Monday, December 13, 2010

brick story

I was clay. Flexible, shapeless, without an identity, submersed below the upper crest, ugly, filthy. You lifted me up, gave me shape, molded me, and baked me...thus giving me colour and shape, to be part of larger useful things. I got transformed from useless to useful. Now I am wanted by people, for their creative pursuits. I am part of home, office, church, temple, mosque, parliament, charity organizations, clubs, hospitals, tombs, monuments, shopping malls, airports, bus stands, huts, apartments.....I am there everywhere now, because you transformed me and gave me shape and colour from my flexibility. Without you, I would have remained as clay, unnoticed by this world.....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Will they persecute and kill Julian Assange?

These days, every day a new scam is revealed. I do not know whether it is a good sign or not. Even when it is bad news, sometimes I feel good because it is better than undetected scams. This could be the beginning of the end of corruption in India. Definitely, the culprits would not have done proud to Gandhi. After seeing and hearing all these, he would have died of agony. Another development is wikileaksJulian Assange, a young gentlemen of just 39, had the guts to risk his life to reveal the dual faced America. Definitely, his life is at risk. I am sure that, the damage is already done. Even if he gets killed, more Assanges will emerge. From all these, will the Indian journalists learn some lessons. Instead of quantity, can we have quality investigative journalism, which can contribute to the wellbeing of the ordinary citizen. I think, it can happen only when our journalists start seeing journalism as a vocation, rather than just a profession. My sincere appreciation and best wishes to Assange. Let every Indian journalist get inspired by him. Only that can save our country from corruption which has gripped this country at every level. Congratulations and best wishes dear young gentleman, for deciding to live an extraordinary life. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Amazing craftsmanship....

പഴയ കൊത്തു പണി എത്ര മനോഹരം. എത്ര ക്ഷമയോടും, ശ്രദ്ധയോടും ആവും അവര്‍ ജോലി ചെയ്തിട്ടുണ്ടാവുക.

When I think about the craftsmanship behind this wooden grill, I cannot do anything but appreciate the craftsmen worked behind engraving these designs manually on raw wood. As the year indicates, this is done in the year 1927, and is still intact in 2011. This just amazing.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

PMRI conducted a five day project management training at Arbitron, Kochi

The Project Management Research Institute (PMRI), conducted a five day training for the managers of  Arbitron, Kochi. The theme of the training was 'Professional project management as per PMBOK' and alternate strategies. This is PMR's 356th project management workshop. The trainer was Abrachan Pudussery.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nadan food festival @ Tejomaya, the L&T techpark

Yesterday and today, I was lucky to have lunch at the Nadan food festival, going on at the food court at Tejomaya, the L&T techpark at Kakkanad.  Buffet lunch is 75 Rs, and the food is good. Yesterday we had kakka and fish curry as specials, whereas today it was chicken and fish curry. Overall, a value for money experience.

The changing face of Kochi and Kerala

I am at Tejomaya, at Kakkanad, the I.T park by L&T, and I am coming here after a gap of almost one year. One year back this building was almost empty, and to my surprise, the whole place is bubbling with activity. The cafeteria is full during peak hours, and another very encouraging fact is the presence of Indians from other states of India. Till now, the bane of the professional world in this part of the world was the absence of a vibrant multi cultural crowd, compensating for the strengths and weaknesses of each other. That is gone now. The first and foremost factor contributing to this change in social fabric is the changing face of Kerala. Thanks to the very creative marketing by Kerala tourism department. Who will not have the will to work in God's own country. Another major factor is the availability of very high standard global public schools which are on par, if not better than their counterparts in other parts of India. Another factor is recession. Because of recession very good companies started coming to Kerala in their quest for more economically viable destinations with good manpower. Professionals also started looking for stable locations. Overall the outlook looks very positive. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

book share - ബുക്ക്‌ ഷെയര്‍

ഈ ബുക്കിന്റെ മൂന്ന് കോപ്പി ഷെയര്‍ ചെയുവാന്‍ ഉണ്ട്‌  . ആവശ്യക്കാര്‍ 0091 9447209070 ഫോണ്‍ ചെയ്യുക. വായിച്ചതിനു ശേഷം തിരികെ തരണം :-) 

ഡിസംബര്‍ നിന്നെ ഞാന്‍ സ്നേഹിക്കുന്നു. നിന്നെ ഞാന്‍ കാത്തിരിക്കുന്നു.

ഡിസംബര്‍ വന്നുകഴിഞ്ഞു. വീണ്ടും ഒരു മഞ്ഞുകാലം. ഞാന്‍ വളരെ അധികം ഇഷ്ടപ്പെടുന്ന മാസം. ഡിസംബര്‍ എന്നും ആഘോഷങ്ങളുടെ കാലമാണ്. കുഞ്ഞുങ്ങള്‍ ഏറ്റവും ആഹ്ലാദിക്കുന്ന അവധിക്കാലം. വീട്ടുകാരും, ബന്ധുക്കളും എല്ലാം ഒത്തുചേരുന്ന സമയം. ക്രിസ്മസ്താത്ത സമ്മാനവുമായി വരുന്ന സമയം. നക്ഷത്രങ്ങള്‍ തൂക്കുന്ന സമയം. പുല്കൂടിന്റെ സമയം. കരോളിന്റെ സമയം. സദ്യകളുടെ സമയം. പുതുവസ്ത്രത്തിന്റെ സമയം. പള്ളിയിലെ ആഘോഷങ്ങുളുടെ സമയം. പ്രണയത്തിന്റെ സമയം. പുതുവത്സരത്തിന്റെ സമയം. ഡിസംബര്‍  നിന്നെ ഞാന്‍ സ്നേഹിക്കുന്നു. നിന്നെ ഞാന്‍ കാത്തിരിക്കുന്നു. ബോബി അച്ഛന്‍ പറഞ്ഞതും ഞാന്‍ ഓര്‍കുന്നു, സദ്യ കഴിഞ്ഞു എല്ലാവരും പോയി കഴിയുമ്പോള്‍ കയറി വരുന്നവനാണ് യേശു ക്രിസ്തു. നമ്മള്‍ തനിച്ചയിരിക്കുമ്പോള്‍. യേശു ഇല്ലാത്ത ക്രിസ്മസ് വിശക്കുന്നവന്റെ ചിരി പോലെയാണ്. ആ മലയാളം ഗാനം മെല്ലെ ശ്രുതി മീടുന്നു - യേശു വരേണം എന്നുള്ളില്‍ .......

Here comes December, the month I Love the most. December is the time of celebrations. It is the time the kids enjoy the most. It is the time of family reunions. It is the time when Santa comes with Gifts. This is the time when the entire world is illuminated. It is the time for the crib. It is the time of carols. It is time of parties. It is the time of the dew, It is the time of romance.  It is time of celebrations at the church. It is the time of new year. December, I love you. I am eagerly awaiting your arrival. At the same time I remember the fact that Christmas without Christ is like the smile of a hungry child. Jesus Christ comes to the party only when all the guests are gone...and you are alone.....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Save river Periyar.....Is it becoming a ''serious joke''.....

One of the biggest 'serious joke'of my time is the slogan 'Save river Periyar', which is highly polluted by the industries on the banks of this river.  I am witnessing this fooling around for the past three decades at least. The pattern is like this. 
  • Some newspaper will report the change in color of water in the river or a case where fishes are dying due to unknown reason.
  • An agency will be appointed to make a report.
  • Preparation of the report will take an year, and by that time the public has forgotten the incident 
  • Then a new incident will happen
This fooling the public cycle has been going on for the past 3 decades, at the cost of the entire Kerala. Those who are staying in the coastal area are affected by deadly diseases like cancer and skin diseases. Even when surrounded by water, they do not have drinking water. The fish from this poisonous water is consumed by the locals as well as those from the Kochi city. Governments after Governments were inactive on this issue. Companies which manufacture deadly poisons like DDT (which is banned elsewhere) are located on the banks of this river and some of them are pumping their waste into this river and as a 'developed nation', we are unable to locate those underwater pipes they have laid to pump pollutants into the river...what a pity. There is a local saying which is very true in this case 'You can wake up some one from sleep, but you cannot wake up someone who is pretending to be asleep'. In this case the concerned authorities are pretending to be asleep. It needs active and united actions from the citizens to put an end to it.  I recollect the words of  Pius 
chettan....'മോനെ ഒരു കേസ് കൊടുത്തുകൂടെ'  (Son, why cant you file a case)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Let us ask the Kochi Mayor

കൊച്ചി മേയര്‍ അധികാരത്തില്‍ വന്നിട്ട് ഏകദേശം ഒരു മാസം ആകാന്‍ പോകുന്നു. റോഡുകളുടെ സ്ഥിതി ഒട്ടും മെച്ചപ്പെട്ടിട്ടില്ല. മെച്ചപ്പെടും എന്ന് കരുതുന്നു. ഒന്ന് വേഗം ആയിരുന്നെങ്കില്‍ വണ്ടിയുടെ ബുഷ്‌ മാറ്റാതെ ഒപ്പിക്കാമായിരുന്നു. എന്താണ് പ്രശ്നം. പൈസ ഇല്ലേ. ഞങ്കള്‍ തരുന്ന ഇന്‍കം കരം, വാഹന കരം, വീട് കരം എന്നീ എല്ലാ കരങ്ങളും എവിടെക്കാണ്‌ പോകുന്നുത്. എറണാകുളത്തും കല്മാടി രാജാ മാര്‍ ഉണ്ടോ. പച്ചാളത് ഡോമിനിക് വന്നപ്പോഴും റോഡ്ന്റെ കാര്യം ആണ് ആദ്യം  പറഞ്ഞത്. പിന്നെ ഒന്നും സംഭവിച്ചില്ല. അവിടെ ഇപ്പോള്‍ റോഡ്‌ ഇല്ല. ച്റ്റൂര്‍ റോഡ്‌ പോളിഞ്ചു കുളം ആയി, എന്നിട്ടും ഡോമിനിക് അനങ്ങിയിട്ടില്ല. നിങ്ങളും അതുപോലെ ആകുമോ എന്നാണ് ഭയം.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Experiencing Laurie Baker architecture and good vegetarian lunch

Laurie Baker is a German, who introduced the Laurie baker style of low cost construction in Kerala, by incorporating the locally available raw materials and construction techniques combined well with the modern architectural concepts. Recently I visited the Sarovaram hotel on the Edappally bypass road after Vytilla junction for lunch. They serve decent vegetarian lunch for Rs.90 (approx 2 USD) per plate, and it is served on plantain leaves following the traditional Kerala style. Here are some photos from my visit to Sarovaram hotel.

In the middle of a traffic jam at Kaloor junction

During the middle of the day, under the scorching sun, in the middle of a traffic jam, sitting in an air conditioned car, I clicked this photograph. Did I feel guilty, or did I feel grateful to so many people who played a major role in shaping my career, which helped me to avoid such situations?. I am sure that this photo will help me to stop cribbing about the trivial inconveniences of life, and start appreciating all the blessings!. 

The difference between a house and a home

Have you ever thought about the difference between a house and a home?. I did not. After doing some search, these are the things I got;

A home is not a mere transient shelter: its essence lies in the personalities of the people who live in it. -- H. L. Mencken


A house is a structure as the other poster put it, but a home is the people who live in the house and make it a safe and pleasant place to be. You've heard quotes such as "Keep the home fires burning" (during the wars years) and the oldie but goodie "Home is where the heart is." You can live in a beautiful home, but if you have no one to love and share it with, then it's just a plain house no matter how fancy it is. Poor or rich, no children or a dozen children, adults have the control to make any place a good home. A home can be anywhere you live -- your home may be a mobile home, or a motor home, or an igloo. For some, home can be an abandoned warehouse on Main Street in Anywhere, USA. You can call an apartment your home. As they say, "Home is where the heart is." But a house is a physical structure with walls and a roof and a door. An apartment would not be considered your "house", etc.


Real estate agents are trained to minimize emotional involvement by calling it a house when you sell it, and maximize emotional involvement by calling it a home when you buy it. A "home" is where you live your life. A "house" is where you pose waiting for the photographers to show up.

Now, I have to decide on whether I should construct another house or a home. House is only a subset of the home. A home is much larger than a house, because by home, we do not mean just the concrete structure alone, it is beyond it. An engineer along with masons, carpenters and plumbers can build a house. I am taking a pause here......Who are all required to build a home?....

Monday, November 22, 2010

I cant wait till 18....

While Kerala has the highest literacy levels, it is a paradox that it has the highest level of liquor consumption, despite being the land of  Sri Narayana Guru, who taught us that drinking is sin. For an average Malayali man, celebration means drinking, and there is no celebration without drinks. Sometimes the big queues in front of the wine stores can reach a mile and most of the buyers are youngsters.  Governments, whether it is communist or congress have the same policy when it comes to alcohol. Their eyes are only on the taxes from liquor business, at the cost of the welfare of the ordinary Keralite. Legally in this state cigarette smoking is prohibited in public places, which was enforced very strictly for a couple of months. Now things are back to square one. 

The changing face of Trichur

With the State Cabinet giving its nod for setting up a 'World Class University' at Puthur and a 'Science City' in Kainur, Thrissur, known as the cultural capital of Kerala, is all set to become a major education hub in the State.

The proposed university at Puthur Village in Thrissur district will be one of the 14 world class universities proposed by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development in the country. The Kerala Forest Development Corporation will hand over about 125 hectares of land at Puthur to the Higher Education Department for establishing the university.

The site for the university is located less than 10 km from NH 47 and about 12 km from Thrissur Railway Station. It is also just 50 km away from the Nedumbassery International Airport in Cochin.

The proposed university will not have any affiliated colleges. It will train students in a variety of disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, basic sciences, commerce and professional subjects, at both the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. It will also foster links between universities, research laboratories and industry.

The Government of Kerala has allocated Rs. 2 crores for setting up the 'Science City' at Kainur. About 30 acres of land in Kainur has been identified for the city. The Science City is designed to be financially self-sustainable and will concentrate on Science and Technology domains.

The main objective of a Science City is to increase the popularity of science and technology, ensure widespread acceptance in all levels of society and to stimulate scientific curiosity and creativity among students. It is also expected to have galleries, museums and outdoor parks with a science theme. The capital cost will be shared between the State and the Center equally.

The Science City of Kolkata is the first one of its kind in India which opened its doors to the public in 1997. Other major science cities in the country are located in Punjab, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

If things progress well, Thrissur will soon become one of the most important centres of learning and education in the country and will attract scientific talent from far and wide. This will be a big boost to the technology companies planning to setup shop in Kerala.

Congratulations to Preeja Sreedharan for winning the 10,000 M race at the Asiad

Let us congratulate Preeja Sreedharan for winning the gold medal for the 10,000 M race at the asiad 2010.  She is the daughter of a carpenter father, who died when she was very young, and her mother had to do house hold work of the neighbors to make both ends meet, till she got a job with the Indian railways. Her family lives in the railway quarters of Palghat. These rude facts add glitter to the Gold she won. Preeja, wish you a gold at the Olympics.

The inside outside show - a mega flop?

The only surprise I had at the inside outside show this year was the free entry. Till last year they had a 50 Rs, entry fee, and this year it is free. So I regretted my daughter's decision to stay back home to save that fifty rupees. The exhibition did not have anything new to offer, compared to last year's. The number of participating organizations were also lesser. Some regulars like Poettery and Clayfingers - the pottery people were missing. Is it the general reflection of the real estate industry of this part of the world. The enthusiasm was missing.

The Biriyani Hut Experience

With great expectations and a hungry stomach we went to Biriyani Hut, near edappally (modern bread factory), expecting great food to fill our appetite. We ordered two roti combos and one chicken biriyani along with chicken fry. Unfortunately roti combo was not available, so we had to settle down to three chicken biriyanis. First the cold drinking water came, without even asking our choice of water (bottled, ordinary, cold, warm, room temperature). We were all served with cold ordinary water, which I did not drink for fear of contamination. Then came the bright yellow plates, and they were not warm. Then it was waiting time for the food. Because of the wait, we thought that we will be served with excellent hot, steaming biriyani. Unfortunately, we were served with cold biriyani and chicken fry. Believe me, I have stomach problems after taking this cold biriyani from Biriyani Hut, where we went with great expectations. I consider this as a busy joint, becuase of it's location, not because of the quality of the food and the quality of service. They are extremely poor.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Visit to Royal palm gardens

Royal palm is a villa project nearing completion, located at Puthenpally, very near to the puthenpally church. It is just 7 km from edappally, which is fast becoming the epicenter of Kochi. The only bottle neck between Varapuzha and Edappally is the delayed railway over bridge at Edappally, which is creating traffic jams on the varapuzha - edappally route. Now the government has awarded this project to a reputed construction group, and they have already started work on this project. Knowing this, the demand for land in this area is on the upward spiral. This is the right time to invest in this area.

When I visited this project site recently, I was slightly disappointed because the quality of work and the progress of work are excellent. I had an opportunity to invest in this project a couple of years back, which i did not do, instead I invested in another project near Alwaye, which is really limping. When I compare this project with the other one where I invested, I must really admire the team behind this project. My best wishes to them for all their future endeavors.

If you want more details about this project, please contact Saju Simon @ 0091 9847769157

Visit to Kadamakkudy

Kadamakkudy is a village on the suburbs of Kochi. Can be reached within 45 minutes by road from Kochi by road. Another option is to take the public boat service from Ernakulam boat jetty (near high court) to pizhala and then take a ferry from there. I adore this place for it's typical Kerala village status. This is a quiet place surrounded by paddy fields which double up as prawn farms (chemmeenkettu) for six months during the year. I could not locate any hotels near by, so it will be better if you carry your own food. The ideal time to visit this place is during early mornings or in the evenings, as these are the ideal time for photography here. I am longing to go there again. As a tourist, I long for these facilities there;

  • A place to have food
  • Some paying guest accommodation 
  • Some camping sites 
Will the authorities who promote tourism in this country see these humble requests of mine?. 

In the name of development, what they should not be doing here construction of concrete buildings to house posh hotels. That will spoil the natural charm of this place. I am enjoying this place maximum, before some one kills this place. Only a very few is left like this. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Recently I installed ubuntu (linux) on my lap top, and faced problems with the wireless function. While surfing the net for a solution, I came across the, the free and open source user group at Kochi. I was amazed with the quick response by some of the volunteers to my query. Who said, the support for open source software is an issue?. The world is changing. As per Forrester, the time for open source software has come, now. It was some thing which was ahead of it's time, now it's time has come. Here is a photograph of ilug-kochi members with Richard Stallman.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Unlearning QWERTY

This week, I am confined to the silence of my hotel room during the day time, because my work starts only at 4.p.m. I dont have the motivation to read the non-starter anti-corruption stories related to the organizing of the common wealth games (indeed the wealth is shared, which are meant to be forgotten within a short span, hence I did not read the news paper, and did not watch the news channels, who are just struggling to gain attention, without any swetting and risk taking, which the investigative journalism calls for. 3 days back only, i deleted my facebook account, hence there is no company from the faceless friends from the facebook community (sorry real friends on facebook….actually we met outside facebook and used facebook to be in touch. By faceless, I meant those virtual friends I made at facebook, orkut and, by spending valuable hours, at the cost of spending a few hours with my ailing and lonely mother, who is no more now (just an example….there are many others who got deprived of many many things because of my internet addiction). So, today, I am at my creative best, because of this compulsive silence derived out of  shutting myself off to digital junk.
The result, I got the time to lay my hands again on  my forgotten music lessons, to realize that computer key board is not the only key board that exists, and there exists even more melodious key boards like the key board of an electronic music key board. So Iam unlerning qwerty to start walking in this new path. In the longer run, this cross pollination may help me to create music with QWERTY as well.
There are other creative pursuits in the offing as well. Taking a cue from the TED video, which states ‘Talking about your goals’ will reduce the probability of their achievement, I am not sharing them here. Lets talk about the ‘Done’, than the ‘Will be done’

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Is the child in you still alive and ticking......A scene from Cherai beach

A church in the middle of thick greenery - on the way to Thekkady

Thekkady Wild life sanctuary

Algae....during monsoon

Our ancestoral home at Varapuzha. ...This is the architecture of the sixties, and is getting extinct now.

Vallarpadam Church

Distance.......Gazing at the future.....

In the middle of Bamboos - shot at interior Kochi

A beautiful evening at the Andhakaranazhi beach, with family.

Kathakali painting on coconut - by Rosanna

Kerala Folklore Museum and theatre at Kochi

Recently I was talking to a youngster, who just spent 3 years at Bangalore for her graduation (prior to that she had spent all her years at Thiruvalla, Kerala), and had all sorts of aversion to Kerala. Like India bashing, Kerala bashing is also a hobby or fashion for some, during some parts of their lives. The perception of a place is formed by what you see there. For majority, Dubai is a great place, because they have not seen some of the very ugly faces of Dubai. For some, it could be the ugliest of the places. The perception of a place is formed by what you see there, and what you see there is determined by what you want to see there. If I see only the roads of Kerala, during the peak monsoon time, it is a hell. If I want to see the flora, fauna and experience the heritage, then it is a heaven. Whatever said and done, it is cleaner than many other places. It is greener. People are educated and clean. For a photographer, it is a heaven.

Even if I live here, there are a lot of Kerala, which I myself have not seen yet. When I visited the folklore museum at the Thevara road, Ernakulam, that feeling of 'unexplored kerala element' got reinforced. Not many know about this folklore museum. It is a great place with a well arranged, great collection of  folklore artefacts. The entire building is constructed with just stones and wood, in the ancient Kerala architectural style. The thirs floor is an auditorium where cultural programs are conducted every day evening. You will take at least 3 hours to to see the entire collection without including the cultural shows. It is owned and run by a husband and wife team (thaliath family) of Kerala. One of the must sees.

Before going there, please confirm whether it is a holiday for them or not. Here is their web site. Click here to go to their web site.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fishermen @ Cherai beach

A beautiful sunset at the Cherai beach

Motorola Milestone - after 100 days of use

I have completed almost 120 days of use of Motorola milestone smartphone, and these are the observations;
  • The screen size is one of the largest. Others are still in the catch up mode.
  • Camera is great and effective with 5MP. Others are still catching up with it...
  • The video quality is excellent 
  • The user interface of android is excellent
  • Application availability on android is excellent
  • I always wanted a phone with a physical key board (qwerty) with a touch screen. This phone gives me both, and the physical key board is big enough for easy use. 
  • Battery life could have been better. It gives approximately 6 hours of continuous use, and is the same as any other smartphone available in the market (cross checked with my friends using other phones)
  • It fell down, at least twice, and is still working.
  • Sometimes it used to get heated up. That is when lots of applications are running in the background. Once in a while killing those applications using the task killer resolved the issue. The actual solution is an operating system update, which I am unable to do, due to lack of time. 
  • The charging time for the battery is very low. It gets completely charged within 2 hours.
It is value for money. I do not feel like throwing it away right now, and that itself is a fantastic feeling. 

I feel grateful to the motorola milestone user at the Dubai duty free shop, for recomending this phone to me, when I was after apple and blackberry. Now it is available for around 24,000/- in India.