The ‘Kathiri’ (Agni nakshatram) may be over but Chennai has not cooled down – with the mercury still hovering in the high 30’s. My friend Lakshmiram, a marathon runner, financial guru and fellow IIMite, sent me this picture. He says this cow never misses a morning walk on the marina and nowadays enjoys a dip in the sea too.
Walking around the Parthasarathy temple tank in Triplicane, I was attracted by an old building with an emblem of Gandhi (the real one!) with his signature walking stick and the caption ‘Mahatmaji Seva Sangam’. A quick search on the web gave the background and history of this sangam.
Grieved by the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, Kothainayaki, a nationalist, Gandhian, and author started this sangam in 1948 to propagate the ideals of Gandhiji especially among women. She bought this building for the Sangam by borrowing from various sources.
It was inaugurated by Rajaji, and the first president was C.Saraswathi Bai, the famous harikatha exponent. It held various classes and cultural programs for women and it helped bring out more conservative women into the national mainstream.
Kothainayaki was able to repay the loans taken for buying the building by her hard work and by ‘the grace of Perumaal’.
While good luck charms and ‘kan drishti’ (wrath of the evil eye) protectors are very common, this shopkeeper seems to have gone overboard. He has a horseshoe for luck, Vinayaka for divine blessings, lemon and seven green chillies, alum on a black rope and sanctified ribbons for extra protection. Not leaving anything to chance.
These are no six-foot bunches, but somehow they with the lungi-clad man with anxious fingers reminded me of the popular Jamaican Banana Boat Song (Day-O…. Come Mr Tally man, tally me banana) immortalised by the legendary Harry Belafonte during my college days.
For those who like a taste of nostalgia of the 50’s here are links to the song:
Royal Enfield’s Bullet was a prestigious brand when the choice of motorbikes was limited – Jawa, Rajdoot, RE’s own 150 cc (Prince?).Enfield also broadened their range with a self-start scooter, Fantabulous and a mini moped, MOFA. Both failed, probably because they were ahead of their times and based on unproven technology.
The company was taken over by the Eicher group and I am glad to see the brand now revived and having a cult following.
The above beast was spotted at Pallavaram. I understand that now they have a 500 cc machine, besides the ever popular, 350 cc.
During a trip to Himachal Pradesh with my IIMA group, I was happy to see a group of 8 or 10 Australians, including some women, doing a Himachal tour on Indian Bullets. We bumped into them at Dalhousie and MacLeodganj.
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