Moderate may have been the size of the gathering at the New Delhi YMCA but unlimited was the admiration and respect exuded at a memorialcum-thanksgiving service to “recognise” the services rendered to amateur boxing in India by one of the sport’s most ardent devotees, Albert Noronha, who died recently in his beloved Jabalpur. A boxer ofinternational class in his youth, Albert went on to play a leading role in the game’s administration. A highly-reputed referee/judge, he headed the IABF’s Commission of Ring Officials.The New Delhi YMCA will always cherish his decades-long association with its boxing championships that played a role in popularsing the sport in the northern part of the country. It was dedicated band who made that annual pilgrimage to the YMCA ring: Noronha was one of the high priests ~ though much too humble to project himself as one.

Tribute was paid at the service to Albert’s tremendous human qualities ~ as a husband, father and grandfather. His religious devotion was noted, so also his commitment to his Central Railway. A fitting tribute was a recent winner of the Dronacharya Award (forcoaches) placing his memento next to Noronha’s photograph ~ he had learnt so much from the “Guru”. Several others endorsed that accolade, Albert Noronha was indeed something special.

Taj controversy

PN Oak, who started the controversy over the Taj Mahal some 60 years ago, was a sub-editor in The Statesman during the time when A E Charlton was the Resident Editor. After being asked to leave the paper (and “not come within a mile of it”) he joined the Union Information and Broadcasting Department and propagated his book, The Taj Mahal was a Hindu Palace/Temple,or The True Story of the Taj-Tejo Mahalaya.

He was invited to the Indian History Congress session in Hyderabad, where he read out his paper on the monument. Prof Haroon Khan Sherwani, who was presiding over the session, asked him to read out the footnotes (citing oral, traditional or academic sources in support of his contention as is the norm for historical research), but he said there were none and, feeling slighted, left the venue in a huff.

After that a controversy erupted over the “perfect arch and dome”, which is generally regarded as having being introduced into the country during Muslim rule. Oak insisted they were not Islamic butHindu in design and went on to assert that the Jama Masjid in Delhi was once a Vishnu mandir and the Vatican and Westminster Abbey were built over Shiva temples. After one refuted his contention and the follow-up by The Statesman’s celebrated art critic, Dr Charles Fabri (who had originally been invited to Santiniketan by Rabindranath Tagore from East Europe), Oak sent a post-card to this contributor, seeking a meeting, which, unfortunately, did not come off. He died an octogenarian in Poona (now Pune) but was never taken seriously by historians.

Traffic Violation

In many areas in the Capital traffic rules are violated with such impunity that one has to look both sides while crossing the roads. There may be some hoodlum coming, particularly on a bike, from the wrong side and can hit you. Once a person crossing a road was hit by such a motorcyclist with a pillion rider. The impact was such that the person fell down and got dragged a little distance. His spectacles also fell down. But with no traffic cops around, all the victim could do was give a tight slap to the driver. But as soon as he was about to give another slap, the motorcyclist took to his heels, leaving the pillion rider behind.

Morning woes

The warning from doctors that particulate matter in the air can be harmful for the elderly has come as bad news for them. During summers the local parks of most housing colonies are full of people performing exercise and Yoga sessions conducted for groups of mainly elderly people. In winters, the number comes down drastically, with just a handful of them doing Yoga. Now, the integral part of Yoga that is pranayama, a breathing exercise that includes,bhastrika,anuloma viloma and kapal bhati, cannot be performed in such a polluted air. Although Yoga enthusiasts swear by the benefits that pranayama can offer, during winters one is forced to avoid it, thanks to the high level of pollution in the city’s air.

So smart!

True, smartphones have brought a revolution in India as it can replace any technical work performed by an electronic device. But ever since camera was incorporated in the phone, this multi-purpose device has been used by most people for the sole purpose of clicking pictures. This is the reason that every other day, a new smartphone is entering the market with an improved camera, including selfie. But then, this camera culture has not been taken well by everyone, especially shop-owners, said a colleague narrating an incident witha shopkeeper in North Delhi. The shop has been selling ladies’ garments for decades in the area. However, the other day, our colleague was surprised to see a notice: “No photography and no exchange once an item is sold” written loud and clear in his shop at a number of places. “No exchange” was understandable, but the colleague wondered why clicking pictures was not allowed. One salesman answered it was banned just a year ago. Why? Because ever since the mobile culture came, there were several instances of girls and even older ladies, who got dressed in the trial room, clicked a number of pictures and left the shop. This had become a trend, before imposing the ban on clicking pictures of the products, the salesman elaborated.

Tailpiece

It was nothing short of a funny situation when Whatsapp shut down for a while on Friday and addicts took to other social media in a desperate spate of inquiry.

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Contributed by: R V Smith, Samir Pal, Keith Flory, Abhijeet Anand and Rakesh Kumar