Grandma's Tales

April 29, 2007

Want to save Besant Nagar beach? 7

Filed under: Consumer caution,Games People Play,Government,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 11:03 am

Sunrise on the Elliot’s Beach as fishermen folk head out for the day’s work….After the meeting which Commissioner Lakhoni attended, (previous posts) nothing has been heard from the corporation about the beautification plans. This is an ominous sign. The members fear one night the bulldozers will roll in, gravel and bricks will be dumped on the beachfront and work will begin before you can say, “What ho!”
So a beach festival was organised. Here is an edited version of the report from Adyar times.
Civil Society Group organised “Living Beach” festival on April 21 at Elliot’s Beach, Besant Nagar.
The idea behind the festival was to sensitise people to the need to maintain the beach clean and pristine. For that, the following measures are necessary.
[1] Make it plastic-free.
[2] Regulate the traffic.
[3] Respect the communities that are dependent on the sea for their livelihood.
[4] Respect the creatures that live on the coastline.
Events included
[1] sand sculpting,
[2] distribution of paper plates and cups to hawkers,
[3] thapattam performance by Kumaravel’s group to create awareness about conservation of Olive Ridley turtles, the need to keep the beach clean and the need to use eco-friendly products.
The highlight of the festival was the sculpting of a huge Olive Ridley in sand. This was done by volunteers of CSG. The group wants to raise awareness in the face of the plan by the city corporation to build structures on the beach in the name of “beautification”.
Many people feel that all that needs to be done is keep the beach clean and remove all illegal structures near the water.
If you wish to be part of this group, you can e-mail to


April 27, 2007

Grammar – 33 The language of persuasion

Filed under: Language,My Other Avtaar — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 10:22 pm

Richard is an Englishman. He lives in Yorkshire, but you could say he lives in a wheelchair. He is tetraplegic, having been paralysed neck down in a diving accident.  He has this  electronic,  all-terrain wheelchair that looks like a small, open car. He moves by pressing a set of buttons with a stick held in his mouth.  He navigates by turning a joystick. I said “he lives in a wheelchair” because Richard loves to potter about and discover/learn/analyse things for himself. He is always swirling around in his vehicle and since his chair moves quite fast, it is often difficult to keep pace with him. If you go for a “walk” with him, you will find yourself jogging.
Richard does a lot of what he needs himself using his stick, but help, he certainly requires. Richard cannot use his hands to lift things. “Unfortunately,”  he said, “I have to take a lot of help from others.” Richard has made asking an art. His requests never sound demanding. In fact, you feel it is an honour to be able to help him.
There are two reasons why you feel that way. One, Richard is a fund of information. He is  well-read and has an extra-ordinary memory. Talking to him is pure joy. He always has something witty to add to your comments. You learn what “British humour” is when you have a conversation with him.
Two, the words he chooses and the way he constructs his sentences. It is difficult to refuse him anything. I carefully noted down his sentences. His is the perfect language for persusion. Here they are.
[1] “Do you think we could have fried eggs today?” (Clever. He wants fried eggs, but it sounds like it is the listener’s choice too.)
[2] “Would you like to open the window?” (Not “Please open the window” or “Open the window.”)
[3] “Could you help me sort out my desk?” (Richard cannot move his hands, so you will be doing everything, but you don’t mind that at all!)
[4] “May I have the binoculars, please?
[5] “When you’ve got a minute, would you come over to…?” (See the way that sounds. He’s saying “I’m not pressing you to do it now, but find the time to help me.”)
[6] “Do you mind keeping the book open, please?”
[7] “I’d like another piece of chicken, please.” (In his case,  it also means you cut it into small pieces.)
[8] “Is there some salt anywhere?”
[9] Once one of the wheels got stuck in the sand. I couldn’t lift it. Richard waited and as soon as a man came by, said, “Excuse me, there seems to be some trouble with the wheel. Do you have a minute to sort it out?” What do you think the man did?
[10] One afternoon he wanted to play a game of Scrabble. (Richard is a Professor.) He came up to me and said, “I challenge you to a game of Scrabble!” Naturally, I couldn’t refuse.
And when you help him he never fails to say, “That’ll do very well, thank you!” in a cheerful voice. Try these sentences and see if they help you succeed in your mission.

April 26, 2007

Grammar – 33 What’s wrong with these sentences?

Filed under: Language — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 9:11 pm

I found the following sentences in a article. I think the website invited readers to submit sentences with bloopers. So, take this quiz. Here is a clue. All these sentences are wrong, that is, have at least one error in them. Happy hunting!

1.      “It was a blunder mistake.”

2.      “It would have been more better.”

3.      “Why don’t he get married?”

4.      “Close the doors of the windows.”

5.      “If you itself say like this, where will I go?”

6.      “I want two Xeroxes of this card.”

7.      “Your hairs are looking silky today.”

8.      “Í don’t want to loose you.”

9.      “One of my friend lives in Kolkata.”

10.  “I didn’t cried when I saw the movie.”

April 21, 2007

The Elliot’s beach saga – 12 Something happening today

Filed under: Consumer caution,Games People Play,Government,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 5:22 pm

This mail is from the Civil Society Group whose members are spearheading the “Save the Beach” campaign.  You won’t hesitate to lend your support, will you? The thought that the corporation will go ahead and start construction after going through the survey and promising not to start anything without consultation is totally unacceptable, right?

To write/speak about and cover a “
The theme is a Plastics-free, clean, traffic-regulated, sandy, inclusive beach – Coexisting in Community with all Creatures and the Culture of theCoastline.  (5 C’s!)

A famous
Thappattam group is going to emphasise this theme on 21st at the beach. Considering that the sand is rarely used for sand castles these days, we are having a Sand castle area for young children on that day, coordinated by a member of Civil Society Group.We are also going to have Sand races for beach users of all ages.
A Group of Youth are going to Clean the beach as a
Token Gesture of Care
Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network members are arranging
Visuals on Turtles
Youth from the fishing community are arranging
displays that will showcase the fishing activity that still goes on at the beach
There are 20 hawkers who will convert to dispensers and paper cups from plastic sachets, on Saturday, in a
“No Plastics” Drive.
They will also be supplied with waste baskets by the group. 

Any queries that you have in this regard could be addressed to

April 9, 2007

The Elliot’s beach saga – 12 What will happen on April 14

Filed under: Consumer caution,Games People Play,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 9:45 pm

After our meeting on Friday, we all got this mail.
Dear All,
Yesterday’s meeting was attended by Sujatha, Poornima, Vennila (hawker), Nity, Sharadha, Geetha Padmanabhan, her student Uma, Arun, Akila and myself. We came upon the following decisions…
a. Its too early for doing a good job of Kadarkkarai KKondaattam. So we could do a smaller action on 14th April, focusing on
1. Plastic-free beach
2. Showcasing turtles (issues related as well)
3. Showcasing Fishing activity  (issues related as well)
4. Clean the beach
a. Some work with removing plastics…Nity came up with the idea that Water dispensers with paper cups would be a cheaper option to using plastic sachets, and it was suggested to Vennila, who said she would ask around. Poornima checked today, Around 7 hawkers have tentatively agreed to try the dispensers. We are also providing them with bins…people are willing to pool in money to buy the bins.
b. Sharadha and I are also going to ask if the shops on the other side will avoid plastic.
c. Akila and Arun are going to work on a show involving turtles for Saturday.
d. Shankar and hopefully Dhanasekhar will photograph Kattumaram fishing activity off the Besant Nagar beach along with Saravanan and also the fish caught (+ where they are sold!!!) so people can support kattumaram fishermen.
e. Sujatha offered to contact Kumaravel of Magic Lantern for doing a play on the living beach.
f. Pushya says she will try and collect a few young people who will help with beach cleaning on 14th.

The decision has been to postpone the Kondaattam idea to May 1st.
Another great discovery thanks to Nity was that 5/6 people who are available to work, are enough to plan and execute the KK. As of now, we are not sure who the 5/6 people are, but we’ll soon be clear, hopefully!
Volunteers for anything, + those with bright ideas please write!

April 8, 2007

The Elliot’s beach saga – 12 The NDTV story

Filed under: Consumer caution,Games People Play,Government,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 8:35 pm

Sam Daniel read the post “Play it again, Sam” and sent me the video clipping aired on NDTV. Do give it a look when you have time.

April 7, 2007

The Elliot’s beach saga – 12 Passionate mail

Filed under: Consumer caution,Games People Play,Government,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 9:00 pm

I had two English classes with students from Adyar and surrounding areas. I spoke to them briefly about the Corporation’s “beautification” plan. These students are preparing to enter the integrated 5-year “Developmental Studies” course IIT is offering. This topic, I thought, fell into its purview. Looks like my speech made an impact. Read on:
Dear Ma’am,
I am a student of the IIT classes at Sriram Academy and a few things you said have made me put my thinking cap on!
I’m not too great at penning down my thoughts but i am going to give it a shot anyway. So here goes…
I am a resident of Thiruvanmiyur and a regular visitor of Elliots Beach.
Yesterday I was at the beach with a couple of friends and it was only then i truly realised the atrocious nature of the plan developed by the corporation for the so called ‘beautification’ of the beach.
First of all the corporation must realise that it is nothing more than a municipal authority and it has absolutely no right to take the law into its hands.
There is a very clear rule that no construction can be made 500 metres within the coastal zone. I’m not too sure but I presume that our beloved beach is a High Tide Zone. The Corporation seems to be blind to the fact that the future is unpredictable and natural calamities like the Tsunami
(which is not new to our state) could wash away not only the construction but also the numerous people that the cement will be attracting.
The Children’s Park,which it is planning to bring in, seems to be uncalled for as the kids are pretty content running around in the sand, playing in the water, building sand castles and collecting shells. If they really wanted to visit a park, why would they be coming to the beach every weekend?
As for the senior citizens, they would voice their needs (if they really had any!!)
They aren’t asking for any construction on the beach, thank you very much!
The corporation seems to be fogetting that there is a church nearby. A church is a religious place where people come to connect with god in peace. If an amphitheatre is built in the middle of the beach, there is going to be blaring music, speeches etc. This will disturb the people who come to pray.Plus,the poor residents of that locality will have hearing problems, in addition to parking problems of course!
There are other ways of helping the disabled rather than constructing a pathway for them to come near the beach. Heaven forbid, in case something happens, will they be able to save themselves? Or are there going to be enough safety measures provided to them?
Last but not least, the young boys who come faithfully to the beach to play football and volleyball every day, aren’t you depriving them of their joy?
People who come to meditate on the beach, would they really want cement offsprings one fine day?
There is a elderly lady on a wheelchair who visits our beach so very often, there is an old lady who sits on the steps of the Bank nearby, and does her knitting watching the beach for as long as i can remember, there are the turtle walkers who sacrifice their night’s sleep to save the riddley turtles, there are volunteers who clean the beach. Simply stated, there are people who come to the sand and watch the clear blue sea.
Does the corporation know of their existence? Have they asked the permission of these people??
The beach belongs to us and it is here to stay! We will not let it become history!!
P.S. is there any way i can voice my views on this issue in the ’sound off’ column in metroplus?
Atta girl, Nithya, a big round of applause to you! That’s a very well written denouncement of the plan. Your anger and your passion for your beloved beach are well expressed. More importantly, you are thinking right. Congratulations!
With young people like you opposing the plan and appealing to the corporation to make arrangements for keeping the beach clean, we should be able to put an end to this misadventure. My point in the class was, local communities should get together to protect the few environmental assets they have from so called “development”. My greatest worry is that all this totally unwarranted construction was going to be carried out in the name of children, senior citizens and disabled people. They can’t get more manipulative than that!
If you are serious about doing something, do join the “beach celebration” effort on 14 April, as a volunteer. Help to spread the idea that a beach is made of sand and sea, not brick and cement.
As for “Sound Off”, send your mail to

April 6, 2007

Are you an efficient buyer? 5 Don’t say it with flowers!

Filed under: Consumer caution,Games People Play,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 11:56 am

My daughter sends me flowers on my birthday, without fail. She also calls to wish me, but somehow, this gesture of sending something that I can see and smell is important to her. My husband thinks sending flowers is a waste of money. He has solid reasons for thinking so. One, he cannot eat them – “Why not a box of nuts instead?” For him anything to have vlaue must fulfil two conditions.
[1] It should be something good to eat.
[2] Failing that, it should be something you can sell for a profit at a future date – as in a painting or antique. For a long time, he mourned the fact we live in an apartment. “You don’t own any part of it,” he said. “And it depreciates in value.” Luckily for him, the IT boom hoisted home prices, including those of apartments. It’s amazing what people are prepared to pay for a 1000 sq. feet area with old walls around. For once, my husband is glad he has been proved wrong.
Secondly, he smells a rat in the bunch of flowers. Rats, as in cheating. Here’s why. This year, my daughter browsed the net (she lives overseas) and found a new retailer who would deliver the flowers. The earlier one has suddenly decided my area is not in the city. The new fellow took a packet in dollars for a bunch of orchids (orchids, in Chennai!) At noon on the delivery day, a messenger appeared at our door to inform us that he had no orchids. Would we accept another bouquet, instead? What was I supposed to say?
At around 10 pm, when the day had only 2 hours to go, a tired-looking guy holding an equally tired-looking bunch rang the bell. And here’s what I got. I searched the card for the name of the outfit. The first word: Super. Can’t read the second one at all. I’ll have to ask my daughter.


Grammar – Have you heard (of) Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie?

Filed under: Language — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 11:36 am

 Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie met when they were in Cambridge. They thought they could do a comedy act together. They both write and act and decided to put together programmes – double acts – on radio and British television. Their double acts were hugely successful in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. In these shows, they exchange views, make comments, pass critical remarks – all through the medium of comedy. Their lampooning of what they see around them has kept scores of audiences in splits.
A Bit of Fry and Laurie was a British television series starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, broadcast by the BBC between 1989 and 1995. Running for four series, it totalled 26 episodes (including a 35 minute special in 1987).
Check out this one for their opinion on the English language.

300px-frylaurie.jpg    Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry

April 4, 2007

More on Mozhi – again!

Filed under: Movie — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 9:08 pm

This mail is a surprise. Welcome, Prashanth!
Prashanth |
This is the first time that I am writing a review on a Movie. I am amazed that I am writing one. But that is because the movie is really world class. It is humourous and serious at the same time. It makes you think. It is taken with a lot of thought.
RM is in my opinion in the class of Directors such as Balachander and ManiRatnam.
Hope he continues to give us such movies.
Exactly my thoughts, Prashanth. Would you get us a copy of your review?

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