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The Unofficial Publication of The 1979 Batch Engineer Trainees Of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited Tiruchirapalli, India

Pulse Moscow

January 2013


Issue Number 1

3 3



San Franciso



We Wish ET79 a Very Happy 2013 and Happy Pongal In this Issue


Vivien Weds Sylvia

Easwaran & Chandra


Pongal festivals



Blowing The Trumpet



Lady ET79



Your Trumpet and Lady ET79, which I hope will be a

‘Thamarai ‘ Lives



‘hit’ with you.

Chilling out in Hawaii



Your raving review and useful feedback (page 18)

Kandu’s Love Story



ET 79 Happenings



Let us keep the momentum and continue the beat!




Regards Radha

Marigolds in Dubai

Andrew Hudson


Golden Memories

N S Sadasivam


You said it

Your feedback


Dear ET79 This new year issue is a bumper issue, with 18 pages. It has contributions from many ET79 and 2 guests. Take your time and read it over a few days. You will find 2 new features in this issue; Blowing

on the last issue has recharged the Pulse Desk .

31 Dec 2012

Jan 2013 Jan 13


Pulse....feel the beat! Pulse…feel the beat!


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Vivien Moses Weds Sylvia: Rajan Moses Hosts a Grand Ceremony

Chennai – 26 Dec 12: Chandra reports, “There were over 1,000 invitees gathered to bless the couple, Vivien and Sylvia. The LITE Auditorium in Kilpauk was glittering with illumination and overflowing with people”. Easwaran, whose appetite for ET79 news is well known, reports, “The vegetarian dinner, for the minority, was superb, with plenty of variety. There was a strong crowd in the NV section and was seen relishing their bite”. ET79 were impressed with the speeches made by close friends. Easwaran adds, “It was nice to hear Vivien talk, may be, a little surprised that his studies at Guindy has not diluted his American accent, a wee bit. Moses’s trademark-style of talking, with measured tones, has not changed and reminded us of ETH days”.

ET79 who attended the event are thankful to Moses for breaking conventions, and providing them with a fast track route to rush to the stage and wish the young couple. We wish Vivien and Sylvia a very happy married life.

Moses responds: Dear ET79 Thank you so much for being part of this ceremony. I was much delighted to see you all after several years. I understand the time and trouble taken by you on a working day to be part of this ceremony. My wife and I thank you all for the love and affection shown.

It was a great show of strength from ET79, Gopi, Ananthan, Chandra, Elangovan, Nataraj, Kandu, Rajasekar and Ganapathy from Channai, Suresh Babu from Bengaluru, Nizam from Kerala, and Soundy, Asoks, Venky and Easwaran from Trichy. With Moses it made a perfect fifteen, one of the biggest galaxy of ET79 assembled outside Trichy!

We were a little worried whether you all had the dinner or not and relieved after I saw the positive comments about the wedding dinner. Regards Rajan Moses

Ganapathy joins Eversendai Group

Ganapathy has joined Eversendai, Chennai, as the

for power plant applications. Ganfat is confident that

General Manager. He will be leading the Eversendai

the Group can deliver bolted structures, welded

fabrication shops getting ready near Trichy in the G

structures and any pressure parts. With Ganfat’s

K Industrial Park at Siruganur. Ganapathy with his

expertise, he says they can manufacture anything

expertise on structural and pressure parts fabrication

under the sun. Great going, Ganfat.

has been chosen to lead this and give a special drive

All the very best to you!

Jan 2013

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Significance of Pongal Festivals

Pongal Festivals When Radha wanted me to write on Bhogi & Pongal festivals, the first thought that came to my mind was the way our traditional festivals are being hijacked by commercial interests. In consumption driven economy every holiday is an occasion to grab your attention and then your money. In the process the original significance of the festivals is lost. The purpose of human life is not restricted to eating, drinking or being merry. Indian traditions have evolved over many centuries to promote happiness through the practice of rites and rituals. While material prosperity is important, we should not forget that the real purpose of life is spiritual knowledge and growth. In this light let us understand some significant aspects of forthcoming Pongal festivals that are probably the most important in Tamil culture. In general they are thanksgiving festivals to all those who have contributed to our food security and wellbeing. Bhogi Pandigai The day preceding Pongal is called Bhogi that is celebrated in honour of Lord Indra who controls the clouds and rains. People assemble at dawn to light a bonfire to discard old used possessions symbolizing the destruction of evil. But nowadays this Bhogi bonfire causes pollution due to the burning of plastics and rubber that needs to be avoided. Bhogi comes on the last day of Tamil month Margazhi that is earmarked exclusively for early morning prayers. Both “Tiruppavai” and “Tiruvembavai” of Vaishnavite and Saivite traditions give a wakeup call each day with a hymn. The wakeup call is actually for the soul that is under the influence of Tamasic forces. After month long exhortation, one is expected to see a new beginning after getting rid of bad habits and evil thoughts. Thus the sayings “Pazhayana Kazhidalum, Pudiyana Pugudalum”, “Thai Pirandal Vazhi Pirakkum” are attributed to Boghi and Pongal. Thai Pongal It is a thanksgiving festival dedicated to the Sun God Surya at the end of harvest season. It is timed by an astronomical event - the winter solstice. It marks the beginning of the northward journey of the Sun from Jan 2013

By Chandrasekhar

its southernmost-limit, a movement traditionally referred to as uttarayana. This also represents the sun entering the 10th house of the Indian zodiac i.e. Makaram or Capricorn. Thus it is celebrated throughout India as Makara Sankaranthi. The Uttarayana period is the day time for Devas and it is appropriate time to seek their blessings. Thus many marriages and auspicious events are planned during this period. On this day, Sweet Pongal is cooked with newly harvested rice. The neck of the Ponga panai is tied with fresh turmeric leaves and ginger leaves. The green leaves symbolize prosperity. Sugarcane another important part of Pongal symbolizes sweetness and happiness. Pongal is the last festival in the Tamil Calendar and the year is expected to end with signs of prosperity and sweetness. Maattu Pongal On the day after Pongal, cattle are felicitated in recognition of their provision of dairy products, fertilizer, farm work and transportation. They are decorated with garlands, horns painted, kungumam applied on their foreheads and are feed with a mixture of venn pongal, jaggery,honey,banana and other fruits. In rural Tamil Nadu, adventurous games such as the Jallikkattu or taming the wild bull are features of the day. Kanu Pidi is a tradition that the ladies and young girls of the house follow. Women feed birds and pray for the well being of their brothers. Women of the family place different kinds of coloured rice, cooked vegetables, banana and sweet pongal on a ginger or turmeric leaf and invite the crows. Women offer prayers in the hope that the brother-sister ties may remain forever strong like the family of crows. Kaanum Pongal This is a time for family reunions. Brothers pay special tribute to their married sisters by giving gifts as affirmation of their filial love. Landlords present gifts of food, clothes and money to their workforce. It is a day to thank relatives and friends for their support in their well-being. In the cities, this day is synonymous with people flocking to beaches and theme parks to have a day out with their families

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‘Vettri’ (Victorious) Pandian in Cloud Nine

Introduction: This section is all about your achievements. One and half a millennium years of E79 experience is sure to have over hundreds of significant achievements, past 1979. Do we know the accomplishments of our batch mates in full, but for the ones in the public domain? ET79 have been too humble as a batch not to brag about their individual accomplishments in profession and in life. Now, Pulse is willing to take the responsibility of smoking-out your triumphs and blowing your trumpet.

The first ET79 we approached was Pandian, as he was spotted wandering in the cyber space. It took quite an amount of persuasion through GoogleTalk and email to get Pandian onboard for this new section.

MBA from University of Texas at Austin in 2003. I did this in evenings while working full time at IBM. Good news was IBM paid all my tuition!”

Here we go, with the Pandian Athirajan. Pandian achievements falls into two areas ie education and career. On achievements in the educational front, Pandian says, “My first educational achievement is completing my MS degree from the University of Cincinnati, US in 1993”. Pandian continued, “Though getting a MS is no big deal but completing it after 12 years of working life in BHEL was challenge. Moreover, trying to remember the basic calculus and algebra combined with leaning new programming languages were not easy not at all”.

He further said, “In addition, during this time I had to go through the frustration of rejection of visas for my wife and daughter. They were in India during my entire course of study.” Any further educational achievements, we asked him. “My second achievement was finishing my Jan 2013

On the career perspective, Pandian says from cloud-9, “From career perspective, my most significant achievement is my promotion to Program Director position in IBM and managing a key strategic project in cloud computing for IBM." On the support received from the family, Pandian recalls. “None of these would have been possible without significant support from my wife, Sunanda, children and my parents. Despite her full time job at Dell and regular attention needed for kid's education, my wife supported me during my MBA program as well as my extended travel I made during my career at IBM.” Pictured here are Pandian, his wife Sunanda Pandian, a software architect at Dell, daughter Prathiba Pandian, an MPH (Masters in Public Health) and Project Manager at St. Lukes's Hospital at Houston, and son Rishab Pandian, doing his ninth grade. The smiles tell it all. They are Being Happy and Enjoying Life. We are truly proud of you Pandian!

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Lady ET79

Gratefully Yours: Balraj Reflects About Mrs Indirani Balraj

Introduction: This section is about Lady ET79. As it would have it, all of ET79 happen to be men. A better-half is a better half; there are no doubts in the minds of ET79. Have you guys said it loud enough? Here is an opportunity to show your gratitude to your wife, by shouting from the ‘Pulse-top’.

Mrs & Mr Balraj are celebrating their wedding anniversary on 31 of this month, having completed 32 years of married life. Let us listen to what Balraj says about the personality, Mrs Indirani, is: “I am amazed with the presence of mind she has exhibited, which makes me feel that she is more intelligent than me. She has not pestered for anything that is for her own happiness or comfort, it is always family-first for her. Her sacrifices for the family are numerous and there are no words to describe this”. Haven’t they had any tiff during these 32 years of married life? Hear out Balraj: “Of course, there were times.. we would not speak to each other for few days. However, she was so adjustable to the situations and would take the lead to bring in harmony in the family. The most lovable character is her simplicity and her respect for human values”.

“I admit that she has shaped me by inspiring me and guiding me on all fronts of my life. She is everything for me. I do not know how and what way I can show my gratitude, as I feel nothing can compensate.” The message Balraj wants to give Mrs Indirani Balraj (which he has not given to her yet): “You have made immense contribution to the family. Please relax now. Have a detachedattachment with life and with relationships”. We wish the couple a continued happy married life.

About the kind of support, he has received:

Celebrating birthday in JAN are: Mrs Vijila Nalini Ramaiah

On January 1

Mr Jagadish Prasad


Miss Padmavathy Nagesh Babu


Mr Karthik Murugiah


Mrs Sagunthala Paramasivam


Mr Ilavenil Balraj


Mr C Ramaiah


Miss Nandhinee Parthiban


Mr Raghuvara Teja Somaiah


Miss Sreya Muthukumaran


Pulse wishes you all a very Happy Birthday! Jan 2013

Marriage Day Celebrations (a.k.a. “Time to present diamonds”) Mr. B Suresh Babu and Mrs. Hemalatha Suresh Babu are completing 31 years of wedded bliss on the 22nd January, having got married in 1981. P Gopakumar and Lakshmi Gopakumar celebrate 29 years of wedded bliss on 30th January. K.S. Radhakrishnan & Kanchana Radhakrishnan make it 22 on 30th January, having got married on that date in 1990. Mr. V Balraj and Mrs. Indirani Balraj are completing 32 of their association on the 31st January. Our best wishes to the couple!

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‘Thamarai’ Lives

By Matangi there's something good to come from any situation”.

We reached out to Thamarai’s family to know about their wellbeing. Matangi, on behalf of the family says, “It's been an adventurous 2 years since Thamarai's passing, to say the least. For a time, things seemed bad but we've come to learn it's really just 90% perspective and attitude with 10% sweat and tears”. On happening in the last 2 years, Matangi adds, “In just 2 years, I've graduated and on my path to a new job, my brother is successful in his career, mom was also working but is now enjoying her gardening and needlework in peace, and we even bought our first home! We wouldn't have imagined all this a few years ago, but with help and support from friends, family, and our dad's spirit guiding us, we've come a long way”.

On a question on past memories, she said, “I think Thamarai’s life is better reflected in our future. Everything we do now has bits and pieces of Thamarai scattered around it from doing yard work, fixing up house and car problems, to getting really creative in the kitchen and throwing food together to create a crazy meal”. She further reflects, “I hope everyone feels that way when a loved one has passed because nobody really leaves us, at least spiritually”. On what the family would like to convey to ET79: “Thank you for taking your time to ask about us, it means a lot! I hope everyone enjoys their holidays and good luck with everything!” say Thamarai’s family members to ET79.

On missing Thamarai, Matangi says, “Obviously we miss Thamarai very much and wish he was here for all these exciting new times, but it's very much because of him that we've been able to move on and thrive as we settle comfortably in Texas”. On Thamarai’s influence, Matangi reckons, “Our father would always smile and laugh his way through any rough patch of life, knowing that everything will get better and I think that's the legacy he's passed on to our entire family. We continue to stay positive and have faith that

We agree the Thamarai-spirit lives!

Easwaran’s tribute: “Come Pongal time, the sweetness of sugar cane is made bitter by the thoughts of demise of Thamarai two years ago. Thamarai of 1979 was a totally different person from the Thamarai that I saw in 2000s ….. in maturity, in approach to life and in analysis of life. His sense of humour had remained intact. For me, he was the strongest supporter and contributor for Pulse, and was always accessible just across an e-mail. How I wish an e-mail could reach him up there! He survived the pangs of cancer with great courage, but it is sad that cancer had its last laugh. We miss you, Thamarai. You remain in our hearts. You will, forever”. Jan 2013

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Chilling Out in Hawaii




Our Hawaii trip was short and sweet. Hawaii has a large

changes in the colour of the sky and the mountain during

passenger submarine fleet and one can watch under sea (up

that one hour. This mountain has a sleeping volcano which

to 130 feet) marine life, including sharks.

erupted 1000's of years ago, whose crater is large enough to

In Whaler's village, 40 feet long whale skeleton decorates

hold the entire Manhatten area.

the entrance. The unique attraction in Hawaii is called

We also took a whole-day tour called 'Road to Hana' with

'Luau' along with the traditional dance program. One

around 600+ bends , narrow roads but was very scenic. We

more interesting point: For the first time, I was recognized

had seen so many falls, flowers, fruits on the way. The

as a senior citizen in the Whaler's museum' and was the

whole place was lush green, a sight to watch.

discounted entry fee (2$ instead of 3$)! Who said aging

We took a helicopter tour to see the beauty of the Maui

does not pay? We saw the world’s 3rd biggest banyan tree (1st and 2nd biggest banyan tress are in India?) This rainbow state (Hawaii’s pet name) is all about beaches, sunrise and sunset.

One day we woke up at

2.45am, took a drive, to see the sunrise from the 10,000

island on the last day and we saw a 700 feet water fall that seemed to be longest in US. There were many other waterfalls and 'seven sacred water falls' was a scene to watch. This reminded me of the five falls in Coutrallam in Tirunelveli district!

foot tall Haleakala mountain. It was spectacular to see the Tirumalai says, “I have resigned from Samba Bank and have retired from corporate life partly due to my health. As you are aware, I have 4 blocks in my heart. Doctors have been advising me to reduce the stress level. I was dragging the decisions but finally with the pleading by my family and persuasion of the physicians, I have decided to retire. Since my daughters are in the US, I am spending a few months with them and I am on this trip now”. We wish Tirumalai the best of health, happiness and well deserved relaxation.

Jan 2013

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A True Story

Kandu’s Love Story

Normally, Kandu is not expected to be an extrovert, but his presence in ET79 gathering (in Murux’s party) gave him the stimulus to talk about that love story, dating back to three and a half decades. Kandu took time to chew the cud and reveal some of the never before told truths. Kandu wanted this to be a guide for youngsters … not about love marriage … but to tell them the troubles behind making it in a love marriage. It all started with Kandu in his REC Trichy days travelling to his remote village by bus, late in the evening. Buses were few and when suddenly a bus came, there was a huge rush. Kandu can wriggle through any crowd due to his short nature, but he didn’t want to do that. He had spotted a girl, who was different. She was beautiful and Kandu felt she deserved to be told love at first sight. But then not in such a crowd! So he made his moves rather slowly. He got into the bus after her and tried to look as if it was difficult for him to pull out his purse in the crowd. When the conductor approached, he requested the girl to help in getting the ticket. That was the beginning. As the bus moved on, the crowd reduced and Kandu sat behind her! But he couldn’t open a dialogue. Kandu kept telling himself that he had to break the ice. She didn’t look like his village girl and she was looking great … that was all Kandu had for reassurance. Kandu was left to himself for over two hours in the bus, with his thoughts overtaking him, but with no success. Then Kalaignar came to Kandu’s rescue! Karunanidhi was addressing a gathering somewhere near his village. The conductor declared that the bus will not go any farther, and all have to walk the last few kilometres. Alas, the brightest smile on Kandu’s face has never been captured for posterity!

By Easwaran

Kandu talked about everything, but restrained from uttering the three-words that characterise Feb 14! He made it a point to highlight that he was at NITT, one of the bright lot. He understood that the girl was a B Ed pursuing teaching. He had to leave her at one point, but would have loved an eternal walk on that day! The spark of love had its effect on Kandu. He couldn’t eat properly, attend classes regularly. He tried to catch a glimpse of her again, but of no avail. Time moved on. Kandu found it hard, but decided to carry on with life at REC. Then some student from the girl’s village met him seeking his advice on some project related matter. This was a boon for Kandu. After providing all support (Kandu has never helped anyone like that in his life!), he asked the student to take him to the girl’s village and possibly introduce him again. He reluctantly agreed and took Kandu for a remote view of the girl’s house. Kandu saw her sisters and other family members, but not the girl. Later, there was an occasion to meet her and there began the love journey. There are some pages missing in Kandu’s memory of those periods. All that matters is that Kandu loved her and she loved him. They had made a visit to Pichavaram together. By then Kandu had joined ETH. He was confident that there were 51 ETs, who could be of support in case there was opposition from the family members. Kandu says he was worried and surprised, when one fine day the girl arrived in ETH. The rest is history. The family searched for her for three days, before they landed at Kandu’s doorstep. The main refrain from the girl’s parents was that they should have been informed of the whereabouts. All is well that ends well. Today, Kandu is happily married. But the advice from Kandu to youngsters is not to venture as he did in 1975-76!

Kandu made the most out of the walk and the girl also needed some escort. So they talked and walked.

OVERHEARD Mrs Dass: “I am Dass’s sister’s daughter. Dass has been a champion in several fields in his school and college days. A boxer, an indoor games player of almost all games, player of hockey and football … there is very little that Dass has left untouched. She remembers the series of prizes he won in Bangalore school … he never seemed to get out of the dias. That is when she got impressed about Dass”.

Jan 2013

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ET79 Happenings

By Easwaran

Intruder in Mama’s house It was a cold morning by Trichy standards. The intruder in ‘checked attire’ got into mama’s house unnoticed, climbed the flight of a few steps and hid in the shoe rack. The intruder must have had a heavy meal, so was dosing off in the recess. Mami, who had opened the shoe rack, spotted this intruder and promptly closed the shoe rack and called security for help. The security promptly arrived, but was more interested in the details, before launching into action. … Did you see the intruder? Are you sure it was a snake? Did it hiss? Did it look like a poisonous snake? Did it make an attempt to bite? Are you sure it is not a lizard? Snakes usually will not stay put, it would have crawled off? Do you know of the alternative route it can take beyond the shoe rack door? What are the dimensions of the snake? Are you sure you saw a snake? And so on. Mami felt naturally frustrated and told the security that she did see the snake; but did not have enough time to enquire these details with the snake. The security still did not see the sense of urgency. He felt snakes would not harm humans unless they irritated

the snakes. Just by looking at a snake in the eye, it will not get irritated. Are you sure there is a snake? Just when mami was about to pull in all courage and open the shoe rack and throw the snake out all by herself, the security said, having fully enquired, now it was time for his action. He organised for a sack and opened the shoe rack. There was absolute stillness. “See there is no snake, it would have crawled out. I had told you!” he beamed. Mami was 100% sure that the snake must be behind the helmet. He moved the helmet and there it was! The intruder with checked pattern all over it! It smoothly moved into the sack, without protest. The security moved out with his prized possession. Mami enquired, what are you going to do with this? The security was very clear that it was Karthigai month and snakes deserved to exist. Checked snakes are deadly and this one is. I will let it off somewhere, he said as he got out of the gate. Not here, mami yelled. The security had only one of his finest smiles to offer. Since then mama’s shoe rack is kept clean and empty! Intruders to note!!

New Cycle in Soundy’s House Soundy’s house being close to Training Centre, there bicycle. He explained it was a new cycle with are some people who request him and leave their dazzling attachments. His guest had been told to use cycles inside, when they go to catch a bus to town. the cycle for a drop and then park it in Soundy’s This being a philanthropist activity, Soundy did not house, so that he could take it later, if the keys were mind it, and the number of cycles proliferated. Until kept on the cycle. It had taken him a week to pick it one day, Soundy saw a brand new bicycle parked for up, as he was not well. After all, there is no safer about three days at a stretch with the keys not place than Soundy’s house! removed. Soundy was a little worried that this should not lead to a situation wherein someone steals the Soundy could now put two and two together and he new cycle and he has to answer for it. There is a limit explained the episode and took him to the security for to philanthropy. So he called the security and told getting back the cycle. The security, true to their trait, him that there was a new bicycle with keys wanted three identification marks to describe the unattended in his quarters to be taken care of by cycle. Was there any number? Is there a bill? Is your security. The security saw the cycle, looked for any name engraved somewhere? After Soundy’s potential bombs, looked at the new seat cover, bell. It intervention, the cycle was shown to him for was indeed a brand new bike with many attachments, confirmation. The cycle was easy to identify, but but no bombs! So security took control of the cycle where was the bell, seat cover and other dazzling and moved it to their premises. attachments? The security had no clue to this, despite Soundy confirming that it was all there when he After a few days, a friend of Soundy came to his handed over to them! house and asked if he had by any chance seen his It again goes to prove that there is no safer place than Soundy’s house!

Jan 2013

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Soundy’s Daughter’s Betrothal Soundy had got up a grand event to mark the betrothal of his daughter Ms Anusuya with Mr Kribakar, There was a gathering of over 120 people. Soundy was a perfect host receiving everyone at the door and extending warm courtesy. There was a fresh drink besides floral welcome. There was also cashew and cake served as we waited for the function to begin. The elderly gents from the boy’s side and girl’s side sat on the dias, facing each other and exchanged vethilai pakku. There was exchange of thamboolam and nalungu blessings of the couple from elders. Makesh Soundy was busy capturing the scenes in his professional camera, even though there was another photographer and videographer arranged. Then the guests took photographs with the couple. ET79 went in one stretch and organized a group photo, as is customary on such occasions. Venky and Mrs Venky were the closest to the bridegroom, and it appeared Venky was the best-man for the occasion. Venky had to be reminded that he was representing ET79 also. Thanakodis presented a bouquet to the young couple. Mama, mami and Niranjan participated in full strength. As mami has restrictions on her food, Soundy ensured that mami had a double delight of ice creams. Dass came with

his wife and reveled as usual. Some of his recent topical quiz questions included: What is common between short circuit and jealousy (in both cases vayar eriyum); what is in common between Communism and Krishna Jayanthi (Karl Marx and Kaal Marks) … Asok Kumar and Mrs Asok Kumar joined with Asok providing the intermittent decibel levels. Murux came trim, fit and in cooling glasses and refused to remove the glasses, until it was said that a public announcement will be made that today he is a thatha! Mrs Balraj, who is on a vacation to Trichy, joined in and seemed to love the get together. Ananthan was the last to arrive, but he filled the space with his sparks. Dr Ravichandran and Mrs Ravichandran graced the occasion and made it a point to remind all about their daughter Keerthana’s marriage at Chennai on March 13, 2013, with a reception on the previous night. In all it was a memorable event totally enjoyed by all. Very special mention must be made of the personal touch Soundy had for all the guests, making them feel at home. Soundy has announced that the marriage will be on May 12, 2013 at Tuticorin. There would be a reception at BHEL, Trichy on 14th May 2013; but ET79 have to be in both places, he adds.

Mohan in Town Marker walked in tall, smiling, He was received with equally shining smiles from all the folks.

Mohan made a short visit to India covering Bangalore, Trichy, Guruvayur and Chennai. It was mostly temple visits, so naturally there was a visit to the temple of welding – BHEL. This time for a change, a big group had assembled at KC even before Marker arrived, about an hour behind schedule.

Murux has a liking for Pandyas Hotel in Kattur, so it was decided that we would move to Pandyas in two cars. The food was good, that is what Marker also felt. Soundy, Dass, Venky, Murux, Marker, Easwaran and Asok (Ravichandran met Marker at KC, but could not join for dinner) … It was a full house. Gopi and Mama phoned up from Thirumayam adding to the representation. Dass also made marketing effort for Chinese made cellphones by displaying his cell phone. It appears Marker got impressed and has bought a Kaarbon cellphone at Bangalore.

OVERHEARD Thanakodi: “We hail from a kuk gramam … the reasons why we are good cooks! My wife is more loved than me in my family and she takes care of them very well. My quarters always have some of my relatives. After shifting to B5 quarters, we have started to do gardening. There is a good vegetable garden. We are slowly trying to avoid going to vegetable shop!” Jan 2013

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Murugiah’s Celebrations As you are all aware, Murugiah (Murux) had invited all ET79 for the double celebration, which in a way added 2 more members into the ET79 family. We

from a decent middle class, vegetarian, family in Madurai. She is highly cultured, god-fearing, and an excellent home-maker. No doubt, my son and daughter find her very friendly”. Mrs Jansi Rani, who was unmarried and living with mother till Murugiah got into her life, said “Never thought of marrying, suddenly things materialized”. On her interests and passion, she said “I work on

welcome the new members aboard. In the event attended by a host of ET79, Murux introduced his wife, Jansi Rani: “Jansi is 52 years young and active. She is a B Com graduate with half a dozen diplomas to her credit. Her expertise includes typing, tailoring, teacher training for tailoring, beautician, aroma therapy etc. She hails

newer designs for special dresses. Love to help the old and needy and would love to earn and support some old age home. I have learnt a lot of handy works like embroidery, kolam and the like. I can do some de-stressing”.

Murugiah becomes Thatha: Murux has become thatha! You know when? On 27th September 2012! Murux had managed to keep this a well-kept. The rumours were clarified at gun point from Murux! His daughter Suji has delivered a baby boy. The child has been named Krish Arvind. In the photo, you can see Krish about to raise his fist and tell thatha, “I will bash you if I see you smoke again!”

Overheard Gopalaswamy: “We have a small house, two dogs, few parrots, a mini zoo. We do a bit of gardening. When time permits, we manage the industries in Thuvakudi and Vazhavanthankottai. It is a small business that is just crossing the Rs 20 crore turnover this year. It just happened that we are the ones to make the wind boxes for Supercritical Boilers in India for the first time”. Being partner/ leader in three Industries, Gopal is all set to start one more venture, come Jan 2013.

Jan 2013

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The Power of Concentration By Maria Konnikova Published: New York Times, 15 Dec 2012

MEDITATION and mindfulness: the words conjure images of yoga retreats and Buddhist monks. But perhaps they should evoke a very different picture: a man in a deerstalker, puffing away at a curved pipe, Mr. Sherlock Holmes himself. The world’s greatest fictional detective is someone who knows the value of concentration, of “throwing his brain out of action,” as Dr. Watson puts it. He is the quintessential unitasker in a multitasking world. More often than not, when a new case is presented, Holmes does nothing more than sit back in his leather chair, close his eyes and put together his longfingered hands in an attitude that begs silence. He may be the most inactive active detective out there. His approach to thought captures the very thing that cognitive psychologists mean when they say mindfulness. Though the concept originates in ancient Buddhist, Hindu and Chinese traditions, when it comes to experimental psychology, mindfulness is less about spirituality and more about concentration: the ability to quiet your mind, focus your attention on the present, and dismiss any distractions that come your way. The formulation dates from the work of the psychologist Ellen Langer, who demonstrated in the 1970s that mindful thought could lead to improvements on measures of cognitive function and even vital functions in older adults. Now we’re learning that the benefits may reach further still, and be more attainable, than Professor Langer could have then imagined. Even in small doses, mindfulness can effect impressive changes in how we feel and think — and it does so at a basic neural level. In 2011, researchers from the University of Wisconsin demonstrated that daily meditation-like thought could shift frontal brain activity toward a pattern that is associated with what cognitive scientists call positive, approach-oriented emotional states — states that make us more likely to engage the world rather than to withdraw from it. Participants were instructed to relax with their eyes closed, focus on their breathing, and acknowledge and release any random thoughts that might arise. Then they had the option of receiving nine 30-minute meditation training sessions over the next five weeks. When they were tested a second time, their neural activation patterns had undergone a striking leftward shift in frontal asymmetry — even when their Jan 2013

Sourced by Mohan

practice and training averaged only 5 to 16 minutes a day. As little as five minutes a day of intense Holmes-like inactivity, and a happier outlook is yours for the taking — though this particular benefit seems to have been lost on Holmes himself, what with his bouts of melancholy and his flirtations with a certain 7 percent solution. A quick survey will show that the paradox is illusory: Holmes is depressed when there is no target for his mental faculties. Give him a project, and balance is restored. But mindfulness goes beyond improving emotion regulation. An exercise in mindfulness can also help with that plague of modern existence: multitasking. Of course, we would like to believe that our attention is infinite, but it isn’t. Multitasking is a persistent myth. What we really do is shift our attention rapidly from task to task. Two bad things happen as a result. We don’t devote as much attention to any one thing, and we sacrifice the quality of our attention. When we are mindful, some of that attentional flightiness disappears as if of its own accord. In 2012, researchers led by a team from the University of Washington examined the effects of meditation training on multitasking in a real-world setting. They asked a group of human resources professionals to engage in the type of simultaneous planning they did habitually. Each participant was placed in a one-person office, with a laptop and a phone, and asked to complete several typical tasks: schedule meetings for multiple attendees, locate free conference rooms, write a memo that proposed a creative agenda item and the like. The information necessary to complete those tasks? Delivered as it otherwise would be: by e-mail, through instant messages, over the phone and in person. The list was supposed to be completed in 20 minutes or less. After the multitasking free-for-all, participants were divided into three groups: one was assigned to an eight-week meditation course (two hours of instruction, weekly); another group didn’t take the course at first, but took it later; and the last group took an eight-week course in body relaxation. Everyone was put through a second round of frenzy. The only participants to show improvement were those who had received the mindfulness training. Not only did they report fewer negative emotions at the end of the assignment, but their ability to concentrate improved significantly. They could stay on task longer and they switched between tasks less

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frequently. While the overall time they devoted to the assignment didn’t differ much from that of other groups, they spent it more efficiently. They engaged, on average, in just over 40 discreet “tasks” — testrelated behaviors that had a definable start and end time — spending approximately 36 seconds on each, in contrast to the 48 to 50 average tasks attempted by the other groups — with an average of only 30 seconds spent per activity. They also remembered what they did better than the other participants in the study. The concentration benefits of mindfulness training aren’t just behavioral; they’re physical. In recent years, mindfulness has been shown to improve connectivity inside our brain’s attentional networks, as well as between attentional and medial frontal regions — changes that save us from distraction. Mindfulness, in other words, helps our attention networks communicate better and with fewer interruptions than they otherwise would. In a 2012 study at Emory University, increased meditation practice was associated with enhanced connectivity between the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain involved in attention monitoring and working memory, and the right insula, an area that is associated with how well we can monitor our own feelings and thoughts and that is considered a key waypoint between our two major attention networks, the default and the executive. Not only could this increased connectivity make us better able to switch between tasks and monitor our own attention, but it is indicative of more effective overall management of our finite attentional resources. Mindfulness training has even been shown to affect the brain’s default network — the network of connections that remains active when we are in a socalled resting state — with regular meditators exhibiting increased resting-state functional connectivity and increased connectivity generally. After a dose of mindfulness, the default network has greater consistent access to information about our internal states and an enhanced ability to monitor the surrounding environment. These effects make sense: the core of mindfulness is the ability to pay attention. That’s exactly what Holmes does when he taps together the tips of his fingers, or exhales a fine cloud of smoke. He is centering his attention on a single element. And somehow, despite the seeming pause in activity, he emerges, time and time again, far ahead of his

Jan 2013

energetic colleagues. In the time it takes old detective Mac to traipse around all those country towns in search of a missing bicyclist in “The Valley of Fear,” Holmes solves the entire crime without leaving the room where the murder occurred. That’s the thing about mindfulness. It seems to slow you down, but it actually gives you the resources you need to speed up your thinking. The difference between a Holmes and a Watson is, essentially, one of practice. Attention is finite, it’s true — but it is also trainable. Through modifying our practices of thought toward a more Holmes-like concentration, we can build up neural real estate that is better able to deal with the variegated demands of the endlessly multitasking, infinitely connected modern world. And even if we’ve never attempted mindfulness in the past, we might be surprised at how quickly the benefits become noticeable. Until recently, our 20s were considered the point when our brain’s wiring was basically complete. But new evidence suggests that not only can we learn into old age, but the structure of our brains can continue to change and develop. In 2006, a team of psychologists demonstrated that the neural activation patterns of older adults (specifically, activation in the prefrontal cortex), began to resemble those of much younger subjects after just five one-hour training sessions on a task of attentional control. Their brains became more efficient at coordinating multiple tasks — and the benefit transferred to untrained activities, suggesting that it was symptomatic of general improvement. Similar changes have been observed in the default network (the brain’s resting-state activity). In 2012, researchers from Ohio State University demonstrated that older adults who scored higher on mindfulness scales had increased connectivity in their default networks, specifically in two of the brain’s major information processing hubs. And while we already know that this kind of increased connectivity is a very good thing, there’s more to these particular results. The precise areas that show increased connectivity with mindfulness are also known to be pathophysiological sites of Alzheimer’s disease. The implications are tantalizing. Mindfulness may have a prophylactic effect: it can strengthen the areas that are most susceptible to cognitive decline. When we learn to unitask, to think more in line with Holmes’s detached approach, we may be doing more than increasing our observational prowess. We may be investing in a sounder mental future — no matter how old we are.

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Guest Column

Marigolds Smile in the Desert City of Dubai

Swathes of cheerful, bright blooms in saffron and yellow silk hues edge the roads and brighten the traffic roundabouts of Dubai at this time of year, every year, as thousands upon thousands of marigolds thrust their merry faces towards the sun. Originally from Central America these hardy yet decorative plants, with their lush foliage and bright blooms, found favour amongst the Spanish explorers to the region during the 16th century and, as a result, marigolds made their way to the gardens of Europe, Africa and Asia. Today their happy faces are an intricate part of the municipal efforts to beautify Dubai and they form one of the standard crops that flower during the three growing seasons in this attractive desert city. The decorative properties of marigolds and their strong rounded blooms have been used in garlands and flower arrangements during religious and cultural festivities for centuries. Marigolds are, however, actually a little more than mere colourful plants – they have a number of lesser known but equally useful properties that belie a superficial estimate of their limited flowering kaleidoscope. Marigolds are often found in vegetable gardens where their pungent odour serves as a useful pesticide with properties that discourage and deter surface insects, subterranean creatures and even hares. The strong colour of the flower petals often brightens up salads and adds a spicy taste, while petals added to rice produce yellow grains and it is reputed that the addition of petals to the diet of laying hens darkens the yolk of their eggs. Even ointments with certain medicinal properties benefit from the contribution of elements of this magnanimous plant. In Dubai, though, these yellow and orange carpets of bright colour trace their origin to nurseries where patient gardeners sow countless minute seeds and

Jan 2013

Andrew Hudson

mother them through the quick germination stage of a few days before each seedling sprouts, establishes its first leaves and develops a root system. While the tender seedlings are gathering strength large numbers of municipal gardeners in neat green overalls are industriously preparing flower beds by tilling and fertilizing the soil, shaping the beds and arranging the drip irrigation required for the growing season. Once

this is done and the seedlings are strong enough, throngs of gardeners spread out amongst the many highways and roundabouts and, with the assistance of miniature tractors, trailers and trowels, transport the seedlings to the beds, lovingly plant them in shallow holes and tamp down the roots. A period of calm then descends over the beds as the municipal gardeners watch the hardy plants grow and respond diligently to the water and care bestowed upon them. Then, on a particular day about two months later their toils are rewarded as an orchestra of colour trumpets forth the arrival of carpets of vibrant yellow and orange blooms and Dubai’s friendly face lights up once again with a marigold smile.

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Guest Column

Golden ‘BHEL’ Memories

7/11/2012, marks the fiftieth year of my joining BHEL Trichy. Pulse persuaded me to share a few memories from my journey at BHEL, and this piece is my effort at recapturing the past in words. I was 20 when I first reported for duty at BHEL. My total salary was Rs. 212.40, the breakup being basic Rs. 184 + Rs. 10 DA + project allowance Rs.18.40 (10% of basic). It was considered to be handsome pay, to some extent comparable to a pay in the IT sector now. My reporting point was a railway bungalow situated in Trichy junction called Kimber Garden. The BHEL office used to function from there. The whole engineering staff of BHEL commuted between Trichy and site in two official jeeps, the numbers of which I still remember: MD(Y?)6641 and MD(Y?)6963. The entire area of the site was barren except for an open well and a few sheds with tiled roofs called Korava (or nomad) sheds. Our township office functioned from the Korava sheds. The bigger shed used to be a shed meant for the rehabilitation of the Korava tribe before they abandoned it, after which it was converted into an office for the executive engineer. The CEO of the project was Shri. RS Krishnan, a dynamic personality. He typically used to wear khaki pants with a white half-shirt tucked inside, and always held a lit pipe in his mouth. He was a very direct person without any qualms about status. He was a direct and decisive man. There were two project engineers PE1 and PE2: PVK Achchan from Railways (factory construction) and CT Radhakrishnan from PWD (township construction). The former was suave, a no-nonsense man. I was told he hailed from the Kolangode royal family. The latter was a genial person who was loud in his instructions. As I was the youngest supervisor Radhakrishnan used to call me Baby SO (section officer). Most of the accounts staff were from the Railways, where my father also was working. The then financial advisor Mr. Ramamurthy Dikshitar, was from my village Jeeyapuram, which was nearby. I used to have an easy approach to the PE2 and FA than the others. My group of peers was known for taking up public causes, and we sent countless complaint letters and petitions. In this vein, we wrote a letter protesting the lack of uniform transport Jan 2013

By N S Sadasivam (Muthu’s brother)

vehicles for employees commuting from Trichy. This annoyed the transport officer and he reported to the PA insisting that action should be taken against us. To his dismay and our glee, the PA ordered that we should be provided better transport facilities. Immediately after a fortnight after my joining duty, I had to take leave for a week due to an upset stomach. On rejoining duty after the leave, my friends remarked that I had completed my probation. This is due to the fact that most of the staff who joined the project were compelled to take leave due to upset stomachs as I was told the earth there was sulphuric (gandaha bhumi). In the beginning I was associated with the construction of temporary offices made of sheds with steel columns and tubular trusses with AC roofs and mud-and-brick side walls. All the officials from project administrator (PA) to the lower officers and staff were shifted from Kimber Garden to these new temporary offices. Then I was put in charge of temporary water supply for construction works and drinking purposes wherein I was making arrangements to draw and supply water from whatever source was available at the project site, viz. abandoned quarry pits, defunct wells, even from the Ooyakondaan canal, which garlanded the township. I had to move the pump sets here and there and lay pipelines crisscrossing the area. I was also in charge of construction of two trainingcentre buildings up to the basement level. For a short period, I worked in the water supply headworks at Vengoor, near the Kauvery, and near Kallanai. My notable experience is the laying of trunk sewer lines around the township and also setting up of a treatment plant consisting of a series of wells and oxidation ponds. The credit for this treatment plant goes to Mr. T Ayyappan Nair, who took initiative of cancellation of the proposal of a mechanical plant and was instrumental for this eco-friendly plant in its stead. Here, the treatment was done using natural wind sweep and sunlight. The treatment involved the formation of algae due to natural forces neutralizing the harmful contents in sewage.

The construction of staff quarters was in progress at that time. One interesting aspect of the birth of Type Pulse....feel the beat! Page | 15

6 quarters is as follows: Originally the quarters were planned from Type 1 to Type 5 commensurate with the status of staff and officers from the lower to higher levels. During the construction of Type 5 quarters, the project administrator found that one set of quarters was somewhat dissimilar to the other set on the other side of the road. Then it was found out that pone set of quarters was about 5 feet longer than the other due to the oversight of the supervisory staff. After the mistake was found out, the senior officials fell at the feet of the project administrator pleading not to take any action against them. Then the PA inspected the site and, after due thought, condescended to offer a solution. He said that the longer set of Type 5 quarters would be termed as Type 6 quarters and ordered that they should be meant for higher cadre officers than the normal Type 5 occupants. The construction of REC was in progress in the nearby village called Thoovaakudi (colloquially called Thaavadi). The inauguration of the BHEL project was done on (date to be given by appa tomorrow). The function was graced by C. Subramaniam, Union Minister for Heavy Industries, Sri. Kamaraj, CM of Madras State, Sri Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, CM of Andhra Pradesh, and Sri. Shankar, CM of Kerala. There were celebrations in the evening with the dance drama (Kannappar Kuravanji) by a troupe from Kalakshetra. The notable political events during that period were Chinese aggression and the death of Jawaharlal Nehru. In the final stages of my term at the Trichy unit, I oversaw the construction of Type 2 quarters near the defunct AIR station. I was transferred to the Hyderabad unit on my request as I wanted to venture to places outside Tamil Nadu. I joined the Hyderabad Unit (high-power equipment plant and also the switchgear plant). In the initial stages, I stayed in my relatives’ house in Malkajgri. Every day I had to commute by train to Secundarabad, walk to Paradise (theatre) and, along with other staff, catch the BHEL bus from there to the site at Ramachandrapuram (near Lingampalli village). We used to cheekily call it the journey from Paradise to (B)HEL. The Hydrabad unit was in the advanced

Jan 2013

construction stage. It was bigger than the Trichy unit and the unit was staffed mostly by natives of Andhra and a fair sprinkling of Tamil, Maratha, Kannadiga and Keralite staff and officers. Mingling with them was a novel and interesting experience. Some of the senior officials were from the Bhopal Unit. We used to enjoy when they narrated their anecdotes this way: In Bhopaaal, when I...” I was again in charge of drainage systems and some construction. Most of the structural staff were Maaplas from Kerala. I was always taken along with my superiors for interaction with them as I was a Tamilian and they relied more on my words. The PA in the heavy power plant was Mr. NDM Appa (Nada Donda Muniappa), a firm but temperamental individual. The staff felt that that it’s better if you do not come in direct contact with him to avoid feeling the heat of his temper. The PA for the adjacent switchgear unit was Mr. Kariappa, a silent gentleman with a penchant for punctuality. I was also lucky in attending the inaugural function for BHEL Hyderabad. I spent my life in the township by rambling around the vast area with friends and watching innumerable movies, irrespective of language and genre and irrespective of whether I understood them or not. I also served as the joint secretary of the Tamil Sangam in Hyderabad, organising a Kuchipudi performance in aid of Andhra Flood Relief. I served at BHEL Hyderabad till 1969, after which I left to join the Madras Port Trust in deference to the wishes of my father, who wanted me to shift to a nearby location. My only regret is that, seated in the arrogance of my relatively strong English language skills, I failed to pick up more than a few words of Telugu and Urdu. Even after all these years, my BHEL days are fresh in memory, to be cherished and relived with every retelling. I thank my ex-BHEL brethren for having provided a forum and opportunity to express my green memories of my service in BHEL. Hope you have similar valuable experiences in your term in this great institution.

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R Easwaran

Breaking News

Dr. G Ravichandran wins BHEL Corporate's Highest Award - Excel Award A team comprising three officials from WRI was

dedicated efforts by the team

deputed to carry out an assignment to assess the safe


depth for the actual diving conditions in mid sea of a

Ravichandran, Dr. N Raju

submarine rescue bell (SRB). The task had to be

and Shri V S Ramkishore

carried out in a risk to life environment by embarking


through dangling rope ladder from ship to boat and

commendable. In view of

travel to SRB kept in half submerged condition in

the excellent work carried

mid sea where rough sea prevailed, posing potential

out by the team, they are

hazards to life, though safety precautions and

honoured with the Excel Award -“Pratibaddhata

customer specialist support were provided. This

Puraskar Award� - an award for recognizing

engineering analysis by the team had led to the

exemplary commitment to work under adverse

decision on the safe depth of diving of the vessel after

critical conditions involving risk to life.






repair, the factor which is of great importance to the prestigious customer, as it is concerned with the safety of the submariners. While executing this job, our WRI team displayed commitment to the

Dr. G Ravichandran and the team will be receiving the Award at the BHEL Day Celebrations being held at Talkatora Stadium in Delhi on Jan 3, 2013.

assignment despite suffering from sea sickness. It is worth mentioning that the daunting task was lauded by Captain of the Ship by honouring them with a

Pulse congratulates Dr GR.

prestigious cap and with a letter of appreciation. The

Nutty announces his daughter's

Gopi attends interview for

marriage, Miss Sri Lakshmi

Director (E, R&D) post of BHEL Among those who attended the Public Service Recruitment

M. Nataraj has informed that he

Board interview for the post of Director (Engineering, R&D) of

has found the right match for his

BHEL was our S Gopinath. Of course, this was a tough

daughter, Miss Sri Lakshmi.

interview. There were bouncers like how exactly will BHEL benefit from the ASEAN deliberations, what are the potentials

The betrothal is planned on 23 Jan

for BHEL in SAARC development etc.

2013 at Chennai. The marriage will be in August 2013. More details will follow.

It is understood that Sri. A V Krishnan, ED, BHEL, Trichy is likely to be selected candidate for the post (subject to GoI approval), which gets vacant on 31 May 2013.

Jan 2013

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YOU SAID IT Dear Radha,

Dear Radha,

Wonderful layout and Radha's touch is evident.

Thank you for volunteering to edit Pulse and bring out the first issue in such

However the Title header is not impressive. May

truly flying colours! The first appreciation is for the elegant layout …. excellent

be some border would make it better. Guest

readability, aesthetics, and a front page which gives a clue on what is to follow.

even Englishmen are bothered by new trends in

It was good that you could gather Ananthan’s dad’s photo and also describe him

English usage. I think Tamil is suffering even

so perfectly in Ananthan’s own words. I hold my greatest regards to the

column is a great idea. It is a revelation that

more with many even from our generation ignoring grammar. Now there are basic mistakes even in the spoken form. Muthu's Yoga tips

departed soul. Muthu – the cigarette smoking guy of the 1980s … can you imagine that he

should help the beginners in a big way. I think PDF format is better.

would talk so intensely on yoga and how it should be practiced. Imagine again

Best wishes,

… this was the guy who bunked the yoga classes in ETH!


Jambu’s pick on marriage counsel is timely with three ET79 wards poised to be married. Marriage is all about give and take … the more the give … the happier the marriage! Mr Hudson’s guest column brings out an anger in the way English language is used. I fully endorse his views. I guess we need to blame the IT generation for this. I remember attending an IT seminar in Trichy a few years back. Not one, but many speakers spoke eloquently. They spoke an English that was so alien to me. I had to convert the words into my English first, then to Tamil and send the Eureka waves to my brain. It was taxing! Marker has spoken about the importance of water and not soda. No wonder, many drinkers prefer water to soda in the mix of their drinks! Diwali in Dubai … nice to hear that Dubai cops are accommodative! I realize that my script sent to you had some spelling errors. I will take care of this in future. In all a great issue! Radha can raise his collar with pride. Let me repeat … Pulse has landed safely on much broader shoulders. Thank You, Radha. R. Easwaran

Great going!! The formatting in the PDF is good, easy to view without losing formatting, most often not the case with MS Word. Appreciate it. A special note of appreciation, for making sure pulse hits our inbox on time every time, :) Best wishes Regards, Meenu Ravindran Dear Radha and Easwar, I like the pdf format. The contents and presentation are good. Thanks for everyone for making Pulse vibrant. Keep it up. Kannan

Jan 2013

You have done a great job as the Editor of Pulse. Keep it up

Hey Radha, You have really big shoes to fill. Don't mess it up :). A great start with this edition. gopa

Hai Radha & Easwaran, Pulse Dec.12 has come out so nice & colorful, useful contents with new ideas like guest column. I really enjoyed reading it. Nice to see the issue with 12 pages full of interesting contents like yoga from Muthu, well planned layouts, apt & clear pictures, & more shining as Radha.. Radha, & Easwar - keep it up & we look forward more pulse in the coming months of pulse. My best wishes for a successful tenure for the duo. Murux.

Radha: Great work & very colorful Pulse! Nice touch to bring in external


contributions! Kudos to you. I am sure pretty sure we all will be seeing Radha's

Radha, The issue has come out very nice and it is very colorful. You have given a new look to Pulse. Keep it up. Regards…Suresh & Guru

magic touch in all future issues.. regs Pandian

LAST WORD There has been an overwhelming ET79 participation in this issue. Who will be featured in the next ‘Trumpet’ and ‘LadyET79’ columns? It could be you. Keep your fingers crossed.

Pulse....feel the beat!

Pulse Desk Easwaran R Radhakrishnan K S

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Pulse Jan 13  

January magazine of the batchmates