Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tenth Standard Exams - To Scrap or Not To Scrap

Apropos the raging debate in the media and elsewhere on Mr. Kapil Sibal's suggestion of making the tenth standard exams optional to reduce the stress and burden on children, I cannot resist but quote in verbatim letter written by Mr. Rettavayal K.S. Krishnaswamy in The Hindu dated June 30th, 2009.

"Nowhere in the world do lakhs of students score 100 per cent in the examinations conducted by their boards. Only in our country, at least 90 per cent of students score centum in science practical examinations in schools where there are no labs. The rat race to score more has made the student a mark-scoring machine, a teacher a calculator, and the school an industry in India".

Aryankavu - Pics

During my trip in May, I along with my family worshipped at Aryankavu Ayyappa temple. We drove here from Tenkasi. The temple is locating in a scenic setting. Palaruvi , a waterfall, in the dense forest area about 2 km from the temple premises is a major attraction but we did not make it as folks informed us that there was no water there at that time.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Back from the Brink

Read this news item in The Hindu editorial few days back, reproducing extract:

One of the rare parrots of the world, Lear’s macaw has come back from the brink. The rise in the numbers of this intelligent, indigo-coloured, tool-using bird in northeastern Brazil is a fine example of what sustained conservation action can achieve: insulate rare species from chronic threats, and stave off extinction. The story of the twinkle-eyed macaw is uplifting. From fewer than 100 birds two decades ago, its population has risen to an estimated 960. The species had declined, like several other parrots, mainly because it was trapped in the wild to feed the illegal bird trade. Its favoured food, the fruit of the licuri palm, has disappeared in many places. Consequently, the beleaguered macaws are known to raid corn farms — an act that provokes farmers to shoot them. Concern for the bird’s future was so high that it was, until recently, classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in its Red List. An improved population has lowered its threat status to ‘endangered.’ Like all good protection initiatives, the American Bird Conservancy and its Brazilian partner, Fundacao Biodiversitas, focussed on expanding habitat and keeping poachers away from nesting and roosting sites of the macaw, mainly in the Canudos reserve in Bahia.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Top 10 Misspelled Words

According to a new study, these are the top 10 most misspelled words in the English language.

1. Definitely (Definately)
2. Sacrilegious (Sacreligious)
3. Indict (Indite)
4. Manoeuvre (Maneouvre)
5. Bureaucracy (Beaurocracy)
6. Broccoli (Brocolli)
7. Phlegm (Phleghm)
8. Prejudice (Predjudice)
9. Consensus (Conscensus)
10.Unnecessary (Unecessary)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tirunelveli Pics

The first pic is of the Hotel Aryaas where we stayed. It is pretty comfy place with a good restaurant attached to it. Service is friendly but bit tardy.

Second and third pictures are of famed Nellaiappar temple, largest Shiva shrine in Tamil Nadu. This temple is bigger than Madurai's Meenakshi temple.

Fourth picture is of very very popular Iruttukadai whose halwa sells like hot cakes. The shop is pat opposite Nellaiappar temple.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tiruparappu Waterfalls - Pics

This place is just few odd kilometers away from Padmanabhapuram palace. I guess it is 66 kilometers from the town of Kanyakumari. Water was gushing forth when we were there and we had a rollicking time bathing there. A must see place.

Some pics of Padmanabhapuram Palace.

I took these pictures while on a recent vacation to Tirunelveli. Padmanabhapuram palace is about 15 kms from Nagerkoil, which is about 1-1/2 hours drive from Tirunelveli. The palace is quite sprawling and needs couple to three hours to do justice to the place.
Check this link for more information http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Padmanabhapuram_Palace

Friday, June 5, 2009


This is an excerpt from A K Ramanujan's Speaking of Siva.

Consider the world of meaning within this one poem, one of the
vacanas of Basavanna:

The rich
will make temples for Siva.
What shall I,
a poor man,

My legs are pillars,
the body the shrine,
the head a cupola
of gold.

Listen, O lord of the meeting rivers,
things standing shall fall,
but the moving
ever shall stay. [Basavanna poem 820]
[opening lines of intro; p.19]

In the first reading it appears to be primarily an analogy of the temple
with the body - legs as pillars and head a gold cupola; but it turns out
that this is a conventional metaphor:

The different parts of a temple are named after body parts. The two
sides are called the hands or wings, the hasta; a pillar is called a
foot, pAda. The top of the temple is the head, shikhara. The
shrine, the innermost and the darkest sanctum of the temple, is a
garbhagriha, the womb-house. The temple thus carries out in brick and
stone the primordial blueprint of the human body.