The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will be on a 9 day trip to India starting November 6, which will also include a stopover in Kerala. The royal guests will start their Kerala tour on Nov 11 with their arrival in Kochi, according to the schedule provided by the British High Commission in New Delhi.
The royal couple will make a visit to the Kerala Folklore Museum and Theatre in Kochi and also watch a demonstration of traditional dance forms of the state. They will next join urban planners and city dignitaries to view the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) marking the participation of Kochi in the Future Cities project. The couple is also scheduled to attend a reception for civic and business leaders hosted by Kerala Governor Nikhil Kumar.
The next day, the royal guests will visit the Vazhachal Forest Range and the elephant corridor and see the elephant conservation measures being adopted. They will also meet the local community and the WWF outreach workers. On Nov 14 Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles will visit the Jewish Synagogue in Kochi where they will meet the community members besides getting a traditional Jewish prayer of blessing. A trip to the Mattancherry Palace Museum will be their last item in their Kerala tour itinerary.
Forget about the painstakingly slow and expensive cancer detection techniques like biopsy and scan. All you need to do is to turn on this smart phone app that can tell you whether you are at risk or not! It could indeed be too good to be true for anyone who might have gone through the cumbersome cancer detection procedures.
Sanjay Sreekumar, aged just 19, from Kochi, Kerala has designed a smart phone App to detect breast cancer. A software student in Australia, he has named it YapApp. The YapApp explains in English the step by step procedure for self-detection of breast cancer. There are two versions of this app for male and females respectively as breast cancer is found in men also.It can be down loaded for free on Android and iPhone devices and will be made available on BlackbBerry phones soon.
If you suspect a growth or patch, all you need to do is to press a panic button, which will show a list of nearby hospitals in your town. In addition, the app will give monthly reminders for self-examination. It is indeed a matter of great pride for every Malayalee that this futuristic App was launched at a prestigious function attended by ambassadors of 14 countries and many other distinguished figures in the Australian Parliament House recently.
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Kochi, the emerging business capital of Kerala is all set to get a stylish, air conditioned outlet for premium brand beverages soon. With the success of its premium outlet in the capital city in Thiruvananthapuram, Bevco is considering the idea of opening more such outlets in various other destinations. Tipplers are offered the ultimate convenience of choosing their favorite brands of IMFL, beer and wine in this stylish supermarket where different brands of beverages will be displayed in racks. The shoppers can stroll around to choose and pick their brands without being preyed upon by curious onlookers at the roadside beverage outlets.
These premium outlets will sell only premium brands of beverages that are priced ₹ 500 and more. However these shops will not be selling any Foreign made foreign liquour (FMFL) like Scotch Whiskey or Cognae for the time being. These high end Bevco outlets will cater to the emerging trend and culture of responsible drinking in the society. It will indeed relieve many a high end tipplers the pain and shame of standing in the queue in road side Bevco outlets to get their favorite brand of booze! The tipplers who are often forced to resort to the costly option of hitting a bar to wind down after a day’s work can sigh a relief at this latest initiative from Bevco. However, will this innovative venture promote drinking or just cater to the niche segment of responsible drinking? Well, we may have to wait for a while to get an answer for this million dollar question that pops up in every malayalee’s mind!
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!
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 .
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…
Kerala, which is reeling under severe power shortage has finally started exploring the possibilities of non conventional energy sources to meet the burgeoning power demands in the days to come. The first step in this direction was made in the form of the Solar City project, which will make Kochi the first solar city in the state. The city corporation will be setting up a committee for its launch and this innovative project will be implemented with the financial aid from the Central and State Governments.
The project includes the installation of solar energy systems to light up streets, gardens, homes and hotels along with the major administrative offices like the zonal offices of the Corporation and the Mayor’s office. Venues like the Ernakulam Town Hall will also be lighted by using solar power. In addition, solar lights will also be installed at public spaces in the city including Subhash Bose Park, Fort Kochi Nehru Park, Kunnara Park, Fort Kochi Beach and Jankar Jetty.
The Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT) will be assisting the civic body in implementing this project. The State government will be supplying hundred solar lights to the Corporation on an experimental basis to light up the streets. If this highly ambitious project takes off as planned, the city dwellers can look forward to sunny days and a well rested sleep at night free from the attack of the winged zombies of the infamous mosquito clan of this city!
It was an afternoon of ‘Tsunami’ for us at Karma Kerala yesterday…
The time is 2.20 and we are working, most of us glued to our seats and computer screens. I have my headsets on and at the same time am part of a group chat on Skype, with our Scottish boss Mark Scott getting me to change a blog post. Suddenly I see some kind of a commotion and people looking down on to the road and some pointing to a fan. I don’t realize what’s happening; I guess it’s some film-star who has appeared in the studio opposite our office for a shoot or a photo-shoot that has caused the commotion. But then, why do they point at the fan that’s not working?
I take off my headphones… I hear something, can’t make out what it is. I prick my ears and listen… and hear it vaguely – “Earthquake!”
“Earthquake?! Where? When?”, I ask myself, since I was sitting in the very same office and didn’t feel anything. Thejal, Venu, Tijo, Tanweer and others move about; they point at the fan that’s swinging slightly. Aji surfs the net for updates. Praveen makes some quick calls to newspaper offices. Jisha says she can still feel the slight tremor. Shyama, who works from Delhi (Dilli), says over Skype that an earthquake of magnitude 8.7 has happened in Sumatra and that there is a Tsunami warning too…
“So the earth did tremble, after all”- I say to myself, and sit down on my seat after going around for a while.
By that time the word ‘Tsunami’ reaches our ears. My cousin who is on the train to Chennai from where he has to catch a flight to Port Blair the next morning calls me as he could not get connected to his father, my uncle, who is in Port Blair. I make a call to Port Blair, for the sake of my cousin. That gives me a clearer picture. My uncle says, “ We just felt a slight tremor, I was having my lunch then. There are Tsunami alerts in Southern Islands like Car Nicobar (I had spent my early years there), Kamorta, Katchal etc, but it’s just an alert”. (They have been used to having tremors of much more magnitude, ever since the 2004 quake and Tsunami, from which my mother, who was then working there, had a narrow escape).
Then on, it’s ‘Tsunami’ at out Karma Kerala office. People check the net for online television news and updates. Sreekumar gets calls from home; he is told that something had happened to a building at Palarivattom here and he’s worried. Jisha goes on saying she can feel slight tremors still. Praveen and Aji tell us people have run out of high-rise buildings and the IT companies at Infopark when the tremor happened. We are told the Mullaperiyar dam is safe and we needn’t worry on that count.
Over a cup of Coffee, the ‘very vocal’ Venu talks about quakes and Tsunamis. Aji once again checks the net and says people say the Tsunami has struck Indonesia. Shola says she wants to die wearing a Saree. Usha and Deepa remind her to wear a white one. Shola asks Aji when the Tsunami would hit Kochi. Aji says ‘Dunno!’. Shola retorts by saying she has to apply some makeup and lipstick to greet the Tsunami. Remya is worried that tremors are happening at Thiruvananthapuram too, her little son and parents are there. Rinoj gets calls from home, asking him to come home, at Thrissur. Ragesh calls his wife; he is now the proud father of a baby boy, whom he has named Rakshan. Amjath sits glued to his computer screen, working and in between cracking jokes.
Jisha says she is a Taurean and hence can feel the pulse of nature. Meanwhile there is a second tremor and some of us at Karma Kerala once again get the feel of it. Still I am excluded!!Caro (Carolane) moves about, inquiring things and making calls. Leneesha is a bit worried. Tanweer and Mary and Sara and Divya and Sooraj and Teena are all part of the talks on earthquakes and Tsunamis. Sreejesh, who had gone to the bank, comes back after a while saying he felt nothing as he was riding his scooter.
I ask Shyama to keep me updated, not because I am worried about the Tsunami reaching here, but because I have close relatives in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and I am concerned about them. Shyama is ‘worried’ about her Kochi apartment, which remains locked as she is in Delhi. I take the occasion to philosophize, on a lighter vein, on the group chat on Skype, saying that there’s absolutely no reason to be worried and that life is just like a ‘bubble of water’ and what’s destined to happen cannot be changed etc… It’s blah blah blah…
Rain clouds gather around and that adds to the worries and the tension that’s created.
Finally, Thejal, who manages the office and decides things here, says the ladies can go. Ladies start moving out; bidding adieu and saying, though light humouredly- “See you tomorrow, if the Tsunami doesn’t strike!”. Shyama reminds Remya over Skype- “Dress well to bed…not make-up…but running clothes”, Remya responds with a smiley and leaves with a ‘bye’, along with Jisha.
Sreekumar is busy planning work for the next day. We are in office till 5.30- 5.45 and talks are mostly about Tsunami and earthquake. We try to remain updated on what’s happening. Aji reminds me to write a post here on this Karma Kerala blog on the earthquake and the Tsunami alerts and related things.
Well, this was what happened at the Karma Kerala office yesterday; I feel this would suffice to give you an idea of the commotion that struck Kochi in particular and Kerala in general after the tremors that were felt in various parts of the state and the Tsunami alert that came into effect.
Thattukadas in cities like Cochin have always been the favorite eateries of not only budget diners or bachelors who live far way from their homes but also for those who love to savour the exceptional delicacies of Kerala. Families in cars and mobikes, back from work stop by for take aways or find a cozy corner near these make shift eateries to savour the piping hot food.
These nondescript ‘thattukadas’ in ramshackle sheds offer a lip smacking menu including fried beef, chicken and some of the local delicacies like paruppu vada and paratta. Anyone who has sampled the freshly-made thattu dosa or chiratta puttu with the fiery meat curry, well complemented by a cup of frothy, piping hot tea, would vouch for its lingering taste and easy prices. These food joints perched long the dusty roads or leaking drains often compromise on hygiene, triggering health concerns.
However, thattukadas are all set to have a stylish makeover in a few months time as Kochi corporation is planning to distribute over 100 modern thattukadas to the food vendors. Each food joint will cost around 70,000 rupees and will have solar heaters, purified water, stoves for cooking, and stainless steel platform. These neat and gleaming tattukadas will be a welcome change for the residents who can now enjoy their favorite food items without having to be put off by the stink, filth and dirt around!
This project is being carried out as part of an elaborate scheme to rehabilitate street food vendors with financial assistance from Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project. So the die hard fans of the Kerals’s own eateries of thattukadas can continue to satiate their palates with local flavors of Kerala, cooked and served in a hygienic setting.