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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Smile :)

Smile, smile, it is something that keeps you pretty
Bright ! it is sweet, sparkling and lovely
Beautiful you, make others happy, smile again
It is the prettiest smile I have ever seen, lucky me !

I notice, you smile more often, speak few words
You listen more, alert, smiling more and more
Make things around lively, killing boredom
It is the prettiest smile I have ever seen, lucky me !

It is a wonderful talent, gifted you are, I envy you,
The smile, sweet, lively, sparkly, wonderful you !
Even when you nap I notice it, remaining subtly
It is the prettiest smile I have ever seen, lucky me !

No need for words, essays, explanations, replies
Your smile conveys everything, crystal clear...,
It is wonderful to look at you, joyful, lovely and happy
It is the prettiest smile I have ever seen, lucky me !

The power of smile:
A smile is a powerful tool God has blessed mankind with. The art of smiling is something that has to be learned by diligent practice. Smile often; it makes us and others feel better.
It is sad to notice that even children nowadays smile less. As adults most often our smiles turn into something uncool probably due to the stresses that we experience in the modern world.
We feel comfortable in the presence of someone with a beautiful smile. Likewise we too can make others feel better if we smile nicely.

  • Smile is a God given blessing intended to be used as much as possible to bring us joy and to make others around happy.

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Monday, 11 January 2016

Imported from China, past and present...


It is 21:12 here and as I am preparing this post I glance around the room to count all the stuff that is made / imported / finished ( assembled ) in India with components from China. The very laptop that I am using, my smart phone, the Samsung TV, home theatre system, the beautiful flower vases, the wind chime, LED lamps, the ceiling fan, the aircon, the vitrified floor tiles...hmm...! Probably the teakwood furniture minus the upholstery, windows and doors made of teakwood, the ? curtain cloth...are pure Indian products.

There is a Chinese touch now-a-days to everything, everywhere !

Well, not really, in the past too we have embraced many things wholeheartedly from China. Nothing is mentioned concretely in literary history about the things that probably were brought here by Chinese traders and travellers, but these items bear the connection with China in its' names.

You might have identified the Chinese fishing net ( Cheena vala in Malayalam, our local language ) from the picture at the top of this post about which I have already blogged about. A lot of debate is going on about the introduction of these nets and why they are found in plenty around Kochi and not in Kozhikode ( Calicut ) in North Kerala where many Chinese traders frequented in the past. However, there is a connection with China as the name in Malayalam suggests. Similar nets to catch fish can be seen in Manipur in India, Thailand and many parts of South East Asia. I have also seen Cheenavala at Kumarakom and Thanneermukkom in Kerala.


The picture on the left is Cheena Bharani, small and large sizes. This is a ceramic vessel traditionally used for preparing pickles in Kerala. I have fond memories of yummy 'Kadumanga' ( pickled tender mangoes ) at my ancestral house. Sadly that exquisite taste and flavour are missing in present day pickles.

The picture on the right-hand side shows a small saucepan made of iron. This is called 'Cheenachatti', in Malayalam. Traditional vessels were made of clay and this metal utensil found its way to our kitchens bearing a Chinese touch to its name. The clay vessels are called 'manchatti', 'mankalam' etc.


You might probably remember my blog post about Koorkka or Chinese potatoes, a very popular tuber in Kerala. Please check the links below.


This small, fierce green chilli is called 'Cheenimulaku or Kantharimulaku' ( Bird's eye chilli ). 'Mulaku' is the Malayalam word for Chilli.

I need not elaborate upon this dish that you see on the right-hand side. Tapioca ( prepared with a little turmeric and salt ) and red chilli pickle. Tapioca ( Maracheeni ) has another name here, 'Cheenikkizhangu'.

Recently a Chinese delegation has shown keen interest in the revival of Chinese fishnets at Kochi. Hope with their help this tourist attraction will become much more popular. The other day I read in the paper about some historians from China visiting Calicut to research about traders who visited six centuries ago, particularly the great Zheng He. He, as you may be knowing, was a great mariner, explorer and admiral of the early Ming dynasty.

  • It is hypnotic to dwell deeper into the historical aspects of things that fascinate us because this exercise helps in augmenting our understanding about it by adding color and glitter. 

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Sunday, 3 January 2016

Picturing fireworks

Perfecting the technique of picturing fireworks is considered a specialty among photo enthusiasts. Using a tripod, tweaking the camera settings and subsequent editing are all important, as you all know. I took these pictures some years ago using a mini SLR Canon camera, no tripod was used and these are raw pictures, no photoshopping done.  

Night photography as such is difficult. The noise itself is nuisance. The timing of pressing the button is important.

These were taken during DSF some years ago at Dubai.
  • Experimenting with technology is thrilling. It need not be complex or expensive but give it a try, that is what is important. Keep things simple !

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Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Pepper spray for self defense

For a long time, I have been reading a lot about self-defense strategies and related products. Many such products were available abroad but in India, these were not at all popular, needless to say, they were not available to the needy.

Things have changed in the past years with many shocking incidents taking place that prompted terrible hue and cry nationally and internationally. People have become much more vigilant now-a-days. Even in small villages in Kerala, you might see CCTV cameras installed in homes ! Law and order authorities are urging even the small business owners here to install CCTV on their premises even if the threat level is low. It is common knowledge that miscreants and thieves tend to avoid or will be reluctant to commit crimes in such places; these gadgets will play the role of a deterrent. A skilled thief can easily disable such devices but they always target places less guarded. Moreover, the time factor also is important for a thief. Rob, avoid getting caught, get away asap, leaving no traces of identification are the key components of a successful robbery. So even if the area is crime free it is always to have such gadgets; prevention is always better, you know.

Likewise, personal security is of paramount importance. Things like pepper sprays may come in handy if a situation arises, at least, it may act as a deterrent. I have read somewhere people are using it as dog repellent too. Sometimes dogs can attack during morning walk. From the body language itself, one can easily come to the assumption if the individual is security conscious or not. If you project such a strong picture that you are well aware of the surroundings and is confident, no anti-social persons will try to attack you. It also includes avoiding such situations as much as possible. Walking all alone in a crime prone area especially during night time, wearing expensive jewelry particularly in tourist spots etc. are some of the situations that make us prone for attacks. It is always better to sign up for some classes where they teach how to tackle such situations. Unfortunately most places teach martial arts as the sole solution for all these problems. Counter-attack is not an easy defense strategy; it has to be perfected over a long time with continuous practice. But if you get the courage to take the spray out of your handbag and use it effectively you are ok :) and that is what you must have ! On an average about 70 % just freeze on the spot ! So find a place where they teach simple things like assessment of problem situations, creating a spatial orientation while in public, identifying people who are likely to invade personal space, critically evaluate people, anticipating troublesome behavior, simple tricks to defuse the situation etc. No harm in getting some training in martial arts and some physical self-defense techniques also, it instills courage. In short, try to learn mental self-defense strategies as well ! 

There are many websites that deal with security products. Personal alarms, luggage alarms, travel security items, home security etc. are interesting. There is no need to install elaborate, expensive and technically complex gadgets. I have heard a story that the inmates forgot to push the button on of such a comprehensive installation one night when a thief coolly entered the mansion :) So what is the use if people are not security oriented. Just a door latch is enough but you must put it securely before opening the door ! 

  • Safety is of paramount importance. Safety and security can only be successfully guaranteed by the co-operation of everyone concerned. The best security system is a vigilant human being.

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