It is paradoxical that while many of the native Keralites go out to various parts of the country and abroad in search of lucrative jobs and heft pay packs, labourers from neighbouring States like Tamil Nadu, Orissa and West Bengal are enthusiastically stepping in to Kerala to fill this vacuum. These hard working labourers make a few fast bucks by doing an array of jobs especially in the construction sector.
They can be seen in busy junctions at the crack of the dawn waiting for a prospective employer. Though in the past, they were assigned manual jobs like clearing the bush, or cleaning up the sewage pits or waterlogged canals, now things have undergone a sea change. They have become experts in an array of well paid jobs like masonry, plumbing and landscaping among others, which would not just fetch them a higher pay but also offer convenient working hours.
There has been an marked increase in the quality of their living styles as well. Most of them stay in cozy, one room housing blocks, built by the locals, exclusively keeping the migrant labourers in mind.
Most of them reach their work places riding their stylish bikes and could be seen working merrily listening to their favourite Tamil songs from their mobile phones. Next time when you pass along any duplex apartment complex under construction, take a closer look at these sporty youngsters with their hallmark earphones popping out, giving finishing touches to the avant- garde edifices of contemporary Kerala.
The adage ‘A home away from home’ perfectly conveys the warm and secure feeling one gets at Sneha Bhavan – the home for the destitute children at Palluruthy in Cochin, managed by the Salesians of Don Bosco in association with the Corporation of Cochin. Here the children are given a chance to grow and integrate themselves into society by preventing them from being helpless and exploited.
When we at the editorial team of karmakerala planned a visit to this home, the initial picture we all had in our minds was that of unhappy faces and a gloomy milieu. However we had a pleasant surprise as we reached this simple yet happy home for the children. The kids were jostling to greet us and were curious to know more about us. The toffees and goodies we carried served as handy ice breakers. Smart and forthcoming, these kids portrayed a promising picture of a great future ahead of them.
Sabi and Jamal, aged around seven, took me around their home, nestled along the backwaters. In a hall, a painting master was offering free classes for some of these exceptionally talented kids. Dharma from Assam flaunts some of his lively pictures of landscapes and portraits and the master sounded confident that in a couple of years he will bloom into a seamless artist. In the recreation room, a bunch of kids was having fun interacting with some MSW students who had dropped in as part of their project study.
In the garden, more kids joined me. The band troop was getting ready for a programme and I was introduced to some of its members like Babu from Nepal and Shyam from Mumbai. These kids from far and wide strive to put their unhappy past behind them to build a bright future right from the scratch. Though most of the kids reach here from broken homes or the streets, they have become refined and polished just like any other normal child.
Most of them are good at sports and have brought laurels to this institution. Many inmates have passed out to become research scholars and officers but the most important lesson that they learn from this home is that every job has its own dignity.
Next time when you trash out your kid’s old T short or Tennis racket, think about these hapless kids, who are looking for love and support. You can make a change in their lives by sponsoring a day’s meal or arranging a day trip for these fun loving boys.
As they say it is the surroundings that make or break any one’s character and by providing the right atmosphere, these kids can be moulded into responsible citizens of this country.
Once again it is wedding season in Kerala and most of the wedding halls are choke full with wedding revellers. People rack their brains in search of innovative gifts as invitation cards get stuffed into their mail box and inbox day in and day out. Unlike in many Western countries, here in Kerala, wishlist is something unheard of and almost always wedding gifts are purchased as per the whims and fancies of the guests.
The likes and needs of the newly weds are seldom taken into account and typically Keralites go for items like casseroles, wall clocks, watches and dress materials as gifts. In all likelihood the bride and groom would end up with dozens and dozens of these stuffs, which will eventually be shoved into the attic to gather dust, for want of space in their one room apartment.
It is high time that we spare a thought at the specific needs of the prospective couples before shelling out the money on rather unwanted gifts. As new home makers, the newly wed couple will be more in need of the basic essentials and cash gifts rather than dozens of frying pans and pressure cookers, which will only leave them cooked up not knowing what to do with all these.
A wish list where the couple can spell out their favourite gifts that they always wanted to possess will relieve everyone from the predicament of choosing the right wedding gift. Let the prospective bride and groom set up a wishlist so that every guest can make their pick from a list of useful gifts that the newly weds will cherish all their lives.
Do you wish to have a snappy sojourn through the city roads on a two wheeler taxi, which is rare thing in Kerala? Just call Mr. Mehboob who is operating this novel taxi service in Trivandrum city limits on his Kawasaki Boxer. Started only a few months back it allows him to make a decent living.
You can plan a joyful cityride, a long pending one day trip, a shopping spree or can opt for his handy door delivery service to restock your provision supply. Whatever you choose to do, you need to pay just Rs.5 per Km and an additional Rs.3 for every extra km . If you are setting out on long trips you can avail attractive discounts too.
Are you stuck in the middle of nowhere? Just give him a buzz for a pick up and drop facility and enjoy a snappy ride home on this two wheeler taxi. He is deeply committed to social service as well and takes the sick to the hospitals and deliver medicines for the aged for free.
Though Kerala is a hot tourist destination, two wheeler taxis are not common here unlike in many other cities like Goa. Due to this reason Mr. Mehboob was forced to take a special permission from the City Police Commissioner to operate his taxi service in the city limits as the officials of the Transport Department had no provision to give him the permit.
Bid adieu to the dreaded bus trips down the crowded roads. Next time when you need to beat the traffic snarls, opt for this trendy option of two wheeler taxis and feel the difference. The catch is that this service is available only in Trivandrum city limits at present. Nonetheless Mr. Mehboob is interested to expand his services if more people join his fleet.
At a casual glance, this tree house might pass off as a chic abode built over a tree to exclusively cater to adventure tourism. However on a closer look, you will be surprised to note that it is an outdoor study room built for the students of Ananda Narayana Memorial Aided Upper Primary School at Krishnagiri in Wayanad. Built using locally available materials like bamboo and hay, this cosy hut has a floor area of 100-sq.-ft and is perched over 50 ft. above the ground. The school kids have given endearing names for their pet project. Some call it ‘Dream Nest’ while others prefer to call it by a more reverie name like the ‘ Palace in the sky . A brain child of the innovative students of this nondescript school, the idea evolved after an enlightening study tour last year to the Kuruva islands, where they were bowled over by the timeless charm of huge trees.
The resources were pooled in from various sources like the Pupils-Parents-Teacher’s Association (PPTA) and the Self Help Group (SHG) of the students of the school apart from others to make this dream come true. After investing a capital of around Rs. 40,000 and two months of labour, the tree house was born, much to the delight of the villagers as a whole. The tree hut is being used as an open classroom for group activities. The tree house features many useful tourist information like the places of tourist interests in the district and maps and drawings of students, which are neatly arranged. Students take rest on comfortable cotton quilts during recess and learn new things from nature almost always.
Now the school is planning to let it out to tourists and an attached bathroom is also being constructed for this purpose. We all can take a cue from this innovative venture and return to nature to enjoy life at its fullest. Striking a subtle balance with nature and its living beings is what holds the key to success in any civilised society. Cocooning ourselves in the ivory towers of fame and money will not bring any lasting solution to the vexed problems dogging the modern world.
This could well be a typical scene from a Kerala village road. A packed bus in which commuters were stacked like sardines screeched to a halt to pick up more passengers. The next available bus in this stretch is only at dusk hence the bus was unusually crowded. The passengers comprising of shoppers, students, young and old try to get a toehold at the foot board when a good Samaritan popped up from nowhere from the crowd. He started to mind the crowd and to yell out the names of the bus stops for people to get down easily.
This supportive act helped the hapless conductor a lot as he was finding it very hard to issue the tickets and to manage the doorbell in the milling crowd all at once. Soon, things fell in place and it was a smooth sail till the bus reached its destination where this helpful guy got down after a commendable endeavour.
Though going by the books, this overzealous act may not go well with the general public, most of the commuters were all praise for this selfless act, which grabbed a few eyeballs of the curious travelers. Nonetheless some were heard whispering at hushed tones that he might be on a high, which made him lose the sense of reality! It is interesting to note that as always, this selfless deed has also won bouquets and brickbats all at once!
Sky need not be the limit when some innovative persons put on their thinking cap! Kerala has always been a fertile land for innovative and creative ideas to take roots. There are associations and clubs of all possible genres in Kerala. From Tall men’s association, to bald men’s association and unmarried men’s clubs- the list of organisations that strive to bring together people of similar interests under the same platform seems endless!
Though for many ordinary Joes , it might appear a bit strange, such organiations, flaunt a decent membership and are quite popular in the city. These bodies also play an important role in popularising their cause apart from notching up the self esteem of its members.
For instance, though a pot belly could be a cosmetic problem for many it can be made a cause for celebration by being a member in these clubs; at least that is what the stupendous success of the competitions among pot belied men held by some of these clubs is any indication. If you thought a large tummy would put you in an awkward situation, just remember that there are quite a few brave souls who show it off with pride and consider a symbol of manliness.
Remaining a bachelor all through your life might not be an enjoyable experience for your family members and friends; however once you become member of the unmarried men’s association, you will start enjoying every moment of your bachelorhood that you would even go whole hog convincing your family and parents to drop the idea of getting you hooked by way of marriage! In case you have a hard hitting and innovative idea and a strong fan following, then nothing can stop you from cobbling up an association in Kerala. Bravo!
As always, Kerala decked herself up in its finery to usher in a new year of hope and happiness. Hotels and tourism sector had come up with innovative New year programmes to pep up the milieu. There were variety entrainment programmes with a rich smattering of both contemporary and classic art forms, music, drama and pageants. The main alleyways were illuminated and hotels offered midnight bash, live music programmes and dinner feasts to draw the crowd.
In the past, festivals in Kerala were occasions to share the simple joys of life and share the virtues and cultural thoughts among the family members and to extend a helping hand to the less fortunate mortals. Nonetheless, with the onslaught of commercialisation, festivals have become more of ostentatious expressions of money and muscle power. and people make good use of it to hog the lime light and to grab a few eye balls in the society.
Men and women take time off to enjoy a make over in the leading spas and saloons of the city before heading to the super malls to cart away goodies to be distributed among friends during the bash. Eating out in a 5 star hotel followed by an outing in one of the popular holiday spots would almost always sign off the day in style. There would be also musical nights, fashion shows and pet shows to spice up the festive spirit. Food festivals are also popular ingredients of the festival calender of Kerala where men and women wait for hours together to carry home ‘payasams’ and other sweet dishes. It goes without saying that the new generation does not have the expertise to cook local delicacies and often depend on hotel to cater to their special needs during festival seasons.
However, the bottomline remains that even while indulging in fun and frolic, we should not forget simplicity and empathy for the less previleged people of the society.