The hospitality industry in Kerala has become an attractive investment destination for global hospitality companies. Considering the scope for premium quality accommodation options, more global companies are planning to make Kerala their port of call in the coming months. US-based MGM Mirage Hospitality, Amari from Thailand, Fairmont Raffles Hotels, Golden Tulip Hotels, Movenpick Hotels and Resorts , Corinthia Hotels group from Europe are some of the big names in Hotel chains that are set to come to India soon.
MGM Mirage Hospitality is scouting for offers and joint venture deals with real estate developers to set up hotel properties in Kerala among other destinations like Goa and Bangalore. MGM plans to launch Bellagio, MGM Grand and Skylofts brands in India. It is estimated that over 40 international hotels are expected to be operational in the country in the next 3 years. These offer exceptional upper scale, mid-scale , economy and budget accommodation options to tourists. There is a huge demand and supply gap in the hospitality sector in Kerala that there is enough room for everyone in the market, which makes it a major market for hotel groups. With the entry of international hotels, we can expect a healthy competition among the other players in the field and better prices and packages on the offer.
Cochin joined the league of the Tweet crazy Indian Metros of Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi, when it played host to the Twestival at Some Where Else Cafe at Kadavanthra, to be one among the seven other venues across the country which hosted the second global Twestival on 25th March. Tweet, Meet, Give – read the message in T-shirts worn by the city’s Tweeters. The Kochi edition of the festival was an attempt to break the popular notion that tweeters who mostly comprised of party loving and pub crawling youth who prefer fast and carefree life do not care for the society they live in and its social causes.
Twestival was the brainchild of a group of Twitter users in London, who gave shape to this idea in September 2009. In February this year, Twestival raised $ 2.5 lakh to fund drinking water projects for villages in Africa. This led to the twestival local, which is aimed at people and causes in the neighbourhood.
Through the social networking site of Twitter, funds are being raised to educate the underprivileged with the help of the a non-governmental international organization, Concern Worldwide. Held simultaneously in 175 countries across the world, the festival has already become very popular all over the world. The funds raised through this event will be used for purchasing books, desks,black boards and pencils for school children in addition to construction of schools, teacher/management training, HIV/AIDS school clubs, water and sanitation in schools and vocational training for youth.
This year’s response was much more encouraging than the first Twitter festival conducted last year and more and more people are joining hands in the virtual world for this noble cause of removing poverty through education. Tweeting is fun and is a great medium to find friends and to make new acquaintances and business relationships and now you can even tweet for a social cause!
Soon on the trails of the innovative marketing strategy of wrapping up the Rajdhani Express with the glimpses and captivating images of Kerala now it is the turn of the UK cabs to flaunt glimpses of Kerala. Kerala Tourism board has come up with this great idea in which the cabs of Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham will be sporting images that portray the culture and nature of Kerala.
This innovative scheme is to attract more tourists from the UK, which is one of the biggest foreign markets for Kerala tourism. In the year 2009, Kerala received over 7 lakh foreign tourists out of which 90 percent was from Europe , with UK being the biggest tourism market in Europe, followed by Germany, France and Italy.
Over 120 cabs with Kerala branding are plying on the streets of Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham to create more awareness about the tourist potential of Kerala. Manchester and Birmingham has 50 such cars with images of houseboats, elephants, ayurveda and Mohiniyattam dancers while Glasgow has 20 cabs. This branding exercise will be on till April 15th and after assessing the response, the scheme may be extended.
The ongoing branding exercise on UK cabs will not just help to bring in more tourists from the UK but also will help to promote superior quality tourist packages.
The state tourism director, Mr. Sivasankar said “ We have found that the average number of days that a foreign tourist is spending in Kerala has increased to around nine”.
In a bid to promote Kerala tourism in UK, road shows were also conducted in London, Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham from March 15-18, which saw the participation of over 22 trade partners from the retail travel trade and the wholesale industry of Kerala. With the aggressive and innovative marketing techniques, Kerala tourism is well poised to make a big leap this tourist season.
It was yet another festivity in the city of Cochin last day with the cities avid tweeters converging at ‘Somewhere Else Cafe’ for the much awaited ‘Cochin Twestival 2010′ – A meet up of the twitter community in the state. This one-of-its kind Twestival is the second global Twestival which apart from Cochin was hosted in many other cities across the country including Banagalore, Hyderabad, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata and Goa on the same day. This years Twestival happens to be the first ever Twestival in Cochin with the celeb guest ‘Archana Kavi’ (Neelathamara fame) gracing the event.
The event was coordinated by a team of young lads all from different fields and cities who with their hard work and efforts pulled up all the needed for the Twestival. Sajan Mani (@vmsajan), an organizer of Cochin Twetival 2010 (@cochintwestival ) addressed by telling how he along with few other gang members worked out day and night to make this dream come true. He even narrated his experience behind the Twestival and how last year no one showed up but this year the Twestival turned out to be a great event for Cochin. Sajan also added that, many rock bands including an international band had agreed to perform for free. But due to lack of venues and sponsors they had to drop the idea. He even expressed his gratitude for the support he got from few people who made this happen. Firstly he thanked the owner of ‘Somewhere Else’ Cafe, who agreed to lend the cafe free along with free welcome drink for the guests of Twestival. While DJ Arvee (@djarvee) also voluntarily preformed for the Cochin Twestival.
The Twestival was attended by quite a decent number of people from across the state, you can find them at http://tweeple.in/compare/1/. Twestival also supported the cause for under-privileged with the help of Concern Worldwide by generating funds for them using social media as the platform. The celebrity guest Archana Kavi (@archanakavi) remained the center of attraction with tweeters asking all sorts of questions, for which she elegantly replied. She seemed very pleased at being part of the first ever Twestival in Cochin, after proving her talent in her recent flick ‘Neelathamara’ this Delhi based Malayalee actor is at present shooting for her upcoming flick ‘Best of Luck’.
In conversation with ‘Archana Kavi’ -
1) How is twitter helpful for celebrities to make a link with their fans?
Archana – Well, Twitter does help a lot to have a one-on-one communication with our fans and we get to know what they feel about their stars and it even helps to reach out easily.
2) Can Twitter be thought as a tool for reputation management?
Archana – Not exactly, I don’t feel so, may be others might take it as a tool for building their repute for me its just a medium to stay connected to my friends, fans and well-wishers.
3) Do you reply to all the tweets?
Archana – Not for all, Like I can’t reply to a ‘hi’ to hundreds of people who wave me a ‘Hi’ each day, still I try my best to make sure I reply to most of them.
4) Do you think that twitter has come as a boon for the new celebs who can reach out to the masses easily, something yesteryear celebs missed?
Archana – Ya sort of! Now most of the celebs have a twitter account and they do tweet a lot about themselves, what they feel, what they are doing, and how they are and even reply to their fans.
Tweeples hurled plenty of questions on her with few funny questions as well, like with her second name ‘KAVI’ (Poet), have you ever written any poems lol!. Making her contribution for the cause the celebrity too contributed donation for Concern Worldwide foundation (@concern ).
Apart from Archana Kavi the highlights of the Twestival 2010 remained the stand-up comedy by budding stand-up artist Siddharth who with his funny acts forced the gathering to laugh out loud. The mega event winded off with DJ Arvee rocking the party with some of the foot-taping
tracks. The MAD (Make a difference foundation) guys were also part of this festivity and called for participation for the foundation, they even handed over questionnaires for tweeters to be filled out and returned back to know their views about MAD and to seeks willing people to join up with MAD’s initiative.
In all, it was a nice experience to be part of such an event which winded up with new ideas, noble deeds and lot of new friends and tweet pals. Kudos to all the guys behind Cochin Twestival 2010.
The Twitter bug has overtaken Kochi today with tweeples from all over Kerala swooping into Somewhere Else Cafe in Kadavanthara, this evening, the 25th of March 2010. So if you’re an avid tweeter you should make it to Cochin Twestival and have a Tweetup which is a festival with a DJ and even a stand-up comedy act to enjoy.
Twestival is a one-of-a-kind charity event which will help raise funds and create awareness for supporting the education of underprivileged children across the globe, including India in 2010.
The Cochin Twestival has its heart in the right place and the profit from the sale of T-shirts will go to Concern Worldwide, an international nonprofit and humanitarian organization supporting education projects for underprivileged and neglected children. This what the organisers have to say on the website:
Cochin Twestival has grown from just an idea to something more in the past few days. From just a handful of volunteers, the people of Kerala have joined in to volunteer help and make it a huge success.
The enterprising team of Cochin Twestival include Kenney Jacob(@kenneyjacob), Andrine Mendez @Andrine_Mendez), Binny VA(@binnyva), Ivin Gancius,( @ivan457), Thariq CP (@thariqcp ), Jayadeep Gilroy(@jAyaDEEpGiLrOY), Ranjith K Avarachan, aka @zeqox , Arun Sadanand, (@sadu_arun), Ashwin, (@4sHwiN), Cijo Abraham Mani( @cijoaj2003) Sharat Sreenivas-(I_Sharat) Nitin @hollowmaniac and Sajan Mani ( @vmsajan).
Archana Kavi of Neelathamara fame is the celebrity guest slated for the Twestival and the venue, Somewhere Else Cafe is the only free Wi-fi cafe in all of Kochi and has provided free welcome drinks.
From our team at KarmaKerala.com we wish Cochin Twestival all the best and hope that this becomes a regular event and more and more tweeples join in and help make a difference. With education let there be light and let’s help educate a new generation of people with this effort.
Happy tweeting and enjoy your Twestival and make a difference.
It is official. The biggest causative agents for global warming all over the world are industrial and auto emissions. The situation is no different in Kerala as well. Kochi, the business hub of this state is infamous for its staggering number of vehicles that push through the bad roads, causing terrible traffic congestion and emissions. Cochin has one of the highest car densities in India, which is ten times more than the national average. Most of the vehicles on the city roads do not pass the emission standards and one can see thick plumes of dark smoke emanating from the tail as these vehicles of all shapes and sizes wait at the traffic signals! Blame it on adulterated fuel ( many drivers mix additives to petrol to increase the mileage!) or lure for profits- the fact is that the damage goes unnoticed!
What we need now are hybrid cars that run on battery. Till these are ready to hit the roads at prices that are affordable to you and me, the only option is to use the available resources sensibly. Public transport is the best mode of transport to commute; if you find it too slow or crowded; ( Cant we run more Volvo buses at rates that are affordable to the common man?) the next best option would be the shared private cars. Yes; you heard it right. People who stay in adjacent flats and share the work space can very well share their vehicles with their colleagues! However, the irony is that most of them find it convenient to turn a blind eye ! Is it that we have become too narrow minded that we do not feel like picking up our next door neighbor or is it that we wish to be at our own pace and do not want to reschedule our timings for another person? In either case, if we all could make this small adjustment, it would be a big step in the right direction!
So, next time when you see someone from your gated community, ram that brake and offer a lift! It can save the world! By taking turns, we all can save fuel and money; above all, foster friendship and good will:) If your work place happens to be near your residence , you would be one of those few lucky souls who could tuck in a work out regimen into the day if you decide to chuck out the car and walk back home from work! As they say necessity is the mother of invention and the time has come for all of us to put on our thinking caps to come up with novel ideas to save this world from being a cauldron of burning gases.
Let us admit it; Keralites have a penchant for the gas guzzling luxury cars, which they buy to satisfy their vanity rather than to meet their needs. These air conditioned road rulers with just one person behind the wheel are not just adding up to the congestion of city roads but are also adding up to the green house effect. Increasing the taxes of luxury cars could help bring down the numbers to some extent; better still, the city administration can bring out a law that allows a person to take out the car only on alternate days as is the system in many foreign countries. The alarm bells are in the air. And if we choose not to do anything now, there might not be a second chance or a tomorrow!
Coming to office is full of adventure and harrowing experiences. Almost every vehicle would surpass me in a bid to make it first to the destination, the competition is fierce. Since I had experienced falling off my bike twice, I am nowadays generous enough to let others overtake me. The funniest actors on road are the adventurous two wheeler riders, who will make use of every inch of space to push their vehicle, lift your leg for a while and they will park a motorbike right underneath. The interesting part is on the way we all come across a railway crossing, which for most of the time remains closed and I see everyone who all overtook me waiting there. I was wondering like how meaningless it is to risk your life speeding and still not making it.
So this had been my usual routine, but today it was a bit different. Among all I saw an elderly man accompanied by his daughter on bike who seemed more impatient than others to get on to the other side. His daughter seated behind him was going through her notebooks undeterred with the traffic chaos. I realized the daughter must be rushing for her exams and the father to his office, so either one of them is late. The old man zipped past like a bullet, but then again no escape; I caught him at the next traffic signal.
I was closely following the father-daughter duo and suddenly saw the girl drop her notebook. It flew off on to the road. Damn it, they are going to be late again I said, but no! The girl made no effort to stop her Dad to pick the notebook and I saw she was acting helpless and holding her head like; ‘Can someone save me please?’ I felt strange, was perplexed, why did she not ask her dad to stop; after all she needs that book. Not giving a second thought as they sped away, I turned my bike and got the notebook that was lying on the road, which was partially torn, maybe couple of vehicles ran over it. As again they could not go beyond the next traffic signal, I approached them and handed over the notebook to the kid. She did not show any sign of courtesy or feeling of relief, but I could sense she was so happy to have it back. I asked her ‘Why didn’t you let your dad know that you had dropped the book? Her silence said it all. She didn’t want to upset her father because they don’t share a great camaraderie. Was this something related to me?, I thought to give her father a piece of my mind and told him ‘Don’t just be a Father, be a friend to your kid she needs you’. I don’t know how effective was my advise, but when I turned back all I could see was the man going even faster. Can’t help it”, said I to myself and then took a deviation and went my way.
Understanding is a major key in becoming an effective role model for your child or any person, as we say, “Understand – don’t take a stand.”. Why not parents tell their kids that ‘extremely powerful and simple way to live your life is to live it, and the whole purpose is to smile and realize that there are no bigger issues in life, can they do it? After all, we owe it to our children.
The new generation of Kerala is changing, the shift from traditional joint family setup to ‘nuclear’ family is more opted these days. Working parents are stressed resulting in communication gap with their children. Is the above episode a part of that culture? In fact I was left wondering as to how the new generation, hailed by all as the harbingers of change, would fare, with this kind of a treatment meted out at their homes and from their parents.
With the soaring temperatures coupled with the sun burn scare reports hitting the headlines in almost all the newspapers, Kerala is trying to come in terms with the harsh reality that their land will never be the same. Though the rising temperatures in the Arabian Sea along with the green house effect has a major role in upsetting the weather patterns, we have to admit that a substantial part of global warming starts right at our door steps. It is a million dollar question whether we are doing anything about it or not!
I had this strange experience the other day when I actually saw people clad in sweater and shawls even in this weather in Ernakulam. I had been to the newly opened branch of a nationalized bank near my house on a sweltering afternoon. The fully air-conditioned comforts of the well done up interiors, was indeed a welcome relief from the ruthless sun outside. The walls decked up with Kerala mural paintings, the fresh water lily arrangements and the tastefully done up visitors lounge- everything spoke of elegance and comfort. But this is only part of the story.
When I went to the cash counter, I was shell shocked to see the staff in full sleeve sweaters and shawls. The centrally air-conditioned interior was pretty cool at 20+ degrees and the staff who spends the whole day in this chilling weather might need some woolen wear alright. But I genuinely felt that the nationalized institutions, which are driven by the tax payers money, should have been more involved and committed to environmental causes so that they set a model to the society.
So,what is the solution?All we need to do is simply retrace our roots and go back to the time tested building styles, which have stood the test of time to ensure the well being of not just the humans but nature as well! Unfortunately, we have cast away the traditional Kerala architectural style of laterite bricks, tiles and wood, which were well suited for the high humidity climate of Kerala. By aping the West blindly, we have endorsed the glass clad tall concrete structures as our homes and work places, which become cauldrons in summer. To thrive in these indoors, we might need the aid of air-conditioners, which on the other hand sets off a never ending vicious cycle ! There are many cities that give approval only for building plans that have incorporated energy saving plans like solar lighting, inlets for natural air and rain water harvesting. It is high time that Kerala too has such a system in place to do our bit in slowing down global warming.
To ensure the survival of tigers in the wild, the Kerala State and Indian Government should make stringent laws and punishment that would be deterrent to the wrong doers. Though the recent amendments have provision for as much as 75 lakh fine and 10 years of rigorous imprisonment for killing a tiger, many loop holes in the law still exist! Many countries like Siberia have very strict laws where a person can be jailed for even cutting trees that form part of the habitat of the Siberian Tigers!
Well experienced and armed forest guards should be employed and the green cover should be enhanced by planting more trees and clearing off the illegal human settlements. Unlike elephants, which travel long distances in search of food and water, tigers do not like to wander long distances. So a regular food supply needs to be ensured to make sure that the tiger makes it through the lean patch. It is reclusive and solitary and normally like to live near dark and dingy caves and cliffs close to the water bodies.
Ordinary people like you and me can do many things to save this animal. In case you happen to live in the hill stations , amidst plantations or along the periphery of the tiger reserves, chances are that you get a chance to meet eye to eye with this creature. If it is devouring your cattle, it is because his natural food supply chain is cut due to the insensitive human behaviour. If you spot a tiger lurking in your backyard, do not harm it – Be responsible in your actions and inform the matter to the wild life officials, who will ensure its safe release to its home back in the wild.
We should spread awareness among the local community including schools to make sure that the urgency of the matter gets maximum coverage. If you know any habitual wild life offenders or poachers in your area, bring the matter to the attention of the wild life officials.
A mass conservation drive is the need of the hour where every single effort counts. Like the many drops that make a mighty ocean, our small tasks would make a quality change in the wild life richness of India that comprises of not just the tigers but all wild animals. Let us join our hands to ensure the survival of these beautiful creations of our ancient land, India well known for it non violence and peace loving credentials.
We at Karmakerala have decided to keep aside a space in our blog to follow the pug marks of this beautiful animal and with every new pug mark in the muddy tracks of the deep jungles, we can be rest assured that India is one step closer to the mission- to save the ultimate predator of the wild- The Great Indian Tiger!
Dowry? Hey, no. Isn’t it a thing of the past, bygone era? Isn’t it illegal to give and take dowry? Give dowry and take dowry, you will get punished as per the law of the land…
Hey mate! Which world you are living in? Look around you and you’ll find lots of guys who have turned richer and happier with marriage…lots of guys who, in the course of bride-hunting, make it a point to remind those who are helping them in it, to look for girls from well-to-do families, especially those families that don’t have much of financial liabilities and preferably more sons than daughters….
Hey hey hey…Is it the 100% literate and enlightened Kerala that you are talking about? Is it the modern era, the era of IT and liberalisation that you are talking about? Don’t try to fool me…
Yes indeed…you are indeed a fool…Don’t you see your own friends moving about in cars and leading a life of luxury, mostly gained at the expense of their in-laws while you yourself are still fighting to make both ends meet and striving to make your ideals a reality? Don’t you remember that friend of yours who’s still going about hunting for a bride who is good in looks, educated well and at the same time from a rich family too? Hey dude, you seem to have taken a bit seriously the lessons of righteousness that you had read in your schoolbooks and the hollow rants of those umpteen orators whose actions rarely match with their words…foolish indeed…
Hey, we are living in the 21st century, my friend…remember that….
I do remember that…but you perhaps forget that we are living in a land where guys with daughters toil hard day and night to earn (or rather save) lakhs of rupees, depraving themselves of the many joys of life, so that they can marry off their daughters by gifting those lakhs of rupees to their prospective sons-in-law, who are free to utilise or squander away the money thus acquired. You forget that we are living in a country where foeticide still persists and where girls are killed, minutes after they are born to save the parents from having to be victims of the dowry menace. You forget that we still have women being tortured-mentally as well as physically- and even being killed for not bringing enough dowry…You forget that we are living in a state where the elite, educated and priveleged few know how to justify the giving and taking of dowry, stating that it’s but a help that’s meted out to the newly weds…
Ok…but how come it’s only the bride’s parents who’re ‘forced’ to help the newly weds? How come the groom’s parents go on demanding such ‘help’ as if it’s their right? I can’t digest it buddy…nonsensical…simply nonsensical. But I do understand that there are people all around me who’d love to call me a ‘fool’, a misfit in this world where husbands love wives for the dowry that they bring with them, for the material gains that they bring with them and where guys still leave it to others (parents, friends, relatives, middlemen) to get them their lifemates (‘soulmates’ they say!)….
Hey…confused? You may be thinking that I’ve gone mad, making such contradictory utterances on a blog about Kerala. This is in fact a dialogue between what’s ideal and what’s real, a protrayal of what Kerala is and what it is not. And what is it that prompted me to go in for such utterances on this tuesday afternoon? Well, the news that the Nilambur Village Panchayath, in the Malappuram district, has launched a unique matrimonial website.
Aha, matrimonial website? What’s new? Isn’t it yet another of those many websites that help you find a ‘soulmate’ with enough landed property, gold, fixed deposits etc? One who belongs to your ‘caste’,'subcaste’ and ‘religion’ and may or may not personally appeal to you…
Oh no! Those ‘utterances’ again. Well, let’s come to the point.
The Nilambur Village Panchayath, with Aryadan Shaukath (the guy who had scripted and produced some real sensible films like ‘Paadam Onnu Oru Vilaapam’, ‘Deivanaamaththil’ and ‘Vilaapangalkkappuram‘) as the Panchayath President, has come up with a website for those willing to marry without taking or giving dowry. The website, www.dowryfreemarriage.com, which is the joint venture of the village panchayat and women’s right NGO Mahila Samakhya Society, helps people from all over the world log in and find life-mates, but of course sans dowry. The site, which is launched by a village panchayath, which has done much for the welfare of the people, also provides a platform to discuss and fight social evils, injustice and oppression.
A noble venture indeed. My heart goes out to the people behind www.dowryfreemarriage.com. What about you? C’mon don’t say “I am also with you” and then sit back and let the world go to the dogs. You have done it already…many times…!! What did you do when you came to know that tigers are on the verge of extinction? What did you do when you came to know that you are also contributing to the global warming that’s taking its toll in the form of sun-strokes and all?
Well, what did I do?
Time for an introspection! Time for action!