Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Divya Prabhandham Kudanthai

ThiruMazhisai Azhvaar in Praise of Kudanthai Lord

Nadantha Kaalgal Nonthavo,
Nadunga Nyaalam Enamaai
Idantha Mei Kulungavo, Ilangu Maal Varaichuram

Kadantha Kaal Parantha Kaaveri Karai Kudanthaiyul
Kidantha Vaaru Ezhunthirunthu Pesu, Vaazhi Kesaney

This is a sweet(alluring) song of Thirumazhisai and the sleeping posture of Lord Saarangapaani brings out the best in him.

He asks the reason for the tiredness of the Lord – Is it because he has walked a great distance- or Is it because his body is aching. He asks the Lord residing on the banks of the Cauvery to say a word or two.

So happy was the Lord with this song of Thirumazhisai that he turned and raised his head slightly in the direction of ThiruMazhisai. Hence one finds the Lord at Kudanthai in a reclining posture, with the head slightly raised( a posture that one does not find anywhere else)

Pulla Bhoothangkudi Pasuram

அறிவது அறியான் அணைத்து உலகும் உடையான்
என்னை ஆள் உடையான்
குறிய மானி உரு ஆய கூத்தன்
மன்னி அமரும் இடம்

நறிய மலர்மேல் சுரும்பு ஆர்க்க
எழில் ஆர் மஞ்சனை நடம் ஆட
பொறி கொள் சிறை வண்டு இசை பாடும்
புல்லாம் போஒதங்குடி தானே

Arivathu Ariyaan, Anaithu Ulagum Udaiyaan
Ennai Aal Udaiyaan Kuriya
Maani Uru Aaya Koothan, Manni Amarum Idam

Nariya Malarmel Surumbu Aarka,
Ezhil Aar Manjai Nadam Aada
Pori Kol Sirai Vandu Isai Paadum,
Pullam Bhoothangkudi Thaaney

Thiru Mangai Azhvaar in this verse refers to the Lord as one who we, the normal people, find difficult to understand. Thiru Mangai gives us insights into how this place was several centuries ago.

Pullam Bhoothangudi was full of groves with little bees buzzing around welcoming the beautiful dance of the peacocks. The Lord of Pullam Bhoothangudi resides here listening to buzzing bees and watching these peacocks dancing amidst the groves.

Divya Prabhandham Kapisthalam

Kootramum Saara, Kodu Vinaiyum Saara
Thee Maatramum Saaravagai Arinthen
Aatrankarai Kidakkum Kannan; Kadal Kidakkum Maayan
Uraikkidakum Ullathu Enakku

Azhvaar praises the Lord of Kapisthalam saying that  the world knows different names of Lord Krishna who resides on the banks of Cauvery.

So long as Lord Krishna is our hearts, we need no fear of anything in life.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Retiring Room- Tiruchchirappalli Junction

New Retiring Rooms at Tiruchchirappalli(TPJ) Junction- A convenient place to stay

About 20 retiring rooms at Tiruchchirappalli Junction have received a face lift, along with the dormitories. The work that had been going on for months together has finally been completed. With nice friendly colours adorning the walls, solid marble flooring and very neat and spacious rooms, the close to 20 retiring rooms at the Trichy Junction has been renovated in a way that is compelling to stay.

The surprising factor is the modern gadgets fitted in the bathrooms that includes showers and western toilets. And the cleanliness, which has been a questionable factor in the past, too takes one by surprise.

Single travellers

For single visitors, 9 Non AC dormitories and 10 AC dormitories are worth considering. The AC dormitory comes in a closed lock and key dome with a lock and key cup board.The Non AC dormitory has a lock and key cup board that helps in the safety of one’s belongings and a personalised mobile charging point.

With the retiring rooms at Madurai Junction too receiving a face lift, the two prominent railway stations south of Tamil Nadu have made it convenient for train travellers to stay.


The pricing seems a bit on the higher side but the convenience it offers makes it worth the extra money.

AC retiring room- Rs. 1000/-
AC single room-Rs. 750/-
Non AC room- Rs. 650/-
Non-AC single room- 500/-

AC Dormitory- Rs. 250/-
Non AC Dormitory-Rs. 125/-

With the trains a minute away and the city bus stand a 5 minute walk from here, the retiring room at Trichy is definitely a convenient place for train travellers.

On the down side, retiring rooms in railway stations dont normally work on advanced reservation basis. Hence, last minute availability could be a constraint.

New Railway Time Table- Chennai Trichy Trains

Train Travel between Chennai Egmore and Trichirappalli
An analysis of the new edition of the railway time table reveals interesting insights!!! Here, we take a look at the Chennai Egmore-Trichirapalli(Trichy) trains.

The background
A super fast train from Chennai Egmore to Trichy takes about 5- 5 1/2 hours, while a non super fast express takes 6 hours /7 hours. The total distance between Chennai Egmore and Trichy is 336kms. Chennai to Villipuram is 159kms, Chennai-Ariyalur is 268kms and Chennai-Srirangam is 326kms.

The following analysis may be nothing new for frequent train travellers on this section, yet those getting down in stations between Chennai and Trichy would do well to compare the reality on the ground with the time table timing!!!

Here goes the story:
Superfast Pallavan Express reaches Srirangam (326kms) at 20.09 and then takes 51minutes to cover the last 10kms to Trichy.

Rameswaram bound Sethu Express takes 48 minutes to cover the 10kms from Srirangam to Trichy

Howrah Trichy Express reaches Srirangam at 2.10am but is to reach Trichy Junction only at 4.15am i.e 2 hours and 5 minutes to cover the 10kms from Srirangam to Trichy!!!

A comparison between Mangalore and Rockfort Express

Even more revealing is the comparison between 6107 Chennai Egmore-Mangalore Express and 6177 Chennai Egmore-Trichy Rockfort Express.

Mangalore Exp leaves Chennai at 21.40 while Rockfort Exp leaves at 22.30 (that’s a gap of 50 minutes at the start).

Chennai to Ariyalur
Mangalore Exp reaches Ariyalur (a distance of 268kms) at 1.42am while Rockfort reaches the same place at 2.12am(a gap of 30minutes)

Ariyalur to Srirangam
For a further distance of 58 kms to Srirangam, 6107 takes 58minutes to reach Srirangam at 240am while Rockfort takes 1 hour 54 minutes to reach Srirangam at 4.06am!!

Srirangam to Trichy
Even more interesting in table 7 of the new time table is that 6107 takes a further 2 hours 5minutes to cover 10kms from Srirangam to reach Trichy at 445am, while Rockfort takes 1 hour 9mts to reach Trichy at 515pm!!!

Below is a table with a comparison of 6 trains on this section

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tamil Nadu Cricket

Appointment of Assistant Coach- A positive long term move

Tamil Nadu Cricket Association’s (TNCA) recent decision to appoint a full time assistant coach, for the first time, is a welcome move and one in the right direction.

J. Gokulakrishnan (these days he calls himself D. J. Gokulakrishnan!!) who did not quite get the right opportunities as a player for Tamil Nadu (he later moved to Goa and was close to national selection while playing for Goa in the early 1990s) seems to have got a fair deal this time. And at a very opportune time for him.

His positive contribution as an Under 19 coach with the TN team earlier and the success he had there,motivating the teenagers and directing them in the right direction(Abhinav Mukund had said in an interview last year that Gokul played a critical role when the youngster was down on confidence), has been recognized, landing him the assignment with the senior team as the team’s first Assistant Coach.

With Tamil Nadu in a transition phase, and the team likely to comprise a mix of raw talent and upcoming players, one believes that this is a good time for both the coaching staff as well as the selection committee to work together to help bring Tamil Nadu back into the reckoning on the national stage after a dismal performance last year.

Close to National Call
There are a few players in the team hoping to make it to the national team this year. Badrinath has been on the fringe of national selection for the last 2-3 years now and his recent performances as the captain in the India ‘A’ tour of Australia would have done his confidence a lot of good, as he looks forward to yet another Ranji season. A few big scores early on in the season could see him don the India cap, especially with the veterans in the team struggling for runs. It seems that it is only a matter of time before the mantle of re-establishing a strong middle order(No. 3-6) is passed on to the next generation of players, for them to carry Indian cricket into the next decade.

Ashwin, the offspinner, missed a major part of last Ranji season because of an injury sustained early into the season. He too would be looking forward to the new season with the hope of making it to the next big league.

Abhinav (Mukund) had a dream start to his Ranji career last year amassing runs at will. He must have been disappointed to have sat out the entire U19 World Cup tourney. But if the early league (first division in Chennai) form is anything to go by, he seems to have put that disappointment behind. He has started off the league season with successive centuries.

These players and the rest of the team that is likely to comprise youngsters (most aged below 25) would look up to the coaching staff in helping them perform to their potential. The appointment of TS Mohan as the fielding coach is also a positive move and his fielding drills is certain to lift the fielding standards of the team.

Comeback man L. Balaji will also be looking forward to his first full Ranji season in a while and to getting back his India cap, after being away for a couple of years because of injury.

The New Assistant Coach
Gokul has been known as a team man and a motivator. He could play an important role in building the confidence in the TN team.

His recent performance in the TNCA first division league is a clear pointer to his fighting spirit. After being away from first division cricket for a year, Gokul has come back strongly this year, with a couple of stellar match winning/saving performances in the first round of matches. His 8 wicket haul in the 2nd innings helped UFCC (T.Nagar) score a shocking come back victory against Parry’s last month.

And last week, he combined with another veteran (S.Sharath), this time with the bat, to keep Jolly Rovers at bay, after his team was forced to follow on.

While not commenting on his specific role as the assistant coach, Gokul was upbeat on the opportunity provided by the TNCA. “I am quite serious about my coaching career and this in a way is the launch platform for me. I have always played cricket both with passion and aggression. I don’t see this (coaching) to be any different.”

Gokul also exuded confidence at the contribution he can make to the TN team. “While it may be too early to set goals, I am confident that I can make a positive contribution to the team, in terms of creating a positive mindset and helping them play aggressive, fighting cricket.”

He also was confident that he could make a positive impact on the bowlers in the TN team, especially on the mental front.

Instant support has come from former TN Ranji winning captain and the first captain of Gokulakrishnan in the Chennai first division (almost 2 decades ago) S. Vasudevan(under whom Gokul took 40 wickets in his debut season in first division cricket) commended the appointment of Gokul as the assistant coach. “Gokul was a good all-rounder cricketer. He excelled well with bat, ball and was also a very good fielder. His appointment as the TN Assistant Coach augurs well for the TN youngsters as he is a very good student of the game and has the right capabilities in imparting the necessary skills to the present bunch of cricketers.”

It is important,though, that he is given the ‘leg room’ to play his role (as an assistant coach) in the same way he played he played his cricket, else his value will be lost to the team.

Selection Committee
The move to elevate R. Madhavan to the post of chief selector is also to be welcomed as is the decision to separate the roles of chief coach and chief selector. One can hope that the non-controversial and the seemingly unbiased southpaw(especially so since we have seen favouritism in selection and even in the choice of captain of the TN team in the recent past !!), who was on the verge of making it to the national team in the mid 80s, would provide stability to the team with a selection policy that has a Long Term vision of grooming youngsters.

With the mind away from the selection matters, one has to wait and watch as to how WV Raman performs as the chief coach (last year he played the dual role of Coach cum chief selector)!!

With the recent appointments, it looks like an interesting year is in store for TN cricket and one hopes the new appointments will take TN into a brighter phase