Monday, August 29, 2016

‘A for Andromeda’, a book I shall remember forever.

Recent news of the discovery of an Earth like planet with the probability of water and life on it reminded me of ‘A for Andromeda’.  A for Andromeda  by  Fred Hoyle and John Elliot was my brother’s Non-detailed English Text Book during his Pre-Professional Course (PPC) at Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal. I read the book and liked it. It is a science fiction story and based on a 1961 BBC TV show. The book being very good and a pictorial one, I looked into it time and again and reread portions of it. For these reasons this is one book which I remember very well.
The connection between the recent news of the discovery of an Earth like planet and this book is extraterrestrial life and extraterrestrial intelligence.
According to the recent news it is confirmed that an Earth like planet is discovered at a distance of 4.2 light years orbiting the star called Proxima Centauri which is the nearest star to our Sun. Scientists are of the opinion that water might exist on this planet and hence life in some form. I shall write more on this as clear details are available. But as of now I shall write about this memorable and my evergreen science fiction ‘A for Andromeda’.
In 1961, the BBC ran a seven-part TV show called ‘A for Andromeda’ about a SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) fictional success story. Then its novelization took place and the book was released in February 1962.  
The story in brief is as follows. A team of young scientists design and build a new Radio Telescope. This telescope picks up a pattern of signals from the Andromeda Galaxy.  When the signals are decoded by the young scientist John Fleming and his assistant Christine, it turns out to be instructions for the design of an advanced computer. Once the computer is built it delivers another set of guidelines for the creation of a living organism. Through this experiment a fast growing life form, a giant single eyed monster named Cyclops is created. Influenced by Cyclops and the computer, Fleming’s assistant, Christine is compelled to hold the two terminals of the computer and is killed by a massive electric shock.
Following Christine’s death, the computer outputs a new set of instructions, this time for the creation of a complete human embryo. Fleming becomes nervous with these developments, worried that whatever life-form they are creating may not have humanity’s best interests at heart. He also realizes that the two terminals positioned on either side of the computer have an ability to influence human brains to obey orders from the computer. Fleming is horrified with these developments and demands abandoning the project. The project is now under the control of the British Military so Fleming’s obstructions lead to his expulsion.
The embryo rapidly grows to maturity; everyone is stunned when it is revealed to be a clone of the deceased Christine. They name this creature as Andromeda. Andromeda quickly learns to communicate and is brought before the computer. The computer realizing its instructions have been carried out destroys Cyclops as it has been superseded by Andromeda.
The computer puts Andromeda to work and develops a program to enable Britain to intercept orbital missiles. Andromeda also creates an enzyme to heal injured cells almost instantly. Thus
Andromeda is used not only in the defence industry but in any other manner. The computer has an evil secret agenda and begins to harm or eliminate through Andromeda those who are critical of continuing this project. Andromeda tries to kill Fleming but fails. Fleming befriends her and teaches her human emotions. Then Andromeda confesses to Fleming that she is a slave of the computer and that the computer is working to take over humanity. Hearing this Fleming gains entry to the computer room where he takes an axe and destroys the computer and the machinery around it. Now free of the computer Andromeda listens to Fleming and is able to access the safe that contains the copies of the original message with the instructions for building the computer which she burns so that the machine cannot be rebuilt. With the base virtually destroyed, Fleming and Andromeda flee to one of the islands near the base. Pursued by soldiers, they hide in a series of caves on the island. However, Andromeda is apparently killed when she walks into a deep pool. The dejected Fleming is brought back by the soldiers but it serves no purpose.
The purpose of non-detailed study is to develop a taste for reading a wide variety of books in English and to develop love for books and this book does it exceedingly well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Happy Krishnashtami / Janmashtami / Gokulashtami.

Festival Greetings from all of us,
To each and every one of you:
May Lord Krishna’s blessings be with you, always.

(Below Greeting Cards from me and my wife contain pictures of our eight months old grandson; Ch. Atharv dressed as Young/Little Krishna) 
 Wish You All A Happy And Blessed Shree Krishna Janmashtami – N. Raghu.
Happy Shree Krishna Janmashtami – N. Lalitha.

Today is Shree Krishna Janmashtami also known as Krishnashtami and Gokulashtami that is the birthday of Lord Krishna an avatar of Lord Vishnu. It is a festival celebrated by Hindus all over India and the world with religious fervor and traditional enthusiasm.
The tradition of celebrating Lord Krishna’s Birthday is over 5200 years old! According to scholars, Lord Krishna was born on 19th July 3228 BC that is on Wednesday the eighth day (Ashtami) of the second fortnight of Sravana Masam (Month of Sravana). He was born to Devaki and Vasudeva in a prison cell at Mathura. This place still exists and is thronged by pilgrims and visitors throughout the year. It is between Delhi and Agra and all tourists visiting Taj Mahal make it a point to visit Shree Krishna Temple and his place of birth at Mathura. This is how I and my wife happened to visit Mathura and similarly my two sons went there separately during their return journey from Taj Mahal to Delhi. 

On this happy occasion of Krishnashtami I wish you and your family, happiness, prosperity and peace. May Lord Krishna bless you richly. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

My Grandson’s first Raksha Bandhan festival.

My eight month old grandson, Ch. Atharv enjoyed his first Raksha Bandhan / Rakhi Purnima festival. He very quietly and cutely allowed his sister and my sister to tie Rakhi to him. With a baby in the house every festival, especially every first festival of the baby becomes all the more special. So was today. Everyone’s attention and affection was on him and he behaved so well. He went to everyone in the family and saw all the traditions of the festival with interest and happily. We are all excited and elated with his behavior. The attached photographs convey how happy he and we all are with this year’s Raksha Bandhan festival.
This blog post is to share our happiness with all of you…my blog followers and random readers and to seek your best wishes and blessings for my grandson. Thank you.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Happy 70th Independence Day.

Happy Independence Day!
Celebrate the free spirit of India!
Celebrate with loved ones!
Celebrate with food you love!
Bon app├ętit!
- N. Raghu.
Happy Independence Day!
Celebrate our freedom!
Enjoy an outing!
And have great food,
The whole Day!
- N. Lalitha.
The above Greetings are for You and All Readers of my blog. They are all food-centric because we made these greetings today morning originally for ‘Hyderabad Foodies’ – First food specific Hyderabad based community on Facebook, with over 45,000 members. The group was happy to see our flag’s tricolors in these pictures of food:

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Wow! A whole fish!

Wow! A whole fish however cooked; fried, grilled, barbecued, roasted or steamed is always a pleasure to the eyes, lovely to touch, feast to the palate and treat to the stomach. Whole fish makes for a beautiful and dramatic presentation. Small, medium or big; whole cooked fish is always special. Smaller fish like Sardines, Anchovy and Bombay Duck etc. are always cooked whole and a few other plate size fishes can be cooked whole but not every other plate size or larger fish.
Having expressed my liking for whole cooked fish, I must admit that I also like equally any fish and seafood cooked in any form, size and cut…any variety of fish soup, fish salad, fish snack, fish steak, fish fry, fish curry, roe, Sashimi, Sushi - shrimp, prawn, crab, squid, clams and oyster preparations and of course all varieties of dry fish. To me all sweet water fish and seafood are fabulous, each in its way.
This photo blog post is in appreciation of fish and especially whole cooked fish (and to inform readers about health benefits of eating fish). A whole fish is just as easy to prepare as a fillet or any other fish dish. And it makes a stunning presentation as you can see in the attached pictures.
More and more people are beginning to eat fish regularly. This I can say confidently because never before seen variety of fishes in very large quantities are today available all over Hyderabad, and on any given day there is heavy rush at these wholesale and retail fish stalls. As demand is growing, the prices are going up. But people are not deterred because they love to eat fish and know that fish is good for the heart and for a healthy life.
For those of you who are not aware of the health benefits of eating fish, I have provided some informative posters below. You must see them and also few more colorful fish pictures I have provided towards the end of this article.

Incredible Coincidence!

784533 - This is a number known to our family since 1980. It is a number we all had to remember then and even today, with of cou...