All posts by vijikumari

What a nice story…

An American man walked into a restaurant in London. As soon as he entered, he  noticed an Indian sitting in the corner.
So he walked over to the counter, removed his wallet and shouted, “Waiter! I am buying food for everyone in this restaurant, except that Indian guy over there!”
So the waiter collected the money from the man and began serving free food to everyone in the restaurant, except the Indian. 
However,instead  of becoming upset, the Indian simply looked up at the American and
shouted, “Thank you!” That infuriated the man. So once again, the American took out his wallet and shouted, “Waiter! This time I am buying bottles of wine and additional food for everyone in this bar, except for that Indian  sitting in the corner over there!” So the waiter collected the money from the man and began serving free food and wine to
everyone in the bar except Indian. 
When the waiter finished serving the food and drinks, once again, instead of becoming angry, the Indian simply smiled at the American man and shouted, “Thank you!”
That made the American man furious. So he leaned over on the counter and said to the
waiter, “What is wrong with that Indian man? I have bought food and drinks for everyone in this bar except him, but instead of becoming angry, he just sits there and smiles at me and shouts ‘Thank you.’ Is he
The waiter smiled at the American and said, “No, he is not mad. He is the owner of this
May your enemies work unknowingly in your favour.

Stay away from Anger..It hurts ..Only You!
 If you are right then there is no need to get angry,
 And if you are wrong then you don’t have any right to get angry.
 Patience with family is love,
 Patience with others is respect.
 Patience with self is confidence and Patience with GOD is faith.
 Never Think Hard about the  PAST, It brings Tears…
 Don’t think more about the FUTURE, It brings Fear…
 Live this Moment with a Smile,It brings Cheer.
Every test in our life makes us bitter or better,
 Every problem comes to make us or break us,
 The choice is ours whether we become victims or victorious.
 Beautiful things are not always good but good things are always beautiful
 Do you know why God created gaps between fingers?
 So that someone who is special to you comes and fills those gaps by holding your hand forever.
 Happiness keeps You Sweet..But being sweet brings happiness.

Huge omelet

Members of World Brotherhood of the Huge omelet create a 6500 egg omelette within a four metre diameter frying pan on Tuesday in Malmedy.  The small Belgian town was determined to go ahead with its annual festival even as the tainted egg scandal has hit Europe and Asia.



There lies a forgotten story

Badi Masjid   | Photo Credit: Serish Nanisetti

The Musheerabad Badi Masjid narrates a lesser-known chapter in Hyderabad’s history

Hyderabad is a city of surprises and of things unknown. As the Metro pillars pass through the main thoroughfare between RTC Crossroad and Oliphenta bridge, an inner lane takes you to multi-storied building with a wide partition in between: The Musheerabad Badi Masjid. In the run-down neighbourhood with craftsmen and artisans, the tall building looks like an anomaly.

Inside, after crossing the gateway with small minarets, the older part of the masjid comes into view. It is breathtaking. Framed by two bulbous minarets, the five-arched masjid is a tribute to the endless possibilities of stucco. The ledge, the water spout, inner arches, pillars and every imaginable part of the masjid is luxuriously decorated with symmetrical limestone plaster, some of it dating back to the time it was built in 1601, though it is credited to Ibrahim Qutb Shah who ruled Golconda between 1543 and 1580. The design of the masjid has a interesting aspect in that the Mehrab appears like a room. The carvings on the inner walls are part of the newer modifications.

After the fall of Golconda, the Masjid went into disuse and remained abandoned till the area became a jagir of Nawab Arastu Jah Mushir ul Mulk, the prime minister of Nizam Ali Khan.

According to oral history, it was Nizam Ali Khan who granted the estate to Nawab Arastu Jah Mushir ul Mulk in 1795. The latter then constructed a palace marking out a garden in the wild forested area away from the hurly burly of the city on the other side of Musi.

Mushir ul Mulk’s fortunes waxed and waned due to battle strategies. If he was responsible for the withdrawal of Nizam’s forces at the battle of Adoni allowing Tipu Sultan to conquer the fort without firing a shot, he was also responsible for diplomatic manoeuvring in the Maratha court in Pune to get back ceded territory including the Daulatabad Fort.

Vanishing courtyard

The Masjid again became run down in the waning years of Nizam’s rule. Before people started moving into the area in large numbers and it got another lease of life on February 16, 1951 when parts of it were repaired. One of the minarets which had become bent was repaired.

Syed Bilgrami, in his Landmarks of the Deccan, refers to the extensive courtyard in the middle. Alas, the courtyard is where the four-storied structure has come up to accommodate the namazis. “There used to be a large wazoo khana here with dressed stone all around it, but now we have this fountain and this tank,” says Muhammad Nayeemuddin who has been praying at the mosque for the past 35 years and has seen it change and evolve.

Musheerabad is one of the oldest localities in the city and it was from here T Anjaiah rose to power backed by union activism and settlement of slum dwellers.

It is ironic that the masjid gets the name of the area and not the other way round as is the norm.

Between utility and ugliness is a thin line. Only if a balance can be struck between aesthetics and human need, is there any hope that the city will have some heritage left behind for future generations to feel proud about.

courtesy   The Hindu

Meet the youngest girl to scale Mt.Stok kangri

Kaamya Karthikeyan scaled the 20,000 feet Mt. Stok Kangri to become the youngest ever to do so

At age nine, this girl from Visakhapatnam has created a record by climbing the high ranges of the Himalayas. Kaamya Karthikeyan scaled Mount Stok Kangri ( 20,187 ft) on August 4 becoming the youngest in the world to scale the peak that stands at a mammoth 20,000 feet above sea level. Her success came after a gruelling summit climb of almost 12 hours followed by a descent of seven hours.

As she completed the arduous trek with her parents, her first reactions were: “It’s been a long day, yeah very long.” Twelve hours of walking through the night and early morning hours, she reached the summit at 9.45 in the morning. “There were about 40-50 other climbers who attempted summit on the same day, out of which only 15 including the four of us completed the summit,” she adds.

This Naval officer’s daughter had made it to the Mt Everest base camp two months ago, but Kaamya says this experience to Mt. Stok Kangri was very different compared to her previous treks.

“Firstly, as we land in Leh directly we are already at 3,500 mtrs above sea level, which is very high altitude. So we had to do a lot of acclimatization by travelling across Khardung La Pass (world’s highest motorable pass) twice. We then travelled across Chang La pass (world’s second highest motorable pass) and even stayed overnight at Pangong Lake which is about 4,300 mtrs. Secondly, unlike other Himalayan treks, the scene in Leh is barren and can get on to you if you don’t adapt,” says Kaamya’s father S. Karthikeyan, a naval officer.

Luckily, Kaamya enjoyed the terrain and especially the beauty of miniature, but brightly coloured flowers which are scarcely seen.

Overcoming challenges

However, the real challenge was the summit climb. This now has to be done directly from the base camp to the Summit and back as camping at the intermediary advance base camp was prohibited a few years ago.

“So now it’s a direct climb of about 1,100 mtrs lasting an average of 14-17 hours. A huge altitude gain, combined with an extremely long day at work has made the success on Stok’s summit extremely challenging,” her father adds. The celebration of the present trek is still pending as Kaamya is busy covering up the missed lessons and studying for the exams that started this week. Now after this long tough trek, the little mountaineer has set her eyes on higher goals.

“It might be Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Elbrus next! But I am sure to undertake ski training in January and participate in the Winter National Games,” says the student of class five of Navy Children’s School, Visakhapatnam. Next summers, she plans to undergo a mountaineering course to gain institutionalised training to prepare her for higher and tougher climbs. Speaking about her earlier Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek, she says, “The entire trek lasted for 14 days, during which we walked through dense forests, grassy plains, rocky terrain, snow and icy glaciers. The amazing views and backdrops that I witnessed compensated more than enough for the efforts put-in during the training.”

Born trekker

Also an accomplished swimmer, marathon runner, Bharatnatyam dancer and Carnatic classical singer, Kaamya’s trekking experiences started on a baby sling with her mother who would take her on treks.

At the age of three, she first started taking baby steps trekking through the Sahyadris holding her father’s hands during his posting in Lonavla. Her first Himalayan trek was to Chandrashila peak at 12,000 feet. Since then, there has been no looking back. This year, she stood first in the basic and intermediate snow skiing courses.

“The progress to this level has been long and gradual and not easy for sure. I’m fortunate that I was born into adventure, with my father, an accomplished mountaineer, skydiver, cyclist and runner, as my biggest inspiration. I treaded my baby steps in the wilderness at an early age of less than three, when I took to trekking in the Sahyadris with my parents. The beauty of the Sahyadris instilled the love for nature so deep in me that I began treasuring the patterns of butterflies and leaves more than expensive toys and clothes. I was hooked forever to Mother Nature,” says Kaamya, who has been giving presentations on her trekking experiences in some city schools and is looking forward to reach out to more children to motivate them.

“For me, the best part was that Kaamya never showed any signs of tiredness even during the tough summit climb and repeatedly kept asking only one question ‘Am I climbing ok? Is my speed good enough to summit on time?’ That was inspirational,” recalls her father and adds that, “such treks and outdoor activities have direct benefits on children like maintaining good health and indirect benefits like the ability to put in hard work, prioritising and scheduling requirements n life and a ‘never say never’ attitude.”

Sports and adventure brings discipline, confidence and focus in life and helps one excel in every sphere. Along with her physical development, Kaamya has been able to juggle easily between winning Spell Bee and Olympiad competitions and learning to play the piano, western and Carnatic music.

courtesy    The Hindu

Expressing himself through dance

12-year-old Saladi Eshan from the city is all set for his Kuchipudi dance performance this weekend. He is confident about pursuing his passion for classical dance and music alongside professional education courses. His mother Saladi Mrunalini is a versatile Kuchipudi dancer, choreographer and teacher. She was trained by Kuchipudi Guru D.V. Satya Kumar and Guru Vedantam Satya Narasimha Shastry.

Talking about her son, Mrunalini shared, “Eshan showed interest in dance since the age of seven. He used to see me dance and automatically make dance postures on his own. I was not very keen to teach him dance, being unsure of his future as a male dancer. But my husband advised me to encourage Eshan and teach him. For a few years we were in New Delhi where I was part of many social message-oriented productions encompassing dance and Indian culture. I have been a part of productions in almost all parts of India from Leh-Ladakh to Kanyakumari including the Northeast for Kanchenjunga Festival, Sindhu-Darshan, Khajuraho Festival, Brahamotsava Festival and Sharad Utsav. My colleague Rasheedi Hasan spotted Eshan’s good voice and started guiding him in music. After coming to Hyderabad, Eshan is taking Carnatic music lessons from Guru P.V.S. Seshaiah Sastry.”

For Eshan, dance performances made him a hero among his classmates and friends. “Whenever I perform in front of friends and classmates, they like my performance so much that they not only applaud during the programme but come and lift me up after! Even in my residential locality, children who have seen my performances started to learn classical dance from my mother. I love dance because I can express my feelings through it. Dance also makes me fit. My father encourages me and even told me how to walk towards the centre of stage before starting a performance. These are very small but important points to be taken care of for a successful presentation. There are many dance competitions in which I have participated and won first prizes. I also enjoy playing cricket in my leisure time and study about space, history and planets,” he says.

“There is only one life for us in which we can try and achieve many things. We may get 99 per cent support from our elders, but we need to make that one per cent effort to be successful in life,” concludes Eshan.

Flying high


Telugu girl Anny divya has become the youngest woman commander in the world to fly a Boeing 777

Born to Telugu parentsin Pathankot Anny Divya  spent her formative years in Vijayawada.  ‘ I did my schooling and Class XII in Vijayawada where my mother hails from while my father [ an ex army man] is from Warangal.  Since childhood I was fascinated with becoming a pilot. In fact I remember when a teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up my list of goals has pilot on top which eventually became a reality” she says with a smile.

Divya learnt about pilot training at the Rashtriya Uran Akademi in Uttar Pradesh and started preparing for the All India entrance test. “ Getting into the Academy was difficult as I had to clear the test  but I was really keen on getting into the pilot training course. Luckily the education system in Andhra Pradesh was good and I was good at academics so I could crack the exam and make it” she shares.

Apparently one of her English teachers helped her prepare for the interview.  ‘ One interviewer asked me what Vijayawada famous for while another asked if I would be comfortable wearing trousers during the training since I wore a salwar kameez for the interview she recalls.

Coming from a small town, adjusting to the new environment was challenging, admits Divya. “Getting used to the English pronunciation was difficult. The way North Indians speak is also different, and although I studied in an English medium school, nobody spoke much of English in college. Also, getting used to the diverse culture was a tough. However, my parents supported me a lot, and my determination helped me overcome all difficulties,” she says.

After her course, Divya was posted with Air India in Mumbai. “At 19, I went to Spain to train on a Boeing 737 Jet aircraft for a couple of years. Later, I was trained in Boeing 777 in London, and became the youngest woman in the world to fly as a commander of a Boeing 777,” she recalls.

Ask her how life changed after becoming a pilot, and Divya replies, “A lot has changed!” She adds, “After overcoming the initial hurdles, I learnt a lot.. I have to be on my toes at all times as we have to get used to the changing technology and stay focussed. My thought process has also changed and I am optimistic about all aspects of life. Also, I feel being connected to one’s roots is important.”

Divya operates as captain on international flights, and has flown to more than 30 countries. She has also pursued her B.Sc., Aviation and LLB. She divides free time between singing and dancing.

Courtesy    Deccan chronicle


You sweet little potato

I love potatoes.  Who doesn’t it? That doesn’t mean I would lap up French fries or wafers made from sweet potatoes. This until a couple of years when I was tricked into eating sweet potato kebabs at a friend’s restaurant. Chomping into them I looked up and asked “ what are these made of?  Sweet potatoes “ they laughed.  I paused for a bit and thought to myself  I just ate sweet potatoes and I think they are quite yummy?

It took me some time but eventually that day my inhibition for the tuber ended as I returned and regaled over my wonderful taste of the vegetable.

My dislike for the tuber could have been associated with the fact that I connect it to fasting. I have never fasted in my life and the only time I saw these potatoes in abundance in the markets was during shivaratri. The reason that is the only tuber allowed for those who fast during the festival.  Surprisingly around the time I tasted my first sweet potato I saw a lot of sweet potato recipes featured on quick video tutorials on social media. Sweet potato bakes fries pies oven roasted for snacks and many more. Despite knowing the benefits of sweet potatoes I didn’t think it was a super food.

The orange tinged sweet potatoes are Nature’s unsurpassed sources of beta carotene. According to medical and health journals the tuber has the ability to raise the Vitamin A in our blood levels especially in children. Sweet potatoes are not always orange fleshed they can be purple at times.  So it is absolutely safe to consume the tuber with purple stains here and there.  This tuber is known to be rich in important antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties. Steaming or boiling before consuming is the best way to benefit from the important properties of this vegetable.

Sweet potatoes don’t take a long time to prepare.  Cutting them into half inch slices and quick steaming them for just seven minutes not only brings out their great flavor but also helps to maximize their nutritional value.  They also pack a powerful nutritional punch. They provide our daily need for  vitamin A in one medium spud along with lots of fibre and potassium.  A lot of chefs work on busting myths about them.  Laura Matthews the head of nutrition at Jamie Oliver in Healthier  Happier You wrote “ sweet potatoes are a source of four essential micronutrients  Vitamin C   thiamine  potassium and manganese  which between them have a whole range of properties that our bodies need to keep us ticking.

Surprisingly this super food doesn’t find much place in our daily menus.  To make sweet potato tikkis wash them thoroughly or scrub them if needed   peeling isn’t required.  Steam and mash.  Add finely chopped onions green chillies grated ginger  chopped coriander leaves and salt to taste.

Knead and mix until you get a fine ball. Keep aside for ten minutes. Make smaller balls out of it flatten it with a gentle press of thumb and roast them on a non stick pan.

Courtesy   The  Hindu    Prabalika M Borah