Sunday, March 31, 2013

Rising popularity of street food in Hyderabad.


Many years ago Street Food was rare in Hyderabad and not very popular. The food and the environment were considered unhygienic. But these days the scenario has changed. 
You can find Roadside Food Stalls everywhere, on the main roads, by lanes, market places and in every colony. And these are really in very large numbers today. Initially it was just Chaat Bhandars but later Chinese Food Stalls and many South Indian Tiffin Centres have come up. They operate mostly form Push Carts or a Single Room Stall in which the kitchen is located and customers will have to stand around or sit and eat on the few stools, benches or chairs provided. They start quite early in the morning and close late in the night.
Some of these eateries have become very popular, not just in the area where they are located but all over the city. The surroundings may not look very tidy but the food is served fresh and hot, and it is delicious and prepared to your taste. People talk highly about them and their popularity increases.
The above photographs are of Ravi Tiffin Centre also known as Ravi Bandi; at Gulzar Hauz, near Charminar. It is one of the most popular Roadside eateries in Hyderabad. It is located opposite another popular eatery, Agra Mithai Ghar and Restaurant. Ravi Tiffin Centre serves very tasty - hot Idly (milky white and very soft), Vada, Butter Dosa and variants like Idly Fry and Masala Dosa, Tomato Dosa and so on. The sell-out crowd you see around the Tiffin Centre (in the above pictures) speaks for itself about its popularity.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

It Is Two Baby Girls! And One Baby Boy! In 101 Days!


We are all in a very happy state of mind with the birth of three babies in our family in the past few months, to be precise within 101 days!  
Ch. Anisha is born on 17th December 2012, Ch. Vihaan is born on 19th February 2013 and Ch. Aadhya is born on 28th March 2013. Ch. Anisha and Ch. Vihaan are children of my nephews and Ch. Aadhya is the daughter of a niece. The young mothers and the babies are doing well.
On 26th August 2012, I announced in this column: “GOOD NEWS! Three new babies! Are on their way to join our family! Between December 2012 and March 2013!” And now that they have arrived we are relived of all related concerns and extremely happy.
In this overall context, you may find my article of 26th August interesting; you may read it by clicking on the following link: GOOD NEWS! Three New Babies! Are On Their Way To Join Our Family!

Monday, March 25, 2013

A new baby in the family! Is so wonderful and joyous!

video

Being with; or holding any baby is a very happy experience.
And when that baby happens to be a new arrival into the family, the happiness it generates is unimaginable. The news of the baby’s arrival makes all family members, friends, relatives and acquaintances happy wherever they may be in the world.
My nephew and niece-in-law, Uday and Hina are blessed with a son on 19th February 2013, at Lucknow. The happy news of the arrival of the new family member spread very fast and made everyone immensely happy and greetings were exchanged. We and everybody wanted to see the baby but being far off we had to satisfy ourselves with the baby’s first and subsequent day photographs and videos. Uday came from Al-Dammam, Saudi Arabia on 21st February to see his son. My nephew, Dr. Sudheer who is in Hyderabad, reached Lucknow on 22nd February to see the baby.
However it took us a little longer - 24 days, to see and be with the baby. After a long wait, Uday’s mother; that is my sister-in-law, I and my wife went to Lucknow and were very happy to see the baby on 14th March. We spent some memorable time with the baby for three days that is from 14th March to 16th March. We planned our visit in such a way that we can be there on the auspicious occasion of the 25th day of the baby; that is 15th March, when as per tradition and love we gave our blessings and some gifts to the baby and the young mother.
The baby is named as Vihaan Bhasker. The meaning of the name is similar to that of his father and great-grandfather. In Sanskrit, Vihaan means Dawn and Bhasker means Sun, so Vihaan Bhasker means Rising Sun or Morning Sun.  His father, Uday Bhasker’s name also means Rising Sun or Morning Sun because the meaning of Uday is morning and also rising.  And as I said; Vihaan’s great-grandfather, that is my father was also named after the Sun, as Bhaskarachary, meaning as radiant as the Sun.
We are expecting Hina and Vihaan to visit us for at least a month in June-July, before they proceed to Al-Dammam. Not just we, but many of our relatives in Hyderabad are anxious to meet Vihaan!
Based on photographs I have received of Vihaan from the day he was born and of him with us, I have made a video and attached to this article for all of you to see.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Today is the happiest day for APCPDCL!


The whole World including many cities in India are set to observe Earth Hour today during their local time: between 8.30 pm and 9.30 pm. Earth Hour is observed every year on the last Saturday of March; when people around the world will be showing their support for Mother Earth by turning off lights for one hour. This global event was started in 2007 by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to raise awareness about the need to do something about climate change, and India began to participate in this event since 2009.
Hyderabad is also participating in this event. Several organisations, residents and government departments like GHMC, HMDA, BPPA, APTDC and APCPDCL have extended their support to the programme.
This is certainly a good movement. An indirect and immediate beneficiary is APCPDCL – Andhra Pradesh Central Power Distribution Company Limited. APCPDCL is imposing a 3-hour power cut on us every day; and today as we switch-off lights for one hour on our own, I am sure APCPDCL will be rejoicing and praying that there are more such events!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Road Under Attack Forever!


Sorry for the inconvenience,
Once again this road is being dug-up,
For some pipe line spruce-up,
Hopefully for your convenience!
Please don’t ask us when the road will be re-laid,
We assure you; it will not take a decade.


The intense activity you see in the above picture is on the road in front of our house. This road is dug-up every few months for laying some new cables, pipes, or for repairs of this underground equipment and after many months a shabby and substandard asphalt road is laid which lasts for a few days. This cycle of digging and re-laying the road seems endless and this led me to pen the above verse and post on facebook: 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Darkness during daytime or anytime in AP!


Yes! Truly there is darkness during daytime or anytime in AP State with long hours of Load Shedding from dawn to dusk spread over the length and breadth of the State. Even schools and hospitals are not spared.
Last summer I wrote an article on the erratic Power Supply in AP State: AP Power Supply Is Causing: (Inconvenience+Agony+Losses)ⁿ. This year it seems to be much worse. Load Shedding started as usual from February itself, initially with two hours power cut daily, and soon afterwards it is extended to three hours a day. This is the status in the State capital. And elsewhere in District headquarters and towns the power cut ranges from four hours to eight hours every day. The industries are the worst affected, they have total power cut for two days in a week and restrictions on usage on other days.
While it is very obvious that the demand for Electricity is constantly increasing there is absolutely no addition to the generating capacity since last year. Further the inefficiency and breakdowns of the existing plants are to be blamed for the power crisis.
Emergency lamps, fans and inverters are providing some relief from these power cuts. But these can only last for some time and require frequent charging.
Every year, since decades the Government has been blaming poor rainfall and hence Hydel Power Generation for the State’s power problems. We hear all sorts of excuses for the evils but no short term or long term plans to overcome power or any other problem afflicting us.   
The power supply position in AP is going from bad to worse as power generation doesn’t match the ever growing demand. Since decades, every year starting from end-February till mid-rainy season (until the hydel power generation picks up) state-wide power cuts are imposed. The domestic consumers, industries and the most important agricultural sector suffer. But the few privileged people in power, who unfortunately are responsible for this perennial pathetic situation, get uninterrupted power supply.
This year it is much worse. The worst sufferers are the industrial sector and the agricultural sector. The industries are not having power for two days a week and a daily cut of four hours during the peak load period: 6:30 to 10:30 PM, which means there is no power for industries for three days a week. The agricultural sector is getting only 4 to 5 hours of power against the 9 hours promised by the ruling party. And for the domestic consumers, the poser cut is 10-12 hours in rural areas, 5-6 hours in urban areas and in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad it is 3 hours every day. The attitude of the subsequent Governments in not finding solutions to this aggravating problem is causing inconvenience, agony and losses. It is affecting every individual in the State.
The State (APGENCO) has Power Generation Capacity of 8925 MW, Thermal – 5092.5 MW, Hydel – 3829.5 and Wind+Solar – 3 MW. This is augmented by a small percentage from private power companies. With hydel power generation depending on rain fall / water level at the dams, it is normally available for only few months in a year and there is a perennial shortage between demand and supply. And the State is forced to buy huge power from the National Grid, from States having surplus power. While the Unrestricted Peak Demand is about 10,700 MW, the Government is able to meet a Peak Demand of only 8,700 MW living a Deficit of 2,000 MW and hence all these power cuts.
The Government is doing very little to overcome this recurring and growing problem. It takes shelter under reasons like poor rain fall and lack of support from Central Government. But for how long?

Today there was chaos in AP assembly,
As it was announced AP is the best.
If AP is the best,
Why is there chaos in the State?
Why are rulers blind to reality?
Attached pictures of people living in darkness,
Are symbolic of State’s miseries and power crisis.
These people sigh and laugh,
At the rulers bluff.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Happy Maha Shivaratri!

video

“MAHA SHIVARATRI” HD VIDEO LINK: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3Fcc05xcto

Happy Maha Shivaratri. May the blessings of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesha...Always be with you.
Through the above picture and the video below it, I wish to convey that India has the greatest idol and statue makers. They can be found in all cities and most major towns, the best of them are ‘in or from’ Kolkata and other places in West Bengal.   They make these idols and figurines from every possible material, clay, stone, brass, bronze, paper pulp, terracotta, fibre glass and so on in beautiful and extraordinary forms with vibrant colours. Their talent is seen, appreciated, bought year round especially during festival times like Ganesh Chaturthi, Vishwakarma Puja and Dasara / Durga puja.
In the above picture and the video you can see a masterpiece from West Bengal. It is a Tabletop Water Fountain depicting Mount Kailash, Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, the sacred river Ganga descending from Lord Shiva’s matted hair and then flowing down to us from Gangotri, and at the foothill you can see Lord Ganesha performing Abhishekam to Lord Shiva with the holy water. Someone truly called these artisans as “Creators of the Creator!”
For those of you who have not read my detailed post on the festival of Maha Shivaratri,dated 8th February 2010, you may reach it by clicking on the following link: MAHA SHIVARATRI FESTIVAL    
Maha Shivaratri:
This year Maha Shivaratri festival is on Sunday, 10th February. Maha Shivaratri or Shivaratri festival is celebrated according to the Telugu lunar calendar on Chaturdashi night (the night before the New Moon) during Krishna Paksham of Palguna Masam. Maha Shivaratri means the Great night of Shiva. Maha Shivaratri is a very important festival celebrated throughout the length and breadth of the country with great devotion. This is the day on which Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati. And it is on Shivaratri night that Lord Shiva performed Thandavam dance (Shiva Thandavam). Performing Abhishekam and offering prayers on this day is considered very significant in seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva. In the morning devotees bathe in a holy river if possible, fast the whole day, visit a Shiva Temple and perform pooja and after sunset they consume some fruit and milk. Then the whole night they keep awake. To keep awake they may listen to religious discourses, stories, doing bhajana, watching religious movies that are telecast by almost all Telugu TV channels, playing some indoor games and Anthakshari etc.
Hindu mythology also tells us of how some persons not knowing of Maha Shivaratri inadvertently performed Shiva pooja on this day and attained God’s blessings and Moksham. A very ancient King, Chitrabhanu was performing Maha Shivaratri with great fervor and when asked about his devotion he narrated the reasons as follows. He had knowledge of his previous birth. He was then a hunter, solely living by killing birds and animals. The day before a New Moon he could not get hold of any food till very late. As it became very dark by then he could not go home. He climbed a tree to rest there. Then accidentally the water container he was carrying started leaking and got emptied. Feeling thirsty, hungry and thinking of his family’s plight that night he could not go to sleep. Out of frustration he began to pluck the leaves of the tree and drop them down. Unknown to him the water from his canister leaked on to the Shiva Lingam below the tree which was as if he had performed the Abhishekam. And the leaves he dropped down fell on the Lingam as an offering. The leaves of this tree called Bilwa patram are considered a very important offering to Lord Shiva. And that night turned out to be Maha Shivaratri. As a result he attained Moksham in that life and went to heaven.
Another popular and similar narration is that of Baktha Kannappa. Kannappa was also a hunter. From a non-believer he becomes a believer on Maha Shivaratri day after inadvertently performing pooja from a Bilwa tree top to the Shiva Lingam below. Unlike the King’s version he gets on top of the tree that night afraid of his wife’s scolding for not bringing home any food. He begins to perform pooja in his crude way. Later one day when he cannot get hold of any fruit or animal, he prays before the Shiva Lingam asking God to help him in his hunt and that he would offer some of the food he gets to God. He then finds and kills a wild boar. He cooks some of it and offers it to God. A little later he finds that one eye of the Shiva Lingam has become red and is shedding tears. Thinking that God is in pain after accepting his offering he pulls out his eye and replaces it on the Shiva Lingam. Then the other eye of the Shiva Lingam also becomes red and sheds tears. Then he pulls out that eye also from the Shiva Lingam and marking the empty socket with his foot he pulls out his other eye and places it in the Shiva Lingam. Lord Shiva is pleased with his devotion and concern for him and appears before him. And to enable Kannappa to see him God blesses him with eyes and asks him to seek any favor. Baktha kannappa seeks to be with God in heaven. I picked up this story from the Telugu movie called Baktha Kannappa.
Staying awake on Maha Shivaratri is called Jagarna. The next day is a holiday for schools and several establishments.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A statistical and pictorial summary of my 600 blog posts.

I am happy to announce that I have just completed posting my 600th article to my blog - My 600th blog post! A tribute to our Swissa Piccola! After I posted my first article to this blog site on 20th April 2009, I sent an email to my family, friends and relatives as follows: “Hi! Everyone, I have just started blogging under the title: ‘Raghu’s column!’ I strongly wish and hope I would find time to contribute regularly to this column on wide ranging topics: My views, memoirs, parties, forthcoming events, local issues / news, family announcements and many more topics. Please visit http://srisrilara.blogspot.in/ from time to time, please read my articles and post your comments for me and others to benefit”.
At the time when I began blogging, I never thought I would reach a figure of over 600 blog posts. As events came up and ideas, thoughts and memories sprang up in my mind I kept writing as and when possible and in these four years, to be precise in 47 months, I have posted 600 articles with well over 4,000 photographs. My son, Srinath is abroad in UK, and my nephew Dr. Uday Bhasker is in Saudi Arabia and similarly a number of my friends, relatives and ex-colleagues who are far away are very happy to read my posts on current events at Hyderabad and those concerning me and our family. And the blog is serving as a ready reckoner for me, our family and friends over various subjects related to us and I presume it is helping a large number of other visitors reaching my blog in search of information.  
I wish to continue blogging as long as possible, as I am thoroughly enjoying this new found hobby. 
With a modest number of registered followers but a very large number of unregistered regular followers and hundreds of random visitors to my blog there have been 464,265 page views so far, from every nook and corner of the world, as you can see in the blogger statistics I have provided below. Actual page views might be more than double of 464,265 page views! because many computers these days have complex firewall protection which do not allow blogger to register their page views.
Here is a glimpse of my blog statistics and my 600-blog posts:

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My 600th blog post! A tribute to our Swissa Piccola!

First of all I wish to express my appreciation and thanks to Swissa Piccola! Swissa Piccola is a portable typewriter which has been with us for over 63 years! It is the one on which I learnt typing when I was in high school. Learning to type has helped me throughout my life. My blogspot:  http://srisrilara.blogspot.in/ - Raghu’s column! and these 600 blog posts would not have been possible if I was not good at touch typing with a good speed.

My father purchased this typewriter much before my birth; little knowing that it was destined to be a great present to me! As I grew up I saw my father use it just on few occasions. And when I was in high school a friend of mine, Anil Kumar Singh joined a typewriting institute and as he learnt typing at the institute, he taught me to type at our house on our Swissa Piccola, using my father’s typewriting guide, which had wonderful exercises to master touch typing. This was during 1968-1970, and since then till 1996 until I bought a desktop computer with a printer, I have extensively used this manual typewriter. After many years I took out this typewriter today for the sake of this well deserved and long overdue tribute, and I find it still in excellent working condition! Thanks also to the Swiss designers and manufacturers of such a wonderful product.

This was a very popular portable typewriter model from Switzerland and in great demand all over the world for decades. It has a very attractive font as you can see in the topmost picture. It is light in weight and with its attractive hard top cover having a robust handle it appears like a brief case and can be carried anywhere easily. I understand that thousands of these units were sold every year and their production continued till 1990.

I have attached photographs of this typewriter for you to see and admire. One photograph is a remarkable one, as our granddaughter, Ch. Sudhiksha, is a fourth generation family member to be seen with this marvelous typewriter.

This typewriter certainly has a very high antique value, but for me it is a priceless possession. 

Kamadhenu – the sacred cow which grants all wishes and desires!

Universally it is a well known fact that Hindus venerate and worship cows.  Cows are considered as eternal sustainer...