Kerala – God’s own lynch country ???

Madhu killed by mob in Kerala

A shameful day for Kerala and Keralites at home and all around the world. The brutal mob killing of an innocent tribal man just illustrates three things;

  • Rising mob violence in the state which goes on unhindered
  • Does learning only A,B,C…. by all make Kerala the most literate state in India
  • People have lost the meaning of ‘value of life’

We spend millions inviting tourists to this famed ‘God’s own country’ but isn’t it time to change this slogan ??? God’s own lynch country may be more appropriate in the current times !

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Northern Kerala, still untouched – Part 1

The north of Kerala is largely untouched in terms of tourism as compared to the south. No doubt facilities leave a lot to be desired but all that is slowly changing. Big hotel chains have or are in the process of setting up exclusive resorts on the white sandy beaches which stretch for miles and miles. Old fishing villages are suddenly waking up, tourists though not much in numbers are passing by and the north Malabar coast seems to be shining bright nowadays.

We started our drive from Mangalore in Karnataka. A few kilometers south and we entered the northern most district of Kasargod. Along the way we passed the small towns of Ullal, Manjeshwar and Kumbla. Kasargod town is almost an amalgamation of Malayali and Kannada culture it being at the cross roads of both states. 

The cuisine here is unique and stands out in flavour from the rest of Kerala. Malabar spices, coconuts and ghee are key ingredients of this cuisine which traces its roots back to traders from Arabia as well as the Portuguese and Dutch rulers. Mutton, fish and fruits are a essential part of the Moplah cuisine as it’s commonly know in these parts. Moplah cuisine has been made famous nowadays by Ms. Abida Rasheeda, who is popularly known as the queen of spices ! 

Kasargod district boasts of virgin beaches like Bekal. Stretches of long sandy beaches are a hallmark of this area. Long forgotten the beach is now home to hotels both midscale as well as luxury. The popular Taj Group had its Vivanta by Taj Bekal property located here. Bekal Beach Residency is also a popular budget property. Close by is the Pallikere beach. Bekal is also known for its centuries old Bekal Fort.

Driving further we pass by the towns of Kanhangad, Nileshwar and Payyanur before we exit Kasargod district. A notable property located at Nileshwar is the Neeleshwar Hermitage. The hinterland also boasts of vast spice and rubber plantations. A drive to these interiors are an experience by itself. Life is simple, the locals are dependent in agriculture and local produce is in abundance. Flora and fauna can be seen in their natural environments here. The greenery in the interiors is just amazing. We drove to the small villages and towns of Beemanady, Vellarikundu and Chittarikal.

End of Part 1.

India at the Rio Olympics

India’s performance at the Olympics so far hasn’t been that great, not a single medal nearly halfway into the event. Not that we were expecting any, mind you.

The Chinese media reported the ills that plague the sports arena in India. Funny that the Chinese wrote about it rather than the Indian media ! But this was expected right ? So it’s not surprising that none in India took it seriously.

The Indian contingent went to the Olympics just to be there, not to compete (except a few). It was just one of those all expenses paid vacations for the players and officials alike. Rio, Brazil, how many of them would get a chance to visit this country located on the other side of the planet ?

Apart from cricket, does anyone take sports seriously in India ? We all want our kids to be professionals in high paying jobs like medicine, engineering, etc so who cares a heck for sports ? It’s taught in schools just so that a few run for medals at the yearly sports day function. How many of those kids are encouraged to pursue sports ? Hardly anyone these days. It’s not a regular paying profession after all, so who wants to waste time waking up early, exercising, attending regional, state and national meets ? You may win a few medals in between but then what ?

Government projects to encourage sports are an eyewash, money just washed down the drain. Building world class facilities and hiring foreign coaches is not a solution to produce sportsmen and sportswomen from a country of 1 billion.

Two athletes who have impressed me personally are gymnast Dipa Karmakar and Atanu Das in archery.

dipa karmarkar
atanu das
These are kids with a passion. Coming from small towns, these are the talents for the future who need to be nurtured and provided all the support. Surely, there are more youngsters out there who are talented but don’t have the proper resources to come forward.

It’s heartwarming to see some support from the private sector in encouraging these budding athletes. Imagine, today we have only one professional gymnast in a country of a billion ! Something’s seriously wrong. We need to rethink if we need to perform on the world stage. We maybe be a cricket crazy country but it’s not a global sport. Need to also excel in other sports, need to rethink strategy long term else we will keep on going for those exotic Olympic vacations as always !

Vacation – time to relax

kerala,godsowncountry
It’s always a great feeling getting home on vacation after a full year slogging away in a foreign land. The sights and smells take you back to your childhood days when everything was so easy, so slow.

As we grew up we yearned for the pace, fast, breakneck speed… It all went on fine till we reached a stage when our bodies could take it no more. We had to slow down but after all the full speed, life would not allow us to do so.

new leaves, fresh leaves, new life
Vacations nowadays are no longer like long siestas and good food and sightseeing. How many of us can stay for a day or an hour or a few minutes without checking our office mail ? Social media updates are another matter as they need to be checked on a minute to minute basis.

Don’t we all need to rejuvenate ? Become fresh like the bunch of new leaves ? Its imperative that in our fast paced lives we need to take a break, slow down and then go back fresh.

Happy holidays and wish one and all the freshness of life.

Losing my religion

depression, depressed, lonely

Losing my religion – The classic hit by one of my favourite bands REM kind of sums up the way a lot of us feel nowadays. Where do you turn to in times of necessity, desperation, loneliness….the list is unending.

So do you try to smoke your problems away ? Or drink it down real hot ? Or try something suicidal such as driving like a maniac ?

Or do you try to find refuge in the Almighty ? 

Or confide in your family and friends ? 
Nowadays is there someone that you could really lean your shoulders on and take the burden off ?

Think again, every single individual is busy nowadays living his/her own life and sticking to the age old mantra “I, Me and Myself”.

These are times when we need to dig deep within and discover our inner strengths and gifts that help us achieve what we want in life. Always go by your instinct and do something that you always love.

Criticism is right round the corner but that shouldn’t stop you from achieving your goals. Over time you will begin loving yourself, respecting who you are and finally realizing your strengths and weaknesses. This is the beauty of life.

There are good days and bad days but every day cannot be good or bad throughout right ? Wait for your time…for Someone has planned out each second of your life, never get depressed, try to shrug off failures and always stay positive.

We need to find PEACE within. Only then can we spread positivity around. Only then can we be happy. Nobody can buy peace, it’s a commodity which each one of us needs to produce, embrace, spread…

Religions can be different but we all know that there is an Almighty aura looking down on us and that’s the reason why we look up every single day searching, praying, singing, meditating… 

Religion – it’s something that we can never lose, ever.

Mr. Tony Cozier – commentator personified

tony cozier
The much respected cricket commentator Mr. Tony Cozier from the West Indies is no more. He was the voice of West Indies cricket and was always a delight to hear, crisp and to the point. Cricket tours to the West Indies were much looked forward to – for the scenery, music and celebrations at the grounds and for some of us just to to listen to Tony’s commentary.

Cricket commentary is nowadays like any commercial business with every retired national or international cricketer making a beeline to be on the air. But none will have the flair and indepth knowledge as the commentators of yesteryears like Tony Greig and Tony Cozier.

Rest in peace Mr. Tony Cozier, cricket will miss you πŸ™πŸ

#Po Mone Modi

pomonemodi
PM Modi compared Kerala to Somalia during his visit to the state yesterday. This has raised a hue and cry across the state and outside and Malayalees feel let down by this statement made by our very own PM.

Two ways to look at it.

PM Modi has been travelling around the world every month and has lost track of how states in his country look like. Any state north of Gujarat looks like his favourite destination USA while any state south of Gujarat looks like Somalia ! Wish he would spend more time in India learning a bit about Indian geography and culture rather than jetset around the world.

Malayalis have themselves to blame for the current state of affairs. Both the times PM Modi visited the state in the last couple of months there were two big issues relating to Kerala grabbing headlines in the country – The temple fire in Kollam which killed more than a hundred people and more recently the guesome rape and murder of a law student. When a person comes with these two things burning at the back of his mind, he’s sure to lash out – no wonder the Somalia statement.

Turn on any Malayalam news channel nowadays and its the same crap doing the rounds day in and day out – Politics (Left, Right & Centre), Rapes and Alcohol ban. Feel like thrashing the guy/s who coined the slogan “God’s Own Country”. Its a shame how the state is projected at every damn travel fair but the true ground reality is so different. Probably just like Modi thought Kerala was similar to Somalia, the guy who coined the slogan must have thought Kerala = Heaven.

No point blaming the PM. Unless the mindset changes, Kerala will always be “God’s own Somalia” !

Travel News

qatar airways a380

  • Qatar Airways changes equipment on Guangzhou, China route to A380
  • Qatar Airways opens new route to Adelaide, Australia using A350 aircraft 
  • Air Canada will start Vancouver – Delhi flights
  • Indigo increases domestic sectors in India
  • Emirates to launch 3rd daily flight to Cape Town
  • Emirates changes equipment on Taipei, Taiwan & Prague, Czech Republic to A380
  • TUI sells Hotelbeds B2B bedbank for $ 1.3 billion 
  • Australia to offer 3 years multiple entry visit visas for Indian nationals
  • Dubai reaches a milestone of offering 100,000 rooms at hotels and hotel apartments

IAS ? So what ?

jagdish sonkar

Pictured is IAS officer Jagdish Sonkar visiting a hospital in Chhattisgarh. It speaks volumes of how much our bureaucrats respect the common man ! Is this the message that needs to be conveyed to the family he’s visiting ? Also notice the scared child looking at his shoe.

Gone are the days when IAS officials were humble and were looked upon. They were respected for the hard work they had put in to reach that post. Very few of today’s bureaucrats are sincere and work for the common man. More important are ways and means to fill their pockets.

Jagdish Sonkar may have issued an apology on Facebook to cover up the incident. But I’m sure he’s one among hundreds of such officials misusing their high posts to display their power and scare away people. Does anyone care about the downtrodden nowadays anyway ? 

Millennium Resort Mussanah

millenniumresortmussananhmillennium resort mussanahmillennium resort mussanahmillennium resort mussanahmillennium resort mussanah

Millennium Resort Mussanah is located less than 100 kms from Muscat International Airport. It provides a perfect getaway for tourists as well as locals and residents alike.
With ample facilities for rest and recreation which includes swimming pools, health club, spa, mini golf course and tennis courts this is truly a one of a kind resort.

Millennium Resort also boasts of multiple dining options. A kids activity centre keeps the little ones occupied. A private marina offers parking for yachts and smaller craft.

A sailing and diving centre offers trips for adventure seeking guests. As the summer sets in, Millennium Resort has unveiled special offers which include accommodation and meals.

More details can be found at the Millennium Resort website.