Singer Aretha Franklin had dozens of hits over the span of a half century

Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” who stood as a cultural icon around the globe, has died at age 76 from pancreatic cancer. A family statement said that Franklin died on Thursday at her home in Detroit in the U.S.

The family added, “In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”   Franklin, who had battled undisclosed health issues in recent years, had in 2017 announced her retirement from touring.

She will be remembered for matchless style on classics such as Think , I Say a Little Prayer and her signature song, Respect . A professional singer and accomplished pianist by her late teens, a superstar by her mid-20s, Franklin had long ago settled any arguments over who was the greatest popular vocalist of her time.

Many gifts

Her gifts, natural and acquired, were a multi-octave mezzo-soprano, gospel passion and the courage to channel private pain into liberating song.   She recorded hundreds of tracks and had dozens of hits over the span of a half century, including 20 that reached No. 1 on the R&B charts.  She performed at the inaugurations of former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.  Former U.S. President George W. Bush awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honour, in 2005.

Franklin’s best-known appearance with a U.S. President was in January 2009, when she sang My Country ‘tis of Thee at Barack Obama’s inauguration. She only released a few albums over the past two decades, including A Rose is Still a Rose , which featured songs by Sean “Diddy” Combs, Lauryn Hill and other contemporary artists, and So Damn Happy , for which Franklin wrote the gratified title ballad. Franklin’s autobiography, Aretha — From These Roots , came out in 1999, when she was in her 50s. But she always made it clear that her story would continue.

“Music is my thing, it’s who I am. I’m in it for the long run,” she said in an interview in 2008. “I’ll be around, singing, What you want, baby I got it . Having fun all the way.”


courtesy     THE HINDU



Hyderabad: Lieutenant Commander Aishwarya Boddapati, a Hyderabad-based naval officer was among the six women officers awarded the ‘Nao Sena Medal’, a gallantry award for courage and devotion to duty in the naval force. The award has been announced but the ceremony will be held in 2019. 

Officer Boddapati along with other gallantry medal awardees met the President of India on Independence Day. Boddapati and a six-member all-women crew made the nation proud by sailing in the Indian Naval Shipping Vessel (INSV) Tarini. 


Boddapati was part of the historic voyage ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’ where they spent around 254 days onboard. 

The team survived on the sea for 199 days and the rest of the days they spent at ports.

The journey started from Goa and made the first stop at Fremantle, Australia, then Lyttleton, New Zealand, Port Stanley, Falkland Islands and finally Cape Town, South Africa and back to Goa.  

The President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces approved 131 Gallantry Awards to Armed Forces Personnel and members of the Paramilitary Forces, which include one Kirti Chakra, 20 Shaurya Chakras, three Bar to Sena Medals (Gallantry), 93 Sena Medals (Gallantry), 11 Nao Sena Medals (Gallantry) and three Vayu Sena Medals (Gallantry).

INSV Tarini is the second sailboat of the Indian Navy. She was constructed at Aquarius Shipyard located in Goa. After undergoing extensive sea trials, the ship was commissioned to Indian Navy service on February 18, 2017





The Boss was retiring.   Everyone had tears in their eyes on the day of his farewell. One of the employees said, “Sir, there is one thing we want to learn from you. You worked here for so many years. Leave aside about scolding your subordinates, we have never seen you even shouting at them. We have scolded our subordinates on pressure of work or for other reasons. We want to know about the seed of your patience.”The Boss said, “This all comes from the incident of my childhood. My father was working as a lower level employee in an office. He was a very nice person. He was respected very much in our family. 

It happened one day, I was studying in the 4th standard. I had gone to the office of my father for some reason. I saw that my father was not on his seat. I waited outside. After some time, the door of the Boss opened, my father came out of the door. I saw the fair face of my father had turned red. He went straight to a corner and stood there looking outside through a window. He had not seen me. I went to him and called him slowly. He was taken by surprise and turned back to look at me. I saw stream of tears flowing down his eyes. He was slightly disturbed seeing me. He did not find time to wipe out his tears.

Can my father cry anytime? He was the strongest man in the world for me. It was out of my wildest imagination that someone could hurt him. I ran straight to the room of the Boss. Father was calling me from behind. But, listening to nothing, I went inside and asked the Boss, “Why did you make my father cry?” The Boss was also surprised.Thereafter, my father tried to make me understand. But, that day I had decided to take revenge on the Boss.

From that day I decided that I will study well and become a Boss one day, but I will not make my subordinates cry anytime. Because, they are not only the employees of my office, they are also respected and dear father or brother or somebody of their families and belong to someone important. People say it is not possible to control others without scolding them. I say, what is love then for?”_People who come to work are the ones who devote their best and quality time of the day to work, leaving not much time for their families. They do deserve a better treatment from their surroundings._

Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you and your circumstances get inside you in your mind and weigh you down.__Make your life such where peace becomes your priority and no negativity can exist in your life._*Just because you’re angry that doesn’t give you any right to be cruel.**Anger on the other hand doesn’t solve anything, it builds nothing, but it can destroy everything.**Neurologist claim that every time you resist acting on your anger, you’re actually rewiring your brain to be calmer and more loving.**The less you respond to rude, critical, argumentative people… the more peaceful your life becomes.**Explain your anger instead of expressing it, and you will find solutions instead of arguments….*



Scaling the world’s great mountain peaks is challenging for adults. So when children take up the task, it surely is special. While kids his age are busy playing, Samanyu Pothuraju, an 8-year-old kid from the city, is attempting to scale the highest mountain peaks in the world. The latest feather to his cap is a recent trip to Mt Elbrus, which is the highest peak of the European continent between Russia and Georgia. Samanyu was the youngest person to attempt scaling Mt Elbrus but he couldn’t complete it due to heavy wind flow. 

Considered an unusual activity for young kids, how did he get interested in mountaineering? As it turns out, he took to mountaineering after a school event and was encouraged by his mother to go ahead.  But this isn’t the only climb to his credit. He already holds a world record for being the world’s youngest person to have summited Mt Kilimanjaro at the age of 7. Samanyu is now eyeing bigger and better things. He plans to scale Mount Kosciuszko in Australia sometime later this year. 

Elaborating on how he got into mountaineering and what he loves the most about these gruelling treks, he says, “I love playing with the snow, which motivated me to go into mountaineering. Even at Mt Elbrus, I was very happy to see vast masses of land all covered in snow. The climb was tough though, due to heavy wind flow, I couldn’t go ahead, I kept falling down.”

“It was not easy for us to let Samanyu take up mountaineering. Only after getting safety assurances from the trainers did we give a green signal. Even sponsors were a big problem, initially. But after he made the record-breaking journey to Mt Kilimanjaro, it became a little easy to get sponsors,” says Lavanya, his mother. So, what else interests this little climber? Samanyu loves running, cycling and karate.


courtesy     Deccan Chronicle

Miracle —ONION

In 1919, flu killed 40 million people.   A doctor visited the many farmers who had the attack to see if he could help them combat the flu.   Many of the farmers & their family had contracted the flu and many died.However, the doctor came upon one farmer whose family was healthy and nobody in the house contracted the flu.  The doctor asked the farmer what he was doing that was different from the others.

The farmer’s wife replied that she put an unpeeled onion in a dish and placed them in all the rooms in their house.   The doctor thought that could have been the cure so he asked for one of those onions.   As he placed it under the microscope, he found the flu virus in the onion. The onions obviously absorbed all the bacteria and thereby kept the family healthy.

Now, I sent this story to a friend in Oregon who regularly contributes material to me on health issues. She replied with this most interesting experience about onions:  She said ‘ Thanks for the reminder. I don’t know about the farmer’s story but, I do know that I myself got pneumonia and became very ill. From my previous knowledge about onions, I  cut both ends off an onion put it into an empty jar, and place the jar next to myself over night. 

By the morning, I began to feel better while the onion became black.’Lots of times when we have stomach problems we don’t know what to blame. Maybe the onions that we ate earlier are to blame.    *Onions ABSORB BACTERIA* and that is the reason why they are so good at preventing us from getting *colds & flu*   And for that very reason we should NOT eat an onion that has been sitting for a time after it has *been cut open.*  *Left over onions are poisonous*   When food poisoning is reported, the first thing the officials look for is whether the ‘victim’  ate *ONIONS* and where those onions came from. Most probably the *ONIONS,* are the cause.*Onions are huge magnets* for bacteria, especially uncooked ones.   *Never ever keep a portion of sliced onion over a period of time and thereafter use it to prepare food. It’s not even safe if you put it in a zip-lock bag and placed it in your refrigerator. It is still poisonous*   Also, do not give onions to dogs. Their stomachs cannot metabolize onions.

*Please remember it is dangerous to cut an onion and try to save it to cook with the next day, it becomes highly poisonous for even a single night – as it creates toxic bacteria which causes adverse stomach infections because of excess bile secretions and even food poisoning.*


A triumph of endurance

4 Hyderabadi runners successfully completed the world’s oldest and largest ultra marathon the Comrades Marathon in South Africa recently.

Four Hyderabad runners Gautam Pondi, Srinivas Gadde, Amit Kshirsagar and Diganta Roy recently took part in the annual Comrades Marathon in South Africa. Known as the world’s largest, oldest and the most difficult ultra marathon race of 90 kilometres (approximately 56 miles), it is held annually in South Africa between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg in memory of all the soldiers who died for the country.

Having completed the marathon successfully, the quartet shares their memories of the exhilarating challenge. Twenty five years old Gautam, a chartered accountant, took to running in 2013 after turning obese. He has since been a part of seven marathons, which has obviously led to weight loss too. “I read and heard inspiring things about the Comrades Marathon, so I wanted to give it a go,” explains Gautam, adding that completing the Mumbai Marathon in less than five hours was their ticket to the Comrades.  To get a first-hand experience of running on such hilly terrain, all the four friends embarked on a trip to Srisailam and Ooty as a part of their preparation. “We prepared hard! Since Srisailam and Ooty have similar hilly terrains, we practiced running there. We used to wake up at 3:30 am and run on the city outskirts and all that gave us the confidence to go,” reveals Gautam, who says that the marathon experience was memorable.

Amit, who is a 44-year-old IT professional, took to running in 2015 to overcome his backache, a fall-out of being overweight. “Long runs every Sunday motivated me to be a regular at half and full marathons,” he reveals, adding, “Although I am not a natural runner, I was able to successfully complete the marathon. So there’s a great sense of satisfaction.”He further states that running in uneven terrains above 1400 metres was challenging. “After 42 kilometres, we came across the Valley of a thousand hills, a place completely surrounded by hills, so going through the uneven roads and hilly terrain was tough,” he recalls, adding, “We are generally used to running only 42 kilometres, but running 92 kilometres at a uniform pace for long hours was demanding. 

The last 10 kilometres were especially challenging because we needed to cross flyovers, and had to be mentally strong too.”The best part of the marathon was seeing the crowds on both sides, cheering the 21,000 runners all throughout. “That’s what kept me going because of which I never felt isolated from the marathon,” says 47-year-old Srinivas Gadde, who was earlier part of 28 full marathons and six ultra marathons.

Describing the experience as ‘amazing’, Srinivas adds, “Comrades Marathon is a major annual sporting event and the whole country waits to cheer the participants. Every serious runner should participate in it. It’s all about running and competing with yourself.”Diganta Deb Roy shares that the whole objective of participating in the marathon was to enjoy the experience. “We are proud that we could complete the marathon successfully and it was a thrilling experience. The atmosphere was electrifying throughout, and we realised how fitness is an integral part of people’s lives there. We want more people to take up running and inculcate it in their life,” shares 40-year-old Diganta, who picked up running only last year.While Srinivas completed the marathon in 9 hrs: 58 mts, Gautham finished in 10 hrs: 08 minutes; Amit in 11 hrs: 45 minutes and Digant in 10 hrs: 55 minutes. 



Hyderabad boy Prathamesh Darak was one of the six children to represent India at the 30th Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention in Japan.

Bringing up children in a divided world, riddled with prejudice and ignorance, is no easy task. In order to motivate them to be changemakers, it’s essential for them to interact with people from other cultures and experience the barriers melting away. And so it is important to have programmes that allow children to understand, accept each other and forge close bonds.

The 30th Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC) that was recently held in Fukuoka, Japan, aimed to do just that. The event, which saw the participation of 234 children from 35 countries, fostered friendship and bonding among the next generation. Eleven-year-olds were invited to be junior ambassadors of their respective countries, to take their first step towards becoming global citizens.

After multiple rounds of interview, one of the six participants selected by Junior Chamber International India was Prathamesh Darak from Hyderabad. The other members belonged to different states of the country.

Once they reached Japan, all the participants were asked to live together and the Indian team was allotted a room with the Mongolian team. Prathamesh shares, “I had the best time. The students from Pakistan and I became the best of friends. We all enjoyed our evening by spending time with each other, clicking photos and playing a lot of different games.” He adds, “I didn’t know other countries had such interesting games. It was also my first time eating with chopsticks and I loved it.” The Indian team performed a folk dance that put forward the country’s culture. After the dance programme, all the participants had to stay with a Japanese family for three days.

Prathamesh had a wonderful experience throughout. “They loved me a lot; my host mom, dad and brothers took good care of me. They also didn’t eat non-vegetarian food as long as I was staying with them. They gave me presents and loved the presents I gave them too. I enjoyed going to their school, shopping and attended other classes like swimming and calligraphy,” says Prathamesh, who only missed out on one thing — Indian food!