Life Journal: Korattur Days – 5

Continued from Part 5

Unpleasant Memories

16. I knew something was wrong that day. Mom was serving me breakfast but she was crying. Dad was busy going in and out of the house. Those were days when even telephones were scarce. And, telegrams were used to send urgent messages. I realized later that my grandmother (mother’s mother) had expired in Trichy. However, I have no recollection of subsequent events – the travel to Trichy, the funeral or other related events.

17. Cricket was the only game played in the area those days. I remember pestering dad to get me a cricket bat. After the pleading, the day finally came when dad promised to get me a bat on his way back home from work. Even after more than 30 years, I remember the wait distinctly. And he came home late in the evening. He didn’t have a cricket bat. He said he couldn’t find one. Instead he bought me a set of TT rackets. The disappointment was too much for me. I wouldn’t be pacified. He finally got me a cricket bat later. While I don’t remember what I did with the bat or how I played with it after that, memories of the ‘evening of disappointment’ have remained with me.

My son is today about the same age that I was during the above incident. That scares me. It means now he has reached a stage where he will be able to record memories of events and replay them. I wish he has more positive memories than negative. I wish he is filled with memories of happiness, joy, satisfaction and love, as opposed to those of anxiety or disappointment. But then, that all depends on me and what environment we bring him up in. Hoping we don’t falter.

18. Remember my school to be located quite a distance from home. It was a long walk to school and back. Or so it appeared to me. Troubled mom some days to carry me on my way back from school. She would struggle while doing that but did that anyway.

To be continued …..

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2012: A Year in Review

2012 came. And is leaving. Looks like it all happened in a flash. What did I achieve during the year? Not many pleasing answers I can present!

The year began for me with a relaxing trip to Bangalore and Hosur. Trips to Chennai featured as usual, lots of joyful occasions and happy gatherings. But trips to Vizag and Tirupathi remained elusive. Looks like that is how it will be in the first half of 2013 too.

The year saw Nimal graduating from pre-primary to primary at school, and become a hard-core fan of Chota Bheem. He has also developed a liking for Horrid Henry, Roll No. 21, Oggy, Mighty Raju, and god knows what else!

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2012 saw Pranab becoming President of India. Obama and Modi were voted back to power. Akilesh emerged the shrewdest among the young guns. Arvind Kejriwal established the Aam Aadmi Party. Mamta left UPA. And, Arnab Goswami was busy, as usual.

2012 also saw Ajmal Kasab’s sentence being carried out.

The year witnessed lots of protests. From those against corruption in the beginning of the year, to the ongoing ones seeking more stringent punishments for rapists. Anna, Arvind, BRD lead popular protests. Honestly though, I failed to relate with many of them.

India will not forget Nirbhaya. And the world will not forget Malala.

The year also saw some interesting events take place in India on the ‘social media’ front. Few arrests were made in relation to tweets and facebook status updates, leading to public outrage and wide scale discussions on Sec. 66A of IT Act. Events like arrest of a Pondicherry man for his tweets against Karti Chidambaram and arrest of two girls near Mumbai for a facebook status update in relation to Balasab’s funeral will hardly be forgotten soon.

But not everything changed in 2012. Uncertainty over Telangana, inflation, power cuts, meaningless debates on television – few things hardly changed.

The year saw Ratan Tata stepping down and handing over the reins to Cyrus Mistry. Kingfisher Airlines kept journeying from one crisis to another. Yet, surprisingly, it is still surviving.

Bal Thackeray, Rajesh Khanna, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Neil Armstrong, Mehdi Hassan, Vergherse ‘Amul’ Kurien, Whitney Houston, Tony Greig, Jaspal Bhatti, Yash Chopra, Joy Mukherjee, Dara Singh, AK Hangal…. The list of celebrities and inspiring personalities who departed in 2012 is staggering.

2012 was a year that every Indian cricket fan would like to forget. The drubbing at the hands of England was followed by a 0-4 loss to Australia, and then, more shamefully and painfully, a 1-2 home series defeat at the hands of England. Yes, England. The year saw Ponting, Dravid, and VVS retire from international cricket, and Hussey announcing his retirement.

2012 saw SRT making his 100th international 100. He also debuted in Parliament, and retired from ODIs. West Indies won the World T20, and in the IPL, DC became ‘Sun Risers’.

India’s best performance in Olympic Games was soon followed by IOA getting banned. IPL style Hockey League was launched. Saina came up with some good performances. And, Vishy Anand retained his World Champion title, winning it for the 5th time after beating Boris Gelfand.

Spain won Euro 2012, beating Italy in the finals. Amazing achievement by them – to win Euro 2008, WC 2010 and now, the Euro 2012. Lance Armstrong fell from grace. Men’s tennis saw 4 different grand slam winners in 2012. And, Andy Murray capped it with an Olympic Gold. On the women’s end, Serena won 2 Grand Slams and the Olympic Gold. Indians will be glad to remember that Mahesh and Sania won the French Open Mixed Doubles this year.

2012 saw Saifeena and Vidya Balan getting married. Many interesting movie releases this year. Some that I wanted to see (but failed to, as usual) were Paan Singh Tomar, Talaash, The Dark Knight Rises, and Life of Pi. Among the few that I saw, enjoyed English Vinglish. Needless to say, it was Sridevi who made the difference!

And, finally, if 2011 was about Kolaveri, 2012 was all about Gangnam. Interesting video, amazing steps. I, like many others, just loved it. Now, waiting for an Indian version of it in some movie!

2012 – an interesting year, that got over very quickly. A year that, even if it may not have brought much joy to many, didn’t particularly harm anyone close to me. And that surely is a blessing.

Well, those were just a few impressions that 2012 left on a mango man in a banana republic.

Theek Hai ?!!

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The Shepherd Twins

The two shepherd boys were twins. The flock though, hardly realized that.

They were very skilled and experienced. They had to lead the flock to pastures, prevent them from going astray, and then bring them back in the evening. Routine, yet responsible tasks.

Their day always began early. They worked hard. The Lord was their master, but they took their orders from Destiny. Committed servants, that they were, they always carried out their orders to perfection.

They were bound by a code. A code that they never violated. A code that prevented one from interfering when the other was dealing with things. This meant that where one was around, the other was not to be seen. The sheep though, were free to be close to anyone of them.

They shared common bonds and some similarities. Yet, they were very different. In fact, quite the opposite in most things. They approached things differently. One appeared kind, and the other, harsh. Even while both were striving only to ensure that the sheep don’t go astray. Difference in methods, but similarity in purpose.

The sheep though, wouldn’t understand this. They didn’t realize that the guys were around only to protect them. And for some reason, they all loved the younger one. The one who was soft, mild, and lead them, rather than the elder one, who pushed them from behind. Little did they realize that the purpose of both were the same.

Over a period of time all the sheep wanted to be close only to the younger one. They started to avoid the elder one. And when the younger one was not around, they tried to run away from the elder. In the process, travelling to forbidden territory, endangering themselves. They didn’t realize that the elder one, as much as the younger one, was there only to guide them and protect them.

For the twins though, how the sheep saw them was immaterial. They had a task on hand, and they were committed to carrying it out. They complimented each other and between them, it didn’t matter who was in-charge at a particular moment. They divided the work among themselves, tending to some sections of the herd randomly.

Their commitment meant that, by-and-large, the herd remained safe. Some that strayed trying to avoid the elder one paid the price. Some were lucky to come back and join the herd even without realizing the risk that they had exposed themselves too.

The twin’s commendable job made them notable. Scholars preached about how their approach was laudable and how others had so many things to learn from them. But they carried on with their lives unassumingly. Inspirational they are, the shepherd twins from the Ness family, tending the herd of humanity. The younger one is named Happy Ness, and elder one Sad Ness.

Haven’t you come across them yet?

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Demystifying The Tamil Calendar – Thidhis and Festivals


Continued from Part 1

Thidhi – How to track anniversaries?

Leaving aside technical calculations, we can understand generally that the 14 days between every Amavasya and Pournami, and vice-versa, are divided into 14 thidhis. They are as follows:

  1. Pradamai (First day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  2. Dvithiai (Second day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  3. Trithiai (Third day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  4. Chaturthi (Fourth day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  5. Panchami (Fifth day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  6. Shashti (Sixth day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  7. Sapthami (Seventh day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  8. Ashtami (Eighth day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  9. Navami (Nineth day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  10. Dasami (Tenth day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  11. Ekadasi (Eleventh day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  12. Dvadasi (Twelfth day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  13. Triyodasi (Thirteenth day after Amavasya/Pournami)
  14. Chaturdasi (Fourteenth day after Amavasya/Pournami)

The period from Amavasya to Pournami is referred to as Valar Pirai or Shukla Paksham. ‘Valar’ roughly translates ‘to grow’. It indicates that during the period the moon ‘grows’ in size.

The period from Pournami to Amavasya is refered to as Thei Pirai or Krishna Paksam. ‘Thei’ roughly translates to ‘erode’ in tamil. It indicates that during the period the moon diminishes in size.

To arrive on a date based on thidhi, we need the month, the paksham or the pirai, and the thidhi. For eg., Akshaya Trithiai is celebrated every year on ‘Panguni month’, ‘Valar Pirai or Shukla Paksham’ and ‘Trithiai’ thidhi.

Srardhams (death anniversaries) are marked on the basis of thidhi and not on the basis of star. Thus while for calculating the birthdays we use month and star, for calculating death anniversaries we use thidhis.

Special Days

A few days of the month that are considered special are as follows:




Sankatahara Chaturthi Chaturthi of Thei Pirai every month. Lord Ganesha is worshiped on this day.
Pradosham Triyodasi – twice every month [The period when Dvadasi ends and Triyodasi begins]. Lord Siva and Parvathi are worshiped on this day. If it falls on a Saturday, it is called Sani Pradosham.
Sivarathri Generally, the night of Chaturdasi during Thei Pirai every month. Lord Siva is worshiped on this day. If Chaturdasi lasts for less than 6 hours during the night, the previous night i.e., the night of Triyodasi, is marked as Sivarathri.


Some common festivals are marked as below:




Pongal/Sankranthi 1st day of Thai month
Ratha Sapthami Thai/Maasi – Valar Pirai – Sapthami Sapthami after Thai Amavasya
Bhisma Ekadasi Thai/Maasi – Valar Pirai – Ekadasi Ekadasi after Thai Amavasya. Considered to be the day on which Bhisma revealed Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram to the Pandavas
Maha Sivarathri Maasi – Sivarathri Sivarathri in the month of Maasi
Karadayan Nombhu 1st day of Panguni month Festival similar to Karva Chauth where married women fast for well-being of their husbands, and unmarried women seek blessings for a suitable groom
Ramanavami Panguni/Chithirai -Valar Pirai-Navami Valar Pirai Navami after Panguni Amavasya. Considered to be the birthday of Lord Rama.
Tamil New Year 1st day of Chitirai month
Akshaya Trithiai Chitirai-Valar Pirai-Trithiai Considered to be the birthday of Lord Parsurama, and the day on which Veda Vyasa and Lord Ganesha began writing Mahabharata. It is considered auspicious to buy gold on this day.
Sankara Jayanthi Chitirai/Vaigasi-Valar Pirai-Panchami Valar Pirai Panchami after Chitirai Amavasya. Considered to be the birthday of Adi Sankara.
Chitra Pournami Pournami of Chitirai month Considered to be the birthday of Chitraguptan.
Mahalayam Starts from Purataasi Pournami, ends on the next Amavasya called the Mahalaya Amavasya It is believed that one’s forefathers come to down to earth during the period.
Navarathri Starts from the day after Mahalaya Amavasya
Saraswathi Puja Navami Thidhi of Navarathri
Dussera/Vijaya Dasami Dasami Thidhi of Navarathri Vijaya Dasami marks the slaying of Mahishasura by Goddess Durga. Also considered to be the day when Lord Rama killed Ravana. The day is considered to be auspicious for starting a new venture or business or commercial activity.
Diwali First Amavasya after Dussera Considered to be the day when Lord Rama and Sita return to Ayodhya after van-vaas. It is also celebrated as the day on which the demon Narakasura was slayed by Lord Krishna and Satyabhama.
Vaikunta Ekadasi Margazhi-Valar Pirai-Ekadasi Considered to be the auspicious day when ‘Vaikunta Dwaram’ is opened for devotees.
Koodaravalli 27th day of Margazhi It is considered that after 27 days, Andal’s fast came to an end on this day. The only thing I know about this day is ‘Akkaravadisal’ is prepared and served on this day!

The above are only a few of our main festivals. There are many not included here because I haven’t yet understood them. I will try to keep updating as many as I can. Meanwhile, if you find anything here needs correction, please feel free to let me know.

As mentioned earlier, the above post is only for beginners like me who have no understanding of what the Tamil calendar is about. Hence, the information here is mostly simplified and devoid of technicalities. Should one look deeper, one would find that everything is based on a lot of technical calculations. For those interested in knowing more, there are a plenty of material available online.

Hoping that this post would have given you some basic introduction to the fundamentals of the Tamil calendar!

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Sania Mirza – A Name to Respect

Olympics 2012. India won 6 medals. Some, including myself, are happy over what has been India’s best performance in the Games so far. Many others are not so happy, reasoning that a country of a billion deserves to do better.

Two sportspersons from Hyderabad – Saina Nehwal and Gagan Narang – won bronze medals in the Games, making this edition of the Games special to the city. When they won the medals many congratulatory messages were posted on social networking sites. Rightly so. Everyone is happy at their success and achievements.

During the same time, I also came across two specific images on social networking sites, which I felt were improper, unfitting, and disrespectful towards another respectable sportsperson from Hyderabad, who also participated in the Games but failed to win any medal – Sania Mirza. The first one had images of Saina and Sania, proclaiming Saina as a champion or something to that effect (rightly so), even while using an unpleasant term to describe Sania (not appropriate at all). The second was a comparison of two images of Sania – one in which she was dressed in a traditional attire and the second in which she was in her playing costume, with a caption that read ‘Sania in Pakistan’ and ‘Sania in India’, or something to that effect. The image seemed to suggest that she appeared traditional when visiting Pakistan, but very un-traditional while in India (as though it were an offence to be so!). I found both these images to be in bad taste.

Normally, I would brush aside these images and get on with my work. That’s what I have been doing for years. However, of late, I have been seeing a greater danger in these kinds of images and communication – a danger that goes beyond the person depicted or attached in those images. A danger that I have been sensing for some time now. Something that I think needs attention. And, that is our increasing tendency these days to get both judgmental and abusive, impatiently, without having any regard to full set of facts and circumstances that exist. We may have somehow started to believe that disagreements are a license to abuse. Can’t be so, isn’t it?

Comparisons between Sania and Saina are unavoidable – they have so many things in common. Striking similarity in name, both are based from Hyderabad, both burst in to the scene as teenage sensations, played and achieved international success in a game that hardly had a serious following among girls those days, ended up as role models and inspiration for countless young girls. But the similarities have to end somewhere. And they do. But, as much as the comparison between them seem unavoidable, it is unnecessary. They are certainly not in a race to outdo each other. Better performance from one cannot and should not undermine the performance of the other.  I think we should just enjoy and appreciate the performances and achievements of both these talented people instead of pitting one against the other.

As far as the second image goes, I must first admit that I don’t wear my traditional attire anytime other than when there is some function at home. And all the people whom I know are similar. So I don’t understand the big deal that is attempted to be made about in the image. There is no certainty when they were shot, where they were shot, what was the occasion – the list of uncertainties would be endless. Anyway, what she chooses to wear is nobody’s business but hers alone. What she wears is not offensive by any standards. One may not approve of it, but then many others may not approve of what that oneself is wearing. So, what is the purpose of all these images except trying to be disrespectful towards her? And, by the way, what else does one expect her to wear while playing the game?

Let us move aside from these silly images and focus on what she has done on the tennis court so far. For beginners, Sania’s achievements are definitely staggering, appreciable, and make her a personality to respect. Let’s take a look at some of the things she has accomplished so far:

  • She is the highest ranked female tennis player from India, ever.
  • She is the first Indian woman to be seeded in a Grand Slam (and to the best of my knowledge, maybe the only one so far – please correct me if I am wrong).
  • She got up to the 4th round of US Open in 2005.
  • She won the 2003 Wimbledon Girls Doubles title.
  • She is the first Indian to win a WTA tour title of any kind.
  • She is the only Indian woman to have won a Grand Slam. She has won 2 Grand Slam Mixed Doubles titles – 2009 Australian Open and 2012 French Open. She was also the finalist on two more occasions – 2008 Australian Open Mixed Doubles & 2011 French Open Ladies Doubles.
  • She was named the WTA newcomer of the year in 2005. Some prominent stars who were at some point of their careers named the newcomer of the year, include, Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Serena and Venus Williams, Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriati, Gabriela Sabatini and more such stars.
  • She has wins over Martina Hingis [former World No. 1 and winner of five Grand Slam singles titles], Svetlana Kuznetsova [former World No. 2 and winner of two Grand Slam singles titles. Kuznetsova was the reigning US Open Champion when Sania beat her early 2005] and Dania Safina [former World No. 1] among others. What does that mean? It is like me winning some cases against Ram Jethmalani, Harish Salve and Soli Sorabjee. May be just one, but wouldn’t that be enough for most?
  • She was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2004 and Padma Shri in 2006.

Take a look at the list above. They include some which no other Indian woman has ever achieved. None from your family and mine. None by me or you. Definitely not in tennis, and most likely, not in our own fields as well. And that, undoubtedly, calls for respect. Yet some appear to be disrespectful to her and her achievements? Why? Maybe they think she didn’t achieve her full potential. Maybe they don’t approve some of her actions off the field. But that surely doesn’t call for any disrespect towards her.

It might appear to some that maybe she didn’t justify her full potential. I might be one of them. But that shouldn’t take anything away from all the good work that she has done. If there was any such failure, it would surely hurt her the most. More than all of us. And if any of her actions do not have the approval of some, let’s remember, she doesn’t need one to begin with. She doesn’t need approval from you and me for whatever she does. And, she hasn’t broken any rule or law or authority. She played by the rules and none of her achievements listed above came by way of any special treatment to her. Instead, they all came on the back of hard work and performance.

It would appear to me that Sania Mirza has, for most part of time, appeared to be, has been, and behaved like someone of her age. She didn’t attempt to exhibit maturity beyond her years. While that should be no fault, guess some mature men couldn’t accept that. Maybe they had higher expectations, but that cannot be her fault. And surely, that doesn’t warrant any disrespect towards her.

It is only when you see the effort that went behind any achievement that you will truly be able to appreciate the magnitude of that achievement. Take into consideration the cultural background that she came from, the state in which Indian Women’s tennis was at the time she came on stage (and the stage it is in even today), maybe lack of adequate coaching facilities during her formative years, and many more such factors, and you may have a glimpse of the effort that went behind all her achievements.

The purpose of this post is only to reflect upon how I think we, as a society, are often straying into a dangerous habit of getting disrespectful and abusive towards other individuals, without properly appreciating facts or giving due consideration to their situation and circumstances. The post is only an attempt to share that view through the example of Sania Mirza. I must admit that I am no big fan of her. I may not personally endorse or agree upon all that she says or does. And I may disagree with her views on more than a few things. But I do respect her. For all her achievements, for her effort and for her success. And, anything less than that might be totally inappropriate.

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The Daily Pledge

On his way to work, a dear young friend of mine takes the following pledge every day:


  • I will use my knowledge, skill, abilities, and time at workplace, fully and exclusively, for the attainment of organizational goals.
  • I will not violate any company policy – in letter or in spirit.
  • I will strive to excel and produce quality work – on time, every time.
  • I will act confidently, boosted by my commitment to accomplish the mission of the organization; limited by knowledge that every day is a new day and yesterday’s good work will not save me from the consequences of today’s mistakes.
  • I will not hesitate to forgo my comforts in furtherance of organizational goals.
  • And, I will not compromise my values.

In which direction, do you think, is his career headed?

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The Martyr’s Funeral

The town wore a festive look. It had never seen a funeral like this before.

Anybody who was somebody was present there. Along with everybody who aspired to become somebody. They felt happy about this funeral. After all, it gave them an opportunity to be visible. It gave them a platform to get noted. It gave them a chance to speak before a crowd.

They came there wanting to be seen with the martyr. And the crowds came there wanting to see them.

Externally, they all put up a somber appearance. Striving seriously to look grim. To appear shocked and saddened. Sorrowful and pained. Even while being careful not to expose how they really felt. When, in fact, they all knew how each other felt.

Amidst the gathering were also a few people to whom he was dear. People with whom he had shared his joys and sorrows. His aspirations and insecurities. People with whom he had played games. People who had seen him grow up. People who had seen him falter. People who had seen him commit mistakes. People who knew him even when he was just a common man. People who knew him even long before he became a martyr.

And those people close to him, listened to speeches about him by those who hardly knew him. Everyone spoke the right words. Picked the right adjectives. Made the right noises. Stout netas spoke about sacrifice. Corrupt souls preached selfless service. Idiots discoursed emotionally, even as intellects grieved in silence. Who said what and who meant what? Hardly mattered to anyone.

Somewhere in the gathering, also stood the grieving father. He had wanted many things for his son. He had wanted him to be successful. To become respectable. To get married. To become a father. Instead, his son had become a martyr. Something that he never sought for him. But that is how destiny blessed both of them.

The ground was packed, but he felt lonely and weak. It was his son’s funeral, but he felt alien. He wasn’t even allowed to cry. ‘Don’t’, advised those around him. ‘One shouldn’t grieve for martyrs’, he was informed. He was mature. He controlled himself. And the people around him took credit for that too.

He was sad. That was for everyone to see. But unseen to others, he was also uncertain and angry. He had his own doubts. Was his son really a martyr? Martyr is someone who dies for a cause. Victim is someone who gets killed in vain. He was not sure in pursuit of what noble ideals did his loving son return home dead. Instead, he appeared to have paid the penalty for other’s lapses. His life was sacrificed in quest of glory for few others. His dreams were traded in pursuit of the dreams of few others. Few influential others.

And he could do nothing about it.

He was numb. Pained by the loss of his son. Pained that others were oblivious of his loss. Pained of the deceit and drama. And he froze.

And the unaware crowd appreciated that, too. The father had accepted his son’s martyrdom, they declared.

And the spectacle continued.

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Future Plans

April 24, 2012
About 6:45 PM
Near AOC, Secunderbad

“Nimal! What do you want to become after you grow up? How about a solider like these people? Join military and become an Officer?”


“Something like Airforce? Do you want to become a pilot? Fighter pilot? Then you can fly planes. What do you say?”

Silence again.

After a few seconds,

“Dad. I don’t want to join military.”


“You know, sometimes planes fall down from the sky. Then everyone inside it die. I will also die. Then you will cry. I don’t want all that. That’s why I don’t want to become pilot.”

After a few minutes,

“Dad, if you want, I will become an engine driver. I will drive trains. That will be good.”

“Mmm. How about boats and ships? You can join Navy. Then you will get to be on boats and ships.”

“No Dad. They also sometimes go down the sea. Then I will also go down. I don’t want all that. That’s why I am saying. Engine driver is very good. I like it. Adhudhaan yenakku sugam!

The End! At least for the time being.

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Demystifying The Tamil Calendar – The Basics

All of my 35 years, I never understood the Tamil Calendar. And I never cared to understand it, too. It always seemed confusing. It meant people peering over the almanac and discussing terms that I found very difficult to remember and repeat. For most part, it used to get mixed up with astrology and superstition – good time, bad time, auspicious time, rahukaalam, yamagandam, and so on. To add to the confusion, my Tamil birthday would sometimes come ahead of my date of birth, and sometimes later. All this and more meant that I hardly gave it a second thought.

All that changed when my son started going to school. One of the first things that he learned in school was ‘January, February, March ……’ One of the first things that he wanted to figure out on his own was, when his birthday would come. It was pretty easy for him to figure that out. Month and date. Just two parameters. He was clear.

I suddenly wanted him to know about the Tamil Calendar too. Why? Don’t know. Just wanted him to. May be because I wanted him to be aware of our culture, even though I wasn’t aware of the same. And so, because I had to know it first before I could share it with him, I started to check what the Tamil Calendar was all about. And to my surprise, I didn’t find it that complicated. Making me wonder why it took me so long to look at this.

People who are already familiar with the Tamil Calendar, may find this post meaningless. However, I know many people who are, like how I was just a few months ago, totally clueless about the Tamil Calendar. Should they wish to know, here are a few basics that could introduce them to the Tamil Calendar. And, as mentioned above, I would like my son to know it too. And because I often fail to explain anything properly to him, I leave my understanding here so that he may get to know of it whenever he is ready.

At the outset, I want to make it clear that:

  • this post has nothing to do with astrology or any other related field. The idea is only to get familiarized with, and understand how days are tracked in the Tamil Calendar. And nothing more. It has got nothing to do with calculating auspicious or inauspicious timings, which day is good and which is not. I will leave that to experts
  • for the sake of easy comprehension, I refer to the Gregorian Calendar as ‘English Calendar’ here
  • there are still many elements related to the Tamil Calendar that I am not clear about. I will also leave my doubts here, with a request to anyone who comes across this post and knows about them to please enlighten us.


Basic Parameters

The basic parameters for tracking a day/date in the English Calendar are Year, Month, Date, and Day. Ignoring Year for a moment, to track a day in the English Calendar, we refer to the Month and Date. Eg. March 27.

In the Tamil Calendar we have the Year and the Month. After that there are 3 separate tracks:

  1. Date,
  2. Star or Nakshatram, and
  3. Thidhi.

Depending upon the purpose, days could be tracked based on Month and the Date; or Month and the Star; or Month and the Thidhi. Eg.:

  1. First day of Thai Month, or
  2. Panguni (Month) – Uttaram (Star), or
  3. Chitirai (Month) – Pournami (Thidhi), etc.

We will get to know them – Stars and Thidhi – as we go along.

Let’s understand the months first. Twelve months. Often confusing. Which one comes when? To remember them easily, we can have some reference points in relation to the English Calendar. I have given a sample below. You can work out your own.

Tamil Month Corresponding English Period (Approx.) Reference Points
Thai Jan 15 to Feb 14 Our Republic Day comes in Thai. Valentine’s day, too?!
Maasi Feb 15 to Mar 14 March 1 is Maasi.
Panguni Mar 15 to Apr 14 My son’s birthday comes in Panguni. So does All Fools Day!
Chittirai Apr 14 to May 14 May Day is in Chittirai
Vaigaasi May 14 to June 14 Schools reopen in Vaigaasi. I got married in Vaigaasi.
Aani June 15 to July 14 July 4, American Independence day comes in Aani.
Aadi July 15 to Aug 14 August 1 is Aadi.
Aavani Aug 15 to Sep 14 Sep 11 is in Aavani. Independence Day? Aadi or Aavani?
Puratasi Sep 15 to Oct 14 Gandhi Jayanthi generally comes in Puratasi.
Aipasi Oct 15 to Nov 14 My wife was born in Aipasi.
Karthigai Nov 15 to Dec 14 December 1 is Karthigai.
Margazhi Dec 15 to Jan 14 Christmas is in Margazhi. Always.


Tracking Birthdays – What is a Star/Nakshatram?

Let’s leave the technicalities for a moment. Stars are about 27-28. They follow one after the other in the same sequence. Birthdays are calculated against the Month and the Star which prevailed on the day you were born. So if you were born in Panguni and your birth star is Bharani, your birthday based on the Tamil Calendar would be on March 26 this year. Pretty Simple, right. Just Month and Star.

However, because there are only 28 stars, and there are more days in a month than that, couple of stars could get repeated each month. So what do we do if your star comes twice during the month in which you were born? Not clear, but in my home, they celebrate on the day towards the end of the month as opposed to the beginning of the month. Could be the same everywhere. Could be different somewhere.


More in the next post:
Thidhi – How to track anniversaries?
How to track festivals?

To be Continued …..

Categories: Life | 2 Comments

Wishes on a Birthday

Dear Son,

You are turning 5 today. You are growing up fast. It seems like it was only yesterday that we celebrated your 4th birthday, which was of course, a very silent affair. Just the 5 of us at home. You cut a cake for your satisfaction and then we all went back to our work.

This year, it seems, would be a little different. You are all excited about your birthday. You have informed about it to everyone you know. You are eager to invite your neighbourhood friends and have a birthday party at home. Want to give them gifts. Want to receive gifts too. All this is going to be new in our household where we often don’t even remember our birthdays.

As you enter your 6th year on the planet, I want to share a few things that we have been noticing about you. Lot of things about you have changed over the last one year – your interests, your choices, your behavior, and more. Perfectly normal. We expect many more such changes.

These days, television has taken over you. And you have taken over the remote. The battle to regain control of the remote has been fought against you by everyone else in the family. And lost. Now, there is peace at home. You wouldn’t mind watching ‘Chota Bheem’ 24 hours a day. Because of you, we are also forced to watch it. And forced to watch the same episode numerous times. Vexed, we no longer come near the TV. What my father failed to achieve in over 35 years, you have done in just one.

When no television, you want to go to the park. Or go cycling. Or want others at home to tell you stories. If nothing else, then, you want to call someone on the phone. You are also starting to build you a friend circle of your own, in the neighbourhood. We now have your ‘friends’ visiting us.

At school though, it is the same old story. You know the names of hardly 5 or 6 of your classmates – out of a total of 40. The rest all ‘boys’ or ‘girls’. Next academic year, it is going to be even tough. You will be in a new section, with new classmates. Hoping that you make friends soon. Also, it would be a full day at school for you from the next academic year. And a lot more subjects – languages, science, computers and more. You are going to have your hands full. Hoping that you would enjoy all that.

Your Mridangam class is coming along fine. You continue to be playful there, and picking up things at your own pace. But it’s not going to all rosy for long. Soon, your teacher is going to start demanding things from you. Exposing how your preparations are not enough. You wouldn’t practice at home, though. That’s ok. We will wait.

Your demands are also going up. You now want to ‘purchase’ everything that you see. Samosas while traveling, toys sometimes when coming back from Mridangam class, something or the other whenever we take you to any shop. You even want a car, at times.

But one thing hasn’t changed. In your hands, toys seldom retain their shape or utility for more than one day.

There are times when your actions frustrate us, annoy us. But when I look a little closer at the situation, I realize that you are not a problem child. The problem is with us. With our inability to match with the pace of your play. With our limitation in understanding your eagerness. And with our failure in understanding your needs. I realize that we need to look at you as a 5-year-old. As much as we realize that, when the testing situation comes, we are back to our old self.

That also makes me wonder if you feel frustrated by our actions. I am sure you are. May be most of the time. So, let’s see what we can do about it.

Anyway, always feels happy to see you smiling. Let your journey continue in the same positive spirit.

Wish you a very happy birthday.

– vijven

Categories: Life | 2 Comments

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