Archive for March, 2012

“Padikama OB Adikadhe” (Don’t waste time pretending to study), how many times have you heard this sentence from your mom when you were in school? Or your boss yelling at you “OB Adikalam nu nenachiya?”. We would have also heard similar sentences from many others starting from our teachers in school, to the extent that we would scratch our heads in confusion as to what the cryptic acronym “OB” really meant. This entirely Tamilian term, strangely enough, has its origins in the term “off-beat” used in the British Army to refer to retired officers or soldiers. Since they were going to retire from their service, these officers avoided doing any work and wasted time. Hence the term was used “OB adikardhu”, in Tamil, it also refers to the following activities: to avoid doing work, to jugaad-fy, to waste time, to chillax.

No more scratching our heads the next time we hear it.


Ever noticed the difference as to why most North Indian scripts have more straight lines, whereas South Indian scripts are as curvy as a Jalebi. For one this particular feature of the South Indian scripts, such as Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam which makes them more “curvier” than North Indian scripts is popularly explained by linguists in India by the different writing media historically in use. Ancient South Indians wrote on large dried leaves; straight lines would have punctured the leaves and rendered them useless, so South Indian scripts evolved more curves. It is said that the roundness of the letters is an adaptation of the script to the properties of the palm leaf. The palm leaves were used for writing, the text was written with a stylus, which scratched the letters into the leaf, hence curvier scripts helped preserve the palm leaves without damaging them.

The Petromax light is very well known in Tamil Nadu for its reference in a dialogue by great comedy actor Goundamani. Petromax is a brand name, for paraffin lamps (paraffin also known as Kerosene in many parts of the world) that use a mantle.

Max Graetz was their main inventor of the Petromax light. He was seeking a solution for lighting when he stumbled upon this invention. Mr Max Graetz invented a process to make gas out of paraffin; it has a very high caloric value and could make a very hot blue flame. Around 1916 the lantern and its name started to travel around the world. The name Petromax derives from Petroleum and Max Graetz. It has been said that it was a nickname his friends loved to use as well. The design was such a success that it s still in used. The name Petromax has become synonymous for paraffin pressure lamps.

In many countries “Petromax” is a registered Trademark. The Petromax design was copied and the Indian version of it is called Prabhat. This light is still used on higher volumes for marriages in many Rural parts of India, and continues to serve many villages where power supply is still a remote possibility.

We are all aware of the controversial dismissal in the ongoing ODI series when Indian bowler R.Ashwin attempted to run-out Sri Lankan batsman Thirimane. Such type of run-outs are called Mankaded in cricket.The term ‘Mankaded’ is used when a bowler attempts to run-out a non-striking batsman before delivering the ball. As a bowler enters his delivery stride, the non-striking batsman usually leaves his popping crease and walks towards the other end of the wicket so that it will take him less time to reach the other end if he and his partner choose to attempt a run. Sometimes a batsman leaves the popping crease even before the bowler has actually delivered the ball. In such a case, bowler may attempt to run the non-striking batsman out. Getting a batsman out this way is generally considered to be against the spirit of the game as the non-striker usually accidentally leaves the crease. The history of such dismissals in first-class cricket goes back to the 19th century, but it is associated with Mankad since he was the first bowler to run a batsman out in this fashion in Test cricket.

The term was coined when Vinoo Mankad ran out Australia opener Bill Brown in the Sydney Test. It was the first such dismissal in Test cricket. And journalists and commentators world over glued to the term ‘Mankaded’ and started using it every time a bowler tried to run-out a non-striker who might have moved out of his crease accidentally, without any attention of stealing a run.