From June 30, 2011 onwards 25 paise coins will be out of circulation and will not be accepted in any transactions. The rising inflation has caused the untimely exit of the 25 paise coins, which incurs a higher manufacturing cost than its value and this will make 50 ps the smallest denomination in India.
However it is interesting to note that Kerala had chucked out these small value coins a long time back. Board a bus and the conductor conveniently forgets to return the 25 paise after taking the fare unless you tender the exact fare. Alms – seekers have long hiked their minimum expected dole to 50 paise. While revising bus fares also Kerala opted for a 50 Ps hike conveniently forgetting the smaller denomination option.
The auto drivers would let go a rupee from a passenger rather than accepting four 25 paise coins and if you only have smaller coins, then be prepared to be at his wrath. Try telling him that the Reserve Bank still mints them, you will get nothing in response except probably a blank stare or a wry smile that would convey his anguish in having to ferry a passenger like you. However the irony is that 100 rupees worth 25 paise coins would fetch you 160 rupees as the steel can be melted out for other purposes!
As 25 paise gets ready to make a disgraceful exit of sorts, the old timers recall about the golden past where 25 paise would have fetched you a movie ticket , a brilliant shoe shine or even your favorite samosa among many other things in life! 25 paise was not a measly figure a few decades back but the inflation has indeed caused its death knell.
Now these dainty coins will make way into the coin boxes of the numismatics and to the museum shelves , where these coins will be preserved for posterity. For many of us, 25 paise might not mean much but for the older generation, it would indeed evoke nostalgic memories of a prosperous past, and for the generation- next, it will just be a hear say or a fable!
Kerala Tourism has won the award for the Best International Stand at FITUR, which was held in Madrid, Spain,one of the emerging markets for Kerala Tourism. Held from January 19-23, 2011, this fair attracted many countries from around the world.
Kerala tourism sources said that this is the first time an Indian destination has won this prestigious Award at FITUR, which is one of he largest tourism exhibitions in the world. A commendable achievement by any benchmark, this award will enhance the tourism prospects of God’s own country tremendously.The winner for this Award is selected on the popularity and uniqueness of the design apart from the materials used in making the stand. Colombia and Portugal were the other winners of this Award.
The backwaters of Kerala formed the theme of the award winning stand of Kerala that measured 58.5 sq. m. Designed by Stark Communications Pvt. Ltd. Thiruvananthapuram, this entry from Kerala received much attention in the fair. Chinese fishing nets, country boats and hurricane lamps brought out the bucolic charm of Kerala in this stand, which was made fully with eco-friendly materials. The other participants in the Kerala team included CGH Earth, Pioneer Personalized Holidays, Isola Di Cocco and Travancore Heritage.
Hats off to the envious performance of Kerala in the international platform, whcih has brought laurel from far and wide!
Yet another year gone by when Malayalees lament the demise of, the master storyteller that was, P Padmarajan. Twenty long years and yet Malayalam cinema still awaits a director of that calibre who could reach out to the masses at all levels with his story, direction, sense of music, romance and even sexuality of the Malayalee with finesse.
Connecting with all kinds of people with films on themes like love (Innale), incest in (Nammukku paarkkaan muthiri thoppukal), lesbian love and friendship (Deshaadanakili karayarilla), life in a brothel and with (Arappettakettiya gramathil), man in love with two women (Thoovaanathumbikal) was done with a style that appealed to both the young and old.
Music has always worked for each and every Padmarajan movie and his last movie Njan Gandharavan was no different in this either. Finding unusual themes, unexpected endings were also his forte and what elevated his films onto different strata to the viewer.
So was he a better storyteller or a director; and does it matter… for his films took mainstream Malayalam cinema onto new heights and its not often that a writer comes along who has film-making capabilities to picturise the story he unravells with the same effect on celluloid.
Here is an excerpt from the personal post on Padmarajan Unni R Nair did last year in this blog…
For me, Padmarajan is simply one of the best that we have had in Malayalam Cinema, a man who went beyond the classifications of art-house and commercial cinema and who successfully merged all these different strands of cinema and who gave a well edited action flick too in ‘Season’, a film that can teach many a lesson to those who still stumble at making action films.
Well, I’d love to spend a few moments relishing memories of the many Padmarajan movies that had made me so passionate about films. The late KPAC Azeez jumping out of the boat all determined to take revenge on the man who had been a witness to his crimes (‘Peruvazhiyambalam‘), the poor desperate grandfather (played by Thilakan) who is all shattered after his young grandson had gone missing in the sea (‘Moonnaam Pakkam‘), the young Jayaram in ‘Innale‘ who wishes and prays earnestly that his new-found lover (played by Shobhana), who has been suffering from Amnesia, doesn’t get back her memories and recognise her husband (played by Suresh Gopi), the village wrestler (played by Rasheed) who is rather indifferent towards his wife and her needs (‘Oridathoru Phayalwan‘) – these and many other scenes from Padmarajan films just scroll on and on in my memory while I hear my heart sob and pay heartfelt tributes to the ‘Gandharvan’ who left us nineteen years ago, an untimely death that shattered us all to a great extent. I know that some of our scribes will be getting ready with write-ups and memoirs for tomorrow and some of our papers may devote some space for the versatile writer-filmmaker.
Well, this is my personal tribute to Padmarajan, the man who made me love films, the man who made me love myself and have a passion for life.
Here I am again remembering P Padmarajan on his 20th death anniversary giving voice to a large number of people who took to Malayalam cinema thanks to the master storyteller.
New Year has brought cheer to the tourism industry in Kerala with the announcement of the plan to shift the head quarters of Air India Charters Ltd (AICL), which operates flights under the brand name of Air India Express.
By shifting its base to Kerala, this low-cost arm of national carrier Air India that operates most of its services to the Gulf and South-East Asia would ensure better connectivity. It would also be of great service to the tourists and scores of Keralites who work in these regions.
A press release from the airline said that, during the meeting of the Board of AICL on October 8 it was decided to shift all of Air India Express’s operational and administrative functions to Kochi whereas the engineering functions of AICL would be at Thiruvananthapuram. At present, this domestic carrier connects 16 Indian cities to 14 international destinations and operates a fleet of 21 Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
In Kerala, the church is all set to to play host to tourists by foraying into the home stay sector to cater to the burgeoning accommodation needs of the tourists. The Church of South India, a prominent non-Catholic Christian segment made the first step in this direction by starting a home stay in the Wayanad.
The CSI converted a parsonage at Meppadi in Wayanad into home stay for two families and is also planning to put to use the other church properties in Munnar and Idukki for tourism. The church is bringing in the much needed spiritual element too into the tourist circuits by offering counselling for the tourists.
The church underscores the need to promote value based tourism and will try to keep a check on unhealthy trends like sex tourism according to North Kerala CSI Bishop K P Kuruvila. The church run home stays will not only promote interaction between different people and cultures around the world but also provide comfortable home stay facilities for tourists at affordable rates.
Kerala hotels often run on full capacities during the peak holiday season and many a time, travelers are forced to make last minute changes in their itineraries for want of space. More home stays and cost effective accommodation options will help to alleviate the accommodation problems to a large extent!
Frequent squabbles, wordy duals and even fist fights over excess auto fare have become the most common spectacles on the roads of Kerala these days! All these will be a thing of the past thanks to the multi-platform autofare calculator that runs on smart phones. Aptly named’ tuk tuk meter’ the gadget developed by MindHelix Technologies in Kochi will make sure that an auto rickshaw ride is going to be a different experience altogether.
Touted as the first GPS-based multi-platform auto fare calculator in India, this meter will run alongside the auto meter, enabling the commuters to calculate the distance travelled and the accurate fare using GPS. Tuk tuk meter will be boon in a city like Cochin,where a large chunk of commuters depend on the three wheeled wonder called auto rickshaws! The best thing is that it does not require an internet connection or a service provider and can function even in remote areas. This app will go a long way in protecting the gullible passengers from being fleeced by the auto drivers who often make false fare claims.
This smart application runs on smart phones with Android, Blackberry or Symbian operating systems without any need for manual entry of distance and fare. The days of fair deals seem to be well within the reach of the auto commuters thanks to the smart ‘Tuk Tuk’ meter, which will help you save a pretty penny!
Kerala has proved its mettle as a happening medical tourist destination that attracts many health watchers from all over the world to experience the bliss of perfect health. Kerala has one of the biggest pools of qualified health professionals to cater to the burgeoning needs of the tourists. Kerala Tourism Department and many other private tour operators provide attractive tour packages that combine medical treatment with an unbeatable vacation in Kerala. The state attracts about 23 per cent of the foreign tourists every year and over 15,000 medical tourists reach Kerala annually, mostly from West Asia, the Maldives, South Africa, UK and the European Union
In order to further promote medical tourism in the State, the Kerala Government has come up with a novel idea of setting up a medical-education city near Malappuram. The proposed unit will come up on 182 acres of land and will be implemented by Inkel-KSIDC Projects Ltd (INKED), a joint venture of Infrastructures Kerala Ltd (Inkel) and the Kerala State Industries Development Corporation (KSIDC), in association with private developers.
Malappuram makes an ideal destination for the medical city as it takes credit to one of the highest foreign remittances in the State and has the highest rate of morbidity and hospitalisation rate in the State. The proposed medical education city will be offering facilities for medical education, technical education and healthcare services, apart from providing residential and commercial infrastructure. Reputed Ayurvedic centres including the well acclaimed Kottakal Aryavydya Sala will be catering to the clientèle comprising of both national and international clients.
The proposed unit will have a super-speciality hospital, diagnostic centre and a wellness centre offering ayurvedic treatment systems. Under the ambitious programme of Vision-2025 of Kerala Govt, special tourism zones also will be set up in the next few years.
An Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) survey has revealed that almost 35 per cent of domestic travellers preferred coastal destinations like Goa, Puducherry,Kerala and Rameshwaram for their holidays. Hotels in Kerala has been recording a massive business during Christmas and New Year with many hotels fully booked months before. The harsh winter in Europe has also proved beneficial for Kerala as many foreigners have decided to spend their holidays in the warm and sunny state of Kerala instead of remaining cooped up in their homes due to the prevailing snow and frost conditions there .
Leh and Kerala have become the best performers in the domestic travel market, replacing the traditional tourist destinations of Goa and Rajasthan. With the Taj property in Bekal finally taking off, Kerala is all set to make it big in the ensuing tourist season. From monsoon tourism to adventure sporting options like white water rafting and hot air ballooning, Kerala is expanding its vistas in tourism and has positioned itself on a strong turf. Going by the trends, 2011 will be a highly successful year for Kerala, fondly called as the land of the Gods, spices and backwaters!