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Vol. XXX No. No. 16, December 16-31, 2020

Our Readers Write

Karma Veeran “Cre-A” Ram

The deadly pandemic covid has swallowed many a hapless being on its inexorable march and the latest to joint this list is the formidable figure in Tamil and English publishing worlds, famously known as “ ‘Cre-A’ Ramakrishnan”, in Chennai. What fills us with wonder is that he managed to launch the third, revised edition of Cre-A’s Tamil-Tamil-English dictionary virtually from his hospital bed on Novembering 13, 2020, lingering between life and death. The sight filled the viewer with awe. Ramakrishnan was a dauntless person, seeing the polestar of perfection and creativity with unwavering eye. He was a self-made lexicographer with a passion for Tamil and other languages, European included. The experience of having worked with him and his team for the maiden edition of the dictionary was a learning curve for me. His strong intellectuality, his keen eye for the new discerning creations, his nose for the zeitgeist, his fine aesthetic sense, his uncompromising insistence on quality, his respect for knowledgeable people, all made a difference to the productions from his publishing house.

His publication of the Tamil translation of the English biography of the legendary dancer Balasaraswati by her son-in-law Douglas Knight is one instance that comes to my mind. He was a combination of the Renaissance mind marked by curiosity and classical perfection. His intellectual acumen naturally drew many illustrious academics, painters, avant-garde theatre directors, and writers towards him. He was a reputed publisher, lexicographer, stringent editor, translator, all rolled in one. He made Tamil truly global by his undying efforts. The sombre scene, after the recent demise of many writers and artists, recalls to mind Shakespeare’s sonnet lxxiii: “Bare, ruin’ed choirs where the late sweet birds sang.”

But Ramakrishnan’s indefatigable spirit should teach any person aspiring for perfection and fulfilment, the force of positive thinking and resolute action.

C.T. Indra
Formerly Professor and Head of the Department of English

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Website comment
Umpire’s Given is Given

(Vol. XXIX No. 22, March 1-15, 2020 by G. Ram Mohan)

But palapatre for person playing for several sides, uruttal for a ball rolling on the wicket, aadichi aadu for big hits etc. were common expressions in local cricket. But making people understand the signals and passing on various instructions are very difficult during a match, especially when language is a barrier. The non-striker was asked to watch the call, instead he was seeing the batsman’s kaal – that is leg – and got run out.

Calicut Krishnan Subramaniam

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Reader’s view on different topics

A new reservoir after 76 years

While the emphasis in the news item ‘A new reservoir after 76 years’ (MM, Dec 1-15, 2020) was the very long delay in creating new reservoir and the need to create more such reservoirs so as to cater to the water-needs of Chennai and its surroundings, what needs to be highlighted is the continued neglect of the water bodies by the authorities.
At a time when the need is to preserve the water bodies, the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has been bent upon encouraging the reclassification of the same to other zones such as residential, commercial, institutional etc thereby allowing the water sources to get completely depleted. Emphasizing the need to protect water bodies so as to ensure availability of water for the present and future generations, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued directives to the States and Union Territories to appoint a nodal agency under the stewardship of the Chief Secretary to monitor such missteps and take suitable action to preserve the water bodies.

While on this, a recent report that appeared in The New Indian Express [Nov 26, 2020], stated that despite the sanctioning of funds, desilting of Chembarambakkam lake was not taken up by authorities over the years, and experts opine this was the main reason why water had to be released from the reservoir, as a measure of abundant caution, when Cyclone Nivar hit the State. It was stated that at least 15 per cent of the lake is filled with silt and that deepening work was not carried out at all. The experts state that deepening of the lake would have increased the storage capacity of the lake by over three times.

Besides creating facilities for new reservoirs which will cost the exchequer and will be time consuming, the need of the hour is to desilt all lakes and deepen the same further so that storage level can be increased. In this manner, the water scarcity during summer can be minimised.

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Rising road levels

What solution does the Greater Chennai Corporation offer to mitigate the sufferings of the residents of the streets where the road levels have gone up following the re-laying of the roads over and above the surface over a period of time?

For example, most of the residential apartments in T. Nagar, and, I assume so in other areas in the City, are decades old. When these apartments were built, the road level was three feet below the apartments. The GCC’s relaying of the roads over the period of time, has elevated the road level to such an extent that it has pushed the road levels of the streets to a low level. This naturally results in water on roads flowing into the apartments premises, causing inundation during rainy season, besides polluting the well/sump water. The residents spend hefty amounts to pump out the stagnated water and also the polluted water from the well/sumps.

Further, since the electrical appliances are installed at the ground level, during rainy season, the residents are forced to turn off power to avoid electrocution as rain water gets collected in the premises due to the elevated road levels. The dysfunctional storm water drains further aggravate the situation. The residents are forced to put up with such a situation every time it rains, and this is entirely due to the inept relaying of the roads by the GCC. GCC alone is responsible for this and it should offer a solution.

V.S. Jayaraman
31, Motilal Street
Chennai 600 017

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Beracah House Beracah Road, Kellys

Reaching out to see if your team would be able to assist in fleshing out any past info relating to a historic bungalow called the Beracah House, which now ceases to exist.

In the late 60s my grand parents lived in that home which I’m told was likely to have been more than 50+ years at the time. On my most recent visit to this location, I learnt that the old bungalow was demolished to give way to an ugly concrete religious hall!

I have fond memories of growing up in that house and I’m interested in sourcing any material evidence such as old photos along with its history and folks who may have likely lived in that home pre and post independence.

Paul Manoharan

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The article on “Tennis Trio” by Sri. V.K. Parthasarathy is quite interesting to read. However, I would like to bring to the author’s attention a glaring omission of record.

While the other two, achieved career Grand Slams, Novak did it in a cycle year beginning from 2015 Wimbledon to 2016 French Open. In the open era, that is a great feat as the only one other player namely great Rod Laver did it, that too in a calendar year.

Also, there is a mistake in “HEAD to HEAD” record between Novak and Rafal. It is 29 and 27 after the recent French Open. As regards to the number of weeks as No.1, it should be 312 for Roger and 305 for Novak and not as stated.

Barring the above, the write up is very much enjoyable for the tennis buff in me. I greatly appreciate the author for his contribution.

Thanking you and looking forward to many such articles on various sports.

B. Vatsal

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