murphy had said, “Your wireless set should not be a “gadget” which only “Father” can work. It should be something which can be used and enjoyed by everybody in the family. That is why, I made it my business to see that all Murphy sets are extremely simple to use, cheap to maintain and always reliable. The constant high standard of reproduction is an outstanding feature of all Murphy sets.”
Although the founder left his company in 1937 to establish another called the Frank Murphy Radio or FM Radio, the name ‘Murphy’ stayed.
This brand debuted in Indian households in 1948–just a year after we got independence and even before we became a republic!
Jyoti Sohini, a 70-year-old homemaker from Pune, fondly recollects the ‘Murphy days’. “It was a very popular brand in those days. The Murphy Baby calendar especially was very famous. The radio set was a common possession where I lived, but even then, there would be a huge crowd at our place, eager to listen to the cricket commentary,” she tells The Better India.
Adding to the programmes that they listened to in that era, Jyoti says Radio Ceylon, Binaca Geetmala, Vividh Bharati and Pune Kendra (a local news bulletin) were popular.
Much like this family in Pune, India fell in love with the brand and its adorable mascot–the Murphy baby or Murphy Munna. Print ads featured the chubby-cheeked Rinpoche, looking inquisitively, with a finger placed near his lip, instantly garnering the adoration of Indian families.
The three-year-old Kagyur Tulku Rinpoche fascinated many mothers or expectant mothers of that era. For millennials like me, the perfect reference point is Anurag Basu’s 2012 film, Barfi, where Ranbir Kapoor’s reel life mother names him after the Murphy because “Murphy Munna jaisa lalla, Amma ka tha sapna” (Mother wanted a baby just like the Murphy’s).
The makers wanted me in the ad, as the original Murphy baby who was a girl, had died. They were looking for someone identical.”
Rinpoche went on to become a monk for about 20 years before marrying Mandakini, an actress. But that is a story for another time.
Much like Rinpoche, Mohammed Rafi composed a tagline jingle for the brand to attract more customers.
“Murphy ghar ghar ki rounak, tarah tarah ke Murphy radio, la deten hain ghar mein jaan (Murphy is the pride of homes, different kinds of Murphys bring life to the home),” played as an advertisement while superstars like Sharmila Tagore, featured in print ads.
Catchy phrases that spoke of the Murphy Radio as something that “delights the home” and “sets the standard” added to the aspirational sentiment.
Kamlesh says, “I used to be a calm child. But I can only recall one instance where I had cried for many days insisting [that] my father buy a radio. He bought the radio set on Diwali. I still have a memory of placing the radio right next to the black-and-white Keltron TV set in our sitting room.”
Writing for the Caleidoscope, Levine Lawrence says, “Those were the glory days of BBC, Voice of America, Radio Moscow and our own All India Radio. Vividh Bharati, the colourful movie songs and trivia programme was transmitted by the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation due to a ban on film songs on Akashvani!”
Eventually, the radio gave way for black-and-white TV, which in turn, was replaced by the colour TV and now, the Internet.
Even as we surf the web to find such fascinating stories about the times and technologies of the past, the simplicity of the radio and the magnificent events it covered–right from Nehru declaring India’s independence in the speech that still gives us goosebumps to the wars that India fought later–can hardly be replaced.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
Source……Tanvi Patel in http://www.the better india.com
Founded in 1943 by Swede Ingvar Kamprad and headquartered in the Netherlands, furniture giant IKEA makes revenue worth €38.3 billion with 411 outlets in 49 countries.
And while the numerous conversations CEO of IKEA India Juvencio Maeztu had with Indian biggies may be credited for the 2012 plan to finally take shape, there is a backstory many aren’t aware of. It’s how the 48-year-old bossman who relocated from London to Delhi’s NCR Region found a home away from home. All over a cup of masala chai.
It was 2012. Juvencio Maeztu had only arrived in India as the CEO of IKEA India. The switch from London to the bustling city of the National Capital Region was anything but easy.
Speaking to the Economic Times, the 48-year-old recalls, “I had many concerns. I am too small, and India is too big. Could I understand India, its size, its complexity and diversity? Will my European roots constrain me?”
His mind was clouded with doubts, but he had far more important matters to attend. For instance, his morning appointment at the FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office) in Delhi. And he needed a passport-size photograph.
And so, his driver drove through the lanes of NCR, before making a halt at one of the many hole-in-the-wall photography studios. The one they stopped at was run by an old gentleman.
He just had to take a photograph and be on his way. How much time could it possibly take? He couldn’t be late for his appointment.
And so, the CEO entered the shop and asked the man, “Can you take my photo?”
“Yes,” came the reply.
“How long will it take?” Maeztu asked hesitantly
“Five minutes,” the man said.
The photo was clicked. But the wait for the 5 min – ‘N’ copies of the photograph dragged on for over 15 minutes. The printer was old and dusty, takes time to warm up, the man told him.
But he was quick to offer him – “Masala chai?” he asked.
“No” came the curt reply. Even as the man struggled with the printer, he kept persuading Maeztu to drink a cup of chai. An exasperated Maeztu gave him a brusque, “No”.
It was at this time that the photographer asked, “Sir, what’s the point of life if you cannot enjoy a masala chai for five minutes?”
“Something clicked,” Maetzu told the publication. He moved to take a seat, drank the cup of masala chai. The appointment was forgotten, and the two men chatted for over an hour that day.
He may have missed his FRRO appointment, but Maetzu says, “That was the moment I connected with India. It was a turning point.”
He had finally found a home away from home.
While land has been acquired in Gurugram, Bengaluru and Mumbai, the retail stores will only come up in the next few years. With a staff strength of 535 and an investment of Rs 10,500 crore, the furniture giant is here to make it big reported the publication. The current number of employees though is estimated to be around 950 people directly, about 1500 at its store in Hyderabad and aims to hire another 15,000 employees as it expands its operations.
“We are here for the long term. We think of 100 years when we think of our strategy. I have taken no shortcuts. More importantly, I have had no pressure (from the headquarters) to take shortcuts. In the next 100 years, the sheer size of India makes it important. There are other super big reasons. India is challenging us to find better ways to do business. This is a market you need to learn and not come into with an attitude that you know everything,” he said.
The vision is to also have over 25 stores and 20,000 employees in India by 2030.
The report adds how India is the first market where IKEA is rolling out a multi-channel retail online and offline strategy from day one. It is also planning to explore the use of eco-friendly raw materials like bamboo, coconut waste, water hyacinth and recycled PET.
Apart from working with over 80,000 farmers to boost cotton production, it is also helping skill 1,200 women artisans with the UNDP under its programme ‘Disha’ and boost employment from underprivileged communities.
Seems like a journey that began with one cup of masala chai came a long way after all!
Their families moved to Chennai from Hubei province and set-up dental clinics in the Evening Bazaar in the 1930s.
The glass doors of the tiny dental clinic swing open to green tiles, wooden panels, lots of dental instruments and neatly stacked bottles and medicine packs. Dr Shieh Hung Sen is inside, dressed in a green linen shirt, attending to a patient with practised deftness, while directing his assistant Nila in flawless Chennai Tamil.
Dr Shieh, who is better known by his Christian name Albert Shieh, is a second-generation Chennaite of Chinese origin. He runs Dr Shieh’s Bright Smile, a 75-year-old clinic, the oldest among the 8 such compact Chinese dental studios dotting the sides of Evening Bazaar Road, Park Town.
“My parents moved from Hubei province in China to Madas some time before the World War II. The Chinese communists were forcibly recruiting people to the army. It was either abscond or die. So my parents along with 8 other families left in the cover of the night to Burma, from where they came to Chennai in boats,” says Albert.
His father, Saw Ma Seng, among others who fled the country, were traditional Chinese dentists who established their business in Park Town in the 1930s. Now, their children and grandchildren are running the operations.
“Dental colleges started in the city only around the 1950s. Yet, our fathers had set up thriving businesses way back in the ’30s and we sons took over when they passed on,” says Albert, who went on to a acquire degree in dentistry from Annamalai University, after finishing his schooling in Bishop Corrie School, Parrys.
Growing up in Chennai
As he reminisces of the Chennai of his youth, Albert, who specialises in denture making, prods open his patient’s mouth and fixes a perfect set of lower front dentures on his gums.
“The best days of my life in Chennai were my school days. We used to play cricket in the Park Town grounds until late evenings. I spoke English and Tamil with my friends group and at home we spoke Mandarin (Hubei dialect),” smiles Albert, who can also read and write Tamil. Albert also understands Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi, and even attempts speaking them occasionally.
“Today is Tamil New Year. You must be celebrating Vishu since you are a Malayali, right?” he asks this reporter with a smile.
Now married with two children, a son and a daughter, Albert reveals that his family speaks Tamil, Chinese and English at home.
“I got married to my wife, Hu Yu Kwan, who is from one of the families in the community itself. However, now the community is not as close-knit as we were, with the older generation passing on,” he says.
In his childhood, the families would get together every Chinese New Year and feast.
“The Chinese New Year’s Eve is a special day for us and the entire community gathers for a feast, which is a grand affair with Wuhan (Hubei cuisine) delicacies of Changyu fish and Sou Chin (stir fry) Chicken. It’s nothing like what you get in the Chinese restaurants in the city,” says Albert, who shares an equal and impartial love for south Indian cuisine too.
“Ïdly, dosa, sambhar and all other dishes I relish. My wife makes the best rasam and kaara kolambu, I feel. In fact, my son’s friends used to ask him if his mum was Tamilian or Chinese after tasting the lunches she used to pack for his school,” he adds with a shy smile.
Albert’s son, Joshua, is a practicing dentist in Canada and, interestingly, is married to a Tamil woman.
“When I was a kid, my mother used to threaten me that if I married outside of the community she would disown me. When I got married, I had a traditional two-day Chinese wedding and a church wedding. Now, times have changed; my daughter-in-law is Tamil and we had a register marriage along with a reception here in Chennai,” says Albert.
The family members are practicing Seventh Day Adventists who had earlier adopted Roman Catholicism. Over the years, many from the community have diverged to different denominations within Christianity.
In the next clinic, David Ma, also known as You Chang Ma, Albert’s nephew, is a Jehovah’s Witness and runs Venfa, a clinic started by his father. Unlike Albert, David belongs to the third generation of the Chinese diaspora settled in the city.
“I don’t have many ties to Hubei. All my life I have known this city. My favourite food is the karuvattu kolambu or the dried fish that you get here. I’m married to an Indian girl, who is from Sikkim. In fact, I had an arranged marriage and went all the way to Sikkim to find my wife, since they look similar to us,” David says with a chuckle.
From Kung fu to Kollywood
Emphasising that they don’t watch Chinese films but for the occasional Jackie Chan Kung fu movie that is released in Chennai, Albert and David reveal that they enjoy Tamil cinema, especially the songs.
“I love old Tamil songs. There are some beautiful songs from Mudhal Mariyathai,” says David as he hums ‘Poongatre’ from the Sivaji Ganesan-starrer.
While David had no qualms about breaking into song, his uncle is more of a closet musician.
“He is usually singing all the time. He loves SPB and sings very well,” his assistant Nila tells TNM.
Albert is a fan of Suriya too and says he is excited about Kamal Haasan’s entry into politics. Apart from this, the dentist also boasts of a few famous friends from the industry.
“Prabhu, Sarathkumar and drummer Sivamani are all my close friends. I became close Prabhu and Sarathkumar as an athlete in school when we met at an inter-school sports competition. We meet once in a while when I am in town,” says Albert, who migrated to Canada with his wife a few months ago and shuttles between Chennai and Ontario.
The Chinese clinics like Albert’s and David’s cater to the local population in Park Town.
“We have a thriving business and clients who have been consulting us and our fathers before us. They trust us and we have sort of established a brand here in Chennai,” says David.
Although many of their relatives have migrated to the US, Canada and other parts of the world, David and Albert remain rooted to the city.
“Although I keep going to Canada, I can’t let go of my business here and most of the year I’m in Chennai,” says Albert.
And despite this mass migration to several parts of the world, none of the Chinese in Chennai have returned to their home province of Hubei.
“I once visited China on a packaged tour with my wife. We couldn’t visit our native place as we couldn’t break away from the others.I have a few cousins there and I hope to visit them once in my lifetime,” says Albert.
However, Chennai remains in their hearts even as they search for better prospects elsewhere.
“I have never felt like an outsider. Chennai has and will always remain one of the most welcoming cities here. My sentiments for this city, in IPL language would be Namma Chennai-ku oru whistle podu,” David concludes with a grin.