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Ramu Thatha – A human as envisioned by God!

This is a story of my grandfather, who passed away last week, leaving behind a legacy of grit, determination, honesty, and love.

It is not an easy task being a parent in the millennium. Imagine being a single parent in the 1930s. In the 30s, a brave young widow moved to a large city, with 2 young kids to feed. My great grandmother had lost her husband at an early age. My Grandfather was an infant and he had an elder sister, who was also a kid when they lost their father. With no male support, my great grandmother moved to Madurai with her two kids. Our community is a small, but a wider community and the great-grandfather who passed away, had written a will naming my grandfather as its heir, but only after he turns major and until then everything would be taken care by the relatives.

A lonely young woman, with 2 little mouths to feed and she has to be dependant on relatives to support their lives. But this lady had a strong determination and willpower. She faced all odds and made sure that she brought up 2 fine citizens. Never did she loose focus and she had faith in God and her kids.

With no father to look up to, my grandfather must have faced an endless array of paths. I can imagine myself, being lost in the wild with every path leading somewhere, but not being sure where. But this kid was different. His eyes were radiating brilliance and always on a lookout to learn new things. Now “Learn new things”, is the keyword of his story. He never ceased to learn. He never let go of any opportunity to learn. He became a voracious reader. By the time he became a teenager, he was proficient in Tamil, English, and Hindi. His mother supported him in all his reading needs, but nothing was enough for this young mind. He was in search of books, newsletters, newspapers, articles, everything that was printed. He was fascinated by the world of books. He went on to author a few books on his own, but the first book he authored and published was handwritten to multiple copies by himself. Such is his devotion to books.

This kid’s voracious reading habit was put to test when he joined the American College in its first batch of Bachelor of Commerce degree. But academics were blown away by this kid and he came out with flying colors. A Gold Medal as he passes out of his class was just a beginning of many accomplishments that were waiting for him.

A kid without a guide is like a chariot without a horseman. He could have taken any path, but this kid took up books as his guide and choose the right path and stayed on the course till the last breath.

He was introduced to the world of photography by books and this made his brain go crazy. He started buying camera and gear with very little money he could save. But he masted the art of making the most out of the least. As a kid, I grew up in my grandfather’s darkroom, holding his hands and watching him with fascination as he brought life to light. I used to be amazed at the amount of gear he has and the way he takes care of it. Now, this story is about my grandfather, so let us get back to him.

It was the time of marriage and my great-grandmother found him an angel, straight from heaven, Parvathavarthini. I have no words to describe her. My grandmother is love personified. Fitting to her name, she was the Goddess Meenakshi herself with her unparalleled beauty and unbound love and affection. The young couple were made for each other. But things started falling apart. Any business that my grandfather would try, would eventually fail. He was ridiculed by relatives and mocked by friends. But he had an angel to look after him. He kept trying relentlessly and never did his loose focus on his “Honesty” code. He travelled the whole nation and would never miss out any new business opportunity. But the man was not a risk-taker. He would play it safe and careful.

He paid taxes to the last penny and his every business transaction was recorded in the books for the government to inspect. Such is honesty of that man who was always mocked by fellow businessmen for his integrity.

The young couple did not have any children for a long time. After years of waiting, they were blessed with two beautiful daughters: Thenmozhi and Suganthi, named after his love for the Tamil language. Never did my grandfather worry that he had no son, as he was busy in showering his love and affection on those two kids. Today, I witnessed these two little girls who have grown up to be the fine women, stand over the mortal remains of my grandfather and weep like little girls lost in a wild world. But this is not the story of my mother or aunt, so let’s get back to my grandfather.

People thought, my grandfather was a coward, but they never realized honesty is the true form of bravery. He lived by a code and preached his code. He would never spend unnecessarily as he knows the value of money. He would never indulge in any kind of intoxication. He believed in himself and not on fate. He had no respect for superstition. He had respect for fellow human beings and he would always put family first on his priority list. These were the simple codes, that my grandfather followed. His self-developed personality was his sole guide in this world.

I have seen people make fun of him, disrespect him and also insult him. But he never raised his voice against them. I clearly remember by names , everyone who insulted him and today as his mortal remains lie calm, I see all those heads hanging in shame, guilt and respect. Honesty would not give you immediate results. It would take one’s lifetime to bear fruits. My grandfather did not live a grand life, but he had a fulfilling life. His life had no regrets. He had no regrets. He has made the world a better place to live for everyone in his family, extended family, employees and business circle. Right from his sister’s family, to the budding generation of my kids, my grandfather has made sure that everyone had and will have a good life to lead.

I am proud to be his grandson and today as I bid him farewell, his whole life, as I saw it, flashes before me. To me, he is a superhero with unlimited powers who led a life by a code! There won’t be another Son, born on this earth like him. May his soul Rest in Peace and guide me forever!

Mr. K Ramachandran
Perfect son, loving husband, doting father, prolific academician, honest businessman, greatest grandfather, wonderful human being and an epitome of Love and Honesty.

To be or not to be.. a Samsung

Samsung Mobiles have always repelled me. To be honest, I have never owned a Samsung smart phone. Reason being that, I never buy a product that is extensively marketed. To me, a product must sell its way, on its own, straight to the heart. Samsung never gave me that chance. They just keep pushing models after models, with loads of variations, in to the Indian market. It was like junk food. Now Samsung mobiles are everywhere  It would be difficult to rout their market share position, in the Indian mobile market.

The other mobile manufacturers never see India as a major opportunity. Apple has always been the last ones to arrive in the Indian market. Motorola as a mobile manufacturer never had a stable foot in the Indian market. HTC and LG are lethargic in introducing new models in the Indian market. The Nexus mobiles and tablets never come to India. Nokia and Sony are trying hard for a comeback, but failing to win the heart of Indians. And then there are these numerous small time mobile brands who have made use of this opportunity and bombard the market with mushroom models. These mushrooms are cheap in price, build and quality, short shelf life and have  poor service backup. They have scavenged every-bit of market share that was left between the gap of Samsung’s share and the rest of the mobile manufacturers.

A person aspiring to buy a smart phone in India, has no other option, but to buy a Samsung. He can’t buy the latest Apple, because its either over-priced or the latest model is not available in India. He can’t buy a HTC, Nexus or LG, because of the availability. He doesn’t want to take his chances with Nokia, Sony or the cheap brands. He has to buy a Samsung.

But I must appreciate Samsung for learning the market potential of Indian Cellular industry. They seem to give very high preference to the sales figures from India. They know the likes of the new urban Indians. They understand the rural market trends. They have done their demographic study well. They have the right marketing and sales team across the nation. They are setting up a sophisticated service backbone. When all the other manufacturers are either neglecting or exploiting the Indian market, Samsung is the only one who sees the live opportunity. Their naming convention could be confusing. Their designs could be flawed. Their mobiles may not make heads turn. But they are available and reasonable to the uber Indian Mobile market.

Bond subtitled

I was watching Skyfall, the Bond movie of 2012, in a theater with friends. This is not about the movie but its about the conversation between a family, sitting just behind me and trying in all possible ways to spoil the movie watching experience of everyone around. Normally I am not a fan of fake English accent speakers and this family was one gang of it. In the opening scene when Bond was shot, the mother let out a shriek “Ooo shit”. That’s when they got my attention. Then the kid asked, “what happened?”. The mom went on to explain, “The police aunty shot the police uncle”. Mr Bond, you are officially old. Its your 50th film and people must actually be calling you Granpa. Instead be happy that you are “Police Uncle”. The fun didn’t end there. The mother and another lady near her went on explaining every single scene and dialogue to the kid, in the kid’s own understandable terms. And then there was general loud comments, shrieks, laughters, which was quite annoying to me. Here comes the interesting part. When Mr Bond got intimate with his girl in the shower, there was an eerie uncomfortable silence. Then on the gang was relatively quiet. Mr. Bond you have silenced yet another gang.

This kind of public behavior irritates me, but then its public. Everyone is different and I have to live with it. If I can’t, then I must arrange for a private screening which I can’t afford yet. So in the end, its all fun. See you next year Uncle Bond.

Idly halts a coach

I was waiting for my train in a platform in Madurai Junction. That’s when I overheard this cute conversation. Its customary for passengers to check with vendors about train arival time, platform and coach location. You don’t get to see railway employees around with a helping mentality. To us passengers, these vendors are first point of contact for information. This incident involves one such vendor. He was standing on his regular spot selling Idly, vadai, chappathi, poori, etc. for dinner. I was seated somewhere nearby, warding off the pestering mosquitoes and playing temple run on mobile. A passenger passing by the vendor, stopped and asked him “annae, S2 coach enga varumnae?” (in a typical madurai slang: brother, where will be S2 coach come?”). This vendor replies “Idly vaangina inga varum, (pointing to a place where the coach will halt) vaangalana enga varumnu enakku theriyathu… (shrugging his shoulders)” (Translated: If you get Idly the coach will halt here, if not I am not sure…)

The passenger was lost for a minute and then he got the intended pun. They both laughed. He got an Idly packet from him and walked away still laughing. 

Photographic Garbage

Until a  decade ago, photography was an art form reserved to people who understand the art and the society called them photographers. I am not talking about small time wedding photo clickers or passport size photo clickers. I am talking about the elite educated bunch of artists for whom photography was pure passion. These artists printed their photos and compiled them as albums or made them into slides to be presented on a projector. That’s the way they showcase it to their audience.  A quick fast forward to present day. Facebook. Every tom, dick and harry (intentionally didn’t capitalize nouns) owns a facebook page and calls it either tom photography or  dick clicks or harry through the lens or some garbage. They list themselves as photographers. They think they are photographers because their facebook friends said so and liked their page and posts. Well, tom, dick and harry, please wake up. Your friends are either not aware of real photography or are really sarcastic.

Experimental photography. Unless you are writing a tutorial, posting your experimental shots online is totally absurd. You click smoke, drop of water or some abstract effect and you pose the clicks as some art form. No it is not art. It is fart. Any photograph with no real story, subject or moment is just an experiment. How would you feel, if your mom was learning to bake a cake, bought a new owen and served you just the butter mixed with egg.

Bokeh. This irritates me to the core. Bokeh in Japanese means blur. How can you just post a picture with only the blur as a subject? A bokeh makes sense only if it is in the background and there is some subject in the foreground to draw the attention. Now imagine your mom serving you just an empty plate and the cake is locked up somewhere in the attic.

Please don’t go around begging your friends to like your pictures and your page. Don’t keep bumping your posts over and over so it gets the limelight often. If your work is a real work of art, people will like it. Oh yes! don’t take the number of likes too straight to your head. Anyone with the right networking skills and  marketing ability will definitely get the numbers soaring. It still doesn’t mean that you are a photographer. You merely own a DSLR, a few lenses and a Facebook account.

Last and not the least, please don’t tag people who are not related to the photo. If you want to bring it to their attention, message them the link, call them, courier them, write a letter or do something, but don’t tag. I may sound rude, but please don’t be offended if I unfriend you from facebook, if you are repeatedly spraying photographic garbage all over the social network.

Android ICS Library for Axure Prototyping

Android ICS Library for Axure is based on GUI elements provided by Android and Techie Talkx. It is optimized for 480 x 800 px screen resolution, which is sufficient for developing the prototype and presenting the design.

Following the huge response for the Android library developed for earlier version of Android, I have put together a library of UI elements for Ice Cream Sandwich. For installation instruction, refer here.


I am moving this blog to my personal hosted site. It will be available for download from  my site. Kindly bear with the re-direction, once you click the download link above.

Google Olympics Site not compatible with IE9

The Google olympics mini portal has some great features. I love the way the country vs medals tally was visualized in it. The information was stacked up in 3 levels within the site. On the first level, you can view the overall medals tally on mouse over the country in the map. If you want to view the break up of medals, you click on the tool tip to view the gold, silver, bronze breakup at the second level. To further view who won which, you have drill down by clicking on ‘View all results’ in the popup. This third level of information works fine in Firefox and Chrome. But in IE9 it failed to show the scroll bar, without which the drill-down is pointless. Why this partiality towards Internet Explorer?