Time will heal, so will Sidha

Sidha healers residing in the mountains are usually picturised wearing saffron dhotis with uncombed voluminous hair falling all over their face. The chief healer of Kolli hills, Mooligai Selavaraj’s image does not concur with any of it.

He zooms around in his bike, participates in all the cultural extravaganza during festivals and weddings, pets two dogs and a kitten, indulges in gardening and to top it all, walks around in his white dhoti, a casual checked shirt and a red cap.

Aged 49, he admits to have been in the profession of Sidha since he was just 24. His ancestral inclination towards medicine did not leave him many options.

He grew up running through the Kolli forests, smelling and spotting the medicinal herbs. This explains much about his eloquent rendering of all possible scriptures which have reference to health and medicine.

“There is no disease without a cure,” he says with a confident smile.

Selvaraj is a busy man. Ignoring the continuous buzz on his phone, he shows us a pamphlet with the names of all Sidha Rasams (medicines) used for curing diseases ranging from a simple knee pain to the fatal ones like Cancer and Aids.

He frankly admits that only 75% of the cases he attends succeed. Cases fail when the patient does not take the medicines as prescribed or when the medicine simply does not suit the patient.

“One should have patience while the medicine acts on him,” says Selvaraj. “Most importantly, one should be kept detached from ones family and in complete care of the healer,” he adds.

The trend of allopathy medicine has invaded Kolli as well. But Selvaraj is not against it. He says that for an emergency, allopathy is always advisable.

However, what disappoints him is that villagers opt for Sidha medicine when nothing else works on them. “Most of the cases cannot be cured because they come one hour before their death,” he says.

While he is not attending to patients, he is busy training researchers from all over Tamilnadu. In the two month training, charged at Rs 2000 per head, he practically shows them how to prepare the medicines – the ingredients of which he fearlessly obtains from the sacred forests – an act which could sin him, according to the natives.

Determined to keep the Sidha tradition alive, he says, “I am ready to impart my knowledge to anyone who is ready to receive it.”



While we ogled at Sonam’s Dolce and Gabbana and Vidya Balan’s Sabyasachi at the Cannes, there was a group working constantly on reforming the Indian fashion couture, right here in Chennai. The NIFTians, as a part of their graduation function yesterday, brought in a new light to fashion – surpassing its restricted definition of high heeled stilettos and flowing satins.

“If I can imagine a girl looking beautiful in a particular dress, I will go ahead and design it,” said Vishnu, the best outgoing student of NIFT ‘13, whose design collection, ‘Skeletons in the closet’, he says, was inspired ‘from skeletons and MRI scans.’ 29 design collections from the Fashion Design students, best 6 of knitwear design and top 5 of accessory design were showcased for the audience at Le Royal Meridian as a part of NIFT Graduation show, 2013.

An exhilarating journey in colour, an antonym to anything that is pale and bleached, Malini Menon’s Diabolic Winsomeness, which was picked as the best innovative design, gave a kaleidoscopic visual to the audience. Urban Tribal, designed by Pratima Maurya, was a subtle, timeless and zen-like collection and was noted for making an amalgam of traditional skills and contemporary style. Janani Senthil’s, Royal Exaltahtion, with the best embroidery techniques and opulent fabrics, flaunted a burnished brilliance of gilding.

A rest for the racing hormones, Pooja Pathak’s Ice Cream Blast had the kids meandering their way on the ramp and Sindhu Reddy’s ‘My Grandmother’s 60th anniversary’ targeted the supermoms. With ‘Sunshine’ by R S Priyanka, the stage was shone with a halo, as kids from the spastic society of Tamil Nadu confidently walked the ramp, few in wheel chairsT, amidst a roaring applause from the audience – a salute to style, affordability and tradition.

Plotting India on the global fashion platform, Amitabh Suri, CEO, Indian Terrain, said, “What we see in the Paris ramp is an extreme of innovation. It is not for the common man. For me, ‘fashion’ is what you look for in the stores when you go to buy new clothes.” Inspired by his business mantra to ‘focus on the consumers’, Siddharth and Rajesh, Fashion Technology graduates, have come up with commercially viable ‘patient gowns’, made with herbal-treated fabrics that keep bacterial infections at bay.

The course package at NIFT implies that a product remains invisible if not for the right business and marketing ideas. “There is a lot more to fashion than just the design and manufacture,” said Mythili, a fashion management student, whose winning project proposed amendments to current sports and toys merchandising guidelines.

As Coco Chanel said – Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.


 This article was previously published in The New Indian Express. Check out the link http://newindianexpress.com/entertainment/fashion/Provogueing-your-vanity/2013/05/25/article1604431.ece


A map showing the restaurants in Chennai

This is an attempt to chart out the restaurants in Chennai. The map is designed such that one can easily spot the restaurants with the red markers and upon moving the cursor on top of the marked spot, it is possible to get the information about the restaurant – which includes the address, Phone number and user review.

Below is the preview image of the map. The image is not available for free, hence the “ZeeMaps Preview – Do Not Use” messages. (The interactive map is however available. The link is given at the end of the page)

Restaurants in Chennai

Restaurants in Chennai

The data has been collected from the site – www. zomato.com, and the detail in each are the user reviews given in the site.

When I began creating this map, locating the restaurants in various places, there was an option given by the ZeeMaps site  to make the map available to the public for editing (it was named wiki), and I checked the box. So, if any of you residing in Chennai wish to add new restaurants and details into the map, you are free to do that. It would definitely help the map get a better look and content than it has now.


Below is the map.

Restaurants in Chennai


Fearless at 75 !

When talking about someone who has been a fighter all his life – fighting for justice and fearing the least as the cases against him bounced from court to court, among an array of lawyers and judges– one would expect to see a hefty Thor- type figure, domineering and demanding.

Instead we saw a thin delicate man in late 70s, enter the hall in a white suit with his shirt pockets sagging due to the weight of a bundle of papers, describing which he said, “These papers are to identify that any person old or young standing before you is Traffic Ramaswamy. They are petitions.”

Traffic RamaswamyPicture source: Google

Traffic Ramaswamy
Picture source: Google

It was shocking to learn that he carried his 200 Public Interest Litigations wherever he went. He carried them as a symbol of power, a power which every citizen can use to fight for his or her rights – a phenomenon, which he says hardly happens in our country. “All are afraid. That’s the main reason. Unless you question, you wont get your legitimate rights”.

“I am afraid of nothing,” he said, attributing his undying valour to his idolization of Rajaji. According to him a role model is necessary to keep us in the track of “self discipline”.

Sitting on the chair, as he reminisced about his bitter experiences in court, his petite figure radiated an unbeatable confidence.

With a history of cases registered against him for pick pocketing under article 420 in the past 9 years, he had been a notable one for the police. Winning all these cases was a feather on his cap which he was proud of.

In 1984, he was falsely accused and jailed for four days for cheating a civilian off Rs 2000 by wearing the police uniform. He claimed that the arrest was an excuse by the police to take revenge on him for the number of cases of corruption he had filed against them.

Though the odds were against him, his guts made him retort to the police saying, “I ll show you who I am once I come out of jail. I ll see to it that you are nowhere in Tamil Nadu”.

Always a man of words, his statement was fulfilled. The moment he won the case, the police “was punished by God” and died on the spot, he said.

This melodramatic case of death brought in whispers from the crowd. He silenced them explaining that “when you are given birth on this earth, death is already decided – you can’t change.” He further added that it is self conscience we should be more bothered about and not death.

May be it is this self conscience which is preventing him from entering Politics – a field which according to many is best suited for him. However, the word politics seemed to disinterest him.  For someone who is “the top man, even higher than the Chief Minister”, how would politics suffice after all !