People who make a difference in your life

Mr Watwani has sent the following.

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip. You don’t have to actually answer the questions. Just read straight through, and you’ll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America Contest.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. They are not second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2.. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.


The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are NOT the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones who care.

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today.
It’s already tomorrow in Australia .”
(Charles Schultz)

Chittur Thekkegramam: Maharudra Yagnam 11-13 Jan 2009

Om Shri Ganeshaya Namaha
Om Nama Sivaya


Chittur Thekkegramam: Maharudra Yagnam

A Maharudra Yganam is proposed to be conducted in the village

11Jan to 13th Jan 2009.



It has been decided by the learned pundits to conduct the Maharudra Yajna, at Thekkegramam, Chittur, for the benefit and  welfare of all mankind, creatures and nature. The Yajna will specially benefit the village and all participants in the Yajna.

Members of the Maha Rudra Yajna Committee, Thekkegramam will oversee the arrangements necessary for the conduct of this most auspicious function.

Expenses are likely to be around Rs 500,000/-.

All families belonging to Thekkegramam are requested to participate and derive full benefits of the Yajna. All devotees and their families in India and abroad are also requested to participate in the function and derive full benefits of the Yajna.

The Organisers will be grateful for any financial contributions, advice suggestions and physical help in conducting the Yajna.

Donations in cash or kind are welcome.

Cheques/DD may please be drawn in favour of

Maha Rudra Yajna Committee

Thekkegramam, Chittur.





PIN 678103

From 11 -01 -09 to 13 -01-09



Sasthapreethi falls on 14 Jan 2009

For further details please contact

President Dr CS Venkatraman

04923 222895

Shri NG Krishnan,


Maha Rudra Yajna Committee

Ananda Sadanam




678 103.

PH: 04923 222566

Jt Secretary : V Sivaramakrishnan

04923 221106

CSL Narayanan

04923 224340



THEY CARE: Kyle Ian Fleming and Leroy Ashley Tills

Giving dignity to a community

Here’s an organization that works for the uplift of Anglo-Indians in Bangalore

Yamini Nair | TNN

They are a distinct yet minority community originating in India, consisting of people of British, French, Portuguese or Dutch ancestry whose native language is English. The Anglo-Indians, though a minority in India, have contributed much to building the nation by providing the best of teachers, and have worked for other aspects of development as well, from as early as in the 1950s itself. Yet they remain ignored.

To change this situation, a bunch of youngsters stepped in to form an organization. The brainchild of Leroy Ashley Tills, the Anglo-Indians in Bangalore (AIB) was officially born on November 1 this year. Among the 12,000 community members in the city, more than half of them lead a difficult life. The rest include many who cannot even afford their children’s education or a square meal a day. “In just 13 days of formation, we have over 60 members registered and a monthly get-together was conducted on November 9,” says Leroy, founder-member and president of AIB.

With members ranging from CEOs to MDs and GMs, the organization has a different strategy. “Education is the first priority though we also provide them with food, grocery, job placement, healthcare as well as personal and career counselling. We help the children of our community members who are not able to take forward their education,” he adds.

However, their activities are not confined to education alone. Adrian Gregaroy, in his successful days in West Asia, had earned enough to own a couple of houses and some land in India till his wife became a schizophrenic 20 years ago. Her medical treatment was done at the cost of his savings in all its forms. “When I came to Bangalore in 1999, I just had the clothes I was wearing, other than an ailing wife and my little son. The members of AIB helped me a lot. With their help, I’m shifting my wife to another hospital from Nimhans this week,” says Adrian.

“Our activities aren’t limited to just giving money and supporting their education. Many of them drop out of schools for various other reasons too. We go deep into the root cause of the problem and try to solve it. We give them guidance and help till they can sustain themselves,” says Kyle Ian Fleming, CEO of Nidus Technologies, and a member of the governing board in AIB. He looks after web, visual and media relations for the organization.

“Our aim is to change the image of the community in the society and lead them to the next century. According to the most recent Census, there are about 12,000 Anglo-Indians, a small figure from the government’s point of view. But that does not mean that we can be ignored,” adds Kyle.
Still at the budding stage, these youngsters want to make the functioning of their organization absolutely transparent.

“People frown when they contribute even Rs 100 to an NGO. They will have doubts about whether the whole amount will go to deserving hands. To avoid such confusion, we will let our well-wishers know where each and every rupee they donated is going,” says Kyle.
And do not think that the services of AIB will be limited only to Anglo-Indians. “We have plans to expand our services to other communities as well. We are always Indians first,” says Leroy.

16, B-2 Renuka Nilaya, 9th Main, Chairmans Layout, Banaswadi Main Road, Bangalore 560043, Phone: 080 25465161; 9740657240
(This is a weekly column on schemes and initiatives by the government, private enterprises or organizations that have had a far-reaching effect on the under-privileged. If you are aware of any such programme, e-mail us at with ‘Sunshine Schemes’ in the subject line)

Sister Alphonsa: Our Own Saint Alphonsa

OCTOBER WILL be a good month to be a Christian in India. On the 12th, Anna Muttathupandathu of Kottayam will become Saint Alphonsa.

Anna was beatified by the Vatican in 1986 as the Blessed Alphonsa and on March 1, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI decided that she deserved sainthood. Two Sundays from now, she will officially become a saint — the first woman saint and the second person ever to be canonised in India.

Anna had wanted to become a saint all her life, says Father Alphonse of the fledgling parish at Vasant Kunj, the only church dedicated to her in the Delhi Archdiocese.

While getting a granite plaque ready to mark her canonisation by the Pope in Rome, he drives the point home: “Being a saint means being closer to God.” Sainthood, however, was for Alphonsa, a bit of a project. She “loved to suffer,” says the priest. She spent most of her 36 years in bed suffering from tuberculosis, pneumonia, typhoid and malaria. But she made the “best use of all her ailments by turning her life of pain into a virtue,” says Father Alphonse. “It’s like I don’t get the girl I want, so I’ll make the most of the girl I have.” Alphonsa, one is told, was a girl of wit; she would have chuckled at Father Alphonse’s analogy Perhaps he speaks so .

freely because the saint-to-be whose church he now presides, was something of a local girl. As a child, Father Alphonse remembers accompanying his parents to her tomb and asking his mother to explain why they shared the same name. “Her doctor had said (my mother) would have a difficult delivery when she was carrying me. So she had prayed to Alphonsa,” says the priest. “When I was born, I was named after her.” And to underline the fact that he alone wasn’t born under Alphonsa’s watchful gaze, he rattles off more ‘ phonse/Alphonsas’ A he knows from his hometown in Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu, that in clude a nephew, a marriage photogra pher, a teacher…

Alphonsa is indeed well on her way to spiritual stardom. So what makes her a saint while others like Mother Teresa and the Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara (who’s been waiting for more than 50 years for the papal nod) are yet to be canonised? The answer lies in one word: miracles.

According to the Catholic church, acts of faith like miracles, ironi cally, need the stamp of science. A saint needs at least 22-24 miracles, explains Father Alphonse of which four are picked as ‘proof ’. “The legs of a boy with a club-foot, became straight, after they touched Alphonsa’s grave. Doctors certified this could only be the power of prayer.” Mother Teresa’s work, he adds, was easier. She went out on the streets and brought home the poor. She was visible. “But to be inside the four walls of the convent like Alphonsa isn’t easy,” he says.

When Alphonsa died, he rues, there were only a few people to carry her coffin. After her canonisation, things will change.

Alphonsa will be everywhere. On cups, saucers, on beads to be worn around the neck. Mother Teresa, by the time of her beatification, had become a roadside musical.

ANNA MUTTATHUPANDATHU will become Saint Alphonsa on October 12. And more than 6,000 believers from Kerala are flying to Vatican City to witness her canonisation. Ten-year-old Jinil, busy playing with his brother Jubin, some 25 kilometres from the saint-to-be’s tomb, is going as well. After all, he has played a pivotal part in her canonisation. It was Jinil’s testimony that finally clinched Sister Alphonsa’s sainthood.

Born club-footed, doctors had writ ten off a cure saying he would never be able to walk. His parents, Shaji Joseph, a sales tax inspector and mother, Lissy had begun their , rounds of speciality hospitals. When medicines failed to cure, relatives suggested they make a trip in 1999 to Alphonsa’s chapel in Bharaninganam and pray .

The Josephs placed the child on the tomb and prayed for hours to gether. That very night, little Jinil started walking. “We are happy we played a key role in Sister attaining sainthood. We, on our part, are in debted to her for all our happiness,” says Lissy Joseph.

Jinil has also become a tourist attraction of sorts. Those who vis it Alphonsa’s tomb also take time out to visit the Josephs. At times, the parents are pestered to reveal the ‘exact words’ of their prayer ‘that fateful day’.

Even the doctors who treated Jinil vouch for the miracle. “Jinil was born in my nursing home. His condition worsened with each passing day I couldn’t believe it when he was fully cured,” says Dr Eliayamma Cora who has been quizzed by the Vatican representative to prove the legitimacy of the miracle.

It is said that when Sister Alphonsa was on her death-bed, her mentor, Father Kuriakos Chavra, an 18th cen tury church reformer, appeared before her and blessed her.

Interestingly, in her journey to sainthood, she has pipped him to the post. “Most of the miracles attributed to her were proved, and they convinced the Vatican to move quickly to canonise her,” says Father Mathew Arackaparambil, vice postulator of the canonisation process.

“Miracles are still happening,” claims Sister Goratti of the Alphonsa Bhavan in Kudamaloor. Recently, a terminally ill new-born was cured after her parents prayed three consecutive days at the saint’s ancestral home.” Bharaninganam has a museum that houses Alphonsa’s habit, a hand fan, books, a wooden cup and other belongings. These serve as a major attraction for pilgrims. “I have given myself up completely to Jesus. Let him please Himself in his dealings with me. My only desire in this world is to suffer for love of God and to rejoice in doing it,” reads a letter on display that Alphonsa had written a few of months before her death.

Anna Kutty died young but she left behind many stories. As a teacher, she was an epitome of love and patience, says her student, 85year-old Thomas Kalappura. She taught him Malayalam and mathematics in Vakakkad School between 1932 and 1933.

It is a glorious moment for believers in the country says Father Paul ,” Thelekkat, spokesman of the SyroMalabar church. Her good looks are still fresh in the mind of 99-year-old Lakshmi Amma, her former classmate from Thonnakuzhy School. “We used to call her Venna (butter) Kutty ,” she says remembering Anna who will become Saint Alphonsa next month.

Indian Heenal Raichura is UK’s youngest doc, at 22 years

At 22 years, Indian is UK’s youngest doc

London: At the age of 22, India-origin Heenal Raichura has qualified to become Britain’s youngest doctor and is all set to practise medicine.

Daughter of Nalin and Shobhna Raichura, Heenal was accepted into university to study medicine in 2002 when she was 16.

Six years later she has passed her degree and is all set to start work at University College London Hospital where she hopes to become a surgeon.

Heenal said: “It’s quite a surreal feeling to actually, finally, become a doctor after six years of a degree. To finally come out at the end and say, ‘I’m a doctor’, my childhood dream, is an indescribable feeling. PTI

Extracts from Daily Telegraph

Heenal Raichura was accepted into university to study medicine in 2002 when she was 16, after a school career which had seen her several years ahead of classmates.

Six years later she has passed her degree and is to start work at University College London Hospital where she hopes to become a surgeon.

Dr Raichura said: “It’s quite a surreal feeling to actually, finally, become a doctor after six years of a degree. To finally come out at the end and say, ‘I’m a doctor’, my childhood dream, is an indescribable feeling.

“All I remember from when I was younger is wanting to be a doctor.

“My parents tell stories about how I would come over and put my head against their chest because I didn’t have a stethoscope to play with.

“I was always interested in trying to figure out what was going wrong with the body.”

At just nine-years-old, Heenal joined MENSA with an IQ of 170 and became the youngster person to start secondary school.

She took her GCSEs examinations early at the age of 14 at the France Bardsley School for Girls in Romford, Essex, and got 7A*, 3As and a B – the best results in her school that year.

In 2002 she notched up four grade As and one B at A-Levels at the Coopers’ Company and Coborn School in Upminster.

Her proud father Nalin from Rainham, Essex, 65, said: “She encountered immense difficulty in finding universities that would accept her at the age of 16 because the minimum age at entry is 17 years 6 months.”

She was offered a place to study medicine at St George’s University in London where she six years later she has graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree.

She received her degree at a presentation ceremony at The Barbican Centre in London in June this year (2008) and is believed to be Britain’s youngest doctor.

On top of the normal five years of medical study Heenal also spend an extra year to get a degree in Anatomy and Developmental Biology from the University College of London.

Parsis: Hope at last to increase numbers

UN project gives Parsis hope of swelling numbers

Ketan Tanna | TNN

Mumbai: It was a casual request from Bombay Parsi Punchayat chief Minoo Shroff that resulted in gynaecologist Anahita Pandole taking on the assignment of helping Parsi couples battling infertility.

Three years down the line, she has handled 200 cases of whom 80 women have conceived. One woman had triplets while 10 others bore twins.

Thirty-four-year-old Anahita Hakim is one such mother of twin girls — Katrina and Karina. ‘‘For the last five years, I wanted children. I had even thought of adopting children before I came to Dr Pandole who helped me have Katrina and Karina,’’ says Hakim, 34.

The fertility treatment did not come cheap and Hakim had to spend between Rs 6 and 7 lakh. The initial consultation was free and the treatment tab was picked by the Bombay Parsi Punchayet. For those who cannot pay, donors within the community pay for the fertility treatment.

Pandole’s project is part of United Nations-backed project called Parzor, which is headquartered in New Delhi. The Parzor project, since 1999, has undertaken research in various fields, working towards the promotion and preservation of the Parsi Zoroastrian heritage.

The demography project, under the larger aspect of Parzor, has thrown up interesting facts about the declining Parsi population. According to the 2001 census, India’s Parsi population had fallen to 69,601 from 76,382 a decade earlier. According to the 2001 census, the child-woman ratio, which is a key indicator of fertility, is 578 per 1,000 in India. Among the Parsis, it is 85 per 1,000.

Meanwhile, in Delhi, a study on Delhi Parsis concentrated on Parsis married to Parsis, intermarriages, unmarried and the youth. The demographic profile of the Parsis in Delhi tends to appear more in favour of the 30-50-year working group rather than the ageing picture seen elsewhere. In view of the fairly unique position held by the Delhi Parsis, a study was proposed to inquire into their migratory history, their current situation, and record their views and attitudes pertaining to various issues and problems facing the community.

According to Shernaz Cama, honorary director at Parzor, it was a qualitative study based on interviews.

An interesting aspect of the study revealed that the demographic profile of the Parsis of Delhi tends to appear more in favour of the working group of 30-50 years rather than the ageing picture seen elsewhere.

All those interviewed realized that the community is in flux and that someone must do something. However, very few were willing to be that someone, the study rued.

The study’s findings include:
— 40% of those interviewed had intermarried.
— Since 25 years, there has been an attempt at inclusiveness in the Delhi Parsi Anjuman.
— Youth of mixed marriages are predominantly closer to customs and lifestyle of the father’s faith.
— Among children of mixed marriages, the study found cultural differences caused confusion and led to contradictory religious identities.
— The exclusion of the non-Parsi parent from the Agiary has led to a decline in the zeal about their Parsi roots.

Jesus with beer and cigarettes in church journal sparks row

It is obvious that there has been a slip up.

The church has apologised and that should end the matter.

But will it?


Jesus with beer and cigarettes in church journal sparks row


Thiruvananthapuram: In what seems like a big faux pas that may snowball into a controversy, the official journal of a Catholic diocese in Kerala carried a picture of Jesus Christ with a beer mug in one hand and a cigarette in the other on the cover page of its June issue.

The picture, which has invited strong reactions from the Christian community in the state, appeared in the June 5 edition of ‘‘Vachana Jyotis’’ — the magazine published by diocese of Neyyattinkara, on the outskirts of the state capital.

Pushed on the back foot, the church has withdrawn the issue and stopped publication till further notice. Vincent Samuel, secretary to the local bishop, said ‘‘the mistake’’ had crept into the magazine as an oversight. ‘‘It happened without the knowledge of the clergy.

Both priests and laymen constitute the editorial board of the journal, but the former are concerned only with the content. Design and layout are done by laymen,’’ said Samuel. He added that no such error had ever occurred in the past 12 years of its existence.

‘‘The picture in question seems to have been downloaded from the internet and blown up,’’ he said, adding that ‘‘the publication of the journal has been suspended indefinitely’’. Asked if any action had been taken against any employee, he said since the magazine has stopped publishing, the employees are naturally out of job.

Fighting hard to hide the embarrassment, church officials refused to reveal the name of the magazine’s editor. As protests intensified, the diocese issued an apology and promised to look into the issue.

Child sold by a desperate mother

Boy sold for dad’s last rites

Woman sells infant to childless couple for Rs 10,000 to pay for ‘shraadh’

By Giridhar Jha in Patna

IT WAS a classic tale of poverty, ritualism and desperation. The tragedy was it was areal- life story. Awoman in Bihar sold off her son to a childless couple so that she could perform her husband’s last rites and take care of her remaining two children.

But police intervened and arrested all three, as well as a middleman, before the shraadh (obsequies) could be performed to bring peace to his soul. A resident of Chhotki Nawada in Gaya, Sudha Devi lost her husband Raj Kumar Shah in a train accident a few days ago. Sudha, who works as a domestic help, found it difficult to feed her two sons and a daughter. Extreme poverty forced her to borrow money for Shah’s cremation.

She was approached by Noormani Surdas, avisually- challenged man from a neighbouring locality. Surdas and his wife offered to pay Sudha Rs 10,000 for her youngest son —who is one- and- a- half months old. Sudha initially hesitated, but agreed when the couple promised to take good care of the child and bring him up as their own.

She thought the deal would help her clear the debt, conduct her husband’s shraadh, and bring up her eight- year- old son and three- year- old daughter. All three reached the local court to legally adopt the child on Monday.

But before they could formalise the procedure, officials from the Civil Lines police station in Gaya took them into custody. Officer- in- charge Chandrashekhar Prasad Sinha said child trafficking was illegal and arrested Sudha, the couple and amiddleman, Mithilesh Prasad. Sinha said all of them were produced before the court of the chief judicial magistrate from where they were taken to alocal jail on Tuesday. Sudha confessed to having sold her child.

“Ineeded money to clear the debt and observe my husband’s shraadh ,” she said. Sudha said she had been finding it difficult to feed her children after her husband’s death. “Iagreed to give away my child because Ithought he would lead abetter life in his new home,” she said.

Surdas and his wife said they decided to adopt the child as they had none to turn to in their old age. “We thought it would help both families,” Surdas said.

Though the police action evoked asharp reaction from local residents, the officials lauded themselves for performing their duty.
giridhar. jha@ mailtoday. in

DDA to cut 1000 trees in Chitaranjan Park in Delhi

Locals say DDA sports facility to cost 1,000 trees

By Mausam Sharma in New Delhi

THE RESIDENTS of NRI Complex colony near Jahanpannah Club are locking horns with the Delhi Development Authority, which is constructing a sports complex in DDA- owned Chittaranjan Park.

The park, say the residents, will be built at the cost of at least 1,000 trees. The ambitious DDA project involves a sports complex with world- class swimming pools, a cricket ground, squash and badminton courts, restaurants and other facilities.

The construction work for the Rs 753- crore project started one week ago. But the agitation of the residents had started when the foundation stone for the sports complex was laid in January last year. The residents of nearby colonies such as NRI Complex and CR Park are so attached to the park that they are not ready to swallow the idea of it being turned into asports complex.

“The park provides an essential green cover. We don’t want that green cover to be eaten up,” said Nanita Sharma, an advocate in the Supreme Court who stays in NRI Complex. She added that the residents will soon file aPIL in this regard in the high court. “We will file the PIL because this is aserious environmental issue and must be taken care of,” Sharma said.

“We are not against the sports complex. But that doesn’t mean we want our green cover to be taken away. And if the project is as ambitious as they say it is, trees are bound to be felled,” she said. Sharma added that they have asked the DDA officials time and again to try and construct the sports complex somewhere else.

The residents said the greenery in the area was the main reason they chose to settle down there. “We used to live in Shalimar Bagh, but shifted here last year. It was the peaceful and green environment that pushed us to buy ahome here. But what are we going to do now?” said Usha Sharma, a 60- year- old resident of NRI Complex.

he residents further feel there is another problem apart from the green cover –the ground gives children an opportunity to be close to nature when they play there in the evenings. “If a sports complex is built, it will cater only to elite children. And the children from middle class families who play there now will lose their .place,” said Jyoti Jain, who stays in NRI Complex.

The residents also point out that recreational centres such as the Siri Fort complex and other sports clubs are there nearby, so the felling of trees is uncalled for.

But when asked about the issue, the director of public relations in the DDA, Neemo Dhar, said, “There are no trees in the park. It has only shrubs.”
mausam. sharma@ mailtoday. in

Kerala Temples: Holiday Rush: Waiting for Darshan

Kerala Temples: Holiday Rush: Waiting for Darshan

Waiting for Darshan can be up to 4 hours in major temples like Guruvayoor.

Please make programs accordingly.

Holiday Season

Summer when the schools and colleges are closed.

Dusserah: when schools may close for a week or more

Chrismas and New Year: When schools may close for up to two weeks.

Waiting time for darshan at temples like Guruvayoor can last as much as 4 hours. Devotees should take note of this delay when making their program. Possibility of a second darshan is remote unless you stay over night.

In many temples like Guruvayoor there is a separate Que for ladies. Even so it can take up to an hour even for ladies.

Rush of pilgrims during the holiday season, has resulted in a massive number of devotees thronging to visit temples.

When Schools and colleges are  closed, and parents think it is an excellent time to take their children out. Movement of Keralite families especially from the north to south is at a peak during the summer holidays, when a visit to ‘native place, is a must.

Obviously a visit to Guruvayoor, Chottanikkara, Vaikom, etc are considered a must by most.


(The above is based on the personal experiences of Guruswamy SA Padmanabhan, and Shri Mohan Krishnan the Ed and their families who are regular visitors to Kerala)