Jobby Mathew, hailing from a nondescript village of Pala in Kottayam district brought laurels to India and his home state of Kerala when he romped home with 5 gold medals from the World Dwarf Games meet held in US. A debutant in the World Dwarf Games., this gifted sports person had bagged gold medals in five different events including shotput, javelin, badminton singles, badminton doubles and discus throw. His feat deserves special mention as he defeated contestants from 33 countries to achieve this milestone.
In arm wrestling he has 10 international medals to his credit and was also the champion in arm wrestling for the physically challenged. Measuring only 110 cm in height, Jobby has proven that looks indeed can be deceptive. Beneath the diminutive frame, Jobby has a never say die attitude and confidence, which helped him beat the challenges to reach the global sporting arena.
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!
The district administration has made registration compulsory for all the houseboats in Alappuzha and the house boat owners have been given a time of one week for submitting the necessary documents in this regard. The Ports Department will be conducting routine inspections and the houseboats without the necessary certificates will be seized by the police and criminal cases slapped against these house boat owners.Three police patrol teams have been set up at various locations like Muhamma, Punnamada and Pallathuruthy in Vembanad Lake to conduct routine inspections inside the houseboats during cruise.
Though there are over 800 boats plying in Alappuzha backwaters only around 490 boats have registration certificates at present. In the wake of accidents involving houseboats, steps have also been initiated to revoke the license of the houseboat and the crew and to blacklist them if they are found to consume liquor on board during duty time. The Ports Department is also planning to set up a sewage treatment plant for the houseboats to prevent water pollution.
Houseboats are the biggest attractions in any Kerala holiday itinerary and by ensuring a safe and enjoyable cruise, back water tourism in Kerala will indeed get a major boost. These safety measures will indeed make Alappuzha and Kumarakom backwaters which form the nerve centres of backwater tourism more popular than never before among the tourists.
Who doesn’t like puppetry? The magical art form where the finely cut paper figurines create an intriguing shadow play as the adept hands of the puppeteer pulls the strings. In some cases wooden puppets are used to enact scenes. Now an innovative puppeteer from Kasargod, K V Ramesh and his troupe have adapted a human theatre form Yakshagana to puppet show.
The dying art of string puppet play of Kasargod in North Kerala has taken an interesting combination by incorporating the highly difficult folk art form of Karnataka , the Yakshagana, which is similar to the temple art forms of Kerala like koodiyattam and chakyarkuttu.
In the last few years, the Yakshagana puppet troupes in Kasargod have come down drastically and at present there are only two active troupes including K V Ramesh’s troupe Shri Gopalakrishna Yakshagana Bombeyata Sangha. Typically puppet shows feature stories from epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagawatham where different characters are represented by the colourful costumes of these puppets. Some of the puppets can measure up to 18” in height.
This intricate art form that dates back to over two centuries has become a dying art form for want of puppeteers. Only by infusing fresh themes and creating an interest among the audience can this art form sustain itself. In Yakshagana, the story is narrated through chorus songs to the accompaniment of percussion instruments. The wooden puppets are made to dance and act by a well trained team of men and women to convey a whole range of emotions and passions where the puppets represent a range of characters through their diversely colored costumes. Let us make sure that these ethnic art forms that had been handed down the generations are preserved for posterity.
There are countless ways to beat stress; you can curl up with your favourite book, plan a holiday to a beach resort or hit the bars. However, for something truly interesting and new, check out this fledgling outdoor activity of kayaking in the backwaters of Kochi. Yes, you heard it right the unexplored activity of kayaking in the backwaters of Kochi is finding many new takers including high profile professionals like doctors and techies among others. The delightfully quiet isles of Kothad, Pizhala and Kadamakudi near Ernakulam are all well cut for kayaking.
On popular demand, the organisers, Scuba Cochin, have decided to make their two-and-a-half hour kayaking trips into a weekly event, which is open to 20 people at a time. Though kayaking is a popular holiday activity in the backwaters of Aleppey, it is a new trend in Cochin, which is attracting not just water sports enthusiasts but also families and youth groups. The best thing about kayaking is that it brings you closer to nature, and it is something that can be done at your own pace.
Though kayaking is a popular event in overseas holiday itineraries, it is a relatively new trend in Kerala. By creating interest in Olympic events like sailing, rowing and kayaking, Kerala can go a long way in tapping the youth potential in these watersports, as well. So next time when you get stressed up with your workload, all you need to do is to plan an interesting spell of kayaking to get refreshed.
Malayalam movie makers often choose overseas locales and foreign actors in the plot to retain the interest of the discerning audience. There have been many local language movies that feature foreigners as props. For the foreign backpackers who choose to act in these films, it is not just easy money but also a rare chance to mix business with pleasure and to hog the limelight on their Kerala holidays.
On a rough estimate, around 5,000 foreigners are selected every year to act in Malayalam movies that are shot in various places. Cochin is fast becoming the hub of this so called ‘Cinema Tourism’. The city alone has eight coordinators who provide foreigners for films and any director who wishes to cast foreign faces in their movies need only to get in touch with a coordinator. The director will provide the essential details like age and appearance of the prospective actor. Now it is the turn of the coordinator to honeycomb the various home stays (which are the popular accommodation options of backpackers) in and around Fort Kochi and Mattancherry to find someone suitable. Most of them will be wonder struck at first, but will give a try once the idea sinks into them, while some others reject the offers outright.
Once chosen, the foreigners can enjoy an extended holiday in some of the most picturesque spots in Kerala and neighbouring states like Munnar, Kovalam, Coimbatore or Ooty being part of the film crew. Recently a group of 15 foreign tourists donned the paint during the shooting of Neeko Njancha in Cherai beach. The foreigners will be paid at a rate of 2000 to 4000 INR per day apart from perks and accommodation options for outstation locations. If the tourists have to re draw their tour plan, they are also compensated with train or flight tickets to their next destination.
The trend of casting foreigners is not something new and it has been going on for many years now in Hindi and other Indian languages. Giselli Monteiro, Barbara Mori, Amy Jackson- the list of beauties from foreign shores that are playing key roles in Bollywood films is impressive indeed. However, some actors have come out against the obsession for Caucasian beauties of the film makers and the audience alike, which they feel will be detrimental to the local talents.
As the debate goes on, the movie crazy Kerala populace gets ready to endorse yet another thrilling movie featuring foreigners. Now, it will indeed be a special Kerala holiday for many of these foreigners as well for the arc lights and celebrity tag that go with it!
It is cricket all the way !After the Indian Premium League and the Celebrity Cricket League, it is the turn of Kerala Premium League (KPL) to cater to the die hard cricket fans. Based in Dubai , KPL too has its fair share of glitter of the tinsel world. The presence of celebrities like movie icons Suresh Gopi and Bhama and cricketer Sreesanth who will be the brand ambassadors and team directors of the new league will pack a style factor to the tournament.
Dubai has a huge population of cricket lovers and even Ranji Trophy players who are scattered in different parts of the country and KPL will bring these players together. The team will comprise of three to four players representing each of the 14 districts apart from international players including Afghans, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans among others.
KPL, which was inaugurated by forest minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar in Dubai has the approval of the Dubai Cricket Council. Initially, it is planned to hold at least one match every month. The first edition of the tournament will have eight teams, which might also include the team members of Kerala Strikers. So, the cricket crazy people of Kerala can look forward to see some of their favorite movie and sports stars on their tele screens in the days to come!
New Year celebrations in Kerala often boil down into ostentatious show of pomp and money power. New Year revelry is all about fast music, wild dance, DJs and drinks for many. However behind the glitter and the glamour of the New year revelry there were some dark moments that would leave us all ashamed.
The merry making males went overboard after downing a few hard drinks when they tried to molest the North Indian bar girls in the New Year parties in a three star hotel in Cochin. The staff and managers of several hotels had a difficult time shielding the girls from the straying hands of the spirited revelers.
In the city of Cochin alone, 878 cases were registered of which 568 were for drunk driving, wrong parking etc while 200 cases were booked for public boozing and a few related to clashes among party revelers. The city malls were jam packed with young revelers who shouted and sang all night that kept the families off.
The tourist hub of Fort Kochi also bore the brunt of the great carnival. Heaps of plastic containers of take away food parcels , decorative stuff, and loads of empty liquor bottles that remain mute testimonies of the drinking habits of Malayalees were all strewn around carelessly. It is paradoxical that as we become more educated we turn insensitive to everything around us including the less fortunate souls. It is high time that we pick up the art of celebrating special events without causing nuisance to others and littering public places !
Here you have another version from my male colleagues who prefer slim belles- Here is what I have for lean women- a compilation of responses from them.
Angelina Jolie, Katrina, Kareena, Priyanka Chopra, Shilpa Shetty or for that matter take any leading film star today- and there is one thing in common -they are all thin. And yes, there is Kerala’s very own Kavya Madhavan who saw a steep decrease in her fan-base once she put on weight (Of course people still love her for her acting skills and her beautiful face but definitely her figure does not receive much appreciation today).
One guy cited: Thin women can become models if they want to and if they don’t want to, can look like one and win complements. What’s even better; looking thin gives an impression that you work-out (even if you have not been) and live a healthy lifestyle.
Men love thin women and women themselves like being thin. So being thin obviously means that you can enjoy advising fat women who come up to you for advices on how to lose weight.
Ha, another guy had a funny fact: No lift-man will ever refuse to accommodate you on a lift. After all you are just a few extra kilos.
You can manage to sit in a small space in a crowded bus or train.And getting seats on our Indian buses and trains is definitely not child’s play.
“They can also be easily accommodated at the rear of my bike” said another guy.
Hmm, another soft comment: No one will ever corner you asking ‘Please donate blood’. And no one will ever refuse to donate you blood in case you are in need.
This is interesting : Women are known for multi-tasking. Being thin allows you to move faster and get things done. One minute you are downstairs attending your son, and the next minute you are back in the kitchen. Needless to say you can fit into a small kitchen and do the chores easily.
A guy with a sportive mind stated: Thin women excel in sports and can play any game of their choice.
The mention of ‘Full-figured’ girls and the guys panic, thinking its an expensive affair. He will have to afford her gym, quality and quantity of food and fetch clothes of her unique sizes”. Ok, point taken.
Unlike girls who struggle a lot to lose weight (because not only guys, majority of girls do not like looking fat), thin girls can be free from gym sessions, and fitness regimes, get to relax and spend their time hogging food.
Ah, thats a point from the group: Miniskirts, shorts, nice and cut-hot trends, capris and bikinis – thin girls look the best in them! Another benefit, yes you can save a lot of money when you get to sew two sets of dress from a single piece of cloth.
All, from the group had the same view: They like their ladies to be in shape and look young and thin women always look younger than their age. With many men working out to have an athletic body today, a slim women will always be their favorite. Guys love to carry their slim women in their arm, and every time he does that it ignites romance. So the chances of lifting becomes a daily affair, and the women obviously loves it. One of my male colleagues was of the opinion that women put on weight after marriage so he wanted to keep that trouble post-marriage, so for the time being he would prefer a slim girl.
All this said, be it fat or thin, women are always beautiful the way they are!
Bhoothathankettu dam site will be soon developed into the first adventure tourism spot in Ernakulam district. Plans are afoot to develop it into a perfect outdoor tourist destination with an aim to attract the youth for camping experiences and adventure sports. According to the district tourism promotion council, the project will be targetting techies mostly for conduct training camps. Night camping options and trekking trails will be developed as part of this adventure tourism initiative.
The project will also include a day trip starting at the Marine Drive, which would enable the tourists to experience various popular adventure sporting activities like trekking and kayaking. Located just eight kms north-east of Kothamangalam,Bhoothathankettu is a perfect choice for a quiet and tranquil holiday, however many people prefer to skip this spot due to its poor infrastructure and lack of transportation facilities. There are many leisure activities in Bhoothathankettu including jungle trails , boat rides, rock climbing and fishing . The initiative to make it a base camp for adventure sporting activities would surely give it its well desired place in the tourism map of Kerala. Indulge in the breathtaking beauty of the unexplored destination of Boothathankettu through these well captured snap shots in Sreesobhin’s gallery and we bet, it will become your favorite weekend hang out spot in Cochin .