Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Danger – Lab zone

Doctor prescribed a blood test. Insisted that the blood test had to be done in their hospital lab.
Doc – “Come in the afternoon to show me the results of the tests”.

Big hospital. Big queues at the labs.

But it was still 8:30am.
Negotiated the queue. Entered the “Blood Collection” area. Told the blood collector - “I want the results early. Doc wants to see it in the afternoon”.
Blood collector replied with the collected sample in a test tube – “Take this and give it to the lab directly in room number 39. Tell them that its urgent.”
Carried the test tube with blood into room number 39, as told by blood collector.

Big hospital. Big lab. Lot of blood.

Came back at 1:30pm.
Asked for blood test result.
Lady 1 – “When did you give blood?”
“At around 9am”
10 mins later
Lady 2 – “We are searching. Give 10 mins.”
10 mins later
Lady 1 – “Here’s the result”
Happy, result read 22….On the path of recovery.

Big hospital. Big queues for doc appointment.

Stood in queue for appointment.
Lady 1 running to me – “Give me the result sheet…Have to check again”. Grabbed the sheet. Ran to lab.
New result sheet issued.
Sad, result read 158…Way behind in the path of recovery.
Lady 1 – “The lab assistant was out for lunch. I read the machine number. Forgot manual multiplication factor. Now lab assistant is back.”

Big hospital. Big mistakes.

Small care for lives?
Get your story published in The Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul – Indian Doctors at BlogAdda

Monday, June 28, 2010

Meetings - A short story/play

All characters are fictional. Any resemblance to any real character is just co-incidence.

Meeting 1
Location - Coffee-day, Bagor
Attendees – Aryan(A), Brinda(B)  

B – It’s nice that you have agreed to meet me. Thanks. You know, we are a traditional family and meeting guys like this is considered a taboo. I heard from papa that our horoscopes match. I did not have a chance to see your photo. But now..

A – Hey, it’s ok. I like bold girls. It is better that we two meet first and decide. Then the family meeting will be a formality. Anyways, I liked your photo. The phone conversation we had yesterday gave some insights into your job also. Good. I do not want another software engg as my wife. So it’s an added pleasure that you are completing your law course. Probably your papa has inspired you into law course. About my job, “Thinking Chips” is a great company and I am a senior Engg there. It pays me well. Chances of onsite chances to America are not rare. Hope this is ok.

B – I want a loving husband. If work is not obstructed by my presence in America, I can join you perhaps. But depends on duration of the trip and my commitments here. My papa is busy with criminal cases. I will work with him in his law firm. You see I am the only daughter for my parents. There’s some responsibility on that front for me.

A – I can understand that. I am the only son for my parents. My dad will retire after 35 yrs of service in “Airplanes India” next month. Then the family load is on me. That’s something I suppose is Ok with you.

B – I love joint families. I can stay happy. 

A – From my side, I am happy with this meeting. I wait for your answer. If you have nothing to talk, we can catch up with families later. Will call and speak to you. Bye

B – Bye.

A and B shake hands and leave.

Meeting 2
Location - Red bagh gardens, Bagor
Attendees – Brinda(B), Chethan(C)

B – You need to act fast. I can’t stand that stupid, Thinking, American, Coffeeday Aryan. He looks like a nut. I love you Chethu. I won’t marry anybody but you. Papa doesn’t want me to marry you. Stupid religions. We will run away.

C – Are you mad? Runaway? No way. Will my religion change if we runaway? I am  not scared to runaway. I will kill that idiot Aryan. How dare he shake hands with you? What will your papa do if that Aryan dies? Arranged marriage is out of question for you after his death. You will be considered inauspicious in your traditional religion. Then your papa has no choice but Chethu.

B – I do not know what you do, but I do not want to marry him.
C - Just do what I tell. Call that Aryan and ask him to meet you on ring road at 8:30pm tomorrow. I will get my boys. They will make sure that Aryan will not see daylight again. Ok?
B – Done. I love you.
C – I love you too.

Meeting 3
Location – Ring road, Bagor
Attendees – Chethan(C), Aryan(A), Brinda (on phone), Some goons

A (on phone) – Hi Brinda. As you mentioned, I am at the ring road junction. Are you stuck in traffic?
B (on phone) – Yes Aryan. Am, on my way. Wait for 10 mins.
A (on phone) – Ok, Bye!

C (on phone) – Darling, Aryan is here. And I have my boys ready.
B (on phone) – Yes, I know dear. Just do what you want. I want to marry you. I will wait for the sweet news.
C (on phone) – ok, Bye!

Goons and Chethan thrash Aryan. Aryan is killed brutally.

C (on phone) – I have finished him. Now nobody can stop mine and your marriage.
B (on phone) –Thanks Chethu. So is Aryan dead?
C (on phone) – Yes…Gone and out.
B (on phone) – Super…see you tomorrow. Bye! Love you.

Meeting 4
Location – Ring road Police station, Bagor
Attendees – Police Inspector(P), Dheerendra(D), Eshwara (E), Brinda, Chethan

B and C are in police custody.
D (looking at B and C) – Who are you to kill my son? Why did you kill my son? What was his mistake?
E – Hey Mister…Do not talk like that to my daughter. Your son died in an accident. Why are you blaming my daughter. I am her lawyer. Talk to me and not to her.
P – Sir, it’s a clear case of murder. The phone records indicate that they plotted for this murder. Post mortem indicates that he was beaten to death.
E - Inspector, prove that in court. Produce my daughter in court.  You are not a judge to decide who killed whom.
D – I will fight it in court. I will not spare the killers. My son’s life is precious. His death is also precious.
E (looking at B and C) – Don’t worry, I will get you out. Whatever it takes.

Meeting 5
Location – Lakeview Bar, Bagor
Attendees – Eshwara (E) and Hanumappa (H)

E – Sir, only you can help my daughter. She is my only kid. I love her. You will be the judge for this case.
H – Yes, Eshwara. But the case is clear.
E – Sir, I will do whatever you want. I want my daughter with me. As requested, I have arranged Rs 25lakhs. I sold my house…for my daughter.
H – Where is it? Send it to my driver. I will see what can be done.
E – Thanks your honor! I will never forget your help.

Meeting 6
Location -  Court room, Bagor
Attendees – Eshwara, Dheerendra, Brinda, Chethan, Police Inspector and Hanumappa

H – After going through all the reports and evidences, it is clear that Aryan was murdered. Post mortem reports are clear indication.
D – Thanks my lord.
H – You are welcome. Phone records are tampered. Brinda and Chethan had lost their phones 2 hours before the murder. Jayanagar police have filed a report on this. 
E – Yes!
H – So Brinda and Chethan are innocent.
D – No. They are the killers. Please do not spare them!
H – Silence. I order the police to investigate further and get Aryan’s real murderer to court. Court releases Brinda and Chethan. Court adjourned.
E – Thanks your honor. Justice prevails.
D – Noooooooooooo!

Epilogue –
Dheerendra is at a mental asylum after the judgment.
Chethan and Brinda are married.
Brinda is settled and works with Eshwara.

Friday, June 25, 2010


The old clock struck 11 times in the night. The bed lamp switched off. 
When will the power come back. Darkness. Uff these developing power, no water, only cars on road!

Where is she? Probably still watching the repeat telecast of “Mom, you will also have a daughter-in-law”. But,  I can’t hear the TV. And there’s no power.

Let me sleep.

I can hear people walking around and their soft talks. All of a sudden there seem to be so many people in the house. I want silence.

Oh! Smell of fresh flowers. She must have planned to attend some wedding. She loves jasmines on her head…She can’t enjoy it on the plant. 

Yes, it is her. It’s the same hand that has massaged my legs for the last 5 years. I love the touch. I love the massage. She loves me. But she forgot to apply the massage oil. Old age blues!

Hmm! Am I hungry? Yes. Looks like long time since I ate. She has not started cooking. There’s no power and she can’t see well. And she doesn’t love cooking. Yesterday’s rasam rice with ghee was good though. Not sure when she will prepare it again.

Let me sleep.

Is it Diwali? Or did India beat Pakistan? Why are they bursting crackers? Why are people honking? Bloody traffic jams. Why am I on the road? Some procession? Million Gods and Billion dead, both deserve procession. Weird India. 

Am I blind? Why can’t I see them.

The day is hot. And I am in Sun. I used to love the Indian summer. Gully cricket. Candy icecreams. Gone are those days. Old age can’t take the burden. I will catch a fever. She will scold me, because she loves me. She has to take care of me and other household work, if I am sick.

There seems to be a fire. Help me! Call the fire extinguishers. It burns and really hurts. But there’s no suffocation. Why?
yes, I can’t breathe.

Now I realize.
Probably I stopped breathing when the power went off (or was really a power cut?).
Garlanded me with fresh jasmine flowers.
Crowd gathered.
She wept. And pressed my legs for one last time.
Got me on the road with crackers.

And Finally they are burning me.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Collaborative Detectives

A host of IT product companies are coming up with collaboration tools.

Microsoft’s Sharepoint and IBM’s LotusNotes were early in the market. SAP’s StreamWorks, Salesforce’s Chatter, Sucessfactors’s CubeTree have joined the bandwagon now. Cisco announced that their Quad would hit markets later this year.

But analysts still feel that the market for collaborative tools is pretty small. We have to wait and watch to find if the markets expand to accommodate these tools. Probably every one of these companies would acknowledge that facebook success is an inspiration for them. Yes, facebook was one of the first successful collaborative tools.

There would be several use cases on – “when and where and how” these tools can be used to make money in business.

But here is a practical implementation of collaboration using facebook.

The Director General of Police, CID department of Karnataka has started a facebook page. Here apart from some general announcements regarding crimes, the DGP asks for views, ideas on specific cases. General public like us who generally have lots of ideas about everything in the world, can help the CID team. In turn we are helping ourselves by reducing crime. It’s a great initiative by the DGP. If you are on facebook, join DGP in controlling crime.

Arguably, blogs can also be a collaboration tool. Though very primitive, views can be exchanged and information can be spread fast. This was the idea when the Dakshina Kannada district police started blogging on crime in the district. The response to the blogspot site has now promoted the DK police to have a site where every crime registered in the locality are described. Complaints can be registered on line. Progress can be checked.

Kudos to the police department.
It’s our time to act and help the police in their novel initiatives.

Links –
Facebook link of DGPCID
Website of Dakshina Kannada district Police (blog included)
Earlier blog site of  Dakshina Kannada district police 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cure for Dandruff

I used to shave my hair (well almost). Used to have 2 mm of hair on my head. That was the same length of hair on my face, then! Not because I wanted to have short hair. But dandruff forced me to have short hair. 

One of the many solutions to dandruff was to have short hair and wash the head more often (many times a day). This way, dandruff used to get washed away. Or so I thought.  After many such rounds of short hair, I realized that it won't work for me. Like many other solutions, this was another waste of effort.

I had tried curd on head, fenugreek paste on head, homeopathy tablets, shampoos of all kinds (heads and shoulders, Himalaya, Selsun, Clinic plus blah blah) etc etc. Nothing worked. Only thing that happened was that my hairs turned gray.

Finally i decided that dandruff is my life long friend.
And decided to have long hairs (let me call - I decided to have hairs). I went without a haircut for close to 5 months. I grew long hairs. Just to keep the long hairs in place i started a new technique, which accidentally turned out to be the cure to my dandruff problem.
  • Take head-bath (sometimes cold water, sometimes warm)
  • Use medimix soap for the hair (you can use it as a body soap also).
  • When the hair is wet, apply pure coconut oil (got directly from the oil mills of my native village).
  • Comb the hair.
  • Repeat this everyday.

That's it. I have a cure for dandruff.
I have been following this since 3-4 months. No dandruff. And there's hair on my head.
But can't make out if the gray hair numbers have been increasing!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Football World cup quiz - Answers

Here are the answers to the quiz posted earlier in my blog.

Answer Q1 -
Man in black and white- Jules Rimet
The man kissing the world cup - Silvio Gazzaniga

Silvio Gazzaniga is the artist who designed and created the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Before the FIFA world cup trophy was designed, the winners were given the Jules Rimet trophy. Jules Rimet is in many ways considered as the brain behind the competition.
Answer Q2 -
Serbia's Bora Milutinovic and Brazil's Carlos Alberto Parreira
These are the only 2 coaches who have coached 5 different countries to the world cup.
Bora - Mexico (1986), Costa Rica (1990), the United States (1994), Nigeria (1998), and China (2002).
Parreira - Kuwait in 1982, United Arab Emirates in 1990, Brazil in 1994 and 2006, Saudi Arabia in 1998 and South Africa in 2010.
Answer Q3 -
 These are the only 4 players who got red card in finals of world cup.
The first 3 were caught kicking.
The 4th guy - Zidane was an intelligent player, so used his head!

Watch them achieve this feat.
Answer Q4 -
The cartoon character is "Sport Billy"
From wiki - Sport Billy was adopted by FIFA as the Fair Play Mascot for Soccer World Cups, and a trophy of the character was presented to the most sporting team at each World Cup. The character was used as a mascot in many sporting youth programs internationally, promoting sportsmanship and fair play.
Answer Q5 -
I wanted to cover the conterversies of world cup....
Perhaps you have heard about fan riots, player killing, a war because of world cup. Here's another conterversy.

In the picture - A person wearing the patriotic orange Lederhosen(also called Leeuwenhosen...he is most likely a Dutch fan)
Dutch fans generally wear this when their country takes to field.
In WC 2006, Dutch fans were asked to strip the Leeuwenhosen before entering the stadium. Why?
Because this orange peice of garment had "Bavaria" written on it. This was against the sponsorship deal of FIFA. Budwieser was the official beer partner of FIFAworld cup and "Bavaria" is a rival Dutch beer company which has no sponsorship contract with FIFA. More than 1000 fans watched Holland's 2-1 victory over Ivory Coast, in their undies. (Now you know what this picture symbolises)
Now the Bavaria Leewenhosen is a collector's item. If you have one, it may be worth a million when the dutch win the cup!
Bavaria has caused yet another conterversy in this edition of world cup. Now with miniskirts.
Answer Q6 -
These are the names of the football used in different editions of the world cup.
The list is complete with 
  • Teamgeist
  • Jabulani
Enjoy the football season....

Friday, June 18, 2010

Football World cup quiz

  1. Identify the gentlemen. Why are they part of World cup quiz?
  2. What record connects the 2 gentlemen?
  3. Connect the 4 players
  4.  What is the contribution of this cartoon character to the football world cup?
  5. Explain - In the context of world cup.
  6. Complete the series
    • tango
    • asteca
    • estrusco
    • questra
    • tricolore
    • fevernova
    • __________
    • __________ 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Google Adsense Account is disabled

Today my mail told me that Google had disabled my Adsense account. Hmm!
The mail said
"After reviewing our records, we've determined that your AdSense account
poses a risk of generating invalid activity. Because we have a
responsibility to protect our AdWords advertisers from inflated costs due
to invalid activity, we've found it necessary to disable your AdSense
account. Your outstanding balance and Google's share of the revenue will
both be fully refunded back to the affected advertisers.

So something went wrong. I am not a great geek to find this out. And Google will not explain and why should they. It's their program.
Of-course there is a chance for me to appeal against this via an appeal process.
I will not approach them because my earnings were something around 16$ since I started blogging. Not worth wasting Google's time :)

Anyway my blog is slightly lighter now and some advertisers are richer by 16$. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Musical marvels from a super trio

Which combination of strikers have scored most goals for a club or a nation?
Which opening pair has the record for most century partnerships in test cricket?
Which CM, home minister pair are the most successful and for which state?
Is UPAlliance more successful than the NDAlliance?
Which director actor pair have produced the most hits in Bollywood and Hollywood?

Some of these can be googled and answers would be available.
Some would need more research and analysis. They would be interesting as well.

One such combination is the trio of Mano Murthy, Sonu Nigam and Jayanth Kaikini.
I did some analysis on this combination.

This combination has given Kannada movie industry close to 15-18 songs from 2006 till now. These songs span over around 12-13 movies. Some of the movies are mega hits, but some are mega flops. The star cast also varies from big stars, big directors to small time guys. During these years, the Kannada film industry has seen fewer ups and many downs.

With all these factors, all the songs these guys made hits. Super hits.

The trio is not spared from some criticism. Mano's music is repetitive. Sonu is a stereotype singer. Jayanth is a purist writer.
But ultimately what matters is how the listener takes them. And its a big thumbs up from the Kannada audience. 

I am just not bored of listening to some of their musical marvels.

Remember a couple of compliments about them -

Jayanth once said on TV - "Mano's music has space for some thought. Listeners can pause and think and then the music continues. That why he is unique."

A friend of mine, Mr SP once said - "When Sonu takes a breath in the song 'Male Ninthu Hodha Mele', my breath just goes away. He reminds me of my ex-lovers" 

Thanks Mano, Sonu and Jayanth for the hits. Expecting more hits from you.

Monday, June 14, 2010

1st weekend of football world cup 2010

As the dark continent turned bright for the world's most watched sporting event, here are a few thoughts about the play.
Real Madrid latest buy - Vincent Enyeama?
Nigeria would have lost by 5 goals if their goalie Enyeama did not produce a match saving performance. He stood between Messi and goal atleast 5 times. Superb saves. The bosses at Real Madrid must now be thinking of getting Enyeama into Bernabeu. At-least then Real can thinking of stopping Barca's ace striker - Messi.
No Greenery in England
Reports of Robbery of Greens have been increasing in England. Interestingly the same reports are coming from USA. Analysts at Gopadi institute found the reason. English guys are on a killing spree on whatever is Green after Green robbed them of a victory against USA. In the USA, Green is the national hero. So anything Green is being robbed and saved as memorabilia of their 1-1 draw against the friendly enemies - Brits.
Pole - The last man standing
After Tshabalala goal of the tournament (so far) followed by the dance of the tournament, the pole prevented a victory for SA against Mexico. Mphela's strike managed to hit the woodwork saving the Mexican smile. 
After Green's blunder, the pole helped England salvage a draw against USA. The close kick took a deflection from Green's hand and hit the pole as USA drew 1-1. 
Ghana's joys would have been multiplied by 2 if Gyan's late strike hadn't hit the pole.
Veron theory
Juan Sebastian Veron has been selected by Maradona over Cambiaso. the old Veron has an interesting playing skill.
If an Argentina player gives him the ball, the ball will be kicked back to him.
If the opponent gives the ball to Veron (remember he cannot get the ball from the opponent, opponent has to give it to him), the ball will end-up either outside the play area or will be a missed pass.
Argentina plays just 10 men...Veron is just like a tree in the middle.
Australia to increase their Defense budget
In a late night announcement, Aussie prime minister has announced a steep hike in his defense spending. This came after he watched the Aussie team going down 4-0 to Germany. Asked for an explanation, the team coach Pim Verbeek said that they lacked the sting in their defense. Not used to massive defeats in any sport, Aussies are in deep mourning.
Messi, the Lampard of Argentina ?
Messi started the world-cup with 3 great passes...All 3 should have been in the net. Thanks to the blunt strikers, none were converted to goals. Frustrated with this, Messi started his attack on the goal. 4 to 7 strikes at the goal, all saved. Remember Lampard in the previous world-cup. 17 shots at goal and not a single one converted. Will Messi turn out to be the Lampard of Argentina. I hope not.
Serbia gets a new world class volleyball player
Zdravko Kuzmanovic is the new volleyball player of Serbia. The Serbian defender (in football) forgot that he was playing football. Leaped up in air, he played the best volleyball drop shot ever by a Serbian. Unfortunately the referee was spot on and so was Ghana's Gyan. Igor Kolaković, the Serbian volleyball coach has already sent a SOS for Kuzmanovic.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Shot on the beaches of Kundapura, Udupi District, India.

Visit the sweet beaches.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

When it rains, work stops!

20 mins of heavy rains lashed the whitefield area of Bangalore today.
It was accompanied by rough winds. Water was pouring down.
I stood by the glasses which are the walls of my office.
Observed the activities around me. 
A guy was busy clicking photos of the rain (probably he would publish a photo blog).
Colleagues were just watching the rain from the coffee corners.
Guys stood up from their seats and watched the glass being washed thoroughly.
Heard somebody telling - what coding in this weather, watch the rain.
There were some oohs and aahs..."Cant go home now?, what happens to my bike?"
People who wanted to move to the next building (for meetings) stood waiting for the rains to stop, realizing that the umbrellas would fly away.

Amid all these brakes from work, the office boys were busy. Busy pushing out the water that had entered office through the slit of the office door.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Tournament - Movie review

I loved the concept of the movie. 
The movie is about a reality show.
A show with a difference. The participants do not know each other. But they have to kill each other. Just kill. And they are the best at it. They are famous assassins from all over the world. And what's the motivation to kill? The big big money which the last man standing would get. A blood hungry betting mafia run the show. 

A tracking device embedded in the bodies of the participants would help locate the assassins. The tournament is held in open city. On the road, in the pubs, in the shopping centers etc. The betting mafia can see the killings via cctv cameras of the city and can change their bets.

One of the participants takes the tracking device out of his body and the device enters a priest's body. So a non-assassin joins the game and a assassin is un-tracked. A personal story of an assassin plays in the background.

Its blood all over the screen. Characters could have developed in a better way.  The film is all about killing styles. And this is where the film lacks some variety. Majority of the killings are through bullets. Shot in Bulgaria, the bus-truck chase could have been better. The initial few kills are the best. The movie is not for the faint heated. Some scenes could be very disturbing. 

The film draws many parallels to the Bollywood flick "Luck".

Monday, June 07, 2010

Common Names? Hmm...NO!

If you have been working in Germany or working with Germans for sometime, I am pretty sure that you know a person by name - Klaus or a Thomas. Similarly if you are in touch with some muslims, damn sure that you know a Mohammed. You would also know a Micheal or a Henry or a Peter. Similarly, if you have been in north India, you would know a Ashish. South India is no exception. In Tamil Nadu you would get a Karthikeyan in every street. In Andra, you would get a Venka**** everywhere. (**** indicates suffix here, example - Venkatesh, Venkatadri, Venkiah). In Karnataka, there are many Raghavendras and Manjunaths (like me).

So what are these - Common names?...NO...They are not COMMON names. 

They are POPULAR names.

Personality tests should have the following question -

What comes to your mind when you hear the following names?
Salim, Micheal, Manjunath, Venkatesh, Martina


  • Common names
  • Popular names
  • Irritating names
  • Interesting names

Friday, June 04, 2010

Special Lunch

The Udupi Krishna Mutt is one of the famous temples of South India. The Lord has supposedly turned himself (180 deg) so that Kanakadasa (his ardent devotee) could see him. So unlike other temples where you enter the premises and you can see the idol, at Udupi you enter the temple and have to take half a round to see the idol.
This is not the only unique feature about this temple (photo of the temple complex on the left).

Saturdays are special in this temple. Though lunch is provided free on all days, there is a special tradition on Saturdays.
There is a big marble floored dining hall (bhojana shala - ಭೋಜನ ಶಾಲೆ ). People sit on the floor (no table meals). Plantain leaf (ಬಾಳೆ ಎಲೆ) or other kind of leaf (muttukada yele - ಮುತ್ತುಕದ ಎಲೆ ) is laid in front of you. Then the dishes (like rice, sambar, rasam ) are served on that. On Saturdays, it can be different. Devotees can opt, not to have any kind of leaf. Food is served directly on the floor. This is supposed to be very holy. People believe that their problems would get solved by doing that. This practice is particularly rampant during some special Hindu months like Shravana.

There is another variation to this in a near-by temple along the coastal region.
When the brahmins are eating their lunch in the temple, some non-brahmins come near the brahmins and take 3 morsel of food. It should be given in the same hand, which is used for eating. This is a kind of vow which they have undertaken to solve their problem.
And these are followed by people irrespective of their financial status or social status.

Unique practices flourish in India.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

How to take dry coconuts out of a well?

Problem statement -
There are 15 dry coconuts (with the covering) in a big well. You have to bring them out. For your information - Dry coconuts directly fell from the tree into the well. And they float in water.

Boundary conditions -
The depth of water in the well is unknown.
The diameter of the circular well is around 5 meters.
There are snakes in the well.
You can't get into the do not know swimming.

This was the situation me and my wife faced in my native place. I am blogging about it - means the problem was solved.

I took a long bamboo stick (called as kokke - ಕೊಕ್ಕೆ ). Tied a plastic bucket to one end of the stick. Holding the other end in my hand, I put the bucket into water. Got underneath one of the coconuts and lifted it. Water and coconut in the bucket. Lift the stick. The coconut came up with the bucket. I thought this was it. So simple.

Problem 1 -
Then came the first problem. Next attempt in the same way. Water and coconut in the bucket was lot of weight. The thread i had used to tie the bucket and stick gave way. Bucket fell into the well.
Then my project guide pitched in - My Grandma.

Solution 1 -
She suggested a different technique. She gave a big basket with holes in it (we call it hedge - ಹೆಡ್ಗೆ). She suggested that we tie two long ropes to the opposite ends of the round basket. We threw the basket into the water holding the ropes in our hand. Got underneath one of the coconuts and lifted it. Only coconut in the basket. Water went out of the holes and hence less weight to pull up. Pull up the rope (and so the basket). The coconut came up with the basket. I thought this was it.

Problem 2 -
The coconuts started moving towards the center of the well from the sides.  And the basket can't be thrown to the center, targeting any coconut.

Solution 2 -
was the long bamboo stick. Using the stick we pushed the nuts from the center to the sides, towards the wall of the well.

Problem 3 -
The stick slipped off my hands and went into the well. Luckily bamboo floats.

Solution 3 -
Got another long bamboo stick. Tied a smaller stick to one end of this, making an "X".  We put the "X" end into the water and used top half of "X" as the holder for the floating stick. After multiple tries, the floating stick was lifted by this technique. (Kind of sea-saw, fulcrum technique)

Finally after 30-40 mins of manual labor in the hot weather, the 15 coconuts were on the ground. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Story of FAITH - Alcohol and Dharmastala

After my previous strory on FAITH, here comes another one.

Dharmastala is a very sacred place for the people of the coastal region in Karnataka. The deity is supposed be very powerful. Family disputes are resolved in this place by the Dharmadhikari - Dr Veerendra Heggade. Land disputes get solved. People do not lie in front of the Dharmadhikari, fearing the wrath of the diety. It is also belived that stealing in this place would result in something bad for the family. This is the FAITH in the deity.

Few words about Dr Veerendra Heggade
Dr Veerendra Heggade needs no introduction to the people of Karnataka. He is the head of the Dharmastala khsetra. He is a non-polical person with immense intention to serve the society. You can read about how he has served the society by just googling him.

Alcohol is a pain in the development of rural India. Many farmers,factory workers, fishermen of my native village are addicted to drinking. Some quit drinking for some days, but hit the bottle when money comes in their pocket. Ladies and gentlemen together drink the cheap arrack. There was an earlier instance when I had heard that the farm workers quit alcohol. But that was temporary. With increased wages and govt rural employment schemes, money is being flooded into the bars.

My grandma's maid servant's family was adversely affected by alcohol. Maid's son hit the bottle full-time when he started earning. He stopped giving money to the family. His wife started working. He stole from his wife all the jewelery and spent it on the bottle. He started beating his wife and mother for money. A tragic incident occurred with his wife when she was pregnant. Wife was injured in one of the thrashing evenings. They lost the baby (not entirely because of the injury though). He realized the pains of alcohol. He tried to quit. But friends and money dragged him back to the bar.

One fine day he decided to attend one of "Quit alcohol camps" organized by Dr Heggade's trust. He also coaxed some of his drunkard friends to join this camp. Dr Heggade has been organizing such camps all over the Udupi, Mangalore, Dakshina Kannada, Shivamogga region since sometime. One such camp was held closer my place, Kundapura. The 11 day camp is free of cost. The mentors explain them the harmful health\social aspects alcohol. They also bring in real life tragedy stories from the participants\ex-participants. Doctors give lectures. Free food is served for the participants during the camp. Basically its targeted at the rural poor.

But you would say all this is common across every "quit alcohol camps" organized by other associations. Yes, you are correct. People may hit the bottle after such camps. Yes, you are also correct of this.

But what if you bring in the FAITH aspect. At the end of the camp, the participants are brought in front of the deity and asked to promise that they would never again drink alcohol. All the friends of this guy and this guy himself have quit drinking. Since 3 yrs.

As long as FAITH is doing no harm, just have FAITH.
Some may call it fear...

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Story of FAITH - Cobra and Peacock

My native village has some very unique practices. 
Once such practice and its significance is the basis for this story.

People of all castes in Udupi\Kundapur region revere the Cobra as a God snake. If the snake is spotted (which is not rare) nobody would hit it or try to kill it. It is mostly true for the other snakes as well. But Cobra is special. They call it DevaraHavu(ದೇವರ ಹಾವು) or "Naga deva" (ನಾಗದೇವ) (Meaning the God snake).

Yes, the Cobra is God. There are temples with lots of stones on which the cobra head is carved out. Pooja is performed everyday. Special ceremonies are organized to please the God-snake. Thousands are fed as part of these special ceremonies called NagaMandala (ನಾಗ-ಮಂಡಲ). This is an all night ceremony.

It is also believed that the Snake-God enters a human body (virtually) and provides solutions to the problems of individuals. The human is called as "Naga Patri" (ನಾಗದೇವರ ಪಾತ್ರಿ).  Special kind of flowers and music is associated with the God snake.

A piece of land is left vacant in the "Nagana nede" (ನಾಗನ ನಡೆ). It is a significantly large piece of land. (~5ft x ~ 300ft). This land is not dirtied or used for any human purposes, basically because it is the path of the snake. 
Death of a cobra is treated as the death of a human. The same set of ceremonies for 12 days is associated with the snake's death. It is a general practice that such ceremonies are performed by the person who first sees the dead snake. He\She needs to bear the cost.

If the snake is ill-treated in any way, it is believed that the person who ill-treated would incur the wrath of the snake God. So ignoring a dead cobra is believed to be a wrong thing to do.

All in all - the cobra is a feared and respected snake.

Since a couple of years my village has become home to peacocks. Lots of them are seen in the gardens, on top of coconut trees, on compound walls etc etc. They share space with humans. I am not sure what made my village special for the peacocks. I had not seen one during my summer vacations in my childhood. But looking at the number of them, I feel Govt should form some sort of "Peacock reserve" in the area. By law, our national bird is protected. Nobody should kill them. Killing them would result in severe punishment.

It seems that peacock is not just beautiful but also very tasty. The size means there is lot more meat in it than a cock. People would hunt down the bird and feed on them in secret. Law just couldn’t prevent the killing of our national bird.

Peacock feeds on snakes. It happened that one of the hunted peacocks had just fed upon a cobra. When the peacock was cut open, the dead God snake was seen by the family. They feared. They also had to perform the last rites of the snake. They spread the word that peacocks feed on God snakes.

This suddenly created panic wave. Was it fear of eating a God slayer? Was it fear of additional expenditure of last rites? Or...
Whatever be the reason, now nobody kills peacocks to eat there.

What law could not achieve was achieved by FAITH!