Jan 30, 2006

உன்னால் நான்

உந்தன் பெயர்
என்னுள் தீபம்
ஏற்றுகிறது

உந்தன் பார்வை
என்னுள் விண்கலமாய்
சீறி பாய்கிறது

உந்தன் வார்த்தை
என்னுள் கீதமாய்
எதிரொலிக்கிறது

உந்தன் ச்பரிசம்
என்னுள் தீப்பொறியாய்
தெரிக்கிறது

உந்தன் அன்பு
என்னுள் காதலை
வாழ வைக்கிறது

உந்தன் கோபம்
என்னுள் மன்னிப்பு
கேட்கிறது

உந்தன் சிரிப்பு
என்னுள் கற்கண்டாய்
இனிக்கிறது

உந்தன் காதல்
என்னுள் வாழ்வை
சுவையாக்கிறது

A rough translation in English :-
Your name lights the lamp in me
Your sight travels like a spacecraft in me
Your words echo like a melody
Your touch sparkles like a tiny spark
Your affection makes my love live
Your anger apologizes in me
Your smile is my sweetening agent
Your love makes my life interesting

Jan 25, 2006

Tsunami - an old term that has become new

A new term to many Indians that became familiar on Dec 26th, 2004. Tsunami is a Japanese word derived from Tsu (harbour) and nami (wave). It is a series of waves displaced on a massive scale either due to volcanic eruptions, earthquakes or meteorite impacts. The most common cause is an undersea earthquake.

Tsunamis can be generated when the sea floor displaces the overlying water vertically. Such displacement occurs at the plate boundaries when denser oceanic plates slip under the continental plates in a process known as subduction. Waves are formed as the displaced water mass moves under the influence of gravity to regain its equilibrium and radiates across the ocean like ripples on a pond.

A single tsunami event may involve a series of waves of varying heights; the set of waves is called a train. In open water, tsunamis have extremely long periods (the time for the next wave top to pass a point after the previous one), from minutes to hours, and long wavelengths of up to several hundred kilometres.

The wave travels across the ocean at speeds from 500 to 1,000 km/h. As the wave approaches land, the sea shallows and the wave no longer travels as quickly, so it begins to 'pile-up'; the wave-front becomes steeper and taller, and there is less distance between crests.

Tsunamis propagate outward from their source, so coasts in the "shadow" of affected land masses are usually fairly safe. However, tsunami waves can diffract around land masses. They also need not be symmetrical; tsunami waves may be much stronger in one direction than another, depending on the nature of the source and the surrounding geography.

One of the early warnings of a Tsunami comes from nearby animals. Many animals sense danger and flee to higher ground before the water arrives. The Lisbon quake is the first documented case of such a phenomenon in Europe. The phenomenon was also noted in Sri Lanka in the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. Some scientists speculate that animals may have an ability to sense subsonic Rayleigh waves (a type of surface wave associated on the Earth with earthquakes and subterranean movement of magma) from an earthquake minutes or hours before a tsunami strikes shore.

Japan has implemented an extensive programme of building tsunami walls of up to 4.5m high in front of populated coastal areas. Environmentalists have suggested tree planting along stretches of sea coast which are prone to tsunami risks.

Tsunamis occur most frequently in the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center was established to track these killer waves and provide warning. Unlike in the Pacific Ocean, there is no organized alert service covering the Indian Ocean. This is due to the absence of major tsunami events. In light of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, UNESCO and other world bodies have called for a global tsunami monitoring system.

Source of information : Wikipedia

Jan 24, 2006

What's inside your neck?

A couple of weeks back, I took my dad for a complete health check-up. One of the doctors had scribbled something in a piece of paper and asked my dad to undergo the mentioned tests. The prescription says "T3,T4,TSH". I enquired the doctor to give some details and she told that these tests are related to thyroid gland.

Thyroid gland is the biggest gland in the neck. It is located in the front side of the neck. It's main function is to generate thyroid hormone. This hormone has an effect on all tissues of the body where it increases cellular activity, thereby regulating the body's metabolism (conversion of oxygen and calories to energy).

The function of the thyroid gland is to take iodine, found in many foods, and convert it into thyroid hormones:
Thyroxine (T4)
Triiodothyronine (T3)

Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. These cells combine iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make T3 and T4. T3 and T4 are then released into the blood stream and are transported throughout the body where they control metabolism.

The thyroid gland is under the control of the pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain. When the level of thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) drops too low, the pituitary gland produces Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which stimulates the thyroid gland to produce more hormones. Under the influence of TSH, the thyroid will manufacture and secrete T3 and T4 thereby raising their levels. The pituitary senses this and responds by decreasing its TSH production.

The pituitary gland itself is regulated by another gland, known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is part of the brain and produces TSH Releasing Hormone (TRH) which tells the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid gland (release TSH).

Common thyroid problems are related to the production of the hormone (too much, too little), increased growth of the thyroid resulting in a mass at the neck region or formation of nodules or lumps within the thyroid which might lead to thyroid cancer.

Hyperthyroidism - too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms are - weight loss, increase in body temperature, insomnia and irregular heartbeats. Methods used for treating a hyperthyroid patient are radio-active iodine, anti-thyroid drugs and surgery.

Hypothyroidism - too little thyroid hormone. A very common problem. Symptoms are - weakness, fatigue, weight gain, muscle cramps, depression and memory loss. A simple method for treating a hypothyroid patient is to prescribe a thyroid pill to be taken every morning. The dosage should be evaluated monthly.

Jan 23, 2006

Idea manifesting into action

Have been thinking about this for the past one week. Trying something new. Finding answers to questions. Stepping out of my circle. There are so many unexplored, unknown things to me which I plan to find out and understand. I feel this exercise is going to help me understand the big picture and discover my to-be-nurtured talents. This is what I plan to do.

I'm going to take up a question or topic everyday and find out the answer or the importance of it in day-to-day life. The topic might range from space, geology, personalities, economics, inventions, human body, art to many more, anything and everything that intrigues me and triggers my thought process. I plan to INVEST 15 to 30 min everyday on this exercise. Yes, INVEST. Usually, we say "I spent 3 hours reading a book". If the activity helps you in some way, be it gathering new information or even relaxation or a hobby, I feel we should re-phrase it to "I invested 3 hours reading a book". Time management is analogous to wealth management, isn't it?.

If you are interested, then have a look at my new blog In search

GDP everywhere

What's GDP? Why does every business magazine pays more attention to this acronym? What's the relevance of GDP in a country's economy?

GDP or Gross Domestic Product is the total value of all products and services produced within a country in a specific time period. It is one of the measures of national income and output. It takes into account only the final products and services consumed by the end user and not the intermediate products, which will lead to double counting of economic activity. For example, in the automobile industry, the final consumer pays for a car and this payment includes the price of the tyres. So the value of the tyre manufactured is taken into account only at the end user level and not while the tyre is bought by the car manufacturing unit.

GDP is calculated by using the following expenditure method :-

GDP = Consumption + investment + exports - imports

Consumption - expenditure on house-hold items like food, electricity, rent etc. So if the per-capita standard of living increases, then GDP also increases.

Investment - Business investments like construction of a factory and purchase of machinery and equipment for the factory etc. Therefore, an increase in industrial activity directly contributes to an increase in GDP.

Exports - Goods and services produced for overseas consumption has to be added to calculate GDP

Imports - Goods from overseas markets has to be subtracted.

GDP per capita (GDP divided by the total population) is used as an indicator to measure the standard of living in an economy. GDP measurement standards are consistent across many countries and is calculated on a quarterly basis. India is ranked 4th after United States, China and Japan based on GDP. However India is ranked 125th based on GDP per capita because of it's huge population. The GDP of India has grown by 8.1% at the end of the first quarter of 2005-2006.

Source of Information : Wikipedia

Want some action?

Made a trip to Gemini Circus last Saturday. A very unique and interesting experience. I had been to a circus when I was in 3rd std. The main attractions of those days were the tigers, elephants and ofcourse, the clowns. I was expecting something similar while going to Palace Grounds. The show started at 4 pm and what followed was a series of awe-inspiring, breath-taking, action packed 2 hours (am short of adjectives now !!). The men and women who perform such bends and twists make you wonder if at all they have bones in their bodies. I'm sure AXN fans would love it. The candle dancing, cycling, biking inside a hollow sphere, gymnastics in all forms, ladder climbing and throwing cups and saucers one after the other onto their heads etc etc are such amazing thrills that made me realize the inherent potential within ourselves. My Yoga classes are no more tougher.

If human beings can perform at their best, the animals then enter to prove that they are not far behind. Colourful parrots riding a small, cute bicycle and pulling a cart, elephants playing cricket and hitting sixers (they deserve a place in our cricket team), horses and camels running around. Not a single minute, you are left unengaged. At the end of the show, my eyes were filled with tears of joy. These performers go through such pain and difficulty and risk their lives so people like us can have fun for 2 hours. Initially, the show was almost empty but towards the middle, people started thronging into the grounds. I was glad to see many children having fun.

The other day, I was discussing with my colleague about how today's children are glued to televisions and computer games and going to a zoo or circus is not considered a fun outing as it used to be when I was a child not so long ago. Also I wonder why people have misconceptions such as circus meant only for kids and Yoga/ meditation classes only for the senile. When I told my colleagues that meditation gives a lot of mental strength and everyone should learn it, they were laughing at me commenting that they are not old enough for it. Why don't people give a try before coming to a conclusion that they are too old or too young for certain activities?

For people who are interested in doing something different, Gemini circus is being held at Palace Grounds, next to Fun World, opposite to TV Towers. Show timings are 1 pm, 4 pm and 7 pm and the last show is on Feb 6th. It's really worth 100 bucks. Ditch PVR, Forum (or whatever your hangout place is) for a evening, I'm sure you would enjoy it.

PS : Make sure you carry snacks and a bottle of water. The popcorn you get in the grounds tastes very bad and a packet of Lays chips (worth 10 Rs) is sold for Rs. 20.

Jan 18, 2006

Returning from hibernation

Spring is here. No more thick blankets and sweaters atleast for another 6 months. Fully blossomed colourful flowers and a pleasant weather to be enjoyed. Love is in the air (Valentine's day is coming close !!)

I had left my blog unattended for almost 2 weeks. Work pressure, confusions, movies, throat infections, festivals, investments and ofcourse lots of sleep kept me away from my lovely friend, my blog.

I don't want to rant about my work pressures and deadlines now. There are many more things to write about.

Confusions, doubts, self-talk, questions and searching for answers. My mind loaded with all of these and trying to figure out and understand myself. I can relate my current state of mind to that of Biju's. Read his beautiful narration here.

I managed to catch up with two wonderful movies - King Kong and Kanda Naal Mudhal in the past 2 weeks. I have never seen such a magnificent English movie like King Kong. Being a not-so-good follower (rather, appreciator) of Hollywood movies, this movie amazed me from the beginning till the very end. Many scenes were so spooky that I closed my eyes and watched through a tiny hole between my fingers. The chimp looks so real. Towards the end, I felt that I should have such a monkey as a friend, very protective, possessive and also human. No way, it can be called a beast. The guy who has acted as the director of the play (let me know if you know his name!!!) is superb. I was very impressed by his performance, especially his eye expressions in the movie "School of Rock".

A fresh breeze after a series of split personality, multiple personality disorder, short term memory loss based Tamil movies is the simple, down-to-earth love story, Kanda Naal Mudhal. The director Priya proves that she is indeed Manirathnam's assistant director, be it the witty cute dialogues, costumes or the songs. Amazing. The hero Prasanna stands out for his incredible dialogue delivery and casual acting flow. To say in Tamil, alattal illadha nadippu (Vijay, are you listening? ). Laila is ok, her lip movements never synchronize with the actual words. I felt Asin would have done a better job, especially in the fighting scenes with the hero. The other hero, Karthik Kumar doesn't have any significant role in the movie. Neither he looks good nor he knows to act. He didn't do a good job even in those few scenes offered to him. This movie is still worth watching for Prasanna's dialogues, Laila's costumes and most important, Yuvan's splendid music. My mind is still humming "lai lai lai merke merke suriyan" song.

Pongal came as a nice break after a hectic week. I had actually planned to make many new dishes and invite friends. But I was down with cold and cough that I only managed to make sweet Pongal and a normal lunch and spent the rest of the day watching the "Indhiya Thollaikatchigalil mudhal muraiyaga" movies.

Just like how the pressure builds up during examination days in school and college, I experienced something similar while running around for investment proofs and receipts and somehow managed to submit on time. Every year, I say to myself that I will plan well in advance and not do the tax planning in the last moment but it never happens. Let's see what happens next year.

I'm having lots of fun at Yoga classes. Will write a detailed post on that soon.

Jan 6, 2006

Flashback, going round in round in round..........

Thanks to DD's article on her school life. Reading her article took me to those beautiful school days.

Giving nicknames, passing comments, playing "name-place-animal-thing" and "hang-man" sitting on the first bench, fighting with the most hated sir for 2 marks in midterm answer sheets, looking forward to the evening 4 o'clock bell, sharing lunch boxes, visiting friend's home for group study and playing cards, buying new year greeting cards and getting confused as to which friend should get the best among the lot - Unerasable moments from my heart.

I enjoyed school life more than my college life. Precious 14 years. We were very partial in giving nicknames to teachers. Only the bad ones would be privileged to get a nickname from us. We had named our science sir as "Alangaaram" because he always combs his hair in class before he starts his lessons. There was one more sir who used to take commerce and my friends used to call him "Saaral" as his saliva sprinkles all over the first bencher's faces. Our English sir who always comes in white and white is a "Vellaiyan". Our Biology madam who keeps a frown face is a "Inji thinna korangu". (I remember one more funny name now. In college, there was our Digital logic madam who was called "Kundalakesi" as she used to wear big earrings.)

The headmaster or the "Big Master" is a dreadful sir in primary school. He used to catch any kid's hand and knuckle the fingers one by one. Damn painful it used to be!!! But the sir derived immense pleasure in doing that. English and Maths used to be my favourite subjects then. My mother was good at Maths. Whenever I do my homework, I would ask her the answers for addition and multiplication and she would reply immediately. Later she found out that I was lazy to do the calculations on my own and not actually testing her mathematical skills.

St.Marys, Chengalpattu where I had spent 3 years, 6th to 8th std has given me so many beautiful memories to cherish. An all-round personality development, I should say. I got to play basketball, participated in elocution, quiz and essay-writing competitions, learnt a bit of ballet dancing, took part in many cultural activities and also stood first in academics. The teachers were so good and there was not even a single teacher whom I didn't like. I had to shift my school as we shifted our house. It was a tough decision to move to another school.

Jaigopal Garodia National Hr.Sec. School, Tambaram definitely made a big difference in my life. I understood that a good teacher can instill interest in a subject. My interests in geography, Maths and Science (love all three facets, Physics,Chem & Bio) were triggered by my teachers. Our headmaster was also a nice person. I still remember during my 10th std model exams when the 1996 world cup was happening, he used to announce scores now and then.

If I were given a chance to go back in time, I would want to relive my school days......

Jan 4, 2006

Jan 2, 2006

A different experience

Have you ever met a doctor who is patient (not the noun but the adjective), friendly, humorous and down-to-earth? I had the opportunity to meet one such doctor in Mallya hospital last Saturday. I had taken my father for a health checkup and happened to meet this lovely lady, Dr.Sharada.

As we entered her consultation room, handing over the reports, she said "Tell me my dear beautiful sir, explain your problem". I started explaining in English and she interrupted me, asking in Tamil whether my father will not speak. I was taken aback. Then she explained slowly that the person who had come to meet the doctor should explain and not the one who has accompanied him. She gives a valid reason that the elder person will not be able to understand his health problem if the doctor and the person's relative have a conversation, neglecting the patient.

She perused through the reports and asked my father if he will be able to understand what she is going to explain. I was wondering how people like us would be able to understand some complex medical jargon. She drew a picture and explained in such simple words interspersed with local slang and humour that even a small child can understand. Whatever she said , be it the prescriptions or food items to avoid, she had written everything on her prescription letter in a neat and understandable writing. Usually only the doctor himself and the person at the pharmacy will be able to understand such cryptic handwritings. She is such a different doctor. Her actions show her dedication and passion towards her work. We need more such doctors in order to alleviate the fear that people have for doctors and hospitals.

Jan 1, 2006

2005 in review

Year 2006 has begun with full of hopes and aspirations. Time to look back and find out how 2005 was for me and what I had accomplished in the past year.

A year of success and failures, a year of joys and sorrows, a year of moments that took my breath away and moments where I struggled to breathe. Overall, a well-balanced one that made me realize my strengths and weaknesses.

A diary was all that made the difference. I bought this unique dairy in Landmark where there was a page to write down my resolutions/goals for the year. I got very anxious and set enough goals to fill that particular goals page on January 1st, 2005. Let me see how I've progressed :-

1) Learnt the basic Yoga asanas. Had attended Yoga classes for 50 days and didn't continue due to my laziness and lack of will power to wake up early.
2) Increased my weight. Have been eating well these days. Hope I don't bloat in 2006 :-)
3) Attended Art of Living - Basic course. Have learnt a powerful breathing technique called Sudharshana Kriya.
4) Blog updates - written 61 articles in the past year. A great year for blogging.
5) Read the following non-technical books (Want to double this count in 2006):-
- Financial Expert by R K Narayan
- Mahashwetha by Sudha Murthy
- Veronica decides to die by Paulo Coelho
- Grandmother's tale by R K Narayan
- Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (A revision :-)
- Davinci code by Dan Brown
- Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
- Over the top by Zig Ziglar
- Love Story by Erich Segal
- One night@the call center by Chetan Bhagat
- Leadership Wisdom by Robin Sharma
- Random walk guide to Investing
6) Completed my Oracle Certified Associate - DBA certification
7) Got a promotion at work
8) Bought a music system. Wanted to buy a good, high power system for a long time.
9) Joined Dream a Dream, an NGO as a volunteer and have done a couple of volunteering activities for Ananya, a school for underprivileged kids.
10) Visited Guruvayoor Krishna temple.
11) Tried 58 new recipes.This was definitely my best year so far in terms of improving my cookery skills.
12) Got published 3 articles of mine in my division's e-magazine.

I have set my goals and resolutions for 2006 yesterday. I hope my update at the end of this year would be a bigger one than the above.

Whoever reads this article, do a retrospection of how 2005 had been for you. I assure you, it really helps.

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