Mrinalini Sarabhai the unofficial Google doodle
Bollywood, India, Movies, People

2016 in unofficial Google doodles

There are some doodles that Google didn’t (or wouldn’t) doodle. The Chaiwallah prides himself as an unofficial Google doodler. I have written about these unofficial doodles and they have also been written about at a couple of places.

2016 had its fair share of the unofficial Google doodles and the doodles are not necessarily a reflection of the importance of occasion, but have more to do with spare time at hand and the doodleability.

While the Ajay Devgn 25 years of Phool Aur Kaante doodle was the most shared on social, do let me know which is your favourite.

Rajiv Gandhi Sonia Gandhi wedding
Delhi, History, India, Other Videos, People, Politics, Videos

Watch: Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Maino’s wedding video

Rajiv Gandhi Sonia Gandhi wedding

Whenever I have a little time on my hand (which is actually very little these days), I like to browse through archives (both physical and digital) in search for hidden gems and today stumbled upon this: Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Maino’s wedding video from February 25, 1968.

(Note that the video doesn’t have any sound)

In the video you can see a young Sonia Gandhi (she was 21) and Rajiv Gandhi (23) along with Indira Gandhi, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (Rajiv’s grand-aunt) and the then President of India Zakir Hussain.

Description of the Rajiv-Sonia wedding in Rasheed Kidwai’s 2011 biography of Sonia Gandhi:

The marriage took place on 25 February 1968 on the back lawns of 1 Safdarjung Road after a brief mehendi ceremony at the Bachchans’. The civil marriage was a simple affair. Rajiv wore a cream silk Patiala achkan and chooridars with a pink Bharatpuri turban while Sonia wore a pale pink khadi sari without much jewellery. In keeping with Kashmiri traditions, Sonia wore floral jewellery—jasmine garlands tied on her ankles, wrists and neck. Sanjay, like Rajiv’s cousins, wore a pink turban and cream-coloured achkan. There was only light refreshment at the wedding. In the evening, however, there was a lavish dinner at Hyderabad House, off India Gate, where official banquets are held, to which about two hundred and fiery guests were invited. The guests were seated on the floor and served a sumptuous Kashmiri banquet. A day later, Indira hosted a reception at the Ashok Hotel at which choice Parsi, Kashmiri and Italian cuisines were served to the one thousand invitees.

And how the papers carried the news on the front page the next morning:

Rajiv weds Sonia

News of Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi’s wedding in The Indian Express, Madras on February 26, 1968.

Rajiv weds Sonia Maino

New Delhi, Feb. 25 (PTI) Mr Rajiv Gandhi, son of Mrs Indira Gandhi, married Sonia Mario, 21-year-old Italian girl, whom he met at Cambridge two years ago at a glittering ceremony here this evening.

The ceremony held at the tastefully decorated lush green lawns of the Prime Minister’s residence lasted a little over 30 minutes.

Admidst chanting of Vedic hymns and plaintive notes of “shenai” the couple garlanded each other with jasmine and roses, signed the registrar’s book in the presence of the Deputu Commissioner, Mr BN Tandon and exchanged rings, before being declared man and wife.

Only members of the Nehru family, relatives of the late Feroze Gandhi and the bride’s family which arrived here last week, and a few close friends were present.

The bride draped in a salmon pink “zarigota” saree and decked in flowers instead of jewellellery in the Kashmiri tradition, arrived at the Prime Minister’s residence shortly after six. She was chaperoned by her uncle, Mr Angello Predebon.

As cine and TV cameras whirred, Mrs Gandhi gently let Rajiv in a cream sherwani, churidars and a flowing turban to the place where Sonia Maino stood. They were helped to garland each other from a golden tray.

(The Indian Express, Madras. February 26, 1968)

Advertising, India, People, Print Ads

‘Be responsible. Don’t use a condom tonight!’ Parsis urged to make babies in a series of new ads

The Parsis are an incredible people, but their numbers of fast dwindling. To counter this alarming fall in population, the Parzor Foundation and Bombay Parsi Panchayat, with TISS, Mumbai and Federation of Zoroastrian Anjumans of India launched the ‘Jiyo Parsi’ campaign.

While India’s population has more than tripled in last 60 years, the number of Parsis has reduced by 39% and is less than 69,000 today.

Jiyo Parsi is a Rs 10 crore initiative to increase the numbers of the Parsi community.

The campaign created by Madison World, uses humour to communicate the message, through a series of print ads, reproduced (pun intended) below:

















Shakuntala Devi (1929-2013): 1977 newspaper clipping on her mathematical prowess

1977 newspaper clipping: Shakuntala Devi’s (1929-2013) famous 23rd root of a 201-digit number in 50 seconds

During my childhood, there were only two things that could function faster than a computer one Chacha Chaudhary’s brain and the other was Shakuntala Devi. I did not care much about Pran’s sub-standard comics but Shakuntala Devi’s mathematical abilities was something else. Something beyond comprehension and almost bordering on the mythical. But the evidence was there to see, as in this January 26, 1977 news report in The Miami News.

Shakuntala Devi (1929-2013): 1977 newspaper clipping on her mathematical prowess

And the answer is…
The problem written on the blackboard is this: Find the 23rd root of a 201-digit number. Shakuntala Devi a renowned mathematician, ciphered the problem yesterday before a crowd of math lovers in the auditorium of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tex.
It took four minutes for a professor to write the problem on the board, and it took more than a minute for a Univac computer to figure out the answer. Ms. Devi got it in 50 seconds. The answer: 546372891. Easy.

I was a little let down on discovering via a classified ad in a newspaper that the maths prodigy had turned into an astrologer. I am now glad that she won’t be remembered for whatever predictions she made in her astrological career but for the astounding mathematical calculations that she performed in a matter of seconds.

Shakuntala Devi died following respiratory problems on Sunday, April 21, 2013 in Bangalore. She was 83.

People, Technology

Unofficial Norman Woodland bar code Google doodle

Google posts doodles on death anniversaries and not on deaths. But the very purpose of Cutting the Chai’s unofficial Google doodles are to imagine the doodles that Google didn’t or doesn’t do.

On of my favourite pieces of tech, that fascinated me as a child was the bar code. I thought it was cool to have a product with a bar code and even in the hand-made magazines that I put together, I added a hand-made barcode (which the bar code scanners wouldn’t have anyway recognised).

This Friday (December 14, 2012) Norman Woodland, the co-inventor of the bar code, died from complications related to Alzheimer’s disease. He was 91.

Woodland and Bernard ‘Bob’ Silver devised the bar code as engineering students. They applied for a patent in 1949 and in 152 were awarded the patent. Silver died in 1963, years before the first bar code scan that took place on June 26, 1974, in Troy, Ohio. The first bar code scanned product was a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum purchased by Clyde Dawson. The pack cost 67 cents.

So when the news of Woodland death appeared on my phone’s Google Reader app, I thought that the bar code pioneer’s passing called for a doodle. And here it is.

Unofficial Norman Woodland bar code Google doodle

On October 7, 2009 Google posted a bar code doodle to commemorate the 60th anniversary the invention of the bar code, which was the word “Google” encoded in Code 128 barcode symbology. The Norman Woodland doodle also uses Code 128 to depict the Google letters, but also adds the Google colours for effect.

The unofficial Google doodle on Mahatma Gandhi's birthday incorporates two symbols characteristic of the great man - khadi and the classic round spectacles.
Internet, People, Politics

Mahatma Gandhi’s 143rd birthday unofficial Google doodle

The unofficial Google doodle on Mahatma Gandhi's birthday incorporates two symbols characteristic of the great man - khadi and the classic round spectacles.

Google had doodled Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s birthday back in 2009 with an “indigo drawing of Gandhi on khadi cloth“. Google doesn’t usually doodle birthdays more than once, except for when it is its own (which by the way isn’t actually its birthday).

This Cutting the Chai’s unofficial Google doodle on Mahatma Gandhi’s 143rd birth anniversary incorporates two symbols characteristic of the great man – khadi and the classic round spectacles.