Issue No. 53 published on 30-04-2009            

Hello everyone,

Your favourite Family magazine is back. I am happy to announce the 53rd issue of the family Newsletter. There will be a new Tamil section (தமிழ்ப் பக்கங்கள்) from this issue onwards.

Like the two previous issues, we start with a cricket teaser.
Can you guess the place where this cricket match was played?



We had made an appeal for financial assistance to my mother-in-law's (Jaya Akka) younger sister, Mrs.Janaki (82), who was in a senior citizens' home. We deeply regret to announce her death at 5.00 A.M. on 23rd May 2009. MAY HER SOUL REST IN PEACE.

            AN APPEAL

The sons and daughters of Jayalakshmi and Ranganathan have created a charitable and educational trust called JAYALAKSHMI RANGANATHAN TRUST in April 2008. In the first year, the Trust has distributed Rs. 47,000/- to various charitable and educational causes. There are plans to expand the activities which would be possible only if the philanthropic members of the family and others contribute. All readers are requested to send their contributions by cheque to Amritha Parthasarathy, Treasurer or Pushpa Parthasarathy, Secretary. If anybody wants to transfer funds directly to the Trust's accounts, please send a mail to and the details of accounts will be mailed to you.

As in the last issue, there are four contributors from the family - Prasad, Kannan (Narasimhan), Kausalya and I. Kannan continues with the great Tamil poet Kamban. His article Appreciating Kamban --- A few select stanzas from Balakandam analyses 6 verses from the first canto of Kamba Ramayanam. It is interesting and we look forward to knowing more from the author about the other cantos. As Prasad was busy moving to and within India, he could not write an article. But there is a treasure trove of his writings in his blog sites (one on travel and one on general topics) about which I had sent a mail to all. I have picked up three of his first posts. As always they are interesting, incisive and highly readable. I am reproducing Kausalya's article Fashion statement with waste which was published in THE HINDU dated January 30, 2009. My article for this month is Alphabetical tour of USA - II which continues from where I left off in the last issue. I had planned to write on all the remaining topics. But I was busy (!) and could cover only two more topics.

Do you know that among all the Indian languages, Tamil has the most number of web sites? This is what I read in one of the sites. இந்திய மொழிகளிலேயே முதன் முதலில் உரைநடைக்கும், அச்சுக் கலைக்கும் அடியெடுத்துவைத்து புகழ் பெற்ற தமிழ் மொழியானது இன்றையக் கணினிப் புரட்சியின் போதும் முன்னோடியாகத் திகழ்கின்றது. இந்திய மொழிகளிலேயே தமிழ் மொழிக்குத் தான் அதிக வலைப் பக்கங்கள் உள்ளன. இலட்சக்கணக்கானோர் தினமும் தமிழ் மொழியை இணையத்தின்வழி பயன்படுத்தி வருகின்றனர். Till a couple of years ago, Tamil fonts were the problem. But with the development of unicode, everyone can view what is written without having to download fonts. And unicode Tamil convertors have made the job of writing in Tamil very easy. When we saw the excellent Tamil cryptic crossword in Thendral, a Tamil magazine published from California, Amritha and I were very happy. From solving Tamil crosswords, I got interested in visiting sites in Tamil. After reading many interesting articles/blogs/puzzles etc. in Tamil, I decided to have a Tamil section from this issue onwards. Compiling Tamil crosswords was the next target. Amritha is better at Tamil than me as I have studied Tamil only upto SSLC, that too as first lnguage as my second language was Sanskrit. Our first Tamil cryptic crossword was published in the Yahoo groups called குறுக்கும் நெடுக்கும் which has been hosted by Sri Vanchinathan (our guru) a few days ago. 8 members solved them almost immediately. This section contains குறுக்கெழுத்துப் புதிர்கள் - ஓர் அறிமுகம் (An introduction to Tamil cryptic crosswords by Mr. Vanchinathan), அபாகு (அம்ருதா, பார்த்தசாரதியின் குறுக்கெழுத்து)-1 , அம்மா... பாலகுமாரனின் நினைவுகள, அக்ஷய திருதியையும் அசட்டு க்யூவும, பெங்க்ளுர் பப்புகள்.(Bangalore Pubs) and two old cartoons from Ananda Vikatan. I can assure you that all are very good.

IPL is now in full swing. The real stars of IPL-2009 have been the characters in Vodafone ads. These eggheads are cute and appealing. How were these ads created? You can read about them in Zoozoos in Vodafone Ads in the section 'FROM THE NET'. Another star of IPL in the internet is Fake IPL Player whose blogs are creating waves. He claims to be a player of Kolkata and his blogs are witty, though sarcastic. Since this blog uses nicknames for players, another blog site has come out which decodes the names used by the Fake IPL player. The section 'FROM THE NET' contains an article from The Guardian of London titled Fake IPL player spins web of intrigue I have also given some of the blog posts of Fake IPL PLayer with the actual names of players in brackets. The links are also available at the end of the article. T-20 at the base camp of Mount Everest which was mentioned earlier has been covered in the article T-20 Match at 17,000 feet . Some interesting captions (in Tamil) on IPL photos are at the bottom of this page. Election is the other big show currently going on. Amma plays Statue is about Jayalalitha's meetings where the candidate has to stand with folded hands like a statue throughout her speech.

All the other usual features, viz. Memories are made of these, Important family events, Brain Teasers, Crossword Clues and Cryptoquip are there.

Enjoy the Newsletter and do write about it.


Jaya Akka, Hema, Amritha and I in this photo taken in 2004 during the Carnatic music concert arranged as part of the function to release 108 Cine Ragams, my second book.
Pushpa, Hema, Harish and Aditya in Harish's flat in BTM Layout, Bangalore in 2005


*** Aarthi exercised her voting right for the first time on 13th May. Amritha and I voted for the first time in Chennai. There was much more enthusiasm among the middle and upper middle classes for voting than on previous occasions.

*** It is now more than two months since we returned from USA. Thanks to Skype, we are able to spend about 30-45 minutes every day watching and talking to Harish, Archana and Shubha. When Harish went on official work to Pittsburgh for 3 days, Archana and Shubha stayed with Shobha and we were able to interact with Shobha also. Shubha is quite active and tries to speak now. Though she is able to say thatha, amma, appa and athai, much to the chagrin of Amritha Patti has eluded her. After various equivalents, she has now started saying paapi. Some photos of Shubha (and Sriram) taken in March, April and May 2009 are here. The first 12 photos were taken by me sitting in Chennai while we were talking on Skype.

Click on Forward to view next photo

*** Vanaja (my sister) turned 75 in May 2009. There was a get-together in Urmila/Radha's house to celebrate the occasion. There were interesting games organised by young Srinidhi as well as Housie, quiz etc. organised by me. There was a scintillating dance performance by Srinidhi and her friend at the end. A few photos of the occasion are here.

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*** Usha (my brother (late) Rajagopalan's daughter) and Murali have purchased a flat in the same building in Bangalore where ther are now residing and will be occupying it in a few days. Our congratulations to them..

Newsletter wishes a happy and healthy retired life to my sister-in-law, Kalyani who retired on 30th April 2009.

*** Srisudan who is in Brussels recently visited a number of places in Europe. Some photos sent by him can be viewed by clicking here.

*** Kannan (Narasimhan) turned 70 in April 2009. There was a get-together in Jagan's house to celebrate the occasion. There were games, Housie, quiz etc. organised by me. A few photos of the occasion are here.

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Newsletter welcomes Prasad back to India and wishes him and Rupal all the very best.

*** Chooda and Chitra spent about a month in Singapore. They also visited Malaysia.

Mr. Parthasarathy (Pushpa's husband) underwent cataract operation in April. I told him jokingly on the day prior to his operation, "After tomorrow nobody can accuse you of lacking in vision". He is fine now and back to his routine.

*** Shoba, Anand and Sriram are fine. Some photos of Sriram as well as Shoba's garden are here.

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*** Radhika turned 21. Our best wishes for a Happy Birthday and many happy returns. She celebrated it by receiving the General Proficiency Prize for excellence in academics, extra-curricular activities and leadership skills. Dr. M.S Swaminathan who was the Chief Guest for the College Day of Stella Maris College and Dr.Sister Jascinta Quadras, Principal of the College are seen in these photos. Congratulations, Radhika.

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** Rahul is now an internationally acclaimed expert on Computer Science and has been presenting papers in various seminars all over the world. In March 2009, he presented a paper on Pseudorandomness at the seminar on Computational, Discrete and Applicable Mathematics in London School of Economics. Here is the abstract of the paper presented by him. Randomness is an important tool in the design of algorithms and cryptographic protocols - unbiased and independent random bits are often assumed to be freely available. However randomness as found in the real world is limited or flawed. The theory of pseudo-randomness studies how to derive useful randomness from real randomness - it does so by treating the primary characteristic of useful algorithms, their efficiency, as a limitation that can be exploited. I will describe some of the basic notions and insights of this theory, and sketch connections with combinatorics, complexity and cryptography. Two things are clear - the first is that Rahul moves in esoteric circles and the second is that most of us better not ask Rahul anything about his work lest we sound like morons. Congrats, Rahul and keep it up. .

*** We welcome the new addition to Santhanam's family Pepper who has been described as cute and adorable. You can see three photos of Pepper here.

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The next issue will be published on 30th June 2009. Bye.


30th April 2009

Appreciating Kamban --- A few select stanzas from Balakandam by Kannan (Narasimhan)

Alphabetical tour of USA - II by Parthasarathy

Blog posts of Prasad

Fashion statement with waste by Kausalya

Brain Teasers

Crossword Clues


குறுக்கெழுத்துப் புதிர்கள் - ஓர் அறிமுகம்

அபாகு (அம்ருதா, பார்த்தசாரதியின் குறுக்கெழுத்து) 01

அம்மா... பாலகுமாரனின் நினைவுகள்

அக்ஷய திருதியையும் அசட்டு க்யூவும்

பெங்க்ளுர் பப்புகள்.(Bangalore Pubs)

Cartoons from Ananda Vikatan (1945)

Zoozoos in Vodafone Ads

Fake IPL player spins web of intrigue

Some blogs of Fake IPL player

T-20 Match at 17,000 feet

Amma plays Statue

Click here for the previous issue (28th February 2009)



Click on each photo to enlarge

*Disclaimer *Some of the articles and images reproduced here have been taken from various sources and I am not aware of any copyright violations. If there are any such violations, please write to me and the concerned article will be promptly removed.

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