• Flashback,  Lounge,  Rostrum

    Remembering my days with NCC

    What you see above is me dressed in NCC uniform in 1988 as the Troop Sergeant Major (TSM) of my unit. When I was studying in middle school, in 1988 and 1989, I had joined the unit of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) that was in my school. The two years I attended the NCC programs and camps had given me many memorable moments and had a role in shaping me. About NCC NCC was set up in 1948 just after Indian independence by the constituent assembly. The aim of NCC is to develop character and comradeship amongst the young citizens of India. Students at registered schools and colleges in…

  • Flashback

    Birthday gift from Uncle Pai of Tinkle

    As a child in the 1980s (like many others), my first exposure to Indian Epics, Ramayana & Mahabharata, classic stories like the Jataka Tales, Panchatantra, the clever Birbal, witty Tenali Rama were from the fantastic Amar Chitra Katha comics. For entertainment, it was the Tinkle (comics) subscription – filled with wonderful characters like Kalia the crow, Nasruddin Hodja, Suppandi, Shikari Shambu and others. Apart from these characters, I enjoyed and learned from the columns on science, facts and more written by Mr Anant Pai, affectionately called by his young fans as Uncle Pai. Tinkle for its subscribers had the practise of sending a gift on your birthday, if I remember…

  • Flashback,  Lifestyle

    A cardboard box being used by mom for over half-a-century

    I noticed this small cardboard box being used by my mom, an octogenarian, to preserve a valuable memory of hers from a long time ago. The box is of W & R Balston Ltd’s Whatman Filter Paper No.1, Made in England. Searching online I learned that: the design of the box was from the 1950s or earlier; the filter papers were mostly used in chemical processes (maybe we used it when my family #LIFCOBOOKS owned a book printing press in North Arcot District in the 1950s); there are many grades of the filter paper each with a unique number to identify the Particle retention capabilities and the thickness.

  • Flashback,  Rostrum,  தமிழ்

    Post card of World Classical Tamil Conference 2010

    இன்று, வீட்டிலிருக்கும் என் நூலகத்திலிருந்து எதையோ எடுக்கும் போது, கண்ணில்பட்டது இது. 2010இல் உலகத் தமிழ் செம்மொழி (கோவை) மாநாட்டின் சிறப்பு அஞ்சலகத்திலிருந்து என் மகனுக்கு நான் அனுப்பிய சிறப்புத் தபால் அட்டை. நிறையவே கசங்கியிருந்தது, உடனே அதைச் சமன்படுத்தி, கடைக்குப் போய் கண்ணாடி சட்டம் அடித்துவிட்டேன். இனி இது பாதுகாப்பாக என் அறையின் சுவரில் இருக்கும். அந்த மாநாட்டோடு நடந்த இணைய மாநாட்டின் குழுவில் இருந்ததில் பல அனுபவங்கள் நெஞ்சில் வந்து சென்றது. அப்போது வழங்கிய கேடயத்தைத்தோடு, இந்தத் தபால் அட்டையை நான் விலைமதிப்பற்றதாக உணர்கிறேன். Here is the blog post I wrote just after the TI2010 conference got over with links to photographs from the event.

  • Coding,  Flashback,  Homepage,  Rostrum

    The software programming course in 1989 that changed my life for good

    Today, I found an old certificate from 1989, and that set up a train of thoughts & recalling of old memories. It was the first computer programming certification given to me thirty-two years ago for completing a course on BASIC, Word-Processing & Database management. Below is a summary of my early years with IBM PC & MS-DOS. My first contact with a computing device was probably in 1986 when my uncle gifted me an Atari 2600 gaming console. I used to spend every waking hour on the device, playing games and creating quiz presentations (a question popped up on screen and an inbuilt delay before the answer was shown) and…

  • Chennai,  Flashback,  Homepage,  Restaurant Review,  Rostrum

    The treat for me during my school days

    During my school days (Thirty-Five years ago), a treat for me will the simple “Bun, Butter & Jam” that was sold in a nearby bakery. Those days when my mother was going out (a rarity) and won’t be able to give me lunch, she will give Rs.2, the price for the treat, and a permission letter to allow me out during lunchtime – my school didn’t have a canteen till I reached 11th Standard (Grade). I enjoyed watching the local baker picking a long blackened knife (not cleaned for years), slicing the bun in the stomach to leave a small bit at the end holding the two sides together, slapping…

  • Flashback,  Lifestyle

    DALDA, once the poor man’s ghee

    The other day, my mom showed me this old plastic container with the familiar yellow colour and the words “DALDA” made on Aug/1982, which she had preserved for decades as her emergency piggybank. For decades whenever we brought to the house any product made outside, she will take a bite and say this tastes like DALDA, it is not good for health, so eat little. Looking back, I think she used the term as a bogeyman to keep our eating in check – as kids we didn’t know to tell the difference between products cooked in Desi Ghee or DALDA and we believed her. In the early 20th century, when…

  • Events,  Flashback,  Lounge

    LIFCO’s Religious Book Fair in the 1980s

    My father (Late) Sri T.N.C.Varadan had headed our (then) family publishing business for over five decades from the 1960s to 2013. Founded by Grandfather (Late) Sri V. Krishnaswamy Sarma, The Little Flower Co (1929) aka LIFCO and later managed by his five sons, the book house was famous for its English-English-Tamil Dictionaries. In the initial decades, it was known for its impeccable grammar and quality guide books for Madras (now Tamil Nadu state) School students.  Later, once the state government took over the publishing of textbooks, the dynamics of the business changed and the focus moved on to publishing Dictionaries, error-free Stotra (hymns of praise) books on various Hindu Gods…