Kerala will be joining the rest of the world in celebrating yet another New Year in a few hours from now. Apart from festivities, midnight parties and revelry, New Year is also a time to run through your mind and to make a few New year resolutions that would help you start afresh and to kick start 2011 with confidence.
Kerala too need to have a set of new year resolutions to ensure a quality change in the life of its people and to launch itself into a higher and better position by next year this time.
Some of the handy New Year resolutions could be-
* Chuck out the drinking habits: Keralites are infamous for their boozing habits and are one of the biggest consumers of spirits. This not only leaves them penny less, diseased and unhappy but also will play havoc in the social life as it can be a serious law and order situation if left unchecked.
*Don’t litter: Kerala lags behind in social awareness and community living etiquette. It has a dubious reputation of having one of the poorest civic sense ratings in spite of being one of the most progressive and literate societies. Though most of the families live in plush apartments and palatial houses in well kept interiors, they forget the basics of cleanliness once they step out on to the roads. You can see many people throwing plastic bags full of trash and garbage into public roads and rivers in the darkness of the night. Most of them do it in style by dropping it in their swanky cars or bikes.
*Treat women with respect: Kerala has one of the highest sexual assaults and crimes against women. Anti social elements who find pleasure in intimidating and teasing women are always on the prowl. Dowry deaths and child abuse are also common. Though women in Kerala are better placed than their counterparts in other parts of India, God’s own country indeed has a long way to go to make sure that every woman feels safe on the roads of Kochi.
*Tackle the menace of corruption : Rampant corruption, nepotism and political dirty games have become a bane in Kerala. Corruption has spread its poisonous tentacles in all the sections of the society and things have come to a stage where nothing is possible in Kerala without greasing the palm of the officials. The law breaking citizens often find it a handy detour to attain their objectives exploiting the various loop holes in our laws.
The list can go on and on. However first, let’s all make a small step together to ensure a change for the better. ‘God’s own Country’ cant never be a misnomer and it is our duty as responsible citizens to live up to this well acclaimed name!
With the festive mood still in the air and the countdown for the New Year revelry already on, the party animals will be looking for fresh avenues for fun and festivities. In Kerala, people splurge on clothes, food, wine and tours to celebrate any event. However this year, there could be a radical shift in the fashion statements of atleast some youngsters who shop for very low waist jeans. Though it is the trending style these days, you could be booked for indecent exposure if you wear these attires. Youngsters in Chavakkad in Thrissur district learned this lesson the hard way when they were booked by local cops citing “indecent exposure “.
Emulating their favorite heroes of the tinsel world, many boys wear ultra low jeans and short shirts thereby inadvertently exposing their inner wear as they board the bus or hold the over head railing in a bus. Police swung into action when women and school authorities started expressing their concerns about this issue. Most of them were left off with a warning and in very serious violations, a fine was imposed on them as a deterrent to prevent them from repeating it again.
This trend is rampant among youngsters along the coastal areas of Chavakkad, touted as the gulf pockets of Kerala. Though these boys are generally not very educated they passionately follow the dress styles of their favorite heroes on screen and often flaunt enough cash to make their dream apparels real . So, in case you are planning to hit the carnival or the theaters in these stylish low waist jeans this season, it is better to change the idea lest you could be spending your New Year behind the bars!
While you go ‘hic …hic’ ‘slur..#@%@#%’ at your family, please remember Christmas is a spiritual time for many and you are not being spiritual with brandy in your belly. You lost the point my friend!
Learn social drinking dear macho Malayalee man – it’s a refined art that’s to be emulated, start today!
Please remember to spend the day with your wife and children and remember how you celebrated Christmas – the whole day and not just two hours of it.
Visiting family members does not mean just drinking buddies in the family, help the womenfolk, praise them or take them out for a movie – this is also a holiday well spent.
Today being Christmas Eve, please try not to go overboard queuing up to liquor shops all over the state, go home early and try not to be grumpy without your toddy.
For a state known for its protests, bandhs, hartals etc remember that your Kerala government wants you to drink as the treasury makes a tidy sum with each bottle you buy. So make a protest…
In fact, dear fellow Keralites, why not have a liquor-free Christmas, let’s face it you can’t stop with a sip, so abstinence is probably the way to go.
“For liquor worth ’100 sold, the income to the government is ’82. And during the fiscal ended this March, turnover for the corporation was ’5,539.85 crore”, says Sankar Reddy, KSBC Director, in this article.
Oh before I forget… Merry Christmas dear fellow Keralites, have a safe one…
Karma Kerala celebrated Xmas with much fan fare and gaiety on 17th December, much before the rest of the world did :). It was all about fun, frolic, food and fiesta to put it in a nutshell. From the traditional Xmas activities like carols to the fast paced dance routines, skits and songs there was something for everyone in our colorful Christmas programme. The office was decked up with festoons, colorful balloons and confetti and the excitement was thick in the air.
The programmes started at noon after a sumptuous Christmas luncheon that consisted of typical Kerala delicacies including appam and stew among others. Our boss, Mr.Tejal etched out the strategies and goals for the year ahead and the mood was upbeat as 2010 turned out to be a profitable year for Karma Kerala even as many parts of the world were reeling under the global downturn.
The Christmas gift exchange was the first item in the itinerary where everyone exchanged gifts with their Xmas friends, the names of which remained a top secret till the last moment!. The dance numbers by Shreya, Rini, Tessa , Mary, Thanima, Amjath, Kiran and praveen was the star attraction of the evening; not to forget the swift paced dance number of Sharaz. There were games like passing the parcels and an innovative candle race (where the participants needed to come first without the candle flame going out) among many other games. As they say, all good things must come to an end; so did our wonderful day but not before offering us loads of laughter and fun in a party well organised.
Karma Kerala wishes all its patrons and well wishers all over the world a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
The 15th IFFK, the International Film Festival of Kerala, was held at Thiruvananthapuram from the 10th of December to the 17th of December. Film lovers from all over thronged the venues and watched films that were brought together at the fest. They also took part in discussions, face-to-face talks with film personalities, debates etc and went back, only to wait for the next edition of the fest, to be held in the second week of December next year.
The 15th IFFK was hosted by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy in association with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, government of Kerala and was held in over 10 theatres in Thiruvananthapuram. There were five shows in each theatre and the festival showcased 207 films from 83 countries. Over 120 film personalities from different countries took part in the fest, which rolled off with the screening of the Iranian film ‘Please Don’t Disturb’, directed by Mohsin Abdul Wahab at the Nishagandhi open air auditorium.
Here we go, on a pictorial tour of the fest….
Christmas or the mass of Christ that signifies the birth of baby Jesus Christ in Bethlehem is undeniably one of the most popular winter celebrations in the world. The first visible clues of the impending celebration of Christmas start dropping in by October when frenzied shopping and decorations highlight the festive mood in the air.
Kerala too is getting ready to celebrate Christmas with gaiety and religious fervour. However in the onslaught of modernity, the celebrations of Keralites too have undergone a sea change, which has robbed off the warmth of yesteryears. As ready made Christmas gifts, sumptuous dinner coupons and exciting travel deals took over the Christmas market, the flavour of the home made recipes that were so special to Kerala including appam and stew to the simplicity of the hand made greeting cards and stars, has been pushed into oblivion.
This year, the markets are flooded with imported lights and decorative pieces from China that flaunts a low sticker price to lure the avid shoppers. These Chinese lights are available in a bevy of designs and patterns including floral patterns, star lights and many more. This year, the low-cost cane cribs that came all the way from North India has also created a lot of interest among the Christmas shoppers.
With the nuclear family concept taking strong roots in our society, most Malayalees prefer to celebrate their festivals in their reclusive comfort zone far away from their relatives and extended families unlike in the past. But don’t you think that the traditional Christmas with all the merriment and grandeur of the old days was the perfect time to slow things down and to do something noteworthy for mankind. In the break neck speed of today’s high technology world, did our festivals became nothing but excuses to plunge into the party mood, eat, shop and splurge?
Cheap Chinese goods have literally deluged Indian markets and the scenario in Kerala is no different! Malayalees have whole heartedly accepted these products from the mainland of China in the hope of saving a pretty penny. From cheap toys to electronic goods and costumes, Chinese goods have literally touched upon all segments of our lives thereby giving a lot more options to the shoppers. You can literally shop for anything under the sun in these low cost Chinese shops. Though the quality of these products remains to be seen, shoppers seem to be hugely impressed by the irresistibly low price tag that they conveniently ignore the quality.
Believe it or not , now it is the turn of Chinese garlands for Sabarimala pilgrims to hit the Kerala markets! Though it might sound unbelievable, the fact is that these Chinese garlands have become a favorite option for pilgrims in a short span of 1-2 years ever since they first popped up in Kerala shops.
Sabarimala pilgrims usually wear garlands made from tulsi or rudraksha procured from Andhra Pradesh, which are made into garlands by craftsmen from Irijnalakuda in Thrissur. However, this year most of them opted for the garlands made in China, which has proved to be a huge hit among the Sabarimala pilgrims . Though most of the pilgrims were astonished at first, they started to endorse these products slowly thanks to the low cost and better finish. Though the composition of the beads from China remains obscure to the shopkeepers and the customers, these have registered a brisk sales this season as these are attractive and light weight and cost only a fraction of the traditional garlands that have been in use for ages!
The name Kerala, literally translates into the land of coconuts in Malayalam. However, going by the present turn of events, it seems that his name has become a misnomer for our State thanks to the dwindling coconut plantations. The emerald green hue of the paddy fields and the swaying coconut palms dotting the fringes of the backwaters have all become part of the past . The death knell to these exceptional crops of Kerala came in the form of escalating costs of cultivation and the shortage of farm hands, which prompted the farmers to turn to less labour intensive crops like banana and rubber.
Coconut trees are considered Kalpa vriksha ( which literally means a divine tree where every part of it is useful) in Kerala. In the past Palm fronds were used to thatch the roofs of houses, coconut husks and shells kept the hearths burning while its trunk was used in the construction of furniture and homes. With urbanization and the change in life styles, Malayalees have conveniently forgotten the virtues of this tree. The city home dwellers too are chopping down the coconut trees in their small patch of land as they find it hard to get coconut pluckers in time. The criss crossing power lines, the luxury car parked outside and the kids pool of the neighbouring apartment could all be reasons of worry if coconuts are not harvested in time! At the end of it all, is it that the coconut tree has outlived its utility for Keralites? If yes, it is a shame for us.
Today, Kerala markets are deluged with coconuts from the neighbouring state of Tamilnadu, which is sold at exorbitant prices. So, the day is not far away when Kerala will cease to be the fabled land of coconuts. By offering subsidies and latest cropping tips, coconut and paddy cultivation can be made profitable for the farmers and this alone can save the traditional crops of Kerala and its breathtakingly beautiful landscape that has enamored many painters and poets since time immemorial!
Kerala has many firsts to its credits in tourism, literary and cultural scenario. From being one of the must see destinations in the world,featured in prestigious tourist magazines and National Geographic Channel Kerala is evolving to be a tourist destination that will be intellectually exhilarating to visitors from all over the world.
Kerala has been playing host to many literary festivals like the recently held Hay Festival of Literature and Arts in the State capital, Thiruvananthapuram, which was attended by many national and international literary figures and writers including Vikram Seth, William Dalrymple, Sebastian Faulks, rock stars Sting and Bob Geldof and the stalwart of Malayalam film Adoor Gopalakrishnan.
The travelers who look for a satisfying experiencing to satiate their interests in arts and literature would find Kerala a best choice. The film and theatre festivals that form part of the Kerala mythic that is well complimented by a culturally inclined audience has played a major role in enhancing its intellectual ratings. With various International theater festivals and arts exhibitions lined up to be hosted, Kerala is all set to position itself as an intellectual destination for the discerning and sophisticated traveller in search of an extra ordinary experience .
The Grand Kerala shopping festival, one of the largest shopping festivals in the world is back with a bang with GKSF Version 4. Scheduled to be from Dec 1, 2010 to Jan 15, 2011, GKSF will have many surprises to cater to the needs of the visitors and a golden chance for Keralites to indulge in a frenzied shopping experience to celebrate the festive mood in the air. With Xmas and New year only a few more weeks away, GKSF will be a great place to shop big, small or quirky! So, grab your shopping list and make the most of the special offers.
This shopping extravaganza initiated by the Government of Kerala will virtually turn Kerala into a humming shopping hub for a fortnight. Started in the year 2007, GKSF has become an annual shopping festival in Kerala that has received a warm response from not only the shopaholic Keralites but also from foreign tourists. Originally conceived to give a big leap for the trade and commerce in Kerala, GKSF is conducted by Tourism Department in co-ordination with the Industries & Commerce Department, Finance Department and Local Self Government Department.
This shopping festival will bring in a lot of avid shoppers and curious visitors in the days to come. Through GKSF, the Kerala Government is planning to make the State into a favored shopping destination of international standards and to kick start Shopping Tourism in the state.There will be a lot of exciting offers, deals and gifts apart from innovative ideas and novel themes that it has shaped after its experiences from the previous years. Flip through an impressive line up of some of the best known brands of products, enjoy the fun events and lucky draws, grab prices and seal unbeatable deals and more at GKSF – the ultimate shopping terminal for anyone who has a taste for the finer things in life!