Anyone stepping into any public comfort station in the Kerala State Road Transport bus stations of Kerala will be taken aback by the pungent stink that emanate from the dilapidated comfort stations with broken slabs and leaking taps. Many a time these become not only ‘discomfort stations’ but also a nightmare for the passengers who are forced to make a stopover. The filthy state of affairs of public comfort stations have always invited the wrath of the public and the tourists.
At last, Kochi is all set to get the state of the art e- toilets in the next three months. The project envisaged by a team of officials led by Transport Minister Jose Thettayil will go a long way in enhancing the hygiene standards of the public comfort stations. The formalities for implementing the project have been completed and the work is expected to start in the next two months. e-toilets will be installed in a phased manner in Kollam, Thrissur and Palakkad KSRTC bus stations also. The installation and maintenance of the e-toilet system will be handled by a private firm based at Thiruvananthapuram with no financial burden on the KSRTC.
With the advent of this technology, Kerala too will join the league of the developed countries , where this concept is in use. When the user puts the coins, the doors of the e-toilet will open and after each use, the system cleans the toilet automatically. The best thing is that it will open for next use only after the machine automatically cleans the toilet. Now the public will be a relieved lot literally:) thanks to the state of the art toilet facility that is all set to become part of the life styles of Keralites.
Soon on the trails of the euphoria and jubilation of the world cup win and the cricket frenzy that was brought live to millions of homes all over India, Kerala was struck by another spell of cricket fever in the form of the keenly contested IPL matches. What more, the commercial capital of Kochi also got a team on its own in the form of Kochi tuskers with some of the popular players like Mahela Jayawardane ( captain) ,Brad Hodge, Brendon McCullum, Ravindra Jadeja and Parthiv Patel among others including the local celebrities like Sreesanth and Raiphi Gomez in its list .
Named after the state animal of Kerala, the Asian Elephant, Kochi Tuskers has indeed come back to the game with a bang by winning the last two matches against the hot favorites Mumbai Indians and Chennai super Kings. The glitz and glamour of the tinsel world, the cheer leaders and a highly appreciative crowd have all gone in favour of the home team in a big way. However, the gallant march of the tuskers in Kerala is likely to be cut short if the latest reports are any indication.
The exorbitant entertainment tax and the high ticket rates, which resulted in a low ticket sales have prompted the owners of the team, the Kochi Cricket Pvt Ltd( a consortium of six companies) to reconsider their option of keeping Kochi as one of their venues. The team management has expressed its concerns to the Corporation and the State govt, which they feel is not extending the much needed support for them.
So, if things will not change in their favour in the next few days, Kochi Tuskers might go ahead with its plan to request the BCCI to move Kochi’s IPL matches out of Kerala the next season. If that happens that will be a rude shock to the countless hardcore cricket fans of Kerala, who have got a life time opportunity to watch some of their favorite cricket stars perform live right in front of them through the IPL matches. Hope the IPL dream of Kerala does not get smothered in the tangles of the red tape bureaucracy like many other projects in Kerala that met with an untimely end!
Kerala is all set to celebrate the harvest festival of Vishu tomorrow, which is the first day of the month of Medam in Malayalam calendar. Hindus celebrate this festival in different names like Baisakhi, Mesadi, Bihu in different parts of India. Vishukani is the most important ritual on Vishu festival in Kerala. Temples like Sabarimala and Guruvayoor temple will witness unprecedented rush of pilgrims who congregate to have the Vishukani darshanam.
Vishu kani is the offering of farm produce, fruits and vegetables to Lord as a thanks giving to a bountiful harvest. The native crops of Kerala like mangoes, jackfruit, bananas etc occupy a prominent place in Kani which is arranged in the traditional vessel of uruli ( a shallow round vessel) made of brass. The golden shower flowers, known as kanikonna forms an inevitable item in the kani. The elders of the family give Kaineetanm ( cash gifts) that represent a prosperous year ahead to the rest of the family. New clothes, fire works, gifts and above all the traditional Kerala style luncheon with many curries , pappadam and payasam ( desserts) add up the fervour of this festival.
Vishu festival also marks the day of Mesha Sankranti during which Sun transits to the first zodiac of Aries. The word Vishu literally means the equinox and is considered as the astrological New Year day as well. Though the break neck speed of modern lives have robbed off the charm and traditional flavour of many of our festivals, even today Malayaless look forward to celebrate Vishu with zest and enthusiasm. Vishu is not just another holiday, it is part of our culture and identity. Let us celebrate the way that it was intended to, without diluting the essence to suit our convenience:)
Karma Kerala wishes all its readers a happy and prosperous Vishu
Athirathram, touted as the oldest ritual in the world is being held in a tiny village, Panjal, in Thrissur District of Kerala after a gap of over three and half decades. The ritual that got underway on April 4 will conclude on the 15th. Held near the Panjal Lakshmi Narayana temple, it is being organized by Varthathe Trust based in Ottapalam, which has taken the initiative in reviving the ritual that emerged around the 10th century BC and was practiced until the 6th century BC. In post-Vedic times, there were various revivals of the practice, under the Gupta and Chola empire and by the 11th century, the ritual was kept alive by the Namboodiris of Kerala.
Athirathram is held for universal harmony , peace and spiritual enlightenment. This sacred ritual that dates back to 4000 years is a massive ritual that brings together some of the most eminent vedic scholars of the country. Puthillathu Ramanujan Somayajippadu is the ‘Yajamanan’ and Dhanyapathanadi as ‘Yajamanapatni’ for this year’s Athirathram. Panjal was chosen as the sacred venue for Athirathram considering the geographic and vaasthu principles as the main bird shaped altar of the first shianachithi, positioned to absorb the sun’s energy and constructed in line with the measurements prescribed in the ancient texts.
Yajurveda’ and ‘Samaveda’ practices that precede the Athirathram’ were held at the Panjal Thotttathil Mana and Kavupra Maarath Mana and the ritual began after obtaining the customary consent from Shukapuram temple. The rituals will begin every day with the vedic chantings and homas and in the last four days, the rituals will be held non stop throughout day and night. This sacred ritual has attracted over 2 lakh visitors so far who throng this small village to be part of this divine ritual and to imbibe the positive energy.
Many eminent persons like the US based Indologist Frits Staal are attending the ritual and the effects of this ritual on the climatic conditions are also being monitored . Athirathram is being done the same way as it was practiced over the centuries at an estimated cost Rs one crore. We at Kerala can indeed be proud to be part of this spiritual ritual, which is the manifestation of the rich vedic knowledge that was passed down the generations and kept alive for many centuries!
It is celebration time for tiger enthusiasts in Kerala as the successful tiger conservation efforts have made Kerala one of the three states that has the greatest tiger density in the world. According to the latest tiger census India’s wild tiger population has grown by 12 per cent in the last four years, which put the number of big cats in the country at approximately 1,706.
The densely forested Western Ghats region that spreads along the three South Indian States of Tamilnadu, Kerala and Karnataka is home to over 533 tigers and continues to be the home of the maximum number of tigers. The Periyar tiger sanctuary and Parambikulam, also has recorded an addition of over 25 tigers, which is something we can be proud of. The reclusive animals of tigers are hard to spot and to ensure a precise head count of this elegant national animal of India, latest techniques like DNA mapping, camera traps and satellite images were employed.
As we pen this edition of tiger tales from the Karma Kerala desk, the mood is surely that of hope unlike the pall of gloom and despair that loomed over when we posted our first blog in the tiger series a year ago when the number of Indian tigers hit an all time low of just 1411. The social media like Face book and twitter have played an important role in giving resonance to the concern and anguish of wild life enthusiasts all over India.
Tiger occupancy areas shrunk from 9 million hectares to less than 7.5 million hectares over the last four years and to ensure a comeback of tigers, it is very essential to increase the forest cover and enhance the vigil against poachers. Mining is said to be the single largest threat to the tiger population as it destroys the habitat and the natural food supply of these predators. Around Thirty per cent of the tiger population lives in areas outside the government’s reserves, which makes conservation efforts complex and challenging.
The largest number of tigers lives in the entire Western Ghats area, which in itself is a testimony of the successful conservation efforts bearing fruits. Kerala can indeed feel proud of its successful tiger conservation efforts that has left its name in the hall of fame of wild life protection. The latest inputs from the tiger conservation front are indeed portraying a hopeful picture and the encouraging snippets compiled by the news desks all over India speak of a ray of hope at the end of the dark tunnel. The anxious moments are not yet fully blown over, and only concocted efforts will bring in permanent results that we all would like to see. So, let us all join our hands to make sure that the tigers continue to thrive in the forests of India to be our national pride and identity.
Kochi, being the business capital of Kerala accounts to a substantial population of working women . Travelling in the crowded city buses is a painful ordeal in itself for the thousands of women travelers especially those working in night shifts. Many a time the women passengers are harassed and bullied by men not only during night trips but also in broad day light. Not many people come forward in their defense and even if someone choose to, they wont find many supporters for their cause!
The gory incident where a lone woman passenger was raped after being pushed out from a moving train in Palakkad is the latest in the morbid state of affairs in Kerala as far as the safety of women passengers is concerned. To add more teeth to the self defense of women, a group of innovative techies employed in Technopark has made arrangements to distribute pepper spray among its women work force. While the ordinary women suffer in silence, it is heartening to note that some women gather courage to respond and react. There also has been a steep rise in women joining for self defense classes like Karate in institutions like the Andhra Cultural centre and Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium among many others!
Now, in a bid to ease their travel woes, KSRTC has now introduced ladies only buses, which have proved a huge hit. At present there are two buses exclusively for women, which operate on Kakkanad-Aroor route and Kaloor-Chottanikkara route respectively. Now the women passengers can travel without any worries and the best part is that they can bring their children too along with them. At present these buses conduct services during office hours in the morning and evening.
The women in Kochi seem to make the best use of the facility, considering the tremendous response it got. Finally a city ride sans the shameless glances and lewd comments of the men folk is on the cards for the women in Kochi!
April Fools’ Day is celebrated all around the world on April 1 with lots of fun, frolic, humour and pranks.It is a day when people can afford to sound silly and to indulge in tomfoolery. The day is all about enjoying good humored jokes and playing hoaxes and games that tickle your funny bones and Kerala too is celebrating the fun theme today at its best . People put on their thinking caps days in advance to come up with the most convincing joke they could ever think of:) The person at the receiving end could be friends, family members, teachers and neighbors- as long as the joke is bang on target the purpose of April fool is served.
However , it is sad to note that at times people tend to play cruel jokes and indulge in dangerous acts in the name of the all fools day, which will spoil the fun and playful spirit of the day. The most common pranks are making false phone calls and faking holidays and deaths of film personalities and celebrities, which could leave at least some of us depressed and tense.
However, the present trend among the youth seems to set off a mental mayhem by moving their priced ipad, smart phones or even their car to a different space and to give them a few anxious moments. As the trends and tips of April fool celebrations undergo transformations, let us not forget the basic objective of this day of having loads of fun and rib tickling jokes that will make us laugh the rest of the year and ensure a happy time ahead!