Archive for July, 2012

336/365 – Gagan Narang

Name: Gagan Narang

Born: 6 May 1983 (age 29), Chennai

Nationality: Indian

Occupation: Rifle shooting

Gagan Narang is an ace Indian shooter, especially in Air rifle shooting, supported by the Olympic Gold Quest. He was the first Indian to qualify for the London Olympics.

He won the Bronze Medal in the Men’s 10 m Air Rifle Event at the 2012 London Olympics with a final score of 701.1.

Gagan Narang’s family hails from Panipat in Haryana. His grandfather lived at Samalkha in Panipat district, later on the family shifted to Hyderabad.

Gagan Narang is a gold medalist in the Afro Asian games, 2003 in Hyderabad on October 26, 2003 in Men’s 10m air rifle competition.

He had won an air rifle gold medal at the World Cup 2006 and followed that event in April 2010.   In a pre-Olympic event in Hannover, Germany, Gagan shot an air rifle score higher than the world record, 704.3 as opposed to 703.1 set by Thomas Farnik of Austria in the World Cup 2006.

Gagan Narang added 4 gold medals to the Indian tally at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. In the Men’s 10 m air rifle singles event, he shot a perfect 600 which was a new record.

Gagan also clinched a silver medal in his pet event at the Asian Games 2010. He also combined with Abhinav Bindra and Sanjeev Rajput to provide the country with another silver, in the team event behind champions China.

Both of his silvers were won on the opening day of Asian Games.   Gagan Narang won the bronze medal in the 10m air rifle event at the 2012 London Olympics with a total score of 701.1 becoming India’s first medal winner at the 2012 games.

Gagan was just behind the silver medallist Niccolo Campriani of Italy who scored 701.5, while the gold medallist Alin George Moldoveanu of Romania was at 702.1.



335/365 – Kurinji Flower

Kurinji Flower is a gregarious flowering plant hence it blooms once in 12 years. It belongs to the species Strobilanthes. Kurinji Flower is native to Nilgiris, India.

In Asia there are over 200 species of Stroilanthes. There are 150 species in India alone of which 40 species are found in the Western Ghats and the Nilgiris.

Vital statistics of Kurinji Flower

Botanical Name: Strobilanthes kunthiana

Colloquial Name: Kurinji, Kurunji, Neelakurinji

Family: Acanthaceae (Ruellia family)

The Kurinji flower is bright purple-blue in color. The Kurinji flower is bell shape. The kurinji blooms in a clustered manner on a typical inflorescence stocks. The flowering season ranges between August and November with a peak period of late September and October.

Interesting facts related to Kurinji flowers

The name of place Nilgiris (in Tamil Nadu, India) means Blue Mountains. The mountains got their name after NeelaKurinji flower (Neela means blue in Tamil and Malayalam) as they covered the vast hills like blue color during the blooming season.

It has been noticed that there has been an increase in the rock bees during the flowering season.   It is interesting that with the blooming of kurinji flowers Paliyan tribal people calculate their age.

The writers and poets of Sangam age (2nd to 3rd century AD) have expressed the Kurinji flower and the associated mountainous landscape where it blooms as a symbol for the union of lovers.

It has been described vividly by the poets in the ancient Tamil Sangham literature like Ahananuru, Maduraikkanchi and Kurinjipattu.

The ancient Tamil Nadu was once divided into five geographical zone and one of the zones name was called Kurinji.

According to Hindu mythology, Murgan (second son of God Shiva) married Valli, a veda (tribal hunter) girl and wore a Kurinji garland during his wedding ceremony.

Murga is known as Kurinji Andvar (God of Kurinji). There is a famous temple dedicated to Murgan on a hilltop in Kodaikanal.


Categories: Uncategorized

334/365 – Ferrari

Industry: Automotive

Founded: 1947 (historical 1929)

Founder(s): Enzo Ferrari

Headquarters: Maranello, Italy

Key people: Luca di Montezemolo Chairman, Piero Ferrari Vice Chairman and Amedeo Felisa CEO

Products: Sports cars

Production output: 7,044 units (2011)

Revenue: € 2.2 billion (2011)

Owner(s): Fiat S.p.A. 90%

Employees: 2,695 (2011)


The world’s fastest Ferrari, the F60, was debuted in April 2002.

Maserati which was once Ferrari’s bitterest rival, now is run on a Ferrari engine for Fiat.

The most popular Ferraris have always been the two-seated Gran Turismos.

The Ferrari Owner’s club has 18 chapters around the world.

The black prancing horse in the famous Ferrari logo was originally the symbol of Count Francesco Baracca, a flying ace in the Italian air force.

Ferrari of Italy is the oldest and most successful team left in the Formula One championship.

The cheapest component in a Ferrari car is a 3 c washer.

The most expensive Ferrari ever sold was 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa.

The Ferrari has been featured in many films and television shows.

Ferrari won 25 championship titles in a 500 F2.

333/365 – Standard Chartered Bank

Standard Chartered PLC is a British multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom.

It operates a network of over 1,700 branches and outlets (including subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures) across more than 70 countries and employs around 87,000 people.

It is a universal bank with operations in consumer, corporate and institutional banking, and treasury services. Despite its UK base around 90% of its profits come from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.


Chartered Bank  

The Chartered Bank was founded by Scotsman James Wilson following the grant of a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria in 1853.

Chartered opened its first branches in Mumbai, Kolkata and Shanghai in 1858, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore in 1859.

The Bank started issuing banknotes of the Hong Kong dollar in 1862. With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the extension of the telegraph to China in 1871, Chartered was well placed to expand and develop its business.

Standard Bank

The Standard Bank was a British bank founded in the Cape Province of South Africa in 1862 by another Scotsman, John Paterson.

Having established a considerable number of branches, Standard was prominent in financing the development of the diamond fields of Kimberley from 1867 and later extended its network further north to the new town of Johannesburg when gold was discovered there in 1885.

Half the output of the second largest gold field in the world passed through The Standard Bank on its way to London.

Notable employees

John Major, who served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1990 to 1997, was employed by Standard Chartered from May 1965, when he joined them as an executive.

He was transferred to Nigeria in 1967, and worked for the bank at home and abroad until he was elected to parliament at the 1979 general election as Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.

Gerard Lyons has been employed by Standard Chartered since 1999.


332/365 – Varalakshmi Vratham

Varalakshmi Vratam is a festival to propitiate the goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, one of the Hindu Trinity. Varalakshmi is one who grants boons (Varam).

It is an important pooja performed by many women in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Maharashtra.

The Hindu festival going by the name ‘Vara Lakshmi Vrata’ is celebrated on the Second Friday in the month of Śravaṇā, also called Śawan(in Hindi), which corresponds to the English months of July–August.

In 2012 Varalakshmi Vratham Date is 27th July 2012.   Varalakshmi Vratham is peformed by married woman for the well being of all the family members, especially husband, to get progency etc.

It is believed that worshipping Goddess Varalakshmi on this day is equivalent to worshipping Ashtalaksmi – the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth, Learning, Love, Fame, Peace, Pleasure, and Strength.


In the kingdom of Magadha of yore, there lived a Brahmin woman called Charumathi in a town named Kundina. The prosperous town was the home of Charumathi and her husband.

Impressed by her devotion to her family, Goddess Mahalakshmi appeared in her dream and asked her to worship Vara-Lakshmi (Vara = boon, Lakshmi = goddess of wealth) and seek to fulfill her wishes.

Varalakshmi is yet another form of Lord Vishnu’s consort, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. The prayer/worship was prescribed to be offered on the Friday of Sravana month preceding the night of full moon.

When Charumathi explained her dream to her family, she found them encouraging her to perform the pooja. Many other women of the village joined her in performing the pooja in a traditional way and offered many sweet dishes to the Goddess Varalakshmi.

They prayed with deep devotion:

“Padmaasane Padmakare sarva lokaika poojithe Narayana priyadevi supreethaa bhava sarvada”

On this occasion women worship Goddess Lakshmi with utmost devotion offering sweets and flowers, usually a kalash(representing the deity) will be decorated with a saree, flowers and gold jewellery with offerings placed in front.

This pooja can be done with no restriction to caste or creed. To this day many women observe this traditional festival praying Varamahalakshmi for her blesses in form wealth and well being of their family.


Eight forces or energies are recognised and they are known as Sri (Wealth), Bhu (Earth), Sarasvati (learning), Priti (love), Kirti (Fame), Santi (Peace), Tushti(Pleasure) and Pushti(Strength).

Each one of these forces is called a Lakshmi and all the eight forces are called the Ashta Lakshmis or the eight Lakshmis of the Hindus.

Vishnu is also called Ashta Lakshmi Padhi which is equivalent to saying that he is the asylum for the eight-Lakshmis or forces. In fact, Vishnu representing the preservative aspect of the universe, radiates these forces from him.

These forces are personified and worshipped as Lakshmis, since abstract force is beyond the comprehension of the ordinary people.

As health, wealth and prosperity depend upon the rhythmic play of these forces, the worship of Lakshmi is said to be to obtain these three.

Only a woman can sympathise with women. Lakshmi is a woman. So she will more readily sympathise with women. Hence this festival is observed largely by women, invoking the blessings of Lakshmi on them, their husbands and their children.


Categories: General Knowledge

331/365 – Elevator

There are many myths and misconceptions about elevators. This is because the majority of all elevator equipment is hidden from public view, which thus leaves much to the imagination of a passenger.

The following are some of the most common myths and their corresponding truths:

MYTH – Many people believe elevators are held up by only one rope that can break, leaving passengers in a free falling car.

TRUTH – Elevators are supported by multiple steel cables. Each cable alone can support a fully loaded car. The only elevator fall due to a complete cable system failure occurred during the 1940’s when an airplane crashed into the empire state building and severed all the cables on a particular elevator.

MYTH – Some people believe that an overcrowded elevator will fall.

TRUTH – An overloaded car will normally not move. The doors will stay open and a buzzer may ring until enough people get off of the elevator to reduce the weight.

MYTH – Some people have claimed that they have been in an elevator that fell several floors and then “caught itself”.

TRUTH – This feeling is a mystery. Elevator experts believe people may think this has happened as a result of the following: They boarded an elevator that was traveling in the opposite direction they thought it was traveling. They saw the elevator floor indicator lights flash by quickly which gave the visual impression of falling.

MYTH – Some people believe the hall doors will open when an elevator is not there.

TRUTH – The elevator is designed so that the car controls the opening of the hall door. When the car arrives at a landing, the car door engages the hall door and the car door operator then opens both sets of doors. If the car is not at the landing, it cannot trigger the hall doors to open.

MYTH – Some people believe that if an elevator is stuck between floors that they are in danger of falling and should try to get out.

TRUTH – Attempting to leave the car on your own could result in serious injury. Elevator cars are designed to be “safe rooms”, and the safest place is inside the car. You should ring the alarm and utilize the emergency telephone if the elevator is equipped with one. You should only leave the car with the assistance of professional rescue personnel.


Categories: Facts, General Knowledge

330/365 – G.K. Moopanar

Name: Govindaswamy Karuppiah Moopanar

Born: August 19, 1931, Sunderaperumal Kovil,Kabisthalam,Thanjavur District.

Died: August 30, 2001 (aged 70) Chennai, India

Political party: Indian National Congress

Spouse(s): Kasthuri Moopanar

Children: Usha Rani, G.K. Vasan

Residence: Kabisthalam, Thanjavur District

G.K. Moopanar (1931–2001) was a senior Indian National Congress leader, a veteran Parliamentarian and a noted philanthropist.

He was an All India Congress Committee general secretary from 1980 to 1988. Moopanar was a close associate of Congress leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, K Kamaraj.

He was a very powerful Congress leader who was known to have turned down high-ranking cabinet positions multiple times. He was once offered the Defense Cabinet Minister position by Indira Gandhi and he refused to take it. Like Kamaraj, Moopanar was known as the “King Maker.”

Moopanar parted ways with Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao on the issue on his joining hands with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and founded his own party, the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC).

Moopanar came very close to becoming the Prime Minister of India in 1997 when Harkishan Singh Surjeet and Jyoti Basu asked him to lead the United Front government supported by Congress.

He however declined the offer, as had his mentor Kamaraj.   After the demise of Moopanar, under the new leadership of his son G K Vasan, the TMC merged back with the Congress led by Sonia Gandhi.