Like all cultures Kerala too has had great love stories like Changampuzha’s ‘Ramanan’ or Basheer’s tales or Madhavikutty’s novels which have all idealized love. But, if the same love is spurned it can be a tragedy, and even lead to a suicide out of deep sorrow. However, recently love turned villainous with a shocking incident that happened in Chengannur. A crime, a murder most foul, happened in broad daylight in all its audacity shocking the whole state.
All this just because the girl denied the love of the man with whom she had a brief affair. Rejection turned into fury for the scorned lover. The fury turned into revenge. He stabbed her thrice and knifed her father to death at Mazhukeer, near Chengannur.
The Incident in brief…
According to the police, Rahul, a final year engineering student at Namakkal in Tamil Nadu, was in love with Varsha, an MBA student of Mar Athanasius College for Advanced Studies, Tiruvalla. However, Varsha jilted Rahul for another man. Unable to bear Rahul’s repeated advances, Varsha’s father had lodged a complaint with the Chengannur CI who had warned Rahul that he would be arrested if he disturbed Varsha again. Rahul, who was livid with rage at Varsha for continuing her affair, knocked down the motorcycle on which she and her father were travelling around 6 am on Tuesday and stabbed Varsha in the back three times. Father, who came to the aid of his daughter, was stabbed twice. Varsha is still battling for life in a private hospital at Thiruvalla. Rahul is now under police custody.
What has happened to this love? I have heard that love makes one go mad, is this incident so? No, love is still the same feeling as it was. What happened is that, the people who were in love have changed the way they see love. Love can’t be grabbed and this is something that most lovers realise once they don’t feel the love is being reciprocated.
Kerala is a state rich with many films, poems and stories of love and love failures. Most films show that the hero and the heroine staying strong till the end for love despite all barriers and difficulties. The love, this boy felt towards this girl is not something wrong. But it was a one-way love. Without realising this fact, the love blinded him to do such a brutal act. What did he gain?
Is it our education system or lifestyle or is it the family atmosphere that has gone wrong? What one learns and receives from the home is what makes one good or bad. The media has influenced our family atmosphere so strongly and so has cinema. The morals that old movies gave out is no more existing in these new generation movies. The Chengannur incident is one good example of how wrong thinking affects the generation of today. Where is our world leading us to? Has love, the emotion, lost its meaning, has the same emotions that poets of Kerala sang couplets about gone?
Few questions: Will crimes of passion, revenge and murder happen more in Kerala now? What do you think? Are you worried the youth of the state will make such drastic steps so openly?
How annoying it is to walk on our Kerala roads when it is raining heavily. Most of all are the big potholes and ponds that form during monsoon, which makes travel difficult for all (especially pedestrians).
Now imagine!!…You are on your way to office dressed all tip-top, and happen to be near a pothole filled with dirty water. A vehicle (It is best if it is a private bus or a private car, especially Omnis) passes by at a 100 kmph. Now have a look on yourself, once the vehicle moved off. You look more attractive now, don’t you? With a dress (no need to say if you have worn a light coloured one) now designed in innovative yet natural way. The person who made you look beautiful anyway is not going to see you, but if any onlookers are nearby, they can have chuckle themselves or pity you. But you are at freedom to curse that driver, but all to yourself. Most of the pedestrians are sure to have experienced this at least once in their lifetime. So, the next time you are going to be more careful when you happen to be near any potholes.
When it comes to drivers, the bad conditions of roads will make them feel they have driven 500 kms after just driving 50 kms. If you need only just 30 minutes to reach your destination, now it takes over an hour for travelling.
Of the 160,944 km of roads in the state, 28,203 km fall under the jurisdiction of the Public Works Department, and around 67 percent of roads fall under jurisdiction of various village panchayats. Over 70 per cent of the roads in the state are damaged and unfit for vehicular traffic. Though the government has taken to repair works on a war footing, the monsoon almost always washes it off.
Every year a lot of money is spend on road maintenance and the roads are tarred every year. But as soon as the monsoons arrives these tarred roads gets torn apart and great pot holes develop which make the roads look really pathetic and are a real nightmare for travellers. Who is to blame the corrupt politicians or contractors or both? A lot of major accidents occur every month due to the bad state of the roads in Kerala. Although Kerala is a major tourist destination in India and is given the title ‘God’s own country’, the pathetic roads in Kerala has not done justice to this self-styled name.
The Ayodhya-Babri Masjid dispute issue is finally set for verdict tomorrow, on Thursday September 30, 2010. The Allahabad High Court will be making the historic judgement on this issue that has caused agony to our motherland. This issue has its own effect in our little state Kerala.
Although a small state in appearance, our state has contributed big in creating terrorists in and around the country. Above all our beautiful state is known for creating a ruckus of even the smallest issues happening at the international level. It’s no wonder that the state government is on alert!
Prevention is better than cure: Kerala government is ensuring tight security throughout the state as a precautionary measure against the background of the verdict on Ayodhya case.
Some of the security measures taken include-
2. Ban orders came into force in Ernakulam district from this morning.
3. Restrictions on organising of marches, meetings and demonstrations are to be declared in other districts.
4. About 30,000 policemen are proposed to be deployed by midnight to enforce the orders and maintain peace.
5. Preventive arrests are also likely.
6. Special security is being extended to important places of worship, railway stations and bus stands.
7. Armed reserves have positioned in district centres.
8. The media is warned against speculating the outcome of the Ayodhya dispute until they have a copy of the issues of the judgement by the Court and the operational part of the order.
Kerala seems to be ready to face any untoward incident that may crop up post the verdict. The Allahabad High Court announced that there are plans on making the judgment available to the people via the internet.
Let us hope the verdict finally brings peace to all and allow the Gods to rest peacefully in our ‘God’s Own Country’.
“Drinking is a disease in Kerala“, we all know it! One loses one’s kin, respect and money chasing alcohol. Everyone and everything encourages one to have a drink – including friends and even the Government!
With the latest tragic deaths of 25 people in Kerala’s Malappuram district, after consuming poisonous toddy, the state has marked it’s presence in the global level for drinking deaths. (Toddy is a traditional liquor made from either coconut or palm flowers) The reason for the liquor tragedy is said to have happened because it was mixed with chemicals and herbs to give an “extra” kick.
- Kerala in India has the highest number of drinkers and has the highest per capita consumption of over eight litres (1.76 gallons) per person a year.
- These figures overtake traditionally hard-drinking states like Punjab and Haryana.
- Also, in a strange twist of taste, rum and brandy are the preferred drink in Kerala in a country where whisky outsells every other liquor.
Despite all the liquor tragedies happening in Kerala, the people as well as the Government never learn. If one becomes an alocoholic, it is very difficult to lead a normal life. However, Kerala Government is also not ready to stop selling liquor in the state, because the State makes high revenue from this business.
- Shockingly, more than 40% of revenue for its annual budget comes from booze.
- The state-run monopoly, named Kerala State Beverages Corporation (KSBC) runs 337 liquor shops, open seven days a week.
- Each shop caters on average to an astonishing 80,000 clients.
- Similarly, there are over 5,000 toddy shops in the state.
The latest death incidents after consuming the natural wine made from coconut palms is contaminated adding chemicals like Methyl Alcohol and other herbs to give the toddy drinker an extra kick. It is usually the poor section of the state’s population fall prey to such tragic incidents.
- The main reason is that toddy is available at a lesser price compared to beer and other costly drinks, which is otherwise is not affordable to a daily-wage earner.
Alcohol consumption causes numerous social evil in Kerala.
- It kills lots of people exacting a heavy social cost.
- Rising numbers of divorces in Kerala are linked to alcohol abuse.
- The majority of road deaths are due to drink driving.
- Hospitals and rehab centres are packed with patients suffering from alcohol-related diseases.
The thriving black market in liquor trade sometimes transforms into liquor tragedies like this recent one.
A few solutions:
- Prohibition is not the answer but closing the various ways of bringing in illicit liquor into the state could actually work.
- The Government should make sure that the alcohol is distributed reducing high alcoholic contents to lighten the effect.
- Also laws should be made to restrict the amount one can consume a day.
It is high time we Malayalees do some serious re-thinking on our drinking habits. Not only for our own sakes, but also for the sake of our children!
Travelling in some of Kochi‘s private buses is a daunting experience for me and for other commuters who are concerned about time. In the morning, reaching office on time is a concern for all those who work in a well administered office. In the evening, most people hurry back home, especially women, before it gets dark. If you are staying in a hostel, you’ll have to meet the deadline of time before the gate closes. And even private buses in Cochin are also concerned about punching in time at the punching stations.
But it happens mostly in the evening when you want to hurry back home. If you have got into a bus which moves like it is taking you for a sightseeing in the city. Here you end up getting mad. Some buses move at such a snail’s pace, that we can even take a nap. I have counted seconds and minutes from the time I got in to reach my stop. The time I took to reach from Janatha(Vyttila) via south to Kacheripady was an hour!! And this happened despite the traffic blocks at Panampilly Nagar and South over bridge. I wanted to ask the driver if he was learning the driving or taking us for a sightseeing and then I curse myself for getting into this bus.
Some buses go slow until they reach the punching station at Menaka, but once they punched out they rush for life. Most people, who like me feel that time is very valuable, are happy to travel in fast riding private buses. If once I got stuck in such bus, I’ll be careful not to step into that bus again.
Although, the traffic rules says “Speed Thrills but Kills”, these snail-buses are sometimes beyond tolerance.
As Onam, Kerala’s own cultural celebration is on the threshold of each and every Malayalee, Alappuzha gets ready to welcome Onam with the grand water Olympics on August 14 2010. Kerala is going to witness the 58th Nehru Trophy Boat Race in Punnamada Lake. Honourable President, Prathibha Patil will be the chief Guest of the event. The cultural events will start today at 2 pm with a spectacular cultural procession in Alappuzha town.
This time there are 60 boats including 19 snake boats for the boat race. The race will be conducted in four heats with 16 snake boats and in the B grade section three Snake Boats will mark their participation. The races will commence at 3.15pm on August 14. Activities by Navy and a spectacular cultural float will take place during intervals. Women from foreign countries will not take part in this year’s procession.
The ticket charges start from 2000(Tourist Gold), 1000(Tourist Silver), 500, 300, 200, 150, 100, 50 accordingly. Ticket charges that are less than 500 will have a separate pavilion in the west side of the lake. If you wish to watch this historical event, get tickets from R.T.O Office, and Village offices that have ticket counters from morning 10 till evening 5. On the day of the race there will be separate ticket counters at DTPC Office, RTO Office and Boat Jetty.
Last year Champakulam Chundan won the Nehru Trophy. This year, the captain of the winning boat will receive a certificate signed by the President.
A brief history about the Nehru Trophy Boat race:
The Nehru Trophy Boat Race on the Punnamda Lake, near Alappuzha, is held on the second Saturday of August every year, and is the most competitive and popular of the boat races. On the day of this fiercely fought boat race, the tranquil lake front is transformed into a sea of humanity with an estimated two lakh people, including tourists from abroad, present only to watch this spectacular event. For the people of each village in Kuttanad, a victory at this race for their village boat is something to be celebrated for months to come.
The major attraction of the boat race is the competition of chundanvallams or snake boats. Chundans (snake boats) are an impressive sight, measuring over 100 feet in length, with a raised prow. The main highlight of this electrifying boat race is the 100 feet long boats that are decorated beautifully by the local craftsmen especially for this event. These boats can accommodate 100 people at a time. Usually the musicians and singers accompany the oarsmen to keep the participants with high spirits.
Kerala awaits the next beauty queen who will be crowned as Miss Kerala on August 5, 2010. It is the most anticipated event of Kerala fashion and film world which is conceived and organised by the event management company Impresario. The winner gets a shot at TV and films like Ranjini Haridas and Rima Kallingal who have shot to fame through Miss Kerala.
The 22 contestants who have been selected for the beauty pageant are readying to face the music on Thursday evening at Le Meridian. Among the contestants are girls who have flown in from Malaysia, Dubai and Bahrain. The rule of the contest is, the participants should be girls of Malayali origin (either of the parents must be Malayali) with age between 18-24 years. The event sponsors for Miss Kerala 2010 is Hairomax and this is the tenth edition of the contest. This time the organisers are trying to make things different.
The other titles in the contest to be won besides the main three include Sumangali Miss Beautiful Skin 2010, Cuticura Miss Radiant 2010, Hairomax Miss Beautiful Hair 2010, Hairomax Miss Talented 2010, Miss Beautiful Eyes, Miss Beautiful Smile, Miss Perfect Ten, Miss Photogenic, Miss Congeniality and Club FM Miss Voice 2010. Actors Anoop Menon and Ranjini, writer Anitha Nair,photographer Nisha Kutty are among the others in the judging panel. There will be four costume rounds in the contest – sari, casuals, fusion and gown. The dress designers Atit and Semu, the brother and sister from Mumbai have designed clothes for the whole pageant while keeping in mind the concept of a blend of the traditional and the western. To try for variety, this time they have gowns made of Kerala sari and for the casuals round, not with the usual jeans and T-shirts.
The pageant supports the Save a Girl Child cause and the winner will be a part of the campaign.
Recently I went on a weekend visit to the Hill Palace Museum in Tripunithura which lies about 12 Km from Ernakulam. It was really enjoyable and mind-blowing when you are with a group of friends who are ready to enjoy to the maximum.
We five explored the nook and corners of the Palace, buildings close-by and the forest behind it. At first we hurried to visit the Palace Museum where we found a long queue of visitors waiting their turn. So, the lady who keeps all the visitors’ footwear in racks asked us to visit rest of the things that do not need any restrictions and be back before the museum closes for the day. So, we hurried down to visit the Deer Park, where we found interesting herds of deer. And, then we found a path leading to the wilderness behind.
Travelling through the forest route that encircled the boundary of the property was really interesting and it was the thing we enjoyed the most. It is a rare opportunity to explore a little forest that lies so close to big Ernakulam city. It is said that the land surrounding the Hill Palace has rare medicinal plants. Lovers roaming inside the forest became an interesting topic for us and soon we were giggling away. It was fun swinging from the solid roots that hung from the big old trees like Tarzan. After a refreshing yet scary walk through the forest we went back for the Museum visit. This time there was no queue and we could easily get in.
To ensure high security, they confiscated our bags and mobile phones. It was interesting to see the things on display that were once part of the life of our ancestors. As we walked through long verandahs and stairs of the Palace, we looking over our shoulders to see if ‘Nagavalli‘ was following us (It was here the famous Malayalam film Manichitrathazhu starring Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi and Shobhana was shot. Most of the Malayalees know this).
The architecture of the time the palace is made is really amazing (Hill Palace was built in 1865 by the Maharaja Of Cochin using their personal wealth). The view from the palace’s balcony is really stunning. We can see the garden which is maintained and designed artistically, and the view of the present city beyond.
The museum displayed 14 categories of exhibits including murals, paintings, sculptures in stone and plaster of Paris, manuscripts, inscriptions, carvings etc. The collections displayed in the museum are mainly from the Cochin Royal Family. Some other exhibits are from Travancore Royal House, Paliam Devaswom and from the department of Archaeology. It has a gold crown embedded with precious stones and many valuable coins, ornaments, majestic beds and samples of epigraphy.
When the museum visit got over, we hurried out to see if anything was left unexplored. After taking a few snaps of ourselves in different poses, the last thing we enjoyed was taking a turn on a real swing (this time it was not tree roots). There were numerous other visitors including newly-weds, families with children and groups of friends, like us.
It was both enjoyable and informative to take a weekend trip to the Hill Palace, Tripunitura. If you have made plans to enjoy, get set go!
Mangrove Forests are lately in the news in Kerala since CPI (M) got involved with the establishment of a Mangrove theme park in Valapattanam of Kannur district. The theme park is now shut following a controversy. The Kerala Coastal Zone Management Ministry ordered its closure on the charges that it was functioning in violation of Coastal Regulatory Zone(CRZ).
CPI (M) is very keen on developing Kannur, don’t know whether their sole intention is development or is it a mere political agenda hidden behind it? Their first initiative was the Parassinikadavu Water Theme Park. The Mangrove Park is under the Pappinisseri Eco-Tourism Society in which CPI (M) Central Committy member E.P. Jayarajan serves as the advisor. The park is located in the 12 acres close to the Valapattanam Bridge and towards the east side of the Valappattanam River.
The park was beautified with a walk-way through the Mangroves, bright lamps that’ll make the night to look like a day, colourful water fountain, special zone for children’s entertainment, fish tanks, conference hall and small food huts. Bridges, two jetties and an observation tower in the river were also built along with it. The owners have already spend a sum of one crore for the park and is expecting 5 crores as expenditure in the next five years.
Although they have established the park saying that it was for the development and protection of Mangroves and the different species live in it, it’s clear that the park is in no way going to help it. Not only won’t the park help in the Mangroves protection but it can completely endanger the ecosystem of the living species here.
How mangrove forests help our environment?
Mangrove forests are naturally resilient, having withstood severe storms and changing tides for many millennia. Mangroves have specially adapted aerial and salt-filtering roots and salt-excreting leaves which enable them to occupy the saline wetlands where other plant life cannot survive.
- Mangroves’ protective buffer zone helps shield coastlines from storm damage and wave action, minimizing damage to property and losses of life from hurricanes and storms.
- Mangroves have been useful in treating effluent, as the plants absorb excess nitrates and phosphates, thereby preventing contamination of near-shore waters.
- Mangroves absorb carbon dioxide and store carbon in their sediments, thereby lessening the impacts of global warming; and help in the protection of associated marine ecosystems
- Sea grass beds and coral reefs depend on healthy mangroves to filter sediments and provide nursery grounds for resident species.
Mangrove Forests are largely facing deforestation. However, mangrove forests are treated as “wastelands,” or useless swamps. This mistaken view has made it easier to exploit mangrove forests as cheap and unprotected sources of land and water. Mangrove Forests were largely destroyed in the name of unsustainable developments like:
- Shrimp aquaculture
- Charcoal production and logging
- Oil exploration and extraction
- Urbanization and urban expansion
- Ports and roads
Continuing heavy loss of mangrove forests represents a real tragedy for our oceans and the extensive life-support systems mangroves engender. With climate change and sea level rising upon us, we must look to the mangroves to help turn the tides which these forests can do through their ability to control erosion by buffer against storms, and sequester huge amounts of carbon. Mangroves may in fact be one of our last defenses against the perils of climate change and global warming.
If the authorities stick on to the decision of the closure of the park, this may well contribute to the survival of our environment and in turn the species live inside it.
Kerala is famous worldwide with tourists who are looking for a serene beautiful place to enjoy their holidays. But now Kerala is eying ‘Movie-spot tourism‘.
With the recent release of the multilingual movie ‘Ravan‘ in Hindi,Tamil(Ravanan) and Telugu(‘Villain’) by the famous film director Mani Ratnam casting Abhishek Bachan, Aiswarya Rai Bachan and Vikram, the location have caught the attention of movie loving audience throughout India. And, almost all are taken up by the well done cinematography and the backdrop of the entire movie. People who know little about Kerala and haven’t visited the state before, have started to ask where was the movie shot from? Even Malayalees won’t believe that the movie was shot near Athirappally and Vazhachal waterfalls and from the forest here.
Kerala Tourism department has now stuck on the idea to make a campaign with the film ‘Ravana’. There are many films from other languages that have shot from Kerala’s different scenic locations. Hollywood movie ‘Nishabdh‘ casting Amitabh Bachan and Jiya Khan was partially shot from Munnar, since then Munnar is famous among all the Hindiwallahs. So are the movies ‘Bombay’(Song-Uyire ..uyire from Bakel Fort-Kasargod),’Dilse‘ from Alappuzha, Vinnei Thandi Varuvaya (partially from Kuttanad-Alappuzha) and many more movies that I forget.
Anyway, Kerala Tourism Department is thinking for various ways to improve its tourism and the inflow of tourists to the state. The countries like Switzerland, New Zealand and Malaysia have started the trend called ‘movie spot tourism’ long back. Movie Spot Tourism is enlisting some major locations as shooting locations where the shooting set will get all the facilities without any difficulties. It will in turn make those locations famous and in a way tourism campaign through the movie.
In Kerala, it needs to cross many barriers and face restrictions if anyone needs to shoot in forests or in other protected areas. So, Kerala Tourism is also planning to start up such a trend called ‘Movie Spot Tourism’, where they will make a list of major locations that needs attention and then the movie sets are allowed entry by paying a certain amount as fee.