Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Congrats to Mohan and Anuttama. Not that I expected anything less. Do you have the dates for the World Scrabble Championship in Las Vegas in december? I teach in fall but the term ends in early Dec.

How on earth did jayalalitha get elected again. Does this change things drastically for you and Shiela?

More later - I have to attend a couple of Field Days today and tomorrow.

Friday, May 25, 2001

Change of Government at the State level. Jayalalitha is the new CM.
I won the National Scrabble Tournament. There was a Junior Scrabble Tournament for School Children in which Anuttama placed second. The text of the Hindu news item is given below:

Chennai sweeps Scrabble honours

CHENNAI, MAY 23. The Chennai contingent swept all honours in the recently concluded (May 17-20) National
Scrabble Championship in Hyderabad. Mr. Mohan Verghese Chunkath, a career bureaucrat from Chennai, who
represented India in the last World Scrabble Championship held at Melbourne in November 1999, won a hassle-
free first place. In a pyrotechnic display of word wizardry, Mr. Chunkath played 24 bingos in 11 games. A bingo
is a move which exhausts all seven tiles on the rack and earns a bonus 50 points.

The second place was secured by Mr. Ranganathan Chakravarthy, an advocate from Chennai. Mr. Chunkath and
Mr. Ranganathan, both members of the Chennai Scrabble Club, will be representing India in the World Scrabble
Championship, to be held in Las Vegas in December 2001. Mr. Shaik Ahmed from Hyderabad finished third after
a hotly contested deci der against Mr. Ranganathan. The fourth place was bagged by Mr. Sam Joseph of Kochi.
Strong teams of IIT students from Mumbai and Chennai played well to bag the next few places.

Hyderabad also hosted the fist ever National Scrabble Championship for schoolchildren. In this event also the
Chennaites prevailed, winning the first five places. The first place was won by Mr. M. Anand of Padma Sheshadri.
Ms. Anuttama Sheela Mohan of P.S. Senior Secondary School was placed second.

Chennai, the chess capital of the nation, is now also Scrabble capital. Scrabble, which is the world's most popular
word game, is a recognised event in the Mindsports Olympiad. The World Scrabble Championship event is held
every two years and India was represented for the first time in 1999.

Thursday, May 17, 2001

I have all my fingers and toes crossed for you and Anuttama. New government - where? Central? What happened? I am out of touch. Nothing to report - it is still raining here but we get some glorious sunny days. Isin't it almost a year since you were in Corvallis?

Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Thanks for the long and newsy post. Anuttama and I are off to Hyderabad to participate in the Scrabble Nationals. A new government has been sworn in. Changes are in the offing. In all probability there will be a major shuffle.
You seem to have been having a really hectic and busy schedule. Glad to learn that the Taste of India/Housewarming party was such a grand success. Please keep in touch.

Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Sorry for the long silence; life has been a bit hectic and chaotic ever since I started teaching over a month ago. Every week a new 'situation' emerges; most are computer related but last week after I distributed the midterm a student walked up to me after 10 mins. and handed in his exam. He said it was too difficult so he was dropping the course!!! I was in shock for several minutes not knowing what I was supposed to do. I worried about the morale in the rest of the class and what would happen if they all dropped out. I asked every student what they thought about the exam and most indicated that the exam was fair and perhaps they should have studied some more. The exam was only worth 15% of the grade for the course. I'm still recovering...

This past sunday was the Taste of India / housewarming party at my place. I wish you all could have been there. I spent all of saturday and sunday till 4 pm cooking, expecting around 30 people. I was nervous about quantities and had asked people to bring food and I'm sure glad they did because 60 people showed up!! I have never had such a huge party - the biggest one the dept. has had too.

We ran out of forks. I had no time to go to the store on sunday so the first person who called was asked to bring me a roll of tissue paper since I was running low and I'm sure glad I did that. We had undergraduates, graduates, research associates, secretaries and faculty. Of course I invited a grower and his mother (she was a legislative member and she had invited me for the Women in Ag. Auction). They both showed up. I thought about this a lot because faculty members can be so snooty and criticize me for hobnobbing with the 'industry'. It turned out to be fine - in fact one faculty member said it added a nice touch.

People loved the bug decorations-for most people entomological interior decoration was a new concept. One kid asked me why I had so many bedrooms - threw me off but I said I sleep in a different room every night. A Professor's wife came in a gorgeous silk saree that her husband brought back from India. We were going to do a saree race but did not get that far.

What was most interesting is that we have faculty members who do not talk to each other and try not to be in the same room at the same time. But they put their differences aside for a day and shared the same lawn and deck and my furniture is still intact. It was a sunny warm day so people could sit outside; I wonder what would have happened if it had been cold and rainy.

The maggot race was a hit. We had blue maggots fedexed from Berkeley for the event. The following week I was at another outreach event Ag fest in Salem. For 4 hours I persuaded kids and their parents to hold hissing roaches, walking sticks and silk worms. It was fun but exhausting.

These are the most recent events at my end. Ive made up in length for the long silence. Good luck on the Scrabble tournaments!

Friday, May 04, 2001

It has been a long month since my last posting. What is happening to all the ZooFriends? How did your classes go? Was the maggot race a great hit? I am busy boning for the upcoming National Scrabble Tournament in Hyderabad. Anuttama is also coming along to play in the first ever Junior Nationals. My computer is on the blink and I am trying to get it repaired pronto. Keep the posts coming.

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