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

Some Fun with Studies

English in India has never felt more necessary than that last few years. Even though the regional languages are also having their influence with the support of state governments, coming up with new ways to promote them, trying to make sure that they are doing well, English has been increasing its hold on the students as well as the parents. Hindi also has its say, but it is English that is having an even bigger say in the nation as a whole at one point or the other, as it is having all around the world. With an influence that only gets better, learning the basics of English has been a need, more than a desire these days.

It is here that Nihar Naturals Shanti Amla comes to the picture with its Pathshala Funwala initiative that provides the option of good and smarter education everywhere, making it more accessible, and without discrimination, also possessing a special charm. It is more than just a need during these times, especially in those remote places far away from those cities and towns. But it is not just that, which Pathshala Funwala makes sure about, as they provide a unique toll free number, 8055667788 to help children who have no chance, but really wishes to learn English language.

A long time ago, when I was a child, I wasn’t that good at English either. My interest in the subject came only in the later high school, when I had a good teacher, Miss. Aleyamma Varghese, who happens to be one of the best teachers I ever had – she also went on to become the headmistress of the school later. Your desire to learn a language, especially a language which is not spoken widely among your people, only comes to us when we have good teachers, and Nihar Shanti Amla’s Pathshala Funwala’s toll free number becomes the right teacher, giving children the tips.

Yes, you can have the child sit in a classroom if there is such an option available. But you can be certain that this option could be rather better. Children want some fun to go with learning, and if the studies can connect with them really well, it will feel simple and a lot interesting. It is one way to make sure that they don’t forget the lessons that easily – during our times, they had the rod, they made us stand outside the classroom, they came up with those impositions which increased in number and they even asked us to bring our parents, especially father to meet the class teacher; but those times were different.

I know a number of people who make the excuses for not learning English, as their learning process was just too boring and forced upon them – never did they want to learn the language because they didn’t need to, and never really had to speak in English. Right after they get out of the school or college, they just let the language, along with its literature vanish into thin air. There is the exception of having Hollywood movies which you will feel the need to watch, but most of the movies are about visual extravaganze – at least those which gets wide release in India belong to that category and got less to contribute to the language.

Well, English is a lot of fun. Sooner or later, more and more people will realize that and work accordingly. So, it is up-to all children, including that child you know, who is not getting access to good English education, or even education as a whole, to get back to the track. It is a fast moving world, and we don’t want any child to be falling behind because he or she, or the father or mother never really knew that there was another option. We need them to know, and we need them to move forward, and not sink in the muddy place which is always there to take people in there instead of letting them fly.

The Tea Cerebration(s) recommend you to share this special service to the needy ones who can get the best out of this simple and fun way of learning the language. It is for us to be part of a change, which could make a difference in our world. When you can make a cause work, it is something that adds to your list of virtuous deeds rather than to that resume which you send to make a few thousands of money every month. In making the world around us better, starting with the children, we have the right thing to do for a group of future citizens who are capable of more than they seem to be. So, do keep the number in mind – 8055667788

I am blogging about Pathshala Funwala by Nihar Shanti Amla Oil in association with BlogAdda.

TeNy

Guidelines for a Holy Year

There has been a lot of talk related to the Holy Year of Mercy ever since Pope Francis declared the same. Well, these are not official guidelines relating to that, as I am not qualified for that. If you are asking about on what authority I am providing these, I would say that it is based on my vision on what I would want to do on a Holy Year. Yes, helping others is a major thing to do, but other than that, I have to add a few things that people can really do, especially if they respect Pope’s messages and call themselves Catholic. At least for an year, can you try these?

So, how do you get to the quality of mercy? Does that fly towards you and provide opportunities to be merciful? No, it doesn’t. You have to bring it to your life. Which are those parts of life where you can show that quality? I would say that the first one where it can be done is in the case of food. It is the Holy Year of Mercy, and do try to go vegetarian. I know that most of you will find that difficult and so lets just try to keep it as much vegetarian as possible. Obviously, it is not easy to keep being so during the functions.

This tree welcomes you to Ezhattumugham as the official messenger of nature :D

Let the quality of mercy flow like a river throughout the Holy Year.

Showing mercy to the animals and birds is a nice thing indeed. That brings me back to the final word of the last paragraph – functions. Lets consider that you are going to be married this year. Why don’t you take the message of compassion right into you on this special day of your life? Can you spend less for these functions and use the money to provide at least one day’s food for the orphanages or old age homes which will make sure that your most important day will be remembered by people in need? Doesn’t it satisfy a good soul that his or her day goes on in the best way possible for those who are not having the happy days of life?

Do you need a fancy car which doesn’t belong to you on the wedding day, especially when everyone knows that it is not yours? If you have a car or a relative does, isn’t it better to use that one itself instead of spending some extra money for rent there? Do you need so many groomsmen and bridesmaids which your elders had declared not part of our culture? At least keep the number low! Do you need to spend so much money on the clothing when you are not going to use them again? Is it necessary to make a show when it is a function supposed to be a union of souls? Shouldn’t the priests be caring about this rather than coming up with that ridiculous compulsory pre-marital course? Why would you generalize people and not understand that individuals are not the same, and they won’t be needing a course on the exact same thing?

I would suggest providing pre-wedding classes instead of the pre-maritial thing to the vain people, especially the parents and relatives of the bride and groom. They are also in real need for mercy and compassion classes. Well, is this the kind of mercy that the church is going to witness and what the Holy Father had intended? And do you need so many types of food items being served to people? Different types of meat and fish – what is the point? Is this a program to have food or the function which has two people decide to be together each other? Why should the focus be so much on a dead chicken or goat on a plate rather than the bride and the groom? All these because you need to boast about it? If it is the case, get married every year. Maybe something can be done about the funerals too in the name of bloody vanity.

Marriages are made in heaven, they say. So, do we except the display of such signs of vanity there? It is not easy for vanity and mercy to co-exist. These days, I try to attend less number of marriages, because they are all just bloody show-off. I get those invitation cards and I feel nothing; there is no real feeling to attend. If you are having a certain function for the rich and too many of the poor and the subaltern are in the surroundings not having enough, your marriage will not be Holy Matrimony, but a strange thing which is everything except holy. People should get married because they want to; not to show it to the society.

A bridge on which you will drive your car. It is part of nature :D

Become the bridge, bringing the quality of mercy to the other side!

So, at least in the Holy Year, show some mercy, to your fellow human beings as well as those animals and birds around us. Lets waste less food, have more vegetarian items and show less vanity at a wedding. I am quite confident that too many people will find this one difficult; still there will be people who will display some signs of mercy here or there. But I say that if you want to make an impression, make the righteous impression, and not what the others tell you is right. If you want to spend money, spend it on the poor; those who are really in need of your quality of mercy. Be the brother and sister to the people in need, and be the personification of mercy. Also, take time to forgive more.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

The Thing About Relatives

There is something about relatives that we will never understand. Yes, there are those topics related to getting a job, finding oneself in matrimony and others, but this is more about being right and logical. Here are a certain examples of strange logic that I have found among them. The surprising thing that this logic is applied so much that I had to wonder if it is passed on to others through wind and water. Maybe it is a kind of infection, like what that zombie apocalypse brings as we have seen in Resident Evil and Warm Bodies.

We are doing you a favour by coming to stay at your place: I actually heard this one first when I was a child. Then I heard it again and then again. There were people coming around because they had to attend a course from our place, or because they had to attend exams or try some job. But the logic here is that they were coming to look after me and some others were going to give company to the little me. I should have been very desperate for company according to these ideas, but I don’t remember much of being given company – oh there was someone, and that one was a bloody video game.

Some of these people might even remember this from a long time ago. Many years later, these people are going to say that he or she had stayed with you and took care of you. We won’t even remember and they will ask us to do something for them just because they stayed with us. Share my computer, share my internet and share my food, and this is going to be like doing a favour for me, right? Help should be unconditional. There are a few people with whom they can try the same thing – the aliens at Uranus, the zombies asleep in the graveyards, the dinosaurs at Jurassic Park and the sweet little crocodiles from Lake Placid.

When waterfalls are around, rocks become more of a thing of beauty, right?

Maybe the journeys are not that smooth – but people are often too intolerable!

We are doing you another favour by letting you stay at our place: Okay, this is somewhat true, especially when we make that choice to start from there to attend a function far away, or maybe even to attend exams. But I haven’t used any relatives’ place as base for such a thing. I have tried to avoid staying at any place because this is how some people are going to see things. I have been thinking why I should bother some relative by giving him or her trouble. Yes, there are people who really want us to stay, and I have stayed at a few places because the insisted, but generally that is not the case.

You should help us because you will need our help in the future: The great oracles of these lands! They never really lose their charm, do they? I wonder if they take oracles at Delphi nowadays too so that these people can be transported there. Their special powers are also forever because they had once predicted that I am not going to finish even my graduation; forget the post graduation. They are continuing to make such predictions, and I hear them being experts in the same. This prediction about me needing their help has been made long ago, and I don’t usually see them ready for help.

But I decided to provide help in return for a cup of tea; why should I help them because there is a chance that they might help me later? Isn’t helping our friends and relatives what we should do anyway? Still, I won’t be able to ask these people related to even those little things. What makes me wonder is why they can’t even give one share to a post of mine? I asked them to share my review of Charlie, and nothing happened. Yes, they have time only share the posts about whatever makes no sense along with those silly jokes.

As you look far far away, what is it that you see?

As you look far far away, what is it that you see other than conditional help?

You are to provide us some help because we are going to be rich: Some people are really going to touch the clouds in the next few years because they so. Some of them have already touched the clouds just because of being married and having job. Some of these people are already helping each other because they think that the other person is going to make it huge and earn a lot, along with marrying someone from a rich family. Such great expectations there – it is a shame that people are nice to others just because the other person is going to have a lot of money in the future!

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

Akshaya Patra: Feed a Child

I was sitting here idle not doing anything good with my life, writing something or anything. It was on such a day that Akshaya Patra really caught my attention for the first time when Nandhini, my fellow blogger friend told me about what they have been doing, even though I do read a lot of information about NGOs and did go through some of their work earlier. I also received an e-mail about their work and I was determined to place a widget/banner of them on my blog and go through the service which they have been doing.

Established in 2000, Akshaya Patra is a non-profit organisation which runs school lunch programme across India. From its humble beginnings, as of now, they are working in ten different states, twenty four locations, ten thousand eight hundred and forty five schools and serving 1.4 million children of our nation. Akshaya Patra dedicates its inception and work to the inspiring resolve of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada as the organization takes over the fine vision that “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger”.

akshayapatra (2)

Akshaya Patra currently provides freshly cooked meal to children on all school days. This mid-day meal programme has a long history and we remember the mid-day meal scheme being introduced in Kerala in 1984 – the first of its kind can be traced back to the Pre-Independence era, but it will never be enough, and requires more and more help each day. The states covered by Akshaya Patra are parts of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

With its headquarters at Bangalore, Akshaya Patra attempts to make sure that no child has to skip school in case of an absence of food. It is a great idea in an environment when the children needs to go past hunger and malnutrition to reach their goals, along with what all factors that the society puts them though. Every child needs to study, and for the same, he or she needs to be free from the most basic problem, which is hunger. Education is the right of all children, and this surely helps a lot. Akshaya Patra has also won the 14th Mother Teresa Award in the Best NGO Category of 2014.

There are times when we want to do something good and we can’t because the situation doesn’t work in our favour. The opportunities to contribute rarely comes when we are looking for them. I was myself looking forward to see Akshaya Patra in Kerala, but it turns out that it isn’t there. Maybe it is because Kerala has its mid-day meal programme working well, and there are other places where the need is more and it is urgent. So, it is not that easy to do anything with Akshaya Patra staying right here, but in the case of the online option present, there is no such limitation.

akshayapatra (1)

There is the option to donate online through this link and it takes just Rs 750/- to feed a child during an year with Akshaya Patra. The children in need can use all the support that we can provide, and there is no small amount. Spreading the idea through the social media profiles is another fine act because not many things match spreading the word through Facebook and Twitter. We bloggers and website owners can also help by putting a banner/widget of Akshaya Patra and spread awareness that way.

You can see samples of the widgets on this blog as well as at my other blog, Movies of the Soul. As most of us are not able to change the code due to being hosted at WordPress.com, we can use the widgets on the sidebars – nobody can predict the what can bring the chance, a blog post, a widget or a banner! It will only take a small space among the rest of the things on display. Together, we have the chance to make a difference, an opportunity that may not always be there. So, lets use it right now, as nobody knows what tomorrow might bring.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of Akshaya Patra

TeNy

Question of a Million

There is one question which has been commonly asked during talks – What if you had a million dollars? Before converting into rupees, that didn’t provide me that shock which was needed. Well, one million dollars was equal to 65,369,500 rupees when I last looked, and that is an amount which I am sure that I will never earn by myself in my whole life. It is not just the money that I won’t have, it is also more than all the money that I will need. So, this weekend’s WOW topic had me in some doubt. Well, the solution comes in many ways for the extra money that you will have.

Well, whoever you ask if there is the need for money, I am sure that the answer will be yes, even in the case of the top level millionaires. There is a little bit of a journey which has to be done around the world, and that is all for which the money needs to be spent. It has to cover Eastern Europe, especially Romania, as I had mentioned in my earlier post. There are also those historical cities like Rome, Venice, Barcelona, Milan, Berlin, Florence, Lisbon and Paris with all those amazing architecture. The other continents actually don’t have that much for me to travel through, except for a few places and that too the cheaper ones to wander around.

And then there was the Lighthouse Beach at Kovalam.

You need the beacon of light on this one; after all it will be the season of doubts.

This actually means that I will be left with something to talk about after finishing the journeys. The number of places to visit will only get lesser in number if things get repetitive, leaving me with more in the bank. Back home, the need for another house, four-wheeler and two-wheeler are not there as I am satisfied with what all is there already. What I have as of now is good. Trying to get more and more will only make me not liking myself that much. Too much luxury will only make me not the person that I have been. Most of us already have more than what we really need.

I am also not a person who believes in changing according to new fashion, and so the already existing clothes will be there for an eternity; I never judged people by their clothes much and never really cared what people thought about they way I dressed. It just needs to fair and decent; nothing more. A person is to be judged by good he or she is, and not by the grand clothing, and so there is no expense coming up there for me. My journey to different parts of the world is to be quick and will have almost no shopping with minimum food, and so there will be more left in the bank.

A few years ago, we used to have a Halloween program, and we collected what we could from the homes around our place and donated the same to a number of charity homes. The youth had decided to turn the night which was looked upon in a negative way into something positive. The response was nice, and one of the recipients we considered was a boys’ home called Snehakkoodu at Aluva. Unlike the other places which had the support of a lot of patrons, this at that time seemed to be a place which could use a lot of help.

Is there a sign of relief among the dark clouds?

Be the light in the darkness; be the colour among the black and white!

The place would be my first home to provide a donation, and I am sure that it will be a very useful act for them. It is all about helping the people in need rather than anything else, and they were in need at that time. Sadly, after we moved from Aluva, I haven’t been there much, and I would like to leave quite something from the amount for them. There is also the Home for the Aged and the Infirm, a few kilometres from Aluva, and I also wish to leave an amount for the old and sick people there.

As we help people in need, there are many around us who are not in that much of good situations as we are. There are our own friends, relatives and neighbours who live around us, and they will also be in need at times, for which some of the money could be kept in reserve to provide for them. We also owe something to them, irrespective of religion, caste and status. It is our duty as an Indian not to discriminate by divisions, and to help our fellow countrymen, the people whom we see each and every day and are in need.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me only.

TeNy