Category Archives: India

Chennai: Oil Spill at Ennore Port Blackens Beaches and Affects Fishing


Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Oil spill on the shores of Chennai (Source: indiatimes.com)
Oil spill on the shores of Chennai (Source: indiatimes.com)

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A large quantum of thick and dark oil washed ashore from Bharathiyar Nagar beach in Ernavur to Marina Light House in Chennai. Tonnes of tar-like thick black oil has polluted several square kilometres of sea in the Bay of Bengal.

According to fishermen, tar-like thick oil started to collect near the shore from Saturday evening. Fishermen around Marina complained that they found it difficult to navigate their boats in the sea because of the thick oil deposits. The fishermen are demanding compensation for loss of livelihood.

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board officials said the spill could be the result of the accidental collision of two ships, the inbound vessel MT Dawn Kanchipuram and the outbound vessel LPG/CBW Maple in the wee hours on Saturday at Ennore port’s anchorage.

“There was a collision between a LPG tanker vessel, BW Maple, Isle of Man flagship, and vessel MT Kancheepuram, an oil and chemicals tanker, on the outskirts of Ennore at 4 am (on Saturday). So, this could be a result of that. As it is so thick, we are not able to find out what type of oil it is. We are conducting an investigation,” said a senior official.

While a statement from Kamarajar Port claims that there was no damage to the environment, or casualty or injury, the Times of India reported that the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, Darya Ship Management and Kamarajar Port have been held responsible for damage to the environment.

The New Indian Express reports:

“The biggest challenge was that both Kamarajar Port and the vessel that caused the disaster remained in denial, leaving the official machinery clueless about what they were dealing with. Minister of State (Shipping) Pon Radhakrishnan visited the port and observed that ‘there were no spills/sheens in the area’, claims a release from the port.”

By Sunday morning the dark thick stagnant oil spread southward about 25km from the outskirts of Ennore where the accident occurred polluting several beaches, including the iconic Marina Beach in Chennai and beyond.

Now, the oil has converted sandy beaches, including the Marina, into a slushy ground, making it inaccessible to the public. Oily sludge. coats the rocks on the coast.

The mild smell of salt and fish that wafted in the air in the neighbourhoods along the beach has been replaced with a heavy, pungent emanation of petroleum and tar.

Hordes of fish and many turtles and hatchlings covered with thick oil were found dead near Ernavour and some were found washed ashore at Marina Beach.

According to environmental experts, the spill could have a long-lasting adverse impact on marine life. The shoreline is known for Olive Ridley turtles which nest on local beaches between January and April every year.

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The ill-equipped pollution response teams of the Indian Coast Guard are grappling with the oil spill (Source: ndtv.com)
The ill-equipped pollution response teams of the Indian Coast Guard are grappling with the oil spill (Source: ndtv.com)

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Now, the ill-equipped pollution response teams of the Indian Coast Guard are carrying out an impossible mopping operation. As the Indian Coast Guard lacks the technical expertise, the authorities have invited private companies to bid for the cleanup work.

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RELATED ARTICLES

Oil Spill Near Chennai Blackens Beaches, Fishing Community Affected (ndtv.com)

Chennai: Fuel spill at Ennore Port spreads to Marina Beach, workers use buckets to scoop out oil (scroll.in)

Authorities Struggle To Contain Oil Spill Three Days After Two Vessels Collide Off Chennai Coast  (indiatimes.com)

Oil Spill In Ennore Has Now Covered Chennai’s Marina Beach, Experts Fear Severe Damage To Environment (huffingtonpost.in)

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Is There an Error in the New Indian 2,000 Rupee Note?


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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new-indian-2000-rupee-notes

Twitter is buzzing with the news that the new ₹2,000 note had an error on it and some websites too reported that the so-called ‘error’ is on the back side of the note.

If you have the new ₹2,000 with you now, you will see the value of the currency written in 15 languages on the back side of the note.

reverse-side-of-rs-2000-note

In Marathi two thousand rupees is written as दोन हजार रुपये (don hazaar rupaiye).

But why does it appear twice on the note?

In any Indian currency note, the value, written in Marathi usually precedes the value written in Konkani. Which in the case of the new ₹2,000 note is written in Konkani as दोन हजार रुपया (don hazaar rupaiye) as well.

The confusion stems from the fact that Hindi alone does not use the Devanagari script. Other major Indian languages such as Marathi, Konkani, Sanskrit, and Nepali are also written in Devanagari script.

So the Devanagari script is used five times on the note, to write in five different languages, hence the confusion.

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Cricket: Scorecard of IPL 9 – Match #28 – Gujarat Lions vs Kings XI Punjab on May 01, 2016


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Source: iplt20wiki.in
Source: iplt20wiki.in

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Venue: Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot
Date & Time: Sunday, May 01, 2016, at 04:00 pm IST (10:30 am GMT)

Umpires: Bruce Oxenford, Virender Sharma
Third Umpire: Chris Gaffaney
Match Referee: Manu Nayyar
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King’s XI Punjab
Playing XI
Murali Vijay (c), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Marcus Stoinis, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Axar Patel, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma, Cariappa
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Bench
Armaan Jaffer, Anureet Singh, Farhaan Behardien, Manan Vohra, Kyle Abbott, Mitchell Johnson, Nikhil Naik, Pardeep Sahu, Rishi Dhawan, Shardul Thakur, Swapnil Singh
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Gujarat Lions
Playing XI
Suresh Raina (c), Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Dinesh Karthik (wk),Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Ishan Kishan, Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shivil Kaushik
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Bench
Aaron Finch, Akshdeep Nath, Amit Mishra, Andrew Tye, Dale Steyn, Eklavya Dwivedi, Jaydev Shah, Paras Dogra, Pradeep Sangwan, Pravin Tambe, Sarabjit Ladda, Shadab Jakati, Umang Sharma
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Toss

Gujarat Lions won the toss and opted to bowl.

 

KINGS XI PUNJAB Innings

KINGS XI PUNJAB R B 4s 6s SR
 Murali Vijay c DJ Bravo &
b Shivil
55  41 6  0 134.15
 Marcus Stoinis st D Karthik &
b R Jadeja
27  17  3 1 158.82
Shaun Marsh c Raina & b Shivil 1 3 0 0  33.33
Glenn Maxwell c D Karthik &
b Shivil
 0 1  0  0 0
Gurkeerat Singh Mann runout (D Karthik)  0  3 0  0 0
David Miller c Dwayne Smith & b D Kulkarni  31  27 2 0 114.81
Wriddhiman Saha (wk) b DJ Bravo 33  19 4 0  173.68
Axar Patel
c Ishan Kishan &
b DJ Bravo
0 2 0 0 0
Mohit Sharma b P Kumar 1 2 0  0  50
Cariappa b P Kumar  1  3 0 0 33.33
Sandeep Sharma not out  1 1 0 0 100
Extras 4 (b – 0, lb – 1, w – 3, nb – 0)
Total 154 all out in 19.5 overs
154 (RR @ 7.76 rpo)
FALL OF WICKETS
1/65
Marcus Stoinis
(6.4 ov.)
 2/70
Shaun Marsh
(7.5 ov.)
3/70
Glenn Maxwell
(7.6 ov.)
 4/73
Gurkeerat Singh Mann
(8.5 ov.)
5/100 Murali Vijay
(13.1 ov.)
 6/139
David Miller
(17.2 ov.)
7/145
Axar Patel
(18.2 ov.)
 8/151
Wriddhiman Saha
(18.5 ov.)
 9/153
Mohit Sharma
(19.3 ov.)
10/154
Cariappa
(19.5 ov.)
BOWLING O M R W Econ
 Praveen Kumar 2.5 0  25  2 8.83
Dhawal Kulkarni 4  0 28  1  7.00
Ravindra Jadeja 3  0 28  1  9.33
Shivil Kaushik  4  0  20  3 5.00
Dwayne Bravo 4  0  33  2  8.25
James Faulkner 2 0 19  0  9.50
 Sahu
GUJARAT LIONS Innings
GUJARAT LIONS R B 4s 6s
Dwayne Smith c Gurkeerat Singh & b Axar 15  18 1 1 81.33
Brendon McCullum  b Mohit Sharma  1 3  0  0  33.33
Suresh Raina(c) b Mohit Sharma  18  15  2 1  120
Dinesh Karthik (wk) b Axar  2  4 0  0  50
Ravindra Jadeja c W Saha & b Axar  11  11 0  0  100
Dwayne Bravo b Axar  0  1  0  0  0
Ishan Kishan runout (M Stoinis)  27  24  3  0  112.50
James Faulkner c D Miller &
b Sandeep Sharma
 32 27 3  0  118.52
Praveen Kumar c Cariappa &
b Mohit Sharma
 15 13  2  0  115.38
Dhawal Kulkarni not out
Shivil Kaushik not out
Extras 4 (b – 1, lb – 0, w – 3, nb – 0)
Total 131 for 9 in 20 overs 131 (RR @ 6.55 rpo)
FALL OF WICKETS
1/13
Brendon McCullum
(1.4 ov.)
2/34
Suresh Raina
(4.6 ov.)
3/38
Dwayne Smith
(6.3 ov.)
4/39
Dinesh Karthik
(6.5 ov.)
5/39
Dwayne Bravo
(6.6 ov.)
 6/57
Ravindra Jadeja
(10.1 ov.)
7/86
Ishan Kishan
(14.5 ov.)
8/125
Praveen Kumar
(18.6 ov.)
9/125
James Faulkner
(19.2 ov.)
BOWLING O M R W Econ
Sandeep Sharma 4 0 31 1 7.75
Mohit Sharma 4  0 32  3 8.00
Marcus Stoinis  4 0 23  0  5.75
Axar Patel 4  0 21  4  5.25
Cariappa 3 0 15  0  5.00
Gurkeerat Singh Mann 1 0 8  0  8.00

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Kings XI Punjab won by 23 runs.

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Axar Patel takes first hat-trick of IPL 2016 (Source: india.com)
Axar Patel takes first hat-trick of IPL 2016 (Source: india.com)

 

Axar Patel – “Man of the Match”

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Vivo IPL 2016 – Points Table
Teams Mat Won Lost Tied N/R Pts Net RR
Gujarat Lions 8 6 2 0 0 12 -0.115
Delhi Daredevils 6 4 2 0 0 8 +0.441
Kolkata Knight Riders 7 4 3 0 0 8 +0.322
Sunrisers Hyderabad 7 4 3 0 0 8 +0.060
Mumbai Indians 8 4 4 0 0 8 -0.104
Rising Pune Supergiants 7 2 5 0 0 4 +0.265
Royal Challengers Bangalore 6 2 4 0 0 4 +0.065
Kings XI Punjab 7 2 5 0 0 4 -0.811

The Opening Ceremony of Vivo Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9)


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Vivo Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9) Opening Ceremony on April 8, 2016

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The kickoff for the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League – the Vivo Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9) is scheduled to start on Saturday, April 9, 2016, at 8:00 pm with champions Mumbai Indians taking on debutants Rising Pune Supergiants at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. (See my post, “Cricket: Vivo IPL 2015 (IPL 9) Tournament Schedule“)

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The Dome @ NSCI-SVP Stadium in Mumbai.
The Dome @ NSCI-SVP Stadium in Mumbai.

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The Vivo Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9) is all set to get off to a glamorous start at the Dome @ NSCI-SVP Stadium in Mumbai on the night of Friday, April 8, 2016.

At the opening ceremony of the games, the eight team captains participating in the Vivo IPL 9 games will take the MCC “Spirit of Cricket” pledge, to reaffirm Indian Premier League’s commitment to the Spirit Of Cricket.

Mumbai Indians winners of the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2015 (IPL 8) (Source: indianexpress.com)
Mumbai Indians winners of the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2015 (IPL 8) (Source: indianexpress.com)

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The Mumbai Indians team, without the services of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, who retired after IPL 2013 season, were the winners of the Indian Premier League 2015 (IPL 8) under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma.

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IPL 2015 Trophy (Source: rediff.com)
IPL 2015 Trophy (Source: rediff.com)

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To signal the start of the IPL 2016 season,  the Mumbai Indians will put the trophy back into play.

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IPL 2015 Opening Nite - Anushka Sharma performs on popular Bollywoood numbers (Copyright BCCI)
IPL 2015 Opening Nite – Anushka Sharma performs on popular Bollywoood numbers (Copyright BCCI)

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Hitherto, Bollywood celebrities have been an integral part of the Indian Premier League and have always performed in the opening ceremony. This year, at the two-hour long opening ceremony, Bollywood celebrities like Katrina Kaif, Jacqueline Fernandes, Ranveer Singh, rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh, and other Bollywood cast are all set to dazzle the stage..

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Chris Brown (Source: rollingstone.com)
American pop star Chris Brown (Source: rollingstone.com)

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American pop star Chris Brown will be joined by the American dancehall reggae trio Major Lazer, English rapper Fuse ODG and Jamaican-American recording artist Nailah Thorbourne and are expected to set the Dome on fire.

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major lazer (Source: melty.fr)
American dancehall reggae trio Major Lazer (Source: melty.fr)

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English rapper Fuse ODG (Source: 3beat.co.uk)
English rapper Fuse ODG (Source: 3beat.co.uk)

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Jamaican-American recording artist Nailah Thorbourne
Jamaican-American recording artist Nailah Thorbourne

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The opening ceremony will start at 7:30 IST. The tickets are available online at Bookmyshow.com, the ticket booking portal. The rates start from ₹10,000 for Black Silver seats and ₹15,000 for Black Gold seats, plus internet handling charges.

LIVE TV Telecast: Set Max, Sony Six, Sony Six HD, Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD

LIVE streaming: Hotstar app

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RELATED ARTICLES

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Cricket: Vivo IPL 2016 (IPL 9) Tournament Schedule


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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On Wednesday, October 21, 2015, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced its association with Vivo, the premium global smartphone manufacturer, for the title sponsorship of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Vivo fulfilled their obligation of presenting the bank guarantee to the BCCI and confirmed the title sponsorship rights and replaces PepsiCo, the beverage giant, as title sponsor of the 9th edition of Indian Premier League’s Twenty20 event.

The Teams participating in
Vivo Indian Premier League  2016 (IPL 9)

Logo of Delhi Daredevils 115x115 Logo of Gujarat Lions 115x115 Logo of Kings XI Punjab 115x115 Logo of Kolkata Knight Riders 115x115
Logo of Mumbai Indians 115x115 Logo of Rising Pune Supergiants 115x115 Logo of Royal Challengers Bangalore 115x115 Logo of Sunrisers Hyderabad 115x115
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  1. Delhi Daredevils
  2. Gujarat Lions
  3. Kings XI Punjab
  4. Kolkata Knight Riders
  5. Mumbai Indians
  6. Rising Pune Supergiants
  7. Royal Challengers Bangalore
  8. Sunrisers Hyderabad

The Captains of the teams participating in
Vivo Indian Premier League  2016 (IPL 9)

The Captains of the teams participating in Vivo Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9) (Sourc: indianexpress.com)
The Captains of the teams participating in Vivo Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9)

Left to Right:

  1. Delhi Daredevils: Zaheer Khan (India)
  2. Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (India)
  3. Kings XI Punjab: David Miller (South Africa)
  4. Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (India)
  5. Rising Pune Supergiants: M.S. Dhoni(India)
  6. Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (India)
  7. Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (India)
  8. Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (Australia)

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Schedule of Vivo Indian Premier League  2016 (IPL 9)

The schedule of Vivo IPL 2016 (IPL 9) has been declared. A total of 60 matches will be played from April 9, 2016, to May 29, 2016, across 10 Indian cities.

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Schedule of Vivo Indian Premier League  2016 (IPL 9)
Fixtures in  IST Time
April 9, 2016 to 
May 29, 2016

Date Time Fixture Venue
Saturday
9 April
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8 pm

Match #1

MI vs RPS
MI vs RPS 220x100

Mumbai
Sunday
10 April
.
8 pm

Match #2

KKR vs DDKKR vs DD 220x100

Kolkata
Monday
11 April
.
8 pm Match #3

GL vs KXIPGL vs KXIP 200x100

Mohali
Tuesday
12 April
.
8 pm Match #4

SRH vs RCB
SRH vs RCB 220x100

Bengaluru
Wednesday
13 April
.
8 pm

Match #5

KKR vs MI
KKR vs MI 220x100

Kolkata
Thursday
14 April
.
8 pm Match #6

GL vs RPS
GL vs RPS 220x100

Rajkot
Friday
15 April
.
8 pm

Match #7

DD vs KXIP
DD vs KXIP200x100

Delhi
Saturday
16 April
.
........
4 pm

Match #8

SRH vs KKR
SRH vs KKR 220x100

Hyderabad
8 pm Match #9

GL vs MI
GL vs MI 220x100

Mumbai
Sunday
17 April
.
4 pm Match #10

RPS vs  KXIP
RPS vs KXIP 220x100

Mohali
8 pm

Match #11

RCB vs DD
RCB vs DD 220x100

Bengaluru
Monday
18 April
.
8 pm Match #12

SRH vs MI
SRH vs MI 220x83

Hyderabad
Tuesday
19 April
.
8 pm

Match #13

KXIP vs KKR
KXIPvs KKR 220x100

Mohali
Wednesday
20 April
.
8 pm Match #14

RCB vs MI
RCB vs MI 220x100

Mumbai
Thursday
21 April
.
8 pm Match #15

GL vs SRHGL vs SH 220x100

Rajkot
Friday
22 April
.
8 pm Match #16

RPS vs RCBRPS vs RCB 220x100

Pune
Saturday
23 April
.
4 pm

Match #17

MI vs DD
MI vs DD 220x60

Delhi
8 pm Match #18

KXIP vs SRH
KXIP vs SRH 220x100

Hyderabad
Sunday
24 April
.
4 pm Match #19

GL vs RCB
GL vs RCB 200x100

Rajkot
8 pm Match #20

RPS vs KKR
RPS vs KKR 220x100

Pune
Monday
25 April
.
8 pm  Match #21

MI vs KXIP
MI vs KXIP 220x100

Mohali
Tuesday
26 April
.
8 pm Match #22

RPS vs SRH
RPS vs SRH 220x83

Hyderabad
Wednesday
27 April
.
8 pm Match #23

GL vs DD
GL vs DD 220x100

Delhi
Thursday
28 April
.
8 pm Match #24

MI vs KKR
MI vs KKR 200x100

Mumbai
Friday
29 April
.
8 pm Match #25

GL vs RPS
GL vs RPS 220x100

Pune
Saturday
30 April
.
4 pm Match #26

KKR vs DD
KKR vs DD 220x100

Delhi
8 pm Match #27

SRH vs RCB
SRH vs RCB 220x100

Hyderabad
Sunday
1 May
.
4 pm Match #28

GL vs KXIP
GL vs KXIP 200x100

Rajkot
8 pm Match #29

RPS vs MIRPS vs MI 220x60

Pune
Monday
2 May
.
8 pm Match #30

KKR vs RCB
KKR vs RCB 220x100

Bengaluru
Tuesday
3 May
.
8 pm

Match #31

GL vs DD
GL vs DD 220x100

Rajkot
Wednesday
4 May
.
8 pm

Match #32

KXIP vs KKR
KXIPvs KKR 220x100

Kolkata
Thursday
5 May
.
8 pm Match #33

RPS vs DD
RPS vs DD 220x60

Delhi
Friday
6 May
.
8 pm Match #34

GL vs SRHGL vs SH 220x100

Hyderabad
Saturday
7 May
.
4 pm Match #35

RPS vs  RCB
RPS vs RCB 220x100

Bengaluru
8 pm Match #36

DD vs KXIP
DD vs KXIP200x100

Nagpur
Sunday
8 May
.
4 pm Match #37

SRH vs MI
SRH vs MI 220x83

Mumbai
8 pm Match #38

GL vs KKR
GL vs KKR 200x100

Kolkata
Monday
9 May
.
8 pm Match #39

RCB vs KXIP
RCB vs KXIP 220x100

Nagpur
Tuesday
10 May
.
8 pm Match #40

RPS vs SRH
RPS vs SRH 220x83

Pune
Wednesday
11 May
.
8 pm Match #41

RCB vs MI
RCB vs MI 220x100

Bengaluru
Thursday
12 May
.
8 pm Match #42

DD vs SH
DD vs SRH 200x100

Hyderabad
Friday
13 May
.
8 pm Match #43

MI vs KXIP
MI vs KXIP 220x100

Mumbai
Saturday
14 May
.
4 pm Match #44

GL vs RCB
GL vs RCB 200x100

Bengaluru
8 pm Match #45

RPS vs KKR
RPS vs KKR 220x100

Kolkata
Sunday
15 May
.
4 pm Match #46

MI vs DD
MI vs DD 220x60

Mumbai
8 pm Match #47

KXIP vs SRH
KXIP vs SRH 220x100

Nagpur
Monday
16 May
.
.
8 pm Match #48

KKR vs RCB
KKR vs RCB 220x100

Kolkata
Tuesday
17 May
.
8 pm Match #49

RPS vs DD
RPS vs DD 220x60

Pune
Wednesday
18 May
.
8 pm Match #50

RCB vs KXIP
RCB vs KXIP 220x100

Bengaluru
Thursday
19 May
.
8 pm Match #51

GL vs KKR
GL vs KKR 200x100

TBC
Friday
20 May
.
8 pm Match #52

DD vs SRH
DD vs SRH 200x100

Raipur
Saturday
21 May
.
4 pm Match #53

RPS vs  KXIP
RPS vs KXIP 220x100

Pune
8 pm Match #54

GL vs MI
GL vs MI 220x100

TBC
Sunday
22 May
.
4 pm Match #55

SRH vs KKR
SRH vs KKR 220x100

Kolkata
8 pm Match #56

RCB vs DD
RCB vs DD 220x100

Raipur
Tuesday
24 May
.
8 pm

Match #57

Qualifier 1
Bengaluru
Wednesday
25 May
.
8 pm Match #58

Eliminator
Pune
Friday
27 May
.
8 pm Match #59

Qualifier 2
Pune
Sunday
29 May

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8 pm
Match #60

Final

Mumbai

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Several broadcasting networks and television channels  will bring live coverage of Vivo IPL 2016 across the globe.

Broadcasting Rights
Vivo Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9)

Country/Region Broadcaster
India Sony Max, Sony Six, Sony ESPN
Africa SuperSport
Pakistan Geo Super
Bangladesh Maasranga
Caribbean Sportsmax
Bhutan Set Max, Sony Six
Canada Sportsnet
New Zealand Sky Sport
Malaysia Astro
Sri Lanka Carlton Sports Network
Hong Kong PCCW
Middle East and North Africa OSN
United States ESPN
Singapore StarHub, Singtel
Australia CricketGateway.com
United Kingdom Sky Sports
Nepal Sony Six, Sony Max
Brunei Astro

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This year too the Sony Entertainment Television Network has bagged the global rights to broadcast Indian Premier League in India, Bhutan, and Nepal. Hence, viewers in these three countries will be able to watch the live telecast of all 60 IPL 2016 matches on Sony Six, Set Max and Sony ESPN.

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Chennai: Come December…


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Chennai floods (Source: ndtv.com)
Chennai floods (Source: ndtv.com)

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December 1, 2015:

It rained through the night in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India. The incessant rains that plagued us for the past three weeks did not seem to abate.

At 7.11 am, while I was still in bed my boarding and classmate Sunderaraj Kagoo, former Managing Partner of Star Brand Sweets, Colombo, had given me a call. I was not able to call him back since my cell’s battery had run down.

There was no way to charge my cell because we had  no electricity supply.

Of all the rainy days that started in mid-November, 2015, today it rained heavily and forcefully.

Since the cable TV line was completely out and my 100 MB internet connection was dead, there was no way to know what was happening around us. We were not able to go out of our house to shop for essentials due to the torrent.

My second daughter Subodhra living in Palayamkottai, 620 km away from Chennai, phoned my wife. She said it did not rain there in Tirunelveli. She inquired how we were faring since she saw several news channels on TV covering the floods in Chennai. She said that Velachery, about 5 km from our house was flooded and that boats were being deployed to evacuate the marooned from their flooded houses to safety. My wife assured her that we were safe.

At 6:45 pm electricity came on.

At 6:48 pm my cousin Lawrence rang up inquired whether we were safe. He assured us that his house safe. I could hear children shouting and music in the background and immediately knew that the first birthday of his second grandson Tom Philip was being celebrated. I blessed the child over the phone and told Lawrence that even if they had invited us for the birthday party we would not have made it.

At 7:00 pm my wife, daughter Sujatha and I ran to the house on the first floor of the flat opposite our house to attend the first birthday party of a year-old toddler.

At 7:30 pm while the party was on, the electric power was cut off and we had the birthday dinner by candle light.

We returned home at 8:00 pm.

It poured heavily.

At 9:00 pm since we had no electricity, TV broadcast nor the internet, I tried to call my daughter Subodhra at Palayamkottai to know about the situation in Chennai that she would have seen on TV . Alas, to our bad luck the Vodafone network was out of service.

At 9:20 pm remembering the phone call from Sunderaraj Kagoo, I tried his number, but I was not able to get through. Then I noticed that my service provider Aircel too was out of service.

Since there was no electricity, we were not able to turn on the electric mosquito repellers and had to sleep at the mercy of the swarming mosquitoes.

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After the inundation of the arterial Grand Southern Trunk (GST) Road south and north of Tambaram, all roads leading to Tambaram submerged at various stretches making Tambaram inaccessible to the rest of the city and for those heading towards Chennai city from Chengalpattu.

December 2, 2015:

It rained heavily in the morning.

I saw a few strangers in our neighbour Lokanayaki’s house. She told me that they were her relatives from nearby Pallikaranai and flood waters had entered their house up to their neck and so had come to her house for shelter.

Around 4:00 pm the rain ceased and there was only a pleasant drizzle. I took this opportunity to venture out on my two-wheeler to buy essential foods and medicines.

All the ATMs in our neighbourhood were out of service.

I went to one of the local medical shops. The proprietor was there and I asked him whether the card machine worked. The proprietor reluctantly said no. Then he asked how much my purchase would amount to. When I said more than ₹500, he said he would try to accommodate me since the backup battery had almost died out. He then took my order which amounted to ₹580 and switched on the card reader which came to life after a bit of coaxing. I thanked him for obliging and left the shop with the medicines.

The main road between Velachery and Tambaram is flooded in many places with hidden potholes lurking under the muddy waters. So, buses are not plying. I am not able to travel on my two-wheeler more than 100 metres either way from Pallikarani Oil Mill Stop.

I took the risk and waded through deep waters on my vehicle for about a kilometre and finally saw eggs stored on plastic trays at a shop. I bought a dozen eggs for ₹6 each.

On my way back home the engine of my two-wheeler stopped. I cranked the fuel tap to reserve and retraced my route. I found more than 50 people waiting in a queue to fill their motorcycles and cars at the petrol bunk. Finally, after waiting for about 30 minutes my turn came and after filling the tank with petrol and oil for ₹200, I returned home around 5:30 pm.

At 6:30 pm it was dark. I ventured out on my two-wheeler to buy a pair of batteries for my LCD torch. Almost all the shops were closed. Finally, I saw an electrical shop where an oil lamp lit the inside dimly. Luckily the batteries were available and I hurried home.

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In the evening we heard that Chennai was officially declared a disaster area.

December 3, 2015:

Rains continued to plague Chennai.

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Around 11:00 am we saw an army helicopter crossing far away from our house.

Around 1:30 pm we received electricity. We were able to see TV programmes.

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PM Narendra Modi viewing flooded Chennai from a helicopter (Source: financialexpress.com)
PM Narendra Modi viewing flooded Chennai from a helicopter (Source: financialexpress.com)

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We were made aware that the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu viewed the damages wrought by the incessant rains from the comfort of a helicopter. We also came to know that the Prime Minister who had come all the way from New Delhi too viewed the damages travelling on a separate helicopter.

At 6:30 pm some of our neighbours hurried towards the main road. My wife told me that the ATMs were working. I too took my debit card and ran to the main road. We were all disappointed for one ATM displayed the “Sorry. No money!” sign and the other two ATMs had shuttered down. It was a rumour.

Around 7:00 pm the electric supply was cut off and we were once again in the dark.

Around 7:30 pm my nephew Raphael Leo came home by motorbike to our house to inquire whether we and his mother-in-law who lives about 200 metres away from our house were safe. My son Subas Raj in Ellicott City, MD, USA had contacted him on WhatsApp and had asked him to check on us.

Though relief efforts were well underway across some of the flooded areas in Chennai, the lack of any coordinated relief response forced thousands of its residents to evacuate their houses on their own.

December 4, 2015:

From 5:00 am we had no rain and the sun shone through thick clouds. We were happy and thought the rains had finally ceased. With a letup in rainfall, floodwaters gradually began to recede in some areas in Chennai though 40 percent of the city remained submerged. Safe food and drinking water was in short supply.

Still no cell phone service. And there is no internet.

The electric supply comes in spurts. TV works intermittently even when electricity is available.

The internet was available from 1:45 pm today.

At 2:30 pm ominous dark clouds started gathering and it started to rain heavily.

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A patient getting shifted to another hospital from MIOT Hospital after flooding of the area due to heavy rainfall in Chennai . PTI
A patient getting shifted to another hospital from MIOT Hospital after flooding of the area due to heavy rainfall in Chennai . PTI

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Around 6:30 pm I saw the heart-wrenching news on TV channels about the loss of 18 patients who had died at the MIOT International Hospital in Manapakkam, Chennai, due to overflowing of flood waters from Adyar river that breached the hospital’s walls, damaging equipment in its path.

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Three Ministers: Natham Viswanathan, Gokul Indra, Selur Raju) (Source: vikatan.com)
Three Ministers: Natham Viswanathan, Gokul Indra, Selur Raju. (Source: vikatan.com)

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Two TV channels showed AIADMK Tamilnadu State Ministers Natham Viswanathan, Gokula Indra, and Selur Raju being chased away by the public when they visited the Chief Minister’s R.K. Nagar electorate. They had come to the CM’s electorate to meet the people in lieu of their head. The ministers arrived in a cortege of 18 cars, and without getting down from their vehicles, the ministers spoke to the people. This infuriated the people. They asked the ministers to get down from their vehicles and get their feet wet as they did. After an argument, the ministers with the protection and cordoning by the police escaped the fury of the mass.

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AIADMK cadres sticking stickers of JJ (Source: Dinakaran.com)
AIADMK cadres sticking stickers of JJ on foods and other essentials brought in for distribution by some charitable public and non-AIADMK organisations. (Source: Dinakaran.com)

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Then we came across the shameful news that in some areas in Chennai the AIADMK hooligans are abrogating the work done by the charitable people and NGOs in Chennai by sticking stickers of JJ on the food parcels brought by them for distribution. If they could not help at least they should not steal the credits that are due to the helping people with their hard earned money and organizations who do not belong to their party. Instead, these shameless ruffians could have volunteered to work in the flood affected areas instead of stealing efforts made by others; or they could have pressured their higher-ups from the lowly municipal councilors to the Chief Minister to distribute free food from their “Amma Canteens” and distribute free “Amma Water” Bottles.

There seems to be a voltage drop and the electricity might be cut off at any moment.

For now, my family and I are safe. Please see the TV news channels for the overall situation now prevailing in Chennai.

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A Nondescript Village in Tamilnadu, India Stages 100 Dramas Every Year!


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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The Valayankulam village located 22 km from Madurai City in Tamilnadu, India has a population of 5705 comprising 1514 families as per the Population Census of 2011.

Map showing Valayankulam

This village has a low literacy rate – 69.57% compared to 80.09% of Tamil Nadu. The Male literacy stands at 77.96% while the female literacy rate was 61.23%.

As per the constitution of India and Panchayati Raaj Act, an elected Sarpanch (Head of Village) administers the Valayankulam village.

Valaiyaangulam Subburaj Theatre (Photo: Dhanasekaran Muthu/ssl.panoramio.com)

Valaiyaangulam Subburaj Theatre (Photo: Dhanasekaran Muthu/ssl.panoramio.com)

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The cynosure in most village festivals in Tamilnadu would be entertainment items such as the theru koothu, karakaattam, dancing, singing, drama or a pattimandram (debating platforms), etc. But, what many, even in Tamilnadu, do not know is the fact that this nondescript village enacts 100 dramas every year  to please the village deity – “Thaanaai mulaitha Thanilinga Perumal” (தானாய் முளைத்த தனிலிங்கப் பெருமாள்) meaning “self-sprouted Thanilinga Perumal”.  So much so, the villagers do not fancy cinema theatres.

Even in this modern scientific era, women barred from entering the Thanilinga Perumal temple, pray to the deity standing outside the temple.

On the stage erected in front of the temple, the villagers allow only performance of dramas. They consider the stage sanctified and none can approach it wearing any kind of footwear.

According to a former village headman, the deity Thanilinga Perumal loves staged dramas; hence his devotees perform dramas 100 days per year to please him.

Devotees entreat the deity to fulfil their request and in return pledge to stage a drama of their liking when the deity answers their prayers.

A drama performed at Valayankulam Thanilinga Perumal temple stage. (Source: Facebook/Art and Cultural Rights of Folk Artists)
A drama performed at Valayankulam Thanilinga Perumal temple stage. (Source: Facebook/Art and Cultural Rights of Folk Artists)

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This tradition of staging dramas in this particular village dates back to the days of Thirumalai Nayakkar who ruled Madurai from 1623 to 1659 when a severe drought brought famine to Valayankulam and other surrounding villages. Since the people believed the deity Thanilinga Perumal loved staged drama, they pledged to perform a drama if he  answered their prayer for rain. Miraculously, it rained and the village had a bountiful harvest. As obligated, the villagers staged a drama the following year to thank their village deity. From then on to date, the village has been performing dramas to please their deity.

Around this time, when king Thirumalai Nayakkar visited the Thanilinga Perumal temple, the villagers entertained him by performing a drama from Mahabharata titled “Abhimanyu Sundari” – the story of Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna and Subhadra, and his first wife Sundari. The king relished the play and praised the actors who took part in it, and those actors adopted the phrase ‘Thirumalai mechinaar‘ (திருமலை மெச்சினார்) meaning ‘Praised by Thirumala’ as their family name.

Consequently, the first play performed during the drama festival would always invariably be Abhimanyu Sundari performed exclusively by members of the Thirumalai mechinaar families

A drama peformed acon stage at Valayankulam (Source: dhinasari.com)
A drama performed on stage at Valayankulam Village (Source: dhinasari.com)

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Every year the drama festival begins on Maha Sivarathri or ‘Great Night of Shiva’,  a Hindu festival celebrated annually in reverence to mark the marriage of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati – the convergence of Shiva and Shakti. From that day onwards the villagers enact a drama daily for 100 days without any interruption.

Drama "Valli Thirumanam, " performed at Valayankulam Thanilinga Perumal temple..(Source: Facebook/Art and Cultural Rights of Folk Artists)
Drama “Valli Thirumanam, ” performed at Valayankulam Thanilinga Perumal temple..(Source: Facebook/Art and Cultural Rights of Folk Artists)

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The villagers believe that if anyone prays to their deity and pledges to stage a drama, the deity would hearken to their prayers. The villagers of Valayankulam boast that barren couples who pray for issues would come to the temple the following year with their offsprings and offer their thanks by sponsoring a drama.

A drama performed on stage at Valayankulam (Source: dhinasari.com) - 2
A drama peformed on stage at Valayankulam Village ( Source: dhinasari.com)

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Flaming Torches brought by the villagers from the village square to the stage.
Flaming Torches brought by the villagers from the village square to the stage.

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In the past, when there was no electricity, the villagers lit the stage using flaming torches. Hence even now, to uphold the tradition, the villagers carry flaming torches from the village square to the stage with pomp and ceremony before the day’s play begins. When the torch bearers reach the stage, the pujari or archaka (priest) performs special ceremonies in the temple.

Audience watching a drama peformed on stage at Valayankulam (Source: dhinasari.com)
Audience watching a drama performed on stage at Valayankulam (Source: dhinasari.com)

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View of the stage from the sanctum sanctorum of Thaanaai mulaitha Thanilinga Perumal (தானாய் முளைத்த தனிலிங்கப் பெருமாள்)
View of the stage from the sanctum sanctorum of Thaanaai mulaitha Thanilinga Perumal (தானாய் முளைத்த தனிலிங்கப் பெருமாள்)

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After paying the due respects to the seniors of the village, the play will begin at 10:00 pm and will proceed till 5:00 am the following day. The pujari keeps the door of the sanctum sanctorum open during this time for the deity to view the play.

The drama festivities will culminate on Chithra Fullmoon Day followed by a banquet for people belonging to all castes.

The minimum cost of staging a play by mediocre actors would amount to  ₹25,000 and might go up to ₹60,000 to ₹1,00,000 if performed by cinema actors. Almost all Tamil drama actors and artisans connected with the dramatic art have performed or taken part on the stage at Valayankulam before the deity Thanilinga Perumal.

Staging a play at Valayankulam whenever one likes is not easy as anyone might think. Devotees who have pledged to sponsor a play have to pay ₹100 and wait in a long queue for at least a year to stage it on a stipulated date.

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Note: I gleaned most of the above details from the article published in dhinasari.com written in Tamil titled, “வருடத்தில் 100 நாட்கள் நாடகம் நடைபெறும் கிராமம்” (“A village where dramas are performed 100 days per year”) by Mr. S.P. Senthilkumar, a reputed Tamil journalist from Madurai, Tamilnadu, India.

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A Thanks Giving Day story: The Letter Addressed to God.


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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A still from the film "Slumdog Millionaire"
A still from the film “Slumdog Millionaire”

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A few days ago, during the incessant rain and floods in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India, a little boy wanted 100 rupees to buy food for his family who had not eaten for two days. He prayed to God. When nothing happened and no one officially came to help them, he decided to write a request letter to God.

A puzzled post office staff on seeing the letter addressed to God forwarded it to the Chief Minister.

The amused Chief Minister thought that 100 rupees would be a lot of money for a little boy to buy food. So, she instructed her secretary to send the little boy 30 rupees instead from the Chief Minister’s relief fund.

When the little boy received the money he was delighted. He wrote the following ‘Thank you’ letter to the CM:

Dear God, I thank you for sending me money through the Chief Minister’s Office Secretariat in Chennai. However, I would like you to know that corrupt asses there must have swindled 70 rupees as their commission! “

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RELATED IMAGES

Images of floods in Chennai in November 2015 (google.co.in)

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Chennai floods and the aftermath (thehindu.com)

The Hanging Column in the Veerabhadra Temple in Lepakshi, AP, India


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Lepakshi is a small village in the Anantapur District in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is about 9 miles (15 km) east of Hindupur and about 75 miles (120 km) north of Bangalore.

This village is historically and archaeologically significant. It has three shrines dedicated to the Hindu gods Shiva, Vishnu and Veerabhadra built during the period of Vijayanagara Kings (1336–1646).

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The Hanging Column in the Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India (Source: images.worthview.com)
The Hanging Column in the Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India (Source: images.worthview.com)

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The famous 16th-century Veerabhadra stone temple constructed in Vijayanagar style has about 70 pillars, but only one of these pillars is best known as the Aakaasa Sthambha (Hanging Column). It is a tribute to the engineering genius of the temple builders of medieval India. The pillar does not rest on the ground fully.

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The Hanging Column in the Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India.
The Hanging Column in the Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India. (Source: wikimapia.org)

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Cloth under the Hanging Column in the Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Cloth under the Hanging Column in the Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India.

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A cloth can slide smoothly underneath this Hanging pillar.

During the British era, a British engineer tried to move it to uncover the secret of its support. His attempt was unsuccessful and the pillar got slightly dislodged from its original position.

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Miracles Do Happen Even in This Kaliyug.


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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A Mother and daughter in Chennai (This picture was posted on Facebook)
A Mother and daughter in Chennai (This picture was posted on Facebook)

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In  the early hours of August 8, 2015, around 6:30 am,  a  walking group called “Twalkers” saw a mother and her daughter carrying a travelling bag at the Anna University Campus in Chennai,

The Twalkers saw them still standing in the same spot when they came around the second time. They inquired why they were standing there in the early hours.

Thangaponnu, the mother told them that she was a shepherdess from Musiri, a Panchayat town in the Tiruchirapalli district. Her daughter R. Swathi had scored 1017/1200 marks in her Plus Two examinations. After applying for entrance to B.Sc. Agriculture course, her daughter had been asked to come to Anna Arangam, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, to attend the counseling session ahead of the admissions process to B. Sc. Agriculture, scheduled to start at 8:30 am. She showed the letter received by her daughter from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU).

On scrutinizing that letter,  the Twalkers saw the mistake. TNAU had directed Swathi to present herself at The Anna Arangam, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, in Coimbatore, but some people had  inadvertently misdirected them to Anna University, Chennai.

When the mother and daughter realized their mistake, they lost hope of reaching Coimbatore in time because the distance between Chennai and Coimbatore by road is 533 km (331 miles) and would take around 8 hours to travel.When the mother and daughter realized the mistake, they lost hope.

Since the counseling was to start at 8.30 a.m. in Coimbatore, the Twalkers decided to help the girl and her mother reach Coimbatore by air flight. The Twalkers decided to share the flight cost of ₹10,500.

Some Twalkers teaching at the Anna University, spoke to TNAU registrar C.R. Ananda Kumar, and explained to him the situation and asked for extra time for the girl candidate.

The Twalkers brought breakfast for the girl and her mother.

Once the flight tickets were booked and confirmed, the Twalkers took Swathi and her mother to the Chennai airport to board the 10:05 am Coimbatore flight.

The flight Swathi and her mother were on landed at 11:28 am in Coimbatore. Arrangements were made to pick them at the Coimbatore airport. They reached the TNAU counseling venue by 12:15 pm.

Around 2:00 pm Swathi got admitted to B.Tech. (Biotechnology).

Swathi and her mother are now planning to visit Chennai again soon to meet the Twalkers who had spontaneously helped and thank them. The mother said that they would return the money the Twalkers had spent to buy their flight tickets.

Isn’t this incidence a miracle in this Kaliyug.

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