Are you on the look out for a quiet weekend break, away from the hustle and bustle of the city yet not very far from the city? If YES, then , the Matsyafed Milkyway aqua-tourism centre at Malippuram would be a perfect choice. It offers the double fun of a working fish farm along with an eco-tourism experience. True to its name, Milkyway is elusive and secluded that would offer an out of the world experience!
Located at Malippuram in Vypin the Milkyway is about 12 kilometres from the High Court Junction in Ernakulam, and is easily accessible through the Goshree Bridge. No matter whether you are here for a spell of adventure or some quiet moments in the company of your friends and family, Milky way will be an ideal spot. The unexplored charm of the environment and the spectacular natural beauty would leave a soothing effect. Though this farm was opened to the public around 1 year back, it has not become popular yet largely due to lack of publicity and facilities for the tourists.
As it falls under the Coastal Regulation Zone, there are serious limitations in making concrete buildings or structures. So you cannot expect any modern amenities here. However, if you are on the quest of a serene getaway option, then not many places can match the charm of this aqua tourism spot. Options are all yours while you are on this post card pretty tourist spot. Laze in the hammocks and enjoy the unhurried charm of the canoes and the fishermen going about their daily business, savour the fresh fish delicacies at the windswept restaurants or set out on a pedal boat to enjoy the sights and sounds of this farm up close.
A perfect day time picnic spot, this aqua tourism spot will be good choice for anglers. You can try your mettle with the fishing rods, which are available on rent. Check out the restaurants that offer a lip smacking menu of fish and seafood delicacies, cooked in traditional Kerala style by professional women chef. Here, you can even get the fish that you caught, cooked the way that you want it! No trip to Malipuram will be complete without a stopover for the brilliant sunset spectacle at the unspoilt Chappa Beach. Read more on the interesting tourist attractions nearby in this blog, The vypin light house. Try out this brilliant holiday option and you will be tempted to make a comeback soon! If you fancy a virtual tour around this beautiful tourist spot, click here!
Charity has become a short cut to publicity or a means to keep off from the tax department for many these days. However , it is heartening to note that everything is not lost yet as there are some charitable organizations and individuals who still strive for the welfare of the less privileged and the downtrodden of the society. This incident that happened in the heart of the city of Kochi was an eyeopener for me. It was a sultry Sunday afternoon and we were waiting at the signal in a busy inter junction near the famous St.Antony’s church, Kaloor. The road was surprisingly crowded because of the traffic diversions in the light of the construction of the North overbridge.
Suddenly an auto screeched to a halt and a few Muslim ladies in their traditional flowing gowns got out with a big shopping bag in hand . They hurried up to the foot path in front of the church where a few destitute people were seeking alms. They distributed the lunch packets to each and everyone on the pavement and I could see them waiting to make sure that they haven’t missed out anyone . When caste and religion have become obstacles in reaching out to humanity, the fact that they never bothered to check the religious credentials of the people before indulging in this task, made these simple acts of charity truly special and extraordinary. What amazed me was the selfless dedication these women displayed through these acts of charity. Away from the prying eyes of the media and the flashing publicity, they went about their task quietly and disappeared into the crowd in no time!
Though there is a misconception that it is just the women who are obsessed with perfect looks, this piece of information that the men who resort to cosmetic surgeries in Kerala far outnumber the women would come as a surprise! The number of men in Kerala who opt for cosmetic procedures is higher than the national average and that in other states of India!
From hair transplant to tummy tuck and nose job, men seem to have no qualms in paying through their nose to get that perfect look that they wish to have. The cost of the cosmetic correction might vary depending on the time and other parameters. On an average, a botox shot to smooth the wrinkles might leave you poorer by 14000 Rs whereas major procedures like rhinoplasty is priced at 30,000 Rs and a hair fixing session comes with a cost of 50,000 Rs or more.
Many hospitals in Kochi like Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Lake shore hospital and Specialist hospital see a steady stream of men who die for a perfect look. Hospitals register an average of seven new patients every month, which is a proof of the growing popularity of cosmetic procedures in Kerala. The best part is that in Kochi, not only the well heeled and the affluent opt for these surgical corrections but men from all social strata approach the hospitals. It is startling to note that the number of men who do cosmetic surgeries in Kerala is even higher than in metro cities like Mumbai, which is considered as a hub of fashion and glamour!
A good percentage of men who opt for cosmetic surgeries fall under the age group of 20-35. The increasing acceptability and awareness of these procedures among men could be one of the reasons for the boom in demand. Most men are quite eager to avail these quick fix procedures and to have a perfect look. The best thing is that these options are available right at their door steps now unlike the earlier days when it was not popular in Kerala. No matter whether beauty is skin deep or not, the men in Kerala are leaving nothing to chance as they feel that they are judged by the way they look and not by what they are!
The ‘No to Moustache’ version (TEAM A AT KARMAKERALA)
Curiosity! To know, do girls like guys with or without moustache? Sholto decided to have a quick survey in the office to find out what they have in mind. Majority of the girls liked clean shaved guys like me so he wanted me to know what the reasons are.
One of the most valid reason a lady member raised was she finds that ‘kissing is a wonderful experience and that she can avoid that abnormal sensation of tingling, if her guy is without moustache. Another member felt that guys look good and younger and it adds to their personality without those hairs below their nose.
Some female members were sympathetic, they didn’t mind guys spotting one but felt that keeping a moustache needs regular maintenance and felt sorry that guys have to be in front of the mirror half of the time balancing it. So they felt they could do without it and use that time for better use.
Rest of the women folks felt that moustache has nothing to do with real men and they believe that everything is fine till the guys serve the purpose, it was all about convenience.
Unanimously they all feel to have a moustache is like telling the world “there’s something wrong with my face you are perfect never mind keep it clean.
The Moustache waala’s perspective (TEAM B AT KARMAKERALA)
Statistics always counts, when you are on to a debate or an argument. Let’s begin with some statistics then…
Our Boss Sholto was commenting the other day that for a man, it’s a whole year that’s wasted in his entire lifetime shaving his beard. Yea, if you add the time you spend daily or on alternate days to shave your beard, it would amount to one full year, that’s what he says. So just imagine, if you have to go without moustache, that amounts to more labour and more time spent on shaving. So, if you are quick at calculating, just calculate how much of time will be wasted over shaving your moustache regularly. If time matters for you, then well, this should matter. If not, I’d just retort with a loud boo…
So now, here we go making our points in defence of the Moustache, one by one
- * The notion that not having the moustache is trendy needs to be blasted, with pure logical reason. How can someone with a moustache think of appearing different on different days? A man with a moustache can work wonders with his looks. One day it would be twirled upward; the other day it would be drooping downwards. On another occasion you could just mend your moustache to suit your bulgan beard and on another you could just make it blend into your whiskers to form the Friendly Mutton Chops style. You can trim, cut, crop and grow your moustache, only if you have it. Endless possibilities, eh! (Ask our Karmakerala colleague Rinoj and he could show you how he changes his appearance off and on that way!)
- * Mallus (that’s the trendy phrase the new generation uses to refer to Malayalees) have liked Mammootty mouthing Ranji Panicker’s dialogues in ‘The King’ and Mohanlal saying “Po Mone Dinesha…” in ‘Narasimham’. They have felt the adrenalin rush when Suresh Gopi says ‘Just remember that…” or ‘Bha Pulle…” in his trademark style. The new generation likes and adores Prithviraj. No am not forgetting the older generation…the most sensible of them liked Satyan over Prem Nazeer. All of these stars, sans Prem Nazeer go sporting moustaches. Well, Prem Nazeer might have acted in the most number of films, but what use are those films when compared with the gems that Satyan has acted out with his moustache?! Coming to more recent times, though film buffs like ‘Panchagni’, they say it loud enough for everyone to hear that it would have been great if Mohanlal hadn’t shaved off his moustache for that film.
- * People sans moustaches don’t make it to the Guinness Books of World Records the way people with long moustaches do it. Can someone create a record for not keeping a moustache? No way. But, you could definitely find place in history if you have a long moustache.
- * Moustache is an integral part of certain professions. Picture in your mind the portrait of a policeman whom you feared as a kid, he’d definitely have a moustache. Teachers with moustaches make the best headteachers. They are obeyed instantly. Think of professions where a lack of a moustache comes to be of advantage to you. You won’t find any…
- * Moustache is part of our culture in Kerala. The archetypal hero of most of our folk-tales go with moustaches and the typical ‘Karanavar’ sports a twirled up Moustache. It has always been associated with manliness. My women colleagues in Karmakerala say a man wins respect if he has a moustache, which is an integral part of a man’s personality.
- * Can you imagine Charlie Chaplin without his trademark moustache? So that proves we need a moustache to evoke laughter too; and laughter is always the best medicine!
- * Moustaches are given to us by nature. By going without moustaches, aren’t we defying the laws of nature?! Ha ha…
- * You look serious with a moustache, say my women colleagues in Karmakerala. They opine that sans a moustache you look more funny. They also say that moustache makes a man elegant.
- * Says a colleague of mine- “It’s after all a neat moustache that makes a man’s face apparently different from a woman’s”. Aha, thanks for the info!
- * For a colleague of mine who says that a man cannot kiss if he has the moustache, here’s the answer. Emraan Hashmi, known as the ‘Serial kisser’ in Hindi films, kisses his heroines equally well in those movies too wherein he sports a moustache. Why don’t you go and ask those heroines if they feel a difference between Emraan Hashmi with a moustache and Emraan Hashmi without moustache as regards his deadly kiss…. Ha ha…
Hope these arguments would suffice in support of Moustaches…Here I end my case, for moustaches.
Postscript: Just imagine, but for moustaches, we wouldn’t have had a movie named ‘Meesha Madhavan’, one of the biggest of all time hits in Malayalam…
A shouting competition- In all probability, you might not have heard anything like this before in Kerala!! The brain child of Sholto, our boss from the UK, who wanted to try it out as a small experiment to find out why Kerala ladies almost always talk in muffled tones, this interesting shout out competition was held in our office at Karma Kerala. The ladies and the gents teams were drawn up and everything was well set for a high decibel shout and screech. The winning team would have been the one that made the maximum sound.
Obviously the all girls team of 17 was not a match for the men’s team and the ladies were clearly outclassed in the first round of the shouting competition. In the second round in a hotly fought contest 15 ladies shouted their lungs out as loud as they could against a truncated men’s team of just 5 and even then, the men won by a clear edge. When a combined round of both men and women was done, the sound tapered as it reached the female side. In this melee, a few anxious faces did came out from the adjacent buildings to see what it was all about.
At the end of it all, it was concluded that the women in Kerala have chosen to be soft spoken and quiet due to an array of social and cultural factors when they are outside the comfort zones of their homes. However, I feel that to measure the real power of the female vocal chords, one might have to step into their homes unexpectedly when all the male voices of the house will be drowned in the clamor of the females:). Share your views on this interesting topic !
Kerala is to play host to a global Ayurveda Festival that will be held from February 9 to 14 next year, which would showcase the oldest system of medicine in the world. It would go a long way in creating awareness on this time tested Indian system of medicine that ensures wholesome wellness using natural cures. The proposed ayurveda festival might also be helpful in working out marketing strategies for these well acclaimed Indian products.
Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA) is organising the event in association with the state Ayurveda Department. The six day event will have various events including presentation of papers and deliberations by Ayurveda experts and clinics run by renowned practitioners among others. In addition an exhibition on various ayurveda products, medicinal plants and a food festival are the other attractions of this Ayurveda Festival that will be conducted at the Kanakakunnu Palace grounds in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram.
Evidences prove that Ayurvedic classical texts written in India between 3,500 and 5,000 years are of relevance even today. Efforts should be taken to preserve and propagate this traditional Indian system of medicine, which were passed down the generations since eons of years and global events like these would impart a greater momentum in propagating and promoting this natural system of medicine.
Kerala model development has always been a topic of discussion even in various international forums and in developing countries. Many India states emulate the developmental plans of Kerala that ensure the overall development in important segments like health , education and life care facilities along with the other developmental factors. Kerala boasts of a very high human development index, HDI (a developmental parameter set by the UN), which is at par with some of the developed countries in the world even though the state’s per capita income is only a fraction of these countries, which makes it all the more illustrious.
Kerala has made noteworthy progress in the living standards of its populace and social development. This tiny state has a well balanced formula for progress with low levels of infant mortality and population growth against high levels of literacy and life expectancy.
Now Kerala shows the way yet again in removing the ill effects of gender bias by showing a clear preference for the girl child unlike the rest of India where the women are obsessed with sons. The latest report of the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Gender Issues suggest that in the last few years there has been an overall preference for girl children among the Indian women. Kerala trends in this list of women preferring girl child whereas Bihar occupies the last slot. In the year 1992 41.4 per cent Indian women preferred sons whereas in 1998 it dropped to 33% and in 2010 it has hit an all time low of just 25%.
While only 14% of women in cities prefer to have sons, the preference for a male child is significantly higher in rural areas. The latest statistics has indeed brought cheers and hope in the otherwise gloomy gender equality scenario. However all is not well for the girls in India as yet as much more needs to be done in improving their education, decision making and earning potential among others. Check out this interesting blog How few Keralite women are changing the future Indian social landscape, which tells you about the Haryanvi men who are forced to marry from Kerala as there aren’t enough women in their state!
A ferry ride is often the most beautiful and laid back option to explore the scenery, the rhythm of nature and above all the culture and way of living of the local populace. There are various types of boats on offer. From small passenger boats to auto ferries to the largest cruise liners that can seat over 3200 passengers, there is something for everyone here . In some villages in Kuttanad where there are no roads, the ferry system forms the crucial water highways for the residents.
Yahoo travels has included the house boat cruise from Alappuzha and Pulinkunnu in Kerala among the ten most beautiful rides in the world. The backwaters formed by a maze of interconnecting waterways are used for ferrying people and farm produce alike. Take a leisurely cruise in these well equipped houseboats, which are remodelled rice barges of Kerala which were once used for transporting farm products like coconuts, paddy, and bananas among others.
As the boats inch its way along the waters fringed with swaying coconut palms, lush greenery and small tiled houses along the water’s edge, you can soak up the rustic charm and the enviably slow pace of life in these villages. The short stopovers are good excuses for you to have a close encounter with the village life. Children swim and frolic in the waters as ladies wash the laundry and men take huge flocks of ducks for grazing. Watch the toddy tapper in action or try clambering up a coconut tree, enjoy one of the most the enchanting sunsets of your life, catch the fishermen in action or join the fun. You can even take some time off to explore the village markets and old religious places on a bicycle or spend some time angling in the backwaters.
There are entertainment options like TV and music system on board, or you can enjoy the beautiful milieu from the upper sun deck to while away time. After an eventful day in the waters, the boat moves towards the lakeside for you to spend the night. After relishing an ethnic Kerala supper enriched by seafood and fish preparations you can enjoy a relaxing sleep in the comforts of the houseboat. Well, does that sound too good to be true? See it to believe it and in case you are planning to have a tropical themed holiday, then a house boat cruise would be the best choice you could think of!
India is all set to have the dubious distinction of being the most populous country in the world ‘s in a matter of few years. Population explosion in developing countries like India could break the back of the economy where resources available per person are reduced further, leading to increased poverty, malnutrition, and other large population-related problems.
As the surging population puts a tremendous pressure on the living space and other natural resources, it is high time that a concrete population policy should be brought out to ensure better quality of life. The proposed Kerala Women’s code bill envisages strict measures for enforcing a population regulation policy, including penalisation of parents having more than two children and encouraging free-of-cost legal abortion. The bill also recommends that the parents with more than two children to be considered as ‘legally disqualified persons’ for any state benefits. Another recommendation of the bill is that religious and political outfits cannot discourage family planning. There is also provision to have a 10-member commission of eminent personalities to monitor population growth.
The report made by the State-appointed Commission on Rights and Welfare of Women and Children has raised a few eyebrows though many feel that a tougher legislation is the need of the hour to stem the population explosion. Though many feel that Kerala has a successful population policy in place, the figures of the 2011 Census show that Kerala is one of the densest States in the country with a population of 3,33,87,677 persons. Although Kerala accounts for only 1 per cent of the total area of India, it contains about 3 per cent of the country’s population with a staggering population density of 859 people per square kilometres, which is three times the national average!
However, the bill that is already mired in controversy is not likely to be passed by the government in the present form. Various Muslim and women’s rights organisations and the Catholic Church have already warned the Kerala Government of intense agitations if the recommendations of the bill formulated by the 12-member panel, headed by Justice (retired) VR Krishna Iyer.
It is paradoxical that when the state government appointed commission recommends stringent punishment and penalty for parents opting for more than 2 children,churches like the St. Vincent de paul church in Kalpetta has come up with a reward of 10,000 for couples opting for a 5th child! These controversial reward schemes might not only water down the provisions of the bill but could also derail this bill, which was brought out to ensure a healthy and affluent society. This practice of religious priorities being pursued at the cost of administrative policies could have disastrous consequences for any developing country like India, which takes the pride of being the largest democracy in the world! Do check out this First post article’ Watch: Kerala’s take on China’s population policy faces resistance’ , which makes an interesting read on this topic.