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Do You Believe in Prayers?


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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The following story is a modern-day admonition to many “I’m holier than thou” churchgoers to not allow transient secular needs to get in the way of their belief and faith.

The tale prompts the readers to assess the true contents of their hearts and find if they aren’t at times engaging in a bit of religious distancing by setting aside their faith when faith becomes inconvenient or whether they stand up for their beliefs and proudly proclaim them even when doing so is to their disadvantage, financial or otherwise?

The judge in the story points out, that there is something untoward about the congregation that puts worldly matters first and denies its belief in prayer.

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A Tavern Owner Sues Members of the Baptist Church

In the early 19th century the Goshen Road was the main road in Mount Vernon, the county seat of Jefferson County, Illinois, United States. The Baptist settlers built a church on this road and had a good following.

In 1860, a Mr Drummond got a permit to open the first tavern in Mt. Vernon and he bought the building opposite the Baptist church and launched his business.

The members of the Baptist church who strongly opposed the opening of the tavern appealed to the authorities to shut it down. The officers, already bribed by Drummond with liquor and money turned a deaf ear to their appeal. So, every day, the members of the Baptist congregation started praying to God to intervene.

A few months later lightning struck the building housing the tavern. It caught fire. The members of the Baptist church rejoiced until they received notice that Mr Drummond, the tavern owner was suing them.

In court, Mr Drummond contended that the lightning bolt that destroyed his tavern was the result of the prayers of the members of the Baptist church. The members of the church, nonetheless, denied all responsibility for the destruction of the tavern.

After the preliminary hearing, the judge warily remarked, “It’s difficult to decide the case because Mr Drummond, the tavern owner, believes in the power of prayer and the church people don’t.

 

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Precautionary Measure


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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After dating for six months, Antonio and Sophia finally decided to marry. It took such a long time for Antonio to propose because of Gina, the voluptuous unmarried elder sister of Sophia, who from the day he met her was tempting him by offering spectacular views of her braless breasts whenever she came near him.

A month before the wedding Gina phoned Antonio and asked him to come over to their house to check the wedding invitation.

When Antonio parked his car under the porch of Sophia’s house. The usually noisy house was calm. When he rang the bell, Gina opened the door and he could feel a hint of trepidation in her mien as she pulled him inside and shut the door. Embracing him she said that she was alone in the house and had been waiting long for such a moment to express her feelings and desires for him and wanted to sleep with him as many times as she could before he married her younger sister.

When Gina said, “Let’s go upstairs to my bedroom and ...”, he just stood there stupefied. As she climbed the stairs, he rushed out of the house. He froze in his tracks when he saw Sophia and all the members of her family standing near his car, and Sophia’s father was holding a gun. They all smiled and cheered.

With joyful tears streaming down his cheeks, his future father-in-law gave the gun to Sophia. He hugged Antonio and said, “You have passed our little test. We don’t think we can find a better man than you as a faithful husband for my younger daughter. Welcome to the family!

Just then Gina came out of the house and joined her family members. They all went laughing into the house with Antonio. After dinner, Gina accosted Antonio and while offering a view of her gorgeous braless breasts, whispered, “My offer still stands even after you marry my sister!

He smiled slyly as acceptance of her offer and silently vowed to keep his condoms always in his car as a precautionary measure and never in his pockets!

 

The Lucky Bamboo


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Spiral Lucky Bamboo plant

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The “Lucky Bamboo”, a common office decoration often marketed as a Chinese good luck symbol, is not really bamboo, it belongs to the same family as the lily.

Other common names for this plant include Sander’s dracaena, ribbon dracaena, curly bamboo, friendship bamboo, Chinese water bamboo, Goddess of Mercy’s plant, Belgian evergreen, ribbon plant, etc. Although the word ‘bamboo’ occurs in several of this plant’s common names, this plant is of an entirely different taxonomic order from true bamboos.

Dracaena sanderiana, also known as Dracaena braunii or the ‘Lucky Bamboo’ is named after the German–English gardener Henry Frederick Conrad Sander (1847–1920). It is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae.

Lucky bamboo is an attractive, popular plant that could be grown indoors. In certain parts of India, the plant has become the most popular indoor plant and is usually imported from China and Taiwan.

According to the principles of feng shui and Vastu Shastra, this plant considered as auspicious could bring good luck. Some believe that by keeping the lucky bamboo plant inside houses and offices in decorative pots would bring them happiness and prosperity.

Though several this plant’s common names precede with the words ‘China’ or ‘Belgium’, the plant is native of the tropical rainforests of Africa and parts of Southeast Asia.

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Don’t Mess with Another Person’s Life.


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Image credit: bonobology.com

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Do you know that there some people who are off limits?

If a person is messing with someone who is already in love with another, or with someone who expects a serious relationship, or with someone married, with the intention of only a new ‘conquest’ and no love, would you approve his/her action?

If your answer is ‘no‘ then you too should not do it.

If you truly love another person and realize you are off limits then stop messing with that person’s life right now. If your feelings for that person is really deep, it would indeed be hard for you and it would take a long time for you to get over your infatuation. If you do so it would be worth for your reputation, and sooner or later someone who is not off limits will come along for you to love without any inhibition, and then you will know that your decision to stay off limits was worth the wait.

Beating Retreat Ceremony (2019)


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Beating Retreat” is an old military tradition, dating back to the 16th century England when the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield at the sounding of the Retreat and returned to their camps or castles, lowered their flags and cased their Colours and Standards.

On June 18, 1690, James II (England and Ireland) who was also the King of Scotland as James VII, had his drums beaten as an order for his troops to retreat. Later in 1694, an order from William III read “The Drum Major and Drummers of the Regiment which gives a Captain of the Main Guard are to beat the Retreat through the large street, or as may be ordered. They are to be answered by all the Drummers of the guards and by four Drummers of each Regiment in their respective Quarters“.

In the early 1950s, Major G.A. Roberts from the Grenadier battalion of the Indian army was asked to develop the “Beating Retreat’ ceremony as part of a military tattoo to display the musical prowess of massed bands comprising pipers, drummers, buglers and trumpeters from various regiment bands of the Army, Air Force and Navy.

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Beating Retreat Ceremony in New Delhi.

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The Indian Republic Day festivities officially culminate with the resplendent and colourful “Beating Retreat Ceremony” conducted on the evening of January 29, the third day after the Republic Day by the massed bands of the three wings of the military: the Indian Army, Indian Air Force, and Indian Navy, along with the Central Armed Police Forces and the Delhi Police enthral the crowd with their exceptionally captivating foot-tapping music.

The venue is Raisina Hills and an adjacent square, Vijay Chowk, flanked by the north and south block of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, towards the end of Rajpath.

On February 29, 2019, sixteen military bands, sixteen pipes and drums bands from regimental centres and battalions of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the State Police and Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) participated in the Beating Retreat ceremony.

Out of the 27 tunes played eight were western and 19 were composed by Indian musicians.

The western tunes were: ‘Fanfare by Buglers’, ‘Sound Barrier’, ‘Emblazoned’, ‘Twilight’, ‘Alert (Post Horn Gallop)’, ‘Space Flight’, ‘Drummers Call’ and ‘Abide with me’.

The Indian tunes were: ‘Indian Star’, ‘Paharonki Rani’, ‘KumaoniGeet’, ‘Jai Janam Bhumi’, ‘Queen of Satpura’, ‘Marooni’, ‘Vijay’, ‘Soldier-My Valentine’, ‘Bhupal’, ‘Vijay Bharat’, ‘Aakash Ganga’, ‘Gangotri’, ‘Namaste India’, ‘Samudrika’, ‘Jai Bharat’, ‘Young India’, ‘Veerta Ki Misal’, ‘Amar Senani’ and ‘Bhumiputra’.

As usual, the event came to a close with the ever-popular tune of ‘Sare Jahan se Acha’.

Here is a video of the “Beating Retreat 2019 – Annual musical extravaganza” posted by Doordarshan National on YouTube:

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Some Compassionate and Humble Padma Shri 2019 Awardees.


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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The Bharat Ratna award

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On January 2, 1954, a press release from the office of the secretary to the President of India announced the creation of two civilian awards: Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award, followed by the three-tier Padma Vibhushan, classified into “Pahela Warg” (Class I), “Dusra Warg” (Class II), and “Tisra Warg” (Class III).

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The three Padma awards

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On January 15, 1955, the three-tier Padma Vibhushan award was reclassified into three different awards: the Padma Vibhushan, the highest of the three, followed by the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri.

From 1954 onwards the Government of India honours its distinguished citizens on India’s Republic Day (26th January) by conferring the civilian awards for their services to the Republic of India. All persons without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex are eligible for these awards.

The Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award is conferred on distinguished citizens of India in recognition of their distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity including the arts, education, industry, literature, science, sports, medicine, social service and public affairs. It has also been awarded to some distinguished individuals who were/are not citizens of India for their various services rendered to the Republic of India.

The recipients of the Padma Shri award receive only the award. It is just an honour without any monetary compensation. No cash allowance or any facility/benefit in terms of concession etc. in rail/air travel is attached to these awards. The awardees are not allowed to publicize their achievements.

The award does not amount to a title and cannot be used as a suffix or prefix to the awardee’s name on letterheads, invitation cards, posters, books etc. In the case of any misuse, the awardee will forfeit the award. Though there are no specific criteria for withdrawing a Padma award, according to the awards’ statutes, the President of India may cancel and annul any award in the case of any misconduct committed by the recipient.

The Padma Shri Award Certificate

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The Padma Shri medal, obverse, reverse and the Ribbon.

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The Padma Shri decoration comprises a Certificate issued under the hand and seal of the President and a Medallion. The recipients are also given a replica of the medallion, which if they desire can be worn by them during any ceremonial/State functions.

A higher category of Padma award can be conferred on a person only where a period of at least five years has elapsed since conferment of the earlier Padma award. However, in highly deserving cases, relaxation can be made by the Awards Committee.

This year (2019), the Padma Shri was awarded to 94 persons. Of these 21 of the awardees are women, 11 persons from the category of foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI, three posthumous awardees and one transgender person.

What caught my attention most was the following 14 humble, compassionate, unassuming, unselfish and humane Padma Shri recipients ignored by the media caught my attention.

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The Chaiwala Guru of Cuttack: Devarapalli Prakash Rao  

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Environmentalist from  Karnataka: Saalumarada Thimmakka  

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Empowering Women: ‘Kalanjiam Shakti‘: Madurai Chinna Pillai 

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The ‘Lady Tarzan‘ of Jharkhand: Jamuna Tudu

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Caretaker of cows in Maratawada : Shaikh Shabbir Mamu

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Kissan Chachi‘: Rajkumari Devi

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India’s ‘Saviour of Cows’ from Germany:  Friederike Irina Bruning

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Carver of Canals with bare hands: Daitari Naik

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The Wonder Surgeon of Ladakh: Dr Tsering Norbu 

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The ‘Grassroot  Inventor’ from Assam: Dr Uddhab Kumar Bharali

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The Pioneer of Sickle Cell Research in India:  Dr Sudam Kate

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The developer of an improved variety of Cauliflower:
Jagdish Prasad Parikh

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Reviver of the dying Kutchi art of Rogan painting:
Abdul Gafoor Khatri

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The tribal woman from Koraput  promoting organic farming:
Kamala Pujhari

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Colour Bands on Electronic Resistors


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Resistors with coloured bands (AFrank99Wikimedia)
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Have you noticed the tiny coloured stripes on the resistors in the interiors of electronic gadgets? These coloured stripes known as the Electronic Color Code indicate the resistor’s resistance value. To a layman, the band system might seem strange, but to a serious hobbyist or to a professional in electricity and electronics the bands help to know the values of the resistors easily.

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How to Read Resistor Color Codes (arrow.com)
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The colour code system was developed in the 1920s by the Radio Manufacturers Association (an organization now known as the Electronic Industries Alliance). This system of colour-coded bands has prevailed for the better part of a century now and will likely continue to do so.
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4-band resistor

In the above standard 4-band resistor the colour and order of the bands serve to indicate the significant figures of the resistor’s value (the first two bands), as well as the decimal multiplier (the third band), and the tolerance of the resistor (the fourth band).

5-band resistor
In the above standard 5-band resistor the first three bands show the resistor’s value, the fourth band indicates the decimal multiplier and the fifth band the tolerance of the resistor. 
Now with the advent of tiny surface-mount resistors that are often hardly bigger than a grain of rice, has led to an increase in alpha-numeric coding in lieu of the banding method.

The Wright’s Prayer


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj.

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Pastor Joe Wright of Central Christian Church, Wichita, Kansas (believersportal.com)

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Pastor Joe Wright of Central Christian Church, Wichita, Kansas is well-known as one of the leaders who led the campaign for a constitutional amendment banning “same-sex marriage” in Kansas.

On January 22, 1996, a Kansas state legislator, also a member of the Central Christian Church, Wichita called on the pastor at his home and proposed that he deliver the prayer to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, in Topeka on the following day.  Consequently, Pastor Wright sat down and wrote a prayer in 30 minutes.

On January 23, 1996, Pastor Joe Wright delivered his prayer before the Kansas House of Representatives. Everyone was expecting the usual broad, non-specific and glittering politically correct generalities but what they heard instead was a stirring prayer, passionately calling the citizens of the country to repentance and righteousness.

The response to the prayer was immediate. According to the Kansas City Star, at least one legislator walked out during the prayer.

Pastor Joe Wright’s prayer sparked a political furore. It went viral on the internet with hundreds of emails republishing and some critiquing it.

In May 1996, Marc Fisher, a senior editor, at the Washington Post wrote that in the ensuing months Pastor Joe Wright’s prayer led to “angry walkouts in two state legislatures, an unprecedented two readings on Paul Harvey’s ABC Radio newscast, more than 6,500 phone calls to Wright’s church and so many boxes of mail that the church staff (didn’t’) know where to put them anymore.

The Central Christian Church, in Wichita, received unprecedented international requests for copies of this prayer.

Here is the transcription of Pastor Joe Wright’s Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance.

We know Your word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.

“We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your word in the name of moral pluralism.

“We have worshipped other gods and called it ‘multiculturalism.’

“We have endorsed perversion and called it ‘an alternative lifestyle.’

“We have exploited the poor and called it ‘a lottery.’

“We have neglected the needy and called it ‘self-preservation.’

“We have rewarded laziness and called it ‘welfare.’

“In the name of ‘choice,’ we have killed our unborn.

“In the name of ‘right to life,’ we have killed abortionists.

“We have neglected to discipline our children and called it ‘building esteem.’

“We have abused power and called it ‘political savvy.’

“We’ve coveted our neighbors’ possessions and called it ‘taxes.’

“We’ve polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it ‘freedom of expression.’

“We’ve ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it ‘enlightenment.’

“Search us, oh God, and know our hearts today. Try us, and show us any wicked in us. Cleanse us from every sin, and set us free.

“Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas and who have been ordained by You to govern this great state.

“Grant them Your wisdom to rule, and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your will.

“I ask it in the name of your son, the living savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”

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A Contract


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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During the Prime Minister’s short stay in his homeland, tenders were called from worldwide private sector firms, for painting his official residence and principal workplace.

The three highest quotes received were from China (US$ 5 million), Japan (US$ 15 million) and from France (US$ 45 million).

During his next jaunt abroad, needless to say, the Prime Minister visited the three painting firms in China, Japan and France to ask them the basis for their quotes.

The head of the Chinese People’s Cooperative Painting Consortium said, “Paint: $2 million; Labour: $2 million, and Profit: $1 million.”

The head of the Japanese Painting Company said, “Paint: $6 million; Labour: $6 million; and Profit: $3 million.”

The head of the French Gaul Sablage et Peinture Industrielle said, “For you in Swiss Bank: $20 million; For us: $20 million; and $5 million to the Chinese People’s Cooperative Painting Consortium for the painting work.”

Guess who got the contract!

The Bane of India: Peacocks Don’t Have Sex


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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The late Madhaviah Krishnan born in Tirunelveli on June 30, 1912, was a pioneering Indian wildlife photographer, writer and naturalist. He studied in the Tirunelveli Hindu High School and developed an interest in literature, art and nature.  In his article ‘A Bird Emblem for India‘ published in 1961, says that a decision was made to select a bird as the national emblem of India at a meeting of the Indian Board for Wildlife held in Ootacammund. The Swan, the Peacock, the Sarus crane, the Brahminy kite, and the Bustard were considered against the following criteria for the bird to be declared ‘national’:

  • It must be well distributed within the country.
  • It must be recognizable to the average person.
  • It must lend itself to the formal depiction, i.e., abstract depiction on Government publications, etc.
  • It must not be confused with the bird emblem of any other nation.
  • It must be associated with Indian myths and legends and represented in ancient Indian art and sculpture.

The choice was the peacock and was declared the “National Bird of India”.

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Rajasthan High Court judge, Mahesh Chandra Sharma

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Now, to the bane of India, we have the following declaration from Mahesh Chandra Sharma, a so-called eminent Judge of the Rajasthan High Court judge,  before his retirement on June 1, 2017:

“Peacocks don’t have sex. The peacock is a lifelong brahmachari (celibate). It never has sex with the peahen. The peahen gets impregnated after swallowing the tears of the peacock.”

What would this ‘eminent and keen observing‘ judge of the Rajasthan High Court say if he sees this video?

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