Bicycles, which were once the only means of transport were shoved aside with the advent of motorised locomotives like cars and bikes. However in an interesting reversal of trends, a growing line up of young and keen cyclists is emerging in Kerala, predominantly among the techies. They prefer to not just pedal their way to work but also for their daily chores. The newly-launched Bicycle Club at Kochi’s tech hub, Infopark, is one such initiative, which has raised a lot of interest. It was set up as an initiative to promote a green tech campus in Kochi.
However in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram a cycling club took birth almost two years ago in the form of The Allianz Technopark Cycling Club. The club has become a favorite haven for cycling enthusiasts now. It has 56 cycles of eight different styles and close to 1,500 members. Youngsters make use of these low cost and green transportation option of cycles to move around the campus.
The techies in Kochi too is not far behind in patronising this trend. Even those who run their own tech firm, cycles to office every day and finds this option as a cool choice to beat the traffic mayhem of this city. Many vouch that they reach their office in half the time of what they would have taken by car. Cycling is not just a fun ride but is a recommended exercise routine as well. Some cyclists even take it up as a daily routine to tide over muscular and joint pains.
To popularise cycling among the youth, many cycling clubs have sprung up all over the city. Some malls in the city even provide an exclusive parking space just for cycles to encourage these green commuters! Bicycle hire is a popular option among foreign tourists to explore the unexplored villages and coastline of Kerala too. With the cycles available for hire for as little as `2, you could not have asked for a cheaper transportation option in Kochi.
So, next time when you are stuck in the maddening traffic of the city, just give this smart idea a thought. It will not just make sure that you reach your work place on time but will also tone your muscles to make you physically fit and alert. So, in case you have a dusty bicycle, shoved somewhere in the attic or the backyard, it is the right time to give it the place that it deserves!
Kerala is indeed a land of paradoxes! While the State Government is striving hard to promote khadi and the regional attire of ‘mundu’ among Government employees and the general public, the case has not been so in other sectors.
Recently the Police and autorickshaw drivers in the pictersque district of Wayanad got embroiled in what could be called a ‘mundu’ row,. The Drivers’ unions are resisting the move to enforce a dress code for drivers, which will prevent them from wearing the traditional mundu to work. The auto drivers feel that this directive, which will be in force from the 1st of June is nothing short of an infringement on their rights and a tight slap on the face of those of try to promote Kerala culture.
The unions have decided to air their grievance and to protest the decision by making all their members, mainly autorickshaw drivers, wear the traditional Kerala dress. They warn that they may resort to tough measures including taking their vehicles off the roads if the police went on with the implementation of the code.
Police however said the decision was taken in view of the immodest dressing followed by mundu-clad auto drivers, who often walk around with the dhotis tied high up the waist, causing discomfort to lady passengers and families. The police want the auto drivers to stick to the uniform of Khaki pants and they plan to impose a fine on those who break this law.
In most Kerala villages including those in Wayanad, a majority of drivers still wear mundu to work and some of them are so accustomed to this dressing style that it might be a difficult for them to switch to pants. While the mundu controversy continues to simmer discontent among the auto drivers in the higher altitudes of Wayanad, the women commuters have welcomed this move as they feel that very often they are caught in an embarrassing situation on roads and also while travelling in an auto.
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Kottayam had registered its name in the hall of fame long time back for being the first city with 100 % literacy. Now Keeping up its tryst with fame , it is all set to get a new tag of ‘the mural city’ after being called the land of lakes, letters and latex! When the chief minister declares it as a mural city on Saturday, Kottayam will be making a huge stride in the Kerala tourism map of the region.
At present painters from across the world are engaged in painting murals in different parts of the city like the district collectorate, library and places of worship. A massive mural sketched by Suresh Muthukulam of Aranmula Vastu Vidyalayam. depicting Noah’s Ark,” which will come up in Pushpagiri Church in Thellakom will be the star attraction of the project. According to the organizers, this 300 square feet painting once completed will be the biggest in the country. Over 300 artists from around the world,will complete the work within a day.
Meanwhile a committee has been formed comprising of district collector, Municipal Chairman,district panchayat president and the Akademi chairman will also be formed to ensure the conservation of the paintings, which is prone to damage owing to the high level of pollution in the city.
Kerala has set the living standards of the distant Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finlnd as its paradigm of development over the next 17 years. Kerala has decided to let go the standards set by Asian Tigers, which have long been benchmarked by developed states like Gujarat for its dubious human development indices.
As per the new paradigm, Kerala will have to make a quantum jump in its per capita income from the current $4,700 to $19,000 in the next 20 years at a compound growth rate of 7.5 per cent. Though the standards of Norway with a with a PPP of $54,000 appears distant, Kerala is aiming to achieve the $ 36,000-37,000 income bracket of Finland and Denmark. The immediate priority in this regard will be to scale down the income inequality spread score from over 40 to 23 per cent.
With the foreign remittances slated to plunge to a minuscule 4% of the State’s GDP by 2030 from a whopping 50% now, Kerala should have a well set plan to achieve this paradigm. With a qualified manpower resource to fall back, Kerala can rely on start up businesses and trading activities though Kerala is not known for its entrepreneurial credentials.
Tourism, health care and education will be the niche segments under spotlight for Kerala in the coming decade. Apart from retaining the growth rate, Kerala has to think about innovative ideas and business plans in these segments to keep the coffers full. Will Kerala leave its indelible imprints in the league of some of the most prosperous countries in the World in the next few years? This million dollar question will stir up debates, opinions and counter opinions in the coming days for sure. Meanwhile as responsible subjects of Kerala, everyone of us should strive to pitch in our best to make sure that Kerala attains this commendable distinction!
A flat tummy was considered as a sign of penury and starvation by the old fashioned, but not any more! If tummy tucks, the latest fad doing the rounds is any indication, the day is not far off when the fashion conscious youth wouldn’t mind shelling out a fortune to get a perfect tummy line.
‘Bariatric Surgery,’ as it is medically known, can reduce the size of the stomach, which enables the person to cut down on his food intake. Apart from ensuring drastic weight loss, Bariatric surgery also give a perfect figure.
Koshy George one of the most popular bariatric surgeons in the state gets a regular clientèle from far and wide and help people manage their weight through this surgical procedure. People often consult him inspired by the amazing results that this surgery has made in the lives of others. Obesity has become a modern life style disease among the city dwellers that is mostly because of the fast food culture and sedentary life style.
India and South Asia now have almost as bad an obesity problem as the US, where 60 percent of all adults are obese. Since 2011, WHO has recognised obesity as a disease.
Though genetic factors play a role in making someone obese, change in life styles have evolved to be the main causes of obesity. This surgery has helped even the diabetic patients to stop medications or cut down the dosage. The surgery , which just costs around 2.50 lakhs works out much cheaper than in many foreign destinations as well. Bariatric Surgery,’ a could thus be the latest fad in health tourism itineraries in Kerala in the days to come.
As the Kochi-Muziris Biennale continues to hit the headlines , Kerala gets ready to host an all-Kerala Children’s Biennale, which is though to become equally popular than its bigger and popular counterpart.
The organisers of Biennale have decided to display the prize winning works of the children’s works that are adjudged the best at a forthcoming art contest. The preliminary round will be open for students between Class I and Class VII and would be held at Aspinwall House at 11 a.m. on January 19. The children can work on any medium and theme of their choice and the time for painting will be over two hours. The participants will get a chance to visit the biennale free of cost with their guardian.
The Kochi Biennele has been attracting a steady stream of visitors including both the common people and glitterati alike . The last few days saw many matinee idols like film director Jayaraj and actor Padmapriya at the show and appreciated the quality of the exhibits on display.
Come December 16th, Kochi the emerging financial capital of Kerala will be hosting the much acclaimed International Film Festival at five different venues in the city. The first edition of this film festival will stand out for many reasons. Apart from featuring a panorama of world class films from all over the world, the organisers have roped in a young German film researcher, Alexandra Schott to curate and organise the panel discussions for the festival.
Alexandra is well experienced in organising panel discussions and has been associated with a majority of Indian International Film Festivals held overseas. The team will be engaged in curating discussions on contemporary films and potential solution on socio-political and environmental issues with an underlying theme of ‘Discover India through films.’
The session will be paying tribute to the centenary year of Indian cinema with special focus on Malayalam, which will be represented by some of the stalwarts of Malayalam film industry. The interactive sessions will make the film aspirants aware of the latest film making technologies and the changing trends in world cinema and the evolution of universally accepted themes and treatments.
Alexandra opined that even today there are many independent film makers who are still not aware of the international film festivals where they can showcase their films. Film festivals like the one to be held in Kochi not only will help to bring good cinema to the audience but will also provide the much needed platform for the aspiring film makers to screen their creations to a creative audience.
With more than 100 movies to be screened including the well rated movies like Holy Motors, Love, Me and You, Sister , the film festival will be a unique event to the movie lovers of the State. Organized by Cochin Gateway Entertainment and Management Society. This film fest will bring some of the best movies from world cinema before the curtains are drawn on 23rd December .
The Kochi Muzris Biennale, the first-of-its-kind in India, will have a colorful start at the Parade Grounds at Fort Kochi in Kerala on Wednesday. The cultural extravaganza that extends to over three months will feature 80 artists from all over the world. Kerala will be represented by 22 artists and there will be an equal number of arts and crafts persons from the other parts of India. One of the star attractions of the Muzris Biennale will be the sand creations of The Kerala-born artist Paris Viswanathan,who will be making his comeback to his homeland memorable by recreating a nearly four-decade-old masterpiece.
Some of the artists who will be gracing the occasion include Ariel Hassan (Argentina), Amanullah Mojadidi (Afghanistan), Rigo23 (Portugal) and Ernesto Neto (Brazil) and Jonas Staal (the Netherlands among others. The well known Indian artists Subodh Gupta and Vivan Sundaram will enhance the mood of the event by creating themes on Kerala including country boat, which is closely associated with Kerala village life. While Sundaram plans to bring back memories of the lost Muziris port of Kerala through his creations.
The biennale will also have various other cultural events including film screenings and performing arts. The organizers and patrons of Kochi Biennale are upbeat and confident that this event will will stand out in the golden pages of 117 years of the biennale’s history.
This is the sad story of an ashram in Kollam, in South Kerala which is striving to continue its humanitarian services against all odds. Almost cut off from the society for the past many years, this ashram is a treasure trove of many priceless manuscripts and ayurvedic medications. The ashram is looking for Tamil scholars to decipher the century-old palm leaf scrolls with enthamizhu or Kodumthamizhu inscriptions. These rare palm scrolls are thought to contain the secrets of rare and precious medicines for various ailments.
The seer of Avadhoothashram, Sadanandapuram, Kottarakkara,Chidananda Bharati wants to make sure that the priceless wisdom is made use of for the welfare of the community. The seer who took up the charge of the ashram 2 decades back is concerned at the apathy and the lack of attention being shown to these ancient manuscripts. The ashram also has many clay jars with ancient medicinal concoctions. However as the labels on the jars are completely lost, it might require the services of ayurvedic experts to identify the medicines. Many rare books and scrolls have been damaged in the onslaught of time and immediate action is needed to preserve whatever is remaining.
The Swami earnestly wish that Tamil scholars who can unlock the secrets come forward so that these pearls of wisdom is not lost forever. Over the years, the ashram has lost most of its 300 acres of premium land and it now holds only a little more than a hundred acres of land, sixty per cent of which has been retained as natural forest, which forms a natural habitat for a range of wild animals including porcupine, flying squirrel, mongoose, fox, Asian palm civets, snakes, and a large number of birds including peacocks.
The ashram is still involved in producing authentic ayurvedic medications as per the original texts as wished by the founding seer of Sadanandaswamikal. The medicines are hugely popular among people for its premium quality. The ashram premises also has temples of Lord Krishna, Durga, Saint Dhanwanthari besides the samadhi of the founder seer Sadanandaswamikal who set up the Ashram in Malayalam calendar year of 1075.
The sanyasins are averse to the idea of converting the ashram’s resources for materialistic gains, which has in a way made the ashram obscure and hidden from the lime light. Most people are not even aware of the activities of the ashram and its potential has largely remained unexploited till now. The ashram is in desperate need of concrete policies that will bail it out from the present limbo. Sadly for want of disciples, the ashram is also facing the risk of closing down. It will be a shame if the wails for help of this ashram fall on deaf ears as Kerala, considered as the cradle of this oldest system of medicine known to man. The apathy of the administrative machinery and the lackadaisical attitude of the general public have largely been responsible for this sorry stage of affairs where quacks and dubious operators fleece tourists in the name of ayurveda while authentic ayurveda practitioners are left in the lurch!
If everything goes off as planned, the Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation Limited (Keltron) would be launching a ‘Central Monitoring System’ (CMS) in a few months time. It is a novel project to bring all establishments including government offices, banks, shopping centres and business firms under the surveillance of security cameras in a month’s time.
Thought to be the first-of-its-kind in India, this project would cost the exchequer around Rs 20 crore, in which over one lakh cameras will be installed in various locations within five years. The expenses will be met by Keltron and the project is likely to be implemented in January next. To make use of the system, the firms will have to pay a fee, which ranges from ₹ 2000 or more, which will help Keltron to recover its investment on the project. The cameras will ensure round the clock monitoring from an exclusive control room, which would be set up in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram.
Keltron is hoping to rope in around 10,000 customers in five years. In a firm there will be one to 10 or more cameras depending on their surveillance needs. Anything shady that is caught on camera will be immediately passed on to the concerned police stations. The camera monitoring would not just ensure the safety of the establishments but will also be helpful in bringing down incidents of burglary and other crimes. Other add on security features like glass breaking sensors will also be installed along with the cameras. Those companies that have already installed surveillance cameras, will also have the choice to be covered under the Central Monitoring System. The proposal, which is in the final stages of implementation is awaiting the approval of the government.