The Chennai Story Telling Festival 2016 is from Friday, 05 February 2016 at 5 p.m. to 14 February 2016. The stories will be related to two themes – The "Big Rains" and "Storytelling for Communication". For more details, please visit the link HERE and HERE too! ----- Chennai Photo Biennale in cooperation with Travelling Lens invites you for a one-of-its-kind EXHIBITION | SYMPOSIUM | WORKSHOP from 26 February 2016 to 13 March 2016 @ Goethe-Institut Auditorium, Chennai

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Chennai Photo Biennale
in cooperation with Travelling Lens
invites you for a one-of-its-kind
26 February 2016 to 13 March 2016
Goethe-Institut Auditorium

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Chennai Photo Biennale - an exciting and significant community public-art project, bringing together world-renowned photographers from India and abroad.

A collaboration between the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavanand Travelling Lens, Chennai Photo Biennale is focused on public engagement, this 2-week long festival from February 26th to March 13th 2016,  will attract more than a hundred thousand visitors across the city’s streets, train stations, galleries and parks in the city of Chennai, India.

A Cut above the Rest... as Alwaysss...!

Early morning walks were a routine for many of us in Professors’ Colony, East Tambaram. And still is!

Once you finish your walk, in the company of a good few, an august few, a chosen few – the few who could stare their eyes with astonishing success through the clearing darkness  of the pre-dawn hours – then you contently move ahead, on to your next schedule for the morning – to wipe your car and/or bike clean! J

Well, it was yet another relaxed Saturday morning. A day when the mind slows down its pace to a lethargic ‘lullaby’ish pace! I had just finished my walk, a wee bit early to be able to start quite ahead of time on a weekend sojourn!

So once back at home I take my hose tubing and start in all earnest - my car-cleaning chore!

Cleaning my car is something that I enjoy doing all of the time – what with a wonderful nylonish flexi-tubey for company, and water - water - water - all the way – I do relish and enjoy to the utmost the sheer delight in being ‘water-sportive’ when cleaning my car, and well, yes! it was my first car, a brand new car, a Santro XO car, a precious car, ha ha and what not!

Happily humming away a tune that rhymes to the spray of the shower of the tubey – I was shaken from the stupeficated-world-of-my-own’ by a neatly-dressed gentleman who taps gently on my shoulder!

With a startled surprise, and a bated sigh, I wish him, ‘Good morning Sir!!!’

He was just finishing his morning walk, and was on his way home, when either something about me or my car, bid him stop right on his tracks!!

He stood his gentle ground and asked in his usual inimitable style, 

‘How are you rufus?’

‘Doing fine, Sir. How are you? Please come home Sir!’

I request him as part of the cultural protocol ;-)

Having politely declined my impulsive ‘offer of the day’, he gently persuaded me to first turn off the water from the hose-tubey on a ‘priority-basis’!!!

I did.

He now asked me to quickly fetch him a pail of water and some soft cloth wipes.

I did.

Guidelines for Oral Presentations of Book Reviews (used with permission)

1.       Begin with the author, title, and date of publication.
2.       Speak clearly, and look directly at your audience (not just at the Prof.!)
3.   Showing the cover of the book is a nice way to capture the attention of the audience, and to quickly
demonstrate the book’s length, size, and appearance.
4.      Summarize the thesis or main idea (s) of the book in 2-4 sentences.
5.    Mention at least one memorable aspect of the book, so that at the end of class we will remember
something distinctive about your book.
6.      Limit the presentation to less than 5 minutes.  You should time yourself at least once in advance so you
have some sense of how much can be said in five minutes.
7.      You may stand or sit as you prefer.
8.   Give the book a thumbs-up or thumbs-down for inclusion in a future iteration of our class, and briefly
explain why it should (or should not) be included for future students.
9.     Audio-Visual aids (e.g., Powerpoint slides, Web sites, use of chalk-board, posters, costumes, etc.) are always welcome but are not required for this assignment.

My grateful thanks to Professor Chris Carlsmith, University of Massachusetts-Lowell for immediately obliging me, when I asked for permission to use his ideas, and also for wishing us the best, on the Oral Book Review Sessions. Thank you Professor. The original link is HERE

Thursday, 11 February 2016

the bliss that taught my heart...

My impish little niece is such a bratty fairy of a girlie, that I discreetly steal time - as much as i could - from the winged charioteer, and surprise her with my presence every once in a while, although for a very brief while, just to get to be with her! To enjoy the prattle and the chuckle! the care and the cuddle! and what not!!!

And the moment she sees me from yonder, - in a longgg time - say two weeks ;-) - this little elf of a girlie all of four years, gets so excited that she strides at a rapid pace or rather  ‘racewalks’ towards her maama (uncle), holds out her hands in a ‘carry me please’ gesture, and when done, just hugs my shoulders as tight as she could, and leans gracefully on me, - a regal recline of sorts - without lifting up her head. Silence becomes her effective prayer from now on, even as she begins to go into a trance to feel the secure solace and the comfort of her beloved ‘rooofi’ maama. I hug her tight and ask her, -

‘How are you paapa (little girl)?’

‘Did you go to school today?’

‘Have you done your homework?’

‘Did you have your dinner?’ etc.

The more the questions from her maama, the more her silence.

Then I tell her, ‘Maama has bought something for you chellam. Do you wanna open your eyes to see it???’

Again, a passive and a faint nod that forebodes a stern ‘No’!

Distractions couldn’t distract her!

Five minutes flit us by.

Fifteen minutes fly by.

Still, our fairy girlie is ‘resolutely determined’.

Like a warrior holding on to his National Flag, and says, I shall not leave hold of the flag of my nation, ‘come what may’, our pretty little snowflake was clinging on to her maama, ‘come what may’!

Coaxings of all hues, and goadings of all colours could only add more vehemence to her cling!

Each tried his/her luck to bring paapa down, but ended up in a ‘disastrous deposit-losing’ debacle!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Proud of y'all... Kudos dear Kiddoes...!

Bunking is one’s privilege. A unique privilege that you get only during college life! And bunk you may! But let not bunking become a passion to such an extent that you forget where your class is, and go a step even further and ask your friend, “Macha, do you know who is our English prof this semester???”

A few students from one ‘Class A’ are infamous for bunking their classes. So it was a sudden and sweet surprise when today, for their CAs - ‘all of a sudden’, the class was brimming over with enthused and 'impulsively ignited minds' swarming to crouch in their seats to have a go at the ‘English Challenge’ today as part of their first CA with me this semester.

I was stupefied to the core at this sudden, ‘bolt-from-the-blue’ flashmob of a crowd from Class A that I forced myself to ask, pointing towards those ‘passionate bunking elite’, if they could really manage the test, as quite a lot has been done in class, and it looks like “You guys won’t be able to rise to the challenge of an Internal test, unless you made yourself available in at least fifty per cent of the teaching classes?”

In the meantime, I had permitted all the students from Class B to take their CAs because almost everyone of them used to come to class on a regular basis.

After I gave them their Questions and Class B was ten minutes into their test, something unexpected happened.

A girl from Class B stands up from her seat and comes straight to the invigilator (me) and says teary-eyed, 

‘Sir, I need to talk to you. Can I?’

“Sure. Please go ahead”, I calm her.

“Sir, I couldn’t write even my name on the answer sheet, after I saw you ‘taking to task’ some students from Class A for absenting themselves from classes!”

 “Yes. But what’s it to you?” I asked baffled.

“Sir, but even I didn’t attend your classes this past month, as I was, for most of the time into rigorous training as an NCC cadet!”

“Great! I’m so happy that you are an NCC cadet! And service to NCC is like service to the nation. I’m so proud of you”.

State Eligibility Test for Lectureship - Feb 2016 - Preparatory Classes

Preparatory & Revision Classes 

for SET – February 2016

Vivekananda College,
Tiruchengode, Namakkal District

12, 13, 14 February 2016 (Fri – Sun)

Dr. Benet & Team

Students desirous of taking part in the preparatory classes may contact
Dr. Benet @ 9443248012

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Ornithological specimens of identical plumage...

The year was 2003!

I was residing in Selaiyur Hall, as a resident staff, in room no. 178!.

As bachelor-Profs then, it was customary for some of us, to go out on regular jaunts to the city either for a movie or just for a day out in the evenings, whenever we could!

One fine evening, after having had my evening snacks and tea in the Selaiyur Hall Mess, and I was busy flipping through some of the newspapers that were around, that my Prof-friend and a resident staff from another Hall, called me up, and asked me if we could go for a great movie that had recently released in a Multiplex in the City that evening!

 ‘hey, it’s already 5.50!’ I tell him!

‘but the movie starts only at 6.30 yaar!’

Do you think we could get ready in no time and make it to the movies this short time?’ I ask.

‘Why not??? If we think we can, we CAN!’ he says with conviction and determination.

I had the hobson’s choice! To rise to the challenge was my impulsive decree of the evening.

It was six pm when the evening music time was gradually coming to a close in the precincts of good ol’ Selaiyur, when we both kickstarted our Splendor Plus!

Six pm in Tambaram! And any sane Selaiyurian would by all means tell you that thirty minutes was highly impossible! or atleast daunting to the core!!!

I really had to break the back of my ‘paavam’ little beast the poor Hero Honda Splendor! (it’s NOT a Pulsar!!!)

Asking my Splendor Plus to go at 100 is like pushing water uphill with a tardy rake!
No way would it oblige!

There were at least a dozen traffic signals that we had to cruise through, and after crossing a decent six of them, we were nearing the grand Pallavaram signal, when we saw the unfortunate thing unfold!

Well, the traffic light was showing amber! (well, yes, before it could turn red)

My pillion-buddy says, “macha, pull it off! You can do it! Just move on! It might take just micro seconds to whiz past!”

He coaxes and goads me, even as I am still caught in a double bind, between the proverbial devil and the deep sea!!!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Are you good @ Story telling...? Then read on...

Friends, Romans, Indians, Countrymen,

Lend me your ears!

The Chennai Story Telling Festival 2016 is starting this weekend. Inauguration is on Friday, 05 February 2016 at 5 p.m. and the fest goes on till 14 February 2016 (for those of you who don’t know, it ends on Valentine’s day ;-).

Seven story tellers will participate in daily evening sessions. The stories will be related to two themes –

The "Big Rains" and "Storytelling for Communication".

On 12 February, a workshop on 'how to tell stories' has also been organised. This workshop is an opportunity for college students interested in the art of story-telling. It will be held at Dr MGR-Janaki College (in R A Puram, Chennai). Certificates would be given to all the participants.

The festival, hosted by the International Institute of Storytelling in the city, will be attended by noted storytellers from India and abroad. The guest co-host of the festival this year is Ruth Trotter of California, United States.

For more details, please visit the link HERE and HERE too!

PS: And... please don't bunk on your CAs and blame it on this poor soul :-)

Friday, 5 February 2016

The Delightful Kochi 'Saga'!!!

It was a cool December morning, when the yuletide charm was advancing towards its acme!

Here was I, sipping a hot cuppa chaai and reading the day’s The Hindu, ensconced in my favourite rattan armchair in my balcony, when my phone rang! It was a call from Ms. Reethi, The Cochin College, Kochi, asking me if I could deliver the key-note address in their UGC-Sponsored National Seminar in end January.

The Cochin College, Kochi
I was, like Moses in the Scriptures, asking her to please go for someone else, and suggested quite a few eminent names too. But she was persistent and unrelenting! After a brief tug, she won! I reluctantly said a ‘yes’.

As if, this was the word she was waiting all along for, Ms. Reethi now became ‘surprisingly’ crisp! She says, “Okay Sir, we’re meeting ‘next year’… on the 28th of January. This is the topic. Bla bla bla… bye!”

Haiyyadaa ;-)

I had said an impromptu ‘yes’ by the momentary impulse, on the spur of the moment, little realising the enormous work I had to do, to brace myself up for the task!

Do you wanna make a positive social impact...?

India fellow invites passionate young Indians who are looking for a platform to make a positive social impact and while some may see them as the crazy ones, they see genius! Graduates or above from any discipline and aged between 20 to 28 years can apply.

India fellow takes young Indians through an intense 13 month-long leadership journey that sets them on the path to becoming socially conscious leaders of tomorrow, and thus bring about positive change in our society.

Through the India Fellow program they want to capture the attention of young people from all walks of life, with diverse career interests, to dig in and get their hands dirty, to get to know the development challenges through internship, training and coaching. This believe will help them in becoming committed and passionate leaders of tomorrow. And in the process contribute a lot to the development of India.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Give a Shot at the Prestigious 'Young India Fellowship'

The Young India Fellowship (YIF) seeks to groom young women and men who will lead India through the 21st century. The programme brings together around 225 students from across India for a one-year postgraduate Fellowship. It is a fully residential programme, with Fellows residing at the Ashoka University campus in the Delhi NCR region.

The Fellows go through a multidisciplinary curriculum taught by some of the best educators in the world. In this endeavor, YIF is partnered by some top-ranked international schools like University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS); Carleton College; King’s College, London and Sciences Po, Paris. Students from all disciplines and areas of study are welcome to YIF; whether they studied engineering, design, commerce or literature, they are all mentored into reaching their full potential.

Application can be done online or by post.

The students could choose one of the two following ways to apply to the programme:

Essay Contest on 'Plagiarism' - Win a handsome prize money!

Write an awesome essay on plagiarism and win a handsome prize!

Unplag Plagiarism Checker has launched a scholarship contest. Just because they've always been passionate about learning and encouraging students from all over the world to stay original all the way through.

To boost your original writing skills, they'd be happy to give away $2,000 to the one who will create the most engaging essay on one of the topics mentioned in the Essay Requirements section.

To make your writing vivid and full of interesting details, you can choose any style of the essay and switch on your imagination dwelling on future perspectives of online cheating, technologies that are most likely to stop plagiarism, etc.

Application can be done Online only. The student should be above 18 years and should be currently enrolled in full-time undergraduate or graduate program. (current student!)

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Mellifluous and Melodious Strains... (That take your breath away...!!!)

The very term ‘lyrical’ implies a form of musical utterance in words governed by overmastering emotion and set free by a powerfully concordant rhythm, says Ernest Rhys in his Lyric Poetry.

Well, the challenge here is: to what extent can the pleasures of sound and sense be fused with the recitation of poetry to such an extent that it takes your breath away and carries you far far away into the Keatsian sublime?

The master pianist who swayed our hearts
How can an eloquent thought be rendered simply to the ear?

Or how best can the grandeur behind an Arnoldianism or the tenor that propels a Wordsworthian 'Immortality Ode', or the sweetness of a Sarojini Naidu’s lyrical 'Palanquin Bearers', or the nobility of a Miltonian epithet be rendered to the accompaniment of a melodious strain?

And that’s exactly what Vijai Vardhan, IAS, Chief Secretary to Govt of Haryana, did, when he recited some memorable lyrical verses to the accompaniment of a melodious strain from the pianist’s grand notes!

For once, the audience was dazed… and like the famous Goldsmithian phrase goes, the more they (g)dazed the more their wonder grew!!!

Just giving a tail piece from his wonderful pianisms! (Video attached)

It’s not quite rare for IAS officers to take to pen and paper and jot down their thoughts! Mr. Vardhan is one such IAS officer who has authored five books till date! And what a felicity of expression! Kudos Sir!

He recited from many of his poems, and from a few of his favourite poets too! Although he had a strain from Leonard Cohen, one of my personal favourites, I would have been a happier person only if he had taken a leaf or two from my all –time favy Cliffy (Cliff Richards!). 

When he recited from Pablo Neruda’s captivating lines, you indeed find a personal touch and a warmth that is indescribable! (Friends, if you haven’t still tried Neruda, it’s high time nay the right time to try him out over a cuppa stronggg chaaai!)

What you see is what you get... ;-)
The man of the moment was obviously Keki Daruwalla. Nowhere in the world would you ever find an august and sublime mix of lovable literary hearts pulsating all the time to the literary impulse that pulsated the length and breadth of snow-crossed Haryana on a snowy  morning in the last week of January! Yes, the temperature was well below 3 degrees, and as you can see in this video, in every nook and corner of all the major roads, one could find people gathered together to make a mound or a heap to raise a hearth to warm themselves! (video attached)

Come! Listen to a Master Narrator...

The Resting Place of the Imagination
A talk by renowned writer and poet
Ramabai Espinet
on Wednesday, 03 February 2016 @ 10 am
in the Selaiyur Hall Indoor Theatre
Be there!

Author Biography
Ramabai Espinet is an Indo-Caribbean-Canadian writer. Espinet’s ageless, angry, and poetic writing weaves the idea of the Asian Diaspora with the struggles and lifestyles of the modern Indo-Caribbean woman. Ramabai Espinet is a woman who writes with the clarity and wisdom of someone who has lived her stories. One example of this is the short story “Barred,” in which she describes an Indian woman living in Trinidad and Tobago. The protagonist of the story is trying to make enough money to sustain herself and her child despite an abusive and alcoholic husband. Her first novel, The Swinging Bridge, was shortlisted for the Regional Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2004. The acclaimed novel carries the reader from nineteenth-century India across the sea to the cane fields of Trinidad and then to modern-day Canada.

For more on the writer click HERE

Monday, 1 February 2016

Wanna be a Legislative Assistant to an MP?

Legislative Assistants to Members of Parliament (LAMP) Fellowship 2016-17

Eligibility: Not more than 25 years, graduates or in final year can apply

Awards: Stipend of Rs 17,000 pm, Rs 3,000 pm for other expenses

Deadline: 11 February 2016

The Legislative Assistants to Members of Parliament (LAMP) Fellowship provides an opportunity for young Indians to be mentored by a Member of Parliament for a period of 11 months. The LAMP Fellows work full time with the assigned MP, from the beginning of the Monsoon session to the end of the Budget session of Parliament. Throughout the eleven months, the LAMP Fellow works closely with the MP, providing extensive research support for his/her parliamentary work.

The primary role of a LAMP Fellow is to provide research inputs to help the MPs fulfill their parliamentary duties such as asking questions, raising matters of public importance, participating in debates, writing speeches, drafting private member Bills, among others. The Fellows will be based in Delhi during the Fellowship Period. LAMP Fellows will also engage with policy makers and experts from diverse sectors through participation in workshops on important policy and development issues. During the intersession period, workshops are conducted on subjects like Health, Education, Infrastructure, Public Finance, etc

Candidates from all academic backgrounds are welcome to apply. Candidates must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in any academic discipline and should be 25 years of age or below i.e. born on or after January 1, 1991.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship 2016/17

The Hungarian government is offering scholarships for 3,000 students to pursue undergraduate, postgraduate, M.Phil/PhD and postdoctoral studies in Hungary for the 2016/2017 academic year with a total of 420 study programmes including fields of sciences, engineering, architecture, business, law, linguistics and so on. The programme is managed by Tempus Public Foundation.

Eligibility: Full-time and part-time candidates who wish to pursue graduation, postgraduation, M.Phil/PhD and postdoctoral studies in Hungary.

Application: By post or online

Prizes and rewards: Full tuition fee, stipend, living expenses, accommodation and medical insurance.

Deadline: Tuesday, 01 March 2016

For more details click HERE

Thursday, 28 January 2016

A Vibrant Fellowship on a song for all Graduates!

I am the Change Fellowship is a 2 year paid fellowship program for any undergraduate or postgraduate professionals below 40 years old with 0 to 20 years of job experience.

During the fellowship period, every fellow will be allocated a unique project in the educational sector which they need to complete within their fellowship period.

The idea behind the fellowship program is to encourage top talents in the country to dedicate two years for the country, for the needy. That way, we can channelize the talents and potential towards the needy and increase the pace of change.

About Fellowship

Who can apply?

Anyone with the below qualifications can apply for I am the Change fellowship:
•            Passionate and ready to work for the community for next 2 years.
•            Minimum 3 years full-time UG Degree.
•            Below 40 years old.
•            Ready to work in Chennai for minimum of 2 years.

Friday, 22 January 2016

A Study of the 'Contours of Humanism' at St. Xavier's!

The Confy on Postcolonial Studies in Tirunelveli, was by default on my confy itinerary and an added attraction to be a part of, not because of the fact that the spa of the south was barely a 50 odd kms from there, or because it was the land of authentic Tirunelveli Halwah, or because I was invited to be a chairperson for a session, or because Gauri Viswanathan, the world-renowned postcolonial theorist was there to grace the function; well, what attracted me the most about the confy, and impelled nay compelled me to book my train ticket well well well in advance for the Confy was the fact that Dr. Joseph Albert was organizing it. Impeccability – thy name is Joseph Albert!

Indeed, Dr. Albert belongs to that rare breed of elegant academicians who do not carry their scholarship on their shoulders. He is the Deputy Principal of the College, and heads a lot of committees in St. Xavier’s, but at the same time, he is an unyielding stickler to academic propriety and punctuality. A decade ago, when I was part of a paper-presentation session chaired by him, he made this opening observation on the dais: ‘Participants, please do not read your Papers. We know the research you’ve done on the subject. Just present the key points for discussion. That’s enough!” He had us all there! Since then, I’ve had a great fascination and admiration for this gentleman which continues till date! On both the days of the Confy I was dazed to see the way he structured the events in such a way that everything went like clockwork.

Even before the Chief Guest of the day Dr. Gauri Viswanathan could proceed to the podium and take to the dais, he stood up with a gentle smile and told the audience: “Friends, Dr. Gauri Viswanathan will start her speech at 10.45 am and finish it at 11. 30 am. Thank you”. And she did! Before she could wind up on her talk, she said thus: I know about Dr. Albert’s commitment to punctuality, and so I shall be punctual. I shall wind it up in five minutes!!!

Saturday Matinee @ The US Consulate this week...

BOYHOOD on Saturday, 23 January 2016 at 11:00 am, US Consulate, Gemini Circle, Chennai, India

Director: Richard Linklater

The joys and pitfalls of growing up are seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (Ellar Coltrane), his parents (Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke) and his sister (Lorelei Linklater). 

Vignettes, filmed with the same cast over the course of 12 years, capture family meals, road trips, birthday parties, graduations and other important milestones.

Click HERE for details and Security Instructions. 

Friday, 15 January 2016

Welcomes you for a lecture on
Language Caste and Territory
Bathran Ravichandran
Fellow, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla.
On Monday, 18 January 2016, 3:30 p.m.
@ Adiseshiah Auditorium, MIDS

All are cordially invited.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Dinner Party - A Play

Dinner Party is a play that gives us a glimpse in the life of 20 something's in different phases of very different types of relationships trying to figure out what it means to be young and in love in this day and age. The original play by upcoming actors weaves together individuals and how they react to changes in their and each other's lives. Maybe we haven't completely forgotten what love is. The Play is an original piece devised together by Chandini Tandon, Meenu Srinivasan & Karthik Ananth Subramanian and members of Crea-Shakthi Spotlight team 2015.

Venue: Museum Theatre: @ No-406, Pantheon Road, Egmore, Chennai
Entry Pass starts from Rs.200/- To book your pass, click HERE