Tag Archives: T. V. Antony Raj

Fuel Price Hike: Is It Another Way to Rob the Public?


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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In India, oil firms use the newly given freedom to increase prices of fuel such as petrol, Diesel oil and cooking gas in small doses.

On February 15, 2013, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) hiked the price of petrol by ₹1.50 per litre and the price of diesel by 45 paise per litre. It was the second price adjustment in February. A statement issued by IOC said that a rise in international oil prices and depreciation in rupee have necessitated the increase in the price of petrol and diesel.

The increase announced excludes local sales tax or VAT and the real hike for consumers would be more after including the duty and other incidences. So, the price in Delhi will go up by almost ₹1.80 per litre after taking into account 19 per cent VAT. Diesel rates would go up by 51 paise.

Yet again, India woke up on March 1, 2013, to face another price hike of petrol. IOC as usual issued a statement that said a rise in international oil prices and depreciation in rupee have necessitated a ₹1.40 per litre increase in the price of petrol. Again, the hike does not include local sales tax or VAT and so the real increase in the rate for consumers will be higher than ₹1.40 per litre.

Following are the revised pricing of petrol at Indian Oil Corporation petrol pumps in four metros with effect from March 1, 2013. By the way, rates at the pumps of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) vary by a few paise.

City Current Price ₹ Revised Price ₹ Increase ₹
Delhi 69.06 70.74 1.68
Kolkata 76.59 78.34 1.75
Mumbai 75.89 77.66 1.77
Chennai 72.17 73.95 1.78

While bulk consumers like Railways have to pay almost a rupee more per litre for the Diesel due to the hike, the price of cooking gas (LPG) has come down by Rs 37.50 per gas cylinder that consumers buy beyond their quota.

I came across the following Counter Point cartoons by Subhani in Deccan Chronicle:

 Counter Point - Diesel prices to be hiked  Counter Point - Petrol price hike and cut  Counter Point - Oil Clock

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I visited Manoj Kureel’s Facebook page, and impressed by the creations of this young cartoonist I give below three examples of his work on the subject of fuel price hike:

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Snakeyyyy Petrol
Snakeyyyy Petrol (Cartoon: Manoj Kureel)

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Petrol robbers
The latest modus operandi to rob the public! (Cartoon: Manoj Kureel)

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Give and Take
Give and Take (Cartoon: Manoj Kureel)

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What Is Child Abuse?


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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‘Child abuse or maltreatment of a child constitutes all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in real or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power’

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What is child abuse

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Child abuse in the world today exists in a variety of forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, neglect and child labour.

One of the earliest recorded instances of child abuse appears in the story of a poor boy named Sopāka in the Buddhist Jataka Tales.

In Sāvatthi, the capital of Kosala kingdom in India, a poor woman while in labour fell into a coma. Her kinsfolk carried her to the cemetery for cremation. A kind spirit loitering there created a windy storm and prevented the fire from burning the woman’s body.

After the people who brought the woman’s body for cremation ran away fearing the storm, the woman gave birth to a boy. The cemetery watchman took the mother and the child under his wings. They called the child Sopāka meaning the “waif” because he was born in the cemetery.

The watchman was very wicked and unkind. He considered the innocent little boy a burden and often beat and scolded him. When Sopāka was seven years old the watchman decided to get rid of the boy.

One evening Sopāka accompanied the watchman to the far end of the cemetery where there were many half-burned rotting corpses. The watchman tied Sopāka to one of the stinking cadavers and returned home leaving the crying boy to the mercy of the nocturnal preying animals.

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The samanera Sopaka being abandoned in the cemetery with a corpse
Sopāka abandoned in the cemetery with a corpse.

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When the watchman returned home Sopāka’s mother asked him: “Where is my son?”

“I don’t know,” the watchman replied. “He came home before me.”

The mother worrying about her son was awake whole night.

Around midnight the jackals came. Sopāka paralyzed with fear started wailing.

The Buddha, sensing Sopāka’s destiny for arahantship (“perfected one”), sent a ray of glory towards him that proclaimed: “Sopāka, don’t cry. Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”

At that moment, the boy got unbound and found himself standing before the Buddha at the Jetavana monastery. The Buddha bathed him, clothed him, gave him food, consoled and comforted him.

Early next day Sopāka’s mother went to the Buddha seeking help.

“Why are you crying, sister?” asked the Buddha.

“O Lord,” replied the mother, “I have only one son and since last night he is missing.”

“Don’t worry, sister. Your son is safe. Here he is,” the Buddha said and showed her Sopāka.

After listening to the Buddha’s teachings she and her son Sopāka became followers of the Buddha.

The Buddhist scriptures also tell the story of a boy named Mattakundali whose miserly father severely neglects him and deprives him of medical care. Although “Sopāka” and “Mattakundali” are based in ancient India, both stories still resonate today in our modern society irrespective of which country we live in..

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The Legend of Saint Valentinus the Patron Saint of Valentine’s Day


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Myself .

 By T. V. Antony Raj

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Saint Valentinus

On February 14, the Valentine’s Day lovers exchange sweets, candy, chocolates, flowers and other gifts all in the name of St. Valentine, a mysterious saint.

Most people in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, and a few in India, Sri Lanka, Philippines and many countries around the world celebrate the day. However, this centuries-old holiday remains a working day in most of the countries.

February, cherished for centuries as a month for romance contains vestiges of both Christian and pagan Roman traditions. Moreover, no one knows for sure who the real patron saint of the day is. Why? Because the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different martyred saints named Valentinus.

According to the most popular legend, Valentinus was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young soldiers as he reckoned that single men made better soldiers than those married and having wives and children.

Valentinus thought the decree was not just, and he decided to defy the Emperor. He performed marriages for young lovers in secret. Eventually, the Emperor became aware of the marriages performed by the priest, and his ministry among Christians and ordered that Valentinus be put to death.

The legends say that during his imprisonment Valentinus healed the daughter of his jailer named Asterius and converted 46 members of his family to Christianity. He then fell in love with the young girl who visited him during his confinement, and before his execution wrote her a farewell letter and signed it: “From your Valentine.”

Other stories state that Valentinus was condemned to death for attempting to help beaten and tortured Christians escape from Roman prisons.

These murky legends portray Valentinus as a sympathetic, heroic and a romantic person. In the Middle Ages, due to the reputation created as a legendary hero, Valentinus became one of the most popular saints in England and France.

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Hoax: A 14-Year-Old Boy Was Shot Six Times By His Stepfather


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

Since 1997, we have seen in circulation hoax emails appealing with phrases such as: “Forward this message to others and help fund medical care for a sick or dying child“.

Invariably, these messages named a large charity as the benefactor that stood ready to direct monies towards the costs of medical care for a child fighting for life. That trend continued into 2010.

Here is a heart-wringing message I came across on Facebook.

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Boy was shot 6 times by his step dad

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Everyone with a sympathetic heart wants to help sick children to get better. The message about a little boy or a little girl suffering from some dreaded disease or infirmity certainly tugs the heartstrings of many. Even so, on the internet pranksters play upon the pathos of others for their personal odious amusement.

Search through the archives on the internet failed to turn up any news about the shooting of any young man by his stepfather and his struggle for life in any hospital.

Lamentably, this message is a hoax.

This message does not give the date and the place where this incident occurred nor does it mention the name of the hospital that takes care of the boy.

Similar appeals to save a young life began circulating first through e-mails and later as cell phone text messages and in social websites such as Facebook.

Here are three earlier versions of this hoax message cited by snopes.com:

Version #1:

[Collected via e-mail, February 2010]

Last friday 2-12-10 a 14 yr old boy was shot 6 times by his step dad. The boy was protecting his 2 yr old sister, in whom the step dad was atempting to rape. The young girl was not harmed, bc of that young mans courage & loyalty to his sister. The mom was at work during this time. The 14 yr old boy is now fighting for his life, and the doctors say he will not make it unless he has this life saving surgery in wich the boys mom cant afford. So At&t has agreed to donate $0.45 every time this msg is sent. So fwd & help save a life! (sic)

Version #2:

[Collected via e-mail, February 2010]

Last friday 2/12/10 a 14 y/o boy weas shot 6 times by his step dad. the boy was protecting his 2 y/o sistetr, whom the atep dad was attemping to rape. the young girl was not harmed because of that young mans courage and loyalty to his sister. The Mother was at work when this took place the 14 yr old boy “dominic james daggner” is now fighting for his life, and the doctor says he will not make unless he has life saving surgery in which the mother cant not afford. So, Verizon and AT&T have agree to donate $12.00 everytime this text is sent. (sic)

Version #3:

[Collected via e-mail, May 2012]

14 YEAR OLD BOY WAS SHOT 6 TIMES BY HIS STEPFATHER, THIS BOY WAS PROTECTING HIS LITTLE 2 YEAR OLD SISTER WHO WAS ABOUT TO BE RAPED BY THIS POOR EXCUSE OF A MAN. THE LITTLE GIRL DID NOT GET HURT THANKS TO HER BRAVE OLDER BROTHER. THEIR MOM WAS AT WORK WHEN ALL THIS HAPPENED. NOW THIS BRAVE YOUNG MAN IS FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE, BUT DOCTRS SAY HE WILL NOT SURVIVE UNLESS HE GETS AN OPERATION WHICH IS VERY COSTFUL AND WHICH HIS MOM CANNOT PAY. ALL FACEBOOK COMPANIES HAVE AGREED TO DONATE 45 CENTS FOR EVERY TIME SOMEONE POSTS THIS TO THEIR WALL, SO PLEASE PASTE AND PASS THIS ON SO THAT TOGETHER WE CAN HELP SAVE THIS BOYS LIFE (sic)

The first two versions mention a date (2-12-10) when the shooting supposedly occurred while the third version does not mention a date . The second version even quotes a name for the victim as “dominic james daggner.

According to the current version of the message, an ante of 45 US cents would be paid by “Facebook Companies” for each forwarded message. In Version #1, cited above AT&T also offered the same amount per forwarded message. Version #2 of the message surpasses these two offers; it states that Verizon would pay a fantastic $12.00 as ante per forwarded message. And the third version says: “ALL FACEBOOK COMPANIES HAVE AGREED TO DONATE 45 CENTS FOR EVERY TIME SOMEONE POSTS THIS TO THEIR WALL…”

The message “shot 14-year-old boy”, circulated on the web similar to the hoaxes that used the name of the American Cancer Society, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, or some other large social or business entity. The pranksters even roped in McDonald’s and Pizza Hut in the Justin Mallory hoax: “epileptic in need of long-term care … ” and AOL and ZDNet in the Rachel Arlington hoax:  “… brain cancer sufferer in need of an operation …

Please, do not immediately believe that whatever appears on Facebook or any other site on the web as 100% true. First, verify the news. If it is true, and you want to help, then give your money or your time for the cause.

So, from now on, refrain from forwarding worthless messages to others. Well-intentioned forwarding of messages does nothing towards helping a sick child; however, it does make the day of the prankster who initiated the hoax.

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Unicode Technical Note #21: Tamil Numbers


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

Recently, I found the Unicode Technical Notes that provide information on a variety of topics related to Unicode and Internationalization technologies. The website stresses that these technical notes are independent publications, not approved by any of the Unicode Technical Committees, nor are they part of the Unicode Standard or any other Unicode specification and publication and does not imply endorsement by the Unicode Consortium in any way. These documents are not subject to the Unicode Patent Policy nor updated regularly.

Being a Tamil, Unicode Technical Note (UTN) #21: Tamil Numbers by Michael Kaplan, fascinated and impressed me.

Originally, Tamils did not use zero, nor did they use positional digits. They have separate symbols for the numbers 10, 100 and 1000. Symbols similar to other Tamil letters, with some minor changes. For example, the number 3782 not written as ௩௭௮௨ as in modern usage but as ௩ ௲ ௭ ௱ ௮ ௰ ௨.

This would be read as they are written as Three Thousands, Seven Hundreds, Eight Tens, Two; and in Tamil as மூன்று-ஆயிரத்து-எழு-நூற்று-எண்-பத்து-இரண்டு.

௧ = 1
௨ = 2
௩ = 3
௪ = 4
௫ = 5
௬ = 6
௭ = 7
௮ = 8
௯ = 9
௰ = 10
௰௧ = 11
௰௨ = 12
௰௩ = 13
௰௪ = 14
௰௫ = 15
௰௬ = 16
௰௭ = 17
௰௮ = 18
௰௯ = 19
௨௰ = 20
௱ = 100
௨௱ = 200
௩௱ = 300
௱௫௰௬ = 156
௲ = 1000
௲௧ = 1001
௲௪௰ = 1040
௮௲ = 8000
௰௲ = 10,000
௭௰௲ = 70,000
௯௰௲ = 90,000
௱௲ = 100,000 (lakh)
௮௱௲ = 800,000
௰௱௲ = 1,000,000 (10 lakhs)
௯௰௱௲ = 9,000,000
௱௱௲ = 10,000,000 (crore)
௰௱௱௲ = 100,000,000 (10 crore)
௱௱௱௲ = 1,000,000,000 (100 crore)
௲௱௱௲ = 10,000,000,000 (thousand crore)
௰௲௱௱௲ = 100,000,000,000 (10 thousand crore)
௱௲௱௱௲ = 1,000,000,000,000 (lakh crore)
௱௱௲௱௱௲ = 100,000,000,000,000 (crore crore)

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50 Adjectives of Beautiful: The Story of Lizzie Velasquez


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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The stares are what I’m really dealing with in public right now, … But I think I’m getting to the point where instead of sitting by and watching people judge me, I’m starting to want to go up to these people and introduce myself or give them my card and say, ‘Hi, I’m Lizzie. Maybe you should stop staring and start learning’.”
Lizzie Velasquez

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Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus defines the adjective “beautiful” as “physically attractive” and has a host of synonyms:

admirable, alluring, angelic, appealing, beauteous, bewitching, charming, classy, comely, cute, dazzling, delicate, delightful, divine, elegant, enticing, excellent, exquisite, fair, fascinating, fine, foxy, good-looking, gorgeous, graceful, grand, handsome, ideal, lovely, magnificent, marvelous, nice, pleasing, pretty, pulchritudinous, radiant, ravishing, refined, resplendent, shapely, sightly, splendid, statuesque, stunning, sublime, superb, symmetrical, taking, well-formed, wonderful.

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Medical journals and men’s magazines publish photos of women, but the pictures would be aesthetically pleasing differently because of their unrelated motivations. Though the journal is more revealing, the magazine has the allure.

Roget’s Thesaurus defines the adjective “ugly” as “unattractive” and has synonyms:

animal, appalling, awful, bad-looking, beastly, deformed, disfigured, foul, frightful, grisly, gross, grotesque, hard-featured, hideous, homely, horrid, ill-favored, loathsome, misshapen, monstrous, not much to look at, plain, repelling, repugnant, repulsive, revolting, uncomely, uninviting, unlovely, unprepossessing, unseemly, unsightly.

Born in San Antonio, Texas, Lizzie Velasquez, four weeks premature weighed just 2 pounds 10 ounces (1.190 kg), and she has a rare genetic disorder. She has no adipose tissue to create muscle, store energy, or gain weight. The doctors told her parents that their child would never be able to walk or talk, or live a normal life.

Only two other people throughout the world have a similar ailment. Lizzie does not have body fat and weighs a mere 63 pounds (28.58  kilograms). At the age of four one brown eye started clouding and now blind in that eye, she and has only limited sight in the other. However, the syndrome did not affect her two younger siblings.

Despite what the doctors said, she thrived. Though her body is tiny, her bones, internal organs, and brain developed normally. However, she has no fatty tissue to store nutrients and to have enough energy to get through the day she has to eat every 15 minutes or so.

When Lizzie was in high school, an 8-second-long YouTube video, now removed, dubbed her as “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” Some YouTube viewers called her “it” and “monster” and asked her to kill herself. The horrible comments stung Lizzie. Even so, she read each one and dismissed them saying, “they are just words.”

“Living with this rare syndrome I know first hand what it’s like to be bullied. But I will be the first to say there is hope and it does get better!” says Lizzie.

Despite an ailment that should have killed her before she was twelve months old, Lizzie, now 23 years old, is a senior majoring in Communications at Texas State University in San Marcos.

During the past seven years, she transformed herself into a motivational speaker with more than 200 workshops to her credit addressing: uniqueness, coping with bullies, and surmounting obstacles.

Lizzie Velasquez
Lizzie Velasquez

She also writes. In 2010, she published her first book, “Lizzie Beautiful“, and released her second, “Be Beautiful, Be You“, on March 1, 2012.

“Some days life doesn’t make sense,” she writes in “Be Beautiful, Be You“. “You just have to change what you can, ask for help and pray about the rest.

“I feel really glad that I don’t look like the celebrities out there that are so beautiful,” Lizzie told Dr. Drew Pinsky in an interview on CNN’s Headline News. “There are a lot of stereotypes attached to that Not looking like a supermodel gives people the opportunity to know you personally,” she explains.

“I’m human, and of course, these things are going to hurt,” she said. “Their judgement of me isn’t who I am, and I’m not going to let these things define me.”

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Ontario Lottery Corporation Scam


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Cliquez ici pour la version française de cet article intitulé: “Société des loteries de l’Ontario Escroquerie“.

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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Today, I received an email that said:

“The Ontario Lottery Corporation (OLC) is proud to inform you that you have won US $800,000 (EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLAR), why you have won? Your email address was among those chosen from our Java-based software that randomly selects email addresses from the web from which winners are selected.”

I understand, this email purportedly sent by “Ontario Lottery Corporation” and similar ones from “Canada Lottery Corporation” have been floating around on the net since early 2011. Nevertheless, it has taken a bit too long to reach me.

Let us analyze this email from “O.L.C. Board” with the subject “MESSAGE FROM ONTARIO CORPORATION.”

1. First of all, this letter has obviously been written by someone who doesn’t speak native English. Example: why you have won?

2. Would an official email from the Ontario Lottery contain errors like these?

Your winning price is to the tune of
Congratulations once again from all our staff’s

3. Although there is a legitimate lottery in Canada, it works like the lotteries in the United States, with each province selling their own tickets. But why is this Ontario Lottery picking the winners by email?

4. Why is the Ontario Lottery paying the prize in US Dollars?

5. Why did the letter come to me as a graphic instead of text? To bypass spam filters of course.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is an Operational Enterprise Agency created by the Government of Ontario. OLG and its affiliated companies employ more than 18,000 people throughout the province. They are responsible for 24 gaming sites and sales of lottery products at about 10,000 retail locations across the Province of Ontario.

This is what I found on their website OLG cautioning the public not to become prey to these types of scams.

“Have you received unsolicited emails, letters, or telephone calls asking you to pay taxes or fees on lottery winnings? Read the fraud indicators below for tips to identify and avoid lottery fraud and scams.

Fraud Indicators

    • You did not buy a ticket.
    • You have never heard of the lottery game.
    • You did not register your name, address, email address, phone number, and a credit card before buying a ticket on an online lottery website.
    • You do not live in the country (in this case CANADA), and you are not a citizen of the country of that lottery.
    • You are asked to pay money up front for fees or taxes to release your “win.”
    • You are told you must reply within a given time or the money will be given to someone else.

Added on Friday, December 7, 2012:

Today, I received yet another email containing the following purportedly sent by the Ontario Lottery Corporation:

From: OLC <ON@ca.olc>
to undisclosed recipients

Kindly see the attached.
Congratulations
Monica Taylor
OLC REP

OLC again

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The Carousel on the National Mall, Washington, DC.


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Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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On March 31, 2012, my wife and I visited the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Click here on this link to see a fantastic –> photo of the National Mall and The Capitol in Washington, DC.

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Near the Smithsonian Castle, on Jefferson Drive, on the National Mall, is an authentic carousel with brilliantly painted hand-carved animals.

This old carousel called “The Smithsonian Carousel” is not big, but is a big draw on the Mall for kids – young and old. Even if you are not so young like me, it is still fun to just see a bit of old-world fun and the old horses.

The Smithsonian carousel was built in the 1940s by the Allan Herschell Co., but its history is far richer than the families who frequent it might suspect.

Before the carousel arrived on the Mall in 1981, it was a popular attraction at Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Woodlawn, Maryland, one of the region’s most booming parks. Gwynn Oak, as many amusement parks were at that point of time, was for whites-only.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave the famous speech “I Have a Dream” on August 28, 1963.  According to Amy Nathan, author of “Round and Round Together, “Gwynn Oak Amusement Park dropped segregation on the very same day as the March on Washington, and on that day, Sharon Langley was the first African-American child to go on a ride there.

LOCATION:
Carousel on the National Mall
900 Jefferson Drive, SW
Washington, D.C. 20024

METRO:
Smithsonian Metro Station (Blue, Orange)
L’enfant Plaza Metro Station (Blue, Green, Orange, Yellow)
Archives Metro Station (Green, Yellow)

HOURS:
March 1 to Eve of Labor Day: Daily 10 am to 5:30 pm
Labor Day to February 28: Daily 11 am to 5 pm
Closed on December 25.

ADMISSION: $3.50

A friend said that he took his kid to the mall in November last year and the price for the ride was $2.50 and he hitched a free ride with his toddler. So, it was free then for the parent or guardian if the children were under 42″ high or needed supervision.

As of April 30, 2011, the ride costs $3.50. And if your child is under 42″, and even if you aren’t going to ride a horse, you have to pay for an extra ticket to supervise them.

A Japanese Dinner


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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My son Subas, his friend Joe and Joe’s wife Annie took my wife and me to a Japanese steak, seafood and sushi restaurant named Sakura in Ellicott City, Maryland. At first, my wife and I were a bit reluctant to go to a Japanese restaurant since we had never tasted Japanese food in our life.

The atmosphere was very congenial, and we liked it. Subas and Joe went through the menu card and ordered a variety of dishes.

The brisk and cheerful Japanese chef prepared the main course then and there in front of us.

Since I am not familiar with Japanese cuisine, I am sorry for not being able to recall the names of the food that we ate. But the food though unfamiliar to us was very tasty and we enjoyed the evening munching.

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2012 Centennial of Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj
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The year 2012 is a once in a lifetime centennial celebration year to commemorate the gift of 3,020 cherry blossom trees from the people of Japan to the people of the United States.

A century ago, a world-famous chemist and first president of Daiichi Sankyo Co, Ltd, Dr. Jokichi Takamine, played a pivotal role in arranging the gift of trees from the City of Tokyo to Washington, DC.

On March 27, 1912, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City donated the trees to enhance the growing friendship between the United States and Japan and to celebrate the continued close relationship between the two nations.

First Lady Taft and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador, planted the first two cherry trees on the northern bank of the Tidal Basin. These two original trees are still standing today near the John Paul Jones statue at the south end of 17th Street. Workmen planted the rest of the trees around the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park. Even after a century the trees have spread their roots and survived the elements, and have withstood the test of time.

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This year the centennial celebration of the gift of trees will be celebrated from  March 20 – April 27, 2012, in Washington, DC.

On March 23, 2012, my wife and I were in Washington, DC. We felt blessed to be in US during this centennial of the gift of trees. I took countless photographs that day.

Here I have embedded a video that I created using my photos. It was an unforgettable evening that we spent surrounded by cherry blossom. The music playing in the background is one that I enjoy listening without tiring – Carlos Santana’s ever green “Flor D’Luna (Moonflower)“.

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