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 monsoon dates that coincide with the school reopening in Kerala has always been a delightful experience for every Malayalee. As the much expected South West monsoons lashed the Kerala Coast bang on target on June 1st, it brought cheer to not just the fun loving kids but also to the general public and the administration as well. Monsoon is so intricately linked with the lifestyle and culture of Kerala that normal life will be badly hit if the rains fail to show up on time.
The monsoon has a crucial role in in the economy of the power starved state of Kerala as it replenishes the waterways and reservoirs of the State, which depends on Hydro electricity for power generation even today. From tourism to Ayurveda and monsoon wellness treatments, Kerala offers a host of activities that are tagged to monsoon.
The South West monsoon, which is expected to bring normal rains this year has brought down the soaring temperature of Kerala. Keralites who have been reeling under load shedding can be a relieved lot as the power curbs will be lifted in a few days when the monsoons gather strength.
As industrialization and deforestation has affected the weather patterns all around the world, we can only hope and pray that this God given gift of the monsoons, continue to bring prosperity and happiness to Kerala. As responsible citizens we should all take an oath to protect our water bodies, forests and wet lands to make sure that we hand over the magic and bounty of monsoons to the future generations.
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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We Malayalees seem to have an uncanny knack in choosing only the not so desirable traits of western culture by conveniently turning a blind eye to the virtues of their life style. For instance, not many of us in Kerala think that is necessary to stand in a queue while boarding a bus or follow the road rules on a day out unlike our Western counterparts. However aping their dressing style and fast food styles are some of the many things that come naturally to Keralites. The Westerners dress in jeans to beat the severe cold and when we blindly ape this dressing style, we not only put ourselves in an uncomfortable situation, but also make a mockery of ourselves in the hot and humid Kerala weather.
Many feel that the outrageous dress sense of girls has played a big role in pushing up the women abuse cases in India in recent times. The fact that a woman is raped in India every 20 minutes in itself shows the vulnerability of women in the modern society. Modesty of women is at stake at work places, public parks, railway stations, bus stops and even inside their own homes.
Here are some handy tips for women to prevent rape
- Scream for help, seek public attention and get way from danger immediately.
- Defend yourselves with pepper spray ; learn martial arts steps like karate for self defence
- Avoid dimly lit spots, isolated areas and small alley ways
- Be alert to what is happening around you; do not use headphones while on road.
- Dress modestly and make sure that you wear clothes that do not attract unwanted attention from men .
- Use your cell phone as a safety tool to remain connected with your family, friends or even the police if the situation warrants.
- Do not accept money, sweets or snacks from people you do not know. It could be laced with sedatives.
- Do not share personal information with people whom you meet online or during trips in a train or in public places. There is never a good reason to meet up with a person whom you have never met in person.
- Walk confidently so that it may put off the stalkers on the prowl looking for soft targets.
- Never accept lifts in cars or bikes from people you do not know.
- Last but not the least, mothers can play an important role in teaching their daughters to dress sensibly and fashionably without being obscene from a young age.
As the rising instances of rape and abuse against women is snowballing into a major social issue, it is high time that women stay alert to ward off the risks and to remain safe and secure.
Though it might sound a bit weird, there seems to be a connection between meat eating habits of Keralaites and the surging instances of rape in the State going by the opinion of the Arya Samaj scholar Swami Agnivesh.
If it is true, Kerala has a sound reason for worry. With the state’s meat production shooting up at a staggering 342 percent increase in the last 1 year and booze flowing freely, there is every reason for the women in Kerala to be on their guard. However, Criminologist James Wadakkamcherry reiterates that the rape cases in Kerala have infact dropped slightly in recent times.
Though there is no proper research data on meat and its effects on libido, there is a common notion that rape cases are more prevalent in meat eating communities. However statistics prove that Madhya Pradesh which leads in juvenile rapes in the country is one of the lowest meat-consuming states in the country. Rape cases are also reported from countries like Saudi Arabia where there is a blanket ban on liquour.
As opinions and counter opinions continue unabated , many gourmets have come up with solid facts to support that meat eating has nothing to do with libido. Most of the aphrodisiacs that are sold in the market are made of green leaves and roots of herbs like ginseng, safedi musli and ashwagandha.
No matter whether this discussion will bring down the rape cases or not, the fact remains that rapists can never be just meat eaters or boozers, but are mentally sick patients who need counselling and treatment.
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Cochin corporation, has come up with various plans to ensure the safety of women in the city. The project named ‘Sabala’, will include various proposals to make the city women friendly. This time bound project is expected to go a long way in solving most of the problems faced by women. This is for the first time that a Corporation has come up with a separate budget outlay for the welfare of women.
Some of the projects include :-
- Extending free medical care for families with only female members. The education expenses of children of such families will also be fully covered in these schemes.
- A modern lodging facility for women will be set up in the city to ensure safe stay for those women travelers who reach the City for various purposes. Apart from an all women staff team, the lodge will also have various other facilities like online reservations, taxi and other services.
- Kudumbashree Women only Buses run by Metro Cochin Transport Corporation (MCTC) is another novel venture envisaged in the project. The buses will have an all women crew.
- To arrest instances of child abuse, a team of three counselors will be set up in each school who will try to protect the students from the modern vices like internet scams and exploitation of students through mobile phones and social network.
Once this project is fully implemented, the business capital of Kerala will have an envious repute of being a women friendly City in all aspects.
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The success of the Kerala model development is yet again proven beyond doubt with the State recording a robust growth rate of 9.5 percent during the financial year of 2011-12. The growth rate of Kerala is not only the highest among all southern states but also way above the national average of 6.5% for the corresponding period
The state’s economy made a jump start from 8.05% of the preceding year, which points to a vibrant all round growth. NRI remittances continue to be the main factor in Kerala’s development history with the remittances touching Rs 55,000 Crore, which was 23 per cent more than the previous year’s remittances that stood at Rs 45,000 crore.
However, the agricultural scenerio paints a sorry picture as it has recorded a negative growth of 1.6 per cent for the first time in recent times and a sharp drop of 4.5% in agricultural income. Kerala continues to retain its pace of development in education and its school drop out rate fell by 4.5 per cent. Though Kerala, continues to be the most literate state, the fact that unemployment rates shot up to the fourth highest in the country will be a cause of concern for the state. At present , there are 45 lakh people listed in the employment exchanges, which is up from 43 lakh in 2010-11. This might sound paradoxical considering the fact that Kerala is home to over 25 lakh migrant labourers, which shows that Keralaites are not willing to take up any available jobs on offer to keep the wolves away from their doors. Being highly choosy, the workforce of Kerala looks for easy means to make money, often leaving the arduous and manual jobs to the migrant labour force.
The industry watchers and economic gurus have highlighted the urgent need for the State administration to give impetus to agriculture. It has also warned the state on the unchecked urbanisation, which is putting pressure on natural resources like drinking water, which could push the state into a crisis. It is high time that we learn to cut a balance between the needs of man and its consequences on nature to ensure a stable and long term growth pattern.
The fact that Kerala has bagged a handsome order of over Rs 2 Crore coir geotextiles from the neighbouring state of Tamilnadu to reinforce their roads is a matter of delight. However the immediate query that pops up in every Malayalees mind would be the apathy of the administration in making use of these materials in making the roads of Kerala in motorable condition. Kerala roads have been in the news for all the wrong reasons as they remain in pitiable condition riddled with potholes all round the year. While Kerala has succeeded in eying at the commercial aspects of geo textiles, it has turned a Nelson’s eye at making use of this materials in solving its own road repair woes.
Geotextiles are highly effective in not just stabilizing roads but also can be used in reinforcing roads, rails, river embankments and air fields. The best part is that these natural products can be used as absorbants of toxic contents in waste dump areas, acoustic barriers for noise control in sports arenas and many more. Because of its high sound-proof property, geotextiles have even been recommended by the Dutch and German Government agencies for noise reduction in environmentally sensitive areas and as acoustic barriers in homes. Kerala’s coir geotextile is also well poised to enter the international market like Saudi Arabia and South Africa.
It is sad that these high value products, which have received acclaims from all over the world have never been used in improving the roads and living conditions of the native people of Kerala. While these products are being exploited only as export items that fetch handsome revenue for the coffers, Kerala roads remain destined as death traps for thousands of commuters. Kerala has to put up with high accident rates due to the pathetic road conditions and outdated road maintenance mechanisms, which often end up as mere eye wash. Even when there are proven materials that can bring about a quality change in the way we travel, why is that these products always fail to reach the common man? Well, will this query also remain as yet another social issue without an answer!
The Kerala Police have decided to set up virtual kill houses, which will automate the commando training system in the State capital of Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur. These small arms simulators will replace the concept of traditional shoot houses in assessing the readiness of the commandos to react to real-life hostage rescue and anti-terrorist operations.
The personnel of the commando wing and Quick Reaction Teams (QRT) are to be included under this novel training programme. With this innovative training mission, Kerala will join the elite league of US, UK and Israel, which uses virtual training programmes to keep their commandos ready to meet any emergencies.
The virtual kill house, which uses the state of the art audio and visual technology will simulate real life combat conditions apart from keeping a tab on the vital parameters like the response time of commandos and the ability to react to the situations.
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.