Will Chennai be able to save a 300 year old Plaque connecting it to its Armenian Past …?

The plaque is the last living relic of the Marmalong, the first ever bridge built over the Adyar river in 1726 by Armenian trader Coja Petrus Uscan.








If you take a walk across the busy roads of Saidapet in Chennai, chances are that you would cross what is perhaps one of the oldest living relics that connects the city to its Armenian past.

To the uninitiated, it may look like an unremarkable slab of stone on a pale green crumbling wall. However, this ordinary looking slab of stone is in fact a 300-year-old plaque that belonged on the pillars of one of oldest bridges in the city.

Marmalong Bridge, the first ever bridge across the Adyar river, was commissioned in 1726 by Coja Petrus Uscan, an immensely wealthy Armenian trader. Uscan, who had decided to settle in Madras after coming to the city in 1724, paid 30,000 pagodas from his own money to build the bridge and another 1,500 pagodas for its upkeep.

“Uscan was immensely respected and perhaps was even one of the only non-British allowed to stay in Fort St George or the White town. A devout believer in St Thomas, Uscan wanted more people to visit the Saint Thomas Mount, and therefore removed the two impediments – the river and the lack of steps – by building the bridge as well as 160 steps to the mount. This was the initial purpose of the bridge. But all that soon changed as the Marmalong Bridge became crucial to the expansion of the city, especially towards the South,” says Chennai-based novelist and historian Venkatesh Ramakrishnan.

Mount Road came after the bridge











 Mount Road, around which the city developed, came 60 years after the Marmalong bridge.

Named after Mambalam, one of the villages near the Adyar, the Marmalong Bridge perhaps laid the foundation stone for the city as it led to the emergence of the Mount Road, around which Chennai developed.

“It was only natural that a road followed after a bridge was built. The British built the Mount Road in the 1800s, around which the city grew. So, in a sense, the bridge led to the city’s birth and is very close to its heart,” Venkatesh adds.

However, the Marmalong only lives in our memories today. Where the arched bridge of Uscan once stood, a concrete replacement called the Maraimalai Adigal Bridge now exists. There are no traces of this Adyar-Armenian connect but for the last living relic – the plaque commemorating Uscan’s construction of the bridge.

With inscriptions in three ancient languages – Persian, Armenian and Latin, the Uscan plaque was established in memory of the great nation of Armenia and is a tribute to the people who helped build the city.

“The Armenian inscriptions are on the lower portion of the plaque. It can’t be read because the writing has faded with time and neglect,” according to Venkatesh.

Crusade to preserve the plaque











The neglected plaque stands near the Saidapet Metro construction site. 

Displaced from its original site, the plaque faces the perils of urbanisation and is further threatened by the metro rail work that is underway.

Years of neglect and development in the area has buried the stone in layers of debris. In fact, the bottom of the stone has disappeared under the ground as the road levels have been rising every year due to re-carpeting, Venkatesh laments.

With the construction of the Saidapet Metro station underway, historians who are fighting to save the plague urge the CMRL to give the stone a place of honor in the metro station.

Highlighting the importance of preserving such relics, Venkatesh says, “The Armenians have contributed immensely to this city. I believe it is important to preserve all traces to this link. It is really unfortunate that while the Uscan stone stands neglected, another plaque at the Fourbeck Bridge is preserved by the Architectural Society of India,” he said.

A dedicated group of Chennai historians have launched a Facebook page “Retrieve Uscan Stone” to draw attention to the issue and save the plaque.

“The Saidapet Metro work is too close to the plaque. We have been urging the officials to move the relic to a better place, may be a museum or a memorial site. We just don’t want to lose a precious piece of the city’s history,” Venkatesh says hopefully.




5 People Who Survived the Unimaginable…

We are all going to die – ideally from old age and in our sleep, less ideally from the Universe concocting a terrible, inescapable, and painful end just for us. Fortunately, there’s no such thing as a totally inescapable scenario. Once every now and then, a person finds themselves face-to-face with Death and decides to yank the robes from under his feet and make a quick getaway. Below you’ll find the stories of five such people.

1. A Paraglider Naps Her Way across the Upper Atmosphere

In February 2007, German paraglider Ewa Wisnerska was sucked into an unexpected thunderstorm in Australia. As testimony to that storm’s intense hatred of flying people, a Chinese paraglider had been pulled into that exact same storm earlier that day. His lifeless body was found 50 miles away.

Not content with just the one victim, the storm nabbed Ewa mid-flight and dragged her high into the air. At 3,000 feet, her exposed skin was frostbitten. Her glasses, like the rest of her clothing, were covered in ice so thick that she couldn’t even make out her own glider – which the violent weather kept collapsing, so she had to constantly battle to keep her glider in working condition.

At 20,000 feet, the air temperature was down to -58 degrees Fahrenheit, and ice had encased her entire body. The lack of oxygen also caused her to pass out. You really wouldn’t expect to wake up from a nap like that.

The previous record altitude for a paraglider was 24,000 feet. Geese fly at 27,000 feet and so did Ewa, briefly, on her way to 29,035 feet – which is the exact height of the summit of Mount Everest. At this point, the storm was getting frustrated that she was still alive, so it lifted her up to 30,000 feet just to see if she could survive the cruising height of a passenger jet, without the jet. She could.

At 32,000 feet, the storm gave up and she began to descend. At 23,000 feet, she woke up and realized that she had no way to brake or steer (due to her frozen hands), so she rode out the storm and hoped that she’d eventually land safely. Which she did, 40 miles from her starting point.

Apart from some bruising and frostbite damage, she was perfectly fine. This is probably because she was unconscious for most of the flight. Your heart rate slows when you’re out cold, and this would have played a huge part in her survival.

2. Jacob Miller Sleeps Off Headshots

The Battle of Chikamagua in Tennessee during the Civil War was the second heaviest Union defeat after Gettysburg, with around 36,000 casualties. One of these casualties was Jacob Miller, who was shot between the eyes on September 19, 1863.

Miller’s Union allies thought he was dead so they left him behind. The Confederate army thought the same and walked right over him as they pushed forward. They didn’t know that Miller had the ability to sleep off a headshot.

When he woke up with a new hole in his head, he realized that he was now at the back of the Confederate line. So, using his gun as a crutch, he waddled along parallel to the fighting until he could pass back over to the Union side. Since his uniform was drenched in blood, the Confederates didn’t recognize him as an enemy.

After making it back to friendly turf, the surgeons refused to remove the bullet as they told him he was going to die anyway. In fact, the Union troops were about to retreat again, and the doctors deemed Miller too sick to move, so it looked like he was going to be left behind again.

Miller was having none of this and started retreating with them. His face was now so swollen that he had to manually lift his eyelids to see where he was going. He kept retreating with the Union troops, with no intention of stopping and dying. Eventually, he was picked up by an ambulance wagon.

Nine months after the incident, doctors finally got around to removing the shot from his head. The bullet hole never closed, and although Miller would go on to live a long life, he spent the next thirty years sweating bullets, as pieces of the shot would occasionally make their way out of his wound.

3. A Man Elbows His Way Out of a Watery Grave

In early 2017, Jake Garrow was plowing the snow from an ice road in Ontario, Canada, when his skid loader hit an unexpected thin patch and plunged into the frozen waters, taking Garrow with it.

For the majority of us, sinking 100 feet to the bottom of a freezing lake is a terrible way to go, but Garrow is not most of us. As he sank, he looked around for the cord release that would pop the back window open. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find it. So rather than fumble around futilely, while water rushed into his cab, Garrow smashed the back window using his elbow.

Now he was free from his skid loader, but he still had to swim 100 feet through pitch-black, ice-covered water and hope that he could find the hole that he fell through. Miraculously, he managed it, and emerged from the ice with little more than a perforated eardrum.

However, his ordeal wasn’t over yet. Garrow had to walk a mile to the main road in soaking wet clothes with a wind chill of -22 degrees Fahrenheit, and then stand at the side of the road freezing because not a single motorist stopped for him.

He only managed to get a ride to the hospital because a familiar contractor happened to drive by. To add to his plight, Garrow was contacted by the Ministry of Environment and was told to get his skid loader out of their lake by June.

4. Everything That Could Go Wrong With a Spaceship Landing Did

In 1969, at the height of the space race, Russian Cosmonaut Boris Volynov was flying a solo re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere on Soyuz 5. He was returning after having just dropped off two colleagues on another ship, and unfortunately, designated driver gigs are as awful in space as they are on Earth. During re-entry, the equipment module on Soyuz 5 failed to detach, which messed up the balance of the spacecraft and caused it to turn around.

This was a major problem, as the heat of bursting through Earth’s atmosphere was expected to burn away a good three inches of the special ablator coating in the thicker side of the vessel, which had a good six inches of it. Unfortunately, Volynov was now flying back into Earth backward, and the side of his ship facing the flames was just a mere inch thick.

To add to this, his body was also being submitted to nine times the gravitation force of Earth, making all attempts to fix the dire situation border-line impossible. At this point, ground control was already busy passing around a hat to collect money for his family. Volynov was facing certain death until he suddenly noticed something: The malfunctioning part of the ship that had failed to detach was also getting sheared off by intense heat. Summoning all his strength, he managed to maneuver the Soyuz 5 to its correct position in the nick of time.

Problem solved! Well, not exactly. He had new problems to contend with. The ships parachute had taken damage and could only partially deploy. To add to this, the rockets designed to soften the landing had also failed completely. Soyuz 5 hit the ground like a meteor. Volynov survived this too, but he was thrown around the cabin and broke a number of teeth.

He now had another problem to contend with. He had landed in the Ural Mountains, far away from his intended landing spot in Kazakhstan. The weather outside was -36 degrees Fahrenheit. If he stayed put, he’d be long dead before anyone rescued him.

When the rescue team arrived hours later, they found an empty Soyuz 5. However, they followed a set of footprints, peppered with blood and bits of teeth, and found Volynov warming himself in a peasant hut, which he had managed to locate by following a distant column of smoke.

5. Scientists Witness a Volcanic Eruption… From Inside the Volcano!

In January 1993, a group of scientists from 15 different countries gathered in Colombia to assess the danger of the 9,000 foot Galeras Volcano, which has irrupted irregularly for centuries. The volcanologists thought it would be fairly safe as it had last erupted six months earlier, and no seismic activity indicated that it would do so again. Therefore, 16 people ventured into its cone to gather samples and valuable information.

To its credit, the volcano waited until the most dramatic moment to launch its attack. An hour earlier, and all the scientists would have perished as they stood right at the inner crater. An hour later, and they would have been at a relatively safe distance. But no, Galeras waited until they had just stopped work for the day, and still had a sporting (yet slim) chance of escaping. Then, and only then, did the ground start to rumble. The volcano erupted and sent a 90-story cloud of ash, smoke, and gas into the air.

Three scientists were hit with a blast of heat so hot that it reduced them to ash. Six were bombarded and crushed to death by scalding rocks. When the dust settled, nine scientists had been killed, and those who were still alive were seriously injured.

Dr. Stanley Williams, the leader of the group, was standing right by the crater’s rim when the eruption came. He managed to avoid the blast of heat, but was still assaulted by a maelstrom of white-hot boulders. A rock struck him in the head, instantly shattering his skull and sending bone fragments deep into his brain. He managed to stumble away, only to have his legs savaged by another rock bombardment.

That might have been the end for him, if it wasn’t for two of his colleagues, Marta Calvache and Patty Mothes. Both had inexplicably decided to climb toward the volcanic eruption to look for any survivors. They managed to locate Williams and drag him to safety.



Kolkata’s Howrah Bridge Turns 75! Did You Know It Survived a Japanese Air Attack?

In 1946, a census was conducted to count the daily traffic footfall on the state-of-the-art Howrah Bridge. The figures registered were 27,400 vehicles, 121,100 pedestrians and 2,997 cattle.

Contrast the above information with a 2007 report, which showed a daily flow of 90,000 vehicles, out of which 15,000 were goods vehicles.

The iconic bridge in the world is regarded as the “Gateway to Kolkata” since it connects the city to Howrah, and turned 75, this February. Of course, the bullock-carts of yesteryears have been replaced with high-end luxury cars.

Apart from being a pathway for various modes of transport, this iconic suspension-type balanced cantilever bridge has been the backdrop of many intense film scenes. Remember Ajay Devgn getting gunned down while riding a bike down the bridge in Yuva, or the dramatic Durga Puja celebrations under the bridge, as depicted in Gunday?

Many movie scenes used the bridge in the backdrop, starting with Bimal Roy’s 1953 classic Do Bigha Zameen, to Garth Davis’ Academy Award-nominated 2016 film Lion.

The Howrah Bridge made quite the impact before it was fully constructed. One night, during construction, workers were removing muck, trying to fix a cassion. The entire mass plunged 2 feet, and the ground shook. The intense impact caused a seismograph at Kidderpore, to register an earthquake. Interestingly once the muck cleared, many interesting objects of value, like anchors, cannons, cannon-balls, brass vessels, and coins dating back to the era of the East India Company were found.

Commissioned in 1943, the Howrah Bridge had a quiet opening. Even though it was a pioneering construction, a behemoth much ahead of its time, the Government decided to play things down, due to the fear of a Japanese air attack, since World War II was raging during that time.

A gigantic technical marvel, ahead of its time

One unique feature of this enormous bridge is that no nuts and bolts have been used in its construction. The steel fabrication has been riveted into place to hold the entire span of the bridge over the river Hooghly.

26,500 tonnes of steel, mostly supplied by Tata Steel, single monolith caissons of dimensions 55.31 x 24.8 metres, with 21 shafts, each 6.25-metre square, and sixteen 800-tonne capacity hydraulic jacks, amongst other materials, were used in the construction of the bridge.

Walk along the bridge’s massive length, and you will feel dwarfed and insignificant, for a good reason. The structure has a central span of 1,500 feet between centres of main towers and a suspended span of 564 feet. The main towers are 280 feet high above the monoliths and 76 feet apart at the top. The anchor arms are 325 feet each, while the cantilever arms are 468 feet each.

The bridge deck hangs from panel points in the lower chord of the main trusses with 39 pairs of hangers. There are cross girders, stringer girders, and floor beams that complete the intricate construction. Any bridge sways in the wind. The Howrah Bridge has special expansion and articulation joints, to compensate for turbulence.

A mammoth maintenance routine

Naturally, a structure this huge, serving as a roadway to so much transport, needs to be kept at its optimum condition. You’d think that the bridge would need a natural disaster to shake its foundations, but regular daily life puts a strain on the structure.

The maintenance of this gargantuan bridge is no easy task. Just ask the Kolkata Port Trust, which, post a 2003 investigation, spent Rs 5,00,000 annually, just to clean the bird droppings that were corroding joints and other parts of the bridge. In 2004, it cost Rs 6.5 million, to paint the 24 million square feet of the bridge, using 26,500 litres of aluminium paint and zinc chromate primers.

A cultural icon that would not be here today

We might not have had the same Howrah Bridge, if it ironically, weren’t for World War II. Before its construction, a global tender was floated, and a German company turned out to be the lowest bidder. Increasing hostilities in 1935 resulted in the German contract being cancelled, with the tender going to India’s Braithwaite Burn and Jessop Construction Company Limited.

The same war, which saw the bridge come to life, also threatened to destroy it. While the war was in full swing, India found herself in the position of a de-facto ally to Britain and the Western Allied Powers. Naturally the Japanese, part of the opposition, bombed Kolkata from 1942 to 1944, trying to destroy the bridge, and operations at the seaport. The British responded swiftly, even turning Kolkata’s Red Road, into a runway for Spitfires to take off.

The quiet hero during this time of crisis was the 978 Balloon Squadron. The British set up balloons, attached to the ground by several steel cables. These balloons prevented bombers from going low and hitting targets. The planes would get stuck in the cables and crash. The Japanese Air Force flew many sorties over Kolkata, bombing the central business district and the docks.

As many as 131 bombs were dropped on the 10th, 16th and 28th of December 1942 and 17th and 23rd of January 1943. The attack on 23rd was the most devastating with over 70 bombs being dropped over the dock area and the casualty on that day was nearly 500.

Let us appreciate this giant superstructure, which has stood tall for aeons.

Unfortunately, today, the most significant threat the iconic Howrah Bridge faces isn’t from Japanese fighter planes or their bombs, but from corrosive spit containing tobacco, pan-masala and other acidic, poisonous ingredients.

A 2011 inspection by Kolkata Port Trust authorities, calculated the damage—a total of Rs 2 million had to be spent, to cover parts of the bridge with fibreglass, to avoid corrosion due to spitting.

Spitting remains the biggest threat to this bridge, and a 2013 report in The Guardian mentions the bridge’s Chief Engineer, AK Mehra, who said that the slaked lime and paraffin in the poisonous spit are highly corrosive. In some areas, the steel pillars have been damaged by as much as 60 percent.

During World War II, when Kolkata was under attack, worried citizens, with a bag full of Vaseline, and bandages, would run to air-raid shelters, after safely hiding their earthen jars which contained their drinking water supply.

Those citizens if alive today, would surely be surprised when they realise the iconic Howrah Bridge which survived the Japanese bombing might not survive the Indian habit of spitting.

Source…www.the betterindia.com


How the Maharajah Got Its Wings: The Story of Air India’s Iconic Mascot…

One of India’s most recognisable and loved mascots, Air India’s portly Maharajah with folded hands has held a special place in the hearts of its citizens for years.

“We can call him the Maharajah for want of a better description. But his blood isn’t blue. He may look like royalty, but he isn’t royal. He is capable of entertaining the Queen of England and splitting a beer with her butler. He is a man of many parts: lover boy, sumo wrestler, pavement artist, vendor of naughty post cards, Capuchin monk, Arab merchant…”

These are the words of Bobby Kooka, the man who conceived Air India’s Maharajah nearly 72 years ago. One of India’s most recognisable and loved mascots, this portly figure in regal garb has held a special place in the hearts of its citizens for years.

Here’s the fascinating story of Air India’s iconic Maharajah.

A part of Air India’s campaign to distinguish itself from its peers, the jovial and rotund Maharajah first made his appearance on an in-flight memo pad in the mid-1940s. He was conceived by SK (Bobby) Kooka, who was then a Commercial Director with Air India and sketched by Umesh Rao, an artist at J Walter Thompson in Bombay.

Back then, India was known as the “Land of the Maharajas” and Air India was its only international carrier, flying to destinations such as Cairo, Prague, Damascus, Zurich and Istanbul. So Kooka wanted to create an illustration for Air India’s letterhead that would symbolise graciousness and elegant living.







SK Kooka with Captain V Vishwanath in May 1948 
It was somewhat along these lines that his creators, Kooka and Rao, gave him a distinctive personality, luxuriant moustache, aquiline nose and the quintessentially Indian turban. Eventually, the regal figure became Air-India’s mascot for its advertising and sales promotion activities.

For the next few years, the Maharajah was ingeniously used by India’s national airline to introduce new flight routes. His funny antics and quirky puns also allowed Air India to promote its services with subtle humour and unmatched panache.

For instance, one of the posters from Air India’s “retro collection” shows the Maharajah as a Russian Kalinka dancer to advertise its flight to Moscow. Another one shows him on a speedboat surfing in Australia with the boat replaced by two mermaids. Yet another one shows him being carried as a prey, hands and feet tied, by two lions in the jungles of Nairobi.

Here are some iconic posters that show the Maharajah in his quirky avatars, looking quite at home in famous locations around the world.

              Photo Source: Air India on Imgur.

   As such, the Maharajah came dressed in various garbs, but his trademark twirly moustache and his roly-poly stature remained — until 2017 when he lost of a bit of his flab and traded his traditional attire for blue jeans, trainers and a low-slung satchel to align himself with the modern times.

Unsurprisingly, the Maharajah has won numerous national and international awards for Air India for originality in advertising and publicity.

Interestingly, at one point in time, the mascot’s regal connotations triggered a controversy with politicians expressing doubts about using such a symbol to represent a nation with socialist aspirations. As a result, Air India did away with the Maharajah in 1989. But there was such a hue and cry from various quarters that the popular mascot had to be brought back.

In fact, during these years, Maharajah stickers and dolls were common in most middle-class Indian homes, even those where air travel was considered a luxury!


                                                                       So like all great men, the Maharajah has had his critics. But the millions of travellers who love him far outnumber them. For many of them, the inimitable mascot is a real person, almost like a friend who reaches out with warmth and hospitality, even to the farthest corners of the world.

As Rahul Da Cunha, the ad man behind the equally iconic Amul India campaign, once said,

“The Amul girl and the Air India Maharaja are the most brilliant characters ever created. The Maharaja encapsulates everything Air India should be: Indian luxury, hospitality, services and above all, royalty. It is royalty combined with humility. What can be a more iconic symbol for an Indian carrier?”


http://www.the better india.com





When Donald Trump demanded a role in Home Alone 2 in exchange of a shoot in his hotel !!!!!!

In an interview, Matt Damon mentioned how President Trump would only let the crew of the film on his properties if they wrote him a part in it. That’s how he featured in Home

Alone 2: Lost in New York. Donald Trump and Macauley Culkin in a scene from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

Back in 1992, Donald Trump played a six-second cameo role in the adventure/comedy movie Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. And now, Hollywood actor Matt Damon has spilled the truth behind the “apparent” cameo appearance.

Damon revealed the deal that Trump made to the filmmakers in exchange for the use of his Manhattan hotel for the shoot.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 46-year-actor told that President Trump will only let the crew of the film on his properties if they write him a part in the movie.

He said, “The deal was that if you wanted to shoot in one of his buildings, you had to write him in a part.”

Adding, “[Director] Martin Brest had to write something in Scent of a Woman, and the whole crew was in on it.”

“You have to waste an hour of your day with a bullshit shot: Donald Trump walks in and Al Pacino’s like, ‘Hello, Mr. Trump!’ You had to call him by name and then he exits,” noted Damon.

“You waste a little time so that you can get the permit, and then you can cut the scene out. But I guess in Home Alone 2 they left it in,” he explained.

The Downsizing star also revealed that he has never met Trump in person and he clearly isn’t a fan of him.

Damon is currently promoting his new movie Suburbicon at the Venice Film Festival alongside Hollywood actors George Clooney and Julianne Moore.





வரலாறு பேசும் அரிய புகைப்படத்தை விட்டு சென்ற விண்வெளி வீரர்!

மந்தாரமான கறுப்பு நிற திரை… கீழே பிரகாசமாக படர்ந்திருக்கும்  நீல நிறம். குட்டியாகத் தெரியும் பொம்மை போன்ற உருவம்.. ஏதோ கிராபிக்ஸ் காட்சி போன்று தோன்றலாம். ஆனால் இது விண்வெளியில் பதிவான உண்மை காட்சி. கீழே படர்ந்திருக்கும் நீல நிறம்தான் நாம் வாழும் பூமி. கறுப்பு திரை விண்வெளி. குட்டி பொம்மை போன்று மிதந்து கொண்டிருப்பவர் விண்வெளி வீரர் புரூஸ் மெக்கண்டில்ஸ் (Bruce McCandless).                                                                                                                             








இந்த புகைப்படம் 1984ம் ஆண்டு பதிவானது. எந்த பிடிமானமும் இல்லாமல் சுதந்திரமாக (untethered with nothing) விண்வெளியில் வலம் வந்த முதல் வீரர் என்னும் பெருமைப்பெற்றவர்  புரூஸ் மெக்கண்டில்ஸ். இவர் தனது 80 வயதில் கடந்த 21ம் தேதி காலமானார். அவரை பெருமைப்படுத்தும் விதமான அவரின் சாதனை நிமிடங்களை நாசா வெளியிட்டு வருகிறது. அவரின் இந்த புகைப்படம் விண்வெளி வரலாற்று பக்கங்களில் சிறந்த பக்கமாக விளங்கும் என்று புகழாரம் சூட்டியுள்ளது நாசா!

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We’re saddened by the loss of retired astronaut Bruce McCandless II. Most known for being the 1st human to free-float on a shuttle spacewalk, he also served as the Apollo 11 moonwalkers’ link to mission control and helped launch @NASAHubblehttps://www.nasa.gov/astronautprofiles/mccandless 




பறவைகள் மோதிய விமானம்… ஆற்றில் இறக்கிய பைலட்… விமான வரலாற்றில் ஒரு ‘வாவ்’ சம்பவம்!











2009 ஆண்டு ஜனவரி 15 குளிர்காலத்தின் வியாழக்கிழமை. நியூயார்க் நகரம் எப்போதும் போல இயங்கிக் கொண்டிருக்கிறது. லகுவார்டியா விமானநிலையம் பரபரப்பாக இருக்கிறது. விமானங்கள் வருவதும் போவதுமாக இருக்கிறது. விமானங்களுக்கு ஓடுபாதையில் இறங்க வேண்டிய நேரத்தை சிக்னலாக வழங்கிக் கொண்டிருக்கிறார்கள். லகுவார்டியாவிலிருந்து US ஏர் பஸ் 1549  A320 என்கிற விமானம் நார்த் கர்லோநியாவில் உள்ள சார்லோட்டி விமான நிலையத்திற்குப் புறப்படத் தயாராகிறது. 66 டன் எடை கொண்ட விமானம் இரண்டு என்ஜின்களைக் கொண்டது. இரண்டு என்ஜின்களும் 40000 குதிரைத் திறன் கொண்டவை. பைலட்டின் பெயர் செஷ்லே சுல்லேன்பெர்கர் (Chesley Sullenberger). வயது 57. இவர் அமெரிக்க விமானப்படையில் பைலட்டாக  இருந்தவர். மொத்தம் 19663 மணி நேரம் பறந்தவர். அதில் 4765 மணி நேரம் A320 விமானத்தில் பயணித்தவர்.

ஏர் பஸ் 1549  A320 விமானத்தில் 150 பயணிகளும் ஐந்து விமானச் சிப்பந்திகளும் பயணிக்கிறார்கள். விமானம் கிளம்புவதற்கான ஒப்புதல் நிலைய அதிகாரிகளிடமிருந்து கிடைக்கிறது. விமான நிலையத்தின் நான்காவது ஓடுபாதையிலிருந்து மாலை 3:24:56 நொடிகளுக்கு விமானம் புறப்படுகிறது.

விமானம் 2818 அடி உயரத்தில் 343 கிலோமீட்டர் வேகத்தில் பறந்துக் கொண்டிருக்கிறது. விமான முகப்புப் பகுதியில் விமானத்தின் முன்பாக பறவைகள் வருவதை பைலட் பார்க்கிறார். அவை கனடா கீஸ் வகை பறவைகள். 3:27:11  பறவைகள் விமானத்தின் எஞ்சின் பகுதியில் மோதுகின்றன. பறவைகள் மோதியதில் விமானத்தின் இரண்டு என்ஜின்களும் பழுதாகின்றன. விமானம் பழுதானதை உணர்கிற பைலட் உடனே விமான நிலைய கட்டுப்பாட்டு அறைக்குத் தகவலைத் தெரிவிக்கிறார். 3:27:33 வினாடிகளில் “விமானத்தில் பறவைகள் மோதிவிட்டன.  உடனே விமானத்தை லகுவார்டியாவில் தரை இறக்க வேண்டும் ஓடுபாதையை கிளியர் செய்து கொடுங்கள்” என்கிறார். நிலைமையின் தீவிரத்தை அறியாத விமான நிலைய அதிகாரிகள் விமானத்தை நியூ ஜெர்சியில் இருக்கிற டேடேர்போரோ விமான நிலையத்தில் இறக்குங்கள் எனத் தகவல் சொல்கிறார்கள்.

“விமானத்தை டேடர்போரோவில் இறக்குவதற்குச் சாத்தியமில்லை” என பைலட் பதிலளிக்கிறார். விமானம் ஜார்ஜ் வாஷிங்டன் பாலத்திற்கு மேலாகப் பறந்துக்கொண்டிருக்கிறது. பயணிகளுக்கு எந்தத் தகவலும் வழங்கப்படவில்லை. விமானத்தில் இருக்கிற 150 பயணிகளையும் காப்பாற்றியாக வேண்டிய அசாதாரண சூழ்நிலை. நொடிக்கு 18 அடி கீழ் நோக்கி விமானம் சென்றுகொண்டிருக்கிறது. தீவிரத்தை உணர்கிற பைலட் 3:28:10 நேரத்தில் விமானத்தை அட்சன் பகுதியில் இறக்குவதாக விமான நிலையத்திற்குத் தெரிவிக்கிறார். ஆனால், விமான நிலைய அதிகாரிகள் ”அட்சன் பகுதியிலா வேண்டாம்” என்கிறார்கள். காரணம் அட்சன் என்பது ஓடுதள பகுதி அல்ல என்பதே. நியூயார்க் நகரத்தில் இருக்கிற ஒரு ஆறு. ஜார்ஜ் வாஷிங்டன் பாலம் இருக்கிற நகரின் பரபரப்பான பகுதி. மொத்த விமான நிலையமும் பதற்றத்திற்கு வருகிறது. அட்சன் ஆறு ஐக்கிய அமெரிக்காவின் நியூயார்க்கின் கிழக்குப் பகுதியின் ஊடாகச் செல்லும் ஆறு. வடக்கிலிருந்து தெற்கு நோக்கி ஓடும் ஆற்றின் நீளம் 507 கிலோமீட்டர்கள்.

வேறு வழியின்றி விமானத்தை பைலட் அட்சன் ஆற்றுப் பகுதியில் இறக்க முடிவு செய்கிறார். பயணிகளுக்கு நிலைமை எடுத்துச் சொல்லப்படுகிறது. விமான ஒலிபெருக்கியின் மூலம் விமானிப் பயணிகளுடன் உரையாடுகிறார். பயணிகள் பயத்தில் உறைகிறார்கள். அடுத்து என்ன நடக்கும் என்பதை யூகிக்க முடியாத சூழல். விமான நிலையக் கட்டுப்பட்டு அறையில் இருக்கிற அதிகாரிகள் நியூயார்க் கடற்படைக்குத் தகவல் கொடுக்கிறார்கள். கடற்படையின் படகுகள் கப்பல்கள் குறிப்பிட்ட இடத்திற்குக் கிளம்புகின்றன. பாதுகாப்பு ஹெலிகாப்டர்கள், படகுகள் என அட்சன் ஆறு மிகப்பெரிய விபத்திற்கு தயாராகிறது

3:30  நிமிடத்திற்கு பைலட் விமானத்தை அட்சன் ஆற்றில் இறக்குகிறார். ஆற்றுக்கும் விமானத்திற்குமான இடைவெளி 500 அடியிலிருந்து தீவிரமாகக் கண்காணிக்கப்படுகிறது. 100 அடி, 50 அடி, 20 அடி, 10 அடி எனக் குறைகிறது. 0.  அவ்வளவுதான். அதிபயங்கரச் சத்தத்துடன் விமானம் ஆற்றில் பாய்கிறது. அட்சன் பகுதிக்குப் பக்கத்தில் இருக்கிற மக்கள் பேராபத்தை உணர்கிறார்கள். விமானம் ஆற்றில் பாய்ந்த அடுத்த நிமிடம் ஆற்றில் மிதக்க ஆரம்பிக்கிறது. நல்ல வேளையாக விமானம் தீப்பிடிக்கவில்லை. விமானத்தின் தானியங்கி கதவுகள் மூடிக்கொள்கின்றன. கதவுகள் மனித முயற்சியில் திறக்கப்படுகிறது. அடித்துப் பிடித்துக்கொண்டு பயணிகள் விமானத்திலிருந்து வெளியே வருகிறார்கள். சிலர் பதற்றத்தில் வெளியே குதிக்கிறார்கள். குளிர்காலம் என்பதால் நீர் ஐந்து டிகிரி குளிராக இருக்கிறது. விமானத்திலிருந்து வெளியே வந்தவர்களை குளிர் வாட்டி வதைக்க ஆரம்பிக்கிறது. விமானத்தின் இறக்கைப் பகுதிகளில் ஏறி நின்று  கொண்டு உதவிக்கு அழைக்கிறார்கள். விமானம் ஆற்றில் இறங்கிய நான்கு நிமிடங்களில் கடற்படையின் படகுச் சம்பவ இடத்திற்கு வந்து சேர்கிறது. பயணிகளில் ஒருவர் மாற்றுத் திறனாளி. விமானம் கொஞ்சம் கொஞ்சமாக நீரில் மூழ்க ஆரம்பிக்கிறது. கடற்படை வீரர்கள் பயணிகள் எல்லோரையும் பத்திரமாக மீட்கிறார்கள். படகுகள் மூலம் எல்லோரும் மீட்டு ஆற்றின் கரைக்குக் கொண்டுவரப்படுகிறார்கள். 3:55 நிமிடத்தில் விமானத்தின் கடைசிப் பயணியும் பத்திரமாக மீட்கப்படுகிறார். எல்லோரும் காப்பாற்றபட்டார்கள் என்பதை உறுதி செய்கிற விமான பைலட் கடைசியாக வெளியே வருகிறார். ஐந்து பயணிகள் பெரிய காயங்களுடன் மருத்துவமனையில் சேர்க்கப்படுகிறார்கள். எழுபத்தி எட்டு பயணிகளுக்குச் சிறிய காயங்கள். சிலர் குளிர் காய்ச்சலுக்கு ஆளானார்கள். ஒரு பயணிக்கு விமானத்தின் எரிபொருள் கண்ணில் பட்டதில் பார்வை போனது.

பெரிதாக எந்த அசம்பாவிதமும் அந்த விபத்தில் நிகழவில்லை. பயணிகள் பைலட்டை தூக்கிவைத்து கொண்டாடுகிறார்கள். விபத்து நடந்த இரண்டாம் நாள் விமானம் ஆற்றுப் படுக்கையிலிருந்து மீட்டு நியூ ஜெர்சிக்குக் கொண்டு செல்லப்படுகிறது. விஷயம் நீதி மன்றத்துக்குச் செல்கிறது. விமான நிர்வாகம் விமான பைலட்டை குற்றம் சாட்டுகிறது. விமானத்தை டேடர்போரோ விமான நிலையத்தில் தரை இறக்கி இருக்கலாம்; அதற்கான நேரம் இருந்தது. ஆனால் விமானி அவசரப்பட்டு விமானத்தை ஆற்றில் இறக்கிவிட்டார் என வாதாடுகிறது. விமானி செஷ்லே சுல்லேன்பெர்கர் அந்த நேரத்தில் பயணிகள் உயிர் குறித்து மட்டுமே சிந்தித்ததாகச் சொல்கிறார். அதை ஏற்றுக்கொள்ளாத விமான நிறுவனம் நீதிமன்ற உத்தரவுபடி ஒரு விமானத்தை சோதனை முயற்சியாக விபத்து நடந்த இடத்திலிருந்து டேடர்போரோ விமான நிலையத்தி இறக்கிக் காட்டுகிறது. ஆனால், விபத்துக்குள்ளான விமானத்தின் விமானி ”சோதனை செய்யப்பட்ட விமானிக்கு என்ன நடக்கப்போகிறது எனத் தெரியும். அதனால் அவர் எளிதாக விமானத்தை தரையிறக்கி விட்டார். மேலும் அவர் அதற்காகப் பயிற்சி பெற்றிருக்கிறார். ஆனால் என்னுடைய நிலை வேறு” எனச் சொல்லி வாதிடுகிறார்.

விமான நிர்வாகம் அதை ஏற்றுக் கொள்ளாமல் மீண்டும் ஒரு  சோதனை முயற்சியில் இறங்குகிறது. நடுவானில் விமானத்தின் இரு எஞ்ஜின்களையும் செயலிழக்கச் செய்து டேடர்பெரோ விமான நிலையத்தில் தரை இறக்குகிற முயற்சியில் இறங்கியது. விமானம் பெரிய சுவற்றில் மோதி விபத்துக்குள்ளாகிறது. அனைத்தையும் ஆராய்ந்த நீதிமன்றம் செஷ்லே சுல்லேன்பெர்கர் செய்தது சரி எனச் சொல்லி தீர்ப்பளிக்கிறது. செஷ்லே சுல்லேன்பெர்கர் விமானி பல பதக்கங்களைப் பெறுகிறார். விமான நிறுவனம் பயணிகளுக்கு இழப்பீடை வழங்கியது.

இந்தச் சம்பவத்தை மையமாக வைத்து ‘சல்லி(Sully)’ என்றொரு படம் வெளியானது. டாம் ஹாங்க்ஸ் நடித்திருந்தார்.

Source….George Anthony in http://www.vikatan.com


வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை….” என் முதல் கனவு “


என் முதல் கனவு
அம்மாவின் கருவறையில் நான் கேட்ட முதல் ஒலி
அம்மாவின் குரலும் பாட்டும் …இதுதான் உன் அம்மா
என்று என் அம்மாவின்  முகத்தை என் மனத்
திரையில் படம் பிடித்துக் காட்டியது
என் முதல்  கனவே ..அதுவே  நான்
பார்த்த முதல் ஒலியும் ஒளியும் !
நான் கண்ட அந்த முதல் கனவு  நனவு ஆனது என்
அம்மாவின் முகம் நான் பார்த்த முதல் நாள் !
வாழ்வில் எத்தனை எத்தனை கனவுகள் !
கனவு அத்தனையும் நனவாகவில்லையே !
அத்தனை ஏன் ?  நேற்று இரவு கண்ட
கனவு என்ன என்று விடிந்தால் புரிவதில்லையே !
என் முதல் கனவு மட்டும் எனக்கு இன்னும்
மறக்க வில்லையே !  ஏன் ?
அது எனக்கு முதல் கனவு மட்டும் அல்ல !
நனவை கனவில் அடையாளம் காட்டிய
இனிய புதுமைக் கனவும் அதுவே !
இன்றும் என்றும் அதுவே எனக்கு
முதல் கனவு ! முடிவே இல்லாத
முதன்மை கனவும் அதுவே !
My Kavithai  in http://www.dinamani.com dated 26th Nov 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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







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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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






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

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

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






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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை…. ” புதிய ஓட்டம் ” …


புதிய ஓட்டம்
ஓட்டமாய் ஓடுது வாழ்க்கை …தினம் தினம்
ஒரு ஓட்டம் …புதிய ஓட்டம் !
என் தாத்தாவின் கை பிடித்து ஓடிய நான்
இன்று என் பேரனின் பின்னால் ஓடுகிறேன் !
பேரன் குரல் கேட்டு ஓடுகிறேன்  அவன்
சொல்லும்படி  ஆடுகிறேன் … இது புதிய
ஆட்டம்  நான் ஓடும் ஓட்டத்தில் !
இந்த புதிய ஓட்டமும் ஆட்டமும் சலிக்கவில்லையே
எனக்கு…தினம் தினம் நான் புதியதாய் பிறப்பதால் !
புதிய ரத்தம் என்னுள்ளே புது வேகத்தில் சுரப்பதால் !
புதிய ஓட்டம் ஓடும் நான் ஒரு வட்டத்துக்குள் சுற்றவில்லை
குட்டிப் பயல்  என்னை கட்டிப் போடவும் இல்லை !
நான் ஓடிக் கொண்டே இருப்பேன் அவன் பின்னால் !
என் ஓட்டம்  நிற்காது அந்த சுட்டிப் பயல் ஒரு
சிகரத்தை எட்டி தொடும் வரையில் !
My Tamil Kavithai in http://www.dinamani.com  dated 1st Oct 2017