2019: Songs for the Soul

There are those songs which are there to stay. This year, we have many more of similar songs, some of them raising the level like never before. Some of those songs are close to the themes of the movie, and the rest can stand alone, making an impact separately. Well, we can be sure that these songs are ahead of the ones from last year, those which had released at the same initial period of time. Talking about this year’s songs, we can also be certain that there is more to come, especially with some big releases coming up including Mamangam already having one hit song in the bag.

6. Nee Hima Mazhayayi (Edakkad Battalion 06)
This movie is known the best for this wonderful song rather than anything else. The flick which is centered on an army officer played by Tovino Thomas also made sure that the successful Theevandi pair of him and Samyuktha Menon came together again. The film might not have managed to get the same appreciation that the song got, but it could manage that fine opening, and some reviews which could support it. Also, there is no question about the grand feeling that this movie songs, with the visuals and the words used. Nithya Mammen’s voice has caught a lot of attention with it.

5. Pavizha Mazha (Athiran)
The Fahadh Faasil – Sai Pallavi starrer was something that caught attention through days and week, reminding one of A Cure for Wellness and Shutter Island. Athiran was one movie which came to the theatre without much hype, and refused to go, even after the flicks which released after it had gone early. Along with Uyare, this became one of the longest running movies of the year, and in malls, it never really stopped having the interested audience. The song is also nicely visualized, and it gives a great feeling while driving through the rain and listening to the song on a starry night.

4. Aalolam (Love Action Drama)
This movie had marked the return of Nayanthara to Malayalam cinema after a very long time, under the direction of Dhyan Sreenivasan. Even though the movie did make one feel strange with its treatment of the subject, and the humour was rather too stupid, this song does give a nice feeling – maybe could have worked even better if it was in a serious feel-good romantic flick. This one might have been missed if it was seen in the movie, as such beauty often gets hidden in the foolishness and strange behaviour of the main character – but we can always take it out and enjoy.

3. Parakkam Parakkam (Finals)
In one of the greatest sports drama movies of all time in Malayalam or maybe even South India, there are two beautiful songs, both in the first half of the movie. There is the absence of the terrible melodrama that are common in most of similar movies. The usual routes taken by sports drama are also avoided. If this going to be the usual stuff, that would have been very disappointing, but with Rajisha Vijayan around, who is well supported by Suraj Venjaramoodu and Niranj Maniyanpillai Raju, the movie gets its wings with ease. There is no usual greatness of the protagonist being shown with a thrilling match in the end – this movie is much more.

2. Uyiril Thodum (Kumbalangi Nights)
The best of the year came early with Kumbalangi Nights, and its song also gets the best out of the mood. Set in the island village of Kumbalangi, the movie is as close to a realistic world as it can get, and we have the feeling of seeing real people in realistic circumstances. It is the kind of movie that is not usually seen, but this one finds it easy to capture the attention and love of people. The beauty of visuals can also be seen in the movie as well as this song in particular. Kumbalangi is a place to look out for, as beautiful island near Cochin, and this movie makes things even better – the numbr of tourists visiting the place should have seen a rise.

1. Parayuvan (Ishq)
This movie provides the best feeling when we are traveling in a car at night, like the protagonists themselves do. The music and the voice in the song comes up with a feeling out of this world with ease. The movie is surely not something great, as it often goes some other way, but it is another song which touches soul – this is something completely different from what we have heard, it feels new, but feels perfect for the old soul. Try listening to this one while traveling in car on a rainy day; maybe even a KSRTC bus would do. This also feels closer to the music of Ranam.

*See the year’s best movies.

TeNy

2019 and its Movies

This year surely has been an interesting one for Malayalam movie industry. There are movies like Mamangam and Edakkad Battalion coming up, and there could be a great change to the list, but we already have some highly appreciated movies on the top. The next three months are going to be crucial with some very interesting titles getting ready to be released. We also have had some nice songs this year, but we will talk about them later. The following are the movies which have created great impact in Malayalam movie industry, and I would consider them to be among the best, rising above the level created by the movies last year.

5. Uyare: Parvathy leads another movie to positive criticism as well as positive word of mouth, as both the critics and the commoners approved of this movie as among the best. Telling the tale of an aspiring pilot who became a victim of acid attack, Parvathy excels in this role, as she did another real-life inspired movie, Take Off. There is fine support from Tovino Thomas, and Asif Ali is also there along with Anarkali Marakar. This inspirational story was one flick which couldn’t take any negative opinions, and ran in the theatres for a very long time, gaining more and more audience as time passed.
Read review: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2019/05/26/uyare/

4. Virus: The medical thriller is a step forward for Malayalam cinema, as this movie provides a fictionalized account of how the state of Kerala valiantly dealt with the Nipah Virus outbreak which claimed the lives of a number of people in the North of Kerala, especially Malappuram and Kozhikode. A huge number of leading actors including Tovino Thomas, Kunchacko Boban, Indrajith Sukumaran, Asif Ali, Joju George, Parvathy, Poornima Indrajith, Rima Kallingal, Sreenath Bhasi and others. The movie is an emotional and thrilling ride, as well as a tribute to those who suffered and lost their lives while trying to save the Nipah infected patients. It is a welcome experiment like never before.
Read review: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2019/06/08/virus/

3. Unda: This Mammootty starrer was made fun of due to its simple and yet strange title, something which the film makers wouldn’t have thought about on another day, related to another movie with the same theme. Dealing with the problems faced by cops who travel to a Naxal infested area, the movie doesn’t take sides, but satirizes the situation really well. Mammootty stays strong in this movie, and plays the vulnerable cop and leader nicely, and there is a lot of support here, starting from Shine Tom Chacko. The way in which the movie deals with its situation is worth one’s attention. It is that kind of a movie which could have a sequel with another mission for the police force.
Read review: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2019/06/16/unda/

2. Finals: Rajisha Vijayan already had another movie centered on her, June – she had also won the Best Actress Award from the State Government in her first movie itself. Finals is a step forward for her, even though it is not fully centered on her character. The other two giving her support are Niranj Maniyanpillai Raju and Suraaj Venjaramoodu, both also coming up with some fantastic performances. The former surely has a long way ahead for him after this emotionally strong performance, and the latter is once again a revelation in this kind of role – we saw him providing such emotional performances in Action Hero Biju and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, and here we are even more glad to have him here.
Read review: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2019/09/14/finals/

1. Kumbalangi Nights: The best movie of this year won’t have the haters that the top ten movies usually have from the mindless fan boys who decide to have their part. Taking a perfect setting of the model tourism village Kumbalangi, and thriving through its beauty, this one comes up with a beautiful tale of the common man, powered by some fantastic performances lead by Fahadh Faasil, Shane Nigam, Soubin Shahir and the rest of the perfectly chosen cast. Unlike some of those movies with place names in their titles, this one is very much close to perfection – it has the spirit of its surrounding, and the people who live there. It is a tale of redemption and hope like no other.
Read review: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2019/02/09/kumbalangi-nights/

It would be nice to know your choices for the best Malayalam movies of the year so far. Even though there have been these brilliant movies, there was no shortage of some terrible movies, which would be nice to know about too. The hope once again is to move away from those usual terrible movies starring superstars without any content. We are always looking forward to experimentation, and lets hope that such experiments prove to be interesting, and inspire many more of such movies.

***Click here to go to the most recent movie review.

TeNy

Return of Kalopsia

Kalopsia, the inter-school and inter-collegiate fest from Rajagiri Viswajoyothi College of Arts and Applied Sciences has returned. The new addition is the presence of school events. This academic year’s theme is ancient India. The school events happen on September 24th and the college events on September 25th. Please see the events below and make sure that which one is for the school, and which is for the college.

*Click here for the latest movie reviews.

TeNy

The Two Sides of Kappil

Kerala’s long coastline continues to assure us of the presence of more beaches, and there are a few which are less known, but are more beautiful than most of the other beaches around. One such beach is Kappil, in Trivandrum district, but close enough to Kollam. It is a place which you can visit in combination with the journeys to the beaches of Varkala, Kovalam and Vizhinjam. It is located at around one hundred and fifty kilometres from Cochin, fifty kilometres from Trivandrum and twenty kilometres from Kollam. Varkala Beach itself is just about eight kilometres from there. The places is less crowded in comparison, and there is more than what you see from the roadside, about this beach.

Kappil has lake on side and the beach on the other, separated by a tiny stretch of land full of sand, and on the side of the lake, we can see some jelly fish at times. It makes a beautiful view on both sides, and even better when you see both together. With less crowd, it is enjoyable in a better way. The parking needed to be more though, even as you can choose to park on the side of the road some distance away from the main beach area. On most part it is clean, even though on some areas, some waste thrown here and there can be seen, mostly on the side of the lake. But Kappil is clean as a whole, and the beauty that it provides is to be witnessed and loved, as it stands above many other overrated beaches.

A small, beautiful church of the local people near the sea.

Parking the car near the lake on the sands.

Just the lake being beautiful as usual.

Finding the jelly fish around the place.

Beyond the sands, sea on one side & lake on the other.

Just the usual day at Kappil Beach near Varkala.

Not many people to be seen at the Kappil Beach.

Two worlds, of the lake and the sea – call Aquaman.

Looking towards the lake between the trees.

The path on the side of Kappil Beach.

Click here to read reviews on some of the best movies of the year, Unda, Virus and Uyare.

TeNy

Varkala: The Beach and the Cliff

With its long coastline, Kerala is certainly not short of its beautiful beaches, and the names which everyone knows and is full of visitors at all times might be Kovalam and Cherai. Muzhappilangad is our lovely drive-in beach to remember. On that long list, there is one place which stands tall. Varkala Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches, one which is not to be forgotten. It is the only beach in Kerala with cliffs like these so close to the sea. It is the kind of place which reminds one of Dover Beach, and that wonderful lyric poem by the English poet Matthew Arnold, which we have studied more than once – “the cliffs of England stand, glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay”. About 170 km from Cochin, and 35 km from Kollam, the beach is Thiruvananthapuram district, with its capital 45 km from there. The town of Paravur is only 12 km from the place.

Along with its beauty, Varkala also have some places of spirituality with its temples. There are some fine options for food while walking through the cliff. There are some nice shots to be taken both from the beach and the cliff. In comparison with other beaches, this one has its shops opening late in the morning and closing late in the evening. When coming from the North of Kerala, both the Kottayam and the Alappuzha routes can be chosen. There is much to be seen through the latter route, even though both routes can be joined at different places except for certain parts of the low lying areas filled with water. There are some fine choices with food and accommodation, and if it is off-season, the better idea is to book directly from location as rooms should be available, unless some huge event comes up.

You look down from the cliff, and you want to be there right now.

Reached the hotel a little late for lunch, and had to rush through.

As the sunset approaches, you are always hoping to stay on.

Just another side of Varkala Beach which is not that explored.

Spent some time looking at Varkala beach and cliff at night.

The colours of the sunset spreads, and leaves us with a happy feeling.

Not exactly the while cliffs of Dover, but Matthew Arnold won’t mind.

Had some variety food from God’s Own Country Kitchen on the cliffs.

It is happy walking through the Varkala Beach and surroundings at night.

Thiruvambadi Beach Retreat Resort provided some good space.

Also read on the Indonesian Bali journey.

TeNy

The Indonesian Saga

Being at Indonesia, especially at the island of Bali is a fantastic memory, something which would stay for a very long time. Before visiting the place itself, we knew that the two things which would rise above others were to be the temples and the natural beauty. The beaches were to be there, and the greenery too. It was just a few days before we planned the journey that there was a fire at the Bali airport, and there was a volcanic eruption just the day before we had the tickets booked. It is the same thing which kept us wondering as we couldn’t find the name Bali on the list of flights – well, the place was named Denpasar, and that was were we had to go in Bali. From the moment our flight landed at the beautiful airport with sea around, we know that there would be a lot to see.

We actually had a very good guide to help us there, and the person named Putra from Pacto was a very understanding person. Everyone around there would ask if we were from Delhi whenever we said that we were from India – maybe because all Keralites are going to Thailand focusing on Pattaya, there are not many people from South India who come that way, except for Hyderabad which a few people knew. Being close to nature, this is the first time I am seeing an active volcano, and also the friendliest beach around – there is also the first sight of terrace farming, and we could also deal with money in lakhs and many thousands – considering the fact that one rupee was two hundred rupiyah. It is one way of becoming a millionaire even though you need to spend thousands to buy anything. There are two sides to a few things, but Indonesia remains a cheaper destination for sure, and Bali proves the same.

One of the two active volcanoes of Bali – the lava flow route can be seen in black.

There is something about the sunsets of Bali – they make you feel immortality.

This marks our first encounter with rain when in Indonesia – the highlands with clouds.

Watching sunrise from a hotel at Semanyak with a cup of tea never gets tiring.

You look at the options you have, with beaches as well as these rocky beaches.

Mountains and lakes will have your attention, as you stop at different places.

More than one happy monkey family will wish to say hi to you from the trees.

This certainly looked like a perfect place for a wedding shoot, but its too late.

The rice terraces of Bali are worth your attention, a closer one, will do more good.

The Kuta beach makes sure that you have a lot to walk around and into the sea.

*All these photos were taken using my Samsung Galaxy J4+ that replaced the Asus Zenfone Max which I used for taking photos in Bangkok and Pattaya.

TeNy

Bali: Land of Temples

Our last journey was to Thailand, focusing on Bangkok and Pattaya, the two cities where almost everyone from Kerala goes these days. Pattaya has been the one place where every Malayali wanted to go, as shown in the movie, Amar Akbar Anthony itself. With Thailand done and Singapore and Malaysia already done in the South East, the next option had to be Indonesia in the South East. There were no direct packages to the other interesting South East Asian nations like Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Burma – there were none for the Himalayan nations of Bhutan and Nepal either, which made Indonesia the right choice, and the packages were all for Bali. Still, the journey was to be done with a stop at Kuala Lumpur Airport, Malaysia – Air Asia, Air Asia X and Malindo Air were the options – the last one had free check-in luggage, in-flight entertainment and food, which made it a fine option while returning, as the luggage would be more on the return flight.

Indonesia feels cheaper than Thailand without doubt, and is simpler, less crowded and closer to nature as far as Bali island is concerned. The spiritual side stays very strong too, with the temples like these. Most of the Indian presence here were from the North, and we rarely saw any Keralite presence here unlike in Pattaya which had Keralites on tour at almost every corner. The temple design here is incredibly beautiful, even though rooted in simplicity. There is the same feeling being reflected with the people here too, ever happy and helpful. Have a look at a few shots of temple which I took using my Samsung Galaxy J4+ which replaced the Asus Zenfone Max which I used for taking photos in Bangkok and Pattaya. There are also the pictures of Bali’s natural beauty, agriculture, beaches, mountains, lakes and volcanoes, but that will be another story.

Tanah Lot – With a temple on the rock, going further into the sea.

These gates of heaven are common entrances to Balinese temples.

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is also known as the Lake Temple in short.

Tanah Lot is more than just a rock formation and a temple with its view.

Bali has the charm in its Monkey Temple, forest and sanctuary.

Let the gateway to heaven take you to the same in the beautiful island.

There is no shortage of beautiful temples in the Island of Bali.

You always feel the great need to take a walk towards eternity.

The temples of Bali might be smaller, but the level of beauty goes further.

Most temples seem to lie close to water & well-maintained for sure.

*Please read my review on Avengers: Endgame, the biggest movie of the year. Also read my review on Lucifer, the biggest Malayalam movie release of the year.

TeNy

Grand Palace of Movies

Varikkasseri Mana is one of the oldest traditional Brahmin houses of Kerala, located at Manissery, a small village in Ottapalam, within the district of Palakkad. It is the place where two of the most loved movies Devasuram and Aaraam Thampuran were shot, along with Rappakal, Drona, Simhasanam, Sufi Paranja Katha, Thooval Kottaram, Rudra Simhasanam, Valliettan, Madambi, Manthrikan and the most recent one which specifies the name of the place itself, Pretham 2. As far as Malayalam movies are concerned, the place is something special, and no movie lover from Kerala is to fail to identify it. There are other common locations too, but this one stands taller. There is more than one path to take while traveling here from Cochin, and it will be a tiring journey if the trip is during March, April or May. It is better to have some milk shake or juice in between. Without the movie setting, the place might seem to be lacking something, but for the small entry fee of Rs. 20, it is worth the journey.

*The photos on this blog post were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone Max.

Best of 2018 in a Moment

2018 had some interesting movies, and 2019 might be having even better ones. Until then, lets look at the best of last year. The Malayalam movies of the year had its highs and lows, and had no movie that would go on to break the Pulimurugan box-office record, even though at least two movies were expected to come close, but they didn’t. Still, these six movies are surely the kind of flicks that you can choose to watch without second thoughts. You have to give them a try, because they deserve it. We appreciate the efforts in creating the same. At the same time, we wait further glory in 2019 even though Kumbalangi Nights already brought a good amount of awesomeness already.

1. Joseph :: This is one big, pleasant surprise like no other movie. When it was said that Joju Joseph was going to be the protagonist of a thriller, people had their doubts. But with this movie, we understand that he is one great actor who was restricted to comedy as well as those certain police and thug roles. He has brought to us the best movie of the year with an investigative thriller which is also a highly emotional family drama, a combination which worked so well for everyone, and even scored further with its beautiful songs which we can’t watch without tears in our eyes. The whole movie itself has that sad feeling going right through, and it even comes home with us.
Read review at: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2018/11/18/joseph/

2. Kayamkulam Kochunni :: The tale of the thief who steals from the rich and gives to the poor is something that has stayed with us for a very long time. It is that story that we have heard since childhood and had so many adaptations in different fields. It might not be the one which everyone wanted, but the age has been nicely recreated and there are some moments of glory in there. It also rises above the other movie about the thief who helps the poor and the subaltern, Robin Hood, which struggled to do well, especially with its dumb portrayal of Little John and the wastage of its premise with silliness. Our thief here becomes a symbol of more than one thing, and we have to appreciate this effort.
Read review at: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2018/10/13/kayamkulam-kochunni/

3. Hey Jude :: This is the movie in which Nivin Pauly plays a character which is divergent from all those which he played until then, and it also has Trisha Krishnan in her Malayalam debut. Here, we can see that both have played the youngsters with certain not so normal side to perfection. Set in the beautiful Goa premises, this is the kind of movie that the so called superstars of next generation would hesitate to play, but it is not the case of Nivin Pauly who makes sure that Jude is one character who is there to stay.The songs are also very nice, and after Mili, here is one movie which shows a fine transformation of the main character who seemed like a misfit, but is actually more.
Read review at: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2018/02/03/hey-jude/

4. Oru Kuprasidha Payyan :: Tovino Thomas is one superstar who is one among us, and the same was proved during the Kerala Floods, as he was in the front for everything, among the crowd. He is also the one star who could rise to prominence by playing secondary roles like those in Ennu Ninte Moideen and the villain in Style. But here he is now, playing some roles which we are to remember, and this is one of them. He plays the outsider who has nobody to help him when facing trouble, and Nimisha Sajayan nicely plays the saviour. In a world of heroism, this one chooses another path, and it is that kind of a journey which is admirable and will stay with us for a long time.
Read review at: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2018/11/09/oru-kuprasidha-payyan/

5. Pretham 2 :: There are only a few movies which could claim improvement over its predecessors. Punyalan Agarbathis 2 and Aadu 2 starring the same leading actor failed to do so, but it is not the case of this particular sequel. It raises the level above the first movie, not just with its subject matter and setting, but also with the jokes which are used here – there were too many low level comedies in the first movie, but that has been solved effectively here. The young cast nicely contributes to the same while Jayasurya leads the way. There is mystery and suspense along with the horror that is present. It easily became the best movie of the Christmas season, and it deserves a sequel more than those other overrated ones.
Read review at: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2018/12/25/pretham-2/

6. Njan Prakashan :: As this one brings the usual tale of our new generation youngsters who are looking for easy money, we can see the characters here reflecting in our daily lives. Fahadh Faasil’s excellence on the lines of Maheshinte Prathikaaram helps the movie further, even though that level in totality is not to be expected. There is fun and there is the presence of emotions, as we see the change coming in the protagonist as he moves towards the final realization. With its fine messages and by quickly going on to become a favourite of the family audience, this one had a great run during the Christmas season and vacations, especially there was no real Onam vacations and celebrations due to the Kerala Floods.
Read review at: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2018/12/26/njan-prakashan/

***All images used in this blog post are from the Facebook pages of the movies or the actors performing in the same.

*Click here to go to the previous post.

TeNy

Kalopsia 2K19: A Fest of Colours

Please see the promo video and the complete list of programmes for the upcoming inter-college cultural and management fest at Rajagiri Viswajyothi College of Arts and Applied Sciences, Perumbavoor. January 18th is the date for college fest. (school events won’t be there due to university exams falling on the same date)

Click here to go to the Facebook Page

Click here for registrations

 

***Note that all these events are on the 18th only, and for undergraduate students of arts colleges.

Click here for the latest movie reviews.

Thanks,

TeNy

Being Smart is a Necessity

“I have wandered around the planet for too long. I have been to every corner of Earth’s human free areas” remarked the Frankenstein monster, finishing the tea in his cup.

“Has that made you a wiser or at least a smarter person? Does that at least leave you with certain vestige of being so?” asked Count Dracula.

“You have always been a man of doubt, Mr. Dracul. I have made it all the way here on this blood moon night with my smart use of magic. My mind is now complete with spells that go back many centuries. I am now full, with sorcery in my mind as well as soul” replied a confident monster, known to many by the name Adam, the first man on Earth.

“Where does magic stand in this age of science and technology? Even for the best trained creatures of the night like us, lack of knowledge of human technology has caused trouble in the past” said Dracula.

“Now, you are saying that you are placing human science and technology here, as a replacement for centuries old magic” wondered Adam.

“Yes, now you see that smart security camera? It has helped us to detect any human presence nearby, helping us to keep ourselves hidden from them – such cameras are placed all around the castle, and it is how we came to know that you were here. We have Smart Camera systems and Smart lights“.

“So, you didn’t use the natural vampire sense or the bats which used to carry your messages?” asked Adam.

“No, there are too many electricity lines and posts around. They get caught all the time, and so we have them working only within the yard. Nice drums, by the way”.

“No, don’t do that. It is not a drum – that thing is a smart wireless bluetooth speaker which is used to play simple and tension- relieving vampire music for our brothers and sisters inside the coffin” explained Dracula.

“I have heard that vampires have grown more health conscious. A little bird told me the same a few days ago in the Carpathians” remarked Adam.

“Yes, see this smart watch? It does almost everything for me. This light-weight version even senses vampire heartbeats. I can do some running and cycling with this – you know that I am a centuries old vampire, a lot older than you, and I have to keep myself healthy. It is a tough job to keep the vampire throne with the young blood around. I also have a smart fitness band in case this stops working”.

“The old age catches up with us all, doesn’t it? At least, you are immortal”.

“Being immortal has been a curse for too long, old friend. It is one advantage that you have, because you don’t really exist according to both science and religion, and therefore anything of this existence bother you less. I believe that you hold the key to the past, present and future. So, at least buy a mobile phone so that we can contact you in case the armageddon begins” remarked Dracula.

“I see that they have changed how the world works for you, but will that change mine?” wondered Adam.

“Yes, you should at least buy a smart watch or a fitness band, for they are the best of the Smart Wearable. Remember that you were created out of the unexpected. So, at least be health conscious. Search for a few of such items at Flipkart, one of the leading online electronic commerce websites”. advised Dracula.

“So be it. Who doesn’t want a  Smart Home? I have wanted a lot, but have managed to have very little” said Adam, as the blood moon spread its colours through the sky.

***The images used in this post were taken from the Flipkart website to be used in this blog post only.

#GetFitWithFlipkart and begin a #SmartHomeRevolution, as it is even more relevant in India these days.

TeNy

The Rock Leaves a Point

Illickal Kallu is one of those tourist attractions in Central Kerala which came into picture quite late, but is bringing a lot of travelers these days. With the closest small town being Teekoy at thirteen kilometres, the place has good access to most places even though the roads are not that good these days just like in the case of Ilaveezhapoonjira. There is quite some distance to cover to reach to the top, and cars go only until a certain point after which you need to go for Mahindra jeep service and quite some climb by foot after that. The view is special here because a part of this rock has fallen off, and the rest remain nicely there. There is a beautiful view of green Kerala visible from the top too. A lot of people will be here during the evenings to take some nice photos of sunset.

This place can be visited on the way to Vagamon because it is only thirty kilometres from there. A Vagamon combo is always great. Among the bigger towns, the closest one is Erattupetta at nineteen kilometres. Both Palai and Thodupuzha are situated at around thirty one kilometres from here. With Ilaveezhapoonjira located only twelve kilometres from here, a trip can actually combine the two places. Kattikayam Waterfalls is also very close from here. There is more than one route to travel in this direction, and it is better to ask the locals and choose the roads which are in the best shape. From Kochi area, the distance varies between eighty five and ninety five kilometres according to the area from where you begin your journey. The distance from the big towns of Ernakulam district are: Muvattupuzha – fifty four, Perumbavoor – seventy two, Aluva – eighty eight, Angamaly – eighty eight, Kothamangalam – sixty two, Piravom – sixty one, Koothattukulam – fourty four.

*All photos of Illickal Kallu shown above were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone Max during my last visit.

Click here to go to the latest movie reviews.

TeNy

An Eternity in a Journey

I need to pass through the bubble. It has been four hours since I reached here. Vagamon is one of the most beautiful hillstations despite it being very easy to reach here from Cochin and its satellite towns. The idea is to take the leap of faith, and it is not just a figurative thing, as literally it remains the same too. The bubble is located far below the suicide point, and the leap had to be perfect. Otherwise, the rock below would have something special to say, and it won’t be beautiful. These rocks had a say between life and death, as they are known to have decided the fate of everyman more than once or twice.

How can someone trust a necromancer with something that is beyond your ability for willing suspension of disbelief? When was the last time a necromancer desired for the betterment of a human being? If I was a creature of darkness, it wouldn’t have caused me any trouble in instantly believing in this. If he was a regular mage, this wouldn’t have been so difficult. But something had to be done, as every second lost in this world will count as a day in what lies beyond the bubble. It has to be the portal that connects the two world. This happens right now or it can never happen. I am taking this chance.

Finding a new world is always difficult, and this one is the closest to nature

I could feel that I am falling into eternity, destined to continue this forever. The fall felt to be very quick, but I could see beautiful castles and meadows on both sides, and occasionally the scenes changed to something darker, with thunderstorms over the ruins of some old buildings. The fall stopped half an hour later, and I could find myself on a smooth surface resembling water. It was not really water as it was solid. It was not really ice as it was incredibly soft. I made my way to the sands on my left side, and after I set my foot there, the surface turned into water. I walked further to meet the same necromancer channeling certain energy into his orb.

The necromancer explained the idea of having this realm parallel to our own. It had to be the utopia which could exist and take all those people who can live in harmony with nature. Below all those meadows, there were houses which were completely made out of living trees and plants. There was only a little bit of metal being used in there, and it was the kind of material which seemed to strengthen the trees. All the vegetation grew in such a way that it was supposed to support the homes as the humans tries to keep the environment intact. The relation here was symbiotic.

There is no lack of beauty with nature staying close to humanity

I left him to wander around the newly discovered place. There were so many wonders of nature all around that small space. I could see aurora in the sky as green lights on the sky reflected the greenery on the meadows. Surrounded by an unknown river on all sides, the place had its own waterfalls and the increasing flow of water kept many waterwheels moving. Along with the same, the wind energy was used with help of those windmills on the top of cliffs and solar energy seemed to taken in using a certain device in the form of an obelisk. The transportation was through ropeway which had car-like things hanging on them.

I noticed that there were two suns on the horizon. I came across the necromancer again, and he told me that it is a natural phenomenon. The portal transports one to that corner of the galaxy which has been unknown to all known alien life forms. It was a few warlocks who found this particular place while exploring their skills of teleportation. One had to go for the #BlindList each and every time to travel all the way here. One also had to #SayYesToTheWorld, to that kind of a world which opposed modernity and its exploitation. Then there was the need to take the leap of faith, where almost all rationalists failed.

It was like being invited on a blind date. To travel to a place you know nothing about, for an experience you have no clue about, has never been something designed for the brain – it was always about the heart and soul. In a world of chaos, people can’t be open-minded enough to say yes. Compared to the #BucketList which has known wishes, #TheBlindList is the one thing that goes a step forward. At some point of time, we have to go for this list, and there is the need to explore more, finding that perfect place which is “magical”, figuratively or literally. The traveler in us asks for the same. Be openminded, #SayYesToTheWorld now and begin the exploration!

**The images used in this blog post are taken from the Official Facebook Page of the popular video game, Mass Effect.

TeNy

Vagamon Revisited

Vagamon is a destination that goes back to childhood, and it was only a developing tourist place at that time. One can say that even now, it is a lesser hill station compared to Munnar and Thekkady. The elevation is surely less, and it might not be as cold as it can be in Munnar. On these days, when the road to Munnar is not that great, we decided to go on another trip to Vagamon, and the result was an interesting one. The shooting of Pranav Mohanlal starrer Irupathionnaam Noottandu was going on at the place, and the number of tourists was low. The traffic was also low, and the roads were not that good. There are some areas where the road is in a pathetic state, thanks to the rain which was continuous and had hammered the state.

Well, the journey this time was still better than the last one, as there was not much of a crowd there, and the options were still there. We saw a new suicide point coming up as an attraction with those usual destinations, and it is certain that it could be something to look out for next time with much more being built around that area. There are not many restaurants here now either, as it used to be then. The town hasn’t really developed that much as Munnar and Thekkady did, and the Kurisumala Farm was closed at that time. But the climate was cooler than ever, and the fog added further beauty to the scenic world. It was the combination of Muharram, Sree Narayana Guru Jayanthi, Fourth Saturday and Sunday.

*All photos of Vagamon shown above were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone Max during my last visit.

Click here to go to the latest movie reviews.

TeNy

Kerala Needs You Now

Kerala, the Southern state of India needs your help.

What you see below is a photo taken by me during the floods of Kerala in the year 2013 from the top of the apartments where I lived. But when we consider the situation right now, this doesn’t even come close to being called a flood – this time, water got into most of the areas near Periyar and other water bodies close to Aluva. During those times, Aluva suffered. But these times are different, because it was not restricted to any place. The riverside was no longer the problem. The beautiful town of Aluva suffered the most, with so many parts of Kerala, with no place really considered safe. It became the case of a state suffering without any place or any person spared.

We witness what is happening this year, 2018, a photo taken by one of the residents at the apartments (I don’t live there now). We are looking at the other side of the apartment, which is an elevated area with height a lot more than what is seen on the first picture – it is a place where the water from the river has never entered in history. A few days ago, the water reached this point, and it was still rising. An image with the River Periyar at its strongest point is not available to me, but from what I figured out from the talks, it has reached higher to go through not just the ground floor, but also the first and second floors. From here, water seems to go on to reach the rest of the water-logged areas of Aluva, leaving not much of the ground visible. The main part of the town itself has water coming up at dangerous levels, with boats needed to travel through its major areas. It was one of the most beautiful towns as shown in the movie Premam, and it is in big trouble.

We live at Perumbavoor, a town about 15 kilometres from Aluva, and even as most of the town is doing comparatively better due to its main area at higher grounds (there are low-lying areas of the town which is in trouble), it is currently surrounded by water on most sides, with traffic non-existent on almost all major roads, all water-logged. The road between Aluva and Perumbavoor has been affected for days, and same is the case with the roads to other major towns nearby. Its nearby towns Kalady, Muvattupuzha & Kothamangalam, all suffered, and these are just a few towns in Ernakulam district among those large number of towns and villages which are suffering from continuous rain and shutters of dams being opened. From Trivandrum and Kollam to Kannur and Kasargode, all districts have been in trouble, with no idea where the water will rise and bring death. There are clear photos of terror being shown in the news channels, and the situation at some areas are much worse. There is no chance to go to the friends’ or relatives’ place because you don’t know where is safe! Even the Cochin Airport is closed with operations expected to begin again on a date about which we can’t be that sure. This is where we stay at home and hope.

Almost every place in Kerala is affected directly or indirectly, which is why we need the help of each and everyone in India and outside the nation. All kind of help matters, not just in the form of money. It will take a long time for Kerala to return to normal, and for the same, a lot of help is needed. All Vodafone services at my place is down as of now, and Airtel service was back just yesterday. Most people don’t have access to mobile services or internet, and electricity, food, clean water – all are in shortage. People are caught in isolated areas with much more needed to be done. So many people are living in relief camps after leaving all their possessions behind, and the college where I studied is one of them, and my school in another. More people are being evacuated from their homes as rains haven’t stopped and flood waters continue to cause terror. Even after the waters are gone, there can be diseases, reptiles, broken roads and all kinds of scarcity. We need you. Please help Kerala, for it is water everywhere, with none to drink!

Please help and contribute to the relief efforts by donating to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) ad help Kerala get back to its feet:

The details given at CMO’s Offical Facebook Page is shared below.

Please visit the website below for further details and to contribute in one way or the other.

https://keralarescue.in/

This is the donation portal of the Government of Kerala:

https://donation.cmdrf.kerala.gov.in/

TeNy

Bangkok: A City that Loves You

The last few months, we have been reading about the Thailand Cave Rescue – Tham Luang cave rescue which was a large-scale rescue operation to find and rescue twelve boys from a local junior football team named the Wild Boars and their coach. The same has been on the news for long, and that brought me back to those memories at the nation which was wonderful. I had recently written about Pattaya, the city which we first visited, and for writing about Bangkok, the following pictures and their captions will tell the tale better than anything else. Well, there is no wonder about the fact that so many people are visiting Thailand with a Bangkok and Pattaya package – you will know why.

The lions at Safari World were crossing the road when we arrived.

Note the courage of that bird as it checks if the tigers are hungry.

All of these together at Safari World of Bangkok!

The skyline with the arrival of rain gets even more glorious.

Standing on that bridge and watching the traffic with fog around!

Some tall buildings catch your attention and they stay!

The beauty of modernity at night is not to be missed.

A city that stays beautiful throughout the night, and you feel love.

The Golden Buddha is in this beautiful temple of Wat Traimit.

Wat Benchamabophit with peace and serenity is also known as the Marble Temple.

***All photos on this blog post were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone Max during my last visit to Thailand. Read interesting movie reviews here, here, here and here.

TeNy

Pattaya: Where Everyone Goes

A long time had passed since we wanted to go on a trip outside India, and my last foreign trip was the one to United Kingdom eight years ago in the same year in which the trip to Sri Lanka had happened. Here, the obvious choice of nation for a quick visit was Thailand, as most Keralites do prefer the country these days, and the other options like Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka were already covered by me. Pattaya, Bangkok and Phuket have been becoming dream destinations for our people, especially Pattaya with its water sports, islands and beaches bringing quite the reputation.

Coral Islands of Pattaya, where you desire to go!

Even though the holiday packages have both Pattaya and Bangkok on the list, the former is the place where we get to spend more time. It is Bangkok where we arrive, at the Don Mueang International Airport to which Air Asia operates daily direct flights from Cochin. It is Suvarnabhumi Airport which seems to be the sight to behold though. But for now, the travellers from here will have to wait to have a flight to travel in that direction. Even though we arrive at the city of Bangkok first, the itinerary from the holiday agencies will have us beginning our expedition at Pattaya with a quick ride from the airport to the beach city.

The Pattaya about which you know from descriptions!

There is one mistake that we tend to make due to this travel plan, and it is that we leave the idea of buying goods to the end, and the problem here is that it is always cheaper in Pattaya than in Bangkok. The price of goods that you see in Pattaya is only going to get higher in Bangkok. So, waiting for the trip to get to the final stages before going shopping will be the wrong thing to do, unless you have a lot of money to spend. Pattaya also have a good number of Indian restaurants, and for us, they become the obvious choice – the selection of food is mostly North Indian though, with not much of a dosa team presence.

The Tiger Zoo is a fine place to begin the journey.

Just before we reach Pattaya City, there is Sriracha Tiger Zoo, situated on the outskirts of the city. The place claims to have the largest such populations of tigers and crocodiles for a zoo all around the world. The tickets would cost nearly one thousand rupees when converted, and will be part of almost all packages. There is a lot of space to walk around and souvenirs to buy, along with separate shows involving tigers, elephants, crocodiles and pigs. Indian breakfast was available there including Poori and Uppumavu. We can watch the tigers roaming around outside the glass, as we have food.

Parasailing is certainly a common sight out there.

At Pattaya, before anything else, finding an Indian restaurant was important to us, and there was one close – there were actually many of them to be exact. Then there are those shops on the side of the road, and there are those 7-Eleven and Family-Mart stores which come to save the day. These are those days when visiting McDonalds or Burger King are cheaper, and one finds tea to be the expensive drink. But the days are worth it, and spending on each and everything here is absolutely worth it. There were so many other Malayali families around there too, as it was the grand vacation time.

Pattaya’s Floating Market – expand your trip with this.

Then there is the programme on the way to Coral Islands and on the island, starting from parasailing which is done from a boat located a little away from the beach and underwater walk which are conducted from boats located further away from the coast. Watching some marine life and walking underwater was a different and interesting experience for sure, even though the water was not that much clear as expected – 1200 bahts for a person is worth it for sure, especially with a CD of the experience for 700 bahts. It is still something that is to be remembered for long. The time spent at the island is rather less, and one has to be quick to go through jet ski and banana boat, and there was not much time to explore out there – we avoided them for a walk.

The Sanctuary of Truth – one masterpiece on wood.

Pattaya was indeed a fine experience, and we spent a lot of time on the streets, especially late night. The journey to Bangkok followed, and leaving Pattaya surely didn’t feel good, as we never really felt that we had enough. Maybe, one needs to travel through Pattaya without a holiday package, and it should be just wandering. Some exploration lasting a few more days would do better, without doubt. The two extra additions to our packages were the Sanctuary of Truth and the Floating Market, both which should be part of any travel plan, former for its beautiful carvings on an astonishing structure and the latter for that kind of a market to which we are strangers. Well, others know Pattaya from Amar Akbar Anthony, but that movie had a silly reason.

*All photos were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone Max. My friends on Facebook can see more of our experiences at Pattaya.

TeNy

Love, Selfie and Others

The first grand thing, the celebration of 365 days of love had passed for us. But that doesn’t really mean anything when we look deep into it. It takes more than a year to fall in love with the same person whom you had married, again and again. The honeymoon that happens right after marriage doesn’t really mean much, because in the case of each arranged marriage, there is always more to know about your partner, and more reasons to find in order to fall in love. That first journey, the honeymoon trip might have had less number of selfies and photos in total. But things change with the trip that you make, an year later.

That was the trip to Thailand, among those shorter trips which were limited to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It was the next grand journey after the honeymoon trip to Jaipur. The journey was to begin at Pattaya, the place which promised to be different. We had our own time wandering through the city before we got to reach the beach and prepare for the day at the Coral Islands. The first tendency is to ask someone to take a photo, but we decided to take the selfie instead, because it was going to be a different journey, and another path through togetherness.

Well, both of us are not knowing for having any admiration for water and water sports. We usually keep our distance from waterbodies except for that little sunset walk by its side. But this was going to be different, as we had decided to go on the underwater walk. It was a little complicated decision for us, as there was always the question about “to be or not to be in water”. You can see the determination on our faces right there. Yes, this is a “determination selfie”, which is not easy to find in our collection, and it is one of those few selfies which are clear enough, and has our attention.

What you need during these days, is a camera that can capture a selfie incredibly well, something that can provide the moments with all the beauty and clarity that are needed, when we look back at those memories. This is where Mobiistar phone’s front, dual selfie camera comes into the picture, as it captures a 120° wide-angle shot providing a special selfie experience. These wide angle group shots can make sure that there is no part of that beautiful background lost, and it means more wonderful memories along with your faces captured by the camera.

As the selfie craze has only seen an increase, many phone makers have been trying to catch up and give the best of this trend, and Mobiistar provides the same, in style, at a reasonable price. The Vietnamese smartphone brand has a vision to ‘Enjoy More’ by bringing uncompromised user experience. For the same, Mobiistar is expanding the selfie experience for India, and will be available for purchase at Flipkart very soon. It will ensure that the best selfie enjoyment can be economical for the mobile lovers of India, especially for the common man.

With the special features of Mobiistar, one can be sure that more selfies will be taken, and there is no better mobile phone than the one which meets your demands. When you are traveling, you need selfies to be taken, and you need them to be really good, and covering as much of the background as possible. When you are in love, you need the selfies, and when you are having food outside or going for a movie, that can demand selfies too. All these selfies need to capture most of your world, and for the same, the 120° wide-angle shot of Mobiistar will prove to be a big bonus.

Another advantage of Mobiistar is that it has joined forces with Flipkart to provide the best for the Indian market. I would wait for this phone with the wonderful selfie camera to arrive at Flipkart, and if possible, on the local stores. It is always better to try a new mobile phone brand which offers so much, unlike those usual brands which everyone has. Some nice divergence is in need, and soon, we are going to have an opportunity for the same, with the arrival of this particular mobile phone, which can bring big challenges to the rest of the competition. Until then, lets wait for Mobiistar on Flipkart!

TeNy

RVCAS: The Right Choice

When you are choosing a college for higher studies, the options might be many, but there might be those choices which you could have gone for, but failed to do do because you never really knew about the institution. Rajagiri Viswajyothi College is a relatively new educational institution from the Rajagiri Group of institution, run by CMI fathers – the same management maintains control here too. There might not be that many people in Kerala who haven’t heard about the name; one can even say that the reputation is rather international. The strength of that name is reflected even in regular conversations.

CMI missions have a vast network that includes nearly 500 institutions including schools, colleges and hospitals. Rajagiri Viswajyothi College, the latest among its educational institutions, is located at Vengoor, about seven kilometres from Kuruppampady, located on the Aluva-Munnar road. It is also at just eleven kilometres from the nearest big town Perumbavoor and twenty one kilometres from the next closest town, Kothamangalam. Twenty three kilometres from both Angamaly and Muvattupuzha, the college has good access to all these towns.

Twenty three kilometres from the nearest railway station at Angamaly and twenty one kilometres from Cochin Airport, the college is easily accessible with regular private bus service and occasional KSRTC bus service, and has been undergoing further development in the recent months to include more students, and provide them with maximum possible facilities. The location itself is something of scenic beauty, and it is the kind of campus that you will fall in love with, once you visit the place. Shortened RVCAS, the college has been a much loved institution among the people in the small, beautiful town of Vengoor.

CMI (Carmelites of Mary Immaculate) Fathers are well known for their inspiration to promote education in the state of Kerala, and with some reputed institutions, also at the neighbouring states. CMI is known to everyone as the first ever indigenous religious congregation for men in India, which was established in the 19th century by Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara along with Fr. Thomas Palackal and Fr. Thomas Porukara. The missionaries dedicated themselves to spreading quality education at all levels. It is the result of their dedication and hard work that can be reflected with this comparatively new institution too.

Vengoor, close to the much visited tourist destination, Paniyeli-Poru, will have better access this time, with the college bus facilities being expanded so that no student will have difficulty in reaching the college in time. For students coming from a distance, or from the interiors, there is hostel facility for boys and girls. The canteen brings the best of food, and there will be scholarship for eligible students. RVCAS plans to help the students in the best ways possible, especially those who have a never-ending desire for knowledge, a quality that the college supports and admires.

The college will ask for no donation, and will keep the university fees at the same level, nothing extra to be paid by the students. But there will be no shortage of extra-curricular activities with different clubs and houses operating in the college, as activities and competitions are many. Rajagiri Viswajyothi College of Arts and Applied Sciences works hand in hand with Rajagiri School of Social Sciences, Rajagiri College of Management and Applied Sciences and Rajagiri Business School regarding the same.

*Let prejudice not be the villain! Pay a visit to the campus and see the facilities, as well as how close the college is with nature; the whole building set in between the scenery is a beautiful sight to behold – you can get all the information you need from the office. You can take a quick turn after Perumbavoor at Kuruppampady if you are traveling to Munnar or the highranges from Cochin. I would personally recommend choosing BA English Literature, Communication and Journalism, a rare course which will let you choose more than one option for your future career, with this Triple Main Course. The other courses include B.Com, BBA and the weekend course of CMA. The location of the college is given below.

Visit the Website: http://rajagiriviswajyothi.org

Visit the Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/rajagiriperumbavoor

Mail to: office@rajagiriviswajyothi.org

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TeNy

Gateway to a New World

It has never really been out of fashion to go abroad to find a job, or to continue studies, and Kerala has had a glorious past related to it. We have such a huge number of friends and relatives abroad, and most of them have settled down there, or are planning to do the same. I have many of them who are living mostly in United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The difference is that those who are in Americas or Europe have not much of a plan to return to India, developing new roots in a new world.

Rootlessness might be the be the one problem that a lot of people might face during their new adventures abroad, and we have noticed the same in many novels and poems. In a new world, one can easily feel like an outsider – the barrier in the form of cultural differences can be quite natural. Being far away from one’s support network, and getting to be part of an unfamiliar world will be more than just a simple challenge. There will be the questions about what all actions are socially accepted, and food will surely mean confusion.

We all have our own journeys to make, far away, and settle down.

We will be more or less like insects or water bugs floating over rivers, with no roots. It will surely be different for everyone, and some people can adjust to this new world better and faster. But to get to that at a later point of time, passport validities, visa applications, country regulations, university and job acceptances along with others will be on our way. We will need to save a lot of money too, and that would depend on the country that we are planning to choose for our future.

Well, we have always known that studying or working abroad comes up with many problems, beginning with passport problems and English tests. Compared to some of the Indian languages and many others, English might be easier, but the non-native speakers can easily have problems as they try to get deeper into it. The problem that we have here is that most of us never really enjoyed our English during our childhood in schools, and our syllabus has had so many limitations. As English is a language that we don’t regularly use, it doesn’t help much either.

Pearson India will make sure that at least one step is smooth. PTE Academic is the world’s leading computer-based English test which is quick, flexible and secure. A three hour test session will be enough, with results available in five business days. There are PTE academic test centres located in more than fifty countries worldwide. In India, there are test centres at Kolkata, Ludhiana, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Nagpur. The centre at Coimbatore makes it easy for the aspirants from Kerala, making one say #DefinitelyPTE.

It also has a shortened and simplified test process. The three part test assesses speaking, listening, reading and writing efficiently. There will be questions related to answering short questions and essays, summarizing spoken texts, selecting the missing words, reading aloud, repeating said sentences, highlighting incorrect words, re-ordering written paragraphs, summarizing written texts and more. When a score alignment with other tests like IELTS and TOEFL are commonly attempted, PTE Academic is easier to check.

PTE Academic, as an English Language Test, is accepted by thousands of organizations all around the world, including popular institutions such as Stanford University, Harvard University, University of Liverpool, Durham University, University of Sydney, University of Manchester, University of Glasgow and Imperial College London – the names that say #DefinitelyPTE is rather more. The list of universities accepting the same, is only growing as each year passes. Instead of going for the regular options, one can safely say #DefinitelyPTE, and choose it as the right English Test. There is also the PTE Preparation Course which can be of help, with fine practice.

Check here for the English Language Test from PTE Academic.

TeNy