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

Source…

From our friends at

Humans of Lbsnaa  in http://www.thelogicalindian.com

Natarajan

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Sweden to India: How a Cup of Masala Chai Fuelled IKEA’s Journey to Hyderabad!….

Known as the world’s largest furniture dealer, IKEA has finally set up its first-ever India store in Hyderabad. All thanks to a humble cup of chai!

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.

Deemed as the world’s largest furniture dealer, IKEA has finally set up it

s first-ever store on a 13-acre campus in HITEC city  Hydearbad.

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.

After a long wait of six years, IKEA has now made its debut in India.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The staff at IKEA Hyderabad. Source: Facebook
Source….
http://www.thebetterindia.com

Mail Delivery By Rockets…..

The history of the postal system is inextricably tied to the history of transport. Advances in transportation technology have not only allowed people to travel farther and explore more territory, it also allowed the postal system to expand their influence over a larger area. As new inventions and discoveries shortened the time of travel, messages and letters began to reach distant recipients in lesser time, and the postal system became more efficient. By the time the first trans-pacific airmail was delivered, the postal service had tried every mode of transport available to man, including rockets.

The cover of a rocket mail delivered in the state of Sikkim, India, on 28 September, 1935. Photo credit:regencystamps.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The earliest type of missile mail was one which you’ve probably seen in historical movies where a parchment is wrapped around the shaft of an arrow and shot through the air into a castle or enemy territory. A more modern version of the idea was presented to an astonished audience by a German poet and dramatist, Heinrich von Kleist, through a newspaper article in 1810. At that time rocketry was still in its infancy. Rockets of that age were gunpowder powered and were primarily used as artillery in battlefields. Kleist amused himself by calculating that a rocket could deliver a letter from Berlin to Breslau, a distance of 180 miles, in half a day or one-tenth of the time required by a horse mounted carrier.

Kleist’s theory was put into practice on the small Polynesian island of Tonga, halfway around the world, by a British inventor, Sir William Congreve, using rockets he designed. But the rockets were so unreliable that the idea of using them in mail delivery was summarily dismissed, and no further thought was put into it until nearly a century later, when Hermann Julius Oberth, a German physicist and engineer and one of the founding fathers of rocketry, revisited the topic in 1927.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hermann Oberth (center, in profile) demonstrates his tiny liquid-fuel rocket engine in Berlin in 1930. Photo credit: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

In June 1928, Professor Oberth delivered a convincing lecture on the occasion of the annual meeting of the Scientific Society of Aeronautics in Danzig, where he proposed the development of small rockets with automatic guidance that could carry urgent mail over distances of 600 to 1,200 miles. Professor Oberth’s lecture generated a great deal of interest throughout the world, and even the American ambassador to Germany took note. But it was a young Austrian engineer that became a pioneer in this field.

Living in the Austrian Alps, the young engineer Friedrich Schmiedl was well aware of the fact that mail delivery was extremely painful between mountain villages. What could be an eight hour walk between two villages could be only two miles apart as the rocket flies. Friedrich Schmiedl was already experimenting with solid-fuel rockets, and in 1928 undertook experiments with stratospheric balloons. After several unsuccessful attempts, Schmiedl launched the first rocket mail in 1931 and delivered 102 letters to a place five kilometers away. The rocket was remotely controlled and landed using a parachute. His second rocket delivered 333 letters.

Schmiedl’s rocket mails inspired several other countries such as Germany, England, the Netherlands, USA, India and Australia to conduct similar experiments with varying degree of success. In 1934, in an attempt to demonstrate to the British the viability of his rocket delivery system, a German businessman named Gerhard Zucker loaded a rocket with 4,800 pieces of mail and launched it from an island in Scotland. Government officials watched as the rocket soared into the sky and exploded, scattering scorched letters all over the beach like confetti. After his failed demonstration, Zucker was deported back to Germany where he was immediately arrested on suspicion of espionage or collaboration with Britain.

Experiments on rocket mail were largely successful in India, where a pioneering aerospace engineer named Stephen Smith perfected the techniques of delivering mail by rocket. Between 1934 and 1944, Smith made 270 launches, at least 80 of which contained mail. Smith created history when he delivered by rocket the first food package containing rice, grains, spices and locally-made cigarettes to the earthquake wracked region of Quetta, now in Pakistan, across a river. Later, Smith tied a cock and a hen together to one of his rockets and launched the frightened birds across another river. Both birds survived the trip and were donated to a private zoo in Calcutta after their ordeal. His next parcel contained a snake and an apple.

Despite his quirky nature and questionable choice of payload, Stephen Smith was wholeheartedly supported by the Maharaja of Sikkim, a British Protectorate in the eastern Himalayas, where he carried most of his rocket experiments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A 1934 Indian Rocket Mail. Photo credit: www.stampcircuit.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Indian Rocket Mail from 1934. Photo credit: www.stampcircuit.com

Things didn’t really took off in the US until 1959, when the Post Office Department fired a Regulus cruise missile with its nuclear warhead replaced by two mail containers, towards a Naval Station in Mayport, Florida. The 13,000-pound missile lifted off with 3,000 letters and twenty-two minutes later struck the target at Mayport, 700 miles away. The letters were retrieved, stamped and circulated as usual.

All 3,000 letters were copies of the same written by the Postmaster General. Each crew member of the submarine that launched the missile received a copy of the letter, so did President Eisenhower and other US leaders as well as postmasters from around the world.

“The great progress being made in guided missilery will be utilized in every practical way in the delivery of the United States mail,” the letter read. “You can be certain that the Post Office Department will continue to cooperate with the Defense Department to achieve this objective.”

The successful delivery of the mails prompted Postmaster Summerfield to enthusiastically declare that “before man reaches the moon, mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to Britain, to India or Australia by guided missiles.”

But it was not to be. The cost of rocket mail was too high—that little experiment with the Regulus cruise missile cost the US government $1 million, but generated only $240 in revenue by sale of postage stamps. Neither the Post Office nor the Department of Defense could justify the cost of using missile mail, especially when airplanes were already making mail deliveries across the world in a single night at the fraction of a cost.

And that was the end of the program. No further attempts to deliver mail by rockets have been made since then.

Source….. Kaushik in http://www.amusing planet.com

Natarajan

 

Chennai’s pavement football stars….!!!

A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com meets Chennai’s all-girl street children football team who competed in the Street Child World Cup in Moscow.                                                     

 

Their home may be on a pavement, but their eyes are bright with hope for the future.

Helping them through their rough times is their love for football.

In fact, these Chennai lasses have recently returned from Moscow, where they participated in the Street Child World Cup and won one of the five matches they played.

Their happy smiles mask the hard lives they have led.

One of the girls has been rescued from a child marriage, another from a stainless steel vessels manufacturing factory.

Two had to cope with a drunk father while two were abandoned by their fathers.

Their strength to face their circumstances came from practising advocate Paul Sunder Singh.

Singh’s abiding desire to help Chennai’s street children resulted in Karunalaya in 1995.

His hard work was noticed by the state government and, three years later, they gave him a grant that would allow him to look after 50 children in a shelter. The home now has 60 children.

“We encourage sports. It teaches both competition and discipline,” says Singh, who has a doctorate in criminology.

“We want to give these children a normal childhood and games play an important role in this effort of ours.”

Karunalaya only shelters runaway children from Tamil Nadu; the others are sent back to their home state.

“The biggest problem these children face is that they don’t have birth certificates,” Singh says. “As a result, they don’t have community certificates either and cannot benefit from government aid or schemes.”

“We get them admitted to schools through the Right To Education Act, but the schools want birth certificates which we cannot provide. All they have is Aadhar cards as the government is pushing that. Sadly, the government does not consider our problems.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

IMAGE: The team won one of the five matches they played at the Street Child World Cup in Moscow. Photograph: Kind courtesy Karunalaya

The Street Child World Cup, which was first held 2010, takes place in the city hosting the FIFA World Cup before the much-watched international tournament begins.

India, this year, was represented by an all-girls team from Karunalaya.

This is their third International outing.

In 2014, they sent a boys team to Street Child World Cup in Rio de Janerio.

In 2016, they sent a team of five to participate in the first-ever Street Child Games, also held in Rio de Janerio.

This year’s participants share their story in their own words.

IMAGE: The all-girl Karunalaya football team. Photograph: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com

Sangeeta, 18

I came to this shelter as a child after I was rescued from a steel factory where I was working.

I don’t stay here now. I stay on the pavement at Waltax Road (near Chennai Central railway station) with my mother.

My father was a drunkard who abandoned us.

My elder brother is working and my younger brother is also being educated by Karunalaya.

I studied in a municipal school. In my 12th exams, I got 798/1200 marks.

I want to do BSc in physical education as I like games. Karunalaya is helping me to find a sponsor for my education.

I learnt football in the summer camps that Karunalya conducts.

Nirosha, 15

I study in Class 9.

I was working and looking after my two younger brothers when I was rescued and brought to Karunalaya.

I am here since two years. Before that, I used to stay on the pavement at Mint Street (in Chennai’s commercial centre, George Town).

My younger brothers also stay here.

I study in the Church of South India school.

I have been playing football for two years now.

My mother is a daily wage earner. My dad abandoned us years ago.

Lakshmi, 17

My parents are ragpickers.

They could not repay Rs 2,000 that they had borrowed from a moneylender so they tried to get me married to him.

I escaped to the house of a friend, who also on stayed on our pavement near Koyambedu market.

I was rescued from my friend’s place and brought here four years ago.

I scored 248/500 in my Class 10 exams. I have opted for the arts stream for Class 12.

Later, I want to study social science and become a social worker.

If I get the opportunity, I will continue to play football.

Indu, 14

Karunalaya volunteers used to give tuitions to poor students near my place; that’s how I came to know about them.

My father works and my mother is a housewife.

My elder brother is in college and my younger brother is in Class 7. My father pays for their education.

I have been playing football here since two years.

Every year, we have a tournament in which every street has its own team.

I was lucky to go to Moscow to play. It was a great experience.

Masiya, 14

I am studying in Class 10 and my brother is in Class 11.

I stay on a pavement at Kasimedu.

My father has left us. My mother is a house maid.

I have been playing football for two years.

In Moscow, we managed to get by with English, but some of the other teams spoke different languages.

The matches were played in a friendly atmosphere.

This was the first time I travelled by plane.

Tamilarasi, 14

I am in Class 10.

Karunalaya has been helping me for the last two years now.

My father is a drunkard. When my parents separated, I stayed with my mother.

I have been playing football since two years. I am a good defender so my position in the team is a fullback.

S Gomathi, 14

I study in Class 9.

I stay with my family.

I have been coming since 18 months to play football.

The trip to Moscow was fun. The food was very different, but it was tasty.

We were there for 10 days. We stayed in a nice hotel.

This was my first World Cup.

Every year, we have an inter-street tournament in Chennai. I play regularly. I love football.

Ishwari, 15

I am staying in this shelter since four years. My younger brother is here too.

I have two elder brothers who have started working.

I am studying in Class 10.

My father left us long ago. I have been playing football for three years.

Geeta, 15

I have been with Karunalaya since two-and-a-half years.

My father is a coolie in the market and my mother is a maid.

I am in Class 10 and, later, I want to study science.

I have been playing football since two years and this game is my future.

Source….Ganesh Nadar in http://www.rediff.com

Natarajan

 

 

A Woman of Many Firsts: Meet India’s First And Oldest Cardiologist!…


Stent, heart bypass surgery, heart attack…all of us have heard these painful terms amongst our loved ones at one time or another. But these were uncommon a generation ago.

So, what happened? How did we reach here?

In an attempt to understand the status of heart disease in India, Priyamvada Chugh reached out to India’s first and oldest cardiologist.

Meet Dr Sivaramakrishna Iyer Padmavati, who turns 101 this month, and still goes to the National Heart Institute in Delhi every day,which she founded in 1977.

Dr Padmavati is India’s first and oldest cardiologist. Photo

Born in 1917, Dr Padmavati fled with her family from Burma to Coimbatore in 1941 during World War II. With the passion to make a difference, she studied medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Harvard Medical College in the USA with cardiology pioneers Dr Helen Taussig and Dr Paul Dudley White, respectively.

While returning to India in 1952 was a personal decision, it was the turning point for cardiology in India.

She has been the face behind several firsts:

  • The establishment of the first cardiac clinic and cath lab at the Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi.
  • The initiation of India’s first Doctorate of Medicine in Cardiology.
  • Setting up cardiology departments at the prestigious Maulana Azad Medical College, GB Pant Hospital, etc.
  • Founding the All India Heart Foundation, Delhi.

The list goes on. She accomplished all this in an era when cardiology was an unknown territory for most Indians, let alone for a woman.

To this Dr Padmavati says, “I pursued cardiology because there were very few courses available to women when I went to college, unlike today.” She was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 1967 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1992 for her contributions to the field.

Having witnessed drastic changes in the incidence of heart disease in India over the last century, she says “Things were different earlier. Physical activity and a healthy diet were the norms. Now, times have changed.”

Burgers, fast food, and buttered paranthas, with eight hours of sitting in front of a computer, aren’t making things any better. As we move towards a machine-driven lifestyle characterised by increasing levels of stress, we invariably embrace unhealthy nutritional habits where heart diseases will only be on the rise.

Diseases of the heart have become the biggest killers of the modern times. According to reports from the World Health Organisation (WHO), heart diseases kill 17 million people around the world every year, and this figure is expected to rise to 23 million by 2030. The numbers are as horrific in India where 32% of all adult deaths are due to heart diseases.

Worryingly, heart disease in Indian youth is increasing rapidly, with 50% of all heart attacks occurring under 50 years of age and 25% occurring under 40 years of age.

So, what causes heart disease? Dr Padmavati answers, “The biggest reasons for heart disease are obesity, hypertension, diabetes and tobacco abuse.” High level of blood cholesterol is a common sign among obese people. Being a bad fat, cholesterol tends to get deposited in blood vessels, making them thinner and causing an increase in blood pressure, which weakens the heart.

Similarly, high salt intake also leads to increased blood pressure and eventually heart failure. Guidelines from the WHO recommend getting no more than 2.3 g of sodium a day, which is just one teaspoon of salt! As Indians, we are consuming almost twice that amount per day!

Another red flag for heart disease is high blood sugar, which gets converted to fat by the liver, raising the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association suggests that we should consume less than 36 g of sugar per day, which is equivalent to just a single serving of a Rasgulla!

Can you imagine how many times the daily requirement of salt and sugar you have already consumed today? Studies show that exercising as little as 30 minutes every day decreases the risk of heart disease by up to 30%.

Limiting the intake of sugar and salt and increasing physical activity is the only way forward.

Another recommended strategy to strengthen our heart is by having at least 500 g of antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, pomegranates, spinach, grapes, etc. daily.

Several campaigns across the globe have been fighting these risk factors to reduce the incidence of heart disease. For instance, the Daily Mile Scheme, initiated in Scotland, is ensuring 15 minutes of morning run for school students across Europe. Norway has hiked the tax on sugar by 83% at the start of 2018, with products like candies and chocolates being taxed at almost $5 per kilo. In Finland, low-salt food options in the supermarket carry a “better choice” logo, and high salt foods have a mandatory warning sign.

In India, we neither have a sugar tax, nor a policy on salt consumption. So, for us Indians who worship food and love after-meal naps, it is time that we adopt something like Namak Cheeni Kam aur Exercize Zyada, karo apne Heart se ye Vaada (cut down your intake of sugar and salt and increase your exercise, make this promise for your heart).

Source….Health Heroes – This article is part of a series to celebrate some of India’s most amazing doctors and to understand the incredible work they are doing.  http://www.the betterindia.com

Natarajan

 

 

 

From China to Chennai, meet three generations of dentists who are as Tamil as Chinese…

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 future

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.

Source…… https://www.thenewsminute.com

Natarajan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Secret of Boxing icon…Mary Kom”s Success….

‘If I am super fit till 2020, I will compete but if I am not fit I will not.’                               

IMAGE: MC Mary Kom celebrates with her coaching staff after winning the Commonwealth Games gold medal. Photograph: PTI

Almost every medal that is there to be taken is in her kitty but M C Mary Kom says she still trains like a maniac, the latest result of the regimen being a gold on debut at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast on Saturday.

The 35-year-old mother-of-three, who has five world titles and an Olympic bronze medal, is seen as a sporting icon not just in India but also in other countries.

Crowned Asian champion just months ago, Mary Kom added the light flyweight (48kg) Commonwealth crown to her tally.

“The secret to my success is my fitness and I am very quick. I plan well before bouts. I am lucky that I can catch my opponents within seconds, I am able to read them very quickly,” a giggling Mary Kom said at the end of her CWG campaign.

“I don’t have injuries, all I have is minor issues like cramps sometime,” she added.

And the secret to her fitness levels and to an extent her calm demeanour in the ring is a training regimen that she refuses to let go even one day.

“When I decide something with my head and heart than even my husband cannot stop me. He sometimes tells me to take it easy after competition but I can’t help it,” she said.

“I have to train to keep myself calm. It’s a a strong urge, it’s a habit and training makes me happy. When I don’t train I feel sick sometimes,” she added.

But despite the high fitness levels, she wouldn’t commit on whether the outlandish possibility of a 2020 Olympic appearance is on her mind.

“2020 is difficult to say, but I will try my best. 48kg is not there and I will have to put on weight to be in 51kg which is never easy. If I am super fit till 2020, I will compete but if I am not fit I will not,” said the accomplished boxer.

Elated at being India’s first woman boxer to claim a Commonwealth Games gold, Mary Kom said scripting history makes her happy.

“I have won everything and all of my medals are very important. Do I need to say more? Which other boxer can claim that, now I would not be scared of anyone. I am very happy that I created history. I have got everything,” she said.

“I still think about Olympics gold but other than that I have got everything. Even in Olympics, I do have a medal. I haven’t left out anything,” she signed off.

Source……..www.rediff.com

natarajan