Archive for February, 2009

After seeing posts on Kerala in the blog, friends pulled my legs if I’m working to promote Kerala tourism and why I’m not writing anything about our places. And here’s the answer.

I wanted to start with my district and the first place came in front of my eyes was Adichunchanagiri and its seer Sri Balagangadharanatha Swamiji, who has immensely contributed to the field of education, medicine and other fields through the mutt. The seer’s contribution to the district and the community is immense and not only Mandya district, but also Vokkaligas are fortunate to get a person who dedicated his life to the upliftment of the community and the district.

Adichunchanagiri

Adichunchanagiri

Adichunchanagiri in Nagamangala taluk of Mandya district is the holy land, engulfed with divine resonance and vibration. While the mutt is famous as ‘Panchalinga Kshetra’ and ‘Annadani Mutt’ among devotees, nature lovers find the ‘Mayura Vana’ of the mutt attractive.

Ancient stone inscription about Sri Kshetra

Ancient stone inscription about Sri Kshetra

Folk legends say that Lord Shiva performed penance here, during which he devoured two demon brothers — Chuncha and Kancha — who were pestering people in the nearby villages for a long time. Thereafter, the place came to be known as Adichunchanagiri and Chunchanakote.

At the end of his austerity, Lord Shiva entrusted a Siddhayogi, establishing a Natha tradition. Lord Shiva also assured him that he would reside at Adichunchanagiri in the form of Panchalingas — Lord Gangadhareshwara, Chandramouleshwara, Malleshwara, Siddeshwara and

Someshwara — of which Lord Gangadhareshwara is known as the presiding deity and Chandramouleshwara is known as ‘Atmartha Devatha’. The place thus, came to be known as ‘Panchalinga Kshetra’.

Sri Kalabhairaveshwara, the manifestation of Lord Shiva, is the protecting deity of the Kshetra. Goddess Parvati resides here in the form of Stambambike or Kambadamma.

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There is ample folk literature available about the place. Inscriptions say that Ballalaraya of Halebid, Salva Narasimharaja Wodeyar, rulers of Cholas, Hoysalas, Ballalas and Vijayanagar dynasties were devotees of Lord Gangadhareshwara and Kalabhairaveshwara.

People who do not have children and who are not married come to the temple to offer pooja to Kambadamma. They believe that wishes of devotees are fulfilled after praying here.

Kambadamma

Kambadamma

The place where Lord Shiva sat and did penance is known as ‘Jwala Peetha’ or ‘Agni  Peetha’. Millions of devotees worship the place and peethadhipathis of Sri Kshetra will assume the Jwalapeetha thrice in a year — on Shivaratri, Navaratri and Jatrotsava.

Being one of the five Lingas, the temple of Lord Someshwara is amidst huge rocks on the hill. The Linga is situated in such a dark place that devotees take lamp to have darshan of the Lord even during noon.

Lord Gavi Gangadhareshwara’s temple is situated atop the hill and there is a Nandi statue weighing about 10 kg near the Linga. Lakhs of people come to lift this Nandi and is called as ‘Kallu Seve’.

On the way to Gangadhareshwara temple, there is Malleshwara temple.

‘Jwala Peetha’ is situated at Lord Chandramouleshwara temple. There is a cave inside the temple and folk tales tell that several sages did penance inside it.

There is a bamboo cradle tied over the Linga at Lord Gangadhareshwara temple.

Legends mention that there was a kingdom of Aarani Palegars near Chunchanagiri. The ruler did not have children for several years and prayed Lord Shiva that he would offer a bamboo cradle if he is blessed with a male issue. He sent his soldiers to get bamboo from Chunchanagiri and the men found a bamboo bush. When they cut a bamboo tree, blood oozed from it and the soldiers heard a voice telling them that Lord Shiva was doing penance under the shade of the bamboo bush. The voice instructed them to tell about the incident to the ruler and ask him to construct a temple and cautioned them not to turn back. But unable to control curiosity, the men turned back and died there on the spot. Still, there are two stones resembling human heads at a mantap near the temple and people believe them to be the heads of those soldiers.

Normally, every Shiva temple will have a statue of Nandi, but in the temple of Lord Kalabhairaveshwara, there is a statue of a dog, considered to be his vehicle.

Dog facing sanctum sanctorum of Lord Kalabhairaveshwara

Dog facing sanctum sanctorum of Lord Kalabhairaveshwara

There are two large ponds near the temple. There are several mantaps and caves and every stone and cave has a story to tell. Other interesting places are ‘Koogu Bande’ where echoes are heard and the ‘Sappeswami Mutt’ where a saint lived for years on bland food. Adventurists can also climb the gigantic boulders behind. On the top there are three pillars – ‘Chelur Kamba’ to the south, ‘Madhya Kamba’ in the centre and ‘Akasha Bhairava’ to the north. Climbing the hill is can quite scary, as one has to negotiate steep boulders holding small iron rods embedded in the rock. Even more challenging is reaching ‘Akasha Bhairava’ on a vertical rock holding a long iron chain. The crevices between boulders are unfathomable and very dangerous.

Last year, a magnificent temple dedicated to Lord Kalabhairaveshwara was constructed at a cost of Rs 85 crore by Sri Balagangadharanatha Swamiji. With the construction of the temple, Adichunchanagiri has become one of the most prominent places of worship for Shaivites in south India.

A view of the temple from the mutt

A view of the temple from the mutt

Locally available stones as well as black stones brought from Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu have been used in the temple. As many as 1,200 people, including sculptors, toiled round-the-clock over nine years to make Swamiji’s dream temple a reality.

The main sculptor of the temple is Padmashree awardee Mutthaiah Sthapati. This temple is the only one dedicated to Lord Kalabhairava in south India and no such temple has been constructed in the past 500 years.

Sanctum sanctorum of Lord Kalabhairaveshwara

Sanctum sanctorum of Lord Kalabhairaveshwara

The temple is 275-feet wide and 175-feet long. It has four massive towers. While the main tower, which is the main entrance for the temple, is 100 metre in height, the other three towers are 57-feet high. The east-west length of the temple is 275-feet and north-south 175- feet. The temple has four beautifully sculpted gopuras. While three of them are 57-feet high, the Raja gopura, facing east  is 100-feet tall.

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The uniqueness of the temple is it is entirely constructed using stones. Doors, pillars, ceiling, everything at the temple is in stone. There are about eight 11-feet tall statues of Lord Bhairava, a 10-feet tall statue of Lord Ganesha and 11-feet tall statues of Shivatandava and Lord Subrahmanya at the temple. In all, there are about 64 different varieties of Bhairava statues measuring 4.5-feet in height.

The temple also has 172 beautifully carved pillars. Each pillar took almost 250 days to carve. While each pillar cost almost Rs 2 lakh, statues cost between Rs 3 and 4 lakh.

The main attraction of the place is the 23-feet tall statue of Nagalingeshwara carved out of a huge white rock.

Nagalingeshwara

Nagalingeshwara

Both the temple and the statues comply with the rules laid down by the science of sculptures. There are four idols in four different corners of the temple. While a 7-feet tall idol of Ganesha adorns the south-west corner of the temple, a six feet tall idol of Subrahmanya is in the north-west corner, and the 23-feet tall idol of Nagalingeshwara in the north-east. The 25-feet tall ‘Dhwaja Stambha’ of the temple is polished in gold.

While the temple is in the Dravidian style of architecture, the ‘Vimana Gopura’ is in the style of the Cholas.

The foundation stone for the massive temple structure was laid on August 22, 1993. While the cost was estimated to be Rs 10 crore when it was first conceived, it ultimately crossed Rs 85 crore on completion. The temple was opened to devotees on February 17, 2008.

There is a guest house at Chunchanagiri which can accommodate 5,000 devotees.

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It is not that A.R. Rahman is the best music composer the Hindi film industry has ever seen. There were several talented composers who did not get the great opportunity of showcasing their talent to the world. The film music has grown up on their music and every music lover has hummed their compositions on day or the other.

Who will forget S.D. Burman’s Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re (Bahar), Thandhi Hawayein (Nau Jawan), Tum Na Jane (Sazaa), Rote Rote Guzar Gayi (Buzdil), Jayen to Jayen Kahan (Taxi Driver), Dukhi Man Mere (Funtoosh), Chhod Do Aanchal (Paying Guest), Waqt Ne Kiya Kya (Kaagaz Ke Phool), Ek Ladki Bheeegi Bhagi Se (Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi), Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka (Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi), Dekhi Zamane Ki Yaari (Kaagaz Ke Phool), Khoya Khoya Chand (Kala Bazar), Dil Ka Bhanwar ( Tere Ghar Ke Saamne), Dil Dhal Jaye  (Guide), Saiyan Beimaan (Guide), Kya Se Kya Ho Gaya (Guide), Roop Tera Mastana  (Aradhana), Tere Mere Milan Ki (Abhimaan), Piya Bina (Abhimaan)?

Who says R.D. Burman has not contributed even one song that deserved an Oscar? Kuchh To Log Kahenge (Amar Prem), Pyar Diwana Hota Hai (Kati Patang), Tum Bin Jaoon Kahan (Pyar Ka Mausam), Yeh Shaam Mastani (Kati Patang), Dum Maro Dum (Hare Rama Hare Krishna), Piya Tu Abto Aaja (Caravan), Chingari Koi Bhadke (Amar Prem), Chura Liya Hai Tumne (Yaadon Ki Baarat), Ek Main Aur Ek Too (Khel Khel Mein), Kya Hua Tera Wada (Hum Kisise Kum Naheen), O Mere Dil Ke Chain (Mere Jeevan Saathi), O Meri Sona Re (Teesri Manzil), Mere Naina Sawan Bhadon (Mehbooba), Raat Kali Ek Khwab Mein Aai (Buddha Mil Gaya), Yeh Kya Hua (Amar Prem) to name a few, defenitely deserve an Oscar.

Kalyanji-Anandji pair has immensely contributed to the Hindi films. Mera Jeevan Kora Kagaz (Kora Kagaz), Aur Is Dil Main Kya Rakha Hai (Imandar), Aap Jaisa Koi Meri Zindgi Main (Qurbani), O Sathi Re Tere Bina (Muqaddar Ka Sikander), Salam-e-Ishq (Muqaddar Ka Sikander), Zindgi Ka Safar(Safar), Yeh Mera Dil Pyar (Don), Pardesiyon Se Na Akhiyan Milana (Jab Jab Phool Khile), Khai Ke Pan Banaras Wala (Don) to name a few.

Laxmikant-Pyarelal pair’s hit composing for the past 40 years are several. To name a few: Ek Do Teen… (Tejaab), Achha To Hum Chalte Hain (Aan Milo Sajna), Bindia Chamkegi (Do Raaste), Chabi Kho Jaye (Bobby), Chithi Aayee Hai Watan se (Naam), Ek Pyar Ka Naghma Hai (Shor), Satyam Shivam Sundaram (Satyam SHivam Sundaram), Sawan Ka Mahina (Milan), Hum Bane Tum Bane (Ek Duje Ke Liye).

The newcomers have also contributed much to the music world. They all didn’t have what Rahman has, the opportunity.

Rahman has talent along with great opportunity to compose for a film that teh Academy would like to consider for an Oscar. Other musicians did not get that opportunity, but defenitely ruled the hearts of several music buffs in the country, which is a big award. Their names are etched in the histroy of Indian film music and nobody can ever fade them. But still congratulations to Rahman for utilising his opportunity and talent.

Jai Ho?

Posted: February 23, 2009 in movie
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The rags-to-riches romance Slumdog Millionaire won eight Oscar awards for the best feature film, direction, original song, original score, sound mixing, editing, adapted screenplay and cinematography. At last, India made it to the Oscars.

Producer of 'Slumdog Millionaire' Christain Colson with girlfriend Saskia Mulder

Producer of 'Slumdog Millionaire' Christain Colson with girlfriend Saskia Mulder

The best direction award went to Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire.

Director Danny Boyle with actors Dev Patel and Freida Pinto

Director Danny Boyle with actors Dev Patel and Freida Pinto

Rahman won two awards — for the best original song (Jai ho, penned by Gulzaar) and the best original score for Slumdog Millionaire.

A.R. Rahman with two Oscar awards

A.R. Rahman with two Oscar awards

Resul Pookutty for the best sound mixing along with Ian Tapp and Richard Pryke.

Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty

Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty

Chris Dickens bagged the best film editing award.

Chris Dickens

Chris Dickens

Simon Beaufoy bagged the award for best adapted screenplay.

Simon Beaufoy with wife Jane

Simon Beaufoy with wife Jane

Anthony Dod Mantle got the best cinematography award.

Dod Mantle

Dod Mantle

The country is jubilant over winning eight Oscars.

Danny Boyle with writer Vikas Swaroop, author of 'Q & A'

Danny Boyle with writer Vikas Swaroop, author of 'Q & A'

It is considered as a historical event, as Oscar is considered to be the ultimate in excellence in the cinema world. Every artist dreams of making it big by aspiring for a role or a movie which would bag him Oscar.

Crew of the 'Slumdog Millionaire'

Crew of the 'Slumdog Millionaire'

When the country is jubilant over securing eight awards for the movie, has anyone thought about why did the movie get so much of recognition? Would it have got the Oscar if it was directed by an Indian director or an Indian script writer? Is there any dearth for local talent? There are many talented directors and artists in the country and it doesn’t mean that they are lagging behind in anything. Many good Indian films hardly get international exposure and recognition, as they are directed by locals. Unlike the west, we lack good marketing and exposure. Even a great director like Satyajit Ray got his Oscar at the fag end of his life, that too for his life time achievement and not to any particular film!

If we watch BBC or any other international channels, we are told that Slumdog Millionaire is a British cinema about India and not an Indian cinema! It seems like the British hired Indian artists and paid them the Oscar award.

Not only the Slumdog Millionaire, even Smile Pinki, a 39-minute short film in Hindi and Bhojpuri, directed by Emmy-nominated producer Megan Mylan also drew the attention of the world by winning the best documentary short subject Oscar award.

Director and producer of 'Smile Pinki' Megan Mylan with Pinky

Director and producer of 'Smile Pinki' Megan Mylan with Pinky

Both the films had Indian subjects with foreign directors to make it at the Oscars. When will the days come when a film directed by an Indian director makes it to the Oscars?

When Muzrai minister Krishnaiah Setty wants to make this year’s Shivaratri celebrations unique. Two tankers carrying 50,000 litres of Gangajal, collected from Laksman Jula near Rishikesh, reached Bangalore on Sunday.

The vehicles carrying the Gangajal reached all taluks yesterday evening. Each taluk got 100-150 litres of the holy water, depending on the number of temples. The devotees will be offered Gangajal after abhisheka to Lord Shiva on Monday evening. As many as 1,500 temples have been identified for the distribution of the holy water.

The minister said not even a single paisa of the state exchequer was spent for the purpose. One of his friends managed the expenses. “I don’t know how much is being spent. Along with the Gangajal, the minister will also distribute 6 lakh calendars, brought out specially for Shivarathri, to the devotees. Setty has printed the calendars at his own expense.
Setty had distributed laddus from Tirupati during  Vaikuntha Ekadashi.

When everybody is excited about the Gangajal, a mail on the Ganga river is making rounds and I too received it. The pictures speak for themselves.

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When we are really free and want to spend time, we normally head towards any malls for window shopping. Whenever my hubby asks me to accompany him for window shopping, I no more feel bad about it, as compared to earlier days, the number of window shoppers has tremendously increased, thanks to the growth in consumerism and globalisation.

When observed closely, we realised that it is the middle class which is in the forefront of this silent movement, probably because their income allows them no room for luxury. Window shopping is all about resisting their temptations even when exposed to its full glare.

The growth of super markets and malls has nurtured a generation of window shoppers or shelf-shoppers. Upscale shopping centres in posh localities like Brigade Road, MG Road, Commercial Street and others have become a boon for the window shoppers in Bengaluru. No wonder, shops on these roads are specifically designed to promote window shopping.

Window shopping promotes expensive merchandise and goods. A mobile phone in the showcase with a price tag of Rs 1 lakh is wonderful to look at. Even if window shoppers have Rs 1 lakh, they will not spend it on the phone, as they know that purchasing it can put a big hole not only in their pockets, but they can also be at a risk of losing such an expensive phone. Moreover, the price of any electronic good keeps diminishing with its use. The resale value of it can also will be a deterant factor.

Window shopping is like an excursion which can be made more enjoyable, provided the companion also shares the mood. So head towards any shopping mall this weekend and enjoy window shopping.

All of a sudden, Alfie Patten has been elevated to the status of a national celebrity in the UK. When I saw the picture of Alfie, with a woman and a baby, I thought the woman might be his mother. Gosh! Chantelle Steadman was the mother of Alfie’s daughter! The boy didn’t even look like a teen, rather looked like a 7-year-old boy.

alfie2

The 4-ft tall baby-faced boy wants to prove that he is the father of newborn Maisie Roxanne, as he is in a battle with two other teens who are claiming to be the dad of the baby.

When grown ups think twice to have children these times, 13-year-old boy told The Sun in an interview: “I thought it would be good to have a baby. When my mum found out, I thought I was going to get into trouble. We wanted to have the baby, but were worried about how people would react. I didn’t know what it would be like to be a dad. I will be good, though, and care for it.”

Not only Alfie lost childhood by his mistake, but also have to behave and take responsibilities like an adult.

The boy is not just busy with nappy changing and night feeds, but is also getting prepared for a paternity test to prove his fatherhood.

Alfie’s father Dennis — father of nine, or possibly 10 children by various mothers — is busy in  maximizing the earning potential of his son.

Nothing is secret, no detail has been spared, everything, including details on sexual encounters of the teens are out.

Whom to blame for the incident? In an open society like the west, Chantelle and Alfie shared a room, with her parents’ consent when he stayed at her house. His visits were so frequent to Chantelle’s home that he even kept a spare uniform there. It is doubtful when her parents say that they did not have any idea the two were having sex.

When the whole world is interested in Alfie’s story, two other teens are competing with him, not just for fatherhood, may be also because of the media attention. Their exclusive stories could change their fortunes altogether and they do not hesitate to make their personal details public for it. They are giving details of their alleged sexual encounters with Chantelle.

Though a tabloid alleges that Chantelle had slept with no less than eight teens during her pregnancy, her family insists that she was a virgin until she and Alfie had sex. Even Alfie insists that he was Chantelle’s only boyfriend and that Maisie was conceived on their first night together. Contrary to his statement, Chantelle says she was on the pill, but had forgotten to take it! She makes it obvious that her sexual encounter with Alfie was not the first one.

It is difficult to judge not only Alfie and Chantelle, but also their parents, who are busy to cash on their misfortune. They are using their children like commodities to make fortune, selling their stories to the media! Ironically, Alfie’s mother Susan said to the media that she didn’t want to “interfere with my son’s business interests”.

Alfie’s fatherhood might not have shocked his father David patten, as one of his daughters reportedly became pregnant at 13!

No wonder, if the story of Alfie and Chantelle become a good script for a movie or a soap opera. Limelight will be on Alfie till a boy less than 13 years comes up with a baby and an exclusive interview to the media. Then the story rewinds, parents claiming to be unaware of the sexual encounters of children and selling stories of their children to the media…

By HARRY HAYDON

Published: 15 Feb 2009 The Sun

BOY dad Alfie Patten has said he WILL take a DNA test to prove he is the father of his teen girlfriend’s child.
Alfie, 13, was shockingly revealed as Britain’s youngest dad by The Sun last week after Chantelle Steadman gave birth to baby girl Maisie.

But it has emerged today that THREE other local youths are claiming to be the father of the child.

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Reputation

And Alfie has said he is happy to take a paternity test to prove he is the father and protect 15-year-old Chantelle’s reputation.

Speaking from his home in Essex yesterday Alfie said: “Other stupid boys are lying, saying bad things, like they have slept with Chantelle too.

Read about who is claiming to be the real father at The News of the World.

“But I am the only boyfriend she has had and we’ve been together for two years, so I must be the dad.

“When she found out she was having a baby, I asked her ‘Am I the dad?’ and she went ‘Yeah’ so I believe her.

“I didn’t know about DNA tests before, but Mum explained it’s when they do a swab in your mouth and it tells you if you’re the dad.

“So, if I have that, they can all shut up. But I don’t really care what people say. And I don’t like them being bad about Chantelle.”

Alfie’s dad Dennis – who dumped wife Nicola, 43, for a teenage friend of her eldest daughter – is clearly pushing for the test.

Love-rat Dennis said this weekend “A DNA test is the only way to settle this once and for all.

“When Nicola told me Alfie was going to be a dad, I said ‘How do you know it’s his?’ “I kept asking if she was sure because I thought a boy of his age wasn’t capable of conceiving.

“And Alfie looks so much younger than 13. That’s the point of all this. He looks a little kid himself and it’s so shocking.

The vehicle fitter walked out on Alfie and his mum for a 19-year-old friend of his teen-mum stepdaughter.

But Dennis defended his decisions and refused to take the blame for Alfie’s predicament saying: “I’ve been the best dad I could.

“But we all make mistakes.”

For pics: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article2239272.ece

Lad’s sister blames their dad

Posted: February 15, 2009 in social issues

By LUCY HAGAN

Published: 14 Feb 2009 The Sun

SCHOOLBOY Alfie Patten’s sister yesterday laid the blame for him becoming a father at 13 on their own feckless dad running off with a teenage girl.
Dennis Patten, 45, tore his family apart by dumping them for a 19-year-old friend of his stepdaughter.

The father of seven — who is also dad to three stepkids — is still living with new love “Maz”, now 21.

Daughter Nicole — Alfie’s 19-year-old half-sister — declared: “I blame my dad for Alfie getting Chantelle pregnant.

“If it wasn’t for him, Alfie wouldn’t be in this situation. When Dad left it tore the family to pieces.

“Alfie’s mum took her eye off the ball — and Alfie looked for comfort somewhere else to take his mind off things.”

She said her stepmum Nicola was “devastated” when she rumbled Dennis’s fling two years ago — when Alfie was just 11. The couple had been wed for 14 years after Dennis divorced Nicole’s mum.

He and his new wife had three children together — Joe, 16, Alfie and Isabella, 11.

Tangled
Venting her fury at her father, Nicole declared: “Dennis has never been a dad to me. He’s shown me no affection, hardly even a hug since as far back as I can remember. When we heard about Alfie becoming a dad, Dennis didn’t quite seem to be really interested.

“He never spoke to Alfie properly, never said a word about how big a thing it was to become a dad. He just ignored it.”

Along with the three kids Dennis had with Alfie’s mum, he is father to Nicole’s brother Richard, 23, and sister Suzannah, 22. A seventh child Leyton — now 23 — he fathered with a previous lover.

Nicole said of the tangled family: “My mum had children when they met. There are ten of us altogether.”

They include a 21-year-old stepdaughter Jade — who Alfie’s mum was raising when she met Dennis.

It was Jade’s friend who Dennis ran off with. The two teenagers went to the same football club in Eastbourne

Nicole told how her father did not even ring Alfie at the hospital when he became a dad. She said: “Alfie had to call him.”

She described her half-brother as a typical soccer-mad boy of 13 — obsessed with shooting games on his Xbox.

She said: “I think he’ll probably join the Army when he’s older.

“He was over the moon when a relative gave him some ornamental guns which were used in the Second World War. I adore Alfie. I don’t like saying it because there are a lot of us, but he is really, really special to me.”

She insisted he would be a “good dad” — despite his “typical” immaturity. Nicole said: “He’s good around kids and he always used to try and help out.

“But he’s still a kid himself. He has a Chucky doll which he absolutely loves and he still has now.

“Alfie has a lot of people around him to offer support.

“As long as he knows that then I think him and Maisie and Chantelle will be fine.”

For pics: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article2238066.ece

By LUCY HAGAN

Published: 14 Feb 2009 The Sun

INNOCENT-eyed Alfie Patten spent his first night acting as a 13-year-old dad and declared: “It was easier than I thought.”
The four-footer — who looks no more than eight — said: “I know I’m young, but I plan to be a good dad.”
As he went on the PlayStation with 15-year-old girlfriend Chantelle Steadman, he added: “I think we’ll be good parents. I’ll have to work extra hard at school.”

Chantelle looked up from 18-rated action game Saints Row II to admit her first night out of hospital since having 7lb 3oz daughter Maisie had been tough and had left her “in a daze”.
But she went on: “Alfie has been really good with her.

“He made the first bottle and then we took it in turns feeding her. He did the first bit with me.

“We didn’t need any help from Mum. I didn’t really get back to sleep. I just lay there in a daze.”

She added: “It feels better to be at home than it does in hospital. I prefer it now I am at home and it is just us and our family.”

Both Chantelle and Alfie change four-day-old daughter Maisie’s nappy and the baby sleeps in her mum’s bedroom in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

It is a typical teenage bolthole — packed tight with cuddly toys including a giant pink teddy. A school gymnastics certificate is proudly displayed on the wall.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse hold hands, surrounded by lovehearts, on the headboard of her bed — where Maisie was conceived when Alfie was just 12 and Chantelle 14.

Their story, revealed by The Sun yesterday, rocked Britain.

Even Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke out, commenting: “I think all of us would want to avoid teenage pregnancies.”

But Chantelle insisted: “When I was pregnant the police and social workers came to interview us and they decided that we would make good parents to Maisie.

“Now we will prove to everyone that we can be, and give her a great future. When Alfie is 16 he can come and live here with me and my family.

“We don’t want to get a flat because we wouldn’t have enough money and I want us both to stay in school to make the best future for Maisie.”

Benefits
The pair’s parents have been singled out for criticism. Both knew Alfie and Chantelle were “dating” but said they did NOT know the relationship was sexual.

Alfie lives with mum Nicola, 43, in a £395,000 detached home in nearby Hailsham.

A cheeky message in the window reads: “I am horny.”

Neighbour John Holmes, 90, said: “I have always found them very nice, but I know a lot of neighbours have complained about her noisy parties.”

Nicola is separated from Alfie’s dad Dennis, a 45-year-old father of ten, including three stepkids.

He said: “How were we to know what they were up to? To us they were just kids — we’re as shocked as everyone else.”

He said the child couple hid the pregnancy for six weeks and added: “I feel that the doctor that told them she was pregnant should have told an adult.”

Chantelle lives with mum Penny, 38, dad Steve, 43, and her five brothers in a council house.

The family survive on benefits. But Penny explained: “Steve is a fisherman and work is sparse.

“I need to be at home to look after Maisie and my other children so that Chantelle can go to school in April and take her GCSEs. What’s important now is Chantelle’s career and her family and that this mistake does not mean she cannot have the same dreams as any other 15-year-old.”

Penny also dismissed a neighbour’s allegations that she had let THREE other boys stay overnight with Chantelle.

Sean Thomas, 20, claimed: “She is not a young innocent girl who got pregnant with the first boy who came along.”

Furious Penny hit back: “It’s rubbish. Chantelle lost her virginity to Alfie.”

Chantelle gave birth to 7lb 3oz Maisie in Eastbourne Hospital on Monday.

Social Services in Eastbourne admitted to “concerns” over the case but vowed to give “all their support”, including intensive monitoring. Police said they had investigated but had decided to take no further action as it was “not in anyone’s interests” to prosecute.

Julie Vine, 37, whose daughter goes to Cavendish School with Chantelle, said: “I feel sorry for them both. It’s not the school’s fault, it’s a very good school.”

A family friend said Alfie had been thrilled when he learned he was going to be a dad.

Becky Holmes, 19, said: “He is a lovely little boy.

“When he found out his girlfriend was pregnant he paid my baby girl so much attention.

“I was pretty shocked but he’s a natural with babies, even though he still looks like one himself.

“He’s so tiny, he doesn’t even look his age. But he says he’s ready for it.” Another family friend, 28-year-old David Lee, said: “I am really shocked. I didn’t know anything about it. I was only round there two weeks ago playing Xbox games with him.

“He didn’t say anything. You would think being a few days away from being a dad he might have mentioned it.”

Children’s Secretary Ed Balls said: “You look at that young lad being a dad when he is so young — and also the teenage girl — and you think it’s not right, this looks so terrible.

“Our first reaction has got to be to make sure that the young lad, the teenage mum and the baby get all the support they need.

“And it’s also vital that we do everything we can to make sure that these kind of teenage pregnancies don’t happen in the future.”

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, who runs the Centre for Social Justice think tank, said: “It exemplifies the point we have been making about Broken Britain.

“It’s not being accusative, it’s about pointing out the complete collapse in some parts of society of any sense of what’s right and wrong.”

Local MP Nigel Waterson said: “This is a very sad story which will have a huge impact on both the parents and the child.

“I’m very pleased that the families are being supportive, but this of course raises huge questions about sex education, and also about the sexualisation of our society.”

For pics: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article2238252.ece

I still wonder what was so imaginative and fun in sending pink chaddis to Sri Rama Sene. Is this the right way to fight back? A cheap method adopted to fight a so-called cause. The person whoever mooted the idea thinks women as mere objects. There were other ways, decent ones, to fight the Sene. Agreed, beating up women is against Indian culture, but is sending lingeries Indian culture?

chaddi

The so-called pseudo fighters for the women’s cause, including Renuka Chaudhary, who sent pink lingeries to Pramod Muthalik should think if they were really trying  to save women from exploiters. Instead of wasting money on purchasing pink lingeries and sending them to the Sene, they could have utilised the money for better causes, to help the poor women. How many poor women work as daily wage earners to meet their ends, how many sleep without eating two meals a day? These liberators could have given food and clothing to those poor and the downtrodden. In India, there are several girls who become victims of acid attacks. What have these women fighters and liberators done to help those victims? Why can’t they launch a campaign to help them? Pool the money and give them moral and financial help. That they would not do, as everybody was on a competition to take political mileage from the Mangalore pub issue. If they had helped the poor, the media would have not given them so much coverage as they grabbed by launching chaddi campaign.

If these women are really concerned about the situation of women in the country and want to liberate women folk, why can’t they do something to give equal opportunities to Muslim women in the country. Why can’t they take up a campaign asking men to allow them to come out of veil and allow them to pray in mosques?

Any citizen will oppose what the Sri Rama Sene activists did in the pub incident. But two wrong things don’t make a thing right. The indecent approach of the campaign got a decent answer by the Sene. The Sene sent sarees to those who had sent them lingeries. Even Mahatma Gandhi would have been happy to send sarees to those women.

Pramod Mutalik

Pramod Mutalik

What was the message that these campaigners gave to youth? They asked women to pub bharo. Freedom fighters’ concept of jail bharo was merely reduced to a western concept of fillings pubs!

Adopting a culture or a concept is not bad, but adopting it without understanding its real value is definitely not good. Whoever started the campaign was highly influenced by individualistic and openly shameful western culture. Never in the history of Indian culture did women come up with an idea of either discussing about their lingeries, leave alone sending them to others, that too, to a man.

Everybody agrees that pub culture is not a healthy trend. How many children have spoilt their lives by indulging in drinking, drugs and illegal sex?! What do the campaigners have to say about this?

Once take seniors to pubs and then they will agree that asking young girls not to visit pubs is not wrong. You get to see young girls vulgarly dressed in the name of western culture and pub culture. In the name of westernization, the dresses will be so skimpy that they will give the Victoria’s Secret run for money.

It is fun to see if someone else’s mother go mad in public and they never think what if other women had launched such a campaign against their own brother, father or husband. The obscene campaigners definitely lacked sense and shame. There were better ways to oppose their violent ways than starting such obscene campaigns. Media is highlighting them, and no wonder if a daughter shows her lingerie to a father if he asks her not to go to pubs!

It is unfortunate that a very small percentage of pub goers have labelled the Sri Rama Sene as unethical.  Sometimes I wonder if it is a campaign against the pub incident or a campaign against the Sri Rama Sene itself? There were no such big incidents when Da Vinci Code was banned following protests by churches; Jo Boley So Nihaal film was forced to cut few scenes, following objections by Sikhs; a cartoon in Denmark resulted in an outrage in India. But no secular and forward looking people ever called it as an encroachment on right of freedom of expression. But the Bajrang Dal protesting against MF Hussain was called as an attack on right of freedom of expression.

So what freedom are they talking about? What type of liberation is it? How far did the campaign help these fighters to liberate women?