Broomsticks seller
Broomsticks seller

Despite the onslaught of fancy brooms with different types of fibres, the natural coconut leaf stalk brooms continue to be in use in many households for specific applications.

This woman was selling brooms made out of coconut leaf stalks on a Sunday morning in Otteri.

Besides brooms the stick has multiple uses. Can you name some interesting uses?



Are the Dog Days over?

Cow cooling off in Marina.
Cow cooling off in Marina. [PC: M.Lakshmiram]
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.

Tea by the yard

Milk by the yard
Milk by the yard

Tea or milk by the yard is another common sight in the tea stalls around the country.

Captured in Otteri, Strahan Road.

Cattle Feed

Cattle feed
Cattle feed

With so much plastic and paper in the garbage indiscriminately  discarded, I would not be surprised if this hungry cow swallows some of the plastic!

Spotted on Strahans Road near Mahalakshmi talkies.

Man with a baseball cap

Man with the baseball cap
Man with the baseball cap

He was spotted in Purasawalkam on a Sunday morning. He had big, bright but expressionless eyes. He was indifferent to being photographed.

Location: Sundaram Lane, Purasaiwakkam. 13.086028, 80.253647

Mahatmaji Seva Sangham

Mahatmaji Seva Sangam
Mahatmaji Seva Sangam

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’.

For more information:

North Tank Square Street, Triplicane.


Multi pronged protection

Multiple protection
Multiple protection

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.


Come Mr Tally man tally me banana ..

Banana bunch
Banana bunch

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:

The song on YouTube:

The lyrics:



The pride of Madras

Royal Enfield
Royal Enfield

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.

Bullets in Himachal
Australian tourists on Bullets in Himachal

A Divine Appeal

An appeal in Tamil, "Do not Urinate here"
An appeal in Tamil, “Do not Urinate here”

Will the divine appeal work? Nobody knows. In many other places, they don’t seem to work.

By the way, why has the appeal left out icon of another dominant religion? Fear of blasphemy?

Swachch Bharat:Swarg Bharat!