Return to a Model Village

Kumbalangy is known to be India’s first model tourism village, and it has been a place where I spent a lot of my childhood; and a long time later, I made a return to the place. It looks the same as there is the scenic beauty close enough to the city of Cochin, but with better roads and more facilities for tourism than during those earlier days. Here is something that I leave for you readers from my visit, and you can check my earlier post too 🙂

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***All images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone 5 or Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

The Blog Post No: 500

I have been moving towards this milestone, the five hundredth post on this blog for some time – there was a time when I thought that I could get to five hundred posts only while combining all my blogs together, but here I am, as The Tea Cerebration(s) has achieved that figure. I have been thinking about writing about a movie for this special occasion, but then I felt that I should stick to the personal side with this post. I really haven’t watched that special a movie for some time; so lets take this one back through the memories.

Lets talk about the awesome people I have met in the last one year or so. At a time when I was wondering what was next for me, the blogging fraternity has always been there for me – I am thankful to them for the same. I have met a number of my fellow bloggers, all of them at Cochin or Delhi. I have met a lot of people already from online communities, and last one year for so, has been special. I have met some of the most amazing people in these times, and I have been a lot of happy about the same.

At Delhi, there were four other bloggers for the conclave, as the winners of the writing contest on The World Remade; I met Arvind, Shoma, Shreya and Yogita at Taj Palace Hotel, Delhi. It was the best of times – I also met Mayank from India Today there. This one might always be my biggest win ever, and the only time when I have met so many bloggers at the same time. It was also one of the most interesting journeys of all-time, with the chance to see all those celebrities in person, and also to wander around the city as a tourist. I really needed a reason to visit Taj Mahal, and finally, there I was, with the suitable reason.

It is good to have an identity - we don't always get to have one.

I was surely left with the feeling that I missed meeting so many other bloggers at Delhi though, with the chance there – maybe there is another opportunity on another day. Life has the ability to provide you with second chances, as I have felt and proven at many points of my time-line of existence. Well, hope has got wings, right? I am sure that we have read that somewhere in a poem. According to Emily Dickinson, it had feathers, I guess. It should never cease to exist – there were many situations when I thought that I was done with blogging, but here I am, with my existence still being there.

On another day, I managed to meet Anoop, at the Ernakulam South railway station, followed by four cups of tea. It was a meeting which was waiting to happen; I was sure that it was supposed to happen some day, and in the end, it did. At least before Batman was to go and battle Superman, it had to happen 😛 At my break between two movies – Paavada and Monsoon Mangoes, I met Ranjini at the mall – with the tea; that was another meeting which was due for so long, of course; well, we did happen to go to the same school at a point of our life too 😛 Well, a fine day is to be chosen for meeting such wonderful people. I was just lucky enough to find the best time 😀

I later met Deepa at Durbar Hall Art Gallery in Cochin during the exhibition of her paintings last month; feels good to see such awesome creativity at any time. It was just last day that I met Shrinidhi during his visit to Cochin. I am more than happy to meet such amazing people, they have been directly or indirectly a significant part of my life, as not only have they supported me, but their writings have always been a source of inspiration for me. People look at many fields for some motivation, but I have found the same among my friends – the bloggers about whom I have talked about a lot already.

You can avoid and forget many things, but not the lovely tea!

It has taken me 642 days to get to 500 posts on this blog. I have been stuck at the score of 499 for too long after continuously writing for more than a year, and I am glad to have finally got to this milestone. Sometimes, you feel that you need these scores to make you remember, but there are occasions when you understand that it is all about the ideas and the people, and the records and achievements will just follow. I haven’t been able to blog much in the last few months due to work, but I hope to keep this going, as blogging has defined my life more than anything else, and the impact has surely been deeper than I felt earlier.

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

TeNy

An Isle and Two Towers

Among the many things, Kochi has also been known for its islands. I had earlier written about Kumbalangy which is a model tourism village and an island which has become quite popular in the recent years for its serenity and natural beauty. This time, the post is going to be related to another island, which is situated on the Vembanad Lake itself and has its own beautiful areas of backwaters. There is no shortage of natural beauty here either. Vallarpadam is situated between two other islands, Bolghatty and Vypin, and the port of Cochin is partially situated here with major portion going to Willingdon Island which is the largest man-made isle in India. The Bolghatty Palace as well as the Kochi Marina are close, with the Goshree bridges opened about twelve years ago.

Vallarpadam is home to the International Container Transshipment Terminal as well as the Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom which is also known as the pilgrimage centre dedicated to Vallarpadathamma. It is one of the most visited Marian pilgrimage centres in Kerala along with the popular pilgrimage centres at Koratty and Kuravilangad. There is a nice view possible from the top of the church towers. With the location being very close to the city with the Goshree bridges, and connected to the other side by the new Container Terminal Road, the popularity of the place has only increased. The journey through the road is smooth without much traffic and a nice scenic view. The travelers on two-wheelers at noon will feel the heat though.

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The journey to Vallarpadam has some nice scenic areas.

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The idea of stopping on the way will be nice.

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You have surely seen this one before, remember?

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The Rosary Park which is associated with the church.

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The church’s last renovation has made it look huge.

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A look from the top of the church tower becomes a necessity.

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One side of the Rosary Park – interesting views all around.

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The Two Towers: From one to the other.

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You stop the car and take the photos – I don’t see why not.

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Then you take more photos as you keep stopping 😀

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 on the way to Vallarpadam from Aluva and at the island. Btw, click here for the movie choice for Christmas 2015 season.

TeNy

Kerala and Houseboats

During your journey to Kerala, you might have wandered around Alappuzha/Aleppey which is called the Venice of the East, and also through Kumarakom, both being huge tourism destinations on the Vembanad Lake – the longest lake in India, and the largest in Kerala. This lake which serves the three districts of Kottayam, Alappuzha and Ernakulam, is also known by the names Punnamada Lake and Kochi Lake as it has Kochi’s significant islands located on it or bordered by the lake and the Arabian Sea. The houseboats or kettuvallams have been a major component of Kerala’s backwater tourism, and these will be the special attractions which you should have noticed during your journeys! Here are a few photos of them with the natural beauty of Kerala from around Alappuzha-Kumarakom area.

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So, have you been to one of these houseboats or traveled through/near the backwaters of Kerala having one of the most beautiful waterways around? If this hasn’t been accomplished yet, when are you making an attempt? There are also some interesting temples and churches which you can also visit while doing the same. The Venetian Capital of Kerala and the other towns around awaits you, as a journey to the South of India won’t be complete without witnessing the charm of this area which has canals, backwaters, beaches, and lagoons within a few kilometres.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 around Alappuzha and Kumarakom during the period of 2010-2011, and it is a small selection from a big collection of photos.

TeNy

Model Village: Kumbalangy

If you look through the map of Cochin, you will see a number of island all around, and among them, there is one which is going to be the focus in this post – Kumbalangy. Located about eleven to thirteen kilometres from the popular tourist spots Fort Cochin and Mattanchery, Kumbalangy is that extra location which one can visit while going through the usual destinations around the City of Cochin. Yes, you don’t really need to make those two places with monuments that crowded, for there is this option where you can spend the night peacefully.

You get to island - Welcome to Kumbalangy!

You get to the model tourism island – Welcome to Kumbalangy!

It was some years ago that we had to take the ferry to get to the island of Kumbalangy. There was no bridge connecting Perumpadappu and the island, and when I was a child, I had to take the ferry to reach the island. There were two boats operating, and the vehicles and some of the cargo also joined us. The journey to the island was not something that I really cherished during that time. But things have changed with the new bridge being built and Kumbalangy finding its position in the tourist map of Cochin with ease.

Do you wish to be welcomed be the coconut trees for a change?

Do you wish to be welcomed be the coconut trees for a change?

It was in the year 2003 that Kumbalangy was selected as a model tourism village by Kerala government, seeing its potential. The same has transformed it into a model fishing village and a tourist location which is getting more and more popular. It is associated with my childhood nostalgia, and now it is a lot more. Now, Kumbalangy is the place where you can really go on a trip, and it might be the next big tourist destination around Cochin as there is a lot of peace all around, and the place is also quite easy to reach.

The Chinese fishing nets - you will keep seeing them.

The Chinese fishing nets – you will keep seeing them.

There is the city service bus facility available from Aluva to Kumbalangy, and you can also choose the Perumpadappu buses and get an auto. There will be AC and Non-AC low-floor buses starting from Aluva, Angamaly, Perumbavoor or Cochin Airport which will go to Fort Cochin and Mattanchery and you can get down at Thoppumpady to choose another bus to Kumbalangy or Perumpadappu which is just the other side of the Kumbalangy bridge. The island is just about eight kilometres from Thoppumpady too. Well, in one way or the other, it is part of Cochin and Greater Cochin Development Authority should agree.

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

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

The distance from the Cochin International Airport is about fourty five kilometres. It is almost the same distance to Aleppey and its backwaters. But the backwaters of Kumbalangi and its fishing nets will make sure that you don’t really want to leave that early. The availability of the option to find peace and happiness not that away from city is a boon. Kumbalangy is also a nice eco-tourism centre. It is also only about fourteen kilometres to the city centre, and so everything is easily accessible from there, even though there will be the problem of traffic at some points – but it depends on the time when you are traveling.

This is also a good place to park your car unless coconuts fall :D

This is also a good place to park your car unless coconuts fall 😀

You just need to travel thirteen kilometres from the Ernakulam South railway station to reach here, while it will be about seventeen kilometres from the North station. But if you are coming through the road from Aluva on one side or Perumbavoor/Muvattupuzha on the other and beyond, you can avoid the city by traveling through Maradu as it will get you to Thoppumpady. At the island, the most beautiful parts might be accessed through the smaller roads, just like the path which leads to heaven, as it is said. You might need the calmness and beauty here; you can keep bringing this to your mind whenever you are busy.

You stop, you look, and you enjoy the beauty.

You stop, you look, and you enjoy the beauty of all that is on the way.

At Kumbalangy, you will see a good number of churches and temples. Most of them can be seen on the way itself. You can also travel to the famous pilgrimage centre, the Kannamaly Church from there. One the north-western side of the island, there is another smaller island which is connected to Kumbalangy, called Kallenchery, and it is a very scenic location there. It can be reached by traveling on the road by the side of the village office. There are some nice home-stays there, including the Kallanchery Retreat. New facilities are always being set up at Kumbalangy, and it has been some time since I last made a visit there. Maybe it is time to be surrounded by the backwaters again!

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

TeNy

When Darkness Calls

Vampire Hamster: A strange creature has arrived, Sir Vampire Bat and Sir Vampire Owl. It just can’t wait to meet you and has told me that it is urgent.

Vampire Bat: Let it in, after checking for any magical devices in its possession which can cause harm to the vampire kind.

Vampire Owl: Don’t you think that we taking the role of Uncle Dracula when he is not here, is not really the right thing to do as he hasn’t named a temporary substitute?

Vampire Bat: Well, in that case, he should have named someone before choosing to watch some of those terrible Bollywood movies. As of now, we have to take control or the whole of the New Vampire World will fall into chaos. The werewolves, the Lich Queen and the dark elves are looking for this opportunity. The rest of the creatures including the orcs, high elves, goblins, dwarves and the wood elves are no different either.

Vampire Owl: We shall defend the vampire world, whatever be the cost. I am sure that we can’t trust that Werewolf Anger at all. Lich Queen is a bloody opportunist and we know that she wants to rule us.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is exactly what I am talking about.

Vampire Owl: I would say that this is also a nice time to talk about it as the Vampire Crocodile has gone to study break-dance.

Vampire Bat: What? Is he seriously going to do that? He told me that he was going to the bathroom.

Vampire Owl: You know what kind of a person he is. He is always looking for opportunities to overtake his. He thinks that learning this strange art form of humans can make him more popular. It is not just the usual dance, because it has breaks; he once said!

The Creature: Greetings, vampire lords. I am from the Shadow World with a message from the Dark Overlord.

Vampire Owl: Speak, strange creature. I hope you bring good news.

The Creature: As the King of Kings, Dracula is hospitalized, we have decided to declare emergency in the borders, which means that you will have to pay tribute to the dark souls with one place of darkness for a month.

Vampire Owl: Is this really happening?

Vampire Bat: Yes, this declaration of emergency and the protection of the shadow creatures are needed to ensure that the vampire world remains safe from terrorist infiltration through the border areas.

The Creature: I shall return again next week to collect this month’s tribute, a place with darkness in its name.

Vampire Hamster: I don’t like this creature at all. Why do shadow creatures wander around the world of vampires which has no shadows or reflections?

Vampire Owl: Do you think that we can do it? Is there such a place with darkness in its name?

Vampire Bat: Yes, there is one; Andhakaranazhy – it is a beach, and the name means “The Darkness Lagoon” or “The Lagoon of Darkness”.

Vampire Owl: Fine, lets just go and explore that place then.

[Transforms a unicorn into a Honda Unicorn and leaves for Andhakaranazhy with chocolate chip cookies].

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You are arriving at Andhakaranazhy Beach. You are welcome here and be good.

Andhakaranazhy is located about twenty eight kilometres from Cochin if you take the usual route through the highway; the distance will be shorter with a few other smaller routes though, but they should be harder to find and travel through. The distance from Aleppey is around thirty four kilometres, which makes this location a nice choice from both sides of Kerala. The Cochin-Alleppey route is a nice route to travel, and there is also an Indian Coffee House at Aroor when coming from Cochin. When coming from the Aleppey side, the best option for food is the KTDC Restaurant on the way.

As you know already, there is a nice beach around here!

As you know already, there is a nice beach around here; take a walk around!

The journey from the Cochin side is through Vyttila, Maradu, Aroor and you have to take a right turn a few kilometres after you pass Thuravoor and when you go through Vayalar Railway Station, you know that you are traveling in the right direction. When you are coming from Perumbavoor, the total distance will be sixty one kilometres through thet Chithrapuzha route – people around the town can calculate accordingly. Coming from Aluva requires traveling fifty eight kilometres, and so those who are coming from places beyond that town needs to calculate based on this – it is the same distance from the Cochin International Airport.

Well, we are always fond of such wonderful sunsets, aren't we?

Well, we are always fond of such wonderful sunsets around here, aren’t we?

Those coming from Muvattupuzha side can take the Tripunithura route, and travelers from Kothamangalam side can follow the same path. The closest big town for Andhakaranazhy should be Cherthala, and it comes under the Pattanakkad Panchayath of Cherthala Taluk. If you have watched Aashiq Abu’s heavy nostalgia movie Idukki Gold, you will remember seeing this beach and the area around it. It is a beautiful place, and quite different from those usual beaches which you see around in Kerala. It is quite a neat place which is well-maintained, but will require more attention to develop it into something bigger.

The sea meets the backwaters, and the sands separate them.

The sea meets the backwaters here, and the sands separate them in style.

The crowd was there when we visited the place, but that was expected because it was the evening on a Sunday. We had some cardamom tea there, enjoying the view of the sunset. There are some good small shops all around to have some snacks. Even with the clouds threatening to bring the rain and also obstruct the view, we had some good time there on that day. The silhouettes of the trees were around, and the people looked very confident in playing with the waves; it can get rough though. There is that place where the sea joins the backwaters, and a lighthouse is also present there, catching our attention along with the other structures which are already built there.

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

TeNy

Queen of the Arabian Sea

Kochi, or Cochin, known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, is the city which has driven me forward throughout my life. Yes, we use both names for the city; Cochin and Kochi are used like we wish to! I have always lived less than fifty kilometres from the city, except when I had those trips which lasted not more than one or two months. I believe that this will also be the city which will drive me towards my desires and destinations in life. My mother’s place is located on the other side of the city and so I have traveled through Kochi a lot during my childhood, and later, the malls and multiplexes increased the number of city visits.

The fishing boats with the old bridge of Cochin on the background.

The fishing boats with the old bridge of Cochin on the background.

We used to love going on a drive through the city later in the night, and have food at some special places there. The traffic would be so less at that time. We enjoyed spending our time at the beaches as well as the Marine Drive during our early college life. During those times, there were multiplexes were only on waiting list as the malls were absent, and we frequented the local theatres and had fun there. We also had those historical tourist destinations of Fort Cochin making the place the one choice of antiquity – it was one design of Cochin for us, and now there is more of that design. We always considered Cochin as a city #madeofgreat.

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Cochin is an architectural beauty of great historical, religious and spiritual significance. You can also see the Jewish Synagogue which is considered as the oldest of its kind at this part of the world. The Mattancherry Palace will let you through another journey through the history of Kerala, surrounded by temples. There is also a beautiful Jain Temple. There is also the Dutch Cemetery. Saint Francis Church, the oldest European Church in India is also located at Fort Cochin. The Koonankurishu Church where the famous Coonan Cross Oath against the Portuguese domination took place among the native Christians of Kerala is located around Mattanchery area. You should also add Kumbalangy model tourism village to your journey as you have peace within the extended city!

Santa Cruz Basilica - a structure that you wouldn't want to miss.

Santa Cruz Basilica – a beautiful structure that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Meanwhile, the Kochi International Marina is the only marina in India. Pallipuram Fort built by the Portuguese is the oldest existing European fort in India; it was last owned by the Kingdom of Travancore. There is also the largest archaeological museum in Kerala, the Tripunithura Hill Palace. So many beaches are around from the Fort Cochin beach to the Puthuvype, Cherai and Munambam beaches. You see that there is history and there is the beauty of nature along with the newly arrived modernity – it is the right mixture in the design which you won’t fail to notice. Another nice mixture happens with the religious population which is like not many other cities can boast about.

Kochi has also been a city which has connected us friends coming from different suburbs, towns and villages around the place. Even now, it is where a lot of old friends arrive and we meet up there; the change in the design is with the malls though, with six malls around, and five of them having the multiplex option, Lulu being the largest mall in India. Connecting with the old friends over some food and movie has only managed to get things better. Kochi is well-connected to the towns around, and the bus option is easy, with the Kochi Metro Rail coming up, about to make things even more amazing.

Chinese fishing nets - always part of Cochin and its islands.

The Chinese fishing nets – always part of Cochin and all its islands.

Along with having connectivity through rail, air, water and the National Highway, Kochi’s location right at the centre of Kerala makes it easier for people from all around. The significance of Kochi has only been increasing at a steady rate throughout the the last few years. The Cochin International Airport is the largest and the busiest airport in Kerala it is also the fourth busiest airport in India according to the international passenger traffic recorded. It is also world’s first completely solar energy powered airport. Meanwhile, Cochin Port, has the largest container trans-shipment facility in India.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the home of Kerala Blasters and former home of Kochi Tuskers Kerala is one amazing place to spend some great time during a football match; you will see the love for football like nowhere else. There is one thing about which you can be more certain than many other things, and it is about the beauty of the backwaters of Kochi – it will be an instant hit going right into the soul, even more than those lovely beaches. Kochi also has some amazing food with a lot of variety, and it is up-to you to decide what drives you to connect with the grand design of Kochi. Maybe it can be the Kochi-Muziris Biennale with all the brilliant art on display?

A quote I found interesting during the Kochi Biennale :)

A quote which I found interesting during the Kochi Biennale visit 🙂

What about your favourite city? Is it also made of great things, driving you through its design and having a certain connection to your soul? http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/

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

TeNy

A Blessed Birthday

Today is November 1st, the day after the Halloween night. I usually try to come up with a Halloween night post, but as horror always exists in my life a lot better than anything else, I thought that I should come up with the Kerala Piravi post instead. Today is the birthday of the state of Kerala or the Kerala Piravi Dinam. It is believed that Parashurama, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu created Kerala as he threw his axe into the sea, and water gave way to bring the land which is now this state, A part of his creation also forms a very small part of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Most of the Keralites do know all these, but I will share this for the first time on my blog. A reminder will only help to keep the memory filled.

Parasurama, who is credited with bringing Kerala out of the sea :)

Lord Parashurama, who is credited with bringing the land of Kerala out of the sea

I have read a good amount history, but all that I have studied has not got much about Kerala; still, I will bring something here. Kerala history also forms only a smaller part of our history books except for the times of the Renaissance, if I remember correctly from my school days. Three big kingdoms of Kerala on May 27th 1498 when Vasco Da Gama landed at Kappad included Travancore in the South with its capital at Padmanabhapuram which later shifted to Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin at the centre with its capital at Kochi and the Kingdom of Calicut based on Kozhikode.

Once the most powerful among the Malayalam speaking kingdoms in the South, Calicut made good progress into Valluvanad and through Cochin, forcing the ruler to shift the capital to Thiruvanchikkulam and then to Kochi itself. Calicut was controlling most part of Cochin soon and later they were making tributaries out of the smaller kingdoms. After coming under Vijayanagara Empire, the ruler of Calicut under the title of Zamorin or Samoothiri could rise again only to face the Portuguese threat, changing the alliances and friends teaming up with the Dutch against the men from Portugal and their earlier nemesis Cochin.

The Mysorean invasion of Kerala led by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan began the end for Calicut with the ruler setting himself on fire as he faced certain defeat. Calicut would never really recover, and the kingdom would be part of Madras Presidency under British after the fall of Tipu. Once extending between Ponnani and Kochi, Cochin was restricted to a smaller state forcing it into alliance with Portuguese. The destruction of the city by the Zamorin of Calicut and Mysorean invasion would affect the kingdom, but would still rise to its best situation under Sakthan Thampuran, the most renowned king of the state.

Cochin also had its alliance with its former rival and the bigger Kingdom of Travancore in the South against Calicut. Covering most of central and southern Kerala along with the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, the rise of Travancore meant unity. The Battle of Colachel in 1741 had Travancore defeating the Dutch, becoming the first kingdom to win a battle against a European power. Led by the Flemish commander, Eustachius De Lannoy who surrendered in the battle, Travancore went on further North to conquer more. With the successful defence against a stronger army of Tipu in the Battle of the Nedumkotta and providing asylum to those who escaped the Mysorean onslaught, Travancore would rise to become the second most prosperous state in India with its kings of the people and a high level of religious tolerance.

The Dutch surrender to Travancore

The Dutch forces surrender to Marthanda Varma, King of Travancore

Travancore and Cochin would later join forces again to come up with the Travancore Rebellion against the British East India Company. The later history of Kerala goes back to three provinces named Malabar, Cochin and Travancore; as the first one was under the Madras Presidency directly controlled by the Empire, the second and the third being kingdoms allied to the British. After independence, the first state to be formed was that of Travancore-Cochin, which was created on 1st of July 1949 by combining two kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin. Parur T. K. Narayana Pillai, the Prime Minister of Travancore, then became the Chief Minister of Travancore-Cochin with the ruler of Travancore as the governor.

This arrangment existed for a few years until the situation had to change with Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress launching a campaign for joining Tamil-speaking regions of Travancore-Cochin with Madras State. Later, according to the States Reorganisation Act of 1956, the current state of Kerala was formed as the Travancore-Cochin state combined with the Malabar district of Madras State and the Kasaragod taluk of South Canara district while Kanyakumari district was added to the Madras state. This is the fifty nineth birthday of the state which is known as the God’s Own Country, as that day of its current existence began on November 1st, 1956.

Happy birthday, Kerala 😀 There will always be only one true home and there is no other place like home 🙂

***The images used in this blog post are from the Wikipedia pages of Kerala and the Battle of Colachel.

TeNy

Of Malls and Movies

There is a duty that I have failed to do as someone who lives and wanders around Kochi. It was something that I should have done a long time ago, but when there was the need, I didn’t have this blog, but I have it now. It was on the week of my birthday two years ago that the largest mall in India opened at Edappally, Kochi. The year 2013 not only saw the opening of Lulu International Shopping Mall, but it also made sure that the PVR Cinemas made my movie experience a lot better. This memory is a tribute to the mall of Kochi.

I remember the first mall we have had as Bay Pride Mall. It was never really a complete mall, and never gave the experience of having the true mall experience. But it had the advantage of the nice surroundings. The location on the side of the Kochi Marine Drive makes sure that there is some nice view and chance for a peaceful walk in the evening. As I remember, there were some nice brands there and a food court inside. It was a small mall, but it was the first one, and the nice little memory.

But what brought the big change was Oberon Mall. It was the first mall to have cinema. The idea of multiplex came with this mall and it used to be the most popular destination for spending some time with friends. I remember that it was so difficult to get a seat at the food court there when it started for the first time. The food court is still among my favourites, especially the vegetarian food there, and I still choose the Cinemax there as it is a nice place to watch movies peacefully – PVR at Lulu has more rush.

A lovely morning at Oberon Mall when you go for an early movie :)

A lovely morning at Oberon Mall when you go for an early movie 🙂

The presence of Lulu has decreased the rush in Oberon, and same is the case with Gold Souke Grande, the mall which followed Oberon as it started and came up with Q Cinemas as the next multiplex. Located closer to Vyttila, I remember the place as where we watched three movies continuously in a day, and the mall where we have some nice tea and puffs. It was also the first mall to have KFC, and it introduced the chain in Kerala. I have not noticed a Subway restaurant in a mall in Kerala before the shop opening here either.

Abad Nucleus Mall was the other one to come to existence. It is located further though, at Maradu, reached after crossing Vyttila from the city. We used to visit the food court there, and now, Pan Cinemas has opened there, increasing the options for watching movies. Still, the number of screens and movie options seem to be less there. I would guess that it would serve the people from the other side of the city better. I hope to make the first visit to that multiplex one day.

The Centre Square Mall is my personal favourite though. It opened after Lulu, and has certain advantages even though it is far away from my place. It is located right at the centre of the city, and has the largest multiplex in Kerala in the form of Cinepolis. There are eleven screens, which is two more than what we got at PVR Cinemas in Lulu. Three of them are actually VIP screens which provide better comfort at higher prices. The food court there also has a lot of variety, and all around the mall, there are local theatres outside too.

Even with other malls under construction, Lulu will always have a special place. Yes, it has too much rush, and sometimes parking is real pain. Along with being the largest and also having the first McDonalds in the state, PVR has served me more than any other theatre since starting my movie review blog. I have visited PVR sixty eight times to watch movies, having been to the mall more than a hundred times. We used to visit the McDonalds and KFC there a lot, and I will keep these strong with the memories of the other malls as none of the friends really remain in Kerala anymore.

A shot on one of the early days of Lulu Mall after the grand opening :)

A shot on one of the early days of Lulu Mall after the grand opening 🙂

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on Samsung Galaxy A5 and Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

Four Cups of Tea

The best incidents in the vampire world have always managed to begin with tea. The reason for this is that no vampire ever wakes up without smelling tea from the sleep or having that perfect tea dream which makes it the only non bloody thing that can be perfectly shared between vampires and humans. It has also eternally kept the werewolves and zombies away because they have never been the people of the tea, and it has been a title reserved for the vampires under the immortal clause 99A-2Z.

Yes, vampires do keep the people away, it has been the twenty seventh super power which they are known to possess. It has been officially recognized in thirteen realms of magic. But it has only did people good because the great vampire team has been mostly angry and none of them has ever fallen in love. They were always beyond that, of a higher existence. Still, there is that girl walking outside. She has been walking around with that phone for quite a long time. Who might be calling her? Vampire Bat finds her to be extremely cute…

Vampire Owl: You are going very far away from the topic.

Vampire Bat: What? Oh, yes. What was I talking about? Yes, the meeting which had the awesome tea.

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So, the Vampire Bat hasn’t been always into meetings due to the same reason. He doesn’t meet other bloggers, even though he has met a few this year as they were brought together by fate. Still, the Vampire Bat decided to get the Yellow Vampire Mobile and travel on it to the meeting point which was many pot-holes and a lot of congested traffic away from his place. But the Vampire Bat knew that the time has come for him to come out of the shadows to enter the list of friends belonging to the living.

Vampire Hamster: Excuse me, Sir Vampire Bat. Do you travel on a mobile phone? Is that the Asus Zenfone 5?

Vampire Bat: What? No! Its like the Batmobile. Kindly stop talking if you really want to hear the full story.

Vampire Owl: Typical question from a vampire apprentice who doesn’t come to the blood sucking tutorials. You please continue, Mr. Vampire Bat.

The Vampire Bat had the meeting with the Man Who Lives, as the world of the undead met the world of the living at the land which is known to mankind as Cochin. Then we made to KR Bakes where we decided to not choose the Puffs with the dead and had Vegetable Puffs in the name of the immortal WordPress blogs. There, we also had four cups of tea and discussed very interesting things like life before death, movies of the soul, Kerala and the Middle East, how to have a job and not to, how the bats and owls are doing in the world of chaos etc.

As the Vampire Bat was once hit on the head with a selfie stick, he made the decision not to bring a selfie here. It was actually an accident, but that too counts. He never really encouraged the selfies even though he did pose on a few occasions just because they were taken and his absence would mean that his immortality had expired. The Vampire Bat has asked Uncle Dracula to declare this stick as a dangerous weapon along with the silver stakes, but that is pending approval from the vampire elders and the Elite Vampire Club.

Vampire Bat: So, my dear vampire team, please say this together with me.

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Vampires [together]: We would like to thank the Man Who Lives, and also all his tranquility for bringing the meeting of the Living and the Undead at one place where there was awesome tea and Vegetable Puffs.

Vampire Bat: Please note this down in the New Vampire Book of Eternity, on page number thirteen.

Vampire Hamster: As you say, Sir Vampire Bat. I am going to work on that.

***This is the story of my first unofficial blogger meet with any blogger I have known before 😀 There were no photos taken, and so please adjust with the photos from the Official Facebook of the movie, Hotel Transylvania 😛

TeNy

Airtel 4G: Day II and III

I had already made the post about the Day One of my Airtel 4G usage time, and I am adding my experience of high-speed internet from the next two days here. I hope to continue this usage, but as my journeys to Cochin are rather limited, I can’t be sure about the same and I am not certain about when there will be the details about a possible Day Four. All the photos used in this blog post were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone 5 and on the side of the road while checking the speed of #Airtel4G 😀

4G Day II: The second day takes the #Airtel4G first to Aluva which has been my home for most of my life. We stopped at the Mahnami Restaurant to have food and check the internet, and it gave very good speed there. This happens just a few months after we shifted from Aluva – a lot of things happened at the town after our shifting; Premam, Mumbai Taxi and now the availability of #Airtel4G, soon to be followed by the Kochi Metro which ends there. Aluva surely has the high-speed now, even though we didn’t check the insides of the town.

I always like to start by loading my Movie Review place :D

I always like to start by loading my Movie Review place! Hail Movies of the Soul 😀

After Aluva, the next stop was at Kalamassery, a little distance from the HMT distance where we could park the car in peace. There was the highest speed attained with the speed test, and we checked the Wynk Music and Youtube there; there was absolutely no lag at all. This is quite a lot for me as I have never really had high-speed internet in my dreams (It was mostly about just having internet all the time). Here is a reason to study at Saint Paul’s College – the Airtel 4G speed available around.

We stopped at Tripunithura and found a speed almost the same as Kalamassery. Later, I had a detailed check on the same at my cousin’s place and realized that once again it is not available inside the house as it became 2G again. The speed at the terrace was good, but returning inside home meant the loss of that speed – the location was on one of the pocket roads near SN Junction. I would guess that Tripunithura is the end of 4G at this side, and the entrance to Airtel 4G from the South. It is another thing that needed to be tested and known.

Watching the Phantom trailer here with speed!

Watching the new Phantom trailer here with the high speed @Kalamassery!

4G Day III: The third day was actually the official movie day. It could have been the second day with the movies, but I had to wait for all of the Onam weekend movies to release. I had to test this one inside a multiplex and so I decided to go for the movie Double Barrel for the first show of its release at Cinemax, Oberon Mall. It was also to add Edappally to the list of places where I had tried this. The mall has been my most visited place right from its beginning, and so I felt that this was the best place to give it a try.

So, that made sure that my local theatre wandering program took a break for the multiplex. I couldn’t get a ticket for the movie as they had cancelled the show (happens with me a lot) and so I decided to choose Phantom instead later to be followed by Jamna Pyari only. Well, people say that you have to watch a Malayalam movie for Onam, but this one was the next available best choice at that time. So, after seeing the higher speed in the mall, I waited for this movie to start. When it did, I immediately checked if 4G was there on the handset.

Checked the Airtel Wynk Music App; this was fast too!

Checked the Airtel Wynk Music App; this was fast too @Kalamassery!

Well, it was there at one second and then it switched out of it – the process continued and most of the time, it was just 2G. So, posting from inside is not going to be easy. May be PVR and Q Cinemas will have slightly different situations being closer to the Edappally Junction and the Vyttila Junction, but at the core, I believe that the things are going to be the same. I could get the speed back right after the movie, and I would love to have a get-together at the mall and see how fast the photos get uploaded.

TeNy

Kerala District 007: Ernakulam

You know which district comes to the mind when you see KL-7 on the number plates of a vehicle. The district can’t be determined by the plates any more, but the number seven remains. Ernakulam was the first cent percent literate district in India and has two universities, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit and Cochin University of Science and Technology. It also has a high number of education institutions and rightly claims to be the commercial capital of Kerala. It is also known for its beaches and also has a good number of religious places of high significance. Lets just check six of the tourist destinations in the district right now.

Paniyeli Poru
It might be the closest big destination having so much greenery as far as the people visiting the City of Cochin are concerned. With the closest town being Perumbavoor at the tip of the Greater Cochin area, this is exactly the place you might want to go away from the city, but still connected to it. There is one low-floor KSRTC bus from Perumbavoor to this place of great natural beauty. There are big trees all around, and you can walk on the sides of the river Periyar, through the streams and on the rocks as you enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. The water here is dangerous though, and care is needed in case of getting in, and rocks can be slippery. It is around fifty five kilometres from the City of Cochin, thirteen kilometres from the nearby town of Perumbavoor, and twenty four kilometres from Cochin International Airport.

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Kodanad
You should know this name. Most of the people I know, including the foreigners know, and so if you don’t know it yet, do realize that this place has been a big name in the list of tourist attractions when I was a kid. Located just eight kilometres from the nearest town of Perumbavoor, this is actually on the way to Paniyeli Poru and can ne joined to make a nice combined trip. There is a park there, and the Elephant training center is very famous. Even though it interests the locals less these days as it has been there for a very long time inspiring too many visits, this is a much loved place by the people coming from far away. You can also check Abhayaranyam Mini Zoo at Kaprikkad which keeps the other animals; it is not too far away from there.

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Ezhaattumugham
A beautiful place which lies around the borders of the Ernakulam district, Ezhaattumugham is a peaceful place to spend some time with nature. It has so many similarities with Paniyeli Poru, and if you are going to visit the Athirappally Waterfalls, you might want to join this place and do a combined visit. The tourists are rather lesser in number and visits during different seasons give different feelings. Located just about ten kilometres from Angamaly, the nearest big town with railway station, and thirteen kilometres from Chalakudy, this place is also just around fifteen kilometres from the Cochin International Airport. When arriving from the Cochin city, it is fifty four kilometres, and most of the journey is through the National Highway.

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Bhoothathankettu
There is some special love for this place, as I love the name right here – bhootham means ghost, and the supernatural name had me interested in the place; there is also some myth concerning the spirits related to the location. Located just around ten kilometres from the nearest town of Kothamangalam and sixty four kilometres from the City of Cochin, it is forty two kilometres from the Airport. Originally known for the dam and reservior along with a small park and closeness to nature, the place has developed into a bigger tourist desination having tree houses, boat rides, shops, restaurants and other facilities for the tourists; it is still going through the development process. Also do add Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary to this visit or to the one mentioned below.

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Urulanthanni
No matter where or how you search for information, Urulanthanni is not a place which you can find with ease; not on the internet or not while talking with those people whom you usually meet. It is because Urulanthanni is far away from most of those places where you visit for a relief from the normal city routine. It is also because it is not that much explored by people of modernity. Urulanthanni remains a name which is not usually talked about among the travellers, but it is a place which deserves to. This is a journey right into nature. Read details at: https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/not-the-obvious

The waterfalls and all those green elements - that surely feels like Tomb Raider!

Fort Cochin
This one should be rather very well known. A journey to Fort Cochin shouldn’t be limited to one place. It should consist of four places – Fort Cochin, Mattanchery, Thoppumpady and Kumbalanghi, the last one being a tourist village and an island with so much of natural beauty – I certify the same. The second last one is on the way to Fort Cochin, and Saint Sebastian’s Church there, a heritage building and a famous religious structure, is worth your time, and you can also have a nice view of the lake from the back side of the building. The other two are rather the big names. Read details at: https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/never-say-no/

Santa Cruz Basilica - a structure that you wouldn't want to miss.

TeNy

Kochi Biennale 20:20

I do still want to visit Kochi Biennale (http://kochimuzirisbiennale.org) this year, but it turns out that I am too lazy to travel that far and have been unable to find someone who can go there with me. Yes, finding partners to see art has never been this difficult. Therefore, I was looking at the photos taken by me during last Biennale and I wish to share twenty of them with you. All of them were taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 and chosen just because they look interesting for me now at the first look 😀

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Keep calm and hope to go for Biennale 😀

TeNy

Never Say No to Cochin

Do you know that the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is going on right now? If you haven’t read about it, please check the information about the same on the website http://kochimuzirisbiennale.org/ – but I am pretty sure that there will be enough information about the same on most of the newspapers of India, and it is abundant on the newspapers of Kerala. For those who are not aware of the same, it will be there till the twenty nineth of March this year. Everybody needs to attend a biennale at least once.

A quote I found interesting during the Kochi Biennale :)

A quote I found interesting during the Kochi Biennale – on death by water 🙂

That would make people wonder if I am writing this from the location, and the answer is no. I haven’t been to this year’s Biennale. But I have been to the last festival which had its times during 2012-2013 and I have to admit that it was so well arranged, and impressively managed. So, is this post about that journey? No, this is more about Fort Cochin in general. I have been to the last Biennale and enjoyed it, and those four journeys to the Biennale were part of my multiple journeys to the place. Fort Cochin is a place which I have visited so many times.

Yes, you can also get captures like this during the Kochi Biennale ;)

Yes, you can also get captures like this during the Kochi Biennale – notice a jealous crow 😉

A journey to Fort Cochin shouldn’t be limited to one place. It should consist of four places – Fort Cochin, Mattanchery, Thoppumpady and Kumbalanghi, the last one being a tourist village and an island with so much of natural beauty – I certify the same. The second last one is on the way to Fort Cochin, and Saint Sebastian’s Church there, a heritage building and a famous religious structure, is worth your time, and you can also have a nice view of the lake from the back side of the building.

Santa Cruz Basilica - a structure that you wouldn't want to miss.

Santa Cruz Basilica – a structure that you wouldn’t want to miss at any cost.

Then, about Fort Cochin and Mattanchery – they can’t be seen separately. The latter has the Dutch Palace which I am yet to visit, and the Jew Street with the Jewish Synagogue which is India’s oldest functioning synagogue. It also has the Holy Cross Church where Church the Coonan Cross Oath took place where an oath was taken by the ancient Christians not to submit to the Portuguese and in the need to continue their culture and traditions. Mattanchery Jain Temple is another much visited destination.

Chinese fishing nets - always part of Cochin and its islands.

Chinese fishing nets – always part of Cochin and its islands, adding to its glory.

Coming back to Fort Cochin, one has to admit that there is no better place to conduct the Biennale considering how much of history this place has, and how much of colonial as well as some of the traditional Kerala culture can be witnessed on the streets of the town. There are the Chinese fishing nets as well as the buildings of its colonial past which form the major part of this end of the extended Cochin city. Given to the Portuguese by the King of Cochin in return for military aid, this place has been under Portuguese as well as Dutch occupation and finally coming under the British till independence.

A day at the beach - Kerala never forgets its football.

A day at the beach – Kerala never forgets its football, and neither does its soul.

Saint Francis Church remains a significant landmark as the oldest European church in India, originally built by the Portuguese, and where Vasco da Gama was buried. It comes under the Archaeological Survey of India and the Church of South India as of now. Santa Cruz Basilica originally built by the Portuguese which was destroyed by the British and was later re-built, remains another symbol of the area’s long history. You would love its Gothic interiors with some beautiful works.

The oldest European church in India - antiquity's own child.

The oldest European church in India; Saint Francis Church – antiquity’s own child.

Then there is the beach, where sometimes the love of football can be seen in full power, and some of the monuments as well as the remains of other few, including that of Fort Emmanuel. You can walk on the paved area or the beach itself and see those ships, boats as well as the Chinese fishing nets. You can also see some more churches, temples and mosques, as well as the Dutch Cemetery. There are some huge trees to add to the beauty and serenity of the already lovable world. When is the best time to visit? Right now, for there is Biennale going on!

The fishing boats with the old bridge of Cochin on the background.

The fishing boats of Cochin with the old bridge of the city on the background.

All photos were taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 during 2010-2012 period.

TeNy

Antiquity, Beauty and Beliefs

Here are ten of my favourite Catholic churches in Kerala. Yes, I have traveled to a lot of them, and have taken photos of most of them. I have been pretty much interested in the spiritual affairs for some time now; some of these also got the value of antiquity and the rest has the strength of beauty, powered by legends and beliefs.

10. Basilica of Our Lady of Snows, Pallippuram: Saved from Tipu Sultan’s attack during the Mysorean Invasion of Travancore, this one managed not only to be spared from destruction but thrive, and is a smaller but beautiful structure located close to the oldest existing European fort in India.

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9. St. Joseph’s Church, Aluva: Part of the St. Joseph Pontifical Institute Of Theology Philosophy, which is one of the biggest of its kind in the area, this is one structure that you might wish to see for all its beauty in architecture as well as nature.

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8. Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom, Vallarpadam: Built after the tradition of Vallarpadath Amma who is believed to have saved her devotees multiple times from the forces of nature, this structure also has a tower which you can enter and see the area from a big height.

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7. Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Cochin: Originally built by Portuguese, and later rebuilt after being demolished by the British, this church is a beautiful building of Gothic and colonial architecture, becoming a symbol of Fort Cochin itself.

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6. St. Andrew’s Basilica, Arthunkal: Known for St. Sebastian’s feast, this church is also known for being a big pilgrimage centre. Its tradition traces its origins back to a mythical tale that links the Arthunkal Veluthachan of the church with the Sabarimala Ayyappan.

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5. St. George Church, Kothamangalam: The Catholic Church at Kothamangalam is often less noticed compared to the other churches there, but the beauty and the architectural style are something that will surely catch your attention.

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4. St. Mary’s Church, Kuravilangad: Believed to have witnessed the Marian apparition, and having a long history before the Europe even got close to being Christian, this church is another wonderful structure.

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3. St. Thomas Church, Malayattoor: At a pilgrim centre which has more churches, this newly built version of the older church is a mesmerizing beauty, and you just need to have a look at its altar to believe in Keats’ version of beauty.

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2. St. George Basilica, Angamaly: Often considered the largest church in India, or sometimes corrected as the biggest in South India, this one has some of the most beautiful painted glasses around, and the light reflected through the same is a thing of extreme beauty.

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1. Our Lady Of Dolours Basilica, Trichur: The tallest church in India and one of the tallest in Asia, this Gothic structure also has a big tower which can be entered to see the whole town, as this is also the tallest building in the town.

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All photos were taken on my camera and my previous mobile (Sony Cybershot DSC-W310/Samsung Star Duos). Which one is your favourite? 😉
TeNy

Whatever Begins Should End

ISL seems to have begun and ended so early, and we are left wondering what is to do with that time period between six fourty five and nine before sleep. There is an emptiness there, and this absence has basically become a presence, a bloody spiritual presence of something that calls for thinking about the league more and more, especially when sitting with nothing to do. It has finished in style, but we are still left with some memories, especially of the final. The rest have already been taken and locked up.

As I had said earlier in my post (https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/indian-football/), this is a final in which both results had the power to make me happy. It was exactly what was delivered on the night. Looking at the sad face of Sourav Ganguly was going to be depressing, and I wondered about a possibility of both teams winning, as Apoula Edel became that mountain that Michael Chopra couldn’t overcome. As I have mentioned much earlier, three of my four suggested teams for the semi-finals also made it to the top four and my favourite two teams were playing the final (https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/a-change-or-no-change/).

The legend of these two never ends - the best opening pair ever.

The legend of these two cricketers never ends – the best opening pair in cricket, ever.

I have been a Sourav Ganguly supporter throughout my life. In cricket, his dedication and passion was not rewarded well enough in the last stages of his career, and IPL didn’t give him his due either, as there was only money that mattered there. This year, with ISL coming to the picture, I wondered how it was to turn out, and in the end, as everything seemed to finish off well, that was another case of things becoming fair – as this is the Lord of the Off Side and Prince of Kolkata who brought to us the first team in ISL and had the first big collaboration with the Spanish football giants Atletico Madrid, with all the celebrities at the opposition camp on the day of the final.

There is nothing that Dada hasn’t done for Indian cricket, and there had to be another day on which he had to be on the screen, happy and with his arms raised high in victory, and it was that day. It was the day of the warrior, once again. Even if it is on the stage of other game, the wrongs have to be undone, and Sachin Tendulkar won’t mind, I am sure – he would be supporting good football, especially after watching the match from Chennaiyin. After all, this is a league which is not owned by any organization like BCCI, and Atletico de Kolkata played and won with the right spirit.

Just another photo of them as a psychological move to get support :D

Just another photo of the two legends as a psychological move to get support for this blog 😀

Another fact is that Kolkata deserved the win, coming back with the confidence which they had lost with a loss supported by a disallowed goal which should have been there. They had dominated the league and was at the top for most of the season, and in the end, they also finish first in the league with the final win – sounds fair. Then there is Iain Hume winning the Hero of the League, and Sandesh Jhingan also getting his deserved award. Kerala Blasters, you can be proud. There were still people who didn’t want both these teams in the final, and this match is a slap on their faces. Dadagiri can never be destroyed, and Sachin Tendulkar is forever.

The game had some good moments, and it is the happiness of having two of these teams and not any other in the final. Kerala Blasters can be happy about having reached this stage after being considered one of the worst teams in the league. David James can be delighted about coming this far. More than anything else, they also lost more to a fantastic performance from Apoula Edel, a goal keeper who became the wall. There is also the award won for the best fans, and that is much deserved. My only sadness is that Kerala Blasters didn’t play Pedro Gusmao and Sushant Mathew enough.

The winners of the match, trophy and the soul, with Dada and Mrs. Ambani

The winners of the match, trophy and the soul, with Dada, Mrs. Ambani and the others.

Lets thank Nita Ambani, Star Sports and the rest of the sponsors and people involved for bringing this tournament to a success as it has turned out to be, and lets wait for the next season. Meanwhile, lets appreciate the good things that have happened to the Indian football along with those waiting to happen, and a final which had two teams playing each other with mutual respect rather than trying cheap tricks or getting one sided decision from the referees for no reason. India is becoming a powerful force of soccer, and it is time cricket makes way for football, and tennis is also gaining in popularity, thanks to Roger Federer’s recent Delhi visit.

*Photos are from NDTV and Sportswiki (cropped).

TeNy

Safety is a Priority

On the road safety should be a priority. The number of road accidents don’t seem to come down by much, and neither does the deaths by the same. If you open the newspaper early morning, this is what you get first. Yes, there are news about other kinds of deaths, murders, robbery and everything else, but this is more of a case that you can avoid as long as everyone can find safety as a priority, and not some other random things like reaching a place early or driving fast and in a stylish manner with almost no reason. *Except for the first photo on the road which was taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC W310, the rest are from Nissan Safety Driving Forum (NSDF) website.

1. Let there be no pothole: Even as this is completely in the hands of the government, it is up-to us motorists to raise our voice for getting the roads repaired. Yes, it is injurious to the suspension of the vehicles, but the bigger problem is when people suddenly breaks or turns the vehicles causing accidents – there are even cases of people falling into some of the deeper ones and losing control of the two-wheelers, sometimes even causing deaths. There is more than one kind of terror that these potholes can come up with, and repairing the roads shouldn’t take long. There are too many bad roads around, and each pothole is a possible death-bringer, especially during the rainy season. We have such problems even on the state and national highways – not fair at all.

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2. Know no traffic signal breaks: We see this too often, and the cars which do this often are the big ones, and the same is the case of those huge trucks or buses and often the auto rickshaws. Sometimes, it won’t be that easy following the signals, as they could work in a strange manner, and there might be occasions when they just stop working or when the police tries to help, it doesn’t work well. But our duty is to obey the signal, and at the same time look for the movement from other vehicles. Yes, a few adjustment would be needed here as there is a difference in the concept of “yellow” for many people. So always look for any vehicle passing through before obeying the traffic lights. Some of those who breaks the traffic signals even have number plates which are hard to read – how can someone allow such a thing?

3. Realize your speed limit: Even if someone has bought a costly car with a top speed beyond comprehension, he should also be paying the fine for breaking the speed limit, may be a bigger fine for the bigger cars – small fines rarely make an impact due to having a big purse. What we should do on these occasions is to try not to race with the maniacs who can’t decrease their speed. Let’s keep within the speed limits because a rule is a rule, and it is a fair thing to do. Along with the same, use helmets and seat belts – yes, we may be driving slow and causing no trouble to others, but there will always be those maniacs who drive fast and without any responsibility. Let’s save ourselves and not fall into the death-trap for the fault of someone else. After all, it seems like a group of drivers who don’t care at all, and it is up-to us to bring a change here. Let’s also hope for more “hidden” cameras to catch these people.

4. Respect the rest of your kind: There is nothing like giving chance for the rest of the humanity, including the motorist and the pedestrian a chance to pass. We are not the only busy people out on the streets, an everyone needs a fair chance. It might not be easy to let someone pass through and take a turn when some random stranger is honking from the back, but lets give that person a chance. To add to it, the road doesn’t belong to anyone in particular, and so keep left and stay off the side of the path. It is only by respect towards the rest of the people on the road that once can claim to be a good driver – not by driving fast, scaring others or by showing circus on the bike. It is not about having a costly vehicle and making some ridiculous sound either – give respect and take respect, as for a good number of people, vehicles are for transportation and not to show off.

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5. Discover the indicator: Some people still don’t know where this button is. It comes under the steering, for some cars on the right and for the other, on the left. It also seems to take too much strength to do the same, that a lot of people just turns without prior warning, especially the auto rickshaws, buses and trucks. I have often wondered where their indicators are? Do they usually come out of the showroom without that facility? Everybody needs an indicator, and let’s hope that someone will tell these people about the same. Meanwhile, lets make sure that each and everyone of use indicators whenever there is a need, and after taking a turn, we need to be sure that it is turned off – we don’t want to create another nuisance on the road by having a tendency to turn in a direction almost every second.

6. Find a way to dim the lights: This is a necessity, especially as the road is no private property. There is roughly around fifty percent of the night drivers who dim their lights. It is all about what they can see, and the rest needs to adjust. They don’t realize that the other person also has the need to see the road. Even when we brighten and dim our lights, some people don’t seem to care. I would guess that it is because night driving is not taught in driving schools. Those who wish to get a licence are taught only how to take the “H” in the case of four-wheelers and “8” for two-wheelers. Even the driving time on the roads happen during the daytime and nobody knows that what to do with the bright and dim feature. The system of giving driving licence surely needs a change.

7. The things that are never to do: The first thing to follow is never to drink and drive. Any doubt about the same is just plain ridiculous. There are so many of such incidents that we know from the newspapers. The second thing is not to use the mobile phones while driving. I don’t know why too many people do this in broad daylight when other people are watching. It is clear that doing so is not safe. But it seems that some people value that more than human lives. When there is a phone ringing, stop the vehicle and talk or call back later. There is the need for bigger fines for these two categories. Another thing – never keep changing lanes; it could be solved by developing a certain amount of common sense, I guess. But it is becoming more and more rare these days – not common. Let’s try to do what is in our power and hope for better results.

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This blog post is written in relation to Nissan Safety Driving Forum’s nationwide safety campaign with the concept of “Safety begins with me”. It says that saftety and etiquette are not to be taken lightly as it is the responsibility of each and every driver and not a selected few. There is a duty that we have to our fellow motorists as well as the pedestrians who consists more of the common man. For more details, please check https://www.nissan.in/innovation/NSDF.html and make sure you drive safe.

The Nissan Motor’s Nissan Safety Driving Forum (NSDF) is part of its safety driving promotion activities, having the beginning in 2012. Starting with three main Indian cities – Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai – it has gone on to touch other cities. This year, NSDF has new cities to go – Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Jaipur, Vadodara, Nagpur, Chennai, Mangalore and Cochin with a reach to about two lakh citizens. NSDF has also seen an impressive 126% growth in the sensitisation of wearing seatbelts. It also conducts simulated car crash to understand safety. Nissan’s NSDF continues to try to build awareness of safe driving in India as it encourages drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts through interactive programmes. Nissan’s aim is to decrease fatalities and injuries caused by traffic accidents, and it considers the same a commitment to the customers in India.

TeNy

A Change or No Change?

There are a few things that are difficult to change. Among them are the passion for cricket in the subcontinent and the worship of cricketers. This has always happened at the cost of the devastation of other sporting events. Cricket has almost annihilated all the other sports from India, and this struggle that the other sports seem to be putting up is just because they are working so well outside the subcontinent, and there are still some good people left in the country who choose to watch the rest.

The arguments for cricket are completely invalid. The first one is that Sania Mirza is also a big name even without winning anything huge – but it is a wrong argument, as she is popular just because of her looks, and it is disgusting to read how some people make comments about her. The next argument is that India is winning in cricket, and so it gets support. But no, the case is that Indian cricket team is winning because they have money and facilities, and also because nobody outside the subcontinent gives a damn about the game.

Team Kerala Blasters (Pic from Kerala Blasters FB Page)

Team Kerala Blasters (Pic from Kerala Blasters FB Page)

Let’s take the case of IPL. It has deteriorated into the worst level with its match-fixing scandals and other scams, with two of its teams already terminated and two or three almost getting terminated, with players banned and controversies coming up again and again. Even with all those fake entertainment stuff in it, they couldn’t even come with a story-line better than WWE, and it is a real shame. One actually has to wonder if there is any point in following a sport which only one nation actually plays and two or three nations make a half-hearted attempt to try.

Consider the evil that has IPL has turned cricket into, one has to wonder what ISL will do to Indian football. Indian Super League is certain to be better than that though, and can create a better Indian football team for the future, with the number of fans also increasing. It is a much needed thing to have a team for us to support in the FIFA World Cup – we can surely qualify from Asia in a few years or so. India will surely be a power to look out for in twenty years, I would guess. We should just keep the politics away from this one.

Sourav Ganguly for Atletico de Kolkata (Pic from team's FB Page)

Sourav Ganguly for Atletico de Kolkata (Pic from team’s FB Page)

Unlike IPL, this league also have the teams from the right areas, as Kerala and the North East always deserved its teams even in cricket. It is good to have more balanced distribution of teams here. Among the teams, I can easily declare my support to Kerala Blasters ownder by Sachin Tendulkar and from my home state. Let’s only hope that people would not resort to abuse, as it is what Sachin fans have been resorting to – hope they will respect the opposition this time rather than going in the path of that terrible Malayalam movie 1983 which called for the abuse of all who don’t support Sachin Tendulkar.

Leaving the immortal cricketer’s team behind with its large number of Keralite football fans, my next support will be for Atlético de Kolkata, in the name of Sourav Ganguly, the greatest left handed batsman and the best captain India has ever produced, and also for the beautiful city of Kolkata, and hope that they can win if Kerala Blasters can’t. They also have my favourite logo in the league. Then I give my support to NorthEast United FC, as I hope that the beautiful North East will have all the attention that it deserves with this team. May be John Abraham can bring it there, and the actor’s commitment social work have always been things worth cheering for.

John Abraham supporting football as usual (Pic from NorthEast United FB page)

John Abraham supporting football as usual (Pic from NorthEast United FB page)

I shall leave a little love for Goa too, and about the rest of the cities which have had an IPL team for more than one season, I would care less. I hope that one of those cities, states or collection of states which haven’t had much of IPL action with them, shall go on to win ISL. More over, I hope that it will trigger the much needed resurrection of football in India, as it will surely bring hope for the other neglected sports, and end the dictatorship and evil ways of cricket. May the two great men of cricket Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly bring it to soccer. I wish the league all success.

TeNy

UC as in You See and MGU

One year has passed after completing that voyage from a student to a former student at Union Christian College, Alwaye (UCC). It was rather an expedition for the cause of being an UCean which started with the Mahatma Gandhi University’s Centralized Allotment Process, something which made sure that I would get the admission, something which would have not been possible with a normal procedure and without Divine intervention. There haven’t been many of my friends who admire MG University and its way of operations, but I do; for even as I admit that I did suffer with its Off Campus Department working with that Distance Education, the rest has actually worked so well for me. I might need to complain about my total percentage like everyone else, but I am mostly a pessimist and a cynic who lacks focus, so no complaints about it from my side.

The first rays of a UC morning (taken on my GT-B7722)

The first rays of a UC morning (taken on my GT-B7722)

MGU’s CAP procedure made sure that I had the admission through a straight path, and there was something else about it, and it is about the out of syllabus questions that it comes up with. Yes, it once came up with the question who is Mrs Norris; the answer being the pet cat of Argus Filch, the caretaker of Hogwarts – I love when they come up with such questions, which I can proudly answer just because of a random reading or movie watching habit instead of studying those books which are forced on us. I didn’t remember the owner’s name, but the other details including its petrification in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets were clear in the mind. I have always hoped for them to ask some purely Gothic horror question out of syllabus, they never did though.

Whatever is closest to the tree of life :D (GT-B7722)

Whatever is closest to the tree of life 😀 (GT-B7722)

MGU, you are an intellectual beauty, and what you did with a lot of out of syllabus questions was to make the students think and read more literature making the library of some use. I know that a lot of students might despise the same, but I don’t. I admire what came up there even as nobody there might have really wanted that to happen. What English Literature students need are those out of syllabus questions, because you can’t restrict the post graduation in Literature to a few books, for it is a vast subject and questions has to come in such a way that the best readers get the better score instead of those who just memorize for the examinations. It would have even prepared us better for the NET exams. I shall choose to be a pariah rather than not support an out of syllabus question paper for MA English. I would say “add a little more history to it too”.

We are now not unlike this tree (GT-B7722)

We are now not unlike this tree (GT-B7722)

Being a UCean is a prestige, and it might not be something that one realizes when he or she is already studying there. We take our wonderful situation as granted, and a few months later, we realize that we should have considered it with that reverence that it actually deserved. But we are lost within such trivial matters that are so inconsequential that the fact rarely come up in our minds. We are lost not in the fog, but the haar of the coast, being caught in the imaginary British Literary Isles. But out reminiscences of our days at the college come up later, and that happens with such strength that it is impossible to resist, and with that strength comes unbelievable durability of the memories. We were all the riders to the sea, and now we are the fallens angels of that lost paradise, except for those who had chosen to turn Faustus and sell their souls to Mephistopheles.

Nature is happiness, it has always been (GT-B7722)

Nature is happiness, it has always been (GT-B7722)

When the life turns rather nugatory, that black hole which has been created in this busy world of chaos, turns on you and make you realize about its supernatural ability of preventing escape, and the first thing that it reminds you about, is that beautiful free world that you left behind, an year ago – the end of them all came in August 2013, even as the results came in December last year. There is no longer a free world, as the constraints stretch its arms towards you and works as dementors, feeding off the happiness and bringing out that mighty despair which converts itself to the mighy gladiator which has finally found a worthy amphitheatre. At that moment, UCC comes back to you, and the need to be a student again becomes stronger than ever. It was not just good being a student, it was awesome.

And then you give that building one last look (GT-B7722)

And then you give that building one last look (GT-B7722)

There is the morning light that you see at the college as you become one of the first students to set your foot on the college land every single day, and the meaning of the light becomes poetry when you are no longer that student. There is the evening sun which shines with its strange light going through the branches covered by green, reflecting on my Chevrolet Beat, a vision that inspires immortality. Then there is the tree under which you sit and read some random novel you take from the reading room or the library becomes the history book that you lost in the war that was to follow, randomly collecting the daily battles which are never won by any side. All the tea that you had from that canteen between the class hours is that memory which asks to be awakened – but you can’t go for tea from the class room if there is no class any more, right? How can one have the opportunity to be absent when there is no class? My absence is of no value any more, and makes me doubt my own existence.

Finally, the sun sets on thee and thy car (GT-B7722)

Finally, the sun sets on thee and thy car (GT-B7722)

UCC was the perfect place for me to be. It was always supposed to be so. But what does it take to realize the same? Not just some wrong decisions, but also two years of being there along with a few more months of pondering over it. But the question remains if it would have been any better if this worked more like school and I could just fail to stay in the same class for longer, for I would like to think that the time period between 2011 and 2013 was almost perfect for my existence there, and a few years early or just a little bit later might have taken the beauty out of it. Some things come late, and there is certainly a time for everything – some of them working well and the others working terrible, but all of them should come to an end, that ragnorak which happened and I never gave it the significane it deserved – damned be those pettifogging things which intervened.

I miss the tea at the canteen, parking the Chevrolet Beat under that huge tree, the quiz competitions and the English Department plus all the bloody green trees and even the grass. Above all, I miss literature in all its glory, and I lack inspiration with all its opulence, for I can no longer visualize Valhalla or Avalon 😦

TeNy