From Australian Open

Bad news for all tennis lovers.  Expected though, a little more fight was needed from iconic Russian beauty Sharapova before her early ouster. As if, that wasn’t enough, Nadal said good bye from the Slam failing to outwit countryman Ferrer. Nor could defending champion Federer wield his magic and went down 7-6 (3), 7-5, 6-4 to Djokovic.

For the first time since 2008, a Grand Slam tennis tournament final won’t feature either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. Defending champion Roger Federe landed in Australia this year to retain his title.

It was a historic moment for Roger as he was aiming for his fifth Australian title. But he was unable to sail through as the only player who could stop him Novak knocked him out of the tournament.  Rafael Nadal, winner of the most recent French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open, was vying to become the first man since Laver in 1969 to possess all four trophies simultaneously, but was shot out half way.

The fact that Rafa-Fed have shared 21 of the last 23 Grand Slam titles speaks volumes and shows the vacuum created in this final.

Death after Darshan

As if the plethora of natural calamities taking its toll on human lives and property is not enough, we make the situation worse with inadequate and improper safety measures at crucial venues. Stampedes taking the lives of innocent pilgrims at religious places in India are not anymore rare news. The past one decade has witnessed nearly 1000 lives choking and breathing their last, including those who died at Sabarimala shrine.

On March 4, 2010, nearly 63 people were killed and 15 injured at Kripalu Maharaj’s Ashram at Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh.  On September 30, 2008, more than 200 devotees were killed and over 60 injured in a stampede at Chamunda Devi temple in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur. On August 3, 2008 over 150 people, mainly women and children lost their lives, and hundreds were injured at the Hindu temple of Naina Devi in Himachal Pradesh.The stampede at Mandhar Devi temple in Maharashtra in January 2005, claimed 340 lives.

What is going wrong at these places? You never can point your fingers at the hapless pilgrims who throng from different parts of the country and are clueless about the region and situation. Even if the tragedy is accidently triggered by them – undue hurry to go back after darshan or halting where they aren’t supposed to, breaking coconuts or leaving pooja articles where people walk, prohibited parking of vehicle etc ring death knell – they cannot be called the cuprites though they could do well in being diligent in such places.

Had the authorities, be it from the police or shrine, been more sensible, responsible and proactive and a little farsighted several of such tragedies could be easily shunned.

Deadly rain…

Natural calamities happen not as per human plan or prediction. Though up to some extend it is foreseen, there is nothing we can do to prevent it. Maybe it is a way nature is reacting to the atrocities we do to her.

At present the ball is with nature anyway reports of death and devastation are pouring in from Australia, Brazil, South Africa, and Sri Lanka.

Flood water in Australia’s Queensland state has washed down 12,000 homes in the city of 2 million and left 118,000 buildings without power.

Death toll in Brazil has already crossed 250 mark. The fury of Flood yet to be satiated, the death and damage can prove to be fatal at the final count.

At least 30 people may have been killed and about 1,000 homes damaged by floods in South Africa in the past week.

Deadly Floods hit our neighboring Sri Lanka killing at least 18 people and swamped the homes of nearly one million.

Looks like the year 2011 doesnt prove to be a bright and happy one for thousands around with world.

Pongal traveling to Kerala

Pongal (Tamil: தைப்பொங்கல்) is a harvest festival celebrated by Tamils in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Indian Union Territory of Pondicherry and in Sri Lanka. Pongal coincides with the festival Makara Sankranthi celebrated throughout India. Pongal in Tamil means “boiling over or spill over.” The boiling over of milk in the clay pot symbolizes material abundance for the household. Thai Pongal, celebrated at harvest time, is traditionally intended to thank the Sun God and farmstead livestock that helped create the material abundance.

This year however, unlike the preceding years, the festival will have colorful difference in parts of Kerala as well. The Kerala government declared Pongal holidays to 5 districts in Kerala, viz, Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad, Pathanamtitta, Idukki and Wayanadu. The cabinet meeting took the decision followed by a request from the Tamilnadu chief minister M. Karaunanidhi. This year’s pongal is celebrating on Saturday 15th of January 2011.

This is going to stabilize the relationship between both states. In past there had been issues that have left scars on the relationship side of both the states. Let this decision be an example to other states as well. Let there be a country that unites in celebration.

Onion’s golden run

Eating has become an expensive affair, espy if you are a pure veggie. The price of vegetables has skyrocketed in recent past. India has banned the export of onion and made arrangements for Pak onion import. Cauliflower has become expensive even during the season.

The wholesale price of onion increased to Rs 75-85 per kg from Rs 52 per over the last two weeks. The retail price of tomatoes has soared to Rs 55 per kg. Well, not just onion or cauliflower or tomato, every leaf and bean out there in the market is priced hot.

The reason behind such a drastic and dramatic situation could be attached to climatic change or farmers opting out of the trade or whatever. It just didn’t happen overnight. It was long due. There is no point in blaming or lamenting, the economic jargon is simple: The lesser the supply, the more is the price and more the demand, higher is the price.

There can’t be a once and for all solution, but certainly we can do our bit. It doesn’t take much to plant a few plants of chili or ladies finger or tomato or beans or bitter guard and if you dare graduate to onion or cauliflower. A little sweat but the reward is sweeter, healthier and cheaper.

Ashes Glory

Every cricket lover all over the world must have been watching closely the developments from the Ashes. When the curtains came down for the high-status Test series that has age old history and value, one thing is obvious: inadequacy and downfall of once-mighty Australian team. This is one series that made the absence of Mc Grath and Warne and Waughs and Gilly.

England finished the Ashes Test series in Australia in excellent fashion, winning the final Test in Sydney by an innings and 83 runs to re-write the history books following an emphatic beating of the Australian team on their own soil.

Retiring Paul Collingwood, though flopped throughout the series can be delighted about the outcome of the 5 match series when he hangs up the boots.

what remains to be seen is how the Kangaroos stand up and fight what is ahead of them as World cup is around the corner. the fate of Ponting also remains the balance.

Meanwhile, India did what was required of them to draw the series on the South African soil.