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

Advertisements

What a 60 ft Bridge in Salem meant for Script writer Karunanidhi ….!

The dialogues Karunanidhi penned from the bridge made cinema halls reverberate with claps and whistles of movie buffs and catapulted him to greater heights in filmdom and in politics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even after he became a Chief Minister and a national leader, M Karunanidhi never forgot his humble beginnings. Despite his hectic schedule, Karunanidhi would make sure to travel to a 60-foot bridge on the Yercaud Ghat road from time to time.

He often reminisced of the days when he used to sit there and pen unforgettable dialogues for iconic films like Mandri Kumari.

The dialogues he penned from there made cinema halls reverberate with claps and whistles of movie buffs, and catapulted Karunanidhi to greater heights in filmdom and in politics.

After he moved to Madras, it seemed he missed the panoramic view of Salem city from the mountain heights and the fresh air that he used to enjoy at the 60-foot bridge and longed to return to his favourite joint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 60-ft bridge on Yercaud Ghat road where Karunanidhi used to sit and write.

His colourful film career took flight right at Salem. In 1949-50, M Karunanidhi stepped into Modern Theaters as a dialogue writer on the recommendation of poet-cum-lyricist KM Sherif, writes R Venkatasamy, who wrote Mudhalalli, a biography of TR Sundaram, the legendary producer and the owner of Modern Theaters.

Karunanidhi had worked in Coimbatore Central Studios and at many other studios in Kodambakkam, but it was Salem’s Modern Theaters that gave him his big break into the world of Tamil cinema.

The writer of the film Ponmudi, which was under production, had left his work unfinished and TR Sundaram decided to assign Karunanidhi the task of completing it. Sundaram liked his work and Karunanidhi was employed at a monthly salary.

Karunanidhi had with him the script for a stage play based on Tamil epic Kundalakesi. TR Sundaram was impressed by it and figured that it would make a good movie if it was adapted. And this was then converted into the legendary Mandri Kumari.

American movie master Eliss R Duncan, who was the stable director of Modern Theaters, directed the movie. It was a box office hit and made Karunanidhi into an instant celebrity. The film also gave future Chief Minister MG Ramachandran a big turn in his career.

At first, Eliss R Duncan was hesitant to cast MGR as the hero in Mandri Kumari because of a minor curve on his chin. However, Karunanidhi strongly recommended MGR, suggesting that a short moustache can hide the flaw. The idea was accepted and the film took MGR to great heights in his film career and thus forged a lasting bond between him and Karunanidhi, and both, despite becoming political rivals, had a deep mutual respect for each other.

Mandri Kumari was also the first time that the dialogue-writer of the movie was given credit on the movie posters, writes Venkatasamy. Karunanidhi was one of the few celebrities recognised for his signature dialogues.

Karunanidhi’s contemporaries in Modern Theaters were lyricist Kanadasan, MGR and Janaki. The latter two became chief ministers as well. NT Ramarao, who also worked for Modern Theaters, became the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A rare photo of Karunanidhi with his colleagues at Modern Theaters, including late lyricist Kanadasan

Such was the platform that Modern Theaters gave to talented people. It was a one-of-its-kind studio outside Kollywood that made 118 films in all South Indian languages as well as in English. It produced the first colour film in Tamil – Albabavum Narpathu Thirudarkalum. TR Sundaram was seen as a towering figure and Karunanidhi, MGR and Kanadasan who were celebrities, used to call him, “Mudhalalli” (master), writes the biographer.

What remains of Modern Theaters today is only the iconic arch on the Yercaud Road in Salem.

Karunanidhi’s association with Salem’s Modern Theaters remembered by garlanding a poster on the iconic arch.

There is hardly anyone still alive who remembers Karunanidhi’s life in Salem at Sanathi Street in Fort Salem except Vekatasamy (79). The tiny tiled house where he lived survived till recently.

Whenever Karunanidhi came to Salem, he would drive past the arch to the sixty-foot bridge and spend time there alone, remembering his humble beginnings. For the old-timers, a stopover at the bridge will surely conjure up the unforgettable song “Varai, nee Varai,” as it was here that the song was shot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The spot on Yercaud Ghat road where Karunanidhi used to sit and write.

The last time he was reported going to the place was in 2009 when he came to inaugurate the hi-tech government hospital in Salem.

Source…..G.Rajasekaran in http://www.the newsminute.com

Natarajan

10th August 2018

 

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

 

This image of a migrant child went viral. Here’s the story behind it……

Photographer John Moore, who took the picture that has come to symbolise the horror of the new family-separation policy in the United States, reveals what happened that night.

MCALLEN, TX – JUNE 12: A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018 in McAllen, Texas. The asylum seekers had rafted across the Rio Grande from Mexico and were detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents before being sent to a processing center for possible separation. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is executing the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy towards undocumented immigrants. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also said that domestic and gang violence in immigrants’ country of origin would no longer qualify them for political asylum status. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A two-year-old girl in a bright pink shirt is crying. It’s the middle of the night, and she’s only visible thanks to bright lights, likely from cars and cameras. She’s sobbing, her head tilted back in fear as she looks up at a strange man touching her mother. But nobody can soothe her.

This image of a Honduran girl crying as United States Border Patrol agents search her mother has come to represent the heartbreak being experienced by illegal immigrants separated from their children.

Pulitzer prize-winning photographer John Moore has been documenting the immigrant experience for a decade, riding along with both Border Patrol agents and immigrant trains in order to get the story.

Speaking of the image, he speaks about the June 12 ride-along that resulted in the emblematic picture — not to mention the other heartbreaking photos he captured of this mother and child.

That fateful night                                                                                                                                   

On June 12, after seeking access, he accompanied Border Patrol agents to the banks of the Rio GrandeRiver on the outskirts of McAllen, Texas.

Waiting with the guards for hours, he finally heard rafts coming across the river. They waited a little longer and then suddenly moved in to see nearly dozen of them – mostly women and children.

Describing that moment itself, Moore says, “Most of these families were scared, to various degrees. “I doubt any of them had ever done anything like this before — flee their home countries with their children, travelling thousands of miles through dangerous conditions to seek political asylum in the United States, many arriving in the dead of night.”

While the agents were trying to get the families into buses, he finally spoke to one woman who identified herself as a Honduran. She was travelling with her two-year-old. “The mother told me they had been travelling for a full month and were exhausted,” says Moore, who speaks Spanish. “They were taken into custody with a group of about 20 immigrants, mostly women and children, at about 11 pm,” he was quoted as saying to Getty Images FOTO.

Describing what happened next, Moore says, “Before transporting them to a processing center, transportation officers body searched everyone and the mother was one of the last. She was told to set the child down, while she was searched. The little girl immediately started crying. While it’s not uncommon for toddlers to feel separation anxiety, this would have been stressful for any child. I took only a few photographs and was almost overcome with emotion myself. Then very quickly, they were in the van, and I stopped to take a few deep breaths.”

Moore says he doesn’t know what became of the 2-year-old Honduran girl, adding that the asylum seekers he photographed likely had no idea of the new “zero tolerance” policy that has led to families being separated from their children, since they had been travelling for a month under harsh circumstances.

Source….www.rediffmail.com

Natarajan

MCALLEN, TX – JUNE 12: A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle illuminates a group of Central American asylum seekers before taking them into custody near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018 in McAllen, Texas. The group of women and children had rafted across the Rio Grande from Mexico and were detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents before being sent to a processing center for possible separation. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is executing the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy towards undocumented immigrants. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also said that domestic and gang violence in immigrants’ country of origin would no longer qualify them for political asylum status. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

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

 

 

காஞ்சி வரதராஜப் பெருமாள் கோயிலின் ஆதி மூர்த்தம் எங்கே இருக்கிறார் தெரியுமா? – அத்தி வரதரின் திருக்கதை!

காஞ்சிபுரம் வரதராஜப் பெருமாள் கோயில் திருக்குளத்தில் வாசம் செய்யும் அத்தி வரதரைப் பற்றி ஒரு தகவல் வாட்ஸ்ஆப்பில் பரவி வருகிறது. அடுத்த வருடம் ஜூலை மாதம் 15-ம் தேதி திருக்குளத்தில் வாசம் செய்யும் அத்தி வரதர், வெளியே எழுந்தருளி பக்தர்களுக்குத் திருக்காட்சி தரவிருக்கிறார் என்பதுதான் அந்தத் தகவல். காஞ்சிபுரம் வரதராஜப் பெருமாளின் ஆதி மூர்த்தம்தான் அத்தி வரதர். தற்போது நாம் கருவறையில் தரிசிப்பது வரதராஜப் பெருமாள் என்று சொல்லப்பட்டாலும், உண்மையில் அவர் பழைய சீவரம் பகுதியிலிருந்து கொண்டுவரப்பட்ட தேவராஜப் பெருமாள்தான். இந்தக் கோயிலின் ஆதி மூர்த்தியான அத்தி வரதர் பிரம்ம தேவரால் உருவாக்கப்பட்டவர். அவர்தான் திருக்குளத்தில் வாசம் செய்வதுடன், 40 வருடங்களுக்கு ஒருமுறை வெளியில் எழுந்தருளி பக்தர்களுக்குக் காட்சி தருகிறார். அத்தி வரதரின் புராண வரலாற்றை இங்கே தெரிந்துகொள்ளலாமே…

திருவரங்கம், திருப்பதிக்கு எல்லாம் முந்தைய புராணச் சிறப்பு கொண்டது காஞ்சி வரதராஜப் பெருமாள் கோயில் தலவரலாறு. ஆதியில் சிருஷ்டியை மேற்கொண்ட பிரம்மதேவர், தனது காரியம் செவ்வனே நடைபெற காஞ்சியில் ஒரு யாகம் செய்தார். தன்னை அழைக்காமல் யாகம் செய்த பிரம்மதேவரிடம் கோபம் கொண்ட சரஸ்வதி தேவி, யாகத்துக்கு வரவில்லை. சரஸ்வதி தேவி இல்லாமல் பிரம்மதேவரால் யாகத்தைப் பூர்த்தி செய்ய முடியாது. எனவே, பிரம்ம தேவர் சரஸ்வதி தேவிக்குப் பதிலாக காயத்ரி, சாவித்திரி ஆகியோரின் துணையுடன் யாகத்தைத் தொடங்கினார். சினம் கொண்ட சரஸ்வதி தேவி, பிரம்மதேவரின் யாகசாலையை அழிக்க வேகவதி ஆறாக மாறி வெள்ளப்பெருக்கெடுத்து வந்தாள். பிரம்மதேவரின் யாகத்தைக் காக்கத் திருவுள்ளம் கொண்ட திருமால், நதிக்கு நடுவில் சயனக் கோலம் கொண்டார். வெட்கிய சரஸ்வதி தேவி தன் பாதையை மாற்றிக்கொண்டாள். பிரம்மதேவரின் யாகமும் நிறைவு பெற்றது. தனக்காக வந்து யாகத்தைக் காத்த பெருமாளின் கருணையை எண்ணி நெகிழ்ந்த பிரம்மதேவர், பெருமாளைப் பணிந்து தொழுதார். தேவர்களும் பெருமாளை வணங்கி வரங்களைக் கேட்டனர். அவர்கள் விரும்பிய எல்லா வரங்களையும் கொடுத்ததால், பெருமாள், `வரதர்’ என்ற திருப்பெயர் கொண்டார்.

ஒரு சித்திரை மாதம் திருவோண நட்சத்திரத்தில் பெருமாள் தேவர்கள் அனைவருக்கும் புண்ணியகோடி விமானத்தில் சங்கு, சக்கரம், கதை தாங்கிய திருக்கோலத்தில் காட்சி தந்தார். எனவே, அதே நாளில் பிரம்ம தேவர், தனக்கு தரிசனம் தந்த பெருமாளின் திருவடிவத்தை அத்தி மரத்தில் வடித்து வழிபட்டார். இப்படித்தான் அத்தி வரதர் மண்ணுலகில் எழுந்தருளினார். பிரம்மதேவரால் உருவான அத்திமர வரதராஜரை தேவலோக யானையான ஐராவதம் தனது முதுகில் சுமந்தது. பின்னர் ஐராவதம் சிறு குன்றாக உருமாறி அத்தி (யானை)கிரி, வேழமலை என்று பெயர் பெற்றது. அத்திகிரியில் எழுந்தருளிய பெருமாள் ஞானியர்களுக்கும் தேவர்களுக்கும் வேண்டும் வரங்களை வேண்டியபடியே அருள்புரிந்து வந்தார்.

பின்னர் ஒருமுறை பிரம்மதேவர் அத்தி வரதரை முன்னிருத்தி ஒரு யாகம் செய்தார். யாகத் தீயின் காரணமாக அத்தி வரதர் பின்னப்பட்டுவிட்டார். பிரம்மதேவர் பதறிப் போனார். வேறு எந்த வடிவத்திலும் பெருமாளை உருவாக்க முடியாத சூழலில், பிரம்மா திருமாலை வேண்டினார். அவருடைய ஆலோசனையின்படி, அத்தி வரதரை, கோயிலிலுள்ள நூற்றுக் கால் மண்டபத்துக்கு வடக்கிலுள்ள இரண்டு திருக்குளங்களில் தென் திசையிலுள்ள நீராழி மண்டபத்துக்குக் கீழே உள்ள மற்றொரு மண்டபத்தில் வெள்ளிப் பேழையில் சயனக் கோலத்தில் வைத்தார். யாகத்தீயில் உஷ்ணமான பெருமான், கலியுகம் முழுக்க இந்த அமிர்தசரஸ் எனும் ஆனந்த புஷ்கரணி திருக்குளத்தில் குளிர்ந்த நிலையில் இருப்பார் என்றும், இதனால் எந்தக் காலத்திலும் இந்தத் திருக்குளம் வற்றாது என்றும் பிரம்மதேவருக்குச் சொல்லப்பட்டது. அத்தி வரதர் திருக்குளத்துக்கு அடியே சென்றதும், பழைய சீவரம் என்ற ஊரில் இருந்த தேவராஜப் பெருமாள் அத்திகிரிக்கு அருள வந்தார்.

 

 

 

 

 

ஆதியில் தோன்றிய அத்தி வரதர் நீருக்கடியே அறிதுயிலில் இருக்கிறார். பிரம்மதேவருக்குப் பெருமாள் கட்டளையிட்டபடி, 40 ஆண்டுகளுக்கு ஒருமுறை குளத்து நீரை எல்லாம் இறைத்து விட்டு பெருமாள் மேலே எழுந்தருளுவார். சயன மற்றும் நின்ற கோலமாக 48 நாள்கள் பக்தர்களுக்கு வரதர் சேவை சாதிப்பார். 40 ஆண்டுகளுக்கு ஒருமுறையே இவரைத் தரிசிக்க முடியும் என்பதால் அப்போது பக்தர்கள் கூட்டம் அலைமோதும். வாழ்வில் ஒருமுறையேனும் இவரை தரிசிப்பது மோட்சத்தை அளிக்கும் என்பார்கள். இரண்டாவது முறை யாரேனும் தரிசித்தால் வைகுந்த பதவி பெறுவார்கள் என்பதும் ஐதீகம். மூன்று முறை தரிசித்த மகா பாக்கியவான்களும் சிலருண்டு. 1939 மற்றும் 1979-ம் ஆண்டுகளில் வெளியான அத்தி வரதர் அடுத்த ஆண்டு வெளிப்பட இருக்கிறார்.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

40 வருடங்களுக்கு ஒருமுறை வெளியே எழுந்தருளி பக்தர்களுக்குச் சேவை சாதிக்கும் அத்தி வரதர், அடுத்த வருடம் ஜூலை மாதம் 15-ம் தேதி வெளியே வரப்போகிறார்  என்று தற்போது வாட்ஸ் அப்பில் பரவி வரும் தகவல் பற்றி கோயில் நிர்வாகத்திடம் கேட்டோம். “2019-ம் வருடம் வைகாசி மாதம் நடைபெறும் பிரம்மோற்சவத்தின்போதுதான் அத்தி வரதரை வெளியில் எழுந்தருளச் செய்யும் நாள்கள் குறித்து முடிவு செய்யப்படும். மற்றபடி தற்போது வெளிவரும் தகவல்கள் வதந்திதான்” என்று கூறினார்கள்.

நாளும் கிழமையும் எதுவாக இருந்தால் என்ன? அடுத்த வருடம் அத்தி வரதர் நமக்கெல்லாம் அருள்புரிவதற்காக திருக்குளத்திலிருந்து வெளியே எழுந்தருளவேண்டும்; நாம் கண்கள் குளிரக் குளிர அவரை தரிசித்து அருள்பெறவேண்டும் என்பதே பக்தர்கள் அனைவரின் விருப்பமுமாகும்.

Source…. Mu.HariKamaraj  in .www.vikatan.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