Monday, May 04, 2009

Of 'kathri' and other stories

May 4 this year marks the beginning of what is called the 'kathri' period in Chennai. The period is also known as Agninakshatram - when Agni, the Hindu god of Fire, holds sway. Temperatures are usually 40 degree C and above. This year though, Chennai has not witnessed dog days yet, but indications are that it will soon. Temperatures are hovering around the 40-degree-mark and once that is broken, it could be anybody's guess as to how hot it will be.

On such a day, the heartening news was that 97 candidates from Tamil Nadu cleared the UPSC examinations, an excellent success rate by any standards. A student from Andhra Pradesh scored as well, topping the Vellore Institute of Technology entrance exam.

IIT Madras is organising a three-week programme for school students interested in basic sciences, with a good mixture of theory and practice. That should keep some of the brilliant minds occupied during 'kathri'.

On the other hand, there are several students struggling to pay fees to continue their studies. Many of them belong to the underprivileged strata of society. Heeding a newspaper report, a few philanthropists came forward to help, so did a nationalised bank, but there are still students who are looking out for support.

And what can you say to this, except perhaps "He deserved it"? Well, a Class 12 student in Chennai finally got some justice when a case was registered, of her alleged molestation by her own schoolteacher, and moved to the crime branch of the CID. This after police refused for long to register a case against the teacher, under pressure from school authorities. Thanks to the Madras High Court, the case will now be pursued by the CB-CID. Small mercies indeed.

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