You’d have heard of the Raman effect. But from us at Karmakerala, here’s something new, the ‘Sholto Effect’!!
Scene 1-Yesterday evening
It’s a pleasant evening; we’re all having a group chat on Skype, all of us at Karmakerala and as I prepare to leave office, Sholto’s chat takes a new turn. Well, rather than explaining what it was, lemme share that chat here…
Unni: OK, bye all… leaving for the day
Sholto Ramsay: have a terrified evening
Unni: ha ha
Unni: So like Sholto
Sholto Ramsay: hope it rains an gets you all soaked
Unni: that’s not terrifying, for me
Unni: I love the rains
Unni: but it brings mosquitoes
Unni: and someone once found a trick, trapping mosquitoes with a black cloth
Sholto Ramsay: hope you all get bitten all night
Sholto Ramsay: and AC fails
Sholto Ramsay: and also electricity
Sholto Ramsay: and fans fall from the ceiling
Sholto Ramsay: and cover you in dust
Sholto Ramsay: and everything else
Unni: ha ha
Tanweer: AC working perfectly boss
Unni: bye anyways….
Scene 2-Today morning
As I wake up early morning, it’s raining heavily. I remember Sholto (Naughty Naughty Sholto; I can imagine him grinning a ‘Mephistophelean’ grin if he reads this and exclaiming “I am a prophet!”)….
As I get ready for office, I look out of the balcony and find it’s still raining. Though it’s not a heavy downpour, I know it would get me wet if I ride to office. Downstairs I wait for some time; then I lose my patience and as the drizzle thins down, I ride to office. Mid-way I halt for a few minutes under a railway over-bridge and then, when it seems a bit OK, I continue my ride, to office. I arrive at office, a bit drenched in the rain. From the shop below, I have some puttu and hot, steaming tea.
As I get into office, Sooraj arrives, in an auto-rickshaw. Once in the office, he passes me a photograph he had taken on the bus, caught in the Kochi traffic-jam, so characteristic of rainy days in this city with congested roads and indisciplined traffic.
I settle down, the fan overhead leaves me dry… I begin my work…
Thanks Sholto!! B’cos I do love the rains…
A monsoon carnival was organised in the Wayanad district in Kerala during the first two weeks of July to promote monsoon tourism and to soak up the mood of the rains. Aptly named “Splash”, this carnival which took place at the Chandragiri Auditorium in Kalpetta included an array of interesting indoor and outdoor events like cultural performances, singing, music, dance, magic, rafting, rock climbing, trekking, crab catching and archery. The gourmets too had a field day as there was a well stocked food court too at the venue. Stalls selling local handicrafts and spices had a steady stream of visitors.
While many tourism related activities took an off season rest, splash created a buzz in this hill district, which attracted over 200 tour operators including overseas operators who participated in this business-to-business meet. Various interesting sporting events and local games were also included in this year’s event to attract maximum participants.
One of the major attractions this year had been the fun activity of mud football. Some of the other rural games on offer included ‘kambukayattam’ (climbing the slippery tree), ‘vadamvali’ (tug of war), and also life skills like paddy transplantation. The water sports lovers too had a great time as there were many exciting activities like rafting, rain run, fishing, angling and rain trail, which brought out the charm of the monsoons at its best. I found this blog post by Sanjay-Sivadas really catchy as it has encompassed the beauty of Wayanad and the romance of the rains through some lively snap shots and descriptions.
Monsoon is the the most beautiful and romantic season in Kerala. Though global warming and the destructive trails left by man have seriously destroyed the natural rhythm of the monsoons , Kerala has been lucky to have experienced a timely and normal monsoon spell so far,this year.
Karma Kerala takes pleasure in sharing our monsoon experiences with our readers. What makes these snippets extra special is the fact that these monsoon experiences are penned by some of our staff members who incidentally are not creative writers but are web designers, logistics managers, PHP programmers etc. It goes without saying that the beauty and the flow of thoughts of monsoons comes naturally to everyone in Kerala:)
What i love during monsoon season is to be on my bed tightly wrapped under the blanket .Also going to catch fish, during the drizzling rain ,eating the hot homemade delicacies and relax at home. – Rinoj (Web Designer)
Fun, that is what monsoon for me and yes sure, pure nostalgia.
It is cold shower in rain. Open my mouth and drink those pure drops of water.
When it rains heavy, I run to fields and scream out loud thinking no one will hear.
I run after frogs and catching small fishes from streams with my friends. Making paper boats for ants to cruise.
Stand under shrubs shake it for a shower.
Jump and stamp into water in road. Swim against the flow in the river.
Come back home from school, wet. A season for Vicks.
In the cold early mornings, sleep lazy under my blanket. A cup of hot black coffee. –
Tijo Sebastian (Manager, Sales and Logistics )- an avid shutterbug, he has an impressive collection of monsoon snap shots including the ones posted here.
Wow!!! Monsoon season is back again.. The season which students own. Yes I said right. Even if you are not a student its time for you the recapitulate your schooling memories.. those memories when you were splashing rain water against your friends .. And who would ever forget those scolding from mothers when we reach back home from school with dress drenched in muddy water. Yes it is the only thing which comes to my mind when I see rain…. All those child hood days just seems like running somewhere near to me… I feel like being in the middle of rain with an umbrella shared by friends pushing each other to get in ha ha ha those were fantastic moments… and now it’s the turn to speak about some food.
Well any food but which is served hot in monsoon season is always special. Makes me think one of my office tours with colleagues. We were in munar and guess what.. it was raining hard there, but we were enjoying each and every moments of it.. I and my friends were just walking through the road underneath umbrella and it was a kind of place there with only less shops .At last we saw a small shop which an old man was running.. we just went and asked what you have there, he replied I can give you omlet.. we didn’t wasted time… very cold, misty over everywhere and of course raining and in this situation having an omlet is just wow!!!!.. cant get this feeling even if we are in a five star hotel.
Everything is changed as we grow.. being underneath umbrellas with friends changed to being in car, hot samoosa’s and other fried stuffs from hotels changed to cigarettes and kind of alcoholic drinks to get rid of the cold. When we are in MNC company’s who would think about those small funs when we had in childhood days. But still it depends upon our mentality… if we have a heart who can still feel young always then its nothing changed…. Enjoy each and every monsoon season.. be young!!!! — Sharaz Khan ( PHP Progarmmer)
Welcome to the windswept corridor of nature at Ramakalmedu, the best place on earth to experience the mood changes of nature. Pamper yourselves with the soothing touch of the faint breeze at one moment and get ready to get swept off by the strong winds the next. Ramkalmedu is unpredictable and diverse, which makes it an intriguing holiday spot. One of the recently discovered hill stations of Kerala, Ramakkalmedu is conveniently close to many famous tourist attractions such as Periyar Tiger Reserve of Thekkady, Munnar hill station, Kuttikanam and Parunthumpara and many more wild life attractions and spice gardens.
The gusty winds, which are the fastest recorded in Asia makes Ramakkalmedu a unique destination. The winds that sweep at a speed of about 25 km/hour, would pamper you with its refreshing touch. However, many a time you need to scurry for cover from the winds when you feel you are about to fly with the winds! The strong windy conditions make it a popular spot for paragliding. Located at a height of 3500 feet above sea level, Ramakalmedu will make you feel right on top of the world literally.
Ramakalmedu is a spectacular hill station, dotted with rolling valleys and grass lands interspersed with bamboo forests and mighty mountains. The rocky cliffs with smooth and intriguing designs left by the strong winds give it a dramatic beauty. Located 15 km from Nedumkandom on the Munnar-Thekkady route, it offers a panoramic view of the villages and towns of the nearby state of Tamil Nadu. Ramaklmedu is the proposed site of the largest wind energy farm in Kerala for power generation.
The Ramakkalmedu View point offers spectacular views of the Deccan Plateau. Tourists can make a steep ascent to the 300 meter high rocky cliff to enjoy the stunning spectacles around. However during misty days, it could prove risky as it will be difficult to make out the cliff edge and the risk of straying to the deep trench is quite high. The spectacular landscape, mountains and ravines make it ethereal. Some of the must see spots include the Kuravan and Kurathi mountains, natural cave formations,and biofarms among others. The scenic beauty of Ramakkalmedu has left its magical spell on scores of nature enthusiasts including the Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio, who called it as a paradise on earth! So, in case you fancy to be on the top of the world, just plan a trip to Ramakalmedu and heed to the call of the wind and the wild !
These are not just photographs that capture the Kerala landscape on a rainy morning. These are pictures that should make you sit up and think…
Thoughts that flash across my mind:
*Such vast farmlands and we are forced to buy rice brought in from neighbouring states, packaged and sometimes even adulterated and coloured, sold to us at exorbitant prices…
*Paddy fields disappearing from the Kerala landscape and flats taking their place in urban and semi-urban areas. So, are they going to come up with skyscrapers here too in Thakazhy? Can’t say…
*How far would the future generation be able to identify with Thakazhy Sivasankara Pillai’s acclaimed novel ‘Randidangazhi’? Well, maybe we got to preserve such photographs for posterity…
*What would poets and lyricists write about in future when we will be having paddy fields just for namesake and rivers and lakes all drying up?
I just wish we all- each one of us- see this as something personal and sit up and think of doing something, rather than blaming others…Better late than never…
We can do it! We can preserve and conserve it all, for our sake, for the sake of posterity…
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.
Ayurveda has been a regular feature during the monsoons of Kerala. Scores of tourists and health watchers from all over the world throng the shores of Kerala to indulge in the natural goodness of the rejuvenating therapy of Ayurveda and experience health and vitality. Dating back to over 5000 years, Ayurveda is the oldest medical system in the world. One of the therapies that is closely linked to Ayurveda in Kerala is Ayurvastra, which involves the use of garments for health solutions. These eco friendly garments made from natural fibers and herbal dyes is easy on skin and is well suited for hot and humid climatic conditions.
Ayurvastra helps the human body to shed toxins and to improve metabolism. The cloth is woven with special herbs and is permeated with oils that can cure various ailments including diabetes, skin infections, psoriasis, arthritis, rheumatism, hypertension and asthma among others and are found to enhance the immune system of the body. For best results Ayurvastra is recommended while sleeping or meditating.
No chemicals are used in any stage in the production of the cloth, which is bleached with cow’s urine, which has high medicinal value. The fabric is dyed using herbal dyes sourced from around 40 to 60 medicinal herbs, depending on the ailment. For instance the herbs used in the dye for arthritis are curry leaves and apocynceae, while persons suffering from skin ailments should wear clothes dyed using turmeric, neem and sandalwood. Developed by Charaka’s Kudipraveshika Chikitsa, this ethnic system is developed by the ancestors of the Kuzhivila family in Kerala. Trendy outfits like skirts, shirts and pants made of ayurvastra has many takers. This wellness fabric also includes home linen, shawls and yoga mats. The best part is that the herbs are long lasting and will not run if the clothes are washed with mild soap or shampoo.
A clinical trial initiated by the Ministry of Health at the Government Ayurveda College in Thiruvananthapuram has proven that Ayurvastra is effective in managing certain diseases. There are retail outlets in many places including Mattancherry, Fort Kochi, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. The products are also exported to the US, Italy, Germany, UK, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
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.
Gone are the days when the croaking sounds of frogs were always associated with the rains in Kerala , simply because these days we hardly see any frogs around. Rains and frogs share a close relation. An amphibian, which also breathes through its moist skin, frog needs water for its survival and this could be the reason why frogs wait for the rain clouds. Even today, in many villages in North India, frog marriages are held to appease the rain gods. However, with the change in the climatic conditions and the destruction of wetlands, frogs are facing a serious threat. I was surprised to note that for the last many years not even a single frog was spotted in a pond near my house, which was once the spawning ground of bright yellow frogs. Till the recent past, we could hear the loud croaking calls in various intensities all night and the whole pond would take in an yellow hue!
Things are equally bad for snakes as well. A poet of yesteryear had sung that ‘snakes have burrows, birds have skies and man alone does not have a place to live‘ in one of the most popular songs of a Malayalam movie. However, now the lyrics of the song has lost its meaning as man has invaded the whole of ground, sky, water and even space as his home, leaving all other animals homeless and distressed. As the pressure on land increases by the day, conflict between man and animals is assuming alarming proportions. Last week a fully grown viper got into the sitting room of a posh villa, luckily the inmates found it in time so a tragedy was averted. The residents are now using poisonous chemicals to keep off the snakes , knowing fully well that these highly poisonous chemicals could be carcinogenic if used continuously.
In the olden days, every homestead had a sacred serpent grove where these slithering creatures were revered. I still remember my vacations which I used to spend in my village in Trichur district. A visit to temple was something that we all cherished as kids. A stroll along the embankments of the paddy fields at dusk, often under the guidance of our grand mother was fun. Very often we’ll come across snakes in the paddy fields and the bushes nearby.
A long snake with a pale yellow tinge that seems to be in no hurry to reach its home- it is a harmless , ‘chera, it wont do anything’ grandma would whisper as we walk past. She used to make sure that the kids are well acquainted with the different types of snakes so that they can distinguish between the poisonous and the nonpoisonous varieties. The slender, medium sized snakes that swoosh past the water in the brooks and paddy fields are also non venomous snakes. But watch out for the short and stout snakes with dark bands over it. These could be highly poisonous viper or cobra and it is better not to mess up with these- she would add hastily. Not even once she urged us to kill the snakes the moment we spot it! This sharing and caring attitude is missing now and this could be the root cause for all problems. So it is high time that we lend an ear to the age old sayings and practices of our forefathers to make sure that we ensure a fair chance to live in this universe for the future generations!