November 28th THANKS GIVING DAY!

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A North American Thanks Giving Dinner!!

Known or unknown, young or old, educated or uneducated, men or women
Who ever does something big or small saying THANKS is a  courtesy.
November twenty Eighth today  is THANKS GIVING DAY in America
What for, to whom, by whom and why? an interesting question!

Prayers of thanks and special thanksgiving ceremonies are common among
Almost all religions after harvests and at other times.
Thanksgiving holiday’s history in North America based on
English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation.

It indeed is a harvest festival, Thanksgiving the Lord for
Successful harvest. Pongal is the Harvest Thanksgiving Festival celebrated
In India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.  celebrated as Makar Sankranti.
Four-day festival, from January fourteenth to sixteenth,from the last day of
Tamil month Maargazhi to the third day of the Tamil month Thai, to
Convey Thanks to the Sun God for a successful harvest.Indeed a holy day!

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PONGAL FESTIVAL-HARVEST FESTIVAL Thanks giving Day in Tamilnadu

ONION IS NOT OXYGEN!

Onion is not oxygen!

We cannot live without oxygen but we sure can without onion! Prices cannot go up when onions begin to rot!

In the days of spiralling inflation, when the cost of living soars, when the prices of milk to maida, banana to brinjal, carrot to capsicum, mango to melon skyrocket day by day, the middle class people are the worst hit. Governments and the party in power say they make all-out efforts to contain the prices. Economists quote several factors for price raise. The Opposition parties protest government policies for the pathetic conditions of the people but secretly welcome the difficult times so that they can win the next elections.

Maybe, what cannot be cured must be endured! But I use to wonder whether there is anything in the world that cannot be cured. When I was in my teens six decades ago, I was living at Karaikudi, a part of Chettinad in Tamil Nadu, where the dominant community was indeed rich, orthodox, highly philanthropic and well educated. I used to go out with my mother to the weekly shandy and distinctly remember her purchasing the weekly requirements of vegetables for a family of five for less than a rupee. The womenfolk of that dominant community of Chettinad would boycott any shop in the shandy if the cost there was a little higher than in the other shops. The way they treated the shop keeper charging a higher price was unique and the result was that the town was comparatively cheap and life was smooth. All due to the ‘will to resist’ on the part of housewives.

Sixty years since then, when I find myself helpless managing my household expenses, I wonder whether bringing down the cost of things rests with the government alone or, as an individual, can I have any influence on the uncontrolled rising costs?

I remember my walking without footwear to college, a distance of 8 km. one way. Today, my son wants a scooter to go to school, hardly a kilometre away. Do I ever care to go by bus instead of my two/four-wheeler?

Do I resist purchasing onion at Rs. 80 or tomato at Rs. 50 a kg? Onion is not oxygen without which I cannot breathe! Supposing people do not purchase beans at Rs. 70 a kg, how long would the shopkeeper keep the vegetable on his shelves? — right from the wholesale merchant to my street vendor? If office-goers as a class desist using their petrol/diesel vehicles and choose public conveyance, won’t petrol price come down? If we boycott the auto drivers charging an unreasonably high fare, can they continue forever by fleecing the people?

Yes, onion is not oxygen! We cannot live without oxygen but we sure can without onion! Prices cannot go up when it begins to rot!

The writer’s email: nvsubbaraman@gmail.com)

PS: Normally in principle I do not repeat any post for a second time! This ofcourse is not a second post in the Blog ENVIUS THOUGHTS but posting what appeared in the OPEN PAGE of  the leading NEWS PAPER which I am accustomed to read for the past SEVEN DECADES – as a student at 10 th year of age not knowing the significance of any news, views, language used and so on. But I must admit that I could improve my English language by reading this NEWS PAPER right from my boyhood at the instance of my TEACHER – FATHER. Cost of this  Newspaper was TWO ANNAS- of those days! I look with pride my  100 and more LETTERS TO THE EDITOR COLUMN during 1975-1978! On 31st August 2013, when the above artcle was published in the OPEN PAGE, my joy knew no bounds and I felt as if I have secured a NOBEL AWARD! THis is the article I have reproduced as this WEEK”S SUNDAY STORY-1772nd Post  I am sure you – my esteemed viewers – will enjoy and give me your feedback. My mind has green memories of the REVIEW this paper made  of my TRANSLATION OF TELUGU  PANCHARATNA KEERTHANAS of Saint Poet THYAGAYYA into Tamil (available in the form of a CD -produced by the famous Carnatic music team of Madurai- vocal Smt. Ranganayaki Sachidanandam, Violin Sri Sachidanandam, Mridangam Dr. Thyagarajan) which was greatly admired by our former Scientist President of INDIA DR. APJ Abdul Kalam.

RAINY DAYS!

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Prompted by the weekly prompt of Blogging Meet here is prompted poem:
RAINY DAYS have made grand arrival! Yes the great gift of Nature alias God!
PAINY DAYS are these to many-going to schools and offices and outside home
With umbrellas failing to protect from rains heavy, Rain coat
Out of its place from the cupboard helps walking or driving two wheelers!
Getting cold and fever as a result of getting drenched in rain-a pain!
Even after the RAIN stops, drizzles continue through TREE LEAVES and branches!
RAIN essential for the world as the Saint Poet of Tamilnadu says in his Magnum Opus THIRUKKURAL written years two thousand and three hundred ago!:
Chapter Two
GLORY OF RAIN
11.
On rain, rests the world
Sure for its prosperity
Treat rain –nectar bold! (11)

12.
It helps grow great food
Sans water no agriculture
Quenches thirsty world! (12)

13.
Water all in sea
Helps not life on earth so well
Rain water gives glee! (13)

14.
Rain sustains the world
Makes the fertile land yield more
Sans farmers can’t mould! (14)
15.
By absence, rain destroys
Life, living, people and the world
By care it creates! (15)
16.
If rain fails to grace
The earth with its compassion
No grass you can trace! (16)
17.
Ocean becomes dry
When the sky bears not the clouds
People made to cry! (17)
18.
Rain – gift of nature
Whenever denied to the world
Bleak – nobles’ future! (18)
19.
When powerful rain fails
Noble charity gets failed
Nobles’ penance falls! (19)
20.
Sans water no life
When the Lord of Rain conspires
Virtue faces knife! (20)

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ENVIUS THOUGHTS crosses 2,20,000 views.
I am glad to share with you that with the 26th view at 07.00 hrs today viz Friday  the First November 2019, (01/11/2019) , total views of the BLOG crossed    TWO LAKHS AND TWENTY THOUSAND (2,20,000) from more than 219 countries around the world on the 1736th day and 1769th post, thanks to your support and encouragement. Kindly continue.

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ENVIRONMENT -CLEAN AND CLEAR? Part III

Over population-urban sprawl!

‘Environment, ‘Environmental protection”, “Environmental issues”
Very commonly discussed today all over-in fact very important
Yet day after day clean and clear environment remains a far cry
And that is a great threat to the welfare of all living beings very sure.

Not that the society is unaware of the issues involved-but unable
To tackle at individual level. Cooperation of all concerned
An absolute must-impossible to get and hence all talk only in air!
Ten issues identified:Pollution, Climate Change, Global Warming,
Deforestation, Overpopulation, Industrial and household wastes,
Acid rain, Ozone Layer Depletion, Genetic Engineering,Urban sprawl !

Pollution all kinds of pollutions by the individual as well
As industries-a pity but none can help to reduce and minimize.
At least if awareness is raised society may think of helping
If not today afuture sans much of pollution may be at sight!

Air_pollution_issue

 

(In pursuance of earlier two parts at the instance of Mr.Mathew Eapen of US through Mr.Mathew S of JBN)

WORLD FOOD DAY-October 16th.

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“FOOD FOR ALL” important aim and endeavor of all Governments in the world
Most difficult goal to achieve- how indeed is a nagging question!- untold
Obstacles and difficulties in providing – leaving none to go to bed hungry
Need urgent is to eliminate hunger all over the world forever!

World Food Day is today the sixteenth October- action dedicated to
Tackling global hunger. people from around the world come together to commit
To eradicate worldwide hunger from our lifetime. Celebrating the creation
Of the Food and Agriculture Organization events organized in more than
One hundred and fifty countries across the world, making it the most
Celebrated days of the United Nations.to promote worldwide awareness
And action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure
Food security and nutritious diets for all. food basic and fundamental
Human right and need. several million people worldwide suffer
From chronic undernourishment, five million children under five die
Of malnutrition every day. Let us dedicate ourselves to implement
The theme for the year “Our actions are our future”!.

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WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY JUNE 5th

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June Fifth yesterday was WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY a holy day to be cherished
And to take an oath to protect ENVIRONMENT at all cost-not to failed
For the world to live and enjoy peace and pleasure, joy and health
Environmental protection is nothing short of our valuable wealth!

World Environment Day this year hosted by China, with the theme
“Air Pollution”.We can’t stop breathing, but we can do something about
The quality of air we breathe.Seven million people worldwide die
Prematurely each year from air pollution.Cruel it is to allow to die.

World Environment Day urges governments, industry, communities,
And individuals to come together to explore renewable energy and
Green technologies, and improve air quality in cities and regions
Across the world. Let us resolve to keep environment clean and clear!

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FIRST EVER TAMIL TRANSLATION OF THYAGARAJA’S TELUGU “PANCHA RATHNA KEERTHANAS ” into TAMIL -in 272 years – translated by me to the original  raga and Tala rendered by the Madurai team Smt. Ranganayaki Sachidanandam, Vocal, Sri Sachidanandam Violin and Dr. K Thiyagarajan, Mridangam is available as CD with a booklet costing Rs 150/- with me in- N V Subbaraman, 12/1045, Jeevan Bima Nagar, Chennai 600101, Ph:04426544950/9840477552.

email: nvsubbaraman@gmail.com

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ORGANIC FOOD

 

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This week’s Sunday Story is of a different type in the sense it is a very serious subject that I am trying earnestly.

It is said in today’s world though longevity has substantially increased thanks to advanced  medical Science and   availability of health facilities even in rural parts, ,  health conditions have decreased due to several factors important being  ‘FOOD’!  Elders used to lament that the food they ate in their young ages were more nutritious than what is being available today! May be right or may be wrong. In the interest of growing more food  for the increasing population, agriculturists make use of  more and more chemical fertilizers which is not good for human health.

Objective of this Sunday Story is to think about Organic Food, get convinced about its efficacy and make efforts to follow by going in for Organic Food in our daily life to the extent possible.

The organic food almost like tsunami came about a decade ago, washing over our lives completely. From the humble cucumber to the exotic avocado, from pulses to salad leaves to spices to rice, every single food item we used to buy from the grocers suddenly had an organic cousin sitting next to it on the shelves – with the only obvious difference being a higher price tag. Soon, companies specializing in organic food deliveries came up, claiming to bring produce directly from an organic farm to our table. Now, many restaurants promise the same. This trend has surpassed all food trends and one can even get organic Diwali sweets now.

The United Nations’ recent declaration of Sikkim as the world’s first ‘organic state’ has brought the big organic debate back into focus: what exactly is organic – and how do we identify a genuine organic product?

Simply put, a product is organic if it is produced in a farming system that uses no chemicals, fertilizers, GMOs or artificial additives. Instead it relies on crop rotation, animal and plant manure, and biological pest controls. It is good for all. Following environmentally conscionable agro-ecology policies in growing food ensures a better future for our biodiversity and is nutritionally beneficial for us, including,  lowering the risk of cancer.

But with so much organic produces in the market, it is hard for the average consumer to sift authentic organic produce from something that may be just cashing in on the trend. So how does one make sure what we are eating is genuinely chemical-free? It is not exactly simple, but there are a few checks to do so.

Organic vs. 100% organic

The first difference we need to understand is that not all organic food in the market is 100% organic. Labeling plays an important role in identifying this difference. In India, one can get a farm certified by a whole host of certifying agencies approved under the National Program me for Organic Production (NPOP), and any food item may adhere to one or many organic certification standards.

Consumers inspect organic vegetables sold out of the back of a car in Chennai (C Suresh Kumar/ BCCL Tamil Nadu)

. “While not all organic food in the market is 100% organic, it is definitely possible to get 100% organic food in India. There are a lot of people doing good work and putting in a lot of effort to produce quality 100% organic produce, and the labeling standard is very strict, so that’s our best guide.”

Unless the product clearly says 100% organic, we need to research the certification standards of the label on our food to understand exactly how organic the food is. The international standard of declaring anything organic requires it to be strictly chemical and pesticide-free but India doesn’t always follow the rules.

Understanding certificates and standards

An organic farm may strive to get certified by Indian and international standards both. We can get various organic food certifications, such as United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) authorized bodies, EU organic standard and more.

Just you see a display in KANNU KUTTI ORGANIC SHOP  near my home in Jeevan Bima Nagar, Chennai.

 

 

Indu Bhandari Sinha, partner in the Indo-Australian JV, Indus Jaivik Aura, and a
firm believer in Vedic farming, thinks mere certification is no guarantee that your food is organic. “I would not be surprised if 80% of the standards specified by organic bodies in India are not followed by most ‘organic farmers’. I have also known cases where people use one certification to sell their other non-organic foods or, worse, buy certificates.”

Small farmers who do the good work and produce organic crops often find it too cumbersome or confusing to get the right certification.

Llook out for the PGS India certification. International standard certifications like USDA and EU are also a good way to ensure a stricter check.

The role of water

Groundwater pollution is one of the major causes of chemicals seeping into crops, raising a big question on how organic any food produced in India is. Rainwater harvesting is a solution – farms such as Jayram’s use large rainwater harvesting tanks to supply their farms with unpolluted water through the year.

An organic farm in Tamil Nadu (P. Sreedharan/ BCCL Tamil Nadu)

“Apart from rainwater harvesting, we also need to do long-term planning and make an effort to rejuvenate the ground water by following best practices. Ideally, one should individually strive to replenish the water under their land,” says Indu.

The India Organic logo, a bird logo, is an important check in this respect. If you are dedicated enough, you can also resort to legwork and due diligence to actually check how the farm where your food is coming from uses water. Most organic farms are open to public and anyone can go and check their practices anytime.

The price factor

Price, in fact, shouldn’t be a factor. There is no real reason for organic food to be more expensive than non-organic, and experts agree that there is hardly any difference in the cost of normal and organic farming.

“High cost does not equal organic food,” says Indu. “It is the middleman that makes the price high, not the farmer. If a non-organic apple is Rs 60 per kg, organic apple might be Rs 80 per kg but the middleman and branding can take it up to Rs 200 per kg or even more, depending on how upmarket the colony is, where the produce is selling.”

The farmers do not make money on these high costs that we as consumers pay for organic food.

Price only becomes a factor in consumption. Shelf life of organic food is low because it does not have additives and preservatives. “Buy in small quantities!” suggests Jayram, offering a simple solution. Buy less and consume fast – those are the only two precautions you need to keep in mind with organic produce.

How organic is ‘organic’?

Testing organic food for chemicals is a lengthy and expensive prospect. While people are continuously devising new ways of detecting impurities and pesticides in milk and vegetables, for now the only solution to making sure that you are eating 100% organic food may be to… grow your own food.

An organic terrace garden in Mumbai (Uma Kadam/ BCCL MUMBAI)

It is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Vertical gardens and small home patches are pretty common in urban homes now. Indu suggest a more organised approach. “The government should encourage people to grow their own organic food,” she says. “They should install a station in every colony, something like the Kendriya Bhandar outlets, where people can get responsibly sourced native heirloom seeds, nourished soil, and other things they need to have balcony or terrace gardens. These stores can also help people recycle and be a one-stop green solution for people. It is the government’s job to encourage green habits.”

In Delhi, this will not only ensure organic food, it will also improve the air quality! Until you are ready to grow your own organic food, the next best option is to buy seasonal produce from a local vegetable hawker rather than a branded organic banana.

Let us make efforts to switch over to ORGANIC FOOD gradually. So this much for this Sunday story. We shall carry on. Till tomorrow good bye!

 

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