Travelling in Cochin city buses have always been a challenging task, and I was the victim last evening, when I had to reach Tripunithura ( a market town in Cochin). The distance from my work place to the destination (Tripunithura) is only 6km and a bus fare of mere 5 rupees, but, thanks to the heavy traffic congestion and unexpected showers your short journey gets stretched. The 5 rupees then gives you the pleasure of a jam-packed bus trip that runs into hours – a full Cochin sightseeing tour.
Well last day it was my chance to experience this bitter reality of the city transport service, while our bus driver was somehow making way amidst the traffic block, daily travelers were keeping themselves busy by chit-chats and other talks. The topic of discussion was the sensational tamil flick Enthiran (Robot), few college-goers were discussing how stars in the movie did justice to their roles and what the movie lacked. After few minutes I realised the bus again started moving, I was relieved and checked the wrist watch which was ticking past 6:20, which meant in the past 20 mins our bus moved only 2kms!!!
Even though our politicians may call our city great names at the end of the day things remain the same and local people have to bear the brunt of the administrative apathy.
Meanwhile, the chat regarding the movie continued and was getting more expressive with those college students enacting few stunts and facial expressions of the movie. Though I haven’t watched this much-awaited flick of Rajinikanth, ‘Enthiran’ in the past 10mins I was lucky enough to get a good visualized review of the movie. Watch was ticking past 6:30 and now another 3km was left to finally reach my destination.
The bus stopped in between at different bus stops with many passengers getting down and more getting in. Amidst all this chaos, the person who remained ‘as cool as cucumber’ was the conductor who was not even managing the crowd inside the bus, but was also making sure he was giving tickets to all passengers. Kudos to him to collect the money from everyone even when there was hardly any space to move freely.
After all the hardships I made it to Tripunithura and finally was out in the fresh air and took a deep breath and saluted those thousands of daily commuters who face this hardship daily after their daily grind.
Kerala- A state that has been caught in the web of paradoxes, has no parallel in any other Indian state. Gods own country has come a long way in recent years both in showing its good side as well as the bad. On one end are the firsts that Kerala has achieved. But on the other end it is a state that is caught in the trap of its various political ideologies and narrow interests myopic to the dynamic of various changes.
Let me show you how this breathtaking beautiful state is bringing pride to India in various circumstances in the future:
- Organised by the Kerala Coir Development Programme, the Malabar Coir Festival begins at the Corporation Stadium Ground on August 12th. With as much as 80 stalls that showcase various coir products including export quality materials, it is seen that this 11 day exhibition is organised in order to promote marketing and introduce new products.
- One of the fanciest in the country and believed to be the costliest prayer hall in Kerala is seen to be inaugurated by President Pratibha Patil on this Friday. The 91 foot high lotus shaped hall is named as ‘Parnasala’ and is dedicated to the late founder, Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru. The full bloomed lotus in pure white marble will be unveiled at the Santhigiri Ashram, Thiruvananthapuram.
- An organisation pioneering the green building movement- The Indian Green Building Council has brought about a significant milestone of having almost 100 fully functional green buildings in various states across the country. This milestone has brought India a good image in the international map of green buildings and a proud factor for all Keralites to know that Kerala is contributing to being Green.
- Inaugurating a substation at Mattanur in this district with as much as 30 power projects targeting a production capacity, it is seen that Kerala is in the progress of being a role model in the production of excess electricity in the country.
- A felicitation is being conducted by the Kerala Tourism department in honor of Kamala Hasan, the legend that has bagged almost 18 Filmfare awards and is known as the showman of the film industry.
But in another page in the long book of commendable factors, here comes something that showcases Kerala’s not so good side:
- Due to lack pf proper sanitation, mass bathing by pilgrims, discharge of industrial effluents, it is seen that high levels of pollution is contaminating the backwaters and rivers of Kerala. So it is very necessary for the government to take comprehensive management steps to plan and conserve nature’s gift before it is fully contaminated, by destroying Kerala’s priceless gifts.
It was a long wait for the Keralites before the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee finally announced the Union budget 2010. People of Kerala were expecting something to cheer about this year, but it turned out to be a disappointment for them, with the total revenue allocation for the state dropping.
Well this year’s budget seemed to be favouring more on the province from where these ministers hail from, first it was the Railway Minister ‘Mamata Banerjee showering goodies to West Bengal in the railway budget 2010. Followed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s proposal to include embankment schemes along rivers Bhagirathi and Ganga-Padma in the Central Sponsored Flood Management Programme, will benefit the people of Eastern state. At large the budget 2010 has thrashed the hopes of Kerala which was expecting something this year.
The left government of Kerala has termed the budget to be a corporate’s budget with nothing for the common man. The so-called common man was bearing the pressure of inflation and with this budget it seems the “Aam aadmi”(common man) has nothing to be happy. Even the Kerala government were continuously demanding relaxations to protect the domestic sector by maximizing the custom tariff of primary agricultural products but nothing came out for them this year.
Highlights of Union Budget 2010
What got dearer :
- Big Cars
- Cigarettes and Cigars
- Non-Smoking tobacco products
- Air Travel ( due to the rise in fuel prices)
What got cheaper:
- Mobile phones
- Medical Equipment
- Agricultural Equipment
- CFL bulbs
- Clean energy equipments like solar panels
- Set top boxes
- Compact Disc
The budget might have triggered the sensex to crawl up by 176 point but it failed to please the people with fuel prices going up. It seems people of Kerala have to wait for the next year’s Union budget to find if they have something to cheer.
On being asked to the people about their say on this budget, they were not so excited. It seems the calculation of the common man of Kerala has completely gone down with the hike in fuel price and nothing special for the state in the budget!
The city was once again in the buzz with the ongoing India International Aqua Show 2010. This ornamental fish and accessories exhibition and trade fair has been organised by the Department of Fisheries, Govt. of Kerala and is witnessing a massive turn out every day. Being an ardent lover of aquatic animals me along with my friends were also among those thousands of people who came for this spectacular event.
It was a unique opportunity for me and all others to be a part of such a show which exhibits a rich variety of ornamental fishes and accessories clustering under one roof. This five day long event started off on Feb12 and culminates on Feb16 drawing exhibitors,breeders, traders and visitors from across the country. Even with an entry ticket for Rs 40 for adults and Rs 15 for kids, has not deterred the enthusiasm of the city goers who seemed quite excited for witnessing this grand event. We any how took the entry passes and made our way to the long queues which had a couple of twist and turns before finally culminating to the exhibition dome.
As we along with all others were eagerly waiting to make it to that exhibition arena, announcements were on full swing, requesting people to have patience and maintain the queue. The wait was quite a bit tiring, though the organisers do availed few temporary wood benches along the queues for rest, but it seemed quite inadequate for such a huge gathering. Thanks to the musical event which kept us entertained while we were moving in the queue. It was really a rare scene to watch kids, teenagers, adults to old aged people all waiting so desperately for having a sneak peek to those aquatic creatures.
Key Features of Aqua Show 2010 :
- Perfect platform for breeders and traders to meet under one roof.
- Opportunity to marine colleges to participate and showcase latest techniques for breeding.
- To facilitate the exchange of ideas regarding new trends in fisheries.
- Encourage entrepreneurs of the state towards the untapped potentials of fishery sector.
- Motivate and inform people regarding the possibilities of employment in this sector.
- Popularise fish breeding and ornamental fish keeping among the masses.
With the objective of encouraging hobbyists, breeders, traders and entrepreneurs, the Government of Kerala has been organising this annual event regularly over the last five years. And it is quite evident that people have started recognising the possibilities of ornamental fish keeping and breeding which is a commendable thing. As we made it to the exhibition dome we were amazed to see so many varieties of fish in different size and colours.
Though photography was strictly prohibited, still many people managed to click these wonderful breeds with their mobile cameras. As we moved along we saw many salt water fish and other aquatic plants and creatures, starting from star fish, lobster, crabs to other varieties. It was truly amazing to watch such a collection of ornamental fishes at one place, but it was ‘Miss Kerala’ who fascinated all with its scuttle curves and cute shape, this beautiful fish gained a huge popularity among all fish enthusiasts in the show.
There were also lot many stalls showcasing and selling a variety of fish products, fish tanks of all shapes and sizes; from the traditional ones to those ultra modern tanks which can lift up the look of your living room. With lot many offers and discounts, it seemed a smart deal to buy those attractive fish tanks at affordable rates.
The Aqua Show in Kochi has always been a major event in the realm of Ornamental Fisheries and attracts people from all walks of life. Like every year this year’s show too stood out to be a great event, providing a forum for interaction for the breeders and traders about new methods and use of technology in fish breeding.
Just think of the impact if prostitution is legalised in Kerala. The matter is under consideration at the Supreme court! The Supreme Court judges Dalveer Bhandari and A.K. Patnaik argued in front of the Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam that, “when you say it is the world’s oldest profession and when you are not able to curb it by laws, why don’t you legalize it? You can then monitor the trade, rehabilitate and provide medical aid to those involved.”
Let’s take a look at what the famous Sex worker Nalini Jameela, author of “Autobiography of a Social Worker” which sold out 13,000 copies within 100 days of its release in 2004, has to say. While attending a conclave of sex workers in Bangalore, she said that, her profession should be legalised. Nalini Jameela added that, only if her profession is being legalised, the stigmatisation- the sex workers community faced will change, so that they can be a part of other mainstream groups.
Education Minister M. A Baby and other famous personalities in Kerala, however feel the legalisation should not happen, since the tradition and the moral values we follow don’t allow such things in public and legalising’ such an issue will endanger the image of the so called “God’s Own Country”. In order to tackle HIV and to give basic education, special emphasis on adult education need to be provided at certain levels, the minister stated..
S.K Harikumar, behaviour physician and a leading consultant in HIV/AIDS, had this to say -”The right to privacy in sexual acts, urges and desires should be vested with the individual and, decriminalization of multi-partner sex among both males and females should take place.”
According to the recent statistics, Kerala has more than 55,000 prostitutes, and this figure is growing rapidly. Now, can you imagine if prostitution is legalised, where this figures will be? Or, will it come to a situation that Kerala has to change it’s tag -’God’s own country‘ to something else?
I am sure, if Supreme court ever made a move towards legalising this issue, the many good natured and moral valued people in Kerala are going to stage a protest. But who knows, may be in future there will be a time when all these things are made legal and public. Let’s see what happens!
How many of you have ever given a thought about those millions of poverty ridden people who do have nothing to lose but still weave golden dreams. Well, if you are quizzing what their golden dreams are, then its just to live another day with adequate food and shelter.
Living with such a dream is a family who came to Kerala two years back with a hope to sustain their livelihood. There assets were few pairs of clothes, an old suitcase which never shuts and a harmonium. This family is lead by Devendra (42), Kamala (32) and daughter Sapna (13).
Though they don’t hail from Kerala nor do they have any ties with ‘God’s Own Country’ still they say, they like this place which embraced them with open arms. Now the big question comes; did they get that channel or path to sustain their life here! Music paved their way earning them their bread, but they don’t do any street shows nor they go door to door.
On the contrary this family performs in trains plying in Kerala. Their day starts early and winds up late. You can spot them in Passenger trains, Express and even Super fast trains, selling their skills for mere coins. They do have to face many abuses of those Railway Officals (T.T) who make things worse for them.
On being asked how much do they earn a day, “some time two hundred to three hundred a day while at times have to contain with fifty to hundred bucks” said Devendra. He also added that he has to bear the dis-interest of many of the passengers who do shrugs off them. But he also thanked many of those passenger who do behave nicely and even applaud their skill.
Singing on those hit Bollywood numbers and other languages in order to some how get enough money to earn their food remains the only goal for the family. No time to think for any other thing, the 13 year old girl wish to study and go to school one day.
There are many such hopeful families who comes to this state in a hope to make a living for them and their family. It may be the labourer working in any of the construction sites near to your place or any street vendor selling toys. In the rat race, many of us don’t even realise or notice such faces do exist around us.
Aren’t we all slowly becoming victims of our self-centred existence?
For God’s sake don’t ask me how, but Parasuram threw his axe in the wrong direction and that created Kerala and later blamed it on God saying ‘Its his country’ (Gods own country). Kerala the land of coco(nuts) is famous for its landscapes, Backwaters, Beaches, Houseboats and Hill stations. National Geographic traveler reads ‘ Kerala is more popular than Taj Mahal in tourist circuits’. But, today I shall highlight one more thing that Kerala is famous for.
If you happen to stroll on any road in any city of Kerala and you’ll see people standing in a queue, well this is it. You will see guys from all walks of life rich/poor/young/old/middle age waiting patiently. Obviously they are not here for ration (we do not need it). It is for a distilled drink that contains no added sugar and has at least 20% or above ABV. Technically we call it “Liquor”, simple. We Keralites believe that literally for any occasion, liquor and more liquor is the best way to rejoice.
Thankfully these liquor outlets are located at all major points in the city making it easy for the drunkards to bump into the non-drinkers thereby tempting them to give in. Driver’s nightmare, if you happen to drive this way, not because you have to continuously honk the boozers to move off the road, but for the temptation.
100% literate (come on we know to read and write alphabets), the intellectual Malayalee says there is no ill effects of drinking alcohol.
No Liquor no Kerala – this is one state in India, which is fully dependent on drunkards for survival. Kerala holds the dubious record of consuming maximum liquor. Ironically liquor is the second largest source of income -’A whopping 150 crore each year.
Strange are the ways of Kerala, like; the above Axe-effect, we have a King called Mahabali. No one know what his business is, but His Excellency is smart enough and prefers to stay underground. They say he comes out during Onam when the liquor sales goes up.
It’s a sad-STATE-of-affair, being a drunkard state, Kerala also has the the highest divorce and suicide rates. Finally, we are not laid-back people, see us in action if we are on a strike or on a protest or in front of liquor shop and you can see the adrenaline rush. God’s own Country, can’t complain.
In this materialistic era where artificiality and selfishness has over powered our moral values and customs, there are instances which highlight how people still believe and practice such morality in real life. A recent experience of mine made me think morality and humanity has been washed off in our so called modern society.
Well, Kerala has always known for its rich culture, traditions and hospitality, but with the changing trend this so called ‘God’s Own Country’ seems losing out its cultural heritage slowly. In the race for livelihood the city goers in Kerala have some how forgotten the values of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (which means that the whole world is a single family).
Amidst the rat-race of daily life people have programmed themselves to be least bothered with what is happening around them. For instance on the city roads if untowardly any ill-fated guy meets up with an accident, it’s upon his luck if anyone really stops, putting his work at stake to help the victim. Well this is a normal scene nowadays, which has pointed fingers over how artificial people have become and how soon they have forgotten their values.
But, in my case I feel quite lucky enough to be living in a Kerala village where people still are rooted to their values and culture to a great extinct. Now, what I am going to share with you is a personal experience which forced me to sit and think that the decision to relocate to a village rather than a city was a wise decision of my parents.
It was a Sunday morning and I was going to the near-by market on my Hero Honda motorbike. As I was about to reach the market a stray dog suddenly jumped in front of my bike. As we all knows stray dogs are known for their menace, and its the same in my village. Many riders end up in mishaps with these road side dogs and that day it was my turn. Though I tried my level best to avoid the accident, as the elders say, “what has to happen will happen”.
The collision was not so fierce, but I got severe injuries on my ankles and knees, it all happened in fraction of seconds and as it was over, the culprit dog smartly fled the scene of accident. It was a Sunday morning, even though village roads hardly have any traffic, and on Sundays the streets usually remain deserted.
After the mishap, it was at first a bit difficult for me to understand what had happened, as soon as I tried to lift my bike which was lying about 5 feet away in pain, one of the passers-by spotted me lying on the road injured. Soon they stopped and lifted me up and my bike. Soon few more other passers-by gathered and everyone was doing their best to make me feel comfortable and that genuine concern was very well clear in their eyes.
I was for a minute taken aback by the way they were concerned about my condition, it made me think of the values and helpfulness that still exists in our villages. By experiencing this I felt really happy to find that, the village people in Kerala are still unfazed by the artificial and self-centred lifestyle, which the people living in city have adopted.
I was asleep when a voice woke me up – “It’s 8′O clock!” What!!! It was another bright day and I was still sleeping. I jumped off my bed to get ready for office, though my work starts at 10 and it hardly takes me an hour to get ready for work, but I don’t want to take any chance gambling with the “traffic of Kochi”. This is a daily scene in almost every home in Kochi (Cochin).
The commercial capital of God’s Own Country, Kochi has witnessed a huge transformation in almost all aspects in the recent years. Not only political changes, but in the past five years the city has developed a lot in terms of its population, construction, and even transportation, adding to the traffic congestion. The narrow roads and unscientifically constructed pedestrian walks do have messed up the condition more for the Kochiites.
Figures have proved that the traffic of Kochi is increasing constantly at a rate of 333% each year. Another factor is the continuous rise in the number of four wheelers in the city roads adding to the woes of common man. Official records have also pointed out that about 5.5 lakh vehicles ply in Kochi and the number keeps on growing. It is also seen that about 2000 vehicles are registered in the city limit a month, out of which 85 per cent are private vehicles. The vehicles are rising in a geometric progression trend but the infrastructure is falling short to bridge the gap.
The peak of the time, between 9am to 11am remains the most high time with office goers, students, businessmen and workers all rushing for their work place. Amidst this a screaming ambulance finds its really tough to somehow manage to squeeze its way out from the bottleneck.
Traffic block has become a common scene in Kochi and the Kochiites are used to this daily. Amidst all this the poor and dilapidated condition of the city road do make life really miserable for commuters. Though the plans are in the offing for starting a sky bus service in order to curb the traffic problem but at large the administration seems really cold on this raging issue.
Apr 30: A latest archaeological excavation has added more value to the historical significance of kerala, which dates back to over 2000 years. The excavation was conducted as part of the Muzuis Heritage programme. The botanical remains were found near the water logged area of Pattanam.
Bollard, canoe, rope made using plant fibre, pepper, paddy, teak, coconut shell, frankincense and cardamom were found, they are believed to be 2000 years old. M.D.Kajale, Paleobotanist of Deccan College of Archaeology has collected the samples of these organic remains for further examination.
According to a statement released by the Kerala Council of Historical Research (KCHR), the samples will also be send to research laboratories in India and other countries for confirming the exact period the organic remains belongs to. The research work will get complete by April 30 and the trench is open to public on April 29 and April 30.
P.J.Cherian, director of the project said that the layer of clay that covered the organic remains, prevented it from getting oxidised and allows it to withstand several years. The research led by KCHR is a joint effort of Southern Naval Command, State Department of Archaeology and Archaeological Survey of India. Under water excavation is also part of this research.
The excavation gives a clear indication that the area was inhibited continuously between 8th century BC and 10th century AD. Among the excavated findings are the pot shreds from Sassania and Parhia. Other things that are excavated were burnt bricks, glass beads, relics of wharf and clay utensils. Seven copper coins and a lead coin of the Chera period were also excavated.