Bittersweet memories

Hey guys, welcome to my first blog post of 2017, sorry 2018 (still haven’t quite gotten used to saying that ) . I hope all of you have a fantabulous & exciting new year!!!! But for me this new year hasn’t exactly gotten of to a smooth start. You see, it all began on Monday morning. I was busy demolishing the formidable stack of that day’s newspapers. Suddenly, when I was in the middle of a gripping article, a flyer caught my eye. I usually ignore them, presuming them to be filled with details that only my Grandma or mom would find interesting, but not this one, no, for this one contained words that struck an arrow through my heart, for it proclaimed the closure of Eloor Lending Library, one of Chennai’s most reputed libraries!!!

Maker:L,Date:2017-9-16,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-veEloor Lending library- Exterior

This news was doubly heart wrenching for me as this was the library that had sparked & nurtured my passion for books. When I was young, the only source of  stories was my grandfather, who commanded such a vast storehouse of knowledge and tales which he used endlessly to regale me. But as I grew older, this was not enough to satisfy my voraciousness & I soon began to search for more avenues.

Up till that point, I was restricted to my native language of Tamil & couldn’t converse in other languages. My report cards soon began to back this up!! My dad soon took it upon himself to reverse this horrifying trend & initiated me into the world of English. However he didn’t exactly get what he’d bargained for. As I remember him recounting to my mother ” What monster have I unleashed?! “. I had completed his entire stack of books & was clamouring for more ( It didn’t exactly help that I was 7 yrs old, the very height of endless energy & naughtiness) . Soon ( after the destruction of precisely, 3 bathrooms, 500 pillows, 347 mattresses & the breakage of countless pieces of furniture) , my parents realised that the only way to curb my excessive energy was by providing me with an endless supply of books. This is where Eloor came in.

My dad had been one of the library’s first patrons & had assisted this library in expanding its store of computer related books( This was back in the 90’s , when he was still a student). So it was natural that he was to bring me here. And the rest as they say is history. I soon began to borrow over 20 books during my visits & became fast friends with the librarians. We endlessly talked about everything underneath the sun, from politics to why Jughead is awesome. This is where my unique style of reading( The 3 pillars) was forged.  My favourites during that time was Asterix & Obleix,  Tintin, Calvin & Hobbes, The Spy dog series, the Archie’s comics & several standalones of which the library contained rows of.

My favourite person in the library was ‘Oil’ Uncle( called so because his previous job was selling tins of ghee & desi oil), the security guard. A jovial man who was always delighted to see us. As the years progressed, I soon began to venture into more & more different genres & I was soon regarded by both my seniors & juniors as a Juggernaut in this language.  When I reached 7th standard, I had exhausted even this library’s extensive resources & soon began to turn my gaze towards the e-book craze. But that didn’t stop me from still continuing to borrow books from Eloor. I even assisted the librarians in updating their books, so as to improve patronage.

But it seems that my efforts were in vain. The librarian recounted that though this had helped bump up patronage, the business had been running on a loss for the last 2 years & the rent they paid was also quite expensive.

As soon as I read the flyer, I had rushed to father & urged him to drive me to the library at once. Once we reached, I rushed in to confirm the news. The head librarian replied in affirmative & said that they were also selling off all their books. I immediately ran in & collected all of my favourites, books that were not just pieces of paper but allies, my brothers in arms. I was however distraught to find that some of them had already been sold off. We bid farewell to all the librarians & exchanged numbers, so as to stay in touch. Even ‘Oil’ Uncle, who possessed an ever smiling face, also looked lost & saddened.

Patrons scrambling to buy their favourite novels

The next day, newspapers throughout Chennai began publishing articles, biding farewell to this great icon. I have cut these articles out of the paper & they, along with the 20 odd books I purchased, will serve as a reminder of the carefree days I spent there.  However, this is by no means the end of the road for Eloor, no. It’s spirit lives on in the hearts of every person who loves & cherishes books, who feel that they open doors into a new world.

Maker:L,Date:2017-9-16,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-veThe author along with a few of his purchased books

I hope I have been able to give you guys a peek into my love for books & the sense of brotherhood I feel for this library. Until next time, farewell my friends!!!



What does this actually represent???

Hey, it’s me, the blogger back with a new post! Most of you of have seen this symbol right? It can be seen everywhere from public toilets to houses.

We know it as the wheelchair symbol, but its formal title as per the ISO( International Organization for Standardization) is the International Symbol of Access.

When I first heard about this, I was thoroughly confused. Everyone from my peers to even my Lawyer cousin were unclear as to what the symbol means. At a certain point, even I began to wonder, is this just some rumour spread through WhatsApp or a genuine fact? So I did some digging & what I found was really interesting.

One of the main reasons that people are perplexed about the meaning of this seemingly plain symbol may stem from how the symbol came about & why. In 1968, The International Commission of Technology & Accessibility held a design contest ( though I’m not sure how they would have had the time to say all that every time they gave an award) They were looking for something that would be recognizable no matter the distance( self descriptive), simple, practical & couldn’t be confused with existing symbols.

The winning design which for some weird reason didn’t have a head, was designed by Susanne Koefed, a Danish designer. With the addition of a head the following year made it more relatable & boy did succeed in doing that, because by the next ten years, it was endorsed by not just the ISO but by the United Nations themselves!!!

Without pizzazz or commotion, a global icon was born. But come the 2000s & even this simple sign needed an update. So the Graphic Artists’ Guild took it upon themselves & added more rounded, human-ish features. Then in 2012, The Accessible Icon Project came up with a more, shall we say, souped- up variant.

But this doesn’t really answer the question about this sign’s purpose. To put it simply, it is a sign which is used to indicate where there are accessible amenities like toilets or restaurants  . The strength of such Globally recognizable image is that no matter the tongue you speak , the country you are in, or the clothes you wear, if you require such facilities, the sign shows the way. So the next time you decide to visit a foreign country & are caught in ” I need a bathroom” situation but don’t understand the language? Don’t  worry, because the trusty wheelchair will show the way.

Ok, now you’re probably thinking ” If it’s that simple, then why is there so much confusion about this?” . That comes from the term accessibility & what it actually means.  Many people assume that since the symbol is about a wheelchair, the accessible facilities are only meant to be used by those who use wheelchairs or those who have a visible physical condition. But accessibility is a diverse concept that applies to plethora of conditions, ranging from people with autism to autoimmune diseases, like lupus.

In fact the World Health Organization estimates that they are approximately 1 billion people who suffer from some form of disability. So look to your left & look to your right because statistically you live in a world where even your best friend could differently abled. And people who use wheelchairs make up only 15% of the total amount. The vast majority suffer from non-visible disabilities. So these accessible amenities have to be designed keeping this whole group in mind.

In recent years, several people have begun to question whether the symbol is really appropriate for what it’s meant to do. This is not just about encompassing the masses but also because people tend to be abusive & intolerant towards people without visible disabilities. This symbol, which was meant to unite the human race has sadly been warped & instead used to further divide us.

There is however a ray of hope. The recent redesigns have attempted to address the concerns about the current symbol. There is a growing acceptance towards differently abled people & this new generation of movers & shakers is to be given much of the credit. In order to highlight this & signal the beginning of a new era, some advocate a complete re-design, but it’s a strenuous task, how do you replace something that is familiar through out the globe. And what will be it’s successor?

I hope this post has given you a better understanding of this universal symbol & its origins. Hope you enjoyed reading this post & are eagerly awaiting more. Until next time, May The Force be with You.


Madurai Mani Iyer

Good morning to everybody out there in the big mass of earth. Today its all about a Carnatic musician who is famous but is now somewhat forgotten. I may be wrong as well, but our younger generation does not seem to have the least bit of interest  in this great art. I too was like them until I came in contact with Mrs Lakshmi Devanath`s books on Carnatic music legends. I simply adored her books. The book that enchanted me the most was a book on the great Madurai Mani Iyer. I am now going to give you a very brief glimpse of his life.


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